Protasiewicz’s endorsements speak just as loudly as her words

Protasiewicz’s endorsements speak just as loudly as her words

Political candidates’ endorsements often speak volumes about how an elected official will handle critical issues.

In the case of Judge Janet Protasiewicz, candidate for Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, her endorsements astonishingly speak just as loudly as her own words, which are already bluntly liberal and arguably unethical.

“In regard to the progressive label,” she says, “I embrace that [label] when it comes to issues such as gerrymandering, when we talk about the maps, when we talk about marriage equality, when we talk about women’s rights and women’s rights to choose.”

Further, in one of her ads, she says, “I believe in a woman’s freedom to make her own decision on abortion. It’s time for a change,” showing a clear progressive bias on the issue of abortion. Time and time again, she has stated that her values require her to vote in favor of “a woman’s right to choose” and “bodily autonomy.”

She has also been vocal about her progressive view of legislative maps, saying, “Let’s be clear here: The maps are rigged, bottom line, absolutely, positively rigged,” she said. “They do not reflect the people in this state, they do not reflect accurately representation in either the State Assembly or the State Senate. They are rigged, period. I’m coming right out and saying that.”

Protasiewicz’s statements are not only politically charged, but also a clear violation of Wisconsin’s Code of Judicial Conduct, which states that “a judge, candidate for judicial office, or judge-elect should not manifest bias or prejudice inappropriate to the judicial office.”

She should be disqualified from the race for commenting on how she would vote in certain cases because that’s exactly what she’s done when she talks about her personal values in the way she has during this campaign. She has said she can’t say exactly how she will vote on a certain case or issue because she doesn’t know the facts of the case, but her expressed “values” have been abundantly clear. Protasiewicz says she “embraces” the progressive label when it comes to a myriad of issues. We should listen to her. What she is telling us is she will not rule fairly from the bench; she will be effectively legislating based on her personal opinions.

In case her bias wasn’t clear enough from her statements alone, her endorsements speak just as loudly and are further indications of how we can rightly expect her to vote on a host of important issues.

Protasiewicz has been endorsed by a number of leftist organizations including Planned Parenthood Advocates of WI and EMILY’s List, a political action committee that works to help elect Democrat female candidates who will support abortion. Citizen Action and numerous unions have also voiced their support of Protasiewicz.

Plus, many radical leftist politicians, including US Senator Tammy Baldwin (D) and US Rep Mark Pocan (D-02), who are both openly homosexual and lead the LGBTQ caucuses in their respective houses, have given their endorsements.

A liberal group known as Wisconsin Takes Action is even offering gift cards to entice people to vote for Protasiewicz, which should be considered bribery and therefore illegal.

One need only look at Protasiewicz’s endorsements to understand how she will legislate from the bench of the Wisconsin Supreme Court if elected–and that’s a problem.

And one need not be liberal or conservative to see that she is unfit for the role of supreme court justice. A vote for Protasiewicz is a vote against the rule of law. 

Please share this information with family, neighbors, and friends. Protasiewicz is an incredibly dangerous choice for Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, and we must do everything in our power to keep her from legislating in Wisconsin’s high court.

The future of Wisconsin is at stake in the April 4 election. Get involved, spread the word, and show up on April 4!

Update: on March 7th after this was originally published, the Human Rights Campaign (same-sex marriage advocates) and NARAL Pro-Choice America both announced their endorsements of Protasiewicz.

Why Not Janet Protasiewicz

Why Not Janet Protasiewicz

“What I would tell you is that [on] the bulk of issues, the myriad number of issues, there’s no thumb on the scale,” said WI Supreme Court candidate Janet Protasiewicz recently according to the MacIver Institute, “but I will also tell you that I’ll call them as I see them and I’ll tell you what my values are in regard to this particular issue because this issue [abortion] is so critically important.”

So, according to Janet Protasiewicz, “there’s no thumb on the scale”; and yet, she has been quite open about her views and values:

  • “[The state legislative district maps] are rigged, period.  I’m coming right out and saying that.  I don’t think you could sell to any reasonable person that the maps are fair.” Except for the US Supreme Court justices who ruled just last year that Wisconsin’s maps are legally permissible.

 

  • “Women have, for the last 50 years…relied on the Roe v. Wade case. They’ve relied on it to be able to make their own decisions regarding bodily autonomy,” Protasiewicz said in an interview with WKOW.

 

  • Said another way in one of her ads: “I believe in a woman’s freedom to make her own decision on abortion. It’s time for a change.”

Despite the fact that Wisconsin’s Code of Judicial Conduct specifically states that “a judge, candidate for judicial office, or judge-elect should not manifest bias or prejudice inappropriate to the judicial office,” Protasiewicz seems to feel quite comfortable in at a minimum, signaling to Wisconsin voters how she intends to rule on cases. And we should pay attention to that because that means she has no true regard for the rule of law.

If Protasiewicz’s stance on major issues weren’t already made clear, here’s what she said just last month on WKOW’s Capital City Sunday:

  • “In regard to the progressive label, I embrace that when it comes to issues such as gerrymandering, when we talk about the maps, when we talk about marriage equality, when we talk about women’s rights and women’s rights to choose.”

There’s no mistaking how Protasiewicz would rule on major cases affecting life, marriage, and elections in Wisconsin—cases that could alter the future of Wisconsin for at least the next decade.

Now, contrast that with what Justice Dan Kelly, Protasiewicz’s opponent in the April 4 election, said in a recent PBS Wisconsin interview:

“…if you think as a candidate that you should be virtue signaling to attract the votes of a certain body of Wisconsinites, what you’re telling them is that you are not — you are not committed to the constitutional order, and you’re telling them that the politics should have a role in the court, even if you don’t intend to follow through on that, what you’re telling the voters is that it should have a role, and I think that’s extraordinarily problematic because when people come in to this room so that the court can hear their case, what people of Wisconsin want to know, with absolute certainty, is that everyone on that bench is going to follow the law.”

The difference in judicial approach is pretty clear.

The April 4 election for the WI Supreme Court is one of the most consequential elections in modern Wisconsin history—and the nation is watching because what happens here in this election has national ramifications.

We urge you to please share this blog far and wide with your neighbors, friends, and family and ask them to pass it on, too. 

You can also share this helpful handout that details what else you can do to impact the April 4 election and provides important dates and deadlines for voting.

Help ensure the future of Wisconsin by spreading the word about what’s at stake on April 4!

 

The results are in – here’s how the WI Supreme Court primary race played out

The results are in – here’s how the WI Supreme Court primary race played out

A pivotal election took place in Wisconsin on Tuesday. This race has garnered nationwide attention and involvement because the balance of the Wisconsin Supreme Court is at stake. Will it remain conservative or flip to liberal?

The race, which the New York Times calls “the most consequential American election on the 2023 calendar,” is expected to be the most expensive judicial election in American history. Over $8.7 million has already been spent on advertising.

While four candidates were on the ballot, voters voted for only one. The top two candidates move on to the general election in April. Two of the candidates leaned liberal—Janet Protasiewicz and Everett Mitchell—and two lean conservative—Daniel Kelly and Jennifer Dorow. The winner of the race will serve a 10-year term. 

Openly liberal, pro-abortion candidate Janet Protasiewicz came out on top with just over 46 percent of the vote in the unofficial results. She has been an outspoken abortion supporter, saying “I believe in a woman’s freedom to make her own decision on abortion,” during a campaign ad. 

The good news is that Daniel Kelly came in second with just over 24 percent of the vote. Wisconsin Family Action PAC gave an exclusive endorsement to  Justice Daniel Kelly in this Supreme Court race, as he has a proven track record as a judicial conservative and has the judicial temperament necessary to serve effectively on the state’s highest court. 

In a speech Tuesday night after his victory, Justice Kelly said Protasiewicz would act as an “assault on our Constitution and our liberties.” If she wins, he said, “we will lose the rule of law and find ourselves saddled with the rule of Janet.” In this now two-person, head-to-head race, Kelly and his allies need to turnout considerably more voters than showed up for the primary. The results show that nearly 75,000 more liberals voted in this election than conservatives. That needs to change for the general election on April 4. 

Currently, the balance of the Wisconsin Supreme Court leans conservative with a 4-3 margin. However, mostly-conservative Justice Pat Roggensack announced that she was not going to seek a third 10-year term. Her current term ends July 31, 2023, and the newly elected justice will take office August 1, 2023. If a liberal wins on April 4, the balance becomes 4-3 liberal, which means the lives of preborn children, our religious freedom, parental rights, election integrity, and more are all effectively on the ballot.

For example, a 1849 abortion ban, which only allows for exceptions when the life of the mother is at risk, is expected to end up at the Wisconsin Supreme Court. State Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) filed a lawsuit last year arguing that the law contradicts another abortion law that provides broader exceptions, according to The Hill. This means the new state Supreme Court majority could rule to allow for broader exceptions for abortion or to restrict the procedure further.

With a liberal majority, the court could also redraw the state’s current congressional maps and influence how Wisconsin’s electoral votes are allotted for the 2024 presidential election, and could also change election laws that would drastically impact the upcoming presidential election. Remember that the experts tell us that in 2024 there really is no path to the presidency without going through Wisconsin.

Elections have real consequences, and as Christians, we cannot afford to remain silent. We need to be part of making sure the consequences from the April 4 election are as good as they can be, Mark your calendars for April 4, get informed about these candidates, encourage others to join you,and make your voices heard in the most important election of this year!

80-year Harvard study reaffirms key to a happy and healthy life is our relationships – family included!

80-year Harvard study reaffirms key to a happy and healthy life is our relationships – family included!

The Harvard Study of Adult Development has followed 700 men from the 1930s until today and has identified what helps make people happy and healthy. 

Born out of the study was the book The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness, authored by the study’s current leaders, Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz. The authors conclude: 

“For 84 years (and counting), the Harvard Study has tracked the same individuals, asking thousands of questions and taking hundreds of measurements to find out what really keeps people healthy and happy…

[O]ne crucial factor stands out… [I]t’s not career achievement, or exercise, or a healthy diet. Don’t get us wrong; these things matter (a lot). But one thing continuously demonstrates its broad and enduring importance:

Good relationships.

[I]f we had to take all 84 years of the Harvard Study and boil it into a single principle for living, one life investment that is supported by similar findings across a wide variety of other studies, it would be this:

Good relationships keep us healthier and happier. Period.” (Emphasis added.)

As we wrap up National Marriage Week, what more fitting message could there be? Relationships matter!

The study identified nine simple habits that can put you on track for a healthier and happier life:

  1. Take stock of your relationships – take time to assess if there are relationships that could be improved.
  2. Nurture casual relationships – continue to cultivate relationships with acquaintances, even if you don’t know their name!
  3. Make time for conversations – a recent study from University of Kansas demonstrated that the act of reaching out to someone once a day for a conversation increases happiness and lowers stress!
  4. Cultivate kindness – take extra care to be kind to the people who matter to you.
  5. Volunteer – those “who took time to volunteer, even just a few hours a week, met more people, formed relationships with more people, and took pride and satisfaction in the volunteer work they were doing.”
  6. Learn to apologize – especially if it helps repair a relationship.
  7. Ask questions – some people may surprise you with how much they open up after you ask a question!
  8. Express your love – through an act, like helping someone out with a project, or the simplest phrase, “I love you.”
  9. Be willing to be vulnerable–you may be rejected–or not! 

These tips apply to any relationship in our lives, but no earthly relationship is more important than the marriage relationship and the family that typically develops from that relationship. That tells us promoting marriage and family is one of the best things we can do to help people be happier and healthier.

Think about how the relationships in our own family (relationships we may take for granted!) could flourish if we make a conscientious effort to incorporate these nine habits into our daily lives. 

Of course, no relationship is more important than the one we are designed to have with God the Father, through His Son Jesus Christ. Biblical Christianity is all about relationships; so it shouldn’t surprise us that relationships, especially in marriage and family, create happiness and good health. And the happier and healthier individuals are, the better off society is in general. 

