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Missouri Family E-News January 11, 2010
"Free to Speak" Campaign Gains Steam in Public Schools
A religious liberties organization is pushing a natonal "Free to Speak" campaign in conjunction with Religious Freedom Day to be observed this Saturday.  The campaign is designed to educate educators about the religious freedoms of students and teachers in the public schools.
The campaign is a project of The Gateways to Better Education group in concert with the Allliance Defense Fund.  Organizers are working to distribute packets to classrooms teachers and school administrators explaining how freedom of religious expression applies in the public school setting.
"The classroom should be a safe place for students of all ages to express their faith in class discussions and homework assignments, just as the U.S. Department of Education has affirmed," says Eric Buehrer, founder of Gateways.
Over the last 15 years, under both the Clinton and Bush administrations, the U.S. Education Department has issued guidelines on religious freedom in schools.  Yet, most public school instructors and principals are not even aware of them. 
The Alliance Defense Fund has identified seven essential freedoms in the U.S. Department of Education directives:
1) Students may pray, read religious material, and talk about their faith at school
2) Students may organize religious clubs at school
3) Students may express their faith in class work and homework
4) Teachers may organize prayer groups with other teachers
5) Schools may allow students to go off campus for religious studies during school hours
6) Students may express their faith at school events
7) Students may express their faith at graduation ceremonies
Buehrer says teachers need to accomodate the values of every student in their classroom, and that includes students of religious faith.  "One of the most important civics lessons all students should learn is that freedom of religious expression is a fundamental right of all Americans." 
Since 1993, U.S. Presidents have issued proclamations declaring January 16th as Religious Freedom Day.  Many churches across America observed yesterday as Religious Freedom Sunday.   
For more information on the Free to Speak Campaign and Gateways to Better Education, visit this link:
Brit Hume to Tiger Woods:  Seek Christ
In an era when most of the news media has lost favor with American citizens, certain individuals have stood out as examples of journalistic integrity.  One of those people has been Fox News senior political correspondent Brit Hume. 
As a former news reporter who cares deeply about the ethics of the journalism profession, I regularly lament the loss of intelligence, objectivity, and class in today's journalistic ranks.  Yet Hume has been a striking example of an old style news authority with his incisive, insightful, and gentlemanly news analysis.  We are now finding out more about the real reason he is a man of such unusual character in his profession.
In a recent interview on Fox News Sunday, panelists were discussing the future fortunes of golf superstar Tiger Woods following revelation of his extramarital liaisons.  Hume commented that any revival of Woods' success would depend on "his faith."   He then said: "My message to Tiger would be, 'Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.' "
In a subsequent interview with Bill O'Reilly on the O'Reilly Factor, Hume said that he had always "rooted for Tiger Woods as a golfer and as a man."  He observed that Christianity is a faith that offers both forgiveness and redemption. He added, "Jesus Christ offers something Tiger Woods desperately needs right now."
Hume says that he came to know Jesus Christ personally following his son's death by suicide in 1998.  "If a person is a Christian and tries to face up to the implications of what you say you believe, it's a pretty big thing.  If you do it part time, you're not really living it."
We encourage you to pray that more men and women enter the world of modern-day journalism who have the personal and professional integrity of a man like Brit Hume.  We need more reporters, commentators, and columnists who recognize that faith in the true God is not a part-time assignment.
You can view the YouTube video of the O'Reilly interview at this link:  
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State Senator Seeks to Remove Missouri From Abortion Mandate
A Missouri state senator has proposed legislation which would exempt the state of Missouri from abortion mandates contained in federal health care legislation.  State Senator Scott Rupp of Wentzville has filed a bill which would restrict coverage of abortion in federally-regulated health insurance policies sold in Missouri.
The health care bill engineered by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and approved by the U.S. Senate on Christmas Eve contains a number of abortion-friendly provisions.  As it stands, taxpayers would subsidize private health insurance plans covering abortions through federal tax credits.  Private health insurance companies providing abortion coverage would be required to charge an abortion premium to all enrollees regardless of "age, sex, or family status."
The U.S. Senate bill also includes the very dangerous Mikulski Amendment, authored by rabidly pro-abortion Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland.   That amendment requires that private health insurance policies include women's "preventative care," and authorizes pro-abortion Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to define what that means.  Mikulski has made clear that she considers "abortion care" to be included in comprehensive primary preventative health care for women.
However, in order to win the critical 60th vote of Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Senate leaders inserted an opt-out provision in the federal health care bill.  It allows states to prohibit abortion coverage in health insurance plans offered through health insurance exchanges in their state provided the state legislature passes a law banning such coverage.  And that is exactly what Senator Rupp's legislation would do.
"This bill is a proactive approach to combat any attempt to use Missouri taxpayer dollars for abortions," says Senator Rupp.  "The bottom line is, if any health care plan comes down from the federal government, the state of Missouri will not make our citizens subsidize abortions in policies offered through the health insurance exchanges.  My legislation will continue to protect unborn children."
Missouri law currently limits abortion coverge in any health insurance contracts, plans, or policies issued in Missouri.  That law, passed by the Legislature in 1983, states that policies sold in Missouri can only cover abortion if it is paid for through an optional insurance rider with a separate premium.
However, if Washington establishes national rules governing health insurance contracts sold through federally-regulated health insurance exchanges, those rules could pre-empt (negate) state statutes.  That is why it is vital that the state of Missouri opt out of the federal requirements, should they become law.
Senator Rupp's proposal bans abortion coverage altogether in private health insurance policies offered in Missouri through any federal health insurance exchange, whether through a separate insurance rider or not.  That tracks with the language of the opt-out provision in the federal health care bill.
The Missouri Legislature has done an excellent job over the years of establishing firewalls to prevent Missouri taxpayers from underwriting or supporting the abortion industry in any way.  State statutes were adopted in 1986 that forbid the use of public funds, public employees, or public facilities for the purpose of performing or assisting abortions. 
We applaud Senator Rupp's efforts to ensure that the same firewalls are established with regard to the use of federal tax dollars as well.  We also commend him for his vigilance in working to prevent any forced marriage between the abortion industry and the health insurance industry in Missouri.    
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