"Defy, Not Comply," May Be Catching On: The Death Czar And The ValedictorianJun 06, 2013
Republican Lt. Governor candidate E.W. Jackson is fond of saying we should "Defy, not comply," with the overwhelming mandates and regulations coming from Washington that are seizing more and more control of our state, communities and lives. The message may be getting out beyond Virginia's borders. Two dramatic events within the latest news cycle are Exhibits A and B. First is the case of a 10-year-old girl who needs a lung transplant. While children her age typically do not take lungs of donors older than 12, her doctor said she was able to accept it. However, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius ruled the girl ineligible (see Cheryl K. Chumley at the Washington Times, here). The family did not idle meekly. Instead, they went to court a judge ordered Sebelius to revoke her prohibition.
Why does the HHS secretary have this authority to begin with? Doesn't the Left believe health decisions are best left between patients and doctors and that the government should not interfere with these private matters?
There was a lot of clamor during the Obamacare debate about whether or not the then-bill-now-law established "death panels." Sarah Palin, among others, was ridiculed by those who had to pass the bill so they would know what was in it as not knowing what was in it. They said she as making up scare tactics. Whether the HHS secretary had this authority before or after Obamacare is beside the point. The point is that the government should never be able to prohibit a life-saving procedure.
We may not have death panels, although Sebelius certainly thinks she's a Death Czar. But an undeterred family and a courageous judge defied, did not comply, and justice has been done.
Then there's the case of of Roy Costner IV, of Pickens County, S.C., the Liberty High School Class of 2013 valedictorian. He had to submit his graduation address to school administrators for approval because of legal threats by the ACLU and atheists groups, who supposedly believe in the protection of free speech, but instead want any and all references to God purged from society. In this case, they promised a lawsuit if a prayer was said during the commencement (see Bobby Eberle at GOPUSA.com). Accordingly, the adults at the school and central office cowered and complied.
Young Mr. Costner, however, had none of it. He would not comply. He deified by ripping apart the censor-approved speech and instead recited the Lord's Prayer. This video captures the emotional moment at the now immortalized graduation exercise:
Two examples then: The Death Czar and The Valedictorian. One applied the full might of the authority of the federal government but was rebuffed by the love of parents desperate to save their child. The other showed maturity and courage beyond his years and lead where his adult mentors would not dare.
A Message To School Boards
A Message To School Boards
I showed up on Wednesday night for Prince William County’s School Board meeting where it planned to vote on a proposed policy that would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the list of protected classes in the school system’s nondiscrimination policy. After more than three hours of testimony and not even halfway through the speakers list, I realized that I would not be able to stay for the whole meeting or give my prepared remarks to the Board. Thankfully, that wasn’t necessary, as well over 100 parents and students signed up to speak against this terrible idea. Sometime past midnight early on Thursday morning, the Board voted to table all discussion on the policy until next summer. Had I gotten the chance to speak, here’s what I would have said to the School Board:
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Board,
By now you have all heard how this policy change is dangerous, unnecessary, illegal, and fraught with ambiguities and unintended consequences. The Family Foundation, in conjunction with Alliance Defending Freedom, recently sent each of you a joint letter explaining as much.
While recognizing that you already know or reasonably should know these things, I want to pose to you a question of a different nature – a question that is really at the heart of this whole debate.
The question is this: Is there anything that is true at all? Put another way, is there any concept or belief or reality that can be objectively known and firmly relied upon? Is there anything at all that is fixed and unchanging?
Now before you suggest to your constituents that this kind of philosophical question is “above your pay grade” or that it is somehow not a relevant matter of public policy, realize that what is being proposed here tonight directly implicates this fundamental question. Because what you are in effect saying through this policy is that there is no meaningful distinction between male and female, perhaps even that there really is no distinction at all. That despite conclusive biological evidence to the contrary, boys can be girls and girls can be boys whenever, however, and wherever they so choose, and that a person’s station as either male or female makes no difference in the way that we think, live, interact, and relate with one another. And yet we ALL know that is not true.
But your assertions do beg the should-be obvious question: If we are prepared to declare that something so basic and so clear as the biological difference between male and female is no longer so, then upon what basis can we say anything at all is true? If this Board is prepared to suggest by this policy that biology and DNA and centuries of social science no longer count for anything, then please tell us what ground is left for the Board to stand on in making any decisions about the health and well-being of Prince William County students?
