Joe Ortwerth's
 Jeff City Update
Missouri Family E-News July 21, 2009
Emergency Webcast Planned
to Stop Taxpayer-Funded Abortions
Pro-life and pro-family forces are employing a full-court press in efforts to stop the inclusion of taxpayer-funded abortions in proposed federal health insurance legislation.  An urgent nationwide webcast is scheduled for 8:00 PM Thursday evening, July 23rd to rally Americans to oppose coverage of abortions in President Obama's health care package.  The campaign is called "Stop the Abortion Mandate."  Organizers claim Obama's health care bill is "the greatest threat to human life since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision imposed abortion on America."  Speakers during the webcast will include Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for LIfe, Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, and Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey.  The Senate has already adopted an amendment in committee to include "comprehensive reproductive health care" in the bill.  The committee rejected an amendment which would have prohibited any mandate of abortion coverage.  Another amendment was defeated which would have protected the conscience rights of healthcare workers to refuse to participate in abortions.  Yet another amendment was knocked down which would have prevented the bill from pre-empting state laws on abortion such as parental consent and informed consent.
The threat posed by Obama's health care plan is extremely grave.  We strongly urge you to participate in this webcast.  You can learn more by following this link:
Please be praying fervently that hearts will be changed on this issue.  Aside from the dubious wisdom and extraordinary expense of a mandated government-run health care program, it would be unconscionable for our tax dollars to be paying for the destruction of innocent unborn children.  How shameful it would be for the blood of these children to be on the hands of every American taxpayer. 
Abortion Alternatives Funding in Jeopardy
Funding for the Missouri Alternatives to Abortion program is threatened by budget cuts being considered by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.  The Governor is seeking to identify more than $300 million in budget
reductions because of shortfalls in state revenue. Margaret Donnelly, Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, has suggested making "moderate to severe" cuts to the abortion alternatives program to achieve budget targets.  The Missouri Legislature approved funding of approximately $1.9 million for the Alternatives to Abortion program, which provides services and resources to women facing problem pregnancies.  The state contracts with a number of private pregnancy resource centers across Missouri to provide prenatal care, counseling, and personal support services to pregnant women.  We encourage you to contact Governor Nixon to ask him to preserve funding for this essential life-saving program.  You can do so by clicking this link:
Youth Evangelism Event Scheduled at Gateway Arch
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is bringing a major youth outreach event to downtown St. Louis on Sunday August 2nd.  "The Rock the River Tour" will be held from 2:30 to 9:30 PM on the grounds of the Gateway Arch.  The event includes a number of popular Christian bands who will play throughout the day.  Franklin Graham describes "Rock the River" as a "massive youth rescue effort" designed to reach young people in the heartland of our nation.  Graham says:  "The Lord Jesus Christ is calling all of us to rescue the lost youth of America.  This is not just the responsibility of youth pastors, but the entire church.  The church needs to be totally committed to reach this age group while they are still reachable.  The reality is that 75 percent of those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior do so by the time they are 18."  Graham and others will present the Gospel message and youth will be given an opportunity to respond.  Members of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association have been trained to provide spiritual support at the event.  We pray that this event will have a powerful impact on St. Louis and throughout Missouri.  We must heed the call from the Scripture found in Psalm 78:4:  "We will not hide these truths from our children, but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord."  For more information about the Rock the River Tour, click this link:  rocktheriver     
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Senator McCaskill Supports Special Rights for Homosexuals
Missouri's U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill
has joined her Democratic colleagues in approving federal legislation providing special legal protections to homosexuals.  McCaskill voted for the so-called "hate crimes" bill, which was attached as an amendment to a unrelated budget authorization bill for the Department of Defense.  Missouri's senior U.S. Senator Kit Bond did not vote.
The "hate crimes" proposal would empower federal authorities to prosecute crimes based on the victim's "actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity."  The effect of the law would be to allow additional penalties for crimes committed against homosexual, bisexual, or so-called transgendered individuals.
In other words, if a person assaulted a 30-year old homosexual male, that person could face greater criminal penalties than if that person assaulted an 80-year old elderly man.  Likewise, if a person raped a 35-year old lesbian woman, that person could face more severe criminal charges than if that person raped a 17-year old girl.
The legislation fails to define "sexual orientation,"  which is a fallacious term in itself.  The American Psychological  Association has "identified" 30 so-called sexual orientations ranging from the bizarre to the repulsive.  Legislators refused to exclude pedophiles from the enhanced protections provided by the bill. 
Such legislation completely corrupts the most central creed of any legitimate criminal justice system, namely equal justice under the law.  "Hate crimes" laws are a blatant violation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides that no person shall be denied "equal protection of the laws."
Aside from the discriminatory nature of hate crimes legislation, such laws reflect misdirected public policy.  They declare that individuals who harbor hostility to certain classes of individuals are more dangerous than individuals who are a menace to everyone in society.  They furthermore declare that individuals who engage in targeted discriminatory criminal conduct are a greater threat to society than individuals who engage in reckless, indiscriminate criminal behavior.   Violence against homosexuals is reprehensible, but it is no more reprehensible than that perpetrated by someone who has complete disregard for any and all human life.
"Hate crimes" laws have also been used in Europe and Canada to silence free speech when it comes to the issue of homosexuality.  Pastors have been prosecuted for "hate crimes" for speaking out publicly against homosexuality, or for preaching what God's Word teaches about the subject.  Previous "hate crimes" legislation adopted by the U.S. Congress states that anyone who "induces" a hate crime through their speech can be tried as a principal along with the offender.
Fortunately, the U.S. Senate adopted an amendment offered by Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas to safeguard religious freedom.  It states that nothing in the bill shall infringe on any First Amendment free speech rights, or burden any free exercise of religion, unless the speech "incited an imminent act of physical violence against another."
Senator McCaskill gave this explanation for her position on the bill:  "Any random act of violence is a tragic event that can devastate the lives of the victim and his or her family, but the intentional beating or murder of an individual based on who they are can terrorize an entire community."
Kevin Theriot, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, disagrees:  "All violent crimes are hate crimes, and all crime victims deserve equal justice.  So-called 'hate crimes laws' actually serve only one purpose:  The criminalization of citizens based on whatever thoughts, beliefs, and emotions they have that are not considered to be 'politically correct.'  No one should fall for the idea that this bill does anything to bring about greater justice for Americans."
We are grateful that Senator McCaskill did vote for the Brownback amendment.  She has offered this assurance:  "Proponents of hate crimes legislation do not seek to punish, nor prohibit in any way...expressions of moral disapproval toward any group.  I will oppose any proposals that infringe upon the lawful expression of one's deeply held religious beliefs."
The "hate crimes" amendment to the Defense authorization bill must now be endorsed by the House of Representatives, which has already approved similar legislation this year.  President Barack Obama has been a major promoter of the "gay rights" agenda, and has vowed to sign such legislation should it reach his desk. 
Please be praying that through God's intervention, this terrible miscarriage of justice will be averted.  You can contact Senator McCaskill to let her know you disapprove of her support for the unequal administration of justice in our nation by following this link:  http://mccaskill.senate.gov/contact