Culture

Regional Voter Guides are Now Available!!!

Just one vote! That's all it took in 2017 when Delegate David Yancey tied with his challenger and had to have the winner decided by drawing a name out of a bowl.  So it's no exaggeration to say that one person in one church helped make sure that pro-life conservatives maintained the majority in the House of Delegates that year.    

The Family Foundation Action has created four Regional General Assembly Voter Guides, including for Metro Richmond, Tidewater (Peninsula to Virginia Beach), Loudoun/Fairfax, and Prince William/Stafford, based on the regions with the most competitive races this election cycle.  These Regional Guides contain multiple contested House and Senate races and are intended to educate voters about the candidates for the upcoming November 5th, 2019 General Election.  They are designed to motivate citizens to vote and enable them to make informed choices when they go to the ballot box in only a few weeks.

Click the links below to download a printable PDF version of the Regional Voter Guides to share and/or print.                     

                                         METRO RICHMOND                    TIDEWATER

                                         LOUDOUN/FAIRFAX                   PRINCE WILLIAM/STAFFORD

We are printing only these Regional Voter Guides and mailing them to those who order them to distribute in their region. If you wish to place an order for a particular region, you can do so by clicking HERE.  If you wish to get Voter Guides for individual House of Delegates and Senate races, TFF Action will not be printing these, but the PDFs for each will be linked to our website in the coming days for anyone to view, share and print.  Our website also features a helpful link that allows you to search for your state Delegate and Senator.

Please consider helping to offset the cost of these Voter Guides so that we can send them to more churches and Virginians, you can do so HERE.  A suggested donation of $.25 per copy is encouraged to help defray costs of printing and distribution.  Please also consider sponsoring the distribution of 100, 500 or even 1,000 Voter Guides with a donation of $25, $125, or $250.  If you prefer to make a donation by check please make them out to "TFF Action" and mail to 707 E. Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23219.  Thank you for your support!

The mission of The Family Foundation Action is to protect families and promote responsible citizenship by giving Virginians the tools they need to hold their elected officials accountable.  The Family Foundation Action is not a PAC and does not endorse candidates. Therefore, please be advised that political campaigns and candidates for public office may not use either The Family Foundation or The Family Foundation Action logo for any campaign-related publications.  Any such use of these logos is not authorized and should be ceased and corrected immediately.

Give to TFF Action!

The Family Foundation Action is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(4) organization and paid for this informational communication.  Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Punching Back: Peter Vlaming Fights for Conscience for Himself and All Teachers

Yesterday, Peter Vlaming, after having his livelihood completely disrupted last December when he was fired by the West Point School Board for not addressing a student with opposite-sex pronouns, announced he is suing the School Board for violating his constitutional rights of free speech and the exercise of his religious convictions.

You may recall that Mr. Vlaming was fired following a hearing before the Board not for what he said, but because of what he didn’t say in refusing to use male pronouns when addressing a female student who, after two years in Mr. Vlaming’s French class, decided to begin identifying as a boy.  In fact, in an effort be respectful of the student, he committed to using the student’s newly chosen (traditionally male) name, and to refrain from using any pronouns at all for the student, so as not to offend the student or anyone else.

All Mr. Vlaming did was follow his conscience, which could not permit him to speak objective falsehoods that distort the true nature of male and female as God created them. But of course, as we should all know by now, anything short of total celebration and participation in someone else’s sexual expressions is simply unacceptable to the ever-growing purveyors of sexual totalitarianism.

We stand with Mr. Vlaming who is standing up for his own conscience rights and the conscience rights of teachers across Virginia. And we are glad to see he is ‘punching back’ against the Board’s blatant and unlawful religious discrimination, by seeking $1 million in damages for current and future lost wages, benefits, loss of reputation, and pain and suffering for he and his family of six. And we’re thrilled that our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom will be representing him in this fight.

Please continue to pray for Peter as he stands in the gap for all teachers to be able to live according to their conscience and not be forced to express untrue messages which they disbelieve, but especially when it violates their deeply held religious convictions.

For more background on Peter Vlaming’s story, please read our blogs:

Stafford School Board Ignores Parents’ Concerns

Late last night, just after midnight in a still-packed room, after four hours of public comments from over 100 speakers, the Stafford County School Board narrowly voted 4 - 3 to approve two nondiscrimination policies that elevate “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to a special protected class, ignoring the cries of an overwhelming number of concerned parents in attendance.  The policies give the district’s Superintendent virtually unlimited latitude to interpret and implement them as he sees fit  - including the use of bathrooms, showers, and changing facilities - without any control or approval by the Board.

