The Time Has Arrived
Friday, February 27, 2015, 11:14 AM

As we come to the end of this year’s Black History Month, I reflected on the life of Rosa Parks. You will recall that on December 1, 1955, Ms. Parks refused to obey a bus driver’s order to give up her seat in the “colored” section of the bus to a white passenger. She was arrested for “civil disobedience” and charged with “disorderly conduct” for violating Alabama’s segregation laws. At trial the next day, she was found guilty and fined $10, plus $4 in court costs. She appealed the sentence and fine, and challenged the legality of racial segregation. Her act of defiance led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and she remained a powerful symbol of resistance to racial segregation in the United States throughout her life. Although others in Montgomery had previously been arrested for refusing to yield their seats to white people, no one could begin to imagine the repercussions that a middle-aged, department store seamstress would create around the world.

BarronelleStutzmanW 300x200 The Time Has ArrivedBarronelle Stutzman is a 70-year-old grandmother and florist from Washington State. She is the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington. She is also a devout Christian believer. Several years ago, two of her long-time customers, Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed (hereinafter the “Lads”), asked for her to provide flowers for their “homosexual” wedding. However, she declined because it violated her strongly-held religious belief that marriage should only be between one man and one woman. The Lads then sued Ms. Stutzman, and further, the Attorney General of Washington, Robert Ferguson, Esq., a Democrat who was elected despite a lack of prosecutorial experience, filed another lawsuit against Ms. Stutzman for violating Washington’s consumer protection law. (How is it discrimination since the Lads were clients of Ms. Stutzman’s flower shop for nine years? But I digress.) At trial, on February 18, 2015, Benton County Superior Court Judge Alexander C. Ekstrom ruled that Ms. Stutzman had violated the Washington law by refusing to provide flowers for the Lads’ wedding. Further, media reports indicate that the judge ruled that “while religious beliefs are protected by the First Amendment, actions based on those beliefs aren’t necessarily protected.” So this new rule of law is that it’s acceptable to believe in God, but don’t apply your beliefs to daily life. It is a particularly rich irony that Judge Ekstrom would make that determination given that the writers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights thought it just might be important to protect Americans from government interference with their thoughts and religious practice.

Those of us who are signers of the Manhattan Declaration have vowed civil disobedience if we come to conclude that our rights to civil liberties are violated. The Declaration states:

We are Christians who have joined together across historic lines of ecclesial differences to affirm our right—and, more importantly, to embrace our obligation—to speak and act in defense of these truths. We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence. Through the centuries, Christianity has taught that civil disobedience is not only permitted, but sometimes required.

Emphasis added. As we conclude Black History Month, let us remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who wrote in his Letters From A Birmingham Jail:

lossy page1 751px Civil Rights March on Washington D.C. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mathew Ahmann in a crowd.   NARA   542015.tif 150x150 The Time Has ArrivedHow does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. . . . Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire.

Ms. Stutzman is leading the way for us, just as Ms. Parks did in her generation. For me, we have arrived at the time in our nation’s history when it is now proper to resist evil encroachments on our freedom and civil liberties in accordance with Acts of the Apostles 5:29. Please pray for Ms. Stutzman and her attorneys. Thank you, Ms. Stutzman, for standing strong in the Lord Jesus Christ when all of the institutions of government seek to silence you.

President Obama Tells a Whopper
Tuesday, February 24, 2015, 11:20 AM

iStock 000018987763 Small 300x200 President Obama Tells a WhopperLast week, President Obama convened an international White House Summit on Violent Extremism. Interestingly, he was applauded when he claimed, “Islam has been woven into the fabric of America since its founding.” Historians have noted that there were some Moslems living in the colonies and in the early United States. The hundreds of Moslems were imported as slaves from Islamic areas of Africa. In his remarks at the recent National Prayer breakfast, Mr. Obama equated 21st century Islamic terrorism with Christian aggression during the Crusades. David Frum observed that while Mr. Obama said that Christians “committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” he made no parallel reference to “terrible deeds committed in the name of Islam.” Many Americans, both Christian and non-Christian, were surprised at Mr. Obama’s remarks. But the early history of the United States did involve decades of attacks by Moslem pirates from North Africa, which resulted in a number of wars. After several decades of paying ever-increasing tribute, President Thomas Jefferson refused to pay the high ransoms demanded by Moslem pirates who seized American merchant ships and enslaved the crews. The American Navy and Marines then fought the pirates “to the shores of Tripoli,” as the Marine hymn declares.

