Last week, as part of its “America Together: LBGTQ+ Pride Month” series, Fox News highlighted the story of a 14-year-old girl who was “transitioned” by her parents when she was just a toddler. Many viewers of the popular outlet, which is often seen as one of the only conservative-friendly mass media corporations, have been rightly extremely disappointed.
The segment claims that the child had chosen her gender as a toddler. “Before Ryland could even speak, ‘he’ managed to tell his parents that he is a boy,” reported Fox.
The outlet promoted the false notion that children can choose their sex and that subjecting them to harmful, experimental procedures is morally permissible. It even argued that administering puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones can protect them from suicide.
As we know, this is far from the truth. In fact, a recent Heritage study found the opposite to be true. Increased access to puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones has led to increased risk for suicide among youth.
“Starting in 2010, when puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones became widely available, elevated suicide rates in states where minors can more easily access those medical interventions became observable. Rather than being protective against suicide, this pattern indicates that easier access by minors to cross-sex medical interventions without parental consent is associated with higher risk of suicide,” reads the study.
Fox News’ recent segment is an unfortunate example of the danger in blindly following any “conservative” or even “Christian” outlet or pundit. We must each discern the truth for ourselves and judge every argument not solely based on its source, but on its individual merit.
As Christians, we must rely on God’s Word alone and judge sources and their statements based on whether they align with biblical truths. On this particular issue, Scripture is abundantly clear that God gave each of us our biological sex at the moment of conception, and He does not make mistakes.
Unfortunately, this is not the message young children are learning from our culture. Drag queens are grooming Wisconsin children in Milwaukee, Fort Atkinson, and now Watertown, teaching them to engage in unrestrained self-expression and indulge in selfish desires.
On July 16th, Unity Project will be hosting a “Pride in the Park” event in Watertown featuring a drag show. All of this is part of the left’s attempt to redefine gender and sexualize young children.
Children need legislative protection from the woke culture encouraging them to question their gender and sexuality. Last year, WFA supported Senate Bill 915, which would have prohibited health care providers from offering gender “transition” procedures to children under the age of 18.
This bill didn’t move this session, but the authors are committed to bringing it back next session. Sadly, in the meantime, Wisconsin children are currently left unprotected. This means that parents need to be as vigilant as ever and shield their children from drag shows and leftist propaganda that is bound to leave them confused about human sexuality.
Carl R. Trueman has a poignant quote for these times: “The moral vision here is that whatever makes the modern man or woman happy and which technology makes…possible must be good. That may be the spirit of the age, but it is not the spirit of conservatism.” We would add that it also is not the “spirit” of true, biblical Christianity.
The good news is, we have an election this year. In August, voters can make their primary selections and in November we will have a statewide general election. This is the perfect opportunity for voters to select candidates who are prepared to advance critical legislation like SB 915 to protect our children.
Raise your voices, talk to your neighbors, volunteer for candidates who hold family values and a respect for God’s design
Divorce has become so prevalent that we often forget how harmful it is to children.
Statistically, children with divorced parents suffer in all areas of life. They are more likely to develop behavioral problems, struggle academically, commit crime, live in poverty, abuse drugs and alcohol, experience illness, and suffer from psychological distress.
Demographic Research claims that divorce has an even greater impact on children than parental death when it comes to their education.
Unfortunately, state laws are not helping the millions of children who will suffer from broken families. With no-fault divorce laws, marriages are now easier to end than cell phone contracts, and they reflect the ever-growing belief that all that matters is what the adults want—what they “need” to be “happy”—regardless of what is best for the children.
Wisconsin in particular has the worst combination of divorce laws in the country. Since the early 80s, Wisconsin couples have been able to divorce without presenting allegations or evidence of fault.
Since the no-fault laws passed, no judge in Wisconsin has denied a divorce. Why? Because there is no legal way for a judge to deny a divorce under our current law.
Each year, thousands of minor children are directly impacted—as truly innocent victims—by divorce in the Badger State.
For the past three sessions, Republican legislators have introduced a bill we dubbed the “divorce-today-remarry-tomorrow” bill. This session, it was Assembly Bill 79. The proposal would have completely eliminated Wisconsin’s six-month waiting period after a divorce before a remarriage. Fortunately, for the third time, Wisconsin Family Action successfully killed this bill that would further erode the institution of marriage and would certainly hurt minor children.
