Like Mama Bears who fiercely protect their cubs, rightous women can become a powerful force in safeguarding America's destiny.
On a beautiful May morning in our nation's capital, the sun was streaming into the ornate reception room just off the floor of the United States Senate. Usually this is a very busy room, noisy with the hustle and bustle of senators scurrying on and off the floor or meeting with their constituents and staff.
Sometimes this space is filled with the well-heeled lobbyists of industry or a civics class visiting the Capitol. Often I listen to the echo of my own footsteps as I walk these halls or stand here alone, waiting to talk with a senator.
For days I had been lobbying against taxpayer-funded, anti-Christian curriculum for public schools. I had come back to the Capitol early that morning, hoping to catch a few senators so I could explain to them the objections of Christians to these materials.
As a Christian lobbyist, I represent more than 43,000 churches. It is my job to bring their values, beliefs and concerns before Congress, the White House and government agencies, as well as serve as a voice in the media for America's Christian families.
On that spring morning, there was something strange going on. At first I couldn't put my finger on it. Then I realized what was happening: an intense spirit of confusion had settled over Congress.
As I rushed through these same historic halls where John Quincy Adams and Daniel Webster had walked, I had this discomforting and troubled feeling. I had been lobbying on Capitol Hill for almost 10 years and had not sensed this intensity before. But the Lord had an important lesson to teach me that day.
WARFARE IN WASHINGTON
It was shortly after the tragedy at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, that this encounter with spiritual warfare took place. Politicians were feeling the heat to find a solution to teen violence.
For years I had seen a woman, dressed like the stereotypical "church lady," roaming around the Capitol. Something about her had always bothered me.
This particular morning, as I was waiting to speak with senators about the anti-Christian curriculum, the woman sat down right next to me. She quietly bowed her head and appeared to be praying.
A few moments later, she looked over at me. Oddly enough, I felt I should ask her if she was an intercessor, but before I could finish the word "intercessor," her face became contorted, and she raised her hand to slap me!
When I jumped up in shock, one of the policemen came over to see what was happening. As you can imagine, I was somewhat stunned and a little embarrassed by this episode. The guard explained to me that "she comes up here every day and says her prayers, but she is a troublemaker."
At that point I felt led to contact one of the intercessors I know whose prayer focus is specifically Capitol Hill. I thought maybe she could tell me who this odd lady was.
Sure enough, she knew. She said that the woman is a practicing witch who for years had "prayed" against God's people and against legislation that might promote biblical values in our nation.
I believe the Lord guided my steps that day. There was a divine purpose in my sensing confusion in the Senate and my encountering this evil messenger.
Since that morning, I have seen the same woman on a number of occasions on Capitol Hill--always at strategic times and places. For example, she occupied a seat near the front of a hearing room where the evil practice of selling the body parts of aborted babies was being debated.
This experience served as a reminder to me of how important prayer is--and of the fact that we're engaged in a spiritual battle here in Washington. We must have intercessors who will seek God's righteousness in government.
As Christians, we are facing a number of serious moral challenges in our culture. There are aggressive forces at work, attempting to limit our right to freedom of religion and speech. Specifically, I am referring to homosexual activists who are behind many of the attacks against religious freedom we have seen in recent years. This group also is aggressively pushing for access to our children in the public schools.
Last year Traditional Values Coalition, the organization with which I am affiliated, printed a special report titled Homosexuals Recruit Public School Children. In it, we pointed out that activists are determined to recruit and seduce children through homosexual clubs on school campuses. They use terms such as "safe schools" and "tolerance" to establish these clubs and the terminology of "hate crimes" laws to silence any opposition to their goals.
In a report we published this year, Hate Crimes: Unequal Treatment Under the Law, we proved that California schools are now influencing students to approve the homosexual lifestyle. California's school officials have also created a new crime called a "hate-motivated incident" that is defined as any critical comment a person might make against homosexuality. In short, Christian students and parents who openly criticize this lifestyle will be guilty of a "hate crime."
This is a clear violation of freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Both are guaranteed under the First Amendment. Unless there is a great uprising of protest against homosexuality in our nation, our religious freedom may vanish, along with the freedom to educate our children in accordance with what we believe to be morally right.
AWAKEN THE MAMA BEARS
One way homosexuals are gaining access to our children and promoting anti-Christian bigotry is through federally-funded curriculum. One example, Healing the Hate, was developed during the Clinton administration and is still available.
