How About a "Welcoming" Tax Rate?Dec. 04, 2015
In one statement in today’s Richmond Times Dispatch, Governor Terry McAuliffe discredits his own rhetoric that for Virginia to be competitive in attracting businesses it must be a “more welcoming” state by elevating sexual behavior to a protected class:
“Many of the projects I’m trying to bring to Virginia, the door goes right up,” McAuliffe said. “The first question is: ‘What is your tax rate?’”
Let’s be real: if you’re a business, and your first question is anything but “what is your tax rate?” or “what is your regulatory environment,” you might not be a business we want to "invest" taxpayer money in attracting.
Save the Trees!Nov. 30, 2015
I thought if you simply changed it to a “holiday tree,” it was all good? Apparently, in the new “fundamentally changed” America, the symbol itself is a threat, regardless of what it’s called. In the opinion of some, people now need “safe zones” from pine trees with tinsel.
Recently, it was reported that a Veterans Administration hospital in Salem decided that Christmas/Holiday “trees have been deemed to promote the Christian religion and will not be permitted in any public areas this year.” (A decision since reversed, sort of.)
“Trees that have been deemed to promote the Christian religion….” Now that’s a fascinating statement with all kinds of innuendo and irony. Of course, the whole concept that a “Christmas tree” is anything Christian in origin is, well, debatable to say the least. Talk to any disenfranchised Christmas expert and they’ll tell you. Just go to history.com and their history of the tree begins with, “Long before the advent of Christianity…,” then going on to explain that plants were pretty popular articles of worship for all sorts of ancient civilizations.
But, then they tell us that the “Christmas tree” tradition was started by 16th century Christians in Germany, with Martin Luther being the first to decorate with candles. The frivolity of it all was later banned by early American Puritans because it diverted from the sacredness of celebrating Christ’s birth.
So which is it? A Christian tradition or pagan symbol? A frivolous diversion from the real meaning of the Christian Christmas tradition or a tree that has the power to “promote the Christian religion”?
To some administrators at the VA hospital in Salem, that's an easy one.
Which is actually an incredibly revealing conclusion. You see, the entire point of “Christmas,” or the birth of Christ, is redemption; the redemption of fallen man through the life, death and resurrection of the Christ. Redemption of anyone who chooses to believe that they need redemption in the first place, and that Christ is the only way to true redemption.
Redemption so powerful, it can even redeem a pagan symbol - like say a decorated tree. Redemption so powerful, it was and is an incredible threat to many in power.
And, a redemption that exists with our without a decorated pine tree in a public place.
Why Religious Liberty Matters?Nov. 24, 2015
by Josh HetzlerLegislative Assistant
It’s no small footnote in America’s immortal history that the very first part of the very first amendment in the Bill of Rights is devoted to protecting religious liberty against the coercion of government. For the first generation of free Americans, this choice was obvious and deliberate. To them, religious liberty represented the highest ideal and the reason their recent ancestors had ventured to this uncharted land in the first place. Indeed, they knew that religious liberty was a prerequisite for all other rights.
If history teaches us anything, it is that freedom is greatest when the right of the people to think, speak, and believe according to the dictates of their conscience is also at its greatest. Stated another way, freedom is at its lowest when people are prevented from thinking, speaking and believing according to their conscience, whether through intimidation or retribution.
The rights of free speech, the press, peaceable assembly and petitioning the government come as a package deal in the First Amendment, right behind the limitation on government getting involved in the people’s religious institutions and the guarantee to individuals of their free exercise of religion. Our founders understood something simple yet profound, which we somehow manage to overlook today: if you get one, you get all of them. If you lose one, you lose them all.
Think about it – if you have religious liberty, doesn’t it entail the right to speak freely? For how could you have religious liberty without free speech? How could you have free speech without free thinking? What good would free thinking be without the ability to speak freely? And what good would free speech be if we couldn’t write it down and disseminate it to others through the press and other mediums of communication? If you have religious freedom, then you must certainly have the right to peaceably assemble with others. If you have the right to petition government, then you must have the right to think, speak and publish what you believe – even, and especially when it goes against the status quo. I could go on, but hopefully you’re starting to get the picture.
