Monday, December 18, 2006


This was a very big week for my wife, Cheryl and me personally. Our home church voted to sever ties with its denomination, and that’s never an easy thing.

You may have seen the news reports on the seven (more correctly, eight) churches that discontinued their affiliation with the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States (PECUSA). Yes, you may be surprised; Cheryl and I have attended an Episcopal Church for the last eight years. That may come as a shock to some, but let me tell you the story:

As you probably know, I have been in itinerant preaching ministry for 25 years. On average, I preach in a different church somewhere in the country about every other week. That means I don’t see my own church very much. And, I can’t really get very involved in my own church’s activities because of the all-consuming demands of my own evangelistic ministry on Capitol Hill and elsewhere in the US and around the world. (It’s funny; I remember being told years ago that Billy Graham didn’t attend a church on Sundays when he was home because he could never get settled into one. His wife Ruth has been a life-long Presbyterian, and decided to stay so even though Dr. Graham is a life-long Baptist. She just wasn’t going to let his crazy life affect her routine. Now I understand those things.)

Anyway, eight years ago Cheryl and I came to the same conclusion as the Grahams. I maintain my membership in two fellowships: The Evangelical Church Alliance (America’s oldest association of Evangelical clergy) and the old line Gospel-preaching, Bible-teaching, holiness Methodist Episcopal Church USA. (Not affiliated in any way with the liberal United Methodist or Episcopal churches.) Because I am gone so much and can’t be involved in a local home church, Cheryl and I prayerfully decided that because she can and is always deeply involved in our home church, she would make the pick. She found Christ the Redeemer, a biblically faithful, soul-saving, Gospel-centered Episcopal congregation meeting right in the very school where Cheryl practices as an occupational therapist for disabled children.

“CTR,” as the church is affectionately known, is a mission congregation of the historic Truro Church in nearby Fairfax, Virginia, a leader among Evangelical Anglican congregations. Truro is famous for two things: Its Gospel-centered life and ministry—and one of its past vestrymen (or board members): none other than our first president, George Washington! Truro and its pastor, newly consecrated Anglican Bishop Martyn Minns, has led the way in severing ties with the apostate and ultra-liberal Episcopal Church. The process was accelerated after the so-called consecration of an actively homosexual Episcopal bishop a few years ago. Truro voted to break ties with the Episcopal Church this week. With them went Falls Church, another great Bible-preaching and teaching congregation pastored by the well-known Evangelical preacher John Yates. (Together, these two churches represent about 4000 attendees.) A number of smaller churches, like my own, rounded out the eight who decided to stand with the historic Gospel and reject the New Age heresy adopted by the PECUSA.

Yesterday I released a statement commending the eight churches that severed their ties with PECUSA. (You can read it at Scroll to Sunday, 12-17 releases.) In it, I pointed out that both the ordained and lay leaders of these churches have exhibited extraordinary spiritual courage and integrity, largely because they put at serious risk their properties (worth millions of dollars) and, even more so, their reputations. This is Christ-like leadership. Remember, Jesus emptied himself of everything to obey God’s will.

Most of these eight churches will now align themselves with the biblically faithful Anglican Church of Nigeria, through its American missionary presence called the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). Yes, I said “missionary presence.” It’s ironic that America, once the greatest force for missions on the planet, now needs missionaries from Africa! (I remember years ago when the Koreans began sending missionaries here. I thought then, ‘this is a picture of our future if we continue to abandon our rich Christian history!’)

The liberal Episcopal bishop of Virginia, Peter Lee, has vowed to wage war against these dissenting churches. He has threatened to take their properties and other assets to punish them. Lee says that what has happened amounts to “Nigerian churches occupying Episcopal buildings.” How ironic—the liberal US church that for decades touted itself as a champion of people of color and of poor developing countries is preparing to now evict them from what the American liberals view as belonging to their rich, white denomination! (I’ve always appreciated how God makes the machinations of those who resist Him look so foolish!)

O to God that we would have more faithful churches like these eight that would put aside concerns about denominational ties and building titles in favor of remaining true to God’s Word! The days ahead won’t be easy for any of these churches or pastors; the assault will be tremendous. But when it’s all over—that is, when they stand before God in heaven—they will know they did the right thing.

Check out our website this week—there’s lots of new things going on here. If nothing else, please read my article on the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. I think you’ll agree with me that Christians ought to be celebrating this feast as much as Jews.

Back with you later . . .

Monday, December 11, 2006

The wind is kicking up!

I received a call early this morning from our ministry team member on the ground in New Jersey. I’ve been telling you about our state-by-state strategy for taking a prophetic witness of biblical Truth to the nation’s state supreme courts. New Jersey is an example of why this strategy is so badly needed. The highest court there has ordered—yes, I said ordered—the legislature to accommodate same-sex couplings.

As an illustration of the egregious violation of the separation of powers—that is, checks and balances—New Jersey’s judicial branch has just plain bullied the state’s legislative branch. Think about that: The judges have instructed the representatives of the people to pass law that the people do not want. What?

While I’d have to dismiss any notion that immoral law is bad law (which, of course, I strongly believe), I could still get around to understanding the courts striking down an existing law as unconstitutional and letting the legislature—that is the people—wrestle with how to resolve it. But ORDER the duly elected representatives of the people to create new law that no one asked to create? It’s nothing short of tyranny.

I can’t help but think it was for less than this that we staged a revolutionary war against Britain. I’m not calling for another revolution like that one, but I do think it’s time we use every lawful option to clean up the cesspool. The judiciary has become inebriated with power, and, sad to say, weak legislators are all too happy to comply and pass the buck: “I wudda’ done the right thing, ya’ know? But the judge ordered it and wattya’ gonna do?”

Try standing up for the Constitution—even if it is the state constitution! (Incidentally, for good or for bad, it is “settled law” now that the Bill of Rights applies to the states.) This is why constitutions exist. They are a rigid framework that doesn’t allow despotic impulse and fancy to overrule the law.

Well, now that I have that off my chest, I can tell you about some other kinder and gentler things:

We are, of course, entering that wonderful season of the year called Christmas. We’re doing all we can to positively exploit it for the advance of the Gospel—which is what the Christmas story is all about. We put up our Christmas Advent scripture banner at the beginning of this month. It’s Micah 3:1, “Behold, He is coming.”

Advent, of course, means “to come.” So, the verse fits. Christmas celebrates the first coming of Christ in the form of the Suffering Savior. The Second Advent will celebrate his arrival as King. Christmas looks back at the First Coming and forward to the Second Coming. But Christmas isn’t the only holiday to be celebrated at this time of the year. There’s another “Festival of Lights” (more correctly, “Feast of Dedication”) that is lesser known, but was part of Jesus’ life and ministry, and, I believe, ought to be part of our own. For the sake of intrigue, I’ll leave it a mystery for now, but tell you I’ll talk about it this Wednesday on my live missionary field report. (Every Wednesday, 12:00 noon EST, on, but you can link at the top left corner of our website, Tell your family, friends and fellow church members to listen in! You’ll be surprised to learn how relevant this obscure holiday is to the struggle that every Christian is engaged in, at least in the West.

One final word, this on the continuing Rick Warren / Barack Obama flap: I hope you saw my full statement. My criticism for Rick’s invitation to share his pulpit with the rabidly pro-abortion senator must be taken into context. You can read it on our website. The brouhaha hasn’t abated yet. Apparently, Newsweek Magazine’s website published an interview with Rick Warren’s wife, Kay, who is the driving force behind the Purpose Driven couple’s laudable AIDS relief work. When asked specifically if my criticism was a surprise to her, she said, “A bit.” I’m not surprised that she was surprised, even if it was just a bit. I guess I’m more disappointed. She said maybe she was a bit naïve. I guess I am, too. I thought that the Warrens of the world would be better informed.

