“Shame. Shame. Shame."Feb. 09, 2018
The committee room was overflowing into the hallway. Within that entire crowd, only a handful of people could be found who supported our position that Virginia law should not uniquely set apart the classifications of sexual orientation and gender identity as worthy of unique protections, as it does for minorities and religious people.
Have you ever had to stand, being 1 out of 100, literally, not figuratively, and express an opinion that would result in loud shouting and people jeering at you? Have you had a moment where your words of truth result in people following you out of the room shouting at you, “shame, shame, shame”?
This is what my team does through the legislative session. This is what they did yesterday. They stand for the truth in a hostile environment and are a representation of those reviled as described in 1 Peter 4:14-16. In legislative meetings and in the media, they represent thousands of Virginians who believe in our values and want someone to defend marriage as God designed it but can’t, or won’t, be at the Capitol themselves to do so. This team of policy warriors stands in the middle of the battle, taking the onslaught of hate and ridicule for our faith and our families every day.
Yesterday, a House General Laws sub-committee took up five bills that sought to enshrine into the Code of Virginia new, specially-protected classes of people based on sexual orientation and gender identity. These bills were put forth with the stated motivation of ensuring no discrimination takes place in state hiring or public housing against those in same-sex relationships or who have gender dysphoria and thus feel they are a gender that is not their biological sex.
Our team handedly dismantled their arguments bringing forward indisputable facts that in Virginia there have been no claims of discrimination in hiring, or housing that have been found to have merit. When we raised the concern that Liberty University would be forced to allow same-sex married couples to be housed in their married student housing under the proposed bill despite their deeply held convictions, the sponsor of the bill stepped forward and pronounced the true motivation.
In the words of Delegate Simon,
"There are certain sincerely held religious beliefs which are so discriminatory that we don't give them the protection of the law, and this is one of those cases."
And now we know. Make no mistake. These bills are not about telling a secular government not to discriminate when hiring. These laws are about preventing Christian universities and ministries from being able to practice their faith convictions about marriage. These bills seek to weaponize government against people of faith.
Yesterday, we defeated these bills with the help of 5 members on the subcommittee: Delegates Jason Miyares, Barry Knight, Tommy Wright, Dickie Bell and Buddy Fowler. Click here to watch the full committee. Bill Janis from The Family Foundation begins his testimony at 46:35.
But despite yesterday’s result, the battle continues. It's not going away. And The Family Foundation will continue to be there fighting that battle with you and for you, and for all Virginians.
FLE SpectacleFeb. 09, 2018
A progressive’s dream education bill died a merciless death in the House Education Committee earlier this week. HB 159, introduced by Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-11, Roanoke) aimed at gutting the only good parts of Virginia’s Family Life Education curriculum – including striking all aspects of the benefits of marriage, abstinence and of adoption in the cases of unwanted pregnancies, and then mandating every school district in the Commonwealth teach this valueless material to every child K-12.
The bill was so bad that his fellow Democrats ran as far away from him as possible. Supporting the bill were a long line of secular apologists whose outrageous comments raised laughs from the audience and scorn from committee members. When a William & Mary student, who is the secretary of the Virginia Young Democrats, said that the “research” shows that “abstinence doesn’t work” in preventing STDs and unwanted pregnancies, an unsuspecting audience laughed out loud, and the Chairman of the committee nailed him on it. A Planned Parenthood representative even said that “the values” expressed in those benefits should be taught by parents at home, in essence admitting that “family life education” should be taught by families and not by the state. As for the icing on the cake, even the School Boards Association opposed the bill, perhaps the first time it has ever been on the same side of a bill with us.
You had to see it to believe it. You can watch it for yourself at this link.
Special thanks goes to Committee Chairman Steve Landes (R-25, Verona) whose persistent questions proved the supporters’ arguments baseless. The fact is, Planned Parenthood and NARAL were behind this bill that would promote irresponsible behavior by students. After all, Planned Parenthood provides materials and even teaches Family Life Education in some school districts. Talk about a conflict of interest!
Democrats on the committee backed off the bill so fast they almost fell off the dais. The Family Foundation reminded the committee that much of the curriculum the bill attempted to eliminate was signed into law by former Democratic Governor Tim Kaine. It was a bipartisan effort that started with recommendations by the Marriage Commission we put together that included marriage and family experts and academics, including the nationally respected Dr. Brad Wilcox of U.Va.
To save face with common sense Virginians and avoid alienating its base and benefactor (Planned Parenthood contributes millions of dollars to their party), committee Democrats offered an amendment to restore the curriculum the bill proposed to strike, but leave in its HIV education provision and K-12 universal mandate. But Republicans replied with a motion to effectively kill the bill once and for all. It was a party line 12-10 vote, with Democrats claiming they were trying to save their amendment, but no one was fooled.
