Tag Archive for: The Courts

Expert: Louisiana’s Ten Commandments Law Is Grounded in History and the Constitution

Following the recent passage of a bill in Louisiana that requires the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public school classroom, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other left-wing legal groups filed suit in federal court on Monday to block the measure. But legal experts say that the new Louisiana law should withstand legal challenges in light of American history and constitutional law.

The following is a transcript of “Washington Watch” guest host Jody Hice’s interview with Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. It has been edited for length and grammar.


HICE: When it comes to constitutional law and our country’s founders, it’s well documented. They had a good understanding of the Ten Commandments being the basis for our laws and our legal system. So with that backdrop, why would someone oppose public school students from gaining a better understanding and appreciation of the foundational documents that our states and our national government really relies upon when it comes to legal matters and how we stand?

STAVER: The ACLU and groups like Freedom From Religion Foundation, they have an agenda, and that is to wipe away anything that has a Judeo-Christian heritage or history. And certainly the Ten Commandments predate America. I wrote a booklet called “The Ten Commandments in American Law and Government” going through all 10 of the commandments, and I did this based on litigation, where we were defending the Ten Commandments displays all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. Since 2005, when the Supreme Court issued some decisions on this issue, we’ve never lost a Ten Commandments case, whether it’s a standalone case or it’s a case in the context of other legal documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Magna Carta, and so forth.

If you go back to the Ten Commandments prior to even the founding of America, they have for thousands of years influenced law and government societies and certainly had a big influence in Europe. That influence carried over here in the United States. And that’s why when you go to the United States Supreme Court, the most prominent display of any symbol in this court, inside and outside, is the Ten Commandments, which appears around 50 times both inside and outside the U.S. Supreme Court. Amazingly, the actual official seal of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals — which has been infamously known to be a very activist court — that particular seal has the Ten Commandments as part of it. It is prominent all over the United States. Why? Because it is critically important and influential in American law and government.

In fact, if you go back to many of our early states and in our judiciary laws and many, many court decisions, they actually referenced the Ten Commandments, when we are referring to laws such as theft, murder, being truthful under oath, and so forth. All 10 of the Ten Commandments have been cited as bases for law, like, for example, blasphemy laws [having to do with] libel or defamation in the context of this would be referring to some of the first four of the Ten Commandments — very influential.

What we have seen, however, is back in the 1970s there was an activist Supreme Court. [Monday] we celebrate[d] the overturning of Roe v. Wade from 1973. Well, two years ago this month, the court also overturned the 1971 decision Lemon v. Kurtzman from that liberal ’70s. And it was that decision that caused all kinds of chaos and havoc. But even under that decision of Lemon v. Kurtzman — which distorted the First Amendment, Free Exercise, Establishment Clause, and free speech clauses — even under that, we won time after time after time Ten Commandment cases. Now, with Lemon being overturned as of two years ago, the Supreme Court says we need to go back to a historical approach to the Establishment Clause. And when you do that with the Ten Commandments, that’s exactly why Louisiana took this opportunity to pass this law. They are on very good legal standing.

HICE: So you feel good with the language that they’ve put into this? As I understand, they’re referencing some U.S. Supreme Court rulings, as you just mentioned, in the language that they have. Why is this case going to be so important?

STAVER: Well, I think it’s very important because it’s one of the first cases post the overturning of Lemon v. Kurtzman in 2022 that actually addresses a religious symbol. Now, we’ve had other cases involving free speech. Our case that was part of overturning Lemon was the Shurtleff v. City of Boston, where they used Lemon to censor private Christian viewpoints. The other case was the Coach [Joe] Kennedy case. Those two combined together, they used Lemon to censor private viewpoints. But Lemon is gone, it’s over. It can no longer be cited. It was cited or referenced 7,000 times in law review articles, and now it’s history. Now we go back to a historical approach. And what the Tennessee legislature did is they actually cited cases such as the Van Orden v. Perry case that came out of Texas that upheld that standalone monument.

But even greater than that is this new sea change. We certainly remember that Roe was overturned two years ago [Monday], which was a huge change in 51 years of bad Supreme Court precedent. And now we’re focused on a historical approach to the First Amendment that is huge, not only for the Ten Commandments in public schools or the Ten Commandments in public places, but nativity scenes and other kinds of expression of religious, particularly Christian, viewpoints, whether they’re Bible clubs or churches. We have more freedom now than we had two years ago, and we need to exercise that freedom. And that’s what we’re seeing in this law. I think we will see many states follow the lead of this particular development.

HICE: We hear a lot about the “Lemon test.” Can you explain what is meant by that phrase, but also just how huge this whole reversal of Lemon is. Let’s begin with what’s meant by the Lemon test.

STAVER: Yeah, it comes from a 1971 case called Lemon v. Kurtzman. And in that case, the Supreme Court developed three tests to determine whether something violates the First Amendment Establishment Clause. And in doing so, they distorted and twisted the First Amendment. So this is the beginning of the ’70s activism. You have ’71 on Lemon. You have ’73 on abortion. You have ’77 with regard to protection for people of faith in the workplace, and that was overturned one year ago. Then you had ’78 the affirmative action admissions to colleges and universities, all from the ’70s activist court because they didn’t like faith, they didn’t like Christianity, they were pro-death. And they had a very liberal activist bent.

So Lemon v. Kurtzman was a case that was used to develop a three-part test. And that test was used to allow a lot of subjectivity. For example, a nativity scene could be constitutional if it was set up by the government, like if the city wanted to have their own nativity display, but it depended upon how many other secular symbols of the holiday were in that display. And it also depended upon how close they were. Was Santa Claus close enough to the nativity scene? Was a Christmas tree secular, or was it sacred? Was it close in proximity to the nativity scene? And sometimes you’d have to get out your measuring stick to decide whether or not this is constitutional. It is really nonsensical. So it allowed a lot of judges to wield autocratic authority based upon their own ideology, to strike down a religious display or to uphold it. I remember a situation where the Ten Commandments was literally etched on the courthouse wall in Philadelphia, and during a lower court decision which struck it down, they covered it while it was up on appeal. And thank God, the Court of Appeals reversed it. But they were going to literally chisel that off the outside of this courthouse where it had been there for decades and decades if the Court of Appeals went the wrong way. So that’s the kind of nonsense that we face now.

Thank goodness we’re looking at the First Amendment from its historical meaning and purpose. And when you look at that in context, the Ten Commandments, more than any other document through thousands of years, but certainly in America, have influenced our American law and government. We don’t have our laws that we have now absent the Ten Commandments. They clearly grew out of the Ten Commandments and were shaped by the Ten Commandments. So no wonder why it would be an appropriate display in schools as well as in public places. And that’s why we’ve seen it in so many different locations.

But they would rather keep the Ten Commandments — about not murdering, not stealing, honoring God, honoring your parents — they’d rather keep that from their view while they indoctrinate them and make people protesters and anti-American. I think this is a great move by Louisiana, and I think it will be upheld. Certainly we will file an amicus brief in support. We have lots and lots and lots of research. I was amazed when we delved into it back in the early 2000 as to how much the Ten Commandments literally have shaped our American law and government. We would not be the same country without the Ten Commandments.

HICE: I’m sure the ACLU’s argument will be you can’t be cramming your morality down the minds of these children. But this is more than that. They are cramming their immorality down the minds of our children with their LGBT ideology. But you bring up the whole historical role of the Ten Commandments and how they have played such an enormous role in the founding of our country and our legal system.

STAVER: Yeah, they really have. It is really surprising when you go into the United States Supreme Court. When you walk in up the big steps to go into the Supreme Court, every fifth symbol is the profile of Moses with the Ten Commandments. When you walk in the double doors, the Ten Commandments are etched on both double doors — a lot of times you don’t see it because the doors are open when you walk in. When you sit in the pew and you exit, the Ten Commandments are at eye level on each pew, both to the right and to the left. The Ten Commandments is the only document that actually is written inside the Supreme Court, and on the outside of the Supreme Court in the back of the building, Moses occupies the very central seat holding the Ten Commandments, with all the other lawgivers looking up to him. And that is because the Supreme Court building was created in the 1930s. But when you go through our country, to places like the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is 100+ years old. And that’s why it’s there on the seal. It’s a court of law, and the shorthand of that is the Ten Commandments.

In fact, if you go on a Google search for different kinds of research and you type in “Ten Commandments of” and an ellipsis, it’ll pull up tens of thousands of documents that will say something like “the Ten Commandments of gardening,” “the Ten Commandments of building a better house,” “the Ten Commandments of fixing your roof.” Why is that? Because the Ten Commandments have been shorthand for a rule of law. So we use it in a practical sense, but we’ve used it in a government sense and in a legal sense. It literally has shaped everything about our legal and governmental system in the United States, and not just in the United States, but throughout Europe and throughout millennia of human history.

HICE: Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, I can’t thank you enough. Liberty Counsel has done so much on this issue and so many other issues as well. We all just say thank you for your leadership and the incredible work of Liberty Counsel as well.

AUTHOR

TWS Staff Report

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Christian Court Victory, Biden Abandons Americans, and More: 5 Stories You Missed

The news this week focused on a glut of truly momentous stories: President Donald Trump’s norms-breaking conviction, Joe Biden’s loophole-ridden executive actions at the border, and Biden’s attempt to draft D-Day veterans into his war to maintain the White House. But a week of consequential news often drowns out genuinely significant developments, as well.

This week, that included a transgender theorist’s admission that her work does target children, the unreported facts behind this week’s “strong” jobs report, the U.S. government’s war against a Christian business, a touching act of charity as a wounded politician publicly forgives his would-be assassin, and Joe Biden’s abandonment of Americans in yet another theater of combat.

1. A Christian business wins a small tag-of-war with the Biden administration.

As President Joe Biden used the venerable surviving veterans of D-Day as a backdrop for a domestic-themed speech, Christian businesses fought his administration’s attempts to deny the unalienable constitutional rights those veterans fought to preserve.

Shields of Strength began producing replicas of Army, Air Force, and Marines dog tags, inscribed with a Bible verse, in 2012. Their work brought comfort and solace to those killed in America’s decades-long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as Family Research Council President Tony Perkins described in 2020:

“Her son, Sgt. Cole Wixom, was killed on duty — almost one year ago today. His body was flown home to Michigan a week later, but along the way, his mom says, someone gave the soldier accompanying his remains a dog tag with a Bible verse on it. In a letter, [Wixom’s mother, Robyn] tells Kenny Vaughan, the founder of Shields of Strength, that she’s ‘worn it ever since, along with the dog tag that was attached to his coffin. I can barely see the writing anymore. It’s tarnished, but I know what it says. It says, “I will be strong and courageous. I will not be afraid. I will not be discouraged.” You have no idea,’ the grieving mom said, ‘what this little piece of metal has meant to me…’”

Comforting the grieving proved too great an offense for the atheist activists at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which claimed the dog tags “poison[ed] the constitutionally mandated separation of Church and State.” In 2019, the Army withdrew its permission for the Christian company to recreate the faith-themed dog tags. They were followed by the Marines. Soon, the Department of Defense accused the company of trademark infringement.

This week, the Christian business cut a small hole through the enemy’s lines. With the help of First Liberty Institute, the business argued the Pentagon’s actions violated the freedom of speech rights recognized by the First Amendment. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, allowed the company’s First Amendment case to proceed.

