I am a pro-life Democrat, preparing to hold my nose and vote for Trump

There seems to be no place for people like me in the party.


I am a pro-life Democrat. From where I sit, I continue to be horrified by the Democratic Party leadership. They seem to be behaving in ways calculated to drive away all but the most ideologically committed members.

Let’s start with Hillary’s defeat in the 2016 elections and the victory of Donald Trump. This came as a terrible shock because if political reality had been what they thought it was, she should have won by a landslide. Identity politics and the phantom of the “rainbow coalition” had a firm grip on Democrats. Women should rally to the first female presidential candidate and she thought she could depend on those who had traditionally been the backbone of the Democratic Party to remain loyal. But, surprise! Identity politics backfired. Trump was able to appeal to the interests and viewpoint of working-class white people (male and female), who were fed up with the sort of elite superciliousness shown by the leadership of both parties. Plebeian white people had an identity as well that could be appealed to.

That issues like abortion and same sex marriage are hot button issues about which many Democrats differed passionately should have inspired the Democrats to search for some sort of compromise.  Instead they “doubled down” on the most controversial issues, attempting to throw pro-life democrats out of the party, thereby driving enormous numbers of Democrats out of the party entirely into the arms of the Republicans. Their behavior since continues to show an extraordinary lack of a sense of political reality.

Among the proposed Democratic candidates for 2020 there is not one seriously pro-life candidate, and most of them favor more extreme positions, such as requiring tax payer funded abortion (Biden), or expansion of “abortion rights” to a point where it is indistinguishable from infanticide. Elizabeth Warren, whom some regard as “Hillary lite” spent her birthday at Planned Parenthood and said she would wear a scarf showing her support of them at her inauguration (if she wins). The fear of giving any moral weight to the life and health of the fetus in the womb has even led  Democrats to oppose environmental regulations that would protect wanted children in the womb. Then, we have a supposed “progressive” who thinks the human extinction movement has a point – hardly a cause for which people are going to run to the barricades – and one which makes nonsense of the idea of progress.This sort of behavior is hardly calculated to make peace among warring factions.

The Democrats then decide to launch a campaign for Trump’s impeachment before he has even taken office. And, when they do get a majority in the House of Representatives, for some unaccountable reason, they fail to bring into it the important issues which cause many people to oppose him, such as Trump’s treatment of immigrants or his horrible environmental policies.  Instead, they decide to focus on obscure issues about the Ukraine and Russia, attempting to revive the Cold War. They argue that that we need to support the Ukraine to protect us against the Russians. The idea that the Russians still entertain aspirations to world dominance is silly. They can barely maintain control within their borders.

It being inconceivable that Hillary should lose, they tried to blame it on the Russians. But American voters, especially white working-class people and African-Americans, did not need the Russians to tell them to be dissatisfied with the failures of the Obama administration.

Then, stoking the fires of racial resentment and white self-hatred, they have put forward a ludicrously inaccurate version of history called the 1619 Project, according to which slavery and racism are at the core of our national identity, so that the United States as a country began to exist only when the first African slaves were brought here, that the slaves fought alone for their freedom (forget about the Union army) and that racism is in the American DNA.  (For a detailed critique see the interviews the World Socialist Website, wsws.org.) Again, hardly a theory likely to inspire anyone to change; if we are racist in essence, there is nothing we can do about it but die. It merely adds guilt to the pot to pressure people to go further down the path toward divisive programs such as affirmative action and, perhaps even reparations, for which the white working class, as usual, will be asked to pay.

Any one of these blunders would be enough to make me hesitant to get on board for electing a Democrat, but putting them all together I fear they lead to despair. Merely obsessing about how they hate Trump will get them nowhere. The way the Democrats have been behaving could make even the most devoted Democrat hold her nose – hard – and vote for Trump.

COLUMN BY

Celia Wolf-Devine

Celia Wolf-Devine is a retired philosophy professor (www.celiawolfdevine.com). See also her blog http://www.celiawolfdevine.com/prolife/ titled Progressive, Pro-Woman, Pro-life.

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

Social Liberal Is Silenced Over Belief That There Are ‘Only 2 Sexes’

Weeks after J.K. Rowling expressed disdain for a British employer firing an employee for stating sex is binary, another employer—this time in the U.S.—allegedly fired a freelance columnist for saying there are only two sexes.

Jon Caldara, a regular columnist for The Denver Post, announced Jan. 17 in a Facebook post that the publication had fired him for his traditional, but apparently offensive and “insensitive,” beliefs about sex and gender.

An editor’s note posted Jan.21 at The Denver Post confirmed Megan Schrader, editor of The Denver Post’s editorial pages, decided the publication no longer would run Caldara’s weekly freelance column, although the newspaper denied Caldara’s views on gender were the reason.

In Caldara’s controversial piece, headlined “Colorado Dems should let sun shine on their hospital fees and sex-ed curriculum,” he suggested Democrats don’t want transparency in health care any more than they do in education, particularly when it comes to the transgender agenda regarding language. Part of his column reads:


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 >>


Democrats don’t want transparency in hospital billing, and they certainly don’t want education transparency when it comes to their mandate to convince your kid that there are more than two sexes, even if it’s against your wishes.

Among the most controversial laws that passed last year was the comprehensive human sexuality education mandate which ripped local control away from your neighborhood school board. Now if your school district wants to teach even basic sex-ed, the teacher must also teach the “health needs” of LGBT individuals.

And in the anti-free-speech style that the left now embraces, the new law bans discussions that “employ gender stereotypes,” or any language the state’s new oversight board of LGBT activists consider “stigmatizing.” In case you hadn’t noticed, just about everything is stigmatizing to the easily triggered, perpetually offended.

In his Facebook post, Caldara clarifies his column is not meant to be diplomatic. It’s “not a soft voiced, sticky sweet NPR-styled piece which employs the language now mandated by the victim-centric, identity politics-driven media,” he wrote. He further explained why he believed The Denver Post fired him:

What seemed to be the last straw for my column was my insistence that there are only two sexes and my frustration that to be inclusive of the transgendered (even that word isn’t allowed) we must lose our right to free speech.

But to force us to use inaccurate pronouns, to force us to teach our kids that there are more than two sexes, to call what is plainly a man in a dress, well, not a man in a dress violates our right of speech.

In its editor’s note about why the company let Caldara go, the paper dismissed implications that he was fired because editors “do not want to run conservative columns about issues surrounding sex and gender,” citing that they had run two of his columns on that topic previously.

Instead, they talked of this being a “sensitive” subject that requires “respectful language.” “We expect writers to work with us in a collaborative and professional manner as we strive toward that goal,” the post read.

Caldara’s style may be straightforward rather than subtle, but it’s hard to see how he was disrespectful, callous, or cruel. In fact, it’s almost ironic that the paper would imply Caldara’s language was too harsh when manipulation of language is exactly the point Caldara was making in his column.

Caldara emphasized progressives not only have weaponized language in a way that’s well beyond what society has deemed normal for centuries, but they also now want to force the rest of society to use language the same way. In essence, participate or be shunned, ostracized, or labeled traditional or mean.

For his bold language about the importance of free language, Caldara was fired for using the “wrong” language.

The fact that The Denver Post fired Caldara just weeks after Rowling ignited a public outcry for defending Maya Forstater, the British woman who lost her job for saying that “sex is real,” seems incidental at best and foreboding at worst: If Forstater was the canary in the coal mine for the transgender speech police, what might Caldara be?

Even more disconcerting, Caldara’s own political views are hardly conservative: In his Facebook post he says he’s not even socially conservative.

To be clear I am strongly pro-gay marriage, which has frustrated many of my socially conservative friends. I have friends, family, and employees from the LGBT community. I don’t care who uses whose bathroom, what you wear, or how you identify. People from this community have rights which we must protect.

Caldara’s personal beliefs coupled with his persuasive column about the importance of language autonomy make the fact that he got fired more alarming. His points weren’t rooted in personal bias; they were urging progressives to loosen their manipulative grip on language.

For the last couple years, the progressive transgender community has maintained that although there are two sexes, male and female, gender is fluid. If Caldara can’t say that, and advocate for free speech in a freelance column without getting fired for it, then his point about succumbing to the speech police is all the more salient.

COMMENTARY BY

Nicole Russell is a contributor to The Daily Signal. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, National Review, Politico, The Washington Times, The American Spectator, and Parents Magazine. Twitter: .

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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!

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

DECADENT DEMOCRATS: From the Party of Abortion and Allah Akbar to the 2020 Right to Life March and death of terrorist Soleimani

EDITORS NOTE: This is the sixth in a series titled Decadent Democrats. You may read the previous installments here:

DECADENT DEMOCRATS — From Pedophilia to Sex with Animals

DECADENT DEMOCRATS — From Electing a Dream ‘Queer Latina’ Candidate to No Incarceration For Drug Use of Any Kind

DECADENT DEMOCRATS: The Enemies of America are Our Best Friends Forever

DECADENT DEMOCRATS — From Ricky Gervais’ Golden Globe Diatribe to Abortion to Climate Change [+Videos]

DECADENT DEMOCRATS: From Creating Weak Men and Disorderly Women to Making Sex a Biological Reality Illegal


“If a mother can kill her own child – what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me – there is nothing between.” ― Mother Teresa

“…kill not your children because of poverty – We provide sustenance for you and for them.”  – Quran 6:151


ABORTION – A Godless Act

Today,  February 24th, 2020, is the 46th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. For the first time in history a sitting President spoke at this annual event. In October 1973 a group of 30 pro-life leaders gathers in Nellie Gray’s home in Washington, D.C. to discuss how to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Roe v. Wade. In January 1974 the first March for Life walks on Washington to lobby Congressional leadership to find a legislative solution to the Supreme Court’s decision. Soon after realizing congressional protection of the unborn was not on the horizon, Nellie Gray decides to hold a March for Life every year until Roe v. Wade is overturned.

