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Sioux Falls Office Open House


On Friday, July 25 and Saturday, July 26, the FHA officially celebrated the opening of our office in Sioux Falls. It has been a long road, and truthfully, an enormous step of faith, but we are open for business in the Sioux Falls. Our Executive Director, Dale Bartscher was there of course, and he had the following to say: “Right at 50 friends walked through our office door and the 'good will' expressed by all was especially gratifying. It was a special treat to see our own FHA Board Member Gayla Meyer walk through the door on Saturday. It was helpful having FHA Student Intern Cape Molstad (Baltic, SD) join us on Friday all day.” Several legislators were among those visiting, and so many commented on the attractive and spacious accommodations. It would be impossible to adequately thank LaVonne Fossness who serves as our Sioux Falls Area Representative, and without whose diligent work and networking, the open house and the office itself would still just be a dream.

8/1/2014

FHA Executive Director Attends FPC Conference


Naples, Florida, was the place to be July 7-11 for the 38 state's Family Policy Council Directors. Focus on the Family and CitizenLink, Focus' public policy sister organization, invited FHA Executive Director Dale Bartscher to this National Conference. The FHA became South Dakota's Family Policy Council over a year ago when Focus and CitizenLink officially associated with her. Dale joined the 37 other FPC state Directors (see photo) for this intensive, strategic planning 5-day annual event. Also in attendance were attorneys from across the nation attending the ADF's (Alliance Defending Freedom) Legal Academy. The Family Policy Directors were treated to a private session with Florida US Senator Marco Rubio. Dale and his wife, Jan, enjoyed a brief private conversation and photo op with the Senator. Plans have now been made for Dale to attend this coming September's FPC Director's Meeting in Washington, DC.

8/1/2014

FHA Campaign Takes Aim at Human Trafficking


Ahead of the Sturgis Motor Cycle Rally, the FHA is launching an awareness campaign.  Beginning next week, just ahead of the rally, the Family Heritage Alliance, with the assistance of Free International and other ministries and organizations, will launch an awareness campaign against human trafficking and sex slavery. Radio and TV PSAs with Representative Kristi Noem, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley, and U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson will hit the airwaves for the campaign.  Also, you will see a billboard on Interstate 90 right outside of Sturgis, as well as several digital billboards around the area.

Update:  Be watching for the video spots below on your local TV stations.  Also, a second billboard is up on Mt. Rushmore Road just past Tower Road.  And lastly, due in large part to the work of our Tess Franzen, SD Governor Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed August "Human Trafficking Awareness Month"!  Click here to read the proclamation.

Last year, nine men were charged with sex trafficking during the Sturgis Rally.  You might be interested in reading:  Belle Fourche man found guilty of sex trafficking during rally.





7/19/2014

July 30 BH Area FHA Luncheon


Wednesday, July 30 found almost 100 friends (which may be a record for this time of year) of the FHA gathered at South Canyon Lutheran Church in Rapid City for our Summer Black Hills Area Luncheon. The Keynote Speaker for the event was Family Research Council’s SD field representative, Bruce Lau. Also on the program was a report from our Tess Franzen, Director of FHA’s Human Rights Division regarding the ongoing work toward stemming the tide of human trafficking in our state. As always, we want to thank Pastor Bruce Thalacker and the wonderful folks at South Canyon Lutheran Church. Also, a huge thank you goes out to the army of FHA volunteers that helped make this event a success!


8/1/2014

Human Trafficking and The Church


By Tess Franzen (Director of FHA Human Rights Division)

Seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless and plead the widows’ cause. ~Isaiah 1:17

God calls His people to be a light in the darkness and the ambassadors of His kingdom.  He also charges us to stand between innocence and evil in whatever ways He leads and provides.  This is an incredible responsibility He has entrusted to His children!

The historical church had a prominent role in the fight against slavery in the Western world.  They stood boldly for freedom; they did not give up, and they prevailed.  The church still has a prominent role to play in the fight for freedom.  Slavery exists today, even in America, in the harsh reality of human trafficking.  And there is a role for the church today.

