News & Updates
Letter to the MHSA
Many Montanans have already heard the shocking news that the Montana High School Association is considering letting high school boys who identify themselves as girls play on girls’ athletic teams.
The Montana Family Foundation believes that the MHSA has not fully considered all the logistical implications of this policy, and should delay doing anything further until they’ve had time to study the matter.
Maybe big Class AA schools will be able to make accommodations for privacy in locker rooms, showers, and hotel rooms when the team is on the road. But will Class C schools have that kind of money? Will girls who have worked for four years to earn a starting spot on the basketball team — and maybe a college athletic scholarship — lose that to a person with a male body but who identifies as a woman?
The Montana Family Foundation write a letter to the Montana High School Association warning them of the massive logistical hurdles to be overcome in this policy, and you can read that letter by clicking here.
Please join us in praying that the MHSA chooses to delay or cancel this policy.
A Politically Correct Christmas
Several years ago, in an effort not to offend their clientele, many large chain stores adopted a politically correct stance on Christmas. Employees were told to say happy holidays rather than Merry Christmas, stores removed all references to Christ in their selection of in-store music, and Christmas trees were re-named holiday trees. The outcry was loud and sustained. People wanted Christmas back. Stores were boycotted, letters were written and in-the-end the stores repented. Their attempt at political correctness wound up offending the very people they were trying to woo. Who would have guessed over 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas, and of those a large majority want the birth of Jesus to remain the focus of the holiday? And although the private sector seems to have gotten the message, the public sector still needs some work.
These days, the schools all give kids a “winter break.” It always seems to fall around December 25, but heaven forbid that a teacher should ever say why. School concerts feature songs like Santa Got Run Over by a Reindeer, rather than Silent Night or Away in a Manger. There was a time in America where we would see nativity displays on courthouse lawns. Our children would sing Christmas carols at school. At work, people could count on a day off for Christmas – maybe even two days off, the second one being Christmas Eve. Almost everyone remembers those days fondly. Some think we’ll never see them again. But
Christmas is a time of hope! America is a special place. This was a nation dedicated to God at its inception. We were founded on the principle that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. The framers of our constitution constantly prayed for God’s guidance, and His blessing on their efforts. This is not a country where we should celebrate Christmas by retreating to our homes, surrounding ourselves with our family, closing the door, and abandoning the rest of the world to consumerism and eggnog. It’s a chance to share Christ, to tell the world not just THAT He came but WHY He came. Sure there are those who don’t want to hear the good news, but there are also those who do. And that’s the way it’s always been. This is ONE nation, under God and it’s up to us to say so. It’s not only state legislators who have the power to change society. It’s not only people in Washington D.C. who can make a difference. Each of us can help bring back the America that celebrated Christmas as the birth of Christ, not for the presents and the elves. By your presence, by your faith and by being the light of the world, you can help change the culture. Smile. Celebrate. Sing about the true meaning of Jesus, not just the Jingle Bell Rock. When you do, you’re spreading the real meaning of Christmas to a culture that’s forgotten what it’s all about. I’m convinced that people want Christmas to be about more than just cool gifts and a nice meal. That’s why the outcry was so strong when stores tried to relegate Christmas to little more than a chance to increase their bottom line by urging people to give presents to their family and friends. The notion that we will offend someone by wishing them a Merry Christmas is just plain silly.
I have Jewish friends who wish me Merry Christmas and I in turn wish them Happy Hanukah. When America once again celebrates Christmas as the birth of our Savior, it will be because ordinary folks like you and me never stopped wishing people a Merry Christmas! So from all of us at the Montana Family Foundation, our staff and our families, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, and Blessed New Year!
Put Some Clothes On
Serving in the Montana legislature is a high honor. When you step out onto the floor, you know that Montanans have been gathering here for more than a century. They come, chosen by their friends and neighbors, to do their best to make decisions on behalf of everyone. It’s significant. You get a sense that this is where history’s made, so it’s not unreasonable to ask people to dress with that in mind.
When I served in the legislature there was a written dress code and everyone stuck to it. Legislators dressed as business professionals. With the passage of term limits the dress code went by the wayside and, unfortunately, it shows. Last session I actually saw a legislator show up in stirrup pants and a sweat shirt on the floor of the House of Representatives. This week, Speaker elect Austin Knudsen reinstated the dress code and it resulted in howls of dismay from certain legislators and the media. His goal was simply to raise the level of decorum in the House Chamber and I for one applaud his effort.
When you see a TV news anchor behind his or her desk, they always dress professionally. When you see lawyers in a courtroom, they always dress professionally. And if you were going to have open-heart surgery, how would you feel if the surgeon showed up in shorts and a tank top? Serving the people of Montana is a high calling. When a taxpayer comes to the Capitol to watch his employees in action, he deserves to have confidence in them. He deserves to feel like the people serving him are paying attention to detail, taking it seriously, and investing effort, and how we dress communicates those facts.
When I was Speaker Pro Tem, one legislator said she was chilly and tried to come onto the House floor wrapped in a blanket. She was quickly escorted out of the chamber.
Michael Reagan once told me that his father – President Reagan – would never go into the oval office without a suit. Sometimes on weekends, he may have bent that rule a little, but during the week he always showed respect for the office by how he dressed. When I’m working around the farm, you’ll find me in jeans and a T-shirt, but come January, when I go to the Capitol I’ll put on a coat and tie. Why? It’s certainly not because I like to dress that way. I do it out of respect for the legislators and the institution. And there’s another reason. We have a saying around our house… “People only take you as seriously as you take yourself.” I want the legislators to take me seriously so I wear a suit rather than jeans and a T-shirt. If we, as ordinary citizens can show that much respect, is it too much to ask our Legislators to show it as well?
Many legislators come to the session owning only one or two polyester sport coats, and several outdated ties, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, those are the ones who are most likely to wear the very best they have. And that’s the point. When a person makes an effort to wear the best they has, no matter how shabby, he often looks better than the guy who spent $100 on a designer dress shirt. Can a person love Montana in a t-shirt? Absolutely. Can a person honor the people wearing jeans? Certainly. But when we honor and respect something, we want to make an active gesture of that respect. How we dress is the easiest, most common, and most traditional way to do that.
Case in point… A legislator told me that she visited an elementary school this week and the students dressed up for her visit. They wore the best they had and so did she. There was an assortment of dresses, clip on bow ties, little vests and one 8 year old who actually put on a suit. The teacher said they did it to show respect for the office, and the legislator said she dressed up to show respect for the students. This is how it should be. If 8 year olds understand the idea of dressing up to show respect, should we expect any less from our legislators? They need to remember, people only take you as seriously as you take yourself.
Victory in Whitefish
I must admit that the past several weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster with the low being the forced legalization of same-sex marriage by a single Montana judge. Some people are saying that the battle for the family is over – we’ve lost. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Montanans are not giving up and victories are still possible. Case in point, three weeks ago an organizer for the radical group Forward Montana said in a symposium at Montana State University, that they were working to pass a so-called Non Discrimination Ordinance (NDO) in Whitefish. Remember, these NDO’s claim to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in the areas of housing, public accommodation, and employment. What they really do is open the door to harassment of Christians and other people of faith who simply want to live their lives according to God’s word. Across the nation people have been fined, seen their businesses destroyed, and have been threatened with jail time for not embracing and participating in homosexual marriages. In the recent case of a Colorado baker, he and his entire staff were sent to sensitivity training for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony. Remember, it’s not the job of government to tell people that God’s word is null and void. Government cannot tell you what to believe—that is, in effect, an establishment of religion – and it’s immoral and unconstitutional. Now back to our victory.
For the past five years the NDO movement has been moving across Montana like a juggernaut. They passed and NDO in Missoula, Helena, Butte, and Bozeman. Then, they hit a brick wall. They were killed in Billings and Dillon, then the citizens of Bozeman filed suit to have theirs overturned, and that case is still pending. The next step was Whitefish, where the proponents thought they had a good chance because of the makeup of the city council. Over a hundred people showed up at the hearing and in the end, all they could get was a simple resolution. No law, no ordinance, no teeth—just a simple statement by the council that says in part, “the Whitefish City Council declares its support of Whitefish community values that recognize and celebrate the dignity, diversity, and inclusion of all its inhabitants and visitors”. Perfect, that’s what we all believe. It doesn’t grant special privileges to one group over another and it doesn’t allow people to be persecuted or harassed for their religious beliefs. As a legislator once said, resolutions have as much power as a letter to Santa Claus. Everyone gets to feel good without having done anything. In this case, it truly was a letter to Santa Claus, but it’s the families of Whitefish who got the present. They get to keep their religious freedom, at least for the moment.
Now the battle moves back to the legislature where bills to do the same thing have already been drafted. Unlike municipal level NDO’s, these laws have real teeth, big fines and big jail time. We’ve managed to kill them for the past 15 years and we’ll do it again this session with your help. We’ll tell you how when the time comes.
Press Release November 19, 2014
For Immediate Release
Montana Family Foundation President, Jeff Laszloffy
Responds to the Federal District Court’s Decision
in the Rolando Case on Same-Sex Marriage
Montana’s Marriage Amendment, enacted by nearly 70% of Montana voters in a direct election, has just been nullified by the courts.
Laurel, MT – Today 295,070 Montana voters had their votes nullified by one judge exercising what amounts to a super-vote. The decision by Judge Brian Morris to allow same-sex marriage in Montana strikes at the heart of two foundational institutions that have made our state and nation truly exceptional: the ballot initiative process that allows for self-governance by the people, and the family. I am heartbroken for the people of Montana who have had the redefinition of marriage forced on them by an out-of-control federal judiciary.
I am also grieved for the children of same-sex couples who have no chance of growing up with a mom and a dad. This fundamentally undermines the right of the people to protect natural marriage as the sacred union of a man and a woman.
While the U.S. Supreme Court may still take up the issue of the redefinition of marriage, for now the courts have settled the issue in our state. While we mourn the direction of a misguided judiciary, we’re encouraged by the fact that natural marriage was enshrined in 31 state Constitutions, and a recent Pew poll showed that support for same-sex marriage has dropped by 5% in the past 3 months. While the courts believe same-sex marriage is a settled issue, it’s anything but settled in the hearts and minds of the people.
While we’re disappointed in the decision, we will not despair, we will not throw in the towel and we will not give up. Laws may change, but the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman is timeless. As Cicero once said, “Time obliterates the fictions of opinion and confirms the decisions of nature.” We will continue to uphold natural marriage because it’s what’s best for men, women, children and our society as a whole.
For more information contact: Jeff Laszloffy, President/ CEO