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A Very Tough Week For Planned Parenthood
Friday, November 11, 2016, 10:15 AM

On January 20, 2016, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. President-elect Trump has pledged to appoint justices to the Supreme Court in the mold of the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, a strict constructionist who interpreted the Constitution based upon a narrow definition of its language without reference to the differences in societal conditions. Thus, under the doctrine of strict construction, matters such as abortion, gay “marriage,” and transgendered bathrooms, topics about which the Constitution is clearly silent, do not fall under the purview and jurisdiction of the federal government.

On these pages, I have written a number of articles about the enthusiastic support of Planned Parenthood for Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy, who in the third presidential debate stated the partial birth abortion was constitutionally justifiable and further said that she would support judges who would support the right of women to abort their children until moments before birth. Planned Parenthood, which receives more than half a billion federal taxpayer dollars each year and aborts more than 320,000 children annually, campaigned hard for Mrs. Clinton. It called Mrs. Clinton the “strongest” pro-abortion nominee “we’ve ever seen.” According to opensecrets.org, Planned Parenthood donated $712,680 to pro-abortion Democrats during the 2016 election cycle, including $97,268 in contributions to Clinton’s campaign, its largest donation.

IMG 2624 150x150 A Very Tough Week For Planned ParenthoodIn contrast, Messrs. Trump and Pence may constitute the most anti-abortion White House ticket in my memory. Last Wednesday afternoon, Planned Parenthood posted the following on its Facebook page to quell the apprehension of some women:

Planned Parenthood has been here for 100 years, and one thing is clear: We will never back down and we will never stop fighting to ensure that Planned Parenthood patients have access to the care they need and for the people who come from communities that need our continued support in this new reality. Many of the people Planned Parenthood health centers serve may be concerned about their safety, and the safety of their families and friends. We will support our immigrant, Muslim, Black and Latinx [sic] colleagues, partners and patients in the face of threats made over the last several months. Health care should not be political. Every morning, Planned Parenthood health center staff across the country wake up and open their doors, as they have this morning, to care for anyone who needs them, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, income, or country of origin. They will do so today, they will do so tomorrow, they will do so every day as they have for 100 years.

Planned Parenthood lamented that it was “unthinkable” news that Mr. Trump, who made clear his anti-abortion position, could be elected president in 2016. Planned Parenthood Action, the political arm of the abortion group, issued a statement complaining over Trump’s victory, stating the following:

Today, our Planned Parenthood family, supporters, and patients are waking up to a reality we fought so hard to prevent. Instead of welcoming reproductive health champion Hillary Clinton as our first female president, we saw Donald Trump take the White House.

Then, in an email sent to her supporters, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards described her reaction to Mr. Trump’s election, saying she was “Devastated. Angry. Heartbroken. Outraged. Shocked. Sad. Disgusted. Ashamed. Discouraged. Exhausted.” But is Ms. Richards anywhere near as devastated as the unborn babies ripped apart by Planned Parenthood’s abortions? But now faced with the realistic prospect of losing its federal funding thanks to a newly-elected Republican president and a Republican majority in both the House and the Senate, Planned Parenthood has pledged it would keep its doors open to provide abortions regardless of the future. Perhaps Hollywood will have to step up.

Mrs. Clinton, the Constitution, and Abortion
Friday, October 28, 2016, 9:06 AM

Screen Shot 2016 10 28 at 9.05.20 AM 300x199 Mrs. Clinton, the Constitution, and AbortionSeveral decades ago, a political candidate came to our university as part of his campaign. Although many of the young people asked about his views on particular topics, I asked him a question about his “world-view” and asked him to describe how he came to his understanding. Yes, it was not a typical question asked of political candidates, and I remember that the candidate struggled to respond. After the session was over, a friend of mine told me, “Well, that was a good way to find out whether he is a Christian.” Since that time, I have always been acutely aware of how our morality shapes our political views. At the third presidential debate, it was very interesting to me that the debate moderator’s first question asked Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump about their views on constitutional interpretation and the Supreme Court.

Of course, this question should have been very easy for Mrs. Clinton as she graduated at the top of her class at the prestigious Yale University Law School. And indeed, her answer was quite revealing about her vision for the United States. Mrs. Clinton said:

The Supreme Court should represent all of us. That’s how I see the Court. And the kind of people that I would be looking to nominate to the Court would be in the great tradition of standing up to the powerful, standing up on our behalf of our rights as Americans.

