Pastors have the emotionally draining and time-consuming responsibility to shepherd their flock, disciple believers into spiritually maturity, and administrate the business affairs of their local congregation. The weight of ministry only intensified during the past six months due to the coronavirus, as disagreements over masks, financial decisions regarding paycheck protection and staffing, and the quick transition to offer a worship experience through an online platform became the top priority.

Their schedule is stretched as family needs must be addressed, secular vocational jobs must be worked, and numerous meetings must be attended. Yet, their moral voice and influence is desperately needed to reverse the negative trends of societal decline that impacts their congregation.

This is where Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey® steps in. We strive to help pastors navigate the urgent issues impacting the family structure and facilitate regular conversations between elected state legislators and clergy. I want to encourage you to forward this email to your pastor and let him know about three ways we can serve the church you attend.

  1. Statewide Leadership Video Calls
    Every month we intentionally build relationships and moderate healthy dialogue between pastors and state legislators. Despite the anti-family policies that continue to be introduced in Trenton, there are elected officials that are allies in our cause to see NJ be a state where God is honored, religious liberty flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished. These elected officials must take public positions on issues that many churches are hesitant to teach on. They face criticisms and challenges for promoting strong family policies. Therefore, it is imperative for them to feel and experience the support of pastors across our state. Our monthly video meetings are structured for pastors to pray for these state senators and assembly members, and to encourage them to remain committed to biblical values. In the past three months, Senator Mike Testa (R), Senator Anthony Bucco (R), and Assemblyman Bob Auth (R) have connected with pastors through these calls.
  2. Regional Pastor Briefings
    Each year we educate pastors on the most troubling issues that threaten the family structure in NJ. This September and October, pastors will learn the facts about the LGBT curriculum in schools, recreational marijuana, and our continued pro-life efforts. Locations for this year’s meetings include Toms River Rockaway, Mount Laurel, Egg Harbor Township, and Warren. Click here for more information.
  3. Church Ministry
    I regularly teach a Biblical message during worship services, bible conferences, and special events regarding the Christian’s Role in Public Policy. Drawing from the scared truth of scripture, we equip Christians to engage the government, and no matter the results, make sure that God is glorified in the process.

Finally, I urge you to do three things to help your pastor:

  1. Pray for them more.
  2. Criticize them less.
  3. Forward them this email.

Together, let’s make NJ better!

Blessings,

Shawn Hyland
Director of Advocacy

This afternoon, Governor Kelly issued an executive order that specifically targets churches, demanding that they not meet if they are likely to bring more than ten people together. Until now, churches have been trusted to be responsible and take measures to protect their members. Churches have been voluntarily complying with these directives. Why are schools, libraries, and even restaurants exempted from this more restrictive order but churches are not? Why is Governor targeting churches? Why are we the ones who are not trusted to be socially responsible?

It is a highly disappointing that the Governor would choose to specifically target churches, especially on the holiest of week in the Christian faith. Yes, churches should be wise and should take appropriate measures to protect their members. Yet, there are multiple state governors in states with liberal administrations that have continued to trust the faith-based community to practice wisdom and love for neighbor. These governors have worked with the religious community to ensure their safety and well-being and instead Governor Kelly has refused to do so and rather issued a sweeping order.

To be clear, we are not encouraging any churches to meet during this time of crisis. However, the faith community should be trusted to self-regulate and the government should not use instances that occurred before the Governor’s first stay-at-home order was even issued to validate an attack on religious freedom. We call on members of the Legislative Coordinating Council to denounce this blatant attack on religious freedom and protect the freedoms we hold dear as Kansans.

 

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On Saturday, President Trump tweeted, “The Paycheck Protection Program is up and running! The program is open to nonprofits as well, so banks be sure to sign up our Great Religious and Veteran Organizations that need help!”

Perhaps you work at one of those “Great Religious” organizations, or you know someone who does. If you’re at a church or non-profit and wondering whether you’re eligible for the program, what’s entailed, or how the program actually works, keep reading. If you’re not, consider forwarding this to a church leader or someone who may appreciate the extra help.

First things first: What is the Paycheck Protection Program?

