At Foley Gala, the Media Invites Disunity


At Foley Gala, the Media Invites Disunity

April 05, 2019

This country's been through some tough times, but if there's one thing we could always fall back on, it was that -- no matter how fiercely we disagreed -- we were always united where it counted: as Americans. But in a day and age when common ground is shrinking by the day, even our identity is being tested. We've watched consensus issues turn contentious almost overnight. We've seen values that always seemed to rise above the partisan tags turn factious. And suddenly, not even our biggest accomplishments as a nation are worth setting aside our differences and celebrating together.

As fractured as this country may be, most people never thought they'd see the day when we couldn't set aside politics long enough to cheer the return of our own. But in a nation as unraveled by animus as ours seems to be, even the triumphant return of American hostages is cause for backbiting and revenge. When the James W. Foley Foundation was choosing its honoree for this year's American Hostage Freedom Award, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was a natural choice. After all, he and the president has brought home more prisoners in two years than any administration in modern history. In just a half-term, 20 people -- including 17 Americans -- are free because of this president and his team.

Whether it was Pastor Andrew Brunson (who I had the privilege of escorting home), Mormon missionaries, UCLA basketball players, or U.S. aid workers, the White House has made it clear: it will leave no American behind. Very honestly, Trump's success on the hostage front is everyone's success. And yet, the media just can't stand the idea of giving credit where credit is due. So, they played hardball. If the Foleys went through with the award, they threatened, the press -- including keynote speaker and CNN anchor Christiana Amanpour -- would boycott.

Just as suddenly as Pompeo's name appeared on the website for Tuesday's event, it was gone. In his place, the Foundation announced a new honoree: Obama-era diplomat Brett McGurk, whose administration released fewer hostages in eight years than President Trump has in two. And the current president managed it, Marc Thiessen reminds everyone, "without setting Taliban leaders loose from Guantanamo Bay, or sending wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies to Iran on an unmarked cargo plane -- which only creates incentives for criminal regimes to seize Americans."

But, Thiessen fumed in the Washington Post, this is how ridiculous the "Trump Derangement Syndrome" has gotten. Even America's top diplomat is too radioactive for recognition. "I understand that there are people who deeply dislike Trump... But this president and his administration has made freeing Americans held abroad a top priority... and they have had unprecedented success in getting them released." It's "pathetic," he argued, that liberals can't even bring themselves to sit quietly and acknowledge the work that's been done.

In a gracious letter to the Foleys, Secretary Pompeo lamented that anyone would bully them into this position. "How sad is it that base politics and hatred have been allowed to creep into even this sphere of our national activity?" he wrote. "The safe recovery of Americans held hostage overseas should be beyond politics and must enjoy the support of all Americans. I regret that pressure of such a cynical and abominable nature was brought to bear on you and John." Regardless, he promised, "the ignoble conduct of those behind this sad deed will never diminish my commitment, or the commitment of the men and women I lead, to the safe recovery of all Americans unjustly held abroad."

There was a time, not too long ago, when our country knew how to set aside their differences when it mattered. When there was a basic respect for the office of our leaders. Now, suddenly, everything is reduced to political blood sport. "The return of hostages isn't partisan," Pompeo insisted. "It's not political. This is an American activity. We worked with Democrat members of Congress on this."

If our nation is going to survive this storm, then there have to be some shared experiences and triumphs that transcend politics. The media can hate President Trump, but they can never take away what he's done for our country. As for Mike Pompeo, he's a patriot, a veteran, and a man of principle who's earned America's respect. If the press wants to take out its grudge against the administration on him, let me be the first to warn them: they've picked the wrong fight.

For more, check out my latest FoxNews.com column where I explain why Secretary Pompeo's faith is not a liability but an asset.


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


Adopting Inclusion for Families of Faith

April 05, 2019

Religious Freedom isn't a "fringe" issue -- but try convincing NBC. The outlet's latest puff piece on LGBT parents is a typical one-sided angle on adoption -- but maybe that's the scary part. Because for all the attention they seem to give it, there's always one theme that seems to be missing: the children.

