Restoring the “Gold Standard” for the Traditional Family in America

Restoring the “Gold Standard” for the Traditional Family in America

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:

Earlier this month, my pastor, Dr. Bob Loggans at Calvary Baptist Church in Watertown, preached a great message entitled simply, “Family Life.”  As a part of the introduction he mentioned a book published in 1947 by Carle Zimmerman that included a list of traits that happened to nations and cultures shortly before their demise.  Virtually all of the traits or “forms of behavior” deal with God’s plan for the family.

ImageI tracked the book down and bought it because the list was staggering and I wanted to see it for myself.  Carle Zimmerman was, in his day, a renowned professor of sociology at Harvard University.  He wrote a number of books in addition to Family and Civilization which is the one my pastor cited.

So, here’s Carle Zimmerman’s list of behaviors that precede the fall of such empires as Greece and Rome, written in 1947.

1) Increased and rapid easy “causeless” divorce. (Guilty and innocent party theory became a pure fiction.)
2) Decreased number of children, population decay and increased public disrespect for parents and parenthood.
3) Elimination of the real meaning of the marriage ceremony.
4) Popularity of pessimistic doctrines about the early heroes.
5) Rise of theories that companionate marriage or a permissible looser family form would solve the problem.
6) The refusal of many other people married under the older family form to maintain their traditions while other people escape these obligations.  Zimmerman notes the Greek and Roman mothers refused to stay home and bear children.
7) The spread of the anti-nuclear-family mentality of the urbane and pseudointellectual classes to the very outer limits of the civilization.
8) Breaking down of most inhibitions against adultery.
9) Revolts of youth against parents so that parenthood became more and more difficult for those who did try to raise children.
10) Rapid rise and spread of juvenile delinquency. And, last but certainly not least,
11) Common acceptance of all forms of sex perversions.

I doubt I have to connect many dots for you on this.  I am sure your mind is reeling with the reality of how many of those eleven traits describe modern America.

Professor Zimmerman wasn’t a fatalist. He didn’t believe America is doomed to repeat the same mistakes and suffer the same tragedy as other once-great, now gone nations and cultures.  But, he was warning us.  Throughout the book, he makes the case for cultural and government changes to restore at the most basic level in our society a standard for family—with that standard being what we call at Wisconsin Family Council, the Gold Standard—or better said, God’s Standard.  That very clear standard that has never changed and never will change is a man and a woman married to one another in a lifelong, monogamous relationship, typically with children—either biological or adopted.

Nations that are vibrant, strong, and that last are built on a strong foundation.  If that foundation changes or begins to be destroyed, the nation begins to slowly, but eventually perceptibly, decay.  America is no different from those nations that have preceded us.  We are much the same as countless others who have come before. Like them we refuse to learn from history.  We believe we can erode the foundation of traditional, nuclear, domestic families and survive.  We can’t, we won’t, we aren’t.

So what do you do in the midst of this? How can you help buck the trend, change the course?  Strengthen your family unit—intentionally, purposefully.  Pray together, worship together, play together.  Talk, teach by example and word, take time, invest in your family.  Make them a priority, not an afterthought.  Make sure your children know marriage between a man and a woman is beautiful and biblical and that children are a gift from God—not a nuisance.

ImageYou can also counter the lies that are so prevalent in our culture. Stand up for God’s plan for family. Don’t just silently disagree when others make it seem that all forms of family are equal.  They aren’t and you know that.  Politely, lovingly, respectfully challenge their thinking.  Demand that elected officials respect the traditional, nuclear married mom and dad family in their policies.

We are not doomed.  But we must be educated and energized to make a difference lest one day America is included in such a book as an example of a once-great nation that fell because the family, the foundation of it all, disintegrated.

