Like a Mob to the Flame

Like a Mob to the Flame

July 16, 2020

It looked like something out of a 2015 news report -- a picture from ISIS, maybe, torching its way through Mosul. But the charred pews and collapsed roof were not the work of Islamic terrorists, but America's own. Over the weekend, the rioters, the same ones who wanted us to believe their cause is justice, came for our churches -- using gasoline, lighters, gallons of paint, and vans to drive their message of destruction and chaos through the heart of America's faithful.

It took more than 50 firefighters to put out the mountain of flames at San Gabriel Church, which -- by Saturday night -- was nothing but a rickety frame of smoldering ash. "It's a tragic loss for our city," exhausted fire chief Antonio Negrete told reporters. "It's our city identifier." Now, months shy of its 250-year birthday celebration, parishioners will be digging through the rubble instead.

While Californians watched helplessly as a town symbol burned, people in Florida's Queen of Peace Catholic Church were praying in the sanctuary when they heard a car crash through the foyer. Seconds later, the smell of smoke clouding the entry. Laughing about it later with police, the 23-year-old arsonist said he was on a "mission." Turns out, it was a mission several radicals shared, as a wave of destruction hit as many as five more churches in 48 hours. Even historically black congregations were targets, as Calvary Baptist in San Diego watched its building for children's ministry burn to the ground after a "suspicious" blaze started in the attic.

In New York City, the mobs made bonfires out of two Virgin Mary statues, with words like "IDOL" scrawled in ugly black paint down others. Tuesday, even a Jesus sculpture was decapitated. Is this what it's come to -- blaming churches for George Floyd's death? No, FRC's Ken Blackwell points out, because this was never about George Floyd to begin with. That was all a smokescreen to exploit the mobs' real agenda: fundamentally transforming America. Black Lives Matter, Antifa, the anarchists, and vigilantes, they're all "trained Marxists." And Marxism "has no place for God."

Activist Jeffrey Shaun King was pretty clear about that from the get-go, implying that this was about a lot more than slavery and the Civil War. "All murals and stained-glass windows of white Jesus and his European mother and their white friends should also come down. They are a gross form of white supremacy created as tools of oppression, racist propaganda." This isn't about Jesus being white. (He wasn't.) It's about hating what Jesus and these churches represent: Truth.

"You saw this with the French Revolution," Eric Metaxas pointed out. "There was [an abhorrence] at the bottom of it of God, of any kind of authority. And these people are drunk with the idea that they can somehow be an authority themselves, they can seize power... If you really want to cut to the chase, you forget about [Confederate] generals and things. You go right for God, you go right for the Virgin Mary, my goodness, you go for churches."

If you want to know why the mainstream media isn't covering these attacks -- and many have wondered -- it's no secret. They don't want to expose this movement for what it is -- a sham of racial equality and a revolt against the rule of law rooted in the transcendent truth of God. Once that foundation for government is gone, and these zealots are coming for it, it's only a matter of time before America is a hollowed shell ready for transformation.

That's why Americans, especially Christians, are making a huge mistake burying their head in the sand thinking this, too, shall pass. It will pass, all right, along with our freedoms if we don't wake up to the threat. Some mayors and leaders made the mistake that if we just feed the mobs a few statues, they'll go quietly into the night. That's the trouble with trying to reason with extremists, Conrad Black points out. "They don't really want to reach an agreement. They skulked forward hiding behind the skirts of respectable reform organizations who wish equality and brotherhood in America." Now, our monuments aren't just paying for it, but our faith communities too.

Back when ISIS marched through small Iraqi towns, destroying ancient artifacts and scared sites, the West was appalled. We prided ourselves, Victor Davis Hanson says, "on the idea that liberal societies would never descend into such nihilism." What a difference five years makes.

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

Dems on Lifesaving: We Don't Care

July 16, 2020

Spending your money has never been easier! In the House, even Democrats were shocked at how fast the leadership breezed through a dozen appropriations bills, making snap decisions on where to direct a whopping $1.4 trillion dollars. Is marking up 12 bills in 10 days a record? Maybe, staffers say. It certainly was "the fastest in anyone's memory." But faster, as the rest of America is about to find out, isn't necessarily better. Especially when innocent lives are on the line.

It's usually a tedious process. In the past, appropriations debates have dragged on for months, sometimes running right up against the midnight, fiscal-year deadline. And while Republicans are just as eager to finish the long slog as everyone else, this year's debates were a depressing reminder of what Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) party will do with more power if they get it.

For ranking members like Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), it had already been a brutal week. He and the other conservatives watched their amendments to protect the president's conscience and life policies lose on party-line votes to Democrats over and over again. On Tuesday, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) felt his pain, trying -- and failing -- to get Democrats to join the other 94 percent of the country in opposing infanticide. He had the opportunity, as part of the military's Tricare health insurance debate, to insist on certain standards of care. But newborn babies, liberals will tell you, don't qualify.

