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I'm Chris Hughes. Welcome to the Christian perspective, where we look in God's Word in order to develop a Christian worldview and modern culture. For those of you who listen regularly, you know that at the Citizens for America Foundation, we're dedicated to impacting the culture for Jesus by defending religious liberty, preserving our Christian heritage in the United States, strengthening families, and defending the sanctity of all human life. If you've listened to the news at all this week, you know that earlier this week, the most important abortion case in 40 years was before the Supreme Court. Earlier this week, oral arguments were presented in the case of Dobbs versus Jackson Women's Health, which is in Mississippi, Jackson, Mississippi.
And basically what was being heard was whether or not a Mississippi law that banned abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy was constitutional. Today's guest was on the ground in D.C. this week. A few months ago, I had the privilege of having breakfast with Ryan Helfenbein at the Conservative Baptist Network's breakfast at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville. Ryan and I had crossed paths at a lot of events over the last year or so, but we don't really get to talk that much because we're both speakers at the same conferences or summits, so I didn't really get to talk to Ryan too much until we got to have breakfast that morning. I finally got to speak to him for a few minutes and learn more about him.
He's an exciting guy. Ryan Helfenbein is the executive director of the Standing for Freedom Center based at Liberty University in Virginia. And for those of you who do not know, Ryan and his team are really, in my opinion, they're like the Navy Seals. They're the special forces in the battle to impact the culture for Jesus. They do great work to inform and influence the culture for Jesus. They have a super media team and they produce great videos. You need to go to their website, which we're going to share with you the address for that several times a day. But they produce great videos.
They put out white papers and they have articles that every one of you should be going to their site every day and reading and learning more about what's going on in the culture. The Standing for Freedom Center is an outstanding resource for any Christian. But what I love about Ryan is he loves the Bible.
He loves Jesus and he defends American liberty. Ryan and his team were at the forefront of what was happening in the Supreme Court this week, and I invited him here today to share with you what happened and what we can expect in the coming months in the battle to defend the lives of unborn babies in the United States of America and really around the world. Ryan, welcome to The Christian Perspective. Hey, Chris, thank you so much. What a kind introduction.
Really appreciate you and all that you're doing. We've got a country to go and save. When I say that, I don't just mean we have to put on a cape and go save it. We're not the heroes in this story. Jesus Christ is.
And in his gospel, we have to lead out on front. So thank you so much for having me. Glad to be with you.
Well, I'm just so excited. You know, we've been trying to get together for quite a while to get on here, but you're busy with with your own organization, your run, and then you're also on the staff of Liberty and you're producing videos. You have your own show.
So you're a busy fella. But before we jump into the Dobbs case, because I really want our listeners to know who you are and who your organization is and what you guys are doing, because you're such a great resource for every Christian out there. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and the work that you do at the Standing for Freedom Center? Yeah, well, let me just start with my testimony. I came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior when I was seven years old.
That's where my faith started. And I was a kid growing up actually in Dallas, Texas. I was born in Amarillo.
Parents moved. They were some yuppies right out of college, moved to Dallas and grew up there in the Dallas suburbs, went to school at First Baptist in Dallas. This is back in the good old days. Some of your listeners might remember someone by the name of W.A. Criswell. A legend. He is a legend.
Absolutely. And just a stalwart conservative, kind of the godfather in many ways of the Southern Baptist Convention. And he was there at First Baptist Dallas. And I went to the school there, but I went to church at Prestonwood Baptist Church. Jack Graham was my pastor growing up.
And in many respects, my spiritual father. And I got to hear the gospel preaching there. Do you know my friend Gary Frazier who goes to church there?
I don't know. I know who Gary is, but I don't know Gary. You need to meet him because he's written many, many books about end time prophecy and he really is fighting in the culture war, too. I didn't mean to interrupt you there, but that is a great church that you attended. Great church.
And just for the listeners who are trying to understand this, it's amazing how many people are in the Dallas area. Growing up, Mary Kay Ash went to Prestonwood, and Zig Ziglar, and just so many big names in the Christian world and the world of business and entrepreneurship. But I came under conviction at an early age. I wasn't always walking with the Lord. I'll say that at the age of about 16, I really felt a strong call to serve the Lord in full-time vocational ministry.
And at that point, I didn't know what that looked like. I thought I definitely wanted to be a pastor. And I went to the University of Texas at Austin. A lot of people said, why didn't you go to Bible college? I knew I needed to get a tent-making degree of some sort.
