What's at Stake this November (Transcript)

Dr. James Dobson: Welcome everyone to Family Talk. It's a ministry of the James Dobson Family Institute supported by listeners just like you. I'm Dr. James Dobson and I'm thrilled that you've joined us.

Roger Marsh: Well, welcome to Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh and we are so glad you've joined us today. We have a very special program for you with a lot of ground to cover, so let's get right to it. Dr. Tim Clinton recently sat down with our own senior vice president of public policy, Gary Bauer, and they discussed what is at stake this November with the midterm elections looming in just a couple of weeks from now. I imagine you have been pondering some of the same things. Well, be informed as you listen to these two men discuss the fight to defend righteousness in the culture via the voting booth and the ballot box. They'll explain what you should keep in mind as you pray, engage and vote.

But first here's a bit more about our guest. Gary Bauer is a conservative Christian family advocate, president of American Values, chairman of the Campaign for Working Families and Emeritus Washington Director of CUFI Action Fund. In addition, as mentioned before, Gary Bauer also serves as the senior vice president of public policy for the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute. He's the host of the daily radio commentary called End of Day Report that airs on the Bott Radio Network. He also authors a daily end of day current affairs newsletter that is emailed to hundreds of thousands of constituents. Previously, Gary Bauer served on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and was president of Family Research Council. He also served as chief domestic policy advisor to President Ronald Reagan and was the under secretary of Education as well. He is the author of several books including Children at Risk, which was co-authored with our own Dr. James Dobson. Gary and his wife Carol have three adult children and live in Fairfax, Virginia. Now, let's join Dr. Tim Clinton as he opens things up on today's edition of Family Talk.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Gary, great to see you. You and Dr. Dobson have quite a history together, don't you?

Gary Bauer: We do, Tim, and it's great to see you, too. Yeah, Dr. Dobson and I go back a lot longer, I think, than neither one of us would care to admit. I was in the Reagan administration and there were divisions even in the Reagan administration. And there were some of us that wanted Reagan to be Reagan and there were others that wanted to try to move him more to the center. So I was regularly getting into controversies in the Reagan administration because I was one of those folks that wanted him to be exactly who he was. And I was taking a lot of fire, and one day I got a call from Dr. Dobson and he asked whether I could come on the radio program and explain what was going on. And that ended up being the first of many opportunities to be on his show.

And Tim, the amazing thing about that was I began to develop a following around the country because of those shows and it became very hard for anybody that didn't like what I was doing at the White House to fire me. So I can say that I was able to put in the whole eight years with Ronald Reagan, at least, in part because Dr. Dobson enabled me to get to millions of the American people that believe in family, faith and freedom.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Well, it's a lot of fun to get to serve together here at the James Dobson Family Institute. And Gary, as we move full swing into the midterm elections, it's growing in significance to everyone. Lot of issues on the table. I know you addressed a number of them in the October newsletter from Dr. Dobson, two of you tagged team there and you really laid out some of the issues. But Gary, I wrote down in my notes just for a second, Glenn Youngkin calls him the kitchen table issues, everything from inflation, the economy, the battle over life, parental rights and transgender ideology and indoctrination that's happening even in our grade schools, open borders and more. Gary, what do you think are those tipping point issues that are going to drive people to the polls in November?

Gary Bauer: Well, you just gave a good summary, Tim. Economic issues are always important. People, they care about whether they can pay their bills, whether they can pay the mortgage, whether they can save a little bit of money to put their kids through school, all the things that families do around that kitchen table, even today with all the high tech things and so forth, it still gets down to do you bring enough money in after taxes to be able to provide for your family. And of course in recent years, even President Biden inherited a really strong economy. His policies in the last year have caused that economy to turn south and we're seeing it in the housing market and growing unemployment and inflation, all of those things. But Tim, economies go up and down and countries can recover from a bad economy and our country does because we believe in free markets and democratic capitalism, it's harder to recover however when a country begins to see its moral core eroded away.

And I've never seen at administration like the one we have now that is so committed to taking America away from the idea that our liberty comes from God, not from government. That's a big issue that we're debating now. But on things like the sanctity of life, on defending marriage, on religious liberty, issues that are heart and soul issues, the president is following a radical agenda. So he's been able to put through a lot of things that are shocking. And sadly, I think a lot of Americans don't fully realize just how far away from ordered liberty under God that the president is taking the country.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Gary, a lot of people, they're beyond shocked. It's just like, it's surreal. It's like we're living in a country that doesn't even make sense. And Gary, a lot of people are not just confused, people are angry, they're frustrated, but they're feeling uncertain about where this is at. Do you think they're going to show up? Are they going to vote or are they staying home? What are your thoughts? Because this is not a presidential election, these are midterms and tends to have lower voter turnout. What are your thoughts, Gary?

