December 6, 2013
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) appeared on yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” to respond to the on-demand abortions found in Obamacare exchange healthcare plans in spite of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortion.
“The president made a promise that he would adhere to the Hyde principle, and that means that you do not fund even a plan that includes abortion,” said the Representative.
Federal funding of Obamacare for healthcare plans that include abortions overrides the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB), an amendment that Smith helped pass in 1983. FEHB states that the Office of Personal Management (OPM) cannot administer any plan that includes abortion, except in very limited cases.
“OPM has no choice but to obey the clear letter of the law. That’s not what they’ve done,” Smith said.
“There are 112 Obamacare plans that are offered to all of our Congressional staff in Washington and across the country and to members of Congress. Ninety percent of them, 103 of those plans out of 112, fund abortion on demand.”
Smith explained, “Those federal tax dollars will be going into forms of subsidies that will be buying these plans that include abortion on demand. It is outrageous in the extreme. There is a law prohibiting the federal funding of abortions, but it is being done anyway.”
He continued, “It is very difficult when you have a lawless president, executive branch, attorney general, and a justice department that is absolutely willing and complacent in the lawlessness to enforce federal statutes.
“I’ve been in Congress 33 years and have never felt that our executive branch was out of control like this.” Smith said that even in past administrations there was always a sense that the rule of law was being adhered to. “Not so with these folk in the White House and our President. They do whatever they want. They break the law with impunity and this is a classic example.”
Smith recently introduced H.R. 7, a bill that proposes to completely remove abortion from Obamacare exchange plans and to repeal Obamacare. “We need to pass that and stay with that until it is the law of the land. I believe strongly and have voted repeatedly with the Republican leadership to repeal Obamacare itself.”
Click here to listen to the entire interview.
December 6, 2013
Following this year’s introduction of “wedleases” and “monogamish” to the personal relationship lexicon, we now arrive at the latest concept to jar our understanding of family life: “co-parenting.” On its face, the term sounds harmless — after all, parenting involves partnership. But, “co-parenting” isn’t being used to describe a renewed focus on the dual responsibility of a mom and dad to rear their children or even a focus on strategic parenting after a marriage ends in divorce.
Rather, this elective “co-parenting” describes a new way for adults to skip over love and marriage and go straight to the carriage, all with the ease of social networking websites that one fan has called “Facebook for fetuses.” With no intention of marriage, cohabitation, or any sort of romantic relationship with the co-parent, a man or woman can solicit a partner with which to conceive a child through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and share custody in the future.
Sites like Modamily are quick to point out that they provide recommendations for co-parents to go through background checks, undergo health screening, and enter into detailed legal agreements regarding the rearing of the baby being constructed, all in an effort to establish a strategic baseline for the future split care of the child. Some reports are honest in explaining the phenomenon as essentially “cut[ting]straight to divorce” with all the legal complications that can abound.
In fact, the difficult realities which children of divorced parents face will likely be some of the same challenges faced by future children of co-parents. An ever-growing body of social science research tells us that divorce causes dramatic upheaval in the lives of children, imposing on many children the strong likelihood of negative economic, educational, and behavioral outcomes. Touting the functional equivalent of divorce — co-parenting — in light of those likely harms is not only foolish but inherently shortsighted. Without even an attempt to give children the known benefits of an intact marriage between their mom and dad, co-parents intentionally seek to introduce a child into a fractured home life from birth.
Children aren’t “things” to be peddled online and discussed as goods to be shared back and forth. Co-parenting backers state “love of the child is first and foremost” behind their efforts to give life to a child. In reality, the only thing they are certain to give is a profound display of selfishness in prioritizing adult interests over child welfare.
December 4, 2013
Mark Fromager is “director of Aid to the Church in Need in France, one of 17 national offices of an international Catholic charity that provides assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries”
In a well-argued analysis, he makes a powerful, even undeniable, case that Islamic persecution of Christian converts is widespread and violent and, therefore, immoral. He writes:
… throughout the Middle East, notable individuals are converting to Christianity from Islam, but their stories, for obvious reasons, are seldom told. They actually face dramatic consequences and even death if they were to talk about their conversion. In Africa, to the consternation of some Muslim leaders, millions of Muslims are becoming Christians each year. In Europe, we tend to think only in terms of Christians becoming Muslims, but there is a strong movement in reverse as well. That is a story that does not make the headlines.
He cites some specific examples:
In the Middle East, there is no risk in converting from Christianity to Islam but the contrary is quite close to committing suicide, as apostasy is not allowed in Islam. It is punishable by death. One Iraqi man I know survived prison and an assassination attempt; he had to flee his country and is now living in France.
Fromager notes that his piece is not “an anti-Muslim screed, but an appeal for justice, for freedom, for a respect for human rights.” Well said. For Americans, this particularly noteworthy since our charter text, the Declaration of Independence, affirms that our liberties are “unalienable” gifts of God, not whimsical grants of the state.
The author offers practical suggestions about what Western governments can do to advance religious liberty in the Islamic world. Yet their implementation is another matter, both in Europe and the United States.
The Obama Administration has yet to replace motivational speaker Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, who resigned her post recently (“[She] will not be missed because her tenure was so unremarkable,” said religious liberty champion Ann Buwalda. Dr. Tom Farr of Georgetown University commented, “the administration does not see international religious freedom policy as a priority.” So, whether or not these and other good ideas for advancing religious liberty internationally through American diplomacy is even on the table of policy options is open to serious question.
December 3, 2013
Former United Nations Ambassador Yoram Ettinger appeared on yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” to discuss the recent negotiations between Iran and the United Nations Security Council (P5+1) about Iran’s nuclear program.
“The deal with Iran and P5+1 subordinates reality to wishful thinking. We are talking about an agreement with Iran at a time when the regime in Iran does not show any sense of compliance with agreements on the domestic front, or on the regional front,” Ettinger said. “In fact, together with North Korea, Iran is the world leader in the violation of human rights, but we are told that when it comes to agreements, that they are supposed to comply.”
The former U.N. ambassador pointed out, “While Western societies seek agreements in order to solidify a peaceful coexistence, rogue regimes with imperialistic inspirations, like the regime in Iran, view this agreement as a tactical step in order to overcome the partner to the agreement. And this has been demonstrated again and again in the Middle East by Iran, by the other regimes, but it has been overlooked by the U.S. negotiators because they are so anxious to reach an agreement.”
Ettinger explained that the regime in Iran is led by “a spiritual leader who is known for his anti-American position. Worse than that, he is known for his art of diplomacy and art of misleading people, which is the need to mislead the infidel in order to advance the goals of Islam.”
This Iranian nuclear agreement is taking place with a regime that for the last 30 years has been subjected to various sanctions, but has not abated its pursuit of nuclear power. Ettinger said, “The question is, why would the same methodology – which hasn’t left a dent on the attempt of Iran to become nuclear – why is the same methodology – which didn’t yield anything for 30 years – supposed to yield something constructive in the next few months?”
According to Ettinger, the negotiations with Iran are “a combination of gullibility, probably an ignorance of what the Middle East is all about, as well as an eagerness to strike a deal because don’t we all know that peace is better than war?”
Ettinger summarized, “Some people have forgotten that if you want to prevent a war with a rogue regime, you’d better be equipped with a very substantial posture of deterrence, because reflecting complacency and reflecting estuation in the face of regimes invites war; [it] does not postpone war.”
Click here to listen to the entire interview.
December 3, 2013
By an almost two-to-one margin, the people of Croatia affirmed in a referendum on Sunday, December 1 that “marriage is matrimony between a man and a woman.” That definition will now become part of the national constitution.
A pro-family group called “In the Name of the Family” spearheaded the referendum effort, which came in response to efforts by the current leftist government to extend marriage-like benefits to homosexual partners. Pro-family forces needed 450,000 petition signatures to place the issue on the ballot—but obtained 750,000 in only two weeks in a country of about 4.4 million (this would be the equivalent of obtaining 54 million signatures in the United States).
Both Croatian President Ivo Josipovic and Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic opposed the referendum. However, Croatia is almost 90 percent Roman Catholic, and the Church strongly supported the marriage vote. Croatian Cardinal Josip Bozanic had a letter read in the churches in which he declared, “Marriage is the only union enabling procreation. This is the key difference between a marriage … and other unions.”
