Tony Perkins / May 8, 2019

Planned Parenthood: A Recipe for Disaster Funding?

The whole point of disaster relief is to help communities cope with loss — not create more! Too bad Democrats don’t agree.

The whole point of disaster relief is to help communities cope with loss — not create more! Too bad Democrats don’t agree. When Congress got together earlier this spring to deal with the fallout from the string of storms and wildfires, the last thing anyone should’ve worried about was a radical social agenda hijacking the entire process. But liberals can’t help themselves. They see a big pot of money and their minds automatically go to one thing: abortion.

For weeks, Republicans have been trying to slog through an emergency aid package for places across the Midwest, South, and West Coast. Of all the things the two parties could disagree about, this bill hardly seems like a flash point. But then, nothing under the new House majority is easy — including helping people rebuild and recover. Despite the catastrophes, the Left doesn’t seem nearly as concerned about coming alongside hurting families as it is about filling the pockets of Planned Parenthood. And when there’s $13 billion on the table, you can bet that Democrats will find some excuse to weasel away that money from actual storm victims and funnel it to the abortion industry instead.

On H.R. 2157, the Left has been especially creative at finding a back-door way to send dollars to groups like Leana Wen’s. Americans saw this same thing happen a few years ago when Congress tried to divvy up money to fight the Zika virus. Instead of funding the vaccine, liberals wanted to turn a health crisis into another opportunity to direct dollars to the world’s richest abortion business. Why? No one knows, since the threat wasn’t babies — it was mosquitoes!

This time around, Democrats are even craftier. They know there’s a portion of the measure aimed at social security block grants. Under those, there’s as much as $250 million available to help cities affected by Hurricanes Florence and Michael, two typhoons, and the California wildfires. If liberals get their way, Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics would have just as much access to that money as other victims. If their clinics are damaged, taxpayers could be forced to help them rebuild. Although the Hyde amendment would still apply (meaning that no government dollars could directly fund abortion), we all know that money is fungible. Whatever the government gives these clinics only frees up other dollars for the deadlier side of business.

It’s ironic. Democrats like to complain about churches being eligible for disaster relief after any sort of national catastrophe. But how can anyone argue that faith-based groups shouldn’t be allowed to access emergency funds and businesses who destroy lives for profit should? If there’s a starker contrast between the two parties, I haven’t found it.

And the controversy doesn’t stop there. It’s bad enough that the Left is creating competition for federal dollars that devastated families don’t need. But what’s worse is that Planned Parenthood (which is still under federal investigation) may also be entitled to “family planning” funds under these same grants. Now, most of you are probably wondering: what does storm clean-up have to do with contraception? Not much — which may be why the talks keep collapsing.

As one Republican aide said last month, this whole deal could’ve been worked out in April if Democrats haven’t complicated “necessary relief… with poison pill riders.” “What do walls, detention beds, and abortion [language] in the Pelosi-Schumer bill have to do with disaster relief?… They need to step off their all-or-nothing approach and work with Republicans to deliver an outcome for these storm-hit areas.”

Of course, Democrats will keep putting the blame on the GOP for slowing things down. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) even went so far as to write a CNN column insisting that Republicans aren’t negotiating in good faith. “We have a responsibility to deliver this assistance to our fellow Americans as they work to rebuild their lives and their communities,” she argued. If liberals are so concerned about rebuilding lives, maybe they should stop trying to reward the industry committed to destroying them.

If Congress wants to help people, that’s one thing. But it’s time to remind Democrats: one disaster shouldn’t lead to another!

Originally published here.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting the Equality Act…

In the history of bad bills, there are a lot of doozies. Just in the last handful of months, we’ve had a Democratic grab bag of everything from abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement to the Green New Deal. But nothing — not even Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (R-N.Y.) crusade against airplanes and cows — compares to the one measure that out-radicals them all: the Equality Act. And the worst mistake any of us can make is not taking the threat seriously.

Maybe, like a lot of Americans, you think the Democrats’ H.R. 5 is just about sex and gender. Well, think again. This isn’t just the most extreme LGBT bill ever written. This is one-stop-shopping for the worst the far-Left agenda has to offer — including, we’ve discovered, the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion this country has ever seen. That’s right. The Equality Act doesn’t just torch religious freedom and the First Amendment, it guts every pro-life protection ever passed into law.

