GLAAD's Tidings Grate Joy
For a party who argues there’s no war on Christmas, the secular Left sure spends a lot of time talking about one! From smart-alecky op-eds to condescending cartoons, it’s starting to feel like some liberals are more obsessed with the idea than anyone. But considering the wildly enthusiastic response to Donald Trump in Pensacola, maybe they’re right to be worried.
With almost 80 minutes of material at his Florida rally, the president wasn’t exactly lacking for applause lines. But it only took two — “Merry Christmas!” — to send the crowd into a cheering frenzy. For reasons the liberal media will never understand, this crusade on Christmas is a success for the same reason Donald Trump is president: because it taps into a deep frustration that America’s common values are being mocked and marginalized. Look at the NFL’s scramble to stay afloat when patriotism was attacked, or how shoppers responded when Target opened its doors to the gender-free fringe. Through it all, liberals have been so consumed with moving the country into radical territory that they haven’t stopped long enough to look over their shoulder and see if anyone’s following them. And apart from their surrogates in the media, most aren’t.
Now, a year after voters said the Democratic Party didn’t understand them, the Left’s lampooning of Christmas shows it still doesn’t. And not just on the holidays but on the entire concept of religious liberty (which, if liberals bothered to look under the surface, is what this entire revolution is about). Donald Trump gets it. He’s been leading the free exercise parade since he moved into the office, making “protecting religious liberty,” as he said to Pensacola Friday, one of the biggest priorities of his term. “We have stopped the government attacks on our Judeo-Christian values,” he explained, “because we know that families and churches, not government officials, know best how to create a strong and loving community… Above all else, we know this: America doesn’t worship government. We worship God.” The applause was so deafening, Trump couldn’t continue.
Unfortunately for the president, the government is just one part of the attack on our values. The political Left is the real threat, slowly wrapping its tentacles around powerful pockets of the media, business community, our schools, and sports. The squeeze is on for conservatives in America, who, extremists will tell you, don’t even deserve to be heard. Over the weekend, NBC “Today” host Megyn Kelly came under fire for something as innocent as interviewing Christian baker Jack Phillips, the man at the center of the biggest religious liberty case in a generation. Why? According to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), because he thinks differently than liberals do. “Today Megyn Kelly allowed her morning show to be nothing more than a Trojan Horse to push the talking points of a known anti-LGBTQ group, Alliance Defending Freedom, into homes across America… Megyn Kelly is clearly choosing sides,” GLAAD tweeted later. “That’s not responsible journalism.”
Responsible journalism, apparently, is ignoring that there are two sides to every debate. As far as some on the Left are concerned, if you can’t win the argument, silence it. If you can’t create conformity, force it. Lately, liberals have been quite successful at arguing that what Christians believe is no longer relevant or no intelligent person thinks this way. The only trouble with this Rules for Radicals mentality is that it doesn’t account for the pushback conservatives, emboldened by Trump, have started to give it. Still, that message is amplified by their friends in the media, giving the dangerous illusion that everyday Americans — who still believe in basics like biology — are outnumbered.
Even former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, an open LGBT activist who just took the helm of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute, brags that her side has “already won the war.” In an interview about her new job with The Blade, she crowed that the radical transformation of America is all but unstoppable. “I think we’re going to make much faster progress [on transgender issues],” Parker insisted. “I think we’re going to win the war. In fact, we’ve already won the war, but … we can’t take our foot off the pedal. All of the things we’ve been doing for the last 45 years since Stonewall basically throwing ourselves into the political process, showing up, voting, protesting when necessary, we still have to keep doing it.”
In her new job, Parker can finally do publicly what she was attempting to do personally as mayor: unleash an all-out assault against freedom and truth. Looking back on her controversial days in Houston, she talked about her failure to pass a genderless bathroom order.
“This latest anti-trans movement really, I think, unfortunately, wasn’t launched in Houston, but our HERO campaign [the 2015 campaign to preserve the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance] was where it really flowered. We had right-wing groups from all over the country, pouring money and resources in Houston. We had the right-wing ideologues coming through, the Mike Huckabees and Ted Cruzes coming though Houston and doing trans-bashing in Houston, and then they took it on the road to North Carolina and back to Texas with the statewide bathroom bill.”
