What Planned Parenthood Can Teach the Left About Conscience Rights

A debate over conscience rights and religious freedom has been raging for a while now.

But we may be on the verge of a breakthrough.

Just last week, bakers in Oregon who had been fined $135,000 for declining to decorate a cake for a same-sex wedding were in court appealing their fine.

Only a few weeks ago, the Washington State Supreme Court concluded that the state of Washington could force businesses out of the wedding industry unless they were willing to participate in same-sex weddings.

In both of these cases—and many others like them—small business owners asked, “You’re free to be you, why can’t I be free to be me?”  To which an angry mob responded, “Because you’re a bad person!”

And when the small business owner tries to explain how it’s a matter of conviction and not a desire to harm, the mob just yells louder.

Well, an unlikely mediator may have emerged in this debate.

Planned Parenthood.

Yes, that Planned Parenthood.  The nation’s largest abortion provider and progressive darling.   It turns out they’re feeling picked on.

You probably remember that funding for Planned Parenthood was a theme of the Presidential campaign and right now legislation is being debated in Washington DC that would cut off more than $500 million in federal tax funds to the abortion giant.

Earlier this week, President Trump made them a proposal: if you stop performing abortions we’ll keep sending you federal tax dollars.

They weren’t thrilled by the offer.

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told the New York Times, “Offering money to Planned Parenthood to abandon our patients and our values is not a deal that we will ever accept.” [Emphasis Added]

An interesting choice of words, isn’t it?

“Offering money to abandon…our values is not a deal we will ever accept?”

It seems like a some small business owners have made similar arguments, and the left has skewered them for it.

Apparently, what’s good for the abortionist is not good for the florist.

Undoubtedly, they will defend their inconsistent reactions by pointing out that it’s legal to kill babies but it’s not legal to opt out of a same-sex wedding.

And most won’t even pause long enough to acknowledge how messed up that is.

But let’s set that aside for now.

The fact that Planned Parenthood is playing the role of the victim provides an unusual rhetorical opportunity in the debate over conscience rights.

Abortion has been identified not merely as a service, but as a value of Planned Parenthood.  And progressives respect them.

Other people have other values.  Progressives sue them.

And they feel good about it.

“Just bake the cake and it wouldn’t be an issue,” they assure us.

To which you should respond, “So Planned Parenthood should just stop killing babies to keep their federal funding, right?”

Maybe then, they’ll develop some sympathy for those who object to government using its power to force people to abandon their values.

One can hope.

 

Is Your Kid a Good Kid?

One of the first rules of debate is that, “he who defines the terms wins the debate.”

Meaning, if you define the terms in the way that are favorable to you, you’re going to win because everyone is thinking about the issue in the way you want them to.

Recently I came across some information that helped me understand how government schools are employing this tactic when it comes to education indoctrination around sex and gender. It also may help explain why so many young people have lost the ability to think about the subject.

The document below is part of a the FLASH sexual education curriculum created in King County. While the curriculum was designed for King County, it is now being adopted in school districts around Washington State.

This document sought to explain traditional gender expectations.

 

 

My immediate question was, “Who thinks these are expectations of men and women?”

Men are expected to be dominant?

Women are expected to be weak?

I grew up in the world the gender revolutionaries are most concerned about: conservative, Christian, and small-town.  There was, and is, an appreciation of the innate differences between men and women. We often told jokes about those differences and laughed at them without shame.  Still do, actually.

That being said, there is nothing about this description of traditional gender expectations I can relate to. This document refers to these gender expectations as “so common they can influence people even without their knowing it.”

Yet, I cannot think of a single person who would agree with this description.  Living or dead.

It is true that after Thanksgiving dinner the guys often made their way to the couch to watch football while the women cleaned up after dinner, but if grandma said jump, every man in the house would ask, “how high?”

Among the planet’s seven billion inhabitants, is there someone who probably thinks this is how it should be? Sure. There probably is. But the exception doesn’t make the rule.

