"Highly Unlikely" They SayAug. 11, 2017
“Gene Editing for ‘Designer Babies’? Highly Unlikely, Scientists Say”
That’s the title from a recent New York Times piece highlighting last month’s successful modification of DNA in a human embryo by scientists for the first time in the United States.
The scientists were able to “edit” a known disease-causing mutation at life’s earliest stage in order to prevent the disease from manifesting later in the person’s life. With this sort of “germline” editing, a person’s DNA is not only permanently altered to prevent the contracting of a particular disease, but those mutations that cause the diseases would no longer be inherited by successive generations.
This means that we’re talking about the potential for significantly benefiting (or harming) the human race not just today, but in perpetuity. Talk about power and influence. The possibilities are seemingly endless to the imaginative and the motivated.
Of course, it doesn’t take long for inquisitive minds to wonder: If we can harness scientific methods to prevent “bad” traits, couldn’t we use the same methods to enhance “good” or “preferable” traits – like height, intelligence, skin or eye color, etc.? (Hence, the term “Designer Baby”) And couldn’t this create a number of foreseeable problems?
Not to worry, say the “scientists,” because doing those things would be really hard since modifying other traits is more complex. So for that reason – and that reason alone, apparently – permanently altering human embryos for purposes other than eliminating disease-causing genetic mutations is “highly unlikely” to occur.
Gee, that’s reassuring.
But as the saying goes: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Meanwhile, it’s hard to think of a scenario in which one person possesses more absolute power over another person than when the latter consists of only a few cells under a microscope, created by the former in a lab for the purposes of scientific experimentation. If human nature holds true, we can be certain, then, that no matter how much “good” may come out of this kind of “genetic engineering,” by man’s corruption that good is destined to be far outweighed by its as-of-yet incomprehensible destruction of human life.
Let’s think about this: When was the last time someone said “that’s just too complex” and everyone else simply responded “well, I guess there’s no use even trying then”? That’s just not the America I know. No – we’re the ones who resolve to put a man on the moon (and bring him safely home) within a decade for little more reason than because we don’t want the Russians to get there first! Do you suppose the Russians – who seem to have even less regard for human life than Americans – might be thinking at this very moment how they could harness this science to create a form of genetically-modified super-human for a superior military force, for example? I’d be surprised if they weren’t already working overtime to make it a reality.
If man’s ability to split an atom and harness its power led within a few decades to a nuclear arms race that brought the world to the brink of utter destruction (not that long ago), imagine what might become of man’s ability to split the DNA of a human cell and to harness the power of bending it to our will.
“Highly unlikely,” my foot. Not only is the experimentation, exploitation, abuse and destruction of innumerable human lives highly likely to occur if we continue any further down this path of embryonic gene editing. It’s a guaranteed certainty.
“Scientists” can predict whatever they want about what humans will do in the future, but as long as they ignore history and human nature, they’ll always get it wrong. And as long as we as a society fail to respect the value and dignity of every human life, we will continue to justify mass carnage upon the human race by dressing it up with words like “abortion,” “death with dignity,” and most recently, “embryonic gene editing.”
The Abortion Litmus TestAug. 10, 2017
Somehow, I made it on to the campaign email lists of Ralph Northam and Mark Herring and have been the recipient of hundreds of their pleading missives over the past year or so. I’ve noticed a theme.
They love to use their gutless euphemisms like “women’s health,” “access” and “choice” to avoid the word abortion, but the message has been loud and clear:
For Democrats, the Virginia elections of 2017 are about abortion.
In fact, the overwhelming majority of emails I get from both Northam and Herring are about a single issue – the promotion and defense of the killing of unborn children.
For them, 56 million abortions just aren’t enough. We need more; a lot more.
And we need them paid for by the taxpayer, money funneled to their friends at Planned Parenthood.
And now we see where Democrat candidate for Lt. Governor, Justin Fairfax, attacked Republican Jill Vogel at their first debate over the ultrasound bill from five long years ago. A bill that simply required abortion centers to do what they claimed they already did – an ultrasound prior to an abortion to make sure 1) there really is a pregnancy, 2) that it’s not a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, and 3) the size of the unborn child to make sure they use the right procedure to kill the child and not put the woman’s life at risk. For that, the left and media went into hysterics, and Democrats can still fundraise and motivate their base. Of course, what they really feared was the requirement that abortion centers offer women an opportunity to see the ultrasound picture before they make their decision.
That window into the womb scares the abortion industry perhaps like nothing else.
Vogel’s response, as quoted in the Washington Post, nailed it – “There was nothing in that bill that forced them to do anything against their will.” In fact, no doctor can force anyone to have a test against their will – you just have to live with the consequences of your decision to ignore the doctor.
Regardless, the irony in all this is that the party with the real litmus test on abortion is the Democrat party, which then uses the media to attack and ridicule Republicans for having a litmus test on abortion, when most Republicans talk about the issue only when asked. All while Democrats are having a now public internal debate nationally over whether they need to stop having a litmus test on abortion because it’s costing them elections. While Virginia Democrats make elections all about abortion.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Politics and elections are all about a narrative, and for Virginia Democrats, that narrative is abortion, all the time, anywhere, taxpayer funded, with no restrictions. Ralph Northam and Mark Herring are counting on it energizing their base. So is the abortion industry.
The Family Foundation Action is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(4) organization and paid for this informational communication. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
Evolving EthicsAug. 09, 2017
What are ethics? According to good ole Merriam-Webster, they are “a set of moral principles or a theory or system of moral values.”
Ethics, principles, values…all words that generally, throughout history, implied something intrinsic, moral, perhaps even permanent.
Of course, we now live in a culture where such notions are something at which many scoff. Everything changes, particularly ethics and morality.
So it came as no surprise in a recent meeting I attended when an “ethicist” with a major hospital association in Virginia voiced his opinion about how health care ethics “have evolved,” attempting to lend credibility to the idea that medical doctors should be allowed to help their patients commit suicide under certain circumstances. Generally, that would be when someone has a “terminal” illness with fewer than six months to live. Simply providing “relief from suffering” (i.e. helping them kill themselves) must be moral, according to this ethicist. The “ethical” argument in favor of this included that, according to some polling, it’s supported by a majority of Americans. (Another member of the group chimed in with, “like with abortion,” the morality has changed, as if one couldn’t possibly have a moral objection to killing an unborn baby.)
Now, never mind the reality that doctors are notoriously terrible at predicting the lifespan of the terminally ill, and that new treatments for many once incurable diseases are helping extend lifespans each and every day.
