Sunday, June 17, 2007

On Capitol Hill This Week, Vol. XIV, No. 17a

1. IMMIGRATION BILL BACK IN THE NEWS
2. HATE CRIME BILLS WILL SILENCE CHRISTIANS
3. APPELLATE COURT NOMINATION THREATENED IN COMMITTEE
4. HHS REPORT CRITICAL OF COMPREHENSIVE SEX ED
5. MASSACHUSETTS LAWMAKERS SILENCE VOTERS ON MARRIAGE
6. WYOMING GOVERNOR SET TO NAME NEW SENATOR
7. SEVEN BRITONS JAILED OVER AL QAEDA PLOT TO BOMB NYSE
8. FBI's MUELLER: AL-QAEDA HAS INTENT TO USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS
9. NEW STATUE IN WASHINGTON REMEMBERS VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM

1. IMMIGRATION BILL BACK IN THE NEWS

a. SENATE LEADERS AGREE TO REVIVE IMMIGRATION BILL

Senate Democratic and Republican leaders announced on Thursday that they had agreed on a way to revive a comprehensive immigration bill that was pulled off the Senate floor seven days ago. The majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, and the minority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, said they expected the bill to return to the floor before the Fourth of July recess. In a joint statement, Mr. Reid and Mr. McConnell said: "We met this evening with several of the senators involved in the immigration bill negotiations. Based on that discussion, the immigration bill will return to the Senate floor after completion of the energy bill."

The immigration bill, ardently sought by President Bush, would make the biggest changes in immigration law and policy in more than 20 years. Supporters of the bipartisan bill predict that some conservative Republicans will try to block a vote on final passage, because of concerns about the legalization program. Predicting "procedural barriers," Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the third- ranking member of the Senate Democratic leadership team, said, "Three or four senators will try to block every amendment." Under the agreement reached on Thursday, the Senate will consider about 22 amendments, half from Republicans and half from Democrats. On Friday, Mr. Reid said he will keep the Senate in session as long as needed to ensure the immigration bill and the energy bill, which is already on the Senate floor, are finished. He said he will keep senators here during their scheduled July Fourth vacation if need be. (AP)

· Remain in prayer that any "backroom deals" be exposed in the process of writing a law that will reform immigration policy in America. Ours is "one nation under God" and "under law." Pray that any subterfuge that would cause us to violate our own sovereignty as a nation would come to light, and be rejected. Pray for strong borders and increased security. Pray for mercy.

· The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out. (Prov. 10:9)

b. BUSH URGES HISPANICS TO SPEAK UP

President Bush on Friday told Hispanics to step into the middle of the immigration debate and make sure senators who have been bombarded with calls from opponents also hear from those who support the bill. "There's a lot of emotion on this issue, and it makes sense to have people from around the country come and sit down with members of Congress to talk rationally about the issue," he told those attending the Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington yesterday. In other remarks, Mr. Bush made a pitch for passing a bill that addresses many parts of the immigration issue: better enforcement, a temporary worker program, legalization for illegal aliens and assimilation for new immigrants. "That's what has always made our nation strong. People in America must have confidence in this country to help people assimilate," he said. (Washington Times)

· We well remember March of 2006, when suddenly America's streets were flooded with millions of people demanding immigration reform. Many waving flags of Mexico, the sudden groundswell caught most Americans by surprise. Fortunately, all demonstrations remained peaceful, and the marches ended after only one day. Pray now that those who would "speak up" FOR the amnesty bill would continue to do so peacefully, so that American citizens would be safe from harm, and our merchants might continue to do business unhindered. Pray the for peace of our cities.

· "Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath." (Prov. 29:8)

c. NEWT GINGRICH CALLS IMMIGRATION BILL "DISASTROUS"

In a surprisingly scathing communication written by former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich regarding what he called the "disastrous Bush-McCain-Kennedy immigration bill," he said, "A number of powerful figures in the Bush Administration and in the Senate have been saying that if we do not agree to pass this destructive bill, they will never enforce the law." Speaker Gingrich further said that, "this is an extraordinary effort to blackmail the American people by having officials state that they will fail to perform their sworn duty, and we won't stand for it."

The Business Journal of Phoenix reported on a new Rasmussen Reports poll that found "only 20 percent of those surveyed" wanted the immigration bill "revived for further consideration. Fifty-one percent of respondents said they prefer smaller steps than the comprehensive approach taken in the proposal. Another 16 percent want the immigration plan put off until next year." The American people have not been this angry with their elected officials in Washington since 1994 when they threw the arrogant and unresponsive Democrat Members of Congress out of office.

