Abortion Debate Shows How Media Deploys Language Gymnastics to Serve Left-Wing Goals

“Pregnancy Kills. Abortion Saves Lives.”

That was the headline on an absurd opinion article in The New York Times, deploying Orwellian language to turn the abortion debate on pro-lifers and comfort those who support abortion on demand.

While the conversation over Alabama’s new abortion law has drawn out some wild arguments from the left, it’s easy to miss the less obvious ways the media reinforce the pro-abortion side.

The media, cleverly and often subtly, use rhetorical adjustments to reinforce left-wing ideas under the guise of objectivity.

It’s not just on the abortion issue that the media kowtow to the left in the terminology they use in charged public debates.

For instance, The Guardian, a British outlet, recently updated its style guide to reinforce the idea that challenging prevailing left-wing ideas about man-made climate change is fundamentally illegitimate.

Few topics, however, draw out media bias like abortion, where the concerns of pro-life Americans are left on the back page or uncovered, and a magnifying glass is put on anyone who challenges pro-abortion orthodoxy.

Ultimately, media bias regarding abortion is nothing new.

Ross Douthat, a conservative New York Times columnist, wrote in 2012:

Conservative complaints about media bias are sometimes overdrawn. But on the abortion issue, the press’s prejudices are often absolute, its biases blatant, and its blinders impenetrable. In many newsrooms and television studios across the country, Planned Parenthood is regarded as the equivalent of, well, the Komen foundation: an apolitical, high-minded and humanitarian institution whose work no rational person—and certainly no self-respecting woman—could possibly question or oppose.

This is certainly the case today.

Not only is coverage of abortion highly skewed, but it’s clear that the language used to describe it is made to soften the reality of what the practice is, while diminishing the concerns of those who believe fundamental rights are being violated.

NPR, which is of course publicly funded, recently updated its language guidelines for reporters.

Here are some of the terms now off-limits for NPR journalists: pro-life, late-term abortion, fetal heartbeat, partial birth.

Instead they are to use terms such as “intact dilation and extraction” (to describe a partial-birth abortion) and “medical or health clinics that perform abortions” (instead of simply “abortion clinics”).

The phrase “abortion doctor” also would drop off the list of acceptable phrases. Instead, NPR reporters are instructed to list the doctor’s name and write that he “operated a clinic where abortions are performed.”

If anything, the attempt to use more scientific language to describe abortions,such as “intact dilation and extraction” in the place of “partial birth abortion,” at best merely confuses readers as to what actually is being performed.

This point was well made by National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis, who wrote in a thread on Twitter.

Of course, NPR has also set strict guidelines about how to treat the words “unborn” and “baby,” making sure that reporters never describe, well, unborn babies in anything other than technical language to remove thorny debates about personhood or humanity. NPR instructs its reporters:

The term ‘unborn’ implies that there is a baby inside a pregnant woman, not a fetus. Babies are not babies until they are born. They’re fetuses. Incorrectly calling a fetus a ‘baby’ or ‘the unborn’ is part of the strategy used by antiabortion groups to shift language/legality/public opinion.

Media bias on this issue will become only more pronounced as the “positive good” school of thought about abortion becomes more pronounced on the left than the “safe, legal, and rare” camp.

Regardless of where one stands on the issue of abortion, attempts to dance around prickly questions about life and humanity are unlikely to solve the division.

The media, as is so common today, distinctly reveals its biases and lets slip the mask of objectivity that’s becoming increasingly difficult for Americans to believe.

COMMENTARY BY

Jarrett Stepman is an editor and commentary writer for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast.Send an email to Jarrett. Twitter:

RELATED ARTICLE: 25 Senators Highlight Pro-Life Protections Ahead of 2020 Spending Bills


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Abortion and Trafficking: Two Birds of a Feather

Abortion and sex trafficking aren’t often brought together in the same sentence, but they have a lot more in common than meets the eye and doubles the devastation in many women’s lives.Earlier this week, our friends at Americans United for Life and Global Centurion hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill on the connection of abortion to sex trafficking and various ways the women are impacted from their mental health to their physical health.

What people may not realize is that sex trafficking victims are often coerced into abortions by the trafficker so that he or she can continue to make a profit off of them. Believe it or not, it’s not always a male who is the trafficker, and it’s not unusual for women to be in charge of a harem of victims. At other times, trafficking victims are impregnated by their pimp so that they can remain under their control.

As discussed in our “The Link Between Pornography, Sex Trafficking, and Abortion,” it’s nearly impossible to know the total number of abortions committed on sex-trafficked women” but a in a survey of 66 women who were sex trafficking survivors, about 71 percent reported that they became pregnant at least once while being trafficked, and about 21 percent said they had five or more pregnancies while being trafficked and that from these 66 women they had a total of 114 abortions among them while being trafficked.

Abortion facilities like Planned Parenthood aren’t complaining because it’s more business for them. In a 2014 Beazley Institute Report, over 1,000 female victims of sex trafficking from across the United States gave information regarding their experience at health care facilities. Over a quarter (29.6 percent) of the survivors had visited a Planned Parenthood facility while they were being trafficked. One victim of sex trafficking said that they went to Planned Parenthood because “they didn’t ask any questions.”

Instead of reporting the traffickers, Planned Parenthood enabled them to abuse these women over and over again. More stories like these can be read in our Planned Parenthood Is Not Pro-Woman publication. Of course, it’s one thing to see the statistics — and another to hear the stories that put faces to the numbers. Our Director of Life, Culture, and Women’s Advocacy, Patrina Mosley, was there and explains that it was very emotional for listeners to hear the evils these women experience. But on the other hand, you could also tell it was freeing for the survivors to give their testimonies, because they know more people will be moved to fight for justice.

Patrina also shared on the panel that, in essence, the way forward is understanding the signs of sex trafficking in our everyday surroundings. The more people pay attention, the more likely it is that someone will be rescued. And secondly, there’s no way around the part values and sexual morality play in this crisis. Paying for sex and killing a child in the womb both devalue human dignity. Alongside punitive justice to deter bad behavior, we cannot abolish the modern slavery and holocaust of our time until we return to understand that sexual relations were designed to occur in the sanctity and safety of marriage.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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A Forgotten Voice in the Alabama Abortion Debate

The goal of the new, strict Alabama abortion law is to potentially overturn Roe v. Wade. The law would penalize abortion doctors, and it contains no exception clauses, except for the life and health of the mother.

In all of the brouhaha about the new Alabama law, there is a long-stilled voice that has been forgotten. That of the repentant Roe of Roe v. Wade.

Of course, Norma McCorvey was the Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade. After converting to Christ and the pro-life position (about 15 years after the Supreme Court decision), she proclaimed to the world that the whole case had been based on a lie (a few lies, really). Chief among the lies was that she was raped (gang-raped at that), and that was why she needed an abortion.

By the time, Roe v. Wade was decided on January 22, 1973, Norma had already had her baby (a girl), whom she gave up for adoption. Justice William Rehnquist, one of two dissenters in the decision, voted against it because it was a moot point. Roe’s baby had already been born.

The opinion of Roe of Roe v. Wade is significant for the abortion debate, including the Alabama law, because abortion was accepted on a wide scale throughout the country, only by judicial fiat. It was not something “we the people” voted on.

Look at how divided the country continues to be on the subject of abortion. Well, why not? We the people did not decide that case on that fateful Monday. Dissenting Justice Byron White, the only Justice appointed by JFK, said that Roe was an “act of raw judicial power.”

Those who live by court decisions should die by court decisions. And Roe herself, after her pro-life and Christian conversion, tried to legally overturn Roe v. Wade since it was all based on lies. Therefore, if the new Alabama law helps overturn Roe, so be it.

Yet one person called the Alabama law “a major step towards the death of democracy.” Oh brother. The Constitution shows that the courts, including the Supreme Court, were never designed to legislate or execute our laws.

There obviously was a time when Roe favored abortion. She was in opposition to Henry Wade—the pro-life attorney general of Texas, where Norma was living at the time of the lawsuit that worked its way up to the high Court.

In an interview with D. James Kennedy Ministries television, she said, “My story began many, many years ago in 1969 when I found myself pregnant, on the streets. I was into drugs, and I really didn’t have any other alternatives in line. I did not believe in God, and I’d fallen away from the church at a very early age.”

Jumping ahead, change came about because of new neighbors moving in. Unwelcome neighbors at first. What transformed her in particular was meeting a little girl who truly loved God.

Norma continued, “In retrospect, when I look back on those days, and I see what a sad person I was, I have to really kind of smile and think about little Emily: a little seven year old girl who came up to me at my office one day and told me that if I knew God that I wouldn’t be going to the place downstairs. She befriended me when Operation Rescue moved in next door to the abortion clinic where I worked. And at first I didn’t like them there because they reminded me of what we were doing. I worked in an abortion clinic. We killed children for a living.”

She added, “I was a child-killer. I was an executioner.…There’s a fellow in the Bible; his name was Baal. He was into child sacrificing, and that’s basically what you’re doing out there today—you are sacrificing your child for a career, or high school or college.”