No, the problem with “evolving ethics” is that today’s physician-assisted suicide (PAS) for the terminally ill is tomorrow’s PAS for the chronically ill. And then those who have a genetic disposition toward a terminal illness. And then those who simply want “relief from suffering,” regardless of the cause of the suffering. And what about those who aren’t really sick but who believe themselves to be sick? I mean, if you can be a biological female but headlines can scream “Man gives birth” because that woman believes themsel to be male, why can’t a healthy person claim a terminal illness?
And of those in the medical profession, including pharmacists, who have conscientious objections to participating in one’s suicide? Well, the ethicists at the table assured everyone that “no one would ever force someone to participate” in this.
Ummm…but ethics evolve, no? Today’s “no one would ever” is tomorrow’s “you’re denying access” to this “treatment” and must be required to do so (see abortion).
If ethics “evolve,” particularly medical ethics, where does that evolution end? Might makes right is a frightening thought in the world of government controlled health care and PAS. The slippery slope in this evolution takes us to some very dark places – places we should have learned from history we do not ever want to return.
Why is Planned Parenthood so Afraid?Aug. 04, 2017
As we told you about yesterday, the abortion behemoth plans to drop $3 million to ensure the election of pro-abortion candidate for governor, Ralph Northam. This comes as no surprise, of course. As the Washington Post celebrated, “Northam has been a key ally to abortion groups, making the issue a top priority during his time in Richmond.”
Some believe Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry are counting on Northam and his Democrat allies to keep the taxpayer money flowing to their facilities. In our opinion, any taxpayer money funneled to Planned Parenthood is too much. In the Commonwealth, Planned Parenthood benefits from federally mandated Medicaid funds to the tune of around $150,000 annually, plus a small amount of non-Medicaid funding (which we have sought to ban). Not paltry, but a drop in the bucket to a $1 BILLION business like Planned Parenthood.
No, the real money Planned Parenthood fears losing, should someone other than a pro-abortion zealot be elected governor, isn’t directly from the taxpayers.
You see, between the time the abortion center health and safety standards were adopted and today, Virginia went from having 22 abortion centers to 14. Some closed for reasons unrelated to the health and safety standards, such as lease issues, loss of client share, and owner retirement. Two never bothered to try to meet the standards and didn’t even try to get licensed, closing down before even an initial inspection. One, the Steven Brigham owned center in Fairfax, was so bad the Department of Health, even under Terry McAuliffe, suspended its license and it subsequently closed.
And while the McAuliffe administration illegally watered down the standards, the industry knows if a pro-life governor is elected who has the courage to fight to get them fully implemented again, especially the construction standards, many more abortion centers are likely to close.
Fewer abortion centers mean fewer abortions. Since 2010 the abortion rate in Virginia is down 32 percent. That's more than 8000 babies saved. In cold numbers, just like Planned Parenthood likes, at an average of $450 an abortion, it's a loss of revenue of nearly $4 million to the abortion industry. That’s a number Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry is desperate to reverse.
Besides fewer abortion centers, a big reason for that drop is pregnancy help centers that provide real assistance to women who face an unplanned pregnancy. The very same facilities then state Senator Ralph Northam sought to regulate out of business in 2010, an effort that failed then, but who knows what promises Northam has made to the industry in exchange for the $3 million.
The reality is the abortion industry is terrified that more and more women are choosing to keep their babies, is losing money, and is frantic for people like Ralph Northam to help keep them in business. Funneling $3 million to a campaign (instead of actually providing health care) is just the cost of doing business.
Consistency, People!Aug. 04, 2017
An essential basis for human society is the triumph of rational thinking. Rational thought, meanwhile, demands consistency and coherency. Even in our increasingly “relativist” society, this is still something that is widely recognized.
Well…except, apparently, on many college campuses. (The historic bastions of knowledge and social progress.)
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) recently highlighted one of today’s most prevailing points of disconnect in rational thought involving the issue of market participants being forced to provide a service that violates their religious faith. Watch the students at UW-Madison as they are asked a series of questions about this:
The video effectively draws out the inconsistency – indeed, the incoherence – of many of the students’ thinking on the matter. While most of them found it intuitively abhorrent to force a fashion designer to create custom clothing for Melania Trump or to force a Muslim singer to perform at a Christian church’s Easter service, none of the students in the video appeared to want to admit that it would be equally wrong to force a Christian photographer to photograph a same-sex wedding when doing so clearly violated his religious convictions.
When in actuality, the only substantive difference between these examples is that the latter scenario doesn’t fit neatly within the prevailing liberal philosophy in which certain ideas are affirmed at all costs. In that case, throw rationality to the wind. Majority rules. Might equals right.
To be fair, maybe we should cut these students some slack. After all, as demonstrated by their blushing hesitations, their not-yet fully “zombie-fied” brains are clearly trying to overcome the incoherence of an ideological bent that is no doubt being spoon-fed to them by most of their professors on a daily basis. Their pause, frankly, gives me hope. It confirms that even the most tenacious indoctrinations cannot withstand the mind with even the slightest regard for rational thinking when that mind is presented with the opportunity to think.
$3 Million in Blood MoneyAug. 03, 2017
I have to admit, I wasn't surprised when I picked up the latest copy of The Washington Post and see that Planned Parenthood will be spending $3 million dollars to help elect pro-abortion activist Ralph Northam as Virginia's next governor.
And why wouldn't they?
You see, the Planned Parenthood model is to support ultra liberal politicians, who support them on abortion, because it is a good and successful business model for them. You need to look no farther than Virginia's current governor, Terry McAuliffe. Planned Parenthood spent around $2 million dollars to buy the 2013 election and McAuliffe has delivered for the abortion industry. It’s more than ironic that while Planned Parenthood screams over the prohibitive cost of health and safety compliance measures, it's spending $3 million to determine Virginia’s next governor.
As soon as McAuliffe was elected he got to work paying back the abortion industry for their support by stacking the Board of Health with pro-abortion activists, including members with strong ties to Planned Parenthood board. Then he tasked the State Board of Heath with amending the Health and Safety Standards for abortion centers, which were directed by the General Assembly, and they have delivered by gutting standards aimed at keeping women safe. The Family Foundation is at present suing the Board over their lawlessness in doing so.
So, with those results, it makes sense that Planned Parenthood would spend millions more in political blood money to elect another pro-abortion candidate, so they can further expand abortion around Virginia.