Moslems have been welcome to the United States since its founding. Political philosopher John Locke wrote in his Letter on Toleration of 1689 said that Moslems and all others who believed in God should be tolerated in England. Thomas Jefferson followed Locke, and demanded recognition of the religious rights of the “Mahamdan” in Virginia. During the history of the United States, our nation has welcomed legal immigrants of all faiths and from every nation. But, of course, Moslems were not among the Pilgrims and did not celebrate the first Thanksgiving Day. No Moslem signed the Declaration of Independence, or the United States Constitution, or served in any legislature that ratified the Bill of Rights. Some historical documents record that a handful of Moslem slaves fought for this country’s freedom from England in the Revolutionary War; those few fought alongside their owners. There is no evidence that Moslems fought during the Civil War to free the slaves. In fact, even today, among the world’s more than 20 million slaves, Moslems are still the largest traffickers in human slavery. During the Civil Rights movement, one hears of no Moslem who walked with Dr. Martin Luther King, or helped to advance the cause of civil rights in our nation. There were no Moslems who fought for the women’s right to vote. Today, it is a tenet of Islam that holds women in a position of subservience. During World War II, the Islamic world was allied with Hitler. The Moslem Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini met with Adolf Hitler in 1941, reviewed German troops, and accept support from the Nazis to kill Jews. (In 1945, Yugoslavia sought to indict the Grand Mufti as a war criminal for his role in recruiting 20,000 Moslem “volunteers” for the Nazi SS, who had participated in the murder of Jews in Croatia and Hungary. But he escaped from French detention in 1946, and continued his fight against Jews and Israel until he died in 1974.) And there was that pesky problem of September 11, 2001, where Moslems were actively involved in the terrorist attacks in the United States.

In the United States, we have no Moslem colleges or universities, or Moslem hospitals, or even a Moslem orchestra, or great Islamic libraries or museums. I have never seen an Islamic band marching in an Independence Day parade. I did not see the Red Crescent in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, or any Moslem charity helping out after the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013. Mr. Obama is an unusual American president given that his paternal father and grandfather were Moslems from Africa, and that he studied for years in an Islamic school in Indonesia. So, it is easy to understand that he might have warmer feelings for Islam, and a myopic timidity to state the obvious regarding Islamic terrorism. But it is a particular irony that this most Islamophile president finds himself in office as a dangerously violent, worldwide movement seeks to expand its most austere form of Islam at the point of a gun, sword, and beheading knife, with future plans to use nuclear weapons. Radical Islam, such as ISIS and Boko Haram, hates Jews, Shia Moslems, the House of Saud, Western education, Israel, Russia, and the United States, and not necessarily in that order. But to say that Islam has been woven into the fabric of the United States since its founding is a lie. But as the great 20th century moral philosopher George Constanza from Seinfeld once opined, “Jerry, it’s not a lie if you believe it.”

ObamaNet: The New Federal Department of the Internet?
Friday, February 20, 2015, 10:34 AM

In our lifetimes, the remarkable rise of the Internet has been as transformative in our day as the Industrial Revolution was to its era. Economic activity on the Internet now totals over $4.2 trillion annually, and almost one-half of the world’s more than 7 billion people are connected to the Internet. It is a free, open, and thriving platform for civic and political engagement, economic growth, educational opportunity, and entertainment. It has made the United States the center of technological innovation. But now, the Obama administration wants to regulate (take over?) the Internet. (Is that really the most pressing problem going on in Washington today?) On November 10, 2014, Mr. Obama gave a speech in which he recommended that the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) reclassify broadband Internet service as a telecommunications service. This was met with immediate approval from The New York Times, which concluded in an op-ed, “What Mr. Obama wants is an Internet where service providers handle all content sent and received by consumers equally.” (Almost like “If you like your Internet, you can keep your Internet.”) Following the dictate of Mr. Obama, FCC Chairman Thomas E. Wheeler has proposed federal control of the Internet via the Communications Act of 1934, that paragon of progressive legislation that placed the old AT&T telephone monopoly under government control. (Incidentally, 1934 happens to be just 81 years ago, and was even before the birth of former Vice President Albert Gore.) Essentially, Internet service would be reclassified from information to telecommunications. The Obama-Wheeler plan contains no shortage of regulations in its 332 pages, but the most problematic may be the new “Internet conduct” rule, which has been leaked. This vague rule that gives the FCC almost unfettered discretion to micromanage virtually every aspect of the Internet. Further, the Obama-Wheeler plan provides that no unbundling of internet services will be allowed. This ensures that there is no way for competitive broadband companies to start operations without investing massive amounts of money in fiber-optic connections. According to Chairman Wheeler, the plan would ensure “net neutrality.” (Of course, that Orwellian term “net neutrality” is unclear to most of us, though it does sound good.)

