Bathroom Wars Reach Critical Mass.

Just how unpopular is the transgender movement? Even Massachusetts isn’t buying it! Two years after the legislature opened up the state’s bathrooms and showers to both sexes, even Bay State voters are drawing the line. The fight has been an eye-opener for Democrats, who are scrambling to protect their agenda from an embarrassing loss in one of the bluest states in the union. Turns out, you don’t have to be a conservative to understand how dangerous gender politics can be!

No one — including Governor Charlie Baker (R) — saw the opposition coming. In 2016, party leaders were apparently reading their own press releases and watching MSNBC and thought the countermovement was a joke. Now, two years and more than 50,000 petitions later, no one is laughing — least of all Democrats. Before Baker’s signature was even dry, “Keep MA Safe” went to work, sending an army of volunteers and church groups to neighborhoods all across the state. In 45 days of door-knocking, the coalition did what no one thought was possible: they not only hit the 32,000 threshold for signatures — they exceeded it by 17,000! Now, thanks to their hard work, a repeal is on the ballot this November, and LGBT activists are panicking that common sense might win.

Like other sexual orientation-gender identity laws (SOGI), this one affects everything from hotels, bars, and restaurants to gyms, libraries, and theaters. Even private schools would have to open their stalls to anyone on days when they’re hosting public events. Object, the state says, and go to jail. That goes for parents who don’t want men sharing private spaces with their little girls to students who are scared to change for gym with teenage boys in the room.

In an op-ed that desperately tries to downplay the risks of Massachusetts’s policy, state house Speaker Robert DeLeo makes the ridiculous claim that there’s been no fallout from laws like this one. “Opponents to this common-sense protection routinely and falsely claim that the law could be abused by criminals seeking to harm women and children in public restrooms,” he writes. “The facts simply don’t support this fiction.” He apparently doesn’t shop at Target! What does DeLeo call this laundry list of police reports here and here? The threats associated with Massachusetts’s law aren’t something conservatives invented (unlike the Left’s latest definition of gender). There are very real patterns of voyeurism, harassment, and abuse that result from open-door policies like this one.

Still, DeLeo insists, “I’ve had the good fortune of meeting transgender residents of our Commonwealth one-on-one, and I recognize that they only want to go about living their lives just like all of us.” Where have we heard that before? Americans have been down this road of “coexistence” for the last two decades, and all they’ve gotten in exchange are attacks on their religious liberty, personal safety, parental authority, and financial livelihoods. If DeLeo and company were truly interested in letting people go about their lives, he’d let business owners and school boards make their own rules — not force them to adopt extremists’.

Fortunately, a lot of Massachusetts voters agree. According to polling, the repeal effort is dead-even, which has come as a huge shock to Leftist Democrats. Even DeLeo is acknowledging that liberals have zero margin for error, “We can take nothing for granted. Recent public polls show this as a 50/50 race.” Yvette Ollada, the campaign manager for Keep MA Safe, says the coalition is confident that “a strong education effort about the dangers of this law will ensure a victory for our side in November.” But, she cautions, “though we have a very good chance of winning, it’s all reliant on a well-funded campaign. We need resources to get our message out to voters… Once voters learn that a man can just say he is a woman; in order to access bathrooms, dressing rooms and locker rooms; it only makes sense to vote ‘NO’ to protect women, children and vulnerable minorities. The other side may have the mainstream media and a lot of money on their side, but if we focus our resources strategically, we will defeat them on Election Day.”

She’s right about the money. This week, the far-Left announced a million-dollar ad buy for a massive push this fall. Of course, that over-the-top spending wouldn’t be necessary if their policy was as popular as LGBT activists say it is! For conservatives, meanwhile, there’s a very real opportunity here to send a message to the nation that transgender politics are out of step with even the most liberal Americans! As Massachusetts Family Institute’s Andrew Beckwith says, we can’t underestimate the importance of this moment.

“This is an important fight for the Commonwealth and the pro-family movement, since Massachusetts could be the first state to attempt to repeal a law like this at the statewide level. We are ground zero! We need help, though, from faithful people across this country, because the other side is well funded and well organized. If we all come together we can and will defeat this horrible law.”

Join Massachusetts in a battle that could send transgender activists packing. See what you can do to help by visiting KeepMASafe.org!


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


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Big Abortion’s Corporate Backers Include Your Favorite Social Media and Technology Companies

America’s social media and technology companies are increasingly showing themselves to be populated by left-wing activists. Just last week, social conservatives called out a number of platforms for supporting the Southern Poverty Law Center’s dangerous ideology.

Promoting anti-Christian bigotry, gun control, abortion, and open borders would be problematic enough. But as we’ve highlighted in recent weeks, platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Apple have gone out of their way to block the truth of the pro-life movement, and — in at least one case — attack those who defend mothers and unborn children from abortion.

For example, Facebook protected Planned Parenthood from Live Action’s campaign to expose the abortion giant’s cover-ups of sexual abuse. And just like many of Hollywood’s leading actresses, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer is completely tone-deaf to the hypocrisy of supporting #MeToo while hiding Planned Parenthood’s crimes.

Facebook, Twitter, and Google took their pro-abortion activism international during the recent abortion referendum in Ireland. Pro-life ads were blocked by all three tech giants.

Apple joined the pro-abortion left by pulling the Human Coalition’s pro-life prayer app. Their reasons were…less than satisfactory, to say the least.

And it was several tech giants which sponsored a popular gathering of left-wing activist groups — a gathering which included a pro-abortion protest of a pro-life pregnancy resource center.

Your second vote dollars are important to showing these companies that they cannot get away with taking the wrong side on life. There are two ways you can use the market to promote life:

First — make sure you’re not buying from companies that support Planned Parenthood’s abortion industry. 2ndVote’s resource page has the full list. If we can cause Planned Parenthood’s official corporate backers to think twice about supporting the ending of unborn life, tech companies will get the message.

Second — contact FacebookTwitterApple, and Google directly to let them know that you want them to run their businesses for all consumers. Taking sides in the abortion fight is scientifically and morally wrong, and puts them on the wrong side of history.

RELATED ARTICLE: Tell Bank of America & General Electric: Stop Funding Big Abortion’s Attacks On Pro-Life Centers

Help us continue developing the content and research that conservatives are using to hold corporations for their activism by becoming a 2ndVote Member today!

VIDEO: ‘Personal Liberty’ Litmus Test for Supreme Court Nominees

by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.

Democrats fear constitutionalists will overturn Roe v. Wade

WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) – Fearing that devoted constitutionalists if placed on the High Court will overturn Roe v. Wade, pro-abortion activists are urging Democratic senators to screen judicial nominees using a new personal liberty standard.

At a press conference Thursday in Washington, Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, unveiled a new litmus test for discerning nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court who could reverse Roe. Speaking on behalf of several pro-abortion groups, Laguens said:

We are calling for a personal liberty standard, that a Senate must only confirm a justice who affirmatively declares that they believe that the Constitution protects individual liberty and the right of all people to make personal decisions about their bodies and their personal relationships, including the use of contraception, the right to have an abortion and the freedom to marry who you choose.

Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice, explained during the press conference that the new standard is needed because Justice Neil Gorsuch and Chief Justice John Roberts both affirmed during their confirmation hearings that Roe was “settled law” and “precedent,” only seeming to rule otherwise once seated on the High Court.

Fallen added, “We’re here to warn Trump’s nominee … that calling Roe a precedent or settled law is not enough, not even close.”

He then brought up the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who was adamant about enforcing the Constitution as it was originally understood by its writers — a judicial philosophy known as originalism.

“Trump’s own litmus test has raised the bar for what a nominee must answer at a hearing. Because so many of these people on Trump’s shortlist are scholars of the late Antonin Scalia, we are not going to accept any jiggery-pokery on Roe v. Wade, and we are not going to accept any applesauce answers on the Affordable Care Act,” Fallen said.

Gorsuch is seen by many as closely following in the judicial footsteps of Scalia. Gorsuch was promoted by Leonard Leo, vice president of the conservative Federalist Society, which seeks to have the Constitution applied according to the original understanding of its authors and the American people. Leo is credited with helping Trump form his list of Supreme Court nominees. But most, if not all, of these judges see Roe as indefensible when pitted against the Constitution.

Even liberals believe the Constitution doesn’t explicitly contain a so-called personal right to abortion. Rodney Smolla, a professor at the University of Richmond, last year conceded, “I think the framers were inviting future generations of Americans to apply their own experiences in saying that there may be certain rights, like rights of privacy, that we now think of as vital that they didn’t put down explicitly on the list of rights in the bill of rights.”

Constitutionalists on the Supreme Court must overturn Roe in order to restore jurisprudence, says Evan Bernick of the Federalist Society. Roe, left unchallenged, presents a serious danger to society, writes Bernick:

It exposes ordinary citizens to government power of a kind that the Framers regarded as “the very definition of tyranny.” The minotaur of arbitrary government, unlike that of “judicial supremacy,” is no myth — it is all too real, and it is fast devouring rights once held sacred. It is time that constitutionalists cease encouraging judges to keep it satiated.

Check out our full Supreme Court coverage

VIDEO: A Watched Gun Hasn’t Fired for Nearly One Year — GunCam Miracle?

Will the gun on 2ndVote GunCam make it through an entire year without committing a crime? The countdown is on.

American left and its allies in the media have long insisted that it is guns, and not people, that commit acts of violence. Pieces at Psychology TodayThe NationThe Washington PostThe Huffington PostRolling Stoneand even the editorial board of the Journal of the American Medical Association have all supported the alleged accuracy of this notion.

Given this conclusion, it is nothing short of a miracle that 2ndVote’s GunCam video has recorded zero deaths and zero crimes committed by a gun which we have closely observed for nearly a year. Don’t take our word for it! Check out the live stream video below:

Perhaps we’re being unfair to those who believe inanimate objects can choose to kill human beings. That’s why we’re carefully scrutinizing GunCam. Will this pistol suddenly jump up and run away? Will it pivot and target the video camera by which it is being observed?

We doubt it. And like several companies which have recently separated from Dick’s Sporting Goods over its anti-Second Amendment corporate decisions, we’re very confident that no other guns will commit any crimes of any sort under their own volition. Like those companies, we know that millions of Americans safely use guns — many to defend themselves and their families.

Then again, Enterprise seems to disagreeSo do dozens of other companies. Who is right — 2ndVote and America’s Founders, or these companies’ leaders who are afraid of anti-gun zealots?

The answer is still in the Great Unknown. So we shall continue our careful scrutiny of GunCam to ascertain the answer!

Help us continue developing the content and research that conservatives are using to hold corporations for their activism by becoming a 2ndVote Member today!

A Public Health Crisis Driven by Politics

Deeming “gun violence” a “public health crisis” has become commonplace in the efforts to curtail the rights of law-abiding Americans. Comparisons are made to cigarettes and cars, both of which were the focus of public health campaigns. Dr. Daniel Blumenthal wrote in an op-ed that “A public health approach has been used in addressing other causes of death and injury and has not required that the causative instrument outlawed or confiscated.”

The difference between gun violence and fatalities related to motor vehicle accidents or smoking is intent. Traffic accidents are just that – accidents. Developing safer vehicles reduces the number of fatalities, but the safest vehicle possible could still be used to intentionally harm occupants or pedestrians if the driver so chooses. The link between smoking and potentially life-threatening diseases is known but related fatalities are not classified as intentional self-harm. Combining homicides and suicides may generate a more dramatic talking point but does no service to reducing either.

Research on both car accidents and smoking has a clear goal. As Dr. Blumenthal noted, public health approaches to reduce motor vehicle fatalities and smoking-related disease focused on the causative instrument. Motor vehicle fatalities can result from trauma, which seat belts and air bags address. Diseases related to smoking are caused by the chemicals in tobacco products; educational campaigns warn people of the dangers to which they expose themselves when they smoke.

Too often, however, public health research on firearms does not focus on the causative factors that lead to violence, but on policies that would only impact law abiding gun owners. Public health campaigners do not want to warn people of the dangers of being the victim of a felony in progress (25% of all murders for which the circumstances were known and reported to the FBI in 2016), of gang killings (10%), of alcohol- or drug-fueled brawls (3%), of being involved in an argument over money or property (2%) or other arguments (36%), or of being involved in a romantic triangle (1%). Instead, they want to deter people from owning firearms or convince lawmakers to enact ever more restrictions on gun ownership. Many of these researchers design studies to reinforce their own anti-gun opinions, but anti-gun politicians and organizations will happily sacrifice methodologically sound research in the pursuit of better talking points.

There are efforts underway to reduce homicides and violent crime by targeting the cause instead of an object. Efforts like these, that focus on addressing the impetus for crime, have been effective all over the country.  Criminals will find a way even in the face of restrictive laws, so perhaps the public health approach should focus on the causative instrument – the motivation behind assaults, homicides, and self-harm.

Pennsylvania District Fights to Keep Parents From Watching Pro-LGBT Videos Students Were Required to Watch

At East Penn School district, officials don’t just indoctrinate kids — they refuse to show parents how! That’s the outrageous predicament Emmaus families find themselves in after they found out about a weeklong blitz of pro-LGBT videos that was required watching in every homeroom. And here’s the irony: while students were forced to watch them, parents weren’t allowed!

Local moms and dads only found out about the screenings through their kids, not because the administration bothered to inform them. Mike Huff, a parent of one of the students, was furious. “I do not support a publicly-funded school pushing any political or social views on children,” he told administrators. These were “purposeful, planned, indoctrination videos” that go against his family’s values. Yet, when Huff and others flooded the school office, demanding to see what they were showing kids, the response was simple: “No.”

“This was student work; this wasn’t staff work,” Superintendent Michael Schilder insisted. “This was not curriculum… This was student work that needs to be protected from public scrutiny.” But, as most adults pointed out, the “student work” was actually the product of the radical Gay Lesbian Straight Education Alliance (GLSEN), which has been infiltrating schools under parents’ noses for years.

