Virginia's New Four-Letter Word: FLAG
We can put it on the moon, but not a Virginia construction site. That’s how ridiculous the debate over the flag — and all things American — have become in the chaotic weeks since George Floyd’s death. The state that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and Patrick Henry called home would be barely recognizable to the great men now, who believed those stars and stripes were the ultimate symbols of freedom, of justice. Now, amazingly, the flag under which slavery was abolished and segregation crumbled is “too offensive” for the state that helped build America.
Eric Winston wasn’t trying to make a statement. As far as he was concerned, there was nothing radical or controversial about flying Old Glory. He went through the appropriate channels, got approval from the general contractor — the Gilbane Building Company — and unfurled a one-story American flag on the scaffolding where his company, American Coatings Corp. was working. To a lot of people, it seemed appropriate. This was, after all, the future home of the Virginia General Assembly offices. If an American flag doesn’t belong there, where on earth does it?
Almost immediately, the Gilbane company got a phone call from the state. The flag, they said, must come down. It was, they worried, too inciting to protestors. “Over the past month we’ve seen buildings and structures around Capitol Square vandalized and flags, dumpsters, a bus and other items set ablaze during demonstrations around the city,” spokeswoman Dena Potter said in an email Friday. “When we saw the flag, we were concerned that it could become a target, so we told the contractor to remove it.”
Winston couldn’t believe it. “Since when is this flag, on this weekend, IN THIS COUNTRY, a target!?!” he argued on Facebook. “Let me guess, if I had a Black Lives Matter flag it would be ‘ok’!?… The American Flag is a symbol of Freedom!" he argued on Facebook. "I’m all for the freedoms and libert[ies] we have in this country, Protest, sure… whatever floats your boat… That’s what this flag represents!”
Like a growing number of Americans across the country, he can’t believe these liberal leaders are caving to the angry mobs. “Look, Mr. Governor, Mr. Mayor, or whoever made the call, stop letting the inmates run the asylum! This goes for politicians ‘that work for us’ on both sides of the aisle! Stop thinking everything we have or had in this once great state is offensive.” If you want to remove something, a lot of Virginians fumed, try Governor Ralph Northam (D)!
When you consider the place Virginia has occupied in U.S. history, the decision is even more astonishing. This wasn’t just another state. It was a colony whose luminaries led the way to our new experiment in democracy. Surely, a lot of Virginians must be grieved over the direction and the capitulation of Northam. But, as I talked with the statehouse minority leader, Rep. Todd Gilbert (R), Americans need to pay attention to what’s happened in the Commonwealth in the last couple of years.
“[Republicans] had a robust supermajority here just a few years ago in the legislature, in the House of Delegates. And I did serve as majority leader — and now I’m the minority leader because of the shifting political winds here in Virginia. And Virginia is a bellwether for the rest of the country. And I think it should be instructive to people all across the country that whatever their values are, if they are godly values, if they are American values… there are forces on the march that really hate those ideals. Everything about [them]. They hate those things and they are coming for them in every form. And unless people are willing to get up and change the way they do business and get engaged as citizens, I’m afraid all may be lost.”
To Todd, this flag controversy is the saddest chapter by far. “This was a large American flag that had been constructed out of tarps. And it was just glorious. It was huge. It was beautiful… And it was hung on the side, not just of any building, but it was hung on the side of the new construction of the legislative office buildings for the legislature of Virginia. So this was not just any random building. This was the seat of government authority in Richmond in the state capital… And now, we have to take it down and hide it rather than standing up for it [as] a symbol of everything that unites us as a people.”
And in almost every way, that plays directly into the hands of the unhinged Left. They want Americans to be intimidated and to shrink back in fear and silence. And too many Christians are fearing man right along with them. Jesus tells us that we’re the light of the world — “Let [it] so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.” In many ways, that’s the problem. The light has been hidden. God’s people have allowed the light of the truth to be obscured, because some are offended by it.
If we want our leaders to stop giving in to the angry fringe that wants to erase our history and destroy our freedom, we need to stop being complacent. The church has to pray, as the disciples did, for the courage and boldness to face the cancel culture of our day and proclaim the gospel truth. The future of our country depends on it.
Originally published here.
U.S. Colleges: Proud to Be UnAmerican
Higher education is teaching students to think critically all right — about their own country. Turns out, this growing anti-American sentiment boiling over in our cities is no accident. Academia is, as President Trump warned it was, turning young people against their own country.
The media told enough lies about the president’s Mount Rushmore speech to fill a Pinocchio factory, but one of the most astonishing is their universal pooh-poohing of education’s role in the dimming pride our kids have in their country. “Against every law of society and nature," the president insisted, "our children are taught in school to hate their own country, and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but that were villains. The radical view of American history is a web of lies — all perspective is removed, every virtue is obscured, every motive is twisted, every fact is distorted, and every flaw is magnified until the history is purged and the record is disfigured beyond all recognition.”
