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The Snowball in Scottsdale

Posted in Marriage & Family, News, Religious Liberty on: September 3rd, 2015
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On Monday, August 31 Scottsdale City Council was at it again.

The discussion was whether or not to proceed looking into a “non-discrimination” ordinance for the LGBT Community.

Here’s some background: Scottsdale has already discussed this issue and decided it was unnecessary back in April. Secondly, a Unity Pledge was proposed and adopted- many signing it by their own free-will to be inclusive towards all.

But, we are back where we started – looking to add more regulations with a solution in search of a problem.

There were roughly 150 people in attendance; about 2/3 of the attendees wore blue in opposition to the ordinance.

One speaker we’d like to highlight is Pastor Travis Brown from the Scottsdale Campus for Christ’s Church of the Valley.

Here were his words:

“Mr. Mayor and members of the City Council,

Good evening. My name is Travis Brown, and I am the Scottsdale Campus Pastor for Christ’s Church of the Valley. CCV has 6 campuses throughout the valley, with our Scottsdale campus located on Pima Road, just north of the 101 freeway. Each Sunday, thousands of residents, many from Scottsdale, come together to worship on our campuses.

I come before you tonight out of concern that the council is considering moving forward on an ordinance that, although being pushed in the name of non-discrimination can be used to target and prosecute people of faith. Our main concern at CCV is the harmful impact that such an ordinance can have on not just churches, but the individuals and business owners that make up our congregations.

Around the country we see these ordinances bringing nothing but division and conflict to communities. Which raises the question of why the council would want to bring this type of attention to an already-tolerant and welcoming city like Scottsdale?

Just last year, five pastors in Houston were targeted for voicing their opposition to such an ordinance, which led to a nationwide outcry against the Houston City Council. This is not the type of spotlight that Scottsdale should be pushing for. Scottsdale should be known as a place that embraces churches and people of faith – not one that passes burdensome ordinances that target anyone with religious convictions.

Although we appreciate the council including the direction to study an ordinance that will also preserve individual rights and freedoms of all Scottsdale citizens, businesses, and organizations, one can’t help but be skeptical since these ordinances have yet to do just that. None of the ordinances in Arizona or elsewhere in the country fully protect and preserve the individual rights and freedoms of citizens, businesses, and organizations.

I certainly understand that the backers of this ordinance may be well intentioned, and they want the best for our town. But this ordinance is not the answer – not only because we don’t have a prevalent problem of discrimination in our town, but because this ordinance could create one – one against our town’s robust, loving, and diverse faith community.

I respect your time, and there are many here who also oppose an ordinance. So in the interest of not being here all night, I know that most of the citizens who are opposed are wearing blue, and I ask that they stand right now.

Thank you for your time and I respectfully ask that you oppose this misguided ordinance.”

By the end of the night, five of the seven councilmembers voted to continue moving forward and researching an ordinance. The direction given to the city attorney was to determine if there is language from other municipalities that will “protect the LGBT community, while also preserving individual rights and freedoms of all Scottsdale citizens, businesses, and organizations.” In 90 days, the research will be presented and a decision will be made whether to move forward with an ordinance or not.

What is the point here? I think Councilman Philips addressed the problem quite well when he said, “I asked, ‘Why won’t you take this to the public?’ ‘Because the public won’t vote for it.’ So they are asking us to force this… waste your resources and tax money to move forward on this. Once the snowball gets headed down the hill it won’t stop.”

Continue reading The Snowball in Scottsdale

Grief Yes, Despair No

Posted in Marriage & Family on: October 17th, 2014
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“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13 NASB

As CAP Communications Director Aaron Baer shared recently, when I have faced a trial or been overwhelmed with a disappointment or defeat, I have gone to this verse.

Today, we have suffered a major defeat. U.S. District Judge John Sedwick has ruled that the Arizona constitutional marriage amendment passed by the voters overwhelmingly in 2008 is unconstitutional. Recently the U.S. Supreme Court declined to address the marriage issue. This means that a handful of lower court judges have been able to redefine marriage – in essence, a de facto Roe v. Wade ruling on marriage not unlike the 1973 decision to legalize abortion.

The courts have decreed that self-governance by the people does not matter. The courts have abused their authority to overturn one of the key foundational principles of our nation – that marriage is only the union of one man and one woman. Two men or two women will now be able to be legally married in our state of Arizona and in 30 states plus Washington D.C.

Yet God’s Word has not changed. God still ordains marriage to only be the union of one man and one woman. Social science data has not changed, as it overwhelmingly continues to show that marriage between one man and one woman remains the best family arrangement for men, women, and children. The most recent national poll by Pew Research Center even shows support for marriage redefinition at less than 50%.

No court can redefine marriage. The truth remains that marriage has always been and will continue to be only the union of one man and one woman.

There are those today that try to paint us as being on the wrong side of history. To that, I quote my colleague John Stemberger, President and General Counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council:

“The little boy in the inner city who longs to have a father that longing will never be on the wrong side of history. The little girl who desires to have a mom because she only has two dads and two men in her life as she’s trying to go through life to figure out the changes in her body as a woman that little girl’s desire to have a mom will never be on the wrong side of history. The beauty of how a man and a woman come together and life springs forth and the next generation is born that will never be on the wrong side of history because it’s built into the human experience. Whether it’s today or 30 years from now eventually society is going to have to come back to the importance and the centrality of this human institution in order to maintain basic social order. ” 

Today, we grieve. We grieve for the children who now have no chance of growing up with a mom and a dad. We mourn the loss of a culture and its moral foundation. We mourn a culture that continues to turn its back on God and His principles.

But we do not despair. We do not throw in the towel.  We do not give up.

Tomorrow, we rise again to fight the battle. In 1973, many thought the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing abortion would end the debate on abortion. Yet look what has happened over forty years later. Polls repeatedly show a majority of Americans holding pro-life views. States have passed over 200 pro-life measures in recent years. There is a general acknowledgement that abortion not only ends a preborn child’s life but also hurts women and men. As a result of pro-life efforts these last 40 years, the abortion rate has declined. Babies and their mothers are being saved – not nearly enough but we are on a path to see an end to abortion in our lifetimes.

Join Center for Arizona Policy as we redouble our efforts to rebuild a culture of marriage, to restore marriage to its original meaning and purpose as the best family structure for men, women, and children. And, yes, our top priority will be to ensure that no one’s religious liberty is threatened or denied because of their faith-based views regarding marriage.

Pray for revival in our country. Pray that 2 Chronicles 7:14 would be a reality and that we would turn from our wicked ways, humble ourselves, and God would heal our land. May God have mercy on us.

Plan now to join us on Sunday, November 2, 3:00-5:00 p.m., at the Arizona State Capitol for a time of praise, worship, and prayer for our state and nation.

Make your voice heard. The November 4 election is 18 days away. Early balloting began in Arizona over one week ago. Take time to visit Learn about the candidates that share your values. Then cast an informed vote. Don’t be confused or misled by the television ads, the mailers, or the phone calls. Get the facts at Pray about which candidates to vote for and then let your voice be heard. Don’t sit out this election!

It’s Your Voice. Your Values. Your Vote.

Other commentary on Marriage Redefinition:

Continue reading Grief Yes, Despair No

Killing Sexual Exploitation at its Root

Posted in Marriage & Family on: April 29th, 2014
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“Live and let live” is a simple cop out that people use to excuse things like pornography and strip clubs.

Yet we all love to get outraged about sex trafficking.

Well the truth is, if we want to end sex trafficking, we need to cut it out at its root.


Continue reading Killing Sexual Exploitation at its Root

Why Marriage Does Matter

Posted in Marriage & Family on: October 28th, 2013
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Center for Arizona Policy has long advocated that marriage between one man and one woman is an essential building block of our society.  For more on why marriage should not be redefined, check out my recent interview with Tom Brown on KPXQ here:

Continue reading Why Marriage Does Matter

Arizona School Choice Recap

Posted in Marriage & Family on: September 18th, 2013
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It has long been the view of Center for Arizona Policy that parents should have as many options as possible available to them for how to educate their children. After all, parents should have the fundamental right to direct the education and upbringing of their children.

Here are a few significant CAP-supported school choice bills signed into law this past session that further this mission:

School ChoiceSB 1363 – This legislation dealt with Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program. The ESA program was established in 2011 and provides monetary assistance to parents to be used for a variety of educational options in place of their child attending a traditional public school. Specifically, it focuses on students with the greatest need for educational options and the categories of students that are qualified students in schools or school districts with an achievement profile grade of “D” or “F,” students previously participating in the Arizona Scholarships for Pupils Disabilities program, students in foster care who were adopted or who have a plan for permanent adoption, and children whose parents are in the United States military.

The first change that SB 1363 made to the ESA program was to allow those entering into kindergarten, who would otherwise be qualified for the program, to be eligible for the program. Prior to this change, a student was needlessly required to attend kindergarten before obtaining eligibility for the program.

The second change made by SB 1363 was to increase the funding available to parents in the ESA program. The importance of this change cannot be overstated because it increases the funding available for most ESAs from $3,800 to $5,400 per school year.

HB 2458 – This legislation also dealt with the ESA program and put into statute key anti-fraud provisions in order to protect the program from abuse while also ensuring families still have the opportunity to utilize the school choice benefits of the program.

Both of these laws build on the successes of the legislature in recent years to expand educational options for Arizona parents. The impact of the ESA program is only starting to be realized, and it is the hope of Center for Arizona Policy that many more Arizona families can benefit from this groundbreaking program.

Center for Arizona Policy is committed to programs like the ESA program and the School Tuition Organization scholarships because children deserve to get the best education attainable and parents have the fundamental right to make the choices for their children’s education.

Watch my personal testimonial video on school choice. 


Continue reading Arizona School Choice Recap