Wednesday, February 15, 2012

PFOX conference in FRC Update

Family Research Council


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Failure to Lunch: School Quits Parents Cold Turkey

There may be no such thing as a free lunch--but there should be freedom in packing one! Unfortunately for a four-year-old in North Carolina, freedom isn't on this administration's menu. After an inspector rummaged around her lunch, they decided it was too "unhealthy" and seized it! The agent insisted that the "turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, apple juice, and potato chips" her mom had packed didn't meet USDA guidelines because it was missing milk and a vegetable. So what wholesome meal did they replace it with? Chicken nuggets! Not only did the little girl barely touch them, but the school sent a note home billing the family for the meal.

Where does the federal government get the power to charge this family because it doesn't like what it's eating? I suppose if the government can force you to buy health insurance, and it can force you to pay for contraception, then a vegetable mandate is small potatoes. According to a spokesman for West Hoke Elementary, the regulations were put in place by the Division of Child Development and Early Education at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (naturally!). The rule states, "When [preschoolers] bring their own food for meals and snacks to the center, if the food does not meet the specified nutritional requirements, the center must provide additional food necessary to meet those requirements." Notice that it doesn't say to confiscate the food and fine the family. It says to supplement the meal. (And I doubt fried chicken was the replacement the USDA had in mind!)

The mom was so irate about the government's brown bag check that she contacted the local newspaper and her congressman. "What got me so mad is, number one, don't tell my kid I'm not packing her lunch box properly," she told the Carolina Journal. "I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats. It always consists of a fruit. It never consists of vegetables. She eats vegetables at home because I have to watch her because she doesn't really care for vegetables," she said. The inspector wouldn't know that. Nor would he know about the little girl's allergies or health issues. But, like a true government bureaucrat, he still insisted that he knew better. "We as a nation are ceding our responsibilities to care for our children every day," writes Julie Gunlock. "Even the most basic tasks--like packing simple lunches--are being turned over to our government overlords..."

This is exactly what Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) meant in November when she said that she looks forward to "doing for child care what we did for health care." The Left's goal is not just to control you. The goal is to control your children. And the more authority it can siphon away from parents, the better its chances are. As it stands, more power is being centralized in HHS than almost every other agency combined. Under ObamaCare, it can dictate the doctors you see, what treatments you can afford, what values you violate, and now, what lunches you pack. What's next? Will inspectors patrol the gyms to see who's exercising or chaperone date night to make sure you order low-cal? If anything, this incident at West Hoke Elementary should show Americans exactly what's at stake this November. This isn't about lunches--it's about liberty. And if Americans aren't careful, they'll lose the battle for both.

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Birth Control, Meet Damage Control

State leaders have a lot of experience protesting ObamaCare. Some filed individual challenges against the law in court last year, while others climbed aboard the multi-state lawsuit. Now that the administration is using the law to bludgeon religious liberty, the states are springing back into action. The HHS rule that orders faith-based groups to cover abortion drugs and contraception is triggering a nationwide revolt at the local level, as leaders rush to introduce resolutions condemning the decision. In Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio and Idaho, voters are urging state houses to push back. One benefit to the President's overreach is that it's calling attention to almost 30 state laws that make similar demands of religious organizations. In places like New Hampshire, leaders are reevaluating their policies for the first time. "We weren't aware this law was on the books," said House Speaker William O'Brien (R). Last week, at the request of a Wyoming family organization WyWatch, FRC's government affairs team alongside the Alliance Defense Fund, advised the state group in putting together model legislation that state leaders could introduce across the country. To access a modified version of that language and promote it in your state, click here. Meanwhile, Congress is doing what it can to correct the policy in the House and Senate. Earlier this afternoon, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebr.) held a press conference for his Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179/S. 1467), which already has 190 bipartisan supporters. Over in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has supposedly agreed to a vote on the Republicans' conscience amendment but essentially said he just wants to defeat it and move on. "We can probably get rid of that by tabling it, because it's so out of the realm of what should be on this bill," he said on Tuesday, "but it still takes a lot of time." Since the Senate doesn't seem to be doing much these days, time is one thing they have plenty of!

How Do I Love My "Gay" Friends?

Do you have a family member, friend, or other loved one who identifies as "gay" or "transgendered?" Do you struggle to know how to express your continuing love and care without affirming conduct that you sincerely believe is harmful? Is your loved one unhappy with his or her lifestyle, but uncertain of whether change is possible or where to turn for help? If so, you may want to attend the "Family First Retreat" being held by PFOX--Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays. The keynote speaker will be Joe Dallas, who is nationally known for ministry to those seeking freedom from sexual addiction and homosexuality. FRC's Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, Peter Sprigg, will also address the gathering. The event is scheduled for March 16-17 in the Washington, DC area. For more information and to register, see the PFOX website.

** For more on the President's spending plan for 2013, check out Ken Blackwell's new op-ed, "Obama's Budget Bomb: He Proposes Spending Increases, While Disarming America."






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