Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly: How I Got to Here

By Emily Horne (Guest Writer – From Texas Right for Life)


Like many others, I often find myself in the craziness of everyday life without having looked up in a while. Without having taken the time to thank God for where he has placed me, and the work he has given me. I work full-time in the Pro-Life movement lobbying for Pro-Life policy, and in many ways, landed here unexpectedly. But if I am honest when I look back, I can see the building blocks had been laid my entire life while I was making other plans, and I thank God now that he knew what he was doing. Trayce asked me to write about what led me to where I am now, so this is my best attempt to explain God’s path for my life thus far and to thank him for all the times he has persistently directed me back to that path.

I always assumed I would spend my life as my mother did, raising a lot of kids. I’m one of nine children, and no, we were not Catholic or Mormon as we were frequently asked – my Dad loved to embarrass us in front of strangers by saying we were “passionate Protestants.” I loved being a part of a big family and still do, I’m forever thankful my mother chose to pour her life into raising us. Faithfully living out her calling to give us a Christ-centered foundation.

Perhaps it was having three older brothers and having to fight to be heard, but I found my voice early and had a strong sense of justice as a child. I would like to think I used it to stick up for my younger siblings, but I think my Dad would say I used my argumentative skills to my own benefit most of the time. I knew what was right, and even if you disagreed with me, you would have to listen to me loudly argue my case before I let any matter rest. There are lingering accusations that I was the most stubborn child of the nine, but it is hard to prove these things. My favorite bible story (my Dad read this to me at my request countless times before I finally started reading it myself) was Esther. I was in awe of her courage to do what was right at the risk of her life, crusading for the lives of her people.

When I was 15, I vividly remember the Scott Peterson case that dominated the news. He was suspected, then convicted of murdering his wife Laci who was 8 months pregnant at the time. What made this case so unique, as many of you remember, is that Laci and her son Connor’s bodies were found separately, leading Scott to be tried and convicted of two murders. This later led to the passage of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act which punished anyone injuring or murdering an unborn child, also known as the Laci and Connor Peterson Act. This was the first time since Roe v. Wade that unborn children had ever formally been recognized as persons worthy of protection. At 15, many of the deeper levels were lost on me, but my sense of justice had been awakened. I thought I knew my life plan. I wanted to go to law school to become a prosecutor, to achieve justice by fighting for vulnerable people like Laci and Connor, and bring due punishment to murderers like Scott. I thought I knew the specific plan for my life. Thank God that was settled.

My high school graduation verse was Psalm 96:10, Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns; The world also is firmly established, It shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples righteously.” (NKJV) No Jeremiah 29:11 for me, I didn’t need to be assured of God’s plan, I already knew what it was! Psalm 96:10 told me that God was in this justice thing with me, that I was firmly established with God bringing justice to the world. I had a plan.

Perhaps it’s wise now to contrast this verse with a more widely known verse about justice, Micah 6:8 – He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness [or mercy], and to walk humbly with your God? (NASB)

Justice is a concept invented by Christ. He was establishing justice for the most vulnerable (orphans and widows) in the very first written law, in Exodus. Why then, does he couple justice with mercy and humility when he instructs us on what he requires of us? Could it be that our human sense of justice without mercy and humility is an incomplete and poor reflection of his idea of justice? I shudder to think of where we would be if we justly paid the price for our sins. But for his mercy and humility, justice would be a dark concept. And yet, our earthly understanding of justice can often lead us to shed mercy and humility when executing earthly justice, or what we understand it to be. Our sense of justice can leave us blind to other perspectives, blind to the possibility that we don’t have all the answers, because crusading for justice means we are on the right side, pay no mind to the naysayers! At least this was my high school self – I had little patience for other perspectives, and knew that I was right most of the time. Mercy and humility were not the most apparent traits in my life at the time.

Source from http://blackchristiannews.com

I’m thankful God began the long process of changing and softening my heart before I landed in the Pro-Life movement. Because you do need that sense of right and wrong, the conviction that can carry you through fierce battles, but this is not all you need. Ask anyone in the Pro-Life movement what the most important character component is that you’ll need and they will say compassion, or that sense of mercy for the women most deeply affected by abortion and unplanned pregnancies. You’ll need the humility to shut up and realize your words and sense of justice do not matter to a scared young woman in crisis. She needs kindness and a listening ear before she can hear anything you might have to say.

Throughout college, God began to open my heart towards children and motherhood, leading me to question if I wanted to put myself in debt and three more years of school before starting my career path. I had the vague idea that I didn’t want to be paying off law school if I was going to be raising kids just a couple of short years later. There were some clear moments of direction that led me to slowly move away from my plans of law school, but those moments did not clearly lay out my direction following graduation. By the time I graduated Texas A&M with a business degree, I was fairly certain I wanted to work for a non-profit. Again, not because I had a clear vision, but because I knew I wanted to be working for a cause, something bigger than myself. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a category on the job search engine. So, I worked a year for my Dad’s small business, unsure of what would follow.

Less than a year later, Texas Right to Life, an organization my parents had supported for many years, announced they were looking for an additional person to join their lobby team working to pass Pro-Life laws. Thankfully my Dad realized this was the cause I had been seeking, the place for my passion. And thankfully Texas Right to Life was willing to give me a chance, someone that knew nothing about Texas politics and even less about public policy.

Now in my fourth legislative session, I’ve come to love studying and influencing policy, and fighting for the unborn. Living without that law school debt doesn’t hurt either! I’ve been blessed to be part of the team lobbying for the Sonogram law, the defunding of Planned Parenthood in Texas, and the 2013 Pro-Life omnibus bill HB 2. I recently began to wonder why it was God had changed my course from law school, thinking I would be parenting young children, since God has still not called me to marriage and motherhood. God gently pointed out that had he not changed my course, I would have been in law school or paying off law school during all those great gains made for Life in Texas – the 2011 Sonogram law, and all that followed.

God has continuously shown me his plan for me despite my stubborn attempts to chart out my own path. I’ve grown more and more thankful for that, knowing that I am not owed even the roadmap he has shown me thus far. I do my best to approach my life with unclenched fists and an open heart to his path, knowing now that even if my heart isn’t open, he will eventually place me where he wants me despite my best efforts. Thank God for his mercy in caring for us despite our self-destructive efforts! So that’s how I got to where I am now, and I face my path forward with joyous anticipation.


The Top 5 – April 24, 2017

After spending only 5 days’ home of the last 22 – President Trayce Bradford – wants to remind us that things are not always as they seem.  Please keep this in mind if-and-when you decide to send some friendly fire toward someone that is fighting for us and stands with principled, godly conservative values, but they have a vote or two you dislike.  Let’s keep in mind the whole body of someone’s legislative work as we head into a week where MAYBE something that we can cheer for makes it to the floor. Make sure you get all the facts before shooting off at someone. These issues can be contentious – but we don’t have to be contentious.

#1 – Senator Bob Hall’s Protecting our Grid Bill – SB 83 needs to move out of committee. Please reach out again to the Business and Commerce Committee and ask them to vote it out this week and allow the floor vote.  The Grid bill in the House – HB 787 – did get voted out of State Affairs 9-0 last week.  Please call the head of the calendars committee, Chairman Todd Hunter, and ask that it be added quickly to the floor calendar.

#2 – Bills dealing with the privacy issues for victims – SB 256 and HB 2222 are moving at a good pace through the House and the Senate.  These bills deal with the privacy issue for victims of sexual abuse, trafficking and stalking.  It helps shore up some loop holes when it comes to keeping personal privacy for these individuals intact.  This is an important bill for many including children in those abusive situations. Please tell your Senators and House Members to support these bills.

#3 – Senator Perry’s HOME Act – SB 892 (Hope for Orphans and Minors Expansion Act) relates to the protection of the rights of conscience for child welfare services providers.

Please call Chairman Schwertner and thank him for giving it a hearing and then ask him and those on the Health and Human Services Committee to please vote this bill out this week.

#4 – Sanctuary Cities, ethics reform, religious liberties – so much going on. Currently, there are 4 identical pieces of legislation that are serving as companions with SB 4 – Sanctuary cities. As of the online status today, all for have been referred to the State Affairs Committee and are awaiting to be scheduled for a hearing. Please call the Chair of the Committee – Chairman Byron Cook and ask that these bills be heard ASAP!!

To read Senator Van Taylor’s Ethic Reform bill – see the full text here and guess what – it was voted out of committee 9-0, voted out of the senate and is currently sitting in the House unassigned.  This is one of the Governor’s priority items. Tell your Senator to please support it.

It would take pages and pages to lay out all the twists and turns on religious liberty legislation or the lack thereof passing in the House at this time.  The best action now is to contact your state legislator and state senator and ask them – “Where are you supporting religious liberty?” Saying they will vote on whatever makes it to the floor is NOT a good answer.  Please ask them what they are personally doing to forward this issue.  There are some stalwarts out there and they are working hard but we need everyone on this.

