Three Challenges We Will Face in 2019

How Hope and Truth will win in the new year – with your help!

Happy 2019! You are quite certainly being bombarded with requests to create new resolutions. Tis’ the season to pledge to make your life better.

Our approach to 2019 isn’t as much about resolving for change as it is about recognizing the challenges in front of us and confidently confronting those obstacles directly. We understand the realities of living in a fallen world, yet as believers we can have hope and confidence to face those realities by speaking truth and love. That’s what we will be doing in 2019.

As we look into the new year, here are some challenges we anticipate – and what we can all do to overcome them:

1. Students at public universities and even younger kids will face persecution for their beliefs. You may remember what happened last year at the University of California at Berkeley where conservative student Isabella Chow was harassed on campus after expressing her views. Our children aren’t immune, either. For years, a Wisconsin-based atheist groups has been attacking small schools in other states by trying to prevent prayer. This type of suppression of conservative thought will unfortunately continue and perhaps expand in 2019, but there are many conservatives who are energized and ready to support religious freedom and freedom of speech. Family Policy Alliance® worked to create a new policy clarifying that students and teachers have the right to pray at school.

Here’s what else we are doing:

2. Doctors and other medical professionals will face rules that will require them to provide services against their religious beliefs – and even their professional judgments. We’re seeing our own country impose rules and regulations for doctors that may go against their religious beliefs, especially those that require medical professionals to provide abortion services.

 Here’s what we are doing:

3. Faith-based adoption agencies will face additional scrutiny for their pro-family positions. Kansas and Oklahoma led the nation in helping children find forever homes and protecting religious freedom in 2018 by ensuring that faith-based adoption agencies are free to serve birthmoms and children in their states. Check out this video to see why Faith-based Adoption Agencies matter.

 Here’s what we are doing to help them:

Family Policy Alliance exists to bring light to every aspect of these issues as we develop honest ways to engage our leaders and ensure your religious freedom remains intact. We’re thankful for what you did to stand up for these issues in 2018. As we approach another round of state legislative sessions beginning this month, we hope you will partner with us in speaking truth in love – and holding our elected leaders accountable to do the same.

You need to understand what happened in the State Senate Tuesday.

State Senator Michael Williams, who we have endorsed for governor, introduced a critical amendment to preserve religious freedom for teachers and faculty in our public schools, as well as several other pro-life and pro-family amendments.

Not only did these amendments not pass—they weren’t even given a vote!

So, with religious freedoms being stripped away and babies dying on our watch, a Senate with an overwhelming number of officials who would affirm support for religious freedom and life refused to even cast a vote for our values.

Now, I am not writing this email to criticize individual members or to ascribe blame. What I am saying, however, is that we need a culture change under the Gold Dome. It is time to move past box checking, platitudes, and empty rhetoric. It is time for action.

If you agree, I am asking for you to stand with us on May 22nd for Georgia’s primary election.

We have some good men and women down at the Capitol. But, we have far too few. We need more strength, more guts, more conviction. We need leaders who understand the reality that our foremost liberty (religious freedom) and the ability to exercise any liberty (the Right to Life) are being snuffed out.

I appreciate Senator Michael Williams and his commitment to bringing these issues to the forefront as the legislative session winds down. I call on others to express the same fight and fortitude.

Family Policy Alliance of Georgia has already endorsed Senator Michael Williams for Governor and Senator Marty Harbin for his re-election bid to the state Senate because of their bold leadership on issues that matter to Georgia families. And, we plan to endorse several more of these strong candidates as we head into the May primary and November general elections.

We hope that you will join with us to make sure that more leaders like Senator Williams are elected to boldly protect life, religious freedom, and families under the Gold Dome.

Because the stakes are too high to be silent,

Cole Muzio
President and Executive Director

Meet Cole Muzio, President of Family Policy Alliance’s allied organization in Georgia—Family Policy Alliance of Georgia.

After an out-of-state atheist group has repeatedly attacked teachers and even students for praying at school, Cole and his team—and two bold Georgia legislators—decided to do something about it.

Since making laws is the job of the legislature (not activist groups or courts), they are working to advance a bill that would protect the right of teachers and students to freely pray and express their faith in school.

Please pray for Cole and his team! We hope their work catches fire in other states!

