China’s underground Christian communities: Unwitting forerunners of the Benedict Option?

Both Catholics and Protestants have survived decades of persecution.

In early 2017, conservative American pundit Rod Dreher published a bombshell of a book called The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation.

He argued that conservative Western Christians should give up their futile war over the cultural mainstream and withdraw into tightly-knit communities centred around their faith and their church. This would be the only way to survive a coming persecution of conservative Christian values.

Many articles have been published about Dreher’s controversial proposals, most of them centred on the West.

But what about the East? For more than a century the “Benedict Option” has worked in China, a nation which has never been overly friendly to Christianity. These communities in China pre-date Mr Dreher by many decades. Christians in the West will do themselves a favour by pondering their brethren’s experience of survival.

Who are these Chinese communities? Catholics and Protestants in China can be roughly divided into two camps: a faction loyal to the government and an independent faction.

Protestants can worship in the government-sanctioned Protestant “Three-Self Patriotic Movement” (三自爱国运动). Or they can join defiant house churches, which have been long subject to persecution and produced many heroic examples of resistance. Pastor Wang Yi of the Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, for instance, was sentenced to nine years in prison late last year for “inciting subversion of state power and illegal business operations”.

For Catholics, the underground movement loyal to the Pope has long suffered harsh persecution and has had a bitter relationship with the official Catholic Patriotic Association (天主教爱国会). Its government-approved bishops were even excommunicated by the Pope until the recent controversial Sino-Vatican agreement.

All of the above has been well covered by Western media — but what has it to do with the Benedict Option? Well, Dreher believes that in an age where anyone who does not toe the progressive line of thinking is at risk of being excluded from the cultural mainstream, minority Western Christians must huddle together for warmth.

Newsflash, guys! Chinese Christians were never in control of the cultural mainstream. Ever since the days of the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 and even in the years before that, Chinese who converted to Christianity were brutally oppressed and many were murdered. Catholics, who outnumbered Protestants before the 1900s, had to endure the wrath of not only the Qing Empire but also of their ancestor-worshipping neighbours.

It was the Boxer Rebellion that marked the emergence of Chinese “Benedict option” communities. The Boxers were virulently anti-West and anti-Christian, and thousands of Chinese faithful were slaughtered along with Western priests. Many Catholics had to retreat to places deep in the mountains and build settlements which were easier to defend and harder to attack; they formed militias of their own to protect themselves.

Thousands fled to communities like these throughout northern China and especially in the Shanxi and Hebei Provinces. To this day they make up the bulk of northern Chinese Catholics. This is the origin of the so-called “Catholic laity villages” (教友村),hundreds of which still exist. Even today, the Provincial Religious Bureau monitors these villages and publishes lists to help local party cadres to increase surveillance of these areas.

Many of these communities unwittingly mirror Dreher’s vision. Life centers around the Church and all the villagers are raised as Catholics, in stark contrast to most of the neighbouring villages. Fortifications (many still visible) were built to defend themselves from the wrath of their fellow countrymen, who viewed them as traitors to the Chinese nation. From a point of weakness, these early Chinese Catholics gathered together in a vision of strategic retreat and managed to survive years of violence.

Some of these communities thrive today, even after 70 years of Communist rule. During the Cultural Revolution, many Catholic villagers in Hebei, Shanxi and other Chinese provinces hid statues of the Virgin Mary which they venerated in secret, at a time when religious eradication was government policy and churches and pilgrimage sites were being bulldozed.

After enjoying a brief revival, the Chinese Catholic faithful are once again at the crossroads. Many regard the Vatican negotiation and eventual agreement with Beijing as a betrayal. But as a Hong Kong media (RTHK) documentary broadcast in February 2019 shows, the rural villagers in Hebei show amazing resilience. They set up makeshift altars and chapels in decrepit village factories and fields. Defiant underground priests performed services in the most unremarkable of rural courtyards. Hundreds of villagers came to worship in bitterly cold nights after the police and party cadres have gone.

Chinese Catholics also have larger families. Many young children can be seen even in the makeshift chapels — yet another act of defiance against a law banning all minors from attending religious services or activities, as well a snub to China’s population control.

This is the true resilience of faith. Westerners accustomed to freedom of religion may be shocked at the sacrifices Chinese underground Catholics have endured. But Catholics in China are benefitting from adversity. It only strengthens their faith, at a time when Westerners seem to have lost their way. It is very similar to Rod Dreher’s strategy.

Protestant house churches fill in the other half of the picture. Unlike Catholics, whose strength is in rural strongholds, Protestant house churches draw their strength from urban China. The recently jailed Pastor Wang’s Early Rain Covenant Church is one of the best examples.

Started barely a decade ago, Early Rain grew and challenged the Chinese government’s authority. The church held commemorative services for the June 4 crackdown, a huge taboo in China. It had a pro-life department which openly went onto the street every Children’s Day (June 1) rolling out banners protesting abortion. Early Rain also aggressively planted churches in its native city of Chengdu and beyond and sought to form a “Calvinist association” of sorts in Southwestern China, a direct snub and rejection of the Chinese government sanctioned Three-Self Association.

Early Rain is another facet of the “Benedict Option”. Even though it is urban and its followers do not necessarily live in the same compound, it is an amazingly tight-knit community in a country where everyone feels that he has to fend for himself and the government is omnipotent and omnipresent.

Early Rain was a pioneer in establishing unsanctioned church schools catering for its congregants’ children (illegal according to Chinese law). It operates a seminary of its own instead of sending people to government sanctioned seminaries (again, illegal). It even operates its own online video and radio channels with recorded footage of Mr. Wang and other pastors preaching.

At its peak, Early Rain had more than 700 congregants.

Of course, this was never going to be tolerated by Beijing’s mandarins. Thus in December 2018, the church was raided (the last of many raids), Mr. Wang and his wife, together with key congregants, were arrested, and the church was shut down for good.

But in a true show of strength, many congregants continue to form prayer groups and still attempt to worship together in apartments, backyards and bathrooms. The faith still lives on.

In short, something very much like the “Benedict Option” has worked to the advantage of the Chinese faithful, both Catholic and Protestant. The difference between them and American Christians like Dreher is that Dreher can still ponder his options for a survival strategy.

For many Chinese Christians, the Benedict Option is their only option.



William Huang is a product of the one-child policy as he is the only son in the family. Born and raised in China, it is only when he went overseas to study that he had an epiphany, realizing just how much damage this policy has done to the Chinese nation and his generation of peers. Now he is an avid researcher in China and East Asia’s looming demographic crisis and he also aims to raise his voice for the sanctity of life wherever and whenever he can. Mr. Huang is an avid researcher into China and East Asia’s looming demographic crisis. He also aims to raise his voice for the sanctity of life wherever and whenever he can.

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

State of Ignorance: California Pushes False Information to School Kids on the Second Amendment

As an incorporated provision of the United States Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment is the supreme law of the land, applying to all U.S. jurisdictions and to the actions of federal, state, and local officials. The U.S. Supreme Court provides the final and authoritative interpretation of that provision, as well as other provisions of the U.S. Constitution. All of this is elementary civics.

But the State of California believes it knows better, requiring publisher McGraw-Hill to annotate a discussion of the Bill of Rights in a popular social studies textbook with the state’s own peculiar view of the Second Amendment’s meaning.

According to pictures from the California edition in the New York Times, the annotation states:

Right to Bear Arms This amendment is often debated. Originally it was intended to prevent the national government from repeating the actions of the British, who tried to take weapons away from the colonial militia, or armed forces of the citizens. This amendment seems to support the right of citizens to own firearms, but the Supreme Court has ruled it does not prevent Congress from regulating the interstate sale of weapons.

The Times article goes on to state that the publisher “said it had created the additional wording on the Second Amendment and gun control for the California textbook.” The same language, however, does not appear in a national version of the same section, according to the Times report.

The point of the New York Times article is to suggest that different states emphasize different aspects of U.S. history in otherwise similar textbooks, depending on the prevailing political outlook among the state’s education officials.

Whatever might be said of that approach, the problem with California’s account of the Second Amendment isn’t just one of emphasis but of accuracy. California, which prides itself on being one of the most anti-gun states in the nation, simply gets it wrong, using language that falsely portrays the Second Amendment as a “debated” provision that has changed meaning over time and that only “seems” to protect an individual right.

Any “debate” about the Second Amendment’s protection of an individual right have been authoritatively settled by the U.S. Supreme Court: The Second Amendment protects “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation,” independent of service in an organized militia. That fact was unambiguously articulated in District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008.

That decision, moreover, was based on the public understanding of the Second Amendment at the time it was ratified. In other words, not only was the Second Amendment an individual right as of 2008, it has always been an individual right. As the Supreme Court noted, “virtually all interpreters of the Second Amendment in the century after its enactment interpreted the Amendment as we do.” It is false to suggest, as the California textbook does, that it originally meant something different and then somehow changed meaning in 2008.

Regarding the prefatory militia clause, the Supreme Court took pains to explain the difference between the justification for including the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights and the scope and substance of that right.

“The debate with respect to the right to keep and bear arms, as with other guarantees in the Bill of Rights, was not over whether it was desirable (all agreed that it was) but over whether it needed to be codified in the Constitution,” the court wrote. What justified its codification was “the threat that the new Federal Government would destroy the citizens’ militia by taking away their arms … .” But, the court noted, the prefatory militia clause announcing the reason for the right’s codification “does not limit or expand the scope of the operative clause.”

That scope, meanwhile, included using arms for “self-defense and hunting,” with self-defense being “the central component of the right itself,” according to the Supreme Court.

The California textbook also misconstrues what the term “militia” meant to the founding generation at the time of the Second Amendment’s enactment. It wasn’t just a discrete, organized military force, the court explained, but members of the population “physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense,” whether they were mustered in that capacity or not. Thus, the terms “militia” and “the people” are not at odds with each other in the Second Amendment. The people, with their own arms, are the basis of the militia. To protect the peoples’ private right to arms is therefore to protect the militia’s ability to muster with arms and to preserve its viability.

As for Congress’ ability to regulate the interstate sale of weapons, the Supreme Court indicated in Heller that “laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms” are part of the “longstanding” history and tradition of the Second Amendment, and are thus “presumptively lawful.” That does not mean, however, that every such law trumps the amendment’s protections, especially if there is no longstanding precedent for it.