Targeted at middle school children, this curriculum links Baptists and Pentecostals with white supremacists in the chapter, "Hate Crime Perpetrators: Why They Do It." It directly assaults the beliefs of Christians by saying that "prejudice and contempt cloaked in the pretense of religious or political conviction are no different," and it encourages children to role-play as lesbians. This curriculum and others like it are used widely in public schools.
Our organization has played a leading role in exposing these examples of anti-Christian, pro-homosexual materials. However, we cannot halt the spread of these bigoted messages without the help of concerned men and women who will speak out against these outrages.
I feel led to encourage those whom I fondly refer to as the "mama bear constituency." We all know what happens when a bear cub is threatened by any predator. The mama bear rises up to protect it.
Throughout this nation, mama bears need to understand the serious dangers facing their children. We need to raise up an army of women who will stand for righteousness.
We need prayer warriors who will lift up our government leaders. We also need activists at the local and state levels who will defend their children from immorality and sexual seduction.
Recently, 12 brave librarians in Minneapolis won a victory over Internet pornography in their facilities. The women sued the library system because it permitted unfiltered access to pornography on all library computers.
As a result, pornography-addicted men took control of most of the computers and left printouts of obscene photos near the terminals. These librarians feared for their personal safety and were offended by having to view these pictures every day.
The women filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), saying the library system was forcing them to work in a "hostile environment." They felt sexually harassed, and they were concerned that children were being exposed to pornography. The EEOC sided with them in May of this year.
These courageous women took a stand against a social evil that had invaded their places of work. They did so on behalf of their own personal safety--and the safety of the children. These mama bears made a difference--and so can you!
TAKE A STAND
The apostle James wrote: "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead" (2:26, NIV). We must be willing to take a stand for righteousness in our culture.
We cannot allow evil to be called good and good to be called evil. Yet tragically, that is what is happening.
One example of good that is being considered evil is the stance taken by the Boy Scouts regarding membership requirements. They have been subjected to attack because the organization prohibits homosexuals from being leaders or members. The Scouts are being vilified because they want to protect their boys from sexual predators--yet United Way officials want to deny them funds because of their policy.
If this organization falls due to homosexual activism, the activists will be emboldened to go after the church. In fact, the church is already being targeted.
In New York, a pro-homosexual "anti-bias" law has been used to remove two billboards that quoted Leviticus 18:22: "'Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.'" This scripture was declared to have violated a New York City law that prohibits individuals from making critical comments against homosexuality.
Will your pastor be arrested one day for quoting the Bible? Such a scenario could become a reality if proponents of hate crime and anti-bias laws succeed.
Unfortunately, there is an attitude of indifference that pervades our churches today. There is a feeling that efforts to oppose homosexuality or pornography are "political" and do not deserve our attention.
These are actually moral issues. And Christians must be concerned with morality! It is our duty to oppose immorality in our culture. We are to be a restraining force against principalities and powers that are seeking to limit and curtail the preaching of the gospel.
If evil laws, evil teaching in schools and evil entertainment are not restrained, we will lose many of our children to ungodliness. Evangelism will become much more difficult, and preaching against sins such as homosexuality or adultery will be impossible.
YOU ARE SALT AND LIGHT
Some say we are now in a post-Christian era. Why? Because the church has been indifferent to its duty. It has failed to secure the heritage from our founding fathers to be involved in all areas of life--including politics and social change.
Jesus told us in Matthew 5:13-16: "You are the salt of the earth...You are the light of the world...Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
These are instructions to the mama bears who have an opportunity to be "salt" in the earth. There are days and nights when I stand in the lobby of the House of Representatives or Senate surrounded by pro-abortion or homosexual lobbyists. Sometimes the mood is contentious, but I feel God's presence and the prayers of warriors across America.
Each day we need to stake a claim for our children, our families, our schools and our government. Where we live is where we take this stand.
We must be informed on important issues and speak out boldly and fearlessly at school board meetings, at the town hall and even in the halls of Congress. We can reclaim these institutions for Jesus Christ and secure the blessings of freedom for future generations of Americans--if we will act.
Andrea Sheldon Lafferty is the executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition and a former Reagan administration official. To sign up for e-mail notification of prayer and political action items, visit www.traditionalvalues.org.