Chairman’s Report for May 23rd, 2013
The National Day of Prayer
At Daybreak on the National Day of Prayer, May 2nd, 2013, I joined several Christian leaders on the steps of the Supreme Court to offer prayers for the Court and the nation. The liturgy for the morning was prepared by Rev. Rob Schenck the founder and president of Faith and Action in the Nation’s Capital. Other participants included Bishop George Gurley, Dr Manon Gurley, Pastor Dave Kistler, Betsy Kistler, Abe Silos, and Will Pryor.
Rev. Schenck, wearing the vestment in the photo at left, has for many years been bringing the Gospel to Capitol Hill and particularly to those associated with the Supreme Court. He and his brother faced jail time for protesting in front of abortion clinics, and it was a case involving him before the Supreme Court in 1995 that stopped the harassment of abortion clinic protestors nationwide.
Getting permission to pray on the steps of the Supreme Court is not in any way an easy feat. There is actually an area on the sidewalk protected by posts where people are allowed to gather, protest or pray, but no “gatherings” of any kind are allowed on the steps or actual property of the Supreme Court without written permission — which we had. The prayers we took turns reading had to be submitted in writing several days before. If more than ten people are involved it would be classified a demonstration and prohibited – YES – If a group larger than about ten try to pray, it would be a prohibited demonstration.
Although under close monitoring by the authorities, the annual assembly of Christian leaders to offer prayer for those who judge our nation is vitally important. There must always remain a remnant of the faithful to guide our nation to righteousness through prayer. It is an honor for me to participate in this event every year.
Those of us who prayed actually entered the Supreme Court at 7:30 AM after the prayers and had breakfast in the Supreme Court cafeteria before walking to the Cannon House Office Building for the actual ceremonies for the National Day of Prayer in the Caucus Room. This is the same room I mentioned in the last Chairman’s Report that I had secured for a large Christian foundation’s summer camp leadership program.
The National Day of Prayer event is organized each year by Vonette Bright, widow of Dr. Bill Bright and by Shirley Dobson, wife of Dr. James Dobson; they have co-chaired the event for twenty-two years. During the three hour service different leaders prayed for each branch of government, including the Congress, the courts, the military and the Presidency. There were numerous notable moments. A sobering time came when Rear Admiral William Lee said of sharing his faith: “The lawyers tell me that if I do that, I’m crossing the line. I’m so glad I’ve crossed that line so many times.” Lee pledged not to back down from “my right under the Constitution to tell a young man that there is hope.”
The Saudi Campaign
Religious Freedom Coalition newspaper ad ran in California: As part of our advertising campaign, a newspaper ad exposing Saudi Arabia’s brutal treatment of Ethiopian Christian guest workers ran in a weekly newspaper that covers California’s 49th congressional district which is the home of Camp Pendleton and Congressman Darrell Issa who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee which is conducting the Benghazi hearings. It is his committee that oversees the State Department.
The purpose of our Saudi ad campaign is simple – to convince congressmen that their constituents do care about the continued brutality of the Saudi Arabian government against Christians. Unless congressmen hear from their constituents, they in turn will not speak out against this evil.
This will not be a speedy campaign that raises money and does one big ad someplace for bragging rights. The purpose of the campaign is to actually change opinions and get congressmen to take some action. Than can only be done district by district. As the funds come in we will target districts of congressmen I believe we can convince to speak out about Saudi brutality toward Christians and their continued financing of radical mosques in America.
Next on our list are some of the Foreign Affairs Committee members including Chris Smith in New Jersey, Joe Wilson in South Carolina, and Mo Brooks in Alabama. We already have one member of the Foreign Affairs Committee on our side, Steve Stockman of Texas. Congressman Stockman has already sent one letter to the Saudi Ambassador on the arrests of Ethiopian Christian workers for praying in private. More at StopSaudiEvil.org
About that Saudi Ambassador: Immigration officials and police are “investigating” a report of human trafficking at a home owned by Saudi Arabia in northern Virginia. Two women were rescued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers this month. ICE spokesman Brandon Montgomery said the women, both from the Philippines, were “possible” victims of domestic servitude.
One woman tried to flee by squeezing through a gap in the front gate as it was closing. This house in McLean McLean, Virginia is near the home of the Ambassador from Morocco, a home I have visited in the past when Morocco was more “moderate” than it is today.
Neither the Saudi Ambassador or the State Department would reveal the names of the Saudi officials living in the home, however, local records indicate that the most probably resident is Saudi Embassy defense attaché Brig. Gen. Amin Muhammad Shaker, although others are linked to the property as well. Many diplomats from Islamic nations have been linked to cases of “domestic servitude” in the past in both Washington, DC and in Virginia.
Saudi domestic slave not just in Virginia: The UNHCR report for 2012 states: “Saudi Arabia is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and to a lesser extent, forced prostitution. Men and women from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, and many other countries voluntarily travel to Saudi Arabia as domestic servants or other low-skilled laborers, but some subsequently face conditions indicative of involuntary servitude, including nonpayment of wages, long working hours without rest, deprivation of food, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and restrictions on movement such as the withholding of passports or confinement to the workplace.”
The Religious Freedom Coalition has produced a three minute video concerning the Saudi use of domestic slaves in Virginia below. Please share this YouTube video with others.
Social Conservative “nose holding” – The election of former governor Mark Sanford to the U.S. House in a special election in South Carolina really upset me and not just for his imorral behavior, but because of the reaction to it from social conservative leaders.
During the primary for the special election my political action committee backed State Senator Larry Grooms, a godly man who was also endorsed by the Right to Life Committee, by Mike Huckabee and by every seated Republican congressman in South Carolina. Still Grooms lost to the huge money Mark Sanford was able to raise from those concerned with money, not morals. After he won the primary I was one of the few social conservatives who publicly stated I would not back him in the general election. At least most of the others were just quiet.
I was shocked the day before the election which was held on May 7th when I received an email from a well-known conservative leader asking that I “forgive” Sanford for his transgressions and help him in the final hours of the election. The fact that social conservatives would help this man make a political comeback shocked me to the core. After he won I wrote a column that appeared in WND.COM and other news outlets. The column states the obvious: If social conservatives will elect a Republican regardless of his behavior then there is no moral watchdog guarding the gates to Congress at all. Below is the column
The Day the Christian Right Died
By William J. Murray
The patient has been ill for a long time, having contracted the political power virus from the Republican Party. On Tuesday, May 7th the last breath of the Christian Right came as former governor Mark Sanford waltzed onto a stage and patted himself on the back for a political comeback.
The day before, Christian conservative leader Foster Friess had sent out an e-mail urging conservatives in South Carolina to “forgive” Sanford for his transgressions and to vote for him. The e-mail urged conservatives across the nation to ask their friends in South Carolina to vote for Sanford as well.
Although the establishment National Republican Congressional Committee abandoned Sanford after he violated a court order this year and entered the home of his ex-wife in the middle of the night, the “true” conservatives stuck with him. After he secured the nomination, social conservatives including many of my good friends in Washington DC, halted any and all criticism of him. He received a free pass from virtually all of the Christian right so far as I can tell – except from me. My PAC – Government Is Not God – continued to expose him as a threat to good government. But other Social Conservative leaders viewed the election of his opponent, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Steven Colbert, as the greater of two evils.
The problem of backing, tacitly or not, the disgraced governor has to do not only with his mistress and divorce, but with the rule of law. When the commander of a military unit abandons his post, should he be rewarded or court martialed? Sanford was the Commander-in-chief of the State of South Carolina, including the National Guard, and he abandoned his post as commander for a hookup in Argentina. Why no one on the conservative side sees a problem with this other than the very few is sort of baffling.
Sanford disappeared for several days in 2009 to fly to Argentina to meet in person with Maria Belen Chapur, whom he had met online. He lied about his whereabouts to his office and to the public as well as to his family. He was completely out of contact for days without transferring power to the Lieutenant Governor. In the event of a disaster, natural or otherwise, he would not have been available to activate the National Guard or direct assets of the state. Put plainly he deserted his post as commander. He also used a state owned aircraft meaning taxpayers financed his “personal time” in Argentina. Eventually he was censured by South Carolina’s Ethics Commission and forced to repay the cost of using the jet.
It is bothersome that many social conservatives, such as Foster Friess, not only ignored Sanford’s unfaithfulness to his wife, the lies to his children and the public, but his misuse of the public trust as well.
By backing Mark Sanford, or by saying nothing to stop his re-ascendancy, the social conservative leaders of the Christian Right have declared that they are Republicans first and moral leaders maybe second, third or fourth. If social conservative leaders can ignore the transgressions of Mark Sanford, who is currently shacked up with his mistress, what else will they ignore in support of the GOP?
In the more than thirty years I have worked around Capitol Hill, I have watched the political power virus take down many good men and women. That photo with a Senator or maybe even a President becomes worth taking off the garment of righteousness and hanging it at the door to the seat of power. Once that garment is taken off, it is very hard to put back on.
Who will listen now to the purveyors of righteousness in the Christian conservative lobby of Capitol Hill, when they come forward in future primaries to anoint the most “moral” candidate? It is now known that after any primary they will all “hold their noses” and jump on board the Republican bandwagon. With that knowledge what difference does it make if the establishment backs someone who is openly homosexual, smokes dope, has two wives or has previously abused the power of office?
On May 7th social conservative leaders sent a clear message to the GOP establishment, the Democrats and to the media that their belief structure is infected so badly by politics that morals no longer matter.
We can do better than this!
Bishops Kidnapped: No news after weeks – There is no news as of the day I wrote this Chairman’s Report on the two Orthodox bishops kidnapped by American supported jihadists in Syria in April. I am continuing to work with different congressmen in the hope of presenting a congressional resolution or at least a group letter demanding the release of not only the Bishops, but of other clergy including two priests and an evangelical pastor held by the jihadist fighters in Syria. A petition is available to fax to your congressman at: www.FreeTheBishops.org
William J. Murray, Chairman
Religious Freedom Coalition, 601 Pennsylvania Ave, NW #900 , Washington, DC 20004 * (202) 742-8990
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