In the last two sessions, we offered two ideas for amendments. The first proposal was to refrain from completely eliminating the waiting period and instead reduce it to three months (or some other reasonable amount of time). Our second offer was to keep a serious waiting period for couples with minor children—because it’s the children who are most traumatized by all that transpires in these tragic situations.
The Assembly rejected the ideas and passed the bill as originally proposed. In this current session, the bill died in the Senate, as it had in the previous session. Marriage counselors and therapists have repeatedly told us the waiting period after a divorce should be longer, not shorter, because of the stress that happens during a divorce proceeding. Changing this waiting period is all about adult desires trumping what is best for children.
On a practical level, we know that every divorce brings both a social and financial cost to the entire society.
Divorce undermines the sacred institution of marriage and weakens the family unit. A weak family unit results in a tumultuous society that rests on a crumbling foundation.
After a divorce, the custodial parent’s income decreases significantly. Families of divorce are nearly five times more likely to live in poverty than those with married parents.
Most notably, divorce causes children to suffer from emotional wounds that affect them for the rest of their lives. They are left with severe deficiencies as they lack a stable home environment while they are most vulnerable.
In order to protect children and honor the sacred institution of marriage, Wisconsin needs to reform its divorce laws in a way that will better protect children. If it means bringing fault back into the process, then we should strongly consider that abuse, abandonment, or adultery should be back on the table as faults. We certainly don’t need to eliminate completely the waiting period after a divorce before a remarriage—in particular for couples with minor children. That would just make matters worse.
When children are involved, adult desires must be secondary to what is truly in the best interest of the children. The bottom line is we need a return to the belief that marriage, as designed by God, is a lifelong, monogamous relationship between one man and one woman, generally not intended to be broken except by the death of one of the spouses.
Tuesday’s non-partisan spring general election provided one big lesson for Wisconsin: parents are catching on to what is happening in public schools. Conservative school board candidates had a banner night on Tuesday, winning all the available seats in Wausau, Manitowoc, Waukesha, Menomonee falls, Elm Brook New Berlin, Mukwonago, Kewaskum, West Bend, and Germantown, just to name a few. Conservatives made gains in many more school districts across the state by displacing incumbent liberals and flipping county boards, city councils, and school boards.
In Brown County, three of the seven candidates WFA PAC endorsed won, and in Kenosha County, conservatives flipped the county board and also won three seats on the School Board. Cedarburg School District and Wausau also favored conservatives, as three of four conservative candidates that WFA, Inc.,encouraged people to vote for won in both areas.
Education has been the major issue in elections since last year when Terry McAuliffe, Democrat candidate for governor of Virginia said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” He lost the Virginia governor’s race because of that rare moment of honesty. Shortly after that, President Biden’s education secretary, Miguel Cardona, was asked if he thought parents are the primary stakeholder in their children’s education. He responded that they were “a stakeholder,” but refused to say that they were the primary stakeholder.
Then earlier this year, right here in Wisconsin, we had Representative Lee Snodgrass, a Democrat from Appleton, tweet, “If parents want to ‘have a say’ in their child’s education, they should home school or pay for private school tuition out of their family budget.” Well, it turns out that on Tuesday, parents got to have a say after all.
The tone deafness coming from the left about our children’s education continues, however. Right now, many public school districts in Wisconsin are, as a policy, trying to put parents in the back seat of their children’s education. One of the worst examples comes out of Eau Claire, where the school district held a training event that told school staff, “Facilitators, guide this discussion [about sexual and gender identity]. Remember, parents are not entitled to know their kids’ identities. That knowledge must be earned.” As if this was not shocking and inappropriate enough, the same school-sponsored event went on to characterize a parent’s objection to a child transitioning their gender away from God’s design as weaponizing religion.”
It is important to remember that God entrusts children to their parents, not to the government. Parents are responsible for raising up a child in the way he/she should go, which includes being responsible for and making decisions about, the child’s schooling. Hopefully, this Tuesday’s election results are taking us a few steps closer to putting parents back in control of their children’s education.
In spite of the fact that experts say time has expired on enshrining the so-called “Equal Rights Amendment” (ERA) as the 28th Amendment to our US Constitution, a number of Democrats are still working aggressively to that end.
The ERA allegedly aims to guarantee equal rights for men and women. It reads, “equality of rights under law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Proponents of the ERA seems to overlook the 1964 Civil Rights Act which already prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, among other things, and the left is no longer hiding that the ERA is simply a vehicle to enshrine abortion on-demand and transgenderism into our federal laws.
Many Democrats, however, are today refusing to define the term “woman,” despite the fact that biology and common sense provide a clear definition. This, of course, begs the question: what’s the point of the ERA?
During this week’s confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, Sen. Marsha Blackburn asked the judge to define the word “woman.” “Can I provide a definition? No, I can’t,” responded Jackson. Throughout the course of the hearing, however, Jackson repeatedly used the word woman.
Blackburn pointed out the danger in the left’s unwillingness to differentiate the sexes. “Just last week, an entire generation of young girls watched as our taxpayer-funded institutions permitted a biological man to compete and beat a biological woman in the NCAA Swimming Championships,” said Blackburn.
The public is told not to trust their eyes, but to call a man with XY chromosomes a woman simply because the transgender revolutionaries say he’s a woman. “The case of this collegiate swimmer reveals nothing less than a deep insanity that is now gripping our culture…It is a communal act of mass delusion,” said Albert Mohler.
Further perpetuating this mass delusion, USA Today recently included Rachel Levine, a biological man, in its “women of the year” list. Along with the rest of the cultural elites, the outlet seems to not know what a woman is.
What, then, we ask again, is the point of an Equal Rights Amendment? If men can be women and women can be men, why do both sexes need distinct protections? Democrats are pretending that the line between men and women is blurred yet want to solidify the line when it suits them, like when there’s an opportunity to push their progressive agenda in other areas. The ERA is a perfect example of this opportunist flip-flopping; proponents of the ERA claim that its passage is absolutely necessary for “women’s rights,” which in this context, conveniently translates into the federal codification of Roe v. Wade.
History has demonstrated time and time again that when we subvert nature and God’s design, our actions end in disaster.
As we prepare for the upcoming spring and fall elections, we should consider this issue and vote in accordance with biblical principles. Our elected officials should, at the very least, be able to define the word woman. They should honor God’s creative design and recognize that men and women were created differently and distinctly, each with a unique purpose. God does not make mistakes, and no one gets to choose their gender.
The good news is that there are Christ-centered candidates who reject the lies of the left and are willing to stand up to the progressive mob. We have an opportunity this year to change the trajectory of our communities and state by electing leaders who value truth over ideology, leaders who haven’t fallen prey to the delusions of the day.
If you need a biblical worldview on this issue, we urge you to “put your ears on” and “gird up the loins of your mind” (I Peter 1:13, KJV)and listen to Dr. Mohler. Take 23 minutes to do so and you will be glad you did.
Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological male, was permitted to compete at the NCAA Women’s Championships last week where he dominated his competition.
Thomas took first place in the 500 free event and the Thursday morning qualifier, beating the second-place competitor by nearly 3 seconds, a larger gap than the time difference between the second and eleventh place finishers.
While competing on a men’s team for three years, Thomas was ranked No. 462 nationally. Now that he is competing among women, he is ranked No. 1.
It’s abundantly clear that Thomas is cheating, and men do not belong in women’s sports. His gender identity is irrelevant to the question of whether or not it is fair for him to compete against women. The only thing that matters is his biology.
We know that men possess innate physical advantages over women. Ross Tucker of the Science of Sport podcast explains that “[m]ale bodies have 10-30 percent greater muscle strength, greater bone density, better oxygen efficiency, larger heart and lungs, more efficient pelvic Q-angle and elbow angles, as well as 10 percent more overall body mass.”
USA Swimming released new rules for transgender swimmers that require men to show testosterone levels within a certain range in order to compete against women. However, this is not enough to level the playing field. The advantage that men hold cannot be reversed.
The woke athletic culture is making decisions based on ideology rather than reality. The reality is that Thomas boasts an advantage even greater than if an athlete were using performance enhancing drugs that would disqualify him/her from participating.
He is stealing titles and opportunities from deserving women who have worked tirelessly to be the best in their sport. He has also broken several records, meaning the women who held them previously no longer do.
“I’ve got a teammate who did not make the final today because she was just bumped out of finals,” said one swimmer. “It’s heartbreaking to see someone who went through puberty as a male and has the body of a male be able to absolutely blow away the competition.”
Women’s sports exist purely to create a level playing field for women because men have an undeniable, innate physical advantage. If biological men are allowed to compete against women, women’s sports are pointless. Unless we stop this gender ideology madness, women’s sports will soon be eradicated.
The Wisconsin State legislature tried to mitigate this issue through legislation, but two necessary bills failed to pass this session. Senate Bill 323 and its Assembly companion, Assembly Bill 195, would have prohibited all US System schools and all technical colleges from allowing biological males to compete on or in women’s athletic teams or competitions. Similarly, Senate Bill 322 and Assembly Bill 196 would have prohibited public schools, independent charter schools and private schools participating in the voucher program from allowing biological males to compete on or in girls’ athletic teams or competitions.
