Brad Mattes, Executive Director, Life Issues Institute

What I saw at the Texas abortion battle: an epic battle between good and evil

Brad Mattes, Executive Director, Life Issues Institute
By Brad Mattes Executive Director Life Issues Institute
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July 12, 2013 (LifeIssues) - I wish you could’ve been there. They say everything’s bigger in Texas and that’s certainly true of this legislative battle. Most of the week, I was in Austin, getting an up-close-and-personal view of an epic clash between good and evil. Pro-life Governor Rick Perry and a pro-life majority in the both the State House and Senate have been working on an amazing accomplishment—a major omnibus pro-life bill. You probably know the background, but for those who don’t, allow me to briefly summarize.

The Governor called a special session to deal with remaining issues after the regular bi-annual session. Abortion was on the agenda. Legislators combined four pro-life bills into one major piece of legislation. It prohibits abortion after five months, well after we know the unborn child feels pain. It requires abortion mills provide the same level of medical care as other outpatient surgical facilities, and abortionists must have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles. Finally, it requires chemical abortions (RU 486) be administered within approved FDA guidelines. It’s a very pro-child and pro-woman bill that makes babies and their mothers a little safer in Texas until we reach our ultimate goal of protecting all innocent human life from womb to tomb.

I took the TV crew to cover the debate for an episode of Facing Life Head-On, our weekly television program. When we arrived, an estimated crowd of 5,000 had gathered for a pro-life rally at the State Capitol. Dotted around the edges of the massive gathering were a few pro-abortion activists. You quickly knew who was who because of their clothes. Pro-lifers wore blue and the pro-aborts dressed in orange. Opponents of the bill were FAR outnumbered. The rally had a positive tone advocating for life and reaching out to those who disagree.

My goal was to interview people at the rally on both sides of the issue. The pro-lifers happily agreed, but the pro-abortion advocates all refused. They had obviously received their marching orders not to speak to the media. Period. This was undoubtedly the result of bad coverage resulting from their appalling behavior up to that point.

During the last special session when Senator Wendy Davis attempted her filibuster, and mob rule picked up where she failed—dooming the special session—it expired two minutes before the vote passing the bill was completed. As the process unfolded, each side was assigned a room in the capitol building. Opponents totally trashed theirs; requiring it to be completely refurbished with new carpet, paint, etc.

Fresh from their “victory” and feeling their oats, the radical activists continued to show their true colors this past week. While pro-lifers sang Amazing Grace in the Capitol rotunda, abortion activists chanted “Hail Satan!” and “Mary should have aborted Jesus!” As the outdoor pro-life rally wound down, attendees sang along to worship music emanating from large speakers. As they sang, the opposition chanted—and I hesitate to even allude to the content—“F*** the church!”

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Who were these political hooligans? Evidence shows they were members of MoveOn, Occupy and the Socialist Party among others. And they weren’t there out of a deeply-held conviction. It was a rented mob, bent on causing as much disruption, damage and offense as needed to get their point across. An ad was placed on Craigslist days before the second special session seeking people to show up and protest the bill. The ad offered up to $2,200 a month! Those who phoned the number provided were told they’d be working directly with Planned Parenthood, the group that gets over a half-billion of our federal tax dollars to push their deadly agenda. Many of those who showed up were grungy, smelly and repulsive. Several of their signs had worse content than that scrawled on a public bathroom wall.

First of all, Texans don’t take kindly to this sort of behavior. Second, the Governor and pro-life members of the Legislature were absolutely and unwaveringly determined not to let these thugs trash their cherished building and democracy. It was time for swift action.

I had the privilege of interviewing some of the brightest and best of those shepherding the pro-life bill through the Senate. Senator Donna Campbell loaned us her personal office for the day to conduct TV interviews. This emergency room physician has been a superb advocate for the legislation. I also spoke with Senators Larry Taylor, Bob Deuell (another physician) and the lone Democrat to support the bill during the first special session, Eddie Lucio.

They and their fellow warriors for life in both the Senate and House are resolute to do whatever is needed to see this major pro-life bill passed into law. The courage, eloquence and sacrifice I witnessed by them was heartening. Having grown up in Montana, I have a deep and abiding love of the West and have long admired Texans for their swagger, fierce independence and love of their state.

Now is the time for you to help them. Beginning today and throughout the weekend, the State Senate is expected to debate and vote on the omnibus bill. Considering all the spiritual warfare encircling the Capitol, we need to be in prayer for these men and women standing in the gap for Texas’ unborn babies and their mothers. Ask God to help them succeed and surround them with protection.

This latest battle in Texas clearly demonstrates that those advocating abortion and other social evils are becoming more aggressive and violent. God willing, we expect the Senate to succeed, and when that happens, the opposition will likely unleash their rage on pro-life legislators and advocates, as well as the many deputies assigned to keep the peace. Please join me in prayer that life will prevail over death and that the heroes of the Lone Star State will be protected. God bless them.

Reprinted with permission from the Life Issues Institute

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

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