Restating The ObviousMay. 15, 2019
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"May. 14, 2019
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!May. 14, 2019
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!
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 LifetimeMay. 06, 2019
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?Mar. 27, 2019
Have you heard about the recent upheaval in response to Arlington County Schools’ efforts to indoctrinate Kindergarteners with radical gender theories without parents’ consent? We first became aware of the situation when The Washington Post reported on it earlier this month. (Watch our video about it on our Facebook page, and please "Like" and "Follow" our page.)
According to the Post, “Students throughout the country were expected to participate in the National Education Association’s annual Read Across America Day. It was the first time the union partnered with the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for LGBT civil rights.”
As part of this ‘reading day’ in partnership with the leading national LGBTQ advocacy group, Ashlawn Elementary brought in a prominent LGBTQ advocate and a self-described “transgender woman” to read a book called “I Am Jazz” to 5-year olds. “I have a girl brain but a boy body. This is called transgender. I was born this way,” the advocate read to the students from the book. Here's an excerpt from the Post’s article that should give you chills:
After her reading, McBride told the children, “I’m like Jazz. When I was born, the doctors and my parents, they all thought that I was a boy.”
“Why?” asked a girl in a blue sweater and ponytail.
“Because society, people around them told them that was the case,” McBride said. “It took me getting a little bit older to be able to say that in my heart and in my mind, I knew I was really a girl.”
The kids began discussing hair.
“Can some girls have short hair?” McBride asked. “And can some boys have long hair?”
Yes, the youngsters seemed to agree, answering in unison.
“Anyone can be anything,” one girl chimed in. [End of article]
Do you see how effective something like this can be in deceiving young children about their God-given design? Is it any wonder that some reports show a 4,000 percent increase in children identifying as the opposite sex over the past 10 years?
Fox 5 reported on this a day after the Post’s article, stating that: “The school district says parents were notified by a letter ahead of time and were allowed to opt out of they chose. However, to their knowledge, no one did.” That made us wonder what this “letter” actually said. Had parents actually been told about all of this? So we checked it out, first by reaching out to the school principal for a copy (with no success), and then through an official Virginia Freedom of Information Act request. They got the message, and we got the letter.
And what do you know…we noticed that the letter never even hinted at an opportunity for parents to opt their children out of this event. Nor did it say anything about an LGBTQ transgender activist reading to the children and discussing these topics with them. We also confirmed that the principal only sent the letter out in English, despite having a significant number of families in the school whose parents speak another primary language.
After our team unveiled what various news outlets were evidently uninterested in discovering, we let our coalition friends know, and this story quickly spread like wildfire, being featured on places like Townhall, The Federalist, The Daily Wire, Life Site News, and One News Now, as well as various talk and radio shows.
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.
Your support makes our vigilance possible. Please consider making a donation today to help us continue our work!
Local School Boards Teach Radical "Truth"Feb. 27, 2019
Last night I was at the Loudoun County School Board meeting, where the School Board added “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to their Equal Opportunity policy by a vote of 5-4. Just one vote made the difference.
This policy change puts Loudoun County in the same place as West Point – where teachers like Peter Vlaming can be fired simply because they refuse to use pronouns to describe students which do not match their actual sex.
That position – that sex is determined by biology – was mocked by many in the audience last night.
“No one has asked how many girls are uncomfortable getting undressed in front of a male.” School board member Jill Turgeon said as she explained why she was voting against the policy change.
“Speak the truth!” a person shouted from the audience. “They’re not males!”
The heckler was ignoring the biological reality of male and female. Jill Turgeon responded calmly, “That is my belief, and I am entitled to it as you are to yours.”
“You can believe the Earth is flat.” The audience member said, continuing to heckle her while the Chairman called for decorum and threatened to clear the room if any more outbursts occurred.
School Boards across Virginia are imposing policies that teach our children that male and female are arbitrary concepts that can be changed throughout a person’s life.
This isn’t just happening in Loudoun County and NOVA. West Point has adopted these policies. Stafford will vote on a comprehensive Transgender policy in the coming months. Earlier this year, the Fluvana School Board voted to change their school logo for the Gay Straight Alliance club. Discussions are underway in Gloucester County about changing their policy. It is everywhere.
Every local school board will be asked to answer the questions of whether Male and Female really are different. There are orchestrated efforts to change the policies of every school across the Commonwealth.
This is a call to action. This is your time to stand up and speak the truth. The heckler said that biological boys who think they are girls are no longer male. That is not 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.
So I am calling on you to attend your next School Board meeting.
Look up the agenda and get educated about what policies are being considered.
Introduce yourself to the school board members and ask them what they think about boys and girls being different.
Remind them that privacy matters.
And get involved in your next School Board election.
Find out who is running.
If no one is running that you can support with your vote, consider running yourself!
Elect good men and women who will speak the truth.
When you see a policy or candidate that is true, let me know. The Family Foundation is here to speak the truth. Will you join us?
Sean Maguire can be reached directly at email@example.com or by phone at (804) 343-0010 ext. 240.
SOCE Witch Hunt - Is Your Pastor the Target?Dec. 03, 2018
“Help Us Uncover Hidden Conversion Therapy Programs” is the call to action in a recent article about Sexual Orientation Change Effort Bans. It is a call for children and students to report parents and pastors to the LGBTQ watchdogs so they can “scrutinize” the conduct in question and work toward “stronger oversight” of church activities that might be “conversion therapy” in disguise.
Excuse me for having images of Communist leaders using children to spy on Christian parents come to mind. That’s exactly what this sounds like.
The LGBTQ community despises “conversion therapy” in any form. They blame conversion therapy programs for causing emotional trauma. Conversion therapy is even blamed for suicides. Support for conversion therapy is viewed as wishing that certain people were dead. If you support conversion therapy, you are, at best, considered indifferent about whether “LGBTQ children” live or die.
Seen as a matter of life and death, no wonder many hate it.
What is it that is being hated?
That is my question.
What is “Conversion Therapy?”
Failed legislative language in Virginia defined “conversion therapy” as, “any practice or treatment that seeks to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender.”
That definition includes the reprehensible practice of electrocuting children to create an aversion to certain images. (Which is already illegal.) The definition also includes a youth leader who teaches Biblical Sexual Ethics and urges his listeners to avoid all sexual immorality. (That would be an effort to change behavior.)
I went to a Christian University and joined a support group for young men who are attracted to the same sex. We gathered together under a campus pastor to study Biblical Sexual Ethics and to encourage one another to walk in holiness.
My experience there was like any other Bible study with a focus on sexual purity. I didn’t feel any pressure to “change” my “sexual orientation or gender identity,” but I was exhorted to avoid sexual sin and to follow Christ with my whole heart.
I would never have thought to call my experience “conversion therapy.” Those meetings do fit the legislative definition, though. There was an effort by the leaders to change behavior.
One man who was at my side at these meetings has changed his mind about pursuing the Biblical Sexual Ethics taught there. As he walked away from that understanding, he also adopted a different position about the Bible study. He now calls it “conversion therapy,” and condemns it.
Hearing someone use the label “conversion therapy” to describe this group was shocking to me. This wasn’t the nasty and cruel emotional manipulation that pushes people toward suicide! It was a gentle older pastor who simply cared for these young men and pointed us to the truth of what the Bible says.
That pastor was engaged in “conversion therapy” according to the political forces trying to ban the practice and root it out from every corner of the church.
Now those political forces want you to report any “hidden” conversion therapy programs that might be taking place in youth groups or churches. They warn that the programs might be “masquerading as innocuous religious youth groups or family counseling programs.”
Is it really a masquerade, or is it honestly just an innocuous religious youth group?
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 MadNov. 20, 2018
Western society is quickly moving towards complete madness. The effort to celebrate absolute self-determination is out of control. Our neighbors are now demanding that courts overthrow reality in order to protect feelings.
We were all shocked when the argument was first made that “gender” is a social construct and so birth certificates can be changed to reflect the internal feelings of the individual, regardless of whether it matches their biological makeup.
Most recently, in the Netherlands a man, Mr. Ratelband, is demanding that a court change the age on his birth certificate to reflect the age he feels.
How could Mr. Ratelband, who is 69, defend this outrageous demand?
“Because nowadays, in Europe and in the United States, we are free people,” Ratelband said in an interview. “We can make our own decisions if we want to change our name, or if we want to change our gender. So I want to change my age. My feeling about my body and about my mind is that I’m about 40 or 45.”
Are we the “free people” that Mr. Ratelband claims we are?
He is right that we are free to change our names. There are plenty of cases throughout human history of people changing their names. (Abram and Sarai had their names changed to Abraham and Sarah, Jacob to Israel, Saul to Paul, Cardinal Ratzinger to Pope Benedict, etc. etc.) Does the ability to change our names mean we also can change our gender and our age?
No, of course not. A name is a human construction for identifying an individual. A name is given and can be changed by individuals.
Changing one’s name is completely different from “changing” one’s biology or age. There is an obvious difference between what a person or thing is called and what a person or thing really is.
Gender is a product of biology, and age is a product of time. We do not control our own biology and we do not control time.
This frantic effort to conform reality to our feelings is leading us to chaos.
When courts began to allow people to “change” the legal recognition of biology, they opened the gates for people like Mr. Ratelband to demand a change to age. Where will this end? Can we legally demand to be recognized as taller than we are? Can we have a court decree that we have a higher IQ? That we are wealthier? That we run faster than we do?
Reality is under attack. We’re entering a mad age where reality will be denied by our neighbors, and where 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 LawsuitOct. 11, 2018
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.
Drag Queens, Toddlers, and the Biblical FamilyOct. 01, 2018
On Saturday I was at the Joint Use library in Virginia Beach. I got there just in time to see over a dozen children walking out with paper crowns and colorful masks on.
Playfully I bowed to the children with crowns on their heads, showing proper respect for their “majesties” as they walked by. I was joining their imaginary exploration of what it would be like to be royalty.
Then I ran into someone who promoted something different than pretending. Joshua Martin, dressed as “Gillette Black,” was walking out of the children’s reading room where he had just led the “Drag Queen Story Hour” for dozens of toddlers. He was dressed up in an enormous wig and colorful outfit that reminded me of Wonder Woman.
This was part of a nationally promoted campaign to have drag queens read stories that affirm sexual and gender identities beyond “male and female” to children at local libraries.
Joshua Martin said that his goal for reading to children was to encourage them to be themselves, “no matter who they are.”
That’s the core of the disagreement between us. I call it imagination; he calls it true identity.
He believes that a person’s true identity is determined by their own feelings. I recognize that a person’s true identity is determined by the Creator who has made us in His image.
How did the community respond to this Drag Queen Story Hour? Well, one pastor spoke up.
He didn’t protest and curse this cultural darkness. Instead, he called together different Christians from across Virginia Beach to publicly proclaim what God has made good. He held the “Celebration of Biblical Family.” He held this celebration of truth and beauty in the same Joint Use library where the Drag Queen Story Hour had been held.
During this public event, several people shared about their own experiences with sexual brokenness and how the promise of the Gospel is so much better than anything the world can offer. The confusion of the world and the confusion in our own hearts cannot overwhelm the goodness of God.
Biblical families protect children from harm. My own father and mother, joined together in covenantal marriage for life, have guarded me from some of the immense suffering that many of my peers have gone through. I praise God for that blessing.
It was a joy to praise God publicly at the library on Saturday afternoon.
It isn’t hard to reserve a room and hold a similar event at your own local library. These are public institutions that cannot discriminate based on your message. All you have to do to hold your own celebration of the Biblical Family is to call the library, choose a date, and then invite your neighbors to join you. I’d love to join you, too!
Instead of shrinking back from our confused culture, we have the opportunity to make a huge impact by speaking the truth and shining the light into our communities.
We are the light of the world which is set on a stand and cannot be hidden. We do not curse the darkness, we light a candle.
More Gambling Will Hurt Virginia FamiliesJul. 27, 2018
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. Also, due to a variety of factors, including the increased crime, each pathological gambler costs society about $9,393 per year. In order to compensate for the increased financial burden of pathological gamblers, the government faces immense pressure to increase taxes. 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.
Obergefell Split My CommunityJun. 28, 2018
Three years ago today my community was torn apart, the ideology of sexual identity was enshrined by the Supreme Court, and lives were ruined as restraint was cast off.
Obergefell is the Supreme Court opinion which was handed down by five of the nine Justices. Those five imposed their view of marriage on the rest of the nation.
I was in D.C. when it happened.
I stood up for marriage and spoke with several rainbow-clad activists about marriage. They didn’t want to hear about the social harm this decision would bring about.
I stood up against the radical social experiment that was being pushed on our society by the Supreme Court.
I stood up to protect our society from the harm that turning the law of marriage upside down would bring.
Here are some of the consequences of Obergefell which I saw coming even before the case was decided:
1. private individuals are being compelled to celebrate events they don’t agree with;
2. adoption agencies can no longer serve their communities because of their position on same-sex marriage;
3. pastors are facing state scrutiny and pressure for preaching about same-sex marriage.