The 2016 Democratic Party Platform states:

Appointing Judges
We will appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, and will protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion, curb billionaires’ influence over elections because they understand that Citizens United has fundamentally damaged our democracy, and believe the Constitution protects not only the powerful, but also the disadvantaged and powerless. [Emphasis added]

In The Atlantic article 2020 Candidates Are Going All In on Abortion Rights Emma Green wrote:

Kirsten Gillibrand has made abortion the central issue of her presidential campaign. The senator from New York has consistently led the field of 2020 candidates on abortion policy, moving first and going the furthest to embrace an expansive vision of abortion rights. Her approach is a bellwether of where the Democratic Party is heading on this issue: Abortion is guaranteed to be a key topic in the 2020 election, especially following major policy battles at the state and federal levels. Gillibrand and other Democrats have warned that Donald Trump and the conservative-leaning justices he has appointed to the Supreme Court are working to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision that established a constitutional right to abortion in 1973. Because of this, they argue, now is the time for Democrats to take a definitive stance, rather than try to compromise or telegraph discomfort over the issue.

The Democratic Party has gone beyond protecting a “woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion” to fully embracing abortion up to and even after birth.

According to The Religion of Islam website:

These unique rights mentioned in Islam also include the rights of children.  Children’s rights are not guaranteed by the actions of their parents, their communities, or even their governments.  God Himself guarantees children’s rights.

The Party of Allah Akbar

The Democratic Party is the party of Allah Akbar. Among the Democratic Party’s Progressive Caucus are two Muslim women – Reps. Ilan Omar and Rashida Talib and Socialist Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. Both have been highly critical if President Trump. But most recently they have been especially enraged by President Trump ordering the elimination of Iran’s Al Quds General Qassem Soleimani.

According to the Times of Israel:

In a 2013 profile of President Trump during his press conference after the termination of , New Yorker reporter Dexter Filkins wrote that as head of the Quds Force, which he took control of in 1998, Soleimani “sought to reshape the Middle East in Iran’s favor, working as a power broker and as a military force: assassinating rivals, arming allies, and, for most of a decade, directing a network of militant groups that killed hundreds of Americans in Iraq.”

Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) responded to the U.S. military killing top terrorist targets in Iraq on Thursday [January 2, 2020] by ignoring the facts of the situation and going all in to stop the Trump administration from further targeting enemies of the United States that have killed Americans.

“Last night the President engaged in what is widely being recognized as an act of war against Iran, one that now risks the lives of millions of innocent people,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Now is the moment to prevent war & protect innocent people – the question for many is how, publicly & Congressionally.”

During President Donald J. Trump’s January 3rd, 2020 remarks the termination of  Soleimani, he stated:

Under my leadership, America’s policy is unambiguous: To terrorists who harm or intend to harm any American, we will find you; we will eliminate you.  We will always protect our diplomats, service members, all Americans, and our allies.

[ … ]

Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London.

[ … ]

We took action last night to stop a war.  We did not take action to start a war. [Emphasis added]

Women’s March vs. Right To Life March, Washington, D.C.

Here’s a video of the 2020 Women’s March:

President Donald J. Trump made history when he addressed the 2020 Right to Life March in Washington, D.C. Watch:

President Trump stated:

All of us here today understand an eternal truth: Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God. Together, we must protect, cherish, and defend the dignity and sanctity of every human life. When we see the image of a baby in the womb, we glimpse the majesty of God’s creation.

What a difference a party can make. 2020 will clearly be a choice between the Decadent Democrats and the Republican President Donald J. Trump.

© All rights reserved.

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Why Do Christians Believe in Hell?

Michael Pakaluk: Hell is a truth that Jesus teaches and indirectly affirms on many occasions. It exists because we have freedom to reject God and the good.


Why Do Christians Believe in Hell?   Because Christendom has affirmed it, Jesus clearly teaches the reality of Hell in the Bible, and Hell’s reality resonates with an honest account of our own experience.

That’s not the answer theologian David Bentley Hart gave earlier this month, when the New York Times offered him a perch to discuss the misguided beliefs of his fellow Christians.  The Bible is so unclear about Hell, he wrote, while it is clear about universal salvation, that the doctrine of Hell must be purely an expression of the ill will of Christians.  They hate their fellow human beings so much that they want them to spend eternity in torment.

When the Roman Empire embraced Christianity, Hart writes, the doctrine of Hell was a form of “spiritual terror,” which served as an “indispensable instrument of social stability.”  But the enduring motives, Hart insists, have always been deeply personal – and demented.  Christians derive a “secret pleasure,” he says, from hoping that, when they are saved, they will be envied by the damned: “What heaven can there be. . .without an eternity in which to relish the impotent envy of those outside its walls?”

Indeed, the malice of these Christians knows no bounds, according to Hart. They cannot accept any “concept of God that gives inadequate license to the cruelty of which [their] own imaginations are capable. . . .The idea of Hell is the treasury of their most secret, most cherished hopes.”

That’s a pretty gross slander of Christians, which naturally the New York Times is eager to promote.  Hasn’t it always been clear that those “enemies of the human race,” who oppose abortion, same-sex marriage, and other good things, harbor hatred within their hearts?  Now even one of their own comes clean about that!  And if you want to become fully convinced of the inveterate malice of Christians in this matter, you can follow the link, which Hart kindly provides, to his new book about it.

Of course, a theologian like Hart who accuses billions of Christians of malice, and who opines that Christians take a morbid delight in setting themselves above others, puts himself in a rather exposed position.  Didn’t Jesus say something about splinters and logs?  So Hart has to package his attack as self-defense.  His book, he says, has provoked a frenzy of criticisms (“if only,” you might say), which he variously describes as indignant, hysterical, truculent, uninhibited, and demented.  He’s forced to account for these attacks against him, in the pages of the New York Times.

If someone were to ask me why Christians believe in Hell, my starting point wouldn’t be angry emails to Hart about his new book, but the Catena Aurea, on Matthew 25:46, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

The Catena Aurea, or “golden chain,” is St. Thomas Aquinas’ remarkable stitching together of commentaries by the Fathers on the Gospels, to produce a single running commentary. It provides a balanced view of authoritative teaching by the Fathers on Scripture.  I would start with Mt. 25:46, because that is a proof text for the existence Hell: if anything ever counts as a proof-text, it must be those words from one of Jesus’ own parables.

There’s symmetry here between the fate of the righteous and the unrighteous.  The righteous are said to “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (v. 34) But to inherit something is to be given it as one’s own possession, and the phrase “foundation of the world” points to an ultimate, not a conditional, reality.  The unrighteous similarly are consigned to “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,” which must, therefore, be as fixed and unalterable as is Satan’s will against God.

The word rendered “everlasting” here (aiōnios, which draws upon the meaning of “endlessness” inherent in its Indo-European root, *aiw-, just like our word, “ever”) is always used in that sense in the New Testament, mainly for “everlasting life.”

But more importantly, Jesus uses the same term for the duration of the punishment, as for the duration of the life.  What holds for the one, then, must hold for the other. If the life is everlasting, the punishment is everlasting.

The term for punishment, too, has connotations of torment, as indeed the word “fire” suggests.  “Some deceive themselves,” St. Augustine says, quoted in the Catena, “that the fire indeed is called everlasting, but not the punishment. This the Lord foreseeing, sums up His sentence in these words.”

Hart bites the bullet. To make the everlastingness of Hell look doubtful, he makes that of Heaven doubtful.  Here’s how he renders Mt 25:46 in his recent translation of the New Testament: “And these will go to the chastening of the Age, but the just to the life of that Age.”

What? “The frightening language used by Jesus in the Gospels,” Hart assures us in his New York Times column, “when read in the original Greek, fails to deliver the infernal dogmas we casually assume to be there.” At least, his translation makes sure that it fails to deliver.   But, similarly, it fails to deliver the dogma of Heaven.  Every promise Jesus makes about eternal life becomes, in Hart’s rendering, a promise about “life in the Age.”

But Hell is not simply a truth that Jesus teaches and indirectly affirms on many occasions (e.g., as when he says that it would have been better for his betrayer not to be born, Mt 26:24).  As the Fathers point out, it resonates in our hearts, not because it is “there” already, but because we are aware that we have freedom to reject God and the good.  And we sense that chances eventually come to an end. We can set ourselves on evil, and a true attitude of penance recognizes no claim on God to bail us out. (Ps. 51:4)

Hart and other recent writers make strenuous efforts to deny the truth, but the words stand.

Michael Pakaluk

Michael Pakaluk, an Aristotle scholar and Ordinarius of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, is a professor in the Busch School of Business at the Catholic University of America. He lives in Hyattsville, MD with his wife Catherine, also a professor at the Busch School, and their eight children. His latest book, on the Gospel of Mark, The Memoirs of St Peter, is now available from Regnery Gateway. He is currently at work on a new book on Mary’s voice in the gospel of John.

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

PODCAST: ‘Pro-Life Is Pro-Woman’ — What to Expect From 2020 March for Life

“Life Empowers: Pro-life Is Pro-Woman” is the theme of this year’s March for Life, set to take place Friday in the nation’s capital. Since 1974, the March for Life has gathered to remember the lives lost since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion, and to remind America that each life has value.

Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, joins The Daily Signal Podcast to discuss what to expect at this year’s march and where the pro-life movement as a whole is headed in 2020. Listen to the podcast or read the lightly edited transcript below.

Virginia Allen: I am joined by the president of March for Life, Jeanne Mancini. Jeanne, thank you so much for being with me today.

Jeanne Mancini: Thanks so much for having me, Virginia.


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 >>


Allen: Now, March for Life began in January of 1974, one year after the passage of Roe v. Wade. March for Life really started out just as a small, peaceful demonstration, but it quickly grew into the world’s largest pro-life event. The 2020 march is taking place on Jan. 24 in Washington, D.C. Can you share with us what the theme is that you all chose for this year’s march?

Mancini: I’d love to and if it’s OK, I’ll just give a little bit of backdrop that every year we do a lot of thinking and discerning about the appropriate theme because with the March for Life being the only place where all of the different pro-life groups come together annually, it’s an awesome springboard to message, essentially, about what we think are the most cutting edge, most pressing issues in building a culture of life.

Themes in past years have included adoption and nubile decision. Another year, in fact, last year, we had pro-life as pro-science and really delved into the science behind embryology and some of the wonderful neonatal surgeries available, etc.

This year our theme is “Life Empowers: Pro-Life Is Pro-Woman.” And, of course, this is the year where we celebrate the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which created a woman’s right to vote.

So it’s a great opportunity to go back and look at the suffragist, the early feminist, the early female leaders who recognize the inherent dignity of women and the inherent dignity of the unborn. We’re not at odds with each other and they had a really good understanding about that.

We’re having a lot of fun with this theme and we’re excited to be able to talk about that more next week.

Allen: Absolutely. Now, who is speaking at this year’s march?

Mancini: We’ve got a great, great, great lineup and stay tuned because there are more announcements to be made even tomorrow.

Legislatively, we will welcome to the stage Representative Chris Smith, as well as state Representative, state Senator, as of yesterday, Katrina Jackson.

Chris Smith is very well-known. He’s from New Jersey and just a stalwart on our issues.

Katrina Jackson as well is very interesting because she’s one of the few pro-life Democrats and, in particular, we’re so interested to have her this year because she was the author of the bill in Louisiana related to abortion clinic regulations that then became a law. And now will go before the Supreme Court in March. And so it’ll be very interesting to hear from Senator Jackson.

So those are some of our legislative speakers and there’s a few more to be there.

We have Claire Culwell and Melissa Ohden. They both have these incredibly inspiring stories. They both survived abortion, essentially. And their lives are such witnesses and so they’re going to share their stories. And, of course, we’ll link that very much to the born-alive discharge petition in the House.

Right now we’ve got Jim Daly from Focus on the Family, Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of Susan B. Anthony List—a good year for Marjorie to speak with the theme. Another wonderful woman, she’s a pro-life leader in New Mexico, Lisa Martinez.

We also have a local pastor, David Platt from McLean Bible Church, a very well-known church here in the D.C. area. He will be doing our closing prayer.

And, like I said, we’ve got a few more announcements. And I should say our favorite speaker, at least when we do our surveys after the March for Life, is almost always the young person that speaks because, of course, by and large the participants in the March for Life are young people.

Our one specific designated young person who’s speaking this year is Catalina Scheider Galiñanes. And she is from Oakcrest, a school in Vienna, Virginia. She’s going to speak about why she’s pro-life.

Allen: Wow. So many amazing speakers. I really look forward myself to hearing many of them at the event on the 24th.

People come to March for Life in Washington, D.C., from states all across America. What is that message or motivation that you are really hoping that marchers will take with them back to their home states and their communities?

Mancini: The March for Life is very interesting in that it’s a place to come and witness and testify to the beautiful inherent dignity of the unborn person. And yet, ironically, for those of us who participate in the march every year, it’s an opportunity for our own hearts and minds to be changed even more about this issue.

I’ll just give you a quick example of that … I know I’m kind of backing my way into the answer here, but I had a family member come and participate from out West last year and it was the first time he had come and he’s always been pro-life, but it was quite a sacrifice to come.

He and his wife and one of his children came and had a really beautiful time. I think … his eyes were opened to the significance of the issue and perhaps his heart was changed even more in the direction of life.

And while he had a very busy schedule last year with having kind of a … I guess you could say a break from work for a few months as he was changing to a new job. This year, he’s again coming because he realized how important it is and it’s like, again, his own experience was changed and he wants to do more in his local community.

So what I would say is that the March for Life, again, while it’s a moment to testify and to give witness in the public square about the unborn, it also changes our own hearts.

Our deepest hope as those of us who pull this event together is that marchers go back home and make a difference in their local community. Because if it’s just one day that we’re coming together and are really [having a] motivating and exciting day, then we’re not doing our job. The job is really recognizing that we each have a role to play in building a culture of life and to do that in the area where we are planted.

Allen: Speaking of working in that area where you’re planted, you all have also launched a number of marches across America in different cities. Why did you feel that it was important to not just have the national march but also to have marches in states across America?

Mancini: Well, a few years ago as a pro-life organization in D.C,. we found that we were being tapped to do all things and there was a bit of … mission creep even within the organization, not terribly so, but it allowed for some reflection.

After some time I think we were all a little bit burned out and it gave us an opportunity to really look interiorly as well as look up to God and really think about why was the March created and what do we bring to the pro-life movement and to building a culture of life that no other pro-life group brings.

So, what can we do better and more of to end abortion, to change hearts and minds so that abortion is unthinkable in our country? And simultaneously, if you were to ask us, “What is the single thing that you get the most calls about or the most questions about?” It was to help groups start marches in their states and in their local areas.

We didn’t really have the bandwidth to do that well. I mean, we had sort of a very informal toolkit and we take calls and try to give technical assistance, but for the most part, we weren’t really staffed up to be able to help groups do that in a powerful way. So all of that led to a lot of soul-searching and deep discernment with the board.

We decided to try as a beta test, a state march program. So our first state march was in Virginia last year and it was in April and we brought out over 7,000 people for it. And we’re the lead story on the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which is the local Richmond paper. And for so many reasons, it was a huge success and we didn’t quite anticipate that it would be as big of a success as it was.

So this year we’ll have a second march in Virginia on Feb. 13. We’ll also have a march in Pennsylvania. That’s on May 18. And a march in Hartford, Connecticut, on April 15. Stay tuned for more announcements.

Allen: That’s so exciting. I do want to take just a moment to ask you to share a little bit about your own pro-life journey and how you got connected with March for Life.

Mancini: Oh, well, thank you for asking that. Well, let’s see. I grew up in a Catholic family and social justice and just understanding human dignity was something that was ingrained in my understanding of life and the most important things of life. …

I was 1 of 5. So we loved life, my family, and definitely lived in a way that was very respectful of life. …

After college, I did a volunteer corps, I did something called the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I worked with young people that were in a crisis setting. They were in a youth crisis shelter.

They were being moved either from a situation that wasn’t safe for them to be in or they’d been found on the streets. And there was a long-term search for more of a permanent home, whether that was going to be foster care or a residential treatment center or what have you.

So my time working with those young people was very informative and I grappled a lot with the deeper questions about would it be better if some of these lives hadn’t been born? Is it unfair to bring some lives into the world when there’s such a difficult scenario and such heavy crosses that these people carry that nobody’s ever really meant to carry?

Anyways, I did a lot of sort of introspection and I came out on the other side really recognizing that every life is a gift. And I guess realizing with humility, who am I to judge the value of someone’s life because they’ve had some hard things happen to them?

And then along the way I’ve had different experiences, obviously, in life. For certain one experience [that] weighs heavily on my heart is two people very close to me when I was in college decided to have an abortion and they didn’t tell me before, they told me after. And then in some cases it was a long time after.

Just hearing the pain that they underwent was so sad and even this terrible guilt that they were experiencing. Of course, there’s always hope and healing.

And I should say that to anyone listening to your podcast, anyone who’s been involved in abortion, there’s so many wonderful groups and people to speak with to find hope and healing after having been involved in abortion.

But I just realized personally through these people who were close to me that women deserve so much better than abortion.

It was just a lived experience of what I’d always believed but I thought in a very sad reality in these situations. So, along the way there have been many different I guess you could say epiphanies throughout my life.

And you asked how I ended up getting to the March for Life. So this is a very long-winded way of answering that. But I guess about 10 or 11 years ago, I was working with Family Research Council and I was their pro-life spokesperson and just loved that job. It was so fun and I got to do a lot of policy analysis, which is really what I love to do.

So, a few years into that job, I was asked to join the board of the March for Life. And I did expecting just to be a board member for a period of time. But I never really made it to my first board meeting without a major happening. And that was that the founder of the March for Life, Nellie Gray, passed away before I went to my first board meeting.

So my first board meeting was an emergency board meeting where we were coming up with a plan for how we were going to continue the march.

In a short-term capacity, I and another board member, Patrick Kelly, took on the leadership and we thought we’d we had our plans for how that was going to happen and here I am seven and a half years later, still working with the March for Life. And lots has changed over that time. But it’s just been a big blessing.

Allen: Certainly. That’s so neat just to hear that background and your story and kind of see how all those pieces came together. It’s really, really neat.

Mancini: Thank you.

Allen: Increasingly, unfortunately, we are seeing an attitude among the pro-choice movement. It is really not only pro-abortion but advocates flaunting abortion. And you know, we see this through the Shout Your Abortion movement, examples like actress Michelle Williams during her award acceptance speech at the Golden Globes. We could go on and on, but what should the response of pro-lifers be to this really blatantly pro-abortion rhetoric?