Then Chairman Wheeler, to make sure that the public, who might be skeptical about an ObamaNet Program, not learn about this plan, “embargoed” release of any specifics in the secret plan until after the FCC vote, presently scheduled for February 26, 2015. (So much for another one of Mr. Obama’s claims that his would be the most open and transparent administration in American history.) However, in a recent survey published by the Progressive Policy Institute, a stunning 79% of Americans favor public disclosure of the exact wording and details of the Obama-Wheeler plan before the FCC votes on it. (Quoting the ever-delightful Representative Nancy Pelosi, “we have to pass it to see what’s in it!”) Moreover, there is no formal comment period for this proposed scheme. One of the two Republican FCC commissioners, Ajit Pai, observed that that the Obama plan would hinder broadband investment, slow network speed and expansion, limit outgrowth to rural areas of the country, and reduce Internet service provider (“ISP”) competition. He said:

The plan saddles small, independent businesses and entrepreneurs with heavy-handed regulations that will push them out of the market. As a result, Americans will have fewer broadband choices. This is no accident. Title II was designed to regulate a monopoly. If we impose that model on a vibrant broadband marketplace, a highly regulated monopoly is what we’ll get.

Emphasis added. Commissioner Pai concludes that customers’ choices in ISPs and carriers will still be just as limited and, frankly, as awful as they are now. And with passage, since there is no increase in competition, the big corporations such as TWC and Comcast will continue to charge an arm and a leg for broadband Internet. Although progressives’ ideals of regulatory economics has long rejected arguments to the contrary, allowing new business models is critical to promote competition, particularly from smaller providers and new market entrants, and ultimately helps consumers with lower prices and greater choice. (Isn’t the Obama Administration pro-choice?) Entrepreneurs need the flexibility to experiment with different business models and service plans so they can stand out from their much larger and lobbyist-laden competitors.

Importantly, courts have twice thrown out the FCC’s attempts at Internet regulation during the Obama years. For instance, on January 14, 2014, the D.C. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals struck down most of the FCC’s November 2011 “net neutrality” rules. The Appellate Court then vacated the FCC’s “anti-discrimination” and “anti-blocking” regulations as both discriminatory and blocking in an attempt to again give the FCC political appointees the power to dictate what the FCC believes is “honest, equitable, and balanced.” My older readers will remember that when the FCC imposed the “Fairness Doctrine” in 1949, which required holders of media broadcast licenses to present “issues of public importance” in a manner that is “honest, equitable, and balanced” in the view of the FCC. But it would take 39 years before a conservative Congress could overturn the Fairness Doctrine, a policy that threatened the loss of radio or television licenses. (Try to imagine Christian media and even American talk radio today if holders of media licenses had to contend with a modern-day version of the Fairness Doctrine.) However, we can no longer rely upon these new regulations being thrown out by the courts. Since the prior rulings of the Washington, D.C., Appellate Court, the former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid loaded up that powerful appellate court with Obama judicial appointees following a remarkable change to the long-standing filibuster rules in the Senate. My readers know how your government works. Of the following, pick the one you prefer: Private schools or government-run schools? Private swimming pools or government-run swimming pools? Private bathrooms or public bathrooms? FedEx or the U.S. Postal Service? Private housing or government-owned and managed housing? And now, private Internet or government-run Internet? So if you like Mr. Obama’s idea of turning the Internet into a “telephone service” monopoly that would empower an intrusive federal bureaucracy (Department of the Internet?) that thrives on high taxes, heavy-handed regulations and controls, and the technological status quo, you will love the Obama-Wheeler Internet plan. Remember that the First Amendment does not provide the federal government the power to regulate the free-flow of information. But if you are skeptical about government control over the Internet, and want independent voices, such as Mere Comments, to stay strong, then you might want to let the FCC know your views here, as well as your congressional representatives. I already did.

Is Anyone Really Born Homosexual or Lesbian?
Tuesday, February 17, 2015, 9:15 AM

In promoting the homosexualist agenda, activists and their allies have argued with the ferocity and absolutism of sturmtruppen that those who have homosexual and lesbian attraction are “born that way,” and that, in all cases, such attraction is immutable. They will often compare homosexual attraction to skin color. Therefore, any antipathy towards those who experience homosexual or lesbian attraction is akin to racism. Thus, moral disapproval by Christians or others of homosexual and lesbian activities and relationships is tantamount to hatred for those persons who have same-sex attractions. Even my occasional blogs about the homosexualists and their agenda always draws the greatest number of comments opposing my views.  It has even penetrated deeply into our culture. For example, in the current season of Downton Abbey, set in bucolic Yorkshire during the mid-1920s, the footman Barrow is told by the local village physician that any effort to change his homosexuality is futile. Building on the physician’s remark, today’s activists argue that because homosexuality is 100 percent immutable and heritable (though the search for the homosexual gene has proved elusive even after the entire human genome has long been mapped). Accordingly, any effort to help homosexuals or lesbians change their orientation, or to diminish the attraction for same-sex individuals, or to fail to affirm such attraction, is not only cruel and futile, but also harmful.

But could this truly be so? Is one born homosexual or lesbian? Well, to answer that question, rather than focus on my views and/or the views of conservative Christian academics and researchers, it is important to observe that such claims are rejected by many serious “LGBTQ” academicians and thinkers. The always interesting and deeply thoughtful author, feminist scholar, and lesbian Camille Paglia, writes in her book Vamps & Tramps:

Is gay identity so fragile that it cannot bear the thought that some people may not wish to be gay? The difficulties in changing sexual orientation do not spring from its genetic innateness. Sexuality is highly fluid, and reversals are theoretically possible. However, habit is refractory, once the sensory pathways have been blazed and deepened by repetition….[H]elping gays learn how to function heterosexually if they so wish, is a perfectly worthy aim. We should be honest enough to consider whether homosexuality may not indeed be a pausing at the prepubescent stage when children anxiously band together by gender.