Adoption: Whereas and Resolved; Having a Mom and a Dad is Still Best

“Whereas, since 1995, American presidents have proclaimed each November as National Adoption Month and have asked the people of the United States to observe the month by answering the call to find a permanent and caring family for every child in need and by supporting the families that care for them; and
“Whereas, in Wisconsin in 2010, 1,159 foster children in Wisconsin were waiting to be adopted and these children risk reaching adulthood without permanent families of their own; and
“Whereas, foster care was intended to be temporary, but many Wisconsin children remain in foster homes for long periods, the average length of stay in foster care being more than three and a half years; and Whereas, older children in Wisconsin are less likely to be adopted than younger
ones, the average age of adopted children being 6.2 years while the average age of children waiting to be adopted is 7.7 years; and
“Whereas, in 2010, 410 children in Wisconsin became too old to continue in foster care without having been adopted by a permanent, legal family; and
“Whereas, a permanent family plays an important role in helping young adults take their places in society; and
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“Whereas, providing stable homes and an opportunity for happiness and success for children who have been displaced through no fault of their own is a commendable act that benefits not only those children and the adopting families but all of us; and
“Whereas, it is in the best interest of our state and its people to encourage and promote adoption; now, therefore, be it
“Resolved by the assembly, the senate concurring,
That the legislature proclaims November 2013 as Wisconsin Adoption Month, commends adoptive families past, present, and future, and celebrates successful adoptions throughout our state.”
I just quoted verbatim and in its entirety Assembly Joint Resolution 71, which was introduced in our state legislature on November 4, 2013. The lead sponsors of this resolution are Representative Debra Kolste and Senator Tim Cullen, both Democrats from Janesville.  I don’t very often get to commend the Democrats for their bills.  However, in general I can commend them on this proposal—with one very important caveat:  we need to make sure we are defining family the same way.
When Wisconsin passes resolution later this week and we join the National Adoption Month and National Adoption Day observance, which is November 23, we must make it clear that we are celebrating children being adopted into “forever families” that are comprised of married moms and dads.  Unfortunately, I suspect that the lead authors of this proposed Adoption Month resolution would disagree with that assertion.  They will say adopting children into any kind of family is better than having them languish in or age out of foster care.
That’s tough for me to believe when the research repeatedly shows that what is best for children is to be brought up with their married mom and dad.  Anything less than that means, typically or normatively, children are likely to suffer a host of problems.
That said, I believe this push to celebrate, recognize and promote adoption in our state is a fantastic opportunity for Christians, married men and women, to consider adding another or even a first child to their family—to provide that “forever family.”  To be honest, it’s hard to hold the argument that children shouldn’t be adopted into single-parent homes or into same-sex homes, if Christians won’t step up on this issue.
Think about what a Christian family offers an adopted child.  A loving mother and a loving father.  The opportunity to see modeled in the parents what real Christianity looks like on a day-to-day basis.  The blessing of hearing the Gospel and the incredible salvation message, of being part of a church family, of learning about service and sacrifice for something much bigger than oneself.   The joy of extended family, family traditions and so much more.
When all of the whereas’s and the be-it-therefore-resolved’s are done on this Adoption Month Resolution, it should serve as a powerful reminder to us as Christians that children are a gift and that giving them a “forever family,” that reflects God’s divine plan for family, is one of the best gifts we can give them.

Marriage, the Voters and the Constitution Have Their Day in Wisconsin’s High Court

Wisconsin Supreme Court hears arguments in case challenging domestic partnership registry

MADISON, Wis. — Today the Wisconsin Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that was originally known as Appling v. Doyle

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Julaine Appling outside the Wisconsin Supreme Court chambers following today’s hearing

“At issue before the court today was the full meaning of Wisconsin’s marriage amendment and whether it authorizes the creation of other marriage-like unions.  It clearly doesn’t. We’ve been four years getting to today, and I am extremely proud of and thankful for our legal team and their performance this afternoon” said Julaine Appling, one of the petitioners and president of Wisconsin Family Action. 

Austin Nimocks of Alliance Defending Freedom argued the case on behalf of Julaine Appling and four other individuals who are also members of Wisconsin Family Action’s Board of Directors:  Jo Egelhoff, Jerry Hiller, Dick Kessenich, and Lee Webster.  Nimocks was assisted today and throughout the litigation process by Wisconsin attorneys Michael D. Dean and Rick Esenberg.

Appling continued, “We repeatedly made the case this afternoon that the same-sex-only, statewide domestic partnership registry that Governor Doyle and his legislative cronies gave us as part of the 2009 budget mimics marriage, that it creates a new legal status known as ’domestic partner’ that  is at least ‘substantially similar’ to the legal status of marriage in this state.  Such a status violates Article XIII, Sec. 13 of our state constitution, which was added by nearly 60% of the voters in 2006.”