The problem here is that our schools are presenting the exception as the rule.  They are responding to an argument no one is making in an attempt to make their argument look better.

As one lady in our office responded, “Somebody is projecting their childhood in an abusive home…”

Which, I suspect, might be exactly right.  I think if we knew the stories of the people writing this curriculum, we might all cry at the pain they’ve experienced.  And their efforts here are undoubtedly an attempt to save other children the pain they experienced.

Nevertheless, this characterization of gender expectations is not benign.

Here’s why.

The stated purpose of the FLASH curriculum is to reduce sexual violence.  Everyone shares that goal.

But one way they hope to do so is to convince your kids that there are no biological differences between men and women.

The logic appears to be that the (mostly) men who perpetuate sexual violence do so because they believe women aren’t behaving the way women should.  Ergo, if you eliminate the assumptions about gender roles, you will eliminate the motivation for sexual violence.

Let’s leave aside for now how badly this logic misunderstands human nature.

Effectively, they are approaching kids and asking, “Johnny, do you want women to get raped or do you understand that you can be whatever gender you want?” 

“Ummmm”

“Johnny, are you a good guy, or a bad guy?”

That’s really the point.

Of course its possible to recognize that men and women are different without denying anyone respect.  Men and women are different. Moreover, men are different from other men and women are different than other women as well.  We aren’t supposed to be the same.

But that doesn’t mean that biology is now irrelevant.

The idea that gender is whatever you want it to be is irrational, it is also anti-science.  But that doesn’t matter because they are convincing your kids that its better to be irrational than judgmental.  

Your kids may get queasy when you ask them about history, grammar, or math, but they won’t hesitate if you ask them to explain why gender isn’t binary.

This curriculum explains why.  Every kid wants to be a “good kid”, and this curriculum is teaching them what that means.

He who defines the terms wins the debate.

 

 

 

Would Jesus Just Decorate for the Gay Wedding?

Two weeks ago, the WA State Supreme Court handed down a ruling saying that florist Barronelle Stutzman broke the law when she refused to work at a gay wedding. The reaction in the Christian community was nearly unanimous, and was even joined by many non-Christians as well–she should be allowed to run her business according to her religious convictions.

But another question remains. What of those religious convictions? Was she in the right? Would Jesus have done the same thing in her place? And what would He have us do? This post attempts to tackle that culturally explosive topic – from a Christian perspective.

Christians seem to have a lot of rules. Some might trace the origin of Judeo-Christian law to Moses coming down off of Mt. Sinai carrying 10 Commandments that were literally etched in stone. By the time Jesus shows up on the scene some 2,000 years later, those laws and rules had expanded by many thousands, and the people were literally awash in rules and regulations.

Jesus was asked of all these, which should the people focus on? He broke it down to two.

First, love the Lord God with everything you are.

Second, love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.

As Christians, these two commandments are the foundational guides upon which we base our decisions. Is it loving to God? Is it loving to people?

Critics of the Tri-Cities florist, (and the bakers in OR and CO, and the wedding chapel owners in ID and the northeast,) have charged that these business owners discriminated against gay couples and behaved in an unloving manner. And it’s not hard to see the basis for this thinking. They gladly served heteroxesual couples for their wedding ceremonies, yet refused the same-sex couples for the same service. How is that loving your neighbor?

When asked this question, Barronelle Stutzman said the issue stems with the definition of marriage. Let’s look at that.

The institution of marriage begins in the very beginning of time. In the creation story in Genesis, we see God creates two original relationships. The relationship between Himself and mankind, and then the relationship of a man and a woman — marriage. In a way, like Jesus’ answer about the two great commandments, these two great relationships are the two from which everything else flows.

In Genesis 1 and 2 we see God creating the universe and all that is. Then He creates man, and He stops creating. But what He does next is monumental even though sometimes overlooked. He invites man to join Him now in the process of creation. He tells Adam and Eve to work, even as He had worked. To take the matter that He had given them, and to create gardens, and buildings and machines and games and anything they could imagine. To subdue the earth.