Of course, as was once taught in civics classes in elementary and high schools, the Supreme Court doesn’t (or shouldn’t) represent anyone. For under our system of government, that is a task of the elected branches. Rather, courts are nonpartisan adjudicators of competing legal claims. Moreover, our Constitution protects everyone, including the rich and powerful. After all, does not the law protect individual rights, rather than an abstraction that Mrs. Clinton called “the people?” She then went on to criticize both the Heller gun control decision and the Citizens United free speech Supreme Court decisions. But I want to focus on her one right that she considers to be absolute: the right to an abortion at any time during pregnancy up to the moment of birth.

Mr. Trump steered the debate discussion to late-term abortions, and Mrs. Clinton was forced to defend the heinous practice of partial-birth abortion. Even my dear friends who support abortion are very uncomfortable with late-term abortions because it is infanticide. However, it appears that Mrs. Clinton may have forgotten about the Gonzales v. Carhart Supreme Court decision of 2007 that upheld a legislative ban on partial-birth abortion. In a survey from November 2015, over 80 percent of women say that they would ban late-term abortion and restrict abortion to the first three months of pregnancy. Stunningly, according to this poll, 82 percent of women and 66 percent of abortion supporters say abortions should be banned after the first trimester of pregnancy. In addition, Mrs. Clinton has called for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment which restricts tax dollars from funding abortions. Her announcement came several days after Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortionist, endorsed Mrs. Clinton. In the same poll, 68 percent of Americans, including 69 percent of women and 51 percent of abortion supporters, oppose taxpayer-funded abortions, while only 29 percent support it.

Mr. Trump is, of course, not a legal scholar nor a top graduate of Yale Law School, but he showed a superior grasp of the Constitution. On the topic of abortion, Mr. Trump said that he appoint justices who would support repeal of the Roe v. Wade decision, and further noted that such a decision would return the question of abortion regulation to the states. If that occurred, I would imagine that most states would continue to permit abortions, though with more regulation, but a few states might not allow it, as was the situation before Roe. In the days before Roe, a young woman who sought an abortion had to travel, for example, to New York, which permitted abortions, and Planned Parenthood would make arrangements for her.

It is important to note that Carhart, Citizens United and Heller were all 5-4 decisions, and Mrs. Clinton wants each of them to be litmus tests for her Supreme Court nominations. In the third debate, Mrs. Clinton revealed a view of the Supreme Court that is deeply threatening to American liberty. Mrs. Clinton, in support of her vision of Abortion Utopia, said at the Women’s World Summit on April 23, 2015, “Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will . . . and deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs . . . have to be changed.” Emphasis added. Thus, we have been warned. If Mrs. Clinton is elected president, we can expect that the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, and the other agencies of the leviathan federal government, together with the Supreme Court, will be used against churches, and men and women of faith whose “deep-seated religious beliefs” against abortion, homosexual “marriage,” transgendered people in bathrooms, and countless other moral questions, will be made to pay a very dear price.

International Day of Prayer For the Persecuted Church 2016
Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 10:00 AM
durer hands 206x300 International Day of Prayer For the Persecuted Church 2016

Praying Hands by Albrecht Durer, 1508

This year’s International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (“IDOP”) is scheduled for November 6, 2016. On that date, more than 100,000 churches in 115 countries will gather to pray on behalf of Christians being persecuted and martyred around the world. Although it is a great privilege for me to write often on the topic of Christian persecution for Touchstone magazine and for Mere Comments, relatively few Christians in North America realize that more Christians have been killed annually in the 20th and 21st centuries than in the previous 19 centuries combined. Particularly in the Middle East and Africa, and in parts of Asia today, Christians have been killed by the tens of thousands in recent years. But persecution is not limited to those areas only, as the possession of a Holy Bible or sharing Jesus Christ with a neighbor is illegal in more than 50 countries.

Whether it is a story about an individual Somali Christian farmer and his family driven from his land, the present day suffering of Christians in Kirkuk or Mosul, or the horrors of living as a Christian believer in North Korea, few of their stories come to us. And when we do hear the stories, they are unimaginable. For 14 years, North Korea has ranked #1 on the Open Doors World Watch List as the worst place to be a Christian, where owning a Bible is punishable by death. It is estimated that 25% of the Christian population lives in horrific prison camps. The others keep their faith in secret, and many Christian parents choose to keep their faith a secret from their children, for fear that the children might accidentally expose their faith to their neighbors, teachers, or government officials. Imagine the heartbreak for parents to not have the ability to share their faith in Christ with their children. Many rely on the hope that, one day, God will allow them to share when they are grown.

The IDOP is so important for all Christians. It is my view that this vital day of prayer for persecuted Christians is a must for all churches. I would urge my readers to encourage your pastors, priests, and Sunday School teachers to teach about Christian persecution, and to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. The Holy Bible teaches us to pray without ceasing, and it is only through God’s mercy and the power of prayer that will have an amazing impact on our persecuted brothers and sisters. The Christian organization Open Doors has important resources available for all of us here. The church resource materials include a service guide, sermon outline, video files, social media elements, Prayer Partner card templates, and much more.

So in the run-up to the IDOP, please pray for the safety of Christians throughout the Middle East, in Moslem Africa, and in China and North Korea, and for their faithfulness and bold witness for salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. One of my favorite contemporary singers is Amy Shreve. Several years ago, she recorded a powerful song about the testimony of persecuted Christians, entitled “Beautiful Scars,” which is available here. I hope that her song will bless you as much as it has me. Hebrews 13:3 admonishes us, “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” May we never forget. Amen!

In The Moral Footsteps Of Pontius Pilate
Friday, October 14, 2016, 1:52 PM

This week many around the world have prayed for the Pakistani Supreme Court hearing for Asia Bibi that took place yesterday. Over the years, I have written a number of articles on these pages describing the horrific plight of Asia Bibi. Asia Bibi is a Pakistani Christian, and a married mother of five, who was sentenced to death by hanging under Pakistan’s notorious criminal code section 295(c), which prescribes the death penalty for “insulting” Mohammed and Islam. What was her “crime?” It was in June 2009, while working in the fields, that she was sent to bring water for the other farm workers.  Some of the Moslem workers refused to drink the water she brought as they considered water touched by Christians to be “unclean.”  Her co-workers then complained to the local authorities that she made derogatory comments about Mohammed.  What was the derogatory comment she was alleged to have made? The Moslem women claimed that Asia Bibi said: “I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind.  What did your prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind?”  Asia Bibi is illiterate, and is considered to be an uneducated woman, but she asked a deeply profound question.  One of the great differences between the Holy Bible and Islamic teaching is that the Holy Bible teaches in Ephesians 2:8-9 that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and our salvation does not depend upon our good works or any personal merit. In contrast, the Qur’an teaches that salvation is by sincerity and good works (see, e.g., Qur’an 3:135; 7:8-9, 21:47, 66:8-9). Allah is said to weigh the actions of an individual Moslem, and therefore one cannot know and experience Allah’s assurance of eternal salvation unless one dies in jihad or holy war.

Several days after the water incident, a violent mob came to Asia Bibi’s home, damaged it, and assaulted and beat her and members of her family.  In response, Pakistani police arrested her, and she spent more than one year in jail awaiting trial.  Finally, in November 2010, The Honorable Judge Muhammed Naveed Iqbal sentenced her to death by hanging for blasphemy, and he fined her the equivalent of $1,100, a huge sum in rural Pakistan.  Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari refused to pardon her after large demonstrations were held against her.  Several Pakistani government officials who courageously and publicly called for Asia Bibi’s release, and the abolition of the Pakistan’s blasphemy law, have been assassinated. Among those killed was the Governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, who was murdered by one of his bodyguards.  Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian member of Pakistan’s cabinet at the time, was assassinated for speaking out on her behalf as well.

