Believe it or not, there is a group that considers itself a Christian mission to federal elected and appointed officials–and that sometimes reaches those officials. “We want to win the hearts and minds of those who make public policy,” said the Rev. Rob Schenck, president of Faith and Action. “Our concentration is the federal judiciary. We’ve looked for open doors into the federal judiciary. We’ve had remarkable contact, even at the Supreme Court level. I’ve even had a one-on-one with Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”
Faith and Action is predominantly Protestant but welcomes Catholics and others. “The Apostles Creed is our statement of faith,” said Schenck. “We say we are traditional Christians and we say we are conservative in our ethics and philosophy.”
The group, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, engages in a limited amount of lobbying. “We are for the Federal Marriage Amendment,” he said. Schenck does not believe that homosexual rights activists or most homosexuals are really interested in marriage. The jihad for same-sex “marriage” has another agenda behind it, he said. “I think it’s to undermine the institution of marriage, which is perceived as a sort of heterosexual chauvinism, the final bastion against the complete abandonment of sexual boundaries and ethics.” He said that he did not know if homosexual activists favor the next logical steps beyond sodomy, such as pedophilia and bestiality, but said, “All these things become relative questions instead of moral absolutes” if same-sex “marriage” is accepted.
“Faith and Action is a Christian outreach whose mission is to reintroduce the Word of God into the public debate surrounding legislation and policy matters,” says the group. “Our mission field spans Pennsylvania Avenue, from the White House to the U.S. Capitol and the U.S. Supreme Court. Through news conferences, symposia, panel discussions, literature distribution, the Internet, and face-to-face conversations with key Washington leaders, we gently confront these critical public policy makers with the powerful claims of the Gospel, as well as reminders of the prominent role that the Word of God played in the creation of our nation and its laws.”
Schenck, who was born Jewish, is an ordained minister with the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Church Alliance. His twin brother, the Rev. Paul Schenck, recently entered the Roman Catholic Church and heads the National Clergy Council affiliated with Faith and Action.
Rob Schenck and other Christian leaders traveled to Morocco March 2 to 8 and liked what they found in that moderate Sunni Muslim country. “It will take me a few days to process all the results of last seven days. What I can tell you now is that a new chapter has opened in relations between Christians here in America and the Muslim people of this ancient kingdom. Of the 38 countries I’ve visited on similar missions, not one of them came close to the warm, extraordinarily generous level of hospitality shown to us by the Moroccans,” Schenck wrote to Faith and Action’s supporters after the trip.
“These are moderate Sunni Muslims influenced by Sufism,” said Schenck. “They speak disdainfully of the Shiite and Wahhabi forms of Islam. They call them fanatical extremists.” Schenck noted that high-ranking government officials drink alcohol and smoke publicly in Morocco, indicating its relaxed atmosphere far removed from the stricter versions of Islamic law that rule some other Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia. He said that the people are very tolerant of Christians but that certain disabilities still exist. “In Morocco, you must sign something affirming that you are a Muslim in order to get married”–so Christian couples’ legal status is unclear in a country where cohabitation is frowned upon.
“King Muhammad VI deserves compliments for instituting breath-taking reforms in his country,” said Schenck, “which include a complete revision of what they call family law that has essentially ruled out plural marriages.” Now, in Morocco, he said, existing wives must give permission for men to take another wife. Family law in general has been revised to give women more rights, said Schenck.
Michael Kirtley, president of the Friendship Caravan–which tries to promote friendly ties between Americans and Arabs–accompanied Schenck on the trip. “The Ottoman Empire did not invade Morocco. Moroccans have a very strong affinity with the West,” he said. “Moroccan-style Islam spread in West Africa. I lived in West Africa and I never felt any hostility toward me.” But, he said, it is still illegal to try to convert a Muslim to Christianity in Morocco.
On March 23-24, Faith and Action will hold rallies around the Supreme Court to coincide with oral arguments in the Pledge of Allegiance case. “Come pray and show your support for America as ‘One Nation Under God,'” invites the group.
Faith and Action may be reached at 109 2nd St. N.E., Washington, D.C., 20002-7303 (703-257-5593; fax: 703-257-5144; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.faithandaction.org).
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