Barrett Gives Senate Cause for Confirm
Barrett Gives Senate Cause for Confirm
October 12, 2020
It took more than an hour and a half for someone to say it, but Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.) finally did. Looking around the hearing room at the socially-distanced Democrats, he said bluntly, "I do not know what any of that has to do with why we're here today." Like the liberals before her, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) had just finished five minutes of requisite Trump bashing, apparently forgetting that it was Amy Coney Barrett on the stand, not the president of the United States. Every eighth grader tuning in would be "really confuse[d]" about what the Senate was doing, Sasse said. But grown-ups weren't. To the Left, this wasn't a sincere discussion about America's highest court -- it was a campaign rally. And a revealing one at that.
For long stretches of the morning, the bench almost seemed like an afterthought. Liberal senators ripped into the administration's coronavirus response, the White House's "misplaced priorities," repeating lies about the president's racism, his health care positions, and other half-truths that held no relevance to the proceedings of the day. But then, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) pointed out, there is an election in a few weeks, "so those attacks are not surprising." What is surprising, at least to people watching, is how little anyone heard about the nominee. "I think part of the reason," Cruz said accurately, "is that on any measure, her credentials are impeccable."
When Democratic senators managed to pull themselves away from their 2020 soundbites long enough to focus on the issue at hand, they tried fearmongering on Obamacare -- claiming that every American would lose their health insurance if Barrett is confirmed. Some senators even brought gigantic pictures of people back home who are "scared" of this nominee, worried she'll "rip away" their insurance. She's a "judicial torpedo," Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) argued dramatically, a "smokescreen," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) piled on, before beating a dead horse on coronavirus failures.
In the rare moments when Democrats weren't harping on Obamacare, they took turns calling the nomination an "illegitimate charade" -- still smarting from 2016 when they didn't control the Senate or have the votes to confirm Barack Obama's activist choice, Merrick Garland. Senator Cruz and others took their time dismantling the argument, pointing to the 29 times in history when a president in an election year has made a nomination to the Supreme Court. Only now, Cruz argued, are Democrats calling the system the founders designed "partisan." "The framers of the Constitution deliberately set up a system of checks and balances, so that nobody can become a Supreme Court nominee without both the president and the Senate... That design of checks and balances limits power and protects the voters." And in 2016, "voters made a clear choice."
Maybe it's time, Senator Sasse said, to remind this country "what a president [is] for, what a senator is for, and what Judge Barrett is doing here before us today... This is basic civics, not politics... Civics is the stuff that all Americans should agree on..." Like the Constitution, like this process. "Civics doesn't change every 18 to 24 months because the electoral whims change or because polling changes." And yet, he went on, there's this confused idea that the Supreme Court is "just another arena for politics." That's wrong, he insisted. "If you don't like the policies in America, elect different people... Fire the politicians." But judges are supposed to be impartial, not "super legislators whose black robes are fake and truthfully they're wearing red or blue jerseys underneath."
Then, in a final warning, he held the Democrats' gaze and said slowly, "court-packing" is like saying "we should blow up our shared civics." When Joe Biden stood in front of reporters this weekend and said that voters don't "deserve" to know his position on that fundamental issue, even the reporters were taken aback. As Dr. Albert Mohler tweeted, that's like saying, "I'll tell you my position on monogamy only after you marry me." Court packing is not "judicial reform," Senator Sasse insisted, and anyone who uses that language "is playing the American people for fools."
Meanwhile, one half of the presidential ticket who refuses to answer questions about court-packing (or, as Sasse called it, "partisan suicide bombing"), spent her turn in the Judiciary Committee claiming that Barrett's hearing was "put[ting] people's lives at risk." Then, without a hint of irony, went on to lobby for a justice more committed to abortion on demand. "...[W]hat is at stake with this Supreme Court nomination... [is] Roe v. Wade," Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) argues, "which recognizes a woman's right to control her own body... Safe and legal abortion is at risk."