But that wasn’t all. He also invited us to join Him in the greatest creation of all. To create life; human life.

And so He created marriage.

Marriage as created by God from the very beginning, is the union of one man and one woman for one lifetime. It was through this unique relationship that we would participate with Him in the creation of human life. God loved all the things He had created, but mankind was created in His literal image, and He loved us most of all.

God wanted more people. Lots more. And he decide that all future human beings should come to be only through this relationship of marriage. Later on, Jesus would tell us that “God hates divorce.” That has to be because He loves marriage, families and the people that come from marriages, and He hates the pain caused when His design is broken apart by divorce. He designed it, and He loves it.

So God created marriage; and defined it narrowly. It is one man and one woman. The biological evidence is found in that it is the only relationship through which He continues to create life. The number of individuals is precise, and the gender combination is precise. According to God, nothing else is marriage. This is how He defined it.

But some questions remain. Most Christians remember that some Old Testament norms lasted only for a season. We still follow the Ten Commandments (well, maybe not the Sabbath one so much) but God clearly told Peter that shellfish, bacon and pretty much any animal you want was back on the menu. And I don’t know about you, but I have never once sacrificed a bull for my many sins. So has God’s definition of marriage changed with the times maybe?

Jesus addressed this issue quite directly in Mark chapter 10.

“But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his mother and father and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Here we see Jesus reaffirming His original creation of marriage. He specifically calls out several points:
-marriage was from the beginning of creation
-the specific number of two people
-the specific genders of a man and a woman
-the design for a lifetime commitment.

This was the design, and according to Jesus, remained the design.

As even further confirmation, Paul in Ephesians 5 talks about marriage, and quotes Jesus word for word in defining it. He then points to the fact that even beyond the natural, marriage is a temporary image of the relationship that God will have with the church, His bride. Marriage remains significant in the New Testament, if not even not even more so with the spiritual insight added.

So back to our court case. Though she had sold them flowers many times before, Mrs. Stutzman declined to work the wedding ceremony for the gay couple, and encouraged them to buy from one of her competitors that didn’t share her convictions.

She essentially asked herself, “How can I participate in an event that is celebrating something that contradicts God’s design?” Based on everything I can find in the Bible, God recognizes only one relationship as marriage. And to call something marriage, when God says it’s not….well, it’s easy to see why a Christian would decline to participate in that ceremony.

Our first commandment is to love God. We might tell Him, “I know what Your design for marriage is, but I really want it to be something else.” But to do so is unloving. It is unloving toward God when we don’t respect, or try to alter what He has designed. Those that say not going to the ceremony is unloving may be forgetting the order of the two great commandments. Again, our first commandment is to love God.

That said, I want to finish by addressing a couple questions this may raise.

There are many valuable relationships in life. Parents with children, grandparents and grandchildren, friends, co-workers, teammates and yes, same-sex relationships. God has given us a wide diversity of wonderful relationships. Only one is marriage, but there are many others besides.

And I believe it is right and proper to have a deep, meaningful same-sex relationships. David and Jonathan are such an example. Paul and Silas and later perhaps Paul and Timothy might fit that description. Those relationships can and should be be very meaningful. But they don’t fit under the Biblical definition of “marriage,” and are designed to be platonic.

The best argument against this line of thinking that I’ve heard goes like this. “If God designed marriage to produce children, does that mean couples who choose not to or can’t bear children have a lesser relationship? Are their marriages somehow inferior?”

The answer is no.

We have to go back to God’s design to see this. All marriages are designed to produce children, but due to the fall, it’s possible that not all will. Christians reading this already know the theology of The Fall, The Curse and the rule of sin and death on earth. Almost nothing is exactly as God designed it now, or as it will be again one day, but the design itself remains unchanged. Some legs break, some eyes can’t see, and some married couples can’t bear children, but God’s original design remains unaltered. A marriage with one man and one woman is still a marriage, even if their reproductive systems aren’t functioning or they choose not bear children.

“If marriage is so important, does that mean unmarried people are missing out on God’s best?”

