Capitol Hill Prayer Partners
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The Daily Brief Tuesday, March 5, 2013
"Greater is He that is in you,
than he that is in the world."
(I John 4:4)
The Daily Brief
1. Will Iraq be next to have an Arab Spring? - UK Telegraph
It has all the outward trappings of another Arab Spring: tens of thousands of demonstrators, a permanent protesters' "camp", and megaphoned demands for the removal of another "dictator".
- Lord, our hearts go out to Iraq, especially because our country has invested so much - including lives - to free Iraq. Let there be a Christian spring. Your word says truth shall spring out of the earth. Let truth spring forth in Iraq. We know there are people in Iraq who know You. We pray blessings upon Your people in Iraq. Use them greatly, and may there be a mighty move of the Holy Spirit. We pray for a great harvest of souls to spring forth. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
- Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven. (Psalm 85:11)
2. Seized Chinese Weapons Raise Concerns on Iran - NY Times
An Iranian dhow seized off the Yemeni coast was carrying sophisticated Chinese antiaircraft missiles, a development that could signal an escalation of Iran's support to its Middle Eastern proxies, alarming other countries in the region and renewing a diplomatic challenge to the United States.
- Lord, we are watching and praying about these events. Let Your kingdom come in the Middle Eastern countries. We pray for diplomatic and peaceful solutions. Nothing is impossible with You. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
- Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. (Mark 13:33)
3. Assad: Russia, Hezbollah, Iran did not send troops - Ynet News
Syrian President Bashar Assad denied reports that Russia, Hezbollah and Iran had sent soldiers to Syria. Russia has been very constructive, Iran has been very supportive and Hezbollah's role is to defend Lebanon, not Syria, he told the Sunday Times.
- Lord, we know that You are mightier than any army. We pray for all hidden agendas of Russia, Hezbollah, and Iran in their involvement with Syria, to be revealed. Shed Your light in the darkness. In Jesus Name.
- No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. (Psalm 33:16)
4. State Department report paves way for Keystone; environmental backlash grows - Washington Times
While far from a full-throated endorsement, the State Department's assessment of the Keystone XL pipeline may have paved the way for President Obama to approve the controversial project.
- Lord, thank You for the State Department report if it paves the way for the approval of the Keystone project, which will provide jobs and energy. We pray that it will be approved, and environmental issues resolved. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
- The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. (Psalm 24:1)
5.Corporations urge Supreme Court to embrace gay marriage - Reuters
More than 200 businesses on Wednesday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a federal law that restricts the definition of marriage to heterosexual unions, in one of corporate America's most prominent efforts to support same-sex marriage.
- Lord, have mercy on us. There are many of Your people standing in support of marriage between a man and woman only. Let not these businesses and the voices supporting gay marriage have the victory. Raise up Your prayer warriors to defend marriage the way You created it. Cause the Supreme Court to make the right decision, we pray. Amen.
- You shall not lie with a male as with a woman...You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. (Leviticus 18: 22-28)
6. IT issues leave Kenya presidential election results halfway pending - Computer World
Issues with electronic vote results transmission have left Kenyans unclear of who is the winner of the presidential poll in more than 24 hours after close of official voting in the 2013 General Elections held Monday. Voting in stations that began voting past 6 AM was extended by the same margin of delay, while other stations also extended voting past 5 PM to accommodate those in the queue in accordance to Kenyan laws. By midnight Tuesday, only presidential results from about 10,000 polling stations of a total of about 33,400 stations had been received. The results remained largely unchanged through Tuesday leading to anxiety among Kenyans.
- Friends on the ground in Kenya report that, in spite of the tension in the land, the citizens are exhibiting great patience in awaiting these results. Offer praise for this good report, and continue to lift the people in Kenya in prayer, that they might be granted unusual strength as they await the results of this election. [Please note: this is the first election to be held under Kenya's new constitution, and included electing all members of parliament, as well as the governors and other officials in the provinces. Hence, this was a huge event!]
- "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)
The Middle East in Focus
The Middle East in Focus
This week, for all the headlines cited below, please join us in proclaiming THIS DECREE:
"How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, "Your God reigns!" (Isaiah 52:7)
1. Locust plague hits Egypt weeks before Passover - ICEJ News
A massive swarm of locusts has descended on Egypt just a few weeks before the Biblical feast of Passover, which commemorates events in ancient times which included a "plague of locusts" in Pharoanic Egypt during the time of the Hebrew enslavement there. Israel's Agriculture Ministry is warning farmers in the Jewish State to be on the alert for a spillover infestation and stockpiled pesticides in the event they are needed. Meanwhile, the even more ancient evil of intracommunal violence struck in the Suez Canal city of Port Said on Sunday, as at least one police officer was killed and hundreds of other people were wounded in clashes between protesters and security forces
2. Netanyahu shifts course on Israeli government coalition - ICEJ News
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a major change in his political strategy on Sunday when he told the leadership of the Shas party that he will try to form a coalition government with the Haredi parties. The move came in the light of Labor's unflinching refusal to join a coalition led by Netanyahu and the joint efforts of Bayit Yehudi and Yesh Atid. "It seems that the bond between Lapid and Bennett and their hatred for the haredim is unbreakable at this stage," a Shas party official complained. However, the move came after calls from many quarters for Netanyahu to heed to results of the election, which were widely perceived as a mandate to reform the way the Israeli government relates to the Haredi sector.