At a school board meeting, East Penn parents lined up to blast the decision to keep the information from parents. “Our community deserves much better than this from the administration…” said mom Michelle Blagbrough. When officials refused to turn over the materials to parents, a group of them contacted Liberty Counsel to sue, if necessary. In a letter to the district earlier this week, attorneys threatened legal action.

“I am writing to request that the East Penn School district immediately provide to all parents requesting them the specific links to the four pro-homosexuality YouTube videos shown by the district to 2,800 high school students at Emmaus High School, as part of the district’s ‘Unity Week’ and ‘Day of Silence’ promotional activities.” If they refuse, Liberty Counsel promises “further action to prevent irreparable harm to the rights of local parents.”

By state law, the district can’t withhold curriculum from parents — a point attorneys drove home in their letter. “The Pennsylvania Administrative Code requires that the district provide parents the opportunity to review all instructional material shown to their children, prior to it being shown… The district has violated this requirement.” Parents, they reiterated, “not agents of the state, including teachers, and certainly not GLSEN or its teacher or student affiliates with the GSA, have the right to direct the upbringing and associations of minor children.”

LGBT activists have relied on a campaign of secrecy in schools for years. But for a public school to openly join those activists in keeping material from the parents of students is an incredible display of arrogance. If you have kids in government schools, protecting them from these influences is a full-time job. Stay vigilant — or better, consider other options!

This was originally published in Tony Perkins’ Washington Update, which is written with the aid of Family Research Council senior writers.

COMMENTARY BY

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: The  featured image was taken on June 23, 2018 – New York City, New York, USA – School pupils participate in the Pride March on June 24, 2018 in New York. The first March was held in 1970. (Credit Image: © Anna Sergeeva via ZUMA Wire) [Photo via Newscom]

A POST-ROE WORLD: Reversing Roe v. Wade won’t solve the abortion crisis — but it’s a necessary beginning

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s resignation is sending the Left into a panic, terrified a fifth conservative vote could lead to overturning Roe v. Wade — what Democrats like Sen. Dianne Feinstein have hallowed as “super-precedent.” Meanwhile, pro-life groups are jubilant, waiting in hopeful expectation that the decision even abortion supporter Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg has called unjustified “heavy-handed judicial intervention” will be consigned to the trash bin of jurisprudential history.

But what would a post-Roe world look like? Contrary to popular opinion, reversing Roe would not solve the abortion crisis in this country; it would simply kick the question back to the states to decide on a state-by-state basis, as was the regime pre-Roe.

Historically, since the founding of this nation, abortion has always been a matter within the purview and jurisdiction of the states, and never a federal matter. It wasn’t until 1973 in Roe that this changed. Critics claim with Roe that not only did the U.S. Supreme Court usurp jurisdiction over a question that belonged to the states, the justices also distorted the Constitution’s “right to privacy,” interpreting it in a way never intended.

In the years immediately before Roe, the majority of states had outlawed abortion except for the life or health of the mother, while four had legalized it and 13 had allowed abortion in limited circumstances. The trend, however, was moving towards legalization — until Roe, when five justices on the High Court determined by judicial fiat that the states no longer had the right to decide the matter. The straitjacket ruling of Roe imposed on all 50 states — mostly against their will — led to a polarization that even abortion supporters recognize has harmed the country.

Image

The legal landscape in the early 1970s before Roe v. Wade (courtesy of The Washington Post)

Roe, I believe, would have been more acceptable as a judicial decision if it had not gone beyond a ruling on the extreme statute before the Court,” said feminist Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg. “Heavy-handed judicial intervention was difficult to justify and appears to have provoked, not resolved, conflict.”

Some states already have “trigger laws” in case Roe is overturned. Laws in Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota will automatically outlaw abortion if Roe is reversed, the wording of South Dakota’s law, for instance, making clear it goes into effect “on the date that the states are recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court to have the authority to prohibit abortion at all stages of pregnancy.”

Other states have abortion bans still on the books from pre-Roe times, which could be revived and enforced if the case is struck down.

And then there are states that have enshrined the right to abortion in their constitution, including Alaska, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey and New Mexico, and who will likely continue to keep abortion legal.

But the issue would no longer be a federal matter, resolved instead on a state-by-state basis through the ballot box — as it was for approximately 200 years before Roe. With the right to travel protected under the Constitution, individuals who reject their state’s abortion law can lobby to change them, or else move to another state.

Pro-lifers will still have to battle to educate and inform the public about the reality of abortion, and continue to work to restore a Culture of Life, state by state (something pro-lifers were already busily engaged in before Roe) — but at least in a post-Roe world, outlawing Planned Parenthood mills and shutting down abortionists’ business would no longer be an impossible scenario but a real possibility — one out of reach of the long arm of the Supreme Court.

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A Primary Goal of Leftists is to Lower the Age of Consent for Sex — Pedophilia in Mexico, the Middle East & the European Union

Your News Wire reports:

Mexico has lowered the legal age of sexual consent to just 12-years-old, becoming the latest nation to give in to pressure from an international liberal network of activists determined to normalize pedophilia and legalize sex with children across the world.

Federal law in Mexico now establishes the age of 12-years as the age of legal consent, while the age at which there are no restrictions for consensual sexual activities is 18-years (sex with someone as young as 12-years is legal, but can be open to prosecution if deceit, force, or an abuse of authority was used.)

According to Age of Consent:

The Age of Consent is the legal age at which an individual is considered mature enough to consent to sex. Sexual relations with someone under the Age of Consent are considered statutory rape, even (in some jurisdictions), if both partners are themselves younger than the Age of Consent. To learn more, choose a country from the list below or learn about the highest and lowest ages of consent worldwide.

Below is a list of the age of consent by country.

Find Age of Consent laws in the United States 

Note: Those Muslim majority countries who list the age of consent as “must be married” allow underage children to marry to older men in accordance with Islamic (shariah) law.

