“What we’re talking about here is the freedom of religious belief, the freedom of a church, for example, to adhere to its own religious doctrine so that it cannot be discriminated against by the government,” the Utah Republican said in an interview with Newsmax.
Lee said the federal government’s failure to protect religious liberty — citing Obamacare mandates for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs — was a key motivation for him to introduce the “Marriage and Religious Freedom Act,” which protects clergy from being punished if they refuse to perform gay marriages.
“This is something that the overwhelming majority of Americans would support and the overwhelming majority of Americans would be disappointed if they discovered Congress would be unwilling to pass something like this,” Lee said.
Lee’s bill was introduced before Congress recessed for the holidays. It has the support of Republican Sens. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. A bipartisan companion measure in the House is sponsored by Republican Reps. Raul Labrador of Idaho and Chris Smith of New Jersey, as well as Democrats Dan Lipinski of Illinois and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina.
“It is rare that a month or few weeks go by without me hearing from some religious person or institution that has great concern about the status of religious liberty,” Lee told Newsmax.
“And that’s all the more reason why those of us who believe in religious liberty, whether we are Democrats or Republicans, need to stand up and make clear that there is a good reason why religious liberty receives protection in the Constitution, and there are good reasons why we need to draw protective lines in legislation that we pass that will bolster those protections.”
The Utah Republican said President Barack Obama has shown a significant lack of respect for religious freedoms through his administration’s effort to expand the size and control of the federal government.
He noted, however, that Obama has specifically stated he has no intention of revoking the tax-exempt status of any church that does not recognize gay marriage.
“In light of the fact he said that, I think it’s important that we memorialize that in legislation,” Lee added. “If he in fact feels that way, then he should be just fine with this legislation.”
Lee also said the revelation earlier this year that the IRS had targeted conservative and tea party groups for extra scrutiny over their tax-exempt status was a factor as well in his moving to write the bill.
“That’s why we need to be concerned, but it’s also why we should be in a good position to put those assurances to rest in legislation,” Lee said.
Despite the fact that there is a bipartisan companion bill in the House, Lee said it is difficult to gauge whether the measure will pass both chambers. Endorsements from numerous religious and conservative organizations could help, though. Among those supporting the measure: the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Family Research Council, National Organization For Marriage, Heritage Action, and Concerned Women For America.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, says the protections under Lee’s bill are necessary, Catholic World News reports.
“Increasingly, state laws are being used to target individuals and organizations for discrimination simply because they act on their belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” Cordileone said.
“Such prejudice must not be allowed to spread to the federal government.”
For all the reports of national Democrats drawing targets on enough Republican-held seats to recapture control of the House in 2014, the odds are strong that Republicans will hold on to their majority in the last mid-term election of the Obama administration.
The arithmetic favors the Republicans in the upcoming campaign, in which voters decide the fate of all 435 House members.
The current make-up of the House is 233 Republicans, 200 Democrats, and two vacancies. Upcoming special elections to fill the vacancies in Alabama and Massachusetts will almost give one seat to each party.
Democratic strategists frequently speak of “the magic 17” —the number of districts carried by President Barack Obama in 2012 in which voters also sent a Republican to the House. Victories in all 17 districts by Democratic candidates would mean a recapture of the Democratic majority in the House, with 218 seats to 217 for the Republicans.
But this strategy depends on Democrats winning everything they target and Republicans picking up nothing. That means, as House editor David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report said, “There’s basically no margin of error for House Democrats.”
On the other hand, Republicans will almost surely be targeting the nine districts that went for Mitt Romney for president but also sent a Democrat to the House.
These include the two closest races in the nation last year: North Carolina’s 7th District and Arizona’s 2nd, in which Republicans David Rouzer and Martha McSally will square off in rematches with Democratic Reps. Mike McIntyre and Ron Barber.
