Reading to Children: Building a Strong Foundation

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:

I grew up in a family of readers. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad reading to me at bedtime.  I only vividly recall two books from my childhood, although I’m sure there were more.

One was Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories. Dad read “The Elephant’s Child” or “How the Elephant Got His Trunk” to me so many times I think the book naturally fell open to this story of how the young elephant’s insatiable curiosity took him to the shores of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River where he tangled with a crocodile who grabbed his then-stubby nose and pulled on it until it stretched into its current shape and length.  When The Elephant’s Child returned from his adventure, his trunk which he discovers now has ever so many uses became the envy of all the other elephants who rather than doing their normal spanking of the young elephant for his ‘satiable curiosity themselves made the trek to the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River to have the crocodile pull their noses into useful trunks, too.

Wise FatherThe other book was an illustrated Bible for children.  It was grey, thick and filled with colored pictures illustrating the great Bible stories.  I loved looking at that Bible. My favorite story and illustration was Noah and the Ark. As an animal loving child, I was fascinated by the idea of God causing all the animals on the earth to come two by two to this huge boat that Noah obediently built. I remember, too, a picture of Samson standing between the pillars of the Philistine temple with his arms extended pushing until the pillars broke and the temple fell. Mom and Dad read these and many other stories from the Bible to me over and over and over again. I don’t recall our discussing them, but I’m sure I had questions that they answered—again and again and again.

And what did I gain from these parent-child reading experiences?  I gained more than I can possibly relate, but here are a couple I believe are particularly noteworthy.

I gained a love for literature—good literature in particular.  My parents saw to it that the books we spent the most time with were quality writing.  To this day, a well-written book is a thing of beauty and joy for me. I learned to distinguish good literature from bad literature by a steady exposure to the good.

More importantly, I learned about God and His Word. I saw His provision, His love, His holiness, His commandments—and I never doubted that the stories I listened to as a child were real. My parents were establishing a firm foundation in me, an unshakeable faith that God is real and His Word is true. I learned to distinguish good from bad, right from wrong and truth from lies by a steady exposure to the good, the right and the truth.

Of course this doesn’t mean I haven’t doubted or strayed. I’d be lying if I said that. But I can honestly say, by God’s grace, over the years I’ve wrestled and worked through those things and time and again have realized that those foundational lessons were absolutely critical in building my life and my worldview.

Tragically, today I meet young people who say they are Christians who have little to no Christian worldview. They don’t know what they believe or why they believe it.  A new poll released just last week indicates, for instance, that American Christians who think same-sex marriage is ok, are seven times more likely to approve of pornography, three times more likely to approve of cohabiting, six times more likely to approve of no-strings-attached sex, five times more likely to approve of adultery, thirteen times more likely to approve of polyamorous relationships, and six times more likely to approve of abortion.

How do people who say they are Christians come to these conclusions when God’s Word is extremely clear on these matters?  I believe it is a lack of a strong foundation. They do not know what God’s Word says about these issues. Maybe they didn’t have parents who took the time to repeatedly read Bible stories to them or who took them to Bible-preaching and Bible-teaching churches.  While there’s no guarantee in parenting, parents exposing their children to the Truth through Bible stories and good teaching provides a foundation that will be with them all their lives.  They develop a sensitivity that helps them discern lies, which enables them to filter the garbage they hear and see in the world—and it increases dramatically the likelihood that they don’t buy the lies that result in an absolutely unbiblical worldview and results much too often in a ruined life.

grandparent readingParents, grandparents, aunts and uncles: can you think of a better investment than putting a little one on your lap and reading Bible stories to her?  I sure can’t!

Choose Life WI Part of Amicus Group Addressing SCOTUS re: License Plates

Choose Life WI part of amicus group asking SCOTUS to take a case

regarding Choose Life plates

From LifeNews.com:

Yesterday, the Thomas More Society filed an amicus brief urging the United States Supreme Court to hear a case involving “Choose Life” license plates, in order to resolve disputes among lower courts over how to treat specialty license plates.

>>>>>Read the rest of the article HERE.

choose lifeWisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling states, “We’re honored to be part of this effort before the US Supreme Court.  Earlier this year the Republican-led Wisconsin state senate killed our bill that would have authorized a Choose Life plate in our state.  Their political games cost pro-life citizens their free-speech rights and the opportunity to create a legitimate funding stream for Wisconsin’s incredible life-saving, women’s-health promoting Pregnancy Resource Centers.”

