There’s Always a Choice

Happy Easter from the International Youth Coalition (IYc)! Let us celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ after He made the choice to suffer and die because He loved us so very much. By His resurrection, He proved He was not restricted by the chains, rules, laws, or ways of this fallen world. As we celebrate, the IYc wants you to remember, that we are called to follow Christ. Regardless of what authority might say or ways they may attempt to restrict our religious freedom, there is always a choice to rise above.

Around the world, true Christians are being heavily persecuted and there are growing concerns this reality is heading to the United States; which was founded on religious freedom. These concerns stem from the push of contraceptives and abortion that lie within morally corrupt policies such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. They also lie in the aggressive push for acceptance of gay marriage that is now included in the Equal Opportunity Programs of many work places within the public and private sectors. This training places “sexual orientation” alongside race and gender as a “diversity” issue- a completely corrupt stance that lies far outside the truth of Christianity (You don’t believe me? That’s because you haven’t read the New Testament for yourself- Stop letting other people make up YOUR mind).

So when you are told by your employer that you have no choice but to agree or be quiet, the IYc wants you to consider a few of the thousands of heroic choices that have been made under the “Christian” title:

Saints Perpetua and Felicity were told they had no choice but to recant their Christian faith. They chose to stand firm in their beliefs, and gave each other the “kiss of peace” as they were devoured by wild animals.

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz of the Philippines, while on a missionary trip to Japan, was told he had no choice but to renounce his Roman Catholic faith and leave Japan. He refused, ultimately chosing imprisonment, torture, and death.

Lutheran Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer could have remained away from the mass killings within Europe in the 1940s. He chose to confront evil head on and voice the Christian message, which eventually lead to his imprisonment and execution.

Saint Thomas More of England was told by his employer (King Henry VIII) that he had no choice but to accept the annulment of his first marriage and his supremacy over the Pope. More chose to be beheaded, leaving behind his wife and daughters.

After seeing what happened to Jesus Christ, Saint Peter could have remained quiet. However, he chose to spread the loving message of his Savior and was crucified for it. To show the full extent of choices someone could possibly have, while being crucified, he chose to be crucified upside down because he did not believe he was worthy to go out the same way as Christ.

Some believe, leading up to his death, a Man provided him with much needed strength and encouragement. The story goes:

“During the persecutions under Nero, Saint Peter, along with many other Christians fled from Rome. While Saint Peter was fleeing the city, he encountered a vision of Christ carrying a cross in the opposite direction. Surprised, Saint Peter asked, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Christ replied, ‘I’m heading to Rome to be crucified a second time.’ Knowing what he had to do, Saint Peter returned to Rome where he was martyred.”

Your faith will be challenged, and authority (whether the government or the private sector) will tell you there is no other choice but to keep your Christianity silent. Just because many Christians choose the path of comfort (and they will), doesn’t mean you should follow suit. Show prudence, show courage, show character, show faith; and with so much love, show the world there’s always a choice.

Posted in Abortion, Bioethics, Gays in the Military, Human Rights, LGBT, Miscellaneous, Population Control, President Obama, Religious Freedom, Same-Sex Marriage | Leave a comment

State Department Threatens Free Speech for Religious Advocacy

Wednesday morning I witnessed a woman, LGBT activist, ask a representative of the U.S. Department of State whether or not the Department has ever considered limiting the abilities of groups in the United States that “export hate,” aka members of the religious-right, to fund programs abroad which promote their cause. In other words, has the State Department ever considered banning religious groups in America from funding anti-LGBT, family-values groups in other countries? The response of Regina Waugh, representing the US State Department, was shocking.

Her response was Yes. There are people in the U.S. Department of State advocating limits on transfer of funds from religious groups in the United States to religious groups abroad. Advocates of this policy are a minority, but a sizable one, and there voice is not only being heard, but is given serious thought in the broader conversation on US foreign policy.

Wednesday morning, April 16, I attended a conference at John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) called Global LGBT Rights: Repression and Promise. The event was being hosted by SAIS Pride, a student LGBT group at SAIS, and featured distinguished diplomats, international activists, and representatives from USAID, the World Bank, and the US Department of State.

