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Archive for September, 2006

House Approves Act Protecting Freedom of Religious Expression

Posted by thelamp on September 28, 2006

By Jody Brown
September 27, 2006

(AgapePress) – Conservative groups are commending the U.S. House of Representatives for passing a bill on Tuesday that would cut off financial awards for lawsuits successfully filed against religious displays on government property.

The Public Expressions of Religion Act (PERA) (H.R. 2679) would deny the awarding of attorney’s fees or monetary damages to a party that wins an Establishment Clause court case — that is, one based on the so-called “separation of church and state.” Backers of the legislation note that local and state governments often give in to demands to remove religious displays for fear of incurring costly attorney’s fees. Opponents, on the other hand, consider the legislation a waste of time by Republicans who they say are anxious to shore up their conservative base before Election Day. They also note there is no companion Senate bill.

But Concerned Women for America, a major pro-family group in Washington, DC, is praising the 244 House members who voted in favor of PERA, calling the vote “a tremendous victory for Americans who value their constitutional and religious freedoms.” Eliminating monetary awards in Establishment Clause cases, says CWA, will free up citizens who are often reluctant to stand up for those freedoms because they are intimidated by the potential of “crippling judgments” for attorney’s fees.

“The House has shown leadership by advocating on behalf of their constituents’ rights,” says Lanier Swann, CWA’s director of government relations. “The Senate now needs to heed that duty.”

Senate approval, according to Swann, would give Americans the confidence they need to stand up to legal challenges brought by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, a group that often sues — or threatens to sue — communities and other entities for allegedly violating the Establishment Clause.

“Americans who wish to contest violations such as the refusal to allow the display of the Ten Commandments, the denial for the Boy Scouts of America to meet on public property, the omission of the words ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance, or the ban on student prayer at football games will have one less hindrance to protecting their rights,” says Swann. She also believes passage of PERA will mean fewer attacks on religious freedom in the United States.

The president of the National Clergy Council agrees with Swann that the ACLU will be less inclined to pursue supposed religious rights violations if they know they will have to foot their own legal bill.

“The ACLU has for too long terrorized communities by menacing them with lawsuits over Nativity scenes and Ten Commandments displays, then profiting at the expense of taxpayers,” says the NCC’s Rev. Rob Schenck. He describes what he calls the “clever scam” often employed by the ACLU in such cases.

“The ACLU rolls out huge fundraising programs based on these suits, takes in millions of dollars to supposedly cover their costs, then uses the federal courts to double dip on reimbursements out of the public treasury,” says Schenck.

Several conservative groups, including both CWA and the National Clergy Council, are urging the Senate to act on the legislation, saying there is no valid reason to delay a vote.


Posted in Anti-Christian attitudes, Evangelism, Freedom of Religion, Political, Recent News & Events, Religion, Religion/Politics, Separation of Church and State, Separation of Church and State--the First Amendment | Leave a Comment »

Americans United Wrong to Intimidate Churches

Posted by thelamp on September 28, 2006

Stay out of politics. That was the demand Americans United for Separation of Church and State, an advocacy group, issued to evangelical pastors last week.

“Dragging churches into partisan politics is just plain wrong,” proclaimed the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. At a news conference in Washington, D.C., Lynn said that “church involvement in politics damages the integrity of religion and it harms our democracy.”

“That’s a ridiculous statement,” said Pastor Rod Parsley, founder and president of the Center for Moral Clarity. “The Bible says that government is God’s idea, so His people should be a part of it. The Bible tells Christians not to be silent about issues of righteousness and issues of justice. Americans United is clearly trying to intimidate Bible-believing Christians into silence, and it won’t work.”

Look back in history for a moment and reflect on what this nation’s Founding Fathers believed about religion and politics. There really isn’t much question about what they intended. The men who wrote the Constitution actually believed that religion is essential to good government—not a hindrance to it, not a perversion of it and not a betrayal of it.

Nevertheless, Lynn and his followers have mailed a special election-year alert to more than 117,000 houses of worship in 11 key electoral states. The letters were sent to clergy in Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Missouri and Virginia to counter efforts to mobilize evangelical Christian churches in these states before the Nov. 7 elections.

In the letter, Lynn warned that politically active churches could face investigation by the Internal Revenue Service. Maintaining tax-exempt status is important for any not-for-profit organization. So prudent pastors do need to know what they can and cannot do — or say — from the pulpit.

The spirit of Lynn’s communication, however, was not to advise or inform evangelical leaders. It was pure intimidation with the hope of silencing pastors from speaking out on the issues central to our faith.

The Center for Moral Clarity encourages church leaders to guide their flock as required by Scripture. Don’t be intimidated by the Rev. Barry Lynn or his organization Instead, know the regulations and abide by them click here to view the 2006 Fact Sheet on political activities permitted by the IRS.


Posted in Anti-Christian attitudes, Evangelism, Family Matters, Recent News & Events, Religion/Politics, Separation of Church and State, Separation of Church and State--the First Amendment | 3 Comments »

Family ‘Misunderstanding’ Beyond Comprehension

Posted by thelamp on September 28, 2006

A woman from Maine made national news in a bizarre ordeal that now is being brushed off as a family misunderstanding.