There was another major consequence of Obergefell which I didn’t see coming. That is the number of personal friends I have who were prompted to change their lives by this decision.
It was a few days after Obergefell that my friend posted a blog declaring himself free from sexual norms. “I have always been gay,” my friend said, taking me by surprise.
The Supreme Court had ruled that “being gay” is part of our reality. Five members of the Court decided that there is something fundamentally different between men who are attracted to men and men who are attracted to women.
My friend embraced that difference as part of his identity, divorced his wife, and is searching for love in same-sex sexual encounters and romantic relationships.
My heart broke for him and his wife, and my heart is still breaking. I still don’t agree with the idea that he is somehow different from other men.
“You just hate gay people!” many of my friends on Facebook tell me because of my public opposition to the Obergefell decision. Again, they are following the lead of the five members of the Court who said that any opposition to same-sex marriage was based on “animus” or hatred.
The five Justices of the Supreme Court used their authority to give my friends permission to behave this way.
My friend agreed with the opinion of the Court and divorced his wife. Since he is “gay,” he doesn’t see how he could live any other way.
Social media users agreed with the opinion of the Court and told me that I am just a hateful bigot. Since all opposition is based on animus, hate must be overflowing out of my heart.
Obergefell split my community apart.
Community Discourse Has Gotten Out of HandJun. 22, 2018
I occasionally think that life would seem much easier if we could forget that people we disagree with are human. Just as human as we are. Then I remember that we do. We often forget it in our everyday encounters with each other, especially in discussion of issues we disagree on.
This past week, I witnessed many people forget the humanity of their opponents at a school board meeting in Fairfax County. The agenda for the evening was extensive, and the heated and passionate debate surrounding the proposed changes to the Family Life Education (FLE) Curriculum only made it longer. Members of the community in favor of the proposed changes dressed in pink and purple, and those opposed to them came in green. Representatives from both of these color camps presented moving and well-spoken testimonies during the public comment period and received cheers from their respective sides. Everyone in the auditorium had come to defend something they strongly believed.
Disrespect reared its ugly head most prominently when discussion turned to two proposed amendments to the FLE changes. Board members hurled thinly veiled accusations at one another, and the unruly audience had to be brought to order over half a dozen times, twice by the pounding of a gavel. Emotion led many people to act disrespectfully towards one another that night. I was appalled by the shouting, the interruptions, and the undiluted anger coming from both camps.
At the end of the night, when I offered a smiling goodnight to three or four different men and women on their way out the door, I received scathing looks and no verbal responses at all. I was not a fellow human being. I was the enemy. I was wearing the wrong color. It broke my heart. I think on some level we know that anger and shouting will not change minds. When emotions run high, we often default to disrespect. However, there can be no meaningful dialogue and no true relationships if we keep disrespecting each other like this.
We need to be better than this. We need to remember that each one of us is created in the image and likeness of God and that even when we disagree, no one of us deserves respect any less. We need to walk into such situations as the school board meeting ready to give an account of our beliefs both in our words and our deeds, in our position on the issues and in our respect for everyone around us. The world we live in offers us plenty of opportunities to live out this call we have in Christ to love one another as God has loved us. In all areas of our lives, and particularly in public discourse, we must be unafraid to live as sons and daughters of Christ, witnessing to Him in our actions. This requires, at a minimum, that we respect one another.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
By Jordan Hodge
Jordan is a 2018 Summer Policy Intern at The Family Foundation and a graduate of Northeast Catholic College.
Sex and GenderMar. 27, 2018
"The proper term should be ‘sex assigned at birth,’ ‘gender assigned at birth,’ not ‘biological gender,’ or ‘biological sex.’"
That quote is from Dan Press, a member of the Fairfax County School’s “Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee” (FLECAC). He was arguing in support of a motion he made on March 8th to change the term “biological sex” to “sex assigned at birth” in all 8th, 9th, and 10th grade objectives for Family Life Education.
“Sex” and “gender” have become confusing terms for many people in recent decades. The terms used to be understood with very little difficulty. Dictionaries still define the terms very clearly today.
Sex = “either of two divisions into which many living things can be divided according to their roles in reproduction and which consist of males or females.”1
Gender = “the state of being male or female.”2
These words are synonyms, but have different purposes.
“Sex” is related to reproductive functions – which are determined by biology. “Gender” is related to social and cultural roles, and also grammar.
“Sex” is about the biological reality, and “gender” is about how we describe that reality. “Male” and “female” are sex terms used to identify the two reproductive roles. “Him” and “her” are gender terms used to describe the two sexes.
