"We Know the Ending, and It's Good"

"We Know the Ending, and It's Good"

November 06, 2017

It was supposed to be a day of prayer for the world's persecuted church. No one in a sleepy Texas town could have ever dreamed the persecuted would be them. But that's the harrowing reality for everyone in Sutherland Springs, who never saw yesterday's shooting coming.

Like most of the tiny community that morning, they were in church -- a place 26 of them will never visit again. For reasons law enforcement is still trying to piece together, a young gunman, firing before he even walked through the door, stepped into the church and changed the lives of almost everyone in Sutherland Springs forever. Just as the associate pastor was getting up to lead worship, people there to seek God began crying out to Him as their loved ones fell -- one right after another. It was a horrific scene, one that no one -- least of all a peaceful group of Sunday faithful -- should have to endure.

More than two dozen people lost their lives that morning, from an unborn baby in the womb to a 77 year-old grandparent. By the grace of God, a nearby neighbor and local Sutherland Springs man chased down the gunman, Devon Patrick Kelley, and pinned him down until police arrived. But for the people inside that small sanctuary, nothing -- not even the killer's death -- can bring back the families they loved. The church's regular pastor, Frank Pomeroy, who was out of town, rushed home to find their 14-year-old daughter among the victims.

Few can comprehend the horror of the Holcombe family, who are mourning eight loved ones spanning three generations. Their heartbreaking story has stirred deep sympathy across the country as Americans try to imagine losing children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren in a single morning. For Joe and Claryce Holcombe, it was an unspeakable tragedy. Their son, pregnant daughter-in-law, three of that couple's five children and their unborn baby, another infant granddaughter, and another son all lost at the hands of an evil man.

But, like so many of the grieving people of that small town in Texas, the Holcombes are drawing on the same faith that brought the family to church on Sunday morning. With absolute conviction, Joe reflected soberly, "It's of course going to be difficult." But, he said, "We are Christians; we have read the book. We know the ending, and it's good." Leaning on the Lord's strength, he said -- as much to the families of Sutherland Springs as to the Washington Post -- "God will see us through."

What a powerful testimony to everyone in our nation who's hurting. Just a month removed from Las Vegas and even closer to the tragedy in New York, the heartbroken town from the fifth worst shooting in America have a message for the rest of the world: evil never triumphs. With most of their church family gone and their sanctuary beyond repair, the people of Sutherland Springs are not shaken. Led by the families suffering most, the world is not seeing violence, but a picture of the One who overcame it. "This is a small, Christian town, a very small community," said one of the women at yesterday's vigil. "Everybody's united. Everybody's so close to everybody."

The evidence of our brokenness is everywhere -- on a bike path, at a concert, in church. But God is still on His throne. Joe and Claryce Holcombe, in an agony no parents should have to face, said resolutely, "We'll all be together soon." Until then, we join so many millions of Americans in the prayer that God will bring comfort to this church and community. As 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 tells us, it's who He is.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ."

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

ACLU, Trump Duke it out on Death's Doe

November 06, 2017

America used to praise people for saving lives. Now, it hauls them before a congressional committee and demands to know why anyone would intervene. That's because Scott Lloyd is a member of the Trump administration, and he -- like several others -- tried to stop the killing of the innocent baby at the center of the Jane Doe controversy. But since the baby was unborn, and supposedly "unwanted," liberals don't see the heroism in that -- only the political consequences.

At a hearing last Thursday, Mr. Lloyd, who works for Health and Human Services in the Office of Refugee Resettlement, defended himself against allegations that he's "coercing" the illegal pregnant mothers in his care not to have abortions. Although President Obama was quite content letting taxpayers fork over their hard-earned dollars to help these women kill their innocent unborn children, the Trump administration takes a decidedly pro-life stance, which, unlike Obama's, happens to be in keeping with U.S. law.

In a case that was fast-tracked through the courts, the president's team argued that America isn't a sanctuary nation for abortion. But unfortunately, a handful of activist judges put our country on the path toward that when they granted a young 17-year-old's abortion. Answering a barrage of Democrats' questions, Lloyd was forced to answer questions about why he was upholding the law. "It is extremely troubling to me," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) insisted, "what is happening, and I think you are far overreaching over your expertise."

The 38-year-old Lloyd refused to respond to the criticism. His responsibility, he explained, is to make "good choices on their behalf." Back in March, he explained to others in the department, "Often these girls start to regret abortion." In the dozens of cases where minor detainees were pregnant, he instructed staff to offer compassionate alternatives. "Clinicians should work to identify any pressures that might be leading her to desire termination (does she feel pressure to get to work, is there emotional abuse, etc.), and what is leading to her sadness and anger."

Now, two weeks after the baby's life was ended, the case surrounding it is anything but. Justice Department attorneys, who were blindsided by the early morning abortion, blasted ACLU attorneys representing her for "misleading" them about the girl's appointment. They're outraged that the ACLU "did not alert government lawyers that the teen's abortion would take place a day earlier than expected," essentially short-circuiting their appeal.

