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Political Devotions - Conservative Alerts, News and Commentary
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
More on H.R. 235
Topic: Legislation
[Important Notice: The Political Devotions Weblog has moved to]

(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

A new alert from Concerned Women for America:
Protect America's Churches!

Can you imagine sitting in church and your pastor preaches on the sanctity of life and the importance of maintaining marriage as one woman and one man and the following week your church is contacted by the IRS and told that it will lose its tax-exempt status and has to close its doors? Unfortunately, this is a possibility and without your help could become a reality for America's churches.

H.R. 235 is legislation sponsored by Representative Walter Jones (R-North Carolina) to end this assault on religious freedom and free speech. His bill would restore free speech to America's churches by clarifying an area of tax law that is currently used to bully churches into silence on political issues. Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code states that churches can not participate in political speech or else their tax-exempt status may be revoked. This law violates our Constitutional right to freedom of speech and freedom of worship. This law gives the IRS an easy lever with which to bully churches that try to put their faith into practice.
The alert includes links and sample messages for the relevant elected officials, plus a link to a sample letter pastors can send to their Representatives.

Posted by Tim at 9:43 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
The Next FMA Battleground
Topic: Legislation
[Important Notice: The site has been redesigned and moved to The Political Devotions weblog will still be updated and archived, but for the most up-to-date version of site, please visit and bookmark]

(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

An alert from Focus on The Family's CitizenLink:
Ask House Members to Support the FMA

Round 2 in the battle to preserve traditional marriage is set for next month.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote soon -- possibly during the week of Sept. 20 -- on the Federal Marriage Amendment. The bill, H.J. Res. 56, is nearly identical to the legislation that was voted down in the Senate earlier this summer.

Success in the House is more likely, but still will require the efforts of family advocates like you. That's why we've identified some representatives whose votes would help the bill pass; we urge you to contact them, if you live in their state, and ask them to support the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Each week for the next several weeks, we will publish a new list of 25 names from different states. If no one from your state is listed today, we encourage you to check back.
The alert includes this week's list of 25, complete with easy-to-use e-mail forms for contacting each Rep.

Posted by Tim at 2:24 PM EDT
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Protect Religious Freedom of Speech With H.R. 235
Topic: Legislation

[Important Notice: The site has been redesigned and moved to The Political Devotions weblog will still be updated and archived, but for the most up-to-date version of site, please visit and bookmark]

(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

With the advent of leftist spies in our church pews, and with so few legislative days left for the 108th Congress, the time to pass HR 235, The Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act, is at hand. Here is the Family Research Council's analysis of the bill:
Policy Goal:

To provide the full range of protection intended by the First Amendment to houses of worship by eliminating government entanglement in micromanaging the political speech of houses of worship.


The Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act, introduced in the House of Representatives, would permit houses of worship to engage in the full range of political speech to the same extent that is currently permitted them for issue advocacy and lobbying without compromising the organization's tax exempt status.


The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

When Congress was debating the Revenue Act of 1954, then-Senator Lyndon Johnson sponsored a floor amendment that banned Section 501(c)(3) organizations from engaging in political activities. This became law and is the reason 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely banned from engaging in political campaigning or endorsing candidates, including speaking out on the moral qualifications of a particular candidate for office.

Johnson apparently proposed this amendment to counteract a nonprofit organization that opposed his candidacy for senator. The law swept up houses of worship with other nonprofits. Neither Johnson, the IRS, nor the Supreme Court has ever asserted that the prohibition is required by the Establishment Clause, nor is there any legal precedent that does so. It is FRC's position that this law is in direct violation of the First Amendment.

The Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act would remove government entanglement in reviewing churches' political speech and reduce the burden on the free exercise and free speech rights of houses of worship. It will give back to churches what was unjustly taken from them 50 years ago: the freedom to speak however they feel led to speak, whether the issue is construed as political or not.

Today, religious leaders do not have the freedom to educate their congregations on the issues, and empower them to make a informed decisions. If The Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act is passed, religious leaders' First Amendment rights would be restored.
They would then be able to engage in lobbying, including issue advocacy, influence legislation, speak out on moral and political issues, take part in political campaigns and endorse candidates, so long as these activities do not constitute a "substantial part" of the organization's activities.
You can read Paul M. Weyrich's informative op-ed on this bill here.

