Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Daily Brief - Friday, April 4, 2008

"All the nations will come and worship before You."
(Rev. 15:4)

Today's Daily Brief
1. States get 'Real ID' extensions - USA Today

The Homeland Security Department announced Wednesday that it has granted all 50 states extensions to a requirement that they produce new tamper-proof driver's licenses. The extensions allow people to continue to use their current licenses to board airplanes and enter federal buildings until the law requiring more secure licenses begins to take effect in 2014. The "REAL ID law" was passed by Congress in 2005 after the 9/11 Commission reported that 18 of the 19 hijackers had obtained driver's licenses that allowed them to board planes. The law requires states to make licenses more secure by verifying each applicant's citizenship and address, sharing information with other state motor vehicle departments and creating licenses that are more difficult to forge.

· Lord, we thank You for this extension, so that remaining concerns about the "REAL ID" program can be addressed. Without crossing the lines of privacy laws, give wisdom to those who are making ID's secure and tamper-proof.

· "And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid." (Ezekiel 34:28)

2. Pentagon: Bush's authority trumps interrogation law -

The Pentagon approved the use of harsh interrogation techniques against terror suspects on the grounds that President George W Bush's authority during wartime trumps any international ban on torture, a declassified memo has confirmed. The Justice Department memo, released on Wednesday and dated March 14, 2003, outlines legal justification for military interrogators to use harsh tactics.

· Lord, as the war on terror continues, we ask for protection for servicemen doing their job legally under laws designed to benefit our victory. In all that is done, we desire to have the right interrogation laws in place.

· "That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; . . . .That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear." (Luke 1:71,74)

3. Philly "gay'-fest" protester's free-speech case revived - WorldNetDaily

A Christian evangelist's lawsuit against Philadelphia over police actions to restrict his free speech and religious expression has been reinstated by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which expressed in its opinion yesterday a grave concern about an "imbalance" in the jury instructions provided by the judge. Michael Marcavage of Repent America sued the police and city in 2004 over seven specific instances in which he said officers and others violated his First Amendment rights to free speech and free expression of religion. "There is no justification for silencing speech simply because it is considered to be 'unpopular,'" said Ted Hoppe, one of the attorneys. "Harassing and arresting Christians simply because they choose to exercise their First Amendment rights in a public place is unconstitutional." The lawyers are affiliated with the Alliance Defense Fund. Read more.

· Father, we pray for absolute victory exposing all imbalances. We pray for the First Amendment rights to stand strong and true for biblical speech that is being challenged. As this case is reinstated, give wisdom and truth to the judges who sit on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

· "Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways." (Job 22:28)

4. Zimbabwe on the Brink - AP

Police in riot gear surround hotel in capital, raiding opposition offices in what one official calls the start of a 'crackdown'; two journalists detained. The New York Times said that its correspondent Barry Bearak was taken into custody by police. "An American consular official who visited him at the central police station reported that he was being held for 'violation of the journalism laws,'" said Bill Keller, executive editor of the Times, in a statement. "We are making every effort to assure that he is well treated, and to secure his prompt release." The outcome of the election, held almost one week ago, is still uncertain.

· Father God, we pray for the protection and release of these journalists. We ask for Your Spirit to sweep over Zimbabwe. Strengthen and establish their political government in honesty. Release the truth over the elections. Put Your people in leadership to build on the firm foundation of biblical principles.

· "That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleaness, but unto holiness." ( I Thessalonians 4: 6,7)

5. Al-Qaida No. 2: We'll target world Jews - Jerusalem Post

Al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri pledged Wednesday night that the group would attack Jews in Israel and throughout the world. In an hour-and-a-half-long audio response to questions submitted to the movement on extremist Web sites, Zawahri said: "We promise our Muslim brothers that we will do the best we can to harm Jews in Israel and the world over, with Allah's help and according to his command." Zawahri reassured many of the questioners, who seemed worried about the direction of the organization, that the global jihad was on track and would soon expand elsewhere.

· Declare and Decree!!!

