Ain't That a Kick in the HUD...
The government may be desperate for homeless shelters -- but not desperate enough to give up their liberal agenda. Instead of partnering with ministries, the Obama administration seems bent on preventing them from helping the hurting. At Cincinnati's City Gospel Mission Roger Howell says the group has more needs than it has beds -- a problem it hoped to solve by moving into a brand new building. Unfortunately for Cincinnati's neediest, there's one thing in the organization's way: the federal government.
Under what are called "fair housing restrictions," the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is taking issue with the Mission's male-only housing rule. Fox News's Todd Starnes, who broke the story, said city officials have agreed to waive the requirement because of the Mission's faith motivations. HUD, on the other hand, has not. "We are a faith-based Christian organization," Howell explained. "That is crucial to all of our programs. All of our staff adhere to those beliefs and live it. That's important." They refuse to budge on those beliefs -- even if it means losing the building. "There's no question from our point of view that we will continue to operate our program in a way that is consistent with what we believe the Bible says -- and will live within the law."
Obviously, the organization isn't excluding people who need the Mission's help, since their doors are open to all men who need help regardless of their faith. They're simply asking for the right to operate out of their convictions in the safest environment possible. If anyone's discriminating, it's the federal government, which continues to try and crowd out the church despite its positive impact on the community. The City Gospel Mission is serving so many homeless men that it wants to expand its ministry. And what is HUD's response? To separate these people from the care they need -- all in the name of political correctness. If that's the Left's definition of compassion, this country is in real trouble.
Internet Becomes 'Enter Not' for Pro-Lifers
The internet may not take sides in the abortion debate, but Google sure has. The mega-corporation must be going to the Mozilla Firefox school of political censorship, where companies learn to silence speech in the name of liberal activism. Weeks after Mozilla canned its CEO for believing in natural marriage, Google is elbowing out other users: pro-lifers.
After heavy lobbying from NARAL Pro-Choice America, the search engine announced that it was banning ads from pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) for supposedly violating the policy on "deceptive advertising." NARAL, which makes a living ignoring the facts, had convinced the company the ads weren't "factually supportable" because they popped up when users searched for things like "abortion clinics."
But that's not because these centers were lying about their services -- it's because they, like most businesses, pay to have their ads pop up when certain keywords are used. It's no different than Coke, or any other competitor, bidding to advertise when people search for Pepsi. Like it or not, that's how the free market works. (Or, in Google's case, how it used to work.) Obviously, Google isn't -- nor can it be -- the authority on everything it advertises. It can't possibly monitor the effectiveness of every product, the accuracy of every ad, or vouch for every business's integrity.
That's why this is so outrageous. It's a targeted attack on a movement whose only crime is helping women and children. And unfortunately, it's an attack launched -- not from the government -- but the private sector, which should want to foster, not frustrate, free speech and free markets. Still, the company insisted, "We're constantly reviewing ads to ensure they comply with our [policies], which include strict guidelines related to ad relevance, clarity, and accuracy. If we find violations we'll take the appropriate actions -- including account disablings and blacklists -- as quickly as possible."
If that's the case, then why isn't Planned Parenthood blocked? They lie on their own website about providing mammograms -- yet Cecile Richards's group isn't subject to the same kind of scrutiny. Why? Because Google's decision isn't based on facts or fairness. It's just an excuse to marginalize and exclude the Christian conservative message.
A message, apparently, that continues to resonate with the American people. If it didn't, why would abortion groups go to such great lengths to silence it? As these centers reach out through technology with the truth about life, women are beginning to realize they have more options than abortion. And that's exactly what liberals are afraid of. While groups like Planned Parenthood are inventing "wars on women" to extort more money from taxpayers, pregnancy resource centers are actually helping actually helping more than two million people every year. And unlike Planned Parenthood, they don't do it with billion of government dollars but the charitable donations and the support of 71,000 volunteers.
For now, Google can sideline pregnancy resource centers, but it can't stop people from searching for the real facts on life -- and caring for people in need.
Open Kerry: State Chief Takes a Shot at Israel
You know you're a liberal extremist if even Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) disagrees with you. Secretary of State John Kerry showed himself to be exactly that after his outrageous comments last Friday before a closed door meeting of the Trilateral Commission, where he suggested that Israel could become an "apartheid state." Escalating what were already sky-high tensions between the two administrations, Kerry's remarks made him the target of Republicans and Democrats, who believe the former Senator crossed a line.
"The use of the word apartheid," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor fumed, "has routinely been dismissed as both offensive and inaccurate, and Secretary Kerry's use of it makes peace even harder to achieve." Boxer piled on, lashing out at her longtime colleague for refusing to exercise the diplomacy his job demands. "Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East," she told reporters, "and any linkage between Israel and apartheid is nonsensical and ridiculous."
For Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the comparison is damaging enough to cost Kerry his job. He called for the Secretary's resignation late Monday, accusing him of bowing to the international community at the expense of the "national security interests in the United States." "The fact that Secretary Kerry sees nothing wrong with making such a statement on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day demonstrates a shocking lack of sensitivity to the incendiary and damaging nature of his rhetoric," he pointed out. (Senator Cruz also joined me on Bill Bennett's "Morning in America" today, where I was guest hosting, to talk about the fiasco. Click here to listen.)
Unfortunately, this isn't an isolated incident for Hillary Clinton's successor. In his brief time as head of State, Kerry has only poured more gasoline on the Middle East fire, incensing our friends and bruising the already fragile relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu. Although Kerry tried to walk back his criticism, he stopped short of apologizing. Until he does, the controversy overIsraelonly confirms the worst about this administration's foreign policy: our allies don't trust us, and our enemies don't fear us.
** America is in difficult times: economically, morally, politically, but most of all spiritually. This Thursday's National Day of Prayer could be a pivotal moment for our nation. The theme for this year's observance is "One Voice United in Prayer," which is what FRC plans to be doing leading up to this year's events. On Wednesday morning, April 30, we'll be hosting a special, invitation-only National Day of Prayer Men's Prayer gathering, which you can watch by webcast here. The following day, Thursday, find the events in your area by clicking on the link to the NDP's Events page. If there's nothing planned near you, contact your local government and try to schedule one -- or encourage your pastor to open your church facilities for prayer services at noon on Thursday.
*** U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens doesn't think anyone has the right to own a gun. Find out what FRC's Ken Blackwell and former FRCer Ken Klukowski have to say about that in their new Breitbart piece, "Liberal Justice Talks Candidly about Rewriting the Constitution."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.