Barrett, for her part, listened quietly, enduring the campaign speeches from Democrats, and the equally passionate Republican rebuttals that followed. When it was finally her turn, what Americans heard were not the opening remarks of a religious zealot, handmaid, or public enemy #1 of the U.S. health care system. They heard the thoughtful, compelling, and straight-forward speech of a woman who's admired by colleagues on both sides for her love of the Constitution, her humble embrace of a judge's role, and the personal warmth she has for her family, her great mentor, and America. She took her time accepting the nomination, she said, because of the sacrifices it would require. In the end, Barrett says, she chose to accept it because, "I believe deeply in the rule of law and the place of the Supreme Court in our nation. I believe that Americans of all backgrounds deserve an independent Supreme Court that interprets the Constitution and our laws as they are written. And I believe I can serve my country playing that role."
So do we. Join us in calling on every senator to confirm the president's stellar nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. Act now by clicking on FRCAction.org/FillThatSeat. Then, encourage your friends and family to do the same. For more information on the president's stellar nominee, check out FRC's new publication, "Why Amy Coney Barrett Should Be Confirmed to the Supreme Court."
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
Freedom Sunday: 'It's Time for the Church to Be the Church Again'
October 12, 2020
Just seven short months ago, it seemed unthinkable that local governments in America would openly ban churches from opening while allowing other facilities to remain open. But then the coronavirus pandemic happened, which revealed the anti-religious nature of many in the seats of power in our country.
On Sunday, October 11, the church declared: "Enough." "It is time. It is time for the church to be the church in America again," said FRC President Tony Perkins during Freedom Sunday: It's Time at a packed service from Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in California that was also livestreamed. Numerous speakers joined the service both live and remotely in a chorus of prayer and encouragement for believers across America to stand for their beliefs and their freedom.
"Religious freedom is in danger all across the board," said Dr. Al Mohler, noting that it's not just Christians that are facing unconstitutional restrictions on worship services, but also orthodox Jews in places like New York City. "We as Christians understand why -- theologically and constitutionally -- freedom of religion is the first freedom. If it's violated, none of the other freedoms will stand ... we are doing what the Founders and Framers of this nation would have respected." Dr. Mohler was blunt about what the church needs to do: "It is time to say: enough is enough."
Pastor Brian Hermsmeier of Slate Mills Baptist Church in Sperryville, Virginia did just that by standing up to Governor Ralph Northam (D) and challenging his unconstitutional restrictions limiting the size of church gatherings but not having similar limits on other facilities like restaurants and grocery stores. His courage led to the governor withdrawing his church restriction. Pastor Hermsmeier's message to pastors for Freedom Sunday was to not be concerned with what people might say: "As a pastor, we shepherd our flock. I don't want the people to fear. Pastors, you should fear the Lord. You have a responsibility to obey the Lord and fear him. Don't fear man, fear him."
Bestselling author Eric Metaxas emphasized the foremost importance of the church at this time: "The church is the last voice against what they [on the Left] are trying to do." He underscored the true nature of the battle and what the church will need to do: "We're fighting against something that's not flesh and blood ... It's manifesting itself in a political way, and we need to stand with all our might and main and recognize what it is that we're fighting and recognize that as much as we better vote, we better pray, and we better fast and pray, because that's what we're dealing with."
Pastor Christian Ionescu knows all about the kind of persecution that can happen when leftist extremists gain power. He fled communist Romania and is now the pastor of Elohim Romanian Pentecostal Church in Chicago, where local authorities have tried to stop his church from meeting in person by blocking their parking lot.
"The church is not a video game," Ionescu said. "We cannot operate online alone." After many of his congregants found ways around the restrictions and met at his church in person, the city threatened to demolish his church. He is currently pressing his church's case all the way to the Supreme Court.
"I think this society has no immunity to the Marxist agenda," Ionescu warned. "They classify and divide citizens and antagonize them, young versus old, poor versus rich, black versus white, especially in America, religious denomination versus religious denomination versus the intellectuals. And the list can go on and on." He had a strong message for leftists in the government: "Stop making us believe that you care more than we do ... Stop quoting the Scriptures. You have nothing to do with the Scriptures. You are godless. You do not care about the Bible. You do not care about the church. Stop lecturing us in theology."
