At Prayer Breakfast, a Helping of Hypocrisy
It's a shame there weren't any mirrors in the ballroom of the Washington Hilton when President Obama spoke at yesterday's National Prayer Breakfast. He might have been forced to look into one when he spoke about the value of religious liberty, life, and human dignity. For the 3,500 in the audience, the President's remarks seemed almost surreal in the context of his five-year war on the same values he implored the crowd to defend. "We believe each of us is wonderfully made in the image of God," he said. "We believe in the inherent dignity of every person. No society can truly succeed unless it guarantees the rights of all its people..."
At times, the speech was so emphatically pro-life that it could have easily been mistaken for Obama's predecessor. "...[K]illing the innocent is never fulfilling God's will," he insisted, seemingly oblivious to the millions of dollars this administration has spent advocating for exactly that in abortion policy. "In fact," the President went on, "it is the ultimate betrayal of God's will." For a man as politically savvy as the President, it seems impossible that the White House could be this tone-deaf. Whether he meant it as a jab at pro-lifers or not, the irony hasn't been lost on conservatives.
Like most Americans, we think it's a tragedy that the President doesn't apply this same standard of human dignity on the million innocent Americans who die every year under the violence made possible by his abortion policies. The same man who said he didn't want his daughters "punished with a baby," who asked God to bless Planned Parenthood, and who celebrated last month's anniversary of Roe v. Wade is only condemning himself. And while most of the press from yesterday's breakfast was focused on the President's contradictions on life, his hypocrisy wasn't limited to the unborn. "Freedom of religion is under threat... around the world," President Obama warned, neglecting to mention that one of its greatest threats is coming directly from the Oval Office.
When President Obama highlights religious freedom, as he did yesterday, he is doing so as the leader of the most oppressive administration in American history. While he praises religious freedom as a "universal right," more than 90 plaintiffs are in court, fighting the White House over the loss of it under ObamaCare. While he insists that human dignity cannot survive without "the right of every person to practice their faith how they choose," millions of suffering Christians around the world beg the U.S. to intervene on their behalf. While he condemns the people who would use religion to hurt others because of "who they love," the government is forcing Christian businesses to close if they won't participate in same-sex "weddings." While he sends our troops into harm's way to defend this rich legacy, thousands of service members are too worried about the backlash to exercise it themselves.
From the comfort of a hotel ballroom, the President insists he has called out world leaders to do more to respect human rights. Yet when Congress pleads with the White House to intervene on behalf of the persecuted church in Iraq, Nigeria, China, Egypt, or Kenya after suicide bombers destroy churches and families, the response from the White House is always the same: silence.
For the first time in months, the President did acknowledge the plight of Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-turned-U.S.-citizen, who's been brutalized in prison for 18 months while his wife begs for his release on Capitol Hill. "And as we continue to work for his freedom, again we call on the Iranian government to release Pastor Abedini so he can return to the loving arms of his wife and children in Idaho."
While the President's words still hung in the air yesterday, Pew Research Center announced for the sixth consecutive year that Christians are the most oppressed religious group in the world. Believers in 110 countries were harassed for their faith -- a number that's steadily climbed since Pew started its analysis in 2008. The United States wasn't one of the countries, but if the President's policies are any indication, the odds are increasing every day.
Air Force Grounds Arkansas Marriage Curriculum
Of all the things a service member could complain about these days, a class on Christian marriage shouldn't be one of them. Try telling that to Little Rock Air Force base, where a group of airman made it their priority to destroy a seminar that could have helped and inspired dozens of military couples. Led by the anti-Christian crusaders at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), a fringe complained that "The Art of Marriage" video series scheduled for today's Winter Wingman Day was too controversial. Why? Because it suggested -- gasp! -- that "a godly marriage adds stability to our homes." (A fact FRC's MARRI research supports.)
On the condition of anonymity, one of the "offended" service members told the Air Force Times that "it sounded like they were saying, without a certain religion, your marriage is going to fail... That's not fair to everybody." They also complained that the materials weren't "diverse" enough now that the Pentagon celebrates homosexual couples. "We wanted to make sure it was inclusive of all relationships, to include same-sex relationships," 2nd Lt. Amanda Porter said in explaining the change to a course called "Marriage Care," which reportedly panders to the LGBT crowd too.
Unfortunately for the base's majority, this adventure in political correctness not only flies in the face of the social science research, but also the state's own law, which -- thanks to 74% of voters -- defines marriage as the union of a man and woman. Instead of tossing the curriculum that most couples preferred, organizers could have easily hosted two classes -- one overtly faith-based program sponsored by the base chaplain and another hosted by a secular psychologist. But, as usual, MRFF was trying to create a controversy where there wasn't one. Only this time, the victims of their intolerance are military couples, whose marriages face greater obstacles than anyone's. What a shame that MRFF can't put aside its petty agenda long enough to let the base help the people who need it most.
** Gambling may have landed on Congress's backburner, but that's about to change. Check out FRC's new column from Nick Frase on the importance of legislation in "Restore Ban on Online Gambling before It Harms More Families." Also, FRC made Utah headlines yesterday with the submission of our marriage brief in defense of the Beehive State's amendment. Read the Deseret News's take in "Family Research Council Weighs in on Utah Gay Marriage Case." And, in a perfect compliment to our brief, check out Peter Sprigg's new column in the Salt Lake Tribune, "States Should Retain Power to Define Marriage."
*** If you haven't seen Franklin Graham's take on the "Duck Dynasty" flap and the urgency for Christians to stand up for their beliefs, don't miss his must-read column, "Ducking the Issue" in the latest Decision magazine.
**** This Sunday evening, I'll be in Lubbock, Texas with the good folks at Heartline Women's Clinic. A few tickets are still available for purchase for $35 at heartlinelubbock.com/support. Heartline Women's Clinic offers free and confidential services to women in the South Plains of Texas. Heartline is funded exclusively through private donations and does not receive any state or federal funding. They provide services for free so that women can make a choice they can live with the rest of their lives.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.