It’s a small victory, but true warriors know: Small victories lead to great triumphs. Yet the company should not have to prevail in court: The federal government can reverse its fear-filled attempt to placate secular maximalists and rescind its objections. The Biden administration should end its war against Christian retailers as precipitously as it did its war against Afghan terrorists.

2. Transgender theorist: Actually, we do groom children.

This Tuesday, during a little-viewed presentation, two largely obscure academics blurted out one of the most noteworthy if inadvertent confessions in the history of the transgender movement.

The moment came during an exchange between queer theorists Judith Butler of Berkeley and Judith “Jack” Halberstam of Columbia. Halberstam opened their conversation, hosted by Pioneer Works and Dia Art Foundation, by condemning a “strange set of accusations that people who believe in [extreme] gender [ideology] are trying to destroy the family [or] they are pedophiles themselves.”

Halberstam and Butler then proceeded to admit, in essence, many of their foes’ accusations are true.

“I was identified as representing gender ideology and a threat to children. My work would indoctrinate them. Or my work would license pedophilia. Or my work and the work of gender more broadly would teach them how to become homosexual or teach them they must become homosexual,” groused Butler.

“Which is kinda true,” replied Halberstam, who giggled as Butler cracked a smile. “Kinda worked, yeah!”

Butler confessed, “Of course, we know Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick said, ‘Yes, we do teach that!’ And that is one answer. If that is your desire, and you’re looking for ways to live according to that desire, come along, and we’ll make that easier for you.”

She proceeded to deny that, “as a group, people who advocate policy or teaching Gender Studies are in favor of indoctrination or unwanted seduction. In fact, we spend most of our time criticizing both.”

Charges that LGBTQ theory will erode basic societal guards against pedophilia are “a projection of ‘the Church’” trying to find evidence of its own crimes in those they [sic] wish to persecute.”

“This is how priests confess,” Butler averred.

In reality, Butler has personally written that it may “be necessary to rethink the prohibition on incest,” since “incest [is] necessarily traumatic.” Moreover, laws banning incest make it more difficult to realize “lesbian and gay forms of parenting.” As such, laws against incest may become the “instrument of a violation.” In her 2004 book “Undoing Gender,” Butler wrote:

“I do think that there are probably forms of incest that are not necessarily traumatic or which gain their traumatic character by virtue of the consciousness of social shame that they produce. … One of the symbolic consequences of the law [against incest] so formulated is precisely the derealization of lesbian and gay forms of parenting, single-mother households, blended family arrangements in which there may be more than one mother or father … It is important to note that not all forms of incest are necessarily traumatic … It might, then, be necessary to rethink the prohibition on incest as that which sometimes protects against a violation, and sometimes becomes the very instrument of a violation” (pp. 157-160).

Examples of LGBTQ literature glorifying adult-child sexual relations became so numerous that scholar Mary Eberstadt categorized them in a 1996 article titled “Pedophilia Chic.” Among them is Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues,” possibly the play that has enjoyed the single greatest amount of adulation from Gender Studies departments. In its original form, Ensler’s play featured a positive portrayal of a 24-year-old woman raping a 13-year-old girl. (The child’s age was subsequently raised to the still-illegal age of 16.) Similarly positive portrayals of pedophilia occur in Jonathan Evison’s “Lawn Boy,” a book in many school libraries, which contains a boy fondly reminiscing about performing fellatio on a grown man.

Butler’s hero, Gayle Rubin, defended child pornography and “boylovers” in her 1984 essay, “Thinking Sex,” in which Rubin wrote, “The laws produced by the child porn panic are ill-conceived and misdirected.” For example, “some child pornography laws prohibit even the private possession of any sexual material involving minors.”

Rubin’s inverted moral compass depicted police as viciously devouring adult men who happen to have sex with underage boys:

“Like communists and homosexuals in the 1950s, boylovers are so stigmatized that it is difficult to find defenders for their civil liberties, let alone for their erotic orientation. Consequently, the police have feasted on them.”

Critiquing laws that prevent adults from sexually exploiting minors’ vulnerable mental state, Rubin believed children could be sexualized “in a caring and responsible manner”:

“The law is especially ferocious in maintaining the boundary between childhood ‘innocence’ and ‘adult’ sexuality. Rather than recognizing the sexuality of the young, and attempting to provide for it in a caring and responsible manner, our culture denies and punishes erotic interest and activity by anyone under the local age of consent. The amount of law devoted to protecting young people from premature exposure to sexuality is breath-taking.”

Rubin’s ideology would infect queer theory root-and-branch. Ten years after these words were written, Judith Butler interviewed Gayle Rubin, telling Rubin, “[Y]ou set the methodology for feminist theory, then the methodology for lesbian and gay studies.”

3. About that ‘strong’ jobs report ….

President Joe Biden continues to build a strong economy for illegal aliens and their employers.

The legacy media described the May 2024 jobs report as “strong,” a “blowout,” and “much-better-than-expected.” And Biden dubbed it evidence of “the great American comeback.” Those evaluations seem difficult to sustain, since the report actually shows:

  • 299,000 fewer native-born Americans held a job this year compared to last May.
  • 637,000 more foreign-born immigrants (legal or illegal) held a job during the same time period.
  • Bidenomics destroyed 625,000 full-time jobs since April — or 1.16 million year-over-year.
  • The Biden economy produced 286,000 more part-time jobs in one month — or 1.51 million since last May.
  • Consequently, 16,000 more people worked two or more jobs in May than in April — 629,000 more than last May.

Particularly, the benefits reaped by non-citizens does not represent a new trend: U.S. citizens hold fewer jobs today than before the pandemic, while foreign-born workers hold significantly more. “[A]ll post-pandemic job growth, coinciding with the millions of illegal aliens allowed into the country by the Biden administration, has gone to foreign-born workers,” notes the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

A “great American comeback” is precisely what unemployed and under-employed Americans need most.

4. A president forgives his would-be assassin.

One of the unreported stories this week involves a world leader who exercised the Christian virtue of forgiveness on an incalculable scale. On May 15, a gunman shot Robert Fico, president of Slovakia, four times in a failed assassination attempt. On Wednesday, Fico responded.

“It’s time for me to make the first move. And that is forgiveness,” said the wounded president during a 14-minute-long video posted on Facebook. “I feel no hatred towards the stranger who shot me. I will not take any legal action against him, nor will I seek damages compensation.”

“I forgive him,” said Fico. “Let him sort out what he did and why he did it in his own head.”

Such effusive displays of forgiveness have become exceedingly rare in our secularizing world. Fico joins a distinguished list of public officials who let their love of neighbor overcome an attempt on their lives, including:

  • Pope John Paul II, who met his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, in prison, holding his hand.
  • President Ronald Reagan, whom son Michael revealed wanted to meet John Hinckley Jr. in prison in 1981. The former president would publicly express his forgiveness in 1990, saying, “I added him to my prayers that, well, if I wanted healing for myself and maybe he should have some healing for himself.”
  • Former Alabama Governor George Wallace, who wrote a touching letter to Arthur Bremer 23 years after Bremer’s attack left the 1972 presidential hopeful paralyzed. Wallace wrote, “I am a born-again Christian. I love you. I have asked our Heavenly Father to touch your heart, and I hope that you will ask Him for forgiveness of your sin so you can go to heaven like I am going to heaven.”

Fico said the man was “only a messenger of evil and political hatred,” which he accused his political opponents of stoking “to unmanageable proportions.” An official pre-trial detention order records that his attacker, 71-year-old Juraj Cintula, “decided to act,” because he views the Euroskeptic Fico “as a Judas toward the European Union” wants Fico to approve “military assistance to be given to Ukraine.”

Speaking of Ukraine ….

5. Biden abandons U.S. citizens in Ukraine, too.

Although Congress has approved $174.8 billion in aid to Ukraine in two years, the Biden administration is standing idly by while the President Volodymyr Zelensky attempts to draft U.S. citizens into his army.

As the Russian military takes its toll and Ukrainian opposition to prolonging the conflict grows, Zelensky has widened the population he’s drafted into the war effort. Zelensky signed legislation making every man between the ages of 18 and 60 eligible for military conscription. He’s also required every Ukrainian male between the ages of 18 and 60 to register with the government and carry registration documents with them at all times.

How does this affect U.S. citizens? Some Americans hold both U.S. and Ukrainian citizenship. Unfortunately for them, Ukraine does not recognize dual citizenship. Zelensky treats them as potential conscripts.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy essentially told U.S. citizens entangled in Zelensky’s laws that they’re on their own:

“U.S.-Ukrainian dual citizens are therefore treated solely as Ukrainian citizens while in Ukraine and are subject to the rights and obligations of Ukrainian citizens. Under Ukraine’s martial law, men between the ages of 18 and 60 are not permitted to leave the country. Previously, dual U.S.-Ukrainian citizens in this group could enter and then depart Ukraine if they had deregistered their Ukrainian residency and registered their U.S. residency. According to our information, this exception was revoked as of June 1.”

As a result, “There is an extremely high risk you will not be allowed to depart, even with a U.S. passport.”

“The U.S. Embassy is limited in our ability to influence Ukrainian law,” said the memo.

A casual observer might believe the United States has $175 billion worth of influence over Ukrainian law, which it might exert on behalf of its own people. Instead, Biden personally apologized to Zelensky that the U.S. democratic process helped up aid delivery to his country. The apology came as his government announced it would send $225 million more U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Zelensky government. Zelensky, in turn, criticized the U.S. and other nations for not training Ukrainian pilots to fly the U.S.-provided F-16s faster.

Biden’s ill-executed withdrawal from Afghanistan left thousands of Americans trapped by the Taliban. As of this writing, Hamas still holds eight U.S. citizens hostage in Gaza. The first American hostage freed from Gaza, four-year-old Abigail Mor Edan, is the niece of a Biden donor who purchased one of Hunter Biden’s “artwork.”

This week’s underreported stories show, in war as in the economy, the Biden administration always abandons America first.

Bonus stories:

  • Psst, on Wednesday House Republicans issued criminal referrals for Hunter Biden and the president’s brother, James Biden, for allegedly lying to Congress. Curiously few legacy media outlets chose to juxtapose President Trump’s conviction with the legal troubles of his opponent’s family.
  • After years of denialism, The New York Times ran an op-ed on Monday titled, “Why the Pandemic Probably Started in a Lab, in 5 Key Points.”
  • On Tuesday, 500 non-U.S. citizens voted in the District of Columbia’s elections.
  • Democratic Rep. Gabe Vasquez (N.M.) used an anti-black slur in a phone call to his former employer in 2004.
  • New Jersey Democrats voted for a dead man in Tuesday’s primary. Although former Rep. Ronald Payne Jr. died of a heart attack in April, he won his party’s nomination this week.
  • Joe Biden has threatened to veto funding for America’s veterans, because House Republicans stripped out funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs to carry out abortions, promote transgender procedures, and promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

AUTHOR

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Johnson: Dems ‘Pushed the Pendulum Too Far’ with Trump, It’s ‘Backfiring’

Washington, D.C. has been unusually drama-free with Congress scattered for the Memorial Day break. Of course, New York was more than happy to pick up the slack with its sham trial against former President Donald Trump — a prosecution, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) warned Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, that’s put our entire country at “a crisis point.”

The Republican leader, like so many conservatives, has watched the proceedings with alarm, understanding all too well the political volatility that might result. “I’m hearing a lot of frustration, and I’m hearing dismay,” Johnson said on “This Week on the Hill.” “You know, people are losing faith in our institutions across the board,” he warned, “… not the least of which is our system of justice.” Frankly, the speaker pointed out, this whole charade “is a serious threat to a constitutional republic. … And I think we’re at a crisis point, because people see what is happening here.”

