“The sky is falling” is an idiom describing an extreme overreaction to an event. It’s from a children’s story about a young bird named Chicken Little who feels an acorn drop on his head and is convinced the world is about to end. He runs around doing his best to warn everyone by yelling, “The sky is falling!” But it was only an acorn!

I have to admit that the decline of Christian moral values and the attacks on religious freedom can make a Christian feel like “the sky is falling.” Although the threats are real, the sky is NOT falling. In fact, there are more reasons to hope than ever before. Here are just a few:

Internationally, for example, a leading court in Hong Kong recently surprised observers when it ruled that the government has no obligation to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples or establish a legal basis for civil unions.

Nationally, we have a president who, despite tremendous opposition, continues to defend religious freedom. For example, his Department of Health & Human Services has created the Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom to protect doctors, nurses and health care workers who refuse to take part in abortion procedures or to provide “sex-change” services because of their moral convictions.

At the state level, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Kentucky law requiring an abortionist, prior to the abortion, to perform an ultrasound and to play the audio of the baby’s heartbeat.

Locally, the pressure from the LGBTQ+ superfund, the Gill Foundation, to reject the 1st Amendment in favor of granting radical LGBTQ+ special privileges in Wyoming has awakened many to the threat posed to Religious Freedom in our state.

This past year, Family Policy Alliance® has worked to build an organization in Wyoming of people who will stand firm and take action for the Biblically based freedoms our country was built on.

Beyond that, in 2020 we will be working with like-minded legislators to uphold and advance family-friendly policies in other areas such as school choice, sex-ed curriculum, gender issues and recreational marijuana.

Because Family Policy Alliance and our sister organization, Family Policy Foundation, are active across the nation, we have a wealth of experience to draw on for Wyoming.

Yes, the threats are very real, and the needs are urgent. But the sky is NOT falling, because God holds it all together. And by His grace, we can make Wyoming a state where God is Honored, Religious Freedom Flourishes, Families Thrive and Life is Cherished!

Will you join me in giving generously towards our launch in Wyoming? To do so, just click here

Sincerely,

Nathan Winters
Director of Advocacy – Wyoming

This is an urgent request for you to take action by noon this Thursday.

The New Jersey State Senate will vote this Thursday on a bill (S3804) to force New Jersey churches to fund abortion-inducing drugs.

This governmental overreach is a clear violation of religious liberty. If this bill passes, sacrificial tithe dollars received by churches for the work of the ministry will now be repurposed to fund abortion-inducing drugs. This clear disregard for the conscience rights of Christians who love and value life at all stages of development must be stopped.

This bill requires churches to pay for contraceptives and abortifacients in their insurance plans. The latter are drugs that are taken post-conception to terminate the life of the child at the earliest days of pregnancy. Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey® has met with the primary sponsors, Senators Teresa Ruiz (D) and Nellie Pou (D) to discuss our concerns and objection to this legislation. Their decision to remove the religious exemption for churches and Christian and Catholic schools must be stopped.

The previous administrations of Democrat Gov. Jon Corzine and Republican Gov. Chris Christie have upheld this religious exemption. Gov. Phil Murphy has instructed Senate leadership to remove the religious exemption to mirror the federal Affordable Care Act, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling that such a removal is unconstitutional.

Please send your state senator a message with just a click on our Action Center. Your action is needed to urge them to vote NO on S3804 unless they retain the religious exemption.

After contacting them through our Action Center, you’ll receive a confirmation message with your senator’s phone number. Please call their office and tell their staff you oppose S3804 because it removes the religious exemption for churches. Doing both will make a major difference!

Finally, please share this with friends, family and church members while we still have a chance to prevent tithe dollars from funding abortion-inducing drugs!

Sincerely,

Shawn Hyland
Director of Advocacy


Len Deo
Director of Alliances, Family Policy Alliance
Founder & Past President, New Jersey Family Policy Council

Mark Scott, Communications Director for Family Policy Alliance

DABO!

