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Big Guns' Appearances Within Week Enhance Virginia's Battleground Status

Unless you are living a fully hermetic life, you know Virginia is as much at the crossroads in the presidential campaign as it was for the armies of Washington, Rochambeau and Cornwallis in the summer and fall of 1781. Advertisements fill the airwaves during local programming on both television and radio and pop up on computer screens as people with Virginia ZIP Codes peruse social media sites, calls set off ring tones, and door knockers appear at our front steps with bright and shiny smiles. Nothing too unusual, especially in recent years as Virginia has trended "purple." But it has started earlier than ever — by months. While Democrats used to write off Virginia during presidential years, Barack Obama's superbly organized campaign and large crowd appearances changed the dynamic here and forced campaign stops by the Republican ticket in 2008. If some appearances during the home stretch four years ago put the spotlight on the commonwealth, how do three major swings through the Old Dominion within one August week sound?

News came down yesterday that newly minted Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan will be in downtown Richmond Thursday night with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal for a fundraiser and then on Friday morning hold a rally in the suburb of Glen Allen at Deep Run High School (see Richmond Times-Dispatch). Friday he and Governor Jindal will hold a fundraiser in Arlington. This comes on the heels of GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Ryan working the I-64/95 crescent Saturday with stops in Norfolk, Ashland and Manassas as part of Ryan's national introduction. Picking Virginia for the announcement of Ryan's selection in and of itself speaks volumes to the importance and weight Virginia carries in this year's election. This newly announced swing bookends a trip through South and Southwest Virginia yesterday by Vice President Joe Biden, who made national news in his own special way.

If all that isn't enough, tomorrow afternoon Governor Jindal will be the featured guest at a meet and greet at the South Chesterfield Victory office. For more information about any of these events, click here. These specific site visits underscore the sophistication of the modern campaign, with micro targeting of specific sections of certain areas to turn out and excite voters.

While it may all sound exciting, it also has the potential to test the endurance of even the hardest of hard core political junkies. Try to enjoy the rest of your summer. This fall we will have as much room for escape from the noise as Cornwallis did the Americans and French.

Eerily Ironic Anniversaries: ObamaCare And Patrick Henry's "Liberty Or Death" Speech

Today is the one year anniversary of ObamaCare becoming law. You can't escape it. The Mainstream Media's celebrations are more ecstatic than those provoked by a March Madness last second game-winning shot. More significantly, and what really should be celebrated, is today's anniversary of Patrick Henry's "Liberty or Death" speech in 1775, which lit the torch for freedom from Great Britain in the colonies. It was a speech that resonated thousands of miles to inspire liberty in an era when paper tacked on a tree was considered mass communication; it similarly has transcended throughout time to freedom loving people on guard against the advance of the Leviathan. The spirit today remains willing. But is the body politic?

When he filed his lawsuit against ObamaCare last year, also on this very date, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli noted the appropriateness of defending liberty on the same day when — at a courthouse about a mile from St. John's Church where — Mr. Henry inspired Virginia and a fledgling country. He made that point again today in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. But it is eerily ironic that a seminal event for the defense of freedom shares the anniversary day of the largest government grab of liberty in the history of the Republic.

So as to give you a flavor of Mr. Henry's speech on this great anniversary, and to pick up the slack of the contemporary culture and education establishment, here are two videos. The first is a video tour of historic St. John's Church in Richmond, via C-SPAN (click here for more about the church and other Virginia historic sites). The second is a partial reenactment of the speech, which is performed weekly during the summer and on special occasions at the church.

America given rise to . . . in a church.

A call to defend liberty that resonated throughout the land then and which has transcended time now.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.