And so I was an economics major. I was interning at Hyde Park Baptist Church, Jay Bowman. And he's the, I guess he's currently the president of the Southern Baptist of Texas.
I believe that's right. But, at least the pastors conference. But anyway, you know, and then after that, seminary. Rolled in Southern Seminary and moved all the way up to Louisville, Kentucky. So that's just kind of the pathway I took. And while in seminary, opportunity came along to work in state and local politics.
And that was kind of a weird thing for me because I didn't, I was never involved in that in college. I followed it very closely. Worked with Al Mohler, you know, on his radio show back when he had a Salem show. And just before the, he took on the briefing, just as a kind of a research assistant and intern and traveled around with him, co-taught in study school with him for a number of years. And carried the briefcase, so to speak.
But opportunity came along to get involved in federal and state elections. And I, you know, I jumped into that and I was kind of a jack of all trades while in school, feeding my family and all of that. Got married, by the way, while in seminary. Had kids while in seminary. And we were just moving along and I was just in over my head. And I was doing three and four different things. Running a small business, working on a PhD, and then getting involved in a congressional election, Senate election, and then a gubernatorial election.
And then before I know it, I'm working for the governor of Kentucky. And so that's kind of my introduction into some of this. And so when I came to Liberty University just about three years ago, we had the opportunity to start something like this. The Standing for Freedom Center is really at the intersect of the church and the public square.
Something that is in the tradition of Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr. And ever since the beginning of this great institution that is Liberty, it was always about the Great Commission and being a public witness in the public square for the gospel of Jesus Christ. So the church has got to roll up sleeves and get involved. So that's where we are and that's what we do. And you've put out some great resources. How do people find those?
Go to standingforfreedom.com. And that's our website. You can go on there and we put out articles.
We've got a theology of politics series that is going to be coming out here pretty soon and we're really excited about the introduction of that. We work closely with organizations like the Family Research Council. We've got some friends over at Heritage. We've got friends over at Hillsdale.
And so we've worked hand in hand at times with these other organizations in order to put this stuff together. But what we're really trying to do is reach down to a younger generation. Because we're at Liberty University, we're intersecting of course with the youngest generation, a generation that was born after 9-11. That's shocking when you think about that.
Born after 9-11, an event that fundamentally changed this country forever. So we're engaged with how they're thinking, how they're influenced by the culture and by social media. Social media is something we've got to embrace.
Can't push it off. Many organizations are doing that. But we've got to wield these tools the right way. So we're on Instagram. We're on Facebook. We're on Twitter. But we're also launching on TikTok.
And we're looking to branch out as well on these other platforms in order to engage the younger generation. Well, you are busy. Well, you're really blessed to be on a university that really gets it. You know, they understand. So many universities today really have gone whoa. But Liberty is not. And it's such a blessing that they're allowing you to operate on their campus.
That is right. People ask me all the time, Chris, where is Liberty University on these issues? Where do they stand on these issues? Well, I say, well, look no further than the Freedom Center. There are other components that you can see on campus with convocation, obviously the School of Divinity and elsewhere.
You can see that. But the fact that they allow the Freedom Center to operate here on campus signals where we stand on matters of faith and politics. And so that's really, really important to see. It's also very, very important to develop a robust Christian worldview and apologetic. This show is brought to you by Generous Joe's, the coffee company with the Christian perspective. This is the answer that Christians and conservatives have been looking for. A coffee company that gives back to causes you care about.
Order your coffee today at shopgenerousjoes.org and even subscribe to a subscription coffee plan and never forget the coffee you love or the causes you care about. You know, going back again, I mentioned Dr. Falwell back in the late 70s and the founding of the Moral Majority. He worked together with D. James Kennedy and James Dobson.
So many of the heroes. James Dobson still living. Francis Schaeffer is somebody else who came to this campus. I think about the Christian Manifesto.
Everybody ought to read that. But he was all about engaging politics from a Christian worldview. So something we want to do at the Freedom Center, of course, is to ensure that when we take the approach of fighting this cultural battle, you know, we cannot demur. We can't be shy. We can't be bashful. We have to get out there and be happy warriors committed convictionally to the word of God. But we've got to get out there and fight with enthusiasm, you know, with optimism and following that tradition. But anyway, we exist here at Liberty University on this campus to do exactly that, to help these young students, to encourage pastors on the outside and to not be shy.
Well, I love what you said that we've got to do it with enthusiasm because too many Christians just kind of want to fold up the tent and go home and think it's all over when it's not, which leads into the issue that we really want to talk about today. This week, for any of the listeners that don't know, there was a huge case, probably the biggest case to dealing with abortion since Roe v. Wade in the 1970s heard before the Supreme Court this week and Ryan, you and your team were on the ground in DC and at the court where oral arguments were presented on this landmark right to life case. Can you tell us kind of what led up to this week's case and what happened in Mississippi to get us here? Yeah, so just a real, real fast. A law that was passed in Mississippi was the gestational age act. And essentially, you know, it was defining 15 weeks. You know, a child is at a point in development where pretty much everything is there, including pain, fully developed heart, pumping 26 quarts of blood per day, fully formed nose, lips, eyelids, eyebrows can taste make facial expressions, yawn, hiccups, swallow, suck their thumbs.
This is a child. I mean, anybody I don't care. You don't have to have a religious worldview to understand and follow the science here. You cannot argue it. And the the gestational act was passed just a couple of years ago. It is it is met that test. Jackson Women's Health Organization that filed this is the plaintiff. And in order to try and overturn that, and so here, here's the court with a conservative majority, even even with Justice Roberts, who is kind of the new Kennedy. It is a clear majority has come before the court now to be argued. And the Attorney General of Mississippi when Fitch and of course, the the the solicitor general of Mississippi were both there to argue that case on Wednesday, the opening argument. So, of course, anybody who is listening and thinking, okay, the decision been made?
No, absolutely not until probably June or July. But many of the justices have already signaled kind of their intention, even on Wednesday, and you can hear that in some of those arguments. But we were there on the steps, along with many, many other organizations, by far Liberty University was representing, you know, I would say more more so than any other organization. We had over 1000 students, 21 buses. We came out there wearing our Liberty red, white and blue, went there to pray. This was not a protest for us. This was a prayer rally. And I made sure all of our students were well informed about what professional counter protesters look like.
And to stay away from them. We didn't want to get in any kind of altercations were protecting our students and man they were safe. It was it wasn't they had a great time. It was a great learning experience. But we offered up a lot of prayers and also praise there was some worship being done and it was spontaneous, which I enjoyed seeing that I was I could not be more proud of those students. Concerned Women for America students from life.
Many other organizations were there live action. I know I'm going to forget some Abby Johnson. She's a fellow with the standing for Freedom Center.
She also is the founder of in it. And then there were none. She spoke any Nance and many others.
It was a great it was a great day. Well, for those who don't know, Abby was actually think she was a manager, wasn't she of Planned Parenthood facility high up in their structure. And through the process of being forced to watch an abortion, realized it was wrong. And now she is one of the nation's leading advocates for the pro life movement. And you're blessed to have her as one of your fellows. Right.
Well, yeah, I get at least let me say this. I'll just say she won the Cecil Richards Award. She sat down with Hillary Clinton. This is she was one of the leading executive directors of a Planned Parenthood clinic right outside of College Station. And so yeah, just an incredible testimony and story. Well, what a tremendous opportunity for those students who are really future leaders, to see how important it is to be engaged in a process like this, because I think that God is going to hold the church accountable for what has happened with nearly 65 million babies who have been brutally murdered through abortion since the 1970s. And it's time for the church to stand up and start defending these lives.
So Ryan, you told us who was arguing the case on the side of of Mississippi, who was so who argued the other side was the federal government. Yeah, so you have the obviously the US Solicitor General Praliger, who was giving arguments in defense of Roe versus Wade, and just to understand, Roe versus Wade set up a viability standard, and a trimester standard that honestly doesn't jive with with science. Now at the time, there was a lot that we did not know about child development. Of course, we convictionally, I believe scientifically, not just on the basis of our faith, it is not.
This is not pixie dust and unicorns and make believe fairy tale. We are our faith is well reasoned Chris and we we know that human development begins at the exact moment of conception. So already you have human development. And a baby is is is has a heartbeat as early as five weeks is already starting to move that muscle in a circulatory system and a brain and a spinal cord beginning to develop that the US Solicitor General was trying to still argue the old standards that were set up way back in 1973. With Roe versus Wade before we even had any of these things, you know, an ultra ultrasound technology and all the rest to see what was really happening.
And it's all based on viability and sorry, decisive. I mean, it's one of the things that the left loves to invoke except for you think about the Dred Scott case or Plessy versus Ferguson and these others. You know that had to be overturned by the court. They want to argue for precedent, except for when they want precedent to be overturned. Doug fell is a great example of that overturning the Defense of Marriage Act.
