CHPP Daily Brief - May 29, 2009
• Today's Daily Brief
• The Middle East in Focus
• The Temple Mount in the News
• Sotomayor vs. The Fireman
• Sotomayor: The Unsettling Law
• For One Night, Baghdad Gets a Pink Zone
• Meanwhile, at the Dept. of Education
Capitol Hill Prayer Partners
P.O. Box 5152
Herndon, VA 20172-1970
"Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching God." (Isaiah 58:2)
IMPORTANT PUBLISHING NOTICE
On Monday, June 1, we will not publish "On Capitol Hill This Week." Instead, for next week only, the Daily Brief will incorporate legislative alerts from Capitol Hill. Please "watch and pray" over that news, when you see it posted. Thank you.
Today's Daily Brief
1. New Jobless Claims Drop Unexpectedly to 623,000 - Fox News
The government says the tally of newly laid-off people seeking jobless benefits fell last week, a sign that companies are cutting fewer workers.
• Should we trust the government reports about finances and jobs? Pray that this statement is truthful and that there is a rally of new jobs available. Ask the Holy Spirit to use these difficult times to draw Americans to Jesus Christ and to seek salvation in Him. Our God does not lie nor destroy, but He wants us to dwell in Him and live with His power.
• "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1: 7)
2. FBI to play larger role in US counter-terror ops: report - AFP
The FBI and the Justice Department will play a larger role in anti-terrorist operations as part of a shift away from a reliance on the CIA and the military, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
• Is this a good shift that will make the USA safer or as safe as terrorism investigations under the CIA? The FBI is focused on crimes committed within the borders of our nation whereas the CIA deals with crimes internationally. Pray for God's wisdom in this matter, for only He sees the whole picture. Moreover, never cease to pray for God's protection over the USA.
• "And Joshua, the son of Nun, sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying' Go view the land." (Joshua 2: 1)
3. North Korea Could Opt for Devastating Land Assault - AP
North Korea's nuclear threats are grabbing the world's attention. But if the North were to strike South Korea today, it would probably first try to savage Seoul with the men and missiles of its huge conventional army. The attack might well begin with artillery and missiles capable of hitting South Korea's capital with little or no warning. North Korea's vast cadre of commandos could try to infiltrate and cause chaos while the South tried to respond. [Read more]
• Father we ask that You would make Your people attentive to the warnings of the Holy Spirit- put your prayer warriors on "Watchcon 1." Help us to pray in Your power, at a moment's notice, to move into the stream of Your will and move with strength. We cover our leadership with Your promise of wisdom for those who ask, and we are asking. We call forth the protections in Psalm 91 over the nations in their region and America, and declare that no weapons formed against us shall prosper. We stand in the Blood of Jesus against the spirits that rule North Korea, and say this far and no farther in the Name of Jesus!
• "You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday." (Psalm 91:5,6)
4. Nuclear Aims By Pakistan, India Prompt U.S. Concern - Washington Post
Sometime next year, at a tightly guarded site south of its capital, Pakistan will be ready to start churning out a new stream of plutonium for its nuclear arsenal, which will eventually include warheads for ballistic missiles and cruise missiles capable of being launched from ships, submarines or aircraft.
• Pray that the Taliban will be defeated and eliminated in Pakistan before any nuclear capabilities have been reached. Pray for peace and unity in Pakistan so that the nation can work with the USA and Europe against any terrorist groups and/or Islamic jihadists.
• "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth do I hate." (Proverbs 8: 13)
5. Syria's Assad talks peace with visiting US lawmakers - Jerusalem Post
Syrian President Bashar Assad on Thursday discussed ways of improving US relations and bringing peace to the Middle East with two visiting American lawmakers, the state news agency said.
•Pray that the US lawmakers will have discernment to understand what are the wiles of Assad and what is truth, for none of the Syrians are to be trusted in their promises. Assad is working closely with Iran and provides a home for Hizbollah, the terrorist group that has great control in Lebanon and supports the destruction of Israel. Possibly Assad does want good relations with the USA; perhaps he wants trade agreements.
• "The burden of Damascus: Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap." (Isaiah 17: 1)
6. 'Red Dawn' redux: Russia begins massive military modernization effort - CS Monitor
After nearly two decades of false starts and failures, the Kremlin appears determined to begin the radical military reforms needed to fashion a modern army from the tangled wreckage of its Soviet-era armed forces.
• The Bible warns us about the movements of Gog and Magog, so we should not be surprised by this announcement by Russia. Pray for God's mercy for the members of the Russian military, for they will die at the hand of the Lord when they march against Israel. Pray against the success of the armament of the Russian military, and ask the Lord to slow down the reforms; we need more time to reach all the souls that do not know salvation in Jesus Christ.
