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Defense of Family

What happened when the left thought I would be joining the Trump Administration

By | Blog, Defense of Family, News and Events, Religious Liberty, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

A couple of years ago, while appearing on CNN with Van Jones, former Obama Administration Special Adviser for Green Energy, he shared something personal.

In a moment of transparency, the Yale-educated lawyer said that the public smearing he received during his tenure as the Green Energy Czar “felt like someone ripped off [his] face and put it on someone else’s body.”  He said he didn’t recognize the person they were describing in press accounts.

Conservatives had little to no sympathy for him or others, but recent events have hopefully shed a different light on the matter.

Confirmation hearings are becoming something of a blood sport when the nominees are people who adhere to orthodox Christian views on abortion and matters of sexual identity.

First, there was Russell Vought, President Trump’s nominee for Deputy Director of Office of Management and Budget.  Sen. Bernie Sanders’ questioned his Christian faith and belief in the centrality of Jesus Christ for salvation, suggesting basically that his belief makes him unfit for office.  Then there was “the Dogma lives loudly within you” remark to Judge Amy Coney Barrett by Sen. Diane Feinstein denigrating the Notre Dame Law  Professor and mother of seven’s Catholic faith.  The senator’s outrage was based on an article that basically said the opposite of what was charged.

What is happening? Not since the JFK days has there been such hostility to faith.  Sadly, back then it was from Protestants, but this is a new, equally insidious version from the left.

The final awakening on this issue came to Concerned Women for America due to Washington rumors of my “imminent” appointment to the office of Ambassador-At-Large for the Office of Global Women’s Issues. This is a position that was created by Secretary Hillary Clinton to assist with the advancement of women’s equality and the empowerment of women and girls around the world.

The ensuing outrage from the left was eye-opening. At the mere hint of the idea that a pro-life, conservative woman could be in the running opened up a flood of hostile and, in many cases, false or misleading articles written by leftist media.

Suddenly, the idea of “fake news” took on new meaning.  Left-of-center reporters mostly relied on an opposition research dossier which quotes formerly-affiliated employees from CWA — much of which was dated years before my tenure — accepted without checking false statements by abortion activists, or, worse yet, isolated quotes out of context, much like in the case of Judge Barrett.

Just to name a few:

They claim we oppose birth control, when in truth CWA, and I personally, like the majority of Evangelical women, draw a bright line between birth control and abortion. We have never taken a position against it, but we do support the rights of conscience of women like the Little Sisters of the Poor.  The Left, however, wishes to force everyone, even nuns who take a vow of celibacy and poverty, to fund abortion and abortion-inducing drugs.  Their lack of tolerance for women of faith is shocking.

They claim that we never support rape-and-incest exceptions; this is one in which they twisted a theological piece that I wrote for the Christian Post.  The truth is that every child is innocent.  I value every child and her mother and addressed in that piece that abortion harms the woman as well as her child.  I believe women deserve better, and as the church, we must offer them better options.

As the survivor of an assault and attempted rape, I know that this issue is deeply painful and complicated, and suffering women deserve our help and grace.

I believe that abortion is the most cynical answer to the plight of women, but the left sees it as the first and best response.

The story of women who regret their abortions is prevalent.  Pro-life Americans offer love and hope to women every day in pregnancy help centers, through adoption and through material help. Regardless, in the very piece they criticized, I end by saying, “Regardless of her choice, we must pray for her!”

As a practical matter, every federal legislative effort and most state bills endorsed by CWA contain rape and incest exceptions.  I also addressed this in my book, if people had bothered to look.

“ … I should add however that I have and do support legislation that contains a rape-incest exception if it is essential to protect the vast majority of babies.  Public policy is downstream of public opinion, and we still have work to do.” (Feisty and Feminine, 89)

They falsely claim we support the criminalization of homosexuality or transgenderism, when in truth, I have never believed it and said the opposite specifically in my book.  We can disagree on matters of policy for our military or our schools, but we are called to love our neighbor, and that includes our LGBTQ neighbors.