Click here to see the video, then click the agenda tab, scroll and click on “HB 159 Patron Rasoul.”
Love Saves LivesJan. 22, 2018
I’ve attended the March for Life in Washington D.C. every year for the past eight years. Usually the weather is cold, dismal, miserable, and snowy. This year the sun was shining bright, and coats were carried instead of worn.
The warmth of the sun matched the energy of the crowd of hundreds of thousands of people there to declare that “Love Saves Lives.”
The President of the United States also promoted that message in his live stream address to the crowds from the Rose Garden of the White House. “You come from many backgrounds – many places – but you all come for one beautiful cause: to build a society where life is celebrated, protected, and cherished. The March for Life is a movement born out of love,” the President said to the hundreds of thousands of people gathered at the largest annual human rights demonstration of all time.
Despite President Trump’s own failures, it was encouraging to hear the President of the United States promote the mission of love.
That mission of love is being accomplished. Pregnancy Resource Centers outnumber abortion centers more than 4 to 1. Hundreds of abortion workers are quitting. Abortion facilities are closing. Unknown thousands of lives have been saved from abortion by the love of the pro-life movement.
Love really does save lives. And the work of saving lives is being done throughout Virginia and across the country by this massive pro-life movement.
This movement is local. Gathering with hundreds of thousands of other pro-life people each year in Washington D.C. is a huge encouragement, but the work of saving lives through love is done locally, on a daily basis.
Standing outside of an abortion facility on a Saturday morning, I had the chance to love a woman who was planning to go in.
She was scared and felt like she had no other choice. She didn’t know where else to turn, and so had turned to what she thought was her only choice.
I was able to love her by showing her where the local pregnancy resource center was. I was able to love her by giving her the funds she needed for rent that month. I was able to love her by texting her encouragement and support as she continued her pregnancy.
The pregnancy resource center volunteer counselors were able to love her, too. They were there to love her by walking alongside of her throughout the tough process of deciding to keep her baby. They were there to love her as she gave birth. They are still there to love her by answering any parenting questions that she has now.
Love requires sacrifice, and the volunteers across this country are making sacrifices to love their neighbors. Their love is saving lives.
Defending Human LifeJan. 22, 2018
On Friday, in honor of the March for Life in our nation's capital, Delegate Nick Freitas delivered a gentle, yet passionate speech about why he is pro-life during the House of Delegates' Morning Hour at our state capitol.. Our team of General Assembly lobbyists caught this and thought it was worthy of sharing to as many people as possible. I agree. Please click on the image below and view it, and please share it on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. It is only about four-and-a-half minutes long, but each word is powerful and meaningful. I know you and all you share it with will be as touched as we were.
We've Come Full CircleJan. 19, 2018
For decades, every pro-life bill introduced to the state Senate was directed by the Senate Clerk to the Senate Education and Health Committee, where the legislation would promptly and painfully die – regardless of which party was in the majority. We called it the burial grounds. Flash forward to January 18, 2018 where that same committee, under the strong leadership of Senator Steve Newman (R-23, Lynchburg), today blocked every radical pro-abortion bill one can envision and topped off their day by defeating a dangerous agenda brought by the LGBT community.
The committee began its 8:00 A.M. meeting with an announcement that Senator Jennifer Wexton (D-33, Leesburg, also running for VA’s 10th Congressional seat in November) had struck her own bill, SB 709. This bill, coined the “abortion industry wish list,” was all-encompassing—an attempt to roll back the hands of time and prop up the abortion industry while simultaneously taking more unborn lives and harming women. The reasons a legislator would introduce and then almost immediately kill a bill are never fully known, but maybe, just maybe, someone in her caucus or on her campaign decided that openly advocating for elective abortion-on-demand up until the point of birth was not a smart place to be. Yes, this bill would have allowed abortion at any point in a pregnancy up until birth, for virtually any reason, in a non-regulated facility, without parental consent, informed consent, ultrasound, or any other concept that would allow women and girls the opportunity to reconsider their decision in a moment of crisis.
Despite the typical line-up of abortion sympathizers and representatives of the billion-dollar abortion industry, the committee handily discarded bills to repeal the entire informed consent for abortion statute and all safety regulations put in place to protect the women who enter these facilities. Wisely, the committee validated that all aspects of our abortion laws are currently working and don’t need to be rolled back. Until this morning, some Senators may not have known that while the McAuliffe-selected Board of Health relaxed the specifics of the abortion safety standards, they did so illegally. We informed the Committee of our litigation, pointing out that the effort to repeal these standards through legislation is merely an attempt to completely erase the abortion safety regulations before a judge can reinstate all of the portions the Board of Health illegally rolled back – a ruling we fully anticipate is only a matter of time.