Emphasis added. Building on Ms. Paglia’s point, a number of studies have indicated that today’s teens will often identify themselves as “gay” or “queer,” but the overwhelming majority will no longer consider themselves to be so by their early 20s.

In a fascinating post on the website Social (In)Queery available here, Jane Ward, who is “voluntarily” homosexual, observed:

But the fact that the “born this way” hypothesis has resulted in greater political returns for gay and lesbian people doesn’t have anything to do with whether it is true.  Maybe, as gay people, we want to get together and pretend it is true because it is politically strategic . . . . But still, it wouldn’t make the idea true. . . . .People like to cite “the overwhelming scientific evidence” that sexual orientation is biological in nature.  But show me a study that claims to have proven this, and I will show you a flawed research design. . . . People like to use the failure of “gay conversion” therapies as evidence that homosexuality is innate.  First of all, these conversions do not always fail….the point is that we can and do change.  For instance, in high school and early in college, my sexual desires were deeply bound up with sexism.  I wanted to be a hot girl, and I wanted powerful men to desire me. I was as authentically heterosexual as any woman I knew.  But later, several years into my exploration of feminist politics, what I once found desirable (heterosexuality and sexism) became utterly unappealing. . . . But instead, I was drawn to queerness for various political and emotional reasons, and from my vantage point today, I believe it to be one of the best desires I ever cultivated.

Emphasis added. Trudy Ring, writer for the homosexual magazine The Advocate, has candidly admitted the flawed nature of the argument that homosexuals and lesbians deserve special treatment. Ms. Ring observed:

For years, much of the case for LGBT rights has been based on the argument that sexual orientation is fixed and immutable . . . . But an increasing body of social science research posits that a sizable number of people experience some degree of fluidity in their sexual and romantic attractions: being drawn to the same gender at one point in their life, the opposite gender at another.

Emphasis added. Finally, I draw your attention to David Benkof, the homosexual political commentator and opponent of homosexual “marriage,” who noted:

Are gays indeed born that way? The question has immense political, social, and cultural repercussions. For example, some of the debate over applying the Constitution’s equal protection clause to gays and lesbians focuses on whether gayness is an inborn characteristic . . . Thus, if it’s proven sexual orientations are not innate, much of the scaffolding upon which today’s LGBT movement has been built would begin to crumble.

Emphasis added. By the end of June, we will see the decision of our nation’s Supreme Court regarding homosexual “marriage” throughout the United States. A decision unfavorable to traditional marriage based upon innate and immutable characteristics of homosexuals and lesbians worthy of 14th Amendment equal protection will place politics ahead of science. My hope is that the Supreme Court’s decision will not prove to be another example in the long line of outrageous Supreme Court decisions such as Johnson v. M’Intosh, Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson, or Buck v. Bell. Notwithstanding the outcome at the Supreme Court, the fight for traditional marriage is likely to go on for many years to come.

H/T Illinois Family Institute

Happy St. Valentine’s Day
Friday, February 13, 2015, 9:17 AM

Saturday is St. Valentine’s Day, one of my favorite days of the year.  It is a lovely and romantic day, and I am sure that many of my readers have wonderful memories of St. Valentine’s Day.  I still get nostalgic about those sweet penny cards we would get in elementary school. I enjoyed making and sending them to my classmates, and on occasion, I would get one or two back as well. On this St. Valentine’s Day, a new film will premiere based upon a series of novels.

Julie Baumgardner published an essay in which she expressed surprise at the popularity of these novels. She observed:

Since the height of the women’s movement, women have fought to not be viewed as just sexual objects.  Women want to be seen as bright and capable of accomplishing great things in life, and deserving of respect.  For years, females of all ages have been taught the difference between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy one. . . . “I think women who are intrigued by this book have to ask themselves, what is it about this guy that appeals to you?” said Pam Johnson, Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  “Being willing to turn over the keys to your life to someone who wants to dominate and control you has a very high price tag.

