The Lamp

Where truth can be shared.

Will the Justices Defend Free Speech?

Posted by thelamp on June 18, 2007

A decision in two historical cases, FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life and McCain v. Wisconsin Right to Life, is expected to be handed down any day as the U. S. Supreme Court approaches the end of its term, which concludes June 30. The central question in these cases – which have been consolidated for one ruling – is whether organizations like Wisconsin Right to Life can air legitimate grassroots lobbying ads during the blackout periods created by the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

In 2004, the Wisconsin Right to Life organization ran a television spot encouraging residents to prevent anticipated filibusters of President George W. Bush’s federal judicial nominees by calling Wisconsin U.S. Senators Russell Feingold and Herb Kohl, both Democrats. Timing of the political advertisements raised eyebrows at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) because Feingold was up for re-election at the time. So the FEC banned the right-to-life group’s ads in the weeks leading up to the November election.

The McCain-Feingold Act, named after the two senators who sponsored the legislation, regulates contributions to federal candidates in an effort to control the influence of special-interest groups on elections. The act is enforced by the FEC. Specifically, the law prohibits unions and corporations from using corporate money to pay for advocacy advertisements targeted at a specific candidate within the designated blackout period 30 days prior to a primary election and 60 days before a general election.

In response to the ad ban, Wisconsin Right to Life sued the FEC, arguing that the ban violated the First Amendment by regulating campaign speech. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of Wisconsin Right to Life in December 2006, stating that it is unconstitutional to prohibit the airing of such ads. The Federal Election Commission and Sen. John McCain, along with other members of Congress, appealed to the U. S. Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on the cases April 25, 2007.

Here’s an indication of how Americans feel about restrictions on their free speech: A broad coalition of groups representing a wide spectrum of political ideologies filed briefs supporting Wisconsin Right to Life.

The Center for Moral Clarity concurs that the McCain-Feingold law’s “electioneering communication” prohibition should not be applied to grassroots lobbying. Such a limitation stifles citizens’ constitutional right to petition the government. The right to communicate with elected officials should not be suspended during election season.

The nine justices on the nation’s highest court have an opportunity to uphold the First Amendment, which gives citizen organizations a right to participate in self-government by asking other citizens to petition their members of Congress regarding upcoming legislative action. Christian activists are praying that they will do so.

Source:  www.centerformoralclarity.net

Posted in Anti-Christian attitudes, Center for Moral Clarity, CMC, Equal Rights, Freedom of Religion, pro-life, Recent News & Events, right to life, Rod Parsley, supreme court | Leave a Comment »

Give Them Some Skin

Posted by thelamp on June 18, 2007

A high-five is in order for ethical scientists who continue to identify ways of advancing stem-cell research without destroying human embryos. The latest breakthrough was announced last week – ironically, on the same day that Congress voted to increase taxpayers’ funding for experiments on embryonic stem cells. Hold that thought!

There’s no reason to destroy any more human embryos in the quest to find cures that will save or improve lives. Scientists in Japan and the United States have now found a way to reprogram skin cells back to an embryonic state.

Although the experiments have involved only mice so far, this discovery could end the controversy that has caused Christians consternation over biomedical research for nearly a decade. In 1998, scientists first discovered how to generate human embryonic stem cells from embryos discarded by fertility clinics. Immediately, men and women who respect the sanctity of all human life objected to callously ending it in a laboratory petri dish.

Opposition to embryonic stem-cell research – mounted primarily by Christian activists – has served as a catalyst to the search for alternatives. If skin cells can mimic embryonic stem cells and perform the same function, there would be no need to continue down the dangerous, destructive path now tempting medical pioneers.

This development should sway people critical of President Bush’s promise to veto the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which Congress has sent to the White House for the president’s signature.

People who don’t place value on the developmental stage of life that occurs before birth have argued that protecting embryos from scientific experimentation is tantamount to denying life-saving therapy to the sick and dying. Yet, even the most passionate voices in the scientific community acknowledge that human embryonic stem-cell research is a long way from producing any practical therapies.

Source:  www.centerformoralclarity.net

Posted in Center for Moral Clarity, CMC, Embryonic Stem Cell, Food/Health Related, human embryonic, medical research, Recent News & Events, research, Rod Parsley, Science, Stem cell debate, stem-cell research | Leave a Comment »

Religious Symbols Have a Champion

Posted by thelamp on June 18, 2007

The American Legion, which has a membership of 2.7 million wartime veterans, joined forces this month with two legal groups in a campaign to defend religious symbols on veterans’ memorials. This is a Christian nation; and it will continue to be one unless people of faith relinquish the guarantees bestowed by the U.S. Constitution.

Click here to urge Congress to pass the Public Expression of Religion Act.

The brave men and women of the military who defend this nation deserve to have their faith in God expressed on the monuments erected in their honor. Not surprisingly, the American Civil Liberties Union and other secular organizations disagree; and they are challenging the placement of crosses at memorials in San Diego and the Mojave Desert.

If atheists use the courts to remove crosses from memorials, how long will it be before religious symbols are barred from military cemeteries? A soldier’s final reward should not be encumbered by restrictions on one of the most important freedoms that he – or she – helped to preserve.

