October 31, 2012
10:15-10:45 MST; 9:15-9:45 PST
Tuesday, November 6, 2012 from 12:00-1:00 EST
for both calls.
When you are thinking about the next election, don’t forget the third branch of government. The judicial branch, headed by the Supreme Court, is extremely important for all the issues we are concerned about this election. From the size of government to health care to taxes to foreign policy to religious freedom, the justices see it all, and their decisions affect you personally.
This term, the Supreme Court will deal with affirmative action, homosexual “marriage,” terrorism and the right to vote, among other things. Considering the last term, one topic is enough to stress its importance: health care.
As has been reported elsewhere, the next president is likely to appoint at least two new justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. The average retirement age for a Supreme Court justice is 71. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 79. Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Anthony Kennedy are both 76. Justice Stephen Breyer is 74.
If President Obama is re-elected and that prediction holds true, that means he would have appointed almost half the justices in his eight years in office. By contrast, Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton each appointed two during their presidencies. The impact of that development cannot be overestimated.
When it comes to the types of judges they would appoint, the differences between Mr. Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney could not be more stark. Mr. Obama wants judges who believe in a “living Constitution” that changes with the times. He has said he wants judges to empathize with minorities, women and the disabled — judges who will take the law where he believes it should go. He delivered on that belief with his two nominations to the Supreme Court.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor famously said that “personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see” and that she was a wiser judge because of her race. Justice Elena Kagan argued for the invention of a constitutional right to homosexual “marriage.”
Mr. Romney, on the other hand, has voiced a desire for “judges in the mold of Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito.” He has promised judges who “will exhibit a genuine appreciation for the text, structure and history of our Constitution, and interpret the Constitution and the laws as they are written.” Granted, he must follow through on his rhetoric, but that is the philosophy he has articulated throughout his campaign.
This is a crucial issue, but we should care about more than just the Supreme Court. Remember, there are only nine Supreme Court justices, and the number of cases they hear in a year is small. By contrast, there are currently 179 courts of appeal judgeships and 678 district courts judgeships, with many pushing for a significant expansion in federal judgeships due to an increasing work overload. There are also 352 bankruptcy judgeships and 551 magistrate judgeships.
These men and women decide some of the most important issues in our lives. Even though other judgeships are not determined by votes this November, we must pay close attention to the philosophical approach to nominations of those who get to choose them (the president by appointment and senators by advice and consent) so that we can hold them accountable.
While it is true that we will only be directly voting for the executive and the legislative branches, we will also be indirectly selecting the type of judges we will see (either protecting or encroaching on our freedoms) for years to come through the judicial branch. Hopefully, this issue will be discussed more in the remaining days so that it is fresh in people’s minds as they go to the polls on Nov. 6. (Contributor: Mario Diaz is legal counsel for Concerned Women for America for the Washington Times).
Pray that the Lord will grant His wisdom to American voters in light of the U.S. Supreme Court justices that may be appointed during the next administration’s term of office. Not only is the presidential selection a major focus, but also the Senate and House members and various judges that are to be elected and/or appointed. The Supreme Court justices that have already had a major impact on current laws and legislation. The Obamacare ruling is just one major impact.
“Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” (Genesis 18:25)
“But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.” (Psalm 9:7-8)
Labor unions are sitting on at least $122 million in cash that can be spent on politics — more than corporate political action committees have on hand — and have already sent millions to Democratic super PACs that are purchasing ad buys daily.
With unions’ traditional specialty being “get-out-the-vote” rather than persuasion, it is now, in the final weeks of the campaign, that much of those funds stand to be spent.
Led by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) with $13 million in the bank and the United Auto Workers (UAW) at $6.3 million, they can give that money in unlimited amounts, rather than $2,500 at a time, to the gamut of Democratic super PACs that exist thanks to a 2010 court ruling Democrats mostly denounced.
