Home Miscellaneous 9 Political Reasons Not to Join AARP

9 Political Reasons Not to Join AARP

by Virginia Fidler
retired people

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is the biggest senior advocacy organization in the United States – by far. However, there are political reasons that many people have decided to drop their AARP memberships. What are their reasons not to join AARP?

This article is not too unlike our article covering whether you should join AARP or not, but here we are focusing exclusively on the reasons why not to join.

In many cases, it’s the politics of the organization. Though AARP is a non-profit organization which publicly states they are non-partisan, they do lobby extensively for particular bills/programs. And if one takes a close look at what some of these programs are, it’s undeniable to see in which way they tilt.  

But to make a more informed decision as to whether or not one should join AARP, one should first look at the way the AARP is structured…

What are the Main Branches of AARP?

There are two main branches of AARP: Services and Foundation.

Services is the branch of AARP that ensures the products AARP endorses are high-quality. If there’s any question about the safety, cost, or usefulness of a product, this is the branch that comes to bat.

These aren’t just physical goods, such as exercise equipment that are monitored via Services either. Whether it’s an insurance plan, a vacation discount package, or any other form of benefit which one can receive via an AARP membership (and the list truly is extensive), Services personnel are the people who monitor quality.

The Foundation is more involved with people than it is products. This branch works “for low income and disadvantaged seniors to help them meet their daily needs.” The slogan of the Foundation is actually “For a future without senior poverty.”

At least within the year 2020, some of the projects that the Foundation undertook were: the delivery of emergency food boxes for seniors who were stuck at home, by assisting seniors with their taxes, helping those who were 50+ years old find employment, using seniors to teach children how to read, provided food to local food banks, provided job training to those over 55 years old, grantmaking for food support and disaster relief, and more.

Are There Reasons to Join AARP?

Undoubtedly, AARP offers some fantastic benefits. Members receive options for fantastic insurance, travel and hotel discounts, wine and grocery discounts, retirement plans and financial planning help, phone and gas discounts, job training, movie ticket discounts, and some interesting magazines as well.  

While there are other senior organizations within America which offer some of these benefits as well, the reader will be hard pressed to find any other organization out there which offers the sheer number of benefits that AARP does.

If one is not concerned with politics whatsoever and is truly simply looking for the most bang for their buck in the immediate timeframe, then the American Association of Retired Persons does the job better than anybody else out there.

They are the most well-known organization out there dealing with senior people, everybody knows who they are, and as a result they are constantly expanding their offerings as well. For a private business to get into the spotlight via AARP (in a positive manner) can completely revolutionize their business.

Why?

Because everybody knows AARP.

9 Reasons Not to Join

There’s no denying that giving food to the hungry, helping people find jobs/job training, and the like are all good things. However, there are a lot of organizations out there which accomplish similar goals without the lobbying for policies you may disagree with.

For those who have seen the good that AARP does but are wanting to also see the negatives, here are nine reasons not to join AARP many have used…

1. You Oppose Socialized Medicine

If you are a fan of the free market, you will be diametrically opposed to AARP’s stances on several healthcare issues. For starters, AARP not only supports but seeks to “strengthen” both Medicare and Medicaid.

In addition, they are large proponents of the Affordable Care Act – President Obama’s initiative which had significant impact on the American healthcare system.

2. You Oppose Regionalism

Regionalism is the concept that government should eliminate “disparity” by forcibly building low-income housing in the midst of “wealthy” communities. This is opposed by many people who pour their savings into a home, only to have the resale value impacted by the building of government housing across the street.

Coincidentally, this is also a tenet of the United Nations’ Agenda 21.

Read for yourself. Here is what the AARP has to say on the matter:

Policymakers should create communities that allow people of varying income levels to live there. – Wealthier communities in particular should build more subsidized housing for people with low and moderate incomes. They should also work to increase the availability of affordable market-rate housing.”

Are they advocating for wealthier neighborhoods to be forced to pay a “subsidized housing tax” to both create and maintain projects within their own neighborhood?

It’s unclear from this statement.

