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Archive for the ‘Political’ Category

A Dubious Honor

Posted by thelamp on April 2, 2007

Usually, being the first to accomplish a task or make a mark in a particular field is worthy of accolades. Not so in the case of U.S. Rep. Pete Stark. Last week, the California Democrat became the first congressman in American history to publicly acknowledge that he is an atheist. Secular groups applauded the news, of course. The announcement even prompted the American Humanist Association to place an ad in the Washington Post recognizing Stark as the highest-ranking elected official to ever disavow the Lord.

Instead of being commended for his honest declaration, however, Stark should be the recipient of an onslaught of sympathy cards. Indeed, being the highest-ranking nonbeliever is a dubious distinction. Those who know God and have experienced His love for the world – which He created – should pray for the congressman to have an encounter with God so that he, too, can experience love and everlasting life.

Roy Speckhardt, the American Humanist Association’s executive director, had this to say, “With Stark’s courageous public announcement of his nontheism, it is our hope that he will become an inspiration for others who have hidden their conclusions for far too long.”

It’s disheartening enough that anyone would deny God, but it does not bode well for America’s future when a publicly elected official steps forward with such a revelation. Consider why Stark made his atheistic beliefs known. An association of eight humanist and atheist groups known as the Secular Coalition for America offered $1,000 to the person who could name the “highest-level atheist, agnostic, humanist or any other kind of nontheist currently holding elected public office in the United States.”

An adage has it that there is security in numbers. One has stood to be counted. Know this, others will follow, and collectively they will intensify the assault on the nation’s biblically based policies. Stark, who is chairman of the health subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, said as much. “I look forward to working with the Secular Coalition to stop the promotion of narrow religious beliefs in science, marriage contracts, the military and the provision of social services,” Stark said last week in a prepared statement.

Stark has served in Congress since 1973.


Posted in Anti-Christian attitudes, atheist, california, Center for Moral Clarity, CMC, congress, Political, Recent News & Events, Religion, Religion/Politics, Republicans and Democrats, Rod Parsley | Leave a Comment »

Different Bill, Same Concerns

Posted by thelamp on March 17, 2007

During February, the Center for Moral Clarity raised awareness among values voters regarding the David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act, H.R. 254 the “hate-crimes bill” and the potential persecution of Christians posed by its provisions. It must be true that misery loves company, because this objectionable legislation may soon have a companion: the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (LLEHCPA).

First Amendment advocates with Capitol Hill connections believe that between the two, the LLEHCPA proposal may come to a vote first. Although it has yet to be introduced in the 110th Congress, the LLEHCPA has been approved separately in the House and the Senate on a number of occasions since 2000. Thankfully, until now final passage has been blocked by the House Republican leadership.

Considering the new composition of the House, people who oppose living by biblical standards are optimistic that some type of hate-crimes legislation will clear the legislature this session. The local law enforcement measure is a hate-crimes bill on steroids. If passed, it would do more harm than good.

Click here to send an e-mail to members of the House of Representatives, urging them not to vote for the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Click here to see all of the current legislative issues important to Bible-believing values voters.

Like David’s Law, LLEHCPA would broaden federal hate-crimes laws to condone and promote homosexuality by establishing sexual orientation as an eligible category for protecting “victims.” One of the most basic precepts of American democracy is equality. There’s certainly no reason to abandon that objective now and extend special treatment to homosexuals.

The legislation would also make grants available to state and local communities to combat violent crimes committed by juveniles, train law enforcement officers, or to assist in state and local investigations and prosecutions of crimes motivated by bias. The thought police don’t need any more resources.

If Christians are bone weary of tip-toeing around socially accepted lifestyles that contradict Scripture, imagine the restrictions that will follow enactment of expanded hate-crime laws. We might as well kiss the Bill of Rights good-bye right now.


Posted in Anti-Christian attitudes, Center for Moral Clarity, Christianity, CMC, Democrats, Democrats & The Left, moral, moral values, Political, Recent News & Events, Religion, Religion/Politics, Republicans and Democrats, Rod Parsley, Separation of Church and State, Separation of Church and State--the First Amendment | Leave a Comment »

America Must Have Faith

Posted by thelamp on February 16, 2007

Once again, Christianity is on trial in America. On Feb. 28, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Hein v. Freedom From Religion, a case that will determine the future of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives.