Seven unions have also established their own super PACs. Since July, those super PACs have run $42 million worth of ads and canvassing, including $14 million in the presidential race, $3.8 million on the Wisconsin Senate race and $2.8 million on the Ohio Senate race, plus $13 million on House candidates.
In recent weeks, there have been signs that they are readying more ads. In late September, the National Education Association transferred $3.3 million to its super PAC, and the AFL-CIO transferred $3.1 million.
The SEIU on Monday disbursed $2.2 million in salaries for canvassers from Sunday through Election Day. On Tuesday, it announced “aggressive” ad buys to “get out the vote in the African American and Latino communities.”
The radio ads accuse Mitt Romney of trying to suppress votes, and say that Hispanics and blacks would be playing into his hands if they didn’t vote.
Unions have also propped up so-called “boutique super PACs” — groups that unions wholly fund but that do not identify publicly as union fronts. The SEIU has given $1.8 million to an otherwise-unfunded group calling itself the Florida Freedom PAC to run pro-Obama ads.
The NEA and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees have each given a half-million to Moving Ohio Forward. Unions have been the sole funders of each group, the latter of which has yet to begin spending.
When it comes to establishment Democratic super PACs, unions have made Senate races the priority, sending $11 million to Majority PAC, which is focused on that chamber, followed by $7 million to House Majority PAC.
Only $6 million of the $50 million raised by the Obama re-election super PAC, Priorities USA, has come from unions — suggesting that in an age in which celebrities and lawyers can give $1 million, unions could be less-essential money machines than they once were.
But unions have worked closely with Priorities on jointly financed ads, presenting a unified front even as a more splinted set of groups works on the Republican side, and lets Priorities benefit from SEIU’s Spanish-language experience in a slew of ads that moved the needle among that demographic.
“Unions have been critical partners and supporters of our effort to demonstrate how Romney’s policies would help multimillionaires like himself at the expense of hardworking families,” Priorities spokesman Brennan Bilberry said.
In addition, unions can spend directly from their treasuries — a privilege that came alongside corporations’ right to spend on politics after the Citizens United court ruling. AFSCME has spent $2.7 million from its general fund in recent months, while the AFL-CIO has spent $1 million through a nonprofit called Working America.
But the largest union-connected nonprofit is an aggressive group called Patriot Majority, with a self-professed mission to fight back against the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers’ “greed agenda” by adopting their tactics: making large ad buys — $5.3 million worth in recent months — without disclosing the source of its funds.
In the past, records show, the group has received much of its funding from AFSCME, and two teachers unions have given nearly a half-million dollars in recent months, according to the union PACs’ filings.
The AFL-CIO filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Citizens United case, hoping that an unlimited right to spend its money on ads would bring back labor’s prominence.
But Federal Election Commission filings make clear that, despite unions’ significant efforts on the liberal side, conservatives have had an advantage of well over $100 million in outside money spent. Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-connected group, will spend $100 million alone, and the Chamber of Commerce has spent $29 million on politics.
The AFL-CIO has since had a change of heart, and unions now regularly assail the regulations that have flooded the airwaves with corporate money.
AFL-CIO, AFSCME and SEIU all did not return requests for comment. (Contributor: The Washington Times)
UNION MUSCLE – Labor unions are sitting on more than $120 million in cash for the final weeks of the campaign to help President Obama’s re-election effort.
DIRECT SPENDING ON ADS
Service Employees – $20,995,000
AFSCME – $9,819,000
AFL-CIO – $3,048,000
National Education Association – $2,467,000 (Source: Federal Election Commission)
MONEY IN THE BANK
Service Employees International Union – $12,713,000
International Longshoremen’s Association – $10,916,000
Operating Engineers Union – $7,647,000
United Auto Workers – $6,351,000
American Federation of Teachers – $5,960,000
AFSCME – $5,046,000 (Source: Federal Election Commission)
Pray that truth would reign in the hearts of all U.S. citizens. Pray that righteousness will prevail in the motivations of men’s actions. Pray that reason and sound counsel will spring forth from informed citizens. Pray for God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
“But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:21)
Even though much of the East Coast is shutting down as Hurricane Sandy approaches, we are monitoring left-wing media and websites. I don’t think this is serious, but I want to clue you in on an idea that has the left buzzing today. No one in the federal government has suggested this yet, but some liberal commentators are raising the prospect that the damage from Hurricane Sandy could be so widespread in the Northeast that the election should be suspended.