· "That the Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way and flee before thee seven ways. Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies." (Deut. 28:7, Ps. 60:12)

6. Blair urges bigger role for faith - BBC News

Tony Blair launches interfaith religious organization to promote globalization
Former prime minister Tony Blair has called for faith to be given a central role in tackling the world's problems. Mr Blair, who converted to Catholicism months after stepping down as prime minister last summer and is now a Middle East envoy, told an audience of 1,600 at Westminster Cathedral he was often asked if faith was important to his politics. "If you are someone 'of faith' it is the focal point of belief in your life. There is no conceivable way that it wouldn't affect your politics," he said. He said his Faith Foundation, to be launched later this year, would bring together different faiths to promote religion as a force for good.

· Lord, we thank You for the faith we have in You. Strengthen Tony Blair to proclaim faith in Jesus Christ -- and in NO OTHER NAME. For there is no other name by which we can be saved. May the Faith Foundation be filled with Your word and with a relationship with You that is the focal point of belief.

· "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving." (Colossians 2:6,7)

War Rumors Rock Israel


Widespread media reports of possible imminent war with Syria-probably initiated by an attack upon the Jewish state by Syria's puppet Hizbullah militia force in Lebanon, supported by Palestinian Hamas fighters in the Gaza Strip, and possibly by Iran itself-have spread like wildfire this week here in Israel. Military analysts say this indicates something is indeed occurring on the ground to raise the war alert, as confirmed by army sources. The cancellation today of a scheduled visit to Europe next week by Israel's Defense Minister has only added to the war jitters.

On Wednesday, Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Harel warned that Israel will respond "with a heavy hand" against anyone trying to target the country. Israel TV newscasts this evening are all featuring reports and analysis of the tense situation along the northern borders with Syria and Lebanon. Analysts are saying that while neither side probably wants war, the current tense situation could easily spiral out of control, given the heightened military alerts on both sides.

This all comes as Israel makes final preparations for the largest civilian home front war exercises ever conducted in the country, due to begin on Sunday and last through next Thursday. The cabinet is scheduled to meet Sunday morning in a special session meant to simulate an actual war emergency, followed by war drills in many hospitals, army bases, emergency response services, municipalities, police stations, etc. An actual war siren will be sounded on Tuesday morning at 10 AM all over the country. People everywhere will be instructed by the media in the coming days to respond then as if an enemy attack was in progress, to test their preparations for the same.

Jerusalem Post military reporter Yaakov Katz confirmed on Israel state television tonight that IDF forces are on the highest possible level of alert in the north, in response to intelligence information that the Iranian-backed Syrian regime-supplemented by major army reserve call-ups reported in various Arab media outlets in London and elsewhere in recent days-have recently moved two armored brigades into the Lebanese Beeka Valley, where Hizbullah has its main military bases.

Katz said that while neither Israel or Syria probably wants a full war right now, the Syrians are wary that Israel will attack them if Hizbullah launches the promised "revenge" response to the killing of arch terrorist Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus on February 12, which the radical Lebanese group and its Iranian paymasters blame on Israel, despite denials of responsibility from Jerusalem. Katz added that Syria may be preparing for war because it knows that Hizbullah has a major operation pending against Israel, probably supported, if not ordered, by Iran- whose extremist Shiite leaders have vowed to avenge the car bomb attack on Mughniyeh, who was closely associated with them.

David Dolan

Israel Update

To read the full article, go here.

· Please begin praying in the Spirit and in English over this threatening war in Israel. Pray that the Lord secures Israel's borders with a host of warrior angels as He has done in other wars against Israel. Pray fervently also that calm minds will prevail so that no war will break out, for surely Syria does not want a war at this time and must exercise its will against the radicals living in Syria. Passover will soon be celebrated in Israel and throughout the world. As people gather for seders, especially in Jerusalem, peace must prevail.

· "I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from mine enemies." (Psalm 18:3)

FRC's PEP Talk Improves AIDS Bill

Yesterday, the House passed a five-year, $50 billion reauthorization of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that addresses some of FRC's concerns on abortion, contraception, and conscience protections. By a vote of 308 to 116, members made a costly commitment to prolong what is widely considered a successful program for tackling overseas HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. Those who disagreed with the bill did so largely out of concern for the enormous $50 billion price tag. FRC has shared that frustration, particularly since the new program nearly doubles the $30 billion that the President requested. Like many, FRC has called for stronger oversight to be included. If taxpayers are bearing the financial burden, the bill must reflect taxpayer values. Unlike previous versions, this House bill doesn't fund "family planning" services, although there's no explicit ban preventing it.

After FRC went to bat for a continued emphasis on the abstinence and fidelity components, the end result is that both House and Senate bills (which is currently awaiting floor action) require a "balanced" approach to prevention. While no fixed percentage is included, the abstinence strategy will retain its prominent place in "behavior change" programs. The conscience protection provision was also noticeably improved. Not only are faith-based groups exempt from performing activities with which they disagree, but the House and Senate bills also state that the government cannot discriminate against religious organizations as they seek funding. While it's an improvement over the original House draft, significant changes must still be made to clarify the language on a number of issues. Until the final version passes in the Senate, FRC will continue its work with Congress and the administration to make those changes and to oppose any abortion provisions that Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) may try to sneak in. (Family Research Council)

· Offer praise for this good report, and cointinue in prayer and in action, as requested, until the Senate version of this bill has been passed with the correct, pro-abstinence language included. Praise God!

· "He which hath begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus." (Phil. 1:6)

Congress Goes Whole Hog on Pork

Speaking of massive government entitlements, Congress is still bringing home the bacon in billions of pork barrel spending. A new report by Citizens United Against Government Waste (CUAGW) exposes the worst abusers in 2007, namely Republicans, who apparently believe that government which governs best is government that earmarks most. Over 11,610 pet projects were squeezed into spending bills last year. The final cost to taxpayers is around $17.2 billion! The earmarks of Reps. Roger Wicker (R- Miss.), Bill Young (R-Fla.) and John Murtha (D-Pa.) alone total more than a half-billion dollars! On the Senate side, three Republicans, including Sens. Thad Cochran (Miss.), Richard Shelby (Ala.), and Ted Stevens (Alaska) funneled more than $1.8 billion to their home states. As part of the report, CUAGW roasted some of the biggest porkers. The "Taxpayers Get Steamed" honor went to Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe (R) and Susan Collins (R) who gave $188,000 to the Lobster Institute to develop a "Lobster Cam" and lobster dog biscuits. Winner of the "Unidentified Fiscal Object Award" was Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) who spent $1.6 million on a "telescope array." It's a humorous approach to a very serious problem.

To see how your leaders fared, click the link below.

2008 Congressional Pig Book [Citizens Against Government Waste]

(Source: Family Research Council)

Good News: California School Allows Christian Club to Hand Out Fliers

A California school district has agreed to allow a Christian group to distribute fliers announcing its meetings after attorneys with Liberty Counsel sent a letter to the school.

The Child Evangelism Fellowship of California submitted numerous requests to distribute handouts about its after-school Good News Club, but the Carmel United School District denied the group's requests, claiming it would be an endorsement of Christianity.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court already has ruled that Good News Clubs have the same access to school facilities as other after-school programs.

Candi Cushman, education analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said this is one of many victories for Good News Clubs across the nation. "This bodes well for setting a precedent of equal access that other students of faith can use in public schools," she said.

(Source: Focus on the Family CitizenLink)

Good News for America's Parents
Good News: Parents Find Help for Raising Kids in a Crazy Culture

SUMMARY: Booklets provide practical advice on imparting values and convictions.

A new how-to guide offers practical tools to help parents guide their children through the rocky terrain of the culture.

"Not just our teens, but even our younger children, are being bombarded with a sexualized message that is going against what Christian families are trying to teach in their home," said Kari Glemaker, national director of iCare, a branch of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families.

Her group has put together four booklets, titled What Every Parent Needs to Know, that give parents appropriate talking points for toddlers all the way through college age. "They don't have to go out and buy a curriculum," Glemaker said. "Here (is) something you can talk about at the dinner table tonight."

David Miller, vice president for public policy at Ohio's Citizens for Community Values, said these tools could help parents impart their values to their children. "When those family values and convictions are communicated regularly," he said, "that provides that first wall of defense for parents to keep this sexualized society away from their kids."

Visit the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families Web site, and click on "Resources."

(Source: Focus on the Family; CitizenLink)