Monday, December 15, 2008

Bowing at the Alter

In what has become an annual pilgrimage, a host of legislators bowed at the alter of Dean Welty and the Valley Family Forum at their annual "Unveiling" last Friday. Attending werethe predictable Republicans: Del. Matt Lohr of Broadway, Del. Steve Landes of Weyers Cave, Del. Chris Saxman of Staunton, Del. Ben Cline of Rockbridge, Sen. Mark Obenshain of Harrisonburg, and Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel of Winchester. Noticeably absent was Sen. Emmett Hanger who, while he may agree on some issues, is clearly not in lockstep with this crowd . Todd Gilbert was also a no-show.
According to Welty, the mission of the Valley Family Forum is
"Our purpose is no different tonight than [in years past]. Our purpose is to defend and rebuild the moral foundation of the nation. Unless we rebuild the foundation that protects our culture, we cannot survive."
No real specifics there, but one can assume they want to ban all abortions, give vouchers or tax breaks for private schools and home schoolers, support abstinence-only sex education, promote prayer in public school, make their God a player in public policy.
So, what did the legislators offer up? Off-shore oil drilling. Anti-union legislation. Kicking Planned Parenthood out of sex education classes. Requiring parental permission for students to join clubs.
I guess off-shore drilling might connect to families by providing some jobs, but it is difficult to see the relationship to VFF goals. How about green jobs like might be provided by wind power? Unions are anti-family? Huh? So, because you disagree with organization's stand on choice/abortion, the state shouldn't work with Planned Parenthood in preventing teen pregnancy? That's hardly productive solution!
Some of the ideas made some sense, but probably aren't high on the VFF wish list. Lohr suggested easing some mandates of SOLs and NCLB because of the coming budget cuts to public schools. And, Landes' idea about donating unused medications to free clinics has merit and should be explored.
Read more at the DNR and check out the long list of comments in their online forum. Make your own comment. Those comments and common sense tell us the "family values" pushed by Valley Family Forum are out of the mainstream of many families in the Shenandoah Valley and most people in the Commonwealth. We can hope that, as they make decisions affecting us all, legislators will listen to the other voices that make up their constituencies. 

No comments: