Washington D-C-

Virginia News Stand: November 17, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations The Governor's Take

The education poll leads the news, but by now you know all about that. As for politics, Governor Tim Kaine is all about the long knives, now, criticizing Creigh Deeds for his campaign, as if the DNC chairman had no say so in it. I would write that it's easy for him to complain, but what does he know? He wasn't in Virginia for the campaign (rim shot, please).

The bulk of the news is about the House of Delegates: The Appropriations Committee gets a budget briefing during its annual two-day Capitol retreat; recently defeated Delegate Phil Hamilton (R-93, Newport News) announced his resignation, effective Sunday; and each  caucus held it's leadership votes over the weekend. The Republican lineup remains the same while the Democrats seem to have a position for every member of its diminished number.

In education news, about 10 teachers at a Henrico County high school are complaining about a guest speaker who advocates abstinence. Yeah. Hate speech. Speaking of communication and culture, a real blow to the Washington, D.C., media community: The homosexual advocacy publication Washington Blade is closing its doors. 

News:

Poll: Virginians like public schools but would like more nonpublic options (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Democrat Deeds ran without his base, Kaine says (Washington Post)

House committee to hear state budget forecast (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Va. House caucuses choose leaders (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Phil Hamilton resigns from House of Delegates (The Daily Press)

Freeman High abstinence-only speaker draws fire (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Health care-sharing ministries: Paying their fair share (Roanoke Times)

Gay weekly Washington Blade closes (Washington Post)

Washington Blade closes; new paper for gays planned (Washington Times)

Video Voter Guide, Right Here! Plus, TFF Action's New YouTube Channel!

TFF Action, our sister organization, has published its 2009 Voter Guides, which list the positions of the candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general on crucial issues facing all Virginians, as well as those running for certain seats in the House of Delegates. You can read them online here, as well as print and distribute or forward them electronically. You can also get hard copies by calling John Smith at 804-343-0010 or by e-mailing him at john@familyfoundation.org. While it compiled the Voter Guides, TFF Action also launched our latest Internet site — its own YouTube channel — and its first hit is this video voter guide:

The candidates and the issues: Who supports and opposes what?

The issues facing Virginia this year are monumental. The election may be a turning point not only for Virginia, but the nation. The eyes of the country are on us — and the message Virginia sends in two weeks will either validate the efforts of those in power in Washington, D.C., or send them a message and prepare the way for a reversal of trends in 2010. Inform yourself. Inform others. Share this information and this link with those on your e-mail lists, post it on social networking sites, and consider ordering the Voter Guides for distribution to your church.

Now, It's Shannon's Turn

We know why the three Democrat candidates for statewide office are reluctant to debate, even though they are behind in the polls — they either don't know their own positions (see Creigh Deeds tax and Marriage Amendment videos) or don't know much about the job they are seeking (see Jody Wagner video). Now it's Delegate Steve Shannon's turn to show his incompetence as he seeks election to attorney general, Virginia's second most important office. Tuesday, we commented on a debate he and his Republican attorney general opponent, Senator Ken Cuccinelli, had on WTOP-AM in Washington, D.C. It didn't go well for Shannon, then. Last night, in Prince William County, it got worse. Also, again, it wasn't broadcast. But we do have the magic of YouTube and, with his performance, Shannon might become a bigger video celebrity than Deeds, whose tax video has been seen by 50,000-plus people.  

In the video, Senator Cuccinelli asks Delegate Shannon to name the divisions within the attorney general's office and their functions. Shannon doesn't know! He says it's a gotcha question, as if not knowing the structure of the commonwealth's law firm is a trivial matter, and refuses to answer! (Hear the derisive laughs from the audience.) Does he think the governor doesn't have to know how many cabinet departments there are, or their functions? 

At the end, you can hear Delegate Shannon tell a reporter, "It's been a bad week . . . for Ken." If polls showing his opponent up by double digits is his idea of bad, no wonder he thinks he answered the question!

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.

Atheist-Agnostic Group Threatens Chesapeake City Council Over Prayer

Last week, we informed the public about several threats to religious liberty taking place around the nation. A group calling itself the Freedom From Religion Foundation is pursuing several lawsuits around the country to ban public signs of faith and religious heritage, including one to prohibit the words "In God We Trust" from being inscribed in the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C. (See conservative writer Peter Heck, whose column we post in the News Stand occasionally, debate this organization's president, here.) Today, we learned that this organization is making threats in Virginia. The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot reported earlier this week that this organization of self-proclaimed "atheists and agnostics" threatened the city of Chesapeake with legal action should it continue to open its city council meetings in prayer. As usual, it has misrepresented case law in making its threat — in particular, the Fourth Circuit Court's infamous Fredericksburg decision (see its long-winded news release).