3. You Oppose Government “Safety Nets”

Michelle Obama with AARP card
Image Credit: wikimedia

AARP states on their website that “freedom from discrimination and a strong social safety net are essential.” For those who are fans of Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand, F.A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Glenn Beck, or any other libertarian philosopher/economist, the idea of a safety net created at the expense of others is difficult to digest.

A government-operated safety net of any form is nothing other than a form of collectivism, and as Ayn Rand says, “forced altruism is theft.”

4. You Don’t Believe in Climate Change

According to the AARP, it is climate change that is largely responsible for what they claim is a rise in infectious diseases throughout the world. This is allegedly is because an alleged increase in global temperatures leads to more environments on the planet that can support large mosquito populations for long periods of time.

Mosquitoes are known vectors of malaria, West Nile virus, dengue fever, Zika, and chikungunya, and thus, it is claimed that global warming will lead to an increased incidence of all these diseases. If you don’t buy that, and you are nervous about what such a belief may lead one to lobby for, you may want to seek for some other organization to join.

5. You Oppose Mail-in Voting

Understandably, most Americans are very frustrated with the voting system – in particular, with mail-in voting. The AARP champions this form of “voting;” however, arguing that it is a means by which we can keep people safe should they be afraid to leave their own homes.

If you prefer the idea of in-person voting, where one must present some form of ID to prove that they are who they say they are, you may want to look for an organization which does not support mail-in voting.

6. You Oppose Forced Viral Testing, Masking, or Social Distancing

AARP believes that forced testing (and it appears forced masking and social distancing) are good policies to have within long-term care facilities. However, it is these very policies that have caused long-term care workers to leave the field in droves, leaving these facilities – and all other healthcare offices – woefully understaffed.

7. You Do Not Like Contact Tracing

According to AARP, “Contact tracing protocols, including those assisted by technology, should be developed, vetted and ready to deploy, with standards in place to protect the privacy of individuals.”

For many, what they are seeing within the modern world with contact tracing and the like is concerning. It doesn’t matter if these techniques are touting they are “private,” the reality tends to be anything but, and the consequences can be severe.

8. You Do Not Like AARP’s Barrage of Political Emails

If you like to keep your email inbox as clean as possible, an AARP membership may not help your cause. Of course, email lists can always be unsubscribed from, blocked, or automatically sent to the spam folder, but for many, this is still a minor annoyance that gives them yet another reason to consider canceling their AARP membership.

9. You Oppose Gay Marriage

AARP supports gay marriage and relationships. Should that be an issue you are opposed to, you may want to remember that your membership fees are going to support an organization which is using its voice to support the issue.

The Christian Post has issued statements advocating for Christians to avoid paying for an AARP membership. This may be something to consider if you are a Christian as well.

What About the Cost?

Unless one is on a very severe monthly budget, the cost of an AARP membership is not liable to be a valid reason to not join. It only costs $16 for the first year to join, and then after that, membership renews at $12/year. For the amount of benefits, discounts, and perks one receives, that’s simply impossible to beat. 

This is an incredibly affordable membership that most Americans can easily afford, so cost is not going to be a reason for most people to not join AARP.

Do the Benefits Outweigh the Negatives?

This depends solely on what your personal beliefs. If are looking solely at the immediate benefits you would receive for a few bucks a month, then yes, AARP is well worth the cost. However, if you hold political, philosophical, or religious views that conflict with the AARP mission, you may need to skip your AARP membership in good conscience.

Alternatives

Should one decide that AARP is not a good fit for them, there are conservative alternatives which may very well prove to be more in line with your personal beliefs.

To briefly cover some of these alternatives however, the reader may wish to check out the American Seniors Association, Christ Above Politics, The Association of Mature American Citizens, The Seniors Coalition, The 60 Plus Association, The Alliance for Retired Americans, and the Alternative Association for Retired People.

We have one dedicated post that compares AARP and AMAC specifically.

Final Thoughts

To be completely frank, there is no other senior organization that offers the berth or depth of benefits that AARP does. Nobody else even comes close. AARP has the most benefits, the best benefits, and for the lowest cost compared to any other senior organization within America.

However, there are other reasons to potentially consider for not choosing to join AARP. For many, AARP’s lobbying positions are simply too much to stomach, regardless of what the potential benefits of membership are.

