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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Are you 'Fireproof'?

I would like to take a break from the Values Voters posts to encourage you to see a new movie coming out this weekend. "Fireproof" is the third movie made by the film ministry at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, GA. The first two movies were "Flywheel" and "Facing the Giants". (Notice a pattern?) "Fireproof" stars Kirk Cameron as firefighter Caleb Holt and the movie is causing a stir nationwide with increased publicity this week. Kirk Cameron was on the Today Show Tuesday morning to talk about the movie and some behind the scenes information (videos available on Today Show website). Focus on the Family ran a 2-part interview with Cameron, the Kendrick brothers (co-writers and pastors at Sherwood), and Pastor McBride from Sherwood Baptist Church. On Thursday, Kirk Cameron along with Alex Kendrick and Michael Catt will appear on Dr. Phil for "Fireproof Your Marriage". "Fireproof" is also gaining recognition online as it topped the Fandango 5 (the 5 most popular/purchased) as the hottest ticket. You can also catch interviews with Kirk Cameron Wednesday morning on the Fox News Channel's Fox and Friends at 9:05am and then on The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet at 9:40am. What I would really like to do is encourage you to go out and see "Fireproof" this weekend. This movie is well worth it. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was able to see a pre-release screening at the Values Voters Summit. I can think of no more important message that is needed in the world today than the sanctity and permanency of marriage. "Fireproof" is a well-crafted, quality, and entertaining movie. I was brought to tears several times (girls, remember the tissues!) but the weight of the issues addressed were balanced with some levity. Guys, don't worry, there are action and peril scenes for you too. ;) This is about a firefighter after all. For some of you, this may require a bit of sacrifice. "Fireproof" is opening in 850 theaters nationwide...almost double the number that "Facing the Giants" opened in. But there are still some areas where you might not have the convenience of going to your local theater to see it. I urge you to find the closest theater where "Fireproof" is opening and go see it, even if it means having to travel a little further. Make a date night of it and go to dinner before the show. :) All I can say is that you couldn't be doing it for a better movie. "Fireproof doesn't mean that a fire will never come, but that when it comes, you'll be able to withstand it."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Values Voters Summit, Part 2, Friday Afternoon

