Every year, we have the privilege of working at the ERLC to advance the gospel in the outworkings of our society. Whether we look at ethical, cultural, or moral issues, we know that the Bible has something good to say and a better way than our world often chooses to take. 2018 proved to be full of milestone moments and events that we pray will be used by the Lord to advance his kingdom. Here are a few of the incredible instances we had the privilege of leading or partaking in:
Five ultrasound placements: “Perhaps none of our neighbors are as threatened as those who have yet to be born. Every year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of babies are killed. . . . The Psalm 139 Project helps mothers see what God is knitting, to hear the heartbeat, to see the fingers and toes develop, to see their child at the earliest stages. Ultrasound technology helps us see what God already sees: the humanity of an unborn baby. And this may be the most effective, tangible way to live out our pro-life convictions. . . . This year alone, we placed five machines in Baltimore, New Orleans, Dallas, and Kansas City.”
Stand for Life initiative: “The ERLC was thrilled and humbled when Stand for Life approached us about taking the reins of this [popular] pro-life group in order to use our resources for a greater reach. This is a unique opportunity to share [online] the stories of families who have chosen life when pushed by doctors to consider abortion; of women who opted to carry their babies to term and put them up for adoption rather than rid their bodies of a fellow human being; and of people who are laying aside their comforts in order to take care of a child in need of temporary care apart from their biological families.”
2018 National Conference: Our annual conferences are a highlight of the ERLC’s year. They present a unique opportunity to gather believers in person and through live stream for the purpose of equipping and educating the church to be a witness in a broken world. This year’s theme was “The Cross-Shaped Family” and was designed to show how family life should point to the gospel of Christ. Whether single, married or in the trenches of parenthood, attendees will were challenged by speakers to see how the gospel is the central focus of the family. You can view the content here.
MLK50: Gospel Reflections from the Mountaintop: Nearly 4,000 people gathered together in Memphis to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of racial unity, 50 years after he was assassinated. We heard from people who had marched with King, talked about various race issues within our culture today, and looked ahead to how the gospel can propel us forward in this necessary work. It was truly an amazing, one-of-a-kind event.
NIFLA: The Supreme Court protected the free speech of pro-life pregnancy centers in California in June in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra. The ruling in favor of NIFLA is an incredible pro-life victory that also upholds the fundamental ideal that Americans should not be forced by the state to promote messages that conflict with their beliefs.. The ERLC team in D.C. submitted an amicus brief as part of the effort to ensure that a positive ruling would come down.
The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act: A victory for religious liberty was seen as H.R. 188 was added as an Amendment to FY 2019 Labor Health & Human Services subcommittee appropriations bill. “The act [was] needed to provide further protections for child welfare service providers who are being subjected to discrimination because of their sincerely held religious and moral convictions. Faith-based adoption and foster care agencies ought not have to choose between providing children with loving families and following their religious convictions about marriage and family.” While the Inclusion Act is not yet law and will remain an ERLC legislative priority moving forward, the coalition made tremendous progress on this issue marking the policy’s importance in the effort to provide a forever home for children in need.
The Iraq and Syria Genocide Accountability Act: The House and Senate unanimously passed H.R. 390. “The bill seeks to provide humanitarian aid to the victims of the genocide in Iraq and Syria and hold perpetrators accountable. This legislation would provide desperately needed relief and stabilization through USAID and other aid organizations, including faith-based groups, to persecuted ethnic and religious minorities in the region. Additionally, the bill would support entities working to collect evidence of genocide to establish a prosecution mechanism to hold accountable the perpetrators of these heinous crimes.” H.R. 390 is now waiting on the president's signature.
The Adoption Tax Credit: A major win for marriage and family was the preservation of the Adoption Tax Credit. Initially passed in 1997, the adoption tax credit has had broad, bipartisan support for its entire existence. It eases the financial burden families face when growing their families through adoption. The threat it faced would have set families back if realized. You can listen to the D.C. team discuss the victory here.
Religious freedom initiative for Malaysia: “While religious freedom is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Malaysian Constitution, it is in jeopardy as the country considers further expansion of the powers of Syariah courts. Consequently, such expansion threatens Christians and other minority groups from freely expressing their religion of choice.” The ERLC has been advocating for Malaysia and was encouraged by a successful religious freedom initiative for Malaysia as evidenced by a number of religious freedom recommendations made by member states in Malaysia’s Universal Periodic Review at the UN in Geneva.