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Spring 2000
David Barton - 03/2000

Good News: Preserving Traditional Marriage!

In recent months, Vermont has become the center of attention in the battle to recognize gay and lesbian “marriages.” In a blear and egregious violation of the doctrine of separation of powers, the State supreme court ordered the legislature to craft a bill either to recognize same sex marriages or to provide “domestic partner” benefits. The judges threatened to impose gay marriages on the State if the legislature did not act.

Most in the State disagreed with the court, and one poll found that 79 percent of the State supreme court was the proper place to decide the issue. In fact, in a recent straw poll at all fifty of Vermont’s recent town meetings, same-sex marriages lost in every location; and even domestic partnerships were rejected in forty-six of the fifty sites!

With this public opposition, it is not surprising that carious attempts are underway to stop the court-ordered anti-marriage agenda in Vermont. For example:

· Twelve Vermont legislators have introduced a resolution calling for the impeachment of the judges.

· Citizens have delivered stacks of pro-traditional-marriage petitions to the legislature.

· A constitutional amendment is being introduced which would maintain traditional marriage and set aside the court’s decision. (Unfortunately, its necessary margin of two-thirds approval seems unlikely in the liberal State senate.)

In the meantime, the legislature will pass some type of same-sex marriage recognition – much to the chagrin of most of the State’s voters. Yet, despite this one setback by the unelected Vermont court, voters across America are sending a clear message on preserving traditional marriage. For example, Hawaii’s voters overwhelming rejected same-sex marriages by a margin of 70 percent to 30 percent: in California, a similar proposal was rejected by a margin of 60 percent to 40 percent: and, as already mentioned, efforts to refine marriage in Vermont were rejected by citizens in every one of their fifty town meetings!

Since many categorize these three States as among the most socially liberal in the nation, and since there is a firm conviction – even in these States – that traditional marriage and family must be preserved, this is indeed heartening for the rest of America!

The Federal Courts & Partial Birth Abortions

Representative Ron Paul of Texas has introduced a federal bill (HR 3691) to remove from the federal courts any jurisdiction over partial-birth abortions.

Why? Although twenty-nine States have banned the procedure in the last four years, twenty federal judges have struck down the States laws. In fact, currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court is a case in which the Court will decide whether individual States even have the right to ban partial-birth abortions.

Representative Paul is utilizing the Constitution’s “exceptions clause” (Art. III, Sec. 2) which declares that the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over matters of law and fact, but only “with such exceptions and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.” His bill, therefore, would “except” this issue from the jurisdiction of the federal courts. (To see his bill, go to www.house.gov/paul/legis/106/hr3691/htm.) Not surprisingly, this measure has the support of several of the State legislatures which have already banned partial-birth abortions. In fact, several of those legislatures have begun movements to petition the U.S. congress to use the “exceptions clause” in just this way to keep the federal courts out of this issue. (To see a copy of this State Resolution, see our website at www.wallbuilders.com.)

Laugh or Cry?

I am convinced – and always try to communicate in the WallBuilder Report – that God is gracious, and that traditional values and pro-family forces are winning more battles than we are losing. I witness this in my travels in every State in America as I personally see hundreds of “good news” victories which are never reported in mainstream media outlets.

Nevertheless, I do come across some stories that are so ridiculous – and that demonstrate the extreme lengths to which the opposition must go in order to preserve its agenda – that such stories somehow seem worth mentioning. So, as you read these stories, don’t’ be discouraged; instead, remember to do what God did in the face of opposition: laugh!

The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them. Bu the Lord laughs at the wicked, for He knows their day is coming! Psalms 37:12-13; 2:1-4.

· In Washington State, 25 year-old Michelle Shocks was riding a public bus and talking to a fellow Christian. The bus driver ordered that they cease their private conversation about religion “since it could possible be offensive to other riders.” The pair, therefore, in very low tones so no one else would hear, resumed their private conversation. The driver nevertheless stopped the bus and ordered the two off. Michelle, five months pregnant, had to walk home more than a mile in the rain!

· In Texas, a school program allowed local professionals – including ministers – to counsel students. Although the program kept students from knowing the profession of the counselors, and even though the counselors were prohibited from wearing religious insignias or revealing their faith, and were barred from praying with the students or from discussing controversial topics such as religion, sex, or abortion, the Fifth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals nevertheless ruled that the program impermissibly advanced religion!