There was a notable exchange this morning on CNBC between Andrew Ross Sorkin and New York Times columnist John Harwood. Sorkin asked Harwood if there was any precedent for suspending an election. Harwood responded that he wasn’t aware of any for the presidential election. But primary elections in New York City were cancelled on the morning of September 11, 2001.
Again, I don’t want to be alarmist. It’s not clear to me who would benefit or who would be hurt by any delay. Obama’s early vote in certain states has been strong. So much so that liberal commentators are suggesting it will make up any advantage Romney has on Election Day. From Obama’s perspective, that argues for holding the election sooner rather than later.
The Romney/Ryan ticket certainly has momentum right now. Benghazi was starting to get the attention of more and more voters. Sandy may have stopped that.
I can’t imagine a delay in the election. Any attempt to stall the voting would be fought in the courts and quickly rise to the Supreme Court. But even with this major storm, we continue to be on the job. Our prayers are with those in the path of Hurricane Sandy, as well as the first responders in the affected states. (Capitol Hill Prayer Partners, By Gary Bauer)
Pray that God’s plan for the national elections will be executed in light of the recent storm Sandy. Pray for righteous discernment to be applied to any decisions.
“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17)
With Afghanistan the forgotten war this election season, many Americans might be wondering why we have 68,000 U.S. troops there at all. Sure, the Obama administration says they’ll be out “on schedule” in 2014, but can’t the U.S. immediately pull back and protect its interests with drones and special-operations forces alone?
To better understand the battle in Afghanistan, look to Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sinai, Syria or Iraq—all places where al Qaeda and associated groups are a growing presence. (Al Qaeda in Iraq has doubled in size in the year since U.S. troops left the country.) These terrorists have already killed Americans, and they have planned and executed several attacks on the U.S. homeland that have failed only thanks to technical problems or outstanding police work.
US Marines of the 1st battalion 7th Marines Regiment walk towards a helicopter before leaving for camp Leatherneck.
While not the catalyst of the Arab Spring, al Qaeda and its friends are seeking to take advantage of the opportunities posed by revolutionary change throughout the Middle East. Despite the obvious intelligence and security failures that contributed to the attack against the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, the reality is that in one night an al Qaeda-affiliated group destroyed a diplomatic post, killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, and forced an end to clandestine U.S. activity in the area.
With al Qaeda not dead or on the run but on the rise across the Middle East and South Asia, there is only one place where the U.S. is on the ground and aggressively fighting back: in Afghanistan, al Qaeda’s heartland.
But Americans receive limited news from the front. The latest headlines are dominated by so-called green-on-blue attacks in which Afghan soldiers or police have attacked their U.S. or allied trainers. These attacks are appalling, but it is important to understand that the attackers aren’t our “Afghan partners.” They are Taliban foot soldiers and sympathizers exploiting the very real partnership we have with the growing Afghan National Security Forces. The attackers represent perhaps 0.01% of the approximately 345,000 Afghan security forces. These terrorists are loud and bloody, but they are statistically rare.
Americans also hear little about the success of our troops in isolating al Qaeda and the Taliban, cutting them off from the local population, and helping Afghans stand against them. Or how U.S. troops are restoring security to areas such as Kandahar that have lived under the thumb of Islamists and warlords for years. Or how sustainable that security is: This year we dramatically reduced our military presence in Helmand and Kandahar, but residual allied forces, our Afghan partners and locals have prevented the Taliban from regaining its positions.