Norma found forgiveness through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, who died for sinners, paying the penalty for our sins, for those who believe: “And I think once you’re forgiven by God, you should forgive yourself. But then you really should not put yourself in that kind of situation either.”

Norma warns against what happens in an abortion: “You are totally different after you’ve had an abortion. Abortion kind of sucks your soul dry; it makes you a very angry person inside, from what I’ve seen.”

This is why for the last several years of her life until her death in 2017, Norma McCorvey fought against abortion on demand. She would have welcomed Alabama’s new law as a way to try to undo the damage of Roe.

She said: “We want the child-killing to stop….There are other alternatives, other than abortion; there’s adoption….We don’t want to see Roe v. Wade to be the law of the land anymore. We want our children back.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Alabama and Georgia Abortion Laws on Right Track

Alabama and Georgia Abortion Laws on Right Track

When we talk about “pro-life” in our national discussion about abortion, “life” is understood to be about the unborn child in the mother’s womb.

But it would serve us well to expand our understanding about what “pro-life” means.

We should understand that respecting the sanctity of life is key to the values and behaviors in general that sustain and nourish all our lives today and create the necessary conditions for our future.

A just-released report from the National Center for Health Statistics, a unit of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports that the total number of births in the United States in 2018 was down 2% from 2017 and is the lowest number of births in the country in 32 years.

It also reports that the general fertility rate—the number of births per 1,000 women aged 15-44—was also down 2% and is at a record low.

The total fertility rate needs to be 2,100 births per 1,000 women to keep our overall population at steady state—not shrinking. It now stands at 1,728 per 1,000 women.

If the alternative to “pro-life” is so-called “pro-choice,” the mindset of legal abortion on demand, the latter is capturing, and destroying, American society. We are choosing to extinguish ourselves.

It turns out that “reproductive freedom,” the banner under which “pro-choice” operates, translates into the freedom to not reproduce.

University of Southern California demographer Dowell Myers calls the declining birthrates we are witnessing a “barometer of despair.”

Birthrates decline, according to Myers, when people are not optimistic about the future.

How about the general collapse of the marriage institution?

In 1960, 72% of Americans 18 and above were married. By 2016, this was down to 50%.

At a conference at the Vatican in 2014, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, called marriage “the single most humanizing institution in history.”

He said that life begins “when male and female meet and embrace.”

“Morality,” he continued, “is the love between husband and wife, parent and child, extended outward to the world.”

A society in which sanctity of life is respected is a society that appreciates that we are all part of something larger than ourselves. When we lose this awe, this appreciation for the sacred, we disconnect from one another and disappear into our separate selves.

Love, marriage, children, and our future begin to recede.

It’s a spiritual tragedy with profound and destructive practical implications for society.

The Census Bureau projects that in 2035, for the first time, the number of Americans over the age of 65 will exceed the number of Americans under 18.

As society ages, the number of retirees per each working American increases—what is called the dependency ratio.

We are already seeing the implications with huge deficits in our Social Security and Medicare programs, where payroll taxes finance retirement and health care costs of the elderly.

A healthy pushback is starting to occur at the nation’s grassroots.

States are getting aggressive to stop the destructive abortion culture. Most recently, Alabama and Georgia have enacted laws making abortion that is legal under federal law illegal in the state.

This puts state law on a collision course with federal law.

Whether this will wind up at the Supreme Court with a revisiting of the Roe v. Wade decision remains to be seen.

We should be praying it will happen.

The current abortion culture that has been defining America since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 is part and symptomatic of an America whose future is in danger.

We must fight for restoration of a pro-life culture in our country that respects the sanctity of life and will restore the American family, children, and our future.

COPYRIGHT 2019 STAR PARKER

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

COMMENTARY BY

Star Parker

Star Parker is a columnist for The Daily Signal and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: A Forgotten Voice in the Alabama Abortion Debate


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The New Pro-Life Moment

Robert Royal: Pro-life opportunities abound, and Church leaders and laity must seize them, if we don’t want history to say that we did nothing. 


Something out of the ordinary happened this past week. On Saturday, over 10,000 people walked the streets of Rome in defense of children in the womb. Italian lay people have organized a march for nine years now, and it grows – despite no support from the Italian bishops – including the pope.

On Friday, Francis did encourage members of the Catholic Medical Association to “defend life,” though so vaguely that you couldn’t tell whether he was talking about abortion, euthanasia, immigration, climate, poverty – or all of them (more of this below).

But as usual no Italian bishops participated in the Marcia– they’ve been saying that they don’t want it to be seen as only “Catholic,” though why is not clear. And that they prefer to work through elected officials rather than public protest (though they seem to support other public demonstrations, e.g., on immigration and poverty, and don’t have any natural partners in government now that the Christian Democrats have splintered). Italian television, accordingly, didn’t even mention the march occurred.

The lone Italian prelate in the past, Archbishop Viganò, was missing, for good reasons.

None of this was out of the ordinary. And neither, basically, were the large pro-life marches in London last week and Ottawa. There are marches in many other countries in Europe and Latin America as well, though we rarely hear about them outside of the Catholic press, and not very much even there.

No, the real novelty is that Alabama essentially banned abortion last week with a  bill that was passed by the legislature and signed into law by governor Kay Ivey who, like large numbers of women, believes abortion is the taking of innocent human life.

Numerous states have now passed law restricting abortion, so we’re about to see a titanic battle in the Supreme Court – and American society.

Pro-abortion commentators are worrying about a reversal of Roe v. Wade, though the swift discrediting of the Center for Medical Progress’s videos showing Planned Parenthood selling fetal body parties suggests that it’s still easy to gaslight the public about such matters.  (Remember when Groucho Marx’s line – “Who you gonna believe, me or your own lying eyes?” – was a joke?)

But pro-lifers too are nervous, several wondering whether such “extreme” legislation makes it easier for courts to strike down such measures.

In any case, we’ll shortly know whether our legal system is entirely captive to anti-scientific ideology or still capable of rational moral debate. The Supremes may only send questions on abortion back to the states, where – as Justice Antonin Scalia often argued – it belongs, since the Federal government has no constitutional jurisdiction over such matters. The fundamental right to life will probably be addressed, if ever, further down the line.

But there’s reason for hope here.

Abortion supporters are beginning to deploy arguments that may delay but will not dispel the main question. Some states, for example, have tried to draw a line at the point where the fetus has a detectible heartbeat or some other biological marker.

A writer in the Washington Post this weekend elaborated on a new formula now appearing everywhere from Hollywood to Manhattan; “Lest I be chastened for daring to humanize an embryo, let me state for the record that the correct term for ‘heartbeat’ is ‘fetal pole cardiac activity,’ because at six weeks, said embryo doesn’t have a cardiovascular system and, therefore, no fully formed beating heart.”

Valiant effort, but if people – and the courts – start to pay attention to such details, we will inevitably have to decide, “So when do we have enough ‘fetal pole’ motion and vascular system to call what’s going on simply a heartbeat?” It’s not long after.

Similarly, as even outlets like The New York Times have been conceding for more than a decade, there is rudimentary brainwave activity detectible about as early as “fetal pole” motion – not a developed brain of course, but by ten weeks an articulated brain is forming.

These defenses of early abortion will look increasingly weak as people (and courts) look more carefully. Is there anyone who thinks that as science advances we will discover less rather than more complexity and activity in the early embryo? I’d be nervous, too, about the science if I supported abortion.

The Church – and especially the Vatican – should get squarely behind this burgeoning pro-life pushback. Commentators recognize that the radicalism of new abortion laws in New York, Virginia, and Canada have provoked the current reaction.

And anyway, protecting human life in the womb has been and remains the central human-rights question of our time.

Respect for human life is never merely a numbers game. But we need to find ways to take proper measure of the horror. For instance, authorities estimate 2241 people died crossing the Mediterranean illegally from Africa to Europe in 2018. In an average year, on the U.S. border, there are usually 200-400 such deaths.

So some simple math: 2241+400 (to take the high estimate) = 2641. Abortions in America are at a low point, “only” 652,639 in 2015 (though this is clearly an undercount since California and other states don’t report abortions to the Centers for Disease Control).

That’s 1788 per day. So every two days, the abortion body count exceeds the migrant deaths for a whole year. Planned Parenthood alone does almost 1000 abortions per day.

No one really knows global numbers, but a good estimate is 16 million abortions a year, roughly 44,000 per day. If that many innocents were dying while migrating or in a repressive regime or owing to racism or some climate shift or even in a war zone, the world would be – rightly – in an uproar.

Yet very few people, even those who say abortion wrong – even high Church officials – seem much moved. Some procedures are medically necessary (only 1.5 percent of abortions follow rape or incest). But there’s no getting around the massive, casual, brutal carnage.

We’re all going to need to learn to debunk terms like “fetal pole cardiac activity” and whatever other rationalizations will be coming now. But this is a new and special moment when some real change seems possible. And we – Church leaders, laity, all people of good will – have to seize it, if we don’t want history to say that we did nothing while millions of innocents were being slaughtered.

COLUMN BY

Robert Royal

Dr. Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century, published by Ignatius Press. The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, is now available in paperback from Encounter Books.