Widely considered the most vulnerable Democratic-held district in the nation is Florida’s 18th District, where 30-year-old Democrat Patrick Murphy edged out swashbuckling conservative Allen West, by less than 2000 votes. Already four Republicans have filed for the chance to oppose Murphy in 2014.
Even though Murphy has voted “the right way” in conservative eyes by supporting delays in the Obamacare mandate for both businesses and individuals, his vote against repeal of Obamacare is expected to be a major issue for any Republican opponent.
Although the Republican primary is likely to grow more crowded because of the perceived vulnerability of the incumbent, the early favorite is Carl Domino, former assistant state house GOP leader, successful investments adviser, and U.S. Navy veteran.
For open seats, there is always greater competition and more “switcheroos” than attempting to dislodge incumbents. So far, there are 14 seats with no incumbents — five Democratic-held seats and nine Republican-held seats.
The West Virginia seat that Republican Shelley Moore Capito is leaving to run for the Senate could go Democratic, and the Iowa seat Democrat Bruce Braley is giving up for a Senate run could go the other way. For now, few of the other 12 are likely to flip.
Former Secretary of State James Baker once said “overnight is an eternity in politics.” Much can change between now and November of 2014. But at this time, the best prediction is the House remains Republican next year — just do the math.
The bill, passed just before the House left for its August recess, was approved by a vote of 232 to 183, and one of more than three dozen other attempts the House has voted on to repeal or roll back Obamacare. All the House Republicans voted for the measure, along with four Democrats, Reps. John Barrow of Georgia, Jim Matheson of Utah, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, and Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota.
The IRS is to play a key role in implementing Obamacare, providing tax credits that will allow people with lower incomes to afford insurance. It will also impose penalties on people who refuse coverage and in employers with more than 50 full-time employees who fail to offer them coverage.
But Republicans are pointing to the numerous scandals the IRS has been through in recent months — particularly, targeting conservative agencies — and saying the powerful federal agency can no longer be trusted.
“The IRS has been abusing its power by targeting and punishing American citizens for their political beliefs,” said House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va. “This kind of government abuse must stop. The last thing we should do is to allow the I.R.S. to play such a central role in our health care.”
Cantor said Republicans are also concerned the IRS won’t protect health care information, because “this same agency has illegally disclosed protected taxpayer information.”
Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, however, denied that the IRS of the Department of Health and Human Services will have access to medical records or personal history.
“This bill is nothing more than a continuation of the Republicans’ blind obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act,” said Levin. “Their mission is to destroy, not implement, healthcare reform.”
Danny Werfel, acting head of the IRS, told legislators Thursday that precautions are being taken to make sure that personal tax information is protected under the healthcare law.
“There are all kinds of safeguards and procedures that we put in place when we share taxpayer information outside of the IRS,” he told committee members.
Also on Friday, Obama said the federal government will continue paying a large share of health insurance premiums for Congress members and their aides, clearing up doubts about whether Obamacare would eliminate the coverage.
Obama has said that he will get his own health insurance through an exchange, and on Friday, he said he will support putting cabinet members and the White House staff through exchanges as well.
Some aides had already started looking for other jobs because of fears of losing government-backed premiums.
Higher-than-expected premiums, combined with the scandal-ridden IRS, are putting a shadow over Obamacare, with House Republicans vowing to keep up the fight against President Barack Obama’s key agenda item.
On Thursday, the House voted once again to repeal Obamacare. This time around, two Democrats, Reps. Jim Matheson (Utah) and Mike McIntyre (N.C.)., sided with Republicans on the vote. All GOP members voted to repeal the health care issue.
In Saturday’s weekly GOP address, Maryland Republican Rep. Andy Harris vowed his party will keep up the fight, discussing a report by the House Energy and Commerce Committee that detailed how insurance premiums will increase for many people under Obamacare, not lower them as promised.