So this is a this is a side case that we are winning. And, you know, everything from what you can see from Justice Alito to, you know, Justice Kavanaugh, obviously, Clarence Thomas, who was there, one of the justices and Planned Parenthood versus Casey, he was of the dissenting view was not of the majority view, but at the dissenting view is very clear where these justices are standing. But what what could very likely happen is that when this is upheld, if this thing is upheld, and we were praying that it is, it will then go back to the states. And when that happens, you know, you're going to have states like California, states like New York, states like Oregon, Washington State and others, that will have some very advanced or progressive abortion bills that they're going to bring forth. And you'll have states like Louisiana and Texas and Florida and Arkansas and, you know, Tennessee and all those states who are going to have some very conservative bills that will come forth and might even make themselves a safe haven, where, you know, little to no abortion can take place in those states.
And so, you know, I'm hoping that that that happens if it overturns Roe versus Wade, it will go back to the state and it will put the burden then on the state's legislators in order to figure that out. But anyway, yeah, this is just so important, not just to our nation or but around the world, because people don't realize that not only are tax dollars being used to fund abortions in roundabout ways, and sometimes in even direct ways over the years in the United States. But we particularly under the Obama administration is when it started, President Trump put it into it, and then President Biden brought it back. But a lot of our citizens don't realize that there are abortions all over the world that our federal government is funding because we subsidize Planned Parenthood, and Planned Parenthood is all over the country. And and this is a topic for another show.
But there's something can I can I interrupt once? Yeah, so our first ever pro life Secretary of State was Mike Pompeo. And he was the one who in the under in the Trump administration, they peeled back the Mexico City policy. And that that had to do with funding abortion around the world. And so our State Department, even in Republican administrations, even in the George W. Bush administration, was funding for reproductive health, as they call it, around the world. And reproductive health, of course, was was Planned Parenthood, it was abortion. You know, that's, that's what our government was involved in with our tax dollars.
So it has been very eye opening, even for a guy like me, growing up was very supportive of George W. Bush, but just to recognize that Republicans have often offered lip service to the pro life issue and to being committed, but they haven't really been Chris, and until recently, and that's, it's been amazing to watch. Right. And even when they played the game where we would say, Okay, we're not going to use federal funds to, to pay for abortion in the United States, we were still doing it around the world. But most Americans never had a clue that their money was being used to do that. So we we've really got to put a stop to that not not just here, but around the world. There's there's a curriculum. And I want to start to say this would be really a topic for another show called the common sexuality education curriculum that was started by President Obama. Again, President Trump put an end to it.
And President Biden has funded it with $110 million. Same thing, it's a curriculum pushed in public schools in the United States of America, but also around the world. And it's part of what we're seeing now where they're trying to get kids to identify the different gender, or tell them, you know, there are some places, Ryan, where people where kids can have abortions or get birth control as school, and their parents are never even notified. And so our federal government is funding this. Basically, it's a supply and demand. We're creating a demand because we're encouraging kids basically to go out and have free sex.
And then when they get pregnant, then then Planned Parenthood can make the money off the abortions is just pure evil, what is happening in our country and around the world today. Yeah, I'll add to that, that part of the things that were not covered about Afghanistan, obviously, withdrawal was just terrible, horrific, what was happening on the ground there. But prior to that, our our nation building efforts, and you know, largely by the State Department in during the Obama administration was exporting that kind of garbage. And it wasn't just literacy program for young girls. It was this kind of education that comes out of UC Berkeley and everywhere else.
You know, we were forcing that kind of education on a largely Muslim population. And of course, they don't like that. So that's a whole other that's a whole other ball of wax. But that's the kind of thing that the State Department has been doing for decades.
Yeah, it's crazy. Well, Ryan, our time has run out. But we got so much more we could talk about. I want to have you come back sometime. I just want to thank you for what you're doing at the Standing for Freedom Center. I know you're on the forefront of this.
We won't know an answer till June. But thank you for what you're doing. And thank you for being here today. Hey, Chris, thank you so much for having me. I appreciate you and God bless. Folks, thank you for joining us today. I'm Chris Hughes and this is The Christian Perspective.
Please subscribe and like our podcast, tell your friends about our radio show and share it with your friends on social media. Now let's go change the culture for Jesus. This show is brought to you by Generous Joes, the coffee company with The Christian Perspective. This is the answer that Christians and conservatives have been looking for. A coffee company that gives back to causes you care about. Order your coffee today at shopgenerousjoes.org and even subscribe to a subscription coffee plan and never forget the coffee you love or the causes you care about. This is the Truth Network.
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