Gary Bauer: You obviously know politics, Tim, you're absolutely right, but you can make an argument that these non-presidential years where we elect the entire House of Representatives and we also elect about a third of the United States Senate, that those determine in a tremendous way what any president is able to do on his agenda. Now, I'm hearing and seeing the same thing you are. As I travel around the country, I visit churches, I talk to various groups, people are very concerned, but I don't know whether we're crossing the line from being concerned and thus being willing to turn out, or whether people are starting to throw up their hands and saying, "There's nothing we can do. Why bother? The election will be stolen anyway. It's bigger than me."

And if people adopt that attitude, that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So I know we both understand that Dr. Dobson is deeply worried about this. He's praying about it non-stop. He's urging all of us to do everything we can to convince every single Christian out there to be a Christian citizen. We have the answers, but we've got to be in the arena, we've got to be in the public square.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Gary, I want to go back to President Biden's address at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Not long ago his theme and he came out with these statements that freedoms are under attack, that democracy is at risk and it was clearly a speech aimed at influencing the 2022 midterm elections. So in other words, lines were kind of drawn in the sand. Ever since then, people have been being served warrants all kinds of things. Gary, a lot of people just spinning here for a moment and it's like a battle of narratives. He basically indicated that a lot of people out there were domestic terrorists and they needed to be basically suppressed or what have you. Gary, what was your take on that address and the narrative issues that are out there front and center and media is in the middle of all of it?

Gary Bauer: Tim, there've been a lot of times when you throw up your hands and say, "How did we get here?" But even those periods of time look relatively normal because we were still observing democratic norms about how we conduct ourselves, how we debate our fellow citizens, how we argue the issues. What I saw with the president, I have to be honest, it literally made me feel sick in my stomach. Those were words you are never supposed to hear in this country. He was demonizing half of the nation. He was calling people that believe in "Make America Great Again." I mean, is there a less controversial statement than "Make America Great Again?" I thought that's what all politics should be about. I think every American gets up in the morning thinking, "I want my country to be great." And we have been a great country, but he said that MAGA as he referred to it, "Make America Great Again," that that was an extremist philosophy, that it was a threat to our democracy.

By the way, Mr. President, it's not a democracy, it's a constitutional republic. There actually is a big difference, but I digress. I'm worried because historically when you look at countries that begin to demonize a portion of the population, when you begin verbally to label people in a certain way, that often ends up ending in horror stories that turns a nation against itself and it's the last thing we should be doing now. The president said when he ran and I took some comfort in it, even though I disagree with him on a lot, he said that one of his main goals was going to bring the country together and he's doing the exact opposite. So, we've already seen some unacceptable violence after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. We saw this wave of attacks on crisis pregnancy centers and attacks on churches. And I thought it was very noticeable that the president, the attorney general, federal law enforcement was basically silent during all of that.

And in fact, all these attacks and crisis pregnancy centers, I checked the other day, there hasn't been one person arrested. Anywhere in the country charged with arson and vandalism at those crisis pregnancy centers. So we're in a very dangerous moment. I think the proper response to that, of course, is for men and women of faith, for Christians to pray that God will keep His hand of protection on our country. But you can't pray and just relax. You've got to pray and you got to drag yourself to the polls on election day. Whether you feel like it or not, it's absolutely essential.

Dr. Tim Clinton: You're listening to Family Talk, a division of the James Dobson Family Institute. I'm Dr. Tim Clinton, co-host here at JDFI. Our special guest today is Gary Bauer. Gary is the president of American Values. He's also senior vice president of public policy here at the James Dobson Family Institute. It's fun getting to work together and to have these kind of conversations often.

Gary, let's keep going with this conversation because I want to quote you, you had indicated not long ago that America you believe is at a tipping point and that the left is all in when it comes to attacking the constitution and our fundamental rights. This statement, you made it earlier in the broadcast, "they do not believe liberty comes from God, they believe our rights come from government and they will decide who gets them and who doesn't." Gary, that's the concern here. Do you feel like this thing's trending away from us so fast that we can't get our hands around it? Especially when you have the media picking up on the narrative and grinding it, we're now even hearing the term Christian nationalism. It's kind of like a broad stroke against conservatives or Christians engaged in the public square at any level as extremists. Would you agree with that, Gary?