“According to new data from the nation’s insurers, under ObamaCare, premiums in the individual market will skyrocket by an average of double what we pay now, with some rates rising by more than 400 percent,” said Harris. The report said people in about 45 states may see premiums jump by about 100 percent, according to statistics from 17 insurance companies.
The IRS has confirmed that it gave conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status extra scrutiny, and Republicans are trying to determine if the Obama administration was involved in the scandal.
“Now, just think about the fact that it’s the IRS that will be responsible for enforcing many of these regulations,” Harris said. “If we’ve learned anything this week, it’s that the IRS needs less power, not more.”
In addition, it was learned this past week that Sarah Hall Ingram, who was named as the director of the Affordable Care Act’s office in the IRS, had been in charge of the office in the IRS that works on applications from tax-exempt groups. Harris said that Ingram’s involvement also casts a shadow over Obamacare.
Ingram was in charge of the tax-exempt division from 2009 to 2012, overlapping with the time when targeting first began. She began overseeing the health law implementation in December 2010, six months before her subordinate found out about the profiling.
Her successor in the tax-exempt division, Joseph Grant, said he plans to retire on June 3, just as Congressional hearings are getting under way, and earlier this week, the fallout over the IRS scandal lead to the ouster of acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller.
But the Ingram connection is shaping up to be a key part of the Republicans’ fight to repeal Obamacare.
“As a matter of fact, it turns out that the IRS official who oversaw the operation that’s under scrutiny for targeting conservatives is now in charge of the IRS’s ObamaCare office,” said Harris. “You can’t make this stuff up.”
While the IRS won’t be administering the healthcare exchanges that are key to Obamacare, it is to charge fines against people who do not obtain health insurance, after the Supreme Court ruled that imposing fines for lack of health coverage is allowed when doing so is considered a tax.
As a result, the IRS is involved with four major parts of Obamacare, with the most major role to determine if individuals are entitled to new tax credits to help pay for private insurance premiums.
Other key Republicans, like Harris, are increasingly pointing out problems with Obamacare, mainly with the issue of the IRS’ connection with the program.
Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Tea Party favorite, said she is very worried about the connection.
“Does this means that some government plutocrat can look at my personal healthcare data?” she asked. “Could I be denied healthcare? Could it be delayed?”
On the floor last week,Bachmann said she is worried that this “gargantuan government expansion known as Obamacare will allow bureaucrats access to our most intimate, personal health information. It will be a huge database that government is putting together and building right now. Under Obamacare, the average American will pay more, they’ll get less, and now they have to worry that their government may punish them because of their beliefs.”
While the law doesn’t require the IRS to collect or view information about individuals’ health, they reflect the doubts about the IRS and its potential to abuse its power, reports The Associated Press.
But Democrats are accusing Republicans of politicizing the IRS scandal to score political points.
“There really isn’t a tie,” said Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., who is the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees the IRS. “This is another effort by the Republicans to essentially try to score political points.”
Former Republican congressman Tom Davis, of Virginia, said Republicans should be looking for a connection, but should be careful about how far they take it.
Obamacare, Davis told the Associated Press “is 50-50 with the public on a good day,” said Davis. “You put that together with the IRS and it’s combustible. For Republicans, I think they need to go a little slower and get some facts in.”
There are further scandals that are giving Republicans further ammunition in their fight against the president’s health care law. Harris noted that it could also be mismanaged by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who has been soliciting private donations from businesses in order to encourage people to sign up for health care coverage.
Republicans claim her actions are illegal, because of federal laws preventing private donations from financing programs for which Congress has already refused funding.
However, HHS maintains her actions are legal, as the director is permitted to seek funding for health care issues.
“Of course, there are powerful interests who will do all they can to prop up Obamacare,” said Harris. “The Secretary of Health and Human Services has been pushing private companies — businesses she herself regulates — to help pay for the implementation of Obamacare. This raises all kinds of legal and ethical questions.”
In a Congress where spin often trumps legislation, Republicans see a political advantage to keeping the pressure up as the administration tries to get all the moving parts of the law finally working.
Starting this fall, uninsured people who can’t get coverage through their jobs will be able to sign up for government-subsidized insurance that takes effect Jan. 1. The rollout promises to be bumpy because about half the states are still resisting the law, and Republicans in Congress won’t provide the administration with funds it says are needed for a smooth implementation.
Democrats said the House vote was a pointless exercise. They noted that the ACA — as the law is known — has been upheld by the Supreme Court, and millions are already receiving some benefits, from young adults able to stay on a parent’s insurance until age 26, to seniors on Medicare whose high prescription drug bills have been reduced.
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California said repeal vote is “clear waste of time and of taxpayer dollars.”
“Unfortunately, House Republicans seem to think that their main responsibility is to do nothing,” Pelosi said.
But Republicans see a soft target in a costly program that continues to divide the country.
They’re hoping that implementation problems next year will help the GOP take control of the Senate in the midterm congressional elections and build on its House majority. Part of the political strategy behind Thursday’s vote was to give freshmen Republicans a chance to vote on full repeal of what they dismiss as “Obamacare.”
“Republicans will continue to work to scrap the law in its entirety so we can focus on patient-centered reforms that lower costs and protect jobs,” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
What that alternative would look like, no one really knows, because Republicans have not presented a plan of their own since Obama‘s law was debated in Congress more than three years ago.
Boehner said a GOP approach would include medical malpractice reforms, risk pools for people with pre-existing medical problems, and allowing individuals to buy coverage from out-of-state insurers to spur competition. But nothing has been finalized.
Boehner also pointed out that not even Obama believes the healthcare law is perfect. On seven previous occasions GOP efforts to scale back parts of the law were eventually accepted by the president and signed into law. They included a Medicaid formula allowing thousands of middle-class people to qualify for nearly free coverage, a long-term care insurance plan likely to go belly-up, and paperwork requirements protested by small businesses. The administration sees those as relatively minor changes.
The House debate got creative. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., compared the health care law both to a looming iceberg and an impending train wreck. “The more we learn about Obamacare, the more unpopular it becomes,” she said.
“In light of the recent revelations that have just come out within this last week regarding the outrageous activities of the Internal Revenue Service pointed against the people of the United States, every American should be concerned about the negative consequences of this bill, Obamacare,” Bachmann said.
“The Supreme Court has ruled that Obamacare is in fact a tax. Knowing that it’s a tax, the logical conclusion is that the entity in the United States tasked with enforcing tax policy is the IRS.”
Majority Leader Eric Cantor said that more government is not the answer, reports The Hill.
“Sweeping mandates on individuals and businesses will not improve our healthcare.”
Rep. Mark Sanford echoed Cantor’s sentiments, saying Obamacare uproots the American tradition of “not having the government force on the consumers the notion of the purchase of a product.”
Three years after its passage, Americans remain divided over Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement. Even the uninsured are confused about whether they will be helped. Many people who have coverage worry it will raise their costs and make it harder for them to see their doctors. Some of the law’s underlying goals, such as a ban on insurers turning away people with pre-existing conditions, remain popular. However, the requirement that virtually all Americans carry coverage or face fines is still widely disliked.
The prayer to save America began in Room 219 on Capitol Hill.
In 2005, two years before the global economic crisis erupted, U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., went into Room 219—an ornate room with a fireplace adjacent to the floor of the House of Representatives—to pray for the nation.
Not long afterward, he was joined by other members of Congress inspired by his example: U.S. Reps. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala.; John Carter, R-Texas; and Mike McIntyre, D-N.C.
“When it started out, it was just me going in there to pray,” Forbes says. “And then it would be one, two or three other people. But today when you walk in there, it’s standing-room-only with individuals—Republicans and Democrats—praying for the country, praying that God would heal our land, but also praying for God’s wisdom, that we make the right decisions to govern this nation.”
