Category

LBB

White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative

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

Penny Nance, CWA’s CEO & President, with United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback at the Rose Garden.

President Donald Trump has taken several steps to protect religious freedom within the Executive Branch during his time in office. On the National Day of Prayer, in his second year in office, he once again showed his commitment to people of faith by signing an executive order establishing the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative.

This is no small thing, though we have seen similar efforts in the past.  The attacks on religious freedom — and freedom of speech in general — are ongoing, and a proactive approach to protect these rights is desperately needed.

President Trump announced the initiative at a Rose Garden event attended by Concerned Women for America CEO and President Penny Nance, saying:

The faith initiative will help design new policies that recognize the vital role of faith in our families, our communities, and our great country.  This office will also help ensure that faith-based organizations have equal access to government funding and the equal right to exercise their deeply held beliefs.

We take this step because we know that, in solving the many, many problems and our great challenges, faith is more powerful than government, and nothing is more powerful than God.

He is absolutely right. One of the sad things about modern government hostility towards religious groups is the fact that they are negatively affecting these groups’ great, charitable, loving work. Remember the attacks on the Little Sisters of the Poor? Why would the government want to hinder in any way the work of these poor, religious women who are caring for the elderly in our nation? Or how about the state governments that have forced out of their state Christian adoption agencies? These are services that are needed, yet as government intolerance of differing views, especially in the area of sexuality, continues to grow, we see many are willing to let the poor and needy suffer at the altar of liberalism.

It was fitting that in announcing this initiative and commemorating the National Day of Prayer, President Trump remembered the loss of “America’s Pastor,” Rev. Billy Graham.  He said:

As we gather this morning, our thoughts also turn to the memory of a man who awakened the light of God in the hearts of millions of America’s pastors.  And that’s the great, legendary, wonderful Billy Graham.  Great, great man …

Today, we remember the words of Reverend Graham, “Prayer is the key that opens [to] us the treasures of God’s mercies and blessings.”  Always beautiful.

As you know, prayer is foundational for Concerned Women for America. Everything we do is done not in our own power, but by the strength and opportunity given to us by God Almighty. It is a reality that we know to be true personally and can attest to throughout our great history. That is why we continually remind our culture of America’s rich history of faith and prayer. President Trump is fully aware of that history.  More importantly, he is very proud of it.  At the Rose Garden ceremony, he said:

The prayers of religious believers helped gain our independence, and the prayers of religious leaders like the Reverend Martin Luther King — great man — helped win the long struggle for civil rights.  Faith has shaped our families, and it’s shaped our communities.  It’s inspired our commitment to charity and our defense of liberty.  And faith has forged the identity and the destiny of this great nation that we all love.

Americans of faith have built the hospitals that care for our sick, the homes that tend to our elderly, and the charities that house the orphaned, and they minister — and they really do, they minister to the poor, and so beautifully and with such love.

We are proud of our religious heritage.  And as President, I will always protect religious liberty.

This is our identity as American, whether many or few recognize it. It is the genius of our nation and the key to liberty and freedom.

 


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

Big Win for the Rule of Law and Justice: Duncan Confirmed

By | LBB, News and Events | No Comments

It’s a win for you as a supporter of Concerned Women for America (CWA), too. I’ve asked you to pray and take action on the nomination of Kyle Duncan for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and you answered the call. Now, Duncan is The Honorable Judge Duncan after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate on a 50-47 vote.

This is good news for those of us who respect the Constitution and the rule of law. Duncan is someone who is committed to the original meaning of the Constitution and is keenly aware of his limited role as a judge.  We need more like him on the bench.

Duncan’s nomination became the number one target of the left because he had boldly stood for religious liberty.  His involvement in some marriage cases, and the well-known Hobby Lobby decision, made him “persona non grata” for the left, and they spent much time, energy, and resources to stop his nomination.

But they have utterly failed. Today, we celebrate Duncan’s nomination and President Trump’s excellent record on judicial nominations. We have said it time and again, but it bears repeating, President Trump has exceeded expectations when it comes to judicial nominations.

Still, we must not let this victory distract us from the work that must still be done in the U.S. Senate. Hundreds of President Trump’s nominations continue to linger in the Senate as Democrats continue to obstruct nominees for merely partisan reasons.

As I write, the nomination of Mike Pompeo to serve as the next Secretary of State has been unnecessarily delayed at the behest of radical, leftist groups that object to a nominee with the highest qualifications possible, merely because of his faith.

Please stay engaged on your knees — and with phone calls, letters, and emails — for these nominees. Personnel is policy, as they say, and if so, we can only be encouraged for what’s to come from these great, qualified, committed candidates.


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

The Anti-Christian Religious Test Continues

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

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.

Love in Times of Hate

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

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.

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.

 

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.

Phony Liberal Outrage on Full Display

By | LBB, News and Events | No Comments

Liberals are in disarray. They are only united in their hatred of Trump, but little else. And it is showing regularly in Congress these days.

Just a few days ago, after President Trump presented a consensus budget deal, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) broke into a tantrum on the House floor, staging a record-breaking, eight-hour speech to protest the deal. All the while in the Senate, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) celebrated the bi-partisan agreement as “the best thing [they]’ve done” for the middle class and the economy.

Schumer tried to unite with Pelosi in calling for a “fair and open process” to debate immigration. But, lo and behold, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) seems to have called their bluff, because that is precisely what he gave them.  This week, they tried to debate immigration, in a fair and open process, to the objection of (wait for it) Sen. Schumer and his liberal colleagues.  You can’t make this stuff up.

Same chaos can be seen on judicial nominations where Democrats, who were the “avant-garde” party while former-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) shattered any scintilla of tradition and broke the rules to abolish the filibuster for President Obama nominees, now want to pretend to care for senate “tradition.” Democrats got the nominees they wanted, and Reid was praised as a hero by the same senators who are now up in arms about upholding the tradition of “blue slips” today.

