Family Research Council


Senate Dems Refuse to Grin on Barrett

September 07, 2017

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) isn't on the Judiciary Committee -- but he was certainly channeling his religious intolerance to the Democrats who are. In an eerie encore of Sanders's fiery exchange with Trump budget pick Russell Vought, California liberal Dianne Feinstein (D) pounced on the president's nominee to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Amy Coney Barrett, implying (not so subtly) that Christians have no place in public service.

Barrett, a distinguished professor at Notre Dame who clerked for the late Antonin Scalia, was called "controversial" for subscribing to a faith that 91 percent of the current Congress shares. Even so, Feinstein could barely contain her disgust at Barrett's beliefs. "You are controversial," she told the mother of seven. "You are controversial because many of us that have lived our lives as women really recognize the value of finally being able to control our reproductive systems..." Then, in a soundbite that's probably already making the rounds as a Star Wars meme, Feinstein channeled her inner Yoda, insisting, "the dogma lives loudly within you."

"Why is it," she asked rhetorically, that so many of us on this side have this very uncomfortable feeling that dogma and law are two different things -- and I think that whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma. The law is totally different. And I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that's of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for -- for years in this country... I assume if both of you are on [President Trump's Supreme Court prospects] lists, that you would be a no vote on Roe. That puts a number of us, very honestly, in layman's language, in a very difficult position."

Sounds like the dogma lives within Feinstein too -- not just her anti-religious dogma, but one that honors abortion-at-any-price. To her credit, Barrett replied (like Neil Gorsuch before her) that her beliefs would never supersede the law. "It's never appropriate for a judge to impose that judge's personal convictions on the law. I would never impose my own personal convictions on the law."

Of course, Feinstein's issue isn't that judges impose their personal values on the law -- after all, that's been the modus operandi of liberal judges for decades. Her concern is whose values they're imposing. To their distress, originalists like Barrett have spent their careers in deference to the Constitution and the democratic process. That's problematic for a party whose entire strategy rests on the courts rewriting the law to suit their purposes. Unlike the Left's judicial nominees, Barrett understands her role. And for voters, who've been stunned to watch judges discover things like abortion and same-sex marriage in the invisible ink of the Constitution, Barrett's philosophy is a welcome one.

In a gratuitous nod to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) tried to paint Barrett as a hater, linking her to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), one of SPLC's favorite targets. At issue was a lecture the Notre Dame professor gave at ADF on constitutional law. "When you actually take a look at ADF's work," Franken critiqued, "it's clear the group's real purpose is to advance an extreme view of society. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, describes ADF as [one]." It was a desperate attempt to try and prop up the liberal activist organization whose connections with domestic terrorism are raising lots of questions about why the mains stream media uses them as a source. ADF is one of the largest religious liberty legal groups in the country. To suggest that speaking to them is like endorsing the neo-Nazis is outrageous. "I had no reason to think it was a hate group and that was certainly not my experience," Barrett replied.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), meanwhile, thought it was the Senate's business to find out just how religious Barrett is. "Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?" he probed (seconds after insisting that "going into a person's religion is not the right thing to do in every circumstance"). Trump's nominee responded without flinching. "If you're asking whether I'm a faithful Catholic, I am -- although I would stress that my own personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear on the discharge of my duties as a judge."

As Christians, including the 485 self-described ones in the 115th Congress, our light is supposed to shine. In order to meet this new standard the Left is working hard to impose across all levels of society, every believer would have to hide that light under a bushel. That's a direct attack on religious freedom -- one that no American, least of all a U.S. senator, should tolerate. A person's faith should in no way disqualify them for public service. But unfortunately, despite the uproar after Sanders's memorable rant that Christians are not "who this country is supposed to be about," the modern-day inquisition continues. At least one conservative, Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.), came to Barrett's defense, apologizing that "some of the questioning that you have been subjected to today seems to miss some of these fundamental constitutional protections we all have."

Join us in supporting the religious liberty of not just Amy Barrett, but every American, by signing our petition to the U.S. Senate, urging it not to oppose nominees based on faith. Then, check out my interview with Fox News's Tucker Carlson about conservatives' open letter to the media about Al Franken's friends at SPLC.


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Be Fruitful and Multiply... the Child Tax Credit

September 07, 2017

President Trump has joked that his daughter is proof he can't be that bad of a guy -- and on issues like tax reform, having Ivanka around certainly helps. For the last two years, the young mom has been helping to drive her dad's plan, especially when it comes to helping families afford the care they'd like to provide for their children.