RELATED ARTICLE: I’ve Had 2 Abortions. Here’s Why I Support Alabama’s Pro-Life Law.

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2019 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Linda Sarsour Disses Islam’s View of Abortion for Political Gain

With the wet ink of Alabama’s new anti-abortion law kicking up a fresh storm of controversy over religious laws, it’s a good time to look at what Islam says about abortion.

Needless to say, the issue has divided Muslims as well, with liberal pro-abortion Muslims in one camp and conservative Muslims in another. As with most dialogues on faith, there’s what Muslims say and then there’s what Islam actually says. While the two narratives below offer perspectives from two very different people — namely, a niqab-wearing traditionalist and myself – the views are essentially the same; they are views based on core Islamic teachings.

A Traditionalist’s View on Abortion in Islam

London-based Fatima Barkatulla is an author and a Muslim chaplain who laid out a very solid tweet thread succinctly paraphrasing the official Islamic position on abortion.

Replying to Linda Sarsour, who has been repeatedly chanting, “Leave our bodies alone,” Barkatulla says:

“As Muslims we cannot condone this crime that God condemns in the Qur’an. Islam came & condemned infanticide. Some Muslim activists are going too far. The disingenuous arguments used to sanction the killing of babies in the womb should not be promoted by Muslims.

When a baby has life blown into it, it becomes a sacred human being. Islam tells us that. The Qur’an tells us that the infant buried alive will ask on the Day of Judgement for what crime it was killed. It tells us: do not kill your own children fearing poverty.

The vast majority of abortions in the West take place due to promiscuity, due to inconvenience, not due to dire circumstances or life and death situations. Many thousands of babies in US are aborted/killed late in pregnancy. When we support this, we are supporting all of that.
The Islamic position on this is nuanced. There are situations where abortion is sadly necessary. The baby has the soul blown into it at 40 or 120 days – that is when it becomes a human. However in the US context the majority of abortions do not take place due to dire situations.
Hence we cannot champion abortion in the US in this blanket way in the context of the West, as it does involve the killing of human children with souls.
Aborting a baby that has a soul, without a valid reason sanctioned by God is undoubtedly equal to infanticide.”

A Muslim Reformer’s View on Abortion in Islam

If you paired Fatima and I together, you would find a woman in a niqab alongside a Muslim reformer such as myself. It would be assumed we stand in polarity on any issue, but here we don’t.

The reason is we’re not basing our positions on identity politics. We’re both using faith as a compass for our ethics and values. A pro-life view is shared by more Muslims than mainstream media will give us credit for, and I imagine it is also what will continue to dull the spotlight of Leftist darlings like Sarsour from being seen as a legitimate Muslim representative.

In 2017, I challenged Sarsour’s affiliation with the Women’s March and her soft position on abortion, calling out her hypocrisy in chanting slogans that checked off the boxes for all the top buzz words while defying the core ethics of her self-professed Muslim identity.

In an article for The Federalist, I wrote:

“It is pro-life women who champion the greatest humanitarian issue: the right for all human life to exist. Feminists behind the Women’s March [i.e. Linda Sarsour and her ilk] rage against building a wall along the border and expunging Muslims through an imaginary registry. Yet these women do not recognize the dignity of human life behind the wall of a uterus and radically defend their right to expunge that life when it’s convenient for them.

The Women’s March mission statement [supported by Sarsour] advocates standing in solidarity to protect families, but it’s the right to life that is the first step in safeguarding the family. Protecting our children doesn’t begin when they’re on the street; it begins when they’re in the womb.

The right to life is also sacred in Islam, which has very strict conditions for abortion. Yet Sarsour, who has carved a platform out of her Muslim identity, has debased that identity by openly defending the pro-choice movement, saying, ‘If you want to come to the March you are coming with the understanding that you respect a woman’s right to choose.’ So which is it: Is she pro-choice and not Muslim, or is she pro-life and no longer a Leftist activist?”

While the views here do not represent Clarion Project or any other individual or organization other than my own and that of Fatima, the most salient message here is that the abortion debate is another opportunity to debunk Islamist activists like Sarsour as messengers of the Islamic faith, particularly when they fail to adhere to the core ethics and values of Islam.

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Twenty years after Columbine, Colorado schools are assessing an astonishing number of student threats

The Colorado Sun has conducted an investigation to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, which killed 13 students. The Sun’s investigation discovered a stunning increase in the number of school district threat assessments since then. In some districts the number is ten times higher. Suicide threat assessments follow the same trend.

The public-school district in Jefferson County, one of Colorado’s most populous counties, established a threat assessment team in the 2007-08 school year when 43 cases were evaluated. Last year that number grew to 767 school-level threats, with more than 800 such threats so far this year.

A similar proliferation in suicide assessment threats has taken place over the same time in school districts across the state. Mesa County Valley School District 51, for example, has done 900 suicide threat assessments this school year, up from 210 in 2014.

Read the Colorado Sun article here.

Note: We notice that the rise in assessments for both threats and suicides parallels the marijuana legalization effort in Colorado. The state commercialized the drug for medical use in 2009 and for recreational use in 2012, effective January 1, 2014.


“I’m too high. Something’s wrong.” Teens caught vaping marijuana in a scary new trend.

A new trend among students has caught parents and teachers unawares—vaping marijuana. It is possible to vape pot without anyone knowing. There is no telltale odor, and vaping devices look like pens or flash drives, implements students routinely carry in their backpacks.

The problem with vaping marijuana is that THC is so much more potent and vaping it intensifies the high. One vaping cartridge confiscated by an Indiana school resource officer contained 83.6 percent THC. THC levels in the plant material that people smoke range from 15 percent to 24 percent.

The officer reports, “I’ve walked down the hallway, and you can visibly see kids who are so stoned that they don’t know where they are.”

A nurse in that school sent several students to the emergency room after they exhibited signs of being so high.

Experts say that parents, teachers, and students need to be aware of the dangers of vaping, and students should be encouraged not to vape marijuana or nicotine to protect their health.

Read USA Today story here.


Medical pot firms spent big to ease law

An exposé by the Atlanta Journal Constitution reveals the power Big Marijuana wielded over elected officials to get what it wanted: HB 324, which legalized marijuana cultivation, processing, and sales in Georgia.

Most Georgians see desperately sick kids and say if marijuana can help them, let it. But most medical societies say the science is lacking, and the drug can hurt people. For six legislative sessions public health proponents have watched Big Marijuana ruthlessly deny the science in order to make Big Money.

The AJC reports that three marijuana companies hired 20 lobbyists to persuade lawmakers to pass HB 324. Surterra Wellness employed 10 and contributed more than $100,000 to Georgia political candidates last year, including Gov. Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan. Trulieve hired 5, including Michael Ralston, son of House Speaker David Ralston. Ralston appointed Surterra’s former president, Susan McWhorter Driscoll, to a marijuana study commission, enabling her to help draft HB 324.

There’s even more to the AJC story. Surterra is a $100 million company founded in Atlanta in 2014 that has done no business in Georgia. Yet.

The Senate wrote a substitute bill that made companies contributing to Georgia elected officials ineligible to apply for a marijuana license for five years. It also prohibited elected officials and their families from participating in the marijuana industry.

By the end of session, conferees could not resolve differences between the House and Senate bills. Gov. Kemp told the AJC that he, Lt. Gov. Duncan, and Speaker Ralston met with them to get the bill passed. The prohibitions forbidding political contributors from applying for a marijuana license and preventing elected officials from becoming part of Big Marijuana disappeared.

The final bill creates a 7-member commission to implement HB 324. Gov. Kemp will appoint 3 members and name the chair. The other 4 members will be appointed by Lt. Gov. Duncan and Speaker Ralston, who also will appoint two members each to a 4-member oversight committee that will award the marijuana growing and processing licenses.

We used to call this kind of pay-to-play behavior “corruption.” Today, apparently, some of our elected officials see it as the cost of doing business.

Read the Atlanta Journal Constitution story here.


Denver decriminalizes “magic mushrooms” in historic vote

Last week The Marijuana Report summarized a USA Today story that said Denver had defeated a ballot initiative to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms. It turns out that last-minute returns put the measure over the top, although absentee and military ballots had yet to be counted in the close race. Official are expected to certify the vote later this week.

Denver became the first city in the nation to de-prioritize enforcement of a hallucinogen. Not everyone is pleased.

The Daily Signal noted that the Denver action “marked a significant shift in the debate over legalizing illegal drugs—which up to this point revolved entirely around marijuana.”

Said Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, “I’m not surprised to see efforts to decriminalized other drugs. Mushrooms are the next easiest argument. It’s low-hanging fruit. They’re not going to call for legalizing crack cocaine now. But they are not going to stop with mushrooms in Denver.”

In an editorial titled “The slippery slope of looser drug policy,” the Boston Herald states, “Liberal policy ideas have a way of migrating to the Bay State. This is one the state needs to be ready for, and ready to say no to. Voters have already just said no many times over, but like a weed, efforts to expand the availability to use potentially dangerous drugs keep coming back.”

Read The Daily Signal story here.

Read the Boston Herald editorial here.
Read USA Today story here.