#5- Anti-toll roads legislation – for updates on these important subject, we want to give you the full information from Terri Hall – Founder/Director of Texans Uniting for Reform & Freedom (www.texasturf.org) Priority bills from Terri are here:

Help us stop HB 2861 authorizing 18 Texas roads to come under the control of a private, foreign toll operator

Call your House member to vote ‘No’ on HB 2861 (by Larry Phillips) that would hand 18 Texas highways to a private, foreign toll operator in sweetheart deals that last for a half century. Foreign control of our infrastructure cedes our state’s sovereignty over critical roadways to a private, for-profit entity. These deals use billions in taxpayer subsidies, putting taxpayers on the hook for the private corporation’s losses. It’s corporate welfare on a massive scale. By granting a government-sanctioned monopoly to a single entity for over 50 years, these toll contracts are designed to extract the highest possible toll rates from the traveling public, making Texans pay a premium to drive and causing everything we buy to cost more. Commuters in the Metroplex report having to pay $30-$40/day to take two such privately operated toll lanes. Keep Texas roads in Texans’ hands and help us stop HB 2861 in the House!

>Ask your State Representative to vote ‘No’ on HB 2861. We expect a floor vote this week or next. 

1) To protect the highway fund from being raided for toll roads.
If a road is built with tax money, it should be a freeway not a tollway, otherwise, it’s double taxation. We’re just asking for the same protection as was put on Prop 1 and Prop 7 funds.

  1. A) Huffines/Campbell– HJR 35/SB 639/SB 1909/Leach– HJR 65/HB 1518

Status:
None of these bills have even had a hearing! However, Leach offered this as an amendment to the budget. It got thrown into Article 11.

>Ask budget conferees to keep Leach Amendment #257 in the final budget.

B) Kolkhorst/Pickett – SB 812/HB 303 – A compromise bill that would at least require a toll entity to repay any money it received from the highway fund. This would keep TxDOT from simply ‘granting’ money to toll projects (which is double taxation) and allowing the roads to built with state funds and allow local toll entities to pocket all the revenues. The taxpayers should, at the very least, get their money back!

Status:
SB 812 is up for a hearing this week in the Senate Transportation Committee Wednesday (if you’re at the Capitol Wednesday, come register in favor of this bill). Pickett also offered this as an amendment to the budget. If the Leach Amendment above is not adopted, Pickett’s Amendment #258 & #259 should be included in the final budget.

>Ask your senator to support the swift passage of SB 812!

2) To make the toll come off the road when the debt is paid for.

Kolkhorst/Shaheen – SB 668/HB 1282

Status:
None of these bills have gotten a hearing.

3) To prevent the conversion of free lanes or HOV lanes into toll lanes, making you pay twice to use a road you’ve already paid for — which is double taxation.

Kolkhorst/Hall/Taylor, V. – SB 399/SB 1127/SB 1143/SB 891/Sanford – HB 1311

Status:
SB 399 and SB 1143 had a hearing last week. SB 399 got voted out, but SB 1143 is still pending. Toll agencies are trying to water down the SB 399 to wiggle around this protection. They want to toll your highway main lanes and downgrade your free option to a frontage road.

>Ask your senator to support SB 399 AS FILED, and NOT amend it to make toll agencies happy (which effectively guts the bill). 

PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY! Yes, we mean pray that much and when you are done please pray some more. Please pass on the word how much we need prayer covering everything that is going on in Austin. We are not a weak and apathetic people and we serve a mighty and righteous God.  Let us go boldly before His throne and ask for His strategy and wisdom on behalf of our leaders. Cry out for protection and provision for them as well. Thank you for being the answer in so many ways to our prayers.


Books, Reading, and Political Activism

Written by Cindi Castilla (President of Dallas Eagle Forum)


I fell in love with reading quite young. My mind would create pictures of the landscapes and people and I would sometimes imagine myself in the situations the story explored. When reading Johnny Tremain, I wondered if I would be willing to risk capture and maybe even death to spread pamphlets about the Revolution? Yes!

Reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, I promised myself that I too would hide Jews if I lived in Germany. I would have been part of the Resistance during the Nazi occupation.

I would endure hardship, live on the prairie and help do the hard work to survive! I would help slaves along the underground railroad! If I lost use of my hand and legs, I would write with my mouth (like Joni E. Tada and several others!) Books helped me not want to miss any worthy opportunity.

How in the world did reading lead me to politics?

My parents were always supporting people for office while I was growing up. We would collate flyers for distribution at polling places as a family. Long car rides became discussions of political issues. I became a Christian in High School and transferred to a private school where I began to understand God’s amazing design for man and for me.  I had a standout government teacher in 12th grade who introduced me to Adam Smith, Milton Freedman, our amazing Constitution and the fact that Time Magazine was liberal!

There was a moment when I realized I could make a difference… I wanted to live out the novel or the biography. I could dive into issues and politics and do something rather than only read about how others made a difference.

I joined conservative groups at college, made calls for trusted candidates, handed out material at the polls. I got my friends to register to vote. When we were a young couple, my husband and I offered to help our precinct chairman. I became my precinct chair. We joined a republican club. I became an officer in that club. We got elected to attend the state convention over and over. I was asked to serve on committees at the Senatorial district and State level. All I had to do was step up and say, Yes!

I joined Texas Eagle Forum and other groups to educate me on issues. Just knowing a little bit about people representing us or running for office –  while also understanding some issues has allowed me to educate my children, friends and neighbors. They now look forward to my endorsements of good people who will represent their conservative values in office.

I won’t go on to be a heroine in a book or to star in a movie, but I do know that I will leave a small footprint of effort on the future of my state and nation. I just want to write my own story and help our good leaders write theirs – in any way that I can.


The Top 5 – April 17, 2017

This week there are some incredibly important bills working their way through committees. Trayce Bradford, our President, will be speaking on a panel at a conference this morning at a FRC/VA pastor’s conference in Austin. She will also be speaking at hearings from Monday to Wednesday this week and there are plenty of big ones. Here are ones we want to highlight right now, but there might be some more coming down the pipe later. Stay tuned.


#1 – Senate Bill 892 – Texas HOME Act

For over 100 years, Texas churches and faith based organizations have placed thousands of Texas children in loving homes. Now, their future is threatened by lawsuits seeking to restrict their First Amendment right to practice their faith when placing children in those loving homes. Faith based providers have stopped operating entirely in other states after being sued and some have already closed their doors in Houston and San Antonio.
SB 892 by Senator Charles Perry would provide faith based providers – who comprise 25% of all adoption providers in Texas – with the protection they need to keep operating and helping Texas children.

But radical, left wing groups are making wild claims that protecting the basic first amendment rights of faith based providers and churches would lead to discrimination or child abuse. These radical groups want to further their own agenda at the expense of following well respected national and Texas based providers that have helped Texas children for decades such as: Buckner International, Children’s Home of Lubbock, The Catholic Conference, Baptists Children’s Homes, and many, many more.

The hearing is Wednesday, April 19th in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Please call the members as soon as possible, and let them know you expect Texas to protect our children and our religious liberty by passing SB 892. Please thank Senator Charles Perry for authoring the bill and Senator Charles Schwertner for hearing it in his committee.

#2 – House Bill 421 -Church Security Protection Act by Rep. Matt. Rinaldi

Due to misunderstanding of the law, there are thousands of churches in Texas who are unknowingly violating the law regarding church security. The Texas Occupations code currently prohibits houses of worship from having volunteer security unless they are licensed as a private security company. Under the current law, churches and their volunteers who violate this law could be fined up to $10,000 and face criminal charges.
The Church Security Protection Act (House Bill 421) makes a necessary change to the Texas Occupations Code, exempting churches, synagogues, or other places of worship from the current law by adding Section 1702.333 to the Code.

House Bill 421 provides necessary relief to these churches and other houses of worship by allowing them the freedom to utilize volunteer security (i.e. church members) or hire private security, depending on their need.

The bill is currently in the House Calendars Committee. Contact the committee and ask them to pass HB 421 out of committee and to the floor for a vote. Also, contact your State Representative and ask them to support this important piece of legislation by signing on as a coauthor and voting for it when it gets to the House floor.

#3 – Rep. Cecil Bell’s Texas Sovereignty Act House Bill 2338 and the similar Senate Bill 2015 by Sen. Creighton.

This legislation will support tenth amendment enforcement in Texas and protects us from unconstitutional acts of the federal government. SB 2015 has been referred to the State Affairs Committee and needs a hearing and HB 2338 is left pending in committee please call the members of the State and Federal Power & Responsibility Committee and ask them to please vote this bill out of committee this week. Chair of the committee is Rep. Drew Darby and the Vice Chair is Rep. Andrew S. Murr, so please call them.

