Friday, June 20, 2008


Your missionary to Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, Rob Schenck, reporting:

There's so much "stuff" going on around here there isn't time or space to write about all of it, but I thought you'd appreciate something of an overview. I know you pray for this ministry, carry a concern for it and generously support it, so here's your well-deserved briefing:

Our team is feverishly working on these projects during the summer months--

1) The big "Ten Commandments" Supreme Court case. I use quotation marks because this case is really not a Ten Commandments case at all. That is, the real question is on free speech, specifically by a municipality. This case out of Utah involves a challenge to the city of Pleasant Grove that displays a Ten Commandments sculpture in one of its city parks. Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice and a long-time friend to my brother Paul and me will argue the case. We handle this type of thing quite differently, though, then do legal groups like the ACLJ. Jay must rightfully argue this on the strict meaning of the law. We'll get that in, too, of course, but we use these legal platforms in another way. As you know, Faith and Action isn't a legal firm (like the ACLJ or Liberty Counsel) and we aren't a lobby group like CWA Action or the Family Research Council. We are an evangelistic outreach--proclaiming the Gospel and biblical truth to those in public office. So, we use these platforms to telegraph important truths and prophetic messages from Scripture and historical Christian moral instruction.

(A little side note: I recently helped host a forum that included one of the more outstanding Supreme Court justices. During his remarks the Justice said he takes the kind of brief we are submitting very seriously and tries to give them careful attention. Nice to know.)

2) Just as we're wrapping up the case with the Ten Commandments, another big one is brewing. Atheist activist Michael Newdow argued for the second time against the words "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last year. They're expected to announce their decision on it any day. I pray I'm wrong, but I expect they'll once again strike down "Under God" as supremely illegal. (After all, that's what a court means whenever it declares something "unconstitutional," which I expect the Ninth Circuit to do on the Pledge, as they did in 2002. Remember, the Constitution is the highest law of the land. Whatever doesn't comport with the Constitution in the eyes of any court violates the highest law of the land, making it "supremely illegal.") We're preparing our team to respond with a news conference at the Supreme Court within hours of the decision. We're also working with a strategy group on a legislative response from the Congress affirming "Under God" as a permanent part of the Pledge and taking away jurisdiction from the courts so it can stay that way. (You may find this legal report on the record of the case interesting: I should also mention that we're working with the White House to have the Medal of Freedom conferred on 98-year old Dr. George Docherty, the minister who preached the famous 1954 sermon "Under God" that in part led to the insertion of the phrase into the Pledge.

3) In these waning days of the present administration, it's important to work on as many strong Christian appointments to office as possible. For strategic reasons, I can't tell you which ones we're working on, but we are prayerfully and diligently working on a few! Please pray with us that the right people will be placed into the right offices. (Like Joseph in Egypt, they'll be needed during a future famine!) This is not easy work--lots of phone calls, E-mail, letters, faxes, meetings, networking, etc., etc--and all this is extracurricular!

4) We've officially launched what has been until now our "unofficial" internship program, training up a new generation of missionaries to Capitol Hill! We have had interns work in our ministry center before, but to be honest, they've been more like office assistants. Our current intern is our test case for an actual mentorship. I'm still a young guy at 49 (!), but I won't be forever. If the Lord gives this nation a little more time, we'll need solid young people to take up the mantel. Please pray for this side of our work. It's more important than ever!

5) Speaking of young people, I'll be with a bunch of them next week. Wednesday, June 25 - Saturday, June 28, I'll be at Creation East '08, the largest, longest running Christian music festival of its kind in the world. Founder Harry Thomas is a member of our Faith and Action board and a very close friend. He specifically asked me to bring a pro-life message. I've entitled it "Juno's Moment," for a scene in the wildly popular youth film Juno. It's the story of a 16-year old girl who is pregnant and seeks an abortion. As she's entering the "clinic," she encounters a pro-life classmate who tells her, "Your baby has fingernails." That's the moment that changes Juno's life. Well, you can see where it's going! We'll also have a booth in the artists' tent from which we'll broadcast live on National Pro-Life Radio.Net ( I'll interview some of the nearly 100,000 young people who will be there about their attitudes on the Sanctity of Life, the upcoming elections and more. Be sure to join in!

6) Never one to waste a day, I'll step off the platform at Creation on Saturday afternoon and into a waiting car to zip off to the airport and fly to Florida where I will speak at the terrific Calvary Chapel South Orlando on Sunday morning. I've known Pastor Charles Nestor II since he was a little boy. (His dad, Charles I--I love how royal that sounds--is one of my closest buddies.) In fact, "Pastor Charles" (as the younger is known) was an intern at our church up in Buffalo, New York, all those years ago. During that time he lived in my basement--a trauma that no doubt still haunts him! Anyway, Calvary Chapel South is a great church. If you're within driving distance of Orlando on Sunday, June 29, come on by!

7) In addition to all the "regular" ministry stuff we do (and there's plenty of that), I have my other responsibilities: As chairman of the Committee on Church and Society for the Evangelical Church Alliance (I have a board meeting for that coming up in July and I'll speak at the annual convention in Branson, Missouri); I'm also on the board of the Nobel Prize nominated Institute on Religion and Public Policy. President Joseph Griebowski, who was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from Marywood University, has asked me to serve as the first Senior Fellow for Domestic Religious Liberty Issues. I'm honored and if, after being properly vetted I pass, I do plan to accept. My other board memberships are also ramping up demands on my time and attention: The National Pro-Life Religious Council, the Council for National Policy and the biblically faithful Methodist Episcopal Church USA. As you can see, I need to trim back, so please pray with me on which ones go. I love them all, so it's a tough call, but something's going to give over these summer months!

8) Finally--for now--we're gearing up for the annual Reese RoundTable, a forum named for our friends, the intrepid soul-winning culture warriors Bernie and Lee Reese. The RoundTable gives us a unique platform to address the hard things in an otherwise politically correct town. This year will be particularly dicey because the forum will be held practically on the eve of the elections. We're prayerfully looking at a red hot subject but I can't tell you what it is quite yet. Stand by!

We'll, I've hardly gotten through the list but I've probably exhausted your patience. I just want you to see that we don't sit on our hands around here. We're busy doing the Lord's work because that's what you've sent us here to do! Speaking of . . . I better get back to work!

Your grateful missionary to Washington, DC,

Rob Schenck
Faith and Action
109 2nd St., NE
Washington, DC 20002

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