This is a practice where both senators from the judicial nominee’s home state are sent a “blue slip” by which they can submit favorable or unfavorable opinions about the nominee. The judiciary committee would wait to receive the blue slip to proceed on a nominee.

But having abolished the filibuster for judicial nominees to advance their preferred judicial nominees under President Obama, Democrats were hoping Republicans would allow them to abuse the blue slip process to effectively filibuster President Trump’s nominees.

Enter Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who has rightfully refused to allow Democrats to abuse blue slips to get away with filibustering well-qualified nominees for partisan reasons. He is to be commended.

 

Sure, Democrats will make a stink about it, but as we have seen, they will make a stink about anything and everything because, well, Trump.

They’ll yell that they want to debate immigration, and when the debate starts, they’ll protest the debate of immigration. They’ll call for a bi-partisan budget deal and then filibuster the deal. All because, “Trump is horrible, and how can we allow this? And people will die, and the end is near.”

Chairman Grassley and Leader McConnell must be strong in ignoring the theatrics and proceed along with the business of bettering the lives of the American people.

The quality of judicial nominees we have seen from the White House is exemplary — second to none. These judges are desperately needed, and the American people will be the ultimate beneficiaries.

The mainstream media will no doubt work hard to promote the liberal narrative, but their credibility continues to suffer as a result. The American people can see through it all.

Pray for our Press

By | LBB, National Sovereignty, News and Events | No Comments

The mainstream media suicide continues. It is incredibly sad to watch. It is extremely troubling, especially when you think about the role and purpose it is supposed to serve. This weekend’s coverage of North Korea by many outlets was simply disgraceful. It is now a proven, tangible, quantifiable, irrefutable fact that you cannot trust the press.

It goes well beyond bias. Americans can see the press hates President Trump and Vice President Pence. But to prop up a murderous, oppressive regime like North Korea for the sake of embarrassing current U.S. leadership is just foolish, unnecessary, and malicious. You would think they’d be on guard and fully prepared to engage the spurious regime, but no. It seems they are willfully going along with North Korea’s deceit, because it is useful to them in “the resistance.”

Take this CNN piece by Will Ripley headlining, “Pence’s Olympic trip a ‘missed opportunity’ for North Korea diplomacy, source says.” The source? A single “senior diplomatic source close to North Korea.” The lone sub-heading in the story highlights Vice President Pence’s, “Undignified behavior” – again, based on the unnamed source close to North Korea.

Reuters added, “North Korea heads for diplomacy gold medal at Olympics,” in their coverage.

The media gushed over North Korea’s forced cheerleaders and over dictator Kim Jong-un’s sister, whom the Washington Post headlined the “Ivanka Trump of North Korea.” Not to be outdone, The New York Times tweeted: “Without a word, only flashing smiles, Kim Jong-un’s sister outflanked Vice President Mike Pence in diplomacy.”

How embarrassing. But please understand, these outlets only harm their readers and patrons, not the supposed object of their collective loathing, President Donald J. Trump.

I speak generally, of course.  There are individuals trying to fight against this.

Reporter Salena Zito tweeted, “I am deeply saddened by how my profession has normalized and glamorized this murderous regime. And then we wonder why no one trusts us.”

Jack Tapper of CNN also noticed the slant tweeting, “If you hate US leaders more than you hate the Kim Jong-un regime, you really need to read up on North Korea.”

It is simply remarkable how little regard for the reality of North Korea the press has shown.  The family of murdered American Otto Warmbier was with Vice President Pence at the opening ceremony for crying out loud. Is it possible they are unsympathetic to them simply because they are associated now with President Trump after accepting his invitation to the State of the Union Address? It’s unconscionable, but very possible.

Let me conclude by asking you to join me in prayer for the press. It is an institution like any other, made up of individuals who must make individual choices, even as they face the pressures of their peers, their bosses, their sponsors, and the industry as a whole.  Let us pray for God to place more people of good will, interested in pursuing truth and able to stand against the pressures of the profession, in important journalism posts.

The current radical, liberal political drive against Trump is killing the press. But we cannot give up on the institution. We must seek to reform it for good.

May God hear our prayers.


Mario Diaz, Esq. is Concerned Women for America’s legal counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

You’ve Gotta Love Gerber

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

No, I’m not a paid spokesperson for Gerber. However, in case you haven’t heard, Gerber chose one-year-old Lucas Warren from Dalton, Georgia, as its 2018 Gerber baby.  What’s so special about that? Lucas is the first child with Down syndrome to be chosen.

Well done, Gerber!

Whether they know it or not, Gerber is showing the beauty and worth of children with Down syndrome at a time when they are being targeted for extermination because of their disability. I want to take a moment and publicly thank the company for such a benevolent gesture.

It might not seem like much, but to affirm the intrinsic value of all human life requires courage in our day and age.

Gerber is not merely being charitable with their pick. One look at baby Lucas, and anyone can easily see that this is a special child whose smile represents the best of our humanity. Check out this interview on the Today Show:

 

Bill Partyka, CEO and president of Gerber, said, “Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby. This year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”

Lucas’ mom, Cortney, said, “We’re hoping when he grows up and looks back on this, he’ll be proud of himself and not ashamed of his disability.”

What beautiful words. May God bless this mother and family, and especially this baby boy.

This story reminds us of the transcendent truth that we are all created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). It is He who gives life. “He made us, and not we ourselves,” (Psalm 100:3). Therefore, when we respect and celebrate each other, we respect and celebrate our Maker.

When we celebrate Lucas, we celebrate God.


Mario Diaz, Esq. is Concerned Women for America’s legal counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.