Hepatotoxicity of a cannabidiol-rich cannabis extract in the mouse model

A medically technical scientific study in mice finds that CBD can cause toxic damage to the liver and may interact negatively with medications. It notes that CBD has become nearly ubiquitous across the US, yet “there is a lack of comprehensive toxicological studies devoted to CBD safety that are critical for further marketing of CBD and CBD-containing products.”

The researchers conclude their results “demonstrate that, despite the beneficial effects of CBD [Epidiolex] in the treatment of certain therapy-resistant seizures, it poses a risk for liver injury. Furthermore, the probability of CBD-drug interactions appears quite high. Therefore, additional studies are needed to examine the toxicity of chronic low-dose CBD exposure as well as explore CBD’s potential to interact with other medications. Such studies will provide important information regarding the range of CBD doses that can be deemed safe for the purpose of regulatory decision-making.”

Read full text here.

Note: The executive editor holds stock in GW Pharmaceuticals, maker of Epidiolex.


Short Takes

Pot smuggling arrests at LAX have surged 166% since marijuana legalization

Last year, LAX had 503 reports of marijuana discovered in luggage compared to 400 reports in 2017 and 282 reports in 2016. The same phenomenon is occurring at other major California airports.

“We find it in about 50-pound quantities … the carry-on rate for luggage. I would imagine we’re only intercepting some of it, not all of it,” says Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, which has jurisdiction over Oakland International Airport.

Read LA Times story here.

LGBTQ: Forcing Us to Embrace Evil Destructive Lies

Someone asked, “What is behind the LGBTQ agenda?” The goal of LGBTQ enforcers is to forcibly normalize their lifestyle in the minds of the 97% of the population that is not LGBTQ. This is why we are bombarded with the LBGTQ lifestyle inserted into everything. Why are major corporations making the promotion of LGBTQ which are less than 3% of the population their top priority? 

A Disney theme park TV ad featured two homosexual couples with children without showing a single heterosexual couple. Why is Disney so intent on appeasing this minute less than 3% of their market?

Converse launched a new line of shoes celebrating the LGBTQ lifestyle. The star of Converse’s depraved marketing campaign is an 11 year old drag queen. Converse says their campaign shows the power of expressing one’s true self. That is a lie. Converse is encouraging children to live a lie, rather than embrace who they truly are. Converse is engaged in child abuse

Pure and simple. Lord help us.

Those in the LGBTQ lifestyle appear angry at and in rebellion against God; the God of Christianity. If you notice, everything LGBTQ enforcers advocate is in direct contradiction of God’s original plan for family, marriage, gender and Christian principles and values. It is not a coincidence that God’s symbol of the rainbow has been hijacked to represent a behavior which God says is an abomination. (Leviticus 20:13)

LGBTQ enforcers demand that we affirm their lifestyle to soften their nagging guilt. This is why LGBTQ enforcers have infiltrated public education beginning in preschool to teach our kids that their lifestyle is normal and even superior to heterosexuality

My wife Mary said, “You know they will attack you for saying they feel guilty.” The Bible says they feel guilty until God gives them over to a reprobate mind. (Romans 1:28)

We all have LGBTQ family and friends whom we love. Since liberal activists on the Supreme Court, in essence, made same-sex marriage the law of the land, our acceptance and tolerance is no longer good enough. With an iron-fist, LGBTQ enforcers are using government to demand that we affirm their lifestyle against our conscience and religious beliefs. Clearly, those in the LBGTQ lifestyle feel guilty. Therefore, they must force us to say they are normal to make them feel better about themselves.

Countless studies confirm that the LGBTQ lifestyle is not normal; usually related to childhood trauma.

A homosexual friend said he loved his dad dearly. When he was a child, he awoke every morning at 3am to have breakfast with his dad before he went to work. One morning his dad scolded him telling him not to wake up. His dad simply did not want him tired for school. But to my friend, it was a profound rejection. My friend said from that day forward, he never woke up at 3am again. I could hear the pain in my friend’s voice. Over the years, I witnessed my friend suffer; always seeking love from unattainable men. I helped him recover from a suicide attempt over a man who rejected him.

One of my aunts had 5 sons by two fathers. Neither of the fathers participated in the boys’ lives. They lived in the projects on government welfare. I did sleepovers at my cousins’ home. Even though I was a little kid, I could feel that they envied me for having my dad living with us; my mom and 4 younger siblings. My cousins’ home had a sadness, an air of hopelessness, poverty and depression. I felt sorry for them.

Their mother was bitter and brutal. I saw her beat the two sons she disliked with pots, her fist and even a baseball bat. She treated her youngest son horribly. He and I were around ten years old when I watched her repeatedly pound him with her fist. He was so use to being brutalized that he did not cry until well into his beating. He became homosexual and died young of AIDS.

Her eldest son was amazing, assuming the role of father to his brothers. He worked his way through college and became extremely successful. Embracing homosexuality, he died of AIDS around age 40.

I believe growing up in that household contributed to my aunt’s two sons’ homosexuality.

Islam advocates executing homosexuals. So why have LGBTQ activists launched war on Christians rather that Muslims? LGBTQ enforcers target Christian businesses to force them to service same sex weddings against their religious convictions. And yet, LGBTQ enforcers stay clear of Muslim bakeries, flower shops and wedding photographers. Logically, shouldn’t LGBTQ enforcers be on the warpath against Muslim businesses rather than Christians?

God calls the homosexual lifestyle an abomination, but does not advocate killing them. God said with loving kindness have I drawn thee. (Jeremiah 31:3) So why do LGBTQ enforcers despise Christians while expressing support for Muslims?

We are becoming increasingly pressured to stop speaking truth and forced to embrace evil destructive lies. A woman told me her adult children are seriously questioning her sanity for supporting Trump and for not supporting Planned Parenthood, man-made climate change and the LBGTQ agenda.

I stand strong that God is on our side and in control. The roots of evil are shallow. We stand on a rock-solid foundation of righteousness and truth. Our job is to simply continue spreading truth and fighting the good fight for what is right. Rest in Christ and trust that all is well.

VIDEO: The Vortex — Bullying From the Left

TRANSCRIPT

So as many of you know, Church Militant was in Philadelphia last Friday to cover the pro-life response to the bullying of young girls and old women by Pennsylvania state lawmaker Brian Sims.

The event was a smashing success. Over a thousand enthusiastic, prayerful and determined pro-lifers showed up to say we aren’t going to take it anymore. Before the event, we were wondering if this was going to be a watershed-type moment for the pro-life movement.

But not just the pro-life movement, the whole socially, politically and theologically conservative world in the U.S. culture.

Ever since the rise of Barack Obama, these people have been on their heels, being accused of being bigots and haters and racists — of being white supremacists and toxic males and Nazis and heirs of white privilege and every other imaginable distortion of reality you could come up with.

Obama himself coalesced all this, drew together all these various camps into a political force meant to completely overhaul and re-fashion America.

All you have to do is just recall some telling lines — dog whistles, as the Left likes to say — to his group of racist, bigoted, anti-Christian followers who are legion.

Remember, “We are the change we have been waiting for.”

Again, “America is no longer a Christian nation.”

And of course, “They cling to guns or religion.”

Why the Left hates white males so much is because of what this particular demographic represents, and that is simply an America where Christian morality is the norm — no murdering of children in the name of women’s rights, no sanctioning of sodomy in the name of LGBT rights, no absence of borders in the name of illegal immigrants’ rights.

Those so-called rights do not exist either in natural law or moral law.

But they have been created out of thin air in legislative law which has been accomplished through lies and media propaganda and intimidation — yes, intimidation. It’s this point that makes the Friday Philly rally so incredibly important.

It was put together very last minute simply through social media messaging from Lila Rose of Live Action; Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood director; and Matt Walsh, a leading Catholic voice in the world of social media.

For a thousand people to simply show up at the drop of a hat, and Church Militant to scramble resources on very little notice, says a lot about how all this was viewed in anticipation.

Quick aside: Shout out and thank you to the private donors who made Church Militant’s trip on very short notice possible — high airfares, costly lodging and all that; thank you.

There was an air at the rally of this is it. This is an example of the type of bullying and being relegated to the back of the bus that we will not stand for anymore.

Planned Parenthood, the abortion industry giant, kills more children in America every year than any other child murdering outfit. And they have muscled their way into that position with lies — big, giant lies.

And they keep that position through lies and intimidation. For example, when we were shooting prior to the rally, getting footage of the setup, this Planned Parenthood death-scort tried to intimidate me.

I was inches away from their front gate and fence shooting and she told me I had to back away. I said, “Why? For what?” Then, of course, came the lie and intimidation.

She said, “You aren’t allowed to be here.” Straight up, I told her to shut up. I was on public property — the sidewalk — and could do whatever I pleased.

Then another pro-life woman piped up after hearing me and said yeah, “Exactly, they care about a gate more than a child.”

Anyone who has ever stood in front of these abortuaries knows the harassment, intimidation, lies and so forth that these killers inflict on pro-lifers.

They intimidate and lie on the outside to protect and deflect from butchery that goes on in the inside and in politicians like Obama and his crowd — which is the Democratic Party — they have found their champion.

