Above, Garcia family (See below.)
9. James Dobson drjamesdobson.org AFAJ 11/12
NURTURING STRONG FAMILIES – Dr. James Dobson is arguably the nation’s leading culture analyst on the relationship between the Christian family and the culture. In 2012, he shared with AFA Journal some thoughts rooted in many years of work in the pro-family arena through his Family Talk daily radio show as well as his long history with Focus on the Family, which he founded in 1977, about the same time Don Wildmon founded AFA. The two have been good friends ever since.
Dr. Dobson’s signature resources include many books and videos. Family Talk is heard on AFR Music (9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.) and on AFR Talk (6:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.)
AFA Journal: What moved you to begin a pro-family ministry 40 years ago?
James Dobson: I became keenly aware that the American family was in serious trouble. I saw that it was deteriorating. I don’t want to sound like I was some kind of prophet, but I saw where we are today.
I realized that the homosexual activist community was going to try to change the family. I saw all the problems related to deteriorating families, especially with regard to children. I just felt that the Lord would have me do something about it if I could.
AFAJ: Have things changed since 1977?
JD: The family has deteriorated much more rapidly than I expected. The culture is at war with parents for the hearts and minds of their kids. We have a whole generation of kids who are growing up without a spiritual foundation – or support for it within the culture. There are a lot of Christian parents who are trying to do that job, but they don’t get any help from the schools, from the entertainment industry, the rock music industry. That’s where my greatest concern is.
AFAJ: What new issues have arisen?
JD: There’s nothing new under the sun, in particular when it comes to the institution of the family. One of the things that has bothered me most is that government has seemed to be so anti-family in what it does. … Government has very little interest in the family, which is really the foundation, the ground floor for everything that matters as a culture.
That’s what pulled me into the public policy arena. It bothers me greatly that people have not understood that, and for the last 20 years many have accused me of being political, implying that what I seek is political power. That’s not it at all; it’s an extension of the work I do to try to protect families.
AFAJ: How is the U.S. different from other nations?
JD: We have been different from the days of the Founding Fathers because of our Constitution – based largely on the Judeo-Christian ethic – and because of the great men God gave us at a critical time in our history. What is so sad is today’s culture and today’s politicians have forgotten it and don’t understand it, and the Constitution is under assault like never before. If we allow government to take away religious liberty, we will do so at our peril.
AFAJ: What is our best hope for the future?
JD: There’s only one hope. It will not be done by electing certain individuals, although that will help. It will only occur with a profound spiritual revival that will sweep this country.
10. Michael Farris adflegal.org AFAJ 03/16
Michael Farris has worn numerous hats in the activist arena defending marriage and family, human life, and religious liberty internationally. Earlier this year, he became CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom.
He has been a warrior for 40 years. He started Homeschool Legal Defense Association in 1983. In 2000, God led him to start Patrick Henry College.
Farris is highly respected as a pioneering leader and champion of the homeschooling movement in America. For his work in home education, Education Week Magazine named him one of the top 100 “Faces in Education” for the 20th century. He continues to be a champion for family values and an advocate for a discipleship relationship between parent and child.
For more than three decades, Farris has been a presence in the nation’s capitol, where he co-chaired the Coalition for the Free Exercise of Religion that successfully lobbied Congress for the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“Things are not going well in our country,” he said. “Look at the courts. Look at the culture.” With Farris at the helm of ADF, he is sure to keep the group on the front lines defending citizens’ religious freedoms.
11. Domingo and Irene Garcia richinlovebook.com AFAJ 06/14
Rescued by God from destructive lifestyles, Domingo and Irene Garcia found a new calling to provide a godly home for homeless children.
When Irene became pregnant at age 15, she married Domingo, the child’s teenage father. Abuse and anger soon invaded their marriage, but a Christian woman led Irene to faith in Christ. Domingo soon followed, and their marriage healed. But that was only the beginning of God’s plan for their family.
“I wanted to adopt a little girl,” Irene told AFAJ. “Domingo went along with it because he really believed they would not give us a child because of his past.” However, they soon found themselves parents of a disabled baby girl. That experience inspired them to reach out to homeless special-needs children, and they added to their household through foster care and adoption, sharing the love of God with over 30 children.
Irene’s book Rich in Love chronicles their story. They now lead special-needs ministries at Paradise Alliance Church in Paradise, California, and challenge Christians to practice foster care and adoption.
