Thursday, October 15, 2009

CHPP Daily Brief - October 15, 2009

In This Issue
• The Daily Brief
• The Middle East in Focus
• Update: Hate Crimes Bill
• Bipartisan Snowe Job
• "Don't Ask - Don't Tell"
• News in the Senate
• Obama's Foreign Policy
• News from Iran
• The Good News Corner

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The Daily Brief Thursday, October 15, 2009

"When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness." (Isaiah 26:9)

The Daily Brief

1. Obama's New Pastor Views Islam as Violent Faith - The Times of London

Obama has been an irregular church attender since becoming President, but has expressed a fondness for Carey Cash, the navy chaplain at the Camp David presidential retreat who has been criticized for proselytizing in the military and his mistrust of Islam. Cash calls Islam violent, a faith that "from its very birth has used the edge of the sword as a means to convert or conquer those with different religious convictions."

- Rejoice that Mr. Obama seems to have found a church that speaks truth. Pray that he will not cave to media attention or left-wing criticism of this choice. Pray that Rev. Cash will continue in the strength of the Lord regardless of the publicity.

- "You have given a banner to those who fear you, that it may be displayed because of the truth." (Psalm 60:4)

2. Obama Cuts Human Rights, Democracy Funds for Iran - Newsmax

In a move designed to curry favor with Iran's rulers rather than its persecuted citizens, the Obama administration has cut funding for pro-democracy and human rights programs inside the Islamic Republic. The move reverses years of efforts during the Bush administration to help develop a civil society just as a genuine popular reform movement is emerging inside the country.

- Lord, we ask that You visit Mr Obama and show him the difference between sanctions that are designed to stop the wicked, and those programs designed to promote justice. We pray for the people of Iran, that You will rise up and help them throw off the yoke of oppression.

- "For You have broken the yoke of his burden and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor" (Isaiah 9:4)

3. GOP Lawmakers Accuse Muslim Advocacy Group CAIR of Planting Spies on Capitol Hill - Fox News

Four House Republicans on Wednesday accused the nation's largest Muslim advocacy group of trying to "infiltrate" Capitol Hill by placing interns in the offices of lawmakers who handle national security issues.

The four lawmakers, members of the anti-terror caucus, asked for an investigation into the Council on American Islamic Relations after discovering an internal memo noting the group's strategy. Reps. Sue Myrick of North Carolina, Trent Franks of Arizona, Paul Broun of Georgia and John Shadegg of Arizona asked the Internal Revenue Service to determine whether CAIR deserves its nonprofit status. They also are asking their colleagues to review a summary of findings that led the Justice Department to name CAIR as a co-conspirator in a terrorism case.

- Lord, we pray that an investigation would ensue and reveal the truth about CAIR. We pray that all hidden secrets be brought forth, and that our nation would be cleansed of all enemy plots to destroy America.

- "I have uncovered his secret places, and he shall not be able to hide himself. His descendants are plundered, his brethren and his neighbors, and he is no more." (Jeremiah 49:10)

4. U.S. Troop Funds Diverted to Pet Projects - The Washington Times

Senators diverted $2.6 billion in funds in a defense spending bill to pet projects largely at the expense of accounts that pay for fuel, ammunition and training for U.S. troops, including those fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to an analysis. Among the 778 such projects, known as earmarks, packed into the bill: $25 million for a new World War II museum at the University of New Orleans and $20 million to launch an educational institute named after the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat.

- Lord, once again we are appalled at the audacity of Congress to use operation and maintenance funds meant for our troops as personal projects. We pray that You will protect and help our troops, and let the hue and cry over these misappropriations be so loud that earmarks and pork projects will be terminated!

- "He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house" (Prov 15:27a)

5. Republicans Fail to Block Transfer of Gitmo Detainees to U.S. Soil - AP

Republicans in the House have lost a bid to block the transfer of any detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay prison to the United States.

Instead, the House stood by a Democratic plan to allow suspected enemy combatants held at Guantanamo to be shipped to U.S. soil only to be prosecuted for their suspected crimes. President Obama has ordered the facility closed in January but has yet to offer a plan to accomplish that.

- Lord, we pray that You will guard any transfer of these detainees against escape. We pray for a viable plan that will protect the citizens of America from danger, and bring true justice to bear on the actions of these men.

