MFC Team Blog

It Wasn't "Just Another Week of Summer Camp"

By Josiah Young, SSI-MN Program Administrator

Here we are on the other side of year FOUR of SSI Minnesota! What a success! With the exception of a spontaneous zombie apocalypse and the first successful student petition in 3 years, the week sailed along smoothly. Fifty-two students arrived at the University of Northwestern on Sunday night to a welcoming crowd of orange t-shirts and smiling faces to kick off an awesome week of summer camp!

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But SSI isn’t just another week of summer camp.

Sure, students have the chance to get away from home for a few days, change up their schedules, and have a ton of fun with new friends and old, but that’s not all. At SSI, many students experience the most condensed week of growth of their entire year. What did it look like? We’ll let the students speak for themselves.

“Jam-packed, fun, challenging, fulfilling.” -Jonathan, 14

“A whirlwind of learning and strategizing and making friends.” -Britte, 15

“It was an amazing experience with new and old friends alike, learning about Jesus and government.” Joshua, 16

“Fun, intensive learning but surrounded by friends and adults who want to see you succeed.” -Jake, 16

“It was so fruitful and welcoming. I enjoyed every minute of it.” -Selma, 16

To give you a better sense of what students are talking about, here are a few highlights from each of the tracks.

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House

Students visited the Capitol three times during the week as they learned the legislative process first hand. Furthering the democratic experience was the successful submission of a talent show petition, spear-headed by mock-Representatives Voit and Summers, which garnered signatures from over two-thirds of the student body.

Senate

This year, SSI mock Senators had a steep hill to climb: a 15 page bill and the amendment process. They persevered and conquered Recreational Marijuana and Real ID bills!

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Their achievement was crowned at the end of the week when they stood on the House floor to debate their bills, an experience that was not possible in past years while the Capitol was under renovation.

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Print Media

Powering through six papers in six days was quite an accomplishment by the SSI Print Media reporters. Based on their smiling faces and glowing reports, their trips to the Star Tribune headquarters and KSTP studio were definitely highlights for them.

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Broadcast

Broadcast reporters may have had a little too much fun during the week, judging by rumors of dance breaks that interrupted work sessions. But mostly, we’re just thankful they made it through the week alive after catching a sudden zombie attack live on camera! Thursday’s broadcast showed it all.

 

There you have it! A lot of work, fun, and friends as they learned about leadership and faith. So is it “just another summer camp”? We will let you answer that one.

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Published on by Christiana Nunez.

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What's the Big Deal? It's Just a Pronoun.

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Pronoun usage in English is based on the male-female binary. We use the pronoun "he" when referring to a male in the third person. We use the pronoun "she" when referring to a female in the third person. This binary distinction reminds us of God's good designs for humans as male and female.

According to the Trump Administration's new memo, teachers and students will soon be in hot water if they refuse to use students' "preferred pronouns". Decisions to use the traditional binary pronouns, "he" and "she", based on a person's biological sex, as opposed to "preferred pronouns" (he, she, zie, sie, ey, ve, tey, e, etc.), based on subjective desires, may get teachers fired and students punished in the very near future.

Unfortunately, this precedent is not the first of its kind in North America. Just last month Canada passed a similar piece of legislation that makes it illegal to use wrong gender pronouns. Canadians who refuse to use others’ preferred pronouns (often inconsistent with biological realities) could face criminal charges from now on.

Although the Trump Administration’s memo only applies to schools, it signals a shift towards policies like Canada’s. Christians must prepare themselves. They will need to carefully consider whether it is ever loving to use someone's "preferred pronouns" when they contradict that person's biological sex. If it signals affirmation of someone's subjective "gender identity", is such speech true?

Last year, Pastor John Piper, founder and leader of Desiring God Ministries, released a podcast addressing this question for his listeners and congregation. Last week, Family Policy Alliance published an assessment of the Trump memo. Groups like The Gospel Coalition did the same. Following their example, many Christian leaders, pastors, and organizations will have to reach a conclusion on this issue and take a stand.

