Grassley needs support, not condemnation

by Bob Vander Plaats

An Iowan is under ferocious and unwarranted national criticism right now, and he needs to hear our support, not misinformed condemnation.

Iowa’s U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley is not only well within his constitutional rights to refuse hearings on President Obama’s Supreme Court pick, he’s also taking a courageous stand to defend the best interests of our country.

Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does it require the Senate to hold hearings on Obama’s nomination. Instead, it requires (in Article II, Section 2, Clause 2) that no appointment can be made without the Senate’s “Advice and Consent.”

Just as the president has the right to nominate, the U.S. Senate also has the constitutional right to advise the president to wait until after the election. It can also withhold its consent until then.

“So long as the Senate has established rules that allow it to refuse to vote on a nominee, it can do so,” wrote Ilya Somin, professor of law at George Mason University, in the Washington Post recently. “Blocking a Supreme Court nominee may be unwise … but it is not unconstitutional.”

Only in this case, it is wise.

President Obama has a history of nominating activist judges willing to trample sound constitutional reasoning to advance his agenda, and Grassley’s Republican colleagues in the Senate have a history of capitulating to these nominations. Sen. Grassley’s stand may well be the last line of defense against an effort to seismically shift the court and nation away from constitutional rule of law. Grassley should be commended for showing such singular backbone.

The American people should not be surprised, however, that Grassley is willing to take this stand. In 2010 Iowans sent a clear message that reverberated across the country condemning judicial activism. And yet we continue to see it. Through the Iowa Supreme Court’s recent “tele-med abortion” decision, for example, we witness judges usurping the people’s voice while ignoring the constitution’s separation of powers. Iowans have rejected these efforts to circumvent the will of the people through judicial activism before, and Grassley is defending our convictions now.

His Iowa leadership for the country should be applauded!

Without Grassley’s stand, however, a weak-willed Republican Senate might well confirm the current nominee, whom a New York Times panel of experts determined would be among the most radical justices on the court, to the left of even Justice Elena Kagan.

At this critical moment, when the erosion of religious liberty is barely one court decision away, when issues like life, marriage, gun control, health-care freedoms, parental rights and your personal property rights are hot-button issues sure to be appealed to the Supreme Court, America needs to put the brakes on Obama’s radical reshaping of the Court.

Sen. Grassley, it appears, understands those stakes.

So, Sen. Grassley, thank you for doing your constitutional job and advising that the people need to speak before any further appointments are constitutionally confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States.

The previous was printed exclusively in the Des Moines Register Friday, April 8, 2016.




Watch the 2016 Family Leadership Summit now!

Audio of the breakout sessions now available! Click here!

About 1,000 people came to the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines, Iowa, to hear messages of hope and cultural transformation at the 2016 Family Leadership Summit.

Encouraged over and over that our hope is not in the 2016 election, nor the next Supreme Court case, but in God alone, those who came were inspired to take up our greatest weapon in the fight for our children’s future: prayer.

“We are on a path, as a society, of degradation and a failure to understand truth,” commented attendee Don Friend of Des Moines. “But there is hope. There is aboloutely hope, and our hope is in God. As the [Summit] stressed, all we have to do is turn to Him.”

Morning session speakers included Bob Vander Plaats, Dr. Del Tackett of The Truth Project, and Billy Graham’s daughter, author Anne Graham Lotz. Afternoon session speakers included Pastor Steven Khoury of Jerusalem and actor T.C. Stallings of the film “War Room.”* Several other speakers also presented breakout sessions that featured encouragement in areas of personal revival, such as health, marriage, and evangelism.

Watch the morning speakers here:

Bob Vander Plaats:

Dr. Del Tackett:

If 7:14:

Anne Graham Lotz:



Watch the afternoon speakers here:

*Due to contractual agreements with T.C. Stallings’ representatives, The FAMiLY LEADER Foundation was unable to record Stallings’ presentations.

