UN Bears the Blunt of Trump
Candidate Donald Trump said he wanted to “Make America Great Again.” Twenty-one months into his first term, it’s obvious that President Trump wants to make every nation great. And while some members of the U.N. General Assembly may find that funny, I assure you that people in the darkest corners of the world do not.
“In less than two years, my administration has accomplished almost more than any other administration in the history of our country,” the president said to unexpected laughter in the room. He paused for a minute and then went on. “I didn’t expect that reaction,” he told them, “but that’s okay… We are standing up for America and the American people, and we are also standing up for the world. This is great news for our citizens and for peace-loving people everywhere.” For the millions of Christians trapped in hopeless situations around the globe, the Trump administration has been the answer to their desperate prayers. Trapped in torture factories in Iran or tied up with ropes and beaten in India, believers don’t have to worry about being forgotten anymore. After eight years of Barack Obama, they finally have an American leader who cares.
That’s good news for Pastor Andrew Brunson, who’s two weeks away from another trial in Turkey that could decide his fate. No one has been a bigger advocate of his release than Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who told reporters in New York Monday that the drumbeat for his freedom goes on. “He could be released this month,” he explained. “He should have been released last month. And he should be released today, in fact. We have talked to the Turks. They know the expectations.”
Pastor Brunson’s daughter, Jacqueline Furnari, can only hope the nation holding her father captive is finally listening. At this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, she talked about what a strain the ordeal has been on her dad — and the entire family.
“It’s a sham trial and my dad is being used as a bargaining chip and suffering for Jesus Christ… Throughout this entire time, my dad has been unable to be with his family,” she said. “It’s what has hurt him the most, is having that time stolen from him — watching his children grow up, helping my brothers make their decisions as they go on in life. It’s been a painful time and we’re just ready for it all to be over.”
Through it all, though, she couldn’t be more inspired by his courage. “It is an incredible testimony and I cannot be more grateful for his example,” she said to overwhelming applause. “And at this point, all that we can do is just continue praying. I ask that all of you pray for my dad’s release and pray for others who are persecuted for their faith.”
Minutes before, Pompeo had waited through deafening applause when he said the greatest highlight of his job so far was “bringing home three Americans from captivity in North Korea.” “On the day Pastor Brunson returns, just like the men I spoke of…” he promised, “they also will be able to say that the Lord has done great things for us, and again, our hearts will be filled with joy.”
But it isn’t just what the administration is saying that’s giving people hope. It’s what they’re doing. When you see men and women like President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, Ambassador Sam Brownback, and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley taking these stories so seriously, it gives Christians everywhere the boldness to speak up. That’s why pastors in China are taking such an unprecedented stand against the communist party. They know that when it comes to religious liberty, America has their back. Even ChinaAid’s Bob Fu is astounded at the number of Chinese pastors — 344 — who’ve signed a public statement defying the government’s order on faith. In all of his years fighting the Chinese regime, he’s never seen anything like it. It seems the tougher the crackdown gets, the more resolved Christians are to risk everything. “For the sake of the gospel,” they vow, “we are prepared to bear all losses — even the loss of our freedom and our lives.”
This is just another example of how the administration’s support for religious liberty gives hope and help to believers around the globe. It’s also another reminder of what’s at stake this November — not just for America, but the world.
Originally published here.
FDA: Not Cleared for Contract
It looks just like any other online shopping cart. There’s a drop-down menu for parts and prices. “What type of tissue would you like to order?” the form asks. Hearts? Lungs? Livers? Brains? There’s even an option for age. Four weeks? Eight weeks? 16? “Same day delivery!” the site promises. It’s the same baby body part business that Planned Parenthood said it was “proud” to supply. But to most Americans, the biggest surprise was finding out the name of one of the most prominent buyers: the U.S. government.
The news that the FDA was contracting with a fetal tissue seller rocked the pro-life world. After all, this is the Trump administration. Surely, they weren’t helping a procurement business carve up tiny, lifeless babies for profit. The story turned out to be true, a new project of the FDA was, in fact, using the tissue of “fresh” aborted babies in a study on humanized mice. Eighty-five members of Congress weighed in, calling on HHS to cancel the project. “Unborn children are not commodities to be bought and sold,” they argued. “The practice of conducting research using the body parts of children whose lives have been violently ended by abortion is abhorrent.”
David Daleiden, whose undercover videos triggered both congressional and FBI investigations, spoke to the crowd at VVS about the absurdity of funding a practice the House spent months investigating. “It’s unconscionable that the United States government would be sending a message with taxpayer dollars that these children are worth more to the U.S. government dead than alive,” he said. Forty-five pro-life leaders were next, demanding in another letter that Secretary Alex Azar step in.
This week, he did. In a public statement, HHS announced that it had pulled the plug on the contract with Advanced Bioscience Resource.
“After a recent review,” the agency explained, “… HHS was not sufficiently assured that the contract included the appropriate protections applicable to fetal tissue research or met all other procurement requirements. As a result, that contract has been terminated, and HHS is now conducting an audit of all acquisitions involving fetal tissue to ensure consistency with statutes and regulations governing such research, and to ensure the adequacy of procedures and oversight of this research in light of the serious regulatory, moral, and ethical considerations involved.”
Pro-lifers cheered the quick action by Azar, who showed that he was willing to move HHS in the right direction on research that’s not only unethical — but unnecessary. Of course, there’s a lot more the agency can do to clean house on this ghoulish practice, including cutting off almost $100 million in grisly experiments at NIH, where Obama holdover Francis Collins is still writing checks for baby body parts. No one seems to understand quite why, since it’s unpopular and unproductive compared to the moral alternatives that are actually helping patients.
Overall, it’s a good first step — but we agree with Missouri’s Vicky Hartzler (R). “I find it deeply disturbing that the federal government continues to contract with companies that facilitate the trafficking of human fetal remains. This practice must stop.”
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.