Jordan Lorence

Student Religious Liberty On The Line In House Vote Tomorrow!

Monday morning, the House Education Committee narrowly voted 12-10 to report SB 236 to the House floor, as three Republicans joined all seven Democrats in opposition. The bill, patroned by Senator Bill Carrico (R-40, Galax), a longtime defender of religious liberty, is a priority bill for The Family Foundation that protects the rights of public school students to express their faith at various school events. The bill was debated today on the floor and will be voted on tomorrow. Opposition in the committee continued to mislead and claim a parade of horrors that would occur if the bill became law. Coming from the ACLU and other groups, the opposition voiced concern that the bill would confuse school boards and cause a litany of lawsuits. But that assertion is baseless. The law has existed in two states for several years but has not elicited lawsuits. They also allege that it will "coerce" people into hearing a viewpoint that might cause them to feel bad about themselves. Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-31, Woodbridge) made it clear that the First Amendment does not protect someone from being offended.

Attorneys Rita Dunaway of Virginia Christian Alliance and Jordan Lorence of Alliance Defending Freedom testified in favor of the bill and debunked the opposition's claims. They clarified the case law surrounding religious speech in schools and explained the need to protect students who want to express their religious viewpoint. Too many school teachers and administrators follow a "folk understanding" of the law and discriminate anytime religious speech is uttered in schools. Such actions make religious students second class citizens. Not surprisingly, no one who opposed the bill expressed concern for those students' feelings.

The bill also protects students' rights to organize prayer groups, have events such as "see you at the pole" gatherings, wear clothing with religious expression, and the like. The bill is based on federal court precedent and case law.

Please click here to contact your Delegate and urge their support of SB 236 when it is voted on by the full House tomorrow!

What’s Next for Same-Sex Marriage Advocates?

Proponents of same-sex marriage are quick to claim that all they want is "marriage equality." Nothing more. They’ll be content if they can just have "equality." But we all know that reality doesn't end there. In recent weeks, same-sex advocates have finally begun to admit it themselves. Published only days ago in a New York Times piece, Stanford Law Professor Ralph Banks, asks:

What now of the two remaining criminal prohibitions of intimate relationships: incest and polygamy? Even as same sex ... relationships are accepted, Americans are now imprisoned for incest and polygamy. ... Over time, our moral assessments of these practices will shift. … Should a state be permitted to imprison two cousins because they have sex or attempt to marry? Should a man and two wives be permitted to live together as a family when they assert that their religious convictions lead them to do so?

Just the rantings of a left-wing professor? No. Professor Banks' words actually have proven to be prophetic (see ADF's Jordan Lorence at the Christian Post blog, here). Just days after the governor of New York signed its same-sex marriage bill into law, a man in Utah, along with his four wives, were inspired to file a lawsuit challenging Utah's polygamy ban, stating, "We only wish to live our private lives according to our beliefs."

Just equality, right?

Homosexual rights advocate Dan Savage goes even further and continues the marriage muddling, arguing, "We aren’t wired for monogamy." He tells the New York Times magazine that America needs a more "realistic" view of marriage and that it's the LGBT community's responsibility to bring "open relationships" to the definition of marriage — to create an environment that's "more forgiving of the occasional affair." Savage's "It Gets Better" homosexuality campaign targets children and teenagers and is promoted by homosexual groups as an "anti-bullying" project to be used by public schools.

John Corvine, professor at Wayne State University, is heading in the same direction as Professor Banks and Mr. Savage. Reflecting on the same-sex marriage debate in New York, Professor Corvine writes:

It’s worth remembering that polygamy is quite "traditional," even biblical. It is no more logically connected to one side of this debate than the other. The truth is that New York granted same-sex couples marriage rights not because of a radical idea, but because of an old-fashioned one: when two individuals commit to a lifetime of mutual love and care, it's good to support them — or at least get out of their way.

When we stray from the God-given confines of marriage, where do we draw the line? How is it fair to term one meandering relationship "recognized" without validating the other variations? Where does it end?

Same-sex advocates have no intention of declaring victory in New York and calling it quits. The goal is not to advance "equality." The goal is to redefine marriage until existing sexual norms are no longer in existence. Counterfeit forms of marriage cheapen and undermine real marriage. The union of a man and a woman in a committed marriage is the foundation of a stable society. Traditional marriage and family are too important for society to experiment with to advance a political agenda.

Social science and history concur: men, women and children are more likely to succeed emotionally, financially, and educationally within a two-parent, mother-father, married family. Marriage, properly defined, matters. Regardless of the agenda of left-wing advocates, The Family Foundation will continue to fight to protect the definitions and institutions of marriage and family in our Commonwealth.

Lobby Day Review: Big Numbers Of Values Voters Show Up At The Capitol Today!

This was a strange one: Lobby Day and I had nary a thing to do with it. My first two sessions, 2006 and 2007, I was knee deep in planning and executing the event. Last year, not so much. This year, virtually nada. That's what happens when you're trying to put coalitions together in support of various bills. Somebody had to mind the store and work on our legislative initiatives, research and make lawmaker contacts. Still, it's pretty impressive to see more than 250 people, with yellow "I Vote Values" stickers enter Mr. Jefferson's capitol. More people than last year, even. Who said values voters no longer matter? Here's how the day went:

More than 250 people from around the commonwealth met in the capital city today to support traditional values in Virginia this legislative season.  They were energized by elected officials such as Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Centerville), and Delegate Bill Carrico (R-5, Independence), who spoke of the opportunities that currently exist to promote fundamental rights, such as chaplains being allowed to pray "in Jesus name," as well as seeing to it that Planned Parenthood doesn't continue to receive taxpayer funds.

These encouraging messages were followed by keynote speaker, Jordan Lorence, Senior Counsel at the Alliance Defense Fund, who affirmed the fact that by championing traditional values one also is championing the ideas believed in and sacrificed for by the constitutional framers. Attendees also heard from Adam Schaeffer (TQ Radio interview here) of the CATO Institute who addressed education freedom after also addressing the House Education Committee earlier in the morning.

After hearing from this great line up, citizens made their way to the Capitol where they observed both legislative bodies in action. While in the galleries and watching in other rooms they were introduced in the House of Delegates by Delegate Kenneth Alexander (D-89, Norfolk), who also is the new chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, and in the Senate, by Senator Jill Vogel (R-27, Winchester).

Equipped and encouraged, these hundreds of grassroots conservative activists then went in small groups and met personally with more than half of the legislators in the General Assembly. Because of their efforts to make their voices heard we know that we will see victories in this year's General Assembly, and we are thankful for their time and commitment to traditional values.

Although you may not have been able to join us today, if you are reading this, you will have another opportunity to participate in a Family Foundation Lobby Day — on February 5 we will have a Virtual Lobby Day when we use the power of the Internet to promote our message. Continue to check back here and future e-mail alerts for more details as we make staying connected to your government and elected officials as easy as logging on and clicking a mouse. It may be short session, but we have a lot planned, both in person and online to make a significant impact on our elected officials. 

Speaking of which, pay close attention to our e-mail alerts throughout the session and be prepared to call, write and e-mail your legislators to remind them that Virginia is and should remain a great place to raise a family.

Lobby Day: Less Than A Week To Get In The Game!

Legislators rolled into the capital city this week with the usual crush of agenda promoting news conferences, last minute fundraisers (they can't solicit campaign donations during session) and organizational meetings. Today, the games begins. Don't get left on the bench. Your team wants and needs you on the field!

If you have not registered for Family Foundation Day at the Capitol this Monday, January 19, please do so as soon as possible! 

Not only will you be able to meet with your elected officials to express your support for The Family Foundation's pro-family agenda, you will have the opportunity to hear from some of Virginia's strongest pro-family leaders in Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) and Delegate Bill Carrico (R-5, Independence).

Our keynote speaker is Jordan Lorence (see video here), Senior Counsel at the Alliance Defense Fund. He will address the issue of religious liberty (see video of him on this subject here) and what our rights are and how we can make a difference. 

We're also pleased to announce that we added Adam B. Schaeffer, a policy analyst with the Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom and senior fellow at the Virginia Institute for Public Policy (see Tertium Quids, here), as a Lobby Day speaker. He will address the issue of educational choice and freedom. Schaeffer is a former NRI Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and adjunct scholar at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. He has commented on a range of political issues in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online and RealClearPolitics.

Listen to Adam Schaeffer in a podcast at TQ Radio, here.

This is a power packed line up you won't want to miss. But time is running out. To ensure we can reserve a meeting time with your legislator, please call to register for Family Foundation Day at the Capitol as soon as possible.

Family Foundation Day at the Capitol is free of charge, and will be held Monday, January 19 from 9:00 a.m. through the afternoon at the Richmond Marriott, 500 East Broad Street.

To register now, contact our Grassroots Coordinator John Smith at 804-343-0010 or e-mail him @ John@familyfoundation.org

The game will go on with or without you. It's your choice whether you get on the field or stay on the bench. Others, many of whom vehemently disagree with your vision for Virginia, already are playing and playing hard. However, you can make your presence known and voice heard for traditional values this year as well, and help ensure that Virginia continues to be a great place to raise a family.

