Thursday, May 23, 2024
Thursday, May 23, 2024
HomeAll The NewsTRUMPET NOTES: Angel Studios Stuns Hollywood

TRUMPET NOTES: Angel Studios Stuns Hollywood

CNN Caught Falsely Claiming Texas Abortion Ban Led to Increased Infant Mortality

On July 20, CNN published a story citing a large increase in the infant-mortality rate in Texas. Data obtained from the Texas Department of State Health Services via a public-records request showed that in 2022, the number of infant deaths in Texas purportedly increased by 11.5%. A number of other news outlets, including Axios, Straight Arrow News and Truthout, were quick to cover this increase in infant deaths in the Lone Star State.

Unsurprisingly, the CNN reporter was quick to blame the Texas Heartbeat Act, which took effect in September 2021. She made no effort even to discuss other possible reasons for the increase. Alternative causes include increased levels of illegal immigration and disruptions to prenatal care caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. She discussed only the Texas Heartbeat Act.

Additionally, the reporter engaged in some statistical sleight of hand. While infant deaths increased in Texas in 2022, so did births. Both the Charlotte Lozier Institute study from November 2002 and a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association have found that the Texas Heartbeat Act resulted in an increase in the birth rate in Texas in 2022. Given that, it would be more appropriate to analyze the infant-mortality rate as opposed to infant deaths. Calculations indicate that the infant-mortality rate in Texas increased by 6.6% in 2022. While that may be a cause for concern, it is not as dramatic an increase as CNN is reporting.

Furthermore, it should also be noted that the infant mortality rate in Texas in 2022 was well within recent historical norms. In fact, the Texas infant-mortality rate was actually lower in 2022 than in any year from 2007 to 2017. That of course receives no mention in the CNN article.

Finally, there is a plausible reason why the Texas infant-mortality rate might have increased in 2022. The leading cause of infant mortality in Texas is congenital conditions. The Texas Heartbeat Act is not causing an increase in congenital conditions but rather preventing unborn children from being aborted due to their medical condition. Many such children were tragically dying before the Texas Heartbeat Act. However, since they were aborted, they were not counted as infant deaths.

During the past 15 years, Texas has been a leader in enacting strong pro-life policies. It is no surprise that mainstream media have worked overtime to try to find evidence of a public-health crisis in the Lone Star State. So far, they have not found much. After the state removed Planned Parenthood from the state family-planning program, the birth rate and abortion rate for minors continued to fall. Reports of a sharp increase in maternal mortality from a 2016 study turned out to be greatly exaggerated. This CNN article is just the mainstream media’s latest attempt to claim that pro-life laws lead to poor public-health outcomes. (

Angel Studios Stuns Hollywood

A small, independent studio has surprised Hollywood in the last few months with two films opening in the top three at the box office — and staying there for weeks. Here’s the company’s secret formula — Angel Studios is putting its audience in the driver’s seat. It’s allowing viewers to decide what film and TV projects it green-lights and works to fund.

One of those successful films is “Sound of Freedom.” It opened on the Fourth of July as a summer surprise to critics, and so far, it has already pulled in more than $100 million at the box office. It finished number one on opening weekend and finished at number two the following weekend, behind the latest installment of the blockbuster series “Mission: Impossible.”

In April, “His Only Son” scored headlines, opening at No. 3 with nearly $6 million in ticket sales. And that film’s director completed the project with only $250,000.

Without much Hollywood support, the record-making, crowd-funded series “The Chosen” had three successful seasons before being picked up by Lionsgate for worldwide distribution in May.

The engine behind these stunners isn’t in New York or Los Angeles. It’s in Provo, Utah. The city has a population of about 120,000. It’s a land of towering mountains and waterfalls.

Angel Studios was started by brothers Jeffrey and Neal Harmon. They are disrupting the entertainment world, but it’s been an uphill climb. A little more than five years ago, they ran a streaming platform that faced a major lawsuit from Disney. Neal recalled a time in an interview with CBN News’ Studio 5 at Angel Studios’ comedy club, The Dry Bar:

“I was terrified when I first saw the lawsuit and shocked that it was Disney. But I remember standing up and saying to people, ‘I am not exactly sure how this is going to turn out, but I believe the audience, we and Hollywood will be better off for it’,” he told CBN News.

Disney sued the Harmons’ VidAngel platform for copyright infringement because the platform gave home audiences the ability to filter out any material they didn’t want to see or hear in its films.

“When we were in trial, the No. 2 guy at Disney was there the entire week. There (was) half of the room filled with suits of sophisticated lawyers and people watching. And on our half of the room was a measly crowd. The families would come and sit down and cheer for us, then they would have to leave. So, it’s like this sea of high billing hours against the margins of Hollywood society,” Neal told CBN News.

Jeffrey Harmon recalled small orthodox families would come and sit down in the court quietly cheering, “You can do it.” And they won the case thanks to those helping to fight the battle.

“We should have lost. We really should have, but we didn’t. We can’t take credit for that. It was a mix of families like those stepping up and putting up $10 million for us to fight the battle,” Neal said.

“As far as I am aware, we are the only company that’s ever survived… a big lawsuit like this from Disney,” Jeffrey added.

Today, Angel Studios is rapidly growing. It has multiple projects in the pipeline — all with a familiar formula at work. A team of 100,000 Angel viewers have screened hundreds of submissions. They then voted to decide what Angel Studios produces and raises the money to fund. One of those upcoming projects is called “The Shift” and stars Hollywood veteran Neal McDonough.

