The Valley Family Forum, a grassroots network chapter of The Family Foundation, will hold its 10th Annual Shenandoah Valley "Celebration of God and Country Dinner," Friday, May 13, at 6:30 in Harrisonburg at the James Madison University Festival Conference and Student Center. The keynote speaker is Bishop Earl Jackson, founder of Exodus Faith Ministries, the former Chaplain of The Family Foundation's Pastors for Family Values, and current candidate for the U.S. Senate (see Virginia Virtucon). Bishop Jackson is a retired Marine and Harvard-educated attorney, and a popular speaker seen frequently on national cable news programs. Reservations are available now for complete tables or individual tickets. Each table seats eight at $25 per person. To make a reservation, e-mail the Forum at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Dean Welty at (540) 438-8966. Business sponsorships are also available at varying levels.
Last week, at the Call To Prayer at the state capitol that officially inaugurated the Virginia Legislative Prayer Caucus, we caught on camera another type of caucus: The Virginia Republican Candidates for U.S. Senate Caucus. In particular, we saw Jamie Radtke (see Ben Pershing at the Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog) and Bishop Earl Jackson (see Richmond Times-Dispatch) speaking to each other as the event neared its conclusion.Was this a first debate? After all, there were plenty of mics and cameras nearby. If and when there is a debate, it may have to be outdoors — there may not be a building big enough to hold all the candidates. Still, we have to wonder: What were they discussing? Or were they debating after all? Oh, to be a fly buzzing around that meeting!
Former Virginia Tea Party chair Jamie Radtke (left, white shirt, turning to greet someone) and Bishop Earl Jackson, former chaplain of The Family Foundation's Pastors For Family Values (back to camera), both candidates for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2012, have a friendly discussion at the state capitol last week. Believe me, we had a great shot until the man in the gray jacket stepped forward, and then had to scoot off to lobby for the two pro-life amendments adopted during the General Assembly's Veto Session.
If you have never had the opportunity to hear Family Foundation and Pastors For Family Values chaplain Bishop Earl Jackson speak, you are missing one of Virginia's great modern day speakers and thinkers. He is a wonderful addition to our team and is wowing people of all types all over the commonwealth. Bishop Jackson, a challenging and gifted orator, is quickly becoming an in-demand favorite at events and rallies around Virginia. One such event is later this week, where Bishop Jackson will join former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former U.S. Senator George Allen and others at Freedom Fest 2010 in Norfolk. Billed as a "Tribute to our military and first responders," Freedom Fest 2010 will take place Sunday, June 27, at 6:30 p.m. at Old Dominion University's Convocation Center. Tickets start at $45, but you can enter the promotion code "church" when purchasing tickets and receive a 20 percent discount on the ticket price.
"We don't do politics. . . ." A small sample of Bishop Earl Jackson shows why he is one of the most in-demand public speakers in Virginia.
In October, we announced an online contest to reward the person who distributed the most voter guides prior to the election. We also announced a drawing for all who participated in our online contest. Congratulations to Donna Moore, our contest winner, who distributed nearly 10,000 voter guides to churches and various groups in the Fredericksburg area. Donna is a member of the Rappahannock Family Forum and has been actively engaged in making a difference in that region for years. We will send Donna a beautiful framed photograph of the state capitol.
Also, congratulations to Tony Armstrong of Newport News, who won the overall drawing. He will receive an autographed copy of the book From Hope to Higher Ground by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
We offer our sincere thanks to all who distributed voter guides during the past campaign. With your help, we placed nearly 900,000 voter guides in churches and with civic groups throughout The Old Dominion! This is by far our largest voter guide distribution effort and we believe our voter guides had a big impact on the election. CNN exit polls reported that 34 percent of those who voted were born again/evangelicals, 83 percent of whom voted for the winning candidates. That is the highest percentage of voting for that demographic since CNN began exit polling in Virginia, giving the winning ticket nearly 50 percent of their votes.
This does not take into account our many African-American friends, such as new Pastors For Family Values Chaplain, Bishop Earl Jackson. We also published our first voter guide in Spanish and received much positive response from pastors in the Hispanic community. But . . . there is still work to do!
Please continue to keep our Winning Matters efforts in your prayers. There are at least two special elections to fill vacant Senate seats (to replace Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli and Virginia Beach Sheriff-elect Ken Stolle) and maybe more as Governor-elect Bob McDonnell selects his cabinet appointees. We will be "on the job" and "on the ground" with our Winning Matters team, covering these elections, motivating and educating voters to make an informed choice at the ballot box.
Tonight, you are part of the largest crowd to ever attend a Family Foundation Gala. Thank you for joining us and for your support of our work. Tonight is the first time that we have held our gala prior to Election Day. The past two galas, in fact, took place in the days immediately following elections, where we came together to lick our wounds and try to find solace after two miserable election seasons. Of course, we were being blamed for election loses by both politicians and pundits. Conservative principles, we were told, just can’t win. We were encouraged to shut up and go away. Frustration was growing among those of us who still believe in transcendent values, and that those values can win on Election Day.
So last year, I told you that we as pro-family Virginians had a choice. We could allow the frustration we all have felt to drive us to simply give up, see politics as a lost cause, return to our church pews and leave the field. Or, we could regroup, refocus, reshape our message, and work harder than we have ever worked before to make sure that our values are protected. We could ignore the pundits, the politicians and the naysayers and simply outwork those opposed to us.
Of course, there really was no choice. We simply cannot quit at any point, because we know that the values we share are the only values that can save our culture. They are principles that can make the lives of all Virginians better. We have positive solutions to the problems that families face.
Now, a year later, we are on the verge of an election where, perhaps, things will be different. Next week, we may elect pro-family conservatives to all three statewide offices, and even add pro-family legislators. Tonight, we look forward to Election Day with cautious optimism. One might even say we look forward to the future with hope for change. Perhaps, like me, while you anticipate electoral victory, you realize that it is just one small part of the cultural renewal that we seek. Maybe that is why, tonight, my enthusiasm for candidates is tempered by the knowledge that there is so much more to be done.
Let me make something perfectly clear. The optimism we feel, the anticipation for success, is not built on any single candidate or party. While many in this room are working tirelessly for individual candidates, our hope is not predicated on the person, but on the principles those candidates claim, and their record of action that supports those claims.
Last year, I made a commitment to you that The Family Foundation would not back down, would not quit, but would instead work harder than we ever have before. I pledged to you that we would work to reach more Virginians with the positive message of the sanctity of life, the importance of marriage, of freedom, of liberty. I promised that we would build our network of grassroots supporters. I told you that, through Pastors For Family Values, we would reach more pastors than ever before.
And that’s exactly what we have done. Just look around you this evening. Also, can I have all the pastors that are in attendance please stand so that we may recognize you?
Now, I know that our attendance tonight has just a little bit to do with our speaker, but I also believe it’s because you are committed to the mission of The Family Foundation and the work that we are doing. Tonight is simply a reflection of the value each of us places on this work. A moment of renewal; of celebration; of motivation. Leaving this room last November I know many of us had a renewed excitement, a rekindled dedication, and we got to work.
With that new motivation, this year The Family Foundation and our sister organization The Family Foundation Action undertook the largest and most expensive voter education and voter mobilization campaign in our history, called Winning Matters. Thanks to the help of an organization called Let Freedom Ring, we were given the opportunity to create Winning Matters, and thanks to many of you we met the challenge. This campaign is larger than the marriage amendment campaign of 2006 in both scope and cost. Incredibly, in a time where everyone is feeling the pinch of the recession, we raised the money necessary to meet Let Freedom Ring’s financial match.
Because of many of you in this room, we currently have eleven Winning Matters staff, nine of whom have been working with churches across Virginia, meeting pastors, attending community and political events, using social networking — every tool we can think of — to educate and mobilize our voters. Together, we have contacted more than 4000 churches, distributed over 100,000 GA Report Cards — more than twice as many as ever before — conducted or initiated hundreds of voter registration drives; we’ve identified over 40,000 pro-family Virginians who weren’t registered and mailed them forms and encouraged them to register and vote.
Over the course of this week we will be doing several Get Out The Vote Phone calls with Chuck Colson, Mike Huckabee and Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King. And we will be mailing thousands of voter education pieces to key House districts where pro-family conservatives are on the ballot. As we speak we are distributing nearly 1 million voter guides in 38 races to educate voters, including a Spanish statewide Voter Guide. For the first time this year we have also created a video Voter Guide to distribute virally through social networking sites.
