Week Ending June 27, 2003
June 27, 2003 2:56PM EST
CONGRESS IN SESSION
CONGRESS IN SESSION
(July 4th recess is June 28 to July 7)
It is here at last! Our new video documentary, Holy Land Settlements, has been delivered to our warehouse. All pre-orders will be shipped this week. Holy Land Settlements is one of two video documentaries filmed on location in Israel and the "West Bank" earlier this year. One of the highlights is an interview with the mayor of the Jewish "settlement" of Ariel, a city of more than 20,000. Ariel's resident Christian evangelist is also interviewed. Click here for information.
FREEDOM OF RELIGIOUS SPEECH
On Wednesday of this week I met with Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) concerning the Houses of Worship Freedom of Speech Restoration Act (HR-235). In the last session of Congress the bill was titled the Freedom of Speech from the Pulpit Act. The new title makes it more clear that there was once freedom of speech from the pulpit which no longer exists.
Prior to 1956, any pastor could get up behind the pulpit and make any comment he wanted to, political or not. If a candidate for public office was a drunkard or a philanderer he could say so. That all stopped when then Senator Lyndon Johnson - who was a drunkard and a philanderer - inserted an amendment into the tax code prohibiting pastors in his home state of Texas from telling the truth about him from the pulpit.
HR-235 now has 185 co-sponsors. If we can hit the 218 mark the bill is a done deal because the majority of congressmen in the House will have co-sponsored it. There are ten congressmen in particular who should be contacted as very likely co-sponsors. They are Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Joe Baca (D-CA), Mary Bono (R-CA), Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Bill Thomas (R-CA), Todd Tiahrt (R-KS), Zach Wamp (R-TN), Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Bill Young (R-FL). Even if none of these congressmen are from your district, please contact them by e-mail asking them to co-sponsor HR-235. To obtain the e-mail address of any congressman click here.
Virtually all the co-sponsors so far are Republicans. If your congressman is a Democrat you may want to contact him and ask him if he will vote for HR-235. There is now a Senate sponsor. This means we will see some action once the bill is passed out of the House.
This is a disaster. Once again Congress is going to fix a program that does not work now and will not work ever. The last time Congress did a Medicare fix, senior citizens were prohibited from paying doctors for special treatments not covered by Medicare .... YOU DIDN'T KNOW THIS? If you are under 65 you better ask your doctor if he takes Medicare patients. Most of the top tier doctors in the United States don't participate in Medicare. You may find out that when you turn 65 you will have to find another doctor, maybe one who just immigrated from Pakistan.
The new fix is for prescription drugs. The formula for the government to pay for the drugs is so convoluted I don't have the space to present the details. All that was needed was for Congress to mandate private sector insurance by providing a Federal "reinsurance" program. Instead they are creating a boondoggle that may bankrupt the Treasury.
The "fix" passed both the House and Senate today. For several weeks there has been so much dissension and argument over this issue that none of the other issues we are working on with Congress are even being considered. At last it is out of the way and we will not have to deal with it again until the program forces the nation into bankruptcy about ten years from now.
MAJORITY LEADER FRIST
For the first two years of the Bush Administration the Senate did virtually nothing. Each year only two of the required thirteen spending bills were passed by the deadline. In the five months that Republicans have been in control with Senator Bill Frist at the helm, eleven of the thirteen funding bills have been passed.
Senator Frist is a medical doctor, a heart surgeon. He is a man of great compassion and one of his first acts after taking over as Majority Leader of the Senate was to pass the Partial Birth Abortion Ban. (The House just recently passed their version of the bill as well. Because the House and Senate versions are different, a "conference" committee must be formed to make them conform to one bill the President can sign. Senator Frist will assign pro-life Senators to that committee.)
Senator Frist is a man who believes that the Senate must be run with civility and trust. Those are his words. During a meeting this past week he made it clear that confirming the judges appointed by President George W. Bush was his highest priority and that he would not back away from good moral men such as Bill Pryor and Miguel Estrada who have been defamed by Democrat Senators.
Senator Frist is doing the best job that can be done in a Senate that is so closely divided. Only 51 of the 100 Senators are Republicans and some of those "Republicans" are very liberal in their beliefs, particularly in social areas. Despite that Senator Frist plans on getting a vote on the Unborn Victims of Violence Act some time in July.
President George W. Bush has called for an end to the hiring restraints for religious organizations. He believes that a Catholic organization should be able to hire Catholics and that a Jewish organization should be able to hire Jews. He wants to do away with antiquated liberal laws that require religious organizations "not to discriminate." Why should a Jewish organization be forced to hire a Muslim or a Baptist organization be forced to hire an atheist? The White House has prepared a booklet on the subject that can be viewed in PDF format. To view or download the booklet click here.THE SUPREME COURT
The Supreme Courthas formally approved of sodomy. In a 6 to 3 decision the court has ruled that the States cannot declare sodomy illegal because it is immoral. The line in the sand has been moved. If a State cannot say that the immoral act of sodomy is illegal then how can the state forbid a Muslim to marry more than one wife? The Koran says it's OK to have four wives. Can a State pass any law based on morals? Can a State even prohibit an adult from having sex with a ten-year-old? This decision opens a flood gate because most laws are indeed based on morals and on the Ten Commandments. This Court decision will eventually lead to the legalization of homosexual marriage. Next the homosexuals will demand the right to engage in sex acts publicly and they will probably win using this case as a precedent. I hope God can forgive the Court because I can't.
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William J. Murray, Chairman - Religious Freedom Coalition
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