“Condemning unkindness is not a religious or political stance; it is a human one, and our message transcends those divisions. This means that we condemn liberal attacks against Christian and conservative views; but it also means that we must take a stand against nastiness toward gay people or any group for that matter. We absolutely must condemn countries operating under sharia law where homosexuality is a crime punishable by death. In Nigeria in early 2015, fourteen men were dragged from their beds and attacked by men with clubs and iron bars who said they wanted to ‘cleanse’ their neighborhood of gay people. And who could forget the video of ISIS pushing a gay man off of a roof to his death in Mosul, Iraq? We have to speak out against these kinds of atrocities, and against governments that condone them. Violence of any kind has no place among those who seek peace, and as followers of Christ, it is our duty to stand up against this kind of injustice. We need to condemn violence abroad as well as here in the United States. But even short of violence, we need to consider whether we do what’s right when people say something unkind about gay or transgender people and those who don’t share our opinions or lifestyles. Because here’s the problem: people practicing these lifestyles can’t hear our words of love and hope when we are allowing other people to define us,” (From my book, Feisty & Feminine, Page 70).

They claim that CWA and I oppose the Violence Against Women Act when in truth we have criticized its efficacy. We suggested that there needs to be better oversight ending the waste and fraud by grantees and instead that the federal offer block grants to the states in order to address what even supporters admit is too broad to be effective. (From my book “Feisty & Feminine,” Page 44)

The left is fine with spending $400 million per year on programs that aren’t doing enoughto protect women.  Just because the bill is named well doesn’t mean it is stopping domestic violence. Again, women deserve better.

They claim that I do not support anti-bullying efforts against children who identify as LGBTQ.  That is 100 percent false.

In the piece that sparked the hatred, I said, “I despise children being bullied for being ‘gay’ just as much as for being obese or for being from another country or simply being different or for whatever reason. How about we teach our kids, ‘Be ye kind one to another.’”

In my book, I went further. While I absolutely support an end to any and all forms of bullying, I can’t help but notice how ironic it is that conservative Christian kids in our school system are bullied for their own beliefs. What are our schools doing to protect them? (“Feisty & Feminine,” 56)

And just to be clear (despite this being the height of silliness), I don’t hate “Frozen.”

Interestingly, reporters conveniently left out all of my lifelong work caring for “the least of these” on issues like fighting sex trafficking and fighting for cleaning up the horrible backlog of testing for rape kits (“Feisty & Feminine,” Page 46-48).

I also worked with others to successfully pass into law the Second Chance Act (Public Law 110-199), which tears down barriers for prisoners reentering society.  As a member of Right on Crime, I am working for restorative justice reform, including the use of drug and youth courts and access to mental health care.

But let’s be honest, it does not matter what I say or what I believe. The left must twist my words, because at the end of the day, a pro-life woman with an orthodox Christian worldview is unacceptable to them.

It is becoming a common theme in confirmation hearings. Both the Republicans and Democrats are guilty of demagoguery as Van Jones suggested, and it needs to stop.

Now, to address the rumor of an appointment to the Trump administration: The honest answer is that there is great appeal to the idea of working for President Trump and the opportunity to work on behalf of women around the globe.

It is my hope that under President Trump the Office of Global Women’s Issues will stand for the rights of women to seek fulfillment of their basic needs, to feed and clothe themselves and their children, to fully participate in society, and to be defended against human rights abuses such as violence, killing, discrimination, and false imprisonment. As full participants in society, women should have the agency to pursue education and economic livelihood and to vote or run for office.

There is clearly work to be done. American conservatives often view the world through the lens of our own experience, forgetting that there are millions of women and girls around the world denied basic human rights and treated by their government or culture as literally second class citizens facing discrimination at every turn.

I would be honored to serve my nation and President Trump; however, I do not feel God is leading me to leave Concerned Women for America at this time. We have important work to do and are in a season of amazing growth.  Most importantly, I have about 18 months left before my last child goes off to college.

In Washington, ones family is often used as an excuse, but I can assure I am sincere. My husband and I, like most parents, have subjugated our own desires in many ways to do our best to parent.

I do not believe that it would be right for me or for him to travel the world during this season of our lives. Others may be able to do so with aplomb, but we cannot.

There may be a time at which President Trump or some other president will call upon me to serve my country within his or her administration at a later season.

The left can relax for now, but who knows about another day? But know this, if it is ever God’s will for me to serve, nothing they can do or say will stop it.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article was published by Fox News. Click here to read it.