When we heard about the case this morning, we immediately contacted our friends at the Alliance Defense Fund. ADF already is at work on a letter and model policy for the city council so that it will be able to fight back against the threatened lawsuit. We hope to have the letter and model policy to the city council and mayor today or tomorrow.

A few years ago, The Family Foundation partnered with ADF to send model prayer policies to every local government body in Virginia so that they would be aware of what the courts deem as appropriate prayers at government meetings. There are very specific guidelines for governing bodies to follow in their prayer policies — and none require so-called "non-sectarian" prayers as suggested by Freedom From Religion.

We will stay on top of this and keep you posted on this case. We will work to inform the Chesapeake City Council of its rights and fight this, and all threats, to religious liberty in the commonwealth.

Over And Over And Over Again: Proof The Obama Administration Is Insane

Everyone's heard the expression that explains the sure sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The Obama administration finds itself in this nutty circle. According to American City Business Journals, because several projects in the porkulus bill have come in under bid, the leftover money is getting spent on yet more pork projects!

Yee-haw!

"Bids came in far lower than we expected, but the upside is that because of that, we have been able to fund more projects," said Paul Prouty, acting administrator for the General Services Administration.

As it happens, Washington, D.C.; and Prince Georges County, Md., as well as other localities across the country, will get a pile of excess funds because they are classified as "Economically Disadvantaged Areas." What locality isn't right now and isn't this continued printing of money going to keep us all "economically disadvantaged" for a long time?

According to the article, one specific example of how the porkulus continues to get spent, even when there are savings, is  the Federal Aviation Administration. It is . . .

an agency that was able to fund more projects — 347 projects instead of its anticipated 301 projects with $1.1 billion —because of the low bids.

That's great. Instead of returning the money to help balance our mammoth deficit, which would actually help our economy, the Obama administration is spending what savings there are (the only bright light in a horrible bill) on still more pork — even as what has already been spent has failed to stem the rise in unemployment, which is climbing toward 10 percent.

If that sounds crazy, or insane, it is: And it's the same (debt-ridden) thing over and over and over again.

PFFV Announces "Winning Matters 2009" Events Across Virginia

Last week we, and our sister organization, Family Foundation Action announced the "Winning Matters" campaign that will register to vote people who believe in Biblical and traditional values. Since Virginia is one of only two states holding statewide elections this year, our decisions will be intently watched across the country. So voting with an informed conscience is especially inportant. The four point Winning Matters plan includes: 1. Identifying more Virginians who share our values;

2. Turning concerned citizens into values voting Virginians by registering them to vote;

3. Educating newly and previously registered voters on the differences between candidates on matters of life, marriage, parental authority, religious liberty and constitutional government; and

4. Motivating and mobilizing these informed voters to make a wise choice and to vote on election day.

In addition, Pastors For Family Values has launched its own Winning Matters 2009 Campaign. PFFV is not interested in which party wins, but rather that Biblical values are victorious when people make their way to the polls this November. So, Pastors For Family Values will travel the Commonwealth this summer holding various pastors events designed to educate, empower and encourage pastors to use the influence they have to continue to hold up Biblical values in their congregations and communities.

These events will feature outstanding, nationally known speakers and provide real tools, such as voter registration kits, TFF Action General Assembly Report Cards and voter guides. All events are free of charge.

Pastors For Family Values Winning Matters 2009 Pastors Events

» Roanoke: June 26, Golden Corral, 8-10:00 a.m.

Speakers: Pastor Rick Scarborough, Ph.D., of Vision America; and Mat Staver, Dean, Liberty University School of Law

* * * * *

» Harrisonburg: July 7, Shoney's, 8-9:30 a.m.

Speakers: Local pastors reporting on the recent Watchman on the Wall Conference; and Mickey Mixon, Area Coordinator Winning Matters 2009 Campaign

* * * * *

» Fredericksburg: August 4, Fredericksburg Expo and Convention Center (tentative), 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Speakers: Jonathan Falwell, Pastor, Thomas Road Baptist Church; and Bishop Harry Jackson, Pastor, Hope Christian Church, Washington, D.C.