“If you want to grow as a Christian,” Irene said, “take in a child, and take a front seat in seeing God in action.”
12. Patti Garibay americanheritagegirls.org AFAJ 03/13
“The realization that there was something amiss in the Girl Scouts and that it was not what people believed it to be was really disconcerting to me as a Christian,” Patti Garibay told AFAJ. Mother of three daughters and a son, Garibay is executive director of American Heritage Girls.
While a stay at home mom, Garibay served in many capacities as a volunteer at church, school, and Girl Scouts for many years. But in 1995, she began to notice some troubling trends in Girl Scouts.
What had once been an organization dedicated to empowering girls to lead moral and upright lives now was allowing immoral sexual ethics to be taught around the campfire. Girl Scouts had clearly adopted a biased left-leaning agenda.
“I could no longer volunteer for an organization that did not put God first,” she said. So in 1995, she founded AHG, the faith based alternative to GSA.
AHG offers girls of all backgrounds and religions a safe place to grow and develop skills to be good citizens, and at the same time be exposed to the gospel. The organization has more than 43,000 members, with almost 1,000 troops spanning all 50 states.
13. Mark Hancock traillifeusa.com AFAJ 04/17
Scouting programs are iconic in American heritage and culture. But when Boy Scouts of America turned its back on its founding values and opened its doors to gay participants in 2013, Scouting parents everywhere began looking for an alternative. As an answer to this need, Trail Life USA was founded.
“Trail Life is a Christian outdoor adventure, character, and leadership program for boys and young men,” Mark Hancock, Trail Life CEO, told AFAJ.
Hancock is well prepared for leadership at TLUSA by varied life experiences, from founding and running a national advertising agency for 15 years to serving as associate pastor, homeless ministry director, and global event director for an international ministry.
TLUSA stands for morality and uprightness as rooted in Christian teaching, making a point to teach young boys not only how to be upstanding moral men, but also about the truth of the gospel of Christ.
Among its core values, TLUSA is first Christ-centered. Other core values include dealing with courage, family values, servanthood, and more.
“Living the Trail Life is a journey established on timeless values derived from the Bible,” Hancock said. In its short history, TLUSA has grown to almost 30,000 members in 48 states.
14. Mike and Harriet McManus marriagesavers.org AFAJ 06/17
Mike McManus has been at the forefront of the battle for biblical marriage since he began writing his weekly column “Ethics and Religion” in 1981. In 1996, he and his wife Harriet founded Marriage Savers, a nonprofit corporation to encourage married couples to stay together, pushing down divorce and separation rates in several communities.
Marriage Savers helps local clergy establish Community Marriage Policies – signed covenants by pastors in a community to take specific steps to prepare couples for lifelong marriage.
From 1996 to 2001, El Paso’s divorce rate plunged 79.5% after using the CMP. Marriage Savers also trains clergy and mentor couples to come alongside engaged couples, building them up and encouraging a strong scriptural foundation for marriage.
While McManus works mainly with churches, his vision extends to the state level with the goal to lower divorce and separation rates nationwide. McManus has written five books, four of which cover marriage related topics in depth.
In a world where biblical marriage is constantly being desecrated and redefined to reward sinful behavior, Mike and Harriet McManus and Marriage Savers stand as a bastion of Christian principle, helping defend the integrity of a most valuable building block of American society.
15. Star Parker urbancure.org AFAJ 09/15
“Twenty-five percent of the black community didn’t wake up one day and say, ‘Let’s go live on welfare,’” Star Parker told AFAJ. “[The government] changed the law. They told people, ‘You don’t have to be responsible with your choices anymore – you have a safety net.’ So people began to get involved in these safety net programs, and their behaviors changed.”
Parker is founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a public policy think tank promoting market based solutions to fight poverty. No stranger to the reality of living in poverty, Parker had seven years of first hand experience in the grip of welfare dependency. After becoming a Christian, she determined to work for reform.
“We have a society that has begun to pay people to have babies outside marriage,” she said. “And then next thing you know, marriage collapses.” A major goal at CURE is to bring new ideas to policy discussions on how to restore the institution of family by freeing America’s poor from government dependency.
She is fully committed to reinforcing the family structure for people living under the thumb of government welfare, and acknowledging that the key to true freedom from poverty lies in strong moral values and upholding marriage and family.
Other articles in the 40 FAITHFUL series
We Salute You
God’s church in ministry
God’s Word and words
God and government
God’s view of sexuality