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Vol. 1 No.32                                                                                                                               December 30, 2004

From the Desk of Pastor Rick Scarborough


As we approach the end of 2004, it’s important to reflect on what befell Christian America – for good or ill – during the twelve months past. Here’s an accounting of the state of Christian values in these United States

1. Massachusetts Legalizes Homosexual “Marriage” – This was easily the most ominous development of 2004. Flying in the face of 3,200 years of Judeo-Christian tradition, Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court (which often mistakes itself for the Supreme Being) ordered city and town clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples (so-called). This radical re-definition of marriage not only undermines an institution established by God Himself, but opens the door to societal sanction of equally bizarre and outrageous arrangements – including polygamy, group marriage, incest, etc. Christians understand what’s at stake here – the future of the family and, hence, of civilization – even if politicians do not.

2. Congress Takes up Marriage Amendment – In response to the Massachusetts menace (the possibility that un-elected judges in one state could end up re-defining marriage for the entire nation), Congress took up the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA), which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. (We were in the thick of this battle in your behalf. Vision America joined with the leaders of more than 40 pro-family organizations, who constituted the Arlington Group. We met more than 10 times throughout the year, and met with the leadership of both houses and gave them guidance in crafting the FMA.) For all of that, the outcome was disappointing. A constitutional amendment must be passed by a two-thirds vote of each house to go to the states for ratification. In the Senate, Democrats used a filibuster to prevent the amendment from coming to the floor for a vote. In the House of Representatives the vote was 277 to 186 in favor of the FMA, far short of the two-thirds majority needed. While pro-family forces will be stronger in the next Congress (especially in the Senate), it appears that the amendment isn’t among the president’s legislative priorities. It will take continuous pressure on the part of Christian activists to bring the measure to a vote next year. With your help, I pledge to be there, until activist judges cease their relentless assault on Biblical values.

3. Marriage Initiatives – While politicians may be reluctant to defend traditional marriage (especially in a non-election year), the people overwhelming oppose the radical assault on marriage. On November 2, voters in 11 states passed amendments to their state constitutions, defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Though opposed by the media and (in many instances) the entire political establishment, all of the measures passed -- with an average vote of over 70%. Altogether, 14 more states adopted marriage protection amendments this year. Now, a total of 41 states have adopted the normative definition of marriage. While the people have spoken – at ear-shattering decibels – all it would take is one appointed federal judge to undo all of this.

4. Struggle Over Judicial Nominations – Refusing to bow to the will of the people, Senate Democrats employed a permanent filibuster to block the president’s conservative judicial nominees. The device is not only unconstitutional, but anti-democratic as well. Since it takes 60 votes to break a filibuster, a minority of Senators was able to prevent the majority from voting. The American people have now elected George W. Bush to the presidency twice. (On both occasions, they increased his party’s representation in Congress.) While Republicans will have 55 votes in the new Senate, they’re still five short of the number needed to break a filibuster. The Republican leadership is considering changing the Senate’s rules to eliminate the filibuster, which can be done by a simple majority. Christians must persuade their Senators to move expeditiously in that direction. (Vision America is working with several other organizations to convince the Senate leadership to stop this unprecedented abuse of the advise-and-consent authority.) If we fail, the tyranny of the minority will continue, and the president will lose one of his most potent powers – putting his stamp on the federal judiciary.

5. Mel Gibson Gets Passionate – How far we’ve come when making a movie about the death of Jesus Christ is considered controversial. Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of Christ” was the most vilified movie of 2004, as well as one of the most popular. (It cost $25 million to make. To date, its global box office is $610 million and counting.) “The Passion” touched moviegoers as few films ever have. There are recorded instances of individuals confessing to crimes – including murder – after being brought to repentance by the film. Still, the elite was incensed. They said it was too violent (ironically, in a culture that thrives on senseless violence). There were charges of anti-Semitism – refuted by conservative Jews like Toward Tradition’s Rabbi Daniel Lapin and Don Feder, Vision America’s Communications Director. While the success of “The Passion” isn’t a sign of Hollywood returning to the days of “The Greatest Story Ever Told” and “The Big Fisherman,” it does demonstrate a hunger for revival in America.

