Planned Parenthood: On a Cash Course with Congress

Planned Parenthood: On a Cash Course with Congress

September 06, 2017

If seven months wasn't enough time for Congress to repeal Obamacare, then getting it done in 24 days would take a minor miracle. And while conservatives are more than willing to hope for one, they're also setting their sights on the next window to take down the law that's costing Americans a lot more than dollars. While Senate leaders scramble for a quick fix to one of the country's biggest problems, pro-life groups are reminding members that the reconciliation bill is also the nation's best chance of defunding Planned Parenthood.

"This Republican pro-life Congress made a promise to American voters to stop taxpayer funding for the largest abortion chain in the nation, Planned Parenthood. It is now well past time to deliver on that promise... While many important pro-life legislative initiatives face the hurdle of requiring a super majority to avoid a filibuster in the Senate, it only takes a simple majority to stop the taxpayer subsidies to Planned Parenthood through a budget reconciliation bill... We urge you to revisit the FY2017 reconciliation bill immediately and find consensus on a bill that takes Planned Parenthood off the federal Medicaid dole and offers women comprehensive alternatives."

Doing anything less, the groups warn, "brings into question whether this Congress can truly be called the pro-life Congress." Rhetoric, they insist, "must be translated into law."

For now, the biggest obstacle -- apart from the GOP's own differences -- is the clock. Over the August recess, the Senate parliamentarian confirmed that time is ticking on Republican leaders to get a deal done on the legislation before September 30. Once the calendar flips, Congress will be back at square one: forced to move the FY2018 budget bill just to open the door to a new reconciliation process. In other words, if leadership can't get its act together to pass something by the end of the month, it can always be added to the coming year's.

Unfortunately, not every unborn child has the time to spare. The longer the Senate waits to gut Obamacare and make deep cuts to Planned Parenthood's funding, the more innocent lives are at risk. Cecile Richards's group took the lives of 328,348 unborn children last year. That's 900 lives snuffed out before their first breath every single day by one taxpayer-funded abortion chain. We join with SBA List, March for Life, and others in declaring that the time for results is now. Lives, very literally, depend on it.

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

SPLC's Intolerance Breaks News Ground

September 06, 2017

While the rest of the country looked on with horror at the events unfolding in Charlottesville, there was one group who managed to turn quite a profit from the tragedies of that August day: Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Still reeling from their latest public relations crisis when a second gunman, congressional baseball shooter James T. Hodgkinson, was identified by investigators as a fan of Morris Dees's group.

Desperate for a way back into the media's good graces after five years of trying to explain away the FRC shooting that its "hate map" inspired, the tensions in Virginia were exactly the opening Dees was looking for. Pouncing on the opportunity to regain credibility, SPLC, who'd been skating by on a civil rights reputation that expired decades ago, fired up the old propaganda machine -- earning millions of dollars in the process. Apple's Tim Cook, celebrity George Clooney, and J.P. Morgan pumped millions into the group after Charlottesville, putting a temporary hold on the media's questions about the group's shady dealings and controversial methods.

For Dees and lieutenant Richard Cohen, it was a welcome reprieve from the skepticism that was starting to take hold in the mainstream press, where outlets like Politico and the Wall Street Journal were beginning to expose the organization's dangerous mission. The dominos that started to fall when the FBI, U.S. Army, and Obama Justice Department distanced themselves from SPLC was beginning to threaten the viability to the Left's favorite arbiters of "hate." After years as the media's darling, Dees's group was suddenly staring down headlines like "The Insidious Influence of the SPLC" and damaging reports about its suspicious offshore accounts and partnerships.

Charlottesville put a stop to all of that, thanks to media liberals who are all-too-willing to help SPLC grind its political ax. Several media organizations used the opportunity to expand the platform of the liberal activist group helping to resurrect SPLC's sham of neutrality.

That has to stop, FRC and 46 other organizations declared today in an open letter to the press. The events of Charlottesville don't negate -- or in any way excuse -- SPLC's track record of inciting the very violence it condemns. "The SPLC is a discredited, left-wing, political activist organization that seeks to silence its opponents with a 'hate group' label of its own invention and application that is not only false and defamatory, but that also endangers the lives of those targeted with it," dozens of conservative leaders explain.

"We are writing to you as individuals or as representatives of organizations who are deeply troubled by several recent examples of the media's use of data from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)" -- which, by its own admission, is completely fabricated and devoid of any methodological standard. "Our criteria for a 'hate group,' first of all, have nothing to do with criminality or violence..." SPLC's Mark Potok confessed. "It's strictly ideological." Hence, why the group lumps true extremists -- like the Ku Klux Klan -- in with mainstream conservatives whose only fault is not sharing SPLC's radical ideology. "We're not trying to change anyone's minds," SPLC's Potok said plainly. "We're trying to wreck the groups. We're trying to destroy them." Does that sound like the gospel of peace and tolerance? Or the words of a neutral party?