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make the connection: The stronger we make our families, the stronger the future. 

WILL brings on expert witnesses to protect parental rights in Kettle Moraine case 

WILL brings on expert witnesses to protect parental rights in Kettle Moraine case 

Last summer, Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit against Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD) for its gender identity policy that allows children to “change” their gender identity at school without parental consent. The policy also prohibits district employees from notifying parents of their child’s “transition” and even instructs staff to override a parent’s objection. In this case, at least one parent called and asked the school to call a daughter by her given feminine name and to use only feminine pronouns. The school refused.

Now, WILL and ADF have brought on two experts in support of summary judgment in this case. The experts specialize in gender dysphoria, asserting that school personnel socially transitioning a minor as is happening in this school district violates widely accepted mental health principles and practice.

Dr. Erica E. Anderson is a transgender clinical psychologist from Berkeley, California. Over the last 40 years, she has worked with hundreds of children and young adults struggling with their gender identity. She has also been a board member for the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and served as the President of USPATH (the United States arm of WPATH).

Dr. Anderson’s affidavit states, “A school policy that involves school adult personnel in socially transitioning a child or adolescent without the consent of parents or over their objection violates widely accepted mental health principles and practice.”

The second expert, Dr. Stephen Levine, is a psychiatrist and professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He helped develop the 5th version of the WPATH guidelines and served as the court-appointed expert in the first major case to reach a federal court of appeals pertaining to surgery for transgender prisoners. 

Dr. Levine’s publications include “Transitioning back to maleness” (2018), “Ethical Concerns About Emerging Treatment Paradigms for Gender Dysphoria” (2017), “Meanings and political implications of ‘psychopathology’ in a gender identity clinic: A report of 10 cases” (2009), “The standards of care for gender identity disorders” (1998), among many others. 

If the Waukesha County judge grants summary judgment, then the parents win. This would be incredibly encouraging and right. As the parents’ attorneys argue, not only is the school’s policy harmful to children, it’s an unconstitutional violation of the parents’ rights. School districts statewide and across the country should be watching this case closely. 

The Wisconsin Constitution protects the “inherent right” of parents to “direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.” 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. No school has the right to override parents in any way, especially when it comes to something as personal and important as gender. 

A hearing for this case is scheduled for April 19th, and a ruling is expected in the late spring or summer. Hopefully, Dr. Levine and Dr. Anderson guide the Court to a decision that will protect children and parent’s rights.

Marriage is crucial for a healthy society 

Marriage is crucial for a healthy society 

Marriage is not only the bedrock of society, but it is a sacred institution designed by God for His glory and humankind’s good.. Marriage plays a significant role in the overall health of a couple and their children, and allows for prosperous, well-ordered societies to thrive.

Unfortunately, the institution of marriage is under attack, especially since Congress passed and the president signed into law the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, which distorts God’s design and redefines marriage as nothing more than abstract adult desires. The true definition of marriage, a union between one man and one woman, must be the law of the land in order for families to flourish and society to thrive. 

In addition to the redefining of marriage, marriage rates are declining in the U.S. A recent Pew poll shows that only 34% of U.S. adults believe society is better off if “people make marriage and having children a priority,” while 64% believe society is “just as well off if people have priorities other than marriage and children.” As we know, these beliefs are woefully misguided, and our country is experiencing the consequences of a lack of strong families headed by married dads and moms.

This is bad news for individuals and society in general. A major survey published by Harvard Medical School shows that married men are healthier overall and live longer than men who were never married or are divorced. For women, marriage provides security and a safe environment to raise children, who ultimately provide both spouses with life-long fulfillment. Further, married couples also have happier, healthier relationships than cohabiting couples.

Marriage is not only vitally important for couples, but it is also a major determinant of their children’s health and success. A child born into the home of his/her married mother and father “will receive the complimentary love of a mom and dad,” noted Katy Faust in an interview with Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins. 

Children born outside God’s design of a life-long heterosexual union are at greater risk for homelessness, drug use, child poverty, teen suicide, academic failure, teen pregnancy, and more. “Every social ill we are facing today is because this country, culturally and legally, is getting the family wrong,” says Faust. Further, A recent study found that children raised in stable homes are “more likely to flourish economically, educationally, and socially.” Marriage is the best way to provide children with a foundation for success.  

The good news is that more children are living with their married mother and father, according to the Institute for Family Studies. This is because both marriage and divorce rates are declining, meaning the marriages that do occur are more stable. In addition, fewer unmarried women are having children while the number of children born to married parents has been more stable. 

The Institute for Family Studies promotes the Success Sequence, which consists of three steps that ought to be taken in a certain order to ensure the highest chance of success in one’s life. These steps include getting at least a high school diploma, getting a full-time job, and getting married before having children. Young adults who complete the Success Sequence in order, even in the face of big challenges, have a much greater chance of achieving success. This is true for every race and economic background in America. In fact, the latest research shows that 99% percent of young people who follow all three steps are not poor as adults. 

As Christians, our mission is to promote marriage in every way  we can. “We must encourage the marriage of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes within our circles of influence by not being afraid to be matchmakers. We must be witnesses for healthy and loving marriages and family life to our neighbors and local communities by inviting neighbors over for playdates or dinner, striking up conversations in the barber shop and dentist office, and getting involved in civic life by running for school board and other local, state, and federal offices…We must invite non-believing or fallen away members of our local communities to our churches,” write Dan Hart and Connor Semelsberger of the Washington Stand

Building a culture of deep respect for God’s design and the institution of marriage is up to us. Until we do, children will fall victim to many societal ills, and couples will experience poorer health and less success. Marriage is every society’s foundational institution, and when that foundation is weak, the society is weak. 

Educational Freedom Upholds Parents’ Rights and Allows Students to Thrive

Educational Freedom Upholds Parents’ Rights and Allows Students to Thrive

With so many schools across the country engaging in activism and radical indoctrination, school choice is more important than ever. In Wisconsin, the Madison Metropolitan School District is introducing this week a “gender identity and sexual orientation curriculum.” Students will learn about “different identities, which include gender identity, sex assigned at birth, and sexual orientation,” according to an email sent to parents last week. 

“We will be using our morning meeting time to do read-alouds and classroom discussions based around these topics. We will end the week with a rainbow day on Friday!” reads the district email.

Parents must be able to protect their children from these dangerous lies and ideas, and school choice allows them to do so. 

This week is National School Choice week—an opportunity to highlight the importance of educational freedom and bring awareness to the educational options that families have in our state. It is a parent’s right to choose whichever schooling option best serves their child’s needs. This educational freedom also helps students thrive. 

In Wisconsin, we take education freedom seriously. From open enrollment to brick and mortar and virtual charter schools to our three voucher programs to homeschooling, we believe parents, regardless of zip code or income, should be able to get their children out of a failing school and into a school that works for him or her. 

Each student in Wisconsin is assigned a district based on their address. While the majority of families send their children to the school in their district, there are many other options. There are school choice programs for private schools, charter schools, virtual schools, and open enrollment (non-resident public school). Parents can also choose from dual enrollment options (college coursework while enrolled in high school), course options (advanced coursework taken in coordination with a local school district), and home-based private education

Wisconsin offers the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the Racine Parental Choice Program and the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program—all of which are part of what most people call the “school voucher” option. These programs allow income-qualified families to send their children to private schools—including Christian schools—participating in Choice (voucher) Programs. Parents can apply to be part of a school choice program. Registration begins in February 1 for Wisconsin’s Choice Programs and runs through April 20, 2023.

Wisconsin also has one of the best homeschooling laws in the country. Parents are not burdened by overbearing restrictions as they are in some states. There are no required teacher qualifications or assessments.

While Wisconsin is leading the nation when it comes to school choice, there is always room for improvement. Universal choice, much like Arizona’s recent initiative, would provide Wisconsin families even more educational freedom. Incomes and zip codes should not determine who gets to take advantage of our educational options. 

Thankfully, representatives across the country are working to uphold parents’ rights when it comes to educational freedom. Lawmakers in Virginia, Oklahoma, Iowa, Florida, and Georgia are actively proposing initiatives this legislative session that will expand schooling options in their states. It’s time for Wisconsin to do the same. Governor Evers, if he’s really about “the kids” as he claims, needs to cooperate with the legislature and enact true educational freedom here in the form of “universal choice.” 

It is parents’ right to direct their children’s education, and a large part of that is choosing where their children go to school. Parents know their children best, and therefore are best equipped to choose a learning environment that will best serve their children’s needs and protect them from ideas that contradict their deeply held beliefs. Let’s take advantage of this week by highlighting the many options that parents have for their children’s education while calling on our leaders to ramp up the school choice efforts even more. 

NSCW’s website offers a several resources that teachers, parents, and organizations can use to promote and support school choice. SchoolChoiceWi.org is also a fantastic resource for parents in Wisconsin exploring alternative schooling options.

Honor Religious Freedom Day by talking to young people about our “First Freedom”

Honor Religious Freedom Day by talking to young people about our “First Freedom”

This past Monday was officially recognized not just as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but also as Religious Freedom Day. In 1993, Congress passed a resolution that directs the president to annually publicly declare January 16 as Religious Freedom Day, and that’s happened every year for the past 30 years.

Religious liberty protections in the United States were first established on January 16, 1786, when the Assembly in the Commonwealth of Virginia enacted into law the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Thomas Jefferson had drafted it in 1777 and introduced it into the Virginia Assembly in 1779. The statute, for lack of a better word, “disestablished” the Church of England in Virginia and guaranteed religious freedom to people of all religious faiths or of no faith.

These are the opening words of this statute:

“An act for establishing religious Freedom. Whereas, Almighty God hath created the mind free; That all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and therefore are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being Lord, both of body and mind yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do….”

I hope you are immediately struck by the references to Almighty God, Lord, “holy author,” and “Almighty power.” Yes, there was a day when elected officials were not afraid to invoke God in a powerful, direct way, even in lawmaking. 

Jefferson included a lot of verbiage about the importance of such a statute and the necessity for it and then gets to the enactment portion, which reads: 

“Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities. And though we well know that this Assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of Legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare that the rights hereby asserted, are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.” (Emphasis added.)

I hope you caught that last part because it is incredibly significant. Jefferson notes that future legislatures can override current legislation. Therefore, he notes that it would be of no effect to declare this act irrevocable.

He goes on to say that there is a law that is higher than manmade law, known as natural law. The right to hold and practice publicly and privately one’s religious beliefs is a natural right—in other words pre-existing human government, God-given. He says if a future legislature repeals the law the 1786 legislature passed or even made it narrower, then they will be infringing on a natural right. He wanted to be sure succeeding generations of elected officials understood the importance of natural law, in particular as it relates to religious freedom.

The original statute as passed in 1786 is still in Virginia’s statutes, and In 2016, the Virginia legislature reiterated its support for the original Religious Freedom Act.

One year later in 1787 when the constitutional convention convened, this Religious Freedom Statute became the foundation for what we know today as the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

Jefferson and the vast majority of our founders understood that religious liberty is an unalienable, God-given natural right. Unfortunately, far too many government officials don’t understand this today. 

Over the past several years, religious liberty has been under relentless attack, especially under the Biden administration. 

Christian cake shop owner Jack Phillips and graphic designer Lorie Smith are fighting for their religious liberty in court, representing all artists and business owners. A district court of appeals and the Supreme Court will soon weigh in on these monumental cases. 

President Biden’s so-called Inflation Reduction Act, which was signed into law last August, expanded taxpayer funded abortion, a clear violation of Americans’ religious liberty and conscience rights. 

Of course, the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, which was recently signed into law, undermines the religious liberty of those who hold a biblical view of marriage. These are just a few of many recent examples. 