The church is uniquely equipped to combat human trafficking, and their role is essential in this war against evil.  The collective consciousness of believers is pricked and wounded once they learn about human trafficking.  They are outraged over the exploitation and abuse, but in many cases they aren’t sure how they can help.  

People of faith often ask me about the work we’re doing to combat human trafficking and how they can get involved.  Human trafficking is a complex human rights violation and criminal enterprise.  Further, it is an offense against the God in whose image all people are created.  Combating human trafficking requires a comprehensive approach, which means there’s something for everyone to do, especially in the body of believers.

The most important thing a believer can do to combat human trafficking is to pray, to seek the throne of God and ask for His guidance and intervention, to pray for the victims, and the survivors, that through Jesus they will be transformed into “thrivers”.  They can pray for those who are actively working against trafficking, for wisdom, protection, and favor.  Intercessory prayer is a vital component in this battle!

The prayer of a righteous person has great power (James 5:16)

The best way to end human trafficking is to prevent it from happening in the first place.  In order to do this we must understand the contributing factors.  At its heart, human trafficking is a failure to value individuals as the precious and unique creations of God that they are.  It results from a cultural worship of sexuality and sexual gratification, and it is fueled by the rampant pornography industry.  There is no entity on earth better equipped than the church to spearhead the cultural changes needed to remedy these sad realities.

Most trafficking victims come from fatherless homes, or even parentless homes.  They are also single mothers struggling to care for their children.  The breakdown of the family has many dire consequences, and human trafficking is one of them.  Intact families insulate children from many of the vulnerabilities that lead other children into a world of exploitation and dehumanizing abuse.  The church can continue to strengthen the family and protect the children by promoting fatherhood, personal responsibility, and sexual purity.  The “fatherless” and “widows” of the Old Testament may well be today’s single mothers and fatherless children, and we must “seek justice” and “correct oppression” on their behalf.  

Information is power, so it’s important to become informed on what human trafficking looks like in our region.  The church is “salt and light” in our world, which means they are the embodiment of truth and a defense against evil.  Believers can attend an awareness event, or host one at their church, school, or ministry.  They can seek out resources and share them with others.  This will provide people with the information needed to identify red flags and to spot the potential victims that are living in our midst.  It will help them understand how traffickers lure individuals into their nets of exploitation.  It will teach more parents, and those who work with children, how to be more effective in protecting their children, youth, and young adults from the risky behaviors that traffickers exploit.  

The church has a role in serving the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of those who have been victims of human trafficking.  The shattered hearts and lives that result from human trafficking will not be easily mended, but when the church wraps its heart and arms around these people, the healing can take place.

Trafficking survivors need short term emergency care and shelter.  They need long term care, counseling, and mentoring in order to rebuild healthy lives from the ruins their perpetrators left them in.  The church has the resources, the heart, and the Spirit necessary to provide for these needs.  

Through financially supporting those who are working to combat human trafficking, the church can provide the means to strengthen the soldiers on the ground.  Financial resources are needed to promote awareness through billboards, posters, fliers, events, and trainings.  Those who serve victims and survivors need financial assistance to meet the short and long term needs of those they serve.  The church can underwrite the work that is being done, and they can fund the visions of work yet to be started.  

So, how can you get involved?  How can you stand between at risk individuals and those who would exploit them?  How can you help those who are being, or who have been, trafficked?  How can you be part of creating a culture where all people are valued?  How can you promote awareness and provide information to others?  How can you be the change our world needs?  