There aren't many issues more crystallizing about the LGBT movement than its adoption crusade. Like so much of their agenda, it exposes just how self-centered their priorities are. The victims in these stories are never the kids in desperate need of homes -- but the couples, who seem to think they're entitled to children no matter who is hurt in the process.

NBC's story starts out the usual way. They tell the sad tale of two women, who decided to pursue adoption the one way they were destined to run into complications -- through a faith-based agency. "We didn't get any farther than the first phone call," Kristy told the reporter. Of course, that shouldn't be a surprise, since they chose to contact Catholic Charities, which -- most everyone knows -- sticks to the biblical definition of marriage and family. Instead of respecting those beliefs and moving on to a secular adoption firm, the couple decided to sue.

Now, as of their March 22 settlement, faith-based adoption groups that get state money have two choices: forgo the funding or stop turning away same-sex couples. Kristy tells NBC they're "thrilled," and the network celebrates the women as martyrs for forcing an entire charity network out of the child care business, because they think their need for affirmation is more important than these organizations' First Amendment rights and the well-being of needy children.

Of course, one of the most frustrating parts of the whole controversy is that none of Catholic Charities' adoption policies were arbitrary. Yes, a married mother and father are the biblical design for child-rearing -- but it also happens to be the most beneficial. There are reams of social science data on the mental, economic, educational, and social advantages of being raised by a natural family. But, as we've seen with the LGBT push to sexualize the military, it's never about the greater good. It's about self-actualizing no matter what the costs.

In a string of states, leaders have put their foot down and made it clear that adoption is not about what adults want. It's about what's best for children. One after another, legislatures are introducing bills that not only protect kids, but the freedom of the organizations representing them. "At least nine states have laws on the books allowing for religious exemptions in the foster and adoption process," NBC writes ominously, "and several others are considering similar measures."

"Adoption discrimination is snowballing toward a serious crisis for children, families, and communities," the ACLU's Liz Welch argued. "Once considered fringe policy in just a couple states, the push behind child welfare religious exemption bills has picked up alarming speed and momentum." And considering the fight that some liberals have picked with faith-based groups, no one should be surprised. There's absolutely no reason -- except spite and selfishness -- to force everyone else to chuck their beliefs as a condition of serving in any industry.

Just because some states protect Catholic Charities doesn't mean same-sex couples can't adopt. That's because despite what the ACLU will tell you, nothing about these Child Welfare Inclusion bills bans LGBT adoption! The same agencies that matched them with kids before will still be matching them with kids after. The only thing that changes is that some groups can't be bullied out of operating by their own beliefs.

"We will always protect our country's long and proud tradition of faith-based adoption" President Trump said at the National Prayer Breakfast in February. "My administration is working to ensure that faith-based adoption agencies are able to help vulnerable children find their forever families while following their deeply-held beliefs." As Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) pointed out when he sponsored the federal version of the Inclusion Act, "This is not a fight that conservatives or the faith-based community started -- but it is one that we're ready to win."


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


Congratulations, Ronnie Floyd!

April 05, 2019

A familiar face is taking over as president and chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee: Dr. Ronnie Floyd. A longtime friend and the chairman of the FRC board, Ronnie will bring incredible leadership to the nation's largest Protestant denomination. In addition to pastoring a remarkable church in Springdale, Arkansas, for 32 years, Dr. Floyd served as the president of the Convention from 2014-2016.

"Where I will be as long as I'm in this position," he said, "is that I will think like a pastor. I will champion pastors. I believe in the church, and I will champion the church." And no one has had a stronger mandate to do so, considering the landslide 68-1 election. "I believe that there's a great need in our convention of churches to remind people all of the time that we're here to cooperate together to reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ," he told reporters. "That's where my passion and my vision will always call us forward."

We are grateful for Dr. Floyd's example of courageous leadership and look forward to continuing our work to protect religious freedom in America and around the world.


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


FRC in the Spotlight

April 05, 2019

Looking for some weekend reading? Check out my op-ed with Rep. Virginia Foxx on the president's expanded Mexico City policy. Also, don't miss my column in Fox News about the latest attacks on Secretary Mike Pompeo. Last, but not least, I had the chance to join Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream on the fall of the SPLC. Watch it below.


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.


Previous Washington Update Articles »