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Being a Positive Force for the Family

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
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June 23, 2022 6:00 am

Being a Positive Force for the Family

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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June 23, 2022 6:00 am

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis discusses the critical importance of intact two-parent families, the need to defend preborn children, to protect elementary children from sexual and gender ideology in public schools and the integrity of women’s sports. He also shares about the importance of maintaining freedom of speech and religion in the face of Big Tech censorship, as he offers hopeful perspectives for the future.

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At Focus on the Family, we believe that in Christ, the family is the building block of society. And on today's broadcast, we'll be speaking with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis about the importance of lifting up family values and protecting children in our culture. Your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. John, we recently had an opportunity to visit with Governor DeSantis in Florida about policy issues affecting the family, as you alluded to. In the discussion you're about to hear, we talked about the importance of fathers and two-parent homes, protecting children from indoctrination in our schools, pro-life issues, big tech, religious freedom, and more. He has some great ideas about faith, family, and freedom, and I think you're going to enjoy hearing this conversation.

I'd agree. Governor Ron DeSantis has been serving in that position since 2019 in Florida. Before that, he served in the U.S. Congress for three terms. He and his wife, Casey, have three young children. And Jim, you recorded this interview at the governor's office in Tallahassee. You're now Jim Daly and Governor Ron DeSantis on Focus on the Family.

Governor, welcome to Focus on the Family. Good to be here. OK, let's start with your background, because I was reading Yale, Harvard, and then you went into JAG and you worked with the SEAL team.

You're like a man's man. What did you learn out of that experience, especially the SEAL teamwork? Well, look, I mean, I think that the military culture was, I think, a very positive culture.

It's helped me be even more disciplined, helped me be able to get tasks accomplished. And so that's just generally what you're talking about. You know, with Navy SEALs, it's interesting. We were in Al-Ambar province. And so this is like Fallujah, Ramadi, Al-Assad, Haditha, all those areas.

This is during the 2007 surge of troops there, Al-Qaeda in Iraq. And so that was kind of ground zero for U.S. military at the time. But it was it was an interesting experience. I gained a lot of additional respect for a lot of the people and not just people. I mean, obviously, Navy SEALs people respect that.

But I was there. I'd be on like a helicopter with some E-5 in the Army or the Marine Corps who had been in Iraq and Afghanistan more than than they've been in the United States since their 18th birthday. I mean, there are people on their third or fourth deployments. One of the things I saw was how that impacted their lives back home. I mean, you did have, unfortunately, a lot of families break up over just having these are unnatural deployments.

It's one thing to go for for six or nine months, but to go nine months, then a year and then this. And it was an awful lot of weight because we don't have a military draft. You're talking about people that had volunteered. And that burden really fell on a very, very small segment of our society.

Sure, it did. You know, when you look at that, though, I could see it seems when I'm watching you on the news or watching the many bills that you've signed that support the things we believe in and focus on the family, it does seem to have like a military precision to it. You're going bang, bang, bang and you don't back up, which I think people are very encouraged.

Why? I mean, a lot of politicians just move with the flow. You seem to be really rooted in principle and stick with me. I'll take the headwind.

I'll take the first arrows. But let's just let's move together. Describe that environment for us. Look, at the end of the day, I'm in office not to be somebody. People call you governor.

They invite you all these things. I mean, that doesn't really matter to me. I'm in office to do something and accomplish things on behalf of the folks in the state of Florida. I mean, you and I were just talking about I was just got back from Orlando. You had the Special Olympics International was keeping our Special Olympians who were unvaccinated from competing in the Special Olympics. We applied Florida law.

We let them know that wasn't going to fly. So we now have 100 Floridians who are now going to be able to compete. So I was able to use my office to help those folks. So that's kind of how we view it. And so everything we're doing is with an eye to actually accomplishing the mission. You know, one of the things for us, it's about the policies. Do they support family? Do they work against family? It seems to me that, unfortunately, in that political sphere, people don't understand the benefit or they do understand it, yet they're still trying to break the family down.

I was reading research, obviously, which we do every day. And when you look at the attributes, what an intact family delivers for the culture, for example, children of an intact mom and dad family, they're more likely to graduate from high school, more likely to graduate from college, more likely to be successful, less likely to do drugs, less likely to get involved in premarital sex, less likely to become alcoholics. And I always wonder to myself, why would politicians debate this? If this is the right family formation type to deliver the best citizens, why wouldn't we all be supporting it? Well, I think more and more are, because I think that everything you cited is irrefutable.

And I think more and more Americans have come to see that. It's interesting, I wouldn't be governor if it weren't for a focus on the family. I got elected in 2012. My wife and I didn't have kids yet.

By 2016, when I started my third term, we had our first child. So I'm going up to D.C. I'm a congressman. And I'm like, wait, why am I up here when I have them down there?

And they're little. And so and then we had my son in 2018. So I got elected governor in November of 2018 with two very little ones.

But that was a big reason why I didn't want to serve in Congress anymore. And I wanted to actually come to Florida because it's a much more family friendly thing. I mean, I'm with my kids in the morning today.

I'm doing all this stuff around the state and I'll be back with them later tonight. So my wife and I put a big premium on it. But the if you could snap your finger and just do one thing to help our society, saying every kid could grow up with a with a strong, intact family, particularly having a father in the home, because as we do know, a lot of the weight falls on single moms more and more over the last 50 years and in the U.S. So if those fathers are present, the chance that they drop out of school, get involved with drugs, all these things goes down dramatically.

If the father is not present, then you see a lot of problems. We did a fatherhood initiative this year, big one, which was over 70 million dollars. It was a great event. We had every year. All the legislators brought their kids.

I had two of my kids running around there. But we had coach Tony Dungy, who had been in Tampa Bay and in Indianapolis. He still lives in Tampa.

He's got a group called All Pro Dads, which gets funding, can get funding under this program, grants for organizations that are doing this. And he spoke and he said when he was coach at Tampa, he would go minister in the prisons. And what he noticed was the people were in the prison, not because they were poor, race, any of the other things people point to. They were in the prisons because none of them had a father in the home.

And it was just that dramatic. So if you could ensure that, a lot of the other problems that we talk about in society, a lot of those would be very, very small compared to what they are now. Let's pick up on a couple of these. You're really fighting the media typically and the influence shapers in the culture. But when you signed the bill on protecting pre-K through third grade from having teachers teach them sexually oriented things, that sounds like common sense. And I think a lot of the country said, Governor DeSantis, thank you. Why would there be debate about that?

I mean, who should be talking about sexual issues with these kids at that age? Well, that's the thing. When we first started doing it, I was shocked at how the media was responding in the left. And I had my staff like, give me the bill.

Let me look. Are they really fighting on this hill with a K through three? And I'm like, you can't be serious. So I knew that what we were doing was the right thing, 100 percent.

And we just went right back through the blowback. But what I've come to find out is there is a concerted effort to inject this gender ideology and the sexuality into the discussions with the very youngest kids. And it goes into the larger discussion about the proper role of parents. There's an element of our society on the on the far left that believes parents really have no role in the education of their kids. You drop them off at school and then they take the kids and they impose the ideology and worldview that they want. A school board member controlled by a union, a bureaucrat, whoever.

And that's the vision. Our vision is that parents have a fundamental role in the education and upbringing of their kids. And they have a right to know what curriculum is being taught.

They have a right to be involved. But I think the left views it as, OK, if you don't inject this early, by the time they get older, it's almost, quote, too late for them to get the ideology that they want. So we ended up seeing curriculum designed for very young kids like the genderbread man or the gender unicorn.

These are things that are very, very real. And so I think that the reason they had the reaction is because they view those very young grades, the elementary grades as where the battlefield is for them in terms of getting their worldview to stick with these students. Once they get older, then it's more of the parents viewpoints and values.

And that's what they don't want. When you look at the awakening of parents, because this has been going on for at least a decade, maybe longer in public schools where these kids have been taught and actually like a grooming arena. Right. They're they're almost like grooming them to become what they want out of these children when they're in their 20s and 30s.

Right. And in that regard, why do you think parents are waking up? What's happening to where parents are now keenly in tune with what's going on in school?

Well, I think some of this stuff has has just gotten more flagrant over the years. And I think parents are saying that. And I do think with covid, they had to be more involved all of a sudden because, you know, in Florida, you know, we made sure to keep schools open. But in a lot of parts of the country, they were doing remote education for a long, long time. And so the parents are then having to be called upon to be teachers as well. And I think they were exposed to some of the things that were going on in school. And I think we're frustrated at some of the stuff that they were saw.

I mean, you know, one of the things that responses always get is, OK, you have these second, third graders or whatever we're talking about with these bills. Are we mastering reading and writing and all those things so far? Are we doing so well there that we're injecting social policies into these schools? And I think what parents are doing and serving an important function is they're reorienting the school system away from indoctrination and back towards education, where we have a premium on undoing what a core part of education should be. You're listening to focus on the family with Jim Daly today. Our guest is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. And you can visit our Web site for help with your child's education, knowing your rights as a parent and staying informed on issues affecting your kids.

