Dear Friends,

I love Christmas.

I love everything about Christmas: the lights, the giving of gifts, the getting of gifts, decorating our tree, and the food (read: “cookies”).

I love Christmas movies (It’s a Wonderful Life is the greatest, that’s inarguable, but A Muppet Christmas Carol gives George C. Scott’s version a run for his money).

I love walking around the mall packed with people shopping for last-minute presents.

I love Christmas Eve worship services and I love reading Christmas stories to my kids.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to love Christmas carols most of all. These beautiful, soaring hymns are packed full of theology. Consider, for example, “O Come O Come Emmanuel:”

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, o Israel

I could go on and on, but as I was listening to music with my kids last night I was surprisingly moved to tears by an unlikely tune. It was “The Little Drummer Boy.”

This is a song we all know, but not one we think of as a hymn, and certainly not one we would describe as theologically robust. The premise seems, at first, sort of silly: a little boy plays a drum for a baby (something no newborn mother would allow in a million years) while the surrounding animals keep time. “Pa rum pum pum pum.”

A careful listen tells the story of a little boy who is invited to meet “a new born king.” The magi who share this news tell him they have brought their finest gifts to honor him, but the poor boy doesn’t have anything to give. He yearns to honor the little baby, but has nothing “fit to give our king.”

“Shall I play for you?” the poor boy asks, sheepishly. His drum is the only thing he has in the world. It’s all that he has to give. So, he plays his drum for him, he plays his best for him – a simple tune.

And Jesus smiles.

I don’t know about you, but I often feel inadequate. The God of the universe loves me so much that He sent His son to take on flesh and die on a cross as a payment for my sins. What could I possibly do to repay him? What gift do I have to bring?

Thankfully, the Good News is God doesn’t require anything from me. He certainly doesn’t need anything I could offer. What pleases Him is my love for Him, a love that I express in my own meager ways. I am poor boy, too, but I’m playing my best for Him. And that makes Him smile.

 

Sincerely,

Eric Teetsel
President and Executive Director

Dear Friends,

Serena Williams holds the second-most Grand Slam singles titles of all-time, and the most in the modern era. She once held the No. 1 ranking for 186 consecutive weeks. She has earned hundreds of millions of dollars in prize money and endorsements. Her story of coming from Compton and competing with and against her sister, Venus, to become one of the most dominant athletes of all time is legendary.

Last week, in the U.S. Open final, a new chapter in the story was written.

Williams was facing Naomi Osaka, a 20-year-old native of Japan, appearing in her first Grand Slam final. It was a dream come true for Osaka, whom the New York Times reports wrote a book report about Williams in third grade.

Osaka won the opening set easily, 6-2. In the second set things began to unravel. It began when chair umpire Carlos Ramos issued Williams a warning for receiving coaching, a violation. (Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, later admitted he was, indeed, coaching.)

Williams was indignant at what she perceived as an accusation of cheating. “I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose,” she told Ramos.

A few games later, after losing a crucial break point, Williams threw her racket down on the court, breaking it. An automatic code violation. Because of the prior violation for coaching, Williams was penalized and Osaka was awarded a point.

When Williams realized she had been penalized, she grew incensed. For the next several minutes, she verbally assaulted the chair umpire, calling him a liar, a thief, demanding apologies, and telling him he would never umpire a match of hers again.

Enough was enough. Ramos issued a violation for verbal abuse, awarding a full game to Osaka. Eventually, Osaka would win the decisive second set 6-4, though her championship was marred by jeers and boos from the crowd.

On the court and in her post-match press conference, Serena blamed sexism for how she was treated. “I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff,” she said. “The fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person that has emotions, and that want to express themselves, and want to be a strong woman. They’re going to be allowed to do that because of today.”

Former tennis great Billie Jean King agreed, writing, “women have a right…to speak out against injustice.”

Another former tennis champion, Martina Navratilova, offered a different view. Writing in the New York Times, she said, “I don’t believe it’s a good idea to apply a standard of “If men can get away with it, women should be able to, too.” Rather, I think the question we have to ask ourselves is this: What is the right way to behave to honor our sport and to respect our opponents?”

Navratilova continued: “There have been many times when I was playing that I wanted to break my racket into a thousand pieces. Then I thought about the kids watching. And I grudgingly held on to that racket.”

Injustice is rampant in our world. Christians have a divine mandate to seek justice for all persons, especially the weak and marginalized.

But, increasingly, we are faced with the question of how to respond when we are the victims of injustice. America is becoming a place in which biblical Christianity is increasingly at odds with the norms of society. We see faithful believers facing this tension at school, work, and in the day to day life of their community, from children’s sports teams to programs at the local library.

One possible response is like that of Serena Williams. We can lash out, embrace a victim mentality, throw epithets at our oppressors, and demand our rights.

Another is more like that of Navratilova, in which we recognize injustice where it exists and seek to be the solution, while also recognizing where our own sinfulness may be at work. This approach involves holding ourselves to a biblical standard no matter what others are doing, knowing that, from an eternal perspective, our witness is more important than our rights.

Throughout scripture, we find examples of Christians who suffered persecution for their faith, like Daniel, John the Baptist, and Peter. I encourage you to go back and read their stories. Take note of their strength, dignity, and peace.

Sincerely,

Eric Teetsel
President and Executive Director

 

 

This week, I was asked to write a short reflection on the life of John McCain for Family Policy Alliance’s national email. I wanted to share it with you, as well. The text is below.

Dear Friends:

John McCain entered the U.S. Senate just three weeks before my third birthday, inheriting the seat held by Barry Goldwater. As an Army kid from Arizona with an interest in politics, John McCain was my first political hero.

McCain is the son and grandson of Navy admirals who barely graduated from the Naval Academy due to a defiant streak, an early sign of the characteristic that would define a life of heroism and statesmanship.

McCain was confined for several years in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp, where he was kept in solitary confinement and regularly tortured. When his captors learned who McCain’s father was, they offered him early release. McCain refused the preferential treatment. Later, these experiences would inform McCain’s principled opposition to torture.

I met Senator McCain only once. I was in college and there was a book signing event in Chicago. McCain was introduced to the crowd as “the Republican Democrats can love.” That was 2005 or 2006, shortly before his second presidential campaign. (Turns out, that Democrat love was fleeting.)

A few years ago, during a job interview for what would be my first job in politics, I was asked which current politician I most admired. I replied, “John McCain.” Since then, my understanding of policy and politics has matured. While I would no longer say John McCain best represents my views, he remains, to me, a hero.

John McCain was a statesman whose ultimate allegiance to the nation and his personal conscience never wavered. He was a father, including an adopted daughter from Bangladesh, with a consistent pro-life record that included co-sponsoring the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban. McCain took a no-nonsense approach to governance, but never lost his sense of humor.

There will never be another John McCain.

Now, Arizona will await Governor Ducey’s appointment of a person in Senator McCain’s same party (Republican) to fill his seat until the 2020 election. Arizona is expecting the Governor’s announcement sometime next week after Labor Day, and the appointee is expected to vote in favor of President Trump’s latest Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Confirmation hearings for Judge Kavanaugh are also expected to begin next week.

Sincerely,

Eric Teetsel
President and Executive Director

By Autumn Leva, VP of Strategy for Family Policy Alliance

Yesterday was an amazing day for children and families in two states—and for the Christian and other faith-based adoption agencies who serve them.

Late last night, the Kansas Legislature passed the Adoption Protection Act, making Kansas the ninth state to protect the right of faith-based adoption agencies to continue their good work. Kansas followed Oklahoma, which also passed a similar measure yesterday.

You may be wondering why we need laws to protect faith-based adoption agencies. The reason is that radical Leftist activists like the ACLU and leading LGBT activist groups want to see faith-based adoption agencies shut down across the country. They believe that agencies whose mission is to place children without a family in a loving home with a mother and a father is “discriminatory.” They’d rather see these agencies forced to close down—resulting in less opportunities for children to find a forever family—than to let them continue to live out their faith in their adoption ministry.

This just further underscores how the Left values its political agenda over what’s best for children.

But, unlike states such as Massachusetts and Illinois that have already actively pushed out faith-based adoption providers, Kansas and Oklahoma joined the growing trend to protect faith-based agencies and the children they serve.

Eric Teetsel is President of Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, our ally in the Sunflower State, who helped lead the efforts on the Adoption Protection Act in Kansas. He shared with us what the bill means for his state:

“While other states shut down faith-based providers by establishing a radical, left-wing sexual litmus test, Kansas has made clear: everyone is welcome here.”

Eric also described how God worked in an amazing way to make the bill’s passage possible—even after the nation’s leading LGBT advocacy group falsely claimed that over 80 businesses opposed protecting faith-based adoption agencies and sent its president personally to the state to lobby against the bill!