- "The Lord is known by the judgment He executes; the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands." (Psalm 9:16)

6. Social Security Makes It Official: No Cost of Living Increase - AP

There will be no cost of living increase for more than 50 million Social Security recipients next year, the first year without a raise since automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975, the government announced Thursday.

- Lord, we ask for provision for older people in spite of the government's plan to stop any cost of living increases. We pray that Congress will begin to see the negative effects of their actions in all areas, in all decisions, and that You will intervene to show them truth.

- "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, have an abundance for every good work." (2 Cor 9:8)

7. Daughter of Iran President Ahmadinejad's Media Advisor Seeks Asylum in Germany -

The Associated Press reports that Narges Kalhor, the daughter of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's adviser on cultural and media affairs, Mahdi Kalhor, has applied for asylum in Germany.

- Lord, we pray Your mighty protection over this woman, and Your salvation for her soul. We pray that seeing eyes would be blinded to her presence, and blind eyes would see and hear the truth about Iran.

- "to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me." (Acts 26:18)

8. China's Premier Touts Cooperation With Iran, Signals Opposition to New Sanctions - AP

Premier Wen Jiabao said Thursday that China intends to strengthen its cooperation with Iran, an indication Beijing would oppose growing calls in the West for additional sanctions against the Islamic regime for its nuclear program.

- Father, we pray that You will bring down the wall of Chinese communism and rule that separates freedom from tyranny. We pray that Your Holy Spirit will begin to unravel all ties to Iran and all totalitarian regimes throughout the world.

- "Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked; do not further his wicked scheme, lest they be exalted." (Psalm 140:8)

9. Iran Blasts Back at Rumors of Supreme Leader's Death, News Site Reports - Fox News

Iran is vigorously denying rumors that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei fell into a coma and died this week, an Armenian news site reported. Iran's embassy was said to have blasted back at reports of Khamenei's illness or death as a "slander" -- possibly the first official response to rumors that have been swirling around the Internet and appear to be fraying nerves in Tehran.

Iran watcher Michael Ledeen reported on his blog Tuesday that an "excellent source" assured him that the 70-year-old Khamenei "collapsed and was taken to a special clinic" Monday afternoon. The Supreme Leader's health was said to have declined due to the strains of the popular resistance to Iran's contested national elections.

- Lord, we pray that whatever the truth may be about this leader in Iran, if he is still alive, that You will visit him in the night seasons. We ask that You will hound Muslim leaders until they find You as their Messiah, or remove them from power.

- "Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. " (Micah 7:7a)

The Middle East in Focus

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

"For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem." (Zech. 14:2a)

1. Another Hizbullah arms cache explodes in south Lebanon - ICEJ News

A Hizbullah arms cache blew up in south Lebanon on Monday night near the city of Tyre, the second such explosion this year and further proof that Hizbullah has been violating UN Security Council Resolution 1701, according to the IDF. As many as five people were killed in the explosion, including the owner of the building, Abdul Nasser Issa, a senior Hizbullah operative. The three-storey building itself was completely destroyed. "Hizbullah uses civilians as shields to protect its weaponry," an Israeli defense official said, adding that according to intelligence, the Islamic terror militia is storing arms caches in dozens of additional villages in southern Lebanon.

2. Russia FM calls sanctions against Iran 'counterproductive' - ICEJ News

Russia pushed back on Tuesday at US efforts to threaten tough new sanctions if Iran fails to prove that its nuclear program is peaceful, a setback for the Obama administration's effort to present a united front with Moscow. After meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow believed that such threats would not persuade Iran to comply and that negotiations should continue to be pursued.

3. Israeli medical team rushes to storm-torn Philippines - ICEJ News

Over the last four days, a volunteer team of six Israeli medical professionals has treated over 600 typhoon victims for water-related diseases in the Philippines, according to IsraAID, a coalition of Jewish and Israeli NGOs providing relief work and education abroad. The workers - members of the Fast Israeli Rescue & Search Team (FIRST) - arrived in the Philippines on Saturday morning, a week after typhoon Parma made landfall.

4. Israeli economy picking up earlier than expected - ICEJ News

According to a Bank of Israel report on Sunday, the Israeli economy is recovering earlier than expected from the worldwide financial crisis. "The recovery in the local economy was led mainly by a modest increase in private consumption and rise in demand, as well as growth in global trade and the rally in stock markets," read the May-to-August report on economic developments.

