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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.
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.”
From the desk of WFA president Julaine Appling:
Doug, father of four children in our private Christian school, sat across from me in my office early one school day. After very brief pleasantries, Doug sat up straighter in his chair and looked at me and said, “So what do you think are my kids’ God-given strengths and abilities? I want to know if what you see is what we are seeing at home. Our children are God’s gifts to us; we want to be good stewards in every way and help our kids cooperate with God in using the gifts and talents He has given them.”
The question surprised me. I’d never had a parent ask me that. I answered him thoughtfully and carefully, suggesting that he also make sure to talk with their classroom teachers.
As we stood and shook hands later, I candidly told Doug that I had never had a parent ask me that question and that I was impressed. “From my vantage,” I said, “it means you and Gail are truly intentional about how you are raising your children. It’s not often I have the honor of working with parents who take the time to really know their children individually and then purpose to work to build their character individually and to intentionally strengthen the family unit.”
Intentional, purposeful parenting is not easy, but it is absolutely essential if parents want their children to grow up to be all that God intends them to be and if they want their family unit strong and healthy.
Recently, I came across a blog that featured a post entitled “10 Ways to Build a Healthy and Happy Family.” As I read the piece, it seemed to be at least a good starting point for some practical suggestions on intentional and purposeful parenting.
The post is actually practical applications extrapolated from a book by Jim Burns, The 10 Building Blocks for a Solid Family. Wendy Hopler, of Crosswalk.com wrote the blog article from Burns’ book. I think the main points are worth mentioning. It may take a week or two to get to them all, but they are, I believe, important reminders to all families.
The first building block according to Burns and Hopler: “Be there.” It’s so obvious but so important. Someone has said showing up is half of life. For kids, parents showing up is likely almost all of life. Kids know when they aren’t a priority. When parents are really “there”—mentally, emotionally and physically, kids know that, too. They sense interest, involvement, importance. As Hopler says, “nothing can make up for your absence.”
Building block 2 is “express affirmation, warmth and encouragement.” The blog author encourages parents to be wary of “shame-based parenting,” which she contends is performance-oriented and approval focused. Don’t make everything about doing, not doing, or achieving or not achieving. Spend some relaxed time just being with your children, listening, interacting, expressing interest, letting them know you love them for them, not for what they do. This is the kind of investment that lets you learn about them and enables you to direct the child into areas of strength and help him or her on those areas of weakness.
Building block 3 is “build healthy morals and values.” This requires much prayer, study and wisdom in order to know what is going on in the culture that is influencing your children and then seeking God’s will for how to, on purpose and with intention, help each of your children—individually and collectively as a family—deal with the good, the bad and the ugly. It means making tough decisions about television, movies, the Internet, video games, and events and it also means having difficult decisions about personal purity. Parents need to come up with a personalized game-plan for each of their children. All children won’t struggle with the same areas, but all children must know what God says about what is good for them and what is bad for them.
We’ll get to the other building blocks in future commentaries. But these 3 get us started and allow for careful examination of your parenting. Are you being intentional and purposeful? Are you being personal in how you parent? No matter how much time and energy it requires, I can guarantee you this is an investment with returns so high they cannot even be calculated.
Fatherlessness: A Crisis of the Highest Magnitude in Our Culture
I probably ought to do this commentary on marriage in Wisconsin. Maybe I should address some of the amazing statements Judge Barbara Crabb made in her ruling that ignored the votes of 1.6 million Wisconsin citizens and overturned the marriage protection amendment. Or maybe I should address the judge’s apparent desire to delay clarifying her order and issuing a stay so that all persons of the same-sex who wanted to could get marriage licenses in the seven-day window her disregard for the rule of law opened. But I’m going to resist the pull to do any of that.
Instead I’m going to talk about fathers—yes, I know Fathers’ Day was this past Sunday. No matter.
Now, I can’t resist the obvious here. In declaring Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment unconstitutional, Judge Crabb basically said children do not need both a mother and a father to grow up to be productive, healthy, contributing citizens. Yes, that’s exactly what legalizing same-sex marriage does. It purposefully and legally deprives a child of either a mother or a father.
