The GOP: Where Life Comes to Party


The GOP: Where Life Comes to Party

June 28, 2018

Endangered species are usually something we try to protect -- but not when those endangered species are pro-abortion Republicans! Over the past few years, the GOP has become a tough environment for Republicans who aren't committed to advocating for the unborn. Now, with President Trump boldly leading the charge for life, most of the party's more liberal members have seen the writing on the wall.

The retirement of Congressmen Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) and Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) signals the end of what was once a struggle within the GOP. Politico's Jennifer Haberkorn talked about the significance of the change, writing that the House GOP can finally close ranks on abortion. Next year, she points out, the "rare breed" of anti-life Republicans "will finally be extinct." "The retirements of Reps. Charlie Dent and Rodney Frelinghuysen mark the end of the line for abortion rights supporters in the Republican Conference," Haberkorn writes. "And there's no GOP nominee in a competitive race who backs abortion rights this year, according to party officials."

In other words, barring some major upset in five months, the GOP will officially be the party of life. Rep. Richard Hanna, one of the pro-abortion casualties of the GOP landscape, learned his lesson the hard way. Opting to retire in 2016 rather than lose his seat, Hanna explained, "The issue was put into so many bills, and it became such a deep belief system of the Republican Party. They all jumped on board because they know fighting it doesn't pay. You can't win. I certainly couldn't."

The party's position is so absolute that Republican Majority for Choice announced earlier this week that it was closing its doors after more than 30 years. Miffed that they were "dismissed by party leaders," the group's leaders explained the decision in a column for the New York Times. "Our founding principle had been that proponents of abortion rights should be comfortable in both major parties. But we have to face reality: There probably will not be a single pro-choice Republican member of the House after the fall election, and only two in the Senate -- Ms. Collins and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. It has become taboo within the party to even say 'pro-choice.'"

For pro-lifers, who remember the days when pastors were actually jailed for protesting abortion, seeing the GOP speak with one voice on the unborn is the answer to decades of prayer. So, many would argue, is the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. In the whirlwind 24 hours since the Supreme Court's announcement, the reaction of both sides (as anyone would expect) was quite different: jubilation from conservatives, despair (and profanity) from liberals. Abortion groups started whipping supporters into a panic almost immediately. "Kennedy was the firewall for abortion rights for as long as he was there," the New York Times pointed out. "He has been the defining force in American abortion law since the '90s, so his absence means that Roe will be in more peril."

NARAL leaders began the public hand-wringing, insisting that "a woman's... access to abortion is in dire, immediate danger." It's a "catastrophe for liberals," echoed Slate writer Mark Joseph Stern. "Abortion access, same-sex marriage, voting rights, environmental regulations -- they're all on the line now." And both parties know it. At the very least, the Times goes on, Kennedy's retirement will "redraw the well-established legal battle lines over abortion rights, making it more probable that the court would move to uphold new restrictions and, potentially, abandon Roe altogether." Which is exactly how conservatives came to support Trump in the first place. He promised to reshape the courts with objective, principled, constitutionalists. He's done it from the lowest judicial vacancies all the way to the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch. Almost two years later, as I told the Times, the religious conservatives who backed him because of his promise to name a pro-life justice have been vindicated. They took a risk -- and the reward is five solid votes for life.

For now, all eyes will be on the White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who deftly turned the vacancy Scalia's vacancy into a galvanizing issue in the 2016 presidential election. "We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy's successor this fall," he told reporters yesterday." And, as the president himself confirmed, his nominee will be someone from the list he released before the 2016 election. "We have a very excellent list of great, talented, highly educated, highly intelligent, hopefully, tremendous people... I think the list is very outstanding."

Both developments, the evolution of the Republican Party and the president's commitment to select another quality justice, are the fruits of decades of hard work from pro-lifers. "Let us not be weary in well doing," Galatians 6:9 tells us, "for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." The pro-life movement is proof of that promise. If we remain persistent in our stand for the truth, God promises that we will see a harvest like we're witnessing today. That ought to be an encouragement to pastors who are engaging the culture on moral issues today. Our friends in California -- entire congregations -- are challenging laws that would take away their freedom to speak openly about areas of sexual bondage. Right now, they're caught up in the present and can't see the long view -- but understand from the life movement: where we are now is not where we'll be in three decades if we stand firm on the transcendent truth of God. Yes, the LGBT issue has different dynamics, but truth is truth. And it will stand the test of time.