The conference began with opening remarks by Dutch and Hungarian diplomats. In these remarks, the struggle for LGBT rights worldwide was described as the “canary in the coal mine” of global human rights: the analogy being that LGBT rights are an indicator of the larger struggle for human rights. Where LGBT rights are regressing, it was claimed, we can expect to see a regression in all human rights, and vice versa. The clash between LGBT supporters and opponents was described as the clash between Democracy and Authoritarianism. In the opening remarks, the charge brought to the audience was to think if LGBT rights as a strategic issue, where if the battle for LGBT rights is lost, so is the entire democratic way of life.

In all of the discussion, the biggest enemy of the LGBT movement (and following the logic of the speakers, the biggest enemy of democracy) was the Church and religious conservatism.

It was deeply saddening to hear people in the room speak of not only the Roman Catholic Church, but the universal church of all Christians, as a source of hate, evil, and violence. In the room, it was an unquestioned fact that the Church (or at least the “religious-right”) is the enemy of LGBT people, the enemy of human rights, and the enemy of democracy.

This was troubling to me on a number of fronts, but here I will discuss two. The first is the fact that a huge group of people in the world (the LGBT community and its supporters) have such a skewed view of the Church that they see it as a source of hate and evil, never mind the source of love and joy upon which I place all my hope for the future of mankind. I really believe that the Gospel can change people’s lives, and change the world, so it is deeply discouraging to see people who have been so hurt by what they think the Gospel is. Unfortunately, and also thankfully, all we can do here is continue to follow our Christian duty, and love all people, not excluding LGBT people, the way Christ does.

The second is perhaps even more troubling. In attendance at this event were representatives of major policy making organizations. Participating in the conversation where the church was labeled the enemy of democracy were representatives of USAID and the State Department. Regina Waugh, described herself as “one of many, many people” working on pushing LGBT issues within the State Department. She does not feel that her pro-LGBT voice is in the majority opinion within the Department, but nevertheless it is there, and it is not small.

My fear is that if this voice becomes bigger, then the idea that the Church is the enemy of Democracy will become national United States policy. If this becomes the case, then the State Department, in order to complete its official mission statement to “Shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world,” will be obligated to take action against members of the Church who advocate for traditional values.

What the SAIS Pride Conference indicated was that this fear is not only possible in a distant, far off future, but a real and current threat to religious freedom. As mentioned earlier, Regina’s comments indicate that there are people within the State Department who support taking action against members of the religious-right in America who promote their cause abroad. This has dramatic and immediate implications for religious freedom in the United States. As voters in a democracy, concerned with the protection of human rights, civil liberties, and religious freedom, we cannot let these talked-about policies become a reality.

Posted in Human Rights, LGBT, Religious Freedom | Leave a comment

Combating Child Sex Trafficking: Rethinking how we look at sex.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today in the United States, literally thousands of young girls and boys are trafficked and sold into prostitution. Worldwide, the number of children being raped for profit (purchased mostly by rich, Western men) is in the millions. While this has captured the attention of the world’s most powerful people, including President Obama, I believe the methods proposed for combating this global atrocity will fall short of their goal unless we rethink our culture’s blatant permissiveness of sexual promiscuity.

On Tuesday morning, the Washington based think-tank, Center for American Progress, hosted a conversation on combating child sex trafficking in the United States. Participants in the conversation were US Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), human rights advocate, Malika Saada Saar, and from New York County District Attorney’s Office Human Trafficking Program, John Temple. Discussion focused on a new bill co-sponsored by Senator Klobuchar which seeks to improve the effectiveness of the States in combating the sex trafficking of children.

Articulated by all panelists, but notably Ms. Saar, was the need for states to prosecute not only the traffickers, but the men who purchase sex from them. The motivation behind this is not ideological, but economic. As long as there is demand (i.e. men seeking to purchase time with young girls) there will be suppliers at the ready. If we target the demand by prosecuting the men who pay traffickers for the opportunity to rape young girls, then demand will fall, and supply along with it. This is very sound economic thinking, and the Republican and Democratic Senators who support this bill are right to think that best the solution is in reducing demand for sex with children. Where, however, the discussion around this issue falls short is in the total failure to recognize, or even contemplate, ways to limit demand outside of legal prosecution.