If religious liberty prevails it won’t be because of our politicians, but because of our parents and pastors. So in honor of Religious Freedom Day, take time to talk about this Congressionally designated day and what it means to someone in your life who is 25 or younger. Ask if they know about this day. Inquire about what they know and think about religious freedom. Take some time to inform and encourage at least one person in the younger generation to understand what religious freedom is and isn’t, and what Religious Freedom Day is about. To preserve this freedom that our founders called our First Freedom because it is foundational to all other freedoms, we are going to have to take seriously our personal responsibility to teach and defend this incredible liberty. 

The CDC is promoting gender ideology in schools and Congress needs to take action

The CDC is promoting gender ideology in schools and Congress needs to take action

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a taxpayer-funded federal agency, is promoting a tool for “school and district staff who are interested in facilitating a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ students” on social media. 

The “LGBTQ Inclusivity in Schools: A Self-Assessment Tool” provides a general assessment for anyone to use and specific assessments for school staff. The purpose of the tool is to quickly gauge supposed inclusivity at one’s school and “enhance future work to support LGTBQ youth in schools.”

Some of the items from the assessment tool read as follows: 

  • “I cannot assume a student’s gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”
  • “I use students’ chosen name(s) in all school environments, including abbreviations and pronouns.”
  • “I participate in my schools’ Gay Straight Alliance/Genders and Sexualities Alliance.
  • “The policy(s) in place allows students to use the bathroom/locker room which aligns to their chosen gender.”
  • “The technology policies allow student access to age-appropriate LGBTQ content and information (e.g., LGBTQ-specific media, public health and education organizations, and entertainment sites).”
  • “My classroom or learning space includes visual labels (e.g., rainbow flags, pink triangles, unisex bathroom signs) marking it as a safe space for LGBTQ students.”
  • “I attend training and professional development focused on creating safe and supportive environments for LGBTQ students.”
  • “During sexual health education lessons, I present information on all types of sex, not centering on penis/vagina penetrative sex.”
  • During sexual health education lessons, I describe anatomy and physiology separate from gender (e.g., “a body with a penis,” “a body with a vagina”).

Once they respond to each of these statements, users can score themselves and their school with an “A,” “B,” or “C.” If they receive a “C,” the tool says they should “commit to change.” 

The tool also offers a “collection of curated resources and tools to help schools enhance LGBTQ inclusive policies, programs, and practices.”

The CDC is meant to protect Americans from health, safety, and security threats; yet here it is promoting an unscientific political ideology that leads individuals—mostly minors—to believe lies about themselves and even seek harmful gender “transition” procedures that cause permanent damage. The agenda that the CDC is trying to advance causes serious physical, emotional and spiritual harm.

While indoctrination runs rampant in our schools, Congress needs to pass legislation to stop state governments from violating parents’ rights to protect their kids from radical gender theory. Thankfully, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) has introduced the Parental Right to Protect Act. This bill would protect parental rights by ensuring that parents are not penalized for protecting their children from gender ideology and “transition” procedures.     

Last session, the Wisconsin legislature passed a parental rights bill that included this type of protection for parents and their children. Unfortunately, Governor Evers promptly vetoed the bill. Legislators are talking about bringing the bill back this session.

Regardless of whether or not Congress or Governor Evers steps up to protect children, parents must become aware of what their children are being taught in school, take action, and have difficult conversations with their children about these topics. 

Here are a few resources parents can use to help guide conversations with their children:

Responding to the Transgender Issue: Parent Resource Guide by Minnesota Family Council, Family Policy Alliance, The Heritage Foundation, WOLF, and others

Talking To Your Kids About Transgender Issues by Focus on the Family

Transgender Movement, Understanding and Responding by Family Research Council

How to Talk to Your Kids About Gender by Gospel Coalition 

When Harry Became Sally by Ryan T. Anderson 

God and the Transgender Debate by Andrew T. Walker

Transgender: Christian Compassion, Convictions and Wisdom for Today’s Big Questions by Vaughan Roberts 

Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith by Rosaria Butterfield

Sen. Chris Kapenga aims to eliminate the state income tax to help families thrive

Sen. Chris Kapenga aims to eliminate the state income tax to help families thrive

Wisconsin is losing families—families with children—to states like Texas and Florida, where there is no income tax. Last year 10,000 more Wisconsin families left the state than moved here. This isn’t an anomaly; it’s a trend—a trend with present and future implications for our economy and much more. When those families leave, there’s little likelihood of the parents returning to retire or the children coming back for work or to eventually establish their own families.

When Wisconsin’s best natural resource—its married dad-and-mom families with children—leaves the state in significant numbers, Wisconsin’s present and future are imperiled. This family structure is the only one that gives more than it takes in relationship to government “handouts.” 

Our state is currently sitting on a projected $6.6 billion surplus, making significant tax cuts a plausible option. The government is taking more than they need out of people’s paychecks. Thankfully, there is agreement among Wisconsin Republicans that taxes need to be cut; but opinions differ regarding how to do so.

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) wants to implement a flat income tax of 3.5 percent. Senate President Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), however, wants to join the nine states with no income tax. If we want to keep families in Wisconsin, this is the way to go. 

“I think that, if we’re going to do this (tax cuts) and we’re going to do something bold and we’re really going to attract workers to the state and bring more families to the state, (we should) go to no income tax like Florida,” said Kapenga.

Making Wisconsin more economically competitive compared to states that are getting our very best is a smart move, and with this “surplus,” now is the time to give this serious consideration. It would also set Wisconsin apart from other states in the Midwest. At a minimum, such a move might change the trend.

Republicans have enough votes to pass tax reform and a new state budget, but they would most likely not be able to garner enough votes to override a veto from Gov. Evers.

Evers has not yet said what his new state budget proposal will look like, but Kapenga believes he will ask for more money yet again.

“He is going to come to the trough,” Kapenga said. “Basically, I think he’s going to try and take taxpayer money and sift it out to the different special interest groups that he wants to take care of.”

Wisconsin families should not be forced to pay the government any more than is absolutely necessary. Hopefully, Republicans can agree on Kapenga’s plan to eliminate the income tax and convince Gov. Evers that this is the best move for Wisconsin. Families thrive when they are able to keep more of their hard-earned money, and when families flourish, so too does our state. As the family, so the state.

US Rep. Mike Gallagher introduces vital bill to ban TikTok

US Rep. Mike Gallagher introduces vital bill to ban TikTok

Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of Members of Congress introduced a bill that would ban the Chinese-owned social media platform called TikTok nationwide. 

TikTok is directly tied the Chinese Communist Party, as TikTok’s parent company ByteDance lists Chinese state media outlets in its employment history. Further, 50 former Chinese state media employees currently hold positions at TikTok, including a “content strategy manager” who had served as chief correspondent for China’s Xinhua News.

Director of the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies James Lewis believes the Chinese government is using information they get from TikTok to “better tailor their propaganda for a Western audience.”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R), Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-CD8), and Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-CD8) are leading the charge to ban TikTok due to its communist ties. 

In a press release, Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher wrote:

“TikTok is digital fentanyl that’s addicting Americans, collecting troves of their data, and censoring their news. It’s also an increasingly powerful media company that’s owned by ByteDance, which ultimately reports to the Chinese Communist Party—America’s foremost adversary.

Allowing the app to continue to operate in the U.S. would be like allowing the U.S.S.R. to buy up The New York Times, Washington Post, and major broadcast networks during the Cold War. No country with even a passing interest in its own security would allow this to happen, which is why it’s time to ban TikTok and any other CCP-controlled app before it’s too late.”

The ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act aims to “protect Americans by blocking and prohibiting all transactions from any social media company in, or under the influence of, China, Russia, and several other foreign countries of concern.”

China’s national intelligence law requires Chinese tech companies to give any data they collect from users to China’s government. American researchers have been voicing privacy and security concerns about the app for years.

TikTok has even engaged in illegal activity to collect users’ data. In 2019, the social media platform was fined by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for illegally “collecting and exposing locations of young children, as well as failing to delete information on underage children when instructed to do so.”

In 2020, TikTok found an iPhone system loophole and collected personal user data, including cryptocurrency wallet addresses and passwords. In 2021, TikTok was sued for transferring copious amounts of private user data to China. 

Rep. Krishnamoorthi noted that the Chinese Communist Party is attempting to gain any advantage “against the United States through espionage and mass surveillance.” Therefore, it’s vital that we ban social media networks controlled by this hostile power to prevent the platform, which collects data on tens of millions of Americans every day, from being weaponized against us. 

To make matters worse, the app indoctrinates children with dangerous progressive ideas. Gender ideology activists are flooding TikTok with propaganda, causing children to cave to the social contagion of transgenderism and seek gender “transition” procedures. 

Rep. Gallagher and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson (R), joined by four of their Wisconsin colleagues- Reps. Glenn Grothman, Scott Fitzgerald, Bryan Steil, and Tom Tiffany- called on Governor Evers to ban the TikTok app on any state-owned device. To date, Governor Evers has ignored the request. Such a move is not without precedent. Governors Kristi Noem (SD), Greg Abbott (TX), Henry McMaster (SC), Larry Hogan (MD), Kevin Stitt (OK), Pete Ricketss (NE), Spencer Cox (UT), and Kay Ivey (AL) have all taken such action.

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty earlier this month issued a report that “recaps the meteoric rise of the China-based social media app…and recounts the invasive ways that the software records data from its users.” The report recommends Wisconsin heed the warnings and take actions similar to these other states.

Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann recently banned TikTok on Washington County devices. This is the first, and to date, the only Wisconsin county to have taken such action. At the federal level, however, the U.S. House Administration Arm has banned TikTok on official devices. This is a good start, but we need to do more.

This federal bill is absolutely essential, and we are hopeful that Rep. Gallagher’s colleagues will agree. Closer to home, we need Governor Evers to take the warnings seriously and, at a minimum, prohibit the app on any government-issued device; and we need more counties to follow the example of Washington County. The Chinese Communist Party is a serious threat to the United States’ security and banning the Chinese-owned social media platform is common sense. In the meantime, parents should closely monitor their children’s social media use and ensure they stay off the app. 

Update:

Gov. Evers announced that he will ban TikTok on government devices. 

In response, Rep. Gallagher said, “TikTok is a CCP trojan horse that can track someone’s location, monitor their keystrokes, and collect other pieces of sensitive information about them. This app belongs nowhere near any part of our government and I’m glad Governor Evers finally made the decision to ban TikTok on state devices. Now that Governor Evers has recognized the threat posed by the app, I hope he will also delete his campaign’s TikTok account.”

IVF puts science and technology ahead of ethics

IVF puts science and technology ahead of ethics

Couples struggling with infertility are increasingly turning to artificial reproduction, namely in vitro fertilization (IVF). While this technology seems to provide hope to couples with a well-intentioned longing to start a family, the reality is that IVF exploits women and strips tiny children of their fundamental right to life.  

Oxford University fertility expert Professor Imogen Goold notes that artificial reproduction clinics “are selling anxious women a false dream” and “preying on women” by charging them for a procedure that almost never works. 

When it comes to Big Fertility, there is no independent overseer, and among women aged 42 to 43 who try IVF, a mere three percent will end up with a baby. “Clinics offering egg-freezing rely on women being scared and wanting to throw money at a problem. But these clinics have a vested interest in convincing women they need to buy into this process as an insurance policy, highlighting their success rates while burying their failures,” writes British doctor Max Pemberton. 

The lack of success and exploitation of desperate couples is not the only problem with IVF. Most importantly, every time an IVF cycle is performed, multiple tiny children are destroyed. 

In the first stages of IVF, clinicians perform a preimplantation screening of early embryos for chromosomal or genetic abnormalities. The tiny humans that are determined to be “healthy” are implanted or frozen to be used in the future. The remaining embryos are simply discarded.

Further, many of the embryos who aren’t discarded during the first stages of IVF lose their lives during the implantation phase. In fact, only seven percent of embryos created through IVF are born.  

