Category

LBB

Judicial Nominations Cap the Trump Legacy

By | LBB, Legal, News and Events | No Comments

Right at the top of the list of President Donald J. Trump’s legacy is his amazing work on judicial nominations. In just under three years, the U.S. Senate has confirmed the most circuit court judges in a president’s first term since 1980. With several confirmations this week, one out of every four circuit court judges are now a Trump nominee.

The Senate has confirmed a total of 159 judges with more ready to be confirmed at any moment. Forty-five of those are circuit court judges, 112 to the district court, and, of course, two Supreme Court justices.

This week, the President took some time to celebrate the great work their team has been doing on this front. Concerned Women for America’s (CWA) Vice-President of Government Relations Doreen Denny was at the White House to mark the occasion.

CWA supporters have been crucial in the Trump Administration’s success through our support of the many judicial nominees. The two Supreme Court nominees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, were most prominent, of course.

Which brings us to the most important point about the Trump legacy. It is not about the numbers. It is not about being a Republican or a Democrat. The fact is CWA’s support and the President’s success is worth celebrating because of the type of judges the president has nominated. His commitment to nominating constitutionalists who refrain from interjecting personal policy preferences into the judicial decision has been unwavering. That is why his number will have such a great impact for all Americans, regardless of political persuasion.

When judges are committed to the text of the Constitution and the laws as written, everyone wins. Remember, the danger of the “living, breathing constitution” is not that the Constitution is amended (the Founders indeed provided a way for the Constitution to be amended, since they knew this must happen—that’s what the Bill of Rights is), it is how it is done. For unelected judges to simply amend the Constitution at their pleasure breaks the most fundamental tenets of our Republic. It is “we the people” who are the “supremes” under our Constitution, not unelected judges.

Therefore, with judges who abide by the text of the Constitution and the laws as written, everyone should feel empowered. They are free to persuade their fellow citizens of their preferred policy positions and work through the legislatures to see that those changes are made. To continue to allow judges to implement one side’s preferred policy changes by judicial fiat is to live under judicial tyranny.

President Trump noted this in his remarks this week saying,

“This system was designed to protect citizens against the unjust concentration of governmental power … [but] when judges assume the role of a legislature, the rights of all citizens are threatened. … When judges write policy instead of applying the law, they impose sweeping changes on millions of Americans without the benefit of legislative debate, public rulemaking, or the consent of the governed. As a result, these highly political rulings inflict painful damage on our security, society, and economy—imposing unworkable edicts on businesses, workers, families, and law enforcement.”

That’s music to my ears.

President Trump also noted that the average age of his circuit judges is less than 50 years old—10 years younger than the average age was for President Obama. This means that this legacy will have a lasting effect on the judiciary. We simply cannot overstate how important this is for the protection of our freedoms.

This success should also highlight for us how important the next election will be. Part of the reason for the president’s success was the rule change made by former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who opened the door to get rid of the filibuster of judicial nominees. That reality will benefit whoever is in office. If someone committed to judicial activists is elected President, he too would be able to confirm judges at a faster pace, especially if the same party controls the Senate, as President Trump has enjoyed.

This issue must remain at the top of our minds as we consider our choices for the next election.


Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

Your Unofficial Guide to Kanye’s “Jesus is King”

By | Culture, LBB, News and Events | No Comments

Count me among the millions of Americans who have had Kanye West’s new album “Jesus is King” on replay ever since it came out on October 25. I want to take you on a listening journey to explain why. For those who are just looking for the bottom line, I would say this: this album is appropriately titled. In it, “Jesus is King.” Every second I spend listening to it, my mind is focused on the Holy One. I see Jesus glorified throughout every track, and this is the purpose of my life, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Therefore, I loved it.

Which is the other point. Kanye’s new music is enjoyable. It is interesting. It is good. No mindless repetition. It is straight and to the point.

The point being Jesus is king!

Even if you don’t like the genre, I’d like to share with you some of the highlights in the message he is spreading to all who listen. If you love Jesus, I guarantee you’ll smile.

Let’s push play.

Track 1, “Every Hour” right away stops me on my tracks. I want to praise. I want to join in this gospel choir. “Sing ’til the power of the Lord comes down … We need you … Every hour, every minute, every second…” Yes. The voices are perfect, and the syncopation between the different parts and the piano leaves me mesmerized. I’m already in praise mode.

All of a sudden everything drops out. A lone organ comes in. Enter “Selah,” track 2. The first line? “God is King, we the soldiers.” The music style fits that line, too. It’s hard-hitting. This is an anthem for battle.

Before the flood, people judge
They did the same thing to Noah
Everybody wanted Yandhi
Then Jesus Christ did the laundry
They say the week start on Monday
But the strong start on Sunday

Boom. You are clearly on one side of the battle line. I find myself among God’s army, and I feel at home. I look around and see Kanye has changed sides. He now stands beside me, and I want to praise God again for His goodness and mercy. I remember from where He saved me too as the hard-hitting lyrics continue to flow.

Won’t be in bondage to any man
John 8:33
We the descendants of Abraham
Ye should be made free
John 8:36
To whom the Son set free is free indeed
He saved a wretch like me

The only response to this is worship. And Kanye seems to understand this. Right in the middle of this battle anthem comes the, “Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah … Hallelujah, He is wonderful.”

