4 Reasons Suicide Is Increasing Among Young Adults

Suicide is back in the news again.

After seven of its students committed suicide, a Colorado school district last month temporarily pulled from its libraries 13 Reasons Why, the young adult fiction book turned Netflix television teen drama that critics say glamorizes suicide.

The book chronicles the suicide of Hannah Baker, a high school junior who leaves behind thirteen cassette tapes explaining her reasons for committing suicide.

Like Hannah Baker, many young adults are turning to suicide as an escape from the pressures of life. From 2000 to 2015, the suicide rate increased 27% among those aged 20 to 35 (the U.S. average suicide rate among all age groups increased by almost 21% during the same time period). Washington State’s suicide rate is 16% higher than the national average.

 

Two Factors That Fail To Explain The Increasing Suicide Rate

Many experts blame increased economic hardship and inadequate mental health services for the recent rise in suicide. However, these easy explanations misrepresent available data and fall short of adequately explaining the troubling trend.

From a material perspective, life on earth has never been better. Thanks to global trade and extraordinary technological advances, Americans today enjoy a higher standard of living, greater economic security, longer life expectancy, less crime, and more leisure than any other people throughout history. Even the poorest among us live far more prosperous lives than our richest grandparents could have imagined. And let us not forget that Americans living in poverty still boast a higher living standard than the average European.

Additionally, the recent increase in suicide cannot be blamed on undersupplied mental health services. Both federal and state governments have progressively increased mental health funding over recent decades (paradoxically, the inefficient and inflexible bureaucracy created to administer mental health programs and treatments may make it more difficult for those struggling with mental health conditions to receive the care they need).

In exclusively focusing on economic circumstances and mental health funding, we ignore profound cultural shifts that better explain rising suicide rates.

 

Four Reasons Suicide Is Increasing Among Young Adults

Here are four factors likely contributing to the significant increase in suicide among young Americans:

Delayed Marriage: More than ever before, young people are choosing to delay marriage or forgo it entirely. In 1960, the median age at first marriage was 22.8 for men and 20.3 for women, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Today, the median age at first marriage has increased to 29.5 for men and 27.4 for women. Almost half of 34-year-olds have never been married.

These unmarried millennials sacrifice the benefits that come with being united to a committed partner in marriage. A survey of scientific literature conducted by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute found that married individuals are healthier, happier, and more financially secure than their unmarried peers. They experience greater emotional and psychological well-being than those who are unmarried. Notably, married individuals are less likely to commit suicide.

Increased Worker Mobility: Americans move for work more often than Europeans. Although greater worker mobility boosts the economy and results in better matching of employees and jobs, it can also cause individuals to become detached from communities that help provide belonging, happiness, and emotional and financial support.

Researchers have discovered a link between residential mobility and suicide. “Indeed, residential mobility can be associated with higher levels of stress, crime, poor health, and what sociologists call ‘social disorganization,’” writes Ryan McMaken for the Mises Institute.

Decreased Religiosity: Young Americans have increasingly disconnected from religious institutions over the last few decades, choosing instead to live according to their own “personalized spirituality” or rejecting religion entirely.

A Pew Research Center study published two years ago found that only 28% of millennials born between 1981 and 1996 attend religious services weekly, significantly less than 51% of the Silent Generation (those born between 1928 and 1945). Younger millennials are also less likely to believe in God (80%) and consider religion to be an important part of their lives (38%).

Unfortunately, by eschewing involvement in religious communities, millennials sacrifice the kinship and solidarity those communities provide. Religion helps provide meaning to life, and religious communities equip individuals with the relationships and support necessary to withstand life’s treacherous seas.

Unsurprisingly, religiously unaffiliated individuals had “significantly more lifetime suicide attempts” than their religiously affiliated peers, according to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The study’s authors also concluded that “subjects with no religious affiliation perceived fewer reasons for living, particularly fewer moral objections to suicide.”

Postmodernism: Millennials attain higher levels of education than previous generations. This makes them more susceptible to postmodernism, the prevailing worldview taught in higher education.

Postmodernism posits that reality is unknowable and meaningless. In attempting to overthrow traditional values, postmodernism dispenses with objective and transcendent truths that provide individuals with a realistic framework through which to perceive the world. Postmodernists sort everyone into one of two groups: the oppressors and the victims, the latter of which suffer from systemic societal and cultural oppression at the hands of the former.