This I know. Children need their fathers. Late last month, Wisconsin Family Council released our new publication, Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition. A couple of weeks ago in this commentary, I discussed some of the data in this document. I noted that written all over it is the impact of fatherlessness on our families, communities and state. When fathers are not in the homes, children are subjected to an unbelievable host of problems. It’s a miracle when a child is in a single-mother home and isn’t profoundly affected by many of these ills.
So here are some of the problems single-mother children are much more likely to experience over children who live with their married moms and dads. They are more likely to experience poverty, to experience truancy, to drop out of school, to live dependent on government, to get in trouble with the law, to abuse drugs and alcohol, to be sexually active before marriage, to have health issues, to be subjected to physical and sexual abuse—and the list goes on.
I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say fathers are pretty much irreplaceable in the lives of their children. More and more research is showing what we should know by experience and common sense that fathers don’t parent like mothers. That they are typically the parent that lays out the boundaries, encourages some risk taking, provides a very real sense of comfort and security, toughens up boys and protects girls, comes at life and parenting from a more logical than emotional approach. All of this balances the incredible, also-irreplaceable contributions from a mother. God, the designer of male and female and marriage, gave to both of them all that they need, in a complementary way, so that they can together provide exactly what children need.
Fatherlessness is a crisis of the highest magnitude in our culture. I am haunted by the closing verses of the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi 4:5 and 6. The prophet Malachi writes: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
That verse tells me, sadly, that fatherlessness is not new—and that it takes work and determination for fathers to stay connected to their children. Apparently God thinks that a strong father-child relationship is important, even if federal judges don’t. He tells us that if the hearts of the fathers and children aren’t turned towards one another, He, Almighty God, was going to smite the earth with a curse. His plan is for men and women to marry, generally to have children, and to together bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. When society skips the marriage part of God’s plan but still has babies or breaks this lifelong commitment by divorce, we reap the natural consequences of our choices. The problem is the children are the ones who suffer first, most and longest.
In a time when judges and liberals are bent on destroying God’s plan for marriage and family, we as Christians must hold God’s standard high and we must certainly rally around fathers and fatherhood—for the sake of the children. May we seek, like Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.
WFA president Julaine Appling via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/9/2014:
“With the single stroke of the pen of a single, unelected, unaccountable judge, marriage has been turned on its head in Wisconsin, the will of the people thwarted, the rule of law disregarded.
Some are saying same-sex marriage is now “allowed” in Wisconsin. That’s not true. We the people did not “allow” this seismic change in our foundational societal institution. We had it thrust upon us by an activist judge with an agenda.
The citizens of our state spoke on this issue in 2006 with a solid vote (over 59%) in favor of keeping marriage between one man and one woman. Our votes and voice were wrested from us by this judge and by those who took the cowardly way and ran to the court rather than try to dismantle the amendment the same way the amendment was enacted.
Now that U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb has ruled, presto — state’s rights and the will of the people notwithstanding, restricting marriage to one man and one woman is somehow, almost magically, unconstitutional. The message from this ruling is clear. The millions of citizens who voted to protect marriage in 38 states, including 1.6 million Wisconsin citizens, and all the lawmakers who were involved in crafting and approving the language of the amendments were too ignorant to understand the U.S. Constitution. Crabb and federal judges in 14 states have ignored the expressed will of the majority and instead allowed a well-organized, well-funded, vocal minority to redefine the institution of marriage.
The fallout from Friday’s ruling, should it stand, will be profound. While it may take some time for the effects to be noticeable, they will begin, in subtle ways, immediately.”
Read the rest HERE.
Press release from Wisconsin Family Action:
Federal Judge Brings Some Order to the Chaos
MADISON—Late today US District Judge Barbara Crabb granted Attorney General JB Van Hollen’s request for a stay on her order regarding the redefinition of marriage in Wisconsin. The judge also clarified her previous order as written in her original ruling issued last Friday. That ruling unilaterally declared Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment unconstitutional, thus trouncing on the votes of over 1.6 million Wisconsin citizens who approved the amendment in November 2006. Her injunction today ordered county clerks to issue marriage licenses to couples of the same sex. Her stay, however, means that the marriage amendment restricting marriage to one man and one woman remains in place for the duration of the judicial proceedings on this matter.
