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Week Ending March 26, 2004
Religious Freedom Coalition
March 27, 2004 7:24AM EST




This week was busy not only on Capitol Hill, but also at the Supreme Court Building, which sits just behind the Capitol Building. Many of the subscribers to this legislative update first became aware of the Religious Freedom Coalition because of our online petition supporting "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Atheist Michael Newdow finally got his day before the Supreme Court to argue his case against "under God" in the Pledge (see Washington Times story) . While the Justices listened intently, even liberal justices tended to ask questions that indicated they did not believe the pledge to be a prayer, and that is at the heart of the case. The day before the arguments I had the privilege of receiving a briefing by Judge Kenneth Starr who has filed an Amicus Curie brief with the Supreme Court on this case. In Judge Starr's analysis, the Court must first conclude the standing of Michael Newdow. While he is the father of the child, he lost a custody battle and according to Starr he has no proper legal standing to represent the girl, who is a Christian. Even if the court agrees that he has standing they must then find that the Pledge of Allegiance is a prayer and not a patriotic oath. The Supreme Court has previously ruled that no one is required to make a patriotic oath, that all such oaths are voluntary. Judge Starr pointed out to me that Abraham Lincoln's referral to God in the Gettysburg Address did not somehow turn it into a prayer any more than President George W. Bush saying "God Bless America" turns his weekly radio address into a prayer. I concur with Judge Starr's analysis that the Supreme Court, even with the recusal of Justice Scalia, will find against atheist Michael Newdow and preserve the Pledge of Allegiance as a patriotic oath that contains a ceremonial deist reference to God. In any event, I wore my "One Nation Under God" tie all day Wednesday. Have you signed the online petition supporting the Pledge of Allegiance?



We have won a great battle for mankind! The Unborn Victims of Violence Act (S-1019) (HR 1997) passed the Senate late Thursday by a vote of 61-38 (see how your Senator voted). The UVVA previously had already passed the House 254 to 163, with a 91 vote margin and as a result goes directly to President George W. Bush for his signature. As part of the offensive to pass UVVA, also known as Laci and Connor's Law, some parents of pregnant murder victims tried to lobby pro-abortion Senators. On Tuesday I met with Ron and Sharon Rocha, the parents of Laci Peterson. Ron Rocha said, "My grandson's name was Connor and no one can convince me he did not exist." Also lobbying for the bill were Carol and Buford Lyons who lost their daughter Ashley and unborn grandson Landon to murder just this past January. They made the point to everyone they spoke to that they not only lost a daughter, but a grandson as well. Their stories brought many in the room to tears. This is a simple law which makes it a crime to kill or injure an unborn child while committing a crime against the mother. Pro-abortionists hate this bill because it elevates the legal status of a "fetus." Previous attempts to pass the bill in the Senate have failed and this year there was a no-holds-barred attempt to derail it by pro-abortion Democrats. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) offered an amendment to the bill which says that a woman and the child she is carrying combined is only one person. It is not that Diane Feinstein is stupid -- she knows there are two people involved -- it is just that she is under the total control of the abortion industry lobby. Her amendment failed by just one vote, 50-49! (See how your Senator voted ) Senators Snowe (R-ME) and Specter (R-PA) were the only two Republicans who joined all but three Democrats in voting for the Feinstein Amendment. A second amendment by pro-abortionist Senator Patty Murray (R-WA) failed 53-46. Murray's "domestic violence" amendment would have created a huge federal tax giveaway to traditional left-wing groups to "protect" women.


Hearings on the Federal Marriage Amendment were held on March 23rd in the Senate Judiciary subcommittee chaired by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). The hearings were attended by RFC Executive Director Peggy Birchfield along with other members of the pro-traditional marriage coalition consisting of some 70 groups. Homosexuals and lesbians hoping to influence the committee against traditional marriage also attended. Most of the pro-family groups were surprised to learn that morning that the Amendment's Senate sponsor, Senator Wayne Allard, had changed the language the night before to allow civil unions. (See Washington Times) Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) made identical changes to her House version of the Amendment. I know of no major consultations with family groups about the change in the language and I am very sure our office was never contacted for an opinion. The FMA is now being driven politically in the hope that State's Rights advocates can be won over to vote for it with these changes. Those interested in a viable constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage should contact members of the Senate Judiciary Committee now. I can assure you they are receiving calls, letters and faxes from the homosexual community on a daily basis.



How far will Democrats go to please homosexual donors to their party? Last week I reported that Congressman Tim Bishop (D-NY) had actually conducted a "commitment ceremony" for a homosexual couple. This week House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) endorsed homosexual marriage during an interview with Fox News. Not only did she endorse homosexual marriage, but she condoned the unlawful issuance of same sex marriage licenses by San Francisco authorities. I find it odd that a lawmaker would encourage those who don't like the law of the land to violate it. Perhaps this is understandable coming form the mouth of say, Barney Frank (D-MA), but Pelosi is a part of the top leadership of the Democrat Party. Democrat presidential candidate Senator John Kerry has tried to ride the fence on the issue, but with other Democrat leaders promoting same sex marriage he may have to become involved in the issue.


There was no other major action in the House on social conservative issues this week We continue to watch the following bills as they move forward.

First Amendment Restoration Act (HR 3801) introduced by Congressman Bartlett (R-MD).

Constitution Restoration Act (HR 3799) introduced by Congressman Aderholt (R-AL).

Marriage Protection Act (HR 3313) introduced by Congressman Hostettler (R-IN) .

Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act (HR 235 ) introduced by Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) .



A 14-year-old boy was told he would have sex with 72 virgins in heaven and his parents would receive 100 shekels (about $20) if he would blow himself up killing Israelis. A quick thinking Israeli soldier at a check point noted his "swollen" chest area and in investigating found the bomb. The boy then changed his mind about dying and did not detonate himself. (See full story) Photos of the poor young man disrobing at the check point to remove the bomb have been on the front page of newspapers around the world much to the displeasure of European leaders who think chief Palestinian terrorist Yassar Arafat is just a great guy. Just a week ago an 11-year-old boy was paid to take a bomb past a check point. He was not arrested because Israeli security believe he had no idea what was in the package. Unknown to the boy the bomb was attached to a cell phone and HAMAS had planned to kill the innocent boy as soon as he had a group of Israelis around him. The phone detonator failed to work. This use of children by Islamic terrorist is becoming so pervasive that the left leaning group Amnesty International which rarely condemned the horrors of Soviet torture has come forward to comment on the use of children by Palestinian terrorists.


I had hoped to go to Kosovo just after Easter to report on the destruction of churches by Islamic extremists who have taken over the area and forced nearly 225,000 Christians out of their homes as United Nations troops watched. As I reported last week another 15 churches have been burned to the ground and thousands more Christians have been forced from their homes. Hundreds more have died or have disappeared. Because of the violence against Christians the United Nations informed the trip organizers they could not offer any protection to participants, so the trip was canceled. As a result I will be unable to give a first hand report of the destruction of churches in Kosovo. For information from the church in Kosovo please see


THE LAST SUPPER Is Easter about cute fuzzy bunnies or about the Salvation of mankind? When I visit the homes of some Christians during the Easter season it is hard to tell. In my home we display a plaque of the Last Supper etched in Jerusalem stone. In the past the RFC has offered Jerusalem stone plaques of the Ten Commandments. Because of their popularity several new items, many suitable for Easter have been added to theHoly Land section of our Internet store. Funds from the sale of these Jerusalem stone items support the work of the Religious Freedom Coalition.

To assist us in our work with credit card gifts click here!

William J. Murray, Chairman - Religious Freedom Coalition

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