Mancini: I think a couple things. One is to just have great confidence in what we believe. So, to remember that reality is not arbitrary and that calling something a certain name or saying that something shouldn’t have stigma or shame or what have you doesn’t make it so.

Abortion—whatever you’re going to call it, if you’re going to shout it, if you’re going to tell your story about it, etc.—always takes the life of one and most frequently wounds the life of another. So calling it something different doesn’t change that reality.

So I think just to A, recognize that. And then B—this might sound a little counterintuitive based on what I just said—to take a very merciful approach.

I mean, look, we are in a culture of what I would describe as the walking wounded because so many women and men have been involved in abortion and that very much impacts their response to these kinds of things. There’s so much woundedness around it. And so I think approaching any conversations about this topic with a lot of mercy and love and tenderness is critical.

And … I feel that we don’t ever have to twist someone’s arm behind their back to agree with us because we should have so much confidence.

Life is inherently beautiful and the pro-life message is so positive and attractive. So we really just need to show it for what it is instead of twisting someone’s arm behind their back if they don’t agree with us.

Conversely, the more that we understand about the abortion industry and even abortion procedures, it’s dark. I mean, it’s really, really dark. So to the extent that we can show that reality for what it is as well, and certainly try to prevent people from any kind of pain and loss of life. I think that’s important too.

Allen: President [Donald] Trump is often referred to as the most pro-life president in history. Looking back at his first three years in office, what, to you, are some of the most notable pro-life victories of his administration?

Mancini: Oh, that’s a great question. In terms of really creating pro-life policy, I would agree he has done more for the pro-life movement than any president when it comes to enacting policy.

Because of my job, I have to just start by talking about the March for Life. Prior to the Trump administration, we never had a president or vice president of the United States come to the march. In fact, a speech writer once told me, and this was a former speech writer, that presidents were counseled to go to Camp David around the time of the March for Life because they didn’t want to be photoed with some graphic images or something like that.

So … there’s almost been a real fear at top levels to associate with something this important. And we’ve seen the opposite from this White House. And it’s been incredible.

I will never, ever, ever forget one week after being inaugurated, there was the vice president in person at the March for Life and Kellyanne Conway, who ran a successful campaign. And that was, again, the first time.

It was a historic moment because it was the first time ever in the history of a March [for Life] that a standing vice president had come and spoken in person.

Then the following year, President Trump addressed the marchers about a mile away from the rally. So he was in the Rose Garden and there were a couple hundred young people there in the Rose Garden with him on big jumbotrons at the rally’s site. We broadcast that live and that was very exciting.

Last year, again, we had Mrs. [Karen] Pence and the vice president. So it’s just been incredible to have that level of support from the administration.

But in terms of amazing policies that they’ve enacted—gosh, there’s been so much. One of my personal favorites is the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy that had been formerly called the Mexico City policy, but that’s been reinstated and broadened.

Another favorite, of course, would be Supreme Court appointments, nominations and confirmations of both Justice [Neil] Gorsuch and [Justice Brett] Kavanaugh.

And then all of the excellent judicial nominations that are going to be at the appeals court and the district court, I think there have been over 218 of those. I don’t have the number right in front of me, but it’s high.

Returning Title 10 funding decisions to the state, launching an investigation into Planned Parenthood. I mean, again and again, there have been so many really, really great things.

Allen: Yeah. And just earlier this month, over 200 members of Congress signed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade.

Of course, like you mentioned, we’ve seen all of these great new policies and legislation come out of the Trump administration. Also … 2019 did see some really devastating pro-choice legislation pushed forward. So what do you think we can expect in 2020?

Mancini: That’s a great question. Well, I think that some of the things that we need to think about are, first of all, the election. And the March for Life doesn’t endorse candidates, but we do educate. And I think that elections matter.

I know having worked in the Office of the Secretary at HHS [the Department of Health and Human Services] and seeing all of the policies change—I was there during the Bush administration and then in the beginning of the Obama administration—I just have to say the pro-life vote makes such a difference.

So, elections matter and to prepare well for the election ahead because it’s going to be a big year. That’s one thing.

I know that something that we are very much focusing on at the March for Life this year is the born-alive discharge petition and just the born-alive troops.

You mentioned that there have been so many extreme laws enacted at the state, though. Of course, Illinois now passed the Reproductive Act, which makes it sort of the most pro-abortion state in our country. New York, of course, did last year. Vermont passed another similar law.

Essentially, it’s just so critical that we’re aware of these kinds of things and that we do as much as we possibly can to message on the truth about things like the born-alive discharge petition or born-alive bills at the level of the state by the ERA, etc., etc. …

You asked the question and it’s a little hard to know [what to expect this year]. The elections are in front of us. We have a mixed Senate and House, so it’s hard to pass the federal legislation right now. And then in the states there’s all sorts of different things happening.

So to fight the extreme stuff, especially in places like Virginia, my own home state, and we’re seeing the ERA [Equal Rights Amendment] is going to get voted on soon there, but to continue as much as we possibly can to pass good pro-life legislation, for example, the Born-Alive [Abortion Survivors Protection] Act, which any person with common sense would agree with.

Allen: And you recently co-authored a commentary for The Daily Signal titled “Early Feminists Were Right About Unborn Human Life.” Can you tell us a little bit more about these American suffragists?

Mancini: I would love to. To the best of my knowledge, I don’t think that there is even one suffragist who was pro-abortion.

So we’ve got some fantastic quotes from, for example, Alice Paul, who called abortion the ultimate exploitation of women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was very strong in her views on this. Of course, Susan B. Anthony, etc.

But these early female pioneers, again, knew that a woman’s capacity for fertility and motherhood wasn’t a liability, but that it was a beautiful thing. I think they saw men and women as being equal in dignity but different not having to do away with the part of them that can make them mothers.

So it’s wonderful to look back and to see sort of this first wave of feminists and where they were coming from and their understanding of these kinds of issues. And then to see sort of where things are today and how far we’ve gotten from that.

For any of your listeners who have an interest in that, I cannot highly recommend enough coming to our conference the day before the March for Life.

Our keynote is one of my favorite speakers, especially on this topic. Erika Bachiochi—she’s a pro-life feminist and a legal scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. And she’s got so much to say about this and herself has a tremendous testimony and story of coming from a more pro-abortion feminist perspective to where she is today.

And then we have a stellar lineup of panelists, very much speaking to different nuances about this. Sue Ellen Browder will be speaking, she’s an author, she wrote a wonderful book called “Subverted.” Now she’s got a book coming out called “Sex and the Catholic Feminist.” She’s essentially going to go into this question that you just asked me, what the early suffragettes said and a history of that. She’ll read quotes and papers, etc.

We also have Christina Francis, OB-GYN, who’s the chairman of the board of AAPLOG, the American Association of Pro-life OB-GYNs, and she’s going to talk about the consequences of abortion and especially the physiological consequences.

We also have Mary McCluskey, who works with Project Rachel Ministry on helping women and men who regret having been involved in abortion. And then Brandi Swindell, who’s the founder and CEO of Stanton Healthcare—named after Elizabeth Cady Stanton, of course, an early suffragist.

So I highly recommend coming in and hearing about our theme.

Allen: And how can our listeners find out more about the march that’s happening in D.C. and then the state marches that are going to be taking place throughout this year?

Mancini: Well, follow us on all of our different mediums on social media, and check us out particularly on our website at marchforlife.org, and you can count down the hours, like you mentioned, Virginia, right at the beginning.

Allen: Yeah. Thank you so much, Jeanne. We just really appreciate your time.

Mancini: Thanks for having me. It’s been a pleasure.

PODCAST BY

Virginia Allen

Virginia Allen is a contributor to The Daily Signal. Send an email to Virginia. Twitter: @Virginia_Allen5.

RELATED ARTICLES:

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‘Birth Mommy’: Why This Woman Gave Her Child Up for Adoption


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!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


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

Go to Church, Live Longer and Happier

I don’t go to church to live longer or to be happier. I go because I am commanded to go by the Bible (Hebrews 10:25). But study after study shows that those who actively go to church generally do live longer and happier lives.

I go to church because 2,000 years ago, the Founder of the Church walked out of His own tomb. He was dead on Friday, and then He became alive on Sunday morning. If you have an open mind, you can even see that He left a virtual photograph behind.

Furthermore, the followers of Jesus were crushed and demoralized by His very public death. They cowered in fear, and then they became bold and unstoppable and went to the ends of the earth proclaiming His death for the salvation of those who believe. What changed them? His resurrection from the dead.

Every Sunday morning is a weekly reminder throughout much of the whole world of His historical resurrection from the dead.

That is why people from every continent, nation, race, and tongue gather together then to worship Him the world over.

We don’t worship Him for pragmatic reasons, but in the Providence of God, longer, more satisfying lives are often a by-product of active church-going—so notes study after study.

On January 10, 2020, an Australian-born minister, Glen Scrivener, had a discussion with an American atheist, Matt Dillahunty, on a British-based online series called “The Big Conversation.”

Scrivener said, “There is a tremendous amount of public benefit for religions to flourish in societies. Those people thrive in a world where, if the government were able to put a magic elixir into the water that could deliver those benefits—longer life, happier, healthier, societies, all of these things have been demonstrated in thousands of studies—it would make society better.”

The atheist did not totally disagree, but he countered: “The truth has to do with who we are and it maybe is the case that what people need is the community which religions have done a really good job of building, and it’s one of the things that secular organizations are working towards doing now, building stronger communities.”

