Delegate Brenda Pogge

Governor McDonnell Signs Into Law Religious Liberty, Parental Rights, Other TFF Priority Bills!

Governor Bob McDonnell on Monday signed several Family Foundation priority bills into law! One set of bills he signed comprised our top legislative priority in 2013. They protect the freedom of association and religious liberty rights of student groups on Virginia public college campuses. These bills, patroned by Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg) and Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15, Woodstock), simply ensure that student groups can set their own criteria for membership and leadership and not be discriminated against simply because a university doesn't like the content of their speech. The bills include language ensuring that the groups cannot violate state or federal discrimination laws regarding race, religion, etc.

The governor also signed bills that affirm that parental rights are fundamental. The bills, patroned by Senator Bryce Reeves (R-17, Fredericksburg) and Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, Yorktown), elevate the common law understanding of parental rights in place in Virginia for 400 years to that of a fundamental right. While no rights are absolute, courts give special deference to fundamental rights, requiring the state's "compelling interest" to intervene. This is especially important since 24 other state courts have reduced parental rights to "ordinary" — a standard more easily trumped by government authorities that attempt to interpose themselves in family decisions. Distractors continue to make claims about the potential impact of this new law that are simply not accurate. The state's authority to protect children who need intervention doesn't change, nor will parents be able to disrupt public education.

In addition, Governor McDonnell signed into law HB 1871, patroned by Delegate Jennifer McClellan (D-71, Richmond), defining bullying in Virginia code. This will ensure that state education officials have clear guidance as they develop policies relating to the growing problem of bullying that needs to be addressed in an effective and reasonable manner. Having a clear definition of bullying will equip school leaders to develop the most effective strategies to keep children safe and produce an environment conducive to learning. The bill includes First Amendment protections to ensure that students cannot be punished for simply voicing an opinion that is unpopular.

Finally, the governor submitted clarifying amendments to another Family Foundation priority, a bill that removes a serious barrier to helping families in crisis limit the amount of government intrusion while providing opportunity for reunification. More and more, families are relying on close relatives to help take care of their children during a crisis, using what is called kinship care. But these relatives often face barriers when trying to enroll the children in their local school, as some school divisions require the relative caregiver to obtain legal custody of the child before enrollment is possible, which requires the action of a court. SB 960, patroned by Senator George Barker (D-39, Alexandria), allows for the use of a power of attorney, better enabling families to work together through a crisis. Once the governor's amendments are adopted, he will sign the bill into law.

We appreciate the Governor McDonnell's actions on all of these important bills. You can e-mail him to thank him for his support by clicking here.

 

Parents Rights Bill Clear Both Chambers, Goes To Governor To Be Signed Into Law

Yesterday, after weeks of numerous twists and turns and more edits and amendments than the Declaration of Independence, a simple two sentence bill guaranteeing parental rights cleared both chambers of the General Assembly by large majorities and are on their way to Governor Bob McDonnell to sign into law. Starting July 1, Virginia law will recognize that parents have a "fundamental right" to make "decisions concerning the upbringing, education and care" of their children. Short, simple and powerful.

The legislation, HB 1642 and SB 908, patroned by Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, James City County) and Senator Bryce Reeves (R-17, Spotsylvania), respectively, elevates the common law understanding of parental rights in place in Virginia for 400 years to that of a fundamental right. What’s in a word? Plenty. While no rights are absolute, courts give special deference to fundamental rights, requiring the state’s "compelling interest" to intervene.

These bills also codify the essence of the L.F. v. Breit Virginia Supreme Court decision in January that upheld parental rights. That’s especially important since 24 other state courts have reduced parental rights to "ordinary" — a standard more easily trumped by government authorities that attempt to interpose themselves in family decisions.

Even as the bills were being debated in recent days, evidence of the need for protecting parental rights came to light when we learned that the Obama administration is arguing in a federal court that parents do not have a fundamental right to home school their children (see TheGospelCoalition.org)!

We thank Delegate Pogge and Senator Reeves for their patience and skillful navigation through the often Byzantine legislative process, while negotiating over several amendments but not giving ground on the goal of reasserting the foundational principle parents by nature have to raise their children. We also appreciate the effort of the Home School Legal Defense Association who brought this bill to the General Assembly and worked tirelessly over the past several weeks to see it to completion.

Thank you for contacting your senators and delegates each time when called upon these last six weeks. In the end, many delegates and senators responded to the common sense of these bills as reflected in their constituents' beliefs.

Click here to thank Delegate Pogge and click here to thank Senator Reeves.

Student, Parental Rights Bills Advance!

Yesterday was "crossover," the mid-point of the 2013 General Assembly session and the day when each chamber must complete work on its own bills. It's also a day that saw two substantial pro-family victories. The Senate passed a priority for The Family Foundation — legislation that protects the free association rights of students on public college campuses. SB 1074, patroned by Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg), ensures that the current practice on the majority of our campuses will continue and that religious and political organizations will not be discriminated against because of their beliefs and values. The bill passed 22-18 with several Democrats joining Republicans to pass the legislation. The House companion bill, HB 1617, patroned by Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15, Woodstock), passed 80-19 late last week.

In the House, legislation protecting parental rights as fundamental passed 70-30! The bill, HB 1642, patroned by Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, James City County), reflects a recent decision by the Virginia Supreme Court that recognizes parental rights as fundamental. However, 24 states have reduced parental rights from fundamental to "ordinary," making it easier for government bureaucrats to interfere with families. This is significant because courts give special deference to "fundamental" rights and putting it in the Virginia Code secures it from a future Virginia court from rewriting the recent decision. Currently, Virginia law is silent on the status of parental rights, instead relying on hundreds of years of common law, which has granted parents fundamental in principle.

A similar bill previously passed the Senate, but because the bills are slightly different, we will continue to work with the patrons and representatives of parental rights groups to bring them into "conformity" for final passage later this session. The Senate bill is SB 908 and is patroned by Senator Bryce Reeves (R-17, Spotsylvania) and will be in the House Courts of Justice Committee today.

In the past two days, other legislation supported by The Family Foundation also advanced, including bills that combat human trafficking, help ease restrictions on the creation of charter schools, and provide a definition of bullying for the Department of Education as it works on guidelines to help schools combat that serious problem.

Unfortunately, all news today wasn't good. The Senate decided to send SJ 287, a religious liberty constitutional amendment, back to committee, effectively killing the bill for this year. Based on an amendment that passed last year in Missouri, the amendment would have given Virginians the opportunity to vote to re-establish our right to pray at the start of government meetings and protect students' religious liberty rights. As we continue to watch the federal government infringe upon our God given right to express our faith in the public square, Virginians want to be able to respond. Our goal will continue to be to reinforce our First Freedom, through statute and, if necessary, a constitutional amendment. We thank Senator Bill Stanley (R-20, Moneta), the resolution's patron, and Senator Bill Carrico (R-40, Galax), the chief co-patron, for their very hard work and inspired and passionate words yesterday on the Senate floor.

In the coming days we will again notify you to take urgent action on key bills. Thank you to everyone who has contact their legislators so far! You voice does make a difference.

Two For Two On Two

Earlier today, the Senate unanimously passed two necessary budget transparency bills: SB 1129, patroned by Senator Tommy Norment (R-3, Williamsburg), identifies earmarks; and SB 1161, patroned by Senator Ralph Smith (R-19, Roanoke County), requires the proposed conference committee budget to be posted online for 48 hours before it's voted on. Just a few years ago, the 48-hour bill couldn't even get a motion in sub-committee. Now it's up to Virginians to demand from the House, which has killed similar bills in sub-committee for years, to pass these bills! We'll update you later in the week. Prior to that, two truly pro-family pieces of legislation, affecting students and parents, passed major hurdles: The Senate passed SB 1074, the Student Groups Bill (freedom of association for college student clubs), patroned by Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg), 22-18; and the House passed HB 1642, the Parents Rights Bill, patroned by Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, James City County), 70-30.

Two bills passed each on two important areas of concern regarding family and individual liberty as well as government accountability. Not a bad batting average for morning.

Parents Rights Bill On House Floor Tomorrow: Contact Your Delegate!

The House of Delegates votes tomorrow on its version of the Parents Rights Bill and we need your urgent action.

Please contact your delegate by clicking here now and urge him or her to vote for HB 1642.

Late last week the Virginia Senate provided us with a big victory when it passed its version of the bill, SB 908, patroned by Senator Bryce Reeves (R-17, Fredericksburg), by a strong bipartisan 26-14 vote. Now, it's the House's turn when it votes on its version, HB 1642, patroned by Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, James City County). Amazingly, the more conservative House has given this bill rougher treatment than the Senate and we cannot take its outcome for granted. In fact, we were not sure it would even get to the House floor after hours of debate late Friday afternoon/early evening in the Courts of Justice Committee (see vote).

This legislation is significant because courts give special deference to "fundamental rights." While our state courts have so far ruled that parental rights are fundamental, they could reverse themselves at any time if the General Assembly remains silent. HB 1642 directly addresses this issue. The threat is real: 24 other states have reduced parental rights to "ordinary."

Some argue that the bill could have the effect of interfering with the state's ability to protect children from abuse or neglect. However, a fundamental right is not an absolute right. Courts have ruled that:

This fundamental right [to bring up children as one sees fit] is not unbounded. Indeed the state can legitimately impose restraints and requirements that touch the lives of children in direct conflict with the wishes of their parents.

In Virginia, it's time to reassert foundational principles such as the fundamental right of parents to raise their children. We have a long way to go still, and tomorrow's vote will determine much of the outcome. So, please contact your delegate.

Affirm That Parental Rights Are Fundamental!

Tomorrow on the Senate floor, and Friday afternoon in the House of Delegates Courts of Justice Committee, Virginia lawmakers will vote on SB 908 and HB 1642, legislation that directs Virginia courts to treat parent's rights as fundamental rights rather than ordinary rights. Click here for the committee's home page, which provides links to the members' contact pages. Urge your delegate to vote yes on HB 1642 to affirm existing fundamental parental rights. Here is the link to the Senate membership's contact page — please call your senator Thursday morning and urge a yes vote and no to any attempt to re-refer it to committee.

This legislation is significant because courts give special deference to "fundamental rights." While our state courts have so far ruled that parental rights are fundamental, the courts could change their mind at any time if the General Assembly remains silent. HB 1642 directly addresses this issue.

The threat is real: 24 other states have reduced parental rights to "ordinary."

Some argue that the bill could have the effect of interfering with the state's ability to protect children from abuse or neglect. However, a fundamental right is not an absolute right. Courts have said:

This fundamental right [to bring up children as one sees fit] is not unbounded. Indeed the state can legitimately impose restraints and requirements that touch the lives of children in direct conflict with the wishes of their parents.

In Virginia, it's time to reassert foundational principles such as the fundamental right of parents to raise their children. While HB 1642, patroned by Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, James City County) and SB 908, patroned by Senator Bryce Reeves (R-17, Fredericksburg) read simply . . .

1. A parent has a fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, and care of the parent's child.

2. That the provisions of this act are declarative of existing law.

. . . they would provide a world of protection for parental rights in Virginia law.

After all, authority for children instinctively resides with parents, solely, except in very certain and specific abusive cases where the state has a compelling interest (and meets a certain legal standard). But for years, government institutions and mandates have incrementally moved us to a system where they impart big government's values in place of the family values on which children are raised. The General Assembly has a chance to rectify that this year.

Wild Day At General Assembly Ends With Several Victories

With the first two weeks of this year's short session progressing at a less than brisk pace, it was inevitable that the start of the last week before "crossover" would be hectic. Monday did not disappoint. No less than three important sub- or full committee meetings, starting at 8:00 or 8:30 a.m. with maxed-out dockets, were scheduled. The House Privileges and Elections Sub-Committee on Constitutional Amendments offered up the first good news of the day when it voted to report HJ 684, patroned by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-31, Woodbridge), which would allow the Board of Education to approve charter schools as a way to get around obstructionist local school divisions that now have sole authority to approve them — and the reason Virginia only has four charter schools.  Then the House Education Committee heard debate and voted to report HB 1442, the "Tebow Bill," patroned by Delegate Rob Bell (R-58, Albermarle), which would allow homeschooled students to play sports for their local public school; HB 1617, patroned by Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15, Shenandoah), which protects college student groups from allowing membership to those who fundamentally disagree with the organization's mission; and HB 1871, a bullying definition bill successfully amended to ensure that it punishes bullies not based on the characteristics of the victim, but on the act of the bully. Additional language added to the bill ensures First Amendment protections.

Passage of the homeschool sports bill and the college student group protection act are legislative priorities for The Family Foundation. The latter would allow student groups at Virginia state colleges to organize according to their beliefs. Unfortunately, some universities around the country have enacted "all-comers" policies that essentially eliminate these groups from being able to set criteria for their members and leaders. Free association is protected by the constitution and this bill seeks to clarify that. It passed by a 19-2 vote. It also passed a similar bill affecting children of military personnel who constantly are re-stationed at various bases or deployed, but whose children stay in the same area with a relative.

Then, the shocker of the day: Overcoming the predictable opposition of the public schools, the Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted 8-6 to report the Parents Rights Bill, SB 908, patroned by Senator Bryce Reeves (R-17, Fredericksburg). It reaffirms Virginia court rulings that parental rights are "fundamental" into state code. This is significant, because fundamental rights are treated with much more deference by the judiciary than "ordinary" rights.

The afternoon was busier. Senator Ralph Northam (D-6, Norfolk) introduced his second bill of the session in the Education and Health Committee to repeal the ultrasound update to Virginia's informed consent law. Because of its redundancy, committee chairman Senator Steve Martin (R-11, Chesterfield), wasted no time in public debate and it died quickly on an 8-3 vote, prompting Senator Northam to call the committee a "kangaroo court."

The House Courts of Justice Committee had a full docket as well. After debate, it killed on a 10-6 vote HB 1644, patroned by Delegate Vivian Watts (D-39, Annandale), which would have changed the definition of birth control in the Virginia Code to include abortifacients, including the morning after pill. While advocates claimed it was an innocuous bill, it would have forced pharmacists against their conscience to dispense abortifacients to those 17 and younger. Later, after many questions of concern their Senate counterparts did not have, the committee voted to pass by until Friday the House version of the Parents Rights Bill, HB1642, patroned by Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, James City).

Please contact members of the House Courts of Justice Committee and urge them, especially if your delegate is on the committee, to pass HB 1642, to secure basic, fundamental rights of Virginia parent in state code! 

Please also contact your senator to vote yes on SB 908 on the Senate floor and no to any motion that would re-refer it to committee or otherwise kill it.

If that wasn't enough, sub-committee meetings started in the evening, highlighted by one of the most talked about bills of session, "The Right To Farm Act," a property rights bill. The highlight of that meeting is detailed in a brief, must read post, here.

Things are moving quickly this week. Please watch your e-mail, this blog and our Facebook and Twitter accounts — which often allow us to update you on events much more quickly — to get the latest news and information on what action to take with your delegates and senators in promoting traditional, conservative family values policies  in Virginia.

Parental Rights Bill In Full House Committee Monday!

Early Wednesday evening, a House Courts of Justice sub-committee voted to amend and report HB 1642, the "Parents Rights Bill" to the full committee, which will vote Monday whether to send it to the House floor. The bill, patroned by Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, Yorktown), declares it a fundamental right for parents' to raise, educate and care for their children.

If your delegate is on the House Courts of Justice Committee, please contact him or her and urge a YES vote on HB 1642! (Click here for committee members and links that will take you to their contact pages.)

This legislation is significant because courts give special deference to "fundamental rights." This is a small step, but an important policy statement for the Commonwealth of Virginia to enshrine in its code. Predictably, government bureaucrats, especially the public education establishment and public college and university officials, oppose this bill. One newspaper editorial even claimed the bill would "usurp authority" from educators. EXACTLY! Authority for children resides with parents, solely, except in very certain abusive circumstances. Public education for years has incrementally succeeded in replacing parental guidance and moved toward a system where they impart big government's values in the place of the family values on which children are raised. By their opposition, the bureaucrats are admitting their goal is to insert themselves between students and their parents. In Virginia, it's time to draw the line and reassert Foundational Principles, such as the fundamental right of parents to raise their children; that we no longer are willing to cede that sacred responsibility to cold, faceless, often agenda-driven government-run institutions. Say no to the government getting between you and your children by urging a YES vote on HB 1642.