· In Denver, Colorado Springs, and Douglas County, Colorado, and in Onalaska, Wisconsin, ordinances have been enacted that prohibit Bible studies from occurring in private homes more often than once a month Residents in Denver have even faced legal action for violating that ordinance!

· In Oregon, Portland official have ordered that a church that holds 500 to limit its attendance to 70 worshippers because neighbors objected to the church’s ministry of providing food for the homeless and the working poor. In the nearby town of Jacksonville, city officials ruled that a church could not be used for weddings or funerals. And in Texas, a city council ordered a Christian church shut down because neighbors objected to its ministry!

· In Maryland, State Senator Leo Green reintroduced his bill to make it a misdemeanor “for a person in a matter within the jurisdiction of . . . the Legislative Branch of the State government to knowingly and willfully falsify or conceal a material fact [or] make a false, fictitious, or fraudulent representation.” His bill continues to die in committee because, as explained by Committee Chairman Joseph Vallario, “the measure [requiring truthful testimony] could have a chilling effect on the willingness of people to testify!”

· In Washington, DC, Barry Lynn, head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, criticized as a “cynical effort” and a “constitutional plague” the movement in eight State legislatures to protect public displays of the Ten Commandments (Indiana, South Dakota, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Oklahoma).

· In Oregon, some citizens object to the practice of displaying small crosses at fatal crash sites in remembrance of victims. How have they expressed their displeasure? At night, they anonymously replace the white crosses with black ones, with swastikas, with symbols of “KKK,” or with the infamous anti-Christ mark, 666. As one of them noted, “In order to sleep at night, we had to do our part in the battle”!

· In Washington State, a “Promise Scholarship” (a state academic scholarship for bright students from low and middles income families) was awarded to 19-year-old Joshua Davey. However, the State revoked his scholarship when they found out he was majoring in pastoral ministries!

· The Seventh Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a statue of Jesus Christ which stands on private property was unconstitutional. Why? According to the court, people might assume that the city, rather than private individuals, owned the statue!

Christmas: Past & Present

Regrettably, Christmas has become a very controversial holiday in recent years. This is not because citizens in general object to the holiday but rather because a few dissenting Scrooges cannot stand someone else celebrating Christmas in a traditional, religious fashion.

For example, schools, rather than deal with narrow-minded dissenters, have generally changed “Christmas Break” to the innocuous “Winter Break.” And textbooks are now abandoning the traditional use of “BC” and “AD” and, rather than marking time from the birth and life of Jesus Christ as has been done for centuries, they have now adopted “BCE” and “ACE” – “Before the Common Era” and “After the Common Era.” And what, pray tell, is the “Common Era”? Apparently, centuries ago, the entire world, for no apparent reason, got together and came to a “common” understanding that we should re-do the calendar – but mind you, it had nothing to do with the life of Jesus Christ!

The secularization of Christmas has advanced so far that in the judicial arena, in order for a judge to allow a traditional Christmas display or celebration to appear publicly, that judge must convince all parties that Christmas has no real religious significance. Such was the case in the recent decision in a suit filed by atheist Richard Ganulin. In dismissing the law-suit, the judge regrettably wrote, “The celebration of Christmas as a national holiday cannot be viewed, by a reasonable person, as an endorsement of religion. The holiday itself is so deeply imbued with secular connotations that, indeed, its religious origins are lost on many.”

Fortunately, Governor James Gilmore of Virginia (unlike the federal judges) apparently believes – as do millions of others – that Christmas is a religious holiday worth observing. He therefore issued the following remarkable proclamation for last Christmas:

WHEREAS, Christmas is the Christian feast that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of all Christians throughout the world; and

WHEREAS, traditionally, families throughout our great Common-wealth gather together during Christmas holidays, enjoying many customs including choosing a Christmas tree, participating in Christmas Pageants, singing playing Christmas carols, and exchanging gifts; and

WHEREAS, Advent and Christmas traditions and symbols prevail throughout the holiday season, and by their presence they bring to mind dearly held Christian values and beliefs presently under attack in our modern culture, most importantly the belief that in Jesus Christ all people are saved from sin and promised everlasting life; and