Not at all. In fact, we can see in scripture that God both loves marriage AND wants some people to be single. Probably not a majority, but some. The Apostle Paul was single, and said “I wish you all could be single like me.” And the most obvious of all, Jesus never married.

With Jesus and Paul as examples, I can’t imagine there’s any religion in the world that is in a worse position than ours to make the case that the unmarried are missing out on their ultimate calling.

One last question.

“I have a lesbian relative/friend who is having a birthday party. She’s asked me to bake a cake and bring it. Should I go?”

Without question you should go. Bake the cake and go celebrate. And here’s where we get to the distinction. What is that birthday party celebrating? Is it celebrating something that God is also celebrating? In the case of a friend’s birthday, whether gay, straight, old, young, black, brown or white, you are celebrating a life that God designed and created. God loves that person, celebrates that person (though a sinner, because…human), and expects us to as well. We love both God and our neighbor when we join our friend in celebrating his life. We see Jesus doing this constantly on earth, and catching flak for it from those who loved their rules more than God.

With the gay wedding ceremony, the best I can tell from Scripture is that God does not celebrate when someone redefines something He designed. For this reason I believe declining to attend the wedding, but happily attending the birthday party is not hypocrisy, but the best reading of scripture. We celebrate when we see our Father celebrate.

Finally, a Christian might say, “I hear what you are saying, but I am choosing to go to the wedding anyway. I believe it is honoring to my friend to go. I am not trying to redefine marriage, but I know this is a happy occasion for my friend and I want to share the moment with him/her and show kindness to a person that God loves.”

If this is your position, I can respect it. For me, the first view is more persuasive. But hopefully we will have grace with each other as we navigate these cultural waters together, always seeking to love God first, and love our neighbors as ourselves.

*Caleb Backholm is the brother of FPIW President Joseph Backholm. He resides with his family in Olympia, WA.   

How Should Christians Engage the Current Political Climate?

President Trump’s election has triggered a political climate the likes of which I’ve never seen before.  A few months later and the outrage has not abated.  How should a Christian act in such a contentious environment?  Should we take a break from reading the news and using social media?  Should we unfriend or unfollow Facebook friends with differing opinions?  Is it better to ignore or engage those with opposing views?

These are some questions I’ve asked myself lately, and I’ve found some direction in the Bible.  While the Bible doesn’t answer every political question, it provides a gauge for evaluating political movements and our own participation in the political process: “God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power; and of love; and of a sound mind” (Timothy 1:7).

Whatever our opinion, cause, or level of activism, if we cannot feel love for our fellow man, if we are consumed by worry or resentment, we can be sure we are not working under the direction of God’s spirit.  When I find that I’m feeling contemptuous or hopeless, I know it’s time to spiritually reboot.

As someone clever said, “If life were easy, it wouldn’t be hard.”  Being Christ-like in the political arena is easier said than done.  It is possible, though.  As I’ve tried to engage people of opposing viewpoints in a Christian way, I’ve learned–often through trial and error–some principles of Christian politicking.  Below are a few practical suggestions for maintaining a spirit of power, love and a sound mind while engaging in the political process.

  1. Pray always and feast upon the words of Christ.  When we pray and study God’s word, we put on the spiritual armor we need to feel peace and love in today’s political climate.
  1. Instead of immediately countering someone’s political statement, ask the person if he or she would be interested in having a friendly discussion about the topic they’ve mentioned.  If the answer is “no,” a simple “okay” is all that’s necessary.
  1. Express respect for everyone and admiration for other’s virtues.  Even if we can’t stand a friend’s viewpoint or a politician’s position, there’s almost always room for a sincere compliment.  I, for example, passionately oppose President Obama’s actions concerning gay marriage, but I am glad to say I admire his devotion as a husband and father.
  1. Check your facts.  Don’t spread false information.
  1. Look for common ground.  It’s not a waste of time to point out where opposing parties have some agreement, even when that consensus might seem obvious.  It’s helpful to remember that on many issues we are all on the same page.
  1. Learn to politely end a conversation.  I like to say, “I can see we are not going to reach an agreement on this subject.  I respect your reasoned opinion and hope you will respect mine.”
  1. Be ready to say sorry and try again.  We’ve all said things we regret.  Don’t be too hard on yourself if you say or write something that wasn’t perfect.  Where possible, admit your regret, then try again.

