Month Archives: October 2012

Ted Kennedys Widow on Massachusetts’ Death with Dignity ballot initiative

by Cathy Ruse

October 31, 2012

Five years after the state of Oregon legalized doctor-assisted suicide, the Center for Ethics in Health Care at Oregon Health & Science University conducted research on how the law was being utilized. Their findings, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, were shocking. They found that nearly 90 percent of people who ask their doctors for help in killing themselves later change their minds, and that what motivated most seriously ill people who asked was fear of pain — a fear that might be misplaced.

In one example, a man just 47-years old with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, sought suicide because he was scared to die like his father, who had died from colon cancer in great pain without adequate medication. But when he learned that ALS does not cause a painful death, he gave up thoughts of suicide.

Last week Victoria Reggie Kennedy, widow of Senator Ted Kennedy, published an op-ed against Question 2, the so-called Death with Dignity initiative on the Massachusetts ballot.

In it she blasts the measure, saying it is not about bringing family together to make end of life decisions but is intended to exclude family members from the actual decision-making process to guard against patients being pressured to end their lives prematurely.

Most of us wish for a good and happy death, with as little pain as possible, surrounded by loved ones, perhaps with a doctor and/or clergyman at our bedside, she writes, [b]ut under Question 2, what you get instead is a prescription for up to 100 capsules, dispensed by a pharmacist, taken without medical supervision, followed by death, perhaps alone.

In reflecting on her own husbands death, she closes this way: I know we were blessed. I am fully aware that not everyone will have the same experience we did. But if Question 2 passes I cant help but feel were sending the message that theyre not even entitled to a chance. A chance to have more time with their loved ones. A chance to have more dinners and sing more songs. A chance for more kisses and more love. A chance to be surrounded by family or clergy or a doctor when the end does come. That seems cruel to me. And lonely. And sad.

The Lowest Common [Sexual] Denominator”

by Anna Shafer

October 31, 2012

The 2011 General Social Survey shows that the percentage of wives who commit infidelity is nearing the percentage of husbands who commit infidelity. Whereas 23 percent of husbands reported cheating on their wives in 2011, 19 percent of wives reported cheating on their husbands. Reported unfaithfulness is up from 2010, when the General Social Survey found that 19 percent of men and 14 percent of women had cheated on their spouses. (As an aside, couples in intact marriages are least likely to have committed adultery, and those who are married and have never cohabited are more likely to be faithful than cohabiters, and those with greater religious commitment and who worship regularly are much less likely to engage in extramarital affairs or premarital sex or to have multiple sexual partners.)

In turn, these numbers are closer to equality than their 1991 equivalents: then, 21 percent of husbands and 11 percent of wives reported having cheated on their spouses. As Peggy Drexler writes, Do women account for more of today’s affairs? Probably. But in a society that has been preaching, legislating and celebrating gender equality for decades, equality in marital misdeeds might be expected too.

Equal employment and educational opportunity for women is a social good. Personally, I have every hope that Ill be June Cleaver in ten years, but in the meantime Im thankful to be working as an editor here at Family Research Council. The problem is this: Quite apart from insisting on societys recognition of womens equal potential for intellectual and economic contribution, some among us insist that society also must approve of womens exercise of their equal right to behave sexually like the worst of men, from unfettered enjoyment of the hookup culture to the abandonment of their children when they prove inconvenient.

Nasim Pedrad appeared on Saturday Night Lives Weekend Update a couple weeks ago, pretending to be Arianna Huffington. She had a couple great lines, but I found myself sad and frustrated when Pedrad commented that [i]f men could get pregnant, abortion clinics would be like Starbucks: there would be 2 on every block, and 4 in every airport. And the morning-after pill would come in flavors like sea salt and Cool Ranch. I dont believe this statement, but even if it were trueeven if more men thought more favorably of abortionis this really what we would want?

The consequences of bad or irresponsible sexual behavior may differ for men and women. But why, oh why, are we fighting so hard to be equal to men who behave badly?

Though Devils All the World Should Fill

by Robert Morrison

October 31, 2012

Last Friday, on the Values Bus, I heard Bishop Harry Jackson preach a powerful message to the young Christians at the Prayer Furnace in Fredericksburg,Virginia. They and I responded with enthusiasm to this impassioned leaders call to vote vertical, to use our Christian citizenship to bring real hope and change. Bishop Jacksons text was from Psalm 68: May God arise, may His enemies be scattered.

The following Sunday, I attended another service. At St. Pauls Lutheran Church in Annapolis, our pastor, resplendent in bright red, preached his sermon in honor of Reformation Day (October 31st). It was on this day in 1517 that Martin Luther is said to have nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Door.

In those theological propositions, the young Saxon monk challenged the practice of granting indulgences. The priest Tetzel was traveling through Germany at that time, telling faithful Christians they could buy the souls of their dear departed family members out of torment in Purgatory if they would pay money. When the coin in the coffer rings, another soul from Purgatory springs, was Tetzels message.

Young Martin Luther held a doctorate in theology at a time when such learning was rarer than Nobel Prizes are today. He denounced the practice of selling indulgences. And the rest, as they say, is history. The Protestant Reformation dates from this fateful act.

Today, some 495 years after those hammer blows, we see Catholics, Lutherans, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Christians of all denominations, rallying against new and grave threats. Around the world, Christians are being martyred by jihadists bent on establishing the Umma, the world rule of Islam under Sharia law.

As Christians, we cannot allow our sincere theological differences to stop us from praying for our endangered brethren. We should demand protection of these threatened Christians. I do not know, for example, if the Christians in Northern Nigeria are Protestants or Catholics. I only know they are being murdered daily by the brutal Boko Haram violent Islamist sect. The Copts of Egypt are neither Protestant nor Catholic. Their faith is closer to Orthodox Christianity. But that doesnt matter to the Muslim Brotherhood that is trying to kill them or drive them away.

As Christian citizens in America, we have every right to demand that the Obama administration stop paying off the Muslim Brotherhood-installed regime in Cairo. Sec. Clinton recently signed off on another $1,300,000,000 for this Egyptian ruling party. For the sake of Christian Solidarity, we must speak out for the victims. Their blood cries out.

 

We can also band together to protect each others religious freedom in America. One constant theme on the Values Bus is the fact that the HHS Mandate of last year is the gravest threat to religious liberty in 226 years in this country. President Obamas Sec. of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, was the most pro-abortion governor in U.S. history. No wonder she understands nothing of the convictions that unite us.

When my newborn granddaughters last December were raced back into St. Marys Hospital, in danger of their lives, the good people there did not ask if the twins were Catholic. They only asked: How can we help? Thats why I speak up for the religious liberty of my fellow Americans who are Catholic.

Theres another Martin Luther story I love to relate on Reformation Day. Luther was hiding from the Emperor in the Wartburg Castle. He was translating the New Testament into German so his people could read Gods Word. Legend has it the Devil came to him in his garret to tempt him to despair. Dr. Luther held firm in the Word and threw his inkpot at Satan!

Visitors to Germanys Wartburg Castle can see the ink spot on the castle wall to this day. Gottes wort bleibt in ewigkeit, (Gods Word will stand forever) said Luther, quoting Scripture. (Sometimes I think thats what Im doing: Throwing my inkpot at them!)

So here are some words from Martin Luthers pen for us to take with us through this next tumultuous week. When religious freedom here and abroad are in danger, its best to remember these lines:

Though devils all the world should fill,

All eager to devour us,

We tremble not, we fear no ill,

They shall not overpowr us.

This worlds prince may still

Scowl fierce as his will,

He can harm us none,

Hes judged; the deed is done.

One little Word can fell him.

Saving the Crew of the HMS Bounty

by Robert Morrison

October 30, 2012

Yew people gonna feel proud whenevah yew hear that tune, said Boatswain Mate Chief Clarence Ward Hollowell in his deep Southern drawl on the day we graduated from Coast Guard boot camp in Cape May, New Jersey, more than four decades ago. He was referring to the Semper Paratus March, the official of our doughty little service.

