Week Ending April 2, 2004
Religious Freedom Coalition
April 2, 2004 4:58PM EST
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - WEEK ENDING APRIL 2, 2004
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - WEEK ENDING APRIL 2, 2004
CONGRESS IN SESSION
Yesterday (April 1, 2004) members of the Religious Freedom Coalition staff were privileged to be in attendance as President George W. Bush signed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (Laci and Connor's Law). As of yesterday the Unborn Victims of Violence Act is federal law. This does not mean that all unborn babies are protected from violence against their mothers. The UVVA only applies to instances where federal, not state law applies such as on federal property. California, where Laci Peterson and her baby were murdered, has such a law, but 29 other states have no such legislation at all. (See state list) For the first time at the federal level an unborn baby is recognized as a human being, as a separate entity from the mother. For this reason the abortion industry fought this law tooth and nail. The battle lasted for five years during three congressional sessions, but in the end, reason and humanity prevailed. Still, the law does not stop a mother from ending the life of her own unborn child.
On signing the UVVA into law, President George W. Bush said, "As of today, the law of our nation will acknowledge the plain fact that crimes of violence against a pregnant woman often have two victims. (Applause.) And therefore, in those cases, there are two offenses to be punished. Under this law, those who direct violence toward a pregnant woman will answer for the full extent of the harm they have done, and for all the crimes they have committed." (Read text or watch video)
Ron and Sharon Rocha, the step-father and mother of murder victim Laci Peterson, and Carol and Buford Lyons who lost their daughter Ashley and unborn grandson Landon to murder just this past January, were present to witness the signing. After the signing ceremony President George W. Bush hugged each of the women who were either the victims or the mothers of victims of violence. The President had been truly touched by their stories and his presentation at the opening of the event made that very clear.
The Bush reelection team immediately issued a comparison sheet that showed how vehemently Senator John Kerry has fought against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. (See pdf) Senator Kerry has promised the Democrat party base that he will undo any and all pro-life measures signed into law by President George W. Bush if he is elected to the presidency this November.
I saw several familiar faces from the Senate at the UVVA signing in the East Room of the White House including Senator Santorum who is one of the great champions of the pro-life movement. Also present were Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL). The Majority Leader of the Senate, Dr. Bill Frist (R-TN) took time out of his busy schedule to be there, which indicates the level of importance he has given to the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee acted as one of the official witnesses of signing as did the chief sponsor of the act, Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH). Even though the Senators entered the room in an informal manner at different times, many received spontaneous applause from those present for their work on the passage of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
In the end the vote looked nonpartisan with sixty-one Senators including eleven Democrats voting for it, but, underneath the vote totals lies a different story. Forty-nine Senators, including three Republicans, had voted to gut the bill with an amendment offered by pro-abortionist Senator Diane Feinstein. (D-CA) If her amendment had passed and been added to the UVVA, only one victim-- not two-- would have been recognized. Senator John Kerry, who has missed 74% of all Senate votes this year, made a point to fly back to Washington, DC to vote for the Feinstein amendment and then against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. Senator Kerry did not meet with victims who had come to Washington to urge the passage of the bill. Senator Specter (R-PA), an outspoken proponent of abortion, voted with Senator Kerry for the Feinstein amendment, but because he is in a fierce primary campaign with conservative Congressman Pat Toomey (R-PA), Specter was forced to vote for final passage of the UVVA.
When Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL) walked into the East Room of the White House for the UVVA signing, everyone in the room rose to their feet and applauded. Congressman Hyde, as former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, pushed for several sessions of Congress to pass the Partial Birth Abortion Ban and then worked for the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX) also received applause when he entered the room. The fact that both
Majority Leader DeLay and Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) appeared at this event showed just how important it is to Republican party leadership. Several other congressmen were in attendance including the bill's House sponsor, Melissa Hart (R-PA), Jo Ann Davis (R-VA) and House Judiciary Chairman James Sennsenbrenner (R-WI).
SAME SEX MARRIAGE
On Tuesday, March 30th, the House Judiciary Committee on the Constitution held hearings on the Federal Marriage Amendment. One would expect that conservative Republicans would have been for the FMA and liberal Democrats against it, but that was not the case. Ultra conservative former congressman Bob Barr (R-GA) testified that "Changing the Constitution is just unnecessary." Barr went on to say, "We have a perfectly good law on the books that defends marriage on the federal level and protects states from having to dilute their definitions of marriage by recognizing same sex marriage licenses." He was referring to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which was passed and signed into law in 1996. John Hanes, the Republican chairman of Wyoming's Senate Judiciary Committee also testified against the FMA stating, "There is no reason to push a very divisive issue on the country when the states have the tools now to resolve this issue themselves." Representatives of social conservative groups such as the ACLJ's Vincent McCarthy testified on behalf of the FMA stating: "...it is always possible that a judge will come up with a decision that doesn't make sense." The House leadership is moving slowly on the FMA for now, waiting for grassroots efforts to move more congressmen to indicate they will vote for the FMA when it reaches the floor of the House. To tell your congressman how you feel about the Federal Marriage Amendment you can contact him at www.congress.org. In the House the FMA is sponsored by Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO)
"....thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day. And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Luke 24: 46-47.
THE LAST SUPPER
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 the Holy Land section of our Internet store. Funds from the sale of these Jerusalem stone items support the work of the Religious Freedom Coalition.
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William J. Murray, Chairman - Religious Freedom Coalition - PO Box 77511 - Washington, DC 20013
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