“While I disagree totally with Judge Crabb’s ruling in this case, I am pleased that she at least put a stop to the chaos that ensued from her original vague order in this matter. It is altogether appropriate that this stay be ordered while this case works its way through the appeals process,” stated Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action (WFA), and one of four other WFA board members who filed a “friend-of-the-court” brief in this case. “Judge Crabb’s ambiguity and vagueness in her original order has caused undue and absolutely unnecessary turmoil in our state.
“The rule of law has seemed to be merely some pesky summer insect to many in our state who have urged county clerks to issue the licenses, in spite of what Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has directed. This judge, in concert with those determined to redefine society’s foundational institution of marriage, turned Wisconsin from being a state where the law is respected into a place where apparently everyone, especially elected county clerks, can do that which is right in his own eyes. Fortunately, today we have clarity which should bring an end to the confusion. Clerks who persist in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples will be doing so in clear violation of the judge’s order.”
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has already appealed the decision to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. That court has ordered both sides to submit briefs supporting their position of whether the appeals court should take the case. In light of Judge Crabb’s order and stay today, it would seem the way is cleared for that court to now take the case.
“As disturbing as all of the legal gyrations have been in this case, what disturbs us most is Judge Crabb’s decision regarding the amendment and what she said about marriage in her opinion. She made some breathtaking pronouncements that must be challenged. As amici, we are today releasing a response to some specific aspects of the Judge’s ruling.” continued Appling.
Wisconsin Family Action’s response to Judge Crabb’s ruling is available HERE.
“What happened to ‘We the People?” asks Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling in a press release that went out last Friday, June 6, shortly after the ruling from U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb (Western District Court) that deemed Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment unconstitutional and opened the door for “same-sex marriages” to go full-steam ahead throughout the state.
- Read Wisconsin Family Action’s full press release HERE.
- Listen to the podcast of Julaine Appling as she addresses the attack on marriage across our nation on WVCY’s Crosstalk America HERE.
Since Wisconsin’s county clerks have neither been mandated nor barred from issuing same-sex “marriage licenses,” they appear to be spinning in circles as they try to determine how to react to this decision that left no directive. At last report, just over half of the counties in Wisconsin are issuing the paperwork, yet others are waiting for guidance from state Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen before taking any action. Many clerks have publicly stated they have no idea what to do about the signature blocks on the paperwork that read “husband” and “wife” and feel they must wait for the appropriate paperwork to be provided.
Since Crabb’s ruling did not mandate county clerks to issue the homosexual “marriage” licenses, it was left up to each individual county to decide how to interpret the ruling and act accordingly. Crabb was reported to have said she was waiting for the ACLU to “draft an order for her spelling out how the organization wants her decision implemented,”
In the meantime, the State Department of Health Services (DOHS) is not processing the same-sex “marriage” licenses and have them on “hold” until more direction is given from the attorney general’s office. The DOHS made it clear that there are no promises being made that the “marriage” licenses issued to same-sex couples will be accepted.
Sound confusing? We agree. The confusion and chaos continues because of a very small but very loud and very well-organized and well-funded minority wants its way, a way that stands to ultimately undermine the foundational institution of marriage. In this case they seem to be very much aided and abetted by a liberal, activist federal judge–and many ELECTED county clerks.
What does it all mean? Julaine Appling says, “With a single stroke of a single arrogant and liberal activist federal judge, marriage in Wisconsin was turned on its head and the will of the people was trumped.”
That’s not all; there’s much more to say regarding the ruling that overturned Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment and the will of the Badger State’s voters. Read the rest of Julaine’s commentary HERE.
Incidentally, the ruling came just before the scheduled weekend event in Milwaukee, “PrideFest.”