Welcome to Family Heritage Alliance

Click here to donate to the FHA
facebook youtube

2015 Religious Liberty Townhall Tour Report

With the exception of the weather, all the other lights on our S.D. Religious Liberty Tour dashboard were green. The entire project was a huge success as Alliance Defending Freedom’s Matt Sharp hit a grand slam at each of the three stops. Yes, we were scheduled for four stops, but sadly, we had to postopone the Mitchell event due to the snow storm pounding the east side of the state. In Rapid City, we had a near record turnout at 180 in attendance. In Aberdeen, 30 came out for the event there. In Sioux Falls, the event saw 80 attendees. At each stop, Matt focused on the importance of being proactive in preparing your ministry and business for the coming storm. It is so good to have ADF in our corner as we assist Christian businesses and ministries across the state.

In Rapid City, we were blessed to have “Heart of David” providing inspirational music before the event began. Thanks guys and gal for doing such a great job of kicking this tour off. Also at the Rapid City event, Pastor Craig Moore (First Assembly of God) was honored with our “Beyond the Walls” Pastor’s award.

Click here for all the pics of this event on our Facebook post!


Mission Minded

Recently we were pleased to find that Aberdeen Christian Fellowship has a place on their "Missions Wall" for Executive Director Dale Bartscher and the Family Heritage Alliance.  We are so appreciative to churches like this who allocate mission funds for the work of the FHA.  As churches are looking at their budgets for 2016, perhaps yours might find a place in their mission budget for the Family Heritage Alliance.  To Aberdeen Christian Fellowship and the other churches across the state who are doing the same thing, we extend our sincere appreciation for your partnership with us in this work.


FHA's New Home in Rapid City

Well, as you may have heard, just as our "Stand" banquets were ending, our moving adventure was beginning.  Since our inception, FHA and FHA Action has officed out of suites in the Life and Liberty building located at 1825 Clear View Lane.  Because that office complex sold to a veterinary clinic, we were forced to either become veterinarians or find a new home.  We opted for the latter.  Our new address in Rapid City is 2620 Jackson Blvd., Suite E.  Stop by.  Share a cup of coffee with us.  To give you a quick tour of the new digs, we offer the video below.  It's just a minute long, so take the 60 second tour!


FHA Action Invited to Legislative Reception

On Friday, November 6, both Catholic and non-Catholic West River Legislators, along with FHA Executive Director Dale Bartscher and FHA Lobbyist Norman Woods, were invited to a special Legislative Reception. This Reception was held on the beautiful campus of Terra Sancta just outside of Rapid City. Hosting this Reception was Rapid City Bishop Gruss along with the West River Social Justice Commission. Pictured here, from left to right, standing with Bishop Gruss are SD Representatives Timothy Johns, Jacqueline Sly, Jeff Partridge and Lynne DiSanto. The Bishop addressed those Legislators in attendance on several social value issues (ie. Sanctity of Life, Religious Liberty, etc.) of particular interest to ‘People of Faith' and then took questions from the audience. The FHA and FHA ACTION welcomes a growing, working relationship with her Catholic friends across the state of South Dakota as we are stronger and better together!


Noem One of 100 Most Influential Pro-Life Advocates

From Newsmax:

In the four decades since the Supreme Court discovered a constitutional right to abortion in Roe v. Wade, more than 58 million abortions have taken place in the United States. Some call it the “American holocaust.”


Based on a variety of media and pro-life sources, Newsmax has compiled this roster of the nation’s top 100 pro-life icons. These cultural warriors long for the day when the last abortion is conducted in the United States, and they won’t cease their protests until that time.

#43.  Kristi Noem, Republican congresswoman from South Dakota --Noem has battled for pro-life causes both in the Senate and in the South Dakota Legislature.


FHA’s Mission Update In Huron, SD

On Sunday, October 25, FHA Executive Director Dale Bartscher was invited to give an FHA Mission's Update at the Huron Christian Church, Huron, South Dakota. Their Lead Pastor Al Wager, pictured here with Dale, and Associate Pastor Brad Korell welcomed Dale and the work of the FHA royally. HCC has been a friend to Dale for a number of years for it was there, 39 years ago, in 1976, that he was ordained to Christian Ministry and married his wife, Jan. Dale not only gave an FHA Mission’s Update in both of their worship services but they also combined their Sunday School classes so folks could hear an extended FHA Statewide Report. Please contact the FHA if your church family would like to receive an FHA Mission's Update.


Amy Willson Receives National Honor

by John Dennis

If you have had much interaction at all with Family Heritage Alliance, then you already know Amy Willson. This registered nurse, sold-out-disciple of Jesus, activist dynamo, quietly and often behind the scenes pours so much of herself and her many talents into keeping FHA and FHA Action organized and on track. She serves as our Administrative Assistant. When she isn’t working for us, or working as a nurse or with her church family, she is probably working tirelessly as Chapter Leader for Act For America. ACT for America is the organization often at the forefront, educating and working on legislation specific national security, terrorism, and radical Islam.  For more about ACT for America, click here.