In this case, atheists affiliated with the lawsuit-loving advocacy group Freedom From Religion are complaining about the use of money appropriated by Congress under Article I, section 8, to fund conferences that various executive-branch agencies hold to promote President Bush’s faith-based agenda. This is a program he created through a series of executive orders.

One order established an Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in the
White House. Other executive orders established centers for such projects in the various federal departments. In an effort to increase awareness of opportunities for collaborating with the government, the White House hosted conferences. The goal of these gatherings was to promote community organizations – whether secular or religious.

The conferences provided participants with information about the federal funding process, available funding opportunities and the requirements that come with the receipt of federal financial support. The meetings also created a forum to inform state and local officials about equal treatment regulations and other central elements of the Faith-Based and Community Initiative.

Religious and community groups have been assisting people in need for decades. The government has much to learn about providing social services from the men and women who lead and staff these noble organizations. Unfortunately, the federal government often has not been a willing partner to these groups.

Christians across the nation are grateful to President Bush for working to change this. Since he took office, thousands of grassroots organizations have received training in the federal grants process, and for the first time, hundreds of these groups have successfully competed for federal funds.

Rather than commending people of faith for their demonstrated contributions to America’s social fabric, members of Freedom From Religion are seeking to end those contributions. Their argument before the Supreme Court is based on a belief that the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution forbids the government from working in tandem with religious groups. This interpretation, however, misconstrues the Founding Fathers’ intent.

“The establishment clause requires the government to remain neutral where religion is concerned, not to treat religious entities punitively or in a discriminatory fashion,” said Pastor Rod Parsley. “Denying faith-based organizations the same opportunity to help communities and the people who populate them is clearly unequal treatment that turns the Founding Fathers’ intent on its ear.”

Federal courts have previously held that it is not a violation of the establishment clause for the government to redress discrimination against religious providers of social services.

It’s interesting that the case at hand focuses not on the grants awarded to faith-based groups, but rather on the conferences held to promote the availability of those grants. Since the president, not Congress, created the faith-based initiatives office, no legislation was passed authorizing money to host the conferences. Instead, White House officials used money from discretionary funds handed to them by Congress.

The Supreme Court’s ruling will determine whether individual citizens should be permitted to challenge such presidential actions because they disagree with them. Such a result would far exceed the intended purpose of the establishment clause, and values voters should pray that the justices don’t allow it.

It’s also worth noting that one of the defendants in this case is former Secretary of Education Rod Paige, whom the plaintiffs sued for having given a speech at one of the conferences. In that address, Paige said, “President Bush does this because he knows first-hand the power of faith to change lives – from the inside out. And the reason he knows this is because faith changed his life.”

Encouraging such lawsuits would place the judiciary in the role of managing and overseeing the executive branch, but such oversight undoubtedly is a function of Congress. Congress has not tried to curtail the faith-based initiatives program. It’s disturbing that Christianity’s detractors would disrupt the longstanding separation of powers balancing the respective branches of government. God willing, the Supreme Court will put an end to this nonsense.


Posted in Anti-Christian attitudes, Anti-discrimination, Center for Moral Clarity, Christianity, CMC, Equal Rights, Freedom of Religion, Political, Recent News & Events, Religion, Religion/Politics, Rod Parsley, Separation of Church and State, Separation of Church and State--the First Amendment, Spiritual, The Church | Leave a Comment »

Reward Marriage by Eliminating Tax Permanently

Posted by thelamp on February 16, 2007

On Feb. 6, U.S. Rep. Jerry Weller, R-Ill., introduced a bill that would completely eliminate the federal tax penalty for being married. Weller’s proposal is one of five similar bills pending in Congress. Without such legislation, recent changes to the IRS tax code – permitting couples to be taxed at the same rate as individuals – face expiration Jan 1, 2011.

While the relief remains in effect, working couples save an average of $1,700 on their taxes. Without a doubt, making the policy permanent is one step the government can take to support the institution of marriage.

From 1913 to 1969, married couples enjoyed an advantage when it came to paying income taxes. In 1969, that policy was perceived as being unfair to singles, so it was changed.

When Congress devised the standard deduction, the amounts were based on the assumption that married couples generally share expenses; therefore they live less expensively than two single individuals. Consequently, the way tax brackets were set up for single people and married couples resulted in a larger tax bill for many working couples after they got married. In many instances, a couple who married lost earned income tax credits they once had received as singles. Whether Congress intended to do so or not, the change essentially penalized couples for marrying.