The fight is hard and the Afghans aren’t easy partners, but we’re not in this for the Afghans. We’re in this for ourselves, and for our nation’s security.
So why Afghanistan and not Libya, Yemen, Syria or Somalia? Simple. Because we are in Afghanistan, and in numbers substantial enough to secure and hold territory—denying Ayman al Zawahiri and his followers a foothold. Afghanistan remains an opportunity to deal al Qaeda a vital strategic blow, especially since we have abandoned all operations—including counterterrorism operations—in Iraq.
Afghanistan is where much of the al Qaeda journey began. It is the main site where Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and their cohort rose to prominence fighting the Soviets in the 1980s. Afghan territory holds special significance to the group, which is committed to retaking it and re-establishing it as the base of a global movement.
Considering all this still leaves a few reasonable questions, such as why U.S. forces can’t leave and have counterterrorism troops take the lead. The answer is that special-operations forces are among the best and bravest of our troops, but they aren’t magicians. They can’t ensure that extremists don’t find haven among 35 million Afghans, and they can’t stop al Qaeda or the Taliban from preying on Afghan cities and towns.
Without the Afghans helping us in our mission, pretty soon we won’t know of anyone to target with drones, and our special operators will roam through hostile territory unequal to the inflow of terrorists. We need the Afghans’ help in this fight. They are giving a lot—and taking the casualties to prove it. But if we abandon them, they’ll stop.
Anyone wondering what Afghanistan will look like if we abandon the war or draw down troops too rapidly should look to Iraq, where a residual force would almost certainly have halted the current re-emergence of al Qaeda. Or to Syria, where more moderate forces are being increasingly overrun by hard-line Islamists. Or to Yemen, where al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has carved out territory and an operational headquarters to plan attacks against America. Or to Libya, where the facts about Benghazi are still trickling out, but where we know that an al Qaeda-affiliated group was behind the deadly attack.
The only talking point on Afghanistan that the American people have heard this election season is “2014”—as in withdrawal. But al Qaeda and its friends world-wide have heard that too. And it gives them hope that in two short years their heartland will be ripe for retaking. They know full well—based on U.S. actions from Afghanistan to Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria—that U.S. policy is to disengage, and that momentum is on their side.
General Keane, a former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, is chairman of the Institute for the Study of War. (Contributor: The Wall Street Journal)
Pray that all U.S. leadership will embrace a godly foreign policy course regarding the recent surge in Moslem unrest around the world, especially with the new Moslem cult initiatives led by Al Qaeda. Pray for a greater awareness of the plans of destruction instituted by Moslem extremists worldwide.
“Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked man ruling over a helpless people.” (Proverbs 28:15)
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Mr. Obama wants to highlight the issue, and Republican presidential candidate Mr. Romney would rather not talk about it—but abortion and birth control are potent issues in the 2012 campaign.
Meanwhile, despite having a staunchly pro-choice president in the White House, pro-life forces have scored a string of victories at the state level and are hoping to add at least a few more wins in November.
“We are seeing tremendous momentum gathering out there,” said Charmaine Yoest, president and chief executive of Americans United for Life Action. More people are saying, “OK, we may not be able to reverse [Roe v. Wade] today, but there is work we can do today [on a state level] that can make a difference.”
Nationally, the stakes are especially high: The next president will likely have the chance to make one or more Supreme Court appointments and will maintain or repeal the new health-care law, which requires insurance companies to provide birth-control products for free.
“Obamacare” is praised by pro-choice groups for reinforcing women’s fundamental rights to make their own decisions about their reproductive health. Pro-life groups denounce it because it “smuggles” abortion and abortifacients into the nation’s health care, resulting in “the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade.”
Both presidential candidates are angling to win women’s votes, and abortion is “the most important issue for women,” according to a recent Gallup Poll of registered female voters in 12 swing states. As a result, pro-choice advocacy groups have launched campaigns focusing on what they call Republicans’ “war on women.”