Survey data indicate a considerable number of millennials have bought into the postmodern worldview propagated by their colleges and universities. Only 40% of those under age 35 believe “right and wrong never change,” and just 4% of millennials hold to a biblical worldview.

Philosopher Richard M. Weaver observed decades ago that “ideas have consequences.” Teaching the next generation that life is meaningless, truth is unknowable, and that tradition and conventional wisdom must be discarded yields predictable results. Such a corrosive worldview will only produce rotting fruit.

 

There Is No Easy Fix

Suicide is increasing because our culture has lost its moorings. We need to acknowledge that the exploding suicide rate among Americans and Washingtonians will not be solved through a growing economy or greater mental health funding. As long as individuals continue to disconnect from the relationships, communities, and truth that provide meaning to life, suicide will continue becoming more prevalent.

There is no easy fix. Reversing the trend depends on effectively confronting the lies accepted by culture and society fueling hopelessness and social disorganization. We must also work to ensure our communities can successfully provide for the material, emotional, and spiritual needs of their members.


Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and research fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington. He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.

The Time is Now to Become Engaged Citizens

Not once had my friends openly desired to discuss politics before this last election cycle. Thankfully, that is no longer the case.

Many Americans have forgotten that the United States was intended to be a representative republic. Referencing the system of government designed by the founders, John Adams attested that our government would be a government of “laws, and not men.”

The conservative philosophy argues that we are endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights that can be neither conferred nor withheld by any man or government. Among these are the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.

Unfortunately, government infringes upon inalienable rights in many ways today. The growth of government over the last century means that government is more involved in our lives than ever before, making it harder for the average person to affect government and keep it accountable.

In a timeless quote that is as applicable today as it was when written, James Madison explained the importance of limiting government through constitutional restraints:

“If men were angels no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

If the founders had felt that our fundamental, inalienable rights were so easily protected, they would not have gone to such lengths to secure those rights in the Bill of Rights.

When discussing with others how government overreach frequently restricts religious liberty, free speech, and other constitutionally guaranteed rights, I often hear the other person dismissively say, “I’m not doing anything wrong, so it won’t affect me.” But it is important we ask, “Who is deciding what is right or wrong?”

For most Christians, we defer to the immutable Word of God for all questions regarding morality. But as of late, Christians have been finding that their sense of right and wrong is not shared by those in power.

For example, the Knapps—a husband-wife team of ordained ministers operating the Hitching Post wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho—certainly believed they were doing the right thing by refusing to officiate homosexual weddings. Likewise, Barronelle Stutzman didn’t think she was doing wrong when she managed her business according to the dictates of her faith. Yet in both cases, government officials thought otherwise. Despite thinking they were doing nothing wrong, both Stutzman and the Knapps found themselves in the crosshairs of government policies that violated their inalienable rights.

When government infringes another person’s rights and we think to ourselves, “That doesn’t affect me,” we should remember Stutzman, the Knapps, and countless others who probably once thought the same. As long as someone besides God is defining right and wrong, the growing reach of government will inevitably lead to further infringements on our rights.

Therefore, it is no longer acceptable to be an uninformed, one-issue voter. There are multiple ways for a government as immense and perplexing as ours to infringe on the rights we hold dear. Although these policies might seem harmless at the time, they create precedents that can later be used to violate our constitutionally protected rights. We are already witnessing this on a small scale in the cases cited above, as well as numerous other similar examples.

People need to pay attention to what government is doing so they can confirm that their rights are being respected and that their legislators are faithfully representing them. For too long, this has not been the case. If we are to maintain our republic and our rights, citizens must wake up and become informed and engaged. The time is now.

A Teacher’s Perspective on School Choice (It’s Parental Choice)

The liberal media pounced on Betsy DeVos after her confirmation hearing last week, alleging that Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education is a radical Christian who supports “dismantling” public schools.

I teach at one of those private, for-profit, Christian schools that Democrats and their allies in the media are vilifying as one of the greatest threats to our nation’s youth and education system.

Although those opposed to DeVos’ nomination would like to convince you that private and charter schools are designed to serve only affluent whites, in reality, my school’s student body is majority-minority. Many of these kids come from broken homes on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum.

This isn’t as rare as the media would lead you to believe. Scholarships and voucher programs, whether privately or publicly funded, allow children to succeed in schools their families would otherwise have been unable to afford. In fact, empirical evidence overwhelmingly indicates that voucher programs improve racial integration in schools.