Bryan English:

Pastor Steven Khoury:

TFL Capitol Team:

Thank you for watching, and please consider visiting www.if714.com and supporting the work of The FAMiLY LEADER today!

Breakout session audio now available!

The 2016 Family Leadership Summit included an element new to the Summits: breakout sessions! Eight different sessions gave attendees the opportunity to dive deeper into the topic or focus that most interested them.

The FAMiLY LEADER Foundation has heard nothing but positive feedback and praise over this new addition. The only drawback, of course, is that no one could attend all eight breakout sessions!

But now, we can make available the audio for several of those sessions at the links below.*

*Due to contractual obligations, we were unable to record T.C. Stallings’ breakout session, and Pastor Steven Khoury’s session cannot be rebroadcast because of internationally sensitive information that could jeopardize Christians in Israel.

Thank you for listening, and please consider visiting www.if714.com and supporting the work of The FAMiLY LEADER today!




Victory to celebrate: Protecting rape victims, their children

160331govsigningIowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed a law this morning making it easier for rape victims who become pregnant and deliver their babies to terminate the rapists’ parental “rights” in court.

Bringing together a wide, bipartisan coalition of support, HF 2386 helps prevent all-too-common situations where a rapist sues his former victim for the “right” to visit or even have partial custody of the child, bringing both mother and her baby into frequent contact with the man who traumatized her.

The law is an important reminder that in the battle to defend all unborn life, there is also an important responsibility to care for and defend mothers and their newborn children as well.

We’re grateful to the diverse team of people who shepherded this bill’s passage, including:

  • Republican Rep. Greg Heartsill
  • Democrat Sen. Steve Sodders
  • Tim Overlin of Personhood Iowa
  • Maggie DeWitte of Iowans for LIFE
  • Kim Laube of Lutheran Family Service
  • Rebecca Kiessling of Hope After Rape Conception
  • Amy Campbell of Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault
  • The members of The FAMiLY LEADER family advocate team.

Setting aside differences to work together for the good of mothers and rape victims is important, exemplary work.

Would you consider giving today to see more efforts like this supported in Iowa? Click here now to donate to The FAMiLY LEADER.




Don’t fall for it … your tax dollars DO pay for abortion

The Des Moines Register had a busy week recently, advocating for continued taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood.

But the paper’s poll, news article, column, and editorial all touting how much Iowans value their taxes paying the nation’s leading abortion provider left out some important details.

On Monday, March 21, the Register printed a letter from The FAMiLY LEADER Communications Director Drew Zahn, who filled in some of those missing facts. Though the Register also edited the letter, and thus diffused some of its impact, the original, full text can be read below:

A poll recently published by the Des Moines Register showing Iowans’ support for funding Planned Parenthood reveals too many Iowans still don’t understand how their taxpayer dollars actually fund abortions in Iowa.

Right now, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, for example, receives over $4 million annually in state and federal taxpayer dollars through contracts Iowa’s elected officials could cancel, but haven’t.

And we don’t have to send this money to Planned Parenthood. There are over 200 other facilities in Iowa that provide the same family planning and health services, but without abortions. If this issue were really about women’s healthcare, we could fund those, instead of the nation’s largest abortion provider.

Many of our elected officials argue the $4 million isn’t spent on abortion procedures, but this is only a convenient half-truth.

The other half of the truth is that the millions of your dollars that abortionists receive are legally flexible in their use. Which means the money you believe is funding noble causes can just as easily pay the rent and utilities for a clinic where abortions are performed.

So you don’t pay for the abortion; you just pay for the building where the abortions happen. You don’t pay for the machine that dismembers babies’ bodies; you just pay for the electricity that runs the machine.

Regardless of the various programs Planned Parenthood touts to feed its budget on taxpayer dollars, our money should not be used to aid and abet abortion providers.

When literally hundreds of other non-abortive clinics in Iowa provide the same family planning and health services that Planned Parenthood’s 13 clinics in Iowa do, why are we sending the money to keep the lights on at the nation’s largest abortion mill instead?

