When is it right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right? The answer is never! That’s pragmatism…and it takes us places we should not be going.
Wisconsin has the unfortunate distinction of being the first state in the nation to add sexual orientation as a protected class in non-discrimination laws related to employment, housing, and public accommodations. That was in 1982.
Non-discrimination laws had previously been used to protect innate or immutable characteristics such as sex, age, race, nationality, ethnicity, and disabilities, or to protect strongly held religious beliefs. The addition of sexual orientation violated that premise since sexual orientation is not an immutable or innate characteristic nor is it part of some strongly held religious belief.
Through the years, this non-discrimination language has remained largely unchanged. In recent years, however, and not surprisingly, there has been talk and effort to add “gender identity” to non-discrimination statutory language. Of course, “gender identity” is not an immutable or innate characteristic, nor is it part of some strongly held religious belief. Despite that reality, recently, Republicans in the state Legislature turned talk into action in a surprising bill.
Assembly Bill 953 and its Senate companion Senate Bill 905 deal with direct primary care agreements. These bills exempt valid direct primary care agreements from the application of insurance law. In layman’s language, direct primary care is one option for covering the cost of medical care. It’s an agreement you make directly with your provider. It doesn’t use insurance claims. More and more people are seeking direct primary care providers to cut out insurance.
On the face of it, we shouldn’t have any problem with this bill. In fact, all things being equal, we might even actually support such a proposal because in many ways, protecting direct primary care providers in our state helps families.
Unfortunately, this is the bill Republicans decided to use to add “gender identity” to the non-discrimination language. This is not the first time a bill to protect direct primary care providers has been introduced in our state. Two sessions ago, such a bill passed without this non-discrimination language. The governor vetoed it, saying he did so because the bill did not include “gender identity” in the non-discrimination section.
This year, the bill is back with the non-discrimination language that includes “gender identity.” In the public hearing in the Senate, the bill’s author said she included “gender identity” because she believes the governor will sign the bill as long as that group is given special rights and protections.
Adding “gender identity” as a protected class in this bill is dangerous. First, it sets a precedent for “gender identity” being added in other areas of the law. In this particular case, and with the specific wording in the bill, this could mean that a direct primary care provider’s religious liberty and conscience rights could be violated, in addition to having to violate his or her best medical judgment.
One argument the Republican authors and supporters are using to defend including “gender identity” is the very poor US Supreme Court Bostock decision. That decision dealt with Title VII employment matters and the court opined that employers cannot discriminate based on “gender identity,” essentially changing the definition of “sex” to include “gender identity.” In the majority opinion, the justices made it clear that this decision applies only to Title VII employment matters.
That reality apparently doesn’t matter to the authors and co-sponsors of these current direct primary care bills. They maintain this court decision demands including “gender identity.” It does not, nor does any law or Wisconsin court decision demand its inclusion. This is an inclusion for one reason—to attempt to get the governor to sign this bill. This is raw political pragmatism where the desired ends supposedly justify the means.
If this bill passes with “gender identity” language this session and the governor signs it, you can be sure that “gender identity” as a protected class will be enshrined in Wisconsin law. It’s profoundly sad that an otherwise good bill that could help many in our state is being used pragmatically, trouncing on rights, and taking us places we should not be going.
Alcohol consumption in Wisconsin is endemic. Seven of our larger cities/metropolitan areas are pretty regularly listed in the top 10 of the “most drunk” in the country. Unfortunately, yet not surprisingly, alcohol use and abuse even extends to youth under age 21.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 49% of Wisconsin teens have tried alcohol. Nationwide, the prevalence of underage drinking decreased by seven percentage points from 2019 to 2021, yet in Wisconsin, it decreased by just four percentage points.
One in six Wisconsin high schoolers report having tried alcohol by age 13, and two out of three Wisconsin teens don’t see underage drinking as a risk. However, we know teens who drink can suffer real damage—exposing their developing brains, lives, and mental health to serious, even deadly, consequences. Underage drinking can lead teens to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms and even alcohol addictions, or cause them to make poor decisions they may not have made otherwise.
Lots of commercials are popping up on TV right now encouraging parents to talk to their teens and even pre-teens about the dangers of underage drinking. Research shows age eight is when children start to form their earliest opinions about alcohol.
Numerous factors can lead children to experiment with alcohol, ranging from the influence of peers to the aggressive marketing strategies that go unchecked. Some children might view alcohol as a means to manage the challenges or trauma they face in their educational environment, household, or community. The good news is that parents hold significant power to effect change and steer their children away from such choices.
The best protection teens have against this dangerous substance is involved, intervening parents.
Parents need to guide their children through the messages they receive from peers and the media and address the topic of alcohol before it becomes a real-life temptation. As Christian conservatives in an increasingly secular culture, instilling values early on is essential, so beginning discussions about the risks of underage drinking at a young but appropriate age is both proactive and necessary. These conversations are an opportunity to reinforce the Christian principles of self-control and respect for the body as a temple, as well as the conservative values of personal responsibility and discipline.
Of course, this applies to more than just conversations about alcohol consumption. Children are being bombarded with progressive and immoral messages about all aspects of life, meaning involved and proactive parents are needed now more than ever. If parents don’t take this responsibility and opportunity, they can be sure the culture will gladly do it for them.
February 7th through the 14th is designated as National Marriage Week USA. This is a great time for families and churches in particular to rehearse God’s teaching on marriage and to champion this divinely ordained institution that is good for all people, at all times, in all places.
God’s institution of marriage, designed for mankind’s good and God’s glory, comes with unparalleled blessings—blessings that God in His unfathomable goodness allows to extend to those who do not believe in Him and even to those who blaspheme Him. That’s God’s common grace.
The blessings of marriage include, typically, natural procreation—the bringing of new life into this world through the unique contributions of both the male husband and female wife. Children born to or adopted by men and women in a God-designed marriage are, on average, better off in every way than children in any other kind of family structure. They are considerably more likely to avoid poverty, poor health, abuse of all sorts, educational difficulties, crime, substance addictions, and more.
Men and women in one-man, one-woman marriages also enjoy great—again, on average—benefits, such as better health, especially for men, higher income (even when only one spouse is working), more savings, avoidance of poverty, in particular for women, and more.
All of these benefits have been verified thousands of times by social science research not just in the United States but around the world. And we should not be surprised by that. God’s plan for marriage and family works. When we deviate from that plan, the problems begin—and not only continue but expand. When individual God-designed marriages are numerous, strong, and healthy, the entire society is better off.
Yet another reason to champion marriage was affirmed by the Communio Nationwide Study on Faith and Relationships, which was discussed at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank. The study’s results suggest that the decline in resident fatherhood and the collapse of marriage are likely explanations for the increase in religious non-affiliation across the US. According to the founder of Communio, J. P. De Gance, “those in the church interested in seeing a renewal of faith, need to see a renewal of marriage.”
Churches need to take seriously their role as the champions and the protectors of marriage and family as God designed them. No other institution or organization is equipped to do for marriage what Christian churches can do. Teaching on marriage, strong premarital counseling, marriage mentoring, and marriage strengthening are all best done by and in churches.
To honor both the institution of marriage and individual marriages that have gone the distance, we are looking for Wisconsin’s longest-married couples to be a part of WFC’s Marriage Hall of Fame!
Applying to the Hall of Fame is open to any married couple in Wisconsin who has been married for sixty or more years. Marriage Hall of Fame Inductees will be published on our website by March. By filling out the application, couples consent to have their names, stories, and photos published on our website. 2024 applications are now open. Applications close Feb. 19, and inductees will be announced Feb 29. Nominate a couple HERE.
Every marriage that reflects God’s design of one man and one woman should be celebrated because God’s plan for marriage is universally good and well worth celebrating.
As the political climate heats up in Wisconsin, recent developments in election integrity cases are setting the stage for an intense election cycle.
Most recently, a Dane County Circuit Court judge directed the Wisconsin Elections Commission to adopt regulations permitting local election authorities to count absentee ballots that include incomplete address information.
In a clear blow to election integrity, Dane County Judge Ryan Nilsestuen dismissed the Wisconsin Elections Commission’s suggestion that a complete address must include the street number, street name, and municipality name. He determined that a witness address on an absentee ballot envelope may exclude the municipality and ZIP code, or even use terms like “same” or “ditto” when the witness resides with the voter, provided that clerks can ascertain the witness’s residence. This would increase the number of valid votes in critical upcoming elections where slim vote margins could determine the outcomes. At the same time, Governor Evers has vetoed a slew of Republican-led election reform bills that aimed to secure our state’s elections.
Meanwhile, we also had a good election-related court decision recently. Last month, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) won a lawsuit against the City Clerk of Racine and Wisconsin Elections Commission, securing election integrity in the process.
The Racine County Circuit Court ruled that the City’s use of a mobile voting van at particular sites around the City was illegal under state law. Specifically, the Court found that the mobile voting sites gave a partisan advantage to one political party over others and that state law did not allow the use of a van as an absentee voting site.
Other court cases that involve Wisconsin’s legislative maps could significantly impact upcoming elections. Last month, a leftist attorney filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn Wisconsin’s congressional maps to advance his political agenda.
Up to this point, our Assembly and Senate legislative maps have been the focus of controversy, with the State Supreme Court deciding the current legislative maps are unconstitutional and demanding that new maps be implemented for this fall’s elections.This lawsuit challenging the congressional maps adds yet another wrinkle.
WILL last week took steps to try to block this latest legal maneuver regarding the congressional maps. WILL is calling for Justice Janet Protasiewicz to recuse herself from any ruling that revisits the case that resulted in the current congressional maps because of explicit statements about the maps as she campaigned.
Lucas Vebber WILL Deputy Counsel, stated, “Wisconsin’s current congressional map was proposed by Governor Evers and adopted by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2022. Any attempt to revisit this ruling and once again alter Wisconsin’s Congressional districts is both procedurally improper and legally wrong.”
WILL notes that Wisconsin state law mandates that judges, including Supreme Court justices, must recuse themselves from cases in which impartiality might be compromised or if they have a substantial personal stake in the outcome. The law stipulates that any judge “shall disqualify” themselves whenever they “cannot, or it appears…they cannot, act in an impartial manner.”
Further, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin made a substantial contribution of nearly $10 million to the campaign of Justice Janet Protasiewicz. Throughout her campaign, she labeled Wisconsin’s district maps as “rigged” to benefit Republicans and specifically criticized the congressional maps, stating “we know something’s wrong.” Her repeated comments on the Johnson v. WEC case during the campaign underscore the argument for her recusal.
These court cases challenging maps need to stop; the fall elections loom. We the people have a right to know well in advance what districts we will be in, as do candidates who are preparing to run for office. For sure, part of the liberals’ plan is to keep people uncertain and confused as to what is legal and what is not. Keeping everyone questioning about what districts they live in for voting purposes is part of their plan.
The foundation of our republic relies on elections that are transparent, secure, and trustworthy. To preserve a government that truly reflects the will of the people, it’s crucial that we advocate for and demand the integrity of elections and the establishment of fair and transparent electoral laws.
Most importantly, we must show up and vote in the upcoming elections, regardless of how election integrity cases and legislative proposals in our state play out. The surest way for liberal progressives to take over is for conservatives to get so discouraged by the possibility of election fraud that they don’t vote. We cannot hand our state or our country over to the left without a fight.
School Choice Week (January 21-28) was recently observed here in Wisconsin and around the country. (January 21-28). It’s appropriate that we reflect on the critical role that educational choice plays in our state. School choice empowers parents and students, giving them the freedom to choose educational options that best suit their individual needs, aspirations, and personal and family values.
Wisconsin has a plethora of educational options for parents, including district-based public schools, open enrollment for families wanting to send their children to a public school in another district, charter schools, virtual schools, regular private schools, and private schools participating in one of our three Parental Choice Programs–Milwaukee, Racine, Statewide–and homeschooling.
Reports like the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty’s annual Apples to Apples play a pivotal role in this educational choice discussion. This study provides valuable insights into the performance of various types of schools (public, independent charter, and voucher), offering data-driven evidence on why school choice matters by putting schools on a level playing field to assess education across all types of Wisconsin schools.
WILL found that students in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program consistently achieve higher academic results in English/Language Arts and math than their counterparts in public schools. Students enrolled in Milwaukee’s charter schools in general outperformed their peers in public schools. Twelve of the top 20 schools in Wisconsin are in the state’s choice (aka, “voucher”) programs. Moreover, choice and charter schools more efficiently use taxpayer money. In general, our voucher program is a win for both students and taxpayers.
WILL Research Director, Will Flanders, said, “Once again, school choice has proven significant performance advantages, in math and reading, for Wisconsin students. What’s more, is that the use of taxpayer dollars for these options give more bang for buck. WILL knows that the fight against school choice is far from over. This report highlights the need to continue to inform and defend educational opportunities for all.”
When families have the freedom to choose, they can seek out educational environments that not only meet the academic needs of their children but also align with their values and learning styles. This is especially important as woke indoctrination permeates our school and harms our children. Educational freedom also leads to more engaged and motivated students, which ultimately results in better educational outcomes.
Further, school choice provides equity in education. It breaks down the barriers of zip-code-determined schooling, offering quality educational opportunities to students regardless of their location or background. By allowing funds to follow the student, it creates a more level playing field.
Therefore, parents should take advantage of the school choice programs we have in our state as much as possible. This year in Wisconsin, application windows will open in February for those seeking educational choices for their children other than the public school in their district.
For over thirty years, Wisconsin has been at the forefront of educational innovation with its school choice program (vouchers), providing low-income parents the opportunity to select the best educational environment for their children, which includes both secular and religious private schools. WILL’s Apples to Apples report serves as a crucial reminder that we not only need to keep it that way but continue to find new ways to afford Wisconsin families as much educational freedom as possible. Implementing universal choice in Wisconsin could be a great next step in solidifying our state as a beacon of educational freedom.
The good news is that we are approaching a critical election cycle. Every Wisconsin voter can play a role in protecting and advancing school choice by electing leaders this fall who boldly advocate for parents’ rights in education.
Every parent should have the opportunity to choose the best school for their child, regardless of their income, zip code, or the size of their school district. Education shapes not only the present but also the future and expanding school choice is a step towards a brighter future for The Badger State.
Earlier this week, a state Assembly committee held a public hearing on Assembly Bill 730. This bill would require companies that host websites featuring pornographic material to do age verification to help ensure minors are not able to access the site. While the bill does not provide penalties for those who violate this law, it does allow individuals who have been harmed by a minor’s access to harmful material because of this law being violated, to file civil claims seeking damages, court costs, and legal fees.
WFA Legislative & Policy Director Jack Hoogendyk provided a testimony to the committee in support of AB 730. It reads as follows:
“A report from Common Sense Media revealed:
- 75% of teenagers have viewed pornography by age 17
- Average age of first exposure to pornography is age 12
- 41% of teenagers saying they had seen images of nudity or sexual acts online during the school day (bypassing existing Wi-Fi filtering)
- Survey of 1,358 Americans age 13 to 17 found that more than half said they viewed violent porn (rape, choking, someone in pain)
- 5% of teen respondents said they first saw online pornography at age 10 or younger.
Research on the impact of pornography on children has revealed:
- 41% of young people (aged between 11 and 17) who knew about pornography agreed that watching pornography made people less respectful of the opposite sex. Only 13% disagreed.
- The exposure of children to internet pornography is having impact on the development of harmful sexual behaviors. The average age of first perpetration of sexual violence is 15 -16 and is associated with exposure to pornography.
- A 2016 meta-analysis of pornography research reveals adolescent pornography consumption is significantly associated with stronger gender-stereotypical sexual beliefs, earlier sexual debut, increased casual sex behavior, and increased sexual aggression both as perpetrators and victims.
- Teens are at a great risk of developing a pornography addiction as their brains are still developing.
Attempts by Congress to regulate or prevent access to pornography by minors have proven unsuccessful:
- In the 1996 Communications Decency Act, Congress prohibited the “knowing transmission of obscene or indecent messages to any recipient under 18 years of age,” or the “knowing sending or displaying of patently offensive messages in a manner that is available to a person under 18 years of age.” However, the Supreme Court struck down this provision, finding its prohibitions so vague that they would limit First Amendment-protected speech. Here is a quote from that 1996 decision:
the Internet is not as ‘invasive’ as radio or television… [and]… [c]ommunications over the Internet do not ‘invade’ an individual’s home or appear on one’s computer screen unbidden. Users seldom encounter content by accident… [and] odds are slim that a user would come across a sexually explicit sight by accident.
- In 1998, Congress tried again to protect children from harmful content online with the Child Online Protection Act (COPA). It required age-verification for minors visiting sites with material “harmful to children.” The Supreme Court struck down this statute on the grounds that “filters are more effective than age-verification requirements” and would place a lesser burden on First Amendment rights. However, filters have since not proved particularly effective at protecting kids from harmful and obscene content online.
On a more fundamental level, the federal government’s historical focus on communications regulation is not addressing the challenges that social media present to society today, especially with regard to content that appeals to prurient interests and that lacks any literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.
Mr. Chairman, AB 730, by requiring reasonable age verification methods to verify the age of individuals attempting to access internet websites or social media that is harmful to minors, we will greatly help to resolve the issue of the purveyors of pornography reaching our children. The bill’s provision for civil claims allows those harmed by those who seek to ensnare children into the darkness of pornography to seek some measure of justice, which is certainly warranted.
I might add, Mr. Chairman, that parents will be grateful for this legislation. They need our help. Even the best parental-control software available for purchase does not offer full protection and given the lack of current requirements for age verification, a child can easily falsify his age to access online material that is harmful.
Mr. Chairman, this is common-sense legislation and it is much needed in this cyber-technology driven society. We urge passage of Assembly Bill 730.”
The US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, but protecting human life remains a top priority for pro-life organizations and individuals in Wisconsin, especially since Planned Parenthood has resumed abortions here. Dane County District Court Judge Diane Schlipper ruled on the case brought by Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) alleging that Wisconsin’s pre-Roe abortion statute, 940.04, is not enforceable. Schlipper says the law doesn’t apply to consensual abortion, but rather to feticide, the non-consensual killing of a preborn baby. Many of us fail to see how she arrived at that decision since the section is labeled “Abortion,” and if nothing else, the exception for the life of the mother makes it clear that the statute applies to consensual abortion. Nevertheless, for now, the intentional, consensual killing of an unborn child is again legal in Wisconsin.
Thanks to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, 14 states in the U.S. have implemented laws that prohibit or significantly restrict abortions. According to the data available, these enforceable pro-life laws are projected to potentially eliminate around 200,000 abortions annually. However, this still leaves hundreds of thousands of babies at risk. As Christians and pro-lifers, our job is not over until abortion is unthinkable in our country and every child is safe in his or her mother’s womb.
Commemorating Sanctity of Human Life Month in January is a good way to highlight this issue. January was officially designated as Sanctity of Human Life Month in 1984 by then-President Ronald Reagan. This year, Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is on January 21. Wisconsin Family Council urges churches to preach on life and pro-lifers to recommit to robustly and persistently defending life this month and every month.
We are dedicated to doing everything we can to strengthen, preserve, and promote human life from conception through natural death. We believe in the power of prayer, action, and education to bring about change. When churches teach and preach on the issue, so many people gain a clear understanding and then use their personal influence to help others advance the pro-life cause.
In addition, to safeguard the lives of the unborn, we need to not only expose the harsh realities of abortion but also offer support to local pregnancy care organizations that consistently provide hope and life-affirming messages to women and families. By promoting a culture that celebrates life, we can counter the false narrative pushed by the left and present alternatives that affirm the value of both mother and child. It’s about creating a community where life is not just protected by law but cherished and supported in practice.
To this end, Choose Life Wisconsin recently distributed almost $30,000 to eight Wisconsin pregnancy care centers to help with their amazing pro-life work. These funds are raised from the sale of the Choose Life Wisconsin license plate. To date, Choose Life Wisconsin has awarded over $308,000 to more than 30 pregnancy care centers in our state.
Recently, a coffee company dedicated to the pro-life cause donated nearly $300,000 to pregnancy resource centers across the country, assisting them in their role as a “shield and protector” for expectant mothers.
These funding efforts come at a time when some centers are facing challenges in funding and operational capabilities in certain states.
Seven Weeks Coffee takes its name from the developmental stage at which a preborn baby is about the size of a coffee bean. The company is committed to supporting the work of pro-life pregnancy centers, which offer a range of free services and counseling to pregnant women and their families. To aid these centers, Seven Weeks Coffee donates 10% of its coffee sales revenue. Choosing to spend money at places like this, rather than progressive companies that explicitly support abortion, or to purchase a Choose Life Wisconsin license plate are small but impactful ways we can all help foster a culture of life.
