Tony Perkins / January 29, 2020

CNN’s Contempt Serves Up a Lemon

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Those were the words Abraham Lincoln used in 1858 when opening a speech about slavery in the states — the most divisive issue of that time. Those words were not Lincoln’s own, of course. They were borrowed from Jesus, whom all three synoptic gospels record saying the phrase. It’s a truth that’s older than the nations, and it’s no less true in 2020 than it was in 1858 or two thousand years ago. Division was there then, and division is here now, and nothing drives division more than contempt.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Those were the words Abraham Lincoln used in 1858 when opening a speech about slavery in the states — the most divisive issue of that time. Those words were not Lincoln’s own, of course. They were borrowed from Jesus, whom all three synoptic gospels record saying the phrase. It’s a truth that’s older than the nations, and it’s no less true in 2020 than it was in 1858 or two thousand years ago. Division was there then, and division is here now, and nothing drives division more than contempt.

Presidential campaigns of recent years have showcased contempt with great fanfare. In 2008, Barack Obama derisively talked about working-class people who were bitter and clung to guns or religion. In 2012, it was Mitt Romney’s infamous, not-meant-for-release, “47 percent” comments that came off as contemptuous of half of the American people. In 2016, it was Hillary Clinton's very public remarks following Donald Trump’s speech at the Values Voter Summit about how half of his supporters could be put into a “basket of deplorables.”

Now it appears that already in January, 2020 has reached its high water mark for contempt. It could be seen with absolute clarity on CNN recently, when host Don Lemon, in a discussion with anti-Trump strategist Rick Wilson and CNN contributor Wajahat Ali began laughing at, mocking, and belittling those whom they apparently see as the most ignorant people in America: Trump voters.

Rick Wilson joked that the president’s administration is, “…defined by ignorance of the world. That’s partly him playing to their base, and playing to their audience — the credulous boomer-rube demo that backs Donald Trump — that wants to think that Donald Trump’s the smart one and y'all are elitists are duuuumb.” Ali joined in the mocking, adding, “You elitists with your geography and your maps, and your spelling.”

For one minute and twenty seconds Monday night, CNN became a reality TV show. As Wilson and Ali launched into their extended hardy harr harr-style tirade, Don Lemon — the Cable News Network host, mind you — lost complete control of himself as he broke down laughing, lapping up the reverie like a man dying of thirst. The curtain was pulled back. This is really what the cultural elites think of half of their fellow Americans. Such simpletons!

Ivanka Trump tweeted about the segment, “You consistently make fun of half the country and then complain that it is divided. The arrogance, mocking accents and smug ridicule of this nation’s ‘Real Elites’ is disgusting.” I couldn’t agree more. What this episode reveals is that many of the same people who refuse to engage with this president’s policies and instead focus on his tweets harbor just as much contempt toward Trumps supporters as they do him. It’s apparent that their goal is not to win over Trump supporters, but to put them in their place.

Contempt is not the way forward for America. Contempt is a cop-out from having an earnest discussion of the issues at hand. And that is what America needs, both left and right — to look at what’s at stake in the world we live in. Christians, especially, need to be vigilant in cutting through the chatter and contempt to evaluate how a biblical worldview affects the way they vote. Because there is too much at stake build our foundation on the divided house of contempt.

Originally published here.

Abortion Mandates Come with Real Life Consequences

Last Friday, on the morning of the March for Life, HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced live from FRC's ProLifeCon that the Trump administration would be cracking down on California for forcing all insurance plans in the state, including churches, to cover abortion. The Weldon Amendment is a federal law ensuring that states do not discriminate against health care providers for refusing to cover abortion. California has been in violation of this law since 2014. In contrast with the Obama administration, the Trump administration is taking enforcement action, even to the point of revoking federal funds if California refuses to comply with the law.

Federal laws like the Weldon Amendment are important to protecting conscience rights. However, enforcement of these laws lies in the hands of the executive branch, leaving many Americans to suffer the consequences of bad state policies in the absence of federal enforcement by an unwilling administration.

In 2016, after complaints were filed from several churches and employers in California, the Obama administration had the opportunity to enforce the Weldon Amendment against California — but refused. Jack Hibbs, Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in California, is one of the pastors who stood up against this abortion coverage mandate, and was forced to give up his churches’ health insurance plan as a result. On Washington Watch Monday, he explained just how this mandate affected his church: “80 of our employees including myself lost their health care coverage because we could not take or receive offerings from the church family on Sunday and” then “turn right around and designate portions of that gift to God to … slaughter babies.”

Now, after news that the Trump administration would take action to protect employers who refuse to cover abortion in their healthcare plans, other churches are encouraged and are taking a stand. Jack tells me that pastors and other leaders are coming to him and asking what to do next. “We have been praying for this kind of response for decades,” Jack said. Yes, and amen. May we continue to pray for righteousness to sweep California, and our nation!

Originally published here.

Will Children Be Protected in South Dakota?

South Dakota, the home of Mount Rushmore, is considering a bill that would tell doctors to rush less toward making irreversible changes to the bodies of children with gender dysphoria. House Bill 1057, the Vulnerable Child Protection Act, would prohibit medical personnel from giving puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, or gender reassignment surgery to minors under a certain age (16 in the latest version of the bill).

Transgender activists claim that these procedures are both medically necessary and harmless, claiming that withholding the oftentimes irreversible treatments could cause harm. These claims are false. Studies have shown that, if left to themselves (without medical intervention), up to 97.8 percent of children with gender dysphoria (a psychological discomfort with their biological sex) will come to accept their sex and do not become transgender adults. The administration of puberty-blocking drugs, however — which interrupt not only normal sexual development but brain and bone development as well — seems to lock children into a path toward a transgender identity. While some doctors claim the effects of puberty blockers are fully reversible if the child eventually changes his or her mind, this has not been demonstrated — in the only study of the issue, 100 percent of the children went on to further gender transition procedures.

At one time, the use of cross-sex hormones or the performing of gender reassignment surgery on minors was rare. Now, however, these procedures are also being done at younger and younger ages, making legislation like South Dakota’s urgently needed. Research is revealing that cross-sex hormones are associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and blood clots, infertility, loss of bone density, and sexual dysfunction, among other things. Meanwhile, studies have documented girls as young as 13 receiving double mastectomies, and other minors receiving permanently sterilizing genital surgery.

The goals of H.B. 1057 are actually quite modest. The bill does nothing to prevent children from undertaking a social gender transition (changing their names and gender expression, for example). And it does nothing to prevent those with gender dysphoria from pursuing these radical medical procedures as soon as they reach adulthood. It would merely press the pause button on making life-altering changes to the bodies of those who are too young to understand the serious risks involved. Nevertheless, the radical transgender activists are doing everything they can to keep this bill from becoming law. If they succeed in blocking its passage in conservative South Dakota, it will make it much more difficult to protect vulnerable children anywhere else in the country.

A House committee approved H.B. 1057 last week, and the full South Dakota House of Representatives is due to vote on Wednesday. If you live in South Dakota, please contact your representatives today (you can locate them here) to urge them to support H.B. 1057.

In addition, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem — normally a reliable pro-family public servant — has publicly expressed reservations about H.B. 1057, which could be interpreted by legislators to mean that she does not want them to pass the bill. Please also call Gov. Noem’s office at 605-773-3212 and urge her to protect vulnerable children by supporting H.B. 1057.

Originally published here.

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

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