THE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AMENDMENT
On June 4, 1998, the Religious Freedom Amendment (H.J. Res. 78) sponsored by Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK) was defeated in the House of Representatives by a vote of 224 to 203 - a majority but 61 votes short of the two-thirds necessary to pass a constitutional amendment. H.J. Res. 78 would have permitted, not only school prayer, but religious symbols on public property and the use of tax money for religious activities.
The New York Times (6/5/98) quoted Congressman Istook, who is a member of the globalist front, The Council for National Policy: "As prayer has gone out of the schools, guns, knives, drugs and gangs have come in. It's time we put the emphasis on what we believe, and almost every American believes in God."
The Times article continued:
"The measure drew the active opposition of religious groups from across the denominational spectrum, including Catholics, Jews, Presbyterians, Seventh-Day Adventists and Muslims. They said the measure was unnecessary, would coerce religious minorities into conforming with the majority and would upend nearly 300 years of religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.
"'This amendment strips the individual of his or her rights to pick his or her own prayer or to practice his or her own religion without having to subject their beliefs to the manipulation and interference of an arrogant majority,' said Bobby Scott, Democrat of Virginia.' Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) said on the floor, 'Neutrality towards religion, not hostility, is the ideal we seek.'"
The defeat of this amendment would seem to be a set-back for the Religious Right and its planning center near Washington, D.C., the Council for National Policy, which seeks to establish an American Theocracy by extending the U.S. Constitution beyond the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom. Not so. The New York Times indicated otherwise:
"The size of the defeat was a blow to the religious right, which had intensified lobbying for the measure in recent days. Still the appearance of a school prayer measure on the floor for the first time since 1971 showed how eager Republican leaders were to accommodate the right. And conservatives claimed success in just having the matter brought to a vote and in winning a majority."
The Times then quoted Randy Tate, optimistic executive director of Christian Coalition, whose founder, Pat Robertson, is a past president of the CNP and whose co-director, Donald Hodel, is presently a member of the CNP executive committee:
"'We worked very hard,' Randy Tate, executive director of the Christian Coalition, said, 'We want a seat at the table, and some would love to keep us out. We've always believed our influence should be commensurate with our numbers."
And numbers are indeed the objective of the Religious Right's massive campaign for a generic Christian nation, irrespective of faithfulness to the Bible. As Rep. Istook stated, "It's time we put the emphasis on what we believe, and almost every American believes in God."
The Religious Freedom Amendment in its original form stated:
"To secure the people's right to acknowledge God according to the dictates of conscience: The people's right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage or traditions on public property, including schools, shall not be infringed. The government shall not require any person to join in prayer or other religious activity, initiate or designate school prayers, discriminate against religion, or deny a benefit due to religion."
Several Christian organizations objected to this wording of Istook's amendment, but supported it when the final clause was changed to "or deny equal access to a benefit on account of religion."
Among the numerous organizations supporting the final proposal include the National Association of Evangelicals (Over 40 denominations), Christian Coalition*, Catholic Alliance, Focus on the Family*, American Family Association*, Citizens for Excellence in Education, Concerned Women for America*, Family Research Council*, General Council of the Assemblies of God, International Pentecostal Church of Christ, Jewish Union, National Baptist Convention, Southern Baptist Convention*, Wall Builders, American Conference of Jews and Blacks, and Youth for Christ. School prayer activists William Murray and William Dannemeyer* also supported it. [CNP affiliates are noted with an asterisk.]
While many Christian ministries jumped on the bandwagon to support H.J. Res. 78, the Christian Legal Society withheld its support for Istook’s proposal, although it does believe there is a need for a constitutional amendment. In a written release May 8, CLS expressed concern that the revised language would still permit government preference of a specific religion. A portion of CLS comments on H.J. Res. 78 follow, not as an endorsement of the CLS, but for insight as to the dangerous wording of the proposed amendment.
"However, CLS differs with Mr. Istook on the issue of government 'recognition' of religion. CLS opposes CONFERRING ON GOVERNMENT THE CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY 'TO PRAY AND TO RECOGNIZE [THE PEOPLE'S] RELIGIOUS BELIEFS, HERITAGE OR TRADITIONS ON PUBLIC PROPERTY.' At the July 22 hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, MR. ISTOOK CONCEDED that the first sentence of his proposed Religious Freedom Amendment is intended to confer on government, not just individuals and groups, this power to pray and to recognize religion. MR. WILLIAM DANNEMEYER, ardent proponent of the Istook measure, CONFIRMED THIS on October 15 before the CLS committee that supervises the CLS Center for Law and Religious Freedom. Mr. Istook's March 24, 1997, press release cites examples of the kinds of court decisions he wants to reverse; MOST ARE CASES WHERE GOVERNMENTS (not private citizens or churches) WERE ENDORSING ONE RELIGION OVER ANOTHER (e.g., city-owned cross in a park).
