House-work Piles Up for Pro-lifers
Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) has saved a lot of lives — including, on June 14th of last year, Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s (R-La.). When the Louisiana Republican was lying on a Virginia baseball field, bleeding to death, it was his Army Ranger friend who kept that horrible day from being Scalise’s final one. Now, the combat doctor has a different mission: keeping the millions of unborn children safe in the Democrats’ war — on life.
Holding the line is something Rep. Wenstrup was trained to do. Next month, he and his Republican colleagues will have their first taste of this challenge in a House controlled by Democrats. This will be an entirely new experience for several GOP members, who were elected to Congress in voters’ pushback to Barack Obama’s heavy pro-abortion hand. Now, staring down a party that wants to undo the progress of GOP leaders and the current president, Wenstrup and his fellow pro-lifers have their work cut out for them.
Republicans got a preview of that work way back in April, when Speaker-hopeful Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) promised a return to the violent culture Americans rejected in 2016. “We will have a pro-choice gavel when we win the Congress. We need to have at least 218 votes to achieve that.” It’s a “very high priority,” she went on, “to protect a woman’s right to choose.” Now that the House’s keys are hanging from the Democrats’ ring, it’s obvious that what Pelosi’s interested in isn’t a gavel — but a hammer.
The current House Minority Leader made that quite clear in the agenda that’s starting to take shape in the two-month run-up to a divided Congress. “Women’s right to comprehensive health care and affordable family planning is still under assault from the GOP Senate, the White House, and the states,” said the woman who once called abortion “sacred ground.” “The new House Democratic Majority will fight back against these attacks and work to reverse the damage inflicted by years of GOP attacks on women’s right to choose and access to affordable contraception.”
That “fighting back” will almost certainly be led by Pro-Choice Caucus leaders Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who’ve already been plotting their next move to gut the Hyde Amendment, forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for abortions across America. To their credit, the Democrats have been up front about that goal from the beginning — even going so far as to put it in the party’s platform two years ago. Now, the second half of their plan for mucking up Congress with cultural gridlock is, as Lee and DeGette say, in the “family planning” realm. “The Trump administration,” they argued, “has made numerous attempts to throw up ideologically-driven road blocks to women’s health care, and we will stand up to every one of those attempts for as long as we have to.”
In particular, the duo have their sights set on Title X funding and the liberal Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program — two things President Trump took an ax to earlier this year. First, he and Congress freed up the states from being forced to send the money abortion groups’ way. Then, he took a swipe at Planned Parenthood, insisting that any group who gets Title X dollars can’t have an abortion business in that same facility. When it came to sex ed, the administration decided to undo the damage of the Obama years and stop investing in programs that even the government agrees are failing. Instead, he and HHS shipped some of that money to the only method of birth control that always works: abstinence.
Of course, the Democrats only have one house of Congress, so the Left’s dreams of toppling everything conservatives spent eight years doing are slim. But they can inflict damage, stripping out pro-life riders, bottling up good legislation, forcing the Senate’s hand on spending, and more. Congressman Wenstrup knows there will be challenges, but he said that ought to make Republicans work even harder to hold the line. It’s up to us, he said, to be “as persuasive as we possibly can to bring up the negative aspects” of abortion and try to change hearts and minds. At the very least, he insists, they should try to find common ground on other pro-life issues like “assisted suicide” or ending the gruesome practice of fetal tissue experiments.
In the meantime, pro-lifers can take comfort in one important truth: we don’t need Congress to win on life. But we do need leaders who stand up and courageously make the case of it. Thank goodness for men and women in the House, Senate, and administration who are willing to do just that.
Originally published here.
Facing the Music, Finding the Truth
It’s a struggle that’s played out across the arc of human history. From kings and shepherds to leaders to layman, we all fight the same internal battle: fear God or fear man? At some point, every one of us has tried to do both. And as most of us know, that almost always ends badly. We keep hoping that we are the one exception to Jesus’s words in Matthew 10:22: “You will be hated because of me.” We’re so focused on avoiding the discomfort that we forget the promise follows: “The one who stands firm will be saved.”
Standing firm in today’s culture is probably the hardest thing you can ask a Western believer to do. Not because it will cost them their lives — like so many millions of people overseas. In some ways, that decision would almost be easier. Here in America, the choice of standing firm is an emotional one. It can be a painful, heartbreaking experience that ostracizes you, ridicules you, ruins your business, or destroys your career. Courage, in the face of those odds, can be hard to muster.
Bakers, florists, photographers and others who profess Jesus Christ are facing the hardest of tests to let their lights shine before others. Being under the spotlight only complicates things. Singer Lauren Daigle knows that better than anyone after an interview put her squarely in the middle of a cultural fight she had no interest in discussing. After an appearance on “Ellen,” an interviewer asked her whether she thought homosexuality was a sin. It was a “gotcha” question, to be sure, designed to see just how far Daigle would go in defending a faith that could put her on the outs with the mainstream crowd she’s started running with.
“I can’t honestly answer on that,” Daigle responded. “In a sense, I have too many people that I love that they are homosexual. I don’t know. I actually had a conversation with someone last night about it. I can’t say one way or the other. I’m not God.” To those of us who work in the trenches of the cultural movement, it was a hard answer to swallow. Like a lot of you, I’m a fan of Lauren’s music. She has an amazing gift from God to use for His glory. Now that she’s crossing over into other genres and becoming more popular, she also has a tremendous opportunity as a witness for Christ.
That can be a blessing, FRC’s Sarah Perry pointed out on last night’s “Washington Watch,” and it can be a burden. “Without her knowing it, she’s instructing the next generation — because we look to people who have traveled the path before us and who have stepped on their platform as a standard-bearer for truth.”
What happened in that moment, when she was confronted with a tough question, is the same thing that’s happened to people twice Lauren’s age — pastors, spiritual leaders, men and women in positions of authority. We all fall short. That’s why, ultimately, this conversation isn’t really about her. It’s about us. How do we respond when the opposition is the fiercest, and the temptations to sidestep who we are in Christ are strongest?
“Standing firm is a very unpopular stance. Standing for truth is unpalatable in the general market. We understand this just by virtue of the work we do here in Washington, D.C. It has a tendency to set people’s hair on end, because that is the nature of the culture right now… For a 27-year-old, this is a very difficult position to find yourself in… But,” Sarah points out, “If He’s called you to it, He’s equipped you for it. And that means saying some pretty uncomfortable things… I do not want there to be an attitude of chastisement or segregating her to a different segment of the kingdom because she’s done something we disagree with, because we really have an opportunity to change the dialogue here.”
In the end, it’s not our opinion that homosexuality is wrong or that adultery is wrong — or that there’s one way to heaven through Jesus. The exclusionary nature of Christianity is not of our making. God’s Word is clear. From Daniel to Daigle, people have been put in compromising situations like these. The only difference is that these days, we’ve been led to believe that loving people and acknowledging biblical truth are somehow incompatible. That’s not true, and it’s certainly not the example Jesus set.
As the late Billy Graham would say, you have to love people enough to tell them the truth. “There have been times that I’ve wept as I’ve gone from city to city, and I’ve seen how far people have wandered from God… I know many people will react to this message, but it is the truth. And with all my heart, I want to leave you with the truth. God loves you, and He’s willing to forgive you of all your sins. The cross is offensive because it confronts people. Even so, it is a confrontation that all of us must face.”
Originally published here.
The Major Profits of Planned Parenthood
America’s biggest abortion chain may have been rocked by scandals — but they certainly haven’t been bad for business. Despite some of the worst three years for Planned Parenthood’s brand, local branches are proving that revenue hasn’t exactly been a problem. Apparently, the only thing Planned Parenthood has more of than controversy is money. And San Jose’s location is Exhibit A.
Out at California’s Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, there was probably a time when things looked bleak. Thanks to David Daleiden, the office was swept up in a series of undercover videos showing the group selling baby body parts for profit. After congressional investigators got involved, the evidence against the group was so compelling that Mar Monte was referred for criminal investigation.
Now, almost two years later, it looks like Mar Monte isn’t just surviving — it’s thriving. Micaiah Bilger of Life News dug into the branch’s paperwork and was astounded to see that the location was bursting with cash. On the group’s 990 form, the San Jose area Planned Parenthood reported an income of $109.7 million during its last fiscal year (July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017). Not bad for a “nonprofit!”
Of course, if the group was suffering after its brush with the law, you wouldn’t know it. Even though abortions are down across the country, it looks like forced taxpayer dollars more than made up for it. Of the $109 million income, two thirds — $70.4 million — came straight from taxpayers. Unfortunately, that’s not a surprise in a state like California, one of 12, Bilger points out, where Americans are forced to pay for abortion-on-demand.
Even so, the branch’s bulging bank accounts are leading a lot of people to wonder: how much of that money is still coming from the group’s black market for body parts? Two years ago, when the branch was exposed for its starring role in Planned Parenthood’s horror show, Daleiden “outlined how much money the affiliate could make selling aborted baby parts in a year: ‘Planned Parenthood Mar Monte did 18,035 abortions [in 2015] — if each abortion yielded just one 'usable’ ‘product of conception’ for StemExpress, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte stood to gain nearly $1 million every year from its sale of tiny baby hearts, lungs and brains.‘”
There’s no proof that Mar Monte is still trafficking in baby body parts, but without a full investigation, who can be sure? No wonder Americans are so determined to cut the organization’s taxpayer ties. They know, like we do, that if Planned Parenthood is raking in millions of dollars in revenue, it certainly doesn’t need any help from us!
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.