Yesterday, as many as 3,000 riot police and other security personnel were deployed around the Supreme Court building in Islamabad. One of the judges, The Honorable Iqbal Hameed ur Rehman, conveniently realized that he had to recuse himself from this case (citing a “conflict of interest”) and refused to hear her case. As a result, her appeal could not go forward and was adjourned. However, no future hearing date has been set. Due to “security concerns,” Asia Bibi is being held in solitary confinement, but the justices of the Supreme Court of Pakistan know that if she is acquitted, they are putting their lives at serious risk from violent Islamic mobs and assassins. Although Asia Bibi’s husband, their four daughters, and one son have been offered asylum outside of Pakistan, the family has decided to remain in Pakistan awaiting Asia Bibi’s release. However because of the never-ending threats against them as well, they have been forced to move at least fifteen times since her incarceration. Please continue to pray for this dear Christian sister and her family that she will be able to leave Islamic Pakistan soon. May it be so, Lord Jesus!

Pope Francis Names 17 New Cardinals
Wednesday, October 12, 2016, 9:26 AM
Charles Joseph Chaput 300x225 Pope Francis Names 17 New Cardinals

Charles Joseph Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia

This past Sunday, when the eyes of many were focused on the political theater that was The Donald vs. The World debate, Pope Francis announced that he would appoint 17 new cardinals on November 19th. His choices were from 11 countries on five continents, and included the first cardinals from Bangladesh, the Central African Republic, Lesotho, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea. The cardinal-designate from the Central African Republic, Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga of Bangui, was born in 1967, and will be the youngest member of the College of Cardinals. A future African pope perhaps?

Three Americans were among the new cardinals; one was the recently appointed archbishop of Chicago, Blaise Cupich, a man with impeccable liberal/progressive credentials. Another was Archbishop William Tobin of Indianapolis, a relatively small archdiocese never before considered important enough to be headed by a cardinal. The third American cardinal-designate is a former bishop of Dallas. Vatican observers have noted that all of the new cardinals reflected the preference of Pope Francis for liberal progressives over conservatives. On the other hand, Pope Francis passed over the conservative archbishops of Philadelphia, Detroit, and Los Angeles, even though their archdiocese were much larger than Indianapolis. Among those passed over for elevation to cardinal was the archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput. Many of you may recall that last year, Pope Francis visited Philadelphia, and Archbishop Chaput was responsible for bringing him to the United States for the World Meeting of Families. At the time, I wrote an article on these pages, available here, that stated that the Pope squandered a number of opportunities for a more clear and robust witness for Jesus Christ.

Last year, in an essay in the Chicago Tribune, available here, written in the aftermath of the released Planned Parenthood human trafficking videos, Archbishop Cupich wrote:

While commerce in the remains of defenseless children is particularly repulsive, we should be no less appalled by the indifference toward the thousands of people who die daily for lack of decent medical care; who are denied rights by a broken immigration system and by racism; who suffer in hunger, joblessness and want; who pay the price of violence in gun-saturated neighborhoods; or who are executed by the state in the name of justice.

Thus, Archbishop Cupich declared that abortion was no more important than a number of other social justice issues such as unemployment, immigration and capital punishment. Only one week later, Archbishop Chaput responded with a sharp rebuke to Cupich in his own diocesan newspaper, Catholic Philly. In his article, bearing the pithy title “There is no equivalence,” Archbishop Chaput stated: “The deliberate killing of innocent life is a uniquely wicked act. No amount of contextualizing or deflecting our attention to other issues can obscure that.” Personally, I find that the gruesome ripping apart of unborn children and the sale of their organs by Planned Parenthood is also particularly heinous and in a category of evil by itself.

On September 15, 2016, Archbishop Chaput delivered the Tocqueville Lecture at the University of Notre Dame. The title of his powerful and deeply thoughtful talk was “Sex, Family, and the Liberty of the Church,” which is available here. I would encourage each of my readers to read his thoughtful remarks. And yet, with the selection of the new American cardinals, Pope Francis has made an important statement of where he wants the American Roman Catholic Church to go. Incidentally, one of my astute readers informed me about a new documentary that was released in late September on EWTN entitled, “A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing,” which shows how Alinskyite Marxist and socialist organizations have impacted our society’s culture, marriage, family life, morality and religion. Many of you know about Saul Alinsky and his influence on both Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton. But he has also had an important influence in the Roman Catholic Church, and in particular, in the Archdiocese of Chicago. You can view the film’s trailer here. It is an important film for both Roman Catholics and other Christian believers. As Christians, we must never lose hope, though sometimes we can be dispirited and even pessimistic as we see the increasing evil around us. Lord, have mercy!

