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Legal

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.

Supreme Court Punts on Important Religious Liberty Case

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

It is difficult to find words that can adequately sound the alarm of the religious liberty threats we face as a nation. We are getting weaker by the moment on the protection of our “first freedom,” and the opposition gets bolder with every half-hearted attempt, whether by courts or opportunistic politicians, to take the middle ground where none exists.

The recent denial of cert. (judicial review) in the case of Coach Kennedy (Kennedy v. Bremerton School District), who was fired for daring to pray privately after high school football games, is a prime example of how anemic we have become. Concerned Women for America (CWA) submitted a brief in support of Coach Kennedy alongside other religious liberty organizations. The reasons the Supreme Court’s conservative majority gave for declining to hear the case are unpersuasive and should be a warning of trouble ahead for us all.

In a disappointing statement by Justice Samuel Alito, who was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh, they try to save face by reminding us that the “denial of certiorari does not signify that the Court necessarily agrees with the decision (much less the opinion) below.”

He is right. It does not mean that. It certainly does not mean they disagree with the decision either, or they would have vacated it. What they say is that, “In this case important unresolved factual questions would make it very difficult if not impossible at this stage to decide the free speech question that the petition asks us to review.”

What are these important “unresolved factual questions”? Well, the statement notes that Coach Kennedy was given two reasons for being fired: (1) that he neglected his responsibility to supervise his players while he was praying, and (2) that his actions would lead a reasonable observer to think the district was endorsing a religion. These reasons were given in writing. There is no factual question about them. Still, the statement of Justices Alito joined by Thomas, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh, claims, “the court should have made a specific finding as to what petitioner was likely to be able to show regarding the reason or reasons for his loss of employment.”

For that reason, they actually concur in the denial. This is mindboggling. They criticize the district court for converging the two reasons together, but the district court is not wrong. The only reason he was fired is because he was praying.  Surely the justices do not think he would be fired if he goes to the restroom after the game, “leaving the kids unsupervised.” Coach Kennedy was fired because he dared say a private prayer in a way that could be seen publicly. He is Daniel praying in his chambers while being seen through the window. And our laws today in the year 2019 in America allow him to be thrown in the lion’s den of unemployment.

The justices’ statement does show some apprehension to this incredible injustice.  Alito writes, “While I thus concur in the denial of the present petition, the Ninth Circuit’s understanding of the free speech rights of public-school teachers is troubling and may justify review in the future.”

Oh good; Coach Kennedy might just need to spend another decade fighting this case in order to see justice. Listen to what they acknowledge:

According to the Ninth Circuit, public school teachers and coaches may be fired if they engage in any expression that the school does not like while they are on duty, and the Ninth Circuit appears to regard teachers and coaches as being on duty at all times from the moment they report for work to the moment they depart, provided that they are within the eyesight of students.

Exactly. Then, why in the world would they concur with denying judicial review? Why not take the case and undo the damage done by the Ninth Circuit? Send a clear message in support of religious freedom. The statement continues: “What is perhaps most troubling about the Ninth Circuit’s opinion is language that can be understood to mean that a coach’s duty to serve as a good role model requires the coach to refrain from any manifestation of religious faith — even when the coach is plainly not on duty.” Again, such blatant hostility towards religion is prohibited by the Constitution, which is why it is a shame the Court elected to punt on this case.

And it gets even worse. Alito again,

[T]he Court criticized him for “his media appearances and prayer in the BHS bleachers (while wearing BHS apparel and surrounded by others).” This conduct, in the opinion of the Ninth Circuit, “signal[ed] his intent to send a message to students and parents about appropriate behavior and what he values as a coach.” But when petitioner prayed in the bleachers, he had been suspended. He was attending a game like any other fan. The suggestion that even while off duty, a teacher or coach cannot engage in any outward manifestation of religious faith is remarkable. (Internal citations omitted)

These blatant violations of Coach Kennedy’s constitutional rights more than warrant the Supreme Court’s attention.  At a time when hostility towards Christian beliefs continues to rise in our country, it is unfortunate not to have enough votes at the Supreme Court to give a hearing to such an important case.

We are grateful the statement signals that this case is not over, “While the petition now before us is based solely on the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment, petitioner still has live claims under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” But people of faith all over America are rightly pondering if they will be the next victim of our lack of courage in protecting religious freedom. What will it take for us to wake up and fight for religious freedom with the resolve it warrants?

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.

Pro-Life is Pro-Science

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

Today is the March for Life! As I sit across from my eldest daughter (11) on our way to the march in downtown Washington, D.C., I can’t help but think about this year’s theme: “Unique from Day One.” I see this in Mia.

I have four kids. They’re all incredible. But Mia is unique. She’s kind and good-hearted. She is loud and yet shy. In many ways, she is like her mother. In other ways like me. She is her. Each of my children is unique. This is an inescapable reality.

The connection between us is also unique. As every parent out there knows, our children’s connection with mother and father is very different. Each beautiful in its own right. This, too, is a reality.

That connection starts from day one, at conception. As most woman who have been pregnant would testify, there is a connection (a deep relationship) that starts while the baby is inside the womb. It is a majestic mystery that is undeniable, whatever the pro-choice propaganda tells us.

