Tuesday, April 10, 2007

We have one main strategic matter for prayer this week.

We have one main strategic matter for prayer this week.

The Senate is returning from its Spring recess. The House is scheduled to spend this week in the home districts, but the minority leaders are asking Speaker Pelosi to reconvene the House early to work on the Iraq Supplemental spending bill which President Bush is expected to veto.

While important, that veto is not the primary target of our prayers this week.

This week the Senate takes up funding embryonic stem cell research for the second in less than a year. Senators will debate S. 5 and S. 30 simultaneously for a maximum of 20 hours.

A Brief History of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

    In more than 25 years of attempts with embryonic stem cells in the research community, there have been no results. In recent years, by contrast, adult stem cells have produced 72 of not only successful attempts, but useful treatments and cures. The private sector, therefore, has had little monetary incentive to continue research on embryonic stem cells.

    Today, "There are currently no controlled human clinical trials underway for ESC-derived therapies. By contrast, there are currently some 1200 clinical trials underway associated with human adult stem cells (ASCs)," according to Robert George, a member of The President's Council on Bioethics, in his recent article, Six Stem Cell Facts (summary).

A Brief History of Embryonic Stem Cell Research Policy

    We would hope our leaders would be considering exercising some restraint and deliberation on these fundamental matters and its most basic role of discouraging evil (Romans 13) such as the destruction of human life for profit.

    Instead we face exactly the opposite. We face an army of legislators who cannot wait to pump as much money as possible into this "hope" and the "promise" of "cures."

    At this point it would be helpful for us all to pause and honestly ask ourselves: How many lies would I tell for a billion dollars? How many lies would I believe for a billion dollars? Seriously. That's some very real temptation right there no matter who you are. Such questions begin to give us an idea of what's at stake, and the choices those for whom we are praying are facing, both in political and scientific circles.

    Politicians are not the only people in our society who face the danger of believing their own headlines. Our "scientific researchers" face these same temptations, and are lured by massive monetary rewards for doing so.

    We covered this issue extensively last year. For the long version of the details, please see our updates before and after President Bush's 2006 veto of this legislation.

    The short version is, in August 2001, President Bush cracked the doors open to funding research on a specific set of human embryos for which the choice on destruction of life had already been made. Advocates of this legislation now want those doors of federal funding to be open as wide as possible.

The 2007 Strategy

    Some of you will recall from our update early this year that the House already passed its version, H.R. 3. This bill passed 253-174, well shy of the 290 needed for a two thirds majority to override a veto.

    This is the first time the Senate is taking up the issue this year. In looking at last year's vote (63-37), and the positions of the 10 new senators, their vote is expected to be at least as close this year to the two thirds required (67) to override the President's veto.

    If the final bill that Congress sends to the President originates in the Senate (starts with "S."; in this case, S. 5), then the Senate gets first crack at overriding the veto. Advocates of this legislation are hoping the Senate then overrides the veto to put more pressure on House legislators to override the veto as well.

    The Senate could vote as early as Wednesday, April 11.

The Source

    Aside from the moral objections to this legislation, this legislation also makes for bad fiscal policy. The Blue Dog Coalition recently argued that the United States is depending on China to fund the war in Iraq. This should also be applied to the false hopes of human embryonic stem cell research.

    Republicans, Democrats, and leaders of all stripes should be rejecting this legislation on the grounds that it only digs our financial hole that much deeper.

Prayer Points

    Senate Vote This Wednesday - S. 5

    • Pray the vote total is not enough to override a veto--less than 67 in favor.
    • Pray that we do not lose any "Nay" votes on the bill from last year.
    • Pray for new Senators, and that they would vote pro-life, especially Democrats such as Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.

    Override Vote Preparation

    • Pray that the President's veto is sustained.
    • Pray for the Senators who will be pressured to change their votes, especially those up for re-election in 2008 such as Norm Coleman of Minnesota.
    • Pray in a similar way for the vote again in the House before it is sent to the President.

    Scientific Community

    • Pray for the biotech researchers who are taking a stand for human life.
    • Pray for more biotech researchers who will stand for human life.
    • Pray for pro-life biotech researchers who will speak out publicly about this research.

    For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil (Romans 13:3).

    Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law (Romans 13:8).

    Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:5).

    For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body (Romans 8:20-23).

Additional Thoughts

    These are once again times for heavy lifting, dear friends. We have been called to prayer for such a time as this.

    Something else to keep in mind is this bill may reach the President's desk right around the time of the National Day of Prayer. Pray for how the Lord may use that timing as well.

Additional Resources

Helpful Information

Upcoming Events - 2007 Calendars: House (In), Senate (In)

Majority Leader Speeches: House, Senate (a good indicator of the upcoming Legislative Program)

    Political Calendars: MSNBC, CQPolitics.com

  • April 10 - Senate returns from Spring recess
  • April 13 - Target date for Congressional approval of Budget
  • April 14 - 100 Days since 110th Congress began
  • April 15 - Tax Day
  • April 16 - House returns from Spring recess

  • Later in 2007 - Reauthorizations

    The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9).

Reference Links

    U.S. Government, as organized and divided by the Constitution

      Includes: legislation, debate, directories for all three branches, and states

    Legislative Update Archive

      All Legislative Updates are produced by Timothy T.C. McGhee

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Contact Information

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