I would ask you to pray, to seek God and His guidance in answering these questions.  
For more information on what’s being done in South Dakota and how you might be able to get involved in combating human trafficking, email Tess Franzen at:

Tess@FamilyHeritageAlliance.org

And may God bless each and every one of you!
Tess Franzen
Director of Human Rights Division
Family Heritage Alliance 

6/19/2014

Pastor Yorba Takes Faster Pastor West Trophy


Sunday, July 13, 13 area ministry leaders gathered to duel it out in what has become an FHA tradition. The Faster Pastor Go Cart Race West, postponed from its regular spot at the conclusion of our Celebrating Family event, was every bit the grand finale we were expecting. Pastor George Yorba of Open Range Bible Outfitters fame took the trophy. He officially took possession of the coveted trophy in front of the Hills Alive crowd on Sunday, July 20 at 2:50 pm. The other participants were: Pastor/Elder Jim Price (Black Hills Church of Christ), Pastor Troy Carr (Faith Temple Church), Pastor Karman Blake (Good Healing Voice Ministries), Pastor Jon Fiester (Bible Fellowship Church), Pastor Wayne Titus (Rapid Valley Community Church), Father Jonathan Dillon (Cathedral of OLPH), Father Nathan Sparks (Cathedral of OLPH), Pastor Karl Kroeger (Piedmont United Methodist Church), Pastor Rob Crumb (Dove Christian Center), Father Mark Horn (Cathedral of OLPH), Pastor Layne Lindberg (Freedom Life Outreach), Pastor Steve Selfridge (First Wesleyan Church).  See more pictures from the event on our Facebook Page.


7/19/2014

FHA Opens New Sioux Falls Office


As the ministry of the Family Heritage Alliance and FHA Action expands, the logical next step has always been a permanent, brick and mortar presence in Sioux Falls. As of Tuesday, July 1, that next step was achieved as we received the keys to our suite in the FCA building located at 1601 East 69th Street. Our suite is #206.

We are still in the process of getting utilities set up and ready to go, so it may be a day or two before a phone number is published.  However, we are "chomping at the bits" to get operations up and fully functional in Sioux Falls.

We are excited to announce that we will be hosting an Open House Reception at our new office on Friday July 25 from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM and Saturday, July 26 from 9:00 AM to 11:30  AM.  Refreshments will be served.  We are looking forward to seeing you there.

7/3/2014

Executive Director Attends FPC Conference


Naples, Florida, is the setting for this year's 2014 National Family Policy Council Conference, July 7-11.  The Family Heritage Alliance is South Dakota's Associate partner to four National Family Values Organizations represented at this year's FPC Conference.  They are:  Focus On The Family, CitizenLink, Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council.  Focus on the Family and their public policy partner CitizenLink associate with only one organization per state, bestowing upon them the title FPC.  The Family Heritage Alliance is so honored and blessed to be selected as the FPC for South Dakota.  The purpose of this conference is to strengthen us in protecting religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage and family.  There will be several tracks participating in this year’s Alliance Defending Freedom Academy: the Legal Academy, which includes International and Advanced Training sessions; Collegiate Academy; Media Academy; and the FPC Academy (which Dale is attending).

Dale writes, "I have been praying for the Lord’s mercy and blessing on this Academy, and anticipate God’s grace permeating all of our fellowship and interaction.  To be clear - God has answered my prayers!"  This Academy is a beginning, rather than a culmination. God has assembled at this conference many talented and committed men and women who desire to serve Christ’s Body with the skills He has graciously provided to them.  Dale further adds, "Not only am I developing “professional connections,” but I am also deepening friendships with the other 37 Policy Council State Directors.  Together we are impacting our decaying culture and thus keeping the door open for the spread of the Gospel.  We can only do this together and with His blessing."

7/10/2014

First Annual Sioux Falls Walk Run


Saturday, June 28 was a beautiful summer day for our first annual Sioux Falls Run Walk for Faith, Family and Freedom. This year, we partnered with the Joe Marrowbone and the Ram Center. It is the heart of the FHA to reach out to our Native American brothers and sisters in Christ and this was our first successful attempt at doing so. Our Sioux Falls Area Coordinator, LaVonne Fossness did a superb job lining up this event which raised over $1000 for the two ministries. Just so you know, Dale and LaVonne weren’t in any trouble, the two Sioux Falls motorcycle police officers just dropped by to wish us well.










7/10/2014

FHA Action Endorses Mike Rounds




6/26/2014

Celebrating Family West 2014


Many of the mini-golf (pardon the pun) holes were under water, but still the hearty golfers golfed on. At times they watched intently to see if their golf ball managed to find its mark under the surface of the water. Talk about a water hazard. The climbing wall seemed the best idea, since you could at least get to higher ground that way. Yes, the rain came and the temperatures were less than cooperating, but still around 250 folks from the Rapid City area came out to enjoy fellowship, food, and fun. On June 21, the weather was far from ideal, but the 2014 Celebrating Family West came off quite well considering. When the FHA does an event like this, there is always an army of volunteers who make it all possible. To those volunteers, and the wonderful folks at the Ranch Amusement park, we extend a great big ‘thank you’.

Many of those attending waited patiently for 3:00 as that was the scheduled time for the “Faster Pastor” race. However, because of the waterlogged race track, the grand finale had to be scrubbed at the last minute. But be of good cheer, we already have the Faster Pastor race rescheduled for July 13. As a result of the reschedule, a few of the contestants had to bow out, so we are looking for a few who might be interested in filling their place. If you are interested, call our office at 605.718.5433.

6/28/2014

2014 Celebrating Family East


Well the clouds rolled in early in the morning on June 14.  The rain fell, the wind blew, and they pounded the FHA’s tent, but it was founded on something substantial enough to withstand the storm and provide shelter for the FHA team preparing to spend some time celebrating family in Sioux Falls.  And, when the sun finally came out, so did about 150 folks looking to share in the “Celebrating Family” experience, and wow did we make up for lost time.  Sure, we were hoping for 500, but the fact that 150 braved the rain and wind and came out to spend the morning with us is a win worthy of any trophy case.  We were blessed to have a great team of volunteers who efficiently worked to make the best of weather.  We can’t say enough about Al Novstrup and the great folks at Thunder Road who donated tickets to the attendees, and just generally made the experience a great one.

As is our custom, the grand finale to the day, was the Faster Pastor race.  We had 11 participants, and the event was a goodhearted perfect conclusion to our “Celebrating Family” in Sioux Falls.  The following pastors participated, and represented their respective ministries well.  Pastor Tyler Tufte took the checkered flag.

  • Pastor Spencer Aalsburg – United Reformed Church
  • Pastor Aaron Asmus – Memorial Lutheran Church
  • Pastor Chris Ascher – Resurrection Lutheran Church
  • Pastor Joe Marrowbone – First Assembly of God church
  • Pastor Dave Tims – First Reformed Church
  • Pastor Tyler Tufte – First Assembly of God Church
  • Pastor Brian Narcomey – Center of Hope Church
  • Pastor Larry Fossum – Cowboy Way Church
  • Pastor Jon Sanders – The Rescue Church
  • Pastor Kurt Schiferl – Volunteers of America
  • Pastor Chad Weidenbacher – Faith Temple
Our special thanks to LaVonne Fossness (our Sioux Falls Area Coordinator) who, as always rallied an amazing team of volunteers, and did a great job getting everything lined out and ready for the event.

6/19/2014

Countryside Church Joins Human Trafficking Fight


Countryside Church in Spearfish has stepped onto the battle field in the fight against human trafficking by establishing “Free the Black Hills of Human Trafficking” and holding their first conference on the issue.

The Human Trafficking in South Dakota 101 conference was held on June 5 at Countryside Church with speakers: Tess Franzen, Director of the FHA’s Human Rights Division, Michael Bartel Director of F.R.E.E. International, and Windie Lazenko of 4Her North Dakota. Each of the speakers brought insight and information to the issue as they shared about the horrible realities of trafficking, what is being done in the area to combat it, specifically with the Sturgis Rally, how community members can join the fight, and the hope for survivors.

We at the FHA are honored to participate with Free the Black Hills in this important work. And we are excited to see how God will use His people to help bring an end to the evils of human trafficking in our region.