The Paycheck Protection Program is one of two new types of loans available to small businesses through the recently signed CARES Act (the Congressional economic relief package which you can read about here). Churches must have fewer than 500 employees to qualify as a “small business.” The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan – up to $10 million – aimed at retaining small business employees. As such, the portion of it used toward payroll (and certain other expenses) will be completely forgivable provided that at least 75 percent of the loan goes toward payroll costs. Otherwise, the loan has a fixed one percent interest rate and maturity of two years.

Is my church eligible?

Yes. A recent Congressional news release clarified: “All churches are eligible for the forgivable loans available under the Paycheck Protection Program.”

Do churches and religious non-profits have to do anything extra to qualify?

No. The government has clarified that churches will be subject to the same limitations on the loans as other entities, but not to any additional or unique burdens.  As the release stated, “No church should have to file a Form 990” and non-profits do not need a tax exemption “determination letter” from the IRS.

If I participate, will the government restrict my religious activities or speech?

A loan will not limit an organization’s First Amendment religious rights. It is true that churches receiving the funds must abide by federal nondiscrimination standards (which include race, color, religion, sex, handicap, age, and national origin), but the Small Business Administration has clarified that “these nondiscrimination requirements do not limit a faith-based entity’s autonomy with respect to membership or employment decisions connected to its religious exercise.”

For greater detail and additional answers (for example, technical information about what qualifies as a “small business”), please check out the Small Business Administration’s FAQs or full guidance.

For churches, we recommend COVID Church Aid, a website filled with COVID-19 resources for church leaders, including resources on the Paycheck Protection Program.

How does this affect ministries like Family Policy Alliance?

While churches and many non-profits are eligible to utilize the new funding, organizations and ministries like Family Policy Alliance that engage in election and legislative work are not. As a result, we are more thankful than ever for the faithful, sacrificial giving of our ministry partners.  Regardless of your ability to give financially to Family Policy Alliance at this time, we are deeply grateful for your gift of prayer for our ministry.  And please know, the Family Policy Alliance team is steadfast in praying for you.

Reflecting on this Holy Week, President Donald Trump observed, “We may be apart, but we can use this time to turn to reflection and prayer and our own personal relationship with God. I would ask that all Americans pray for the heroic doctors and nurses, for the truck drivers and grocery store workers, and for everyone fighting this battle. … Most of all, I would like to ask for your prayers for the families who have lost loved ones. Ask God to comfort them in their hour of grief, a great hour of grief for our nation, for the world. … With the faith of our families, and the spirit of our people, and the Grace of our God, we will endure, we will overcome, we will prevail. We have learned so much. We will be stronger than ever.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Sincerely,

Meridian Baldacci
Policy & Communications Strategist

Faith-based adoption agencies provide a critical service by placing children in loving homes. Motivated by their faith, they show life is truly cherished.

But, they face a grave threat that would compel many to shut their doors here in Georgia and is keeping many others from even coming to our state.

Increasingly, governments are forcing these critical agencies to violate their faith – undermining their reason for existence. And, in our state, we have not passed legislation that will protect against such gross overreach.

That’s why Sen. Marty Harbin’s SB 368 is so critical. It ensures that these adoption agencies will never be forced to violate their written statements of faith.

We strongly support this bill. It protects the First Amendment, honors birthmothers, preserves options to meet the needs of children, and empowers more loving families to welcome children into their homes.

This legislation was just introduced, but we believe it will be assigned to the Judiciary Committee when the Senate reconvenes on February 18th. Please reach out to the senators on the committee to encourage them to support this pro-family bill:

Chairman Jesse Stone (404) 463-1314

Bill Cowsert (404) 463-1366

Blake Tillery (404) 656-0089

Bill Heath (404) 656-3943

Harold Jones (404) 463-3942

John Kennedy (404) 656-0045

William Ligon (404) 463-1383

Elena Parent (404) 656-5109

Brian Strickland (404) 656-7454

Already, opponents of this legislation are spinning a false narrative that this is discriminatory. That is FALSE. This bill prevents discrimination against those who hold to sincere beliefs – discrimination that would make it impossible for these agencies to continue providing their vital services.