The facts are clear, Johnson insisted. Americans “see that President Trump is quite obviously being targeted because he is the nominee of the Republican Party for president, and he is a threat to them. He’s leading in the polls, as we mentioned earlier; he’s leading in the swing states — almost all of them now against President Biden. And they’re terrified that he’ll be reelected, the radical Left. And so what do they do? They use the justice system to go after him, try to diminish him, try to keep him off the campaign trail, and do real damage to his chances to win back the White House. I don’t think it’s going to work … but I do think it’s doing serious — and hopefully, not permanent — damage to the people’s faith and our system of justice.”

On the flip side, the case has certainly seemed to galvanize Republicans, who sent the former president a resounding message of support with their dollars after the guilty verdict. In a stunning windfall, Trump’s campaign headquarters said it was inundated with contributions after the 45th president was convicted of 34 felonies. The $53 million haul shattered records, nearly matching what the GOP candidate had raised in the last six months of 2023. And according to two of Trump’s advisors, “This momentum is just getting started.”

And that’s exactly what should worry Democrats. “In a funny kind of way,” former Speaker Newt Gingrich argued, this whole conviction may “backfire on the Left and leave them, I think, weaker than they were if they never [had] gone down this road.” He’s right, according to ABC, who found Trump’s favorability actually increased after the verdict. Across a large swath of the country, he pointed out, “I think people just looked up and said, ‘This is now so sick that I have to get involved.’”

Johnson, who’s been in 112 cities since last October, can testify to that. In his conversation with Perkins, he pointed to one of the biggest signs of momentum for Trump, which is the “enthusiasm gap” between conservatives and the Left. “The Republican Party is animated. And the more … the Democrats try to abuse our justice system and engage in lawfare against our nominee, President Trump, the more energy and enthusiasm there is in the Republican base. It actually is [boomeranging] on them pretty fantastically.”

Then, of course, there are all the actual problems from the last three years of Biden’s policies — “the economy, the cost of living, the rising of crime rates, the open border” — each failure digging the hole deeper for this White House. “I mean, every issue hits home to people,” the speaker insisted. “And I think that the Republicans and an increasing number of other demographics that have never been reliably Republican — [the] Hispanic community, African American community, the Jewish community — I think they’re going to come out and vote in droves for the Republican side, and they’re going to return the levers of power in Washington back to our side, because they desperately need and deserve answers to all these great challenges, and we’re going to supply them.”

In the meantime, Johnson is celebrating the news that Republicans have reinforcements in the form of Vince Fong, who’s taking Kevin McCarthy’s seat from California. “He will bring our Republican majority back to 218 votes. So I will double my majority,” he half-joked. “I can’t wait.”

It will certainly be helpful to the GOP, which has its work cut out for itself in the six-month ramp-up to the election. “When we get back after Memorial Day,” Johnson wanted people to know, “we’re going to address this [anti-Israel] International Criminal Court madness that we talked about. Congress will move on our legislation, and then we’ll shift immediately into and concurrently be working on our appropriations cycle. We’re trying to get our 12 separate appropriations bills done. We have a very aggressive schedule now through the end of July to move that through the process. It takes a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of work,” he underscored.

But jumping back into the work of the American people will also help Johnson’s party paint a stark contrast to what the Left is focused on: jailing Trump. “I mean, as fed-up as everyone is with virtually everything right now, every metric of public policy having been destroyed by the Biden administration, people are very optimistic that we can turn this around. They really are. And that’s what the latest polling shows.” The only election ad Democrats are running is a “raw abuse of power.”

As far as the speaker is concerned, the president’s party “pushed the pendulum too far. I think it truly is going to be swinging back in the right direction. … I’m telling you,” Johnson emphasized, “something’s happening out there, and it’s going to be very positive for November.”

AUTHOR

Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

RELATED ARTICLE: Alvin Bragg Wants Trump To Stay Under Gag Order Even After Conviction

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

‘We’re a Nation in Decline’: Jury Convicts Trump in N.Y. Trial

After having spent over a month on trial in a Manhattan courtroom and off the campaign trail, former President Donald Trump was convicted Thursday evening on 34 felony counts in what has been described as a Soviet-style political prosecution.

Trump was indicted last year on charges alleging that he had falsified business records in order to use his personal money to pay for a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Ordinarily, falsifying business records is classified as a misdemeanor under New York law; if committed in order to cover up or assist in the commission of another crime, it is elevated to a “Class E” felony. Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg claimed the NDA was a means of unlawfully influencing the 2016 election, thus elevating the charges to a felony and extending the statute of limitations, despite the fact that Trump has not been convicted of unlawfully influencing the 2016 election. This was only one of four sets of indictments levelled against Trump by Democratic prosecutors over the course of 2023.

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York had previously investigated the allegations against Trump and determined that there was not evidence to suggest that Trump understood campaign finance laws or intentionally violated them. No charges were brought against the then-president.

The trial was presided over by Judge Juan Merchan, who had donated to the Biden campaign in 2020 and whose daughter is a political consultant to Democratic candidates and politicians, including Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. Merchan held Trump in criminal contempt and imposed gag orders upon the former president over the course of the trial. When Trump defense attorney Todd Blanche urged the jury to consider whether there is enough evidence to “send someone to prison,” he was reprimanded by Merchan.

As the trial concluded, Merchan delivered at least an hour’s worth of instructions to the jury, which jurors had to request to hear a second time during deliberations due to the length. The judge reminded jurors that, in order to convict, they must unanimously agree that Trump either falsified business records or caused someone else to do so in order to cover up or facilitate a crime, although he told jurors that they did not need to agree on what that crime was or whether Trump was covering it up or facilitating it. At the end of the second day of deliberations, Thursday, the jury convicted Trump on all 34 felony charges.

Conservatives reacted to the news within minutes of the conviction. “This was a disgrace. This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt,” Trump himself stated. “This was a rigged, disgraceful trial. The real verdict is going to be November 5 by the people. And they know what happened here. And everybody knows what happened here.” He continued:

“And it’s okay, I’m fighting for our country. I’m fighting for our Constitution. Our whole country is being rigged right now. This was done by the Biden administration in order to wound or hurt an opponent, a political opponent. And I think it’s just a disgrace. And we’ll keep fighting. We’ll fight till the end, and we’ll win because our country has gone to hell. We don’t have the same country anymore. We have a divided mess. We’re a nation in decline, serious decline, millions and millions of people pouring into our country right now from prisons and from mental institutions, terrorists, and they’re taking over our country. We have a country that’s in big trouble. But this was a rigged decision right from day one, with a conflicted judge who should have never been allowed to try this case. Never. And we will fight for our Constitution. This is long from over. Thank you very much.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins commented, “Our Republic only thrives when justice is blind, it dies when justice is blinded by politics and power. This is a sad day for our Republic.” In an interview with Perkins, Trump ally and renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson called the conviction the result of a “kangaroos court.” He added, “I think the vast majority of people … understand that if we go down this road, we’re done as a fair country. And I think that people will respond appropriately.”

Florida Governor and former U.S. Navy lawyer Ron DeSantis (R) said that the verdict “represents the culmination of a legal process that has been bent to the political will of the actors involved: a leftist prosecutor, a partisan judge and a jury reflective of one of the most liberal enclaves in America — all in an effort to ‘get’ Donald Trump.” He continued, “It is often said that no one is above the law, but it is also true that no one is below the law. If the defendant were not Donald Trump, this case would never have been brought, the judge would have never issued similar rulings, and the jury would have never returned a guilty verdict.” DeSantis concluded, “In America, the rule of law should be applied in a dispassionate, even-handed manner, not become captive to the political agenda of some kangaroo court.”

“The weaponization of our justice system has been a hallmark of the Biden Administration, and the decision today is further evidence that Democrats will stop at nothing to silence dissent and crush their political opponents,” House Speaker and constitutional lawyer Mike Johnson (R-La.) posted on social media. “The American people see this as lawfare, and they know it is wrong—and dangerous. President Trump will rightfully appeal this absurd verdict — and he WILL WIN!” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), former Solicitor General for the state of Texas, called the trial and its conclusion “a grotesque abuse of the justice system,” adding that Merchan’s handling of the trial “diminished the credibility of every judge in the country.”

President Joe Biden, however, celebrated the political prosecution of his opponent. “In New York today, we saw that no one is above the law,” his campaign said in a statement. “[T]oday’s verdict does not change the fact that the American people face a simple reality. There is still only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box.”

But Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., previously a lifelong Democrat, warned, “This will backfire in November. Even worse, it is profoundly undemocratic.” He continued, “America deserves a President who can win at the ballot box without compromising our government’s separation of powers or weaponizing the courts. You can’t save democracy by destroying it first. The Democrats are afraid they will lose in the voting booth, so instead they go after President Trump in the courtroom.” Kennedy added, “The Democratic Party’s strategy is to beat President Trump in the courtroom rather than the ballot box.”

Kennedy’s prediction seems to be accurate so far. Shortly after the verdict, donations to Trump’s presidential campaign began pouring in, reportedly resulting in his campaign’s donations website crashing. One of those who donated to Trump was Shaun Maguire, a Sequoia Capital partner and longtime Democrat. “I just donated $300k to Trump. I’m prepared to lose friends,” Maguire wrote on social media. He noted that he had voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and did not vote in 2020, adding, “Now, in 2024, I believe this is one of the most important elections of my lifetime, and I’m supporting Trump.” The venture capitalist described the “lawfare” campaign Democrats have waged against Trump as “radicalizing,” explaining, “Fairness is one of my guiding principles in life and simply, these cases haven’t been fair for Trump.”

Polling also shows that the Democrats’ “lawfare” campaign against Trump isn’t bolstering blue votes. According to the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, 55% of American voters believe the prosecutions against Trump — including the now-concluded New York trial — are evidence that “Democrats are engaged in using the legal system in biased ways to take out a political opponent.” Additionally, 60% of voters believe that Trump will be judged unfairly because his trials are centered in “heavily Democratic jurisdictions like New York City or Atlanta, Georgia…” Trump would also beat Biden 49% to 43%, with 8% unsure who to vote for, according to the poll. When “unsure” voters are asked who they lean towards, Trump beats Biden 53% to 47%.

A March survey from McLaughlin and Associates concluded that almost 70% of Americans agree that the indictments and prosecutions against Trump are politically motivated, with nearly 60% of voters (including over a third of Democrats) saying that Biden has played a role in targeting Trump. Additionally, nearly 60% of voters (including a third of Democrats) said that they believe that “Joe Biden wants to stop President Trump from winning the election by putting him in jail…”

Following Thursday’s conviction, Trump is slated to be sentenced on July 11 — just four days before delegates will gather at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they are expected to cast their votes for Trump as the Republican presidential nominee. The former president could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison. Trump’s legal team intends to appeal the conviction.

AUTHOR

S.A. McCarthy

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Federal Court Rules in Favor of Catholic School Upholding Biblical View of Marriage

In a decision hailed by religious liberty advocates, a federal court is upholding a Catholic school’s right to require employees to conform to Catholic teachings when it fired a teacher for entering into a same-sex marriage.

