Week Ending March 28, 2003
Religious Freedom Coalition
March 28, 2003 4:04PM EST
CONGRESS IN SESSION
CONGRESS IN SESSION
THE HOUSEEndorsed Fasting and Prayer Resolution Passes. Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO) introduced a Fasting and Prayer Congressional Resolution (H. Res 153) Wednesday. The resolution then passed by a vote of 346 to 49 with 23 abstaining on Thursday, a number greater than the 2/3 required under "suspension" rules. The resolution directs the President to proclaim a day for "humility, prayer and fasting for all people of the United States ... to seek the guidance from God." The resolution concluded that the day of fasting and prayer should be used to "...gain resolve in meeting the challenges that confront our nation." The preamble of the resolution states the purpose of the resolution as: "Recognizing the public need for fasting and prayer in order to secure the blessing and protection of Providence for the people of the United States and our Armed Forces during the conflict in Iraq and under the threat of terrorism at home."
This country is the greatest military power on earth and the envy of people everywhere for our wealth and standard of living. But we as Americans must never forget that all our blessings come from our Creator. It is God who has sustained our country since its founding, through many wars and potential disasters. In times of danger, from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, to the wars of the twentieth century, our leaders have traditionally encouraged the people to humbly pray for America's survival.
Prior to H.Res. 153 the last successful call to fasting and prayer was issued by the Congress on March 30, 1863. At the bequest of the Senate President Abraham Lincoln called for the nation to humble itself before God and proclaimed a day of fasting and prayer.
During the 106th Congress Congresswoman Helen Chenowtih (Retired) offered HR 94, a call to repentance, fasting and prayer. On June 30, 1999, the bill was voted on under "suspension" rules. Under those rules a bill may be sent directly to the House floor by the Leadership without committee hearings and a bill cannot be amended, however, it must receive a 2/3 vote to pass. The vote was 275 for and 140 against with 11 abstentions and as a result it failed. Virtually all of the 140 against were democrats. The House leadership and most of the nation were stunned that the House had rejected prayer by any margin. As a result, Congressman Akin's H.Res. 153 is the first congressional resolution for fasting and prayer to pass since the Civil War.
PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION (PBA) In other House action the ban on PBA was passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on March 26th. The bill (HR-760) was voted for on party lines with all 11 Democrats voting against, again a signal that social radicals have more power than the unions in the Democrat party. The overwhelming majority of union members are against Partial Birth Abortion. The Senate version of the ban on PBA (S-3) has already passed the Senate 64-33. As soon as the House gives final approval President George W. Bush will sign the ban into law.
THE AMBER ALERT and several other pro-family child protection acts were also passed during the week. The democrats had tried to stop portions of the bill such as a two strike law for those who comment sex offenses against children. Under the provisions a second conviction means life in prison. The democrats wanted a simply bill establishing the Amber Alert with no other Provisions. Congressman Sensenbrenner (R-WI) commented that a broader bill, "not only got the word out after a kidnapping, but it also takes strong steps to prevent them from occurring in the first place."
To promote social conservative values Peggy Birchfield, the executive director of the Religious Freedom Coalition spoke directly to several congressmen on these and other issues. She has been at the forefront of obtaining cosponsors for the Congressman Istook's (R-OK) Pledge and Prayer Amendment to the Constitution.
The Judicial nominee fight continues in the Senate. The democrats continue the filibuster against Miguel Estrada. Their basic argument is that he is not the "right kind" of Hispanic. If that is not racist I am not sure what is. Today is the 51st day of the filibuster against Estrada. It is beginning to hurt Democrat Senator Graham (D-FL) where there is a large social conservative Hispanic community.
There is some good news on at least one social conservative judicial nominee and that is Priscilla Owen. Last year the Senate Judiciary Committee, then led by the Democrats, refused to send her nomination to the floor for a vote. The democrats say that Texas Supreme Court Justice Owen is "pro-life" and they just can't have a federal judge who is an outspoken conservative.
The new Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Oran Hatch, said, "This committee will now begin setting straight the mistake it made by halting this nomination last fall." The vote was in favor of Priscilla Owen 10-9 along party lines. The principle organization fighting Judge Owen is the far left People For The American Way which is funding by Hollywood perverts. The "PFAW", as they like to be called, has such power in the Democrat party that its president Ralph Neas, more or less tells them what judges they can and cannot vote for. Unless there is continued pressure on the Senate democrats these nominations will not be confirmed. Please write or fax your Senator.
For the most part the social radicals, abortionists and radical environmentalist now run the Democratic Party and its traditional base, the labor unions have been abandoned. To illustrate this virtually every union in the United States lobbied for oil drilling in Anwar, Alaska to no avail. The democrats stood firm and blocked Anwar drilling out of the Energy bill.
FAITH-BASED defeat: To pass faith based legislation Senate Republicans have agreed to allow the government to discriminate against religious organizations in issuing grants. Under the compromise with the Democrats a federal agency may refuse grants to religious organizations if they display religious icons or have "religious" language in their charter. What is the point of having faith-based grants if faith-based organizations cannot receive them?
THE PRESIDENCY AND THE WAR
President George W. Bush has given several insightful comments on the Iraq situation since the war began. I believe the single best speech the President has given since the war began was given at MacDill Air Force base in Florida on March 26, 2003. The President clearly stated:
"Our military is making good progress in Iraq; yet this war is far from over. As they approach Baghdad, our fighting units are facing the most desperate elements of a doomed regime. We cannot know the duration of this war, but we are prepared for the battle ahead. We cannot predict the final day of the Iraqi regime, but I can assure you, and I assure the long-suffering people of Iraq, there will be a day of reckoning for the Iraqi regime, and that day is drawing near."
President George W. Bush was sober and clear in his comments and delivery and made clear his resolve and the resolve of the United States in this just war. A full text of the speech can be read at the White House Internet site.
CURRENT RFC PROJECTS
Religious Freedom Coalition's "just war" advertising campaign continues. This coming week the advertisement will appear in the national edition of the Washington Times. The weekly edition is mailed to all fifty states. Previously we have used quarter page advertisements, however, the ad will run as a full page in this upcoming national edition of the Washington Times. We will continue to place the advertisements as funds become available.
We have received several e-mails concerning the availability of the "Under God" ties the RFC offered last year. The patriotic ties which feature the Pledge of Allegiance and the America Flag are still available at the RFC online store. The ties are listed in the "special items" section of our online store.
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William J. Murray, Chairman
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