Stand firm and take action today to support our faith-based adoption agencies!

To Victory,

Cole Muzio
President and Executive Director

 

 

Brothers and sisters in Christ,

Is it right for Christians to involve themselves in political things? Some Christians say no. They argue that believers should focus on “spiritual” things (like evangelism, prayer, Bible reading, and church) without getting “distracted” by the things of this world (which, of course, include politics).

I affirm that we should evangelize the lost, robustly pursue prayer and Bible reading, and actively involve ourselves in a local assembly of God’s people. But to say that doing these things precludes exercising our biblical responsibilities as citizens overlooks three important biblical truths.

First, God has created government as His “ministers to us for our good” (Romans 13:4). Therefore, government is something worthy of our time and efforts—it’s one of God’s gifts given to us to help promote the common good until His return!

Second, we are to “seek the welfare of the city where God has sent us” so that we may be left free to “live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity” (Jeremiah 29:7, 1 Timothy 2:2). For us to have the space to live our lives and raise our children according to God’s revealed will, government needs to respect its limited jurisdiction—it must refrain from interfering with the biblical exercise of our God-given rights.

Third, we have been given a cultural commission to transform the society around us. In the model prayer given to his disciples, Jesus instructs us to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10). We are to work as God’s laborers until this goal is realized, “occupying until Jesus returns” and acting as “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” by promoting a godly vision for society (Luke 19:13, Matthew 5:13-16).

We can’t afford to be apathetic. If we engage in politics, we can make large leaps forward in building a public square where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished. If we withdraw from politics, another ideology will fill the vacuum. Those who show up and speak out will achieve the victory. In many ways, the sorry state of our government today is the direct result of retreat and indifference on the part of Christians.

The Family Policy Alliance® exists to unleash biblical citizenship throughout this great state and nation. This is accomplished through educating and mobilizing voters, discipling statesmen, and promoting sound policy. We know that the reformation of the “political” will only happen when Christians exercise their biblical responsibility to inform themselves and get involved in “political” things.

The Bible tells us of faithful believers who “stood firm and took action” when faced with an out-of-control government (Daniel 11:32). Will you stand with us?

Sincerely,

Nathan Winters
Director of Advocacy

LGBTQ+ activists are pushing your city council members to pass a sexual orientation and gender identity ordinance (SOGI). The Topeka Policy and Finance Committee will  be discussing your freedom TOMORROW when they meet. These types of ordinances will be used to undermine religious freedom in Kansas, and your voice is needed to stop it!

The measure is similar to laws in other states that have been used to punish business owners (such as bakers and florists) who decline to participate in same-sex weddings.  In some cases, those owners have been forced to close their businesses and have been hit with tens of thousands of dollars in fines.   These laws also cover “gender identity” and have been responsible for opening women’s bathrooms, showers, dressing rooms and other public accommodations to men and boys regardless of their biological sex.

These sorts of laws have been destructive in other states. This is not what we want for our state or our city.

The ordinance is known as a SOGI law because of its stated purpose to protect people based on their Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

But what it really does is divide friends and give government the power to pick winners and losers based on their beliefs.  These sorts of laws have come between cakebakers, florist, t-shirt designers, wedding photographers and their long-time customers. These are not made up stories, but real-life small business owners whose entire livelihood have been put at risk.

The proposed ordinance looks like it is supposed to protect religious institutions and claims to protect religious freedom, however, that doesn’t stop business owners from being sued or being fined in the process of defending their rights. This ordinance is being presented in conjunction with a hate crimes ordinance, and a resolution to ban the city from discriminating in its own contracting.

LGBT activists have been pushing similar ordinances around the state, including Prairie Village, Overland Park, and Roeland Park. And activists have been pushing Olathe’s City Council as well. Topeka is already a kind and welcoming place. We don’t need a resolution or ordinance to tell us to treat each other well.

What can you do?