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday that a North Carolina Catholic school was within its rights to dismiss Lonnie Billard, a drama teacher and substitute English teacher at Charlotte Catholic High School (CCHS), after he announced he would be marrying another man. The court’s ruling said that “because Billard played a vital role as a messenger of CCHS’s faith,” the school could dismiss him from his position for contradicting Catholic moral teaching.

Billard announced on social media in 2014 that he intended to marry another man, shortly after the state legalized same-sex marriage. In response, CCHS dismissed Billard from his position for violating the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte’s employee policy prohibiting actions contrary to Catholic moral teaching. Billard and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued CCHS, the diocese, and Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools for alleged Title VII violations. A district court ruled in favor of Billard in 2021, but that decision was reversed by Wednesday’s ruling.

Fourth Circuit Court Judge Pamela Harris, an Obama appointee, wrote Wednesday’s majority opinion. She found, “Although CCHS offers separate secular and religious classes, religion infuses daily life at the school.” She noted that the school is expressly devoted to teaching and furthering Catholic principles, citing the school’s motto and mission statement, as well as the diocesan mission statement. “CCHS’s expectations of its teachers extend beyond the classroom,” Harris wrote. “It does not require all its employees to be Catholic. But, Catholic or not, it requires its employees to conform to Catholic teachings: CCHS prohibits employees from engaging in or advocating for conduct contrary to the moral tenets of the Catholic faith, including the Catholic Church’s rejection of same-sex marriage.”

Although Harris said that, as an English and drama teacher, Billard “did not have a responsibility to educate his students explicitly in the Catholic faith,” she did note, “CCHS’s commitment to integrating faith throughout its curriculum meant that Billard had to account for religion in his classes.” CCHS had previously made numerous and even novel legal arguments to defend its actions, but Harris ultimately found that the school’s dismissal of Billard was protected by the “ministerial exception” to Title VII. “Because we conclude that Billard’s role at CCHS was ‘ministerial’ for purposes of the ministerial exception, we resolve the case on that ground,” she wrote.

The ”ministerial exception” bars the application of certain anti-discrimination laws to religious institutions when dealing with the hiring of its “ministers.” Of note, Harris stated, “The ministerial exception does not protect the church alone; it also confines the state and its civil courts to their proper roles.” Noting that certain religion-oriented disputes are beyond the authority of the courts, she wrote, “The First Amendment’s Religion Clauses … ‘bar the government from interfering’ with ministerial employment decisions or involving itself in ecclesiastical matters.” She clarified, “That means civil courts like ours are ‘bound to stay out’ of employment disputes involving ministers — those ‘holding certain important positions with churches and other religious institutions.’” Relying on U.S. Supreme Court precedent, Harris wrote, “We conclude that the school entrusted Billard with ‘vital religious duties,’ making him a ‘messenger’ of its faith and placing him within the ministerial exception.”

In response to the court’s decision, Arielle Del Turco, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council, told The Washington Stand, “It’s encouraging to see this decision from the appellate court. No religious schools should be required to employ individuals whose actions and advocacy violate the school’s core religious beliefs.” She continued, “The main point of sending your child to a religious school is for them to be formed in their faith and taught their classes through the lens of their faith. As such, it’s important for such schools to hire teachers that share and affirm that faith, inside and outside the classroom.”

Meg Kilgannon, Family Research Council’s senior fellow for Education Studies, agreed. “This decision is important for many reasons, but especially for parents and families who are seeking an educational setting outside the home that reflects their faith and values. In our secular society, that is increasingly difficult to find, even in ostensibly Christian organizations,” she told TWS. “Decisions like this one that reaffirm the school’s right to expect and demand agreement with major doctrinal questions are much appreciated. And as a parent, I would hope that Catholic schools would strive to have faithful and practicing Catholic teachers in every class, not just religion class.”

Kilgannon added, “This situation also reminds us of the important relationship teachers have with their students/our children. Even in a substitute teacher setting, the influence of adults on children is profound.” In fact, the court also addressed that point. Harris wrote that a religious institution’s instruction that employees abide by particular religious moral codes does not automatically place all employees within the ministerial exception. But, she added, “teachers are different.” Quoting the Supreme Court, she explained, “’[E]ducating young people in their faith, inculcating its teachings, and training them to live their faith are responsibilities that lie at the very core of the mission of a private religious school’ like CCHS.”

AUTHOR

S.A. McCarthy

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Experts and Polls Agree that Dems’ Lawfare Campaign against Trump Isn’t Helping Biden

Democrats are waging a “lawfare” campaign against former President Donald Trump, but it may actually be hurting Joe Biden’s reelection efforts. According to the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, voters will be largely split if a jury convicts the former president of crimes. If Trump were to be convicted either “of crimes related to his handling of classified presidential documents” or “for RICO in trying to influence the 2020 election results in Georgia,” voters would be split 50% to 50% between Trump and Biden. However, if Trump were to be convicted “for inciting the Capitol riots of January 6th,” he would beat Biden 52% to 48%.

Interestingly, the January iteration of the same poll showed that Trump would win if convicted in the first two cases but lose if convicted in the last. Those numbers shifted seemingly sporadically over the course of February and March, though in neither month did the survey predict a Biden victory. Of note, the number of registered Democrats voting against Trump if convicted “for inciting the Capitol riots of January 6th” dropped from 92% in January to a steady 86% over the past several months.

Mike Davis, founder of originalist constitutional think tank Article 3 Project, spoke on Monday’s episode of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” about Biden’s “lawfare” campaign against Trump. “President Biden’s fingerprints are directly on all four of these criminal prosecutions,” Davis claimed. “This is a criminal conspiracy by President Biden, his White House staff, his attorney general, his Justice Department, and these Democrat AGs in New York and Arizona, and these Democrat [district attorneys] in New York City and Fulton County, Georgia.” He continued, “They are violating the civil rights of President Trump, his co-defendant Walt Nauta, his 18 co-defendants in the Georgia case, these defendants in Arizona — this is a criminal conspiracy to violate their civil rights for the purpose of interfering in the election.”

“They waited 30 months to bring these unprecedented indictments. They timed — they tried to time — these trials back-to-back-to-back in 2024 during the heat of the presidential campaign. They wanted President Trump stuck in a courtroom like they’ve done in New York City,” Davis explained. Referring to how the “lawfare” campaign has impacted the Biden campaign, he added, “Now the rats are swimming back to the ship because it looks like this lawfare is backfiring spectacularly on these Democrats, including President Biden. It’s going to propel President Trump back into the White House, and I don’t think that’s what the Democrats intended.”

According to April’s Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, a majority of voters agreed that the prosecutions leveled against Trump are biased, unfair, and politically-motivated. Fifty-six percent of voters (including 57% of Independent voters and over a quarter of Democrats) said that the prosecutions against Trump are “politically motivated,” up from a steady 54% throughout March, February, and January.

A survey from McLaughlin and Associates, published in March, found that nearly 70% of Americans agree that the indictments and prosecution leveled against Trump are politically motivated, with almost 60% of voters (including almost 40% of Democrats) saying that Biden has played a role in the Trump prosecutions, 52% of voters saying that the “lawfare” campaign is designed to keep the 45th president from returning to the White House, and 56% of voters (including a third of Democrats) saying that Biden is trying “to stop President Trump from winning the election by putting him in jail…”

Other polls suggest that this may be true, with Trump taking a significant lead over Biden. For example, an Emerson College/The Hill survey released on Tuesday shows Trump besting Biden in seven swing states. Trump leads Biden in North Carolina by five points, in Arizona by four points, in Georgia by three points, in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by two points, and in Michigan and Nevada by one point. The survey also found that a plurality of voters across all seven swing states believe the trial being conducted against Trump in New York City “is a witch hunt.” In only one state, Nevada, a narrow majority (51%) of voters said that the trial “is appropriate to hold Trump accountable.” The survey also found that if Trump were convicted in that trial, it would either have “no impact” on voters’ support for Trump or else make them “more likely” to vote for him. One third or fewer of voters responded that they would be “less likely” to vote for Trump if convicted.

Davis predicted that the New York City case, under Democratic District Attorney Alvin Bragg, would be the only case against Trump not tossed out by the courts. “The bottom line is this New York City Bragg case, this dog of a case in New York, may be the only case that gets to trial before the election,” Davis opined, adding, “This is their weakest, dumbest case.” Davis anticipated that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on January 6-related cases would result in the cases that Special Counsel Jack Smith is prosecuting against Trump being dropped, and that the court would further rule that Trump could not be prosecuted for official acts during his presidency.

“The American people are going to put President Trump back in the White House on November 5, 2024,” Davis concluded. “And come January 20, 2025, when he is sworn in, there are going to be severe legal, political, and financial consequences for this Democrat lawfare and election interference. These are republic-ending tactics by the Democrats — and there must be consequences.”

AUTHOR

S.A. McCarthy

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

‘Just a Disaster’: Biden’s Title IX Rule Empowers LGBTQ Movement, Erases Women and Justice

The Biden administration’s revision of a civil rights statute designed to protect women’s rights in education erases women’s protections, rewrites landmark civil rights legislation to advance the LGBT agenda by federal fiat, and waters down legal standards for those falsely accused of sexual harassment.

The Biden administration obliterates the unique rights intended for women and girls by claiming Title IX’s prohibitions of discrimination against females in education apply to men who identify as women — regardless of their outward appearance — as well as those who identify as homosexual. Its “unofficial final rule,” released on April 19, now claims LGBTQIA+ activists may cite protections intended for women to accuse their fellow students of discrimination based on “sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”

The term “gender identity” appears 289 times in the 1,577-page document.

The new rule also requires that these “discrimination” allegations only meet the lowest standard of proof, known as the “preponderance of the evidence.” The rule — announced by Catherine Lhamon, the Education Department’s assistant secretary for civil rights — also establishes “equitable grievance procedures.”

“They have completely demolished protections for women,” Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, told “Washington Watch” guest host Joseph Backholm last week. “It’s just a disaster.” The new proposed rule “impacts speech. It impacts a free and appropriate education.”

In a comment emailed to The Washington Stand, Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Rachel Rouleau called the new rule “a slap in the face to women and girls who have fought long and hard for equal opportunities.” The Biden administration’s “radical redefinition of sex turns back the clock on equal opportunity for women” and “will have devastating consequences on the future of women’s sports, student privacy, and parental rights.”

The Biden administration’s federal fiat — never approved by legislation — rolls back regulations instituted in May 2020 by then-Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos that reestablished legal norms and standards for those accused of sexual harassment.

Obama administration rules — also drawn up by Lhamon, a former ACLU attorney — allowed college sexual harassment investigations to be carried out by a single investigator, who acted as judge and jury. Vague definitions proscribing any “unwelcome conduct,” whether verbal or “nonverbal,” led school districts to punish students for unwelcome staring.

Under the Trump administration’s revised Title IX rules, anyone accused of sexual harassment on campus enjoyed the presumption of innocence, as in any other legal proceeding. The defendant also had the right to know the charges against him or her, examine all the evidence presented in the proceedings, have an adviser cross-examine any witness’s testimony, and appeal the ruling. The administration had to meet the more robust and normative legal standard of “clear and convincing evidence.”

At the time, Lhamon asserted that the Trump administration’s revised guidelines would make it “permissible to rape and sexually harass students with impunity.” No epidemic of unpunished campus rape followed.

The Biden administration’s new Title IX rule eliminates all these elements, which are standard in other consequential accusations.

“The final regulations restore and strengthen vital protections for students,” Biden’s Department of Education contended in a press release Friday.