If the panelists at Tuesday’s discussion are correct in their assertions that the core of this issue is demand for sex with young girls, then it is absolutely necessary to consider all of the ways in which our culture encourages unhealthy sexual indulgence. Unfortunately, we have reached a point in our culture where honest discussion of sexual morality is completely tabooed in public policy making decisions.

On Wednesday night I attended a local government meeting in Washington’s Dupont Circle. I watched as the members of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission struggled to find substitute terms for “strip-club”while they debated when to allow a new strip-club to open in their neighborhood. At the highest levels of government, terms like “prostitution” are being substituted for terms like “sex-work” in order to sound less judgmental towards women who engage in prostitution. (see Friday Fax published by C-FAM last month). We have decided as a nation, for reasons good and bad, that personal sexual behavior is completely outside the realm of public discussion, and publicly, we cannot pass anything close to a judgment on matters related to sexual morality.

We are constantly being fed messages that actively encourage sexual promiscuity. Since my internet browser knows I am a 20 year old male, every time I log onto Facebook I am bombarded with advertisements featuring half-naked women. Every time I use the internet I’m never more than a few clicks away from a porn site. As an unmarried Christian, I have never had sex before, but as a college student, I am embarrassed to admit that. Sexual conquest is a mark of manhood in our culture, and even as a devout Christian, I am effected by those pressures.

Sex is addictive, just like a drug. In the same way that the body reacts to addictive drugs, the body craves more sex the more the sexual impulse is indulged. When Christ said that “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” he was attempting to hold the men of Israel to a higher standard of sexual morality than explicitly dictated by the Mosaic law. I believe he was also giving us a warning against sexual indulgence, because of how easily we can become consumed by it.

In what world do we expect to effectively dissuade men from seeking the only sexual behavior we find offensive, sex with trafficked children, when we actively encourage men to seek out any other sexual behavior that suits their fancy? To clarify, I am not saying that sexual promiscuity is the root of all evil. What I am saying is that policy makers are shooting themselves in the feet when they pretend that one form of sexual promiscuity is completely unrelated to another.

We have a very serious problem on our hands in this country and in the world: millions of children are being raped for profit. We owe it to these children to think critically, and honestly, about how we encourage sexual promiscuity, and maybe completely reorient how we look at sex.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Leave a comment

Join the IYc!

Head to the front lines in defense of life and the traditional family: join the IYc!

Human life and the traditional family are being attacked around the globe like never before! The media, Hollywood, and many lobbyists and politicians are advocating for the culture of death and the destruction of the family. They are constantly dressing up falsehood, making it appealing so you will buy into the lie. Make no mistake; you are being lied too!

If you don’t move to shape your future, someone else will!

The IYc is beginning a program where college students from around the world will have the opportunity to learn about, promote, and defend life and the traditional family on an international level. If they are accepted into the program, they will write a blog every other week between June 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015. All blogging by students will be done remotely from their hometowns so students will not have to travel to Washington DC in order to participate. Throughout the 10-month period, they will compete against the other student contributors for a $1000 academic scholarship that will be awarded to the best blogger. All student contributors will attend a major, weeklong United Nations conference that will take place in early to mid-March 2015. Airfare and hotel stay will be covered by C-FAM (http://c-fam.org/en/).

This presents an outstanding opportunity for students to improve their knowledge of the international debate over social issues; improve their writing ability; and their argumentation.

If you’re interested, send a resume, cover letter, and a 1-2 page writing sample to: dir.iycoalition@gmail.com

Posted in Abortion, Bioethics, CEDAW, CSW, Demography, Euthanasia, Gays in the Military, Human Rights, IPPF, IYC, Latin America, LGBT, Miscellaneous, One-Child Policy, Population Control, Religious Freedom, Reproductive Health/Family Planning, Same-Sex Marriage, UNFPA, United Nations | Leave a comment