Each of these embryos is a human life formed by God. Once fertilization takes places, a human being made in the image and likeness of God is formed, regardless of where or how that life is conceived.  

Approximately 12 percent of married couples suffer from infertility or struggle to sustain a pregnancy, which creates deep emotional and physical stress. These couples deserve care and support as they suffer from the immense pain associated with the unfulfilled longing for a child, and a healthy society must encourage couples to have children and build strong families. However, lab-created children are not the answer. Instead, we should provide hope to couples struggling with infertility by encouraging them to adopt. Adoption benefits and respects the rights of everyone involved. 

Unfortunately, couples trying to conceive through IVF aren’t made fully aware of what the process entails. Unless they ask the right questions of the doctors, they won’t know what the problems with this procedure are. It’s up to Christians and pro-lifers to share the truth about IVF with compassion for those who are desperately trying to conceive.  

Once again science and technology are ahead of our ethics. Just because we can do something, does not mean we have a moral imperative to do it. It’s never right to create human life with the intention of it being expendable. 

 

 

 

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a monumental free speech case. Here’s how it played out. 

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a monumental free speech case. Here’s how it played out. 

Colorado is trying to force a Christian business owner to create (and thereby, endorse) a message that she disagrees with, but Lorie Smith is fighting back. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Smith’s case, 303 Creative v. Elenis, on Monday, December 5, and we are hopeful the high court will uphold her free speech and religious liberty rights.  

Smith designs websites for weddings as long as they align with her belief that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. However, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act wrongfully forces her to create websites for same-sex marriages. Smith is willing to serve customers regardless of their sexual orientation; she simply refuses to celebrate an unbiblical view of marriage, as is her right. 

The hearing lasted for over two hours, and the court debated several questions regarding line-drawing. For example, was Smith’s refusal to create websites for same-sex marriages based on the message of the website or the sexual orientation of the couple? Was her refusal an expression of speech, and therefore protected by the First Amendment, or of conduct? 

The left-leaning justices led the questioning of Alliance Defending Freedom’s Kristen Waggoner, who is representing Smith. The justices clearly believed Smith was denying the couple her services based on status.

Justice Elena Kagan asked Brian Fletcher, an attorney representing the state of Colorado, what could happen if the court rules in Smith’s favor. Fletcher argued that the court could allow racial discrimination if it upholds Smith’s right to free speech. He pointed to the Supreme Court’s decision in Runyon v. McCrary, a case in which a private school’s admission policy discriminated against black children. However, this comparison is irrelevant. The court’s decision in Runyon v. McCrary did not involve freedom of speech, and the skin color of a teacher’s students wouldn’t change his pro-segregation message. 

Thankfully, the conservative justices seemed to lean in the opposite direction. In a debate with Colorado Solicitor General Eric Olson, Justice Neil Gorsuch referenced Colorado’s treatment of Jack Phillips, who was the subject of a very similar case, as forcing him into a “re-education program.” 

Waggoner argued that Smith isn’t just selling a service and engaging in conduct, but is conveying a message with her website designs. She highlighted the fact that the Supreme Court has refused to force someone to convey a message that violates his or her beliefs time and time again in the past. 

She asserted that Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston should govern Smith’s case. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that Massachusetts could not require the St. Patrick’s Day parade organizers to allow an LGBTQ group to participate in the march. Similarly, the government cannot force Smith to celebrate an LGBTQ relationship.  

Colorado Solicitor General Eric Olson retorted by pointing to Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (FAIR), in which the Supreme Court ruled that a law withholding federal funding from colleges that restricted military recruiters’ access to students did not violate the First Amendment. He argued that the FAIR ruling “regulates conduct, not speech” because it set guidelines for what the schools could do rather than what they could say. 

Chief Justice John Roberts pushed back on Fletcher’s reliance on FAIR, rightfully stating that the case involved a completely different type of compulsion than the forced speech in Smith’s case.

Then Justice Amy Barrett presented several hypotheticals about other types of marriages or situations that might violate Smith’s beliefs, such as heterosexual marriages that began as adulterous relationships. Waggoner said that Smith would not create websites for those couples either, proving that her refusal is based on the message the website sends, not the status or sexual orientation of the couple. 

Justice Barrett noted that Smith says on her website that she fully customizes “the look, feel, theme, message, color palettes, et cetera” of each website she designs.

Gorsuch then voiced the critical distinction of this case, saying, “So, the question isn’t who, it’s what?” Waggoner agreed. This is the question that this case hinges on, and our conservative justices seem to be on the right track. 

WFA joined with other pro-religious freedom organizations to file a friend-of-the-court brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Lorie Smith. We are hopeful the conservative justices (which comprise a majority) on the court vote in favor of free speech and religious liberty, as they seem poised to. 

If the government can compel Lorie to create a message she disagrees with, it can do the same to any of us. Please pray the high court upholds our First Amendment rights.  

Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals rules against Biden’s transgender mandate

Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals rules against Biden’s transgender mandate

In a tremendous victory for the religious liberty of healthcare professionals, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the Biden Administration’s transgender mandate.

In Sisters of Mercy v. Becerra, a group of Catholic hospitals, nuns, and a Catholic university that operates medical clinics for the poor, sued the Biden administration over a mandate that would have forced religious doctors and hospitals to perform mutilative gender surgeries on any patient, including children.

In May 2021, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it would expand the definition of “sex” to include “sexual orientation and gender identity” in Title VII’s provision against employment discrimination. The new rule did not contain any religious liberty protections. 

In August of this year, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the government could not force doctors to perform gender “transition” surgeries if it contradicted their beliefs. The Court upheld a permanent injunction against the HHS rule for another group of Catholic health care providers. 

This week, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the Fifth Circuit’s decision and protected the First Amendment rights of medical professionals. It relied heavily on the Fifth Circuit court’s ruling, noting that the Eight Circuit Court found “instructive the Fifth Circuit’s recent decision in Franciscan Alliance.”

“We agree with these courts and therefore conclude that the district court correctly held that ‘intrusion upon the Catholic Plaintiffs’ exercise of religion is sufficient to show irreparable harm,’” wrote the Eighth Circuit in its decision.

While this decision does not apply to all states, it sets a crucial precedent for future religious liberty cases. 

“Today’s victory sets an important precedent that religious healthcare professionals are free to practice medicine in accordance with their consciences and experienced professional judgment,” said Luke Goodrich of Becket Law. “The government’s attempt to force doctors to go against their consciences was bad for patients, bad for doctors, and bad for religious liberty.”

Extensive research shows the detrimental effects of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone administration, and bodily mutilation. These procedures have been linked to loss of fertility, cardiac disease, loss of bone density, and increased cancer risk.

Further, the puberty blockers that doctors give to children suffering from gender dysphoria are the same substances used to castrate sex offenders. This is not healthcare;it’s child abuse. 

The good news is that the majority of Americans recognize how radical and abusive these procedures are. According to a recent Trafalgar Group/Convention of States Action poll, almost 80% of likely voters believe that children should not be able to receive puberty blockers and permanent sex change procedures. 

Our job is to continue to expose clinics that are participating in this child abuse and share the ugly truth about gender “transition” procedures. Children suffering from gender dysphoria deserve real help, not harm. Moreover, doctors should never be forced to harm children and provide a service that violates their conscience. 

We are hopeful that the Eighth Circuit’s ruling will set a lasting precedent for other courts and that religious liberty for healthcare professionals will be upheld all across the country, including here in Wisconsin.

 

Chaplains at Wisconsin Children’s Hospital preach anti-Christian ideas and parents need to push back

Chaplains at Wisconsin Children’s Hospital preach anti-Christian ideas and parents need to push back

Chaplains at Wisconsin Children’s Hospital preach anti-Christian ideas and parents need to push back. Children are being bombarded with radical gender ideology from every direction. Even their medical care providers are taking part, as our premier children’s hospital in Wisconsin is now hiring “trans” activists as chaplains and “spiritual care interns.”

The new hires were announced with fliers posted in the inpatient units. The posters read, “Meet Your New Chaplain: Kate Newendorp.” Newendorp’s gender ideology was made clear, as the posters declared her pronouns as “she/her/hers” and those of her fiancé, a female who identifies as “they/he.”

While the posters themselves are cause for concern, they leave out some important details. Newendorp holds social Marxist views; and she is an advocate for transgender surgeries, abortion, and the rejection of religious teaching when it contradicts her personal views.

The new “chaplain” boldly rejects biblical Christian doctrine, which clearly affirms the value of life in the womb, defines the sexes as only “male and female,” and decries same-sex relationships.

“Love Jesus. Be gay. Get ordained,” she wrote on Facebook in June. “What better way to celebrate Pride than being ordained?! Many thanks to my church and classis for being willing to stand for queer folks being included in ministry and for allowing me to follow God’s call.”

She has also twisted Scripture on Facebook by falsely proclaiming that loving one’s neighbor requires voting for Democrats. She even called abortion a “religious freedom” in a post proudly announcing her pro-choice views. Lastly, she started a GoFundMe to help her fiancé undergo a double mastectomy as part of her gender “transition.”

Unfortunately, Newendorp isn’t the only anti-Christian “chaplain” at Children’s. Fellow “chaplain” Ian Butts interrogated the hospital’s staff members who requested religious exemptions from the Covid vaccine mandate. 

These are the people who are influencing our children under the guise of Christianity. Parents cannot afford to allow their children to be taught by secular society, or even many of those who claim to be “Christian.” 

Parents must have tough conversations with their children about what the Bible really teaches, and how to approach these topics with Truth and love. Talk to them from early ages about how God designed them to be distinctly male or female and how His design is good. 

Parents should also foster an environment at home where children feel comfortable asking questions. This also means that parents need to be well-educated on this subject. “Becoming an expert emboldens you to live out Deuteronomy 6:7, teaching the truth ‘diligently to your children … when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise,’” writes Them Before Us director Katy Faust.  

A growing number of children are identifying as transgender thanks to the influence of mentors like Newendorp. Parents need to know how to steer their children in the right direction when it comes to their sexuality. There are plenty of resources, such as Them Before Us by Katy Faust that can help prepare parents to raise Godly children in a morally depraved culture.  Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier provides interesting and important insights into the transgender craze as it impacts girls. Shrier is not a Christian and is not 100% opposed to the LGBTQ+ agenda, but she is alarmed by the “attack” on young girls in particular.

Further, if your children are in public schools, ask questions. Stay informed about exactly what your children are learning and get involved. Bealert to signs that your son or daughter might be struggling in this area.

Lastly, but most importantly, pray for the hearts and minds of your children daily. This is a spiritual battle, and the devil is working hard to influence them. Pray for their protection and most of all that they come to know and love Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life,  rather than succumbing to the evil ideas that surround them. 

While 1 in 7 Christians are persecuted worldwide, we should be grateful for our religious liberty

While 1 in 7 Christians are persecuted worldwide, we should be grateful for our religious liberty

Worldwide religious persecution is escalating. According to Open Doors, one in seven Christians worldwide suffer high or extreme levels of persecution. 

While significant religious persecution is happening in nearly 80 countries, Sub-Saharan Africa, where extremist Islam is rampant, is experiencing the most violence against Christians. Last year, nearly 6,000 were killed for faith-related reasons. 

Religious persecution can come from the government, radical religious groups, or the culture; and they all manifest in different ways. According to this year’s Persecutor of the Year Awards Report, persecution of Christians is more prevalent and widespread today than it ever has been before.

These realities should make American Christians more faithful in praying for the persecuted church and more zealous in protecting our religious freedom. While religious liberty is certainly under attack in our country, we still enjoy more religious liberty than most of the world, and we shouldn’t take that for granted. 

Religious freedom was the impetus for the founding of our country. In 1620, the Pilgrims came to the New World for the right to live according to the dictates of their faith. Succeeding generations have fought to protect this First Freedom. 