Use the Ten Minute Lobbyist's Basic Contact Links to ask your congressional Representative to co-sponsor and fight for passage of this important legislation.

Posted by Tim at 3:00 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, August 10, 2004 3:05 PM EDT
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Protect the DOMA From Judicial Tyranny With H.R. 3313
Topic: Legislation
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

Family News in Focus reports on the House effort to defend against a federal judicial redefinition of marriage in defiance of the will of the people:
The Marriage Protection Act, HR 3313 -- authored by Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., -- would stop federal courts from striking down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Robert Knight, director of the Culture and Family Institute at Concerned Women for America, said Hostettler's legislation is the right medicine at the right moment.

"The Marriage Protection Act is a modest, straightforward way to keep federal judges from trashing marriage laws," Knight explained. "It's not the whole answer, and we still need a federal constitutional amendment to keep judges at the state and federal level from destroying marriage."

Sonja Swiatkiewicz, state issues analyst at Focus on the Family, agreed that the proposed legislation, if passed, would not be as effective as a federal constitutional amendment.
"While this bill would protect the federal DOMA from being struck down, it does not address the state DOMA statutes and constitutional amendments," she explained. "They would most certainly remain in danger of being voided by judicial fiat."

Charlie Jarvis of the United Seniors Association said our Founding Fathers would find today's judicial tyranny an outrageous offense to the Constitution and their original intentions because they never intended the courts to be de facto policy-makers unaccountable to other branches of government.

Lori Waters, executive director of the Eagle Forum, said Congress has the jurisdiction to limit the powers of the courts, which have wreaked havoc on our culture through decisions like Massachusetts' legalization of homosexual marriage.

"It's about re-establishing the balance of powers between the judiciary, the legislative and the executive branch," Waters said. "While Congress will probably continue to debate a constitutional amendment into future sessions, they can take action immediately by a simple majority to protect the federal Defense of Marriage Act and send a very strong message to the judges . . . that they will not redefine marriage."

Waters further explained that marriage belongs to the people and no one else.
The article includes a link to the CitizenLink Action Center, for help in contacting your representative. A floor vote has been scheduled for Thursday, July 22nd.

Posted by Tim at 4:04 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 20, 2004 12:10 PM EDT
Friday, July 16, 2004
Child Custody Protection Act Scheduled for House Hearing
Topic: Legislation
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

The Susan B. Anthony List reports:

Child Custody Protection Act Finally Gets A Hearing in the House

On Tuesday, July 20th, for the first time since Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen introduced it in 2003, there will be a hearing on the Child Custody Protection Act (CCPA) before the House Subcommittee on the Constitution. The bill would make it a crime to circumvent a state's laws governing parental involvement in minors abortion by taking a pregnant minor across state lines.

"The Child Custody Protection Act [H.R.1755] will not only uphold the laws of our country, but it will give back to parents the right to parent, it will strengthen family bonds and most importantly, it will ensure that America's youth have a safer, healthier, and brighter future," said Rep. Ros-Lehtinen.

Under current law, if a state has laws governing parental notification or consent those laws may be bypassed by taking a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion. As a consequence, parents may never know if their daughter has had an abortion.

The law would make exceptions, however, for cases in which the abortion was necessary to save the life of the mother.
The alert includes a CapWiz-type form and sample letter you can transmit to your Representative and Senator.

Posted by Tim at 4:08 AM EDT
Thursday, July 15, 2004
Senate Says, "Let the black-robed tyrants decide"
Topic: Legislation
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

Family Research Council's Washington Update reports:
50 Senators Invite Unelected Judges to Redefine Marriage

With 48 Senators in favor and 50 Senators against, the procedural vote was 12 votes short of the 60 needed to get the amendment to the Senate floor for an up or down vote. This was round one in the debate over marriage and now that it is over, we begin training for round two. I believe the pro-family forces have benefited from the debate over the past few days in two ways: One, every time this issue is forced into the public square, the opposition to same-sex "marriage" among the American public grows. Second, we now know which Senators are for traditional marriage and which ones want to allow unelected judges to usher same-sex marriage down the isle, and by November, so will voters in every state. Would we have preferred a knockout in the first round? Of course. But we've known from the beginning that this was going to be a long fight. What we didn't know was just how little regard Senators on the left would have for the hundreds of thousands of calls and letters that American's sent expressing the "will of the people" on this issue.