valentinemosaic 150x150 Happy St. Valentine’s DayEmphasis added. St. Valentine’s Day is, of course, a holiday that is more than about romantic love, and is deeply rooted in Christian tradition.  The day commemorates one or more Christian martyrs named Valentinus.  One of the better known stories is of Saint Valentinus of Rome, who was a priest and physician.  St. Valentius was imprisoned for performing weddings for Christian soldiers who were forbidden to marry.  Emperor Claudius Gothicus decreed that his soldiers could not marry. The Emperor believed that unmarried soldiers were better fighters because married soldiers might be more concerned about what would happen to their wives and families if they were killed in battle. I guess that the Roman Veterans Administration was even worse than ours. Although the Emperor Nero married several men and ancient Rome was a morally degenerate society, the Church then considered marriage as sacred between one man and one woman for life, and encouraged marriage. Accordingly, St. Valentinus secretly married the soldiers.  When he was caught, St. Valentinus was imprisoned and tortured.  The story is told that one of his jailers was Asterius, whose daughter was blind.  St. Valentinus prayed with the young girl, and she regained her sight.  As a result, Asterius became a Christian.  In 269 A.D., St. Valentinus was sentenced to die through a three-part execution that involved beating, stoning, and finally, decapitation because of his stand in support of traditional Christian marriage. In one of his last acts, he wrote a letter to the daughter of Asterius, and signed his letter “from your Valentine.”  St. Valentine’s Day is not merely about romantic love, as it should also remind us of God’s love.  Jesus commanded us to love God, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  For Christians, love is not something one earns; rather, it is given freely. So we can reasonably expect that St. Valentine’s Day might be accompanied by romantic dinners and cards, chocolates, roses and other flowers, and jewelry. But, on this St. Valentine’s Day, let us also remember the example of St. Valentinus who shows us that there could come a time when we might have to lay down our lives for what we believe about traditional Christian marriage. And as Ms. Baumgardner concluded in her essay, “Any relationship that dominates, degrades, and fails to nourish and cherish is nothing more than a work of fiction. When a woman learns to first love herself for who she is, there is no room for shades of gray.” Indeed.  Happy St. Valentine’s Day.

Planned Parenthood And Black History Month
Monday, February 9, 2015, 12:27 PM

February is Black History Month when we recognize the many contributions to American society made by African-Americans. All Americans should be proud of those contributions. Last week, on February 4th, we celebrated the 102nd birth anniversary of Rosa Parks, who has been called “the mother of the freedom movement” and “the first lady of civil rights.” From our nation’s founding, African-Americans have been active in the establishment of our country. As merely one example, in 1852, William Cooper Nell wrote Services of Colored Americans in the Wars of 1776 and 1812, and then three years later, published The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution. I commend these books to your reading as both are readily available.

472px MargaretSanger Underwood.LOC  150x150 Planned Parenthood And Black History MonthAlso “celebrating” Black History Month is Planned Parenthood (“PP”). As regular readers of Touchstone and Salvo magazines know, the founder of PP, Margaret Sanger was a vile racist and a proponent of eugenics who sought to eliminate the “unfit.” In the so-called Negro Project, she opened a clinic in Harlem with the goal of preventing the birth of those she considered inferior or unfit, and to provide abortions as a “solution” to poverty. The pseudo-science of eugenics then influenced social policy and legislation. In the appalling 1927 Supreme Court decision of Buck v. Bell, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the nearly unanimous opinion in which Carrie Buck, a poor girl in a public institution in Virginia, was compelled to undergo forced sterilization. In the decision, Justice Holmes famously wrote that “three generations of imbeciles is enough.” Thus, Ms. Buck was sterilized against her will, and the eugenics movement used the Supreme Court’s decision to sterilize many thousands of people in our nation’s public hospitals. The decision legitimized eugenic sterilization laws in the United States, and dozens of states afterwards added new sterilization statutes. W.E.B. Du Bois served on the board of Sanger’s Harlem clinic. In 1899, Du Bois drew on interviews and census data to produce “The Philadelphia Negro: A Society Study.” Du Bois spent one year living in the neighborhood he wrote about, amid what he described as “an atmosphere of dirt, drunkenness, poverty, and crime.” He had disdain for many of his subjects, especially those he called “the dregs,” and described the large number of unmarried mothers, many of whom he characterized as “ignorant and loose.” But in addition to Du Bois, Sanger recruited the help of other famous African-Americans Mary McLeod Bethune and Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., to sell the Negro Project as a “solution” to poverty and high birth rates. Then, in 1965, the Assistant Secretary of Labor under President Johnson, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, wrote a government report entitled “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.” In his report, Moynihan cited sociologists and government surveys to underscore that the Negro community was doing badly, and its condition was probably “getting worse, not better.” His report’s main focus, however, was “the deterioration of the Negro family,” which he considered “the fundamental source of the weakness of the Negro community.”

PP, in its recent announcement celebrating Black History Month, acknowledged its “complicated” history regarding the black community. As just one example, in Sanger’s December 19, 1939, letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, she wrote:

We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.

Emphasis added. Strikingly as it may seem, Sanger’s work earned praise from the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who received the Margaret Sanger Award for 1966. This award is PP’s highest honor, and is given to recognize leadership in reproductive health rights. So, yes, PP indeed has a complicated history with the black community.