And what will Planned Parenthood buy with their $3 million dollars in support? According to this morning's Washington Post, they will deploy canvassers to knock on 300,000 doors, send mailers to 400,000 homes, run digital and radio ads, and drive pro-abortion voters to the polls on Election Day.
The article went onto say that, "Northam has been a key ally to abortion groups, making the issue a top priority during his time in Richmond," and that Northam has “extreme positions supporting abortions in the eighth or ninth month.”
Virginia can't afford four more years of abortion being a top priority.
You may be thinking, how big of an impact can Planned Parenthood have on the election? My answer is, they determined the winner of the 2013 election. You see, the pro-life candidate for governor lost the 2013 election by just 56,435, out of 2.5 million cast, and many political insiders credit Planned Parenthood and their blood money to putting Terry McAuliffe over the top on Election Day. We cannot afford to make that mistake again.
Please prayerfully consider supporting the sanctity of life by supporting our efforts to educate Virginians on the importance of the upcoming election.
Pro-Science. Pro-Life.Aug. 02, 2017
There is a common misconception in our society that the pro-life movement is anti-science. People on both sides hold fast to the idea that opposition to abortion stems only from religious beliefs, which in turn leads to the frequently touted argument that us ideologues should stop forcing our beliefs down the throats of the non-religious masses. Many sum it all up with the concise "keep your rosaries off my ovaries." Now, this slogan makes a pretty nifty bumper sticker, but beyond that, it really holds no water. I don’t want my rosary near anyone’s ovaries, thank you very much. I want science, and science consistently affirms the pro-life worldview. It is also worth mentioning that in our country we have millions of non-religious pro-lifers who oppose abortion just as vehemently as those who ascribe to a faith tradition.
And yet, you cannot delve at all into the abortion debate without abortion supporters claiming the mantle of scientific superiority. They declare that the fetus is just a clump of cells, or a mass of protoplasm, as if being such precludes humanity. But we are all clumps of cells; some of us just have more cells than others, and to pretend otherwise is disingenuous.
If we really want to know when a living human being becomes a living human being, we have to look at basic biology. Human development begins at fertilization, when a male sperm and a female oocyte combine to form a zygote. This isn’t a religious dogma; this is a scientific fact that you can find in any embryology textbook. From the beginning, a zygote is alive, because it has the capacity to grow, metabolize nutrients, and respond to stimuli, all of which are the scientific determinants of life. Furthermore, the zygote is an independent organism, with a unique genetic code, not merely a part of the mother. And finally, since everything reproduces its own kind, and the zygote is the product of human sperm and a human egg, it follows that the zygote itself is human, i.e. a member of the species homo sapiens.
In summary, at fertilization there exists a living, unique, human organism. To say that an unborn child is not human because it is a fetus makes about as much sense as saying a 2 year-old is not a human because it is a toddler. All we are referring to here are different stages in human development. Whether or not the human in question deserves protection under the law is a different problem entirely, but one that should be based in philosophical reasoning, not scientific disputes.
The philosophical side is a bit trickier, though. If the fetus is not a living human, what objection can exist to its removal? If the fetus is a living human, however, then you have to entertain the idea that some humans can be deprived of life against their will, and most rational people are understandably less comfortable with such lines of thinking. This is why so many abortion providers are hesitant to provide accurate information about prenatal development. A recent example of this is the website EarlyAbortionOptions.com, which caters to women early in their pregnancy. In its “what does the tissue look like” section, it depicts a 9 week-old fetus as a formless blob. An actual 9 week-old fetus, however, has already started forming eyes, ears, a nose, arms, and legs. The heart is beating, and several organs have started working. There are measurable brainwaves. The fetus can sigh, stretch, and even hiccup. Hardly a blob if you ask me.
The bottom line is this: science clearly shows that birth does not make us living, unique, human organisms. That happens at fertilization, and you do not have to be religious to recognize such a fact. All you have to do is read an embryology textbook.
By Jessica Skansi
Jessica is a 2017 Summer Intern at The Family Foundation and a student at Texas A&M University where she majors in Genetics, with a minor in Biology.
Should Doctors Prescribe Death?Jul. 26, 2017
Words matter, and so, obviously, does policy. Yesterday, both met at a Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC) work group meeting studying the question of legalizing “Medical Aid-in-Dying.”
What is that, you ask?
It’s a soft euphemism being used to describe physician-assisted suicide.
Theoretically, the goal of the study is to answer some key questions about the ramifications of enacting such a policy in Virginia, and at yesterday’s meeting, various stakeholders were given the opportunity to weigh in, including Family Foundation VP of Government Relations, Chris Freund.
Our position was made clear: any effort to legalize physician-assisted suicide will be met with our fullest and strongest opposition.
Currently, only six states have statutes permitting physician-assisted suicide, which is defined as the “ability of a patient to obtain (or a doctor to prescribe) a medication to end their (a patient’s) life if [the patient is] competent, terminally ill, and over 18.” The movement to enact such legislation is gaining ground around the nation. Supporters argue that terminally ill patients deserve the right end their own suffering, but their focus on “death with dignity” typically paints over the vast potential for abuse allowed by physician-assisted suicide laws, and the kind of society we are building if we allow physician-assisted suicide to become a reality throughout the Commonwealth.
And while “terminally ill” is clearly defined in medicine, most state laws that allow the killing of the terminally ill prescribe stipulations such as a patient must have fewer than six months to live. We raised the question, “How accurate are doctors when they predict how long someone has to live?” One doctor on the work group admitted, “Doctors are notoriously terrible” at predicting the length of a terminal illness.
This is one of the hundreds of philosophical and practical questions that arise when we discuss allowing people to commit suicide.
There is no question that intentionally causing the premature death of another human being violates the oath that physicians take to “do no harm.” Terminally ill patients deserve our love and support, they deserve unrestricted access to proper hospice and palliative care, and they deserve the dignity that comes from life. What they do not deserve is a system that endorses the deliberate hastening of their death. If we as a society are willing to accept the idea that physicians can be complicit in causing death in some circumstances, there is no telling where the line will be drawn.
There will be an opportunity for public input in this discussion in the coming weeks. We will update you so that you can make your voice for life heard!
On another note, the study is the result of a letter from Delegate Kaye Kory submitted a letter to the JCHC requesting a study reviewing the issue. With the financial limitations faced by the Commonwealth and the cost to taxpayers of these studies, it seems more than reasonable that for a commission to spend time and taxpayer money on a study, it should require legislation from the General Assembly. Many do, but all should.
