Jeremy Stein - Journal

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Pray for Lobbyists

Our church has a prayer-request email distribution list. Today, a member forwarded this email to us on the list:

Dear [Name removed],

This is urgent … we could see a vote in the Senate anytime this week!  Your freedom of speech has literally never been so threatened as it is today.

Senate Bill 1 and House Resolution 4682 are clearly the work of politicians who want to control, limit, and silence Christians and conservative groups.

By classifying and regulating any Christian organization or church, which you may be a part of, as a ”lobbyist” …

… this legislation will forcibly restrict your right to free speech – which is absolutely unconstitutional.

I urge you to join our nationwide campaign by reading and signing our online PETITION OF PROTEST today and make your voice heard in this critical matter!

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading the charge of Congress on this legislation, and it is moving fast.

We’ve got to fight back, and QUICKLY.  Here’s what I am doing: 

  • I am launching our nationwide campaign via email, radio, television, and the Internet, urging the House and Senate to reject this legislation.
  • I have also assembled a legal and legislative team to focus on this dangerous legislation; we have already produced a legal analysis (posted on our website)
    that details the dangers of the bill.

I am personally leading three senior attorneys and our entire Government Affairs team – working with Congress around the clock.

We’ve distributed significant legal memorandums throughout Congress, and we are preparing a complaint to file in federal court if necessary.

By supporting our nationwide PETITION OF PROTEST campaign with your online signature today, you are saying NO to those who would think nothing of taking away our right to speak freely.

No one has the right to regulate and restrict your free speech … your pastor’s free speech … your church’s free speech – nor to stop anyone from speaking out on the issues.

This is exactly the opposite of what the Founding Fathers intended when they included in the Constitution the right ”to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Make no mistake – this may be the greatest threat to freedom of speech that Congress has ever considered … one of the most significant violations of the free exercise of religion and the freedom of political speech in our nation’s history.

It will effectively silence conservative Christians and eliminate political discourse on the most crucial issues of the day.

Act today! Add your name to our online PETITION OF PROTEST,
then use our website’s forward-to-friend tool
to encourage your friends to join our nationwide campaign as well.

Only you can preserve your freedom. Thank you for supporting the ACLJ.

I wasn’t exactly sure how I was supposed to pray, so I read the House and Senate legislation.

This legislation is a result of one of the Democrats’ promises — to make Congress more open and accountable, partly by prying back the claws of lobbyists. This legislation has so far received wide bipartisan support. So what is the ACLJ so upset about?

I think the ACLJ is referring to Title II in each bill. The bill adds “paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying” as a lobbying activity. So, if a company is paid at least $25K per quarter ($50K in the senate version) to try to stimulate large groups of people to start contacting their representatives, then that firm would have to register as a lobbyist. Seems fair to me. As far as I can tell, that would have no effect on any pastor or church that I know.

So, whom would it affect? Ah, yes… it would affect the ACLJ. If the ACLJ is receiving money to stir up “grassroots” movements, then they would have to register. And they don’t want to do that. So they’re trying to stir up a grassroots movement in opposition to it. How ironic.

January 19, 2007 9 Comments.


  1. Ben replied:

    I saw that same message and I am rather tempted to use the unsubscribe link that got sent with the e-mail. It appears to be specific to the address of the person who received and forwarded it.

    January 19th, 2007 at 2:10 pm. Permalink.

  2. CJ replied:

    I believe this organization was founded by Pat Robertson. I know that he would never lie.

    January 20th, 2007 at 2:37 pm. Permalink.

  3. Ernest Lehmann replied:

    Yikes, as the guy that runs the mailing list at church, I cringe when I see these right wing circulars. If you have ideas on how to keep the prayer requests honest, let me know. Johny bleeding from the ears is one thing, but Sekulow bleeding from the nose is quite another. All is not as it seems at the ACLJ. Read about it here:

    February 8th, 2007 at 11:47 am. Permalink.

  4. Jeremy replied:

    I suggest putting the prayer list (and perhaps the announcement list) on moderated mode. With the traditional prayer chain, every prayer request went to the beginning of the chain, where a trusted individual acted as a filter. Set that same person as the moderator for the list and she can deny inappropriate messages and filter the gossip out of otherwise appropriate ones. You could make yourself backup in case she’s unavailable. You’ll certainly want this in place before we start getting spam to that list, which is pretty much guaranteed after having prayer requests generated by “Forward this article to a friend” links.

    February 8th, 2007 at 12:17 pm. Permalink.

  5. Ernest Lehmann replied:

    Moderation is probably the only way out, but I hate it. You have to be a member to send email to the list, so that blocks out spam.

    February 8th, 2007 at 12:28 pm. Permalink.

  6. Jess replied:

    I would be happy to have my prayer request emails edited for space and content before going out, but there is a time constraint issue–often the prayer requests are somewhat urgent, and it could take quite a while for the moderator to do his editing and get out the request…

    February 14th, 2007 at 11:00 am. Permalink.

  7. Jess replied:

    Also with the traditional prayer chain, the messages could become amazingly convoluted and gossipy by the time they reached the bottom, regardless of how trusted the person at the top may be…the thing I really like about the email system is that everyone is getting the exact same information from someone either in the situation or extremely close to it. Some editing/moderation may still be called for, but I still prefer this system to the old phone tree, which could quickly turn into that telephone game we played as kids…

    February 14th, 2007 at 11:15 am. Permalink.

  8. Ernest Lehmann replied:

    On the one hand the info gets out quick and the suitability of the message is up to the sender. This requires the reader to press DELETE or ignore messages deemed inappropriate (or unsubscribe altogether). Wisdom of the crowds suggests that offenders in this scenario get stoned or lynched digitally. This may not be an optimal Christian activity, if you get my d-rift. It is a sure-fire way to invite abuse, and you can expect to see stuff that’s not appropriate. It has the potential to ignite conflict. The DELETE key is a powerful thing, but there are many who feel that they shouldn’t have to press it or that it creates conflict needlessly.

    On the other hand, having an editor cleans the message and filters for content, suitability, scheduling conflicts, etc (according to a single standard) but delays the message. This is especially true in a church where few are digitally inclined. Since this is a church list, my guess is that the leaders are likely to take this safest course of action.

    February 14th, 2007 at 11:45 am. Permalink.

  9. Tara replied:

    I appreciate your opinions on this, Ernie. I just may end up re-subscribing myself. :)

    February 14th, 2007 at 12:09 pm. Permalink.

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