Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Who Is in Charge of Security at the US Capitol?

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns security at the U.S. Capitol. I discussed this topic with a family member recently and asserted that Nancy Pelosi was responsible for the lack of security at the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021.

I did not know much about the security procedures, and I based my assertion on a simple fact: The Speaker of the House is the highest-ranking government official – third in line for the presidency after the president and vice president – in Congress. It seemed reasonable to me to have the highest-ranking official working in the building to be the top official making decisions about the building.

In my mind, the U.S. President is the highest-ranking official in the executive branch, which is based in the White House, so the POTUS is the person ultimately responsible for the security of the White House (Secret Service). The same is true of Congress and the Supreme Court, the other two branches of government. The Speaker of the House is responsible for the security at the Capitol Building (Capitol Police), and the Chief Justice is responsible for security at the Supreme Court Building (Supreme Court Police).

My family member insisted that security at the Capitol Building was under the direction of a special board from the Senate and House. I asserted that any such board would be at least partially supervised by the Speaker of the House. As a result of that discussion, I decided to do some research about security at the U.S. Capitol and will share the results with you.

I learned that the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is appointed by the POTUS. The AOC “is responsible to the United States Congress for the maintenance, operation, development and preservation of 16.5 million square feet of buildings and more than 450 acres of land throughout Capitol Hill.” The Capitol complex involves much more than I suspected. It “includes the House and Senate office buildings, the U.S. Capitol, Capitol Visitor Center, the Library of Congress buildings, the Supreme Court buildings, the U.S. Botanic Garden, the Capitol Power Plant, and other facilities.” 

The duties of the AOC include the responsibility to provide “professional expertise with regard to the preservation of architectural and artistic elements entrusted to its care.” The AOC also “provides recommendations concerning design, construction and maintenance of the facilities and grounds.” 

The Architect of the Capitol is one of three members of the Capitol Police Board. This board “oversees and supports the United States Capitol Police in its mission.” The Capitol Police Board “helps to advance coordination between the [Capitol Police] Department and the Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives and the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate, in their law enforcement capacities, and the Congress.” The Capital Police Board “establishes general goals and objectives covering its major functions and operations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations.” 

The Capitol Police Board consists of the Sergeant at Arms of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the U.S. Senate, and the Architect of the Capitol. The Chief of the United States Capitol Police serves in an ex-officio non-voting capacity. The Chairmanship alternates annually between the House and Senate Sergeants at Arms. 

There are three official members of the Capitol Police Board: The Sergeant at Arms of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the U.S. Senate, and the Architect of the Capitol. The Chairmanship alternates annually between the House and Senate Sergeant at Arms. There is a fourth but unofficial member of the board who has no-voting capacity – the Chief of Capitol Police. The Chief of the Capitol Police is apparently hired/appointed by the Capitol Police Board because the “Chief reports directly to the Capitol Police Board.” 

The Chief of Police is responsible for administering the Department in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, and ensuring that organizational objectives are met…. [The Chief] is assisted in the management of the Department by the Assistant Chiefs of Police and the Chief Administrative Officer. These leaders collectively are recognized as the United States Capitol Police Executive Team, the highest-level management team within the Department.                                                   

The Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate is nominated by the Senate Majority Leader and “elected by the members.” This official “serves as the protocol and chief law enforcement officer” of the Senate. This official is the principal administrative manager for a host of support services in the Senate.” 

As chief law enforcement and protocol officer, the sergeant at arms enforces all rules of the Senate—its Standing Rules, Standing Orders, Rules for the Regulation of the Senate Wing, and Rules for Impeachment Trials—and coordinates all official events and visits for the Senate. This includes escorting the president, other heads of state, and official guests while they attend official functions in the Capitol. As the Senate’s chief law enforcement officer, the sergeant at arms can compel senators to come to the Senate Chamber to establish a quorum. In addition, the sergeant at arms supervises the Senate wing of the Capitol, maintaining security in the Capitol and in all the Senate buildings and controlling access to the Senate Chamber and galleries. 

The Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives is nominated by the Speaker of the House and elected by the members of the House.

As an elected officer of the House of Representatives, the Sergeant at Arms is the chief law enforcement and protocol officer of the House of Representatives and is responsible for maintaining order in the House side of the United States Capitol complex. The Sergeant at Arms reviews and implements all issues relating to the safety and security of Members of Congress and the Capitol complex. The Sergeant at Arms also coordinates extensively with the U.S. Capitol Police and various intelligence agencies to assess threats against Members of Congress and the Capitol complex.

Duties include overseeing the House floor and galleries, the House Appointments Desk, the House garages and parking lots, as well as administering all staff identification badges. 

On January 6, 2020, there was an assault on the U.S. Capitol Building. There is a lot of “he said, she said” stuff going on about whether President Donald Trump ordered or offered National Guard to provide security on that date. Included in the discussion is a question about who turned down the offered troops. The following information was published by NPR:

The former chief of U.S. Capitol Police says security officials at the House and Senate rebuffed his early requests to call in the National Guard ahead of a demonstration in support of President Trump that turned into a deadly attack on Congress.

Former chief Steven Sund – who resigned his post last week after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for him to step down -- made the assertions in an interview with The Washington Post published Sunday.

Sund contradicts claims made by officials after Wednesday's assault on Capitol Hill. Sund's superiors said previously that the National Guard and other additional security support could have been provided, but no one at the Capitol requested it.