Amy recounted to me an event that happened five years ago (or so) while visiting the Holocaust Museum in D.C. She was there with her good friend and mentor. Amy told of a glass box into which visitors to the museum were encouraged to drop a small piece of paper with the visitor’s name on it, signifying that the person would commit to taking a stand if these kinds of atrocities were ever to occur again. Amy said that she remembers vividly her mentor’s hand shaking as she placed her name in the glass box. (Shortly after their return from DC, Amy's mentor passed away unexpectedly from cancer.)  This was a turning point for Amy. Not long after this event, she sought out, and began working with ACT for America.

On September 8, Amy was awarded ACT for America’s Citizen Legislator of the Year Award for her work on the Female Genital Mutilation bill in Pierre, last session. As it turns out, the award was presented to Amy in Washington, D.C. very close to the place where her activism journey began. Amy mentioned that she felt she had come “full circle”.

We are so grateful to Amy for all she brings to the work of the Family Heritage Alliance, and for the example she is to all who are blessed to be in her sphere of influence.

As a postscript, upon reading this article, Amy asked that I also include that she feels very blessed to be working at Family Heritage Alliance and that she would have had a shot at getting the FGM bill passed if it were not for the help and support of the FHA and the FHA staff.


Jerusalem Call Conference a Success

Family Heritage Alliance was honored to be among those who promoted and financially supported the Jerusalem Call conference on Tuesday, October 27. This event, hosted by our friends at Rapid City's First Assembly of God, was held to educate the church on faith-based advocacy for Israel. There were over 300 in attendance to hear Erick Stackelbeck and Daniel Williams speak. The evening's events encouraged the crowd and left them hopeful regarding the future of Israel and the part individuals and churches can play in this important mission.

Now, more than ever, Israel needs Christians worldwide to take a position by their side. We have the opportunity to turn the tide if we act now.


John Witherspoon College's 2nd Visio Dei Conference

John Witherspoon College presents the 2nd Visio Dei Conference, set for Friday-Saturday, November 6-7 in Rapid City. Visio Dei is a biennial conference (odd years) designed to help Christians “see” culture and history through God’s eyes. This year marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta-England's great gift of freedom to the world—and this year’s Conference seeks to reclaim that long-ago urgent call for freedom. Our theme is “Proclaim Liberty: Freedom and the Future of America.” Our special guest is Dr. Hunter Baker (J.D.; Ph.D.), a professor of political science and University Fellow at Union University, along with an outstanding cast of speakers.

This year’s Visio Dei Conference is no idle academic confab. Freedom, especially religious freedom, is under assault all over the world—and in America as well, “the land of the free.” Of all people, Christians need to know what’s at stake, and how to respond in God-honoring ways.

You are warmly invited to be a part of this year's Visio Dei. To view the schedule or purchase tickets online, click on the link below. Tickets for the Conference are $45 for adults and $25 for students. Tickets purchased by November 2nd include the Friday night banquet.

The Visio Dei Conference will be hosted by Christ Church, located at 1900 Evergreen Drive in Rapid City. For more information, please call the JWC office at (605) 342-0317.

Click here for all the event details.


FHA Participates in Social Justice Workshop

For the second year in a row the Family Heritage Alliance, represented by FHA Executive Director Dale Bartscher, was blessed to have participated in the Social Justice Commission Fall Retreat Workshop hosted by the Catholic Dioceses of Rapid City, SD. Approximately 60 participants gathered, from across the state, on Saturday, October 17, on the beautiful Terra Sancta Campus. The scripture text of Matthew 25:40 set the tone for the day’s event: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Topics included in the day’s workshop ranged from: Principles of a Just Society; Reasons to Consider Alternatives to the Death Penalty; Human Trafficking: Modern Day Slavery - Right Here in South Dakota; and Understanding the Legislative Process. The FHA was invited to set up our FHA Display as we visited with the participants in attendance and Dale addressed the workshop attendees on the social valued work of the FHA in South Dakota.


Sioux Falls SHUT-IT-DOWN Rally Draws a Pro-Life Crowd

On December 5, 2014, the Planned Parenthood clinic closed its doors in Rapid City, SD. When that occurred it left South Dakota with only one Planned Parenthood clinic and that one exists to this day in Sioux Falls, SD. Abortions were not performed at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Rapid City, though abortion referral was a listed service. Today, the Planned Parenthood clinic in Sioux Falls does offer abortions.