* * * * *

» Richmond: July 23, Wyndham Hotel, 7:30-9:30 a.m.

Speaker: Bishop Harry Jackson

* * * * *

» Norfolk: August 20, Spring Hill Suites by Marriott, 7:30-9:30 a.m.

Speaker: Pastor Rick Scarborough

If you are a pastor, please mark your calendar and be sure to make it to at least one of these great events. You won't be disappointed. If you are not a pastor, please bring this schedule of events to your pastor's attention and encourage him to attend. To RSVP for any of these events, or for more information, call (804) 343-0010.

Virginia News Stand: April 29, 2009

Looks like the the governor got a little jealous of his boss in Washington and issued his own threat assessment, which demonized several groups, as did the federal manifesto. A college professor often told us, "Never generalize. It'll get you in trouble some day." Some never learn from even the most basic of life lessons. The report knocked the gubernatorial campaign off the radar a bit, which probably didn't win Governor Kaine any thanks from his would-be Democrat successors. But below we have some reports on the increasing acrimony of the Dem candidates toward each other. Are they a threat to anyone (other than the taxpayer)? But the Kaine administration report is very appropriately timed as people increasingly are concerned about the total takeover and make over of the country by the Obama administration, and you dare note complain. For example, read about how the very 1984 so-called "hate crimes" bill looks destined to get ram-rodded through the House, and possibly into law. Sandy Rios writes in detail about the totality of the liberals' grand scheme. 

The Miss USA debacle continues to be discussed. Andrew Breitbart has a blunt commentary about the viciousness of homosexual activists who are anything but the tolerant they say they are, or who want anything but the tolerance they say they seek. Meanwhile, a pro-life leader, herself a former Miss Delaware, says she's proud of Miss California, Carrie Prejean (who attends a Christian college). We also have an article and video of D.C. ministers rallying in favor of traditional marriage and against same-sex marriage, which the D.C. government is contemplating.

Lastly, the much publicized polling that says evangelical Christians are all of a sudden tree-hugging-greenies has been debunked. A study of the phrasing of the questions proves they were designed to provoke answers to fit the pre-conceived template of the organization sponsoring the poll.  

Admin's note: The News Stand may be intermittent the next 10 days or so as the Communications Department, who compiles the articles that make up much of the News Stand, takes a well-deserved vacation.

News:

Kaine orders investigation of report on terrorism threats (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

State terrorism report concerns university officials, rights watchdogs (The Daily Press)

Va. Democrats debate words vs. actions (Washington Times)

Democrats' Digs Deepen as Forums Continue (Washington Post)

Major Front in Va. Race Is Online (Washington Post)

National News:

'Hate crimes' bill likely to pass House, thanks to Dems (OneNewsNow.com)

Climate-change report on evangelicals debunked (OneNewsNow.com)

Pro-life leader proud of Miss California (OneNewsNow.com)

Commentary:

We're here, we're queer and we're hypocrites (Andrew Breitbart/Washington Times)

American Left attempts a bloodless coup (Sandy Rios/OneNewsNow.com)

Video:

Ministers Lead Protest of D.C. Legislation (Washington Post

Congrats To Jim Moran: Porker Of The Month!

Remember U.S. Representative Jim Moran's outburst to a constituent who simply asked if he would agree that everyone in Washington should take responsibility for the mortgage crisis? Virginia's 8th District Congressman blew up at the constituent and said she didn't know what she was talking about. At the same meeting he also said, "In the long run" the government was coming after all of your money (see our comment and video, here).

Such great leadership and statesmanship can't be ignored. Thankfully, it hasn't. Representative Moran, brother of Delegate Brian who is seeking the Democrat nomination for governor next year, was awarded the "Porker of the Month Award" for November by Citizens Against Government Waste.

CAGW gave Moran the award, presumably against stiff competition, for this remark:

Now, in the last seven years, we have had the highest corporate profit ever in American history, highest corporate profit. We've had the highest productivity. The American worker has produced more per person than at any time. But it hasn't been shared and that's the problem. Because we have been guided by a Republican administration who believes in this simplistic notion that people who have wealth are entitled to keep it and they have an antipathy towards the means of redistributing wealth. And they may be able to sustain that for awhile, but it doesn't work in the long run.

Quite an achievement since then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, around the same time, promised to "spread the wealth around." But CAGW President Tom Schatz made the case for Moran (see news release, here):

Rep. Moran's punitive conclusion about creating wealth reflects the prevailing ethos of the current Congress. His remarks offer a window into the soul of the congressional leadership and offer a bare-knuckled preview of the kind of confiscatory policies taxpayers can expect now that there are even fewer fiscal conservatives on Capitol Hill. This Congress intends to reward hard work and productivity with a government-mandated ‘sharing' program.

So, we are sure we speak for millions of Virginians from Alleghany to Accomack and from Westmoreland to Wise and everywhere in between: Congratulations, Congressman Moran! You've made Virginia proud! 

Tomorrow, We Will Choose . . .

Tomorrow, the citizens of the freest nation in the world will once again choose their leader. This time, however, it seems certain that the choice is not just about a person or a party, but about the very essence of our nation.Tomorrow, we will choose between a candidate that has a quarter century record of voting to protect human life in its most vulnerable form, or a candidate that believes it is in the nation's best interest to allow newborn children who survive late-term abortions to simply die. Tomorrow, we will choose between a candidate that believes the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is worth defending, or a candidate that believes the definition of marriage is malleable.

Tomorrow, we will choose between a candidate that believes parents should have the option to send their children to whatever school they wish, public or private, or a candidate that believes teaching sex education to kindergartners is good for America.

Tomorrow, we will choose between a candidate that believes hard working families should be free to keep more of their hard earned incomes, or a candidate that believes continuing to allow families that freedom is bad for America and that income should be redistributed as the government sees fit.

The differences between John McCain and Barack Obama are staggering. You can read more about these differences at The Family Foundation Action Web site (click here). (Also while there, review the Congressional voter guide that shows the vast differences between candidates for U.S. Senate, Jim Gilmore (click here) and Mark Warner (click here), and Congressional races.)

But in truth, this election is not simply about the issues listed above. It is about freedom.  It is about the freedom to make decisions about our families, our incomes and our faith that the government has no business being involved with. It is about whether or not the document that "holds these truths to be self evident" is still relevant in our society. 

We are not ready to give up on the Founding Fathers vision! We are not ready to turn our lives over to a bureaucrat in Washington, D.C., to determine what my health care needs are, how we can or cannot live our faith in the public square, how our families' income should be spent, or how the very institutions on which society is based are defined.

This nation and its Judeo-Christian heritage are worth getting up early, standing in line, bringing a family friend or neighbor or fellow church member along with us, and casting our ballots for the candidates who believe in the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage and the freedom to prosper. This nation is worth ignoring the prognosticators, the polls, and the media's overwhelming and blatant disregard for facts and truth — and the blatant and below the belt attacks this year on candidates of faith, who respect life, traditional marriage and traditional values.

In short, it is worth your vote. Please, tomorrow, vote. Vote for the God ordained values and truths that our society must protect in order to survive. 

Tomorrow, pray, vote, then go home and pray more.

Let's Talk . . . About Talk And Experience

There's a lot of talk going on about  . . . talk. As well as experience. A Mainstream Media "reporter" (i.e., Obama advocate) I heard recently (and I'm sure she wasn't the only one) joined the debate over whether Senator Barack Obama was more qualified to be president than Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is to be vice president. She admitted that Senator Obama's resume was thin on experience and accomplishments but said that at least "Obama had been campaigning for two years talking about these issues."

Talk. That's all we need right now in Washington, D.C., is more talk. It's a wonder Chicago is called the "Windy City" when there are enough blowhards in D.C. to power the U.S.S. Nimitz. So Senator Obama is a good talker. That qualifies him to be Commander-In-Chief?

This reporter was trying to say, in code, "Obama is smarter than the hayseed from Alaska." It's the same elitism of the "bitter and clinging to their guns and religion" remarks as it is his ridicule of Joe The Plumber in a speech one day and dining on lobster and caviar the next at New York City's Waldorf Astoria. 

It's ironic that the bumper sticker slogan of Virginia Democrat gubernatorial candidate (and Obama supporter) Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25, Charlottesville) is "Deeds. Not Words."

I didn't think much of this as blog material, but then last week, Senator Gaffe — uh, Biden, that is — said that his running mate's inexperience will certainly cause as many as "five or six international incidents" that will "test" Obama. Then I saw this just a while ago and it all came together to drive home the point. Exactly who does have more experience, indeed. Take a watch. The music is appropriate and stirring.

  

Live From Roanoke! Jim Gilmore And Mark Warner In Senate Debate Tonight

We had some comments earlier this week on the vice presidential debate, such as posing questions we'd like to hear asked. We only had two. Alas, neither were asked. In just a few hours, live at 7:00 from Roanoke's new Taubman Museum, former governors Jim Gilmore, the Republican nominee, and Mark Warner, the Democrat nominee, will have their only live televised statewide debate in their campaign for Virginia's open U.S. Senate seat. (George Allen and Jim Webb even debated on NBC's Meet The Press.) It will be worth watching. Record it if you must. In some areas it will be replayed later and C-SPAN is televising it and may repeat it as well. Others are Web streaming it.

Since Jim Gilmore has repeatedly asked for several live debates, as is the Virginia tradition, and since Mark Warner bailed out of one and only agreed to this one late in the game, we'd like to hear any one of these questions to Mr. Warner:

1. Mr. Warner, you claimed at the time, and still do, that your record setting tax increase was necessary because you had cut state government spending as far you could and needed the state revenue to keep the budget in balance. If so, why does the State Department of Planning and Budget Web site (click here) show that state spending under your administration went from $12.1 billion in Fiscal Year '03 general fund spending to $12.4 billion in FY '04 and then to $13.8 billion in FY '05. What exactly did you cut before you burdened Virginia's families with higher taxes?

2. If you tax increases left Virginia in such great fiscal shape, why has Governor Tim Kaine felt it necessary to try to raise taxes still more every year since?

3. Mr. Warner, when you were governor, you vetoed a bill to allow off shore drilling in Virginia. Now you say you are for it. Why should we believe you are for meaningful off shore drilling that will create thousands of jobs and bring in millions in revenue for Virginia?

4. Mr. Warner, you say you are a "moderate" who is willing to reach out and be bi-partisan. Yet you have not shown one area of disagreement with Barack Obama, who was listed as the most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate by the non-partisan National Journal (more liberal, even, than the avowed socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont). Please list some major policies where you disagree with Barack Obama and agree with John McCain.

5. To both: What year was Franklin Roosevelt elected president and when did he first go on television?

We're not expecting any of the questions to be asked, but the candidates are welcome to come here and respond.

Stations Showing The Debate Live Tonight Charlottesville: WVIR 29 NBC Johnson City, Tenn.: WJHL 11 CBS Harrisonburg: WHSV 3 ABC Norfolk: WVBT 43 Fox Norfolk: WHRO 15 PBS Richmond: WWBT 12 NBC

Richmond: WTVR Digital 6.2 CBS (Comcast Channel 206) Roanoke: WBRA PBS Roanoke: WSLS 10 NBC  National: C-SPAN Streaming live online at News8.net Streaming live online at NBC4.com

 Streaming live online at WTVR.com

Streaming live online at WJLA.com

Stations Re-Broadcasting The Debate Washington, D.C.: News Channel 8 at 11:00 p.m. Friday Washington, D.C.: WRC 4 NBC at 7:00 a.m. Sunday

Pastors Energized To Make A Difference After This Week's "Watchmen on the Wall" Conference

Nearly 250 pastors and church leaders earlier this week joined together in Williamsburg at a "Watchmen on the Wall" conference co-sponsored by the Family Research Council and The Family Foundation of Virginia. The attendees were urged to speak out on important issues of the day and to encourage their members to take their civic responsibilities seriously.This year The Family Research Council is hosting several "Watchmen on the Wall" pastor conferences across the nation, including in Washington, D.C.; California, Arizona and New Hampshire. To date, nearly 2,000 pastors have joined together and hundreds of others have joined The Family Research Council's pastors' effort. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told the crowd, "Your leadership is absolutely fundamental and essential to this nation. My hope for America is not bailing out Wall Street. My hope for America is not in education. My hope for America is not in our strong military. My hope for America is Jesus Christ."

Former U.S. Representative Bob McEwen (R-Ohio) encouraged pastors to make sure people in their congregations are registered to vote. He said, "There are fifty million self-identified evangelicals in the United States. That's fifty million votes. Fifty million votes wins everything." Statistics indicate that at least half of self-identified evangelicals are not registered to vote. Dozens of churches in Virginia have been holding voter registration drives and will continue to do so up until the registration deadline (click here to see how to get involved).

