The Daily Brief Short Version: Monday, May 8, 2017
WASHINGTON -- Protecting and promoting religious liberty - that's the goal of an executive order President Donald Trump signed Thursday, according to a senior White House official.
This order does three things:
- Declares that it's a policy of the executive branch to protect and promote religious liberty.
- Directs the IRS to use maximum enforcement discretion when investigating tax-exempt organizations (this addresses the Johnson Amendment).
- Offers regulatory relief to religious groups that have a moral objection to the contraception mandate in Obamacare. (Read more)
You can watch the video of Trump's remarks during this signing ceremony by going here.
- Father God, we do thank You for this action taken by President Trump, so that our pastors and others are now free to voice their own opinions regarding political matters without fear of repercussion from the IRS. We praise God that this boot of tyranny has now been withdrawn, in Your name, amen.
- "Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms." (Psalm 95:1,2)
2. Religious liberty order disappoints some conservatives - The Hill
Some conservatives are frustrated by President Trump's new religious liberty order, saying it is dramatically scaled back from what they were expecting and doesn't enact the protections he promised during the campaign.
Not all conservatives agree.
Many of those present for the signing described the order as a marker set by an administration that is committed to ensuring the federal government does not encroach on religious views cherished by many Christians.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said the order "makes clear that the administration will pursue policies that protect and vigorously promote religious liberty." (Read more)
- Father God, we do praise You that our president has taken this action, which now may be a sign of a "work in progress." We ask that all parties who have misgivings about the judicial implications of this bill would be forthright and truthful in voicing their concerns, and that needed adjustments be made to its language over time. Let there be UNITY in the Body of Christ we pray, amen.
- "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven . . ." (Matthew 6:10)
3. Healthcare Act Passed in US House Defunds Planned Parenthood:
Pray That The Senate Follows Suit! - Christian Newswire
Pro-life leaders and groups gathered for a news conference in front of the Washington, DC Parenthood on Friday, May 5, at 10:30 a.m. There was also prayer, celebration and public witness. Groups there announced plans for a national campaign to ensure passage in the U. S. Senate.
Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, stated: "We applaud this historic vote by the House of Representatives as a first step in defunding Planned Parenthood, which is the largest abortion provider in the world. Every day, Planned Parenthood takes the lives of almost 900 innocent children and over 320,000 every year.
"The pro-life community will work passionately to see the Senate votes to defund [Planned Parenthood as well] and that this piece of legislation will end up on the desk of President Trump and be signed into law. We will not rest until abortion ends up on the scrap heap of history like slavery and segregation. We can never be indifferent or silent." (Read more)
- Father God, we praise You for hearing our prayers of protection for unborn babies. The House of Representatives has voted pro-life and we pray the Senate will do the same. We ask that this will be the beginning of the end of the Healthcare Act left by the evil of the previous president. Glory to God in the highest!
- "I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths."
4. Court Rules Trump State Dept Must Release Clinton Emails of Obama Response to Benghazi - CNSNews.com
Despite legal pleadings from the Trump State Department, Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for D.C., has ordered the department to release eight paragraphs from emails sent by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sept. 12, 2012 "regarding phone calls made by President Barack Obama to Egyptian and Libyan leaders immediately following the terrrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi," reported Judicial Watch.
In the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attack by Islamic radicals, 4 American personnel were murdered, including our ambassador, Chris Stevens. In addition, for weeks following the attack, the Obama administration and Secretary Clinton falsely claimed the assault was caused by an anti-Muslim video posted on YouTube.
The unredacted emails requested "had the subject line 'Quick Summary of POTUS Calls to Presidents of Libya and Egypt,' and were among emails stored on Clinton's unofficial email server," said Judicial Watch. "Judge Jackson reviewed the documents directly and rejected the government's contention that the records had been properly withheld under" a FOIA "deliberative process" exemption. The emails may reveal what Secretary Clinton and President Obama knew about the Benghazi attack the day after it happened. (Read more)
- Father, thank You for Judge Jackson. Give her wisdom and knowledge as she seeks to reveal all things that may have been hidden regarding the Benghazi situation. Let truth prevail and justice reign. Protect Ms. Jackson with Your angel armies that no harm will come to her or her family. Thank You, Lord, in Your name, amen.
- "But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." (2 Corinthians 4:2)
- "I will restore your judges as at the first, And your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city." (Isaiah 1:26)
5. All 100 Senators Call for End to Anti-Israel Bias at UN - The Tower
All 100 members of the US Senate signed a letter Thursday urging the United Nations (UN) to stop unfairly targeting Israel.
The senators noted that while the US co-founded the UN "with the intention of saving future generations from war," today many member states and agencies "are using the UN's privileged platform to advance an anti-Israel agenda."
"Although, as Republicans and Democrats, we disagree on many issues, we are united in our desire to see the United Nations improve its treatment of Israel and eliminate anti-Semitism in all its forms," they stressed. (Read more)
- Praise God for the example the US Senate is setting to reform the anti-Israel actions of the UN. Pray for strength for Nikki Haley so she can persist in her struggle to overcome the UN's anti-Israel bias and activities and boldly ask for more nations to follow suit.