We know that pro-family voters make the difference in every election, either by showing up, or not. We can honestly say that this election season pro-family voters have no excuse. They will be registered, educated and mobilized like never before.
But while we anticipate the success of pro-family candidates one week from now, we must remember that this is not the conclusion of our work, it is the beginning. One need only remember that just a few short years ago many of us celebrated the reelection of George Bush, anticipating the success of our principles. And while we were rewarded with two principled Supreme Court justices, we also became frustrated by someone who saw government as the solution to our economic troubles instead of the cause. We must remember that the terms “bailouts” and “stimulus package” didn’t start with President Obama, but instead with someone that many of us in this room helped get elected.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the first time we’ve been let down by those we’ve supported, and it may not be the last. But it is up to us to make it harder for those who claim our values during election season to abandon them once elected.
We expect, we demand, we deserve better. Let me be clear:
We expect that the first budget introduced by the next Governor of Virginia will ban taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood.
We expect that the first budget introduced by the next Governor of Virginia will fund roads, not the destruction of innocent human life.
We expect that the next Governor of Virginia will restore right of state police chaplains to pray in the name of Jesus.
We expect that the next Governor of Virginia will not stop at Charter Schools, but will open the locked doors of a quality education for all children in Virginia by providing real school choice.
We expect the next Governor of Virginia to reduce, not increase, the tax burden on Virginia’s businesses and families.
We expect the next Governor of Virginia to care more about the culture of Virginia than the road to the White House.
And we will not accept anything less.
But we will not simply leave it in the hands of the elected officials. Honestly, we cannot expect politicians to change the culture alone. I heard a pro-family leader recently who made a very strong statement about politically active Christians. He said that the first people to quit when we lose elections are Christians and the first people to quit when we win elections are Christians.
Again, let me be clear. Regardless of what happens next week, The Family Foundation will not quit. Winning Matters is not the end, it is the beginning.
The Family Foundation works at the place where our culture, our faith, and our politics intersect. While Winning Matters has concentrated on the political side, it is just part of our mission. We know that the only way we can be sure that our values are truly protected is by winning more people to our cause. There are still too many people who share our pews but don’t share our values or that have not joined the battle. We must reach them. One way we are doing this is our new partnership with Focus on the Family to bring The Truth Project, a comprehensive, transformational worldview-training program, to Virginia. We hope that through The Truth Project thousands of Virginians will be challenged to not just confront the culture, but to transform it. Anyone who has been through the Truth Project, or had the privilege of leading it as my husband and I have, know the impact this program can have.
We will continue to build our grassroots networks across Virginia, one chapter, one county, one Virginian at a time. We will continue to challenge pastors to speak truth to power through Pastors For Family Values. And let me just say how thrilled I am to announce tonight that Bishop Earl Jackson has agreed to be the new Chaplain for The Family Foundation and in that role the new leader of Pastors For Family Values.
Of course, we will continue to do what we do best. We will be there on January 13th when the General Assembly comes to town, advocating for your values in the hallways of the General Assembly building. Legislators can count on seeing our faces as they walk through the capitol building. We will continue to generate tens of thousands of e-mails from people just like you to our elected officials on the legislation, the issues, you care so passionately about. That isn’t going to change.
On the day the Declaration of Independence was signed, John Adams wrote a letter to his beloved wife Abigail. His words ring as true for us more than two hundred years later:
I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means.
As we gaze into the future it is clear that the work we have before us is great, and will cost us dearly. Yet while we have been called to this arena we call politics, while we work day in and day out to affect our culture though civic activism, and that means asking our elected officials to battle on our behalf, our hope, our trust, cannot rest entirely on them. Our trust, our hope, must be on the One who is greater than any. The light and glory that John Adams spoke of came from a recognition that the new nation he was part of founding was birthed with a reliance on God.
The foe they faced was so much greater than we could ever imagine. This rag tag group of independent colonists that bickered among themselves and could agree on little was facing the greatest nation and greatest army on earth. No one in their right mind thought they would be victorious. But we know on whom the Founding Fathers relied.
I am reminded of the words of Psalm 20:
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
Tonight, as we look toward the future, while we anticipate new successes, as we hope for a renewal of our culture with the values we hold dear, let us do so with the knowledge and comfort that comes from knowing the one true God of the universe. Yes, we have a duty to carry His banner not just in our homes and churches, but also in our offices, our communities, and our government. And carry that banner we will, with truth and with grace. We will fight with chariots and horses, but we will trust in our God.