Help spread the word! Share the link to this article above on Facebook! Post it on Twitter with the hashtag #DefundPP, and follow The FAMiLY LEADER on Twitter today by clicking here.




Iowa pastors issue challenge to lawmakers

As the Iowa Legislature considers a bill banning the sale of aborted baby body parts in our state, a long list of pastors has issued a letter, encouraging lawmakers to stand firm in support of it.

The letter is addressed to Republicans, who as the majority party in the House originally put the bill on the debate calendar and some of whom were the bill’s original co-sponsors:

Dear Republican House Members,

Last summer the nation watched in horror as undercover videos appeared of Planned Parenthood (PP) employees haggling over the sale of baby body parts and even more ghastly, a PP employee giving graphic details explaining the process for dismembering babies that still showed signs of life. For God-fearing citizens in “Christian” America it was a wakeup call. For PP it was just another day of doing what they have undoubtedly been doing for decades. That is the only explanation for their dismissive rebuttals to the video evidence which has now been verified as accurate.

It reminded me of my visit to Auschwitz a little more than a year ago where we were shown the house where the commandant lived with his wife and children within sight and one hundred feet of the barracks where thousands of innocent people were dying horrific deaths via the gas chamber every day. How did the commandant do it? There is only one answer. Like Nabal in the Old Testament, his heart had become like a stone. Unfortunately the PP videos reveal that there are such people in our midst today.

Now is the time for the Iowa House to move forward with HF2329, a bill that bans the sale and/or use of aborted baby body parts or bodies in whole. It is tragic that we as a society do not put an end to the murder of the innocent, and may God help us to never abandon that fight. In the meantime let us determine to make sure that Iowa never becomes a place where the bodies of aborted babies are treated as nothing more than a commodity to be used for research or experimentation, much less sold for profit.

Respectfully,

Pastor Brad Cranston
Founder, Iowa Baptists for Biblical Values
Pastor, Heritage Baptist Church – Burlington
Director, Awake America State Capitol Initiative

…*along with…

Pastor Cecil Ballard – Grace Baptist Church – Marion
Pastor Earl Beal – Joy Baptist Church – Fort Madison
Pastor Jon Booth – Gateway Baptist Church – Clinton
Evangelist Gene Bray – Harvest Baptist Church – Mt. Pleasant
Pastor Joseph Brown – Marion Ave. Baptist Church – Washington
Pastor Matt Castle – Calvary Baptist Church – Waukon
Pastor Ralph Cole – Easton Baptist Church – Des Moines
Pastor Brad Cranston, Jr. – Heritage Baptist Church – Burlington
Pastor Josh Davenport – Unionville Baptist Church – Unionville
Pastor Travis Decker – Ottumwa Baptist Temple – Ottumwa
Pastor Kevin Dice – Round Prairie Baptist Church – Lockridge
Pastor Jeff Duffy – First Baptist Church – Yarmouth
Pastor Bill Eakins – Pleasant Valley Baptist Church – Bloomfield
Pastor Ken Koske – Twin Pines Baptist Church – Robins
Pastor Joshua Graber – Cornerstone Baptist Church – Vinton
Pastor Bill Graham – Grace Baptist Church – Marion
Pastor Ralph Harmon – Berean Baptist Church – Boone
Pastor Roger Hemming – North Court Baptist Church – Ottumwa
Pastor Ed Hannahs – Fellowship Baptist Church – Marshalltown
Pastor Ed Mast – Old Paths Baptist Church – Dubuque
Pastor Dan McCoy – First Baptist Church – Urbandale
Evangelist Randy Miller – Pleasantville Baptist Church – Pleasantville
Pastor Alan Miller – Heritage Baptist Church – Burlington
Pastor Rick Parcell – Harvest Baptist Church – Mt. Pleasant
Pastor AJ Potter – Pleasantville Baptist Church – Pleasantville
Pastor Dan Reid – Ottumwa Baptist Temple – Ottumwa
Pastor Tim Robbins – Calvary Baptist Church – Charles City
Pastor Michael Ryan – Pocahontas Baptist Church – Pocahontas
Pastor Bryant Sager – Pleasantville Baptist Church – Pleasantville
Pastor Paul Schaefer – Plymouth Bible Baptist Church – Plymouth
Pastor Terry Seney – New Testament Baptist Church – Arnolds Park
Pastor Marvin Smith – Harvest Baptist Church – Fort Dodge
Pastor Matt Sperling – Onawa Bible Baptist Church – Onawa
Pastor Gene Springer – Open Door Baptist Church – Council Bluffs
Pastor Micaiah Stanley – First Baptist Church – Seymour
Pastor Brian Tatman – Eastern Hills Baptist Church – Council Bluffs
Pastor Keeton Wainscott – Calvary Baptist Church – Waterloo
Pastor Darren Whiting – Liberty Baptist Church – Marion