Satanic Clubs Coming To Your Local Elementary School
Thursday, September 29, 2016, 9:54 AM

Baal2 268x300 Satanic Clubs Coming To Your Local Elementary SchoolAt 2 Peter 3:3-4, we read that, “First, I want to remind you that in the last days there will come scoffers who will do every wrong they can think of, and laugh at the truth. This will be their line of argument: ‘So Jesus promised to come back, did He? Then where is He? He’ll never come! Why, as far back as anyone can remember everything has remained exactly as it was since the first day of creation.'” What moral conditions in society can we expect in those last days? 2 Timothy 3:1-5 describes those days. Are we living in those days now? A few recent events suggest that we may very well be living in such perilous days.

As one example, in mid-September, a 25-foot high, 30,000 pound replica of the Triumphal Arch of Palmyra, which was the original entry to the Temple of Ba’al, was rebuilt in New York City’s City Hall Park. In fact, you may recall that the original Arch was deemed so offensive that ISIS militants destroyed the temple ruins and even killed the archeologist who served as its caretaker for forty years. My readers may recall that the Holy Bible describes Ba’al as the god to whom, including in ancient Israel, many sacrificed their children, before whom they practiced ritualistic prostitution and sexual immorality in their temples, and called good “evil” and evil “good.” And in fact, Ba’al was the god in whose name Israel persecuted the prophets and the righteous of that day. Interestingly, in Matthew 12:27, the Lord Jesus calls Satan “Beelzebub,” linking the devil to Baal-Zebub, the Philistine deity of 2 Kings 1:2.

As part of the satanic focus on enticing children, it has been widely reported that the Portland, Oregon, chapter of the Satanic Temple will bring its “After School Satan Club” to the Sacramento Elementary School. One leader of the Satanic Temple said in an interview that the Temple has been approved to begin its program, which focuses on “science and rational thinking,” on October 19th. The spokesman has said that most members of the Satanic Temple are atheists and that the program for the elementary school children promotes “benevolence and empathy for everybody.” However, the spokesman did admit that the real purpose was to counter “The Good News Club,” the after-school clubs organized by Child Evangelism Fellowship, a Bible-centered, Christian organization. In addition, the Satanic Temple of Seattle, Washington, has asked the Mount Vernon School District for permission to start an after-school program at the Centennial Elementary School. On its website, the After School Satan Clubs says:

It’s important that children be given an opportunity to realize that the evangelical materials now creeping into their schools are representative of but one religious opinion amongst many. While the Good News Clubs focus on indoctrination, instilling them with a fear of Hell and God’s wrath, After School Satan Clubs will focus on free inquiry and rationalism, the scientific basis for which we know what we know about the world around us. We prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of everlasting other-worldly horrors.

Plans are to expand the satanic clubs into elementary and high schools in all 50 states. Of course, like their Ruler Beelzebub, the Satanist “free-thinkers” want you to believe that their motives are pure and altruistic. In this way, you will let your guard down. Over time, the children (and parents) are in Satan’s grip. As I wrote on these pages in late August, “[T]here is another growing demographic group that also enthusiastically supports the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. The Secular Coalition for America, a lobbying group that represents atheists, agnostics, and free-thinkers, recently released a presidential voting guide on those issues deemed to be most important to atheists.” Donald Trump earned a low “F” grade, according to the atheist group, whereas, of course, Hillary Clinton earned an “A” grade. In fact, a July 2016 Pew Research Center poll found non-religious voters prefer Mrs. Clinton to Mr. Trump by an overwhelming 67 to 23 percent margin. And so, if you like the idea of satanic clubs in your local government schools, I suspect that there is one major candidate running for president who is very comfortable with it. Remember, brothers and sister in Christ, elections have consequences.


Next Stop: Wearing “C” On Our Shirts
Thursday, September 22, 2016, 10:18 AM

Prior to the recent presidential trip to the G20 summit in China, I wrote on these pages about how Chinese human rights activists had met with Susan Rice, Mr. Obama’s national security advisor, to urge that Mr. Obama advocate for religious and other human rights in China to President Xi and the other Chinese Communist government officials. At the G20 summit, there was no public comment or statements made regarding religious liberty and related human rights issues in China, and so one can infer that little of substance was articulated by Mr. Obama. As a result, many were disappointed with Mr. Obama’s failure to address these issues openly and candidly with Chinese officials.