If you’re a college football fan, you know Dabo Swinney. This week he led his Clemson Tigers to their second national championship in the past three years. And as an outspoken Christian he gave Jesus Christ the credit for his success on television after the game in front of millions of viewers.

But being a Christian in today’s world – especially those in the public eye — isn’t always easy. And Dabo’s story goes much deeper into what challenges he’s faced all in the name of his faith. David French with The National Review goes deeper into how Dabo has effectively fought off challenges to his faith.

Liberal media and outspoken atheist groups jumped on Dabo not long after he became Clemson’s head coach and have continued to harass him for his faith, threatening boycotts and lawsuits and, well, about everything you can threaten. One group went as far as to call his approval of a team chaplain’s voluntarily-participation devotionals for players “abusive.”

Dabo especially caught the attention of angry atheists in 2012 when one of his star players, Deandre Hopkins, accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior while attending NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina, which is pastored by Perry Noble. What happened next was reported in the Washington Post:

Hopkins, approached Noble with a specific request: He was ready to be saved and wanted the pastor to baptize him — not in the church, though, but alongside his teammates. With Swinney’s blessing, an ice tub was hauled onto a Clemson practice field, land paid for by state taxpayers and filled with water.

The coach spoke briefly about the Tigers’ upcoming game against Auburn, and then he turned things over to Noble. With players and coaching surrounding them, Noble said a few words before guiding Hopkins under, water washing over the young player still in his pads.

Jeff Scott, the team’s wide receivers coach, photographed the occasion and posted it on Twitter, calling it the “highlight of my week.” Scott’s post was shared hundreds of times, eliciting praise from fans across the South — no matter their thoughts on the team Hopkins played for.

“Football may be a religion, but faith is everything,” says Jeff Champion, who as a South Carolina fan usually dislikes anything involving Clemson. “Dabo is actually giving them something they can carry with them the rest of their lives. I’m just jealous that it’s them and not us.”

The threats and scare tactics have continued. But Dabo responded to critics best when, in 2014, he said this: “Spirituality is a personal decision for everybody. It’s a free country here, and I can live my life the way I want to. I can’t come to work and not be a Christian.”

Perhaps you feel the same way: I can’t go to work and NOT be a Christian. But too often Christians are feeling the impact of their faith in the workplace. Can you really stand up and proclaim your faith? Here’s a few things that we can learn from Dabo:

Religious freedom and football go much further than the best college football team in the country. We’re seeing high school coaches face similar threats because of their personal faith, which only makes us redouble our efforts to protect the religious freedoms of our coaches and educators. Hopefully it motivates you, too.

Last year we worked with legislators in Georgia to introduce a bill to reinforce the religious liberty protections of students and faculty, including teachers and coaches. This bill protected students’ rights to voluntarily express their faith and to pray on school grounds. It further made clear that teachers and coaches do not have to not flee the room when students engage in their constitutionally-protected right to express their religious beliefs.

As we celebrate Dabo and the Clemson Tigers, let us not forget about Coach Joe Kennedy and others who have lost their jobs because of their faith. Let this encourage us to redouble our efforts to protect religious freedom in our country.

The battle for freedom in America was officially launched 242 years ago tomorrow.  We rightfully celebrate the landmark in human history that the signing of the Declaration represents – and the practical freedoms that we still enjoy to this moment.

But the battle has never ended.

That’s evident from just a glance at the headlines of the last week.  Thankfully, we won some of those skirmishes, including these two:

In so doing, they even quoted the author of the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson, who said, “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

Indeed, the battle that Jefferson launched 242 years ago lives on.

There are three lessons from those victories:

So tomorrow, let’s celebrate with vigor and joyfully thank God for the blessings of freedom that we enjoy in this nation!

But then let’s get back to the battle.  There’s so much to be done.

In the words of Ronald Reagan, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

Thank you for engaging on the front lines of that battle through your prayerful involvement and support of Family Policy Alliance.®

Standing with you for freedom,


John Paulton
Mobilization Manager

 

P.S.  If you would like to join in the 2018 election efforts to see godly men and women serving in public office—especially as we see the need for men and women elected to the U.S. Senate who will support placing the President’s conservative, prolife justice on the Supreme Court—please consider stewarding some of your resources to support our efforts to mobilize Christian, prolife voters in 2018!