Update: Hate Crimes Bill

Straight Talk on the Gay Hate Crimes Law

Now that, sadly, the House has passed a hate crimes law spear-headed in great measure by gay rights activists, it's time for some straight talk about this legislation. The Senate is expected to pass the final hate crimes conference report later this week or early next week, and it will undoubtedly be signed into law by President Obama. First, notwithstanding the clamor of gay rights activists in Washington over the weekend, this law was neither necessary nor prudential. An increasing number of private businesses, caving-in to external pressure from homosexual advocacy groups, have already added special benefits for same sex couples. States passing their own versions of hate crimes are on the increase.

Some 171 cities and counties have passed their own sexual orientation protections in employment. Yet compare those strides with the fact that the statistics have never supported the imaginary argument that there is a widespread problem of anti-gay violence, or that prosecutors are somehow refusing to prosecute crimes committed against homosexuals under existing laws.

Further, supporters of the law have never successfully shown that their sexual orientation preferences, or personal conduct in relationships, are in any way similar to the few categories that have enjoyed special fundamental rights protection, like the immutable or genetic status of race or gender, or the ancient and near universal recognition that religious belief should be given refuge. So, in light of the obvious political victories for the gay agenda in general, and yet the stupefying lack of proof that there is any need for this new brand of politically correct criminal law, why the clamor now for hate crimes as a means of protecting homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals, etc.?

The answer is that the homosexual activists do not simply want "equal protection." The ultimate aim is social, moral, and religious acceptance by the American culture. The rising numbers of cases where Christian citizens and institutions are being sued for discrimination or where Christians are being silenced for speaking out biblically on this issue ought to concern liberty-lovers everywhere.
At the other end of the political spectrum, however, some conservatives have railed against the hate crimes law, not just because of its immoral or empty-headed policy, but because of its supposed abject lack of protection for religious communicators. Yet that barb isn't accurate.

The religious liberty amendment sponsored by Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) survived the conference committee substantially intact. Having worked closely with Senator Brownback's office during this process, along with other civil liberties legal groups, I know that the legal paradigm in his amendment was based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which for years has provided an impressive record of protection for people of faith in civil cases. His amendment was a stunning accomplishment given the Democrat-controlled Congress. Will that language be as effective in protecting Christian communicators in criminal cases, where the "gay rights" issue creates a much more politically-charged environment? Only time, and the fidelity of judges to the plain, clear language of the law, will provide an answer to that question. But while the current hate crimes law, like the Titanic, shocks conservatives and Christians with its spectacle of social disaster, at least a modest religious liberty lifeboat for people of faith has been launched.

Now we have to work and pray to make sure that our courts don't scuttle it. (National Religious Broadcasters)

Bipartisan Snowe Job

If you've listened to the media surrounding Senator Olympia Snowe's (R-Maine) vote in the Finance Committee on health care reform, you could easily come to the wrong conclusion that this is a new sign of bipartisanship in the debate. Unfortunately, that's only because the media has chosen to ignore the valiant efforts of dozens of pro-life Democrats in the House who have worked with likeminded Republicans to try to ensure that the overhaul doesn't fund abortions.

In the five committees discussing health care reform, a total of sixteen amendments were offered to separate abortion from health care. Many of these amendments were supported--and even sponsored--by Democrats like Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), only to be opposed by the Democratic leadership. Yet the media has been largely silent on this strong showing of bipartisanship in opposing taxpayer-funded abortions.

Interestingly enough, these are the same reporters that highlighted the comments from former GOP lawmakers in favor of the Democrat's health care plan. But, as reporter Tim Carney from The Examiner points out (and the mainstream media chooses to ignore), those former legislators, including Tommy Thompson, Bob Dole, and Bill Frist, lobby for health care special interests and stand to personally profit from a government takeover of health care. There has been true bipartisanship from the very beginning of this debate as more leaders unite to exclude abortion from health care. (Family Research Council)

"Don't Ask - Don't Tell"

Will It Take More than an Army of One?

President Obama's strongest promise to homosexual activists in his speech Saturday night was his bold declaration, "I will end Don't Ask Don't Tell." But the only way he has the power to end "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (the Clinton compromise allowing homosexuals to serve in the military, but not openly) is by returning to "asking" and "telling"-- that is, asking prospective recruits their sexual orientation and telling homosexuals they're ineligible to serve.