Further, we must extend radical love and compassion to expectant mothers facing challenging circumstances. Churches and their congregations should actively support women and men vulnerable to choosing abortion by contributing to crisis pregnancy centers, directly assisting mothers in need, or simply being present for those experiencing hardship.
Finally, a key part of defending the sanctity of life in Wisconsin is to elect leaders who will boldly protect preborn life and prevent the left from advancing their radical pro-choice agenda. President Joe Biden has urged Congress to establish a federal legal “right” to abortion. This action aims not only to reinstate but also to broaden the scope of Roe v. Wade by prohibiting states from enacting almost all pro-life legislation. The outcome of the 2024 elections will be crucial in deciding whether the Democrats maintain control of the White House and secure sufficient congressional seats to achieve this despicable objective.
This fall presents a chance to vote for Christ-centered leaders who will fiercely defend life at all stages. It’s vital to participate in the upcoming election and to encourage others who share these beliefs to do the same.
May our efforts honor the sanctity of human life, not just in words, but through our individual actions, including our vote, and in the laws that govern our state and nation.
Recently, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) and the Mountain States Legal Foundation achieved a victory on behalf of Young America’s Foundation, a conservative student group, after the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse refused to grant the organization official student-organization status.
The school originally denied the group’s designation because the student organization refused to sign onto a “DEI” inclusivity statement, a document full of the university’s prescribed political and social policy stances that contradicted the organization’s values and violated their First Amendment rights. Several of these statements involved a pledge to promote the welfare of individuals who do not have the “documentation” required for legal residency in the United States and compelled student organizations to express their disapproval of enforcing the existing immigration laws in the country.
The university was also asking students to be “committed to… addressing issues of equity and justice,” through implementing race-conscious policies. The school backed down after the legal groups threatened further action.
Dan Lennington, WILL Deputy Counsel, stated, “This is a victory for free speech and equality. WILL stands ready to defend the Constitutional rights of every Wisconsinite. Period. We applaud the students at UW-La Crosse for standing up for themselves and setting a great example for others to follow. On the other hand, it’s time for academia to ditch the woke nonsense.”
It should go without saying that the purpose of student groups is not to peddle the university’s progressive agenda but to rally around the members’ own unique interests and beliefs. The university went so far as to attempt to force students to violate their beliefs. Thankfully, the First Amendment rights of this group have been restored.
UW-La Crosse has found itself in lots of hot water lately—from the firing of the chancellor for his involvement in porn to this unfortunate incident with Young America’s Foundation. These realities should be a wake-up call for the school, the Universities of Wisconsin Board of Regents, and for any parents thinking about this school for their college-bound teens.
Two non-profit organizations have joined forces to assist private citizen groups in organizing a record-breaking number of Nativity scenes on the groundsof state capitols during this Advent season.
According to a press release from the Thomas More Society, 43 state capitols, including Wisconsin’s, will feature Nativity scenes this year. The society is collaborating with the American Nativity Scene committee to facilitate this initiative.
Thomas More Society is offering support to ensure that individuals who wish to sponsor a Nativity scene at their state capitol can do so, as protected by the First and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
Every year, WFA takes our Christmas sign and Nativity to the state Capitol to put on display in the first-floor rotunda. This year, we were the first organization to put our sign and display up on December 1st. The state Christmas tree was up and decorated; and just a couple of hours earlier, the governor had lit the tree that he insists on referring to as a “holiday tree.” During the tree-lighting ceremony, however, high school choirs that had been invited were singing traditional Christmas carols, not just secular Christmas songs.
Over the years, there has been an ongoing battle of the signs, and now a battle of the nativities, with Freedom from Religion Foundation. According to a press release from Freedom from Religion, headquartered in Madison, for 27 years we’ve had a battle of the signs, and for about 11 years we’ve had a battle of the nativities.
Our Christmas sign says, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15. Then in huge letters, the sign says “JESUS,” followed by “Merry Christmas from Wisconsin Family Council.”
Freedom from Religion is apparently now combining their sign and their blasphemous so-called nativity display. Freedom from Religion says that its own display is an “irreverent cutout by artist Jacob Fortin” that “depicts Founders Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington gazing in adoration at a ‘baby’ Bill of Rights while the Statue of Liberty looks on. A sign beside this tongue-in-cheek depiction reads: ‘At this Season of the Winter Solstice, join us in honoring the Bill of Rights, adopted on Dec. 15, 1791, which reminds us that there can be no religious freedom without the freedom to dissent. Keep religion and government separate!’” How’s that for a cheery, truthful Christmas message?
Our sign and traditional nativity display offer a stark contrast with Jesus as the central word on the sign and the central figure in the Nativity.
A smaller sign accompanies our Nativity. It reads, “Jesus…and she shall bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21),” as you can see in the picture to the right.
We want every visitor who is in the building this month to see the beautiful Christmas tree as well as the truth of this holy season. We are privileged to receive permission each year to put the sign and Nativity up, and it’s always done with a prayer that God will use them to encourage young and old alike to know that at this time of year, we are worshipping the Creator, not the Creator’s creation, as some do, such as those at Freedom From Religion Foundation.
If you’re in Madison this month, we hope you’ll stop by the state Capitol and take time to go to the first floor to see the displays there. If kids are with you, this is a great opportunity for some worldview and Bible instruction, as well as sharing with them, as their ages allow, that we can install these displays because we have religious freedom in our state and in our nation.
The battle between good and evil, truth and error, will rage until Christ returns and declares time shall be no more and all evil will be eternally banished. Until then, we keep telling the truth of Christmas and of the entire Gospel everywhere we can, every opportunity we have—and Christmas is a perfect time to share the good news—in our state Capitol and everywhere. To echo the glorious Christmas carol, let’s “Go, tell it on the Mountain! That Jesus Christ is born!”
Some days are just emblazoned in our memories. One of those days for me is May 8th, 2022, Mother’s Day. I was at church early that morning to help get ready for a ladies’ brunch happening at 9 a.m. At 7:45 or so, I received a call from one of our team members telling me I needed to immediately call the folks who manage our office building because we had had a “break-in.” I quickly dialed building management and was told we’d had more than a break-in. I was told we had been firebombed and had a fire started in our office and that graffiti had been written on two of the building’s outside walls near our office. I immediately left church with another one of our team members, with a quick stop by my home, only to find that the Watertown police were looking for me because the Madison police hadn’t been able to locate me. After verifying who I was, I was told to get to Madison as soon as possible and to call the Madison Police Department en route. I did so. Interestingly, the Madison PD wouldn’t tell me what the graffiti said.
As we drove by the front of the building at the office, I saw the message on one wall: “If abortions aren’t safe, then you aren’t either.” On another wall was what we later learned were anarchist and anti-law enforcement symbols. The reason we were attacked was unmistakable.
We entered the building to an acrid odor and found it came from our office, all the way at the end of the hall—at least 150 feet away. Walking into the office, we found the receptionist area a mess from firefighters who had arrived to put out the fire. Then I saw that my personal office had been the point of the attack. Windows broken, glass everywhere, furniture destroyed, books burned, a segment of wall burned away, disarray everywhere—and horrible air, even to the point of making it hard to breathe. Later I’d learn that the air in my office was not just bad, it was truly toxic and no one should have been in there! Meanwhile, I’d given countless interviews standing or sitting in the middle of the destruction for at least two days!
Needless to say, such a day is permanently embedded in my memory. That day, FBI agents were in the office, along with an ATF agent, and at least two Madison Police Department officers—one a detective. When they left with physical evidence late that afternoon, they told me work on the case would begin immediately, but it might take several months for anything of significance to happen. That proved to be true. It wasn’t until March of this year, that I was told that an arrest in our case was imminent—thanks to graffiti that had been written on a sidewalk near the state capitol—in a handwriting style that matched the one used on our walls. After several weeks of work, law enforcement recovered a half-eaten burrito left by the suspect and extracted DNA from the refuse. That DNA matched one set of DNA taken from the physical evidence gathered at my office. Shortly thereafter, police arrested Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury in Boston getting ready to board a plane to Guatemala, using a one-way ticket.
Seriously! This is the kind of thing you see in an NCIS episode! Mr. Roychowdhury was charged with attempting to cause damage through the use of fire or an explosive device and was eventually extradited to Wisconsin where he was put first in jail and then in a federal prison.
Fast-forward to the Monday before Thanksgiving. The US Attorney’s office handling this case filed a signed Plea Agreement with the Western District Wisconsin Federal Court. Mr. Roychowdhury was scheduled to actually plead guilty before federal Judge William Conley on Friday, December 1, 2023, at 1 p.m. Shortly before 1 p.m., I entered the courtroom and sat down. Shortly after, a sergeant-at-arms told me I’d probably be more comfortable moving to the other side of the gallery. I had sat directly behind where Mr. Roychowdhury would be sitting with his attorneys. I obliged and sat behind the detective handling our case and an FBI agent who had made the arrest. Eventually, the other side filled up with the accused’s friends and family members (interestingly, all wearing masks).
Eventually, Mr. Roychowdhury was escorted in wearing an orange jumpsuit, but in no way restrained. I watched him for a long time. His demeanor throughout the process of the judge asking him a whole series of questions was calm, self-assured, and perhaps a bit smug and arrogant. I don’t know if he recognized me or not, although he looked my way several times. I couldn’t help but wonder how he got caught up in all this radicalization and violence, and I pondered how his life will be different because of this crime.
This 29-year-old from India (now apparently a US citizen) did plead guilty and took responsibility for the crime. The judge told him very clearly the law requires a minimum of five years of incarceration with a maximum of 20—and that the judge would ultimately determine his sentence and hand it down on February 14th, 2024. He will get some consideration for accepting responsibility, but the judge cannot give him less than five years. He could also be fined and required to pay restitution for damages. As I’ve said many times, we are not looking for revenge or retribution, just justice under the law.
This arrest and guilty plea is, as far as we know, the first in the nation as it relates to the series of attacks targeting pro-life organizations and churches that happened after the leaked draft of the Dobbs U.S. Supreme Court decision suggested that Roe v. Wade would soon be overturned.
It’s taken longer than anyone thought it would to reach this point in the firebombing of our office, but I believe justice is being served at this point, and I trust this will be encouraging to other pro-life organizations and churches that have endured similar attacks.
You, our friends, have prayed for us, financially supported us, and encouraged us as we have walked this very different path. Thank you! The case is still open because we believe there are more suspects yet to be identified and apprehended. So this attack remains very much on our minds as we continue to work with law enforcement. Your prayers and ongoing support are such a blessing and so necessary as we continue, in partnership with you, to show up, stand up, and speak up for LIFE in Wisconsin. We will keep you posted as this story continues!
“It’s just a piece of paper. We love each other and that’s enough.” Ever heard anyone say something like that when explaining why they aren’t married but are living together? Unfortunately, that’s become a pretty common sentiment about marriage.
The truth is marriage is much more than just a piece of paper. As Institute for Family Studies points out in a marriage fact sheet, “[m]arriage is about building a common life together, forming an exclusive emotional, sexual, and spiritual bond, forging a shared financial future, taking care of your spouse in ‘sickness and health,’ and providing a stable and loving home for any children that you have.”
Children get lost all too frequently in the marriage discussion these days. Many couples, if they marry at all, are choosing to not have children, claiming children are too expensive, or don’t fit their lifestyle, or the world is overpopulated, or the world is too bad to bring children into it. Broken families or children born to single women put children at huge risk for all sorts of pathologies. Children adopted into homes with two dads or two moms are always purposefully deprived of either a mother or a father.
All of these reflect that reality that our culture is much more about adult happiness than the well-being of children.
What we know is that what is best for children is to be brought up in the homes of their married dads and moms. This doesn’t mean children brought up in other family structures can’t overcome the odds. Many certainly do, but this does mean that normatively an intact, married-dad-and-mom home is where children are much more likely to thrive, not just survive. And every society depends on the next generation to become well-adjusted, productive adults.
Marriage matters to children. Social science continues to reinforce what God has designed since He instituted marriage and family in the Garden of Eden. What social science finds is that children living with their married dads and moms are more likely to do well in school than their peers in other family structures and actually graduate high school and when they reach adulthood. They are also more likely to have full-time employment and to succeed in their work.
Boys in intact families are more likely to avoid getting in trouble with the law than boys not in these families, and thus, these boys stay out of jail. Girls who are brought up in a home with married mom and dad are less likely to be sexually active than girls in other families and therefore avoid teen pregnancies. Importantly, children living with their married dad and mom avoid poverty, which in itself can result in severe disadvantages.
So how do we change the culture and the mindset of so many? First, Christian families model godly marriages. They talk positively about God’s plan for marriage and about their own marriage. They promote child-bearing and adoption within marriage. Seeing good marriages and families is one of the best ways to ensure the next generation values marriage and wants marriage and children for themselves.
Churches also have an important role to play in creating a marriage culture. Biblical preaching and teaching on the subject is essential, but so is celebrating marriage as God designed it—making much of weddings and anniversaries and births sends a powerful message to everyone that marriage is good and desirable.
Government can help too by making sure no law penalizes marriage, but rather that married couples receive some benefits, reflecting the good they bring to society in general. Additionally, we need to stop making welfare so readily available for single women with children and then removing those funds if they marry. That incentivizes exactly the wrong behavior and actually sets children up for trouble.
Marriage is so much more than a piece of paper. Marriage matters, and it especially matters to children. Wise societies will do everything they can to ensure they are promoting the best interest of children—their future. Once again, it must be said, God’s way is always the best way.
While we did not have any elections here in our state last week, several states had some really significant elections. Of prime importance, Ohio voters weighed in on two ballot initiatives. One of the referenda ensconces a right to abortion in the state’s constitution, and the other legalizes recreational marijuana. Unfortunately, both proposals passed.
The abortion proposal passed 56%-44%. The referenda stated that individuals will have the “right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions.” My counterpart in Ohio—my friend Aaron Baehr—who worked hard to defeat the amendment and provided leadership for a pro-life coalition, made some important points about the heartbreaking loss.
The statement from Protect Women Ohio said, in part, “Our hearts are broken tonight not because we lost an election, but because Ohio families, women and children will bear the brunt of this vote. When Michigan voters passed a similar amendment last year, they were sold the lie that parental rights would be unaffected, that late-term abortion would remain illegal, and that women’s health and safety standards would not be touched. But just last week, the Michigan legislature voted to repeal penalties for partial-birth abortions, to eliminate health and safety protections at abortion facilities, and they called parental consent laws ‘unconstitutional.’ They even vowed to come for informed consent laws and 24-hour waiting periods next. We know the same barbaric attacks on parents and children are now coming home to Ohio.”
They went on to say that as pro-lifers, they will not quit—which is encouraging to be sure. But I want to note what this statement points out about Michigan because it is very telling. Voters in Michigan were told one thing about abortion regulations if they passed a “right to abortion” amendment, but yet the pro-abortion advocates are never satisfied. They want abortion any time, for any or no reason—truly abortion on demand. Ohio pro-lifers recognize that this could easily happen in their state with this so-called “right to abortion” now in their constitution.
So how does this relate to Wisconsin? Remember that lawsuit challenging whether our pre-Roe law is enforceable? That lawsuit is still in Dane County Circuit Court—but it will eventually move from that court and go either to the appellate court and then to the state Supreme Court, or the appellate court could send it directly to the state Supreme Court.
Most observers believe one way or another, this case will land at our state Supreme Court, which now leans liberal by a 4-3 margin. And of course, new Justice Janet Protaciewicz made it very clear in her campaign that she supports what she called “reproductive rights” for women—which is a euphemism, and a bad one, for abortion.
When this case gets to our state Supreme Court, it wouldn’t take a great deal of legal maneuvering for our court to create a “right to abortion” in our state constitution. And then, like Michigan, it would not be long before serious challenges will come, probably via the courts, against our abortion regulations, like the 20-week abortion ban, the ultrasound requirement, the 24-hour waiting period, parental permission, and others—all of which are designed to protect women and their unborn children.
As I have said and will continue to say, elections have very real consequences—and sometimes those consequences are literally life and death.
Regardless of what happens with our pre-Roe law here in Wisconsin, WFA and WFC, in full partnership with you, will continue to relentlessly fight for the dignity of every preborn child and advocate for the support of every woman facing a crisis pregnancy. Thank you for all you do to promote a culture of life in our state!
For over thirty years, Wisconsin has been at the forefront of educational innovation with its school choice program, providing low-income parents the opportunity to select the best educational environment for their children, which includes both secular and religious private schools.
Our Parental Choice Program began in 1990 with just the City of Milwaukee, but has expanded to include Milwaukee County, and under the Walker administration, a Racine choice program and a statewide choice program were launched. Currently, about 52,000 students are enrolled in private schools using a state-issued voucher.
As of last week, this successful program is facing a challenge in the form of a lawsuit filed by the Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC, a leftist group publicly stating it is out to destroy Wisconsin’s choice program. This lawsuit was filed directly to the state Supreme Court and asks the court to shut down the choice program before the 2024-2025 school year. It is disheartening to witness such a baseless, politically motivated attack on a program that has empowered families and improved educational outcomes for tens of thousands of children.
The essence of the lawsuit revolves around the claim that the school choice program diverts funds from public schools, crippling their ability to provide quality education, which is a fundamentally flawed assertion. Currently, statewide public school districts receive, on average, almost $15,000 per student of taxpayer money. Even with the increase in vouchers that the governor signed into law in the new budget, vouchers for K-8 students are just 64% of that amount, while vouchers for high school students are now 81% of the public school per-student cost. What this means is the voucher programs are saving taxpayers money.
Importantly, recent research done by School Choice Wisconsin shows that the choice programs are giving taxpayers a very good return, with voucher students consistently outperforming their public school peers on core subjects such as reading and math, as well as on standardized tests such as the ACT and the state’s Knowledge and Concepts Exam.
This lawsuit fails to acknowledge the diverse needs of Wisconsin’s students. Every child is unique, with individual learning styles, interests, and aspirations. Additionally, families differ in their values. Many families today, especially Christians, are realizing public schools are foisting values on their children that are antithetical to their family values. A one-size-fits-all approach to education simply does not suffice. School choice ensures that parents can tailor their child’s education to match what they want for their children, fostering an environment where students can thrive academically and personally, and also for many, spiritually.
While the lawsuit does not directly raise concerns about the participation of religious schools in Wisconsin’s school choice program, it is important to know that this issue was settled by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1998 in a case that challenged the original Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. The high court determined including religious private schools in the choice program did not violate either the US Constitution’s First Amendment or Wisconsin’s constitution. Subsequent and quite recent US Supreme Court decisions have also upheld the inclusion of religious private schools in such programs.
The bottom line is we have people in our state who despise the choice program; they have tried to discredit it and undo it for years. Now, with our state Supreme Court leaning liberal, they believe the time is right to aggressively use the courts to accomplish their goal. Fortunately, Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty is ready to fully defend this educational option on behalf of the tens of thousands of students and families who are flourishing because of this program. We call on Christians to pray for the justices and their decision and for the attorneys who will be involved with this high-stakes case.
Speaking recently at Family Research Council’s Pray Vote Stand event, researcher George Barna attributed our societal problems to a transition from a biblical worldview to alternative philosophies.
Christian post reports that Barna contends parents err in prioritizing “academic achievement, emotional happiness, and good health” over “worldview development,” and wanting their children to be a “good person” as opposed to being a disciple of Christ. Currently, Barna says, “less than 1 percent of adolescents and teens are on track to have a biblical worldview.” This means our world is in desperate need of true disciples.
Barna notes that a disciple is not simply someone who believes in God, but rather is someone who follows Jesus’ teachings and adheres to His commandments. Doing so requires us to be counter-cultural. A disciple’s life should look radically different from those around him, and will almost certainly involve some level of cultural challenge or even persecution.
It’s not wrong to want children to do well in school, be emotionally and physically healthy, or be a good person. But they should first and foremost be disciples who see the world through the lens of Scripture. Without a biblical worldview, children will ultimately struggle in every area because such a worldview grounds them and prepares them for discerning true from false, good from evil, and right from wrong. This calls for intentional, purposeful parenting.
A crucial part of instilling a biblical worldview in our children, especially in our modern culture, is teaching them what the Bible has to say about the value of life.
For example, Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Similarly, Isaiah 49:1 says, “The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.” Lastly, the sixth commandment forbids the direct and intentional killing of another person.
God makes it very clear. Christianity and abortion are entirely incompatible.
Unfortunately, we are now living in a state where innocent lives are once again being taken under the guise of “healthcare.” Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin resumed abortions yesterday in Madison and Milwaukee. The Associated Press reports that appointments at the Milwaukee clinic were completely filled within 24 hours of Planned Parenthood announcing that it would resume abortions, despite the fact that our state’s pre-Roe abortion ban is still in place. (Our press release in response to PPWI’s illegal, life-taking decision is available HERE.)
The good news is that this battle is far from over. Please pray for our judicial system and all those involved. As Christians, we are called to do everything in our power to end abortion in Wisconsin. Doing so will require that we raise up the next generation to be disciples of Christ who see life, from the moment of conception, through a biblical worldview.
Last spring, the Town of Hayward used an obscure state law to hold its annual meeting without public notice. At the meeting, three resolutions were passed, including a $15 million building project and reorganization of the town board. This came despite the fact that during a 2019 advisory referendum, residents of Hayward expressed their disapproval of a comparable $5 million construction project.
More than 270 residents took initiative to organize and gather signatures with the aim of convening a “special town meeting” to reconsider the resolutions. Residents and town electors have provided three separate written requests, but to date, the town clerk has refused to call the meeting. Citizens also contacted Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), which has now sent the town a letter demanding that they abide by Wisconsin law and hold a public town meeting so residents can weigh in on spending projects.
WILL’s client, Brenda Dettloff, said, “The Town of Hayward is denying citizens open, accountable, and transparent government. Before significant updates to town infrastructure and amenities are made, taxpayers deserve to have their voices heard. Because of that simple fact, hundreds of Hayward citizens, from across the political spectrum, are speaking out as one voice and demanding a true public meeting ‘of the People’ to properly vet the pending resolutions.”
WILL’s letter asks the town to fulfill its legal duty by either confirming that it will provide the public notice of a September 15 town meeting, as requested by the residents, or explain how the town believes their petition was insufficient. “If you refuse to do so by Monday, August 28, 2023, we will petition for a writ of mandamus in circuit court ordering you to do so,” wrote WILL.
This story beautifully demonstrates “the multiplied power of one.” When one person gets involved and reaches out to recruit even just a handful of others who in turn reach out to others, they end up making a huge difference, especially at the local level.
It’s been said that all that’s necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Alert citizens willing to get involved can make a tremendous difference. Holding elected officials accountable is essential and is part of being a good steward of this republic we are blessed to live in. We should each consider how we can use the “multiplied power of one” where we live to make our communities truly good for families!
On Wednesday, August 1, Wisconsin experienced an earthquake. Did you feel it? No Richter scale picked up its magnitude, but the impact was felt all across the state, from large cities to small towns. While no buildings were toppled, in fact no property damage was done, the destruction began almost immediately with more to come. It’s true that no lives were lost at the time, but the aftershock will no doubt result in loss of human life as well.
The devastating earthquake happened just as Justice-elect Janet Protaciewicz was sworn in as the newest member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. At that moment, the tectonic plates in our state shifted, as the ideological balance of our high court suddenly went from a slim 4-3 conservative majority to a slim but very significant 4-3 liberal majority.
The new liberal majority lost no time in flexing its muscle and causing the first aftershock. The very day of this human-made disaster, the liberal majority voted to fire the Director of State Courts, Randy Koshnick, who had served with distinction for six years in this important, non-judicial position.
Shortly after Koschnick was fired, the court hired a new interim Director of State Courts. Senate Majority Leader Republican Devin LeMahieu objected, saying that this individual didn’t meet the legal requirements to be appointed to this job. But that didn’t deter the liberal juggernaut in the least.
According to the current Chief Justice, Annette Ziegler, one of the conservatives on the court, the court continued its destructive path by convening a meeting in a way that if not illegal is at least in violation of the court’s self-determined policies and procedures. Some news reports indicated the liberal justices responded pretty much by saying, “too bad. We’re in charge now, and we’ll do what we want, when we want, in the way we want.” Talk about an aftershock!
Legal pipelines were immediately filling up when the ground in Wisconsin shifted on August 1. By Monday, August 7, two lawsuits had already been filed directly with the state Supreme Court, challenging the state legislative district maps that the Wisconsin Supreme Court under a conservative majority had approved in late 2021.
During the campaign in this spring’s election, then Judge Protaciewicz made it very clear what she thinks of the maps in question that gave us the Assembly and Senate districts under which the 2022 midterm elections were conducted. Protaciewicz said they were “unfair” and “rigged.” Used to be that such clear proclamations on an issue sure to come before the court would have been assiduously avoided by a judicial candidate. But the earth in Wisconsin had already begun shifting well before August 1; unfortunately, too many people ignored the signs. Based on what we’ve already seen, I’ll predict the court quickly accepts at least one of the two cases, if not both, and sets a date in the near future for oral arguments.
We care about these maps because they have a great deal to do with who controls our state assembly and state senate. Right now, both houses have solid conservative majorities. But that could change in January 2025, if the maps are redrawn in a way that favors liberals. Imagine Wisconsin with Governor Evers and the liberal majorities in both the Assembly and Senate. Talk about an aftershock!
Democrat Attorney General Josh Kaul wasn’t about to be left out of this opportunity to wreak further havoc as a result of the August 1 quake. Last week, he filed a motion in with the Dane County judge who is handling the case challenging our state’s pre-Roe abortion ban, asking that she expedite her decision. Now, why would he do that with a case that has been lollygagging in the system since late June of 2022? Because he now wants this case before the State supreme court sooner rather than later, knowing that Protaciewicz made it very clear in her campaign that she is pro-abortion. And this is how the loss of life happens as a result of Wisconsin’s August 1 ideological earthquake.
I wish I could tell you no more aftershocks will happen, but that would be dishonest. The rumblings have been happening for some time related to Act 10, school choice, executive authority, religious freedom and more.
Elections have consequences. Sometimes they set the stage for cataclysmic, ideological earthquakes that destroy foundations and result in widespread damage that includes the loss of precious human lives. Maybe now people will actually believe it when we talk about election consequences. We can only hope.
Last week, Judge Janet Protaciewicz became Justice Protaciewicz when she was sworn in as a member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, a move that changed the ideological balance of the court from 4-3 conservative to 4-3 liberal. Two lawsuits have already been filed with the state supreme court that challenge the current legislative maps. Democrats are asking the state supreme court to overturn GOP-drawn maps. The court has to formally accept these “direct-action” petitions, which will likely happen soon given the new makeup of the court.
The filing of these lawsuits was anticipated following the addition of Justice Protasiewciz to the court. She emphasized the existing maps, crafted by GOP legislators and implemented by the state supreme court in spring 2022, as a central theme of her campaign, characterizing the maps as “rigged” and unfairly skewed in favor of Republicans.
Democrats argue that the state legislative maps exhibit partisan gerrymandering. As a result, one of the lawsuits calls for all 33 state senators to run according to new districts next year, and the other lawsuit says all state legislators should be compelled to compete in redrawn districts in fall 2024. Both lawsuits, if successful, would mean the half of the state senate who was elected last year and wouldn’t be up for re-election until 2026 would still be forced to run again next fall.
Republican legislative leaders criticized the lawsuits, and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) pledged to protect the existing maps.
“The timing of this lawsuit questions the integrity of the court,” he said. “It’s clear that liberal interest groups are coming to collect from Justice Protasiewicz after her campaign broke judicial code to earn their financial support earlier this year.”
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said the petitions appear to be an “attempt to get the Wisconsin Supreme Court to do what the United States Supreme Court has said judges cannot — decide political issues about redistricting.” Vos is referring to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said federal courts cannot play a role in deciding partisan gerrymandering claims. The 2019 verdict undercut a district court’s decision that had determined the Wisconsin GOP legislators’ drawn boundaries constituted an unconstitutional gerrymander.
Both lawsuits are directed exclusively at the current state legislative maps (Senate and Assembly districts), not the congressional maps, which were accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court at the same time as they rejected the original state legislative maps submitted by Governor Evers. If either of these lawsuits is successful (and in all likelihood if the state supreme court decides to accept both, they will be combined and heard together), and new maps are drawn and ultimately forced upon the legislature, the strong majorities Republicans have in both the Assembly and the Senate would be in jeopardy. This, of course, is exactly what the Democrats want: to eliminate or at least reduce the majorities.
With 2024 being a presidential election year and Wisconsin once again being a targeted state, we can be sure an all-out assault on our state legislature will be waged with massive amounts of money being spent to flip both houses from conservative to liberal majorities. Should that happen while Evers is governor, well, let’s just say it won’t be good for marriage, family, life, religious freedom, or any other freedom.
As we know, elections have consequences. These map challenges are significant; please join us in prayer as these cases and others impacting marriage, family, life, and religious freedom will no doubt soon be filed.
The Daily Wire reports that a Wisconsin school district is facing a lawsuit from a parent who claims that a teacher announced his gender “transition” to students, including those in elementary school, without notifying parents.
On Monday, Leah Buchman, a mother within the Eau Claire Area School District (ECASD), lodged a formal complaint accusing the district of violating open records law and neglecting to inform parents about the teacher’s gender transition announcement.
According to the complaint, on June 5th, all orchestra students at Northstar Middle School were required to meet in the orchestra room along with their orchestra teacher and school counselor, Jacob Puccio, and the district’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) director, Dang Yang. During this gathering, the middle school students were informed that their orchestra teacher, Mr. Puccio, would be undergoing a “gender transition.”
Further, music students at three elementary schools and one high school in the district were purportedly read a scripted statement regarding the teacher’s gender transition.
According to the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), the statement was curated by ECASD with the intention to “ensure that students received information in a particular way.” Additionally, WILL asserts that parents still remain unaware of the exact contents of what was read to the students and are seeking clarification on the specifics.
Buchman immediately requested a copy of the scripted statement but was denied access to it. An attorney representing the school district stated that the document could not be released at that time due to an ongoing investigation into whether any school employee had acted inappropriately during the June 5th announcement.
Following the school’s refusal to provide the statement, Buchman proceeded to file her lawsuit with the assistance of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL).
“All I am asking is for the school district to provide what was told to my children and their peers in the classroom. As a parent, it’s my responsibility to help my kids understand all that life throws their way, and I do not understand why it has taken the school district so long to update parents,” said Buchman.
“It’s ridiculous for a school district to refuse to produce a statement that was read out loud to dozens of minor students in several district classrooms. What was told to these kids should be readily accessible to parents,” said WILL attorney Cory Brewer.
Other Wisconsin schools have been under fire for undermining parents’ rights in an attempt to indoctrinate students with radical LGBTQ+ ideology.
The Eau Claire Area School District (ECASD) was sued for hosting gender identity trainings that instruct teachers and school staff on how to hide students’ gender transitions from parents. America First Legal (AFL) and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) filed the lawsuit on behalf of several parents, arguing that the district’s policies violate their freedom of religion and their parental rights.
Similarly, last November a group of Wisconsin parents sued the Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD) for a policy that allows minor students to “transition genders” at school, even despite their parents’ objection.