Rep. Cecil Bell says about this legislation “Statewide elected officers in those separate states must formally affirm where they stand regarding this egregious erosion of state sovereignty and of the sovereignty of the people of the separate states.”

#4 – Pray for a Legislator
We want to ask you to do something this week that seems unnatural – pick a legislator that you don’t know anything about or even dislike. Pray for them and then send them a card to encourage them. We must press in for love and grace to have the front place in our hearts – especially now during this session. Romans 13:10 says “Love does no harm to a neighbor: therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

#5 – Privacy Legislation
There is still a move to get Privacy legislation passed this session and people are still willing to work so that will occur. Pray for wisdom, strategy and a path for privacy legislation to succeed and that the most vulnerable will be protected. We will update you more as we have better information of what is being proposed and moved forward.

More……

Continue to share our #WomenWednesday posts – this last week it was written by Jennie Krause, wife of State Representative Matt Krause. So good!

Thank you for your continued support for Texas Eagle Forum!

Also a quick prayer request for LaNeil Spivy – who was the founder of Dallas Eagle Forum. LaNeil is not in good health and needs much prayer. Please pray for her and her family.

Keep engaging and keep moving!


Politics – My Ministry Not My Identity

Written by Jennie Krause (Guest Writer & wife of State Representative Matt Krause – HD 93)


When I imagined my life many years ago, my dreams did not involve politics in any capacity.  I didn’t give much thought to my husband’s career except that I knew I wanted him to be home as much as possible.  Just a regular, average job that paid the bills, but ended at five every day and never carried over into evenings or weekends.  That’s not too much to hope for, right?!  Apparently, God had bigger plans for my husband, Matt, and I needed to get on board quickly.  After just two years of marriage, we moved across the country so Matt could attend law school.  Law school required the majority of his time, but I stayed busy with work and my own education and I knew this was only temporary.  In reality, this was merely the beginning!  I knew God had planted the seed in Matt’s heart many years prior to become involved in politics, but I didn’t have a clear picture of what that life would look like.  In 2010, Matt pursued political office for the very first time.  After a long campaign season, he lost that first race.  I was very sorry for him, but a little relieved at the same time.  I simply wasn’t sure a political life was right for us, especially with babies, babies, and more babies!  I thought maybe once our kids were older (and even out of the house), it would be a more appropriate time.  Matt sought God’s will for the next months and years and strongly believed he should run again.  In 2012, he won his 3 way race outright.  I knew only God could have orchestrated this sequence of events.   A man with barely any name recognition, very little money in the campaign account, and no extensive political background was headed to Austin!  I was thrilled to see the Lord move in our lives so clearly, but also unsure how to keep our family strong with Matt away so often.

“Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us.”  (Ephesians 3:20 KJV)  

Fast forward to the present… we are in the midst of his third session.  Although there have been some challenging seasons, God has been faithful every step of the way to give me grace for the moment.

“…My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…”  (2 Corinthians 12:9a KJV)

I still think at times I would be able to better partner with Matt if this political life would have started in about 20 years.  Nevertheless I trust God’s plan and timing.  I am humbled and grateful to report that our family is strong, my love and respect for Matt grows daily, and we are a solid team.  I believe the key to our success in this area is knowing Who is in control.  Matt is free to make decisions based on right motives rather than political moves to get ahead.  The stress of re-election or future political endeavors is non-existent as we have complete faith that God will direct our path and open or close doors as He sees fit.

“And He changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:” (Daniel 2:21)  

This perspective has led me to the realization that this “political thing” is our Kingdom work.  It is our ministry, not our identity.  God has positioned us to be salt which will hopefully bring some encouragement and change to a lost world.

“Ye are the salt of the earth…  Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”  (Matthew 5: 14a, 16 KJV)

We are in desperate need of a revival in Texas and in America.  My heart’s desire is to say “Yes” to the Lord and be in a state of readiness to serve Him.  Revival begins with inner examination and conviction.  We need local and statewide leaders who refuse to compromise when the pressure intensifies.  With eternity in mind, it becomes clearer and easier to have the right priorities.  People are more important than issues and that’s why we must find common ground with others to show love and compassion while not giving into the middle ground/tolerance movement.  

I previously believed there were only one or two political issues that actually affected my personal life.  I thought we could merely keep to ourselves and the government would never intrude on my faith as a Christian woman or as a Christian mom raising my children with a Biblical Worldview.  As our culture is rapidly changing, I find it difficult to view any political issue without seeing how it may shape my life and the future of my children.  The only people our society seems unwilling to stand up for and protect are vulnerable women and children.  This is why we desperately need elected officials like my husband in the Capitol making these important decisions.  I joyfully make sacrifices wherever necessary to support and encourage Matt in his endeavors.  This is my political ministry… to pray for Matt, to encourage and support him, to share wisdom, to give him a happy home where he can return.

This has also been an amazing opportunity to educate my children in government and current issues.  It is incredible to see them think critically about an issue and come to their own conclusion based on their Biblical Worldview.  This reminds me how clear right and wrong, good and evil are to children (and should be to all of us).  It is the handiwork of sin, corruption, and sometimes a political agenda that desensitizes people to immorality over time.  One of the practical ways I engage my children in the political process is watching the proceedings of the Texas House live online.  They are thrilled to see “Daddy” on the computer and it also affords a time for us to discuss the issues being debated and laws being voted on.  For example, it is mind-blowing to my children to think that someone wants to allow men in women’s restrooms or a boy to use the same shower as a girl.  It is also unfathomable to them that it is legal in our country for a mother to choose to end the life of her baby.  The list goes on and on.  

“Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another;”  (Romans 2:15 KJV)   

I don’t have a list of awards or achievements; I’ve not authored books or blogs; I am not a sought after orator or performer, but I do know God has positioned me perfectly to be a homeschooling mom of 5, wife to a lawyer and politician, and a student of God’s Word.  I am proud to be a Christian stay-at-home homeschool mom and wife!  I look forward to continuing to be involved in politics in whatever capacity God allows. After all, it is vitally important to our present life and future.  Will the next revival begin in the halls of our Capitol in Austin?  Maybe!  I want to be ready to serve where God is working and I bet you do too!  Thank you for supporting my husband and family with your prayers, love and encouragement.  God bless each of you!


The Top 5 – April 10, 2017

This last week was exciting as we had some important hearings and the budget debate on the House Floor.  Trayce Bradford watched about 14 hours of the 15 hour debate and it was full of drama, strategy, frustration (sometimes maddening) a few laughs, boos and even prayer.  The process is something we encourage everyone to watch and learn more about.  In the midst of that debate, the US sent tomahawk missiles into Syria and Rep. Matt Schaefer asked for the members in the House to stop and pray for those involved – which they did.

Please keep all of our leaders in Austin in your prayers and also please pray that we have wisdom on the issues we need to strategy on.

#1 –  Potentially Dangerous Legislation –  Read this insightful article from Texas Right to Life. House Bill 3958 is currently sitting in the Public Health Committee.  If this bill moves, we will ask for your help reaching out to legislators, but for now, we wanted to be sure and draw this to your attention.

Source from Abilene Reporter Neews(Image Source from Abilene Reporter News)
#2 – Budget Bill – Here is a good summary of the budget battle. We will add that Rep. Matt Krause amended an amendment (yes, that does happen!) by Rep. Schofield and added $20 million dollars toward funding alternatives to abortions and Rep. Jeff Leach added an amendment to Rep. Shaheen’s amendment to wipe out funding to Texas Film Commission and monies (around $10 million) which would now go to core government services like the Healthy Texas Women’s program that provides women’s healthcare along with focusing on abortion alternatives. Rep. Jonathan Stickland gave a strongly worded speech using a personal privilege as a Member of the House. He said he had never done that in his three terms but felt that he needed to speak out against maneuvers being used on the floor to obstruct the process. The 15 hour debate came to an abrupt end (of course, as Trayce had stepped away for that particular 20 seconds) when all the remaining amendments (over 150) were added by a vote to Article 11, which we learned is the wish list/graveyard for those amendments, and it will be decided upon in the conference committee. The budget process is an experience and the battle is not over yet.

 

#3 – Protection for Faith Based Adoption/Foster Care Providers – Please call Senate State Affairs Chair Joan Huffman (512-463-0117), and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (512-463-5342) and tell them we want a hearing on Senator Charles Perry’s Senate Bill 892 relating to protection of the rights of conscience for child welfare services providers.  This bill would ensure that the government cannot discriminate against faith-based adoption and foster care providers in licensing, contracting, or funding for 1) facilitating child welfare services in accord with sincere religious beliefs, 2) providing children with a religious education, or 3) declining to facilitate abortions or provide abortifacient drugs or devices.  The House had a hearing last session and this session regarding these protections, and it is inexcusable for the Senate to not have had a hearing on this bill.

 

#4 – Protecting our Electric Grid – Senator Bob Hall’s Protecting the Texas Electric Grid legislation SB83 will have a hearing Tuesday morning in the Business and Commerce Committee.  We are very thankful to get this hearing and there will be a number of subject matter experts that will be testifying.  We encourage you to pray for this hearing. If you are in the area, please sign in to support the bill.  We are not asking people to testify as they have a hefty team ready to do that, however signing in support of the bill is helpful.  Finally, call your Senator and let them know you support this piece of legislation – that it is an investment in our states’ future. When Texas is the only state to have its own grid takes steps to protect that grid from cyber, natural or other threats, Texas will be even more appealing to business, that is good news for Texas and good news for Texas business.

 

#5 – PLEASE PRAY!  There have been a number of situations that have been impacting legislators and their families, the most recent was Chairman Phil King being hospitalized not long after speaking on the House Floor.  Please pray for their staff, family members and the activists who are working hard on the issues that we care about. Please ask others to join you in praying.

Please pass our Freedom Friday quotes along like the latest from Senator Van Taylor.

We still want to hear from you and why you fight for liberty. Hit reply to this email and let us know.

Please share our Women Wednesday blogs like this week’s by Bunni Pounds and be on the lookout for some video updates in the near future on social media.

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April 2017 – From The Desk Of Trayce Bradford

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The Torch – April 2017

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Politics is not Inherently Evil

Written by Bunni Pounds (Guest Writer & Consultant to Texas Eagle Forum)

When I got into politics over 10 years ago, my father, a former pastor, questioned whether I was doing the right thing. He didn’t want me to leave what he considered to be the “call on my life” to teach the Bible. He had this idea in his mind that Christians couldn’t really get involved with politics without corrupting themselves with the “evil”. He believed it was a corrupting game. I told him politely that I believed he was wrong.

I know even more today that politics – the process of certain people getting what they want involving government – is not evil or wrong, it is necessary and it can even be considered a Godly struggle. My dad, years later, came around and knew I was in the will of God for my life, but like so many Christians he struggled with the idea that believers can hold their integrity together in the midst of a political world.

Jesus called us in Matthew — to be salt and light in the world. He called us to make a difference, to disciple nations, and to promote His love, character, and values in this life.

Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

When I sat down as a 30 year old mom and contemplated what I wanted to leave my children in this world, I didn’t want to leave them an America that continues to slaughter babies in the womb. My own husband had been affected by the issue before he accepted Jesus, so I was not uncompassionate to the debris of people’s hearts & lives who have been impacted by abortion. I just couldn’t sit by and do nothing about it. Getting conservative justices on the bench who will not legislate from the bench is so important for our great country which means we have to elect people who will appoint the right judges. I understood that then and I understand it even more now.

Ten years ago, I didn’t want them to wake up to an America that is not allied with Israel, the only democratic state in the Middle East, and a promoter of freedom and equality. I didn’t want to wake up in a world where we as Christians didn’t stand up next to our Jewish brothers and sisters and defend them. I couldn’t just stand by as liberal forces keep speaking out against our greatest ally and the people that God loves. I had to elect people who would stand with Israel.

The days of standing and looking at our national debt climb higher and higher had to stop back in 2004 and it is worse now. Deficit spending in Washington DC each year is causing our nation to pay it forward to the future in a bad way. This is a bleak reality for our children and grandchildren. Our elected officials had to stop the spending. It had to stop and I had to speak up!

These and many more issues are the ones I cared about when I started as a volunteer in politics and they are still the issues that I talk to all my clients about before I work for them today.

What are the issues we care about as Christians?

It is not unholy to advocate, to speak up, and to be educated on the issues. Most of them are not as black and white as I had originally thought getting into politics – which means people of faith may come down on different shades of a issue, but I believe it is still noble to reach an opinion and fight for what we believe in.

As a fundraiser for multiple clients in North Texas and many Members of Congress, I have a unique opportunity to get to personally know many of our great leaders. Many times I talk to them more often then their own staff. It is such a privilege to walk beside them, encourage them, help them reach their goals, and affirm them that they are worthy of being invested in. Hopefully I am bringing light into their lives with my joy, optimism, and faith in Jesus. Many times, I get to encourage them with the Word, through prayers, or just speaking over them who I feel God is calling them to be. It is a great joy of my life!

