Penny Young Nance: What happened when the left thought I would be joining the Trump administration

By Penny Young Nance

Published November 10, 2017

A couple of years ago, while appearing on CNN with Van Jones, former Obama Administration Special Adviser for Green Energy, he shared something personal. 

In a moment of transparency, the Yale-educated lawyer said that the public smearing he received during his tenure as the Green Energy Czar “felt like someone ripped off [his] face and put it on someone else’s body.”  He said he didn’t recognize the person they were describing in press accounts.

Conservatives had little to no sympathy for him or others, but recent events have hopefully shed a different light on the matter. 

Confirmation hearings are becoming something of a blood sport when the nominees are people who adhere to orthodox Christian views on abortion and matters of sexual identity. 

First, there was Russell Vought, President Trump’s nominee for Deputy Director of Office of Management and Budget.  Sen. Bernie Sanders’ questioned his Christian faith and belief in the centrality of Jesus Christ for salvation, suggesting basically that his belief makes him unfit for office.  Then there was “the Dogma lives loudly within you” remark to Judge Amy Coney Barrett by Sen. Diane Feinstein denigrating the Notre Dame Law  Professor and mother of seven’s Catholic faith.  The senator’s outrage was based on an article that basically said the opposite of what was charged.

What is happening? Not since the JFK days has there been such hostility to faith.  Sadly, back then it was from Protestants, but this is a new, equally insidious version from the left. 

The final awakening on this issue came to Concerned Women for America due to Washington rumors of my “imminent” appointment to the office of Ambassador-At-Large for the Office of Global Women’s Issues. This is a position that was created by Secretary Hillary Clinton to assist with the advancement of women’s equality and the empowerment of women and girls around the world.

The ensuing outrage from the left was eye-opening. At the mere hint of the idea that a pro-life, conservative woman could be in the running opened up a flood of hostile and, in many cases, false or misleading articles written by leftist media.

Suddenly, the idea of “fake news” took on new meaning.  Left-of-center reporters mostly relied on an opposition research dossier which quotes formerly-affiliated employees from CWA — much of which was dated years before my tenure — accepted without checking false statements by abortion activists, or, worse yet, isolated quotes out of context, much like in the case of Judge Barrett.  

Just to name a few:

They claim we oppose birth control, when in truth CWA, and I personally, like the majority of Evangelical women, draw a bright line between birth control and abortion. We have never taken a position against it, but we do support the rights of conscience of women like the Little Sisters of the Poor.  The Left, however, wishes to force everyone, even nuns who take a vow of celibacy and poverty, to fund abortion and abortion-inducing drugs.  Their lack of tolerance for women of faith is shocking.

They claim that we never support rape-and-incest exceptions; this is one in which they twisted a theological piece that I wrote for the Christian Post.  The truth is that every child is innocent.  I value every child and her mother and addressed in that piece that abortion harms the woman as well as her child.  I believe women deserve better, and as the church, we must offer them better options. 

As the survivor of an assault and attempted rape, I know that this issue is deeply painful and complicated, and suffering women deserve our help and grace. 

I believe that abortion is the most cynical answer to the plight of women, but the left sees it as the first and best response. 

The story of women who regret their abortions is prevalent.  Pro-life Americans offer love and hope to women every day in pregnancy help centers, through adoption and through material help. Regardless, in the very piece they criticized, I end by saying, “Regardless of her choice, we must pray for her!”

As a practical matter, every federal legislative effort and most state bills endorsed by CWA contain rape and incest exceptions.  I also addressed this in my book, if people had bothered to look.

“ … I should add however that I have and do support legislation that contains a rape-incest exception if it is essential to protect the vast majority of babies.  Public policy is downstream of public opinion, and we still have work to do.” (Feisty and Feminine, 89)

They falsely claim we support the criminalization of homosexuality or transgenderism, when in truth, I have never believed it and said the opposite specifically in my book.  We can disagree on matters of policy for our military or our schools, but we are called to love our neighbor, and that includes our LGBTQ neighbors.