"Hate" Is Not The ProblemJul. 25, 2017
You’re a “hate group.” They’re a “hate group.” Your mom’s a “hate group.” If you disagree with me, you’re a “hate group.”
That is essentially what I’m hearing more and more these days coming from organizations on the ideological Left, and it has reached a tipping point of ridiculousness. Throwing around labels like this is intellectually lazy. It’s inflammatory. It’s defamatory. Frankly, it’s juvenile – something a school yard bully could get away with saying during recess that could never fly in a real classroom discussion.
It also has the effect of undermining the credibility of those touting these claims. (Much in the same way that reflexively hurling the terms “racist” and “bigot” or “[fill-in-the-blank]-PHOBE” are sadly becoming code words for “I’m not respectful or intelligent enough to engage you in a meaningful dialogue about complex issues.”)
Along with other leftist groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has for years been building upon its list of organizations in the United States it deems “hate groups” – a list used as authoritative by the Obama administration in order to target those groups. More recently, the “mainstream” media has been using SPLC’s list to label groups it finds distasteful. Some of the groups being added are Christian or pro-American groups who hold to common-sense traditional values like natural marriage, freedom, national sovereignty, and the rule of law. (In other words, all those things which enable a prosperous society.)
In the past week, SPLC dubbed Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) a “hate group,” apparently because the sitting Attorney General of the United States addressed a group of ADF attorneys at a closed forum wherein he had the audacity to say, among other similarly-themed things, "that every American has a right to believe, worship, and exercise their faith in the public square." Why…that must be code language for “HATE!” Darn it. Can’t get anything past that SPLC.
Considering some of the notables that have made SPLC’s list (Alliance Defending Freedom, American Family Association, and Family Research Council, to name a few) who work hard to protect life, preserve religious liberty, and promote freedom and domestic tranquility through the rule of law, I’m frankly surprised The Family Foundation of Virginia has yet to make their list. (Maybe even a little disappointed.)
As we have also seen, labeling groups with which you disagree “hate groups” is also an invitation to violence. A few years ago, a man entered FRC’s headquarters in Washington, DC intent on killing everyone there and had in his possession SPLC’s list that included FRC as a “hate group.”
The absurdity of it all speaks for itself. Yet few seem to be challenging the “hate group” label at a more fundamental level. The reason I know this is because it is generally true that deeming someone a “hate group” or “hater” is universally received as a kind of social stigmatism with which no one wants to be branded. It’s akin to publicly designating someone a leper, but with an intended effect more like that of designating someone a “terrorist organization.” That’s because it’s really about directing the overall narrative and defining your opponents rather than allowing them to speak for themselves. In that sense, it’s Political Mass Communication 101.
But getting beyond that, we must ask the question: What does SPLC mean by “hate”? And furthermore, is “hate” in itself always bad, as they seem to imply? In actuality, when you take all of three seconds to think about it, you realize that everyone hates some things, while other things, they love.
In other words, while it is undoubtedly true that the groups mentioned “hate” certain ideas and actions they believe are harmful and destructive to individuals and society (clearly SPLC feels similarly about certain ideas), it doesn’t follow that they therefore “hate” the people associated with those ideas and actions. In fact, I bet if SPLC was to really learn about many of these groups, they would find that it is not primarily their “hatred” for particular ideas and actions that motivates them, but rather it is their love of certain truths and for the people who tend to flourish when those truths are embraced.
The relevant question, then, is not whether or not someone “hates,” but rather: Who or what does a person or organization hate? And correspondingly, who or what do they love? Ultimately, it isn’t “hate” that is the problem. If anything, the problem with “hate” lies in the object of our hate vs. the object of our love, whether we have rightly categorized those objects, and whether our energies towards them are being channeled in an appropriate and constructive way.
The goal should be to love those things that are worth loving (like people, and goodness, and truth), and also to hate those things worth hating (like evil, and destruction, and chaos) – even if it means that someone else may be prone to overlook our love, and overemphasize our hate, and unfairly stick us with the dubious label as a member of a “hate group.”
Here's What You Missed!Jul. 25, 2017
On Saturday we launched a brand new grassroots initiative with the unveiling of our Regional Engagement Teams! Our goal is to have a Regional Engagement Team, or RET, in all of the major regions throughout Virginia, and we need your help. If you signed up for a position on Saturday, we cannot thank you enough for volunteering your time and effort to fight for our principles. If you did not get the chance to join a RET, don’t worry! All the information about our RETs and the various positions available can be found online at www.familyfoundation.org/grassroots/.
Thank you so much to everyone involved with Saturday’s Grassroots Activism Project! We had such a great turnout, and we loved seeing each and every one of you. For those of you who were unable to attend, we missed you, but there is still time to get involved!
Not only did we launch our new Regional Engagement Teams but we also spread the news about our weekly Team Timothy prayer meetings. This is an open opportunity to join us at our office in Richmond every Tuesday for intercessory prayer! We hope to see you or have you join in via conference call. Please email us here for more information!
Everyone has something to contribute to the cause of defending the family in Virginia, and we hope you find your place with us.
Now is the time for engagement, and this is your chance. It is so encouraging to witness everyone’s passion for our principles, and we cannot wait to see the amazing things all of you are going to do within your communities.
"Go Somewhere Else"Jul. 20, 2017
Throughout the entire multi-decade battle to ensure abortion centers have safety standards adequate to protect the moms that undergo this heart-wrenching procedure, the abortion industry and its sympathizers have made one resounding claim: Safety standards will result in the loss of access to abortion – and other medical services they claim to offer – as those centers, they claim, will close rather than comply. While those who hold a pro-life perspective would not be disappointed if fewer unborn lives are lost, basic economics shows that if the “market” has a perceived need, it will adjust to new standards and the customer’s desires will still be serviced.
Personally, I’ve had a hard time being concerned about abortion centers closing that are theoretically so broke they can’t ensure that the equipment used isn’t bloody, or the staff is actually trained in how to handle Schedule II narcotics. Moreover, when Planned Parenthood continues to get approximately $500,000,000 annually from taxpayers—that’s half a Billion with a capital “B”—I figure they can have a couple of basic safety strings attached. Then, when it was revealed recently that they spent nearly $750,000 in an unsuccessful effort to ensure Karen Handel didn’t get elected to Georgia’s congressional delegation, I continue to call this claim of non-access due to no money bunk.
Now, it appears that even the McAuliffe administration doesn’t believe its own rhetoric on center closure. The legal memorandum submitted recently by the AG representing the State Health Commissioner in the case Itzel Melendez v. Virginia State Board of Health that centers on the illegal process of watering down the abortion standards flies in the face of their access claim.