Many of my students were unable to achieve their full potential in their neighborhood public schools. Their parents were growing frustrated with what their schools were teaching, and were growing worried about their school’s culture of drugs, promiscuity, and insubordination.

In my experience, low-income and minority families who are given the opportunity to attend schools like the one where I teach are so thankful their kids are able to receive a quality education in a safe and edifying environment.

Some of my students have shared with me their experiences attending local public schools. One of my black students carried a gun with him to school as an early teenager to keep himself safe from gang activity. Drug dogs sweep the halls of local public high schools, which also sometimes use metal detectors to check students for weapons.

Apart from concerns about their children’s safety, many families also feel uneasy about the content of their children’s education. In Washington State, for example, schools are now teaching elementary school children that they can choose their gender. Sexual education curricula teach students to use methods of birth control many parents find morally objectionable. And some teachers, schools, and educational standards distort history and science to promote their pet political agendas.

Many of the most vocal critics of DeVos and the educational philosophy she represents contend that the very existence of private schools with different educational philosophies threatens public schools and our social order. These critics oppose any system of school choice that allows parents to choose the school they want to educate their children.

Contrary to the baseless claims of her critics, Betsy DeVos has never supported “dismantling” the public school system. Instead, she is simply working to ensure that those low- and middle-income families who find their local public school insufficient can have the same opportunities as wealthier families that are able pursue other means of education.

Providing more alternatives to public schools wouldn’t necessarily cause an exodus of children from public to private schools, nor would it require that public schools be “dismantled.”

If, in fact, most public schools offer an education superior to that of comparable private schools, families will decide to leave their kids in the public school to which they’ve been assigned. On the other hand, families who worry about their son or daughter attending public school would be able to move him or her to a school that better meets their needs and reflects their values.

No school or educational philosophy is perfect, and a one-size-fits-all system doesn’t really fit all families and students. That’s why choice is so necessary and important.

I’m especially thankful schools like the one at which I teach exist to provide families with an alternative to unsafe, failing schools that teach an educational philosophy antithetical to traditional Judeo-Christian values. Voucher programs like those supported by Betsy DeVos enable families to pursue whatever means of education works best for their children – and that’s something we should all celebrate.

 

Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and research fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington. He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.

How President-Elect Trump Made Progressives Like “Discrimination” Again

What a difference eight years makes.

When President Obama was elected in 2008, he campaigned on the idea that marriage was a relationship between a man and a woman.

His political party was obviously good with that.

When he leaves office tomorrow, most of that same political party believes that people who hold the position he held when he was elected President should lose their businesses for it.

As a result bakers, florists, print shops, pizza shops owners, photographers, graduate students and fire chiefs suffered the wrath of a mob that somewhere along the way decided that tolerance only meant tolerating beliefs you agreed with or understood.

In principle, Americans have long agreed that “tolerance” is a good thing.

But only recently did we decide that “tolerance” required you to support events, messages, and activities you personally opposed.

But then Donald Trump was elected President.

And that changed everything.

To be sure, it’s a dramatic shift in the nature of the leadership coming from Washington, D.C.

But for progressives, it also required a change in their core principles.

For years they told those who didn’t support their view of marriage and sexuality that abstention was a sign of invidious bigotry. But overnight, it became a moral necessity.

Broadway singer Jennifer Holliday (who had performed for four previous Presidents) agreed to sing the national anthem at the inauguration, but she withdrew after receiving an avalanche of ridicule up to and including death threats and calls for her suicide.

Not only were they willing to tolerate people who declined to participate in certain events, they demanded it.

Ms. Holliday had hoped her voice would help bring people together.   But, as she described it, she didn’t realize that, “We’re not doing America right now.”

When Nicole Kidman tweeted that “…we as a country need to support whoever’s the president because that’s what the country is based on,” the mob demanded (and eventually received) an apology.

As if that statement is something requiring an apology.

The designer who declined to design a dress for Melania Trump was applauded instead of picketed.

When members of the Rockette’s objected to leg-kicking for the President-elect, the progressive mob showed no indignation at their obviously discriminatory preferences but defended their right of conscience.

The difference is obvious.

The mob agrees with their convictions and consequently has sympathy for their decision to abstain.

The hypocrisy, however, is equally obvious.

If you believe in freedom only for those who agree with you, you don’t really believe in freedom.

Progressives will attempt to make a distinction between the singers who opted not to sing at the inauguration and the florists who declined to decorate for a same-sex wedding. “Sexual orientation is a protected class,” they insist, “but whatever category you wish to put Donald Trump into is not.”