That revelation of Kay Warren’s naivety, coupled with a conversation last night among members of my wife Cheryl’s and my regular home group (a Bible study, prayer and discussion group that meets in our family room every other Friday), left me resolved to do something more substantial about all this. A woman we know and admire greatly said she saw Obama in the Saddleback pulpit and thought, “Finally, a good Democrat we can get behind.” Egad! Couldn’t be less true!

Watch in the days ahead for more about Sen. Obama and his religious history, philosophy and company he keeps. While he’s been detailed to court the Evangelicals especially, and perhaps hoodwink all Christians of conscience in this country, he is anything but a biblically faithful believer!

Well, that’s all for now. I do realize there is a lot more to write you about, so I may begin posting more often. This is an emerging communication medium for me, so please bear with me as I learn the ropes.

Oops, the final final: Congress has finally left town. Washington is always a windy place, but it was particularly gusty as members carried out a whirlwind of last-minute debates, delivered speeches and passed legislation—then bolted. (As a spooky reminder they were leaving, a fierce Nor’easter blew by our building, snapping the bolts that held our Christmas banner on our building! We’re replacing them now.)

In my final analysis, this Republican led Congress of the last 12 years has accomplished things no other Congress would have even attempted, but it fell far short of what they should have done. With virtually all three branches in the hands of Republicans, we all rightfully expected to be much further down the road toward reclaiming moral sanity. That failure is inexcusable: “To whom much is given, much will be required.” (Luke 12:48)

I will give kudos to the Senate: They confirmed two of the best justices we have had since Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas were seated. (Those are relative kudos to be sure.) The new Senate, especially with Sen. Patrick Leahy as chair of the Judiciary Committee, will not do that again. We must pray!

Be back later . . .

Monday, December 04, 2006


Ever since that stunning reversal by the Federal District of Columbia on their order for us to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the front of our ministry house here on Capitol Hill, I’ve wondered what I should write about in this blog.

My original intent in starting “The Ten Commandments on Capitol Hill” was to keep you informed on the battle so you could pray and act with us until we achieved victory. As I’ve said countless times, I wish I were always God’s Man of Faith and Power for the Hour, but I’m not. I thought we’d have a very long, complicated and expensive fight in front of us—but, praise God, I was wrong! When the DC legal department rendered its official opinion that we could keep the display-- just three weeks after they threatened us with $300 per day fines and possible forced sale of our property--I wasn’t sure what to do with this forum!

As you’ve picked up, I’ve played around with various issues of the day. Now, though, I’ve settled what to do with “The Ten Commandments on Capitol Hill.” I’ll use this space to fill you in on everything else that goes on around here. In other words, there is plenty of ministry work, prayer, controversies, developments, interesting people, and events connected with our missionary outreach to elected and appointed officials that never makes it into an E-mail, a newsletter or the media. You’ll never see a headline on any of this, but it is all as important as anything else we do.

So, beginning this week, each Monday I’ll post these “happenings” here. Sometimes, they will be as juicy as any scuttlebutt coming out of this town; other times it will be as boring as paperwork in a cubicle. But it will always give you the complete picture of what it takes to keep a strong Gospel witness of Biblical Truth flowing among the most powerful people in the most powerful city of the most powerful country on earth.

What I do hope and pray is that this blog will be a forum for us to communicate back and forth with each other. I admit it will take some reorientation and discipline for me, but beginning this week, I commit to reading everything you write back to me at this space. So, please WRITE BACK! Even if it’s just a one-liner—or even a one-worder!

If you’ve followed this site at all, you know for a period of time I had only one writer—and he wasn’t terrible friendly! (I’ve got to tell you though, I’ve come to appreciate Jeff Wismer of Beltway Atheists. He’s been by our ministry house and he’s actually quite a nice and enjoyable guy. I’m praying that he has one of those life-changing lapses when he doubts for just a moment his otherwise smug self-confidence! All said with great affection, Jeff!)

Today I’m headed to a meeting of Evangelical chaplain endorsers for the military. These are the people that the Department of Defense (DOD) looks to for certification that a minister is fit for service to our military men and women. As you know, there’s been quite a controversy over military chaplains ending their prayers in the name of Jesus. This particular group of chaplain endorsers (made up of civilian church leaders) has worked prayerfully and wisely behind-the-scenes to deal with this intolerable restriction on Christian chaplains. (As far as anyone knows, no other religious group has been forbidden from invoking the name of their respective deities.) While other chaplain endorsers have caved in to the politically correct spirit at the DOD (even large Evangelical organizations and denominations have cowed to the intimidation), this group has remained quietly resolute. I’ll be pleased to be with them.

I expect too, that today I’ll still be dealing with more ruckus over my criticism of Rick Warren’s hosting of rabidly pro-abortion senator Barack Obama. If you haven’t read my statements on this, please do so. They can all be found at either our website, our sister site or It’s important to note that my criticism was never aimed directly at Rick or the great work he has done and is doing. The media wanted it to appear that way, but it was never the case. I have only criticized Rick’s choice of Obama. Why not a pro-life Democrat? (There are actually a few!)

In between these two biggies, I’ll meet with our staff to plan three enormously important initiatives:

1) Our imminent Christmas outreach to Congress. This year we’ll hand-deliver to all 535 members (435 representatives, 100 senators) a personal letter, a special Christmas Gospel tract, a book dealing with spiritual and moral integrity in leadership and two tickets to see the film The Nativity. (See our upcoming web article and E-Notice.) It may not look like it on the surface, but these activities require an enormous amount of work. Just imagine arranging hand-delivery of a pile of materials to 535 offices anywhere, some of them occupied by very hostile recipients. Then complicate it by a factor of 100 for the multiple layers of security in place since 9-11 and the subsequent anthrax attacks. It surely doesn’t make it any easier!

2) This Thursday we launch our second year with Operation Nativity (coordinated by my long-time friend and ministry partner, Dr. Charles Nestor of, a call for Christians in America to display nativity scenes (some prefer to call them “crèches”) on their front lawns, porches, balconies or in a prominent window for passers-by to see. We kick it off by placing our own Nativity Display on the front lawn of our ministry house across the street from the US Supreme Court, one block form the US Capitol and ten minutes from the White House. More than one senator and Supreme Court justice has been observed to stop and contemplate Jesus lying in the manger amidst Joseph, Mary, the Magi and angels! This year, we team up twice by adding another long-time friend and partner, Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, who is spearheading The Nativity Project, an effort to keep Christ in public “holiday” displays. Pat and I will hold a news conference to encourage individuals, churches and other groups to secure permits from their local and state governments for a Nativity at their town or city hall, county seat building or state capitol. Watch for more info.

3) Our upcoming National Memorial for the Pre-born and their Mothers and Fathers, January 22. (Same day as the annual March for Life. It’s timed so you can do both.) This unique gathering affirming the Sanctity of our God-given Right to Life is in its 12th year on Capitol Hill. It is a fully-dressed worship and preaching service—the only one held inside the US Capitol complex. Dozens of clergy from every major denomination participate and hundreds attend. My brother, Paul, and I started it when we first arrived. You may know the story: We held the first Memorial in a liberal church just a few blocks from where our ministry house is now located. We rented the building, but when the liberal pastor and leaders learned what we were doing they were scandalized. I was hauled in front of their board along with my ministry team members. We were excoriated for being intolerant, bigoted, and anti-woman for having a pro-life meeting in their sanctuary. The whole thing was ironic; my team was a veritable rainbow of humanity: men, women, young, old, white, black and Asian. (Not to mention my Jewish heritage!) Their side was a phalanx of middle-aged white males. Still, we got the lecture. When it was finally over, I was told by the church’s board chairman, “We are a tolerant church. We have pro-life and pro-choice people, gays and straights, liberals and conservatives. But we find your position on abortion untenable.” I responded respectfully and asked for clarification by saying, “Let me get this straight. You are so tolerant, you find us intolerable. Is that correct?” He flatly said, “That’s correct,” then told us to find another location for the next year. No kidding. Thank God he did—we’ve been inside the U.S. Capitol complex ever since!

The rest of this week will be taken up with meetings on the Hill, end-of-year communications with our support team made of up of you and people like you all over the country (we have the last of our quarterly conference calls tonight—if you want in, just make a contribution of any amount at our website and you’ll receive an invitation), and finally, a big move. We have a much larger ministry team than we had this time last year, and it means we’re going to be relocating people between our two buildings. That’s never easy. I’ll be vacating the room that I’ve worked out of for six years. I dread the breaking down and setting back up, but I’ll still have a front-window view of the Chief Justice’s chambers across the street!

Before I go—don’t forget this Wednesday: Faith and Action Live! Your live missionary field report from Capitol Hill, 12:00 noon to 1:00 PM. You can link to it from our website. (Top left hand corner of the screen.) I’ll talk more about the Saddleback Church flap and what Obama’s outreach to Evangelicals means for the ’08 presidential race.

That’s all for now—please write with your comments, questions—and, Jeff—your criticisms, accusations and insults!

Blessings for now!

Thursday, November 30, 2006


I guess I caused quite a stink yesterday when I joined other Christian leaders in challenging Saddleback Valley Community Church pastor Rick Warren's speaking invitation to Sen. Barack Obama.

I will make perfectly clear that I do not object to Pastor Warren's admirable attempt to bring disparate voices to the table to ameliorate worldwide suffering from HIV/AIDS. I do applaud his ministry efforts and pray for his success. What I object to is his selection of Sen. Obama.

The problem here is Pastor Warren's political naivety. I've been on Capitol Hill for 13 years. There is no doubt in my mind that this is simply about Barack Obama getting a photo of himself in the pulpit of one of the largest, best known and widely acclaimed EVANGELICAL pulpits in the country.

Notwithstanding Pastor Warren's response to my call for a public statement distancing himself from the Senator's policies on abortion, there is little he can do now to stop the above from happening. As long as Barack Obama appears in Rick Warren's pulpit, the majority of the public will only know that "Barack Obama spoke at Rick Warren's church." In the average person's mind, that equates to "Rick Warren endorses Barack Obama."

In view of Rick Warren's burden for reducing childhood deaths do to disease, poverty and war, many of us who support these efforts are perplexed about why he can't see that Barack Obama's abortion policies result in the largest numbers of child deaths in the world!

I appreciate Pastor Warren's response to our call for clarification, and I continue to be prayerfully enthusiastic about his highly effective evangelistic and Christian humanitarian endeavors. But I maintain that he is being deliberately exploited and will only cause confusion in the Body of Christ should he proceed with the Senator's invitation.

By the way, for those who think rescinding such an invitation is mean-spirited, let me assure you Sen. Obama can take it. National politics is a brutal sport and those who survive and make it to the top have very thick skin. There are plenty of people Obama won't be photographed with or even be seen with in this town. He dishes it out; he can certainly take it. It goes with the job.

As for me. I am praying that Rick Warren will do the right thing and that Sen. Obama's heart and mind will be changed on abortion as his heart is changed by Christ.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


You may already have visited our new website at (Please read my article under Latest News: THANKSGIVING HAS ALWAYS BEEN A RELIGIOUS HOLIDAY--But Don't tell the ACLU!) If so, you know we're in the process of transferring all our forums, including this blog, to the new venue. I will post there in the future and this address will be closed.

For now, let me send to you my best wishes and prayers for a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving for you and yours! Our thanks go up to God for you and all you do for this ministry! (Including you, Jeff Wismer!)


Monday, November 06, 2006


The next 48 hours will say much about the course of our American civilization for the next few decades. What happens in voting booths on Tuesday, November 7, and in the Supreme Court building on Wednesday, November 8, will say much about where we are headed. Christians--like you and me--will play a very large role in setting that direction.

While many of us are confused, even jaded, about what so-called "conservatives" have done (or, more accurately, not done) in the last few years, we can't use it as an excuse to do nothing. Too much is at stake to sit by and let others make the big decisions.

This is America, where every adult citizen--whether born or naturalized--not only has the right but the responsibility to cast a vote. It's the very least we can do for our country. Hundreds of thousands have given their lives to preserve the liberties we enjoy in this nation. How dare we use a flimsy excuse to shirk our part.

Please take time to pray, then make your plan to get out and vote tomorrow. E-mail or call a friend, family member or fellow church member and tell them to do the same. Statistically, this is all about voter turn out. You don't have to convince anyone to vote for any particular candidate or issue. They will vote their convictions. What's important is that they go to the polls.

Send the E-mail, make the call, ask the question. Offer a ride or free babysitting. Offer your company. The least likely to go are the elderly and parents of young children. Make it possible for them.

God will use you as you make yourself available. In a representative republic, we only get what we deserve. If we get bad leadership in this country, it's because we didn't do enough to get good leadership.

Is taking an hour out of your day too much? I know you don't think so. Some races, some initiatives may very well be decided on a hand-full of votes. Yours, your family members' and your fellow church members will be among them.

Pray--then vote--then pray again on Wednesday. Wednesday is the day the US Supreme Court will hear the two biggest Sanctity of Life cases since Roe v. Wade. Once again, the High Court will consider whether puncturing the head of a child and draining her brains during the process of birth should be legal in this country. The decision hangs on one or two members of the Court.

Remember: Your vote tomorrow will determine what kind of justices sit on this court in the future. Choose prayerfully and well!


Be back with commentary on the results.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A budding friendship?

If you insist on using last names, I will address you Mr. Wisner.

Mr. Wisner, you say I am afraid to be held accountable. If I were, I would refuse to answer you. And, as you assert, if you are the only one reading this blog, it is well worth the expenditure of time and attention. One life has as much value as all lives. So, whether I’m writing to one, 100 or 100,000 doesn’t make a difference; I am communicating with you.

You say (rather dogmatically, I might add), that I can’t represent knowing a Supreme Being without taking responsibility. (Please explain in greater detail and I’ll respond in kind. )

For now, let me say, if there is no Supreme Being, no God, then you have absolutely no authority to assert anything. Your opinions are simply the imagination of your own mind, a construct of your own ego and have no currency, no meaning and no weight outside your own thinking. If I accepted your opinion that there is no God, I would not waste time corresponding with you because it would be meaningless.

But . . . because I believe there is indeed a God, that He loves and values you as much as He does me, I consider it a happy responsibility to correspond with you. In fact, I am doing more--I am praying for you!

If we were both lost in the desert, and I learned where water could be found, but withheld that information from you, I would be rightly condemned by my conscience and all other moral persons. I have learned where Living Water can be found and I am morally obligated—because of the existence of a Supreme Moral Being--to share this knowledge with you. Of course, as the old adage says, I can’t force you to drink.

Here is what I know: God is our Creator, meaning we are not mere products of chance. Human beings have souls, a “third dimension,” if you will, that has been alienated from the Creator by our own desire to replace Him. As in any relationship, our struggle to dominate results in a chasm between the two: humankind and God. It takes the One in the superior position to reach across the divide. God has done so in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, who says to us, “Come, all you who are weak and burdened and I will give you rest.” “Come to me, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Mr. Wisner, the restlessness you experience in your heart, mind and soul can only be settled when you make peace with God by accepting His terms. He is eternally in a position of superiority over us. We can only accept His conditions, not the other way around. Once having accepted those terms, we can relax and know utter and eternal consolation.

I am, as they say, just one beggar telling another where to find bread. I am in no way better than you. In fact, have no doubt that I’m worse than you. Perhaps that’s why God saved me before you. He knew I’d do more damage!

Your apparent anger at me—and, I assume, against God—is proof of God’s existence. Why be angry unless there is something to be angry at? Why waste time seeking to prove that something doesn’t exist? The fact you spend any time on it at all proves that God is worthy of your attention.

Enough said for now. Please know that tonight I am praying for you.

And thanks for reminding me about accountability. My sinful tendencies require that I be reminded often!

Blessings to you and yours,

Back folks. I renew my apology. This has been the busiest time of any year in recent memory. Something had to give—and I’m afraid it was this blog.

I note that Jeff Wismer of Beltway Atheists has posted a number of times. Correct me if I’m wrong, Jeff, but I believe you grew up in a Christian home. Didn’t you tell me that? We had a nice visit here at our ministry center the day we dedicated the Ten Commandments monument.
We have a similar life story, but only in this way: You apparently rejected the faith of your youth, while I rejected the atheism of my youth. I was raised in a dyed-in-the-wool liberal Democrat home. Our religion was a careful blend of liberal / nominal Reformed Judaism, agnosticism and humanism. My upbringing was much closer to where you are now.

My father, whom I love very much and consider my greatest mentor, gave me the best of his advice when he told both my brother and me to “search for truth.” I did and it paid off. I found, “The Way, the Truth and the Life.” (You know Who He is, don’t you?)

Especially in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was to me, in the first encounter, the greatest humanist who ever lived. Then, the logical lens through which my father taught me to look at the world demanded I resolve the age-old conflict: How could Jesus be the greatest humanist if he lied about his identity? I either had to take Him at His whole word, or doubt everything. So, I tested it. Putting aside my arrogant, demagogic, self-centered, narcissistic egoism, I asked, “What is it about Jesus that would prove He is not the Son of God?” Hmmm. Only my opinion remained.

The other day I debated Barry Lynn of the so-called Americans United for Separation of Church and State. In the make-up room with us was a woman (I’m embarrassed that I can’t remember her name) of a political organization representing secularists; maybe you know her. She identified herself as an atheist. I asked if atheists ever have doubts about their convictions the way we Christians often do about ours. She confidently asserted she does not. I asked if she could help me to gain such an unwavering confidence. She didn’t answer.

My point is to appeal to your other, non-activist side, Jeff. The best advice I’ve received outside of my dad’s was from Dr. Doug Louie, a Chinese-American psychologist and man of deep Christian faith. In my formative days as a minister, he said, “Rob, you will do well in your ministry if you remember it is never what people say or do that matters, but only why they say or do it.” Those words have really served me well over the years.

Jeff, you might take a little quiet time, in the privacy of your own soul, to ask why it is you say and do the things you do. That exercise has paid out richly for me.

I truly enjoyed our short conversation at our ministry center. You’re welcome back any time. I’d love to continue the exchange. You may be surprised just how similar we really are. I admire your activism. I can’t wait until it is in the service of your Creator!

Friday, October 13, 2006


I apologize for my absence. I've been out of form ever since my sudden and completely unexpected visit to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Maybe you saw some of that on the news or read about. Some have asked, How did you get involved in Lancaster County? The answer is simple: Faith and Action has one of its largest bases of support in this very Christian area. I've also had long established friendships there that go back 20 years.

When the news reached us of the tragic shootings at the Amish school house in nickel Mines, I knew immediately someone who is a part of our ministry will be directly affected. Lancaster County is a very close knit community; that's especially true of the Christian community.

So, I prayed, cancelled meetings in Washington and jumped in my car to head two hours north. En route I made calls. Yes, indeed. Two of our dearest friends were directly touched by this horror: They employed the mother of the shooter. She was described to me as a wonderful Christian lady who loved the Lord and her family. But it was even bigger than that. The company she works for is entirely Christian, and they are more like a family than a business. All of herr more than 100 employees were devastated. When I got to them, they were in shock. We held a prayer service, and the Lord really met us. All of these brothers and sisters in Christ were set on ministering to their friend and her family, as much as to the families of the victims. It was the beginning of a dramatic lesson in Christian love, the heart of the Gospel and the essence of a redeemed community.

I intended to stay only a few hours but remained four days. They were four of the most life-changing days I've experienced in 25 years of Christian ministry. Emotionally, those days ranked right along with the aftermath of 9/11 and my visists to our supporting churches in New Orleans after Katrina. I'm still not over it.

Please check my website ( for the lessons (only the first of many more) I learned during my odyssey with the Roberts and Amish families of Lancaster County. It's all up at our website.

Back with more.

Friday, September 29, 2006


The only reason the Boise, ID, city council yanked out a Ten Commandments monument from a public park was because they feared the ACLU just might drain their pockets with a lawsuit. That's exactly what the billion-dollar terrorist enterprise has done to cities and towns around the U.S. They got tens of thousands of dollars out of poor and rural Adams County Ohio for it's Ten Commandments displays--and more than $1 million from tiny Dover, PA, after school officials there dared to say what our Declaration of Independence asserts: There is a Creator! (In point of fact, all they said was, there might be a Creator.)

All this extortion money comes, of course, from the public treasury--your tax dollars. And it's not like the ACLU or its co-conspirators need it. What the ACLU does is troll around the country, looking for a vulnerable community, then menace them with threats of a lawsuit. If the victims don't capitulate, they proceed with a suit. All the while, ACLU fundraisers are rolling out mass mailings and Internet appeals, begging donors to cough up millions of dollars. So far, the ACLU and its subsidiaries have amassed a fortune of more than $300 million in savings! So, their legal expenses are well paid for even before they get into court. But that's not what ACLU lawyers tell the judge after they win. They claim they have unpaid bills and the public owes them their due. So, what happens? The tax-payers end up paying through the nose (sometimes at $300 - $400 per hour, plus all expenses) and the ACLU gets paid twice! What a scam!

Well finally, the ACLU has got its comeuppance! The House of Representatives passed the Public Expression of Religion Protection Act, 244 to 173, ordering the courts to stop making town councils, school boards and other public treasurers paying-off the ACLU. BUT, the measure must pass the US Senate to become law. No doubt President Bush will sign it, but there's barely any movement in the Senate. Best thing you can do is call your US Senator at their local offices (number in your phone book) and urge them to pass "PERA," the Public Expression of Religion Protection Act! Leave your name, address and phone number (whether they want it or not) and tell them you do vote!

Thank God for the courage of the Republicans and some 20 Democrats that voted for this common sense measure. And many heartfelt thanks to our ministry partner, Phil Jauregui of the Judicial Action Group for his outstanding leadership on this key issue! God bless you, Phil!

Friday, September 22, 2006


Never have the Ten Commandments been more important to American civilization than now. With the rise of murderous terrorism, the relentless advance of flagrant immorality and an attempt by so-called “religious” liberals to redefine right and wrong, America needs to routinely recalibrate its moral compass.

This weekend Gary Bauer hosts a “Values Voters” conference here in Washington. I can’t be there, but if I could, I’d suggest the bottom line is always those simple “Ten Words of Sinai.” Why? Because the big question is, how do we judge whether something (or someone) is right or wrong?

God gave the Ten Commandments to answer precisely that question. When it comes to evaluating candidates for public office, legislative initiatives or court opinions, here’s a simple test based on each of the Commandments:

1) Does it (he/she) honor or dishonor God? (Belief or unbelief?)

2) Does it (he/she) suggest that we must put our beliefs about God aside in favor of other considerations? (Idolatry is putting anything in front of God and His will.)

3) Does it (he/she) claim to speak for God, yet contradict His moral standards? (False religion.)

4) Does it (he/she) work for or against the corporate worship of God? (Pro or anti-church?)

5) Does it (he/she) preserve or dismiss the wisdom handed down through the ages? (Wise or foolish?)

6) Does it (he/she) respect the Sanctity of Life? (Acknowledge or dismiss the Creator status of God?)

7) Does it (he/she) preserve and protect the family or militate against it? (Pro or anti traditional family of mother + father + children.)

8) Does it (he/she) preserve and protect personal property, including the work of one’s own hands? (Characterized by giving or taking?)

9) Does it (he/she) stand for honesty and transparency? (Ring true or false—plain speak or sophistry?)

10) Does it (he/she) seek to undermine relationships (especially between husband and wife), separate people and their legitimate property (think Supreme Court on “takings”) and get what is not earned or deserved? (Greed or graft?)

The Bible says the law of God is written upon the heart. (Read that “conscience.”) The Commandments are really common sense right and wrong. What makes them so common is that they’re embedded in our very DNA. While many consciously and deliberately chafe against the Commandments, few honestly disagree with them.

Who and what to vote for? Measure them against the Commandments and you’ll know!

Friday, September 15, 2006


Yes, it's Boise--Idaho, that is! This relatively quiet river city where the desert meets the mountains is also the staging ground for an epic battle in the war for America's soul. Faith and Action sent our partner, Rev. Pat Mahoney, out to Boise this week to help organize a citizen's movement against the removal of a Ten Commandments monument.

Two years ago the Boise city council decided, of its own accord, to remove a beautiful monument of the Ten Commandments from a city park. The mayor and certain council members claimed they were "afraid" of an ACLU lawsuit that would waste taxpayers' money. (No lawsuit has ever been filed.) But, then, they launched their own suit against their own citizens when the electorate demanded the decision be put to a vote at the ballot box! I've posted below Boise's FOX News 12 reporter Dan Hamilton's complete story from their website. Please take time to read it.

Brandi Swindell (quoted in Hamilton's article) is well-known to us and has been with us at our ministry center numerous times and at many of our events over the years. She's a young, articulate, fresh face in the culture wars. Rev. Mahoney has been working with Brandi's group for over two years. He went out this week to help her train and organize for the upcoming referendum.

This showdown is critical because--if successful--it will set a precedent for citizen action on the public display of God's Word all over the country. One of the greatest challenges in Boise is the cost for commissioning a Zogby Poll, a necessary step in executing the right strategy. It's going to run somewhere around $6000. If you can help with this and other expenses for this critically important effort, you may do so at our website: (use the donation button at the upper right). Then, send us an E-mail telling us when you made the gift online and the amount ( We will speed it out to Boise!

Here's Hamilton's story:

Boise, Idaho -- Boise's Ten Commandments monument that once stood in Julia Davis Park was moved over two years ago to Saint Michael's Cathedral.
The decision was made after Kansas preacher Fred Phelps tried using the monument as an avenue to install his own anti-gay monument.
But a group of Boise citizens fought to keep the Commandments in place, and have continued fighting to get them moved back. And today, the Idaho Supreme Court decided the Commandments should go to a vote.
"So we're making history here in Boise, Idaho," said Brandi Swindell of the Keep the Commandments Coalition.
Two years ago, a group of Boise citizens began collecting 19,000 signatures in order to allow voters to decide whether or not to move the Ten Commandments monument back to Julia Davis park.
And now the Idaho Supreme Court ruling determined voters would get that opportunity -- so on Nov. 7, Boise residents will be the first in the country to vote on such an issue.
"This is a huge victory that not only has significance here in Boise, but really has national significance as well," said Swindell.
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and Boise city council members had fought to keep the issue off the ballot saying it was an administrative decision and not legislative in nature, and in late August 2004 a district judge agreed.
"I also have to say that this clearly shows that Mayor Bieter and Councilman (Alan) Shealy wasted city time, city money, city resources. They spent thousand and thousands of dollars to fight against their own citizens," said Swindell.
"From the beginning, we have said that we will abide by the will of the people at the ballot box, and we expect the mayor and the council to do the same thing," added Bryan Fischer of the Keep the Commandments Coalition.
But according to Boise city, the ruling, unlike the monument, may not be set in stone.
According to Boise Spokesperson Elizabeth Duncan the vote will go forward, but what happens after that is still anybody's guess.
"Today, the supreme court essential said, 'we don't have enough information to make a decision. We'd like you to put this on a ballot, and then we'll make a ruling,' which is exactly what we plan to do," said Duncan.
According to the ruling, the Idaho Supreme Court is a little confused itself as to whether or not this is an administrative or legislative issue.
No matter how things eventually end up, city officials said this has never been about the monument itself -- rather how the city can avoid further legal distractions.
"This is about making sure that the city of Boise conducts itself in a very conservative, prudent, measured way so we're not having to get in the middle of legal battles in the future," said Duncan.
Should voters decide in favor of the monument, and that decision stands, we're told a new monument would be created to go back into Julia Davis Park.
The original statue would stay in place at Saint Michael's Cathedral.

Keep a watch on this and pray. God is doing something big!

Monday, September 11, 2006


Today, we remember all those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, and the loved ones who survive them. We pray God's greatest comfort for those who still bear the terrible scars of that day, physically and emotionally. We ask the Lord of Life to fill the emptiness left by the sudden and painful departure of treasured friends and loved ones.

As I reflect on my own experience on September 11 and the days following, I am struck by how profoundly evil the machinations of the terrorists were. In fact, it took 9-11 to reintroduce the word "evil" into the American lexicon.

Polls have consistently shown Americans believe in God and heaven by an overwhelming majority. The numbers are usually in the high 90th percentile. Yet, at the same time, most Americans dismiss the idea of Hell and the Devil. On September 11, though, we were left with no other explanation for what had happened. At a loss for words, it seemed when anyone was asked what the meaning of such a thing could be, they stammered until they found the right tag: It was just plain evil.

Sadly, it takes a grotesque act as barbarous as the 9/11 attacks to snap us out of our Pollyanna worldview and wake us up to reality. The deliberate, premeditated, intentional mass murder of thousands of innocent children, women and men epitomizes the complete violation of God's moral law for the Universe. Once again, the exception proves the rule: 9/11 couldn't have been evil unless an absolute Good truly exists. The Bible says that the Law of God is written upon our hearts. Somehow, even the most irreligious among us know this heinous act contradicted that often ignored Law.

There was no gray, moral fuzziness about what the terrorists and their accomplices did in 2001. They raised an angry fist in the face of God and His Holy Law. In fact, in less than one hour, the world-wide terrorist machine managed to violate virtually every one of the Ten Commandments:


The terrorists began by effectively declaring themselves to be God by deciding among themselves, over a long period of time, who would live and who would die. In short, they played God. This was the original satanic sin. It was Lucifer who declared that he would exalt himself above God. He would later seduce Eve in the Garden by whispering, "You shall be like God." The terrorists did that when they took into their own hands the power of life and death.


But they didn't stop there. Bin Laden and his sycophants engaged in the most blatant idolatry by employing their own self-centered hatred and resentment as the motive for killing. In a sense, they practiced human sacrifice, offering their victims to appease themselves.


Furthermore, to do this in the name of God obliterated the Commandment against taking the Lord's name in vain. To invoke the name of God for an act so morally reprehensible and illegitimate is the height of hubris.


Even the rule of the Sabbath was atrociously violated that fateful day. By resting after He created mankind, God reminds us in the Sabbath that we are created in His image. That fact alone demands the utmost respect for human life. What the terrorists did on September 11, 2001, brutishly desecrated human dignity and mutilated God's magnificent handiwork.


More than 400 profoundly sad children left in the aftermath of the terrorists' campaign of horror flies in the face of the Commandment to honor mother and father. This edict is aimed at keeping together the bond of mother-father-children. To rip a child from her parents is to take away the earthy prefigurement of the Heavenly Father. To take a child from a parent is worse than bestial. The violent tearing of the family is irreparable. It is a lifelong wound to the very soul of a child and the heart of a parent.


Little needs to be said about the terrorists and their total disregard for the Sanctity of Life. The Commandment against murder can be best rendered from the original language as, "No willful taking of innocent human life." Only God gives life and only He can say when and how it is to be ended. The terrorists ignored the Author of Life and decided for themselves to target even the most innocent among us--even tiny children in day care centers!


And could what the terrorists did on 9/11 include breaking the code against adultery? You bet it does. Adultery protects the deepest earthly covenant, marriage, because marriage reflects the highest spiritual covenant between God and man. Adultery refers to the "adulteration," or polluting of those covenants. The Bible refers to the worship of false Gods as whoredom. The terrorists went whoring after angry gods made in their own images. Nothing is more purely adulterous than that.


