Miami-based Christian Family Coalition (CFC) recently opened its doors to Broward and Palm Beach counties. Now, Christians who reside in these respective counties have an advocate and can stay informed of political issues that impact their way of living.
CFC is known as a pro-life organization working to give Christians a voice in the government against discrimination and injustice that impacts their religious beliefs. The organization was established solely as a resource to inform and educate believers on where candidates stood on issues that hinder a traditional family unit.
I had an opportunity to ask CFC Executive Director, Anthony Verdugo about the benefits of the expansion into Broward and Palm Beach. “The expansion into Broward and Palm Beach enables greater representation in Tallahassee. It gives a broader voice to these counties that are underrepresented,” explained Verdugo. He also expressed how the expansion allows CFC to connect with delegates in Tallahassee, which generates even stronger grassroots efforts. Lastly, adding these two counties allows elected officials to see that residents now have a voice speaking on their behalf when issues of social injustice and discrimination arise.
Working against discrimination
Christian Family Coalition recently acquired its first victory of the year during a legislative session in Tallahassee on March 6th. CFC was diligent in its lobbying and testifying to secure approval of SB-436, which is a bill that prohibits discrimination against students, school personnel and parents based on their religious viewpoint or expression. CFC won 5 out 7 votes in the Senate Education Committee.
Let’s also remember CFC’s past victories which generated momentum. Remember the Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage in 2015 and then transgender bathrooms in 2016.
After those rulings, CFC hit the ground running. The Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage put pastors who support biblical values in an uncomfortable position. Many were faced with having the decision of whether or not to compromise their faith and perform marriage ceremonies that went against what they believe the Bible says or violate the law. The last thing any minister wants to face is a lawsuit.
CFC pushed for the Pastor Protection Act to ensure safety of pastors.
The law, which was signed by Governor Rick Scott last March, also protects churches, religious organizations and religious schools from civil action for their policies that maintain their belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.
I asked Verdugo what was the key to victory and he mentioned these three words: “education, lobbying and representation.” Strong grassroots efforts made the difference.
According to Hosea 4:6, “My people perish for a lack of knowledge.” CFC hosted a pastor protection conference to educate pastors on their rights under the law.
Over 1000 pastors from nine counties received training on how to legally protect themselves as pastors. These leaders were encouraged that they didn’t have to compromise their stance on marriage and gender.
Florida State Representative of District 93 George Moraitis spoke about CFC’s effort to establish the Pastor Protection Act at a recent breakfast, stressing the importance of not just having amendments in our U.S Constitution. “We have the 14th Amendment that guarantees equal protection,” he said. “That struggle still continues. It’s not enough to have an amendment in our constitution. But we have to fight for our liberties,” he explained. Moraitis encouraged supporters to continue to fight through advocacy and involvement, but not physically.
Keeping people informed
In addition to putting together seven conferences and training over 500 pastors concerning their rights related to the Pastor’s Protection Act, CFC developed and distributed voter guides last year, which showed the candidates’ stance on key issues. The presidential election voter guide was provided to over 200 churches in Broward County.
CFC also launched their social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) in 2016 and currently have over 23,000 followers in the state of Florida. This year CFC will become the largest pro-family organization on social media in Florida.
Their goal is to double that number in 2017. The social media page is not only used to stop bad legislation, but to also support legislators.
“If you support scriptural, biblical, pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-religious or pro-family values, we’re going to stand with you that is where our responsibility is as Christians and leaders” stated CFC Executive Director Anthony Verdugo.
To support Christian Family Coalition efforts in continuing to be a voice in government against discrimination, you contact Anthony Verdugo at 786-447-6431 or sign up online at www.cfcflorida.net.
Tyrone Hall is a recent graduate of Florida International University and a freelance writer. He can be reached at [email protected].