Immoral, savage, killers who worship consequence-free sex, who will do anything to destroy Christian morality in America, including demonize an entire population. This is the real reason they have become completely deranged by the appearance of Donald Trump on the political stage.

Donald Trump’s version of America is one which rejects their new America, which isn’t really America at all.

He flat-out calls them out on their lies and domination of the media, of the culture and the political machinery through which they have perverted the nation.

And they hate his guts for it. But he tells them to go essentially “drop dead.” That America will be great again, meaning their view of America, as the killing fields of the abortion industry must be rejected.

That population which supports Trump’s vision of America has been intimidated and cowered by the elites for too long. And something was sparked in that community watching the off-the-hook-homosexual Brian Sims verbally beat up pro-life teenage girls and an elderly woman.

Many pro-lifers have personalities that are passive and appear to be meek and gentle and so forth. That reality has been exploited by the Left for too long. They have viewed us as doormats who will accept their bullying as part of “turning the other cheek” or whatever they imagine.

Friday said no way, not anymore. We are drawing a line in the sand. We are at war, and it is a battle to the death.

Friday in Philly launched a new phase of the movement — not just to take back the lives of children being dismembered, but to take back a nation being ripped apart by the evil of the Left.

Pray and fight; faith and good works.

EDITORS NOTE: This Church Militant video is republished with permission.

VIDEO: Pro-Abortion Legislator’s Bullying Led to a Massive Pro-Life Rally in Philadelphia

That is Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims, a self-described “LGBTQ activist” and apparently a cowardly bully.

Last weekend, Representative Sims recorded himself harassing Pro-Life demonstrators outside a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood clinic. According to The Daily Wire, he also offered a $100 bribe to whoever would expose the personal information of three teenage girls praying outside the clinic.

However, instead of being cowed into silence, over 1,000 Pro-Life activists returned to the same street corner in Philadelphia less than a week later in response to Sims’s bullying tactics. The rally was organized by The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh who spoke alongside Unplanned’s Abby Johnson and Live Action founder Lila Rose.

You can watch the entire rally in the video below:

Not surprisingly, Representative Sims was nowhere to be found. But Matt Walsh did recognize his contributions to the rally:

Matt Walsh

@MattWalshBlog

HUGE thanks to @BrianSimsPA for making this happen. We couldn’t have done it without him.

Will you send a special “thank you” to Brian Sims as well? Let’s send a note to Planned Parenthood’s corporate supporters and ask why they align their companies with pro-abortion bullies. Use our research and choose one of the corporations on our resource page here. Each link has the contact information for each company where you can let them know we stand against Planned Parenthood.


Help us continue holding corporations and non-profits accountable for their activism by becoming a 2ndVote Member today!


EDITORS NOTE: This 2ndVote column with video is republished with permission.

California’s Sex Ed Guidelines Suggest Asking Kindergartners What Gender They Identify As

“It’s pornography.” That’s how one mom described California’s new guidelines for sex ed.

Patricia Reyes, who spoke up Wednesday during a hearing in Sacramento, can’t fathom sending her children to school to learn about things that would be embarrassing for most of us to say out loud—let alone teach to elementary students.

“If this continues, I’m not sending them to school,” she said.

And she won’t be the only one.

Hundreds of parents protested the new framework Wednesday—which includes everything from lessons in self-pleasure to transgenderism.

As CBN pointed out, the guidelines even go so far as to encourage kindergarteners to think about whether they might identify with another gender.

Are you kidding? At that age, they don’t even know what gender is. The goal, officials say, is to create “an environment that is inclusive and challenges binary concepts about gender.”

Of course, the state Board of Education wouldn’t admit that. Instead, President Linda Darling-Hammond said, “We’re on a careful trajectory here not to be introducing things as though they are endorsed in some way.”

That’s interesting, since LGBT activists are tripping over themselves to tell California what a wonderful job they’ve done. And, as we all know, their goal isn’t to just “introduce things.” So many want to indoctrinate and recruit—and nothing short of that will suffice.

At one point, CBN notes, the state was considering cartoon drawings of genitalia for 5-year-olds and material for the older kids on bondage and homosexual acts.

“An earlier draft of the guidelines also suggested high schoolers read the book: ‘S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties.’”

After enough protest, these requirements were dropped.

But there’s still more than enough content to outrage parents—like the opt-out policy, which is allowed for portions—but not the LGBT lessons. That, most families have argued at various meetings, is a direct attack on parental authority.

“Now we’re teaching kids how to have a robust sex life? Not everything under the sun needs to be taught to our kids, with no moral judgment,” California Family Council’s Greg Burt, told The Sacramento Bee.

And the anger over the state’s curriculum isn’t just anecdotal. Stephanie Yates, founder of Informed Parents of California, says 20,000 people have joined the group since she created it last year.

And what about the teachers? They don’t want to send these messages any more than parents want their kids to hear them.

“Teachers are afraid they will be forced to teach concepts that go against their conscience, and use non-binary terms or else they could lose their jobs,” said Brenda Lebsack, who works for Santa Ana Unified.

Some of you may roll your eyes and dismiss this as “just California.” Don’t be fooled. This same extremism is coming to a classroom near you—and parents need to be equipped and ready to mobilize like these families have.

This sex ed countermovement in California is a testament to the involvement of a lot of moms and dads, teachers, and churches. As bad as some of these guidelines are, they would have been a lot worse if Californians hadn’t been actively engaged.

Make sure you are. For advice, check out the Family Research Council’s “A Parent’s Guide to the Transgender Movement in Education.”

RELATED ARTICLES:

LGBT ‘equality’ laws lose their foundation: Evidence shows sexual orientation can change

Department of Defense on Why Those with “Gender Dysphoria” Are Disqualified from Military Service

The Sexual Revolution and sex abuse scandals: A Protestant take on Pope Benedict’s letter

EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column is republished with permission.

Liberals Break the Facts Machine

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) just learned what a garbage disposal is, but she says it’s American men who don’t know anything about plumbing! In a pair of incoherent tweets Tuesday night, the former bartender blasts the new abortion limits in Georgia by arguing that “Most of the men writing these bills don’t know the first thing about a woman’s body.” But maybe the real problem is that some Democrats don’t know the first thing about reading the bills she’s talking about!

What the LIFE Act does and what abortion extremists say it does are two very different things. Like a lot of far-Left radicals, Ocasio-Cortez is running around social media insisting that Georgia’s new law bans abortion before a woman even knows she’s pregnant. “It’s relatively common for a woman to have a late period [and] not be pregnant,” she argues. “So this is a backdoor ban.” But if a woman isn’t pregnant, how is anyone denying her an abortion? Either Ocasio-Cortez is confused, or Democrats are calling this an attack on women who aren’t even expecting!

“I don’t think you understand how these bills work,” Lila Rose politely tweeted back. “They ban abortion after the baby’s heartbeat can be heard by an ultrasound, which is around six weeks.” Of course, in this new House majority, it’s impossible to know whether Democrats are just criticizing bills they didn’t bother to read — or they’re intentionally trying to mislead people. Either way, Lila points out, “A lot of women support these life-saving laws. Myself included. You should join us.” Then, in a subtle jab at Ocasio-Cortez’s earlier comment, she posted, “Glad some of ‘the men’ are on board, too.”

Still, Ocasio-Cortez keeps firing. “There are a TON of ways this law ignores basic biology.” But if biology is where Democrats want to debate this bill, they’re already on shaky ground. Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) party has spent the better part of the last 10 years ignoring “basic biology.” It’s almost comical. Liberals call us anti-science when we’re the ones who believe what research says about gender, conception, the environment, and creation. The Left, meanwhile, is so confused about basic biology that it doesn’t even know which bathroom to use!

And Democrats probably shouldn’t be lecturing anyone about science when CNN is airing interviews with New York leaders who don’t even think babies are human. On “Cuomo Prime Time,” the network actually gave a platform to a woman who told viewers, “When a woman gets pregnant, that is not a human being inside of her.” Oh really? What is it then — a banana nut loaf? According to Christine Quinn, the former speaker of the city’s council, it’s “a part of her body.” Rick Santorum, who was also in on the conversation, couldn’t believe it. “So the baby is their property and they can do whatever they want to it? They can maim the baby or torture the baby?”

Quinn got angry and shot back that Santorum was “spinning fake stories.” “You’re so desperate here,” she said. But I think the award for desperation was already doled out when Christine made it sound like children were a foreign object that just magically turns into a baby at birth. Obviously, none of this is new. Democrats are famous for dehumanizing the unborn. Back in 2012, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) famously said abortions didn’t kill children. “We’re not dealing with human beings at this point” — a soundbite he probably learned from Planned Parenthood, who built an entire empire on the philosophy that the less women know, the better.

But along came the ultrasound machine — and keeping women in the dark got a lot more difficult for Democrats and their pals in the abortion industry. Now women have a rebuttal to Planned Parenthood who insists, “That’s not a baby.”

