MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Friday, December 11th, 2020.
Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Meet your new HHS secretary, Xavier Becerra.
BECERRA: I am proud to have this chance to implement the president-elect’s vision for a better America through the challenging assignments that are in store for the Department of Health and Human Services.
If confirmed by the Senate, Becerra would take that key cabinet-level position in a Biden Administration.
Becerra’s a former congressman from California who earned the distinction of a 100 percent congressional voting record from the National Abortion Rights Action League.
He’s currently attorney general of California and last year, when the current HHS secretary rolled out a rule aimed at discouraging abortion, Becerra fought against it.
He filed suit to block an effort to prevent family planning clinics from using so-called Title X funding to refer women for abortions.
BECERRA: The new Title X rule, something many of us called a gag rule, released by the White House last week makes it harder, not easier, for women to access the care that they need. This rule gags our doctors, nurses, and other care providers from fully discussing reproductive health with their patients, and it bans doctors from referring patients for abortion. When doctors are gagged and women are denied care, it’s dangerous not just for them, but for their families. Make no mistake, this is a systematic effort by this administration to end access to birth control and safe, legal abortion. The rule will interfere with the practice of medicine and will result in clinics going out of business due to financial strain. That’s why today we are filing suit against the Trump administration yet again for this unlawful harmful rule.
And so he’s on the brink of having the power to undo that Title X rule and put your tax dollars back into the service of promoting abortion.
BROWN: One more thing about Xavier Becerra.
Right now, his office is prosecuting David Deleiden. He’s the pro-life activist who went undercover to catch Planned Parenthood officials talking about selling body parts from abortions … and famously released those tapes several years ago.
Instead of pursuing the evidence of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood, Becerra filed charges against Deleiden for illegally recording their conversations.
Interestingly, Becerra follows Kamala Harris in the job of California attorney general. She’s the one who began the investigation of Deleiden, which included a raid of his home.
Becerra picked up where she left off.
EICHER: Yes, and David Deleiden’s trial is pending.
Joining us now to talk about this is John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center and host of Breakpoint podcast.
Good morning, John.
JOHN STONESTREET, GUEST: Good morning.
EICHER: Elections have consequences, don’t they?
STONESTREET: It’s important to remember two things: Number one, abortion is a thoroughly integrated reality of the American political scene. It’s at every level. It’s at the federal level. It’s at the executive branch. It’s in the judicial branch. It’s in the legislative branch. And it’s also at the state level and even the county and community level, especially in places like California. In other words, it’s so deeply ingrained.
The other thing to remember is that the Democratic Party, in particular, has moved on abortion. In other words, it’s no longer safe, legal, and rare, a necessary evil that we need to protect the health of women. That’s still part of the talking points, but there’s an aggressiveness to this. And we see this both in what you described from Kamala Harris and what you described from Becerra, both of them in their roles as AG of California.
There are a lot of undercover investigative stings that neither of them chose to pursue. Technically speaking, filming without consent is the breaking of a law, unless you’re uncovering something that’s really, really bad. And so, for example, restaurants breaking health regulations or puppy mills or dog fighting rings or whatever else. In these things, the good guys are really clear and the bad guys are also really clear in the minds of both of these attorneys general. It’s different here. There’s an aggressive advancement of a pro-abortion agenda that is now part of Democratic politics at almost every level. Again, abortion exists at almost every level of policy in the political scene. And, on the Democratic side, it’s not just something to be tolerated. It is an active thing to be advanced and promoted.
EICHER: You mentioned aggressive, and it’s interesting to me that Biden selected Becerra for this post. We hear a lot about how Biden’s a moderate, he’s a devout Catholic. But when it comes to Health and Human Services, certainly deeply involved in setting abortion policy, Biden goes with a deeply committed, pro-abortion ideologue.
STONESTREET: Well, I mean, look, we shouldn’t have such short memories. HHS was the department in which the Obama administration tried to force nuns to buy contraception and abortion-inducing medication.
And, of course, I mean, look, I don’t want to make this purely political. We’re going to remember quickly that there were two agenda items that were driving almost all of our domestic and foreign policies under the Obama administration. One was abortion and even more than that was the LGBT agenda. And the Department of HHS, the Department of Health and Human Services, was a key wedge, it was a key weapon to advance those things.
I think maybe we kind of forgot. And I remember in 2016 when the administration changed, the words that many of us used—me included—was, look, this is a reprieve. This isn’t over. And the very real possibility is that this will — the pendulum swing will come back the other direction and it’ll be further and faster and harder than ever. And the punting of this new administration to basically be, at some level, an Obama administration 2.0 is troubling, very troubling if you remember what the second term of the Obama administration was all about. I don’t know if I should actually say this out loud, but this is one of the things I think historians are going to judge this administration for because we’re talking about President Obama, who was the first African-American president, which is a remarkable thing. A remarkable thing that meant so much to so many, and he spent all of his political capital in especially the second term of his administration in domestic policy and in foreign policy pushing the new sexual orthodoxy and promoting the LGBTQ agenda. I think history will judge him, ultimately, for that.
BROWN: As Nick said earlier John, elections have consequences and don’t we know it here in Georgia!
In just weeks we’ll cast votes for two Senate runoff races.
And I want to talk about one of the candidates, Rev. Raphael Warnock, he’s one of the democratic contenders for the U.S. Senate seat. He’s also the pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pastored.
What’s ironic to me is Dr. King wrote in 1967, The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.
Powerful words. But Warnock says up front, proudly, and he said it again this week, “I am a pro-choice pastor.”
And the support he’s getting, my question is are we there yet? Have we lost Dr. King’s notion of prophetic zeal?
And if so, how do we reclaim it?
STONESTREET: I think the answer is yes. I’m a little jaded here in Colorado having watched the church refuse to be the conscience of the state when it comes to legalized marijuana, when it comes to certainly doctor-assisted suicide, when it comes to a late-term abortion ban that was defeated pretty handedly in this last election. We don’t have an evangelical church — I mean, I do think there’s an irony here that somebody who sits in that particular pulpit that was about justice is holding on to a position on abortion that is just unjustifiable historically speaking at least in terms of historic Christianity.
But I’m much more concerned right now that the church in general—especially the evangelical church in general—is refusing to take on any prophetic mantle when it comes to the social issues of the culture. In other words, there’s a morally prophetic absence when it comes to helping their own members make personal, moral decisions. If we’re not able to do that, we’re not able to have any sort of culturally prophetic role that the church should have. And when the church is at its best, it does have.
EICHER: John Stonestreet is president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast.
BROWN: Thanks, John!
STONESTREET: Thanks so much.