Yesterday, the largest conservative caucus in the U.S. House, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) led by Rep. Jim Banks (R—IN) an alum of our sister Foundation’s Statesmen Academy, released their Family Policy Initiative, articulating ten policy principles designed to restore the American family.
Under the current Administration, American families are struggling. Parents are being forced to defend their rights and fight radical ideologies in their children’s schools. Female athletes are being forced to give up their opportunities to males in favor of a political agenda. And preborn children are not yet fully protected under the law.
American families deserve better.
Family Policy Alliance strongly supports the RSC’s Family Policy Initiative. It is rare to see Congress focus on the problem, instead of just a symptom, in America. This Initiative is foundational in rebuilding an America where families flourish, and we congratulate the RSC for focusing on the root causes of what is ailing our country.
Read more about the RSC’s Family Policy Initiative here—which includes a strong pro-life plank. This is especially timely with the Supreme Court likely poised to overturn Roe v. Wade this summer.
Parents who take on the responsibility of raising their children together are among the most selfless of Americans. We urge Congress to implement policies aligned with this vision, and we look forward to the day when America’s families do not just survive but thrive once again.
For the family,
Public Policy Director
|Department of Defense Image*|
Last week our great nation lost thirteen brave service members to a craven terrorist attack at the Kabul airport. Family Policy Alliance is calling for prayer not just for their families, but for the families of all service members who have fought and sacrificed during the war in Afghanistan. As an officer veteran of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), I have seen the toll this conflict has taken on the physical and behavioral health of our warfighters and their families. The blood of my friends and brothers in arms stains the Afghan earth, and the tears of their families continue to grace our own land. We must pray for the physical and emotional comfort, healing, and recovery for all our service members and their families these past two decades, particularly those who have tirelessly endured assisting in the recent chaotic evacuation.
This evacuation reveals much, but the Biden’s Administration’s disregard for families here and around the world is perhaps the most troubling. Because of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan that the Biden Administration deliberately enabled, families throughout Afghanistan will suffer at the hands of extreme Islam. Women and girls will be particularly oppressed, losing equality, freedom, opportunity, and security. We therefore also call for prayer on behalf of the nuclear family in Afghanistan: that families throughout the country will be protected, shielded, and allowed to flourish even under the pressure of a jihadist regime.
America has always been a beacon of hope for families; may we continue to be in our prayers and deeds in the wake of this calamity.
Joseph Kohm III
Public Policy Director
* The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.
Society fails to function properly outside of the structures and institutions so clearly defined in the Genesis narrative of creation. Humans inherited an intelligence and a safe environment to live out their purpose of work and production. The family unit, consisting of a father and a mother, was the foundational institution that God intended to secure a long-term prosperous society. If the Biblical family were dismantled, these dependent structures would inevitably soon collapse.
Today, many politicians build their campaigns on these destabilized structures that are vital to society as God originally formed it – schools, law enforcement and business. Let me be clear, I believe children should not have to suffer in failing schools. I believe our criminal justice system should be equally fair and firm, and at appropriate times even forgiving. I believe job creation, unrestrained by burdensome regulation and taxation, allows people to fulfill the plan of God to be productive and responsible. Teachers, policemen, and business owners are more than just local heroes. They are indispensable supports uplifting society and deserve our admiration and appreciation.
But these supports are only as strong as the foundation upon which they rest – the family unit. Incrementally over five decades, and more rapidly over the past decade, the sexual revolution has progressively damaged the definition of family. Well known political groups are now proudly stating their intention to demolish the male father and female mother family unit. Such warped ideology views God’s revealed creative order as oppressive and morally indefensible.
They have successfully pressured many fiscally and politically conservative minded people, including elected officials, to abandon their support of the traditional family unit to avoid being slandered with the unfounded and indefensible labels of hate and bigotry. The Left, now emboldened with political power, is using this same tactic (labeling police and business supporters as oppressive and bigoted) against those conservative elected officials who tried to avoid the conflict altogether. I hope moderate independents do not leave capitalism behind to align themselves with Marxism, just as some political conservatives left the traditional family behind for a post-modern world.
Christians have many priorities in government affairs and public policy, but nothing is more important than the family structure. Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey® will continue meeting with state legislators to protect and repair society’s foundation to make NJ better.
Director of Advocacy
Don’t forget, tonight Thursday, August 13 at 7pm is our Home School Interest Panel This will be a live webinar featuring Darren Jones, attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association and Greg Golden, president of the North Jersey Home School Association. Register to participate or view live on our Facebook page.
With an increased likelihood that children might be spending time at home again this school year, this becomes a prime opportunity to take control of your children’s education.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me.” ~ Psalm 23:4
I’ve been comforted by Psalm 23 a lot the past few months, and I can’t help thinking that the Lord was using that time of reflection in advance of the coronavirus and economic uncertainty we are all facing together as a nation.
In particular, verse 4 has been on my heart and mind because my family has been walking the valley of the shadow of death since last fall.
In fact, we didn’t know that we had already begun walking this path until an unexpected seizure led to my father’s diagnosis of the most aggressive form of brain cancer.
After the initial shock of hearing what must be one of the worst words in the English language—glioblastoma—there were many rough days knowing we had entered that valley. And I didn’t want to walk.
Walking the valley
Then one evening I found this beautiful essay, “Reading Psalm 23 on Good Friday.” In Psalm 23 specifically, “…we can or should read Jesus not only as the Shepherd, but as the one who speaks in the Psalm.” The essay urges us to “engage in a genuine Christian reading, not to merely remember Christ as our Shepherd, but to think of Christ as the one who is praying this Psalm himself.”
In other words, we usually read this most-famous Psalm as “Jesus is my shepherd”—and, of course, He is. But knowing that all of the Old Testament points to Jesus, there is another meaning here, too.
And that is that we can hear Jesus’ voice in place of King David’s, praying Psalm 23 to His Father as He walked through that valley and suffered a cruel death on the first Good Friday. That death began the process of restoring all of creation to God’s original design; provided the way for re-establishing relationship between the Creator and those who call upon Jesus’ name as the only means by which they can be saved; and assures us that we will never have to walk that valley alone—if we belong to Him.
We do not know exactly how long this valley—my family’s or our nation’s—will be. Even apart from the coronavirus, of course, we are all walking the valley of the shadow of death. Our time on this earth is limited, though sometimes we’re more aware of it than other times.
But however long my family’s valley is, it won’t ever feel like enough time for this daughter with her father. While we continually pray for my dad’s complete healing, we know that may not come in this life, but the next.
And that is the other source of hope and comfort—to know that we will be raised to life in perfected bodies as part of the new heavens and new earth. That hope is only possible because Jesus is the “firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18).
If you have followed Family Policy Alliance® for any length of time, you know we envision our nation being one where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished. Usually when we think about life being cherished, we think about protecting the preborn. But life is also worth fighting for at its other end—in illness and frailty, in the need for respirators to fight the coronavirus, and as one comes to the end of that valley.
I have had the privilege to work in pro-life, pro-family public policy my entire career, first at Focus on the Family and now at Family Policy Alliance. But never has principle been so personal. Walking this valley, time is precious and life is certainly cherished.
And so during this Holy Week, I pray that you do not rush through Thursday and Friday, skipping ahead to “Sunday’s coming.” But rather, reflect on the gravity and weight, the suffering and pain, the profound sacrifice of Good Friday—the ultimate act of cherishing life.
Then consider the silence and uncertainty of that first Holy Saturday. So that when Easter morning does break, you can rejoice that resurrection and eternal life are truly won—and we have no need to fear evil—because our Lord walked through that valley alone so that we will never walk there without Him.
Walking with Him and you,
Family Policy Alliance
In case you missed it, last week was a busy week in the news that featured several stories related to our core issues at Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico.
Religious Freedom – U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Case of Christian Baker
Last Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Colorado cake artist, Jack Phillips, who declined to create a custom wedding cake to celebrate a same-sex wedding. Although the couple easily obtained their rainbow-themed cake from another nearby cake artist, they filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which ordered Jack to design wedding cakes that celebrate same-sex marriages if he continued to create wedding cakes. Jack is asking the Court to rule that the government oversteps its authority when it compels artists to use their expressive talents to celebrate events or express ideas that conflict with their religious beliefs. A decision is expected in the summer.
Family – Former Legislator Accused of Soliciting Sex in Exchange for Vote
Last Friday, longtime New Mexico lobbyist, Vanessa Alarid, was featured in a New York Times article detailing accounts of sexual harassment experienced by female lobbyists. In the article, Ms. Alarid says that former State Representative Tomas Garcia offered his vote on a bill she was supporting in exchange for sex. Ms. Alarid spurned the advance and Representative Garcia later voted against the measure in spite of supporting the bill in committee.
Life – U.S. Department of Justice to Investigate Fetal Tissue Procurement Violations
Last Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced their intent to investigate several criminal referrals regarding potential fetal tissue procurement violations at the University of New Mexico (UNM) and Southwestern Women’s Options (SWO) abortion clinic. In June 2016, the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives released a journal of notes from a lab technician employed by UNM detailing the harvesting of aborted babies and body parts from SWO, including baby brains to be used at a youth summer camp.
Friends – now, more than ever, we must “stand firm and take action” (Daniel 11:32) to preserve our freedoms and promote God’s design for family and life! At Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico, we are honored to be on the frontlines of this effort and we believe God has raised us up for such a time as this. However, we cannot do this alone.
We need you! We need your prayers. We need your engagement. And we need your financial support!
If you are on board, would you please consider doing three things for us today?
- Please pray for our year-end fundraising efforts.
- Please help us engage by forwarding this email/link to 5 friends.
- Please make a donation today and your gift will be DOUBLED!
Together, let’s be people who “do something” and move the ball forward for a New Mexico where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished!
Standing for the Family of Believers,
President and Executive Director
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being…” –Ephesians 3:14-16
“There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained.” These are the words of the great Winston Churchill, spoken following the birth of Prince Charles in 1948. And although spoken nearly 70 years ago, these words remain true today. In short, family matters!
Welcome to part three of our four-part series highlighting the vision of Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico. Today, we look at the third part of our vision – a New Mexico where families thrive.
At Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico, we believe that God’s timeless design for the family is the strongest foundation for any free and successful society. Not only is the family the single best institution for the creation, protection, provision, and training of children, whether biological or adoptive – it is also the most beneficial establishment for the honoring and caring for elderly, and for the fulfillment of all human needs. As such, thriving families have the power to lessen the need for government intervention and should serve as an important check on the scope of our government.
For too long, New Mexico families have been mired by the paralyzing effect of government dependency and an entitlement system that disincentivizes the traditional family unit. Our current welfare system not only discourages marriage, but also actively penalizes those who do get married – particularly low-income parents. For example, a single mother in New Mexico with two children, earning $20,000 per year, is eligible to receive almost $3,600 per year in food stamp benefits. However, if she were to marry the father, who earns the same as she does, that family would no longer qualify for any assistance.
Now I don’t know about you, but I believe we should be in the business of encouraging and empowering families. This includes supporting state policies and programs that encourage parents to stay together and raise their children; empowering parents to assume control of their children’s education; highlighting the uniquely beneficial roles that men and women, fathers and mothers, bring to the family; and offering appropriate support to our single parents, guardians, relatives raising children, foster parents, and those wishing to adopt.
Some say, “It takes a village.” At Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico, we say, “It takes a family.”
Our vision is a New Mexico where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, and families thrive, and we want you to play a part in this! You can do that right now by visiting our Action Center, reviewing our current action items, and adding your name to the growing number of concerned citizens who are speaking up and standing for families.
Thank you for your prayers and support!
President and Executive Director
By Stephanie Curry, policy manager for Family Policy Alliance
Abandoned at birth. . .
I was born in Los Angeles in 1984. The year marked the beginning of the crack-cocaine epidemic that would sweep the nation, springing from South Central LA. The Black community was hit hardest. The “Crack Epidemic” was a major factor in Black fetal deaths increasing by 25%, lower birth weights increasing by 10%, and the number of Black children being placed into foster care more than doubling.
This was the world my identical twin sister and I were born into. Our birth mother conceived twins at age 40, was rumored to be living in a garage in South Central, and was almost certainly addicted to crack. This would be her 8th pregnancy and final delivery – identical twin girls.
Our birth mother’s due date wasn’t until February, but a few weeks before Christmas, she went into labor. I don’t know the details of our birth, because I don’t know anyone who was there. But our birth certificate says my sister and I were born in Los Angeles County Hospital, at night, weighing a pound and a half each. Our birth certificate declares our given names. Names that hardly sounded like those of inner-city black kids born in the ‘80s.
But what our birth certificate doesn’t say is far more interesting.
Our birth certificate doesn’t say that our birth mother snuck out the hospital window shortly after our birth. It doesn’t say she was on drugs during her pregnancy and probably during delivery. It doesn’t say where she went or if she planned on returning. It doesn’t say that a nurse more than likely named us (another rumor I heard later in life). It doesn’t say my twin and I were in the hospital for months, suffering from withdrawal and recovering from surgical operations. It doesn’t say God was watching over us and had a plan to give us a future and hope.
By the pure and powerful grace of God, my sister and I were placed in foster care, together. We moved from home to home, together. And against all odds, in 1986, our Mom and Dad, Tommy and Theresa, took us home to an Air Force base in England, together. My parents changed our names to Jacqueline and Stephanie. Out of all my siblings, my sister and I were the only ones to be adopted.
My Mom, My Dad; my mom, my dad
I never got to know my birth mom. I met her once when I was five; she was drunk and fell out of a chair while holding my sister. We didn’t want to see her after that. We talked on the phone again when I was around 10. She said she would send us money for Christmas. My Mom told us not to believe her. I did anyway. Needless to say, the money never came. And that was it. She died from cancer in 2011. I never felt I needed anything deeper, because I already had a Mom.