Also:

Mr. Roger Meyer – Gospel Light Baptist Church – Marion
——————-
*Each endorsement was used by permission after the endorser received a copy of this particular email and gave their consent.

Links embedded in this letter:

1. VIDEO: “PROFIT” – Planned Parenthood’s Illicit Moneymaking From Baby Body Parts
2. VIDEO: Human Capital – Episode 3: Planned Parenthood’s Custom Abortions for Superior Product
3. Forensic analysis confirms Planned Parenthood undercover videos were not manipulated
4. Aerial picture of Auschwitz’s commandant’s home
5. HF2329 – An Act prohibiting certain actions regarding fetal body parts and providing penalties.




Holy Week kicks off at the Iowa Capitol

Before Easter Sunday, before Good Friday, before Maundy Thursday, Christians of different churches and denominations will be gathering on Monday, March 21, at the Capitol to proclaim our salvation is not found in presidents and kings, but in the King of Kings, the Lord Jesus Christ.

And you are invited to the west steps of Capitol (or indoors, if the weather is bad) for a time of public prayer, worship, and a message to refocus our hearts on the Lord Jesus Christ and remember what He ultimately did for us.

This Monday service will help Iowa start Holy Week off right and help the Capitol community reflect on Christ’s purchase of freedom for us all, once and for all, from sin and death. It is a message that transcends time, culture, class, and everything that divides us. It reminds us that no matter who we are, what we do, and where we live … we are all in need of Jesus’ saving grace.

Holy Week Service at the Capitol

  • Hosted by If 7:14, a prayer initiative of The FAMiLY LEADER
  • Worship music, prayer, and a message by Pastor Mike Housholder
  • Monday, March 21
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • West steps of the Iowa State Capitol (alternative location inside for inclement weather)
  • Speakers: Mike Housholder, Lutheran Church of Hope, & Bob Vander Plaats, The FAMiLY LEADER

If 714 prayer app SMALLFor more information as it becomes available, including a bulletin insert you can pass out at your church, inviting others to come, visit the Holy Week Service at the Capitol event page.

And for more about If 7:14 and the free phone app that is uniting Christians in a global rhythm of prayer for revival, visit www.if714.org today!




Like never before: Iowa Christians get involved in government

2016 has been an unprecedented year for Christians engaging in their government in Iowa.

It began with the presidential caucuses, where Washington Post numbers suggest a record 121,500 evangelicals participated in the Republican caucuses alone – an increase of 50,000 over 2012.

But the increased and determined influence of Christians hasn’t stopped with presidential politics.

At the Iowa Capitol, over 150 pastors have already participated in the Capitol Project, which brings clergy to meet and pray with their legislators and get briefed on the major policy decisions being debated in Des Moines.

One group of pastors even witnessed a subcommittee hearing on legalizing doctor-assisted suicide in Iowa and took the time to testify against the bill on the spot! Thanks in part to their active involvement, the bill did not move forward. Christians really can make a difference when they get involved.