But that attempt to make a distinction simply ignores the fact that protected class status is a function of a political majority’s preferences.

What if “presidents who wanted to build a wall on the Mexican boarder” were designated as a protected class who could not be discriminated against?

Should that change the rights of singers to decline to be part of the inauguration?

Of course not.

But under their preferred framework, it would.

It has been commonplace throughout history that those in power would use their power to punish their political opponents until such a time as their political opponents figure out a way to wrestle power away from them and then they use that power to exact revenge.

America isn’t supposed to be that way.

Our Constitution and Bill of Rights were created out of recognition that all of us have rights that must be protected even if no one else agrees with us or even likes us.

And no one has the right to make someone else do something they don’t want to do.

Some of us forgot this over the past eight years, but now we have a chance to remember.

We have the opportunity to reestablish the idea that freedom is good even if the way it is used offends you.

The freedom to “discriminate” isn’t always a crisis because one man’s “discrimination” is another man’s right of conscience.

Sometimes we might be the majority.  Sometimes we might not.  But that shouldn’t have any bearing on whether people can be compelled to do things that violate their conscience.

Conservatives have been making this argument for years.  Now that they’ve lost an election, progressives are coming around as well.

If Trump’s election helped bring us together again on this point, perhaps he is making America great again, already.

Freedom of Association: Does it Exist or Not?

Last month, fashion designer Sophie Theallet said she would refuse to dress First Lady Melania Trump and encouraged fellow designers to follow her lead.

Believing that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign unleashed “the rhetoric of racism, sexism and xenophobia,” Theallet said that her personal convictions of “diversity, individual freedom, and respect for all lifestyles” disallowed her from “dressing or associating in any way” with the first lady.

“As a family-owned company, our bottom line is not just about money. We value our artistic freedom and always humbly seek to contribute to a more humane, conscious and ethical way to create in this world,” Theallet wrote in an email to the fashion designers.

Many of those on the political left cheered Theallet’s courage in taking a bold stand against ideas she finds contemptible. After all, isn’t Theallet’s decision to discriminate against the president-elect’s wife protected under freedom of association, the constitutional right that enables her to decide for herself who she will do business with?

Maybe freedom of association only applies to those on the left?

Ironically, the same people that extolled Theallet’s choice not to dress Melania Trump have long denied that Christians share the same right exercised by the fashion designer.

Here in Washington State, Barronelle Stutzman, a septuagenarian Christian florist, is facing the wrath of the state after she refused to decorate a same-sex wedding. Like Theallet, Stutzman believed that her moral conviction demanded that she not provide a service. And like Theallet, Stutzman felt that her conviction precluded her from using her artistic talents to support or endorse something she views as morally inappropriate.

Unlike Theallet, who was celebrated by liberals everywhere, Stutzman ended up in court being sued for discrimination by the homosexual couple and Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Because the state has sued her in her personal and professional capacities, she stands to lose her home, life savings, retirement, and business.

In oral arguments presented to the Washington State Supreme Court last month, Attorney General Ferguson claimed that Christians surrender their right to act upon their religious convictions when they start businesses.

To make matters worse, Stutzman isn’t alone. Christians in other states are also being targeted for exercising their right to free association – the same right that protects Theallet’s decision not to dress the wife of a man who holds views she believes to be immoral.

According to the ACLU, “Religion is being used as an excuse to discriminate against and harm others…. The ACLU works to defend religious liberty and to ensure that no one is either discriminated against nor denied services because of someone else’s religious beliefs.”

I’d love to ask the ACLU why they believe it’s permissible for a fashion designer to discriminate against First Lady Trump because of political convictions, yet it’s unacceptable for a Christian to refrain from using her artistic expression for an event she finds morally objectionable.

Our nation’s founding fathers believed that all individuals, including business owners, were entitled to freedom of association. Businesses and customers had the right to decide whether they wanted to do business with someone else. If the other party engaged in morally objectionable behaviors, or if the other party was asking you to violate your personal convictions, then you had the right to refuse to do business with them.

Yet the political left, which has long denied that businesses and individuals possess this fundamental right in issues of sexual orientation and religious conviction, seems perfectly fine with a fashion designer not providing a professional service to the First Lady of the United States.

This intellectual dishonesty from the political left is noxious.

America needs to decide whether it will remain faithful to its historical tradition of protecting freedom of association and other conscience rights for everyone, regardless of their religious and political beliefs. If not, it needs to apply the standard consistently. There shouldn’t be a different standard for Christian florists and liberal fashion designers.

Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and 2016 Research Fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington. He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.

10 Reasons Trump’s Election Could Be Good for Social Conservatives

So guess what? That guy with the bad hair who yells “you’re fired” at people on the Apprentice? Yeah. He just got elected President.

While the reactions are mixed across the political spectrum, the result could be good news for social conservatives across the country.

Here are ten reasons social conservatives (whether you voted for him or not) have some reason for optimism.

  1. Planned Parenthood can be defunded. The House and Senate both passed legislation to defund Planned Parenthood that was vetoed by President Obama. Trump has said he would sign legislation if it came to his desk which would require Planned Parenthood to go fund themselves.
  1. The Supreme Court will not be stacked with progressives. When Justice Antonin Scalia died, it left a vacancy on the court that remains unfilled. If Hillary Clinton had nominated Scalia’s replacement, the harm to the First Amendment and life could have been devastating. However, if President-elect Trump follows through on his commitment to nominate an originalist justice to the bench, it will likely mean good things for civil liberties and the protection of the unborn.
  1. ObamaCare can be repealed. Multiple times, Congress passed legislation to repeal ObamaCare along with its promotion of abortion and multiple threats to conscience rights. President Obama, however, was in no mood to repeal legislation that is the foundation of his legacy. President-elect Trump has promised repeatedly to repeal ObamaCare and will begin his term with Congressional leadership that has repeatedly shown a willingness to do so.
  1. The open bathroom mandate can be removed. Earlier this year, President Obama issued a memo telling every school district in the country that they would lose education funding unless they forced the girls in their schools to share showers and locker rooms with boys who believe they are girls. A new memo from a new President can eliminate this threat as quickly as it was created.
  1. The Health and Human Service Mandate can be repealed: After ObamaCare was passed, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a mandate that requires all employer health plans to provide free contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs, regardless of any moral or religious objections. This is the mandate that put Little Sisters of the Poor, a nunnery, at odds with the federal government because they did not want to pay for contraceptives. However, since this mandate was simply an agency directive rather than an act of Congress, a new directive from new agency leadership can solve the problem quickly.
  1. The Hyde Amendment will not be repealed. The Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion and the abortion industry has wanted to get rid of it for decades. Secretary Clinton had promised to do her best to get rid of the Hyde Amendment if elected. However, with pro-life majorities in Congress and the White House, the Hyde Amendment looks to be very safe.
  1. The Johnson Amendment can be repealed. For years, churches in America have lived under threat of IRS punishment if they did or said something “political”. This is because in 1954, then Senator Lyndon B. Johnson passed a rule prohibiting religious 501(c)3 organizations from engaging in “electioneering”.   While the threat is largely a paper tiger (no church has ever lost their tax exempt status for saying something about politics) it remains a source of great confusion in religious communities. During the campaign, Mr. Trump promised to repeal the Johnson Amendment to clarify that churches are free to speak and act according to their faith without fear of IRS reprisal.
  1. Hope for the Pain-Capable Abortion Act. Earlier this year, Congress passed the Pain Capable Abortion act making it illegal to kill a baby who is capable of feeling pain after 20 weeks gestation. While Trump has not made a public statement about this legislation specifically, it is difficult to imagine him using a veto on it if it were to pass Congress.
  1. Hope for the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). Earlier this year, legislation was introduced in Congress that would prohibit the government from discriminating against people because of their beliefs. The legislation is necessary because people like Chief Kelvin Cochran are increasingly being fired from public sector jobs simply because of their beliefs. FADA was well received in Congress but almost certain to be vetoed in a Clinton Administration. Now, it has a very real chance.
  1. Protecting Religious Education. This year in California, progressives attempted to pass legislation that would cut off religious institutions from access to federal loans or aid because of their beliefs about marriage, gender, and sexuality. If that effort was successful at the federal level, estimates are that sixty percent of Christian universities would be forced to close their doors.   While state battles around this issue are likely to continue, yesterday’s election results all but guarantee this assault on religious education is no longer imminent at the federal level.

One election does not solve our cultural or political challenges, but for social conservatives who have been wandering in the wilderness for eight years, there is reason for optimism.

But do not be naïve enough to believe the work is over now that the election is over. Political pressures will once again pressure those who talked a good game during campaign season to take the path of least resistance during legislating season.

As the saying goes, if it is to be, it is up to me. Let’s make it happen.

Opinion: What Would Life for Christians Look Like Under a Clinton Presidency?