All of these bills passed in the assigned committees, but leadership in both the Assembly and the Senate never brought them to the floor for votes. Typically, that means that the majority party, which is the Republicans in both the Assembly and the Senate, did not have the votes from their own party to ensure passage. We also know had these bills made it to the governor’s desk, Tony Evers would have immediately vetoed any and all of them.
These bills need to be brought back in the new session that will begin in January 2023. But between now and then, Wisconsin citizens need to remember that elections have consequences. If we want to keep boys and men out of girls’ and women’s sports, then we need, at a minimum, a governor who will sign the bills.
A recent poll issued by the Marquette Law School revealed that many Wisconsin voters are in favor of expanding school choice and giving parents the right to decide where to send their children, regardless of family income. Fifty-nine percent supported “allowing all students statewide to use publicly funded vouchers to attend private or religious schools” while 37% opposed it. The number in support rose 18% from August 2020.
The poll also revealed that over half of the participants believed that schools are worse shape now compared to a few years ago, whereas in 2018, only 44% thought this was true. Furthermore, “47% of voters say the standards are lower than they should be,” which has remained consistent since early 2014.
With the introduction of Critical Race Theory (CRT), pro-LGBTQ+ curricula, and a shift from American classic novels and history to sexualized literature and education, many parents are frustrated with the public school system and are seeking alternatives.
Some more compelling evidence: another recent poll from RealClear Opinion Research discovered that an overwhelming 72% of voters nationally support school choice (up 8% from 2020) and that includes Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.
“These poll numbers are stunning,” said Tommy Schultz, CEO of the American Federation for Children. “The past two years have exposed to the world what many in the parental choice movement have known for decades: no single educational environment is right for every child. As the battle over educational freedom continues, party affiliation is secondary to ensuring all families are empowered to choose the best educational setting for their children.”
And the battle will continue. WFA has been vocal about Assembly Bill 970 (AB 970) which would expand school choice options in Wisconsin. If passed, income limits for parental choice programs and pupil participation limits would be eliminated and an education expense reimbursement program for students remaining in public school for the 2022-2023 school year would be created.
School choice is a parent’s right and should not be determined by the state. Children are not all the same; what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another and it shouldn’t have to. It’s like trying to put a square block into a circular hole; it just won’t fit. Instead of trying to conform children to one specific mold, we should let parents, who know their children best, decide where to send them to school.
Woke indoctrination is flooding our schools and harming our children. We cannot stand by and continue to let it brainwash them; there must be an alternative. Wisconsin voters have voiced their support for school choice, and now it’s time to turn that support into law.
Last month the State Assembly passed AB 970, and the Senate passed it earlier this week. The bill will shortly be on its way to the governor.
Take action: contact Governor Evers and urge him to support educational choice for all. Send him an online message HERE or call his office at 608-266-1212.
This week, Wisconsin Family Action (WFA), represented by Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), joined Pro-Life Wisconsin and Wisconsin Right to Life in issuing a letter to Governor Evers demanding that he explain the legal basis for the two grants he has given to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.
The funds for the grants, totaling $2.4 million for Planned Parenthood alone, have come from a couple of COVID-19 federal relief programs. The state legislature has passed several bills that would have directed at least some of the funds, but the governor has vetoed all of them.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin received $1.4 million from the “COVID-19 Pandemic Response Nonprofit Grant Program” and then received an additional $1 million last month from the “Equitable Recovery Grant Program.” Both programs were concocted by the governor, without legislative approval or permission.
WILL attorneys assert that Governor Evers has no authority to create grant programs, has disregarded appropriate department rulemaking to govern the distribution of the funds, and has violated state law that prohibits federal funds being given as a grant to pregnancy programs that promote, refer for, or perform abortions.
WFA president, Julaine Appling, commented on the governor’s actions:
“The people of Wisconsin deserve a full explanation of the legal authority Governor Evers is using to justify his largesse to Wisconsin’s largest abortion provider. This is the peoples’ tax dollars. Some might consider what the governor has done as a kind of ‘quid pro quo’ since Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin spent $700,000 to help get the governor elected in 2018.
“This isn’t the first time the governor has acted with questionable authority. Two years ago, he unilaterally extended an emergency declaration that exceeded the 60-day statutory limit. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ultimately stopped that power grab.
“In this instance, the Governor is giving our hard-earned tax dollars to an organization whose number-one funding source is the killing of unborn babies. Through our elected officials in recent years, ‘we the people’ have made it clear we don’t want public funds to support abortion in any way; and state laws have been put in place to stop that in many instances.
“Unless Governor Evers has a solid legal basis for these grant programs and the distribution of these millions to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, he is apparently just fine with taking the law into his own hands. The voters may have something to say about that this fall.”
The letter sent to Governor Evers is available HERE.
WISCONSIN FAMILY ACTION FILES SUPREME COURT BRIEF IN
SUPPORT OF COACH WHO PRAYED AT 50-YARD LINE
We all benefit when freedom flourishes.
MADISON, WI – Today, Wisconsin Family Action (WFA), along with 28 other state family policy councils across the country and the national organization Family Policy Alliance, filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of high-school football Coach Joseph Kennedy who was fired from a public school in Washington State after he prayed briefly at the 50-yard line.
Kennedy began saying a brief prayer following games years ago. Initially he did so alone, but some students asked him what he was doing. When they asked if they could join, he responded, “This is a free country,” and “You can do what you want.” When the school learned what he was doing, it demanded he stop; but he felt responsible to thank God for the games in that way. As a result, he lost his job.
Following his termination, Kennedy, represented by First Liberty appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit where he was subsequently denied. The U.S. Court of Appeals suggested that Coach Kennedy was a bad example to the students when he prayed. Treating such prayers with contempt conflicts with the religion clauses of our constitution, which protect our religious diversity.
At issue before the Supreme Court is whether the First Amendment speech and religious rights protect Kennedy’s brief prayer following games, and whether the Establishment Clause justifies his dismissal.
“We all suffer when our First Amendment freedoms are violated,” said Julaine Appling, WFA president. “A free society should not single out a person’s religious speech for unfavorable treatment.”
The Supreme Court’s modern Establishment Clause cases discuss fostering neutrality towards religion. But when all kinds of controversial speech by teachers is permitted and only religious speech is silenced, it sends a message not of religious neutrality but of hostility toward religion. A short prayer following a game, joined in only by those who wish to join, hardly amounts to an establishment of religion, particularly when the school was clear that it had nothing to do with Kennedy’s activities.
A copy of Wisconsin Family Action’s brief can be found here.
Wisconsin Family Action is a statewide organization engaged in strengthening, preserving, and promoting marriage, family, life, and religious freedom in Wisconsin.
Copy available here.
The Wisconsin Senate Committee on Education just heard a bill that would implement vital protections for parental rights.
SB 962 establishes several parental and guardian rights relating to a child’s religion, medical care, and education, and states that parents may sue the government for violating any of these rights. The bill also appropriately states that parents’ inalienable rights include more than just the ones listed.
“The bill prohibits the state from infringing on the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of their children without demonstrating that the infringement is required by a compelling governmental interest of the highest order as applied to the child, is narrowly tailored, and is not otherwise served by a less restrictive means,” reads the bill.
WFA President Julaine Appling testified in front of the committee in support of SB 962.
She noted that a parents’ bill of rights is crucial because “Children belong to parents. It is the responsibility of parents, not anyone else, to rear their children, to make important decisions for them, to care for them, to know anything and everything that concerns them.”
While a parents’ bill of rights should not be necessary, it unfortunately is. Parental rights have been under attack in our state and around the country for the last several years. Time and time again, the state has abused its power and infringed upon each of the 15 rights listed in this bill.
Julaine told the committee that our Declaration of Independence acknowledges God as the source of our “inalienable rights.” Because our rights come from Him, and not the state, government cannot infringe upon or transfer them.
She went on to note that our Declaration and Constitution don’t spell out parents’ rights because at the time of their signings, parental rights were considered “self evident.” However, times have changed and the state’s consistent infringements upon parental rights demonstrate the need to codify specific rights with Senate Bill 962.
Countless horror stories have emerged today about how schools have withheld critically important information from parents about their child. Some schools even instruct their staff to lie to parents in some instances.
Explicitly naming parents’ rights and making the state’s limitations abundantly clear are necessary for this reason and many more. “Furthermore, clarifying the legal standard by which to assess whether parents’ rights have been abrogated and creating a cause of action for parents is imperative. This is prudential law. No parent should be left defenseless when government tries to strip them of their right to decide what is best for their child,” continued Julaine.