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By Brittany Jones, Esq., policy manager for Family Policy Alliance®

Today was a monumental day for all those who seek to freely live out their faith. In National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra, the Court struck down a California state law that forced pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise for state-funded abortions, discrediting themselves in the eyes of women in need and undermining their pro-life mission.

On the heels of the Court’s opinion in Masterpiece Cakeshop in which it said the government could not target Christian cake baker, Jack Phillips, for his faith, the Court has now recognized the need to protect prolife pregnancy centers from government targeting as well. In both these cases, the Court clearly said it is unconstitutional to target a person’s belief. However, the Court went even farther today and reinforced that the government cannot compel a private organization to violate its belief and speak a message that is antithetical to the organization’s very purpose.

How did we get here?

In 2015, California passed the Reproductive FACT Act, requiring that private pregnancy centers advertise for taxpayer-funded abortions and also disclose that they are not licensed for medical care. Proponents of the California law claimed that the Act applies to all facilities that provide care to pregnant women, but in reality, the law only affects crisis pregnancy centers. Ironically, the Act exempts all facilities that are California government insurance providers – which includes all abortion facilities.

Our state-based policy ally California Family Council and national ally Alliance Defending Freedom, who led the lawsuit challenging California’s law, have been fighting this law since the beginning. Family Policy Alliance, together with over 40 of our state-based family policy allies, also joined forces to submit an amicus brief on behalf of the pregnancy centers. We are grateful that a majority of the Justices agreed to uphold free speech and the centers’ right to freely live out their faith.

What the Court said

The Court was asked to determine whether the state of California can force pro-life, crisis pregnancy centers to advertise for state-sponsored abortion clinics. And the Court said no for two reasons.

Restricting pro-life speech

Forcing faith-based pregnancy centers to refer for abortions is not only outrageous, but also unthinkable. Our First Amendment was written to protect against this very situation—where the state attempts to force organizations, in this case those with pro-life beliefs, to promote values that directly oppose their very reason for being.

Even Justice Kennedy in his concurring opinion remarked that the legislature appeared to be targeting the pro-life message. He noted, “This law is a paradigmatic example of the serious threat presented when government seeks to impose its own message in the place of individual speech, thought, and expression. For here the State requires primarily pro-life pregnancy centers to promote the State’s own preferred message advertising abortions. This compels individuals to contradict their most deeply held beliefs, beliefs grounded in basic philosophical, ethical, or religious precepts, or all of these.”

Targeting pro-life people/entities and diminishing the pregnancy centers’ ability to help those in need

Just as the Court denounced the state government targeting Christian beliefs in Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Court also rejected targeting those with pro-life beliefs in this case. The Court noted that the California legislature intentionally used this law to target pro-life organizations.

Justice Thomas, in the majority opinion, wrote that this Act was targeting specific speakers rather than specific speech in violation of the First Amendment. Further, the Court recognized that the requirements of the Act would essentially drown out the pregnancy centers’ message and keep them from using certain forms of advertising. Pregnancy centers provide critical hope and support to women in crisis, and they must be allowed to participate in our culture.

Where do we go from here?

California’s law was just an indication of what is going on across the nation. Pregnancy centers have been facing harsh targeting from members of the abortion industry—and their allies in state legislatures. Activists on the Left work to undermine pregnancy centers using online bullying tactics. Legislatures have been considering bills that would restrict pregnancy centers’ ability to provide care.

The Court said today that the government cannot bully pregnancy centers to speak a message that they disagree with—and now is the time for state legislatures to protect these centers so that they can continue to serve and minister to women in a time of need. And lawmakers also must continue to ensure that the abortionists who actually perform the invasive abortion procedure are held accountable and follow the law.

We hope you will continue to partner with Family Policy Alliance and the state-based family policy council ally in your state to ensure that everyone has the ability to freely live out their faith—without unjust interference by the government.

