COVID Pays a Visit to Pennsylvania Avenue

COVID Pays a Visit to Pennsylvania Avenue

COVID Pays a Visit to Pennsylvania Avenue

October 2, 2020

Most of us woke up this morning with a grim reminder: the coronavirus is still very much alive. President Trump's tweet that he and First Lady Melania have tested positive for COVID was another shock to the American system, as everyone bears down for the last months of a year that no one will be sorry to see go. The president, in his tweet to the nation, was optimistic, promising that we would all get through this "together." In what many are calling a hopeful sign, the news may be prompting a rare moment of civility, as even some of Trump's biggest detractors stopped to offer their support. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow posted, "God bless the president and first lady. If you pray, please pray for their speedy and complete recovery -- and for everyone infected everywhere. This virus is horrific and merciless. No one would wish its wrath on anyone."

Earlier today, FRC joined hands with partners around the nation, united in prayers of healing for our president, first lady, and all of those affected. "For all of the pain, gloom, and trouble of 2020," Jim Geraghty wrote, "perhaps this ominous news will bring us together." Let's hope so. If there's one thing Washington, D.C. could use, it's unity.

On the Hill, navigating the choppy waters of the virus relief bill has been -- until now -- a second-page story, taking a backseat to the Supreme Court vacancy, debates, and other election news. Now that the president's test is putting the pandemic back in the headlines, there's even more pressure for Congress to get something done that both sides can support. That's been next to impossible these last several days, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spend hours in back-and-forth talk on a deal that liberal Democrats don't seem interested in cutting.

Thursday, despite opposition from members of their own party, Pelosi put a $2.2 trillion package on the table with only one real goal: cramming as much extremism and unrelated agenda items in the bill as possible. The sham legislation, which was nothing but a messaging tool to her liberal base, was roundly panned by Democrats who couldn't believe that Pelosi won't negotiate in good faith on such an important issue. Representatives like Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) fumed to the press, insisting, "This is going nowhere, we know it's going nowhere. This is just a vote to make people feel good. I want to help people," she told Politico, "and that means sitting at the table and getting the [expletive] bill done."

Congressman Ben McAdams (D-Utah), another of the 18 Democrats to vote no, demanded that Pelosi grow up and work with the GOP. "Republicans have put forward a serious offer and I think leadership should stay at the table and get this across the finish line," he said. Others, like Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.), could only shake his head that all that seems to matter to his party leaders is sticking it to Donald Trump. "It's no secret that there are some people in my party that are secretly and surreptitiously saying, 'Oh, let's not do any deal whatsoever because we don't want the president to get credit for anything," he added. "That is as wrong as it gets. People are suffering right now ...And we have to be there for them as members of Congress and as patriots, not as partisans."

As for what's so objectionable in the bill, the real question is: what isn't? There's a $600 million cut to police funding from the May version, another redefinition of "sex" and gender, cash for illegal immigrants, increased access to marijuana, taxpayer-funded abortion, more anti-freedom hate crimes provisions, a financial attack on homeschooling families and religious schools, and an end-run on state voter ID laws and other election safeguards. And Democrats accuse Trump of not caring about coronavirus?

Based on this legislation, it's House leaders, not Republicans, who are insincere. Anyone who would take a deadly situation and use it to push a grab bag of liberal non-starters cares about campaigning -- not compromise. We're grateful for the White House's adamance that any agreement with Pelosi must be pro-life, pro-family, and pro-freedom.

In the meantime, we continue to pray for the protection and health of the Trump family and White House staff. You can join us, every Thursday at noon (ET) in our special prayer time with Michele Bachmann. For details, got to

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

Biden Staffer on SCOTUS: Christians Need Not Apply

October 2, 2020

It isn't a crime to be a Christian -- but according to the Biden campaign, it is a crime to nominate one to the Supreme Court. In an eye-opening exchange, one of the Democrat's staffers seemed appalled that Amy Coney Barrett's resume includes a stint as a trustee of an Indiana Catholic school. The scandal, at least to liberals, isn't that the school is Catholic -- but that it acts like one.

Like Karen Pence, Barrett is under fire for daring to associate with a school that rejects things like homosexuality and premarital sex. Maybe the self-professed Catholic Biden and his staff never got the memo that this is what orthodox Catholics do! Trinity's "cultural statement" is what you'd expect from a religious school -- and that, Nikitha Rai insists, is unacceptable.

In a Twitter exchange with a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, the deputy of Biden's tried to shame Barrett for those views. But Shadi Hamid fired back, "Isn't this standard position for any orthodox Catholic? ... To be fair, it's the standard position for any orthodox Muslim or Jew as well..." True, Rai agreed, but "I'd heavily prefer views like that not be elevated to the Supreme Court. But unfortunately, our current culture is still relatively intolerant. It will be a while before those types of beliefs are so taboo that they're disqualifiers... from the United States Supreme Court."