Country Region Age Of Consent
Afghanistan Asia Must be married
Albania Europe 14
Algeria Africa 16
American Samoa Oceania 16
Andorra Europe 16
Angola Africa 12
Antigua and Barbuda North America 16
Argentina South America 18
Armenia Europe 16
Aruba North America 15
Australia Oceania 16
Austria Europe 14
Azerbaijan Europe 16
Bahamas North America 16
Bahrain Asia 21
Bangladesh Asia 14
Barbados North America 16
Belarus Europe 16
Belgium Europe 16
Belize North America 16
Benin Africa 18
Bhutan Asia 18
Bolivia South America 14
Bosnia and Heregovina Europe 14
Botswana Africa 16
Brazil South America 14
Brunei Asia 16
Bulgaria Europe 14
Burkina Faso Africa 13
Burundi Africa 18
Cambodia Asia 15
Cameroon Africa 16
Canada North America 16
Cape Verde Africa 14
Caribbean Netherlands North America 16
Central African Verde Africa 18
Chad Africa 14
Chile South America 18
China Asia 14
Colombia South America 14
Comoros Africa 13
Cook Islands Oceania 16
Costa Rica North America 15
Croatia Europe 15
Cuba North America 16
Cyprus Europe 17
Czech Republic Europe 15
Democratic Republic of the Congo Africa 14
Denmark Europe 15
Djibouti Africa 18
Dominica North America 16
Dominican Republic North America 18
East Timor Asia 14
Ecuador South America 14
Egypt Africa 18
El Salvador North America 18
Equatorial Guinea Africa 18
Eritrea Africa 18
Estonia Europe 14
Ethiopia Africa 18
Federated States of Micronesia Oceania 14
Fiji Oceania 16
Finland Europe 16
France Europe 15
Gabon Africa 18
Gambia Africa 18
Georgia Europe 16
Germany Europe 14
Ghana Africa 16
Greece Europe 15
Grenada North America 16
Guam Oceania 16
Guatemala North America 18
Guinea Africa 15
Guinea Bissau Africa 16
Haiti North America 18
Honduras North America 15
Hungary Europe 14
Iceland Europe 15
India Asia 18
Indonesia Asia 16
Iran Asia Must be married
Iraq Asia 18
Ireland Europe 17
Israel Asia 16
Italy Europe 14
Ivory Coast Africa 18
Jamaica North America 16
Japan Asia 13
Jordan Asia 16
Kazakhstan Europe 16
Kenya Africa 18
Kiribati Oceania 15
Kuwait Asia Must be married
Kyrgyzstan Asia 16
Laos Asia 15
Latvia Europe 16
Lebanon Asia 18
Lesotho Africa 16
Liberia Africa 18
Libya Africa Must be married
Liechtenstein Europe 14
Lithuania Europe 16
Luxembourg Europe 16
Macedonia Europe 14
Madagascar Africa 14
Malawi Africa 14
Malaysia Asia 16
Maldives Asia Must be married
Mali Africa 18
Malta Europe 18
Marshall Islands Oceania 16
Mauritania Africa 16
Mauritius Africa 14
Mexico North America 17
Moldova Europe 16
Monaco Europe 15
Mongolia Asia 16
Montenegro Europe 14
Myanmar Asia 14
Namibia Africa 16
Nauru Oceania 17
Nepal Asia 16
Netherlands Europe 16
New Zealand Oceania 16
Nicaragua North America 18
Niger Africa 13
Nigeria Africa 11
Niue Oceania 19
North Korea Asia 15
Northern Cyprus Europe 16
Northern Mariana Islands Oceania 18
Norway Europe 16
Oman Asia Must be married
Pakistan Asia Must be married
Palau Oceania 16
Palestine Gaza Strip Asia Must be married
Panama North America 18
Papua New Guinea Oceania 16
Paraguay South America 14
Peru South America 14
Philippines Asia 12
Poland Europe 15
Portugal Europe 14
Qatar Asia Must be married
Republic of the Congo Africa 18
Romania Europe 15
Russia Europe 16
Rwanda Africa 18
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic Africa 13
Saint Kitts and Nevis North America 16
Saint Lucia North America 16
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines North America 15
Samoa Oceania 16
San Marino Europe 14
Sao Tome and Principe Africa 14
Saudi Arabia Asia Must be married
Senegal Africa 16
Serbia Europe 14
Seychelles Africa 18
Sierra Leone Africa 18
Singapore Asia 16
Slovak Republic Europe 15
Slovenia Europe 15
Solomon Islands Oceania 15
Somalia Africa 18
South Africa Africa 16
South Korea Asia 20
South Sudan Africa 18
Spain Europe 16
Sri Lanka Asia 16
Sudan Africa Must be married
Suriname South America 16
Swaziland Africa 16
Sweden Europe 15
Switzerland Europe 16
Syria Asia 15
Taiwan Asia 16
Tajikistan Asia 16
Tanzania Africa 18
Thailand Asia 15
Togo Africa 16
Tonga Oceania 16
Trinidad and Tobago North America 16
Tunisia Africa 18
Turkey Europe 18
Turkmenistan Asia 16
Uganda Africa 18
Ukraine Europe 16
United Arab Emirates Asia Must be married
United Kingdom Europe 16
United States North America 16
Uruguay South America 15
Uzbekistan Asia 16
Vanuatu Oceania 16
Vatican City Europe 18
Venezuela South America 16
Vietnam Asia 18
Yemen Asia Must be married
Zambia Africa 16
Zimbabwe Africa 16

 

Designated for Destruction

Several recent studies have revealed the increased number of public school and college students who are experiencing various forms of mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and others. A Wall Street Journal report claims as many as 25 percent in elite colleges are thus classified, and require accommodations for exam taking, seating preference, quiet private rooms, and comfort animals.

Steve Schlozman and Eliza Abdu-Glass, authors of The College Mental Health Crisis: Focus on Suicide, disclosed the thousands of suicides on college campuses each year, about two to three every day. Their emphasis is on students’ inadequate counseling, but we should ask why this generation, specifically, is so unstable and why the obvious signs have been ignored.

Is it possible to identify what could be so threatening?

Our educational system was restructured according to a radical, global, political ideology (Agenda 21) promoted by President Obama’s White House, Bill and Melinda Gates, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the Governors Association, and other supporters of a federal takeover of education for a Global Economy. Called the Common Core Standards, it was implemented by 46 states and D.C.

While we were deluged with Hillary Clinton’s oft-uttered phrase, “no child left behind,” David Coleman, the architect of the controversial, experimental (experimenting on our children!) curriculum, was executing an equal-outcome system, thereby eliminating the motivation and ambition of equal opportunity for individual excellence and achievement, each to his/her own interests and abilities. And, since all schools – public, private, parochial, home schools – were subject to the same textbooks and tests, and the governors handsomely rewarded, the Standards were assumed almost nationwide.

Result: the students have become guinea pigs to a seemingly untested Standard – with a specific purpose.

Flawed textbooks frustrate students

Seriously flawed mathematics and science standards, put into practice by mathematically- and scientifically-illiterate state boards of education, are frustrating, limiting, and damaging to the children who experience distress despite their efforts. Creative classic literature has been replaced by depressing, sexualized dystopian novels that oppress the spirit and exceed the children’s maturity level. Maria Calamia, licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist, reported 200 to 300 percent more children experiencing serious stress and trauma due to the new curricula, citing numerous incidents of the better students’ crying, bedwetting, self-mutilating, and experiencing nightmares at their new mediocrity.

Non-fiction, informational texts and historical documents of a leftist agenda were also introduced, guaranteed to not only indoctrinate, but also to increase boredom and lessen interest and reading ability, with one report showing that 700,000 graduates per year cannot read their own diplomas. In 2016, more than 40 percent of four-year-college students (two million) did not earn their degree and dropped out; and only 26 percent of two-year students will earn their degree.

Result: frustrations, inabilities, inadequacies, distress, youthful hopes dashed; a generation betrayed, unable to cope and function independently in society.