During the second presidential debate, Gorbah Hamed, a Muslim woman, asked Donald Trump to address her fears about living as a Muslim in the United States following the presidential election.

This isn’t the first time the media has asked questions about what life for Muslims would look like under a Trump presidency, and rightly so. Ever since Trump infamously proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States, journalists have been eagerly raising questions about whether the Republican nominee is a closeted Islamophobe, anxiously awaiting the opportunity to deny Muslims their constitutional rights.

Ironically (or not, depending on your opinions about the news media), I haven’t yet heard journalists ask an analogous question of Secretary Clinton: What would life for Christians look like under a Clinton presidency?

What reasons has Mrs. Clinton given for Christians to be so concerned about their constitutional right to live according to the precepts of their faith and the dictates of their consciences?

First, Clinton supports coercive non-discrimination statutes that trample upon the consciences of religious organizations and Christian business owners.

In remarks made to an event hosted by the militantly anti-Christian Human Rights Campaign, Clinton voiced her support for the Federal Equality Act. Critics warn that the Federal Equality Act would dismantle the essential pillars of religious liberty protections by amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.

If signed by President Clinton, the Federal Equality Act could be used to compel Christian colleges to allow transgender biological males to live in female dorms. Likewise, Christian ministries should expect penalties if they refuse to employ practicing homosexuals. And Catholic adoption agencies could lose their licenses to operate if they follow their Church’s teaching by refusing to provide their services to same-sex couples. (Catholic adoption agencies have already stopped operating in both Massachusetts and Illinois because of similar state non-discrimination laws – an unfortunate development for the tens of thousands of children waiting to be adopted every year).

Mrs. Clinton also decried the Supreme Court’s ruling that allows Christian-owned companies like Hobby Lobby to refrain from providing abortifacients to employees. She called the Supreme Court’s affirmation of the business owners’ right of conscience “deeply disturbing.”

Under a Clinton administration, religious organizations and Christian business owners who don’t agree with the federal government’s revolutionary legal assaults on life, marriage, and gender should anticipate being given two options: repudiate the doctrines of your faith or expect the fist of government to squash you.

Second, consider Hillary Clinton’s comments at the 2015 Women in the World Summit regarding abortion. In her keynote address, she expressed her regret that too many women are “denied” reproductive healthcare [code word: abortion] and expressly stated that “deep seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”

Christians find Clinton’s radical positions on abortion even more frightening when they realize that the Progressive Left, which is financing Clinton’s candidacy, supports using the federal government to force Christian doctors and hospitals to provide abortions, violating the most sacred human right protected by the First Amendment.

Third, Mrs. Clinton would nominate far-left judges who share her vision to limit the constitutional rights of Christians. The battle for religious liberty will be fought in court – and if Hillary Clinton is able to nominate judges of her choosing, that battle for religious liberty will be lost.

Christians have a lot to fear from a Clinton administration concerning their rights. Mrs. Clinton has made it clear that she’s not going to respect the constitutional protections of religious liberty, freedom of conscience, free speech, free association, and liberty of contract.

The mainstream media’s silence about Mrs. Clinton’s hostility toward the rights of Christians is revealing. Muslims are justifiably concerned about Mr. Trump rising to our nation’s highest office, and it is appropriate for the media to share those concerns with the public. So, too, are Christians justifiably concerned about Mrs. Clinton winning the election – but their concerns are being dismissed and buried by journalists with a political agenda.

Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and 2016 Research Fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington. He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.

Two Bad Reasons Christians Won’t Get Involved in This Election

We are now less than two weeks from the election. While there is a lot that people are fighting about, the one thing everyone seems to agree on is that we’re ready for it to be over; in a dead man walking kind of way.

Within the church, people are disagreeing as well. One side says Donald Trump is too bad of a person to vote for, while the other side says that we have to vote for him because to allow Hillary to become President is a death sentence for the Supreme Court and many of our civil liberties.

But there’s another voice that sometimes chimes in as a kind of referee encouraging everyone to relax. And they have some really spiritual arguments for why we shouldn’t be that worried about it.

So here are my two favorite “Christian” reasons for being ambivalent.

  1. God is in Charge Anyway

This is basically the sovereignty of God argument. It says that, “God is still going to be God regardless of who is elected, so chill out.” From a strictly logical sense, this argument is the fallacy known as the non sequitur. Which means the conclusion does not follow logically from the premise.