In a third case, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed a lawsuit in 2020 in Dane County Circuit Court against the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) for its policies that allow children to change their gender identity at school without parental notice or consent. The policy also instructs district staff to hide information about students’ gender identity from parents.
Cases of Wisconsin schools violating parental rights have become far too common– and these are only the instances that have been reported. Hopefully, these lawsuits are successful and send a clear message to Wisconsin schools: teachers have no right to parent students or push a radical agenda without parents’ consent.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a law last Friday banning most abortions after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected, just weeks after the Iowa Supreme Court blocked a similar law. The bill signing took place at The Family Leadership Summit, a gathering of nearly 2,000 faith-based conservatives organized by The Family Leader, a state family policy council in Iowa. The governor told the sold-out crowd, “the most important human rights cause of our time [is] protecting unborn human lives from the atrocity of abortion.”
“All life is precious and worthy of the protection of our laws,” Reynolds added. “Everyone understands that a heartbeat signifies life, and we understand that when it falls silent, something precious has been lost.”
Reynolds also acknowledged with gratitude who was in the audience— pro-life activists, saying, “You have lifted us in prayer, grounded me in God’s Word, and reminded me that He is always in control.”
I was privileged to be at that event and to meet Governor Reynolds. The crowd went crazy in applause for the governor and for the at least 50 pro-life legislators flanked her as she signed this bill.
One of the other speakers at the Summit was Pastor Alistair Begg who did a session on the importance of having a biblical worldview. As he wrapped up his remarks, he gave three words that he said should characterize leaders: integrity, bravery, and humility.
From what I can discern about Governor Kim Reynolds, especially after listening to numerous Iowans who actually know her quite well, she epitomizes these characteristics. Because of her, people like me have “governor envy,” as we consider what Wisconsin could be like if we had leaders anywhere in our government who were people of integrity, bravery, and humility.
These are leaders who do the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, for the right reason, even if no one is watching— that’s integrity. Such leaders have the courage of their convictions and are willing to do hard things in the face of adversity because doing right is always good and right.
Leaders in every walk of life who exhibit integrity, bravery, and humility are rare indeed, and the world is starved for them. We are doing all we can to help develop these types of leaders this week during our LEAD Wisconsin teen worldview and leadership camp.
At LEAD Wisconsin, 125 teens are undergoing biblical worldview training and are having opportunities to develop leadership skills, all while being encouraged in word and example to be people who have integrity and who are brave and humble.
Who knows? Maybe from this week of LEAD Wisconsin will one day come another Kim Reynolds who will lead a state, business, church, or school well for the glory of God and the good of the people they are leading. We work and pray to that end.
Last week, Wisconsin Family Action (WFA) provided testimony in opposition to Assembly Bill 176, a bill authored by Republicans and supported by many others as co-sponsors. AB 176 would allow pharmacists to prescribe contraceptive drugs and devices. Currently, pharmacists in Wisconsin cannot prescribe any medication— none. But Republicans think prescribing potent contraceptive drugs is the one thing they should be able to prescribe and dispense.
Jack Hoogendyk, WFA’s Legislative & Policy Director, offered the testimony on behalf of WFA, including answering questions from committee members.
Hoogendyk began by noting that one of the main arguments being presented in support of the bill is that it will reduce poverty by addressing unintentional pregnancies. However, the solution to poverty is certainly not contraception.
“We acknowledge the public and personal cost of babies born to single moms, but allowing pharmacists to prescribe contraception is not the answer. One of, if not the best, antidotes to poverty is marriage. It certainly is not contraception. If this body is truly interested in reducing poverty in any kind of meaningful way, it will promote the Success Sequence, which is finish school, get a job, marry, and then have children,” he said.
Further, authorizing pharmacists to prescribe contraception promotes unmarried individuals to engage in sexual activity, at least to some degree, and contraception can fail, leading women to seek abortions. Some forms of contraception even cause a pre-implantation chemical abortion themselves.
Hoogendyk went on to explain problems with the language in the bill, such as the fact that it never uses the word “woman,” but rather “person” and “patient,” opening the door for men with malicious motives to obtain the drugs.
He also notes that contraception is not health care, as the bill suggests. “Contraception is about the personal choices and decisions of individual women, typically made under the advice and guidance of a doctor because of the potency of the pharmaceuticals involved. To talk in terms of this being about women’s health care is, at a minimum, disingenuous.”
Read the full testimony HERE.
This isn’t the first time this bill has been introduced; it’s at least the third time. Typically, the Assembly passes it, and fortunately, it dies in the Senate. However, that may not be the case this time, since the Senate version of the bill got assigned to a committee chaired by senators more favorable to the idea.
Ultimately, this bill would open the door to far more harm than good. Please pray that our elected officials have a change of heart and decide to defeat this bill.
Contact your assembly representative and senator and let them know your opinion on this bill. You can get full contact information for these officials HERE. Just put your address in the appropriate area at the top right. Your senator and representative info will pop up on the map.
A video from podcaster Tim Pool has been circulating on the internet after a well-known pro-choicer from a socialist YouTube channel debunked his own argument in a conversation about abortion.
Pool hosted Lance, a personality from a popular YouTube channel called “The Serfs.” When they reached the topic of abortion, Lance claimed that a woman should have “the choice” and “ultimate authority over what happens to her body.”
Pool responded by asking Lance if he believes a woman should be allowed to use meth while pregnant.
“Uh, I think if someone is doing meth while they’re pregnant, that it is completely acceptable for something like [child services] .…” said Lance.
“It’s her body, though…If she wants to do meth, what’s the big deal?” Pool replied, pointing out the flaw in his argument.
“Uh, the big deal is that it’s – she’s intentionally trying to kill a child,” Lance said.
After a short moment of silence, Pool said, “Hold on there a minute,” and Lance immediately recognized the unrecoverable error he had made in admitting that the unborn are fully human.
Some on the left have become so accustomed to simply espousing leftist talking points that they’ve failed to logically reason through their own positions.
Clearly, Lance isn’t actually pro-abortion/pro-choice, as he doesn’t believe a mother should be able to intentionally kill her child in the womb. He has been indoctrinated by the left into believing that women need abortion to obtain freedom and equality, as so many others have similarly been deceived. In reality, freedom can only be found in the truth, and the truth is that the preborn have the same God-given rights as every person of any age because from the moment of conception, a unique human being is formed.
Conversations such as this are crucial for the defense of the preborn. When faced with the brutal facts about abortion and forced to follow the logical progression of the pro-choice/pro-abortion position, many so-called “pro-choicers” would likely recognize similar flaws in their own viewpoints.
Pro-lifers need to be willing to sit down with pro-abortion proponents and demonstrate the incoherence of the pro-abortion worldview by simply asking the right questions. In doing so, their worldview will fall apart on its own.
In addition to the excellent question Tim Pool used to help Lance recognize that he isn’t pro-“choice” after all, pro-lifers should be asking those on the left the following questions, not in a combative way, but in a conversational, genial manner: When does life begin? At what stage of development should an unborn child have human rights, if not at conception? What confers humans their value? If life in the womb isn’t human, then what is it? If life in the womb is part of a woman’s body, why does it have its own unique DNA? Does a woman have two hearts, two sets of fingerprints, two blood types, and two sets of DNA? What happens when we begin allowing certain groups of people human rights and denying others those same rights?
Finally, while knowing the facts and asking the right questions is crucial, we also need to pray that God will transform the hearts and minds of those who don’t yet recognize the humanity of the unborn. Even with all of the right information, a hardened heart can be blinded by the lies coming from the forces of darkness in our culture.
This exchange between Lance and Pool is an excellent reminder that the truth must be proclaimed – and it can stand on its own. The truth doesn’t mind being questioned, but a lie doesn’t like being challenged. Our job as Christians and pro-lifers is to expose the lies of the left and allow the truth to take their place.
Last Thursday, Dane County Circuit Judge Diane Schlipper heard oral arguments in the case that challenges the enforceability of Wisconsin’s pre-Roe law that prohibits most abortions. Schlipper heard oral arguments for over 90 minutes, but has not yet released a decision.
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul filed the lawsuit within days of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in June last year. The defendants in the lawsuit are the district attorneys from Sheboygan, Milwaukee, and Madison—all places where surgical or induced abortions were being performed before Roe was overturned.
The defendants argued the judge should dismiss the lawsuit because Kaul lacks the legal standing to bring the lawsuit, as the ban does not affect his ability to carry out his duties as attorney general.
Attorney Matthew Thome argued that modern-day laws that restrict abortion, such as the 1985 post-viability restriction, can act in “harmony” with the ban. Thome also implored the judge to “get back to principles,” noting that the legislature decided not to repeal the abortion ban,and Schlipper should respect the rightful place of the legislature to enact these laws instead of imposing her own opinion.
The case will undoubtedly end up before the state Supreme Court, which by August, will have a 4-3 liberal majority.
Until then, innocent lives are being saved every day while the abortion prohibition is in place. Please pray that everyone involved in this case recognizes the humanity of the unborn and rules according to God’s will.
Christian Post reports that a recent survey from the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University indicates over 69% of Americans identify as Christians. However, only 4% of Americans have a biblical worldview, which is defined as a means of experiencing, interpreting, and responding to reality in light of biblical perspectives so that every decision is consistent with God’s principles and commands.
Simultaneously, the percentage of believers who say they “have a unique, God-given purpose or calling” has decreased from 88% to 46%. The percentage of those who claim they are “deeply committed to practicing” their faith has fallen from 85% to 50%.
This is sobering news, and it indicates that the culture is shaping Christians more than Christians are shaping the culture. However, this can be remedied as Christians study God’s Word daily and seek His wisdom. And of course, families reading and studying the Bible together is one of the best ways to instill a biblical worldview in the next generation.
“A biblical worldview is critical because that’s what enables you to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ,” said George Barna, the director of research at the Cultural Research Center. “If that’s your goal in life, what you’re saying is ‘I want to think like Jesus so that I can live like Jesus. But in order to do that, notice first, as Romans 12 talks to us about, you have to have your mind ‘renewed,’ you must be ‘transformed’ by that ‘renewing of your mind’ with God’s principles at the core of all of your thoughts so that you can in fact live like Christ.”
Thankfully, the findings of the study aren’t all bad. The good news is that those who are devout Christians are more involved than ever before in the political sphere.
In 2020, a staggering 99% of spiritually active and politically engaged conservatives turned out to vote.
“[There is a] core of Bible-believing Christians in America who don’t want to just sit and tell other people what to do, but they want to make things happen,” said Barna. “I’ve been doing this in politics for 40 something years now, been involved in a lot of national elections, worked with four presidential candidates. I’ve never seen anything like that. So it’s unprecedented. But it’s because they feel that this is an urgent time. This is not a time to sit back. If you care about the country, if you care about the kingdom, you’ve got to dig in.”
Christians, now is the time to not only stay involved politically, but to encourage fellow believers who have been influenced by our secular culture to re-engage with God’s Word. The only way to make real, lasting change is to point one another to the Source of Truth!
In early March, four 9th grade girls at East High School (EHS) in the Sun Prairie Area School District (SPASD) used the shower area in their locker room after their physical-education class. Because transgender ideology has permeated Wisconsin schools, the girls experienced a grave violation of their privacy. Thankfully, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) is taking a stand for the victims and demanding answers.
As the girls began to shower in their swimsuits after swim class, an 18-year-old male student entered the shower area and told the girls he was “trans.” Then, the male student fully undressed, completely exposing himself to these freshmen girls.
Parents of the girls alerted the school district of the incident, but administrators failed to address the issue and provided a “completely inadequate” response, according to WILL. Under federal law, school administrators should have reported the incident to the Title IX coordinator right away. Then, the coordinator should have contacted the four girls and helped them file a complaint. However, no one contacted the girls or launched an investigation.
After several requests, the girls’ parents were finally able to meet with school administrators to discuss the incident over a month after it occurred. However, no one was able to provide answers to the parents’ questions. District staff simply referenced a “policy” that they claimed addresses this situation, but they did not identify, describe, or bring the policy to the meeting.
Several days later, the EHS principal sent a copy of a “Restroom and Locker Room Accessibility Guidance” policy to one of the parents, but according to WILL, there is no “indication that this policy has ever been in effect, was in effect on March 3, or was ever approved by the School Board.”
Further, the guidance document allows males to use the girls’ locker room regardless of the comfort of female students. The guidance only says that if a male requests to use the women’s locker room, then school administrators will evaluate and respond to the request on a “case-by-case basis.” However, “What if there is no such request? Is permission to use the girls’ locker room required? Who evaluates whether access will be permitted? The policy does not answer these questions,” noted WILL in a letter to the district.
WILL went on to ask administrators to implement policies that will immediately protect the privacy and safety of students, noting that the school violated Title IX.
“Under the Title IX regulations, sex discrimination encompasses sexual harassment, which includes unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe that it effectively denies a person equal access to the education program. Here, four freshman girls taking a shower in their swimsuits in what is supposed to be a private and safe space, were exposed to the male genitals of a senior student against their will. Considering student development, high school being a relatively new environment for freshman girls, the power dynamics between not only a biological male and female but between a senior and a freshman, and student safety, the age difference of the students here is relevant,” reads the letter.
WILL is also demanding that the district offer supportive measures to victims of sexual harassment, provide victims an opportunity to file a complaint, conduct investigations of such cases, re-train district staff, hold accountable the staff that failed to uphold students’ rights, and adjust district policies and guidance documents to protect students.
“School districts need to think through what loosening boundaries for single-sex spaces could mean for girls. Parents are understandably concerned about whether school districts—like the Sun Prairie Area School District—are doing everything required to protect girls in bathrooms and locker rooms,” said Libby Sobic, WILL Director of Education Policy. This incident is what inevitably happens when policy is rooted in ideology rather than reality, common sense, and the right to personal, bodily privacy. No student should have to fear sexual harassment while using a bathroom or locker room at school.
Hopefully this case serves as yet another wake-up call for parents whose children are in a government school. If this happened in Sun Prairie (a “bedroom community” of Madison), it can happen in most any school in our state. From what we can tell, this young man was not dressed like a girl, he simply announced that he was “trans.” Students don’t have to do anything in most schools to “prove” they are “trans.” They just have to announce it. Parents, for the well-being of their children, need to know what the school’s policies are, how they are being enforced, and keep open and frequent communication with their children on this issue.
If WILL doesn’t get the right response from SPASD, we would assume they will sue the district, making this another poignant lesson for all Wisconsin schools. Special rights and protections for “trans” students cannot violate the fundamental rights of “non-trans” students, with girls being the most vulnerable in these situations.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for a monumental religious liberty case on April 18th. Groff v. DeJoy is an important opportunity for the High Court to affirm the right of employees to honor their religious beliefs and the duty of employers to grant reasonable religious accommodations.
Christian mail carrier Gerald Groff requested the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for a religious accommodation that would excuse him from working on Sundays after they started doing Amazon package deliveries so that he could observe the Sabbath and live by his Christian faith. The fact that regular mail isn’t delivered by the USPS on Sundays was a major factor in Groff’s choosing to work there over a decade ago. USPS refused to grant him the accommodation and Groff chose to resign rather than be fired.
Groff is appealing to the Supreme Court in hopes it will overturn its erroneous 1977 precedent in Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison, which enabled employers to deny religious accommodations.
Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief in the case asking the Supreme Court to restore Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which provides protection against religious discrimination.
“This Court should overrule the interpretation in Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison that Title VII does not require an employer to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs if doing so would impose more than a de minimis burden on the employer. Hardison’s de minimis standard—found nowhere in the Title VII’s text or legislative history—has led to absurd results, allowing employers to discriminate against religious employees with impunity, thereby forcing workers to choose between their religious beliefs and their jobs,” reads the amicus brief.
The Supreme Court justices spent much of the hearing debating the exact meanings of “undue hardship” and “de minimis.”
Groff’s attorney, Aaron Streett, recommended that the justices “construe undue hardship according to its plain text to mean significant difficulty or expense,” which would be consistent with the language in the accommodation standard of the “Americans with Disabilities Act.”
Arguing on behalf of the Biden administration, Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar told the court that Hardison adequately protects religious exercise, to which Justice Samuel Alito responded, “I’m really struck by that because we have amicus briefs here by many representatives of many minority religions, Muslims, Hindus, Orthodox Jews, Seventh Day Adventists, and they all say that is just not true, and that Hardison has violated their right to religious liberty.”
Chief Justice John Roberts spoke about changes in religious liberty case law since the Hardison ruling, arguing that religious protections had been expanded.
Thankfully, it appears that the conservative justices are poised to rule in favor of Groff and the religious liberty of every employee. The Supreme Court is expected to rule over this case by the summer.
At the state level, another religious liberty case will soon be heard by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. After the state refused to grant a Catholic charity legal recognition as a religious organization, the charity filed a lawsuit. Without legal recognition as an organization “operated primarily for religious purposes,” the charity is unable to use a Church-run unemployment system and instead must provide funds to the state-run unemployment system.
Although the Diocese of Superior operates the charity, the state refused to grant it its legal rights because it does not consider providing services to the poor, disabled, and elderly to be a primarily religious function. Catholic Charities Bureau is arguing that caring for those in need is central to the practice of the Catholic faith. WFA has filed an amicus brief in support of Catholic Charities Bureau.
Please pray that our justices make decisions informed by the Constitution and our nation’s founding principles in both of these cases. If religious liberty is to be truly honored in Wisconsin and the nation at large, the justices must rule accordingly in these cases.
As radical gender ideology continues to spread throughout health care in the U.S., the left is taking aim at practices that stand in its way while disregarding First Amendment freedoms and the needs of people.
Currently, 20 states have banned the intentionally misnamed “conversion therapy,” which is actually just the practice of providing counseling to help individuals with same-sex attraction or gender confusion reorient in synch with their God-given sexuality. However, the name “conversion therapy” – a misnomer much like “reproductive health care” in relation to abortion – is intentionally used by the left to conjure up images of patients being effectively tortured, badgered, or bullied into renouncing homosexual interests or abandoning transgenderism.
Banning counseling efforts to guide a patient through struggles with their sexual orientation is a direct violation of free speech, freedom of religion, and patients’ freedom to seek the treatment they want. It also threatens parents’ rights to direct the mental health care and education of their children.
Some on the left are even attempting to expand the definition of “conversion therapy” to include any form of opposition to homosexuality and transgenderism. Doing so could criminalize even private conversations in which individuals advocate for abstinence from homosexuality or Biblical sermons on God’s design for human sexuality.
Those struggling with any mental health problem need guidance rooted in Truth and reality, not in lies rooted in the baseless religion of progressivism.
Despite the lack of data regarding the psychological ramifications of the “gender-affirming” approach, and the growing body of evidence that this method doesn’t remedy mental health problems, the left wants “affirmation” to be the only therapy available to struggling minors.
Thankfully, a U.S. district court has ordered the city of Boca Raton, Florida, to pay a combined $75,000 in damages to two therapists, while also ordering Palm Beach County to pay a fine of $100,000 for passing so-called “conversion therapy” bans for minors seeking help with unwanted homosexual attraction.
Boca Raton and Palm Beach County passed laws prohibiting conversion therapy for minors in 2017. The two plaintiffs, marriage and family therapists Robert Otto and Julie Hamilton, filed lawsuits arguing that their therapy was voluntary and focused on reducing unwanted homosexual attraction rather than changing the client.
Liberty Counsel, which represented the plaintiffs, said in a statement that the judge’s order sets a “precedent that minors who are struggling with gender confusion can get the help they need from counselors who are free from political censorship” and it should “be a warning to any government that has not repealed similar counseling bans.”
Several municipalities in Wisconsin have audaciously enacted these bans that blatantly violate counselors’ First Amendment freedoms and rob confused minors of the real help and hope they need. Hopefully, these local governments in our state pay attention to this case and reverse course.
As Christians, obeying God and loving our neighbor require us to call out sin and point one another to God’s Word. The left has no right to stand in the way of our allegiance to God with laws enforcing anti-Christian beliefs about gender and sexuality. Please pray that this case is the first of many victories when it comes to restoring religious liberty and free speech in mental health care and the Wisconsin communities where these bans have been enacted will indeed do the right thing and revoke such policies.
Once again, the Biden administration is promoting mass delusion at the expense of women’s rights. Males have stolen at least 30 titles from female athletes between 2003 and 2022, and if the Biden administration has its way, many more titles could be stolen in the near future.
Last week, Biden officials announced a proposed regulation allowing students to participate in sports teams “consistent with their gender identity.” In other words, boys who “identify” as girls could compete among and against girls in girls’ and women’s sports.
The rule also lowers the age of application to kindergarten, dangerously attempting to normalize the idea that elementary-aged children can fully understand the implications of “identifying” as the opposite sex.
