Volume XV, Number 5
March 3 - 7, 2008
"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world." ( I John 4:4)
On Capitol Hill This Week; Vol. XV, No. 5
1. UPDATE: CHARITABLE CHOICE - FAITH BASED INITIATIVES
In his second year of office, President Bush issued an executive order that protected faith-based groups seeking funds from federal programs from being pressured to sacrifice their religious beliefs. Last month he called upon Congress to "permanently extend Charitable Choice." In 2000, Congress put language guaranteeing Charitable Choice into the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Act (SAMHSA). The Senate Health Committee took up reauthorization of the law this week. Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), supported by the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination (CARD), Americans United for the Separation of Church, and State and others, want to remove this all-important provision from the law - the provision that affirms the right of faith-based groups to hire persons who affirm their faith, without being forced to hire persons who do no share their tenets in order to accept federal funds.
Nearly every federal agency now administers grants under the Charitable Choice law. The effect of this change would be essentially to gut President Bush's Faith Based Initiative from the inside out. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes this exemption and U.S. courts have upheld it. But some liberals want to return to the days when only secular liberal organizations could qualify for federal funds. FRC is asking constituents to contact members of the Senate Health Committee:
Democrats: Edward Kennedy (MA); Christopher Dodd (CT); Tom Harkin (IA); Barbara A. Mikulski (MD); Jeff Bingaman (NM); Patty Murray (WA); Jack Reed (RI); Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY); Barack Obama (IL); Bernard Sanders (I-VT) and Sherrod Brown (OH).
Republicans: Michael B. Enzi (WY); Judd Gregg (NH); Lamar Alexander (TN); Richard Burr (NC); Johnny Isakson (GA); Lisa Murkowski (AK); Orrin G. Hatch (UT); Pat Roberts (KS); Wayne Allard (CO) and Tom Coburn (OK) (FRC Prayer Targets)
· Please pray over these Senators. May they hear from constituents who have benefited from faithful faith based groups! May a majority vote to keep religious freedom in the Charitable Choice law! May President Bush veto the bill if they fail to do so!
· "Thy people shall volunteer freely in the day of Thy power." (Psalms 110:3 NAS)
2. PEPFAR PASSES HOUSE COMMITTEE
AIDS Relief Overseas Passes Congressional Committee - Yesterday, Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, working with the White House, forged and passed out of committee a compromise AIDS relief package. During his State of the Union Address, President Bush called for a doubling of U.S. support for the "President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief" (PEPFAR) - from $15 billion to $30 billion. Democrats in Congress wanted to more than triple that amount to $50 billion, and to replace the original, highly successful abstinence and fidelity-based program with a one that focuses not on behavior, but condoms for prevention and treatment for the infected. Liberals also wanted to loosen restrictions to allow for abortion and to eliminate a provision that condemns prostitution and sex trafficking.
The original law, due to expire this year, requires one-third of the funds to be spent for abstinence-only programs. Pro-life, pro-family groups urged President Bush to veto the bill if it emerged in the format proffered by liberals to promote Planned Parenthood style sex education - the same old "solutions" that do not work. The compromise bill calls for 50% of the funds designated for prevention to be used for abstinence, delay of sexual activity, monogamy and fidelity, but it loosens administrators to use their judgment in applying the funds - a major loophole. It does retain the prostitution/sex trafficking measure. (FRC Prayer Targets)
· May God move upon the members of the House further to correct this mammoth bill. May the administration of allotted taxpayer dollars be left, not to the whims of administrators, but be spelled out plainly in law. May the finished bill focus on provisions that encourage change in the behaviors that lead to AIDS - exactly what has made the program so successful! May Christian revival in Africa and elsewhere bring changes in behavior that no government program can. Continue in prayer for the passage of PEPFAR, intact.
· "He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him." (Psalm 91:15)
3. CONGRESSMEN CALL FOR DEFUNDING OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD
After reviewing materials posted on Planned Parenthood's teenwire.com Web site at the request of Cybercast News Service, three House Republicans are calling for the termination of Planned Parenthood's federal funding. Among other things, teenwire promotes the use of pornography by teenagers. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R.-Colo.) said teenwire "is another reason we should pull all federal funding from Planned Parenthood," a group that also performs abortions. "There should be no money that goes to any Internet site that promotes promiscuity or sexual license in any way," Rep. Steve King (R.-Iowa) told Cybercast News Service. "I don't believe taxpayer funding should be going to groups that put sexually explicit material on the Internet targeted at minors," Rep. Joseph Pitts (R.-Pa.), chairman of the House Values Action Team, said.
"I don't believe taxpayer funding should be going to groups that put sexually explicit material on the Internet targeted at minors," Rep. Pitts (R-Pa.) told Cybercast News Service. "Parents today already have their work cut out for them trying to keep their kids from viewing smut on the Internet. "The federal government shouldn't be funding groups that produce this sort of material under the pretense that it is educational," he said. Rep. King added that teenwire.com is part of Planned Parenthood's wider agenda, which he believes is damaging American culture. "I think it's part of its strategic plan to break down the moral order of our society so that the people on the other side of morality and integrity can take power in this country."
Planned Parenthood and other family planning organizations get federal tax dollars under Title X of the Public Service Health Act. In its 2005-2006 annual report, Planned Parenthood Federation of America reported that $305.3 million, or 34 percent of its annual income, came from government grants and contracts. (CNSNews.com)
· Praise and thank God for the plans of Congressmen Doug Lamborn, Steve King and Joseph Pitts, calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood. None of us want to see our taxpayer dollars used to finance this filth! Ask God to forgive our government's help in financially sanctioning such evil. Pray in agreement with these congressmen that they will move forward in victory and bring to an absolute cessation this year of ALL federal funding to Planned Parenthood Federation of America. AMEN.
· "Put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes: cease to do evil." (Isaiah 1:16)
4. HOUSE DEMOCRATS HOLD PLAN FOR ETHICS OFFICE
House Democrats abruptly pulled an ethics reform proposal from consideration yesterday after widespread opposition surfaced from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle a day before a scheduled vote on the plan.The proposal would create a new Office of Congressional Ethics run by a bipartisan group of six non-lawmakers with the power to review ethics complaints against members and staff, and forward them to the existing Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. The fate of the plan is now unclear, though Democrats vowed they would revisit the issue soon.
The ethics panel has been the subject of criticism from inside and outside the Capitol for its frequent partisan feuds and light workload. House members have been wary of filing ethics complaints against each other in recent years, and the panel initiates few probes of its own. As a result, the committee has been relatively inactive, even as numerous allegations against lawmakers have emerged and the Justice Department has launched several high-profile investigations. (Washington Post) Read more.
· Please pray for a viable, effective ethics committee proposal. Ask the Lord to bring honesty and courage to this office. The majority party never wants its members exposed in some scandal, nor does the minority; thus, everyone walks on eggshells around improper behavior. No one but the Lord knows how to set up this office.
· "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." (James 5:16b)
5. LEGLISLATORS TO PUSH FOR U.S. APOLOGY FOR SLAVERY
Five states did something over the past 12 months that no state had done before: expressed regret or apologized for slavery. This year, Congress, which meets in a Capitol built partly by slaves, will consider issuing its own apology."We've seen states step forward on this," says Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, citing the resolutions of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Alabama and New Jersey." Harkin says he and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Ka) will propose in March an apology not only for slavery but for subsequent "Jim Crow" laws that furthered racial segregation. So far, they have 14 Senate backers, including Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. A similar House measure introduced last year has 120 co-sponsors.
Congress has apologized before, but not for slavery. It apologized to Japanese-Americans in 1988 for holding them in camps during World War II and gave each survivor $20,000. In 1993, Congress apologized to native Hawaiians for the overthrow of their kingdom a century earlier. In 2005, the Senate apologized for not enacting anti-lynching legislation. Apologies are controversial because of concern they could lead to reparations. They "carry weight" as a step toward racial healing and don't have to "open the door" to reparations, says Carol Swain, professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University. Other proponents say an apology should lead to remedies. An apology is a necessary first step because it recognizes a wrongdoing, says Hilary Shelton of the NAACP.
The state apologies have not given a boost to the reparations movement, says Ronald Walters, author of a book titled The Price of Racial Reconciliation. Alabama and New Jersey added language saying the apology cannot be used to sue the state. The House proposal does not include such a disclaimer, but the Senate one does, saying its apology cannot be the basis for claims against the United States. Harkin says his proposal does not address reparations. (USA TODAY )
· Praise the Lord for a bipartisan movement for an apology for slavery. America needs to put this issue behind her, for the Lord considers racism a sin. Pray for the passage of this resolution in the Senate. The matter of monetary reparations requires prayer, for those who perpetrated slavery are long deceased, much has been accomplished in race relations, and economic and educational opportunities are available.
· "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, Abba! Father!" (Romans 8:15)
6. NORTH AMERICAN ARMY CREATED WITHOUT OK BY CONGRESS
In a ceremony that received virtually no attention in the American media, the United States and Canada signed a military agreement Feb. 14 allowing the armed forces from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a domestic civil emergency, even one that does not involve a cross- border crisis. The agreement, defined as a Civil Assistance Plan, was not submitted to Congress for approval, nor did Congress pass any law or treaty specifically authorizing this military agreement to combine the operations of the armed forces of the United States and Canada in the event of a wide range of domestic civil disturbances ranging from violent storms, to health epidemics, to civil riots or terrorist attacks.
In Canada, the agreement paving the way for the militaries of the U.S. and Canada to cross each other's borders to fight domestic emergencies was not announced either by the Harper government or the Canadian military, prompting sharp protest. The military Civil Assistance Plan can be seen as a further incremental step being taken toward creating a North American armed forces available to be deployed in domestic North American emergency situations. The agreement was signed at U.S. Army North headquarters, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, by U.S. Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, commander of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, or USNORTHCOM, and by Canadian Air Force Lt. Gen. Marc Dumais, commander of Canada Command.
The statement on the USNORTHCOM website emphasized the plan recognizes the role of each nation's lead federal agency for emergency preparedness, which in the United States is the Department of Homeland Security and in Canada is Public Safety Canada. In an exclusive interview Vigilant Shield 2008, Gen. Renuart affirmed USNORTHCOM would deploy U.S. troops on U.S. soil should the president declare a domestic emergency in which the Department of Defense ordered USNORTHCOM involvement. In May 2007, President Bush on his own authority, signed National Security Presidential Directive 51, also known as Homeland Security Presidential Directive 20, authorizing the president to declare a national emergency and take over all functions of federal, state, local, territorial and tribal governments, without necessarily obtaining the approval of Congress to do so. (WorldNetDaily.com)
· While on the surface, this treaty looks benign, it can be extremely dangerous, blurring the lines of the borders between two nations. Canada is part of the British Commonwealth, a government quite different from ours. Surely this move is part of the North American Union. Contact your Congress representatives to demand that this move must not have authority and that the U.S. should withdraw from Security and Prosperity Partnership. Again, God established the borders of our nation, and we do not have the right to change those borders.
· "You shall not remove your neighbor's landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you inherit in the land that the LORD your God gives you to possess." (Deuteronomy 19:14)
7. "VIRTUAL FENCE" ALONG BORDER TO BE DELAYED
The Bush administration has scaled back plans to quickly build a "virtual fence" along the U.S.-Mexico border, delaying completion of the first phase of the project by at least three years and shifting away from a network of tower-mounted sensors and surveillance gear, federal officials said yesterday. Technical problems discovered in a 28-mile pilot project south of Tucson prompted the change in plans, Department of Homeland Security officials and congressional auditors told a House subcommittee.
Though the department took over that initial stretch Friday from Boeing, authorities confirmed that Project 28, the initial deployment of the Secure Border Initiative network, did not work as planned or meet the needs of the U.S. Border Patrol. The announcement marked a major setback for what President Bush in May 2006 called "the most technologically advanced border security initiative in American history." The virtual fence was to be a key component of his proposed overhaul of U.S. immigration policies, which died last year in the Senate. (Washington Post)
· Lord, we ask that You move on our officials to bring about the security of America's borders. May our security not be bogged down in politics and government red tape.
· "He brought me out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps." (Psalm 40:2)
8. BUSH: "WITHOUT FISA LAW, AMERICA MORE VULNERABLE TO ATTACK"
THE PRESIDENT: "[Y]ou asked about whether or not the United States of America should be able to listen to terrorists' phone calls coming into the United States. And the answer is, absolutely we should be doing this. There is still an extremist threat. People still want to attack our country, and we better understand what they're thinking, what they're planning and who they're talking to. "And yet unfortunately a law passed to give our professionals the tools has expired. And it's expired because people want to take class action lawsuits against private phone carriers and other companies that . . . were believed to have helped us protect America. It's not fair to say to a company that was believed to have helped us, it's important for you to help us, and then you get sued for billions of dollars. And such a policy would make it very difficult to get companies to fully cooperate with us in the future.