Next comes “Follow God” (track 3). “Father, I stretch, stretch my hands to You,” it starts with an old style that immediately breaks into hip hop. It deals with trying to live the Christian life. Every Christian will identify. Every new believer struggles to live according to a new way. The longer you have lived in the world the harder it is. This track reflects that, “I’m just tryna find, l’ve been lookin’ for a new way. I’m just really tryin’ not to really do the fool way.” It’s a short song that ends with a scream of frustration when hearing the words, “That ain’t Christ-like.” The answer to this struggle is still Jesus. We take on His righteousness by the Spirit.

A smooth classical guitar greets you in track 4, “Closed on Sunday.” Undoubtedly one of the most memorable tracks in the album. Soon a rhythmic alarm-like sound will accentuate the urgency of this message. WARNING:

Hold the selfies, put the ’Gram away
Get your family, y’all hold hands and pray
When you got daughters, always keep ’em safe
Watch out for vipers, don’t let them indoctrinate

This is when I realized I was listening to one of the most important cultural messages we need at this moment in American history. Kanye’s counter-cultural voice is desperately needed. Perhaps he can sound the alarm for a youth that stands before great danger. They are entering the war zone unequipped.

Raise our sons, train them in the faith
Through temptations, make sure they’re wide awake
Follow Jesus, listen and obey
No more livin’ for the culture, we nobody’s slave

Friends pray for Kanye. This is pure truth. He will face the full onslaught of the culture’s attack, no doubt. Listen to this declaration:

Stand up for my home
Even if I take this walk alone
I bow down to the King upon the throne
My life is His, I’m no longer my own

This is my anthem. This is every Christian’s anthem. Or it should be.

Track 5, “On God,” gives us a bit of Kanye’s testimony. The Gospel opens it: “’How you get so much favor on your side?’ ‘Accept Him as your Lord and Savior,’ I replied.” But this confession is what gripped me: “The devil had my soul, I can’t lie.” This recognition, for any man, is crucial for a life of repentance. The enemy is real. There is no neutral ground. God is the only one who can save us from the slavery of sin.

An a cappella chorus greets you in track 6, “Everything We Need.” In a culture that screams that you need something else—the latest iPhone, a degree, more “likes”, a following, etc. – this chorus breaks the cycle of endless self-seeking. “We have everything we need,” repeats time and again.

What if Eve made apple juice?
You gon’ do what Adam do?
Or say, “Baby, let’s put this back on the tree” ’cause
We have everything we need

This is truth for both the artist with much material wealth, as much as it is for the humble person with much of nothing, if they both “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful,” (Hebrews 10:23). Jesus is all we need.

Track 7, “Water,” feels like a deeply personal prayer. The highlight of this song, again, puts the focus on Jesus.

Jesus, flow through us
Jesus, heal the bruises
Jesus, clean the music
Jesus, please use us
Jesus, please help
Jesus, please heal
Jesus, please forgive
Jesus, please reveal
Jesus, give us strength
Jesus, make us well
Jesus, help us live
Jesus, give us wealth
Jesus is our safe
Jesus is our rock
Jesus, give us grace
Jesus, keep us safe

The listener is then taken to a beautiful hymn, “God is” (track 8). Here we get to hear Kanye’s singing talent in a beautiful declaration of worship to God alone.

Everything that I felt, praise the Lord
Worship Christ with the best of your portions
I know I won’t forget all He’s done
He’s the strength in this race that I run…

This song is full of beautiful devotion to who God is:

King of Kings, Lord of Lords, all the things He has in store
From the rich to the poor, all are welcome through the door
You won’t ever be the same when you call on Jesus’ name
Listen to the words I’m sayin’, Jesus saved me, now I’m sane
And I know, I know God is the force that picked me up
I know Christ is the fountain that filled my cup
I know God is alive, yeah

It is the perfect setup to track 9, “Hands On.” This is a hope-filled encouragement to persevere in the faith. It is raw in that it recognizes who was accomplishing things when we walked in the old self: “Told the devil that I’m going on a strike. Told the devil when I see him, on sight. I’ve been working for you my whole life.” A Christ-like rebuke of our pharisaical attitudes feels also appropriate here:

Told people God was my mission
What have you been hearin’ from the Christians?
They’ll be the first one to judge me
Make it feel like nobody loves me

His humble conclusion also strikes a refreshing note. He asks that we pray for him.

Yes, I understand your reluctancy, yeah
But I have a request, you see
Don’t throw me up, lay your hands on me
Please, pray for me
Hold myself on death
Hold it down, all fallen down
Somebody pray for me

He’s got my prayers.

“Use this Gospel,” track 10, feels like the beginning of a great commission to share what God has done. This is the passion of every Christian.

Use this gospel for protection
It’s a hard road to Heaven
We call on Your blessings
In the Father, we put our faith
King of the kingdom
Our demons are tremblin’
Holy angels defendin’
In the Father, we put our faith

This message can bring freedom to many. “From the concrete grew a rose,” one rapped line is heard. Isn’t that a beautiful picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? He can do the impossible. When we die, we live.

Finally, the whole experience is capped with an anthem declaring “Jesus is Lord” (track 11). Fitting.

Every knee shall bow
Every tongue confess
Jesus is Lord
Jesus is Lord
Every knee shall bow
Every tongue confess
Jesus is Lord
Jesus is Lord

He is. May His name be praised now and forevermore.


Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

Will Supreme Court Try to Redefine Sex?

By | LBB, Legal, News and Events, Religious Liberty, SCOTUS | No Comments

Our CEO and President Penny Nance spoke with CBN’s Paul Strand about the Harris case currently before the Supreme Court about the ramifications for women if the definition of “sex” were to change to include gender identity.