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


Nikki Haley's Passport to India

June 28, 2018

The last time Nikki Haley went to India, she was the governor of South Carolina. It was 2014, two full years before the next president would give her one of the most critical diplomatic jobs on his team. Now, the daughter of Punjab immigrants is back in her parents' homeland with a very different mission: finding common ground between two nations on religious freedom.

For the last several months, Trump's U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. has put her stamp on many key international decisions. She's fought the anti-Israel forces at the controversial body, helped to roll back the abortion evangelism of the last administration, promoted life, and pulled the United States out of the U.N.'s joke of a Human Rights Council. During her confirmation hearing, Haley was honest. "International diplomacy is a new area for me. Like most government agencies, the United Nations could benefit from a fresh set of eyes. I will take an outsider's look at the institution."

If it's a new area for her, Haley's a natural. She's earned a reputation at the U.N. and among conservatives as a clear voice of reason and truth. She doesn't shy away from the tough issues, even when the world's leaders come at her as they did when the president announced his decision to move the U.S.'s Israeli embassy to Jerusalem. "At the UN we're always asked to do more & give more," Haley tweeted from her phone before the U.N. Security Council formally condemned the U.S. "So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, about where to locate OUR embassy, we don't expect those we've helped to target us. On Thurs there'll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names."

Like the president, Nikki Haley speaks the truth -- even if she's expressing it alone. Over the last two days in India, she's tried to use her same powers of persuasion to promote another one of the administration's priorities: international religious freedom. Before an inter-faith tour with leaders there, she made a point of saying that she looked forward to it because "we think freedom of religion is just as important as freedom of rights and freedom of people."

"We look to the fact that we are two of the oldest democracies that share the value of people, the values of freedom, the values of opportunity. We see there are opportunities between the U.S. and India in multiple levels. Whether it is countering terrorism, whether it is the fact that we want to continue our democratic opportunities, or start to work together more strongly on the military aspect, there are lots of things that India and the U.S. have in common."

While the common ground between the U.S. and India on religious freedom may exist in theory, in practice the nation has an exclusionary concept of national identity (based on the Hindu religion) that's made religious liberty difficult, if not impossible in practice. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom's (USCIRF) most recent report lists India as a Tier 2 country, which is defined by USCIRF as nations in which there are violations of religious freedom that are either "systematic," "ongoing," or "egregious."

The focus on religious freedom is a refreshing reminder of the transformation that's taken place in the State Department and across the executive branch under President Trump. We've gone from a White House that had difficulty even saying the words "religious freedom" to one that makes it a signature issue everywhere Trump's team goes. To the relief of people in faraway lands, our State Department is once again carrying the torch for the persecuted in a way that the world expects and deserves. And not a moment too soon.


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


This Sunday: A Call to All God's People

June 28, 2018

The 10th Annual Call2Fall is just days away. Most Americans will celebrate our nation's political independence on the 4th of July. But before we fire up the grill and plan picnics and fireworks, churches across the land will take time to pray for America. This Sunday, July 1, thousands will take at least five minutes in their regular worship services, to spend time on their knees, seeking God's mercy and favor for our nation. Nothing is more important to America than our repentant prayers. God has given us the key to reversing both the moral decline and cultural divide in America. He will heal our land if we will meet his simple conditions, beginning with humble prayer (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Hear National Day of Prayer President, Dr. Ronnie Floyd, talk with me about how pastors can still take part in Call2Fall this Sunday. If your church can't make it happen on such short notice, gather your family or friends after church and take time to pray together on your knees for America. Learn more at Call2Fall.com and find resources to help with your Call2Fall. If you have time, read "The Story Behind Call2Fall" here.


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


FRC in the Spotlight...

June 28, 2018

Despite the president's executive order, the issue of family separation at the border continues to grab headlines -- in part because it's a symptom of a much broader problem. Over at the Religion News Service, I offer my take on the crisis and some background on FRC's involvement. Check out my column, "Keep Kids with Parents at the Border -- and Remember How We Got Here."


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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