Adding insult to injury, the Board voted 4-3 against a motion to allow the Board’s legal Memo from their attorney to be made available to the public for the sake of transparency. The four members clearly have something they don’t want the public to know, since the Chairwoman revealed that she was voting against the policy because she agreed with the legal advice the Board was given!

Our Policy team, Todd Gathje and Josh Hetzler, attended the meeting, along with many dozens of parents and allies in the fight against these dangerously misguided policies, and spoke to both the policy and legal consequences they will bring.

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You can watch the entire recorded meeting HERE and read the policies for yourself at the following links:

Proposed New Policy 2420 (Student Services: Nondiscrimination, Equal Education Opportunity). 

Proposed Revisions to Policy 4107 (Human Resources Services: Nondiscrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity, Anti-Retaliation).

Over and over again proponents of the policies, including some Board members, claimed that they had NOTHING to do with bathrooms or locker rooms.  And yet, they cited as their primary justification for the policy just one isolated incident last year involving a female student claiming to be “transgender” who was left in the hallway during an emergency drill instead of in the sex-segregated locker rooms with the other students.  If these policies aren’t about allowing students and staff into opposite-sex bathrooms, showers, and changing areas, what are they about?  After all, they already have policies prohibiting bullying and harassment of any student.

Of course, this has everything to do with bathrooms, access to locker rooms, and changing facilities!  In fact Gavin Grimm, the female student from Gloucester County at the center of a major court case involving access to bathrooms, who also spoke last night, explained in an interview that transgender students don’t deserve the stigmatism of having to use single occupant bathrooms.

The School Superintendent, who has every intention of taking this as far as possible, will now be able to establish onerous guidelines for all students, teachers and administrators to follow within every context of the public schools, with very little oversight by the Board.

These policies have opened the door for every student to have unrestricted access to all sex-specific facilities - including locker rooms, showers, or bathrooms of the opposite biological sex - so long as the student merely claims to identify as that sex.  This violates every student’s fundamental, constitutionally protected, right to bodily privacy and will force them into situations that make them feel uncomfortable or fearful.  In addition to concerns about privacy, these policies will compel students, teachers and administrators to use phrases or pronouns that conflict with their beliefs about the biological realities of males and females, or be reprimanded by the school. Many of the parents alluded of former West Point High School teacher, Peter Vlaming, who was recently fired for this very reason after that school board passed a similar policy.

All of this will happen notwithstanding the clear and vocal opposition of parents, who see their fundamental right to control their children’s education and upbringing being eroded and their children now being put in danger by people who might abuse the policies for wrong purposes.

What happened in Stafford last night could be coming to your county, as many school boards have been watching closely to decide whether to consider similar policies.  While we are saddened and outraged by what transpired last night, we will not stop fighting these horrible policies that work to destroy the very fabric of our society.

To all the parents, students, pastors, and concerned citizens in Stafford who submitted comments or spoke out last night, thank you for engaging in this critical battle! As long as this policy stands, this fight is not over.

The NEA Finally Admitted It!

Last month the National Education Association (NEA) adopted Business Item 56 that makes official its support for abortion – something we have suspected for years.  Once again, the NEA, and by extension the Virginia Education Association (VEA), have shown us that they are less about education and more about advancing an ideologically liberal agenda. This has become abundantly clear in their VEA fund endorsements made earlier this year, a list where you won’t find a single pro-life candidate.

Business Item 56 states the following:

“Furthermore, the NEA will include an assertion of our defense of a person's right to control their own body, especially for women, youth, and sexually marginalized people. The NEA vigorously opposes all attacks on the right to choose and stands on the fundamental right to abortion under Roe v. Wade.”

On average, a public school teacher pays the NEA $192 in annual dues.  In return teachers are able to take advantage of benefits like shopping discounts, life insurance plans, and student loan forgiveness programs.  The NEA, despite their best efforts to convince us otherwise, uses the dues to pay for political activities that often conflict with a teacher’s personal convictions.  Now with the adoption of Business Item 56, the NEA will use a percentage of teachers’ dues to fund its political activities to specifically promote abortion.

The NEA, the largest teachers’ union in the United States with 2.2 million members, says its mission is to “advocate for education professionals and to unite our members and the nation to fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world.”  Clearly their adoption of an organizational policy supporting Roe v. Wade and the abortion industry is inconsistent with its stated mission and elevates a liberal ideology above the interests of its members.  The position expressed by the NEA will be in direct conflict with the values and principles that many teachers hold regarding the sanctity of life.

But there are several alternatives to the NEA without the political agenda.  That’s right, a public school teacher doesn’t have to join the NEA to receive helpful benefits and be part of a network of likeminded teachers dedicated to teaching our youth.