Do you have additional ideas or experiences you’d like to share?  Please leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Is Trump “Repealing Transgender Rights?”

It appears that President Trump is on the verge of reversing another of President Obama’s national policies.

This time, it is the policy that told school districts they would lose their funding for special needs students and lunch programs unless they allowed anatomical males who desire to be female to undress in the girl’s locker rooms.

Per usual, this is being met with howls of indignation from the left about returning to the days of Jim Crow, or whatever.

“He’s repealing protections for transgender students” they insist.

Let’s talk about that for a moment.

Which rights, exactly, would he be repealing?

Is it the right to go anywhere you want any time you want?

Or is the right to undress in front of people you want to undress in front of?

Or maybe it’s the right to force others to undress in front of you?

I don’t recall any of those rights being discussed in law school.

I do, however, recall the right to bodily privacy.  Which, by the way, includes the right to control who sees you with your clothes off.

If you’re inclined to be indignant about the fact that President Trump would allow local schools districts the freedom to deal with these unique challenges on a case-by-case basis, maybe an analogy will help.

Imagine that, in an effort to cure homelessness, President Obama had issued an executive order declaring it illegal to have a lock on your front door because locks on front doors discriminate against the homeless.

Then imagine President Trump reversed that national policy to allow homeowners the right lock their doors again.

People wouldn’t be outraged by the “roll-back of homeless people’s right to shelter” because we still acknowledge the importance of private property rights.

It is discriminatory to lock your front door, but it’s also completely appropriate.

Why then, have we so easily given up on our daughters’ right to bodily privacy?

The same voices that howl about the rape culture scorn women who fight for the right to make healthy boundaries.

But what about the rights of the transgender people?

I hear you.  And, yes, they too have rights.

They should have the right to live how they see fit.  If they want to live as the opposite gender, the law should not prohibit them from doing so.

Similarly, children who experience gender dysphoria also have the right to be treated compassionately in school and otherwise.

However, their reasonable expectation of respect and kindness does not carry with it the right to ignore the privacy rights of every other student.  Nor does their right to identify how they prefer carry with it the right to force everyone else in the world to agree with their new identity and change the way they think, speak, and act to accommodate it.

You cannot reasonably demand the right to be who you are while seeking to punish others for being who they are.

If you wish to receive tolerance, you must also give tolerance.

Tolerance has never been about finding agreement about everything but achieving civility despite our inevitable disagreements.

Should President Trump reverse the Obama administration mandate, he would simply be affirming the idea that parents, teachers, administrators, and school boards are in a much better position to find a solution to these school specific challenges than Washington DC is.

It doesn’t repeal anyone’s rights.  In fact, it once again restores an environment where everyone’s rights are allowed to be taken into consideration.

No one should object to that, unless, of course, you think the best way to solve homelessness is making it illegal for people to lock their front door.

Initiative 1552 has been filed that would require schools in Washington to maintain separate facilities in schools based on students sex and allow businesses to set their own policies.  They need 330,000 signatures by July 7th to qualify for the ballot.  If you wish to help that effort go to www.JustWantPrivacy.org

WA Supreme Court’s Rules Against Arlene’s Flowers and First Amendment

Though it wasn’t surprising, it is still disappointing.

Barronelle Stutzman is a florist in eastern Washington who told long-time customers that she could not decorate their same-sex wedding in 2013.

Despite the fact that she has employed people who identify as gay and is happy to sell flowers (including wedding flowers) to same-sex couples, she stated that she could not be the florist for their wedding because of her beliefs about marriage.