160210subcommittee

“I learned a lot,” said Jack Owens, a pastor at Cornerstone Church in Ames who attended one of the Capitol Project days.

“I had never been to the state Capitol building,” he confessed. “I had never even met one of my elected officials outside of a campaign speech. This is really eye opening to me and to find out we have believers, men and women here daily, trying to hold up the Word of God and influence our legislature … I was amazed.”

Pastor Mark Scott of Live, Love, Laugh Church in Des Moines also called the day “eye opening.”

“When you come to this place, you see the significance of your service,” he said. “When you come, you see that your voice makes a huge difference. We all as pastors need that. We need to know how significant we are and no matter what size of congregation we have, we represent a much larger part of the world.”

Through the course of this year’s legislative session, several hundred more pastors are expected, and your elected officials are increasingly depending upon pastors for prayerful encouragement as they serve in the Iowa Legislature.

Other tangible fruit of Christians engaging in their government includes the following:

  • A visit from Franklin Graham that drew in over 2,000 Iowans to the Capitol
  • Prayer at the Capitol every day of session from 9-10 a.m.
  • Year-round Tuesday noon prayer meeting
  • Bible study every Thursday morning from 7:30-8:00 a.m. during session
  • Holy Week church service scheduled for Monday, March 21
  • The entire Bible read aloud in the Rotunda in January
  • A state senator calling for a day of fasting and prayer prior to filing a difficult bill

It’s no wonder a legislator in Des Moines told us recently he feels the Capitol building is “ripe for revival.”

True revival, of course, is an act of God, humbling the hearts of the people and turning them back toward Himself. And revival is the same, whether in the home, the church, the society, or the government.

But just as revival in the family begins when God transforms one person and that person’s influence – like a flame – spreads to others, so too is our hope that God will stir a revival in His people that will spread to homes, churches and the halls of the Capitol.

160212pastorsatcapitolmedium

Thank you, Christians of Iowa, for responding to call and being lit ablaze for the cause of Christ in your government!

Let us hope God will use such flames to ignite the very revival we pray for.

Discover how a free phone app is encouraging and equipping Christians to pray twice daily for revival around the world! Check out www.if714.org today!

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens” – George Washington, in his 1796 Farewell Address




Reason to be worried: Obama tips hand on Supreme Court pick

160224USsupremecourtIn a blog post released Wednesday, President Obama offered what he called “spoiler-free insights” into who he will nominate to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a stalwart constitutionalist, on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Only, there are some spoilers in the post, and what they reveal is troubling.

Discover the free app that inspiring Christians to pray for revival in America twice a day! Click here now.

President Obama lists three criteria he says he will use in evaluating potential nominees. The first, that the candidate be “eminently qualified” with “a sterling record” of “excellence and integrity,” is exemplary. A bit vague, but commendable.

The second criterion, someone “who recognizes the limits of the judiciary’s role; who understands that a judge’s job is to interpret the law, not make the law” is almost right. The judge’s job is to apply the law, not come up with new “interpretations” according to some modern understanding, yet Obama is exactly right that the judiciary’s role is limited and absolutely excludes making laws.

Were Obama’s nominee to honor this role and refrain from the judicial activism we have seen in the Court over the last several decades, it would mark the very return to constitutional government that conservatives have been clamoring for and that will preserve American liberties.

Yet it’s natural to wonder where this criterion was when Obama nominated his last two picks.

Obama appointee Elena Kagan, in her confirmation hearings, openly admitted that amendments weren’t the only way to “change” the Constitution, but that Supreme Court justices could do it, too. And Obama appointee Sonia Sotomayor scoffed at the notion of “judicial activism,” arguing it doesn’t even exist. Yet the two justices’ record since reveals judicial activism is very much alive and well.

160224barackobamatallHas President Obama suddenly had a change of heart, or is this an empty platitude?

His third criterion for selecting a Supreme Court nominee, which Obama summarizes as “an understanding of the way the world really works,” reveals the troubling answer.