At the Center for Reproductive Rights, for instance, the “Draw the Line” campaign features iconic actress Meryl Streep, who says she’s signing the center’s “Bill of Reproductive Rights” and pointedly asks viewers, “What are you waiting for?”
Elsewhere, an eye-catching video called “My Country, My Choice,” shows 28 presumably naked women covering themselves with signs that ask, “If you don’t trust me with my body, why should I trust you with my country?”
Pro-life forces are busy, too, passing around materials listing “75 of the most egregious acts” by the Obama administration and a point-by-point comparison of the candidates’ quotes on life issues.
They’ve got videos, too: A new spot from Americans United for Life Action and Let Freedom Ring uses footage from Mr. Obama’s 2009 Notre Dame speech, where he said, “Let us work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions.”
“…Obama has not fulfilled his promise to work with people about keeping the abortions down I feel that [speech] was just a political ploy,” replies a disappointed woman who identifies herself as a pro-life Democrat.
Another video, created by Women Speak Out PAC, a group started by the Susan B. Anthony List to speak for pro-life women, is called “Barack Obama: Abortion Radical.”
In campaign appearances, Mr. Romney has said, “I’ll be a pro-life president,” and that he opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest and danger to the life of the mother. He has also said he supports reversing Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s 1973 law legalizing abortion in the United States, “because it is bad law and bad medicine,” and he promises — on his first day in office — to start the process of repealing Mr. Obama’s health-care reform law.
The Obama campaign has touted his strong support for abortion rights. A full roster of speakers at the Democratic National Convention, including newly famous birth-control advocate Sandra Fluke, pushed abortion issues. And at the Oct. 16 debate, the president talked four times about federal funding for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation’s leading abortion provider.
This brought him kudos from Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, who said Mr. Obama “accurately stated” that birth control and health care “is an economic issue for millions of women.”
Meanwhile, in the states, abortion and related issues are a factor in only a handful of current gubernatorial races—Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire and North Carolina—and could be a factor in Wisconsin, Iowa and Arkansas legislative races.
Any pro-life victories in these races will only add to the successful 2010 election, which brought “a tidal wave” of pro-life lawmakers into office, noted Mrs. Yoest.
The 2010 election had a huge impact on the states, as the pro-life lawmakers produced a record number of bills. More than 90 abortion-restricting provisions passed in 24 states, according to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute. Lawmakers were not quite as active in 2012—closer to 40 abortion-related provisions were enacted, Guttmacher said this month.
But at least four states decided to limit abortion coverage in the new health-care system, four states required abortion providers to have local “hospital privileges,” and others limited abortion by gestational age, set pre-abortion requirements or regulated clinics or services, Guttmacher said.
“The most harmful and extreme anti-choice laws” are being challenged in court, said Julie Rikelman, litigation director of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is holding a gala Wednesday night to celebrate 20 years of defending abortion.
“As of today,” the center “is active in 17 legal challenges in 12 different states”, said Ms. Rikelman. Permanent or preliminary victories have been won Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Oklahoma.
Pro-choice state lawmakers are also on the offensive, she noted.
California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Nevada and Washington lawmakers have already passed “Freedom of Choice Acts,” which generally codify the protections of Roe v. Wade. These laws mean abortion will be protected “even if the federal courts further undermine constitutional protection” for that right, she said.
Presidential Abortion Politics
The next president will have power or influence over U.S. abortion policy in several areas—directly, through the federal bureaucracy, or through support or hindrance of state action. Some of these measures are:
■ Appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court.
■ U.S. funding of abortions through international organizations, i.e., the Mexico City Policy.
■ Federal funding of research involving embryonic stem cells.
■ Eligibility for federal grants and Medicaid to abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.
■ National health care regulations on matters such as morning-after pills, clinic licensing and insurance standards.
■ “Conscience” exemptions for health care workers and religious institutions.
