What’s the harm?; Confusing children about the truth of marriage

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:

Several years ago I received a call from a distraught mother with a horrific story. This woman’s son, we’ll call him Davey, attended a public elementary school in Madison. He was in first grade. One day he came home from school and told his mother that his class had had a couple of visitors that day. He said two ladies had come in and talked with them.

marriage defendingThis young boy proceeded to tell his mother that the one lady had told his class about some students who had two mommies or two daddies and that, in fact, she had married her best friend—and that the other lady with her was her best friend and who she had married. This confused six-year-old looking at his mom with genuine concern said, “Mommy, Mikey is my best friend. Does that mean I have to marry him?” Making the situation worse was that the visit and the talk took place with no parental notification let alone advance parental permission.

Now, maybe in some warped universe or in some person’s twisted thinking, this type of situation is just fine. But I believe most people would consider this to be a violation of this child’s innocence. They would believe that first graders being directly confronted with homosexuality and same-sex marriage is wrong and is harmful to the children. At a minimum it causes confusion in these young ones about marriage, gender, and even friendship. This early confusion can result in serious problems down the road.

When this student’s mom and dad brought the situation to the school officials, basically what they were told was this is school policy; and they just had to deal with it. Short of filing a lawsuit, which they did not want to do, their hands were tied. Few would deny the utter trampling of parental rights in this mess.

Some will dismiss this story because it happened in Madison. And there is some validity to that. Madison School District had just a year or so before this incident hired the one woman, paying her over $60,000 a year and likely over $70,000 by now, to advocate on behalf of students and staff who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. She also obviously had permission to go to the classrooms to do her so-called advocating.  Not every Wisconsin school district had or has this position on its staff.

Last Tuesday, I sat in the Ceremonial Courtroom of the federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, listening to two hours of oral argument regarding Wisconsin’s marriage amendment and Indiana’s marriage statute. In that courtroom I was keenly reminded that if marriage is redefined in Wisconsin, what happened to this little first-grade boy will not be restricted to Madison. It stands to be repeated in every school district in this state. Once marriage is legally redefined to include people of the same sex, there will be no legal grounds to prevent the promotion and normalization of aberrant relationships to students regardless of their age.

It was more than a little dismaying to hear the Assistant Attorneys General from  Wisconsin and Indiana both flail under tough questioning from the 7th Circuit judges, especially when they asked what harm legalizing same-sex marriage would do and to whom. Tragically, neither could or would respond with any kind of definitive answer.

confusionMaybe they weren’t aware of stories like Davey’s. Maybe they didn’t know that after marriage was redefined in Massachusetts that the father of a first-grader in public school was arrested because he refused to leave school property until he got an assurance that he would be notified if books promoting homosexuality or same-sex marriage were going to be read to his son. The school’s position was that since same-sex marriage was legal in the state, homosexual marriage was to be treated just like heterosexual marriage.  Just as they would not give advance warning to parents if a book was going to be read about a heterosexual married couple, they now will not give advance warning to parents if a book is going to be read about a homosexual married couple.

This is just one specific example of two very real harms that will happen, sooner rather than later, if marriage is redefined in our state. There are others, to be sure. Attorneys arguing in defense of our marriage protection amendment should certainly be able to articulate clearly these harms that are sure to or likely to happen should marriage be redefined.

But it’s not just attorneys who must be prepared to answer this question. Anyone who understands the foundational role one-man/one-woman marriage plays in our society or any society must also be able to relate the harms that will happen—whether to innocent first-grade boys and girls or to the entire culture—if marriage is redefined. We must all become knowledgeable, winsome, articulate defenders of marriage if we are serious about safeguarding children and the institution of marriage as the foundation of society.

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!

WISCONSIN: Marriage goes back to court – TOMORROW

On Tuesday, August 26, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago will hear oral arguments on Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment that prohibits homosexual marriage.

In June of this year, liberal U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that Wisconsin’s 2006 Marriage Protection Amendment, voted on and approved by nearly 60% of those voting in Wi, was unconstitutional.  Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen appealed Crabb’s decision to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Wisconsin case is joined by a similar case from Indiana. Wisconsin Family Action has already issued an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief in the Indiana case; that brief will suffice for both cases as they are now being considered together.

It is unclear when the Federal Court will issue a final decision.

“Wisconsin Unites for Marriage,” a pro-homosexual group based in Wisconsin, formed by the ACLU, Fair Wisconsin and Freedom to Marry is planning a “marriage bus tour” to Chicago that day and a rally after the hearing.

WFA president Julaine Appling, will attend the hearing  on behalf of WFA and the others represented in the friend-of-the-court brief and shares, “There’s something more critical Christians can do than showing up there—and that is pray.  We covet your prayers for this hearing. We also urge Christians to visit wifamilycouncil.org and sign our Marriage Declaration.  That too is very important. We can do way better than 3000.

Star-Spangled Sunday! 9/14 – Anniversary of Our National Anthem – JOIN IN!

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner!  
An inspirational event for churches and small groups!


“Together we will learn the forgotten story of the great acts of faith behind our National Anthem.” – Family Research Council

Participate in the 90-minute webinar event on Sunday, September 14, 6 p.m. CST. Be challenged by the story and the speakers, which include Tony Perkins, Pastor Mark Harris, Rick Scarborough, and more!

>>>>>Click HERE to learn more about this FREE event that you can bring to your congregation, your friends and neighbors, and your small groups!

Coming to Wisconsin? – What are you willing to stand up for?

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:

Coming to Wisconsin?