“On Tuesday, the US Supreme Court heard three major cases that could affect a wide swath of the American population.

At the core of these cases is what does the word “sex” means when it comes to law. In 1964, when it first became illegal to discriminate on the basis of sex, it meant “male” and “female.”  Now, at least one side in these cases is arguing it should be a bit more complicated: gender identity and sexual orientation should be included.

The cases involve two homosexuals and one transgender fired from their jobs. Gerald Bostock is one of the gay men.

He said outside the court after his case was heard, “Millions and millions of people go to work every day fearful for being fired for who they are, how they identify and who they love. And that’s wrong.””

Watch the entire video and read the full story here:

President Trump Brings Truth to the UN

By | LBB, Legal, News and Events, Religious Liberty | No Comments

President Donald J. Trump will forever be “the first President of the United States to host a meeting at the United Nations on religious freedom.”

Not only that, President Trump brought down the house with a message full of truth and hope.

“America will always be a voice for victims of religious persecution everywhere,” he said to the applause of the attendees, “No matter where you go, you have a place in the United States of America.”

Listening to the president, one can’t help but wonder who is the man being demonized every moment of every day by the news media? The president spoke of the fundamental truths upon which our country was founded:

 

The United States is founded on the principle that our rights do not come from government; they come from God.  This immortal truth is proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence and enshrined in the First Amendment to our Constitution’s Bill of Rights.  Our Founders understood that no right is more fundamental to a peaceful, prosperous, and virtuous society than the right to follow one’s religious convictions.

Those inalienable rights that government can’t take away because it does not grant them are the foundation of religious freedom. Those are the sort of human rights on which the United Nations (UN) is supposed to focus, but that have been so blatantly neglected. The president highlighted the problem, “Regrettably, the religious freedom enjoyed by American citizens is rare in the world.  Approximately 80 percent of the world’s population live in countries where religious liberty is threatened, restricted, or even banned.”

The president expressed disbelief when he first heard the 80 percent statistic, as most people would. But it is correct. Two hundred and fifty million Christians around the world are experiencing persecution today. We’ve all witnessed a surprising rise in anti-Semitism in recent years. The president spoke of appointing “a special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.”

He expressed his commitment to protect people of all religious faiths, “These evil attacks are a wound on all humanity.  We must all work together to protect communities of every faith.”

And that is the most impressive thing about the Trump presidency. More than the inspiring speech, the president has put action behind every word he’s said on this topic. He highlighted some of the things his administration has done:

In this year’s ministerial [a first-of-its-kind religious freedom meeting also created under President Trump], Secretary Pompeo announced plans to create the International Religious Freedom Alliance — an alliance of likeminded nations devoted to confronting religious persecution all around the world …

We’re also urging every nation to increase the prosecution and punishment of crimes against religious communities …

The United States is forming a coalition of U.S. businesses for the protection of religious freedom.  This is the first time this has been done.  This initiative will encourage the private sector to protect people of all faiths in the workplace.

This last coalition he mentions is yet another ground-breaking effort that comes at a crucial moment in our history. President Trump shows he understands what is at stake. He said, “Too often, people in positions of power preach diversity while silencing, shunning, or censoring the faithful.  True tolerance means respecting the right of all people to express their deeply held religious beliefs.”

The president’s leadership on this issue at home is praiseworthy. And his call to the rest of the world was no less inspiring:

Today, with one clear voice, the United States of America calls upon the nations of the world to end religious persecution …

To stop the crimes against people of faith, release prisoners of conscience, repeal laws restricting freedom of religion and belief, protect the vulnerable, the defenseless, and the oppressed, America stands with believers in every country who ask only for the freedom to live according to the faith that is within their own hearts.

When the president speaks in this manner, he truly speaks for all Americans. Religious freedom has always been a unifying force in our land, and we pray that it may spread around the world.


Click here to read additional posts from Mario Diaz, Esq.

New Kavanaugh Smear Reminds Us the Mainstream Media Leads the Radical Left

By | LBB, Legal, News and Events, SCOTUS | No Comments

Every time you are tempted to ease up on an all-out defense of truth and justice, remember Kavanaugh. The latest maliciously orchestrated smear campaign led by “the newspaper of record,” the New York Times, should be a reminder that the “mainstream” media is not only complicit with the radical left, it is the radical left. It is intent and will stop at nothing to destroy conservatives.

To recap, the New York Times published an op-ed alleging a new “bombshell” allegation that Justice Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a female classmate in a grotesque, sexually demeaning way – complete with tabloid-worthy details of the encounter for its esteemed readers. Their “reporting” cued the usual chorus of leftist media friends who immediately commence talks of impeachment—complete with a Vox explainer of what the process would look like.

Even Democratic presidential candidates jumped at the opportunity to “go for the kill,” given the horrendous event described by the Times.  Sen. Kamala Harris, Julián Castro, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren all called for impeachment. Others, like Sen. Amy Klobuchar, stopped short of impeachment but were nonetheless excited to assail the character of the Supreme Court Justice.

But the Times forgot to include one small detail about the horrible encounter it described: the alleged victim does not recall it.

That’s right, there is no victim. There is no reporting. It was a wishful, fictional piece smearing the character of a sitting Supreme Court justice (for a second time!) for political purposes. The Times would have never published a story like this of someone the editors supported.