You see, without religious liberty, we cannot be guaranteed any of the corresponding liberties which are sacred to all of us and which define and distinguish America. All of them are inseparably bound together. For this reason, we must, above all else, preserve religious liberty and protect the right of individuals to live according to their conscience. The entirety of our freedom depends upon it.
'Revisionist history' has no bounds: new push for instant sex-change on birth certificatesNov. 20, 2015
by Josh HetzlerLegislative Assistant
Not even the most basic facts of life can be taken for granted anymore. What's more, history must be retroactively altered to reflect more "modern" realities. Visions of the classic George Orwell novel 1984 suddenly come rushing in.
Groups in Virginia are now calling for legislative changes to the process by which a person may change their gender...on their birth certificate. The current state requirements of proof of sex-reassignment procedures and a court order to alter this are hurdles some say are simply too high. New demands would essentially allow any person to visit the Department of Vital Records and simply request the change.
Wait a minute - I thought the idea of a birth certificate was to reflect a permanent record documenting a person's live birth, their name, sex, biological parents, etc. Clearly, what happened...happened. No getting around that one. Though perhaps, if we all just close our eyes and believe strongly enough that something never was, then maybe it will become so. Or maybe if we merely alter historical records, then history will change too. Reasonable minds would have to see that’s exactly what’s being attempted here. And the same reasonable minds would have to admit that this is “malarkey.”
And by the way, I thought there was some marked difference between “sex” and “gender” – the former being biological and the latter being psychological. That would cut against the reasoning in changing the “sex” category on birth certificates since birth certificates reflect the “sex” of the child rather than "gender." (XY and XX chromosomes have not yet been successfully converted.)
Aside from the obvious plunge into mind-numbing delusions, both “sex” and “gender” do matter. And they matter a great deal. Virginia should tread carefully and not continue to promote the idea that they don’t, or that they are otherwise interchangeable and irrelevant.
Family MattersNov. 18, 2015
While recently watching a sappy Hallmark Movie Channel Christmas movie (don’t judge me), a character in the movie, while trying to comfort a single mom whose child was obviously traumatized by the lack of a father figure said, essentially, “I don’t think a child cares if it’s a mom or a dad, they just want to be loved by someone.”
It’s a common refrain by our cultural elitists. Moms, dads, and family structure are irrelevant (even patriarchic and dangerous). It’s all about love.
But, if that belief were subject to social science’s version of PolitiFact, it would get a “liar, liar pants on fire” rating.
Here’s an article from UVa. Sociologist Brad Wilcox who talks about several new reports or studies, sourced everywhere from MIT to Princeton to Brookings Institute, that once again show kids fair better when they have a mom and a dad. For example, states with the highest poverty rates also tend to have low marriage rates, while states with low poverty rates tend to have more marriage. Yes, there are other factors, but it’s undeniable that marriage is key.
Now, this is nothing new; it simply affirms decades of social science. Sadly, too many Americans have bought the lie that mom and dad don’t really matter, and because of that it’s our kids who suffer.
Non-"Gender-Specific" ConsequencesNov. 16, 2015
Bills introduced last session would have removed all “gender-specific” terms from the Code of Virginia, replacing them, with, well, we’re not really sure, whatever is non-“gender-specific” we assume, like “purple penguins” maybe? This effort was done in the name of so-called same-sex marriage. Luckily, despite passing the state Senate, the bill was killed by a House subcommittee, which sent it to the Code Commission for review.
The Code Commission reviews all sorts of things that no one outside of lawyers and policy wonks really cares about, but it happens to be pretty important. This is where the minutia meets the road. After staff reviewed this issue over the past several months, they determined, not surprisingly, that it’s “very complicated” and needs further review, and lots of it. These aren’t “gender-neutral” staff, but for the most part they are supposed to be “agenda-neutral.”
So, removing terms like “husband” and “wife” from the law and replacing them with ____?____ might have some pretty interesting legal consequences. Imagine that.
