Baltimore Ravings: The Remedy for America's Cities

Baltimore Ravings: The Remedy for America's Cities

July 31, 2019

Nobody goes to the playgrounds anymore. They're abandoned -- except for the gangs. "You saw them selling drugs, right there," reporter Lawrence Jones said, fuming. "Nobody came to break it up." To the longtime residents of Baltimore, the changes have been staggering. "I've lived here 58 years," one man explained, "and it was such an honor and pleasure to live here. And what I see now -- sometimes I just drive through, and I'm almost in tears." It may not be popular, but what the president said, one African-American woman told Lawrence, "it's true."

Away from Twitter and the national limelight, their stories were all the same. One after another, people admitted they were scared to raise a family in Baltimore -- even though it was home. When President Trump was brutally honest about the nightmarish conditions of their city, most of the residents were just relieved someone finally cared enough to say something. "I understand in many circles, they think the conservative message wouldn't be welcome here..." Jones said. "[But Baltimore] has tried the liberal message for over 70 years in this town, and it's been reckless to the people here... They don't care about the politics." They want change.

Democrats, on the other hand, aren't interested in change. They took the public spat between the White House and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) as another opportunity to stand in front of the cameras and call the president a racist. Apparently, that's the only card the Left wants to play. Any time the president challenges the status quo in these urban settings, he's prejudiced. But sometimes, as Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) told me on "Washington Watch," that's just a distraction from the real issue -- and those distractions are what's keeping us from addressing America's most devastating problems.

"[Democrats] are taught in their campaign schools how to make every issue one about race... Their game plan in that regard is to try to holler racism so much that they're able to cultivate black votes... but long-term for our country, the racial division that the Democratic party stokes is horrific... What we need to do is quit talking about skin pigmentation -- because quite frankly, that is in no way, shape, or form a measure of a person's character, what they're going to do with themselves, [or] how successful they're going to be with themselves. And the more the Democrats use race as an excuse, the more people who are of different skin pigmentation start thinking, 'I cannot succeed, no matter how hard I work because of racism.' And that's wrong. We need to be inspiring people to work hard to overcome whatever hurdles are in front of them that they can be prosperous and enjoy America like so many hundreds of millions have enjoyed America."

Obviously, the Left's game plan is to shut down any form of discussion or debate -- which, if it's done civilly, could move us forward as a country. But when you throw out labels, like the far-Left has, you're doing great damage to the United States of America. Racial division, we should all know by now, does no one any good. In the end, all it does is keep people trapped in a toxic environment that's hurting generations of Americans. Because, at its heart, this isn't a racial issue. This is a family issue. And the problem isn't the presence of rats in Baltimore -- it's the absence of fathers.

Back in 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau found that about 26 percent of American kids were living without a dad in the home. In Baltimore, among African-American children, that rate was 69 percent. And, as Dr. Pat Fagan pointed out Tuesday, it's probably closer to 87 or 89 percent now. "It's really bad," he said soberly. "[And] it's intergenerational in most of our inner-cities [where there are] three, four generations of out-of-wedlock births -- where the girls growing up and the boys growing up don't know what marriage is because they've never experienced it. And of course, that comes with all sorts of deficits in their growing up. So the probability of things going wrong -- not only is it high for them, but it gets higher for their kids and so on."

It doesn't matter what anyone's income levels are, he insisted. "When parents break up, it damages the kid -- and you see it coming out in their [school] performance." Now, Dr. Fagan admitted, some children manage to work through those challenges and succeed, but if you look at the averages -- "no matter what the income, no matter what [their level of education], if your parents split, you're going to bear the burden probably throughout your life... And the further down you go in the income levels, the worse the effects." Without a doubt, he said, that is the root cause of Baltimore's collapse -- and so many others'.

So how do we fix this? What do we do about an epidemic of fatherlessness? "Faith and family tend to go hand in glove," Dr. Fagan said. "So in order to correct this, you would need a massive infusion of love, of dedication [to help people] get back on track. Government can tweak things at the edge -- but government," Dr. Fagan warned, "cannot tackle this." He's right. There has to be a commitment to helping people make better choices -- the kind of decisions that can change their circumstances and lead them down a better path. In the end, it's not throwing money at the situation, it's walking alongside them. And who better to do that than the church?