The Harmon brothers have long known that giving the power to the audience would work, and it all started when they were children:

  “It was intuitive. We grew up on farms in Idaho, and it was just intuitive. It was also intuitive just because when we were growing up, our parents would share with us films, but there were a very select few that we could watch. We have young children ourselves. We just said, what we see being created isn’t what we want to experience with our families. And so, if I was to ask the families what they want made, that would mirror more of what we want to see made,” Neal told CBN News.

“In 2016, it wasn’t intuitive to anybody else. We believed that if you give people ownership — Neal gives the example of owning versus renting a home, you know. We had this idea, we can raise money through the crowd and because they own part of the network, they are way more conscious and want the network to work and they are helping to market us and defend us. So, we have 12,000 investors who invested in Angel Studios,” Jeffrey told CBN News.

It’s not the Hollywood model for movie making. It’s the Harmon model, and it’s working. (

Christian Health Care Groups Fight Biden Mandate Forcing ERs to Do Abortions

The state of Texas and seven national Catholic healthcare organizations filed an amicus curiae brief in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on July 7, asking the court to uphold the injunction previously issued by a district court against a 2022 Health and Human Services mandate that required doctors to perform abortions in emergency rooms.

The HHS mandate, issued in June 2022, reinterpreted the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), which states that emergency rooms at hospitals participating in Medicare are required to perform medical screening examinations on all individuals if they request it. The EMTALA is designed to minimize health risks “to the individual’s health and, in the case of a woman in labor, the health of the unborn child.”

“To assert that abortion — which is the intentional termination of an unborn child’s life — is permitted, or even required, under EMTALA is contrary to the unambiguous text and intent of the statute,” the defendants wrote in the amicus curiae brief, which is essentially a document submitted by a party with an interest in making the court aware of its opinion and attempting to influence the judge’s ruling.

“The guidance memorandum issued by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), along with an email letter from HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to all health care providers, stated that, in certain circumstances, intentional abortion is required in response to an emergent complication that arises during pregnancy,” the defendants continued. “There is absolutely zero Congressional authorization under EMTALA for HHS to require emergency departments to perform abortions. To the contrary, there are clear Congressional enactments protecting the medical conscience and religious freedom rights of medical professionals and health care entities to decline to participate in abortions.”

Texas and the Catholic healthcare providers are represented by the Thomas More Society, a non-profit law firm supporting life, family and freedom. Tyler Brooks, the Thomas More Society Senior Counsel, said that the HHS requirement violates more laws than EMTALA. “Trying to force a physician to take the life of an unborn child under a law that is expressly designed to save lives is not only contradictory, but also ludicrous,” Brooks said in a press release. “An elective abortion is an intentional choice to kill a preborn baby and emergency medical treatment is intended to preserve life. This act, as interpreted by the Biden Administration, violates the conscience rights of medical personnel who believe that abortion is immoral. It is a blatant violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This is not about ectopic pregnancy or any situation where a mother’s life is in danger,” Brooks continued. “This is about elective abortion. This is about attempting to force live-saving emergency medical practitioners to take lives in a non-emergency situation. The only life at risk in this scenario is that of the preborn child.” (

School District to Allow Good News Clubs After Lawsuit

A school district in Rhode Island is allowing a Christian club to meet on its school properties after settling a religious discrimination lawsuit. The Providence Public School District (PPSD) came to an agreement with the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) earlier this week by entering a consent order to allow Good News Clubs in their elementary schools.

In March, the Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit on behalf of CEF against PPSD and its superintendent, Dr. Javier Montanez, for discriminating against CEF by not allowing its Good News Clubs on campuses while allowing other clubs to meet. According to the lawsuit, the school district stonewalled its Good News Club from elementary schools for two years.

In 2021 and 2022, CEF submitted several applications to request the use of the school district’s facilities. The school district repeatedly ignored the request. However, other organizations such as Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA and Girls on the Run were given free use of school facilities for after-school programs.

“The District’s policies of unequal access and hostility to CEF Rhode Island’s religious message violate the Constitution and have denied the District’s elementary school students’ access to free, positive and character-building Good News Clubs that enrich countless students’ lives in other Rhode Island school districts and throughout the country,” read the lawsuit.

The Good News Clubs make a clear presentation of the gospel to children, especially those who don’t attend church. In a video on its Facebook page, CEF highlights the testimony of a seven-year-old girl named Olivia. “Good News Club is really fun and you get to learn about God,” the girl says. “I didn’t know that God, that Jesus was God’s son. I thought they were split.”

According to their website, CEF’s goal is to reach 100 million children with the gospel. “The law is clear that public schools cannot discriminate against the Christian viewpoint of Good News Clubs. Equal access means equal treatment in terms of the use of the facilities, including fee waivers, time of meetings and announcements. The Good News Club must be given equal treatment as the non-religious groups,” said Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver.

The PPSD is now allowing the Good News Clubs into their schools “on the same terms” as other after-school clubs. “Although Defendants do not concede all of the allegations of Plaintiff’s Complaint and dispute some claims arising in this action, the Parties in this action wish to resolve this matter now and hereby consent to entry of this Consent Order,” read the order.

“The Parties agree that Providence Public School District is required, under the First Amendment, to provide Child Evangelism Fellowship access to District facilities that are equal to and on the same terms as other similarly situated nonreligious organizations offering programs to students in the District,” it continued. 

Staver considers the move a “great victory for Child Evangelism Fellowship and the students and parents of the Providence School District. Public schools cannot discriminate against Christian viewpoints regarding the use of school facilities,” stated Staver. “Child Evangelism Fellowship gives children a biblically-based education that includes moral and character development. Good News Clubs should be in every public elementary school.” (