Sund told the Post that House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving was concerned with the "optics" of declaring an emergency ahead of the protests and rejected a National Guard presence. He says Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger recommended that he informally request the Guard to be ready in case it was needed to maintain security.

Like Sund, Irving and Stenger have also since resigned their posts.

Sund says he requested assistance six times ahead of and during the attack on the Capitol. Each of those requests was denied or delayed, he says. 

The above quote from NPR gives us a lot of information. It tells us that the House Sergeant at Arms on January 6, 2020, was Paul Irving, the Senate Sergeant at Arms was Michael Stenger, and the Chief of the Capitol Police was Steven Sund. Please remember that the Capitol Police Board has three official members and one unofficial member without voting ability. The three official members are the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), the Senate Sergeant at Arms, and the House Sergeant at Arms. The unofficial member was Chief of the Capitol Police.

The quote also tells us that the Chief of the Capitol Police requested that the AOC accept/ask for help from the National Guard several times before and during the assault, but his request was rejected or delayed. House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving did not like the “optics” of calling on the National Guard for help and rejected the presence of the National Guard. The Senate Sergeant at Arms suggested that they request that the National Guard be ready to act. The order of the two statements is unknown. We do not know if Stenger’s suggestion (that the National Guard stand by) came before or after Irving rejected the presence of military.

This information might suggest that the House Sergeant at Arms was the Chairman of the Capitol Police Board for 2020. If so, did Paul Irving consult with Nancy Pelosi before rejecting the presence of the National Guard? Or maybe, Nancy Pelosi had previously told Irving to handle all the security problems. According to AP News, Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for Pelosi, made the following statement:

The Speaker believes security officials should make security decisions. The Speaker immediately signaled her support for the deployment of the National Guard when she was presented with that recommendation on the afternoon of January 6th. Public testimony confirms that the fact that the Speaker was not made aware of any request for such a deployment prior to then,” Hammill said in a statement this week. 

 Sund, Irving, and Stenger resigned their posts after the January 6 attack on the Capitol, and their posts were filled by temporary substitutes until the Senate and House could go through the proper process for replacing them. The new Capitol Police Board ordered a security fence put up around the U.S. Capitol, and the fence remained for six months. The Supreme Court Police did the exact opposite by erecting a fence around the Court Building before releasing their decisions, particularly the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

I maintain that Nancy Pelosi was responsible, either directly or indirectly, for the Capitol Building being unsecured on January 6, 2020. She either rejected the offer for the National Guard presence if she was aware of it, or she lacked proper supervision for the House Sergeant at Arms. She should have known that there would be an enormous crowed at the Capitol on January 6 and helped her Sergeant at Arms to set up proper security. The fact is that Irving should have consulted with Pelosi on such an important task, or she should have called him in to discuss it. Either way, the buck stops with Nancy in my mind.

The bottom line is that two things must happen for the National Guard to be called into action. The first thing is that the Commander in Chief must offer the troops, AND the person in charge (the governor, the mayor, the Speaker of the House, etc.) must request the troops. This is the reason the National Guard did not go into Minneapolis, Portland, and Seattle during the George Floyd riots of 2020. The POTUS offered the troops, but the people in charge of the states/cities did not request the troops. It is called federalism.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Do You Have the Courage to Choose the Right?

            My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to the book of Esther, and the lesson was titled “Thou Art Come … for Such a Time as This.” The lesson was introduced by this paragraph: 

Many events in the book of Esther might seem like luck or coincidence. How else

do you explain how an orphaned Jewish girl became the queen of Persia at just the right time to save her people from being slaughtered? What are the chances that Esther’s cousin Mordecai would just happen to overhear a plot to assassinate the king? Were these coincidences, or were they part of a divine plan? Elder Ronald A. Rasband noted: “What may appear to be a random chance is, in fact, overseen by a loving Father in Heaven. … The Lord is in the small details of our lives” (“By Divine Design,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 56). We may not always recognize the Lord’s influence in these “small details.” But we learn from Esther’s experience that He can guide our path and prepare us “for such a time” (Esther 4:14) when we can be instruments in His hands to fulfill His purposes.

            This lesson contained numerous principles. The principle for this discussion is “Doing the right thing often requires great courage.” Mordecai adopted his cousin Esther when her parents died. Years later, Esther was chosen by the king of Persia to be his queen, and she did not disclose that she was a Jew.

Mordecai and Esther put their lives at risk when they stood up for their beliefs. The choices put before you and I might not be as severe as that of Mordecai and Esther, but we will need courage to do the right thing in many situations. The following scriptures tell the stories of Mordecai and Esther.

1 After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him.

2 And all the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.

3 Then the king’s servants, which were in the king’s gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgresses thou the king’s commandment?

4 Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s matters would stand: for he had told them that he was a Jew. (Esther 3:1-4)

            Mordecai refused to bow to Haman, and Haman sought to destroy Mordecai and all the Jews in the kingdom. When Mordecai learned of the decree for all Jews to be destroyed, he went to the gate of the palace and asked her to go before the king. Anyone who approached the king without his approval was in danger of being put to death. What Mordecai asked of Esther was to sacrifice her life.

10 Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and gave him commandment unto Mordecai;

11 All the king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.

12 And they told to Mordecai Esther’s words.

13 Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews.