 Two hundred years after the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth, President Abraham Lincoln declared that the fourth Thursday of every November would be an official holiday called Thanksgiving – an opportunity to thank God for all the blessings He has bestowed upon us. At the time of Lincoln’s declaration, the nation was deeply divided, much like it is today. The country was nearing the end of a Civil War and disagreement had turned to violence. Because of these similarities, Lincoln’s words still speak to us today. 

Lincoln declared

“In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity…peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed…and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God…It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States…to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

Lincoln was absolutely right. Despite the turmoil surrounding us, we have so much to be grateful for. Over the last year, we have seen several monumental wins for religious liberty, including Supreme Court cases Carson v. Makin, Kennedy v. Bremerton, and other local cases. While there is still more work to be done to safeguard our religious liberty, we should celebrate the fact that by law, we can still freely express our faith in the public sphere. 

Always, our religious freedom should be high on the list of things we are thankful for.

Wisconsin Family Action files amicus brief in case for parental rights and free speech 

Wisconsin Family Action files amicus brief in case for parental rights and free speech 

Stories of school districts violating parents’ rights with transgender policies continue to emerge, and WFA is helping to fight back. 

The Linn-Mar Community School District, located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, implemented a policy earlier this year barring the district from informing parents of a student’s transgender status unless the student provides authorization. Under the policy, students can also decide whether or not their parents attend meetings with a school counselor to receive support and implement a “Gender Support Plan.”

The Eighth Circuit Court will hear oral arguments for this case in February 2023. To defend parental rights, WFA has signed onto a friend-of-the-court brief, along with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), the Baptist Convention of Iowa (BCI), and other organizations to defend parental rights.  

The brief says that the Parental Preclusion Policy “permits students and schools to determine the name and pronouns that a student will use at school, to decide the gender of those that the child will sleep with on school trips, to select which restroom and locker room to use at school, and to determine which gender sports teams to join, all without parental notification or consent.”

By hiding pertinent information about students, the school district violates parents’ right to “direct the care and education of their children,” and violates their due process protections.

The U.S. Constitution “protects parental interests as fundamental,” reads the brief. “This policy’s underlying rationales – that parents do not act in their children’s best interest and schools may trump parental authority when they suspect they might disagree with parental decisions – provide no permissible justification whatsoever.”

“It is parents who are given the primary right to care for their child, not school counselors, teachers, or principals. [F]undamental parental rights, like other fundamental rights, may only be curtailed or withheld after notice and due process,” the brief continues. 

The Linn-Mar Community School District is clearly prioritizing a radical ideology over parents’ fundamental rights, and WFA is proud to take a stand for parents and children’s safety. 

In another recent case, former school counselor at Allen-Field Elementary School in the Milwaukee Public School District (MPS) Marissa Darlingh was fired for exercising her First Amendment right to free speech. At a feminist rally, Darlingh expressed her concern about the dangers associated with “gender identity ideology,” especially for children. 

Darlingh has filed a lawsuit against the school district in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and she is being represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. 

“The District has blatantly violated Ms. Darlingh’s First Amendment rights. Firing her for expressing her views on such an important subject is not only inexcusable, but unconstitutional,” said WILL Deputy Counsel, Luke Berg. 

The lawsuit alleges that the district violated Darlingh’s First Amendment and Due Process rights, as the termination letter cited her speech at the feminist rally as the reason for her termination. That speech was given on her own personal time outside of campus. The lawsuit seeks reinstatement to her position at the school, back-pay, and removal of the no-trespass order against her. We are hopeful that this case will affirm the First Amendment rights of all teachers. 

Schools are now pushing radical gender ideology on students, hiding information about students’ gender identity from parents, and punishing those who disagree with their ideology. While the success of these lawsuits will help, we need parents and teachers to stand up and assert their rights. Parents have every right to know exactly what is going on in the classroom, and teachers have every right to condemn a radical ideology that is harming children. 

Please pray for the success of these lawsuits and an end to radical indoctrination in the classrooms of government schools.

The votes are in – here’s how the midterm election played out in Wisconsin

The votes are in – here’s how the midterm election played out in Wisconsin

The votes for the 2022 fall midterm partisan elections are in, and overall, the outcome is as expected—not necessarily as hoped for. 

The big races—US senate, governor and attorney general were all close. Unofficially, Republican incumbent Ron Johnson has prevailed over Democrat challenger Mandela Barnes who is currently serving as our state’s lieutenant governor. The margin in this race was razor thin. 

In the race for governor, Republican challenger Tim Michels lost to incumbent Democrat Tony Evers, while in the attorney general race, incumbent Democrat Josh Kaul prevailed over challenger Republican Eric Toney. The AG race was even closer than the governor’s race.

In our congressional races, all incumbents won and in the only open congressional race in our state, Congressional District 3, Republican Derek Van Orden appears to have beat the Democrat opponent. This was an open seat because long-time Member of Congress Democrat Ron Kind decided to retire and not run for re-election. So now, Wisconsin’s congressional delegation, or members of the US House of Representatives, is made up of six Republicans and two Democrats.

Turning to the state legislature, Republicans held strong majorities in both the senate and the Assembly going into this election—not veto-proof, but close. As a reminder, all 99 Assembly seats were on the ballot and half of the senate districts, the odd-numbered districts. 

In the Senate, one noteworthy race resulted in a seat flipping from Democrat to Republican. In Senate District 25 in the northern part of the state Republican Romaine Quinn prevailed in an open race. The seat had been held by Democrat Janet Bewley who decided not to run again this cycle. In Senate District 31, Republican David Estenson narrowly lost to Democrat incumbent Jeff Smith. In other open Senate races, Republican Rob Hutton won in Senate District 5 and Republican Rachael Cabral-Guevera won in District 19—both of those seats had been held by Republicans. So, at this point, even with just the one Republican pick up in the state Senate, it appears there will be a veto-proof majority in the state senate with 22 Republicans and 11 Democrats.

In the Assembly, incumbents held on, with one or two seats flipped from Democrat to Republican (one race is still too close to call). The Republicans basically maintained their strong majority, but it does not appear they will get to the 66 needed for a veto-proof majority. 

With Evers returning to the governor’s office, Republicans would have liked veto-proof majorities in both houses so that they could override the governor’s vetoes. You might recall that this past session, Governor Evers vetoed 126 bills that were put on his desk by the Republican-controlled state legislature. Those bills included pro-life bills, election-reform bills, school choice bills, and many more. We now enter a second 4-year period, which is two legislative sessions, with a divided government which will mean more of the same since the legislature won’t be able to override Evers’ vetoes. 

At the federal level, races in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and a few other states, including Wisconsin, loomed very large going into election day. Pollsters and pundits were saying in the days leading up to the election that it looked very favorable for Republicans to gain control of the Senate. Both Democrats and Republicans needed to win 5 seats in order to maintain or gain the majority. Across the country there were tight, close races, but right now without all the races yet being called, it appears that the US Senate will once again be 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans—with a new face or two in that body, but essentially the same scenario we have had. Johnson’s win here in Wisconsin was critical to maintaining the 50-50 split.

This outcome in the US Senate is going to mean some more tense moments as the Senate looks at the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, the potential codification of abortion, bills that deal with special protections for the LGBTQ agenda, and so forth. On the bills that require the 60-vote threshold, Democrats and liberal outside groups will be very heavily lobbying the Republican senators to peel 10 of them off so they can get the votes they need on these bills and more. From our perspective, this means citizens need to stay very engaged and willing to let their senators know their opinion on these highly-charged, very important issues.

We should take a quick look at the US House of Representatives as well. That body had a Democrat majority for the past two years, but that appears to have changed as a result of yesterday’s election. Republicans now have a narrow majority over the Democrats with the New York Times estimating that the Republicans will have 224 of the 435 seats and the Democrats holding 211. Talk about narrow margins! Wisconsin contributed to this majority by flipping Congressional District 3 from blue to red. 

Of course, this does mean leadership will change from Speaker Nancy Pelosi to likely Kevin McCarthy. Now, with the Republicans in control of the House and the Democrats in control of the Senate, there’s going to be, at least presumably, some gridlock with the House probably passing more conservative bills than the senate will be willing to take up. 

We must remember that in all things, God is sovereign. Scripture says the powers that be are ordained of God, which means we as believers must view even election results through that lens. That doesn’t mean we don’t assess how outcomes happened, what strategies and tactics worked and which ones didn’t. It doesn’t mean we don’t look for ways to do things better if need be to produce different results if that’s what we think is right. But it does mean at some point, we accept the outcome of elections, as at a minimum, God-permitted. We should look for lessons to be learned from whatever the outcome is. 

As always, many thanks for all of your work in this election cycle and for your continued support.

Thank you for whatever you did to help determine the consequences of this election. Whether you voted, used your influence to encourage others to join you, worked the polls, were an election observer, took people to the polls who couldn’t otherwise get there, or prayed—it’s all important. And you deserve great gratitude for what you’ve done.

There will be very real consequences from this election, and we need to be ready for those, both the positive and the negative ones. We do our best to honor God with our vote and we engage elected officials now as they begin making policy. We let them know our opinion on bills, but we ultimately accept the outcome as from God, Who could have changed the outcome of any race if He had chosen to do so. We rejoice in victories, and we accept losses, and most importantly, we push forward with hope in King Jesus and in God’s Word and with courage and determination in our mission of advancing Christian values in Wisconsin—because we love God, and we love our neighbor.

Stay tuned for more information on all that our organizations did in this election. We think you will be very encouraged!

Let’s honor God with our vote on Nov. 8

Let’s honor God with our vote on Nov. 8

With the midterm election just a few days away, we are in the midst of intense spiritual warfare. Politics is always a spiritual business, as it involves truth and ethics. But with so much at stake during this election, the forces of darkness threatening to steal our children’s innocence, destroy the family unit, annihilate another generator of Wisconsin’s unborn future, and remove our God-given rights are working overtime. 

“It was Lucifer’s attempt to displace Christ from the Throne of Heaven that got him expelled (Isaiah 14:12). Lucifer is still seeking thrones for himself, and weak, spiritually naïve human beings seeking power easily become instruments of his quest,” writes Wallace B. Henley of the Christian Post

As Christians, we can fight back against the Devil’s attempt to seek political thrones for himself by honoring God with our vote. This means that the candidates we vote for should stand for biblical principles. ​​They should be unwavering in their protection of parental rights, the sanctity of life, children’s innocence, and religious liberty. 

There may not always be a candidate whose views align perfectly with God’s teaching, but there will likely be an option that is clearly the most ethical. Part of honoring God with our vote is preventing the evil ideas of the left from coming into fruition by voting for the most ethical candidate, even if we don’t agree with him/her on everything. 

Further, if we are going to make significant headway against the evil in our country, we need churches and pastors to directly address the political issues that the Bible takes a clear stance on—in particular, abortion, marriage, and human sexuality.

Pro-abortion advocates and government leaders are working tirelessly to ensure a future of abortion on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy. Unfortunately, many Christians fail to recognize abortion as the grave offense against God that it is, and abortion extremists are taking advantage of that. 

Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi outrageously claim that abortion and the Christian faith are compatible, while California Governor Gavin Newsom is using Bible verses to advertise for abortion across the country. 

The church needs to step up and set the record straight on abortion, marriage, human sexuality, and children’s rights including the right to life. Pastors dare not any longer ignore these biblical issues that have been politicized, as the left shows no signs of stopping in their mission to dismantle the traditional family, immerse young children in inappropriate material, abort the unborn, and elevate adult desires above children’s rights.  

This is not to say that churches should become political power houses. Our interest is rather in making sure God’s people are informed so they can then appropriately engage with the government God has given us in this great country—a Republic, which requires the participation of its citizens. Our dual citizenship—in Heaven and on Earth—requires that we be good citizens of both places. Good citizens vote knowledgeably and responsibly—and honor God in doing so.

