Even in left-leaning New York, many people hold pro-family and pro-life values.
Our Stuart Shepard helped out at a large event in Albany this week that was organized by our allies at New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms and New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation.
Stuart asked President Jason McGuire and keynote speakers David and Jason Benham how to effectively motivate Christian conservatives to influence legislation at state capitols.
Learn more about New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation.
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Paul Weber shares how you can be part of the important work of Family Policy Foundation’s Statesmen Academy. Right now, a matching grant will multiply the impact of your support.
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Even after the surprising results of the 2016 election, the wheels of the federal government continue to grind slowly on family-friendly legislation. But at the state level, significant progress is being made of life, family and religious freedom.
Here’s a roundup of what’s happening in several states with Family Policy Alliance allied groups:
South Dakota – The Family Heritage Alliance worked hard to get a bill passed that protects faith-based adoption agencies from violating their core principles.
SB149 ensures that they are free to continue placing children and making decisions consistent with their deeply held beliefs. It also prevents the government from discriminating against those organizations on the basis of faith.
This week Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed the bill into law.
“This law is consistent with how the state of South Dakota has for decades partnered with private agencies to find homes for children,” said Dale Bartscher, executive director of the Family Heritage Alliance. “It doesn’t restrict anyone from participating in foster care or adoption, but it does preserve for faith-based agencies the freedom to be faithful to their sincerely held convictions while partnering with government agencies in supporting vulnerable children and families in crisis.”
Louisiana – The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted new science standards for schools for the first time in two decades.
Louisiana Family Forum was instrumental in implementing Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008 that empowers teachers and students to practice academic freedom when exploring controversial science subject matter like origins of the earth, human cloning and climate change.
Louisiana Middle School Teacher of the Year Joni Smith testified during the board meeting.
“I made a suggestion for the members of the board to consider attaching the verbiage of the Science Education Act of 2008 along with the new updated science standards,” she said. “A motion to do this was introduced and passed 7-2. Joy filled my soul and this 7th grade Science teacher was smiling from ear to ear.”
Kentucky – Kentucky a conservative-majority House for the first time in nearly a century. Along with a Republican Senate and governor, pro-family legislation is being passed at a record clip.
Already, they’ve passed laws banning abortions after 20 weeks; allowing women to see an ultrasound before making the decision to go through with an abortion; and to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.
In Kentucky schools, children will now be able to express religious viewpoints without fear of retribution, thanks to a law passed this session. The Legislature is also considering creating charter schools and a bill protecting students’ religious liberties and free speech rights.
Even with all this good legislation, The Family Foundation of Kentucky is still hoping for a student privacy act that would protect girls in public schools from having to share bathrooms, locker rooms and changing areas with boys. And, they’re hoping to pass conscience protections for Christian business owners.
Florida – Our own John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, has been appointed to the Constitution Revision Commission. The body is only convened every 20 years to look over the state Constitution and recommend changes that are then voted on by the public. This year, many conservative voices will be part of the Commission.
The Florida Legislature is also considering a Pain Capable Abortion ban, a bill that would help victims of sex trafficking and the Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act that would protect students and staff from discrimination based on religious viewpoints or expression.
This past election proved to be a huge success for conservatives in Kentucky.
Kent Ostrander, executive director of The Family Foundation of Kentucky, one of Family Policy Alliance’s 40 state-based allies, tells us what’s happening after a hundred-year conservative drought.
Find an allied organization in your state.
The post Kentucky Flips Legislature – Good Things Happen | Family Policy Briefing appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.
Your support is strengthening and expanding Family Policy Alliance’s network of state- based allies across the nation. In just the past year, three new state organizations have launched or relaunched—to protect your family and your values.
“This focus on the states and not on Washington—well, I think that’s what the Founders intended, and it’s refreshing to see a national group, Family Policy Alliance, take that intention seriously,” said Michael Geer, president of Pennsylvania Family Institute and member of the Family Policy Alliance Board of Directors.