If you are one of those people who is on the fence as to whether or not you should join AARP, hopefully this article has proved to be of benefit to you.

But what are your thoughts? Are there other aspects of AARP we did not cover which you believe could be a discouragement to others for joining? Let us know in the comments below!

And please, be kind to one another in the comments. We had to close comments on the AARP vs AMAC article because commenters were attacking one another.


52 comments

GOD November 26, 2022 - 8:32 pm

Great article! I will not be joining AARP for these reasons and countless others. Proud member of Amac.

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Laura Maroon November 9, 2022 - 6:11 pm

Thanks for giving me several reasons to join! I believe in all the reasons you listed.

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Natalie November 8, 2022 - 4:20 pm

I was surprised to see an AARP advertisement on Trinity Broadcast Network. I enjoy watching TBN and wonder if they know what aarp stands for and supports

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P. Thompson August 28, 2022 - 8:58 am

Helpful article—thank you for clearly stating the positions the AARP has advocated for/against. Some will find reasons to join and some will find reasons to find an alternative. I will be checking out some of the alternative organizations shared at the end of the piece.

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john August 20, 2022 - 12:34 pm

Its a government funded entity based in the beltway, thats all you need to know. In one years all the rats will be flushed from DC.

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Karl August 8, 2022 - 3:32 pm

Well like unlike the bleeding heart liberals that have commented I appreciate the information in your article and have definitely decided NOT to join. I was on the fence but didn’t realize that they give money supporting gay marriage, etc so no…. Hard pass.

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Jane S June 28, 2022 - 7:02 pm

With 38 million AARP members, more than 10% of the US population, why have they not been in the center of drug pricing and pharmaceutical middlemen issues from the start and where are they today?

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Jean July 25, 2022 - 8:34 am

That is certainly a reason to be angry with AARP. I cancelled by membership years ago because of their support of a Policy in opposition to the Elder population. Now, after reading the “9 reasons not to join”, i see something has most definitely changed at AARP and am now, at 78, considering joining again. I suppose when i and so many others cancelled because of AARPs Right wing sprawl that hurt us, and lost them members, they may have reformed. You are correct about drug prices. Maybe it is time to join and put the pressure on again. Your choice. I’m going to do some research, because if anti AARP faction actually believe that nonsense in their article, i may need to join AARP again. (And yes, i am a real person, 78 and soon, in October, going to be 79. Im also a politically noisy person, which i think more of us should be, considering the way in which the right wing tries manipulate people into voting against the rational among us.). But i digress. I am rethinking my long ago decision to cancel my membership and my rejoin. Jean

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Karl August 8, 2022 - 3:28 pm

🙄

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Thom October 13, 2022 - 4:31 pm

Jean, like you, this article is making me rethink AARP – I supported every reason they listed not to especially every single one of them LOL

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Nancy Freeman June 27, 2022 - 5:35 pm

The most disgusting bunch of people who answer the phones. I joined AARP , THEIR LITERATURE SAYS to speak to an AARP Rep. dial……THAT PERSON asked for 6 pieces of information as to who I am, after reassuring me he worked for AARP, then said he had to connect me to an AARP person! He worked for United Wellness C0,although he also worked for AARP. I REDIALLED 6 DIFFERENT AARP TELEPHONE NUMBER FROM THEIR ADS, SENT TO MY HOUSE, AND each of those people WANTED TO CONNECT ME TO SOMEONE ELSE.
DONT JOIN. THIS COMPANY IS FUTILITY SQUARED….totally frustrating. I gave all my data at least 4 or 5 times, only to be told I needed to be transferred.
Even after I left my number with AARP customer service for a call back….THAT PERSON TOOK MY INFO AND WANTED TO TRANSFER ME. It used to help their customers, now they are just a bunch of numbers to call, all of whom could not help me. Why doesn’t their literature state they are TWO companies but not one of their phone number give you an AARP person. Bad bad bad futile useless company. I hope they don’t take money from my taxes

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Lisa June 25, 2022 - 7:25 pm

Thanks for helping me make the decision to join AARP. Now I know their political stance, I am definitely joining for that reason alone.

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John July 9, 2022 - 8:33 pm

I visit the AARP website from time to time, but you convinced me to join. I will also stop visiting this website. Thank you.

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Derrick July 10, 2022 - 7:06 am

John, we do not push a political agenda on this website. It’s clear to me that that’s the takeaway by some, however, because of this article and a few others. Maybe it’s time for a “9 Political Reasons TO Join AARP” article.

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Karl August 8, 2022 - 3:30 pm

Lol what a bunch of goofballs today

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Debbie Carnahan August 13, 2022 - 9:44 am

Me too!

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Mark August 28, 2022 - 4:58 pm

Hahaha hahaha 😆

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Alan November 5, 2022 - 12:04 pm

Me too, this article was 9 reason to re-join, so I did! 8o)

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Em Clooney June 10, 2022 - 9:34 am

How anyone can support the philosophy of Ayn Rand/Glen Beck et al, and then claim to be a Christian is beyond me. Opposing programs that help the poor, aka “forced altruism”, is antithetical to Christianity.

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Rene Evan Girard June 10, 2022 - 11:38 am

Christianity is to be a follower of Jesus Christ. What scripture would you use as evidence that Jesus or his disciples used the Roman Government as a means of helping the poor? We know they paid taxes, but I don’t see any encouragement to become politically active or dependent upon the Government in any way.

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John June 22, 2022 - 5:56 pm

“Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, FOLLOW ME.”

So you follow him and still have your stuff? strange

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Rene Evan Girard June 27, 2022 - 9:39 pm

When a rabbi called someone to become one of their disciples, it was customary for that person to leave everything for a period of time to be mentored. Notice Jesus did not tell any of the others to go back and sell their possessions. Why this young man? Jesus knew that money, and what it could buy, was his weakness, and he needed to deal with that issue. Jesus made it a teachable moment for everyone.

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Gary June 28, 2022 - 11:30 am

We as Christians should be no part of the world and remain neutral to all political affairs in this world. Jesus said “ my kingdom is no part of this world…”. Jesus also said we should pay our taxes . John 18:36. The apostle John had written at 1 John 5:19 …” the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” We truly see the evidence around us everyday! God’s Kingdom (Government) is the only solution to the many problems in the world facing mankind!

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Mark July 21, 2022 - 1:23 am

The problem is that the ‘charity’ that such organizations engage in is highly selective. It will only be charities that support Leftist politics, and no other. In other words, charity is not the aim here, aiding a particular political party and ideology is the aim.

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Frank z paluch May 15, 2022 - 9:35 pm

I constantly get advertisements saying how great the benefits are. Volunteers help me with tax. But, AARP disappears the rest of the year. I love the Volunteers. I am unimpressed by management.
Now I need help with SSDI paperwork. All I hear are echoes of promises.

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Mark May 15, 2022 - 12:15 pm

Wow… your reasons to NOT join sound more like reasons TO join. Thanks for the additional information.

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Prof. A June 8, 2022 - 2:08 pm

Ditto. I didn’t realize how good AARP was on providing for ALL seniors, not just the lucky ones.

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Anneliese LipinskI July 9, 2022 - 5:15 pm

Ditto, thanks for giving me reason to join!
Social Democrats care about human beings.

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Karl August 8, 2022 - 3:34 pm

🤣🤣🤣🤣 oh my gosh thank you for the laugh

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Captain Panic May 14, 2022 - 11:27 am

For me, every one of these is a reason to join.

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John O May 1, 2022 - 2:09 pm

Many of the ‘benefits/discounts’ you mention have little value. Their endorsed cell phone services is more expensive. The auto insurance they endorse is by far more expensive. I have not found any of their endorsed programs/services to be less expensive. Please, never support their foundation.

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Sandy August 3, 2022 - 1:45 pm

Thank you for the info, very helpful.

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Joel D. Effler, PhD April 4, 2022 - 6:15 pm

Thanks for an objective analysis. As a licensed psychologist for over 40 years, my professional organizations are deeply steeped in what some would call “liberal causes.” When I attend a conference, hoping to learn more about treating disorders that represent most of my practice issues (depression, anxiety, psychosis, trauma, etc.), I encounter a preponderance of “social justice issues,” whose presentations are conducted by the most impassioned speakers. Indeed, there was a presentation once on the effects of climate change on mental disorders. I deal with it, particularly as I will retire soon. If I were younger, however, I think I would find it a bit more difficult to endure. I belong to AARP, and, like the professional organizations to which I belong, I just deal with these issues. I guess it’s always a cost/benefit analysis.

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Scott Smith June 14, 2022 - 7:01 pm

“Objective analysis”? You can’t be serious. This is an idiotic list of right wing grievances. If you think this is objective, that says a lot about you and it’s not good.

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Rando July 17, 2022 - 9:31 am

Guess I’m right wing then. AARP is for leaches.

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Linda Bradley April 4, 2022 - 8:10 am

No thank you! There are enough negative things going on in this country and I refuse to support as many as I possibly can.

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John May 14, 2022 - 10:34 am

Oh Linda… SUCH a pessimist!

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Gloria April 3, 2022 - 6:54 am

I would like to know why after all these years they have not pushed to stop the payment for Medicare for ALL seniors as we have paid for that all our working lives. Nothing really said about the social security benefits that I would think they would be lobbying for as the most important.

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Darius moon March 23, 2022 - 10:27 pm

Thanks for the article. I will look around for one that compares the various senior groups. I like the idea of AARP but not its authoritarianism.

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Thom October 13, 2022 - 4:38 pm

authoritarianism??? LOL – they are a nonprofit with no standing military force. ffs – do you even know what ‘authoritarianism’ is?

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Bee March 6, 2022 - 9:47 am

For some reason, I had always thought AARP was very different from what you describe here, regarding their positions on community questions. I am happy—and impressed—to hear how much of their work is focused on the true well-being of all. The issues you mention in this post are critically important for the aging and elderly, yet they benefit all generations as well. To my surprise , it looks like I will be joining this valuable organization. Thanks

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Mike Gratis March 1, 2022 - 10:40 am

Thanks for a great article…. Am already a member of the American Seniors Association and The Association of Mature American Citizens, gonna look into the others mentioned in this article, too…. ;-)

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Katherine February 25, 2022 - 12:20 pm

Thank you for the information in the article. It leads me to want to join AARP as the policies it supports will help to create a healthier, more just society.

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Mark L Lotane February 16, 2022 - 5:45 am

Thank you for the info in this article. When an individual joins an association just because of the benefits they offer or because it’s a good deal financially, but ignores the harm that association may be doing to the fabric of our Republic via the policies they support, I believe that is very short sighted. I will definitely be joining Amac and not AARP.

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Rick January 28, 2022 - 10:05 pm

Your article gave me all the reasons I need to join AARP. May they continue their fight for a more liberal agenda. Thank you for highlighting the good work they do.

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Paul April 7, 2022 - 12:22 pm

It convinced me to join also!

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Tye Minckler April 29, 2022 - 5:51 pm

Convinced me as well, especially for their positions!

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Sabrina May 16, 2022 - 9:40 pm

You both were liberals who were going to join anyway.

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Mark May 20, 2022 - 4:16 pm

Sounds like sour grapes to me. Had AARP been backing Trumper crap I would definitely NOT sign up or if I found out end my participation.

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Patty May 28, 2022 - 5:20 pm

I thought they also back Planned Parenthood. True?

Rose July 3, 2022 - 8:47 am

As a British, (English), person I can only say thank goodness for our NHS. (which gives every person in the UK free care & treatment, whatever their age, income, ethnicity etc.. ). I can only imagine how frightening to live in a country without this basic human ‘right’ !!! Our NHS is struggling after Co Vid & a drastic underfunding in recent years, but despite longer waiting lists, I do not have to fear the expence & uncertainty that illness or accident could bring without the NHS safety net. As for the AARP – sounds good to me & I am thinking of joining them in the UK. Their philosophical aims seem both humane & laudable, & if there are financial benefits as well, then that’s a bonus.

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Mr. Girard January 1, 2022 - 12:31 am

I was told of this article today, so I wanted to check it out for myself. Your article is the reason someone found our organization, Christ Above Politics, and decided to join due to common goals and beliefs as well as the fact that we could provide many more options for life insurance. Thank you Theona Small and elder Guru. May 2022 be a wonderful year for you!

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