We’re always ready for the call,

We place our trust in Thee.

Through surf and storm and howling gale,

High shall our purpose be,

Semper Paratus” is our guide,

Our fame, our glory, too.

To fight to save or fight and die!

Aye! Coast Guard, we are for you.

The words of that song have never rung truer. This week, Hurricane Sandy made landfall just a few miles north of Cape May. And the Coast Guard proved always ready once again to plow through the storm to save lives.

The Washington Post covered the amazing story of the rescue of the crew of the HMS Bounty. They had been forced to abandon ship. Millions of movie goers around the world would have seen this magnificent replica of an 18th century British man-of-war. This tall ship was featured in the films Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) and more recently, in the Johnny Depp hit, Pirates of the Caribbean.

This beautiful tall ship was lost in the storm and her crew in danger of their lives.

One woman crew member were tragically lost, and the captain is feared lost, but the rest of the 16-member Bounty crew were saved because of the courage and skill of the Coast Guard. Helo pilot Steve Bonn carefully put his aircraft near the lifeboat as he lowered 27-year old rescue swimmer, Dan Todd down the hoist with the basket. Todds almost casual line as he tumbled into the boat was classic: Need a lift?

A lift is what those survivors certainly got. And a story like this lifts all our spirits. Thank you, Washington Post, for a great job of reporting on this one. Its worth watching the video to see Petty Officer Todd being lowered into those churning seas. He risked his life to save others, living proof of the Coast Guards unofficial motto: You gotta go out…

I participated in a few Coast Guard rescues, myself, but nothing on this momentous scale. This harrowing adventure one reminds me of my friend, Pat Rivas. Lt. Rivas was the first evangelical Christian Id ever met. He saw I was struggling to make it through the OCS physical test, so he came alongside and coached and encouraged me all the way to the best condition of my life. He never mentioned his faith in Jesus, but it there was something truly extraordinary in the selfless way he helped me, and others, in our class. Only after Pat and his crewmen lost their lives in 1981 trying to save the captain of a small fishing boat in a terrific storm in the Gulf of Alaska did I learn of his deep faith.

Some years ago, the Coast Guard announced it had saved one million human lives since its founding in 1790. They have lived up to Thomas Jeffersons ideal: The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. Now, the Coast Guard can add another fourteen lives to that great number. Thanks, Coast Guard, for being always ready for the call (and for placing your trust in THEE).

Here, from one of my retired Coastie friends, are some interesting online resources:

http://www.military.com/military-fitness/coast-guard-special-training/rescue-swimmer-fitness-standards

http://www.dvidshub.net/image/746747/rescue-swimmer-training-facility

http://uscg.mil/hq/cg7/cg711/ast.asp

http://www.uscg.mil/servicelines/archive/20120302-RescueSwimmer.asp

http://www.witn.com/home/headlines/Coast-Guard-Rescue-Underway-Now-16-People-In-Lifeboats-Off-NC-Coast-176228331.html

Whither the Horror of Dependency?

by Cathy Ruse

October 29, 2012

Its worse than you think. Read George Will on demographer Nick Eberstadts recent study on changes in how the government transfers wealth over the last 50 years, especially under the rubric of disability.

Here are a few of the eye-popping particulars:

  • During most of FDRs 12 presidential years, income transfers were a third or less of federal spending. But between 1960 and 2010, entitlements exploded from 28 percent to 66 percent of federal spending.
  • The growth of entitlement spending over the past half-century has been distinctly greater under Republican administrations than Democrat.
  • The normalization of dependency helps explain the unprecedented exit from gainful work by adult men. Since 1948, male labor force participation has plummeted from 89 percent to 73 percent labor force participation ratios for men in the prime of life are lower in America than in Europe.
  • One reason for this is the gaming (defrauding) of disability entitlements: In 1960, 455,000 workers were receiving disability payments; in 2011 that number was 8.6 million nearly half of the 8.6 million were disabled because of mood disorders or ailments of the musculoskeletal system and the connective tissue.
  • In 1960, 134 Americans were engaged in gainful employment for every officially disabled worker; by December 2010 that number had dropped to just over 16.

Rolling through the Old Dominion on the Values Bus

by Robert Morrison

October 29, 2012

We drove in the Values Bus down Virginia’s Route 29 past the Brandy Station battlefield. That was the site of the greatest cavalry battle ever fought on this continent. We are fighting an entirely different kind of battle these days. We are trying to rally Virginians to vote their values. In Virginia, this is an old fight. Virginians in 2006 voted 57% to support true marriage. This is the state where America’s religious liberty was first attained. Virginia’s Statute for Religious Freedom of 1786 set the highest standard for this nation and the world. No other country has established religious freedom as its foundation. James Madison, who traveled this very road many times on his way to and from Washington, said the passage of this law, drafted seven years earlier by his good friend Thomas Jefferson, would add to “the lustre of our country.” Even more than that, Madison believed that religious liberty was the necessary foundation for civil liberty. He said so in his famous Federalist No. 51.

At Liberty University in Lynchburg, we have a light turnout. But Dean Mat Staver comes out to greet us. Dean Staver is also president of the Liberty Counsel. Having the chance to meet this Christian leader is worth the trip. We all make our statements and join with Bishop Harry Jackson and Rev. Dr. Philip Goudeaux. Bishop Jackson is leading us on this marriage tour. He speaks with passion of the need to “vote vertical,” that is, to vote as God has told us in His Word to honor the threatened institution of marriage.

Dr. Goudeaux pastors America’s largest black church, with some 24,000 members. He has come all the way from Sacramento, California, to support this marriage effort. But his pro-life testimony is what shines brightest. Born to a 14-year old mother who had been raped, Dr. Goudeaux says he thanks God for his mother’s biblical values, that she spared his life. And what a life it has been!

Genevieve Wood, Vice President for Communications of Heritage Foundation, makes the strong point that our economy is not going to improve without strong families. And the key to strong families is the marital bond. Everywhere we go, our cooperation is made stronger by Family Research Councils commitment to fiscal conservatism and Heritages understanding that marriage is essential. Its why we say the value issues are indivisible.

Not all conservatives agree, unfortunately. A smart young fellow I met at the gun show in Pennsylvania said, of course, he thought the churches should be free to keep marriage as the union of one man and one woman. But “the government should stay out of marriage.”

As gently as I could, I remind this fellow that out of wedlock births are the quickest route to poverty for women and children and the express lane to state socialism. Dont take my word for it. Just ask Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner. He argues we cannot cut social spending because four in ten children born today qualify for Medicaid. That would be the 42% out-of-wedlock births that this administrations policies promote.

Recall Julia. Shes the fictional character trotted out by the White House to show the benefits of a life lived under government tutelage and subsidy. Julia goes from Head Start to Medicare and Social Security under the supervision of the federal government, in the scenario offered by President Obama. At age 29, Julia decides to have a child. No marriage is mentioned. No husband intrudes. In fact, Julia has no father, no brother, no male friend or business partner. In the entire fictional Life of Julia we have been offered, the only man in her life is Barack Obama.

The Values Bus rolls into Richmond. On the grounds of Jeffersons beautiful State Capitol, we make our statements. What an amazing event. This building was once the heart of the Confederacy. Now, black and white Christians link arms to defend the bedrock of civilization. Virginia voters were united with voters in every state of the Old South to defend marriage. Black Southerners provided the winning margins in every contested state, some of those marriage victories scored as high as 72%.

Most recently, North Carolina voters in May gave 61% approval to a marriage amendment. This landslide victory included 49% of the Tarheel States Democrats. North Carolinians heard Billy Graham plead with them to support marriage and former President Bill Clinton, who had signed the Defense of Marriage Act, urge them to overturn it. They went with the evangelist. Imagine that.

In Fredericksburg, we meet at the Prayer Furnace. We meet an enthusiastic reception among the scores of young Pentecostals here. This mixed race ministry is engaged in prayer, teaching, and preparing missionaries. Some of these young believers have come out of tragic situations of poverty and abuse. They have found a refuge of love here. One woman, who seems older than the rest, but still not more than 35, tells me of her abortions as a teen. By Gods grace, she says, she now leads a pregnancy care center. A bruised reed He did not break.

Here, State Sen. Bryce Reeves (R) addresses the gathering. He is a champion in Richmond for family values. Sen. Reeves last year defeated an entrenched liberal incumbent by just 86 votes out of 50,000 cast. That narrow win has not caused him to back off on fighting for life, marriage, and religious freedom.

After our short speeches, several of these loving young people gather round me and pray most earnestly for my safety. You know they are Christians by their love.

Their prayers for us, and those of thousands of others, have been a hedge of protection for the Values Bus. As I finish my time on the road, visiting my eighth state, I count this as one of the great experiences of my life. Forty years ago, I campaigned for my own election. I came out against abortion and suffered a crushing defeat. Two months later, The New York Times trumpeted the victory of liberal abortion and said the controversy was over. I have not believed the gray lady since.

We dont know how this election will turn out, or how the values issues will fare in the ballot box. But we know this much: The struggle to protect innocent human life will never be over. When I looked out at all those eager faces of the young Christians at the Prayer Furnace, I thanked God for their lives.

Gallaudets Persecution of Dr. McCaskill Shows Why Maryland Voters Should Oppose Question 6

by Peter Sprigg

October 26, 2012

Dr. Angela McCaskill, an administrator at Gallaudet University, has been suspended from her job simply for signing a petition to put the new Maryland law legalizing same-sex marriage on the ballot.

The Washington Times has now run my op-ed on how this incident illustrates the threat to religious and personal freedom from same-sex marriageand why Maryland voters should vote AGAINST Question 6 on November 6.

Here is a key quote:

If this is what happens even when the law is not yet on the side of homosexual “marriage,” what conscientious objector to the redefinition of marriage will be safe after the law changes?

Charity and Pornography: Can They Coexist?

by Sharon Barrett

October 26, 2012

Princeton professor Robert P. George writes in a piece for The Public Discourse, Theorists of public moralityfrom the ancient Greek philosophers and Roman jurists onhave noticed that apparently private acts of vice, when they multiply and become widespread, can imperil important public interests.

Pornography, especially internet pornography, is this kind of private vice in our generation. Even though pornographys devastating effects are well-documented (for instance, in publications released by MARRI and the Witherspoon Institute), some in the industry try to make pornography look acceptable by uniting it with socially respected activities. MARRI intern Sarah Robinson reported on Charitable Pornography: a non-profit pornography organization has created a website where users can upload videos along with links to their charity of choice, so that every hit on a video sends a donation to that charity.

While the organizers of the website win points for creativity, their score on social responsibility is zero. As Sarah Robinson says,

This idea crosses the threshold of moral relativity into dangerous territory that debases the value of human beings and sexuality. How do you place a price tag on sexuality? No charitable organization should receive money made by degrading human beings who were created in the image of God.

The idea of charitable giving depends on the ability to value others needs above ones own immediate gratification. Charitable organizations, inspired by Biblical commands to consider the poor, have long been a prominent part of Judeo-Christian society (and came into their own in 19th-century America, thanks to the energy of social reformers). Is charity at home, however, in a culture of sensuality that permits the degradation of human beings?

Robert P. George argues that acceptance of pornography affects society deeply, cheating children of not only a healthy sexuality, but a healthy view of the human person:

Parents efforts to bring up their children as respecters of themselves and others will be helped or hinderedperhaps profoundlyby the cultural structure in which children are reared….It is the attitudes, habits, dispositions, imagination, ideology, values, and choices shaped by a culture in which pornography flourishes that will, in the end, deprive many children of what can without logical or moral strain be characterized as their right to a healthy sexuality. In a society in which sex is depersonalized, and thus degraded, even conscientious parents will have enormous difficulty transmitting to their children the capacity to view themselves and others as persons, rather than as objects of sexual desire and satisfaction.

Pornography is the last thing we need as we seek to raise a generation with humane values. If the authors of this porn website truly care about charity, they should shut down the site and start producing informational videos. There are plenty of causes, like raising awareness of human sex trafficking, that they can benefit with charitable donations.

The Social Conservative Review: October 25, 2012

by Krystle Gabele

October 25, 2012

Click here to subscribe to The Social Conservative Review.


Dear Friends:

A Marine I know once described what he called “moral courage” and “physical courage.” The latter has to do with battlefield bravery, the kind of sacrificial conduct that causes a soldier to fall on a grenade, attack an entrenched position, or risk his life to save a friend.

Moral courage is about taking a stand for truth and conscience regardless of the political or personal consequences. Christians should display this kind of courage with kindness and winsomeness, but with unequivocal firmness.

This week at FRC, Dr. Owen Strachan spoke movingly of the need for a compassionate but unbending Christian testimony in our culture (“The Sacrificial Witness of the Christian Moral Tradition“). Watch and listen to his roughly 30-minute remarks; there will be few ways of investing your time more wisely as we draw near to our pivotal elections.

Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues,” Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, “for upon it, all others depend.” At a time of moral crisis in our country and our world, there are few qualities we need more.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder

Senior Vice-President

Family Research Council

P.S. For an update on the latest legal developments in the shooting that took place at FRC in August, read our recent press release. We continue to praise God for the moral and physical courage of our extraordinary colleague, Leo Johnson, and are grateful for his ongoing recuperation.


Educational Freedom and Reform

Homeschooling

Legislation and Policy Proposals

College Debt

Government Reform

Regulation

Waste/Fraud/Abuse

Health Care

Abstinence

Conscience Protection

Health care reform: Political and Legislative efforts

Homosexuality

Human Life and Bioethics

Abortion

Bioethics and Biotechnology

Euthanasia and End of Life Issues

Stem Cell Research

To read about the latest advances in ethical adult stem cell research, keep up with leading-edge reports from FRC’s Dr. David Prentice, click here.

Human Trafficking

Women’s Health

Marriage and Family

Adoption

Family Economics

Family Structure

Media

Pornography

Internet

Religion and Public Policy

Religious Liberty

Religion in America

Check out Dr. Kenyn Cureton’s feature on Watchmen Pastors called “The Lost Episodes,” featuring how religion has had an impact on our Founding Fathers.

Secularism

International

Israel

International Economy and Family

Religious Persecution

Sharia law — U.S., foreign

The Courts

Constitutional Issues

Judicial Activism

Other News of Note

Book reviews

From the Values Bus: We Have Friends in Pennsylvania

by Robert Morrison

October 25, 2012

Ive long enjoyed visits to Pennsylvania. We used to take the Witherspoon Fellows, our FRC interns, to Philadelphia, Gettysburg, and Harrisburg regularly. The majestic Pennsylvania State Capitol was dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt. He called it the most impressive public building in America.

Until recently, when most Americans thought of Pennsylvania probably thought of Penn State Universitys legendary football program, and of their legendary coach of the Nittany Lions, Joe Paterno. Sadly, it was another kind of lion that stalked the shower stalls of Penn States football program.

Our friend Michael Geer has movingly written of the origins of that scandal. Michael heads the Pennsylvania Family Institute in Harrisburg. Michael pointed to the moral relativism of Penn States president, Dr. Graham Spanier. Spanier told a legislative committee of inquiry he had trouble understanding what his questioner meant by wrong.

Penn States president could not see anything wrong with a Sex Faire on campus that featured a tent of consent in which students were told they might engage in any sexual conduct that struck their fancy. Spanier, of course, was dismissed. His failure to act promptly to stop the serial rapes of ten boys was disclosed in the devastatingly thorough report of Louis Freeh, former director of the FBI. Dont worry, though. Dr. Spanier is working to protect all of us as a defense consultantwith a Top Secret clearance. He says the fact that he retains a Top Secret clearance proves he did nothing wrong. But he also testified under oath that he doesnt understand the meaning of wrong.

When I was a teacher, we were told we legally acted in loco parentis (in the place of the parents) in our duty to protect the children in our care. Today, I think parents would be loco to put their young people in the charge of a man like Graham Spanier.

We had a happier mission to Pennsylvania last weekend on the Values Bus. Our first stop was a gun show in Bloomsburg. We wanted to meet first hand the folks who were described by candidate Barack Obama as clinging to their guns and religion. We met lots of them. But they werent bitter. They were happy. And they were eagerly looking forward to casting votes in the presidential election. Our purpose was to make sure that voters know about the important values issues that are also being decided by informed citizens. On the Values Bus, we advance values like the right to life, the defense of marriage and the preservation of religious freedom.

On Saturday night, we rolled into Uniontown and stopped at Liberty Baptist Church. Sr. Pastor Ewing Marietta welcomed us heartily and fed us royally at a church supper. We set up our Family Research Council and Heritage Foundation tables for literature distribution, but the folks there wanted answers to questions. We had a lively Q&A after brief presentations by Pastor Ewing and myself.

All the while, we were being photographed by a silent presence. A tall man with bushy gray hair and a walrus mustache wore a NatGeo ballcap, He said nothing, but continued to photograph our every move. It was creepy. I was determined not to be deterred.

Other reporters straightforwardly introduced themselves and asked fair enough questions. Ive become used to this and we are actually happy to answer any honest question. I recall one reporter on the trail in Wisconsin who tried to entrap me into saying the purpose of our bus tour was to defeat Obama. I never said that, I parried. But your friend said that, the reporter countered. Our friend is with the NRA. He can say whatever he wishes. We are here to talk about the Values Issues. Unpersuaded, that dogged reporter said the NRA man is speaking here, at your rally. Its not our rally. Its a TEA Party rally. Were invited guests, just like the NRA man. We are adhering strictly to our mandate: issues, issues, issues.

Talking about issues is important. The parties have platforms that say a lot about the right to life, the defense of marriage, and religious liberty. Voters need to know what those platforms say. When pressed by persistent reporters, I quote Thomas Jefferson: Give light and the people will find their own way. We are in the lighting department, I say.

Besides, people are smart. They get it. In Iowa, at a Sioux City restaurant, a high schooler was regaling the young ladies with talk of his wrestling prowess. When we asked him to seat us, he spied my iVoteValues button and looked out at the Values Bus: I dont have to guess who youre voting for, he said laughingly. People are smart.

The economy is on everyones mind in Pennsylvania, as across the country. Up here, you learn about Marcellus Shale. It seems that most of Pennsylvania, southern New York State, Eastern Ohio,and all of West Virginia are floating on a vast ocean of shale oil and gas. Getting at it in an environmentally safe way is the big challenge of our day. Here, we could be energy independent. And this contentious issue is, frankly, putting Pennsylvania in play in the election.

One of the best events in Pennsylvania was the candlelight vigil Pastor Marietta organized at sunset in front of the Ten Commandments monument at a local junior high. The atheizers, typically, are trying to get it removed. Its been there for 55 years. The mixed race crowd heard Rev. Thompson of the African Methodist Episcopal Church pray for the children of the school and the well-being of the community.

I am puzzled by the controversy. In the Pennsylvania State House, the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth sits under a Violet Oakley mural titled Revealed Law. It is a great, colorful rendering of the carving of the Ten Commandments. Its not just silent somber stone. In this painting you get Moses inscribing Gods Word, hammer, chisel, thunder, lightning, fire, the works. How can it be unconstitutional for schoolchildren to see Gods law when their black robed elders in Harrisburg sit in judgment under it?

We come back to Washington through some of the most beautiful of fall colors. Whizzing by at 65 mph, we see Fort Necessity. That was the place where young Col. George Washington battled the French during the French and Indian War. Its truly one of the most important places in our countrys history. We have no time to stop, sadly. We are working this fall to make sure that our countrys history will go on.

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