• "And I will leave but a sixth part of you, and will cause you to come up from the north parts and will bring you upon the mountains of Israel." (Ezekiel 39: 2)
7. Scientists identify new lethal virus in Africa - AP
Scientists have identified a lethal new virus in Africa that causes bleeding like the dreaded Ebola virus. The so-called "Lujo" virus infected five people in Zambia and South Africa last fall. Four of them died, but a fifth survived, perhaps helped by a medicine recommended by the scientists.
• Pray against any spreading of this virus. Ask the Lord for His protection against any infection. Praise the Lord for medicines that fight this virus and for His power to destroy this disease.
• "With a strong hand and with an outstretched arm: for His mercy endureth forever." (Psalm 136:12)
The Middle East in Focus
This week, for all the headlines cited below, please join us in proclaiming THIS DECREE:
"You who fear the LORD, praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel." (Jeremiah 8:11)
1. Obama says Israel must stop settlement construction - Jerusalem Post
US President Barack Obama declared on Thursday the US is a "stalwart ally" of Israel but challenged the Jewish state to stop settlement construction in the disputed West Bank to help advance the long and painful road to peace with the Palestinians.
• We wonder what our president means by describing Israel as our "stalwart ally"? His behavior suggests something else, for he definitely does not understand God's love of Israel. Israel needs all her settlements to house her people, especially those Jews making aliyah. Pray for God's mercy on the Christians in the USA and around the world who support the Jews' right to have their own nation.
• [A prayer for the president] "For this cause we also . . . do not cease to pray for you and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understand." (Col. 1: 9)
2. Syria's Assad talks peace with visiting US lawmakers - Jerusalem Post
Syrian President Bashar Bassad on Thursday discussed ways of improving US relations and bringing peace to the Middle East with two visiting American lawmakers, the state news agency said.
3. Obama meets Abbas, ups pressure on Israel - AFP
US President Barack Obama Thursday renewed pressure on Israel but rejected a timetable for his peace drive, noting domestic pressures heaped on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
4. Amnesty: Israel guilty in truce collapse - Jerusalem Post
In its 2009 annual report, formally released on Thursday, Amnesty International places sole blame on Israel for the breakdown in the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that led to Operation Cast Lead.
5. EU sketches out conditions for upgrade with Israel - EU Observer
The EU will at a meeting with Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman next month sketch out three conditions for upgrading relations, according to a draft declaration seen by EUobserver.
The Temple Mount in the News
The Temple Mount: Location! Location! Location!
In the tenuous discussions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) the Temple Mount has become a major prize. Nabil Abu Radeina, spokesman for the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), said a peace agreement could be achieved in three to six months if Israel has a leader willing to make genuine compromises.
He said the PA would be prepared to relinquish sovereignty over the Temple Mount in exchange for Islamic sovereignty. He was referring to the Saudi-based Islamic Conference Organization (ICO) whose 57-member states include Iran. The ICO is already a signatory to the Arab Peace initiative. The inference behind this Temple Mount strategy is that the Palestinians would relinquish their sovereignty in return for support from all Muslim states in their negotiations toward a peace agreement with Israel.
Calls for an Israel withdrawal from 70% of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) adds further flames to an already explosive process. According to the Arab Peace initiative Israel would retain sovereignty over the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City. The Palestinians would control the Moslem, Christian and Armenian quarters. (Bridges for Peace)
• Pray that the area where the Jewish Temple has stood, as well as the entire Old City of Jerusalem, will not be used as a pawn in international negotiations but will become and remain under the control of Israel.
• "My whole being will exclaim, 'Who is like you, O Lord? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.'" (Psalm 35:10, NIV)
Sotomayor vs. The Fireman
Barack Obama's decision to nominate leftist judge Sonia Sotomayor as the first Hispanic woman to the Supreme Court has put Senate Republicans in a precarious position. Hispanics are the fastest-growing voting bloc, and attempts to block Sotomayor's nomination could alienate this group even further from the Republican brand. So what should Republicans do? In a column today, Charles Krauthammer offers an outstanding suggestion: Call Frank Ricci as their first witness during Sotomayor's confirmation hearings.
For those of you don't know, Frank Ricci is a firefighter in New Haven, Connecticut. Ricci suffered from a serious case of dyslexia that hampered his academic success in high school. Ricci studied fire science at a local community college and fulfilled his duty as a New Haven firefighter for several years. When an opportunity for promotion came up, Ricci quit his second job so he could spend up to 13 hours a day studying for the promotional exam. Because of his dyslexia, he spent $1,000 on books and hired someone to read the text to him. Ricci's hard work and determination paid off -- he finished sixth on the lieutenants' exam.
All his hard work was for naught, however, as he and others were denied their promotions by the city council because not enough minorities placed well enough on the exam. Ricci and 19 other firefighters sued the city for ignoring the exam results, and their case was heard by Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Sotomayor sided with the city.
Frank Ricci believed in the American dream - that success comes through hard work and determination. But Ricci's career suffered because of a judge's belief in "empathy" and "real-life experiences" that didn't include him. Washington elites have praised Sotomayor's nomination because of her life story - growing up in a housing project of New York City before attending some of the most prestigious universities in the country. Shouldn't Frank Ricci be rewarded for his life story, too?
Success in the United States should not be determined by one's race, but instead by whether a person is truly deserving of a certain honor. The public deserves to hear Mr. Ricci's story and see the damage that is done to decent people because of someone else's idea of "empathy." By calling Frank Ricci as a witness during Sotomayor's confirmation hearings, the American people would be able to get a glimpse of the liberal judicial philosophy to which she adheres. (Gary Bauer; End-of-Day; May 29, 2009)
Sotomayor: The Unsettling Law
Yesterday the White House scrambled to reassure President Obama's base that his choice for the U.S. Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, is certainly pro-Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision of the Court that installed abortion on demand nationwide. The reassurance was needed because of the lack (so far) of any public statements by Judge Sotomayor that Roe is what liberals now consider it to be, the touchstone of constitutional law.
The President's press spokesman, Robert Gibbs, flashed a bagful of semaphore at the media at yesterday's White House briefing, saying both that the President did not specifically discuss Roe with Sotomayor but that he is "very comfortable with her interpretation of the Constitution being similar to his." Press reports describe Gibbs as saying the White House is "sure" about her views on the matter.
In a 2007 debate, Obama said he "would not appoint somebody who doesn't believe in the right of privacy." After bobbing and weaving over the past few days, the White House now apparently believes it must make public its confidence that Sotomayor views abortion on demand as settled law. But that is exactly what Roe is not. The sweeping decision unsettled the nation's conscience in 1973 and caused a firestorm that continues to this very day.
It's imperative now that Judge Sotomayor address how the White House obtained its assurance about her views. And Senators should ask, if Roe is settled, how about Harris v. McRae (federal abortion funding limits are constitutional), Gonzales v. Carhart (Congress can ban partial-birth abortion), and other cases that protected informed consent and parental rights? Does Sotomayor pick and choose what she regards as settled, and how and to whom did she give assurances? (Family Research Council)
For One Night, Baghdad Gets a Pink Zone
Entertainment a Drag at U.S. Embassy
According to the Washington Post, tonight marks the beginning of a new offensive in Iraq: the homosexual invasion. At the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, government employees are gearing up for their first-ever gay pride theme party. "Come celebrate the start of summer . . . in costume," reads the invite. "Dress in DRAG or as a GAY ICON. Prizes will be awarded."
In the last several months, President Obama has been a harsh critic of his predecessor's approach to Middle Eastern policy. Is this his idea of "getting back to diplomacy"? Now maybe the Embassy staff needs a way to chill, but surely they can think of something less insulting than a toast to debauchery in the middle of an Islamic war zone. For an administration bent on promoting tolerance and diversity, this smacks of cultural ignorance. If the Muslim community finds an unveiled woman distasteful, how will they react to this vulgar display? Although it is certain to bring harm to our credibility in the region, the real risk is a loss of U.S. lives. This type of provocation could pose a grave threat to Americans on Iraqi soil, many of whom could be a target of Baghdad's outrage.
And speaking of inviting contempt on the Embassy, U.S. taxpayers will surely have something to say about this. Although a spokesman said that the drag contest was "sponsored by a group of employees" who are just using the facility's bar, the invitation was distributed over an official government wire, meaning that taxpayer resources were used in its promotion.
Of course the irony of all this is that while these employees are planning a night of gaiety, CNN is reporting that the U.S. military is burning hundreds of Bibles sent to our soldiers because they might offend Muslims. In other words, it's not acceptable to own a New Testament in Afghanistan, but letting our Embassy workers cross-dress in the middle of an Islamic capital is? Four days removed from Memorial Day, this party sends an incredibly insensitive message to our troops who gave the ultimate sacrifice. The brave men and women of the United States who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan did so to bring about a revival of freedom in the Middle East -- not a celebration of sexual decadence. (Family Research Council) Read more.
Meanwhile, at the Dept. of Education --
Gay Activist Named to Senior Post in Education Department
Kevin Jennings, the founder and former head of the activist Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), has been named assistant deputy secretary at the Department of Education after serving on President Barack Obama's campaign.
Family advocates expect Jennings to take his activist agenda with him to his new post in the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.
"At GLSEN, he was very much an activist, and now we're going to see him much more of an activist, but this time with the imprimatur of the federal government," said Dick Carpenter, an education professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
Candi Cushman, education analyst at Focus on the Family Action, said Jennings likely will control funding for recently proposed federal legislation --- the Safe Schools Improvement Act --- that would force many public schools to add pro-gay policies to their discipline codes. (CitizenLink)