As you may have heard, LGBT activists around the country have been ganging up on faith-based adoption agencies – forcing them to either violate their beliefs by placing children with homosexual couples … or to shut down.

Already, they have forced such non-profit groups to close their doors in Massachusetts, Illinois, D.C., and parts of California.  They are actively suing in several other states, and Colorado faith-based agencies are feeling tremendous pressure.

That’s why state Sen. Kevin Lundberg sponsored SB 241, a bill to protect the right of conscience of Colorado’s faith-based adoption agencies.  His bill will be heard in a key state senate committee on Monday afternoon, and the outcome could very well depend on which Coloradans those senators are hearing from.

Will you speak up for adoption and religious freedom by sending a quick note to the committee members today?  It’s quick and easy on our Action Center.

How does the attack on faith-based adoption agencies affect kids?

First, the more adoption agencies there are to walk alongside birth moms and to assist adopting families, the greater the number of children who will be able to find a forever home.  Specifically, faith-based agencies are especially successful at finding homes for children who are hard to place – the severely abused, older children, and those with special needs.

Second, birth moms often select faith-based agencies because they want their child placed in a home that aligns with their faith, or because the agency was the one that took time to really listen and walk with her through a difficult time.

Please protect these vital ministries by asking the senate committee members to support SB 241.  And please share this friends and fellow church members so they can make their voice heard, too.

Thank you for making a difference!

The Family Policy Alliance Team

By Eric Teetsel, President of Family Policy Alliance of Kansas

Months before the 2018 legislative session, a coalition of groups came together and agreed on the need to pass legislation to protect faith-based adoption agencies in Kansas.

Followers of Christ believe that God has adopted us as sons and daughters. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called Children of God; and so we are,” (1 John 3:1). When a person adopts a child into their family they reflect the love God shows us. Adoption is a way we fulfill our mission to “bring justice to the fatherless” (Isaiah 1:17) and to “look after orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27).

For these reasons, adoption has been practiced by Christians since the time of Jesus. The early Church preached against rampant infanticide, prohibited members from practicing it, and adopted babies who had been left to die by exposure by their parents.

Christians continue to lead the adoption movement today. Bethany Christian Services is the largest faith-based agency, with 120 offices spread across 36 states providing domestic and international adoption, foster care, pregnancy counseling, and post-adoption support. Catholic Charities helps over 30,000 individuals every year with foster care, adoption placement, and other services. Perhaps the single most important contribution of these groups is their excellence at placing special needs or hard-to-place older children. About 45 percent of adoptions by Catholic Charities and 32 percent by Bethany Christian Services involve finding a forever family for these hard-to-place kids.

Tragically, battles over sexual politics are infringing on the ability of faith-based agencies like these to help kids. Activist groups like the ACLU are determined to use the coercive power of the state to stamp out beliefs they do not like. In states like Massachusetts and Illinois, faith-based providers have been forced to close because they declined to violate their sincerely-held religious beliefs about the meaning of family and rights of kids to a mom and dad.

That is why our Adoption Protection Act is so important. The Act codifies what has been practiced in Kansas for decades, ensuring that faith-based adoption providers will be allowed to continue to help kids find forever families.

We are struggling to get it passed, despite having large Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. In the most recent failed vote in the House, four members of Republican leadership and several Republican committee chairmen voted no.  Kansas isn’t alone; my colleagues in Georgia and Oklahoma have experienced similar obstacles.

This fight is far from over, but the experience has been revealing. If a state like Kansas faces such resistance to a simple, common sense law protecting ministries that help kids finds parents what does that say about the broader fight for religious freedom?

It says we need to elect principled and competent statesmen who will use the powers of public office to preserve fundamental freedoms.

It says we need to identify and train the next generation of political leaders who will hold fast to what is right—even when not politically popular

And, it says that we, as believers, need to engage in the political process. When our ability to even care for orphans as God calls us to do is threatened, the Church can’t afford to not have its voice represented in the public square or by our elected leaders.

This is why Family Policy Alliance’s sister ministry created the Statesmen Academy—to equip and train godly leaders who will advance religious freedom, life, and family values at every level of government.

This is why Family Policy Alliance continues to fight for common-sense policies like protecting faith-based adoption agencies in D.C. and in the states.

And, this is why Family Policy Alliance and all our state allies, including Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, will continue to equip voters to select the candidates who will advance the values we share in state and federal elections.

We firmly believe that we don’t need Republican leaders, and we don’t need Democrat leaders. We need leaders who will defend our values—especially basic ones like making sure kids have a chance at finding a forever family.

By Autumn Leva, VP of Strategy

I’m an attorney. I confess that math was never my strong suit, and I figured that law school would keep me safe from it. I did, however, pick up on some of the more basic concepts—like greater than or less than, and more vs. less.

Surely, we can all agree on the basic math supporting the following statements:

For the over 100,000 children waiting to be adopted in America, more adoption agencies to help with placing them means a greater opportunity to find a forever home.

For the countless moms wrestling over whether to place their child for adoption, more adoption agencies to choose from means greater opportunities to find one that will walk with her compassionately through this difficult decision, stick with her afterward—and align with her values, beliefs, and hopes for her child.

For the children who are most difficult to place—the severely abused, older children, and those with special needs—more adoption agencies to help place them means a greater opportunity to find a family.

Sadly, the far Left doesn’t seem to agree with this basic math—or worse, if they do, they don’t seem to care.

One of their latest strategies is an attempt to shut down faith-based adoption agencies. The result is indeed a dangerous numbers game, but the victims ultimately will be the 100,000 children waiting to be adopted and the birth moms looking for a placement agency to meet their needs.

The Left is targeting faith-based adoption agencies because they (no surprise) tend to operate their adoption ministry according to their faith. In fact, it is usually their faith that inspires them to serve children and moms in need, working for a private, faith-based agency, usually earning less than their state-employed counterparts, in the first place. Faith-based agencies typically place children in homes where their faith teaches them that children will best thrive—homes with a married mother and father. Moms usually select faith-based agencies to work with because they want their child placed in a home that aligns with their faith, or because the agency was the one that took time to really listen and walk with her through a difficult time.

The Left believes these agencies shouldn’t be permitted to operate according to their faith. Instead, they should place children with same-sex couples or even transgender individuals—regardless of what may be best for the child, the birth mother’s wishes, or the agency’s religious beliefs. So, they are attempting to pass laws or regulations in the states that would force faith-based agencies to shut down or else violate their faith.

Several states have already worked to pass laws specifically protecting faith-based adoption agencies, including Alabama, Michigan, South Dakota, and Texas. Georgia and Kansas are considering similar bills this year.

A bill called the “Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act” (H.R. 1881, S. 811) has even been introduced at the federal level by Representative Kelly (Pennsylvania) and Senator Enzi (Wyoming) to protect faith-based agencies.

Family Policy Alliance will continue to work towards each state protecting its faith-based adoption providers, and we hope you will join us.

With over 100,000 children waiting to be adopted in America, each state averages 2000 children waiting for a forever family.

If the Left succeeds in its latest tactic, the results will be simple math.

If the Left succeeds in shutting down faith-based adoption centers, the reality is that men and women who have a heart for serving these children and moms in need will find another way to do so through their church or community.

In an attempt to “punish” faith-based providers for their beliefs, the Left will ultimately end up punishing the many children and birth moms in need—in your state, and every state.

It’s a numbers game, but it literally comes at the cost of the orphans we’ve been tasked with caring for as believers.

Will you please support Family Policy Alliance and our over 40 state-based allies with your support today? Your gift will help us protect faith-based adoption ministries in states across the nation.

Part 3 in a 4-part series called “Protecting Life & Ending Abortion”

The Supreme Court Doesn’t Get the Final Say in Roe v. Wade, as we talked about in Part 2 of our four-part series on “Protecting Life & Ending Abortion.” Since the Roe decision in 1973, states have been passing laws that protect the lives of both mothers and babies, chipping away at Roe, bit by bit.

It’s not surprising that the states needed to pass laws that recognize the humanity of the unborn and regulate the abortion industry. But what many probably didn’t expect in the wake of Roe was the need for laws to protect the right to give meaningful consent to abortion by being given accurate information about the procedure and its impact—or the need for laws to protect medical professionals from being forced to participate in an abortion.

In this Part 3 of our series, we’ll discuss the importance of these laws. Do you know whether doctors and nurses in your state are protected from being forced to participate in abortions?

Laws Protecting the Right to Know & Consent

After Roe, many women were choosing abortion because abortion facilities never provided the mother with information about what the procedure would entail, the reality of post-abortion depression for many women, or the option to see an ultrasound of their baby. Most states today have laws that require abortion facilities to provide this basic information to women.

And many states are now taking those informed consent laws to the next level—requiring states to let women know that if they have a chemical abortion, there is the opportunity to reverse it without killing the baby if intervening medication is taken within a period of time. These types of laws clearly have the potential to save lives! So far, the following states have enacted laws requiring information about chemical-abortion reversal: Utah, Arkansas and North Dakota.

Another critical aspect of real consent to an abortion are laws that require that a parent give consent when a minor goes in for an abortion. These laws are especially important because traffickers frequently take young girls to abortion clinics to “get rid of the evidence,” and adults have been caught taking minors across state lines to avoid parental notification or consent requirements. Arizona, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and North Dakota are some of the states with the best parental involvement laws when it comes to minors and abortion because they require both parents to give their consent or require notification and consent.

Laws Protecting Freedom of Religion & Conscience

Even after a heavy-handed ruling like Roe, it made sense to most people in America to allow for disagreement—in other words, even if a woman chose to have an abortion and had the right to abortion under Roe, that didn’t mean others would be forced to enable or facilitate her decision.

Now, 45 states protect the right of healthcare professionals to decline to participate in an abortion based on their religious or moral beliefs.

Why Does It Matter if the Court Didn’t Have the Final Say in Roe v. Wade?

Family Policy Alliance cares deeply about helping the Body of Christ engage with their own governments, both state and local. We believe that the people of God have an amazing privilege and responsibility to impact the laws of the country and states in which we live.

And, it’s been largely believers who indeed did build the grassroots pressure that persuaded state lawmakers to pass all these laws that chip away at Roe v. Wade.

But to what end? We don’t care about passing more laws to defeat Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. We don’t care about passing more laws just because we live in a country where we have the opportunity to be a part of the law-making process.

We care about passing these laws because of the lives saved—and because each of those lives is an individual loved by and made in the image of our God.

And indeed, the evidence is overwhelming that pro-life laws – particularly consent laws – save lives.  For example, a rigorous analysis of parental involvement laws (notification and/or consent) found that such laws generally reduced minors’ abortion rates by 15 to 20 percent!

We hope you’ll commit to partnering with Family Policy Alliance as we work together to make sure every state puts key laws into place that save lives & protect doctors and other medical professionals from being forced to participate in abortions.

Stay tuned next week for the final piece in our series “Protecting Life & Ending Abortion” where we’ll cover how we can see even more prolife progress in our country and states…even more quickly!

READ PART 1 –  45 Years Since Roe v. Wade

READ PART 2 –  The Supreme Court Doesn’t Get the Final Say

READ PART 4 – After 45 Years, It’s Time to End Roe v. Wade!

Your dedicated support has allowed Family Policy Alliance to track and analyze over 1,400 bills across the United States this legislative session. These bills impact families like yours on important issues like the sanctity of life, religious freedom and family values.

Over the 2017 legislative session, your gifts provided direct strategic support and analysis to 31 states on 114 bills. Of the 114 bills, 61 percent were “wins” for Family Policy Alliance and ministry partners like you. Only 24 percent went the wrong way, and the remaining 15 percent are still pending.

Specifically, you provided the resources that allowed Family Policy Alliance to support our state allies in efforts to: