Category archives: Other Issues

FRC’s Leo Johnson: Showing the Love

by Robert Morrison

August 15, 2013

One year ago today, Floyd Corkins entered our Washington offices, lying about seeking a role as an FRC intern. Leo Johnson, our building supervisor, was at the security desk and asked to see some identification. Corkins bent down to ruffle through his backpack. Leo, sensing trouble, stepped out from behind the desk. Corkins pulled out a pistol and Leo, unarmed, advanced toward his would-be killer. Corkins shot Leo in the forearm, but seriously wounded, Leo grappled with him, and took Corkins’s gun away. Soon, Randy Burt and Charles Foster, bothFRC staffers, rushed to Leo’s aid. Corkins was subdued and held until Metropolitan Police arrived.

Why didn’t Leo take Corkins’s pistol and shoot him? Once he had disarmed his would-be killer, Leo could have shot the man in the head. There would be no jury on earth that would have convicted him. Chances are, Leo would not even have been charged.

It would be hard to imagine a more justifiable homicide. And if we were a hate group, as Corkins believed we were, a disarmed assassin could expect nothing less than to be cut down himself. Corkins had been incited to attack Family Research Council because of a “hate map” put out by the SPLC. They libeled us, saying we are no different than the Klan, than neo-Nazis, or the Aryan Brotherhood. Even after the attack, SPLC persists in so labeling FRC.

On that quiet August morning, Leo showed the best that is in us. Recovering from his serious wound—a process that has been long and painful for him and his family—Leo said he heard a still small voice tell him to spare Corkins’s life. Leo was raised in a Christian family. He has been a believer all his life. So this incredible act of mercy may have been second nature to this gentle giant.

Leo that day showed love. He even loved his enemy. “It’s not you, man, it’s this place. It’s your politics,” Corkins said as he was taken down. Leo has been my friend for many years and I still don’t know his politics. (He’s an Eagles fan, which is bad enough!)

I don’t need to know Leo’s politics. I know his heart. He showed his great heart that fateful day. So did Randy. So did Charles. And Leo the Lionheart also acted out the words of Jesus: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Corkins did not plan to stop with killing Leo. Leo was what stood between Floyd Corkins and mass murder. This would-be assassin had fifteen Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his backpack. He planned to shoot as many of us at Family Research Council as he could and then drop a Chick-fil-A on each of our faces. Leo’s greater love is the reason this spectacular crime was averted.

I had occasion to talk about Leo and the August 15th attack last Sunday. After Chapel inAnnapolis, one of our new Navy Chaplains asked me where I work. I told him I have worked for many years at Family Research Council.

I could tell he was curious. I dispensed with the Inside-the-Beltway formulation of “a public policy research and educational organization recognized under Sec. 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.”

Instead, I said: “FRC believes that every one deserves a birth day. We believe that brides should marry grooms. And we believe that America is one nation under God. And for these beliefs, people are shooting at us.”

Put that way, Americans of every faith and every political persuasion may pause and think: Has it really come to this in our home of freedom?

It was the great Irish statesman Edmund Burke who saw the link between family and the nation. “We begin our affections in our family,” he wrote, “no cold relation was ever a warm patriot.” We see every day in random shootings, in brutal crimes, in the betrayals of a Bradley Manning or a John Walker Lindh, that American Taliban, the civil consequences of family breakdown.

FRC’s Leo Johnson showed his love in the most heroic way. We are urging mothers and fathers to marry, to cherish and nurture their children, for their own sake and for the sake of this land we love.

Security footage: Hero thwarts terrorist shooter at Family Research Council

by FRC Media Office

April 25, 2013

In an age when it seems heroes are hard to come by, it’s stirring to see a genuine hero in action. Last August, FRC building manager Leo Johnson was temporarily manning the front desk at our Washington headquarters when a now-confessed terrorist intent on killing everyone in the building entered with a handgun and 100 rounds of ammunition.  As he drew his gun, Leo courageously charged the attacker into oncoming gunfire.  Even after sustaining a direct hit to his forearm, he subdued the attacker and wrestled the gun away from him.

Leo Johnson’s heroism saved countless lives that day. Now you can see the never-before released security footage that shows just how quickly tragedy was averted.  Please share this video with friends, and help pay tribute to a true hero.

Surprise, Surprise - Egypt’s Morsi Made Virulently Anti-Semitic Remarks

by Chris Gacek

January 16, 2013

Well, the New York Times published an article Tuesday documenting virulently anti-Semitic remarks made by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi in 2010.  Here is the first paragraph of the story:

CAIRO— Nearly three years ago, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood delivered a speech urging Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews and Zionists. In a television interview months later, the same leader described Zionists as “these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.”

Now, aren’t you glad President Obama has hitched America’s wagon to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood?  Wonderful.  Let’s shovel a few more billion dollars to Egypt and throw in some jet fighters and Abrams tanks.  The Chinese will lend us the money at a great interest rate.

Yet, we should be reassured by Seth Mandel’s posting on the Commentary magazine blog.  He takes note of a column from Bloomberg with the headline, “Obama: ‘Israel Doesn’t Know What Its Best Interests Are.’” Apparently, Mr. Obama said this “privately and repeatedly.”  That must make it true.  (It also indicates that the President’s aides have a different understanding of “privately” than he does.)

Frankly, I think Israel probably had Mr. Morsi pegged as its enemy and as an enemy of the West (i.e., the United States) a long time ago.  Mr. Obama probably hasn’t figured it out yet.  I think I will bet that Israel has a better understanding of its national interests than does Mr. Obama.

Because You are There

by Robert Morrison

January 10, 2013

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins shared a powerful story at Chapel this morning. A team of climbers successfully ascended Mount Everest. Coming down, however, climber Lincoln Hall suffered a collapse. His teammates, thinking him dead, left him there and continued downward to their base camp. But Lincoln awoke after a day. Hallucinating, he came to the edge of the precipice.

An American team came upon him as they climbed up the mountain. Team Leader Dan Mazur and his fellow climbers took Lincoln back down with them. They missed the summit. They sacrificed their goals and some of their wealth. But they saved a life. Because they were there.

The Hebrew commentaries on Scripture, the Talmud, tell us that “he who saves a single life, it is as if he saved the world entire.” Tony’s message this morning gave us great encouragement after a year of defeat and disappointment. Can we say the cause of unborn life, the cause of marriage (the best protection for new life) have prospered? No. Can we say the flame of religious freedom burns brighter this January than it did last year? No.

But we do not despair. We do not lose hope.

I had a memorable experience working in the U.S. Education Department. Like our boss, President Reagan, I didn’t believe there should even be a federal education department. We worked hard to promote the first federal voucher bill for low income families. It failed. We tried to stop the erasure of all evidence of America’s godly heritage from basal readers. We even commissioned a study by respected NYU psychologist Paul Vitz that showed publishers were censoring all references to God from schoolchildren’s texts. We failed. We tried to “zero out” entire portions of the federal education department, to close down this agency we regarded as unconstitutional and wasteful. We failed.

In one area, however, we saw success. Sec. Bill Bennett testified before a congressional committee calling for reduced federal education spending. The chairman, a liberal, criticized Sec. Bennett for not demanding more money. Then, he launched into an appeal for Bennett to back federally subsidized child care.

He said: “Why even the Soviet Union has a national system of subsidized child care, Mr. Secretary.”

Bennett was ready: “Mr. Chairman: The reason the Soviets have that system can be found in the Ph.D. dissertation written by Raisa Gorbachev. She urged the party leadership to do this because the children on the farms were all being raised by their grandparents, who taught them superstitions.”

To the atheist wife of the Communist Party’s General Secretary, Mikhail Gorbachev, those Russian grandparents’ superstitions were the Christian religion.

On our watch, there was no more push for federal day care. And no demand for national subsidized day care to pull little children out of homes, out of church-based pre-schools, out of those settings their loving parents choose for them.

In another area, home schooling, the Bennett years at USED were a success. He brought into the department Michael Farris, the home school leader. It was the first time this had ever happened.

I had known Michael in Washington State in the Reagan campaign. Now, Michael was presenting the case for home schooling to some very skeptical educrats. In the course of his commanding presentation, he said: “My 7-year old son can read the entire front page of the Washington Post, but my wife and I could still be prosecuted in 40 states for child abuse and neglect.”

Michael Farris provided a powerful defense of home schooling. Later out in the hall, I teased him: “Michael, do you really let your 7-year old boy read the Washington Post?”

Home schooling enjoyed some of its greatest gains in the 1980s, when President Reagan held office. And under Sec. Bennett, the federal education department did not join in the attempts to crush this burgeoning movement.

We wish we could have gotten parental choice in education for millions of low-income parents struggling to break free, but we did make a difference for millions of home schoolers. Because we were there.

Inaccurate Rumors Resurface Two Years Later

by JP Duffy

November 28, 2012

In 2010, false internet rumors were circulating claiming that Family Research Council lobbied “against” a congressional resolution condemning a bill proposed in Uganda. The Uganda bill – a bill FRC opposed - would have provided for the death penalty for something called “aggravated homosexuality.” The rumor was quickly refuted in the media at the time. Now, more than two years later, the debunked rumor is resurfacing in the blogosphere after FRC’s President Tony Perkins tweeted about Uganda’s President leading the nation in a prayer of repentance. The Human Rights Campaign quickly mischaracterized the tweet as “support” for the bill.

President Museveni’s prayer was given at a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Ugandan independence from Britain. President Museveni did list “sexual immorality”— as only one of 29 separate sins for which the nation should repent. Neither the event nor the prayer had anything to do with, or made any reference to, the proposed bill on homosexuality in the Ugandan parliament.

Here is the statement we issued two years ago in response to the false rumor:

FRC did not lobby against or oppose passage of the congressional resolution. FRC’s efforts, at the request of Congressional offices, were limited to seeking changes in the language of proposed drafts of the resolution, in order to make it more factually accurate regarding the content of the Uganda bill, and to remove sweeping and inaccurate assertions that homosexual conduct is internationally recognized as a fundamental human right.

FRC does not support the Uganda bill, and does not support the death penalty for homosexuality - nor any other penalty which would have the effect of inhibiting compassionate pastoral, psychological, and medical care and treatment for those who experience same-sex attractions or who engage in homosexual conduct.”

Bloggers may try to resurrect false rumors but we will continue to applaud President Museveni’s prayer of repentance. Museveni took the very powerful step of dedicating Uganda to God when he said, “We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfill what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. A people you have chosen as your own.”

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

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.

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.

On the Values Bus in Colorado

by Robert Morrison

October 11, 2012

Following a press conference and joint statements on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver, the Family Research Council and Heritage Foundation Values Bus returned to the Airport Crowne Plaza to set up for the Western Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). The mood was apprehensive among the activists gathered for this important meeting. It was the afternoon of the first presidential debate.

The following morning dawned cold and clear, but the mood had changed abruptly. It was as if a jolt of electricity had gone through the attendees. Gov. Romney came by for a short, unscheduled greeting to the CPAC conferees. He received a hero’s welcome. It was truly amazing to see the change in the atmosphere. Must have been climate change.

The Values Bus proceeded to Loveland in a cold drizzle. There, a small but enthusiastic crowd huddled to hear Heritage’s Vice President for Communications Genevieve Wood and this writer speak about the vital social and economic issues that voters should consider this fall. Candidates for state and local office joined the speakers roster as they endorsed the ideals principles promoted by the Values Bus.

It’s a reminder of what Ronald Reagan said before a church audience in 1980: You can’t endorse me, but I can endorse you. When candidates take the time to publicly embrace the Values Bus message, it counts.

Saturday, we set up shop at a gun show in Pueblo, Colorado. Several thousand people came through the exhibits. It took awhile for some of the attendees to warm to our FRC message. But once the kids started taking little blue basketballs, the ice broke. We had many families coming by, showing their children the big blue bus and explaining what we were about. The Coloradans say “Howdy” in an unaffected way. It is definitely a laid-back crowd. And not since I stood duty in the armory in boot camp have I seen so many weapons. Don’t Tread on Me flags captured the spirit of the event.

I had a chance to walk around the exhibits and engaged the “Gunzilla” folks in a lively conversation. They were selling a product that cleans, protects, and lubricates guns without chapping and cracking the users’ hands. The son of the marketer of “Gunzilla” explained to me how his friends, soldiers coming back from Iraq, had shown him their cracked and bleeding hands. This was the result of the harsh cleaners they had had to use to keep their weapons functioning in fire fights. The young man proudly told me how his dad had approached a chemist friend and they’d provided a safe, non-flammable, and environmentally sound alternative product that would do everything with one application. And it was kind to hands.

That led to a discussion of gun oil in general. In my writing with Ken Blackwell, I had learned that wolves are highly sensitive to the smell of gun oil. They have learned to associate that smell with humans, with hunters, and stay away. Thus, even the non-gun bearing hikers and campers who go out into the wilderness are protected by the hunters and ranchers.

Our last stop was a happy homecoming at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs. Harsh weather forced us inside the lobby of Focus’ beautiful main building. There, we set up our tables and banners. FRC’s Rev. Randy Wilson opened the rally with prayer. He was most eloquent in that House of Prayer.

Carrie Gordon Earll of CitizenLink, an affiliate of Focus on the Family, welcomed us and urged all the rally attendees to take their Colorado voters guide. This is the state equivalent of the FRCAction Voters Guide. Together, we provided citizens with the information they need to hold their state, congressional, and presidential candidates accountable.

State Sen. Kent Lambert reminded everyone of the national and international issues at stake in the fall elections. Sen. Lamber is not a candidate this cycle, so he was free to speak of the importance of the full range of issues voters will decide.

Former State Sen. Dave Schultheis offered a prepared address that raised profound issues of forcing Americans to pay for the destruction of innocent human lives through abortion. Sen. Schultheis movingly appealed for Christian citizens to vote and bring their family and friends to the polling places in order to preserve our heritage of religious freedom.

I was happy to applaud both of these able public servants—even as they stole all my lines. Happily, I had been talking earlier with Congressman Doug Lamborn about our mutual admiration for Ronald Reagan. The Congressman is a candidate this cycle, so legal advice given to our hosts preferred he not address the rally.

Very well. I thanked Mr. Lamborn for coming. And I launched into a tribute to Ronald Reagan’s pro-life and traditional family values positions. I pointed out that MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was wrong to say that Reagan didn’t care that much about abortion. (Correcting Chris Matthews’ errors could be nearly full-time work.)

Ronald Reagan was the first president to speak of the unborn in his Inaugural Addresses and in his State of the Union messages. He called abortion “a wound in America’s soul.” He wrote a book titled “Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation,” the first sitting president to publish a book. I noted that I had gone to the Reagan Library for three days of research into Reagan’s actions on the abortion issue.

I thought when I went that I might not have enough material there to occupy for three full days. I could easily have spent three weeks there. I held hundreds of handwritten letters in my hand—letters in which Ronald Reagan invariably anguished over “this slaughter of innocents.”

How moving to see this oldest of America’s presidents care so deeply about the youngest of Americans.

I concluded by speaking of the speech President Reagan gave at the Berlin Wall. He said “Tear Down this Wall” there. That part was widely reported.

But I discovered only in 2009 another important part of Reagan’s speech. He said the East German Communists had erected a radio tower to overshadow all the church steeples in East Berlin. But it had a defect. The atheist authorities there tried to etch it out with acid. They tried to paint it over. They tried to sandblast the defect.

But when the sun shone on the globe of the radio tower, the President said, “it reflects the Sign of the Cross.” I shared with my listeners at Focus on the Family the fact that that was only time any president had publicly invoked the Sign of the Cross. And I admitted that I got excited at reading my president’s words, just as Chris Matthews does now.

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