On the Hill, the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus is just one of the groups frantically trying to warn members. Now that the text of the bill has been released, staffers have had time to comb the language for landmines. And based on what our team has seen, there’s a field of them. Believe it or not, Democrats didn’t just expand the meaning of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” — they’ve also defined it to mean “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.” In other words, under the terms of this proposal, “pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition… shall not receive less favorable treatment than other physical conditions.”

Under this big new umbrella of “discrimination,” any American who doesn’t want to fund, offer, perform, or participate in abortion-on-demand will have no real choice. They can conform — or they can be punished. If you thought the Obamacare mandate was bad, the Equality Act will look like a Sunday picnic by comparison. Taxpayers will be openly funding the culture of death all across America. Every wall that’s been built between abortion and the government would come crashing down, including the Hyde amendment, the pro-conscience Weldon amendment, and several international barriers that keep our country from exporting abortion.

And, since the Left has made sure to strip out any religious liberty protections under the Equality Act, faith-based hospitals and medical staff could find themselves completely defenseless against a sex discrimination claim for refusing to perform or offer abortions — which liberals will argue gives “a related medical condition” to pregnancy “less favorable treatment than other physical conditions.” State laws could be just as vulnerable in court, where activist judges are all too eager to expand abortion.

Make no mistake: H.R. 5 isn’t just a threat to freedom, business, privacy, education, sports, and faith. This is a threat to innocent human life. If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines on this bill, time is running out! Get off the fence and take a stand now — before it’s too late. Contact your representatives and urge them to vote NO on the Equality Act!

Originally published here.

Not Far Off and Unreal: Global Persecution on the Rise

To a lot of us in the first world, the idea of Christian persecution seems far-off and unreal. Most of us go about our day without any thought to the dark shadow of oppression that holds our brothers and sisters captive. Despite the challenges that Christians have faced in this country over the last decade, it’s hard to wrap our minds around that kind of evil and suffering that many are facing. It’s not that we mean to be complacent — it’s just human nature. We all take our health for granted until pain strikes. We also take our freedom for granted until we can’t exercise it. And a new report has just reminded us that for 245 million Christians around the world, that day has already come.

Most people don’t need a lengthy study to tell them what the headlines already do — that followers of Jesus Christ are the most persecuted people in the world. Four out of every five people suffering for their faith around the globe are Christians, the British government is warning — 80 percent. It’s “an inconvenient truth,” Bishop Philip Mounstephen has said, but an important one.

The tide of intolerance is rising, and people on every continent are paying the price. As U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt points out, this isn’t just violent persecution, but social persecution, violations of privacy, government discrimination, and unjust trials. From sub-Saharan Africa to Central Asia, the predictions by groups like Open Doors USA have all come true. The hostility toward Christians is rising everywhere.

Like most lengthy analyses, the U.K.‘s reads like a horror story, explaining that Christians are at risk of arrest, torture, and even death simply because they live and practice a faith their leaders despise. “In 2016, various political bodies including the U.K. parliament, the European Parliament and the U.S. House of Representatives, declared that ISIS atrocities against Christians and other religious minority groups such as Yazidis and Shi'a Muslims met the tests of genocide,” Mounstephen wrote. In places like Iraq, he warns, “Christianity is at risk of disappearing, representing a massive setback for plurality in the region.” So much so, that the population is known to some as “the vanishing.”

“I think we’ve all been asleep on the watch when it comes to the persecution of Christians,” Hunt told reporters. “There are various reasons for this but… combined together, they’ve crept up on us.” Juliana Taimoorazy, the president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council told Fox News over the weekend that she appreciates the emphasis of the Trump administration — especially U.S. Ambassador Sam Brownback’s involvement — but much more needs to be done.

“I believe the death of most people suffering today is truly because of political correctness, because the world turns a blind eye to this, and when we are politically correct, we are sympathizing with those terrorists that are destroying communities and erasing history,” she warned.

We have a responsibility to both speak out in defense of our brothers and sisters in Christ and reach out to aid those who are being targeted for their faith. By defending and even winning their freedoms, we are preserving our own.

Originally published here.

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

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