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At Trump's HHS, a Cry for Health

Tony Perkins · Feb. 20, 2018

Donald Trump isn’t your average politician — and no one seems more surprised than LGBT activists. Like us, the other side is used to candidates promising things they’ll never deliver. But, as most Americans know by now, this president is committed to keeping his promises — and a year into his first term, there’s nothing more upsetting to his opponents.

At Health and Human Services (HHS), which became a virtual wish-granting factory for the LGBT lobby under Obama, Trump is doing everything he can to undo the years of radical overreach. To extremists, who aren’t used to facing resistance — or reversals — this has been frustrating experience, to say the least. As Kellan Baker, a research at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, complained, “It’s only a matter of time before all the gains made under the Obama administration are reversed under the Trump administration, for purposes that have nothing to do with public health and everything to do with politics.”

Of course, the irony is the president’s main targets are Obama-instituted policies that had nothing to do with public health. Barack Obama used HHS as a mule for his social engineering — from redefining sex discrimination to opening the department up to gender-free bathrooms. For eight years, his agency’s focus wasn’t caring for the health of people who identify as LGBT but promoting the dangerous lifestyle at the expense of taxpayers. Under Obamacare, HHS became the driving force of that agenda, leaning on insurance companies to cover risky treatments, hormone therapies, and sexual reassignment surgeries that, FRC’s research shows, do more harm to patients than good.

Like a lot of Americans, President Trump thinks it’s time for HHS to do its job — not the bidding of LGBT activists. So, as he’s done in other agencies, the White House has started rolling back the orders and regulations that have nothing to do with promoting the nation’s health. And Donald Trump means business. From the beginning, he made sure solid conservatives were leading the clean-up — men and women who care about the well-being of everyone, not just a select few. Instead of elevating LGBT activists, Trump’s HHS is designed to improve the lives of “all Americans,” the White House’s Raj Shah told Politico, including people who identify as LGBT.

That’s not good enough for extremists, who are lashing out at HHS’s conservative leaders for placing a high priority on serving everyone. HHS’s Robert Severino has been one of their biggest targets, a man LGBT activists are accusing of bias. Based on what? His view that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. But just because Severino criticized Obergefell doesn’t mean he won’t abide it. As HHS’s Matt Lloyd pointed out, “All the HHS staff… have sworn to uphold the law and believe that everyone deserves to be treated with respect because of their inherent dignity.” Besides, he goes on, “The belief that marriage is between one man and one woman is a mainstream view held by millions of Americans…”

HHS’s conservatives don’t play by liberal rules, which suggest it’s okay to mistreat or malign the opposition. “What I’m guided by, and what I’m required to follow, is the law…” Severino explained. “I’m dedicated to treating everybody fairly and in in accordance with the law.” That’s a foreign concept for most extremists, who see disagreement as a license to disrespect — or, as we saw under Obama, an excuse for lawlessness.

Yet even after HHS officials invited LGBT activists to the agency to discuss their concerns, liberals are complaining about their lack of influence in the Trump administration. What about the lack of influence pro-lifers had with Obama’s officials? At least Trump’s HHS sat down with them, which is more than I can say about Obama’s! And just because liberals talked with the administration doesn’t mean Trump is obliged to trade his policies for those of his predecessor. It’s the president’s prerogative — and responsibility — to lead with the values that elected him. If voters wanted a continuation of radical activism disguised as health care, they’d have voted for Hillary Clinton.

Originally published here.

One Campus’s Beef With Ken Ham

America’s colleges may teach free speech, but they all don’t practice it! Like a lot of Christians, Answers in Genesis’s Ken Ham learned that firsthand when his invitation to speak at the University of Central Oklahoma was rescinded.

The ruckus over Ham’s visit started last month, when students from a campus LGBT group started protesting the event over Ken’s Christian beliefs. “We are currently getting bombarded with complaints from our LGBT community about Ken Ham speaking on our campus,” student body president Stockton Duvall said. “The backlash we are already receiving is quite immense and I do not want this event to be spoiled due to a topic that isn’t relative to Mr. Ham’s research of creationism.” In a stunning move, the school decided to cancel Ham’s speech.

That’s ironic, Ken told Fox News’s Todd Starnes, since the campus president had just announced a new initiative to educate students on the First Amendment. “A small but vocal group on campus put up a fuss about my talk and the university caved in, tearing up the contract and contradicting its policies of promoting ‘free inquiry’ and ‘inclusiveness’ on campus,” the frustrated conservative told Starnes.

Local leaders like state Rep. Kevin Calvey were appalled at the university’s actions. “Higher education’s censorship and bigotry against Christians shows an appalling lack of accountability on how Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities spend our tax dollars.”

No wonder Congress is working to level the playing field for conservatives on campus. In a bill that’s making its way through Congress now, the Higher Education Act, conservatives have included language that would “force colleges to publicly declare their speech policies, so if they tried to change the rules ad hoc, depending on who was speaking, they would be vulnerable to free-speech lawsuits.” It’s time to stop censoring people we disagree with. Specifically, the measure takes on “free speech zones,” where speakers are often confined. As the controversy over Ken Ham shows, students need a real education in inclusion — and soon.

Fortunately for Ken, real tolerance won the day. “I’m thankful for the many Oklahomans who stood up for our constitutionally guaranteed rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion.” Let’s hope other universities think twice before stifling the debate they were designed to encourage.

Originally published here.

How to Respond to the LGBT Movement — With the Truth

There’s no question that the LGBT (“lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender”) movement has expanded its influence on American culture and law over the last several decades. In large part, it’s done so on the basis of certain claims that too often go unchallenged in the media and the courts — such as the claim that people are “born gay” or that surgery can change someone’s sex. Have you ever wished you could understand the truth about these claims without having to read through reams of scholarly literature? If so, then FRC’s newest pamphlet may be the ideal resource to help you. “How to Respond to the LGBT Movement” is a 24-page pamphlet with answers to key questions you may have about issues of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”

FRC Senior Fellow Peter Sprigg interacts with the latest research, rebutting seven key claims about homosexuality and eight about the burgeoning “transgender” movement. The pamphlet explains why the “gay identity paradigm” at the heart of homosexual movement lacks factual support, while showing that social conservatives’ emphasis on the harms of homosexual conduct is more consistent with reality. It demonstrates why it is important to distinguish feelings, behaviors, and self-identification when examining these topics — and how those elements must be analyzed differently with respect to homosexuality or transgender issues. It’s short enough to be read in one sitting but scholarly enough (backed by 61 footnotes and web links) to invite further investigation.

Frankly, much of the LGBT movement has been driven by myths, lies, and distortions. This pamphlet (available online right now, and in print in a few weeks) will empower you to respond with the truth. For more, don’t miss my “Washington Watch” interview with Peter previewing the pamphlet.

Originally published here.

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

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