  1. Make your voice heard. It’s simple on our action page to reach out to your City Council. We’ve made it simple on our Action Center, as you can reach all of those councilmembers with just a click. Remember to share this message with your friends and family so they too can speak up!
  2. Attend the Policy and Finance Committee Meeting to be held TOMORROW at 2 p.m. The Committee meets in the Executive Conference Room (City Hall 3rd Floor) 215 SE 7th St., Topeka, KS.
  3. Encourage your pastor to get involved as well. These are not just “political” issues but have great significance for families, for the ability to live out our Biblical beliefs, and for the fabric of our society as a whole.

We appreciate your respectful engagement on this issue and encourage you to spend earnest time in prayer for your city and its leaders.

Praying for Topeka,

Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy

Brothers and sisters in Christ,

Is it right for Christians to involve themselves in political things? Some Christians say no. They argue that believers should focus on “spiritual” things (like evangelism, prayer, Bible reading, and church) without getting “distracted” by the things of this world (which, of course, include politics).

I affirm that we should evangelize the lost, robustly pursue prayer and Bible reading, and actively involve ourselves in a local assembly of God’s people. But to say that doing these things precludes exercising our biblical responsibilities as citizens overlooks three important biblical truths.

First, God has created government as His “ministers to us for our good” (Romans 13:4). Therefore, government is something worthy of our time and efforts—it’s one of God’s gifts given to us to help promote the common good until His return!

Second, we are to “seek the welfare of the city where God has sent us” so that we may be left free to “live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity” (Jeremiah 29:7, 1 Timothy 2:2). For us to have the space to live our lives and raise our children according to God’s revealed will, government needs to respect its limited jurisdiction—it must refrain from interfering with the biblical exercise of our God-given rights.

Third, we have been given a cultural commission to transform the society around us. In the model prayer given to his disciples, Jesus instructs us to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10). We are to work as God’s laborers until this goal is realized, “occupying until Jesus returns” and acting as “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” by promoting a godly vision for society (Luke 19:13, Matthew 5:13-16).

We can’t afford to be apathetic. If we engage in politics, we can make large leaps forward in building a public square where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished. If we withdraw from politics, another ideology will fill the vacuum. Those who show up and speak out will achieve the victory. In many ways, the sorry state of our government today is the direct result of retreat and indifference on the part of Christians.

Family Policy Alliance of Idaho® exists to unleash biblical citizenship throughout this great state and nation. This is accomplished through educating and mobilizing voters, discipling statesmen, and promoting sound policy. We know that the reformation of the “political” will only happen when Christians exercise their biblical responsibility to inform themselves and get involved in “political” things.

The Bible tells us of faithful believers who “stood firm and took action” when faced with an out-of-control government (Daniel 11:32). Will you stand with us?

Standing for Truth,

Blaine Conzatti
Director of Advocacy

Over the last several weeks, we’ve been talking about the problems that sexual orientation and gender identity laws (SOGI) create for Kansans. We’ve looked at the implications SOGIs have for businesses and schools – now we’ll look at the implications they have for churches and for those sitting in the pews.

As an attorney for the city of Overland Park pointed out, the only real push back to SOGI laws comes from the faith community. In fact, this attorney suggested that the city council needed to figure out how to “get over” religious objections to a SOGI ordinance. Having this sentiment spoken openly by a city official in a public meeting is an extremely disturbing, though not shocking, development. The free exercise of religion is our first listed freedom in the Bill of Rights and is one of the oldest and dearly loved freedoms in American culture. It should be a right that we all work to defend because it is the foundation of all of our other rights.

The once hidden agenda to overcome and violate religious beliefs is increasingly obvious. Even more now than ever, there is a clear conflict between religious freedom, free thought, and the LGBTQ agenda. LGBTQ+ activist demand that everyone agrees with their belief system. It is not even enough to just passively accept their beliefs; they want everyone to celebrate their lifestyle or else be pushed out of society.

Many people have sought to “compromise” by adding religious exemptions for churches to the SOGI ordinances. Exempting select groups from SOGIs runs into problems for several reasons:

While well-meaning folks across the country want to introduce compromise language as a way of appeasing LGBTQ activists and attempt to protect the church, it does little, to nothing, to actually address the concerns that SOGIs present to people of faith. The freedom to think, believe, and speak is too important to compromise as our opponents are always looking for a way to “get over” our beliefs.

