Office of Public Policy
100 Maryland Avenue, NE Room 530
Washington, DC 20002
The Holy Day of Christmas with its message of peace stands in stark contrast to the mood in Washington. Members of the House of Representatives have left to wrap presents and place them under the tree. The Senate, now in session, is eager to do the same. Both houses will likely be back before the end of the year to undo the “gifts” House and Senate negotiators are offering the American people: $42 billion in budget cuts and a $453 billion defense spending package; drilling in the Artic, reductions in student loans and more cuts in welfare benefits. In addition, there are roving wiretaps, and maybe enough strong-armed persuasion to extend the Patriot Act. Where is the “gift” to those displaced by Katrina and to those waiting for both houses of Congress to act, so they can rebuild their lives and move toward wholeness?
The New York Times has uncovered the National Security Agency’s practice authorizing the federal government’s Orwellian practice of “spying on its own citizens.” Some ask, "must we sacrifice our rights to privacy for the 'gift 'of freedom?" Moreover, on behalf of Khaled El-Masri, an “innocent victim” affected by the CIA’s policy of “extraordinary rendition,” a lawsuit has been filed by the American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU) . The ACLU charges former CIA director George Tenant with authorizing “kidnapping a foreign national for the purpose of detaining and interrogating him outside the law." It finds the CIA “snatch[ed] Mr. El-Masri off the street... hiding him away in a secret prison, and keep[ing] him imprisoned after his innocence was established.” The lawsuit challenges us to ask if some wish to take away the “gift” of “the rule of law [as] central to our identity as a nation.?”
The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams recently observed, “Christmas reminds us of one thing we know for sure . . .God doesn’t wave a magic wand, or descend briefly from the sky to clean things up. He arrives on earth as a human being who will change things simply by the completeness of his love. New things become possible for us, new levels of loving response and involvement . . Faith is restored and strengthened not by talking but by witness in action."
In this season, be God’s watchman on the city wall. Let Congress and the White House hear from you. Act to preserve Freedom, act to guard Truth. Act out of love for those who suffer injustice in this season.
Call the White House 202/456-1414 and the US Congress 202/224-3121. Tell the President and Your Representative that:
“The Gift of Liberty Endures"
Protect our Constitutional rights! Feed the Hungry! Care for the Earth!
Dec 28, 2005