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

2016 Legislative Session Day 34 – Bridge Builders

Pierre BridgeLast week Norman Woods, FHA Action Lobbyist, and I were down by the river and Norman took this photo of the Pierre Bridge.  I like it!  It is a great reminder of the fact that in our work here at the Capitol we had better be Bridge Builders if we expect to influence Legislators in the passage and/or defeat of certain bills and/or resolutions.

On this truth the wisdom of Solomon shines through in Ecclesiastes 4:9, “Two are better than one, because they get more done by working together.”

The FoursomeIt was a pleasure for Norman and I to have worked together so closely this session, on several bills, with Representative Scott Craig (pictured far left) of Rapid City, District 33 and Matthew Sharp of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).  We made for a great team as we focused on doing what was right on bills like HB1008 (Student Physical Privacy Act) and HB1107 (Government Nondiscrimination Act).

day34We were encouraged throughout this session to welcome to the Capitol a number of FHA friends and family like the FHA Board Members pictured here.  Seated with me is Dr. Patrick Clinch, FHA Action Board Chair [PHOTO] and standing with me is FHA Board Member, Dr. Brent Bradley.

This session has certainly had its UPS and DOWNS when it comes to those bills the FHA ACTION either supported or opposed.

It was disappointing to see HB 1008…the Student Physical Privacy Act…vetoed by our Governor.   The aim of this bill was as well meaning and void of malice as it was accommodating for people on both sides of the issue.  It genuinely sought to address what likely is going to be a prolonged debate in the not-so-distant future in our state.

We sincerely believe that the Governor missed an opportunity to get out in front of this issue and help accommodate both sides in a peaceful and respectful manner.  All this bill sought was to protect the physical privacy of 100% of our public school students.

We appreciate the seventy-eight Legislators who stood on principle and voted in support of HB10-08.

We are thankful to all those who called or emailed their Legislators and the Governor asking for support, and for all those on both sides of the debate who opted for civil discourse in the discussion of this issue.  So stay tuned, as this issue is not going away.

We are grateful for the passage in the HOUSE this week of the following bills, which will now need the Governor’s signature.   They are….

SB159 that is a bill that empowers lower income families, who choose to provide a private school education to their children, to be able to afford it. Sixteen other states have adopted this method successfully to provide more parental choice in the education of their children.

SB129 now being called “Jason’s Law” would require that Teachers be given one hour suicide prevention training as a part of their teacher re-certification process.

SB26 will revise certain provisions concerning sex offender registration and will require an offender to notify law enforcement of intended foreign travel.  Currently, here in South Dakota we have 3,448 sex offenders on our registry.  This bill will simply help law enforcement track their whereabouts in our state.  Typically at any one time 25 of them would be out of compliance.  So that means that we have an amazing 99% compliance rate in SD.  SB26 will only but improve that already remarkable rate.

SB72 will prohibit the abortion of an unborn child who is capable of experiencing pain and provide a penalty thereof.  It is called the ‘Pain Capable Bill’.  It has been well documented that unborn babies experience pain during abortion.  Because the unborn child’s pain inhibitors have not been fully developed, their pain is even more excruciating.  Although we believe abortion at any stage of development is a monumental injustice to the unborn, the pain capable prohibition is set at 20 weeks gestation.

SB72 has had several amendments and currently needs the Senate to concur on the House amendments.

The pro-abortion lobby is pressuring the Governor to veto the bill.  Your calls and e-mails are needed to the Governor asking him to sign SB72, the Pain Capable Bill.

ACTION:   To email Governor Daugaard urging him to sign SB72, the Pain Capable Bill, click here right here, and follow the instructions.  In addition phone his office at (605) 773-3212 and leave a quick message.  You can do this!

We are also grateful for the passage in the SENATE this week of the following bills which will now need the Governor’s signature and they are….

HB1110, which will provide pre-natal medical care for certain non-citizen mothers.

HB1157 will require that a doctor provide a woman additional information as a part of informed consent prior to performing an abortion.  It has become known as the ‘Informed Consent Bill for Chemical Abortions’!  This bill simply provides the mother with better decision-making options.


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Friends, in closing, you are invited to attend one of our three, upcoming, Legislative Session Debrief Events sponsored by the Family Heritage Alliance.   Please make plans now to attend one Tuesday – Thursday, March 15-17.  Sharing a wrap-up of this year’s 91st South Dakota Legislative Session – the good, the bad and the ugly – will be FHA Lobbyist Norman Woods along with myself.  For more information and/or to register go to click here!

Until Next Time….Keep looking up and forward my friends!

2016 Legislative Session Day 10

2016day10aOnce again it’s an early morning at the Capitol and all is well…for the time being 🙂  As promised yesterday I’d like to introduce to you this week’s FHA Action Intern.  His name is Joseph Shivley and he’s an 18 year old young man with the heart of a Patriot.  He lives in Hot Springs, SD, and is currently a Home Schooled Senior in High School.  Joseph is also a member of the coveted TeenPact of South Dakota.  We thank this young man for his willingness to learn more about the Legislative process and also serve FHA Action during this week of his life.

2016day10bToday we were surprised by the appearance of Pastor Michael Boyle.   Pastor Boyle serves the Memorial Baptist Church in Parkston, SD.  He is a friend of the Family Heritage Alliance and a Patriot Pastor.  Today he drove over 3 hours just to come to the Capitol, lead the Senate in their opening prayer and spend time with his Legislators and more.  He totally lives the words of the late, great Chuck Colson who, when speaking to Pastors said and I quote, “As leaders in the local church it is our responsibility to bring a moral dimension to public life.”  Pastor Boyle SHOWS UP at FHA events and is already registered to attend our SD Ministry Leaders’ Capitol Summit scheduled for Monday, Feb. 22.  Pastors and Ministry leaders why not come join Pastor Boyle and I here at the Capitol on Feb. 22 🙂

It was great spending time with FHA Board Chair Roger Gallimore at the Capitol today.  Roger, also serves as the Director of Rapid City YMCA and was here representing the YMCA’s of South Dakota.

2016day10cLastly, and most importantly, House Bill 1107, which is now called GNDA – is the Government Non Discrimination Act and will soon be heard in the House State Affairs Committee.    In essence GNDA says that states should not be in the business of forcing individuals and entities to affirm same-sex marriage or other sexual conduct against their beliefs.  Pictured here, holding a copy of the Jacketed Bill, is the Bill’s Prime Sponsor Representative Scott Craig and myself.   Senator Brock Greenfield will sponsor HB1107 in the Senate.  So stay turned as we’ll need your help in the passage of HB1107.

Until NEXT TIME please keep looking up and forward my friends!

2016 Legislative Session Day 3

2016day3It has been wisely said by Jerry Panas, “I am told that the world is divided into three types: Those who are immovable, those who are movable, and those who move.”  This statement certainly reflects the lifestyles of both FHA Action Lobbyist Norman Woods and myself this past week.  We have definitely been “on the move” as we moderated our Three-City FHA Legislative Preview Tour across the state of SD hosting in Rapid City, Mitchell and Sioux Falls.  All this before making our way to the Capitol to settle in on our responsibilities, during the 91st SD Legislative Session, as Lobbyists for the FHA Action.

Our first order of things was to simply re-acquaint ourselves with the 105 Legislators who grace the House (70) and Senate (35) with three of them being newly appointed by the Governor to fill three vacated seats.  It was encouraging to spend a few quality minutes pictured here with Representative Scott Craig (District 33, Rapid City) and Amy Wagner (SD’s National Day of Prayer Coordinator and SD’s Field Representative with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association).

Immediately we began in ernest lobbying for the first bill, of yet to be many, that the Board of the FHA Action has endorsed.  This is HB1008 the Student Physical Privacy Act (or A.K.A. “SPPA”) which is an act to restrict access to certain restrooms and locker rooms in public schools. Details and Action Steps on HB1008 may be found on our Legislative Radar here.

Today an historic first took place as our state legislator’s met in a Joint Session to hear a presentation on the ’State of The Tribes’.  They, along with the listening audience, heard from South Dakota tribal leader, Cheyenne River Sioux Chairman Harold Frazier pictured here.  Frazier addressed the many difficulties tribal members face here in South Dakota but spent significant time speaking of the ‘Power of Prayer’.  He emphasized over and over how that his people, all people “Need Prayer”.  This is why, interestingly enough, each day their tribal schools begin with a time of prayer.  I would say our state’s public school system could learn this very valuable life lesson from our native friends.