In the Fall/Winter installment of Family North Carolina magazine, we introduced our end of year theme for 2019, “Behind Every Issue Is A Person.” Inspired by Dan Darling’s book The Dignity Revolution, “Behind every issue…” seeks to remind us of the inherent dignity of every human being we encounter. Oftentimes, as we engage in politics and public policy, we can become so consumed with being “right” and “winning,” that we lose sight of what really matters and “who” really matters. Ultimately, as followers of Jesus Christ, we should seek to fulfill the Greatest Commandments about which He spoke in Matthew 22:37-39:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus also taught in the parable of the Good Samaritan, that we should even approach our perceived “enemies” with compassion and love. Furthermore, we are to use our power and our platform—whatever that may be—to advocate and care for those who are marginalized and may have no voice.
As part of this theme, NC Family brought you three stories of real lives that have been impacted by the work we do on issues like the sanctity of human life, religious liberty and predatory gambling.
First, you heard from Jolene about her real-life struggle with gambling addiction, and how laws and policies in her home state of Illinois have enabled the gambling industry to prey on her and people like her. Now, Jolene can’t leave her house without being confronted with slot machines and other gambling temptations, whether she is going to the gas station, the grocery store, or a restaurant. As Jolene says, state lawmakers are often unaware of the severe problems such a prevalence of gambling can cause, and how this addiction can ruin people’s lives. This is why NC Family works so passionately to keep the predatory gambling industry out of our state.
Next, you heard from Pastor Ed Russ of Grace Community Church in Cary. The students in his campus ministry, Grace Christian Life at NC State University, were faced with a university policy that prevented them from sharing the Gospel with fellow students in public areas on campus. The students sought legal help from our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom. Ultimately, the students won, and the university was forced to change its discriminatory policy because of a state law NC Family helped to secure that further protects the religious liberties of students on university and college campuses.
Finally, you heard from Laura Strabley, executive director of Carolina Pregnancy Center in Greenville, NC. Every day, Laura and her team pray for and help vulnerable young women make informed decisions about their pregnancies. Laura tells the story of “Monique,” a woman who was scheduled to have an abortion. After receiving information required by North Carolina’s “Woman’s Right to Know Act” and a free ultrasound, “Monique” ultimately changed her mind and chose life for her child. NC Family worked to establish the state’s informed consent for abortion law in 2011 and then successfully pushed in 2015 to make NC one of a handful of states with a longer 72-hour waiting period before abortion. We also helped convince state lawmakers to direct taxpayer money away from abortion groups like Planned Parenthood and towards pregnancy care centers for the purchase of ultrasound machines, training and other pro-life initiatives.
As 2019 comes to a close, we’d like to thank you for sharing in the stories of Jolene, Ed, Laura, and “Monique,” and we ask you to consider making a special Year-End Gift to help support the work of NC Family, if you have not done so already.
We know 2020 will be a year full of challenges and opportunities, and we must remember that there are people just like Jolene, Ed, Laura, and “Monique” who need us to continue fighting for them and for pro-family policies. As Dan Darling says in his book, “We must learn what it means to really live out what we say we believe: that every person we meet, interact with, or hear of carries inalienable dignity, made as they are in God’s image.”