At the time of Moynihan’s report, he despaired that the illegitimacy rates for black children was approaching twenty-five percent. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”), the equivalent rate in 2013 was 71.5 percent. Moreover, since 1973, of the almost 60 million abortions in the United States, more than 16 million abortions have been performed on African-American women. It is estimated that, on average, 1,876 black pregnancies are aborted each day. According to the CDC, African-American women are more than four times more likely to have an abortion than non-Hispanic white women. In 2012, more black babies were aborted in New York City than were born, and the aborted black babies were 42.4% of all abortions performed in that city. Who can even begin to fathom how many Ben Carsons, Colin Powells, Tony Evans, and Maya Angelous were among those sixteen million. But now, you can no longer say that you didn’t know. During this Black History Month, please pray in particular for the clear witness of churches in black communities across our country, and that the scourge of genocide of black babies will end.

Professor Robert P. George and Raif Badawi
Friday, February 6, 2015, 12:43 PM

George Professor Robert P. George and Raif BadawiLast Saturday, January 31, 2015, I had the privilege to attend “Speak Out Illinois 2015,” a conference of pro-life activists that was held in suburban Chicago. The conference was attended by approximately 600 persons, including large numbers of young people, and was organized by a number of pro-life organizations. At the conclusion of the conference, a memorial was held for the almost 60 million babies that have been murdered in the womb in the United States since the Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court in 1973. The keynote speech was given by Professor Robert P. George of Princeton University, a great friend of Touchstone and Salvo magazines. In his powerful address, entitled “Bearing Faithful Witness to Life and Facing Persecution,” he echoed the words of Dr. Martin Luther King in his last sermon preached the evening before his assassination. That night, Dr. King said, God had “allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land.” Professor George reminded his hearers that he also sees that the days of abortion in the United States are coming to an end. (May it be so, Lord Jesus.) Professor George has been described by the New York Times as America’s “most influential conservative Christian thinker.” Supreme Court Justice and former Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan praised Professor George as “one of the nation’s most respected legal theorists,” saying that the respect he earned was due to “his sheer brilliance, the analytic power of his arguments, the range of his knowledge,” and “a deeply principled conviction, a profound and enduring integrity.” The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that Professor George “echoes the conspiracy theories of the radical right.” Well, I suppose that not even Professor George can win them all.

Among the many responsibilities of Professor George, in 2012, he was appointed to the federal United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, and in 2013, he was elected Chairman of the Commission. In this context, Professor George, along with six others, have offered to take 100 lashes each for Saudi blogger Raif Badawi. Mr. Badawi was sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting his country’s clerics. Mr. Badawi is Moslem, and has already received his first 50 lashes. However, his next round of flogging has been postponed as the wounds from his first lashing haven’t fully healed.

In the letter to the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, the writers stated:

Compassion, a virtue honored in Islam as well as in Christianity, Judaism, and other faiths, is defined as “suffering with another.” We are persons of different faiths, yet we are united in a sense of obligation to condemn and resist injustice and to suffer with its victims, if need be. We therefore make the following request. If your government will not remit the punishment of Raif Badawi, we respectfully ask that you permit each of us to take 100 of the lashes that would be given to him. We would rather share in his victimization than stand by and watch him being cruelly tortured. If your government does not see fit to stop this from happening, we are prepared to present ourselves to receive our share of Mr. Badawi’s unjust punishment.

In addition to Professor George, the six others include Mary Ann Glendon, member of the Board, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, M. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Professor Daniel Mark, Department of Political Science, Villanova University, Hannah Rosenthal, CEO, Milwaukee Jewish Federation, Eric Schwartz, Dean, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, and Katrina Lantos Swett, president of Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice. The seven include Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, Christians, Jews, and a Moslem.

In recent weeks, the Church celebrated the life of Saint Paulinus the Merciful, Bishop of Nolanum, who died in 431 A.D. Church history teaches us that when the Vandal barbarians invaded Italy and carried many off into captivity, Bishop Paulinus used church funds to ransom the captives, but when he did not have enough money to ransom the son of a certain poor widow, the Bishop went voluntarily into slavery in the place of this young man. The Lord Jesus taught us in John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Thank you, Professor George, for your clear Christian witness, and for your offer to stand with Mr. Badawi in the tradition of Saint Paulinus. Please pray for Raif Badawi during his time of suffering, and for the many Christians in Saudi Arabia who live under the tyranny and brutality of their clerics.

The Moral Courage of Chief Justice Roy Moore
Tuesday, February 3, 2015, 11:09 AM

iStock 000025529771 Small 166x300 The Moral Courage of Chief Justice Roy MooreThe Honorable Callie Virginia Smith “Ginny” Granade, a federal judge in Alabama appointed by President George W. Bush in 2001, recently ruled in favor of two women who had challenged Alabama’s refusal to recognize their California marriage. In this case, the plaintiffs, Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand, testified that they were a “couple” for more than a decade, and that they had a child together (with the help of a sperm donor). An Alabama court refused to recognize Ms. Searcy as the child’s adoptive parent because Alabama state law does not recognize the lesbians as spouses. The attorney for the ladies said that they were ecstatic at Judge Granade’s ruling. Judge Granade held that both the Alabama adoption statute and the 2006 amendment to the Alabama Constitution prohibiting homosexual and lesbian marriages, which incidentally passed with the support of a staggering 81 percent of Alabama voters, were in violation of the equal-protection clause of the United States Constitution.