In March 2012 the people of Slovenia, Croatia’s neighbor to the north, also rejected leftist social engineering by repealing a new “Family Code” that had been adopted the year before by the Slovenian parliament. The “Civil Initiative for the Family and the Rights of the Child” succeeded in rolling back the new code, which would have recognized homosexual unions and facilitated homosexual adoption and parenting.
Croatia was a part of Yugoslavia before the fall of the communist regime there in the early 1990’s, but it is now a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the most recent country to join the European Union (EU).
A week before the Croatian vote, commentator J.C. von Krembach described the situation:
In both Slovenia and Croatia, the debate around so-called “LGBT rights” evidences the growing disconnection between the ruling classes … and the population. In both countries, politics and economy are under the control of a small – mostly ex-communist – nomenklatura seeking to ingratiate itself with the influential pressure-groups that currently act as opinion-makers throughout the greater part of Western and Northern Europe. These elites believe that, in order to be worthy members of the EU, their countries need to recognize same-sex “marriages”, [even] against the declared will of the people.
The people of Croatia are to be praised for standing up for the natural meaning of marriage and the traditional values of their country.
Stephan Hilbelink and Robert Morrison
December 3, 2013
OK. It may seem a bit of a stretch to call the Healthcare.gov website Obamazon. But it isn’t our stretch. It’s his. The president himself said the system needs to work just like ordering an item on Amazon.com.
Well, despite all the hallooing from the administration over the weekend, it does not seem that Obamazon is quite at the level of Amazon. Not by a long shot.
When we hit “order” on Amazon, we get this really neat email back. Usually within five minutes.
It’s an email that tells us our order has been received, our payment is being charged to our credit card, and the item(s) we ordered is enroute to our home, or the other address we designated for shipment. They not only send the email, they provide a confirmation number so that we can track the delivery. Amazon has this neat feature called “Where’s my stuff?” that allows the purchaser to determine where in the delivery pipeline his or her order is at any given time.
Most important of all: our purchases with Amazon are secure. We can be assured that we will not get any emails from commercial competitors or, say, from the State of Delaware dunning us for any additional payments. It’s clear that Amazon would have been out of business in a week if it had failed to provide for the security of customer’s personal data.
The failure to assure the citizens’ security in Obamazon is not simply a “glitch.” It’s a fatal flaw. It raises alarming questions about the entire ObamaCare project.
How could anyone not build subscriber security into the website? How could they even think of designing a system with such a critical matter unattended to?
By requiring millions of Americans to provide some of their most sensitive personal data to the government, via the Obamazon website, and by failing to take care that that data is protected, the Obama administration has failed yet again to earn Americans’ trust.
What they are saying to the millions of Americans who are compelled by law to enroll: If you like your identity, you can keep it.
November 26, 2013
Today Family Research Council (FRC) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) released the results of a new poll conducted to determine how Americans feel about Obamacare and the HHS mandate. The results of the survey show that 59 percent of likely voters “oppose the mandate requiring the coverage of preventive care services for women which includes all FDA approved contraceptives, including drugs that can destroy a human embryo, and sterilization services without a direct cost to the patient.”
These poll results are extremely relevant given the Supreme Court today decided to hear two cases this session challenging the HHS mandate on religious liberty grounds. The Supreme Court granted cert to Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius and Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. represented by Alliance Defending Freedom and the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty, respectively.
Several Congressional and Senate Members also released statements today on the Supreme Court’s decision and the new poll released by FRC and ADF:
Rep. Diane Black along with Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski and Rep. Joe Pitts
Rep. Chris Smith
Senator Roy Blunt
Rep. John Fleming
Rep. John Boehner
The HHS mandate’s assault on religious freedom is still a great concern to many Americans. Congress must also act to protect individuals and businesses who do not want to violate their moral beliefs in order to purchase healthcare in this country.
November 25, 2013
With the mounting concerns over the “debacle” of ObamaCare, with Iran given permission to retain their nuclear program provided they “freeze” just certain portions of it, the world looks like a threatening place. So, who would want to marry and bring children into such a world, beset by economic worries, dogged by environmental concerns and living as we do under what President Kennedy called “a nuclear sword of Damocles”?
