January/February, 1998 Volume XII Number 10
"Religious Persecution" monitoring . . . a look at HR2431
by Charles Carlson
On November 4, 1997, President William J. Clinton issued a "state of emergency," Executive Order declaring an all out economic war against the people of the third world, African, Republic of Sudan. In taking this unilateral action Clinton simply by-passed a bill that has been debated in Congress since May, containing nearly identical sanctions.(1)
In declaring a state of emergency the President pre-empted Congress, which has resisted hasty passage of the so called Freedom From Religious Persecution Act, HR2431, introduced on May 26, 1997.(2) That bill also contains almost identical sanctions against Sudan, but is currently hung up on the House floor after encountering grass root resistance. Mr. Clinton simply burrowed the section of the bill having to do with sanctions on Sudan and incorporated them into his "emergency" Executive Order.
To understand the implications of Mr. Clinton's Executive Order one must examine the bill that Clinton's allies are attempting to slide through Congress, the Freedom From Religious Persecution Act's.(2) This legislation's very name is a serious distortion because the bill does not provide freedom. Rather, it expands the power of the Executive Branch by creating the " Office of Religious Persecution Monitoring," with power to create warmaking sanctions anywhere in the world at the will of a Presidential Appointee called the Director of Religious Persecution Monitoring.
According to Constitutional law scholar Herbert J. Titus, this represent an enormous departure from constitutional government by "creating a Czar of Religious Monitoring."(3) Only Congress has been granted, under Article 2, section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the power to make war. But the bill also grants "monitoring" authority to the Director, whose mandate would be to provide surveillance over religious groups in search of persecution. The President, through appointees, would instantly enjoy enormous powers to monitor and judge religious groups at his discretion, hitherto forbidden by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
But if HR2431 is passed in the January session of Congress, the "Office," without so much as Congressional debate, will have authority to turn sanctions and embargoes on and off like a spigot. The promoters of HR2431 have carefully conditioned members of Congress and strategic members of the public, primarily nationally known Christian leaders, to accept the idea that the government of Sudan is a "renegade government" and deserves to be punished. An embargo and "subsequent actions" against Sudan would set a precedent for the unrestricted power of the Office.
Proponents of HR2431 have joined in a massive disinformation blitz organized primarily through certain non-government organizations (NGOs). Notably among these are Freedom House, Christian Solidarity International, the international business establishment related Hudson Institute, The Council on Foreign Relations and a flock of authors and lesser organizations. It is worth noting that 17 of 35 members of the Board of Directors of Freedom House are also members of the internationalist, Council On Foreign Relations.(4) Michael Horowitz, director of Projects for Civil Justice at Hudson Institute has repeatedly claimed to be the ghost author of the so called Freedom From Religious Persecution Act ( HR2431).
So cleverly has the Act been promoted that it has gained the support of a number of highly respected conservative Congressmen, nationally known Christian leaders and TV evangelists who would normally be expected to resist any growth of government, especially where intrusion into religious freedom is involved. Michael Horowitz boasts that he and other "coalition" members invented the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church to promote the bill, supposedly observed by 100,000 Christian churches on November 16th.(5) It is worth noting that Mr. Horowitz publicly states he and many major promoters are not Christians, yet the day of Prayer was largely promoted as a Christian function.
Keeping watch on the lambs
The Office Of Religious Persecution Monitoring is to be empowered under Section 9 of the bill, to evaluate and compare religions and to train government employees within various agencies, including the Department of Immigration and Naturalization. The Director will have broad authority to determine who may immigrate, merely by deciding if a certain group is persecuted. The Office will study, rank and judge religions, supposedly to make informed decisions as to who is being persecuted and by whom. But the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that, "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Therefore, how can Congress grant a power to monitor religion that it does not itself possess? The answer is, it can not create an Office of Religious Persecution Monitoring without first discarding the First Amendment right of citizens to be left alone in their worship.
HR2431 would set a precedent the moment it becomes law by passing judgment on individuals based upon their religious beliefs. The first such case will be the alleged "radical extremist Muslims" which are designated in the bill, as distinguished from benign, "moderate Muslims". Obviously, American Citizens who are Muslims will be affected by this act by being religiously classified. The constitution protects all religions, not just Christianity.
A logical question every Christian should ask is, "Who will be next?" What is to prevent "The Office" from deciding that "Extremist Christians" are persecuting pro-abortion pantheists, or "gay" Unitarians, or some sect of its own invention. If "The Office" has a right to classify one religion as acceptable or not, why not all religions? The bill does not define what it considers to be a "religion," so it is apparently free to make up its own definition. This alone creates a serious concern for Christians.
