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Week Ending February 18, 2005
Religious Freedom Coalition
February 18, 2005 12:14PM EST





The big show down in the Senate over President George W. Bush's judicial nominees is just weeks away. After receiving assurance from Majority Leader Frist that he had the votes to change Senate rules, the President sent 20 judicial nominees to the Senate including seven Circuit Court nominees the Democrats stopped with filibusters in the 108th Congress. Those resent to the Senate for confirmation include William H. Prior whom Senate Democrats rejected because of his "strongly held religious beliefs" (Democrat code for anti-abortion Catholic or Evangelical). Also included is California Supreme Court Justice Patricia Owen whom the Democrats fear could be another black conservative candidate for the Supreme Court. Patricia Owen has been blocked by the Democrats using a filibuster threat since May of 2001. The challenge is now in the hands of Majority Leader Bill Frist. (See Senate below) The House and Senate are in recess until February 28th and no new business or votes are expected before March 1st. Then the fireworks should start!



Congress passed a major Tort Reform legislation and sent it to President Bush for his signature. The law moves class-action lawsuits from state to federal courts. Why was this reform needed? A recent class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart concerning overtime pay resulted in an award of $5,000 to be shared by 75 workers who had claimed they were underpaid for overtime. The lawyers who filed the class action lawsuit received $1.9 million. Class action lawsuits have become a racket in which lawyers receive millions of dollars and consumers receive worthless coupons for future discounts on products. These abuses will end now that law firms cannot shop for friendly state courts to sue businesses. President Bush signs the law today. (Friday)


Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) is being increasingly mentioned as a possible conservative contender for the presidency in 2008. His name has come up numerous times during conversations at CPAC this year. He was recently elevated to head the Republican Study Committee. Pence, a social conservative from the word go, is challenging items in the President's request for a supplemental $81 billion to be added to the budget. The additional funds requested by the President include $200 million for the Palestinian Authority. In conversations with congressman Pence I asked that provisions be placed on the funds requiring that Christian Palestinians not be excluded from aid by the PA as they have been in the past. Pence agreed this would be a problem and said he would look into it.


All other work this past week in both Houses centered on the stalled Highway Bill and other budget issues. The President's budget recommended only $39 million for abstinence education compared to the current $1.73 billion for sex education in our public schools. About 50% of sex education money is spent on "how to" have safe sex and "how to" avoid AIDS. The funds would be better spent teaching abstinence until marriage and I have spoken to several congressmen about increasing the abstinence funding. RFC staff will be watching budget items closely this year and we will report to you accordingly.



On Thursday evening Vice President Dick Cheney spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, DC. I was honored to deliver the invocation for the dinner at which the Vice President spoke. The Vice President, as is usual for him, did not touch on any social conservative issues. He did, however, give compelling reasons for our continued presence in Iraq. The Vice President also spent some time on the issue of saving Social Security from bankruptcy by establishing private savings accounts. Prior to the Vice President's address I had been interviewed by several newspapers including the Congressional Quarterly. I was asked repeatedly about why social conservatives were not jumping on the Social Security bandwagon with the President. I answered the reporters honestly reflecting the majority of e-mail's and letters I received from folks like you. I told the reporters that the elderly did not see a problem with Social Security and that younger social conservatives did not trust the government to manage private accounts. In any event there is just not much enthusiasm for revamping SS at an initial cost of $2 trillion among social conservatives that I can discern and I don't think anyone over sixty-five will be concerned until one of their SS checks bounces, which is unlikely.


The first time an organization I headed was a CPAC sponsor was, I believe, in 1982. There were perhaps 10 sponsors and I don't think 500 people showed up. Of those who did, most were economic conservatives; virtually none were social conservatives. This year more than 4,000 people registered for CPAC and there were some 80 sponsors including the political action committee I head, Government Is Not God. The event has become so large and so successful that even the liberal media is forced to report on it. The MC for the Thursday night dinner at which the Vice President spoke was Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association. Other speakers were Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Norm Coleman (R-MN) along with congressmen Chris Cox (R-CA) and Mike Pence (R-IN). CPAC continues through Saturday. Most of those now attending CPAC are social conservatives and the sponsorships reflect our influence.