Noting the five-year anniversary of the shooting in FRC's lobby (prompted, gunman Floyd Corkins told the FBI, by SPLC), the letter goes on:

"We believe the media outlets that have cited the SPLC in recent days have not intended to target mainstream political groups for violent attack, but by recklessly linking the Charlottesville melee to the mainstream groups named on the SPLC website -- those that advocate in the courts, the halls of Congress, and the press for the protection of conventional, Judeo-Christian values -- we are left to wonder if another Floyd Lee Corkins will soon be incited to violence by this incendiary information."

"To associate public interest law firms and think tanks with the neo-Nazis and the KKK is unconscionable, and it represents the height of irresponsible journalism to do so. All reputable news organizations should immediately stop using the SPLC descriptions of individuals and organizations based on SPLC's obvious political prejudices."

SPLC isn't the answer to America's racial divide or its deep political rifts, it's the accelerant that is driving the divide. The only thing SPLC has been an answer to is the problem liberals have combatting the factual arguments of conservatives. "As the Left calls for a clampdown on 'hate groups' and uses the SPLC to buttress its claims, it is working actively toward bringing about a situation in which only hard-Left voices can be heard in the public square," Robert Spencer warns. "We're already well on the way."

The media is an industry built on reliable sources. It should stop treating SPLC as one of them.

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

NASA Makes Space for Bridenstine

September 06, 2017

Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) has been a rising star in the Republican Party since he joined Congress in 2013. Now, that rising star may have a new home -- at NASA. The Navy pilot (and FRC Action True Bluer) is President Donald Trump's pick to head the space agency. If the Senate confirms him, Jim will be the first elected official ever to hold the post. And for the moment, liberals are doing everything they can to stop that from happening. Their beef? Congressman Bridenstine doesn't buy the Left's phony climate change hysteria.

Like us, Rep. Bridenstine has criticized the billions of taxpayer dollars wasted on Barack Obama's global warming hysteria. The climate "has always changed," Rep. Bridenstine argued. "There were periods of time long before the internal combustion engine, when the Earth was much warmer than it is today."

As an organization that's worked with Jim since his earliest days in office, we're convinced he'd be an excellent choice to lead NASA. Let's hope the Senate agrees. In the meantime, we congratulate the administration -- and the representative of Oklahoma's First District -- on the nod!

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

November 8: The Day Christians Changed America

September 06, 2017

It hasn't even been a year since conservative evangelicals helped put Donald Trump in the White House. Now, 10 months later, the movement is dead? That's the amazing assertion of Robert Jones, who writes in USA Today that evangelicals are "fading" and "grieving their losses." In a column at odds with everything pundits have said about the growing influence of the politically-engaged church, Jones suggests there's been a "desperate end-of-life bargain" between the movement and the man they propelled to an historic, come-from-behind victory. "White evangelicals have clearly seen Trump's presidency as a possible way to stave off changes that would constitute the real end of an era where their cultural worldview held sway."

That's interesting, George Barna would say, since his data points to the astounding impact evangelicals played in the 2016 election. An impact, his science would show, that can be described in a lot of ways – but "dwindling" is not one of them. Of course, these premature death notices are as old as the evangelical movement itself. I wrote about them more than 10 years ago in my book with Bishop Harry Jackson, Personal Faith, Public Policy.

"With almost-predictable regularity, headlines heralded the so-called waning influence of evangelicals and their splintering unity. With each election cycle, hope sprung anew in editorial rooms and political back offices that this would be the year the Religious Right's strength would begin to fade. Some observers even had the audacity to actively explore what American politics would look like once the Religious Right was gone."

Even they conceded the Religious Right was anything but gone after evangelicals were the defining factor in a race that two weeks earlier looked like a Hillary Clinton runaway. Months later, Barna, Executive Director of the American Culture and Faith Institute, is determined to prove why people like Jones are wrong. In a new book, The Day Christians Changed America: How Christian Conservatives Put Trump in the White House and Redirected America's Future, he argues that the "March of the SAGE Cons" (Spiritually Active, Governance Engaged Conservative Christians) is far from over.

"The thing that impressed me the most," he says, "was the degree to which faith played a significant role in the campaign and the outcome. It was a story that has not been told, and because of my research, consulting, and relationships related to the race, I had a unique vantage point. The faith narrative deserves to be told. You cannot understand the outcome unless you grasp the many ways that faith was intertwined in every facet of the election."

I encourage you to buy a copy of the book -- or, even better, have George Barna sign it at this year's Values Voters Summit. He'll be speaking, along with jam-packed line-up of conservatives who believe -- like we do -- that the evangelical movement is alive and well!

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

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

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