Thanks to science, both parents are more aware of how intensely human their children are. Of course, Ocasio-Cortez would probably say it’s sexist to acknowledge that babies even have a father. But like it or not, there are tens of millions of men in this country who aren’t going to be silenced just because Democrats want to shame them with phony gender baiting. The truly courageous ones — like Governor Brian Kemp (R-Ga.) — aren’t protecting the unborn because they’re men. They’re protecting the unborn because it’s the right thing to do. And right and wrong has never cared about people’s chromosomes, no matter what liberals say.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


RELATED ARTICLES:

Free at Last! Asia Bibi Touches down in Canada

The Democrats’ Moral Minority

EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column is republished with permission.

PODCAST: Ex-Gay Pastor’s Counseling of Those Questioning Their Sexuality Could Be at Risk With Equality Act

Ken Williams represents what some activists say is impossible: Previously gay, he’s now married to a woman and has kids. He says God has helped him change. Williams now works at a church and counsels people who face their own unwanted sexual attractions—but some say his work should be illegal. Read our interview, posted below, or listen on the podcast:

We also cover these stories:

  • Democrats are beginning the process to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt.
  • Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., is proposing a national gun licensing program.
  • Hillary Clinton is saying the 2016 election was “stolen” from her.

The Daily Signal podcast is available on Ricochet, iTunesSoundCloudGoogle Play, or Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You can also leave us a message at 202-608-6205 or write us at letters@dailysignal.com. Enjoy the show!

Katrina Trinko: Joining us is Ken Williams, a Christian pastor from California, and a man who once lived a gay lifestyle, but now councils those who want to leave it. Ken, thanks for joining us.

Ken Williams: Thank you for having me.

Trinko: You once lived as a gay man. Can you tell us a bit about that lifestyle?

Williams: Actually, I didn’t actually live as a gay man. I was not out and publicly living that lifestyle. I just was struggling every hour of every day with same-sex attraction, which for me was unwanted. And then I had several different experiences and a relationship for a period of time that was homosexual.

Daniel Davis: And at what stage of your life was that? Around college or after? In your 20s?

Williams: No, that was teens and into college. Yes.

Trinko: So why did you decide to abandon that way of life?

Williams: I never wanted that way of life. I never wanted to have sex with men. That’s just the only people I was sexually attracted to. That probably doesn’t seem like it makes any sense. But that’s pretty common actually.

We don’t really plan our sexual desires. We find ourselves with our sexual desires. And when I found myself with mine at, I don’t know, 13 or 14 years old, I realized to my shock one day, “Wow, I’m not like the other boys. I’m sexually attracted to the boys. I feel like I’m more like one of the girls.”

Eventually, over time, I succumbed to some of my temptations. But that wasn’t in alignment with what I personally wanted. It wasn’t in alignment with my faith or my understanding of what I felt like God was calling me to. It’s just where I found myself.

Trinko: And it’s striking that you’ve mentioned a few times now that wasn’t something you wanted. And why did you not want it? You mentioned your faith, but obviously, a lot of people have decided that they have an understanding of Christianity that does allow it. So why do you think that didn’t change your mind?

Williams: I just had conviction. Whenever I would move in a direction or if I would undress a man with my eyes, or if I looked at porn or something like that, I felt I was violating my conscience. And I wanted to have the family scenario. I loved my family and was really close to them and so I wanted to one day have my own wife, have my own children, all of that.

It was just for multiple reasons I didn’t want that. I had this gaping hole inside for masculinity and, at least in my case, it felt like I was trying to fill what was missing in me with someone else.

I had a lot of self-hatred going on, so I just really wanted it to delete me and replace me with the better looking, more impressive male guy that I looked up to. So it was very co-dependent and really unhealthy.

Trinko: Ken, you mentioned that you are married, which I think probably surprises a lot of people. Can you tell us about how you met your wife and how she came to peace with your past?

Williams: Yeah, sure. I met my wife at the church that we were both going to in a group of young people that got together periodically. What had happened to me there, that had never happened to me before, was … well, I had respected plenty of women before, but this time it turned into, “Wow, I really kind of keep looking at you.”

She was sitting across the way. She had long hair, she was playing with her hair, and she had this sparkly belt on, and I kept needing to look at her. I realized, “Wait a minute, I’ve never done this before. What’s going on?”

I realized I profoundly respected her because I had known her for a year, and I loved how I felt when I was around her. But this time, it crossed the threshold of actually becoming more intense than just a friendship.

I thought, “Wow, OK.” I just started spending more time with her, and eventually just wanted to ask her out. I got up the gumption to ask her out by text message, very courageous.

Trinko: Oh, come on.

Williams: Yes, not the proudest part of my story. But anyway, she gave the multiple choice answer back that I wanted, and I took her out on a date.

I take her to this nice restaurant. As I sit down, she’s about to sit down, she says, “You know, I’m going to run to the restroom.” She walks over, taps my shoulder to say, “Hey, I’m going to the restroom.” I know it sounds weird, but she touched my shoulder and electricity shot from my shoulder down to my toes, back and forth a few times, and I was like, “What is going on?”

Basically, I just fell in love with her. I fell in love with her. I developed sexual attraction for her. In the early days, I had some attraction to men still as well, but nobody was captivating my heart, or my attention, like she was.

We got married within a year of that. I’ve never once, I’m just being graphic, but it’s real, I’ve never once fantasized about another man in our entire marriage. We have a great sex life. We have four children, twins. We had four kids in less than four years, which to the listening audience, please spread your kids out more than that because you could lose your mind.

But I love being a family man. I love my wife and my kids. I’m living, really, somebody else’s life is what it feels like, and I’m loving it. I have quite a few friends that share my same story.

But if I can answer your secondary question, how was it for her? I tell people, too, it’s like, “Hey, people need to know in marriage what they’re buying.” Within a month of dating her, I felt like, “OK, we’ve been going out enough now that she needs to really know who I really am, and where I’ve been.”

We were spending a weekend together, Thanksgiving, at her parents’ house, but a few days prior to that we had taken a trip together. On the trip, I thought, “Oh, maybe this is the time.”

So I opened up to her and said, “Hey, FYI, I’ve dealt with this in my life, and here’s what it looked like.” And she said, “Oh, okay,” and she acted like it was no problem at all. She said, “Hey, can we pull over, I’m going to use the restroom.” Another restroom story.

She pops into the restroom, while I’m filling up with gas, and I didn’t know it, but she was having a full on panic attack in there. She was like, “Oh my gosh, God, what am I going to do?” She’s like, “God, help me, because I love this guy, but I don’t know what to do with this.”

She felt like, I don’t know what everybody’s faith journey is like here listening, but she felt like God very clearly just relayed to her, “Hey, don’t look at him that way, because I don’t.” Because I really wasn’t that person anymore. She thought, “Wow, OK.” So she endeavored to go that direction.

We had talks in the coming weeks about it, she needed to kind of process it. She’d say, “Well, what about this or what about that?” It kind of came down to, I said, “Hey listen, I’ve told you everything,” and I said, “Everything I just told you, there are five people in my life, close friends of mine, pastors of mine, they all know all of this story, and they all are present in my life.” So they’re aware of who I’m hanging out with, who I’m not.

I said, “You are welcome to talk to any of my friends,” that kind of thing. And I said, “You know, the reality is, any of us could fall to all kinds of temptations in life.”

And I said, “At the end of the day, you’re just taking a risk that I’m going to put God ahead of every other relationship, and I’m going to be true to my faith in God, which means that I would be faithful in marriage.” I said, “All I know to tell you is, I will endeavor to always put God first and you next, and at the end of day it’s a risk, but I hope you’ll choose me.”

She did, so that was 13 years ago in August.

Davis: Wow. … There’s so much hope there for people who might find themselves just trapped. There’s a category there that people today don’t seem to make room for, which is that you might develop a certain attraction. It seems like your attraction, maybe you can explain this—

Williams: Mmhmm.

Davis: … was for her specifically, not just for the female gender.

Williams: That’s true.

Davis: Is that the case?

Williams: It did start that way for sure, yeah.

As we’ve gone further through marriage, and I’ve continued to work on my own heart and being part of that men’s purity group, where I feel like I’m constantly getting better as a man and taking more responsibility for my life and just, I don’t know, continuing to grow.

Actually, my sexuality has as well, and I actually have some attraction now for other women as well, and it’s like I really am not trying to increase any, I don’t really need any, but that’s …

A lot of my friends that I know that share my similar experience, it becomes kind of fluid that way, as far as your understanding of yourself and of your sexual desires, they can shift. Even the APA will tell you that, that there can be a shift in sexual desires. So contrary to popular opinion, they can shift both ways.

Trinko: Actually, it’s funny you mention that because I was reading an advice column on Slate recently, where someone wrote in and said they had been a lesbian in their 20s and 30s, but now they were only attracted to men.

I don’t believe this person was religious, or they didn’t present themselves as religious, and they said, I feel really embarrassed to come out as straight. How do I do this?

Williams: Yes. My ministry partner, Elizabeth, at first was humiliated, she said, when she started having sexual desires for her husband because so much of her identity had been staked on being a lesbian feminist. She’s a brilliant lady, she had a master’s degree in theology and all this, and was an out and proud lesbian Christian. She was out in her seminary.

