Friday, January 26, 2007

MAKER OF “FRIENDS OF GOD” NO FRIEND OF GOD’S PEOPLE

Alexandra Pelosi, 36-year old daughter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, fired a cheap shot across the bow of the Good Ship Evangel last night in her HBO special, “Friends of God.”

My brother and I were placed on display for a few seconds during Ms. Pelosi’s extravaganza. She caught us at our annual National Memorial for the Pre-born and a forum in the US Senate my brother did on human embryonic stem cell research. Don’t be impressed. We were lumped together in the sideshow with the Christian Wrestling Federation, Christian miniature golf and a Christian Elvis impersonator.

Ms. Pelosi did many pre-release promotional interviews assuring she only wanted to produce an unbiased examination of the people so few “Blue State” worldviewers like her know anything about. What she delivered was a caricature not far from 1930’s Hollywood blackface and mammy stereotyping or even Nazi propaganda shorts on Jews as vermin.

On the surface Ms. Pelosi and her partner HBO hold Evangelicals in bemused contempt, subtly and relentlessly ridiculing us. While picking the most simple and colorful among us, somehow she missed profiling figures like Yale educated scholar James Hutson, Ph.D., chief of manuscripts for the Library of Congress, former TIME bureau chief David Aikman, Ph.D. (who speaks four languages fluently, among them Mandarin) or the brilliant genetic scientist Francis Collins M.D., Ph.D., the first to map the human genome; Evangelicals all--but apparently beyond Ms. Pelosi’s biased blinders.

It’s what oozes out from between the lines of this visual screed that so deeply troubles me. The message seems to be, “These people are really strange and backward and they have lots of political power. Strangeness and power equal danger. We can’t let people as strange as these have political power.”

Of course, Ms. Pelosi the filmmaker can hold any opinion she wants about anyone or any group. But when her last name matches that of the third most powerful elected leader of the most powerful nation on earth, you have to worry if it’s “like mother, like daughter.” Should the senior Pelosi hold the same prejudicial bigotry of the younger Pelosi, that despisement will inevitably seep into her public policy. Now that would be indeed be dangerous for us all.

Watch “Friends of God” with prayerful caution. While viewing, it might be good to keep your Bible open to Matthew 5:11-12:

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (NKJV)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

BIG WEEK A BIG UP, BIG DOWN!

The week surrounding January 22 is always the busiest of our year. Since 1995, my brother, Paul and I, have been marking the anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision by engaging in a variety of pro-life observances. Not all are mournful. The National Memorial for the Pre-born and their Mothers and Fathers, a service Paul and I inaugurated here on Capitol Hill 13 years ago, is now one of the premier indoor life-giving and life-affirming celebrations held in the Washington. This past Memorial was one of best ever—an SRO crowd poured out the doors of the largest venue in the Senate side of the US Capitol complex. Thanks to the prayers of many (and notwithstanding the new pro-abortion leadership in Congress) no one even attempted to shut us down, as they have in previous years.

Still, everyone involved with the Memorial is concerned about the future of the event. We stage it in the US Capitol complex to put it near those who must hear its message about the sanctity of our God-given Right to Life. The service is now in the hands of the National Pro-Life Religious Council (NPRC), and I have no doubt the NPRC will come to the attention of some pro-abort senator. The rules allow any US senator to shut down an outside program—even as it’s in progress. It doesn’t help that the chairman of the rules committee, Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, who approves the use of US Capitol venues, is not only pro-abortion—he’s running for president! (He’ll be looking for all the points he can score with the abortion crowd.) So, keep up your prayers for us! By the grace of God we dodged the bullet this year, but we can’t predict what may come next!

On a related topic, with this new congress in place, we will have our work cut out for us promoting the Sanctity of Life, the Sanctity of Marriage and the Public Acknowledgement of God. While we will all hear unending blather about “finding common ground” on abortion, gay rights, etc, don’t be fooled. As I was quoted in a national AP newspaper story this past week, Christ said we must be as clever as serpents, yet harmless as doves. (I told the reporter, with this new Congress, “We may need to be downright snaky!”) You and I will need to be prayerfully discerning in the days ahead. Both parties know they can’t get anything done—and they can’t get their candidates elected—without the support of at least a slice of the Evangelical and traditional Catholic electorate. So, they’re busy learning our language. Professional coaches and handlers have been hired to “connect with the religious market.” Watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing.

