Dems Still Gunning for Second Amendment
President Obama is always stressing the importance of Republicans and Democrats working together--but he probably wishes they hadn't picked his gun control legislation to start trying. In a truly bipartisan vote, the Senate spoiled the White House's chances for eroding the Second Amendment--and privacy rights--through a government overreach on firearm background checks.
An angry and unpresidential Obama emerged in the Rose Garden shortly after the vote (54-46) to berate the measure's opponents, which included more Democrats (5) than GOP supporters (4). "All in all," the President fumed, "this was a pretty shameful day forWashington." Senate liberals, who baited members with a gallery full of Newtown and Aurora families, quickly learned that it would take more than emotional manipulation to win leaders to their side. Under the Pat Toomey-Joe Manchin plan, the government would ultimately do more to burden gun owners than reduce violence.
Essentially, the measure would have expanded the background check policy to include gun shows and Internet sales--giving the Justice Department broad powers to regulate guns even more strictly. One troubling section would put innocent sellers at risk of five years in prison for committing a crime that they didn't know was a crime. As Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) pointed out, if criminals aren't following current laws, why would they follow this one? It's predicated, he said, "on the assumption that [criminals] will single out this one law to comply with."
In the aftermath of horrible tragedies like Newtown, the government desperately wants to do something--even if that something is the wrong thing. There seems to be this notion, at least among liberals, that more laws will protect us--but as we all witnessed in Boston, that isn't necessarily the case. The government can't make us safer until it recognizes that the problem isn't the instruments of violence--but the environment of it. Stronger background checks wouldn't have prevented the deaths of three people at the finish line on Monday, any more than it would have stopped Floyd Corkins from walking into our lobby and shooting Leo Johnson.
If Congress wants to stop these tragedies, then it has to address the government's own hostility to the institution of the family and organizations that can address the real problem: the human heart. As I've said before, America doesn't need gun control, it needs self-control. And a Congress that actively discourages it--through abortion, family breakdown, sexual liberalism, or religious hostility--is only compounding the problem.
Of course, some will say--and I agree--that transforming the culture is the church's job. But that doesn't mean that there isn't a place at the table for Christians in the gun debate. Not only did Jesus tolerate weapons, he instructed His disciples to buy them! In Luke 22:36, we read, "He said to them... if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one." Jesus did rebuke Peter for being too quick on the draw (John 18:11), recognizing that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal-but spiritual.
As Christians living in very dangerous times, we not only have a right--but a responsibility--to protect our families from threats of violence, which only increase as America's focus moves from personal control to more government control.
Local Florist Isn't Wilting under Pressure
Not everything is coming up roses for Washington florist Barronelle Stutzman--but the conservative owner of Arlene's Flowers can take some comfort in the support she's receiving from local residents. After politely declining to provide the arrangements for the "wedding" of a longtime homosexual customer, Arlene's has been overwhelmed by orders and sales from pro-marriage clients. The state's entire conservative movement seems to be rallying around Barronelle, reigniting the debate on same-sex "marriage" that Washingtonians legalized last November.
And while 54% of residents voted to redefine marriage, it seems not all of them considered the consequences. For businesses like Arlene's, the fallout is almost immediate since the law fails to protect anyone with religious objections. Although churches and faith-based groups are exempt, the most vulnerable targets--people in the public marketplace--are already staring down fines and lawsuits.
Our good friend Joseph Backholm, executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, tried to warn voters of the dangers of same-sex "marriage" last year. Now, he's turning his attention to the next biggest step: stopping the persecution of conscientious objectors. His FPIW is coming to Barronelle's aid, establishing a special legal defense fund for her suit (donate here!) and exploring legislation that would ensure this same harassment doesn't happen to someone else. "People don't want to have to pass some philosophical litmus test to participate in this society," Joseph told the Seattle Times.
Let this be a warning to anyone who thinks that same-sex "marriage" won't affect them. Arlene's Flowers, the Aloha Bed and Breakfast, Masterpiece Cakes, Dr. Angela McCaskill, Elane Photography, Chick-fil-A, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Wildflower Inn, Hands on Originals, and the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association would beg to disagree.
Putting on our Sunday Best...
On May 23, the most important vote of the day won't take place in Congress but in Grapevine, Texas. There, thousands of members of the Boy Scouts National Council will decide whether to stand strong on 103 years of principle--or cave in the face of ever increasing pressure. At stake is the BSA's membership policy, which for the sake of boys' safety and moral tradition, has always prohibited open homosexuality. Scouting has never been about sexuality or political correctness. But as the culture moves farther away from truth, even the most principled organizations have entered a new time of testing. FRC and parents across the nation are fighting for the Scouts' most basic right: to build character in young boys with leaders they trust.
You can help by joining us for an important event called "Stand with Scouts Sunday." Together, we'll host a nationwide simulcast to explain the importance of the Scouts' policy and why changing it would be disastrous for the BSA as a whole. For more information on the event, or to find out how you can host a showing, click over to our website, StandWithScoutsSunday.org. If you know someone who's wrestling with the issue of homosexuality in the Scouts, please encourage them to read FRC's special brochure or share my new op-ed, "Scouts Must Defend Long-held Convictions." Most importantly, tune in May 5 at 7:00 p.m. (EDT). The future of Scouting depends on it!
** Don't miss special guest host Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) tomorrow on "Washington Watch with Tony Perkins!" For more information on the show or to listen live, click over to TonyPerkins.com.
*** Slate columnist Jillian Keenan did conservatives a huge favor by confirming what we've said all along: that the Left's real goal isn't same-sex "marriage" but any kind of marriage! To find out more, read Ken Klukowski's latest Breitbart article, "Liberal Magazine Admits Gay Marriage Leads to Polygamy--and Endorses Both."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.