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Week Ending December 20th, 2002
Religious Freedom Coalition
December 23, 2002 10:23AM EST



Before moving on to what is hot in Washington this week I have an important announcement about the Holy Land: Christians In Peril documentary by Pierre Rehov. Several weeks ago I introduced the documentary when only the DVD was available. We received hundreds of e-mails from people saying they wanted the documentary but did not have a DVD player. Since that time the producer has made available to us VHS copies of Holy Land: Christians In Peril. Because of the RFC’s close relationship with the producer I am able to offer the VHS format of the documentary for just $19.95 including shipping!

I went to the Holy Land in July of this year and I can attest that the situation for Christians in the West Bank under Yassar Arafat is as reported in Holy Land: Christians in Peril. There is constant fear and constant repression. The Religious Freedom Coalition sponsors private Christian schools in the West Bank, schools that do not teach a culture of hatred and death as is taught in the schools run by Arafat’s thugs. Any "profit" we make from the sale of Holy Land: Christians In Peril will be sent to help repressed Christians under the rule of Yassar Arafat.

SERIOUS REQUEST: The Saudi government is sponsoring a multi-million dollar campaign to place books and videos in America’s libraries that depict the hateful, murderous version of Islam they call Wahibbism as a "peaceful religion." Once you have viewed this video and shown it to your Sunday School class, please place it in a library in your home town. This will help counter the propaganda campaign paid for by the Saudi government. If you want to keep the video then I suggest you buy two and donate one copy, preferably the DVD copy, to your local library.


My comments about Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) and his plight over his comments about Strom Thurmond (R-SC) brought hundreds of e-mail comments. Half of those contacting me criticized me for attacking Trent Lott. The other half said that I should not have defended him. Many conservative blacks who receive these updates expressed outrage. Actually, I neither defended nor criticized Lott on his comment about Thurmond. My commentary last week went beyond the race issue to explain why conservative leaders in Washington were not defending Lott because of other problems with his leadership.

Let me continue this week by saying that the problems caused by Senator Trent Lott’s comment at the 100th birthday party of Senator Thurmond are not going to go away because a great social divide in our nation’s politics was exposed. The nation is more divided along social issues than in any other way. The race issue, the abortion issue and religious issues are the real core problems for Americans before economic or even defense issues.

Let me address the race issue first. Like most whites in America I do not think in terms of race. I never think about being white. I do not vote based on race. I vote for the social conservative candidates regardless of race or gender. I am the chairman of a political action committee called Government Is Not God. (Because I believe government is not God and should not try to be God.) In the last election cycle my PAC backed eleven candidates for the House. Of those eleven, three were black, one was Hispanic, and one was Jewish. Five of the eleven, or almost 50% of the social conservative candidates I gave money to, were minority candidates who believe in the same values I believe in.

When Trent Lott first made his comment that Thurmond would have made a good President back in 1948 I did not even think of it in racial terms. In 1948 I was two years old and Trent Lott was seven years old. I only knew Strom Thurmond as a Republican who stood for a strong defense and a balanced budget. The Strom Thurmond I knew had a multiracial staff that included blacks. I never knew or even read about the Strom Thurmond who was a racist Democrat who would have barred blacks from colleges and even restaurants back in 1948. During the time I was growing up Thurmond changed as did many in the South, both black and white.

That is my view, the white view. On the other hand according to polls most blacks think in terms of race in virtually everything political. It is generally accepted that 80% of blacks vote primarily on the issue of race. In the Thursday, December 19th edition of the Wall Street Journal, John Harwood and Shailagh Murray wrote, "Race is the social issue burned most deeply in the American psyche, as the beleaguered Mr. Lott can testify. And the partisan divides over race are the accumulation of decades of political posturing and legislative votes by both parties -- with many leading Democrats consistently advancing causes embraced by blacks, and many leading Republicans opposing them."

The Wall Street Journal front page story went on to say that what began as a minor gaffe by Lott could well "...undercut George W. Bush’s agenda only weeks after the Republicans’ mid-term election triumph." The Journal pointed out that in the last presidential election, while Bush received only 54% of the white vote, Gore received 90% of the black vote. Again a clear indicator that whites do not vote along racial lines, while most blacks do.

That brings us back to Senator Lott. I think he may be toast. The White House is reaching out to blacks with strong Republican social issues such as the faith-based initiative and school vouchers to get kids out of failed inner-city schools. Trent Lott’s perceived racial comments will cause millions of blacks to forget the issues on which the President hopes to reach them as long as Lott remains as Majority Leader. Trent claims he has the support of the President; I seriously doubt that.

We will find out where Lott stands on January 6th when the Senate Republican caucus will hold the American equivalent of a "no confidence" vote. He needs only 26 votes in the caucus to keep his post as Majority Leader and he may have that many close friends in the Senate. On the other hand virtually every Republican Senator now knows that if Lott does keep his high office the Republican agenda of the next two years could well be tainted by his presence.

A final note on the Senate ... many black leaders have stated that a "racist" such as Trent Lott should not be number four in line for the Presidency in time of war. Actually, as Majority Leader, Lott is not in line for the Presidency should there be a disaster that would cause the death of the President, the vice-president and the Speaker of the House. The President pro-tem of the Senate is fourth in line. Who is that? It is Senator Byrd of West Virginia, the only member of the Senate who was actually a member of the Ku Klux Klan. (Just prior to the release of this update Senator Lott announced that he would not seek to be reelected as Majority Leader. He also stated he would serve out the remaining four years of his Senate term. Senator Bill Frist appears to have a lock on the Majority Leader position. The vote will be held on January 6th as previously announced.) Photo above is of William J Murray and Senator Bill Frist


I will be returning to Israel in March to visit the Christian schools supported by the Religious Freedom Coalition on the West Bank. Please pray with me that the conditions under which Christians live in Islamic areas can be improved and that Christian schools can remain open. The video documentary which was filmed on my last visit in July has received a final edit and is now in the manufacturing stage. I expect it to arrive next week at our Virginia office. Hopefully I can offer it in the final Legislative Update of 2002. To obtain the documentary filmed by Pierre Rehov and mentioned above please go to the RFC online store.

The Religious Freedom Coalition works in Washington, DC and overseas to protect the vanishing rights of Christians. While most of our work is financed by contributions, a good portion of RFC operations is financed by the sale of books, audio and video tapes of a social conservative view point. Many of these items can be found at our online bookstore.

Congress will be adjourned until January. Current issues of the William J. Murray Report are available online at

William J. Murray, Chairman

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