Prayer Targets: Freedom of Conscience, Marijuana; Common Core, Targeting Conservatives & More
January 29, 2014
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7
Dear Praying Friends,
Thomas Jefferson, as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, drafted a resolution calling for Virginians to observe a "Day of fasting, humiliation and prayer" on June 1, 1774, to seek God's intervention because of Great Britain's "invasion of the city of Boston" and to give Americans "one Heart and one Mind firmly to oppose, by all just and proper Means, every Injury to American Rights." When it passed the House unanimously, Virginia's Royal Governor reacted by ordering the legislative body dissolved. Instead, they met at a nearby tavern and proposed a "Continental Congress" to deal with Britain. As a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence. Years later, he followed Washington and Adams as third President of the United States (1801-1809). A lifelong churchgoer, Jefferson warred with his Christian upbringing, despising the coercive dogmatism practiced by some churches and clergymen. By old age, his faith had become badly distorted. While believing Jesus to be author of the world's greatest moral system, he denied His deity and equality with God. Yet he considered Virginia's "Statute of Religious Freedom," the Declaration, and founding of the University of Virginia his greatest achievements and asked that they be remembered on his tomb.
In September 1800, amidst his Presidential election campaign, Jefferson wrote Dr. Benjamin Rush, eminent Christian Statesman, physician, public health advocate, and educator, regarding his religious views:
I promised you a letter on Christianity, which I have not forgotten. On the contrary it is because I have reflected on it that I find much more time necessary for it than I can at present dispose of. I have a view of the subject which ought to displease neither the rational Christian nor Deist; & would reconcile many to a character they have too hastily rejected. I do not know however that it would reconcile the "irritable tribe of poets," who are all in arms against me. their hostility is on too interesting ground to be softened... the clause of the constitution which... covered... the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity thro' the US. and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for its own: but especially the Episcopalians & Congregationalists. The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they believe that any position of power confided to me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe truly. For I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. but this is all they have to fear from me: & enough too in their opinion; & this is the cause of their printing lying pamphlets against me...which are absolute falsehoods without a circumstance of truth to rest on... It is more than I have before committed to paper on the subject of all the lies which have been preached or printed against me... I wish you health & happiness, and think of you with affection. Adieu. Th: Jefferson (Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Benjamin Rush, Sept. 23, 1800).
Atheists and secularists see Jefferson as their champion because the liberty of conscience he espoused included their right to unbelief. But it also allowed believers of every Christian denomination and adherents to other faiths to live out their faith in liberty, so long as their practices did not violate the rights of others or the legitimate moral laws of society. Regardless of his unorthodox beliefs, we owe much to Jefferson.
Supremes Stand by Little Sisters, for Now -- All nine members of U.S. Supreme Court voted to uphold Justice Sonia Sotomayor's injunction, preventing the Obama administration from fining the Little Sisters of the Poor, pending disposition of their case. They refused to comply with the HHS Mandate. With January 1, the deadline to comply, the nuns, like many conscientious Catholic and Protestant employers, sued for relief. In the nun's case, the Obama administration was willing to make "an accommodation," if the Sisters would but sign a statement authorizing others to provide the insurance benefits on their behalf. But the sisters refused saying to do so would make them complicit in a scheme they see as immoral. Over 90 evangelical and Catholic groups have sued the administration. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, Christian-owned, for-profit businesses, will present their case to the Supreme Court in March. House and Senate Republicans have filed two Amici Curiae in favor of the Christian Businesses, but Senate Democrats, led by Patty Murray (WA) quickly followed with a brief in support of the Mandate. The Court was careful to say that their injunction favoring the Little Sisters was temporary and did not take into consideration the merits of the case (see Free for Now; GOP Amicus; Dem Amicus; FRC Response).
- May God defend the little sisters, all 90 plus employers whose conscience demands they refuse to participate in the HHS Mandate. May this Mandate be ruled unconstitutional; may every hint of abortion be expunged from Obamacare. May it ultimately be repealed (Ex 14:19; Dt 26:7-9; 2 Chr 34:7; Ps 72:4; 105:14-15; Is 10:1; Eph 6:13).
Legalization of Marijuana - Two states, Washington and Colorado, have legalized marijuana. Many more have either legalized the drug for medical use, decriminalized recreational use, or both. Last week, President Obama gave a veiled endorsement to the use of the drug. The Justice Department has said it will not enforce federal marijuana laws in states where it has been legalized. Pres. Obama told New Yorker Magazine that marijuana is no more harmful than cigarettes or alcohol, in sharp contrast to National Drug Control Policy, which holds the drug as carcinogenic and causing permanent brain damage in adolescents. Moreover while alcohol may be used in moderation, marijuana is always used to "get stoned," i.e., to alter the state of mind and dull the senses and judgment. The immediate and long-term consequences to individual users, their families, public safety and health are huge. FRC has scores of reports and studies that reference the dangers of marijuana use (see FRC List; DEA Chief Disagrees with President; What would Aquinas Say?; WSJ: The President Inhales; WTimes: Seal of Approval).
- May the American people come to their senses to reject this trend and reverse it! (Pr 31:4; Is 5:11, 22-24; 29:8-10; Eph 5:18; 2 Tim 1:7)
Common Core Curriculum - Like Obamacare, what some are now calling "Obamacore," is yet another top-down mandate being imposed upon the states that want to keep receiving federal funds to which they are entitled. Already in place in most states, like Obamacare, parents are learning what is "in the bill" only now that it is in force. Christian parents are fleeing public schools because of the secular indoctrination children are subjected to, but experts and parents everywhere are rejecting this one size-fits-all, teach-to-the-test, dumb-down-dumber federal standard (read more: Signature Achievement?, Doesn't Add, What Parents Should Know, Race to the Bottom, Information Catalogue, States Rebelling; Will: Doubts over Common Core).
- May the citizens of our American states reject Common Core and every overreach by the federal government -- especially with regard to the education of their children (Is 28:7-13; Hos 4:6; Rom 4:19; 1 Cor 10:23; 2 Pet 2:1; Rev 2:20).
Finally, please pray over: the President's vow to work around Congress using his "phone and pen"; the IRS's unrepentant targeting of conservative groups, the latest, Hollywood's Friends of Abe -- who like the abused Tea Parties have done nothing except to hold conservative views and values. The IRS has become all-the-more bold after the Justice Department said they had broken no laws when they subjected scores of tea party, Christian and conservative groups to extraordinary scrutiny, delays and rejections for standard c3 and c4 tax status they sought. Pray for our friends in Virginia, that they will obtain justice in the egregious announcement by newly elected Attorney General, Mark Herring, who has declared he will not enforce Virginia's Marriage Amendment, but will join homosexual activists in their legal efforts against it (see Tony Perkins' comments). May God intervene to protect Americans from the lawless acts of their elected and unelected officials, even as He did for the Colonial Virginians, when they humbled themselves in prayer in 1774!