The bill has already passed in the Assembly. Once it passes in the Senate, which will likely be next week, the proposal will go to the governor for signing. Please use this link to find your state senator and urge him/her to support SB 962. In order for faith, family, and freedom to thrive in Wisconsin, parental rights must be protected.
On January 13, 1984, then-President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation for the first National Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. He concluded his official statement with these words:“I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Sunday, January 22, 1984, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon the citizens of this blessed land to gather on that day in homes and places of worship to give thanks for the gift of life, and to reaffirm our commitment to the dignity of every human being and the sanctity of each human life.” Thirty-eight years later churches and pro-life citizens continue to observe the National Sanctity of human Life Day. More significantly, almost 50 years following Roe v. Wade, we are closer to seeing this dastardly ruling overturned than we ever have been. That is why this year churches may observe the National Sanctity of Human Life Day on the traditional 3rd Sunday of the month — January 16 — or the 4th — January 23 — which is exactly one day after the anniversary of the life-taking ruling of Roe v. Wade, on January 22, 1973. Perhaps this year more than any other we need Christians and our Bible-believing churches observing Sanctity of Human Life Day, with preaching and teaching that clearly proclaims that God has created and designed human life and praying that the scourge of abortion will be ended and challenging us to do our own sanctity of human life proclamations to our families, our neighbors, to all in our sphere of influence. Such proclamations may not be presidential, but they will be very powerful. Read Ronald Regan’s complete speech HERE. Listen to Julaine Appling’s complete commentary on the National Sanctity of Human Life Day HERE or read it HERE.
LEAD Wisconsin was a dream carried in Julaine Appling’s heart for well over a decade. As she poured her heart and soul into defending God’s plan for marriage, family, life and religious freedom in Wisconsin through WFA and WFC, she knew it was her God-given responsibility to someday intentionally equip the next generation to do the same.
In 2019, with the hiring of SharaLee Nichols as the LEAD WI director, Julaine’s heart-cry to invest in the youth of Wisconsin came into focus. SharaLee not only had a background in event planning, but she also had previous experience working with a faith-based civics program for youth and most importantly a fervent desire to see the young men and women of Wisconsin become effective godly leaders who engage the culture from a biblical perspective.
Together, with the support of the WFA and WFC staff, Julaine and SharaLee researched, booked speakers, gathered registrations, developed policies, raised money and prayed. Finally all those years of persistent prayer and extraordinary effort culminated in LEAD Wisconsin this summer, August 1-6, on the campus of Maranatha Baptist University in Watertown.
For six days 80 youth experienced what camper Josiah Scott called, “one of the best weeks of my year,” where they learned principles of a Christian worldview, public speaking skills and how a bill becomes a law. They also played tons of volleyball, ate some great meals and visited the capitol — twice!
Throughout the rest of this post, we’re going to discuss a few of the speakers who joined us, recap our legislative journey and highlight a few extra-circular activities from the week. So, keep reading!!
Of the many goals we had for LEAD Wisconsin, the one that out-ranked them all was for each camper to have a personal and active relationship with Jesus Christ. We realize (and take very seriously) that just because you grow up in a Christian home doesn’t mean you have a personal relationship with Christ. We are also critically aware that without this foundational and transformational relationship with the one true God anything good someone attempts will be empty and fall short of eternity.
With this in mind, we didn’t just invite good speakers, we invited speakers who were believers and whose messages would be seasoned with God’s truth.
Carl Kerby, founder of Reasons for Hope and deBUNKED, spent three days captivating the campers’ attention with humor and unapologetic apologetics videos hurled at breakneck speed. In his sessions campers learned that there is absolute truth, how media affects our culture and stand up for the hope that Christ has given us.
Having the founder of Turning Point USA, Charlie Kirk, join us was especially exciting. His presence was made possible by friends of our ministry who know Charlie. Charlie built on a short presentation on Biblical leadership given by Bob Vander Plaats, Julaine’s counterpart in Iowa. After his session he stayed for a meet-and-greet to take photos with the campers. (We think pretty much every camper had his/her pic taken with Charlie! Watch the time-lapse HERE.)
Toni McFadden, the founder of Relationships Matter, shared her personal experience with abortion and how she now advocates against abortion through sharing her story and talking about why relationships matter. Not only were Toni’s sessions heart-felt, powerful and full of truth, but she was also eager to interact with the campers. She lingered before and after her sessions, as well as during meals, so that campers could ask her questions or chat!
These speakers (and all the others such as former WI Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly and former WI Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch) were a powerful facet of LEAD Wisconsin and shared an incredible amount of truth and insight.
