Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted as saying that “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
It’s a tidy statement and can, in many cases, be used as an effective guidepost when we’re in conversations.
Applying it is a little messier.
Recently, the Alaska Family Council hosted two Spring Dinners with Will Witt as our keynote speaker. As a young, articulate and passionate advocate and thinker, Witt provided sound wisdom on how conservatives can dialogue with those we disagree with as well as the importance of understanding who really controls the levers of power in our country.
His talk was a great reminder for those of us who have a healthy level of skepticism about Generation Z and how truth, with their apparent acquiescence, is being turned upside down.
Moving on from talk of people to affirmation of ideas, we chalk this up as an oversight that is as enlightening as it is embarrassing.
Prior to Witt, we were honored to have the Governor by video and his representative in person introduce the newly formed Office of Family & Life (OFL) housed within the Dunleavy Administration. The first of its kind in the nation, as far as we know, this unique and critical strategic initiative was created to:
— Change the hearts and minds of society so that abortion should not be considered a necessary option for women/couples who believe a child would be a burden
— Lift up the reality that spouses, families and children are a gift of the highest value and not seen as a hardship
— Educate the public that without more children, society, civilization, the economy and our very existence are threatened. In a recent study of 18 to 49 year old Americans, nearly half of this age group is uninterested in having children.
Back to the Eleanor Roosevelt quote. The goals of the Office of Family Life are ideas of the highest order. As an institution created by God, (Romans 13:1-2) one of government’s primary purposes is to lift up that which is good. Families and life, under unprecedented assault on many fronts, are our greatest asset and deserve to be lifted up as the original and most effective department of health and human services.
…may this much needed Office of Family and Life, despite a rocky start, continue to move forward, build an awareness of and zeal for the importance of children and family and strengthen roots for human flourishing.
Inevitably, implementing the Office of Family Life meant that the governor had to choose among people who are fallen. That was never under any doubt. As C.S. Lewis noted about our nature, “Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors the idea that they ‘could be like Gods’ – could set up on their own as if they had created themselves – be their own masters – invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come…the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
As you may have read or heard, the person Governor Dunleavy chose to represent the Office of Family Life at our dinners has now resigned after a series of contemptible rants surfaced on a podcast he has had for several years. Without going into detail, suffice it to say this individual made statements that were absolutely counter to what was envisioned for this effort. Further, he has gone on to defend his statements with vulgarity and vitriol. It has been sad to see it unfold.
Moving on from talk of people to affirmation of ideas, we chalk this up as an oversight that is as enlightening as it is embarrassing. Although you always seek out good and honorable people to carry out work, we put our trust not in individuals but in timeless principles and foundational truths. As G.K. Chesterton noted, “the family is not only an institution, but a foundation, the foundation of nearly all institutions.”
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The theme for our recent fundraising dinners, where the Office of Family Life was introduced to the public, came from a letter written about 60 years after Jesus died on a Roman cross. In it, the Apostle Paul implores a gathering of believers in what is now modern-day Turkey to dig deeper into their faith and establish themselves on the deity of Christ. False teachers were infiltrating.
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7
Healthy roots, as those of us doing early summer planting can attest, are essential to exquisite flowers and edibles we anticipate in the coming months. In a similar manner, may this much needed Office of Family and Life, despite a rocky start, continue to move forward, build an awareness of and zeal for the importance of children and family and strengthen roots for human flourishing.
We celebrate Governor Dunleavy’s pro-active work in this arena and look forward to the inevitable fruit.
The views expressed here are those of the author.