September 6, 2017
Dear Members of the Media:
We are writing to you as individuals or as representatives of organizations who are deeply troubled by several recent examples of the media’s use of data from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC is a discredited, left-wing, political activist organization that seeks to silence its political opponents with a “hate group” label of its own invention and application that is not only false and defamatory, but that also endangers the lives of those targeted with it.
The fifth anniversary has just passed of the terrorist event for which the SPLC’s hate map and website were used to target its victims for political assassination. The following facts were established in the record of a federal court case. On August 15, 2012, Floyd Lee Corkins II entered the Family Research Council offices in Washington, D.C. and shot and badly wounded its building manager, Leo Johnson, who stopped his intended killing spree.1 According to his own statements to the FBI, Corkins intended to kill everyone in the building, and then go on to terrorize additional organizations.
That day, Corkins carried both the means to carry out this act of terrorism and a list of additional targets. The U.S. Attorney stated in federal court that Corkins targeted FRC and the additional targets by using the SPLC website’s “Hate Map.” On February 6, 2013, Corkins pleaded guilty to three felonies, and became the first person convicted of violating the District of Columbia’s Anti-Terrorism Act of 2002.2
We believe the media outlets that have cited the SPLC in recent days have not intended to target mainstream political groups for violent attack, but by recklessly linking the Charlottesville melee to the mainstream groups named on the SPLC website – those that advocate in the courts, the halls of Congress, and the press for the protection of conventional, Judeo-Christian values – we are left to wonder if another Floyd Lee Corkins will soon be incited to violence by this incendiary information.
The SPLC is an attack dog of the political left. Having evolved from laudable origins battling the Klan in the 1970’s, the SPLC has realized the profitability of defamation, churning out fundraising letters, and publishing “hit pieces” on conservatives to promote its agenda and pad its substantial endowment (of $319 million). Anyone who opposes them, including many Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and traditional conservatives is slandered and slapped with the “extremist” label or even worse, their “hate group” designation.3 At one point, the SPLC even added Dr. Ben Carson to its “extremist” list because of his biblical views (and only took him off the list after public outcry).
To associate public interest law firms and think tanks with neo-Nazis and the KKK is unconscionable, and represents the height of irresponsible journalism. All reputable news organizations should immediately stop using the SPLC’s descriptions of individuals and organizations based on its obvious political prejudices.
Laird Wilcox, one of America’s foremost genuine experts on political extremist organizations, has said of the SPLC: “What they do is a kind of bullying and stalking. They pick people who are vulnerable in terms of public opinion and simply destroy them.” Comparing his research to the SPLC group lists, Wilcox concluded that SPLC’s work was completely unreliable.4
Writing at Harper’s, journalist Ken Silverstein also noted how fast and loose the SPLC plays with derogatory labels like “hate” and “extremism:” “In doing so, the SPLC shuts down debate, stifles free speech, and most of all, raises a pile of money, very little of which is used on behalf of poor people.” 5
There are many others who agree with this determination and have raised questions about the SPLC. On October 18, 2013, the Secretary of the Army, John McHugh, a former member of the House of Representatives, disassociated his service from the use of SPLC materials on two occasions. He wrote that “[m]edia accounts have highlighted instances of Army instructors supplementing programs of instruction and including information of material that is inaccurate, objectionable and otherwise inconsistent with current Army policy.” 6 Furthermore, in March 2014, the FBI removed the SPLC as a “trusted resource” from its Hate Crimes resources page.7 For years, experts and journalists have cast doubt on the integrity of the SPLC’s methodology and the motives of its founder, Morris Dees.8
Finally, we will leave you with the observations of the U.S. Ambassador to Israel who had a great deal to say about the SPLC at an event in December, 2016. The SPLC attacked numerous critics of radical Islam in one of its recent publications, “A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists,” but the seventh profile was particularly disturbing.9In it, the SPLC slandered human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a woman who has experienced the violent and misogynistic side of Islam firsthand. The first sentence of the two-page section defaming her stated, “Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali-born activist who says she endured female genital mutilation and fled civil wars and an arranged marriage in Africa.”
Ambassador Dermer was appalled by the attack launched upon Hirsi Ali by the SPLC.10He made these observations about the SPLC at the end of a longer address to the Center for Security Policy on December 13, 2016 in New York City:11
But the biggest shock of all came when I saw a name on that [SPLC] list of someone I regard as a hero – Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
For those of you who do not know Ayaan, she was the Dutch parliamentarian who in 2004 produced a film with Theo Van Gogh called Submission, which focused on the oppression of women in the Muslim world.
Because of that film, Van Gogh was assassinated by a fanatic Muslim and Ayaan was forced into hiding. She has had to live with death threats and under constant protection ever since.
Yet rather than cower in anonymity, Ayaan writes books, publishes articles, makes speeches and fights for her ideas – in particular the need for sweeping reform in the Muslim world.
Today, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of the world’s great champions of freedom, pluralism and tolerance.
And every self-respecting group that claims to value any of those things should be defending her not defaming her.
Yet in an Orwellian inversion of reality, a woman whose life is threatened every day by extremist Muslims is labeled by the SPLC an anti-Muslim extremist.
Have those who put Ayaan on that list no shame? Have they no decency?
The SPLC and others who asked me not to come here tonight claim to support free and open debate. But in reality, they seem to want to stifle debate….
Unfortunately, some have amended that famous Voltairian dictum to be “I hate what you say and I will never defend your right to say it.”
I will defame you as an extremist. I will label you a racist and a bigot. I will put you on the blackest of lists that should be reserved for Nazis, for the Klan, and for the true enemies of mankind.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, I don’t stand with the defamers and the blacklisters. I stand with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. We all should stand with Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
For if we do not stand with her, then the values she champions – the same values we cherish – will be under threat and the dangers we face will only grow.
We must not let the defamers and blacklisters succeed….
We wonder how the media would react if a corresponding situation arose on the center-right of the political spectrum. For example, let’s assume that congressional debate were raging as to whether or not taxpayers should continue to fund Planned Parenthood, which receives about $500 million a year from Congress. If a national pro-life advocacy organization were to release a map with caricatures of abortionists and title it, “Here’s Where the Baby Killers are Located in Your State,” would the media run the story? Would it reprint the map and discuss the location of these “pro-death” doctors throughout the news day? Clearly, it would not.
Given the above points, and most alarmingly that the SPLC’s “hate group” propaganda has been linked to two terrorist shootings in the D.C. area, we respectfully request that you cease using the SPLC’s data and its various lists and maps in your reporting.
L. Brent Bozell III
Media Research Center
1 More recently, James Hodgkinson, the attempted political assassin of House Whip, Rep. Steve Scalise and many other Republican members of the U.S. House and Senate, was discovered by the public to have “liked” the SPLC on Facebook. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, “Support for Southern Poverty Law Center Links Scalise, Family Research Council Shooters” (June 14, 2017). Scalise had for years been the subject of the SPLC’s vitriol. Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media, “CNN Goes Full ‘Fake News’” (Aug. 18, 2017) (https://pjmedia.com/trending/
2 If Corkins had been successful, his killing spree could have rivaled that of the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. See: Cratty, Carol and Michael Pearson, CNN, “DC shooter wanted to kill as many as possible, prosecutors say” (February 7, 2013) (http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/
3 Ben Carson had the unfortunate distinction of making the SPLC’s list in 2014, though the criticisms from the public were so vehement that the SPLC was pressured into removing him. Fox News staff article, “Southern Poverty Law Center Apologizes to Ben Carson, Takes Him off ‘Extremist’ List” (Feb. 12, 2015) (http://www.foxnews.com/
4 Laird Wilcox, Social Contract, “An Expert on Fringe Political Movements Reflects on the SPLC’s Political Agenda” (Spring 2010) (http://downloads.frc.org/EF/
5 Ken Silverstein, Harpers, “‘Hate,’ Immigration, and the Southern Poverty Law Center” (March 22, 2010) (https://harpers.org/blog/
6 Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh, Department of the Army, Memo for Distribution, “Standardization of Equal Opportunity Training with the Army,” October 18, 2013 (http://downloads.frc.org/ EF/EF13J55.pdf).
7 Paul Bedard, “‘Shocked’ Anti-Defamation League Slaps FBI ‘Diss’ on Hate Crimes,” Washington Examiner (March 26, 2014).
8 A number significant articles on the SPLC: Mark Pulliam, City Journal, “Demagogic Bully,” (July 27, 2017) (https://www.city-journal.org/
9 “A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists,” Southern Poverty Law Center (Oct. 2016), at 20-21; (https://www.splcenter.org/
10 Gavin Rabinowitz, Times of Israel, “Defending Anti-Muslim Group, Israel’s Envoy to US Slams Racism Watchdog,” (Dec. 14, 2016) (http://www.timesofisrael.com/
11 Remarks, Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, to the Center for Security Policy Gala Dinner, YouTube (New York City; Dec. 13, 2016) (begin 19:50; end 25:45) (https://www.youtube.com/
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By Tina Aviles, Guest Writer
Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)
“I listened for God. He said to build things and grow things.” Quite a straightforward proclamation for a 10 year old to make at the breakfast table. But, as many moms know, sometimes God reveals himself through words spoken from a child’s toast and jelly stained lips.
That particular morning, I didn’t catch on to the significance of his words right away. I filed it away as our youngest son’s simple response to his Daddy’s challenge earlier that week to try to listen for God’s side of the conversation and not always just ramble on during prayer time. As is his way, God has repeatedly used the truth revealed in that fleeting moment as a touchstone in our lives. Those first words from God that my son heard have a firm place in our family lore and spiritual growth because they are rich with meaning. More importantly the concepts of building and growing have continued to cause us to meditate on God’s word, influenced our course, and driven us to action.
Building and growing are similar and yet distinctively different. When building something, you use materials readily available, plan, and create something tangible. Fairly quickly, the hands of man can provide results from building. Growing something is altogether different. It requires that you take what is available to you, bury it, wait, and see if God turns what you have seeded into something tangible. Planting requires faith.
Our foremost desire as parents was to be faith planters in the lives of the four children God miraculously sent us. So, to teach the precepts of building and growing, we turned to God’s Word. It was easy to find references throughout the Bible to both building and growing, but it was chapter 32 of the Book of Jeremiah that we continually found ourselves drawn to. Much like today, the days of Jeremiah’s life were filled with some major government turmoil. The people faced God’s imminent judgement due to their sinful ways, yet refused to repent. Jeremiah obediently delivered a message from the Lord that foretold utter destruction and capture of the king by enemies. For this gloom and doom prophecy, the king had Jeremiah shuttled to straight to prison. And, as is common for prisoners, he prayed. Jeremiah’s prayers were the kind of prayers that my husband challenged my son to have. A two way conversation with God, where concerted effort is given to listening for God’s response. Ever faithful, God did respond to Jeremiah with a message that proved once again God’s loving kindness. This is where knowing the difference between building and growing comes back in play. God told Jeremiah to buy a parcel of land and make the purchase known publicly because even though total destruction was coming, God deemed it would not be final. In time, God promised to restore not only their land, but peace and safety to the people as well. Have faith amid impending ruination, a season of building and growing was coming.
No matter what it looks like on the ground, remember that nothing is too difficult for God. Expect restoration. The very course of our lives, the big choices, and the small changes have all been influenced by that kind of faith. My dear friend recently shared these words of Mother Teresa with me, “We are called to love the world. And God loved the world so much that He gave Jesus. Today He loves the world so much that He give you and me to be His love, His compassion, and His presence, through a life of prayer, of sacrifice, of surrender to God.” This great woman of faith understood these precepts. She lived a life that exemplified the way God works through both building and growing. She knew that both were worthy endeavors at the right time. As Ecclesiastes extols, there is indeed a time to build and a time to plant.
Contemplating all of this brings me to pray that we would all want more. More time listening to God. More focus on prayer. More revelation of God’s precepts. Today, consider taking some time to listen for God too. He gave a 10 year old some meaty morsels to chew on and share. He has good things for you too.
- Direct all life-threatening calls to 9-1-1. Wet carpet or low levels of water in a house are not life-threatening.
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- FEMA support for Hurricane Harvey https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-harvey
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By Bethany Jarrell, Guest Writer and current Texas Eagle Forum intern.
Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)
What would you do if you took a month to completely unplug? No screens. Not a movie, a TV episode, a quick Facebook scroll or an Insta-story. For a solid month. Could you do it?
For as long as I can remember, my family has made it a point to do exactly that during the month of August. Growing up, my friends mourned with me as August approached. As an adult, most look at me strangely when I attempt to explain why I disappear from social media for so long.
Even as I write this, I am on day 14 of our month turned off. And it is glorious.
The first week is torture.
I delete all of my apps that would tempt me to distract myself and I find my thumb hovering over a spot where an icon should be. After those first days, I start to notice a few more details in my interactions that amuse me and I find I am no longer looking for a way to phrase my “noticings” to humor the few hundred followers I have accumulated on Instagram.
Halfway through, I might check into Facebook to make sure I hadn’t missed a message, only to realize that the noise and clamor of political posts, those weird quizzes to find out what herb you are, and videos of people trying to smear lipstick all over their faces no longer holds as much entertainment as it did a few weeks before. (No offence, lippies. I’m sure your product is still fabulous.)
It is in this time I reflect on the changes in my life since deleting my apps, turning off my notifications, and generally avoiding the mindless distraction that is so readily available.
And here is what I found:
- I feel infinitely more creative – Given back the time no longer wasted away on my phone, I am looking for more outlets of productivity. I built a bookcase, bought a set of watercolors, and have actually written more like I said I would ‘if only I had more time’.
- I am more focused – Not at first. The initial struggle of not falling into old habits is a tedious battle. The weekends are even harder. No Netflix binging or Twitter Trolling for this girl. Instead, I sit to read the book I bought at the beginning of the year and organize my planner for the upcoming semester of grad school.
- I am more intentional with my friendships – I may not know what they ate for lunch or what funny little thing their toddler said. I might miss an engagement announcement or an occasional invitation. But the connections that bring me life are given the opportunity to be poured into and shaped into something no Facebook post could accomplish. The other night, I had an hour-long conversation with my fourteen and twelve year old brothers about leadership and bravery. We got out the book of Joshua and counted the number of times the Lord told Joshua to be strong and courageous.
- I pray more – There is nothing I love more by the end of August than paying attention to the little changes in my relationship with my Heavenly Father. Inevitably, He uses this time to help me process the previous months and prepare for those ahead. I spend more time reading and memorizing scripture and watching it impact my decisions and relationships. My prayers are less drive-thru demanding and more five-course dine-in satisfying.
And all of those changes are what make September so hard. As long as it is August, I have a compelling reason to stay “disconnected”. But the first days of September are a tussle between the side of me that wants to pull a Kuzco and boom-baby my way back onto social media and the side that is desperate to hold onto what August brought me.
By the end of the month my life is not extraordinarily different. Only exceptionally fuller, purposed, and peaceful.
I promised myself I would not end this with a challenge for you to do the same thing I do. You wouldn’t have the exact same experience anyway. But I will attempt to summarize my thoughts with this:
Our world is full and the noise can be overwhelming, and the stillness we long to have even briefly is harder than ever to find. Tragedy, celebration, and victory will all come in waves but fighting to clear the air and settle our souls is a worthy endeavor.
Appropriately paraphrased in The Message, Psalm 46:10 says:
“Attention, all! See the marvels of God! He plants flowers and trees all over the earth, Bans war from pole to pole, breaks all the weapons across his knee. ‘Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.’”
By Brenda Peterson, Guest Writer
Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)
A few years ago, I felt instructed by God to begin to pray for light, more specifically to pray, “let there be light.” Now while I clearly understood this to be a prayer call to pray for goodness, holiness, and all things God to overcome evil and all things twisted by the enemy, I thought that surely there must be a stronger or more powerful way to pray than just four words from Genesis 1:3! However, there is NEVER a more powerful tool than praying scripture over a situation, and one fragment of God-breathed scripture is more than enough to shatter any force of darkness. So, my husband and I began to pray this simple yet astoundingly powerful prayer. It was an exercise in sheer obedience, directed specifically toward all levels of government, the courts, and the media.
After a period of time, we began to see news story after news story of scandals popping up like daisies. One after the other, we saw corruption, immorality, and unethical behaviors uncovered in the federal government, particularly from the White House to individual members of Congress. We also saw beginning inroads at the state level. We could point to half-a-dozen of these situations at any given time. Now that motivates one to keep praying!! And we shall.
Most of us understand that references to light in scripture refer to God’s holiness and righteousness, and darkness symbolizes evil. Evil loves the dark for that is where it can grow and thrive secretly and hidden away. Never will you see evil gravitating toward a place of light. When it comes to light vs. dark, there is no middle ground. Either light dispels the darkness or darkness snuffs out the light. Even in nature, we see that dusk is the darkness of night overtaking the light of day, and dawn is when light once again overcomes and chases darkness completely away. The two will always war with each other, each seeking to be the force that utterly conquers.
The good news is that light will always win over darkness. Darkness cannot exist in the light, and the smallest flame can chase away darkness. Any time light is introduced into darkness, darkness simply ceases to exist instantly. As long as there is a light source, there is a way for light to conquer the dark. Light vs. dark – good vs. evil – will forever war with each other on this earth. Only one can win… so let there be light!
Genesis1:3 – Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. (NKJV)
Brenda and her husband own and operate a small business, Tax Prep Financial Services. She has served on the Board of Directors for Tarrant County Eagle Forum, and assists on the Texas Eagle Forum Advisory Board.
By Bunni Pounds, Guest Writer and TEF Consultant
Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)
What was the joy?
By Kevin and Marnie Freeman
Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)
A new movie arriving in theaters July 21, will attempt to tell the story of some rather extraordinary events that took place in May 1940. Tragedy of the most extreme type was about to befall the British, with more than 300,000 soldiers trapped in France and surrounded by a German army more than twice their strength. Short of a miracle, these brave souls, comprising the bulk of the British army, were to be captured, killed, or starved. Yet, as any amateur historian knows, the vast majority was safely transported back to England in what is now known as “the Miracle of Dunkirk.”
Hopefully the movie from acclaimed director Christopher Nolan will tell more than the facts of the matter. The true story is that not one, but multiple miracles took place after King George VI called his nation to set aside May 26th as a National Day of Prayer. The King worshiped God at Westminster Abbey. The rest of the British Empire joined him in churches around the world crying out to the true Almighty. This heartfelt prayer certainly had an effect.
We know from the scriptures that when two or more gather in the name of the Lord, God shows up (Matthew 18:20). We also know that the effectual, fervent (heartfelt) prayer of the righteous has great power (James 5:16). These scriptures proved true at Dunkirk. As Winston Churchill observed, “335,000 men had been carried out of the jaws of death and shame to their native land.” How that happened was indeed a miracle.
Reverend David E. Gardner wrote a trilogy on Dunkirk entitled The Trumpet Sounds for Britain. He went to be with the Lord in 2002 but MovieGuide saw fit to excerpt his work for a recent article titled History in the Movies: The Miracle of Dunkirk (https://www.movieguide.org/news-articles/history-in-the-movies.html).
Rev. Gardner explained the miracles that saved the men (quoting the Movieguide excerpts):
“The first miracle
The first was that for some reason – which has never yet been fully explained – Hitler overruled his generals and halted the advance of his armored columns at the very point when they could have proceeded to the British army’s annihilation. They were now only 10 miles away! Later, Mr. Churchill asserted in his memoirs that this was because Hitler undoubtedly believed “that his air superiority would be sufficient to prevent a large-scale evacuation by sea.” That is very significant in terms of the second miracle.
The second miracle
A storm of unprecedented fury broke over Flanders on Tuesday, 28 May, (1940), grounding the German Luftwaffe squadrons and enabling the British army formations, now eight to twelve miles from Dunkirk, to move up on foot to the coast in the darkness of the storm and the violence of the rain, with scarcely any interruption from aircraft, which were unable to operate in such turbulent conditions. The Fuehrer had obviously not taken the weather into his reckoning, nor the One who controls the weather! And, the third miracle?
The third miracle
Despite the storm in Flanders, a great calm—such as has rarely been experienced—settled over the English Channel during the days which followed, and its waters became as still as a mill pond.
It was this quite extraordinary calm which enabled a vast armada of little ships, big ships, warships, privately owned motor-cruisers from British rivers and estuaries – in fact, almost anything that would float – to ply back and forth in a desperate bid to rescue as many of our men as possible.
The Little Ships
There were so many ships involved in the evacuation that this is the way in which Douglas Bader, the legless Spitfire fighter ace, who sped over with his squadrons from the fighter base at Martlesham, near Ipswich, to help cover the operation, described the scene in Fight for the Sky: “The sea from Dunkirk to Dover during these days of the evacuation looked like any coastal road in England on a bank holiday. It was solid with shipping. One felt one could walk across without getting one’s feet wet, or that’s what it looked like from the air. There were naval escort vessels, sailing dinghies, rowing boats, paddle-steamers, indeed every floating device known in this country. They were all taking British soldiers from Dunkirk back home. You could identify Dunkirk from the Thames estuary by the huge pall of black smoke rising straight up into a windless sky from the oil tanks which were ablaze just inside the harbor.”
Yet still, to a very large extent, the German air squadrons were unable to intervene. Certainly not in force, nor in the way Hitler had anticipated, for so many of these squadrons still remained grounded. So much so, that General Haider, Chief of the German General Staff, three days after the High Command had so proudly boasted that the British Army was about to be annihilated, was obliged to record in his diary on 30 May that “Bad weather has grounded the Luftwaffe, and now we must stand by and watch countless thousands of the enemy getting away to England right under our noses.”
A strange immunity
Even though some squadrons did get through, it seems that yet another miracle happened. Many of the troops on the beaches were favored with a strange immunity. When about 400 men were being machine-gunned and bombed, systematically, by about sixty enemy aircraft, one man who flung himself down with the rest reported that, after the strafing was over, he was amazed to find that there was not a single casualty.
Another man, a chaplain, was likewise machine-gunned and bombed as he lay on the beach. After what seemed an eternity, he realized he had not been hit, and rose to his feet to find that the sand all around where he had been lying was pitted with bullet holes, and that his figure was outlined on the ground.”
There was and should be no doubt that miracles took place. In fact, it was so obvious that the British, with such deep gratitude, held a day of National Thanksgiving on June 9 with praying and the singing of Psalm 124:
1 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say:
2 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us:
3 Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:
4 Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:
5 Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.
6 Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.
7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
King James Version (KJV)
So What Lessons Can We Learn from Dunkirk Today?
There are at least three valuable and timeless lessons to take from the Dunkirk Miracle.
First, we must recognize that miracles can still happen today. Sometimes it seems easy to relegate God’s hand of Providence to Biblical Times. And then the temptation is to relegate Biblical accounts as simply stories told as if they were Greek mythology or ancient fairy tales. There is no discounting what happened in 1940, however. That history is so well documented that it must be accepted. And that history is absolute in explaining the miracles that took place.
Oftentimes, people will question Biblical accounts because they don’t experience modern miracles. Dunkirk gives us reason to not only acknowledge the miraculous in modern times but heartens our understanding of Biblical accounts.
Think about it. We have a nation in an impossible situation. A hostile army of superior strength intent on their destruction surrounded their people. That nation cries out to God and is miraculously delivered through the sea. Sound familiar?
Kevin was recently in Egypt and had the opportunity to learn about the mummified remains of Pharaoh Ramses II. This is the Pharaoh commonly associated with Moses and the Exodus. When the researchers unwrapped him for display at the Egyptian Museum late in the 20th Century, his arms were differently positioned from any other mummy. In fact, the museum officially states that his arms were positioned as if he were holding the reigns to a chariot with his right hand and attempting to hold back an onslaught of water with his left. In addition, x-rays suggest that he died from drowning with sea salt found inside the mummy. Other research suggests that he died around the age of 90. All of this is consistent with the Biblical account of Exodus. (http://thecairopost.youm7.com/news/142273/culture/ramses-ii-pharaoh-of-exodus-researcher-says).
God’s deliverance is a continual theme in the Bible. Sometimes, this was personal deliverance for individuals or families, as in the case of the three Hebrew children (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). Other times, it was a miracle to save a nation (such as David vs. Goliath). But the point is that the history of Dunkirk demonstrates that these are more than stories. And, the miracles did not end when the Bible was finished.
The second lesson from Dunkirk has to do with the importance of giving thanks for God’s deliverance.
It is essential to note that the deliverance of Dunkirk did not end the war. In fact, the British were still heavily outmanned and outgunned. The war was going to be taken to their homeland with the Battle of Britain that would start in the next month and last for another year. And, the completion of the war itself was five years away and the prospects remained dire. Britain was about to be tested as never before and they knew it. And yet, they paused on a Sunday in June to drop to their knees in Thanksgiving, prayer, and praise.
For us, we should be careful to give God the glory and demonstrate our own thanksgiving for any deliverance, whether large or small. We must do this even if we don’t know or see the final outcome. It is too easy to ignore the miracles we experience daily because we continue to fear the larger challenge. A good example from Exodus is how the children of Israel took manna for granted because they remained in the wilderness.
A New Testament example that shows a lack of gratitude can be seen with the ten lepers who were healed. Only one returned to give thanks. Jesus rightly questioned (Luke 17: 17), “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?”
The third lesson from Dunkirk is a reminder that we ought to be crying out for deliverance. What are you going through today where you could use a touch from God? Do you need God’s miraculous help with your family, your health, or your finances? If God was able to rescue 335,000 Brits from an impossible circumstance, He is clearly able to deliver you. And, for those of us concerned about the declining culture, the economy, or national security threats, it is imperative that we purposely cry out to God now.
There are so many threats we face as Christians in America. There is the effort to stamp out religious liberty, wherein you are not allowed to demonstrate your faith in the marketplace. There is the threat of terrorism and radical jihadists who want to force Shariah law on our nation. There is human trafficking and child exploitation that hides in the shadows but threatens our children. There are potentially systemic threats to our power grid. And, of course, there are international threats from rogue nations and their leaders. The list of threats is long. Given that, shouldn’t we be crying out to God Almighty both individually and corporately?
Sometimes it seems as if God waits for His people to cry out before delivering them. So why aren’t we crying out? Oh that President Trump, accompanied by leaders in Congress, would call for a day of national prayer and fasting to ask for God’s hand of protection. Oh that each state or city’s leaders would do the same. Oh that we would be unwavering in joining together in prayer groups and Bible studies everywhere, to perpetually and persistently petition God for deliverance for our ourselves, our families, our cities, our states, and our country!
For us, the challenge of Dunkirk is to believe in God, to recognize our utter dependence on his sovereign divine hand, to cry out to him ceaselessly, and to understand that the God of the Bible is alive today and He continues to reign in the affairs of men.
Are you facing a personal Dunkirk where things seem impossible and there is no way out? Odds are, you have just emerged from a serious challenge or are about to enter one. Take comfort! The God behind the miracle of Dunkirk is alive and well, ready to help you in your time of greatest need.
Marnie and Kevin Freeman are full on believers in Jesus Christ. They believe their highest calling to be serving God, their families, their friends and clients, their church, and their communities at the local, state, and federal levels. Kevin, an investment manager and CFA, is an expert on financial terrorism, a NY Times bestselling author (http://secretweapon.org/) of Secret Weapon: How Economic Terrorism Brought Down the Stock Market and Why It Can Happen Again and Game Plan: How to Protect Yourself from the Coming Cyber-Economic Attack, and host of the new television show Economic War Room with Kevin Freeman (http://economicwarroom.com/).
Marnie is a full time mom, award-winning artist (http://marniefreeman.com/), teacher, volunteer, and sits on the Texas Eagle Forum Advisory board and the Tarrant County Eagle Forum Board.
President of Texas Eagle Forum
By Heather Stoner, Grassroots America We the People
Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)
When my dear friend Trayce asked me to write a devotional for Texas Eagle Forum, she said “just write what God has been showing you lately”. I thought “Ha, WHICH thing?!” Have you ever had a time in your life where you feel that EVERY time you turn around, God is taking the opportunity to show you an area in your life that you need to work on? I now know how my precious daughter must have felt in those few (and thankfully they were few) seasons of life when she seemed to hear my voice OFTEN correcting something she was doing. I am in one of those seasons with God.
Recently, I received a stack of old quilts that had been worked by my grandmother who passed away years ago. Some of the quilts are lovely with just two colors. Red and white or lavender and white. But my favorite one is the patchwork, multi colored one. If I look closely at the tattered fabric, I recognize a little gingham from a childhood dress she made me, a bit of red striped fabric from my Raggedy Ann doll, and a little calico from the summer she taught me to sew doll clothes.
Today, I feel like that quilt. God has taken the “pieces” of my life and pieced them together to form who I am. And although there are days that I feel like I am tattered and worn. When I see only colors that are not as crisp and sharp as they were long ago. I remember that God has placed each experience, trial, joy and sorrow in my life to bring me to who I am today in him. Often, I wish he would take a seam ripper and cut out a few squares that I don’t want in my story and replace them with a pretty, new version. But he knows the pattern of the quilt. Some days I wish I was like one of the ones with only two colors. A life more settled, safe, and sane. But he saw fit to make mine full of textures, patterns and color.
Because I made a major move across the county three years ago I feel like a quilt that was pulled out of a chest. It had taken years to gather all the pieces, have a full life and tell a story with a completed pattern. But when found by a new owner it is only seen for what it is today. They do not know the story, the history or the purpose that the quilt was created for. BUT the creator knew. Just like my grandmother knew every scrap of fabric and where it came from and that she had created THAT specific quilt with love, for warmth to her granddaughter. God knows every single one of my pieces. He knows the purpose that I was created for and that there is STILL use and purpose, although a bit tattered and frayed around the edges, left until the day I am called home.
A treasured quilt also leaves a legacy. Years ago, God gave me a verse when I was going through the most difficult, darkest days of my life.
She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25
Many days I may feel too small and weak against the forces I am up against. He will give me strength. I want to honor God even in the most difficult of circumstances. He will give dignity and when I get stressed at the world around me. He will give me laughter without fear of the future. Will your legacy be one of strength, dignity and some laughter along the way?
So, sure there are pieces that we wish we could go back and re-cut. But be excited about the wonderful pattern and design that God is making out of your life. And know that just like every quilt, he has a purpose and will use you to his honor and glory. Look for how you can use the very fabric of your life to bring purpose to what you do. I look at courageous people around me standing up for what they believe. Many are using scraps of their story to form their testimonies. What do you have to offer? What is the pattern of your life that God is STILL weaving together and still using with HIS purpose in mind. Unique because just as there will never be an exact same hand worked quilt, neither will our stories and legacy be exactly the same.
By Dr. Thomas Schlueter, Prince of Peace House of Prayer Pastor & Texas Apostolic Prayer Network Coordinator
This is part of our new series – Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)
The American Revolution was beginning in 1775. The British, the most powerful military in the world, was occupying Boston and problems in the colonies were rising. George Washington and the Continental Army were besieging British held Boston at the time. The British troops were trapped in the city and the only way to receive food and supplies was by sea. Washington wanted to harass and capture as many ships bringing supplies to the troops in Boston as possible, so he formed a small squadron of ships, outfitted at his own expense, for the task. Each schooner was to have a special flag flown from its mast. All boats were to have “An Appeal to Heaven” flags upon them. This flag, also known as “Washington’s cruiser flag.” was a white flag with an evergreen tree in the middle and the words “An Appeal to Heaven” stitched across.
On November 29, 1775, the USS Lee captured the British brigantine Nancy. Captain John Manley was given command of a schooner named the USS Lee, after General Charles Lee. The brigantine Nancy was a massive 250-ton British ship bringing supplies to Boston. Unknown to Captain Manley and the crew of the USS Lee, the ship was carrying tons of ammunition and weapons. The prize was so great that it was said our country would have taken well over a year to produce. Not only was this the greatest capture of the entire Revolution, it also inspired all the founding fathers and the birth of our countries United States Navy as we know it today. The original schooners bearing the“Appeal to Heaven” flags continued capturing British ships and performing special services for the remainder of the war as our new Navy was being formed. In addition to the schooners, the flag was also flown on floating batteries, river banks, in towns, battlefields like Bunker Hill, and even places of most importance like our nation’s capital in Philadelphia.
The Pine Tree, also known as the “Tree of Peace” has been sacred by the Iroquois Indians for over a thousand years in America. At a very troubling time in their history, a peacemaker united six great tribes from the Great Lake areas and established unity. This great treaty was symbolized by burying their weapons under a pine tree and this tree was to be guarded by a bald eagle at its peak clutching six arrows.
The truth is, our founding fathers and early settlers were very much influenced by the Iroquois Indians. Just around the time of the signing of The Declaration, The Iroquois attended a Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia. This meeting was one of the many were the Indians would inspire our founders to unite with them in their ways of living, laws, and style of government. It was just after this that the “Tree of Peace” became known as our new “Liberty Tree” and it would show itself on flags of all kinds, especially those in the fight for our freedom.
The phrase “An Appeal to Heaven” comes from John Locke from England. Locke was one of the great philosophers of his time. He, like other English Philosophers, was also influenced by the Iroquois in America. “An Appeal to Heaven” comes from his studies on “Natural Laws”, a system of right or justice common to all humankind and derived from nature rather than from the rules of society and the only judge is that of our Creator. Thomas Jefferson penned it well in our Declaration of Independence:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
As Texans and Americans, let us boldly make our Appeal To Heaven in this hour.
By Becky Leach (Wife of Rep. Jeff Leach & Guest Writer)
This is part of our new series – Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)
What if blessing doesn’t come in the form of gross sales, Facebook likes and career promotions? What if instead, it comes in the shape of heart lessons, contentment and peace? What if the way we’ve been taught to measure blessing is actually the world’s view of success? What if “blessing” is NOT measured by worldly standards but by the very presence of God in our lives?
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is in the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:7
Blessed is the man who trusts. Not blessed is the man who has everything. Not blessed is the man who wins elections, has a million twitter followers, has the biggest house or the most friends. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.
Scripture tells us that God’s plan for us is, indeed, prosperous, good and blessed – but somewhere along the way we have turned it into a story of worldly success over simply being God’s vessel.
When I was in Africa several years ago, the term ‘blessing’ impacted me greatly after precious women, who had nothing, would exclaim over and over that they were so very blessed.They had great contentment, joy and the overflowing presence of the Holy Spirit. They worshiped Jesus with every step they took. They saw their very breath as a blessing from God.
They didn’t question quantity of quality because all they had was quality – and they viewed themselves as so very rich.
I fear that I’ve gotten this wrong for so long, y’all. I fear that I’ve valued success over blessing – I fear that I’ve put them in the same bucket when they were never intended to be.
In scripture, the way of blessing was the way of the wilderness, but the Israelites questioned and argued and complained the entire way. Moses, however, trusted God to deliver time and time again and was blessed.
The way of blessing was the fiery furnace. Their faith was extreme – and only grew after God saved them. Their trust in the Lord was contagious.
The way of blessing was through the death of Ruth’s husband. She persevered, experienced God’s faithfulness and then became a woman in the line of David. Her trust in the Lord deepened.
I have to stop thinking of blessing in terms of the way the world thinks of it. I must start looking at blessing through the eyes of an eternal God. But still, it is hard to come to the conclusion that blessing does not equal success nor does success equal blessing.
Let’s look at the prayer of Jabez, a popular prayer of blessing that has become a great model of how we can pray over our lives. He asks the Lord: “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me.” (1 Chronicles 4:10, emphasis mine).
Isn’t it interesting that he asked for blessing AND that God would grow his reach, protect him and that God would be with him? Could that be because blessing is within and all the other parts of the equation is simply part of God’s divine ordination?
Of course God desires success for our businesses, our families and our volunteer positions. Of course blessing can come in the form of growth.
But it is when we value the success OVER the heart lessons, contentment and peace that we can get into trouble.
For me it boils down to this : I am a writer so I deal in terms of page views, likes, shares and readership. I am a shop owner so I also deal in terms of sales, revenue and measured growth. I am an artist and deal yet more in technique growth, finding my voice and education. These are all good things.
But they are not the best thing.
They are not the thing that we should be after as believers! The thing we should be after is Christ, because the thing He is after is our heart.
Maybe you are in a place of discouragement today. Maybe you feel down about your numbers or not getting that big promotion. Maybe you simply feel small – and you see women all around you who are “enlarging their territory” and it seems as though God’s hand is on them but not big enough to cover you as well.
Friend, I have been there. Heck – I find myself there most days. But the encouragement is that our God loves us and blesses us from the inside out. He is teaching us, shaping us, molding us to be more like HIM to be used by HIM so that we might speak about HIM.
It’s not about us, but it is all about Him. It always will be.
I am more convinced than ever that God’s blessing is not, in fact, measured by how successful I am, but measured more by how much I trust God – and the result of that is peace, joy and contentment – all of which money (and success) could never buy!
So we have two choices today. We can leave this time here together encouraged that God’s hand of blessing isn’t necessarily measured by numbers and let that carry us through our successes and failures OR we can start our day still questioning whether or not God loves us because our measured growth isn’t going up fast enough.
Which will you choose? I pray you will choose encouragement and trust alongside me today! It is never the easy choice – but it is always the best choice!
It is an honor to share here today! May y’all feel blessed today!
There sure has been a whole lot of news going on in the last several days.
Texas Eagle Forum wants to say congratulations to the new interim Chair for the RPT – James Dickey! It’s time that we all rally together and get the work done!
We are proud of Chairman Dickey for right out of the gate emphasizing the Texas GOP platform and calling for Gov. Abbott to do everything he can to work with Texans on these issues.
Here is the list that Chairman Dickey sent out. Governor Abbott included in his call several items which relate to planks from the 2016 RPT Platform as noted:
- Municipal annexation reform– Plank 37: Property Rights
- Cracking down on mail-in ballot fraud– Plank 59: Fair Election Procedures
- Privacy– Plank 87: Gender Identity
- Prohibition of taxpayer funding for abortion providers– Plank 91: Funding
- School choice for special needs students– Plank 147: School Choice
- Strengthening patient protections relating to do-not-resuscitate orders– Plank 100: Patient Protection
- Property tax reform– Plank 175: Tax Burden
- Prohibition of taxpayer dollars to collect union dues– Plank 197: Right to Work
- School finance reform commission– Plank 120: Funding
- Caps on state and local spending– Plank 167: Spending Limitations
Speaking of work, looks like the special session will be happening as announced yesterday by Governor Abbott.
The list of Governor Abbott’s items on the call for special session to begin July 18th per Texas Tribune Patrick Svitek.
- Sunset legislation
- Teacher pay increase of $1,000
- Administrative flexibility in teacher hiring and retention practices
- School finance reform commisssion
- Shool choice for special needs students
- Property tax reform
- Caps on state and local spending
- Preventing cities from regulating what property owners do with trees on private land
- Preventing local governments from changing rules midway through construction projects
- Speeding up local government permitting process
- Municipal annexation reform
- Texting while driving preemption
- Prohibition of taxpayer dollars to collect union dues
- Prohibition of taxpayer funding for abortion providers
- Pro-life insurance reform
- Strengthening abortion reportingrequirements when health complications arise
- Strengthening patient protections relating to do-not -resuscitate orders
- Cracking down on mail-in ballot fraud
- Extending maternal mortality task force
Know that Texas Eagle Forum is already working with our friends and coalition members and we will be there in Austin, July 18th.
Please pray for us.
President of Texas Eagle Forum
Dear Eagles & Friends,
I am going to jump right in and say there is so much on my heart to share, some good news as well as “lessons learned” from this Texas legislative session. In order to do that justice, I am taking some time to sort through all my notes and videos to put together a letter to share the overarching theme of the session as well as inform you on a number of bills we had pass.
We will be compiling a scorecard and hoping to keep it in the spirit of those done before. Even when I was in the “pre-eagle” period of my life (many small children and homeschooling up to my eyeballs), I always looked forward to the TEF scorecard! It was very thorough and gave a great cross section list of legislation.
You all can be praying for our team of Marilyn, Bethany, Bunni, and myself as we wade through the journals, find the votes and get this all together. Cathie will be on our speed dial as well. 🙂
I went to Austin with the heart and hope to represent Texas Eagle Forum well and to represent those that support us and stand with us on so many issues. I learned a great deal, some through victories, but a number through defeats or mistakes. I am so grateful for all the backup and encouragement you all provided with emails, texts, and calls constantly. You kept me on my toes and at times filled an empty tank with your prayers.
I look forward to sharing more in the next several weeks, but for right now I am going to go celebrate 5 birthdays, a couple of anniversaries, ballet recitals, and graduations. It is good to be home.
Bless you and keep an eye out for that letter, we have some fun and exciting news to include.
Thankful for you all! It is time now to rejoice.
President of Texas Eagle Forum
The battle of a patriot never ceases. However, the reward is reaped for generations. Therefore, do not lose your zeal for freedom or the passion for our cornerstone values. Rather, draw from the hope and knowledge that our legislature was strategically selected but it is the Lord that will safeguard our liberties.
Today, we call upon you to pray for our legislature as we approach these final days.
2 Chronicles 15:7 But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is a reward for your work.
Pray that they will have strength to keep fighting and clarity of mind as they continue to discern how to best protect our families and faith.
Do not be discouraged by the media or outside voices. Our fight is for a Higher power that says it is always a season of prayer and to always commit our works to Him.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Victory cannot be won without warriors to lift up our battles.
Thank you for your help through out this unusual session. I cannot tell you how much it encourages me to know you all are out there getting engaged and fighting for Texas and our families. I know there are many bills you may want to call on or wonder what the heck is happening, and believe me, I get it, however, we have reached a time where hard deadlines are hitting and basically if the bill is not already on the calendar it is dead. There are many reasons and many ways bills meet their demise and we will discuss all of these to the best we can after session at a session wrap up for Texas Eagle Forum. But today there is still work to do. Two priorities for us are listed below. Please act on these quickly!
As always THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!
Call to Action : HB 29 Human Trafficking Omnibus Bill
The Senate Amendments require tech companies to respond quickly to law enforcement if human trafficking or violent crimes occur on their platforms or if they have information related to the crime.
~ March 2017: 14 year old girl was sexually assaulted by multiple men on Facebook Live
~ April 2017: Elderly man was brutally murdered on Facebook Live
~ May 2017: Change.org petition posted demanding Google, Facebook & others to stop supporting child sex trafficking
Learn more, read this article from the Washington Post.
Help law enforcement stop human trafficking & violent crimes online! Keep the Senate Amendments!
Conference Committee From the House
Chairwoman Senfronia Thompson
(512) 463-0720 email@example.com
Rep. Diana Arevalo
(512) 463-0616 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Nicole Collier
(512) 463-0716 email@example.com
Rep. John Frullo
(512) 463-0676 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Morgan Meyer
(512) 463-0367 email@example.com
As we get the Senate list I will send but please start calling on this right away. The author of the bill is Chairwoman Thompson and has been doing great work for years on human trafficking when no one else believed it existed. There are a number of issue she and I may not agree on but this one we do!!
Call To Action : Contact ASAP for Pro-life Measure
Last night, House Bill 3124 was amended to add language from Senate Bill 20 (ProLife health insurance reform), which would ban abortion coverage in private insurance plans as well as plans offered to state employees and participants in the Affordable Care Act. Abortion coverage would have to be purchased in supplemental plans.
Learn more, read this article from the Statesman.
Let our Representatives know that citizens will NOT accept the excuse of “House parliamentarian ruled Senate’s amendment non-germane.”
Rep. Lance Gooden
Pass this message on to your circle of influence and have them contact the Representatives too. Multiply your impact!
For the last 16 weeks, we have been featuring inspirational articles from extraordinary women from all around the state. Their contributions to the Texas Eagle Forum Blog chronicles their journey into the world of grassroots activism and reflect the heartbeat of Texas women everywhere. Each post stands alone and yet is uniquely unified. They are all ready and waiting just for you!
Bunni Pounds – Your Revolutionary Leader is Here 1/24/2017
Audrea Taylor – How Are You Not For Women 2/1/2017
Bethany Jarrell – Not All Millennials Are Created Equal 2/15/2017
Tammy Morgan – Are They Missing Something? 2/22/2017
Debby Efurd – Why the Women’s March Didn’t Speak for Me 3/1/2017
Teresa Beckmeyer – Family, Politics and Power of a Newsletter 3/8/2017
Glyn Wright McKay – Seeking Value, Finding Purpose 3/15/2017
Kara Green – Duty is Ours, Results are God’s 3/22/2017
Marnie Freeman – So How Did I Get Involved in Politics? 3/29/2017
Bunni Pounds – Politics is Not Inherently Evil 4/5/2017
Jennie Krause – Politics- My Ministry, Not My Identity 4/12/2017
Cindi Castilla – Books, Reading, and Political Activism 4/19/2017
Emily Horne – Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly 4/26/2017
Marilyn Statler – If the Lord Nudges… 5/3/2017
Karen Starnes – The Road Ahead 5/10/2017
If you appreciate the information, influence, and inspiration that Texas Eagle Forum provides during session and year-round, consider making a contribution towards our monthly expenses. Just visit our donate page here.
This week’s top 5 is again a bit different, lengthy, but so important. Please prayerfully read #1, watch the video, and then you will find 4 more action items to work through.
#1 – We Must Have the Knowledge of the Truth – Last week was one of many twists and turns and I look forward to sharing the truth as to what played out. I hope by now those of you that know and follow Texas Eagle Forum, and those that know me, realize I want truth based in facts. We all have opinion and styles, but at the end of the day – truth bares itself out.
We started this week last Saturday as my youngest daughter and I waited in the gallery to hear HB 45 what many refer to as ALAC (American Laws for American Courts) pass a third reading with 135 votes. HB 45 has since made its way to State Affairs in the Senate but more on that later (#2 below).
As I have been sitting in the gallery many days, I was witness to some interesting turn of events including one Representative taking it upon himself to bring back a dead bill that he was not even the author of. It was brought in the debate using an unusual move that has never happened in the history of the Texas State Legislature. Was this a life bill? No! Was this bill about education or better roads? NO and NO. The bill had more to do with chasing federal dollars and adding more regulations on citizens. We must wonder, what was the point of all of it?
As the week went on, the Democrats were able to chub daily at the microphone and the strong conservative delegation could get NOT one bill put on this general calendar – this covered the ENTIRE session. Yes, you read that correctly – not one bill out of hundreds! (Another little known fact is the current member that has had the most legislation passed this session is a Democrat.) So where is all this heading?
Elizabeth Graham of Texas Right for Life sums it up well:
This 85th Session of the Texas Legislature has been dominated by the political games and personal attacks on the conservative members, many of whom belong to the House Freedom Caucus, orchestrated by the leadership cabal of moderate Republicans and pro-abortion Democrats of the Texas House of Representatives.
With Thursday’s midnight deadline looming for the passage of House bills, House leadership once again did not disappoint, again singling out and punishing members for no other reason than their conservative voting records and proclivity to expose the vindictive tactics of House Leadership. In order to achieve an important legislative goal and left with no other recourse after respectfully enduring months of abuse and the thwarting of conservative legislation, the Freedom Caucus successfully organized and executed an effort that killed scores of bills anointed by House leadership.
The open disdain of the speaker and his chairmen toward the mainstream Republican House members already had tensions rising. The majority of House members, including some Democrats, support conservative reforms for Texas, real reforms that impact Life, faith, freedoms, the protection of our women and daughters, fairness in education, family equality, and other measures. These measures would all pass 90-60 if a vote on the House floor was ever allowed. But House leadership has systematically stalled all such legislative proposals while prioritizing bills that are antithetical to the conservative movement.
Pre-born children are being torn limb from limb in the womb while House leadership ceaselessly claims to be Pro-Life. Yet with only three weeks left in the session, not one single bill that reduces the 55,000 annual Texas abortions has been heard on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives.
On Thursday, May 11, in another coercive procedural maneuver, House leadership suspended the rules of the House to schedule votes on 200+ bills on the Local and Consent Calendar for the following day. Historically, the Local and Consent Calendar includes bills that are non-controversial, unopposed, and apply to limited jurisdictions (such as a new local library or naming a building). But under the current progressive House leadership, the Local and Consent Calendar has become a tool to ram through questionable measures that would otherwise be debated and defeated. As such, House members have often selectively killed specific bills on the Local and Consent Calendar on the basis of principled, studied objections. The main objection Thursday night was the quantity; properly vetting and reading 120+ bills would have been impossible after working until midnight and then needing to be on the House floor at 10:00 a.m.
However, after conservatives and members of the Freedom Caucus objected to the rules suspension for the Local and Consent Calendar, dozens of their bills were removed from the Local and Consent Calendar—a blatant act of political retribution ensuring the death of the conservatives’ bills. This attack from leadership was personal and severe.
Subsequently, the Freedom Caucus called a press conference to shed light on the ever-changing rules of the House. Representative Jeff Leach (R-Plano) described the move as “another direct shot at the conservative members of this House” by leadership. Representative Matt Shaheen (R-Plano) elaborated, “Our bills have been targeted for weeks…for conservative legislators, their bills have been targeted because of the voting record of those legislators. If you are too conservative, you cannot represent your district.”
After the press conference, the Freedom Caucus masterfully used parliamentary procedures and debate tactics to break free from the suffocating hands of House leadership. The Freedom Caucus spent time at the back microphone of the House, methodically deliberating the policies before the full House, and thereby burning the clock with protracted debate (called “chubbing”). In doing so, the Freedom Caucus killed bills that House leadership wanted to pass by the midnight deadline. Leadership was given a lethal dose of their own bitter medicine Thursday night.
Once the Freedom Caucus achieved the goal of killing those House bills, similar proposals that are still viable in the Senate will likely emerge as much stronger policy reforms, e.g., the Sunset bills that reauthorize state agencies. In sessions past, Pro-Life amendments have been successfully added to Sunset bills related to health and medical agencies. The Sunset bills under consideration in the State Senate reflect more conservative policy, which is a main reason the Freedom Caucus wanted to kill the limp versions scheduled on the House calendar Thursday night.
The process of writing Sunset bills is another example of draconian leadership. The House versions of these measures have been so watered-down that no substantial reforms or reorganizations are offered in the Sunset bills. House leadership demanded that the meaningful provisions of the Sunset bills be removed so that Pro-Life amendments would be rendered non-germane, thus squashing another opportunity for Pro-Life dialogue and victories. Conservative, Pro-Life members had no choice Thursday night but to take dramatic and drastic action to kill the remaining bills, clearing the way for these Senate bills.
More importantly, House leadership controls the pace of the session. They are responsible for killing their own bills AND also for killing Pro-Life bills that they intentionally set at the end of the calendar for Thursday. Leadership could have used the time since January to prioritize and pass not only their bills, but also important bills that reflect the Texas Republican Party Platform, like the Dismemberment Abortion Ban, which received overwhelming grassroots support. The blame and responsibility of Thursday’s events in the Texas House of Representatives ultimately lies solely with House leadership who not only set the pace and the calendars, but also the tone and the collaboration—for better or worse.
Yours For Life,
I share all this with you because I cannot know all of this and in good faith watch the lies and distortions that are being passed off as the truth. I have to speak up! I have been keeping files and files on votes, press releases and various moves on the floor (video clips etc.) on folks that stand for liberty and for those that are obstructionists. I want the facts and will always search for the truth.
So how can you make an impact and help support conservative legislation?
#2 – Thank the Texas Freedom Caucus – Please reach out to the Texas Freedom Caucus by sending them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to encourage them and thank them for having the courage required to speak up and require the rules to be observed in the House. www.freedomfortexas.com
#3 – American Laws for American Courts – HB 45 – which has been called ALAC is now in the Senate State Affairs Committee and we need your action today. We need you to please email or call the Chairwoman Joan Huffman, if you have not already and POLITELY request a hearing as soon as possible.
Please call the State Affairs Committee Members and your own Senator to ask for his or her support. We pray that we will be on the floor for a vote by next week.
#4 – The Fight for LIFE – Please take a moment and read this article from Texas Right to Life. Please pray that the Dismemberment Abortion Ban is amended onto a bill this week. You can always reach out to your state Representative and let them know your concerns on this issue. We need this ban.
#5 – Securing our Grid – PLEASE pray for the Securing our Grid legislation. There is a lot of developments there and we will update you soon. As you know SB 83 is Senator Hall’s legislation and it is so important for the State of Texas. You can read about what has been happening on this issue here.
We have so many great Women Wednesday blogs on our website that we highlight on social media each week. Check them all out here.
Thank you so much for helping us get the word out on these important issues and being a part of Texas Eagle Forum. Together – we can make a difference.
Trayce Bradford – President
Written by Karen Starnes – (Guest Writer)
Life. As so many have stated before me, “Without Life, there can be no Liberty.” This sacred and precious gift pointed me to get involved in politics. I can’t pinpoint when I first heard about abortion, but it probably had to do with learning of Roe v. Wade. Like any child, I instinctively knew it was wrong. Through the years I heard stories of young girls faced with seemingly no other option, and sympathized with them. I heard things like, “There is nothing we can do because it’s the law of the land.”, and “It’s a blob of tissue, and won’t feel anything anyways,” influencing my developing mind to accept that it might be ok in certain circumstances.
Growing up, my family watched the news together and my parents talked openly to my sister and me about current events, morality, and the Lord. They believed that prayer changes things and they modeled trust and faith in God no matter how unfortunate things might have looked for our country or in tough times at home. A sign always hung in our entryway quoting the scripture from Joshua 24:15, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” We praised Jesus in the good times and bad at the Watson Home. I’m so grateful for my upbringing in church and a loving family. It’s something I have never taken for granted, and I remember nostalgically being proud of America during a time when it seemed everyone loved our president, Ronald Reagan
During my government class in High School I remember thoroughly enjoying a project assigned to research presidential candidates for the upcoming election and choose who you would vote for and why. I enjoyed watching the debates, reading newspaper articles, and was fascinated by the process. It was incredibly disappointing to me to miss turning 18 in time to vote when Election Day arrived. I had met the love of my life, Joel Starnes by this time as well. He was raised a Rush Baby and had a solid Christian World View galvanized by attending Summit Ministries Summer Camp. Sometimes he challenged me to consider some things that my public school education had influenced me to believe about our government that were at odds with my Christian Faith and the historical facts of our founding.
Politics wasn’t a big part of my life except for the subsequent presidential elections for the next few cycles. I did run for student government and served on the First Year Council, then was a Sergeant at Arms my Sophomore year at UMHB, but didn’t continue on in subsequent years due to being so busy with nursing school and planning a wedding. I voted as soon as I was old enough and felt proud and grateful to be free to participate in the process.
My wake-up call that America was changing came September 11, 2001. I had just climbed into bed after a long night shift working as an RN on the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit when Joel called and grimly told me to turn on the T.V. I watched in disbelief and cried and prayed. Later that afternoon I startled awake to loud BOOMS shaking our tiny house; I thought surely it was the end and prepared myself. I soon realized it was the brave soldiers at Fort Hood running training exercises across Lake Belton. It was a sobering time that grew us up. Joel and I considered joining the military and prayed for direction. We both wanted to help our country in some way. My friend who was an AA flight attendant called me to tell me she and her dad, a pilot were safe, but stuck as all air traffic had been suspended.
Fast forward a few years. We had moved back home to the HEB area and had our first born son. Everyone knows how much that first baby changes you! He came into this world at 36 weeks and was delivered emergently. I had unknowingly developed HELLP Syndrome which I had learned in nursing school years earlier was one of the most dangerous complications of pregnancy where infant and maternal mortality rates were alarmingly high. The acronym stands for Hemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes and Low Platelets. Because my platelets were so low, I could not get a spinal or epidural due to risk of bleeding. I remember thinking, “but they are about to slice into me….” I don’t remember feeling fear, but prayed and asked God to protect us. I wanted so badly to stick around and be Mommy to my son, and I didn’t want Joel to be a widower at age 29. We both made it through the C-section with risky general anesthesia, and despite a few challenges both miraculously were discharged home after only 6 days. Some sweet friends even surprised us with a Limo ride home from the hospital. Knowing we had experienced a miracle a newfound greater appreciation for life developed and a deeper sense of its fragility. One thing we also carry with us is the fact that many who experience this complication are much earlier in their pregnancy. It happens as early as 20 weeks. In all my research about the topic, I have never heard of a doctor recommending an “abortion procedure” to rescue the life of the mother. The treatment is to simply deliver the baby as fast as possible and work to save both the newborn, usually preemie baby and its mommy. A standard abortion procedure would not only kill the baby, but be a riskier procedure for the woman. I am keenly aware of the argument made by Pro-abortion politicians that we must keep abortion on demand legal in order to save the life of a mother experiencing complications, but I have yet to find a complication that would be remedied with abortion vs. swift delivery.
I learned more about the abortion procedure and the history of it first in nursing school and then through my brother-in-law’s work with Priests for Life, Life Dynamics, and the documentary Maafa 21 he was involved in making. The truth about the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, the eugenics movement in America and the diabolical ties to racial hatred and targeting was the stuff of horror movies causing my convictions about Life without exception to deepen. I believe some of my traits are God ingrained in like a sense of truth and justice and a desire to act when called. Micah 6:8 is a go to verse for me and reads, “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” I also love His word where it says, “ For the word of the Lord is right, and all His work is done in truth. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” Psalm 33:4-5. The entire passage of Psalm 33 is wonderful! Another passage that influenced me in my walk with Jesus is Psalm 139. Verses 13-18 say, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand-when I awake, I am still with you.” Not only do the scriptures affirm how precious the unborn are to the Lord, they were words of deep comfort during a time when I struggled with my identity in Christ, and felt insecure and insignificant. Still, if those old dark feelings creep in, the Holy Spirit brings these life affirming words to my mind and I speak them out loud because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of the Lord.
After Clive was born I remember contacting my Congressman and President Bush urging and pleading with them not to bailout the banks. I was sorely disappointed in the decision to ignore the majority of the people. Joel and I were both engaged in listening to conservative talk radio and lively discussions regarding the massive growths in government while the people became more burdened and ignored. I took Clive in the baby stroller down to the lawn of the City Courthouse in Hurst, TX to join the first Tea Party Rally armed with tea bags and letters for our Congressmen and the president. We were tired of over taxation with little to no representation for hard working average Americans. Thanks to social media I had seen a lifetime friend’s mother posting about politics and the rally.
We tried for two years to conceive again and were overjoyed when we found out at only two weeks along. We were a little nervous, but I had been thoroughly checked out by my doctor and an hematologist and declared healthy, with little chance of developing HELLP Syndrome again. So when the bleeding started at 9-10 weeks we were heartbroken and pleaded with the Lord to save our baby. I won’t go into detail, but it was a painful time both physically and spiritually. Jesus walked with us through it, but I admit it was hard to understand why this sweet life ended. I cramped and contracted and delivered a tiny dead baby at home by myself. I have thought many times that is probably a similar experience to those going through an early trimester abortion. There are feelings of shame and regret and feeling like you did something wrong to cause this even when you didn’t. I was crushed and struggled for a long time. It was in a season of feeling broken that I clung to my Heavenly Father like never before. He carried us and growth happened and even breakthrough in our marriage. We can testify to His compassion and as Psalm 34:18 states, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” He is “The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” II Corinthians 1:3.
About a year later we conceived again and had a sweet baby boy Isaiah. His name means “Yahweh is salvation”. My pregnancy with him and his delivery deepened my desire to grow closer to God and increased my love for Him. There are so many lessons I learned about God’s love and mercy for me through caring for my babies. A mama’s heart is beating for her kids and wants nothing but the best of everything for them. You love them so much it hurts and would give anything to keep them safe and free of suffering. You want to teach them everything because you don’t want them to make the same mistakes you did. I felt so many times when speaking life to my babies my Heavenly Father would speak things to my heart things like, “See honey, that’s how I feel about you.”
I became aware of the Pro Life legislation Texas legislatures and Pro Life activists were trying to pass in Austin in 2013 through Facebook first I think, and heard about a call to come to the Capitol in support and prayer. I had already called my congressman, but felt like I could do more this time. A sweet friend felt the same so we got our hubbies to watch our kids and hopped on the road down to Austin. I had been to the Capitol a couple of times to visit and learn TX history, but had never gone in this capacity before. There were thousands in blue in support of women and babies all over the capitol grounds as well as thousand in orange there to protest. We waited in an incredibly long ling to sign in as support for HB2. Then we attended a rally on the south steps. Protesters tried to drown out the truth, but truth was heard. I’ll never forget the presence of the Lord being so strong and feeling so peaceful despite angry protesters all around us. I could almost see the spiritual warfare going on in the heavenlies….It was tangible. When the rally officially ended we were still singing praise and worship songs while protesters descended upon us screaming and yelling hateful things. I wasn’t afraid even when a lady got in my face and started screaming at me. We peacefully moved to the side and let them protest. My friend and I joined up with a group of ladies from church and Texas Eagle Forum and were led in prayer by Trayce Bradford. I was so inspired by these ladies and knew I want to stay involved in some way. The bill miraculously passed. It was a step towards victory in protecting life.
I’m only scratching the surface of how the Holy Spirit has been drawing me to be involved in government change. My prayer is to be a light, a servant of Christ and an instrument of peace and justice. Many times my involvement is not what I think would make a huge difference, but I feel compelled to obey and act when He calls. I know that all of us doing a little can make a huge difference! I’m a busy homeschool mom of two precious boys and now a sweet baby girl. He’s brought me on a journey of finding my identity in Him alone and to a place where I can lay down fear of man to seek Him and boldly walk out who He has uniquely created me to be. It’s such a pleasure to serve Jesus and although never perfectly, I’m learning to count it all joy when we face trials of many kinds. My God is faithful. He redeems and restores; He shines light in dark places and comforts those who mourn. He is a life giver, and wants us living life abundantly. Thank you for reading my story and I pray you are encouraged in some way through what I have shared.
Thank you for sticking with us thus far. We are in the final stretch.
We only have 21 more days and I will repeat that many that have been around for more legislative session than I say this has been “one for the books”. I appreciate your patience as we have tried to be wise in where we spent our time and effort. We have been very prayerful and deliberate about our strategy this session.
We have some real great news! For several sessions, we have had the privilege to work with Rep. Jeff Leach and his staff on American Law for American Courts. We have learned much along the way and this last Saturday the 3rd reading the bill HB 45 passed the House with 135 AYE votes. I sat for hours Thursday, Friday and Saturday waiting to hear the votes on this bill as well as HB 787, the Secure the Grid bill. The Grid bill got bumped to Monday. We are terribly excited that HB 45, American Law for American Courts heads to the Senate and for the first time ever it was voted out of the House! We also have high hopes for the Grid bill coming out of the House.
I also was invited to attend the bill signing for HB 89 – The Anti BDS bill that supports Israel. This was a thrill as it is the first bill TEF was supporting this session was signed by the Governor. Chairman Phil King did a great job shepherding this bill and Sen. Creighton worked it through the Senate.
More good news and a personal victory is SB 256 by Senator Van Taylor. This bill provides further protection of privacy for sexual assault victims, stalking victims and trafficked victims and I was in the House when it to was voted out unanimously and will head to the Governor for his signature.
Governor Abbott also signed the bill outlawing sanctuary cities as well this weekend. This was a huge WIN for the conservative movement and TEF was thrilled to have supported it as well. Here is the Governor signing the bill.
This week I want to start our top 5 a little differently.
1) Let’s Pray FIRST – Please stop right now if you can and pray. Pray for all our legislators and state leaders. They need courage, wisdom and strategy. Pray for their families and protection for all of us. We are all getting very tired and sometimes deeply frustrated. Pray for us to know what we should focus our time and energy on as we head into the final days of the session. Please pray for your families that have gone over and above to make it possible for us to be able to be in Austin. Your prayers right now mean more than anything. There are many decisions that are being made and things can literally change within minutes.
2) Privacy & Protection – Call your legislator again and ask them where the privacy legislation is and what they are personally doing to make sure that protection for the privacy and protection of women and children is taken care of in the state of Texas. This legislation is a must so that municipalities and school boards are not continuing to make up their own rules around the state. To request this is not being discriminatory, it is irresponsible for our leaders not to address this issue NOW. Co-Authoring a bill like HB 2899 is nice but if they are jumping on in the last couple of days- what have they been doing leading up to this point? We need you and we need our leaders to step up and take charge. You can see if your legislator is a co-author on the bill and if they are not, call and ask what they are doing for this incredibly important issue.
3) Thankful for American Laws for American Courts – Be sure and send an email or call your representative and thank them for supporting HB 45, this important bill through the House. You can check here by clicking on role call and see who voted for it and who did not.
4) Church Security – We have two Church Security bills currently stuck. HB 421 is in calendars and HB 981 is in the process of getting reports submitted to calendars. If you are unsure why this bill is important go to the Mom Caucus Facebook Page and you can watch one of the most recent videos from May 3rd that explains most if not nearly all Texas places of worship are out of compliance with the occupation code. Please let your legislators know this bill is one of these bills needed to make it onto the calendar. If bills don’t make it by midweek they are as good as dead. This is a critical week, please help us!
5) Protecting our consciences in Texas – CPS bills and a very important right of conscience bill HB 3859 are on the floor Monday in the House. I cannot begin to tell you how important HB 3859 is and the battle now being played out in the national media is full of misleading information. Read some of it here. As we have said so often throughout this session – Read the Bill! Apparently, the media DOES NOT READ THE BILL…This bill protects the rights of conscience for child welfare services providers. Texas is in a crisis with our child welfare system. We cannot afford to lose any of the foster/adoption providers in Texas which make up-25-30% of all orphan care. We have seen these agencies close in other state and are now being threatened in Texas. PLEASE Call your Rep. asap and ask for them to vote yes when this bill hits the floor today!
Thank you again for walking with Texas Eagle Forum this legislative session. This is not the end – this is just the beginning of our activism but these final weeks are so important.
Please share this blog with your friends.
Please pray for all of us.
Thank you – Trayce Bradford.
Written by Marilyn Statler – Texas Eagle Forum Newsletter Editor
Have you ever felt the Lord nudging you?
He had been gently nudging me for a few days. Every time I walked by the phone (no cell phones in 1983), I felt the Lord whisper, “Call them.” I kept hesitating. Did I really want to get involved? Did I have the time? After all, we had just moved to Plano, and I finally had all three kids in school. Now I was free for several hours during the week to pursue my own interests.
Little did I realize that when I finally made that call, my life would be changed forever.
Two things happened that day: I became a volunteer at my local crisis pregnancy center encouraging clients to choose LIFE for their unborn babies… and I met Cathie Adams. She, too, was passionate about the LIFE issue, and we became friends.
Fast forward to a year or two later: the CPC closed due to lack of funds. Cathie was invited to attend an Education Seminar, and I tagged along. The event was sponsored by a group called Texas Eagle Education Forum (TEEF) and was held at a local Dallas hotel. Co-sponsors were Texas Eagle Forum and Dallas Eagle Forum and the keynote speaker was a lady I had never heard of named Phyllis Schlafly. Her book, “Child Abuse in the Classroom,” was featured at the seminar.
The information of what was happening in public education blew me away, as did the articulate and spellbinding speech by Mrs. Schlafly! I learned that concerned parents and citizens had testified at a U.S. Department of Education hearing that public school curriculum was infused with “violent, disturbing books and films; materials emphasizing parental conflict, death, drugs, mental illness and despair; role playing, involving death, pregnancy, abortion, divorce, hate and suicide; explicit pornographic instruction in sex education, and hopelessness resulting from preoccupation with ‘inevitable’ nuclear war.” That was in 1985, folks!
As a result of that seminar, both Cathie and I joined Dallas Eagle Forum, attended monthly meetings and became involved. Having taught in the public schools for several years, education became my focus. I began reviewing high school English Literature and Health textbooks up for adoption in Texas and wrote reports which were submitted to the State Board of Education for textbook hearings. Some of what I saw in those books matched what the seminar had discussed.
Eagle Forum taught me to speak up in my local school when I saw something that concerned me. I volunteered in the library of my daughter’s elementary school, and one book was so popular that I decided it must be a good read. I was appalled when I realized it was a manual on how to commit suicide (at that time Plano was having a rash of teen suicides). I asked the school librarian if she was aware of the content of the book, and she said the American Library Association had given the book a rating of “worthy” so, despite my concern, the book would remain on the shelf. But if I was unhappy, I could talk to the principal. After meeting with the principal and eventually the district’s head librarian, the book was moved to the Adult and Parental Approval shelf. That suicide manual for 4th-6th graders was tame compared to what kids are reading today.
While my focus was on education, Cathie stepped up to become president of Dallas Eagle Forum. When her “volunteer” position became a full-time job, she asked me to help with the DEF newsletter and various administrative tasks. Thus began 30 years of involvement with Dallas Eagle Forum and later Texas Eagle Forum.
Through the years, I have seen women and men of all ages soar as Eagles and make a real difference in their communities and state.
They contact their legislators to support conservative issues and hold them accountable when they fail to do the right thing. (Eagles know their facts and present them succinctly and calmly, never in an angry or disrespectful way. The word “gracious” comes to mind.)
They travel to Austin during the legislative sessions to testify on issues of concern.
They write letters-to-the editor to their local newspapers.
They hold events informing the public on the perils of not only public education, but the plan to destroy U.S sovereignty, and the mischief of United Nations’ conferences and treaties.
They take criticism and ridicule for reporting on a new disease affecting homosexual men, called AIDS. Years later, as the homosexual agenda becomes mainstream, they fight for privacy for women in public restrooms, dressings rooms, and locker rooms.
They picket Planned Parenthood when learning that organization is coming to their city and endure not-so-friendly gestures from passers-by with a smile and friendly wave.
They attend annual Eagle Councils led by Phyllis Schlafly in St. Louis and Washington, D.C. and glean reams of information to take back to their circles of influence.
They man phone banks and walk their precincts handing out flyers for the candidates of their choice They are delegates to state conventions and even run for office. Most importantly, they pray together.
When asked why they become involved in politics, Eagles reply, “Because we love God, family, and country. And we want to be able to tell our children and grandchildren that we did everything we could to ensure a brighter future for them and for our beloved nation.”
Is the Lord nudging you? You, too, can become an Eagle and soar with the thousands of members who have shown you the way. Join us as we continue to fight for conservative Judeo-Christian values and keep Texas Strong!
“They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”
Happy Monday! Usually we do Top 5 each week but from here on out, we may have more like the Top 7 or 11, so bear with us as we go into the final stretch of the Texas Legislative Session.
I don’t know how many of you were watching the House Floor debate on the Sanctuary City bill SB 4 but it was an interesting time, to say the least. Thank you to those that stood strong, especially Rep. Matt Schaefer and Rep. Matt Rinaldi that put up amendments that were adopted to put some teeth back in this legislation. Here is a great article from Empower Texans about what happened.
As this session has poked along, we have seen a number of bills that Texas Eagle Forum has either asked for in the past or asked for this session- that are quietly moving through both houses. These bills pertain to fighting the heinous work of human traffickers and legislation concerning our relationship with Israel as a trade partner and taking a stand against countries that back state-sponsored terrorism such as Iran and Sudan. These have been passing both houses with strong support from both sides of the aisle.
Below is a list of priorities that must move this week. It is painfully clear when you check the daily floor calendars for the next week that strong religious liberty bills, pro-life bill and our “securing our grid” bill are nowhere to be found. You also won’t find many of the more conservative members with legislation listed on these calendars. It is sad – because I know for a fact that the legislation I have had the blessing to work on – brought some of the nation’s most incredible experts on the subject matters to help craft these bills. This along with our top-notch legislators that have worked long and hard with humility to do what was best to get this legislation through the process. For some of them, it meant taking their names off the bill so the Speaker and the Committee Chairs will move it through the process.
Something that TEF is so very grateful for is the coalition of grassroots groups working together this session. As you will see in the action items listed we each have particular bills we have taken the lead on. We are working together to support those that Texas Right to Life support and letting them take the strategy part. Texas Eagle Forum is thrilled to dovetail in with these groups and not try to recreate the wheel. That is why this session has been a bit different in our calls to action. We have not forgotten you and how valuable your voice is but we have had to be very strategic when to call upon you. The time is NOW.
We now NEED for you all to start calling and sending emails to try to move this legislation. Today is the day. This week is the week! Many of these bills are just getting into calendars and that is why you have not been asked to call prior to this.
Here are the action items we need your help on as well as please pass this email along to get others involved! We need you!
***1) HB45 Texas Foreign Law Policy Act – What in the past has been referred to as ALAC is now known as HB 45. It is still focused on keeping foreign law out of Texas courtrooms – where that law encroaches on our constitutional rights. This session the approach was a little different than before. After the interim hearing on ALAC last summer, we feel the information that was presented shined light on this issue and the legislators started to see the validity in this piece of legislation. It was voted out of the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee 9-0 last week. Chairman Dan Flynn is the author of the bill.
It landed in Calendars this week and this is where you all come in!
We would like you to call the committee members (see numbers at the end of this email) and ask them to please get Chairman Flynn’s bill HB 45 pertaining to foreign law in Texas Courts to the floor for a vote as quickly as possible. Remind them that bill was voted out of committee 9-0 and is one that needs a chance to be heard on the floor.
Remember to please be brief and courteous. If they ask for more information just say the efforts of several legislators deciding to unify behind Chairman Flynn and working with others concerned with the wording of this bill has brought about a good piece of legislation and good faith effort on all involved. Keep it simple and just encourage them to give the body a chance to vote.
2) Securing the Texas Grid – Several pieces of legislation pertaining to the Texas grid are moving and we hope to see that continue! HB 787 authored by Rep. Tan Parker was voted out of the State Affairs Committee 10-0. We need to call and ask for that important piece of legislation to be moved to the floor quickly for a vote. You will again be calling the Calendar Committee. (see numbers at the end of the email)
As for the Senate Bill – Senator Hall’s bill SB 83 passed out of Business and Commerce this week 8-0. We need to call Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s office and please ask that bill be brought to the floor for a vote as soon as possible. His numbers are: 512-463-5342, 512-463-0001 or email LTGConstituent.Affairs@ltgov.texas.gov
3) PRO-LIFE legislation is being held hostage in the State Affairs committee and it is inexcusable. Please read this excellent article from Texas Right to Life to get the latest as well as action items. https://www.texasrighttolife.com/house-inexcusably-delays-dismemberment-abortion-ban/
4) Privacy Act (SB 6 and the House bill 2899) – One would have to be living under a rock to have not heard about this issue. Please read this press release from Texas Values and follow the action steps provided. Notice the obstructionist in these important issues.
From Texas Values:
BREAKING: Coppell ISD, Home District of House Privacy Bill Author, Allows Boys in Girls’ Bathrooms
While the leadership of the Texas House, including State Affairs Chair Byron Cook, sits on privacy legislation (such as HB 2899), battles over “gender identity” continue to be waged in our public-school restrooms, costing taxpayers time and resources, as well as putting our schoolchildren at risk.
The most recent example of this unfortunate (and avoidable) trend is occurring in the Coppell ISD, a school district located in the suburbs north of Dallas. The CISD includes a portion of the legislative district for Rep. Ron Simmons, author of the House privacy act, HB 2899. CISD Students have reportedly been allowed to use the restroom of the gender they identify with at the moment, as long as school administrators agree.
The CISD’s employee and student handbooks contain several “gender identity” provisions (see attached). Local media picked up on this after it was brought to light by several parents and a school board candidate who have reported hearing stories of a boy dressed as a girl exposing himself to others. One report says that the CISD Superintendent is relying on President Barack Obama’s 2016 bathroom directive, which was struck down by a Texas federal court judge and was later rescinded by President Donald Trump.
“This latest example of local school districts making a mess of the bathroom and locker room privacy issue is more evidence of why the Texas Legislature must enact a statewide consistent law on this issue now,” said Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values. “Hiding information from parents and shutting the public out of the process of drafting these rules are putting children at all ages at risk. If the Texas Legislature does not address this major issue now, it is only going to get worse. Situations like with Fort Worth ISD, Dripping Springs ISD, and now Coppell ISD will replicate themselves all over Texas in both small and large districts.”
According to Star Local Media (which owns several community newspapers in suburban Dallas-Fort Worth), the Coppell ISD is not responding to media replies, citing possible privacy law violations such as FERPA (Federal Education Rights & Privacy Act).
“It’s ironic that the school district only cares about the privacy of the identity of some students but not the bathroom and locker room privacy of everyone else. Laws designed to prevent discrimination should not be interpreted in a way that puts children in harm’s way,” Saenz continued.
“You simply cannot put a price on this important issue. It’s time for State Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Cook to take a vote on HB 2899, and for Speaker Joe Straus to assign SB 6 to a committee. It’s becoming apparent that our local school districts are unable to withstand the tremendous amount of pressure put on them by special interests from the LGBT left. Our legislative leaders are needed to stand in the gap in order to protect privacy.”
A list of privacy violation incidents from across Texas may be read at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/SB6Texasincidents (PDF).
· Six Essential Facts About Senate Bill 6: http://tinyurl.com/sb6Facts
· List of businesses and organizations which support SB 6: http://tinyurl.com/sb6businesses
· Testimonial videos in support of SB 6: http://tinyurl.com/sb6videos
Texas Values is a nonprofit organization dedicated to standing for faith, family, and freedom in Texas. More information is available at txvalues.org.
5) – Texas HOME Act SB 892
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.
A hearing was held on 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.
***6) – Church Security Bill
From our Coalition Partners at Concerned Women for America
The Church Security Protection Act, House Bill 421 by Rep. Matt Rinaldi, will allow churches and other places of worship to utilize volunteer security teams. Many churches in Texas aren’t aware that the The Texas Occupations Code currently prohibits houses of worship from having volunteer security unless the people providing security 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. HB 421 would make a small change to the Texas Occupations Code exempting churches and other places of worship from this troublesome code. House Bill 421 currently has 37 joint/co-authors and has been in the House Calendars Committee since April 10th.
Another similar church security bill, House Bill 981 by Rep. John Wray, was heard in the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, April 25th and voted out of that committee the same day. This bill is much more narrow and specific than House Bill 421, but would do pretty much the same thing for churches and places of worship.
House Bill 981 currently has 3 joint authors and no co-authors and is on its was to the House Calendars Committee.
Since so many churches have now been made aware of the guidelines set forth by the Texas Occupations Code through the promoting of these two bills, we need the Texas Legislature to act now more than ever before. With the current climate of violence against churches, we need to give churches the tools they need to freely protect themselves and their property.
Please contact the House Calendars Committee and ask them to vote HB 421 or HB 981 out of committee and to the floor for a vote. While HB 421 is the favored bill given the number of current co-authors and the strength of the bill language, we would still be pleased to see HB 981 voted out of Calendars and sent to the floor.
7) – Texas Sovereignty Act HB 2338 and the similar Senate Bill 2015
This legislation will support tenth amendment enforcement in Texas and protects us from unconstitutional acts of the federal government. It basically defines a new joint legislative committee that reviews federal decisions whether judicial or congressional and provides determination on it Constitutionality based on US Constitution original intent and Texas Constitutionality. Basically, it allows for Texas to nullify federal overreach and give sovereignty back to Texas according to 10th Amendment 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. The chair of the committee is Rep. Drew Darby and the Vice Chair is Rep. Andrew S. Murr, so please call them.
Chair Drew Darby – (512) 463-0331
Vice Chair Andrew Murr – (512) 463-0542
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.”
8) – Toll Roads
From Terri –TexasTurf.org
We have made significant progress in the Senate, but like most conservative legislation, our pro-taxpayer, anti-toll bills are being stymied in the House.
1) Ask the Chair of the House Transportation Committee, Geanie Morrison, to call for swift hearings to vote out our anti-toll bills coming over from the Senate (SB 399 by Kolkhorst to prevent the conversion of free lanes to toll lanes. More bills are coming).
Chairwoman Geanie Morrison – (512) 463-0456
2) Call your House member and ask them to vote ‘No’ on HB 2861 and HB 1589 to hand our Texas highways to foreign toll operators in 50 year sweetheart deals that put taxpayers on the hook for the private company’s losses, which amounts to corporate welfare. Toll rates can exceed 75 cents a mile and commuters in the Metroplex report having to pay $30-$40/day to use such foreign-operated toll lanes. (For more, read here.)
We expect one or both of these BAD bills to come to the House floor for a vote this week.
Capitol switchboard: (512) 463-4630 (open M-F, 8 AM – 5 PM)
3) Call your state senator and ask him/her to support our anti-toll bills (SB 812, SB 637, SB 1437, SB 740). Two will be up for a vote Monday and the others are expected later in the week.
Capitol switchboard: (512) 463-4630 (open M-F, 8 AM – 5 PM)
Background on the bills:
SB 812 (Kolkhorst) – This requires toll entities to repay any funds they receive from TxDOT. Currently, TxDOT grants billions in our gasoline taxes to subsidize toll roads that can’t pay for themselves. Over $10 billion in your gasoline taxes have gone to prop-up loser toll projects already. SB 812 would prevent this double taxation and require the taxpayers to be repaid.
SB 637 (Huffines) – To authorize the State Auditor to conduct audits of the Regional Mobility Authorities. These are unelected, unaccountable toll authorities that are rife with ethics problems, conflicts of interest, and delivering projects late and over budget.
SB 1437 (Schwertner) – Reforms toll collection procedures, making them more fair and transparent to consumers and forces toll entities to promptly refund drivers for erroneous toll bills.
SB 740 (Kolkhorst) – Reforms many eminent domain abuses and gives landowners more rights in eminent domain proceedings.
4) Call these members of the Senate Finance Committee to support swift passage of Senator Bob Hall’s SB 84 to help fund major road projects without raising taxes. SB 84 is up for a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee Monday morning. It offers a way to prevent our Texas roadways from being handed to these private toll operators. TxDOT is trying to blackmail our legislators into passing HB 2861 and HB 1589 saying it’s the ‘only’ way to fund these big projects (the price tag exceeds $20 billion). Sen. Hall’s bill, SB 84, is another way to get these big projects funded without tolls, without raising taxes, and it needs to be voted out of committee Monday!
(Note: We’re not having you call the more conservative members of the committee since they already support the bill.)
Chair – Jane Nelson (512) 463-0112
Vice Chair – Juan Chuy Hinojosa (512) 463-0120
Sen. Robert Nichols (512) 463-0103
Sen. Joan Huffman (512) 463-0117
Sen. Kel Seliger (512) 463-0131
Sen. Larry Taylor (512) 463-0111
Sen. Carlos Uresti (512) 463-0119
Sen. Royce West (512) 463-0123
Sen. Kirk Watson (512) 463-0114
Sen. John Whitmire (512) 463-0115
Other more conservative members if you have time to call:
Sen. Kelly Hancock (512) 463-0109
Sen. Paul Bettencourt (512) 463-0107
Sen.Brian Birdwell (512) 463-0122
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (512) 463-0118
Sen. Charles Schwertner (512) 463-0105
9) SB 1415 Protect Families from Unjust CPS Investigations.
This is from our friends at Texas Homeschool Coalition. SB 1415 is currently pending in the Health and Human Services Committee. Please consider emailing the committee and asking them to please move it out of committee this week.
***10) See Something Say Something HB2069 – This short bill will help protect those that report suspicious behavior pertaining to terrorism or human trafficking in good faith from being sued. This is an important bill for the State of Texas and we encourage you to call or email the Calendar Committee to send this bill to the floor for a full vote.
Pray and Stay – Please pray diligently for the rest of session and that strategy is given to these law makers that are fighting for the things that are good, noble and principled.
Please stay engaged, your voice must be heard and this takes all of us staying plugged in to the end.
Please remember you are not trying to convert these folks or train them on these subjects. Many of them are very familiar with these issues. They just need to hear from us. Here are the phone numbers.
Calendar Committee contact info is here:
- Chairman Todd Hunter email@example.com 512 463-0672
- Donna Howard firstname.lastname@example.org 512 463-0631
- Roberto R. Alonzo email@example.com 512 463-0408
- Trent Ashby firstname.lastname@example.org 512 463-0508
- Byron Cook email@example.com 512 463-0730
- Sarah Davis firstname.lastname@example.org 512 463-0389
- Charlie Geren email@example.com 512 463-0610
- Helen Giddings firstname.lastname@example.org 512 463-0953
- Kyle J. Kacal email@example.com 512 463-0412
- Ken King firstname.lastname@example.org 512 463-0736
- Linda Koop email@example.com 512 463-0454
- Poncho Nevárez firstname.lastname@example.org 512 463-0566
- Chris Paddie email@example.com 512 463-0556
- Dade Phelan firstname.lastname@example.org 512 463-0706
- Toni Rose email@example.com 512 463-0664
Thank you so much!!!!! God Bless You and God Bless Texas!
President of Texas Eagle Forum
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.
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.