Since 1987, God has allowed Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota (formerly North Dakota Family Alliance) to accomplish much for North Dakota’s families. We have always been there fighting for your core beliefs: protecting life, religious freedom and pro-family values.
Thanks to your support, we made clear the importance of our legislators, our laws and our state recognizing that preborn babies have heartbeats, strongly advocated for abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, supported a 20-week ban on abortion based on the preborn baby’s ability to feel pain, and drove the effort to ban abortions based on gender.
Your support protects state residents from being persecuted based on their religious convictions, and helped defeat a bill that would have required North Dakotans to recognize same-sex marriages. Finally, your support enabled us to engage in many House and Senate races in the last election, including one where the pro-family candidate won by 37 votes!
Thank you for partnering with us in prayer, grassroots activism and financial support. As it says in Philippians 1:27, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.” So let’s stand firm together and continue praying that God will bless our partnership, for His glory!
President & Executive Director Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota
I joined the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas team in December. And I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity to stand with you in support of the principles we hold most dear. I’ve been in the fight for these truths for many years, including previously serving as director of Faith Outreach for Marco Rubio for President and executive director of the Manhattan Declaration. I’m now honored to focus on the fight here at home, in Kansas.
Kansas is where my wife and I chose to plant our roots. This is where we will raise our children. In response to Jeremiah’s call to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7), I’m committed to making our state the best place for our families to flourish.
There is so much that we can accomplish if we join forces and work together. Kansas is in the crosshairs of those who wish to prohibit faith in the public square, redefine our most basic understanding of human identity and devalue lives they deem unworthy of living. Events of recent years have awakened us to the reality of these threats. This is a time for vigilance, wisdom and faith as we press back—which is only possible because of your faithful support.
President & Executive Director Family Policy Alliance of Kansas
Last year, Georgia legislators attempted to pass a basic religious freedom bill. It simply confirmed that religious leaders don’t have to perform same-sex marriages that violate their sincerely held beliefs. Governor Deal vetoed this bill after pressure from LGBT activists and companies like the NFL and Disney.
Clearly, Georgia needed a strong organization dedicated to protecting religious freedom, as well as families and the sanctity of life. And thanks to your support, Family Policy Alliance of Georgia launched in November to give Georgia families a voice at the state capital. Because of you, Georgia families have the opportunity to see meaningful religious freedom protections advance in our state—and to hold our elected officials accountable when they fail to protect men, women and children of faith.
I’m thankful for your support of Family Policy Alliance of Georgia. Through your partnership, you’ll protect life and improve the quality of life for all Georgians—because every life is worth fighting for. Abortion activists feel more threatened than ever and are fighting hard to maintain their funding.
Meanwhile, death activists are fighting to abandon our most vulnerable—those with serious illnesses, the elderly and the disabled— to hopelessness and death in the form of assisted suicide. Together, we can advance policy that instead sends the message that the most vulnerable in Georgia are worthy of hope and protection.
President & Executive Director Family Policy Alliance of Georgia
Do you see what is – or what has been suggested to you?
In his Stoplight® commentary, Stuart Shepard takes you on a field trip to see the “Kissing Camels” near Pikes Peak, Colorado. And he explains who’s been working well into the night to change how you perceive the news of the day.
So, I did. I typed “expectations of citizens” in my browser and about.com listed the following Responsibilities of U.S. Citizens:
That’s an excellent list! What would America look like if we all did this? Our nation would be transformed! How? Because, to support and defend the Constitution, you must study it. To participate in the democratic process, you must be an informed voter. To truly respect others, you must get to know them. To shape the future of your community, you must engage with your neighbors.
What I found most interesting is that those seeking to become U.S. citizens are also expected to do these things: “As a new U.S. citizen, it is your duty to give back to your adopted nation by fulfilling these responsibilities.”
At Family Policy Alliance, we educate and equip American Christians to engage as biblical citizens. We call that unleashing citizenship. We take this responsibility seriously and through our alliance of nearly 40 state-based organizations, we are seeing results.
Those born here often take their citizenship for granted. Yet, those who sacrifice to come to our shores and lawfully seek citizenship understand it’s their duty to give back.