Capitol Hill Brief — Supreme Court Brief

By | Blog, Capitol Hill Brief, Defense of Family, Religious Liberty | No Comments

 

Last week, Concerned Women for America submitted an amicus brief (which is just a fancy way of saying a “friend-of-the-court” brief) in a very important First Amendment case before the U.S. Supreme Court.  The name is Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

This is the case where a Christian baker is being forced to use his artistic talents to help celebrate same-sex “marriage,” in violation of his deeply held religious beliefs, by designing a custom-made wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

For the government to compel speech in this manner, under threat of law, is a violation of both freedom of speech and religious liberty.  Would you help us pray for this important case?


It’s vital that president Trump knows he has our support in fighting for conservative, Christian values. Please sign the open letter at www.CapitolHillBrief.org and express your support of his administration’s protection of religious freedom. If you’d like to hear these commentaries on the radio, find me on your local radio station.

 

Do Transgender Rights Trump Women’s Rights? The Left Needs to Decide

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As the Left have attempted to stake their claim as the only group who represents and cares about women, they have also managed to simultaneously stab these same women in the back, betraying the very essence of their femininity and steamrolling over the uniqueness of the sexes in order to elevate their own agendas.

The debate over the role of transgendered individuals (people who identify as one gender but have the anatomy of another), has risen again in recent weeks, with President Trump’s declaration that transgendered individuals will no longer be able to serve in the military. It will no doubt continue to be a hot debate as the culture wars rage on. The issue of gender dysphoria is real and painful and we must have love and compassion for them.

But I fear they are being politically and monetarily used as the Left, always looking for a new group to exploit, opens new fronts in the culture wars.  Feminists should wonder, however, that if we reconstruct male and female to sixty-three and growing definitions, who is protected and who is hurt? Does this new idea of no binary definition of gender displace and demean the hard fought and won accomplishments of women?

I think yes. Consider the issue of women’s sports. When men are allowed to compete as women, women lose no matter how hard they work.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was crafted to ensure that female athletes were not left out of sports and created a level playing field which encouraged excellence in competition. Congress and feminists understood that boys and girls are physiologically different and that boys vs. boys and girls v. girls was fair because of basic biological and hormonal differences.

Title IX has nothing to do with character, power, or intelligence.

Fast forward to 2016, when a boy identifying as a girl qualified for the Alaska State Championships in the 200-meter dash, displacing a female athlete for third place. The senior competed against girls as young as freshmen. Hardly fair.

In June of this year, a boy identifying as a girl was allowed to compete on the female high school track team in Connecticut and was lauded for placing first in two races. His time would have placed him last in the same races in the boys division.

Colleges offer sports scholarships for both genders based on high school accomplishments. But now, these scholarships have the potential to be monopolized by boys in both male and female categories.

Last month, it was announced that for the first time since all combat roles were opened to women in December of 2015, there are two female candidates in the Navy SEAL and Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman program (SWCC) programs.

This watershed moment for women in the military has the merit to stand alone, but instead, the news story went on to undercut the success of these two women by saying that, in fact, the first woman to join an elite Navy force could be a transgender woman who came out in 2016.

Sports titles have been stripped from women, and military achievements by women are being given to men, but surely women can maintain their right to privacy and their respect as child-bearers, right? Wrong.

The women’s bathroom is no longer a secure place for women and children to go for privacy. Security is not so narrow as to imply only physical safety, it also encompasses emotional safety. The women’s bathroom is a place where women are vulnerable. To have a man present, no matter his self-perception, compromises that vulnerability. Talk about a need for safe spaces.

As if this is not enough, the Huffington Post highlighted a transgender individual holding a sign that read, “Periods are not just for women” while flaunting blood-stained pants between spread legs. If not so horrifying and disrespectful, it would be comical. Of course, periods are just for women and most of us have more dignity than to flaunt them for a political stunt.

By using a woman’s menstrual cycle, which indicates her unique role as a foundational creator and nurturer of life, these activists betray women and use her for cheap political props. This is an attack on a woman’s amazing biological ability to bear and give birth to children.

This is gender appropriation – stealing something precious that distinctly belongs to women, demeaning it, and distorting its purpose. Historically, women have fought to defend and protect their position and authority within society. Our spaces and institutions have value and therefore deserve respect and protection from encroachment of the entitled Left.  The emperor has no clothes and our pretending otherwise only degrades women.

Capitol Hill Brief — Persist in the Fight for the Family

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According to U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 24.7 million children live without their biological father. Sadly, this disproportionately affects minority communities.