Instead public school teachers should consider joining one of the following groups:

1.    American Association of Educators (AAE) - AAE is a non-profit professional association that serves thousands of teachers across the country.  They describe themselves as a “national, non-union, professional educators' organization, advancing the profession by offering a modern approach to teacher representation” that seeks to promote professionalism, collaboration and excellence without a partisan agenda.” (Emphasis added.) 

As a member of AAE, a teacher will receive many of the same benefits that the NEA “promises,” including liability insurance, shopping discounts, scholarships, grants, and legal services, but with a lower annual membership fee.

2.    Christian Educators Association International (CEAI) – A teacher interested in being part of a Christian-based organization should consider CEAI, which offers many of the same benefits but with a missional component.  In addition to membership benefits such as legal services, insurance and store discounts, CEAI provides a ministry to equip teachers to be “missional educational leaders.”

3.    Virginia Professional Educators - VPE is a nonprofit professional group for Virginia teachers that also provides many of the same benefits the VEA offers, but at a lower cost and without the “partisan politics and controversial social agendas of teacher unions.”  VPE is a growing professional group for teachers with several thousand members.

It’s time to dismantle the illusion that the only professional group for teachers is the NEA.  Teachers should be made aware that there are other groups that offer professional development without the stress of being connected to political positions that may conflict with their personal beliefs.

How is this possible?

This week, Virginia politicians from both sides of the aisle and many in the media are trumpeting CNBC’s announcement that the Old Dominion is once again the “Best State for Business.” 

CNBC’s survey was based on criteria like, economy, infrastructure, quality of life, education, technology business friendliness, etc. 

But, according to many politicians – from former Governor Terry McAuliffe and current Governor Ralph Northam – to state Senators and Delegates of both political parties, and a host of special interests, quite frankly it should be impossible for Virginia to be the best state for business.

Why?

Well, according to these so-called “progressive” leaders, Virginia isn’t very “open and welcoming.”  You see, for the better part of the past decade, the media and political class have claimed that businesses and education leaders and technology gurus and everyone else it seems wouldn’t come to Virginia because the General Assembly hasn’t elevated “sexual orientation and gender identity” to protected classes.

Oh, and those anti-women “anti-abortion” laws are terrible for business, too.

Oops.

Of course, none of the rhetoric spouted by those claiming that Virginia’s economy suffers because the Commonwealth has chosen to minimally protect unborn children and religious liberty is true.  For the most part, low tax and regulation states are at or near the top of the “Best States for Business” list, while those with the most extreme pro-abortion and pro-LGBT laws tend to linger at or near the bottom.  Why? Because smart business leaders don’t base economic decisions on anything other than economic facts, not emotional hysteria (even Amazon decided to come to Virginia). 

This won’t stop the rhetoric, however, or the bills.  There’s little doubt that we’ll see Delegate Kathy Tran’s infamous abortion-at-any-point-through-birth bill again in 2020.  We’ll see the dozen or so bills elevating sexual behavior to special status in our laws, threatening religious liberty and making many religious small business owners left feeling rather, well, unwelcome. 

But the line will stay the same – if we don’t pass these bills the economy will suffer. 

Except it won’t.  Virginia’s economy will do just fine as long as taxes are relatively low and the regulatory environment is somewhat less crushing than neighboring states.  Businesses go where they can make money – which for most business owners is sort of the point. 

By the way, CNBC ranked New York state, which adopted its own version of Delegate Tran’s “welcome to everyone except babies” 27th. 

Our Team Has You Covered: Special Session, LGBTQ+ meetings, and more

News out of Richmond yesterday focused entirely on the General Assembly, which convened a rare Special Session on gun control at the call of the Governor in response to the deadly shooting at a Virginia Beach municipal building on May 31. (Read our critique of the Governor's rhetoric in our blog entitled Why We Need More "Thoughts and Prayers") Realizing that this gathering was little more than a political exercise to boost the Governor’s party in November’s election, we used the opportunity to meet with as many legislators as possible to discuss other important pro-family issues.

The day was over as quickly as it started.  Leaders from both chambers sent the handful of bills introduced to be studied by the Virginia State Crime Commission, and moved to reconvene on November 18.

While some of our Policy team was at the Capitol for the Special Session, others were monitoring the Department of Health's presentation on "Virginia's LGBTQ+ Health Equity Symposium and Data Collection for LGBTQ Populations."

Yes, this is what our state government is busy doing! And we’re here to make sure that someone is watching, speaking, and acting on behalf of your values.

The Symposium overview, provided by the state's "Transgender Health Services Specialist", centered largely on recommendations for the state to change its medical processes, forms, and state employee training and policies to fully incorporate transgender ideology into state government. (See sample below.)