All parties seem to acknowledge these rules will supercharge the number of sexual harassment cases on campus after it takes effect on August 1. “This rule is designed to encourage reporting,” a Biden administration official told journalists on a call Thursday.

Newly empowered with looser regulations, activist bureaucrats in the federal government, and on college campuses nationwide, “are going to enforce this rule, and they are going to enforce it aggressively,” predicted Kilgannon. “The Education Department laid down their marker and said, ‘Yes, indeed, you will face a penalty for this.’” States that refuse to implement the strategy will “be losing federal funds for your education programs in your state.”

Since more affluent areas, like the D.C. suburbs, rely more on property taxes to fund their schools, the threat of losing federal education dollars falls heaviest on the most vulnerable students living in underprivileged districts. “It is the poorest places who will be most harmed by this, because they rely the most on federal funding,” Kilgannon added.

To avoid running afoul of an activist bureaucracy’s interpretation of the newly broadened rule, education officials may shut down any speech that could turn into litigation, and threaten federal funding.

“This change reverses decades of progress toward equality, open discourse, due process, and parental rights,” observed the Southeastern Legal Foundation. The new rule will cause students to “self-censor rather than risk being reported for harassment” and “significantly undermines the role of parents — who should be the primary caregivers for their children and who are entitled to raise their children to share certain values and beliefs — by requiring conformity to the federal government’s views on biology and so-called gender identity.”

The regulations drew fire from Congress over these specific concerns. “Evidently, the acceptance of biological reality, and the faithful implementation of the law, are just pills too big for the Department to swallow,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee.

The new regulation pulls off a trifecta of administrative harm, as it “attacks the definition of sex, due-process rights, and free-speech rights,” said Inez Feltscher Stepman, a senior policy analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum.

The regulation also continues the decades-long trend of rewriting legislation through executive action. “Title IX was written in 1972 when ‘sex’ meant male and female, and no amount of interpretive jiujitsu permits a cabinet agency to rewrite the plain language of the law. Efforts to do so have failed repeatedly in Congress for one simple reason: Such an expansion of law is deeply unpopular, with opposition to these changes spanning both political and racial lines,” said Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education, in a comment to TWS. Numerous polls have shown a supermajority of Americans oppose the extending of women’s rights to men, regardless of their self-identity.

“It is grotesque that the White House has chosen to capitulate to extremists in his party, sacrificing the First Amendment” in the process, Neily told TWS.

Women’s rights activists promise not to take the loss of their distinct place in the law lying down. “This is going to be the subject of lawsuits,” Kilgannon told Backholm, citing direct knowledge of multiple civil rights attorneys and organizations. Neiley told TWS explicitly, “This betrayal of students will not soon be forgotten by American parents, and we look forward to suing the administration over this policy soon.” Likewise, Rouleau told TWS that the “Alliance Defending Freedom plans to take action to defend female athletes, as well as school districts, teachers, and students who will be gravely harmed by this unlawful government overreach.”

AUTHOR

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Arizona Supreme Court Revives Law Protecting the Unborn

On Tuesday, the Arizona Supreme Court put back in place a 160-year-old ban on abortion, The Wall Street Journal reported. “Abortion in the state has been allowed through 15 weeks of pregnancy under a law that the GOP-controlled Arizona Legislature passed in 2022, shortly before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Abortion opponents and some Republican lawmakers argued that the recent law didn’t override one dating back to 1864 — before Arizona was a state — that banned abortion throughout pregnancy except in lifesaving situations.”

The ruling “agreed that the 19th century law still takes precedence,” WSJ added, but the “court delayed implementation of the ban for at least two weeks to allow for additional legal arguments.” In comments to The Washington Stand, Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, clarified, “The focus for [this decision] is that the Arizona Supreme Court did what justices are supposed to do: they upheld the rule of law. They did not make policy.”

She continued, “Arizona law clearly stated that if Roe v. Wade was overturned, our pre-Roe law would go back into effect. So, today’s decision was a statutory construction. It was not a constitutional one, and it was not a policy decision. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, so it’s very important to emphasize that this … is how we want judges to rule.”

Herrod went on to share how a proposed amendment called the Arizona Right to Abortion Initiative could nullify the court decision. “That amendment does not reflect Arizona values or where Arizonans are on the issue of abortion,” she contended. The amendment would “bring in unrestricted and unregulated abortion,” she emphasized. “It would overturn most — if not all — of Arizona’s pro-life laws. It would not require doctors to be part of the woman’s decision, examination, or the procedure itself. Moms and dads would have no role in the abortion of their minor daughters deciding whether or not to have an abortion. It would usher in taxpayer funding of abortion.”

But given the dramatic effects of such a potential amendment, Herrod predicted, “When Arizonans read and see what the proposed abortion access amendment really is about, I’m confident Arizona voters will turn it down.”

In light of the decision by the Arizona Supreme Court, Mary Szoch, director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council, shared with TWS, “In a huge win for women and their unborn children, the Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that the law on the books protecting unborn babies from the moment of conception will go into effect. Praise God!”

She added, “Acknowledging what an abortion is, the Arizona law states that an abortionist who kills an unborn child can be punished with two to five years in prison. In recognition of the fact that the intent of an abortion is to kill the child, not to save the mother, actions taken to save a mother’s life that sadly result in the death of the unborn child will not be punishable.”

Szoch concluded, “This ruling is on hold for 14 days, but we should all pray it goes into effect. With this decision, the importance of the upcoming election cannot be overstated. Unborn babies lives will be on the ballot. Pro-lifers must turn out to vote.”

AUTHOR

Sarah Holliday

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Florida Supreme Court Approves Pro-Life Law, But Sets the Stage for Abortion Showdown in November

After being thoroughly remade by a popular Republican governor, the Supreme Court in one of the nation’s largest states has upheld a protective pro-life law which allows an even stronger protection to take effect. But the court also authorized a ballot initiative that could erase nearly all pro-life laws in America’s third most populous state.

In a near-unanimous (6-1) ruling, the Florida Supreme Court approved a bill prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks gestation. The Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act “protects babies in the womb who have beating hearts, who can move, who can taste, who can see, and who can feel pain,” said Governor Ron DeSantis (R), who appointed five of the seven sitting justices, when he signed the bill in April 2022. The ruling also paves the way for a more protective pro-life law, which extends human rights to six weeks post-gestation, to take effect next month.

“Good news for life!” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. “This ruling by the Florida Supreme Court upholds the state’s 15-week protection of unborn life and allows the state’s new heartbeat law — protecting unborn babies at six weeks — to go into effect in May.”

However, a narrower, 4-3 majority allowed a coalition of abortionists and their lobbyists to put forward a measure, Proposition 4, which would insert a constitutional right to virtually unlimited, late-term abortion in the state constitution. The court also authorized a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana use.

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel called the ruling the “culmination of 35 years of work.” Staver, who has argued before the court, told “Washington Watch” guest host Jody Hice that the issue began with a 1989 ruling when “the activist liberal Florida Supreme Court at that time twisted this 1980 constitutional amendment that had nothing to do with abortion, but was about the privacy of your documents, to apply to abortion.”

In the case — Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida v. State of Florida — the majority ruled that Florida’s Supreme Court had wrongly interpreted the word “privacy” in an unrelated statute through the lens of the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which has since been overturned. The 1989 Supreme Court decision “associated the language of the Privacy Clause with Roe’s understanding of privacy; but it did not justify how that concept of privacy aligned with our constitution’s text,” the court ruled Monday. The earlier court “also did not ask how Florida voters would have understood the text of the provision and how that understanding would be informed by Florida’s long history of proscribing abortion.”

The decision removes a roadblock to the Heartbeat Protection Actsigned by DeSantis last April, which protects unborn children from abortion the moment a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat, usually around six weeks. Legislators, noting the legal action over the 2022 law, included a provision in the heartbeat bill that it would not take effect until one month after justices upheld the less protective law. The Heartbeat Protection Act will take effect on May 1.

Pro-life leaders sounded notes of hope, mixed with trepidation, over the two abortion decisions. “We are pleased that Florida’s laws protecting preborn children were upheld. However, the court is allowing an extreme and detrimental ballot measure to move forward,” said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee. “Florida has made tremendous advances in protecting innocent human life and providing support for mothers. This ballot initiative would destroy Floridians’ hard work in creating a culture that supports and protects life.”

“Today’s victory for unborn children who have a heartbeat and can feel pain is in line with the views of the majority of Floridians who want to protect babies and serve mothers and families,” said SBA Pro-Life America State Policy Director Katie Daniel, in a statement emailed to The Washington Stand. “As Florida faces what may be its biggest ballot fight yet, Governor Ron DeSantis must be at the forefront of protecting Florida from Big Abortion’s attempt to eliminate the rights of unborn children, parents, women, and girls” and “lead in defending those protections,” Daniel told TWS.

Proposition 4

In a second ruling, justices also approved the language of a ballot initiative that would expand late-term abortion. The amendment is supported by “Floridians Protecting Freedom,” who describes itself as a coalition of “over 200 local, statewide, and national organizations” but lists just six groups, including Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the 1199 Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Proposition 4 states: “No law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s healthcare provider. This amendment does not change the Legislature’s constitutional authority to require notification to a parent or guardian before a minor has an abortion.”

Opponents say the language is “misleading” and unconstitutionally vague. For instance, Staver noted on “Washington Watch” that the term “healthcare provider” encompasses “about 58 different categories, which includes non-medical personnel such as a 911 operator, a massage therapist, an orthotic shoe fitter, the assistant to the orthotic shoe fitter, a tattoo artist, and the list goes on.”

The inclusion of an exception for the patient’s “health” builds on the precedent established in the 1973 Supreme Court case Doe v. Bolton, allowing an abortion for virtually any reason, including mental and financial reasons. “Really, no abortion would be prohibited through all nine months of pregnancy up to and including birth if this passes,” Staver told Hice.

In a powerful dissent, Justice Jamie Grosshans wrote:

“A voter may think this amendment simply returns Florida to a pre-Dobbs status quo. It does not. A voter may think that a healthcare provider would be clearly defined as a licensed physician specializing in women’s health. It is not. A voter may think that viability falls within a readily apparent time frame. It does not. A voter may think that the comma is an insignificant grammatical tool that would have very little interpretive purpose. It will not. And, critically, the voter may think this amendment results in settling this issue once and for all. It does not. Instead, this amendment returns abortion issues back to the courts to interpret scope, boundary, definitions, and policy, effectively removing it from the people and their elected representatives. Perhaps this is a choice that Floridians wish to make, but it should be done with clarity as to their vote’s ramifications and not based on a misleading ballot summary.”

“I presented part of the oral argument at the court, and the chief justice really got the concern nailed down. He said the voters aren’t being informed that this law can impact other existing laws that recognize the humanity of the unborn child, laws that are criminal, civil wills and trusts, guardianship laws,” Staver told Hice.

Pro-life advocates have dug in for a long fight against the amendment. “We must oppose Proposition 4. Not only will this measure bring dangerous late-term abortions back to Florida, but it will allow girls who aren’t old enough to get their ears pierced on their own get an abortion without” parental consent, said Daniel.

“In a state where 25% of abortion centers failed inspections, it’s no surprise they want to be completely unregulated to increase their profits at the expense of women, girls, and babies,” Daniel, a Tampa resident, told TWS. “Those girls and the women who have abortions will be put at risk when this measure eliminates every abortion health regulation on the books.”

Democrats seized upon the two Supreme Court rulings to tout their viability in November. Biden’s campaign manager, Julie Chávez Rodríguez, believed the rulings gave the president and his party an “opening” in the increasingly Republican state. Christina Reynolds, senior vice president of communications for EMILY’s List, said although “we’ve had our heart broken before” in Florida, she hopes the ballot initiative “draws some focus to Florida that might otherwise not be there.”

All parties acknowledge it would be difficult to defeat President Trump, who lives in his 17-acre Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. And Republicans have determined not to back down from abortion as a campaign issue in 2024.

The ballot initiative will prove an uphill fight, especially as many party leaders have devoted little money to opposing the well-funded abortion industry’s expansion in a string of state elections. Staver said the “silver lining” in the Proposition 4 ruling is “we could bring another challenge to have the court rule on the personhood of the child based upon the Florida constitution itself.”

But in the meantime, pro-life advocates rejoice over the collective impact Governor DeSantis’s political and judicial decisions will have on the unborn.

“Thousands of lives will be saved by this law,” said Live Action founder Lila Rose.

AUTHOR

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.

RELATED ARTICLES:

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Nebraska Democrat Becomes Republican After Democrats Censure Him for Voting Pro-Life

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Led by Riley Gaines, 16 Women File Groundbreaking Suit against the NCAA

The NCAA has ignored Congressits own committee membersstate legislators, parents, and female athletes, but it can’t ignore this. In what is being called “a day of reckoning” for President Charlie Baker, the country’s biggest collegiate sports association is being taken to court over a radical transgender policy that has physically hurt, traumatized, and robbed young athletes of opportunities across America. “This is the time to speak up for all the women in the future,” swimmer Reka Gyorgy insisted. “It’s been two years, and nothing [has] happened. When will we change things if it’s not now?”

Those two years Gyorgy mentions are personal. It was 2022 when she lost her All-American title to Lia Thomas, something she’d worked for five years to achieve. Because Thomas decided to swim as a female, Reka was bumped to 17th — one spot shy of the top-16 cutoff she needed. She thought back on that devastation in an exclusive interview with The Free Press’s Francesca Block. “I was in the best physical [shape] I have ever been,” she explained. “And [this was my] the last chance. I was a senior, I was ready for racing. I was ready [to] give it all.” And yet, “going into the race [where] you know that one spot is going to be taken for sure [by Thomas], that’s a totally different mindset.”

“[W]atching that last heat of the 500 freestyle, it was just so emotional,” Gyorgy remembers. “Looking at the screen after the last heat touched the wall [and] seeing my name at 17th, I was shocked, to be honest. I went through all the feelings. … I was surrounded by my teammates and my coaches, and I started crying. I broke down because I felt right away that I [wouldn’t] have the second chance to swim again. And it just wasn’t fair. It was so unfair.”

While Riley Gaines grabbed most of the headlines after tying with Thomas for the trophy, it was Gyorgy who sent the first public letter of complaint to the NCAA. After the 2022 tournament, “[Reka] was really the first athlete at that national championships to take a stand,” Gaines said. “Had she not done that and had I not seen that, I certainly would not have taken the stand that I did. So I could not be more grateful for Rica. And she certainly inspired and continues to inspire more people than I think even she could possibly realize.”

Now the two women are linking arms, along with college athletes across swimming, volleyball, track, and diving, who’ve all been victims of the NCAA’s indifference toward Title IX and the devastation their rules have done to fair play. The lawsuit, which was organized by the Independent Council on Women’s Sports, is considered the first of its kind — and, if you ask most Americans, long overdue. Among other things, it demands the association “revoke all awards given to trans athletes in women’s competition and ‘reassign’ them to their female contenders. It also asks for ‘damages for pain and suffering, mental and emotional distress, suffering and anxiety…” The Free Press explains.

Some of the most horrifying stories of Thomas’s involvement in girls’ swimming have come at the expense of girls’ privacy — another reason the women felt compelled to sue. As Gaines has shared before, most of the competitors at the NCAA Championships in Georgia had zero warning that a naked Thomas would be in the women’s locker room. “The first time we found out that this would be the case was when we were actually undressing next to this six-foot-four man who was also simultaneously undressing, fully exposing himself and his male genitalia,” Gaines said. “We were not given any prior acknowledgement. We were not given a way to make other arrangements for ourselves. This was something as women, as female athletes, that we felt uncomfortable with.”

One elite swimmer and fellow plaintiff, Kylee Alons, a 31-time All-American, was so embarrassed that she changed in a utility room after she encountered Thomas. “I was literally racing U.S. and Olympic gold medalists, and I was changing in a storage closet at this elite-level meet,” she told Block.

“… I can’t even put into words the feelings,” Gaines shared. “I mean, of course it’s awkward, it’s embarrassing, it’s uncomfortable, but really the feelings of betrayal and utter violation. And honestly, the locker room aspect of this whole thing was traumatizing. And it wasn’t even necessarily traumatizing because of what we were forced to see or how we as women were forcibly exploited without our consent. It was traumatic for me to know just how easy it was for those people who created and enforce these policies [to] totally dismiss our rights to privacy without even a second thought, without even bare minimum forewarning us.”

One thing people might not realize, Block explained after reading the lawsuit, is that a competitive swimming race suit “is much different.” “It’s really tight. It could take 15 to 20 minutes, sometimes 30, 40 minutes to put on.” So these young women aren’t talking about a few minutes of discomfort. “And let’s be honest here,” Gaines admitted, “a swimming locker room [is] not a place of modesty. I think we can all agree a locker room is not a comfortable place in general. But growing up a swimmer, I think, at least for speaking for myself, you grow to feel comfortable being vulnerable in that environment. But that vulnerability was entirely stripped from us. When you have your back turned, you’re undressing, and all of a sudden you hear a man’s voice in that changing space. … It was innate for every girl in that locker room to cover themselves, whether that was with their hands or their towels or their clothes — and to get out of that locker room as quickly as they could.”

Reka reminded people that this was a position the NCAA forced them into. “As Riley said, we didn’t get a heads up. … And it might seem silly for some people, but we had 18- to 22-year-old girls in the locker room — and some of them may not have seen a naked male before. And [it’s] just not right.”

At the end of the day, the women say, they’re all victims of the radical agenda of the Biden administration, the NCAA, and International Olympic Committee (IOC), whose main goal seems to be “actively and openly discriminating against women on the basis of our sex, which is everything that Title IX was passed to prevent from happening.”

And in a stunning admission by Baker to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the NCAA pursued this extreme trans policy without ever studying the “physical, psychological, or emotional harm” of the trans policy on female athletes. “That’s a bombshell,” Concerned Women for America’s Doreen Denny insisted after discovering it — buried — on page 18 of the president’s written response. That alone should be “grounds for the NCAA to cease and desist” from its policy immediately.

And it’s not as if the NCAA hadn’t been pressed to study the issue. Members of its own committees, including Bill Bock, who were experts on the science, urged the association to act. Bock’s years with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency led him to believe that allowing men to compete against women was essentially “massive, authorized cheating.” And yet, as he explained after resigning in protest, “There was no real mechanism for me to bring that issue to anybody within my committee and force a decision on it or something like that. … The board of directors of the NCAA is the ultimate decision maker. And they were the ones that ultimately made the decision to continue to allow Thomas to compete.”

When people asked about protecting a level playing field, the NCAA “tried to avoid the question,” Bock said. “Mostly, they [tried] to talk about something else … [like] inclusiveness and the need to be open to whatever somebody feels about themselves. … And then they say, ‘This could cause people to self-harm if we don’t allow them to do this.’ And so, we should make sport unfair because people will self-harm.”

But the biological realities are real, most international sports bodies have conceded as they snap back to stricter, girls-only rules. “Women are not just a testosterone threshold,” Gaines argued. “That is not the qualification to being a woman. Even if Thomas had zero nanomoles per liter of testosterone in his body, there are still advantages that males possess over women that make this unfair. The bottom line is, even if this wasn’t a physical sport, it’s a woman’s category, and by allowing men into women’s category, you are, again, objectively discriminating against women on the basis of our sex.”

To the haters who say she’s just anti-trans, Gaines fires back, “My stance is not anti-anything. My stance is pro-reality. It is pro-fairness. It is pro-common sense. It is pro-woman. And if being pro-woman is deemed anti-trans, then it must mean that being pro-trans is deemed anti-woman. And what do we call someone who’s anti-woman? We call them a misogynist.”

At the end of the day, she argued, “Reka and myself and the other athletes who are signed onto this lawsuit, we are standing for something. We are standing for women again. We are standing for women’s sports. We are standing for reality. We are not standing against anything. There’s certainly a place for people who identify as trans to compete in sports. Of course there is. And I encourage everyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation or race … to play sports, but play in a category that is fair and that is safe. Thomas competing against us was neither of those things.”

AUTHOR

Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

RELATED VIDEO: Female University Athletes File Lawsuit Against NCAA Over Transgender Policy

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Judge Orders Biden Administration to Build the Wall

The Biden administration must spend funds allocated by Congress to build a wall on the southern border, a federal judge ruled Friday. Southern District of Texas Judge Drew Tipton sharply rebuked the Department of Homeland Security for contending that, “notwithstanding the language in the statute,” it had discretion to spend the money however it pleased. “Whether the Executive Branch must adhere to federal laws is not, as a general matter, an area traditionally left to its discretion,” Tipton, a Trump appointee, remarked dryly.

As usual, this lawbreaking by the Executive Branch is traceable back to the nation’s chief executive. On his first day in office, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation declaring that “it shall be the policy of my Administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall.” The proclamation, as Tipton noted, paused all spending on a border wall and directed DHS to devise other ways to spend the allocated funds.

This language was already misleading because the word “divert” means “to turn from one course or use to another.” To quote from the ruling, “In 2020 and 2021, Congress funded roughly $1.4 billion ‘for the construction of [a] barrier system along the southwest border.’” Thus, by halting construction, President Biden was responsible for diverting funds from one purpose to another. The issue was funds being diverted from, not to, border wall construction.

In compliance with Biden’s proclamation, but in defiance of Congress’s allocation restrictions, DHS dreamed up plans to spend most of the money on “smarter border security measures” (a.k.a. technology systems, not a wall), “environmental remediation, flood-control, and cleanup projects.” Under these plans, the DHS would only construct new barriers “in two locations where they are filling gaps in existing walls,” according to the testimony of their own expert.

“The Biden Administration has failed to abide by the law to finish the construction of a wall along the southwest border,” said Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R). “Joe Biden refuses to carry out his constitutionally mandated responsibilities, so we took him to court to force him to do his job.”

In response to the Biden administration’s fantastical interpretation of “construction of [a] barrier system,” the judge threw the dictionary at them. “The definitions of ‘construction’ and ‘barrier’ connote building a physical structure that would serve as a barricade and a line of demarcation,” he wrote, after quoting from Merriam-Webster. “‘System’ accounts for the large scale of the U.S.-Mexico border requiring different kinds of barriers such as walls, fencing, buoys and the like.” Obviously, “this plain meaning does not include the Government’s definition,” Tipton concluded.

Tipton proceeded to analyze surrounding text in the same appropriations law. “Congress broke [the relevant section] down into five distinct subsections” and stipulated that “these funds ‘shall be available only as follows,’” he acknowledged. So, funds allocated in one category couldn’t be diverted to a purpose in another category. The following section of the law gave “currently deployed steel bollard designs” as an example of one type of barrier DHS was authorized to construct with the funds, demonstrating that Congress clearly intended the funds to cover the construction of the actual barrier.

Tipton further reasoned that DHS’s creative plans to reallocate border barrier funds fell into the other subcategories Except for a “generalized catch-all,” each section had “clearly separate and distinct purposes,” with one funding a border barrier, another “border security technologies,” another “facility construction and improvements,” and yet another “integrated operations assets and infrastructure.” These distinct categories described all the other projects DHS had in mind.

The agency’s discretion over spending projects did not extend so far, the judge argued. It would be one thing if the states who challenged the administration’s decision (Texas and Missouri) simply objected to DHS’s decision to pursue or not pursue any particular spending project. Instead, a fundamental part of their argument was that “DHS was specifically obligated to spend the CAA funds to construct border walls, and the decision to not do so … was outside DHS’s discretion and violated the law.”

This distinction was important because, instead of turning the argument into a question of federal authority versus state authority, it became an argument over whether Congress or an executive agency had authority over spending. “The central question in this case, then, is this: Has the Government obligated FY 2020 and FY 2021 funds for the ‘construction of [a] barrier system’?” the judge asked. He answered, “The answer is largely no.”

This is not just the opinion of a single federal judge out in Texas. Tipton quoted from a 1993 Supreme Court opinion, Lincoln v. Vigil, “an agency is not free simply to disregard statutory responsibilities: Congress may always circumscribe agency discretion to allocate resources by putting restrictions in the operative statutes.”

Given this legal slam dunk, the judge issued a preliminary injunction, preventing any parts of the DHS’s plan that did not involve the “construction of physical barriers, such as additional walls, fencing, buoys, etc.” and prohibiting them from obligating the funds in question “toward mitigation and remediation efforts, repair of existing barrier, so-called system attribute installation at existing sites, or other similar purposes.”

During a previous hearing in the Southern District of Texas, a federal judge had dismissed Texas’s border wall lawsuit for a lack of standing, but then the Fifth Circuit reversed that decision and remanded the case in July 2023.

This lawsuit forms part of a legal maelstrom darkening relations between Texas and the Biden administration over its handling of the border. Other lawsuits taking place concurrently involve Texas’s attempt to arrest illegal immigrants, place razor wire along the border, or place buoy barriers in the Rio Grande River.

Given the larger legal context surrounding the southern border, not to mention political controversy making illegal immigration a top issue in the 2024 election, the opinion contained several findings that could be significant beyond the scope of this one ruling. Specifically, the court acknowledged the Biden administration’s border crisis had inflicted real injury on the state of Texas because of the costs the state has incurred in dealing with it.

Beyond that, the court also found “that Texas has demonstrated that its injuries are traceable to DHS’s funding decisions.” Texas submitted the DHS’s own documents to prove to the court that “constructing additional border barriers will reduce illegal entries in areas where those walls are constructed, increase detection rates across the entire border, and generally disincentivize illegal immigration.”

In other words, the Biden administration knew that constructing barriers would at least hinder illegal immigration, yet from January 20, 2021 it has deliberately chosen to pursue a policy of not constructing border barriers. In late January, President Biden told reporters, “I’ve done all I can do” to secure the border. According to this federal court’s findings, DHS’s own documents prove that statement false.

AUTHOR

Joshua Arnold

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

‘Centuries’ of Christian Tradition on ‘Sanctity of Human Life’ Pitted against Left’s ‘Worldview of Death’

“This whole kerfuffle in Alabama has revealed … the worldview of the Left, which is a worldview of death. And they’re really running with this like they ran after the Dobbs decision,” David Closson, director of Family Research Council’s Center for Biblical Worldview, said on “Washington Watch” Tuesday. “This is not like a one-off,” agreed FRC President Tony Perkins. “The worldview has been revealed. And I think it’s becoming clearer and clearer.”

Enraged by an Alabama Supreme Court decision recognizing the value of all unborn human life, the left-wing media has attempted to carefully curate camera angles of the controversy, so as to portray a hamster as a hippo. First, they launched a scaremongering campaign falsely alleging that Republicans are targeting in vitro fertilization (IVF). Then, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) opportunistically promoted a bill that wouldn’t so much protect IVF as it would legalize other anti-human practices, such as human cloning, human-animal chimeras, designer babies, and commercial gestational surrogacy.

To browbeat timid opponents into playing along with the charade, the Left trumped up fears of “theocracy” based on a non-binding concurring opinion. “The hand-wringing on the Left … isn’t actually on the majority decision,” Closson noted, but on “a concurring opinion that the chief justice wrote.”

Fear prevents people from thinking clearly, and that’s exactly what the Left is hoping for. If legislators had a moment to sit back and reflect, they would likely realize that “there are moral and spiritual, theological implications here,” said Perkins.

In fact, “There’s a long history within Christian ethics of looking at IVF and saying that … it’s morally fraught,” said Closson. IVF is a process designed for helping infertile couples conceive a child by combining egg and sperm in a laboratory, and then implanting the newly created human life back into the mother’s womb. “As Christians, we believe that at conception, when that sperm and egg come together, you have a human being.”

However, many IVF practitioners create far more embryos than would ever be gestated. “Usually it’s a dozen, maybe even more embryos” that are created, explained Closson. “They selectively choose which ones to implant in the woman.” Of these, all but one will likely be aborted. “Then the others are stored in freezer,” added Closson, resulting today in “millions of frozen embryos in freezers all over the country.” Many are never used and ultimately destroyed.

Despite the moral and ethical pitfalls of IVF, the Alabama Supreme Court did not prohibit the practice, nor even regulate it. All they said was a law protecting children from harm applied to all children, including embryos conceived via IVF. And, in a concurring opinion, Chief Justice Tom Parker added his commentary on the Alabama Constitution’s recognition of the “sanctity of unborn life.”

“That phrase, ‘sanctity of [unborn] life,’ appears in the Alabama Constitution. So, just being a good lawyer, [Parker] said, ‘Where did these words come from? What do these words mean?’ And so, he explored the Christian tradition of understanding sanctity of life, image of God,” Closson summarized.

Closson found it humorous that mainstream media accounts made the mistake of sneering at Parker’s opinion for “quoting 16th-century dead theologians like John Calvin and whatnot.” All their derision proved is that “Christians have been thinking about these issues for a very long time,” he pointed out. “It’s not that we just thought of these in a right-wing think tank last week. We’ve been thinking deeply about these issues for centuries.”

This is humorous because the Left doesn’t realize how far outclassed they are by centuries of brilliant minds. They don’t realize it because they never had to engage with that ancient tradition. Their thinking descends from Karl Marx, and while they might engage with some of his immediate intellectual forebearers (Rousseau, Darwin, Mill), they have little use for a tradition that had already grown wizened before those men were born. “The problem we’re seeing today is the absence of moral truth,” said Perkins. “There are no ethics that are standard and steadfast. It’s a Wild, Wild West.”

One implication of this ethical anarchy is the absence of any limits on what science should do. Just as researchers for the Chinese Communist Party continue to bioengineer deadlier coronaviruses and chimerical monkeys, so the American Left displays an apparent preference for pedantic, utilitarian reasoning over fundamental human rights. Duckworth’s bill would be a go-ahead signal to a lot of ethically dubious research.

“Just because science enables us to do something doesn’t mean we should do it,” argued Perkins. “We should be concerned about both the means and the ends of where this would lead us. And it needs to be guided by biblical truth, by morality … [and by] ethics.”

The fundamental reason why Christians believe all human life is valuable is that “God created man in his own image” (Genesis 1:27). To every human being, this reality imparts “transcendent value,” insisted Perkins. “It’s not value assigned to it. It is value that is inherent in it because it is created in the image of God.”

The road to pushing for designer babies, chimeras, cloning, and surrogacy begins by denying the fundamental reality that all human beings have inherent value because they bear God’s image.

“We need to start calling out a lie for what it is. It is a lie,” Perkins insisted. “Understanding is the first step, but having the confidence of that understanding gives us the ability to push back and say, ‘No, this is not true. It is not right, it is false.’”

Conservatives “playing defense” over the sanctity of unborn life don’t seem to realize that ours is the inherently stronger position. For centuries, Western civilization’s brightest minds have helped develop the implications of this doctrine, which is absolute truth. What does rootless, groundless, post-modern Marxism have to offer in comparison?

The current circumstances are as if the presidential motorcade was suddenly set upon by a gang of youths throwing pea gravel. Exiting the vehicle would be foolish, and waving a white flag would be irresponsible. If conservatives recognize and exploit the advantages of our position, the smear campaign against those standing up for the lives of unborn babies — including those conceived via IVF — can accomplish nothing.

AUTHOR

Joshua Arnold

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Disney’s DEI Policies Land Them in Court: ‘The Hit Factory Is Now the Flop Factory’

According to Bob Iger, Disney CEO, what happened on January 6 “was fundamentally wrong and … rooted in hatred … and intolerance.” In his view, that was the day Iger felt Disney needed to take “a stand” on political matters, which has been mostly rooted in the company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. However, experts have highlighted the fact that these efforts have mostly backfired.

In prioritizing DEI, Disney has produced content largely centered on LGBT ideology. This agenda has caused their revenue to tank as they faced nationwide boycotts, decreased sales, and certain states pulling their investments from the Magic Kingdom. Nonetheless, Disney has insisted on prioritizing politics over profit. “The hit factory is now the flop factory,” wrote Breitbart’s John Nolte. “The trusted brand is now seen (accurately) as a threat to children’s innocence.”

Iger said he’s “very proud of the work” Disney has “done in terms of diversity and inclusion on screen.” However, Nolte pointed out that in the brand’s DEI efforts, they’ve failed to succeed in “telling a great story with appealing and relatable characters.” And not all of the pushback is based on gender politics.

America First Legal (AFL) filed a civil rights complaint against Disney on Wednesday “for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by engaging in illegal race, sex, and national origin discrimination.” According to Disney’s “Reimagine Tomorrow” website, AFL argued that there is a strong suggestion “that race, color, religion, sex, or national origin are often the only motivating factor in Disney’s hiring, training, and promotion decisions.” As such, they noted “the company is intentionally discriminating against white American men, Christians, and Jews simply because of their race, sex, religion, and citizenship.”

AFL President Stephen Miller said, “It is sad and tragic that a company whose name was once synonymous with wholesome and charming childhood fantasies is now dedicated to spreading divisive bigotry. We urge Disney to cease and desist its unlawful and destructive conduct at once.”

Referring to Disney’s goal of hiring 50% of its directors from “underrepresented groups,” the complaint stated, “It is patently unlawful to consider racial, ethnic, and sex-based characteristics in hiring, training, compensation, and promotion.” It continued, “Decades of case law have held that policies that impose racial balancing or quotas in employment, training, or recruitment, such as those presented on Disney’s websites, are prohibited.”

As Nolte pointed out, “Disney went from one of the most universally beloved and trusted brands — a company that produced one-billion-dollar blockbuster after another — into a failing propaganda outlet no decent parent would allow their children near.”

Stephen Soukup, author of “The Dictatorship of Woke Capital,” commented to The Washington Stand, “Disney and its leadership — its executives and board — have gone out of their way to ensure that politics takes priority over conventional business interests.”