On the upside of this past week, the annual National Memorial Service is like a great big family reunion for lots of us. Paul and I see many friends, allies, pro-life leaders and heroes whom we almost never see during the course of our busy lives. We also hear some of the greatest preaching. Fr. Frank Pavone once again “rang the bell”—as the old time preachers say. One of our stalwart Pentecostal brothers said, “Man, that preaching was so good, I just about converted to Catholicism on the spot!”

No such conversions happened, though. Instead, we had a wonderful showing of Christian unity as clergy from virtually every Christian faith tradition participated: Anglican, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Catholic, Congregationalist, Episcopal (the Bible kind!), Evangelical, Holiness, Independent, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian and Reformed. Paul and I were nurtured in our Christian faith within an interdenominational fellowship reflecting all these kinds of Christians, so he and I feel very much at home in this supremely ecumenical setting. (A word about this sometimes suspect term, ecumenical: It literally means the “whole house.” I use it as applying to whenever and wherever God’s household comes together.) If you’re around us long enough, you know Paul and I (and our ministry) appreciate the whole Body of Christ, in all its different forms. We don’t ask anyone to comprise anything, but we can put aside doctrinal disputes to get the Lord’s work done—and often we must. If you confess Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9), you are saved, and we can join our hands with yours as part of the extended family of God!

Back to the week—and weekend: More of the upside came as I talked with numerous pro-life leaders from across the US and around the world. Real progress is being made in many places—mostly on the state level—in bringing moral sanity and Biblical Truth to American culture. Though sadly we now have pro-aborts in charge of everything on Capitol Hill, that’s not true on the state level. Still, there is a very steep hill to climb as Roe still reigns. But I was encouraged to hear in detail from so many who are learning how to be rock climbers! I talked with one legal expert doing extensive research on state Supreme Court judges and justices. That research was offered to me to help with our state-by-state strategy. Many good state-level pro-life measures are shot down by these judges. If we can expose them for who they are and what they will do on the bench, they can be easily picked off in elections. It’s not hard to defeat a state judge because not many people even know they run for office. A few votes can make a huge difference.

On the downside, I learned even more details about the gruesome ways the abortion industry persists in this country and is expanding. While many abortion mills have been put out of business—and many aging abortionists are not being replaced by the younger (and morally enlightened) medical professionals—doctors you never dreamed of are doing more and more abortions quietly in upscale hospitals. Worse, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA), that so many of us rejoiced over when it was passed two years ago, hasn’t been enforced once because of ambiguities in the law and turf battles in the government agencies charged with investigating such crimes. (BAIPA mandates that babies who survive late-term abortions must be given emergency medical care instead of being left to die or be “euthanized.”) There have been a number of grotesque episodes of these live births ending in death with virtually no prosecutions.

Finally, I can’t give you any details, but I must urge you to look at what is happening in the tiny country of Belgium. I visited Belgium some years ago while preaching across Europe. Lying behind its quaint fa├žade is a diabolical resurgence of Naziesque practices. European society has always had an Achilles’ heel for morally reprehensible eugenics—the culling of “inferior” humans to produce a master race. It appears that ghoul has raised its hideous head again. According to eyewitness reports, Belgium physicians are now “euthanizing” disabled babies without permission of the parents. (Not that it could be justified if they did secure such “permission.”) Its enough that Belgium babies are being snuffed out in a supremely immoral, misguided, repugnant and criminal way—but add to that how many of our top government officials are now looking to Europe as a model of where they want our society to go. Are we headed back to the death chambers?

OK, enough of the downers. Back to the upside: If you marched with us this Monday or saw the photos, you know this was a record year for young people in Washington. We heard from two at our National Memorial and tens of thousands took part in the March for Life. And, more and more good people of means are joining in the fray as well, providing much needed resources for the fight for Life. Sunday night we honored two of them: Stephen and Michael Peroutka; attorneys, brilliant minds, committed Christians and extraordinary philanthropists. The Peroutka brothers give hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to pro-life causes. We linked up with our friends at the Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts from New Hampshire to grant Stephen and Michael honorary doctoral degrees in the humanities at a gala held at Georgetown University. After all, the Right to Life is the greatest of all human rights; champions of Life deserve some hooplah! As I asked a congregation while preaching the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday sermon that same morning, “What do other rights matter to a dead person? Does free speech matter to a dead baby? Does healthcare matter to a dead baby?” (You should soon be able to hear that sermon online. Watch for it.)

