Right Opinion

Atheists Use Court to Get a Cross Their Message

Tony Perkins · Oct. 20, 2017

They’re no longer with us, but I can still remember them marching every Fourth of July parade when I was a kid. Sadly, all that remains of our WWI veterans are some fading memories and the historical memorials to their dedication. And if atheists have their way, the memorials will soon be faded from history as well. The American Humanist Association (AHA) got one step closer to that goal, thanks to a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit. After duking it out in the courts for a half-decade, the battle over a 92-year-old Bladensburg cross took another twist Wednesday, when two liberal activists chucked the First Amendment in favor of their own anti-faith bias.

In a 33-page opinion, the majority insists that the 40-foot monument “aggrandizes the Latin cross … the core symbol of Christianity.” But amazingly, it’s not the symbol that bothers them — but its size. “Here it is 40 feet tall; prominently displayed in the center of one of the busiest intersections in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and maintained with thousands of dollars in government funds.” Chief Judge Roger Gregory could only shake his head in amazement, wondering in his dissent what that had to do with anything. “In the majority’s view, the memorial is unconstitutional based predominantly on the size of the cross, and neither its secular features nor history could overcome the presumption. But such a conclusion is contrary to our constitutional directive.”

Built in 1925, the cross was meant to honor 49 Prince George’s County residents who died in the first world war. Words like “valor,” “endurance,” “courage,” and “devotion” are chiseled into the monument’s base as a reminder of the sacrifice it takes to defend freedom — the same freedom, ironically, this court is denying. Like a lot of veterans, our friends at First Liberty Institute, who are representing the American Legion, are concerned about what the ruling means for other displays — like the rows of crosses marking soldiers’ graves at Arlington Cemetery. As usual, the court’s reasoning is completely selective — and subjective. Asked how they could justify this response when Arlington is also federally funded, the judges fumbled around for an answer. “The crosses there,” the majority tried to explain, “are much smaller than the 40-foot tall monolith at issue here. And, significantly, Arlington National Cemetery displays diverse religious symbols, both as monuments and on individual headstones.” Apparently, the judges like their laws like they like their buffets: a la carte.

First Liberty Attorney Jeremy Dys is as frustrated as the rest of us that the AHA is too busy being offended to consider our service members’ wishes. “I think it’s very discouraging for the thousands of veterans across the country who have basically been told their war memorials are suspect if any religious imagery appears near them,” Dys said. “I think it’s important that we honor veterans the way that veterans choose to honor themselves.” After all, these memorials are a lot more than pieces of granite. They’re America’s way of telling an important story. It’s the same principle in the Old Testament, when leaders would build piles of stones to remind future generations about God’s faithfulness. Like Bladensburg, when the memories had faded they wanted their children and grandchildren to see those monuments and ask what they meant.

Now atheists are working overtime to rewrite that history and sandblast the role of faith in America. They’ve already chipped away at the substance — taking prayer and the Bible out of schools. Now they want the symbols too. As George Orwell warns in 1984, “He who controls the present controls the past; he who controls the past controls the future.” This ruling is exactly the kind of dangerous precedent Christians have to stop. Kelly Shackelford’s First Liberty Institute is certainly trying. If that means taking this fight all the way to the Supreme Court, it’s ready.

Originally published here.

Baby in the Balance: Federal Judge Orders Teen Abortion

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, says the book of Proverbs. And Wednesday, a single judge spoke words that could literally destroy an innocent unborn life. In the race to save a Texas baby, the Trump administration got some horrible news when a court ordered the government to step aside and let a young teen mom have an abortion. Although she was caught crossing the U.S.-Mexican border illegally, liberal Judge Tanya Chutkan insists she’s still somehow “constitutionally entitled” to an elective abortion.

That’s astounding to legal experts like our own Travis Weber, who agrees with the government’s argument that “Neither Casey v. Planned Parenthood nor any case under it have held that pregnant minors from other countries are constitutionally entitled to elective abortions simply by entering the country illegally, being apprehended by border patrol, and insisting that the federal government facilitate their abortion even though they are free to voluntarily depart back to their home country.”

