Change is always inevitable in any organization and at the same time, it always brings opportunity. Over three years ago now, Family Policy Alliance has focused our efforts in Kansas to ensure that family values are advanced in the Heartland. In that time, we have promoted significant legislation to protect the family including the Adoption Agency Protection Act—one of only two states last year that effectively passed this critical legislation into law—which ensures that faith-based adoption agencies can continue to serve children and birthmoms in the state.
In addition, 8 men and women have been trained through our Statesmen Academy and are influentially serving in Kansas. This past election cycle, we helped 9 of 15 candidates successfully win their races, and now these men and women are serving you in Topeka.
That said, we are building the team in Kansas based on some recent changes:
Eric Teetsel has effectively served as our Executive Director in Kansas for the past two years. Eric recently accepted a key position with Senator-elect Josh Hawley from Missouri. In this role, Eric will be helping the Senator advance key pro-family policy at the national level as well as serve as a liaison to the faith community on behalf of the Senator. While Eric will be missed in Kansas, we are grateful that he will be carrying the banner for the family at the national level. Godspeed Eric!
We are—and have been growing—in Kansas:
Brittany Jones will be serving as Director of Advocacy in Topeka. Brittany is an attorney and has been on the Family Policy Alliance team for two years serving as one of our National Policy Managers. She has relocated to Topeka and will serve through this legislative term. Brittany is well aware of the issues in Topeka and is already working with our Kansas Statesmen to advance sound legislation on behalf of the family. Brittany holds a juris doctorate from Regent University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from Louisiana College in History, with a minor in Political Science. She is licensed to practice law in Washington, D.C. She has also served as a legal intern for Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. and for the American Center for Law and Justice in Virginia Beach, VA.
Jeff Bennett joined the Kansas team this past year and serves as our Director engaging the business community. In Jeff’s role, he works with Christian business and faith leaders in the community to ensure that their voice is amplified in Topeka. Jeff is a native Kansan, residing with his wife and three children in the Wichita area. Prior to joining Family Policy Alliance, Jeff has launched, owned and operated several businesses. Jeff currently serves as an Elder in his church and is keen on seeing business and faith leaders more engaged in advancing Biblical Citizenship in the Heartland.
A New Position: Family Policy Alliance is also searching for a Director of Church Engagement in Kansas. This person will be engaging Pastors, Faith Leaders and civic-minded lay people to grow church engagement in the areas of family, life, religious liberty, parental rights and rights of conscience. The ideal candidate for this role is someone with a pastoral background, seminary degree and a heart to see the church more engaged in the community on the issues supporting the family. Interested leaders should email Careers@familypolicyalliance.com
In addition, I and the Family Policy Alliance team will continue to serve the Kansas leaders on the ground with critical policy analysis, effective messaging on the issues, election strategy and time-saving back office support.
We are excited to be your voice on the issues affecting you, your family, your community and your businesses in Kansas. Thank you for your support in 2018 and we covet your prayers as we work together toward a Kansas where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished.
Standing for the Family,
President & CEO
As I shared with you last week in “Are We Stuck in a House of Cards America?”, winning an election doesn’t matter for the sake of winning an election. When our preferred candidate wins an election, the real winning is what happens when those good elected leaders work tirelessly to pass strong prolife, pro-family, pro-religious freedom laws that build a nation where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished. Now that is what we call winning.
That’s also why I want to share with you the story of what you helped bring about in primary elections across the country.
But first—what is a primary election anyway, and why does it matter?
Too often, many of us—myself included—have voted only in the general election in November, and maybe only then if it’s a big presidential election year. But the truth is, sometimes the biggest difference can be made in the primary election, especially at the state level.