Most importantly, as good citizens of both heaven and earth, we must pray for this election. Pray that the most Christ-centered leaders are elected and that they lead our country toward virtue and Truth. 

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

 

Christians, it’s time to vote Evers and Kaul out

Christians, it’s time to vote Evers and Kaul out

The midterm elections are less than a week away, and we need every Christian in Wisconsin to make their voice heard. With a growing crime rate, high inflation, poor educational outcomes, and continuous attacks on parental rights, so much is at stake. By electing the right leaders, and voting out those who have demonstrated their incompetence, we can change the trajectory of our state. 

First and foremost, Gov. Evers needs to be replaced. WFA has compiled a “refrigerator list” of all that he’s done that Christians should oppose. It includes the following: 

  • Issued Executive Order that Pride flag be flown over Capitol in June each year. 
  • Vetoed every pro-life bill he’s been given (twice.) 
  • Vetoed every election reform bill he’s been given. 
  • Vetoed every vaccine discrimination bill he’s been given. 
  • Issued an illegal extension of his 60-day COVID-related Emergency Declaration and Executive Order.
  • Issued executive orders requiring gender-specific pronouns or gender-specific family terms (such as mother, father, sister, brother, etc.) not be used within the executive branch (EO #121).
  • Issued proclamation for so-called “Pride Month.” 
  • Vetoed a classroom transparency bill that would require schools to share curriculum, lessons plans and assignments with parents, so they know what their kids were being taught.
  • Vetoed a bill that would have stopped CRT from being taught in public schools. 
  • Supports/pushes legalization of recreational marijuana. 
  • Vetoed every bill related to protecting religious freedom during COVID.
  • Vetoed a bill that would have expanded school choice (AB 59). 
  • Vetoed a bill that would have eliminated personal property tax (AB 191).
  • Vetoed a series of bills that would have directed COVID-19 relief money in specific amounts to specific entities.
  • Approved, unilaterally, sports betting (online on casino property) in Wisconsin. 
  • Approved, unilaterally, the first off-reservation casino in WI (Beloit) .
  • Issued proclamation for Transgender Day of Remembrance (Nov. 2021).
  • Proposed largest spending budget in state’s history. 
  • Failed to send National Guard into Kenosha during Jacob Blake riots; engulfed city in riots & civil unrest for 3 days. Resulting in loss of 3 lives, $11M in destruction in a poor, multi-racial commercial area.
  • Gave Planned Parenthood of WI $2.4 million of taxpayer money from the COVID relief funds.

If Evers remains in office, he will continue to advance his radical pro-abortion, anti-family, and anti-Christian agenda. He has vetoed numerous bills that were popular among Wisconsinites and would have greatly benefited our state. Some of those bills would have protected children from radical indoctrination, ensured the integrity of our elections, and protected the unborn. 

Further, Evers’ prolonged school lockdowns and his silence while teachers’ unions kept schools closed d to a sharp decline in students’ scores. Wisconsin families deserve better. 

Tim Michels is challenging Evers, and he has vowed to support and even expand school choice, protect the unborn, back the blue, and protect the integrity of our elections. 

This is more than a matter of personal preference; these issues carry tremendous moral weight, meaning our votes do as well. For Christians, voting for a candidate with a progressive, anti-family agenda like Evers does not seem to us to be a viable option. We have a duty to elect a governor who will uphold our God-given rights, support life, and honor the will of the people. Michels, from our perspective, is the only moral choice. 

Like Evers, Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul failed to do his job and has pandered to his political allies instead of defending Wisconsin law. In June, Kaul and Evers filed a lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court alleging Wisconsin’s law that criminalizes most abortions is not enforceable. Kaul maintained that laws that Republicans have passed mostly over the last fifty years negate the 1849 law.

“Unfortunately, this kind of political pandering and unwillingness of Evers and Kaul to do their job has come with the highest cost: loss of life. From the Kenosha riots in 2020, to the Waukesha parade attack in 2021, to Milwaukee’s murder rate sitting at 5 times the national average, and now the life of the unborn. Not enforcing our laws has real life consequences to Wisconsin citizens’ safety and security – true law enforcement should be the top priority,” said WFA President Julaine Appling.

 Last week, during a debate with Republican challenger Eric Toney, Kaul doubled down on his decision to file that lawsuit, while Toney pledged to enforce the law. “We needed an attorney general, that’s not going to pick and choose when to enforce the rule of law, even if they disagree,” Toney said. He is absolutely right. We need an attorney general who will prioritize the rule of law over his own personal political interests. 

Further, like Evers, Kaul has vowed to fight for abortion access, support public schools to the exclusion of  school choice, expand gun control, and much more. Toney, on the other hand, supports the Parental Bill of Rights and wants to enforce Wisconsin’s abortion ban. For Christians, the most ethical choice is clear. 

Lastly, Republican Ron Johnson is challenging Democrat Mandela Barnes for Wisconsin’s US Senate seat, and the right choice seems clear again. Unlike Barnes, Johnson wants to empower parents to take control of their children’s education, secure our borders, fight inflation, and protect the unborn. 

God calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:39). One of the best ways to do that is to care for the spiritual and temporal lives of our neighbors by voting for candidates who will protect the unborn, support God’s plan for marriage and family, and protect children from immoral influences. 

To learn more about each of the candidates and where they stand on the most important issues, visit this link. Get informed, spread the word to friends and family, and cast a vote that aligns with biblical principles. Every vote matters and can make a difference. Too much is at stake to stay home. 

Christians are called to engage in government 

Christians are called to engage in government 

This week, WFA held a “Lunch With a Purpose” webinar with Dr. Wayne Grudem, who serves as Distinguished Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary in Phoenix, Arizona.   

Participants engaged in an excellent discussion on politics according to the Bible, and we trust that it was helpful for all who attended. For those who weren’t able to attend, a recording of the webinar is available on our website and may be accessed HERE.

Below are a list of resources that were mentioned in the webinar:

  • Politics According to the Bible by Dr. Grudem is available from Amazon HERE.
  • A copy of the booklet “Why Christians Should Seek to Influence Government for Good” by Dr. Grudem is available from Wisconsin Family Council (888-378-7395), or you can access a pdf download for free HERE.
  • A copy of the booklet “Christians and Politics: Five Wrong Views” by Dr, Grudem is available online HERE.
  • Election resources for your church are available on Wisconsin Family Council’s website HERE.
  • Wisconsin Family Council’s Voter Information Publication can be found HERE.

We encourage everyone to take a look at these materials to gain a better understanding of why it’s so important for Christians to engage in government. It’s vital that we know why participating in politics is so important not only so that we do so ourselves, but so we can encourage our friends and family to do the same. 

Government is God’s idea, not man’s. He calls us to engage in the political sphere as a way of caring for the spiritual and temporal lives of our neighbors. Jesus says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39). This means we must seek laws and elect leaders who will protect the unborn, support marriage and the family, and protect children from immoral influences. 

Further, politics and morality are inseparable. Every law is based on some kind of moral compass, whether that compass comes from the false god of self or the One True God. 

Dr. Grudem notes, “The Bible says that a government official is ‘God’s servant for your good’ (Rom. 13:4), but how can government officials effectively serve God if no one is allowed to tell them what they believe God expects of them? The Bible says that government officials are sent ‘to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good’ (1 Peter 2:14), but how can they do that if no spokesmen from any of the world’s religions are allowed to give them counsel on what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil’?” Society can only thrive when our laws are based on God’s unchanging law.

Ultimately, without Christian influence, our government will have no clear moral compass, and Christians are obligated to exercise this influence.

The midterm election is just over a week away. Let’s respond to our calling and head to the polls. Don’t forget to do your research, know what each of the candidates stands for, cast an informed vote grounded in biblical principles, and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

Schools are pushing dangerous gender ideology, but parents are waking up

Schools are pushing dangerous gender ideology, but parents are waking up

The left is on a mission to immerse young children in inappropriate sexual material and radical gender ideology. Unfortunately, if a child is in public school, the chances of him or him being subject to this indoctrination are alarmingly high. Countless stories of schools encouraging students to take a false sense of control over their gender and transition socially without parental consent continue to emerge.

One father named Wendell Perez received a harrowing phone call from the Florida elementary school that his daughter attends thanks to the radical gender ideology that the school promotes. School officials informed Perez that his 12-year-old daughter had attempted to commit suicide in the girls’ bathroom. The reasoning she gave was that was in distress because she wanted to be a boy, with a male name and pronouns.

Wendell was in disbelief. He had never seen any signs of gender dysphoria or discomfort in his daughter. Further, the family is Catholic, and they intentionally instilled their children with a biblical worldview and scientific understanding of gender.

However, when Wendell and his wife rushed to the school, they discovered that school officials had been having secret meetings with their daughter and discussing her confusion about her gender. 

Teachers had even begun treating their daughter as a boy without their knowledge or consent. Staff told Wendell that he was not informed of these meetings due to “confidentiality issues.”

This is just one of dozens of stories in which teachers are secretly addressing students by opposite-sex pronouns, promoting an ideology that leaves children in severe distress and often leads them to pursue harmful gender “transition” procedures.

No parent should ever have to receive the traumatic phone call that Wendell did. For the sake of children’s safety, all parents should know exactly what their child is learning and what personal information teachers are discussing with their child. 

Thankfully, Wendell is now suing his daughter’s school district in Florida for undermining his and his wife’s right to direct their daughter’s upbringing.

Although this father’s battle is happening in Florida, Wisconsin families are fighting these same issues in at least three school districts. The Eau Claire, Kettle Moraine, and Madison districts have each been caught violating parental rights in the name of radical gender ideology during the past year. (Read HERE for more on those specific cases.)

Like Wendell, many parents are frustrated with their lack of input and knowledge about what their children are learning at school. A recent Fox News poll revealed that 70% of parents said that they did not have enough say in what their children learned in school.

Further, when asked about “overly accommodating transgender policies” for transgender students, 60% of parents said that these policies were a problem.

This is excellent news, especially in light of the fact that the midterm elections are right around the corner. Parents are waking up, and hopefully they will take their frustration to the polls. 

Beyond voting for candidates that will protect their rights, parents must also educate themselves and become active in their local schools. They should demand transparency and regular parental review of classroom materials. Lastly, parents should know their rights and their options. If a school refuses to respect their basic values, parents should consider alternatives.

Parental rights are indispensable for a thriving society, as parents are best equipped to guide and protect their children. The left has waged a war on these rights, but we are reaching a turning point as parents begin to recognize the abuse that is happening to their children.

We have an opportunity to reclaim parental rights on November 8th – let’s not waste it. Don’t forget to educate yourself about the candidates by visiting Wisconsin Family Action’s voter guide. Be sure to spread the word to your friends and family and vote for leaders who understand that children belong to parents alone.

Two crucial free speech and religious liberty cases are in court 

Two crucial free speech and religious liberty cases are in court 

Christian cake shop owner Jack Phillips and graphic designer Lorie Smith are fighting for their First Amendment rights in court. Hopefully their cases will reaffirm the right of every American to live or run a business according to their deeply held beliefs without fear or retribution.

In 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court heard Phillips’ case after a couple sued the baker for refusing to bake them a cake celebrating their same-sex wedding. The court ruled in Phillips’ favor and found that the state of Colorado had discriminated against him.

However, before the court gave its ruling, another complaint was filed against Phillips, this time for refusing to bake a cake celebrating a gender transition.

On the same day that the Supreme Court announced it would hear Phillips’ original case, Colorado lawyer Autumn Scardina called Phillips’ bakery to ask for a cake celebrating his transition from male to female. Scardina admitted that he only wanted to “challenge the veracity” of Phillips’ claim that he would serve LGBT people. Phillips’ family told Scardina they could not make the cake because the message it conveyed contradicted their personal beliefs.

Phillips has frequently served LGBT customers. He is not discriminating against the customers themselves. He simply refuses to make cakes with messages that contradict his religious beliefs such as Halloween cakes, sexually explicit cakes, and demeaning cakes, as is his God-given right.

A district court ruled against Phillips in this case, but Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys appealed the decision to the Colorado Court of Appeals.

ADF Senior Counsel Jake Warner says, “No one should be forced to express a message that violates their beliefs and conscience. Activists and state laws have threatened artists like Jack and graphic artist Lorie Smith because they can’t express messages on marriage and gender that violate their core beliefs. In this case, an activist attorney demanded that Jack create expressive cakes to test him and ‘correct the errors’ of his thinking. The attorney even promised to sue Jack again if the case is dismissed for any reason. Free speech is for everyone. The Constitution protects the freedom of every American to express ideas even if the government disagrees with those ideas.”

Warner is absolutely right. Phillips is completely within his rights to refuse to serve a same-sex wedding or bake a cake with an anti-Christian message. Hopefully, the Colorado Court of Appeals makes a decision informed by the Constitution. 

In Jack’s first case, the US Supreme Court granted Phillips a partial victory, but failed to address the heart of the issue: Does the Constitution protect freedom of speech and the freedom not to speak, as well as religious freedom, or does the LGBTQ agenda trump those rights? 

The good news is that the high court has a case this session similar to Jack’s, giving them another opportunity to get this issue right. Lorie Smith, a Christian graphic designer, is challenging the same law that brought Phillips to the Supreme Court.

Smith designs websites for weddings as long as they align with her belief that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. However, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act forces her to create websites for same-sex marriages. 

This is an opportunity for the Supreme Court to affirm every artist and business owner’s right to refuse to send a message they don’t agree with. Let’s pray the court gets it right this time. 

Even WFA has been denied graphic design services more than once because of who we are and what we believe- even by vendors who say they are Christians. While we could sue, we never have, because as Christians, we really do believe business owners should have the right to refuse any business they wish. 

At the core of human dignity is our right to live in accordance with our deeply held beliefs. No one has the right to an artist’s services. Only the artist has the right to determine which services he or she will provide. While this First Amendment right is under severe and constant attack, Phillips and Smith’s cases give us a chance to realign the law with the Constitution and prevent more unwarranted complaints against Christian business owners. 

Conservative activist exposes Vanderbilt, demonstrates that exposing the truth can save children from mutilation

Conservative activist exposes Vanderbilt, demonstrates that exposing the truth can save children from mutilation

Thanks to online trends and social contagion, rates of transgender affiliation are soaring while a growing number of clinics are harming children with dangerous, experimental procedures. However, several conservative activists are speaking out and demonstrating that sharing the truth can make a real difference. 

Last month, Daily Wire host Matt Walsh posted a twitter thread revealing Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s (VUMC) dangerous so-called  “gender-affirming” practices. “My team and I have been investigating the transgender clinic at Vanderbilt here in Nashville. Vanderbilt drugs, chemically castrates, and performs double mastectomies on minors. But it gets worse…” wrote Walsh. 

A Daily Wire report stated that Walsh uncovered video and archived webpages from VUMC describing a doctor’s promotion of transgender therapies and surgeries in addition to threats against medical professionals who have  moral objections to these procedures. In videos shared by Walsh, a VUMC doctor is seen bragging about how lucrative cross-sex hormones, puberty blocking therapies, and mutilation surgeries are because they require “a lot of follow-ups.” Particular surgeries were described in dollar signs. 

Shortly after the report was published, the University put a pause on its child mutilation procedures. “HUGE NEWS: following our report, Vanderbilt has agreed to pause all gender transition surgeries on minors. The fight is far from over but this will save children from mutilation and abuse. An incredibly important victory. Praise God,” tweeted Walsh. 

The left wants to keep their radical practices in the dark, and they are threatened when the truth is exposed. Like Walsh, Chris Rufo, Libs of Tiktok and other conservative activists, we must continue to speak out against the child abuse being committed by a growing number of clinics to save children from permanent damage. With enough public backlash, these clinics will be forced to stop their “gender affirming” procedures as Vanderbilt has. 

While alarming stories of gender affirmative clinics are emerging from other states, Wisconsin children are also at risk of succumbing to the lies and consequences of gender ideology. Here in Wisconsin, the Pediatric Adolescent Transgender Health Clinic (PATH Clinic) at the University of Wisconsin Health “work[s] with gender expansive children and teens.” We don’t know exactly what the clinic’s “gender affirmative” approach entails, but we do know that these programs act as a gateway to mutilation and sterilization. Our job is to call them out for abusing children and demand that they provide those suffering from gender dysphoria with real help, not harm. 

We should also focus on highlighting the stories of detransitioners who are speaking out against the abuse they endured and detailing the irreversible physical and emotional damage they now live with. 

A new film from the Center for Bioethics and Culture shares the testimonies of three women who received different forms of “gender-affirming” services and procedures only to find that the “treatments” that were supposed to alleviate their confusion only caused them more harm.

“I wasn’t functioning at all. I wasn’t holding down a job. I wasn’t going to school. I just felt like a monster. Once I stopped the testosterone, the symptoms all went away and I started feeling like myself again,” said one detransitioner named Helena.

The three girls, and many others like them, are addressing other children who are suffering from gender dysphoria and urging them to avoid puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and any kind of “gender affirming” care. Their transparency acts as a beacon of hope in a culture that’s become obsessed with placing children in charge of their gender. 

Mangling healthy bodies should never be the solution to a mental health crisis. In fact, it’s only exacerbating the crisis. By sharing the truth about the danger that many clinics are subjecting children to and sharing the hopeful stories of detransitioners, we can make a real difference and put an end to child abuse disguised as healthcare.

Italy’s new prime minister sets an excellent example for leaders in the U.S. 

Italy’s new prime minister sets an excellent example for leaders in the U.S. 

A new leader abroad is representing the rise of conservatism in Europe, and she provides an excellent example of unwavering commitment to Christian values for our leaders here in the United States. 

Giorgia Meloni, the leader of Italy’s conservative party Brothers of Italy, was recently elected Prime Minister of Italy, making history as the first female leader of the country. Even more impressively, she is standing firm for biblical values and the nuclear family. 

Meloni’s leadership is desperately needed in Europe, as the EU’s progressive social and economic agenda is spreading much like the left’s in the United States. Despite tremendous backlash from her adversaries, Meloni has consistently and unapologetically spoken the truth. 

During a speech at the 2019 World Congress of Families that has recently gone viral online, she declared, “Why is the family an enemy? Why is the family so frightening?… Because everything that defines us is now an enemy… And so they attack national identity, they attack religious identity, they attack gender identity, they attack family identity…”

“I cannot define myself as Italian, Christian, woman, mother. No…  I must be… ‘gender x,’ ‘parent 1’… I must be a number…” she continued.

“We will defend God, country and family. Those things that disgust people so much. We will do it to defend our freedom, because we will never be slaves…”

Meloni has also condemned many of the evils that the left continues to champion such as surrogacy, same-sex marriage, abortion, and child gender transition hormone therapy. 

She has even bemoaned Italy’s low birth rate, which is just 1.2 children per woman, reflecting the culture’s poor view of marriage and family. This is an issue we’re seeing in Wisconsin, as we’ve had a below replacement birth-rate since 1974. 

Meloni’s commitment to the traditional family unit and Christian values is exactly what we need from our leaders here in the U.S., especially as a growing number of children are undergoing bodily mutilation at the hands of abusive doctors.

This kind of leadership is difficult to come across, as it comes at a high price now that censorship, name-calling, and persecution have become the norm in our political landscape

The left is criticizing Meloni’s views and politics as “semi-fascist” – although this is blatantly false – simply because her political beliefs align with biblical teachings. 

YouTube has censored her speech, claiming that the video “violated YouTube’s Community Guidelines.” In reality, the left-wing platform simply disagrees with Meloni’s politics and is silencing her voice as it often does to conservative speakers. 

Our leaders should expect the same persecution if they follow her lead, but it can’t hinder them from fiercely marching forward in proclaiming God’s truth and boldly speaking out for children and the traditional family. Children are being mutilated, and now is not the time for spineless leadership. 

Without representatives who refuse to cower to the woke mob and are steadfast in their goal of preserving traditional American values, parental rights, religious liberty, and free speech will continue to diminish. 

Thankfully, we have an opportunity this fall to elect leaders who will follow Meloni’s lead and catalyze a return to a pro-family America. Over the next month, we should focus on getting informed about the candidates and encouraging fellow Christians to elect Christ-centered leaders who will guide our country toward virtue and away from the many evils pervading our culture.  

We need to elect candidates who are proud to send the same message in the U.S. that Meloni is sending to Italy: “Yes to natural families, no to the LGBT lobby, yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology, yes to the culture of life, no to the abyss of death.”

 

Parent group fights radical indoctrination in Wauwatosa

Parent group fights radical indoctrination in Wauwatosa

Parents with children in Wauwatosa School District are rightfully upset. The district is doing everything it can to indoctrinate their children, starting as early as kindergarten, by exposing them to inappropriate instructional material as part of its Human Growth and Development curriculum.

The board notified parents the first week of August about proposed changes to the Human Growth and Development curriculum, which include classes on gender identity, sexual-orientation, and other sex-themed topics from kindergarten through high school. 

By fourth grade, students will be expected to “have awareness of different definitions for gender, including transgender, cisgender, and non-binary,” “understand that individuals may identify beyond male and female,” and “understand the use of pronouns around gender identity.” The full guidelines can be found here.

The curriculum is possibly the most radical that we’ve seen. It exposes 5-year-olds to concepts and visuals they are in no way prepared to handle. 

The push to convince children that their biological sex is a fiction and change be changed and that homosexuality is normal and even healthy is intentional and extreme. They audaciously start as young as they dare—in this instance kindergarten—and continue bombarding the students with lies wrapped in strong emotional language and pseudo-science. 

Thankfully, concerned parents and other citizens have organized and done an incredible job of showing up, speaking up, and standing up, letting the school board know that the changes to the district’s sex ed program are entirely inappropriate. This organized group of parents and other concerned citizens now has an official nameAwake Tosa.

What we first noticed about the parents’ efforts and approach was how very knowledgeable they were about what Wisconsin’s law actually says about these programs. For instance, they knew that nothing in Wisconsin’s law requires a school district to have a Human Growth and Development, aka, sex-ed program. Having such a program is totally at the discretion of the school board.

This group also knew that if a school district decides to have a sex-ed program, then certain things are required, including an advisory committee comprised of representatives from certain groups of citizens, including medical professionals, members of the clergy, and parents. The law also clearly limits how many school-district-related people can be on the committee.

Importantly, a number of those involved with this effort have actually spent time looking at the proposed curriculum and related instructional materials. They knew exactly what they were talking about when they stood before the school board and voiced their concerns. Some read directly from the material and others made specific references to certain objectionable elements and noted the grade level. That kind of specificity shows the board and other district officials that people have done their homework and are not just speaking generally or without firsthand knowledge of what’s in the program. Specifics make it hard for officials to dismiss the allegations.

Finally, this group has paid close attention to what the district has been doing with scheduling meetings and other actions it was taking, including a public survey on the proposed changes. Using emails, texts, phone calls, and word-of-mouth, people concerned about what was happening informed others, letting them know, for instance, that the survey was available online and encouraging them to weigh in before the deadline. That’s a smart move. If the school district is going to solicit public input, then it’s fair game for people to let others know and urge them to use the mechanism the district is providing.

Unfortunately, the board approved the Human Growth and Development program with the onerous changes on Monday, September 26, 2022, but Awake Tosa still acts as a source of hope. They are pressing on and setting an important example that’s worthy of emulation. It’s vital that parents put pressure on school boards when they reach beyond their boundaries. 

We hope  Awake Tosa will remain organized and even expand. They are learning good lessons as they go along—lessons that will help them tackle other issues impacting their children. The very best way to bring about positive changes in school districts is for parents and other citizens in that district to take an active, on-going interest. One-and-done doesn’t work; it takes persistent and consistent work. And all the evidence we see right now says Wauwatosa concerned citizens understand that and will continue showing up, speaking up, and standing up for the children.

We should find solace in the fact that parents are waking up and paying attention. Hopefully, they will take their frustration to the polls this fall and elect candidates who will protect their children from radical indoctrination. 

There is power in numbers, and parents really can make a difference when they band together. 

 

WILL fights back against the DOE’s Title IX proposal, offers model policies that provide hope

WILL fights back against the DOE’s Title IX proposal, offers model policies that provide hope

President Joe Biden’s Department of Education is attempting to radically re-define “sex” in Title IX to expand the law’s protections to “transgender” individuals. Thankfully, many voices are putting up a fight. 

Under Title IX, schools cannot receive federal funding if they discriminate against any student on the basis of sex. According to a press release, the DOE wants to amend Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments so that “sex” includes “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” 

As a result, any space, program, building, bathroom, locker room, or sports team that is separated by sex would be forced to accommodate biological men who believe they are, or “identify” as, women. Schools that rightfully refuse to allow biological males into women’s bathrooms could lose their federal funding.

However, there is hope. The proposed changes have not yet taken effect, and parents, the attorneys general of several states, and organizations like Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) are working to ensure that they never do. 

The DOE received over 184,000 public comments from parents concerned about their children’s safety and the erasure of women. This is a record number of parents and other concerned citizens taking a stand for the rights of their families. It shows that parents are paying attention and are willing to take action to protect their children, which is excellent news ahead of a crucial election. 

Similarly, WILL submitted a comment to the Department of Education detailing three significant concerns about the proposed changes.  

“First, the reinterpretation of the definition of sex within Title IX is an illegal action by an executive agency because the proposed regulations are antithetical to the intent of the law – namely, to protect and support women and girls. Second, the proposed regulations will have a chilling effect on speech, including speech motivated by sincere religious beliefs, and academic freedom. Third, the proposed regulations undermine parental rights. WILL has requested that the Department respond to each of these concerns and reject the proposed rules,” reads WILL’s comment. 

Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling also submitted a comment on behalf of the organization. Our comments were along the same line as WILL’s.

WILL also has model policies available to school districts, including a model policy on student pronouns that the Education Department should take a note from. “Parents have the right to determine the names and pronouns that staff use to refer to their children while at school. Staff shall not refer to or address minor students by a different name or pronouns that differ from their biological sex, during school hours, without written authorization from a parent,” begins the model policy on student pronouns. 

Another model policy establishes parents’ right to review instructional materials and related documents: “Parents shall have the right to access, upon request, the instructional materials used in the education of their children. In this policy, “instructional materials” means instructional content that is provided to a student, regardless of its format, including printed or representational materials, audio-visual materials, and materials in electronic or digital formats.”

We need leaders on school boards and legislators who will enact policies like these to protect children and parents’ rights—not undermine them. We have an opportunity to do just that this fall; let’s not waste it!

In the meantime, please pray that the efforts to block the DOE’s radical proposal are effective. Women’s rights, parental rights, free speech, religious liberty, and academic freedom are on the line; but we should remain hopeful because of the many voices that are fighting back and offering a better way forward. 




 

The Equal Access to Reproductive Care Act treats children as commodities

The Equal Access to Reproductive Care Act treats children as commodities

California Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CD 28) recently introduced the Equal Access to Reproductive Care Act, which purportedly aims to help those struggling with infertility; but in truth, it only creates a larger issue for children’s rights. 

Currently in the United States, couples are eligible to receive tax benefits for fertility treatments only if they are in a heterosexual relationship since these are the only relationships capable of fertility in and of themselves. However, sexual revolutionaries view nature and biological truths as an injustice, and they are attempting to expand the definition of “infertility” to include those who cannot reproduce “either as a single individual or with a partner without medical intervention.” 

In response to the legislation, Joseph Backholm in WORLD explains: “Under this definition, single people, as well as people in same-sex relationships, could be ‘infertile,’ which only makes sense in a world where men can get pregnant, and no one can define what a woman is.”

This is exactly what the Equal Access to Reproductive Care Act aims to do. In a press release, Rep. Schiff says, “our tax code is sorely outdated and makes it harder for LGBTQ+ individuals and couples to afford treatments to bring children into their families, such as IVF. This bill would rectify this iniquity by allowing LGBTQ+ couples to deduct the cost of assisted reproductive treatments as a medical expense—a privilege heterosexual couples already have.”

He went on: “Every person regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, or relationship status deserves the same opportunity to start and expand a family.”

This is an entirely adult-centered view of the relationship between parents and children.

This legislation treats a child as “an accessory that exists to meet the needs of adults,” as Backholm puts it. Children have a natural right to both a mother and father, and Schiff’s proposal completely disregards the best interest of children. 

“In his view, the adults deserve the child simply because they want the child. Any disadvantage the child experiences by being commodified and denied a relationship with one or both of his or her parents is outweighed by the emotional satisfaction the adults will experience.

However, if the needs of children are primary, a child’s right to be known and loved by his or her mother and father is more important than the adult desire to have a child. After all, men cannot mother and women cannot father. Children need both mothers and fathers,” writes Backholm.

Further, this legislation encourages the use of technology to bring children into the world, which has serious moral implications. Surrogacy, for example, intentionally separates a child from one or both of his biological parents. This creates in them a “primal wound” that manifests as depression, abandonment issues, and emotional problems throughout their lives.

Artificial reproduction often disregards the physical as well as the emotional well-being of lab-created children, as only 7% of children created in a lab will be born alive. Most will perish in forgotten freezers, won’t survive “thawing,” will fail to implant, or will be discarded if they’re non-viable or the wrong sex, or be “selectively reduced” (aborted), or be donated to research. This happens largely because there are no limits on the number of embryos created for someone seeking IVF. The unused ones are then “frozen” (commonly referred to as “snowflake babies”) and then, after a time, if not used, are disposed of.

We have a medical doctor friend who is also a biological ethicist, who a number of years ago recommended that if IVF is to continue, then at a minimum, a law should be passed that limits to three the number of embryos that are created for a single IVF attempt. All three would then be required to be implanted, which means none would need to be “frozen.”

Approximately 12 percent of married couples suffer from infertility or struggle to sustain a pregnancy, which creates deep emotional, physical, and financial stress. These couples deserve care, support, and compassion as they deal with the immense pain associated with the unfulfilled longing for a child, and a healthy society must encourage couples to have children through legislation that supports parenthood.

However, the desires of adults must never take precedent over the rights of children. 

“We live in a broken world, which means the ideal is not always possible. Adoption is a beautiful example of how we can make the best of situations that are already broken. Still, making the best of difficult circumstances is very different than creating difficult circumstances on purpose, which is exactly what Rep. Schiff’s Equal Access to Reproductive Care Act would do,” concludes Backholm.

We agree. The Equal Access to Reproductive Care Act submits the rights of children to the desires of adults—even if well-intentioned—and we dare not make this the basis of policymaking.

While 1 in 7 Christians are persecuted worldwide, we should be grateful for our religious liberty

Wisconsin Christian Heritage Week- let’s teach our children about our history

In 2018, then-Governor Scott Walker issued a proclamation declaring September 9-15 Christian Heritage Week in Wisconsin. He opened his statement with the following: “WHEREAS; the Preamble to the Constitution of Wisconsin states that ‘We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom… domestic tranquility…do establish this Constitution.’” Walker then cited statements by Founders Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, and Madison in which each extols God or Christianity.

While we are not technically a Christian nation, we definitely have a distinctive and pervasive Christian heritage. Even though Christian Heritage Week was technically last week, it’s always time and good for families in particular to explore the truth of this heritage. Passing on this Christian heritage is each American Christian’s responsibility and honor. 

Activists in today’s very secular culture would like to revise that part of our history because doing so would make it much easier to advance their liberal, progressive and destructive agenda. Christianity is a real impediment to what they want America to become—a totally humanistic, socialistic, godless mere shell of its original self; and forgetting our history is one of the best ways to ensure we have little to no Christianity in our future.

The antidote to combatting the left’s mission to transform America into a godless dystopia is for families to begin instructing their children about our rich and deeply faith-based heritage.

For instance, did you know every single state constitution makes reference to God or Providence or the Supreme Judge? While it’s true that the US Constitution doesn’t include such a reference, the language after the Articles giving the particulars of when and where the signing was done, right above the signatures, the Founders wrote, “In the year of our Lord.” We also certainly see such references in the Declaration of Independence. Even a cursory survey of the writings of many of our founders and those following our founders’ era are replete with distinctly Christian references.  

Consider how many national days of prayer and fasting presidents have called. Reading those proclamations makes it very clear that the nation has a Christian heritage. Certainly, rehearsing the story of William Bradford and the 1620 voyage of The Mayflower and The Mayflower Compact beautifully relates our strong Christian foundation—one that is unique to America. 

No other country was founded in the way and for the reason we were. This is what has made America so exceptional. This Christian foundation was the basis for our unique rights and liberties that uphold human dignity in a way that no other country has before, and our children need to know this. 

Unless we do this family by family, our Christian heritage will quickly be forgotten. Let’s do our part in saving America by honoring our Christian roots at home. 

Parents can find some excellent information that will help them teach their children about our Christian heritage here

Three Wisconsin school districts under fire for violating parents’ rights

Three Wisconsin school districts under fire for violating parents’ rights

Wisconsin schools have been undermining parents’ rights in an attempt to indoctrinate students with radical LGBTQ+ ideology. Thankfully, three similar lawsuits against Wisconsin school districts have emerged in recent months. 

Most recently, the Eau Claire Area School District (ECASD) was sued for hosting gender identity trainings that instruct teachers and school staff 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 parental rights. 

AFL released a questionnaire used in the district’s training, revealing some of the concerning instructions given to staff. One slide used in the training states that “parents are not entitled to know their kids’ identities. That knowledge must be earned.” Teachers are told to prioritize the desires of the student over the rights of the parent. 

During another training for the district’s teachers, the host, Christopher Jorgenson, told staff,We understand and acknowledge that teachers are often put in terrible positions caught between parents and their students. But much like we wouldn’t act as stand-ins for abuse in other circumstances, we cannot let parents’ rejection of their children guide teachers’ reactions and actions and advocacy for our students.” 

Eau Claire’s policies clearly violate parents’ right to raise their children. Teachers do not replace parents at school. A child’s “gender identity” is pertinent and important information that must always be discussed with parents. 

​​“Policies like Eau Claire’s blatantly violate parents’ constitutional rights to raise their children. School staff do not replace parents while their children are at school. A gender identity transition is a major event in a child’s life; schools must defer to parents about this,” WILL Deputy Counsel Luke Berg said in a statement.

Further, AFL President Stephen Miller has accused the district of using children to advance a dangerous progressive agenda. “Eau Claire schools have adopted a monstrous plan to secretly ‘change’ the genders of children as young as 5—without parental consent—effectively subjecting them to unnatural ideological experiments contrary to their health and biology,” he said. “This includes forcing boys and girls to share bathrooms and other private spaces without their consent, a further invasion and desecration of childhood innocence and fundamental childhood wellbeing.”

Similarly, in November of last year, 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 the parents’ objection. Like Eau Claire, the Kettle Moraine School District is violating parents’ constitutional rights by taking a life-altering decision out of parents’ hands. 

In June, the judge denied the school district’s request to dismiss the case. A hearing on the case is scheduled for April 19, 2023.

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.

In May, the Wisconsin Supreme Court heard the case, and in July, the Court ordered that the case go back to circuit court after some of the technicalities were decided. As a result, the case is back in Dane County Circuit Court where it will essentially start over. 

Hopefully, these lawsuits will help parents take back their rights and protect their children. Children are safer and better off when parents are in control, and parents have the natural, God-given right to be the primary decision-makers in their children’s lives.