Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1
Dear Praying Friends,
George Washington, the “Father of our Country” set an example for all Americans by his extraordinary prayer life — an hour of Bible study and prayer each morning and again, each evening. He made this a priority amid his tireless labors as a planter, businessman, military officer, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, statesman and President of the United States of America. His first year in office, President Washington issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation, which reads in part:
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor… Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be — That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks [for many of the unique blessings God afforded America] — and particularly the national One [the Constitution] — for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed… and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us. and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions — to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually — to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed — to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord — To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us — and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best… the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789 (see Proclamation of National Thanksgiving; underlining and bracketed items added).
The First Amendment declares “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The Founders made religious liberty the cornerstone of our enumerated liberties. God commands us to stand fast in Christian liberty. We must pay any price to do so.
Life & Death in the States - Our friends in New York City are pleading for prayer for the unborn children there. In NYC, 40 percent of all pregnancies end in death by abortion; 60 percent of unborn black babies are aborted. Blacks and Hispanics account for 73 percent of all abortions in the city. Yet Mayor Bill de Blasio is working with Planned Parenthood to expand the number of abortion clinics in the city and promises to close down pro-life pregnancy resource centers. De Blasio is continuing former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s requirement that doctors who intern in NYC hospitals must perform abortion as part of their routine training. He also promises to expand state-funded abortion coverage via Obamacare. Last year, N.Y. Senate Republicans succeeded in stopping Governor Andrew Cuomo’s legacy bill to make abortion a “fundamental right” in N.Y. during all nine months of pregnancy, establishing New York as a pro-abortion state permanently, even if Roe v. Wade should be struck down.
Meanwhile, Texas and other states have moved boldly in the opposite direction. Texas’ tightened abortion restrictions have made a difference. Two years ago, there were 44 abortion clinics in Texas and now there are only 24. Some expect the number to decline further. Last week, the Alabama House passed four pro-life bills to: 1) ban abortion after a heartbeat is detected; 2) inform women who abort due to “lethal fetal anomalies” that “perinatal hospice services” are available; 3) extend abortion waiting period from 24 hours to 48 hours; 4) require a birth certificate to identify parents giving abortion consent for their underage daughters. Senate passage is expected. While there are radically pro-abortion states like California and New York, the majority of states are moving decidedly pro-life! A new CNN poll shows 58 percent of Americans to believe abortion should be restricted to very few situations, or always illegal. De Blasio’s War on the Unborn; Cuomo’s War on the Unborn; TX Clinics: 3 More Close, More to Come; Alabama Challenge; “Close-minded“; SCOTUS on TX Law; CNN Poll)
- May God stir the people in “pro-abortion” states! May they choose leaders, who like America’s Founders will uphold the right to life as an unalienable right given to all by our Creator. May He distinguish from among the states those who seek to honor God and His laws. May Roe v. Wade be overturned! (Ex 20:13; Lev 20:1-7; Is 5:20; 10:1-3; Mt 18:6; Mk 10:14; 1 Tim 1:9)
Religious Freedom v. Obamacare – On March 25th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments over Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius. Both challenge Obamacare’s mandate that employer-provided health care plans offer the morning-after pill, a drug that can kill a human embryo, to their employees at no cost. Ninety-three lawsuits against the mandate are at various stages of progress within the federal court system, among them two class action lawsuits. The new idea being advanced in federal and state RFRA cases is that when business people enter the market place to make a profit, they give up their religious liberty rights and must submit to regulations others are subject to. Similarly, corporation does not have religious liberty rights that the Constitution affords individuals (see Underlying Hobby Lobby, Information Central, FRC Amicus Brief, Where’s the Brief?)
- May God guide and bless those arguing in Court for religious freedom and the Constitution. May the Supreme Court profoundly reaffirm religious freedom for all Americans and the institutions in which they participate (Acts 23:1; 24:6; Rom 2:15; 9:1; 2Co 1:12; 4:1-3; Gal 5:1; 1 Tim 1:5-7; 1 Pet 3:10-16 ).
Religious Freedom in the States - The bill that Arizona Gov. Brewer vetoed would not have been controversial had the controversy not been manufactured by pro-homosexual activists. Other states have been (or are in the process of being) bullied into tabling or defeating similar legislation. Whether it is homosexual activists or abortion activists (as in the case with the Obamacare mandate with Hobby Lobby and others), both challenge the right of Christians to live out their faith in their businesses. Both insist that when Christians enter the marketplace to make a profit, they give up their rights to religious freedom. They must submit to whatever rules federal, state and local jurisdictions create, even if their most deeply held religious convictions are violated and their First Amendment rights trampled. Activists in other states either already have or will raise the “they want to deny service to homosexuals” accusation to prevent measures intended to protect religious liberty (view The Barronelle Stutzman Story — the florist who would not take part in a same-sex wedding, under legal assault by the Washington State AG, faces financial ruin and closure of her 30-year old business. Arizona Just the Beginning; Caution – some links lean left: AZ; OH; KS; MO; IL; SD; TN; OR; HI).
- May God send another Great Awakening, like the one that swept America and made the many states one people in spirit, and paved the way for an era of liberty unprecedented in human history. May God’s people stand up for religious liberty and use it to proclaim the Gospel! (Is 61:1; Jer 34:13-20; 2Co 3:17; Gal 5:1, 13; 2 Pt 2:18-20)
Finally, please read tonight’s Washington Update for more on Religious Liberty. Please continue to pray for FRC’s Pastors Briefing, Watchmen on the Wall, May 21-23, and the annual Call2Fall, June 29th, the Sunday before Independence Day!