We suspect that it might just have some cultural consequences, too.
Sometimes, It's What Isn't SaidNov. 11, 2015
Every General Assembly session sees legislation introduced that would elevate sexual behavior to a protected class, and in particular, bills that would add sexual orientation/gender identity (SOGI) to the state’s “non-discrimination” in hiring law. And every year, representatives from the various state and private colleges and universities line up and claim that the lack of this addition “sends the wrong message” to potential university employees and is preventing Virginia from attracting the best and brightest. Never mind that our colleges and universities continue to be ranked as some of the best in the country, indicating that there’s plenty of talent that has overcome this “wrong message” and seem to be doing quite nicely.
So, earlier this week when three college presidents spoke at the House Education Committee Summit at UVa in Charlottesville, each one had the opportunity to tell the Education Committee the pressing problems they face and what urgent and important needs they have.
And not one of them mentioned “expanding gay rights.” Not one.
In fact, one told the story of attracting a professor from a “Midwestern university” who was pleasantly surprised at just how welcoming and tolerant Virginia turned out to be. In other words, reality didn’t match the rhetoric used by those who divide us.
Which should come as a surprise to no one. Virginians are welcoming and tolerant and all the other warm and fuzzy adjectives that the culture loves to throw around. And we don’t need a new law to be so.
Of course, there’s little doubt that representatives from some of those same universities will once again line up during session and make their claim that expanding SOGI “rights” is necessary for Virginia to compete, but after this week, it appears that it isn’t nearly as important to them as they would have you believe.
McAuliffe: Winning Senate Wouldn't Have Changed Anything Anyway!Nov. 05, 2015
Governor Terry McAuliffe in a speech earlier today said, essentially, that this week’s elections don’t “really change anything” in Richmond, from his perspective. After all, Democrats hold only 34 seats in the House of Delegates, so he was unlikely to find success regardless of the Senate outcome. “I wanted to win the Senate. I gave it all I have,” he said. “But at the end of the day, you know, it wasn’t going to make a difference really one way or the other.”
I’m sure the donors he cajoled into dropping millions into Virginia are just thrilled to hear that. Even if your money had bought a couple of Senate seats, it wasn’t going to matter anyway. Ouch. (Unless, of course, they knew they were giving this year to build infrastructure for next…)
The other standard line after Tuesday has been that the elections simply maintained the status quo. The Senate was 21-19 before Tuesday, and its 21-19 after. Just move along…
But is that reality? Did nothing really change?
Time will tell, of course, but I think the change is more substantial than meets the eye.
Two so-called moderate Republicans, John Watkins and Walter Stosch, were replaced by candidates that appear to be more conservative, particularly on social issues, and likely on fiscal issues as well. Both Glen Sturtevant and Dr. Siobhan Dunnavant are pro-life, and strongly so. And both stated they opposed Medicaid expansion during the campaign, something both Watkins and Stosch supported. They’ve indicated support for education freedom.
If nothing else, it appears that the Senate Republican caucus lurched a bit more to the right, perhaps a lot more.
This continues a trend that’s been happening for several election cycles. My first General Assembly session with The Family Foundation in 2003 found names like Chichester, Stolle, Potts and Wampler dotting – and controlling – the caucus. Conservatives were vastly outnumbered. Not anymore.
Of course, the Democrat caucus has changed as well. Gone are pro-life Democrats Chuck Colgan and Phil Puckett, as well as other more moderate members like Roscoe Reynolds. That caucus has lurched much farther to the left.
The deep cultural and political divisions that make policy making far more difficult are evident, and likely here to stay for a while.
Terry McAuliffe’s best spin on Tuesday's election may be that “nothing really changed,” but in reality it has. How that will affect 2016, and beyond, is anybody’s guess.
Not So HERO's WelcomeNov. 04, 2015
Yesterday, the citizens Houston overwhelmingly rejected a proposed ordinance that “would have been used to shutter faith-based adoption agencies, penalize florists, photographers and bakers, and force businesses to allow biological males who identify as women into women’s restrooms and changing rooms.” The ordinance, known as the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), was supported by a wide array of big businesses, celebrities and elites. To oppose the ordinance was a clear indication of deep seeded bigotry against homosexuals, according to its supporters. (Now, of course, HERO supporters claim that opponents used a “smear campaign” to confuse voters.)
But clearly the rejection of HERO isn't about whether or not Houstonians are a loving people or about denying people jobs because of their sexuality, because they have voted three times to give the job of mayor to a lesbian. It’s about the ramifications of bad policy.
Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation puts it this way:
"Against one-sided media coverage, big business lobbying, and various elites expressing their support for the ordinance—a grassroots coalition of ordinary citizens were able to explain why sexual orientation and gender identity laws are bad policy."
Simply put, the consequences of the ordinance were spelled out for the voters, and the voters of Houston, some of the most tolerant in the nation, overwhelmingly rejected the ordinance.
Anderson argues that the results of Houston (as well as Kentucky and elsewhere) should give courage to values friendly elected officials:
"Conservatives can win when they refuse to be bullied by elites into silence. Making the public argument against bad policy and in support of good policy can win the day. It just did."
Refuse to be bullied. Seems simple enough.
Life affirming media story? Watch this before it's banned!Nov. 03, 2015
Yesterday on the Today Show, a conversation took place between Savannah Guthrie and Nicole Wallace. Discussing the Republican presidential candidates' vocal criticism of the media, Savannah says with a gleeful look on her face, "but isn't it just a winning strategy to attack the media?" To her credit, Wallace, a former Bush staffer responded, "But you can always find a legitimate example." On the issue of abortion, media coverage is more than just a little lopsided. A local candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, Toni Radler drops off the board of Planned Parenthood because she finds the sale of fetal body parts reprehensible and no one thinks its news worthy. But Planned Parenthood simply sends out a press release saying that they are joining Gov. McAuliffe and senate candidate Dan Gecker at a democratic GOTV rally and they get an entire news story.
Similarly bias is on display regarding abortion center health and safety standards. One of my local television networks does a weekly restaurant review where they detail all the sanitation violations of my favorite dives, forever ruining my interest in dining there. Yet, local abortion facilities get inspected by the state, revealing blood on equipment and tables and the public hears silence.
So on the rare occasion that the media gets it right and acknowledges abortion is not a happy choice for many women, we should stand up an applaud. Check out this story where a North Carolina Fox affiliate provides a comprehensive and positive story about the medical breakthrough allowing women to now reverse the abortion pill and save their babies:
If this medical breakthrough would speed and simplify the taking of a human life, the doctor would currently be receiving the Noble Prize or the Lasker Award, but we'll be thankful for a local news story nonetheless.
Spread the word, women can reverse abortions started with the abortion pill.
Alert Barry Lynn and the ACLU!Nov. 02, 2015
From today’s Richmond Times Dispatch, we see yet another example of politicians violating the secular left’s sacred separation of church and state:
“Gecker and other party officials estimated they visited close to 30 churches on Sunday — the candidate and Sen. A. Donald McEachin, chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, together visited six.
“’As Don said, we’ve had more church today than we’ve had in a long time,’ said Gecker, who then roused the crowd by vowing to expand health care coverage, help workers, ensure equal treatment under the law and find ways to curb gun violence.”
I’ll leave the “more church…than we’ve had in a long time” line alone.
But, one wonders if these churches were on the list Mr. Barry Lynn and his Americans United for the Separation of Church and State uses when they mail their annual fear mongering letter to pastors and churches across America, warning them of all sorts of repercussions for talking politics. After all, to Lynn, his cohorts, and the ACLU there are few threats greater to the republic than churches getting involved in the issues of the day. Certainly Americans United and the ACLU aren't partisan in their application of fear, are they? My guess is these churches won't be hearing from the IRS either.
And, of course, the media reports these visits with no comment on the politicization of the churches, a sin apparently only candidates on the right can commit.