3. Israel-Gaza crossing shut after reported Hamas takeover - Times of Israel
One of the primary crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip stopped operating Monday, after the company that ran it was reportedly forced to shut down, either by Hamas or by striking truckers angry at price gauging by the monopoly.
4. Abbas to Kerry: Push Israel for settlement freeze - Jerusalem Post
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met in Saudi Arabia Monday with US Secretary of State John Kerry and discussed with him the latest developments in the region, Palestinian officials in Ramallah said.
The Persecuted Church
Today's Focus: The Persecuted Church
"Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence. I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living." (Psalm 27:12,13)
1. TURKEY: Double Standards Between Christians, Moslems under New Constitution - Forum 18
There has been much discussion in Turkey of allowing public servants to wear headscarves, Forum 18 News Service notes. But the discussion has been narrowly focussed on this particular issue, without discussion of the other wider issues affecting civil servants, freedom of religion and belief and other related human rights. There has been little or no public discussion of restrictions based on freedom of religion or belief imposed on those within the public service, and the impact of the change on possible interferences by public servants in the rights of others - for example parents and school pupils. Relatively little attention has also been paid to the contradiction of men wanting women to be able to wear the headscarf and the same men also not taking steps to further women's participation in society and the public service.
2. INDONESIA: Religious Minorities Targets of Rising Violence - Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch conducted research in 10 provinces on the Indonesian islands of Java, Madura, Sumatra, and Timor, and interviewed more than 115 people of various religious beliefs. These included 71 victims of violence and abuses, as well as religious leaders, police officers, militant group leaders, lawyers, and civil society activists.
3. UNITED STATES: Florida College Bans Bible Study from Common Space - Christian Post
An official at a Florida academic institution garnering controversy over shutting down a Bible study at a residential hall's commons area has stated that the issue is not about religious freedom. Recently, the Rollins College of Winter Park chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship was stopped from holding Bible studies at a commons area in a student dormitory. Lauren H. Bradley, Public Affairs director at the Office of Marketing & Communications for Rollins, told The Christian Post that the incident had to do with an equally enforced campus policy.
The Madison Report
The Madison Report
The week of March 4 - March 8
Fellow conservative patriots,
The sequester began to take effect last Friday, and much to the chagrin of the statists, nobody has noticed the difference. It appears that Republicans will finally take yes for an answer and pocket the sequester victory. However, the real fight will begin this week when the House brings the Continuing Resolution (CR) to the floor. Will Republicans cave and abjure their last opportunity to defund Obamacare before it takes effect next year? The stakes are high in Washington, DC this week. We will keep you informed as things progress.
The Honorable Jim Ryun
Chairman of the Madison Project
FY 2013 Budget Continuing Resolution
On Wednesday (tomorrow), Republican leaders in the House plan to bring Hal Rogers's Continuing Resolution to the floor. At present, the federal government is operating on a CR that funds the government through March 27 at an annualized rate of $1.043 trillion in discretionary spending. Now that the sequester has gone into effect, the discretionary number would decrease to $974 billion (although only $44 billion in outlays would actually be cut this year). Unfortunately, Republicans are still fighting the sequester in the CR, even though Democrats were already soundly defeated. The sequester is here to stay. Now Republicans need to use the CR for the next fight - the most important battle of our time - to defund Obamacare.
Sadly, Republicans plan to bring a CR to the floor contains funding for the Obamacare implementation for the HHS and the individual mandate enforcement at the IRS. What does the HHS do with this extra discretionary funding? They have just finalized 700 pages of new healthcare regulations. There is no way our nation will ever recover from that. Healthcare is the biggest part of the private economy and the federal budget. This is the one thing that is worth fighting for.
This will be our last chance to block Obamacare.
Reps. Jim Bridenstine (OK) and Tim Huelskamp (KS) have the courage of their convictions to abide by their campaign promises. They are circulating a letter to their colleagues requesting leadership to defund Obamacare through the CR. We are looking for conservatives in the Senate to request the same from Mitch McConnell. Remember that this will not be a clean CR anyway. The White House has already requested dozens of spending "anomalies" to increase funds for pet projects. Well, defunding Obamacare at the HHS and IRS should be our request.
Oppose Caitlin Halligan
If there is one thing that President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid share, it is their penchant for audacity. Caitlin Halligan was first nominated in 2010 to fill a vacancy on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and has been re-nominated four times since then. A cloture vote to move forward with her nomination failed with bipartisan opposition (in other years it was lack of action by Reid that stopped her nomination). All of this though has not deterred the President from nominating her once again and for Senator Reid to push for another vote on the four-time failed nominee.
Ms. Halligan's extreme positions on gun rights, terrorism, marriage and abortion helped to unite a coalition of conservatives and moderates into blocking the nominee from getting the 60 votes required for cloture. While serving as Solicitor General, Ms. Halligan's briefs petitioned courts to pass activist decisions that would amend laws or change public policy. In one such case, Sheidler v. National Organization for Women, Halligan filed an amicus brief on the side of abortion providers seeking to charge pro-life protesters of extortion and racketeering under the Hobbs Act. The Supreme Court threw out her radical argument in an 8-1 decision.
In a speech she delivered in 2003 she characterized the Courts as the "special friend of liberty. Time and time again we have seen how the dynamics of our rule of law enables enviable social progress and mobility." The D.C. Circuit needs an impartial arbiter, not a judge of what is and is not enviable social progress. Please contact your Senators today and ask them to vote AGAINST Caitlin Halligan for D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. (Family Research Council)
Budget Plan: An Assault on Religious Liberties
Resolute on Liberty
The House leadership and House appropriators yesterday released the "Continuing Resolution" (CR) to fund the government agencies through the next 6 months. The CR includes the dreaded sequester cuts which will reduce spending. However, the CR doesn't fix the assault on religious liberties imposed by the HHS mandate implementing Obamacare. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) and Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), along with 12 female Republican Members, last week sent a letter urging House leaders to add conscience protections to the CR. FRC also sent a coalition letter with over 80 groups urging House leaders to protect religious freedoms. Today I held a news conference at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) annual convention in Tennessee to discuss the need to add conscience protections to the CR. I was joined by Janet Parshall, radio host for Moody Radio, Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., presiding bishop of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches, and Dr. Richard Land, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
Rep. Black, Rep. Fleming and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebr.) also introduced their legislation yesterday with 50 cosponsors titled, "The Health Care Conscience Rights Act" (H.R. 940). The bill would protect religious freedom in health insurance and provide conscience protections for pro-life health care workers such as nurses who object to participating in abortion. Despite conscience laws on the books, Obamacare contained no conscience protections to temper the HHS mandate, and other conscience laws have been violated. A case in point is Cathy DeCarlo, a New York nurse, who was forced to participate in an abortion against her conscience.
This new CR is "must pass" legislation since the President must sign such a bill before March 27 or the government will shut down. Unfortunately, House leadership decided not to add the Black, Fleming and Fortenberry conscience protections to the CR. The HHS mandate already is threatening serious fines for non-compliance for businesses like Hobby Lobby. It is ridiculous that the penalty for not providing employee insurance ($2,000 a year per employee) would be far greater than exorbitant fines ($100 per employee, per day) for refusing to provide abortion pills and contraception.
The mandate also goes into effect this August for religious charities, hospitals, and universities who believe their faith should inform their health care choices. Imagine that! In effect, the HHS mandate doesn't merely require employers to offer free abortion drugs and contraceptives in their insurance plans. It fundamentally creates a two-tier religious caste system whereby churches are religious enough for exemption, but people of faith choosing to exercise their beliefs in their everyday business lives or charity work for the public are not.
Religious freedom is not limited to places of worship, or at least it hasn't been for over 200 years. The accounting gimmicks HHS proposed in February don't offer an exemption, and why not? The Administration clearly thinks religious entities, other than churches, should include controversial services in their health plans. It's clear the President and HHS Secretary Sebelius believe convictions of faith should be checked on the way out the church door.
We are grateful for Members like Representatives Diane Black, John Fleming and Jeff Fortenberry who are keeping this issue at the forefront by proposing stand-alone legislation that protects conscience. But the reality is that a stand-alone bill will never pass the Senate and be signed by the President. The language has to be added to a "must pass" piece of legislation like the CR. We are not interested in just having a vote on legislation that addresses our concern, we want a resolution on this government assault on our First Freedom. The House leadership should reconsider the importance of religious freedom to all Americans as it debates the CR. (Family Research Council)
The Good News Corner
The Good News Corner:
The Bible Scores Big!
Now for some encouraging news.
The New York Post reports that the History Channel's mini-series "The Bible" scored a record audience of 13 million viewers, "the year's best numbers for a cable entertainment series." For comparison, 8.2 million viewers tuned in to watch the season finale of "Downton Abbey," another hit show.
Of course, the Bible is far more than just entertainment. Producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey said, "This #1 series is a tribute to all those who have helped us to spread the Word." And it shows that in spite of the incredible hostility of Hollywood and media elites, there are millions of Americans who are drawn to stories of faith, with messages of hope and redemption. (Gary Bauer)