The Passing of Sean McPherson

By now, you have probably heard that Pastor Sean McPherson has passed away. Sean was not just a pastor of Real Life Church in Rapid City, he was a Watchman Pastor, one who acknowledged that the problems we face in our communities and our nation are not just political and cultural, they are spiritual in nature. That led Sean to Pierre to represent his district in the state legislature. His voice in issues of Faith, Family and Freedom will be sorely missed.

Sean was a U.S. Navy veteran and served his country as a submariner. Those “boats” were blessed to have him aboard.

He leaves behind a loving family who must now deal with the sorrow of his physical absence. Please especially keep them in your hearts and minds and remember them in your prayers in this time of grief and loss.

Sean has left us for a better place. Through his battle he showed us his strength and his character to fight to the end and to display his faith and trust in his Savior Jesus Christ. We are all both the richer for having known him and the poorer for having lost him in our midst.

FHA Action Endorses Paul TenHaken for Mayor

Family Heritage Alliance Action is honored to endorse Paul TenHaken for Mayor of Sioux Falls. Paul has led in the private sector with the same values shared by FHA, that of Faith, Family and Freedom. He will lead in public service as the Mayor of Sioux Falls with this same passion and purpose. Paul considers serving the community of Sioux Falls as a calling with the greatest purpose of all; that of “loving our neighbor.”

Each Mayoral Candidate was asked 6 survey questions. Here are Paul’s answers:

Are you a person of faith? If so, how do you see your faith affecting your decision making and leadership of Sioux Falls?

“Throughout my personal and professional career, my faith has been the primary driver in my decision making. In fact, my faith and feeling called to serve is the primary reason why I am running to be the mayor of Sioux Falls.”

 

Candidates for office normally decide to run for office because they are dissatisfied with an issue or issues or they have a desire to promote a specific issue. What issue(s) caused you to run for Mayor of Sioux Falls?

“I have a desire to serve the people of Sioux Falls. It’s a calling that for the past several years, I tried to ignore and ultimately decided it was something I needed to pursue. Of all the issues facing our city right now, I see the need for a leader who can unite the community and city leadership again”

 

Drugs and crime tear apart families. What specific steps would you take to reduce drugs and crime in Sioux Falls?

“Currently, I am the only candidate to have written and published a plan for the next eight years of our city and the issues I think will be most important to the health of Sioux Falls. This plan can be found at https://www.tenhakenformayor.com/2026-plan In this plan, you will notice that battling crime and narcotics growth is initiative #1, and it is there for a reason. I have seen the trickle down impact of our narcotics problem on our crime rate, growth in poverty, the impact on kids, the strain on our workforce, and more.  In my plan, I specifically mention the following:

  • Increased training resources for officers, which are currently underfunded
  • Additional drug and fugitive task force agents to collaborate with the county and state
  • Recommitting prevention education dollars to our schools which have been dropped
  • Examining opportunities for stronger treatment options to end cyclical addiction
  • Working closely with our state and federal delegation to get more DEA agents for South Dakota (currently SD is under-resourced with only two DEA agents).

 Obviously these are just a start to what I hope to implement, but these items do have the potential to have significant impact for both the short and long-term issues we are facing with crime and narcotics growth.”

 

There’s an attack on free speech in this country with buzz phrases such as hate speech, free speech zones. What will you do to ensure that open civilized dialogue is championed in Sioux Falls?

“Increasingly, we tend to submit to the vocal minority in free speech settings versus allowing all side to openly discuss all angles of an issue. As stated in the question, the civility of these discussions is the lost art we need to regain. My administration will not discriminate among ANY group that wishes to make the positions known in a productive and civilized fashion and will ensure that political correctness does not override our free speech liberties.”

 

Do you believe the government in Sioux Falls and transparency problem? In brief, what would you be your plan to address it? 

“As previously mentioned, I am the only mayoral candidate to have the vision and leadership to release a 2026 plan for the next eight years of our city. The act of releasing that plan in and of itself shows my commitment to transparency in government. This plan can be found at https://www.tenhakenformayor.com/2026-plan I would ensure the open communication is re-implemented in City Hall through open office hours with the mayor, stronger communication with our city council, the releasing of information that we typically have kept secret (as long as the integrity of any proposal and/or decision is not compromised by doing so), and using digital and social media much more effectively to open up communication and decision making to citizens.”

