A Tale of Two Speakers
No matter how frustrating things are on Capitol Hill, we can all be grateful for one thing: Nancy Pelosi is no longer in charge. Regardless of the GOP's flaws, the former Speaker reminded pro-lifers how much worse the leadership could be. During a press conference yesterday, the House Minority Leader picked a fight with the men on the Judiciary Committee for passing Rep. Trent Franks's (R-Ariz.) bill onto the House floor. First, Pelosi accused them of sexism -- "All the people who voted for the bill were men," she insisted. (Only because there are no Republican women on the committee!) Then, she took aim at the legislation, Franks's Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, for somehow "disrespecting" the "health and safety of American women."
That's interesting, since studies show that late-term abortions -- which this measure bans -- are actually more dangerous to mothers. Complications, like uterine perforations, are much more common in late-term abortions because the baby is so much bigger. Far from "disrespecting" women, this bill protects them! Families like Jennifer Morbelli's, who is still mourning the loss of the bright kindergarten teacher, wish a law like Franks's had been in place when their daughter was pregnant. Jennifer died in February of complications to a late-term abortion, and her parents, who say they "wake up every day in the valley of darkness and pain," are shattered.
John McCormack of the Weekly Standard pushed Rep. Pelosi to explain. Responding to the topic that she raised, McCormack asked the former Speaker about the "moral difference" between late-term abortions and the gruesome newborn killings of Kermit Gosnell. With an air of complete disgust, she fired back, "You're probably enjoying that question a lot, I can see you savoring it. Let me just tell you this," she said, seething, "What was done in Philadelphia was reprehensible and everybody condemned it. For them to decide to disrespect a judgment a woman makes about her reproductive health is reprehensible. Next question."
Undeterred, McCormack pressed harder. "What's the moral difference? I just asked a simple question." Angry, Pelosi responded, "This is not the issue. They are saying that there's no abortion. It would make it a federal law that there would be no abortion in our country. You're taking the extreme case." Maybe Pelosi needs to pass this bill to find out what's in it, because H.R. 1797 does not, in any way, ban all abortions in America. Like most liberals, she misrepresented the legislation because she knows she can't win the debate on the merits. Strong majorities of Americans agree with the Judiciary Committee that abortion should be outlawed at the 20-week mark when babies can feel the excruciating pain.
Obviously, the questioning hit a little too close to home for Pelosi, whose party desperately wants to distance itself from the future Gosnells their abortion culture is creating. When she couldn't lie her way out of the debate, Pelosi tried to dodge it by invoking faith and motherhood. "I've responded to you to the extent that I'm going to respond to you. Because I want to tell you something. As the mother of five children, my oldest child was 6 years old the day I brought my 5th child home from the hospital, as a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me."
Sacred ground? Let's face it. The only ground "sacred" to Nancy Pelosi is the U.S. Supreme Court, where abortion-on-demand became the law of the land.
Fortunately for pro-lifers, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is, in fact, a practicing Catholic, and when he was asked why the House was "wasting time" on Franks's bill, he stood his ground. "Listen, jobs continues to be our number-one concern. And while we continue to be focused on it, there are other important issues that we have to deal with. And after the Kermit Gosnell case and the publicity that it received, I think the legislation is appropriate. And I hope those who have voted against such proposals in the past will change their minds." It's never the wrong time to do what's right. Remind your representative of that and urge his support on H.R. 1797!
Remington Steels Himself for Controversy
Of all the graduation controversies we've covered this year, Remington Reimer's may be the most shocking. The Texas valedictorian, who is still celebrating his acceptance to the U.S. Naval Academy, was stunned to hear that his high school principal would try to sabotage those plans after Reimer strayed from his "approved" remarks during graduation. When the Joshua High School senior started talking about his faith, the school surprised everyone by cutting off his microphone. As outrageous as that was, principal Mark Cochran was just getting warmed up. The next day, he warned Remington's parents that he was going to send a letter to the Naval Academy disparaging Reimer's character.
At that point, the Reimers contacted our good friends at the Liberty Institute, who have demanded the school's apology. "The principal said he wanted to try to ruin him for what he did," attorney Hiram Sasser said, "for talking about the Constitution and his faith." Although Cochran has retracted his threat, he hasn't responded to Liberty Institute's request for a meeting, public apology, and assurances that this kind of religious harassment would never happen to another student.
If Cochran doesn't respond by June 24, most experts believe the Reimers have a slam-dunk case. Interestingly enough, a new Texas law -- the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act -- specifically protects the speech of students who speak during graduation. "Since the valedictorian's address occurs in a limited public forum," FRC's Ken Klukowski explains, "it violates [not only the First Amendment but] Texas law to require a speaker to say only whatever words the government approves... So legally, Joshua High School and its employees are in serious trouble."
To hear more about the case, check out yesterday's edition of "Washington Watch" with Liberty Institute General Council Jeff Mateer. In the meantime, congratulations to Remington for showing the kind of courage that the U.S. Naval Academy would be lucky to have in its 2017 class.
Happy Father's Day!
The book of Proverbs tells us that, "Children's children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father." I'm still a few years a way from having grandchildren, but I've seen enough photographs of my friends and associates' grandchildren to get the picture!
As for the second portion of Solomon's insightful proverb -- the glory or significance that a child gains from their father -- I can speak to that. This Sunday as we celebrate Fathers' Day, I'm grateful for a dad that not only helped bring me into the world, but for a father that has helped guide me through this world. I cannot begin to imagine navigating this treacherous minefield we call life without the words of wisdom and the lessons taught by example from my Dad. Looking around at the cultural chaos, the political corruption, the spiritual compromise, and the breakdown of the family, many ask, "How do we turn this nation around?" "Where do we even start?"
I don't want to oversimplify the complexity of the challenges we face, but the biggest and most significant impact can be made by men who father children, simply being dads. Give your children something to glory in. To all of those who, like my Dad, have made investing in their children a top priority in life -- and to those men who have stepped in to fill the "dad void" in lives of others -- this weekend we celebrate you. Happy Father's Day!
** If you're in the Baton Rouge area, join us at Greenwell Baptist Church this Sunday. I'll be preaching a special Fathers' Day sermon at the 8:30 a.m. and 10:30a.m. services. This week's message is titled, "Life by God's Design: In the Home." Worship with us at 19421 Greenwell Springs Road, Greenwell Springs, Louisiana 70739!
*** In honor of Sunday, don't miss a special op-ed by FRC's Bob Morrison, "Sleep with My Fathers" about America's father, George Washington.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.