This is because primary elections are where the members of the major political parties, Democrats and Republicans, select a candidate who best represents their values for that district. The winner will go on to the general election in November. Primary elections are why many in the Democratic party, for example, are seeing more and more of their candidates with socialistic ideas—because those candidates are being selected at the primary level in districts that tend to lean Democratic. On the other hand, many Republicans are seeing candidates called “RINOs,” or Republicans In Name Only. These candidates claim membership in the Republican party but reject some of the platform’s key components, such as being prolife.
In other words, if we want to see more conservative, prolife, pro-family leaders represent us, then we need to vote for the more conservative, prolife, pro-family candidate in whichever party we belong to in the primary election. Primary elections are why it’s also helpful to belong to a party—so that you can vote in the primary election and send the more conservative candidate onto the November election. In many states, you must declare a political party in order to vote in that party’s primary election.
Now onto the great results you helped achieve in the 2018 primary elections, which just concluded this week!
Your partnership with Family Policy Alliance helped 39 stronger pro-family candidates win critical primary elections in 8 different states.
To influence these 39 races, we communicated with voters nearly 850,000 times through knocking on doors, phone calls, email, targeted digital ads, and good old snail mail!
I can’t thank you enough for making the country, state-by-state, more conservative and family-centered by voting for the more conservative pro-family candidate in these key races!
I now want to share with you two examples of how your involvement in the primary election is writing a new story in two different states.
9 votes. We often hear “well my one vote doesn’t matter anyway.” And, it’s easy to think that when you consider the large number of voters in your state, and certainly in the country. But a race in Kansas was won by only 9 votes!
Our ally in Kansas, Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, identified five key primary races there. In these five races, the incumbent Republican legislators had voted against one of the biggest wins for religious freedom from this year—a simple law that ensures that faith-based adoption agencies can continue to run their ministries in a way that aligns with their faith. The law is necessary because groups like the ACLU are trying to shut down Christian and other adoption agencies that believe children do best when placed with a married mom and dad—leaving birth moms and children with less opportunities and choices
Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, with the help of pro-family Kansans, helped the pro-religious freedom candidate win in 4/5 of those races! Candidate Paul Waggoner was one of those winners—he’s the candidate who won by 9 votes. That means that because nine people showed up to vote in the primary election, Kansans in that district will now have the chance to elect someone in November who will stand strong for them on religious freedom.
And in Georgia, our ally Family Policy Alliance of Georgia supported three primary candidates who were attacked by business associations in the state for supporting religious freedom and other pro-family legislation. Business associations spent big money to try to defeat these good legislators, and no other pro-family groups in Georgia stood up to support these four candidates.
Despite well-funded opposition, all four won their primary elections! Two of these legislators attended our sister Foundation’s Statesmen Academy training program for Christian legislators, and we know that all four will go on to lead the way with pro-family policies in Georgia.
So thank you for supporting pro-family candidates in the primary elections!
And congratulations to all those who now head to the November 6th general election!
We ask now that you prepare for November 6th. We saw many good candidates achieve victory in the primaries. Now we need these pro-family candidates to carry that momentum into November 6th, winning their elections, so that we can go on to see the real winning—where these leaders will pass policies that restore an America where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished.
Make sure you know who your candidates are and where your polling place is.
If you’d like to help pro-family candidates win on November 6th in 60 different critical races, state and federal, across the country please consider giving to rally pro-family voters—and right now your gift will be DOUBLED up to $130,000!
For winning what really matters,
Vice President of Strategy
By John Paulton, mobilization manager for Family Policy Alliance®
It all came down to one vote.
The country’s biggest religious freedom battle so far this year was taking place at the Kansas capitol this month, and it had all the makings of a bad sequel to other religious freedom tussles that haven’t turned out well for people of faith.
The president of the largest LGBT lobbying group in the nation had just been in Topeka, and his well-funded group was running full-page newspaper ads to confuse the people and scare the politicians. They were joined by the ACLU and all the usual forces in opposing a common-sense bill protecting the religious freedom of faith-based adoption providers.
