Little Spat on the Perry
Everything's bigger in Texas -- including political scrutiny. If anyone knows that, it's Texas Governor Rick Perry. The longtime Lone Star has taken his share of lumps from the press, despite a popular 14-year run that positioned the state as one of the most financially solvent in the country. Regardless of Texas's success, the media isn't eager to cut the former presidential candidate any slack -- as evidenced by this week's ridiculous overreaction to Perry's statement on homosexuality.
Speaking in San Francisco of all places, the Governor was asked about the decision by state Republicans to support reparative therapy for people with unwanted same-sex attractions. Never one to back away from the issue, Governor Perry made an argument liberals despise -- that homosexual behavior is a choice.
"Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that," he told the audience. "I may have the genetic coding that I'm inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way." While not everyone might have used that comparison, the underlying message is an important one: people are responsible for their behavior, regardless of their sexual preferences. Of course, that sends the Left into a blind rage because it implies that homosexuality is, as science suggests, about conduct -- not identity. If it's about conduct, then people can control it. Liberals would rather debate homosexuality as inborn so they can make all the convenient comparisons to civil rights and demand acceptance. In reality, the research does not show that anyone is "born gay" and instead explains homosexuality through a complex mix of developmental factors.
Obviously, homosexual attractions are not a "choice" in the vast majority of cases. But it should be insulting to people with same-sex attractions to claim that they're compelled to act on those attractions. Homosexual or heterosexual, people are responsible for their conduct. Have we come to the point that we are nothing more than our sexual urges? And that's essentially the point Governor Perry was trying to make. But unfortunately for him, there's no room for an honest conversation in Obama's America.
On Thursday, the Governor's office sent out a simple statement reaffirming its commitment to marriage and natural sexuality. "The Governor supports traditional marriage and believes that marriage is between one man and one woman. He has been clear on his position that each state has the right to define marriage to reflect the views of its citizens." Much as liberals despise that little thing called the First Amendment, Governor Perry has the freedom to have that opinion -- even if it isn't politically correct. And there are millions of Americans that are glad he isn't afraid to voice it.
Without Father Ado...
Moms can take on roles of teachers, nurses, chauffeurs, even janitors. But one job they can't fill is dad's. A lot about families has changed since the first Father's Day in 1910. But one thing hasn't -- and that's how important dads are. And that isn't just Hallmark's sentiment but researchers' too. As far back as World War II, psychologists were concerned about the effect of a father's absence on the home. They noticed that children weren't developing relationships as well as other kids whose dads were directly engaged.
Those patterns continue to this day, as researchers uncover how a father's involvement can make or break a child's future. In Sweden, a team at Uppsala University is getting plenty of attention for shedding even more light on the irreplaceable impact of fathers in lowering everything from rates of juvenile delinquency to teenage dropouts. Even early in life, they found that kids whose dads played with them, read to them -- even in disadvantaged homes -- had higher IQs and were less likely to smoke. Just reading a book to a seven-year-old daughter and asking 16-year-old girls about school "helped to prevent depression and other psychological ailments in kids decades later."
Daughters, especially, benefit from their dads protective and loving effect. Without it, they try to fill that void all the wrong ways -- with sexual risk-taking and substance abuse. In a great wrap-up by Janice Crouse, the Washington Times highlights some of the more jaw-dropping statistics about dads. Believe it or not, author Paul Raeburn wrote, "the death rate of infants when the father is not around prior to their birth is nearly four times higher than when the prospective father is present helping to support the pregnant mother."
Dads are not some premium accessory that some kids should have access to. There is absolutely no substitute for a hands-on, committed, loving dad. In a politically charged age like ours, some would have us believe a father's presence is unnecessary. They're wrong. Nothing can replace a father in a child's life. This weekend, we celebrate the contributions of dads everywhere, I want to say thanks to my Dad, a man I greatly love and admire -- Happy Fathers Day, Dad.
Conservatives SAVE the Day
Sex trafficking, pornography, and prostitution are like a hydra of poisonous snakes, and one can't be stopped without also dealing with the other two. That was the message yesterday at FRC's lecture on "Pornography and Sex Trafficking: Stopping Online Advertisers of Trafficking Victims with the SAVE Act" here at our D.C. headquarters. The event was hosted by FRC Senior Fellow Cathy Ruse, who previously served as senior counsel on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. In that role, Cathy helped draft some of the nation's toughest anti-obscenity laws.
Joining Cathy was attorney Alex Sarnowski, a senior advisor to U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), who discussed the Congresswoman's recent success in passing the SAVE Act, which "seeks to criminalize the advertisement of innocent victims being forced into sex slavery." The SAVE Act is one of five bills recently passed by the House designed to curtail the terrible scourge of young women and girls being victimized as prostitutes, trafficked as commodities, and forced into pornography by predators. FRC's Leanna Baumer has written a helpful summary of these important bills you can read here.
Thankfully, the anti-trafficking movement is continuing to gain steam nationwide. Earlier this week, for example, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law four measures designed to help the victims of trafficking and coercive abortion. And in coalition with our partners in Morality in Media, Cathy Ruse and FRC played a key role in persuading Google to begin "implementing their new advertising policy which eliminates pornographic and sexually explicit ads," a new policy Google announced earlier this month.
The gruesome, tragic stories of young women and girls used and abused for sex are disheartening. But it's good to know that the conscience of America seems to be awakening to this great evil, and that its relationship with other great evils -- pornography, abortion, etc. -- is increasingly clear. Click here to watch the discussion.
** If you missed my lengthy sit-down with C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" Thursday, check it out below. We covered a range of topics, including the leadership changes on Capitol Hill.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.