On the campaign trail, Ivanka was a regular fixture on the issue. "At the heart of this policy," she explained in a thoughtful op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, "is the belief that every parent should have the freedom to make the best decisions for his or her family. My father is prepared to chart a new course that promotes strong families and celebrates their individual needs; one that honors, respects and empowers both working and stay-at-home mothers and caregivers." With the White House teeing up major tax reform in Congress, Ivanka is putting the spotlight where it belongs: on families.

At a meeting of conservative groups yesterday, the president's daughter reiterated her commitment to a plan that would give parents the flexibility they need to make the best decision for their children. For years, liberals have implied through that moms who sacrifice and care for their kids themselves are somehow less valuable than moms who work for pay. But why does the tax code have to take sides at all? Why not give parents the ability to decide what's best for their own family? Government doesn't know best -- and it certainly doesn't do best when it comes to children.

"This administration is pushing for the largest child tax credit possible," Ivanka told the leaders assembled. The White House, she went on, "would also like to see it be made refundable against payroll taxes, so that more lower income families can fully benefit from the credit." FRC, who was the first to lobby for a child tax credit, has been eager to increase it. Right now, the IRS starts tapering off the tax relief credit based on your income and number of kids. Wednesday, Ivanka hinted that she'd like to see the credit doubled, potentially to $2,000 per child. "The issue of child care was central to the campaign and remains a key priority for this administration. This administration is committed to keeping working families at the forefront of our agenda."

As former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum has said, families should be viewed as "the ultimate small business in America." As FRC's research bears out, the intact married family is the most powerful economic engine there is. But lately, there's been an erosion of the openness to children -- which is driven by at least two things: the radical sexual revolution we're experiencing (courtesy of groups like Planned Parenthood) and government policies that deemphasize family and increase dependency. We can't wait for the economy to get better to focus on the family, we need to focus on the family to get the economy healthy. Thank goodness the Trumps get it!


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


A Riskier Business for Abortion?

September 07, 2017

Abortion may be debatable, but safety shouldn't be. Unfortunately, liberals in Kentucky don't see it that way. There, radical groups like Planned Parenthood are joining a suit to keep the state's only abortion clinic from adopting the legislature's 19-year-old safety standards. Instead of giving women protection from profit-first abortionists, liberals want to subject mothers to clinics with looser regulations than a public pool.

Since 1998, when Kentucky first passed their requirements, most abortion centers chose to close their doors rather than give women the reliable care they deserve. Now, EMW Women's Surgical Center is taking that fight to court, where they hope to stop Kentucky from becoming the only state without an abortion center. If that happens, conservatives argue, it will be the clinics' fault -- not pro-lifers'. "[The requirements] are important measures for ensuring women have the proper life-saving procedures in place in the event of an emergency," said a spokeswoman for Governor Matt Bevin's (R) office. "Essentially all health-care facilities in Kentucky are required to have such agreements, and it is telling that the abortion industry believes that it alone should be exempt."

Instead, groups like Planned Parenthood want to send women back to the dark ages of health care, where abortionists can continue cutting corners on basic safety to save a buck. All the law requires is that these facilities have transfer agreements with a local hospital and an ambulance service in the event of medical emergency. But even that's too much for abortion centers, who insist there's no "medical justification" for the standards.

Jennifer Morbelli's family would beg to differ. She bled to death in an emergency room in Gaithersburg, Maryland when doctors couldn't get a hold of her abortionist. Transfer privileges like Kentucky's are absolutely vital because they let hospitals set rules on availability for consulting and expedited record-sharing in case of emergencies. There's nothing controversial about Kentucky's law to anyone except the far-Left. According to a survey from the Knights of Columbus last year, an overwhelming majority of Americans -- 81 percent -- support significant restrictions on abortion. This shouldn't be a pro-life or pro-choice issue. Women deserve access to safe and conscientous care, period.

If EMW Women's Surgical Center has the money to sue the state, then it has more than enough to make these arrangements. The truth is, they don't want to meet these standards. They'd rather put profits in their pockets than care in their clinics -- even if it means the difference between life or death for the women who enter them. Every abortion facility in Kentucky had the opportunity to upgrade their standards. The fact that so few were willing to says more about the industry than it does about the constitutionality of the law.


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.



Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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