Every night before bed, my Mom talked to my twin and me about life (I could do anything I wanted), adoption (we were “chosen”), my dream to drive a strawberry truck (after I graduated from college), and the love of Christ (we were so loved). She told us we were beautiful – and we could do all things through Christ, especially the impossible. And when my twin sister was diagnosed with cancer, she took care of her as only a Mommy can, loving us all through the most difficult times in our lives.
I didn’t get to know my birth father either – although he’s still around. While I was in law school, I did write to him for a few months – when he went to prison. He would send beautifully illustrated cards, with words that didn’t always make sense. But, it’s enough that I knew he was trying to apologize for not having been a dad to us. He would sign the cards sometimes with his full name, sometimes with his initials, but always with “Your Dad.”
But he wasn’t my Dad. My Dad is a military veteran, who bought my sister and me our first bikes and wrestled with us on the living room floor and braided our hair. My parents were with both my sister and me for the birth of our children — buying all three children their first car seats, while we were in labor.
At the age of 28, my identical twin sister was diagnosed with a rare cancer. She was already stage IV when they found it. She passed a year later. As I was pulling pictures from her Facebook page for her Home-Going Service, I saw a picture of us as babies, with our biological grandparents. I had never seen a baby photo of us, and I didn’t even know my biological grandparents had known us as babies, let alone held us long enough for someone to snap a picture. At my sister’s funeral, I learned from my biological father’s sister, that their father, my grandfather, had worked at the hospital where we were born. On his lunch breaks, she said, “He would go up to the nursery and pray for you guys every day. Every day.”
There it was. A powerful and essential piece of our life story, suddenly falling into place. A huge “why”’ was answered for me in that moment. Why my sister and I survived; Why we weren’t separated in foster care; Why we were the only ones out of all our biological siblings to be adopted. A loving God who answers prayer. It was in that moment that God, the Father, became so real to me. I truly understood what David was talking about when he says God lovingly knits us together in our mother’s womb. God had known and loved my sister and me from the beginning. He had a plan for us that no one could mess up. My biological grandfather lived long enough to see the twin granddaughters he prayed for be adopted into a loving family, and I’m sure God reassured him his legacy of faith would be grown and nurtured by my parents.
Beauty from Ashes
God has written into my life the very story of salvation. God himself takes the abandoned and broken and hopeless and turns them into something wanted, beautiful and priceless. He takes us in, wraps us in His arms, changes our names, and tells us who we really are. He becomes our Father, and we become His children. Through adoption, my parents took abandoned girls, broken and unwanted. They changed our names and gave us theirs. They gave us love and acceptance in spite of who we had been, in spite of where we had come from. They gave us a new and hopeful future.
I can’t express what adoption means to me. I truly believe it’s the calling of every Christian to carry the Spirit of Adoption with us, bringing hope and light to the broken and unwanted. Every day, ministries like Family Policy Alliance, and our state allies in over 40 states, fight for the right of families to bring children into their homes and love them with the love of Christ. These families give a future and a hope to children and tell them who they are and who they can be.
There are over a half-million children in foster care in America each year. States desperately need the support of private adoption agencies to place children with loving, supportive families. Instead, many are closing their doors, because of laws that restrict the rights of agencies to place children according to religious values and morals. Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and South Dakota are trailblazers in protecting these vital charities that are critical for quicker placement of children into forever homes and families. At the federal level, Rep. Mike Kelly (Pennsylvania’s 3rd House District) introduced the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, a bill similar to those passed at the state level, to protect faith-based adoption agencies from being discriminated against by the government.
Help support the spirit of adoption by standing with us is in fighting for the religious freedom of private adoption agencies throughout our nation. Urge your U.S. Representative to support the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, and if your state does not have a similar protection in place, work with your state-based family policy group to help get one enacted.
The Nashville Statement thoughtfully describes God’s timeless design for marriage and relationships.
Initial signers of the detailed document include Al Mohler, Francis Chan and our own Paul Weber.
In the Family Policy Briefing, the president and CEO of Family Policy Alliance explains to Stuart Shepard the need for such a clear statement. He also invites you to read it, consider whether it resonates with your beliefs, and, if it does, to sign your name to it as well.
Read and sign The Nashville Statement.
This weekend President Trump will mark 100 days in the White House. What has he accomplished and what remains of his campaign promises?
Autumn Leva, director of policy and communications for Family Policy Alliance, talks about what’s been done and what’s left to do on life, family and religious freedom.
Urge your lawmakers to defund Planned Parenthood.
It’s hard to believe President Trump has only been in office for 60 days. Autumn Leva, policy director for Family Policy Alliance, tells us there’s good news and better news when it comes to the issues we hold dear.
We take a look at what’s been accomplished when it comes to life, marriage, family and religious freedom.