Stop by focus on the family dot com slash broadcast to learn more. OK, let's move forward in the conversation now as Jim and the governor discussed how our fundamental rights of faith and freedom are woven into the fabric of America, endowed by God. We were just up in D.C. and we had some friends of focus there and we were being given a history lesson and we learned that when the Capitol building was built, Thomas Jefferson approved having church services there in the Capitol.

For 40 years it took place, right at the beginning of the nation. There is this attitude, though, among the left that somehow God can't be in the public square. And the more we remove God from the public square, I think the more we see disaster in the culture.

And I guess a question from where you sit, when we're not teaching our kids values and virtues any longer, what do we expect them to behave like? Well, I would say not only that, I would say what the left is doing, they're saying, OK, you know, religion's role in the public square should be basically eliminated. And they will cite like the First Amendment establishment of religion, which is that's not what it was intended to do.

But let's indulge them for a minute. They are trying to establish a religion of their own. This woke ideology functions as a religion. Obviously, it's not the Judeo-Christian tradition, but they want that to be effectively the governing faith of our country. They want that to be the core orthodoxy in public schools and in other types of public functions. And so they want to impose their values. They're not really advocating for just a pluralistic public square. They really want to impose their worldview to the exclusion of the rest of us. And that's what's happening. HB5, Florida state bill to protect children in the womb beyond 15 weeks.

Tell us about that motivation for it and the prevailing or the counterwinds to that bill. Well, I think when we did it, we obviously believe that, you know, that this is a child that deserves protection. I mean, you have a beating heart, capable of feeling pain when they do these abortions, particularly at that stage. I mean, they're literally dismembering the unborn child.

So it's really horrific. And you go back to like the 70s with some of these Supreme Court decisions. And, you know, they were not grounded text history in the structure.

But the medical science was not accurate either. And so we've had huge advances. People were able to see this. So we felt that it was very common sense thing to do. We also knew that this Mississippi case was going to be in front of the Supreme Court. We feel good about a positive outcome, you know, kind of one way or another, how far they'll go in doing the doctrine, just reversing the doctrine.

But even Roberts said basically that this should be upheld. So we felt good about that. We also understood that we were going to get sued in state court.

So that has now happened because we have a lot of state doctrine in case law that is similar and maybe even more aggressive than some of the federal law up to this point that courts have done. But we think we'll ultimately win that. And so we're going to fight very hard for that. And, you know, I think it will it will certainly save save lives. But I also think it's important just as an expression of our values that that every one of these kids count. When you when you look at the landscape across the country, being in Colorado, of course, Colorado has become very aggressive right to the birth canal right through the ninth month.

What do you think the outcome of this will be over the next five to 10 years? Well, I think it just the observation should be made that, you know, they fashioned themselves the party of science. And yet, as the science has developed in a more pro life direction, they have gone way, way more radical left. You go back, the average Democrat 20, 30 years ago would never have signed up for an abortion right before the babies born, you know, nine nine plus months into pregnancy.

Now that's the standard position. You can't win as a Democrat unless you take these really obnoxious and extreme positions immoral that are akin to an infanticide. And so I think you're going to see New York, California, unfortunately for you, Colorado. I mean, I think they are going to push it as far as they can. I think California even allows post birth abortions.

They are going to be funding all of this with tax dollars. And then so I think you're going to have some a handful of really extreme blue states. And then I think the conservative red and purple states are going to be much much more protective of the right to life. Now, what the Supreme Court decides to do with Alito's opinion, Roberts is trying to pick someone off, that obviously will have a big say into the latitude that different states will have. And then also to a state like Florida, you know, we need to win the state challenges as well. Otherwise, even our 15 week wouldn't stand.

But I think we're going to be able to win it. I think I think the long term effect could be thriving for those families in states that uphold life. And I think there's a connection to all this since Roe v. Wade, the dehumanizing of not just the baby, but children at an elementary school.

I think there's a connection to all this where taking the life of a child, whether it's preborn or postborn, is less dramatic. Well, and also, you know, one of the reasons we've done so much on foster care and to promote adoption is because, you know, I really believe and I think most Floridians believe everybody counts and everybody deserves a chance. And, you know, they're going to tell you that that this kid's not one or this kid has no chance. But I can point you to examples of people that were abandoned as newborns in destitution and have now risen up to do amazing things. In fact, we were just right next door in Gadsden County, rural county in Florida, North Florida, the only majority black county in Florida. And a friend of mine was abandoned as a newborn in Gadsden County. And he probably would be the one you would point to say this kid has no chance.

He gets adopted. He was a savant in terms of technology. He's created all these companies.

He's now worth hundreds of millions of dollars. I mean, it's amazing. But you would have never predicted that everyone would have said not going to be successful. And so giving people a chance is very, very important. And people can do great things.

I mean, you may have been abandoned on the side of a road. It doesn't mean that God didn't endow you with very special talents. It's true.

I did an interview the other day with a woman, a more liberal media person. And she was saying that, you know, if you can't afford that child, though, shouldn't you abort the child? I said, absolutely not. I mean, who are you to say that a child shouldn't be born, shouldn't have a life that God can use in any way he deems fit, right? That that child can rise out of the ashes? I feel like I was one of those children.

And it would never have happened if I didn't have a chance to breathe. Let me move into the foster adoption. You mentioned that. And it's a key part of what Focus is doing today.

And we've actually worked quite extensively down here in Florida. But the foster effort, I mean, this is one of the things for the church. We really need to step up. You know, especially, again, if the Dobbs decision connecting these things goes to repeal Roe v. Wade, the church needs to step up in a big way, because these women need help, foster care, they need help, they need homes, and we need respite caregivers. The church just needs to get more involved. And Florida, to your credit, and in Florida, there's many great church programs here for foster kids. Well, and then and then we welcome the involvement of the faith community in Florida.

Not every state does that. And so we have a faith governor's faith council, we've done an awful lot to harness these really great resources, because you talk about different problems in society, obviously, adoption, foster care, one, but there's many others. One of the best resources we have are the churches. And they step up and are able to do a lot. So yes, so we, I believe that that is a huge part of the solution. But part of it, we have a responsibility with our tax dollars to make sure that some of this stuff makes sense. And so we did a big increase in payments for foster parents to try to make sure that some of the inequities in our system are getting ironed out so that it makes sense to participate in this. And I think we, for example, have done things where we're giving huge benefits to law enforcement families if they adopt adopt a child. And so it's going to be very attractive for those folks to be able to do it. So we're trying a lot of different things. But it's a huge emphasis that we have in the state of Florida. Yeah. And let's get all the foster kids into a great home and those that are available for adoption, get them adopted. Let me move to tech here at the end. That's a big issue in the culture.

Focus on the family. We were suspended by Twitter just for describing Dr. Levine out of Pennsylvania, who the Biden administration appointed to a big role. We just said he was a transgendered man.

That means a person who was born male and believes himself to be female. That was exactly what we said. And we got suspended. And we thought we were making a statement. In fact, it wasn't controversial.

It wasn't mean-spirited. And boom, we were locked out. And we thought, wow, that's amazing. I even met with some of the execs at Twitter.

And they were wrapped around the axle. They couldn't describe it. They couldn't explain it. And describe big tech and what's going on, especially from your governor's role.

And where do we need to go? Well, look, I mean, this is very Orwellian. I mean, they're basically asking us to be complicit in lies. I mean, when you had the swimmer and the NCAA swimmer, you know, competing as a male swimmer for three years, then switches to be a, quote, woman swimmer, you know, this is a biological male. That's just the reality. And so when that individual is crowned women's champion, you know, that is not true.

And so I did a proclamation in Florida to recognize the one that finished second, according to the NCAA, who was from Florida, saying she was the best women swimmer in this 500-yard thing. Well, when people say things like that, big tech wants to clamp down. They don't want this to be something that's out there. So they're trying to impose an orthodoxy on the country in more ways than one. I mean, this is one way. There's a number of different ways.

And almost all aligns with the very far left of the political spectrum, certainly very hostile to people that have traditional values and traditional outlook on certain things. And so I guess the issue is, OK, what do you do about that? Some people say, well, just build your own Twitter. Well, as we saw when Parler came up, all the tech companies colluded to kneecap Parler, the Amazon Web Services. You had the financial, all this stuff. And they were basically using their economic power to kill this company in the crib.

It's been very difficult for them since then. So I don't know that you just say like, oh, yeah, the market will solve it, because these are massive monopolies. They are not going to allow competition. So you can't have it both ways. You can't say you're not making editorial judgments and therefore you're immune from suit, but then turn around and effectively try to exercise viewpoint discrimination against people that dissent from the prevailing narrative. And so this is going to come to a head. I think that there's got to be a role to protect the ability to participate in speaking in what's become the main public square.

There's much more discourse that's happening on these platforms than what happened in the actual town square nowadays. And so we just have to recognize that reality. But the notion that conservatives should just do nothing about this, I think that's going to lead to us just getting steamrolled by very, very powerful companies. These tech companies exercise more authority over American life than the monopolies of the early 20th century that were broken up. Those big trusts did at the time. And so we just have to recognize reality.

That's amazing. And we're right at the end. And I've got to ask you, where do we get our hope then? When you look at the landscape, all the things we've talked about, the things that are arrayed against good people that just want to do the right thing, want to raise their kids in the right way so that they have values and can live a successful life, how do we look down the line at all of these problems and have some hope? Well, I think the more we have problems, the more we have a lot of deceit circling around the culture and dominating the culture.

It makes truth that much more powerful because people are hungry for it. And I think I'm an example in Florida. Everything we've done, we faced a lot of opposition from the media. I'm a target for being smeared, all this stuff. And I don't mind that because it just means I'm doing my job and I'm over the target. I think it's part of what that's just part of what you expect now. But what happens is people see through that media nonsense.

They do gravitate. If you're speaking the truth and you're willing to back up your words with actions and you will stand and fight for them, there's a huge amount of people in Florida and I think around the country that will have your back and that want to see this state continue going or I think throughout the country. So I do think that there's hope. I think we're up against a lot. But because it's gotten so off kilter, man, that truth, just stand for the right thing, stand for these principles and speak it and live it.

And you're going to have a lot of people that are going to be rallying around that flag. That is so good. The women in the audience are going to kill me if I don't ask about your wife and how she doing and maybe quickly what she went through, what all of you went through. So we did. So she got diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of last summer, beginning of the fall. And when you have a that time, a four, a three and a one year old at home, it's a really earth shattering diagnosis. But the prognosis generally for this now is very good. And so she had to go through chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and do all that.

It was not easy to do. She handled it with a lot of class and dignity and has really been an inspiration for a lot of women throughout the state of Florida, because if she can go through it as the first lady, then they have hope that they can go through it. So she's doing very well. She's out and about and is a great advocate for children in this state, as well as for the overall population in the state of Florida.

But I will tell you this. When we first got the diagnosis, it was something that we were holding privately, very difficult, very emotional. And we made the decision we wanted to go public with it just because she's going to she was not necessarily going to be out and about as much. And she is a public figure.

So we announced it. And the deluge of prayers and people reaching out to us was overwhelming. And it lifted her up. I mean, I saw firsthand the power of prayer and how it could take somebody from kind of the depths of despair for probably the worst thing that ever happened to her in her life and lift her spirits. And I think that that really helped her get through this the way she has. Oh, that's so good. And that's a good way for our listeners to pray for you.

Thank you for being such a great example of how to do this. Well, you have admirers beyond Florida. The whole nation is watching you. And we're just grateful for the time.

Happy to do it. And thanks for coming back to Tallahassee. Governor Ron DeSantis on today's episode of Focus on the Family. And Jim, that is great news about his wife, Casey.

It is, John. And again, these are the insights you're not going to hear on the evening news clip from a governor like Ron DeSantis. And that's what I love doing those interviews for that reason.

You get to know more about who he is and what motivates him and what drives him. We're dealing with some heavy things in the culture right now. And I appreciate the governor's perspective and what he's trying to do as he makes many, many tough decisions.

Yeah. And let me invite our listeners and viewers to visit our website for follow up articles about education, pro life matters, religious freedom and so much more. We want to encourage you in that way to sign up for a subscription to The Daily Citizen. It's a daily email that will keep you informed on the critical issues in the culture.

Our team is really talented. We have researchers and writers who are constantly keeping up with the latest news and its impact on families. You can learn more about Daily Citizen and other resources when you call 800 the letter A and the word family or stop by the show notes and you'll find the links right there. When you get in touch, please consider donating to the Ministry of Focus on the Family. Help us in our outreach and efforts on behalf of marriages, families and preborn babies.

Any donation amount will help and you can call 1-800 the letter A and the word family or stop by the website. Next time you'll hear how birth order impacts your marriage. We'll have Dr. Kevin Lehman.

We tend to marry outside of our birth order and that's a good thing because simply marrying outside of your birth order increases the probability of success in marriage. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. Do you ever wonder what it was like to meet Jesus face to face? The miracles, the teachings, the long awaited Messiah in the flesh. It's all in a new novel by Focus on the Family called The Chosen.

I have called you by name based on the hit streaming series. Immerse yourself in first century Galilee. Experience the savior through the eyes of his followers. You'll want to dive deeper into scripture with every page turn. Learn more about The Chosen novel at slash chosen. That's slash chosen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-30 04:41:48 / 2023-03-30 04:54:17 / 12

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