Tony Perkins / Jan. 5, 2016

GOP House: Resolved to Reconcile

Christmas may be gone, but Scrooge is still here! Much to our disappointment, Congress passed a massive funding bill before leaving town for Christmas that continued the taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood and the farce of the "Affordable" Care Act. When conservatives cried foul, Republicans pointed out they didn't have the 60 Senate votes they needed to end Americans' forced partnership with Planned Parenthood.

Christmas may be gone, but Scrooge is still here! Much to our disappointment, Congress passed a massive funding bill before leaving town for Christmas that continued the taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood and the farce of the “Affordable” Care Act. When conservatives cried foul, Republicans pointed out they didn’t have the 60 Senate votes they needed to end Americans’ forced partnership with Planned Parenthood.

But all isn’t lost! This week, the House hopes to change that by pressuring the White House atone for two of its biggest mistakes since 2009: funding Planned Parenthood centers with taxpayer money and the government’s terrible excuse for a health care system. “You’re going to see us put a bill on the president’s desk going after ObamaCare and Planned Parenthood,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) vowed over the Christmas recess. Late last month, the Senate used the reconciliation process to make some key changes to the Americans’ Health Care Freedom Reconciliation Act before kicking it back to the House for final approval. Now, Speaker Ryan’s chamber is just inches shy of the goal of sending its first-ever repeal of the main pillars of ObamaCare to the president’s desk, along with language to zero out Planned Parenthood’s $400 million in Medicaid money.

If the president is still stubbornly in favor of these twin failures, then the responsibility for them will rest squarely on his shoulders — and his shoulders alone. For once, the president will have to answer for entangling America even deeper into the culture of death — first, by bankrolling an industry built on the backs of innocent unborn children; and later, through the government’s disaster of a health care takeover. As Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) pointed out in the Republicans’ Weekly Address, the GOP’s eyes are on the prize. In one of its first acts of 2016, conservatives’ hope their hard work pays off in a final vote striking down major portions of both ObamaCare and Planned Parenthood funding.

“The point of health care is to preserve and protect life,” Hartzler explained. “That’s why this bill stops taxpayer funding for abortion providers. The people have, for years, asked Congress to stop sending taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, especially after we learned last year of the disturbing practices Planned Parenthood officials engage in such as harvesting and selling baby body parts. These actions — along with the hundreds of thousands of abortions they perform each year — show a blatant disregard for human life. That’s why this bill places a moratorium on taxpayer funding to abortion providers and redirects that money to community health centers. These health centers serve eight times more women patients than Planned Parenthood, and they provide much more comprehensive care.”

Among other things, the bill topples the onerous individual and employer mandates that punish Americans for not buying (or in the case of businesses, offering) health coverage. It also slashes ridiculous taxes on things like medical devices (which includes everything from braces to bedpans) and, thanks to the Senate, puts the subsidy squeeze on health care plans that cover abortion on demand.

Although the House easily passed the bill in November (with 246 votes, no less!), the Senate’s subtle changes to the reconciliation bill mean that your representative will have to vote on the measure a second time. As we approach the finish line on this massive rebuke of the president’s policies, pro-lifers should take nothing for granted. It’s absolutely vital that your House member hears from you today […]. Congress has taken dozens of votes to oust ObamaCare and sever ties with Planned Parenthood, but none may be more important than this. Urge your representative to vote yes on H.R. 3762!

Originally published here.

His and Hirs: How NYC Is Redefining Ze Gender Debate

What’s misgendering? Folks in New York City may want to look it up, seeing as local officials plan on fining people $125,000-$250,000 for perpetrating it. Welcome to the latest chapter in the wild world of politically correct legislating! In the race for the most outrageous laws of the New Year, the Big Apple surged ahead with its supposed “anti-discrimination” measure. Under it, the city is severely punishing individuals, employers, and businesses for addressing a transgender by the wrong pronoun (which includes bizarre configurations like “ze” and “hir”) or refusing to let them take advantage of “single-sex facilities or programs.”

In matters of hiring, housing, and public accommodation, gender is defined solely by the individual — not by biology or medical and legal documents. And here’s the kicker: people can be charged “whether or not the [transgender] has legally changed their name.” “Some people, including, for example, customers, other program participants, tenants, or employees, may object to sharing a facility or participating in a program with a transgender or gender non-conforming person,” the Commission predicts. “Such objections are not a lawful reason to deny access to that transgender or gender non-conforming individual.”

For example, if a company’s dress code forbids men from wearing wigs and make-up, it could be fined a quarter of a million dollars — regardless of whether the rules are important to the business’s safety or day-to-day operations. As if that weren’t burdensome enough, company health plans will also have to include coverage for expensive “gender-affirming” care like voice training, hormones, and surgery. The eye-popping edict is the product of the city’s radical Commission on Human Rights, which apparently believes it’s necessary to trample the rights of 8.4 million Big Apple residents to placate a vocal handful.

If Americans wondered where the road of the bathroom bills lead, this is it. Once extreme LGBT lobbyists have their foot in the doors of local legislatures, there’s no end to the government’s power to punish freedom and common sense. Imagine subjecting a church pre-school or religious charity to these rules! A finding of noncompliance could financially destroy them. Make no mistake — this is a harbinger of things to come if Americans don’t follow in Houston’s steps and make their voices heard!

Originally published here.

Hillary Takes (Religious) Liberties with Her Record

The State Department had an unusual critic in its failure to label the persecution of Middle East Christians “genocide” — its former boss! Hillary Clinton, who served as the agency’s secretary for five years, is trying to boost her creds with mainstream voters by taking a decidedly different position than President Obama on one of ISIS’s biggest targets. The Democratic presidential candidate broke with the administration she used to be a member of at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire late last week, when a voter asked if the former First Lady would “join those leaders, faith leaders, and secular leaders and political leaders from both the Right and the Left, in calling what is happening by its proper name: ‘genocide?’”

While the State Department continues to drag its feet on the classification, cries for an official designation continue to grow. Solid majorities of American voters agree with leaders on both sides who are fighting for Hillary’s successor to lead the charge against faith-based violence. Clinton, seeing an opportunity to distinguish herself from President Obama, took it. “I will,” she replied, “because we now have enough evidence.” It’s clear, she went on, that the violence is “deliberately aimed at destroying, not only the lives, but wiping out the existence of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East and the territory controlled by ISIS.”

Of course, it will take a lot more than a few soundbites for Clinton to wash her hands of her own checkered legacy on religious persecution. While radical Islamists like Boko Haram (which killed more people than ISIS in 2014) burned down villages and massacred Christians in Africa, the Clinton State Department refused to list the group as terrorists. Instead, as men and women of faith were being targeted overseas, Hillary focused on the phony crisis of human rights: special privileges for the world’s LGBT population.

Only after Hillary left DOS did the agency formally designate Boko Haram as a terrorist group. Now, it seems, Clinton is hoping to make up for past wrongs. Whether voters will forget her indifference on religious persecution remains to be seen. But one thing’s for sure: with even Hillary Clinton acknowledging the realities overseas, President Obama stands virtually alone in his refusal to call the slaughter what it is. It’s a sad legacy of extremism from an administration where religious liberty hasn’t just been pushed to the back seat – it has no seat at the table of White House priorities. For more on the importance of the “genocide” label, check out Travis Weber’s piece in the Stream.

Originally published here.

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