6/7/2014

SD Joins Challenge to Obamacare


SD Joins Challenge to Affordable Care Act's Violation of the Origination Clause

SD Joins Challenge to Affordable Care Act's Violation of the Origination Clause
PIERRE, S.D - Attorney General Marty Jackley announces that South Dakota has joined 20 states in asserting that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) violates the Constitution’s Origination Clause, which requires that all tax bills originate in the House of Representatives. In the original challenge to the ACA a divided United States Supreme Court held that the Congress’s reliance upon the Commerce Clause and the Medicaid coercion were both unconstitutional; however, the Court held the individual mandate was Constitutional under Congress’s authority to level taxes.

"I feel strongly that the federal takeover of healthcare has gone too far in violation of fundamental individual and state’s rights. The divided Supreme Court decision that construed Obamacare as a tax that saved it from the Congress’s mistaken reliance upon the Commerce Clause may well have led it straight into a serious Constitutional Origination Clause violation,” said Jackley.

The Origination Clause provides: “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.” U.S. CONST. Art.I § 7, cl.1. The Affordable Care Act did not originate in the House of Representatives. In 2009, the House of Representatives passed 416-0 the Service Members Home Ownership Act. The six page Act outlined certain tax breaks given to homeowners that were serving in the military. The bill was sent to the Senate where every word of the bill was struck, deleting any reference to members of the military or home-ownership tax breaks, and substituted with an over 2,000 page amendment that is now known as Obamacare. The Attorneys General argue that because the United States Supreme Court has held the ACA constitutes a tax, the Origination Clause of the United States Constitution required that it originate in the House of Representatives rather than the Senate.

The Federal Healthcare Act’s expansion of coverage was estimated to increase federal spending in the amount of $3.3 trillion over 10 years as set forth in the U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments. The Senate originated Act contains more than $1 trillion in new taxes. Full implementation of the Federal Act is estimated to cost the State of South Dakota millions, which is concerning given the requirement that South Dakota maintain a balanced budget.

The challenge is filed in the Fifth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, and there is no additional cost for South Dakota to join the challenge entitled Hotze v. Sebelius.

5/16/2014

JWC's First Commencement Exercise


John Witherspoon College is the first and only institution of its kind in a five-state region that includes more than 300,000 people living in a 2000-mile radius. One biographer said that John Witherspoon transformed Princeton into an institution that equipped "the revolutionary generation." God has given this school that bears his name, the resources, the vision, and the passion for equipping a "new revolutionary generation." All to the glory of God!

On Friday, May 9, JWC celebrated both her FIRST Commencement Exercise and graduated her FIRST Graduate. That Graduate is Scott D. Wiggins pictured here second from the left standing beside FHA Executive Director and Vice-Chairman of the JWC Board of Trustees. Also pictured are JWC's President Dr. Richard Wells and her Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Dean, Dr. Ronald J. Lewis. Mr. Wiggins graduated with an Associate of Christian Leadership and the FHA congratulates him and wishes JWC God's speed.

5/16/2014

TRAVELING TOUR TROUPE TRIUMPHS


The FHA's South Dakota 2014 Shepherds' Symposium Tour (April 28-30) far exceeded our expectations in so many ways. One hundred and fifty Ministry Leaders attended this five-city-tour spanning a distance of some 1200 miles round trip. Its purpose was to clearly demonstrate the FHA's passionate appreciation of our SD Ministry Leaders' as we encouraged them to be 'Salt and Light' to a culture that so desperately needs to hear TRUTH on our Family Values TODAY.

Our Keynote Speaker, Dr. Rick Scarborough, President of Vision America, was MORE than well received at each stop along the way. He inspired and challenged those in attendance saying in essence that...

"America has embarked on a second great civil war. The Battlefield is not geographic, economic, or military. It is a battle between right and wrong; truth and error; virtue and vice. It is a battle for the minds and hearts of our young people, for the values and virtues of our heritage, and for the faith and freedom of all."

