Family Research Council

May 13, 2014 - Tuesday

Reid's Senate in a World of Pain

If you're wondering what Senate Democrats decided to give moms for Mother's Day, try dirty, unregulated abortion clinics. While conservatives fight to give women more protection, liberals are trying to send states back to the dark ages of health care. Their latest attempt, Sen. Richard Blumenthal's (D-Conn.) ridiculously named "Women's Health Protection Act," would sweep away virtually every state and local limit on abortion and clinic standards. For the extreme Left, Blumenthal's sweeping proposal is the answer to what they call a "cascading wave of restrictions" in the states.

This great pro-life awakening, which launched a record-breaking number of common sense laws, is helping to break the abortion stronghold on communities across America. And that's exactly what the Left is afraid of. From abortion waiting periods to Planned Parenthood funding bans, the states are doing what voters wish Congress would: cracking down on an industry that destroys lives and exploits women. Like a lot of liberals, Sen. Blumenthal is so desperate to stop this flood of pro-life support that he's willing to trample states rights' to do it.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), meanwhile, has a far more popular push in the works. Exactly one year after Kermit Gosnell's conviction for brutalizing babies, Senate Republicans are demanding the chamber do something about abortion's culture of cruelty. It's been months since Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised to "take a look" at Sen. Graham's Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, capping abortion at the 20-week mark when babies can feel excruciating pain.

If Sen. Blumenthal honestly thinks the American people don't want the abortion restrictions they've enacted in dozens of states, then, as Sen. Graham says, "Let's have a vote on both [bills]. I think the topic's worthy of debate... [Sen. Blumenthal] said every Senator needs to be on the record. I agree with that."

Unfortunately for Harry Reid's party, Sen. Graham's bill doesn't just have the support of Republicans but of the majority of Americans. Once they hear the facts on fetal pain, as many as 84% of people throw their support behind the five-month ban. And that includes a majority of women, who seem to have a great deal more compassion than Senators like Richard Blumenthal -- or even the President, who's already threatened to veto the bill.

As Sen. Roy Blunt pointed out, "You gotta work pretty hard to find anything but a huge majority" supporting this legislation -- even in states with the bluest roots. In West Virginia, a similar ban sailed through the House and Senate earlier this year, despite huge Democratic majorities in both. Today, at a press conference with Senators Graham and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), FRC and other pro-life groups tried to capitalize on the grassroots momentum and demand a vote for S. 1670.

"Why would medical textbooks and professional anesthesiologists already have come to a general consensus that fetal anesthesia and analgesia are warranted for fetal surgical procedures, were it not for the presence and experience of pain in these tiniest of patients?" asked FRC's Arina Grossu. "Between 20 and 30 weeks post-fertilization, an unborn child has more pain receptors per square inch of skin than at any other time in his or her life, with only a very thin layer of skin for protection." It's time to give these tiny children the real protection that only S. 1670 affords. Contact your Senators and urge them to back the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act!

Houston Rockets to Top of LGBT List

Houston Mayor Annise Parker (D) promised not to make homosexuality an issue in her administration. Instead, she's made it the issue -- around which everything else revolves. As the leader of the fourth largest city in America, Parker jumped at the chance to use her power in support of her own personal LGBT agenda. An open lesbian, the Mayor has tried to bypass the laws on marriage, declared Valentine's Day "Freedom to Marry Day," and now threatens to push through the most radical piece of special rights legislation the city has ever seen.

Like the controversial San Antonio ordinance before it, Houston's measure forces businesses to celebrate a radical definition of sexuality -- or face fines of up to $500 a day. In a state that passed its marriage amendment by a whopping 75%, the idea has ignited its share of conflict. Apart from steamrolling the pro-marriage majority, locals are up in arms about the proposal's "Public Accommodations" language, which would allow men to use women's showers and restrooms (and vice-versa) based on their "perceived" gender. The language prompted a city-wide firestorm, with public testimony stretching over four hours last Tuesday.

Today, Mayor Parker announced that she may be willing to sacrifice that part of the ordinance to force the rest through. Local conservatives, who've dubbed the proposal, "Mayor Parker's Sexual Predator Protection Act," had another crack at the language this afternoon, as the city meets to debate the 36-page assault on free speech, religious liberty, and public safety. Leading the charge are Texas Values and a courageous group of local pastors, who refused to be cowed into giving up their right to live according to their own convictions.

"Tolerance," said Second Baptist Church's Ed Young, "should not be defined as casting aside and acting against one's own beliefs to accommodate someone else's. Simply put, the homosexual community wants us to tolerate their behavior and beliefs but does not want to give the rest of us that same courtesy. On top of that, they want to use threats of criminal prosecution and fines to accomplish our acquiescence. Their rights should end where our morality and rights begin."

Unfortunately, the radical Left is doing its best to persuade America otherwise -- as we saw just this week with the fierce overreaction to football players like Don Jones, who objected to the public display of two men kissing at the NFL draft. Instead of embracing the free exchange of ideas and opinions, the League hauled Jones into a team tribunal and banned him from the Dolphins until he finished "reeducation classes." Obviously, when it comes to tolerance, conservatives need not apply.

Navy Goes Overboard with Atheist Chaplains

If there aren't atheists in foxholes, why do we need atheist chaplains? Good question -- one Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) is trying to get to the bottom of. Like most conservatives, he thought the push for non-spiritual spiritual leaders died in 2013 along with the House measure trying to create it. But after failing legislatively, the Military Association of Atheists and Free Thinkers (MAFT) is taking a different tact.

Today, in a meeting with Navy officials (MAFT), the organization will try to persuade at least one military branch of the need to give atheists their own pulpit. "We're only finding out about this now," Rep. Fleming told Fox News. "We just don't see any avenue [for this to work], but you know, we've been surprised before by the military." If the organization succeeds, Jason Torpy, its president, would be the first non-believing chaplain -- an "oxymoron," as far as Rep. Fleming is concerned.

Of course, the fact that the Navy is even entertaining the idea of creating non-faith faith leaders is a sign of how absurd this debate about religious liberty has become. By definition, a chaplain's duties are to offer prayer, spiritual counseling, and religious instruction. If that doesn't disqualify a non-believer, I'm not sure what would! In reality, what secularists are angling for is a position of greater influence. If the military were to expand the chaplaincy to atheists, it would give anti-Christian extremists an even greater opportunity to sanitize the military -- this time, from inside the chaplain corps. Let's hope the Navy sees through this ridiculous ploy and torpedoes it before MAFT does real damage.

** If you missed my debate on Fox News's "Kelly File" last night on the NFL's Michael Sam, you can watch the interview below. Also, check out this clip with FRC's Ken Blackwell, who went on CNN to talk about the punishment of Miami Dolphins's player Don Jones.

Click here to view

*** Can You Be Gay and Christian? FRC will debate that tomorrow in a special policy lecture with Dr. Michael Brown. Join us as we discuss why the church can't avoid the issue of homosexuality; how we can respond to this controversial subject with love and truth together; our best biblical approach to the subject; and a look at what we can expect from gay theologians in the coming days. To register for the noon event (801 G Street, NW, Washington, D.C.), click here.


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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