Her theology was such that she did not have any problem theologically, but she started having some experiences at church and with God that just led her away from that.

She was humiliated to one day discover, “I’m sexually attracted to this guy. What is going on here?” Because so much of her reputation was staked on her being a lesbian and a feminist. She had to figure out who she was all over again, and now she’s been married to that man for 14 years, and she’s no longer humiliated. She loves him.

Yeah, change is possible. If you’re a person of faith, it’s like all things are possible is in the Bible. I don’t know why we’ve removed this one area from being in reach of God.

Davis: You said you had a whole lack of sense of masculinity, or desire to be connected to other sorts of masculinity. Did you have that growing up? Were you close with your dad or another man who could kind of mentor you?

Williams: That was a challenge for me in my childhood. My dad loved me a time, but for whatever reason, we had trouble connecting deeply. He traveled quite a bit. My mom was more my same type of personality so she was easier to talk to.

I actually remember forming some judgments internally as a child, like, “Oh, women are better than men,” because when I would be at church, I would see the women stereotypically were standing around talking about God together, where the men were talking about football.

Not that there’s anything wrong with football and of course, that was a very short sighted, limited perspective as a child. I’m sure that the men had great faith as well, but I just drew some conclusions as a child that sent me in a way of saying, “I don’t really actually want men. I disapprove of masculinity.” But then I found myself, as I grew, craving masculinity because I had pushed it away.

Trinko: So you are now a pastor and you counsel, my understanding is, a lot of people in issues of sexuality. Can you tell us a little bit about how you approach that?

Williams: Yes. Really the only people that come to me for consulting are wanting to deal with same-sex attraction that’s unwanted or they are wanting to leave homosexuality behind. So I wouldn’t be qualified to help people that wanted to embrace it because I don’t have any experience with that.

But it’s interesting. There are all kinds of trigger points for people. I find that a very common characteristic is that there was some kind of a breakdown normally in childhood with their sense of intimacy, of love and belonging.

You heard some of that even in the story I told you about myself. I didn’t feel I was deeply valued or known really by anyone and certainly not by other males. So there can be all kinds of things. …

It’s not politically correct to say it, but it’s very common that sexual abuse is a part of the background of people who experience same-sex attraction. It’s definitely not 100% of the time, but it’s over 50% and that definitely bears out in the people that I minister to as well.

Davis: So if you have one individual who experiences these desires that they don’t want, how would you approach counseling them?

Williams: We try to ascertain, “OK, did something happen in your childhood? Let’s see if there was a moment. Do you remember when you first started experiencing these feelings?” Because that also happens for some adults as well, that’s a thing now.

I know a lady who didn’t deal with any same-sex attraction until she was in her 40s and then experienced it then.

So, “Did you have something traumatic happen? Did you form a judgment? Do you have any unforgiveness?” Can sometimes be a factor, which therefore kind of separated you from a person or people group. “Did you have a girlfriend or a boyfriend situation that went south on you and you were traumatized by that?”

There can be so many different different ways. We look for pain in there and we just try to connect them to a loving God that has grace for them exactly where they are. Loves them extravagantly right where they are, but also loves them enough to want to take them deeper into his presence and to an understanding of who they actually are.

Trinko: So would you consider what you do conversion therapy?

Williams: No. And I know over 100 people that have left homosexuality and I don’t know a single one of them that has ever experienced what people would say is conversion therapy, and they don’t know of anyone who has either.

It’s this term that gets used in culture that all of us with life experience, we don’t even know what you’re talking about. That didn’t happen to us. And in the movies that are out there, it’s very unfounded. So I have some things happen that were harmful to people. I’m sure that there are some cases out there, but I don’t personally know of any.

What’s so common though is people are confused about their identity or their sexuality. They go and they talk it out with a counselor, and the counselor helps them figure out what they want to go toward and leads them that direction … follows what they’re wanting to pursue and helps them go that direction.

So I know tons of people who have been so helped by things that could be labeled as conversion therapy that were merely a person talking with the counselor and figuring out, “Why do I feel the way that I do?”

Davis: There’s a bill in Congress here that you’ve been active in speaking on, the Equality Act, that would have a pretty sizable effect on the kinds of services that you offer, the counseling. Tell us about that.

Williams: If we’re going to call something the Equality Act, it sure would be great if it felt equal to all people. And so LGBTQ, the Q stands for queer or questioning. Well, questioning, OK, let’s take that. So if someone’s questioning their sexual identity, shouldn’t they be able to consider going down multiple paths if they’re questioning?

If we’re going to make it equal and fair, to remove from the table only the kind of therapy that would help a person walk away from homosexuality, how is that equal? How is that fair? How is that allowing someone to really question?

It’s basically elevating one viewpoint that says that all sexual fluidity must head in the direction of homosexuality. You’re not able to flow back another direction. And that’s just not fair. Any rational person can realize we must leave all of the options on the table if we’re going to be equal.

Trinko: Have you had any LGBT activists attack you for doing this kind of counseling? And if so, why do you think there’s such concern on the LGBT movement’s part that this counseling exists?

Williams: Yeah, great question. Yes, I’ve had death threats. I’ve had heinous things said. There’re a lot of really inappropriate things that definitely we’ve experienced, me and my ministry partner, Elizabeth Woning.

But I’ll tell you why I believe that exists out there. I think some of the responsibility does belong to culture and even to the church that for so long gay people were not loved well. I’m just being honest here.

For so long and in Christian circles it was this is the mandate, “Gay people are detestable. They’re going to hell. They’re terrible,” or whatever. And there wasn’t any offering for, “OK, wait a minute, God loves you and he wants to help you.”It was just, “You shouldn’t be who you are,” and that can’t be God first of all. And who wants to behave that way?

So I feel some of what we’re experiencing today is a reaction from a society that was holding expectations of people without helping loving them into what that expectation might be.

I so regret that that happened, but the way to fix it now is for all of us to be loving of people without necessarily agreeing. I mean, I don’t agree with my wife 100% but I love her.

We’ve got to now have a culture that allows people to make decisions for themselves. Still has standards for the truth, but we love people no matter where they are. And that’s got to work on both sides.

Davis: So there have been some notable ex-gays who have … done counseling and left the lifestyle but then returned to it. And sort of in the media that’s kind of looked at as, “Well, obviously, this counseling doesn’t work.” How would you respond to those claims?

Williams: I’m sure that with any area of counseling or people dealing with any life situation, there’s a desistance or however you would say it. There’re people that revert back to a previous way of living. There again that should be their right.

Of course, from my personal viewpoint, that’s sad for me because I feel they were probably on a direction, a pathway that was going to be very fulfilling for them. But something happened or it could be a lot of things happen in our lives. I don’t know what actually happened to cause them to go back in a previous direction, but we only tend to hear about the fantastic stories, don’t we?

What you don’t hear is all of the other stories of, “Well, I didn’t return back to that.” Those people just kind of go off into their lives and they maybe have a family and grow old together. Those aren’t as fantastic as the, “Oh, look, somebody that it didn’t work for them.” Like, “Yeah, OK. It didn’t for a percentage, but what about all the other people that it did?”

Trinko: You briefly mentioned pornography and I was wondering what do you think about the role of pornography in our current culture?

We know that there’re a lot of Americans who regularly view it, but we don’t really know that much about how it affects people. Do you see pornography playing a role in the kind of work that you do and affecting people?

Williams: Oh my goodness, absolutely. I know what it’s like to be addicted to pornography. I was addicted to gay porn for whole seasons of time and I have not dealt with porn at all in 15 years. So thank God that is no longer a part of my life.

It is very damaging. It’s damaging to culture in general, at a very basal level. Because what it does is it steals your voice. It steals your passion. It puts men in particular into passivity because you’re basically medicating … Very often people addicted to porn are medicating emotional wounds, disappointments. They’re not dealing with life head-on anymore.

Instead, they’re going to a quick hit of chemicals across their brain to make themselves feel better and they get very disempowered, very passive, not leading their families any longer. The fallout from porn we haven’t even been able to completely grapple with yet. But it’s immense.

I know this for one reason because I’ve been one of the leaders of a men’s purity group at my church for 10 years. We have 200 to 250 men every Monday night that gather and porn is just an issue for most of them. And if you can get them off of porn for three weeks, they come back, it’s like their present. They can think more clearly. They start leading their families again. They feel so good about themselves. I could talk about this for a long time. I feel very strongly.

Davis: Wow. We’re coming up on the month of June pretty soon, which the LGBT movement considers to be Pride Month. As we approach June, what would you say are the most helpful ways for us to engage those in that movement?

Williams: Yeah, thanks. We need to consider our relational capital that we have with another person before we speak. So if it’s somebody I don’t even know, I have no business going up and telling them how to raise their children or whether they should be smoking or not or what I think about their sexuality. That just doesn’t work well when you just do a drive-by comment.

So people that are in our lives though that we might actually have a conversation with I say, “Hey, in my experience of homosexuality, so often it’s a search for self, self-love,” and a search to just to be known and valued, like I shared earlier.

