The Left's Politics of Preying

The Left's Politics of Preying

November 07, 2017

Adversity does not build character, James Lee Allen wrote, it reveals it. That's become painfully clear in the last 24 hours, as many liberals seem intent on showing the country just how little they've learned about Americans since last year's election. The party that thought calling voters "deplorable" was a winning strategy is back at it, shaming leaders for suggesting something as unsophisticated as prayer after Sunday's horrific massacre. From governors to sitting senators, the Left lashed out at Republicans for daring to suggest that faith might help a community that died for it.

To the devastated people of Sutherland Springs, President Trump told a grieving nation, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of today's horrible and murderous attack." And while liberals didn't seem to mind when Barack Obama responded likewise to the Navy Yard shooting in 2013, many are completely unglued that this administration would address a church shooting by invoking God! When House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) offered his condolences, the Left unleashed a string of statements almost too impossible to believe (and some, too offensive to print). Actor Wil Wheaton's response was absolutely jaw-dropping, even for Hollywood, "The murdered victims were lying in a church. If prayers did anything, they'd still be alive, you worthless sack of ****."

"It's sad, and this is what you'll get from the far secular Left," a genuinely stunned Speaker Ryan told Laura Ingraham. "People who do not have faith don't understand faith, I guess I'd have to say... And, it is the right thing to do-- to pray in moments like this because you know what?" Ryan continued. "Prayer works." But, he went on, "When you hear the secular left doing this thing, no wonder you've got so much polarization and disunity in this country when people think like that."

And while Senator Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) attack didn't include any four-letter words, she didn't mind treating faith like one. "Thoughts & prayers are not enough, GOP," wrote the Massachusetts Democrat. "We must end this violence. We must stop these tragedies. People are dying while you wait." Not to be outdone, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) suggested that we have "professionals" for this praying thing. "We have pastors, priests, and rabbis to offer thoughts and prayers. What we need from Republicans in D.C. is to do something. Lead." In other words, keep your religion in church where it belongs and let government be our God. Ever the diplomat, Keith Olbermann's Twitter feed dripped with disdain. "'Thoughts and prayers' again, @realDonaldTrump, idiot? These people were in CHURCH. They WERE praying."

The Wall Street Journal's William McGurn has seen a lot of things in his journalistic career. But these responses were among the most astounding.

"...[P]rogressives simply cannot contain their distaste toward symbols and beliefs important to ordinary Americans," he writes. "Until Sunday this columnist thought it impossible to match the obtuseness of millionaire athletes showing disrespect for the national anthem and the fans who pay their salaries. But give credit where it's due: the thoughts-and-prayers police make the NFL protesters look like Gandhis."

"Second, those doing the taunting apparently have no idea how childish their understanding of prayer is. As the families that come each week to the First Baptist Church appreciate, prayer is not a magic talisman against suffering. In a faith that commands its adherents to pick up their crosses, prayer is a way to praise the Almighty and, when necessary, ask for courage and resolve to do the right thing."

The secular Left's gospel of condescension is the same today as it was in 2008 and 2016. Only the ignorant and unenlightened believe in a power higher than government. Only the deplorable flyovers cling to their guns and religion. It's the exact smug self-importance that cost the Democratic Party the White House. And a full 12 months later, they show no desire or will to change it. Not even in this moment, when parents are bundling their children into tiny-sized coffins and grandparents are planning for Thanksgiving with eight empty chairs.

In the end, that's the real disgrace. Not just the lack of religious conviction in their taunts, but the lack of compassion. Instead of lessening this town's suffering, they're adding to it by calling what these people died for unimportant and irrelevant. The 26 people in pews that Sunday morning certainly didn't think so. And if they were alive today, I have no doubt that every single one of them would agree: prayer isn't the problem. It's part of the solution. A spiritually sick society that embraces violence instead of values needs God. Gun control, knife control, truck rental control, pressure cooker control -- they're never going to stop evil. Only a faithful people, with hearts turned toward what's right, can do that. Until then, we mourn with those who mourn, recognizing, as Sutherland pastor Frank Pomeroy does, "I don't understand, but I know my God does."

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

Agriculture Dept. Won't Bale on Faith

November 07, 2017

Faith, freedom, and... farms! Thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that's what Middle America can celebrate now that the agency has finished the job that Donald Trump started with his executive order on religious liberty. And for families like Michigan's Vander Boons, not a minute too soon. The Christian owners of a local meat packing company had been in the crosshairs of liberal USDA inspectors since 2015, when the government workers spied a pamphlet on natural marriage in the family business breakroom.

