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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

2 comments:

langelgjm said...

I watched Phyllis Schlafly's segment, and I was frankly appalled by her treatment of the Millenium Development Goals.

First, she provides an inaccurate summary of the development goals. While poverty reduction is a general goal, the specific stated aims are:

1. Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day

2. Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people

3. Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

"What a ridiculous goal," Schlafly says.

How on earth is attempting to reduce extreme poverty and hunger in some of the poorest regions of the world a ridiculous goal?

Furthermore, Schlafly conveniently skips over many of the other development goals, such as reducing child and maternal mortality, and fighting the spread of AIDS, malaria, and other diseases.

I understand that social conservatives may disagree with some of the development goals, such as gender equality and access to reproductive health care; and that fiscal conservatives may balk at the proposed price tag of $50 billion.

I don't think any argument will convince the former, but to the latter, perhaps if we weren't spending about $10 billion a month in Iraq, we'd have some spare change left over to ensure that fewer people starve throughout the world.

When did feeding the hungry become ridiculous?

Meghan said...

First, I will say that yes, these are noble goals....but they are unreasonable for 2 reasons. 1) It's the government making these goals and 2) they're attempting to treat the symptoms and not the illness.

It is not the job of the government to accomplish these goals. Besides, they've never been that good at it anyway. Private citizens and groups have always been the ones that have made the most progress in terms of helping the downtrodden. Organizations like World Vision, Compassion International, the American Red Cross and others have always been more efficient in achieving these goals. For example, when aid from the US was turned away by the Burmese government after the cyclone hit, World Vision was already on the ground with food and other aid because they had prior connections there that allowed them access our government didn't have. The problem is that the government was not established for goals such as these and it is a misuse of the resources and power they have been given. I highly recommend reading "Not Yours to Give", a story from the life of Davy Crockett when he was in Congress (http://patriotpost.us/histdocs/crockett_not_yours_to_give.asp). I welcome Congress to give as much out of pocket as they want to achieve these goals and I will do the same, but they cannot appropriate government funds to do so. However, they are tasked with protecting our country and that is a legitimate use of government funds.

Second, these goals attempt to treat the symptoms without getting to the real illness. The number one contributor to poverty is broken homes. By strenthening traditional marriages and families nationwide, poverty would be greatly reduced. Check out the Fragile Families data from a joint study between Princeton and Cambridge. Marriage could reduce the odds of a mother and child living in poverty by 70%.

Federal and state governments spend $150 billion per year to subsidize and sustain single-parent families. By contrast, only $150 million is spent to strengthen marriage. Thus, for every $1,000 spent to deal with the effects of family disintegration, only $1 is spent to prevent that disintegration. Refocusing funds to preserve marriage by reducing divorce and illegitimacy not only will be good for children and society, but in the long run will save money. It will also achieve some of the secondary goals you mentioned above.

We can combat these factors and achieve these goals...just not the way they've been proposed and not worldwide until we lead by example. The problem is that several of the solutions are currently politically incorrect. Only if the political incorrectness of talking about the natural family within policy circles is overcome will solutions begin to be found.

"Resources are used inefficiently when directed towards policies that weaken families instead of policies that strengthen them. This, in turn, hampers the sustainability of real economic growth and perpetuates poverty." Dr. Maria Sophia Aguirre, Ph.D., Economics

An article recently brought to my attention -> A Conservative Perspective on Social Welfare Policy, http://www.intellectualconservative.com/article4778.html

Happy Reading!

Soli Deo Gloria!
Meghan