Wisconsin – Pornography: A Wink or A Crackdown?

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:

According to news reports, since January of this year, the Chinese government has been undertaking a “Cleaning the Web 2014” project, resulting in over 100 web sites and over 3300 accounts being shut down because of obscene material and over 200,000 items containing pornographic material being deleted.  Unlike in America, pornography is illegal in China.

A spokesman for one of the state agencies is reported to have said, “Disseminating pornographic information online severely harms the physical and mental health of minors and seriously corrupts social ethos.”

It’s important to note here that Communists rule China.  And some will no doubt very rightly note that this government will also shut down web sites and social media outlets that broadcast any message or belief that is contrary to the ruling Communists.  Nevertheless, this crackdown on pornography in China is noteworthy.

ImageThe Chinese government apparently recognizes that the influence of pornography in their country is harmful and does not help them advance their goals or build affinity with their ideology, wrong-headed though those goals and ideology may be.  Addictions are like that. They take over the person, making them virtually incapable of fully functioning within society as a contributing citizen, regardless of the governing or economic philosophy.

While China is shutting down porn sites, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is winking at a teacher who was caught viewing and sharing porn on a school computer on school time.

It’s been a long time in coming, but DPI late last week finally issued a ruling saying that while Andrew Harris’s behavior was “highly inappropriate for an educator,” it did not rise to the level of “immoral conduct,” as then described and defined in state law.  Harris was a junior-high teacher in the Middleton-Cross Plains school district outside Madison in 2010 when the original complaint was filed. The school board fired him.

However, the teachers’ union jumped in to help Harris in the original investigation.  An arbitrator agreed with the union and ordered the district to reinstate him with back pay.  The case worked its way through the courts with the ultimate decision being that Harris had been unfairly fired.  So this past February, Harris resumed his teaching career at another middle school in Middleton, complete with nearly $200,000 of back pay.

The one option left was for State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers to revoke Harris’s license.  That would have meant his teaching days in Wisconsin were over.  But, Dr. Evers and his cronies in DPI, said, no, they wouldn’t and couldn’t do that. Sure, Harris’s involvement with pornography isn’t good; but it’s not so bad that he should have his license revoked.

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Tony Evers, Supt. of Dept. of Public Instruction

The Chinese crackdown on pornography because they recognize it hurts minors and everyone else for that matter and especially debases women.  And we can’t even get a teacher removed from a public school classroom for receiving, viewing and sharing pornography on a school computer.  That’s pathetic.

Apparently China is more willing to acknowledge the dangers of pornography than we are. The truth is pornography is a big business—very big, with the United States reaping nearly half of the multi-billion industry’s profits.  Pornography is everywhere, all too readily available.

ImageSeveral studies now report that more than half of boys and a third of girls see their first pornographic image before they turn thirteen. Pornography wrecks marriages. The American Academy of Matrimonial Law reports that 56% of divorces involve one party having “an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.”  A solid majority of college-aged young people, both men and women, say that viewing porn is an acceptable way to express one’s sexuality.

All of this is a terrible condemnation of our culture.  Andrew Harris should have been fired—and no court should have overturned the school district’s decision. Shame on the union for defending this man.  Shame on the courts for being complicit in his returning to the classroom.  The students all know why he was fired and that he got his job back.  What kind of message does that send to them? Pornography is no big deal. It won’t hurt you; it won’t cost you; it’s good. All of those are lies. Harming minor students shouldn’t be part of any school program, implicitly or explicitly.

Being shown up by China ought to embarrass us and scare us. Tragically, if pornography doesn’t embarrass or scare us, I’m quite sure we’ll just arrogantly think China is being controlling and old-fashioned.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

 

EASTER: Time for Strengthening Families; Teaching Next Generation About the Truth

A message from the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:

All of life makes sense in light of what we commemorate this Friday and celebrate this Sunday.  Do your children know that?  Are you taking advantage of what this week offers to not only build and honor your family’s traditions but also to build your family’s faith?  Are you purposefully using this week to help your children share their faith?
ImageAs we pause this week to reflect on the final week of Jesus Christ’s earthly life and ministry, it’s almost overwhelming.  The events range from high celebration on Palm Sunday to agony on Good Friday to overwhelming joy on Resurrection Sunday.  Forgiveness of sin and eternal life—hope for this life and the life to come—were secured through Jesus’s finished work on Calvary and His glorious victory of death and the grave. But what do your children and grandchildren think about Easter
Here are some ideas for you to consider as you prepare to make this weekend’s commemoration unusual rich for you and your family.  The ideas aren’t unique with me.  They are readily available online.  The ones I’m including here come from Lynne Thompson and Kim Wier of Engaging Women Ministries.
For the youngest in your family, have them put one chocolate heart in a hollow plastic egg and explain that this is because Jesus came to give us a new heart toward God.  Let the children hand these eggs out to friends, neighbors and even strangers.  Some recommend putting a note inside with the chocolate with a message taken from John 14:1: “Don’t let your heart be trouble.  Believe in God; believe also in Me.—Jesus”
For those ages 4 to 7, have a neighborhood egg hunt with a twist.  Hide one empty egg, representing the empty tomb.  Whoever finds that empty egg and calls out, “He is not here! He has risen, just as He said!” receives the grand prize.  Ending the hunt with gathering all the children together and telling the Easter story tops of the event.  Be sure you define terms you might use such as crucified, disciples, resurrection.
ImageOlder children can begin experiencing the joy of giving—just as Christ gave His life for our sins.  Perhaps a visit to a hospital or nursing home or rehab center is in order. With your child’s involvement, decide on a budget to buy some Easter lilies and Easter cards.  Have the child present these to some of those who are spending Easter weekend in these facilities.  Be sure the Easter card expresses the hope we have in Jesus’ resurrection.
And I love this idea for teens.  Have a family sunrise service.  Weather permitting hold it at a park or nearby lake.  Sunrise services aren’t all that common any more.  Take a Bible, hymnbooks, maybe even a guitar.  Have the teen read the resurrection accounts from the Gospels with Mary and others’ sunrise visits to the tomb only to find it empty and then to realize that Jesus was there—alive!  Sing praises together, worship together as a family before going to church.
One tradition every family can have is inviting others to share Easter in their home.  Invite friends and neighbors to join you for church and then for your family’s Easter meal.  Spend a few minutes at the table reminding everyone why we have this special day—and reiterating that Truth in the prayer.  Make sure your guests receive special Easter cards—maybe even handmade ones.
There’s much more that you can do to build the Truth of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday into your children in particular.  Attend a Good Friday service, watch some Easter videos depicting this week of Jesus’s life.  On Saturday talk with your children about why we as Christians so look forward to celebrating Jesus’s resurrection on Sunday.  Point out that spring is about new birth, new beginnings, just as Jesus died on the cross and rose again to give us a new birth, a new beginning.  Jesus death, burial and resurrection makes
Strong families are made—on purpose.  Strong families use every opportunity to teach the next generation the Truth about Jesus Christ and His great love and sacrifice on behalf of sinful man.  Strong families seek to show by example that Christianity is real, that it is about Jesus and others.  I trust you will endeavor this week to purposefully strengthen your family by making sure they know, regardless of their ages, that all of life makes sense in light of what we celebrate this coming Friday and Sunday.

Wisconsin: A Frustrating Legislative Session for Pro-Lifers

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:

State capitolUnless something odd happens, the current state legislative session is over this week. Unless the Governor convenes a special session or the legislature calls for an extraordinary session, the legislators will go home this week and begin campaigning for the fall elections.

I started in this work nearly 17 years ago. That means I’ve endured 8 two-year sessions of our state legislature.  You start thinking you’ve seen it all, especially after the 2011-2012 session when we had weeks of the state capitol being closed because of tens of thousands of protestors swarming the building.  I really figured that would be the most bizarre session I—or anyone else, for that matter—would ever be involved with.

However, in my opinion, this legislative session tops even that session.  Words I would use to describe this session include “incredible,” “unreal,” “disappointing,” and “maddening.”

The session began in early January 2013, following the 2012 fall elections.  Governor Walker was beginning the third year of his four-year term.  The Republicans had majorities in both the Senate and the Assembly.

Whichever party has the majority controls the respective house.  That means Republican leadership has control in both the Assembly and the Senate.  That majority determines the committee to which bills are assigned, has input on which bills get hearings and committee votes and certainly determines which bills get to the floor for a full vote on passage.

Frankly, to a large degree it’s fair to say the Republicans “own” state government right now in Wisconsin.  If pro-family, pro-life, pro-liberty bills don’t get passed, it’s pretty safe to say Republicans didn’t want them passed.

And that is precisely why I find this legislative session the most frustrating of all the sessions I’ve been involved with.  Unless something dramatic happens in the next couple of days, at least 3 solid pro-life bills will die in the Republican-controlled state senate.  Assembly Bill 216 would keep taxpayers from having to pay for the abortions of state employees and would also provide a narrow religious exemption for churches and certain other religious organizations regarding health insurance.  Right now, it is illegal for insurance companies in Wisconsin to sell health-insurance coverage that does not include a fully array of contraceptive drugs and devices, some of which cause early abortions.  Assembly Bill 216 would permit insurance companies to write policies for churches and other religious organizations that do not cover contraceptives, if the church or organization wanted such a policy.

ImageAssembly Bill 217 would ban sex-selective abortions—abortions sought simply based on the sex of the baby.  Assembly Bill 206 authorizes the production and sale of a Choose Life Wisconsin specialty license plate.  The proceeds from the sale of this plate would go to Wisconsin’s wonderful Pregnancy Resource Centers—places where women receive real help during crisis pregnancies—help that focuses on both the unborn baby and the health and well-being of the woman.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald

In addition, Republican Senators have killed a bill that would put a process in place for the development, adoption, and implementation of state model academic standards, a process that would prevent a repeat of the Common Core State Standards disaster we’re all living through right now.All four of these bills had solid support in both houses.  In fact, the 3 pro-life bills all passed in the State Assembly.  All that was necessary for them to become law was for the Senate to vote on them and send the bills to the governor.

Instead, all 4 bills are dead, in spite of ongoing, repeated, and aggressive efforts by outside groups to get them on the senate floor for a vote.  Senate Republican leadership has blocked them, determining them to be unnecessary, unimportant, messy, divisive or something.  We’ve heard all kinds of reasons for these bills dying.  We’ve heard whining about its being an election year and insinuations that the Governor doesn’t want them and recently that the Senate leadership says they don’t have enough Republican votes to pass them.

What I know is in a session where any reasonable person would assume these bills would all pass, they have not passed. They remain buried in the Republican controlled Senate.  And yes, that makes this session one of the most bizarre, if not the most bizarre, I’ve ever been part of.  It’s maddening, frustrating, and downright reprehensible and inexcusable.

Selling Out Independence of Single Women; Creating a Boogeyman for a Vote

Today’s op ed published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, by Julaine Appling, Wisconsin Family Action president:

“By now, we are all painfully familiar with the refrain “war on women” from those on the left. Contrary to what they want us to think, liberal progressives are actually the ones waging a war on women with policies bent on making women — particularly single women — dependent on government. You may be surprised by the brilliance of their agenda.

Single-MomsConsider the liberal policy of excessive business regulations. It is not easy for anyone to raise the capital necessary to start a new venture, but it can be especially difficult for women for a number of reasons. When legislators pile regulatory policies on start-ups, they raise the cost of doing business, make compliance and reporting a nightmare and limit profitability for women trying to pursue the dream of owning their own company.

Then consider the high taxes that diminish the family’s bottom line, often eliminating the option for women who want to stay home with their children. Instead, to make family ends meet, moms often are compelled to go into the workforce — at least part time — which frequently puts a strain on their families and marriages.

Wisconsin Family Action has done a rather detailed analysis — to be published soon — of government benefits for single mothers compared to married mothers, and by our cautious calculations, the state and federal governments pay working single moms in Wisconsin approximately $31,000 per year to not marry the working father of their children. From an economic standpoint, government encourages single moms to remain single and incredibly dependent on government welfare, which, incidentally, could change at any time, significantly affecting their monthly income. Policies that essentially pay single moms to remain single condemn women and children to poverty rather than help them become strong and independent.

regret abortion2Liberals are adamant that unregulated, taxpayer-funded, elective abortions at any time during pregnancy is a woman’s right. Yet abortion comes with great risk to a woman and is sometimes accompanied by years of physical, psychological and emotional issues. Keeping a minor girl’s reproductive health information from her parents is dangerous — even medically — for the girl. Opposing parental consent for a minor girl to have an abortion leaves girls at the mercy of abortion clinic staff.

Fighting efforts to have women get an ultrasound prior to an abortion limits information and choice for women. Perhaps most ironically, actively working to make women dependent on government for abortion and contraception effectively puts women’s so-called reproduction rights at the mercy of the appropriations power of the legislature. These policies are the real war on women, yet liberals have vigorously and aggressively supported these policies over the years.

Conservative policies, on the other hand, respect individual liberty — for men and women — and encourage entrepreneurship, job creating, saving, wealth creation and pro-family, pro-life initiatives. Why then accuse conservatives of waging a war on women?

It is really no secret. Liberals desperately want the significant voting bloc of single women in America who lean Democratic. It is a large but sometimes inactive voting bloc, which means liberals need to create a boogeyman for single women in order to galvanize their vote, particularly in an off-year election. Thus we end up with the ominous, but wrongly-attributed, war on women rhetoric from Democrats.

There is a real war being waged on women, but it is in fact the work of liberals who want to make women dependent on government and who are willing to sell out the independence of our women for the price of a vote.

Julaine Appling is president of Wisconsin Family Action, a statewide organization dedicated to strengthening, preserving and promoting marriage, family, life and liberty in Wisconsin.”

 

WFA testimony to WI Senate Committee on Education in support of SB 619

ImageYesterday, Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, testified in favor of SB 619 before the Senate Committee on Education.  Read the full testimony below:

Testimony in Support of Senate Bill 619

Senate Committee on Education

Julaine K. Appling, WFA President

March 6, 2014

“Thank you, Chairman Olsen and committee members, for the opportunity to testify today in support of Senate Bill 619. I am Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, an organization dedicated to strengthening, preserving and promoting marriage, family, life and liberty in The Badger state. Helping to ensure that parents have strong educational options and opportunities to be involved in the policies impacting the schools their children attend is extremely important to us.

We want to thank Senator Vukmir for introducing this bill that addresses some issues important to education and academic standards in our state.

It is reasonable and appropriate to assume that all of us want the students in Wisconsin’s public schools to receive the best education possible and expect them to meet high standards in knowledge and skills. That’s what we are here to discuss today. However, I submit that we can have the very best standards anyone can create, and we can have excellent teachers in our schools and we will still likely be disappointed in our rate of success. Fundamentally, we are dealing with a problem that is beyond the ability of standards and educators to fix and that is the breakdown of the family unit. As more and more students come from broken or dysfunctional homes, we will find it increasingly difficult to move these students to acceptable, let alone exceptional, academic performance. If state government is really interested in improving the academic performance and readiness of students, then at some point it must address strengthening families in a variety of ways.

That said, we find this particular bill to be a good step in establishing a clear process by which state academic standards are developed and adopted in Wisconsin. Heretofore, we have had no established process, at least not at the legislative level. Whatever process we have had has resided exclusively within the Department of Public Instruction.

To summarize, the positives we see in this bill are as follows:
1. It establishes a clear process for the development and adoption of state academic standards.
2. It ensures more involvement by Wisconsin stakeholders.
3. It involves more than DPI in the appointment of people to the advisory board.
4. It brings the process more into the light of day.
5. It requires opportunity for public input on the adoption of state academic standards by requiring three public hearings at various steps in the process and before different bodies.
6. It requires an appropriate measure of legislative oversight.
7. It ensures school districts retain discretion in curriculum choices and adoption.
8. It establishes a systematic review of and potential revision of state academic standards.
9. It ensures new model academic standards in English, reading and language arts and mathematics are proposed per the process within one year of the bill’s enactment.
10. It emphasizes that all interested parties should be able to clearly discern that the standards are setting high standards.
11. It retains local control in that it makes no change to the current law that clearly does not require any school district to adopt the state model academic standards but does require all school districts to adopt standards.

Also, we are pleased that this bill addresses both of the concerns we have with and recommendations we made regarding AB 617, related to who appoints advisory committee members and the amount of time before the current standards in math and English were reviewed.

We do have one concern with SB 619 and that involves the literacy standards that Dr. Evers and DPI also unilaterally adopted for all of Wisconsin. These literacy standards for English and math are incorporated in the academic standards, but DPI also has adopted “Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects” which fall under the Common Core State Standards umbrella. I believe the author, co-sponsors and this committee should look at potentially amending this bill to include these standards in the review, development and adoption process proscribed in this legislation.”

Planned Parent selling…….Baby Onesies?

                    Care – No Matter What.

Seems ironic that the nation’s abortion icon, Planned Parenthood, should be selling, of all things, baby onesies with the above slogan.  Since only 8 out of 100 unborn babies make it out of Planned Parenthood abortion facilities alive, we doubt the sales will skyrocket any time soon.  If anything, this latest money grab attempt appears to be more like a major marketing faux pas.

Creature v Creator; Facebook Joins Gender Identity “Bandwagon”

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:

Image“Male and female created He them.” That’s what God’s Holy and definitive Word says about gender in the book of beginnings, Genesis.

It’s pretty clear that God created and intended for there to be only two sexes. He didn’t allow for more, make exceptions for more, discuss more, create more or anything of that nature.  God’s divine standard for gender is two—male and female—each distinctly different from the other.  God is not, I repeat, He is not confused about gender.

However, God’s clarity on the issue and His equally clear written revelation on this issue don’t stop mere mortals from thinking they know more than God.

Recognizing, protecting and promoting so-called “genders” other than male and female has become very popular in the United States.  It’s part of the fallout from not believing God’s Word, not having any intention of obeying it, and even mocking it as myth.  Once we depart from the Truth of God’s Word, we eventually end up hopeless confused, terribly wrong, and headed for serious trouble. 