The prize for the worst bill defeated by the Committee goes to Senator Scott Surovell’s (D-36, Mount Vernon) SB 245 that would ban what has been deemed “conversion therapy.” The gist of the bill is that no counselor can ever be allowed to direct someone under 18 years of age who might be questioning either their sexuality or their gender to resist and even to overcome unwanted same-sex attractions or to embrace their God-given biological sex. It’s a war of ideas and those that disagree with ours have long moved past debating them into attempting to ban them. We are thankful the Committee stood for freedom.
The Real RalphJan. 17, 2018
That was quick.
Anyone who has been around Richmond for any period of time knows that the first few days of a General Assembly session are full of seeing old friends, lots of talk of happy-go-lucky bipartisanship and a general atmosphere of congeniality.
That usually lasts right up until the first bill is debated in a committee.
This year, it seemed to last until newly minted Governor Ralph Northam addressed a joint session of the General Assembly. Until that point, there were members of the assembly who actually might have lived under the media-created delusion that Governor Northam is something of a “moderate” who really wants to “get things done.”
Instead, his speech Tuesday night was reminiscent of his predecessor’s litany of left-wing progressive ideology focusing primarily on making sure unborn children can’t survive the womb and redefining marriage and human sexuality down to nothing more than an emotional whim. In similar tones, former Governor Terry McAuliffe spent much of his last speech as governor last week decrying “divisive social issues” while then proceeding to spend much of his speech advocating for divisive social issues, like making sure unborn children can’t survive the womb and, well, you know.
In other words, the real Ralph was on full display, much to the dismay of conservatives who thought, maybe, just maybe, the new Governor was actually interested in governing.
That was all followed yesterday with competing speeches in the House of Delegates between Republican majority leader Todd Gilbert and Democrat minority leader David Toscano. Gilbert took Northam to task for his blatantly partisan speech, making sure to note that when a left-wing liberal says bipartisanship, they generally mean, “do everything that I want.”
To which Toscano answered with, well, a litany of left-wing progressive ideology that he claimed are all bipartisan! Just agree with him on everything and you can be bipartisan, too.
All this leaves us pretty much where those of us who have been around a while have come to expect – a deeply divided legislature with partisan groups that have nearly completely opposite worldviews that leave very little room for compromise. Of course, few Virginians know any of this, because the political media in Virginia (which is mostly made up of VCU journalism students posing as reporters) is so devoid of objectivity they can’t report anything close to reality. Remarkably, the stories out about the competing speeches, and the editorial boards, are making it seem like the breakdown in bipartisanship is all on the side of Republicans, presumably because they simply won’t pass everything Democrats want.
Be prepared for lots of that in the next eight weeks.
Victory: "Hate crimes" bills defeatedJan. 17, 2018
We’re not even a full week into the 2018 legislative session, and we already have some good news. Two bills dealing with "hate crimes" were defeated in the Senate Courts of Justice committee yesterday. One of them, Senate Bill 112, would have introduced the dangerous concepts of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” into the Code, while also making it easier for providers of interactive computer services (like Facebook) to censor anything that it or other users considers to be “inciting hatred” towards people with those characteristics.
If you’re not familiar with them, a "hate crime" is a special category of criminal act where the act is shown to be motivated by certain kinds of thoughts and feelings towards the victim. If the “hate” was inspired by or directed at one of the items on the government’s list, then you’re guilty of an additional crime – a “hate crime.”
This means that a person could be subject to a separate criminal penalty, including jail time, not for the act they committed, but for their thoughts and opinions. In Virginia, conviction of a hate crime carries with it a “mandatory minimum” of 30 days in jail.
One can clearly see the slippery slope created by this sort of “thought crime”. What sort of thoughts, values, or motivations might the state try to criminalize next?
Regardless of the motivation for victimizing another person – whether based on someone’s sex, age, disability, veteran status, race, religion, “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” etc. – a person should be punished for the crime they commit and not because of the kind of hatred they felt in doing so, even if we all find their particular motive reprehensible.
Supreme Court to Require Abortion Advertisements?Jan. 16, 2018
“Forcing a pro-life group to advertise for abortion has to be unconstitutional, yet that is what California’s Reproductive FACT Act does.”
So says the petitioners, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), in the upcoming case before the Supreme Court, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra.
NIFLA is a Virginia based organization that represents over 1,400 pregnancy resource centers across the country. They give pregnancy resource centers legal advice and help them to convert to medical facilities. That change allows the pregnancy resource centers to provide limited health services – including ultrasounds – which are valuable services for underserved pregnant women.
NIFLA represents several pregnancy resource centers in California.
The conflict coming up to the Supreme Court arises out of the California Reproductive FACT Act, which went into effect in 2016.
This law requires all pregnancy resource centers in California to prominently display several notices to anyone entering their facility. Among these notices required by law is this statement:
Pro-life pregnancy resource centers are being specifically targeted by this law, which doesn’t apply to other organizations that serve pregnant women. Only pro-life pregnancy resource centers have to provide these large notices about free access to abortions.
This is viewpoint discrimination. The state of California is only targeting those who hold a particular viewpoint on the question of abortion. It is clear that the goal of the law, from the start, was to target pro-life pregnancy resource centers. The committee that passed this bill stated that the existence of pro-life pregnancy resource centers in California is “unfortunate.”
Government compelling pro-life pregnancy resource centers to prominently advertise for abortion services is a terrible violation of the First Amendment. It forces anyone who wants to counsel women away from abortion to advertise for the very thing they are working to prevent.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to prevent this law from going into effect in California. It is now up to the Supreme Court to hear the case and protect free speech in California. The case should be heard sometime this summer.
Religious Liberty wins, for now.Jan. 10, 2018
Based on a quick survey of news articles and blogs on Mississippi’s law, HB 1523, you could conclude that gay, lesbian, transgender, and people who have sex outside of marriage, are about to be in great danger.
That is because the news articles and blogs are filled with hyperbole about how hated these groups of people must be. You will read about how scared lesbian women are when they travel to Jackson. You will read that opponents of the law say unmarried women will not be able to get birth control. You will read that people will be “hurt” and won’t have access to health care and governmental services. You will read that this law “leaves LGBT people in Mississippi in the crosshairs of hate and humiliation.”
And that’s about all that you will read about it. Based on the news reports alone, this law sounds like the worst thing ever to happen in Mississippi.
So it was fair to assume, based on the news and blogs, that the Supreme Court would protect the people of Mississippi from such a terrible law. Yet, the Supreme Court didn’t do that. This week, the high court announced that it isn’t going to hear the challenge brought against this law.
This is good news for the Mississippi government, which passed the law in the first place. But is it bad news for all the people the news and blogs have been crying out for?
Journalists, bloggers, and even Business Councils have talked about the “environment of discrimination” that this law might generate.
The name of this law is the, “Protecting Freedom of Conscious from Government Discrimination Act.” So there’s no doubt, the law is about discrimination.
It’s telling that only one of the news articles called this act by its name. All the others, and all the blogs, called it “HB 1523” or “The Religious Freedom Act.”
Instead of talking about the dangers of governmental discrimination against religious persons, all the news articles and blogs have been going on about the dangers of discrimination by religious persons.
In reality, this law will not result in a discriminatory environment against individuals.
(This law does nothing to change the state of the law against individual discrimination. Churches are already allowed to make hiring decisions based on their religious beliefs. Individuals are already allowed to discriminate against same-sex weddings. This was reported in the one news article that actually called the act by its name.)
The “Protecting Freedom of Conscious from Government Discrimination Act” does just that. It protects religious individuals and organizations from discrimination by the government. After what we’ve seen done to Jack Phillips in Colorado, Baronnelle Stutzman in Washington, Kevin Cochran in Atlanta, Aaron and Melissa Klein in Oregon, and so many others, that kind of protection is definitely warranted.
By Sean Maguire, Grassroots Coordinator at The Family Foundation
You're in the wrong place.Jan. 09, 2018
Yesterday morning I attended a press conference hosted by the Women’s Equality Coalition. They promoted their legislative agenda – which almost exactly contradicts the legislative agenda of The Family Foundation.
The Women’s Equality Coalition promotes abortion on demand, government funding for all contraceptive methods (including those that cause early abortions), and a host of social justice issues that would have serious consequences for families and religious liberty if they were adopted.
Sitting in the press conference that morning, I was most impacted by the personal testimony that one woman shared.
In her brief comments, she described her financial difficulties in detail. She has to work two jobs without time off. “I can’t take a day off if I’m sick, or to care for a loved one when they become sick,” she said emotionally. “I can’t take vacations like everybody else,” she said, “and that’s not fair.” Her life circumstances are undeniably hard.
No one can deny that women (and men) face difficult times here in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Times are hard. Money is tight. Vacations have to be put on hold – perhaps never to be taken at all.
This is not the responsibility of the civil government. It was difficult for me to sit there quietly as these women called upon the government to take care of them. “The time is long overdue for Virginia to take these common-sense steps,” the President of Virginia NARAL Pro-Choice declared.
“You’re in the wrong place,” I wanted to tell these women, “the Government cannot take care of you.” My urge was to confront the entitlement mentality head on. “You need the support of your family, your church, and your neighbors!” I wanted to say.
Confronting such a mentality must be done with gentleness. The Bible says that “a gentle answer turns away wrath,” and teaches us to answer “with gentleness and respect” so that anyone who slanders us will be put to shame. (Proverbs 15:1; 1 Peter 3:15-16)
Instead of confronting this woman about the poor public policy she is endorsing, I thanked her for sharing her story. Sharing her story was a brave thing to do.
Then I prayed for her. I prayed that God would hear her in her need, and help her. (The same way he heard Hagar and helped her.) (Genesis 21)
And now I will advocate for public policy that will promote the family, religious freedom, and the community. Instead of promoting a strong government with the power to take care of us, we must have strong families and neighborhoods that can take care of us.
The Family Foundation is working to ensure that strong families, churches, and neighborhoods will be able to help women just like the one who shared her story yesterday.
By Sean Maguire, Grassroots Coordinator at The Family Foundation
Who's in charge here?Jan. 05, 2018
At 11:00 Thursday morning, the State Board of Elections met in Richmond to randomly pick a name out of a bowl, an action that would not only determine the winner of the tied 94th House district race, but also the balance of power in an evenly-split House of Delegates (a result of the November 7th shakeup) – and just days before the start of the 2018 legislative session. We were there to catch an inside glimpse, and boy was it an intense – and unprecedented – moment in all of Virginia electoral history. The room was thick with the sense of watching history in the making.
After winning the original vote count on election night by 11 votes, then losing a recount by one vote, and then ending up in a tie the following day, incumbent Republican Delegate David Yancey won today’s draw over Democrat challenger Shelly Simonds, putting Republicans at a 51-49 advantage in the House. We anticipate Ms. Simonds will ask for an additional recount, to which she is legally entitled, but which is not expected to be completed before the legislative session begins. Costly litigation is also not out of the question in the Democrats desperate zeal to gain power in Richmond.
Effectively, today’s result means that Del. Kirk Cox (R-66, Colonial Heights) is fully expected to become the new Speaker when the members of the House vote to choose one on Jan. 10th, the first day of the 2018 session. The Speaker makes all committee assignments, and the Speaker’s party generally gets a majority of the seats on each committee. We have known and worked with Delegate Cox for many years, and we know Virginia will be blessed to have a man of his caliber and integrity in such a pivotal role. He could use our prayers now more than ever, as well as all those in leadership positions in the Commonwealth.
The retiring Speaker, Bill Howell, could also really use our prayers right now. If you haven’t heard, he underwent emergency heart surgery on Tuesday night, and is recovering in an intensive care unit. Though we don’t know all the details of his condition, it is a timely reminder of the heavy burden our governmental leaders carry, and how much they need our daily prayers.
We are hopeful about what today’s news could mean for our continued fight to protect life, marriage, parental authority, religious liberty, and constitutional government in Virginia. But regardless, we recognize this year comes with new and even greater challenges. We appreciate all your prayers for The Family Foundation as well, as we work with the new leadership in Richmond to defend our shared values.
2018: Dogs > HumansJan. 03, 2018
Things in the Virginia General Assembly continue to get more and more interesting, if not downright ironic. The seeds of secular humanism are now in the process of full bloom in the Old Dominion.
Now just let that one sink in for a moment.
Call us out of touch, but we believe that every human life is sacred, and that human beings are more valuable than cats and dogs - even as much as we all love our pets.
WWJD: What Would Jefferson Do?Dec. 20, 2017
What’s going on at the venerable institution founded by the Senior Statesman from Virginia, Mr. Jefferson? The University of Virginia appears to be straying not only from its deep roots of freedom, but from the U.S. and Virginia Constitutions as well. The UVA Student Council recently denied the application for recognition of a conservative free-market group, “Young Americans for Freedom” (YAF), claiming that YAF’s membership requirements were a violation of the terms and conditions for approval outlined in University policy.
According to their website, “A student organization is ineligible for CIO [Contracted Independent Organization] status when the organization restricts its membership, programs, or activities on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family and genetic information.”
Evidently, political clubs established for the sole purpose of advocating certain political viewpoints can’t condition membership upon political beliefs. The same goes for faith-based clubs.
However, aside from the obvious logical issues with that, there’s at least one little problem with the policy. It violates the law. Fortunately for YAF, attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) made sure they knew it.
“That the freedoms of speech and of the press are among the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained except by despotic governments; that any citizen may freely speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; that the General Assembly shall not pass any law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, nor the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for the redress of grievances.”
More precisely, UVA’s policy directly conflicts with a state law passed in 2013 on behalf of The Family Foundation, which provides that:
“[A] religious or political student organization may determine that ordering the organization's internal affairs, selecting the organization's leaders and members, defining the organization's doctrines, and resolving the organization's disputes are in furtherance of the organization's religious or political mission and that only persons committed to that mission should conduct such activities.”