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

Libs Screech at Mario Lopez's Honesty

July 31, 2019

"Unfortunately, I think you suffer consequences in this business if you don't fall in line." When Mario Lopez said that on "The Candace Owens Show" in June, he had no idea how prophetic those words would become. Now, the "Saved by the Bell" star-turned-family guy is in the middle of the firestorm of his life. Why? Because he dared to challenge this radical idea that children who aren't old enough to spell "gender" should be able to change theirs.

Known by most fans as A.C. Slater, Lopez has been in show business since he was 10. So if anyone understands how Hollywood works, it's him. "I really don't ever talk about politics, because... I don't want to alienate anyone," he told Candace in a disarmingly honest interview that spanned a wide range of topics. But these days, he does talk about faith and, like a lot of Americans, doesn't understand how the topic became so polarizing. For Mario, who wasn't a conservative when he was younger, his beliefs started evolving when he got married and started a family.

"There is a component of being young that sort of attaches you to liberalism because you're experimenting and you want to feel that you can try everything. But ultimately what I always tell people is I wasn't happy. So as I became more conservative and, and sort of had this return back to faith and a return back to family and really valuing those things, I became a happier person. And it's bizarre to me that this is considered so controversial when I read about myself. I mean, if I had just switched my affiliation that and said I was a liberal, I think Hollywood would love me. I think I'd be celebrated."

Over the past 48 hours, however, it wasn't his politics that got Lopez in hot water. It was expressing an opinion, contrary to the entertainment industry, on transgenderism. When Candace brought up fellow celebrities, like Charlize Theron, who's telling the world her seven-year-old is a "transgender girl," Mario said he was blown away. "Look," he said, "I'm never one to tell anyone how to parent their kids, obviously. And I think if you come from a place of love, you really can't go wrong. But [my gosh], if you're three years old, and you're saying you're feeling a certain way or you think you're a boy or girl -- whatever the case may be -- I just think it's dangerous as a parent to make that determination, then, okay, well then you're going to be a boy or a girl... [I]t's sort of alarming. And my gosh, I just think about the repercussions later on. Right?"

To most Americans, who are horrified at the progression of this new liberal orthodoxy, Lopez's comments were refreshingly honest. Liberals and conservatives alike have been increasingly vocal about the dangers of encouraging children to mutilate their bodies in the name of political correctness. "When you're a kid... you don't know anything about sexuality yet," Lopez insisted. "Parents need to allow their kids to be kids, but at the same time you gotta be the adult in the situation... I think the formative years is when you start having those discussions and really start making these declarations. [Three years old] is way too young for some of [this]... [T]he trend is actually harming children. And I'm super protective of children."

This week, almost a month after the show, Lopez's interview surfaced to ferocious backlash from Hollywood. Within a day, the controversy was the number one trending topic on Twitter, and people started timing how long it would take the LGBT army to force his apology. "Evidently," PragerU tweeted, "it's now *scandalous* to say that a child probably shouldn't be making their own life-altering decisions at three years old." He was accused of "spreading idiocy," "hate," and "publicly crossing a line" -- all for a viewpoint that, five years ago, even Tinseltown would have considered mainstream!

Even now, feminist groups and liberal parents are crying out for Americans to wake up to this dangerous agenda. Groups that would have never been considered allies are teaming up to fight for the future of girls, privacy, women's sports, and parents' rights. Moms and dads, who've suffered through the government ripping their children away or authorizing treatments against their will, are speaking out. Doctors are resigning from clinics that rush kids into puberty-blockers. Attorneys are filing suit to stop states from bypassing parents on painful, body-mutilating surgeries. National organizations from both sides are pleading with the U.S. Surgeon General to investigate the harms of puberty-blockers on minors.

According to young adults here, here, and here, the "repercussions" Mario talked about are real. But Lopez isn't a victim of the mob because he's wrong -- he's a victim of the mob because he spoke truth. As Mario said, eerily foreshadowing the controversy to come, "It is interesting to see, for a community that's supposed to be all about inclusivity and diversity, they're with you -- unless it's diversity of thought."