But that doesn’t stop modern society from raising their proverbial angry fists at God and insisting on going their own deluded,dangerous way.

With the push to normalize homosexuality comes a host of other issues, gender identity among them, as people attempt to excuse or justify their quirks and lust.  Admittedly, because young people are today are early-on exposed to these very wrong ideas and lifestyles, some are genuinely confused—not because they inherently are gender-confused, but because they have been convinced by people they trust that gender is complex, confusing, and much more multi-faceted than male and female. 

In Wisconsin we’ve had some attempts in the last year to add “gender identity” to nondiscrimination laws in local communities.  Fond du Lac considered such a proposal late this last year.  The public became involved and eventually the City Council voted it down. But the openly homosexual City Council member who originally introduced the proposal says he will bring it back again because it’s only fair that people who don’t identify with their biological gender should have special protections.

ImageLast week Facebook joined the gender identity bandwagon.  On Facebook’s Diversity Page, the following statement was posted by Facebook personnel:

When you come to Facebook to connect with the people, causes, and organizations you care about, we want you to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self. An important part of this is the expression of gender, especially when it extends beyond the definitions of just “male” or female.” So today, we’re proud to offer a new custom gender option to help you better express your own identity on Facebook. 

We collaborated with our Network of Support, a group of leading LGBT advocacy organizations, to offer an extensive list of gender identities that many people use to describe themselves….

The new custom gender option is available to everyone who uses Facebook in U.S. English.

And then people are referred to another site for more information.  I followed the instructions given and it’s true.  There are now over 50 different gender identities someone can choose from to define their sex.  This is beyond extraordinary.  It’s wrong. It leads to further confusion for teens. It creates potential legal issues that we shouldn’t even have to think about and who knows what else. 

If Facebook is pushing this gender-identity issue, you can be sure other social media are as well, along with schools.  It’s imperative that parents talk to their children from the time they are little about being distinctly boys or distinctly girls—the gender that God made them as reflected in their physiology and biology.  We need to build into them a respect for their own sex and that of the opposite sex, recognizing, respecting and appreciating the differences. 

Gender should not be confusing for children—or for anyone else for that matter. If we teach children to know and love God’s Word and to believe Him and trust Him, then they will immediately distinguish truth from falsehood. They’ll know that male and female is two genders, not over 50

After God created male and female, He pronounced His plan “good.” The created being is beyond foolish to think that he with his finitemind can improve on what the Creator has done.

Taxpayer Money Used For “Services” at New Pro-Abortion Facility in Lake Delton/WI Dells Area

ImageThe deceptively-named Family Planning Health Services is opening a so-called clinic in Lake Delton, Wisconsin to offer “services” for “women’s health.”

>>>>>read more here

ImageWisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling has this to say about the pro-abortion facility, “For years families have been planning vacations at the Dells.  The last thing this jewel in Wisconsin’s tourism crown needs is a facility that promotes promiscuity among unmarried young people and consistently refers young women for abortions all under the misguided notion of “family planning.”  In addition, much of what this facility will offer will be paid for with taxpayer money”

Freedom of Speech Under Fire in Campbell, WI; Use It or Lose It

Rural Town of Campbell, Wisconsin, located on an island between the Mississippi and Black Rivers, is in the news after two La Crosse residents participating in “Overpasses for America” filed a lawsuit that claims a recently enacted ordinance promoted “viewpoint discrimination” and was unconstitutional.

Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling responds, “Local municipalities can make their own ordinances, but they don’t have the freedom to enact policies that violate the US Constitution. What is happening in the Town of Cambell is a great example of what frequently happens when elected officials have knee-jerk reactions to specific situations.  We often get terrible, and sometimes even unconstitutional, policies.”

The Thomas More Law Center, co-counsel with LaCrosse, Wisconsin lawyer Bernardo Cueto, filed the federal lawsuit last week.

Wisconsin Governor Issues Marriage Proclamation; Binds Men and Women Together

ImageWHEREAS, marriage creates new families, binds men and women together in a network of affection, mutual aid and mutual obligation, commits fathers and mothers to their children and connects children to a wider network of relatives…”   ~Governor Scott Walker, Marriage Proclamation 2014

Wisconsin Family Council/Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling responds, “We are pleased Governor Walker has once again issued this proclamation stating clearly that marriage is good for Wisconsin.  Marriage is the one institution that consistently provides men, women and children with a better life.  It builds strong communities and churches, and it is at the core of our basic economic unit—the family.”

This is the fourth year the Governor has issued the proclamation at the request of Wisconsin Family Council.  National Marriage Week is recognized and celebrated each year February 7-14.

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