Meanwhile, just a little online searching shows that it is a consistent finding that attending church tends to cause people to live longer and healthier lives.

TIME Magazine said (2/15, 2018):

“If a long life is what you’re after, going to church may be the answer to your prayers.”

Harvard Professor Tyler J. VanderWeele noted:

“Over the last 20 years, research has gradually accumulated suggesting that religious service attendance is associated with better physical and mental health.”

For example, a study published a few years ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded:

“Frequent attendance at religious services was associated with significantly lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality among women. Religion and spirituality may be an underappreciated resource that physicians could explore with their patients, as appropriate.”

They also noted that an overall look at “studies on the connection between attendance at religious services and mortality between 1994 and 2009 concluded that religious service attendance helped reduce mortality by 18% in healthy populations.”

The New York Times (6/12/2016) adds more details of this particular long-term research project involving 75,534 women: “After controlling for more than two dozen factors, they found that compared with those who never went to church, going more than once a week was associated with a 33 percent lower risk for death from any cause, attending once a week with a 26 percent lower risk, and going less than once a week a 13 percent lowered risk. Risks for mortality from cardiovascular disease and cancer followed a similar pattern.”

The more often you go to church, the more healthy you tend to be.

These findings are consistent. About 15 years ago, I interviewed Dr. Byron Johnson, now of Baylor, then of the University of Pennsylvania, about the impact of church-going on people’s lives.

Said Johnson: “There is research now that seems to indicate faith does add to lifestyle and satisfaction…..So we reviewed over 770 studies, on religion, to see what the impact was. Every study that we could find. And that’s when we came up with the conclusion that about 85 percent have a beneficial effect….People of faith report higher levels of satisfaction, higher levels of hope and meaning, purpose in their lives than their counterparts who don’t have that same kind of commitment.”

And he added this amazing statistic: “We have serious research that indicates regular church attendance can add as much as seven years to longevity for white Americans and 14 years for African-Americans.”

To me going to church is its own reward. But how nice to see it is also good for me.

© All rights reserved.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Faith, Family, Football: Why Patriots Tight End Benjamin Watson Champions Life

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Roe v Wade comes to Hollywood — Exclusive interview with the star of a new film about the famous court case.

January 22 marks the 47th anniversary of Roe v Wade, the most contentious decision ever handed down by the US Supreme Court. In a 7-2 judgement, the Court held that American women have a “fundamental” right to an abortion.

Since that day, an estimated 61 million of them have taken place in the US. No longer a dark secret, abortions are being churned out on an industrial scale. Although the number of induced abortions has declined in recent years, the latest tally, for 2017, is still 862,320.

In the history of the US legal system, no other judgement has had such momentous consequences. Abortion touches every man, woman and child. If those lives had not been snuffed out, for instance, the US would be a nation of about 400 million.

Roe v Wade is a real-life story which screams out for a big-screen drama.

New York businessman and Hollywood personality Nick Loeb is having a go.

Roe v Wade, a film in which he is the co-producer, co-director, co-scriptwriter, and co-star, will be released later this year, possibly in the (northern hemisphere) spring. Earlier this month he spoke with MercatorNet about his ambitious project.

Loeb plays Bernard Nathanson, the central character in the film. “He’s the guy who came out later and admitted that they’d lied about everything,” says Loeb. “They lied about all the evidence, all the statistics, all the numbers that helped push their agenda. They made them up. It was fake news!”

Even Jane Roe was fake news. That was the pseudonym of Norma McCorvey, a pawn of the pro-choice lawyers who handled the case. She later joined the pro-life movement and became a Catholic.

Nathanson, who died in 2011, was one of the architects of Roe v Wade.  He was a co-founder of NARAL (now NARAL Pro-Choice America), a leading abortion rights group. In the early 70s he established the Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health in New York City, which he later described as “the first and largest abortion clinic in the Western world.” He admitted that he had presided over 60,000 abortions, 5,000 of which he performed himself. He even operated on a girlfriend and aborted their child.

But after Roe v. Wade Nathanson had a conversion. By 1974 he repudiated abortion after watching them via ultrasound. In an article in the leading medical journal in the US, the New England Journal of Medicine, he wrote “there is no longer any serious doubt in my mind that human life exists within the womb from the very onset of pregnancy.” Eventually he became one of the leading campaigners for the pro-life side and also became a Catholic.

His story resonates with Loeb.

“When I got involved in the project, I’d never even heard of Bernard Nathanson,” he said. “As I learned more about the story and all the characters involved and when I read Bernie’s books, I found his story to be reflective of mine.

“And not only mine, but of a lot of people of my generation. We grew up in a world where we didn’t think there was anything wrong with a woman wanting an abortion – it was her body, her right. It was like pulling off a scab; it was just a lump of cells. What did I know? I was born in 1975. Nobody in school was telling us, ‘hey, there’s a baby in there’.”

This is where Loeb’s interest in Nathanson becomes personal.

“Like Bernie, I was involved in abortions – not 70,000 of them – but I was involved in two, with past girlfriends.”

It was literally a nightmare for him.

“I’d have dreams of the child that I had killed. It was surreal. You know, I’m not a religious person. I believe in God but I don’t subscribe to any one particular organised religion. I said to myself, wow, maybe I’ve made this huge mistake and I’ve killed my child. It haunted me for many, many years. I also wanted to be a young father and I’d blown my chances and I felt that I’d really screwed this up.

“And as I learned about the issue, I started to think, O my God, there really was a baby in there. And they feel pain in the first couple of weeks and there’s a heartbeat in the first 21 days.

“So I changed my opinion. I became pro-life for me and pro-choice for everyone else.”

That’s basically the Cuomo Doctrine. It was proposed by the legendary New York governor Mario Cuomo in 1984: no one is entitled to impose their belief in the sanctity of life on others. It has been invoked countless times by American politicians to square their religious beliefs with their political survival.

But Loeb eventually saw through that tawdry compromise.

“And then somebody came to me and said, hey, Nick, do you rob liquor stores? And I said, that’s wrong; you’ll go to jail. So, he said, it’s not OK for you to rob liquor stores and it’s OK for other people?”

“So I became pro-life for everybody and then under any situation. I became adamant about it. It’s a life, the most innocent of all lives, and should be protected. No matter what, no matter how it got there in the first place.”

Even in cases of rape? Yes, Loeb says, even then.

His intellectual journey surprises even him.

“You know, growing up, I thought all those right-to-lifers were crazy people,” he muses. “I’ve now become one of them. Now I look at the pro-choicers and they’re the ones who are crazy.”

Loeb was talking to MercatorNet from his office in Europe. Europeans, he observes, have liberal abortion laws, but people don’t boast about having had one. Instead, they feel embarrassed and humiliated. The contrast with the US could not be starker.

“Hollywood has made it something to be proud of today,” he says. “‘Shout Your Abortion’ is a real organisation. Comedians are going out there saying, ‘I can’t wait to have an abortion. It makes me excited.’

“This is vile and gross and disgusting. But, you know, that’s hurt their movement and helped ours. ‘Cause even if you hear clapping in the background for a stand-up comedian who says that, the general population today thinks it’s disgusting.”

Although most of his friends are pro-choice, Loeb feels that the day when Roe v Wade will be reversed is not that far off. “One hundred percent in my lifetime,” he says. And possibly in the next four years, if a pro-life justice is appointed to the Supreme Court.

Back to his film, on which he has been working for at least three years.

Loeb has lined up a solid cast, including Oscar-winning Jon Voight as Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and actress and talk-show host Stacey Dash as Mildred Jefferson, the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School and a strong pro-lifer.

It’s going to be a tough sell in the media, which is almost monolithic in its support of abortion. Even most of the actors, perhaps four out of five, were pro-choice. “But you know what?” he says. “They believe in telling the truth of Roe; they believe in the free expression of opinion.”

The film tells the behind-the-scenes story of how the justices formed their opinions. From his research, Loeb feels that some of the seven who voted to create a right to abortion were actually pro-life but had succumbed to public and family pressure. “It was a big deal; this tore families apart at the time,” he says.

“I hope people go see this, and not just pro-life supporters. We take a look at both sides of the argument. And we just tell the truth of what the characters did in their lives. We didn’t make up that Bernard converted. We didn’t make up that Norma converted,” Loeb says.

“Nobody during this time went from being pro-life to pro-choice. No one converted the other way. No one can say these characters converted the other way and you left them out of your story.”

Roe v Wade has a budget of about US$7 million; by Hollywood standards, this is an ultra low-budget. But from a financial point of view, low-budget “faith-friendly” (not “faith-based”, Loeb stresses) movies can be smash hits, with a healthy return on investment. He cites War Room (budget of $3 million, box office of $74 million) and Unplanned (budget of $6 million, box office of $21 million).

And Roe v Wade has the advantage of 47 years of advance publicity. As a brand, Loeb points out, it’s iconic. There’s no need to prime the audience.

COLUMN BY

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet     

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

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.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

COMMENTARY BY

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


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!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


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

Another Women’s Sport Is Letting Biological Males Compete

I’m no professional athlete, but years after my sex reassignment surgery and the near-elimination of testosterone from my system, my beginner’s tennis serve easily overpowered and dismayed the female participants when I took a junior college introductory women’s tennis course in my 40s.

The stark truth on display on that tennis court was that my upper and lower body strength and my grip were still that of a man. No amount of feminizing procedures could take away the strength-building effects of puberty on my male body.

Heck, my big hands often gave me away, even though in every other respect I appeared female.