You’ve probably had as much as you can stand of this by now, so I’ll quit typing. Starting today, I’m going to replace my live weekly Internet report with audio and video postings on our website. Check it out this week. I’ve got a lot more information to give you, plus a full report on what’s happening on access to the US Capitol.

Oh, and I’ve got to tell you, my colleague, ally and friend, Pat Mahoney, has an amazing story. It’s inspiring and a real side-splitter. We’re going to record it on video and post it at our site. Keep checking in for it. OK, truly, I’m done.


Be back . . .

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

BARBARIANS AT THE GATE!

The new congressional leadership with Speaker Nancy Pelosi leading the charge is looking to steal, pillage and destroy what tiny gains have been made by pro-lifers. Speaker Pelosi started by declaring open season on the most vulnerable of the most vulnerable. In the first 100 hours--not days--she rammed through legislation on human embryonic stem cell harvesting. (Spawning human children to devour them for medial experimentation--what many said was an exaggeration of the early pro-life movement--has now come to pass.) Thank God we have a president with the moral courage to veto it. (Some see it not as courage but as political cynicism. Whatever it is, I'll take the outcome.)

Like the South's dreaded Pine Weevils, the new leaders of the House have a ravenous appetite for young seedlings and, if left unchallenged, will do as much damage to humans as a plague if locusts does to crops. Let's call it a plague--and call on God to lift this plague in His mercy!

Speaking of calling on God and His mercy, this coming Monday we gather for the National Memorial for the Pre-born and their Mothers and Fathers. This beautiful service involves clergy from virtually every Christian denomination and is the only indoor fully dressed worship service held in the US Capitol complex. My brother and I launched "The Memorial" (as we affectionately call it) thirteen years ago. Today, several groups co-sponsor it, including the National Pro-Life Religious Council.

The Memorial is first a solemn rembrance of all victims of abortion: the babies, their moms AND their dads. People forget it takes a mom and a dad to make a baby. It goes without saying that babies are the principal victims of this uniquely American holocaust. (To get a feel for its scale and horror, just read the dissenting opinions in the first US Supreme Court case on partial birth abortion, Stenberg v. Carhart.) But there are secondary victims of the abortion holocaust. You might call them "collateral damage." These other victims include the babies' moms, damaged in their souls and often their bodies. Dads are also hurt by abortion; most often by being demoralized into thinking a little money earned, borrowed or stolen, will get them out of being a father. But some dads' hearts are simply broken by the judges who have historically ruled dads have absolutely nothing to say about the murder of their unborn progeny. They must sit by and simply cry. And on and on the suffering goes: grandparents robbed of their grandchildren, a society poorer for "getting rid of a problem," rather than challenging our humanity and generosity. All this is not to mention the affront to a holy God that loves His creation--especially the crown of it.

So, we will gather on Monday morning, January 22 (the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade) at 8:00 AM in the auditorium of the US Senate Dirsken building immediately opposite the US Capitol in Washington to mourn these losses and beg God's mercy; to ask Divine favor in bringing and end to this American holocaust. And just in case you think it's not worth it (because, after all, it's been 34 years), remember: it took more than 75 years to end the sin of slavery in this country! But you need to know that this service is not at all a funeral. It ends as a grand celebration of God's precious Gift of Life. We rejoice to see in faith the day when all of God's Human Creation is honored for bearing His image!

Please join us this coming Monday, January 22, 8:00 AM here in Washington. (Check our website for details on travel, parking, mass transit, security questions, etc.) The service is timed so you can get to the annual March for Life and other pro-life events that day. If you just absolutely cannot be here, logon through your computer to listen to (and maybe even watch) the service. National Pro-Life Radio (NPLR) will be live streaming the entire service. (I don't know if it will be audio only or audio / video.) You can get to NPLR via our website (www.faithandaction.org). Click on the logo at the upper left corner.