Pastors also were educated by Alliance Defense Fundsenior counsel Jordan Lorence about their legal rights concerning speaking about issues, educating their congregations and providing election materials. Lorence has argued numerous times before the United States Supreme Court. 

The audience also heard from Bishop Harry Jackson of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, Yorktown) and Attorney General Bob McDonnell. 

The Family Foundation, along with its pastor outreach arm, Pastors For Family Values, co-hosted the event. Pastors For Family Values provides support for pastors who speak on cultural issues and provide civil leadership. Pastors For Family Values formed in 2007 after Virginians in 2006 overwhelmingly voted to pass a Constitutional amendment defining marriage — as an outgrowth of pastoral involvement in that effort, several pastors of various denominations and ethnicities approached The Family Foundation with the concept of forming a pastors group.

It is absolutely essential for church leaders to take the lead and speak out on the values issues that shape our nation and our culture. While some organizations try to intimidate and discourage religious leaders from exercising their rights and freedoms in the political sphere, we urge them to reject those fear tactics and take a vocal stand on important issues. Only when our churches take a stand will we see our laws begin to reflect the traditional values our nation once stood upon.

Attendees left the "Watchmen on the Wall" conference excited and challenged. Nearly 20,000 church going Virginians were represented by the participating pastors. The impact these pastors and those church members can have on Virginia's political culture is enormous.

There is a tremendous amount of energy among pastors and church leaders and there is no question this energy will affect the congregations they represent. The potential impact of this energy and leadership cannot be underestimated. It isn't intended simply to affect one election or one campaign cycle but to bring change to an entire culture. This week was an important step toward that change.

If Value Voters Vote

Today in Washington, D.C., there is a meeting of the vast right wing conspiracy. Big surprise, The Family Foundation is in the midst. Although the left might prefer we were the only ones in the room, we are not. The Values Voter Summit hosted by the Family Research Council Action has drawn more than 2,000 people to the historic Washington Hilton. Speaking to this energized crowd is quite a line up of thinkers and doers including CNN host Lou Dobbs, Joe Gibbs, Newt Gingrich, Michael Medved, Stephen Baldwin, Alveda King, Michael Steele, Star Parker, Dr. Bill Bennett, Laura Ingram, Ben Stein, Chuck Colson and many more. 

Casual conversations with folks indicate that they really wish Governor Sarah Palin was joining us but they respect the fact that she is in Alaska deploying her son and since she just drew 23,000 people in Farfax this week, they'll cut her some slack. Michael Steele told us what he has told the media this past week, "I know Sarah Palin and you don't want to mess with Sarah Palin. She shoots moose, what do you think she is going to do to a donkey?" 

The leadership of all of the family policy councils around the country have been here much of the week pow-wowing about marriage amendments on the ballots in Ariz., Calif., and Fla., and much more. A smaller segment of the group is discussing not just issues, but tactics. In particular, a conclusion has been reached by those of us that aren't 50+ year old white men (no offense to those that are) that our movement has not yet grabbed the tools and terminology needed to reach the ever important 18-29 year old voting block. While we don't have all the solutions, I've heard that the first step is acknolwledging the problem. 

Lou Dobbs encouraged conservatives in the room to diversity our issues. Although his comments were aimed at the fiscal issues, closed door meetings have discussed not allowing the left to claim the issues of poverty and social justice. Indeed the greatest efforts toward giving every citizen a shot at the American dream are those that go straight to the root problem — solutions that secure and stablize a nuclear family. A bunch of brainiacs shared some embargoed research with a small group of us yesterday and it continues to be clear that if we want men, women and children to succeed in any way (financial, education, etc.), we must stop the out of wedlock births, cohabitation and divorce. If we want our young men to grow up and not end up on the street or in our prison system, they need their dads! That's not a moral opinion, its a social science fact. Clearly, we need to be a part of making sure we love our neighbor by making sure they know where their next meal comes from, but working to solve poverty runs so much deeper than a bunch of government programs. 

Interestingly, Dobbs acknowledged that FRC President Tony Perkins has been instrumental in his "conversation" to believing that values voters matter and need to have a voice in the public square. Dobbs hasn't always believed that way and said he was used to pursuading people to his point of view, but Tony turned the tables on him.

One thing is for sure, the energy level among values voters has received a monumental shot of adreneline with Sarah Palin joining the Republican ticket. These people are ready to go home across the nation and go to work. That impact will no doubt be felt election day.