The regulation would override state laws protecting female student athletes from being forced to compete against or share a locker room with men. It would also bar federally-funded schools from implementing a “categorical ban” on boys who “identify” as girls from participating in girls’ sports.
Currently, 19 states have passed legislation to protect women’s sports in recent months, but those new laws would all be nullified with Biden’s new proposal.
While the Biden administration claims it will allow schools some “flexibility,” pro-family advocates believe schools will face federal intervention over poorly-defined offenses. For example, the proposed rule states that schools may only lock men out of the women’s locker rooms if it is “substantially related to the achievement of an important educational objective,” and schools must “minimize harms” to any student excluded from participating in sports with the opposite sex.
“Without a doubt, institutions are going to err on the side of ‘inclusion,’ because they fear the wrath of the Education Department — thus, achieving the Department’s end goal while allowing them to maintain plausible deniability that they coerced districts into doing so,” said Nicole Neily, founder of Parents Defending Education.
Title IX was initially implemented to protect opportunities that were previously denied to women and girls. However, the Biden administration’s new rule would unravel Title IX. If it takes effect, women’s sports, at least in schools, could be eradicated. Sports will soon “be divided into a team of men and a team of folks who used to be men, while women are sidelined from the opportunity to compete,” as Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) puts it.
Biological realities tell us that it’s entirely illogical to allow men to compete against women in sports and pretend that the competition is fair. When competing against women, men boast an advantage even greater than if an athlete were taking performance enhancing drugs. Men have 10-30 percent greater muscle strength, greater bone density, better oxygen efficiency, larger heart and lungs, and 10 percent more overall body mass, among other advantages.
“The Department of Education’s rewriting of Title IX degrades women and tells them that their athletic goals and placements do not matter,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Christiana Kiefer. “The Biden administration’s proposed rules are a slap in the face to female athletes who deserve equal opportunity to compete in their sports.”
Wisconsin legislators last session introduced bills designed to protect women’s and girls’ sports at both the K-12 and collegiate levels. The Assembly passed the bills, but the Senate did not take either of them up. In this current session, no bills dealing with this issue have yet been introduced.
After the Biden administration officially publishes the rule, Americans will have 30 days to provide comments before officials decide if the rule will be officially adopted. We will be sure to let you know when the 30-day window opens. Conservatives must make it clear that we will not allow the respect and dignity of female athletes to be violated at the behest of gender-confused men and a delusional administration.
Since 2011, the American Bible Society (ABS) has been issuing an annual report entitled State of the Bible USA. Earlier this month, ABS released the first installment of its 2023 report, which tracks key metrics about Scripture engagement, Bible use, and perceptions of the Bible in America. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the newly released report shows a continued downward trajectory in Scripture engagement, which is not good for America in just about any way we can think of. The good news is that this is a reversible trend.
While our founders and founding documents were undoubtedly very influenced by Christian principles, sadly, over the years, our nation has become less and less overtly Christian, and part of that is because of the diminishing influence of the Bible in every aspect of our culture.Christianity cannot thrive when its definitive authority, the Bible, is not accepted and genuinely adhered to by the faith’s followers.
We’ve known for years that biblical literacy is waning. In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down any compulsory Bible reading in public schools. In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court also decided public schools couldn’t display the Ten Commandments in a classroom or anywhere else in a school.
These Supreme Court decisions along with a number of other cultural happenings, including the breakdown of the family unit, pretty much ensured that upcoming generations would be unfamiliar with biblical teachings and disengaged from Scripture.
The State of the Bible USA report documents these unfortunate realities. Putting people into three broad categories—Bible Disengaged, Moveable Middle, and Scripture Engaged—the report looks for trends, both favorable and unfavorable. This year, the first chapter of the report says the data collected suggests three things. First, when people engage deeply with the Bible, their lives and relationships are better. In other words, they flourish. Second, fewer people in America are engaging with the Bible. Scripture engagement is not rising yet; it continues on a downward trajectory. And third, there are signs of hope. The Movable Middle has rebounded, and Bible disengagement has fallen in the past year.
The reality is America cannot sustain its republican form of government with “we the people” as the central characters, its free-enterprise, capitalistic economy, and its unprecedented wealth and freedom long-term without the influence of the Bible and its clear teachings on what true Christianity is. John Adams told us early on that “[o]ur Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” At that time, Adams knew people understood he was talking about Christianity and the Bible when he referenced “a moral and religious people.”
Thankfully, the loss of the influence of the Bible in our country can be reversed. That reversing won’t happen in public schools, to be sure, even if the courts decided to reverse course on Bible reading and posting of the Ten Commandments in those schools. However, as dads and moms make the Bible an integral part of their personal and their family’s daily lives, the next generation will become more biblically literate and more Scripturally engaged. Churches should help families in this area in really practical ways; but ultimately, we reverse this dangerous trend one family at a time.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Parents Bill of Rights Act by a vote of 213-208 “to ensure the rights of parents are honored and protected in the Nation’s public schools,” according to the bill’s text. Wisconsin’s six Republican representatives (Bryan Steil, Derrick Van Orden, Scott Fitzgerald, Glenn Grothman, Tom Tiffany, Mike Gallagher) voted in favor of the bill, while the two Democrats (Mark Pocan, Gwen Moore) voted against it.
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) urged his colleagues to vote for the bill, saying that it would empower parents to always remain aware of what their children are learning in school and how their taxpayer money is being spent.
“Once you are a parent, you will give your life for your child,” said McCarthy. “You have a right to get the basic information about your children’s education….the Parents Bill of Rights is an important step towards protecting children and dramatically strengthening the rights of parents.”
The Parents Bill of Rights outlines five key rights that all parents nationwide should have, including the right to know what’s being taught in schools and to see reading material, the right to be heard, the right to see a school’s budget and spending, the right to protect their child’s privacy, and the right to be updated on any violent activity at school.
This is common sense legislation that would help protect children from activist teaching by empowering parents to be involved.
This bill comes in response to the many school districts across the country, including a numbere in Wisconsin, that have been caught hiding or withholding pertinent information about students from their parents.
For example, last year the Eau Claire Area School District was sued for directing teachers and school staff to allow students to change their preferred pronouns, name, and “gender identity” without parental involvement.
Similarly, in November of 2021, the Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD) was sued for a policy that allows minor students to “transition genders” at school, even despite the parents’ objection. A hearing for this case is scheduled for April 19th, and a ruling is expected in the late spring or summer.
In a third case, the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) was sued for its policies that allow children to change their “gender identity” at school without parental notice or consent. The policy also instructs district staff to hide information about students’ “gender identity” from parents. This case is ongoing after the Wisconsin Supreme Court sent it back to the Dane County Circuit Court for further action.
Across the nation, there are at least 6,000 schools that allow or require teachers to hide students’ “gender identity” from parents. Clearly, a parental bill of rights is urgently needed.
While the Wisconsin Constitution protects the “inherent right” of parents to “direct the upbringing and education of children under their control,” it’s clear that parental rights need more protection. A relatively strong Parents’ Rights Bill passed in the Wisconsin legislature last session, but Governor Evers vetoed it. The Assembly author, Rep. Rick Gundrum (R-Slinger), has indicated an interest in introducing the bill again this session.
While legislation can certainly help, parents should never rely on it alone to keep their children safe from harmful ideologies. Parents should always remain deeply involved and keenly aware of what is going on in the classroom and during any meetings with school staff. For the sake of children’s safety and well-being, parents must be the primary decision-makers when it comes to their children’s upbringing, education, and mental health.
It’s also crucial that parents make their voices heard during this year’s Supreme Court election on April 4th. The balance of our State Supreme Court is on the line, which is our last chance and our strongest defense against liberal policies that have resulted in gross violations of parental rights and put our children at great risk in public schools.
The upcoming Wisconsin Supreme Court race is breaking campaign spending records. Outside groups have donated millions of dollars in what is already the most expensive supreme court race in the history of not just Wisconsin, but the nation. Candidates and outside groups have already spent over $20 million in television and radio ads alone, and we have a week to go. While much of the donations are in support of pro-abortion candidate Janet Protasiewicz, WFA-backed candidate Daniel Kelly is receiving significant support from pro-life groups.
Women Speak Out PAC, a partner of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, has committed $2 million to support Justice Daniel Kelly.
The donation will help pay for canvassing, digital ads, and a statewide TV spot, highlighting No Jail Janet’s soft-on-crime record.
In a press release, Women Speak Out PAC’s Director of State Public Affairs Kelsey Pritchard is urging voters to turn out in support of Kelly, as Wisconsin’s abortion ban is on the line.
“Janet Protasiewicz has a horrific record on crime with a history of being soft on sex offenders. Someone with her dangerous lack of judgment should not be entrusted with the responsibilities of a state Supreme Court justice.”
“Based on the statements Protasiewicz has made throughout this campaign,” she continued “the Constitution and the laws won’t stop her from ruling based on the whims of her own flawed judgment in order to carry out Planned Parenthood’s agenda to eliminate parental rights for the sake of abortion on demand.”
Pritchard is right. Wisconsin’s abortion ban will go before the court, and whoever comes out on top on April 4th will likely be the fourth vote in support of life or abortion.
“The abortion industry couldn’t be more enthusiastic about Protasiewicz,” said CatholicVote Communications Director Joshua Mercer. “And they couldn’t hate Judge [sic] Dan Kelly more. But they’re absolutely right when they talk about how important this election is. [Christians] in Wisconsin absolutely have to get out and vote on April 4. It sounds hokey, but it’s more undeniable in this election than just about any other in my lifetime: lives depend on your vote.”
Wisconsin Family Action (WFA) is also backing Kelly with an election campaign. WFA recently launched a $225,000 election campaign.
WFA’s targeted, statewide, multi-media express advocacy campaign encourages Wisconsin voters to vote and to vote for Kelly. The express advocacy ads educate voters about the judicial philosophy of each candidate and seek to motivate them to cast their ballots accordingly.
Thankfully, other pro-life groups have joined us in supporting Kelly, who is endorsed by all three pro-life groups in Wisconsin. WFA, Pro-Life Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Right to Life are all urging pro-lifers to elect Kelly, pointing to his outstanding track record of judicial conservatism, clearly showing he is not a judicial activist seeking to make law from the bench.
As Christians and pro-lifers, we have a duty to do everything in our power to elect the only candidate who will preserve the rule of law and respect the Constitution.
While not everyone can make financial contributions to this race, we all can play a role in electing Kelly by sharing the truth about the candidates and getting as many Christians to the polls as possible. Innocent lives depend on it.