And, in taking so many lives, the terrorists stole what is most precious: The pleasure and security of companionship with our loved ones, the exchange of feelings, knowledge, opinion, humor, sympathy, empathy and physical touch. Children left without protectors, mentors, or disciplinarians; spouses left without their soul-mates; employees left without bosses; bosses left without employees; friends lost friends; cities and businesses lost every kind of worker and professional; even skylines were emptied of architectural icons.

Plenty of stealing took place on 9/11. The worst of the evidence occurs in the everyday events of life: empty chairs at dinner tables, empty seats at ball games, empty doorways on school mornings. The absence of these treasurers is excruciating to think about. Added to all of this, the terrorists stole the innocence of our young people and for all of us, our sense of security and well-being.


False witness goes without saying. The essence of this Commandment is knowingly making a false accusation against the innocent. The terrorists accused as infidels school children, babies in strollers, pregnant moms, a mentally retarded kitchen worker, office clerks, firefighters, grandmas and grandpas, and countless other innocent people. Then, they meted out an egregiously unjust sentence of death by crushing, dismemberment and burning. Unthinkable.


Finally, the mass murderers of 9/11 coveted what wasn't theirs to have. They wanted victory for their self-serving cause of terror, repression and vindictiveness. No one would legitimately give these miscreants what they demanded, so they took it with fury and cruelty on an unimaginable scale. As those who covet pursue the morally impossible, murder is employed as the only available means to achieve their craven ends.

This fifth anniversary of the attacks on 9/11, I give the only award ever granted for those who managed in one grand act to violate everything moral, everything good, everything godly. The plaque is cast in black and inscribed in blood red for the diabolical and dastardly way in which their deeds were done. The recipients can take it to Hell with them and show it off to Nero, Vlad the Impaler, Pol Pot, Stalin and Hitler, and whoever else down there may admire it.

But on the brighter side, I give the "Wonderful Works of God Award" to the selfless firefighters, police and rescue workers, soldiers, sailors and airmen, public officials and private citizens who reached out to help family, friends and fellow Americans in their grief and suffering. Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13 NKJV) And John the Apostle urged, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7 NKJV)

Here's to those who preached these texts better through their deeds on 9/11 than any of us pulpiteers have done in a lifetime through our words!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Times, They Are a Changin'

More victories for the public display of the Ten Commandments: Federal judges in Oklahoma and Kentucky have recently ruled that displays in those two states can stay. And, in Idaho, the state supreme court affirmed citizens have the right to decide whether they will return a previously removed Ten Commandments display to a public park. It’s too early to claim total victories given the histories of appeals in these situations; still, these recent developments may indicate a change is in the air.

One thing I must keep reminding myself of is the humanity of federal judges. Yes, they are human! I’ve gotten to know a few and they are every bit as human as you and I. That means they too are affected by the zeitgeist (for good or bad). And the zeitgeist has changed dramatically over the last several years. The ACLU’s reign of terror went on unchallenged for half a century, but not any more! Americans are rising up and facing down this out-of-control bully. We as a people don’t like unaccountable ideological groups to have unfettered power. Americans know instinctively that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Americans are sending a strong message to the federal (and more and more state) courts: Interpret the law as the people have passed it—not as the ACLU would have it!

There’s also more information available to the public on the whole question of the so-called “separation of church and state.” A bolder generation is taking on the elitist orthodoxy that has mesmerized academics and terrified local school officials. The new thinkers are constructively critical of old assumptions built on a great deal of pure propaganda.

A few months ago Faith and Action sponsored the Reese Roundtable on Capitol Hill, a “new forum for promoting the timeless principles that informed our American founders.” Members of congress, their senior staff and public interest advocates listened to inaugural guest lecturer Dr. James Hutson, head of the archives division at the Library of Congress and premiere historian on Thomas Jefferson’s infamous 1802 letter to the Danbury Association of Baptists, from which the US Supreme Court would mine the phrase, “wall of separation between church and state.” Dr. Hutson demolished the fictions created in part by the High Court, and later by anti-religious forces. He demonstrated from Jefferson’s own previously illegible margin notes in the drafts of the letters, and from Jefferson’s actions following his dispatch of the missive, that neither he nor our other founders ever meant to purge religion, religious institutions or religious people from the public square. Quite to the contrary, the Founders looked to religion to do what government could not—most significantly, govern the conscience and thus, behavior.

All this to say we seem to finally be righting the ship of state after it has listed dangerously left for 50 years on the question of faith in the public square. But, I dare not simply credit the dissemination of information for this significant change. There is no doubt God is hearing and answering the prayers of His people. He promised to do so, and—much to the chagrin of the ACLU crowd—He fulfills His promises!

On to the next public display of God’s Word! The more the Word is seen and read, the more these changes will come! Hallelujah!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Big victory in Boise, Idaho: State Supreme Court ruled to allow Boise citizens to vote on returning the Ten Commandments to the public square! This is just what the doctor ordered. (The Great Physician, that is!) Our own Rev. Pat Mahoney had a big hand in this development.

Is this a turning of the tide? Coming right on the heals of our own Ten Commandments victory, it just might be.

We'll now work with Rev. Mahoney's Christian Defense Coalition in a state-by-state strategy to use public referendums to bring back the Commandments! More about that later. For now . . .

. . . speaking of the Commandments (and the one on the Sabbath in particular), I am officially on vacation . . . finally!

I'll be back to the keyboard September 4. Look forward to being with you then!


Friday, August 04, 2006

Something New

If you read our website (, you probably know David New, who is a regular columnist. David is a dear friend, brother in Christ and fellow minister of the Gospel. He is also an outstanding constitutional attorney.

This past week, David called Mr. Lars Etzkorn, the Government of the District of Columbia official who notified us of the reversal on their order to remove the Ten Commandments monument in our front garden. By way of David's call, we were seeking a more complete explanation of 1) What went on in the time leading up to their initial decision to cite us for not having the proper permits, 2) What led them to make their initial decision, and 3) What led to their decision to rescind their initial order.

Predictably, the officials David spoke to referred back to their second letter rescinding the order and basically said it speaks for itself. (You can read the letter on our website.) What else would you expect from government officials? The only new information David learned is that the Government took into consideration the totality of the case. In other words, they didn't simply stick to the letter of the law (at least in their application of it), but took all the attendant circumstances and claims into the process. That's interesting. It may mean had we not had petitions, a national network of good people, the interest of the media--and the possible scrutiny of a now more conservative Supreme Court--we would be racking up draconian fines by now.

It's disturbing to think that we get to enjoy our First Amendment rights ONLY because we fought back. Not everyone is in a position to do so. I only pray that our boldness in standing for our God-given, constitutionally protected rights will help ensure them for others.

One thing we did learn this past week (and not from David's conversation), is that the Washington, DC chapter of "American Atheists" met with D.C. government officials at some point in the process. We believe it was BEFORE the order to remove the monument. If you put that together with the above, you get: D.C. gives in to whoever pushes harder. That shouldn't give anyone much confidence in the government that runs our U.S. Capital!

Final word: The head of the local chapter of the American Atheists told a reporter he believes the government was intimidated by me, and that's why they changed their order.

I don't know what to make of that . . .

Thursday, July 27, 2006


The Ten Commandments monument across the street from the U.S. Supreme Court continues to draw reactions from people that pass by it. Yesterday was particularly eventful:

It began when Chief Justice John Roberts' Cadillac executive sedan passed by and slowed down for the turn into the Court's underground parking ramp. At the time, I was standing in our front door talking with Dr. David Moshier of the National Clergy Council. While the Chief's security windows are too darkened to see inside, I can only imagine that a brilliantly curious mind like his likely makes the Commandments impossible to ignore. He's a God-fearing, deeply religious man. I trust the sight of the Great Words of Sinai are an inspiration to him each day as he leads the most powerful court in the most powerful nation on earth!

At noon, as I left the building for an appointment, two professionally dressed young people passed by our front garden. One of them, a young woman, stopped suddenly and said to her companion, “Wow! There it is!”

I couldn’t let it pass, so I engaged them in conversation. She explained that they had just been “talking about the Ten Commandments.” Then, she said, she looked up and, “there they were. I couldn’t remember what they said, and then, wow, they were just there.”

We finished the conversation and I thought, what would have happened had she not seen the Commandments? Maybe she and her friend would have just moved on to another topic. Maybe they would have gotten it wrong. Who knows? The only thing we do know is that she saw them just when she needed to—and that moment will not leave her any time soon.

Then, toward the late afternoon, the doorbell of the ministry center rang. A gentleman and his family stood at the door, obviously tourists. He thanked us for our “expression of faith in the public square.” He went on to say how deeply he and his family appreciated “the beautiful display of the Ten Commandments.”

His words were touching. And when I think about it, he would not have seen anything quite like it anywhere in the Capital. Of the two or three other public renditions of the Commandments here in the Washington, none are in English. Two are in Hebrew and one is simply represented by Roman numerals.

Even I am tempted to underestimate the value of this monument because I see it several times every day. It’s when we get surprised faces, words of gratitude, even tears or anger, that we are reminded just how powerful are these Great Words of Sinai!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

What Version?

I often get questions about the version of the Ten Commandments displayed on our monument, mostly from reporters. A few passers by may ask, but it’s rare. Still, it’s a good question and one with a good answer.

We chose the most popular, truncated rendering of the Commandments in the King James translation that begins, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” enumerates the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” as the sixth and combines all the edicts against coveting as the tenth. We figured that would resonate with the largest number of readers.

As you may know, there a difference between our presentation of the Commandments and how Jews typically enumerate them, and how Lutherans and Catholics, along with certain other Christians divide them.

When I’m debating the public display of the Commandments, my opponents often try to use these different “versions” as a club for beating us back into a corner. Alas, it fails every time. Why? Because each tradition—that is Jewish, Catholic and Protestant, respects and endorses the rendering of the others. This is because the essential meaning of the Commandments isn’t changed by how they are enumerated. No matter how you break them up, it’s all the same words in each variation.

Add to this fact that there was no punctuation as we know it in ancient Hebrew. Translators only inserted punctuation centuries after the Great Words were brought down from Sinai. So, the actual enumeration is a modern invention.

A good way to read the Commandments is without any punctuation or line breakage. Just read them like one great big run-on sentence. Once you do it, you’ll get the meaning in the exercise: God had a lot to say about what we were and were not supposed to do. Reading it without punctuation prejudice leaves it quite clear what God wants and doesn’t want from us.

That’s where our focus should be—not on the inconsequential distraction of who gets to apply the numbers to the lines!

Friday, July 21, 2006


Last night I stayed in my "other home," our ministry center here on Capitol Hill. This is my part-time residence. My office doubles as an apartment so I can be close to the action here in Washington when I need to be. (Cheryl and I have our principal home 40 miles west of Washington. We had to go out that far in order to afford a house!)

Staying here allows me to observe passersby at our building in a way I can't during a busy work day. I see them early in the mornings and late at night. Just last night and this morning I noted how many people approach the front of the ministry center, slow down, turn their head towards the Ten Commandments monument in the front garden, stop, pause, read, apparently think about what they've read, and then, slowly, move on. An awful lot of people read the monument!

As I watched them from my third-floor window, I thought, How many of these people would ever read God's Word--let alone the Ten Commandments--if we didn't have that monument out front?

The Word of God says of itself, that it is "quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)

That block of granite outside our front door is one powerful instrument--digging deep into the joints and marrow of Capitol Hill!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Portable Commandments!

You'll soon be able to watch or listen to an in-depth study of the Ten Commandments on your I-POD, laptop, in your car's CD player, or wherever you have a DVD, CD player or Internet connection.

I’ve just returned from five days in extraordinarily hospitable Middletown, Ohio. This hamlet, midway between Cincinnati and Dayton, is home to the even more hospitable Grace Baptist Church pastored by the Reverend Dr. Roger Green. Dr. Green is one of the most gracious ministers of the Gospel I have met in 25 years of itinerant preaching. He has a passion for missions and evangelism—my kind of guy!

I was at Grace Baptist because it’s the home congregation to two of our most stalwart supporters, Don and Gayle Wright of nearby Centreville. The Wrights have been generous donors to Faith and Action for over 10 years and are members of our Extended Missionary Team. They play a large role in our ministry to the US Supreme Court.

Besides enjoying a very warm reception to my preaching at Grace, I was able to commit the full five-day Ten Commandments seminar I conducted there to video. Over five sessions, I presented on the history, context, word studies and contemporary application of the Great Words of Sinai.

One memorable highlight was a segment under the Fifth Commandment, on honoring mother and father--and, by extension, all our elders. During that session, I invited the 92-year old pastor emeritus of the church, Dr. Howard Sears, to share his greatest words of wisdom with us. Dr. Sears still travels the country preaching, driving himself hundreds of miles each month. What pearls he provided! Wait till you hear him for yourself!

This is something I wanted to do long ago. It’s a great feeling of satisfaction to finally have it—albeit in a raw, unedited form. Please pray for us as we finalize the material.

The next step will be post editing the material to condense it to a viewable length, write a companion study guide and package it for CD and DVD. We may also release excerpts on our website.

My hope is for the finished Ten Commandments series to be our definitive piece on this central part of our mission and message. I’m very excited about this prospect!

I’ll update you as the project comes along.

Monday, July 10, 2006


I received excellent advice today on the next phase of our battle to display God's Word on Capitol Hill.

It appears that the Government of the District of Columbia was quite serious about its ruling that we have both a First Amendment right to display the Ten Commandments in front of our building--and that the law does not require us to obtain a permit. So, the Commandments are here to stay!

It's only now settling in, but this was an enormous victory with enormous consequences. There is a second phase, however, and we will be underway with it in a few weeks. Please pray. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, July 06, 2006


It's been some days since I last posted. A lot has gone on lately. In the immediate aftermath of our Ten Commandments victory, we had another. My good friend and colleague, Pat Mahoney, went out to San Diego to organize large-scale prayer vigils and rallies in support of the Mount Soledad Cross.

If you're not familiar with this skirmish in the war for the soul of our culture, it's nearly as absurd as the one over our Ten Commandments monument. The Cross sits atop Mount Soledad along the San Diego skyline. It's been there for over 50 years as part of the nation's largest war memorial, a tribute to fallen veterans of the Korean conflict and World War II. 17 years ago, a single atheist activist sued to have it removed. The city sold the land to a private association but a federal judge nullified the deal. After another judge ordered the Cross removed, I went out there with Pat. (See our article at We had--and HAVE--a plan to defend the Cross. In the mean time, however, the city courageously appealed to the US Supreme Court. (A very different court than the one that previously denied review of the case.)

To our surprise, Supreme Court associate justice Anthony Kennedy granted a stay (hold) on the order to remove the Cross, pending further review by him and, possibly, the whole US Supreme Court! Glory to God! Pat "happened" to be out in San Diego when this temporary ruling of the High Court came down. He held a prayer service at the foot of the Cross in thanksgiving to God. (See

No one knows quite what Justice Kennedy's terse, single-sentence ruling means. He could look at it some more and change his mind at any time, allowing the dismantling to proceed. Or, should four of the justices not see merit in the case (it takes that number to accept it), all legal remedies will have been exhausted and the Cross comes down.

Should the High Court accept the case and review it, they could find for the Cross or against it. Such a case would take months or even years before a final determination. It takes a majority of the nine justices to win or lose. Since Justice Kennedy--the new swing vote--saw at least some merit in the arguments of keeping the Cross, it's not a stretch to say he might vote for keeping it. We already know that Chief Justice Roberts and associate justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito are highly likely to vote to keep as well. So, this could be a big win! Only time will tell.

We will file a brief in the Supreme Court in favor of keeping the Cross. We'll also go out with a national call to prayer. Should the Cross be ordered removed, we'll put out a call for every conscientious Christian in the country to travel to San Diego to rally and pray for its preservation.

As you can see, there's no time to be bored around here! Back later with more . . .