WHEREAS, the celebration of Christmas reminds men, women, and children across our Common-wealth of the lessons Christ taught and exemplified, such as the importance of caring for others, giving sacrificially, and sharing with those in need in our neighborhoods, churches, schools, and communities; and

WHEREAS, while families and friends in Virginia gather this December to share meals, words of encouragement, and gifts, it is important to remember the deeper meaning of Christmas and Christ’s life-changing message of God’s love and His promise of salvation for all people;

NOW THEREFORE, I, James S. Gilmore, III, do hereby recognize December 25, 1999, as CHRISTMAS DAY in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

Announcements

· Did you see either of the recent “historical” pieces in TV (The Crossing on A&E or CBS’s Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings) and wonder how accurate they were? To find the answer, check out our website at www.wallbuilders.com.

·Have you heard about the current conflict over the appointment of a new Chaplain for the U.S. House of Representatives? The controversy has many calling for the abolition of congressional chaplains. To see our response which recently ran in a national magazine, check out our website at www.wallbuilders.com.

· Our two-hour version of the Spiritual Heritage Tour of the Capitol video recently won two national awards. One was the Angel Award, an award recognizing excellence both in media production and in values content. The other award we received was the Telly Award. To receive this award, a video must rank in the top 7 percent of the nation’s videos for that year. This award is a significant recognition in the secular community since other contestants included Disney, HBO, Blockbuster Videos, Nickelodeon, Tri-Star Pictures, Columbia Pictures, etc.

· Our videos, America’s Godly Heritage, Spirit of the American Revolution, Keys to Good Government, Education and the Founding Fathers, and The Foundations of American Government have all been awarded the Dove Family Approved Seal in recognition of “high quality, wholesome movies” that “preserve the values of today’s children, who will become the business, civic, religious and pro-family leaders of tomorrow.”

·For those desiring to make a contribution to WallBuilder Presentations via an automatic transfer from your bank, we are now set up to facilitate this process. Simply call our office at 1-800-873-2845 and ask for the “Automatic Transfer Authorization” form and we will send it to you.

Celebrating the National, And State, Day of Prayer

In 1988, Congress officially designated the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer. That day is now regularly celebrated in communities across the nation with prayer gatherings at local courthouses and civic buildings. In fact, even at the U.S. Capitol there are significant prayer activities occurring with elected leaders on that day. Interestingly, New Jersey is the only State which has officially designated that same day as the State’s Day of Prayer. We thought you might be interested in seeing the wording of their Act:

WHEREAS, Civic prayers and national days of prayer have a long and venerable history in our constitutional republic, dating back to the First Continental Congress in 1775; and

WHEREAS, The Declaration of Independence, our first statement as Americans of national purpose and identity, made “the Laws of nature and Nature’s God” the foundation of our United States of America and asserted that people have inalienable rights that are God-given; and

WHEREAS, The Supreme Court has affirmed the right of state legislatures to open their sessions with prayer, and the Supreme Court and the U.S. Congress themselves begin each day with prayer; and

WHEREAS, In 1988, legislation setting aside the first Thursday in May in each year as the National Day of Prayer was passed unanimously by both Houses of Congress and signed by President Ronald Reagan; and

WHEREAS, The National Day of Prayer is an opportunity for Americans of all faiths to join united prayer to acknowledge our dependence on God, to give thanks for blessings received, to request healing for wounds endured, and to ask God to guide our leaders and bring wholeness to the United States and her citizens; and

WHEREAS, It is fitting and proper to give thanks to God by observing a day of prayer in New Jersey when all may acknowledge our blessings and express gratitude for them while recognizing the need for strengthening religious and moral values in our State and nation; now therefore,

Be it enacted by the Senate and the General Assembly of the States of New Jersey:

The first Thursday in May each year is designated as “A Day of Prayer in New Jersey” and the citizens of New Jersey are urged to observe the day in ways appropriate to its importance and significance.

Even though New Jersey is the only State officially to celebrate this day by legislative enactment, nevertheless, there certainly will be prayer activities near you in your State in which you can participate. For further information on these activities, contact the National Day of Prayer at 719-531-3379.



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