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Week Ending August 15, 2003
August 15, 2003 3:17PM EST


In Mr. Murray’s absence, Peggy Birchfield, Religious Freedom Coalition Legislative/Executive director, wrote this report from Capitol Hill


William J. Murray has flown to Guatemala to be with his daughter, Katie, who suddenly became ill on a mission trip to that country. She had to have emergency surgery in a rural hospital to remove her appendix, which had almost ruptured.

Katie arrived in Guatemala last week with the Youth Outreach Mission Team, a group of teens who attend Grace Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The teens make trips on a regular basis to minister and to help those in need. These are students who desire to serve God and share the Gospel. Katie and others in the youth group minister through street dramas, music and teaching. On this trip, the group evangelized and gave spiritual encouragement to the children at the Los Govosos Orphanage in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. The group of 13 youngsters and their sponsors also helped to build extra rooms onto the orphanage building.

This is truly an exciting opportunity for the youth to share their testimonies and to minster to kids their own age or younger. Katie seems to be making a good recovery. Please keep her and Mr. Murray in your prayers for a safe return trip to the states.


New York State Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz, along with a mother of four school age children, has filed a suit with the New York State Supreme Court challenging New York City's use of public funds to help support a new "gay" high school. The lawsuit claims the expenditure is an unlawful use of tax dollars. It points out that New York state law guarantees the right for "all" children to receive a quality public education. The Harvey Milk School for homosexual-only students violates the equal protection rights of school children attending poor, failing, under-funded public schools. "To take money away from those poor children in my district and in other black & Hispanic districts to protect a single group of children is wrong," stated Rev. Ruben Diaz at a press conference Wednesday.

I spoke to Rev. Diaz later regarding the situation and he stated, "Segregation is not acceptable in this nation, this state and this city. Martin Luther King gave his life to stop segregation. It is wrong and not acceptable for the city of New York, which is facing a very difficult crisis of the schools being over crowded especially in Hispanic and black neighborhoods. Some areas do not have materials; the city of New York cannot even provide them with money. The state law requires that the city offer a proper education not leaving anyone behind. It should treat all children equally. When the city of New York takes $4 million out of the funds to create a school with high tech equipment to educate only 100 students, based solely on their sexual preferences, it is taking from the poor and giving to the rich." Diaz went on to say, "The city is not being fair to the rest of the students. I am not opposed to doing this with private funds, but to use public funds for 100 students and leave the rest behind, makes it close to discrimination!"

The claim is that some of the kids transferring to the Harvey Milk School were apparently beaten and harassed in other schools. This isn't solving the problem in the present public schools; this is only pushing the homosexual agenda under the noses of the kids who are struggling to deal with harassment. Rev. Diaz said on this subject, "School violence is a very serious problem. Very serious! We need to spend money wisely by trying to prevent this. Let's pay money to take out the bullies----create a special school for them."

Rev. Diaz and the conservative group which he heads, the New York Hispanic Clergy, have worked closely with the Religious Freedom Coalition on several legislative issues, especially voluntary school prayer. Last February they came to the Capital to endorse one of President Bush’s judicial nominees, Miguel Estrada. Along with other good conservative candidates, Estrada’s appointment has been blocked by obstructionist Democrats. Rev. Diaz gave the invocation in the Senate Chambers in the U.S. Capitol, and the Religious Freedom Coalition arranged for special guests from the White House staff as well as Congressman Walter Jones and Senator Rick Santorum to address his group.

Mat Staver, an attorney who is the founder Liberty Counsel, is representing Rev. Diaz and the other unnamed plaintiff in the suit against the New York City schools. Liberty Counsel has a long history of representing Christians in schools and in the work place, in cases in which their rights to free speech or equal protection under the law are threatened. Mat Staver agreed with the statements of Rev. Diaz, and said he only had one additional comment,"This is creating a public school catering solely to deviant sexual behavior, and the only thing that would be worse is if Jerry Springer were the principal." For Press release, click here.

Send us your opinion! Long ago, our United States Supreme Court declared that separate educational facilities are not equal. Today, NYC appears to be segregating students. Do you agree that public funds should fund a high school strictly for gay, lesbian and transgender students? Send your opinions to

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