RDNews: Oct 20, 2008

Family Research Council and Focus on the Family Hammer Obama on Abortion

On Tuesday, October 14, the Family Research Council announced that is FRC Action PAC would be running $100,000 worth of radio and television advertisements in battleground states attacking Senator Barack Obama’s position on abortion.

The ad is “aimed at educating voters on … Obama’s promise to make the radical ‘Freedom of Choice Act’ his top priority as president,” an FRC Action PAC press release stated. “ The ‘Freedom of Choice Act,’ [which] will overturn virtually all federal and state limitations on abortion… is a response to the Matthew 25 [a pro-Obama religious organization] initiative, which sought to mislead voters and downplay Obama’s extreme pro-abortion views.”

The ad buy, which will run in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Michigan, and in the Washington D.C. market, “will target Christian radio stations that earlier this year carried the Matthew 25 campaign.”

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council and the FRC Action PAC, said that “Last year, when he addressed Planned Parenthood he declared that his ‘first act’ as president would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) into law. This ad campaign will spotlight Senator Obama’s radical pledge to Planned Parenthood.

“The FOCA Act would make partial-birth abortion legal again, repeal all parental notice laws on abortion, provide unlimited tax funding of abortion. For most Americans, these issues are settled, but not for Senator Obama.”

To view the 30-second ad, click here.

In June, Dr. James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, took off after Sen. Barack Obama on his nationally syndicated radio program. Dobson—who at the time had declared that he would not support McCain under any circumstances, and who has changed his mind after Sarah Palin was named to the ticket—accused Obama of “deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview,” and having a “fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution.”

Last week, Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink.com ran a piece by Robert George that claimed that Obama “is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever”, “the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate”, and “the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress.” George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, and who originally wrote the piece for a publication called “Public Discourse: Ethics, Law, and the Common Good,” is flummoxed by the fact that “there are Catholics and evangelicals—even self-identified pro-life Catholics and evangelicals—who aggressively promote Obama’s candidacy and even declare him the preferred candidate from the pro-life point of view.”

Read the full piece here.

Focus on the Family has prepared a video called “Election Update: Deciphering the Debate,” which “examine[s] how the presidential contenders handled a debate question concerning Roe v. Wade and the nation’s courts.” See the video here.


Three Initiatives, Three Shots at Ending or Limiting Abortion Rights

Ballot initiatives in South Dakota, Colorado and California threaten to end or limit abortion rights.

In South Dakota, anti-abortion activists have resuscitated a measure than failed to pass two years ago, by softening the language in the initiative, “includ[ing] language purporting to make exceptions for incest, rape or the life and health of the mother,” a recent New York Times editorial pointed out. The newspaper argued that the current measure was drafted “to make it nearly impossible to get an abortion, even during the first trimester of pregnancy. The measure is clearly unconstitutional under existing Supreme Court rulings, and that’s just the point. The underlying agenda is to provide a vehicle for challenging Roe v. Wade…” A recent Zogby poll found that:

In Colorado, Amendment 48, the Colorado Equal Rights Amendment (also known as the Definition of Person Initiative), would expand the term “person” to “include any human being from the moment of fertilization”, with all the constitutional rights that confers. The initiative would “in effect bestow on fertilized eggs, prior to implantation in the womb and pregnancy, the same legal rights and protections that apply to people once they are born,” the New York Times editorial noted. The Colorado measure is opposed by the Catholic Church and Governor Bill Ritter, a self-described “pro-life” Democrat.

For more on Amendment 48, click here.

The battle over abortion rights in California revolves around parental notification: Proposition 4 would force teenage girls to notify their parents if they were pregnant and wanted an abortion. This is the third go-round for a parental notification initiative in California, having been defeated twice before.

“Far from protecting vulnerable teens, Proposition 4 would make it difficult for young women caught in abusive situations to obtain an abortion without notifying their parents, even in cases where the father or stepfather is responsible for the pregnancy,” the New York Times editorial pointed out. The San Francisco Chronicle recently reported that a field poll found that among likely voters, 49 percent support Proposition 4, while 41 percent opposed and 10 percent are undecided.


An Obama Supreme Court

According to Curt Levey, executive director of the Committee for Justice, an Obama presidency would usher in near total calamity for social conservatives. Levey, whose organization claims that it promotes “Constitutionalist Judicial Nominees,” told OneNewsNow, the online news service of Donald Wildmon’s American Family Association, that the “Ten Commandments would be removed all over the place. ‘Under God’ would be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. The death penalty would be banned. There’d probably be constitutional rights to all sorts of new things like human cloning and physician-assisted suicide. Racial preferences would proliferate.”

In his blog, Levey claimed that three liberal judges currently on the Supreme Court—Ruth Bader Ginsburg (age 75), John Paul Stevens (88), and David Souter (69)—would likely retire if Obama is elected president; if McCain is elected, those three would try to stay on for four more years.

Levey’s blog also lists the “TOP TEN THINGS TO EXPECT FROM AN OBAMA SUPREME COURT” which, he writes, was based on Stuart Taylor’s Wall Street Journal column of July 26:

#10 – expanding and perpetuating the use of racial preferences

#9 – creating new constitutional rights to physician-assisted suicide and human cloning

#8 – expanding judicial oversight of military detentions and CIA interrogations

#7 – prohibiting tuition vouchers for religious schools

#6 – banning the death penalty

#5 – creating new constitutional rights to massive government welfare and medical care programs

#4 – stripping ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance

#3 – eroding property rights

#2 – ordering all 50 states to bless gay marriage

#1 – requiring taxpayers to fund essentially unlimited abortion rights


Early Marketing Opportunity for ‘War on Christmas’ Warriors

Before Halloween, before the presidential election and well before Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade comes the first, albeit relatively kind and gentle, salvo in America’s “War on Christmas.” The Reverend Donald Wildmon’s American Family Association is proud to offer holiday trinkets sure to become a sacred hand-me-down in Christmas-embattled families all across the nation; a new Christmas button, and a glossy sticker, emblazoned with the slogan: “It’s OK to say Merry Christmas.”

The new pin is the most tangible symbol of AFA’s “Project Merry Chrtistmas,” which intends to “Help preserve our tradition of saying ‘Merry Christmas’ … in your church”:

Christians can take a stand and proclaim to our communities that Christmas is not just a winter holiday focused on materialism, but a ‘holy day’ when we celebrate the birth of our Savior. We can do it in a gentle and effective way by wearing the ‘It’s OK to say Merry Christmas’ button.

And in case you think you that there’s more you can do to win the “War on Christmas,” Wildmon assures supporters that although “wearing a button or displaying a glossy sticker [may be] a small thing… God can use small things to make a big point, and to create opportunities to share the Good News. And what a great time to do that at Christmas!”


The Return of Promise Keepers’ Founder Bill McCartney

The announcement wasn’t nearly as headline-grabbing as when Michael Jordan came out of retirement to rejoin the NBA, and it didn’t stir up the kind of interest that quarterback Brett Favre did this spring. But these days, there’s another comeback worth noting: Bill McCartney, the former Colorado football coach who cofounded Promise Keepers—the Christian men’s group—is back with the organization.

McCartney, who cofounded PK in 1990—along with Dave Wardell—retired as its president in 2003. According to the organization’s recent announcement, McCartney “will assume his new role [as CEO and Chairman of the Board] effective immediately, and has brought back former Promise Keepers executive and current PK board member Raleigh Washington to serve as president.”

A few years after its founding, the Denver, Colorado-based Promise Keepers experienced an extraordinary growth spurt, drawing tens of thousands of men to rallies in football stadiums and sports arenas across the country. As attendance at its rallies grew—278,000 in 1994, 738,000 in 1995 and more than a million in 1996—so did its revenues. In 1997, more than one million men gathered on the National Mall in Washington for “Stand in the Gap.”

Not long after “Stand in the Gap,” however, the organization hit hard times; revenues dipped, the mainstream media lost interest, and internal squabbles appeared to consume the organization. Despite scaling back its activities and staff layoffs, PK pretty much dropped off the radar screens of the traditional media. Even its attempt at resurrecting itself through a 10th anniversary celebration of “Stand in the Gap,” fell flat.

Last year, Lee Cokorinos, as senior researcher at the Center for Democracy Studies of the Nation Institute, told me that while the conservative Christian men’s movement still existed, it “is less visible because they are not holding massive stadium events as at the height of PK. It’s much more regionally-focused as evidenced by its shift to arena events. It is also much more structured along denominational lines—as different ministries have developed their own men’s ministries, such as the Southern Baptist Convention’s men’s ministry.”

Michael Jordan didn’t do all that well with his comeback with the Washington Wizards, while Brett Favre has thus far been a success with the Jets. Whether McCartney’s return to Promise Keepers will provide the push it needs to recapture its glory days remains to be seen. (For more on a previous PK comeback, see this article.


RD Tidbits

Creation Care Summit: On Saturday, October 18, a “Creation Care Summit” was held at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, and brought together evangelical, political and scientific leaders to address climate change and global poverty. A pre-conference “media advisory” issued by Faith in Public Life, pointed out that the summit was called “to address climate change and its impact on global poverty, treating it for what it is—an important faith and values issue.”

“Now more than ever, evangelical Christians—young evangelicals, in particular—are addressing a new, broader agenda. Global poverty and the environment are at the top of this new agenda.” The summit “allowed students and members of the broader community to discern how to faithfully respond to a world in crisis… [It] included keynote presentations, panels, discussion, and an ‘Alliance for Climate Protection, Faith Leader Training.’”

A Green Bible: USA Today is reporting that “a new edition of the Bible sets out to show that the seeds of environmentalism were first sown in the Garden of Eden.” “The Green Bible,” which went on sale two weeks ago, “uses green ink to spotlight more than 1,000 passages extolling the goodness of creation and God’s charge to mankind to care for it.” The publisher, HarperOne, uses the New Revised Standard Translation of the Bible “to present the earth-loving book printed with soy ink on recycled paper and bound in eco-friendly linen.” (For more, see this article.)

Christians Zionists Parade Through Jerusalem: While it wasn’t as colorful as a Gay Pride parade and not nearly as rhythmic as Carnival, several thousand Christian evangelicals from all over the world marched through the streets of Jerusalem honoring the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, or Feast of the Tabernacles, which began Monday and ends Oct. 21.

The parade, which the Associated Press called “the latest display of the growing alliance between evangelical Christians and the Jewish state,” was sponsored by The International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem, which was founded in 1980 and was described by the AP as “a global organization that promotes ties between Israel and the world’s Christian communities.”