Isolating students from close friendships

Parents were powerless to defy the system as they saw their children dealing with lessons of sexual deviancy that inspire change to their very natures, secular progressivism and Islamic indoctrination, and diminished coverage of Judeo-Christian values, American and European history. Having already been deprived of best friends, a buddy, a confidant, the troubled students are in the untenable position of being isolated at the same time that they are being molded to conform to a group-think mentality.

Result: psychological disconnectedness and susceptibility to neuroses.

Academia’s adoption of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States provides a leftist focus on the exploitation of the majority by the “elite white population.” White privilege has become the accusation du jour, creating a dangerous intolerance for whites, America’s foundational documents and principles. Several private schools nationwide have begun segregating their white students, encoding them to believe they have unfairly benefited from their whiteness at the expense of other races; students of color are receiving praise and rewards, not for excellence, but for their skin. Harvard is now being sued by Students for Fair Admissions for its nonacceptance of qualified Asians and white males, the same kind of discrimination and stereotyping used to disqualify Jewish applicants in the 1920s and 1930s. Additionally, white teachers are being challenged about their own cultural competence.

Result: divisiveness, a pervading but undefinable burden of guilt leading to the losses of pride, belief system, and self-assurance.

Intersectionality: Politics of strife

The comparatively new concept, called “Intersectionality,” has been introduced. A student may claim victimhood, anger, blame, and failure on the basis of skin color, gender, religion, country of origin, heritage, and any combination or number thereof for more status.

Academia and the Left have now bestowed on every race, religion, heritage, and sexual orientation the psychological reasons for injury to their self-esteem, to stir hatred toward others or inwardly toward themselves. Whites have been classified as the enemy to the degree that white students are riddled with guilt and white educators are being singled out as “troublesome” and unqualified to teach students of another color.

Result: inadequacies on several levels, conflict and confusion from the clash between reality and new indoctrination.

If that were not enough, where parents rebelled against the schools, the schools may now institute Jeb Bush’s new kind of depersonalized training, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, that keeps the students at their computers, sans accommodations for higher or lower achievers or interaction with teachers and peers. Conversation, analysis and discussion are deterred, leading to group-think and loss of emotional ties, and the graduates earn watered-down degrees with little labor-market value.

Result: loneliness, joblessness, idleness, depression.

With best friendships discouraged and sexual differences devalued, textbooks teach that promiscuity is acceptable, that biological sex is meaningless and fluid, and that sex change is plausible.

Result: loss of identity from gender destruction.

The proverbial floor is being pulled out from under these children who are experiencing increased seclusion, fears and anxieties, without a friend or parental support system. The young and vulnerable are defenseless against the multi-pronged attacks issued by their teachers and professors. So, can anyone wonder that the suicide rate has increased, doubled for boys and tripled for girls?

Result: escape by self-destruction.

Now ask yourself, “Why?”

RELATED VIDEO: Testimony at Suffolk County Forum by Mary Calamia, LCSW

Army Gives Trans Training the Boot

Finally, the military is announcing a kind of transitioning we can support! For the first time since President Trump overturned Obama’s transgender military policy, the Army is shifting away from the focus on politically-correct topics like gender and back to the issues it should be concerned about — like combat.

In a message no one could mistake, the memo makes it clear: “Transgender training is complete across the total Army.” From now on, sensitivity classes and lessons on gender transitions will be 100 percent optional. “The move, Army leaders argue, is designed to relieve stress on the overburdened troop training regimen and refocus on soldiers’ ability to fight in combat.” In a nod to the hundreds of wasted hours spent on ridiculous topics like “male pregnancies” and “off-duty drag” the chief of the Army’s training program explained, “It was all the other [training] requirements that we levied on ourselves, or we had levied from other places” that took away from military readiness.

Like a lot of commanders, he told the Washington Times that the trainings Obama handed down as part of the integration of people who identify as transgender “served as barriers to maximizing time… to build readiness and lethality.” Of course, this is the argument that experts like FRC’s Lt. General Jerry Boykin had been making all along. The military is a fighting force, not a gender clinic. “Talk to any service member today and you will find that a majority of them will express great frustration with the amount of time that they spend in these lectures at the expense of preparing for war,” he argues. “They spent all their training time in classrooms listening to lectures on diversity, tolerance, and inclusion instead of the Military Code of Conduct.”

That’s time our military can never get back. Every hour (and dollar) our troops waste on the social engineering of the last administration is time they could have been on the range or practicing combat maneuvers. “When do you train for battle when you’re bogged down with these politically-correct mandates?” General Boykin asked. “You don’t. You go out and crash ships or get captured by Iranians, because you were never prepared for war.”

Fortunately, the Army is putting an end to two years of this P.C. nonsense. “One of the things this [change has done] is reinforce to commanders out in the field that you have the authority and responsibility to ensure your units are as highly trained as humanly possible” to carry out combat operations,” Colonel John O’Grady said. And sexual politics aren’t the only thing getting the boot. Branch leaders are also paring down on other non-essential trainings. It’s about time, say most troops, who were overwhelmingly opposed to the idea anyway. With the growing number of global threats, we need our servicemen and women focused on what matters: making America safe again.


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


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VIDEO: Hollywood Two-Step — Against Sexual Assault, Except When It Involves Planned Parenthood

Hollywood celebrities have declared the era of hiding sexual assault to be over. The #TimesUp movement launched earlier this year and gained the support of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. They have used their money and star power to raise millions of dollars to fight against sexual assault and on other issues.

Many of these same celebrities, however, have refused to revoke their support for one of America’s most prolific protectors of sexual abusers: Planned Parenthood.

As revealed by Live Action’s amazing research and seen in the embedded video below*, Avengers star Scarlett Johannson, Harry Potter star Emma Watson, and others in Hollywood stand behind Planned Parenthood even as they say #TimesUp on sexual assault. 

Live Action has for years exposed Planned Parenthood’s frequently illegal and always immoral practices. Their newest campaign, focused around Planned Parenthood’s cover-ups of sexual abuse, may be followed here and here.

The hypocrisy of these hashtag activists is appalling. You can hold them accountable, however — let them know on social media that just as #TimesUp for Harvey Weinstein, it should also be up for Planned Parenthood. Urge them to retract their support for an abortion company that cares more about its bottom line than protecting little girls.

And don’t forget to use your second vote wisely outside of Hollywood. You can see all the companies that support Planned Parenthood’s abortion industry on 2ndVote’s resource page here.

*2ndVote is grateful to Live Action for allowing us to be the first organization to post the above video. We couldn’t be prouder to help such a great organization make the world aware of the evils of Planned Parenthood.

RELATED ARTICLE: Abortion Activists and University Staff Wash Away ‘Provocative’ Pro-Life Messages

Help us continue developing the content and research that conservatives are using to hold corporations for their activism by becoming a 2ndVote Member today!

Trump Orders Fix to Family Separation on Border, Calls for ‘Comprehensive’ Immigration Solution

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to halt separating families that illegally cross the border, but also said he wants to sign a “comprehensive” immigration bill from Congress.

In signing the executive order, Trump said, “We are going to have a lot of happy people.”