Washington State’s Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, initiated legal action against the grandmother, claiming that it was illegal for her to opt out of the event if she was willing to provide floral services for other weddings.

Today, in a unanimous decision, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that Washington State can force businesses owners to participate in events and communicate messages they object to as a matter of conscience.

This is a radical decision from an increasingly extremist Supreme Court that has also found reasons to find charter schools unconstitutional and claim jurisdiction over how the legislature funds education.

The implications of this ruling should be concerning to everyone in Washington State, regardless of how you feel about same-sex “marriage” or your willingness to provide professional services for causes you personally disagree with.

Until five years ago, it was widely understood that individuals could choose for themselves which causes or messages they supported.

The addition of sexual orientation to some state’s non-discrimination laws combined with the redefinition of marriage has triggered a signification change in how progressives view the First Amendment.

Non-discrimination laws—which were intended to prevent businesses from having signs that say “Whites Only,” “No Jews,” or “No Mexicans”—are now being interpreted to reach far beyond their original scope.

No one believes it is religious discrimination to decline to participate in an ISIS event, nor does anyone feel it is illegal racial discrimination to decline to participate in a white supremacist rally.

When it comes to sexual orientation, however, what constitutes “discrimination” has been widely expanded.  As a result of this ruling, if you are willing to decorate for any wedding, you must decorate for every wedding.

This is true even if you are happy to provide service to people who identify as gay in every other context.

It is truly unprecedented.

The good news is that Mrs. Stutzman is expected to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court of the United States, where it is thought there is significantly more support for civil liberties.

The bad news is that she was sued in her personal capacity as well as her business capacity, which means she stands to lose her home, retirement, and business because of her convictions on this issue.

All people of good will should condemn this decision and do what they can to see that it does not stand.

This is not a gay or straight issue.  This is a freedom issue.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Neil Gorsuch

Yesterday, President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch, from the 10th Circuit Appellate Court, to fill the vacancy left by Justice Scalia’s death on the Supreme Court.

Urge Washington State’s Senators Murray and Cantwell to support Justice Gorsuch’s nomination, as they did when he was originally elevated to the 10th Cirucuit Court of Appeals by signing our petition right here.

According to the White  House Press release announcing the pick, “Judge Gorsuch is a brilliant jurist with an outstanding intellect and a clear, incisive writing style.  He is universally respected for his integrity, fairness, and decency.  And he understands the role of judges is to interpret the law, not impose their own policy preferences, priorities, or ideologies.”

We support the nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and urge his timely confirmation.

Judge Gorsuch’s record shows that he will not engage in judicial activism, and will seek to interpret the law as it is not as he wishes it to be.  That principle is fundamental to the rule of law and abandonment of that principle is at the root of the “right to abortion” the Court found in Roe v. Wade, and the “right to same-sex marriage” the Court found in Obergefell.

His record also indicates that he values the sanctity of human life. He authored a book that provides a keen legal and moral analysis of assisted suicide, concluding that “human beings are intrinsically valuable…and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”

Judge Gorsuch’s judicial record shows that he values the rights of individuals against government action that would force them to violate their beliefs. In two prominent cases, Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor, Judge Gorsuch ruled against attempts by the federal government to compel people to purchase forms of contraceptives that violated their beliefs.

President Trump campaigned on a promise to appoint justices in the mold of Justice Scalia and this pick is widely thought to be a fulfillment of that commitment.

Princeton Professor Robby George, a leading conservative thinker and legal theorist says in an editorial this morning that, “Gorsuch’s combination of outstanding intellectual and personal qualities places him in the top rank of American jurists.”

The National Review says that Gorsuch is a worthy heir to Scalia.

Russell Moore, from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Council, who was consistently opposed to President Trump during his campaign, called Gorsuch, “an exceptional choice for Supreme Court Justice.

This article from the Conservative Review describes 10 things you need to know about Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. It includes some interesting facts about the nominee as well as his perspective on a range of judicial issues.

Of course not everyone is excited about the nomination.

Democratic leadership in the Senate promised to filibuster the nomination before it was announced.