On Saturday I will participate in a panel along with Senator Sam Brownback concerning cloning and other "high tech" family issues. Among items the Senator and I will bring forward is the use of in vitro fertilization to "make" children for homosexual couples. Women are paid to have eggs implanted in them from homosexual and lesbian couples. When the child is born the homosexual couple's name is placed on the birth certificate in some states. The creation of human life to harvest parts for medical purposes will also be discussed.



In recognition for the role RFC play in fighting to eliminate modern day slavery, Ambassador John Miller invited RFC Executive Director Peggy Birchfield to participate in a discussion today (Friday, February 8th) on the upcoming 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP). The Ambassador invitation to NGO leaders highlights the importance for NGOs such as the Religious Freedom Coalition to contribute to the report. Ambassador Miller and is staff is requesting ideas and assistance in obtaining information on sexual trafficking and other forms of modern day slavery. In the meeting held at the State Department numerous NGO organizations pointed to the need for action against the importers of sex slaves in Europe as a key to stopping the trafficking. Germany's legalized prostitution system causes thousands of women to be brought to that nation each year as "hostesses" only to have their passports taken from them by brothels where they are forced into prostitution. The same occurs in numerous European nations and must be stopped.


I was shocked and bewildered by the response to my last Legislative Update ! Last week I fully described the work of the Religious Freedom Coalition in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and spoke of the great need that existed there among Christian families. In that update I asked our 70,000 plus subscribers to help with the $100,000 budget for our April missions trip to the West Bank. As of today contributions of just under $2,000 have been received, of which $500 was given by one man. If just 10,000 people would have given just $10 each our goal to help Christian families and schools in the West Bank would be realized. We have about seven weeks to raise the funds needed to meet our budget to help Christian families, schools and our evangelistic workers in Palestinian Authority areas. Please become a part of the effort by contributing just a small amount today - How about the cost of a combo meal at McDonald's-- about $5.00? That $5.00 will help us educate Christian kids in PA areas and help put Christian families back to work.

Contributions to our West Bank (Samaria) projects can be made either by mail or online using a secure server. To contribute to this project by mail please send a check to:

Religious Freedom Coalition, PO Box 77511, Washington, DC 20013

Be sure to note on your check that the funds are for our April Holy Land Mission. Please give credit card donations online at:

HOLY LAND SOAP RFC "Peace Soap" project which benefits Christian families in Samaria (the West Bank) is a continuing project that needs your support. The soap, which is actually handmade out of olive oil, is once again available from our Internet store at . Please understand that the soap is actually made in Samaria by the families of Christian Palestinians who have been forced to flee to Israel. The soap is sent to the men in hiding in Israel by taxi and then they send it to us. This sounds like an expensive process and it is, but the soap is well worth it. There is nothing made anywhere in the world like it and we receive many testimonies from people telling us how it has helped their complexions. There are entire Internet sites devoted to selling olive oil soap commercially with prices ranging up to three times our price of $4.99 a bar. One site sells olive oil soap from the Islamic nation of Jordan for $12.00 a bar! To learn more about this handmade olive oil soap click here or on the image. Our Internet store also has a wonderful selection of other Holy Land items including Jerusalem stone plaques.


You are invited to forward copies of this Legislative Update to your friends. Please tell them it is issued weekly free of charge and that we do not share our e-mail lists with any other organizations. In 2005 we are praying to top the 100,000 subscribers mark and you can help. If this e-mail was forwarded to you please subscribe at .

William J. Murray, Chairman

Religious Freedom Coalition, P.O. Box 77511, Washington, DC 20013. Phone: (202) 543-0300

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Religious Freedom Coalition * Copyright - 2005

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