“It’s about keeping families together while at the same time being sure that we have a very powerful, very strong border,” the president said. “Border security will be equal, if not greater, than previously. So we are going to have strong, very strong borders, but we are going to keep the families together. I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.”

Trump added, “It continues to be a zero tolerance. We have zero tolerance for people who enter our country illegally.”

“Zero tolerance” marked a tougher approach by the Trump administration in enforcing existing immigration law by arresting those who enter the country illegally.

The order is a temporary fix, and is titled “Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation.”

The executive order says:

The Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary), shall, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, maintain custody of alien families during the pendency of any criminal improper entry or immigration proceedings involving their members. … The Secretary shall not, however, detain an alien family together when there is a concern that detention of an alien child with the child’s alien parent would pose a risk to the child’s welfare.

Trump was accompanied in the Oval Office Wednesday by Vice President Mike Pence and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

“This is a situation that president after president hasn’t dealt with for decades,” Nielsen said. “This one is willing to stand up and fix it. We ask Congress to do their part.”

Pence called it a “false choice between being a country of law and order and a country that demonstrates compassion and heart of the American people.”

Trump said that Congress must act, not only to address the minors situation but also for a “comprehensive” bill to address immigration.

“We are also wanting to go through Congress. We will be going through Congress,” Trump said. “We are working on a much more comprehensive bill.”

Past “comprehensive” proposals have awarded legal status to illegal immigrants, while increasing border security.

Trump met with 11 Republican senators and five GOP House members earlier Wednesday in the Cabinet Room of the White House where he first announced he would be signing the order, and also called for a broader measure.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., asserted that immigration has “bedeviled” lawmakers for 40 years.

“You’re the president who can help us solve the immigration problem with your leadership,” Alexander said. “You may be able to do for immigration what Nixon did for China and Reagan did for the Soviet Union and a lot of us would like to work with you on that.”

At least two bills have some GOP support in the House.

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., sponsored a more conservative bill that requires employers to use E-Verify, to check immigration status of employees, gives renewable legal status to beneficiaries of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for three years, authorizes a border wall, and ends chain migration.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has a “compromise bill” that gives DACA beneficiaries a pathway to citizenship and includes $25 billion for a border wall.

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., told Roll Call of the two bills, “We don’t like any of them,” and said that “Immigration is kind of my sacrosanct. You’ve got to do this the right way. You just can’t do this badly.”

The detention of children has been a raging controversy as the administration increased enforcement.

According to immigration experts, under the federal government’s Flores settlement of 1997, the federal government would release unaccompanied minor illegal immigrants after no more than 20 days of detention. A separate 2008 law required unaccompanied minors be transferred out of custody of the Department of Homeland Security to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Then, a 2016 judicial interpretation expanded the Flores settlement to include minors brought into the country with their parents. So, conforming to the expanded interpretation of the settlement and the existing law, the DHS enforcement agencies, after arresting illegal immigrant parents, have transferred minor children to the custody of the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement, which tries to place them with relatives or a caretaker.

During the meeting with members of Congress, Pence told lawmakers the administration was limited.

“We don’t want children to be taken away from parents, but, right now under the law, and we sit with these lawmakers, we only have two choices before us,” Pence said. “No. 1 is don’t prosecute people who come into our country illegally, or prosecute them and then under court cases and the law, they have to be separated from their children.”

The executive order references the Flores settlement.

The Attorney General shall promptly file a request with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to modify the Settlement Agreement in Flores v. Sessions, CV 85-4544 (“Flores settlement”), in a manner that would permit the Secretary, under present resource constraints, to detain alien families together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings for improper entry or any removal or other immigration proceedings.

The order is not a policy departure for the president, said Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow for The Heritage Foundation.

So to the extent the 1997 Flores settlement and the 9th Circuit’s misinterpretation of it prevents DHS from holding juveniles for more than 20 days, this language gives DHS the exception they need to still separate families if they have to in order to comply with Flores.

As I expected, the [executive order] also tells the AG in Sec. 3 (e) to file a request with the court in the Flores case to allow DHS to detain families together “throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings for improper entry or any removal or other immigration proceedings.”

So the president is not backing down from prosecuting all illegal aliens who cross the border, which is what the critics wanted.

Pence reiterated the president’s call for a comprehensive measure when talking to lawmakers.

“The president’s vision, as articulated in his State of the Union address, was let’s solve the whole problem,” Pence said. “Let’s build a wall, let’s close the loopholes, let’s solve the problem for 1.8 million people that were brought into this country through no fault of their own, and let’s deal with law and order and compassion with this issue of family separation at our border.”

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

RELATED ARTICLES:

How Immigration Officials Cooked the Books and Fooled Congress for Years

Who’s Responsible for Separating Alien Kids From Their Parents? Many People, but Not Trump

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.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY<

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of President Donald Trump holding a signed executive order to keep families together at border in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington, D.C., on June 20, 2018. Photo by Olivier Douliery/ Abaca Press (Newscom TagID: sipaphotoseight258174.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

Time to Preach to the Non-Converted on Abortion

Filip Mazurczak writes that no one says he’s personally opposed to human trafficking, but it’s better to have it safe, legal, and rare. So why on abortion?

Those who believe that the right to life is a fundamental human right have experienced two major defeats on two continents in less than a month. On May 25, two-thirds of Ireland’s population voted to strike down a constitutional amendment protecting the right to life, paving the way for what the Irish government has promised will be one of Europe’s most aggressively pro-abortion regimes. Then last week Argentina’s Congress voted by a 129-125 margin to legalize abortion up through the fourteenth week of pregnancy (for the bill to become law, it needs to pass the Chamber of Deputies and be signed by the nation’s president).

It is clear that pro-lifers are losing the battle to save unborn human life. To emerge victorious in the long run, we need to create a social consensus that the unborn deserve the right to live, a consensus transcending political and religious divides.

The recent anti-life Irish debacle has been often presented as more evidence of Ireland’s rapid retreat from its Catholic roots since the 1990s. In Argentina, there is still hope that the Chamber of Deputies, more conservative than the Congress, might stop the legalization of abortion. But even if it does there is a strong probability that it will be an ephemeral victory: polling shows that 60 percent of Argentines support the liberal abortion bill, almost twice as many as those who oppose it (34 percent).

Furthermore, in Argentina, as in Europe or North America, pro-life forces are very closely associated with Catholicism. And Argentina is one of Latin America’s least religious countries. Thus an Irish-style anti-Catholic, anti-life popular rebellion there seems very likely in the not too distant future.

Internationally, the greatest weakness of the pro-life cause is its close association with Christianity and the political Right. It’s not a bad thing, of course, that churches – Catholic, Orthodox, and some Protestants (along with Orthodox Jews and some Muslims) – stand at the forefront of the battle for life. On the contrary, Christianity is once again showing evidence of its rejection of the Zeitgeist in favor of timeless values, just as it did in 1537 when slavery was a common practice during the European colonization of the Americas and Pope Paul III issued a bull prescribing excommunication for that odious practice.