“Fundamentally, today was about defending the institution of marriage, the will of the voters, and the Wisconsin Constitution.  State officials cannot ignore a voter-approved law just because they don’t like it,” concluded Appling. 

The court will likely release its decision and written opinions sometime before June 30, 2014.

Price of Christian Citizenship: Compromise?

ImageFrom the desk of Wisconsin Family Action/Wisconsin Family Council president Julaine Appling:

Last week, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled in a case that I believe will have significant repercussions across the country.  Here’s the background.

A husband and wife, Jon and Elaine Huguenin, own a photography company, Elane Photography—a family business—in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Jon and Elaine are committed Christians, attempting to live their faith in real life. They provide private sittings, weddings and other photography services. One day in 2006 two women came into their studio and wanted to talk about hiring Elane Photgraphy to photograph a wedding.  When it came out that it was a same-sex ceremony, Elane Photgraphy declined to take the event.

Per the Hugueins’ testimony, Elane Photography will photograph individuals who might be homosexuals, but they will not photograph a ceremony that publicly stands for something they totally disagree with. From their perspective, doing so puts their stamp of approval on the redefinition of marriage.  As Christians they believe God’s plan for marriage is inviolate and that attempts to redefine it are wrong.

Sometime after this incident, one of the two women seeking their services filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission.  The complaint alleged that Elane Photography, and by extension its owners, the Huguenins, violated New Mexico’s human rights law because they denied service to the women based on their sexual orientation.

New Mexico’s human rights law prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, sexual orientation and other protected classes in public accommodations. Public accommodations is defined as “any establishment that provides or offers its services…or goods to the public,”.

In 2008 the New Mexico Human Rights Commission ruled that Elane Photgraphy had violated the law by denying its publicly advertised services based on sexual orientation.  Eventually, the case made its way to the New Mexico Supreme Court. That court last week agreed with the Human Rights Commission and found the Huguenins guilty of breaking New Mexico’s human rights law.

In the crosshairs of this case is, of course, the Hugueins religious liberty. In this instance, their religious liberty was solidly trumped by New Mexico’s so-called human rights law.  The majority opinion in this case is sobering, but what was especially attention-getting is the concurring opinion written by Justice Richard C. Bosson.  Listen carefully to what this justice said: “…the Huguenins…now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives. Though the rule of law requires it, the result is sobering. It will no doubt leave a tangible mark on the Huguenins and others of similar views.

“On a larger scale, this case provokes reflection on what this nation is all about, its promise of fairness, liberty, equality of opportunity, and justice. At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others. A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation’s strengths, demands no less. The Huguenins are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish; they may pray to the God of their choice and follow those commandments in their personal lives wherever they lead. The Constitution protects the Huguenins in that respect and much more. But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life.

“In the smaller, more focused world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship. I therefore concur.”

I hope you caught the essence here and I hope you are alarmed.  This justice who voted against the religious freedom of this company and its owners, said people of faith have to pay a price to be a citizen and that price is the compromise of one’s faith.  Further, this justice is clearly saying we can believe what we want as long as we keep it private but we don’t have the right to hold our beliefs in our businesses or maybe anywhere else in public. That may be freedom of worship, but that is not freedom of religion and that’s what the First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees us.

The drum beat against religious freedom has gotten louder and faster.  Silencing our beliefs is part of what must be done to advance the liberal agenda.  What’s your religious freedom worth to you?

Alliance Defending Freedom Exposes NM Judge’s Decision as “Feature of Dictatorship”

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ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM COMMENT
August 22, 2013 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT MEDIA AND PUBLIC RELATIONS: (480) 444-0020 or www.adfmedia.org/home/contact

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Justice Richard C. Bosson

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence regarding the New Mexico Supreme Court’s decision Thursday in Elane Photography v. Willock, a case involving a photographer who declined to use her artistic expression to visually portray the story of a same-sex ceremony between two women who later sued after finding another photographer:

“Government-coerced expression is a feature of dictatorships that has no place in a free country. This decision is a blow to our client and every American’s right to live free. Decisions like this undermine the constitutionally protected freedoms of expression and conscience that we have all taken for granted. America was founded on the fundamental freedom of every citizen to live and work according to their beliefs and not to be compelled by the government to express ideas and messages they decline to support. We are considering our next steps, including asking the U.S. Supreme Court to right this wrong.”