Given what we already know about the circumstances surrounding this proposed change – that there have been no reports of any issues for transgender students in the past ten years, that state and federal law prohibit this policy change, that there are ongoing lawsuits at all levels underway on this issue as we speak, that there is widespread opposition to this policy among parents and community members, and most significantly, that many students will be deprived of their privacy, security, and dignity – it is clear that this policy push is primarily about one thing: undermining truth and imposing a new reality consistent with a particular ideology.
But I am here to tell you, make no mistake, there are some things which really are true, and that cannot be changed, no matter how hard this School Board attempts to make it not so. Reality can only be defied for so long before its consequences show up in force. It will be no different with this policy, should you choose to enact it.
No matter what happens, we can be sure that boys will continue to be boys, and girls will continue to be girls. And you will have to deal with all of the very predictable fall-out of your attempt to deny that reality. In the meantime, unless you maintain a policy that reflects the reality that males and females are biologically and emotionally different and should therefore be afforded privacy in vulnerable settings, a lot of kids and a lot of teachers are going to be harmed. And chaos will ensue. Maybe not today. And maybe not tomorrow. But soon, you can count on it.
Truth is a stubborn thing. It will always manifest itself in reality. I urge you to abandon any attempts to defy this incontrovertible truth. The health and well-being of our kids are at stake.
Moral Cowardice Yields Political Palatability
Moral Cowardice Yields Political Palatability
Last week, Democratic Party Nominee Hillary Clinton announced the selection of Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate. Kaine is, by most estimations, a safe choice for Clinton, as he helps her with a swing state while retaining a guise of moderate liberalism. The Senator has often described himself as “personally”, but not politically opposed to abortion. Clever wordplay, which allows him to seem individually moraled yet governmentally removed from an issue on which the American public is split down the middle. It is this brand of cowardice that creates a candidate who is ethically reprehensible and also tolerable for a considerable portion of the public.
The words of anyone who holds this position immediately raise more questions than they answer. Namely, the individual's reason for personal opposition, to the moral proposition that is abortion. Why does Kaine believe that abortion is wrong in the first place? The pro-life movement, which diverts heavily from Kaine’s application of his views, fervently asserts that, from the moment of conception, the human life has value. Regardless of circumstance, age, or development, this principle of inherent worth is one that must be applied to all humans. If selectively distributed, the aforementioned absolute becomes self defeating, and useless. Therefore, Kaine cannot cite this reason as the cause of his “personal” tension with abortion. That would mean his governmental view would need to follow, in order to avoid an obvious philosophical inconsistency.
And Yet, millions of Americans sympathize with the Senator’s sentiment, and toe the line whilst living in obvious contradiction. For the average citizen, intellectual laziness of this order is actually a convenience. They can preach the pro-life message at their church or in their home, and espouse the woman’s “right to choose” if surrounded by liberal colleagues. The cop-out allows for conflict to be avoided, and, even though its side effect is turning the user's moral philosophy into an amorphous blob indistinguishable from self-serving nihilism, many find it preferable to, God forbid, disagreeing with someone.
In the political landscape however, views such as Kaine’s serve another benefit altogether. The reason these ideals, which in reality raise more questions than they answer, retain popularity among American politicians, is because they are intended to do just that: muddy the waters. Regardless of philosophical inconsistency, a skilled politician is able to turn ambiguous morals into lucid pandering, hopping from one side of the fence to another, garnering as many votes as possible. Believing everything and nothing all at once.
As principled citizens, we must demand that politicians take a true stand on consequential issues. As American voters, we must ensure that our leaders views are brimming with clarity and truth. As people of intellect, we must be appalled by those who insult our intelligence by pleading that we look past their disheveled philosophy.
By Cameron Dominy
Cameron Dominy is a 2016 Summer Intern at The Family Foundation of Virginia, and the Governor of the South Carolina Student Legislature.
One sentence I heard recently sums up the very thoughts I’ve had for years in a way I could never quite communicate. At a recent event I heard author and analyst Gabe Lyons say that “Christianity has become so relevant, it’s irrelevant.”
Gabe was explaining the notion that Christianity, or better said its followers, built so many of the institutions that are now essential to our society that people now don’t associate their existence with Christianity. In his book Good Faith, Gabe and his coauthor David Kinnman note that it was in fact “good faith Christians” who built “schools and universities, hospitals, labor unions, public libraries, voting rights for women and ethnic minorities, endowments for the arts and sciences and on and on.” Today, many of these societal goods are largely divorced from their faith heritage and government has stepped in and begun to reshape some of them. Any that still cling to their beliefs are experiencing great pressure to remove the motivation of spiritual belief system that drives them.
Never has this pressure been so transparent and public as in the realm of adoption where secular left forces in Virginia attempted to force faith-based agencies to abandon their faith beliefs on marriage and family to place children in homes with two same-gendered parents. Few in the battle even understood that if these agencies chose to shut down rather than violate their faith, a majority of all adoption services in Virginia would grind to a halt, leaving children on long foster rolls much longer or permanently. Why are so many of these agencies faith-based? Because in James 1:21 followers of the Good Book are told to “care for widows and orphans.” In this particular instance The Family Foundation and Virginia Catholic Conference, with then Governor Bob McDonnell, were able to not only reverse the effort but also codify in law a protection of conscience for these charities.
However, adoption isn’t the only area where faith is still a driver of good, nor is it the only realm of charity work under attack. That’s why this year, we helped pass SB 41 to protect a wide array of faith-based charities and institutions from having secular dogma forced upon them while the general public would still expect the same great services. While one can contribute to society without faith as the motivator, let’s not pretend that the bulk of charity work is not in fact the result of such faith.
As one whose college thesis examined the existence of faith as a driving force in social change by looking at William Wilberforce and his band of brothers called the Clapham Sect, I recognize that but for this group’s faith, slavery could still be alive and well. “Donations to religious causes and groups make up the largest single share of national charitable giving, one-third of all money donated to nonprofit organizations.” (Good Faith, p. 30) It’s still the Southern Baptists or Samaritan’s Purse that come running to provided needed disaster relief. It’s still the faith-based Habitat for Humanity building homes for the homeless and Compassion International educating children in third world countries.
For the same reasons Bernie Sanders’ socialism looks palatable to a younger generation, the progressive left falsely believes it can remove faith from charity and get the same societal goods in the same quantity. But the combination of revisionist history and the entire absence of history in classrooms today can’t change the facts, just the perception.
Christianity may “feel” irrelevant in our society today to non-believers but that’s only because it’s taken for granted, not because the contribution is not significant. Forced secular dogma or loss of tax-exempt status would be crippling to our society. If one thinks homeless Virginians should still be clothed, fed and sheltered, victims of tornados and other natural disasters restored to their former lives and the needs of veterans attended to, whether one is faith-driven or atheistic, one ought to support SB 41.
Our 2016 Summer Interns
Our 2016 Summer Interns
The Family Foundation’s summer internship program has grown over the years and attracts some incredibly talented college students. This year, our 2016 intern class is bright, fun-loving, creative, driven, and faithful. With dozens of students applying for a limited number of spots, the caliber of interns continues to improve. This summer, our interns are learning about each area of the organization, from policy research to social media outreach to grassroots activism and community organizing.
One aspect of our summer internship program that continues to evolve is in Biblical worldview training and discussion. Each Friday, our interns spend several hours hearing from various experts on different issues and participate in in-depth discussions of these topics. Our goal is to continue to expand this program in future years, and I look forward to announcing more about these plans in the coming months!
I hope you’ll enjoy the brief bios below and be sure to click on their names to read more about each of them:
Abbey Jessee (Development Intern; Radford University)
Abbey returns to us after interning last summer. This is her second summer interning and she is very excited to be back again. She attended Radford University and graduated in May with a degree in Marketing and a minor in Sports Administration. A fun fact about Abbey is that she has broken her arms 5 times and her foot once. Although it has been a little over a year since she’s been clumsy and broken anything and her family is hoping that the streak continues!
Grace Saunders (Social Media Intern; University of South Carolina)
Grace is the Social Media Intern at TFF this summer. She will be a junior next year at the University of South Carolina, Go Cocks! She is studying Library and Information Science with the hopes of minoring in Political Science, as her dream job is to be a political analyst. Her favorite sport is tennis and she considers herself to be the next Serena Williams. Peanut Butter and Chocolate are her two top favorite foods, so the way to her heart is Reece’s and Cookout Milkshakes. She obviously got the internship start date wrong because she didn’t show up until a month through the internship. She is well traveled and considers herself an expert in traveling abroad. Grace probably knows more than you so she considers humility her best quality
Richard Wiley (Policy Intern; Liberty University)
Born in Jacksonville, Florida and presently living in Goochland, Virginia, Richard was drawn to The Family Foundation because of his interest in the interaction of church and state in local politics, particularly those in the Old Dominion. He was homeschooled for much of his primary education and studied with Liberty’s dual enrollment program to complete high school with an associate’s degree. Richard graduated with a bachelor’s degree in pre-law from Liberty this spring after spending time on the University’s policy debate team, moot court team, and SGA legal team.
Evan Withrow (Grassroots Intern; Christopher Newport University
Evan is an excellent candidate for the new British Prime Minister. After Britain voted to leave the EU last month, Prime Minister David Cameron decided he no longer wanted to steer Britain to its uncertain future and announced his resignation. The nation will be left looking for somebody come October and much to our excitement as the first American non-profit organization to endorse an all-American candidate for Prime Minister, Evan has agreed to act in this capacity should he be chosen, so long as he gets to keep his desk and his American accent. His experience includes, but is not limited to, diligent and faithful service to his country in his softball league for several years, two years of college education at Christopher Newport University studying communications (probably the undercover kind), and YouTube. We can’t guarantee that he’ll be selected by the present monarch due to a less than advantageous situation with the unionist party, but if he succeeds at gaining the position, he’ll leverage technical jargon against malefactors better than Humphrey Appleby ever did.
Cameron Dominy (Elections and Grassroots Intern; Charleston Southern University)
Cameron is very much a Yankee…yet he wears Chubbies and goes to school at Charleston Southern University. Cameron is a Former Division One Javelin Thrower, but his competitive spirit carries over which is why he is currently serving as the President pro tempore for the CSU Student Government and is also the chairman of the CSU College Republicans. The South Carolina Student Legislature is lucky to have him as their chief of staff.
Introducing Abbey Jessee
Introducing Abbey Jessee
Abbey Jessee is the Development Intern at TFF this year. This is her second summer interning and she is very excited to be back again. She attended Radford University and graduated in May with a degree in Marketing and a minor in Sports Administration. One of Abbey’s favorite times in college was when she had the opportunity to intern with the Radford Athletic Department as a Sports Marketing Intern. During this internship she worked with multiple sports teams doing advertising and promoting sporting events on and off campus as well promotions and student involvement during game time.
After, she graduated college she decided that while still looking for a job it would be beneficial to have another internship under her belt in order to gain a little more experience. Coming back to The Family Foundation she was excited to learn more about fundraising and all of the efforts that go into garnering donors. After this internship she would like to get a job doing event planning for corporations.
Her favorite thing to do is go to Virginia Tech football games with her family. This has been a tradition that has been going on even before she was born and she attended her first football game at 4 months old and has only missed a couple home games. Her favorite game that she has been to so far was when Virginia Tech played Ohio State at OSU and Virginia Tech won the game! The atmosphere was by far the craziest she has ever seen it and OSU was one of her favorite stadiums that she has been to. Her favorite movie is Sweet Home Alabama, but Frozen does come in as a close second. A fun fact about Abbey is that she has broken her arms 5 times and her foot once. Although it has been a little over a year since she’s been clumsy and broken anything and her family is hoping that the streak continues!
Abbey is excited to see what God’s plan is for her after the internship!
Introducing Cameron Dominy
Introducing Cameron Dominy
This is Cameron Dominy’s second consecutive summer interning for The Family Foundation. He returns as a Grassroots intern this time around, after spending the previous year working in Elections.
A Connecticut native, Cameron’s family currently resides in the Blacksburg area. For the majority of the year, he studies Political Science and History at Charleston Southern University in South Carolina. At his college, Cameron leads the on Campus College Republicans Chapter, and serves as the President pro tempore of the Student Government Association. Last year, he was elected to be the Governor of the South Carolina Student Legislature, a student run and perpetuated organization with thirteen college delegations and over one hundred representatives. He will continue to serve in that capacity until the upcoming spring semester. Following graduation from college, Cameron plans on pursuing a graduate degree in Political Science at either George Mason or William and Mary.
Cameron enjoys reading, good tea, and all things Boston sports. He finds collections of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short stories especially stimulating, and he frequently writes about current political issues. Cameron has a particular love for sarcasm, which much of his writing tends to reflect. He is also a former NCAA Division One athlete, as the threw the Javelin for Charleston Southern his Freshman year of college.
Cameron hopes that the experience and worldview training of two summers with the Virginia Family Foundation will allow him to be an effective voice for Christ across the American political system.