Religious freedom and free speech are under attack on college campuses around the country, including right here in North Dakota. For example, on some campuses of the North Dakota university system, religious clubs are not allowed to require that its leaders agree with the club’s beliefs. This is unacceptable.

The issue of free expression on public campuses has now devolved into speech codes, safe spaces, trigger warnings, and fears of “microaggressions”. Political correctness is winning over free speech.

HB 1503 provides much needed protection to exercise religious and free speech rights on the state’s college and university campuses.

Your action is needed now to help protect these fundamental rights. PLEASE CONTACT THEM NOW – THEY COULD VOTE ON THIS BILL AS EARLY AS TOMORROW MORNING!

Please contact your Representatives and ask them to vote “YES” on HB 1503. Thank you for helping keep free speech truly free!

For freedom,

Mark Jorritsma
President and executive Director

 

“So come, let’s attack him with our tongues and pay no attention to anything he says.” – Jeremiah 18:18b

Jeremiah, known as the weeping prophet, dared to tell the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, the hard uncomfortable truths that disrupted their echo chamber. Something was wrong – very wrong – but they did not want to hear it. A mild form of totalitarianism leveraged all their collective power against him. The priests, the prophets, the king, and his officials colluded to slander and silence the prophet. Only their words would be allowed in the marketplace of ideas. His prophecies were de-platformed for being incompatible with the approved narrative the mainstream wanted to hear. In other words, he was cancelled.

Tragically, New Jersey legislative committees are sometimes prime examples of disinterested politicians refusing to hear all sides of a policy issue. Committee hearings regularly start late, and therefore, voices registered to testify in opposition to a bill are limited to two minutes though the normal committee rules allow five minutes.

Less than two months ago, New Jersey State Senator Michael Doherty had his microphone shut off because the Chair of the Committee, Senator Teresa Ruiz, was infuriated by his defense of parents. He believed parents were motivated by love in protecting children from learning about transgenderism in kindergarten. The Chairwoman instructed the Education Committee staff to, “Mute his microphone.” It was a modern paraphrase of the biblical verse found in Jeremiah, ‘pay no attention to anything he says.’

Cancel culture, in its current form, has been gaining ground for years. First, it was academia banning conservative speakers. Then it was the mainstream media refusing to give equal time to conservative elected officials. Now it is Big Tech banning any person, organization, or ministry from stating a fact not approved by the Totalitarian state. Our friends at Focus on the Family were blocked on Twitter just last week, leading our national allies to ask – “Are We Next?”

Thankfully, there are New Jersey legislators who recognize the threat unchecked social media companies have to silence speech. Assemblyman Bob Auth, along with five co-sponsors, introduced the “Stop Social Media Censorship Act” over a year ago! The Act predated Big Tech’s flurry of bans and blocks. It creates a private right of action for users of social media websites whose political or religious speech has been deleted or censored by social media websites.

What does that mean for us? I want to encourage you to share our weekly communications through text or emails. Don’t give up on using social media to spread our message but don’t depend on it either. Analytics show that for every person who shares our post, on average 8-10 of their friends might see it. You must be proactive to use all methods of communication.

Help us each week to spread the word!

Shawn Hyland
Executive Director

 

Tall, in a crowded room, a Lincolnesque man, with oil-stained coat and hands, stands alone. He is surrounded by the finer dressed; citizens who respectfully listen, even as they disagree.

This scene, immortalized in one of my favorite Norman Rockwell paintings, was published as a series of 4, as WW2 raged across the globe. It was Rockwell’s way of reminding his generation of the great American ideals they were sacrificing their sons and daughters to protect.

That painting, entitled, “Freedom of Speech,” was based upon a true event Rockwell had witnessed as a young man and yet it resonates with us today because of the unmistakable point it was trying to make. The right to stand and respectfully speak, no matter your education, age, race, wealth or faith is a historic right for which so many Americans have died to secure for ourselves and others.

That right has rarely been acknowledged in the long history of the world. Most people simply lived under the inherited political model into which they had been born. Whether it was a monarchy, principality or oligarchy, most Christians in the past never had to think about their government much because they had very little voice in it.

The image, so ably depicted by Rockwell, could have never happened in 17th century England, or anywhere else in the world for that matter. If an oil-stained laborer would have attempted to speak out in a public forum back then, he would have been shouted down with, “Know your place,” or “mind your betters!”

In America, where we acknowledge “that all men are created equal,” we have the opportunity to participate in the governing of our lives. Yet, as Ronald Reagan said, “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.

We must speak up, ask questions, and hold accountable the men and women whom we select from among ourselves to represent our values in government at the state and federal level. As a Christian, this is vital because we recognize our biblical responsibility to be faithful to our calling in Christ. Every generation has to engage in the great struggle for themselves. We must lift our link in the great chain of history.

The challenge for the Christian is often, “How do we find the candidate that best represents our biblical values when there are so many to consider?”

At Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming® we have worked to provide answers for you. This year, for the first time, we have had the opportunity to send questionnaires to every candidate for the Wyoming Legislature. We asked each candidate where they stood on the Sanctity of Human Life, the Value of Religious Freedom, and the importance of the Family in education.

We have compiled our scores for the Wyoming House of Representatives here.

We have also compiled our scores for the Wyoming Senate here.

Sincerely,

Nathan Winters
Executive Director