Dear Friend of the Family,
In this letter I would like to accomplish three objectives, which I believe will bless you, and through your active participation, bless our state and our nation well into the future:
1) I want to help you make sure every pro-family vote in your household is counted in the upcoming election, so I’ve included an early ballot request form for you to fill out and send to your county auditor.
2) I want to convince you to make plans to attend The FAMiLY LEADER’s annual “Celebrate the Family” fundraising dinner featuring keynote speaker, Dr. Ben Carson on Saturday, November 22, in Des Moines.
3) In an update about my trip to Israel, I want you to better understand the importance of America’s support for Israel, and to see how God is positioning The FAMiLY LEADER to influence the upcoming caucus discussion around this topic.
In addition, there are the objectives I have for every single letter I send you: A) that you would continue to lift The FAMiLY LEADER up in prayer, and B) that you would continue to make your personal financial support of our mission a priority.
We simply cannot do what God is calling us to do without your ongoing and generous support. Thank you ahead of time!
Early Voting: JUST DO IT!
At The FAMiLY LEADER we are committed to doing everything we can to turn out as many conservative, pro-family voters in Iowa for the 2014 General Election as possible. Because this is a non-presidential election year, voter participation will be lower…that’s just the way voting behavior works in America. So it takes fewer votes for the best candidates to win, which means each individual vote has more weight than when voter participation is higher.
To boil it down, here’s what we’re saying: YOU MUST VOTE! Please make every effort to make sure your vote is counted in this very important election.
The best way to make sure your vote gets counted is to vote early. Yes, that’s right, you can vote early in Iowa. And here are two ways to do that before November 4:
1) Vote at your county auditor’s office during regular business hours by Oct. 31, 2014.
2) Fill out the enclosed Absentee Ballot Request Form and mail it to your county auditor – it must be postmarked by the Monday before the election (Nov. 3, 2014) to be counted.
You may have every intention of getting to the polls on Election Day; but for every 100 people who say, “I’m not going to vote early because I like to go to the polls and do it in person,” less than 100 will actually do it. You know how it can go sometimes…
o Unexpected emergency or sickness or travel comes up.
o At the end of a hectic, tiring day, Mom doesn’t think it’s worth piling all the kids into the van just to cast one vote.
o After getting distracted and busy with a project at the house, it’s easy to convince yourself that your one vote isn’t worth the drive clear across town, or in some instances, several miles across the county.
o Lines at the polling location keep you from getting your vote cast over the lunch hour as planned, and you don’t have any other time available throughout the work day.
There are all kinds of unforeseen reasons that people intending to vote never get around to actually doing it. But the good news is, we can all mitigate this fall-off in voter turnout among conservatives by requesting a ballot and voting early!
The other reason I always vote by absentee is that invariably when I open the ballot on my kitchen table, I see a few names on it that I don’t recognize. This gives me time to research those candidates’ positions so I can make a more informed and biblical vote, rather than rushing or guessing in the voting booth.
Listen, I’m like many of you. I like to go vote at the polling location in person on Election Day too. It makes me feel patriotic, like I’m exercising a duty and a privilege for my country. Furthermore, I don’t really like the whole early voting phenomenon. I have serious concerns that our current voting laws in Iowa leave all sorts of opportunity for fraudulent activities.
But none of that matters at the moment, because the law is the law, and like it or not, it will not change between now and the 2014 election. In addition to that, the Left has nearly perfected the process of using early voting to their advantage. We can stomp our feet, gripe, complain, and continue to let liberals beat us at the early voting game — or we can get to work and convince our people to also use the full extent of the law to turn out votes on the conservative side.
There is too much at stake to be dogmatic about early voting at this stage in the election cycle. And there are many important federal, state, and local races that need to be won by conservatives over liberals.
Please fill out and mail in your absentee ballot request form today, and encourage your friends, neighbors, and fellow church-goers to do the same. Don’t forget about your conservative-leaning kids or grandkids away at college or in the military! Make sure they fill out and send in an absentee ballot request form too. If you need more request forms, contact our office and we’ll get them out to you right away.
Dr. Ben Carson at the 2014 Annual “Celebrate the Family” Dinner
We are thrilled to announce Dr. Ben Carson as our keynote speaker for this year’s “Celebrate the Family” fundraising dinner on Saturday, November 22, located at the Airport Holiday Inn in Des Moines. This will be a major event that you do not want to miss!
Dr. Carson is arguably the most sought after speaker in the conservative circuit these days. His schedule overflows with requests and commitments, and thus, we are honored that he would choose to rearrange his schedule to join us.