And the effects of this reality are heartbreaking: Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor.  They’re more likely to abuse drug and alcohol, have physical and emotional health problems and more than twice as likely to commit suicide.

This is why we must persist in our support for marriage and families.

During our Summer of Persistence, Concerned Women for America recommits to founding principles that have sustain our freedom throughout our nation’s history.  Please join in!


Now is not the time to resist; it is the time to persist.  This summer, find out how you can support a positive agenda that protects our Biblical values. Visit www.CapitolHillBrief.org today. If you’d like to hear these commentaries on the radio, find me on your local radio station.

 

President Trump to Reverse Transgender Military Policy

By | Defense of Family, News and Events, Press Releases | No Comments
Washington, D.C. – Today President Trump tweeted that after meeting with his Generals and military experts that transgender individuals would no longer be serving in any capacity in the U.S. Military. This reverses a policy which had previously been instated by the Defense Department under the previous administration in which the United States Federal Government was projected to pay millions of dollars in gender-reassignment surgeries.

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The Radical Normality of the Pro-Life View

By | Blog, Defense of Family, News and Events, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

The world is shocked by the European Court of Human Rights decision to remove 10-month-old Charlie Gard from life support against the wishes of his parents. After his doctors said there was nothing more they could do for him, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, Charlie’s parents, raised 1.6 million dollars to move Charlie from London to the United States to pursue another treatment. Charlie has a rare genetic disorder that resulted in brain damage, and while the treatment they were pursuing was experimental, it was their last option in the fight for their son’s precious life.

But the doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital said, “No.” The High Court said, “No.” The Supreme Court said, “No.” The European Court of Human Rights said, “No.” The decision was final; Charlie Gard must die, because there is more “dignity” in removing him from life support than pursuing treatment. Death has become more dignified than life. And so the world is shocked.

I am not shocked. I am heartbroken and angry, but I am not surprised. The value of life begs for consistency. The moment it became acceptable to toss aside one human life, life everywhere became less valuable. For 50 years in England and 44 years in the United States, abortion has been legal. Throughout the decades that have followed, abortion has become morally acceptable. As it became acceptable for doctors to kill unborn children, absolute moral insensitivity followed.

At first there was the argument that the fetus was not a person. It served as a moral remedy for a time, but the majority of people today agree that this notion is now baseless. Science has shown us the heartbeats of children in the womb and their response to pain. We know they are human.

There is no excuse anymore, and there has not been such an excuse for a long time. But abortions have continued, in spite of the knowledge that the heartbeat on an ultrasound is not unlike the one that beats inside of you and me.

Following the legalization of abortion in the western world, the last several decades have witnessed so-called ethicists arguing for “after-birth abortions” or infanticide, the killing of infants after they are born. “Death with dignity” — euthanasia laws — have been passed throughout Europe and various states in the U.S. Peter Singer, the well-known moral philosopher and Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, wrote, “[T]he notion that human life is sacred just because it is human life is medieval.”

Abortion has put us on a slippery slope headed towards moral bankruptcy. Americans have cried out against the European courts for ruling against Charlie’s parents, for ruling against the fight for Charlie’s life. But America? We are headed down that same slope. We are on our way, unless we choose to be exceptional in our regard for all human life. Pope John Paul II said these words to America in 1987, and they are just as apropos today.

“America the beautiful! So you sing in one of your national songs. Yes, America, you are beautiful indeed, and blessed in so many ways … But your greatest beauty and your richest blessing is found in the human person: in each man, woman, and child …

“For this reason, America, your deepest identity and truest character as a nation is revealed in the position you take towards the human person. The ultimate test of your greatness in the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless ones.

“The best traditions of your land presume respect for those who cannot defend themselves. If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then, America, defend life! All the great causes that are yours today will have meaning only to the extent that you guarantee the right to life and protect the human person …”

There are many takeaways for the United States from the story of Charlie Gard, including the implications of state-run health care and parental rights. But the most prominent and the most vital to our success as a nation is a deep respect and genuine care for the intrinsic value of all human life. The idea that life is to be fought for, fiercely, until the very end should not be radical, it should be expected.

 

Annabelle Rutledge serves as Communications Coordinator for Concerned Women for America.