Considering the positive impact that marriage has on American culture, it’s not only ludicrous, but also counterproductive to penalize people for making a spiritual and legal commitment. Yet, the penalty of the marriage tax established a financial incentive for couples not to wed.

The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 reduced the impact of the marriage penalty. However, if Congress doesn’t act, the penalty will be reinstated.

Of course, in order to balance the budget, lawmakers will have to come up with other ways of generating revenue to operate the government. As challenging as this may be, eliminating the marriage penalty is worth the effort.

The number of unmarried couples living together is steadily increasing. Although men and women should be entering holy matrimony to place God at the center of their union, the Center for Moral Clarity believes there’s nothing wrong with a financial incentive.

In fact, it would be in the government’s best interest to promote marriage. Arguably, the weakened state of marriage as an institution is the leading social problem in America. Remember that children raised in homes where there is no marriage are significantly more likely to use drugs, drop out of school, suffer from depression, endure abuse, become sexually active and commit suicide than kids with married parents.

Marriage not only has numerous societal benefits, but also is good for the economy. A study of census data reveals that married couples earn more, save more and build more wealth than singles living together. Simply stated, marriage matters, which makes it a valuable institution in which the government ought to invest – permanently.


Posted in Center for Moral Clarity, CMC, Equal Rights, Family Matters, Marriage, moral values, Political, Recent News & Events, Religion, Religion/Politics, Rod Parsley | Leave a Comment »

A Tale of Two Speeches

Posted by thelamp on February 1, 2007

On Jan. 20, 2001, George W. Bush stood before the nation as the newly elected president and delivered the inaugural address that initiated transfer of authority from the morally challenged Clinton administration. President Bush spoke of affirming old traditions and grand ideals, such as “hope and order in our souls,” private character, civic duty and family bonds.

“I will bring the values of our history to the care of our times,” the president said in his first inaugural speech, which also acknowledged that “some needs and hurts are so deep they will only respond to a mentor’s touch or a pastor’s prayer. Church and charity, synagogue and mosque lend our communities their humanity, and they will have an honored place in our plans and in our laws.”

Click here to send President Bush an e-mail asking him not to give up on restoring traditional ideals and values.

The sad reality is, that was then and this is now.

“Notably absent from the State of the Union Address that President Bush delivered Jan. 23 was an assessment of the values and tradition he pledged to restore,” said Pastor Rod Parsley, founder and president of the Center for Moral Clarity. “After six years in office, for example, the president has tried – but failed – to lead the federal government in protecting the institution of marriage. Certainly, that’s a tradition Americans expected him to affirm, but members of Congress haven’t done their part. Despite the president’s efforts, laws that would have defended the sanctity of life, strengthened family bonds, developed private character and restored ‘hope and order in our souls’ have fallen by the wayside.”

At the start of his tenure, the president said that churches and pastors would have a place in America’s laws and plans. Christians now know that “place” is at the defendant’s table in a courtroom, fighting a lawsuit. On Jan. 23, the president urged Congress to pass his faith-based initiative in an effort to “transform America, one heart and soul at a time.” The president owed Bible-believing Christians more than this one sentence. After helping to send him to the Oval Office – twice – it seems they deserved steadfast assurance that securing the principles espoused by America’s Founding Fathers remains a national priority.

In the speech that charted the course of his legacy, President Bush bemoaned the proliferation of prisons. It would have been wonderful if President Bush could have touted the benefits of faith-based reentry programs in his State of the Union speech by noting how they are increasing the odds that those leaving incarceration will not return. However, legislation making that possible – the Second Chance Act – has not successfully cleared Congress.

Simply put, the state of the union can be assessed by comparing the president’s first and most recent speeches to America. Toward the end of this year’s State of the Union address, President Bush said, “Adversity has revealed the character of our country, to the world and to ourselves.” Whether Bible-believing Christians are content with the revelation of that character will determine the course of action for the remainder of the Bush administration.

Click here to send President Bush an e-mail asking him not to give up on restoring traditional ideals and values.

Posted in Center for Moral Clarity, CMC, moral, moral values, Political, Recent News & Events, Religion, Religion/Politics, Rod Parsley | Leave a Comment »