But if religious monitoring is not constitutional, where does HR2431 find its authority? The authority for sanctioning individuals, groups and countries comes from the United Nations Charter, the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Covenants on Political and Civil Rights, which are quoted in section 2 of the bill as authority. But nowhere is the U.S. Constitution quoted. HR2431 is openly promoting international law based upon the United Nations.
Melissa McClard of Gary Bauer's Family Research Council was questioned about the presence of cites from the U.N. Covenants on November 24, 1997 in a Jane Chastain Greater Los Angeles Radio interview. Ms. McClard proclaimed that the presence of United Nations authority in the bill did not matter because, the "United Nations Covenants come right out of the U.S. Constitution."
According to Herbert Titus, nothing could be further from the truth. There is no language in the Constitution to compare with the quotes made from the U.N. Covenants. Furthermore, the U.N. Covenants claim to grant qualified rights to individuals. This falsely presumes that world government has such rights to grant. Conversely, the Constitution does not grant any rights, but rather it limits Government's interference with unalienable rights that are deemed natural or God-given to the individual.
Ms. McClard is a spokesman for the sponsors of HR2431 and even claims a part in its drafting. What appears to be incredible distortion and willful misstatement demonstrates the determination of the Warmaker promoters to pass the bill, regardless of the means.
"The Office" would enjoy the mandate to suspend all kinds of individual, constitutional right upon demand. For instance, in Section 11, it may forbid US citizens from doing any business with any sanctioned nation, with fines and prison terms provided for under the "Trading With The Enemy Act" and other referenced laws. It is doubtful that a church or private charity could send humanitarian aid to the starving children in Sudan without being sanctioned. A careful reading of the bill, and the Presidents Executive Order as well, seems to dictate that American citizens from Sudan could be jailed for sending food to relatives.(2)
During the UN Embargo on Bosnia, American residents from Bosnia, supported by Christian citizens, braved the UN embargo by shipping and carrying medical supplies to Bosnian hospitals. Under HR2431 sanctions, they could be prosecuted by the Attorney General for "trading with the enemy." This is a further restriction of both Constitutional freedoms of association and the right to practice religion.
When the 105th Congress offered modest resistance to the rubber stamp passage of HR2431, the President simply declared an "emergency" and imposed what appear to be almost identical sanctions, citing the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and the National Emergencies Act. The Executive Branch has frequently usurped Congressional authority in other areas of warmaking, including the sanctions of other countries, such as Bosnia (Yugoslavia), Iraq, Haiti and Iraq, without permission of Congress.
More on the promoters of religious monitoring
Among the primary promoters of HR2431 is Freedom House, a Washington based organization which claims its purpose is to monitor civil rights abuses and promote "the cause of liberty." Freedom House appears to have no historical Christian bias and was founded in 1943 by Wendell Willkie and Eleanor Roosevelt. Willkie is best known for his book, One World, a call for world government promoting the concept of the United Nations.(5)
Groundwork for HR2431 was laid by a book entitled In The Lion's Den, written by Nina Shea, an employee of Freedom House.(6) On page 85, we learn Freedom House entertained over 100 Christian leaders in Washington, in January 1996, including Congressmen Wolf and Hall. In the Lion's Den (endorsed by Rep. Hall) describes the meeting in a chapter titled, "A Call To Action," where Warmaker promoters at Freedom House clamor for a new Christian crusade of sorts.(6)
The agenda for the meeting, according to Shea, was Christian persecution in eleven countries including the Middle East and China. But the focus was really on several Muslim states. China was discussed but excused. Instead Christian leaders were exhorted to demand that Congress do something to protect Christians in Muslim countries where "renegade governments" are in control, all of which were described as Muslim fundamentalists. Freedom House then mailed 70,000 briefing promotional packages to church leaders nationwide, probably a ont to three million dollar task.
What is troubling about Shea's In the Lion's Den is that her appeal for authority aggrandizes the United Nations, the very institution that is proposed as the alternative to national, Constitutional government. On page two she writes, "The rights of Christians and other groups to practice their religions freely--irrespective of the culture and custom of an area, or a Christian community's minority status--is universally recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and numerous other international treaties and instruments. The most specific of these documents is the United Nations Declaration on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Based on Religious Belief." Ms. Shea, Mr. Horowitz, Mr. Wolf and Mr. Clinton hold that the United Nations provides the necessary authority to monitor religion and to embargo other countries. They clearly assumes someone in the U.S. has the right to make decisions for the remainder of the world and ignores a 211 year old precedent that says otherwise.
Leading the lambs
Among the better known proponents of HR2431 are:Richard L. Land, Southern Baptist Convention, D. James Kennedy, Coral Ridge Ministries, Michael Novak and George Weigel, American Enterprise Institute for Policy Research, William L Bennett, former Secretary of Education, Carl A. Anderson, Knights of Columbus, Don Argyle President, National Association of Evangelicals, Steve Forbes, Republican Presidential candidate, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, former Ambassador to the United Nations, Josh McDowell (Ministries), Chuck Colson (Prison Ministries), Gary Bauer, Family Research Council President, Reverend Dr. David Adams, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Don Hodel, President Christian Coalition, Pat Robertson, 700 Club star and former owner of the 300 million dollar Christian Broadcasting network, and Beverly LaHaye's Concerned Women for America and many others.