Birth has nothing to do with determining sex or gender. There is no assignment taking place. Biology textbooks recognize the differences between the two sexes long before birth.3
This is what students in Fairfax County Schools are being taught in their biology textbooks. This is scientific reality.
Instead of keeping the curriculum in Family Life Education consistent with scientific reality, Dan Press argued in favor of “sex assignment.” Instead of upholding scientific reality, all but three members of the FLECAC voted to change the term “biological sex” to “sex assigned at birth.”
This change doesn’t help students understand the world around them. It promotes confusion and misunderstanding.
The FLECAC decision is not final, and efforts are being made to keep the Family Life Education curriculum consistent with the biology curriculum in Fairfax County Schools. You can help by sending scientific articles, medical journal articles, biology and medical textbooks, and other resources that accurately describe “sex” and “gender” to Sean Maguire at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you live in Fairfax you can attend the next FLECAC meeting on April 12th.
1. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary Definition of “sex” for Students. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sex. Accessed 3/27/2018.
2. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary Definition of “gender” for Students. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gender. Accessed 3/27/18.
3. Developmental Biology. 6th Edition. Gilbert SF. 2000. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK9967/. Accessed 3/27/18.
Defending Human LifeJan. 22, 2018
On Friday, in honor of the March for Life in our nation's capital, Delegate Nick Freitas delivered a gentle, yet passionate speech about why he is pro-life during the House of Delegates' Morning Hour at our state capitol.. Our team of General Assembly lobbyists caught this and thought it was worthy of sharing to as many people as possible. I agree. Please click on the image below and view it, and please share it on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. It is only about four-and-a-half minutes long, but each word is powerful and meaningful. I know you and all you share it with will be as touched as we were.
Thanksgiving Transcends Our Political MayhemNov. 21, 2017
“Behold, now, the providence of God”- William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation
This Thursday, millions of Americans will come together for a strange little holiday we call Thanksgiving. Regretfully, the current climate of American politics means too many celebrations across the country will end in bitter resentment between family members, and a deepened divide in our public discourse. Our commemoration of the 1621 harvest feast between Native Americans and Protestant Separatists is often misconstrued, and seldom understood. Americans themselves remain ignorant to the purpose of the holiday, and it is that failure which helps devolve family gatherings into political bickering.
The legacy of the Pilgrims ought to have ended in the winter of 1620. Undersupplied and thinly clothed, the small band of English settlers was on the verge of annihilation. Those that escaped the cold starved to death. Those who had food were taken by disease. William Bradford described their first winter with grim resolve.
“But it pleased God to visit us with death daily, and with so general a disease that the living were scarce able to bury the dead.”
Their numbers reduced by half, the Pilgrims, by miracle, endured. Frankly, they should have died in the insufficient and cold settlement of Plymouth. All reasonable indicators pointed to this being the only eventuality; that the settlers would go the way of the Roanoke Colony, and disappear entirely. The Pilgrims credited their survival to Divine Providence. Many today would call it luck. Whichever one’s view, the importance of the “miracle” of 1620 should not be lost.
Given today’s politics, Thanksgiving is a distinctly important reminder for the American public. It is not a celebration of material or familial blessing. Nor is it a profound metaphor for the value of diversity. Rather, Thanksgiving serves to commemorate the necessity of Providence in the winter of 1620. Without it, the values of the Pilgrims, ideas of faith and freedom and personal responsibility, may not have survived on the continent. Certainly America, which has done true good across the world, would be a radically different nation.
In those of faith, Thanksgiving should inspire reverence. In those without faith, Thanksgiving should inspire, well, thanksgiving.
By Cameron Dominy
Cameron is a Master’s Student at Cevro Institute in Prague, Czech Republic and a former Family Foundation Intern.
Defy GravityNov. 10, 2017
While the shockwaves continue to reverberate after Tuesday’s dismal election results, pundits and politicians alike have more than their fair share of opinions as to the reasons. That’s all well and good and an important exercise. You likely have a strong opinion about why Virginians voted the way they did. I know I do. But while a deep and painful discussion must take place about why things played out that way and what needs to be done in the future, it's unlikely that a constructive conversation can take place on the pages of the Washington Post, where too many seem willing to share their view.
In the meantime, we have to deal with the immediate consequences of the election.