It is worthy of note that the Times was forced to publish an embarrassing (for anyone else in a similar situation) correction of the story only after Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist, who had obtained an advance copy of the book alleging the incident, reported on the glaring omission.

Did I mention this was on the front page of its Sunday review section?

But it is not just the New York Times. Most of the mainstream media has been complicit in this miscarriage of justice against Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Even after the pernicious omission was disclosed, they have run right in line with the impeachment talk, instead of decrying the error and treating Justice Kavanaugh with the respect he and his family deserve.

This was no different than what we experienced first-hand during the confirmation hearings. The leftist media, hiding behind First Amendment protections, is waging an all-out war against conservatives, and we simply cannot give them the benefit of the doubt anymore.

The authors of this dishonest piece smearing Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly are now doing the rounds on every leftist news organization trying to salvage their reputation. In an MSNBC interview, they claim that they had included the crucial fact in their piece at first but “the editors” took it out.  It was sort of “in the haste” in the editing process, they claim.

Whatever the case, note that it was an editing decision, not a mistake.  It was a decision willingly made in order to attack conservatives, as all editing decisions go for the radical left.

Many conservatives’ first instinct is to give the benefit of the doubt to the media. Many conservatives do not particularly like when the president calls them “fake news.” At first glance, this instinct is a testament to their good nature and character. But knowing what we know today, after living through this wicked Kavanaugh smear, it becomes foolishness and a character flaw to continue to ignore what is plain for all to see.

The mainstream media is not only sympathetic to the left. It is leading their efforts. It does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. It deserves our contempt.


Click here to read additional posts from Mario Diaz, Esq.

Concerned Women Celebrate Major Win for Religious Liberty at the Supreme Court

By | LBB, News and Events, Religious Liberty | No Comments

Washington, D.C. – Today, the United State Supreme Court upheld (7-2) the constitutionality of a memorial cross on public land (The American Legion v. American Humanist Association). Penny Nance, CEO & President of Concerned Women for America (CWA) had this to say:

“Today’s decision is an affirmation of the principles and freedoms our veterans have fought and died to protect. CWA members around the nation are celebrating the Court’s acknowledgment of a most common-sense reality, that this cross honoring our veterans is in no way religiously coercive.

“We are encouraged to see some justices reject the notion that a person’s distaste for a faith symbol merits the tying of government, and the American people through their tax dollars, via years of litigation.  We are grateful the Court is sending a clear message that it will no longer tolerate the sort of hostility towards religion the American Humanist Association and its sympathizers try to promote.”

Thoughts on the Bizarre “Easter Worshippers” Episode

By | LBB, Legal, News and Events, Religious Liberty | No Comments

The Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka targeted Christians. Among the sites targeted were St. Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade, St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, and Zion Church in the city of Batticaloa. More than 300 died and hundreds more were injured. Naturally, the entire world condemned the terrorists who engaged in these suicide bombings, and millions sent words of encouragement to those affected.

One rather bizarre group of iterations on Twitter cause many to wonder if a coordinated effort to minimize the victim’s religious affiliation was underway. A group of prominent Democrat leaders decided to use the Euphemism “Easter Worshipers” to refer to the Christian victims.

 

I confess it is hard to conclude there was no coordination, though the motives are not entirely clear.

Former President Barack Obama tweeted: “The attacks on tourists and Easter worshippers in Sri Lanka are an attack on humanity. On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka.”

Why not say Christians? Why the hesitation? “Easter worshippers” is not a commonly used term so it seemed strange.

But then Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted using the term (spelled the same way) to send her condolences: “On this holy weekend for many faiths, we must stand united against hatred and violence. I’m praying for everyone affected by today’s horrific attacks on Easter worshippers and travelers in Sri Lanka.” Others followed suit.

Many took offense. Christians worship Christ, not Easter, they were quick to point out. I am not unsympathetic. Words matter. Jesus was called “The Word” (John 1:1). Of course, the Bible is known as “The Word of God” (Hebrews 4:12). And the schemes of Satan have always involved semantic deception— “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1).

At a time when Christians are being persecuted all around the world in historic numbers, we need leaders (especially Christian leaders!) to be clear in their support for their brothers and sisters around the world. They are being targeted because of their faith and so their faith should not be minimized in any way.

According to Open Doors, every month, on average: “345 Christians are killed for faith-related reasons, 105 Churches and Christian buildings are burned or attacked, and 219 Christians are detained without trial, arrested, sentenced, and imprisoned.”

At one level, if this was an attempt to obfuscate the issue on the part of this group of Democrats, the attempt should be rightfully condemned.  But at another level, from the beginning in the first century A.D. those who followed Jesus have been described in many ways, almost always in an attempt to disparage our faith. In fact, the very term Christian was given to the disciples at Antioch (Acts 11:26) in a seemingly condescending way. Before that, they were known as people of ‘the way” (Acts 9:2; 11:26) or of “the book,” as identified in the Quran (5:77-80). These weird “Easter worshippers.”

I have a sense of pride then in standing with the brothers and sisters in Christ, whatever the world may want to call us. Even when done maliciously, to undermine us, “Blessed are [we] when people insult [us], persecute [us], and falsely say all kinds of evil against [us] because of [Jesus]” (Matthew 5:11).

So, I am a Christian. Count me in among those “of the book” or “of the way,” the “Easter worshippers,” speaking about the “unknown god” (Acts 17:23) and the crucified Christ, risen back to life (yes, in His physical body!) and sitting at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:32-33). He is the hope of the world, and I will gladly suffer this and more to share that hope with you.


Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

Senate Rule Change on Nominations Unfortunately Necessary

By | LBB, News and Events | No Comments

The U.S. Senate has now officially moved to limit the amount of post-cloture debate time for sub-Cabinet executive nominees and judicial nominees other than the circuit and Supreme Court level. Debate time will be limited to two hours as opposed to the usual thirty. The move was (unfortunately) desperately needed after the unprecedented and unnecessary obstruction campaign that Democrats have launched against President Trump’s nominees.

There are a total of 152 vacancies in the federal judiciary (88 considered a judicial emergency) and 68 nominees pending in the Senate. Forty-seven of those are simply awaiting floor votes. Forty-one of those have waited more than a year. Four of those have waited more than 500 days.

It is not that senators have raised specific, substantive objections to these nominees. The Democrats have simply taken the position of treating virtually every nominee as hostile merely to slow down the process as much as possible, even though they might even vote to confirm them in the end.

Under normal circumstances, unobjectionable nominees would be passed by a voice vote, requiring no time to end the debate.  But President Trump has faced 57 votes to end debate on judicial nominees during his first two years in office, far more than under previous presidents. President Barack Obama had only faced two at the same point in his presidency. President George W. Bush had seven at that point, President Clinton merely one.

It is not only judicial nominations, either.  John Ryder was confirmed earlier this year to the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). He lingered for more than a year, awaiting a floor vote for some nine months, only to be confirmed with a simple voice vote. There is nothing fair about such a process. One of the things liberals forget in their petty fights against President Trump is the fact that they are harming the lives of these nominees who have families and are being put through this unfair process for no reason of their own making. Emotional sentiments against the president should not be allowed to control the nominations process.

This rule change then essentially restores a fairer procedure where nominations who are not objectionable are able to be confirmed at a sensible pace. There is nothing radical or extreme about that. There is no court-packing scheme in play here, despite what you might hear in the mainstream media.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) is actually following a precedent already established by former Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada).  Following the Reid model, Leader McConnell made a point of order to establish the new rule, which was ultimately upheld by a simple majority vote (51-48). This procedure establishes a new precedent while avoiding a formal rule change which would require a supermajority to end a filibuster.

The rule change will speed up the confirmation of lower-court nominees considerably. To further illustrate the point, the Senate has just confirmed three district-court judges to this point in 2019. That is simply unacceptable. It was time for this change. It is time for the Senate to get to work.

Your Voice Made a Difference— Neomi Rao to the D.C. Circuit

By | LBB, Legal, News and Events | No Comments

Neomi Rao, President Trump’s nominee to be a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, often recognized as the second-highest court in the land, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate last week by a vote of 53-46. No Republican senator opposed Rao.

This is a major victory and a testament to your voice and influence on Capitol Hill. Rao came under attack in the waning days of her nomination. But thanks to your voice, we have a conservative woman with excellent credentials and a trustworthy judicial philosophy at the D.C. Circuit. CWA leaders from across the country, and especially in key states, were quickly mobilized to express our support for Rao and to help explain her record and address any concerns Senators might have. Because of your efforts, she is now a federal appellate court judge.

Rao will fill the seat left vacant by Justice Brett Kavanaugh at the D.C. Circuit where she will handle numerous cases involving federal agencies, which is her area of expertise— administrative law. She comes to the bench after serving in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where she worked on deregulation efforts that have untangled businesses to invest in our economy and give rise to the current favorable economic numbers we are witnessing. As an associate professor of law at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, Rao also founded the school’s Center for the Study of the Administrative State.

These experiences, along with her solid judicial philosophy, will make her a major stabilizing influence at this important federal appellate court. During her hearing, Rao stated consistently that judges do not create law, but rather interpret and apply the Constitution, law, and precedents as they exist. She has publicly criticized activist judges who try to go “beyond the law to reach a particular result” they desire, rather than ruling as the law demands.

She is the type of judge we are in desperate need of, and we are glad to have played a role in her confirmation.


Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

 

For America (Day 102)

By | LBB, News and Events, Prayer | No Comments

O let us taste and see that You are good, Lord;
Help us to trust in You and the promises
You have given to us through Your Word.
Blessed is He who puts his hopes in them.

Help us to know You and understand You, increasingly so;
Help us to fear You in Your holy love.
Teach us to love as You do
Keep us from becoming “noisy gongs” or “clanging cymbals.”

May all our works be covered in love and humility;
Directed by discernment and a desire to serve those in need.
You have prospered us, and we are grateful
For all we have, big and small.

We confess our sins before You,
Our joyless bouts and unforgiving hearts.
We are in desperate need
Of Your mind and heart-altering touch.

Help us to wield the sword of truth in love.
Help us to expose the darkness and bring joy.
In You there is life and peace and hope.
Help us to live and move in You.

Merciful Father, be near us;
Bring us ever closer to Your holy presence
And remind us of who we are in You –
Who we are becoming through Your sanctification.

Give us food for the hungry,
A calming word for those in distress,
A loving hand for those who are hurt,
And hearts who empathize with all.

Give us boldness to speak against
Injustice and unrighteousness and evil.
Give us hearts inclined to prayer
That in our weakness, we may stand strong.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

 


Click here for more prayers from our For America Prayer Journal.

Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

Time for the FCC to Take Parent’s Concerns Seriously

By | LBB, News and Events, Sanctity of Life, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

In a recent Public Notice, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Media Bureau sought comments on “the accuracy of the television content rating system, known as the TV Parental Guidelines, and the ability of the governing body for TV ratings, the TV Parental Guidelines Oversight Monitoring Board, to oversee the rating system and address public concerns.”

