WASHINGTON — In his 2016 State of the Family Address, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins argued that President Obama's efforts at strengthening American families have "faded completely."
Perkins, a leading social conservative activist, chastised the president the day before his last State of the Union Address for policies that have negatively impacted the traditional definition of families, and called last June's Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage a devastation for children.
"Our blindness to the reality of the disintegration of the family and the dismissal of the role of our churches must also end," Perkins stated at the conservative activist organization's annual address. "The promise of strong efforts these past seven years to restore fatherhood and re-establish family life in our poorest communities has faded completely. Instead, national policies have sown confusion about the very definition of family."
Perkins continued by contending that the Obama administration's advocacy for the legalization of same-sex marriage contradicted his promotion of responsible fatherhood through the creation of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
"President Obama has extolled the virtues of fatherhood even as he has fought for same-sex marriage, in essence saying two same-gendered persons can parent as well as a mom and a dad," Perkins asserted. "This contradictory message is more than disappointing — for children throughout the country it is devastating. It reduces mothers and fathers to genderless caregivers."
"Our children deserve better — they deserve a mom and a dad. And we pay a price for this incoherent ideological campaign by havoc in our homes and blood in our streets," Perkins added. "That's why we have to re-empower American parents. The decisions of our courts on contraception for minors, abortion-on-demand, and redefining marriage have gravely weakened the family."
Perkins also called for religious liberty to be restored for business owners and government officials who wish to act in accordance with their religious beliefs.
As many citizens in the United States feel it violates their faith to participate in same-sex weddings, an Oregon Christian couple who owned a bakery and a Christian grandma florist in Washington who refused to provide their services for same-sex weddings were fined hundreds of thousands of dollars by their respective state governments for following their religious convictions.
Similarly, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis was jailed in 2015 when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because she did not want her name on a certificate that authorized a marriage that she believed went against God's definition of marriage. Although she called for the the state's former Democratic governor to enact a religious accommodation for Christian clerks like her, it wasn't until late December that new Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin granted her the accommodation she was looking for.
As one of his proposals to restore religious liberty to Americans, Perkins stressed the importance of passing the First Amendment Defense Act, which would provide religious liberty accommodations against discrimination laws for businesses and institutions that act in accordance with their sincerely-held religious beliefs.
"Religious liberty, both at home and abroad, must also be at center stage. The First Amendment Defense Act is a first and vital step," Perkins said. "This measure should not be necessary in a nation governed by constitutional principles. But those principles have been severely weakened, and Congress has the responsibility as a co-equal branch to make the meaning of the First Amendment plain and potent again."
Perkins also chastised liberals who label those who act according to their beliefs as "bigots," "haters," and "extremists," stating that name calling is just an attempt to silence all who oppose their agenda.
"But we should take heart even from this. Our opponents seek to limit our freedom of speech because they fear its power," Perkins quipped. "They seek to restrain the expression of our convictions because they are unsure of the truth of theirs. The freedom of expression is the very essence of liberty. But there can be no liberty at all in America without religious liberty."
Perkins also used his address to point out that the pro-life movement grew greatly in 2015.
After the Center for Medical Progress released a series of undercover videos exposing the sell of aborted baby body parts at Planned Parenthood clinics, many throughout the nation were shocked, and it reinvigorated the pro-life movement in its call for the federal government to strip the nation's largest abortion provider of federal funding.
Last week, Congress passed a spending bill that eliminated most federal funding from Planned Parenthood, making it the first time a bill essentially defunding Planned Parenthood has been sent to the White House.
"Another bright light in 2015 is the way the fight for life intensified as America became a more pro-life nation," Perkins said. "And while the president vetoed a measure last Friday that would have eliminated most federal tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood, rest assured we will not stop until this forced partnership between taxpayers and Planned Parenthood has ended."
Perkins also pointed out that over 280 pro-life bills were enacted at the state level and there are now over 2,500 pregnancy care centers across the nation that inform women about other options besides abortion, such as adoption.