We have many supporters across North Carolina and wherever I go, the number one question these days goes something like this: “Now that the Republicans are in charge, I bet your job is a lot easier.” Usually, my response is, “Hopefully.” Let me explain.
The North Carolina Family Policy Council is a nonpartisan organization. That means we do not favor one political party over another, and our agenda is not based on politics. Rather, it is driven by our mandate to promote Judeo-Christian values in public policy. Over the past few decades, as mainline denominations have become more liberal, or what some call “progressive” in their thinking, defining Judeo- Christian values may have become a little blurred for some. Nonetheless, most Republicans believe in the sanctity of life, marriage as the foundation of a free society, parental rights in child rearing decisions, including educational choices, and the societal and familial detrimental consequences of gambling.
The big question is whether they have the political courage to champion Judeo-Christian values in their mandate to govern.
They must. It is critical to get public policy in each of these areas right, as they are building blocks for a successful and prosperous life and serve as the foundation of a free society.
Unfortunately, we have seen attempts to undermine some of these policy areas over the past few years. Using the 2011-12 session as an example, we saw bills introduced that, if enacted, would have chipped away at fundamental areas. One bill would have allowed grandparents—and possibly other related family members—to sue an intact family for child visitation rights which, in effect, hands custody decisions over to the courts. This idea violates the fundamental and God-given principle that parents, not government, are responsible for the upbringing of their children.
Another bill would have legalized the hallucinogenic drug marijuana for “medical” purposes, a drug currently illegal at both the state and federal levels. Proponents marched ahead with this proposal, despite overwhelming evidence that such legalization serves merely as a front for many pot users who will get a medical prescription so they can buy marijuana legally and even potentially have it paid for by their health insurance.
Decriminalizing the possession of hypodermic needles and other drug paraphernalia has also been a recurring issue. Proponents have argued that decriminalization would protect drug users from contracting HIV or keep police and emergency personnel from being stabbed by needles when they have to search or treat a drug user. Studies in the few states that have gone this route have found little evidence that the incidence of HIV infection or stabbings has been reduced.
Yet another idea from a couple of sessions ago would have statutorily legalized arrangements where women would contract with paying clients to carry babies in their womb. These surrogacy agreements have proven to be nothing less than government-approved exploitation of poor women and have handed over to the courts the right to determine parenthood.
Gambling expansion is another perennial issue, irrespective of who controls the legislature. Last session, Republicans did well not to move forward on two issues—legalizing gambling “casino nights” for nonprofits, and legalizing the video machine gambling that masquerades as “video sweepstakes” in our state. However, they “fell on their own sword,” so to speak, when they authorized Las Vegas style gambling for the Cherokee Tribe in western N.C.
These are just a few of the issues that a Republican controlled legislature could face this year and next. What they decide to focus on and what they decide to pass will affect the lives of millions for years to come. We hope they stick to the time honored and proven principles that are inherent in the Judeo-Christian values that are the foundation of freedom in our state and in our nation.
Esse Quam Videri—to be rather than to seem. In 1893, North Carolina’s forefathers adopted this motto and ordered that it be included in the State’s seal and at the foot of the State’s coat of arms. If this General Assembly wants to really be champions of life and the family, there is much to do. Certainly, the damage to pro-family policies, which the legislative, executive and judicial branches have inflicted on the citizens of this State, must be undone. But the Republican controlled General Assembly needs to do more. They must enact legislation that truly protects all God-given innocent life and strengthens the family. Only then can this Assembly of men and women claim to be true champions of freedom. That is what the voters want. “Will they do it?” is the big question.