Unprecedented Action: McAuliffe Rejects Day Of Prayer Permit In Capitol SquareApr. 09, 2014
For as far back as anyone can remember, well over a decade at least, many of us who work in downtown Richmond have taken part in the National Day of Prayer service on the grounds of the Mr. Jefferson's Capitol. It is always held at noon, as are the overwhelming majority of services nationwide, so that office workers can participate during the lunch hour. That was the case anyway, until this year. We've just learned that for the first time ever, a governor's administration has declined Day of Prayer organizers the noon hour for the service, saying that it is a time when people eat their lunch on capitol grounds.
No, really, that's what they said. Not only is that a remarkable statement in and of itself, but the part of Capitol Square used for the service — the Bell Tower — is not in the area brown baggers use for lunch as the park benches are on the main walk way through the middle of the square.
A photo earlier today shows that, despite the pleasant weather, lunch eaters in Capitol Square aren't all that numerous.
While the administration has been nice enough to offer the grounds for a service at 1:00, the decision sends the clear message that religious Virginians are going to continue to be treated as second class citizens by this administration. This should come as no surprise in the aftermath of Governor McAuliffe's vetoes of two common sense bills concerning religious liberty passed overwhelmingly by the General Assembly. Surely, in only four short months, no governor in Virginia history has displayed such disdain for religious expression.
As for the administration's concern for people who eat their lunch at noon on the capitol's grounds, they certainly can do so while a relatively small group of folks gather for a Day of Prayer service. The grounds are, after all, not very small. There's not been a problem in the past, so why the sudden change? Day of Prayer organizers were told that the policy regarding the noon hour has been in place for some time but that they had been "grandfathered in" in recent years, but not anymore. We are sending a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of General Services to find out just when this policy was put in effect, by whom, and why.
Regardless of this administration's hostility toward faith, we will continue to fight for our religious liberty. It is foolish if it believes its childish antics are going to stop prayer.
Family Foundation Supports Pro-Life Budget AmendmentsFeb. 18, 2014
This is a news release put out earlier today by The Family Foundation of Virginia announcing its support of the proposed House of Delegates budget:
Family Foundation Supports Pro-Life Budget Amendments
- Protect taxpayers from funding abortion, Planned Parenthood -
RICHMOND –The Family Foundation of Virginia today expressed support for several amendments to the House of Delegates budget as passed by the Appropriations Committee.
"In an area of serious dissension, the one thing that a majority of Virginians agree on is that taxpayers shouldn't be forced to pay for abortions,” said Victoria Cobb, President of The Family Foundation of Virginia. “The House Appropriations budget amendments simply bring Virginia in line with federal law, protecting taxpayers from funding abortion, and protect us from funding the nation’s $1 billion abortion behemoth Planned Parenthood. Despite its claims of providing health care, Planned Parenthood's budget is funded almost entirely by abortion and the taxpayers."
According to its most recent annual report, the number of cancer screenings done by Planned Parenthood has dropped 39 percent since 2009, while their prenatal care services have dropped 52 percent during the same period. According to the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony's analysis of Planned Parenthood’s annual report, abortion makes up 93.8 percent of Planned Parenthood's pregnancy services.
The House appropriators also included budget language that would bring Virginia in line with the federal "Hyde Amendment," which prohibits Virginia from funding abortion beyond rape, incest and life of the mother. Virginia currently funds abortion beyond those cases to include abortions for the severely disabled.
The House Appropriations Committee, in an effort to ensure that the Governor can't circumvent the law, included a budget amendment that would prevent "funding in this budget or any matching funds … provided to implement any Executive order, Executive directive, guidance opinion or other direction from the Office of the Governor to suspend the regulations surrounding the operation of abortion clinics." Essentially, if the House is successful, any efforts by the Governor's office to undermine Virginia's abortion center health and safety law that could cost taxpayers money will be unfunded. While campaigning for Governor, McAuliffe made his infamous proclamation that if elected, he would issue a "guidance opinion" that could stop the enforcement and implementation of Virginia's abortion center health and safety standards. Beyond the fact that a Virginia governor can't issue a "guidance opinion," McAuliffe’s statement revealed his desire to undermine the abortion center standards.
"Abortion center health and safety standards are the law of Virginia," added Cobb. "The Governor shouldn't be able to pick and choose which laws he enforces. The House is trying to ensure that the Governor can't exhibit the same lack of respect for the rule of law already demonstrated by the Attorney General. It’s unfortunate that the budget is one of the few tools available to lawmakers to prevent more lawless actions from the Attorney General or the Governor."