To achieve his goal of allowing homosexuals to serve "openly" would require Congress to repeal the 1993 law which declares that homosexuals in the military "create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion." It would also likely require repeal of the law against sodomy in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)--otherwise, we would be deliberately recruiting into the military people with an openly stated intention to violate military law.

But the Palm Center, a liberal think tank, is urging President Obama to bypass the law by ending discharges of homosexuals through an executive order-- and actually urging him not to consult with military leaders! They're wrong on both counts. The President should enforce the law that Congress passed, and listen to the members of the military--who don't want it repealed! (Family Research Council)

News in the Senate

Senate Hearing Focuses on Domestic-Partner Benefits

SUMMARY: Lawmakers discuss expanding benefits for federal workers, but largely ignore the cost to taxpayers.

A Senate committee is expected to hold a hearing on expansion of domestic-partner benefits for federal employees today.

President Obama signed an executive order during the first hours of his presidency extending limited benefits to the same-sex partners of federal workers. The new bill would expand those privileges.

The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act (S. 1102) includes health and disability insurance, an expansion of family-leave programs, life and long-term care insurance and other compensation.

Tom McClusky, vice president for government affairs with FRC Action, said the measure is political payback.

"It's very clear that the Democratic Party has declared war on the Defense of Marriage Act," he said. "What they're seeking to do here is undermine all the benefits that the Defense of Marriage Act seeks to protect and just overwrite those laws."

The Congressional Budget Office has calculated the cost of implementing the bill at more than $1 billion over 10 years. Democrat committee members are expected to largely ignore the price tag.

McClusky said the real cost will go beyond dollars and cents. "It's more of the cost to society -- disqualifying marriage as something that benefits society," he said. (Focus on the Family; CitizenLink)

Obama's Foreign Policy

Obama's Foreign Policy Still A Zero

A few weeks ago, the media were abuzz over how the brilliant Obama had reset relations with Russia. Obama had pleased Russia by cancelling the missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. Now the grateful Russians would surely work with us to get tough on Iran. Great theory, but apparently Obama forget to check the fine print in the "understanding" he made with Russia.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flew to Moscow this week to work out how Russia would join us to impose real sanctions on Iran. But, alas, she left the meeting murmuring that the time wasn't right for sanctions. Today, we found out why she was so glum. The real power in Russia, Vladimir Putin, warned the U.S. and others not to "intimidate" Iran and pointedly added that talk of sanctions was "premature."

So, let's add up the score:

1. The U.S. won't install a defensive missile shield, angering our allies in Poland and the Czech Republic.

2. Iran has stepped up its work to get the bomb and produce missiles to deliver it.

3. Russia continues to make sanctions against Iran impossible.

Final score: Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama 0, Russia/Iran 3. (Gary Bauer; End-of-Day; Oct. 14, 2009)

News from Iran

Clinton, Lavrov agree to delay sanctions against Iran

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said after talks with Russia's foreign minister on Tuesday that neither country is seeking to impose sanctions against Iran under the current circumstances. Clinton said sanctions over Iran's controversial uranium enrichment program would be premature, and that Russia was being "extremely cooperative in the work we have done together" on the issue.

Lavrov said Russia is "in principle very reserved on sanctions, as they rarely produce results." He said sanctions should only be used when all diplomatic means have been exhausted, and that "in the situation with Iran, this is far from the case." Lavrov also said the U.S. and Russia had identical positions on the issue. "We are not asking anything of each other on Iran, because it would be ridiculous to make requests on an issue where our positions coincide," he said. However, Clinton said that sanctions over North Korea's nuclear program would remain in place. (Ria Novosti)

Putin warns against intimidating Iran

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Wednesday warned major powers against intimidating Iran and said talk of sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program was "premature". Putin, who many diplomats, analysts, and Russian citizens believe is still Russia's paramount leader despite stepping down as president last year, was speaking after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Moscow for two days of talks. "There is no need to frighten the Iranians," Putin told reporters in Beijing after a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. "We need to look for a compromise. If a compromise is not found, and the discussions end in a fiasco, then we will see." (Israel National News)

The Good News Corner

"Made to worship" by Chris Tomlin

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Praise God!