This week, I am proud to be in Dallas for the 2018 Family Policy Foundation Statesmen Academy™ —a weeklong conference where we train elected officials in the practice of effective politics to carry on the fight for godly values. This year, we have nearly 30 attendees from across the country including two members of the New Mexico House of Representatives—Representative Rod Montoya and Representative Rebecca Dow.
At Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico, part of our mission is electing and training honorable men and women who are called to serve in the mission field of American politics. At the Statesmen Academy, we equip them with foundational Christian worldview training and essential skills for being effective in office, and encourage them to maintain their principles despite the enormous pressures they will face. Featured speakers this year include retired U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, Dr. Matthew Spalding of Hillsdale College, and Clarke Forsythe of Americans United for Life.
While we were in session Tuesday morning, we received word that the U.S. Supreme Court had issued a decision in the NIFLA v. Becerra case. As some of you may recall, we brought this case to your attention several months ago when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a California law requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise for abortion. Thankfully, on Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the 9th Circuit’s judgement on grounds that the California law is very likely a violation of the First Amendment. In the 5-4 decision, Justice Thomas stated that the law “…targets speakers, not speech, and imposes an unduly burdensome disclosure requirement that will chill their protected speech.” In a concurring opinion, Justice Kennedy acknowledged that the pro-life pregnancy centers at the heart of the case were very likely “targeted because of their beliefs.” In light of this, Kennedy concluded, “Governments must not be allowed to force persons to express a message contrary to their deepest convictions. Freedom of speech secures freedom of thought and belief.”
Justice Kennedy’s words could not have come at a more critical time. People of faith are frequently falling victim to a hostile government trying to compel them to express messages that violate their deeply held beliefs and convictions. However, let’s remember that our Constitution does not simply afford us the freedom to speak—but the freedom to not speak.
Based on this case, which centered on a bad law, passed by a state Legislature in California, I hope you see the need for and the benefits of our Statesmen Academy happening this week. Many of our nation’s perils begin with the passage of bad legislation at the state level, highlighting the need for more godly men and women who will promote good public policy and defeat bad policy that infringes on our freedoms. We are currently working to identify these leaders, and, come November, you will have an opportunity to support them with your votes.
In the meantime, please consider sending a gift this summer to support our efforts. We have much work to do and we cannot do it without your financial support.
God bless you and have a wonderful week.
President and Executive Director