Trump’s Religious Freedom Executive Order

We are grateful that President Trump has promised to protect our Constitutional freedom of religion. Now is your chance to hold him to that promise! Family Heritage Alliance, our national ally Family Policy Alliance, and our network of 40 state-based family groups have written a letter to be sent to President Trump and Vice President Pence urging them to sign an Executive Order to protect our religious freedom.  Click Here to read this letter.

The Executive Order reinforces existing religious freedom protections in the law and affirms that the Administration will respect the religious freedom rights of all Americans.

The policy of the previous administration was one of systematically bullying individuals of faith, religious organizations, faith-based businesses and churches. This hostility at the federal level impacted religious freedom at the state level as well, including here in South Dakota.

Who can forget the story of Barronelle Stutzman, a florist in Washington State, who stands to lose her business and her life savings all because she refused to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding ceremony? Or what about the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns who provide care for the elderly? They were nearly forced to offer contraception in their healthcare plan simply because the Obama Administration dictated it.

Side Note: The FHA Action is supportive of South Dakota’s SB149.  This bill would ensure that faith-based adoption agencies are free to continue placing children into families with a mother and a father.  Catholic Social Services, Bethany Christian Services and New Horizons Adoption Agency, all in South Dakota, are at risk of closing if the state or a state agency forces them to adopt out to families other than what their convictions allow.  Please write a brief email by Clicking Here and ask for the Legislators support of SB149.

President Trump also needs to hear that you believe religious freedom means more than just the freedom to worship in our churches—it means that all people, of all faiths, in all places, at all times have the freedom to live out their faith. That’s what makes our country so great. We’ve made it easy for you to make your voice heard.

Share this post and Click Here to write a message to President Trump, asking him to sign the religious freedom executive order because it:

  1. Fulfills his campaign promise to make religious freedom a “first priority.”
  2. Protects religious organizations against being forced to provide abortion-inducing drugs.
  3. Defends faith-based charities (which provide over $ 1 trillion annually in benefits to Americans) from being punished by the government for peacefully operating consistently with their beliefs.

SCOTUS Nomination

Judge Neil Gorsuch

As I’m sure you know, President Trump just announced his nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Family Policy Alliance recently wrote: “Gorsuch serves as a judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He’s made strong rulings in favor of religious freedom. He’s also known for the hard line he took against the abortion-pill mandate in Obamacare. The upcoming hearings and vote for Judge Gorsuch will be some of the most contentious we’ve ever seen. Your lawmakers need to hear from you now.”

President Donald Trump has kept his campaign promise to nominate a strong conservative to fill the Supreme Court position made vacant when Justice Antonin Scalia passed away last year. He called Judge Gorsuch “a person who is unbelievably highly respected.”

Gorsuch is a proponent of originalism, the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted as the Founding Fathers would have interpreted it.

Gorsuch is a believer in a broad definition of religious freedom and sided with Christian employers and religious organizations in the cases of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Little Sisters of the Poor.

TAKE ACTION

Family Heritage Alliance applauds President Trump’s choosing Judge Gorsuch and urges you to contact Senator John Thune (Click Here) and Senator Mike Rounds (Click Here) and encourage them to confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court is critical to so many cases involving our rights as Christians. Use these bullet points to help in writing your email messages to our Senators:

  • Judge Neil Gorsuch is eminently qualified to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Gorsuch would not make law from the bench as others have in the past
  • We need someone who understands the Founders’ original intent for the Constitution
  • Please confirm Judge Gorsuch

You and I know that America needs Supreme Court justices who will uphold the Constitution and defend the religious liberty of every American. We are hopeful that Judge Gorsuch will live up to President Trump’s and the American people’s expectations and strongly protect our constitutional freedoms.

Dale’s FHA Action Blog – Day 8

An annual highlight of the Legislation Session every year is the honor of attending the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast. This year a 150+ were in attendance and enjoyed the event’s theme from Acts 2:42 “Teaching, fellowship, breaking bread and prayer.” Yes, it was good to reunite with friends from last year’s event and rub shoulders and hearts with SD Legislators who purposed to rise early for this time of encouragement. Down through the centuries, it has become apparent that great things happen when a few people who love God and love people become bound together in a common commitment with a great love for one another. Ordinary people become extraordinary when such a relationship exists.