Campers began their legislative journey for the week shortly after dropping their luggage off in their rooms Sunday evening. With one hand on the Bible and the other raised, they were sworn in as representatives. They met in assigned groups called a caucus throughout the week to discuss and create arguments for and against assigned bills.
All 10 bills discussed were real bills from the Wisconsin State legislature, one of which is now law.
On Wednesday, in the Wisconsin State Capitol building our teen representatives held their own public hearings, complete with lobbyists who presented statements in support of or in opposition to the bills. The teen representatives then asked the lobbyists and their own committee members questions about the bills. These hearings were presided over by state legislators, and many were attended by professional lobbyists.
The final day of camp found us in the Capitol again only this time we were on the floor of the State Assembly — this time to present and vote on their bills! Each camper addressed the body with a prepared speech advocating for their bill. (Watch the live replay HERE!)
We believe the mock legislature campers navigated throughout LEAD Wisconsin was important for them to better understand how government really works and to see how constituents have a say in the laws that are passed. We look forward to the day a camper will attend a real public hearing and advocate for their desires and rights where proposed laws are concerned—or maybe one day we might have one of our LEAD WI alumni elected to the state legislature!
Extra-Curricular Activities: Feats of Strength + Prayer Night
We couldn’t have six days without some fun competitive games and intentional prayer, could we? Of course not!
On Tuesday we had what we called “Feats of Strength.” Feats of Strength included three stations: relay races, minute-to-win-it and Micah’s station. Campers were divided into teams and took on the challenges together, including competing for taking the coolest team photo!
Points were calculated and at the end of the week three teams were awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze medals carefully and diligently created by the LEAD Wisconsin crew and put on the winners by Olympic Champion Ben Peterson who also spent the week with us!
On Thursday night, Dave Gerry, owner of the Princeton Clubs, shared his story of following God and being an ambassador for Christ in the business sector. After his session Dave challenged the campers by asking them if they were building their own kingdoms or Christ’s. Then he invited campers to surrender their lives to Christ. Many campers joined each other at the front of the room to pray with Dave, a staff member and each other.
And the highlight of the week? Three campers gave their lives to Jesus for the first time! That right there made all the work, all the time, all the expense worth it.
We had a blast playing games on Tuesday, but it was the privilege of a lifetime to witness the work God did in so many campers hearts Thursday night. Yes, we prayed for Him to move in powerful ways, but we know what happened that night was because of God’s goodness and for His glory. We are humbled and rejoice that God found fit to make Himself real to campers at LEAD Wisconsin!
LEAD Wisconsin and YOU
Prayer, perseverance, and investors — that’s what made LEAD Wisconsin 2021 and everything that happened in those six days possible. As we look back on what God has done so that we can look forward to LEAD Wisconsin 2022, we would like to invite you to join us in one of four ways:
- Prayer. Please pray that what the teens who attended LEAD Wisconsin in 2021 learned would impact the rest of their lives for God’s glory. Pray for the staff as we recover, that God would renew our energy, health, and vision to breathe life into LEAD Wisconsin 2022. Lastly please pray that the Lord would show us which speakers to invite for LEAD Wisconsin 2022 and prepare the hearts of each camper to receive what God has for them.
- Financially investing. There’s no way around this — hosting LEAD Wisconsin is expensive. The registration fee each camper pays covers only half of what it actually costs for them to experience this week. Additionally, many campers attend because we can offer financial assistance, including full scholarships. When you give to Wisconsin Family Council, you are making it possible for us to equip youth, through LEAD Wisconsin, to become effecting godly leaders who engage the culture from a Biblical worldview.
- Spread the word. By God’s grace WFC’s LEAD WI is creating positive change in the lives of the campers who attended, and we don’t want anyone who needs this program to miss it in 2022. If you know of a church, youth group or homeschool co-op that would be willing to have us share about LEAD Wisconsin, please email SharaLee at email@example.com.
- Follow us on social media (Facebook, LEAD Wisconsin, and Instagram, @lead.wi). There you will find photos of campers, encouraging reminders and important updates!
Needless to say, we are grateful for the dream God put on Julaine’s heart and that she faithfully carried it for so many years until the timing was right. We are thankful for God uniquely equipping SharaLee to bring this vision to fruition. And we are humbled to have worked alongside a crew of volunteers who saw the value of equipping youth to be effective godly leaders who engage their culture from a biblical perspective and stewarded that mission with tenacity and intention!