■ Abortions on military bases.
■ Abortion policies in the District of Columbia.
■ Human trafficking laws.
What the Parties Say
These are the texts on abortion in the 2012 Republican and Democratic Party platforms:
On Abortion: Support human life amendment; oppose abortion funding “Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.
We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.” (Source: 2012 Republican Party Platform, adopted Aug. 27, 2012)
Strongly and unequivocally support Roe v. Wade
“The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way. We also recognize that health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. We strongly and unequivocally support a woman’s decision to have a child by providing affordable health care and ensuring the availability of and access to programs that help women during pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including caring adoption programs.” Source: 2012 Democratic Party Platform, adopted Sept. 4, 2012 (Contributor: The Washington Times)
Pray that Roe v. Wade will be reversed in United States law. Pray that the next administration will place righteous judges in a position to overturn any law that does not protect the lives of the unborn at any stage of their development.
“For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:13-16)
Boeing successfully tests a new missile that can take out electronic targets with little collateral damage.
Cruising fast over the Western Utah Desert, a lone missile makes history at the Utah Test and Training Range. The missile, known as CHAMP, or Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Missile Project may one day change modern warfare.
On Oct. 16th at 10:32 a.m. MST a Boeing Phantom Works team along with members from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate team, and Raytheon Ktech, suppliers of the High Power Microwave source, huddled in a conference room at Hill Air Force Base and watched the history making test unfold on a television monitor.
Power is cut to a room of computers after being hit by a high-powered microwave pulse from a Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Missile Project.
CHAMP approached its first target and fired a burst of High Power Microwaves at a two story building built on the test range. Inside rows of personal computers and electrical systems were turned on to gauge the effects of the powerful radio waves.
Seconds later the PC monitors went dark and cheers erupted in the conference room. CHAMP had successfully knocked out the computer and electrical systems in the target building. Even the television cameras set up to record the test were knocked off line without collateral damage.
“This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,” said Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works. “In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive,”
In all, seven targets were hit using CHAMP’s high power microwaves in the one-hour test that degraded and defeated the electronics inside the test buildings.
James Dodd, vice president of Advanced Boeing Military Aircraft, part of Phantom Works said there is a real need for a weapon that can defeat a target and not cause harm to people and structures.
“We know this has some capabilities and some impact, we’re really trying to engage the customer to see if there is a way we can actually get this fielded and implemented sooner than later,” Dodd said.
Coleman, who led the Boeing team in the historic test flight, says the team is currently analyzing data and telemetry from the test that many consider a big step in modern non-lethal warfare.
Pray that this newly developed weapon would be used to effectively render our enemies powerless and that destruction of life would be reduced and/or rendered unnecessary.
“The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my savior; thou saved me from violence. I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” (2 Samuel 22:3-4)
CONGRESSIONAL PRAYER CAUCUS – CURRENT ISSUES FOR PRAYER
Working to decrease frivolous lawsuits challenging public expressions of religion – Members of the Prayer Caucus are supporting H.R.2023, introduced by Congressman Dan Burton, which would ensure that the legal system is not used to extort money from state and local governments through frivolous lawsuits against public expressions of religion. H.R. 2023 would not prevent parties from filing lawsuits alleging Establishment Clause violations, but it would require each side to pay its own attorneys’ fees. The bill would limit the remedies available to the suing party, so the only relief available would be that the state or local government would be required to stop its public expression of religion, if the court deems it unconstitutional. The result would be a decrease in frivolous lawsuits and the assurance that state and local governments are not intimidated into halting constitutional public expressions of religion.
Opposing hostility towards faith in the Air Force – Congressman Randy Forbes joined Congressman Diane Black and Congressman Todd Akin in sending a letter signed by 66 Members of Congress urging Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to investigate a pattern of hostility towards faith in the United States Air Force. Over the last year, the Air Force has repeatedly capitulated to pressure from outside groups to remove religious symbols and references to faith from the service. The letter calls on Secretary Panetta to issue clear Department of Defense policy guidance, consistent with our Constitution, to preserve the place of religious expression in the military at large.