New Video Reveals More Lawlessness at Planned ParenthoodOct. 28, 2015
A new video released this week by the Center for Medical progress continues to reveal lawlessness at Planned Parenthood. This time, yet another Planned Parenthood “doctor” talks about how she uses ultrasound to position the late term unborn child correctly to better be able to kill it and obtain fetal parts for sale. Manipulating an abortion procedure in such a way is a violation of federal law. She also laments that she hasn’t quite gotten the procedure to the point where she can obtain a brain.
Something she “strives” to be able to accomplish.
Mean TwitterOct. 28, 2015
In honor of the popular "Mean Tweets" segment from Jimmy Kimmel, we bring you some of our "favorite" tweets that show all the love and tolerance the secular left has to offer The Family Foundation:
Voter Guides Available Online!Oct. 27, 2015
Seven. That is how many days are left until Virginians go to the polls to elect new members of the House of Delegates and state Senate. And the stakes couldn’t be higher. Governor Terry McAuliffe’s agenda can only be stopped by a legislature that stands for conservative principles, and he knows it. It’s why McAuliffe and his big funders from other states are pouring money into state Senate races. The Senate is where conservatives have only a one vote majority.
Don’t wake up in next Wednesday and find your vote could have made the difference in one of these key races!
Seven days also means there is only one Sunday for churches to distribute our 2015 Voter Guides for your district! These simple, easy-to-read, full-color guides give the candidates’ positions on issues such as life, marriage and religious liberty. It is essential that those who hold a biblical worldview are educated on where the candidates stand on these issues and are motivated to go to the polls on Election Day to vote their biblical values.
Elections matter and that is why The Family Foundation and our sister organization, The Family Foundation Action, have been running the Winning Matters 2015 campaign. And while there are only eight days left until Election Day, it’s not too late for you to get involved.
I urge you to ask your pastor for permission to distribute our Voter Guide this Sunday! Also, please forward this information to your family, friends and neighbors who live in the same district.
Experts predict a very low-turnout election, which means your vote is even more important than normal! Please plan now to vote next Tuesday!
More Nuns than Nones?Oct. 26, 2015
The increase in “nones,” those who claim no religious affiliation in recent demographic studies, has been celebrated with gusto by the secular left and much of the media. The demise of religion in America – in particular Christianity – has some almost giddy. Of course, this supposed shift in demographics is hoped to impact elections and public policy, with the subjugation of public religious activity surly to follow. One need look only to the impact the Supreme Court’s marriage decision has had on those who dare take their belief in natural marriage outside the walls of their church. In a recent missive about its angst over a Catholic ministry dismissing an employee who was involved in a same-sex relationship (thus violating the church’s teachings), Equality Virginia implied this false narrative: “we respect religious freedom for our country. That right, which has preserved everyone’s ability to worship and believe as they choose….” Except, of course, that’s not religious freedom in America; the constitution protects our right to “exercise” our faith, not just some obscure right to “worship and believe.”
Now, a new study indicates that the secular left’s celebration of the “nones” may have been just a tad premature:
“According to a 2015 global study published in Demographic Research, social scientists were wrong to predict the demise of religion. The study and its connected Pew Research Center report show that between 2010 and 2050, the growth of religious populations worldwide is projected to be 23 times larger than the growth of religiously unaffiliated populations. During this period, the number of people affiliated with a religion is expected to grow by 2.3 billion, from 5.8 billion in 2010 to 8.1 billion in 2050. By contrast, the number of people unaffiliated with any religion (including those who say their religion is “nothing in particular” as well as self-identifying agnostics and atheists) is projected to increase by only 0.1 billion, from 1.13 billion in 2010 to 1.23 billion in 2050.”
Not only that, but the study encourages more religious freedom and tolerance, not less:
“This growing religious diversity can be an economic strength if national and business leaders promote interfaith understanding, protect minority groups’ human rights, and advance freedom of religion or belief, thereby ensuring sustainable and peaceful development for all.”
Interesting points to remember as Virginia’s Governor Terry McAuliffe touts “inclusive” policies that could, in fact, punish religiously affiliated people who happen to disagree with the Governor’s view of morality. After all, if it’s all about the “economy and jobs,” the Governor should be thinking about all those multinational businesses that might just avoid Virginia if our policies are tolerant toward everyone except those with whom he disagrees.
"Validate the Details"Oct. 23, 2015
The push for expanded pre-k programs at the General Assembly is as predictable as the Cubs failing to win a World Series (too soon?). Alas, the talking points rarely change either, and usually include talk of “thousands of children” who don’t have “access” to “early childhood education,” dooming them to a lifetime of failure.
Then there’s this. A story today at the Virginian Pilot online that frets over Norfolk schools not being able to find enough children to fill spots in the city’s pre-school program, expanded after receiving a nice grant from the federal government. This, despite the fact that the “division has been ‘very aggressive’ in trying to fill those classes through several marketing campaigns and door-to-door recruitment. But it's been difficult to find children who qualify.”
The telling statement comes from Superintendent Michael Thornton:
"There was an expectation that we had a significant number of 4-year-olds on a waiting list. However, at this point in time, we've been challenged to really, if you will, validate the details of that waiting list."
Validate the details of the waiting list? He clearly paid attention in soundbite class. The detail being, maybe there aren’t so many families desperate to send their kids to public pre-school after all?
Never mind the research that shows the effects of pre-school tend to disappear as children grow older (and yes, there is research that shows the opposite), including this recent study out of Tennessee that has researchers baffled, if you don’t support upping taxpayer funding of yet another grade level you simply hate children. Now, could there be questions over just how many families want or need this extra grade level, too?
Gecker First to Raise “A” Word, Hides Planned Parenthood EndorsementOct. 20, 2015
One of the key state Senate races in Virginia is taking place in the suburbs of Richmond. The 10th Senate District seat has been held by John Watkins, who is retiring. The seat is considered a tossup, with Richmond School Board member Glen Sturtevant carrying the Republican banner against one-time Independent and now Democrat Dan Gecker. The first candidate to go to the “social issues” well on television is, of course, the Democrat. Never mind that the media and pundits are always slamming Republicans for focusing on “divisive social issues” instead of the “kitchen table” issues like jobs and the economy. Yet, even as Gecker hits Sturtevant in a new TV ad for his support of the Choose Life license plate – an obvious threat to the whole of humanity – Gecker seems to be a bit ashamed of at least one of his high profile abortion endorsements.
You see, as far as I can tell, nowhere on Gecker’s Facebook page or website does his endorsement from Planned Parenthood appear. While he does list the endorsement of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), conspicuously absent is the same endorsement from the nation’s largest abortion business. An odd omission considering Planned Parenthood is the eighth largest contributor to the Gecker campaign, coming in at just under $30,000.
Perhaps the fetal body parts scandal that has rocked Planned Parenthood has made that business a bit of a publicity problem after all.
Take your money? You bet. Publicize your support? Not so much.
Oh, and about that television ad. It seems that the big threat to the well-being of Virginians isn’t climate change or a bad economy. Its life affirming pregnancy centers that dare offer an alternative choice to women who are considering an abortion. You see, Gecker calls them “anti-abortion” groups in the ad, implying that they shouldn’t receive money through the purchase of pro-life license plates, even though it’s simply pass through money from people making the, you know, choice to buy the plates.
Regardless, I suspect we’ll be waiting a long time for the Jeff Shapiro piece slamming Gecker for bringing up those dastardly social issues. After all, it doesn’t fit the narrative.
The Family Foundation Action is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(4) organization and paid for this informational communication. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.
House of Delegates Candidate Resigns from Planned Parenthood Board; Media SilentOct. 15, 2015
When researching candidates for their position on issues you can often trip over some pretty interesting statements. One that I found yesterday got my attention very quickly, and I was simply astonished (sarcasm alert) I never heard about it in the Richmond media. Toni Radler, Democrat candidate for the House of Delegates running against incumbent Buddy Fowler in Hanover, had this statement from July 15 on her website and Facebook page:
"Like many of you, I was dismayed to see the video about Planned Parenthood, purporting to show a doctor's callous discussion about the price of organs from aborted fetuses. Depending on the veracity of the video, it could actually be a disclosure of unlawful activity. I am well aware that this video was produced by an anti-choice group that is known for selective editing. Nonetheless, after reviewing the video several times, I remain concerned that the Planned Parenthood Federation's explanation was totally inadequate. Therefore, yesterday with regret I resigned my position from the Board of the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood.