Due to religious convictions, some will be unable to use "preferred pronouns" in good conscience and will need to be prepared to winsomely speak in accordance with their conscience rather than cave to political correctness. How will you live out Ephesians 4:15 by “speaking the truth in love”? 

Published on by Joshua Bailey.

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Lulled to Sleep by a Façade

By Josh Bailey, MFC Communications Intern

For father of five, Brian Stalboerger, integration of transgender policies in schools was not a serious concern. That is, until he and his wife received an email last year from Nova Classical Academy – a St. Paul charter school where four of their five children were and still are enrolled. “We were notified that because there was a child that was gender non-conforming that they were going to read ‘My Princess Boy’ to all of the kids,” he explained. (For those unaware of the book’s contents, it is mother writing about her gender-confused son, a four-year-old who likes to dress as a princess. Written for four to eight year olds, it promotes acceptance of gender fluidity.)

After receiving the notification, Brian and his wife read the book. They were disturbed by its contents. Describing it to me, Brian summarized, “What the book presented was that if you didn’t get on board with a boy dressing like a girl you were either afraid or there was somehow a defect in your character.”

Uninterested in exposing gender fluid concepts to their children at such a young age, the Stalboergers immediately responded to the email voicing their concerns. When they received no response, Brian explained, they attended the next school board meeting. They soon discovered that they were not the only concerned parents. However, despite the fact that many parents were able to voice their concerns, Brian expressed how fruitless the meeting seemed. “The frustrating part was the school board didn’t give any feedback.” he stated, “Meanwhile, the activists brought in a lawyer.”

Soon the discussion became about much more than reading a book. The family with the “transgender” child began pushing the school to allow children to use locker rooms and showers of the opposite sex and even allow students of the opposite sex to room together on overnight school trips.

According to Brian, this had been a major concern of his and his wife’s for some time. “From the beginning the concern was that our daughters would have privacy in their locker rooms and showers,” he recalled, “along with that is the concern for parents being made aware of what kind of ideas are to be presented to the kids.” In Brian’s mind, these were the two central problems with the proposed policy.

Looking back, he recounted, “Basically, it was a year-long process of us showing up to express our concern.” When parents presented their concern that the changes would lead to open locker rooms and showers, the activists responded by calling them bigoted. Brian noted, “But by the end of the school year that’s exactly what happened.”

This spring, the family that started the controversy pulled their child out of Nova Classical Academy, complaining that the school board was not meeting their demands in a timely manner. Currently, they seem to be preparing to file a lawsuit against the school.

When I asked Brian if he had any kind of warning for other parents, he used the Toolkit as an example. “You can’t be lulled to sleep by the pages of text…,” he remarked, “Most of it sounds great but you have to know where to look.” Referring to advocates of the pseudo “best practices” document, he observed, “They won’t just come to the school and say ‘we want girls to shower with boys’… They will only be explicit as they have to to get what they want.” However, he asserted, “Ultimately, they want it to go to the extent that a child of the opposite sex could sleep with yours on a school trip and you wouldn’t know about it.”

As a culture, we have been lulled to sleep by the slow integration of policies like the Toolkit. However, Brian’s story displays that behind the façade of tolerance lies an ugly agenda that seeks to violate the rights and privacy of children and parents alike. Do not let it catch you asleep.

 

Published on by Joshua Bailey.

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The Fight Isn't Easy, But It's Good

by Josh Bailey, MFC Communications Intern

Physician Assisted Suicide may seem like a distant issue to many, limited to places like the Netherlands, however it is quickly becoming a reality in and around the United States. On Tuesday of this week, Life News reported that only “one year after Canada legalized assisted suicide, 970 people have already killed themselves.” Earlier this month Compassion & Choices – a pro-assisted suicide organization – excitedly reported that 504 patients ended their lives via the assisted suicide “Right-to-Die” law enacted a year ago this month in California.

When organizations like Compassion & Choices argue for legalization of physician assisted suicide, they are telling people like Penther, Swenson, and Bakewicz that their lives are not worth living. But nothing could be further from the truth.

