'Racial Reconciliation' a Top Priority in 2016, Says Family Research Council

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said America became a “more pro-life nation” last year and called for Americans to promote religious liberty and “racial reconciliation” in 2016.

“Another bright light in 2015 is the way the fight for life intensified as America became a more pro-life nation. For example, in recent weeks, North Carolina enacted a new law holding abortionists accountable to the state’s existing 20-week ban. This kind of accountability is encouraging and long overdue. In the last five years, over 280 pro-life bills have been enacted at the state level,” Perkins said in his “State of the Family” address in Washington.

“This past year millions of Americans have had their stomachs turned and their minds changed by the appalling contents of the Planned Parenthood videos from the Center for Medical Progress. Pulling back the curtain of rhetoric that cloaks Planned Parenthood, the videos show the callous and inhumane treatment of unborn children and exposes the tactics used to deceive their mothers,” he added.

President Obama recently vetoed a bill that would have eliminated most of the federal tax dollars sent to Planned Parenthood. Despite this, Perkins vowed to continue advocating for Congress to defund the organization.

“Rest assured we will not stop until this forced partnership between taxpayers and Planned Parenthood has ended,” he said.

In 2016, Perkins said his organization’s priority is to focus on “racial reconciliation.”

“Unlike some of the issues we face, I believe there is a broad middle ready and willing to work toward this goal. Sadly, the past few years have seen us beset by exploiters – political actors and billionaire ‘philanthropists’ – who see in racial conflict a chance to advance their extreme political agendas,” Perkins said.

“A fair reading of American history constantly reminds us of the reality of racism and its continuing legacy. But a fair reading of current events also shows the profound danger of exploiting the frustrations of the aggrieved and fueling disrespect for law enforcement. It is long past time for our nation’s religious leaders to come together and show our political leaders a way forward,” he added.

Perkins also called for Americans to promote and defend religious liberty as a human right for those of all faiths to live freely.

“Why? Because advocating for religious liberty lets the oppressed throughout the world know that they have a friend in America and it sends a message to the terrorists and tyrants as well,” he said. “That knowledge bears long-term fruit for our security – and is simply the right thing to do for a nation whose national motto is, ‘In God We Trust.’”

Perkins said there would be “no liberty” in America without religious liberty.

“Refugees from dozens of countries are not seeking daily entry into America because they are fleeing freedom of speech. They are not looking to escape homelands where there is too much freedom of religion,” he said. “They are not looking for a land where the right to life does not matter. They are fleeing tyranny over their minds, bodies, and souls.”

During the address, Perkins recognized Rowan County, Ky., clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“Kim stood up courageously against the power of the state and the ACLU and she, along with religious liberty in Kentucky prevailed! Well done, Kim,” he said.