Friday, December 7, 2007

The Daily Brief - Friday, December 7, 2007

"He who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him." (Psalm 32:10)

The Daily Brief

1. Hate-crimes Provision Stripped from Defense Bill - The Hill

December 06, 2007

House and Senate votes on the 2008 defense authorization bill could be held as early as next week after conferees agreed Thursday to strip from the bill a controversial provision extending hate-crimes protections to gays. House and Senate negotiators agreed to strip Senate language that extended federal hate-crimes law to cover violence against gays after weeks of wrangling. Earlier this week, GOP members of the House Armed Services Committee said they would not sign the conference report if the provision was included.

President Bush had threatened to veto the bill if it included the hate-crimes language, and conferees from both sides of the aisle and both chambers had warned that the Senate provision would jeopardize the passage of the entire defense authorization bill, which includes policies designed to help wounded soldiers and increase military pay.

The provision had been adopted by voice vote in the Senate, but in the House, Armed Services leaders worried they did not have enough votes to pass the defense authorization bill with the hate-crimes provision included.

· Offer GREAT PRAISE for this report! God has surely heard the prayers of His saints, and He has answered. Hallelujah! Amen.

· "The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles." (Psalm 34:17)

2. Democrats Relenting on War Funding Bill? -

House Republicans say there may be crack in the Democrats' refusal to send President Bush the war- funding bill he wants - one without a troop withdrawal deadline. In an exchange on the House floor with Republican Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) Thursday afternoon, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) conceded that a troop funding measure would advance in Congress without a troop withdrawal timeline: Blunt asked Hoyer, "On the military question, does the gentleman anticipate any opportunity to have funding - either full or partial - for Iraq and Afghanistan without withdrawal language in the bill we would send over to the Senate or at some later time? And I'd yield." According to Blunt, Hoyer responded: "I anticipate at some point in time that would be the case." President Bush has said he will veto any bill that include a troop withdrawal requirement, and Democrats until now have said they will not back away from such a provision.

· Continue to press in, in believing prayer, so that our military would be fully funded next year, and any discussion of the timing of a withdrawal would rest in the hands of the Commander-in-Chief, the President of the United States, George W. Bush.

· "The Lord hears the prayer of the righteous." (Proverbs 15:29)

3. Cheney Confident On Iraq Future - The Politico

Vice President Cheney warned in an interview Wednesday that a premature withdrawal from Iraq would invite "further attacks" against the United States and said he has been surprised by the weakness of the Democratic Congress. Cheney offered an upbeat assessment of the Iraq war, predicting that when he and Bush leave office in January 2009 a self- governing democracy would be firmly established in Iraq. He warned that if Democrats succeed in forcing a quick end to the war, the American people will be at greater risk. "I think the policies we put in place . . . have been directly responsible for our success at defeating all further attacks that have been launched against the United States since 9/11," Cheney added. "I think people who want to change those policies, or want to stop them, have an obligation to explain and deal with the consequences that I believe would flow out of stopping those programs."

· Thank You, Lord, for guidance that has brought protection for our nation. We continue to ask for Your wisdom and hand of mercy over the United States. We ask strength for Congress to press toward the finish line to victory for the people who want freedom in Iraq.

· "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." ( I Cor. 15:57-58)

4. Secretary, On Visit, Says Stability, Democracy "Within Reach" - The Washington Post

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who during Senate confirmation hearings a year ago stated that the United States was neither winning nor losing in Iraq, was unusually upbeat in his remarks. He said several recent trends have given him hope, including the lowest levels of violence since early 2006, a substantial increase in the number of displaced Iraqis returning to their homeland, rising international investments and the willingness of more than 70,000 Iraqis to volunteer to protect their neighborhoods.

"More than ever, I believe that the goal of a secure, stable and democratic Iraq is within reach," Gates said at a news conference in the fortified Green Zone. "We need to be patient, but we also need to be absolutely resolved in our desire to see the nascent signs of hope across Iraq expand and flourish."

· Lord, thank You for our leaders and military. We bless them in Your name. Thank You for the light of hope that our goals are within reach. Bless Iraq with a flourishing hope toward liberty and the revelation of Your kingdom.

· "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." ( I Peter 1:13) "Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord." (Ps. 31:24)

5. Bush Calls On Iran To "Come Clean" - AP

Two days after a new intelligence report said that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program four years ago, Bush demanded that Tehran detail its previous program to develop nuclear weapons "which the Iranian regime has yet to acknowledge." "The Iranians have a strategic choice to make," he said. "They can come clean with the international community about the scope of their nuclear activities, and fully accept the long-standing offer to suspend their enrichment program and come to the table and negotiate, or they can continue on a path of isolation." Backing the U.S. intelligence community, Bush said he appreciated its work in helping people to understand past and present activities in Iran and helping the administration develop a sound policy. "It is clear from the latest NIE report that the Iranian government has more to explain about its nuclear intentions and past actions,'" Bush said.

· Father, we ask You to move Iran toward accountability of its nuclear position and intentions. Bring Iran to honest and wise counsel for the good of all.

· "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. . ." (Prov. 1:5) "Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men." ( II Cor. 8:21)

6. US Envoy: N Korea Efforts On Schedule - AP

Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill spent three days in North Korea, where he held meetings with his counterpart, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, and visited the Yongbyon nuclear complex, becoming the highest-level American official to go there. "The disablement activities are going well and on schedule," Hill told reporters before leaving Pyongyang and heading to Beijing. "I'm satisfied with the results."

· Lord, we put our trust in You. Continue to tear down that which needs to be torn down. Thank You for those that oversee and monitor the activities and schedules in North Korea. Help them to expose and reveal all things, so that nothing will be concealed.

· "Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known." (Matt. 10:26) ". . . that he would grant unto us that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life." ( Luke 1:74-75)

7. Veterans Explain To Students Why They Serve - USA Today

The auditorium was packed and quiet as Marine Cpl. Sean Henry described how on his second tour of duty in Iraq, he met a family of 12 Iraqis in the city of Al Habbaniyah who were forbidden by local insurgents to leave their house. By the end of his seven-month deployment, he said, the United States had gained control of the city and he could hear children running around and playing soccer.

Henry, 22, a third-year Marine, was one of three veterans who shared their experiences as part of a Department of Defense outreach program called 'Why We Serve.' The program, which some critics say is too one-sided, began in 2006. It sends recently returned veterans across the country to share their decisions to join the military and their experiences abroad with the public. The program started with presentations to mostly small community groups but branched out this fall to college campuses. Marine Maj. Chris Devine, the program's director, said the group has visited at least nine other campuses this fall, including the University of Cincinnati, Georgetown University and the University of Wyoming. "This is the future leadership of America,'' Devine said. "Why wouldn't you want to put our servicemembers in front of them so they can ask them direct questions and hopefully get direct answers?"

· Father, bless the veterans that serve through sharing. Bless this program as a tool to bring the testimony of truth to the public. We ask for good to be promoted. As a nation, grant us absolute resolve in our desire to stay the course in the war on terror.

· "Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: so shalt thou find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man." (Prov. 3:3-4) "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things." (Matt. 12:35)

The Middle East in Focus

This week, for all the headlines cited below, please join us in proclaiming THIS DECREE:

"But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)

1. IDF to present Iranian nuclear evidence to US military chief - Jerusalem Post

Disappointed after failing to make their case on Iran and influence the outcome of the United States's National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released this week, Military Intelligence will present its hard core evidence on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program on Sunday to the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff during a rare visit he will be making to Israel.

2. Palestinians legislating death penalty for discussing Jerusalem division - Israel Insider

The Palestinian Legislative Council is expected to pass a law that would make it illegal to make any concessions on Jerusalem. The bill, which passed its first reading on Thursday, also defines such concessions as a crime of high treason, punishable by death. Presented by Hamas legislator Ahmed Abu Halbiyeh, the bill is expected to pass in second and third readings in the coming days.

3. Chief Rabbinate calls on gov't to keep Jerusalem united - Jerusalem Post

In its first attempt at political influence since Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger entered office four years ago, the Chief Rabbinate's Rabbinic Council called on the government Wednesday to keep Jerusalem united.

4. Disputed Jerusalem Neighborhood Built on Jewish Land - CNS News

An Israeli plan to build several hundred apartments in a Jerusalem neighborhood is prompting heated Palestinian opposition, indicating just how complicated Israeli-Palestinian negotiations could get in the coming year -- and why the two sides have never been able to strike a deal.

5. Israel, US Unwittingly Arming Hamas? - Fox News

guns provided to the Palestinian Authority - Mahmoud Abbas' security forces - have ended up in the hands of terrorists, as many Israeli feared they would.

The Reason For The Season

In the past, we have been critical of businesses that have succumbed to the secularization of Christmas. But it is nice to give a tip of the hat to businesses that recognize the meaning of the holiday. Today, I'd like to single out Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.

While the Salvation Army has been driven away from many store fronts, Wal- Mart and Sam's Club are embracing the sound of the Salvation Army's jingling bells. Thanks in part to Wal-Mart's support and the generosity of its customers, the Salvation Army's "Red Kettle Campaign" set a record last year, raising $30 million for its charitable work.

This year, Wal-Mart is getting the campaign off to a great start with a $1 million donation. Tomorrow, the Wal-Mart Choir and the Salvation Army's New York Staff Brass Band will perform a Christmas Carol Concert that will be broadcast nationwide on Wal- Mart's in-store television network. The broadcast will also feature a message from Pastor Rick Warren.

If you would like to thank Wal-Mart for remembering the reason for the season, please call 1-800-925- 6278. If you happen to be doing any of your Christmas shopping in Wal-Mart or Sam's Club this year, please take a moment to thank a store employee and wish them a very Merry Christmas!

(Gary Bauer; End of Day; 12/6/07)

Bella: A Movie for the Holidays

As millions of families head to the movies this Christmas season, the family-friendly, pro-life movie Bella should be at the top of their list.

The movie, doing well at the box office despite its limited release, teaches the power of forgiveness, the importance of family and the value of life. The film has been supported by faith-based organizations worldwide, and was most recently featured in the Los Angeles Times.

The film's star, Eduardo Verastegui, was even invited to the White House last month to deliver the keynote speech as part of National Adoption Day.

Though the filmmakers didn't intend for the movie to be political, the strong pro-life message has motivated viewers to think differently about life and adoption.

"If we don't sell one more ticket," Verástegui told the Los Angeles Times, "if one person changes his or her life forever, then it's all worth it."

The movie has no ad budget, but publicity continues to raise awareness.

A grassroots marketing campaign, formed by adoption advocates, church leaders, businesspeople and Latino groups, has helped the movie gross nearly $6.8 million in North America, the newspaper reported.


Find out when Bella is coming to your area.

(Source: Focus on the Family; Citizenlink)

The Golden Compass: A Movie to AVOID


This weekend your local theater will be showing a movie aimed at children that will undermine the values you are instilling in them.

THE GOLDEN COMPASS points children toward dishonesty, selfishness, rebellion, atheism, and the desire to kill their mothers! THE GOLDEN COMPASS movie is based on a trilogy of children's books by British author, Philip Pullman, who is an avowed atheist who has dedicated his life to undermining Christianity and the Church, especially among young readers. One of Pullman's goals in writing these books is to be the "anti-Narnia" series.


Please encourage your friends and family members to avoid the movie. Unless they are warned, they may be attracted by the preview for the movie that features a little girl riding a polar bear and fighting what look like bad guys.

There are two reasons to avoid this movie and encourage others to do so as well:

FIRST: The message of the movie, and the books on which it is based, is anti-Christian propaganda. THE GOLDEN COMPASS movie features a dishonest, selfish and stubborn heroine and is the opening to a story that glorifies atheism (primarily in the later two books). We believe in freedom of the press. Anyone can write a book or screenplay that makes Christians look sinister, stupid or wicked. That does NOT mean Christian parents need to buy that message and feed it to their children.

SECOND: In the movie business, the purchase of a ticket, or DVD, is a vote for more of something. If a studio loses money on an expensive anti-Christian adventure it is less likely to make more of the same. In this case, THE GOLDEN COMPASS is the first part of a trilogy that gets worse as it progresses. If THE GOLDEN COMPASS is a monumental flop the second and third book may never get made into movies.

There are many wicked movies made every year, but THE GOLDEN COMPASS is aimed at family audiences and is made to appear similar to Christian allegory THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. Please help get the word out that this would be a movie to avoid.


President Bush Sends Hanukkah Greeting to America

Please find below the Hanukkah Greeting released by the White House on Monday, December 3, 2007.

Presidential Message: Hanukkah 2007

I send greetings to all those celebrating Hanukkah, the festival of lights.

Hanukkah commemorates a victory for freedom and the courage and faith that made it possible. More than 2,000 years ago, the land of ancient Israel was conquered, its sacred Temple was desecrated, and the Jewish people were forbidden to practice their faith. A patriot named Judah Maccabee and his followers rose up against their oppressors to take back Jerusalem. When the Maccabees returned to reclaim and purify their Holy Temple, the oil used for dedication should have lasted only one day but burned for eight. Every year since then, Jews have celebrated this victory of light over darkness and given thanks for the presence of a just and loving God.

As Jewish Americans prepare to light the Hanukkah candles, we are reminded of the many blessings in our lives. The candles' glow has the power to lift our souls, put hope in our hearts, and make our Nation a more compassionate and peaceful place. We pray that those who still live in the darkness of tyranny will someday see the light of freedom, and we ask for God's continued guidance and boundless love and His protection of all those in need during this holiday season.

Laura and I wish all people of the Jewish faith a Happy Hanukkah.