Bishop Vincent Mathews, Jr. of the Church of God in Christ in Memphis brought a spirited message of unity to Freedom Sunday: "We must rise up and stand as God has called us to do. You're not a black Christian, I'm not a white Christian, you're not a Latino Christian or an Asian Christian. We are the body of Christ, and as we join together and serve, God will be magnified, and God will be lifted up, and Jesus will be lifted up in our land as we pray together and Satan is rebuked."
Be sure to watch the entire Freedom Sunday: It's Time broadcast, which also features Pastor Che Ahn, Ken Blackwell, Jerry Boykin, Garry Leist, Wayne Grudem, Amado Huizar, Rep. Mike Johnson, John MacArthur, Rob McCoy, Virginia Prodan, Carol Swain, Larry Taunton, and more.
Hope Suppressed by Facebook
October 12, 2020
Most Americans -- Democrats and Republicans -- know that social media engages in political censorship. And you would have to be naïve not to see that conservative viewpoints are the chief victims -- as documented daily at https://censortrack.org/ (although some still try to deny it).
Some of the complaints involve subtle discrimination -- what shows up in someone's news feed for example. But this week, one Christian organization has suffered the Facebook equivalent of capital punishment, by having all of their content removed. Try to access the Facebook page for Restored Hope Network (RHN), and all you will see is the ominous message, "This Page Isn't Available. The link may be broken, or the page may have been removed."
Facebook's ax came down on RHN with no advance notice, and no explanation. Restored Hope Network (their website, fortunately, is still up) is the world's leading network of Christian ministries serving those with unwanted same-sex attractions. They believe that through a combination of psychological insight and spiritual transformation, it is possible to see a reduction in such attractions, and many have testified to experiencing such change. In addition, they hold that any believer in Christ has a right to seek the help of others in living a life that conforms to the moral teachings of Scripture.
LGBT activists, however, have dubbed such sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) as "conversion therapy" (a term never used by those in the field), and are waging war upon it. Facebook is obviously responding to pressure from such activists, who claim (falsely) that there is no evidence such counseling is effective and abundant evidence that it is harmful. A Facebook official in Europe announced in July a policy to bar content promoting so-called "conversion therapy." A few days later, the left-wing media watchdog Media Matters gave its own recommendation of some groups it thought Facebook should censor -- including Restored Hope Network.
They included three examples of RHN Facebook posts -- none of which support the idea that allowing people to seek change is a form of "hate speech." One features a quote from Dr. Linda Seiler, who formerly identified as transgender, who states, "Regular science shows you're not hardwired, born this way." Recent research debunking the theory of a "gay gene" shows Seiler is right. Another advertises a video by Joe Dallas, a long-time ex-gay leader, "Why Am I Gay? Why Can't I Change?" and says that "women and men in our congregations are asking that very question." This is clearly directed at the church, and censoring it is blatant anti-Christian bigotry. Finally, a promo for an RHN conference features Anne Paulk, a former lesbian who is the Executive Director of Restored Hope Network, saying, "Homosexuality is a relational deficit that needs a relational solution." While some may take offense at the word "deficit," this was a statement about the origins of same-sex attractions, and the "solution" for people who voluntarily seek to overcome them.
This focus on the causes of same-sex attraction is squarely within the realm of mainstream scientific debate. Even the American Psychological Association, though critical of SOCE, has said: "[M]uch research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social and cultural influences on sexual orientation... Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles..."
When grilled about "the cancel culture mob" at a congressional hearing in July, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said, "I believe strongly in free expression. Giving people a voice is an important part of what our services do, and I'm very worried about some of the forces of illiberalism that I see in this country that are pushing against free expression." If Zuckerberg meant what he said, he should un-cancel Restored Hope Network immediately.