SCOTUS Polls Its Weight on Mandate
The Supreme Court's mandate ruling isn't getting rave reviews from liberals, but voters certainly approve. Based on the latest Gallup numbers, the firestorm over birth control is pretty well contained to Democratic Cloakroom on Capitol Hill, where liberal leaders desperately -- and apparently, ineffectively -- fan the flames. After the justices left for summer, new polling says Americans gave them high marks for the term, which included some of the most significant religious liberty cases in a generation.
More voters approve of the justices' job (47%) than disapprove (46%), hardly a sign of nationwide outrage over the Court's mandate opt-out. It seems most people don't share the Left's hysteria over the Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Wood Specialties ruling, which empowered family businesses to operate according to their religious convictions.
While the numbers may come as a surprise to liberals, the majority of Americans were never big fans of strong-arming employers to begin with. As recently as May, FRC's own polling showed a groundswell of support for businesses' First Amendment rights. Fifty-three percent opposed the ObamaCare mandate that would financially cripple employers who wanted to exercise their beliefs with massive fines. While House and Senate Democrats try to rile up voters with convenient sound bites about the "war on women" and other outright lies, but most people aren't buying it. They understand that pills that can prevent or end a pregnancy aren't exactly in short supply -- not after new studies explain that the rate of women enjoying this kind of coverage jumped from 14% to 56% in a single year.
If liberals were hoping to woo voters with an all-out legislative push for birth control, this polling ought to show how misguided that strategy is. With the Middle East imploding, our own borders overrun, and the economy in the tank, trampling businesses' First Freedom is hardly topping people's priority lists. If it were, Congress would be getting a much higher approval rating than 15% (a full 32 points lower than the Supreme Court's).
Dwight Eisenhower once said that "You [don't] lead by hitting people over the head -- that's assault, not leadership." Well, Americans are tired of having their values assaulted by this Congress. Today, that attack continues, as House and Senate liberals try to strip the common sense pro-life protections Americans have fought for. Conservative members will be working late into the night to defend some of those provisions in the latest House Financial Services appropriations bill -- which President Obama has already threatened to veto. In it, conservatives are going to the mat to wall off taxpayer dollars from the abortion industry by adding amendments.
Of the two, the Dornan amendment has been part of federal law for years. Like a Hyde amendment for the District of Columbia, it blocks Congress from funneling any money to D.C. for elective abortions. The second measure, which Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) took over from Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.), outlaws government-funded abortions in the ObamaCare exchanges. The Left would like nothing better than to stall or kill both pro-life measures. Don't let them. Take a few minutes to call or email your congressman and ask him or her to respect Americans' hard-earned dollars by supporting the Dornan and Harris-Nunnelee amendments in H.R. 5016!
Religious Liberty Has a Captive Audience in Sudan
Two weeks after being released from jail, Meriam Ibrahim is still a prisoner of international bureaucracy. The brave mom of two tiny children, who was sentenced to hang in Sudan for her faith in Jesus, is basically confined to a room at the U.S. embassy in Khartoum, stuck in paperwork limbo. Despite the assurances that Meriam would be free to leave the country once her 15-day appeal time expired, she still hasn't been released to travel to the United States, where her husband is a U.S. citizen.
Yesterday, I talked to the Sudanese Ambassador who said that there is no longer a sense of urgency about Meriam's case since she is no longer facing execution. As I told the Ambassador, while there may not be a sense of urgency in Khartoum, there is in the United States, where members from both parties -- led by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) -- are trying to resolve the issue before Congress's summer recess. One way to expedite matters is for House leaders to again raise the profile of Meriam's case, drawing international attention back to the fact that this is gross human rights violation in a country that enjoys millions of dollars in U.S. aid.
You can help by signing and circulating FRC's petition, calling on Obama administration officials to intervene and call for Meriam's unconditional release. This isn't just about Meriam anymore. It's about the tens of thousands of Meriams persecuted under the brutal anti-Christian regimes of the world. If the Sudanese won't act, the United States must.
For LGBT, There's Safety in (Small) Numbers
When pollsters asked people to guess how many Americans were homosexual, most said 25%. Turns out, they were about 22% off. According to the Centers for Disease Control's first comprehensive report on the subject, the number of people who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual is actually less than three percent. That's probably a surprise to most people, who just assumed our LGBT policies, movies, school curriculums, and corporate partnerships were driven by a big population.
While judges strike down marriage laws approved by millions of voters and businesses consider sweeping policies to accommodate this tiny fringe, the reality is that the only thing big about this demographic is its political influence. Although the homosexual community may not be the largest, it's certainly the loudest -- a fact evidenced by this administration's six-year, LGBT-centric priorities. From reinventing the U.S. military to redefining diplomacy, President Obama has put the demands of this 3% before the entire nation and its interests.
Even now, as even the Left turns its back on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to give homosexuals and transgenders special rights in the workplace, the White House stubbornly plows ahead, insisting that it will defy Congress and enact a smaller version of the law by executive order. Angry the policy wouldn't go far enough in handcuffing employers with religious beliefs, most homosexual activists turned their backs on the idea. While they may have changed their position, "this administration has not changed ours," an Obama spokesman said. "We're certainly aware of the ongoing conversations about ENDA," he explained.
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be aware of the conversation in Congress, where House members refused even to consider the bill. As we know too well, the LGBT community may make up three percent -- but it continues to get nearly 100% of the President's attention. If only Christians realized what liberals already do: that when it comes to transforming the culture, it's not the quantity of those engaged, but rather the quality of the commitment that counts.
** FRC Action is happy to announce that Rep. Michele Bachmann is joining an all-star cast at Values Voter Summit this September! Don't miss her -- and a host of conservative leaders in Washington, D.C. this fall. For details, click over to ValuesVoterSummit.org.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.