Biden: Schools Are No Mom-and-Pop Shop

Biden: Schools Are No Mom-and-Pop Shop

April 29, 2022

It should have been a standard award ceremony on Wednesday, when President Biden hosted the 2022 National and State Teachers of the Year at the White House. But Biden just couldn't resist throwing parents under the school bus. "They're all our children," he said. "And the reason you're the teachers of the year is because you recognize that. They're not somebody else's children. They're like yours when they're in the classroom."

Biden's remarks echoed Terry McAuliffe during last year's race for Virginia governor, "I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach." Unsurprisingly, his opponent Glenn Youngkin rode the wave of parental outrage to an upset victory.

Freshly reminded that standing for parents' rights is popular, as well as principled, states like Florida have also acted to protect parental rights in education. The censorious Left reacted with characteristic hysteria, first affixing to Florida's bill the misnomer "Don't Say Gay," and then childishly chanting the word "gay" in all sorts of inappropriate settings. But Florida stayed the course, eventually removing textbooks with impermissible, woke content that included lessons based on the assumptions of critical race theory.

Biden proved his jab at parents was intentional (if politically foolish) by attacking Florida, too. "There are too many politicians trying to score political points trying to ban books, even math books," he complained. Yesterday, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona emphasized the same talking point, "What I haven't heard is an appetite from parents for sowing division in our schools or using our schools for culture wars." The "appetite from parents" to which Cardona hasn't been listening is actually about resisting the Left's imperialism in the classroom, so that first graders can learn to read, write, and reckon without being confused about their pronouns, or whether their friends' skin color makes them racist.

"The world is surreal," lamented Congresswoman Mary Miller (R-Ill.) "You just can't even believe the topics that are being discussed." Even career teachers she knows "don't agree with any of this, and they're not going to teach it." She told parents, "Go find out what the curriculum is that your children are studying and the books they're reading.... Once these bad ideas are put in their head, it would be really hard to restore that." That's why FRC Action has produced resources to help parents stay engaged, and perhaps even run for school board.

Miller is a mother as well as a legislator, and she personally chose to homeschool her children to protect them from public schools altogether. "One of the things that offended me is that they weren't teaching evolution as a theory. It was a fact," she said. "They didn't bring God into the classroom at all. In fact, they biased the curriculum against God." Secularizing education is one reason why our culture is "swimming in an abyss of confusion," she explained.

Rejection of God is fueling the lawlessness and anarchy in our schools -- not to mention the rest of the culture. Paul put it this way, "since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done" (Romans 1:28).

"I cannot believe... what's happening in the classroom" is unconnected from "CDC reports of this unprecedented mental health crisis among adolescents," FRC President Tony Perkins said. The leftist indoctrination occurring in schools "is not new, but now we are aware of it." Parents aren't just fighting to protect the hearts and minds of their children, but their bodies and health as well.

Worse than "all manner of unrighteousness" is what follows. "Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them" (Romans 1:32). Our culture has reached that final stage of condemnation. "We have to emphasize the lateness of the hour," said Perkins. And we must stand unashamed on the gospel, "for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16).

Dallas Area Pastors Encouraged to be 'Stirred' at Pastors Briefing

April 29, 2022

On Thursday, Family Research Council hosted its third Pastors Briefing of the year, this time at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. The event, which drew pastors from throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area, was designed to equip, educate, and encourage pastors to faithfully navigate recent cultural and political trends. Pastors heard from various national speakers and received FRC resources, including new material from FRC's Association of Churches and Ministries and the Center for Biblical Worldview (CBW).

Jack Graham, the long-time senior pastor of Prestonwood, kicked off the event by exhorting pastors to help their congregations understand the connection between biblical principles and issues currently being debated in the public square. Graham acknowledged that pastors are often told to avoid addressing controversial issues. However, Graham said congregants desperately need to know how God's Word speaks to these issues.

Following Graham, FRC President Tony Perkins gave a devotional from Genesis 39 about Joseph. According to Tony, pastors can learn three lessons from Joseph's life in Egypt. First, pastors must embrace the Lord and His word. Pastoral ministry is difficult, and as culture becomes increasingly antagonistic to Christian convictions, pastors must remember that their source of strength is God. Furthermore, in Scripture, Christians have everything they need to live in our fallen world. Second, pastors must learn to adapt. As Joseph adapted from a life of ease in Potiphar's house to one of hardship in prison, pastors must learn to adapt to the challenges facing their churches. Finally, Tony encouraged attendees to stay on mission. "You have the ability through the word of God to change lives, communities, and nations if you stay on mission and remain faithful to God's call," Tony explained.

I hosted a panel discussion titled "Wokeness, Biblical Worldview, and SAGE Cons" with the CBW's Joseph Backholm and FRC Action's Brent Keilen to wrap up the morning session. The conversation centered around threats facing the church, such as government overreach, biblical illiteracy, and an educational system that undermines biblical values. Brent explained the acronym "SAGE Con," which stands for "spiritually active, governance engaged conservatives." He explained why developing more SAGE Cons is a priority for FRC and FRC Action. At the conclusion of the panel, pastors had time to ask questions.