According to House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi, this is a “very hostile appointment”. “Clean air, clean water, food safety, safety in medicine and the rest,  if you care about that for your children he’s not your guy.”

She also said he is “hostile to children and schools” and has also ruled that children with autism don’t have the same rights.  She also cited his decision in the Hobby Lobby case as evidence that he is “hostile to women’s reproductive rights.”

The nomination will now be sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  If the committee recommends confirmation, as expected, it will move to the full Senate for a vote.

That is where things could get interesting.

Typically, the Senate gives broad deference to the President’s appointment for cabinet positions and Supreme Court vacancies. However, Senate Democrats are believed to be angry that President Obama’s nominee to the vacancy,  Merrick Garland, never received a hearing from Republican leadership.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who voted to confirm Judge Gorsuch when he was appointed to the 10th Circuit in 2006, has said previously that Democrats will oppose the nomination “if they don’t appoint somebody good.

The rules of the Senate require sixty votes in the Senate before the nominee is confirmed. There are 52 Republicans in the Senate. That means Democrats can effectively block — or “filibuster” — the confirmation if fewer than eight Democrats support Trump’s pick for the high court.

However, Republicans could change the rules of the Senate to eliminate the 60 vote requirement, as the Democrats did when they were in the majority.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, has expressed his belief that the nominee will receive confirmation through the normal course.

Adding intrigue to the Senate’s ability to mount successful opposition to the nomination is the fact that ten senate Democrats are running for reelection in 2018 in states that Trump won in 2016.  It remains to be seen how strong their desire to dig in their heels against the new administration is.

Of note for voters in Washington State, both of our U.S. Senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell,  voted for to confirm Judge Gorsuch when he was appointed to the Court of Appeals.

Sign our petition right here urging Senators Murray and Cantwell to affirm their prior support for Justice Gorsuch by confirming him for the Supreme Court of the United States.

 

Which World Will You Choose?

Last Wednesday’s hearing on Senate Bill 5320 (Viewable here on TWV), parental notification in cases of a minor seeking an abortion, was relatively staid affair where opponents of parental notification argued that, while a minor cannot get a tattoo, visit a tanning salon, nor drink or smoke legally, and while parental consent is needed for every other simple medical procedure or exam, somehow teenage girls in crisis should be trusted to make their own medical decisions about their pregnancy.

They painted a world where parents are at best an obstruction to unfettered abortions and at worst are waiting at home to abuse the young girl physically and psychologically.  Throughout the room was a lapel pin “Trust Women,” while seemingly lost on opponents of parental notification is the fact that half of all parents are women.  What women are young girls to trust?  Evidently not their mothers.

That is the world the pro-abortionists in the room represented, a world where we teach our adolescents that parents are non-essential and simply obstacles to be deceitfully worked around; a world where in issues of pregnancy if not tanning, drinking, smoking, tattooing, and voting the teen is completely capable of making mature, wise decisions.

On the other hand, supporters of parental notification and SB 5320 view the world very differently.  In our world parents are not the enemy but the ones who know their children best and most often have their best interests at heart.  Parents are the ones who in every other facet of life the state trusts to have the right information and make the best decision for the child.  Parents are the ones who can guide a young girl in crisis through the emotional and physical minefield of pregnancy and the results of whatever decision they choose to take together.

The world supporters of SB 5320 described is one where the science proves and the state and courts agree that the adolescent brain is not fully developed and is not fully capable of making clear, rational, choices.  That is why sentencing guidelines for juvenile offenders are different than those for adults.  Because in every other area except for teen pregnancy the state has recognized that adolescents are different and cannot be held to the same standard as adults.

Supporters of Parental Notification and SB 5320 described a world that God created, where life is precious and the family is the first society.  A world where parents have God-given authority and responsibility to raise and nurture their children.

The only question that remains from last week’s hearing is, “Which world will you choose?”