Urging the President to preserve religious hiring rights – Congressman Randy Forbes and Congressman Mike McIntyre sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to maintain current policies that allow faith-based organizations that consider religious criteria in their employment decisions to perform contract work for the federal government.
Supporting legislative prayer at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit – Thirteen Members of the House of Representatives have joined the Family Research Council (FRC) in submitting an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in support of legislative prayer. The Lakeland City Commission in Florida had a policy of inviting clergy to offer invocations at the beginning of its meetings. The Atheists of Florida sued, arguing that because most of the prayers were offered by Christian clergy, the prayers were “too sectarian” and thus violated the Establishment Clause. The brief submitted by the Members argues that courts do not have the jurisdiction to delve into the inner workings of a deliberative body’s meetings because of the constitutional separation of powers between the branches of government.
Supporting the freedom of school boards to open meeting with prayer – Members of the Prayer Caucus are supporting a resolution introduced by Congressman Tim Walberg that supports the freedom of school boards to open meetings with prayer. H.Res.662 expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that school boards are deliberative bodies similar to city and county councils and state legislatures, and should be treated as such for purposes of analyzing the constitutionality of their prayer policies.
Working to protect the symbols and traditions of Christmas – Members of the Prayer Caucus are supporting H.Res.489, introduced by Congressman Doug Lamborn, which expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected for use by those that celebrate Christmas. Each year during the Christmas season, there are increasing efforts to remove religious symbols and references from the holiday. H.Res.489 emphasizes that the First Amendment does not require bans on religious references to Christmas, and supports the use of these symbols by those who celebrate Christmas.
Fighting attempts to remove “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance – Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus lead in sending a letter to NBC, expressing concern over the network’s omissions of “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance twice in a video montage aired during coverage of the U.S. Open. In response to the letter sent by 108 Members of Congress, the network reprimanded the employees responsible for the omissions and implemented safeguards to prevent similar instances in the future.
Opposing efforts to remove a memorial cross honoring military veterans
In January of 2011, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a cross displayed at the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial in San Diego, California was unconstitutional. Members of the Prayer Caucus signed on to an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Ninth Circuit asking the full court to reconsider the case, and asserting that the cross’s presence at the memorial is constitutional. After the Ninth Circuit declined to reconsider the case, Members joined the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) in submitting an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court of the United States, asking the Court to take up the case and reverse the Ninth Circuit’s decision. In June of 2012, the Supreme Court announced that it would not review the case; however, Justice Alito issued a statement saying the appeal may have been premature and the Court may reconsider the case after the district court issues a final order on the fate of the memorial.
Urging religious freedom protections for service members – The repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military raised concerns that service members whose consciences or religious beliefs conflicted with homosexual behavior would face discrimination and disapproval. Members of the Prayer Caucus sent a letter to President Obama, urging that specific religious freedom and conscience protections be adopted during implementation of the repeal to formally assure all Americans that our citizens need not leave their faith at home when they volunteer to serve.
Affirming America’s rich spiritual heritage – Co-chairmen of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, Congressman Forbes and Congressman McIntyre, reintroduced legislation to recognize our nation’s religious history. H.Res.253, America’s Spiritual Heritage Resolution, affirms the rich spiritual and diverse religious history of our nation’s founding and subsequent history, and designates the first week in May as America’s Spiritual Heritage Week.
Recognizing the significant impact of the Ten Commandments on America’s development – Members of the Prayer Caucus are supporting H.Res.211, introduced by Congressman Louie Gohmert, which recognizes the significant contribution that the Ten Commandments have made in shaping America’s principles, institutions, and national character. The bill supports designating the first weekend in May as “Ten Commandments Weekend.” (Contributor: Congressional Prayer Caucus)