Long Time, No Sea
May 24, 2012 - Thursday
Rule number one of federal lawmaking: When a Senator says his colleagues would be "more comfortable" voting on a bill after an election, it spells trouble. And in the case of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), that trouble is spelled LOST, or Law of the Sea Treaty. It's been 30 years since President Reagan first sank the idea of a maritime bureaucracy, but that hasn't stopped big government advocates from dredging up the policy every few years and selling it to Congress as buried treasure. Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Kerry, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta took turns pitching the 1982 treaty in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as a way to "bring order" to the world's oceans. The way they see it, LOST would help define the boundaries in international waters and create a "more peaceful" sea environment.
It sounds innocent enough, but behind those benign talking points is a dangerous agenda that would undermine U.S. security--and siphon away millions of dollars in the process. Lost in LOST's hearing were the facts. For one, proponents neglected to mention that the treaty would force America to release its hold on miles and miles of natural resources. Instead of profiting from the discoveries of oil or gas, U.S. companies would have to transfer those royalties to an international bureaucracy in charge of "redistributing" that wealth (sound familiar?) to needy nations. According to the U.S. Continental Shelf Task Force, those resources "may be worth billions, if not trillions, of dollars."
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), one of two dozen Republicans that oppose LOST, was emphatic about the threat. "[This] would be the first time in history that an international organization would possess a taxing authority, and it would amount to billions of American dollars being transferred out of the U.S. Treasury," he wrote. What's more, this "International Seabed Authority," or ISA, would have the power to haul the U.S. before global tribunals for perceived violations, order countries to share cutting-edge technologies, and bar the Navy from using global waterways for defense or military purposes. And if member nations decide to change the treaty? "There is no guarantee that the treaty will remain in the form that it is at the time of ratification. Under its terms, its content can later be changed by an amendment process that does not require the approval of the U.S. government."
Of course, most people recognized the bill was bad when Sen. Kerry announced during yesterday's hearing that he "would like to see this treaty stay out of the hurly-burly of presidential politics." Translation? I plan on pushing this bill after November 6 so that Senators can't be held accountable for passing such a controversial bill. Obviously, Sen Kerry and friends are hoping to follow the pattern of last year's START treaty, which is to wait until the lame-duck session to force unpopular and potentially unconstitutional policies on the American people.
Unfortunately for voters, this is a favorite tactic of the administration: using treaties to get radical policies through the country's backdoor. But, as FRC expert (and former ambassador to the U.N.) Ken Blackwell knows, this is exactly the kind of slippery slope that masks the destruction of American authority on everything from religious freedom to parental rights. What else could explain the Left's advocacy for the U.N.'s Convention on the Rights of the Child or the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women? They understand that once we dip our toe in the oceans, there will be no way to stem the tide.
Harry and the Technicolor Truth Conference
This afternoon, I joined Bishop Harry Jackson and dozens of pastors from across ethnic and denominational lines to host a Capitol Hill news conference to show support for the Defense of Marriage Act, which may soon face a repeal vote in the U.S. Senate. Speaking before dozens of reporters and all the news networks, Bishop Jackson pointed to a new "rainbow coalition" of made up of all races and a bipartisan coalition of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who are all standing together in support of marriage and will not be silent as President Obama misuses Scripture to advance his social agenda. New York City Councilman Fernando Cabrera, a Democratic leader, spoke about the importance of children having a mom and dad and how public policy promotes this ideal. At one point a reporter asked how same-sex marriage could hurt Americans. Bishop Jackson responded that it would negatively impact an institution already hurt by high divorce rates. And not only that, but as we've seen countless times, where homosexual marriage is allowed, religious liberty suffers and takes a back seat to so-called "tolerance" and political correctness. Bishop Joseph Mattera spoke about the devastating impact that the breakdown of the family has had on the Hispanic community and the importance of strengthening and not weakening marriage through counterfeit marriage.
One reporter asked if Republicans were the ones "politicizing" the marriage issue. I countered that it was the Massachusetts Supreme Court in 2004 who forced this issue on the country by imposing same-sex marriage by judicial decree. The national grassroots movement quickly grew in response to this ruling and eventually led voters in 32 out of 32 states to vote to uphold marriage between a man and a woman. As I explained to reporters this afternoon, a comparison can be easily made between the marriage and abortion debates. Forty years after Roe v. Wade, only 41%--a record low--of Americans identify as "pro-choice." If the courts redefine marriage for the entire nation, I predict that 40 years later, we will see a similarly divided nation, because orthodox Christianity simply will not waver in its support for marriage as it has always been defined.
Today and tomorrow, 450 pastors and church leaders from across the nation are gathering in Washington, D.C. for FRC's ninth annual "Watchmen on the Wall" conference. It was my privilege to help open the event by calling on the spiritual leaders of the nation to engage with our culture and society to stand for our values. Throughout the day, we heard from pro-family leaders, political figures and preachers like U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), New York Councilman Fernando Cabrera, Dr. David Jeremiah, Ken Ham, as well as senior FRC leadership. This afternoon, the pastors went to Capitol Hill to pray and meet with their House and Senate members, where they raised their concerns about the President's position on marriage and the administration's attack on the religious freedom of faith-based groups and military chaplains. These are difficult times for our nation, but we know that Jesus Christ remains Lord of time and eternity. Our hope is in Him--and today's events with so many pastors encourage me. There are plenty of spiritual leaders who are serving their congregations and standing for the truth as Watchmen on the Wall with compassion and boldness. To watch the event, click here.
** For the latest on the massive lawsuit against the President's contraception-abortion mandate, check out Cathy Ruse's new op-ed in the Washington Times, "Catholic Bishops Strike Back."