That was a simple junior college class where the women’s grades didn’t hinge on beating me, a transgender woman. But the stakes increase astronomically when competition, standings, and livelihood enter the mix, as they do in women’s sports.


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A New Sport Letting in Trans ‘Women’

The latest women’s professional sport to pay homage to transgender ideology is World Long Drive golf, a sport that involves driving golf balls long distances off of tees.

A female golfer who participates recently contacted me with concerns about the upcoming season because it will include a transgender woman competing in the women’s division.

Australian Jamie O’Neill, born male and now identifying as female, holds a bodily advantage over all the women in World Long Drive. The stats from O’Neill’s website predict the trajectory of O’Neill’s promising career in long drive golf.

In August 2019, O’Neill’s total yardage was 280 yards. By December 2019, it was 301 yards. O’Neill’s goal is 350 yards by April 2020, which would pass the highest championship score recorded in the Women’s Division since its inception of 347 yards.

Without a doubt, O’Neill will crush the female competitors in long drive golf sports. The reason is simple biology. Although now wrapped in a female persona, O’Neill’s 43-year-old male body still provides a dominating upper body strength and hand grip advantage.

Science Says Men Are Stronger Than Women, Even After Sex Reassignment Surgery

Men have more skeletal muscle mass, more upper-body strength, more lower-body strength, and stronger grips than women. That’s why sports establish separate divisions for men and women in the first place.

Tia Ghose writes in Live Science about the superior strength of men:

Men are physically stronger than women, on average. A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that men had an average of 26 lbs. (12 kilograms) more skeletal muscle mass than women. Women also exhibited about 40% less upper-body strength and 33% less lower-body strength, on average, the study found. …

And a 2006 study in the same journal revealed that men had much stronger grips than women—the difference was so big that 90% of the women scored lower than 95% of the men. The team also looked at highly trained female athletes who excelled at sports requiring a strong grip, such as judo or handball. Though these women did have a stronger grip compared with other women, they still performed worse than 75% of the men on this task.

Low Testosterone Doesn’t Equal Low Strength

The activists argue that transgender women don’t have a strength advantage over women after sex reassignment surgery because their testosterone levels drop so low. But recent scientific findings don’t support that argument. In fact, a recent study blows it out of the water.

The 2019 study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism explored the effects of gender-affirming treatment on muscle function, size, and composition during 12 months of therapy and found that transgender women generally maintain their male muscle strength, size, and composition.

The researchers called the changes in strength “modest” and concluded the “findings add new knowledge … which could be relevant when evaluating the transgender eligibility rules for athletic competitions.”

Indeed, to protect the integrity of all women’s sports, it is exceedingly important to consider this finding and limit biological males’ unbridled participation in women’s sports.

Further evidence shows that a low testosterone level doesn’t necessarily signal less strength and exercise performance, especially in those who exercise, such as athletes. Research on men whose bodies can’t produce testosterone (such as transgender women post-surgery) shows that even brief exposure to exercise significantly improved muscle mass, strength, physical function, and balance.

A 2019 study observed male endurance athletes in intensive training and the effect on testosterone level and performance. Many of the men saw their testosterone levels decrease, even reaching the clinical criteria for androgen deficiency, like transgender women do.

But interestingly, all showed an increase in performance. The researchers reported, “[N]one of the participants displayed any running performance decrement, in fact, the opposite occurred.”

Taken together, the evidence shows that male bodies, even with low testosterone levels, maintain male strength and their inherent, significant advantage over female bodies.

Correct This Injustice

When World Long Drive joined other professional sports to open the women’s division to transgender women, every biologically correct woman was diminished, demoted in effect, and became irrelevant. World Long Drive did not stand up for women.

From weightlifting and running to boxing, cycling, and now World Long Drive golf, men who identify as women continue to infiltrate and destroy women’s sports. Meanwhile, the theories about transgender women’s strength being equivalent to women’s are being debunked.

The governing authorities over women’s sports need to acknowledge that transgender women maintain their male strength long after transition, and correct this injustice.

COMMENTARY BY

Walt Heyer is a public speaker an author of the book, “Trans Life Survivors.” Through his website, SexChangeRegret.com, and his blog, WaltHeyer.com, Heyer raises public awareness about those who regret gender change and the tragic consequences suffered as a result.

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A Note for our Readers:

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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.

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“We” Should Not Regulate Homeschooling

Modern homeschooling encompasses an array of different educational philosophies and practices, from school-at-home methods to unschooling to hybrid homeschooling.


The desire to control other people’s ideas and behaviors, particularly when they challenge widely-held beliefs and customs, is one of human nature’s most nefarious tendencies. Socrates was sentenced to death for stepping out of line; Galileo almost was. But such extreme examples are outnumbered by the many more common, pernicious acts of trying to control people by limiting their individual freedom and autonomy. Sometimes these acts target individuals who dare to be different, but often they target entire groups who simply live differently. On both the political right and left, efforts to control others emerge in different flavors of limiting freedom—often with “safety” as the rationale. Whether it’s calls for Muslim registries or homeschool registries, fear of freedom is the common denominator.

A recent example of this was an NPR story that aired last week with the headline, “How Should We Regulate Homeschooling?” Short answer: “We” shouldn’t.

The episode recycled common claims in favor of increased government control of homeschooling, citing rare instances in which a child could be abused or neglected through homeschooling because of a lack of government oversight. Of course, this concern ignores the rampant abuse children experience by school teachers and staff people in government schools across the country.

Just last month, for example, two public school teachers in California pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a student, a public school teacher in New Mexico was convicted of sexually assaulting a second grader after already being convicted of sexually assaulting two fourth graders, two public school employees in Virginia were charged with abusing six, nonverbal special needs students, and the San Diego Unified School District in California is being sued because one of its teachers pleaded guilty to repeated sexual abuse and intimidation of a student.

Child abuse is horrific, regardless of where it takes place; but the idea that government officials, who can’t prevent widespread abuse from occurring in public schools, should regulate homeschooling is misguided. Many parents choose to homeschool because they believe that learning outside of schooling provides a safer, more nurturing, and more academically rigorous educational environment for their children. The top motivator of homeschooling families, according to the most recent data from the US Department of Education, is “concern about the environment of other schools.” Being regulated by the flawed government institution you are fleeing is statism at its worst.


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Brian Ray, Ph.D., director of the National Home Education Research Institute, offered strong counterpoints in the otherwise lopsided NPR interview, reminding listeners that homeschooling is a form of private education that should be exempt from government control and offering favorable data on the wellbeing, achievement, and outcomes of homeschooled students.

Homeschooling continues to be a popular option for an increasingly diverse group of families. As its numbers swell to nearly two million US children, the homeschooling population is growing demographically, geographically, socioeconomically, and ideologically heterogeneous. Homeschooling families often reject the standardized, one-size-fits-all curriculum frameworks and pedagogy of public schools and instead customize an educational approach that works best for their child and family.

With its expansion from the margins to the mainstream over the past several decades, and the abundance of homeschooling resources and tools now available, modern homeschooling encompasses an array of different educational philosophies and practices, from school-at-home methods to unschooling to hybrid homeschooling. This diversity of philosophy and practice is a feature to be celebrated, not a failing to be regulated.

The collective “we” should not exert control over individual freedom or try to dominate difference. “We” should just leave everyone alone.

COLUMN BY

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald is a Senior Education Fellow at FEE and author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom (Chicago Review Press, 2019). She is also an adjunct scholar at The Cato Institute and a regular Forbes contributor. Kerry has a B.A. in economics from Bowdoin College and an M.Ed. in education policy from Harvard University. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and four children. You can sign up for her weekly newsletter on parenting and education here.

RELATED ARTICLE: Harvard Study Shows the Dangers of Early School Enrollment

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

What is online porn teaching our children? Decades of research document the untold harm of pornography.

Last year groups like Protect Young Eyes testified before the US Senate Judiciary Committee in an effort to seek better and more objective rating systems for phone apps that often appeal to children but may play host to pornographic content. Numerous states, meanwhile, recently followed Utah’s lead in passing resolutions declaring pornography “a public health crisis.”

Reacting to such efforts, some have voiced personal scepticism, citing an “absence of any credible research” on the negative effects of pornography. Is there really no credible research regarding societal harms of sexually explicit material? Is a shrug of the shoulders the appropriate response to the modern proliferation of pornography and the ease with which it is now accessed by minors?

Decades of research document myriad harms of pornography, hardly justifying a laissez faire attitude toward adolescent exposure to sexually explicit material. There are strong correlations, for example, between early encounters with pornography and potentially unhealthy sexual pathologies and behaviors.

As just one of many examples, with respect to the impact of early porn exposure on attitudes toward women, Alyssa Bischmann, a researcher at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has found “that the younger a man was when he first viewed pornography, the more likely he was to want power over women.”

A recent German study, meanwhile, has further found that adult women who viewed pornography were much more likely to engage in “submissive” sexual behavior. The authors suggest that pornography was providing “scripts” that were then acted out by viewers. Others contend, of course, that correlation does not prove causation, and it’s possible that pre-existing sexual interests lead to porn consumption and not the other way around.

A more circular relationship seems likely. A person has a particular interest and goes online to find out more. Interest in sex is biologically normal, but porn provides harmful scripts shaping sexual interest. As daily crime report headlines attest, what sexual media promotes, children, teens, and adults may ‘buy into’ or be attracted to when it comes to sex.

What are the scripts porn invites its users to ‘buy into’? Is there reason for concern?

As a society, it’s perfectly reasonable to voice concerns regarding the kinds of sexual “scripts” and socialization children, teens, and adults may encounter online. Indeed, society’s collective well-being depends, in large measure, on the life scripts we all learn and choose to adopt. This is not to say that any of us are merely the products of our environment, but there’s little disagreement that careful attention to child nurturing and caution concerning socialization, sexual or otherwise, provides a healthy pathway from adolescence to adulthood.

In studying religious teenagers, for example, scholar Kenda Creasy Dean found that those who were less likely to engage in “high-risk behavior” and who were “the most positive, healthy, hopeful, and self-aware” were heavily influenced by “religiously articulate adults.” The life scripts learned from “the rich relational soil of families, congregations, and mentor relationships” provided models for young people to “see what faithful lives look like, and encounter the people who love them enacting a larger story of divine care and hope.”

By contrast, what relationship models and sexual scripts do children discover when confronted by gratuitous forms of pornography?

Studying the effects of prolonged consumption of pornography on family values, Zillman and Bryant found that, in contrast to a control group, young adults exposed to pornography were less likely to consider marriage an essential institution and had less desire to have children; they were more likely to view male and female promiscuity as natural and to accept “male dominance and female servitude.”

Far from “rich relational soil,” porn’s sexually explicit scripts train viewers to focus solely (even obsess) on the physical gratification of sexual experience, altogether ignoring relational regard, respect, or ethics, as well as the emotional, psychological, and yes, spiritual elements of human sexuality. Porn scripts its users for eroticism, objectification, promiscuity, and misogyny, altogether denying the humanity of sexual intimacy.

Pornography presents and caters to a one-dimensional, me-focused sexual experience. In these scripts, the rich, fully realized view of others and of the self is too often lost completely. Porn is myopic about personal gratification, obsessed with it, without regard to enriching and bonding relationships through sexual caring and commitment.

Porn doesn’t regard or script for relationship attachment, genuine connection, or committed caring for each other. Instead of fidelity, users often encounter scripts of promiscuity. Such scripts don’t inconvenience physical gratification with relational boundaries, constraints, or consequences—absent is the inter-personal accountability so central to sustainable real-life relationships.

In place of true intimacy, pornography scripts for objectification and sexualization of others—viewing the other (and oneself) not as a person but as a series of sexual parts and triggers. Along the way, as some porn users dehumanize one another and real-life relationships inevitably suffer, misogyny—a dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women—can creep in.

When it comes to our children’s education, eroticism, objectification, promiscuity, and misogyny are unlikely on any parent’s list of ideal lessons for sexual wholeness and well-being. These scripts are no better for adults’ sexual wholeness and well-being, either. Stable marriages depend in part on the biological, emotional, relationship, and spiritual bonding experience that sexual union can contribute to. The very biological dimensions of sex include what scholars call our “cuddle chemicals,” released following sexual experiences, that promote couple bonding. Pornographic material works hard to turn attention away from such attachment bonding and commitment.

From this flows another, indirect harm to children. Stable marriages support stable families, and children need families. Human children, unlike other offspring, need upwards of twenty years or more to grow, develop, and reach maturity. So a durable, reliable parental support system and family training ground, there for the long-haul of family life, is vital.

Sexuality focused on the couple relationship and secure attachment supports the couple bond, and the couple bond in turn helps sustain family life. Sexuality is biologically designed to support couple attachment, yet pornography is more often all-in on diverting attention away from and dangerously undercutting the connection of sexuality to attachment bonding. Porn’s scripts neither educate or socialize us toward bonding and commitment.

Because we care about marriage and family—the very fabric of society and a fulfilling life rich with meaningful connection—we must also care about the kind of sexual education children receive. To the degree porn threatens sexual wholeness and well-being and weakens the relationship fabric of our lives and society, it’s not irrational to see the ease and frequency with which children now access online pornography as a serious public health issue.

We ignore at our peril the kind of anti-relationship sexual education that porn promotes to children, teens, and adults. In addition to the deeply concerning social science regarding exposure to pornography—by children, teens, or adults—common-sense suggests that we can and should seek greater enforcement and retooling of laws already on the books designed to keep porn away from children in an age of cellphones and easy online access.

When the relationship education of our children suffers, and when porn’s scripts erode vital human connections, commitments, and ethics, our social fabric starts to fray. Sound, research-based policies, coupled with vigilant parenting and other social safeguards, and combined with positive relationship socialization can hopefully help to foster healthy sexual ideals, improving the well-being of youths and mending the tapestry of our shared future.

COLUMN BY

Daniel Hilton Hal Boyd , Jacob Gossner Julie Haupt and Mark Butler

Mark ButlerHal Boyd, and Julie Haupt are professors in Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life. Jacob Gossner is an undergraduate student at BYU and Daniel Hilton is a graduate student at Indiana Wesleyan University.

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

The other ‘marriage story’: divorce is at a 40-year low. And more kids are being raised in intact families.

The rise of divorce and the decline of marriage following the sexual revolution have destabilised the family life of two generations and have been the source of much unhappiness both for children and parents. We have lamented these trends often enough on MercatorNet, and a new movie dramatises the pain of divorce in wrenching detail.

But there is another, true and encouraging story about divorce – not the much bruited “good divorce” but the fact that divorce is in a four-decade decline, and family stability indicators are ticking up.

Writing in USA Today before Christmas family scholar Brad Wilcox and Institute for Family Studies blog editor Alysse Elhage highlighted three positive trends in the US: the continuing decline of divorce; falling births to unmarried women; and a rising share of children being raised by married parents. Divorce, in fact, has been falling since its peak in 1980 and is predicted to decline further.

At the same time British family advocate and researcher Harry Benson reported that marriages are lasting longer in the UK. Including couples who marry overseas, he finds that for marriages starting today, the median duration before divorce or death would be 40 years, not the 30 years estimated by the Office for National Statistics, let alone the oft-quoted “12 years”, which is the average duration of marriages ending in divorce, not all marriages.

So, what’s going on?

Divorce is down: Benson says almost all the decline in divorce in the UK is due to fewer wives wanting out of their marriage. In the absence of social pressure to marry, he suggests, men in particular are becoming more intentional about it. “More committed men means fewer unhappy wives filing for divorce.”

According to Wilcox and Elhage, it’s because modern marriage is about children:

Surveys tell us that Americans are less tolerant of divorce today. That’s in large part because, as family scholar Richard Reeves put it, “Modern marriage is not principally about money, sex, or status. It’s about children.” Today’s married couples seem to invest more in staying together, unlike the Boomers who were obsessed with their own fulfillment in the ’70s,offering their children a better shot a more stable family life and future.

Children following marriage: Non-marital births have been falling for nearly a decade in the US, the American writers note:

The rate of nonmarital childbearing has fallen from 41.% in 2009 to 39.6% in 2018. We think what has happened, in part, is that young adults in America have become more cautious in the wake of the Great Recession about forming families and, hence, are less likely to leap into parenthood without a ring on their finger.

 

Intact families: The share of US children being raised by their own married parents seems to have bottomed out, rising from 61.8 percent in 2014 to 62.6 percent in 2019, say Wilcox and Elhage, who expect the trend to continue. They add:

What does all this mean for American children? Children raised by their married parents enjoy a host of life-long benefits compared to children born into other family forms, including more financial stability, greater physical safety, more involved fathers, and greater educational, social and psychological outcomes.

This might not be the marriage story Hollywood wants to tell, but it’s a true story and young people have a right to hear it at home, in church, school and on social media, for their own sakes and that of the next generation.

COLUMN BY

CAROLYN MOYNIHAN

Carolyn Moynihan is deputy editor of MercatorNet.

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EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet 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.

COMMENTARY BY

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.

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

Are AR-15 Rifles a Public Safety Threat? Here’s What the Data Say.

Is it true that the AR-15, a popular firearm owned by millions of Americans, is a unique threat to public safety?


From Parkland, Florida, to San Bernardino, California, the semi-automatic AR-15 rifle and its variants have seemingly become the weapons of choice for mass shooters in the United States.

Many people simply cannot believe that regular civilians should be able to legally own so-called “weapons of war,” which they believe should only be in the hands of the military.

According to Pew Research, for example, 81 percent of Democrats and even 50 percent of Republicans believe the federal government should ban “assault-style rifles” like the AR-15. Given the massive amount of carnage AR-15s and similar rifles have caused, it makes sense that the civilian population simply cannot be trusted to own such weapons, right?

Perhaps, but is it really true that the AR-15, a popular firearm owned by millions of Americans, is a unique threat to public safety, so dangerous that it deserves to be banned or even confiscated by the federal government?

It cannot be emphasized enough that any homicide is a tragedy, but in order to get a sense of how dangerous to public safety “assault-style” rifles are, it’s useful to compare their usage in homicide to other methods.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are the two authoritative sources for homicide statistics in the United States.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the CDC reports “produce more accurate homicide trends at the national level” because they capture less under-reporting than the FBI statistics.

However, the homicide data recorded by the CDC includes all homicides committed by civilians regardless of criminal intent. The FBI data instead focuses on intentional homicides (i.e murder) known to law enforcement and excludes non-negligent homicide (i.e manslaughter.)

According to the BJS, the FBI data is “better suited for understanding the circumstances surrounding homicide incidents.” This is especially true given that the FBI, but not the CDC, records the type of firearm used in a given homicide. For the purposes of this analysis, the data from the FBI will be used.

There are two further limitations of FBI data worth noting.

Firstly, the FBI reports do not look at “assault-style” rifles specifically, but rather, murders involving all types of rifles, whether they are committed with an AR-15 or a hunting rifle.