In the brief, the Health Commissioner alleges that the appellants have no “standing” to petition the court. For non-lawyers, the government is arguing that none of the challengers have a right to be in court to contest the illegality of the regulation change process. To have a right, one typically needs to be affected by the regulation changes. This no-standing claim comes despite the fact that one of the four appellants, Itzel Melendez, is a woman of child-bearing years who has visited an abortion facility in the past and could desire their services again. It clearly matters to this woman and a whole host of similarly situated women whether they could obtain a “safe abortion” under now-lessened standards.
In an irony of all ironies, in order to claim this appellant is unaffected, the Health Commissioner contends, “Further, alternatives for obtaining abortion services exist at hospitals licensed under 12 VAC 5-410 that offer such services and at any medical provider that performs fewer than five first-trimester abortions per month.”
The abortion centers under regulation (or non-regulation depending on who is in the Governor’s mansion and on the Board of Health) are defined as facilities that perform more than 5 abortions a month and which are not a full-blown hospital, since those have greater standards already. Bottom line, the Commissioner is essentially saying, if Itzel Melendez doesn’t want an unsafe abortion from the facilities that are in question, she can just go somewhere else. Now isn’t that something, since the abortion industry has argued that “access” to abortion is at the center of their fight against the standards.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey: 25 Years LaterJun. 29, 2017
If you are at all familiar with the modern abortion debate, you know about Roe v. Wade. The 1973 Supreme Court ruling claimed that women have a constitutional right to have abortions and paved the way to where we are today in terms of abortion-on-demand. But for those interested in the eventual eradication of abortion in our nation, there is another pivotal court case that must not be overlooked. On June 29th, 1992, almost two decades after the Roe decision, the Supreme Court released its ruling on the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Today, exactly twenty-five years later, the implications of that decision present a serious obstacle to the pro-life cause.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey was one of the first cases to significantly challenge Roe, and many saw it as a prime opportunity for the Supreme Court to overturn its previous ruling. Tragically, the complete opposite happened. Not only did the Court’s decision on Casey reaffirm Roe v. Wade, it went even further, adding language that prohibited states from passing statutes which could place “a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman’s choice,” arguing that such regulations would “impose an undue burden” on a woman’s right to choose abortion. Such wording has proven extremely problematic for the pro-life side, primarily because the definition of an “undue burden” is in the eye of the beholder, primarily liberal judges. We have seen fallout from the precedent set in Casey several times since 1992, most notably in last summer’s ruling on Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt.
Though the justices cited Roe v. Wade in their Hellerstedt decision, it was Planned Parenthood v. Casey, not Roe, which gave the court the most substantial grounds for striking down Texas’ laws to regulate abortion facilities. Ironically, the Hellerstedt decision, in which the Court decided that requiring abortion facilities to meet the standards of an ambulatory surgical care center placed “a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a pre-viability abortion,” and thereby constituting an “undue burden” on the right to abortion, was released just two days shy of Casey’s 24th anniversary. Had the court ruled the other way in Hellerstedt, Texas would have been down to fewer than ten abortion clinics in the entire state. Who knows how many clinics would have closed around the country if other states, following Texas’ example, had passed similar measures?
Instead we are here today: a quarter of a century since Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and still suffering the consequences of the Court’s degradation of life. With a President supportive of pro-life efforts and a Republican majority in Congress, there is considerable opportunity to challenge our abortion-on-demand culture, but we should remain mindful of our legislative limitations. We have seen how much wiggle room Casey gives to the states when it comes to restricting abortions, even when it involves improving health and safety standards, but it is not enough. An important struggle lies ahead of us in the courts. In the meantime, we should do what we can, in state and local governments, on sidewalks and in pregnancy centers, but we will never reach an end to abortion until Casey and Roe are gone. Let’s pray it doesn’t take another 25 years to see them overturned.
By Jessica Skansi, 2017 Family Foundation Intern
Forgotten How To BlushJun. 29, 2017
Last week, the school board in Prince William County voted 5-3 to let boys and men use girls’ intimate settings like locker rooms, bathrooms, and showers in schools – and even to be paired with females in overnight lodging situations. All this over the objections of thousands of Prince William County parents and students throughout the past year who pleaded earnestly with them from every logical, emotional and practical vantage point imaginable. And all of this without so much as a single substantiated complaint on the basis of “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” in the school district’s history. New progressivism and secular humanist “moral” grandstanding seems to be their only true concern.
In the end, the five school board members’ complete dismissal of concerns about personal safety, privacy and dignity – as demonstrated by their blanket forbearance to even address them in their remarks – was the equivalent of their saying “Too bad, you better just get used to undressing, showering, and sleeping next to your opposite-sex peers.”
Such a shameless and callous disregard for basic human dignity and decency – especially among children as young as 5 years old to teenagers – reminded me of a particular Scripture verse which really says it all:
Jeremiah 6:15 – “Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them," says the LORD.”
They know no shame. They've forgotten how to blush.
But worse yet, it seems they've forgotten what it means to blush, and that other people still do so. They’ve forgotten that children in particular are highly vulnerable and are not yet prepared to face every kind of sexual circumstance which the board’s policy now potentially opens them up to. They’ve forgotten what an awkward and emotional time middle school and high school can especially be for most kids, who already have enough to worry about that doesn’t include intermixing of the sexes in intimate settings like locker rooms and bathrooms. They’ve forgotten the propensity of school-aged self-interested children to take advantage of what they perceive as “loop holes” in a rule, often at the expense of others.
Or maybe they haven’t forgotten, and instead they just don’t care. But that seems frankly too unthinkable. Then again, so did this policy only a year or two ago.
Perhaps we will see evidence of the second part of that Scripture verse in the near future. There is already a serious campaign underway to oust the school board chairman (the chief architect of this policy). Meanwhile, all eight seats are up for reelection this year. Maybe Prince William residents will say “Enough is enough. Stop making my kids the objects of your radical social experiments.”
For the sake of the many who have not forgotten how to blush, let’s hope so.
Religious Liberty Victory!Jun. 27, 2017
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Trinity Lutheran Church in Missouri in a major decision in favor of religious liberty. On a 7-2 vote, the Court held that when a church was excluded from a public grant program simply because of its religious character, even though the church’s application was ranked 5th out of 44 applicants (14 were granted), the state violated the First Amendment. Read the full opinion here.
