Gender Confusion in FairfaxJul 28, 2016
You may have heard in recent weeks some of the noise coming out of Fairfax County and its school board’s ongoing attempts to impose the full gamut of “transgender” policies on all 186,714 of its public school kids at its 196 schools.
In an ongoing effort to assist concerned moms and dads and grassroots leaders in Fairfax, we helped mobilize parents there to oppose these dangerous policies that would place every child’s safety, security, privacy and basic dignity rights in jeopardy while at school. A little over a week ago, those efforts paid off in a big way when the heavily liberal Fairfax School Board relented, at least temporarily, announcing abruptly that it was reversing itself and would not take further action to implement their planned regulations, at least until the courts could sort it out.
There is no question that the calls, emails, and attendance at meetings, and prayers of parents and concerned citizens of Fairfax and people all across Virginia played a pivotal role in the Board’s decision. Since Fairfax County, with its more-than 1.1 million residents, is seen as a model for the rest of the Commonwealth in many ways, it was all the more critical to ensure that these policies be prevented.
And that’s exactly what happened. Common sense and decency prevailed – for now.
This is proof positive that much of the secular left’s rhetoric on this issue is little more than empty talk. In reality, most Americans and most Virginians are opposed to permitting boys and men to use girls’ bathrooms, showers, and changing areas and to play on their competitive sports teams. Most people recognize that these kinds of separation of the sexes are in place for good reasons and in fact have always worked fine with little incident. And everyone, regardless of how they feel personally about the idea of “transgender bathroom” policies, should at least realize that there are a number of serious and valid concerns arising from these policies that have to be addressed before plowing forward into uncharted territory.
Each county and city in Virginia has to continue to hold the line on this issue with its local school boards, city councils, and boards of supervisors. It’s important that parents and citizens across Virginia apply the same pressure in their own communities to protect their children in school. The good news is several have – including Grayson and Gloucester.
This issue is far from settled, and now is not the time to let up! Just yesterday, in the case out of Gloucester County that has gained national attention, the ACLU asked the U.S. Supreme Court to allow a female student to be able to use the male facilities. Other related cases are going on across the country.
As this issue unfolds, we will continue to do everything we can to preserve the meaning and status of male and female while protecting the privacy and dignity rights of our children. We are indebted to local leaders who are taking up this fight in their communities!
Please continue to join us in this important fight. With your help – just as we saw with parents in Fairfax – we can and must prevail.
Defending Human Life
Defending Human Life
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 Mayhem
Thanksgiving Transcends Our Political Mayhem
“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.
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.
Our parents, the State
Our parents, the State
Mississippi has become the latest test case for determining parental rights of same-sex couples where one of the adults has no biological relation to the child. Nationwide, disputes are raging about what the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to impose its redefinition of marriage on all 50 states now means for designations of parenthood, which prior to its opinion, rested on a paradigm that recognized children as the biological creation of a male (i.e. “father”) and female (i.e. “mother”).
But now with the Court’s 2015 same-sex marriage opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, and even more recently with the Court’s decision in Pavan v. Smith (2017) requiring both adults in a same-sex marriage to be listed on birth certificates, that long-standing paradigm has necessarily shifted. The “logical” effects are unavoidable: To dispense with biology in the marital union is to upend it in matters of parenthood too.
Aside from the most glaring harm of intentionally and officially depriving countless children of either their father or their mother for a lifetime, we should not fail to recognize that the further we go down this road of separating parental rights from biological ties, the closer we move towards enabling the State to usurp parental rights altogether. It’s not rocket science. Once having removed the most sacred, significant, and objective measure of parenthood from its nature – biological procreation – the State by default will delegate authority and recognize rights of parenthood however and to whomever it pleases.
This of course means that while some people stand to gain in this newly constructed system of parenthood, many others will lose and lose big, since a biological connection to one’s child can no longer be afforded any special weight for parenthood determinations in a post-Obergefell society.
This also means that children, and therefore all people, will increasingly become subjects of the State rather than citizens in a free society. (Historical Note: We fought a revolution to untether ourselves from that very kind of tyranny.) There is just no way around it; when marriage and parenthood are defined ultimately by the State, the State naturally assumes the ultimate and unrestricted role of parens patriae.
Welcome to the world, little one. Meet your Parents, the State. (who will assign to you your designated “official parents”)
We’ve seen this before (just elsewhere), and we will be no exception unless we decide to reverse course. What we should have learned by now is that the extent to which the government intrudes upon the dominion of the family, we lose in equal measure the opportunity to govern ourselves. And when that happens, we cease to be free.
Even if, in the end, we were all theoretically okay with that arrangement, we should still know that the State can never be an effective parent for any child. Contrary to the oft-quoted adage, it really doesn’t take a village to raise a child. It takes a mom and a dad. Knowing this to be true, as citizens in a free society (who wish to so remain), we owe it to every child and every parent to see that by all means – governmental and nongovernmental – they are ensured that opportunity.
Maybe it's freedom that's at stake?
Maybe it's freedom that's at stake?
