September 2003 Issue #102
Agenda In Congress
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.
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?
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.
Sat. Sept. 13, 8:30 a.m. –
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. firstname.lastname@example.org
Sun. Sept. 14, 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. With rally at
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.
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
Wed. Sept. 24, 7 p.m. - 10 p.m.
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.
call Charlotte Coffelt, 281-360-2506.
Quote of the Month
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
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