"Under this interpretation, intended by its framers, the RFA would effectively rescind much of the protections of the First Amendment by permitting the state and federal governments to use their power and purse to propagate religious messages on a preferential basis.
"Religious history warns us what happens when the State is no longer neutral among religions. The favored faith grows lethargic and withers (witness the officially 'recognized' and largely empty churches of Europe). The disfavored faiths meet discrimination and often persecution. The RFA would create a very slippery slope on which the government could all-too-easily slide from neutral recognition (e.g., that Utah was settled by Mormons; that the abolitionist movement included many religious motivations, etc.) -- which are already constitutional -- to fatal favoritism. Under the pretext of merely 'recognizing' religious belief, a school district could: erect a statue to Buddha or L. Ron Hubbard at the entrance to the high school; post photos of Joseph Smith (founder of the Church Of Latter Day Saints) in every classroom; or require instruction in Native American theology at all grade levels.
"Jesus commissioned His disciples -- not Caesar -- to preach the Gospel. The question is not whether religious symbols will remain on public property; the right of the local church to erect a cross or the temple to sponsor a menorah in the public park is well-grounded in the First Amendment free speech clause. Rather the issue here is in whose name will it be done -- Caesar's or the Church's? For two millennia the Church has been quite capable of maintaining its visible signs and symbols in public places and in this country it remains free to do so.
"But when the State tries to do so, history teaches that the 'helping hand' of government more often hinders than helps unadulterated faith. At a minimum it waters down the message so as not to offend the majority of citizens. More often it leads to second-class status for all other faiths. Our Lord's 'Golden Rule' forbids this." (caps added)
Prior to the congressional vote on H.J. Res. 78, Christian/secular singer Carman held a press conference with Rep. Istook, during which he delivered a petition containing one million signatures in favor of the proposed Constitutional amendment.
Carman, who claims to represent Christian values, was ironically among those in the profit-driven contemporary Christian music industry who were offended by singer Steve Camp's 107 Theses: A Call for Reformation in the Contemporary Christian Music Industry. Christopher Ave of the Dallas Morning News (2/21/98) reported Carman's response:
"'I think Steve needs to concentrate on his own life and not worry so much about everyone else's,' said Carman, a singer and songwriter who, like Mr. Camp, has been releasing records for 20 years. ... 'If Christian music were limited to exclusively Christian outlets,' Carman contends, 'We would lose a whole generation.'"
The one million signatures on Carman's petition came from among those who subscribe to his message and mode of music. The following news items cover Carman's petition for H.J. Res. 78 and demonstrate that the gospel promoted by Carman does not seem to be the Cross of Jesus Christ, but a worldly counterfeit guaranteed to draw large numbers of young people. Tragically, many of these will dance the Holy Ghost Hop on the Broad Way that leads to Destruction, all the while believing they are "saved."
CARMAN PRESENTS CONGRESS WITH PETITION FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AMENDMENT TO CONSTITUTION
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June 3, 1998
WASHINGTON, D.C. Sparrow recording artist Carman, joined Congressman Ernest Istook, (R-OK), at a Capitol Hill press conference today, where Carman delivered a petition containing one million signatures in favor of a Constitutional amendment for voluntary school prayer. "When the vote is called tomorrow, we'll find out whether the House of Representatives responds to what the American people want," Istook said. "Its incredible when you consider that only one man collected these signatures. This helps prove the huge importance of this effort to the American people." Istook's Religious Freedom Amendment, (H.J. Res. 78), which will allow school prayer, will be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.
Carman commented, "The time is now to make a decision. Either our children will slay, or they will pray. These one million signatures represent our nation's desire for voluntary school prayer." Carman collected the signatures during his nationwide "Raising the Standard" tour in 1994-1995. Though he has attempted to present these signatures to President Clinton several times, he has been repeatedly denied.
To date, Carman has sold more than seven million albums and videos. Six of his 14 albums and four of his 10 videos have been RIAA-certified Gold. He also has three RIAA-certified Platinum videos. In support of his latest release, "Mission 3:16," Carman will launch a nation-wide stadium tour this Fall.
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Carman's Holy Ghost Dance Marathon
The Council for National Policy
Freedom From Religious Persecution