Lobby Day Just Two Weeks Away!

 

The new year has begun and, for most everyone, that means resolutions lived up to and those already abandoned. Sometimes it is useful to include on your resolution list a few items that are one-time events for the year and not prolonged marathon projects like losing weight or quitting some annoying habit. This way, you actually succeed at some and feel that it was worth the time to make the list in the first place.

 

With that in mind, here's a great one-time event you will feel proud to include among your 2009 accomplishments; one that will make a dramatic impact in our ongoing campaign to see Virginia promote and maintain traditional values: Family Foundation Day at the Capitol, on January 19 . . . just two weeks away!

 

We are excited that Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling will address attendees on family issues that will become before the 2009 General Assembly. Lt. Governor Bolling has been a staunch advocate for marriage and human life, first as a 100-percent Senator on the TFF Action Score Card and now in his current office. Lt. Governor Bolling presides over the Virginia Senate and last year cast the deciding vote to defund Planned Parentood in the state budget. 

 

Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-Fairfax) also will join us. Senator Cuccinelli introduced the budget amendment defunding Planned Parenthood and was The Family Foundation’s 2008 Legislator of the Year. 

 

Also, since Governor Kaine has supported a ban on state trooper chaplains from being able to pray in Jesus name, religious liberty will be a big issue this year. This is why we are pleased to announce that Jordan Lorence, Senior Counsel at the Alliance Defense Fund, will be our keynote speaker (see a previously posted video of him here). A dynamic speaker, he will address the issue of religious liberty, what our rights are and how we can make a difference. (See below to watch him speak to pastors at the Watchmen on the Wall conference we co-hosted with Family Research Council this past fall.)

 

You won’t want to miss these inspirational and informational opportunities, as well as the chance to meet with your senator and delegate to remind them to put principle before politics in this important election year. Making your presence known and voice heard makes a difference in ensuring Virginia continues uphold traditional values and remains a great place to raise a family. Not only that, you will have lived up to one of your New Years resolutions as well.

Family Foundation Day at the Capitol is January 19, 9:00 a.m. until the Afternoon, free of charge, Richmond Marriott, 500 East Broad Street

To register now, and for more information, contact John Smith, Grassroots Coordinator, at 804-343-0010 or John@familyfoundation.org. Register no later than January 13!

 

2009 Lobby Day Especially Crucial; Great Speaker Confirmed

We're busy counting down the days. But while we're all preparing for Christmas, we have a dual countdown — the start of the 2009 General Assembly. Believe it or not, it's less than three weeks until our lawmakers return to Richmond to deal with the in-deficit budget. That means also time to remind our legislators of the principles we expect them to protect and promote during this upcoming important election year, even with the budget as a convenient distraction.

You can do your part by joining us in Richmond for:

Family Foundation Day at the Capitol on January 19, 2009!

9:00 a.m. - Afternoon

Richmond Marriott

500 East Broad Street

At this free-of-charge event, you can meet with and encourage your legislators to, among other things:

» Support a proposal that adds a requirement to teach about the positive benefits of marriage in the Family Life Education curriculum.

» Address the Kaine administration's decision to forbid chaplains from praying in Jesus name;

» Make the state budget more transparent by placing it online and ensuring that it is easily searchable; and

» Encourage support of bills that update and improve Virginia's Informed Consent Law.

All you have to do is register, at no charge, by January 13. We'll arrange meetings with your delegate and/or senator. We take care of the details; you just need to be here on January 19. Especially now, when so many pundits and liberal politicians have pronounced conservatism and traditional values issues dead, we want to have hundreds of pro-family Virginians lining the halls of the General Assembly Building to show them and our lawmakers quite the opposite is true.

In addition, we've lined up great speakers, including legislators as well as Jordan Lorence, senior counsel at the Alliance Defense Fund, a nationally known expert on several issues that affect religious conservatives. He will specifically address religious liberty issues and the case of the Virginia State Police chaplains who resigned in protest when ordered to cease praying in Jesus' name.

As a preview of how good a speaker Jordan Lorence is, we've posted below a video of him speaking about one of our favorite subjects — lessons on the life of William Wilberforce.

So, we hope you make a special effort to get to Richmond on January 19. In order to register, contact Grassroots Coordinator John Smith at 804-343-0010 or e-mail him at john@familyfoundation.org.

We look forward to seeing you make a difference in Richmond on Monday, January 19.