14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

15 Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer,

16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.

17 So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him. (Esther 4:10-17)

            Esther understood the task ahead of her, and she asked Mordecai to call all the Jews in the city to fast and pray for three days and night. She knew that she could die – “if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).

            Esther 5 tells us that the Jews, Mordecai, Esther, and her maidens fasted for three days. When the days of fasting were past, Esther put on her beautiful royal robes and went to the king’s house. She waited until the king saw her. Her heart must have been in her throat until she saw the king held out his golden scepter to her. The king asked Esther what she wanted, and she invited the king and Haman to a banquet in her rooms.

The king and Haman came to dinner, and the king was even more pleased with Esther. He asked her again what he could do for her. She told him about Haman’s proclamation to destroy all the Jews. The king ordered Haman to be hanged on the billows built for Mordecai and sent a proclamation stating that Jews could defend themselves from anyone who would try to kill them.

            Mordecai and Esther showed courage in different ways, but they each had the courage to do the right thing. They had the courage to do the right thing because they put their faith in God. We can all follow Esther’s example when we are faced with difficult decisions: “When I choose the right, if I [lose friends], I [lose friends].”

            When President Thomas S. Monson spoke to the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he said the following:

As I contemplate all that you face in the world today, one word comes to my mind. It describes an attribute needed by all of us but one which you—at this time of your life and in this world—will need particularly. That attribute is courage.

Tonight I’d like to talk with you about the courage you will need in three aspects of your lives:

·         First, the courage to refrain from judging others;

·         Second, the courage to be chaste and virtuous; and

·         Third, the courage to stand firm for truth and righteousness.

(“May You Have Courage,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 123-27)

            May we all have the courage to face our challenges and to choose the right. Just as God blessed Mordecai and Esther when they chose the right, I know that He will bless us also.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Why Is Traditional Marriage Essential for Strong Societies?

            Traditional marriage strengthens families, communities, and nations. Traditional marriage, also known as biblical marriage, is a union between one man and one woman. Such a marriage has been in existence since God performed the marriage between Adam and Eve.

            The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles published “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” in 1995. The first paragraph of the proclamation defined marriage as being “between a man and a woman.” It then stated that such a marriage “is ordained of God.” The third teaching in the first paragraph is that “the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

            Ryan T. Anderson, defender of traditional marriage, wrote that marriage is essential to good public policy. The male-female sexual relationship has been regulated by governments for many – if not hundreds and thousands – of years. Anderson explained that governments are interested in male-female sexual unions because these unions are the only ones that “produce new human life.” (See Truth Overruled – The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, 2015, p. 24.) Anderson continued:

For highly dependent infants, there is no path to physical, moral, and cultural maturity – no path to personal responsibility – without a long and delicate process of ongoing care and supervision to which mothers and fathers bring unique gifts. Unless children mature, they never will become healthy, upright, productive members of society. Marriage exists to make men and women responsible to each other and to any children that they might have….

Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. Government recognition of marriage protects children by encouraging men and women to commit themselves to each other and to take responsibility for their children….

Connecting sex, babies, and moms and dads is the irreplaceable social function of marriage. Laws and social expectations can strengthen or weaken marriage in this role, and that’s why the government is rightly involved in this aspect of our lives….

As strong as the government’s interest is in the marriages of its citizens, however, it is important to remember that the government does not create marriage, it recognizes marriage. Marriage is a natural institution that predates government. Society as a whole, not merely any given set of spouses, benefits from marriage. This is because marriage helps to channel procreative love into a stable institution that provides for the orderly bearing and rearing of the next generation. (Anderson, 2015, pp. 24-26).

            Government policies do not always strengthen and support marriage and family. Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has revised a bill titled Family Security Act 2.0. He discussed the bill recently at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. His message was that family policies need to be overhauled in such a way that would “encourage marriage and stability” – policies that are “pro-family, pro-work, and pro-birth.” His proposal will encourage marriage and employment while strengthening family finances. 

Like most government policies, Romney’s proposal throws money at a problem. The problem is that both marriages and births are declining. Romney said that the government should set incentives for people to have babies that they do not want, but its policies should not penalize those people who marry and have children.

Studies show that marriage creates stronger families in numerous ways. This is particularly true of couples who marry and stay married. Parents can strengthen their family, community, and nation by getting married, staying married, and working together for the good of the family.


Thursday, July 28, 2022

Is Traditional Marriage Essential for the Survival of Our Society?

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is about traditional marriage and how it is essential for freedom in America. Traditional marriage and the nuclear family consisting of a father, a mother, and children are essential for strong communities and nations and the foundation for a strong society. America and other nations are currently undergoing a revolution where well-meaning people want to bring justice and equality into the marriage relationship.

In Obergefell v. Hodges, five unelected justices redefined marriage, the oldest institution in the history of the world. Ryan T. Anderson, a strong defender of traditional marriage, claimed that this decision teaches a false narrative about marriage. He wrote the following in his book titled Truth Overruled – The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom:

If the law teaches a falsehood about marriage, it will make it harder for people to live out the truth of marriage. Marital norms make no sense, as a matter of principle, if what makes a marriage is merely intense emotional feeling, an idea captured in the bumper-sticker slogan “Love makes a family.” There is no reason that mere consenting adult love as to be permanent or limited to two persons, much less sexually exclusive. And so, as people internalize this new vision of marriage, marriage will be less and less a stabilizing force.