Select excerpts from Justice Richard C. Bosson’s concurrence accompanying the court’s decision (p. 30):

“…the Huguenins…now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives. Though the rule of law requires it, the result is sobering. It will no doubt leave a tangible mark on the Huguenins and others of similar views.”

“On a larger scale, this case provokes reflection on what this nation is all about, its promise of fairness, liberty, equality of opportunity, and justice. At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others. A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation’s strengths, demands no less. The Huguenins are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish; they may pray to the God of their choice and follow those commandments in their personal lives wherever they lead. The Constitution protects the Huguenins in that respect and much more. But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life.”

“In the smaller, more focused world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship. I therefore concur.”

  • Rasmussen poll: “85% Think Christian Photographer Has Right to Turn Down Same-Sex Wedding Job”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

 

# # #  |  Ref. 20160

 

THE LIE “America is just a capitalistic, imperialistic bully.” At a Public School Near You?

Looking back, my childhood was almost idyllic. I spent my first 12 years in Atlanta and the rest of my growing up years in Michigan.  I had loving parents who were married to each other.  I never knew poverty.  I lived in a great neighborhood with lots of kids and everyone knew each other.  Mom didn’t work outside the home, but she sure worked hard in it. We ate family meals together more often than not.  I went to a Bible-preaching church pretty much anytime the doors were open.
ImageSchool time came.  I went to the local public school; Christian schools and home schooling weren’t even in anyone’s vocabulary.  Mom and Dad chose where they would live, both in Georgia and Michigan, based on the public school system.  We prayed in our schools—every morning.  We pledged the flag—all of us—no one stayed seated.  We even read from the Bible—every morning.  We were taught a love for America.  We were taught America represented freedom, hope and opportunity for all of us and for those “huddled masses yearning to be free” from all over the world. For the most part, I loved school and felt very secure there—until the day came when we had an announcement over the PA telling us we would be having a special drill—in case of a missile attack.  “A what?  From where?”  I wondered as I took cover under my desk.
Mom picked me up from school that day and on the way home talked to me as an elementary student about Cuba, Castro, Kruschev, the Soviet Union, Communism and the Cold War.  It was the first time I felt unsafe in my home and my school.  In a sense, some of the innocence of my childhood was gone.
From my perspective, nothing could destroy America—especially not a madman on a tiny island in the Caribbean Sea, or some man whose name I couldn’t even pronounce living on the other side of the world.  And, we did avert those external threats and crises then.
But what I didn’t know for years later was that the philosophy and worldview of the Castros and Kruschevs of the world had taken firm hold in my homeland—and that those ideas, slowly worked into the fabric of our society, would one day destroy us without a missile ever being fired.
We’re on the brink of a new school year here in Wisconsin and around the country.  Hundreds of thousands of innocent children will go to public schools soon where the majority of their teachers have been taught well the ideas of those who first struck fear in my young heart that America was vulnerable to attack.
ImageThese students will sit hour after hour hearing about tolerance, diversity, multiculturalism.  They will learn that America is just a capitalistic, imperialistic bully.  They will be taught that government is the answer to everything, no matter the question—that they are dependent on government for everything.  Individuality and independence will be suppressed, but a collective, dependent mindset will be fostered. They will be told that earning money and becoming wealthy is evil; that personal wealth is wrong, and that the government should redistribute your money to those who don’t have what you have.
They will hear Planned Parenthood talk about sex outside of marriage as normal and natural—and a personal right and really just another form of recreation.   Kindergarteners will have read to them that “Heather Has Two Mommies,” and about “Daddy’s Roommate,” and be told that’s normal and natural, while impressionable older students will be unwittingly lured into so-called “safe zones” where homosexuality will be presented as also normal and natural.
Every day these students will have reinforced the idea that human life evolved from some primordial muck; that they are just animals higher up the food chain.  They will hear mocking and scoffing at the idea of a Creator God.  Prayer and any other display of religion will be forbidden and called a violation of the separation of church and state.
ImageNo, this isn’t what my generation experienced, but it is what students in our public schools are experiencing much of the time.  It’s today’s “missile threats”—and it’s much more dangerous than the threats I endured.  Protecting young people today requires way more than a drill and a dive under a desk.  Parents—be aware.  Make the right decisions.  Exercise your right to make educational choices for your children.  Their innocence and America’s future hang in the balance.