"The law is expired, but my fellow citizens must understand the threat to America has not expired. And our citizens who are paying attention to this debate must understand, without [this] law America will be more vulnerable to attack. Democrats and Republicans supported this law, and the House leaders must bring it to the floor, where it will pass with both Republican and Democrat vote. And if this law is allowed to expire, America will be more vulnerable. And that's inexcusable and it's indefensible." (White House 2/27/08)
· Let us pray that the pending legislation would not be stalled but move through Congress and passed. Intercede for the cleansing of graft, corruption, and inefficiency in all federal agencies and throughout the federal bureaucracy. (Intercessors for America)
· "Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started. . . " (2 Corinthians 8:10 TLB)
9. OBAMA RAISED FUNDS FOR ISLAMIC CAUSES
Sen. Barack Obama has spoken at fundraisers for Palestinians living in what the United Nations terms refugee camps, WorldNetDaily has learned. In a conference call last month with Jewish and Israeli media aimed primarily at dispelling Internet reports he is anti-Israel, Obama stated "Palestinian refugees" belong in their own state and do not have a "literal" right of return to Israel. "We cannot move forward until there is some confidence that the Palestinians are able to provide the security apparatus that would prevent constant attacks against Israel from taking place," continued Obama during the conference with Jewish journalists.
But in the 1990s Obama was a speaker at events in Chicago's large Palestinian immigrant community to raise funds for U.N. camps for the so-called Palestinian refugees. Ali Abunimah, a Chicago-based Palestinian-American activist and co-founder of Electronic Intifada, a pro-Palestinian online publication, recalls introducing Obama at one such event, a 1999 fundraiser for the Deheisha Palestinian camp in the West Bank. "I knew Barack Obama for many years as my state senator - when he used to attend events in the Palestinian community in Chicago all the time," stated Abuminah during an interview last month with Democracy Now!, a nationally syndicated radio and television political program.
Abunimah previously described meeting with Obama at a fundraiser at the home of Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, reportedly a former PLO activist. "[Obama]came with his wife. That's where I had a chance to really talk to him," Abunimah recalled. "It was an intimate setting. He convinced me he was very aware of the issues [and] critical of U.S. bias toward Israel and lack of sensitivity to Arabs. He was very supportive of U.S. pressure on Israel." (WorldNetDaily) Read more.
· Please pray fervently that the media will begin to publish and announce the real facts behind the facade that Sen. Obama is presenting to the American people. The deception is widespread surrounding this candidate's true "resume." When questioned about his stand on Israel, the senator sidesteps a clear answer. Pray for the senator's salvation in Jesus Christ and for the Holy Spirit to give him a love for Israel.
· "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)
10. IRAQ SAYS TURKISH MILITARY WITHDRAWING
The Turkish military has begun withdrawing from northern Iraq, Iraq's foreign minister said Friday, a day after the U.S. pressured Turkey to end the offensive against separatist Kurdish rebels. "We welcome this move," Hoshyar Zebari told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "The timing is good. I think the military carried out its promises" to remove Turkish troops after finishing the operations. Zebari said regional Iraqi authorities had informed him that the Turkish troops were leaving northern Iraq, and the Turkish military had targeted only the rebels, not civilians living in the remote region. The foreign minister said he hoped Turkey "will respect the sovereignty of Iraq."
The move came a day after U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Turkish leaders during a visit in Ankara that they should end the offensive as soon as possible. In Washington, President Bush made a similar point Thursday, saying Turkey needed to move quickly and get out. Zebari credited the U.S. with playing an "instrumental" role in pressing Turkey to leave. "The U.S. played a very important role on all fronts to remind Turkey of the seriousness of the situation," Zebari said.
Turkey launched the incursion into northern Iraq more than a week ago against the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, a group fighting for the autonomy of predominantly Kurdish southeastern Turkey. The rebels have carried out attacks in Turkey from bases in Kurdish Iraq. Iraqi authorities have said they do not support the PKK but objected to Turkey's military action. The PKK took up arms against Turkey in 1984. The fighting has killed up to 40,000 people. (AP)
· Father, we thank you and praise you for answering our prayers of just last week, and that this operation was swift. HALLELUJAH!!!
· ". . .and I will purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn." (Ezekiel 20:38)
11. AHMADINEJAD CALLS IRAN WORLD'S "NUMBER ONE" POWER
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared on Thursday that Iran was the world's "number one" power, as he launched a bitter new assault on domestic critics he accused of siding with the enemy. "Everybody has understood that Iran is the number one power in the world," Ahmadinejad said in a speech to families who lost loved ones in the 1980- 1988 Iran-Iraq war. "Today the name of Iran means a firm punch in the teeth of the powerful and it puts them in their place," added Ahmadinejad, who on Sunday will become the first president of the Islamic republic to visit neighbouring Iraq. Ahmadinejad's comments come amid renewed Western efforts on the UN Security Council to agree a third package of sanctions against Tehran over its refusal to suspend sensitive nuclear activities.