On with the festivities :) Here is the lineup for the rest of Friday. Kicking off the rest of Friday was talk show host and film critic Michael Medved. His new book is titled "The Ten Big Lies About America" and he detailed 3 of these lies directed specifically at religious conservatives (RC's) in his speech. They are 1) RC's hate women and women hate them, 2) RC's hate sex, and 3) RC's are depressed, defeated, and divided. He addressed the first lie by pointing to Sarah Palin but also looking at the abortion issue and pointing out poll results showing that women are more likely to be pro-life than men. For the 2nd lie he pointed us towards each party's presidential ticket and noted that the Obama/Biden ticket has 5 children while McCain/Palin has 12 children, 3 of which were adopted. His nod to the implications got a chuckle from the crowd. On the 3rd lie, he pointed not only to the enthusiasm of those in attendance but of how the 2 parties differed in going about writing their platforms and ideas. As a side note to his speech, he mentioned speaking to a friend in Israel (Medved is Jewish) that told him, "There is only country in the world where the McCain/Palin ticket is more popular than in America...Israel." Stephen Baldwin followed with his testimony and a message about our culture. He spoke of his wife's faith and its influence on him as well as his brothers' criticism and how it drives him to pray for them. Then he warned us that evil is terrorizing our culture and that we're not doing enough to combat it. He pointed out how a recent TV show used poor reviews of its show in the advertising to mock those who would speak against it. It was a sobering point. He told a story of a town in France that was accidentally bombed. As they rebuilt the town, they had their sculptor recreate the statue at the center of town. At the unveiling, the statue of Christ had no hands as they could not be repaired. The new inscription? "I have no hands but yours." Next, Bishop Martyn Minns spoke of how what most people think is not always right and that there are universal core values that are non-negotiable in our world. He also spoke of the shift towards "global Christianity", where the center of Christianity has shifted to the global south. Next was our panel for the afternoon session, "Spin Cycle: How the Media is Hanging Conservatives Out to Dry". Participants included Ramesh Ponnuru, Senior Editor, National Review; Kate O'Beirne, President, National Review Institute; and Roger Hedgecock, radio talk show host (pictured). They first spoke of how the nomination of Sarah Palin "disrupted media's planned coronation for Obama". They also brought a warning about how the mainstream media has adopted the terminology of social liberalism. They offered this advice: bypass the mainstream media and go to other sources, be civil and give feedback to local media to get them to fly straight, and research the facts. I think this last piece of advice is often overlooked by the American public in general who have counted on the media for too long to look up the facts for them. The importance of and need for school choice was the topic of Ken Blackwell's time with us. He spoke on how students need equal access to opportunity and said that the 21st century version of reservations and plantations is forced school districts that trap students in failing schools with no choice to go somewhere else. He also tackled two myths that have been perpetuated about school choice. The first is that it only benefits private and parochial schools. However, in reality, freedom of choice and competition enhance the quality and performance of all schools. The second myth is that school choice would be a radical change, but Blackwell pointed out that it works for higher education where students can choose which college to attend so it's not too far of a stretch to bring it to elementary and secondary education as well. Rev. Jonathan Falwell spoke on how we must stand our ground in the battles and stand in the gap for our country. Using Judges 6:2 and the story of Gideon, he pointed out how the Israelites had been hiding in mountain caves from those who opposed them and admonished that "we must never go back to the caves again". He then moved to Ezekiel 13:1ff to warn us of the need to stand in the breaks in the wall around the country and protect her from harm. Probably the most important point made was that God doesn't call us to be popular, He calls us to be faithful. Star Parker was outspoken from the beginning, pausing when she reached the podium (seen here) to apply lipstick before starting her speech. :) She proceeded to lay out 3 steps for how to not be poor: fear God, work diligently, and manage your money. Then she discussed how what we really need is not equality (same outcomes) but equity (same opportunities). She pointed out how socialism is rooted in covetousness and that the top 3 social challenges in the U.S. find their basis in sexual sin. Star Parker was the last speaker before the evening break. Governor Mitt Romney addressed the crowd Friday evening at the Values Voters Summit. After starting with a McCain/Obama joke that involved ice fishing, he moved on to state that "the best ally peace has ever known is a strong America." He focused mainly on economic models and compared the behavior of countries to that of companies in vying for economic dominance. He then detailed the 4 major economic models in the world: 1) Free Enterprise + Freedoms (United States) 2) Free Enterprise + No Freedoms (China) 3) Energy Dominance + Authoritarianism (Russia) 4) Collapse all other economies + Be the last one standing (Jihad) He pointed out that, in these 4 models, culture makes all the difference. Friday was capped by the Court Jester awards. The awards are given out for blatant and ludicrous acts of judicial tyranny. The 4 awards handed out were the "Out of Order!" award given to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the "Invisible Ink" award given to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, the "See No Evil" award given to the Supreme Court of the United States, and the "Lifetime Achievement" Award also given to the Supreme Court. Phyllis Schlafly, who accepted the 1st award for the 9th Circuit had this to say, which I loved: "The Constitution did not make our federal judiciary commander-in-chief." I was able to attend a screening of the movie "Fireproof," coming out September 26th, but would like to devote an entire blog entry to that after all the VVS blogs are up. I encourage everyone to check to see where "Fireproof" will be in your area and go see this movie opening weekend. Their website is www.fireproofthemovie.com. For now, I will simply state that it was amazing, very well done, and moving. That about wraps up everything for Friday. :) Again, I highly recommend that you listen to any speaker you might be interested in on the FRC Action web page (directions for this are in the 9/11 blog post). I have only been able to provide a summary of each 20 minute speech so I hope you will take advantage of the videos to hear them in their entirety. Soli Deo Gloria! Meghan

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Values Voters Summit, Part 1, Friday morning

So much happened at the Values Voters Summit this past weekend that I'm going to break down my blog posts by day. I tried to take notes on every speaker and ended up with some highlights. I also ordered the complete conference on CD so I look forward to listening to each speaker again and hopefully learning more when I'm not so sleep-deprived. ;) Our first speaker was Lou Dobbs of CNN. Dobbs spoke of his change of heart towards religion in the public policy and how FRC President Tony Perkins contributed to that change by "talking long enough and making enough sense." He also spoke on how the fundamental principle of democracy is the rule of majority and that the violation of this principle is one of our biggest challenges. Next up was THE Joe Gibbs. :) While I knew him only as the legendary Redskins coach who came out of retirement to coach again, it was incredible to hear him speak. Gibbs is well spoken and passionate. His message centered around how life is like a game...specifically, football. :) What else? He spoke about how God is our head coach in the game of life and that when we follow His game plan, we win. The message ended with a presentation of the gospel and the invitation to accept Christ as Savior and Lord. Definitely a memorable time that morning. Following Joe Gibbs was someone else who is familiar to those from the DC beltway, former MD Lieutenant-Governor Michael Steele. Steele challenged the audience, asking us what we were prepared to do. He stated that what we need are people of principle who understand what's at stake. To paraphrase one of his points: "Movements aren't started on their own and they are not sustained on their own." Each session included a panel discussion and Friday morning's panel was "The Truth Behind Capitol Hill's Leading Ladies" featuring (from left to right in photo): Representative , Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, Connie Mackey, Senior Vice President, FRC Action as moderator, and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota (whose first child, born recently, has Down Syndrome). The three major topics the ladies touched on included Stem Cell research, the so-called "Fairness Doctrine", and the need to defund Planned Parenthood. Up next was conservative activist and President of the Eagle Forum, Phyllis Schlafly. Schlafly pointed out how far we've come since 2004's election by doing a side-by-side comparison of many important points in the Republican Party platform. She also discussed how the Republican and Democratic platforms are polar opposites, especially on issues of concern to values voters. She ended by encouraging us with the fact that this year's platform is the most pro-life and pro-family platform in recent history. Following Phyllis Schlafly was Focus on the Family President and CEO Jim Daly. After explaining how America has become like a "big, alcoholic family" (as described by Glenn Beck) since there are things we can't talk about ("politically incorrect"), Daly explained how what's at stake drives Focus on the Family to become involved in the public square. He discussed how the number one contributor to poverty is broken homes/marriages. Also discussed was how we shouldn't be ashamed at being perceived as "single-issue driven" and that we can't just speak the words but need to put them into action. He also praised Palin as a "woman's woman" (in his wife's words). In probably one of the more serious and chilling talks, Don Feder spoke on the topic of the new documentary "Demographic Winter: the decline of the human family". You may have seen the banner at the top of the page. I highly recommend checking out the web page and the trailer. The discussion was about how falling birthrates worldwide are leading to population decline in many countries while the United States hovers just at the replacement rate (2.1 births/woman). I bought the DVD while at the VVS if you would like to borrow it (after I watch it, of course). :) The final speaker of the morning was former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. Gingrich brought us back to U.S. history to show how previous presidents have brought their faith into the public arena. He talked about Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural, engraved on the Lincoln Monument, that is only a little over 700 words and mentions God 14 times and quotes the Bible twice. He talked about FDR's D-Day radio broadcast that included a 6.5 minute prayer. Gingrich also spoke of our record in warfare, how we are the only country worldwide that has never taken land in military conquest in other countries. "If you look at the record of human warfare, we have a pretty good record of trying to do the right thing." (As close of a quote as I could catch writing fast.) So to catch you up, this was only the first half of Friday. I was able to attend the Focus on the Family Action luncheon where the Grassroots activist awards were given out to the heads of family policy councils in California, Arizona, and Florida. If you are interested in listening to any of the speeches, the website for streaming video (provided in the previous post) now has video of each speaker. In several of the videos, they pan to the audience and you might be able to catch a glimpse of me. ;) (For example, in the Sean Hannity video, look for the white satin headband in the front row.) Since this post was longer than I thought, I'm going to try to break up the conference in half-days. Look for the rest of Friday coming soon. :) Soli Deo Gloria, Meghan

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Values Voters Summit

I am very excited for this weekend's Values Voters Summit in Washington, DC. It will be a chance to learn more about how we as values voters can impact this fall's election. Speakers include a diverse group of men and women from Joe Gibbs and Sean Hannity to Chuck Colson and Newt Gingrich. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to listen and learn from these speakers this weekend. However, just because you may be unable to attend the conference doesn't mean you have to miss out on all the great sessions this weekend. The Family Research Council has announced that the American Family Association will be broadcasting the Values Voters Summit online for free. You must register to participate but everything is free. The registration website is: http://www.afa.net/vvs_2008/. If you would like to view the schedule of events and when each speaker will be on, you can go here. The webcast will cover Friday morning to Saturday evening. I hope some of you will be able to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in "the largest pro-family, social conservative event of the year". I look forward to telling you all about the summit when I get and will hopefully have some photos as well. :) Have a great weekend! Soli Deo Gloria, Meghan

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

No end in sight...

Okay now, who flipped the switch? Seriously, I don't think I've ever seen 4 named storms together on the map before...it's kind of crazy. We have Gustav, Hanna, Ike and Josephine all lined up and ready to go. :) This is as of the 8pm update from the National Hurricane Center. You can visit their website for updates at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov.