Week Ending October 24, 2003
Religious Freedom Coalition
October 25, 2003 1:36PM EST
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - WEEK ENDING OCTOBER 24, 2003
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - WEEK ENDING OCTOBER 24, 2003
CONGRESS IN SESSION
THE FINAL PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTIONVICTORY President George W. Bush pledged that, if elected to office, he would sign a ban on partila birth abortion. Three years later, he now has the opportunity. The Partial Birth Abortion Ban (PBA) passed its final legislative hurdle on Tuesday, October 21st. The conference report which adjusted the language of the House and Senate versions to match, passed the Senate by 64 to 34 even though the original vote on the bill was only 52-46. See voting record here. Why the change in votes? The Democrats owe the abortion industry big time and will use any procedural means to defeat any pro-life legislation. But on a final vote many Democrats facing election next year did not want it on their record that they favored the killing of a baby that was 90% out of the womb. On the House side, the conference report passed by a huge margin on October 2nd.
As soon as a large ceremony can be arranged at the White House, the President will sign the Partial Birth Abortion Ban into law. Does this mean we have won? Unfortunately not. The ACLU and other pro-death organizations will file lawsuits in federal court to obtain an injunction against the law within hours after President Bush signs it into law. Injunctions against the law will remain in effect for years and the killing will continue until the law is reviewed by the Supreme Court. Given the current make-up of the Supreme Court, the PBA may well be found unconstitutional. This is why the fight to get pro-life Bush judges approved by the Senate is so important. The nature of the courts must be changed. (For more information see presidency below)
RELIGIOUS LIBERTIES RESTORATION ACT.
On Wednesday I met with Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) who has proposed the Religious Liberties Restoration Act (S-1558), which would bar arrogant members of the unelected judiciary from making decisions against the Pledge of Allegiance, the display of the Ten Commandments and the National Motto. Under Article III of the Constitution the Congress has the right to restrict the jurisdiction and the power of the federal courts. This is not unusual and in fact a provision to restrict judicial review is routinely added to several new laws during each session. When it comes to social issues, however, the Congress has been reluctant to use this power. The last jurisdiction provision on a bill prohibited the federal courts from ruling on a forestry bill that singled out Senator Daschle's home state for preferential treatment.
As of today, Senator Allard has only ten co-sponsors for the Religious Liberties Restoration Act. Before moving forward, more co-sponsors are needed. Please contact your Senator and tell him how you feel about S-1558. The companion bill in the House (H-3191) is offered by Congressman Pickering (R-MS).
THE JUDICIAL BATTLE
The newest battle in the war over judges in the Senate centers on an African-American conservative who is not "black enough" for white liberals like Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton. The attacks against black conservatives, particularly by liberals, are incredibly racist and insensitive. A cartoon, accompanied by a statement from the left-wing group People for the American Way, depicts Judge Janice Brown with an enormous Afro hairdo and wearing the apron of a house servant. It likens her to black Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, all of whom are black.
Bottom line: The white liberals in the Senate don't want any black conservatives in positions of power because they fear other blacks will look up to those black conservative as their leaders rather than looking to the white liberals. White liberals believe it is their destiny to be worshipped as gods by the African-American population and they don't want any competition.
Special note: The House adjourned for a break on Tuesday and there was no legislative action Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. Members will return next week; however, Majority Whip Roy Blunt has targeted November 7th as the last legislative day of the year.
The Marriage Protection Act of 2003 proposed by Congressman Hostettler (R-IN), who is a member of the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, is picking up momentum as many begin to realize it can be passed a lot faster than a Constitutional Amendment. His bill would strengthen the already existing Defense of Marriage Act passed in 1996 by restricting the jurisdiction of federal courts. In Hill lingo this is referred to as the "super-DOMA" because it uses Article III, Section I and II of the Constitution to restrict the jurisdiction of federal courts, including the Supreme Court. This is not an unusual act as mentioned above in the commentary on Senator Allard's Religious Liberties Restoration Act.
I fully support Congressman Hostettler in his efforts to pass the Marriage Protection Act. The Religious Freedom Coalition will work on two tracks to protect marriage. We will support an Amendment to the Constitution and we will support strong legislation such as the Marriage Protection Act. If nothing else, we can have Congressman Hostettler's legislation in place while the lengthy process of a constitutional amendment plays itself out.
For background on the attack on the institution of marriage and the family I highly recommend The Broken Hearth by Dr. William Bennet.
HOUSES OF WORSHIP FREE SPEECH ACT
Congressman Walter Jones still needs support for theHouses of Worship Free Speech Act (HR 235). A special Internet site set up to support the bill states: "HR 235 was introduced to liberate clergy from the muzzle imposed by the absolute ban on all speech that may be regarded as "political," and thereby enable them to speak out on all vital moral and political questions of the day. It will free houses of worship from the fear and anxiety and uncertainty created by the threat that the IRS will impose financial penalties or revoke tax-exempt status altogether." The RFC has prepared a downloadable MS Power Point presentation in support of HR 235. Click here to view Power Point. If your congressman has not co-sponsored this important legislation, please contact him. View a list of current congressional sponsors here.
OATH OF ALLEGIANCE ACTCongressman Jim Ryun (R-KS) has introduced an act that codifies the Oath of Allegiance given to new citizens. The current oath that has been used for decades is suddenly being changed by an unelected bureaucrat in the Citizenship and Immigration Service. Some changes in the oath are disturbing. The old oath requires that new citizens swear to "...renounce and adjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty ..." The new version states "...I hereby renounce under oath all allegiance to a foreign state." At first it seems as if it is just streamlined to modern English but the actual change is greater and far more dangerous. A member of the Taliban could take the oath and still be loyal to Osama bin Laden without ever having lied, because it only mentions a foreign "state." Worse yet, the new oath does not require the new citizens to "support and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic." To move forward and defend the Oath of Allegiance in its current form Congressman Ryun needs fellow Members of Congress to co-sponsor HR-3191. Contact your congressman.
Congressman Jim Ryun is a former Olympic runner. Just a few weeks ago both he and I ran the Army Ten Miler in Washington, DC. Congressman Ryun, who is 56, finished the Ten Miler in 1 hour 18 minutes at a pace of 7:49. My daughter Katie, who had an emergency appendectomy in Guatemala eight weeks prior to the race, ran with me. Because of her operation we ran at about a 10 minute pace, finishing in 1 hour and 40 minutes.
THE PRESIDENT AND PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION
As mentioned above, while running for President, George W. Bush stated he would sign into law a Partial Birth Abortion Ban if passed by Congress. Shortly after that election Senator James Jeffords, who had run as a Republican, declared himself an "Independent;" thus the Republicans lost their majority and left-wing Democrat Senator Tom Daschle became Majority Leader. Daschle refused to allow the Partial Birth Abortion Ban onto the floor for a vote for two years. In 2002 President Bush crisscrossed the country campaigning for Republicans to win back the Senate. His bet paid off, and the Senate majority went back to the Republican Party by a margin of one vote. Immediately work began on a new Partial Birth Abortion Ban and as mentioned above, it has passed both Houses of Congress despite every stalling procedure that could be used by liberals such as Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton.
NOW THE BIG NEWS: Despite a Senate vote of 64 to 34 in favor of the ban on partial birth abortion, every single one of the nine Democrat Presidential candidates have come out against the ban. Dick Gephardt, who voted to pass a ban over the veto of President Clinton, now says he is against it. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who also voted for abortion restrictions during his four terms in the House, announced he was against the bill. All three of the Senators running for President, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry and John Edwards, have voted against the ban. The leader of the pack, former Vermont governor Howard Dean said, "This bill will chill the practice of medicine and endanger the lives of countless women." He forgets the female babies that are killed in the abortion, but of course they don't get to vote in the primary. General Clark's campaign also stated he was against the ban on late term abortions, as did the "Rev." Al Sharpton and former Senator Carol Moseley-Braun. The vast majority of Americans are against partial birth abortion, which shows how out of touch these candidates are.
KICK THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT OUT OF THE GOP?
In the midst of this, political consultant Dick Morris has written a column telling the GOP to dump the "religious right" and move to the "center". (Read the column here) He said the Ronald Reagan coalition of economic conservatives and social conservatives is dead and "It is about time that the Republican Party realizes that the Christian right is doing to it exactly what the radical black Rainbow Coalition of Jesse Jackson did to the Democratic Party in the '80s - making them unelectable. Their embrace is the kiss of death. It is not that the religious right is wrong. Right or wrong, it gets in the way of so much good that the Republican Party could achieve if it were not in the Christian right's grasp."
Dick Morris is the political consultant who made national news during the Clinton Administration when a prostitute revealed that he would talk to President Clinton on the phone while using her services.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM COALITION
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