This judge, carefully chosen by the ACLU suing on the teenager’s behalf, doesn’t care, fuming to Justice Department officials that “The Trump administration’s action is shocking. A young woman is essentially being held hostage and forced by federal officials to continue a pregnancy against her will.” Hardly, U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Scott Stewart fired back, saying the young mother is free to go back to her own country and get an abortion there. “Any undue-burden argument is particularly unsound here, where Ms. Doe could request a voluntary departure from the United States, yet has not done so and has instead has chosen to remain in federal custody. Her failure to make this request — despite the option being made clear for weeks — underscores that she is demanding that the government facilitate abortion.”

In its appeal, the DOJ reminded the court that our government has “strong and constitutionally legitimate interests in promoting childbirth, in refusing to facilitate abortion, and in not providing incentives for pregnant minors to cross the border to obtain elective abortions in federal custody.” Chutkan, who didn’t even bother appearing objective, laughed at Stewart’s suggestion that the girl’s immigration status should have anything to do with her case. “This is remarkable,” she fumed before demanding that the Trump administration step aside and make America a sanctuary nation for abortion.

For the 15-week-old unborn baby in Texas, time is short. The Justice Department rushed to file an appeal, hoping to beat the 9 p.m. Thursday night deadline. “While there isn’t much reasoning in the order,” FRC’s Weber points out, “it’s another sad case of an activist judge assuming an ‘I-know-what’s-best-for-you’ stance — probably spurred on by animus to President Trump. While it’s true that constitutional rights generally apply to anyone on our territory (whether a citizen or not), the executive branch has much greater authority on the issue of border control because of national security concerns.”

In the meantime, this case isn’t about one child — but dozens. The ACLU has been clear from the beginning that its goal is to give every illegal immigrant in custody the same access to taxpayer-supported abortion. So if you’re wondering why conservatives are making such a big deal about the president’s judicial nominees, look no further than this case. Activists judges like Chutkan, who literally hold life and death in their hands, are making decisions that not only contradict the law but the will of most Americans. By hand-picking solid, originalist judges, Donald Trump is helping to balance the courts tipped by Obama’s politically-driven radicals. And hopefully save innocent lives in the process.

Originally published here.

The Left’s Right Win Watch

No one would mistake the liberal Right Wing Watch as a fan of FRC’s, but it’s certainly given us a lot of publicity! After last weekend’s Values Voter Summit, the website even went so far as to publish a list of our accomplishments in its coverage of the event. Using our annual Impact Report as a guide, Jared Holt takes readers on a tour of FRC’s successes since Donald Trump was elected — including our work in the confirmation process of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, the high-profile appointments of former FRCers, and key policy actions on everything from religious liberty to life.

“FRC also takes partial credit for Trump’s rollback of the military’s acceptance of transgender people into its ranks, saying that Perkins ‘was privileged to help draft the final GOP platform last year in Cleveland, which was crystal clear on rebuilding the military’ without transgender people in it.” But that’s not all.

“Near the end of the booklet,” Holt goes on, “FRC says it is ‘thankful’ for the Trump administration’s ‘concern for religious freedom’ and claimed further credit for ‘several pro-life victories’ that have come out of the Trump administration. The victories FRC cites include Trump reinstating the Mexico City Policy and the passage of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act in the House of Representatives, which prevents organizations that perform or promote abortion procedures from receiving government funding, such as Planned Parenthood.”

Thanks to Right Wing Watch, we can probably save a lot of money on our PR budget! In all seriousness, it always amazes me that groups like this think they can shame us out of our work. They post stories Holt’s hoping we’ll run and hide from. On the contrary, we’ve never been more committed to defending faith, family, and freedom. In fact, we’re grateful for the acknowledgement that FRC is on the path to restoring the values that make America great.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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