Comments made by Sen Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) were quite telling when, after admitting she had received over 50,000 pieces of mail on the subject, she said, "People do not understand that the Constitution relegates family law to the States...". Of course, it is Sen. Feinstein who doesn't seem to understand that state laws can be overturned with the stroke of a judicial pen and that the only way to protect states' rights on this issue is to pass a constitutional amendment.

And then there is Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) who said in response to the argument that the Supreme Court might rule in favor of homosexual "marriage" under the full faith and credit clause and thereby force such marriages on all states, "That is not the way I read the case law." Perhaps Sen. Clinton should read the Supreme Court's 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas for an understanding of the Court's current view on matters. The comments by Sens. Feinstein and Clinton add up to nothing but hypocritical humbug. The will of the people is clear and so is the way in which we should protect marriage in this country. This fight has just begun.
The FRC has created a nifty page where you can quickly learn how your senators voted on the motion to invoke cloture. It links to a CapWiz page, complete with a sample message you can customize and, with a single click, send to both your senators.

Posted by Tim at 1:22 PM EDT
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
More on Thought Crime in Britain and the US
Topic: Legislation
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

A superb piece from Mark Steyn answers questions I posed in my July 9 post "More Thought Crime in Britian":
A couple of years back, I mentioned the fatwa against Salman Rushdie and received a flurry of lively e-mails. It was Valentine's Day 1989, you'll recall, when the Ayatollah Khomeini issued his extraterritorial summary judgment on a British subject, and shortly thereafter large numbers of British Muslims were marching through English cities openly calling for Rushdie to be killed.

A reader in Bradford recalled asking a West Yorkshire officer on the street that day why the various "Muslim community leaders" weren't being arrested for incitement to murder. The officer said they'd been told to "play it cool". The calls for blood got more raucous. My correspondent asked his question again. The policeman told him to "F--- off, or I'll arrest you."

Isn't that pretty much how it's likely to go once David Blunkett's new protection for Islam is in place?. . . .

Meanwhile, Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the Western world, but Blunkett wants us to pretend that it's a wee delicate bloom which has to be sheltered from anything unpleasant. The other week, the governor of one of those Nigerian states that now lives under sharia called for the burning of all Christian churches within his jurisdiction. Every Friday, on state TV and radio throughout the Arab world and in mosques somewhat closer to home, the A-list imams call for the killing of Jews and infidels. Well, good luck to them. But, if they can dish it out so enthusiastically, couldn't they learn to take it just an eensy-teensy-weensy bit?
Steyn includes a prescient quote from Winston Churchill's The River War. Read it and pass it on, while its still legal to do so:
How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property - either as a child, a wife, or a concubine - must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die. But the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytising faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science - the science against which it had vainly struggled - the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.
And for further reading. . .

While I don't agree with all of the Traditional Values Coalition's positions and rhetoric, they do offer a hate crimes legislation report which is well worth reading. You can download it in PDF here.

For more on pending thought crimes legislation, click "Legislation" under "Entries by Topic" at the top left of this page.

Posted by Tim at 5:10 PM EDT
Monday, July 12, 2004
Call Your Senators, and Ahhhnold
Topic: Legislation
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

Here's two important alerts for Marriage Protection Monday:

From the Family Research Council:
Call Your Senators - Ask Them to Protect Marriage!

As the Senate prepares to vote on an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to protect marriage, it is vital that all pro-family Americans contact their Senators in support of this necessary amendment.

Click on this link for a list of Senators that Family Research Council has deemed to be the highest priority. If your Senator is listed, please contact him or her immediately and tell them to cast a vote in support of traditional marriage during the week of July 12th.
And from the Campaign for California Families:

California's governor is wetting his finger and holding it up in the air. The governor who would not take a position on AB 1967, the homosexual "marriage" bill defeated earlier this year, has now set up a poll to ask "if you support same-sex marriage, press one," and "if you oppose, press two." Please take action and call the 24/7 recording to help Governor Schwarzenegger care more - much more - about God's sacred institution of marriage. Homosexual activists are calling right now and pushing the "support" button. You and your friends should do the opposite - call and press the "oppose" button! Hopefully Arnold will receive so many calls, he'll take his finger out of the air, and instead, raise his hand and solemnly pledge to veto homosexual "marriage" should it ever land on his desk.

Act Now: To register your opposition to "same-sex marriage," call (916) 445-2841, press 5, then 1, then 2.

Posted by Tim at 12:47 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 12, 2004 12:49 PM EDT
Friday, July 9, 2004
UNFPA Funding Vote Today
Topic: Legislation
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

I could not get any info on whether the vote referenced in this alert has occured. Just in case it has not, here's the alert, from the Family Research Council's Washington Update:
Key Vote on Abortion in House - Your Call Can Decide the Outcome

[Today], the powerful House Appropriations Committee will consider a spending bill for foreign aid that will include a debate over abortion. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) will introduce an amendment that would give federal money to the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), an organization that supports China's one-child policy and indirectly funds coerced abortions. President Bush has firmly opposed any support for UNFPA but the House Appropriations Committee is evenly split between pro-life and pro-abortion Members so the fight over this amendment will be decided by one or two votes either way.

FRC has identified eight key votes on this committee. If you are from one of these states call the Capitol switchboard, 202-224-3121, and ask them for the Member's office and express your opposition to the Lowey amendment to fund UNFPA. The U.S government should not be in the business of funding any abortions, much less forced abortions. Key votes: Ralph Regula (R-OH), Jerry Lewis (R-CA), David Hobson (R-OH), George Nethercutt (R-WA), Duke Cunningham (R-CA), Kay Granger (R-TX), John Sweeney (R-NY), Bud Cramer (D-AL).

Additional Resources Congressional Directory
Update: Good news. The amendment was defeated.

Posted by Tim at 5:22 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, July 10, 2004 3:31 PM EDT
FMA Vote Next Week
Topic: Legislation
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

An alert from Focus on the Family's CitizenLink Daily Update:
**Contact Your Senators Now!**

The Senate will take up the Federal Marriage Amendment
(FMA) next week and your help is needed. There are still
senators who have either not committed themselves, or who
have indicated they will oppose this highly important
legislation. The FMA is a proposed amendment to the U.S.
Constitution which will help to protect marriage by
defining it as between one man and one woman.

For information on the Federal Marriage Amendment, and how
to contact your senators, please see the "Federal Marriage
Amendment Action Center."
For information on special events scheduled for this Sunday, visit the Protect Marriage Sunday and We Vote Values websites.

Posted by Tim at 2:43 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 9, 2004 3:36 PM EDT
Monday, July 5, 2004
Criminalizing Thought
Topic: Legislation
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

CitizenLink Daily Update reports:
Swedish Pastor Jailed For Preaching Against Homosexuality

It has happened -- a pastor in Sweden, speaking from the
pulpit the truth about homosexuality, is going to jail,
Ecumenical News International reported.

Under a law against incitement, Pastor Ake Green, a member
of the Pentecostal movement, was sentenced to a month in
prison for describing homosexuality as "abnormal -- a
horrible cancerous tumor in the body of society" in a
sermon. His words offended some homosexuals.

Soren Andersson, the president of the Swedish federation
for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights believes
that religious freedom should not be used "as a reason to
offend people" and agrees with the sentence.

As one who heard the reports said, "I guess that shows the
true face of gay tolerance -- (which is) intolerance."
Let's, for the sake of argument, say that this pastor's beliefs about homosexuality are morally wrong. The fact remains that he was jailed not for committing any crime against homosexuals but simply for having and expressing these ideas. Europe is full of university professors who view the traditional nuclear family as an evil, oppressive institution. Will any of them be prosecuted for their hateful ideas? London is home to a nest of vipers who venerate Osama bin Laden and display posters celebrating the 9-11 murder-suicide-hijackers. Will this group be prosecuted for its active incitement to violence? The answer in both cases is: Not bloody likely.

It is clear that soon, throughout Europe, it will be a crime to criticize homosexual practice. The same can happen in the US, and the recent Ted Kennedy-sponsored hate crimes amendment to the defense authorization bill, now headed for a House/Senate conference committee hearing, represents a major step in this process of codifying the concept of thought crime in American law.

If homosexual activists refrain from harming others, they are entitled to our tolerance. But they are not entitled to control of our thoughts. Use our Take Action page to ask your Senators and Representative to support removal of the Kennedy/Smith hate crimes legislation from the defense authorization bill.

Posted by Tim at 2:54 PM EDT
Thursday, July 1, 2004
Final Push Before FMA Vote
Topic: Legislation
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

An alert from the Family Research Council:
For the past several months we've repeatedly asked you to contact your Senators. The reason is not only because we know that being inundated with constituent calls and emails is effective in changing the way an elected official votes, but also because in almost every meeting we have on Capitol Hill we're told that Senators are not hearing from "the people." As you know, the Senate will hold a vote on an amendment to the U.S. Constitution protecting marriage during the week of July 12th, and it is vital that all of us do all that we can in advance of that pivotal test for the amendment.

On our website, we've listed the names of the Senators we consider to be "high priority," meaning we think your pressure can make a difference in the way these Senators vote. Please look over the list to see if your Senator is on it. If so, with just one click you'll see all their contact information, including phone numbers for their district offices which are particularly useful now that Senators are home for the July 4th holiday. Please - go to the link below and do your part today.

Senators on the "High Priority" Contact List (Re-election Information Included)

Posted by Tim at 2:58 PM EDT
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Your Tax Dollars at Work: Killing Chinese Fetuses
Topic: Legislation
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

An alert from Focus on the Family's CitizenLink:
New Effort to Fund UNFPA in Offing

Liberal lawmakers are once again trying to funnel your tax dollars to an organization some say finances forced abortions in China.

The House International Relations Committee will attempt next week to restore funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a group that has been charged with using your tax dollars to promote forced abortion in China.

Sarah Craven, a spokeswoman for the UNFPA, said she is hopeful the United States will restore the funding.

"The U.S. is a leader in population and family planning and . . . is the largest bilateral provider of family planning assistance throughout the world," Craven said. "So we see the U.S. as a leader in this area and we would hope to once again receive their funding and their support."

But Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute said funding UNFPA is a bad idea.

"They've been involved in China's 'one child' policy from the beginning," Mosher said. "This is a policy that involves forced abortion, forced sterilization and forced contraception. It's one that the American people would not want us to be funding and that the Bush administration has made a very wise decision not to fund."
A 2002 letter from Secretary of State Colin Powell to Congress, in fact, said the UNFPA had provided computers and vehicles to the Chinese government to enforce China's family-planning policy. He also said that UNPFA violated a 1985 law banning the United States from giving money to agencies involved in forced abortion or sterilization.

Michael Schwartz, vice president of governmental relations at Concerned Women for America, said the committee vote to restore funding via amendment sponsored by Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., will be extremely close.

"If Lowey has her way, we'll be faced with another crisis," Schwartz said, "a showdown between Congress and the president on whether the United States should begin to export abortion. We've never done that."

Schwartz said people need to get in touch with their representatives in Congress to let them know they support the Bush administration policy of refusing to fund any organization involved in coerced abortion or sterilization.
You would think that even the most strident pro-choicers would be against abortion by force, but for some there is just no such thing as a bad abortion. Population control may, in certain nations, and by legitimate contraceptive methods, be a noble pursuit, but all civilized people ought to agree it should not be achieved by this kind of coercion.

The alert includes a link to the CitizenLink Action Center, for assistance in asking your Representative to oppose any action to restore U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund.

Posted by Tim at 1:48 PM EDT
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
More Thought Crimes Legislation
Topic: Legislation
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

Family News in Focus reports on new efforts to criminalize beliefs:
Hate- Speech Law Could Limit Churches

A law in Pennsylvania may be used to silence pastors in the pulpit, but Christians have vowed to fight for the right to speak to the truth.

We've heard of laws in the Netherlands and Canada that penalize preachers for using the Bible to condemn homosexuality. Now it's happening in America.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has added an amendment to its hate-crimes law that covers something called "harassment by communication."

