A Protest, A Prepared Church, and the Power of God

A Protest, A Prepared Church, and the Power of God

A Protest, A Prepared Church, and the Power of God

June 8, 2021

After 11 Supreme Court rulings on church closures, most government officials have realized (or been forced to realize) that their dictatorial powers to shut down churches are limited by the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights. But that acknowledgement has not settled upon Santa Clara County in California. Most churches remain shuttered in the San Jose area, because if they dare to meet in person, like Pastor Mike McClure's Calvary Chapel San Jose has been doing since last May, they will face significant fines.

Even though California's "recalled" governor, Gavin Newsom (D) has been forced to rescind his First Amendment violations, and has even been ordered to pay millions of dollars in attorneys' fees, the county government of Santa Clara continues its unlawful action. So why does Santa Clara keep up its open hostility toward the churches? Could it be linked to the fact that it is located in Silicon Valley and home to most of the Big Tech companies which control the local government?

Whatever the source, I saw firsthand on Sunday the hostile environment Santa Clara County has created for Bible-teaching churches. Last week, a protest was announced over the invitation by Pastor McClure for me to preach at Calvary Chapel San Jose. Of course, the media gave the protest full coverage -- rolling out the worn-out talking points from the Southern Poverty Law Center to try and maximize the protest turnout and discourage people from attending the church service.

But here's what happened.

At most, there may have been two dozen protesters at the peak. But it was a different story inside. Before the pandemic, and the sickening restrictions placed on the churches by "recalled" Governor Newsom, Calvary Chapel San Jose had around 500 in attendance. That number has grown to about 2,500 after Pastor McClure reopened the church last May and has kept boldly preaching the word of God.

Sunday's message came from last week's reading from Nehemiah in FRC's two-year reading program, "Stand on the Word." The account in Nehemiah 4-6 could not have been more appropriate or timely. The message was entitled, "The Opposition Is Coming -- Are You Prepared?" Hundreds prayed at the conclusion of the services to be bold witnesses for the Truth, and around two dozen men, women, and young people accepted the Truth -- Jesus Christ -- as Savior.

In God's good providence, the protest not only backfired, drawing very few activists, but because of the publicity created by the demonstrators and the "fake news," more people heard about the service, showed up, and heard God's word preached. Thus, Sunday's protest "has really served to advance the gospel" (Philippians 1:12). I don't want anyone reading to miss the significance of this. The angels in heaven rejoice whenever a lost sheep of Christ is brought home (Luke 15:7). What they meant for evil, God used for good.

While it's unlikely you'll see this in the media, members of Calvary Chapel San Jose distributed water, donuts, and tracts to the protestors, engaged them in conversation, and invited them inside. The church demonstrated love, peace, kindness, and gentleness -- the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Join me in praying for the churches in the San Jose area, that their light would shine brighter and brighter, exposing the darkness of Silicon Valley.

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

Pro-Abortion Left Sets Sights on Codifying Roe

June 8, 2021

Democrats seem to have found a use for Congress again. After years of relying on the courts to do their dirty work, the far-Left has had to find other solutions after Donald Trump spent the last four years balancing U.S. benches. Now, suddenly, more liberals have seemed to awaken to the fact that there's a legislative branch too, and they're spilling all of their ink urging fellow abortion activists to use it. "The Supreme Court may toss Roe," the Washington Post tries to comfort its Leftist readers. "But Congress can still preserve abortion..."

It's an ironic twist from the last several decades when the Democratic Party turned to activist judges to change the governing policies of the nation they couldn't rewrite democratically. Now, of course, they face an even steeper climb in 2021 -- as the nation continues to become more and more pro-life. Relying on Congress to protect late-term abortion will be a tall order when members are forced to reckon with a country where only 29 percent of people think women should be allowed to abort from the second trimester on.

Still, Democrats are desperately trying to be optimistic -- banking on their slim majority in the House and their vice presidential tie-breaker in the Senate. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, the Post sounded almost populist when it came to encouraging abortion supporters. "Citizens can easily feel disempowered when issues they care about are reduced to analyzing the proclivities of nine people in Washington sitting in black robes. Since 1973, the questions about reproductive rights have been dominated by the court, not Congress. But now we have an opportunity to recalibrate the balance and guarantee reproductive justice for Americans in every state. We don't need the court to protect these rights. We just need a majority vote in Congress."

Easier said than done, SBA List will tell them. The biggest case on the Supreme Court docket, the fall term's arguments over Mississippi's 15-week abortion limit, is a lot more popular than Democrats give it credit for. According to the organization's brand new polling, 53 percent of voters are "more likely to vote for a Republican candidate who supports a 15-week limit on abortion" versus just 28 percent of voters who prefer a Democratic candidate who supports unlimited abortion up until the moment of birth. Independent voters break even stronger to the GOP side, with a 54-18 percent margin.

Making matters worse for the Left, voters -- 55 percent -- are even more likely to support a law like Mississippi's when they learn that an unborn child at that stage has the capacity to feel pain. Another red flag for Biden's Democrats, the enthusiasm is on the pro-life side. Forty-three percent of pro-life voters said the issue of abortion was "very important" (10 on a one-to-10 scale) in casting their ballot for elected officials, while only 29 percent of "pro-choice" voters said the same.