DC08224LOGO 300x300 Next Stop: Wearing “C” On Our ShirtsBut from another obscure part of the Obama Administration, we may see why religious liberty issues are not a high-order priority for this Administration. Martin R. Castro, formerly of Chicago who declares in his biography that he is “is the proud product of Head Start and affirmative action in higher education,” is the chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights (the “Commission”). The Commission is an “independent” federal agency whose mission is to “inform the development of national civil rights policy and enhance enforcement of federal civil rights laws.” Earlier this month, the Commission issued a 306-page report on “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties,” which is available here. In his comments, Chairman Castro wrote the following:

The phrases “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance. Religious liberty was never intended to give one religion dominion over other religions, or a veto power over the civil rights and civil liberties of others. However, today, as in the past, religion is being used as both a weapon and a shield by those seeking to deny others equality. In our nation’s past religion has been used to justify slavery and later, Jim Crow laws. We now see “religious liberty” arguments sneaking their way back into our political and constitutional discourse (just like the concept of “state rights”) in an effort to undermine the rights of some Americans. This generation of Americans must stand up and speak out to ensure that religion never again be twisted to deny others the full promise of America.

Thus, the Chairman declared that “religious freedom” and “religious liberty” have become merely “code words” for intolerance, “Christian supremacy” and committing every form of identity-politics sin, and thus, the First Amendment religious liberty rights must always yield before anti-discrimination laws.

A majority of other commissioners added the following bon-mots:

The fight to make religious-based exemptions to nondiscrimination laws preeminent over status-based civil liberties protections is characterized often as a battle being waged by some Christians who purport to speak for all Christians.

Then, those commissioners go on to describe how:

In 2015, twenty-eight state legislatures were already considering more than eighty-five anti-LGBT bills by mid-March. By early 2016, approximately two dozen state legislatures were considering at least that many bills which aim to limit Americans’ access to marriage rights, other government services, commercial services, health care services, adoption and foster care services, and other aspects of daily life based upon “religious exemption.” Some of these far-reaching proposals specifically target nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) Americans and some seek to limit women’s rights to reproductive freedoms. Many proposals are moving very quickly, and advocacy groups are monitoring them on an almost-daily basis.

(All citations were to Human Rights Campaign and the America Civil Liberties Union “reports.”) The Commission had particular problems with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”), and has now called upon courts to restrict both the federal and state versions of the RFRA. While much can be written about the conflict of values and ideas, I am reminded of a law review article written several years ago by religious liberty scholar, Professor Douglas Laycock, who observed, “For the first time in nearly 300 years, important forces in American society are questioning the free exercise of religion in principle – suggesting that free exercise of religion may be a bad idea, or at least, a right to be minimized.” He posits “that the deep disagreements over sexual morality . . . have generated a much more pervasive hostility to certain kinds of religion, and this hostility has consequences,” and counseled against taking a “path [that] causes the very kinds of human suffering that religious liberty is designed to avoid,” a path leading to a society in which religious persons “who cannot change their mind [about a moral issue] are sued, fined, forced to violate their conscience, and excluded from occupations if they refuse.” Personally, I find that Dr. Castro and many of his commissioners are out of touch with our Constitution as government officials misinterpret and misuse nondiscrimination laws in order to punish religious citizens and organizations. However, it is a clear reminder, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, that elections have grave consequences.

This Past Weekend Modern Europe Died
Monday, September 19, 2016, 9:32 AM

51JnBP2io L. SY344 BO1204203200  194x300 This Past Weekend Modern Europe DiedIn his magisterial book, Dark Continent, Professor Mark Mazower’s history of 20th century Europe, describes how Europe was the killing field of the 20th century. For decade after decade, Europe was the site of wars, great destitution, and numerous attempts to destroy and exterminate whole populations. Hundreds of millions of Europeans were killed, imprisoned, tortured and expelled in the name of racial, political and national ideological “progress,” including an entire generation of my family. One of the most powerful sections in his book was his description of how the eugenic and racist policies of the Nazis actually were an extension of policy recommendations of social and medical “reformers“ in other nations. Professor Mazower writes, “The German racial welfare state . . . was in so many ways the apotheosis of very widespread trends in European social thought,” which we know from Scandinavian, French, Swiss and American legislation authorizing sterilization and other eugenic policies. The Nazis simply brought German efficiency to these eugenic policies.

