SCOTUS strikes blow against parental rights

From ParentalRights.Org:

SCOTUSThe Supreme Court of the United States has been in the news a lot lately with some major decisions regarding the balance of power. But one decision you may not have heard about – a decision to not make a decision – may have the biggest impact on your parental rights.

On Monday – the same day the Court handed down their rulings in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Harris v. Quinn – they also chose to deny cert to (that is, they opted not to review) Pickup v. Brown and Welch v. Brown. In doing so, they left in place a California ban on reparative therapy which treads on parental rights.

 

Read the rest HERE

WFA president Julaine Appling states, “These laws truly trample on parental rights but then government today seems to think children are their heritage, not the heritage of the Lord given to married moms and dad to love, direct and nurture.  We had a similar bill introduced this session in Madison. Fortunately, it went nowhere but I’m sure it will be back. Parents need to stay tuned in and engaged on this important issue.

In God We Trust?

From the desk of WFA president Julaine Appling:

 

I ended up with a $20 bill in my hand over the weekend—not for long, I assure you. But for a change, I was still enough long enough to really look at the bill. The way I was holding it the words “In God We Trust” loomed large.  It was almost as if I had never seen them before. They fairly leaped off the bill.

In-God-We-Trust-415x276I paused and pondered. “In God We Trust.”  For a few moments I allowed myself to be transported to 1776.  Did the founders of this great country really trust in God?  Who did they look to for direction in a time of great adversity, a time of the heavy hand of government taking away their individual freedoms and their ability to self-determine?  We don’t have to look much beyond the words of the Declaration of Independence for a reasonable answer.

Fifty-six different men signed this document. Men from all walks of life, representing the diversity of the various colonies. They knew what they were doing. The Declaration of Independence represented the sentiments of all of those who took the quill, dipped it in the ink well and with their signature pledged to one another, their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.

While written relatively quickly, the Declaration of Independence was not hastily or casually considered. Records show that some 86 changes were made including the insertion of three complete paragraphs, before the final vote on the document on July 4th. The deliberations and the number of and types of changes tell me that they were extremely careful about the wording.

In the opening paragraph of this incredible document, the signers make a bold statement regarding the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” with the word God capitalized. For those men, there was no doubt as to which god they were referring. This was God Almighty, the Creator God.

The second paragraph has that phenomenal declaration:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Again, there was universal agreement among the signers that the Creator was the same as “Nature’s God.”

In the concluding paragraph, the colonists through their elected representatives to Congress, boldly declare their decision:  “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be free and independent states, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown…”

Strong words. Frightening words. But I note that their trust was not in themselves, individually or collectively.  Rather their trust and their appeal was to the “Supreme Judge of the world” to God Almighty.  In those days, no one asked, “Who were they talking about using that phrase?”  Everyone knew.    It was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

For those 56 men who risked everything signing this document, “In God We Trust” was not a nice-sounding national motto showing up on paper currency.  It was a rock solid belief.  It was direction in the midst of oppressive circumstances.  It was the light of hope in the midst of the darkness of tyranny.

How the times have changed. One of the most profound, world-changing documents ever penned referred 3 specific times to God. Today, some 238 years later, we seriously entertain abolishing the motto, removing it from coins, taking out “one nation under God” from the pledge and completely eliminating God from our culture and government.

I assert that such actions would be absolutely unthinkable to those who risked everything so that you and I could, as their posterity, live even today in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”  So what does “In God We Trust” mean to you as you prepare to celebrate July 4th with friends and family?  Is it just a nice motto or is it a bedrock belief lived out every day?

WFA President Appling on SCOTUS Religious Freedom Ruling “Good News, but ‘Telling’”

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby and others in a momentous case that upholds religious liberty and protects the conscience rights of business owners.

>>>>>read more HERE

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Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling responds, “This is certainly good news for Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood Specialties and other similarly situated family-owned and run companies. It is telling, however, that the Court made it clear that this ruling does not provide, as they say, a “shield” for employers trying to cloak discrimination as religious belief.  This tells me we must stay very much on guard to protect religious freedom.”

BREAKING: Statewide Pro-Family Group Releases New Publication TODAY

Press release from Wisconsin Family Council:

STATEWIDE PRO-FAMILY GROUP RELEASES NEW PUBLICATION
Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition shows well-being of state closely tied to well-being of marriage and family

Madison, WI—Today Wisconsin Family Council (WFC) announced the release of Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition.  WFC will formally introduce the Cultural Indicators at noon today at The Machine Shed Restaurant in Appleton, Wisconsin. The Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition, is a premier publication unique to Wisconsin Family Council in the state.  It provides an overview of important indicators that impact Wisconsin and the state’s best resource: traditional families.

