Tony Perkins State of the Family Address

Remarks as Prepared
Tony Perkins, FRC President
January 11, 2016

Good evening and welcome to the Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, D.C. Thank you for joining us for this 2016 State of the Family address.

Nearly a year ago we gathered in this same place on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The timing was fitting, because that national holiday honors civil rights and testifies to the importance of religion in American life. On that occasion we sought to remind Americans, as Dr. King did so powerfully through his words and deeds, that through the power of faith we aim to “transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”

Last year’s address came at a time of great anxiety for our nation. We knew the challenges that lay ahead. 2015 would bring a momentous decision on the constitutionality of marriage. As we prepared for this event one year ago, Islamic extremists mounted a devastating attack on the editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo and, days later, killed four French Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris – attacks that only foreshadowed the wave of terrorism to come, which just weeks ago hit
American soil in California.

What came to pass in 2015 has challenged us to the core:

  • The Supreme Court dismissed the natural and universal meaning of marriage as a violation of the 14th Amendment and an assault on human “dignity.”
  • The national debt soared above $18 trillion. This translates into a personal debt of over $58,000 for every man, woman, and child in America.
  • Under Obamacare, millions of Americans are now dependent on government subsidies for their health care insurance. The president’s lack of faith in market-based reform has created more reliance on government among Americans who need opportunity, not another government-funded program. A majority of the health care co-ops
    collapsed, saddled with unsustainable debt.
  • The suffering of persecuted Christians – some 100 million worldwide – continued to grow. Meanwhile, the Obama administration continued to drag its feet, refusing bipartisan calls to label ISIS’ murderous actions as nothing less than “genocide.”
  • In November I traveled with a group of fellow Americans to the Golan Heights and observed Israel’s defensive strikes against the
    movement of Iranian war materials across Syria to Hezbollah. Iran is stepping up its provocations on the eve of receiving billions of dollars in previously frozen funds released by President Obama’s reckless nuclear deal.
  • Meanwhile, the Obama administration once again showcased its misguided priorities, when they threatened to withhold federal funds if an Illinois high school did not open the girls’ locker room and sports teams to a boy who now believes he is a girl.
  • And last month, Aaron and Melissa Klein, the courageous couple who joined us in this very room last year, were compelled to pay
    over $136,000 to two women for whom they could not in good conscience use their talent to create a wedding cake.

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However, in the midst of the sobering summary of 2015, there were many positive signs – and countless acts of courage that should inspire us to make 2016 a turning point for our nation.

We have hope knowing that God is the Lord of the universe and the One in Whose hand lies the destiny of all peoples and nations. Our faith compels us to Stand for God’s unchanging truths, and when we do our lives tell a compelling story to our fellow citizens that there is, in fact, a better way.

In addition to our faith, we still have our freedom. We must use that freedom to choose the good and the true. That, after all, is the purpose of freedom.

And many are doing just that – using their God-given and constitutionally assured liberty to stand for faith, family, and freedom. We have seen several heroes arise in the last year and we are honored to have some of them join us tonight.

While the marriage decision was a devastating principled loss for us all, it was a very personal loss for Kentucky Clerk of Court, Kim Davis. Clerk Davis became the face of the opposition when she refused to sanction same-sex marriages by allowing her name to appear on marriage licenses. Kim stood strong to the point of spending time in the local jail until Mat Staver and our friends at Liberty Counsel successfully argued for her release.

She has since received a religious accommodation by an Executive Order from the newly elected Governor, Matt Bevin, who by the way, made religious liberty a central theme for his successful campaign for governor.

Kim stood up courageously against the power of the state and the ACLU and she, along with religious liberty in Kentucky prevailed! Well done, Kim. We are glad you are with us tonight…

Read full speech here.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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