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Week Ending January 24th
Religious Freedom Coalition
January 24, 2003 5:57PM EST


CONGRESS IN SESSION

MISSING IN THE SENATE

In the proposed Senate Omnibus Bill, two provisions, both of them pro-life, are missing. The Omnibus Bill is meant to replace the eleven appropriations bills (out of total of thirteen) that the Senate failed to pass last year under Democrat leadership. The new Republican leader, Bill Frist, had hoped to move the combined appropriations bill swiftly through the Senate.

One provision would prohibit abortion coverage in federal employee health programs, except in cases of rape, incest or actual danger of death to the mother. The second missing provision would prohibit abortion in federal prisons. There are many other pro-life provisions which remained in the spending bills, but these two vanished. Neither are new, but rather continuation of current law and date back to the administration of Ronald Reagan.

The missing provisions were noted by the White House and reported to Senator Frist. The White House made clear it would veto the massive spending bill without the two provisions. Outspoken pro-life Senator Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL) immediately offered an amendment to the Omnibus Bill to restore the language. The bill will not be signed into law unless the provisions are reinstated at some point. In the end the Republican leadership proposed to simply add the language for the two missing provisions at the conference committee to avoid delaying the bill on the floor with a Democrat filibuster against the Fitzgerald amendment.

How did this happen? Even the individual spending bills are usually massive, sometimes thousands of pages. The defense bill, as an example, does not just give some general billions of dollars to spend. The bill is actually a budget that includes exact details for spending. Often Senators "sneak in" provisions to benefit their states. It is odd, however, for a Senator to "sneak" something out.

The Right to Life March on Washington, DC on the anniversary of Roe v Wade attracted more than 100,000 people. President Bush addressed the massive rally by telephone. The President made clear his position by telling the rally, "You and I share a commitment to building a culture of life in America, and we're making progress. As the President, I have signed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, opposed the destruction of embryos for stem cell research, and refused to spend taxpayer money on international programs that promote abortion overseas."

President Bush also reaffirmed his willingness to sign a partial-birth abortion ban, saying, "My hope is that the United States Congress will pass a bill this year banning partial-birth abortion, which I will sign. (Applause) Partial-birth abortion is an abhorrent procedure that offends human dignity." For a full text of the Presidentís message click here.

Meanwhile ... A committee in the Virginia legislature passed out a bill that has abortion providers shaking in their boots. The Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee voted 13-8 to advance a bill to hold abortion clinics to the same level of medical preparedness as outpatient surgical centers. Abortion clinics would be forced to have the same facilities and standards of cleanliness as those providing other outpatient surgery, such as cosmetic surgery.

In most states, including Virginia, a dangerous procedure such as a late term abortion can be conducted under unsanitary conditions in the hallway of a doctorís office, but a "nose job" must be conducted in sanitary conditions almost to hospital standards. It has long been the position of the Religious Freedom Coalition that all surgical centers should have the same standards.

The abortion industry is fearful of any control by the state. State standards mean state inspections. What if the state finds out the clinics sell body parts of the aborted babies for research, or learn that the clinic "nurses" are really commissioned sales personnel wearing white uniforms? Abortion is unregulated big business and the providers want to keep it that way. Our position is simple: Until we are able to stop abortion entirely letís at least not endanger the lives of women in unsanitary abortion mills.

THE WAR ON IRAQ - IS IT A JUST WAR?

I attended two major panels this week that were not related to abortion. On Tuesday I was part of a panel on the coming Iraqi war. All those on the panel were Christians and the discussion was on the "just war" theory. This is the first time I have served on such a panel and never before came face to face with the simplistic arguments against just warfare. My opponents in the discussion even believed that Saddam Hussein came to power as a result of poor American foreign policy. Indeed I got the impression that they believed that every war since 1776 was somehow the fault of America.

My comments concerning this panel and my argument for American intervention to save human lives can be found at the RFC Internet site. Click here to go directly to those comments.

TEN COMMANDMENTS

On Thursday I was part of a panel discussion that included a whoís who of Christian rights activists including Curtis May of ACLJ, Richard Thompson of the Thomas Moore Center for Justice, Frank Wright of the Center for Christian Statesmanship representing Dr. D. James Kennedy, and others. A total of more than forty distinguished panelists discussed the defense of public display of the Ten Commandments.

Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-AL) hosted the event in the Rayburn House Office Building. Much of the discussion was about current cases, including that of Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore in his fight to keep the Commandments displayed. The Commandments are in fact displayed in the United States Supreme Court in Washington, DC.

During the discussion the famous Danbury Baptists letter written by Thomas Jefferson was brought up, the letter that coined the phrase "separation of church and state." I was shocked that virtually no one in the room knew about the letter FROM the Danbury Baptists to Thomas Jefferson, which brought about his reply. Let me recap: the Danbury Baptists wrote a letter to Jefferson saying that they feared that the Constitution would allow the government to enter into the affairs of the church. Jefferson responded with his "wall of separation" letter to assure the Danbury Baptists that the Constitution prohibited the government from becoming involved in church affairs.

Jeffersonís Danbury letter was not intended to point out that the church could not influence the government, but rather that the government could not influence the church. Of course, we have the reverse of that in America today, to the point that churches are forced to collect taxes for the government.

Both the letter to Jefferson from the Danbury Baptists and his reply can be found at the Internet site of David Bartonís Wallbuilders.

THE MIDDLE EAST

We are continuing to have problems helping the two Christian brothers who face death if they are returned from Israel to the West Bank territories controlled by Yassar Arafat. As I mentioned last week, their 14-year-old nephew was murdered at school in front of a teacher by an 18-year-old. The police were not called; the family was just told to come and pick up the body.

We could help the brothers and their families move to the United States once they have immigration paper work filled out at the U.S. Embassy. The problem is that the embassy has refused to accept their applications for processing.

Apparently, it is just fine to have millions of illegal aliens come to the United States each year from Mexico and other nations. We give visas to men from terrorist nations without blinking an eye. Colin Powell has said we need to allow more Muslims to immigrate to the United States in order to show the world we donít hate Islam . Yet, our government will not even consider allowing two Christian Palestinians who are under a death threat from Muslim extremists to immigrate to the United States. Am I the only one having a problem with this?

Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis asked the Israeli government to keep the brothers in Israel until we can find them someplace to move to. Now we have a second congressman involved in the immigration issue. I will update you on this story next week.

You can also help by telling others about the situation of persecuted Christians under Islamic rule. Please forward this e-mail to your friends. If this Legislative Update has been forwarded to you and you would like to sign up, you can do so at our Internet site. Also, you can purchase our latest documentary, Holy Land Terror: Persecution of Christians for just $20.00 postage paid at our online store. This documentary has actual scenes from Palestinian TV and Palestinian schools run by Yassar Arafat. Please order a copy and show it to your Sunday School Class.  (SPECIAL: Order Holy Land Terror and Peirre Rehov's Holy Land: Christians In Peril for just $35.00. Click here for special)

William J. Murray,  Chairman

To continue to inform the public on key issues, financial help is needed. Please consider giving a contribution online or mail a check to Religious Freedom Coalition, PO Box 77511, Washington, DC 20013



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