In one of the more astounding cases of religious intolerance, inspectors grabbed up the materials, closed the door to Don's office, and threatened to shut him down if the literature ever resurfaced. The stunned owner of the West Michigan Beef company listened as the government workers told him they had the right to take "immediate and appropriate corrective action" when dealing with anything they considered "harassment." Vander Boon's position on marriage, he was told, qualified. That weighed heavily on the dad of three's mind, especially since the West Michigan Beef Company employed 45 people whose families also relied on them. To keep his doors open, Don made the difficult decision to pull the information on natural marriage.

Two years and one president later, Don and Ellen were still at risk. Donald Trump had issued his executive order on religious liberty, which helped. Even Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue weighed in, defending people like the Vander Boons. But last month, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions finally gave teeth to the president's order, the family knew its struggle would soon be over. "Soon" came in the form of an official statement from the Agriculture Department yesterday. To the cheers of Christians, who lived under the anti-faith cloud of Obama for eight years, officials made it clear:

"Opinions about same-sex marriage, gender identity, and sexual morality are all matters of public importance... USDA respects the First Amendment rights of USDA personnel, as well as non-USDA personnel working at facilities inspected by USDA, to share their varying viewpoints on these topics, whether through oral discussion, the display or distribution of literature, or other means."

Obviously, policing the beliefs of small businesses isn't the job of the USDA -- or any government agency. But unfortunately, after two terms of Obama, Washington has been trained on religion like a disease that needs to be eradicated. That's all changing, thanks to the coordinated efforts of the White House and government agencies.

Every American, regardless of their beliefs, should agree: This kind of runaway government censorship is exactly what the administration should try to stop. So, if anyone wonders why we need an executive order protecting religious liberty, wonder no more! Hopefully, the USDA will be the first in a long line of government agencies taking steps to protect America's faithful.

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

House Bill Teaches Wait Training

November 07, 2017

The key to healthy high schoolers might be where no one was looking: the bedroom! In last year's report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), officials made it clear that teaching kids to save sex for marriage might just spare them from a long list of other health risks. Students in grades 9-12 who made positive decisions about sex were just as likely (or more!) to avoid other dangerous behaviors.

That's great news for parents, who were thrilled with the government's announcement that more kids were postponing intimacy than ever before. For years, moms and dads of both parties have pushed for a conservative approach to sex ed. Now, with sexually transmitted diseases through the roof, you'd think there wouldn't be any objections to teaching kids how to protect themselves. Wrong. Liberals, who hate when healthy decision-making gets in the way of sexual promiscuity, are pitching a fit about the House's decision to spend money on the only approach with 100-percent success rate: abstinence.

The anti-science party is outraged that Republicans would let research, parents, and common sense dictate how they approach sex ed. But fortunately, leaders like the House's Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) and Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) aren't ruffled. They know that the Championing Healthy Kids Act, which would pump money into state block grants that fund sexual risk avoidance (SRA) programs, is the best decision for America's young people. 

"The continuation of this funding allows over one million students across the country to receive the information and skills they need to avoid sexual risk while being empowered to realize their future goals and dreams," said one of the country's biggest proponents of SRA, Ascend. The group, which used to be led by now-HHS heavyweight Valerie Huber, was thrilled that this bill "recognizes and supports growing consensus among parents, schools, legislators, and medical professionals that our youth need and deserve an approach to sex education that helps them achieve optimal health." That's quite a change from the last administration, whose own agencies admitted that Obama's programs left 80 percent of students worse off or no different than their peers.

Just as encouraging, the Trump administration is taking the abortion, STD, and teen pregnancy problems of this country seriously, deciding to move forward with a $10 million dollar study on what works in sex ed. In conjunction with HHS's Administration for Children and Families, the government will be asking questions like "how delaying sex can affect a teen economically, how social media can help influence teen decision-making, and how teens who have engaged in 'risky behaviors' can make 'healthier choices in the future.'" They'll also try to get to the bottom of why teen pregnancies are dropping while STDs are skyrocketing. It's a huge shift from the mentality of the Obama years -- one that our young people desperately need and, as many surveys show, want.

 Our deepest thanks to the House Energy and Commerce Committee for making this important issue a priority.

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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