It’s like saying, “Burritos are yummy so I should buy a new car.” Burritos are in fact yummy, but my decision to buy a car should be determined more by things like need and my ability to afford one. Burritos are going to be yummy regardless.

It is true that God is in charge, but our responsibilities and obligations are given to us independent of that fact. After all, God is also in charge if I neglect to pay my mortgage, abandon my family, or set off a nuclear bomb in the middle of a city.

Indeed, if we think it significant that God is always in charge, we should contemplate the implication of the command to occupy until he returns (Luke 19:13), seek the welfare of the city to which he has sent us (Jeremiah 29:7), and cast down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. (2 Cor 10:5).

Of course God’s sovereignty is always relevant to our lives, it’s just not always instructive to our choices and should never be an excuse for passivity.

For those of us who are more inclined to panic at the current state of affairs and live in a state of perpetual fear, the fact that God is good and always in charge should comfort us and allow us to trust Him and be confident regardless of the circumstances.

But ultimately, it should lead us to be more interested in His purposes for us in our current circumstances, not less.

  1. Persecution will be good for us.

This argument says essentially that, “I know things are bad and getting worse, but maybe shouldn’t do anything about it. After all, I’ve read Revelation and the decline is inevitable. Maybe we should embrace the loss of religious freedom and be ok with the government taking control of our churches, universities, non-profits, businesses, and families. After all, a little persecution will be good for us.”

What would your life be like today if our Founding Father’s took this position?

The first reason we know this is a bad argument is that no one would be willing to make it outside America.

Raise your hand if you’re willing to tell a Christian brother in Syria, Iran, or Nigeria how much you’re looking forward to experiencing a little persecution so our churches can flourish.

I’m sure we’d all become a bit sheepish at the sight of the machete scar across his face.

We should be prepared to obey regardless of what happens in the future, but that should never become indifference to what happens in the future, particularly when we are in a position to influence it.

Remember, if persecution happens in any form, that means bad things are happening to real people. In the Middle East, parents are forced to watch their kids be executed unless they recant their faith. In America, businesses are forced to shut down. Different degrees of bad, but still bad.

The church has been created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph 2:10). We were not created to allow some harm because it will be good for us.

Of course God can take even the worst circumstances and make something beautiful from it, but if bad things start happening to our friends, neighbors, and churches, it should be despite our best efforts, not because of our passivity.

In 2014, it is estimated that only 20 million of the 60 million evangelicals in America filled out a ballot. That’s a lot of influence for good that was never leveraged.

Sometimes the reason we aren’t engaged is that we don’t know how to. We’ve tried to help in this election cycle by providing a voter guide that will help you identify which candidates share your worldview and value system. You can also access it by texting your zip code to 77039.

But sometimes we aren’t engaged because we’ve convinced ourselves we don’t need to be.

There are many things people within the church can disagree about this election season, including what to do with Trump v. Clinton. But we should all be able to agree that we won’t be afraid, we won’t be indifferent to evil, and we don’t quit because it’s challenging.

Why? Because we all want to be like Jesus.

What in the World is Going on at UW?

CNBC Contributor and University of Washington student Benji Backer sat down with Joseph Backholm and Zach Freeman this week for a discussion on the University of Washington and their efforts to ensure that every students gets a button to wear that clearly shows their preferred gender pronoun.  Teachers are also being asked to add their preferred pronoun to their email signatures.

Of course, the University of Washington has not been known in recent days to have the most discerning policies in regards to privacy and safety, nor do its students appear able to take a stand on, well…anything.

Trans Activists Trying to Make Parents Decide: Castration or Suicide?

By Silence*

Disagree with transgender activists for very long at all and they’ll probably accuse of you of causing the deaths of transgender people.

That was the case when a feminist conference planned an event where they would sell cupcakes decorated to look like women’s genitalia. The organizers were told that linking the idea of women with female reproductive organs was, “literally the primary tenet of trans-exterminatory feminism* and that branch of feminism has literally killed** trans women.” They were told, “Trans women are dying and you are aiding and abetting in that. You are complicit in that. YOU ARE KILLING*** TRANS WOMEN WITH YOUR BELIEFS.”

To be clear, the deadly belief in question is that the word “woman” means an adult female human. Transgender advocates may insist that this idea originated with white colonialists**** and is now maintained only by religious people and radical feminists, a claim so silly it’s embarrassing to even repeat.