Today, many of the more than 100 federal lawmakers who are members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus gather each Monday or Tuesday evening to pray in Room 219.
But this interdenominational prayer movement isn’t confined to one room in Washington, D.C. Amid an increasingly godless culture and government, Forbes’ efforts to call people—and particularly other politicians—back to the nation’s foundation of prayer has spread to state legislatures, city and county halls, schools, churches and other venues nationwide.
“Just as Nehemiah built a wall around Jerusalem, we want to build a wall of prayer around our nation’s capital,” says McIntyre, who co-chairs the Congressional Prayer Caucus with Forbes. “We have asked individuals, families, fellowship groups, prayer groups, Sunday school classes, churches and other houses of faith to join us in prayer for our country. We have also asked them to pray that leaders at all levels—local, county, state and national—would have wisdom in their decisions.”
Currently, more than 6,000 individuals and groups nationwide have joined members of Congress in weekly prayers, says Lea Carawan, executive director of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization in Chesapeake, Va. Heeding the apostle Paul’s admonition in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing,” many of these individuals and groups pray in designated five-minute increments to ensure round-the-clock prayer for the nation. Others pray in their small groups or Bible studies.
“We call them 219 Prayer Groups,” Carawan says. “These prayer caucuses formed because they heard about the impact the Congressional Prayer Caucus was having in protecting religious liberties and really reversing some of the destructive attacks by the anti-God groups.”
While citizens are praying with members of Congress through the Room 219 prayer initiative, state legislators nationwide are forming Legislative Prayer Caucuses, with 12 formed in state legislatures that network more than 350 legislators nationwide, Carawan says. These are patterned after the Congressional Prayer Caucus and dedicated to promoting prayer, protecting religious liberty and preserving the nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage.
A Return to God’s Name
Meanwhile, in a backlash against concerted efforts by various anti-theist organizations to remove God from every vestige of government and the public square, elected officials in more than 300 cities and counties nationwide have voted over the last year to prominently display the national motto, “In God We Trust,” in public buildings nationwide. Many public schools have joined the uprising as well, tacking “In God We Trust” posters on walls of classrooms.
This phenomenon follows the passage of a resolution Forbes brought in January 2011 to re-establish “In God We Trust” as the national motto and to encourage its display in public buildings and schools nationwide. Forbes introduced the resolution after the U.S. Supreme Court turned down an appeal filed by Sacramento, Calif., atheist Michael Newdow, who had challenged the constitutionality of the national motto in a series of lawsuits stretching over a decade.
The suits alleged the motto violated the freedom of religion clauses in the First Amendment. However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling the motto isn’t unconstitutional because it is ceremonial and patriotic in nature.
Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, a Sacramento-based nonprofit legal defense organization that offers free help to any public agency facing a legal challenge, says the high court’s order set in motion the wave of cities and counties now voting to return “In God We Trust” to public buildings and schools nationwide.
“When this ‘In God We Trust’ movement first began, many thought it would be a short burst of action and would quickly dissipate,” Dacus says. “Actually, it’s been quite the contrary. This movement has been building and building and building.”
So far, Dacus says, no public bodies have faced any legal challenges—a phenomenon he attributes to the fact that the existing case law makes it “irrefutable” that posting “In God We Trust” is constitutional.
And these efforts have a practical outcome that hits close to home for many. Forbes shares the story of a friend in Congress whose daughter asked her mother what she should say on “Self-Esteem Day” at school, when asked why she was special: “Her mother looked at her and said, ‘Honey, you go back and tell your teacher that God made you, so you’re special.’ The little girl stepped back, put her hands up in the air and said, ‘Mommy, I can’t say “God” in school.’ This congressman broke down crying, realizing he had stepped back and not done anything and, as a result, his little girl in first grade feels she couldn’t even mention God in school.”
With resolve, Forbes continues: “If she has ‘In God We Trust’ up on the wall at that school … she’s not going to be convinced that she can’t say ‘In God We Trust’ or that she can’t mention God in school anymore.”
A Reversal of Anti-God Efforts
The Room 219 prayer gatherings and the movement to display the national motto come as the nation’s Judeo-Christian traditions have come under intense attack in modern times. In recent decades, the Ten Commandments, the national motto, crosses on government seals and at veterans’ memorials, the National Day of Prayer, prayer in schools and Christmas nativity scenes have faced a deluge of legal challenges.
At first, this foray appeared innocuous and was often “disguised in the subtlety of political correctness,” Forbes says.
After the supervisors voted to remove the cross, the ACLU and other organizations became emboldened, making similar threats to cities, counties, states and schools nationwide. In many cases, officials capitulated, preferring to remove a symbol of faith than face a lawsuit.
Last year, the FFRF filed a lawsuit challenging the Internal Revenue Service’s alleged “preferential treatment of churches in applying for and maintaining tax-exempt status.” The organization also urged President Obama to “protect freedom of conscience by ending the unconstitutional” National Day of Prayer on May 2.
Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, says organizations like the FFRF are pushing the boundaries. Their ultimate goal, he says, is to “make us a religious-free country,” with their top priority “eradicating the Christian faith.”
“I believe that people are becoming aware of the strategy to dismantle the apparatus that protects our freedoms and preserves our foundational principles,” Carawan says. “These individuals and groups have been committed to removing God from America for decades, and people are now just starting to wake up and realize our foundational principles and religious freedoms are not as secure as they thought they were and that every generation has to fight to protect them.”
A Reminder of God’s Place
Throughout the nation’s history, faith in God and prayer has played a vital role in strengthening the fabric of society, Carawan says. In addition, the nation was “birthed and sustained by a rich history of faith,” Forbes says.
For instance, as early as 1606, the First Charter of Virginia—a document sent from King James I to the Virginia Company—assigned land rights to colonists for the purpose of “propagating the Christian religion.”
In 1775, the Continental Congress called for a day of prayer as it began the process of forming a new nation. President Abraham Lincoln called on the nation to fast and pray at critical junctures during the Civil War.
Facing the Nazi advance on D-Day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Americans to join him in prayer “in this hour of great sacrifice.” In 1952, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill establishing a National Day of Prayer. During the Cold War, President John F. Kennedy famously said, “The guiding principle and prayer of this nation has been, is now and ever shall be ‘In God We Trust.’”
During the Gettysburg Address, President Lincoln addressed a war-torn nation, saying, “This Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Shortly afterward, Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1864, authorizing the secretary of the treasury to first inscribe “In God We Trust” on coins. In 1956, Congress voted to adopt “In God We Trust” as the national motto.
References to the nation’s reliance on God for its blessings are also found in the Mayflower Compact of 1620, the Declaration of Independence, the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem.
Speckled throughout the nation’s history, “In God We Trust” has guided America and provided a “foundation upon which we established our government,” Forbes says. In troubled times, he says, the U.S. has consistently looked toward that one simple truth for hope.
“Today, we face difficult times again,” Forbes told the House of Representatives shortly before it voted 396-9 in November 2011 to reaffirm the national motto. “Many Americans feel their country slipping from their fingertips. And when they see ‘In God We Trust’ slipping from our history books and being removed from the center of our guiding principles, reaffirming that truth becomes important to them.”
A Renewal of the Public Voice
In response to that vote, a growing number of Americans have mobilized to return the national motto to public buildings and schools nationwide.
One of the driving forces behind this campaign is Jacquie Sullivan, a city councilwoman in Bakersfield, Calif., and the founder of In God We Trust—America, Inc. After hearing about a group on the East Coast that was protesting the display of the words “In God We Trust” on a public building, Sullivan convinced her fellow councilmembers to vote, in 2002, to display the national motto in the council chambers of Bakersfield City Hall. In 2004, she founded the In God We Trust—America organization, which sends informative packets to elected officials.