Family Policy Alliance of Kansas staff were working the Capitol hallways, persuading legislators and imploring them to hold firm. Statesmen Academy™ alumnus Rep. Susan Humphries, as lead sponsor in the House, was strategically maneuvering the bill to give it the best shot at passage. But still, the bill had earlier come up a few votes short of the 63 votes needed to pass it.
But thousands of emails and phone calls from Family Policy Alliance supporters in Kansas – many of them targeted to key legislators – helped write a good ending. The bill passed with exactly 63 votes and was later signed into law by the Governor.
That’s just one of dozens of legislative battles that Family Policy Alliance team members like you have been engaged in all around the country this year. Late last week, Family Policy Alliance team members like you reached a milestone for 2018 – more than 100,000 messages emailed or faxed to elected officials through the Family Policy Alliance online Action Center! That’s the fastest since we launched the Action Center several years ago. And it doesn’t count untold numbers of phone calls, emails and other communications not sent through the Action Center.
Most importantly, it makes a difference. As former U.S. Senator Everett Dirksen was known for saying, “When I feel the heat, I see the light.” When you click to send a message through the Action Center, you may not be able to tell if it’s making an impact, but Family Policy Alliance staff often get to hear the comments by legislators about the calls, faxes and emails that they are getting from back home – and see the impact in legislators’ words and votes.
In some cases, those messages directly change votes. But those messages can also make a difference by emboldening elected officials who are already supportive of the pro-family position. Likewise, legislators who are hostile to pro-life and pro-family values can become less proactive in their opposition.
“These numbers and these stories show the team effort that is really making a difference,” said Paul Weber, President and CEO of Family Policy Alliance. “Team members in the capitol working with Statesmen – combined with folks back home providing the “air cover” of calls and emails – that’s a powerful combination that, with God’s grace, is making an impact.”
Take Action: Check the Action Center to speak up on key bills, such as supporting this bill in Congress to protect adoption and opposing these bills in Congress that attack religious freedom.
I am not going to lie, this one hurt. As I celebrated a great victory for families and for our movement, I—an intensely competitive person—was stung by the fact that my colleague beat me to the punch.
First, the good news: Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, led by my esteemed colleague Eric Teetsel, passed a bill that will allow the state’s faith-based adoption agencies to operate with assurance that they will not be compelled to perform adoptions that violate their conscience.
Now, here’s the bad news: weak politicians here in Georgia refused to pass such a bill this past session.
But, thankfully, I have another piece of good news: we are not giving up the fight!
We cannot allow the liberal agenda to drive faith-based adoption agencies out of our state and keep others from coming. This not only violates the First Amendment, it does great harm to the children who depend on their services. This bill, quite frankly, is a no-brainer!
Our team is working on more research, talking points, and materials to make sure that this fight can be successful in Georgia in 2019. If you are committed to making certain that we can effectively lobby this bill to passage, please make an online contribution today.
I congratulate my good friend, Eric, on his hard work and success in Kansas. What a great testimony to God’s grace! But, if I am being honest, I am also hurt that he beat me on this one (trust me, it’s going to be a one-time experience for him)!
Let’s partner together and show that Georgia won’t let Kansas stay in the lead for long!
Protecting Faith in Adoptions,
President & Executive Director
PS. Yes, I know I have bombarded you with election materials, but this election is now less than 2 weeks away. If you haven’t voted already, please consider this issue as you vote. I am proud to say that our endorsed candidates for Governor (Michael Williams) and Lt. Governor (David Shafer) were big supporters of this legislation.
PPS. I want to take a moment of personal privilege to acknowledge my wife’s birthday today. My beautiful bride, Spencer, is the delight of my heart and is far more than I deserve. She has stood by my side, supported me, and been an incredible mother to our 3 crazy boys. That’s a HARD job!!! I am so grateful for God’s great grace in bringing her into my life.
In my career, I’ve been underqualified for just about every job I’ve held.
