Hello Friends and Neighbors,

The days are becoming shorter, the air a bit more crisp, and dew is already greeting us on our morning windshields. In Idaho this can only mean two things:  Fall and the legislative season are upon us.

In times of political elections, the stakes are high, and with the mid-terms less than 50 days away and a slew of impactful pieces of Idaho-specific legislation on the horizon, it’s imperative we rally the troops to engage one another and our law makers. Ultimately, we aim to have ballots cast influenced by biblical principles.

One of the most important, and perhaps simplest, ways to lock arms with fellow believers is to share our collective messaging on your social media platforms. It’s no secret social media platforms took center stage in the election process when our former president used them to reach young voters and win the presidency in 2008. This approach is dominant more than ever and to be effective and victorious In Idaho, we will need to duplicate similar efforts.

Social media allows you to spur action before, between, and during election cycles. Typically, people call for action during political seasons, why not engage with our decision makers all year round?  Our preferred candidates and parties and the issues we care deeply for need your vote and you can influence others.

Elected officials know these platforms are viable and necessary to their success. They also know they are an arena for public dialog. I encourage you to support legislators who share our biblical beliefs and boldly, yet civilly, ask questions to those who do not. Replies to questions directly on social media platforms can be powerful, yet an issue or concern left unanswered can make it seem as if a politician does not care about his or her constituency. Some legislators will respond by saying they will ‘private message’ you. As a good rule of thumb, ask them to respond directly on the platform for all to see.

Social media also effectively promotes mass civic participation offline. It’s a tremendous avenue to increase participation at town hall meetings, candidate meet-and-greets, etc.  As an example, Eventbrite saw a 30 percent increase in political activist events in 2017, with the number of people participating in those events nearly doubling—up 93 percent from 2016. As you can see it’s here prominently and works.

Therefore, I call upon our supporters to accomplish a few easy tasks as we gear up for the 2019 legislative season. If you have not done so already, please ‘Like’ the Family Policy Alliance of Idaho on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. There are links at the bottom of the page. Similarly, ‘Share’ or ‘ReTweet’ our messaging and also invite your sphere of influence to do the same. Collectively, these are effective ways to ensure we see an Idaho where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished!

by Stuart Shepard

Here’s what surprised me most: The sheer number of people on social media who found it impossible to write “It’s wrong to shoot members of Congress” – without adding – “but…”

I was scanning the reaction to the news this week that a gunman targeted a baseball field full of Republican lawmakers practicing for a friendly game against their Democrat rivals.

I’ll share a few social media posts I saw, but out of mercy, I will not share their names:

“I’m very sorry these people were shot… I suppose it’s too much to think that this might be a learning experience…”

“Not happy that anyone was shot. The irony (given their position on gun laws) is inescapable, however.”

“Funny my thoughts were this is not good… (but I) bet they never thought a gun would have Sacalise in it’s sites. Swift recovery and I hope some mediation on gun laws.” (sic)

“I can’t muster empathy for them. I just can’t.”

“Congress has viciously turned on all of us. If they continue to ignore the needs of the people they best expect more of this.”

“These people who were shot, voted to be shot.”

Okay, so some of them skipped right past the “It’s wrong to shoot members of Congress” part.  But these are all actual comments by ostensibly actual human beings on a rather gracious post by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that regularly opposes much of what conservative members of Congress stand for.

But some followers of SPLC took issue with that expression of goodwill. One example:

Yikes.

Here’s a question for you: How do you respond?

Do you match name-calling with name-calling? When dark money pays people to pick fights at conservative rallies, do you swing back? Do you respond to ALL CAPS COMMENT with ALL CAPS RETORT, YOU CHUCKLEHEAD!

Oh, I know, it’s tempting. I fight that urge all the time – with varying degrees of success.

But, I’m convinced of this: It’s best simply to reply with a winsome, unassailable argument. To treat our friends who would “slap you on the right cheek” with surprising, unmerited grace, respect and courtesy. Because, in the end, our ultimate goal is not to beat them, it’s to win them to our point of view. And the proper way to nudge them gently in the right direction is by being salt and light – as opposed to, say, a sledgehammer.

Here, let me show you an example. Here’s a winsome, unassailable argument that has no need for a clarifying remark, footnote or “but…”:

“It’s wrong to shoot members of Congress.”