Well, things didn’t seem a whole lot brighter in 1978. Thirty-five years ago, my fiancee and I prepared for our wedding in San Francisco. The weather that entire week was gray and menacing. So somber was the mood. Hundreds of bodies were being returned to the Bay Area from Jonestown where people had been forced to drink poison Kool-Aid. The aftermath of that suicide cult hung over the city like a pall. Then, too the day after we exchanged our vows in dear old St. Paulus Evangelical Lutheran Church, we began our honeymoon in an Alpine village in Southern California’s San Bernardino Mountains. It was there we saw the news. San Francisco’s Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk had been assassinated.
The first good news we had from the outside world came on the third day of our getaway. We sat at a picnic table surrounded by snow-covered mountains and saw the newspaper headlines: “Pope on a Slope.” Pope John Paul II had been elected just six weeks earlier. There was great excitement around the world for this dynamic new leader on the world stage. Even as non-Catholics, we shared in the enthusiasm for the Polish Pope. Whoever heard of a Pope who skiied?
November 22, 2013
At my recent high school reunion, several of my classmates remarked on the “Happy Days” we had lived through. It was true. Our class entered junior high the autumn that Sputnik was launched, 1957, and we took our SAT’s the Saturday after the peaceful conclusion of the Cuban Missile Crisis, October 1962. In those years, no wars, no riots, no mass shootings, no political scandals, and most emphatically, no political assassinations clouded our futures.
Going off to college at University of Virginia that fall, my Long Island upbringing had not prepared me for what I would find. We were all looking forward to Thanksgiving and our first trip home as “First Year Men,” the quaint designation of freshmen at this very traditional Southern school. I was in my dorm room cramming for my French class that afternoon when Miss Harriet, the maid, a black woman, came rushing down the hall wailing and crying out that someone had shot the president.
I quickly went to her and reassured her that such things did not happen in this country. One of the guys in Humphreys House was merely playing a ghoulish trick on her, I said, trying to comfort her. We went to the common area where a television was on. It was almost never on in the middle of the day. But several other First Year Men were gathered around watching, shushing Miss Harriet and me. We stared wordlessly as the national news preempted the local Richmond TV station. Soon, Walter Cronkite of CBS News announced that President Kennedy was dead in Dallas, Texas.
November 21, 2013
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) appeared on yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins,” and explained why he and 27 other representatives wrote a letter to the Superintendent of the Air Force Academy, Lieutenant General Michelle Johnson, about the deletion of the phrase, “so help me God,” from the oath in the Cadet Handbook.
Pompeo sees the deletion of this phrase as “an attack of core freedoms and our Christian nation” and as a part of a larger attempt to remove religious freedom from military institutions.
“These are not isolated random events,” Pompeo asserts, “They are a concretive effort by folks who are on what I call the ‘hardcore progressive left’ who want to take religion out of the American mainstream, who want to paint it as irrational or paint those who hold dearly to their religious beliefs as being outside of the mainstream or the norm. The military institutions are certainly a part of that.”
The phrase, “so help me God,” is a part of the oath, but is optional for military members to include when taking the oath to serve. Pompeo pointed out that the Supreme Court has evaluated matters similar to this phrase both in the public square and in military institutions and found them both proper and constitutional.
He affirms, “This is not about establishment. This is not about denying other folks freedom to exercise their religious rights. This is about a basic set of values and a basic set of core religious freedoms, so we asked the Superintendent to reconsider the decision that has been made. We want to work with the Department of the Air Force, as well and get the leaders inside of the Air Force at large to reconsider this. We are hopeful that they’ll start to do that. I hope that’s what they ultimately conclude and I hope to get this right for the nation.”
Pompeo understands that military institutions are usually one of the first places that cultural changes take place. “In some cases I’m very proud of that. There are certainly some things that the military has led the way on. But this is a place that the left has determined they can make inroads.”
“I’m optimistic that the military leadership – both civilian leaders and those in uniform will see this for what it is and move back and allow these deep traditions of religious freedom to continue to exist,” concluded Pompeo.
Click here to listen to the entire interview