Image“We are pleased to provide this important resource for lawmakers, educators, pastors and ministry leaders, community leaders and concerned citizens in Wisconsin,” said Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Council. “Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators shows long-term trends affecting the social and economic health of Wisconsin’s families and children. When our families are strong, our state is strong. And the converse is certainly true, as well.”

The seventy-page publication includes data and trends for indicators such as “Family Structure and Income,” “Childbearing and Poverty,” “Births to Teenagers Age 15-19,” “Expenditures for Public Education (K-12),” “Underage Drinking Among High School Students,” and “Juvenile Arrests,” as well as a “Government Entitlement Analysis.”

“Over and over again, the data and trends clearly indicate that married, husband-wife families, on average, are in everyone’s best interest. They bolster the state’s economy and provide the best place for children to grow up to become healthy, well-adjusted, contributing workers and citizens.” said Appling. “This publication is designed to help decision makers and leaders craft policy and programs that strengthen marriage and families and in doing so strengthen our communities and state.”   

Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition Executive Summary and Table of Contents is available online.

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Wisconsin Family Council is a statewide, not-for-profit organization advancing Judeo-Christian principles and values in Wisconsin by strengthening, preserving and promoting marriage, family, life and liberty.

The Reality of War: Sacrifice

From the desk of WFA president Julaine Appling:

I am, technically speaking, a daughter of the South—born and reared for the first twelve years of my life in Atlanta, Georgia.  Amongst other things, including a Southern drawl that rivaled the best of them, I grew up with a true Southern take on the Civil War or the War Between the States.  I was told repeatedly to save my Confederate money because the South would rise again.

To me, Sherman’s March to the Sea via Atlanta, wasn’t just a story.  It was very real to me as I considered that he had burned my home city en route.  I had visited numerous local historical spots made famous by the battle that essentially leveled this beautiful city.  In addition, I was a somewhat frequent visitor at the Civil War Cyclorama in downtown Atlanta.  Because it was on the top of my father’s “must-do” list for any visitor, I was able to go numerous times. Dad was smitten with it, in spite of the fact he was a transplanted Yankee from Michigan.

ImageThe Cyclorama, for those of you unfortunate Northerners who haven’t yet had the privilege of seeing it, is a huge circular oil painting and a diorama that so perfectly blends in with the painting that you can’t tell where the three-dimensional representation stops and the one dimensional starts.   It graphically and vividly depicts the Battle of Atlanta on July 26, 1864.  Music and sound and visual effects accompany the telling of the story as visitors are absolutely drawn into the scene as they sit on a rotating platform during the presentation.

Even now, many years later, I can still recall the smoke filling the room after we’d heard cannons firing.  I can see the flashes of light and the flames being highlighted.  But what I most vividly see is the bodies—the bodies of soldiers, both Confederate and Union, lying bloody, either dead or dying.  Maybe it was at the Cyclorama that I first realized that war requires sacrifice—especially the sacrifice of human life.  Now I know that those soldiers were someone’s son, father, husband, grandfather, uncle, brother, nephew, friend…and they had given everything they had and were in cause they believed in, regardless of whether they were wearing grey or blue uniforms.

Years after my last time visiting the Cyclorama, I watched a World War II movie that reminded me again of that very real and very sobering truth.   In a stunning way, I realized anew that the fact that my father survived his 2 years on the front lines in the European theater was nothing short of God’s grace.  Nearly 300,000 of those who served with Dad in World War II died as a result of injuries on the battle field.

War isn’t pretty—ever.  It’s bloody and often very costly—especially in terms of human life.  No war we’ve ever been involved with has been without American casualties.  According to the government’s statistics, well over 650,000 armed services personnel have died as a result of battlefield injuries.   These are the men and women who gave the last full measure of devotion.

ImageHonoring these fallen heroes on Memorial Day, this Monday, May 26, is altogether fitting. Whether they were coerced, cajoled, drafted or volunteered, the bottom line is each of these men and women was on some battle field defending our freedom, our form of government, our national interests, when their lives ended.

This Memorial Day, while some of us may go to a ceremony or put some flowers on the grave of a veteran, other Wisconsin families will be observing it quite differently.  For more than 127 Wisconsin families this coming Memorial Day will be different. They will be without their son or daughter who died in either Afghanistan or Iraq.  Whether this is the twelfth such Memorial Day or the third such Memorial Day, it is certain that for these Wisconsin families Memorial Day will never be the same.

How fortunate I’ve been.  I’ve never lost a loved one in battle, and I’ve never seen a battle first-hand.  Like many of you, my experience regarding war has been from the safety and distance of such things as the Cyclorama, movies, books and news clips, which, while often very realistic and sometimes even real, still aren’t the real thing.  This Memorial Day may we each recall that for some Americans war has been horribly real—the last real thing they ever knew.  May we thank God for those who on some battlefield have sacrificed their all for us.  May we pray, too, for the safety for those still standing in harm’s way on our behalf—those still willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.