- "I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (Genesis 12:2,3)
[Note: This prayer was offered by Bridges for Peace]
6. New Spending Bill Includes Billions for Israel: Slashes Aid to Palestinian Authority - CBN News
Congress passed a funding bill Thursday that will give Israel billions of dollars and advance more pro-Israel efforts in the U.S. The bill provides $3.1 billion plus an additional $75 million in overall security assistance to Israel. It includes funding for programs like Israel's missile defense system and the development of Israeli technology, energy and water. The new bill also slashes aid to the Palestinian Authority for the support it provides to terrorists and their families. Pro-Israel activists are celebrating the bill and see it as a direct attack against terrorism. "AIPAC applauds Congress for including key provisions to help Israel address critical security challenges in the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017," said Mark Kleinman, AIPAC's Southeastern States director. (Read more)
- Abba Father, we praise You for leading the U.S. Congress in voting to support Israel instead of the Palestinians with the passage of this new spending bill. Evil's hand has been removed again. Thank You, Lord, as our nation moves toward restoration of "In God we trust." Amen.
- "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God." (Romans 13:1)
7. US delegation coming back to Israel to finalize Trump itinerary - Times of Israel
US presidential delegation will return to Israel next week to finalize the itinerary of US President Donald Trump, who is due in Israel later this month.
The president is set to arrive on May 22 along with his wife, First Lady Melania Trump, and his senior advisers, daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner. He will leave the next day. He will have begun his first overseas trip as president in Saudi Arabia, and will later travel to the Vatican.
Trump has pledged to work for a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, and there has been speculation that he will seek to convene a Middle East summit soon after this month's trip. Israel's Channel 2 said the administration has also expressed interest in a possible Israel-Jordan-Saudi Arabia train route, and in pushing a much-discussed Red Sea-Dead Sea canal project. (Read more)
- Lord God, we pray that You guide Donald Trump in a God-ordained path regarding his work with Israel and other plans for the Middle East. Father, stand with him in every decision he makes. Guide President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu with precision that will be in accordance with God's perfect will. In the Name of Jesus we pray, amen.
- "And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us, yea, the work of our hands establish it." (Psalm 90:17)
8. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Mahmoud Abbas lied to President Trump - Jerusalem Post
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of lying when he visited the White House on Wednesday. "I heard President Abbas yesterday say that they teach their children peace," Netanyahu said, quoting Abbas's statement to the media made during a joint press event with US President Donald Trump.
"That's unfortunately not true," said Netanyahu, who has embarked on a campaign to end payments by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists. "They [the Palestinians] name their schools after mass murderers of Israelis and they pay terrorists," he said. (Read more)
- Father God, stand with President Trump as he puts an end to payments by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists. God, we trust You to get behind every endeavor Trump makes to dry up this ravaging murderous group. In the mighty Name of Jesus we pray.
- "But I know your abode, and your going out, and your coming in, and your rage against Me (God). Because your rage against Me, and your tumult, is come into my ears, therefore will I put My hook in your nose, and My bridle in Your lips, and I will turn you back by the way by which you came." (Isaiah 37:28-29)
9. Russia Sends Its Most Advanced Fighters to U.S. Coast - Yahoo News
Four Russian aircraft flew near the Alaskan coast last night, including two of Russia's most advanced fighter planes. The flight, which was intercepted by U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighters, came a week after Russian military aircraft flew near America's Arctic territory four days in a row.
Wednesday evening's incident involved two Tu-95MS "Bear" strategic bombers and a pair of Su-35 "Flanker-E" or "Super Flanker" heavy fighters. Although the presence of the Bear bombers was not unusual, it was the first time that Super Flankers had been seen off the coast of Alaska.
The Super Flanker is an updated version of the 1980s-era Su-27 "Flanker" and Russia's most advanced fighter jet, with an improved radar and powerful, thrust-vectoring engines. The Super Flankers were reportedly unarmed. (Read more)
- Lord God, You see every move the Russians are making, and we pray You will put up Your hand and prevent them from getting any closer to Alaska. Protect our borders, Lord, by placing a ring of fire all around the borders of the United States that the Russians cannot penetrate. Put the fear of God in their hearts and change their course and remove them from flying over Alaska. In the Name of Jesus we pray.
- "Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered: let them also that hate Him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away, as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God." (Psalm 68:1-2)
10a. Macron Wins French Elections in Landslide - Newsmax
Emmanuel Macron was elected president of France on Sunday with a business-friendly vision of European integration, defeating Marine Le Pen, a far-right nationalist who threatened to take France out of the European Union, early projections showed. The centrist's emphatic victory, which also smashed the dominance of France's mainstream parties, will bring huge relief to European allies who had feared another populist upheaval to follow Britain's vote to quit the EU and Donald Trump's election as U.S. president.
Macron topped 66 percent of the vote as the interior ministry counted the final few votes in France's presidential election early on Monday. (Read more)
10b. Emmanuel Macron: Trump tweets congratulations to French president-elect - Fox News
President Donald Trump took to Twitter Sunday to congratulate Emmanuel Macron on his overwhelming victory in the French presidential election.
Trump congratulated Macron on his "big win" in the second round of voting and said he looks forward to working with France's new leader. He didn't immediately extend an invitation for Macron to visit the White House. (Read more)
- Lord God, we ask that Your hand of blessing would rest today on the people of France, as they have chosen their new president. Lord God, we once again thank You for the promise of Proverbs 21:1, in Your name, amen.
- "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes." (Proverbs 21:1)