Historic Day Of Prayer By Burgesses Recalled In Colonial Williamsburg

On June 1, 1774, the House of Burgesses assembled in Colonial Williamsburg not in legislative session, but in fasting and prayer. It called for a Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer in response to the British blockade of Boston Harbor. (Read the proclamation and see the event's depiction, here). One week ago today, on the exact date and location, The Family Foundation and the Virginians for Liberty commemorated that historic and influential day in America's founding and independence from monarchial power, but also to call on the Almighty's intervention in the just-as-real-threats to our liberty today. Just as the Burgesses marched from the Colonial Capitol to Bruton Parish Church for prayers, more than 100 concerned citizens from many denominational backgrounds retraced those exact steps to pray to the Lord to heal our land and restore our nation. Attendees assembled in front of the Colonial Capitol where Williamsburg resident Tom Morr, dressed in 18th century attire, explained the significance of the day in 1774 as well as the contemporary importance of the commemoration. (This was the second consecutive year of the commemoration). Participants then sang traditional hymns from the colonial period and walked six blocks down Duke of Gloucester Street to Bruton Parish Church. As they arrived, the same bell that greeted those Virginia patriots and Founders 234 years ago rang again.

Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb, Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96th, Yorktown) and Pastor Wade Trump of Jamestown Christian Fellowship offered prayers. Bishop E.W. Jackson, Sr. of Exodus Faith Ministries ended the morning with an exhortation to return to the principles that our nation was founded upon. He said that as we work to preserve the principles that made us great as a state and a nation, we must never forget that our ultimate hope rests in the Lord and His mercy. The event, which lasted about an hour, was a reminder that we must continue to keep our state and nation, and those who lead us. in our constant prayers.

Click here to see a slide show of the event. Start with the third picture.

Day Of Prayer Picture

Thanks to Family Foundation friend Heather Cordasco for this picture from the Day of Prayer in Colonial Williamsburg earlier this month (read previous post). We wanted to give people an idea of the turnout and the how it went.

WilliamsburgDayOfPrayer

Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, Yorktown) was one of several people that led prayers during the Day of Prayer in front of historic Bruton Parish Church in Colonial Williamsburg earlier this month during the Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer, a nod to the original such day in Virginia in 1774. More than 100 people attended.

Day Of Prayer In Williamsburg

On June 1, The Family Foundation joined in prayer with the ad hoc Virginians for Liberty and more than 100 concerned fellow citizens in Colonial Williamsburg for a latter-day Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer. The original such Day took place in 1774 and was called by the House of Burgesses when the British closed Boston Harbor and the crisis that action precipitated. This year's event, which we hope will be an annual occurrence, was for prayer to heal our land and restore the moral foundations that made America great.

Williamsburg-area resident Tom Morr organized the event, which included assembling at the Colonial Capitol on Duke of Gloucester Street and a walk to Bruton Parish Church where the participants prayed for the respect for life, marriage and the family, the protection of religious freedoms, a return of our government to its constitutional boundaries, and for God’s sovereignty in all things — and even sang some 18th century hymns. Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, Yorktown), Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb and several local area pastors led prayers, and Family Foundation Chaplain Bishop E. W. Jackson, Sr., provided a stirring closing prayer.  

Bishop Jackson encouraged those present to join with the Family Foundation to work to ensure our liberties are protected, and encouraged Virginians to, "pray like it all depends on God and then work like it all depends on us." While the obstacles we face in state government can be great, we know that our God is greater than all.

lg_dayOfFasting

 The original Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer. Sort of. A scene from Colonial Williamsburg's Story of a PatriotTo read the 1774 proclamation, click here.

U.N Treaty To Usurp Parental Rights? House Bill To Prevent It Still Alive After Crossover

Hillary Clinton may think it takes a village to raise your child — a village of her own choosing, of course. But Virginians think otherwise. Just prior to crossover, the House of Delegates passed a resolution affirming parental rights 64-31! This resolution, HJ 193, patroned by Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, Yorktown), urges Congress to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution declaring that, "the liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right." In case you have not yet heard about the Parents Rights amendment, let me give you the facts (see our policy brief, here). In the United States, parents have traditionally held the right to raise their own children according to their own beliefs. This right has been upheld in the U.S. Supreme Court for 70 years. However, recent court rulings on parental rights have shown that the court is becoming divided on this critical issue. In fact, the court issued 6 different opinions in the parental rights case Troxel v. Granville (2000), with only four justices acknowledging that parental rights were protected by the Constitution.

There’s another reason to be concerned about the plight of parental rights: the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (see our preivous post and video about this). Supported by people such as President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton and U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), this treaty actually has a chance of passing. Currently, the United States and Somalia are the only countries that have not passed the treaty. If this treaty is passed, it will undermine parental rights unless the Constitution clearly says otherwise.

Delegate Pogge's resolution received enthusiastic support from both sides of the aisle in the House. However, this resolution will not become law unless it is also passed in the Virginia Senate. As many of you know, the Senate is much less receptive to family issues like this than the House of Delegates. When the bill is debated in the Senate, we will ask you to contact your Senators to urge their support of this measure.

Another parental rights effort did not meet with the same success. Several legislators this year introduced bills that would have allowed home school students to participate in public school sports programs. Unfortunately, despite the fact that their parents pay for public schools and their programs through tax dollars, home school students are treated as second-class citizens.

Delegate Rob Bell’s (R-58, Charlottesville) HB 926, which would have directed the Virginia High School League to allow homes school students eligibility, was "carried over" (see vote) until next year by the House Education Committee after a lengthy debate and opposition by the VHSL. This will give Delegate Bell the opportunity to work with the interested parties to seek a solution to the problem.

Quote Of The Weekend

Today's QOD comes from Saturday, actually — and, it doesn't come from the inauguration, either, nor from any of its many festivities. Instead, it come from the Americans For Prosperity Virginia Chapter's post swearing in Celebration of Freedom event at the Richmond Marriott, which honored the inauguration of Governor Bob McDonnell, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Interesting speakers and great food — when doesn't an AFP event go all out? — included former Lt. Governor Bolling, Governor George Allen (sounding like a candidate again), Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, Yorktown) and Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg). Perhaps the most dynamic, though, was Education Secretary Gerard Robinson. His speech was unapologeticly pro-education choice. Maybe he wasn't quite as in-your-face to the educrat establishment as was New Jersey Governor-elect Chris Christie (see here) last week, but this ain't bad — alluding to his ambitious agenda to reform education and provide education choice, he said of the educrat establishment:

I'm going to be accused of destroying public education. In some ways, it's already it's already taking care of that itself.

Amen to that! Secretary Robinson may not be looking for a fight, but he's certainly prepared for one. We don't blame him and we've got his back.

Policy Issue 1, Parental Rights: Resolution Against U.N. Treaty To Be Introduced In General Assembly

This is the first in a series of five policy statements on issues that will come before the 2010 General Assembly. Each one covers one of The Family Foundation's five areas of principle. The others will follow over the rest of the week.

There are days when I wonder if half the things we hear about in Washington, D.C., are real or if it’s all just a very bad nightmare. Some reports just seem so outrageous.

So when I saw a Fox News headline a few months ago that screamed "U.N. Report Advocates Teaching Masturbation to 5 year-olds," I had that, Oh, this is going to be another exaggeration moment. Certainly, even the U.N., as wacky as it is, wouldn’t publicly endorse such a foolish concept.

Then I read the report for myself. Believe me, the whole teaching-5-year-olds-about- masturbation-thing is just the tip of the iceberg. There is stuff in here that should make every parent who cares at all about their children shudder, starting with the line "teachers remain the best qualified and the most trusted providers of information and support for most children and young people."

Teachers? Really? So much for parents.

Until the November 2008 elections, things like the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (see our comment, here), something far scarier than the aforementioned U.N. report, were out there, but had little chance of being accepted by our Congress. The convention is such an assault on your right to parent I can’t really describe it. Essentially, the convention gives children "evolving" rights to choose religion, education, etc., regardless of what their parents say. Now, however, there is a serious effort in the United States Senate to force us to join the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, seriously threatening parental rights in our country, not to mention our sovereignty.