Speaker Gingrich went on to say: "As I write this, however, it is now clear that the Bush Administration is determined to force it through with raw power, despite the fact that a large and increasingly vocal majority of Americans oppose it. Every recent survey has indicated that the American people think it is better to drop this bill and start over. But the power brokers and special interests in Washington feel otherwise."

URGENT ACTION: Please call your 2 Senators at 202-224- 3121 or you can go to http://www.cc.org/contactcongress.cfm and email them to vote NO on the Senate Amnesty Bill (so-called immigration reform bill) which will cost American taxpayers over $2.5 TRILLION dollars in hard-earned tax dollars. (Christian Coalition of America)

· As intercessors in position on Capitol Hill, we cannot recall a time when a piece of legislation has come to the floor of the House or the Senate that has caused this much bitter debate. Indeed, while the debate on most bills falls along party lines, the rhetoric surrounding the amnesty bill is causing splits even among members of the same party. Once again, pray in particular for the TIMING of the passage of this bill to be in the center of God's will, for when we move ahead of His time, we enter into striving and contention. Pray for the leaders in the Senate; perhaps PARTS of this legislation (border security) might be passed now; and PARTS of it (amnesty concerns) be passed at a later date. Pray!

· "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."
(Prov. 16:9)

2. HATE CRIME BILLS WILL SILENCE CHRISTIANS

If pastors and other Christians don't aggressively oppose a bill now in Congress, in the near future they will be subject to huge fines and prison terms if they say anything negative about homosexuality. The proposed law would make it a crime to preach on Romans Chapter 1 or I Corinthians Chapter 6. Or even to discuss them in a Sunday School class. If churches and individuals want to keep the government from telling them what they can and cannot preach and teach about homosexuality, they better get involved now!

House bill H.R. 1592 and Senate bill S. 1105 would make negative statements concerning homosexuality, such as calling the practice of homosexuality a sin from the pulpit, a "hate crime" punishable by law. This dangerous legislation would take away your freedom of speech and your freedom of religion. Consider what has already happened:

-- A California lawsuit which is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court would make the use of the words "natural family," "marriage" and "union of a man and a woman" a "hate speech" crime in government workplaces. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has already ruled in favor of the plaintiffs! (American Family Association)
. . . we have not come this far to lose our freedom to preach the whole counsel of God!

· Continue to pray that the American people will understand the consequences of Hate Crimes laws - the intimidation, silencing and punishment of those who view homosexual behavior as sin. Pray that the President will follow his advisors' counsel and veto the legislation.

· " . . . to punish the righteous is not good, Nor to strike princes for their uprightness." (Proverbs 17:26) "The scoffer will be gone, the arrogant will disappear . . . Those who convict the innocent by their false testimony will disappear. A similar fate awaits those who use trickery to pervert justice and who tell lies to destroy the innocent." (Isaiah 29:20,21 NLT)

3. APPELLATE COURT NOMINATION THREATENED IN COMMITTEE

Partisan politics have stranded a Bush appellate court nominee in the Senate Judiciary Committee as Democrats threaten to block a vote. Mississippi lawyer Leslie Southwick was nominated by Bush this year to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Now, Democrats won't allow an up-or-down vote by full Senate.

Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family Action, called the threat "an outrage of the first order." The American Bar Association has rated Southwick as "well-qualified," Hausknecht added. He's considered an outstanding jurist. "If this nonsense doesn't stop now," Hausknecht said, "the courts will suffer, the rule of law will suffer, and we'll all be worse off because of it."

On Thursday, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., aware of the antics of the committee, asked for an extra week to convince committee members to allow Southwick a vote by the full Senate. (Citizen Link)

· Lift up this nomination in prayer, asking our Lord to forgive and release those who are blocking this action, for they know not what they do. Pray for Mr. Southwick to be strengthened in the inner man while he awaits this outcome.

· " . . . if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven." (Matthew 18:19)

4. DHHS REPORT CRITICAL OF COMPREHENSIVE SEX ED

Some comprehensive sex-education curricula that's taught in the nation's schools has essentially no impact on behavior - according to a report by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that was released this week. The report was critical of comprehensive sex-ed curricula for being remarkably narrow in scope. Even the most "balanced" lessons mentioned condoms seven times more often than abstinence.

"They're condom-promotion and contraceptive- promotion programs," said Angela Griffiths, executive director of Await & Find. "That is a description of what they do. Calling them 'comprehensive' is somehow saying that they do more than what abstinence programs do."

The study also found the way comprehensive sex ed presented information to be amoral and explicit.Leslie Unruh, president of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse, said it's time for parents to speak up about what's being taught. "It's teaching some really different kinds of thinking that really you would expect to see in pornography," she said. "What is going to happen if people do not stand up is they will get this kind of radical sex ed in all the schools in America." (Citizen Link: Family News in Focus)

· Offer a chorus of praise for the publication of this well-balanced report on the value of "comprehensive sex education" versus abstinence education. Ask that school boards, superintendants, and principals across our land would take heed as they choose an appropriate curriculum in health education for our youth.

· "The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes." (Psalm 19:8)

5. MASSACHUSETTS LAWMAKERS SILENCE VOTERS ON MARRIAGE

Voters in Massachusetts will not get to weigh in on gay marriage for at least five years - thanks to a dozen lawmakers who switched their votes and decided the people should not have a voice in the matter. A proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman was defeated 45-151 today by a joint session of the Legislature, eliminating any chance of getting it on the ballot in 2008. At least 50 votes were needed to advance the measure. In the last session, 62 lawmakers voted to let the people decide. In recent weeks, supporters of traditional marriage thought they had secured 57 votes. Today's vote came after House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, Senate President Therese Murray and Gov. Deval Patrick, all Democrats and supporters of the gay agenda, spent the last several days and weeks intensely lobbying lawmakers to vote with them.

"The Marriage Amendment won its first legislative vote and was on track to win its second with a healthy margin," Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, said in a statement. "The unprecedented pressure by leaders on Beacon Hill derailed the largest initiative petition drive by citizens in the Commonwealth's history. Allegations of bribery by the governor and arm-twisting by the House speaker as a means of pressuring legislators to switch their vote have been reported widely in the press in recent weeks. "We will look very closely at the circumstances by which legislators switched their vote for ethics violations or improprieties," Mineau said.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney, who is running for president, told The Associated Press that the vote is "a regrettable setback" and said it makes it more important to pass a national amendment supporting traditional marriage." (Citizen Link)

· Continue to pray for Massachusetts and the citizens' right to vote on legislation that affects the state and the nation. The Lord knows the way out of this dilemma; for some reason He is allowing this issue to remain in the public eye. Pray for protection of your state against this issue of same-sex marraige.

· "A wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back To pervert the ways of justice." (Proverbs 17:23)

6. WYOMING GOVERNOR SET TO NAME NEW SENATOR

A whopping 31 Wyoming Republicans applied for the vacant seat of the late U.S. Sen. Craig Thomas by the 5 p.m. Thursday deadline. "Grassroots democracy is alive and well in Wyoming. We have an engaged citizenry and an eager group of applicants," State GOP Chairman Fred Parady said in a news release. The list includes candidates from 17 of the state's 23 counties. The roster includes four women and 27 men; nine former legislators; three State Republican Central Committee members; two doctors; nine attorneys; and seven ranchers. (Casper Star-Tribune)

· This list of imnpressive candidates for the seat of deceased Sen. Craig Thomas requires much prayer so that the Democratic governor or Wyoming will be led to name God's choice for this important seat. Ask the Lord to examine each heart. The US Senate needs more strong leaders who reverence our Constitution and fear the Lord.

· "The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord." (Proverbs 16:1)

7. SEVEN BRITONS JAILED OVER AL QAEDA PLOT TO BOMB NYSE

Seven Britons linked to a plot to blow up U.S. financial institutions, including the New York Stock Exchange, and stage a series of attacks in Britain were jailed for a total of 136 years by a London court on Friday. Prosecutors said the men were part of a group headed by senior al Qaeda operative Dhiren Barot and described as "one of the most dangerous and ambitious terrorist cells ever to operate in this country." Barot is currently serving a life jail term after admitting last year he had planned bomb attacks in Britain and the United States.

Six of the men, Mohammed Naveed Bhatti, Junade Feroze, Zia Ul Haq, Abdul Aziz Jalil, Nadeem Tarmohamed and Omar Abdur Rehman pleaded guilty to conspiring with Barot to cause explosions between 2001 and 2004. The seventh, Qaisar Shaffi, was found guilty on Wednesday.

Had their plans come to fruition, Barot's trial judge said they would have caused "carnage and butchery on a colossal and unprecedented scale." His seven accomplices had helped put the plans together and scope out targets." They were the trusted few who researched, carried out reconnaissance and supported Barot." (Reuters)

· Praise the Lord for yet another terrorist plot foiled! If we listen, He gives the necessary information. Give thanks also for the work of the British investigators, and pray that they will all come to know Jesus of Nazareth as their Lord and Savior. Pray also for the salvation of these 8 conspirators and that while in jail they will realize the evil of the destruction they had planned.

· "For he [Moses] said, 'Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation." (Exodus 17:16)

8. FBI'S MUELLER: AL-QAEDA HAS INTENT TO USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Robert S. Mueller, Director of the FBI, made the following remarks at the Global Initiative Nuclear Terrorism Conference in Miami on Monday, June 11: "Al Qaeda has demonstrated a clear intent to acquire weapons of mass destruction. In 1993, Osama bin Laden attempted to buy uranium from a source in the Sudan. He has stated that it is Al Qaeda's duty to acquire weapons of mass destruction. And he has made repeated recruiting pitches for experts in chemistry, physics, and explosives to join his terrorist movement.

Unfortunately, Al Qaeda central is not our only concern. We face threats from other terrorist cells around the world, and from homegrown terrorists who are not affiliated with Al Qaeda, but who are inspired by its message of hatred and violence. Several rogue nations - and even individuals - seek to develop nuclear capabilities. Abdul Khan, for example, was not only the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, he peddled that technology to North Korea, Libya, and Iran. Khan was one of many to prove that it is indeed a seller's market in the so-called atomic bazaar.

Let me spend a moment discussing how best to contain the threat of nuclear terrorism. Each and every country must safeguard its nuclear material. Those who run the black market must be locked up and shut down. Possessing, peddling, and purchasing nuclear material must be prosecuted. And terrorists must be cut off at the source. . . Our greatest weapon is unity. That unity is built on intelligence and interagency cooperation. It is built on the idea that, together, we are smarter and stronger than we are standing alone. No person, no police officer, no agency, and no country can prevent a nuclear terrorist attack on its own. There are too many unlocked doors and unknown players, too many ports and porous borders. Yet together, we can stop the smuggling of nuclear material. We can stop those who seek to buy such material on the black market. And we can stop terrorists from using this technology to threaten our citizens. We can, and we must." (Newsmax)

· Offer praise that FBI Director Robert Mueller is "telling it like it is" to the public. Pray that we be granted "ears to hear" and to take note of this very real danger. Yes -- our victory depends upon our unity. Let's join together now to decree the truth of God's word, so that these terrorist thugs can be located and brought to justice!

· "Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD." (Jer. 23:24)

9. NEW STATUE IN WASHINGTON REMEMBERS VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM

While memorials to victims of all kinds abound, the U.S. has had no place to teach current and future generations about the "murderous legacy" of communism - until now. A congressionally authorized "Memorial to the Victims of Communism" was unveiled Tuesday in Washington, D.C., featuring a statue modeled on the "Goddess of Democracy" used by Chinese students who protested in Tiananmen Square in 1989. The memorial is located at the intersections of Massachusetts and New Jersey Avenues, about two blocks from Union Station and within view of the Capitol. At the dedication ceremony Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, gave the keynote speech with additional remarks by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and President Bush.

An estimated 100 million people have died as a result of totalitarian atrocities and policies by communist regimes, according to "The Black Book of Communism," the work of six leftist French intellectuals published in 1999 by Harvard University Press. Yet the U.S and the Western world has a "great moral blind spot" when it comes to understanding the impact and threat of communism, say the organizers of the memorial. Inscriptions on the memorial, which was conceived by scholar Lee Edwards and former Ambassador Lev Dobriansky, read: "To the more than 100 million victims of Communism and to those who love liberty," and "To the freedom and independence of all captive nations and peoples."

Edwards said that the purpose is not only to memorialize victims of communism but to honor those who resisted it, "real leaders" such as Ronald Reagan, Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa, Harry Truman, Pope John Paul II and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. A third purpose is to educate. Edwards noted "the Soviets and the Chinese and the Cambodians thought that they could create a new man, and they set about it in the most ruthless way, and anybody that got in their way, they destroyed. The got caught up in this Utopian nightmare and cut down anybody who got in their way. "He pointed to Mao's "Great Leap Forward," in which the Chinese communist leader tried to collectivize agriculture in the vast Asian nation. The forced program killed 5 million in the first year, said Edwards, 10 million in the second and 20 million in the third while Mao insisted the plan must "keep ahead."

Edwards emphasized tyranny must be resisted. "You cannot just accept it. You cannot just think it is not going to challenge me," he said. " You must stand up to tyranny with purpose and with conviction and with dispatch." (WorldNetDaily.com)

· Praise the Lord for yet another reminder of what tyranny does. How quick we are to forget the horrible. The descriptions of communism lead one directly to the behaviors of radical Islam. Pray that Americans will be jarred by this memorial and teach its message to their children. Praise the Lord that we have Him as our source of liberty and freedom. Thank Him for moving on the heart of Lee Edwards, who persisted in the development of the memorial in obedience.

· ". . . to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound . . ." (Isaiah 61:1b)