Michael Geer, president of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, said the new provisions could open clergy to the possibility of prosecution for preaching on God's views of homosexuality.

"The threat is very real and something that needs to be addressed," Geer said. "The pulpit should be definitely a free-speech zone in the United States of America and in Pennsylvania."

Anthony Picarello, chief counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, agreed that the law may be tailored to intimidate pastors, priests and rabbis, but he said his group is ready to defend any pastor who might be charged for speaking out.

"The wording is broad enough that it could be applied (to religious speakers)," Picarello said, "and that's something . . . that the people who crafted the language had in mind."
The story includes a link to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty website, for more infomration on this new law and its implications.

Posted by Tim at 3:51 PM EDT
Monday, June 28, 2004
Free Speech for Churches
Topic: Legislation
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

An alert from the Family Research Council:
Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA), Chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives, has single- handedly obstructed legislation that would protect the free speech rights of churches and pastors. Under current IRS law, houses of worship are strictly limited in their ability to speak to the moral issues of the day since the issues can be seen as political. Consequently, many pastors are fearful to speak on many cultural issues.

The legislation in question, originally introduced as H.R. 235, would simply allow religious leaders to educate their flock on the moral issues of the day, whether considered political or not without the threat of action from the IRS. The bill, now in the form of an amendment, is a total of 28 words, and is supported by House Leadership and over 165 House Members. Yet, even with this overwhelming support, Mr. Thomas has made it his personal mission to keep the provision out of any bill that moves through his committee, which practically kills its chances of passing this year.

The chief sponsor of the amendment, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), has worked tirelessly on this effort for years and is now being frustrated by one man in his own political party. It is time for House Leadership to exercise its own authority and demand that Mr. Thomas get out of the way of the amendment.

The future of our culture will largely be determined by whether or not our church leaders speak up in defense of the family and the dignity of life, and we need to defend their right to speak and we need to do it now. To contact your representatives, click [here].

Posted by Tim at 1:32 PM EDT
Friday, June 25, 2004
Fight Unlimited Tolls
Topic: Legislation
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

Think driving is not expensive enough? Then don't respond to this National Taxpayer's Union alert:
Language now contained in the Senate version of the highway bill concerning tolling would allow a new hidden tax on motorists and truckers, by forcing Americans who pay taxes every time they fill up the tank to pay once again for tolls. Specifically, the tolling language would make it more expensive to use existing roads at peak "rush hour" times (High Occupancy Tolling), would allow states to convert existing Interstates built and maintained with gas taxes into toll roads, and would allow tolling to continue indefinitely with no guarantees that revenues are used for needed roads. Although the original House bill contained similar language, an amendment offered by Rep. Mark Kennedy (R-MN) and included in the final House bill, allows tolling only for the construction of new road capacity with those tolls to be removed once construction and maintenance costs are paid for (this is known as the Freeing Alternatives for Speedy Transportation or FAST concept).

Tolling does indeed have great promise as a tool for effectively managing traffic flow and building new road capacity, but it must be applied in ways that create net benefits for motorists and taxpayers. Tolling should not be used simply to enhance government revenue by forcing motorists to pay twice for existing road capacity. Since studies have shown that each year about 35 percent of federal fuel taxes are siphoned off to purposes that do not benefit the average motorist or trucker, evidence indicates that sending more money to Washington won't solve our nation's transportation crisis.
The alert includes a CapWiz-like form and a sample message for transmission to House and Senate transportation conferees.

Posted by Tim at 3:24 PM EDT
Thursday, June 24, 2004
Fast Action Needed on Budget Protection (H.R. 3800 and H.R. 3973)
Topic: Legislation
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

An alert from Citizens Against Government Waste:
While H.R. 3973 is a good first step toward forcing our elected representatives to spend within budget guidelines, there is a better bill that will put some real teeth into budget enforcement and help cap the growth of congressional spending.

H.R. 3800 --The Family Budget Protection Act of 2004-- embodies the ideal in budget enforcement reform. We are supporting efforts to substitute this bill for H.R. 3973. Truth be told however, getting the votes needed to substitute the Family Budget Protection Act for the less effective H.R. 3973 will be difficult.

