Any time politicians invoke the Scripture, my initial reaction is always to cringe—not because I believe our government officials should refrain from quoting God’s Word, but because they often misstate and/or misuse the Scripture out of context to promote their personal political agendas. Last week, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had a cringeworthy moment when he cited Romans 13 to defend the administration’s forced separation of immigrant families at our southern border.
In Attorney General Sessions words:
“Illegal entry into the United States is a crime — as it should be. Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”
For the record, I agree with the Attorney General that illegal entry into our country is and should be a crime, and that criminals who violate our laws should be subject to prosecution. I also agree with him that Romans 13 instructs us to obey the government as a God-ordained institution. However, I respectfully, though adamantly, disagree with the Attorney General that this passage or any other Scripture would lend support to or justify the separation of these children—some toddlers—from their parents.
Our immigration system is obviously broken and in dire need of fixing, but using family separation as a deterrent is not a moral solution, particularly for those of us committed to strengthening and defending the family. To those who disagree, I would respectfully ask you to consider this question: Are justice and compassion mutually exclusive? Biblical passages like Micah 6:8 tell us they are not, meaning it is possible to promote justice and, at the same time, extend compassion. In my opinion, the situation at our border calls for both and allows for both. We can simultaneously support enforcing our border laws and oppose small children being stripped away from their parents. It does not have to be one or the other.
If there is one thing we should all agree on, it is the fact that the children are suffering the most from this ordeal. Over the years, many have been stripped away from their parents. Many have been exploited by their own families to gain illegal entry into our country. Many have been victims of sex trafficking and abuse. And as I write this, many have now become “pawns” in a political chess game. As a nation, we can do better, and as Christian Americans, we should demand better from our government.
From a political perspective, this issue has become extremely complex due in large part to the spreading of misinformation, media spin, and political posturing by officials on both sides of the isle. However, let’s be frank—tweets and public statements will not resolve this problem. Our government—specifically, the President and Congress—need to get to work on a permanent solution that keeps our nation safe and keeps children with their parents.
Justice and compassion do not have to be mutually exclusive. As Christians, we know this truth well and we need only look to the cross to see this truth in action. The cross is the place where God’s wrath and mercy met—where God’s justice upon sin and God’s compassion upon mankind converged. So, in our efforts to be “just,” may we never forget the mercy and compassion we have received, and let us not neglect the opportunity we have to extend that mercy and compassion to others.
Too many parents are cavalier about porn and their children. The attitude that “it won’t happen to mine” is very dangerous. The concerned mom in the article we link to below calls for getting radical about protecting children. To be sure the porn industry is radical about exposing them to its vile corruption and making them addicts. We strongly urge parents to take this issue seriously and take action now.
Read “Protecting Our Kids From Pornography” HERE. (more…)
President Trump has indicated he is willing to redirect Title X “family planning” funds away from organizations that counsel in favor of, refer for or perform abortions—organizations like Planned Parenthood. The money would be redirected to federally qualified medical centers that do not counsel in favor of, refer for or perform abortions. In Wisconsin these medical centers vastly outnumber Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin facilities and are located in urban, suburban and rural areas, while Planned Parenthood has just 20 facilities, with most of them being in the southeastern part of the state and in more urban areas. Since Title X first became available in the 1970s, in The Badger State only Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has received those funds.
The Department of Health and Human Services is taking comments from the public on these proposed rule changes. Citizens have until July 31, 2018, to comment. Information on posting a comment is below. We urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to promote life and to promote these encouraging rule changes.
Please note this is a 60-day comment period, with comments due by July 31, 2018.
Written comments may be submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Office of Population Affairs, as specified below. Any comment that is submitted will also be made available to the public.
Warning: Please do not include any personally identifiable information (such as name, address, or other contact information) or confidential business information that you do not want publicly disclosed. All comments may be posted on the internet and can be retrieved by most internet search engines. No deletions, modifications, or redactions will be made to the comments received. Comments may be submitted anonymously.
Comments, identified by “Family Planning” may be submitted by one of the following methods:
Mail or Hand Delivery: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Office of Population Affairs, Attention: Family Planning, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Room 716G, 200 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20201.
MADISON, WI – This week officials from Choose Life Wisconsin will hand deliver checks to eight of Wisconsin’s Pregnancy Resource Centers. Almost $15,000 has been raised from the sale of Choose Life Wisconsin license plates since the plates were released for purchase in late October of last year.
“This is encouraging,” says Julaine Appling, WFA president, “We’ve taken what steps we could in Wisconsin to keep Planned Parenthood from getting this Title X money but stopping it at the source is the very best way to do that. Now we need to cut off the hundreds of thousands the abortion giant gets from Medicaid. The Trump administration has opened the door to do that too. We just need to walk through.”
Wisconsin Family Action has received numerous inquiries regarding the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and the name change of one of their principal programs. Some have alleged we have not accurately presented the story. The following gives more detail, and we trust clarifies our position.
This week the Associated Press reported that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced it is changing the name of its “flagship” program (Boy Scouts) by removing the word “boy” and launching a new campaign called the “Scout Me In” to “promote inclusiveness.” (more…)
Colorado Springs-– Late last night, the Kansas Legislature passed the Adoption Protection Act, making Kansas the ninth state to protect the right of faith-based adoption agencies to continue their good work. Kansas followed Oklahoma, which also passed a similar measure yesterday.
Eric Teetsel, President and Executive Director of Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, Family Policy Alliance’s ally in the state, was heavily involved in advocating for the bill. He thanked fellow Kansans for pushing lawmakers to pass the bill: “This would not have been possible without the thousands of Kansans all over the state who joined us in calling on elected leaders in Kansas to not just talk about the importance of religious freedom–but to actually do something to protect faith-based adoption and foster care providers who selflessly serve Kansas children.”
Unlike states like Massachusetts and Illinois that have actively pushed out faith-based adoption providers–thereby providing less opportunities for children–Kansas joined the growing trend to protect faith-based agencies and the children they serve. Eric is proud of his state’s efforts: “While other states shut down faith-based providers by establishing a radical, left-wing sexual litmus test, Kansas has made clear: everyone is welcome here.”
Family Policy Alliance, a public policy partner of Focus on the Family, serves an alliance of over 40 state-based family policy councils, including Kansas and Oklahoma. Paul Weber, President & CEO of Family Policy Alliance, shared how the alliance of Christian men and women across the country can make victories for religious freedom possible: “Family Policy Alliance is honored to serve our Kansas ally and our broader alliance of over 40 states, including Oklahoma. These victories show that when we work together—and local Christians engage—we can push back against the national radical agenda that tries to silence people of faith and undermine the family.”
Paul Weber and Eric Teetsel are available for comment by contacting [email protected], or 719-221-0913.
“We should not be sending taxpayer dollars to abortionists like Planned Parenthood,” said WFA president Julaine Appling,. “Wisconsin Family Action is proud to join pro-life champions across the country in urging the Trump Administration to enact this common sense regulation that could save countless lives.”
Title X is a “federal grant program dedicated to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services.” In 2017, Title X was appropriated an overall budget of $286 million. Planned Parenthood “currently receives $50-$60 million annually in Title X taxpayer dollars.”
The pro-life coalition has requested the administration adopt a Reagan-era regulation that would prevent Title X funding from going to providers that perform or refer for abortion. This would not decrease any Title X funding, but would reallocate the funding to non-abortion providers. Under President Reagan this regulation was challenged in court but was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991 in Rust v. Sullivan.
Among those who signed onto the letter were national and state pro-life leaders, such as
Russell Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council
Marjorie Dannenfelser, President, Susan B. Anthony List
Paul Weber, President & CEO, Family Policy Alliance
Ralph Reed, Chairman, Faith & Freedom Coalition
Wisconsin Family Action will continue to monitor the situation and update you as soon as there is new information.
Two transgender patients are suing Wisconsin’s health services department for refusing to pay for procedures related to gender transition.
Doctors for Cody Flack and Sara Ann Makenzie say they need surgery to treat gender dysphoria, a condition in which people identify with a gender that is different than the one they were given at birth. Flack and Makenzie have Medicaid, a program paid for by the state and federal government, but the program will not pay for their surgeries because they are deemed by the state to be “medically unnecessary.” Without the coverage, Flack and Makenzie cannot afford the procedures.
WFA president Julaine Appling says, “No one is denying these folks what they want. They can get what they want but not at taxpayer expense. Just as abortion is not health care, neither are treatments for gender confusion. The public should not be funding someone’s elective medical choices. What’s tragic is that gender confusion is ideological, not biological and irreversible medical choices are not the answer.
With the close of the two-year legislative session, the Republican majority in the Assembly and the Senate failed once again to pass legislation prohibiting the trade and use of the body parts of aborted babies and promoting ethical alternatives.
Heal Without Harm (HWH), a coalition of the state’s major pro-life organizations and their tens of thousands of pro-life voters, is dismayed that Republican leaders took such pains to block the advancement of the pioneering bill package known as the Heal Without Harm Legislative Initiative. This was a betrayal of their pro-life constituents.
Despite this failure, the HWH Coalition is extremely proud of the authors and key medical researchers for their advocacy. Sen. Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls) and Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) authored two complementary bills, the “Fetal Remains Respect Act” (SB 423/AB 549) and the “Unborn Child Disposition and Anatomical Gift Act” (SB 424/AB 550). These bills would have banned the sale and use of body parts from aborted babies and informed parents about the ability to donate their miscarried or stillborn child’s tissue for research. The HWH Coalition also commends Rep. André Jacque (R-De Pere), Rep. Kathy Bernier (R-Lake Hallie), and the 36 additional co-sponsors for their tireless advocacy, both publicly and behind the scenes.
The HWH Coalition applauds the courage of medical experts Dr. Tara Sander Lee, Dr. Maria Feeney, and Dr. Kathleen Schmainda, who demonstrated that Wisconsin can indeed support groundbreaking research by using ethical alternatives to abortion-derived tissue.
Passing the HWH Initiative remains vital. The continued dependence on abortion-derived tissue legitimizes abortion, creates a demand for it, and further embeds it into our educational and medical institutions. Aborted children must never be treated as a means to an end, however noble. Likewise, no patient should ever have to face the choice of using or refusing an unethically-derived treatment.
The pro-life community is pro-medical research, but all human life must be respected and protected. In the next legislative session, the HWH Coalition will continue its efforts to inform the public and persuade legislators to make Wisconsin a leader in ethical, innovative, and effective biomedical research. We call on all those who support this goal to work together, and we urge legislators to heed the will of their constituents.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) released its second annual report comparing school academic performance across Wisconsin, apples to apples. In this new peer-reviewed study, control variables—such as student economic status and demographics—are included to level the playing field and make the clearest possible comparisons between schools for policymakers and parents.
Also included for the first time is WILL’s Performance Ranking, which ranks the performance of every K-12 school in the state from all sectors while controlling for socio-economic status. The report shows that schools participating in the Parental Choice Programs are doing quite well in several areas.
WFA president Julaine Appling sends accolades, “Thanks to WILL for doing this analysis of school performance data. Its release is very timely since the deadline for parents to apply to be part of one of the parental choice programs—the voucher programs—is this Friday. It’s good to see these private schools that are so often maligned by liberals doing well in their first priority: educating children.”
CLICK HERE to visit the Department of Instruction Online Parent Application for School Choice.
It’s a terribly stubborn demographic truism: Somewhere close to 100 percent of babies never born will never become customers of your business. This is true of the more than 55 million American babies who never made it past the womb since abortion was legalized in 1973. It’s true of the untold millions who were never conceived because a potential mom and dad thought they had better things to do.
Of course, there is an inestimable, inherent worth and dignity to every human life, but we cannot ignore the social significance at play here as well. These invaluable lives-never-realized are a whole lot of missing customers. Not good for business. Not good. Nor will they be paying into social security or pensions to provide your part when that time comes either.
Julaine Appling, WFA president, says, “Fertility really matters. Wisconsin, with its 40-plus year history of low birth rates, needs more good fertility to ensure its demographic and economic future. Good fertility is that which happens within marriages. Promoting and protecting marriage and childbirth within marriage is one of the best things that could happen in the Badger State.”
State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald wants to close two strip clubs in Dodge County, part of his district, after reports of human trafficking in the case of a 45-year-old Hartford man charged in federal court.
“I am horrified at the accounts of serial abuse and trafficking at strip clubs in Clyman, Juneau and Lebanon,” Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said in a press release. “With the recent federal investigations resulting in evidence that criminal activity is rampant, I am asking for the sheriff and district attorney to immediately investigate anyone on premises.
Julaine Appling, WFA president, says, “For several years we have warned that these sexually-exploitative businesses are involved in sex trafficking. I’m glad Senator Fitzgerald is joining us in working to close them down. They are at a minimum a blight on any community, and now we have proof they often promote and shelter illegal activity that destroys human lives. Tolerating these places is dangerous; they need to go.”
On Wednesday Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett signed an ordinance that bans “conversion” or reparative therapy and counseling for minors. This is counseling used by many Christians that offers help and hope to persons struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or unwanted gender identity issues. The ordinance says it applies to licensed mental health professionals who charge for their services and also indicates the only therapy or counseling they can give minors is that which affirms and encourages same-sex attraction and biological gender-rejection.
At a minimum this ordinance robs parents of the right to make decisions they believe are in the best interest of their children. They are also ominous for churches and pastors, something many pastors in Milwaukee have recognized. Such freedom-robbing, wrong-headed laws are sweeping the nation. Unfortunately, in Wisconsin, those pushing this agenda are picking off our cities one by one.
See press release from Tony Rodriguez, Interim Executive Director of the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center below:
The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center Applauds Mayor Tom Barrett and the Common Council for Protecting LGBT Youth by Banning Conversion Therapy for Minors
MILWAUKEE – The Center and the LGBT Community thank Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the Common Council for passing and signing a law that prohibits the use of conversion therapy on minors. Milwaukee is the first municipality in Wisconsin to pass such a measure and joins a growing number of municipalities across the country, including cities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida.
Organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American School Counselor Association and many others reject the use of conversion therapy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.
“We are very pleased that Milwaukee has banned the use of conversion therapy on minors and thank Mayor Tom Barrett and the Common Council for taking this important step. We hope Milwaukee will prove to be just the first of many municipalities in Wisconsin to ban this harmful and discredited practice that uses rejection, shame and psychological abuse aimed at changing one’s sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Studies conducted by major mental health organizations and personal testimony from LGBT youth have shown that conversion therapy can create dangerous and even life-threatening effects, including depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, and suicidal behavior. We are especially grateful for Alderman Cavalier Johnson’s legislative leadership and sponsorship of the ordinance,” said Center Executive Director Tony Snell.
The City of Milwaukee ordinance prohibits licensed mental health professionals, those who charge for the service, from engaging in conversion therapy with minors, carrying a civil penalty for each violation.
About the Center
The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center is dedicated to serving the needs of LGBTQ people and to making the Greater Milwaukee area safer and more inclusive, visit www.mkelgbt.org.
Governor Walker Signs Pro-Life Bill New law prohibits taxpayer funding for abortions of state employees
MADISON— “We’re always happy when public funding of abortion is halted,” said Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling, responding to Governor Walker signing Assembly Bill 128 into law yesterday. Wisconsin Family Action actively supported the bill.
Appling joined other supporters of the legislation, along with legislative authors Sen. Dave Craig (R-Big Bend) and Rep. André Jacque (R-De Pere), in the Governor’s office for the signing ceremony.
Assembly Bill 128 prohibits the state from purchasing employee health-insurance plans that cover elective abortions, thereby stopping taxpayers from paying for such this life-taking procedure. (more…)
The wording of the question as it appears on ballots statewide
QUESTION 1: “Elimination of state treasurer. Shall sections 1 and 3 of article VI and sections 7 and 8 of article X of the constitution be amended, and section 17 of article XIV of the constitution be created, to eliminate the office of state treasurer from the constitution and to replace the state treasurer with the lieutenant governor as a member of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands?”
What a “yes” vote means
A “yes” vote means you want to change Wisconsin’s constitution to eliminate the office of state treasurer. A “yes” vote also means you want to have the lieutenant governor, rather than the state treasurer, be a member of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. This position is currently part of the duties of the state treasurer. Other duties of the state treasurer will be divvyed up among other state officials.
What a “no” vote means
A “no” vote means you want to keep things as they are, which in this situation means you want to keep the office of state treasurer. Because you want to keep the office of state treasurer, that means the state treasurer will continue as a member of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. (Putting the lieutenant governor on that Board would only be necessary if there is no state treasurer.)
How Wisconsin Family Action views this referendum
This is not a referendum with any kind of “moral” implications. Whether we eliminate the office of state treasurer isn’t “right” or “wrong.” It’s a personal preference. Those wanting to eliminate the office of state treasurer allege that the office is unnecessary and getting rid of it would save the state and its taxpayers some money and reduce the size of government, albeit not by much because not many people work in the office of state treasurer. They maintain the few responsibilities the state treasurer has can be easily absorbed by other government officials.
Others believe that more consolidation of power—in other words, giving fewer people more authority—isn’t in the best interest of our state. These folks maintain it is better for our system of checks and balances to spread power/authority out over more people. These folks will vote “no” on the question.
Each voter will need to decide where he/she lands on this question. Frankly, at WFA, we can live easily with either way the vote goes. Some of us at WFA will vote “yes” and some will vote “no,” based entirely on our personal preference, not as a moral judgment on the issue.
Wisconsin Family Action has signed on to a very important friend-of-the-court brief alongside many of our allies urging the Supreme Court to strike down the regulations that force pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise abortions as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment’s right to free speech. Oral arguments will be heard tomorrow, 3/19/2018.
Our allies at Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW) will be reporting directly from the U.S. Supreme Court on this case that has great implications for the pro-life movement and freedom of speech. WFA will be sharing live updates through FPIW on our Facebook page HERE starting at 7:30 a.m. (CST).
When you know that an election day is coming up but are unfamiliar with what’s on your ballot or who to vote for, there are a number of ways you can find the information you’re looking for. Often you may want to know what you can do to help a candidate that you’d like to see elected to office. Wisconsin Family Action stands ready to help during election season and all year round. Here is a helpful list of questions with answers that will hopefully provide all you need before you enter your polling place:
Q: How do I find out what is on my ballot?
A: Visit myvote.wi.gov and simply enter your address. You’ll be able to view a sample ballot with all your local and statewide races/referendums.
Q: How do I learn more about a candidate?
A: There are a number of ways to do this –
Do a “Google” search of the candidate’s name to find out if they have a website. Since most candidates have websites, this will be the best place to find out information about him/her.
Check Facebook to see if a candidate has a Facebook page. Search for the candidate’s name in your Facebook search bar. Oftentimes if a candidate has a Facebook page it is interactive and you may ask questions of them via a Facebook post.
If you use Twitter you can search for a candidate to find out if a Twitter account exists. Candidates use Twitter to send out messages, share endorsements and more.
If you don’t have access to Internet, listen to your local radio station or pick up a newspaper to check for information about a candidate.
Don’t throw away those flyers and mailers that come to your door. Read them first and determine which candidates appeal most to your core values.
Talk to friends and family members who are “politically aware.” Glean information from people you trust.
Attend local forums and debates. These events are free and open to the public.
If you are unable to attend a forum or debate, check your local community cable station. They frequently host interviews and debates on local races.
Talk to the candidate. If a candidate shows up at your door, take the time to talk to him or her. Take their literature and ask them questions.
Be alert for yard signs. Notice where they are placed. If you know the person who has a sign on their property or in their yard, check to see if they are really supporting the candidate or are just letting them borrow yard space.
Q: How can I help a candidate as he/she runs for office?
A: If you would like to assist a candidate in a run for office, here are some helpful ideas:
Pray for them.
Offer to drop off literature at homes or other locations.
Offer to place a sign in your yard.
Offer to lend financial assistance. Flyers, gas, yard signs all cost a good bit of money.
Send a note of encouragement.
Q: How do I find out information on absentee voting, election dates and times, polling places, etc.?
A: Wisconsin Family Action has created your Election Central where you can find the answers to these and other questions you may have about voting in Wisconsin. CLICK HERE to access Election Central.
Troubling public health news in the city of Milwaukee shows an increase in new cases of HIV and syphilis —including an infant in 2017. That’s why the Milwaukee Health Department launched a commute campaign with MCTS to raise awareness about sexually transmitted diseases.
julaine Appling, WFA president, shares, “While this report is sad, this is a problem with a solution. Abstinence is not a dirty word. It’s the future-saving, sometimes even life-saving message teens and young adults need to hear. Schools that truly care about kids will stop sex ed programs that promote dangerous promiscuity and start promoting sexual abstinence until and only within marriage.”
When Texas passed SB 8 in 2017, requiring the humane disposition of fetal remains, there ought to have been broad support across the political spectrum. Instead, politics as usual has colored the rhetoric of pro-abortion partisans. And, at the end of January 2018, a US District Court delivered a victory for pro-abortion forces in issuing a preliminary injunction of the law. Among other things, the opinion held that abortion providers had a “substantial likelihood of success” in demonstrating their constitutional claim that Texas’s law violates the Due Process Clause.
But Texas’s humane disposition provisions are not only constitutional (even under the legal regime of Casey), but also a morally laudable response to gruesome revelations about how the abortion industry disposes of fetal remains.
WFA president Julaine Appling weighs in, “Part of our Heal Without Harm Initiative deals with final disposition of aborted babies, as well as making sure parents who experience a stillbirth or miscarriage know they can make appropriate final arrangements for their baby. Sadly, these bills have been intentionally killed this session by Republican senate and assembly leadership whose pro-life walk doesn’t match their pro-life talk.”
KENOSHA, Wisc. — A number of Christian displays have been removed from an elementary school classroom in Wisconsin after one of the nation’s most conspicuous atheist activist organizations sent a letter asserting that the posters and symbols were unconstitutional.
Rob Moore, the local chapter president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), told WTMJ-TV that he had complained for months about the displays in his son’s fourth grade classroom at Pleasant Prairie Elementary School in Kenosha. Earlier this month, the organization’s headquarters sent a letter to the school district to request an investigation.
“I don’t want someone’s personal myth-ark enforced in the classroom,” Moore, an atheist, told the outlet.
It appears that the Freedom From Religion Foundation is specifically targeting the Kenosha School District – read more HERE.
Julaine Appling, WFA president, weighs in, “I’m not exactly sure what the law is on the particulars of this situation. But what I do know is Freedom From Religion is doing its dead-level best to eradicate Christianity from the public square, with the US Supreme Court complicit over the last 50-plus years. Our society is reeling from the absence of the Bible and the Gospel. We need more of God, not less, especially in our schools.”