"I want to be very clear: I believe that the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood, as distinguished from the Planned Parenthood Federation, provides wonderful comprehensive services to women's health and I feel confident that VLPP has not been involved in any such actions as described in the video. I have been impressed with the dedication and sincerity of the members of the VLPP board and staff. Furthermore, I remain a strong supporter of the right to choose, recognizing that to return to the days of back alley abortions would be a travesty. Back alley abortions killed women.
"I call on the Planned Parenthood Federation to look into this themselves to determine exactly what occurred. At a minimum they owe all of us a better explanation and reassurance that dignity, sensitivity, and legality are preserved at all times by all members of their staff."
Amazed you never read about this in the Richmond Times Dispatch, aren’t you? As far as I can tell, the three local television networks and WRVA radio news missed it, too.
Now, earlier in the year Ms. Radler’s opponent posted something on Facebook that some found offensive, and the local media went into hysterics.
But when a candidate for the House of Delegates resigns from the board of a hugely controversial organization in the midst of a scandal and calls out that organization for its “inadequate” explanation of the scandal, it gets zero news coverage. Zilch. Nada. Silence.
Coincidentally, a friend of mine challenged a local reporter on their lack of coverage of the Planned Parenthood scandal, and that reporter’s response was that it didn’t have a “local angle.” Yet, apparently, even when there is a local angle, the mainstream media is silent.
Should Prisoners Have More Rights than Public School Kids?Sep. 30, 2015
The ACLU seems to think so. You no doubt have heard about one of the new efforts to impose the sexual freedom doctrine on our school kids. Several local school boards in Virginia have been confronted with school kids claiming to be transgender and demanding that they be allowed to use restrooms, locker rooms, etc. of the sex with which they “identify,” instead of their biological sex. One of the first counties to deal with this was Gloucester, where the school board adopted a reasonable policy that balanced the privacy rights of all students while accommodating the transgender student with an alternative restroom.
This compromise, however, wasn’t good enough for the ACLU, who immediately sued the Gloucester School Board.
Earlier this month, a federal judge here in Virginia dismissed the ACLU’s discrimination claim, arguing, “[n]ot only is bodily privacy a constitutional right, the need for privacy is even more pronounced in the state education system. The students are almost all minors, and public school education is a protective environment.”
The judge based the decision on a litany of federal cases that protect privacy rights in restrooms, including courts that have found even prisoners have the right to use restrooms and changing areas without regular exposure to viewers of the opposite sex. But apparently, to the ACLU, forcing school children to be in bathrooms with someone of the opposite sex is perfectly appropriate, while prisoners get more protection and privacy.
The ACLU argues that “Title IX,” a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity, requires that public schools open sex-specific restrooms, showers, changing areas to opposite sex students. Apparently, they base this dangerous notion on an April 2014 “guidance document” from the U.S. Department of Education that states, “Title IX’s sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.” However, the guidance document is supposed to be non-binding, and it doesn’t even mention access to restrooms, nor does it change already existing Title IX regulations that authorize sex-specific restrooms.
Most importantly, it flies in the face of a plethora of court decisions regarding privacy. Even the Ninth Circuit, considered the most radical, leftist appellate court in the country, in 2009 determined that a college could ban a “transsexual” from using an opposite sex bathroom “for safety reasons.” Earlier this year, a federal court in Pennsylvania came to such a conclusion involving a similar case, saying, “the University’s policy of requiring students to use sex-segregated bathroom and locker room facilities based on students natal or birth sex, rather than their gender identity, does not violate Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination.”
Incredibly, in our culture today, the ACLU and secular elites want you to believe that allowing a middle school female to use a restroom without having a male use the same restroom simply because they “identify” as female is hateful and bigoted!