6. Ten Commandments on the Frontlines of the Culture War -- The Ten Commandments have become a focal point in the war over the right of Americans to publicly acknowledge God. In 2003, Roy Moore was removed as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to obey the unlawful order of a federal district court judge to remove his Ten Commandments monument from the state’s Judiciary Building. This year, Judge Moore unveiled his Constitution Restoration Act of 2004 (HR3799) to take public display of religious symbols, and acknowledgement of God by public officials, out of the hands of federal judges. Vision America continued its Ten Commandments rallies – with major events from Tennessee to Utah, and Dallas, Texas to Hillsdale, Michigan. Also, the United States Supreme Court agreed to take up the constitutionally of public display of the Decalogue in 2 cases. Oral arguments are scheduled for early next year. As the Ten Commandments is the basis of our legal code (a fact attested to by the roman numerals one through ten carved in the doors leading to the Supreme Court’s courtroom), this is a battle Christians must win at all costs.

7. The Ongoing Assault on Christians – The war on Christian America intensified in 2004. Besides attacks on “The Passion,” there were cinematic slanders like the comedy “Saved,” the continuing vilification of Christians on prime-time television (documented in a just-released study by the Parents Television Council), children told they couldn’t bring Bibles to school or say grace in the cafeteria, and the effort to eliminate any public celebration of Christmas. This offensive culminated in the persecution of 4 Christians for praying and reading Scriptures at a homosexual celebration in Philadelphia. We’ve been in the catacombs before. A militantly secular culture is determined to drive us back there. Not to resist is not only foolish, but sinful. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.”

8. Christian Voter Registration – As never before, groups like Vision America poured enormous resources into a non-partisan effort to educate, register and activate Christian voters this year. In all of our publications, at all of our rallies, Vision America stressed the need for Christian participation in the political process. (Other groups did the same. Some, like the Christian Coalition, published non-partisan voter guides.) Always, our message was identical: For Christians, voting isn’t optional, but a sacred duty. The results? Half a dozen pro-life, pro-family, pro-faith and freedom candidates were elected to the U.S. Senate. Minority Leader Tom Daschle – one of the most powerful liberals in Washington and a dogmatic proponent of abortion on demand (even in the third trimester) – was resoundingly defeated. Louisiana elected its first Republican Senator ever – on a pro-family platform. And, on November 2nd, marriage amendments passed in 11 states – including liberal bastions like Oregon. Christian voter registration must be an ongoing effort. To rest on our laurels now would be tragic. Already, the enemy has its sights set on the 2006 election. So must we.

9. The Values Vote – Pundits were flabbergasted when exit polls showed that in this year’s election, 22% said they based their votes on “values” issues (like abortion, marriage and cultural pollution) – more than those who said their primary consideration was the war on terrorism or the economy. While the media focused on jobs and foreign affairs, homosexual “marriage,” the effort to purge God from our public life, attacks on Christianity, and cultural degeneration (like Janet Jackson’s and Britney Spears' exhibitionism), forced Americans to care about basics. (We can’t have a strong economy without strong families. Fewer and fewer Americans will want to defend a society rife with immorality.) The media would like to declare victory for its side in the culture war. The Values Vote shows that our side is alive and kicking.

10. The Right To Life -- 2004 was a significant year in the battle to protect the unborn. In April, the president signed into law the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, allowing the federal prosecution of the death of an unborn child occurring in the commission of a crime. On the other hand, a federal district court judge overturned the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban (passed in 2003). At the urging of the Texas Justice Foundation – representing Norma McCovey (Roe of Roe vs. Wade) -- the Supreme Court may revisit its historic 1973 decision. In the meantime, well over 40 million Americans have been murdered in the womb in the past three decades, more than the combined death toll in all of our wars. Christians must recommit themselves to the cause of ending this great evil.

The year that draws to a close was in many ways momentous. Let us build on our successes, and work to reverse our failures, in the coming year.

May you and your family enjoy peace, prosperity and a rich spiritual life in the year ahead. Have a blessed New Year.

Just a reminder, year end gifts made by credit card on our secure server by midnight December 31, 2004 will be eligible for a 2004 deduction.  Vision America is an IRC 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

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