In response to Judge Granade’s legal grenade, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore declared that he will not recognize her ruling, and called upon Governor Robert Bentley to do the same. In Chief Justice Moore’s letter to Governor Bentley, he states that the United States Constitution gives no jurisdiction or authority whatsoever to any branch of the federal government to dictate marriage policy to the individual states under Article I, Section 8. Yes, the word “marriage” does not occur in the U.S. Constitution and the federal government is given no grant of authority in the matter of marriage. Surprisingly to some, the 14th Amendment, upon which the Honorable Judge Granade based her ruling, was about slavery and not marriage. In fact, it is important to remember that homosexual conduct was a crime everywhere in the United States at the time that the 14th Amendment was adopted in 1868. Therefore, Chief Justice Moore correctly concluded that the definition of marriage is reserved to the states, and to the states alone, in accordance with the 10th Amendment. Justice Moore writes, “As Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, I will continue to recognize the Alabama Constitution and the will of the people overwhelmingly expressed in the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment.” Forty-four federal judges have imposed their immoral views on the citizens of 21 states who had voted to preserve traditional marriage. These 44 unelected federal judges disenfranchised the will of tens of millions of voters. As one option, Governor Bentley can defy Judge Granade’s unconstitutional federal ruling by forbidding county clerks to issue marriage licenses in violation of the state constitution. Alliance Defending Freedom has an army of attorneys pledged to defend on a pro bono basis any state or county clerks who refuse to issue homosexual or lesbian “marriage” licenses on grounds of conscience. And should local state judges be forced to “marry” homosexual and lesbian couples in civil ceremonies against their consciences? The United States Supreme Court will ultimately decide by this coming June whether to overturn bans on homosexual and lesbian marriages that have been previously upheld in Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, and Ohio, and whether homosexuals and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry one another everywhere in the United States. (Of course, if homosexuals and lesbians prevail, then on the same reasoning, any concealed firearm permit issued in any jurisdiction should also be legal nationwide without restriction. But I digress.)

Yesterday, the Eastern Church celebrated the martyrdom of Bassus, Eusebius, Eutychius and Basilides at Nicomedia in 303 A.D. History tells us that they had been courtiers of the Roman emperor Diocletian, but they were also witnesses of the suffering and martyrdom of the local bishop Theopemptos. Afterwards, the courtiers came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of their decision to follow Christ, these government officials were tortured and put to death. We increasingly live in an America that grows more hostile daily to traditional moral values, and where it becomes more difficult to live our daily lives by the dictates of our Christian faith and conscience. Please pray for Governor Bentley and Chief Justice Moore, and for the many local judges and county officials who may have to pay a price for the sake of conscience as did the blessed martyrs of Nicomedia. Many of these officials in Alabama are of our household of faith.

Obama’s Casual Musings in India on Life and Religious Liberty
Thursday, January 29, 2015, 9:20 AM

RT india protest barack obama jt 150124 16x9 992 300x169 Obama’s Casual Musings in India on Life and Religious LibertyPresident Obama was in New Delhi, India, last week to celebrate India’s Republic Day. During his visit, he spoke to an audience of mostly younger people, and said the following in his remarks, “I realize that the sight of an American president as your chief guest on Republic Day would have once seemed unimaginable.  But my visit reflects the possibilities of a new moment.” He then observed that he was the first American president to participate in India’s Republic Day, and then boasted, “And I’m the first American president to come to your country twice!”

The president went on to speak about injustice in the United States and how he has been the victim of injustice in his own personal life. According to media reports, in his short address, he referred to himself only 118 times. He declared that while he and Mrs. Obama have been strengthened by their Christian faith, he also observed, “But there have been times where my faith has been questioned — by people who don’t know me — or they’ve said that I adhere to a different religion, as if that were somehow a bad thing.” (Mangling Hamlet only a bit, I say, “Alas, poor Barack, I knew him well!) Mr. Obama then added that “too often religion has been used to tap into those darker impulses as opposed to the light of God,” and cited the lone-wolf attack several years ago on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. He declared to his audience that “every person has the right to practice their faith how they choose, or to practice no faith at all, and to do so free of persecution and fear and discrimination.” There is, of course, a deeply perverse irony in that it is his Administration that is suing Roman Catholic nuns to force them to comply with Obamacare’s birth control mandate.

Mr. Obama also talked about inequality in both India and the United States. I have visited India, but economic inequality between the two nations is hardly comparable. In India, three of five people live on less than $2 per day. Tens of millions never go into any building for any reason; they are born, live, and die on the streets. According to a recent report by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, India accounts for approximately 60 percent of the world’s residents without toilets. India’s 50 percent open-defecation rate is more than twice the rate of Pakistan, and is much greater than the 3 percent and 1 percent rates in Bangladesh and China, respectively.

