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Now What? That Depends, on Us
   Friday, January 20, 2017   at   10:46 AM

The inauguration of President Donald Trump on Jan. 20, as we’ve said before, represents "a chance to dramatically improve public policy concerning the nation’s most important issues — including life, religious liberties and the temperament of the federal judiciary. But that’s exactly what it is — a chance." There are no guarantees.

To seize the opportunity before us will require one of Jesus’s admonitions to His disciples: "Look, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves" (Matthew 10:16, MEV). We must be like the Old Testament tribe of Issachar, understanding the times as well as what to do about them. Importantly, we have to remember that being on the right side of the issues is no guarantee of success.

To begin to right our upside–down culture, we need to set attainable goals and work toward them smartly.

We suggest these priorities for Bible–believing Christians and other Americans who prioritize issues of life, faith, marriage, family, religious liberties, social justice and citizenship:
  • A new U.S. Supreme Court justice to succeed Antonin Scalia. Scalia, who died last February, was one of the nation’s intellectual giants. We were thrilled and a little surprised to see Senate leaders hold firm in their determination to give the 45th president the option to appoint Scalia’s successor, effectively making the court an urgent issue in the 2016 national election. Now that the choice is the prerogative of President Donald J. Trump, we urge him to choose someone who understands the constitutional role of the judiciary – to interpret the law, and not to be part of a partisan super–legislature that approves or rejects laws based on political beliefs. President Trump may well have the opportunity to make other Supreme Court appointments, but this one will set the tone for his administration in many ways. It’s critical to his credibility as a chief executive to get this appointment right.

  • The defunding of Planned Parenthood. The nation’s largest abortion provider simply shouldn’t have its hands in the public trough, because it isn’t a legitimate health–care organization. It exists to terminate the lives of unborn babies, primarily in minority communities, and our nation is simply better than that. The funds that now go to Planned Parenthood, if they are deemed to be in the interest of good public policy, would be much better served going to city and county health departments through block grants to the states. Planned Parenthood is one of the most profitable non–profit organizations we’ve ever seen. It doesn’t need, and shouldn’t have, any taxpayer funding.

  • Executive orders that protect religious liberties. The unconstitutional mandate that private businesses and other organizations include no–cost contraceptives in their health–benefit plans was not part of the language of the Affordable Care Act – it was a rule advanced by the Department of Health and Human Services, which the law permitted. Our view has consistently been that coverage of some or all types of birth control should be at the discretion of the employer who is paying for the coverage, consistent with the employer’s moral view of contraception, if any. The government looked foolish insisting that an order of Catholic nuns must fund contraceptives, and the new Congress and administration should work quickly to change the rule so such embarrassments are part of our nation’s past.

  • Common–sense restrictions on abortion. Ahead of Sanctity of Human Life Day Jan. 22, we urge action in Washington to make clear that a new administration and a new Congress is good news for the unborn. State governments, such in our home state of Ohio, have done an admirable job of making the destruction of human life in the womb more difficult. Similar action on the federal level would be most welcome. We suggest a "pain–capable" law for starters. That would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation, the point at which scientists have suggested the baby is capable of feeling pain. We also favor a law requiring abortion clinics to follow the same health and safety standards as other ambulatory surgery centers; it’s simply unconscionable that abortion clinics are permitted to cut corners in these critical areas. We also support passage of a federal "heartbeat bill" that prohibits abortion after six to eight weeks’ gestation – whenever a sonogram detects a fetal heartbeat. We don’t support stopping a beating heart at the end of life and shouldn’t support it at the beginning of life, either.

  • Enabling basic election–reform efforts. Despite a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court case establishing that requiring identification at the polls is constitutionally permissible, election–reform opponents have smeared state efforts at protecting the integrity of elections as discriminatory and even racist. They’re not. The uniform application of a law requiring all voters to prove they are who they say they are and live where they say they live is a fair way to make sure that all votes count the same and are correctly counted. Congressional action to codify the 2008 Supreme Court decision would marginalize those who oppose election reform, and appropriately so.
Our caution to CMC members and all Christian believers is that understanding and working the legislative process is a painstaking and sometimes frustrating experience. Our Founding Fathers made changing the law a difficult process, on purpose! We shouldn’t expect positive change to come quickly or easily. And we especially shouldn’t assume that an administration and Congress that claims to align with our priorities will always do what we want.

If past is prologue, the path to turning our priorities into policy is certainly easier now than it might have been had last November’s election had different results. But it remains an enormous challenge. We’re up for the challenge and we look forward to bringing it to you in the months ahead.

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The First Amendment & Common Sense, Victorious at the U.S. Supreme Court
Planned Parenthood Celebrates Abortion & the Taxpayers Who Finance It
Ending Contraceptive Mandate for Religious Employers an Exercise in Common Sense
Justices Shouldn’t Walk Away from Setting Election–Reform Guidelines
Religious–Liberty Case Could Have Widespread Impact
Action Alert! Thank the Senate for Confirming Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court
Action Alert! Urge President Trump to Give States the Option to Defund Planned Parenthood
Action Alert! Insist on A Prompt, Positive Confirmation Vote for Judge Neil Gorsuch
Action Alert! Thank AG Jeff Sessions for Dropping Objection to Texas Voter ID Law
Action Alert! Thank President Donald Trump for Ending Regulations Accommodating Transgender Students
Action Alert! Ask Your U.S. Senators to Confirm Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court
Action Alert! Tell Your Member of Congress to Support an End to Abortion Funding
Now What? That Depends, on Us
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