I truly am discipling leaders in my own way- my beautiful clients, these amazing elected officials. God has called us to “disciple the nations”. What better way to start then through our leaders?

God has called us to be salt and light. What better way than to shine the light of truth into situations that arise in politics and be the salt that preserves and sees the good in people not just the bad and the ugly?

For me, politics is not evil and I don’t believe the Bible teaches it is.

Yes, there are people who do evil things in politics as in everything.

Yes, there are evil systems and backroom deals and moral choices that cause my stomach to be sick.

BUT if we as believers in Jesus follow our conscience, keep in the Word of God as our compass, and stay humble in this unique seat of power, God can do so much through us in this world.

I have seen this time and time again and I want to continue to encourage the Body of Christ to get involved and to be in some small way the truth in the midst of politics.

Politics is not inherently evil. LIGHT is stronger than darkness in the midst of our culture. We can’t leave it someone else. It is time that we get engaged and stay engaged!

 

With over ten years of experience in Republican Party fundraising and campaign management, Bunni Pounds has raised over $9 million dollars for Congressional candidates and state and local elected officials. She has led one of the best campaign organizations in Texas gaining a reputation as a visionary, meticulous administrator, and an avid fundraiser. She is also an ordained minister and pastors Reality Community with her husband, Tim. You can read more about Bunni and her team at www.bunnipoundsassoc.com.


The Top 5 – April 3, 2017

This last week in Austin was a bit hectic and full of surprises, some good – some not so good. There are so many pieces moving and so many opportunities for good things to happen, but we need to continue to be engaged and active.

This week the top 5 action items are going to be a little different. Since we are in April and the session ends in May, you can imagine how many times we will need your willingness to pray, contact your representative, and pass the word along.

This week we are asking you to:

1) Pray for your legislator and their families – This is the time in the legislative session when days get longer and it gets harder to keep all the plates spinning. Several legislators have lost family members, been injured in an traffic accident and the list goes on and on. Please take time each day this week to pray for safety, peace, wisdom and protection over them. Trayce Bradford was at a private meeting this last week with Senator Ted Cruz. She asked how we could be praying and he said, “Please pray for wisdom and peace”. We believe this applies to all our state leaders as well Let’s keep the prayers coming.

2) Feedback on Issues – Would you take a moment and give us some feedback? Please send us the issue you are most concerned with as you are watching this session. Let us know what you have done to support or fight for an issue. TEF fights for faith and family values and that includes marriage, life, good stewardship, education, service, and so much more.

3) Social Media – Please make sure to read the Women Wednesday blogs and Freedom Friday quotes that we are posting on social media. Here is the latest blog by Marnie Freeman. It is so helpful to get TEF’s message out to more people if you considering liking these posts and sharing those that you think are important. We are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Here is a challenge. I would like to ask you to send in a quote that sums up why you fight for freedom. We will pick some to share as we finish out the session. Citizens Voice of Freedom will be posted on the Monday Top 5. You could be a Star for Liberty.

4) We also do an update on social media each week with Concerned Women of America and SBTC. This update is known as the Mom Caucus. We will be posting those to our TEF FB page in the future. They are usually more light hearted but we do give you updates on bill movements and other action items. We also have a Champion of the Week. We try to find someone doing good just because its the right thing to do.

5) There have been some bills moving through the Senate and the House. Next week we will have more information. Senator Bob Hall’s protecting our grid bill SB83 has a hearing in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee on April 11th. Please be praying and calling your senators to tell them that this is a critical bill. Co-Authors now on the bill include Sen. Bettencourt, Creighton, Whitmire, Nelson and Sen. Larry Taylor!

There is another bill that matters a great deal to Trayce personally. Senator Van Taylor’s SB256 which passed out of the Senate Justice Committee 8-0 and then passed the full Senate floor vote and is on its way to the House. This bill pertains to an issue that Trayce worked on during college. Here is what she says, “As someone that had been stalked and physically assaulted, I had found no recourse to keep my personal information from my attacker. God opened a door for me to try to do something about this and I actually earned 6 college credits for work on this issues and victims rights. I worked as the first Victim’s Assistance Coordinator with the County DA my senior year at Texas A&M. There have been changes over the year to protect victims but not enough and this bill seeks to further protect abuse victims, trafficked victims and those in my situation giving more protection to private information. Please pray it passes through the House as quickly! Thank you for letting me share this with you and hopefully see an exclamation point on the end of the three decade long battle!”

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