Virginia Commonwealth University

Want To Reduce Abortions In Virginia? Join 40 Days For Life.

In just a few days, from March 9 to April 17, Virginians will unite with thousands of others around the world for the largest coordinated pro-life mobilization in history — the worldwide 40 Days for Life campaign (click here for more information). 40 Days for Life, which has grown exponentially in recent years, is a focused pro-life campaign that has generated measurable lifesaving results (see its blog) in every community where it has been implemented. For example, here in Richmond:

» At least seven children have survived their trip to the abortion center as their mothers chose life and left the center without going through with their scheduled abortions.

» The Virginia Commonwealth University Students for Life organized sidewalk counseling training, assembled and distributed informational packets and conducted a very successful diaper drive on campus and in local churches to benefit the local pregnancy resource center.

» Dozens of new members joined the pro-life network and together spent hundreds of hours in prayer for an end to abortion.

The 40 Days for Life campaign is made up of three key components:

» Prayer and Fasting: Inviting people of faith throughout your city to join together for 40 days of fervent prayer and fasting for an end to abortion.

» Peaceful Constant Vigil: Standing for life through a 40-day peaceful public witness outside a local abortion facility.

» Community Outreach: Taking a positive, upbeat pro-life message to every corner of your city through media efforts, church presentations, petition drives and public visibility.

For more information about events in your area, please go to one of the following Web sites:

Alexandria

Fairfax

Manassas

Newport News

Richmond

Roanoke

Virginia Beach

We encourage you to get your church involved as well. Volunteers are needed to take part in each aspect of 40 Days for Life. Along with prayer and fasting, people need to sign up for the vigil at a local abortion center, and for community outreach. Please consider joining this important effort.

There also are several kick-off and organizational events scheduled around the commonwealth in preparation for 40 Days for Life. Find these events on the Web page for your area.

This unique opportunity does require a commitment of your time. But I truly believe that we need God's direct intervention if we are going to ever rid our nation of abortion. We hope you join the thousands of citizens from across the nation (and around the world) and be a part of 40 Days for Life.

Eric Metaxas, Bob Marshall, Chris Freund: Speaking Engagements You Won't Want To Miss

There are some events taking place next weekend around the commonwealth featuring exceptional speakers on a variety of topics. I encourage you to take advantage of one or more of these great opportunities. On Saturday, November 20 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m., former Family Foundation Gala keynote speaker Eric Metaxas will be in Richmond at the Richmond Center for Christian Study to discuss his new book, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet and Spy (see Wall Street Journal review). Metaxas was on of our most popular gala speakers, mixing humor, a profound intellect and theological principle in his address. He is also the author of Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery. His presentation is at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, 1101 Forest Avenue. For more information, click here.

Also on Saturday, Family Foundation Vice President for Policy and Communications Chris Freund will participate in a panel discussion on conservative principles at the annual Republican Party of Virginia Advance in Tyson's Corner. For more information click here.

On Sunday, November 21, from 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. in the Virginia Commonwealth University Student Commons Theater, 907 Floyd Avenue,  Delegate Robert G. Marshall (R-13, Manassas), a patron of the 2006 Marriage Amendment to the Virginia Constitution that defines marriage as between one man and one woman, will defend the amendment against Sarah Warbelow, state legislative director at the Human Rights Campaign. The event, sponsored by the First Freedom Center, is free and open to the public. Parking is available at the parking deck at 801 West Main Street, across the street from the Commons.

Style Weekly Cover Story: Victoria Cobb Is "Divine Right"!

In its September 29 cover story, Richmond magazine Style Weekly (which actually is hitting the newstands now) will profile Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb on its cover. It features Victoria in front of Mr. Jefferson's Capitol with the headline "Divine Right" etched beside her (see below). The widely read publication previously named Victoria as one of Richmond's "Top 40 Under 40." Only a couple of weeks ago, The Kings College in New York City honored her as one of its Distinguished Visitors at its very prestigious speakers series. These honors are very deserved and we're very proud of our Victoria. But the thousands of past and present grassroots activists, volunteers, contributors, advisory council and board members that make up The Family Foundation throughout the commonwealth are proud of her regardless — and of the many things we together have accomplished the last 25 years and, more recently, under her leadership, to make Virginia a better place for all Virginia families. She's smart, quick, fun, generous, yet determined. A quick read of an advanced copy of the article (click here to read) proves to be a fair and accurate portrayal we staffers — who have come to know and learn from her dynamic leadership on a day-to-day basis — know very well what the reporter and those quoted in it know: It's a Cobb's Web and we just live in it!

Click the cover shot to read the article:

VC Style Cover

Style Weekly cover slug: "To become a true card-carrying social conservative in Virginia, candidates must first carry muster with the boss, the Family Foundation's Victoria Cobb."

Here are some pulled quotes from the feature Style Weekly feature, "Cobb's Web: From grassroots nonprofit to political powerhouse: How Victoria Cobb's Family Foundation became the gatekeeper to Virginia’s conservative coalition," by Sara Dabney Tisdale.

Nationally recognized political commentator Dr. Bob Hollsworth: The Family Foundation's constituency is "crucially important not only in Virginia, but in fact nationally to Republican Party nominating contests. ... I was struck by how many prominent political figures on the kind-of GOP side . . . take them very, very seriously. ..." and "She has a lot of energy, a lot of activity, [and she is] very disciplined," adding that Cobb is "a very talented person. ..."

Ray Allen, strategist and adviser to U.S. Representative Eric Cantor: "They’ve built the Family Foundation into a force down there."

Delegate Jennifer McClellan, (D-71, Richmond): "They’re big enough that they're on my radar screen even though I disagree with most of what they advocate for. There are a lot of conservative Republicans who want to have a high score with the Family Foundation." (McClellan scores a 13.)

Dierdre Condit, associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University's L. Douglas Wilder School of Government: "She’s clearly an up and comer."

Dr. Bob Holsworth Interview, Part, 2

This is the second and final installment of an interview with nationally known political scientist Dr. Bob Holsworth. The former Virginia Commonwealth University dean is a regular commentator on Virginia and national politics. His writes for national and state publications, as well as on his widely read blog, Virginia Tomorrow, and is a frequent guest on television and radio. He also is an in-demand public speaker and heads his own consultancy. In yesterday's first installment, we covered the current session of the General Assembly and touched on national politics. Today, we look at Virginia's version of health care legislation, the upcoming 2010 mid-term elections, discuss U.S. Senator Jim Webb's 2012 prospects, and examine the Tea Party movement in Virginia. FamilyFoundationBlog: Which is the most interesting GOP Congressional District nominating contest — the 5th, 2nd or 11th — and why? How do you see those campaigns playing out?

Dr. Bob Holsworth: All of these races are very interesting because each of them is competitive. The number of entrants indicate that Republicans believe that 2010 may be a once in a generation opportunity, a year that could potentially rival 1994 in terms of GOP success. At the moment, the battle for the 5th District nomination to challenge Tom Perriello might be the most fascinating, if only because of the number of forces that are, or potentially are, in play, including ones that may have national implications.

There's Robert Hurt, a highly respected member of the Senate who has considerable support from the party's national establishment, but who is also being challenged largely by a set of conservative activists who maintain that Hurt has not been sufficiently supportive of low-tax, small government principles. One question that is being raised is whether the anti-Hurt forces will actually coalesce behind a single candidate or divide their vote in a primary? Recently, things have even gotten more complicated. At least one of the candidates currently in the nomination contest says that he is considering dropping out and running as an independent.

Moreover, Virgil Goode has said that he has not made up his mind about a possible challenge and could even run as an independent Republican. A poll out today says that in a three way race between Hurt, Perriello, and Goode, the former Congressman is in a tie with Perriello with Hurt running third. In any event, I think that a lot of national media will be looking at the 5th to see if the GOP can negotiate its internal tensions productively, something that will have to achieved if a candidate who is hard working and energetic as Tom Perriello is to be defeated.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Is there a credible Republican candidate in the wings to challenge Rick Boucher in the 9th Congressional District? Is Representative Boucher vulnerable?

Dr. Holsworth: It is usually very, very difficult to defeat a long-term incumbent such as Rick Boucher who has been widely applauded for his constituent service, even if a number of his votes may not be consistent with majority views in his district. But if there is a year in which Boucher is vulnerable, 2010 may be it. The problem for the GOP here is very different than in the 2nd, 5th and 11th — it's not clear that the Republicans can recruit a strong challenger. Terry Kilgore and William Wampler have said no, though Eric Cantor was in town yesterday to see if "No" really means "No." Morgan Griffith has said, however, that he is seriously considering entering the contest. If he does, he'll be a formidable challenger — he's tough, politically very skilled, and a very hard worker. But even with Griffith, this would be a tough race, because Boucher has built up a lot of support in the localities that make up the district. But if Morgan enters, it'll be a great race.