On Sunday, October 4, 2015, well over 100 pro-life moms, dads, grandparents and youth gathered at the O’Gorman Catholic High School football stadium in Sioux Falls, SD for a very special two hour event. This timely and critical experience was called a “Shut it Down” Rally. At the same time this Rally was being held hundreds of other pro-life activities lined the streets of Sioux Falls in the annual LIFE CHAIN event.

FHA Executive Director Dale Bartscher was asked to EMCEE the Rally and share his heart on the issue at hand. In Dale’s opening remarks he said in part:

Today, II Chronicles 7:14 is our heart’s cry. The Word of God, speaking to those of us who claim to live under the authority of Jehovah God, charges and challenges us saying: 'If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

We who are gathered here certainly must understand that our NATION needs a HEALING today. When the videos exposing the abortion industry were first released, some were shocked. As the videos have gotten worse revealing that Planned Parenthood allegedly participates in infanticide for profit, the shock has grown to anger; anger that our nation and our government not only allows this barbarity to continue, but subsidizes it with our tax dollars. The harvesting, trafficking, and selling baby parts in "high volume" as evidenced by the heartbreaking videos from the Center for Medical Progress makes it even more strikingly clear that abortion giant Planned Parenthood is engaged in the full-scale exploitation of women and children.

But honestly, none of this should be surprising to us. We’ve known. We’ve always known. That’s why we’re pro-life. That’s why we have fought to protect innocent life for so long. While the culture, media and most of the population hide behind false notions of choice and women’s health care, the reality of what happens behind the doors of facilities like this one all across the nation is just as barbaric as we always thought it was. It’s profit ahead of life.

The Rally was filled with music, scripture, prayers and numerous speakers both locally and nationally. Following this Rally a large group of pro-life activists made there way to the Planned Parenthood clinic to pray for an end to this scourge on America and to exhibit a visible presence for LIFE. Yes, Sunday, October 4, was a good day for LIFE in South Dakota.


FHA Participates In TWO Men’s Gatherings

On Saturday, October 10, the place to be if you are a MAN was the Black Hills of Western South Dakota as not one…but two…gatherings of Christian MEN took place in the region.  The Family Heritage Alliance was honored to have participated in both of these God Honoring events.


The 2nd Annual Men’s Day was held once again on the beautiful acreage of the Rainbow Bible Ranch, rural Sturgis, SD. It was a full day of fellowship, fun and inspiration for the almost 175 men who gathered there from across the region.  The day’s theme verse was II Chronicles 7:14….”If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  

FHA Executive Director Dale Bartscher was asked to Keynote this event along with FHA friend, Pastor Mike Brandt of the Shepherding The Shepherds Ministry.  The event’s coordinator, Jim Hunt, wrote the following:  "We had a God honoring day at Mens Day.  175-180 men attended and what a blessing Dale Bartscher was to all in attendance.  Thank you for your heart for God.”  And Rainbow Bible Ranch Director Larry Reinhold posted this on their Facebook page, "Men's Day 2015 at Rainbow Bible Ranch. Our keynote speakers were Dale Bartscher of Family Heritage Alliance and Mike Brandt with Shepherding the Shepherds ministry. These gentleman love the Lord with all their hearts and are a delight to have as part of the program."


The Family Heritage Alliance was once again honored to have been a sponsor for this year’s Awakening Men's Conference in Sturgis, SD. This year’s amazing speaker was Chad Williams, a former Navy Seal who has been a contributor on several news channels including CNN and FOX NEWS to name only a couple. 175 Men from across a multi-state region traveled to the beautiful Sturgis Community Center for this life-changing experience.  FHA Executive Director Dale Bartscher was blessed to have been given the opportunity to briefly address those gathered on the mission and vision of the FHA and FHA Communication’s Director John Dennis aided the Conference by doing the video work for the event and filling the position as Conference photographer.   We tip our hats and hearts to the AWAKENING's main organizers in Pastors Steve Anders and George Yorba.  “Well done gentlemen!"

Below, you will find the first of three videos from the Awakening.  We hope to have the last two up next week!


November is National Adoption Month


SD Americans For Prosperity to Host Dinner

Dinner and Discussion with Stephen Moore,

...who is the distinguished visiting fellow for the
Project for Economic Growth at the Heritage Foundation.

Moore is also a contributing editor of the National Review, a Fox News contributor, the founder of the Club for Growth and the Free Enterprise Fund, a former member of The Wall Street Journal editorial review board, and the author of numerous books.

Day and Date: Monday, November 16, 2015
Place: Callaway’s
Address: 500 East 69th Street
                 Sioux Falls, SD 57109
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 P.M.
Tickets: include a buffet dinner
     $10 for adults
     free for students*
Ticket Deadline: Friday, November 13, 2015
no ticket sales at the door

Please purchase tickets at https://afpfsddinner.eventbrite.com or contact Chad Krier at (605) 370-2778 or ckrier@afphq.org for more information.