“But … there will be cases in which a judge’s analysis necessarily will be shaped by his or her own perspective, ethics, and judgment,” the president writes.

“Shaped by his or her own perspective,” Obama suggests, not shaped by the U.S. Constitution or the original intent of the Founders.

And to reach “fair outcomes,” Obama continues, the candidate he seeks must show he or she “grasps the way [the law] affects the daily reality of people’s lives in a big, complicated democracy, and in rapidly changing times.”

Obama’s words reveal the underlying progressive philosophy that the law must change to reflect our culture’s changing morals and values. And if judges have to alter our laws or Constitution, as Justice Kagan suggested, to fit our “rapidly changing times,” then so be it. This is the very definition of a liberal, activist judge and a complete contradiction of Obama’s second stated criterion.

Furthermore, Obama omits from his criteria even one reference to suggest judges be faithful to or adhere to the Constitution. It’s nowhere in there.

In fact, the only time Obama even mentions the Constitution in his blog post is when referring to his presidential duty to nominate someone and the Senate’s duty to debate and confirm his nominee.

If Obama’s selection process parallels his writing about the process, we should expect he’ll seek judges more concerned about how the law “affects people’s lives … in rapidly changing times” than about whether the law is constitutional or not. And if that’s his primary concern … America has every reason to be very concerned indeed.

For suggestions on how you can pray for our nation and for the Supreme Court nominee, click here now to read “We ask your prayers, on a national scale.”




Hard facts about Iowa’s Planned Parenthood funding

Iowa’s governor has proposed to remove state funding of Planned Parenthood from the budget, but there’s a lot more to the story when it comes to taxpayer support of the abortion provider.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland operates 13 locations in Iowa and receives tax dollars from several sources, not all of which will be cut off by promises to leave the abortion provider out of the budget.

In fact, even if Planned Parenthood is struck from the state budget, over $4 million will still be flowing to Planned Parenthood annually unless Iowa’s elected officials act.

Click here to contact your legislator and tell him or her to cancel all Planned Parenthood contracts now!

Gov. Terry Branstad and most lawmakers will readily say that Planned Parenthood does NOT spend taxpayer money on abortion. Yet while this is true technically, it obscures the fact that most, if not all, funds are flexible in their use. A Planned Parenthood office may legally be allowed to use tax money to pay the rent and utilities on a clinic, while performing or referring abortions at the same location.

The FAMiLY LEADER believes that regardless of the various schemes used to extract money from the government, public funds should not be used in any fashion to aid and abet abortion providers.

Moreover, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland is currently under investigation for fraud and abuse as a Medicaid provider. With lawmakers desperate to find new money to support Medicaid for elderly and disabled citizens, it does not make sense to keep sending scarce Medicaid funds to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.

Finally, as the chart below details, several of Planned Parenthood’s funding sources may be federal tax money, but Iowa must enter into contracts in order to participate in the federal program.

Several of those contracts are due to terminate sometime this year. The governor and/or legislature would be well advised to NOT renew those contracts for the reasons outlined above. Or at the least, redirect those dollars to some of the over 213 federally qualified healthcare centers in Iowa that provide comprehensive healthcare services, but do not provide and advocate for abortion.

160222plannedparenthoodchart

Now is the time to take action.

Please contact your legislator and ask them to stop ALL funding to abortion providers (like Planned Parenthood) and mandate that the Iowa Department of Public Health refuse to renew any of the contracts that expire this year.

Click here to contact your legislator now!




We ask your prayers, on a national scale

160222scaliaAmerica lost a champion defender of our religious liberty – indeed all our liberties – with the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recently.

And as we’ve seen all too often recently, those liberties hang by a thread in a sharply divided Supreme Court. The absence of Justice Scalia’s wisdom and restraint will be sorely missed.