There’s been a lot of banter on Virginia political blogs recently about the state of Ralph Northam’s campaign for governor and just how accurate are polls showing a statistical dead heat. Some are reporting internal grumblings among Democrats that indicate serious concerns within that party over Northam’s campaign just a few weeks out from Election Day.
A test of whether or not there is true concern can often be found in the pages of the Washington Post. And, sure enough, there have been a series of recent articles from Post reporters seeking to stir up controversy over everything from Republican candidate Ed Gillespie’s direct mail pieces to his fundraising. (Not to mention some pretty bogus polling numbers.)
Their goal: drive Northam’s base into a frenzy so they’ll actually show up to vote and discourage potential Gillespie voters who don’t want to vote for what the Post wants them to believe is a losing candidate.
But this is the Post headline that takes the cake in hyperbole:
“Future of Public Education at Stake in Virginia’s Governor Race”
Que the left wing hysteria!
Imagine that. The entire future of public education rests on our gubernatorial race.
It should surprise no one that the entire article attacks Gillespie for his support of policies that would give families more education freedom. The article proceeds with a litany of accusations about how terrible it would be if parents are provided more options than the school to which their child is assigned based on nothing more than their zip code. Everything from charter schools to Education Savings Accounts is attacked as “Bad for Kids” according to numerous quotes from those opposed to parental freedom, namely the education establishment.
The article countered with quotes from supporters of education freedom…oh wait, never mind. There are no quotes in the article from supports of education freedom. None. Anywhere. Zero.
There are, of course, lots of scare quotes about Betsy DeVos, current U.S. Secretary of Education, who has used a personal fortune to advance the cause of education freedom.
Northam makes it clear that he hates the idea of “unaccountable, private organizations” educating children. His assumption being that parents aren’t capable of holding private schools accountable, making government run schools the only option. Yet, private schools are thriving, growing, and producing students who are doing just fine, thank you, with little – and all unwanted – government involvement. All the while being held accountable by the people paying tuition. You know, sorta like a “free market.” Imagine that.
Fearing competition reveals a lack of confidence in your product. The education establishment is terrified that parents might actually get some freedom and make choices for their kids that run counter to what the establishment wants. This would mean parents are in control, not the education power brokers, and that is their real fear – and perhaps what the Post means when it desperately claims that the future of public ed is at stake.
They'll Stop at Nothing
They'll Stop at Nothing
Over the objections of thousands of Prince William County parents and students throughout the past year, not to mention a mountain of unanswered legal questions, the school board there defiantly voted (5-3) last night to push through a policy that could allow boys in Prince William County schools to use the girls' locker rooms, bathrooms, and showers, and even to be paired with females in overnight lodging situations.
And what was the Board's response to these concerns? Well, it wasn't to deny that these things would now be permissible, but instead only to dismissively declare various versions of "Oh, that'll never happen." Such a response does make you wonder if these folks really know anything at all about the experience of middle school and high school, adolescent males, teenagers generally, history, or human nature.
Or more likely, they just don't care.
The Board's action last night came after a groundswell of outrage and public pressure last September forced the Board to punt on the issue until this summer (conveniently when school would be out and parents would be less engaged with school policies, or on vacation). In that time, the Board managed to gather the cover they needed in order for a majority of them to vote to place every child in danger - ironically in the name of "safety for all." After going practically off the radar since September, the LGBT activists emerged for yesterday's meeting highly mobilized and organized, all of them showing up more than two hours early to pack the front of the room, and all of them decked out in purple. Even so, as the evening progressed, more and more opponents of the policy change arrived, ending with a crowd split about evenly.
And while the Board and proponents tried to sidestep the issue of opposite sex children in intimate settings by including “guidance” language that says bathroom and locker room policies won’t change, the reality is that the policy adopted cannot be limited in such a way.
But last night’s vote was really just part of the story. Just hours before the meeting, it was revealed that the school board chairman, Ryan Sawyers, ripping a page out of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s playbook of ignoring the law and policy, had tried to use his power and influence to manipulate who was allowed to speak during the required public comment period. Board policy states that the first ten people who sign up with the Board clerk speak, but the chair had sent text messages to the clerk demanding that the names he submitted be placed “at the top of the list.” Exposed through a Freedom of Information Act from Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Manassas), the Board then received a letter from our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom explaining that if normal rules weren’t followed, any vote would be subject to legal challenge.
Unlike Governor McAuliffe’s Board of Health, which flippantly ignored the law when it scaled back abortion center safety standards, the Board backed off and followed normal public comment policy.
But both the willingness of the Board chair to ignore the law and the mobilization of secular progressives shows that those who wish to force their dangerous agenda on our children will stop at nothing to accomplish their goal. Public outrage doesn’t matter, the law doesn’t matter, truth doesn’t matter, science doesn’t matter.
So what’s the answer? Pro-family Virginians need to re-double our efforts to organize and mobilize. Churches need to stand up and be willing to mobilize to school board meetings across Virginia. And, people who understand that the dignity, privacy and safety of our children – not to mention DNA – matter need to run for school boards across Virginia!
If science and reality don’t affect school board members, maybe a few election losses will.