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Bob Barr Tries to Sneak One In! |
Remember when Bob Barr said that he would 'try again?
A proposed amendment to Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2000 (H.R. 2561) offered by Mr. Barr of Georgia last week reads:
"Amendment No. 1.-None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to provide assistance to the practice of witchcraft or Wicca, as defined by the encyclopedia of American Religious, on any Military installation or vessel".
This infomation comes to us from Tara Miller firstname.lastname@example.org...
I am presenting you with several letters from respected Pagans that were posted in the past 24 hours. How you can help will be posted at the end of this page. (These posts are from email dated 7/27 and 7/28/99)
FROM: Pat O'Brien (board member and political advisor for the Witches Anti-Discrimination League Coordinator of the Pagan Lore Center, Washington DChttp://users.aol.com/pob2000/paglore.htm):
First of all, the House passed its defense appropriations bill, H.R. 2561, last week. The Senate passed its version in June.
The Barr anti-Wicca amendment to H.R. 2561 was among a number of potentially controversial riders that did not move forward with the bill.
These issues are going to be dealt with in conference committee.
For those of you not familiar with the process, a conference committee is a select group of Senators and Representatives who meet in private to iron out differences between Senate and House versions of bills. Within a wide set of parameters, these people, operating largely in secret, are free to add or delete items from what goes into the final act that, once cleared by the leadership in both chambers, goes to the president for signing.
That means the Barr amendment could be included. Or not. In any case, there would be no vote in public.
It is not clear yet what the pleasure of the conferees and leadership will be on the Barr amendment. Without lobbyists the only way to deter the conference committee members (who have not yet been chosen) from including Barr's amendment, if that is their choice at the onset, is to contact individual members of Congress and let them know how displeased you all are at this sneak attack on your First Amendment rights.
This would be all the better if your home-state representatives happen to be conferees on the defense bill.
Oh ... why would anyone have thought Barr would give up?
(later from Pat)Finally, in response to the message about what can and cannot be included in a bill prior to it leaving Congress, or your statehouses, for that matter, let me say this: All those "how a bill becomes law" items you read as students are baloney. These people who roughly 38 percent of voters send to office can, and do, whatever they please, with little recourse possible.I'm going to be brief, but I could and may go on later. Those participating in a conference committee can--and often do--add things to bills that were never discussed in any of the public subcommittee hearings, full committee hearings, committee "markups" or in committee of the whole (floor debates or discussions). It is against the rules of Congress for new law to be created in conference committee, but it happens all the time anyway. Such is life.
This problem can be lobbied, from here in Washington and at the grassroots level.
One thing I want to stress here is my opinion that you cannot rely on the courts to resolve such a matter as Wiccan/Witchcraft activities in military situation in a positive way. We don't want this to go to court; it needs to be stopped at the legislative level.
A budding, if not flourishing, Wiccan movement on military bases should not be allowed to be driven underground by bad legislation that may take years to have struck down in the courts. We also don't want to allow this right-wing extremist Supreme Court to get involved here and possibly broaden an earlier decision that military people have a lesser degree of First Amendment protection than everyone else in the United States. All will suffer, military and civilian, if such a thing were to come to pass.
Yes, finally, this amendment would abruptly halt Wiccan activities in military-governed situations on government property, in my opinion. If you are there, you are using resources. If you are using resources, they are funded by the U.S. Government. If funds from that source are congressionally precluded from being expended for a specific use, i.e. Wiccan rituations, then you cannot have them there. That's how an appropriations rider is used here.
Next time you read a news article about the use of appropriations riders, I'd suggest remembering that these are manipulative, self-serving, abusive vehicles that are usually aimed at eliminating from the public debateissues that should be part of that "how a bill becomes law" scenario that we all studied. These types of secretive actions take control of our government away from its citizens.
Shame, isn't it?
Steve Foster, WADL president, asked me to post these names for your information:
|Senate Committee on Appropriations|
Ted Stevens, AK, Chair
Thad Cochran, MS
Arlen Specter, PA
Pete V. Domenici, NM
Christopher "Kit" Bond, MO
Mitch McConnell, KY
Richard C. Shelby, AL
Judd Gregg, NH
Kay Bailey Hutchinson, TX
Daniel K. Inouye, HI, Ranking
Ernest F. Hollings, SC
Robert C. Byrd, WV
Patrick Leahy, VT
Frank Lautenberg, NJ
Tom Harkin, IA
Byron Dorgan, ND
Richard Durbin, IL
|House Committee on Appropriations|
Jerry Lewis, CA, Chair
C.W. Bill Young, FL
Joe Skeen, NM
David Hobson, OH
Henry Bonilla, TX
George Nethercutt, Jr., WA
Ernest Istook, OK
Randy "Duke" Cunningham, CA
Jay Dickey, AR
Rodney Frelinghuysen, NJ
John Murtha, PA
Norman Dicks, WA
Martin Olav Sabo, MN
Julian Dixon, CA
Peter Visclosky, IN
James Moran, VA
Please note that there are congressmen from Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas on the committees that will decide if the finale LAW BINDING version of the H.R. 2561 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2000 will have an anti-Pagan section.
Richard Durbin, IL and Christopher "Kit" Bond, MO are on the Senate Committee on Appropriations: Defense Subcommittee. Jay Dickey, AR is on the House Committee on Appropriations: Defense Subcommittee
This gives the pagan in those states a chance to make a difference. Congressmen and women are more likely to listen to constituents and people from their state.
Everyone can help stop this. If you would like background on Barr's other attempts to stop Pagans from worshipping on military bases please visit WADL's website or the Witches' Voice (see index just below)
Another resource is Pagans Vote www.pagansvote.org They offer links to different government websites, political groups, etc. (You can get WADL's URL from Pagan's Vote or a search engine) http://dmoz.org is one of the best search engines for Pagan type sites.
You can write to your congressperson as well as the committee members. You can write to Clinton and ask him to veto anything that endangers religious freedom. Pagan's Vote has the links to help you find your congressmen and women.
Remember what Pat O'Brien said, "These people who roughly 38 percent of voters send to office can, and do, whatever they please, with little recourse possible."
38 percent! It is up to each of you to state your opinion. It is your constitutional right. The ability to vote and speak up is what makes us Americans. Freedom is a right and a responsibility. Let us be responsible. Write OUR government and vote.
Now, I would like to thank those of you who do vote and speak up. Please keep up the good work.
This letter may be forwarded and permission was granted to repost the other messages. Please keep this letter intact but feel free to change the comments about your specific region. The word should be spread.
Tara Miller email@example.com
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