To combat this, parents across the nation are urging Congress to pass a parental rights amendment to the United States constitution. You can learn more about this cause at parentalrights.org.

To assist this effort, The Family Foundation is supporting a memorializing resolution in the 2010 General Assembly that would urge Congress to pass the parental rights amendment. Similar to legislation we supported in 2004 that urged Congress to pass a marriage amendment, a memorializing resolution sends a message to our federal representatives that we want them to protect the rights of parents to raise their children without government interference.

Although the resolution has yet to receive a bill number, it's patron in the House is Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, Yorktown). We look forward to updating you on the progress of this legislation throughout the General Assembly and what you can do to help see it pass.

You Think ObamaCare Is Bad? Wait To You See The United Nations Convention On The Rights Of The Child!

If you think ceding your freedom to choose your doctor to the government is bad, or forcing medical professionals to perform services contrary to their religious beliefs (such as abortion) is reprehensible, or eliminating employees' rights to a secret ballot in determining union representation is undemocratic, or the suppression of free speech through the re-institution of the "fairness" doctrine is unconstitutional, or if any of the other numerous proposals of government consumption of individual and family rights under consideration by the fringe left that controls Washington, D.C., concerns you — as they all should — then just wait until you hear about the . . .

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

If you think Washington controls too much of our lives now (not to mention what might happen in the next four years) wait until decisions about your child come to you from New York. No, the capital isn't reverting to the Big Apple, where it was when George Washington took the first presidential oath of office. But if the U.S. Senate approves the UNCRC, and the U.S. becomes a party to it, you may want to hesitate before you sign your children's permission slips or allow them to go to camp until you hear from the U.N.

In fact, the order won't come from U.N. HQ in New York, but from Geneva, Switzerland, where a U.N. commission will sit. These are the same clowns who gave us five-year-old masturbation.

Okay, enough from me. Let's turn it over to Terry Beatley of Lancaster, who is with ParentalRights.org, a Web site you should see to further educate yourself on the most serious assault on parental rights in American history.

The same folks that once put Syria in charge of its human rights commission and advocate for teaching five-year-olds masturbation, want to tell you how to raise your children.

Come this General Assembly, Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, Yorktown) will co-patron a resolution for Virginia to formally oppose this treaty's ratification by the U.S. Senate. If ratified, it will represent the greatest loss of state and national sovereignty in our nation's history.

There also is federal legislation: H.J. Resolution 42 and S.J. Resolution 16, the parental rights amendment, would guarantee the rights of parents to raise their children without government interference. Ask your representative and U.S. Senators Mark Warner (804-739-0247) and Jim Webb (804-771-2221) to co-sponsor this legislation, and for the senators to oppose the  the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Virginia Colleges: Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler!

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras — actually, the festival of Mardi Gras is an ongoing, many-weeks New Orleans festival where the anything-goes-good-times only culminate tomorrow — whereas the rest of us have a one-day bash in preparation for the sacrifices and abstaining of Lent that begin on Ash Wednesday.  Getting into the swing are some of Virginia's best known institutions of higher learning. William and Mary's new administration, sadly, teased the public with a fig leaf of deference, only to pull it back. Yes, the sex show returns. See Delegate Brenda Pogge's (R-96, Yorktown) news release below (see her letter last year to then-W&M President Gene Nichol).

Not to be outdone, football-less George Mason University, best known for its Economics Department featuring the likes of Dr. Walter E. Williams and Dr. Don Boudreaux (also see here and here) not to mention Nobel winners, and for its hoops team's run to the Final Four a few years ago, had its annual Homecoming Basketball game this past weekend. It elected a boy homecoming queen. See the Washington Post's account here.

Not just any boy: a transvestite. As it turns out, not just any queen either: He works as a drag queen in D.C. area bars. Fantastique! Laissez le bon temps rouler!

