Family Values bus

Montana Family Foundation President Jeff Laszloffy addresses a small crowd at Beartooth Harley-Davidson as the Family Research Council/Concerned Women for America's Values Bus Tour stops in Billings on Tuesday.

LARRY MAYER, Gazette Staff

Pray, invite your neighbors to coffee — and help organize a voter registration event at your church.

That was among the advice offered to about 40 people gathered Tuesday outside Beartooth Harley-Davidson during a Values Bus Tour stop put on by Family Research Council Action, the conservative organization’s legislative arm, and Concerned Women for America.

Those groups are on a 20-state bus tour culminating with the Nov. 8 election. The tour is designed to raise awareness about federal, state and local issues that voters will help decide at the ballot box.

During the 2012 presidential election that gave Barack Obama his second term, 39 million Christians stayed home on Election Day, said Brent Keilen, FRC Action director.

“We can’t afford to let that happen this year,” he said.

Jeff Laszloffy, president of the Montana Family Foundation, urged the crowd to speak to their pastor about organizing a voter registration event at their church.

“It’s important for you to understand this is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” he said, pointing to two issues that the Montana Legislature will probably decide on during its 2017 session, which convenes Jan. 2.

One will be a statewide equivalent of the nondiscrimination ordinance defeated by the Billings City Council by a 6-5 vote in August 2014. The other will involve bathroom and locker room facilities for transgender youth, he said.

“I hear from all over the state that people feel despair, they’re discouraged, or outright fearful,” Laszloffy said. “They’re worried what America will look like in 10 years. Are things good? No, but without a doubt they are very, very well. God is still on his throne and still sovereign. His thoughts are still higher than our thoughts, and his ways higher than ours. We need to allow God to do his part.”

Kari Zeier, state director of Concerned Women for America, said those in attendance should consider “inviting your friends over for coffee to let them know what the issues are. And pray — our most powerful weapon is to pray without ceasing, for our current and future leaders.”

The advice given during the 30-minute event sounded spot on to Billings couple Dave and LaVonne Swanson.

“We don’t have to just cave in and follow the herd,” he said.

His wife added: “I support what they are promoting — the sanctity of life and marriage being between a man and a woman. And being able to express our religious beliefs without worrying about a court case to follow,” she added.

Next stops for the 30-ton, 45-long bus are in Spokane, Wash., Thursday and then Kennewick, Wash., on Friday. Learn more about the Values Bus Tour at www.valuesbustour.com.

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