Table sponsorship levels come with various benefits — from books autographed by Dr. Carson, to a VIP reception with Dr. Carson, to a photo with Dr. Carson, to priority seating, and more. In addition to various levels of sponsorship for the event, individual tickets are being sold while they last. Space is limited and time is short, so the sooner you reserve your spot, the better. Please visit TheFamilyLeader.com to secure tickets, or call The FAMiLY LEADER for sponsorship details.
Takeaways from Israel Trip
As most of you already know, I was invited to join Christians United for Israel and Rick Santorum’s organization, Patriot Voices, along with Joel Rosenberg and several other pastors and leaders on a trip to Israel in August. While we were only on the ground for three days, we packed a lot of activity into our schedule, and were able to effectively express some solidarity from American leaders toward Israel (in the absence of such a sentiment being shared by President Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry). As a result of our time there, my life will never be the same.
I’ve recorded a few videos telling about my trip in more detail and I’d encourage you to view them at TheFamilyLeader.com, but for now let me outline three takeaways that impacted me personally and will impact The FAMiLY LEADER as an organization.
First, I was reminded again that God’s Word is Truth. Being physically present in and seeing locations I’ve read about in Scripture for years confirmed for me the veracity of every word in Scripture. This inspires me even more to stand for biblical principles, regardless of what the world or the culture says, and I will continue to guide The FAMiLY LEADER ever-bolder toward that same end.
Second, upon visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in order to see the place where Christ’s crucifixion is preserved, we had to get down on our knees. Additionally, in order to see the empty tomb where Christ’s body was buried, we had to get low, almost on our knees there as well. The kneeling we did in Israel was an incredible reminder of what Scripture teaches: that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Christ is Lord of the cross and Lord of the empty tomb! We are blessed to make that Truth the cornerstone of our lives and the foundation of everything we do at The FAMiLY LEADER. May God use us not only to stand for conservative, pro-family values in the public square where he has called us to be engaged, but even more importantly, may we stand (and be on our knees) in a manner that honors Christ and draws people to Him.
Third, I learned a lot about the importance and the comprehensive impact of our support as Americans for the nation of Israel. Supporting Israel, by the way, as Joel Rosenberg pointed out at the The Family Leadership Summit, does not mean being anti-Palestinian or anti-Arab.
Support does, however, mean working together with Israel in opposition against our common enemies – radical terrorist groups like Hamas, ISIS, Al Quaeda, and others – who have openly stated their desire to see two “satans” (the United States of America and Israel) destroyed.
Supporting Israel is also consistent with many promises throughout Scripture regarding God’s blessing upon “those who bless [Israel].” I truly believe that those promises are still intact today, and I believe we will be blessed by God in relation to our support of Israel.
It might seem like a stretch to some for a pro-family group to be weighing in on foreign affairs, such as America’s relationship with Israel, but we’ve got at least a couple reasons for doing so:
1) Practically speaking, a strong ally in the Middle East helps protect American families. And if standing with Israel unleashes God’s blessing upon us, then that is good for American families too.
2) As God has positioned The FAMiLY LEADER to play a larger and larger part in helping voters select the very best leaders to serve in Congress, the U.S. Senate, and particularly, in the office of the President of the United States, due to our role in the caucus and primary cycle every four years; we must be equipped to vet candidates on all issues impacting Iowa families, including their views regarding America’s relationship with Israel.
The time I spent in Israel, being briefed by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s advisor (who shared with me that he knows that “Iowa is an important state”) and speaking with members of the media in Israel, and talking with other American leaders about issues related to Israel, will help The FAMiLY LEADER to be a “better vetter” of candidates in the future.
As you can see even with this brief newsletter, the Lord continues to bless The FAMiLY LEADER and expand our influence. We are thankful and overjoyed to be used by Him for His purposes. At the same time, we have a sober understanding of our responsibility to be good stewards of the opportunities and the resources and the influence He has given us.
Will you please keep us in your prayers; that God would guide and direct and give wisdom and understanding as we navigate the path to which He has called us? And will you please help us maximize and multiply these blessings with your very best financial contribution today?
For the family,
Bob Vander Plaats
President & CEO
P.S. Please print out and mail your absentee ballot request to your county auditor today so as many conservative, pro-family votes as possible will be counted in the upcoming November election. Thank you!
P.P.S Please send your very best contribution to The FAMiLY LEADER today, a gift of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500 or $1000, by making a secure online donation at TheFamilyLeader.com. Thanks!