This week a story emerged about a 35 year-old woman named Janka Penther who overcame her Cystic Fibrosis and recently completed a 20-mile obstacle course run. Assisted suicide was always an option in her mind as the disease increasingly debilitated her. But in 2013, Penther chose to try a lung transplant instead of suicide. She fought for life and she WON! Penther continues to amaze doctors by her recovery and participation in athletic events.

In 1980 at the age of 28, Jean Swenson was in a car accident that left her almost completely paralyzed. She confesses that if assisted suicide had been legal at the time, she would have taken advantage of it. However, through the encouragement of her friends, family, and faith, she was able to find great joy in life. In an interview published last month she said, “the road has not always been easy, but it’s been good. And it’s definitely been worth fighting for.”

Elizabeth Bakewicz found out in 2008 that she had a brain tumor, and doctors gave her 3-5 years to live. This prognosis gave her the option to end her life, but instead she chose life. Even though she suffers from painful and regular seizures, she is still alive today and thankful for life. She has pointed out, “By refusing to accept physician assisted suicide, my life and others who suffer like me will be affirmed. We will be told we have meaning.”

Contrary to what Compassion & Choices would have you believe, life is worth fighting for. For the hundreds of people who chose to take their own lives in California and Canada, I am afraid it is too late. Let us not depreciate the lives of hundreds more.

Published on by Joshua Bailey.

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Men in Women’s Sports: 15 Examples

By Josh Bailey, MFC Communications Intern

Attempts to erase differences between the sexes always has a profoundly negative effect on women and girls.

This is incredibly apparent in women's sports when men who identify as women are allowed to compete in them:

  1. In 1998, a Swedish man who now goes by Mianne Bagger competed as an amateur women’s golfer, winning four titles. Bagger later competed in a women’s pro golf tournament.

  2. In 2001, a male professional downhill biker who changed his name to Michelle Dumaresq and identifies as a female created controversy when he started winning races. Dumaresq placed 24th at the women’s world championship. Although barred from competing as a woman in the Olympics at that time, Dumaresq’s attempt led to controversy and in 2003, the IOC chose to allow "transgender" athletes to compete in the Olympics for the first time.

  3. In 2010, male professional golfer Lana Lawless sued the LPGA to compete as a woman in the world championship.

  4. In 2012, 50-year-old man Gabrielle Ludwig (born Robert Ludwig) joined Mission College’s women’s basketball team in California.

  5. In 2013 Women’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor Alaina Hardie revealed that, biologically, he was a man.

  6. In 2014, Jaiyah Saelua became the first man identifying as a woman to play soccer in the World Cup Qualifier

  7. In July 2015, Sylvia Castaneda – a man who identified as a female – won the Women’s division of Vittoria Eastern States Cup.

  8. In 2015, a man identifying as Savannah Burton played for Canada’s Women’s dodgeball team in the World Dodgeball Championship.

  9. In 2015, MMA competitor Fallon Fox, born a man, demolished a female opponent by TKO at 2:17 of the first round of the match.

  10. In 2015 Matt Kroczaleski legally changed his name to Janae Kroc. During his career, Kroc served as a Marine and later on Presidential Security. He went on to become a powerlifter and bodybuilder, setting a powerlifting world record in the 220 lbs. class in 2009. Since his "transition", he has begun training to compete in women's triathlons.

  11. In November of 2016, Jillian Bearden – a biological man who identifies as a woman – won the El Tour de Tucson women’s cycling race in Arizona. 

  12. In March 2017, New Zealand man Gavin “Laurel” Hubbard won a Women’s weightlifting competition, bumping two women from their Olympic qualifying slots.

  13. Rachel McKinnon, born male, has been competitively biking in women's competitions for the past three years. He has won 26 of the 72 races he competed in.

  14. Natalie Van Gogh, born male, currently competes as a female professional cyclist.

  15. Cate McGregor is a former Lt. Col. in the Australian Defense Force who now plays elite cricket in the Women’s Big Bash League, identifying as a 60-year-old woman.

What about men playing in women's sports is fair?

Published on by Joshua Bailey.

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