Planned Parenthood: Making a Bad Situation Worse

From the desk of WFA president Julaine Appling:

“Sally (not her real name) was a church-going Christian. She was also unmarried but had reason to think she was pregnant.  While she was over 18, she rightly turned to her parents for help and advice. Her parents, also Christians and solid church members, wanting to help her, took her not to one of Wisconsin’s life-saving, women-helping Pregnancy Resource Centers but to a local Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.

Planned-ParenthoodThat decision baffled me.  I asked some folks why they had done that.  The response was telling. “Well,” they said, “it’s the only place they knew that gave free pregnancy testing.”  My heart sank. That told me that Planned Parenthood has been successful—hugely so—in their marketing. Even Christian kids from Christian families and who had been in Christian schools knew about Planned Parenthood and saw it as the first line of help with a suspected or known pregnancy. I was pretty sure, too, that these folks thought of Planned Parenthood as “safe,” probably in all ways, meaning having their best interest at heart, giving reliable information, and not reporting them to any officials or even to parents.

stop abortionTalk about eye-opening.  I realized that even my own people did not know the truth about Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. They didn’t know about Pregnancy Resource Centers that are a much, much better place to go for help in these situations.  And so we have determined that Wisconsin Family Council will use every available means to educate people about Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Wisconsin’s fabulous Pregnancy Resource Centers.

For starters, lawsuits are underway in Arizona, Colorado and Ohio Planned Parenthood operations for not reporting underage rape. We’ve already had accusations of this sort about at least one Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin facility. The law generally requires health-care providers, which is what Planned Parenthood keeps saying they are, to report sexual abuse of minors. Undercover work shows it’s not all that unusual for Planned Parenthood personnel to absolutely ignore the information they are given about the ages of the girl and the man in given situations.  That’s not just illegal; it’s downright dangerous for the young girl.

We know young women going to Planned Parenthood will not be told the truth about the baby they are carrying. They’ll be told it is just a fetus, a clump of tissues, a mass of cells, the product of conception.  To call this a baby would be complicit in humanizing the pregnancy—and we certainly wouldn’t want that.

And this leads to the reality that Planned Parenthood is the nation’s and our state’s largest abortion provider.  We learned recently that it’s standard policy for Planned Parenthood to actually budget for a certain number of abortions, which then gets viewed as “must-make” quotas. That means that when a young girl comes to Planned Parenthood and finds out or confirms she’s pregnant, we can boldly say she is going to be advised to abort the baby. We know, too, from reports Planned Parenthood has filed, that they are very unlikely to refer for adoption.  Of course, they don’t make any money off adoptions. 

All of this is if the girl goes to a Planned Parenthood facility.  But many young people are first introduced to Planned Parenthood in their schools when they come in to do instruction as part of the school’s sex ed program.  In these situations they are taught that casual, recreational sexual activity outside marriage is just fine—doesn’t hurt anybody—just be safe or safer.  They promote contraceptive drugs and devices in pretty graphic ways.  Students are referred to websites that also promote promiscuity—dangerous behaviors that come with all kinds of problems, sometimes for a lifetime.  To make all this worse, much of the nasty work Planned Parenthood does is done using taxpayer money.

Simply put, Planned Parenthood is not a safe place for young women. It is not the place Christians should think of first or go to for help with a possible or real unplanned or crisis pregnancy.  Sally did the right thing to talk to her parents. But her parents should have first checked with a pastor planned parenthood adffor help if they weren’t sure where to go next.  Pastors need to be referring the Sallys they encounter to a reliable near-by Pregnancy Resource Center.  Sadly, I’ve heard about well-intentioned pastors actually referring people to Planned Parenthood.  So part of our education has to be to make sure pastors know about Wisconsin’s Pregnancy Resource Centers.

As it turned out, Sally wasn’t pregnant, though she could have been.  Nevertheless, it’s a sad commentary that so many professing Christian young people today are needing referrals to places dealing with unplanned pregnancies.  But that is the tragic reality.  Let’s at least know the truth about Planned Parenthood and not put our young women in the hands of those who will just make a bad situation much worse.”

Primary Election Day: What Wisconsinites Need to Know

Wisconsin’s Primary Election
Tuesday, August 12
YOUR customized voter guide is NOW AVAILABLE – CLICK HERE!  
View WFA Endorsed Candidates HERE!

>>>>>Click HERE for general voter information and to see if you have a primary on your ballot.
>>>>>Click HERE to watch a video that explains how YOU can affect change in Wisconsin, and in Washington, with your VOTE.
>>>>>Click HERE 
to listen to a podcast of WFA president Julaine Appling on radio show Christian Economic Perspective discussing recent Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions and Wisconsin’s Primary Elections.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Access the Voter Guide TODAY.  Take a close look.  If you want, print off your local races and be prepared for Election Day on TUESDAY, August 12!
  • SHARE this Voter Guide with everyone you know who is eligible to vote in Wisconsin!  Print off extra copies of the Voter Guide candidate results for your local race and distribute them to neighbors and others in your voting district.  Share in an email, or on your Facebook, and let others know about this valuable voting tool!  
  • VOTE ON TUESDAY, AUGUST 12!  Don’t just do your part in casting a ballot — invite friends!  Fill your car, make it an event!  (Sounds like celebratory ice cream may be in order!)

Excitement and Good Cheer! Christians Getting Involved in Government

From the desk of WFA president Julaine Appling:

I got my first civics lesson pretty early in life. My mom believed people needed to be involved in elections.  So it was natural for her to want me to learn what this politics thing was all about.  Early on she took me with her to put up yard signs and to hand out literature during campaigns.  That was ok, but what really got my attention was when she took me to the polls.

vote-your-values (1)That was back in the day with the big voting machines with the half curtain and all the levers you had to pull for each of the candidates you wanted to vote for.  Holding my hand, Mom would go to the machine, pull the big lever to close the curtain, and then begin pulling the little levers, explaining to me what she was doing and who we were voting for and why.  Then, when she was done, she’d pull the big lever again and I would hear the click click click as all the votes Mom had cast were registered and the curtain would open.  I was hooked—for life.  Voting was a big deal in our family—always.  Both of my parents took it seriously and taught me to as well.  But more than that, I caught the excitement of voting from my mom especially.

Election Day wasn’t just another day in our house; it was an exciting day.  We’d get up early, go to the polls, make some calls and check to see that all of our friends remembered it was Election Day. Then, after the polls closed, we’d gather to watch the returns come in to see if our candidates had won.  It was a fun day, but it was also about responsibility, duty and opportunity for us.  And it remains that for me today.

Frankly, I think all American Christians should find Election Day exciting.  The opportunity to vote shouldn’t be met with “oh no, it’s voting time again. I have to hear and watch all those stupid ads, have who knows how many phone calls and get all that mail.  I just wish it would go away.”  That’s the wrong view!

Some Christians need a change in view and attitude on this issue.  This is a time when we as believers get to directly influence our God-given government, which in itself is a blessing.  Having a Republican form of government rather than a democracy or a dictatorship or really any other kind of government is an incredible blessing, one that we should be grateful for. But this distinctive form of government requires knowledgeable citizen participation to work right.

“We the people” is not just a nice saying; it’s a statement of responsibility.  We as citizens have the duty, the obligation, the honor of participating actively in our government.  As Christians, I believe we have a stewardship responsibility in this area.  Taking a pass, sitting it out is not the answer.  It’s not the right decision. Frankly, it’s that approach that has helped to put us where we are right now in this state and country.  Christians not exercising their civic stewardship.  We should be involved, and we should be involved far more cheerfully and with more excitement than we often are.

WI Voter Guide NOW Available

Go to ivoterguide.com for YOUR WI Voter Guide!

And now you get to practice being involved in your government with some excitement and good cheer by getting ready to vote in the Fall Partisan Primary Election next Tuesday, August 12.   Here are some easy steps to do that. First, visit myvote.wi.gov to find out what races will be on your ballot. Just click on Regular Voter on that home page and then follow the directions. When you get to your voting record, you’ll see “What’s on my ballot” on the left sidebar. Click on that and you’ll see your sample ballot.

Once you know the races, spend some time checking on the candidates and where they stand on the issues important to you.  Visit their web sites, call their campaigns, talk to people who you trust. See if there are voter guides online. I know there are.  If you don’t have access to the internet, call us and we’ll do our best to help you.  Call 888-378-7395; that’s 888-378-7395.

If you can’t make the polls on Tuesday, August 12, you can vote early at your clerk’s office through the close of business this Friday, August 8.  Or you can get an absentee ballot and send it in by mail, but it must reach the clerk no later than Election Day.

And finally, maybe you can be instrumental in lighting a fire on this important issue in the life of a young person, just like my mom did for me.  Think about who you can take with you to the polls and how you will share the excitement you have regarding the blessing of living in America where “we the people” is more than just words on a document.  I’ll see you at the polls!

Strengthening the Family: Marriage vs “Class Cleansing”

A Great Economic Indicator:  The Family

Over twenty years ago, expert demographers predicted a fall in the stock market in late 2009. The fall happened a little earlier in 2009 than the experts predicted, but it did happen.  These demographers, in the course of their work, stumbled upon a fascinating long-term indicator for the stock market—birth rates. A chance comparison of the long-term S&P 500, the premier stock market indicator and U.S. birth rates revealed an eerie similarity.   

Here’s how it works. Spending drives the economy, and the baby boomer’s lifetime spending peaks at about 45-50 years old. The stock market peaks when the baby boomers’ spending peaks. The problem is the baby boomer generation is reaching that age right about now, and there’s no subsequent generation large enough to replace them.

But there’s more to this story, and it goes deeper than the stock market, as the documentary DVD, Demographic Winter, The Decline of the Human Family, clearly shows.  For instance, in order for a population to survive it must at least meet the fertility replacement level of 2.1. That means the average woman needs to have at least 2.1 children over her lifetime in order to, at a minimum, replace the current population of any society.

Anything below 2.1 indicates population decline. Anything over 2.1 indicates population growth. Currently, the U.S. is at 2.01, which is just below replacement level. The overall European fertility rate, however, is between 1.53 and 1.55.

cultural indicatorsIn Wisconsin and the United States we’re fast approachig an aging population, where the majority of the population is now or soon will be in retirement, on pensions and government subsidies. There are not enough young people in the workforce or coming into the workforce to support the aging population, especially considering the exponentially increasing costs of Medicare and Social Security. 

Demographers and economists point to several reasons for this: the sexual revolution, the divorce revolution, prosperity, more women in the workforce during childbearing years and widespread inaccurate assumptions about overpopulation.

Each of these different factors has chipped away at and continues to chip away at the traditional view of marriage and family and children. And who suffers? The children. Our children, the few we are still having, will bear the burden of supporting an aging population that has tried in every way conceivable to not conceive and to destroy the preborn they do conceive.

Incredibly, those families that can afford to have more children are not and those families that cannot afford to have more children are. Lower-income and single-mother families are having more children where, we know from a plethora of social science evidence, children are at a distinct disadvantage developmentally, socially, emotionally and certainly economically.

So, not only will our children bear the burden of our infertility, they will do so without the nurturing of the traditional family. What’s to be done?  The solution offered by a group of billionaires is most definitely not the answer.

The billionaires, including the likes of Bill Gates, George Soros and Oprah Winfrey decided several years ago to pour their billions into what I call a “class cleansing” effort.  They are worried there are too many poor people in the world, particularly in developing countries, so they’re going to engage in “population control efforts,” which is just a euphemism for abortion, birth control, and other nefarious acts. The cold-hearted strategy and arrogance of the plan is astounding!  They don’t want to have to deal with the poor so they plot to get rid of their children.

No, the real solution, as European policymakers have discovered almost too late, is to strengthen the family, particularly among the poor where the gold standard for families—a married father and mother raising their children together—is sadly and tragically lacking.

Families are the economic and social bedrock of a society and definitely of our state. They bring the next generation into the world, raise the incoming workforce in their homes, buy houses and consume products and create a nurturing environment for children—the future leaders of our state and our country. For the sake of the future of our nation we must welcome children and invest in them by strengthening the family. 

That begins with moms and dads determining to stay married, with churches being willing to champion marriage, and with government promoting traditional marriage and families with solid policies.  Demographers get the importance of my oft-repeated phrase, as the family, so the state.  The question is, do the rest of us?

*****

VIEW Wisconsin Family Council’s brand new publication “Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition: by clicking HERE.

Early Voting in Wisconsin Begins TODAY

Early election voting has begun at city clerks’ offices

across the state of Wisconsin.

vote-your-values (1)Voters who are unable to get to the polls for the primary election on Tuesday, August 12, are now able to cast their ballots.

Click HERE for general voter information and to see if you have a primary on your ballot.

  • HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO VOTE FOR?
  • WHO ARE THE CANDIDATES?
  • HOW HAVE INCUMBENTS VOTED IN THE PAST?

 

RIGHT AT YOUR FINGERTIPS!

****BE INFORMED! Click HERE for our NEW Wisconsin Voter Guide! ****

Vote wisely by choosing candidates who:

  • Best align with your values
  • Have a reasonable chance of winning, as evidenced by endorsements, donations, yard signs, phone calls, etc.