So when Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) introduced their misnamed "Women's Health Protection Act" today to make abortion-on-demand until the moment of birth permanent, they aren't only pursuing wildly unpopular legislation, they're exposing the fact that abortion was never law to begin with. This was a Supreme Court invention that has claimed the lives of more than 60 million innocent children. And what Mississippi has said -- and we hope the justices uphold -- is that abortion should be an issue the people and their state leaders decide. Not the courts.

When the justices hear the Mississippi case, the Washington Post tried to clarify to readers, "it is not being asked to outlaw the practice of abortion. The court has only one power -- the power of judicial review -- which means all it can do is say whether a particular abortion restriction passed by a legislature is constitutional. The court cannot outlaw abortion itself. So if the court sides with Mississippi and says, 'you can have this law,' that simply means those states whose legislatures want such laws restricting abortion can have them. Other states that don't want to restrict abortion do not have to."

On CNN, Governor Tate Reeves (R-Miss.) agreed. "The question is not, are you going to overturn Roe v. Wade? The question is: the science has changed, and therefore it makes sense for the court to review their decisions from the past. And this is a vehicle in which for them to do it." Let me just tell you, he added, "for people such as myself that are pro-life, I believe that the Supreme Court made a mistake in the 1970s. But that's not the issue at stake that is before the court, hopefully, when the arguments are heard sometime in the fall."

For a more in-depth look at the 1973 ruling -- and what it does and doesn't do -- check out FRC's new publication, Roe v. Wade: An Explainer (2021). For a legal primer, read Katherine Beck Johnson's paper, Roe Must End: The Legal, Historical, and Cultural Reasons to Overturn Roe v. Wade (2021).

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

Biden's New Weapon to Intimidate Schools

June 8, 2021

While the rest of America is racing to stop the transgender agenda, the Biden administration is on another planet -- one where the end of males and females is the only thing that matters. On one hand, the chair he appointed to lead the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is praising the Supreme Court's Bostock decision for trying to redefine the word "sex" -- and on the other, his Department of Education is going around the backs of the American people to force schools to eliminate girls' sports. Talk about selective hearing!

But then, five months into the Biden administration, most observers would agree that this president doesn't care what Americans think -- or what the law says. This White House is on a mission to abolish gender norms, and they'll stop at nothing to make it happen. The president's latest stunt, making "interpretation changes" to Title IX, is actually an enormous end-run around the regular rule-making process. Like other Biden agencies, where his radical armies have just issued a press release that they were overhauling established policies, the Education Department wants people to believe that it's just putting its own spin on Title IX. The reality, though, is that the president's "spin" is actually a profound and radical makeover -- one that would give the government a new weapon to intimidate schools into dropping their fight for girls' sports: taxpayer dollars.

Right now, almost 30 states have introduced bills that would stop our daughters from having to compete against biological boys. In the last handful of months, a wave of them -- Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, West Virginia, Florida, and Tennessee -- have made their legislation law. (Louisiana is on deck to be next, now that its legislature has sent a veto-proof bill to the Democratic governor's desk.) Desperate to stop the momentum, Biden wants to force states into swallowing his transgender sports policy by telling them they'll lose federal dollars if they don't.

If that scares people, it shouldn't. What most Americans don't realize is that about 83 cents of every dollar spent on education comes from state and local sources. Another eight or nine percent comes from private entities. When all is said and done, the federal Education Department is only contributing about eight percent to the local school budgets. That's not much in the grand scheme of things. And it's certainly a chunk that states with convictions could make up in other ways or even cut from the bloated educational systems if they wanted to.

Obviously, the Biden administration is trying to run one of President Obama's old plays -- ordering schools to comply with mandates that hurt vulnerable children, using federal funding as the bait. From school bathrooms to school sports, the former vice president wants to follow his old boss's lead, starting with steamrolling districts with transgender radicalism that ignores science, reason, morality, safety, and common sense.

Unfortunately for Biden, though, times have changed. People around the country have wised up and realized that Washington can't bully them around -- and they won't tolerate it when it tries. The federal government can't dictate what happens in our classrooms just by dangling a few pieces of silver in front of our states. We, as parents, should be determining what happens in our local community -- not Leftist bureaucrats in Washington whose agenda is to indoctrinate, not educate the children of America.

The founding fathers made it clear in the Constitution that the oversight of schools is the responsibility of individual states. They're the ones, guided by the parents, that are best equipped to recognize the local needs of the students -- and in this case, they're the ones that should serve as the check to an out-of-control and out-of-touch government.

If you're sick of the Biden administration trying to bulldoze sports -- and a majority of you are -- let them know it. Join FRC in objecting to this stealth attempt to rewrite Title IX! Send your comment to the Department of Education and register your complaints. We've even drafted sample text to make it as easy as possible. Click over to our action campaign and tell the administration to respect parents' rights and protect innocent school children.

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