During his speech, Mr. Obama complained, “Even as America has blessed us with extraordinary opportunities, there were moments in my life where I’ve been treated differently because of the color of my skin.” I don’t know whether many so-called Dalits were present to hear Mr. Obama’s speech. Under the Hindu caste system, Dalits are regarded as “untouchable,” and are fit only for the most menial work. However, missiologists estimate that 70 to 80 percent of the millions of Christians in India are Dalits. But if they did hear Mr. Obama’s speech, I am sure that they could relate totally to being treated differently because of the color of their skin and the condition of their birth. It is only sad to me that Mr. Obama did not say one word about the plight of our Christian brothers and sisters in India, Dalit or not, who suffer great persecution. Although Mr. and Mrs. Obama have, he said, been strengthened by their Christian faith, a word of encouragement to Christians in India could have been a blessing to them.

ISIS Delenda Est
Monday, January 26, 2015, 11:11 AM

In last week’s State of the Union (“SOTU”) address, Mr. Obama focused on domestic policy but glossed over many of the world’s troubled areas. In one example, earlier this year, Mr. Obama cited American policy in Yemen as a “model” in fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (“ISIS”). However, in recent days, Shiite rebels aligned with Iran overthrew the Yemeni government. Yemen borders Saudi Arabia, and therefore Iran and its allies now directly threaten Saudi Arabia. The SOTU, however, did not mention one word about Yemen. Further, Mr. Obama declared progress in stopping Iran’s nuclear program. However, as I have written on these pages, the progress actually consists of an extension of negotiations on an agreement with Iran, after the previous round failed, and after billions of dollars have been released to Iran, with billions more to be sent in the coming months. Mr. Obama did briefly mention the Ebola epidemic of West Africa in the SOTU, but did not make any reference to Boko Haram, the radical Islamic terrorist group in Nigeria, which is expanding and committing ever-greater atrocities against Christian believers in northern and central Nigeria. Boko Haram has even announced its own caliphate modeled on ISIS. This is not to suggest that Mr. Obama pretends that no threats exist to world peace. In the SOTU, he did declare that “climate change” is an “immediate risk to our national security.” (No, I am not making this up.)

I have written on these pages about the war on women by ISIS, and how they are enslaving thousands of Christian and Yazidi women in areas under their control. Further, under the barbaric theology of ISIS, thirteen teenage boys in the Iraqi city of Mosul were recently executed for the “crime” of watching the Asian Cup soccer match between Iraq and Jordan. Media reports indicate that the teens were arrested and then publicly shot to death by machine guns. The boys’ bodies “remained lying in the open and their parents were unable to withdraw them for fear of murder” by ISIS. Moreover, this past weekend, ISIS beheaded one of two Japanese hostages it held because Japan refused to pay a $200 million ransom. ISIS released a photo in which one of the hostages, Kenji Goto, a journalist, is in shackles and holds a photo of what appeared to be the decapitated body of the other hostage, Haruna Yukawa. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the killing of Mr. Yukawa as an “outrageous and unforgivable act of violence,” and demanded the immediate release of the other hostage, Mr. Goto. Finally, Jurgen Todenhofer, the first Western reporter to embed with ISIS (and not be killed), spoke to Al Jazeera about his time with ISIS. Mr. Todenhofer said the following:

I always asked [ISIS fighters] about the value of mercy in Islam, but I didn’t see any mercy in their behavior. Something that I don’t understand at all is the enthusiasm in their plan of religious cleansing, planning to kill the non-believers. They also will kill Muslim democrats because they believe that non-ISIL-Moslems put the laws of human beings above the commandments of God.

Mr. Todenhofer then said how shocked he was about how “willing to kill” ISIS fighters are and even ready to commit genocide. “They were talking about [killing] hundreds of millions [of non-Moslems]. They were enthusiastic about it, and I just cannot understand that,” said Mr. Todenhofer. Emphasis added.

Well, we can no longer say that we were not warned about ISIS. In the 2nd century B.C., during the latter years of the Punic War against Carthage, Roman senator Cato the Elder would conclude his speeches with a short statement commonly abbreviated as Carthago delenda est, which is translated as “Carthage must be destroyed.” Carthage had been defeated twice before by Rome, but after each defeat, Carthage rebuilt its forces and engaged in further warfare against the Roman Republic. In his statement, Cato reminded the senate and people of Rome that a peace treaty with Carthage would never be enough. History records that in 146 B.C., after the Third Battle of Carthage, the city was razed (and according to popular legend, strewn with salt so that nothing could grow there ever again), and its entire population sold into slavery. Carthage never again posed a threat to Rome. Perhaps Mr. Obama in his Indonesian schools or at Punahou School in Hawaii did not focus much on ancient Roman history, which is a pity. But I say, ISIS delenda est.

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