In the United States, many supporters of Planned Parenthood and its organizational predecessors supported the eugenic trends in Europe. Even our nation’s Supreme Court ruled in Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200 (1927), that a state statute permitting compulsory sterilization of the unfit, including the intellectually disabled, ”for the protection and health of the state” did not violate the Constitution. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., famously concluded his ruling by declaring, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” (Incidentally, this Supreme Court decision has never been expressly overturned.) Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, believed that through abortion, birth control, forced sterilization and euthanasia, society could rid itself of “the unfit.” And who were the unfit? She dedicated her life to ridding the world mostly of poor black babies, whom she described as “degenerate and defective.” She was a featured guest of the Ku Klux Klan and a proponent of the eugenic policies of the Nazi regime in the 1930s. But, she wrote, one needn’t fear unfair excesses because “the rights of the individual could be equally well safeguarded by the Nazi regime.” After all, she noted in a letter praising Nazi eugenic efforts, “There are 1,700 special courts and 27 higher courts in Germany to review the cases. . . . but in no case should the rights of society be disregarded.”

Now we have come full circle. It was widely reported on Saturday that a terminally ill 17-year-old became the first minor to be officially euthanized in Belgium since age restrictions on euthanasia were lifted in 2014. Jacqueline Herremans, a member of Belgium’s federal euthanasia commission (death panel?), said in a French media report, “The euthanasia has taken place.” She further announced that the euthanasia was done “in accordance with Belgian law.” Few details were provided other than the minor child had “a terminal illness.” Belgium is presently the only country in the world that allows terminally-ill children of any age to choose to end their life, but Belgian law requires that the minor be capable of making “rational decisions.” Further, any request for euthanasia must be made by the minor, be studied by a team of doctors, approved by an independent psychiatrist or psychologist, and have parental consent. The only thing missing is the 1,700 special courts and 27 higher courts to give their legal authorization . . . always within the law, of course. The Netherlands also allows mercy killings for children, but only for those aged over 12. Lord, have mercy!

The Saint and the Politician
Monday, September 12, 2016, 9:41 AM

On September 4, 2016, Pope Francis declared Mother Teresa to be Saint Teresa of Calcutta. After World War II, St. Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a religious order which now operates with thousands of nuns and other religious in well over 100 countries, including the United States. St. Teresa committed her order to providing free service to the poorest of the poor. As we thank God for her life and celebrate her canonization, I was reminded of her remarks 22 years ago, on February 3, 1994, at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. Also in attendance on that day was then-President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary. On that occasion, St. Teresa echoed the words that she gave at her 1979 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, where she said:

Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.

She urged her listeners to help mothers and fathers learn to love their babies, to start within their own families to encourage care for the unwanted and weak, and then to move into the community and world. She urged us to love “until it hurts.” At her National Prayer Breakfast comments, St. Teresa said:

[T]he greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because Jesus said, ‘If you receive a little child, you receive Me. So every abortion is the denial of receiving Jesus, is the neglect of receiving Jesus.  It is really a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. . . . If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?

Even though St. Teresa was diminutive in stature, she was fearless as she understood that one person, with God on their side, is a majority. On these pages, I have written here about Mrs. Clinton’s unwavering support for unrestricted and government-paid abortion on demand, and the enthusiastic support she receives from our nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood. In fact, it is hard to imagine a more rabidly pro-abortion agenda than Hillary’s Democrats. Mrs. Clinton wishes to repeal the Hyde Amendment to force American taxpayers to pay for abortions. She has declared that she wants abortion to be declared to be a fundamental human right, with American taxpayers paying for abortions overseas through the repeal of the Helms Amendment. I suppose that what I remember most about what St. Teresa said in 1994 was not so much her actual words, but the reaction from those in attendance. At the conclusion of her powerful remarks, St. Teresa received a five-minute standing ovation. But Mr. and Mrs. Clinton sat in silent dissent. As we are in the political season in the United States, we will continue to hear from Mrs. Clinton. But the quiet voice of St. Teresa reminds us that for those among us who do not support the taking of lives of innocent children, we must stand, as St. Teresa did, with those who need us most. Lord, have mercy!