In the Court’s words, “denying a generally available benefit solely on account of religious identity imposes a penalty on the free exercise of religion," and that “it remain[s] a fundamental principle of this Court’s free exercise jurisprudence that laws imposing ‘special disabilities on the basis of...religious status’ trigger the strictest scrutiny." In other words, the government can't exclude religious entities simply because they are religious. If it excludes religious groups, it has to have a really, really good reason.
This case is not only a great reaffirmation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious exercise, but it has potentially far-reaching implications for other important issues. Central to this case was Missouri’s state constitutional amendment that bars all state funds from going directly or indirectly to religious entities. Commonly known as a “Blaine Amendment”, many other states, including Virginia, have a similar constitutional provision. In recent years, these Blaine Amendments have been the single greatest impediment to expanding education options for parents by preventing initiatives like school voucher programs.
Opponents of school choice have used the Blaine Amendment to stop parents from using their tax dollars to send their kids to a school of their choice because many parents would choose a religiously-based private education. Some analysts are hopeful that today’s Court opinion may provide an opportunity to strike down Virginia’s discriminatory Blaine Amendment once and for all.
Monday's opinion also should provide even greater protection to faith-based entities like charities, hospitals, and universities, many of whom have been coming under increased pressure to choose between their central religious beliefs or continued public benefits. In it's opinion, the Supreme Court repudiated that notion.
All in all, an encouraging victory for religious freedom!
They'll Stop at NothingJun. 22, 2017
Over the objections of thousands of Prince William County parents and students throughout the past year, not to mention a mountain of unanswered legal questions, the school board there defiantly voted (5-3) last night to push through a policy that could allow boys in Prince William County schools to use the girls' locker rooms, bathrooms, and showers, and even to be paired with females in overnight lodging situations.
And what was the Board's response to these concerns? Well, it wasn't to deny that these things would now be permissible, but instead only to dismissively declare various versions of "Oh, that'll never happen." Such a response does make you wonder if these folks really know anything at all about the experience of middle school and high school, adolescent males, teenagers generally, history, or human nature.
Or more likely, they just don't care.
The Board's action last night came after a groundswell of outrage and public pressure last September forced the Board to punt on the issue until this summer (conveniently when school would be out and parents would be less engaged with school policies, or on vacation). In that time, the Board managed to gather the cover they needed in order for a majority of them to vote to place every child in danger - ironically in the name of "safety for all." After going practically off the radar since September, the LGBT activists emerged for yesterday's meeting highly mobilized and organized, all of them showing up more than two hours early to pack the front of the room, and all of them decked out in purple. Even so, as the evening progressed, more and more opponents of the policy change arrived, ending with a crowd split about evenly.
And while the Board and proponents tried to sidestep the issue of opposite sex children in intimate settings by including “guidance” language that says bathroom and locker room policies won’t change, the reality is that the policy adopted cannot be limited in such a way.
But last night’s vote was really just part of the story. Just hours before the meeting, it was revealed that the school board chairman, Ryan Sawyers, ripping a page out of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s playbook of ignoring the law and policy, had tried to use his power and influence to manipulate who was allowed to speak during the required public comment period. Board policy states that the first ten people who sign up with the Board clerk speak, but the chair had sent text messages to the clerk demanding that the names he submitted be placed “at the top of the list.” Exposed through a Freedom of Information Act from Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Manassas), the Board then received a letter from our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom explaining that if normal rules weren’t followed, any vote would be subject to legal challenge.
Unlike Governor McAuliffe’s Board of Health, which flippantly ignored the law when it scaled back abortion center safety standards, the Board backed off and followed normal public comment policy.
But both the willingness of the Board chair to ignore the law and the mobilization of secular progressives shows that those who wish to force their dangerous agenda on our children will stop at nothing to accomplish their goal. Public outrage doesn’t matter, the law doesn’t matter, truth doesn’t matter, science doesn’t matter.
So what’s the answer? Pro-family Virginians need to re-double our efforts to organize and mobilize. Churches need to stand up and be willing to mobilize to school board meetings across Virginia. And, people who understand that the dignity, privacy and safety of our children – not to mention DNA – matter need to run for school boards across Virginia!
If science and reality don’t affect school board members, maybe a few election losses will.
Breaking: PWC School Board Chair Violates Law?Jun. 20, 2017
The chairman of the Prince William County School Board has apparently decided to take a page out of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s playbook and violate the law and policy to accomplish his personal agenda.
The Board is set to vote tomorrow night on a controversial policy that would threaten the dignity, privacy and safety of school children in intimate settings like showers and locker rooms. At multiple meetings over the past year, opponents to the policy have dominated the public comment period at board meetings. Apparently, the chair of the board, Ryan Sawyers, is tired of the opposition – you know, parents and grandparents of children in the schools. (Sawyers is currently seeking the Democrat nomination to run for Congress in the First District.)
Through text messages obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request from Delegate Bob Marshall, it was revealed that that Sawyers is apparently trying to use his power and influence to place hand selected speakers at the top of the public comment list for tomorrow's meeting, instead of requiring them to sign up like everyone else.
The first person Sawyers wants to speak? The first openly transgendered candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates who just happens to be running against Marshall in Prince William County.
That would be called a politically motivated PR stunt.
At the last school board meeting, the first ten people who had signed up were able to speak during the public comment period, but several others were forced to wait until the end of the meeting to speak, at the decision of the chair. If that same thing happens tomorrow, it would mean that Sawyers' hand selected proponents of the policy would be able to speak before the vote, but all those who oppose would be forced to wait until after the vote to speak.
According to Marshall’s press release, “A Legislative Services attorney advised Marshall today that the Prince William School Board’s own regulations (133-1) in sections B and E, provide that persons are to speak in the order in which they have put in their requests to speak. Chairman Sawyers’ directive that his preferred list of supporters speak first, ‘cannot be given precedence over any speakers who signed up with the Clerk to speak before the submission by the chair.’”
Marshall said, “I asked the PW School Board Clerk today whether Sawyers’ list was submitted after others had requested to speak. The Clerk responded that other citizens had already signed up to speak prior to the Chairman’s submission. Legal counsel further advised me that if the Board failed to follow its own regulations in adopting transgender policy changes, that failure could give rise to a court invalidation of such action.”
Of course, in Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia, rules and regulations are simply a burden to be ignored. It is his administration that violated the law multiple times to roll back abortion center health and safety standards, a decision that is now being challenged in court. Apparently, now others are following his lead, knowing that the media won’t hold them accountable, and few have the resources to fight these illegal acts in court.
It remains to be seen if the Board bows to the chairman’s illegal action or follows the law.