Now, a great responsibility in the process of Scalia’s replacement falls upon a fellow Iowan, Sen. Chuck Grassley. As chairman of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Grassley will be leading the hearings on confirming or rejecting candidates the president will nominate to fill Scalia’s shoes.

160222grassleyWill you pray with us for Sen. Grassley?

Pray that he will have both wisdom and courage to choose what is best for the nation over what may be most expedient politically. Pray that he will be given words to speak bold convictions and to reveal the hearts of the nominees. And pray that he will be encouraged when under fire for standing on those convictions.

And would you also pray for our current and next president?

It falls upon the president to nominate the justices of the Supreme Court. These justices, in turn, have historically instigated seismic shifts in the American culture. Pray our president be given insight into the character and convictions of potential nominees. Pray that the president will choose those nominees who will, through their decisions, both honor God and bless the people of our nation.

America is truly at a crossroads. Will you pray?

Join thousands of Christians getting quick and easy reminders to pray for our nation twice daily! Check out the free iPhone app at www.if714.org today!




Nearly 40 Evangelical groups ask, ‘Who is the REAL Donald Trump?’

160217donaldtrumpDonald Trump remains one of the biggest stories of the year.

He also remains a bit of an enigma – a man whose pro-life, pro-family promises don’t seem to match up with his record or his behavior. And despite multiple invitations by our partners at CitizenLink to clarify the seeming contradictions, Mr. Trump has refused to resolve the very questions Americans need to have answered before they can vote for him in good conscience.

Therefore, The FAMiLY LEADER has joined with CitizenLink, a national alliance of nearly 40 state-based family policy councils representing millions of Evangelicals nationwide, in releasing an open letter to presidential candidate Donald Trump calling on him to answer direct questions on his policy positions.

Click here to read the full text of the open letter.

CitizenLink has invited all the leading conservative candidates to participate in its Presidential Candidate Teleconferences. So far, Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and former Gov. Jeb Bush have participated on the calls, as well as former Sen. Rick Santorum and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, prior to suspending their campaigns. Dr. Ben Carson is scheduled for later this month.

But Donald Trump has thus far refused.

“Time is ticking, and we want Mr. Trump to clear up his contradictory record on issues Americans care about,” said Paul Weber, president & CEO of CitizenLink. “We have invited Mr. Trump several times to join our Presidential Candidate Teleconference Series. He has yet to accept, and our constituents are left wondering.”

Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of The FAMiLY LEADER, explained, “We have signed on to this open letter to urge Mr. Trump to clarify these lingering questions many Americans need to have answered before they can vote for him in good conscience.”

Some of the questions Americans are demanding Trump answer include:

1. After years of describing yourself as “pro-choice in every respect”—even supporting partial-birth abortion – you now say that you are pro-life. Your explanation for this change of position – that a baby who was nearly aborted ended up being a “superstar” – is confusing, particularly since you acknowledged that if the child had been “a loser,” your pro-abortion position probably wouldn’t have changed. Please explain this utilitarian view of the sanctity of human life. Do you consider life only worth protecting if it meets certain criteria, and, if so, what are those criteria?

2. How do you square your new position on life with your statements in 2015 supporting continued taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion seller?

3. The next president is expected to nominate two to four U.S. Supreme Court justices. You’ve recommended your sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, for the High Court. Yet, as a federal judge, she overturned the New Jersey Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, writing that it “burdened a woman’s constitutional right to obtain an abortion.” How can we trust you to nominate judges who will respect the constitutional limits on judicial power and uphold the sanctity of human life?

4. You claim to support religious freedom, yet a leading gay-activist organization calls you “one of the best, if not the best, pro-gay Republican candidates to ever run for the presidency” – particularly because of your “standout position” when it comes to legislation that forces Christian business owners – and others of faith – to either betray their conscience or lose their business. How do you reconcile these contradictory positions?

5. You have built your campaign on lifting the economic outlook of lower-income Americans, yet you built your fortune in part on gambling, which preys on those very people. How will you make America great when you’ve run businesses associated with increased crime, bankruptcies, broken marriages and suicides?