They also came a day after former top nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani launched an unprecedented attack on Ahmadinejad's foreign policy, accusing him of using "coarse slogans and grandstanding". "You can see how some people here . . try to materialise the plans of the enemies and by showing that Iran is small and the enemy is big," seethed Ahmadinejad. "These are the people who put the enemies of humanity in the place of God." Ahmadinejad once again insisted that Iran was winning the standoff over its atomic programme, which the West fears could be used to make nuclear weapons but Iran says is peaceful. "The Iranian nation is on the verge of the final nuclear victory and no power can stop this nation. The enemies of the nation and bullying powers do not dare to admit that this nation has won in the nuclear field." (Agence France Presse)
· It seems that Mr. Ahmadinejad has identified the wrong source as the "bullying power." Instead, he needs only to look in the mirror to find the culpirt in this scenario -- the same culprit that Christ died for. Pray for the salvation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.. Pray for a miracle! If God could impact and invade the life of Saul of Tarsus as he was making his way down the road to Damascus to stone those believers, can He not do the same for this enemy of the Cross? Salvation was freely given at the Cross of Calvary for ALL who would believe -- even the most vile of sinners. Father, we GIVE this man "Ahmadinejad" to you and ask for your will to be done, in the Name of Jesus!
· "The proud and arrogant man -"Mocker" is his name; he behaves with overweening pride." (Proverbs 21:24) "I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless." (Isaiah 13:11) "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
12. NINE KATYUSHA ROCKETS HIT ASHKELON CENTER
Nine Katyusha-style Grad missiles rocked the center of Ashkelon on the afternoon of February 28. One home suffered a direct hit; other missiles fell near the city's central bus station and elsewhere in the city. Magen David Adom reported that two people were lightly wounded in the attack and 24 others were treated for shock. All in all MADA have treated a total of 55 people in Ashkelon and Sderot since the morning.
On Thursday evening, Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the authorities to activate the Red Color alert early warning system in Ashkelon, which will be operational on Friday. Close to 80 Kassam rockets and missiles have been fired at southern Israel in the past 24 hours and nearly 1000 since the beginning of the year. On Thursday, the air force launched 21 air strikes targeting terror operatives, headquarters and Kassam rocket launchers in the Gaza Strip, and since Wednesday evening, 27 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip. (By Margot Dudkevitch, Infolive.tv, February 28, 2008; Reported by Bridges for Peace)
· Exchanges between Arab terrorists and Israeli Defense Forces are escalating dramatically. Pray the Lord will intervene to protect the innocent and thwart the plan of the enemy.
· "For their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood." (Prov. 1:16)
13. POWER SHARING DEAL IN KENYA SAVIOR (Mo-shee-ah) Savior . . . Redeemer . . . Lord. You laid down Your perfect, sinless life so that I might be saved. You took my place on the Cross; You suffered, died, rose on the third day, and now You sit at the right hand. Even though I shall never fully understand this, I accept it by faith. May I live this day as only You would live it. Help me to be a vessel of love to all that I meet. Thank You, my Savior, my deliverer, my Lord. Amen. (Taken from: Intimate Moments with the Hebrew Names of God, by Barri Cae Malin and Shmuel Wolkenfeld; Bridge-Logos Publishers; Gainesville, FL, 32614. ISBN: 0-88270-801-5)
Kenya's political leaders signed a power-sharing deal that will overhaul the way the country is governed. The deal comes after spates of ethnic violence and a prolonged political impasse following disputed December 27 presidential elections, which returned President Mwai Kibaki to power. The terms of the agreement establish Kibaki's main opponent, Raila Odinga, as Kenya's new prime minister, and invest substantial powers in the new post. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete mediated the agreement. (AP; Daily Nation; Economist 2/29/08)
· Offer thanks for this breakthrough in negotiations, and that Kenya can now enjoy a time of relative peace and stability. May the Gospel now be preached freely throughout this land, and may multitudes come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord!
· "Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord . . ." (Psalm 150:6a)
This Week, Worship Our Lord As . . .
"For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour."
Savior . . . Redeemer . . . Lord.
You laid down Your perfect, sinless life so that I might be saved. You took my place on the Cross; You suffered, died, rose on the third day, and now You sit at the right hand. Even though I shall never fully understand this, I accept it by faith. May I live this day as only You would live it. Help me to be a vessel of love to all that I meet. Thank You, my Savior, my deliverer, my Lord. Amen.
(Taken from: Intimate Moments with the Hebrew Names of God, by Barri Cae Malin and Shmuel Wolkenfeld; Bridge-Logos Publishers; Gainesville, FL, 32614. ISBN: 0-88270-801-5)