Capitol Hill Brief — Marriage, Morality, and Sexuality

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Some of the most difficult subjects for us to engage in these days have to do with marriage, morality, and sexuality.  I know it’s not easy to stand for truth in hostile environments.

I have the scars of many CNN interviews to prove it.

But there’s much we can do to alleviate some of the tensions we feel.  That is, we as Christian conservative women can make matters better or worse, depending on the way in which we speak and conduct ourselves.

That is why I wrote extensively and meticulously about the topic in Feisty & Feminine: A Rallying Cry for Conservative Women. I’d love to help you be more effective in your interactions in this area.

So I encourage you to pick up a copy today and give one to your family and friends.


Penny Nance’s latest book, Feisty and Feminine, empowers women to engage the culture and is our gift to thank you for your donation today. Request yours at www.CapitolHillBrief.org. If you’d like to hear these commentaries on the radio, find me on your local radio station.

 

Our One Motivation

By | Blog, Defense of Family, Education, National Sovereignty, News and Events, Religious Liberty, Sanctity of Life, Sexual Exploitation, Support for Israel | No Comments

As women who are concerned for America, why do we do what we do? Why support lobbying efforts, write letters to Congress, make phone calls to the White House, and give our money to support these endeavors?  And why do we pray? It’s because we know the one true God.

We support human life from conception, because we know that every child is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139).

We reject gender fluidity, because we know “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).

We work against sexual exploitation and homosexual “marriage,” because we know that marriage is God’s good design, a mystery that points beautifully to Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:32).

We oppose overbearing government control of education, because God instructs parents to teach their children diligently (Deuteronomy 6:7) and bring them up in the instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

We advocate for religious liberty, because we know that, ultimately, the truth will win out and will set people free (John 8:32).

God created the universe. He put every star in its place. He designed the Earth and sculpted the mountains. He established the seas and fashioned a diversity of animals. He formed man out of the dust of the Earth and breathed life into him. Trying to live without acknowledging our Creator is like covering our eyes and ears and stumbling about in the dark. Knowing God brings us into the light. His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Ps. 119:105).

Knowing the God who brings meaning to life motivates us to continue to lobby, write letters, make phone calls, give money, and pray! We must persevere to glorify Him. And we must persevere in knowing Him through His Word.

Keri Folmar was press secretary for Concerned Women for America in the 90’s and now lives in the Middle East where her husband, John, is the pastor of the United Christian Church of Dubai. She has recently written The Good Portion: The Doctrine of Scripture for Every Woman and has published several Bible studies for women.

From Judge to Justice: Gorsuch Confirmed with Bipartisan Support

By | Defense of Family, Education, National Sovereignty, News and Events, Press Releases, Religious Liberty, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

Washington, D.C. –Today, Judge Gorsuch, soon-to-be Justice Gorsuch, was confirmed 54-45 to be the next Associate Supreme Court Justice of the United States with bi-partisan support.

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, had this to say:

“Today we witnessed a historic victory for our country. One that proves government ‘for the People, by the People’ is alive and well. The Senate overcame historic partisan obstructionism and restored original Senate precedent.

“On behalf of our members, I want to thank Leader McConnell, as well as Sen. Grassley, for their decisive leadership, which gave the American people a voice in November on the kind of justice they believed should fill the Supreme Court vacancy.

“I also want to thank President Trump for keeping his promise to nominate a constitutionalist judge to the Supreme Court. It is hard to imagine someone better suited to serve on our nation’s highest court than Judge Gorsuch.

“Judge Gorsuch follows the law wherever it leads, regardless of personal opinion or political preference. His constitutional jurisprudence makes him an ardent defender of the rights that keep us free.

“Judge Gorsuch will elevate the proper role of the judiciary and refuse to legislate from the bench. He is what America needs in this time of partisan dysfunction and obstructionism from the far left-the bipartisan support for his confirmation is proof.

“I would be remiss not to thank the Democrats who had the conviction to listen to their constituents rather than toeing the party line. I applaud their willingness to rise above the political fray in favor of their constituents.

“In spite of partisan gridlock, we see the symphony of the three branches of government and their checks and balances function as our Founders intended.”Our prayers continue to be with Judge, soon-to-be Justice, Gorsuch and his family as they begin this new chapter.”

For an interview with Penny Nance contact Janae Stracke at jstracke@cwfa.org or 712-269-1724.