Standing for the freedom to believe,

Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy

 

Former presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke, stated just a few weeks ago that he wanted to use the tax code to punish churches and religious organizations—including colleges and hospitals—for living out their faith.

To no one’s surprise, Beto then dropped out of the presidential race last week. This is a good thing for Americans. But, his plans to target people of faith in America are not unique.

Last week, New York state passed what’s called a Johnson Amendment that muzzles churches and other nonprofits when it comes to candidates for public office—even when those candidates represent the district in which the church is located. The Federal Government passed a Johnson Amendment in 1964, but it has never been used against a church.

Clearly, hostility toward people of faith did not vanish when Beto exited the presidential race. That’s why Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana (an alum of Family Policy Foundation’s® Statesmen Academy℠) and Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska introduced a resolution to remind D.C. that religious freedom is a God-given right that matters just as much today as it did when our country was founded.

Importantly it points out that the “government should not be in the business of dictating what ‘correct’ religious beliefs are.” Everyone knows it would be a bad idea to have the DMV or bureaucrats veiled in layers of red tape in Washington, D.C. deciding questions about whether Baptists or Lutherans observe communion correctly—or how to receive forgiveness of sin.

Instead, this resolution reinforces what we know to be true – a truly free society must leave room for individuals to have many differing opinions and beliefs. The resolution reinforces that any type of policy like the one Beto proposed to punish religious groups is a complete violation of the First Amendment.

Ideas like Beto’s and New York’s are intended to punish Bible-believing Christians. But what they don’t realize is that when the right to religious freedom shrinks for one group, it shrinks for everyone—including people of no faith who simply want to express and live out their secular beliefs.

Our Founders understood that the right to religious freedom protects all people.

Will you join us in sending a letter to your elected leaders in D.C. and ask that they join Rep. Banks and Senator Sasse on this important resolution? They need to hear from you that you believe protecting religious freedom is important to your family—and for our neighbors. We’ve made it easy through our action center.  [HYPERLINK]

For Faith,

Brittany Jones, Esq.
Policy Manager

Beto won’t be President, but his thoughts on religious freedom…

Well, that’s a real possibility.

At the recent Democrat presidential forum on catering to sexual immorality and biological hostility, Beto O’Rourke once again made an effort to gain traction in the polls by promising to violate constitutional rights – threatening to take away tax exempt status for religious organizations that believed in the definition of marriage that existed for thousands of years rather than the court-mandated one that has been around for four.

Now, let’s be honest. Beto O’Rourke is a sideshow who has no chance of being President of the United States.

But, his viewpoints, while absurd, represent a threat to take seriously – particularly in Georgia. You see, in our state, federal prisoners have their religious freedom protected to a higher degree than you and I sitting in our homes, operating our businesses, or attending our churches. Because our state lacks RFRA protections, the courts will view your religious freedom as a second-class right – one the state is not required to have a compelling interest to override.

In this, Georgia is among the minority of states without these fundamental protections – to the left of states like Illinois and Connecticut and on the same page as California, New York, and Vermont.

On top of the current condition of religious freedom in our state, we know that there is an intense effort to lurch our state even further to the Left. Just recently, Fake Governor Stacey Abrams lied about Real Governor Brian Kemp when she said he wanted to “sign discrimination into law,” simply because he values the First Amendment rights we are, supposedly, guaranteed in this country.

And, while Stacey Abrams holds no office, she is the leader of Georgia’s socialist movement – one vowing to take the Georgia State House in 2020. We cannot let this happen!

So, what can we do?

As a father of 3 boys, I am fearful of a world where biblical beliefs lead to taxation and hostility from the government. To protect their future, we must take the threat seriously and act quickly to secure this fundamental right. The next generation is counting on us to stand firm and take action!

For Our Faith,

Cole Muzio
President and Executive Director

P.S. We are leading the charge for our values in Georgia, but we are going toe to toe with Hollywood, big corporate, and anti-Constitution leftists like Beto and Stacey. Your support today helps fund strongest pro-family lobbying and election push Georgia has ever seen to fight for our freedom!

 

 Paid for by Family Policy Alliance of Georgia