*Students need to contact Chad Krier for their free tickets.



Christian Victims in Oregon

By John Stonestreet
Published in "BreakPoint" on October 7

Christians around the world are often the targets of violence. But here in the U.S., is that even possible? It is.

On Anastasia Boylan’s fourth day in the Writing 115 class at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, an armed man wearing body armor shot the professor and demanded that any of the cowering students who were Christians stand up.

Boylan was among those who did so, and the gunman shot her. She fell, wounded, and then pretended to be dead. Then she heard the shooter say to another student, “Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second.” Anastasia is in the hospital now, recovering.

This report comes from one of her parents. Others have reported that according to Mercer’s online writings, he “hated religion.” Nine people, plus the shooter, died that morning.

In a time when followers of Christ in other parts of the world are beheaded or crucified for their faith, or driven out of their homelands as refugees, some Christians in the West have been far too quick to use the word “persecuted” to describe the decreasing tolerance for Christianity and Christian conviction in the public square. And yet the shooting in Roseburg reminds us that, as Paul told Timothy, anyone who wishes to follow Christ in this world will face hardship.

Now some critics have dismissed the idea that a mass shooting targeting Christians could even happen in America, and some have questioned the report that the Oregon shooter targeted Christians as the eyewitnesses have reported.

Ed Stetzer, my friend and co-host for “BreakPoint This Week,” offered very helpful guidance in a column published last week in USA Today.

In it, Ed, who is also the Vice President of Research at Lifeway Christian Research, acknowledges that not every report of Christians being targeted turns out to be true. Nonetheless, Christians and churches have been targeted in incidents in Fort Worth, Colorado Springs, and in Charleston in recent years. In fact, Lifeway maintains a research database for church shootings, as does the FBI. The point is, these things do happen, and Ed offers then what we ought to do.

First, Christians need to be ready to stand, to “give an answer for the hope that we have.” Indeed, if the unthinkable happens, are we prepared to give an account of our faith as Anastasia Boylan did?

And second, we need to be quick to forgive, as our brothers and sisters in Charleston incredibly demonstrated earlier this year. Their response made a jaded nation sit up and take notice. “When evil came knocking, forgiveness answered,” as Ed wrote. “The entire nation was touched by the words of victims’ family members toward Dylann Roof just days after that awful tragedy, offering forgiveness and the gospel they knew.”

Third, we have to trust God in the face of inscrutable tragedy. “Evil is real and terrible,” Ed writes, “and God does not give us all the answers—but He does give us Himself. And in times like this, God is all we have, and He is enough.”

As Camden McAfee said in the wake of Roseburg, “…what sets Christians apart from the rest of the world is our unshakable hope in a sovereign God who means all things for good— especially life’s most painful things.”

Finally, we must call for justice amid tragedy. Ed had some gentle, yet firm, words for society at large. “I understand the United States’ cultural tension in which Christian-held values do not always align with current popular opinion,” he writes. “But the truth is, the irreligious in our culture must de-escalate hateful rhetoric toward Christians, no matter how vehement the disagreements between us.”

Ed calls on all sides to tone it down so that we can move toward a more just society. “I am not saying we don’t criticize,” he writes, “but we must not demonize. When we demonize others—Christians, Muslims, gays, African-Americans or whomever—we give mentally unstable or hate-filled people additional justification to kill.”

That’s a good word in USA Today from Ed Stetzer. And you’ll hear more from Ed and me on this topic this weekend when you tune in to “BreakPoint This Week.”


Unruh Fires Up Crowd at Sept. Black Hills Area Luncheon

110 passionate patriotic people joined us on Wednesday, September 16 for our Black Hills Area Luncheon. With some anticipation, they had gathered for the good food, fantastic fellowship, and to hear Dr. Allen Unruh speak about the faith of our Founding Fathers and the impact of that faith on the most exceptional culture in the history of this planet. The attendees were not disappointed.

The venue was Bible Fellowship Church, and what a fantastic host those folks were. Thanks to the Bible Fellowship Church and their team who made sure everything was perfect for the event.

Even before we had packed up and left the building, we were already getting requests for Dr. Unruh's presentation. We are pleased to provide this powerful session in its entirety below!


September 3 S.F. Luncheon Marks Attendance Milestone

The FHA was honored to welcome a record 92 patriots to our luncheon in Sioux Falls on Thursday, September 3. The venue was the Linwood Wesleyan Church, and their team could not have been more of an asset. We are so thankful to Pastor Bob McHenry and his staff and team for their hospitality. The keynote speaker for the event was South Dakota’s (and CitizenLink’s) own John Paulton. His address to the group should be posted next week for those wanting to view it. We were also blessed to have Sandy Brockhouse from John Witherspoon College as a guest speaker as well. As we say regularly, our team of volunteers and our Sioux Falls Area Representative, LaVonne Fossness make pulling off an event like this look easy!


FPC Annual Conference at Focus on The Family

On July 27-31 FHA Executive Director Dale Bartscher and several of their Staff and Board Members gathered together at the Focus on the Family campus in Colorado Springs for a much-awaited ‘Family Policy Council Annual Conference’.  The Family Heritage Alliance, representing South Dakota, is a proud member of this national network of independent, allied organizations in our mission to shape public debate and formulate public policy by engaging state, city and county elected officials, community leaders, and grassroots activists.

What a blessing to have in attendance leadership from FOCUS, CitizenLink, Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council.  This was a time of fellowship and collaboration towards building a stronger, national family policy alliance!

This year’s conference was the best in recent memory.  Each morning began, as it should, with a time of worship and devotion led by  Del Tackett, of ‘The Truth Project’ fame.  Strategic planning and break-out sessions inspired those in attendance to be encouraged and to think LARGE when it comes to championing Faith, Family and Freedom back in our home states.  The conference highlight came when the leadership mantel of CitizenLink was flawlessly passed, from long time FHA friend Tom Minnery, to their new CEO Paul Weber.

Currently there are 38 Family Policy Councils (including the FHA of South Dakota) who are Associated with these four national organizations.  I am reminded of the words of Helen Keller who rightly said, “Alone we can do so little – together we can do so much!”


July 17, 18, 19 Hills Alive Tent Was a Huge Success

Well, HILLS ALIVE 2015 is now history and it will go down in the RECORD BOOKS as one of the greatest so far.  Record attendance, a 3-day event, beautiful weather and the busiest and most blessed FHA Tent to date.  Our tent was a place of prayer, laughter, tears, serious issue discussions and cold water :)    

We have to thank our Tent Volunteers — Amy & Greg Willson, John Dennis, Kris & Faith Ellingson, Amy Wagner, Scott and Ruthie Craig, George and Carol Black, Janet VanHouten, Brendan Culverhouse (Intern), Elli and Joel Schwiesow and Larisa Duprey (Intern)!  

Three area Pastors had their names drawn for a NIGHT’S GET-AWAY in the Hills:  Scott Craig (Big Horn Canyon Community Church);  Wayne Titus (Valley Community Church); and Josh Boner (Calvary Baptist Church).  Our FHA Data Contacts have grown like never before.

The ‘Faster Pastor’ trophy was awarded to Bob Hower live on the main stage in front of a huge crowd!  Congrats, Pastor Bob!

Click here to see all the pics of the event on our Facebook Page


July 15 Sioux Falls Luncheon

On July 15, FHA was joined by 88 passionate patriotic partners at Sioux Falls’ First Evangelical Free Church for a luncheon featuring Dale Bartcher and Qusi Al-Haj. We so appreciate the hospitality of the First E-Free crew and especially Pastor Randy Anderson. As always, Qusi’s story regarding his experience as an immigrant to this country was touching and held the crowd on the edge of their seats.

We can’t thank enough our new security team in Sioux Falls for their dedication and hard work and without LaVonne Fossness and her tireless efforts on the ground in Sioux Falls, projects like this would be next to impossible.


July 22 BH Area Luncheon

On July 22, 162 patriots and FHA partners rallied in Rapid City at the FHA Luncheon held at the Cathedral of OLPH. Bishop Robert Gruss was such a gracious host and the Cathedral staff did such an amazing job.

Guest speakers were Corey Brubakken (Pennington County Sheriff's Office Captain) and Representative Steve Hickey. They addressed Human Trafficking and PayDay Loan Centers Ballot Initiative respectively.

We so appreciate Pastor Mike Brandt providing lodging for Steve and Kirsten Hickey. Also, special appreciation for the army of volunteers who made the day a success and Amy Willson who does such a great job keeping all the plates spinning.


The SD US Congressional Delegation STANDS STRONG!

A few weeks ago, when the Supreme Court defied thousands of years of history and radically redefined marriage, many on our side of the aisle began to say the “fight is over,” and we should give up trying to defend this sacred institution. They could not have been more wrong. It was Martin Luther King, Jr. who rightly said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Many are taking a stand for the HARD RIGHT against the EASY WRONG. Three such persons are our South Dakota Congressional Delegation. The FHA and our partners do hereby publicly thank our US Senator John Thune, US Senator Mike Rounds and US Representative Kristi Noem for their principled verbal and written support of traditional, natural marriage presented within hours of the Supreme Court’s tragic decision on a vote of 5 to 4.

Both Senator Thune and Senator Rounds have signed on as co-sponsors of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) and we fully anticipate that Representative Noem will be co-sponsoring FADA soon in the House. FADA would prevent the federal government from discriminating against individuals, organizations, and small business owners who affirm marriage as between a man and woman. FADA would prohibit the federal government from penalizing persons for their personal moral or religious beliefs in natural marriage in federal employment, grants, contracts, tax treatment, and other programs. Stay tuned to the FHA for future developments on FADA as it moves forward in the US Senate and House.


Attorney General Jackley Stands Strong on Marriage

In the wake of the recent SCOTUS ruling on marriage, the inevitable conflict over religious liberty is heating up quickly.  It is gratifying to know, as the lines are drawn, that South Dakota has an Attorney General who is not just watching our back, but out in front where the real action is.

As evidence to this fact, please read the following recent press releases from the AG's office:

Attorney General Jackley Joins Other Attorneys General to Protect Religious Freedom

PIERRE – Attorney General Marty Jackley and 14 other State Attorneys General announced today they have sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to take steps to protect the tax-exempt status of nonprofit religious organizations. During oral arguments in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. was asked if religious-affiliated institutions could have their tax-exempt status revoked if they opposed same-sex marriage, Verrilli said “it’s certainly going to be an issue.”

“The newly recognized federal constitutional right to same- sex marriage must and can peaceably coexist with other longstanding constitutional rights of freedom of religion and speech. There is no need to infringe upon either individual or religious freedoms in carrying out the directive of the U.S. Supreme Court. As Attorney General I will work to both ensure common sense solutions and vigorously protect the right to freedom of religion,” said Jackley.

The letter states that by stripping tax-exempt status from religious organizations in this way- a severe consequence that could force groups to exit the public square- would be an unprecedented assertion of governmental power over religious exercise. The letter asks Congress to modify the Internal Revenue Code to prevent the IRS from revoking the tax-exempt status of nonprofit religious organization that disagrees with the decision in Obergefell.

Those signing on to the letter were Attorneys General from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Attorney General Jackley’s Response to ACLU on Same-Sex Marriage

PIERRE – “It is disappointing to learn that the ACLU, who in their own words, works to “defend and preserve the Constitution’s promise of liberty for everyone in our country”, is now choosing to place certain Constitutional Rights ahead of others.

As South Dakota’s Attorney General, I do not have the luxury of ignoring the long-established law requiring Constitutional Rights to coexist or overlooking federal requirements calling for reasonable accommodations to protect the Constitutional Rights of all individuals.

As Attorney General, it is not my intent to ignore established law and sue a county or arrest a county employee for exercising the well-established Constitution Right to the Freedom of Religion given that same-sex couples have been and are receiving marriage licenses in South Dakota. Rather than accepting the ACLU’s position, I support commonsense solutions protecting everyone’s Constitutional Rights in South Dakota which ensure same-sex couples continue receiving marriage licenses as now required by law,” said Attorney General Jackley.


A Thousand Patriots Attend FHA Agenda Event

Monday, July 6, 2015 FHA was joined by a thousand patriotic friends for our Showing of the movie "Agenda". After the movie, we were blessed to have Lt. General Jerry Boykin (Executive Vice President of Family Research Council) and the producer of the movie, Curtis Bowers speak and answer questions.

The movie "Agenda - Grinding America Down" lays out in crystal clear detail, the communist, socialist, and progressive agenda to undermine America as it was intended by our Founding Fathers.  If you haven't seen the movie, regardless of your politics, you owe it to yourself to view it.

A special Thanks goes out to Wes Hotchkiss who performed two musical numbers for us.  Also, we are so thankful to Bob Fischer, without whose assistance and connections, this project could not have gained the kind of traction it had by event night!

We are hoping to have the video of the question and answer segment up for your viewing soon.  Stay tuned.

Click here to see additional pictures on our Facebook page.


FHA Joins NDP Friends at Soggy Rushmore Event

Sunday, July 5, 2015 found us hanging out with our Black Hills Area National Day of Prayer friends at Mount Rushmore for the annual Monumental Hour of Prayer. Hundreds braved the weather and attended what was almost a rained out event. As is always the case, Lt. General Jerry Boykin (retired) held the room in the palm of his hand. He was joined by the "Agenda" movie producer Curtis Bowers.

We are especially grateful to Amy Wagner, the B.H. Area N.D.P. Coordinator, for her leadership and hard work on this event.

To see additional pictures from the event, click here for our Facebook Post.


Celebrating Family Events East and West

Most folks who know Family Heritage Alliance are aware of our annual Celebrating Family events. We hold one in Sioux Falls, and one in Rapid City. It is one of the few yearly FHA events in which the focus is just to make family memories, eat good food, and hang out with awesome people. In Sioux Falls, our host was Thunder Road and in Rapid City, it was The Ranch Amusement Park. We are so grateful to these two fine businesses for their support of FHA and their partnership with us on this project. They donate hundreds of ride tickets which are given free to the attendees of the event.

On June 13, 185 folks attended the record setting Sioux Falls event. We had an army of volunteers helping us with the details, eleven all together. Our Sioux Falls Representative, LaVonne Fossness was such an important part of pulling all this together. Thanks LaVonne! Special thanks goes to the corporate sponsors of Celebrating Family East. They are: Walmart in Sioux Falls, Eddie Ehlers - Remax Broker Associate Realtor, Pro Force Services, K J ‘s Electric, Norberg Paints, Dr. Larry and Lois Lounsbery, Michael Monson – Best Choice Independent Insurance Services, Oscar DeVries – Insurance Connection, and a handful who asked not to be identified. The Grand Finale of each Celebrating Family Event is our infamous Faster Pastor Go-Kart race. We had eight racers this year with Pastor Tyler Tufte of the Sioux Falls First AG Church taking home the trophy.

Father’s Day, June 21 saw attendance for the Rapid City event go well beyond 600. As in Sioux Falls, we had an army of volunteers helping us on everything from moving, to cooking, the checking folks in, 14 in all. Our executive assistant, Amy Willson was so valuable in keeping all the plates spinning on the Rapid City project. Thanks Amy! Special thanks to our Celebrating Family West corporate sponsors: Qdoba, Coca-Cola, KSLT / KLMP Christian Radio, Family Thrift Center, Wendy’s Restaurant, Walmart, and Arctic Glacier Premium Ice. We had 15 ministry leaders racing in the Rapid City version of the Faster Pastor race. Congratulations to Pastor Bob Hower of the Piedmont Foothills Baptist Church for taking home the trophy.


Soldier's Wind

If you have ever been on a sailboat, you have likely noticed that sailing is just hard work.  It takes a passionate sailor with some serious skill to navigate and steer a craft as the wind propels the boat along.  The stormier the conditions, the more advanced nautical skills are required to get craft and crew safely to harbor.  In the days of the tall ships, sailors would on occasion use the term “a soldier’s wind”.  That term referred to conditions so favorable for sailing that the captain could literally turn the wheel over to a soldier who had little to no nautical skill.

I think for many in this country, the last decade of the 20th century saw mostly a soldier’s wind.  The economy was not horrible, the country held a solid position of strength and leadership among the world nations, and morality seemed battered but on an even keel.

We aren’t experiencing a soldier’s wind any longer.  The gale force threats of insurmountable national debt, a tattered foreign policy, and a government tearing constantly at our first and second amendment rights, has many proposing our vessel is lost.

Well, first off, all is not lost.  Not yet!  However, we really do need all hands on deck.  The Family Heritage Alliance has proven time and time again that we have the skills and passion to navigate the storm and promote and defend the values you cherish here in South Dakota and in Washington D.C. as well.

If you will pardon my stretching the sailing analogy just a little further, we have come to call the months of June through August, the Summer Doldrums.  In a very real sense, the winds of financial support that propel our ship die down significantly as people are distracted by vacations and camping, trips to see family and outdoor activities.  Truthfully, few are paying much attention to current events.  As our working capital tends to wane, the work demanded of us remains constant.  As I write, the United States Supreme Court’s decision on Friday radically transformed what it looks like to be a Christian in the United States.  Gender is being redefined even here right now in South Dakota by the South Dakota High School Activities Association.  The list goes on.  So does the mission of Family Heritage Alliance.

We have two requests for you.  And yes, the first one has to do with money.

  • What we are doing day in and day out is expensive, and if you could donate toward this effort, it would help us defray these expenses.
  • Secondly, please make a commitment to pray for our efforts through the summer “doldrums”.
For those donating, $30.00 or more, we have a token of our appreciation to send you.  It is a book by Todd Starnes called: “Dispatches from Bitter America: A Gun Toting, Chicken Eating Son of a Baptist's Culture War Stories.”  

We are so sincerely appreciative of your involvement in protecting and promoting Faith, Family, and Freedom!


Dale Bartscher
Executive Director
Family Heritage Alliance / FHA Action


Answering Islam Conference

Approximately 300 people were in attendance for the “Answering Islam” conference held at the Ramkota on July 5th and 6th. Keynote speakers were:

  • Shahram Hadian, former Muslim now a Christian pastor who runs the Truth in Love Project and is dedicated to speaking on a variety of critical issues facing our nation.
  • Tom Wallace who runs “Fortress of Faith” radio program on AFR and was a missionary to the UK who saw the growth of Islam and the death of Christianity in that nation.
Both speakers spoke openly about issues facing our nation including ISIS, Shariah Law and the assault of our religious liberties just to name a few. Many people left the conference with a new understanding of what our nation is facing along with practical solutions on how to love and engage Muslims for Christ.

The sponsors of this event were Big Horn Canyon Community Church, KSLT Radio, KLMP Radio, Black Hills Area National Day of Prayer, Family Heritage Alliance, Act For America, and Aglow International.

Amy Willson, our Executive Assistant and local coordinator for Act for America, was so instrumental in pulling this conference together.  Thanks Amy!


Watchmen On The Wall Report

Executive Director Dale Bartscher, Pastor / Representative / FHA Board member Scott Craig, and Pastor Larry Paulsen and his wife Melodie made up the South Dakota delegation to Watchmen on the Wall 2015. This event (May 20-22), held at the D.C. Hyatt Regency is hosted each year by our partners at Family Research Council. The goal of the event is to rally pastors and ministry leaders to stand in the public square for Biblical values and encourage their flock to do the same. Nearly 700 pastors attended this year’s event, and it was particularly gratifying for the Family Heritage Alliance because two of our leadership were invited to take part in the program. Dale was invited to lead a breakout session entitled “Ministering to Public Servants.” Scott was invited to speak from the main stage. You can click here to get watch the various presentations from Watchmen on the Wall 2015.

Scott and Dale spent time with Senator Thune, Senator Rounds and Representative Noem at which time a FOUNDERS’ BIBLE was personally presented to each of them. This took place during the ‘Capitol South Dakota Coffee Hour’ which occurs on Wednesday mornings at the US Capitol. Dale took time to travel to the Washington, DC, office of Concerned Women for America (CWA). While there he spent some quality time with one of America’s most respected women in leadership - Penny Nance. Penny is the President of the CWA and will be the Keynote Speaker for this fall’s Western SD Stand Banquet on Tuesday, October 13 in Rapid City.

In addition to the encouragement, fellowship, and speaking opportunity, this year’s Watchmen on the Wall provided Dale the occasion to once again renew his friendships with such national leaders as Tony Perkins, President of FRC; General Jerry Boykin, Vice-President of FRC; and Rafael Cruz, father of Senator Ted Cruz.


The Dead End of Sexual Sin


Faith and Hope Community Breakfast

The Family Heritage Alliance was one of a host of sponsors and organizers responsible for this year's Faith and Hope (Rapid City) Community Breakfast.  Around 380 community leaders gathered for good food, prayer, and the opportunity to hear Walt Wilson.  Walt has had a colorful career and his resume' is a long one.  He served in the US Marines, and afterward had a hugely successful career in Silicon Valley, including some time as an executive at Apple.  He now runs Global Media Outreach which is a network of websites that have brought the word of God to 1.3 billion people in 132 countries.


Citizen Magazine Features Work of FHA

Editor’s note: As Communications Director at FHA and FHA Action, I walk a rather fine line. On the one hand, I don’t want our communications to come off boastful or self-promoting. On the other hand, we have a host of folks who invest their hard earned money in the work we do, and they need to know that they are getting maximum bang for their buck. So, please consider the following, not as boastful, but as humbly submitting to our donors (both current and future) the quality of the work done by FHA and FHA Action.  --John Dennis

For an actor or director to receive an “Academy Award of Merit” (or as it is commonly known -- an Oscar) is a pretty big deal. It is a big deal for several reasons of course, but maybe the most significant of all is the fact that the award is granted by over 5,000 film industry leaders. In other words, the folks who know the film industry the best have stamped their approval on the film maker’s work. It’s one thing to get a nod of approval from a casual movie goer, but when your peers approve, that’s means quite a lot more.

In the world of public policy from a Biblical worldview, no one knows the landscape better than Family Research Council (FRC), Focus on the Family, and CitizenLink. Back in October, FRC’s President, Tony Perkins, complimented the work of the FHA and especially the leadership of our Executive Director, Dale Bartscher. This week, CitizenLink’s magazine “Citizen” hit the newsstands, and in it was a gracious four page piece by Matt Kaufman entitled “Squelching the Slave Trade”. The article focuses entirely on the work of the FHA and the network of people and organizations with whom we work closely in the fight against Human Trafficking. The article discusses our partnership with folks like Pastor Scott Craig, Tess Franzen, and many in the law enforcement and legal communities.

In the world we live in, we don’t get awards. That’s probably a good thing. However, we do get the reward of knowing we are promoting and protecting the core values on which this nation was founded. We like that. And once in a while, we get a nod from leaders in our field. We would certainly be doing this work regardless, but it serves to remind those good folks who support our work that they are investing in a hard-working organization and getting a good return on that investment.

I wish I could give you a link to an online version of the article, but as of this writing, I couldn’t find one. So you may just have subscribe to Citizen (click here).