Rather, the problem rests in the fact that in a pluralistic democracy, no party or leader will permanently rule. Helmut Kohl was the West German chancellor for sixteen years, but even his grip on power eventually ended. I was happy when President Trump rescinded the Mexico City policy and enacted other pro-life policies. But Trump too won’t last forever.

In the United States and in many countries, someone’s stance on abortion is strongly tied to political affiliation and religion. In recent decades, this has become even more pronounced. The number of pro-life Democrats in Congress, for example, is in the single digits today, compared to more than 100 in the 1970s. For pro-life legislation to be irreversible, a certain consensus has to be created.

To do that, we need to reach out to so-called people of good will. We need to start on a grassroots level and explain to our non-conservative and non-Christian friends and family why we are pro-life. The pro-life movement may not have the political clout or generous financing of Planned Parenthood or George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. But we have a much more powerful weapon: the truth.

With advances in science, technology, and medicine, we know that the unborn child is not a clump of cells. The embryo’s brainwaves are detectable just six weeks after conception, which is when abortion is legal in almost all Western countries.

Intellectually honest people, who adhere to Socrates’ advice to follow the evidence wherever it leads, will be compelled by the irresistible logic that the unborn child is human and thus deserves legal protection, regardless of which side of the political aisle they are on, or what God or gods, if any, they believe in.

While Hinduism is not absolute in its opposition to abortion (as evidenced by India’s extremely permissive abortion legislation, allowing the procedure through twenty-four weeks in some circumstances), Mahatma Gandhi, a Hindu turned off by the hypocrisy of the Christians who had colonized his country, said that to him it was “clear as daylight that abortion would be a crime.”

The late Nat Hentoff, a music critic for the Village Voice, hardly a hotbed of social conservatism, was a libertarian Jewish atheist. Yet as someone intellectually honest, he saw the evil of abortion, which he actively opposed. There are many minds that, like Gandhi or Hentoff, are in other respects politically or religiously on different planets than Christians, yet they have the potential to see abortion for what it is – if we inform them.

The more such people there will be, the more pressure there will be on policymakers and on society to condemn abortion as a violation of basic human rights.

Imagine someone saying, “Personally, I’m opposed to human trafficking, but it’s better if it’s regulated instead of having it happen illegally and unsafely. And the government shouldn’t pry into the trafficker’s personal business. Instead, they should let him be an adult and make his own decisions.”

Chances are, you’ve never heard such silly sophistry from anyone’s mouth. Many people, however, make very similar statements about the killing of unborn humans – humans with brains, spinal cords, and fingerprints, who can feel pain and in some cases are capable of living outside their mothers’ wombs.

The recent Irish catastrophe and developing Argentinean tragedy show that we must work to create a society in which abortion is seen as being just as unacceptable as human trafficking, and we should preach not to the converted, but to those who, because of their ideas on politics or religion, are our strange bedfellows.

Filip Mazurczak

Filip Mazurczak

Filip Mazurczak is the assistant editor of the European Conservative. His writing has appeared in the National Catholic Register, Catholic Herald, Crisis Magazine, and many others.

RELATED ARTICLE: Francis Condemns ‘Eugenic’ Abortions and Fake Marriage

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of St. Paul Preaching at Athens by Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino), c. 1515 [Ashmolean Museum of Art and Architecture, Oxford, England] © 2018 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Fact-Checking 4 Claims About Detaining Children at the Border

The Trump administration is taking heat from Democrats and Republicans for separating parents and children after they illegally crossed the southern border.

Over the six weeks from April 19 through May 31, federal officials separated about 2,000 children from their families at the U.S.-Mexican border, the Associated Press reported last week.

President Donald Trump blamed the procedure on Democrats in Congress.

“They’re obstructing. They’re really obstructionists and they are obstructing,” Trump said Monday at the White House. “The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility. It won’t be.”

“If you look at what’s happening in Europe, if you look at what’s happening in other places, we can’t allow that to happen to the United States—not on my watch,” he said.

During the White House press briefing Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said: “This is a very serious issue that has resulted after years and years of Congress not taking action.”

Here’s a look at four of the more questionable claims made about the enforcement action.

1. Democrats’ Law or Trump Policy?

“The Democrats forced that law upon our nation,” Trump asserted last week.

Democrats, backed by some media commentators, counter that it’s not the law but a Trump administration policy.

Actually, experts say, the situation is a combination of a bipartisan law and a Clinton administration policy.

In 1997, the Clinton administration entered into something called the Flores Settlement Agreement, which ended a class action lawsuit first brought in the 1980s.

The settlement established a policy that the federal government would release unaccompanied minors from custody to their parents, relatives, or other caretakers after no more than 20 days, or, alternatively, determine the “least restrictive” setting for the child.

In a separate development, in 2008 the Democrat-controlled Congress approved bipartisan legislation to combat human trafficking and President George W. Bush, a Republican, signed it into law.

Section 235 (g) in that law, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, states that unaccompanied minors entering the United States must be transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement rather than to the Department of Homeland Security.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit expanded the Flores settlement in 2016 to include children brought to the country illegally by their parents.

For consistency between the provision of the anti-trafficking law and the 9th Circuit’s interpretation of the Flores agreement, children who came into the country illegally with parents had to be taken into HHS custody, said Art Arthur, former general counsel for Immigration and Naturalization Services (now known as Immigration and Customs Enforcement) as well as a former federal immigration judge.

“As soon as their parents are detained, the children are classified as unaccompanied,” Arthur, now a resident fellow for law and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies, told The Daily Signal.

2. Unprecedented Action by Trump Administration?

Some media outlets have called the practice of separating children from parents at the border “unprecedented” or a “new low” for the United States.

What’s different under the Trump administration, though, is a “zero tolerance” approach to enforcing existing immigration laws and policy.

On May 7 in Scottsdale, Arizona, Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed federal prosecutors to prosecute all adults who illegally enter the country, including those accompanied by their children, under a provision of federal law (8 U.S.C. § 1325(a)) that covers illegal entry.

“If you’re smuggling a child, then we’re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law,” Sessions said. “If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally. It’s not our fault that somebody does that.”

Since it takes more than 20 days to adjudicate an asylum claim, the 9th Circuit’s interpretation of the Flores Settlement Agreement essentially provides three options, said David Inserra, a homeland security policy analyst for The Heritage Foundation.

“The Trump administration currently faces two options: Either release every family that crosses the border and claims asylum and know that most of them will never show up at their immigration court hearing; or release the child as required by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ interpretation of the Flores settlement while holding the parents while awaiting trial,” Inserra told The Daily Signal.

“A third, better solution is to fix the loophole created by the 9th Circuit with regard to Flores and improve the asylum process to discourage frivolous asylum claims, while also better serving those with legitimate asylum cases,” Inserra added.

Proposed legislation by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.; Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.; and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. would reverse the 9th Circuit’s interpretation.

“This would mean only a brief period of separation while the parents are prosecuted,” Arthur said.

Depending on the outcome, the family would be reunited and either be released or deported together.

3. ‘Concentration Camps’?

Much of the criticism of separating children from parents at the border has been from Democrats.