FamilyFoundationBlog: How do you see the Tea Party movement in Virginia? Are these people disgruntled conservatives who normally vote Republican showing displeasure at the party (and who may have sat out in 2008) or are they new people getting involved for the first time who can make a difference in upcoming elections?

Dr. Holsworth: I think that it's difficult to say that there is one kind of person attracted to the Tea Party. I think that there are a number of Republican conservatives disgruntled with what Glenn Beck calls "Progressives." I also think that there are many of the same kind of independents who were initially attracted to Ross Perot in 1992 — "the government is broken, we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore." And I think that there are also some people who may not have been very much involved in politics before, but have become mobilized by what they consider to be an inappropriate and ineffective response by the federal government to the economic downturn. It seems to me that they represent sentiments that are fairly broadly distributed at the moment throughout the general population and political figures would be foolish to ignore their perspective in 2010. At the same time, it is not so clear how their influence inside GOP nomination battles will play out and whether this will be positive or negative for the GOP in the general elections. This is one of the reasons why I'm watching the 5th District very closely since it has what appears to be a large and relatively organized set of Tea Party activists.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Are you surprised at how quickly and smoothly the Health Care Freedom legislation has moved through the General Assembly, especially in the Senate?

Dr. Holsworth: Yes. At least until you see that the five Democratic legislators sit in districts where (Governor Bob) McDonnell ran strong and where their own seats could be in jeopardy.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Speaking of health care, as well as all the new government spending Tea Party activists abhor, do you think Senators Webb and Warner have endangered their re-elections by voting for these programs? Will the new conservative movement stay active that long?

Dr. Holsworth: 2014 for Warner is a long, long way off. Webb will obviously have a serious Republican challenger. Webb will not be easy to pigeonhole because there will be numerous instances in both foreign and domestic policy where he will part company with the administration and the Democratic congressional leadership. A big question regarding Webb is how his progressive economic populism be viewed. Will he seen as too liberal for Virginia economically or as authentic guy willing to stand up for the voiceless?

FamilyFoundationBlog: Dr. Holsworth, thank you very much for your time. Your thoughts are always informative and I know our readers have learned a lot.

Tomorrow: Part 1, Dr. Bob Holsworth Interview!

Tomorrow, we will post part one of our interview with Dr. Bob Holsworth, Virginia's top political analyst and commentator (in this Admin's opinion). We are very fortunate the former Virginia Commonwealth University Dean, and current consultant and editor of Virginia Tomorrow, agreed to this interview. He often is quoted in state and national publications, as well as national television networks and Web sites, especially as Virginia continues to grow in importance on the electoral map. We think you will find his answers to our questions very insightful and informative. We cover a lot of ground, including the General Assembly, the 2010 elections and the early days leadership of Governor Bob McDonnell. So, please check back tomorrow and Wednesday for a good dose of Virginia political punditry and expertise by the best in the business, Dr. Bob Holsworth. We think it was quite a coup for us, and once you read the interview, we know you'll agree.

After The Revolution: Marriage And Divorce In Contemporary America

That's the topic for discussion on Thursday, October 29, at Virginia Commonwealth  University. An eyebrow raising one at that. What may be more of a surprise — albeit a decidedly good one — is that Dr. Brad Wilcox is the one giving the presentation. Dr. Wilcox is a renown expert on marriage and serves on our Marriage Commission, which has produced several recommendations for the General Assembly to reduce the rate of divorce in the commonwealth (at least one of which now is law). Dr. Wilcox is director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, where he also is an associate professor of sociology. In addition, he is a member of the James Madison Society at Princeton University. His research focuses on marriage, parenting and cohabitation, as well as on the ways that gender, religion and children influence the quality and stability of American family life. He is widely published in publications such as The American Sociological Review, Social Forces, The Journal of Marriage and Family, and The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

The lecture is one in the Saint Benedict Institute Lecture series and is free and open to the public. If you live in, or will be in, the Richmond area on October 29, it will be well worth the time to attend. We're sure Dr. Wilcox's remarks will shed light on the very serious problem of divorce in America and the reasons for its proclivity. The preface to the lecture's theme — "After The Revolution" — gives a hint: The sexual revolution was supposed to unleash a healthy liberation for women and men alike. Apparently, not; not for women, not for men, and certainly not for the wreckage of the broken families and children left in its wake.

