Breaking News From Harvard: Faith Is Good for You
The Bible tells us that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecc. 1:9). So often what passes for “news” is really nothing more than a refresher. A case in point is a new study published this month in the American Journal of Epidemiology about the link between religious upbringing and subsequent health and well-being.
One not-so-surprising finding of the study, which was done by Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is that, “Compared with no attendance, at least weekly attendance of religious services was associated with greater life satisfaction and positive affect, a number of character strengths, lower probabilities of marijuana use and early sexual initiation, and fewer lifetime sexual partners.” Additionally, among the studies’ participants:
“Compared with never praying or meditating, at least daily practice was associated with greater positive affect, emotional processing, and emotional expression; greater volunteering, greater sense of mission, and more forgiveness; lower likelihoods of drug use, early sexual initiation, STIs, and abnormal Pap test results; and fewer lifetime sexual partners.”
These findings aren’t a surprise to us here at FRC. For years, we’ve seen this in practice, and in data like those published by our friend Pat Fagan at the Marriage and Religion Research Institute. It is a demonstrable fact that when faith is allowed to flourish, good outcomes are in store for society at large.
The study’s author observes, “These findings are important for both our understanding of health and our understanding of parenting practices. Many children are raised religiously, and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health, and overall happiness and well-being.”
Of course, we know that “faith” in a generic sense doesn’t always guarantee a comfortable outcome, but an abiding faith in Jesus Christ can anchor a person’s soul for whatever he or she may face in life. A study like this won’t necessarily cause people to embrace faith, but it does show that a society in which religious liberty thrives will be a healthier society. And any government that wants to promote the well-being of its people should give ample space for people to have the freedom to believe and to live out those beliefs.
Originally published here.
Deplorables, Irredeemables, and the Dregs of Society
On September 9, 2016, Donald Trump became the first GOP presidential nominee to address the Values Voter Summit since its inception in 2006. Candidate Trump’s well-received speech grabbed headlines across the country for making his case to social conservatives. Hours later, Hillary Clinton grabbed her own headlines, but her message and the reaction it drew couldn’t have been more different. Speaking at an LGBT fundraiser, Hillary lobbed her infamous “basket of deplorables” and “irredeemable” insult: “You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” Clinton said. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately, there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”
Two years later, not much has changed. Although Hillary didn’t give the keynote address at last weekend’s LGBT fundraiser — the hostile message is the same. Former Vice President Joe Biden declared to the crowd that “these forces of intolerance remain determined to undermine and roll back the progress you all have made…They are a small percentage of the American people — virulent people — some of them the dregs of society.”
Losing an election apparently didn’t change their view about those who stand “irredeemable” — a view that is in stark contrast to what Christians believe about the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. But the Clinton/Biden view of their fellow Americans shouldn’t be a surprise. You may also recall internal Clinton campaign emails mocking evangelicals and Catholics as “backwards.” Even more disturbing, were the Obama/Clinton policies that marginalized millions of Americans like the Little Sisters of the Poor who simply wanted to live their lives according to their faith. The full court press against faith in the public square included the subtle but substantive redefinition of religious freedom to the “freedom of worship.” But nowhere in Scripture does it say faith is to be contained within the four walls of a house of worship. Doing so would reduce church to nothing more than a glorified social club. The Constitution’s First Amendment certainly doesn’t adopt this narrow view. It protects something much broader: the freedom to hold the religious beliefs of one’s choice and to live out those beliefs, which is also known as religious freedom.
Biden’s insults are revealing about the hostility that conservative, Christian citizens and others who oppose their radical agenda will be subjected to if the Left succeeds in their goal to reclaim power here in Washington and in state capitols around the nation. Biden’s Hillary moment is a reminder of the importance of the Values Voter Summit and the need for every conservative voter to be informed and involved! This weekend, I look forward to joining with values voters from around the nation as we once again stand for faith, family and freedom.
Originally published here.
Kavanaugh Allegations: Aimed at Justice or at a Justice?
Why would someone sit on an allegation for nearly six weeks, if were about a subject that everyone is supposed to be concerned about? Perhaps it’s because they are more concerned about how to use the allegation than whether or not the allegation is true.
Welcome to Washington, DC where such political theater is regularly on display, the latest episode being Senate Democrats’ efforts to derail Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with an eleventh-hour allegation of inappropriate behavior from more than thirty years ago. Whether or not the allegation is true is one thing. We should always be concerned about the truth. But how it is being used is another — and methods have the right to be questioned.
“It’s disturbing that these uncorroborated allegations from more than 35 years ago, during high school, would surface on the eve of a committee vote after Democrats sat on them since July,” a Senate Judiciary Committee statement read. “If Ranking Member Feinstein and other Committee Democrats took this claim seriously, they should have brought it to the full Committee’s attention much earlier.”
Quite true. Instead, writes the committee, Democrats “said nothing during two joint phone calls with the nominee in August, four days of lengthy public hearings, a closed session for all committee members with the nominee where sensitive topics can be discussed and in more than 1,300 written questions. Sixty-five senators met individually with Judge Kavanaugh during a nearly two-month period before the hearing began, yet Feinstein didn’t share this with her colleagues ahead of many of those discussions.”
At the same time, many (including many women who knew him years ago) have firmly vouched for his character and integrity. Additionally, as my friend Franklin Graham noted, “Judge Kavanaugh has been through 6 incredibly thorough FBI vettings and a multitude of other inquiries, and nothing even related to these 36-year-old allegations has ever come up.” We know that many progressives and opponents of our Constitution as it is written would love nothing more than for this whole process to be derailed. Given the way this has unfolded, we have every reason to believe Kavanaugh’s opponents don’t care about justice; they care about a justice — specifically, that he not make it onto the Court.
As Franklin reminds us, we must “[p]ray for Judge Kavanaugh, Mrs. Ford who is making this accusation, their families, and for wisdom and discernment for Senate leadership dealing with these post-hearing, previously unreported, allegations from his distant teenage years.” Indeed, in a situation like this, let us all pray — for the good of our Constitution and our nation — that truth, justice, and righteousness would prevail.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.