We thank those of you who took the time to write comments in response to our post. It is important for the commission to hear from you personally.

Your voice will also be heard as a supporter of Concerned Women for America (CWA). We submitted an official comment on your behalf, asking the FCC to “put American families

first.” In it, we argue the current rating system benefits the big entertainment conglomerates to the detriment of families and, especially, children.

An effort that was presented as aiming to benefit the public has in fact developed, unsurprisingly, into a system benefiting those who control it, the entertainment industry. Television is more dangerous for families today than it was before this system was devised.

You ask, “Are programs with violent, sexual, or other content that may be inappropriate for children being rated accurately?” No, they are not. Graphic sexual scenes, adult topics, violence, and profanity are routinely rated as appropriate for children. TV-14 and TV-PG ratings are routinely abused to peddle violent, lewd, and salacious content, to the horror of parents who are helpless once their children are exposed to the material without proper warning. This is, of course, an ideal business model which gives advertisers a much larger audience, but it is most certainly not in the best interest of families.

A major breakdown in the implementation of the rating system is the unaccountability of the industry-proposed and self-governing Oversight Monitoring Board (OMB). Here, too, we raise serious concerns on your behalf.

This is a darkly covered body overwhelmingly composed of industry members who even get to choose the very few advocates for families that are part of it. Transparency, which should be at the core of such a body, is virtually non-existent. There is no record of their meetings, when and how often they meet, what is discussed — everything is secret. How can the public feel any assurance that their complaints are being handled appropriately when the people they are complaining about get to judge themselves in secret with virtually no accountability?

The entertainment industry has been masterful in keeping this body under a deep cloud. Most parents do not have any idea that OMB even exists, let alone who is a member of it. They are completely unaccountable. How can we allow this to continue? CWA supporters can’t believe it when we inform them that not even a representative of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is part of this mysterious group. And since no press is allowed in the meetings either, can there be any doubt that the public is systematically and intentionally being kept in the dark on this process?

We conclude by urging the FCC to intervene.

It is time the FCC takes the concerns of parents in this area seriously and exercises the considerable power Congress has granted it to act in the best interest of the public. The entertainment industry has been granted the chance it wanted to do the right thing by families and come up with a process that could empower citizens with the information they need to make the best decisions for their families. But it has taken advantage of the public, betraying our trust, and it is time for the FCC to intervene.

Conservatives Support Rao

By | LBB, Legal, News and Events | No Comments

Neomi Rao, President Donald J. Trump’s nominee to take over the seat left vacant by Justice Brett Kavanaugh at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has come under unfair attack by the left for some conservative writings in her college days.  But as the Wall Street Journal noted:

The real motive for destroying Ms. Rao is maintaining progressive control of the D.C. Circuit to rubber stamp the left’s agenda on climate change, health care and more. Then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid packed the court during the Obama years, but Ms. Rao replacing Justice Kavanaugh won’t alter the composition of the court.

Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) sent a letter of support to the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying:

As the largest public policy organization for women in the nation, CWALAC supporters around the country are excited to see a woman of such caliber excelling at the top levels of the legal field. We strongly ask you to rise above the hyper-partisanship of the day and give Prof. Rao the serious consideration she deserves. After examining her record, we are confident that any reasonable observer would conclude she is more than qualified to serve in this position. We ask you to vote for her confirmation.

CWALAC also joined a coalition letter with other conservative organizations representing hundreds of thousands of Americans who are tired of the Senate’s recent mistreatment of nominees. It reads in part:

Prof. Rao’s career should be celebrated and honored, not caricatured and maligned for political purposes. We owe a great debt of gratitude for her contribution to the legal and public policy fields. We hope this committee will treat her with the seriousness and respect she deserves.

Prof. Rao’s hearing was just today and she, once again, showed why she is considered one of the top legal minds in our country. She rose above partisan attacks and showed the judicial restraint that will make her a stellar member of the D.C. Court.

In a statement following the hearings, Penny Nance, CEO & President of Concerned Women for America, said:

Extreme liberals in the U.S. Senate once again tried to bully Professor Rao, despite her sterling credentials to sit on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, perhaps the most important court in the country besides the U.S. Supreme Court. Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee fully supports Neomi Rao’s nomination and calls on Senate liberals to stop the religious litmus tests, gridlock, and bullying tactics and confirm her; she will make an outstanding addition to the federal bench.

There is a Darkness Growing in New York

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

By now you have probably seen the video (below) of the New York State Senate cheering the “Reproductive Health Act” which would effectively allow abortions up to just before birth. It is heartbreaking. This is not just the sentiment of a few legislators either. It is a direct reflection of the majority of the people of New York. Their elected officials consistently reflect the condition of their hearts. Recall that New York City discovered in 2012 that more African American babies were killed by abortion (31,328) than born (24,758). From that experience, they’ve emerged with a desire to expand abortions.

I first came across the video with a comment from Benjamin Watson, the NFL player who is a courageous voice for life in our day. He commented, “It is a sad and evil day when the murder of our most innocent and vulnerable is celebrated with such overwhelming exuberance. We SHOULD be supporting and encouraging the building of families which are fundamental to any society. By not doing so, we invite consequences untold.”

 

He captured well in just a tweet what I felt as my heart broke for the people of New York. I pray that God may have mercy on them, that they may feel the evil that has taken hold of their hearts and minds, so they might turn and repent from their ways.