“Condemning unkindness is not a religious or political stance; it is a human one, and our message transcends those divisions. This means that we condemn liberal attacks against Christian and conservative views; but it also means that we must take a stand against nastiness toward gay people or any group for that matter. We absolutely must condemn countries operating under sharia law where homosexuality is a crime punishable by death. In Nigeria in early 2015, fourteen men were dragged from their beds and attacked by men with clubs and iron bars who said they wanted to ‘cleanse’ their neighborhood of gay people. And who could forget the video of ISIS pushing a gay man off of a roof to his death in Mosul, Iraq? We have to speak out against these kinds of atrocities, and against governments that condone them. Violence of any kind has no place among those who seek peace, and as followers of Christ, it is our duty to stand up against this kind of injustice. We need to condemn violence abroad as well as here in the United States. But even short of violence, we need to consider whether we do what’s right when people say something unkind about gay or transgender people and those who don’t share our opinions or lifestyles. Because here’s the problem: people practicing these lifestyles can’t hear our words of love and hope when we are allowing other people to define us.” (From my book "Feisty & Feminine," Page 70)

They claim that CWA and I oppose the Violence Against Women Act when in truth we have criticized its efficacy. We suggested that there needs to be better oversight ending the waste and fraud by grantees and instead that the federal offer block grants to the states in order to address what even supporters admit is too broad to be effective. (From my book "Feisty & Feminine," Page 44)

The left is fine with spending $400 million per year on programs that aren’t doing enough to protect women.  Just because the bill is named well doesn’t mean it is stopping domestic violence. Again, women deserve better.

They claim that I do not support anti-bullying efforts against children who identify as LGBTQ.  That is 100 percent false. 

In the piece that sparked the hatred, I said, “I despise children being bullied for being ‘gay’ just as much as for being obese or for being from another country or simply being different or for whatever reason. How about we teach our kids, ‘Be ye kind one to another.’”

In my book, I went further. While I absolutely support an end to any and all forms of bullying, I can't help but notice how ironic it is that conservative Christian kids in our school system are bullied for their own beliefs. What are our schools doing to protect them? ("Feisty & Feminine," 56)

And just to be clear (despite this being the height of silliness), I don’t hate "Frozen."

Interestingly, reporters conveniently left out all of my lifelong work caring for “the least of these” on issues like fighting sex trafficking and fighting for cleaning up the horrible backlog of testing for rape kits ("Feisty & Feminine," Page 46-48).

I also worked with others to successfully pass into law the Second Chance Act (Public Law 110-199), which tears down barriers for prisoners reentering society.  As a member of Right on Crime, I am working for restorative justice reform, including the use of drug and youth courts and access to mental health care.

But let’s be honest, it does not matter what I say or what I believe. The left must twist my words, because at the end of the day, a pro-life woman with an orthodox Christian worldview is unacceptable to them. 

It is becoming a common theme in confirmation hearings. Both the Republicans and Democrats are guilty of demagoguery as Van Jones suggested, and it needs to stop. 

Now, to address the rumor of an appointment to the Trump administration: The honest answer is that there is great appeal to the idea of working for President Trump and the opportunity to work on behalf of women around the globe. 

It is my hope that under President Trump the Office of Global Women’s Issues will stand for the rights of women to seek fulfillment of their basic needs, to feed and clothe themselves and their children, to fully participate in society, and to be defended against human rights abuses such as violence, killing, discrimination, and false imprisonment. As full participants in society, women should have the agency to pursue education and economic livelihood and to vote or run for office.  

There is clearly work to be done. American conservatives often view the world through the lens of our own experience, forgetting that there are millions of women and girls around the world denied basic human rights and treated by their government or culture as literally second class citizens facing discrimination at every turn.

I would be honored to serve my nation and President Trump; however, I do not feel God is leading me to leave Concerned Women for America at this time. We have important work to do and are in a season of amazing growth.  Most importantly, I have about 18 months left before my last child goes off to college.

In Washington, ones family is often used as an excuse, but I can assure I am sincere. My husband and I, like most parents, have subjugated our own desires in many ways to do our best to parent. 

I do not believe that it would be right for me or for him to travel the world during this season of our lives. Others may be able to do so with aplomb, but we cannot.

There may be a time at which President Trump or some other president will call upon me to serve my country within his or her administration at a later season. 

The left can relax for now, but who knows about another day? But know this, if it is ever God’s will for me to serve, nothing they can do or say will stop it. 

Penny Young Nance is president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest women’s public policy organization. She is the author of the book "Feisty and Feminine: A Rallying Cry for Conservative Women" (Zondervan 2016).

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/11/10/penny-young-nance-what-happened-when-left-thought-would-be-joining-trump-administration.html