PS Don't miss my live missionary field report tomorrow: Faith and Action Live! I'll give you the whole scoop on what I saw and heard from Nancy Pelosi up close and personal during an internal, "no-pro-lifers or conservative Christians welcome" briefing. She didn't want me there, but I was there none-the-less. It was another one of those miraculous, "How did I get here?" moments! I'll tell you all about it tomorrow, Wednesday, January 17, 12:00 noon, EST. Tune in again using the link at our website, www.faithandaction.org, upper left corner. (You can also download it later and listen at your convenience.)

Be back . . .

Monday, January 08, 2007

THE 110TH CONGRESS IS ALREADY A DOOZIE!

Sorry I’m a little late posting today. I’ve been laser-focused on finishing an article about political celebrity Barack Obama. Please check it out on our website: www.faithandaction.org. I’m actually writing this post at about 20,000 feet on my way to Charlotte, North Carolina. The promised five-day a week 110th Congress is out of business today because of—yes— a football game (Ohio State v. University of Florida). So much for so much political rhetoric!

Actually, I don’t think much of newly minted Speaker Pelosi’s pledge of five-day congressional work week. Why? Because keeping people away from their families is anti-family. Remember that representatives, unlike senators, must remain close to their small districts back home. They’re elected every two years. This was the Founders’ way of keeping them close to the people. The House of Representatives is called, “The People’s House.” They’re not supposed to settle into a comfortably distanced, insulated and isolated Washington bubble. House members were to be the citizen politicians: full-time moms, homemakers, farmers, small businessmen, teachers, doctors. After their short duty to our country, they would return to the regular life of an average citizen.

It doesn’t quite work that way nowadays. Still, the best House members do live with their families in their communities and commute to Washington. (Far fewer senators do; the exception being family-oriented ones like our friend Sam Brownback!) To come to work, these home-grown, home-based public servants leave their spouses, kids, aging parents, fields and herds, shops, students and patients typically for three days a week. That’s enough of a separation, as far as I’m concerned. Now just in case you think that’s too cushy of a schedule, keep in mind that when they’re here in Washington, representatives are often working sun-up to sun-down. The Sabbath was made for man, Jesus said. And husbands, wives and kids need Mom or Dad home for at least three to four days a week.

Commuting on Sunday afternoon for a Monday work start and a Friday night return isn’t healthy for anyone—but most especially for marriages and families. For all your talk of the joys of parenting Speaker Pelosi, this is a bad idea for families!

While I’m on Speaker Pelosi, last week I attended an “interfaith prayer service” for the inauguration of the 110th, but at times it seemed more about Speaker Pelosi than about God or the rest of the Congress! We even had to wait to acknowledge the Lord until the Speaker made her late and grand entrance. She remained the centerpiece, reading the Gospel portion. She chose Mark 12:28-34 because it was the reading in her church on the Sunday that Hurricane Katrina hit. She said its reference to care of neighbor was a sign to her of what we should be doing. But I think its reference to love of God above all else was a sign to her and all of us of what should really matter to this new congress and to our country.

An FOB (if you don't remember, thats the acronym for Friend of Bill--Clinton, that is) and now congressman, Rahm Emmanuel, the man who engineered the Democrat come-back, read Deuteronomy 10:12-22. Another sign, to be sure.

Still, I can’t complain too much about the service's overall content. It was a little like the old Methodist services I remember from the church where I was saved. The only jarring interruption was the reading from the Koran by freshman congressman Keith Ellison. (He of the recent "swear-in-on-the-Koran" controversy.) The irony in it, though, was the passage’s pronounced reference to God’s creation of mankind from "a single pair,” “male and female.” So much for the liberal “gender construct” argument. This is that loopy fiction popular on so many college campuses. It goes something like, “There's no such thing as male or female. We’re all on a continuum. Some people are more male than female, or more female than male. But gender is a subjective perception, not an objective reality.” Obviously these social engineering profs haven’t taken any gross anatomy courses!

If there was any use in that Koran reading, I hope it was to remind the 110th that there is a difference and a complementarity between men and women that is recognized and made sacred in holy matrimony—between “male and female.”