As a backup, some House members will offer parts of the Family Budget Protection Act as amendments to H.R. 3973. Getting these amendments added to H.R. 3973 will create a much stronger budget enforcement bill.

The most important elements of the Family Budget Protection Act include a joint budget resolution, which would convert the current parallel budget resolutions in Congress into a joint House/Senate resolution that is signed into law by the President, forcing the entire Congress to stay within its spending guidelines. The Act also includes an entitlement cap, which would limit the growth of entitlement spending, and an enhanced rescission process, which would provide the President an opportunity to eliminate wasteful spending in appropriations bills, similar to a line- item veto.

Real budget enforcement legislation will protect the family budget from the federal budget. Congress must put taxpayers' interests first and get serious about reducing spending, the deficit, and the growth of government!

Please click here to tell your Representative to support budget enforcement legislation. It's urgent that you act today. A House vote may come as early as tomorrow.

Posted by Tim at 4:13 PM EDT
Monday, June 21, 2004
California Minimum Wage Hike
Topic: Legislation
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

Here's an important alert for Californians from the National Taxpayers Union:
Abundant economic research has shown that minimum wages - and by extension, any increase in them - do more harm than good, particularly to the very workers they aim to protect. Not only do higher minimum wages fail to raise overall wage levels, they actually reduce overall employment by making unskilled and teenage workers more expensive to hire. Worse, by raising the cost of labor to businesses, the starting wage laws raise inflation, thus sticking all consumers with an unnecessary and economically unhealthy "tax hike."

California's position is more tenuous than those of most other states. Businesses there already face high taxes and a poor business climate. Yet another hike in the cost of doing business could spur an exodus to Nevada, Arizona, and other states where such costs are far lower.
It includes a CapWiz-type e-mail form and sample message.

Posted by Tim at 1:43 PM EDT
Thursday, June 17, 2004
Last Chance for the Broadcast Decency Act
Topic: Legislation
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

The Family Research Council reports:
The Broadcast Decency Act, which would increase tenfold the fines that the FCC can levy, was passed overwhelmingly in the House, and now has its last chance in the Senate.

The bill's author, Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), has said he will introduce a clean version of his legislation as part of the Department of Defense Authorization. The American public, President Bush, the FCC and the U.S. House of Representatives realize that only by greatly increasing FCC fines will these multi-billion companies get the message, why can't the U.S. Senate get the same message?

If this attempt fails we will not get another chance this year! Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner's office needs to be contacted immediately (202/224-2023) and be shown your strong support for Senator Brownback's broadcast decency amendment (S.Amdt.3235 to S.2400).
Click here for an e-mail form and sample message, addressed to the Armed Services Committee Chairman.

Posted by Tim at 3:20 PM EDT
Protect the Pledge With H.R. 2028
Topic: Legislation
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

An alert from the Family Research Council on one of the pending pieces of legislation which would remove jurisdiction from our tyrannical courts:
Legislation to Protect the Pledge from Courts

In response to the decision by the Supreme Court to throw
out a challenge to the reference 'under God' in the Pledge of
Allegiance Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) is pushing for
consideration of his bill, the Pledge of Allegiance Protection
Act, H.R. 2028. The legislation would use Article III of the
Constitution to remove the jurisdiction of lower federal
courts to rule on the Pledge. This is a simple way for
Congress to assert its legislative authority over the courts and
protect the rule of law.

For too long the courts have been undermining the
foundations of our country with decisions that fly in the face
of democratically enacted legislation, not to mention the
intention of the Founding Fathers. This bill would be the first
and important step in pushing back against irresponsible
judges and court decisions.

By passing the Pledge Protection Act Congress would be
reaffirming the rightful use of the phrase 'under God' as an
important part of America's culture and history while
preserving the Pledge from future litigation.

Contact your Representative in support of H.R. 2028!
The alert includes an easy-to-use e-mail form, complete with a sample message you can customize. (Be sure to check the "remember me" box. This will set a cookie file on your computer, so that whenever you return to the FRC alerts section, your name and address will be automatically filled in on the form.)

Posted by Tim at 3:06 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 17, 2004 3:22 PM EDT

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