by Autumn Leva
I’ve always loved talking with my husband, but one thing that’s surprised me most in our eight-month-long marriage is how much there is to talk about — from lively discussions over the household budget to negotiations over who washes the dinner dishes to choosing a home church. Since we’re both lawyers, that probably contributes to the length of our conversations.
We talk about kids fairly regularly — and if we were to forget to discuss this, my in-laws helpfully remind us. We wonder whether our kids will love football as much as my husband — or if they’ll defy us both and choose baseball. But mostly we talk about our deep desire for our kids to follow God and to love Jesus.
But you know what kid-related topic never has come up? We’ve never discussed what we would do if the state took our kids away.
It turns out this is something we, and other Christian parents and future parents, need to discuss. Up in Canada, the Ontario Legislature just passed a law (with minimal opposition) that would allow child protective services and judges to consider factors such as a child’s “sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression” when deciding whether to strip parents of custody.
Let me explain how this new law would play out in the real world using my husband and me as an example: Say we give birth to a baby girl whom we raise in the church, praying with her and reading her Bible stories every night. We send her off to kindergarten, and she comes home one day telling us she wishes she were a boy. My husband and I lovingly explain that God created her to be exactly who she is, that both male and female are made in His image, reflecting His nature. Our daughter returns to school and informs her teacher we won’t let her dress or act like a boy. From there, the state takes over, questions my husband and me about our faith, and removes her from our home. We then enter into a long legal battle to regain custody of our child.
For anyone who may be thinking “that’s just Canada,” this is already being discussed in the U.S. For example, the Massachusetts Legislature has a bill (SB 62) that would put counselors at risk of losing their licenses for helping a little girl understand how God has fearfully and wonderfully made her female (and not male), and, even worse, would label parents as “child abusers” when they affirm their little girl’s wishes to seek counseling for unwanted same-sex attraction or gender-identity issues.
The most haunting quote I’ve seen from Canada about their new law was directed at the Catholic Church: “Why has the most powerful spiritual body in this province, (the Church), not lifted a finger nor raised a voice to oppose this tyranny against Christian families, and those from other faiths? The lack of spiritual leadership is killing us… We hear nothing but silence from the Church. This has to stop.” (emphasis added)
We’ve reached a place where parents have to think about what to do if our government labels us “child abusers,” because of our faith, and takes away our kids. No parent should have to worry about this. Churches may be nervous or unsure about wading into political issues, but surely when Christian parents are at risk of losing the right to parent according to their faith, the time has come for churches to reclaim their bright lights and saltiness.
May we as believers in the Only One True God never be accused of being silent here in America.
If you and your church are ready to flood a thirsty culture with the Living Water, Family Policy Alliance and our network of 40 state-based family policy groups are ready and eager to help! Our Alliance can make sure you have the latest news on what policies, like the one in Massachusetts, that may affect your family in your state. We’d love to help train you and your church how to be salt and light on the “mission field” of your state capitol. And, if you feel called, we can even get you training in how to talk to the media and testify before the legislature.
Please let us know how we can help at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Family Policy Alliance is proud to work with nearly 40 state-based family policy groups, including the Family Policy Institute of Washington. Blaine Conzatti is on staff at FPIW.
The federal government is threatening to withhold federal education funding from local school districts that disobey the recent Obama Administration bathroom directive.
The directive, issued via letter from the Departments of Education and Justice, mandates that public schools affirm a student’s chosen gender identity by allowing the student to use whichever showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms correspond to his or her chosen internal gender identity, regardless of his or her biological sex.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has called the federal government’s threat “blackmail,” saying that the president “can keep his 30 pieces of silver.”
Texas and officials from 10 other states recently filed a lawsuit against federal agencies and administration officials, asking a federal court to overturn the directive, which was handed down by the executive branch without any congressional vote. The plaintiffs claim that the directive exceeds the executive branch’s authority and violates the 10th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution.
This lawsuit supplements the existing lawsuit filed by the State of North Carolina against the Department of Justice, and a lawsuit filed by families in North Carolina surrounding the same debate.
As states count the risk of losing federal education funding, it is important to understand how that funding is used.
Here in Washington, just 8 percent of a local school district’s budget comes from the federal government. Most of that money comes in the form of categorical grants that fund programs for disadvantaged students, such as special education, school lunches, Head Start, transportation services, and others.
It is unconscionable that a presidential administration would bully local school districts by threatening to withhold funding for programs aimed at low income and disadvantaged students unless they adopt the agenda of social experimentation foisted upon them by federal bureaucrats. Local school districts should consider responding by using this as an opportunity to finally liberate their budgets from federal education funding and the strings that come with it.
The burdensome mandates that accompany federal funding give federal officials significant control over the affairs of local schools. It is estimated that the regulations that accompany federal education funding saddle states and local school districts with millions of hours of administrative work, costing local schools millions annually and converting them into bureaucracies that must do the bidding of the federal government for fear of losing their federal funding.
Federal mandates also hinder innovation and experimentation by creating a one-size-fits-all regulatory scheme. The good news is that states and local school districts can escape many of these obligations by choosing to refuse federal education funding.
Students benefit when local communities – not distant, unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. – retain control over their schools. Maintaining local control over education allows schools to be more responsive to the unique needs of students in their communities. Because of this, schools and students will be in a better position if state and local education officials use this opportunity to rid themselves of federal education funding and the onerous regulations that accompany it.
The debate over gender confusion is everywhere right now. Protecting the privacy and safety of women and girls in the most vulnerable spaces – locker rooms, showers and restrooms – is on the national stage.
Family Policy Alliance is proud to work with the Family Policy Institute of Washington. FPIW has produced a series of videos unpacking opinions on the subject. The latest asks college students whether there is a difference between men and women. Their answers may surprise you.
Signs of hope are springing up all over the country, thanks to your support for Family Policy Alliance and your network of state allies. While Washington, D.C., remains mired in gridlock, encouraging victories continue to roll in at the state level. Here are a few of your victories achieved through Family Policy Alliance.
Pushing back on gay “overreach”
While the radical agenda of the homosexual and transgender lobby has rocked the nation in recent years, the “pushback” is gaining real steam. It started in Houston last November with the overwhelming defeat of a SOGI (Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity) special- rights ordinance—a victory in which you played a major role through your support of this ministry.
The momentum continued in Indiana this winter. The top goal of gay lobbying groups this year was to pass a SOGI special-rights law in the Hoosier state—completing their 2015 assault on religious freedom in Indiana. Top Republican legislators joined with Democrats and the media in an all-out push to pass the SOGI bill. But Family Policy Alliance reached out to thousands of Hoosiers with phone calls and emails targeting key legislators. Meanwhile, our state ally, Indiana Family Action, organized committee testimony and worked the capitol hard—resulting in a resounding defeat of the SOGI.
And in North Carolina this spring, the momentum became a trend. After the Charlotte City Council passed a SOGI ordinance, Family Policy Alliance and our state ally, North Carolina Family Policy Council, called for a special session to overturn that measure. On March 23, the legislature passed and the governor signed a law to do just that. It also stopped other localities from similar mischief that would, among other things, allow men to use women’s restrooms and locker rooms. Nebraska Family Alliance also worked this spring to stop a SOGI special-rights bill for the 16th year in a row.
The theme in all of these victories? Homosexual activists are overreaching with their radical policies, and lawmakers and the public—with the help of Family Policy Alliance—are pushing back and winning!
Target announced a change in policy that allows men access to the women’s restrooms and changing rooms in their stores.
In a statement, the company said: “We welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”
The store’s Facebook page lit up with people condemning the policy, like this post from Laura Prater.
“…in your desire to be inclusive, you have failed to be inclusive to women and children. If anything, change all your bathrooms and changing rooms to single stall. You need to seriously consider this decision. You are not above the laws to protect ALL your guests, not just the LGBT community.”
Texas Values, one of Family Policy Alliance’s nearly 40 state-based groups, is asking Texans to express their opinion.
“Legitimate concerns about these policies are to be expected,” they wrote, “and are based on growing instances where men have entered women’s bathrooms to take video and pictures of women and girls, assault women or expose themselves in the restrooms. It is simple common sense for voters across the nation to protect women and children from being forced to share bathrooms or dressing rooms with grown men.”
We’re sending a petition to Target telling them we “Expect more.” We want restrooms and changing areas that keep women and children safe.
The privacy and safety of women and children protected
North Carolina lawmakers are protecting the privacy and safety of women and children. They unanimously passed a bill that would prevent men from entering women’s restrooms, locker rooms and showers. The governor has already signed it into law.
This is good news for North Carolina families – and all families – but the need to protect women and children doesn’t stop here. CitizenLink and our family policy alliance are working hard in legislatures across the nation to safeguard families – including yours. But that’s only possible with your support.
Will you partner with CitizenLink today to stop men from using women’s restrooms and allow businesses to operate according to their deeply held beliefs?
A special session to be held to consider undoing a troubling city ordinance.
North Carolina lawmakers want to protect the privacy of women and children. They will hold a special session to consider undoing a troubling city ordinance. It could also stop other cities and counties from enacting similar rules.
In February, the Charlotte City Council passed a so-called sexual orientation/gender identity measure that allows men access to women’s bathrooms, changing rooms and locker rooms.
John Rustin, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council sent a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory, urging him to stop these dangerous ordinances.
“These changes mean that men can enter women’s restrooms, shower rooms, bathhouses and similar facilities in any ‘public accommodation’ in the City of Charlotte,” he said. “This would place the privacy, safety and dignity of women, children, the elderly and others at great risk of physical, emotional and/or mental harms inherent with unexpectedly encountering an individual of the opposite sex in a facility that is deemed to be private.”
Similar ordinances have been used in other states to drag Christian business owners to court.
Rustin explained that they have forced “small business owners such as florists, bakers, photographers, bed and breakfast owners and others who have sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage and human sexuality to either conform to a government dictated viewpoint or face legal charges, fines and other penalties. The Charlotte ordinance directly violates the constitutionally protected right to religious liberty, which our Founders considered to be our first and most cherished right.”
A Tennessee House subcommittee held hearings today on bill that would protect the physical privacy of students in public school restrooms.
A Tennessee House subcommittee held hearings today on bill that would protect the physical privacy of students in public school restrooms. HB 2414 seeks to protect the privacy rights of all students, but especially those who have suffered sexual trauma.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Matt Sharp testified before the committee.
“Protecting students from inappropriate exposure to members of the opposite sex is not only legal, it’s an important duty of officials who watch over our children,” he said. “Letting boys into girls’ restrooms and changing areas, for example, is an invasion of privacy and a threat to student safety.”
The state Department of Education said they are simply following the guidelines laid out in the Title IX law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any school that receives federal funds.
“That’s not what Title IX means,” said Sharp. “It’s deeply ironic that the Department of Education is using its lawless misinterpretation of Title IX to pressure schools to adopt policies that actually violate Title IX.”
Family Action Council of Tennessee President David Fowler said the state DOE claims it’s only trying to give the schools local control.
“The Tennessee Department of Education needs to stop hiding behind all these specious arguments and develop an ethical spine regarding human sexuality and biology,” he said. “It needs to say that there is something true about the nature of human biology or there is not, and then support policies accordingly.”