His answer to this crisis? "The Christian community must engage in this battle for our future. God's people must restore the virtues that made America great. The church must accept the responsibility and 'fight the good fight' to preserve our freedom and re-establish our virtue."

Dr. Scarborough's 30-minute presentation has been videotaped and will be released soon on DVD. It is included below this article as well. Please contact the FHA office at 605-718-LIFE (5433), or email Amy Willson at Amy@FamilyHeritageAlliance.org, for your complimentary DVD copy.

Also traveling with FHA's Executive Director Dale Bartscher and her Youth and Young Adult Engagement Coordinator Norman Woods was Bob Crawford of the RNC's, Republican National Committee's, Faith Based Engagement Division. Bob brought a word of encouragement to those in attendance to stay the course as we bring "All things under the authority of Christ" - including our government.

FHA's sincere appreciation is extended to these Pastors' and their churches for hosting our Shepherds' Symposium events:

  • Pastor Brent Reeves, South Canyon Baptist Church (Rapid City, SD)
  • Pastor Dean Ulmer, First Reformed Church (Mitchell, SD) Pastor Roger
  • Spahr, Cornerstone United Methodist Church (Watertown, SD) Pastor Joe
  • Ganahl, Morningside Community Church (Brookings, SD) Pastor Randy
  • Anderson, First Evangelical Free Church (Sioux Falls, SD)
We continue to be stronger and better together!


5/1/2014

Rapid City Proposes Strengthening City AOB Ordinance


Without dragging you through all the sordid details, Shotgun Willies (Rapid City’s last remaining strip club) is back in the spotlight having narrowly escaped a major suspension just a couple of months ago. The city is considering strengthening the ordinance that regulates Adult Oriented Business or AOB’s. To be a little more specific, the city is considering making it easier to enforce the existing ordinance. On Wednesday, Rapid City’s Legal and Finance committee met to determine if the proposed amendment to the existing ordinance should go before the full City Council. FHA’s Communications Director, John Dennis (pictured at left) along with Lead business owner Lori Messner testified before the committee urging them to adopt the amendment.

Rapid City Council will consider the amendment on Monday, May 5. The meeting begins at 6:30 PM in the Rapid City Council Chambers (CSAC building). Among others, FHA Executive Director Dale Bartscher will be giving testimony in support of the proposed amendment. Come out and show your support for strengthening the ordinance.

5/1/2014

UPDATE : Bible Curriculum in Public Schools


By Perry Lewis

One year ago the Bible Curriculum in Public Schools was presented to Superintendent Tim Mitchell of the Rapid City School District, which is the largest district in South Dakota, and then presented to this audience.

We believed this great curriculum of history and literature was well received by Dr Mitchell and we know you received it well. It seemed to be moving in the direction for approval as an elective course in Rapid City High Schools.

A few weeks ago I met again with Dr. Mitchell. The climate of this meeting was substantially different than the first meeting in the following ways:

  1. Up front he told me he had been attacked by several people soon after it was announced the Bible Curriculum would be considered. Note: You may remember a very negative editorial by the Rapid City Journal followed by several negative letters to the editor. Shortly thereafter Dale Bartscher of Family Heritage Alliance had published in the same paper a very positive response.
  2. Dr. Mitchell told me he was overwhelmed (my word) by the Common Core planning and execution.
  3. He also said he works at the direction of the School Board and they gave him six directives to be his priority.
  4. Dr. Mitchell then told me, “There is no room for any electives that do not apply to higher education”.
  5. Finally he told me the Bible Curriculum concept is back to square one, and frankly it appeared to me he is not at all interested at this point in trying to move it forward.
May I suggest that Dr. Mitchell’s position, in view of Common Core [Standards], is probably not much different than Superintendents across the state, and nation for that matter.

Does Common Core and its dictates mean the end of the effort? Wars are seldom won with a single battle. Is it time for our legislature to become more proactive in school curriculum with legislation that reflects the standards we would want for our children?  How many Christians are serving on school boards?

4/12/2014