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 September 2003           Issue #102



Religious Right Agenda In Congress


The Senate and House hope to adjourn for the year on October 3. Sen. Majority Leader Frist said that the Senate’s priorities for the rest of the year are appropriations bills, changes in Medicare, and an energy bill. Still, the religious right is urging legislators to act on its priorities, including the following bills.


  • Both chambers passed The Partial Birth Abortion Act but a conference committee has not resolved the differences between the two versions passed.


  • The Unborn Victims of Violence Act (H.R. 1997, S. 1019 and S. 146) would make harming a fetus except during abortions and medical treatment a federal crime.  The House version has been named “Laci and Conner's Law” after the murdered California woman and her fetus.  It is pending in the Judiciary and Armed Services Committees.  Its 132 cosponsors include Brady, Carter, and DeLay.


  • The Parents' Right to Know Act (H.R. 2444) would deny federal family planning funds to any clinic that knowingly provided contraceptives to an unemancipated minor without first giving written notice to or having written consent of the minor’s custodial parent or legal guardian or a court order.  Brady, Culberson, and Paul are among the 92 cosponsors.  It is pending in a House subcommittee.


  • The Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act (H.R.235) would amend the federal tax code to “to protect the religious free exercise and free speech rights of churches and other houses of worship." Its 159 cosponsors include DeLay, Paul, Brady, Carter and Culberson.


  • A constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman (H.J. Res. 56) has been referred to a House Judiciary Committee subcommittee.  Brady, Carter, and Culberson are among its 81 cosponsors.


  • The House approved by 205-203 an amendment to the District of Columbia appropriations bill (H.R. 2765) to authorize a school voucher program in DC. Brady, Carter, Culberson, and DeLay voted for it.  Bell, Green, Jackson-Lee, Lampson, and Paul voted against it. The Senate Appropriations Committee, including Sen. Hutchison, also approved a vouchers plan.


  • Sen. Cornyn held a hearing of the Senate subcommittee on the Constitution called “What is Needed to Defend the Bipartisan Defense of Marriage Act of 1996?” The hearing, Cornyn said, examined what legal action, if any, is needed to strengthen and protect DOMA, which defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman, due to “the threat of judicial activism.”


  • Several bills have been introduced seeking to limit the authority of federal judges to rule that the Ten Commandments, the Pledge of Allegiance, and other expressions of religion on government property violate the First Amendment. They include the Ten Commandments Defense Act (H.R. 2045).



Texas Rangers Draw Fire For "Gay Day" Event


A pastor is organizing a counter-demonstration and an online petition drive to protest the Texas Rangers having a “Gay Day” at the Ballpark in Arlington this weekend. Under the Rangers promotional deal, a sponsoring group or groups that sell 1,000 tickets to a game get a special recognition day and a portion of each ticket sold to fund their own programs. A Dallas gay and lesbian community center maintains that the team contacted it about having such an event, which the Rangers deny. The team emphasized that it is not sponsoring the gay group and no field activities will be held to acknowledge the group. The protestors have a web site:


Earlier this summer, Free Market Foundation, a religious right group, touted a Father & Child Night with the Texas Rangers, as part of its Texas Dads "Fatherhood" Campaign. Pre-game events included the presentation of an award and first pitch by persons chosen by the group.




What Can I Do?


Call Senators Hutchison and Cornyn and urge them to oppose the vouchers provision in the D.C. appropriations bill. Hutchison’s phone number is 202-224-5922. Cornyn’s is 202-224-2934. A top official in Hutchison’s D.C. office said recently that the office tallies calls so calling can make a difference.




Local Events


Sat. Sept. 13, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

“The Political Imperative.” Seminar of Christian Involvement in Public Policy, Civil Government, and the Political Process. Presented by Texas Christian Coalition. Grand Parkway Baptist Church, 12000 FM 1464, Sugar Land. 281-277-2200

The seminar is free, but you must register in advance.


Sun. Sept. 14, 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. With rally at 7:00 p.m.

Local religious right group Vision America, Grace Community Church and Houston Area Pastors Council present Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, the “Ten Commandments judge,” at 9:00, 10:00, and 11:00 a.m. at Grace Community Church, 14325 Crescent Landing, Houston (near Hwy 3 and Clear Lake City Blvd.) and at a city wide rally at 7:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 7401 Katy Freeway, Houston.



Thurs. Sept. 18, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Intelligent Design/Evolution Debate. Sponsors include Republican Leadership Council of Montgomery County, Texas. Montgomery County College, 3200 College Park Drive, Conroe.

Tickets are available by calling 281-288-0168.


Wed. Sept. 24, 7 p.m. - 10 p.m.  

“Evolution: What It Is, and What It Isn't.”  Public symposium.  Keynote Speech by Alan D. Gishlick, National Center for Science Education, followed by a Roundtable Question & Answer.

Panel: Steven Schafersman, president, Texas Citizens for Science, Keith Parsons, professor of philosophy at UH Clear Lake, Robert Dennison, president of the Texas Association of Biology Teachers, Wendee Holtcamp, National Science Foundation Research Fellow at Rice University in Evolutionary Biology, instructor at Kingwood College, and Mark W. Whitten, professor of philosophy and ethics at Montgomery College. 

Sponsors: Texas Association of Biology Teachers, Texas Citizens for Science, Americans United for Separation of Church and State Houston Area Chapter.  Montgomery College, Room D100 –Auditorium, 1-45 @ Hwy 242/College Park Drive. 

For information, call Charlotte Coffelt, 281-360-2506.



Quote of the Month


“The Commandments hullabaloo has enlightened many Americans to the fact that there is a religious war in our nation.  The only way to stem the success of Barry Lynn and his ilk is for people of faith to join with Chief Justice Roy Moore in saying, ‘Enough is enough.’ We must battle the effort to purge God from our civic arena.”


Jerry Falwell, August 27, 2003.


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