WI Rep Kleefisch Calls Out Freedom From Religion Foundation

After witnessing an offensive sign on display in the Wisconsin State Capitol rotunda a few weeks ago, Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) decided to send out a press release countering the message. The release’s headline was “Thank God, the Atheists Have a Voice.”  The sign was put up by the Madison-based organization Freedom From Religion Foundation in response to a Christian Easter display a few weeks ago.  Kleefisch remarks, “I guess if I were responsible for the FFRF marketing message, I’d find some actual proof God doesn’t exist to counter the multitudes of proof He does.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is in the process of enlarging their offices on W. Washington Street in Madison (photo, left) and we can expect to see more activity as they go from an old apartment complex to a four-story building near our state capitol.  Construction is being done by NCI-Roberts, general contractor who, ironically, is also in the midst of putting an addition on Door Creek Church in Madison. The FFRF building is named the “Free Thought Building,” but NCI wrongly and quite badly refers to it as “The Freedom Building.”

Should we be doing yet another social experiment on children? Mom and Dad still best environment

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:

What’s the best environment for children? That’s a question we had all better be paying attention to, especially lawmakers and other government officials. Our future depends on getting this one right.

It’s not really that hard of a question. People just don’t always like the answer. Social science research shows repeatedly and conclusively that the very best environment for children is to be brought up in the homes of their married moms and dads.

It really doesn’t matter what characteristic you look at. Children from intact mom-and-dad families do better than their peers in other household arrangements and avoid many of the problems that those children frequently encounter.

Children from married mother-father homes are less likely to experience poverty, do better in school, are more likely to finish high school, have better health, are less likely to be physically or sexually abused, are less likely to develop drug or alcohol addictions, are less likely to become sexually active at early ages, are likely to earn more, are more likely to go on for higher education, and are less likely to themselves divorce. That’s just a sampling of the conclusions social science again and again and again determines from their studies.

Extrapolating from this information, we can properly assume that children from intact, married mom-and-dad homes grow up, on average, to be good citizens, givers more than takers, strong contributors to their own families and communities, and skilled and good workers.

If government is concerned about anything, it should be concerned about the next generation of workers, taxpayers, leaders, entrepreneurs, creative geniuses, teachers and more. It’s the next generation that will one day pay the bills—and the debt—that government generates.

Apparently, however, government is willing to ignore the data that continues to pour in regarding what is best for children. Their policies and positions certainly would indicate that is the case. For instance, while no reliable study and data show that children brought up in the homes of two men or two women do as well as children brought up in the homes of married men and women, the government, including judges, keep touting that this household structure is just fine for children.

Some argue that given enough time, the data will change and will show what they want it to show—that children in same-sex households do just as well—or even better—than children in married mom-and-dad families. I don’t believe that reliable, reputable research will ever show that; but beyond that, I don’t think we should be doing yet another social experiment on children. Haven’t we learned the hard way from no-fault divorce?

I guess not since there continues to be an aggressive push to make all forms of households equal when it comes to children.

Mom and DadAt the State Republican Convention a couple of weeks ago, a resolution entitled “Family Values and Sanctity of Human Life.” In that resolution, there were some excellent statements made about life and about religious freedom. Also included was this statement: “Be it further resolved, that marriage between a man and a woman is the best environment to raise children and to teach them the values and morals required to maintain a free society.”

When the resolution came to the floor, a delegate rose and identified himself as being a representative from the Log Cabin Republicans, the pro-homosexual subset of the Republican Party. He wanted to amend this part of the resolution to say, “a household with two parents in a committed relationship is the best environment to raise children.” It’s pretty obvious what he was trying to do—have the party endorse same-sex relationships and same-sex adoption. An interesting debate ensued. Some rose to support this delegate’s amendment, but many others rose to voice their opposition.

Fortunately, in the end the amendment was defeated and the resolution was resoundingly passed and is now part of the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s official party platform. However, it’s the first time I know of where the Log Cabin Republicans were that visible and vocal at the convention and also the first time there has been an overt, from-the-floor attempt to change the state Republican Party’s position on this foundational issue. I’m grateful the majority of the delegates stood strong, recognizing that what is truly best for children, but I do consider this a shot across the bow that some in the state GOP are pushing hard for a very dangerous change to the party’s position.

What shows up in a party platform is meaningless unless those who are elected wholeheartedly agree and enact policies that strengthen, preserve and promote the kind of family structures that are truly best for our future because they are best for children.