(But thanks for the idea about talking to conservatives, that was a good tip! Next thing you know, social justice overachievers will call for the abolishment of criminal penalties for rape, and I wonder how they’ll paint the cross-partisan opposition to that? Hold on. Sorry. Not funny. They have already begun to call for the abolishment of criminal penalties for rape. If you don’t agree, you’re “carceral.”)

After a flood of other abuse, the event was cancelled. It’s not the only time a like-themed feminist event was challenged for this reason. It’s hard to know what to say to people who claim to be mortally threatened by a simple cupcake party, without any threats made or any hate symbols displayed.

More recently, University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson declared that he didn’t want to be compelled by law to use the singular, gender-neutral “they,” or other preferred pronouns, for students. When accosted over these beliefs by a student who claims to be non-binary and wants to be called they, as this video shows, it only takes about three and a half minutes for the professor to be accused of being complicit in transgender homelessness, unemployment, and suicide. At the 4:28 mark, the student accuses the professor of creating alienation that results in suicide.

The transgender activist argument for disagreement as mortal threat has two parts.

In the first place, there are violent men who may assault or kill transgender people because they feel threatened by uncertainty about the other person’s sex. Often, these men are connected to the sex trade or other illegal activities. No one in transgender activism makes this connection, because they usually support the full legalization of the sex trade and so refuse to face the root of much of the problem. They also don’t want anyone talking about the death rates for prostituted women, which are similarly high because the sex industry is traumatic and the pimps and customers (graphic content warning) are often especially violent people.

Secondly, there are claims made that transgender persons have a very high suicide rate. The issue calls for discretion and respect; no one should do themselves harm nor be encouraged to do so. But a suicide threat made to compel obedience is a common tactic of domestic abusers. It is manipulative and cruel. A distinction has to be made between sensitively dealing with at-risk populations and giving in to abusive threats, or accepting deeply flawed excuses for terrible behavior.

As unnerving as such accusations of harm are, and they are routine in any disagreement with transgender activists, some people are more vulnerable to these comments than others. None more than the parents of minors who’ve come to believe that they’re trapped in the “wrong” body for their personality.

Public mob activism and misguided laws have made it increasingly difficult for therapists and medical professionals to recommend any option besides chemical castration for young patients who have trouble fitting into sex stereotyped roles. Institutions and practitioners have rushed to cash in. Some parents are enthusiastic about the idea of transitioning their children. Yet others still sometimes resist the intense pressure to treat their children’s psychological or social distress with sterilization.

For these families, there’s the suicide threat. Sometimes, peer encounters on message boards or elsewhere coach would-be transitioners to ask the question of whether the parent wants “a dead son or an alive daughter” (graphic content warning.) Sometimes, the dire warning comes from a medical professional, as it does in the following video, where Diane Ehrensaft explains how she convinces nervous mothers and fathers to accept the chemical castration of their young children.

Diane Ehrensaft: Parents need to be “worked with” to consent to sterilizing their 11-year-old “trans” kids from 4th Wavenow on Vimeo.

Never mind the questionable nature of widely reported statistics on transgender suicide. Never mind the simplistic and sensational reporting, which ignores all the recommended guidelines about preventing suicidal contagion. Never mind that some parents of autistic children, who are already at greater risk of suicide, worry that their children are being wrongly diagnosed as transgender.

No, it’s allegedly “child abuse” to ask any questions about whether transsexual medical experiments are an appropriate treatment for children. It’s not up for debate.

According to the transgender movement, everyone must just keep asking if they want children sterilized or dead. Sterilized or dead? Sterilized or dead? Sterilized or dead? Sterilized or dead? Sterilized or dead? Sterilized or dead? Sterilized or dead? Sterilized or dead? Sterilized or dead?

Though maybe, hear me out, a boy wanting to wear a Dora the Explorer costume isn’t a medical emergency?

* – There is no such thing as trans-exterminatory radical feminism. “TERF” is a slur (graphic content warning.)

** – Not true. Sexual dimorphism isn’t a feminist plot, deadly or otherwise.

*** – Still not true, or how can any of you survive the existence of biology textbooks?

**** – I’m not an anthropologist, but it seems to me that people from outside of Western Europe had also figured out how babies are made before white people showed up.


*Silence is the pseudonym of a radical, progressive feminist.

“For reasons of personal safety and livelihood, I cannot disclose my real identity. But I can tell you this much: I’m a progressive feminist who has spent years working on the front lines of the left. I have opposed conservatism my entire political life in the most strident of terms; under other circumstances, I wouldn’t admit to even reading this site.”