“Getting the Adoption Protection Act over the line was a battle from the beginning, and – on the final day – needed four separate votes to pass.

On the first of those votes, we got the 60 we needed, but knew we had to get to 63 on “final action.” Weeks and weeks of work and we had just a few hours to find 3 more votes. But, do you know what yesterday was? National Day of Prayer.

And – get this – just before the critical House vote, a troupe of bagpipers and drummers began to play under the Capitol dome. The tune? Amazing Grace.

Read more on what happened in Kansas last night

Isn’t that incredible?

We give God all the glory for the victories in Kansas and Oklahoma!

You can help!

If you would like to join us in helping faith-based adoption agencies, we are looking for Believers to urge their U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators to pass a federal bill that will protect these incredible and selfless faith-based adoption providers across the country!

Through our Action Center, you can send an instant message to your own lawmakers.

TAKE ACTION

Thank you for your help as we work together to keep kids first!

Two quick items before the adoption hearing tomorrow.

First, thanks to so many of you who have spoken up in support of religious freedom for faith-based adoption agencies.  You are really getting legislators’ attention!

Second, if you haven’t made your voice heard yet, there’s still time.  The Adoption Protection Act will be heard by House and Senate committees tomorrow (Tuesday).

Will you urge the committee members not to put the sexual politics of adults ahead of the needs of kids?  With just a click on our Action Center, you can send a pre-written message to all 32 members of the committees that will hear the bills.

Thank you!

Eric Teetsel
President and Executive Director

Dear Friends,

The first orphanage in the United States was founded by the Sisters of the Order of Saint Ursula in New Orleans in 1727. When a treaty transferring ownership of the “Louisiana territory” from France to the United States was signed in 1804, Sister Marie Theresa, Superior of the Sisters of the Order of Saint Ursula, wrote a letter to her new president.

Emboldened by faith, and a sense of responsibility for her fellow missionaries, Sister Marie Theresa asked whether, “The Treaty of Cession and still more the spirit of justice which characterizes the United States of America” will guarantee “the continued enjoyment of our present property?”

In other words, “Will we be allowed to continue to do our work in this new America?”

Two months later, the president wrote back. This is his answer:

I have received, holy sisters, the letter you have written me wherein you express anxiety for the property vested in your institution by the former governments of Louisiana. The principles of the constitution and government of the United States are a sure guarantee to you that it will be preserved to you sacred and inviolate, and that your institution will be permitted to govern itself according to its own voluntary rules, without interference from the civil authority. Whatever diversity of shade may appear in the religious opinions of our fellow citizens, the charitable objects of your institution cannot be indifferent to any; and its furtherance of the wholesome purposes of society, by training up its younger members in the way they should go, cannot fail to ensure it the patronage of the government it is under. Be assured it will meet all the protection which my office can give it.

 I salute you, holy sisters, with friendship and respect.

 Thomas Jefferson

In this short statement, Jefferson affirms the right of conscience, self-governance without interference from civil authority, and the contributions of faith-based groups to society. Jefferson promises to use the full powers of the office of the presidency to defend these rights.

Should the members of the Kansas legislature do any less?

On Tuesday, March 20, both the House and Senate will hold a hearing on the Adoption Protection Act (House Bill 2687 and Senate Bill 401). It guarantees the same right as Jefferson’s letter, and for the same reasons. Faith-based adoption providers have been helping Kansas kids find forever families for decades. Today, their ability to serve our state by living out their faith is threatened. Some would rather these agencies close their doors than be able to serve if their service is inspired by beliefs with which they don’t agree.

That’s wrong. It is un-American. And the consequences of their exclusivism fall most heavily on those most in need: homeless kids.

Will you urge the committee members not to put the sexual politics of adults ahead of the needs of kids?

With just a click on our Action Center, you can send a message to all 32 members of the committees that will hear the bills.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Eric Teetsel
President and Executive Director

Dear Friends,

Last week, I introduced you to the Adoption Protection Act, a law which would ensure that faith-based adoption providers in Kansas will be allowed to continue to operate in accordance with their sincerely held religious beliefs.

Faith-based adoption agencies in Kansas have been helping children find their forever homes for more than 60 years. Today, their ability to help is threatened. The Adoption Protection Act ensures that faith-based agencies are free to serve by protecting against any future policies that might target them.

Several of our partners produced the beautiful, short video below to highlight the human side of the debate over the Adoption Protection Act. Will you watch and share the video on your Facebook page?

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Eric Teetsel
President and Executive Director

P.S. If you do go on Facebook and share the video, can you also help Family Policy Alliance in a very specific, but important way? Due to the nature of our work, we often receive negative reviews from opponents on our Facebook page. You can counter the “haters” by providing your own, 5-star review. Thanks!

Family Policy Alliance is proud to work alongside Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, one of over 40 state-based Family Policy Alliance allies.

Eric Teetsel, President of Family Policy Alliance’s ally in Kansas, Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, recently introduced a resolution to the Kansas Republican Party platform that affirms God’s design for male and female.

The resolution received a lot of media attention in Kansas—and opposition from both the Left and some Republicans. But, it ultimately passed. Isn’t it stunning that stating the obvious biological fact—there are two sexes—can be met with such backlash?

Read more in World News.

Dear Friends,

Hans Christian Andersen’s classic The Emperor’s New Clothes is the tale of two swindlers who convince a monarch they have crafted a cloth so fine it becomes invisible to anyone who is stupid or incompetent. Before long, the emperor, his advisors, and all his subjects have bought into the swindlers’ lie. “Magnificent! Excellent! Unsurpassed!” they exclaim as the weavers show off their non-existent cloth. No one has the courage to question the lie.

Family Policy Alliance of Kansas exists to confront the lies in our culture. One of those lies is that male and female are not the only two sexes and that individuals can choose their gender identity. This weekend, I attacked that lie at the Kansas Republican Party convention in Wichita.

I submitted a resolution that affirmed the truth about God’s design for human sexuality. It said, among other things, that all persons are created in God’s image and have inherent dignity, that God’s design was the creation of two distinct and complementary sexes, and that efforts to promote the lie of transgenderism run counter to God’s created order and violate the dignity of every human being. The resolution states that we will oppose efforts to undermine parents’ rights to guide their child’s education or the right to a reasonable expectation of privacy at school. Most controversially, the resolution states, “we oppose efforts to surgically or hormonally alter one’s bodily identity to conform with one’s perceived gender identity.”

Not everyone was happy about this. Some spoke out against the timing, fearing that our politicians would face backlash in their next election. Others worried that we were violating a person’s right to do what they want with their body. Still others feared that the resolution would harm the Republican “brand.”

There is some merit in these arguments, but my priority is the wellbeing of those who suffer because of the lie. In my defense of the resolution, I shared that the suicide rate for those who identify as transgender is 41 percent, 10 times the national average. Those who undergo gender reassignment surgery are 19 times more likely to commit suicide. These statistics are the reason doctors like Paul McHugh, chair of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medicine, stopped gender reassignment therapies.

I reminded the room that there is no love in a lie. Love requires we care enough about others to tell them the truth and walk with them on a path to health.

The resolution passed.

Local and national media responded swiftly. Articles appeared in all the major Kansas newspapers, U.S. News & World Report, The Blaze, The Daily Caller, Lifesite News, The Hill, Christian Post, several pro-LGBT outlets, and more. People standing for the truth in the face of prevailing cultural winds is worth reporting, it seems.

Sincerely,

Eric Teetsel

President and Executive Director

P.S. We are able to be your voice of truth because of the generous support of our friends and allies. Would you consider making a gift to Family Policy Alliance of Kansas?

Dear Friends,

There was great news in Topeka this week! The state senate passed a resolution recognizing pornography as a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms. The vote was 35-4. (You may recall that a similar resolution passed the House last year.)

While resolutions don’t have the force of law, they can serve as an important first step to tackling difficult issues. Now that a vast majority of legislators are on the record for the resolution, we can begin advancing specific legislation to combat porn and expect their support.

So, how exactly do we start to roll back the culture of sexual exploitation? Last week, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat proposed a ban on porn. I’m on board, but this seems unlikely – for now, anyway. Perhaps a better first step would be stricter age-verification requirements for porn websites. Last year, the United Kingdom passed a law requiring porn sites to verify that users are over the age of 18. In the U.S., there is a precedent for such regulation. At least 38 states have passed laws against so-called “revenge porn” and similar legislation has been introduced at the federal level.

Interested in being part of the fight against porn? Be sure to follow us on Facebook to stay up to date with our latest work.

Sincerely,

Eric Teetsel
President and Executive Director