Tag Archives: family research council

Family Policy Lecture at Family Research Council

Next Wednesday at 12:30pm, one week from today, I’ll be giving the Family Policy Lecture at the Family Research Council in Washington, D. C.  My lecture is entitled “The Sacrificial Witness of the Christian Moral Tradition” and will span history, theology, ethics and public policy.  I will engage the liberal Protestant tradition and its understanding of public square involvement in the course of the lecture.

I am honored to give this lecture, which has featured speakers like Os Guinness, Eric Metaxas, and Ross Douthat, but I am excited to speak on this topic at a thinktank that is doing a great deal to contend for the faith in the public square.

Here are the details from FRC:

The Christian influence in Western society has played a vital role in shaping our nation and the world. Many, such as the great British abolitionist William Wilberforce, have used their Christian faith to inform and drive moral policies. To divorce the Christianity of these men and women from their political action would do a disservice both to them and to history itself.

In today’s world Christianity is often seen as a religious relic of the past. Dr. Owen Strachan issues a clarion call to the next generation of Christians to realize the times demand a strong biblically-grounded, moral witness. Born out of a spirit of sacrifice and humility Christians, must speak out for godliness and righteousness in our public sphere. Dr. Strachan will explain what must be done if the great Christian witness of the past is to once again influence our culture and its government.

You can register for the live-stream here.  You are of course welcome to fly to DC to hear this lecture–consider yourself invited, in fact.  But the live-stream might just work better for some.

By the way, FRC is currently leading the charge for Dr. Angela McCaskill, who was suspended from her post at Gallaudet  University for supporting traditional marriage by signing a petition.  You can show support for McCaskill by going here.  I would encourage you to do so.

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Millennials and the Future of Political Engagement (Audio & Transcript)

I recently had the chance to be part of an exciting panel on “Millennials and the Future of Political Engagement” at Values Voters Summit.  The panel featured young evangelical thinkers like Matthew Anderson of Mere Orthodoxy; Andrew Walker, Kentucky policy analyst; and Eric Teetsel of the Manhattan Declaration.  Chris Marlink, Jeremy Renner look-alike, moderated the 40-minute discussion.

This from Chris Marlink of the Family Research Council:

I had the pleasure of playing something like the intellectual equivalent of John Stockton to a panel of young, evangelical Karl Malones. Our discussion on the millennial generation and the future of political engagement was wide ranging and included everything from the history of Church and state, to the offering mercy in the so called “culture war.”

Unfortunately, the audio recording of panel discussion isn’t great, so in addition to the recording, you’ll find this helpful transcript of the panelists’s remarks.  Listen to the panel audio here.

Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy posted a great article on the panel which sheds some additional light.

Here’s hoping that this panel, and efforts like it, helps drive young evangelicals to think well about political philosophy, to vote, and to vote according to a robust whole-life ethic that prioritizes dignity, life, and the holistic flourishing of the American polis.  There is a great deal of bad thinking on offer among evangelicals about politics; in fact, I think there are few areas in which our collective thought is more muddled than this one.  Yes, politics can be corrupt; no, elections do not determine our eternal destiny; yes, politicians regularly fail to deliver on their promises.  

But Matthew 5:13-16 and 25:40, Mark 12:12-17, and Romans 13:1 all, in different ways, call us to participate as much as we can in the civic life of our countries.  That means voting, involving ourselves in our society, realizing that real human lives are affected by political decisions, acting on your convictions, contending for the weak among us, generally supporting the government insofar as we can, supporting candidates who come closest to our own beliefs, and basically caring.

Young evangelicals: please do not buy the media myth that you’re disinterested, disconnected, and unneeded today.  Push away from apathy and fear.  Be like Wilberforce, Lyman Beecher, Jonathan Edwards Jr., Abraham Kuyper, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and act on your faith in the public square.  Motivated by Christ and the gospel, be salt and light in the broader culture.

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Panel Today at Values Voters Summit on Millennials and Politics

Reuters has called Values Voters Summit, staged by the Family Research Council in Washington, DC, “a ‘must attend’ on the political calendar of any serious candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.”  This year’s event started yesterday and continues through today.  Heavy hitters like Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, Bill Bennett, and Eric Cantor will speak at this year’s gathering.

Some of you are aware of the passionate debate that has taken place in the blogosphere on millennials and political engagement.  Folks like Tim Dalrymple, David French, Matthew Anderson and myself have weighed in, among others.  Today at 3:15pm EST at VVS, Anderson, Eric Teetsel of the Manhattan Declaration, and Andrew Walker of the Kentucky Family Foundation will speak on a panel about “Millennials and the Future of Political Engagement.”  Chris Marlink of Family Research Council will moderate.

I’m excited for this panel and would direct you here for more info.   Pray for this discussion if you can, particularly that the church might figure out a way to be gospel-flavored salt and light even as we hold fast to our central mission, the promotion of Christ’s gospel.


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Get Hitched: Why Marriage Is the Social Program to Fix All Others

The Family Research Council runs a great outfit called the Marriage and Religion Research Institute.  This center has recently produced an extensively researched document called “162 Reasons to Marry” that is a stemwinder of a case for covenantal union.

Here’s what the report says at the outset:

With fewer than half our children now reaching the end of childhood in an intact married family, it will be good for all adolescents to learn again and again that an intact married life is a great good to aim for. If they are clear on the goal, they may be motivated to reach it. Just as the children who grew up in the Great Depression became the wealthiest generation in history, maybe we can hope that the children who experienced so much rejection between their parents will become the greatest generation of parents who belong to each other in lifelong marriage.

The report goes on to list the promised 162 reasons.  Here are a few; I would encourage you to read the whole thing, as I am firmly in line with the historic Christian church and modern political philosophers (and candidates like Rick Santorum) in believing that marriage is a) God’s ideal plan for widespread human flourishing and b) the best way to ameliorate many social ills (when coupled with other factors–spiritual, educational, economic, and so on).

Behavioral Problems

    1. Children from intact families have fewer behavioral problems in school.
    2. First-grade children born to married mothers are less likely to exhibit disruptive behavior, such as disobeying a teacher or behaving aggressively towards peers, than children born to cohabiting or single mothers.
    3. Adolescents from intact married families are less like to be suspended, expelled, delinquent, or experience school problems than children from other family structures.


  1. Married families have larger incomes.
  2. Intact married families have the largest annual income of all family structures with children under 18.
  3. Among family structures with dual earners, married households in which both spouses are in the paid workforce have the largest income.
  4. Marriage increases the income of African-American men and women.
  5. Married households have the highest income-to-needs ratio.
  6. Men enjoy a larger “wage premium” (the financial gain men enjoy when they join a female partner) when they marry rather than cohabit.
  7. The marriage premium produces an annual income increase of approximately .9 percent.
  8. Women in intact marriages have a higher income-to-needs ratio than women in any other family structure.

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Live-blog of ProLifeCon 2012

Link to the live webcast of ProLifeCon.  Here is the live-blog of ProLifeCon 2012:

8:30am  And we’re off.  Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, has just taken the podium.  Perkins says a note of welcome and note that something like 50 million abortions have happened in the last four decades.  He goes on to say that the pro-life movement has made gains and stands at a very important point in history in the battle for the sanctity of life.

8:37am  Jill Stanek is introduced as the emcee of #ProLifeCon; her blog is described as the “epicenter” of the pro-life blogging community.

8:40am  Michael Clancy, the photographer who took the “Hand of Hope” photo, is speaking about the politicization of the picture.  He is reiterating that the photo was authentic.

8:45am  Clancy initially missed the moment when the baby’s hand reached out and lamented that reality; a nurse nearby said that babies reach out from the womb all the time.  Incredible–do you hear that in the media?

8:53am  FRC is showing a video of Samuel Armas, the little boy from the “Hand of Hope” photo, who says to the camera that he believes that is supposed to tell people that “abortion is wrong.”  Read the story of the photo here.

9:06am  Gerald Nadal, a pro-life blogger and a Catholic microbiologist, is now speaking at ProLifeCon on the eugenics movement.  The medical community is dominated by an “aggressive eugenics,” according to Nadal.

9:11am Nadal: doctors are now telling women that they need to abort.  Doctor at a medical school: “You tell that woman, if she has that baby, her life is over.”  Legislatures must write measures that respect autonomy and a woman’s right to choose.  If abortion is the law of the land, there is no choice.

9:19am  Ryan Bomberger is now speaking.  From his bio: “His biological mother was raped yet courageously chose to continue the pregnancy, giving him Life.”  Bomberger is a creative professional who created the “Too Many Aborted” campaign.  He was adopted into a very large family.

9:32am  Bomberger: when we create and design for purposes of promoting life, it should be transformational and excellent.  He’s shown a number of his videos at the conference, and I have to say that they are very nicely done.  “We are designed to create, and we have to create a way out for millions of people.”

9:37am  Lila Grace Rose of the Live Action Network is now speaking.  A recent UCLA grad, Rose has attracted national attention through her efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.  She has stirred up a great deal of controversy by work like this and especially through sting video like this.

9:48am  Rose says that Planned Parenthood is sitting on “a billion dollars” of funding.  That’s a stunning amount of money, to state the obvious.

10:07am  Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) on American ideals: “Abortion is not an American value.”  America is promoting the culture of death through NGOs, international branches of Planned Parenthood, and more.  Africa is a target of this effort, with Kenya at the top of this list.  Kenya now has “abortion for health” written into its constitution through the work of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others.

10:10am  Smith: “Obama is an enemy of life!”

10:20am  Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) is a new Tea Party congresswoman.  She is introduced as a “new pro-life heroine.”  She says that “over 60% of the American people don’t want their tax dollars to go toward abortion, according to a CNN poll.  That’s what she is working toward.

10:24am  Hartzler notes that she is a part of the largest incoming group of pro-life congressmen and women.  Knowledge, she says, changes hearts and minds.  When the American people have the facts, they make the right decisions.  She notes that she was in the sixth grade when Roe v. Wade was handed down and then details the journey she took toward a pro-life position.

10:27am  Hartzler suggests that there will be roughly 34 abortions during her speech alone, most of the aborted children less than three months old and able to feel the pain of an abortion.  Planned Parenthood, Hartzler says, doesn’t “deserve a dime of our money.”  They don’t care about women.  In 2010, abortion procedures amounted to 91% of their work.

10:40am  Collin Raye, spokesman for Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, is a country-music singer who has sold over 8 million albums and has been nominated five times as Male Vocalist of the Year in country-music circles.  He notes that though the mainstream media often ignores the pro-life cause, blogs and social media are giving it a powerful voice.  He also points out how many “kids” are energized by the pro-life cause and are in DC for various events.

10:45am  Raye says that partial-birth abortion is not “just a procedure,” but is “medieval and barbaric.”  There is video out there on the web of the performance of abortions (I’m not linking to it on purpose), and it is perhaps the worst thing imaginable.  I don’t know that I’ve ever been as shaken.  It’s not an uncommon occurrence, though, but an everyday reality.

10:51am  Just saw this post about “Yalies for life.”  As a graduate of a liberal New England college, I can say that it takes serious courage to stand up for the pro-life cause while a member of such a school.  Bravo, Yalies.

10:55am  Kristan Hawkins, Executive Director of Students for Life of America, is now up.  Under her leadership, Students for Life has tripled the amount of groups on college campuses.  This is one of the choicer fruits of the pro-life surge in recent years, I must say.  If Roe v. Wade is ever to be overturned, it will be the next generation that does it.

10:59am  Hawkins: “Good morning.  The pro-life movement is winning!”

11:03am  Hawkins: “Never before has the youth generation been so pro-life…unlike past generations, this one is starting out pro-life.”  Why?  “Because we have images.  We now know what the pre-born baby looks like.  Those images are broadcasted in tv shows, commercials, and movies.  These images need to be our tool.”

11:04am  Hawkins: “Hosting images on our blogs and websites is the greatest work we can do.”

11:12am  Jeanne Monahan, Director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council,quotes the stat that there are over 2000 crisis-pregnancy centers.  She suggests going to this site, A Passion to Serve, to get comprehensive data on the “amazing impact” centers are making.

11:19am  Karen Snuffer, Executive Director of CareNet Pregnancy Resource Centers in Manassas, Woodbridge, and Warrenton, Virginia, is speaking about how important it is that men be educated on the realities of abortion.  Through a Bible study, she got involved with centers and eventually assumed her current position.  Despite the good work her centers do, “we receive no government funding,” an incredible fact.

11:25am  Tom McClusky, Senior Vice President of FRC Action, is up to close the ProLifeCon.  He has showed a video that demonstrates that the pro-life cause is being galvanized across the country.  Go here to read more, and he urged folks to sign up for this website.

11:28am  Just got an email about a new pro-life movie coming out in October 2012, October Baby, distributed by the same folks who have done Courageous and Fireproof.  Check that out–hope it can make a major splash in the culture.  10% of profits will go to crisis-pregnancy centers and other members of the culture of life.  The trailer looks powerful.


And with that, the conference is concluded.  I’m thankful to have known about this event and to have been able to pass on word to folks, and kudos to Tony Perkins, Jill Stanek, Chris Marlink, and many others who made it happen.

One can only hope and pray that the cause of life is championed with ever-increasing power in coming days.  It was remarkable how many different voices made up the conference.  As evangelical Christians, until Christ the warrior-king returns to destroy sin and Satan, we work in his name to advance the reign of his righteous kingdom, a reign that brings life where death dominates.

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Saving the Littlest Lives: On This Monday’s Pro-life Conference

This coming Monday, January 23, 2012 from 8am-11:30am (EST), I’ll be blogging and “live-Tweeting” the ProLifeCon, put on by Family Research Council.  I’m very glad that FRC is such an outspoken and courageous defender of the unborn, and I hope that this event advances the cause.

Here’s the link to the live webcast, which will obviously be operative on Monday morning at 8am.  And here’s some info about the event:

Pro-life internet activists will gather at Family Research Council headquarters on January 23rd, 2012 for ProLifeCon, the premier conference for the online pro-life community.  The event will be webcast live, and will feature experts and legislators to inform you about the cutting edge of the pro-life movement and give you ways to make a difference on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the rest of the online world.

The event has included numerous political leaders, prominent pro-life activists, and has attracted media from outlets such as Fox News, CBS News, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Scripps Howard News, Congressional Quarterly and others. The event is also webcast live to thousands across the nation.

Featured speakers include Lila Rose of Life Action Network, Senators Chris Smith and Vicky Hartzler, and Tony Perkins of FRC.

I would strongly encourage you to watch the live webcast, and to pray that events like this continue to turn the tide of our nation toward life and away from death.  There are very encouraging signs that this is happening; as William Kristol of the Weekly Standard has reported, there are now triple the amount of crisis pregnancy centers in America compared to the number of abortion clinics.  College students are opening scores of “Students for Life” groups.  May this work only continue.

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