But if fewer people live out the norms of marriage, then fewer people will reap the benefits of the institution of marriage – not only spouses, but also children. Preserving the man-woman definition of marriage is the only way to preserve the benefits of marriage and avoid the enormous societal risks accompanying a genderless marriage regime. How can the law teach that fathers are essential, for instance, when it has officially made them optional?

The essence of marriage as a male-female union, however, has become an unwelcome truth. Indeed, a serious attempt is well under way to define opposition to same-sex marriage as nothing more than irrational bigotry. If that attempt succeeds, it will pose the most serious threat to the rights of conscience and religious freedom in American history (2015, p. 2).

            According to Anderson, defenders of traditional marriage are not bigots and should be respected for and supported in their efforts. The same people who are defending marriage are also standing up for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience – both of which are being attacked by big business, big media, and big government. In the fight to bring respect for same-sex marriage, opponents of traditional (Biblical) marriage are pressuring churches to stop teaching that homosexuality is a sin.

            Anderson argued that defenders of marriage should take a lesson from the pro-life community. When the right to abortion was created in January 1973 by Roe v. Wade, the pro-life community did not roll over and accept it. They kept fighting for the lives of unborn children, and their efforts brought the overturning of Roe in June 2022. The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision did not make abortion legal or illegal, but it sent the debate back to the states for resolution. Even though abortion and same-sex marriage are different in nature, Anderson believes there are three lessons that can be learned from the pro-life movement.

1. We must call the court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges what it is: judicial activism.

Just as the pro-life movement successfully rejected Roe v. Wade and exposed its lies about unborn life and about the U.S. Constitution, we must make it clear to our fellow citizens that Obergefell v. Hodges does not tell the truth about marriage or about our Constitution.

2. We must protect our freedom to speak and live according to the truth.

The pro-life movement accomplished this on at least three fronts. First, it ensured that pro-life doctors and nurses and pharmacists and hospitals would never have to perform abortions or dispense abortion-causing drugs. Second, it won the battle – through the Hyde Amendment – to prevent taxpayer money from paying for abortions. And third, it made sure that pro-lifers and pro-life organizations could not be discriminated against by the government. Pro-marriage forces need to do the same: Ensure that we have freedom from government coercion to lead our lives, rear our children, and operate our business and our charities in accord with our beliefs – the truth – about marriage. Likewise, we must ensure that the government does not discriminate against citizens or organizations because of their belief that marriage is the union of husband and wife.

3. We have to bear witness to the truth in a winsome and compelling way.

The pro-life movement accomplished this on different levels. Specialists in science, law, philosophy, and theology laid the foundation of the pro-life case with research and writing in their disciplines, while advocacy groups tirelessly appealed to the hearts of the American people. Pro-lifers did much more than preach, launching a multitude of initiatives to help mothers in crisis pregnancies make the right choice.

            Like the pro-lifers, Anderson encouraged proponents for traditional marriage to “make the case for the truth about marriage.” To retain the truth about marriage, we must share it with our neighbors and other families and communities. We can “find the social science on marriage and parenting,” and we can amplify the “voices of the victims of the sexual revolution.” By doing so, we can become more effective in defending traditional marriage and religious freedom.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

What Will the Respect for Marriage Act Require from Americans?

            Same-sex marriage is back in the news after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Most people would not have made the connection between same-sex marriage and abortion if Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives had not rushed through a bill to codify same-sex marriage into federal law.

            The House-passed Respect for Marriage Act has now gone to the U.S. Senate for consideration, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised to bring it to a vote. Gillian Richards reported that conservative leaders sent a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) requesting that the Senate reject the bill. The reason given is, “The Act, which was suddenly rushed through the House without any public hearings or input, is an attack on millions of Americans, particularly people of faith, who believe marriage is between one man and one woman.” 

More than 80 conservative leaders and Alliance Defending Freedom signed the letter. According to Richards, these leaders believe that “the bill would threaten the religious freedom rights of individuals and groups across the nation if it becomes law,” while at the same time doing “nothing to change the status of, or benefits afforded to, same-sex marriage in light of Obergefell.”

The signers include Michael Farris, president and CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom; Kevin Roberts, president of The Heritage Foundation; Ryan T. Anderson, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center; Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council; Craig DeRoche, president and CEO of the Family Policy Alliance; and Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family….

The authors of the letter noted that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito correctly predicted the Obergefell ruling would “be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy,” as the justice wrote in his dissent to the 2015 case.

The Respect for Marriage Act, the conservative activists argued, could “require federal recognition of any definition of marriage without any parameters whatsoever.” They also fear that the bill, should it pass the Senate and be signed into law by the president, would encourage left-wing activist groups to sue individuals and organizations who do not conform to HR 8404’s definition of marriage.

     In addition to the letter, the Conservative Action Project released a separate statement

yesterday to urge the senators to oppose the Respect for Marriage Act. According to Richards, this statement cited previous lawsuits. It referred to the case of Barronelle Stutzman who declined to create floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding and was sued by Washington State. Her case was managed by Alliance Defending Freedom who petitioned the Supreme Court to accept her case in 2017. The high court declined twice to take her case, and she retired after the second appeal.