In any event, the Supreme Court has yet to hear a case that pits the Second Amendment against the Commerce Clause, and it explicitly reserved that and other questions for later consideration. “[S]ince this case represents this Court’s first in-depth examination of the Second Amendment, one should not expect it to clarify the entire field,” the court wrote. “[T]here will be time enough to expound upon the historical justifications for the exceptions we have mentioned if and when those exceptions come before us.”

California likes to emphasize how it sees things differently than the rest of the United States. That’s why common consumer products come with warnings that they include substances “known to the State of California” to pose various hazards, including cancer or birth defects. So numerous are these warnings that people at this point are most likely to ignore them as sensational and unreliable.

The state’s students would be wise to take the same approach to official state pronouncements about firearms and the Second Amendment.

California, as the saying goes, is entitled to its opinions. But it’s not entitled to its own facts.

And when it comes to the Second Amendment, the facts are different than the opinions expressed in the California-specific version of McGraw-Hill’s social studies textbook.

Activist Wilma Mankiller is quoted as saying, “Whoever controls the education of our children controls our future.”

Year after year California chips away at the Second Amendment with its ever-expanding gun control regime.

If this continues unabated, the right to keep and bear arms will effectively be nullified for future generations of Californians.

What’s worse – if California’s educational bureaucrats have their way – is that those generations will be too ignorant of their liberties to even understand what has been taken from them.

Our advice to these students is to exercise their First Amendment rights to learn and speak the truth, and as soon as they are able, exercise the right to vote in favor of those who respect their fundamental liberties, rather than those who try to write them out of history.


Sorry Shannon, But Those “Random Civilians” Are What Are Known As NRA Members

Another One Bites the Dust

Virginia Senate Passes Three Gun Control Bills – Committee Advances a Fourth

Sen. Daines Introduces Bill to Update Federal Protections for Lawful Transport of Unloaded Guns

Crime Data is Readily Available

EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Sorry Shannon, But Those “Random Civilians” Are What Are Known As NRA Members

We were well aware that after New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg spent a cool $2.5 million on his latest acquisition, majority control of the Virginia General Assembly, law-abiding gun owners in The Old Dominion would see an onslaught of legislation designed to infringe on their right to keep and bear arms. As the legislature prepared to convene, NRA-ILA scheduled a day for legislative action to show our opposition to the anti-gun agenda of Bloomberg and Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam, and we asked our members to show up at the capitol in Richmond.

Boy did they!

Thousands of NRA members and supporters of the Second Amendment came to Virginia’s capital, and NRA handed out t-shirts and 1,000 30-round magazines, kindly donated by Magpul Industries, as thanks to freedom’s most dedicated advocates.

Even the usually anti-gun Northam praised NRA’s “peaceful event,” although it would be nice if his respect for NRA members included not infringing our fundamental rights.

But Bloomberg’s most prominent anti-gun shill, Shannon Watts, seemed to be overcome by the thought of law-abiding gun owners and Second Amendment advocates gathering to present their unified political voice in opposition to legislative assaults on their cherished liberty. Watts, of course, heads the anti-gun advocacy group Moms Demand Action, a Bloomberg subsidiary that he acquired in 2013.

As you can probably guess, Watts had a problem with the magazines.

When she was told about what happened in Richmond, she tweeted her faux outrage over the idea that “NRA gave away dangerous high-capacity magazines…to random civilians at the Virginia statehouse today.”

Where to even begin with that mess?

First, Shannon, magazines are not dangerous. The particular components donated by Magpul are comprised predominantly of plastic, and weigh mere ounces. Forgetting the fact that it is preposterous to try to designate an inanimate object of being capable of behaving dangerously.

Second, those “random civilians” were NRA members, and were invited to come to Richmond to exercise their First Amendment rights in defense of the Second. As we said, even Governor Northam stated, “I thank the NRA for hosting a peaceful event.”

Of course, it should come as no surprise that Watts was confused. Her organization has no actual membership, although she claims to have millions of supporters and hundreds-of-thousands of “donors.” While both claims are suspect, the reference to “donors” seems particularly implausible. The bulk of her group’s funding, under the umbrella of Bloomberg’s parent company, Everytown, seems to originate from Bloomberg himself.

In contrast, NRA is an actual organization of members; more than five million of them. We are dedicated to freedom, as well as safe, responsible, and, as even one of the most anti-gun governors in the nation recently said, peaceful.

Sorry if that confuses you, Shannon.


Another One Bites the Dust

Virginia Senate Passes Three Gun Control Bills – Committee Advances a Fourth

State of Ignorance: California Pushes False Information to School Kids on the Second Amendment

Sen. Daines Introduces Bill to Update Federal Protections for Lawful Transport of Unloaded Guns

Crime Data is Readily Available

EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

PROMISE KEPT: President Trump signs landmark phase 1 deal with China

In a historic moment, President Donald J. Trump was joined today by the Vice Premier of China in the East Room of the White House. Together, they signed a new, fully enforceable trade agreement that rebalances this vital trade partnership while boosting American businesses, farmers, manufacturers, and innovators.

“From day one, my Administration has fought tirelessly to achieve a level playing field for the American worker,” President Trump said. Before he took office, Washington had long tolerated unfair trade practices that buoyed special interests while hurting U.S. working- and middle-class families.

President Trump: I’m putting the American people first!

“For years, politicians ran for office promising action to remedy these practices, only to do nothing but allow them to continue,” the President said this morning. “Unlike those who came before me, I kept my promise . . . Now, our efforts have yielded a transformative deal that will bring tremendous benefits to both countries.”

The new agreement makes good on a number of key promises to fix trade with China:

  • American-made products: To help rebalance the relationship, China has pledged to increase imports of American goods and services by at least $200 billion.
  • Agriculture purchases: As part of that commitment, China will be stocking up on goods from U.S. farmers—between $40 and $50 billion worth.
  • No more forced technology transfers: For the first time ever, China agreed to end its practice of forcing American companies to transfer their technology to Chinese companies as a condition for doing business there.
  • Fair currency practices: Beijing has agreed to stronger commitments on its practices regarding currency devaluations and exchange rates.

And that’s just phase one. The work on a phase-two deal is already underway.

“With this signing, we mark more than just an agreement. We mark a sea change in international trade. At long last, Americans have a government that puts them first at the negotiating table,” President Trump said.

A stronger America, of course, doesn’t come at the rest of the globe’s expense. On the contrary, when the United States is thriving, it makes the world a safer, more stable place. A better and fairer trade partnership with China will do much of the same.

Starting today, a new era of harmony, prosperity, and commerce officially begins.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds explains what this deal means for rural America

President Trump: China will be buying A LOT of these American goods

The Case That Could Upset Roe v. Wade

In March 2020, the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of Louisiana’s new abortion law, which requires that physicians doing abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.

Under the leadership of House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, an amicus—”friend of the court”—brief supporting the law was just filed, signed by 207 members of Congress, 39 senators, and 168 House members.

A press release from Scalise summarizes the arguments made and lists a number of conservative organizations supporting the brief, one of which is my organization—the Center for Urban Renewal and Education.

What makes this filing particularly interesting is not just the sheer volume of congressional signatories—almost 40% of the Senate and House combined—it’s also the fact that it goes further than just arguing support for the constitutionality of the Louisiana law to suggest that the widespread confusion regarding abortion law ties directly to the confusing basic premises under which abortion was found constitutional in the 1973 Roe v. Wade and the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decisions.

In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>

The brief urges the Supreme Court to cast new scrutiny on these two landmark decisions that have defined the abortion legal landscape.

Asking the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade is provocative, to say the least. But it is also courageous and on target.

How can we possibly function as a nation when an issue as critical as abortion defies consensus as to its constitutional pedigree as well as its morality?

Can there be any better evidence of this confusion than recalling the famous interchange in August 2008 when Pastor Rick Warren asked then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, “At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?”

Obama, a Harvard-educated lawyer who would go on to be twice elected president, replied lamely, “answering that question … is above my pay grade.”

Yet despite his candor about his inability to clarify the biological and legal status of the unborn child, he didn’t hesitate to be the first sitting American president to address the national meeting of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, and tell them, “God bless you.”

There is a well-known expression from the world of computing that says, “garbage in, garbage out.”

Faulty premises will produce faulty results and output.

This is a pretty good summary of what has been happening to American culture since the Roe v. Wade decision. Once sanctity of life and its legal protections became ambiguous, our entire culture began to unravel.

The percentage of American adults married since Roe v. Wade has dropped by one-third. The percentage of children in households with married parents is down 15%, and the percentage of babies born to unwed mothers up over 300%.

The last decade, according the Census Bureau, is estimated to have the slowest 10-year growth in the U.S. population since the first census was taken in 1790.

The Census Bureau forecasts that by 2034, for the first time, there will be more Americans over age 65 than under 18.

And, of course, we cannot overlook the damage our national soul has incurred by looking away as 61,628,584 babies have been destroyed in the womb since 1973, as the Guttmacher Institute reports.

In the latest Gallup polling, 49% identified as pro-life and 46% as pro-choice. Fifty percent say abortion is “morally wrong,” and 42% say it is “morally acceptable.”

For the 47th time, hundreds of thousands will arrive in Washington for the March for Life, noting the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, Jan. 22, 1973.

There is growing appreciation for the notion that what’s driving a sense that something is wrong in our nation is ambiguity regarding the sanctity of life.

Let’s pray that the court heeds these 207 members of Congress and starts rethinking the Roe v. Wade decision.



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

RELATED ARTICLE: The Wind Is Shifting Behind the Pro-Life Cause

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This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Trump Administration Takes 3 Steps to Boost Religious Freedom

“There’s a lot of hostility to religious beliefs,” says Joe Grogan, director of the Domestic Policy Council at the White House.

“These views are protected by the First Amendment and people who are offended by public expressions of faith need to get over it,” he adds.

In this exclusive interview at the White House, Grogan outlines what the Trump administration is doing to ensure Americans remain free to live in accordance with their beliefs. Read the lightly edited transcript, pasted below, or listen to the interview:

Rob Bluey: The Daily Signal is on location at the White House today, just moments after President [Donald] Trump’s Religious Freedom Day announcements. We’re joined by Joe Grogan, director of the Domestic Policy Council at the White House.

In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>

Joe, thanks for talking to The Daily Signal.

Joe Grogan: Thanks for having me.

Bluey: We had some big developments happening in Washington this week. President Trump signed Phase 1 of the trade deal with China, and the U.S. Congress just passed today the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which is headed to the president’s desk now for his signature.

But let’s begin with the Religious Freedom Day announcements. … There are three of them, and let’s take them one at a time. We can start with prayer in school.

Grogan: Sure. I actually just left a meeting in the Oval Office. He had a bunch of students and teachers and a coach in there, all of whom had been discriminated against in public schools for expressing their faith.

The coach had been fired. … There were a group of students that were told they couldn’t pray in the cafeteria for a brother of one of the students who had been in a tractor accident, and … they’d been told, “You have to take this behind a curtain or go outside, out of sight. We can’t have anybody expressing their faith in public.”

What we’re doing is we’re updating a guidance that was supposed to be updated every two years by law and hadn’t been updated since 2003, and making it explicit that students have First Amendment rights, including religious freedoms.

They have the right to express their religious beliefs openly, publicly, and if they are discriminated against or they perceive they are, the education officials in every state need to set up a procedure for them to be able to complain.

And those complaints need to be adjudicated in some way. The education official needs to inform the Department of Education how they adjudicate these claims and what they’re doing to make sure that religious beliefs are protected.

There’s a lot of hostility to religious beliefs. There’s a perception that people who express their religious beliefs somehow may be offending others who don’t have those beliefs, but it’s clearly discriminatory. These views are protected by the First Amendment and people who are offended by public expressions of faith need to get over it.

These students and teachers need to be able to, on their own time, say that they believe in God, whether they be Jewish, or Christian, or Muslim, or whatever faith that they ascribe to.

Bluey: Those personal stories have such an impact. We tend to cover a lot of them at The Daily Signal, and they are often some of our most popular stories, I think, because they don’t get the attention that they deserve in other media outlets.

The second on the list is nine proposed rules that the Trump administration is rolling out to protect religious organizations from unfair and unequal treatment by the federal government. Can you tell us what these rules entail?

Grogan: Yeah. This overturns an Obama-era regulation, which really discriminated against faith-based organizations and treated them as second-class grantees when receiving federal funds.

Basically what it said is anytime somebody goes to a faith-based organization for a service, they need to be presumed to be potentially offended by the religious nature of that organization. The religious organization needs to inform them that if they are offended by the religious nature of the organization, they can, they will find a secular organization for them to get the same service.

There’s no presumption on the part of a secular organization that somebody going there for services may be offended by the secular nature or whatever reason that institution was set up.

It’s patronizing, clearly to citizens, first and foremost, that people should be presumed to be offended by people of faith.

We all interact with people of different faiths on a daily basis and we’re not offended by it as responsible human beings, so why would the government presume this is outrageous. And why would we have this additional burden on religious organizations or people who are called to particular work to help people, out of spiritual belief, is beyond me.

But many of the things are gains of inches. This took a lot of work actually to get nine agencies to work in a collaborative way to get this done. We’re proud to have gotten it done though.

Bluey: It certainly is. The third announcement that was made involved the Supreme Court’s Trinity Lutheran case, a 2017 decision, and the Office of Management and Budget has issued some new guidance regarding grant-making. Tell us about this change.

Grogan: Yes. The Office of Management and Budget is sending out a memo to all federal agencies who give money to states to remind them that it’s up to these agencies to make sure that the states, when they distribute the money, don’t discriminate against religious organizations.

This directly comes out of the Trinity Lutheran Supreme Court decision, where Trinity Lutheran applied for a grant to improve the playground.

There was a program to make playgrounds safer and they were denied the funds. This wasn’t for religious purposes, it was to make kids safer, and yet there the state decided “no,” because they were a religious organization they couldn’t get it.

The Supreme Court said, “Look, that’s not right. This is a secular purpose and they should be able to get access to the fund, same as any other organization.”

So we’re making that explicit, from the Office of Management and Budget, and putting the agencies on notice that they need to police the states.

There are 37 states actually that have Blaine Amendments on their books, in one form or another, which came out of anti-Catholic bias, which is clear from the historical and the legal record. We need to make it clear that those amendments or other regulations or statutes that may be on the book can’t be enforced against religious organizations.

Bluey: We’re talking about these because it is Religious Freedom Day, but this is a president who’s made religious freedom of priority throughout his time in office and throughout his administration. What has it been like working with him on these issues?

Grogan: It’s fantastic. I mean, you don’t have to go in there and argue about the merits of pursuing religious freedom initiatives. You don’t have to say it’s important that we allow religious institutions back into the public square, or people of faith to pray openly.

He does ask questions. He wants to make sure we’re doing it in the right way. He wants to make sure we’ve thought things through. But this isn’t a president who needs a lot of convincing on these issues.

He’s fired up to do it and thinks that religious institutions have a central role to play in America’s civic life and the private lives of Americans, too. So he’s totally aligned.

There’s a whole group of people here across the White House, and in the agencies, many people who are veterans of various fights for religious freedom, who have been drawn to this administration to work on these issues. And to be frank, they’re having a blast in this administration to work on issues like this.

Bluey: Thanks for sharing that.

Now, shifting gears, let’s talk about trade. This week the president signed the Phase One trade deal with China. Obviously, a long initiative that this president has talked about even prior to his election campaign in 2016. I know China is an issue he’s focused on a great deal. Tell our listeners what they need to know about Phase One and where we go from here.

Grogan: Yeah, I think what you’re seeing in the last few weeks is really … everything’s firing on all cylinders for this president. And the entire arc of his first term is being set from going back to the first major legislative achievement, which would be tax reform, and now going where we have the omnibus spending deal right before the end of the year.

We had a number of significant policy wins, removing three Obamacare taxes, in addition to when he had removed the individual mandate. And now we’ve got the China trade deal and the USMCA passing this morning.

Making trade more fair for the United States, having a president who fights for American industries and American workers has been central to his belief system, his messaging, since long before he ran for president.

I remember growing up in upstate New York hearing him talk about this, and attacking the way NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement] was constructed, attacking the way that we had let China come into the World Trade Organization, and he really has achieved a tremendous win with the China trade deal.

And matter of fact, it’s very interesting to watch a number of the president’s critics over the last few weeks belittle when this trade deal was announced to be signed. But when you see the details of it, I think that … the tone has changed.

I know some people just can’t get off their horse, but you see intellectual property protections, you see opening up of financial sectors, huge commitments to buy agricultural products, manufactured goods. It is a huge achievement.

And frankly, the work of the staff that went into it has been extraordinary. The number of meetings that the president has on this issue, he has been so focused on it. He’s inexhaustible. If it was the only issue that he had worked on for the first three years, it would still be an extraordinary achievement, if it was the only trade deal, but of course we’ve got USMCA done.

I think at the heart of it you see a president who is saying, “Look, this is not a fait accompli, that we’re going to lose American jobs, that we’re going to lose American industry, and that American workers are going to be resigned from, to do work that they would rather not do.”

And some of the contempt of the intellectual class over the last couple of decades were people who were involved in manufacturing just need to learn how to code or get used to the service economy. It’s nice to see the president saying, “No, we can still manufacture in the United States.” If we have a president and people around him willing to fight for American workers, we can win. And you see us winning.

Bluey: You mentioned the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Final question for you here. The president has talked about how that’s going to really impact, in a positive way, American businesses and families, particularly in the heartland of this country. What does it mean for them, for those people who might not know the intricate details of the agreement, but want to know how it might change their lives?

Grogan: I think first and foremost, there has been a lot of scaremongering around the fact that the president wanted to pull out of NAFTA. But if you look at the numbers about the impact upon our agricultural sector, but also manufacturing post-NAFTA passing, according to many metrics, it’s not really a pretty picture.

What the president sought to do is to protect American industries, protect American workers, and put them at the forefront of … our trade agreement. And he has achieved that with the USMCA. It’s a total reset of our trade rules, and there’ll be more to come on that front.

The other thing to remember, too, is he signed a trade deal with Japan recently, which people forget, and that is a huge deal as well, with big commitments for purchases from American companies, produced in the United States.

So across the board we’re alleviating uncertainty here, heading into the final year of his first term, and the economy is roaring.

We’ve got record unemployment, record number of Americans at work now. We’ve never had so many Americans working right now. Record unemployment among African Americans, Hispanic Americans, women employment, Asian American unemployment’s at a record low. So everything is setting up beautifully.

The president has gotten attacked for so many of these policies that he was pursuing. Remember when he was running for president, they said if he was going to win, so many of the critics on the left and these brilliant economists said the economy’s in the tank, and today the Dow Jones Industrial Average is over 29,000. I think 29,200, the last I checked. So it’s a tremendous day for the president and it’s great fun to be here right now.

Bluey: Joe Grogan, director of the Domestic Policy Council at the White House. Thanks so much for talking to The Daily Signal.

Grogan: Thank you.


Rob Bluey

Rob Bluey is executive editor of The Daily Signal, the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation. Send an email to Rob. Twitter: @RobertBluey.

RELATED ARTICLE: US-China Trade Deal Is a Welcome First Step

A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal Column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

​SILENCERS LAWS: The Cold Hard Truth about Silencers and Suppressors

Where two or more gun owners gather, there exists a high probability that a gun debate will quickly ensue. Guns are a passion for many supporters of the 2nd amendment and that passion is often on display during these debates. Unfortunately, this often leaves the novice gun owner slightly intimidated and feeling out of place during the conversation. Rather than say something that is not technically accurate, they choose to say nothing at all and miss out on one of the best parts about gun ownership. Namely, arguing about them. Silencers and suppressors are a common topic among gun enthusiasts and yet, many know very little about them. So let’s help both the novice and veteran out a little bit by breaking down the cold hard truth about silencers and suppressors.

Silencer vs Suppressor

What’s the Difference?

I hate to break it to you, but silencers and suppressors are the exact same thing. That might be blasphemy to every so-called “gun expert” on the internet forums, but for all practical purposes a silencer and a suppressor are absolutely the same thing. They both seek to reduce the sound and flash that comes from the barrel when fired. So why the big argument? 

Argumentative gun brethren will often point out that nothing completely silences the sound of gunfire. Consequently, it is inaccurate to call a suppressor a silencer. The only problem with that line of thought is that the guy who invented the thing called it a silencer. With creation, comes the ability to call it whatever you want.

Trust us when we say that if you use the term silencer around some gun enthusiast, you are going to have an argument on your hands. However, armed with the facts below you’ll be able to hold your own ground because they are the exact same thing.

History of Suppressors

Hiram Percy Maxim was the son of the inventor of the Maxim machine gun. Simultaneously creating muffling devices for cars in 1902, he had an epiphany that the basic technology could be used interchangeably. In 1909 he received his patent and the Mixim Silencer was born. He created the Maxim Silent Firearms Company and marketed them mostly to sportsman.

During World War 2, the predecessor to the CIA fell in love with them. The Office of Strategic Services utilized the HDM .22 LR pistol and the Maxim Silencer was very effective at reducing the sound of gunfire. The wartime use helped shape the opinion by the public at large that silencers were meant for secret assassinations.

Consequently, decades of backlash and misperception limited their popularity. In 2011, the National Rifle Association began a push to popularize the use for hunting and sports shooting. This is in part where the term “suppressor” began to gain in popularity.

It was thought that by calling them a suppressor it would remove much of the misconceptions about the term silencer. However, as we discussed above, the term silencer and suppressor can be used interchangeably.

How Does a Silencer Work

Firearms generation sound in three different ways. First, there is the muzzle blast which is a shockwave created by high-pressure gases escaping and expanding. Next, you’ve got the sonic boom. This is the cracking sound that comes from the bullet flying at supersonic speeds through the air. Finally, you’ve got the mechanical noise caused by the moving parts of the firearm.

The silencer focuses on the muzzle blast. It reduces the speed of the gas ejection from the muzzle and thus, you’ve got a quieter weapon. It is important to note that a silencer does not completely silence the weapon.

You still have the sonic boom and mechanical noise to deal with. Subsonic ammunition in combination with a silencer can make for very quiet day of shooting. Yet, there is still plenty of noise to be had which fuels some of the movement to call them suppressors instead of silencers.

Benefits of Suppressors

Combat Effectiveness

In 2017, the Marines of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion 2nd Marines became the first entire infantry unit to deploy with a suppressor on every single service rifle. They were not turning an entire Company of Marines into elite assassins, but they were applying hard earned lessons learned from over 15 years of modern warfare.

“Move, shoot, communicate” has been the guiding mantra of the Marine Corps throughout the Global Wars on Terror. The Marines are physically fit to move and they are well trained marksman when it comes to shooting. However, it’s really hard to communicate with the sound of gunfire in your ears and communicate is an essential component of the mantra.

The thought behind the experiment is that the suppressors will allow Marines to more effectively communicate which, in turn, will help them gift violence to the enemy with greater speed and clarity. One could apply the same thought to home and personal self-defense.

In a fight for one’s life, the ability to focus increases one’s ability to survive. Moreover, it allows a defender to communicate directions more effectively to their family. The bottom line is that if the United States Marine Corps has found utility in suppressors then there is something to it.

Hearing Protection

Beyond combat effectiveness, there exists the cold hard truth that gunfire is really loud. So much so that one’s hearing in life can be adversely affected by frequent exposure to gunfire. In most cases, hearing protection is an option and should be regularly applied when operating firearms.

Then again, there are times where it’s just not practical or perhaps there simply isn’t enough time in a fight for life. A suppressor muffles the noise and as such, can offer great protection for your hearing in the years to come.

Where are Silencers Legal?

​The 1934 Firearms Act defines the terms “firearm silencer” and “firearm muffler” to mean any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, including any combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, and any part intended only for use in such assembly or fabrication.

According to Federal Law, they are perfectly legal when the appropriate paperwork and taxes are filed. However, a handful of states have capitalized on the myths about silencers and worked to effectively ban them. There are only 8 states where silencers are banned, but local gun laws throughout the nation have put regulations on them.

We always encourage people to check their local gun laws before purchasing a firearm or silencer. Gun laws are rapidly changing in America and as soon as an article is posted, it may very well be out of date. However, assuming they are legal in your part of the country we can walk you through the process of picking one up.

How to Purchase a Suppressor

If you want to purchase a suppressor, you’ll need to fill out a healthy dose of government paperwork and, of course, give Uncle Sam a little of your hard earned money. It all starts with identifying the suppressor that you want to purchase. Most dealers will help walk you through the following process. If not, just complete the following steps and you’re on your way to a quieter world of pew, pew, pew.

  1. Decide whether you want to purchase the silencer through a trust, in the name of a corporation or as an individual. Purchasing as a trust allows you to name various persons who can then use the silencer without added paperwork, such as a spouse. If you already have a corporation and don’t want to set up a trust, that is a viable option. Finally purchasing as an individual makes you the sole owner of the silencer. Setting up a trust is a very popular option and some companies allow you to set up a free trust online. Otherwise, you would need a lawyer.
  2. Given that suppressors can only be purchased by licensed dealers, they will give you the required BATF paperwork. They can’t sell it to you otherwise, so you don’t have to go and search out the paperwork yourself.
  3. Attach a passport photograph and a fingerprint card along with $200 of your hard earned money for the tax stamp.
  4. Notify your local chief law enforcement officer. Under older rules you were required to fill out more paperwork and get approval. Now, in most locations you are just required to give the notification.
  5. Wait for the BATF paperwork to be approved.
  6. Receive the approval and then return to your deal to pick up your suppressor.

You’ll not be able to take possession of your suppressor until your application is approved. This is by far one of the most frustrating parts of the process. This can take months on many occasions, but the wait is definitely worth it. Again, if there are any questions about the process your Class 3 FFL dealer should be able to walk you through the process. So don’t be intimidated to walk into a gun shop and just ask.

How to Check the Status of Your Suppressor

The wait for your new suppressor can be excruciating and many will want to know where they are in the process. To check the status of your suppressor, simply call the ATF at 304-616-4500. You’ll then need the serial number, make, model, name of transferring dealer and the transferee which would be yourself. With that information you’ll be informed where you are in the process and perhaps how long you will have to wait.

Silencers and the 2nd Amendment

Public perception is often at odds with reality in the gun control conversation, but that doesn’t make public perception any less effective in moving the gun control agenda forward. Even if you support some version of gun control, one can hope that it would at least be based on objective reality rather than opinion. This is one of the reasons many in the pew universe react harshly to the term silencer.

It brings about the perception that stealthy villains from a James Bond movie can conduct public assassinations in broad daylight with a silencer. After all, if the sound of gunfire is removed, then how would anyone know a shooting is taking place? This induces public fear and support for banning something that is anything but silent.

By pointing out that firearm muffling devices merely suppress the sound rather than eliminate it, gun owners are trying to dispel the silent myth. For many gun owners, the suppressor is the canary pigeon in the mine shaft of 2nd Amendment liberties. Where the suppressor is made illegal, more gun laws are sure to come down the road.

​What you Need to Know About Silencers

At the end of the day, what you really need to know about suppressors is that they are safe, effective, and a whole lot of fun. They won’t turn you into a secret assassin and nor are they guaranteed to save your hearing. It is still recommended that you use hearing protection when firing guns with a silencer.

You need to know that it is ok to call them a silencer or a suppressor, regardless of what the local “gun expert” says. However, if you want to help fight back on the negative perceptions associated with silencers, you might be doing the 2nd Amendment a solid by calling them suppressors.

That’s the cold hard truth about silencers and suppressors. Now that you are ready for your next big gun debate, check back in with us later for more meaty gun knowledge and live the 2nd Amendment lifestyle the way it was meant to be lived.

© All rights reserved.

The wall is going up, and illegal immigration is down!

Americans spent years telling Washington to fix our country’s broken immigration system. But career politicians ignored the will of voters and pushed “solutions” that left special interests happy and most citizens frustrated.

Donald J. Trump won the Presidency promising to end that stalemate. Now, despite shocking levels of resistance from Democrats in Congress, the rule of law is being restored at our nation’s doorstep. Mile by mile, President Trump is keeping his promise.

Watch: Out with the old, in with the new wall!

The 100th mile of border wall construction was announced on Friday—a “milestone achievement,” Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said.

“New wall has been constructed in every border state from California to Texas. This is a milestone for our entire country, and this would not have been possible without the President’s steadfast determination and leadership,” Wolf said.

“Walls work,” he added. They’re “an undeniable impediment to human smugglers, drug traffickers, and other criminals who have exploited our lack of effective border infrastructure.” The wall comes as part of a much larger strategy by President Trump to curb illegal immigration, including new deals with countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, to protect our asylum system for those who need it most.

The progress in the past year alone has been staggering. Last May, monthly border apprehensions skyrocketed to more than 144,000 in the midst of our National Emergency, leaving resources for our law enforcement officers stretched to their limits. Now, illegal immigration is down for the seventh straight month.

“The President listened to his operators on the front lines,” Wolf said. As a result, not only was border wall funding secured, but the President made sure our officers have the tools they need to get the problem under control. That means all-weather roads, lighting, enforcement cameras, and other enforcement technology.

The result? Since border wall construction began in Tucson, Arizona, illegal crossings are down 24 percent. In San Diego, California, they’re down 27 percent. And in Yuma, Arizona, they are down over 78 percent.

“Trump touts court ruling allowing military funds for border wall construction.”

Watch: 100 miles of border wall—and counting

Video of the day: America is WORKING!


Friday’s jobs report builds on what is perhaps the biggest storyline of the Trump Presidency: the blue-collar, working-class economic boom that began 3 years ago.

The headline numbers, such as the unemployment rate remaining at a 50-year low of 3.5 percent, show how the U.S. economy is firing on all cylinders. The most powerful takeaway, though, is what the Trump Economy is doing for historically disadvantaged communities:

  • Wage growth for workers now outpaces growth for managers.
  • Wage growth for those without a bachelor’s degree now outpaces growth for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Wage growth for the lowest earners now outpaces growth for the highest earners.

The only ones shaking their heads today are the “experts” who told us that President Trump’s economy would be a mess. For everyone else, it’s a great time to be on the job.

The Wall Street Journal: “Manufacturers Increase Perks to Get New Hires to Move”

© All rights reserved.

Texas: Somali Cleric Arrested on Charges of Sexually Assaulting Children

The first question I have is:  Is he a refugee since the vast majority of Somalis in the US are refugees, but I am seeing no definitive answer on that, so I figured this news would be best reported at ‘Frauds and Crooks’ rather than at my other blog, ‘Refugee Resettlement Watch.’ 

Although let me say that there are many of my RRW stories that could just as easily be reported here especially those stories involving the nine anti-Trump federal refugee contractors masquerading as ‘religious’ non-profits! See today’s post at RRW!

From the Houston Chronicle:

Islamic religious teacher arrested for alleged sex crimes against children

The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office has arrested an Islamic religious teacher for alleged sex crimes against children. Mohamed Omar Ali, 59, was charged with one count of sexual assault of a child and three counts of sexual indecency of a child following his Jan. 3 arrest.

At a press conference Monday morning, Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls said that all four victims were children under the age of 14. Ali is a Somalian national who was living in the U.S. illegally, according to Nehls. The bail for Ali was set at $125,000, but due to his illegal status, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement put a detainer on Ali, and he is being held at the Fort Bend County jail, Nehls said.

According to Detective Michael Alexander of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, Ali gained access to his alleged victims by gaining the trust of the victim’s families, who invited him into their homes to teach the Quran to their children.

Other Members of the Islamic community are distancing themselves from Ali:

Shariq Abdul Ghani, Director of the Minaret Foundation and representative of the Muslim community, added that Ali was not an employee or official volunteer of any particular mosque, but he traveled to different mosques and schools in the area, establishing himself as a defacto religious leader.

In a phone interview on Monday afternoon, Ghani also said that leaders within the Houston Muslim community were unfamiliar with Ghani. Ali lives in the Houston area of Fort Bend County, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.


Surveillance of Ali began in September of 2019, after victims reported the abuse to the FBI, but investigators believe the alleged crimes date back to 2013. Investigators said they believe there are many more victims who have not spoken up, and the sheriff’s office urges those victims to come forward.

More here.

I’ve been joking here at ‘Frauds and Crooks’ that Michigan and Florida seem to have the most ‘new American’ crooks and criminals, but Texas might be giving them a run for the money.

See yesterday at RRW about the Iraqi refugee arrested in Texas suspected of murdering a mother of three in Colorado.

As you can see, there is a lot of crossover between my blogs!

EDITORS NOTE: This is Frauds, Crooks and Criminals republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

I Lost My Child Due to a Driver High on Marijuana. Now, This Bill Would Reward Big Pot.

Seven years ago, I got a call every parent fears: I lost my daughter to a driver who was high on “legal” marijuana. With this new pot vaping crisis, I’m worried more parents will lose their children if we don’t stop the growth of the marijuana industry.

Across the nation, a growing number of vaping-related illnesses and deaths have left government officials scrambling to fix a problem they should have seen coming.

After years of dubious claims by both the vaping and pot industries, we are now feeling acute consequences. America is beginning to wake up to some of these concerns. That is, everyone except the banking industry, which senses a massive investment opportunity: legalized pot.

While parents like me are losing their loved ones, the marijuana industry and its promoters are pushing a bill granting increased investment into the industry, dispensaries in Oregon and Colorado are furiously pulling contaminated vapes from their shelves, and pot growers are shipping their over-production of high-potency marijuana to and through non-legalized states.

In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>

The banking industry is now ramping up lobbying on Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. Indeed, Crapo recently announced his committee, the Senate Banking Committee, will take up legislation supported by the pot industry, disingenuously named the “SAFE Banking Act.”

The legislation, which would create an exception to U.S. banking law to allow lenders to make loans to marijuana firms even though it remains against federal law, is part of an aggressive effort to commercialize today’s new super-potent pot.

This would give pot shops and their corporate parent companies access to more investment capital even though marijuana has been proven to be addictive and harmful by medical science and is being used increasingly by young people in the form of flavored pot vapes. Today’s marijuana isn’t your Woodstock weed.

As a mom, it is difficult to understand why lawmakers have decided that now, with an epidemic in drug use going on, is a good time to push for legislation that amounts to backdoor legalization and a reward for this industry.

The vaping crisis is broader than flavored tobacco products. Marijuana vape oils account for more than 80% of the cases of the mysterious lung illnesses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently warned against vaping any tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) oils. Even the American Vaping Association’s national spokesperson warned the public, “If you don’t want to die or end up in a hospital, stop vaping illegal THC oils immediately.”

Some are quick to blame the black market, but at least three deaths and numerous cases of illness are linked to “legal” pot products.

Crapo is considering advancing legislation that will ensure the explosion of the commercial pot market without addressing the long-lasting consequences that have been the hallmark of Big Tobacco and Big Pharma.

The SAFE Banking Act fails to acknowledge the industry’s practice of working around state regulations to continue marketing flavored, potentially deadly pot vaping oils, and pot candies that appeal to children. We should not reward them with this legislation.

If Crapo and others in the Senate empower Big Marijuana, they could be setting up Americans for a lifetime of negative consequences.

Let’s prevent drug use—not promote it.


Corinne Gasper lost her daughter to a marijuana-impaired driver and is now an advocate with Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which opposes the legalization of recreational marijuana.


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Why is the Dems’ Progressive Caucus obsessed with protecting the Post Office?

“The USPS is bleeding red ink and the company’s finances will likely get worse. The Trump administration is correct that ‘USPS’s current model is unsustainable’.” – Chris Edwards,

I receive, on a weekly basis, at least one fundraising email from the Progressive Caucus outraged that there are efforts to reign in the spending by the United States Postal Service (USPS). The Progressive Caucus is obsessed about the destruction of “yet another vital public service.” But there are other companies that provide mail delivery services that make the USPS look archaic. Yes, there are. Among them are: Amazon, E Bay, FedEx and UPS.

QUESTION: Would not competition improve this vital service?

Is USPS a Disaster?

In a July 9, 2029 column title Privatizing the U.S. Postal Service Chris Edwards wrote:

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is a large business enterprise operated by the federal government. It has more than 600,000 employees and more than $70 billion in annual revenues. Revenues are supposed to cover the postal service’s costs, but mail volume is plunging, and the USPS has been losing billions of dollars a year for more than a decade.

The USPS has a legal monopoly over letters and mailboxes. That policy is an anomaly because the federal government’s general economic stance is to encourage open competition in markets. The USPS monopoly means that entrepreneurs are prevented from entering postal markets to try and improve quality and reduce costs for consumers. [Emphasis added]

USPS’s Predicament

Edwards points out the following about USPS:

Congress confers on the USPS monopolies over the delivery of first-class mail and access to mailboxes, the latter of which is a unique protection among the world’s postal systems.

The USPS also enjoys a range of other benefits:1

  • It can borrow up to $15 billion from the U.S. Treasury at low interest rates.
  • It is exempt from state and local sales, income, and property taxes, and from parking tickets, vehicle fees, and other charges.
  • It pays federal corporate income taxes on its earnings from competitive products, but those taxes are circulated back to the USPS.2
  • It is not bound by local zoning laws, is immune from a range of civil actions, and has the power of eminent domain.
  • It has government regulatory power, which it can use to impede competitors.

On the other hand, Congress ties the hands of the USPS in many ways that prevent it from operating like a private enterprise. Congress restricts the USPS’s pricing flexibility, requires it to provide expansive employee benefits, imposes collective bargaining, and prevents it from cutting costs in various ways, such as by reducing delivery frequency and closing low-volume post offices.

Read more.

Incremental Reforms

Edwards in his column recommends the following reforms of the USPS:

  1. Close Post Office Locations.
  2. Cut Labor Costs.
  3. End Collective Bargaining.
  4. Narrow the Universal Service Obligation (USO).
  5. End Cross Subsidies.


Edwards concludes with:

The [Trump] administration’s Task Force found that the USPS’s current business model “is unsustainable and must be fundamentally changed if the USPS is to avoid a financial collapse and a taxpayer-funded bailout.”61 The GAO said that a “comprehensive package of actions is needed to improve USPS’s financial viability.”62 That comprehensive package should be privatizing the USPS and opening U.S. postal markets to competition.

As Barry Goldwater wrote in his book “The Conscience of a Conservative“:

“I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is “needed” before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ “interests,” I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.”

Perhaps it it time to reduce the size of government starting with the USPS?

PODCAST: His Sister Was Sex-Trafficked for 6 Years. Here’s How He’s Devoted His Life to Fighting It.

Ilonka Deaton was trafficked into sex slavery at the age of 12. She suffered for six years before finally getting free. Now, her brother, Jaco Booyens, runs a film company that brings the darkness of sex trafficking into the light. He’s out with a film called “8 Days.” Read the lightly edited interview, posted below, or listen on the podcast:

The Daily Signal podcast is available on Ricochet, Apple PodcastsPippaGoogle Play, or Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at 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 Enjoy the show!

Rachel del Guidice: We are joined today on The Daily Signal Podcast by Jaco Booyens. He’s the president and CEO of the film company After Eden Pictures. He is also the founder of SHAREtogether, a nonprofit organization fighting against the global crisis of sex trafficking. Jaco, thank you so much for joining us today.

Jaco Booyens: Thank you, Rachel. It’s great to be here.

The demand for socialism is on the rise from young Americans today. But is socialism even morally sound? Find out more now >>

del Guidice: Well, it’s great to have you. Can you start off just by telling us about your film company, After Eden Pictures, as well as SHAREtogether?

Booyens: Yeah. After Eden Pictures was born to transform culture through uplifting entertainment, so that’s our mission statement. We’re going to take social issues and then produce entertainment content, film, television, docuseries, books, media, broad spectrum media to speak to culture, to transform it positively through uplifting entertainment.

So it’s yes, family-friendly values, for sure. Yes, I’m a Christian, so that’s my root and my foundation. But we’re going to speak for big issues like sex trafficking, tackling heavy issues, because if a picture’s a thousand words, then a video, a film, can be so much of the start of a conversation, and then we can do our real work after that. So that’s the purpose of After Eden Pictures.

There’s an amazing team, great writers, producers. My wife is an amazing writer, by far more skilled than I am on every level—because we marry way up, because women are amazing. But no, an amazing team. I’m just humbled to have a voice in radio.

del Guidice: That’s incredible. So you directed a film called “8 Days,” which raises awareness about sex trafficking. It’s an incredible story. Can you go into that story behind the film?

Booyens: We wanted to make a movie, not a documentary, about sex trafficking. We wanted to make a film that spoke from the victim’s perspective. So in this film, [the victim’s] name is Amber. All the cases in that film are actual rescue cases that we were involved with. So these are real-life events that we reenact but in a feature film style, not a docuseries style.

It’s a gut punch when you start understanding what happens to a human being when they’re mistreated. What happens to a woman or a guy when they are sexually violated. What are the thoughts? What does that process look like? How does a person get to a place where their self-worth is stripped, their value is gone, their self-image? And then the guilt comes, and the loathing, and the justification, and just that process. So we wanted to do that, show the audience this is the result of predatory behavior when people come in and steal people’s innocence.

Unfortunately, we’re at a place in America today where we’ve got to bring humanity back to the conversation. We’ve got to remember when you’re talking about child sex trafficking, [it’s about] people, children, 12-year-old kids being raped and beat. When you talk about domestic violence and abuse, that is a woman with a beating heart, a real person with real feelings and emotions, right?

So we got to bring humanity back into it because so much of what we’re doing today is political. It’s political. It’s almost like it’s this … alternate universe that we’re talking about—it’s politics. No, it’s real. It touches families, it touches people.

del Guidice: In the film, is there a particular story about a particular young woman or girl that you highlight that you’d like to tell that particularly just draws the audience in? Is there any particular story that you’d like to highlight when talking about the film?

Booyens: Yeah, it’s Amber’s story, because Amber is sex trafficked out of a stable home. She’s not a runaway, she’s not a foster kid, she’s not in CPS [Child Protective Services]. She’s living at home. That is the No. 1 rising trend in trafficking girls today is girls who work at home. It’s not what you think it is and so there’s a huge misconception. [People] think, “Oh, yeah, OK, it’s that part of town. It’s the underprivileged community. It’s the black community.” No, it’s not.

It is today infiltrated suburbia, because now the softest target, the easiest victim—if you talk to any of these Secret Service guys that are here, they’ll tell you—the easiest victim is the victim whose radar is way down, who’s living at home with their mom and dad, not getting love, but money, and “stuff solves problems,” but her real emotions and her real feelings, she explores that avenue online and the real person comes out online.

Now, a predator trolls online and spots her, “That’s my girl. She needs attention. She’s got daddy issues. She’s void of purpose. She doesn’t feel like she fits in. She feels like nobody can understand her. I’ll be the one that comes and says, ‘I understand you, I get you. I know, I have the answers.’”

And then they’ll court her for a period, they’re patient, but there’s a Romeo effect [that] can win her heart. This is why so many of these women will tell you when they’re abused that it’s love, “He loves me.” They’re convinced.

Women that stand on the witness stand after the guy’s bounced their heads off the wall and defend the guy. “He loves me.” Because they’ve been conditioned, this is love. “I’m giving you worth. I’m the person in charge.” It’s so easy today. So that film shows clearly how a girl is literally sex trafficked from a stable home, both parents there, because it’s so easy today.

del Guidice: Wow. You mentioned the lack of self-worth and how that is one of the contributing factors to this problem. What would you say, looking at everything from a wide-angle lens, is the driving force of sex trafficking in the United States?

Booyens: We have, in our country, for decades now, made an agreement that we’re going to decay our sexual morality. The sexual revolution hit in the ’60s, we wanted sexual freedom. Historically, three generations after you make a decision like that, a society implodes. When there’s sexual immorality in society, they fall every single time. No society in history has ever survived a sexually immoral culture because, ultimately, it’s a drug. It’s the most addictive [thing].

You know the two things that are in every family? There’s only two things. Faith is not in every family, right? The two things that are in every single family on the planet is money and sex. Now look at the two things that I believe the enemy attacks people with most: money and sex. So if you’re going to corrupt a society, where would you go? Money and sex.

So if you now can introduce sex to a child early, that is now a corrupted “misguided young person.” Their vision of what sex is for, what love is—”How do I get love? Do I get love through sex?” Because this is what they want the girls to believe.

So you’re taking a direction, changing direction for all society by making them sexually immoral. Well, how do we get people to accept that? Through gender neutrality? Gender fluidity? Same-sex marriage? You go with teaching sex to 10-year-olds in school. You show them how to perform sex, which is going on at the moment. You normalize anal sex. This is what’s going on. So all of this is to create a culture that is immoral. And we have an immoral culture today.

So we can fight politically, sure. And for those who want to keep certain people in power in politics, that’s amazing. But the next morning when you wake up after an election, that election doesn’t fix the country morally.

My cry to you today is, Rachel, through every way you can, keep yourself morally strong. Because no government can fix that. Because if you’re not morally strong, you will attract people that will harm you because they’ll see it in you.

So how does Rachel keep Rachel safe? Have a moral compass. For Rachel’s sake, not even for our country, think of Rachel, for you. Because ultimately, if you’re corrupted there, it’s a difficult place to come back from. It takes a lot of rehabilitation, it takes a lot of therapy to come back from that.

Now we can go into the abortion argument. It’s self-justifying pleasure. People go, “I want to have sex as much possible. I don’t want any consequences. It’s my body and I want sex.” I go, “Well, cool, great, go have sex. But if you don’t want to fall pregnant, then use a condom.” Because once you fall pregnant, now all of a sudden we’ve elevated the conversation to a whole [different] level. Now it’s not just you—

del Guidice: There’s another life there.

Booyens: Now there’s a life there. Now you’ve got a real issue. … No. 1, I don’t think people should have sex with whoever they want to because that creates problems, but let’s just say that’s the individual’s desire. … You’ve now gone outside of yourself, but it’s immorality.

So now, if you’re a predator, if you’re a pedophile in America today, this is like a playground because we are socially normalizing a sexually immoral culture. And the predators are saying, “Thank you for doing my grooming work for me because before I had to work really hard to convince a girl to give it up. Now—”

del Guidice: Society encourages it.

Booyens: Yeah.

del Guidice: Something that’s not talked about as much in the very little research I’ve done about sex trafficking [is] there’s a lot of mention that’s made—and I feel like we don’t talk about it much—about pornography and the link that’s between pornography and sex trafficking. Is there a link there in everything that you’ve done? What is the relationship you see? Is there one there?

Booyens: If I may, cut me off here if I’m too verbose, I want to show you how this works. The average age of young boys today that’s introduced to pornography is 8. That’s the average age, OK? So now you show porn to an 8-year-old boy, you instantaneously change his view of women, immediately. Because the natural instinct of a man is to hunt, as the hunter. The woman is to take care, to nurture, to grow life, and to protect life.

Now you tell that boy the woman’s here for pleasure, so you’ve already altered how he sees women. Now he makes decisions, immediately. It’s a drug. That drug progresses very fast. It goes from softcore porn, 100%, no question, porn feeds sex trafficking. It creates demand, 100%, can’t get away from it. So anybody that’s engaging in porn, you are in the system, creating demand for child sex trafficking.

[You go,] “that’s a leap.” No it’s not, because the ultimate drug for a sex act, which the entry drug is porn, the ultimate drug is sex with a prepuberty, young girl. That’s where you go. You don’t start on heroin, you start with an opioid that [you] steal out of your dad’s medicine cabinet or smoking a joint. Then all of a sudden you end up with heroin.

It’s the same with sex. You don’t start with abusing a child. You start with an introduction and it’s always, always [porn]. Rachel, there’s not a single pedophile in the world that’s not a porn addict. They all started with porn. They just progressed all the way. There wasn’t an interception or someone stepped into their life [saying], “It needs to stop.”

That’s what my cry is: You’ve got to stop engaging in porn if you’re involved because that is a vicious drug. Do you know that today the statistic is 68% of porn users are divorced?

del Guidice: And I’ve heard that the divorce rates are extremely high among porn users.

Booyens: Sixty-eight percent, which means that it destroys the family. It steals everything, robs you of everything. It is so destructive because it is actual chemistry alteration in the brain. There’s actual physiological makeup that changes because it’s sex. Why is sex so important? Because sex is primal, it’s foundational. So you can distort someone sexually, I mean, just throw anything else in. What else do you want to do with that person?

del Guidice: It compromises everything.

You talk to students a lot. I know you’re at the Turning Point conference this week, talking to students here. What is the best way you encourage them to help stay morally straight? I know that this is a conversation we’re trying to elevate more, and so what are some ways you encourage people to actually walk the walk and stay morally straight and to be accountable?

Booyens: I’d be completely off-kilter if I don’t say this, it’s a relationship with God, No. 1, 100%. There’s no way because you don’t have the strength in yourself to do this. It’s like me saying, “Hey, Rachel, you need to face the world on your own—all the temptations.” You don’t have it, right? You’ve got to dig deeper, and go to a place and say, “OK, where’s my source of power, of encouragement?”

So God, a relationship with God. And secondly, self-accountability. They know. Every pedophile that lays in bed at night with themselves know they’re abusing children. At some point they just stopped listening to that moral voice that says, “Hey, this doesn’t feel right.”

Pay attention to the moral voice and then small groups, hold each other accountable—sisters, friends, BFFs, best buds, the guys.

You see your buddy engaging in porn, pull him aside. Don’t publicly shame this guy. Don’t do it on social media. Pull the guy aside, according to what the word of God says to do, and say, “Listen man, I know that you’re hooked on this, but I want you to know what it’s going to do to you. No. 1, it’s going to corrupt you. You’re going to … lose it all. You’re going to lose your family. You’re going to marry the wrong woman. You’re going to maybe end up in jail. You’re going to end up abusing some people. So let’s get help now.”

Hold one another in love, not in judgment, but hold one another accountable, and then walk that guy or that girl. Do you know how many young students today at this summit will come to me and say, “I’m addicted to porn”? Staggering number. And women. There’s a crazy rise in how many women.

So, we’ve got to hold ourselves accountable. For me it is, connect with God because that’s where you get your encouragement, your inspiration, and your direction, according to his word on how to do this, how to tackle these very heavy issues.

del Guidice: How would you encourage people who don’t have a platform but still want to make a difference when it comes to fighting pornography, fighting sex trafficking? What do you tell them when they’re like, “Hey, I don’t really have a platform here but I want to do something.” What do you encourage them to do?

Booyens: I got that question five minutes ago. Go online and connect with us. You either connect with us, our organization, or we will connect you with a local organization and we work with 56 countries. We’re very connected in the U.S. So if you say, “I’m from Omaha, Nebraska,” I can get you in touch with an organization locally. But if you physically want to donate time, you can do it. Or if you just want to plug in with our organization and help what we do, then they can do it online with our organization as well.

del Guidice: So you mentioned at the beginning, when we started talking, that you have a passion for media, that’s what you do. How did you particularly get involved with sex trafficking? Was it a passion that you’ve always had or what was the story that led you to do the work that you’re doing right now?

Booyens: I love how you ask questions, by the way. This is real for us, this is not something we just read a book [about]. My sister—so we’re two brothers, I’m the oldest, a younger brother and a sister—my sister was sex-trafficked for six years, so this is real.

We wake up one morning and our sister’s gone, my brother and I and my mom. How did we learn what sex trafficking is? On the streets, talking to people, trying to find my sister. And everybody said, “Oh, she’s a runaway.” No, this is very real.

And then that harsh reality hit me when she came back. The person that left is not the person that came back. It took 10 years, it took a decade to get Ilonka healthy. Three suicide attempts.

I mean, it is a disaster. The suicide rates with these victims are through the roof because they come back to people who think they should be normal. But when you abuse a woman sexually, you strip her of everything, everything—personality, identity, self-worth, purpose. It’s a shell. The life expectancy of people that are trafficked is seven years. They don’t live because they commit suicide.

So if you look at [the] teen suicide rate today, and then draw the correlation with the sex abuse, it is staggering. Because they feel like they can’t talk, they can’t tell anybody, nobody will understand. So for us it’s very real.

So then, I started witnessing sex trafficking in the USA. And we just made a decision. My wife is a writer, an incredible writer. … And we said, “Listen, we’re going to fight this fight because no child, no child—” … And again, yes, I’m a Christian. I’ll fight for the Muslim kid, the Buddhist kid, the Hindu kid, any American child. We’re focusing on American children. We fight in other countries, too. But it’s such an epidemic in the USA, we said, “Listen, we’re going to focus on the USA. No child should be sexually exploited. Zero.” And unfortunately today, the rising trend, as I told you, is in suburbia but it’s also parents trafficking their own children.

del Guidice: That is just unreal.

Booyens: It’s the No. 1 rising trend.

del Guidice: And what is behind that? Is it just money?

Booyens: Financial gain. Huge financial gain. And it’s a sickness. You’ve got a dad who’s a pedophile, he used to go out of the house. Now, society said, “No, it’s normal.” Now dad goes, “You’re making it easy, now I can just do it in the house.” Because now the dad knows, “Oh, I’ve learned how to get my wife in a position where she won’t say anything.” This is massive manipulation and coercion. …

So it’s an epidemic, but for us it’s very real because … I didn’t learn about this because I’m passionate about some movement. We had to find our sister. And now Ilonka is healthy, she runs her own industry in Nashville, Tennessee. She goes to the bedside of these girls at hospitals and tells them, “I was there. Six years.”

In the movie “8 Days”—and that girl is from California—she was gone for eight days, 52 men had abused her in eight days. And she was found, praise God.

My sister [was sex-trafficked for] six years. And she’s got a book out, “Keeping Secrets,” which talks about why women keep these secrets. Why do you see a woman being beaten up and then go back to the same guy? It doesn’t make sense. No, not to the logical, healthy mind. But when a woman gets violated, logic’s out the window. Survival mechanism—it’s about just getting through life.

And guys. Look, boys are abused, absolutely. But 97% are girls. And I pose this question: I don’t have single feminist group in the country that’s fighting this fight—

del Guidice: That is tragic. That is so tragic.

Booyens: … I just gave you a stat, 97% of child sex trafficking victims—the average age is 12 in the United States, by the way, lowest average in the world—are girls. We’re not even talking about the girl in the womb, we’re talking about the walking around, 12-year-old woman.

And feminist groups won’t defend them because if they do, they know the second they acknowledge that child sex trafficking is real, they have to investigate their own. All of a sudden, they have to look at, where are the kids coming from? All of a sudden it leads into a border conversation. All of a sudden they go, “Well, wait a minute, if we’re going to fight child sex trafficking, it’s going to go against our political views.” And I go, “Yeah. But remember, it’s people.” And they go, “Ehh—”

del Guidice: Hands off.

Booyens: ” … we’ll sit on the sidelines on this one.” And I go, “You hypocrites. You’re not feminist. You created a movement to justify yourself and the things that are important for you, but you’re not really for every woman. And then I’ll go and say, “If you’re for every woman, why are over 60% of the babies aborted, black babies, girls? Fight for that girl.”

del Guidice: You just mentioned the border crisis and something else along with pornography and sex trafficking, another link that’s rarely talked about is the situation we have at the border and how sex trafficking feeds into that as well. What is the situation there? What are you seeing in regards to people that are brought over illegally and how they can be trafficked into slavery?

Booyens: … I sat with the head of CBP [Customs and Border Protection] recently in D.C. … and I said, “Come on … talk to me.” … He said, “Jaco, here’s the deal. Our guys drink from a firehose. This is the process, that family comes across, as you know, Jaco, it is almost impossible to know, is it her dad, is it not? You need time, we don’t have the time. We’re getting incredible pressure for not interrogating …

Thirty percent of the children that [are] coming across that border today will be in the sex trafficking rings. Thirty percent. That’s not even fearmongering, that is a fact.

Sixty percent of the children who come across the border have at some point, or will be at some point in their lives, at least be sexually violated once. It means rape, whatever. … But 30% of them coming over will go into sex trafficking.

But here’s the most shocking stat that I learned: When CBP hands that child over, that child goes to HHS, Health and Human Services, that has zero training, zero experience on even identifying a child sex traffic victim. All they care about is their disease, is the child nourished or malnourished, and food.

Now Health and Human Services holds that child, and releases them into the system. And then we find children all throughout America [who] can’t speak English being rescued from sex trafficking, [and they] don’t know who they are because the child’s a ghost. [There’s no] birth certificates, nothing on that child. Where’s the child come from? Who’s that child?

If you’re a trafficker, think about how amazing that is to traffickers. You mean, you’re just going to bring children in here that nobody’s going to look for? And when they find them there’s nowhere to send them? And oh, by the way, we don’t have enough facilities to house the kids when they’re rescued so the trafficker picks them up from juvie, picks them up from the shelter.

It’s a disastrous system, and the longer the left placates and is not willing to publicly recognize that even their own people, both sides of the aisle are perpetrators, it’s being aided and abetted.

del Guidice: We have our work cut out for us.

So, final question for you: It’s no secret that the work you do, it’s draining emotionally. I mean, just reading about it a little bit, it’s tough stuff. You mentioned your faith in Christ. I know that must be a huge part of what keeps you going, but how do you stay strong and committed to the fight when it can be so hard, especially given you do not everyone’s job, every day-to-day 9-5, I don’t know what hours you work, but they don’t always have to face the kind of things that you face. So how do you stay grounded?

Booyens: It really is my faith. It’s a core belief system for me that every life matters. As we talk in here, you know what goes through my mind as we’re sitting here? I see my sister’s face.

Every day I remember and will never forget the moment when that girl sat in front of us as a family—just me, my mom, and my brother—and the truth came out. And I had to hear what men did to her. And not once—although one rape is horrific—but six years. And I had to listen to explicit details because it was part of her healing process. There’s no words for the emotions.

So I see that face in that conversation every day. So I wake up and I go, “Stop it. Get up. Save the kids. Get the bad guys.”

And yes, Christ brings the power. And then we’ve got an amazing team, and my wife does it with me and my team does it with me. … So there’s an amazing team and it’s people who really love people, they really care about people.

And I can tell you, 90-plus percent of the people who end up being involved in rescue or whatever—it’s not like we’re going to rescue the Christians. This is not you going for your kind. No, it’s every child. But also, now, every pedophile. I’m putting my sights squarely on the men, those who are paying for sex with children, I’m coming for those guys.

Fortune 500 company CEOs, congressmen, senators, I don’t care who you are, what your name is, who your father is, what may happen to society if it gets out. Run, hide, or repent, change your ways, because we will get you.

[Jeffrey] Epstein was tip of the iceberg. Epstein was a minion. Wait until you see what comes out this year—the people above him, the people he answered to, the people who pulled his strings.

It’s going to rock society … and it’s going to scare people because it’s among us. It’s here. I mean, it’s here at this conference. That’s the reality. It’s in the church. Every church. Deal with it, pastor. Start getting your people safe or you’re not doing your job. It’s in every corporation. Because, why? It’s sex. It’s in every family, right?

So fathers, do your job as a dad. Get involved with your daughters. Know their hearts, build them up as young women, tell them who they are, give them real identity. Make sure that the first time they really believe that they’re loved is not from some creep online. Make sure it was you, dad, and mom, and brother.

Teach your sons how to respect women, teach your sons how to protect women. Not that I’m saying women are weak and can’t protect themselves. But man’s job is to be a watchman, to go out there and hunt and look for the bad guys. But dads are not doing that. So, ultimately, it comes down to the father.

Now look at what’s happening to the African American community. Fatherless nation. We got to bring those dads back—got to get them back, got to get them involved so those young girls do not go trust some weird guy to tell them what love is, what their purpose is in life, what their worth is in life, because they’ll do it.

del Guidice: Jaco, thank you so much for joining us today on The Daily Signal Podcast, we are honored to have you and thank you for sharing everything you’ve shared.

Booyens: Thank you, Rachel. You guys are amazing. Thank you for your work. It’s an honor.

del Guidice: Thanks for being with us.

Booyens: Bless you.


Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice is a congressional reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Send an email to Rachel. Twitter: @LRacheldG.


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A Note for our Readers:

With the demand for socialism at an all-time high among our young people—our future leaders and decisionmakers—the experts at Heritage stopped and asked a question that not many have asked:

Is socialism really morally sound?

The researchers at The Heritage Foundation have put together a guide to help you and our fellow Americans better understand the 9 Ways That Socialism Will Morally Bankrupt America.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

The 2010s: A Decade of Marital and Sexual Erosion

Originally published by USA Today.

A decade ago, President Barack Obama affirmed that marriage unites a man and woman. So did 45 states and the federal government.

The only states to redefine marriage had done so through activist court rulings or, in 2009, legislative action. At the ballot box, citizens had uniformly voted against redefinition. A majority agreed with Obama.

Then, in 2012, Obama “evolved,” and the Supreme Court took cases involving marriage law.

The demand for socialism is on the rise from young Americans today. But is socialism even morally sound? Find out more now >>

Nothing in the Constitution answered the actual question at hand: What is marriage? The court should have left the issue to the people. But in 2013, it struck down the federal definition of marriage as a male-female union in a 5-4 ruling.

The court also punted on a challenge to a state definition of marriage adopted in a 2008 constitutional referendum by which a majority of Californians—yes, Californians—overturned an activist court.

Only in 2015 did the Supreme Court, breaking 5-4 again, redefine marriage for the nation, provoking four irrefutable dissents.

Same-sex marriage advocates told the public that they sought only the “freedom to marry.” Same-sex couples were already free to live as they chose, but legal recognition was about the definition of marriage for all of society. It was about affirmation—by the government and everyone else.

It was never really about “live and let live”—that was a merely tactical stance.

It’s unsurprising that once a campaign that used to cry “live and let live” prevailed, it began working to shut down Catholic adoption agencies and harass evangelical bakers and florists.

This shows it was never really about “live and let live”—that was a merely tactical stance.

Family, Marriage—Redefined

While these were the early effects of redefinition, the more profound consequences will be to marriage itself. Law shapes culture; culture shapes beliefs; beliefs shape action.

The law now effectively teaches that mothers and fathers are replaceable, that marriage is simply about consenting adult relationships, of whatever formation the parties happen to prefer. This undermines the truth that children deserve a mother and a father—one of each.

It also undercuts any reasonable justification for marital norms. After all, if marriage is about romantic connection, why require monogamy?

There’s nothing magical about the number two, as defenders of “polyamory” point out. If marriage isn’t a conjugal union uniting a man and a woman as one flesh, why should it involve or imply sexual exclusivity? If it isn’t a comprehensive union inherently ordered to childbearing and rearing, why should it be pledged to permanence?

The law now effectively teaches that mothers and fathers are replaceable, that marriage is simply about consenting adult relationships, of whatever formation the parties happen to prefer.

Marriage redefiners could not answer these questions when challenged to show that the elimination of sexual complementarity did not undermine other marital norms. Today, they increasingly admit that they have no stake in upholding norms of monogamy, exclusivity, and permanence.

Same-sex marriage didn’t create these problems. Many in America had unwisely already gone along with the erosion of marital norms in the wake of the sexual revolution—with the rise of cohabitation, nonmarital childbearing, no-fault divorce, and the hookup culture.

It was no surprise that many would then question the relevance of the male-female norm. Legal redefinition is a consequence of the cultural breakdown of marriage.

Monogamy Is Old News

But same-sex marriage is a catalyst for further erosion. Already, we see respectable opinion-makers mainstreaming “throuples,” “ethical nonmonogamy” and “open relationships.” This was predictable; we and others predicted it.

Something we didn’t predict are the headlines about transgender and nonbinary “identities.” A decade ago, few Americans had given much thought to the “T” in “LGBT.” Today, transgender identity seems to dominate the discussion of sexuality and sexual morality.

There’s a logic here. If we can’t see the point of our sexual embodiment where it matters most—in marriage—we’ll question whether it matters at all. Hence the push to see gender as “fluid” and existing along a “spectrum” of nonbinary options.

There’s a deeper logic, too. Implicit in the push for same-sex marriage was body-self dualism—the idea that we’re actually nonphysical entities inhabiting physical bodies, or ghosts in machines. That’s why the “plumbing” in sexual acts seemed not to matter.

True one-flesh union, the foundation of conjugal marriage, was thought illusory. What mattered was emotional union and partners’ use of their bodies to induce desirable sensations and feelings.

Of course, two men or two women (or throuples or even larger sexual ensembles) could do that. But the logic didn’t stay with marriage. If the body is mere plumbing, then sex matters less than identity.

This has had tragic consequences, especially for children.

Children Burdened by Our Mistakes

Nearly unthinkable a decade ago, certain medical professionals tell children experiencing gender dysphoria that they are trapped in the wrong body, even that their bodies are merely like Pop-Tarts foil packets, as one expert explained.

Nearly unthinkable a decade ago, certain medical professionals tell children experiencing gender dysphoria that they are trapped in the wrong body.

Some doctors now prescribe puberty-blocking drugs to otherwise healthy children struggling to accept their bodies. They prescribe cross-sex hormones for young teens to transform their bodies to align with their gender identities.

As part of a government grant-supported study, doctors even performed double mastectomies on adolescent girls—including two 13-year-olds.

These changes weren’t grassroots movements. They’ve come from people wielding political, economic, and cultural power to advance sexual-liberationist ideology.

The change has been top-down—from Hollywood’s portrayal of LGBT characters to business executives boycotting states over religious freedom laws. Having lost at the ballot box over and over—even in California—activists found new avenues: ideologically friendly courts, federal agencies, big corporations.

Having secured a judicial redefinition of marriage, they pivoted to the “T,” with the Obama administration redefining “sex” to mean “gender identity” and imposing a new policy on all schools.

The change has been top down—from Hollywood’s portrayal of LGBT characters to business executives boycotting states over religious-freedom laws.

And having won government support, activists turned to eliminating private dissent. Former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke wants to yank the tax-exemption of noncompliant churches. Megadonor Tim Gill vows to spend his fortunes to “punish the wicked.”

Who are “the wicked”? Those who refuse to accept the new sexual orthodoxy.

All of us, including those identifying as LGBT, are made in God’s image, are endowed with profound dignity and thus deserve respect. It’s because of this dignity and out of such respect that the institutions serving the human good—like the marriage-based family—should be supported, not undermined or redefined. That basic rights like religious freedom ought to be upheld, not infringed. That a healthy moral and physical ecology—especially for children—must be preserved.

The “progress” of the past decade has exacted steep costs.


Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., is the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation, where he researches and writes about marriage, bioethics, religious liberty and political philosophy. Anderson is the author of several books and his research has been cited by two U.S. Supreme Court justices in two separate cases. Read his Heritage research. Twitter: .

Robert George is the McCormick professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University, where he directs the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. He also serves on The Heritage Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Twitter: .


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A Note for our Readers:

With the demand for socialism at an all-time high among our young people—our future leaders and decisionmakers—the experts at Heritage stopped and asked a question that not many have asked:

Is socialism really morally sound?

The researchers at The Heritage Foundation have put together a guide to help you and our fellow Americans better understand the 9 Ways That Socialism Will Morally Bankrupt America.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

U.S. Continues To Dominate World In Legalizing Foreigners

So much virtue signaling. So little truth.

For three years now we’ve endured a deluge of media stories and Democrats on high horses hrumph-hrumphing us that limiting immigration is “not who we are” — which ignores the first half of the 20th century.

“Trump has waged an unrelenting assault on our values and our history as a nation of immigrants,” said Joe Biden, unveiling his plan on far more open immigration if he is elected. “It’s wrong, and it stops when Joe Biden is elected president.”

Not a word of what Biden said was true. And now we can see that the entire partisan picture painted by the media has been either wrong, or wildly out of context — which is no surprise to regular readers. And this comes from no less a source than PolitiFact, which is staffed by media members and therefore is relentlessly partisan in its pronouncements.

The United States legalizes nearly twice as many foreigners as the next three closest nations — combined. In fact, despite what you hear in Democratic debates and read in the pages of the New York Times, America is still the haven of the world, the bright shining city on a hill, and this is proven by the masses coming here…and by the number of foreigners legalized.

This revelation started when Republican Sen. Ron Johnson tweeted last Nov. 13 that, “The United States is the only nation that “grants legal permanent residency to more than a million people per year.”

For some reason, PolitiFact decided to fact-check this six weeks later. Maybe they had a quota to reach of showing they would do conservatives being right, too. Because it is hard to see why they would check this claim otherwise.

Here’s what they reported.

“According to Department of Homeland Security data from 2017, the most recent year available, the number of people who were given legal permanent residence in the U.S. was still over 1.1 million.”

They rated Johnson’s statement as true. Thanks, guys! But also in their reporting, they included these data points which give some great context as to the next three nations in line behind the U.S.:

“In 2018, Canada exceeded its goal of accepting 310,000 permanent residents by about 10,000. The target for 2019 was set at about 313,000, while 2020 is set at 340,000. (We’ll see if Canadians are down with that new, high level.)

Earlier this year, Australia limited its migration cap to accepting only 160,000 permanent new residents a year over the next four years, with its government emphasizing border protection.

New Zealand accepted 142,900 migrants in 2018, which their government considered a high number. Through May 2019, roughly 144,900 migrants arrived in the country this year.”

It’s ironic that it is English-speaking, Christian heritage, majority white Western countries — the very formula assailed by the political left as all that is evil in the world — that are doing most of the work taking in the world’s immigrants. But there it is.

And leading the way, by a blowout margin, remains the United States — under President Trump no less.

Is there one issue on which Democrats can run honestly?

EDITORS NOTE: This Revolutionary Act column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

VIDEO: Massive pro 2nd amendment demo planned for January 20, 2020, in Virginia

Posted by Eeyore



VIDEO: Fairfax County Virginia 2nd Amendment Sanctuary County Speech — Civil War

25 Companies Cave to Anti-2nd Amendment Extremists — Scorepages Updated

Candidate for Los Angeles County Sheriff Supports 2nd Amendment, wants politics out of law enforcement

EDITORS NOTE: This Vlad Tepes Blog column with video is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.