Anyway, the one person in the “congregation” who seemed supremely uncomfortable singing Amazing Grace (keeping to the words, “a wretch like me”) was Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, whom I met and attempted to engage in conversation. He wasn’t interested, withdrawing a cold, weak handshake after I told him who I was.

Still, ending the whole thing with How Great Thou Art, and fixing my eyes on the enormous gold-leafed words above the altar, “CHRIST HAS DIED, CHRIST HAS RISEN” actually left me edified. The Word of God was read, the name of Jesus was invoked and those whose hearts were pure did worship Him. “Wherever two or more are gathered” He is in the midst. I felt His presence, as Supreme Judge and Merciful Savior.

I pray the words, the prayers, the hymns and those emblazoned pronouncements above the altar come back to haunt Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, Dr. Dean and the rest as they pursue defying the very One they pretended to do homage to last week!

Back later . . .

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Super-Sized Year Coming Right Up!

I’m back in the saddle after a very welcome respite over the Holy-days. Of course, respite may not accurately describe it. Between Hanukkah, Christmas and the New Year, there wasn’t much time to relax! Still, the time spent in worship and prayer and with friends and family was refreshing.

Beginning today, all of us at Faith and Action go full speed into the new challenges in front of us. This week I attend a prayer service for the incoming Congress and a “meet-and-greet” with incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Pray for me that God will give me the right word in due season.

Of course, along with navigating the rough seas of a pro-abortion, pro-same-sex “marriage” Capitol Hill, we will also meet head on the effort to convince traditional Christians that these former radical secularists have now “got religion.” Within the next few days I will publish on our website a comprehensive expose on the left’s religious point man, Barack Obama. Please watch for it.

The calendar is full of all our regular outreach programs, many of which you’re invited to participate in. Details will be posted on the events page of our website. Please check there often. They include this month’s National Memorial for the Pre-born and their Mothers and Fathers, followed by our annual Prayer and Strategy Summit in February. Then there’s the Resurrection Season / Easter banner ministry and Congressional Outreach and the Annual US Capitol Bible Reading Marathon coupled with the National Day of Prayer (NDP) events. You may recall that Faith and Action is the only ministry to lead an NDP service on the steps of the US Supreme Court, where until we challenged it, the past policy was to summarily arrest anyone caught praying anywhere on the Court’s property. Not any more!

The summer will feature our second annual Reese Roundtable on Capitol Hill, a thought provoking forum designed to turn the hearts and minds of our elected and appointed officials to the Lord.

This year, in place of the usual autumn programs, we will focus on our 25th Silver Celebration Anniversary. That’s right, in spite of my brother’s and my baby faces ;-) , we’ve actually been teamed up in ministry for a quarter century this November! It was 25 years ago that we formed our joint ministry organization, P&R Schenck, Associates in Evangelism, Inc., the parent of all our outreach ministries. We will celebrate this important threshold all year long, but it will culminate in a gala event on November 17 at the Renaissance Hotel on 9th Street here in Washington. Our good friends Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice and legendary entertainer Pat Boone will be our special guests. (Jay argued our successful and historic 1996 Supreme Court case, Schenck v. Pro-choice, and Pat helped launch us when he appeared at our first fundraising banquet 22 years ago!)

We’ll complete the year with our normal Congressional Christmas Outreach and Advent banner ministry, together with Operation Nativity and the newly launched Nativity Project, returning the Christ to Christmas in private and public settings, respectively. Added to this will be an entirely new national effort to get Christians to adopt and celebrate Hanukkah—the biblical Feast of Dedication. This story of the righteous Jews reclaiming their culture from the pagan Syrian-Greeks is highly relevant for Christians today. (Not to mention the fact that Jesus himself observed the eight-day festival!) I’m particularly excited about this new dimension of our work because, as you know, my brother and I grew up lighting the Menorah and listening to the retelling of the great story of Judah Maccabee and his band of Jewish brothers!

So, as we gear up for a busy year of proclaiming God’s Word in a new and more difficult environment in the nation’s capital, we’ve hoisted a new standard: “Faith and Action: Now More Than Ever!

Be back later with more news you can use . . .