Turns out, a new survey shows, he was right. Just this week, a Young America’s Foundation poll confirmed what we all know to be true: higher education is nothing but a recruiting ground for the Left. And conservatives, if their beliefs survive, will be punished. “Young Americans,” the group found, “become less patriotic after attending college.”
Now, after decades of sending children to liberal echo chambers, the far-Left’s goal has paid off. College students, by and large, don’t respect or appreciate their country. They may view America somewhat favorably (69 percent, compared to 88 percent of high schoolers), but they aren’t proud to be Americans (only 40 percent of college students). “When asked whether they consider themselves to be patriotic, the majority of high school students, 58 percent, said yes, while only 35 percent of college students felt the same way.”
And in a study published earlier this year by the National Association of Scholars, it’s clear that the campus environment isn’t going to change any time soon. In a country where college professors donate to Democrats over Republicans by a 95-to-one ratio, parents have to be even more vigilant about grounding their children in truth.
In this culture, it’s a full-time job countering the world’s negative influences. That’s why Deuteronomy 6:6-9 tells us: “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
Originally published here.
Planned Parenthood Tries to Keep a Loan Profile
It’s been called the program for sinners and saints, or, Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) joked, “Baptists and bars.” With loans fanning out to everyone from jellybean companies to dating apps, Congress’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been an equal opportunity lifeline for businesses crushed under the weight of the virus. But not everything has gone exactly according to plan, and the $150 million Planned Parenthood absconded with is exhibit A.
For the Small Business Administration (SBA), it was a rocky launch to be sure. Desperate to get dollars in the hands’ of U.S. employers, the entire process was rushed out the door hours before it was set to take effect. Without barely a crash course, local banks braced for the flood of applications — which, we know now, didn’t always get the scrutiny they deserved. As most taxpayers know, it’s one thing to help Five Guys — and quite another to help 16,000 at the country’s biggest abortion business.
And yet, more than a month and a half has gone by since Planned Parenthood’s loan cheating story hit the wire — and the money still hasn’t been returned. Despite letters from more than 120 members of Congress, calls for investigation, accusations of criminal fraud, the billion-dollar “nonprofit” has only tightened its grip on the enormous check (which, we know now, was more than double the original $80 million figure).
“It is disheartening,” Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) agreed on “Washington Watch.” “It is outrageous… There is no argument whatsoever that has any substance to it that these are independent entities.” Like FRC, who helped draft the language, he knows that the eligibility rules are clear. Planned Parenthood doesn’t qualify — and they knew it. “There is not a good faith argument, in my view and in the view of the others… that they would be able to do this. So they simply have engaged in a violation of the law.”
And yet, when Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) pressed the head of the SBA, Jovita Carranza, about this travesty in a June hearing, answers were hard to come by. “It’s a black and white issue,” Senator Hawley insisted. But Carranza, in a frustrating exchange, refused to comment on any progress the agency had holding Planned Parenthood accountable. “How are we going to conduct oversight?” Hawley demanded to know. Good question — one that, for a month and a half, remains unresolved.
Making matters worse, it seems that Planned Parenthood isn’t the only abortion group who swindled money from taxpayers under the PPP. Combing through the report of recipients this week, FRC’s experts found that — in addition to the 43 Planned Parenthood affiliates who raked in $150 million — 21 independent abortion centers conned another $13 million out of Uncle Sam, bringing the killing businesses’ borrowing to a whopping $162 million.
No wonder Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is on the war path. The Florida leader, who’s spearheaded the campaign to get the money back, sent another missive to Attorney General William Barr, arguing that the loan wasn’t just wrong — but criminal. “[L]oan data disclosed to the public [Monday] by the Small Business Administration confirm that a number of Planned Parenthood Federation of America affiliates received program loans. This latest disclosure once again raises concerns that these affiliates are unlawfully participating in the program. I urge you to immediately review these loans to ensure the law is being followed and enforced.”
One of the other points Bishop raised is that abortion groups aren’t the only ones in the wrong here. So are the people responsible for approving that money. “Whoever has assisted in the improper origination of these forgivable PPP loans in violation of the affiliation rules, even if it’s someone at SBA, will have to be held to account.” He’s right. Everyone ought to know by now: Planned Parenthood is no “small business.” It’s a massive operation that already has a permanent position at the trough, lapping up a half-billion dollars a year from federal, state, and local governments. Crying poor now, after they packed women into their waiting rooms during the lockdown, is as disingenuous as it gets.
“It’s blatantly abusive,” Dan agreed, “and it will need to rectified.” Otherwise, it won’t matter what the economy says. Any program that helps destroy innocent lives will have been a total failure where it counts.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.