Exploiters know the power of this connection between mother and child is so explosive, it is dangerous. I always remember the words of Frederick Douglass in his autobiography, “An American Slave.” He wrote:

My mother and I were separated when I was but an infant — before I knew her as my mother. It is a common custom, in the part of Maryland from which I ran away, to part children from their mothers at a very early age. Frequently, before the child has reached its twelfth month, its mother is taken from it, and hired out on some farm a considerable distance off, and the child is placed under the care of an old woman, too old for field labor. For what this separation is done, I do not know, unless it be to hinder the development of the child’s affection toward its mother, and to blunt and destroy the natural affection of the mother for the child. This is the inevitable result.

As Frederick Douglass notes, slaveholders knew this “natural affection” between mother and child was more powerful than slavery. They were right to fear it.

It is why pro-abortion advocates today hate laws requiring that they offer women a sonogram of the baby in the womb before having an abortion. This is dangerous to their business. Better to “part children from their mothers” before she can lay eyes on the baby. But they cannot deny reality. Being pro-life is being pro-science. Only mothers have abortions. That mother/unborn-child relationship, though in its infancy, has already commenced, and the separation will have inevitable consequences.

It is no wonder many women suffer greatly after an abortion, even when they cannot make the connection to the traumatic event. Consider that:

  • Women who have an abortion are three times more likely than women of child-bearing age in the general population to commit suicide.
  • The increased risk percentage of women who have an abortion compared to women in the general population of having at least one mental health issue: 81 percent.
  • Teen girls are up to 10x more likely to attempt suicide than their counterparts who have not had an abortion.
  • Teen girls who have had an abortion are up to 4x more likely to successfully commit suicide when compared to older women who have had an abortion.
  • About 45 percent of women who have had an abortion report having suicidal feelings immediately following their procedure.
  • 1995 data suggests that the rate of deliberate self-harm is 70% higher after abortion than after childbirth.
  • The British Journal of Psychiatry found an 81% increased risk of mental trauma after abortion.
  • Two out of three women who have a late abortion (after 12 weeks) suffer from the clinical definition of PTSD.
  • Women who have had an abortion are 34 percent more likely to develop an anxiety disorder.
  • The increased risk of alcohol abuse in women who have had an abortion is 110 percent.

These and many other scientific facts led the U.S. Supreme Court to finally admit in the Gonzalez v. Carhart partial-birth abortion decision that:

“It is self-evident that a mother who comes to regret her choice to abort must struggle with grief more anguished and sorrow more profound when she learns, only after the event, what she once did not know: that she allowed a doctor to pierce the skull and vacuum the fast-developing brain of her unborn child. …”

Indeed, it is self-evident. Just like we knew slavery was an unspeakable evil, even after Dred Scott said it was “legal,” so we know today that abortion is a similar evil that must end, even 46 years after Roe.

 


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

Losing Wager: “Big Marijuana’s” Legalization Crusade Endangers Our Future

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

Wherever you stand on the current trend towards legalization of marijuana in our country, it is evident that we need more information, not less, both on the effects of marijuana use itself (especially its long-term use) and also on the desired and unintended consequences of the different policies being adopted around the country.

This should be a point of agreement. The more research and evidence we have, the better we will be able to assess the pros and cons of any policy which should lead us to make better decisions.

This report takes a look at the evidence and concludes, after careful review, that, regardless of its popularity, the trend toward legalization is harmful to our nation’s future. It goes against the available scientific evidence, and it is, therefore, not good policy.

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.

Attorney General Nominee William Barr Shines in Committee Hearings

By | Legal, News and Events | No Comments

After submitting our letter of support for President Trump’s nomination of William Barr to be the next U.S. Attorney General last week, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) was present at the judiciary hearings yesterday and today. We are happy to report that our initial assessment of the excellent qualifications of the nominee were evident to all in attendance on both sides of the aisle.

Mr. Barr is a brilliant legal scholar with unparalleled credentials. He has already served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush where he was praised for his professionalism and independence. Before that, he joined the Department of Justice as Assistant Attorney General and was in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel (1989), and as Deputy Attorney General (1991).

He followed his distinguished public service with equally impressive legal achievements in private practice where he served as an Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Verizon and General Counsel at GTE Corporation.

His extensive experience shone at the hearings. He answered every question thoughtfully and intelligently, making no political assurances, no matter how hard some Democratic senators tried. Instead, he committed himself to the same principles that guided him the first time he took the position when he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. He said:

The Attorney General has very special obligations, unique obligations. He holds in trust the fair and impartial administration of justice. It is the Attorney General’s responsibility to enforce the law evenhandedly and with integrity. The Attorney General must ensure that the administration of justice – the enforcement of the law – is above and away from politics. Nothing could be more destructive of our system of government, of the rule of law, or the Department of Justice as an institution, than any toleration of political interference with the enforcement of the law.

The testimony in support of his nomination was also impressive.  Former Attorney General and Judge Michael Mukasey spoke with the highest regard of Barr’s record. He said:

It is not only the jobs he has had, but also what he has done in them and how he has done it that makes him a superbly qualified nominee. He has successfully managed a hostage crisis at a federal prison; he has helped implement the Americans With Disabilities Act; he has led in active civil rights law enforcement; he has overseen crime initiatives aimed at combating violent gangs and drug dealers; he has given advice to the White House even when it was not necessarily the advice the White House wanted to hear.

Given his record and character, Mr. Barr should be confirmed unanimously once again. The challenges ahead for the DOJ are incredibly difficult, and it will take someone with Barr’s experience and intellect to command the respect needed inside the department to get the job done aside from the hyper-partisan commentary that dominates public discourse today.

The nomination will soon move to the full Senate, and a final vote is expected in around two weeks.

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.