Hear from Cole in his short Facebook Live video from this week.

 

As you may have seen in the media, the bill to protect religious freedom in Georgia schools is getting lots of attention – most of it quite positive!

But as we approach deadlines for getting votes, some of the politicians are holding the bill up.  Even some Republicans who like to say they support religious freedom are slow-walking the bill – trying to quietly kill it.

What’s the answer?  They need to hear from you!  That’s why Family Policy Alliance of Georgia has put together a petition for you and thousands of other Georgians to make your voice heard!

With just a click on our Action Center, you can sign the petition and have it sent to your state senator and representative – plus the Governor and Lt. Governor.

And please – please – forward this message far and wide so that the politicians hear a huge outcry from Georgians who believe it’s critical to protect the basic religious freedom of students, coaches and faculty.

Thank you for making your voice heard!

Cole Muzio
President and Executive Director

Members of the committee, I thank you for the opportunity to come before you today to express my support for SB384.

Somewhere in Georgia today there is a kid who has made a decision with his parents that the best educational path for him is to take advantage of the opportunity to be homeschooled.

Maybe he had a learning disability, maybe he was very advanced in a particular subject matter that he wanted to explore in depth, perhaps there were opportunities that he could only take advantage of through homeschooling, or maybe the family simply decided homeschooling was the best route to make certain their values are reflected in his education.

Whatever the reasons, this student is also interested in sports. He may not be the best athlete, but it’s a passion, he enjoys the camaraderie, and finds it to be a valuable part of his personal development.

Today, Georgia is one of the shrinking minority of states around the country that forces this student to make a choice- pursue the educational path that he and his parents have determined is best OR reject that decision in order to participate in athletics.

This choice is not forced upon him because he has done anything wrong. He hasn’t. It isn’t about his academics. He’s doing fine in school and excelling on tests. It isn’t because of cost because his family’s tax dollars count just as much as the next family’s. And, it isn’t about protecting the public school system because 13 of the 15 highest rated public school systems in the country allow for equal access for homeschoolers.

This false choice is simply about punishing homeschooling and forcing as many kids into public school, regardless of whether that is the best route for the student, as possible. This is just wrong.

Like many of you, I would love to see this bill result in a Tim Tebow-like player getting an opportunity to play high school football, sign to play for the Dawgs, and lead them to a championship. We can hope that happens, but that isn’t what this bill is about. It isn’t even fully about sports.

This bill is about removing barriers to parents and their child making the best educational decision for their family. Those are the only people that should be involved in that decision, and it is your responsibility as elected officials to cut out as many obstacles that muddy the waters.

Today, I am obviously speaking to you as the Executive Director of an organization that supports school choice, parental rights, and wants to see families empowered. But, I am also speaking to you today as a father.

I was not homeschooled, and, as such, I enjoyed the opportunities to play sports throughout my life. Both football and basketball were a major part of who I was as a child and a teenager, and, if I’m being honest, who I am today.

With three sons of my own now- ages 3, 2, and just born, I cannot imagine the choice between deciding whether to homeschool my boys as we plan to and believe is the best thing for our family or putting them in school so they can play sports, enjoy that opportunity, and, Lord willing, be the third generation of Muzios to play college athletics.

No parent should have to make that choice. They’ve paid the same tax dollars as everyone else, and, every parent- whether they homeschool or not- should be applauded for being intentional about their child’s educational choices, not discouraged from doing so.

I believe this legislative body should promote freedom, empower families, and encourage every student to pursue their best results. That’s what this bill is about. It’s about choice, preserving options for qualified students, and joining the growing majority of states that are doing the right thing. In fact, every state that touches ours has a Tebow law in place.

I don’t want Georgia to be left behind. I don’t want to see my state continue to punish those who exercise their school choice rights. I don’t want parents and students to continue to be forced into these difficult and gut-wrenching decisions, and, selfishly, I don’t want that for myself. I humbly ask you to support this legislation today.

Thank you for your time and your consideration.

 

Members of the committee, I thank you for the opportunity to come before you today to express my support for SB 361.

The First Amendment of our Constitution expresses the founding idea of our country that the “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

While our Founders often used flowery language, were overly verbose, or spoke in a way that today’s high schoolers would have difficulty understanding, this language is abundantly clear: there shall be no law in this country that sets forth a singular religion that all must practice NOR will government interfere with your ability to practice your faith or live according to you conscience.

It would be naive to come before you today and say that this language has simply come to be misunderstood or distorted. There is, instead, an active, intentional, and radical effort to erase your right to exercise your religion from the Constitution.

Here in Georgia, we have seen this assault on freedom take many forms. But, where this coordinated attack is most despicable is when it invades our schools.

When our students walk through the doors of our schools, as they do their schoolwork, and engage in the curriculum our state has laid before them, we cannot in good conscience or in constitutional compliance ask them to abandon their faith. But, that is what we are doing.

The current state of our schools tells students that practicing faith in a real and genuine way is unacceptable. They are not to allow their faith to be reflected in their assignments, manifested in how they conduct their business, or seen in the lives of the faculty they spend the day with.

We punish expression and we undermine the home. This is not the Georgia we should want for our children.

In the same vein, faculty and school employees face rigorous punishment for being people of faith. We are currently offering a choice. On one hand, you can be a person of faith who sees that faith as a valuable part of who you are, OR, you can be employed by the state. Increasingly it appears that you cannot be both.

The case of Chief Kelvin Cochran garnered much attention in our state where a man of faith- who never made anyone feel discriminated against as a result of that faith- lost employment. Our teachers and faculty must today wonder whether they are next.

While the inspiration of the bill, Coach Small, did not lose his job, he was told to compartmentalize his faith- that his exercise was, in fact, prohibited- a violation of his First Amendment rights. Coach Small- and countless others like him- did not require prayer. He did not abuse his position as a school employee, nor did he ostracize any member of his team.

Instead, he served as a source of encouragement and inspiration, and he exercised no more than his foundational constitutional freedom.

Today, I encourage you to ask yourselves whether a Georgia that attacks any faith exercised on public property is a Georgia you want to live in? Do you believe a Georgia that actively communicates to our young people that faith is something to be wary of, compartmentalized, and separated from your learning experience is one that we can be hopeful about? Is it your objective to drive people of faith, of all faiths, away from public employment?

If you answer these questions as anyone who respects the Constitution, loves freedom, or has any understanding of what is needed for our state to thrive, then you know what you need to do. You need to vote for SB 361.

You need to stand up to the out of state radical groups that seek to impose their will on you, on our school boards, on our teachers and coaches, and on our students. We are looking to you for courage to to protect our freedom. I have every hope that you will.

May God Bless you, and, again, I thank you for your time.

On the personal front, I am proud to announce the birth of my 3rd son, Jarrett Jackson Muzio, who was born in the early morning hours on February 1st. He was a little early, but weighed 8lbs 9oz (which, as his brothers will one day point out, makes him the smallest Muzio baby so far). I cannot tell you what a joy it is to hold him, look at his precious face, and see him discover God’s world.

I know many of you have prayed for me, my wife, and this awesome dude throughout this pregnancy. While the last 9 months have had their challenges, your prayers, encouragement, and support have been such an incredible blessing. We cannot thank you enough!

And we are also making gains at the Capitol: While we welcomed a new addition into our family, we continue to make gains under the Gold Dome.

Notably, you have likely seen our alerts on SB 361 which has gained national attention.

As one of the hottest bills down at the Capitol, we are now getting what was expected: intense opposition. This week, we were scheduled for a hearing, but the bill was pulled from the agenda at the last minute. We must keep up the pressure to force a vote! Here is an update from the bill’s sponsor, Senator Michael Williams:

The scheduled senate committee hearing for the Coach Small Religious Protection Act (SB 361) was canceled at the last minute. We need your help to encourage the committee chairman, Senator Lindsay Tippins to give our bill a vote! Elected officials pay attention when they receive an outcry from the voters, that’s why we need everyone to take 1 minute and call Senator Lindsay Tippins.

Call Senator Lindsay Tippins office to encourage him to give our commonsense religious protection legislation – SB 361 – a hearing: (404) 657-0406

Next week, I will share updates on other Family Policy Alliance bills that are being introduced and causing a stir under the Gold Dome.

What to pray for: With all of the legislation we are working on as well as elections coming up (now just 3 ½ months away!), I am asking that you join us in prayer that the status quo in Georgia will change. Despite being a red state, there is intense opposition to much legislation that would be meaningful for people of faith. There are some GREAT and GODLY leaders down there, but we need more. To gain ground, we need to change the culture at the Gold Dome. If you feel called to support that effort, please consider supporting us.

For His Glory,

Cole Muzio
President and Executive Director

Are you fed up with the liberal agenda to eradicate all faith from our schools?

Well, we at Family Policy Alliance are beginning to push back. As you may have seen, we are partnering with Senator Michael Williams on Senate Bill 361 which protects the First Amendment rights of students, teachers, faculty and coaches. Passage of this bill would end a sad era where our schools have been a place of open hostility and warfare against people of faith!

But we need your help. Please join us for the committee hearing on Wednesday, February 7, at the Capitol Building Room 450 at 3:00 p.m. to express your support for this legislation!

Your attendance at this meeting will send a strong signal that you support the First Amendment and that you expect our legislators to do the same. We hope to see you there!

Because the First Amendment Still Applies in Schools,


Cole Muzio
President and Executive Director

If you believe religious freedom is worth protecting, we need 30 seconds of your time today.

As you know, religious freedom has been under attack right here in Georgia. The latest example is the attack on Coach Small from Coweta County – simply for praying with his team!

At Family Policy Alliance of Georgia, we believe that every student and faculty member should have the right to exercise their First Amendment Rights without fear of bullying from radical out-of-state atheist groups.

Thankfully, a champion for First Amendment rights for all Georgians has risen to the occasion and is standing with Coach Small from Coweta County.  Sen. Michael Williams has introduced a bill (SB 361) that protects students, faculty, and staff from these out-of-state groups and ensures that Georgians will no longer be vilified for exercising their First Amendment freedom.

Family Policy Alliance of Georgia and Sen. Williams need your help.  We are asking you to contact your state legislators to ask them to co-sponsor SB 361.

We’ve made it very quick and easy to do this at our Action Center.  With just a click or two, you can send an email to your state senator and state representative, even if you don’t remember who they are.

Let the men and women under the Golden Dome know that our students and faculty will not be intimidated by these leftist, out-of-state bullies.

Thank you for standing with Family Policy Alliance of Georgia on this vital issue of religious freedom. We are encouraged by your action as we continue to promote and unleash Biblical Citizenship.

Sincerely,

Cole Muzio
President and Executive DIrector

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9

Few descriptors better fit the tactics of the radical Left than “bullies.” Whether using the mainstream media, academia or the political establishment, the Left knows the best way to win converts isn’t through the winsomeness of their ideas – it’s through bullying.

One recent example occurred in Cherokee County, when a high school teacher scolded two students for wearing T-shirts supporting President Trump. She compared it to a swastika and forced them to change.

Instead of encouraging dialogue, acknowledging the students’ political awareness or celebrating their free speech, she used her position to intimidate, bully and silence her students.

Now, please understand me: In this instance, it was a Trump shirt. Next time, it could be a shirt with a Bible verse. Students here in Georgia already have been punished for sharing the Gospel, and we are hearing reports of high school students being disciplined for wearing Christian clothing.

Even in this Red state, freedom of speech is under assault!

That’s why I appreciate Sen. Michael Williams, who led a First Amendment rally in Cherokee County this week to show support for students and for our most sacred of rights. As you may know, Williams is running for governor, and some have criticized his rally. However I was there, so I know firsthand that the students were incredibly thankful someone was willing to speak up for them.

Family Policy Alliance of Georgia has not yet taken a position in the governor’s race, but we are grateful to Sen. Williams for being a voice and standing up to leftist bullies. I enjoyed participating in the rally and will always make certain our organization is at the tip of the spear defending free speech for all Georgians.

If you wish to speak out regarding Cherokee County, I encourage you to contact the School Board.

Something to think about: There are intense opinions regarding the protests in the NFL. However, I encourage all of us to think about the rhetoric we use. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said this week that free speech can apply “on your own time.” An argument can be made that the statement can hold water if given context, but let’s be careful. The Left would love to see the exercise of free speech and religious freedom “on our own time,” aka “within the four walls of your church or home.” We can’t check our First Amendment rights at the door!

In case you missed it: Many experts on our team commented on the First Amendment in a great video.

In His service,

Cole Muzio
Executive Director