NARLA NEWS: James Standish Reports on Capitol Hill Events
By James Standish, Esq.
Dear Friends of Freedom:
I write this update during a short break between activities on Capitol Hill. Friends, I am overwhelmed by what is happening here.
On Thursday morning, John Graz, the head of the Seventh-day Adventist religious liberty work represented all of us at the prayer breakfast held in the East Room of the White House. President Bush, along with a number of members of the cabinet, were in attendance.
That same morning across town on Capitol Hill, NARLA members from all over the United States and Canada convened to get the latest developments and training on how to interact with their Members of Congress.
Thursday afternoon we went to appointments with over 30 congressional offices. There are so many stories from yesterday afternoon, I will give you just one. One group of NARLA members met Senator Joseph Lieberman. During their discussion with him, they thanked him for his support of the Workplace Religious Freedom Act. In reply, Senator Lieberman thanked them for supporting the bill and told them how much he appreciated that Seventh-day Adventists share the same Sabbath with him. Many members reported that the training that they received during the morning prepared them for meetings with their Members of Congress and their staff.
Senator McCain’s speech at our annual religious liberty dinner last night was outstanding. The great news is that you don’t have to simply take my word for this. A link to his speech is located at www.religiousliberty.info I am particularly proud of the recognition he gave to the pivotal role Seventh-day Adventists have played in promoting religious liberty around the world - not just for ourselves, but for everyone. And his dedication to ensure that human rights - including religious liberty - are at the top of the American agenda.
This morning we focused on international religious liberty issues, with John Graz giving NARLA members a global view of the struggle for religious freedom. Jonathan Gallagher provided an inside view of how the United Nations works, and what the Seventh-day Adventist Church is doing there to combat religious hatred and advance the cause of religious freedom.
This afternoon, NARLA members are all over Capitol Hill again, this time on special behind the scenes tours of the U.S. Capitol lead by Congressional staff, and in a few hours the Written in the Heart Sabbath begins at Capitol Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church. We are having a tremendous time flying God’s banner of truth and religious liberty in the places that matter most!
With the help of our friends at the Hope Channel, you will be able to access some of the spirit of what is going on this weekend. As I mentioned in my last update, the Hope Channel has special programming running this Sabbath that highlights the Ten Commandments, and features many of those of us on our church’s religious liberty team.
Before I close, I want to sincerely thank all of you who are upholding our annual events on Capitol Hill in your prayers. As you know, our religious liberty team is working systematically and seriously on the challenges in our nation and around our world. We will be here working on Capitol Hill next week, the week after and the week after that.
Your support all through the year is sincerely appreciated. If you haven’t already, I want to invite you to become a meaningful part of this work by joining the North American Religious Liberty Association. You can join at www.religiousliberty.info and become a force for good in our society and our world. And maybe next year you will join us for our annual events right here in the heart of the nation’s capital.
May God bless you this Sabbath is my prayer,
(Read the transcript of John McCain's Speech)