Sullivan, along with many volunteers across the nation, now attends school board and government meetings to encourage officials to vote to display the national motto.
“We are doing great, but we need help,” she says. “I need someone working in every state in our country.”
Dee Wampler, a 72-year-old attorney in Springfield, Mo., who volunteers with Sullivan’s organization, says he’s helped convince officials in more than 80 cities and counties in Missouri and surrounding states to vote to display the national motto.
“I’ve been met with amazing success everywhere I’ve gone, with the exception of my hometown,” says Wampler, the former elected prosecuting attorney in Greene County and author of the book The Myth of Separation Between Church and State. “And now I’m working to defeat the city councilmen blocking the posting of the national motto.”
Wampler says he’s contacted 15 candidates running against these incumbents, all of whom say they are in favor of posting the national motto.
“I’m hoping for a change on the city council, and I’m not giving up,” Wampler says. “Too many Christians give up. If the door is slammed in their face, they just go away, whereas the liberal groups keep coming back and coming back, filing more lawsuits and looking for favorable judges and venues. Too often, Christians are not aggressive enough. We just accept, ‘No,’ and go and pout. And so I’m going to fight. I’m going to draw a line in the sand. I’m not going to give up on Springfield.”
In Tyler, Texas, Rosalie Howerton is taking a similar stand and has helped convince officials in 30 cities and counties to post the national motto.
“Psalm 33:12 says, ‘Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,’ but we’re not looking so swift these days,” Howerton says. “Our morals are not what they used to be. I’m 71. I lived through a time when the country really honored God.”
But Howerton says she’s encouraged by the elected officials and others across the nation who are praying for another Great Awakening and taking action to post “In God We Trust” posters in schools and public buildings nationwide.
“It’s the only way this country is going to turn around—with people praying and hearts being changed,” she says.
Source: CHARISMA NEWS.
Troy Anderson was an award-winning reporter and editorial writer at the Los Angeles Daily News, The Press-Enterprise and other newspapers for two decades. He currently writes for Reuters, Newsmax,Charisma and many other media outlets. He lives in Irvine, Calif. Learn more attroyandersonwriter.com.
Health care law protesters (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)Five House Democrats Wednesday bucked their party and voted with Republicans to repeal Obamacare.
The vote, 244 to 185 with no Republicans voting against a repeal, was mostly symbolic, given that House Republicans have orchestrated at least 30 prior votes to fully or partially kill or defund the president’s health care law. All passing efforts have died in the Democratic-controlled Senate and Wednesday’s legislation will befall the same fate. But the vote did offer politically-vulnerable members a new opportunity to take sides on the president’s health care law.
Additionally, Oklahoma Rep. Dan Boren and Arkansas Rep. Mike Ross, both of whom voted to fully repeal the law in 2011, voted the same way Wednesday. Both Democrats are retiring, which frees them from worrying about the electoral ramifications of their decisions.
That leaves one surprise vote for repeal from Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah. Matheson had offered no firm confirmation of his position prior to the vote and did not vote for full repeal in Jan. 2011.
“We must scrap this flawed effort once and for all, start over, and do it right,” Matheson said in a statement Wednesday. “The goal we all share is bipartisan reform that ensures access to quality care and addresses continued rising costs that affect every Utah family and small business…It is time for Congress to repeal this law and replace it with new legislation. As a member of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, I stand ready to work with both parties to achieve bipartisan, sustainable solutions to meet this challenge.”
Matheson, his state’s only Democratic congressman, is running for re-election in the newly-drawn 4th District where he faces a significant challenge from national tea party rising star Mia Love, who is seeking to become the first African-American Republican woman in Congress.
Love, mayor of Saratoga Springs, recently received an endorsement from Mitt Romney‘s wife, Ann, and has garnered many additional high-profile supporters eager to see this seat switch parties.