China’s Dismal Anti-Christian Human Rights Record
Wednesday, September 7, 2016, 9:31 AM
GettyImages 99709642 300x199 China’s Dismal Anti Christian Human Rights Record

Small Christian church outside of Guiyang, Guizhou Province

While most of us had a peaceful and lovely Labor Day weekend, Mr. Obama had a tough few days. He was in Hangzhou, China, for the G20 meetings, and this summit gave Chinese President Xi Jinping a global stage to influence international policy. The G20 summit is an annual meeting of wealthy nations and the European Union to discuss key issues of the global economy. Although the G20 summit focuses primarily on international trade and investment, participating nations also dealt with environmental concerns and cyberspace controls. In fact, Mr. Obama, deliberately sidestepping Congress, “self-ratified” entry by the United States into the international climate-change agreement with China and other nations as he deposited the “instrument of acceptance” with United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, who was also present. At that time, Mr. Obama stated, “Some day we may see this as the moment when we decided to save our planet.” Indeed we may. But the Chinese leadership did not give a warm welcome to Mr. Obama for his last trip to Asia as president. In what was widely viewed as a diplomatic snub, Mr. Obama was not even given a rolling airport staircase to exit from Air Force One, and there was no “red carpet” welcome either, which each of the other international leaders were given. In fact, Mr. Obama had to exit Air Force One from the rear of the airplane.

But this article is not about Mr. Obama’s foreign policy or about self-ratification of international agreements. Rather, I write about the current status of Christian believers in China. In the days leading up to the G20, the Rev. Bob Fu from the Texas-based China Aid (www.chinaaid.org), along with a delegation of other Chinese human rights activists, met with Mr. Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice (of Benghazi video fame) at the White House. In their 80-minute meeting, they discussed the deteriorating conditions of human rights in China under President Xi, and the human rights activists urged Mr. Obama to confront Mr. Xi over what they have called China’s worst human rights crisis since the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.

Rev. Bob Fu, China Aid’s president and a fearless critic of the Chinese Communist Party, stated the following:

As I explained to National Security Advisor Susan Rice during our meeting, China’s religious freedom and human rights situation remains at its worst since Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. President Obama and his Administration have failed the millions of persecuted Chinese freedom fighters and religious minorities in the past seven years by pushing these issues into the back seat of his foreign policy agenda with China. [President Obama] should consider this his last opportunity to do something beyond his normal approach, not only raising the cases of numerous pastors, bishops and rights defenders who have been arbitrarily arrested, but making a strong public statement with our allies during his trip to Hangzhou. This will reaffirm Americans’ long term commitment to religious freedom, human rights and civil society as a vital link to sustainable economic prosperity and international security. The whole world will watch President Obama to see whether or not he will courageously lead this effort during the G20 Summit. China Aid urges President Obama and international leaders attending the summit to thoroughly address China’s human rights and religious freedom abuses in order defend those unjustly persecuted for their beliefs.

Teng Biao, an exiled human rights lawyer who also participated in the meeting with Ms. Rice, said in an interview with the British newspaper Guardian that he had called on Mr. Obama to publicly speak out as well. In his interview, Mr. Teng said:

Especially since Xi Jinping came to power, many human rights lawyers and activists were detained and disappeared; many, many NGOs were shut down; and other civil society organizations, universities, media, internet, Christian churches and other religious groups were also targeted. It is obvious that the Chinese government has violated human rights and the current situation is very, very worrying.

Many of us may remember that Mr. Obama received the 2009 Nobel peace prize for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen diplomacy and co-operation between peoples.” While we do not know what issues were brought up in the private meeting between Xi and Obama, there is no White House statement regarding China’s human rights record following the G20 summit. But it might also be that Mr. Obama and his Administration may not really believe that human rights in China, and especially the right of Chinese Christians, is really an important issue that needs to be promoted in a frank and public way. But there are dissidents in China who are incarcerated in Hangzhou, and local political activists were placed under house arrest in advance of the G20 summit to prevent them from speaking out. Of course, since Mr. Obama was snubbed anyway, stopping by the homes of one or two of the activists under house arrest for tea would show the Chinese communists that snubs can go two ways and make an important point as well. Please continue to pray for political and religious freedom in China, and especially for our persecuted Christian brothers and sisters who suffer daily.

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