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

Christian Nationalism? The Left's Latest Attempt to Silence Believers

July 31, 2019

By FRC's David Closson, Director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview

A coalition of left-leaning church leaders recently launched a project "Against Christian Nationalism." In their statement they cite "Christian nationalism" as a "persistent threat to both our religious communities and our democracy." At best, the project is a solution in search of a problem -- at worst, it's an attempt to drive conservative Christians out of the public square.

According to the statement, "Christian nationalism seeks to merge Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America's constitutional democracy. Christian nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the State and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian." As David Barton, president of Wall Builders, pointed out on "Washington Watch" Tuesday, the problem with this statement lies in how "Christian nationalism" is defined. Clearly, these left-leaning church leaders (which includes Jim Wallis who advised President Obama and Tony Campolo who advised President Clinton) are seeking to redefine nationalism in a way that implies something sinister about conservative Christians who love their country.

No one is seriously arguing that "to be a good American, one must be a Christian." This points to the insincere motives of this movement; simply put, theologically liberal Christians are fearful of the gains social conservatives have made in the last few years, and they are attempting to sideline faithful Christians by creating what Barton describes a "radioactive term" to sully their reputation.

But Christians who love their nation have nothing to apologize for; in fact, they should be emboldened to enter the political arena with the courage of their convictions. As David Barton points out, the vast majority of Americans do love their country and identify as Christian. In short, patriotism is a virtue, not a vice. As Barton notes, quoting one of the Declaration of Independence signers, "The Declaration says that patriotism is a religious and moral duty because if you love your country, you will want what's best for it. And if you want what's best for it, that's going to bless everyone who lives in the nation... loving your country and seeking what's best for it is a blessing."

However, a broader point about "Christian Nationalism" and the idea of America as a Christian nation is raised by this story which deserves further comment. Is belief that America is a "Christian nation" equivalent to Christian Nationalism? To answer this question, it is important to carefully define terms.

First, if by "Christian nation" we mean America was influenced by Christian principles at the founding, it is difficult to argue the reverse. Clearly, Christianity provided the principles of equal rights and human dignity that motivated the founders. Moreover, the majority of the Founding Fathers were Christians who generally believed in the truth of the Bible. Christianity remains the largest religion in the United States. Finally, Christian beliefs still provide the intellectual background for many of our cultural values such as respect for human dignity, the need to care for the disadvantaged, and respect for the rule of law. In all of these senses, America could be called a "Christian nation."

However, in another sense -- surveying the cultural landscape today -- we are not. Are the majority of Americans Bible-believing, born-again Christians? No. Do Christian values dominate the perspective promoted by the government, media, and universities in America? No. Does the government compel people to follow a Christian church? No, because this would violate the first amendment of the Constitution. Do people have to profess Christian faith to be citizens or have equal rights under the law in this country? No. Are Christian ideas welcomed and accepted by many in "elite" circles of public opinion? No. In these senses, America is not a "Christian nation."

The irony is that many of the activists behind this attempt to demonize conservative Christians participating in politics see an "evangelical bogeyman" under every rock, and still proceed to argue that Christians somehow overwhelmingly dominate the culture. The reality is far different.

Thus, in conversations about "Christian nationalism," it is important to define the terms. When someone alleges that America is or is not a "Christian nation" it is important to determine what they mean by the phrase. Clearly, America is indebted to Christian morality in significant ways.

All Bible-believing Christians reject "white supremacy" and "racial subjugation" which backers of the "Against Christian nationalism" campaign claim is inherent to Christian nationalism. However, this is a redefinition of terms and an attempt to drive patriotic Christians from the public square at a time when social conservatives are making tremendous gains on life and religious liberty at the state and federal level.

Christians ought to affirm God's providential working in history. The material blessings of the United States are not unconnected from the Christian morality that has undergirded our country, and Christians should continue to exert their influence at all levels of government, while allowing a free marketplace of ideas that allows for open debate and religious freedom.

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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