Game. Set. Match.
The irony of it all is almost more than one can bear. For starters, the club being denied recognition on campus (which includes access to meeting room spaces and potential Student Activity Fee funding), and therefore the ability to assemble for the discussion and expression of ideas, is called – wait for it – the Young Americans for Freedom. (Somehow I get the impression that the Young Americans for Anarchy would probably sail through uninhibited.)
But if that weren’t enough, this is after all the University founded by the immortal Thomas Jefferson himself, by whose direct hand much of Virginia’s Constitution and Bill of Rights as they still remain today were penned! Talk about a PR nightmare.
Though it is certainly not “gospel,” the folks at UVA would do well to screen their decisions by the simple principle of “WWJD” – or, What Would Jefferson Do? With rare exceptions, that’s got to get them to the right place.
As for this scenario, I can’t imagine Jefferson would need any deliberation at all in dispensing with the question of whether to recognize the Young Americans for Freedom. And that’s putting it mildly.
Va. Abortion Center becomes Pro-Life Medical ClinicDec. 18, 2017
I have some very exciting news on the pro-life front in Virginia! In late 2015, a group of pro-life entrepreneurs made the incredible decision to purchase a Northern Virginia abortionist’s business, which enabled her to retire from performing abortions after operating the facility for 27 years. Recently, with the help of the Catholic Charities in Arlington, they opened up that former abortion center, “Amethyst Health Center,” as a pro-life medical clinic called "Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic."
Talk about a story of redemption! A business that once averaged 1,300 abortions annually for 27 years is now a life-affirming clinic providing free and real medical care for the women in its community. And it all happened because a few self-sacrificing individuals put their heads and wallets together for what must have seemed like a wild idea at the time. You can read more about what they did here.
This, like so many other examples I see all the time, is an encouraging reminder that pro-lifers don’t just “talk the talk.” They actually walk the walk. It’s also a great reminder that there are so many avenues in which we can further the cause of life in our Commonwealth. And as a result of incredible actions like this, in addition to our continued efforts in holding abortion centers accountable with reasonable health and safety standards, ensuring taxpaying aren’t funding Planned Parenthood, and countless other examples, we are winning the war to preserve and protect innocent life!
And for the sake of so many lives, not only for those unborn but also for their mothers and fathers and so many others, we must continue to win. We cannot afford to let up. But in the meantime, we can and should be immensely grateful for this incredible story of the former Amethyst Health Center. It is wind in our sails for our onward journey to ensure that every human life is treated as sacred.
WATCH: Eric Metaxes Inspires at 2017 Family Foundation GalaDec. 15, 2017
As promised, I wanted you to get the video LINK to The Family Foundation’s 2017 Gala program. If you weren’t there, bestselling author and radio commentator Eric Metaxes kept the attendees of the packed convention room hanging on his every word, and I wanted to make sure you had the chance to see it for yourself. And if you were with us that evening, you’re probably interested in watching it again. Either way, please SHARE THIS with your friends and family.
You can watch it at your convenience HERE on our YouTube page. (Note: My speech begins at 29:48, and Eric’s speech begins at 1:03:02) Also check out our 3-minute promotional video first aired at the Gala, featuring the stories of three incredible Virginians.
Metaxes released his latest book, Martin Luther, the same week as the Gala, so he gave us an inspiring message about the true story of one man who, by his bold courage and faith in God, changed the world forever. Eric Metaxes is the author of several other best-selling books, including Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, If You Can Keep It, and Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery just to name a few.
You will definitely be encouraged by his timely and insightful message to people of faith in an ever-darkening culture.
I also want you to have the chance to hear from me as well, as I spoke about the value and importance of ordinary people “stepping up” in often small but hugely impactful ways. I also share my vision and sense of renewed purpose for The Family Foundation in the challenging years ahead.
If you weren’t able to join us, you will definitely want to watch it now. I hope you will be enlightened, encouraged, and inspired by what you see and hear.
Contact Congress TODAY – Repeal “Johnson Amendment” in Tax BillDec. 13, 2017
Congress has a historic opportunity to protect the free speech rights of churches and non-profits on the tax reform bill Congress is expected to finalize and send to the president before Christmas! The House passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act contains a critical provision called the “Free Speech Fairness” Act” to gut the Johnson Amendment restriction on churches and non-profits from engaging in political speech. However, the Senate’s version of the bill did not contain this provision.
The House and Senate have created a special “conference” to reconcile the different versions of the tax bill, and they plan to meet starting today. I want to encourage you to contact the “conferees” and the House and Senate leadership to ensure the final bill includes the repeal of the speech-killing Johnson Amendment.
For more than 60 years, the IRS has used the “Johnson Amendment” to censor what pastors preach from the pulpit. Under the Johnson Amendment, pastors’ First Amendment rights have become bargaining chips to be exchanged for a tax status. Pastors who share truth on biblical issues – like the sanctity of life and marriage – could risk intrusive IRS audits, incur steep fines, and even jeopardize their church’s tax-exempt status.
It’s also important to note that the House-passed version’s repeal of the Johnson Amendment contains a “sunset” date, and would mean it would go back into effect in 2024. Congress must ensure that the House language regarding the Johnson Amendment is included in the final passage of the bill and that the sunset is removed from the final conference report. The Constitution should not be sunset.
Please call the GOP conferees and House and Senate leadership offices today or tomorrow and encourage them to keep the Fairness Act language and to remove the 2024 sunset so they can send this critical provision to President Trump before Christmas!
We Got Your Back, Jack!Dec. 07, 2017
On Tuesday, I had the honor of joining several pro-family leaders, including the Colson Center’s John Stonestreet, Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Russell Moore, and many others, by addressing the crowd on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court as it heard arguments in the Jack Phillips free speech case.
You can watch my remarks here (beginning at the 3-minute mark) on our Facebook page.
If you aren’t familiar with the details of the case, I encourage you to watch this video. This case of significant impact is fundamentally about the role of government vs. freedom. Do you believe that we should empower our government to force people, particularly those whose occupations require creative speech, to speak in a way that violates their deeply held beliefs? This is not an issue of a business owner having to “accommodate” anyone who walks in their door – Jack Phillips did that for any individual who entered his cake-making business – including homosexual people. However, he politely declined a message – in support of so-called same-sex marriage – that violates his conscience, as he had done previously by declining to make cakes celebrating Halloween and in various other instances.
Those, such as the ACLU, who believe that the government should be able to compel objectionable speech, continue to obfuscate the facts by deceptively ignoring the distinction between a business serving an individual and being forced to participate in an event or speech that violates their conscience. Based on what I heard yesterday outside the Court, there is little doubt that the ACLU and their allies want a government that has the power to crush any and all dissent to the sexual revolution, particularly when it comes to marriage.
Inside the Court, the justices seemed to come down along predictable liberal vs. conservative lines, with the swing vote Anthony Kennedy sending mixed signals. He clearly was concerned that the government of the state of Colorado, which attacked Jack Phillips, was acting out of anti-religious animus, but worried about the implications of accommodating religious belief. Several justices were clearly uncomfortable with the obvious religious animus expressed by the ACLU’s attorney and the state of Colorado. Whether that will be enough for the Justices to side with freedom and the constitution is anyone’s guess.
We likely won’t have a decision prior to the end of June, when the Court routinely releases its opinions in “controversial” cases. In the meantime, continue to pray for the Court, for Jack Phillips, and all of those involved with this case.
Finally, I want to say thank you to all of you who joined us outside the Court yesterday! Many of you met to get on buses in the dark, early morning hours and spent most of the morning standing in the chilly, Washington, DC December weather! But the crowd was fantastic and sent a huge message to Jack Phillips and his family – We Got Your Back, Jack!
Our parents, the StateDec. 04, 2017
Mississippi has become the latest test case for determining parental rights of same-sex couples where one of the adults has no biological relation to the child. Nationwide, disputes are raging about what the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to impose its redefinition of marriage on all 50 states now means for designations of parenthood, which prior to its opinion, rested on a paradigm that recognized children as the biological creation of a male (i.e. “father”) and female (i.e. “mother”).
But now with the Court’s 2015 same-sex marriage opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, and even more recently with the Court’s decision in Pavan v. Smith (2017) requiring both adults in a same-sex marriage to be listed on birth certificates, that long-standing paradigm has necessarily shifted. The “logical” effects are unavoidable: To dispense with biology in the marital union is to upend it in matters of parenthood too.
Aside from the most glaring harm of intentionally and officially depriving countless children of either their father or their mother for a lifetime, we should not fail to recognize that the further we go down this road of separating parental rights from biological ties, the closer we move towards enabling the State to usurp parental rights altogether. It’s not rocket science. Once having removed the most sacred, significant, and objective measure of parenthood from its nature – biological procreation – the State by default will delegate authority and recognize rights of parenthood however and to whomever it pleases.
This of course means that while some people stand to gain in this newly constructed system of parenthood, many others will lose and lose big, since a biological connection to one’s child can no longer be afforded any special weight for parenthood determinations in a post-Obergefell society.
This also means that children, and therefore all people, will increasingly become subjects of the State rather than citizens in a free society. (Historical Note: We fought a revolution to untether ourselves from that very kind of tyranny.) There is just no way around it; when marriage and parenthood are defined ultimately by the State, the State naturally assumes the ultimate and unrestricted role of parens patriae.
Welcome to the world, little one. Meet your Parents, the State. (who will assign to you your designated “official parents”)
We’ve seen this before (just elsewhere), and we will be no exception unless we decide to reverse course. What we should have learned by now is that the extent to which the government intrudes upon the dominion of the family, we lose in equal measure the opportunity to govern ourselves. And when that happens, we cease to be free.
Even if, in the end, we were all theoretically okay with that arrangement, we should still know that the State can never be an effective parent for any child. Contrary to the oft-quoted adage, it really doesn’t take a village to raise a child. It takes a mom and a dad. Knowing this to be true, as citizens in a free society (who wish to so remain), we owe it to every child and every parent to see that by all means – governmental and nongovernmental – they are ensured that opportunity.
Thanksgiving Transcends Our Political MayhemNov. 21, 2017
“Behold, now, the providence of God”- William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation
This Thursday, millions of Americans will come together for a strange little holiday we call Thanksgiving. Regretfully, the current climate of American politics means too many celebrations across the country will end in bitter resentment between family members, and a deepened divide in our public discourse. Our commemoration of the 1621 harvest feast between Native Americans and Protestant Separatists is often misconstrued, and seldom understood. Americans themselves remain ignorant to the purpose of the holiday, and it is that failure which helps devolve family gatherings into political bickering.
The legacy of the Pilgrims ought to have ended in the winter of 1620. Undersupplied and thinly clothed, the small band of English settlers was on the verge of annihilation. Those that escaped the cold starved to death. Those who had food were taken by disease. William Bradford described their first winter with grim resolve.
“But it pleased God to visit us with death daily, and with so general a disease that the living were scarce able to bury the dead.”
Their numbers reduced by half, the Pilgrims, by miracle, endured. Frankly, they should have died in the insufficient and cold settlement of Plymouth. All reasonable indicators pointed to this being the only eventuality; that the settlers would go the way of the Roanoke Colony, and disappear entirely. The Pilgrims credited their survival to Divine Providence. Many today would call it luck. Whichever one’s view, the importance of the “miracle” of 1620 should not be lost.
Given today’s politics, Thanksgiving is a distinctly important reminder for the American public. It is not a celebration of material or familial blessing. Nor is it a profound metaphor for the value of diversity. Rather, Thanksgiving serves to commemorate the necessity of Providence in the winter of 1620. Without it, the values of the Pilgrims, ideas of faith and freedom and personal responsibility, may not have survived on the continent. Certainly America, which has done true good across the world, would be a radically different nation.
In those of faith, Thanksgiving should inspire reverence. In those without faith, Thanksgiving should inspire, well, thanksgiving.
By Cameron Dominy
Cameron is a Master’s Student at Cevro Institute in Prague, Czech Republic and a former Family Foundation Intern.
Living "Pro-Life"Nov. 21, 2017
November is National Adoption Awareness Month! And we firmly believe that being “pro-life” includes being pro-adoption.
While all adoption-related issues are important, the particular focus of this month is the adoption of children currently in foster care. Consider that Virginia alone has nearly 5200 foster children and not enough foster families. Here are a few other facts you may not have known about foster care:
- 880 foster children in VA are waiting to be adopted right now.
- Virginia is 50th out of 50 states in permanency, meaning more kids “age out” per capita than anywhere else in the U.S.
- 500 children age out each year in Virginia and within 2 years, 89% of them go on to be addicted, incarcerated, homeless or pregnant.
- Nationally, 400,000 children are in foster care, 100,000 waiting to be adopted, with 25,000 of those aging out each year.
To help address these critical issues, a new initiative, Virginia’s Kids Belong will be launching this month. Virginia Kids Belong seeks to unite government, business, creative, faith and non-profit influencers to end the foster care and adoption crisis in Virginia. The Family Foundation continues to partner with other organizations like this and to work to pass legislation that gives every child the best opportunity for a loving home with a mom and a dad. We applaud the great work of so many faith-based child placement organizations like the Bair Foundation, Bethany Christian Services, America World Adoption and many others.
But laws and incentive programs only go so far. Courageous adults must step forward to accept this high call. Maybe you would consider becoming a parent to one of the many children right in your area who needs a family, changing their lives forever. To learn more about how you can get involved with sharing your home with a Virginia child in need – whether that be as a foster parent, or eventually as an adoptive parent – visit the Virginia Department of Social Services website HERE for all the information you need to get started.
As I’ve said often, if just one family in every church in Virginia chose to adopt a child from foster care we would end this problem overnight.
And if you are already serving as a foster or adoptive parent to a child in need, we simply want to say thank you for your invaluable sacrifice and investment into the life of a child in need. We hope you will encourage others around you to do the same.