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2019-7-9 LGBTQ Sypmosium Overview Presentation.png

It was clear from this meeting that our state government is seeking to eliminate what it believes are “social stigmas” because, according to them, that is the cause of higher levels of HIV, stress, anxiety and even clinical depression in those identifying as LGBTQ+. While its important to treat every person with the utmost dignity and respect and to help every person struggling with physical and mental health issues, it's dangerous of the Department of Health to overlook the reality of the negative health consequences directly associated with these lifestyles.

The Department of Health is also pursuing the same radical compelled speech that caused West Point high school teacher Peter Vlaming to get fired.  As the presenter of the study stated, "people need to use preferred pronouns, even if they're uncomfortable with it."  Here are some more troubling things we learned at the meeting:   

  • Planned Parenthood was touted for its services to LGBTQ+ patients

  • The Department of Health intends to implement questions involving gender identity, “sex assigned at birth”, and “preferred gender pronouns” into all its patient intake forms.

  • LGBTQ+ training needs to be done with all VDH staff, and possibly with all state employees.

  • The Governor is currently looking to hire a Director of Equity and Inclusion to implement all of the presenter's recommendations for implementing these policies throughout all state agencies.

Of course, any of these changes would infringe on many state employees’ deeply held religious and personal convictions. Commissioner Norman Oliver understands this and stated that to implement these recommendations would “require a cultural change within the state agencies" that he expected to take place in between one to two years.

There are so many important issues to stay on top of in our Commonwealth, and we are here working hard – often in several places at once – to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks as we seek to preserve and promote strong families. We appreciate your continued partnership and prayers.

The State’s New Policy on "Preferred Pronouns"

The Family Foundation has consistently opposed and successfully defeated bills each year aimed at adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to state employment matters, and with good reason. Yesterday, Governor Northam once again illustrated the dilemma with laws that sound tolerant but ignore objective realities.

Formally unveiling his “Employment Equity Initiative for State Agencies,” its stated purpose is to ensure that the “state employment application and compensation policies will promote fair and equitable pay.” Sounds reasonable enough, although one should always be wary of a government that “fixes” a problem of which no actual examples are ever shared.  This often points to a favorite expression in the halls of the General Assembly—a solution in search of a problem.

Upon closer review, one might legitimately question whether the problem to be “fixed” is not one of inequitable compensation among state employees, but the desire to advance an insidious policy shift to align with the LGBTTQQIAAP+++ agenda. The Governor’s Press Release goes on: “The streamlined application will eliminate salary history, school name, age indicator, and other fields with potential for unconscious bias; offer a preferred pronoun to highlight the state’s diversity and inclusion efforts;” (Emphasis mine.)

Preferred pronouns, of course, reflect the implicit – and now apparently, official – recognition of the erroneous notion that a person’s sex as either male or female may not actually have any correlation to what the rest of us must now be compelled to refer to them as. Under such conditions, one can NEVER safely assume that a person who looks like a man, talks like a man, identifies as a man, or even has male chromosomes (XY) should be referenced using male pronouns. If “gender” is now something entirely separate and unrelated to “sex”, then the ONLY way to avoid such the grave “error” of “misgendering” is to specifically ask each and every person right up front which pronouns he/she/it/they/etc. wish to be called (and then to keep them all straight and never forget). The Governor’s change to the state application process effectively formalizes this practice – and expectation – in all interpersonal interactions within state government. 

But as unwieldy and cumbersome (not to mention outrageous) as this may sound, it’s not nearly that simple. In today’s ever-evolving sexual paradigm, we’ve seen that pronouns will no longer be limited to the “traditional” binary and static male-female terms of he/him/his and she/her/hers. No, we will most certainly have to account for those who identify as NEITHER male NOR female, and those who identify as BOTH male AND female, as well as those who identify as one or the other interchangeably and perhaps sporadically throughout the day. And of course, we can’t forget about those who identify as having no gender at all. (What pronouns must we use for… such persons??)

And that’s just getting started. What of all of the other claimed “genders” besides male and female? What about the genderqueer, the genderfluid, the pansexual, the non-binary, the “others”, and the as-of-yet unknowns of infinite variety? Already, in common usage in some places, the following “non-binary” pronoun sets have been created: 

-          they/their/them/themself (for an individual)

-          "ey," "em," "eir," "eirs," and "eirself"

-          "zie," "zim," "zir," "zirs," and "zirself"

In theory and in principle, the list of made-up “pronoun” words could be endless. Consider this very real headline from 2016: University of Michigan student changes name to 'His Majesty' following new 'inclusive' pronoun policy  May this student, or in our case, any person applying for and working in Virginia state government insist on the right to be referred to as “His Majesty” – even when speaking of that person outside of [His Majesty’s] presence – simply because such person declares such a desire?

Some may charge me here with embellishing or claim I’m unfairly employing a “slippery slope” argument. In fact, I am only recognizing and applying the simple logic at the heart of this issue: If the only limitation on adopting an individual’s “preferred gender pronouns” (and then expecting everyone else to acquiesce in both their speech and conduct) is that each individual must merely declare them, then anyone can claim any pronouns at any time and impose their usage upon everyone.  The law, by its very essence, sets up parameters for behavior. By contrast, this policy sets up a paradigm within which there are no parameters, and is therefore the very definition of lawlessness.

We must next ask a question of even greater consequence: Can a Virginia state employee now be punished for conscientiously refusing to – or even accidentally failing to – use pronouns incongruent with their colleagues’ known biological sex? And if so, how? While it does not appear that these questions have yet been answered, we already watched a beloved West Point High School French teacher, Peter Vlaming, be fired simply for conscientiously declining to use male pronouns for a female student – even despite his efforts to avoid all conflict by not using any pronouns at all!

This termination was only possible after the School Board had passed a sexual orientation/gender identity policy. Can there be any doubt that the current and future administrations would absolutely purge anyone who would not buy into the new sexual orthodoxy to the point of speaking things they disbelieve and may even violate their conscience?

There are numerous other potentialities with this policy. For instance, will the person who identifies with different pronouns on his application but isn’t chosen for the position or even given an interview now have an easy claim of employment discrimination based upon “gender identity”? The state should expect to have to defend plenty of new lawsuits, to be sure. Moreover, which bathrooms will employees use who don’t identify as either male or female, or even any gender at all? Will new categories of bathrooms have to be installed to accommodate everyone’s use of the facilities?

Allow me to summarily diagnose what is really going on here: Whenever the truth is abandoned, even as a result of gender dysphoria, it leads to uncertainty and chaos in real people’s lives. And when, as here, that same abandonment actually becomes incorporated into the policies which implicate everyone – not just those who’ve chosen to abandon the truth – we will experience that uncertainty and chaos on a much larger and more palpable scale. These consequences are simply unavoidable. So get your popcorn, folks, and get ready to watch some very interesting and inevitable drama.  

Restating The Obvious

These days, it is increasingly our task to point people back to the principles they know intuitively, but which are rapidly going out of fashion. Paradoxically, this task becomes both easier and harder every day. That’s because we’re living in a time in which the obvious has become the unspeakable, while the once-unspeakable has become the unquestionable. In such times, there is only one thing to do if we are to have any hope of restoring our sanity – and humanity: Restate the obvious, and do it often and without fear. Here’s a good start.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident:

  • An unborn child is a life, not a choice.

  • The intentional destruction of innocent human life is wrong.

  • There are males and there are females, and one cannot become the other.

  • Male and female form a complementary pair both in body and spirit that is distinct from all other pairings.

  • Only the sexual components of both a man and a woman can bring about new human life.

  • Married biological parents afford the most natural and optimal environment within which children may be nurtured, protected, trained, and affirmed.

  • Mothers and Fathers are not interchangeable.

  • Fathers, whether present or absent, play a crucial role in the life of every child.

  • Parents are generally the most reliable arbiters of what is in their children’s best interests.

  • Marriage brings positive stability to adults, children, families, the marketplace, and society at large.

  • Strong, loving families beget healthy, industrious individuals and communities.

  • People with strong family ties are less likely to turn to the government for help in meeting their needs.

  • Man’s duties to his Creator take precedence over those he owes to all others.

  • As a government’s power and scope increase, individual freedoms decrease.  

  • Governments closer to the people are more accountable and responsive to the people.

  • Governments, like all other human-led institutions, are subject ultimately to the Creator of all things.

  • Private charitable enterprises are far more efficient and effective in meeting individual needs than impersonal government-based aid.  

  • Religious faith instills moral values for individual behaviors, which in turn makes ordered liberty possible.  

IRS Deems Anti-God Satanists a "Church"

If the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was hoping to improve its image after the recent controversy that involved delaying the tax-exempt status to certain qualified conservative groups, it certainly didn’t help its cause by giving The Satanic Temple (TST) tax exempt status under the category of “church” last month

 One would think that a government agency in charge of collecting taxes form hardworking citizens – and is not exactly a favorite of most Americans – would steer away from avoidable controversy or at least exercise more caution in its decision-making.  Yet, last month the IRS issued a ruling letter that grants 501c3 tax exempt status to TST located in Salem, Massachusetts, historically recognized for the famed “Salem Witch Trials” that took place there.  Now TST will be able to receive tax-deductible donations in the same way that churches and other charitable organizations do.

 In a day and age when businesses - and even some government agencies - allow people to choose from a multitude of gender options, the IRS decided in this case to ignore the alternative tax-exempt categories and treat TST as a church.

Up until the tax-exemption was issued, TST was actually categorized as a “religious organization.”  Unlike a bona fide church, a religious organization doesn’t necessarily have an established place of worship or the characteristics of a traditional church like a formal religious doctrine or regular religious services and education programs.  It may have as one of its principle purposes to advance religion, but that alone does not automatically qualify it as a church.

Churches have been, and should continue to be, treated as a special protected status in significant part because they have for centuries proven to make contributions to our communities through their moral teachings and charitable actions, which go far beyond what any government is capable of offering.

However, by awarding federal tax-exempt status to TST by designating it as a “church” like any other, the federal government gives credence and a greater societal platform to a group of rebel-rousers who are decidedly “nontheistic” with no regard for traditional religion, and who actively engage in political activism for the primary purpose of disrupting American piety and its social mores. That’s the complete opposite of what churches have historically existed to accomplish.

Once again, another unaccountable administrative agency goes rouge in its decision-making.

All of this underscores the necessity for citizens to keep a watchful eye on the actions of federal and state government agencies.  It’s why The Family Foundation is committed to following Virginia’s administrative rulemaking process and publicly commenting on regulatory actions that will restrict religious liberty, take away parental rights, or diminish the role of churches in our Commonwealth.

If left unchecked, administrative agencies will continue to make poor decisions - like the IRS did - that jeopardize the effectiveness of churches and threaten religious liberty.

Religious Liberty On the Line!

The federal “Equality Act” (H.R. 5) is moving through the House of Representatives at warp speed, and is scheduled to be voted on this week!

CLICK HERE to contact your Members of Congress today, and urge them to OPPOSE H.R. 5, the Equality Act.   

You can read more about the devastating impacts of the bill here on our blog, or watch this video with testimonials of people whose lives have been wrecked by similar state laws.

Last week I told you that this bill is one of the most dangerous pieces of federal legislation that I have seen in my lifetime, a comment that I do not make flippantly. And the more we learn about the potential impact of this legislation, the more my concerns grow.

The bill’s threats to religious liberty, free speech, churches and faith-based hospitals are well-established, but we are learning more about how this bill will actually cause greater harm to people.  According to Dr. Michelle Cretella, a pediatrician and executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, H.R. 5 would force physicians to prescribe toxic hormones and drugs for adults and even children that can produce severe side effects, or even to perform serious medical procedures, all to “change” a person’s physical features to conform to their self-prescribed gender identity.

The so-called Equality Act would eliminate all parental authority related to the training and well-being of their children by prohibiting parents from ever interfering with a child’s access to transgender medical procedures.  Sadly, this is no longer a hypothetical. Recently, parents in Ohio, which has a similar state law, had their parental rights terminated for failing to approve puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for their adolescent child.

We’ve learned that the so-called Equality Act would also provide that “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition” cannot be treated any differently than other physical conditions.  This means all restrictions to abortion would be torn down, and anybody or any group who doesn’t want to fund or commit an abortion at any stage will be subject to punishment.

The reality is that this type of radical legislation has already permeated many state legislatures, and now the House is applying a full-court press to pass the so-called Equality Act at the federal level. 

We cannot allow the government to push people with strong religious convictions into compromising their beliefs, or to usurp the prerogatives – and constitutional rights – of parents to guide the education and health of their children.

CLICK HERE to contact your Members of Congress today, and urge them to OPPOSE H.R. 5, the Equality Act.  You can also reach your Congressman and Senators at (202) 224-3121.  Don’t wait, the House plans to vote on this bill this week!

The Greatest Assault to Our Liberties in My Lifetime

The so-called “Equality Act” (H.R. 5) being debated in Congress is quite possibly one of the most dangerous pieces of federal legislation that I have encountered in my lifetime.  It would wreak havoc on religious freedom, free speech, churches and faith-based hospitals, as well as undercut all the gains made on behalf of women.

Many aspects of our daily lives - public accommodations, employment, housing, counseling, and more – would be impacted.  Here are just a few samples of its likely impact if it ever becomes law: 

  • Force young girls to dress and shower in front of boys;

  • Allow men onto women’s athletic teams and to compete against women in Olympic-style sports;

  • Require religious hospitals to provide sex-change operations;

  • Compel women’s shelters to allow men into their facilities and share housing with females who have already been subjected to trauma; and

  • Prevent couples who believe in God’s design for marriage and sexuality from adopting or caring for a foster child. 

While variations of this legislation have been introduced in Congress before, this particular version would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act by adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes all throughout the federal code.  The architects of this legislation claim it would protect people from discrimination, but in reality it forces people to deny basic biological realities and to compromise their deeply held beliefs and religious convictions in order affirm a person’s sexual behavior or preferred gender status.

Don’t just take my word for it. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), insists that "we cannot allow claims of religious freedom to be used to discriminate against an LGBT individual."  This legislation is so radical that even Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (D – WV) and Gregory Angelo, former leader of the “Log Cabin Republicans,” have publicly opposed it.

While upholding justice and human dignity are essential to any thriving society, and reflective of our core American beliefs, this so-called Equality Act offers no meaningful protections for individuals, but especially none for Christians.  Instead, it removes time-honored decency protections for women and girls, violates privacy, regulates speech, and threatens the ability of every American to exercise their religious liberty – even expressly declaring that The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 cannot be used as a claim or defense against it!

We cannot allow the government to push people with strong religious convictions into compromising their beliefs – like they tried to do with Peter Vlaming, a teacher at West Point High School who was recently fired for simply refusing to use male pronouns for a biological female student.  (For a brief account of what happened you can read our blog about it here.)

CLICK HERE to contact your Members of Congress today, and urge them to OPPOSE H.R. 5, the Equality Act.  You can also reach your Congressman and Senators at (202) 224-3121.  Don't delay, the House Democrats are pushing to hold a vote on this bill soon!

They Taught Kindergarteners What?

They Taught Kindergarteners What?

There is much we could say about all this, but we think all of this sufficiently speaks for itself. Be assured that we will continue to closely watch, unveil, and call out these increasingly frequent attempts to indoctrinate children into these destructive ideologies. And if you learn of something happening in your locality, please let us know so that we can address it. We all must be more vigilant than ever.

Local School Boards Teach Radical "Truth"

Local School Boards Teach Radical "Truth"

Boys and Girls are different. While compassionate policies for young people experiencing gender identity confusion and distress should be adopted, those policies should not deny biological facts. Those policies should not compel others to set aside their deeply held convictions and speak messages with which they disagree. And those policies should not violate the constitutionally protected rights of boys and girls to bodily privacy when undressing or changing.

You must get involved to accomplish these true and compassionate policies. Without you being involved at every step, more and more school districts will follow Loudoun and impose a policy that insists “They’re not males!” and that anyone who disagrees is equivalent to someone claiming that the Earth is flat.

SOCE Witch Hunt - Is Your Pastor the Target?

SOCE Witch Hunt - Is Your Pastor the Target?

The group I was part of was not evil. Its purpose was not to push young people to “change” their “sexual orientation.” The call to sexual purity promoted in that group was the exact same call made to any students: remain sexually pure and obey Scripture.

That call to remain sexually pure and obey Scripture is exactly what is being attacked by a conversion therapy ban.

The Future Looks Mad

The Future Looks Mad

Insisting upon reality will be considered a hate crime.

Don’t live up to those labels. Even as we stand for the truth, we should never hate any of these individuals. Everyone who is denying reality is motivated by something. Very often it is a deep confusion and pain that we can’t begin to comprehend.

We must love these, our neighbors, even when they deny reality. When they claim that our loving insistence on the truth is hatred, we must continue to stand for truth in love.

America's Biggest Serial Killer and Our Lawsuit

Did you know that the most prolific and successful serial killer in American history was convicted and jailed for multiple life-sentences just five years ago? The Philadelphia man killed hundreds of victims over the course of a few decades without getting caught. He was finally caught after an unrelated drug investigation. He was convicted for the first-degree murders of five of his countless victims.

This story is shocking. It is horrific. And the major news media was all but silent as it happened.

Why were they silent? Because Dr. Kermit Gosnell was an abortionist and his victims were the survivors who were born alive in his abortion clinic.

Very few people know that America’s Biggest Serial Killer was an abortionist. NPR won’t even allow this fact to be printed.

Stories like this one remind us why the health regulations in Virginia are so important. This serial killer was only able to continue his decades-long killing spree because the State of Pennsylvania refused to regulate abortion clinics.

The Family Foundation is currently involved in a lawsuit to enforce Virginia’s abortion facility regulations which the McAuliffe administration unlawfully obliterated. We must enforce these regulations so that we never have a Kermit Gosnell in our Commonwealth.

This story needs to be told. And this weekend it is finally being told in movie theaters across the country.

I strongly recommend this movie, which I saw at a special preview showing, to you and your families. It is a courtroom drama that shows the failure of the government to protect innocent lives. This movie also strongly rebukes the mainstream media for their failure to report this sensational criminal trial as it was happening.