The worst of consequences for New York would be to be left to their own devices and continue to think of themselves as the best of the best. To continue to be blinded by the big billboards and the lights, its celebrities, and big sporting events. Underneath the glamour, there is a deep sadness to this city. A spiritual sadness. People who can barely make it each day. They are crying out for help only to hear the reflection of their own voices on the busy bodies walking pass them.

I pray for the New York Church. I pray that they might shine brightly in the middle of increasing darkness. I pray this news presents a moment of self-reflection. I pray they cry out in unison for God’s discipline, for that would be a great mercy. Like a loving father, the Lord disciplines those whom He loves (Hebrews 12:6). There are those whom God gives up to follow their own appetites, “to do what ought not to be done,” says the Apostle Paul (Romans 1:28). This is the worst of scenarios.

Those of us outside the state must also be diligent to stand up and raise our voices for these children who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8). To speak of the people of New York is in many ways to speak of us, wherever we are in America. Paul warned not only those who practice these evil deeds but of those who “give approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:32). Let us never be accused of approval because of our silence. May we never be seen as those who would sacrifice justice and mercy for the unborn on the altar of personal comfort.

Let us resolve to speak ever more boldly for the unborn in New York and wherever we are. Let us recommit our efforts to support women in crisis pregnancy and to love each person at every stage of life for their intrinsic value, as created in the image of God.

Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

CWALAC Submits Title IX Comments

By | Education, LBB, News and Events, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee submitted these comments in support of new Title IX regulations that will promote justice in cases of sexual harassment in an educational setting.

Click here to submit your comments of support. The deadline is midnight on Monday, January 28, 2919.

Don’t Miss President Trump’s Proclamation on Religious Freedom Day, 2019

By | LBB, Legal, News and Events | No Comments

Each January 16, the president issues a proclamation on Religious Freedom Day.  This is the anniversary date of the passage of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom in 1786. I encourage you to take the time to read President Donald J. Trump’s 2019 proclamation in its entirety. But here are some important highlights:

On Religious Freedom Day, we celebrate our Nation’s long‑standing commitment to freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess one’s own faith.  The right to religious freedom is innate to the dignity of every human person and is foundational to the pursuit of truth. …

Unfortunately, the fundamental human right to religious freedom is under attack.  Efforts to circumscribe religious freedom — or to separate it from adjoining civil liberties, like property rights or free speech — are on the rise.  Over time, legislative and political attacks on religious freedom have given way to actual violence.  Last October, we witnessed a horrific attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in our Nation’s history.  Tragically, attacks on people of faith and their houses of worship have increased in frequency in recent years. …

Our Nation was founded on the premise that a just government abides by the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”  As the Founders recognized, the Constitution protects religious freedom to secure the rights endowed to man by his very nature.  On this day, we recognize this history and affirm our commitment to the preservation of religious freedom. …

Let us take the time today also to recognize, celebrate, and renew our commitment to the preservation of religious freedom. It is up to us to remain diligent to the numerous attacks we continue to see and experience here and abroad.  Just this week, a federal judge decided to rule against the Little Sisters of the Poor, even after their historic win at the Supreme Court, forcing them once again to choose between their faith and their ability to serve the poor.

The ruling will surely be appealed by the excellent attorneys at the Becket Fund, but the case should highlight for us that the fight for religious liberty is never over. We must fight for it at every turn and stand with those who serve humbly, like the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The Mainstreaming of Child Sexual Exploitation

By | Defense of Family, LBB, News and Events, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

The so-called transgender moment that followed the celebration of homosexual behavior is giving way to an even darker effort to normalize child sexual exploitation. The Daily Wire report of an 11-year-old dancing on stage at a gay bar, simulating stripping, while even getting money from adults in the audience, is nothing short of that, the sexual exploitation of children.  From the story:

On December 1, an 11-year-old boy dressed in drag danced on stage in a sexual manner at a gay bar in Brooklyn, NY, called 3 Dollar Bill. The child, Desmond Napoles, was dressed as a Gwen Stefani-lookalike — full drag makeup, a blonde wig, and crop top included — as he bounced around onstage to No Doubt’s “Like a Girl” and collected dollar bills from male adults viewing the number.

The written account was disturbing enough, but I was not prepared to see the actual footage of this perversion. Here it is as it was featured on the Ben Shapiro Show:

 

 

We should weep for a country and a people that find this acceptable. It is utterly frightening to know it is happening in our country — we are that people.

Friends, the Church cannot stay silent while the mainstreaming of sexual exploitation continues to spread around us.  Most people know deep inside this is a terrible development, yet they remain silent, perhaps fearing the cultural cost. Therefore, it is up to you and me, as believers in Truth, to speak out. We are those who have counted the cost and have chosen to still follow Christ. We must stand and speak light into this darkness.

Let us be despised, that God may be glorified.

Children should not be sexually exploited for any reason. This may be a radical statement in this day and age, but it is true. And we must shout it from the rooftops at every turn. It is not liberating or empowering to affirm gender confusion in children for the sake of affirming the rightness of the lifestyle and worldview of adults.

We must identify this as exploitation because the focus of these efforts is the adults who promote it. The pride and self-centeredness of man, this idolatry of the self, is at the center of this movement. It is not scientific or logical or compassionate.