After the morning break, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick exhorted pastors to see how their courage and guidance are needed more than ever before in these chaotic times. "Everything we talk about, you can and should speak about," he explained. Patrick noted recent abortion legislation and ongoing discussions about gender ideology in public school and higher education that pastors should be aware of and address.

Before lunch, Bishop Patrick Wooden, pastor of Upper Room Church in Christ in Raleigh, North Carolina, gave a powerful sermon from Acts 17:16-28. Focusing on verse 16, Wooden noted that Paul's spirit was "stirred" when he became aware of the many idols in Athens. Paul was outraged by the rampant paganism and false worship and challenged the prevailing belief systems. Applying the passage to the present day, Wooden argued that pastors should likewise be "stirred" and provoked by sin and evil that plagues our communities and churches. "Where is the righteous indignation? Where is the fire?" asked Wooden. "There needs to be fight in the preacher. Be stirred!" he exclaimed, noting that progressive indoctrination will continue unless the pulpits in America are stirred to take meaningful action.

Over lunch, the pastors were introduced to local candidates for school board, who had an opportunity to explain why they felt God was leading them to get involved in local politics. After the lunch break, Steve Smothermon, pastor of Legacy Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, recounted his church's struggles with local and state authorities that treated houses of worship unfairly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Smothers explained how his church eventually prevailed in court.

Mark Harris, vice president of FRC's Association of Churches and Ministries, explained how Nehemiah offers a helpful biblical example of a leader who recognized the emergency of his day and responded well. Harris said just as Nehemiah relied on God for wisdom, pastors today must also rely on God and His Word to shepherd the people entrusted to them.

Paul Blair, senior pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, and Rick Scarborough, president of Recover America, closed out the event. Scarborough, whose organization co-hosted the event, talked about his experience in politics and encouraged pastors to be bold in their engagement. Although there are many topics labeled "political issues," Scarborough pointed out that many topics labeled "political issues" are directly addressed in God's Word and argued that pastors should never be cajoled into silence.

This Pastors Briefing, which follows similar events held in Springfield, Missouri, and Greensboro, North Carolina, earlier this year, is the third in five events around the country designed to engage pastors in the leadup to this year's midterm elections. For information about future events, visit WatchmenPastors.org/events. Also, for more on the topic of Christian political engagement, read my booklet Biblical Principles for Political Engagement.

A New Strategy in the Legal Fight to Protect the Unborn Proves Successful

April 29, 2022

As the pro-life movement awaits the U.S. Supreme Court's pivotal Dobbs decision that could overturn Roe v. Wade in the coming months, a heartening new legal strategy has emerged after a recent federal court victory in Texas that could prove to be a blueprint for other states to follow in order to protect unborn children.

Texas has become the epicenter of pro-life legislation in America ever since the state passed its historic Heartbeat Act last May, the first of its kind in the nation. The law "empowers private citizens to sue anyone suspected of aiding or abetting an abortion after fetal cardiac activity is detected, usually after six weeks of pregnancy." Since the law was enacted almost a year ago, abortions in Texas have dropped dramatically in the state. After the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed all challenges to the Texas Heartbeat Act this past Monday, a new frontier in pro-life legislation is now clearly evident, regardless of how the Supreme Court may rule in Dobbs.

"I think [this ruling] shows that we know this tactic works, and any state can restrict abortion now as it sees fit without waiting for the Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade," said former Texas Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell on "Washington Watch." "All we have to do is copy what Texas did. We have the blueprint."

Mitchell, who has argued five cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and who now serves as principal of Mitchell Law, was instrumental in laying the groundwork for Texas' Heartbeat Act. He went on to explain why the change in tactics were needed after decades of pro-life court defeats due to Roe.

"We needed to try a different approach to what we had been doing before and what happens under the undue burden standard that the Supreme Court invented," Mitchell said. "It's a highly vague test. It's hard to predict how a Supreme Court will rule when you enact legislation. And what we had been doing in the past was enacting statutes, not knowing whether they would ultimately hold up in court ... We had to change the tactics that we were using and do more to just box out the federal judiciary from even having jurisdiction to consider the cases. And that's what Texas did."

As FRC President Tony Perkins pointed out, a similar strategy was tried by pro-life groups in the 80's "to go after abortion [businesses] for liability, for committing abortions. We saw for a while that effort was used more in the civil courts, but it never caught traction. What made this different?"

"The difference here is that they're expanding the scope of potential plaintiffs by allowing any person to sue, essentially taking away the state's enforcement power and giving it to private citizens rather than putting it in the hands of state officials," Mitchell explained. "[This means that] there's no way for the abortion providers to know in advance who's going to sue them. So that's why they can't challenge the statute in court pre-enforcement."

Already, other states are following the Lone Star State's lead. Oklahoma recently passed a bill modeled after Texas' law that also protects babies after six weeks gestation. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R) is expected to sign the bill into law today.