FREE Event in Portage – Defending Religious Liberty, February 20

DEFENDING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

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FEBRUARY 20TH, 2014
6:00 PM through 8:00 PM
Pizza Ranch
2905 New Pinery Rd
Portage, WI 53901
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WFC/WFA President Julaine Appling

Wisconsin Family Council/Wisconsin Family Action President Julaine Appling will give a presentation on ways to defend religious freedom and its importance for Christians in Wisconsin.

Supper will be provided.  A freewill offering will be taken to help cover the cost of the event.

Space is limited so register early!

Click HERE to register NOW!

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.

What Americans Believe: Churches Build Healthy Communities

From the desk of WFA president Julaine Appling:

In 1798, John Adams, while serving as President of the United States, wrote a letter to the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts.  In this communique, President and Founder Adams wrote, “…We have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net.  Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
John Adams knew that a Republic that emphasizes a limited government requires people who self-govern.  When the people don’t self-govern, limited government is virtually impossible—since nature abhors a vacuum.  Adams basically acknowledged that self-governing people are largely religious people—and therefore what he would call “moral” people.
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To clarify, when Adams and the bulk of our founders spoke of religion, they were referring to Christianity by and large; it was by anyone’s standard the dominant religion in the nation. Christianity is particularly good at helping people self-govern because it is a faith that is about others, about self-control, about obedience and submission to Christ, who exemplified how to treat, how to care for and to relate to others.
For the most part here in America, religion, in particular Christianity was and is imparted to a community, a state and a nation by churches.  In years past, churches were not just the largest buildings in a community, they were the community.  They were the hub of activity, the place of community gatherings, the source of teachings about the Bible and its relationship to everyday life and the issues of the day.  From the church came the moral direction—the Biblical teachings that aided entire communities in being able to have limited government because the people limited themselves.
We’ve moved away from the centrality of the church in many communities.  Oh, in some Wisconsin cities, churches still dominate the geographic landscape, but I’m not so sure they always dominate the moral and ethical landscape.  If they did, I think many of our communities and, hence, our state would be quite different.
Even while I hold this opinion, I found a recent poll quite interesting.  A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found in June of this year that just 34% of American adults believe it is possible to have a healthy community with absolutely no churches or religious presence.  Fifty-seven percent disagree and say it is not possible to have a healthy community without churches.
From the poll, it appears that most people agree that it is good for churches to provide services such as food banks, disaster relief, schools and hospitals.  Even those who don’t believe churches are indispensable to a healthy community believe churches should be able to provide these services, even while holding to their unique beliefs.
ImageWhile it is true that historically, everywhere Christianity has gone the poor and the sick have been cared for, women have been elevated, and children have been educated, it is also true that the presence of a church in a community should give more than these tangibles.  Dynamic, on-fire churches—in particular Bible-preaching and teaching churches—should be providing the majority of the salt and light in a community.
They should be standing up for and educating people on the sanctity of human life, teaching people by word and example about what good marriages and strong families look like and how they function.  They should warn about the evils of pornography and provide a strong voice against sexually oriented businesses coming into the community.  They should be knowledgeable about and involved in the influence and presence of alcohol and gambling on a community.  They should be a voice for abstinence until marriage for the teens of the area, whether they are in public or private schools.  And, of course, they should be evangelizing—bringing people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  All of these work towards teaching people to self-govern.
When churches embrace the totality of what being the church means, then the communities they are in are truly healthy—because they are filled with people who know how to practice self-governing.
I’m encouraged that Americans believe churches are important to communities.  I hope churches realize how very important they are as they provide the moral direction and act as the moral gatekeeper in their communities.  If John Adams was right, the church is probably the very best hope we have of maintaining this grand experiment we call America.

NEW!! Wisconsin Family Minute Now Airing Across the State

BRAND NEW!
“WISCONSIN FAMILY MINUTE”

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“Wisconsin Family Minute” is a daily program (Monday – Friday) launched by Wisconsin Family Council and designed for Christian radio. A single news item pertaining to marriage, family, life and liberty is featured each day in an effort to inform listeners so that they can pray, educate others, protect their family, or in some other way get involved in the important issues of our day.

We now air the “Wisconsin Family Minute” on:

The Family - at 6:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on stations:

          WEMI 91.9-FM Appleton/Oshkosh

101.7-FM Fond du lac

101.7-FM Ripon

          WEMY 91.5-FM Green Bay

96.5-FM Two Rivers/Manitowoc

View listening areas for these stations HERE.