WA Bill Seeks to Make Obamacare Mandates Permanent in WA

As lawmakers in Washington DC prepare to repeal Obamacare and its mandates, a group of Washington State lawmakers have proposed legislation that would make some of those same mandates permanent law in Washington State.

This continues a trend of attempts to force people in Washington to buy things they don’t want to buy.

Three times in recent years, the House of Representatives passed legislation to require every insurance policy to cover abortion only to see the bill defeated in the Senate. (See here and here.

HB 1523 is requires all insurance plans to “provide coverage for the same preventive services required to be covered under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 300gg-13 (2016) and any federal rules or guidance in effect on December 31, 2016, implementing 42 U.S.C. Sec. 300gg-13.”

You can probably count the number of people who immediately know what that sentence means on one hand.

So we’ll translated.

First, it would turn a controversial contraceptive mandate in the Obamacare care law into a Washington State law.

It’s the same mandate that was used in an attempt to force a convent of nuns to purchase birth control.

Secondly, it incorporates “guidance” from the Obama administration about that amendment into permanent WA law. That guidance says that “preventative services” includes “all FDA approved contraceptives and sterilization” procedures would be covered.  The details can be found here. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/300gg-13

It should be noted that the mandates at issue in this legislation would not cover elective abortions.

In recent years, the Abortion Insurance Mandate has attempted to force businesses, individuals, and churches to pay for abortion.

But it by including all FDA approved contraceptives, they include various IUD’s, Plan B and Ella which many object to on conscience grounds.

HB 1523 has been assigned to the House Health Care and Wellness Committee but has not yet received a hearing date.

You can leave comments about this bill on the legislative website by clicking here.

You can contact your legislators through the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or email them by clicking here.

To support our efforts to keep you aware of threats to conscience rights so you can do something about it, click here.

#DefundChilis: Chili’s Cancels Planned Parenthood Fundraiser

Chili’s restaurants in Indiana and Kentucky have canceled their fundraising initiative for Planned Parenthood, thanks to an overwhelming response from pro-life advocates.

News broke yesterday that the independently owned Chili’s restaurants had partnered with the Indiana-Kentucky Planned Parenthood affiliate to donate 15% of a patron’s pre-tax meal to the abortion provider.

The promotion included twenty-five Chili’s restaurants in the two states.

2nd Votes, which describes itself as a “conservative watchdog for corporate activism,” launched a social media campaign asking pro-life advocates to “Tell Chili’s we’re going somewhere else for dinner!” Before long, pro-lifers were using the Twitter hashtag #DefundChilis.

Chili’s released a statement this morning announcing that they had cancelled the promotion:

“At Chili’s, we have a longstanding history and take pride in giving back to unite our local communities together. We recognize every community is unique, and encourage our restaurant managers and franchise partners to support causes that help bring communities together and leave a positive impact on our valued Guests, neighbors, friends and families we serve.

“Yesterday, we learned that an independent franchise partner of Chili’s in Indiana and Kentucky made the decision to host a Chili’s Give Back Event on behalf of Planned Parenthood Indiana and Kentucky. While our franchise partner had the best intentions; we have received growing feedback and concern from community members regarding the Give Back Event. This feedback does not reflect Chili’s focus on bringing communities together and the event was never intended to be viewed as a partisan event or political statement, therefore we, along with our franchise partner, have decided to cancel the event.

“We will more clearly communicate the focus of Chili’s charitable giving efforts, so that our restaurant managers and franchise partners can feel empowered to support local organizations that bring communities together.”

The success of the #DefundChilis social media campaign shows how effective the pro-life movement can be when mobilized and working toward a common goal.

A Chili’s independent franchise partner in California canceled a similar fundraiser for Planned Parenthood in 2011 after Chili’s customers expressed their concerns.

Planned Parenthood has faced growing criticism in recent weeks following the release of a congressional report implicating its affiliates in illegal behaviors. A Live Action investigation also recently found that 92 of 97 Planned Parenthood clinics surveyed do not provide prenatal care for pregnant women, despite repeated claims from supporters that it should continue receiving federal funding because it claims to provide those services.