 

As mayor how will you respond when city employees keep bibles on their desks in the city office and request to use city conference rooms to conduct Bible studies after working hours?

“I actually plan to do this myself. That statement should tell you all you need to know.”

 

Note: Jolene Loetscher gave no response to the FHA Action questionnaire

How Important Is Your Religious Freedom To You?

There are those who would like to strip us of that freedom – the very principle that America was founded upon.  If you follow the news at all, you are well aware of the erosion in the moral and spiritual condition of our nation. The evil one is working hard to destroy what is good and Godly; however, we can overcome the work of the enemy, but we must pray, be engaged, be diligent, be strategic and STAND UP for greater is He that is in us than he who is in the world. God is on our side; however, He does require us to put action to our faith.   Ephesians 4:11-16 says, “It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

One could preach an entire sermon on this passage, but what strikes me is first of all, God wants believers to have a spirit of unity.  No, this does not mean that we will all agree on matters of faith and life, but it does require that we love one another in Christ so that together we can walk in the power of the Spirit to show the world who Jesus is and allow our witness to draw others to him.  Secondly, we are certainly being tossed about by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  If we each walk out our faith and love and put it into action, we have the power to overcome the works of the enemy.  As scripture tells us, a cord of three is not easily broken.  You have probably heard it said before, that it is not the presence of darkness that’s the problem but it’s the absence of light!  We need your light to shine in our government.

Proverbs 11:14 states, “For lack of guidance a nation falls.”  Our lawmakers need spiritual and moral guidance and they need to hear from you.  Your presence, your prayers, and your voice at the State Capital is powerful.  Family Heritage Alliance feels so strongly about the influence you have as pastors, as ministry leaders and people of Christian faith from your community that for the past six years we have sponsored the Pierre Summit.  It’s for you.  We desire to come alongside you so that together we can be a state where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished.

Pastors, ministry leaders, and citizens, we know that you are extremely busy and you have numerous responsibilities, but as leaders, will you consider attending the Pierre Summit a priority this year?  I sense a measure of urgency that we, as the body of Christ, come together at our State Capital in the spirit of unity to kick off the legislative session for the glory of God.

Here’s what you can look forward to at the Summit.  At 9:00 AM, we will meet in the Rotunda of the State Capital for refreshments and instruction. You are then released to tour the Capitol, sit in on committees, or most importantly, we encourage you to find your representative and senator, voice your concerns and pray with your legislators.  Your presence and your voice are crucial to the decisions being made.  At 11:30, we will all gather on the steps of the Rotunda with the governor and many other state officials for a photograph followed by what I consider to be the most precious moment of the day joining together and singing, “God Bless America.”  Hearing that song, which is actually a prayer, resounds throughout the Capital. Followed by the singing, we proceed to Community Bible Church, which so graciously provides a delicious lunch for us and the legislators.  Kenyn Cureton from Family Research Council will be delivering an encouraging message, and then we will close with gifted resources for you so that you can depart by 2:30.

Click here to register. There is no cost to attend the event, but we do need your registration. A free will offering will be available to help us with the bus rental.  A 55- passenger bus with bathroom facilities is being provided for you. One will leave from Sioux Falls and another will leave from Rapid City for Pierre. Details regarding departure times and location can be found on our website.   We look forward to seeing you in Pierre.  Please contact us with any questions.

-LaVonne Fosness

 

2018 Begins! – Our focus for the New Year

Happy New Year

The turn of the New Year causes most of us to not only reflect on the past, but also set goals and plans for the year to come. God has blessed the Family Heritage Alliance with another successful year, and we are busy making plans for 2018! Here are a few of the goals we will be striving for in the coming year.

Unifying The Church by equipping her leaders. We believe that one of the most effective ways to cause change in our culture is to equip our pastors. Through the recent culture impact trainings we have begun to build a network of teams in local churches who are committed to keeping their pastor and church body informed about the key issues of the day. On February 6, we will be hosting our annual Ministry Leaders Capitol Summit to bring pastors and ministry leaders to their capitol and give them a hands-on experience with their government, as well as equip them with resources they will find helpful in the daily work of influencing our culture for Christ.

We hope to build a network of people across South Dakota who don’t simply go to their pastor with a cultural problem they have seen, but rather go to their pastors with a problem or opportunity, information, a possible action, and the willingness to serve in whatever way needed to impact their community and serve their church. Through informational events, Culture Impact Teams, email alerts, and a new website design (coming soon) we will strive to keep you up to date on what is going on, and how you can take part.

We will continue to encourage people to be a moral presence in all levels of government, whether that be lobbying at the capitol in the 2018 legislative session, rallying a group to appear at a city council meeting, or distributing information before the 2018 elections. We will continue to seek strong candidates for office, and will do our best to make each candidate’s views known. No matter the avenue or level of government, we want to be a resource for you as we work together to make South Dakota a place where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished.

We end this year incredibly thankful for your support, and we’re excited for what’s to come!

-Your Team,

Ed, Phil, John, LaVonne, Charlotte, Tonya, Norman

Dale’s FHA Action Blog – Day 7

Once again this morning began early as we sat in on the 7:45 a.m. Senate Judiciary Committee. It was masterfully chaired by FHA friend and Senator, Lance Russell of Hot Springs, SD. Our South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley skillfully testified on Senate Bill 24 which would classify vehicular homicide as a crime of violence. It passed out of committee and is now on its way to the floor of the Senate.

The annual joint Legislative Memorial Service was held today in the House Chamber at 3:00 p.m. It is always a very moving and inspirational time together when we remember those Legislators who have passed on this past year. The Riggs High School Choir once again performed several beautiful pieces of music which simply set the tone for the rest of our time together. I was reminded of what someone told me once, “Sympathy is when I put your hurt in my heart.” This we experienced today.

Dale Bartscher, SD Secretary of State Shantel Krebs and Norman Woods

It is always a treat to spend some quality time, like today, in the office of our Secretary of State Shantel Krebs. She continues to manager her office and responsibilities with a flare of excellence. Shantel holds to a rock solid Christian Worldview and always welcomes our time of prayer at the close of our meetings with her.

Please follow our work at the Capitol by going to www.FHAaction.org and click on LEGISLATIVE RADAR.

Governor Daugaard Details Medicaid Expansion Plan to FHA Team

By John Dennis and Ed Randazzo

sizedDSC_0235On Friday August 12, Governor Dennis Daugaard, two staffers, and Kim Malsam-Rydson, South Dakota Secretary of Health, made their way to the Rapid City offices of Family Heritage Alliance.  The purpose of the meeting was a cordial and informal informational discussion, between the Governor and FHA Board Members and Staff regarding, the proposed expansion of Medicaid in South Dakota, between the Governor and FHA Board Members and Staff.

The Governor presented almost an hour and a half of information detailing the complexities of health care, and the financial impact it has on the state. He explained his view of the benefits of Medicaid Expansion which include, among others, additional and improved health care for some of the neediest in our state, improving payments to some providers, and reducing the state’s portion of payments in Medicaid cases.

For the board and staff of FHA, this was a fact finding mission only.  The FHA team listened intently to the Governor’s presentation, pausing only occasionally to ask questions.

To continue to research and better understand the complexities of this issue, Dale Bartscher, FHA’s Executive Director, has already reached out to “Americans for Prosperity”, requesting a similar meeting to examine this issue from another perspective.  Ben Lee, Executive Director of AFP was quoted as saying, “consider it done.”

Family Heritage Alliance is deeply honored that Governor Daugaard and team would take time to travel from Pierre to Rapid City to discuss this very complicated issue with us.

Stay informed and in touch with us here for further updates on this important issue for South Dakota.  Much discussion is yet to be had before this issue possibly comes before South Dakota legislators in the 2017 session.

For more pictures from this event, check out our Facebook post.  Click here.

State of South Dakota to Join State Attorneys General Challenge to Federal Bathroom and Locker Room Mandate

Marty2-105-Edit-2.jpgFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:      Tuesday, June 7, 2016
CONTACT:  Sara Rabern (605)773-3215

PIERRE, S.D.-   Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that South Dakota will join other State Attorneys General in challenge to President Obama’s letter directive to school districts threatening both civil rights litigation and the withholding of educational funds to the States.

“As Attorney General it was and remains my hope that our country and state can find a solution to the transgender concerns without forcing children of the opposite sex into the same bathrooms and locker rooms. The President’s attempt to require children of opposite sex to share locker rooms and bathrooms under the threat of lawsuit and withholding of education funding is a one size fits all solution that goes beyond his constitutional authority.  It is my contention that federal law cannot direct local school districts on who can use locker rooms and bathrooms. These issues need to be handled as they have been for a long time- on the state and local level,” said Jackley.

In 1964, Congress enacted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, making it illegal for employers to invidiously discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. 42 U.S.C.§ 2000e-2. Eight years later, Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX provides that “[n]o person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefit of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…” 20 U.S.C. § 1681. Title IX regulations issued by the Department of Education likewise expressly allow recipients of federal funding to “provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex,” provided that the facilities provided for “students of one sex” are “comparable” to the facilities provided for “students of the other sex.” The term “gender identity: does not appear in the text or regulators of Title IX.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Department of Education (DOE) contend that Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of “sex” extends to discrimination on the basis of “gender identity.” Jackley contends that the DOJ and DOE lack any authority to issue such direction. It is the duty of Congress to legislate and the duty of the Executive Branch, including DOJ and DOE, to administer and enforce the laws that Congress enacts. Through this joint letter, DOJ and DOE have unilaterally attempted to change the clear meaning of law passed by Congress and impose new obligations on covered entities.

A case was filed May 25, 2016 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Several Attorneys General anticipate filing an additional challenge to the President’s authority to issue the letter.   This filing may be separate from the Texas case or filed in a different district court.

Sioux Falls City Council Update

Sioux_falls_sd_lg_reducedIf you have been paying any attention at all to FHA Action lately, you know that the “storm on our radar” has had to do with the Sioux Falls City Council and the agenda of some thereon to implement invasive and far-reaching policies regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.  We dodged a bullet (pardon the mixed metaphor) on HRO CH98, but only barely.  That extensive ordinance has been withdrawn but will likely return.  Now, we are tracking an amendment to another Sioux Falls City Ordinance that would include the same type of ‘gender identity’ protection in employment by the city.  This is an amendment to HRO Ch 39.

If you live, shop, worship, or do business in Sioux Falls, you have a voice on this issue.  Please contact the following City Council Members and Mayor Huether, urging them to OPPOSE the amendment to HRO Ch 39.  Be brief, respectful, and factual in your message.

Click here for up-to-date information on the amendment to HRO #39 provided by FHA Action, Liberty Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom, and other faith based organizations.

Here are some immediate action steps for you.

  • We can all BE VIGILANT in PRAYER.
  • Attend the Council meeting on June 14. Mark your calendar. Be there.  This City Council meeting will take place at 7:00 p.m. at the Carnegie Town Hall, 235 West Tenth Street, Sioux Falls.
  • Contact the Mayor and the Council members – OPPOSE the amendment to HRO Chapter 39
  • Alert your friends.

2016 Legislative Scorecard Available Now!

2016 scorecard v1.4-1The 2016 legislative session was a hard one for faith, family, and freedom.  When it comes to the folks you sent to Pierre to represent your values, there were many who stood with FHA Action regardless of the cost.  To those brave souls, we extend our sincerest appreciation.  The big question is, was your legislative delegation to Pierre supportive of your values?

That’s a good question.  After crunching the numbers on this 91st Legislative Session, we thought it would be useful to you, to have in hand some real stats regarding the way your legislators voted on values.  We have prepared a concise scorecard that shows exactly that.  Use the link below to download the scorecard.  You are free to redistribute the document any way you desire.  We simply ask that you do not modify it in any way.

Click here to download your copy.