“This nation is becoming a place where atheists and the organizations they run are prepared to challenge almost every expression of our Christian heritage,” said Pastor Rod Parsley. “These groups scan the national landscape looking for opportunities to file lawsuits in the name of ‘separation of church and state.’ The focus of these suits ranges from stopping prayers at school sporting events, to having Christian symbols removed from city seals, to keeping nativity scenes off public property at Christmas, to having “under God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance.”

The controversy involves the Mount Soledad cross in San Diego. Erected in 1954 on city property, the cross is part of a Korean War memorial. In 1989, an individual backed by the civil-liberties group sued, claiming the symbol was an unconstitutional establishment of the Christian faith. Additionally, a court challenge by the ACLU forced officials to board up a cross at a Mojave Desert war memorial erected in 1934.

Clearly, the secularization of America is well underway. Thankfully, there are patriotic groups, such as the American Legion, that understand how drastically different America would be without its religious roots. To the American Legion’s credit, the national commander says they won’t stop with crosses; the veterans also intend to defend other religious symbols placed at memorials.

The American Legion is a strong supporter of the Public Expression of Religion Act – H.R. 725, which would put an end to such frivolous lawsuits. The Center for Moral Clarity also advocates passing this legislation.

Click here to urge Congress to pass the Public Expression of Religion Act.

Click here to view other bills pending in Congress that are important to values voters.

source:  www.centerformoralclarity.net

Posted in american legion, Center for Moral Clarity, CMC, congress, constitution, freedom, Freedom of Religion, public expression of religion act, Recent News & Events, Religion/Politics, Rod Parsley, Separation of Church and State, Separation of Church and State--the First Amendment, values voters, voting rights | Leave a Comment »

Planned Parenthood an Inappropriate Field Trip

Posted by thelamp on June 18, 2007

The library. The Boys and Girls Club. Planned Parenthood. What do these three entities have in common? They all were places children in a Manchester, N.H., YMCA program for at-risk middle-school students visited last week as part of a field trip to social service agencies in the city. Visiting an abortion mill is hardly an appropriate outing for middle-school children, particularly those who probably come from a fractured home life and are more susceptible to getting pregnant before marriage.

The counselor who spoke to the students said she did not mention abortion, but she probably didn’t mention abstinence, either. Nevertheless, New Hampshire Right to Life is asking for equal face time. Advocates for life should have had the opportunity to talk to the kids, and it’s troubling that the pro-life perspective is only now being considered as an after thought.

With all of the social service organizations in Manchester, why would the school district allow the YMCA to take a group of adolescents to Planned Parenthood as a school-sanctioned activity? Understandably, the field trip has caused quite a stir in Manchester.

Early Tuesday morning, the city school board voted for an investigation into last week’s field trip. School authorities were correct to call for the probe. When the investigation is completed, steps must be taken to make sure other programs that “help” youngsters don’t repeat the YMCA’s missteps.

It’s worth noting that the trip to Planned Parenthood doesn’t seem compatible with the YMCA’s mission. Keep in mind, YMCA is an acronym for Young Men’s Christian Association; and the organization claims” to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.”

Abstinence is an important Christian principle, one that would serve at-risk youth better in the long run than an endless supply of condoms. Last year, New Hampshire was among the states where the General Assembly killed a parental notification bill. Thanks to the state legislature, parents no longer have to give permission for this kind of visit.

source:  www.centerformoralclarity.net

Posted in Abortion, abstinence, babies, Center for Moral Clarity, Children, christians, CMC, Education, Family Matters, field trip, moral values, planned parenthood, pro-life, public school, Recent News & Events, Rod Parsley, sex, ymca, Young Ladies/Teens | Leave a Comment »

Texas Protects Students From Secularists’ Harassment

Posted by thelamp on June 18, 2007

Texas students will have greater freedom to express their religious views on school campuses under the Religious Viewpoint Anti-Discrimination Act, a measure signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry on June 8.

Under the new law, religious beliefs expressed in homework, artwork and other assignments are to be judged by traditional academic standards. Students can’t be penalized or rewarded because of the religious content of their work.

Supporters say the measure is needed to protect students from censorship and school districts from lawsuits. There are plenty of cases to illustrate the degree of religious discrimination that exists in America’s public schools.

Perry earned the respect of many Christian parents in April when he acknowledged at a news conference that teens’ religious speech was quashed at public school. The governor cited examples of students being prohibited from wishing troops overseas a “Merry Christmas” or told they couldn’t distribute religious bracelets at recess.

Along with granting students freedom of religious expression, the new law also requires schools to establish a “limited public forum” at all school events in which students speak. Of course, schools will have to develop a neutral method for selecting pupils to speak at school events and graduation ceremonies, and officials must provide a written or oral disclaimer that the student’s speech was not endorsed by the school district.

It all seems like a lot of unnecessary machinations just to extend a basic right that’s already guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Still, Texas lawmakers should get a gold star for going the extra distance to make sure school is not a place where children are harassed by secularists who can’t respect Christian views.

Source:  www.centerformoralcalrity.net

Posted in Anti-Christian attitudes, Anti-discrimination, Center for Moral Clarity, christians, civil rights, CMC, Education, Equal Rights, Evangelism, freedom, Freedom of Religion, Mission / Evangelism, moral, moral values, Preaching, public school, Recent News & Events, Religion, Religion/Politics, Rod Parsley, school, texas | Leave a Comment »