Gary Bauer: I agree completely, Tim. And Christian nationalist, you're right, I mean, where in the world did that term come from. A Christian is someone that loves Jesus obviously, and nationalist is just an exaggerated form of patriotism, so people that really love their country. Well, my goodness, that's a description of the founding fathers. They were overwhelmingly men of God, they were Christians and they loved this place that came to be called the United States of America. In fact, you can take the entire history of the United States from 1776 up until about maybe 10 or 12 years ago, and the overwhelming majority of the American people and certainly everybody in elected office would've said, "Yeah, I love Jesus and yes, I love America." And that was a pretty good thing. But now, we see that normal love for our Savior and that normal love for this country that has done more to advance the cause of freedom around the world in any country in the history of mankind.

Suddenly, if you believe those two things, that America is a wonderful place, a shining city on a hill, and Jesus is my Savior, now that somehow makes you an extremist. If some of the forces loosen our society, actually get the upper hand and there's no resistance in the congress to that and the courts to that, they won't let us worship in peace. There's already clear evidence that they will force us to kneel at the feet of their gods and their gods are not gods. We can deal with defeat of and be loyal and believe in our Lord and Savior. Our founders found all the great ideas about America in the Bible, in the Torah, the Old Testament and in the New Testament, and they built a whole government around those ideas. If we let that go, then we not only will have mocked the sacrifices of our ancestors, we would've guaranteed that our own children and grandchildren will not have the kind of life in freedom that we have been so blessed to enjoy.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Gary, if you think about it, sometimes we're waiting on God, sometimes God's waiting on us. Sometimes God is saying, "Listen, help set the table here, do your part. Step up and pursue what you think is right." And you are right, Gary, just sitting in our hands sometimes just is the wrong thing to do.

Gary Bauer: Well, when you look at the biblical heroes, Tim, David and Goliath, certainly the Jewish people prayed in this moment of conflict, but ultimately somebody had to go out on the field of battle and that was David, and that's why we hold him up, that he went into battle with his faith and prevailed over great odds. I think sometimes the church alternates between two extreme positions, both of which are incorrect. One position which says, "All the problems of the country are going to be solved by politics." The other extreme says, "All we have to do is pray." Neither of those, I think ultimately work. Of course, we must pray. We should begin every day with prayer. We should end every day with prayer. We should pray all during the day when we're facing challenges, but the prayer has got to be connected with action. I know, Tim, you've thought about this before. I wonder if the average Christian has thought about it. When you were born in America or when you had the opportunity to come to America and become a citizen, you won the lottery. I mean, this is the most blessed thing that can happen to an individual to be in this country and enjoy all of the freedoms of this nation.

Do we think that God didn't know we were going to be born in America? He allowed us to be born in America, this country based on ordered liberty under God. So, it's actually an act of ingratitude as a Christian to not defend the country, to not be in the public square and make sure it stays one nation under God. We would be taking this great gift God has given us by allowing us to be born here and we would be throwing it away which would be a horrible, horrible thing to do. So, we have an obligation as Christians to be in that public square, to be Christian citizens, to do our homework, look at which candidates understand that our liberty comes from God and which candidates don't understand that, which candidates understand that a little unborn, pre-born baby has been made in the image of God and deserves our protection, candidates that know that marriage is between a man and a woman. All these basic ideas, we need to select those candidates, whatever party they're in, and we need to make sure that's who we're being governed by.

Dr. Tim Clinton: I'm going to go back to that statement by Governor Glenn Youngkin, governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. "Kitchen table issues," you and Dr. Dobson in the October newsletter, again, Gary addressed the issue of religious liberty, our first amendment rights, which are being challenged at every turn. Thank God the Supreme Court voted in that Coach Kennedy case, for example, on that education case up in Massachusetts and more. But Gary, that issue along with right to life, we know that Dobb's decision came down this year, huge. Do you think that's going to be a factor in these midterm elections, those two critical issues?

Gary Bauer: I do think those two issues should be critical to this election, but there are some things that are so fundamental that they don't lend themselves suggest a normal disagreement, and they're not things that really lend themselves to cutting the difference and finding middle ground, right? We either have religious liberty or we don't. We either believe an unborn baby is a human being made in the image of God and has dignity and value and worth, or we don't.