In closing we would like to leave you with a few lines from our theme song from the week:
I have a destiny I know I shall fulfill
I have a destiny in that city on a hill
I have a destiny and it’s not an empty wish
For I know I was born for such a time as this
Long before the ages You predestined me
To walk in all the works You have prepared for me
You’ve given me a part to play history
To help prepare a bride for eternity
I did not choose You but You have chosen me
And appointed me for bearing fruit abundantly
I know You will complete the work begun in me
By the power of Your spirit working mightily
I have a destiny I know I shall fulfill
Yesterday, Wisconsin Family Action’s Legislative Team, Julaine Appling and Micah Pearce, spent the day attending 3 different hearings in the capitol. Julaine provided testimony on four different bills in those hearings.
AB 195/SB 323 and AB 196/SB 322: These bills are the Protect Women’s Sports bills. The bills stop biological males from participating in girls’/women’s sports. AB 195/SB 323 prohibits this at the UW System schools and the technical training schools, both publicly funded institutions of higher learning. AB 196/SB322 does the same thing in Wisconsin’s public K-12 schools and private schools participating in a parental choice program. AB 195 was heard in the Assembly Committee on Colleges & Universities, and AB 196 was heard in the Assembly Education Committee. The Senate bills were heard in the Senate Committee on Human Services, Children and Families.
SB 260: This bill would close loopholes in the law to make it clear that the UW Madison and the UW Medical School cannot have any kind of funding relationship with Planned Parenthood to train residents to do abortions or to provide UW doctors to Planned Parenthood to do abortions.
SB 261: This bill would add additional information that would need to be tracked and reported after an induced abortion is performed. The additional information includes reporting the sex of the baby if that can be visually determined and if there is any fetal anomaly. The bill would also require reporting the identity of the facility where the induced abortion takes place. The author of the bill, Senator Jacque, offered an amendment on Tuesday with a number of additional points of information that would need to be determined and reported.
The above two pro-life bills were heard in the Senate Committee on Human Resources, Children and Families.
You can view recordings of two of the three hearings HERE. Wiseye will require you to have an account to see these archived recordings, but the account is FREE. We would urge you to have a Wiseye account because this is the stat\ government’s official partner for the video transmission of press conferences, legislative floor periods, committee meetings, State Supreme Court hearings and administrative meetings, and more.
Recordings of the hearings yesterday are available for AB 196 and SB 260, SB 261, SB 322, and SB 323 (these 4 bills were all heard in the same hearing). No recording is available for AB 195. Julaine speaks in the Assembly Education hearing on AB 195 at 2:14:40. She speaks in the Senate hearing on SB 260 at 3:07 and on SB 261, SB 322, and SB 323 at 3:59.
All of these bills are important to help protect our families here in Wisconsin. Watch for an email with information on contacting your elected officials on these bills! We’ll use our new action center for that communication.
Last week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the first chemical abortion pill can be prescribed via telehealth. This means that a pregnant woman can access an abortion-inducing drug without seeing a medical professional in-person and undergo this dangerous, life-taking procedure without a physician present.
In many states, including Wisconsin, chemical abortions must take place with a physician present because of the severe risk it presents to the mother. Thankfully, the FDA’s announcement does not override Wisconsin’s requirement for an in-person prescription and professional oversight of chemical abortions.
Abortion is wrong under any circumstance, but this policy significantly decreases the value of unborn life and the life of the mother by making a potent abortion-inducing medication so easy to attain. As believers, we should make it a point to intentionally celebrate life, encourage the next generation to consider children as a blessing from the Lord and delight in God’s ordination of the family unit.
“The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”
—US Supreme Court, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 1925
Recently Harvard Law School scheduled a conference in which it became clear that the purpose was to disparage parents and homeschooling. Fortunately, the conference was cancelled, but that didn’t stop some of the professors from expressing their influential opinion. See the truth in this article in The Federalist HERE
The webinar next Wednesday, May 13, 1-4 p.m. CST will help parents and other concerned citizens understand this issue in light of growing attacks against homeschooling. CLICK HERE to learn more about the webinar and to register today!
“Congressman Jeff Duncan, Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Tim Scott, and Congressman Ralph Norman, along with 133 other Members of Congress, filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of states’ authority to choose Medicaid providers and defund Planned Parenthood.”
READ MORE HERE
Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Applings says, “Out of 133 members of the US Senate and the US House who signed on to this important brief regarding states and abortion, I have to say I’m disappointed and a bit surprised that only one of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation signed on—and we have 9 possibilities. That member is Representative Glenn Grothman, a Republican from the Fond du Lac/Oshkosh area.”