STOP Federal Religious Monitoring

A Summary Report of HR2431, a bill to provide for federal religious monitoring. If passed it will expand the dictatorial power of President Clinton’s Executive Branch and establish an Office of Religious Persecution Monitoring (ORPM) with a presidential appointed Director. It’s stated purpose is to help identify persecuting nations. The Director is approved by the Senate but does not answer to Congress and “serves at the pleasure of the President.” The Director will enjoy the authority to define “religion, monitoring and persecution” as they see fit. Among the powers conferred to the ORPM and its Director are:

To monitor religious organizations,
To modify our immigration policy to permit asylum for what the ORPM determines to be religiously persecuted groups,
To allow the Director to impose a wide range of economic sanctions upon countries, regions and individuals, at its exclusive discretion;
To legitimatize sanctions already placed on Sudan by executive order of November 4, 1997, and
To impose virtually unlimited sanctions on others at the discretion of the Director of the ORPM.


Some consequences of HR2431 are:

Allow ORPM surveillance over any religious group, anywhere in the world.
Violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that expressly forbids Congress from passing any laws affecting a free exercise of religion.
Grants warmaking powers reserved by the Constitution exclusively for the Congress to an agency answerable only to the president.
Asserts world government authority over U.S Citizens by citing the United Nations Charter and its covenants on human rights in the bill.
Interferes with the rights of US Citizens to do any business with persons in sanctioned nations. American citizens could be jailed for sending food to relatives or missionaries in a sanctioned country under the “Trading with the Enemy Act”.

Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) are sponsors of HR2431 and S-772 respectively; both legally entitled “To Provide for the Office of Religious Persecution Monitoring and to Provide for the Imposition of Sanctions Against Countries Engaged in Patterns of Religious Persecution and for Other Purposes.” The bill has 108 co-sponsors and has the friendly, short name “The Freedom From Religious Persecution Act of 1997.” Republican Dick Armey has promised fast action, and mark up in the House Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled for March 25. Passage can be prevented with your help. Immediate action is needed, accept no words of compromiseCall your Congressman and demand a NO vote on HR2431, Capital Switchboard Number: 1-800-522-6721, 1-202-225-3121. Also, call Christian leaders supporting the bill and urge them to retract their support! Special Attention: House International Relations CommitteeRepublicans: Benjamin Gilman, NY (Chairman); William Goodling, PA; James A. Leach, IA; Henry Hyde, IL; Doug Bereuter, NE; Christopher Smith, NJ; Dan Burton, IN; Elton Gallegly, CA; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, FL; Cass Ballenger, NC; Dana Rohrabacher, CA; Donald Manzullo, IL; Edward Royce, CA; Peter King, NY; Jay Kim, CA; Steve Chabot, OH; Mark Sanford, SC; Matt Salmon, AZ; Amo Houghton, NY; Tom Campbell, CA; Jon Fox, PA; John McHugh, NY; Lindsey Graham, SC; Roy Blunt, MO; Kevin Brady, TX.

Democrats: Lee Hamilton, IN; Sam Gejdenson, CT; Tom Lantos, CA; Howard Berman, CA; Gary Ackerman, NY; Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, AS; Matthew Martinez, CA; Donald Payne, NJ; Robert Andrews, NJ; Robert Menendez, NJ; Sherrod Brown, OH; Cynthia McKinney, GA; Alcee Hastings, FL; Pat Danner, MO; Earl Hilliard, AL; Brad Sherman, CA; Robert Wexler, FL; Steve Rothman, NJ; Bob Clement, TN; Bill Luther, MN; Jim Davis, FL.