To see the rest of the questions, Click here to read the full text of the open letter.

The FAMiLY LEADER has not endorsed any candidate in this election cycle, yet as a partner within a national alliance that represents pro-family Americans, we have a responsibility to ask Mr. Trump about his policy positions and his view on the role of the president. We must ensure that pro-family voters are able to hear from Mr. Trump on these issues and make an informed decision when they cast their ballots.

Our hope is that this open letter will bring the clarity on these issues the American voters deserve when choosing the next president.




When Christians get involved … America wins

160201churchcaucusHow the church in Iowa answered the call in the 2016 Iowa Caucus: 50,000 more evangelical voters!

Forget for just a moment who won the Iowa Caucuses. Our hope never has been in one politician’s victory or failure.

In a country where we have been truly blessed with the gift of self-government, the direction of our nation is more determined by the voice of the people than the voice of a candidate.

But for too many years in America, the voice of the church has been muted.

Poll after poll has shown America’s Christians no more likely to be involved in government than the culture at large. Even in Iowa, where Christians play an unusually large role in the caucus system, hundreds of thousands of believers – more than the total number of people who participate – have typically stayed home on Caucus Night.

Is that really how God would have Christians steward this gift of self-government? Is it any wonder, then, that our government and culture have drifted from their moral compass, have sprinted from the heart of God?

But all of that is changing!

At The FAMiLY LEADER, we yearn for a revived America that honors God and blesses people. That means inspiring believers toward Christ-like leadership in their homes, churches, and government.

So we were enthusiastic to launch the “Caucus 2016 … It Is Time” initiative to encourage Christians to take up the mantle of leadership, answer the call of stewardship, and let their voice be heard in the 2016 Caucus.

Through the “Caucus 2016 … It Is Time” initiative:

  • 1,400 Iowa churches were contacted about encouraging their people to caucus
  • Our Church Ambassador Team spoke directly to 800 Iowa pastors about getting involved
  • Tens of thousands of Iowans encountered online, radio, and print ads encouraging them to caucus. Many heard our ad on WHO’s “Van and Bonnie” program or through the Pandora online music site.
  • Over 1.8 million people were reached through Facebook posts encouraging Christians to caucus

In addition, churches were provided a variety of materials to help congregants understand both how to caucus and why caucusing is so important.

“Bulletin inserts, a PowerPoint slide, videos, directions on where to caucus,” summarized Pastor Philip Herman of Fellowship Community Church in Norwalk. “All those things were really helpful, just exactly the tools we needed to do the proper education of our people.”

And THIS is how the Body of Christ in Iowa responded:

  • 850-950 Iowa churches participated in the “Caucus 2016 … It Is Time” project
  • An estimated 130,000 Iowans learned about the caucus either from the pulpit or during worship services
  • Over 60,000 people visited the “Caucus 2016 … It Is Time” webpage to learn how to caucus and why caucusing is so important!
  • Iowa Republicans shattered their previous record of 121,500 for caucus turnout, with 186,874 caucusgoers, while the Democrats estimate similar numbers.
  • And according to the Washington Post, 64% of those 186,874 caucusgoers were evangelical voters. When you compare that against 57% of 2012’s 121,500 Republican caucusgoers who claimed to be evangelical, it means in 2016, there were 50,000 more evangelicals participating in the caucus than in 2012. And that’s just the Republicans! The numbers for evangelicals participating in the Democrat caucus are not as readily available yet.

Some of the overflow, record caucus crowd in Perry, Iowa
Some of the overflow, record caucus crowd in Perry, Iowa

THANK YOU, Iowans, for responding to the call and making your voice heard in the arena of God’s third social institution, the government!

May this be just the first step toward the goal of a revived America that honors God and blesses people.

For more on how YOU can encourage the flames of revival in America, click here to visit the If 7:14 webpage today. And in case you haven’t heard, the exciting, new If 7:14 app for iPhone is available now!