"After informing Justice Department attorneys that the procedure would occur on October 26th, Jane Doe's attorneys scheduled the abortion for the early morning hours of October 25th, thereby thwarting Supreme Court review," Justice Department spokesman Devin O'Malley. "The government asked to be kept informed of the timing of Ms. Doe's abortion procedure, and one of respondent's counsel agreed to do so," the Department argues. "Although Ms. Doe's representatives informed the government of the change in timing, they did not inform the government of the other two developments -- which kept the government in the dark about when Ms. Doe was scheduled to have an abortion."

Obviously, the Trump administration wants to stop this from happening again. Although nothing can bring back that unborn baby, the president and his DOJ should be applauded for their vigorous defense of the case. As Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued in a filing with the Supreme Court, the ACLU's conduct here requires the whole case to be dismissed. That would be good news, since dozens of pregnant teens pass through the government's custody every year. Clearly, this should not be the case that sets the precedent for future moms. Either way, the ACLU absolutely must be held accountable for deceiving U.S. officials. As FRC's Travis Weber points out, "What is deeply scary, and beyond the legal banter of this case, is that the ACLU apparently had such a fervent desire to see Ms. Doe's baby killed that it chose to walk in the shadows of concealment and deception to do so."

Of course, the irony of this whole debacle -- including Scott Lloyd's appearance on Capitol Hill -- is that the Left thinks it's perfectly acceptable to promote their agenda when they're in power. But the second they're in the minority they claim it's unconstitutional for conservatives to do the same. What part of democratic government don't they understand? The American people rejected liberals' destructive and perverted policies at the ballot box last November. That's how the country course-corrects: through elections.

Obviously, the political whiplash has been severe. Not since Ronald Reagan replaced Jimmy Carter has there been such a contrast in leaders and their agendas. In fact, I would argue that you'd probably have to go back to Andrew Jackson to see such a stark divide between the political ideologies of one administration to another. But the bottom line is that a sufficient number of voters were tired of Obama's radical liberalism to elect Donald Trump. And since then, the Trump administration has been working to find a political and cultural equilibrium -- not by stopping Obama's policies, but reversing them. And the latter is what's shocking the liberal establishment.

As is evidenced by congressional Republicans on Obamacare, the GOP rarely rolls back the destructive and costly policies and programs of their predecessors. At best, they slow them down, tweak them on the margins, or -- if they're feeling bold -- halt them. But they almost never undid them -- until Donald Trump was elected. His administration is doing what the people want. And unfortunately for liberals, it's the opposite of their agenda.

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

When the NFL's Saints Go Marching out...

November 06, 2017

The NFL owners are desperately trying to put the anthem controversy behind them after weeks of slumping ratings, sales, and horrible PR. But the damage, say most Americans, has already been done. Some fans are more determined than ever to stick it to the league that dishonored our flag, country, and millions of U.S. troops.

It's all translated into a huge black eye for one of America's biggest industries. That image isn't improving any time soon, say experts. A Forbes analyst explains that the players' protests are tanking their own sport. "Wall Street analysts have been trimming their earnings forecasts for CBS and Fox due to lower NFL ratings. In September, the Hollywood Reporter reported Jefferies analyst John Janedis figures CBS, ESPN, Fox and NBC will generate about $2.5 billion in NFL advertising revenue this season, but a 10 percent shortfall could translate to a $200 million cut in earnings... While the overall stock market is up since the start of the football season, shares of the league's broadcasters -- CBS, Twenty-First Century Fox, Walt Disney (ESPN) are down."

And while some League officials have tried to explain away the plunging ratings by suggesting that people are watching online, the reality is that viewership like Amazon's is down too. Another public spat -- this time between the NFL and Papa John's -- shows how the NFL's unpopularity is affecting other businesses. Papa John's CEO John Schnatter argues that the NFL's stance is affecting a lot more than the League. "The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players' and owners' satisfaction," Schnatter said on a conference call. "NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's shareholders."

Then, there are the stories like John Wells's. A disabled Navy veteran and longtime attorney for military religious freedom cases, the New Orleans Saints had planned to honor Wells with the People's Health Champion Award at Sunday's game. Wells declined, infuriating Saints management.

"Although I am touched and honored to be selected for such an award, the ongoing controversy with NFL players' disrespect for the national flag forces me to decline to participate in the presentation," Wells wrote in a letter to the team. "I am unable, in good conscience, to enter an NFL stadium while this discourtesy prevails. Since this award is tainted with the dishonorable actions of the NFL and its players, I cannot accept it."

The Saints' response? Accusing John of divisiveness! "We will not allow Mr. Wells's decision and subsequent media appearances to distract our players and organization from continuing to honor and support our military and veterans," the team statement read. "We, as an organization, have decided to move on from this sad and divisive discourse and focus our attention on supporting our military and veterans."

Like most people, we agree that the Saints should support our military and veterans. But the best way to do that is asking players to show America the respect it deserves!

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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