Obama's Banned Aid for Hurting Kids
The President won't lock down the border, but he has no problem locking out the church. With reports of over 50,000 unaccompanied minors having already crossed the border, a number which is estimated to climb to 90,000, it appears the only ones unwelcome in America are Christian pastors and their churches. Like a lot of nearby congregations in Arizona, Pastor Kyle Coffin's CrossRoads Church in Tucson wanted to pitch in and help. It wasn't an unreasonable idea -- or so he thought.
With taxpayers potentially on the hook for another $3.7 billion in emergency aid, Coffin assumed the Feds would take all the help they could get. He was wrong. "Back in the day, if you were in trouble and poor, the first thing you thought of was going to the church," he told Fox News's Todd Starnes. "Whether it was for food, clothing, shelter or helping pay bills -- the church was the front line. Now it's the government who is the front line."
Pastor Coffin offered everything from toys, blankets, food, and soccer balls -- only to be turned away. "They flat-out said no," he told Starnes. Due to "the unique operational and security challenges of the Nogales Placement Center," he was informed, churches and their donations are banned. "Border Patrol told us pastors and churches are not allowed to visit. It's pretty heartbreaking that they don't let anybody in there -- even credentialed pastors." All we wanted to do, he explained, was to "send a message that a church cares."
Why would the government turn away humanitarian assistance? Could it be that Big Government doesn't like competition? There's no question that an ever-expanding government, by necessity, must crowd out churches and other charities. We saw something very similar with Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Instead of partnering with local churches, FEMA kept faith-based groups at arm's length, leaving a less effective and more expensive government to fill the void.
If the border emergency is, as the President insists, a "humanitarian crisis," then it's time to treat it as such and let the church do its work. Scripture makes it clear that our responsibility to address the plight of the poor is fundamental to living out our faith. Arthur Brooks points out in his book Who Really Cares? that liberals equate this responsibility with the call for more government programs. But that effort to shift the responsibility to the government deprives the giver and the recipient of tangible and intangible benefits.
Like most liberals, this President wants Washington to be your provider, family, and even authority figure. But Americans don't need that intrusion -- and more importantly, they don't want it! Those roles are already filled by parents, churches, and local communities. Regardless of how anyone feels about the immigration debate, surely we can all agree that these 52,000 children have very real needs -- physical and spiritual. No one is more equipped to handle them than the church -- which is why Congress ought to include in any funding package provisions that allow faith-based group to help.
Earlier this week, the President asked Texas Governor Rick Perry (R), "Are folks more interested in politics or are they more interested in solving the immigration problem?" We could ask the administration the same thing. If the White House were less interested in stifling religion and more interested in providing relief, it would see the faith community for what it is: partners in service, not pests.
A Rocky Road for Rocky Mountain Marriage
Most people have seen the movie Groundhog Day -- and now, thanks to the courts, they're living it. Every morning, Americans seem to be waking up to the same headlines on marriage: judge strikes down marriage amendment in [fill in the state]. Yesterday, reporters on the marriage beat had another easy day cutting and pasting the same constitutionally flawed reasoning from a court in Colorado. The string of states taking aim -- not only at marriage law, but the democratic process -- now numbers 16, thanks to the politically correct thinking of Judge Scott Crabtree.
Eight years after the state voted to protect natural marriage, one district court judge decided he knew better than 855,126 voters and struck down the amendment. For conservatives, it's déjà activism in a news cycle that continues to be dominated by a misunderstanding of the Supreme Court's Windsor decision last summer. Like several overreaching judges before him, Crabtree took his cues from the twisted application of the Fourteenth Amendment and "equal protection." "The existence of civil unions is further evidence of discrimination against same-sex couples and does not ameliorate the discriminatory effect of the Marriage Bans," he argued. In all 49 pages, no statement was more outrageous than Crabtree's claim that natural marriage -- the biggest factor in financial, emotional, and education attainment -- "bears no rational relationship to any conceivable government interest."
Still, as misguided as his decision was, Judge Crabtree did have the presence of mind to stay the ruling, which puts same-sex "weddings" and all of the legal chaos associated with them, on hold. Fortunately, Attorney General John Southers refuses to watch as another court silences the voice of voters. He plans to appeal the ruling, joining the growing list of chief law enforcers across the country who are sick and tired of the lawlessness unleashed by President Obama.
Every American -- regardless of their opinion on marriage -- should agree that this kind of judicial tyranny hurts the democratic process. And until something is done to rein in these courts, let this be a warning to every state that their laws are fair game.
Ireland: Dublin Down on Religious Liberty?
In the marriage debate, even Bert and Ernie are puppets for the Left! A bakery in Northern Ireland found that out earlier this month, when a local group targeted the cake shop with a pro-homosexual order that it knew the owners would probably decline. QueerSpace Belfast asked for a special design that included the words "Support Gay Marriage" and a picture of the famous Sesame Street duo. Asher's Baking Company, which is owned by Christians, said the idea conflicted with their beliefs and offered to give the organization a refund for their order.
Instead of a refund, the group wanted revenge. It filed a discrimination complaint with the local Equality Commission, demanding that the bakery fill the request or explain themselves in court. In a video for The Christian Institute, the McArthur Family says the order was "at odds with our beliefs" and in contradiction with what the Bible teaches." Like so many wedding vendors here in America, the family is simply asking for the right to operate their business in accordance with their orthodox religious beliefs. And unlike other parts of the U.K., Northern Ireland doesn't recognize same-sex "marriage" to begin with!
What if these Christian wedding vendors who are being targeted by homosexual activists because of their faith were to say: "Okay. If you want to use the leverage of the government, the threat of lawsuits, fines, and in some cases, jail, to make us participate in something violates our core beliefs about the sacred institution of marriage, then we won't resist you. There's more than one way to defeat a bully. We'll do your wedding, but read the sign in the window. 'This is a Christian-owned business, and while the government may force us to participate in a same-sex wedding or other activity that violates the teachings of scripture, we will not profit from it. All profit derived from forced transactions involving same-sex weddings will be donated to ministries that help individuals overcome same-sex attractions.'"
One of two things would happen: homosexual activists would either leave these Christians alone -- or there'd be a lot of money going to help people escape their destructive lifestyle. Either way, the business owners -- and religious liberty -- would ultimately win.
** FRC's Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin joined The Blaze TV yesterday to talk about the situation in Israel. If you missed it, click on the video below.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.