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Friday, June 30

The American Values Agenda

Just in time for Independence Day celebrations and in an election year, the GOP's "Values Action Team" or VAT, announced its "American Values Agenda" this week to appease those voters who hold "American" values dear. I would have had quite a few more suggestions for our representatives in Washington, but apparently an amendment to ban pre-emptive war based on lies and an amendment to hold oil companies responsible for raping drivers is not a "value."

Dennis Hastert:
“The American Values Agenda will defend America’s founding principles. Through this agenda, we will work to protect the faith of our people, the sanctity of life and freedoms outlined by our founding fathers. Radical courts have attempted to gut our religious freedom and redefine the value system on which America was built. We hope to restore some of those basic values through passing this legislative agenda and renewing our country's commitment to faith, freedom and life.”

What is the Agenda?

The American Values Agenda
• Pledge Protection Act (HR 2389; Akin)
Summary: Protects the Pledge of Allegiance from attacks by activist federal judges seeking to rule it unconstitutional. failed
Freedom to Display the American Flag Act (HR 42; Bartlett)
Summary: Ensures an individual has the right to display the U.S. flag on residential property. passed

I was shocked. I had no idea that my right to wave my flag on my house was in jeopardy. Well it really wasn't afterall. It turns out that some voters in Bartlett's district were having problems with their condo associations regarding the placement and size of their flags. So, by all means, let's make a law. It passed. Whew.
The Flag Protection Amendment
failed however. Our First Amendment right to desecrate the flag is saved. hmmm.

The Public Expression of Religion Act (HR 2679; Hostettler)
Summary: Ensures local officials and communities do not face financial ruin to defend their rights to free speech under the Constitution (provides that when state or local officials are sued over public expressions of religion, no monetary damages, costs, or attorney's fees may be awarded).

The Christian right loses most First Amendment battles (Christmas tree wars) and is forced to pay the legal expenses of the other party (mostly the ACLU) as it stands now. I can sort of see the point to this on one hand, but on the other hand, the way things stand now, it kind of makes people think before they waste time with frivolous law suits. But then again, it may scare people away from suing big corporations.

Marriage Amendment (HJRes 88; Musgrave)
Summary: Constitutional amendment declaring marriage to be between a man and a woman. failed

Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act (HR 356; C. Smith)
Summary: Requires that those performing late-term abortions inform the woman seeking an abortion of the medical evidence that the unborn child feels pain, and ensure that if she chooses to continue with the abortion procedure, she has the option of choosing anesthesia for the child, so that the unborn child’s pain is less severe.

Um, I don't think that will appease values voters, guys.

• Human Cloning Prohibition Act (HR 1357; D. Weldon)

Summary: Bans human cloning and the importation of products derived from a cloned human embryo (e.g. stem cells).

BATFE Reform (HR 5092; Coble)
Summary: Reforms the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (BATFE) to protect citizens’ rights.

Internet Gambling Prohibition (Leach/Goodlatte):
Summary: Addresses the issue of illegal internet gambling by making gambling laws apply equally to the internet.

Permanent Tax Relief for Families
Summary: Likely series of votes on the child tax credit, marriage penalty relief, tax incentives for adoption, and other priorities for American citizens.

Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act (HR 5013; Jindal)
Summary: Prohibits governments from using federal funds to confiscate guns from law-abiding citizens during emergencies.

James Dobson: "The House leaders are to be commended for demonstrating their commitment to the issues American families hold dear: marriage, life and freedom of religion. The announcement of the 'American Values Agenda' and its 10 priority bills signals that the GOP leadership in the House is in touch with the concerns of the values voters who sent them to Washington."

His base must not read the papers or watch the evening news.

What kind of "values" amendments would you like to see?