Dr. Tim Clinton: I know.

Gary Bauer: So I know the other side is spending millions and millions and millions of dollars to get a huge turnout of people that don't believe a pre-born child is a human being who don't believe in our concept of religious liberty, who really think that we need to get away from the idea that God is central to the American republic. And unless we match them and turn out in record numbers, we're going to wake up one day soon and find out this is not the country of our grandfathers, it's not even the country of our fathers.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Gary, I noticed here before we go and we're battling time, New York Times came out, even Fox News reporting that an overwhelming majority of Americans opposed public schools teaching sexual orientation, gender identity, even down into grade school. It's shocking that we're even having this conversation. Yet, Gary, it's everywhere. I think that's going to be a big issue. Protecting our children is a big "kitchen table issue" for the upcoming midterms, don't you?

Gary Bauer: It is. And Tim, what we're seeing proves it because the people that have been showing up at the school board meetings, they're coming in all races, all ethnic backgrounds, all income levels because "you don't mess with my kids," right? Every mother and father will do anything to protect their children. And I think parents have suddenly had this light bulb go on to find out that this kind of poison is being introduced in kindergarten, first, second, third grade. It's a huge issue and I think this might be the issue that makes the difference on November.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Gary, a lot of people come back and say, "You're not compassionate. You're not caring toward these kids who are wrestling with gender identity issues and more." And I saw someone not long ago say, "That's really weaponizing empathy." Gary, at the end of the day, I know your heart is toward anyone who's wrestling with issues and they need the reach and love of God in their life. You care about that. What do you say to Christians out there and how to respond to that kind of pushback, that narrative out there and that they can quote "somehow bring truth and love together?"

Gary Bauer: It's an age old question, Tim. I would just say to our brothers and sisters in Christ, don't let the other side convince you that somehow you're the problem because you're speaking up against some of these things. They sold abortion on demand to us in the name of compassion, and it results in over a million babies a year perishing. There was nothing compassionate about that. We're seeing this transgender issue and my heart goes out to these little boys and girls, but we're normalizing now doing radical surgery on little boys and girls in the name of the transgender ideology. That's not compassion, that's the exact opposite of compassion. So we need to always love our fellow citizens and treat them with respect, but we have to speak the truth and speaking the truth will end up resulting in criticism, in a backlash. But as men and women of faith, as followers of Jesus Christ, in love, we must speak the truth.

Dr. Tim Clinton: We are in a critical moment in the history of our nation, and I know you are a great man of optimism, of hope, and you have a lot of confidence in our country. Can you close us out, Gary, with an encouraging word?

Gary Bauer: Yes. I don't want anybody to be discouraged, Tim. Time and time again, this nation has faced terrible crises, terrible problems, but it's always been men and women of faith, the people listening to this broadcast that ended up making the difference. We can do that again. God, I don't believe has taken His hand to protection off of us. We might be getting close, but I don't think He's taken it off yet and I am an optimist, but we can't just sit back and assume it'll all work out. We should be optimistic, we should be engaged, and we need to show up on election day and do our best to elect Godly men and women to lead us.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Gary, your leadership here at the James Dobson Family Institute as senior vice president over public policy, again, wanting to make people aware of the issues right down to the local level. We have our friends from My Faith Votes who have come alongside of what we're doing too and making information available to those who are interested. Gary, always a delight to have meaningful kind of like over a cup of coffee conversation just to say, "listen, take this information seriously. This is a time to be courageous and bold. This is a time to stand firm in our biblical convictions." If people will do that and they'll show up, who knows what God may do in our country for such a time as this. As always, thank you for joining us.

Gary Bauer: Thank you, Tim. Great to be with you.

Roger Marsh: Well, that concludes our conversation with Gary Bauer, conducted by Dr. Tim Clinton here on Family Talk. If you'd like to learn more about Gary Bauer, Tim Clinton, Family Talk, or the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, just go to drjamesdobson.org, that's drjamesdobson.org. And remember, Family Talk exists because of listeners like you. To find out how you can pray for us and support us as we fight for righteousness in the culture, just visit our website drjamesdobson.org or call 877-732-6825, that's 877-732-6825. Well, until next time, I'm Roger Marsh. On behalf of Dr. James Dobson and the rest of the team here at the JDFI, thank you so much for listening and be sure to join us again next time right here for another edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.

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