Secondly, each year there are a few thousand homicide cases where the type of firearm used goes unreported to the FBI. This means that some murders listed under “unknown firearm” may, in fact, be rifle murders.

To account for this under-reporting, we will extrapolate from rifles’ share of firearm murders where the type of weapon is known in order to estimate the number of “unknown” firearms that were in actuality rifle homicides.

If we take the time to look at the raw data provided by the FBI, we find that all rifles, not just “assault-style rifles,” constitute on average 340 homicides per year from 2007 through 2017 (see Figure 1.). When we adjust these numbers to take under-reporting into account, that number rises to an average of 439 per year.

Figure 2 compares rifle homicides to homicides with other non-firearm weapons. Believe it or not, between 2007 and 2017, nearly 1,700 people were murdered with a knife or sharp object per year. That’s almost four times the number of people murdered by an assailant with any sort of rifle.

Figure 1. The Relative and Absolute Frequency of Rifle Homicides 2007-2017

Figure 2. Homicides per year by weapon 2007 – 2017

In any given year, for every person murdered with a rifle, there are 15 murdered with handguns, 1.7 with hands or fists, and 1.2 with blunt instruments. In fact, homicides with any sort of rifle represent a mere 3.2 percent of all homicides on average over the past decade.

Given that the FBI statistics pertain to all rifles, the homicide frequency of “assault-style” rifles like the AR-15 is necessarily lesser still, as such firearms compose a fraction of all the rifles used in crime.

According to a New York Times analysis, since 2007, at least “173 people have been killed in mass shootings in the United States involving AR-15s.”

That’s 173 over a span of a decade, with an average of 17 homicides per year. To put this in perspective, consider that at this rate it would take almost one-hundred years of mass shootings with AR-15s to produce the same number of homicide victims that knives and sharp objects produce in one year.

With an average of 13,657 homicides per year during the 2007-2017 timeframe, about one-tenth of one percent of homicides were produced by mass shootings involving AR-15s.

Mass shootings involving rifles like the AR-15 can produce dozens of victims at one time, and combined with extensive media coverage of these events, many people have been led to believe that such rifles pose a significant threat to public safety.

However, such shootings are extremely rare, and a look at the FBI data informs us that homicide with these types of rifles represents an extremely small fraction of overall homicide violence. Banning or confiscating such firearms from the civilian population would likely produce little to no reduction in violent crime rates in America.

Image courtesy of Gun Holsters and Gear.

COLUMN BY

Being Classically Liberal

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The 20 Biggest Advances in Tech Over the Last 20 Years

Despite what you may read in the newspapers or see on TV, humans continue to reach new heights of prosperity.


Another decade is over. With the 2020s upon us, now is the perfect time to reflect on the immense technological advancements that humanity has made since the dawn of the new millennium.

This article explores, in no particular order, 20 of the most significant technological advancements we have made in the last 20 years.

  1. Smartphones: Mobile phones existed before the 21st century. However, in the past 20 years, their capabilities have improved enormously. In June 2007, Apple released the iPhone, the first touchscreen smartphone with mass-market appeal. Many other companies took inspiration from the iPhone. As a consequence, smartphones have become an integral part of day-to-day life for billions of people around the world. Today, we take pictures, navigate without maps, order food, play games, message friends, listen to music, etc. all on our smartphones. Oh, and you can also use them to call people.
  2. Flash Drives: First sold by IBM in 2000, the USB flash drive allows you to easily store files, photos or videos with a storage capacity so large that it would be unfathomable just a few decades ago. Today, a 128GB flash drive, available for less than $20 on Amazon, has more than 80,000 times the storage capacity of a 1.44MB floppy disk, which was the most popular type of storage disk in the 1990s.
  3. Skype: Launched in August 2003, Skype transformed the way that people communicate across borders. Before Skype, calling friends or family abroad cost huge amounts of money. Today, speaking to people on the other side of the world, or even video calling with them, is practically free.
  4. Google: Google’s search engine actually premiered in the late 1990s, but the company went public in 2004, leading to its colossal growth. Google revolutionized the way that people search for information online. Every hour there are more than 228 million Google searches. Today Google is part of Alphabet Inc., a company that offers dozens of services such as translations, Gmail, Docs, Chrome web browser, and more.
  5. Google Maps: In February 2005, Google launched its mapping service, which changed the way that many people travel. With the app available on virtually all smartphones, Google Maps has made getting lost virtually impossible. It’s easy to forget that just two decades ago, most travel involved extensive route planning, with paper maps nearly always necessary when venturing to unfamiliar places.
  6. Human Genome Project: In April 2003, scientists successfully sequenced the entire human genome. Through the sequencing of our roughly 23,000 genes, the project shed light on many different scientific fields, including disease treatment, human migration, evolution, and molecular medicine.
  7. YouTube: In May 2005, the first video was uploaded to what today is the world’s most popular video-sharing website. From Harvard University lectures on quantum mechanics and favorite T.V. episodes to “how-to” tutorials and funny cat videos, billions of pieces of content can be streamed on YouTube for free.
  8. Graphene: In 2004, researchers at the University of Manchester became the first scientists to isolate graphene. Graphene is an atom-thin carbon allotrope that can be isolated from graphite, the soft, flaky material used in pencil lead. Although humans have been using graphite since the Neolithic era, isolating graphene was previously impossible. With its unique conductive, transparent, and flexible properties, graphene has enormous potential to create more efficient solar panels, water filtration systems, and even defenses against mosquitos.
  9. Bluetooth: While Bluetooth technology was officially unveiled in 1999, it was only in the early 2000s that manufacturers began to adopt Bluetooth for use in computers and mobile phones. Today, Bluetooth is featured in a wide range of devices and has become an integral part of many people’s day-to-day lives.
  10. Facebook: First developed in 2004, Facebook was not the first social media website. Due to its simplicity to use, however, Facebook quickly overtook existing social networking sites like Friendster and Myspace. With 2.41 billion active users per month (almost a third of the world’s population), Facebook has transformed the way billions of people share news and personal experiences with one another.
  11. Curiosity, the Mars Rover: First launched in November 2011, Curiosity is looking for signs of habitability on Mars. In 2014, the rover uncovered one of the biggest space discoveries of this millennium when it found water under the surface of the red planet. Curiosity’s work could help humans become an interplanetary species in just a few decades’ time.
  12. Electric Cars: Although electric cars are not a 21st-century invention, it wasn’t until the 2000s that these vehicles were built on a large scale. Commercially available electric cars, such as the Tesla Roadster or the Nissan Leaf, can be plugged into any electrical socket to charge. They do not require fossil fuels to run. Although still considered a fad by some, electric cars are becoming ever more popular, with more than 1.5 million units sold in 2018.
  13. Driverless Cars: In August 2012, Google announced that its automated vehicles had completed over 300,000 miles of driving, accident-free. Although Google’s self-driving cars are the most popular at the moment, almost all car manufacturers have created or are planning to develop automated cars. Currently, these cars are in testing stages, but provided that the technology is not hindered by overzealous regulations, automated cars will likely be commercially available in the next few years.
  14. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC): With its first test run in 2013, the LHC became the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator. It’s also the world’s largest single machine. The LHC allows scientists to run experiments on some of the most complex theories in physics. Its most important finding so far is the Higgs-Boson particle. The discovery of this particle lends strong support to the “standard model of particle physics,” which describes most of the fundamental forces in the universe.
  15. AbioCor Artificial Heart: In 2001, the AbioCor artificial heart, which was created by the Massachusetts-based company AbioMed, became the first artificial heart to successfully replace a human heart in heart transplant procedures. The AbioCor artificial heart powers itself. Unlike previous artificial hearts, it doesn’t need intrusive wires that heighten the likelihood of infection and death.
  16. 3D Printing: Although 3D printers as we know them today began in the 1980s, the development of cheaper manufacturing methods and open-source software contributed to a 3D printing revolution over the last two decades. Today, 3D printers are being used to print spare parts, whole houses, medicines, bionic limbs, and even entire human organs.
  17. Amazon Kindle: In November 2007, Amazon released the Kindle. Since then, a plethora of e-readers has changed the way millions of people read. Thanks to e-readers, people don’t need to carry around heavy stacks of books, and independent authors can get their books to an audience of millions of people without going through a publisher.
  18. Stem Cell Research: Previously the stuff of science fiction, stem cells (i.e., basic cells that can become almost any type of cell in the body) are being used to grow, among other things, kidney, lung, brain, and heart tissue. This technology will likely save millions of lives in the coming decades as it means that patients will no longer have to wait for donor organs or take harsh medicines to treat their ailments.
  19. Multi-Use Rockets: In November and December of 2015, two separate private companies, Blue Origin and SpaceX, successfully landed reusable rockets. This development greatly cheapens the cost of getting to space and brings commercial space travel one step closer to reality.
  20. Gene Editing: In 2012, researchers from Harvard University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Broad Institute each independently discovered that a bacterial immune system known as CRISPR could be used as a gene-editing tool to change an organism’s DNA. By cutting out pieces of harmful DNA, gene-editing technology will likely change the future of medicine and could eventually eradicate some major diseases.

However you choose to celebrate this new year, take a moment to think about the immense technological advancements of the last 20 years, and remember that despite what you may read in the newspapers or see on TV, humans continue to reach new heights of prosperity.

This article was reprinted from Human Action.

COLUMN BY

Alexander Hammond

Alexander C. R. Hammond is a researcher at a Washington D.C. think tank and Senior Fellow for African Liberty. He is also a Young Voices contributor and frequently writes about economic freedom, African development, and globalization.

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