However, former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who served under President George W. Bush, and former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who was once lieutenant governor of Maryland, both compared the practice to Nazi concentration camps.

The Department of Homeland Security rejected the comparison, noting that most children caught crossing the border illegally are not detained by federal officials.

“We have high standards,” Nielsen said during the White House press briefing Monday. “We give them meals and we give them education and we give them medical care. There are videos, there are TVs. I visited the detention centers myself.”

In the last fiscal year, 90 percent of apprehended children were released to a sponsor who was either a parent or close relative, according to the department.

Homeland security officials also say they work with HHS to improve and ease communication between detained parents and their children in HHS care.

Sponsors may be “a parent, adult sibling, relative, or appropriate home that meets criteria for the safety of the child and continuation of any immigration proceedings,” according to DHS. Also, a parent who is prosecuted and later released can be a sponsor and ask HHS to restore custody of the child.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has dedicated a facility to operate primarily as a family reunification and removal center. ICE staff who interact with parents will receive training in trauma-informed care, and the agency will assign staff trained in mental health care to detained parents who have been separated from children, according to DHS.

4. Taking Babies From Nursing Mothers?

CNN reported last week on an illegal immigrant from Honduras who claimed her nursing daughter was pulled away from her before she was handcuffed. CNN cited a lawyer from a liberal legal group called the Texas Civil Rights Project.

In a conference call with reporters last week, a senior Department of Homeland Security official said this was not the case.

“We do not separate breastfeeding children from their parents. That does not exist. That is not a policy. That is not something that DHS does,” an official told reporters Friday. “We believe that that is false.”

An estimated 14,500 to 17,500 individuals are smuggled into the United States each year. For perspective, that number constitutes about 5.7 percent of total apprehensions of illegal immigrants in 2017, though apprehensions don’t account for all border crossings.

This article has been modified since publication.

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

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13 Facts the Media ‘Pros’ Don’t Want You to Know About ‘Family Border Separation’

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.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is by Leah Millis/Reuters/Newscom.

Francis Condemns ‘Eugenic’ Abortions and Fake Marriage

Robert Royal praises recent pro-life words by Pope Francis. But why was the Holy Father all but silent about abortion votes in Ireland and Argentina? 

I’d been on the road for much of the past week and hadn’t been very carefully following the news. But I woke yesterday to the heartening news that Pope Francis had strongly condemned selective abortion and the various attempts to redefine marriage as something other than a life-long commitment between one man and one woman.

Even more, he did so off-the-cuff, departing from the text he had prepared to deliver to the Forum delle famiglie, an Italian family association. It’s usually been on just such occasions – when he speaks spontaneously and “from the heart” – that he’s delivered the most troubling remarks of his pontificate. It was largely because of those remarks and his early criticism of Catholics who are constantly “insisting” and “obsessing” on life issues and marriage that he alienated and, sad to say, even lost the confidence of many active Catholics – even before the ambiguities and implied infidelities of Amoris laetitia.

He has, of course, condemned abortion and gay “marriage” on multiple occasions. But the world, Catholic and not, seemed to sense that his heart wasn’t in it. The coverage of his recent remarks in the main secular outlets was very brief, usually just reproducing parts of an Associated Press story – quite a contrast to the extensive coverage when he seemed to be moving towards modern culture.

The Wall Street Journal made the obvious observation that the latest remarks were “unusually strong for a pope who has generally played down medical and sexual ethics and taken a strikingly conciliatory approach to gay people.”

The question arises: why now? There was the humiliating spectacle last month of the Irish overwhelmingly voting to rescind a law prohibiting abortion, after voting for gay marriage in 2015. Perhaps more to the point, just this past week, legislators in Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies approved a bill allowing abortion up to fourteen weeks by just four votes.

Pope Francis was silent about Ireland – a very odd reticence by a man who has no qualms about weighing in on public issues like climate change, fossil-fuel exploration, immigration, Middle Eastern politics, Hindu persecution of Muslim Rohingyas, international economics – the list goes on. All these have moral dimensions, of course, though it’s hard to see what expertise or insight the Vatican brings to such complex situations. By contrast, allowing abortion in Ireland means the direct and immediate killing of thousands of innocents.

The pope was (perhaps) not entirely silent on this question in his native country. Back in March, he sent a letter to Argentina. It was only five paragraphs in length and mostly a thank-you for a letter he had received congratulating him on completing five years as pope. It was quite mild and, even when he turned to the question of abortion, mixed together multiple issues:

I ask you all that you be channels of the Good and the Beautiful, that you lend your support in defense of life and justice, so that peace and fraternity may appear, so that you make the world better by your work, so that you care for the weakest, and share with full hands all that God has given you.

You would have to be an Argentinean to know for certain whether this was read as strong opposition to impending abortion changes, or whether this was the right tone given the way particular nations respond to papal comments – but the official Vatican News account didn’t even mention abortion.

Perhaps that was one reason why the latest comment was not at all subtle, more in keeping with what many Catholics expect from the occupant of the Chair of Peter. Pope Francis went to the modern touchstone of evil, comparing “selective” abortions (usually because of fetal abnormalities, sex, etc.) with the Nazi eugenics program of race purification. This time, he says, we are doing the very same thing “with white gloves,” as if it’s just a medical procedure. (If you read Italian, there’s a transcript of the spontaneous remarks as well as the prepared speech here.)

Though it comes too late for the millions of innocents who will die now in Ireland and Argentina, still, it’s good that Francis gave this full-throated affirmation. We might add it wasn’t only the Nazis who practiced eugenics in the named of racism: Margaret Sanger, hero to so many American abortion advocates and founder of Planned Parenthood, took the same view – though maybe she wore lace-gloves.

It’s interesting that Francis was also so vocal about marriage. The off-the-cuff remarks refer a lot to Amoris laetitia, the very text that many of us feel both seeks answers to current troubles with marriages and – despite the announced intention of pursuing a path of mercy and discernment – weakens, perhaps implicitly contradicts, Our Lord’s strong words about the indissolubility of marriage. And will likely lead to even further confusion and breakdown.

Still, there are very good things in the recent remarks: “Life in a family: it’s a sacrifice, but a beautiful sacrifice. Love is like making pasta: you do it every day. Love within matrimony is a challenge, for the man and the woman. What’s the biggest challenge for a man? To make his wife more a woman. More woman. That she grow as a woman. And what is the challenge for a woman? To make her husband more of a man. And thus they go forward, both of them.”

This insistence on growing into being men and women will not win the Holy Father any awards at the U.N., or the E.U., or the various gender activist groups that have half-welcomed the tone he adopted from the first days of his papacy. There are other things in these off-the-cuff remarks less straightforward. But he’s affirmed “male and female He created them” and supported traditional marriage.

Where would the Church be now if only, as pope, he had stayed close to these sorts of peasant insights and not been drawn into the swamps of modernist German theology?

Robert Royal

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.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Pope Francis in the Clementine Hall on Saturday receiving and addressing the members and children of the Forum delle famiglie [Photo credit: ANSA]. © 2018 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.