Many national Christian leaders and conservative writers who have endorsed the proposed legislation, such as Pat Robertson, are staunch denouncers of the United Nations as an instrument of world government. But Warmaker promoters for HR2431 seems to have learned how to convince "Christian Right" leaders that "renegade Muslim governments" are a greater evil and threat to Christianity than is world government. These endorsers of HR2431 seem to have lost their fear of joining hands with the United Nations and of turning authority and discretion for monitoring and correcting religion over to the Clinton Administration.
This response is not so hard to understand after one reads Shea's, In The Lion's Den. It is passionately convincing. The author employs gut wrenching emotion to sell her arguments that the Islamic government of Sudan is evil, killing 1.3 million Christians, and only the United Nations provides the authority to bring it down.
In the liar's den
But Mrs.Shea's statistical support become more suspect when compared to available population data from a variety of sources, including the CIA and The United Nation itself. According to the CIA World Factbook, the religious mixture in Sudan is 70% Muslim religions, 5% Christian and most of the rest tribal or pagan ("animists"). Most Christians live in the capital city of Khartoum and in the sparsely populated and vast south. Various estimates give the south of Sudan 70% tribal religions with the balance split between Christian and Muslim.(8) Based on simple arithmetic, it appears the government would have had to kill every Christian in Southern Sudan several times over to satisfy Ms. Shea's figures.
But there is also no proof that the 1.3 million figure is valid either, and other groups and writers commonly expand these figures even further apparently based on their own whims. For instance, the Michael Horowitz created Prayer Journal for the International Day of Prayer, on page 13, elevated the death toll in Sudan to 1.5 million with another 5 million homeless. The promoters are seemingly unconcerned by the fact that they quote Shea as a literature source and offer her book for sale but stretch her already questionable figures by 200,000 people.(4 )
Even if every horrible claim Shea makes against the government of Sudan were true, no amount of misdeeds by leaders of other lands against their own people justifies Congress abrogating their Constitutional mandate into the hands of the President, or to anyone else. Nor is Freedom House's emotional, "eye for an eye" approach to punishing The Republic of Sudan a Christian response to persecution. It is not the scriptural approach taken by Dr. David Livingston and other Christian missionaries who disciple this vast wasteland for their faith 140 years ago.
Whatever the faults of the government of the Republic of Sudan, two wrongs do not make a right. Those who call for the starvation of Sudan should ask themselves, where Jesus, Paul or any Apostle ever called for retribution against those who persecuted them. Not only is retribution unchristian, but it is counterproductive.
Mean is the embargo on the children of Sudan. But it is only a part of an equally threatening scheme to create an Office of Religious Persecution Monitoring, which will have the power to establish surveillance and control over all religious establishments everywhere, including the United States.
The answer is not so simple as to get rid of the current President, as many would relish. Previous American Presidents, including George Bush, have also acted as warmakers to promote an atheistic world government and to destroy innocent human life abroad by war and embargo.
If the First Amendment protection of life is ever again to mean anything, Congress must be forced to repeal the various war powers acts which Mr. Clinton has cited for his "emergency" sanctions, and the defense against passage of the ill named Freedom From Religious Persecution Act must be continued at all cost.
C.E. Carlson is the founder and director of We Hold These Truths, in Scottsdale, Arizona. He maintains a web site at: http://www.whtt.org
1. "Executive Order Imposes New Economic Sanctions on Sudan," November 3, 1997, USIS Washington File, (www.usia.gov/current) November 4, 1997
2. HR2431, 105th Congress of the United States, May 26, 1997, To Provide For the Office of Religious Persecution Monitoring and to Provide for the imposition of Sanctions against Countries Engaged in Patterns of Religious Persecutor and for Other Purposes. See WHTT Website for full text of bill.
3. Herbert W. Titus, The Forecaster, Titus Publishing, 2400 Carolina Road, Chesapeake, VA 23322 FAX 757-421-3644
4. Freedom House Homepage, www.freedom house.org
5. Prayer Journal for the International Day of Prayer, call 1-888-LETS-PRAY; e-mail IDOP@XC.ORG
6. Nora Shea, In The Lion's Den, 1997 Broadman and Holman
7. Cox, Nolan, to Whom It May Concern, October 2, 1997
8. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Sudan Factbook, Homepage, www.odci.gov/cia
9. Ganem, George letter to Reverent Dr. David Adams, dated October 19, 1997, see WHTT Website