May we all embrace this duty with a little more diligence?
President and CEO
Family Policy Alliance
President Trump rescinded the directive issued by the Department of Education and Department of Justice. That had a direct impact on the case being sent back to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“The first duty of school districts is to protect the bodily privacy rights of all the students who attend their schools,” said Kerri Kupec, an Alliance Defending Freedom attorney, “and to respect the rights of parents who understandably don’t want their children exposed in intimate changing areas like locker rooms and showers. The 4th Circuit should affirm the plain meaning of Title IX.”
Title IX, the federal law that opened opportunities for girls in the educational sphere, uses the word “sex” to define girls and boys. President Obama reinterpreted the plain meaning of the language to include “gender identity.”
Family Policy Alliance partnered with WoLF, a radical feminist organization, to file a friend-of-the-court brief in the case. Autumn Leva, policy director for Family Policy Alliance, said the effort to protect the privacy and safety of children in public schools will never end.
“Now that federal courts can consider this case without the interference of the Obama Administration’s faulty ‘bathroom mandate,’ we hope that the 4th Circuit—and other courts considering similar cases—will return to common sense and ensure that the privacy and safety rights of all are protected, particularly for students in our schools,” she said. “Family Policy Alliance and our network of state-based family policy groups will continue to advocate for privacy and safety to be once again made top priority at the state level as well.”
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People come to him seeking help for their medical problems. But what if instead of a prescription for health, he directs you to take a prescription for death?
Dr. William Bolthouse shares what you need to know before deciding what you think about assisted suicide.
The nation’s largest trade group for doctors, the American Medical Association, is considering supporting assisted suicide.
Paul Weber, president and CEO of Family Policy Alliance, says that’s a dangerous move that would put the elderly, mentally ill and those with physical disabilities at risk.
The post Doctors May Support Assisted Suicide | Family Policy Briefing appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.
Harlan’s life is Worth Fighting For.
His father, Neil Helgeson, shares the emotional story of Harlan’s difficult early months and the precious value of a human life.
Neil is president of The Arc – Minnesota, an organization dedicated to promoting and protecting the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
President Trump has sent a letter to public schools rescinding the “bathroom mandate” put in place by the previous administration. The move sends a clear message that privacy and safety is the top priority for our kids.
Autumn Leva, policy director at Family Policy Alliance, tells us there’s much to be grateful for in Trump’s latest action.
Tell President Trump ‘Thank You’ for Stopping the Bathroom Mandate.
The post Trump to Public Schools: You Don’t Have to Follow Bathroom Mandate | Family Policy Briefing appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.
It’s safe to say most people were surprised by the outcome of November’s federal elections. But the surprises didn’t stop there.
Focus on the Family’s magazine Citizen, takes a look at the election outcomes and highlights state efforts to take back the culture for the family.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read the article.
President Trump has rescinded the “bathroom mandate” put in place by the Obama administration. That order was sent to schools around the country in a “Dear Colleague” letter and directed public schools to open all girls’ restrooms, locker rooms and changing areas to boys who say they identify as girls.
Moms and daughters objected, but the previous administration stood firm by their redefinition of the term “sex” in Title IX to include gender identity. Title IX was passed in order to give girls educational and athletic opportunities previously denied them.
“What we were taught in kindergarten, boys use the boys room and girls use the girls room, was made old fashioned by liberal bureaucrats,” said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. “Thanks to the Trump administration, parents and schools will remain free to protect the privacy and well-being of every student.”
Family Policy Alliance has filed a friend-of-the-court brief with radical feminist group WoLF in a case involving transgender bathrooms in schools. The Gloucester case will be heard by the high court on March 28th.
Autumn Leva, policy director for Family Policy Alliance, said the executive branch does not have the authority to change laws passed by our elected representatives in Congress.
“Of course, Congress never intended for a statute meant to help women access educational opportunities to be used to violate women’s privacy,” she said. “We applaud President Trump’s administration for undoing that nonsensical and unconstitutional ‘bathroom mandate,’ and we look forward to the Supreme Court upholding children’s basic privacy and safety rights in the Gloucester case.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Visit Ask Me First to learn more about our work to preserve privacy and safety.
The American Medical Association (AMA) is once again taking steps to move away from its long-standing opposition to doctor-assisted suicide.
The group is meeting next month to consider a recommendation that the AMA take a neutral position on doctor-prescribed death. The decision means physicians are one step closer to losing the right to fight for our patients and their families at times when they need us most.
Traditionally, the AMA and its state medical societies have taken the position that every life is worth fighting for. Meanwhile, a “neutral” position taken by some state medical societies actually opened the door to giving doctors legal cover to prescribe deadly drugs for patients in that state.
The AMA’s recent flirtation with state-sanctioned suicide takes it, and all of us, into the dangerous territory of doctor-prescribed death:
Hear from a doctor about why assisted suicide should never be considered “healthcare.”
Your Voice is Needed― Take Action Today
It’s critical this long-standing protection from the medical profession continues. We need to know that our doctors will continue to believe that every patient, regardless of health condition or economic status, is worth fighting for.
That’s why we’re asking you to contact both the national AMA, as well as your state medical society, urging each to oppose legalization of doctor-assisted suicide.
Please let your concerns be known by contacting these groups.
And, please forward this message so your friends and family, too, can take action.
Norma McCorvey died Feb. 18 from heart failure at age 69 in Katy, Texas.
McCorvey was known as “Jane Roe” in the Roe v. Wade abortion decision that came down from the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973.
In 1970, McCorvey was homeless and living on the streets. She found herself facing an unplanned pregnancy and sued the state of Texas, because abortion was illegal at that time. When lawyer Sarah Weddington approached her about using her case to push for legalization of abortion, McCorvey agreed.
“Many believe that she was very much coerced into that situation,” Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, told the Catholic News Agency, “and was encouraged to lie about the situation being the result of a rape.”
McCorvey never did abort her child, but her pseudonymn became forever linked to the case that wrongly created a constitutional right to abortion through all 9 months of pregnancy.
In the 1990s, Norma was working for an abortion facility in Dallas when she met a young girl named Emily Mackey, whose family worked with a pro-life clinic in the same building. Emily began asking her to come to church. Eventually, McCorvey would take her up on that offer, and it was there that she gave her life to Christ.
“Ultimately, Norma’s story after Roe was not one of bitterness, but of forgiveness,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser with the Susan B. Anthony List. “She chose healing and reconciliation in her Christian faith. She overcame the lies of the abortion industry and its advocates and spoke out against the horror that still oppresses so many. Of Roe she said, ‘I am dedicated to spending the rest of my life undoing the law that bears my name.’ In her memory and in her honor, we will carry on that work.”
McCorvey’s life was not easy after becoming a Christian. Many who had hailed her as a hero began to deride her as a traitor. Even Weddington, the lawyer who convinced her to take her case all the way to the Supreme Court, was bitter. Melissa Clement writes about asking the attorney over dessert one evening, “Whatever happened to Roe?”
“She’s a stupid piece of white trash,” Weddington said. “She’s pro-life and a Christian. She’s a piece of trash. She was stupid when we found her, and she’s worse now.”
For McCorvey’s part, she embraced forgiveness for Weddington and others. When asked by Clement some years later whether she knew what happened to the lawyers in Roe, especially Weddington, McCorvey was candid.
“I haven’t heard from them in years,” she told Clement. “They were not nice women. They were not nice to me. I heard she (Weddington) has breast cancer. I pray for her.”
Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life was a close friend of McCorvey for more than 20 years. He summed up her life and her ultimate mission.
“This moment can be one more step forward in America’s realization that Roe vs. Wade has never been, nor can it ever be, a solution to our problems, but rather that the only proper response to Roe vs. Wade is the response that Roe herself ultimately had to it.”
McCorvey had been in failing health for some time. She had a large and loving family who are grieving their loss, including 3 daughters.
“Losing a loved one is always a difficult time for a family,” the family wrote in a statement. “Losing a loved one who was also a public figure at the center of a national controversy brings additional challenges. It also brings additional consolations.