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89Q (89.5-FM) in Schofield at 10:30 a.m.

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On VCY America Stations:

          WVCY-FM 107.7-FM Milwaukee at 5:07 p.m.
and on the following VCY America stations at approximately 3:35 p.m.:
          WVCX 98.9-FM Tomah
          WVCS 90.1-FM Owen
          WVCF 90.5-FM Eau Claire
          WEGZ 105.9-FM Washburn
          WVRN 88.9-FM Wittenberg
          WVFL 89.9-FM Fond du Lac
          WVCX 91.1-FM Madison/McFarland
          WVCY 90.1-FM Monroe
          WVCX 89.5-FM Prairie du Chien
          WVCY 94.9-FM Sheboygan
          WVCX 92.1-FM Ripon
WVCY-AM 690-AM Oshkosh

Wisconsin Family Minute Interactive Map – Find a Station Near You

Praying for Marriage and Families on Baraboo’s Courthouse Steps

Pastor Jon Arneson from Baraboo Assembly of God delivers a prayer for marriage and families on the front steps of the Baraboo Courthouse during National Day of Prayer today, May 2, 2013. A group of over 100 community members from various denominations joined together at noon in Baraboo to “Pray for America.” Though the winds picked up and the rains came down, folks stood their ground on behalf of the nation today, interceding in prayer for the nation, our leaders, marriage, families, our citizens, and the Armed Forces.

Powerful words of President Ronald Reagan via Personhood USA.

Education, Not Capitulation: Facing the Abandonment of Core Principles

“Since the loss of the presidential election and some key US Senate seats in November, the Republican Party has been doing a great deal of introspection and constituent evaluation.  This process culminated this week with the release of the Republican National Committee’s self-titled “Growth and Opportunity Project.”
One of the points repeated a couple of times in different sections with slightly different wording is this, quoted directly from the report, “On messaging, we must change our tone—especially on certain social issues that are turning off young voters. In every session with young voters, social issues were at the forefront of the discussion; many see them as the civil rights issues of our time. We must be a party that is welcoming and inclusive for all voters.”
I’m no highly-paid or high-powered political consultant, strategist or pollster, but I think the Republican Party is headed for a disaster if they follow this path.  This isn’t a surprise to those of who are involved in politics.  For several election cycles now, the Republicans have blamed social conservatives and our pesky so-called “social issues” for their losses, often up and down the ticket.
Influential US Senator-from Ohio Rob Portman’s announcement last week added fuel to the fire. Portman says he now supports the legal redefining of marriage because it’s personal for him. His 21-year-old son has come out as a homosexual. Some are saying Portman is just the tip of the spear on this issue, that now that he has publicly announced his 180-degree reversal on marriage so will other prominent Republicans.
I’ve also noticed a growing list of younger ostensibly conservative media types who are adding their names in public to supporting same-sex marriage.  This would seem to lend credence to the findings and recommendations in the GOP’s “Growth and Opportunity Project.”
But that’s only if you are only about winning and losing elections.  Too often it appears that’s all the major parties are about, in spite of the high-sounding rhetoric we often hear.  As Governor Walker has repeatedly said, elections and elected officials should be about the next generation not the next election.
The Republicans would, I think, be well advised to take a long hard look at what they are recommending.  Essentially they are saying if their principles get in the way of winning elections, change the principles.  After all, does marriage really matter?  What really matters is whether or not there’s a capital R after an elected official’s name, right?
The two main social issues are, of course, life and marriage. Abortion became tricky for Republican leadership this last cycle because of some unfortunate missteps and misstatements from a few of their candidates.  And unlike the liberals when their candidates do similar things, the Republicans abandoned and disavowed these candidates in a nano second.  In the wake of all this, some Republican leaders have indicated they want complete control the primaries in order to ensure candidates they want get on the general election ballot so that they reduce the likelihood of these messy situations on these messy issues.  Good-by grassroots politics; hello national control—something that is supposedly anathema for Republicans.
The importance of the life issue notwithstanding, I believe marriage is the main issue the Republicans are struggling with right now.  The new platform passed in the fall is very clear on the subject—the Republican Party stands firmly on the belief that marriage is only between a man and a woman.  But apparently that was only if they won the election.
The way to bring the youth vote and the women’s vote and the rest of the conservatives who stayed home in 2012 is to educate them, not change your principles.  Young people in particular have been so brainwashed on this issue and many others by the public schools that of course they see this as a civil rights issue.  They have never been told the other side of the story. They don’t know why marriage between a man and a woman is the foundational societal institution. They have bought the lies that marriage is just about love and some fuzzy notion of commitment, that children don’t need both a mom and a dad.  They’ve bought the lies because no one has done much of anything to challenge the lies.
Remaking yourself and abandoning core principles is a dangerous response to losing an election. In my opinion it shows real arrogance and ignorance—both of which are phenomenally dangerous. There is a different path, a path of courage and conviction with a strong determination to educate not capitulate.”

American Exceptionalism: “To Whom Much Is Given”

“America is exceptional because her founding principles are exceptional.”

-WFA President Julaine Appling

Weekly commentary from WFA President Julaine Appling:

“So, did you enjoy going from your warm house or apartment to your warm church yesterday so that you could freely worship the Lord with other believers?  How was the technology?  And I’m guessing you even had a choice as to which Bible you would take to church with you.  You probably were dressed pretty nicely, too, and had a decent breakfast—or if you didn’t it was your own fault. I’m pretty sure you also rode in a vehicle that you own or are purchasing.  You may have even gone out for lunch after church.

The foregoing pretty much accurately described how my day went yesterday.  Now maybe your situation is vastly different from mine, but I can tell you I am distinctly middle-class by just about any economic standard, just like the vast majority of Americans.  I’m definitely not wealthy but I’m also not poor.  The truth is, statistically, in comparison to the rest of the world, you and I are wealthy.  In fact, we are pretty exceptional.

Recent studies, even those after the economic crisis started, continue to show that an American who is at what we call the “poverty line” is in the top 14% of the global income distribution.  Think about that.  That means a person we say is poor in America is wealthier than 86% of the rest of the world.

That statistic all by itself ought to bring some perspective to all of us. We are blessed, truly blessed.  We are exceptional.  American Christianity is really very unlike Christianity around the world.

For well over 100 years, American has been, humanly speaking, the primary means by which the world has heard the Gospel.  And it has not been our wealthy who have been completely responsible for this.  It has largely been middle-class people who work hard, attend church faithfully, and give their tithes and offerings each week who have been the financial powerhouse behind sending missionaries around the world, printing and distributing Gospel tracts, translating the Scriptures into foreign languages and more.

Our incredible affluence, even in tough economic times, is unheard of in most of the rest of the world. Our way of life is truly foreign to most people. This is all part of American Exceptionalism.  American Christians are part of the American Exceptionalism.  Exceptionalism doesn’t mean we are inherently better than others; it means we are different from others—we are exceptional. I am convinced that we are exceptional here in this great country because of how we were founded.

Our forefathers who settled Plymouth Colony in 1620 and became the strongest influence on our system of government and way of life, did not risk their lives to come to an unknown land because they heard about the better economy in the new world or because they thought the job prospects were better or the crops were improved.  No, they risked their lives for religious freedom—for the opportunity to rear their families and live their lives according to the dictates of their conscience and the teaching of the Word of God.

When they established this country, the principles and values they put into practice—principles and values largely based on the Bible—became part and parcel of this country, including being part of our founding documents and form of government.  Out of these values and principles came, for example, self-government, capitalism and free enterprise and limited government, all of which contribute to economic prosperity.  Make no mistake: America is exceptional because her founding principles are exceptional.

Today we are still relatively free and relatively prosperous. We’re still able to help the persecuted church worldwide and we are able to send the Gospel around the world. But, mark my words, as we move further and further from our founding principles and show less and less exceptionalism, we will have less prosperity and less freedom, especially for the middle class, and eventually, this profound change will show up very dramatically in how we evangelize the world—and our own communities.

Next Sunday as you prepare to go to church remember how very exceptional you are in comparison to the rest of the world. Reflect on how very blessed you are. And then remember that to whom much is given, much shall be required.”

Wisconsin Family Action presents “ASK JULAINE!”

This is a time where Wisconsin friends and families have the opportunity to ask WFA president Julaine Appling questions about the issues that concern them most. Whether the topic is legislation, about our organization, or something you’d like to know about that you feel Julaine can assist you with, Wisconsin Family Action stands ready to receive your questions and lend our very best answers! (To submit a question, email WFA at info@wisconsinfamilyaction.org OR sent via USPS mail to P.O. Box 1327, Madison, WI 53701 – No phone calls, please!)