Even now, she still doesn’t see anything wrong with punishing and censoring pastors, which she tried to do with her infamous sermon subpoenas. The Blade reporter asked her about it, remembering that “there was this big argument that was infringing upon these pastors’ religious liberty.” She claimed it happened without her knowledge but admitted, “I didn’t think it was wrong, but I rescinded it simply because it created too much of a peripheral issue. But that had to do with litigation around HERO. It wasn’t anything to do with RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] or the ability to discriminate.”
Unfortunately, these views — GLAAD’s and Annise Parker’s — aren’t apparitions of the Obama administration. They now represent the heart and soul of the Left, whose full-throated intolerance is jettisoning biblical truth and thousands of years of human history in exchange for a view that’s been popularized by the media and cultural elite. Has anyone stopped to think where we’d be if Hillary Clinton were president and Obama’s radical agenda continued? Is there any doubt that the Left would have resumed the government-sanctioned punishment of anyone who dares to subscribe to biblical morality?
The “Never Trumpers” and others can continue to volley criticisms at the president, but to this point, Donald Trump has done more than any previous Republican president in most of our lives to reverse the destructive policies of his predecessor. Who knows when conservatives will have this opportunity again? Liberals, aided by a few spineless Republicans, are working hard to stop and stall this president. Now is the not the time to sit back or disengage. We must push harder than we’ve ever pushed before, lest we lose our chance to restore America to a firm foundation.
Originally published here.
A Trip to the White House
President Trump had already checked the box on more of his campaign promises than anyone expected, so when the White House capped off 2017 with the announcement about a Jerusalem embassy, the administration had to make room on its long list of the year’s accomplishments.
Yesterday, with about 20 evangelical leaders, we celebrated the president’s commitment to the faith community and his track record of keeping his word on key issues with a special award presentation. Although the focus was largely Israel, “Evangelicals are grateful for the fact that he has actually done what he campaigned on,” I told reporters at the White House press conference that followed our meeting.
In many ways, this president is an anomaly because he’s kept his promises. Far from a typical politician, Trump has managed to lead the same way he campaigned: boldly. Apart from recognizing what history already does — that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel — President Trump has worked to protect religious liberty, undo Barack Obama’s radical legacy of social experimentation in the military, and pass pro-family tax relief. Together, he and Vice President Mike Pence are leading an American resurgence. Let’s pray conservatives do their part to make sure it continues.
Originally published here.
A Murray Christmas for Obamacare?
Republicans couldn’t manage to repeal Obamacare — and in a few weeks, millions of Americans are going to regret it all over again. Open enrollment ends for the shaky exchange on Friday, and if the latest stories are any indication, more policy holders will be angrier than ever before.
In Florida, Heidi and Richard Reiter bought their own coverage in 2017 and paid a whopping $26,000 in premiums for their family. That sounds like a bargain now, since keeping the same coverage for 2018 would have cost the couple $40,000 in premiums, the Miami Herald’s Daniel Chang points out. “That’s more than a lot of people’s mortgage payments,” Richard told Chang.
And climbing. The market’s uncertainty is causing costs to skyrocket, especially now that some of the big players from the insurance industry have dropped out. The few that are left are hiking costs to help balance out the loss of the cost-sharing device President Trump canceled out in October. Florida Blue is one such company, raising rates by 20 percent to cover their losses. No wonder the state’s average premiums are jumping 45 percent. “The people in Congress need to understand what’s going on,” Reiter vented.
But the problem isn’t that Congress doesn’t understand — the problem is that they won’t act. Republicans couldn’t find consensus in their own party to deal with the tricky issues of the law, which are starting to resurface even now. In exchange for her support on the tax reform bill, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) demanded a vote on one of the proposed Obamacare fixes, the Alexander-Murray plan. The joint brainchild of Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), the legislation would extend the subsidies Trump ended for another two years.
FRC wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to the idea except that, unlike other fixes, it doesn’t do anything to address the major problem of taxpayer-funded abortion in the subsidies. A much better plan from House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Senate Finance Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) does. From its very first bullet point, Hatch and Brady explain that their “bicameral agreement” would fund cost savings reductions (CSRs) through 2019 “with pro-life protections.” Unlike the Alexander-Murray idea, it delivers on one of voters’ key priorities — ending the forced partnership between taxpayers and the abortion industry.
For now, all eyes are on the Friday deadline. The law is imploding all right, but how spectacularly is still anyone’s guess. With enrollment barely scratching the surface of solvency and major insurance companies looking for the escape hatch, the country literally can’t afford another year of Obama’s namesake. Let’s hope the New Year brings a new spirit of cooperation to finally do something about it.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.