“We are, therefore, grateful to so many people across America and around the world who, in these days, are expressing their condolences, their prayers and their gratitude for the example Mom gave them in standing up for life and truth. Though she was the Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade, she worked hard for the day when that decision would be reversed.”
The Boy Scouts of America recently announced it will accept girls who say they identify as boys into its ranks.
The move brought a rush of interest in Trail Life USA, a Christian alternative to the Boy Scouts. The group’s website was busy with families asking how to get their sons involved.
“We don’t want boys or girls subjected to compromising situations on outings in an environment where reasonable precautions are no longer enforceable,” said Mark Hancock, Trail Life CEO, in a statement. “We don’t want churches drawn into dangerous legal territory and forced to embrace what they believe is sin, because they have a formal alliance with an organization that has no such beliefs. We will have the opportunity and, as led, the responsibility to speak in defense of a generation being led astray.”
John Stemberger is executive director of the Florida Family Policy Council, one of Family Policy Alliance’s nearly 40 state-based groups. He also was instrumental in launching Trail Life USA. He said the Boy Scouts recent recent move creates confusion for the children involved and is a “clear child protection issue.”
“It’s simply stunning,” Stemberger said, “that a leading youth organization, in which parents entrust the protection of their children, has opted to again appease political activists rather than follow clear, commonsense, best practices for child protection.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about Trail Life USA
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The Washington Supreme Court ruled today that the government can force Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers, to create floral arrangements for same-sex weddings or face heavy penalties.
Stutzman’s attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) argued that she was protected by the First Amendment.
“This case is about crushing dissent,” said Kristen Waggoner, ADF senior counsel. “In a free America, people with differing beliefs must have room to coexist. It’s wrong for the state to force any citizen to support a particular view about marriage or anything else against their will. Freedom of speech and religion aren’t subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees.”
ADF is already making plans to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.
The case points out the need for the Trump Administration to make good on its campaign promise to strengthen religious freedom. The President has the opportunity to sign an executive order doing just that, but so far has not done so.
“Signing the executive order would be a great first step,” said Autumn Leva, policy director for Family Policy Alliance. “Christians in our country should not risk losing their businesses, their homes or their life savings because the government insists on forcing them to choose between their livelihood and their faith. Without Congress passing laws to keep the government from discriminating, there will be a lot more cases just like Barronelle.”
Urge the President to sign the religious freedom executive order.
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Several states have passed laws that move the pendulum back toward a more family-friendly culture.
Family Policy Alliance is proud to work with 40 state-based family groups who are working to protect life, promote the family and preserve religious freedom.
Arkansas – Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed into law the Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act.
Planned Parenthood regularly uses dilation and evacuation for abortions after the 12th or 14th week of pregnancy. That will be illegal now in the state of Arkansas.
The law is expected to be challenged in court.
North Dakota – House Bill 1386, a proposal that would have allowed men access to women’s locker rooms, restrooms and shower facilities was soundly defeated in North Dakota.
Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota asked people to contact their lawmakers and urge them to vote “no” on the bill. That effort resulted in 69 votes against and 22 votes for the measure.
South Dakota – The South Dakota Senate unanimously passed a resolution that puts pornography in the same class as other public health crises like epidemics.
The measure cites research showing that porn use can lead to risky behaviors and can even result in eating disorders and other mental health issues.
Virginia – The House of Delegates passed a bill that supports religious freedom. HB 2025 says that religious organizations and individuals such as pastors cannot be punished by the government if they refuse to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe had recently issued an executive order barring state contracts with businesses the follow the dictates of their faith. McAuliffe says he will veto the bill.
The House of Delegates also passed a resolution declaring pornography a public health crisis.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Find a group in your state.
We’re 25 days into the Trump presidency. How have his choices and policies to date affected the family?
Autumn Leva, policy director for Family Policy Alliance, runs down Trump’s cabinet nominees, executive orders and other actions that strengthen family values.
The post Family Values Under Trump | Family Policy Briefing appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.