UNCompromising: Trump Steals the Show With Religious Freedom
There may have been 60 heads of state at yesterday’s U.N. climate summit, but it was the one person organizers weren’t expecting who caused a stir. President Donald Trump surprised a lot of people by slipping into the environmental meeting — but it’s what he did down the hall a few minutes later that made history. Like most of his administration, he understands that there’s a climate that poses a lot bigger threat — and that’s the climate of religious hostility presently harming men and women around the world.
Donald Trump is used to breaking new ground, but his decision to host a forum on international religious freedom at the general assembly is a first. And not a moment too soon, Vice President Mike Pence insisted in his introduction — noting that 80 percent of the world’s population suffers every day under some form of faith-based oppression. “When I first heard that number,” the president told the audience, “I said, ‘Please go back and check it.’” He, like a lot of people, can’t believe that so many hundreds of millions of people live in fear of exercising the one liberty Americans take for granted every day: religious freedom. Unfortunately, he went on, the statistic was right. And today, the United States is challenging the rest of the world to do something about it.
“The United States is founded on the principle that our rights don’t come from government — they come from God,” the president explained to a room that included a diverse faith community, dozens of victims of religious persecution, members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and U.N. leaders. “We’ve done a lot,” the president said, highlighting the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson, the two State Department ministerials, international coalition building, millions of dollars in foreign aid, and a new initiative to involve businesses in the safeguarding of liberties. As part of this morning’s speech, the president also announced that the U.S. would dedicate another $25 million to the overall cause, which will also help in the preservation of “religious sites and relics.”
But, he implied to America’s neighbors, we can always do more. It is the “moral duty” of all nations, the president urged, to stop the crimes against people of faith, release prisoners of conscience, and repeal laws restricting religious freedom. “America stands with the believers of every country,” President Trump vowed. “As president, protecting religious freedom is one of my highest priorities — and it always will be.” Unlike past administrations, these aren’t empty promises. As we’ve come to expect from this administration, these are strong words followed by concrete action.
This morning on “Fox & Friends,” I talked about how important it is to keep moving the ball forward on this issue. Once again, the president is putting down very tangible markers in the fight against religious persecution and encouraging more world leaders to join in the fight. It is in everyone’s interest, as FRC has said before, if the nations of the world unite around the cause of religious freedom. Not only does it stop the suffering of innocent victims, but, as research shows, it also leads to the economic and social stability so many countries desperately need.
The United States is truly fortunate to have a leader who doesn’t just make religious freedom part of his agenda — but who recognizes it as driving force in all public policy. We applaud the president for his leadership and call on nations around the world to join him in lifting high the torch of this fundamental human right.
Originally published here.
The Remains of an Abortionist’s Day
There were a lot more victims of Dr. Ulrich Klopfer’s abortions than the ones they found in his garage. Former patients are also starting to tell their stories of the baby body hoarder, each painting a more disturbing picture of the man with 2,246 bloody secrets on his property.
Like a lot of women, Assetou doesn’t talk about her abortions. “That changed,” CBS Chicago reports, when she found out the man she’d entrusted with her life was a madman who stashed tiny babies like hers in cardboard boxes on his property. “I thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, I did this awful thing and my children are possibly held in a box somewhere in a house,’” Assetou said. “I cried.”
For this mom — and who knows how many others — the headlines of Klopfer’s twisted obsession have brought back a lot of terrible memories about the abortion and the man who performed it. She remembers how forcefully he pressure her to go through with it, telling her, “‘If you don’t do this, it will cost you… [about] $240,000 [a year] to take care of a kid. ”'So would you rather deal with that or would you rather go home and just go back to your regular life?’“ Assetou recalls him asking. "There was no emotion. There was no empathy.”
Amazingly, she went back eight years later for another abortion — leaving with actual physical scars this time. “The one thing I can remember was he was extremely rough,” Assetou said. “His tone of voice, how direct, callous it was. Even the procedure… It was rough.” Considering the callous detachment Klopfer had for his victims, it makes sense that his insensitivity would carry over to patients. Regardless, Assetou warns, any abortion will change you. “If you choose to do that,” she says now, “just know it will live with you forever.”
Out in Illinois, where industrial trash bins sit outside the unmarked mass grave, officials still work behind the yellow tape, trying to make sense of it all. Some 150 miles away in Indiana, Attorney General Curtis Hill (R) isn’t just demanding a full-blown investigation — he’s fighting to give the tiny bodies a final resting place. “We are going to continue this matter to determine as best we can exactly what happened,” he said at a press conference. “But in the meantime, I can tell you that we are going to bring our babies home.”
After 20 years of being buried in boxes, Hill wants to “make sure they are treated with the proper dignity and respect deserving of anyone.” Already, faith leaders like the Diocese of Gary, Indiana are offering to provide a site. “We are working with officials to explore how to best facilitate that process,” a spokesman told reporters.
Of course, the irony of this whole case is that Indiana is one of the first states to pass a fetal dignity law. Naturally, abortion groups, who despise any policy that hints at the personhood of these victims, fought the state all the way to the Supreme Court, which — coincidentally — Klopfer lived to see the justices uphold. Much to the Left’s dismay, Texas, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Idaho, Arizona, Florida, Arkansas, and Wyoming all followed suit. And after this horror story, Americans can certainly expect more. “The disturbing chain of events surrounding Dr. Klopfer’s actions demonstrates the need for state laws regulating the final disposition of fetal remains,” the attorney general pointed out.
Groups like Planned Parenthood disagree. They argue that it puts more work on the clinics’ shoulders — and adds to the cost of abortions. The liberal-leaning Guttmacher Institute was a little more honest, admitting that these burial and cremation laws “further stigmatize abortion services and pregnancy loss.”
The unfortunate reality is this: abortionists don’t respect life before birth. Why would we expect them to respect it after? Klopfer’s garage of horrors is extreme, but this is — at its rawest core — pulling back the curtain on what the abortion industry is all about. An industry, incidentally, that your tax dollars are involuntarily funding by the hundreds of millions of dollars. It has to stop. Babies in a womb, a box, or on a hospital table — they all deserve dignity and respect. Join FRC’s End Birth Day Abortion campaign and send a message to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that her party’s shocking disregard for life has to end. Click here to find out more.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.