Dr. Harris introduced a commonsense amendment that asked hospitals in the Tricare network to certify that they'd provide medical care for any baby born alive. One of the conditions of taxpayer funding, he proposed, is that they have a policy on the books guaranteeing that the newborn abortion survivor would "be taken care of and resuscitated." "It's very simple," he explained. "There are no criminal penalties... So this is not overly burdensome." And yet, he shook his head, I'm sure "the argument will be made that, well, this never occurs. But in fact, over the period of 2005-2014, the CDC identified 143 such cases in the United States. [Those] are the CDC's numbers, not anyone else's numbers. And that might even be an underestimate."

Hopefully, he told his friends across the aisle, "There's no discussion about whether [it's] appropriate that a human being born alive qualifies as an individual protection under the law... This is a simple way to make sure that those quality measures would be in place in hospitals that request and would receive TRICARE funds."

Although the amendment did get a little bipartisan support -- Congressmen Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) -- crossed over to vote yes, the rest of the committee's Democrats seem just as insistent as ever to make infant killing the new abortion. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) couldn't believe the Left's stubbornness. This amendment, he fumed to Sarah Perry "Washington Watch," "isn't talking about anything to do with abortion itself." It's about a newborn baby getting a "proper degree of care. And how the committee could vote that down... it's [hard] to understand... So, you know, that was probably one of the more discouraging votes of the week. Just knowing that... pro-choice members now can't even support issues like that, when a child is born alive and just is trying to survive."

Wednesday, things only got worse on the abortion front. Rep. Aderholt, in the Homeland Security-Financial Services debate, tried to stop the Democrats from turning D.C. into the capital of taxpayer-funded abortion. Pelosi's leaders gutted the language that had banned it for years, and when pro-lifers like Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) spoke up to defend the restriction, liberals fired back. "Another day, another markup, another amendment from anti-abortion elected officials that would deny access to abortion," Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) mocked.

It was one frustrating battle after the next. "These bills, as they're written," Aderholt shook his head, "are completely stripped of pro-life riders and any kind of amendments that have anything to do with [life]." Republicans will get another crack at it on the floor, when the 12 budgets come up for a final vote, but "it's very doubtful that that we will be able to get [anything good passed]." Thankfully, he said, "we do have a Republican Senate, and we've got to make sure they hold tight. And again, the president can also veto the bills as well. So we still have hope. But usually, when Republicans have control, we're able to send those to the floor and have these protections for the pro-life help for children of an unborn. And this year, we don't have it."

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

In Nigeria, a Bloody War Gets Bloodier

July 16, 2020

They said it was drought. Climate change. Territorial feuds. But the carnage in Nigeria is none of these things. It's genocide -- and the world isn't even paying attention. In the first half of 2020, 1,200 Christians were killed. They were believers just like us, mowed down at their weddings, burned to death in their beds, beheaded on the side of the road. And yet their cries, "Please help us! The herdsman are coming!" continue to fall on deaf ears.

It has been called a "slow-motion war." But FRC's Lela Gilbert isn't so sure. "A war usually has two sides," she says. "And unfortunately, the Christians in Nigeria are largely defenseless." In a sobering interview on "Washington Watch" about the horrors her research has uncovered, she tells listeners, "The truth is, these jihadis come in in the night. They sweep through communities. They kill randomly. They kill women. They sometimes kidnap young women. They slaughter people and mutilate them, and then kill the men off and burn the villages... They're not even taking over the villages so they have a new place to live. It's extremely violent and extremely terrible."

It's not a war, she insists. "Unless we want to say that we're going to war with our prayers and with our concerns on this side of the world."

In a powerful new paper, Lela talks about the persecution of the Nigerians and what's driving the world's silence. "This has been going on for a long time..." she pointed out. "But it's way worse than it sounds, even from the report today, because there are tens of thousands of Christians that have died. We just don't know the exact numbers, because the records are very difficult to keep."

Like so many activists and churches on the ground, she's appalled that the West can claim to care so much about black lives but leave the helpless Nigerians to fend for themselves. "These black lives matter, too," Lela argues. "And we have to protect them before this country is another Rwanda or another Iraq or another Darfur."

One of the best things anyone can do -- apart from pray, Lela says -- is be informed. "We really need to focus a little more closely on what's going on. I think we need to alert legislators and our leaders and our country that we're concerned as Christians about this." Their stories are grim and harrowing -- but if they can't tell them, we must.

Start by clicking over to Lela's paper, "The Crisis of Christian Persecution in Nigeria."

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