Unfortunately for the Democratic candidate, "views like that" happen to be held by a vast number of good and decent Americans. Barack Obama himself was a supporter of natural marriage until he was pushed to the Left by Rai's boss. So her suggestion that these are somehow wildly isolated or antiquated beliefs aren't just wrong -- they're harmful to the American debate. Worse, as PJ Media's Tyler O'Neil explained on "Washington Watch," radicals like Rai claim to be making these statements in the name of "tolerance." That's ironic, he argued, since it's extremely intolerant to say that you don't want anyone on the Supreme Court to hold orthodox Christian, Muslim, or Jewish views.

"It really is a conflict of worldviews," Tyler says. And this notion that Christians should be excluded and sidelined from society is happening faster than anyone would have thought. "This is something that sociology professors George Anthony and David Williamson wrote about. They have a book, So Many Christians, So Few Lions. They expose what they call Christian-phobia, which is this bias against conservative Christians, most particularly Orthodox religious people of faith. And yes, he actually has done research that shows that if somebody is, you know, has animus and hatred against conservative Christians, that leads them to support LGBT activism even when they themselves have a low opinion of LGBT people. [And this] is becoming embedded in so many parts of American culture."

At the end of the day, the far-Left doesn't want any objective standards of morality or transcendent truth. And this isn't just Rai's opinion -- but the Democratic Party's too. Who could forget the former vice president calling believers -- and anyone else who believes in the sanctity of marriage -- the "dregs of society?" This, despite the fact that a majority of states had gone on record defining marriage in their state constitutions as the union of a man and woman and even as recently as 2018 were reconsidering the damage of redefining it. To them, we are committing the "crime of prejudice" just by embracing what the Bible teaches.

That ought to be a warning sign to everyone heading into the polls to vote. Americans need to consider these things when they weigh how the two presidential candidates view people of faith. Will they be freer to live their lives according to their beliefs under Donald Trump or Joe Biden? Or will they be disqualified from public service and the public square? There couldn't be a clearer contrast.

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

A Legal Document Is Not a Living Document

October 2, 2020

There's nothing that Democrats and the media hate more than a win for President Donald Trump. And his third nomination in four years to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court is shaping up to be just that.

It's hard to find anything bad to say about President Trump's nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. She has somehow managed to mother seven children (including two adopted from Haiti and one with special needs) while achieving a distinguished career as a legal scholar and judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. She once clerked for the late lion of the court, Antonin Scalia. Very few have attained either her career or her family; she has done both.

In a radio interview on "Washington Watch" with FRC President Tony Perkins, Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) described the way her former colleagues praised her. Everyone who had clerked alongside her, for both activist and originalist justices, "signed a letter when she was nominated to the lower court saying she's the right person for the job. She has the right temperament. She knows the law. She's smart. We need to have her as a judge."

Sadly, Judge Barrett's confirmation will not be smooth sailing. When the Left's whole agenda depends upon activist judges circumventing the will of the people's duly elected representatives, they cannot afford to let Republicans nominate anyone without a fight.

Barrasso said the no-holds-barred playbook is nothing new. "They used it against Judge Bork. They used it against Justice Alito, Justice Thomas, certainly brought it out with Brett Kavanaugh. I think they will do anything they can to try to undermine her character, her credibility, and make sure she doesn't get confirmed."

But how do you attack the perfect nominee? "They're going to go after her for her faith," said Barrasso. Article VI of the Constitution specifically prohibits religious tests for public office. But Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) already attacked Barrett's faith last time she was nominated. "The dogma lives loudly within you," she pronounced. Since when is it disqualifying to practice what you preach?

Indeed, media henchmen are already assaulting Barrett's faith. Even before President Trump officially nominated her, multiple pieces unworthy of a hyperlink spilled buckets of ink trying to spin her adherence to basic Christian morality as something cultish and sinister.

These absurd smear tactics are simply providing cover for Democratic senators to try to block the nomination of an eminently qualified Supreme Court nominee who would stand in their way of their radical agenda.

"She has the vision of Justice Scalia," Barrasso remarked. Namely, "that the Constitution is a legal document, not a living document. It is built for certainty, not for flexibility."

As Tony Perkins pointed out in the interview, everything on the ballot in this election will be settled by the courts. All of the opposing policies in the Republican and Democratic platforms, including radically different positions on protecting unborn life and religious liberty -- "all those issues find a crossing point, a fixed point of connection at the courts."

The Republican platform in 2016 and 2020 aims to "fill the bench with judges who will apply the law, not legislate from the bench," said Barrasso. That's what Judge Amy Barrett stands for, and that why he's "never seen the Republican senators so unified and working in concert together as they are right now over this nomination."

Barrasso said judicial appointments may define the Trump presidency to posterity. "I think it will be the mark of President Trump... that we have done so much to remake the judiciary along the lines that I think the founding fathers had intended it."