             The statement also cited the cases of bakers in two states. Jack Phillips (Colorado) and Aaron and Melissa Klein (Oregon) were sued for refusing to make design cakes for same-sex weddings. Richards explained that the authors of the statement fear that there will be more such cases. “The Court’s decision in Obergefell unleashed religious freedom violations across the land, launching a new era of harassment and coercion of millions of Americans who hold a sincere religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is, or ought to be, between one man and one woman.”

The Conservative Action Project’s statement garnered signatures of more than 80 conservative leaders, many of whom also signed the Alliance Defending Freedom’s letter to McConnell. The signers include Edwin Meese III, Ronald Reagan distinguished fellow emeritus at The Heritage Foundation; the Family Research Council’s Perkins; and Terry Schilling, president of the American Principles Project.

According to the statement, the Respect for Marriage Act would not only “increase the threat of legal liability for those who decline to affirm same-sex marriage, but it would help cement a ‘national public policy’ on same-sex marriage that would have drastic consequences.”

Commenting on the coalition letter to McConnell, Farris remarked:

Despite claims from its sponsors, the so-called ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ doesn’t simply codify the Obergefell decision. It forces the federal government to recognize without limit any marriage definitions that a state adopts.

It also empowers the government to punish millions of Americans who hold decent and honorable beliefs about marriage – beliefs that have existed since time immemorial – exposing citizens to predatory lawsuits and even endangering the nonprofit status of faith-based organizations.

            I did not see The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints listed as signing the letter. However, the Church of Jesus Christ has long fought to preserve traditional marriage and the family. In 1995, the First Presidency and the Quorum of Twelve Apostles published “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” After defining marriage as being between one man and one woman and explaining the importance of marriage and family, the proclamation gave the following warning: 

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

            I encourage you to join with me in prayer and supplication to God that He will be with the senators. Please join me in praying that the senators will recognize the damage that will be done to our society by codifying same-sex marriage and that they will reject the Respect for Marriage Act. May God bless America and Americans!

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

What Was the Purpose of the Leak?

            A breaking news story declares that the leak of the draft opinion on abortion ended Chief Justice John Roberts’ attempt to preserve Roe v. Wade. I assume that the leaker was surprised at this news, but I wonder if the news made them frustrated or satisfied.

Joan Biskupic of CNN referenced “multiple sources familiar with negotiations” when he reported that Roberts spent months lobbying conservative justices to save the constitutional right to abortion. Roberts’ lobbying efforts continued until the end of the session. However, “Roberts’ best prospect” Justice Brett Kavanaugh was not “ever close to switching his earlier vote.” 

New details obtained by CNN provide insight into the high-stakes internal abortion-rights drama that intensified in late April when justices first learned the draft opinion would soon be published. Serious conflicts over the fate of the 1973 Roe were then accompanied by tensions over an investigation into the source of the leak that included obtaining cell phone data from law clerks and some permanent court employees.

In the past, Roberts himself has switched his vote, or persuaded others to do so, toward middle-ground, institutionalist outcomes, such as saving the Affordable Care Act. It’s a pattern that has generated suspicion among some right-wing justices and conservatives outside the court.

Multiple sources told CNN that Roberts’ overtures this spring, particularly to Kavanaugh, raised fears among conservatives and hope among liberals that the chief could change the outcome in the most closely watched case in decades. Once the draft was published by Politico, conservatives pressed their colleagues to try to hasten release of the final decisions, lest anything suddenly threaten their majority.

Roberts’ persuasive efforts, difficult even from the start, were thwarted by the sudden public nature of the state of play. He can usually work in private, seeking and offering concessions, without anyone beyond the court knowing how he or other individual justices have voted or what they may be writing.

Kavanaugh had indicated during December oral arguments that he wanted to overturn Roe and CNN learned that he voted that way in a private justices’ conference session soon afterward…

            Chris Enloe at The Blaze stated that “the shocking leak” of the draft majority opinion brought Roberts’ campaign to an abrupt end. Soon after Politico published the draft opinion, Roberts condemned it and promised an investigation. “To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed…. The work of the Court will not be affected in any way.” 

            Enloe continued by saying that “Roberts discussed his concerns about overturning Roe, targeting Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Roberts’ campaign began after the initial vote and continued for several months but ended with the leak. “Roberts reportedly wanted to uphold Mississippi’s 15-week ban on abortion, but at the same time preserve the framework of Roe.”

            Supreme Court Marshall Gail Curley was appointed to head the investigation into the leak but “has not found the source of the leak nearly three months later.” The search is continuing, but there are skeptics. However, the questions remain: Who was the leaker? What was their purpose?

Monday, July 25, 2022

Why Should Young Women Choose Adoption Instead of Abortion?

             My VIP for this week is Holly Shearer and the many young women like her. Shearer was 15 years old in 2001 when she discovered that she was pregnant. At five months into her pregnancy, she made the decision to put her baby up for adoption. She knew at the time that the baby was a boy, and she named him Benjamin. 

            Shearer’s reason for her decision: “He deserved a mother and a father, a home with a playset in the backyard that he can play on, a dog, all of those things I couldn’t give him.” She selected Brian and Angela Hulleburg to be Benjamin’s adoptive parents. “When I handed Benjamin to them, it was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.”

            Shearer stayed in contact with Benjamin’s new parents for the first three years, but the communication stopped for some unknown reasons. However, the Hulleburgs told Benjamin that he was adopted and as much information as they could about his birth mother. However, they did not know her last name because the adoption was closed.