A pregnant 19-year-old named Katelyn Kampf told authorities that her parents bound her with duct tape and began driving her to New York, where they intended to force her to get an abortion. The daughter escaped at a Salem, N.H., shopping center and called police, who arrested the parents.

The decision to go to New York may have been based on the pregnancy’s term. New York allows abortions until the 24th week of pregnancy. Maine limits abortions once the fetus can survive outside the womb, which can be as early as 20 weeks, state health officials said.

“They kidnapped me, held me against my will, threatened my life and were planning to force me to have an abortion against my will,” Kampf wrote in legal documents explaining why she was in immediate danger of physical abuse.

She said that she and her parents fought after she told them she was 20 weeks pregnant. “They said they were going to force me to have an abortion in New York and threatened to kill me and themselves.”

The first question that comes to mind is, “Why?” Why would any parent choose to subject their daughter to such a traumatic experience against her will? News reports provided insight.

Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion said that Katelyn Kampf, who is white, told him her parents were upset that the baby’s father is black. Her boyfriend, Reme Johnson, 22, is serving a 6-month jail sentence for theft.

Apparently, Katelyn’s parents were consumed with hatred that was racially motivated. It’s unfortunate that at a time this teen needed her parents unconditional love and guidance, she has negative memories instead that will last a lifetime.

“The Kampf’s chilling family drama is a serious indictment of the weakening moral character of society,” said Pastor Rod Parsley, president and founder of the Center for Moral Clarity. “When parents teach disregard for the sanctity of life, it’s doubtful the next generation will understand just how precious life is.”


Posted in Abortion, Anti-Abortion, Recent News & Events, Young Ladies/Teens | Leave a Comment »

Pregnant Women Support Act is Encouraging

Posted by thelamp on September 28, 2006

A bill intended to reduce abortions by helping women in difficult circumstances was introduced last week in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn., unveiled the Pregnant Women Support Act on the heels of a similar proposal, the Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act, which was introduced by Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, earlier this month.

The difference between the two proposals is that the Pregnant Women Support Act concentrates on assisting pregnant women and avoids the disputed issue of funding contraception. This is a bill pro-life supporter’s can and should endorse.

The bill includes 14 provisions calling for expanding coverage to pregnant women and unborn children through Medicaid and state-sponsored children’s insurance programs. The bill also seeks to make obtaining health care coverage easier for pregnant women by removing pregnancy from health insurance companies’ “pre-existing condition” lists. Davis’ proposal also would provide grants for low-income parents studying in college – the time when many unplanned pregnancies occur. Free home visits by registered nurses for new mothers would be allowed, if the bill becomes law.

Politics, though, could be a barrier to the bill’s passage. The bill has 26 co-sponsors who are both Democrats and Republicans.

Remember, to be morally consistent, sometimes Christians must be politically unpredictable. In other words, good public policy can come from either political party. The Center for Moral Clarity doesn’t look at legislation through Republican lenses nor through the eyes of Democrats. Pastor Rod Parsley, founder and president, encourages CMC members to be “Christocrats.”

To that end, it is encourageing when partisan politcis take a backseat to righteousness.

Click here to send an e-mail to your Member of Congress, asking him or her to support the Pregnant Women Support Act. It’s the Christian thing to do.


Posted in Abortion, Anti-Abortion, Children, Political, Recent News & Events, Religion/Politics, Young Ladies/Teens | Leave a Comment »

Pray for the President’s Special Envoy to Darfur

Posted by thelamp on September 28, 2006

Last week, President Bush spoke at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. During his address, the president announced that he was naming a special envoy to lead America’s efforts to resolve the outstanding disputes and help bring peace to the troubled African nation of Sudan.

Andrew Natsios, former head of the U.S. foreign aid agency has been tasked with the responsibility. He’s no stranger to the region. Natsios visited Darfur in 2003 to learn more about the area’s developing humanitarian crisis. This truly is a situation that calls for experience in diffusing unspeakable violence.

The suffering has not subsided for the past two years, and the atrocities perpetrated on God’s people amount to genocide. America joined with the international community to provide emergency food aid and support for an African Union peacekeeping force. But Christians can take little comfort in those good deeds because the bloody anguish continues.

“The violence in Darfur is getting worse,” said Pastor Rod Parsley, whose ministries have helped to provide liberation for nearly 20,000 abducted Sudanese men, women and children. “It’s time for the world to act courageously and give the African Union force the strength it needs to protect the people of Darfur. Appointing a special envoy demonstrates the conviction of our pledge to help.”

Click here to send an e-mail to President Bush thanking him for appointing a special envoy to Darfur.

Andrew Natsios won’t have an easy job. Hundreds of thousands of Darfurians have died since 2003, and more than 2 million have been uprooted from their homes.

Natsios’ mandate will be to persuade the Sudanese government to accept 20,000 U.N. peacekeepers and police to help stabilize the situation in Darfur, which President Omar al-Bashir’s government in Khartoum has refused to do. An under-funded African Union force of 7,000 currently is on duty in Darfur.

For the sake of a nation, CMC members are urged to pray that Natsios is successful in his mission to bring peace to Darfur.


Posted in Anti-discrimination, Children, Human Trafficking Discourse, Political, Recent News & Events, Religion/Politics, Slavery | Leave a Comment »