Concerning the decisions Disney has made in recent years and whether they will alter their path, Soukup said, “Despite acknowledging their disconnect between their ideology and their customer base in SEC documents, they still seem unable or unwilling to change course. The evidence shows that CEO Bob Iger has been driving much of this, while the company’s board of directors has rewarded him with a lavish pay increase, even in the face of his failures.”

Ultimately, Soukup pointed out, “any change in the company’s positions will have to come from shareholders.” Which, he concluded, “short of a shareholder rebellion — approval on non-management approved board candidates, for example — it’s difficult to see Disney’s leaders doing what needs to be done to get back to something approximating neutral, to putting business ahead of politics.”

AUTHOR

Sarah Holliday

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Prosecution of Pro-Lifers Continues under Biden’s DOJ, with 6 More Convictions

On Tuesday, a guilty verdict was announced for six pro-life activists for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act at an abortion facility near Nashville, Tenn. The Biden administration’s Justice Department brought the charges, which stemmed from a peaceful protest on March 5, 2021, in which a group of pro-lifers prayed and sang hymns at the entrance to the Carafem Health Center Clinic.

Video of the protest shows a group of approximately 20-30 pro-life activists peacefully praying and singing hymns while standing and sitting along the walls of a hallway leading to the door of the abortion facility, with a small segment of the group sitting directly in front of the facility’s entrance. Roughly two hours into the vigil, a number of protestors were arrested for blocking the entrance without incident.

In October 2022, the Biden administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it was charging 11 individuals involved in the protest with violating the federal FACE Act, which bars individuals from physically blocking the entrance to an abortion facility. Six of the defendants were eventually convicted on Tuesday, with each facing “up to a maximum of 10 and a half years in prison, three years of supervised release and fines of up to $260,000,” with sentencing set for July 2. Four other defendants are scheduled to stand trial for misdemeanor violations of the FACE Act.

The Thomas More Society, which is representing the defendants, is expected to appeal the convictions.

The DOJ’s FACE Act prosecutions are the latest in a series of legal actions directed at pro-life activists under the Biden administration, in which at least 24 cases have been prosecuted since January 2021. At the same time, there have only been four FACE Act indictments of pro-abortion individuals related to a single attack on a pregnancy resource center in Florida, despite the fact that there have been hundreds of attacks that have occurred against churches and pregnancy resource centers during Biden’s tenure.

As noted by Family Research Council’s Arielle Del Turco during a House Judiciary Committee hearing last year, the FACE Act was originally designed to protect abortion facilities, pregnancy resource centers, and places of worship. The types of attacks committed against churches have included “vandalism, arson, bomb threats, gun-related incidents, and interruption of worship services — all of which are punishable under the FACE Act,” she emphasized.

The disparity in prosecutions has led to Congress taking notice. In October, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) introduced a bill to repeal the FACE Act, citing the biased enforcement that is being carried out by the Biden administration. “We need to repeal it and then stop giving authority to the Department of Justice to be able to go after [pro-life] people,” he told Tony Perkins in September.

In comments to The Washington Stand, Mary Szoch, director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council, questioned the priorities of the Biden administration’s DOJ in targeting pro-lifers amid a spiraling border crisis and the spreading conflict in the Middle East.

“As countless little boys and girls are being trafficked across the border and wars wage across the world, the Biden administration thinks the most important thing to focus on is prosecuting peaceful protestors attempting to save unborn babies from a brutal death,” she pointed out. “Yes, these protestors violated the FACE Act, but the Biden administration should consider spending taxpayer dollars to protect America’s border — not to stop non-violent men and women who are simply singing hymns while defending the unborn.”

AUTHOR

Dan Hart

Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.

RELATED ARTICLE: Report Catalogues Dozens of New Incidents of Persecution against Christians in the West

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Christian and Jewish Leaders Condemn ‘Political, Spiritual Persecution’ of Paivi Rasanen

An interfaith coalition has offered prayers of solidarity to two evangelical Christians facing their third trial for declaring that homosexuality violates the Bible, a position prosecutors call “War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity.”

Despite two unanimous acquittals, Finland’s state prosecutor has taken an elderly member of parliament and a Lutheran bishop before the Supreme Court to answer for their traditional Christian beliefs on sexuality. Dr. Päivi Räsänen, who has served in parliament for 29 years, and Bishop Juhana Pohjola of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland (ELMDF), are facing “spiritual persecution” for upholding the Scripture, said a letter signed by dozens of Christian and Jewish leaders.

“Once again you face unjust charges. For almost half a decade, you have confronted targeted legal harassment for simply living out your Christian faith, the direct result of not just political persecution but also spiritual persecution,” says the letter, which was led by Advancing American Freedom and released today. “Now, despite twice being unanimously declared not guilty at the Helsinki District Court and the Helsinki Court of Appeals, the prosecutor has filed another appeal, potentially forcing a third trial at Finland’s Supreme Court.”

Authorities have centered their legal case on a five-year-old social media post made by the MP, a member of the Christian Democrats Party, asking why her Lutheran church body would take part in an LGBT “Pride 2019” event. The post on Twitter, now X, included a photo of Romans 1:24-27, which clarifies that homosexual behavior is sinful.

Two years later, in April 2021, prosecutors charged Räsänen and Pohjola with “agitation against a minority” under the nation’s law against “War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity.” Police arrested Räsänen and subjected her to 13 hours of police interrogation before her trial. Prosecutors dubbed the Bible verses in her tweet, a booklet the two wrote in 2004 expounding on biblical doctrine titled “Male and Female He Created Them: Homosexual Relations Challenge the Christian Concept of Humanity,” as well as comments Räsänen made on the radio in December 2019 as “hate speech.”

Räsänen and Pohjola were first acquitted by the Helsinki District Court on March 30, 2022. The three-judge panel ruled that prosecutors had violated the Christians’ right to freedom of expression contained in Section 12 of the Finnish Constitution, as well as noting the thorny legal questions posed if secular judges begin ruling on matters of religious doctrine. “It is not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts,” the court declared.

But within days, then-Prosecutor General Raija Toiviainen appealed the charges. Räsänen then faced a two-day trial last August 31-September 1. The Court of Appeals unanimously acquitted MP Räsänen and Bishop Pohjola on November 14, 2023. Under the law, social media posts must be intended to offend, and “there must be an overriding social reason for interfering with and restricting freedom of expression,” they ruled. The judges ordered the state to pay both defendants’ legal fees.

Finland’s current state prosecutor appealed the dismissal once again earlier this month.

“It is shocking that the Finnish state prosecutor has decided to target MP Räsänen for a third time, because she politely expressed her religious beliefs in public,” Arielle Del Turco, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council — and who signed the letter — told The Washington Stand. “So far, the Finnish courts have been clear in affirming Räsänen’s right to express her religious beliefs. However, the process of being dragged through court is often the punishment itself.”

The thirst to continually prosecute the grandmother of 10 exposes the government’s intolerance and malice toward traditional Christian viewpoints, said Paul Coleman, executive director of ADF International, which is supporting Räsänen’s legal defense. “Dragging people through the courts for years, subjecting them to hour-long police interrogations, and wasting taxpayer money to police people’s deeply held beliefs has no place in a democratic society,” said Coleman. “As is so often the case in ‘hate speech’ trials, the process has become the punishment.”

The U.S. letter offers “prayers and encouragement” to the embattled pair “on behalf of the millions of Americans who support freedom of speech and freedom of religion.”

The letter assures that “you do not stand alone,” because “each one of us stands alongside you,” note its writers. “We are watching, and we are praying for you. The world is watching, and the world is praying for you.”

The signatories hope their fellow believers, and all those who value freedom of conscience and expression, will make that promise real as the West falls progressively under the sway of illiberal secular repression. “Christians around the world should continue to pray for and voice their support for MP Räsänen,” said Del Turco.

The faith leaders signing the letter include Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, former U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, former U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, former Ambassador Ken Blackwell, and Rabbi Yaakov Menken of the Coalition for Jewish Values, among many others.

The Lutheran pair’s case also attracted high-level support from Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who named Räsänen, detransitioner Chloe Cole, collegiate swimming record-holder Riley Gaines, and concerned parent Scott Smith his personal “heroes” at FRC’s 2023 Pray Vote Stand Summit. “She gives you hope,” said Roy. “She gives you a belief that we can stand up and stand athwart that kind of tyranny.”

Räsänen has reflected on the words of Jesus to rejoice in suffering, taking pride that each trial has allowed her to quote and explain the Bible’s teachings in depth.

“After my full exoneration in two courts, I’m not afraid of a hearing before the Supreme Court,” said Räsänen. An “acquittal from the Supreme Court would set an even stronger positive precedent for everyone’s right to free speech and religion. And if the court decided to overturn the lower courts’ acquittals, I am ready to defend freedom of speech and religion as far as the European Court of Human Rights.”

The letter reads in full:

To the Honorable Päivi Räsänen, M.D. and the Reverend Dr. Juhana Pohjola,

We have been following your case since 2019 and on behalf of the millions of Americans who support freedom of speech and freedom of religion, we write to show our support for you in these trying times and to offer our prayers and encouragement.

Once again you face unjust charges. For almost half a decade, you have confronted targeted legal harassment for simply living out your Christian faith, the direct result of not just political persecution but also spiritual persecution. Now, despite twice being unanimously declared not guilty at the Helsinki District Court and the Helsinki Court of Appeals, the prosecutor has filed another appeal, potentially forcing a third trial at Finland’s Supreme Court.

We are watching and we are praying for you. The world is watching, and the world is praying for you. As you once again prepare to stand trial for freedom of speech and freedom of religion, know that you do not stand alone. Rather, each one of us stands alongside you, praying and encouraging you along the way.

Sincerely,

Paul Teller, Executive Director, Advancing American Freedom
Frank Wolf, Former Member, U.S. Congress
Ambassador Sam Brownback, Co-Chair, International Religious Freedom Summit
Dr. Gregory P. Seltz, Executive Director, The Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty
Eric Patterson, Executive Director, Religious Freedom Institute
Tony Perkins, President and former Chair, Family Research Council and US CIRF
Ken Blackwell, Former U.S. Ambassador, United Nations Human Rights Commission
Maureen Blum, Executive Director, Catholics Count
Nina Shea, Senior Scholar and Director, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute
Douglas D. Punke, Senior Pastor, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Bunni Pounds, President, Christians Engaged
Rabbi Yaakov Menken, Managing Director, Coalition for Jewish Values
McKenna Wendt, Advocacy Manager, International Christian
Arielle Del Turco, Director of the Center for Religious Liberty, Family Research Council
Charlie Gerow, CEO, Quantum Communications
Robert F. Schwarzwalder, Jr., Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Honors College, Regent University
Bethany Kozma, CEO, Keystone Policy
Robert K. Fisher, Meeting Coordinator, Conservatives of Faith
Kelly Monroe Kullberg, General Secretary, American Association of Evangelicals
C. Preston Noell III, President, Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
David Kullberg, Co-Founder, Scandinavian American Gospel Alliance
Richard A. Vigurie, Chairman, FedUpPac.org
Jason Poblete, Esq., President, Global Liberty Alliance
Eunie Smith, President, Eagle Forum of Alabama
Melissa Ortiz, Founder, Capability Consulting
Dran Reese, President, Salt and Light Council
Saulius “Saul” Anuzis, President, 60 Plus Association
James L. Martin, Founder/Chairman, 60 Plus Association
John Suarez, Executive Director, Center for a Free Cuba
Nancy Schulze, National Strategic Director, Physicians for Reform

AUTHOR

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.