The school board in Gloucester County (and others in Virginia since) recognizes that we can teach our children to be compassionate and tolerant toward one another without forcing school aged children into vulnerable interactions with opposite sex students in restrooms and locker rooms. We can and we must protect the privacy and dignity of our school aged children from the sex driven agenda of the ACLU and secular elites.
What does nearly $2 million buy in Virginia?Sep. 18, 2015
On Thursday, the nearly $2 million given to Governor McAuliffe’s campaign by the abortion industry bought the majority vote of the Virginia Board of Health. Voting on amendments to the abortion center health and safety standards, a process initiated at the Governor’s request for a premature re-opening of the standards, this board eliminated very critical components to protecting the women of Virginia. The vote was not unexpected as we have watched the Governor appoint members to this board based on a litmus test of supporting the undoing of these standards. Specifically, his appointments to the board include former Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, one of the most outspoken abortion advocates in the history of the Virginia Senate, former Del. Jim Shuler, a Family Foundation Action zero percenter, Dr. Wendy Klein, a doctor who offices at Planned Parenthood and Linda Hines, a former board member of Planned Parenthood. While many votes were taken on more than a dozen amendments, here are some lowlights:
1. Despite an inspection report that showed a facility didn’t have anyone properly trained in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), the board rejected an amendment that would have aligned the standards with Virginia guidelines on Office-based Anesthesia.In this incident, where a facility was cited for failure to be trained in ACLS, the inspector appeared to be unaware that the facility should be following the Office-based Anesthesia guidelines, further validating the need for clarification in the standards.
2. This board also removed the requirement for centers to refer or provide post-abortion counseling. Decades of women living with regret and trauma associated with their procedure have just been dismissed as the counseling they view as life-saving is apparently not important enough to specifically include in the standards.
3. By recommendation of Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Marissa Levine, the board voted to remove the specific requirement that centers “develop, implement and maintain policies and procedures for screening of STDs” in compliance with CDC guidelines. In every other context, the Commonwealth does everything possible to emphasize wellness education and screening but when it comes to abortion, providers are allowed to simply do the procedure and make money.
4. Despite 18 of 18 abortion centers currently holding a transfer agreement with a local hospital to comply with existing standards, the board was told that “hospitals won’t grant them” and they should no longer be required. Unlike every other medical environment, abortion doctors do not typically have a relationship with the local hospital. Some have been called circuit riders because they perform abortions at many facilities, often in other states, and simply travel between centers. They are not typically members of the community with admitting privileges at the nearby hospital. While the Department of Health claims to not have authority over the doctor to require admitting privileges, it does have the authority to suggest that the facility should have a relationship with the local hospital for prompt complication care.
5. During debate over the construction standards, the Board of Health summoned an unaffiliated building inspector expert who presented his advice on the construction standards, but was immediately dismissed by the members of the board who were acting on behalf of the abortion industry. One member openly and brazenly stated, “Who cares if there is asbestos hanging from the ceiling?”
At the beginning of the public comment period of the meeting, Delegate Kirk Cox (R-66, Colonial Heights) implored the Board to keep the health and safety standards as they were, explaining the intent of the General Assembly when they adopted the law in 2011. He passionately spoke of what has been found in the series of videos that have revealed the true nature of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry. As evidence of the passion abortion supporters hold, college students began lining up outside the meeting at 11pm last night, successfully filling all but one spot available for testimony. Apparently, the abortion industry was afraid of those who would testify to the truth about the abortion industry!
Today, Governor McAuliffe succeeded in weakening the very standards that he is using to justify his unwillingness to investigate whether or not Planned Parenthood is selling fetal body parts for profit in Virginia.
Despite valiant efforts from several members of the Board of Health who understand the value of women’s safety, nearly all efforts to water down the standards were passed on a 9-6 margin. This is a 12-18 month regulatory process, so there will be more votes and more public comment periods, but this vote was a critical and unfortunate turning point. The Family Foundation would like to thank the six members of the Board who stood strong and spoke courageously on behalf of safety and life. They valiantly tried to bring logic and facts to the debate, but clearly, the rest of the board wasn’t interested in either.