Tag archives: Colorado

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.

On the Values Bus: A Mile High Mission

by Robert Morrison

October 4, 2012

The Values Bus rolled into Colorado this week. Our first stop was Denver, the site of last night’s presidential debate. Yesterday, we had a chance to meet with some key state legislative leaders at the Centennial State’s impressive Capitol. Like Iowa’s (and Massachusetts’s and West Virginia’s) this great domed structure is covered in gold leaf.

I was especially pleased to renew my friendship with Amy Stephens. Years ago, Amy was the policy director for Focus on the Family when I had that role at FRC. Now, Representative Amy Stephens is the Republican leader in the state house. That’s a nice change.

Wherever we go on the Values Bus, I make it a point to meet and talk to as many local and state elected officials as I can. It’s a most encouraging effort. These are really sharp folks. They are close to their constituents, conscientious, and capable. In Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Virginia, we had strong support for the Values Bus from locally elected lawmakers.

With the president headed into Denver for his debate, I had the rare opportunity of agreeing with him. Mr. Obama recently said “Washington is broken and we can’t fix it from the inside.” You are so right, Sir! And in my remarks on the steps of the State Capitol, I ventured the opinion that it would have been so nice if the President had realized that before his administration took control of banks, insurance companies, college student loans, the nation’s health care, GM, and Chrysler.

The impression one gets at these majestic, solid state capitols is of people being capable of self-government. They built these impressive monuments to the peoples’ ability to run their own affairs before Mr. Obama pressed on them a stimulus, before he issued mandates, and even before his EPA did an environmental impact study.

We are rolling through the American heartland with our friends from the Heritage Foundation. The Values Bus is a joint project. Heritage’s Vice President for Communications, Genevieve Wood, is another long-time friend. She used to fill that role at FRC. She always generously gives FRC a hat tip at each stop. I return the salute, saying we are honored to work with Heritage Foundation as they ride through the heartland dispensing subversive literature—the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution!

Gov. Mitt Romney last night offered this “means test” for a federal program. Is it so critical that we are willing to borrow money from China to continue funding it? So long, Big Bird! And maybe The Jim Lehrer News Hour, too. (Although, after last night’s performance as the debate’s hesitant moderator, it may be we have liberal agreement on that one.)

Whenever I visit a state capitol, I am moved to ask: “Who would think the people who built this are not capable of running their own schools?” SAT scores are continuing their years-long slide under President Obama. I don’t blame him for that. He doesn’t take the tests. But I do criticize him and even some of his Republican predecessors for continuing to shovel money at the unconstitutional and wasteful federal education department. Can any Americans point to a single improvement in their local schools we can attribute to the federal education department?

I should know: I worked there for three years in the 1980s. I served under President Ronald Reagan. When a liberal Republican congressman asked for a meeting with the president to talk about the future of the Education Department. Mr. Reagan wrote in the margin of the meeting agenda: “I hope it doesn’t have one!” Right you are, Mr. President! And, as Genevieve Wood reminds us: This is how you pile up a $16 Trillion debt.

The state capitols are an eloquent reminder of a time when state and local governments served Americans best because they were closest to the people. If we lose the ability to govern ourselves in our state and local governments, we cannot expect wisdom suddenly to descend on the banks of the Potomac. As Thomas Jefferson said: “If we had to wait for Washington [D.C.] to tell us when to plant, we should soon want bread.”

Grieving for Aurora

by Rob Schwarzwalder

July 20, 2012

The existence of God, or rather, of a God Who is personal, sovereign, omniscient, and kind, is the only context in which any of us can make sense of the Colorado shootings.

Why He allowed these killings, why He has allowed and continues to allow so much suffering and violence in our world, remains a mystery. Yet He did, and does. And this is where faith, faith of a specific type, comes in.

It must not be a slushy faith in which platitudes and cliches substitute for hard truths. Nor can it be a severe faith, one that angrily tells us to accept what is and move on, unquestioningly. Such a faith induces not trust but the repression of the spirit, the hardening of the soul.

True, biblical faith reposes in the God Who claims to be intimate yet omnipotent, knowing the number of the hairs on our heads while keeping the inaccessible vastness of the universe in constant animation. He indwells those Who know His Son as their Savior, yet Scripture tells us that the world cannot contain Him.

Such a God is worthy of awe, not only because of His character and nature, but because He chooses not to disclose the how and why of things fully to us. We want explanations; He offers Himself, Who He is and what, in Christ, He has done for us. We can only bow humbly before One Who weaves uncounted and often invisible threads of life and movement and being so intricately, so finely, so mysteriously.

To bring it down to the grim, irreducible pain of the moment: The parents and loved ones of those murdered in Aurora need to know that Christ is with them in their pain, that His love can comfort only because it is real. We do not know the why; we need to know the Who. Let us pray that the families of the victims, the dozens of wounded, and the family of the gunman himself will find in Jesus, Who knew pain as no other, the hope that He alone can give.

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