WFA President Julaine Appling Testifies in Favor of WI Religious Freedom Amendment Today

 

Testimony in Support of Senate Joint Resolution 38

Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor

Julaine K. Appling, WFA President

August 20, 2013

Thank you, Chairman Grothman and committee members, for the opportunity to testify today in support of Senate Joint Resolution 38. 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.  Our mission affords us the privilege of working extensively with churches and religiously-affiliated or faith-based organizations statewide.

We are grateful to Sen.Leibham and Rep. Craig for introducing SJR 38, the Religious Freedom Amendment.  Wisconsin Family Action strongly supports this preemptive, proactive amendment that is designed to ensure that Wisconsin citizens have their constitutionally provided religious freedom and conscience rights protected for years to come.

ImageSJR 38 adds language to Article I, Section 18 of the Wisconsin Constitution. It does not delete or change any existing language. Rather, the additional language clarifies and delineates the approach a court must take when deciding a case dealing with a citizen’s religious and conscience beliefs.  By adding this language, we lessen the likelihood that the state through a court or even legislative action can compel a person to act—or, as important, not act, in a way or in ways that violate his religious beliefs or conscience.

Wisconsin Family Action has closely studied the language of this amendment for some time. We have talked with religious freedom legal experts extensively.  We have hashed over various scenarios that might come before courts in our state under this amendment. Each time, we have come away more convinced that we need this amendment in Wisconsin, that the wording is strong and is the very best wording available to ensure our citizens’ religious freedom is appropriately regarded and safeguarded.

Prior to 1990, in this nation, we had a clear “compelling interest” precedent that required the state to unequivocally prove its “compelling interest” in abrogating a person’s or organization’s religious freedom or conscience rights.  However, with Employment Division v. Smith, the US Supreme Court dramatically lowered the test and standard of protection for citizens.  In response, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  In an ensuing legal challenge this new law, the US Supreme Court eventually struck down the portion of the law that extended the reach of the RFRA to states and local governments. However, the Court left the door open for states to take their own action to ensure that they do not have to have the same low standard for religious freedom as is now in place federally.  States such as Wisconsin have been fortunate that our courts have over the past twenty-plus years essentially retained a pre-Smith approach. However, again, nothing, absolutely nothing in Wisconsin’s current statutes or constitution require the use of the “balance test.”  That is the entire purpose of this amendment.

Some will ask for specific examples of where religious freedom has been threatened in Wisconsin.  We can provide those, but more important to us is what we might face in the future.  While Wisconsin courts have actually been pretty good on cases regarding religious freedom over the last 20 years, we know that a single election or even a vacancy appointment could change that in any given court.  The protection of a freedom as important as our religious freedom should not be dependent upon either the good will or the whim of any particular judge or court.  This amendment gives judges and courts clear language and directives by which to determine a case involving religious freedom.

Some have inquired about whether or not this amendment creates any new or additional rights for any religious activity or potential litigant. Religious freedom experts assure us that the amendment does not do this. It merely restores the former, heightened standard of review of religious liberty claims that served our country and our people well for so many years.  That standard requires courts to always weigh legitimate free exercise claims against compelling state interests.

In addition. no problems have been created or abuses noted since the passage of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, nor in any of the numerous states where the “compelling interest test” has already been restored by statute or amendment over the last decade or so.  Prior to the passage of many of those laws, detractors warned the legislation would spark waves of subversive litigation.  Those abuses simply never materialized.

Quite honestly, we see no way that Wisconsin is exempt from more and more challenges involving citizens’ religious freedom, just as other states are experiencing.  Now is the time to ensure that the very best and most responsible legal protection is in place for our citizens, people who believe in strong religious freedom protection. Waiting or taking no action is a risk that we are not willing to take.  Giving our citizens the opportunity to vote on this important matter is altogether appropriate.

Thank you for your time. Wisconsin Family Action urges you to vote in support of SJR 38.