Here's what's so instructive about the whole situation, as reported in the Post:

"Officially, the university is 'very comfortable with it. We're fine,' spokesman Daniel Walsch said. The school does not require participants in the Mr. and Ms. Mason pageant to compete along precise gender lines, he said."

So why even have "Mr." and "Ms." contests? Why not a "Homecoming Student" contest? Open it up. Truth in advertising. If it does not matter, then GMU officials should end the contest as is immediately, and simply have a generic "Homecoming Student" vote. Students could enter as they wish to have their personhood identified: homosexual, heterosexual, male, female, dean's list student, frat boy stud, jock, regular Joe or Jane, beauty contestant, whatever.

At least there's this, from The Post:

"But others say it is an embarrassment at an inopportune time when Mason is trying to revamp its image from commuter school to distinguished institution of higher learning."

Meanwhile, back at the academic seat of the western point of the Historic Triangle, on March 23, students can learn all about a potential professional field upon graduation. According The Daily Press:

"The show — which features strippers, prostitutes and other sex workers performing and discussing their work. ..."

will be paid for by student activity fees because, as new President Taylor Reveley, said:

"The elected representatives of the student body approve the use of student fees for these events, not administration. This experience in self-government is part of the learning process."

Self government? Or the inmates running the asylum? But who cares? It's Mardi Gras. Laissez le bon temps rouler! Let the good times roll!

POGGE Expresses Disappointment with Repeat of Sex Show

February 3, 2009

YORKTOWN, VA — Today Delegate Brenda Pogge, in response to an article in today's Daily Press,released a letter sent last week to William and Mary President, Taylor Reveley concerning her deep disappointment at the possibility that "The Sex Workers Art Show" would go on at the College.

The letter, dated January 30 made the request that, "given the controversy that this show created last year and in years past, I am humbly requesting that this year the show not go on."

The letter went on to say, "One of the tests that the Supreme Court used in defining obscenity is does it violate community standards. I submit to you on behalf of the majority of the citizens of my District, that it does." Delegate Pogge is opposed to the return of "The Sex Workers Art Show" to the College of William and Mary and today stated, "In my opinion the inclusion of the word "Art" is a vain attempt to put lipstick on a pig."

Family Foundation's 2009 Legislative Agenda: Teaching Benefits Of Marriage

One would assume that “Family Life Education” would include instruction about the basic make up of the “family.” Guess again.

 

After researching the commonwealth’s Standards of Learning requirements for family life education, the only reference to marriage found is not very encouraging at all:

 

"The student will provide examples of difficult family situations: abusive behavior, financial problems, separation or divorce, illness, injury or death, loss of job, family has to move, birth of a baby, remarriage, etc."

 

Gee, that’ll make kids want to grow up and get married, won’t it?

 

Earlier this year, The Family Foundation’s marriage commission met to discuss legislative proposals that will encourage and strengthen traditional marriage in Virginia. One idea was to make sure that the benefits of marriage are being taught to the next generation in Family Life Education. Most people are simply not aware that marriage is beneficial to everyone involved, as well as the community. But the science doesn't lie.

 

According to Brad Wilcox, professor of sociology at the University of Virginia and a member of The Family Foundation's marriage commission, "In general, the research shows that children who grow up in an intact, married family, are about 50 percent less likely to experience serious psychological, academic, or social problems as children or young adults, compared to children who grow up in single or step-families." Social science also shows that both men and women benefit from marriage as well.

 

Unfortunately, our culture and media portray marriage as archaic and even dangerous. Virginia is one of a growing number of states where the marriage rate, the number of people choosing to get married, is declining. It also is one of the few states where the divorce rate continues to climb.  

 

One way to reverse these trends is to begin showing our kids the positive benefits of marriage. Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, Yorktown), who, along with her husband Roger, ran our marriage amendment campaign in 2006, and state Senator Ralph Smith (R-22, Roanoke) have agreed to carry this priority legislation on behalf of The Family Foundation. The bill simply adds a line to the commonwealth’s Family Life Education requiring that the benefits of marriage be taught to our kids.

 

Teaching the next generation that marriage is a positive instead of something to be dreaded is just one step toward restoring marriage in general. Of course, the General Assembly should pass this bill without any decent because it is based on science, something that many members are always advocating.