So I encourage people, “Hey, before you try to have any kind of conversation about whether they should quit alcohol addiction or anything else really, put more deposits into the person, then you’re taking withdrawals, a lot more. And really try to find common ground with them. Try to be the person in their life that they feel knows them more deeply than anybody else.” Strive for that.

Let them be heard, seen, valued, so that now you have relational capital and then maybe you will have an opportunity at some point to say, “Hey, tell me,”—questions, first of all, are great instead of commands. Who wants to be told what to do?

So questions about, “Hey, so let’s talk. We haven’t talked in a while. So you’re in a relationship with another woman. Tell me about that. How have you always felt that way?” … That’s just a good counselor.

Any counselor or even a consultant would come in with questions instead of their own expectations. So I think we really should do the same. Just be really loving and relational and then maybe you’d have an opportunity to share whatever’s on your heart for the person.

Trinko: OK. Well, Ken Williams, thanks so much for being on with us.

Williams: Thank you. It’s an honor. I appreciate it.

Trinko: And is there anywhere that people can find your work or reach out to you?

Williams: Yeah, absolutely. You can go to equippedtolove.com for our ministry. And then also if you just want to track along with all of the people who have left homosexuality and are having different testimonies there, you can follow us on Instagram at changedmvmt.

Trinko: OK. Thanks so much.

Williams: Thank you.

COMMENTARY BY

Katrina Trinko is editor-in-chief of The Daily Signal and co-host of The Daily Signal PodcastSend an email to Katrina. Twitter: .


Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission.

Ignorance, Fear and LGBTQ

Mary and I met with several black relatives for dinner at a restaurant in Baltimore. The jovial conversation drifted to politics. I was stunned that they know nothing about several important political issues. Because they only watch mainstream media, my relatives are either misinformed or uninformed.

For example: My relatives have never heard of Sharia Law. When I explained the tyranny of Sharia and how leftists are promoting it in America, my relatives were shocked. Overwhelmed, a relative said, “I’ve heard enough. Can we change the subject?”

The second thing that disturbed me was my relatives’ intense fear of pushing back against LGBTQ indoctrination that is impacting their lives. As I said, these are not political people. And yet, they know they had better not get caught opposing LGBTQ activists forcefully infiltrating every aspect of our lives; from public education to entertainment to Sunday morning worship.

A relative said her two granddaughters told her about a picture posted on the internet by their cousin. Their cousin is a girl who posted a picture of her kissing her girlfriend. All these kids are in elementary school. Disturbed, my relative asked her son, her granddaughter’s father, about the picture. He begged his mom not to say anything about the picture. He feared that disapproving of their cousin kissing her girlfriend could lead to him being deemed an unfit parent and losing custody of his daughters.

Another relative said his two little granddaughters were painting their fingernails. Having a little fun, he bent his hand femininely and said, “Paint my nails too.” The little girls immediately turned stone-faced. They said, “That’s not funny Pop-pop. It’s not right to make fun of them like that.” My relative was taken aback by how upset his granddaughters were with him. He did not know that kids are taught beginning in pre-k that homosexuality is superior to heterosexuality

Another relative chimed in about a visit at his adult daughter’s home. His granddaughter looked beautiful in her gown for a formal high school event. He was shocked when her date arrived. It was a girl wearing a tuxedo. He thought this was terrible but hid his feelings, fearful of offending his daughter and granddaughter. He knew they would think he was an old-fashion, out-of-date hater if he showed any sign of disapproval.

Folks, LGBTQ activists’ domination of our culture has come a long ways from the days when they claimed they only wanted tolerance. Today, they demand that we bend a knee in total submission and approval of their lifestyle in education, entertainment media and even Christian churches. LGBTQ activists are aggressively seeking to ban the Bible, declaring it bigoted hate speech. LGBTQ activists seek to make it illegal to counsel those who wish to transition from LGBTQ lifestyles

Leftists are thrilled about “Corpus Christi” which is a blasphemous movie in which Jesus and his disciples are portrayed as homosexuals. And yet, leftists are demanding that public schools forbid students from drawing pictures of Mohammad because Sharia law says to do so is blasphemy

My late dad, Dr Rev Lloyd E Marcus said homosexuals were coming out of the closet and forcing us who believe the Bible into the closet. Truer words were never spoken.

Years ago, I wrote an article about how LGBTQ activists were aggressively seeking to infiltrate and take-down Christian institutions like the Boy Scouts of America. Tragically, LGBTQ activists have transformed the Boy Scouts away from its Christian founding, principles and values. Everything I stated in that article was 100% true. Shockingly, Christians, conservatives and Republicans who usually agree with me backed away from me. My article was branded “mean-spirited” and “anti-Christian”.

At that time, I was Chairman of a PAC which helped to elect conservative candidates. LGBTQ activists attacked our candidate, demanding that they disassociate from this “hater”, Lloyd Marcus. My employer warned that if the bad press intensified, he would be forced to request my resignation. This was my first time personally experiencing the wrath and punishment of LGBTQ activists, simply because I warned people about their mission to bully us into submission.

The surprising intensity of the LGBTQ attacks, reporters chasing me down and sticking microphones in my face, scared me. I could not give a rat’s derriere about what leftists think of me. I had to fight off feelings of guilt as I witnessed LGBTQ enforcers attacking everyone associated with me.

My wife Mary and I prayed about the situation. My wife is awesome. Mary said, “You must spread truth without fear of man.” Life has taught us that while my paycheck came from my employer, God is the true source of our financial security. The heated attacks over my LGBTQ/Boy Scouts article faded away. I was not fired.

However, another of my controversial articles sparked tension between my employer and me. Mary and I concluded that I must be free to write as I am led by God. I resigned from my position as chairman of the PAC.

For years, leftists have accused me of being a black “Uncle Tom sellout” highly paid by the Republican Party. This is not true. Quitting my position as chairman of a PAC was a serious financial decision; an act of faith. God is faithful and has sustained us. Praise God!

I left our family gathering at the restaurant feeling a bit disturbed that my relatives were so politically clueless and so fearful of attempting to stop LGBTQ activists from forcing their anti-Christian agenda down the throats of our children. Still, I am determined to continue spreading the truth and standing up for what is right. God is the source of my strength.

On a positive note, my wife Mary is a crab-cake snob. The crab-cakes at Romano’s restaurant were excellent.

RELATED VIDEO: Drag Queen Showdown – Bill Finley.

Yemeni Man gets Prison Time for Extortion Plot Involving a Child Bride

This story has been in my queue for a couple of weeks and am finally getting to it.

What is so galling about the news is that our law enforcement has spent time and (our) money to investigate a crime and now incarcerate a man for something that has nothing to do with us.

We apparently ‘welcomed’ a Yemeni family to live in the Buffalo, NY area who brought all of their cultural/religious baggage to America (and even went ‘home’ for awhile) and we get to straighten out the mess the ‘new Americans’ created.

By the way, Yemen is one of the countries now on Trump’s so-called Muslim ban list!

I first saw this short press announcement at the U.S. Justice Department website and then looked for more news.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Yousef Goba, 45, of Yemen, who was convicted of making extortionate threats to harm and kidnap a minor, was sentenced to serve 41 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch, who handled the case, stated that between February 2015 and April 2015, Goba contacted an individual who resided in Western New York (the victim) through both telephone and text messages. During those communications, Goba threatened to kidnap and injure the victim’s minor child. The minor child went to Yemen with her mother in September 2013. While in Yemen, the minor child, her mother, and siblings lived with Goba for a period of time. When the mother wanted to move from Goba’s residence, the defendant refused to let the minor child leave and threatened that he would have the minor child marry a Yemeni man, if money was not paid to him. On April 8, 2015, during a call recorded by the FBI, Goba demanded that the victim pay him $11,000 as well as money for other expenses for the release of the minor child.

I checked around and found this story from Buffalo News that includes additional information….

….including the fact that Goba is the brother of a Yemeni man convicted on terrorism charges right after 9/11.

Child extortion plot stretching from Lackawanna to Yemen sends man to prison

The girl’s mother, who has since divorced her husband and remarried, took the children to Yemen in September 2013 to live temporarily so the father could save money while working here. [And, we are expected to believe that?—ed]

The following summer, after spending time with the father’s family in Yemen, the mother and children moved in with Goba. When they tried to leave, the defendant allowed the mother and other children to depart, but not the girl, the prosecution maintains. [So this woman moves in with a man not her relative, but the brother of a convicted Islamic terrorist?—ed]

The government also claims Goba threatened to marry off the girl to a Yemeni national willing to pay for her, and that Goba sent the father a photo of the girl pointing to a wedding cake and a second picture of her with a ring on her finger.

In pleading to extortion, Goba said he was just trying to get the father to reimburse him for the money he spent providing for the family while they lived with him in Yemen. He was arrested in New York City in 2015 as he returned to the United States.

Goba is the brother of Lackawanna Six member Yahya Goba, but sources said there appears to be no connection between Goba’s case and his brother’s involvement with the Lackawanna Six.

More here.

Again, why not just leave Yemenis in Yemen?

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EDITORS NOTE: This Frauds, Crooks and Criminals column is republished with permission.