This year’s Keynote Speaker was Dr. Dick Foth of Windsor, Colorado. His message was thoughtful and inspiring as he opened with this quote from former US Attorney General John Ashcroft: “Leaders select noble objectives and pursue them with such intensity that others join them. … The greatest of all leaders from this perspective was Jesus Christ. ….May your choices be so powerful and magnetic that you’ll draw people toward life (Duet. 30:19) …therefore choose life rather than death, blessing rather than cursing.”

He went on to say, “When we pray to our God…He will hear us; He will answer us; and His answer will always be what’s best for us.”
It was also gratifying to spend a few quality moments at this event with our South Dakota Legislators and Elected Officials. I am always appreciative of those times when we gather to honor our God and we have many of our elected officials in the room simply because they share our Faith in Him. Such was this event as it was also hosted and attended by our LT Governor Matt Michels.

Then on that same day, Friday, January 20, 2017, HISTORY was made as we found ourselves on the doorstep of change once again. The 115th Congress was sworn in on January 3rd and last Friday, we will inaugurate the 45th President of the United States – President Donald Trump.

Will you join the Family Heritage Alliance in praying for our new President and his entire team, for a smooth transition, and for the Lord to guide him? Regardless of personal politics, one thing is certain; people of faith are called to humbly lift up their leaders before a sovereign God… from our President and his cabinet and senior advisors, to members of Congress, to our state, local, and municipal government leaders. It’s both a great responsibility and a great privilege. The Apostle Paul admonishes us in this way, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Tim. 2:1-3).

Please follow us by going to www.FHAaction.org and click on LEGISLATIVE RADAR.

FHA Action’s Thoughts on Trump’s VP Choice

Mike_Pence,_official_portrait,_112th_CongressThe FHA Action has not, as of yet, endorsed a 2016 Presidential Candidate.  At this point – we report and you prayerfully decide.

It is being widely reported that Donald Trump has selected Mike Pence, the Governor of Indiana, as his running mate.  If this is true then this is good news for conservatives in general and evangelicals in particular.

His selection goes a long way toward consolidating GOP support for Donald Trump, making a Trump-Pence ticket far more likely to defeat Hillary Clinton in the fall. As such, his selection shows the Trump campaign’s growing understanding that to win they need conservatives in general and evangelicals in particular.

Pence helps in this way for many reasons:

  • He has an excellent record as a six-term, 12-year-veteran of Congress as well as the chief executive of the Midwestern state with the best overall business climate.
  • In Congress, he was a champion of life, religious liberty and traditional marriage, as revealed by his votes and statements. He is also an unabashed champion for Israel, protecting our borders and a strong military.
  • Under Mike Pence’s stewardship, Indiana has record employment levels, a bond rating better than the U.S. government, and a business climate that is eighth best overall and best in the Midwest, according to Forbes magazine. Pence’s economic record includes accelerating a tax cut that eliminated ALL inheritance taxes in Indiana.
  • Pence is a policy expert. He led the Indiana Policy Review (State Policy Network economic think tank) in the 90s while serving on the board of the Indiana Family Institute (our sister organization in Indiana) before running for and winning a seat in Congress in 2000.
  • Pence also spent a decade on talk radio, honing his communication skills and showing all Hoosiers that he is a cheerful, winsome, policy leader who is “a Christian first, then a conservative and then a Republican.” He has truly walked the walk of a genuine believer both personally and professionally.
  • In Congress, he was a top leader as Chairman of the GOP Conference. He also served as a senior member of the House International Affairs Committee.
  • He and his wife, Karen, worship at an evangelical church in Indianapolis and have three grown children. Their son, Michael, was recently commissioned as a first lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, following graduation from Purdue University.

Gary Bauer, FHA friend and this year’s Eastern SD Stand Banquet Keynote Speaker, wrote recently concerning Mike Pence:

“I have known Mike Pence for many years, even before he entered Congress. He is a solid, pro-family, pro-life conservative, with a Reaganesque demeanor. I believe he will provide balance to the GOP ticket in many ways.”

 

A Conversation With Donald Trump

Donald_TrumpYou might have heard or read about a recent conversation that was organized between faith leaders across the country and Presidential candidate Donald Trump. It took place on Tuesday, June 21 in New York City.  Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, shared his opinion about it while being interviewed on Fox News this past Wednesday, June 22.  Click HERE for that interview.

Much more has been said already about this conversation in terms of supposed intentions, outcomes and assumptions going into and following this, what has been called, historic gathering of more than 1,000 faith-based influencers.  No matter what was said at this event, Americans are blessed with the opportunity to vote for those representatives who lead us. We must make our voices heard because every vote counts.

I was honored to have been invited to this gathering but was unable to attend. However, FHA Board Chair Scott Craig, did attend at the invitation of the Family Research Council.  Scott wrote of this event:

“Donald Trump told a historical gathering of the nation’s most influential evangelical leaders that the Church’s potential is in its ability to unite. He said, “remember this, you are the most powerful group in this country, but you have to realize that. You need to band together. If you don’t band together you’re really not powerful. You…are great within your audience, but outside you don’t have it. And if you do that (band together), you’ll bring it (the power of the Church) back like nothing has ever been brought back.”  I doubt Donald Trump knew that he had essentially quoted Jesus’ prayer for His followers to be “one” as recorded in John 17. It’s a sad commentary on the Church when Donald Trump has to rebuke it. But it was a tremendous insight into Donald Trump’s vision that the Church should impact this nation, including its politics! Jesus said, anyone that is not against us is for us. With that in mind, Trump is for us, compared to Hillary who is most definitely against us.”

Twenty-Four hours after this event I joined in a Conference Call hosted by our National Associate Ministry – Family Policy Alliance (formerly CitizenLink).  This was an opportunity to hear some insights from a number of my colleagues who were in the room that day.

Pastor Franklin Graham opened the event in prayer and former Governor Mike Huckabee interviewed Mr. Trump.  Despite what you might have heard, the response was not overwhelming support as the press would have us think.  It was polite and done with Christian dignity.  The 1000 Christian Leaders in the room were there to have a ‘Conversation With Trump’.  Period.

Regarding what Trump said, it seemed clear that the biggest concern from those who attended was a matter of TRUST.  Can we know that what he says he will actually do?  Who Mr. Trump surrounds himself (i.e. Vice-President, etc.) with will have significance as November nears.  That being said, Trump emphasized issues that are encouraging to those who are animated by and make decisions based on their faith –

  • He understood and expressed an interest in overturning The Johnson Amendment— a horrible provision that has muzzled pastors for decades from addressing cultural issues of the day from the pulpit.
  • He would overturn Obamacare.
  • He supports building back up the military.
  • He stated that he will be a friend to Israel and that the Iran nuclear deal was wrong.
  • Most importantly, his response to religious liberty was to state that he would appoint to the U.S. Supreme Court, nominees in the mold of Justice Antonin Scalia.  They would be vetted by The Federalist Society and would be Pro-Life.  These lifetime appointments, possible three made at the U.S. Supreme Court, will have profound impacts well beyond a Trump Presidency.

Although this is just the beginning of a dialogue, here are three takeaways that should be considered by every South Dakota Value Voter –

  1. There are dozens of upcoming races at the local and state level that will affect the principles we hold dear — life, family and religious liberty. In the coming weeks and months, Family Heritage Alliance will be providing resources for social conservatives to get informed and vote their values.
  2. Some data show that in the last election cycle, nearly 38 million people who identify as Christians didn’t show up to vote. That added up to a big difference in the outcome of the election. We will be mobilizing Christians to vote because we know every vote really does matter.
  3. It is the right of every American to vote their conscience. We understand there are some within the Christian community who are opposed to Mr. Trump – and some who already have or are ready to embrace him. We respect those views and the friends who hold them. We also value and appreciate dialogue and believe that we have a responsibility, both as Christians and as a policy organization, to listen and dialogue with anyone seeking office. We plan to continue those conversations as part of our commitment to inform, inspire and engage our constituents.

Stay engaged. Don’t lose hope.  Our ultimate trust is in – God Alone!

For Faith, Family and Freedom,

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Dale Bartscher
Executive Director
Family Heritage Alliance