“Hello.  This is Tom’s Limousine Service.  We take you where you want to go in style!  How can I help you?”

“Hi, Tom.  This is Tyler Jones.  I’m looking to book your services for my wedding on Saturday afternoon, September 13. My fiancé and I want you to take us and the wedding party from the park where we are getting married to the reception.  The park is in Waukesha and the reception is in Milwaukee.  Can you do that?”

“Sure, Tyler.  I have a limo available for that day.  I just need some information from you.  How many in your wedding party?”

“Well, let’s see.  There’s John and me and then Steve, Chuck, Scott, and Hank.”

“Ok.  That’s 6 guys.  And how many girls in addition to your bride?”

“ Oh. None.  John and I decided we wanted all men in the wedding party.”

“Um, well, uh, so you are marrying John?  Wow. This is difficult for me, Tyler, but I’m going to have to refer you to another limo service in the area who will give you the same price I would.  I’m happy to make that call for you right now.”

“What?? You just told me you had the day open and a car available. Why are you now telling me you won’t provide a limo for me and John?  Oh, I get it. It’s because we’re gay, right?

“Well, not exactly.  It’s not because of your sexual orientation. It’s because this is a wedding. That takes it to a different level.  But again, I’m happy to call another limo service who I am sure will be pleased to have your business.”

“I don’t want another limo service. I want yours.  You’re one of those Christians, aren’t you, who believe marriage is only for a man and a woman.  You are fine with discriminating against me just because I happen to love a man.  That’s just great.  I guess there really are homophobic, hateful bigots who just can’t stand the idea of men being in loving and committed relationships.”

“Look, I’m not judging you about who you love; I am just saying I can’t provide you limo service your wedding.  But, hey, let me call Sam’s Limo Service. He’s a great guy and will give you an excellent price and service. “

“I don’t want Sam’s Limo Service.  John and I want you to provide the limo for our wedding.  Since you’re telling me your religion is standing in the way of my happiness, I guess we’ll just have to see where this goes.”

“I’m sorry you’re upset.  It’s true that I run my business according to Christian principles.  That doesn’t mean I hate you; it means I disagree with you on marriage.  This is America.  Surely we can just agree to disagree, and I can refer you to another limo service.”

religious freedom“No, we can’t just agree to disagree on this. I have a fundamental right to marry whomever I want and according to Wisconsin’s law, you as a business must provide me with what I want—and John and I want limo service for our wedding.  Would you provide service for a black man and white woman?  Probably not since your silly Christian beliefs have hate and discrimination built into them.  Now I really understand why the state of Wisconsin added sexual orientation as a protected class to our laws.  Without them and with people like you in business, we’d be treated just like the blacks were before the Civil Rights laws were passed.  Black, gay, whatever…we’re all the same.  I’m born gay; you’re born straight.  You’re saying you can marry who you love but I can’t.  We’ll see what the courts say about that!”

“Tyler, again, I don’t hate you and you are free to love anyone you want.  But how is it right for you to try to force me to violate my beliefs about marriage, especially when I have offered repeatedly to refer you to another guy who does limo service.  I’m asking that you respect my beliefs just as you want me to respect yours.”

“I’m through with this conversation, Tom.  You’ll be hearing from John and me—and our attorneys.  In the meantime, you need to go to some diversity training and learn how to treat people. You can’t go around hating gay people and discriminating against them just because of your outdated, narrow religious beliefs.  And by the way, in case you haven’t noticed, across the country guys like you have been losing, man.  Losing their businesses, losing in court, losing money…because just like you, they are so narrow-minded and bigoted.  We don’t tolerate that kind of stuff in Wisconsin and America any more.  We’ll see you in court!”

It hasn’t happened yet in Wisconsin, but the above isn’t at all far-fetched.  What are you willing to stand up for?  What price are you willing to pay to stand for the truth?

Pro-Family PAC Rescinds Endorsement of Ashton Kirsch

Press release from Wisconsin Family Action PAC:

Marriage is a litmus test

Madison—Wisconsin Family Action PAC (WFA PAC) announced today that it is revoking its earlier endorsement of Republican Assembly candidate, Ashton Kirsch (AD 81-Baraboo). 

Ashton Kirsch

Ashton Kirsch

“Unfortunately, it has become apparent to us in recent weeks that Mr. Kirsch’s position on our most important issue, marriage, is different from what we understood it to be as we went through the endorsement process,” said Julaine Appling, WFA PAC director.  “We have worked directly with Mr. Kirsch in attempting to clarify his values and beliefs related to the foundational institution of marriage. At the end of the discussions, we realized his position was enough different from ours that we could not endorse him.  If we have an endorsement litmus test for candidates, it’s marriage.  You have to get marriage right to get WFA PAC’s endorsement.”

WFA PAC’s values and beliefs parallel those of its sponsoring entity, Wisconsin Family Action (WFA).  WFA promotes and defends traditional one-man, one-woman marriage, the natural family unit of husbands, wives and children, as well as the sanctity of human life, and religious liberty. 

Appling continued, “Citizens across the state look to WFA PAC to give them reliable information on which candidates are pro-marriage, pro-life, pro-liberty and pro-limited government. While rescinding an endorsement is an extreme action and has required a great deal of time and much careful deliberation, we would be especially derelict in our responsibility to the voters if we continued endorsing Mr. Kirsch or any other candidate whose position and belief on marriage is not in line with ours.”

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Authorized and paid for by Wisconsin Family Action PAC and Wisconsin Family Action Federal PAC, Judith Brant, Treasurer.  Not authorized by any candidate or by any candidate’s agent or committee.

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.”