What we are witnessing actually affirms the Scriptures, even while many proport to be breaking out from under its grip. There is a darkening of the mind that occurs when we turn to worship the creatures rather than the Creator (Romans 1:18-32). That is what our generation has chosen — to pursue personal appetites without regard to the common good. “If it feels good, it must be right” is a foolish philosophy. That its popularity continues to grow guarantees us a fool’s harvest. We reap what we sow. And we have sown unrighteousness for far too long for us to expect anything different than what we are seeing today.

Therefore, we must be prepared to be that voice crying out in the wilderness for repentance. We must fight the good fight of faith, that the next generation may turn from our wicked ways and desire to live by faith. But it all starts with our voice. Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:27).

So, let us speak then, brothers and sisters. Boldly and faithfully. The time is near.

Scouting Dishonor Takes Its Course

By | LBB, News and Events | No Comments

When I was a boy scout, I looked up to men who represented for me the ideals of what it means to be a man. The words of the oath we took meant something. We said, “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” That’s what I wanted to be. I thought we all wanted that. I knew everyone failed, I was not confused about that. But I thought we were committing to making this high standard our aim –it was a worthy one.

But the group formerly known as the Boy Scouts of America has dishonored that oath continually and progressively for decades.  They made sure every young member knew there was no meaning behind that oath. What the heck is “morally straight” anyway, right?

Their cowardice has taken its course. The Wallstreet Journal reports they are contemplating bankruptcy “as it faces dwindling membership and escalating legal costs related to lawsuits over how it handled allegations of sex abuse.” A few months ago, they were even sued by the Girl Scouts.

Their dwindling membership is a good thing. Now that my son is old enough for scouting, we joined Trail Life USA. Here is an organization that is again reclaiming that aim abandoned by the so-called “Scouts BSA.” Trail Life’s motto (“Walk worthy”) means something. Because of that commitment to truth, their oath is something onto which our children can hold. It reads: “On my honor, I will do my best to serve God and my country; to respect authority; to be a good steward of creation; and to treat others as I want to be treated.”

That is for what I want my son to strive. I want him to serve God, above all. And increasingly, in our day and age, this will mean that he will have to reject the culture’s demand of surrender of his sexuality in every sense of the word. The culture preaches autonomy, that you are in control of your life – mind, body, and spirit. This lie leads to ruin, as the “Scouts BSA” exemplifies.

One does not need to be a rocket scientist to understand that we are ultimately not in control. The number one quarterback prospect for the NFL knows that he is one play away from never taking another snap. You can go to sleep tonight and never wake up again. This is a fact of life. You are not in control.

That reality is borne out in Scripture, of course. We have a Maker (Gen.1:1). We were created (Gen. 1:26). Male and female He created us (Gen. 1:27). We were made for a purpose (Eph. 1:4). We are to love God above all and our neighbors as ourselves (Lk. 10:27). We are to respect authorities (Ro. 13:1). We are to be good stewards (Gen. 2:15).

All of it sounds a lot like that simple oath I learned as a child. It was and is a simple restatement of reality. A reality that will be borne out in our lives whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. As the man who jumps out of the window to prove the laws of gravity do not exist, so our lives will attest to these ancient truths when it is all said and done whether we acknowledge them or not.

CWA Files Brief on Important Religious Liberty Case

By | Hawaii, LBB, News and Events, Religious Liberty | No Comments

Aloha Bed & Breakfast v. Cervelli

Phyllis Young operates the “Aloha Bed & Breakfast” out of her home, renting about three rooms to guests in Hawaii. The house is a four-bedroom house that is not sectioned off. Guests are treated as part of the family during their stay.

For these reasons, as a Christian, Phyllis applies the same rules to guests that she would to family members. She does not facilitate sexual relationships outside of marriage as defined by her Christian beliefs. This means that she would not rent one room to unmarried couples or those in a same-sex relationship.

When two women in a same-sex relationship sought to rent a room with her, Phyllis declined, and they filed a complaint with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission for sexual orientation discrimination.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, representing Phyllis, argued that Hawaii’s public accommodation law, which makes sexual orientation discrimination unlawful, did not apply in this situation because of the nature of the business (renting only three rooms in her primary residence).

The Constitution also protects the free exercise of religion so that Phyllis should have the right not to promote behavior that her faith teaches is immoral. She should be able to conduct her small business in a way that can respect her deeply held religious beliefs.

As we have seen in other cases, the lower courts have ordered Phyllis to violate her Christian beliefs if she wants to make a living. This is a plain violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Americans should be able to operate a business according to their deeply held religious beliefs and without being compelled to endorse a government-approved view that contradicts those.

That is why Concerned Women for Americas has joined a brief asking the United States Supreme Court to take the case and reverse the lower court’s decision penalizing Mrs. Young for refusing to condone that which is contrary to her faith. In it, we argue:

Mrs. Young, the homeowner, acted out of her religious conviction that renting a single room to other than a married husband and wife would engage her in facilitating and endorsing immoral sexual conduct. She not only held a sincere belief to that effect, well buttressed by Biblical teaching, but her action in refusing quarter to the unmarried and same-sex cohabitants was conduct protected by the First Amendment’s prohibition of state interference with her free exercise of religion and with its similar prohibition of interference with her freedom of assembly, which incorporates the right not to associate with those engaging in behavior with which one disagrees.

The brief was filed alongside the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Samaritan’s Purse, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, the National Legal Foundation, and the Pacific Justice Institute sending a strong message to the Court of the importance of the religious liberty interests and concerns at play.

Please continue to pray for this case and the justices as they consider this case in the coming weeks.