The lecture is from 7:00-9:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public. It is in room 1169 at the VCU building at 901 West Main Street.

How Prescient Are We?

How prescient is this blog? The scientific studies have not come back from the lab yet, but it seems whenever we mention an institution or group making a goof of itself in public, they do it again almost immediately after mention them. Not that it's a pressing bit of business for us, but since this involves a major state university, we found with more than a little interest that Virginia Commonwealth University hit the front page of The Richmond Times-Dispatch this morning, again, this time about some severe ramifications regarding its awarding of a bachelor's degree to former Richmond city police chief Rodney Monroe (now police chief in Charlotte, N.C.), even though he did not meet typical academic requirements. The upshot: Four prominent members of the faculty resigned their leadership positions over the way the investigation of the inappropriately awarded diploma was handled. Among them was noted political commentator Dr. Bob Hollsworth, who has spoken to the Family Foundation on different occasions, including our annual Richmond Briefing during the 2007 session of the General Assembly.

Of the four, one is taking a new job out of state. The other three will remain as faculty members but have relinquished positions as deans, directors and other leadership posts (some held dual positions in addition to their tenured ones). We've found "Dr. Bob" to be an objective, insightful and astute observer of the political culture in Virginia. We hope he continues in that role.

What's Up At VCU?

If it wasn't bad enough that Virginia Commonwealth University gave new meaning to "Honorary Degree" by conferring on former Richmond Police Chief Rodney Monroe a bachelor's diploma when he took a whopping six hours of credits (only two classes), now VCU's incoming freshmen summer reading requirement is coming into question. According to a letter to the editor by a parent of an incoming VCU freshman published yesterday in The Richmond Times-Dispatch, all freshmen at their orientation were assigned to read a book about a homosexual coming out of the closet. It was the only book required for the 2008 Summer Reading Program and will be discussed during "Welcome Week."

This is not a small deal, not a casual summertime beach read. This is the first assignment for these students as collegians, where serious study and discovery is to take place, not transient, Oprah-like book-of-the-month drivel.

What happened to the great classic Western authors and their works on civilization, philosophy, economics, history, religion, art, culture? Or more modern European novelists, such as Joyce? Or 20th century American authors such as Hemingway, Faulkner, Ellison as well as giants who also were Richmonders: Mary Johnston, Ellen Glasgow or James Branch Cabell, for whom VCU's library is named? This truly is embarrassing for VCU.

People have their own time to indulge in whatever fleeting topic they wish to explore. We all know there's plenty of time for that in college. But the idea of a University is to expose students to time tested works of meaning and substance which provide the foundation for a lifetime of learning. The least VCU can do is educate them.

Video: "How Would Jesus Vote?" Tour

Just a reminder: The "How Would Jesus Vote?" Tour will be here tomorrow night from 6:45-9:00 at Virginia Commonwealth University's Commons Theater, 917 Floyd Avenue, in Richmond. It's free and open to the public, but registration is required. Doors open at 6:15. To register in advance or for more information, visit www.hwjvtour.com. Hope to see you there. But don't just listen to us. Click here to check out the HWJV Tour for yourself via this You Tube video.

Five City "How Would Jesus Vote?" Tour In Richmond Saturday

The five city national "How Would Jesus Vote Tour" will kick off in Richmond this Saturday, June 14. We hope you will think about registering and attending.

Inaugurated by Advance Church during the 2004 presidential election, and in partnership with Wellington Boone Ministries, the HWJV Tour is a series of public discussion forums designed to give Christians across the theological and political spectrum an opportunity to weigh in together on which facts should guide their voting process during the upcoming elections. 

HWJV Richmond will take place from 6:45-9:00 p.m. at Virginia Commonwealth University Commons Theater, 907 Floyd Avenue. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. The forums are free and open to the public, but registration is required. Click here, at www.hwjvtour.com, to register. 

Confirmed speakers for HWJV Richmond include Bishop Wellington Boone of Wellington Boone Ministries, Reverend Ben Campbell of Richmond Hill, Stephen McDowell of the Providence Foundation, and Star Parker of the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education.

HWJV Richmond is presented by the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education, Manna Christian Fellowship, and Brooks Financial Services.

After Richmond, the HWJV Tour will continue in Atlanta on July 26, Dallas on August 30, and Los Angeles on September 27. The HWJV Tour will wrap up on October 18 with a final forum in the nation's capital. For further information about the HWJV Tour, including event details, panelist biographies, and registration information, please visit www.hwjvtour.com, or click here.