Media reports indicate that five members of the eight member board are prepared to vote favorably on the dangerous policy, despite overwhelming public opposition.
Of FatherhoodJun. 19, 2017
Recently, my daughter celebrated her eleventh birthday. As with any parent, I’m amazed at just how fast time has passed. Like most kids at her age, she’s caught between wanting to be a lot older than she is at times (see “teenager”), while still also wanting to stay a child. I know which daddy would prefer!
As we celebrated her birthday, I realized that at the age she reached, eleven, I lost my mom to cancer. It is hard for me now to comprehend that I was that young when my mom died. In my memory, I was never really eleven. My mom’s death forced me to take on a level of responsibility few kids are prepared for, and as I look at my daughter, I realize just how young and unprepared I was for what I had to handle.
But I was blessed by having a dad who took on the responsibility of raising me as a single parent and never, ever wavered. As I grew up, my dad was always there for me. He became my best friend, my mentor, my confidant, my advisor, and my constant encourager. It’s impossible for me to completely express what he did to form who I am today. Don’t get me wrong, he was far from perfect, but considering the circumstances, I can’t imagine what my life would be like if he had been anyone other than who he was.
But despite all he did, there is one thing my dad could never be, no matter how hard he tried. He couldn’t be my mom.
Now, it doesn’t mean he didn’t fill some of that role. Every single-parent has to fill the role of both parents as well as they can. But I believe if people who have experienced being raised by a single parent are completely honest, they’d tell you that their parent couldn’t fulfill both roles completely. That’s not an indictment or criticism or judgment on those single parents. It’s the result of the simple reality that moms and dads fill different roles because men and women are different.
Even now as my wife and I raise our daughter it is abundantly obvious that we parent differently. There is a role my wife plays in my daughter’s life that I simply cannot fill, and vise versa. Again, those aren’t weaknesses, they are not societal constructs. They are the result of the fact that I am male, she is female, and we are different. She can’t be my husband, I can’t be her wife. She can’t be dad, and I can’t be mom. Our strengths and weaknesses complement each other for the benefit of our child.
But in our culture today we are being told that’s not acceptable. Indeed, we are being told that this reality is dangerous, discriminatory and bigoted. We are witnessing a “progressive” drive to erase “gender-specific” terms like “husband” and “wife” from the law because they offend people who don’t emotionally align with their biology. They brush aside truth and social science and replace it with personal motives and desires. They argue that kids simply need to be “loved” and everything will be okay. They conclude that the gender differences moms and dads bring to parenting are social constructs or patriarchal deceptions and that there really are no differences and that mom and dad are interchangeable.
Sorry, but it simply isn’t true. Sure, kids are resilient and can overcome a lot, but if we want the best possible outcomes for our kids, our law and policy should strive to encourage a two-parent family with a mother and a father because each brings something different and necessary to family. To purposefully deny children one or the other to fulfill the emotional needs of adults is narcissistic.
Single parents have it tough. Often, like in my dad’s case, it isn’t by choice. Primarily, it’s the consequence of someone else’s decisions or tragedy. Many do a remarkable job considering their circumstances. But to ignore the reality that men can’t be moms and women can’t be dads isn’t hateful. It’s accepting of the real and, frankly, remarkable differences found in humanity. The mysterious and wonderful differences between men and women, between mothers and fathers.
It’s amazing that those who claim to fight for “diversity” are bent on removing the differences between men and women because it is within those differences where the strength of true diversity thrives. It is amidst those differences that children are more likely to find success. To deny children that diversity is not progress, it’s shameful.
FLE: Parents Know BestJun. 16, 2017
Fairfax County Public Schools is currently taking comments through this weekend until June 18th at FLEComments@fcps.edu on their planned sexual education (AKA “Family Life” education) program. When you hear some of the things included, you will probably be provoked to contact them immediately.
Here are just a few of the messages that are included in the over 80 hours of planned sexual education for each student from kindergarten to 12th grade:
- A video for 4th graders on sexual violence prevention includes the theme of a father raping his daughter. (Emotional and Social Health, Lesson 3)
- Lessons on transgenderism beginning in Grade 7 (Emotional and Social Health Lesson 1)
- One lesson for 8th graders includes 18 mentions of the phrase, "anal sex." (Human Growth and Development, Lesson 2)
- Students are taught they might be "assigned" the wrong sex at birth and they can "transition...to living and presenting themselves as the gender that matches their gender identity." (Grade 10, Human Growth and Development, Lesson 5)
- You can learn more about the lessons at http://parentandchild.org/
In addition to FCPS’s “Family Life” education materials going well beyond what is required by state guidelines, these materials clearly go well beyond what is appropriate for school children to be exposed to by persons other than their parents at home.
Many of the planned sexual education materials can be deeply harmful to children who are not yet prepared to appropriately internalize certain concepts such as rape, incest, and ‘gender fluidity’. Not to mention, these messages may be fundamentally opposed to the truth about sexuality and gender, and to the values you wish to instill in your child.
If you live in Fairfax County, tell FCPS today that parents know best about when their child is ready to learn about these highly sensitive topics. Email them today with your objections.
From Beginning to EndJun. 13, 2017
What does being “pro-life” really mean?
America it seems has turned the phrase “pro-life” into little more than a simple political stance on abortion.
But you and I realize that being pro-life is far more than a political bumper sticker or slogan. It’s a way of life that values human life at every stage. Today, I’m excited to announce a new Family Foundation campaign, “From Beginning to End.” This campaign is meant to remind us what we’re called to do as Christians when we decide that we are pro-life – that we would be pro-life from beginning to end.
From the first time you hear an unborn baby’s heartbeat until those last final days spent with a dying parent or loved one, each season of life, and everything in between, holds priceless value.
It’s clear that our culture has lost a deep respect for the value of human life. It’s time to reevaluate and become proactive in our comprehensive understanding of being pro-life.
Pro-life Americans are often accused of not caring about anything but the baby, but that’s another lie of our culture. But we know that there are more pregnancy centers helping women through an unplanned pregnancy by providing resources and support than there are abortion centers. We know that churches and ministries across America pour vast resources into helping vulnerable communities every single day, including facilitating adoptions and assisting in foster care for thousands.
But we also know that we can and we must do more.
Being pro-life means more of us must be praying for an unwed mother facing an unplanned pregnancy; it means more of us must volunteer at or donating to the local pregnancy center that is doing all it can to help that mother meet her financial and material needs so she’ll choose life; it means lending a helping hand when that baby is screaming while the pastor is preaching, and that young mother is craving God’s Word; it means that we follow up with that couple and ask if they need diapers or a babysitter to sit for free a few nights a week so that both of those kids, who are now parents, can get their GED or go to college.
This kind of care is pro-life. One must not be only supportive of the existence of their baby, but lend actual support to the parent's well-being, their joy and hope. One is pro-life when he/she joins another on their journey, and privilege of bringing new life into the world.
For some families, being pro-life means a willingness to be foster parents to an orphaned child or for a child whose family is in crisis; it's supporting the plethora of faith-based organizations that assist with foster care and adoption; it means supporting and fighting for the religious charities that serve vulnerable communities like the homeless or victims of domestic violence.
Being pro-life means taking dinner to the elderly widow in your church whose husband has passed and who now sits alone in her house just waiting for her time to come. It means that one shows her the love of Christ and values her opinion and thoughts. Do we love her? Listen to her, or take her out for a night on the town so she feels young again, and not alone? How do we value her life?
Being pro-life means that one is generous and supportive of the middle-aged couple that can never seem to get ahead in their finances and always seems to struggle. Can we feel the hopelessness in their life, the tension it creates in their marriage? Are we as a “pro-life” community watching them drown? Do we pray for them or treat them to dinner? Watch their kids for a night? Or maybe even use our contracting businesses to help with home repairs they can’t finance?
This campaign is a call to encourage everyone to consider how we define being pro-life. Are we comprehensively pro-life? Does our support inadvertently stop after the baby is born? Or do we continue to love people with the love of Christ in every season of their life?
At The Family Foundation, we want to lead Virginians be pro-life “From Beginning to End.” Every stage and season; every breath taken and every heartbeat is so important. We have to remind ourselves and each other to fight to restore lost hope, and lost relationship with Christ.
Jesus gave his life, so that we may have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
We must protect life “From Beginning to End.”
The Family Foundation has put together a campaign encouraging all of us to think about ways we can be pro-life “From Beginning to End.” Many you can do individually or through your church or another local ministry. There are also a few ways you can help us was we kick-off this campaign:
- Become a monthly donor of just $15.00 dollars a month or give a one-time donation of $25.00 and receive one of our Special Edition, “From Beginning to End T-Shirts”.
- Create a video or social media post sharing why you’re pro-life. Be sure to tag The Family Foundation and use the hashtag #frombeginningtoend.
- Go to The Family Foundation Action Facebook page, watch and share one of our #frombeginningtoend videos.
- Invite Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb to speak at your church about the great work The Family Foundation is doing.
- Join the Family Foundation’s new grassroots Regional Action Teams and see where you can make a difference!
Diversity or Adversity?Jun. 08, 2017
by Richard Wiley
Liberty University Law School
“We value the diversity of people, cultures, ideas and viewpoints and honor the dignity of all persons, ” says the Community College of Baltimore County’s (“CCBC”) website. “We are committed to preparing students to be active citizens, ready to meet the challenges of an increasingly diverse world and a changing global marketplace.”
In fact, CCBC is so devoted to diversity that its student body is 2% multicultural, 33% African-American, 5% Asian, 5% Hispanic, 7% unknown, and 46% white. Yet despite the allegedly strong atmosphere of all-inclusiveness, there is at least one characteristic that the school has repeatedly refused to tolerate.
When Dustin Buxton prepared for his interview with CCBC, a government entity, to join the college’s radiation therapy program, loaded questions about his faith were probably the last thing on his mind. In an interview in May of 2013, instead of avoiding religion, the program’s interview panel asked Buxton point-blank, “What do you base your morals on?” Buxton’s response was concise and honest: “my faith.”
Buxton’s answer was the only reference to faith in the interview. Yet the Program Director, Adrienne Dougherty, purported in a review of the interview that she deducted points from Buxton’s application because, according to her, “he brought up religion a great deal during the interview.” The Director went on to say, “[y]es, this is a field that involves death and dying; but religion cannot be brought up in the clinic by therapist or students.” Dougherty even challenged Buxton saying, “If you interview in the future, you may want to leave your thoughts and beliefs out of the interview process.”
For a school that is all about the diversity of beliefs and the inclusion of ideas, CCBC seems to have taken a rather exclusive approach to faith. The interview does not contain a specific reference to Christianity or any other religion at all. Faith was the only religion-like word that was introduced during Buxton’s conversation with the panel.
If CCBC truly desires to support diversity and professionalism in the profession, they should encourage people of faith to apply to its programs. This would expose prospective practitioners to various religious backgrounds and acquaint them with how to respond when a patient maintains beliefs that require certain procedures or treatments.
Unfortunately, Buxton was not accepted to the radiation therapy program in 2013. His determination, however, was undiminished when he applied again in 2014. Yet, this time, CCBC refused to even grant Buxton an interview. Moreover, CCBC went beyond rejecting Buxton and barred him from registering for any classes at all, even classes unrelated to the radiation therapy program. Apparently, Buxton was unable to register for these other classes because of a hold on his account related to the May interview. This hold was dated July 1, 2014, to December 31, 2099, barring Buxton from registration for 85 years.
Because, if you’re going to refuse admission, you might as well make it effective for the next 85 years just in case the applicant reapplies when they are over one-hundred years old.
The American Center for Law and Justice (“ACLJ”) took Buxton’s case two years ago as it had with a similar case regarding a radiation therapy program applicant named Brandon Jenkins just five months prior to Buxton’s suit. In June of 2015, the ACLJ contacted CCBC and convinced CCBC to remove the hold on Buxton’s account. However, CCBC still refused to admit Buxton. In its 2016 decision, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland granted summary judgment in favor of CCBC, holding that the right to private free speech is waived in academic admissions processes and that denial of admission based on the assumption that an applicant’s religious expression indicates that the applicant will impose his faith on patients in practice satisfies the Establishment Clause.
Yes, you read that right. A court determined that simply having a faith – any faith apparently – automatically determines that you will “impose” that faith in practice at some point in the future. In other words, this court just eliminated due process and allowed someone to be punished for something they might do, not something they did.
ACLJ has petitioned the Fourth Circuit to reverse this decision, although the deadline for this decision is still uncertain.
In the meantime, let’s just hope that other colleges do not adopt CCBC’s 85-year rejection policy. We know that in today’s “higher education” climate, free speech and particularly free religious speech are under assault. If our courts determine that blanket viewpoint discrimination is allowable in admissions to universities it’ll “fix” the problem conservatives often face on college campuses by preventing them from ever getting to college.