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Missouri Family E-News December 21, 2009
Governor's Prayer Breakfast Features Adam Wainwright
St. Louis Baseball Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright will be the keynote speaker at the 2010 Governor's Prayer Breakfast in Jefferson City.  The annual event will be held on Thursday, January 7th, at 7:30 AM at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.
Wainwright had a sterling season this past year, winning 19 games.  He fell just short of winning the Cy Young Award, gaining the highest number of first-place votes, but finishing third in the overall balloting.
Wainwright has been active with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, saying that his priorities are "God, family, and then baseball."  Earlier this year, he collaborated with Governor Jay Nixon on a statewide campaign to combat youth smoking called "Strike Out Tobacco." 
The Governor's Prayer Breakfast is held each January as the General Assembly returns to the State Capitol.  Its purpose is to ask God's direction as state senators and state representatives begin a new legislative session.
Proceeds from the Governor's Prayer Breakfast support the Governor's Student Leadership Forum on Faith and Values.  The three-day program is geared to college students who are interested in the role faith plays in leadership.  Participants examine the role faith has played in the lives of business executives, government  officials, and sports figures. 
For more information about the Governor's Prayer Breakfast, you can visit this link:

Merry Christmas from the Missouri Family Policy Council! 

As Christmas approaches, we take comfort in the solace and the serenity of the season.  In a world where life seems to be more stressful and turbulent all the time, we hunger for the inner peace that only the Prince of Peace can give.
At a time when our forms of government seem to be more and more tangled in discord and division, we find special meaning in celebrating the birth of the One on whose shoulders the ultimate government rests.  We are promised in the Word of God that there will be no end to the increase of His government and of His Peace. (Is 9:6-7) This is one type of growth of government that our hearts should yearn for:  That the King of Kings would reign more and more in our lives and those of all His children.
In his commentary, Matthew Henry writes:  "The monarchies of the earth were each less illustrious than the other, so that what began in gold ended in iron and clay, and every monarchy dwindled by degrees; but the Kingdom of Christ is a growing Kingdom, and will come to perfection at last." While we seek the restoration of America to its original Godly heritage, we realize that our nation will someday suffer the same fate as every other earthly kingdom.   
The Scriptures remind us that it is only in the Kingdom of God that righteousness will prevail and true justice will never fail.  We are told this will be accomplished because of the zeal of the Lord Almighty, who presides from the Throne of His Truth.  Only Jesus Christ can be a selfless lover and sovereign lawgiver at the same time.  He alone can fashion a government of integrity, equity, and harmony.
As we pray for our earthly leaders, we look to Christ's example as the supreme public servant, who showed us what true public service should be all about.  He modeled by His life what it means to be a peaceable prince, a compassionate king, and a righteous ruler.  He demonstrated by His death what it means to sacrifice everything for those we love, by bearing the burdens and the penalty for our sins.
Please accept our gratitude for your support of the Missouri Family Policy Council during 2009.  We pray that the light of God's love will dawn in a fresh and significant way in your home and family this Christmas.  May His Peace find a larger resting place in your heart, and may His Joy consume a greater part of your spirit.  We wish you a Christmas that is merry with the soul-stirring meaning of the Christmas message.
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Is Christ Welcome on the Capitol Christmas Tree?
Candace Duncan's son was especially excited about Christmas this year. He had learned that the state of Arizona had been chosen to provide the Christmas tree to be erected in front of the U.S. Capitol.  Each year the U.S. Forest Service supplies a large evergreen tree from one of its national forests, and this year the tree would be coming from the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona.
Candace's son was pleased because that meant schoolchildren from Arizona like himself would be able to make ornaments that would decorate the national tree.  He proceeded to make three ornaments:  One ornament said "Merry Christmas," another said "Happy Birthday, Jesus," and the third was a manger scene with the baby Jesus.
Candace's son was puzzled when school officials told him that his ornaments were unacceptable.  They told him that criteria for the Capitol Christmas tree prohibited ornaments with a "religious or political theme"  Her son did not understand how a Christmas tree could not include references to Jesus Christ, the person for whom the tree is named.  He also could not understand why the tree could not include a manger scene commemorating the very event for which the day of Christmas is celebrated.
Candace Duncan's son discussed his confusion with his mom.  His mother took the issue to Christian attorneys at the Alliance Defense Fund.  They sent a letter to national forest service officials explaining that the criteria banning religious ornaments was unconstitutional. 
The letter stated that the policy amounted to discrimination against religious viewpoints in violation of the free speech and freedom of religion provisions of the First Amendment.  ADF attorneys pointed out that Arizona's state motto even contains a religious reference.  That motto is "Ditat deus," which means "God Enriches."
"Banning Christmas from the Capitol Christmas tree is just absurd," says ADF Staff Counsel Jonathan Scruggs.  "Christian students shouldn't be discriminated against for expressing their religious beliefs."
National Forest Service officials backed down.  They stated that the office of the Architect of the U.S. Capitol had "inadvertently" provided them with "outdated guidance."  They further advised that the guidance had now been rescinded, and that "any and all ornaments" that residents of Arizona wished to contribute were welcome.

These statements make no sense.   If the guidance used was outdated, that would mean it was no longer in effect.  Thus, there would be no need to rescind it.  If it truly was outdated, then that means the unconstitutional criteria were in place at some time, and that the religious freedoms of the citizens of another state were violated.

The Capitol Christmas tree was officially lit on December 8th by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a 7th grade Arizona student.  The 85-foot Blue Spruce had traveled 4,600 miles to reach its final destination on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol.   The 70-year old tree was decorated with approximately 6000 handcrafted ornaments. 
Yet the question remains:  Are the ornaments made by the son of Candace Duncan sitting on the Capitol Christmas tree in Washington, D.C.?  The folks at the Alliance Defense Fund aren't sure.  We pray this Christmas that America will remain a nation where families like that of Candace Duncan will be able to express their belief in our Lord Jesus Christ, and proclaim his greatness at a time when we rejoice in His birth as the Light of the World.
The Scriptures tell us that the Word of God is like a light shining in a dark place.  We are advised to pay attention to it "until the day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts."  Washington, D.C. needs a lot of light right now.  Our President and the leadership of our Congress are operating in a fashion that is clearly in contradiction to God's Word, His Truth, and His Will.  This is not a partisan statement.  It is self-evident from the public careers, public records, and current agendas of these political figures.
In the book of Isaiah, in the great prophecy foretelling the arrival of the Mesiah, we read these words:  "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.  You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy..." (Is 9:2-3)  Please be praying that President Obama and our political leaders will see that light, acknowledge that light, and embrace that light, so that joy may return to our nation and that joy may increase.
Each of us as sinners know what it is like to walk in the darkness.  We must repudiate what darkness remains in our hearts.  That includes any spirit of hatred for or contempt for those in political leadership with whom we disagree.  While we must stand against their ungodly plans and programs, we must at the same time desire and pray God's best for them, that they will surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and know the joy of His salvation.
Our prayer for you this Christmas is that found in 2 Peter 1:5-8:  "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."  We are promised that if we do these things, we will receive " a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
May you and your family experience the fullness of God's Grace and Goodness this Christmas season.
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