Character & Madison

2017 | Week of January 2 | #1184

Republicans in Wisconsin have unprecedented majorities in our state legislature. We have a Republican governor. But what will that mean in the legislative session that begins this week in Madison?  Will it mean we truly strengthen, preserve and promote God’s plan for marriage and family, the sanctity of human life and religious freedom?

The answer to that question rests in a couple of things. First, it rests in the character of the people “we the people” elected.  Character is what we do when no one is looking; it’s the real us. Character is about doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, for the right reason and not being dictated by possible outcomes or fallout.  Character is shaped by the values and beliefs a person embraces, along with life experiences that test a person’s character.  What do our elected officials value? What are their core beliefs? What has shaped those values and beliefs?

If our Wisconsin state officials believe God’s plan for marriage and family is truly right and what is best for our state, then we will see policies and positions that strengthen this vital institution. Those policies will include measures that show good stewardship of the taxes families pay, that create more economic opportunities for married couples and their families, protect and increase school choice, respect parents’ rights, and promote marriage and family creation.  We’ll see policies that protect the privacy rights of all children in our schools, not just a select few who want special rights and protections when it comes to what restroom, locker room, shower room they use and what sports team they can play on.

Similarly, if our Wisconsin state officials believe human life is truly from God, then we will see policies that protect both women and their unborn children. We’ll have a policy introduced and passed that respects the dignity of babies who have been aborted, preventing the sale and use of their body parts and requiring a respectful disposition of their brutally mutilated bodies.

If our Wisconsin state officials believe religious freedom is indeed the foundational “first freedom” as our founders saw it, then we will protect the rights of all citizens to live and work in ways consistent with their beliefs, even when those beliefs are counter-culture, such as believing abortion is not right and that marriage is as God designed it, one man and one woman.

The answer to our original question about whether the strong majorities Republicans have in our state Senate and State Senate will actually strengthen, preserve and promote God’s plan for marriage and family, the sanctity of human life and religious freedom also rests on the character of “we the people.”

If policy and law are always downstream from culture—and I believe that is the case, then the character of the people who elect those who represent them is critical.  What are our beliefs and values? What are our beliefs and values built on—the unchanging, inerrant Word of God, or the ever-changing, man-derived, fully-susceptible-to-error human ideas? How have we responded to the experiences of life that have both tested and revealed our character?

What are we willing to stand up for in our communities, in our state and in our nation? What will we demand of those who represent us?  Will we be informed and involved this legislative session? Will we pray for those who represent us? Will we contact our representative and senator and the governor to be sure they know our opinions on critical bills?

Republicans have a 64-35 majority in the Assembly, and Republicans in the Senate enjoy a 20-13 edge. Republican Robin Vos is again Assembly Speaker; Republican Scott Fitzgerald is continuing as Senate Majority Leader. The priorities for the session and the bills that actually get to the floor in both houses are largely determined by these two leaders. Their character is critical. Both have significant track-records that show their character, revealing their values and beliefs. We do well to examine those records.

Theoretically, given these historic majorities and the espoused beliefs and values of the Republican party, there should be no question that God’s plan for marriage and family, the sanctity of human life, and religious freedom will all be strengthened, preserved and promoted during this two-year legislative session. The wild card is the character of those 64 Representatives and 20 Senators, including their leaders, as well as the character —as well as the character of the people they represent—the character of “we the people,” which includes you and  me.

For Wisconsin Family Council, I’m Julaine Appling, reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

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