Thank you and God bless you.
The nearly 1,300 pro-family Virginians who gathered at the Greater Richmond Convention Center last night at The Family Foundation of Virginia’s Annual Gala were treated to a fantastic evening of inspiration, motivation and topped off by a wonderful keynote address by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. The host of the Fox News Channel hit Huckabee was in great form with an inspirational speech filled with philosophy, morality, Biblical principles, humor (lava soap, anyone?) and capped with a moving exposition as to what happens when people ignore the tragedies around them (see Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog). Just a week before election day, it was abundantly clear that pro-family citizens are excited about the future and are mobilized to act. The energy in the convention center was palpable. From the beginning of the program with an inspirational rendition of our National Anthem by eight-year-old Alana Springsteen to the final special music by April Lee, no one could leave room last night not feeling excited about the future of Virginia and the future of The Family Foundation.
Governor Huckabee combined humor with personal stories and an emotional challenge to the crowd, encouraging them to fight for our freedom, regardless of the cost. Touching on his time as a pastor and then as a politician, he made it abundantly clear that there is no time when Christians should abandon politics and government. Instead, we must continue to fight for our values to ensure a prosperous future.
As Family Foundation of Virginia President Victoria Cobb told the audience:
We look forward to election day this year with cautious optimism. One might even say we look forward to the future with hope for change. Yet, while we may anticipate electoral victory, we realize that it is just one small part of the cultural renewal that we seek, and there is so much more to be done. The Family Foundation has had one of the busiest years in our history, but the results on Election Day are not the completion of our work – just a new beginning.
The Family Foundation Gala has become the largest pro-family gathering of its kind in Virginia and Governor Huckabee’s message was perfect for the evening. Joining the him in the program were our emcee, and new Chaplain to The Family Foundation's Pastors For Family Values, Bishop Earl Jackson; Speaker of the House Bill Howell, who introduced Governor Huckabee; and Pastor Jonathan Falwell of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, who gave the invocation and voiced strong support for the Family Foundation's work.
Also last evening, Delegate Glenn Oder (R-94, Newport News) was honored with The Family Foundation’s Legislator of the Year Award for his leadership on payday lending reform (see The Shad Plank). Delegate Oder showed principled leadership and an ability to work with a diverse coalition of organizations and legislators to get results on a tough issue. The compromise bill he was able to craft has significantly reduced the number of payday lending stores in Virginia and helped protect families from predatory lenders.
First we announced the blockbuster news that the keynote speaker at our Annual Gala on Monday, October 26, would be former Arkansas governor and Fox News host Mike Huckabee, whom you can hear in an exclusive interview at 5:30 this afternoon (or on archive, later) by clicking here. (For more information, click here.) Now we have are proud to announce that our musical guest will be none other than Springsteen! No, this isn't a cheap trick, where we will use a projection program to simulate an in-person appearance. This will be the real, live thing!
As those who were born in the USA, a land of hope and dreams, we don’t want our principles to fade away. We believe that better days are ahead for the American land. It’s not a leap of faith to believe that glory days await for those willing to stand up and fight for our principles. We weren’t born to run, we were born to stand! So, we bring you Springsteen! That's Alana Springsteen. The eight-year-old extraordinary talent is going to sing the national anthem to kick off the Gala. Check out this phenom at her Web site, here.
Governor Huckabee isn't the only national media figure who speak at the Gala. Bishop Earl Jackson also will join us. Bishop Jackson, former director of the Christian Coalition’s Samaritan Purse, is a nationally recognized pro-family leader who appears regularly on national television. Joining him in the program are Speaker of the House of Delegates Bill Howell (R-28, Fredericksburg) and Delegate Mark Cole (R-88, Fredericksburg), who will make a special presentation.
More than 1,100 seats now are reserved and space is running short, so if you haven’t reserved your seat please do so today as we may reach capacity soon! We have contracted with the Richmond Marriott, directly across the street from the Gala's venue, the Greater Richmond Convention Center, for a block of rooms for Gala guests. To make reservations for the significantly discounted group rate, please contact the Marriott at 1-800-228-9290 and mention The Family Foundation Gala. For questions, or to register by phone, please call The Family Foundation at 1-804-343-0010, or e-mail email@example.com for more details.