At 23, I was a “Life Direction Advisor” at a small college. Next, I was hired to manage a program on economics at a white-shoe think tank in Washington even though I had never studied economics, never worked in politics or public policy, and didn’t really know what a think tank was. A few years later, Chuck Colson offered me a job managing the Manhattan Declaration, even though I knew very little about life issues, family policy, or religious liberty. After that, I was hired to work on a presidential campaign. I had zero campaign experience.
Each of these roles presented a tremendous opportunity to serve God by advancing truth in the public square. I didn’t earn the right to do any of it. I certainly didn’t have the most impressive academic record or special connections.
There’s just one explanation: God chooses to use ordinary people to further his mission.
It’s always been that way. He chose Jacob, the second-born smooth-skinned momma’s boy, over Esau to father the nation of Israel. He chose David over his older, stronger brothers to be King. He used an orphan girl from a hated religious minority to save the Jews from destruction. He chose an unwed couple from Stumptown to parent Jesus. He chose a ragtag bunch of drop-outs as Disciples.
God works this way to ensure that he gets the glory he’s owed and to bless those who allow themselves to be used with the experience of faithfulness. There’s nothing like being used to accomplish his purposes knowing full well you could not possibly have done it without him. What an adventure!
I was reminded this week that in the fight for life, family, and religious freedom we are rarely going to have the most money, or the most powerful politicians in our camp, or the most influential voices in media. And that’s okay. That may even be good, because it means there can be no doubt who deserves the credit for what is accomplished.
President and Executive Director
God wants to use you, too. Be part of our small band of faithful citizens. Follow Family Policy Alliance of Kansas of Facebook to get started.
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.
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.
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?
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.
President and Executive Director
This week was a historic one in Kansas. After seven years as governor, Sam Brownback submitted his letter of resignation and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer was sworn in as his replacement.
Brownback was confirmed by the US Senate to be the next Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. The position was created in 1998 and oversees the Office of International Religious Freedom in the State Department. The office has the goal of making the fundamental right of religious liberty a core component of U.S. foreign policy. Last year, Congress amended the Frank Wolf Act, which provided increased authority to the ambassador’s office. During his time in Washington, Sam and Congressman Wolf worked closely together advocating for persecuted people around the globe.
Each year, the office releases a report on the status of religious freedom around the globe, and the Secretary of State has the authority to designate “countries of particular concern.” You can read the most recent report here. You will find that people of many faiths, including some you know and others you probably never heard of, are subjected to cruelties around the globe. This is not a partisan issue, but one people of all political persuasions and faiths can agree warrants the substantial experience, expertise, and compassion of Sam Brownback.
The persecution of Christians and other religious minorities may seem a distant problem, but as people of faith we believe in the right of religious freedom for all. Brownback will be missed here by those of us committed to the dignity of life and strong families, but we celebrate his new opportunity to promote a fundamental human right.
President and Executive Director
On Monday, Robyn and I were privileged to participate in the 45th annual March for Life at the Capitol. It was a full day of activities, including briefings on legislation and the impending State Supreme Court decision, worship services, and a rally featuring abortion survivor and pro-life activist Melissa Ohden.
While standing outside on the cold, wet, windy afternoon I reflected on the marches I’ve attended in the past. Rarely is the weather better than dismal. It’s as if God desires the world see the steadfastness of his people – and their commitment to life.
One moment of the rally was especially moving. Kansans for Life’s Mary Kay Culp invited Governor Brownback to the podium, where several children presented him with 17 roses. The roses represented the 17,000 unborn babies whose lives were saved during the 7 years of Brownback’s administration. Culp shared that when first told of the figure, Brownback replied, “It would’ve been worth it if we saved just one.”
Brownback also reminded the crowd that he can only sign laws passed by the legislature. We should be grateful for the many pro-life lawmakers committed to making Kansas a place where life is cherished.
You can find more photos and video of the rally at the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas Facebook page. Give us a follow!
President and Executive Director