You see, Virginians didn’t just send a bunch of new Democrats to the General Assembly. They sent some of the most aggressive, extreme leftist politicians Virginia has ever seen. From staunch, self-proclaimed socialists to pro-abortion zealots, we can expect them to introduce some of the most dangerous anti-life, anti-faith, anti-freedom legislation in Virginia history beginning in January. And with both chambers controlled by Republicans only by the narrowest of margins, the fight to stop those proposals will be extraordinarily difficult. But that is what we must do all the same.
We will be happy to work with members of both parties where we can, in particular in areas like fixing foster care and adoption law, eliminating human trafficking, addressing school discipline and any other areas where we can find common ground. But make no mistake, the so-called “progressive” liberals who were elected on Tuesday didn’t run on any of those issues. They ran to force you to pay for abortions at any point during pregnancy; they ran to force your children into public school showers and locker rooms with kids of the opposite sex; they ran to crush religious freedom in the public square; and they ran to create a far more dominant, centralized government.
If media stories are correct and thousands of voters literally “didn’t care” who was on the ballot and didn’t have a clue who they were voting for - only that they were voting against Republicans - then perhaps this is a “wave” election and can be corrected in short order. I find it bizarre that people would act so irrationally, but we live in an age where reason and common sense are obliterated by emotional outbursts, so such a possibility exists. Dislike the President? Fine. But to turn around and vote for people you know nothing about and not care what their agendas might be is irresponsible and dangerous.
In the meantime, however, that’s all the more reason why we need to stop anything and everything they try in the next two years. We look forward to working with both Senate and House leaders on preventing leftist extremism in Virginia.
Unfortunately, on Tuesday, The Family Foundation lost some key, strong leaders and key allies to our principles. Men like Scott Lingamfelter, John O’Bannon, Jackson Miller, Rich Anderson, Tag Greason, Jim LeMunyon, Bob Marshall and others were defeated. The General Assembly not only lost key pro-family conservatives, it also lost men of great experience, principle and intellect who worked hard for every Virginian. They will be greatly missed and I for one am truly saddened by their losses.
I recognize that today you may be discouraged and dejected. I am, too. But we must resist the temptation to retreat. Regardless of whether Virginia is blue, red or purple, the principles you and I share are the only hope for a thriving culture. We have no choice to but advocate for truth and righteousness even in the face of such devastating elections. And, we have no choice but to do all we can to resist the agenda of those who seek to take away our God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
In the long term, those of us who understand that social, tax, health care, and welfare policies that have torn families apart, prevented families from forming, or stressed families to the breaking point are contributing to the destruction of the one and only entity that gives people a deep identity, stability, security and – as John Adams (the original one!) once said – forms the moral foundation for people. The extreme left that now dominates the Democrat party believes the opposite – it believes the family is the problem and not the solution. Until we are able to once again persuade younger generations that it is only in the formation of strong families with a mom and a dad where they will find the security they so desperately seek in government, I fear for not just future elections but the future of our nation. Simply put, our society will not survive the continued assault on the family unit.
Defying our creator’s design for family will prove as successful as attempting to defy gravity. You can for a while, but eventually, you come crashing to earth. In America today, we are reaping a generation of broken families and family fragmentation. It isn’t just economic and it’s not just political; it’s moral and cultural as well. We ignore this to our own peril. At The Family Foundation, we are committed to restoring the family as the foundation of our society. It may only happen when the policies endorsed by the secular left come crashing down around us, but it will happen. I hope we don’t have to wait for the destruction of our culture before we rebuild. I hope the church gets serious about standing for the truth of God’s design for family and morality in a powerful and persuasive way. Teaching how to balance a checkbook is nice and all, but it isn’t why the church was created.
In the meantime, we fight on, politically and culturally. We can’t stop. The future depends on it.
Diversity = UniformityOct. 23, 2017
All around the country, in public high schools like this one, school boards and administrators are doing away with separate-colored graduation gowns for senior boys and girls on their big day – a practice that, for many schools, has been a long-cherished tradition. But long-cherished traditions, as we know, are increasingly unwelcome in our enlightened culture, and in many cases even considered harmful or discriminatory.
Of course, multi-colored gowns are just one of the many necessary casualties in the Left’s zealous quest to stamp out all gender norms and distinctions. A lot of students and parents aren’t happy about the change, you say? Bigots! You mean, parents and communities actually kinda think there’s something special about their girls wearing one color gown and their boys wearing another? Narrow-minded transphobes!
Yet I get the impression that most school officials aren’t changing the gown tradition simply so that they can actively champion the new gender-neutral orthodoxy. For the most part, the monochromatic gowns are a reaction – a move they see as a necessary solution – to requests by boys to wear the girls’ color or by girls to wear the boys’ color. These are generally students who self-identify as being the gender opposite their own, and who obviously feel justifiably entitled to have long-established cultural and biological morés transformed to meet their latest teenage desire, even at the expense of everyone else’s reasonably justified desires.
We have to empathize with the school officials here. They’ve been put in a no-win situation. They can:
1) Say no to the “transgender” student and continue with their long-established tradition, but face a lawsuit in federal court, and worse, the concentrated scorn of the cultural Left (and possibly lose their career within education).
2) Allow the student to wear the colored gown designated for the opposite gender, and thereby give credibility (and undue attention) to this gender theory that says there is no functional difference between girls and boys (and thereby undermine the entire reason for separate color gowns). OR,
3) Opt for a “middle ground,” a “compromise,” a “silver bullet” that can avoid the negative consequences of a yes or a no (or so they think). They can just scrap the whole two-color gown thing and make everyone wear the same gown.
Faced with these choices, many high schools are opting for Option #3. And who could blame them? So there we have it, problem solved!
Not so fast. We must be very careful not to miss what’s happening here. It’s the classic tactic of “two steps forward, one step back.” And frankly, it’s brilliant, because it’s working.
As society attempts to formally recognize every possible viewpoint and identity as having equal validity among all others – all in the name of “diversity” (as if diversity is somehow intrinsically good) – the inevitable consequence is that we go from real diversity to uniformity and then conformity. Without fail, you can bet the farm, this happens every time. "Diversity" is now being overshadowed by "inclusiveness." Yet what results is "sameness." Forcing everyone to wear the same colored graduation gowns is just one recent example.
When school officials decide not to stand up for the truth about human nature (in this case, with gender differences), they will predictably be seen doing what thereafter naturally flows: rushing to establish a one-size-fits-all standard for students based upon the “least common denominator” (instead of striving for truth and excellence), avoiding potential conflicts at all costs (instead of addressing the underlying factors creating the conflict), and eradicating all traces of actual or perceived “inequalities” (instead of challenging students to excel and holding them accountable for their actions).
When this happens, the good and healthy forms of diversity, as well as excellence itself, become necessary casualties. Uniformity is exalted as the greatest value. And then, well, you know the rest. All you have to do is take a look across the pond at most other places in the world, whose people by the way will do just about anything to get into the "land of the free" and the "home of the brave."
Be very careful not to miss what's happening under our noses. We’re a frog in a pot, and the water is already simmering. The path of least resistance is often the path to our own undoing.
Evolving EthicsAug. 09, 2017
What are ethics? According to good ole Merriam-Webster, they are “a set of moral principles or a theory or system of moral values.”
Ethics, principles, values…all words that generally, throughout history, implied something intrinsic, moral, perhaps even permanent.
Of course, we now live in a culture where such notions are something at which many scoff. Everything changes, particularly ethics and morality.
So it came as no surprise in a recent meeting I attended when an “ethicist” with a major hospital association in Virginia voiced his opinion about how health care ethics “have evolved,” attempting to lend credibility to the idea that medical doctors should be allowed to help their patients commit suicide under certain circumstances. Generally, that would be when someone has a “terminal” illness with fewer than six months to live. Simply providing “relief from suffering” (i.e. helping them kill themselves) must be moral, according to this ethicist. The “ethical” argument in favor of this included that, according to some polling, it’s supported by a majority of Americans. (Another member of the group chimed in with, “like with abortion,” the morality has changed, as if one couldn’t possibly have a moral objection to killing an unborn baby.)
Now, never mind the reality that doctors are notoriously terrible at predicting the lifespan of the terminally ill, and that new treatments for many once incurable diseases are helping extend lifespans each and every day.
No, the problem with “evolving ethics” is that today’s physician-assisted suicide (PAS) for the terminally ill is tomorrow’s PAS for the chronically ill. And then those who have a genetic disposition toward a terminal illness. And then those who simply want “relief from suffering,” regardless of the cause of the suffering. And what about those who aren’t really sick but who believe themselves to be sick? I mean, if you can be a biological female but headlines can scream “Man gives birth” because that woman believes themsel to be male, why can’t a healthy person claim a terminal illness?
And of those in the medical profession, including pharmacists, who have conscientious objections to participating in one’s suicide? Well, the ethicists at the table assured everyone that “no one would ever force someone to participate” in this.
Ummm…but ethics evolve, no? Today’s “no one would ever” is tomorrow’s “you’re denying access” to this “treatment” and must be required to do so (see abortion).
If ethics “evolve,” particularly medical ethics, where does that evolution end? Might makes right is a frightening thought in the world of government controlled health care and PAS. The slippery slope in this evolution takes us to some very dark places – places we should have learned from history we do not ever want to return.
"Hate" Is Not The ProblemJul. 25, 2017
You’re a “hate group.” They’re a “hate group.” Your mom’s a “hate group.” If you disagree with me, you’re a “hate group.”
That is essentially what I’m hearing more and more these days coming from organizations on the ideological Left, and it has reached a tipping point of ridiculousness. Throwing around labels like this is intellectually lazy. It’s inflammatory. It’s defamatory. Frankly, it’s juvenile – something a school yard bully could get away with saying during recess that could never fly in a real classroom discussion.
It also has the effect of undermining the credibility of those touting these claims. (Much in the same way that reflexively hurling the terms “racist” and “bigot” or “[fill-in-the-blank]-PHOBE” are sadly becoming code words for “I’m not respectful or intelligent enough to engage you in a meaningful dialogue about complex issues.”)
Along with other leftist groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has for years been building upon its list of organizations in the United States it deems “hate groups” – a list used as authoritative by the Obama administration in order to target those groups. More recently, the “mainstream” media has been using SPLC’s list to label groups it finds distasteful. Some of the groups being added are Christian or pro-American groups who hold to common-sense traditional values like natural marriage, freedom, national sovereignty, and the rule of law. (In other words, all those things which enable a prosperous society.)
In the past week, SPLC dubbed Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) a “hate group,” apparently because the sitting Attorney General of the United States addressed a group of ADF attorneys at a closed forum wherein he had the audacity to say, among other similarly-themed things, "that every American has a right to believe, worship, and exercise their faith in the public square." Why…that must be code language for “HATE!” Darn it. Can’t get anything past that SPLC.
Considering some of the notables that have made SPLC’s list (Alliance Defending Freedom, American Family Association, and Family Research Council, to name a few) who work hard to protect life, preserve religious liberty, and promote freedom and domestic tranquility through the rule of law, I’m frankly surprised The Family Foundation of Virginia has yet to make their list. (Maybe even a little disappointed.)
As we have also seen, labeling groups with which you disagree “hate groups” is also an invitation to violence. A few years ago, a man entered FRC’s headquarters in Washington, DC intent on killing everyone there and had in his possession SPLC’s list that included FRC as a “hate group.”
The absurdity of it all speaks for itself. Yet few seem to be challenging the “hate group” label at a more fundamental level. The reason I know this is because it is generally true that deeming someone a “hate group” or “hater” is universally received as a kind of social stigmatism with which no one wants to be branded. It’s akin to publicly designating someone a leper, but with an intended effect more like that of designating someone a “terrorist organization.” That’s because it’s really about directing the overall narrative and defining your opponents rather than allowing them to speak for themselves. In that sense, it’s Political Mass Communication 101.
But getting beyond that, we must ask the question: What does SPLC mean by “hate”? And furthermore, is “hate” in itself always bad, as they seem to imply? In actuality, when you take all of three seconds to think about it, you realize that everyone hates some things, while other things, they love.
In other words, while it is undoubtedly true that the groups mentioned “hate” certain ideas and actions they believe are harmful and destructive to individuals and society (clearly SPLC feels similarly about certain ideas), it doesn’t follow that they therefore “hate” the people associated with those ideas and actions. In fact, I bet if SPLC was to really learn about many of these groups, they would find that it is not primarily their “hatred” for particular ideas and actions that motivates them, but rather it is their love of certain truths and for the people who tend to flourish when those truths are embraced.
The relevant question, then, is not whether or not someone “hates,” but rather: Who or what does a person or organization hate? And correspondingly, who or what do they love? Ultimately, it isn’t “hate” that is the problem. If anything, the problem with “hate” lies in the object of our hate vs. the object of our love, whether we have rightly categorized those objects, and whether our energies towards them are being channeled in an appropriate and constructive way.
The goal should be to love those things that are worth loving (like people, and goodness, and truth), and also to hate those things worth hating (like evil, and destruction, and chaos) – even if it means that someone else may be prone to overlook our love, and overemphasize our hate, and unfairly stick us with the dubious label as a member of a “hate group.”