Thursday, June 29, 2006


A lot of reporters called yesterday to ask my opinion on the reversal of the D.C. Government’s order to remove our Ten Commandments display. It was difficult to articulate exactly how I feel.

To begin with, demanding that we get a permit for our lawn ornament, when no one else is required to do so, is an unjust application of the law. Anytime someone bows to that kind of injustice, it reinforces it. We knew from the beginning that it was wrong and unconstitutional. It amazes me that it took District lawyers almost a month to figure that out.

Second, while I’m grateful the Ten Commandments will remain on display, it’s almost like being grateful that the pickpocket gave you your wallet back. He should have never taken it in the first place! So, am I truly grateful—or just relieved? I need more time to sort it out.

Third, no one knows how the District will treat others in the future should they wish to display a different part of the Bible. In fact, no one knows how the District will treat our next door neighbors should they decide to display the Ten Commandments. The hand-delivered letter announcing the rescindment of the order states that the decision is limited to “the specific facts in this case at this time.” Tomorrow may be a different story.

At this moment we are not inclined to challenge the District any further, but perhaps we should for the good of the whole. As the axiom goes, “Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.” I’ll have to pray about it.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


I now know how David felt when the Lord gave him victory over Goliath! Yesterday, the Government of the District of Columbia hand-delivered a second letter to our front door. Mr. Lars Etzkorn of the District Department of Transportation wrote, in part:

"In view of the First Amendment interests in the installation of the Ten Commandments sculpture at 109 2nd Street, NE, and upon further consideration of the applicable law, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has concluded you need not seek a permit for the sculpture . . ."


This means that FOR NOW, the Ten Commandments stands unchallenged in the front garden of our ministry house across the street from the US Supreme Court! Our attorney, Phil Jauregui, and his back-up team from the Alliance Defense Fund, deserve great credit for their work. Phil had sent a letter to DC officials last night clarifying our defense of the Ten Commandments. At the same time, my brother Paul, our colleague, Rev. Pat Mahoney and I issued a joint statement announcing our resolve to at no time remove the monument.

Then, this morning comes the letter of surrender!

You can read the complete letter at our website: You will see that the District of Columbia government capitulated and admitted that we were right on the two most important aspects of our argument: 1) That the law under which the District Government made its demand that we submit to the permit process does not apply to our display, and 2) That our display is protected speech under the First Amendment to the US Constitution!

This was a knock-out in the First Round--but Round Two is no doubt coming. An atheist group that protested our June 3 dedication service for the monument announced then they would sue if the District Government allowed the Ten Commandments to remain.

We're not naive. We know that our opponents could actually use this victory to their advantage. All they need to do is complain to a federal judge that local authorities are not properly "enforcing the law," and thereby request relief from the federal courts. Pro-aborts have done it to us in the past when local authorities respected our rights. They managed to turn those rights against us. We learned then just how clever the enemy can be.

So, we're resolved to remain vigilant. We will continue our Preserve the Ten Commandments petition campaign. And, we ask you to keep praying and to stand alongside us. We don't know what's around the corner, but we want to be ready for whatever it may be!

More to follow . . .

A Win for the Commandments?

The Washington Post is today reporting that the Government of the District of Columbia is rescinding its order for us to remove our Ten Commandments display. Post reporter Michelle Boorstein writes that Lars Etzkorn, associate director of the office of public space management administration at the Transportation Department, “sent a letter to the group rescinding the earlier warning.”

The letter stated that, "In view of the First Amendment interests reflected in the installation of the Ten Commandments sculpture . . . and upon further consideration of applicable law," the city now believes that no permits are required.

We have not yet received the letter, so we are not going to lower our guard. The District of Columbia is sadly not known for its coherence. It’s possible someone higher than Mr. Etzkorn will rescind his rescindment! So, last night I released a formal statement to the media. You can read it at

We will also keep up our petition drive. Just in case this rumored determination by the Government of the District of Columbia never materializes or is reversed, we want to be fully prepared to resume our defense. 20,000 signatures are prerequisite to that defense.
Our legal team is also continuing apace. Last night they faxed the letter they intended to send all along to Mr. Lamont Regester, the chief in charge of public space management for the Government of the District of Columbia.

We have maintained all along that this battle over our display of the Ten Commandments in our front garden is all about principle, not politics. If the Government of the District of Columbia is simply appeasing us as if we were just another political constituent group, then we say, thanks—but no thanks!

Our goal is to get on the record that placing a monument in your own front garden acknowledging God and His law is our God-given, constitutionally protected right. If that’s what comes of this, then all of can truly rejoice and—well—thank God!

Monday, June 26, 2006

What's this all about?

On June 2, 2006, one day before Faith and Action unveiled a sculpture of the Ten Commandments in our front garden across the street from the US Supreme Court, the Government of the District of Columbia hand-delivered notice to me that we must apply for a permit or face possible fines and even forced sale of our property.

They cited a law that controlled any "obstruction to travel." Since the Ten Commandments sculpture sits in our elevated front garden, we presumed the law did not apply to us. The only "travel" that occurs in our garden is done by squirrels! The other point to this is that we knew full well that other property owners on Capitol Hill are allowed to have whatever they like in their gardens--and they are not asked to apply and pay for permits. Neither are they cited for not having the permits. The only conclusion we could logically draw was that we were being singled out because of the nature of our garden ornament. That is patent "content based discrimination" and it's against the law.

So, we proceeded to unveil our monument in a dedicatory service on June 3, in spite of the order. We immediately secured a first-class legal team headed by Alabama attorney Phil Jaurgui, president of the Judicial Action Group with backing from the Alliance Defense Fund, a religious liberty law firm founded by Dr. James Dobson, Rev. D. James Kennedy and others. The American Center for Law and Justice also did some background work for us.

Several weeks went by, during which the Department of Transportation, charged with monitoring compliance to public space permits, the city administrator and a spokesperson for Mayor Anthony Williams made contradictory statements about what would happen next. Some said we're in for a long legal battle, while others said we'd get our permit.

A number of phone calls were exchanged between our lawyers and the city officials. Meanwhile, we launched a "Preserve the Commandments on Capitol Hill" petition drive with a goal of reaching 20,000 signatures by the District's arbitrary June 30 deadline.

Then, this afternoon, June 26, Washington's WTOP Radio published a report on their website ( that the DC Government had decided that our monument was an issue of free speech. Therefore, we didn't need a permit.

That was a surprise to us, since we still don't have any official confirmation of it. It amounts to third-person hearsay. An unnamed WTOP reporter is quoting an unnamed source inside the Department of Transportation who indicates that the June 2 threatening letter will be rescinded. The monument will be allowed to stand without a permit.

We don't know if this is true. The District has not communicated with us. We would welcome their formal and official determination in writing. But wait! What happened to our argument that the permit requirement never applied to us in the first place? How did we get to First Amendment claim for free speech when we should have never been cited in the first place?

We're looking to win this case on principle, not on politics. With all due respect to Mayor Anthony Williams and the members of his administration, we're not interested in finding a political solution. It's the principle that matters here. The law was unfairly applied to one group's garden ornament because apparently, someone with political clout didn't like what our ornament said and where it was located. That is itself unconstitutional. You either apply the law equally to all or to none.

I am hopeful that the Government of the District of Columbia resolves that issue first by agreeing they should have never threatened us in the first place. Having said that, they must ALSO respect our freedom of speech under the Constitution.

My colleagues and I are very happy to serve in ministry in the District. We live much of our lives in the District, maintain part-time residences in the District, do much of our spending in the District and pay taxes here. We think life improves in our capital city with every passing year. And, we know, that it would be further improved if citizens in the District are relieved of the fear that should they place an unpopular but tasteful piece of art in their front garden--no matter where they're located--there won't come that dreaded, $300-a-day, take-your-property knock on the door!

Let's see what comes next. And thank you to each one that signed our "Preserve the Ten Commandments" Petition. Your actions may have helped us win this important first round. Hallelujah!

More as it comes available . . .