            Benjamin grew up with the desire to meet his birth mother. “To talk to her and, more than anything, thank her because I knew that I had been given a really good life, full of opportunity.” At age 18, Benjamin decided to look for his biological mother. He was interested in having a physical connection for who he was.

I had never had somebody that I can say, like, ‘Oh, that’s where I got my eyes from. That’s where I got my nose.’ … I never had that physical biological connection to say … ‘This is who I am and this is where it came from,’ … So for me, it was a lot less about trying to find a family or, like, trying to find a long-long family member. But it was more about trying to find where I came from.

            Benjamin was not successful in finding his biological mother. However, two years later Shearer found him on his 20th birthday and sent him a message on Facebook.

You don’t know me, which is weird to have a stranger message you…. Twenty years ago, I made the hardest decision of my life and placed my beautiful little baby up for adoption with a beautiful family. I have no intention of flipping your life upside down. I have thought about you every day and finally had the courage to send you a message. Wishing you a happy birthday.

            Shearer and Benjamin met in person two days later and discovered that she works at St. Mark’s Hospital where he volunteers. Her shifts ended at 4:30, the same time that his shifts began. It is possible that they passed each other without knowing it. They are in the process of getting to know each other and developing a relationship. Benjamin sent Shearer a message on Facebook:

Thank you for your selfless decision 20 years ago, today, to set me in the arms of my parents. I will always be grateful for it. Now, as I look to the future, I can’t wait to build a relationship with you and my biological family and have you be an active part of my life.

            I have been a witness of the adoption issue from both sides. My older sister and her husband adopted their only child, a baby girl, in the late 1960s. She has given their lives meaning, and their lives are intertwined with their daughter and her children and grandchildren. My oldest nephew and his wife adopted their first child, a baby boy, in the early 1980s. They adore their oldest son and his family even though they went on to have three children of their own. I am a witness of the joy that adoption can bring into the lives of infertile parents.

            On the other side, a great-niece became pregnant in her early college years and dropped out of school. Even though we lived thousands of miles apart, I had the opportunity to visit with her several times during her pregnancy. I saw how much she loved her baby boy and how much she would like to keep him. However, she made the difficult decision to give him up for adoption. The young man wanted to marry her, but she did not want to marry him. She gave the baby to a family with three cute boys and stayed in contact with the adoptive parents. She is now married to another young man and seems to be happy in her marriage.

            Our family has been touched by the courage of three young women who loved their babies enough to give them life and then to give them to another mother to rear. I am grateful that neither I nor any of my daughters had to make that decision, and I hope that none of granddaughters are faced with it. However, I know that adoption is much better than abortion. Adoption allows for life and opportunity to meet one’s potential, and abortion brings only the death of a child of God.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Is Religious Freedom Essential for the Choice of Faith?

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns freedom of religion. Religious freedom was discussed recently in Rome, Italy, by leaders from numerous religions. Pope Paul VI welcomed guests to the 2022 Notre Dame Religious Liberty Summit.

            G. Marcus Cole, dean of Notre Dame Law School and founder of the Notre Dame Religious Liberty initiative, addressed the theme of the summit – “Dignitatis Humanae.” According to Jeffrey D. Allred, Cole said that “Religious freedom is a necessary precondition for anyone to choose a faith.” He quoted Cole as saying, “The world is also learning that it is an essential precondition for political freedom, economic prosperity and human flourishing.” 

During his remarks in Rome, Cole said founders of the Notre Dame Religious Liberty Initiative conceived of it as a comprehensive approach to preserve, protect, restore and defend religious freedom in the United States and around the world. “While we come from many different faith traditions, and some from none at all, we are all here today because we share the fundamental belief that freedom of religion and freedom of conscience are essential to human flourishing. Indeed, they are fundamental human rights.”

            The theme for the summit was taken from a statement made by Pope Paul VI on December 7, 1965, at the end of Vatican Council II. Jeffrey D. Allred indicated that this declaration states the reason the Catholic Church supports freedom of religion. “The protection and defense of religious freedom is central to the Catholic faith today.”

            President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, represented The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He gave the keynote address at the summit and called for “a global effort to defend and advance the religious freedom of all the children of God in every nation of the world.” 

Saturday, July 23, 2022

What Is the Great Work that God Has for Me?

            My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to Ezra 1; 3-7 and Nehemiah 2; 4-6; 8. The title of the lesson is “I Am Doing a Great Work.” The lesson was introduced with the following paragraph. 

The Jewish people had been held captive in Babylonia for about 70 years. They had lost Jerusalem and the temple, and many had forgotten their commitment to God’s law. But God had not forgotten them. In fact, He had declared through His prophet, “I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return” (Jeremiah 29:10). True to this prophecy, the Lord did make a way for the Jews to return, and He raised up servants who accomplished “a great work’ for His people (Nehemiah 6:3). These servants included a governor named Zerubbabel, who oversaw the rebuilding of the house of the Lord; Ezra, a priest and scribe who turned the hearts of the people back to the Lord’s law; and Nehemiah, a later governor of Judah who led the work of rebuilding the protective walls around Jerusalem. They met opposition, of course, but also received assistance from unexpected sources. Their experiences an inform and inspire ours, because we too are doing a great work. And like theirs, our work has much to do with the house of the Lord, the law of the Lord, and the spiritual protection we find in Him.

            As in most lessons, there are several principles taught in the lesson. The principle that I wish to discuss tonight is “I can help the work of God advance despite opposition.” The Lord’s work rarely goes unopposed because Satan is constantly trying to stop the work of the Lord. This principle is based on the opposition experienced by both Zerubbabel and Nehemiah. In both cases, the “adversaries of Judah” (Ezra 4:1) were Samaritans – descendants of Israelites who had mixed with the Gentiles, and they were opposed to both the temple and the wall.

            Who are the adversaries faced by the people of God today? America was founded by Christian-Judeo people who came to the New World for freedom to practice their religion. The majority of Americans today are Christians, but Christians and Jews are treated with disrespect by the culture, the schools, and the politicians. Conservatives tend to be more religious than Democrats. This shows in the support or the lack of support for such things as abortion and gay marriage. This site claims that religious persecution is worst for Christians, then Jews, then Muslims, and then atheists. 

            President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke at the priesthood session of General Conference in April 2009 on the topic of “We Are Doing a Great Work and Cannot Come Down.” He referenced the story of Nehemiah who was repairing the wall around Jerusalem when his adversaries tried to distract him from his “great work” (Nehemiah 6:3). President Uchtdorf spoke of things in our lives that cause us to lose our focus on the Lord’s work. 

Our Heavenly Father seeks those who refuse to allow the trivial to hinder them in their pursuit of the eternal. He seeks those who will not allow the attraction of ease or the traps of the adversary to distract them from the work He has given them to perform. He seeks those whose actions conform to their words – those who say with conviction, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down.”

            Your “great work” may be different than mine. Missionaries are doing a “great work” in taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to more people. My sister is doing a “great work” in family history work and keeping the records of our family. Other people do a “great work” when they take family names to the temple, while still other people do a “great work” in teaching and training their children to become kind and responsible adults. My “great work” at this stage of my life is to share the lessons I have learned in my nearly eighty years. One of those lessons is that education and/or advanced training are essential for being successful. One way that I am teaching this lesson is working on my own degree. A part of this lesson that my grandchildren are learning is that getting an education is easier at younger ages.

            We all have to discover our own “great work” because we each have different talents and gifts. Heavenly Father will help us to discover what He wants us to do, but He wants us to study it out and then go to Him for counsel and confirmation. I encourage you to discover your own “great work” and move forward with it.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Should Parents Keep Children Busy All the Time?

            Wise parents will allow their children to be bored from time to time and will strengthen their family, community, and nation by doing so. According to Addison Whitmer, “Studies have shown that boredom may not be the worst things for your child.” Whitmer quotes several experts to prove her statement. 

The Melbourne Child Psychology Service said that dealing with boredom prompts children to find ways to entertain themselves, and come up with clever and entertaining activities to pass the time. This fosters both a creative imagination and strong problem-solving skills, so it is better for a parent to provide their child with resources when they come up with an activity, rather than outright give the child an idea.

Dr. Stephanie Lee, director of the ADHD and Behavior Disorders Center at the Child Mind Institute, also defended boredom. “Life requires us to manage our frustrations and regulate our emotions when things aren’t going our way, and boredom is a great way to teach that skill.”

One study from the Academy of Management explored the effect boredom had on a person’s creativity, by giving two groups a prompt on excuses for being tardy. The difference here? One group had spent their time sorting beans by color before being given the prompt, until the participants were thoroughly bored. The second group had participated in a much more interesting activity before the prompt meeting.

The two groups’ performances were significantly different, as the group who had been subject to the boring task of sorting beans presented more creative answers than the second group, both in quality and quantity.

Experts have said for years that constant mental stimulation inhibits our minds from being able to idle, making it more difficult to brainstorm and reflect. Professor Jonny Smallwood at the University of York spoke to the “Note to Self” podcast. “There’s a close link between originality, novelty and creativity … and these sort[s] of spontaneous thoughts that we generate when our minds are idle,” Smallwood said.

Researcher Sandi Mann at the University of Central Lancashire agreed, saying, “You come up with really great stuff when you don’t have that easy, lazy, junk food diet of the phone to scroll all the time.”

            The above information applies to teenagers as well as children. A Piper Sandler study found that 87% of teens have an iPhone. They spend an average of nine hours on screens each day (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry), and they need about 9 to 9.5 hours of sleep each night (John Hopkins Medicine).

Quartz reports that teens do not discover new interests when they are too much each day. According to Quartz, child psychologist Lyn Fry children who do not experience boredom do not prepare for adulthood when they fill their free time with enjoyable activities. “If parents spend all their time filling up their child’s spare time, then the child’s never going to learn to do this for themselves.”

When parents allow their children to experience boredom and learn to entertain themselves, they are helping them to learn skills needed for happy leisure hours as an adult. In doing so, parents can strengthen their family, community, and nation.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Is the Congressional Committee Wasting Both Time and Money?

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the importance of a free and non-political media to maintaining freedom and liberty. Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, aided by two anti-Trump Republicans, have presented nine primetime investigative hearings about the January 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol Building. They are uninterested in getting to the truth because they are not asking the essential questions that would uncover the truth.

            John Solomon at Just the News suggested that one of those essential questions should be: “If Donald Trump wanted to incite violence that fateful day, as his critics suggest, then why did he order the Pentagon to have a large military force ready to quell a disturbance?” Another essential question is: “Why did a Democrat-led Congress turn down the assistance of pop National Guard troops in the face of intelligence warnings about violence?” I suggest that a third essential question is: “What did Nancy Pelosi know and when did she know it?” 

            In his article, Solomon outlined several ways that the Democrats try to evade such scrutiny. They put questions about what Pelosi knew and when she knew it off limits. They never called Secret Service agents to publicly testify about Cassidy Hutchinson’s story about Trump assaulting an agent in an attempt to get to the Capitol. Democrats use hearsay testimony from Hutchinson and snippets of testimony, but they do not allow any cross-examination of witnesses or challenges.

            Legal experts, such as Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, question the procedures. Democrat Dershowitz voted for Joe Biden in 2020 but declared the process of using hearsay testimony to be unethical, unfair, and bad lawyering. According to Dershowitz, the committee shows that they are being “partisan zealots” rather than truth-seekers.

            Dershowitz was joined in his condemnation by former career federal prosecutor David Sullivan. According to John Sullivan, David Sullivan believes that the entire accountability process for January 6 – at both the Justice Department and the congressional hearings – raised questions about fairness. He called the interrogations “very scripted” and gave viewers reasons to tune out. Contrary evidence and true cross-examination would have given Democrats “more credibility and traction.” “Legal scholars are very troubled by the way these hearings are being conducted…. There is no due process. For people who don’t have an agenda to promote, these [hearings] are Stalinist. And I hate using that term.”

            John Solomon continued his article by explaining that the hearings were undercut by facts. He wrote, “Trump’s actions before the riot began included urging supporters to ‘peacefully and patriotically’ express their opinions and ordering his top aides to ensure there was a large contingent of National Guard troops at the ready to ensure no trouble ensued.”

            Solomon reported that a timeline from Capitol Police shows that “the Trump Pentagon first offered National Guard troops to the Capitol Police on Jan. 2, 2021, four full days before the event. First turning down the offer, the police had second thoughts and went to “their political minders – the House sergeant at arms chief among them – for permission to accept the troops on Jan. 4.” They were turned down with the excuse that military personnel would create bad “optics.”

            Even more compelling evidence comes from a lengthy memo written by the Pentagon inspector general. According to Solomon, his memo “chronicled the assistance the Defense Department offered Congress both ahead of and during the riot.”

In it, the IG recounts a fateful meeting on Jan. 3, 2021, in the White House when then-acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with Trump on national security matters.

The complete passage – hardly mentioned by Democrats at the hearings or the news media covering them – is worth absorbing in its entirety.

“Mr. Miller and GEN Milley met with the President at the White House at 5:30 p.m.,” the IG reported. “The primary topic they discussed was unrelated to the scheduled rally. GEN Milley told us that at the end of the meeting, the President told Mr. Miller that there would be a large number of protestors on January 6, 2021, and Mr. Miller should ensure sufficient National Guard or Soldiers would be there to make sure it was a safe event. Gen Milley told us that Mr. Miller responded, ‘We’ve got a plan and we’ve got it covered.’”

Report No. DODIG-2022-039: Review of the DOD's Role, Responsibilities, and Actions to Prepare for and Respond to the Protest and Its Aftermath at the U.S. Capitol Campus on January 6, 2021 (

In advance of the Jan. 6 rally, the president told the most senior civilian and uniformed leaders of the military he knew the event was going to draw a “large number of protestors,” and he instructed the secretary of defense to ensure it was “safe” by having troops available. Democrats have not offered any evidence to counter that story.

            Sullivan continued by stating that the Pentagon memo yielded other information: “insight into the mindset of the Democrat-led Congress, top military officials and the local police before Jan. 6. It revealed that those key players “repeatedly raised concerns about accepting the offer of National Guard help, fearing it would create the perception of a military coup or martial law as the election results were certified.”

            As an example, Sullivan quoted Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy as telling the IG that “he did not want to create the perception that the military was involved in the electoral process…. He said that Mr. Miller made it clear that the military would not be involved in certifying the election results and that 10 different news agencies asked him about military use and martial law.”

            According to Sullivan, the memo states that District of Columbia Police Chief Robert Contee also opposed having the military present, but he had a different reason. “Chief Contee explained to us that he did not want other Federal law enforcement involved on January 6, 2021, because of the risk associated with having unidentified Federal officers carrying weapons within D.C.”

            Even as key security officials were against deploying the National Guard troops for fear of bad “optics,” the FBI, the Marshal’s Service, and the Homeland Security Department were sending to the police “raw intelligence warning of possible violence,” according to a recent report by Just the News.

            The intelligence reports began more than two weeks before the riot. They “flagged online chatter about waging a ‘bloody war,’ using nerve gas, concealing guns, and burning down the Supreme Court and specifically flagged two groups for possible trouble, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.”

            Capitol Police intelligence expert John T. Nugent Jr. wrote in an email Dec. 21, 2020, sent to a distribution list of the department’s Intelligence and Interagency Coordination Division: “Right-wing extremists are talking about tunnels below the Capitol Complex and the allegiances of USCP officers.”

            The Pentagon memo shows that Trump wanted National Guard troops in place. It also shows that intelligence reports warned of violence. Even though Trump offered troops and warnings were given, the Capitol Police were not prepared to protect the Capitol Building. Even worse, the Democrats on the congressional committee have not explained why.