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Mario Diaz, Esq.

The Explosive Nature of Abiding

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Sometimes we misinterpret Jesus’ familiar call for us to abide in Him found in the 15th chapter of the Gospel according to John. Abiding seems like a tranquil, passive, resting sort of call. And it is, in some respects. Jesus repeatedly calls us to this rest, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). We expect this rest though, in all the wrong places — at work, at home, with friends, in the world, basically. That’s where we get it plainly wrong, and it is the source of much of our frustrations.

The rest is in Christ. It is in abiding in Him.

Abiding in Him, however, will have precisely the opposite effect in the world, because the world will hate it. The world will use every means necessary to yank your branch from the vine as quickly and painfully as possible. “How dare you abide!” it says.

Part of the reason is that Jesus called Himself “the true vine” (John 15:1). If the grapevine produces grapes, what shall the “true vine” produce? Exactly. Jesus explained this to His brothers as they pressed Him to go to Judea and “show [him]self to the world” (John 7:4). Jesus replies, in part, that the world, “hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil” (John 7:7).

Truth has that type of explosive effect on the world. The darkness hates (absolutely despises) the light. This was, of course, demonstrated by Jesus’ life.  He said, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God,” (John 3:19-21).

So there is definitely a cost, in human terms, to abiding in Christ. In many parts of the world, it can cost you your freedom or your very life. But the hostility is ready to burst even here in the United States where liberal forces continue to press Christians because of their faith and belief in Scripture’s teachings.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) recently attacked Russell Vought, President Trump’s nominees to be the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, because he shared the Gospel at his Christian college, calling all Muslims to believe in Christ in order to be saved. The Gospel is Islamophobic according to Sen. Sanders. In Sen. Sanders’ judgement, Mr. Vought’s hateful beliefs (the Gospel of Jesus Christ!) disqualify him from public service.

Seventh Circuit nominee Judge Amy Barrett was also attacked by several senators, including Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-California) and former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota), among others, because of her faith. Barrett, a Catholic, believes all people (including those in the womb) are created in the image of God and deserve our love and respect. This is heresy for the radical left. You must support the killing of the unborn, or you will pay a price. The baby in the womb’s intrinsic value is a truth that the darkness will not tolerate. You should not be allowed to earn a living.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), considered by many a potential presidential candidate for the Democrat Party, most recently went after President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. He was enraged by Pompeo’s comments about marriage and sexuality. Again, if you abide in Christ and believe His words about sexual relations, you will be hated. You will be attacked. You will not be welcomed by the darkness.

We could keep going.  District court nominee Wendy Vitter also endured this discrimination because of her religious views recently. These are not isolated incidents, but a troubling pattern of discrimination that should be opposed by all.

Of course, none of this should surprise us. Jesus explained it later on in that passage in John 15, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you,” (John 15:19).

We must not be deterred. This light, this truth that is so uncomfortable to the world is the fruit of abiding.  And this is what we must do. Two glorious truths are exposed as a result of our endurance.  Jesus tells us in verse 8: “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” So first, God is glorified; and second, this is how we know we are His. Nothing is more precious than those two things.

Let us be encouraged through it all, then. Let us love and endure in obedience, spreading this truth and light, bearing the fruits of love, in all humility and grace, to the glory of God, until His return. Amen.

The Anti-Christian Religious Test Continues

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You can add another chapter to the left’s escalation of anti-Christian bigotry. Right on the heels of bigoted attacks against Russell Vought and Amy Barrett, the left is once again imposing its unconstitutional religious litmus test against judicial nominee Wendy Vitter, who has been nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Vitter is General Counsel of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans and, as with Barrett, the fact that she would actually believe in the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion is unacceptable to the left.

Such a religious test is explicitly prohibited in the U.S. Constitution by Article VI, Section 3. It reads, “[N]o religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”  But this is exactly what the left is imposing on any person who dares disagree with them on the issue of abortion.

They are absolutely hysterical about a statement Vitter made that, “Planned Parenthood says they promote women’s health. It is the saddest of ironies that they kill over 150,000 females a year. The first step in promoting women’s health is to let them live.” The figure is a reasonable estimation, given the fact that Planned Parenthood’s latest report says it performed 321,384 abortions overall.

Vitter was questioned over and over about her religious beliefs, and she was clear. “I am pro-life. I will set aside my religious or my personal views. My personal views in this role, I need to make a conscious effort and will do so to set this aside,” she answered to Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) as he pressed her on the issue.

But the left is ready to explode; they will never accept that. They simply cannot allow any person of faith (who actually believes the church’s teaching) to have any position in public life.

This bitter development recently prompted Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, to write a powerful Wall Street Journal op-ed titled, “Democrats Have Abandoned Catholics.” The bishop lamented the Democrats’ refusal to support Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois) because he is pro-life, among many other things.

You will hear of attacks against Vitter, because she refused to answer specific questions about cases, but this hollow argument is easily exposed as you recall that the left’s most revered judicial champion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, also refused to answer specific questions in the same manner — to the praise of those on the left.

This video from when they tried the same tactic against the nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch will suffice:

 

 

Every senator from both the left and the right should stand against the left’s cry for a religious litmus test on nominations. The swift confirmation of Vitter would be a good start to making that clear.

Fighting for Justice in Judicial Nominations

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The radical left’s unjust definition of justice prevents it from impartiality, the very essence of the role of a judge. Its partisan opposition to any and all of President Trump’s judicial nominees is a prime example.

One nominee, Kyle Duncan, who has been nominated to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, has been especially targeted by the left because of his involvement in protecting religious freedom and the rights of conscience in relation to one of the left’s holy grails, same-sex marriage.

Duncan is an exemplary nominee. His temperament and judicial philosophy, as with Justice Neil Gorsuch, is tailor made for the judiciary. He strongly believes a judge should interpret law and not write law to accomplish personal social, cultural or political aspirations. He is the type of judge both left and right should champion.

His academic and legal preparation is also stellar.  His undergraduate and law degree are both from Louisiana State University — his home state and the region that is overseen by the 5th Circuit. He also has a Master of Law (LL.M) from Columbia. He clerked for Judge John M. Duhe, Jr., also on the 5th Circuit. He has served as Assistant Solicitor General at the Texas Attorney General’s Office, and as Solicitor General for the State of Louisiana.

But it is his work as General Counsel for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty that has many in the left hysterically protesting him. As lead counsel in the landmark Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision, which protected the rights of conscience and religious liberty for business owners, Duncan has become a target for the radical left. He also admirably defended Louisiana’s marriage laws, and that is also an unpardonable sin to them.

So, the left wants to smear this great nominee’s character, regardless of the truth of the claims they make. He is a “hater.”

I will let Paul Baier, his opponent in the same-sex “marriage” litigation, set the record straight. Here is what  he wrote in a recent op-ed for The Hill:

Having battled on the front lines in the same-sex marriage litigation, I can attest to the passionate disagreement and often contentious nature of the issue. Emotions were particularly raw when I litigated opposite Kyle in the immediate wake of Justice Kennedy’s opinion in Obergefell.

Through it all, however, I always appreciated and respected Kyle’s advocacy for his client and his respect for the humanity of the same-sex couples who would be most affected by the case. While I disagreed with many of his arguments, often emphatically, I never found a trace of bias, bigotry, or any disrespect towards the same-sex individuals in the case.

Both of us strove mightily as adversaries. But we continue to eat and drink as friends.

Kyle knows well the difference between the advocate’s role for his client (in the same-sex marriage case, the State of Louisiana) and what he would be called upon to decide as a judge on the Fifth Circuit. I maintain this view of Kyle even after having faced off against him in the highly charged atmosphere of same-sex marriage litigation. His ability to act as a judge and not advocate will surely carry over to other questions of public importance facing the Fifth Circuit.

As an appellate lawyer, Kyle Duncan is uniquely qualified. I have long taught Appellate Practice and Procedure at LSU Law Center, where I have my students listen to Kyle’s successful U.S. Supreme Court argument in Connick v. Thompson.

The left’s hollowed, emotional opposition to this nominee is a great injustice and should be emphatically rejected.  Even the liberal American Bar Association rated him “well qualified,” their highest rating.

The Senate should confirm Kyle Duncan as soon as possible.

Conscience Rights are Women’s Rights

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Editor’s Note: The following public comment was submitted on behalf of Concerned Women for America to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in support of new regulations protecting conscience rights.
_____

Concerned Women for America (“CWA”) is the largest public policy women’s organization in the United States with members from all 50 states. Through our grassroots organization, CWA protects and promotes Biblical values and Constitutional principles through prayer, education, and advocacy. CWA is profoundly committed to the rights of individual citizens and organizations to exercise their religious freedoms as protected by the U.S. Constitution and other laws.

This is why we are so encouraged by the proposed regulation (Docket HHS-OCR-2018-0002) and want to express our strong support for HHS and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in this noble and much-needed endeavor.

As an organization representing the interest of a significant group of women, CWA finds it offensive that people of faith increasingly find themselves at odds with the government merely for affirming the right to live according to the dictates of conscience and faith as guaranteed by the Frist Amendment.

In this comment, we’d like to remind you that in affirming conscience rights you act with the full support of thousands of women around the country who value freedom and liberty.  According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, nearly 80% of workers in the healthcare and social assistance field are women. Female nurses outnumber men 10 to 1! Make no mistake about it, you are working on behalf of women by protecting the rights of conscience for healthcare professionals and we commend you for it.

Let the record show that, though we are certain you will hear from women that will oppose this regulation because of their radical commitment to abortion or “reproductive rights,” they do not speak for the majority of women, let alone “all” women.

Government does women a great disservice when it treats them as a monolithic group that it can appease by following the loudest voices with access to mainstream media megaphones. We are not all the same. CWA supporters are people whose voices are often overlooked—everyday, middle-class American women whose views are not represented by the powerful elite. Those frequently-quoted liberal voices do not speak for the hundreds of thousands of supporters of CWA around the nation.

Women leaders throughout history have stood up for the rights of conscience and religious liberty.

The Anne Hutchinson Memorial at the Massachusetts State House stands as a reminder of a time in our history when women could be marginalized because of their deeply held religious views. It is sad that the government’s actions in many cases today remind us of that history. Hutchinson was tried and banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 because of her religious views.[1]

The inscription in the marble foundation of her monument reads in part: “In Memory of Anne Marbury Hutchinson…  Courageous Exponent of Civil Liberty and Religious Toleration.”[2]  She was punished for her religious beliefs then, and ironically, today the government still threatens to punish, in different ways, but still tries to punish women of conviction if they dare server their neighbor by faithfully adhering to the dictates of their conscience or their faith.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first person born in the United States to become canonized as a saint (September 14, 1975), also had to stand by her religious convictions in a less than free environment.[3] Biographer Julie Walters recounts a time when Anti-Catholic mobs would stand outside the doors of the church yelling things like, “We’re going to burn this unholy place to the ground.”[4] But Seaton overcame all that and went on to establish the Sisters of the Charity of St. Joseph’s, the first new community for religious women in the United States. She began the first free Catholic school for girls in the U.S., St.  Joseph’s Academy and Free School, and her lifetime commitment to charity is still celebrated today.[5]

These stories are a reminder of that highest of principles enshrined in our great Constitution, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (U.S. Const. amend I). HHS should not lose sight that it is religion—and faith—that fueled these women’s passion for a life of service. Government should recognize that faith still motivates millions to a life of service.

It was faith that fueled Evangeline Booth (1865–1950), daughter of Salvation Army founders William and Catherine Booth. She became commander of the Salvation Army in America and the first general of the International Salvation Army.[6] All the incredible service to the most vulnerable done by the Salvation Army throughout the years is “rooted in the faith of its members.”[7]

Those are just a few names, but many more exist. Women like Isabella Graham who established the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children[8] and Phoebe Palmer who

founded the Five Point Mission to provide for the needy.[9] That same spirit of faith and charity motivates many women who serve in the healthcare industry today to do what they do.

But a perceivable, recent government trend toward hostility in matters of conscience follows a dark pattern that threatens to stifle the historical tradition of religious expression through humble service by imposing a substantial and unnecessary burden on a person’s ability to serve their neighbors. In the healthcare industry, as we have mentioned above, it is a burden that women will bear disproportionately—and women of faith, in particular. In many cases, the government has been prepared to force them to abandon their religious calling if they are not willing to do what their consciences prohibit them to do. Just look at what the previous administration did to the Little Sisters of the Poor. We were proud to fight alongside them all the way to the Supreme Court!

We are thankful for OCR’s willingness to protect women of faith with these proposed regulations. We do not see this as a partisan move at all.  And we appreciate that.  Even the most liberal of women should be for protecting the rights of conscience of all.  If we do not guard our freedom in this most intimate of areas, between a woman and her God, women could just as easily be at risk of losing their freedoms in any number of other areas that are perhaps cherished more by liberal groups.

As we mentioned before, women are not a homogeneous group of people placing similar values in all areas of life, including faith or reproductive rights. But they should all be treated equally and with respect and dignity. The government distorts the facts when it argues that it is acting on behalf of “women” by imposing a violation of conscience in the name of “reproductive freedom.” We urge you to reject any urgency to simplify the values of women by taking the singular view of a few and imposing it by force of law or regulation on all. The proposed regulations ensure this won’t happen and provide a way for correction if it does.

Thirty-nine years ago, Beverly LaHaye founded Concerned Women for America precisely for this reason. She wanted to make sure women of faith had a voice in legal and public matters where she felt a particular view was being presented consistently as the views of all women. Today, CWA enjoys wide support, having become a powerful voice on behalf of women of faith all over the nation. Throughout the years, CWA has stood in representation of women’s religious liberties in the culture, legislatures and the courts.[10] This comment on behalf of CWA seeks the same still today.  We ask that the views of women of faith not be made subservient to the views of other groups of women who may not share our values.

Protecting religious freedom and the rights of conscience protects women’s rights.

[1] Melina Mangal, Anne Hutchinson: Religious Reformer 7, Capstone Press (2004).

[2] Pictures and description available at http://www.dcmemorials.com/index_

indiv0008064.htm (last visited May 26, 2014).

[3] Biograpy of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, available at http://www.setonheritage.org/learn-and-explore/resources/mother-seton-bio/early-life/ (last visited May 26, 2014).

[4] Julie Waters, Elizabeth Ann Seton: Saint for a New Nation 71, Paulist Press (2002).

[5] Biography of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, available at The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, http://www.setonheritage.org/learn-and-explore/resources/mother-seton-bio/ (last visited May 26, 2014).

[6] Edward T. James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S. Boyer, eds. Notable American Women, 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary, Vol. 2, 206, Harvard University Press (1971).

[7] Salvation Army International Statement on Faith, available at http://www.salvationarmy.org/ihq/faith (last visited May 26, 2014).

[8] Dorothy A. Mays, Women in Early America: Struggle, Survival, and Freedom in a New World 165, ABC-CLIO, Inc. (2004).

[9] Richard Wheatle, The Life and Letters of Mrs. Phoebe Palmer 224, W.C. Palmer, Jr. (1876).

[10] See, e.g., Concerned Women for America Inc. v. Lafayette County, 883 F.2d 32 (5th Cir. 1989) as an example, where the court held the use of public library by women’s religious group would not violate the establishment clause; see also Travis v. Owego-Apalachin School Dist., 927 F.2d 688, (2nd 1991).

Love in Times of Hate

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The mystery of love is profound. It is incredible how much of our lives we structure around something about which we know so little. This generation, especially, seems fixated on the idea of love. But just that — the idea. Few are willing to pursue true love.

As with freedom, we have inherited a whimsical fable of love we continue to pursue to our great disappointment. We are terribly depressed because we are not truly pursuing love but self-gratification. The very opposite of love.

I was reminded of this as I watched the new movie, “Paul, Apostle of Christ,” this weekend. The movie chronicles the last days of Paul’s ministry as he is incarcerated in Rome.  Luke, the Evangelist, goes to visit him to write down some of his teachings.

Paul’s teaching concentrates on one main idea: Love. “There is only one way,” he’s heard saying in the movie. This emphasis is found in his writings. “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love,” he wrote in his famous 1 Corinthians 13 passage (verse 13).

You would think this movie would be the perfect drama for our generation. It is not.

This world knows not the love about which Paul talks.  Not only that, most people emphatically reject it.  We prefer our own idea of love, however false it may be. That is why I know this movie will not be a smashing hit. It not only talks about true love, it shows it through the suffering of Paul and the entire community of Christians who are in hiding and enduring many trials. It is a sorrowful movie (See 2 Corinthians 6:10).

Suffering and trials are not part of this generation’s idea of love. Modern love is about being happy and making your dreams come true. It’s about loving and accepting yourself.

It’s miserable.

The love about which Paul preached was Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). It is not about accepting, but about denying yourself (Matthew 16:24). Love is about suffering. It is indeed about the joy of enduring and overcoming life’s many trials (John 16:33).

Talk to one of those rare couples with half-a-century of marriage under their belts about love. Most people have never come close to experiencing such depths. Talk to loving mothers and fathers after they’ve raised a whole family through life’s many challenges. It is why many today actively reject marriage and/or children. They don’t want that kind of love.

But that is the only love there is. True love. Lasting love. Paul explained it vividly: “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Nobody wants that love. The essence of modern love is for each to “seek his own.” It should be no wonder why the more loudly and aggressively we seek and demand this “free” love, the more hate and loneliness and depression and hopelessness and darkness rule the day.

There is another way. Paul’s suffering, sacrificial kind of love. But who wants that?

It is one of the things many will not understand about “Paul, Apostle of Christ.” The church was growing exponentially in Paul’s time as they were living in hiding, being persecuted, beaten, imprisoned, and even killed for their faith. How can that be? No one wants to live like that, do they?

What could the Christian community possibly be experiencing that can justify joining them when such sufferings and trials await?

You guessed it; it is love. Real, authentic, raw, genuine, powerful love. A love of which many have only heard about. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1a). This is the kind of love that we cannot experience of our own accord, but that flows freely from the Father toward those who believe.

It is a love that, as Paul wrote, never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8). It survived the oppression of the first century and endures throughout the ages. It still shines today, and I pray that its light opens your spiritual eyes to the beauty and mystery of this daring kind of love.

This is the love that can change your life. It is the love that can change the world. It already has.

CWA Stands for Free Speech at the U.S. Supreme Court

By | California, Legal, News and Events, Planned Parenthood, Sanctity of Life | No Comments


NIFLA v. Becerra Oral Arguments Recap

It was a cold, rainy day in the nation’s capital today, but that didn’t stop your representatives from Concerned Women for America (CWA) from being present inside and outside the United States Supreme Court to stand for freedom of speech and for life. We were there as the Court heard oral arguments in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra.

CWA National Field Director Janae Stracke spoke at the rally on the steps of the Supreme Court where numerous groups stood together to send a message to the Court that the American people are paying attention to this case.  Janae praised the work of our CWA of California members who have fought against this law since it was first proposed and energized the valiant crowd, which stood there, despite the challenging weather.

Check out some of the highlights:

I was inside the courtroom to hear the arguments and was able to commend the petitioners, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA). NIFLA has been in our prayers throughout the entire process, and we commend them for how they have stood so strong as the case moved through the lower courts.  I was reminded that CWA actually helped start the organization back in 1993, under the leadership of our friend Thomas Glessner, who still serves as the organization’s president. We thank God for their work.

As an allied attorney, I was also proud to see our friends at the Alliance Defending Freedom give another stellar performance before the Court.  Michael Farris, ADF’s president, argued the case before the justices, and he was calm under intense questioning.

The justice’s interest was evident. Farris started by highlighting the gerrymandering aspects of the case, which are troubling. So troubling they piqued the interest of one of the most liberal members of the court, Justice Elena Kagan. It is evident the State of California wrote this law in such a way as to target pro-life clinics specifically.  The state, represented by Mr. Joshua Klein, tried to argue it was a generally applicable law, not intended to target anyone, but in this, he failed in my estimation.

Justice Samuel Alito honed in on it, asking the state, “If you have a law that’s neutral on its face, but then it has a lot of crazy exemptions, and when you apply all the exemptions, what you’re left with is a very strange pattern and, gee, it turns out that just about the only clinics that are covered by this are pro-life clinics. Do you think it’s possible to infer intentional discrimination in that situation?”

The state had to admit that, yes, it would be a fair inference, even as they denied that was the case here.

The burdensome requirements of this law were also front and center. Justice Sonia Sotomayor tried to get the state to answer a simple question about if a clinic that merely wanted to put up a billboard that said, “Pro-Life” with their logo, would be required to put up the disclaimer at issue in the same size font and in multiple languages.  Mr. Klein danced around on the question until Justice Alito pinned him down and he admitted that, yes, they would be required to put up the disclaimer on the billboard.

Justice Anthony Kenned was visibly disturbed and had this exchange:

JUSTICE KENNEDY: Do you agree that mandating speech that the speaker would not otherwise give — indeed, does not agree with — alters the content of the message?

KLEIN: Yes, it does, Your Honor.

JUSTICE KENNEDY: All right. So then you are saying on this billboard, the state can require that the message be — the content of the message be altered, even though they are not providing medical services?

Even Justice Sotomayor returned once more to her hypothetical expressed concerns with the state’s position:

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: Would it be fair to say — and I still don’t have a full answer to my question — all right, pro-life, nothing else, an unlicensed facility, it meets all of the criteria, has an ad that says just “pro-life” and puts its name. Does it have to give the notice; yes or no?

KLEIN: Yes, if it meets the other criteria. And it’s possible in an as-applied challenge –­

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: That seems to me more burdensome and wrong because it’s not tied to an advertisement that is promoting medical services.

It is indeed wrong, and it is one of the reasons why the Court should invalidate the statute here and rule for the pro-life clinics.

Continue to pray for this case. A desicion is expected next summer.

Join CWA at the Supreme Court this Coming Tuesday

By | Blog, LBB, Legal, News and Events, Planned Parenthood, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

This coming Tuesday, March 20, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a very important pro-life, free speech case: National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra.  And Concerned Women for America (CWA) will be in front of the Supreme Court to rally for freedom and for life.

This is the case I’ve written to you about, where pro-life clinics are being forced, under threat of law, to promote abortion services. The case challenges California’s Reproductive FACT Act (AB 775), which our CWA of California leaders fought so valiantly as it was proposed, because it was a law specifically designed to curtail pro-life clinics’ effectiveness by capriciously requiring them to do what the government could have done much more easily, without infringing on constitutional rights.

If you remember, under this law, pro-life clinics are required to post a notice that must read in multiple languages: “California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [insert the telephone number].”

In some cases that county office will refer women to Planned Parenthood!

The law also required unlicensed pregnancy centers to put up large signs saying: “This facility is not licensed as a medical facility by the State of California and has no licensed medical provider who provides or directly supervises the provision of services.”

Not only that, the law also requires them to place a similar notice on the pro-life clinic’s advertisement.  The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), who will be arguing the case at the Supreme Court, recently showed what that would look like if a clinic just wanted to advertise their phone number:


Simply Outrageous!

Our First Amendment right to freedom of speech includes not only the right to speak without government silencing you, but also the freedom not to be forced to speak what you don’t want to say.

This is not a religious liberty case, but the implications for religious liberty are daunting. The government in this case is not only forcing clinics and their workers to say something they don’t want to say, it is forcing people of faith to be involved in something that infringes upon their conscience.  And it is completely unnecessary, as we’ve already mentioned.

This should be a 9-0 victory for NIFLA. It is that clear. Other courts have invalidated similar laws in places like Maryland, New York, and Texas. No one should be forced to violate their conscience in order to make government’s job easier.

But, as we know, it is more than about the law when we have judges willing to go beyond the scope of their judicial role.  So, may I ask you to be in prayer daily for this important case?  Pray for Michael Farris and his team, who will be arguing the case, and pray for the justices.

Also, if you are in the Washington, D.C., area, come down to the steps of the Supreme Court on Tuesday (8am-noon). We would love to meet you and stand alongside you as we stand for our constitutional rights and for life.

 

Not Your Grandfather’s Pornography: the Problem, the Harm, and a Policy Response

By | Legal, News and Events, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

As the country wrestles with the widespread problem of sexual assault (as embodied in the recent “#MeToo” phenomena) and how to respond to it, we must consider the multiple factors that lie at the root of the issue. The rapid spread of online pornography, with its decisive sexual objectification of women, is one area that should be explored and prioritized among policymakers.

The violent, sexual subjugation of women is not an unfortunate byproduct of pornography but one of its main selling points. Physical and mental abuse of women is not uncommon — both on and off camera — in the porn industry. It is an industry that rewards risky sexual behavior and preys on the minds of both young men and women by appealing to their prurient instincts and feeding their most debased desires.

Pornography, taken as a whole, lacks any serious societal value, and whatever value it may have is greatly outweighed by the numerous unintended consequences it continues to produce in our society.

This paper discusses the problem of online pornography, the numerous harms that make it a public health hazard, and suggests a three-pronged approach (three “E”s) to tackle the issue going forward: education, enforcement, and empathy.

Another Win for Religious Liberty

By | LBB, Religious Liberty | No Comments

A nomination for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is usually not a controversial thing. But, as I have told you before, when Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) decided it was appropriate to impose a religious test on the nomination of Russel Vought for this position, his nomination became a top priority for us at Concerned Women for America (CWA).

It is simply unconstitutional to impose such a test on any nominee for public office. Thankfully, we have defeated another attempt at it this week.

I want to thank those of you who called your senators and expressed your concerns about what was done to Russell Vought. I am incredibly proud of the vocal role our CEO and President Penny Nance took on his nomination.

You made your voices heard, and you were heard.  The Senate voted on Wednesday to confirm him by a vote of 50-49. You did it!

As you can probably guess, Vice-President Mike Pence had to cast the deciding vote. And this should remind us of two very important takeaways from this fight.

First, it is a testament to your involvement with CWA. Your support and constant involvement with CWA is what makes us effective. We speak for you. So, when we all take action together on the issues about which we care, real change is possible.

Second, it should remind us that we are living in a crucial moment in our history. We don’t have the luxury to let up on this fight. This nomination should not have been so close. Just think about it.  This nominee was almost defeated only because he is a Christian. This should never happen in America.

But we stand very close to letting that be our reality.  We’re just a few senators away from that! That is how close we are, and if we do not stand strong now, this will become a trend, leading to a norm.

So, let us take the opposite approach to complacency. Let us redouble our efforts in support of religious liberty. In support of our faith.  As a member of CWA, let your friends and family members know how important it is that they too join CWA and add their voices to this chorus for righteousness and justice.

May we forever be known that way.