While the source material of the story is intensely emotional and disturbing, the filmmakers have done a great job to avoid any graphic content that would upset viewers. This movie will make you think, and it should make you angry about what we are doing in our society. Check your local theater listing to find a showtime and see this movie. The true story of the sordid work of the abortion industry enabled by the government and ignored by the mainstream media must be told.

The Family Foundation will tell this story and continue to hold our own government accountable to protect Virginians from killers like Gosnell. Thank you for your support.

More Gambling Will Hurt Virginia Families

Although Virginia has historically been a gambling free state - minus the state lottery, charitable gaming such as bingo, and horse-track betting – it has been recently bombarded with a torrent of gambling expansion efforts. In March of this year, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe announced its plan to build a $700 million casino in the near future. In April, the governor signed a bill that legalized historical horse-race machines, devices which essentially function like slot-machines. Then, in May, the Supreme Court gave states the authority to regulate its own sports betting laws, which means that Virginia will soon face a strong push for its legalization. 

Consequently, even though gambling is not typically an issue on most Virginians’ radar, it is important to now give it thoughtful consideration as the gambling issue begins to loom large on the horizon. For a host of reasons, the recent move towards wide-spread gambling is dangerous and careless public policy.

First of all, the U.S. is already enduring a major gambling addiction problem, as nearly 10 million people struggle with a gambling habit.[1] A sudden expansion of gambling opportunities would dramatically exacerbate the problem. Studies have shown that the existence of a gambling facility roughly doubles the number of problem and pathological gamblers within 50 miles.[2] If the mere presence of a physical casino doubles gambling addiction, then one can only imagine the ramification of having access to gambling on a smartphone, which is exactly what could occur if sports betting is legalized. Combining the dangers of gambling with the instant access of smartphones would almost certainly lead to an explosion of gambling addictions. An increase in gambling addiction is of grave moral concern, since gambling addiction inflicts significant damage upon the individual, the family, and the common good of society. 

The consequences of gambling on pathological gamblers are often severe and difficult to remedy. Casinos thrive off of the losses of problem gamblers, which constitute about 35 to 50 percent of casino revenue.[3] It is no surprise, then, that many pathological gamblers are afflicted with crippling financial loss, including massive debt, bankruptcy, and even homelessness. Financial ruin, along with the other ramifications of gambling addiction, contributes to the high rate of suicide attempts for pathological gamblers.[4]

The second victim to fall prey to the harmful consequences of chronic gambling is the family. In addition to the obvious financial burden of mounting gambling debt, chronic gambling also creates tension and instability in the home. Many communities even report an increase in domestic violence and child neglect in correlation with the arrival of casinos.[5]  The financial, physical, and emotional problems drive many families to the breaking point, as 53.5 % of pathological gamblers have been divorced, compared to 18.2 percent of non-gamblers.[6]

Eventually, the problems of wide-spread gambling extend to the entire community. Studies have shown that casinos significantly increase crime, including robbery, aggravated assaults, auto theft, burglary, larceny, rape, and murder.[7] Also, due to a variety of factors, including the increased crime, each pathological gambler costs society about $9,393 per year.[8] In order to compensate for the increased financial burden of pathological gamblers, the government faces immense pressure to increase taxes.[9] Although they cannot be empirically measured, there are numerous other social consequences brought by gambling that can be clearly seen and felt by all.   

In view of these realities, a sudden and massive expansion of gambling would be a tremendously imprudent public policy decision. High stakes and easy accessibility are a lethal combination that would inflict considerable damage upon Virginia. While gambling may not be intrinsically immoral, it contains within itself an inherent capacity for substantial harm. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to curtail the expansion of gambling whenever the opportunity arises. If gambling is allowed to run free and unhindered, it will inevitably sink its teeth deep into the fabric of our society.

By James Rossi

James is a 2018 Summer Policy Intern at The Family Foundation and a student at Christendom College.

[1] https://theoakstreatment.com/gambling-addiction/gambling-addiction-statistics/

[2] https://govinfo.library.unt.edu/ngisc/reports/4.pdf

[3] http://americanvalues.org/catalog/pdfs/why-casinos-matter.pdf

[4] https://govinfo.library.unt.edu/ngisc/reports/7.pdf

[5] https://govinfo.library.unt.edu/ngisc/reports/7.pdf

[6]https://govinfo.library.unt.edu/ngisc/reports/7.pdf

[7] https://www.nh.gov/gsc/calendar/documents/20091117_grinols_mustard.pdf

[8] https://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php/144584.pdf

[9] https://repository.law.miami.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1218&context=umblr