August 2010

ACLJ Vows To Continue Fighting "Ground Zero Mosque"

Despite proclaiming itself leaders in the fight to protect religious organizations' right to build worship facilities where they choose, Pat Robertson's American Center for Law and Justice has been the leading opponent of the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque."

One of their tactics was to ask the New York Landmark Preservation Commission to declare the area a historic landmarks on the grounds that "the landing gear of one of the hijacked planes from 9-11 crashed through the roof of the building."

Today, the Commission rejected that argument by a vote of 9-0 and so, of course, the ACLJ is vowing to file a court challenge, calling the decision "deeply offensive to many of the victims and families of the 9-11 tragedy":

"The actions taken by the City of New York represent a blatant disregard for the city's own procedures, while ignoring the fact that this is a historic and hallowed site that should not be destroyed to build an Islamic mosque," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "It has been clear from the beginning that the city has engaged in a rush to push this project through – ignoring proper procedure and ignoring a growing number of New Yorkers and Americans who don't believe this site is the place to build a mosque. We are poised to file legal action on behalf of our client to challenge this flawed decision and put a stop to this project."

...

The ACLJ is planning to file an Article 78 petition in state court to challenge the city's actions. The ACLJ will allege that there's been an abuse of discretion in the Commission's decision and the filing is expected to occur tomorrow.

The ACLJ represents Tim Brown, a decorated firefighter and first responder, who survived the Twin Towers’ collapse and lost nearly 100 friends. The ACLJ also represents thousands of Americans who have signed on to the Committee to Stop the Ground Zero Mosque – Americans who oppose building an Islamic mosque on this site which should be used to honor and preserve the memory of 9-11 and its victims.

The Twists In the Rifqa Bary Saga Just Never End

Next Tuesday, Rifqa Bary turns 18, which should finally bring the legal aspects of this sorry saga to an end, though I would not be at all surprised to see her become a famous activist in the charismatic/intercessor circles to which she is tied (provided she can get her immigration status sorted out,) especially now that she is claiming that a recent faith healing cured her cancer:

Christian convert Rifqa Bary is refusing chemotherapy for cancer because she believes that she was cured at a faith-healing event, according to a motion in Franklin County Juvenile Court.

Rifqa was to undergo a year of chemotherapy after her cancer was surgically removed, the document filed by her parents states.

But Rifqa, who is in foster care, was taken to a faith-healing event in Youngstown a couple of weeks ago by Franklin County Children Services, without her parents' consent, according to the document.

A motion to force treatment is to be considered today in Juvenile Court.

...

[T]ests have determined that Rifqa has a "rare form of cancer," according to her attorneys' court filings. Her supporters have said she has uterine cancer.

It's unclear whether she is cancer-free at the moment. The Barys' attorney, Omar Tarazi, said in a motion that Rifqa will need a hysterectomy if the cancer returns.

The Barys want to force chemotherapy and are concerned that their daughter could die without treatment, Tarazi wrote.

The irony, of course, is that Bary ran away from her parents, claiming that they were going to kill her for converting to Christianity.  And now her parents are trying to force her to get chemotherapy because they are afraid that she will die without it, while Bary claims not to need it because her Christianity has cured her cancer. 

Huckabee and Parsely Team Up

Back when he was running for president, John McCain infamously rejected the endorsement of Rod Parsley ... but it is safe to assume that Mike Huckabee would never do the same.

Today, Parsley is releasing his newest book, "Living on Our Heads: Righting an Upside-Down Culture" which, according to this video, has been blurbed by both Rick Santorum and Huckabee.

But Huckabee has gone a step further in appearing just last week as a guest on Parsely's "Breakthrough" program to help him pitch this new book and overall lament that Christians are coming in for all sorts of abuse in today's culutre while Muslims are off limits:

Huckabee: Political correctness has taken root in this country in a frightening kind of way. It's okay to be completely antagonistic toward a Christian. One can say anything. It can be vile, vulgar, it can be indecent. But say anything unkind toward a Muslim, and you'll be muzzled for it.

This is strange, it's bizarre. I never would have imagined as a child growing up that the day would come when Christians were considered so out of the mainstream that they were ostracized and in many ways put aside as if their freaks. But the reality is that there is still a great majority of people in this country who believe in God, who believe in the Bible, who attend church and who personally identify themselves as Christians, even a great number who identify themselves as Evangelical, Bible-believing Christians.

So the first thing we do is quit apologizing, quit hiding, be bold, be strong, not obnoxious, but be present, be salt, be light. And by the way we should know that salt irritates, and light sometimes gets in the way of those who prefer to live in the darkness. Anybody who has been caught doing something in the dark by the sudden flash of the flashlight knows that it is usually met with a very strong negative reaction. I think what we're seeing in our culture is that the presence of true, Bible-believing Christians is like that flashlight coming on, catching somebody doing something in the dark and the reaction is dramatic.

Parsley: Governor, thank you so much. Let's really thank Governor Mike Huckabee for being with us. I sure look forward, Governor, you've got to come and join me right here on the Breakthrough set. You made me a promise and I'm going to hold you to it. God bless you.

Huckabee: Well pastor, I look forward to being with you. I appreciate your friendship and I'm excited about your new book and I hope that it will have a dramatic impact, not just for your immediate congregation but for viewers and followers across the world.

Parsley: Thank you so much. Thank you so much.

Parsely is looking forward to having Huckabee in studio and Huckabee is looking forward to joining him ... and I am looking forward to recording it and posting it as continuing proof that Huckabee is a Religious Right true believer. 

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Judicial Confirmation Network has released a 9 minute video (?!?) laying out why Elena Kagan should not be confirmed to the Supreme Court.
  • Meet the latest Religious Right scandal:  the soldier behind the Afghanistan Wikileaks is gay!
  • You know what would have kept Lindsay Lohan out of jail?  Jesus.
  • I have no idea why, but Mike Farris, Wendy Wright, Frank Gaffney, Kitty Werthmann, Sen. Jim DeMint, and Rep. Pete Hoekstra are holding an event at the National Press Club on Wednesday on "U.N. Treaties and Their Impact on Americans."
  • Finally, Brian Camenker continues to complain about Tea Party activists shunning him ... while speaking at a Tea Party rally:

Another 100+ Focus Employees Let Go

Last Friday we noted that Focus on the Family was facing another round of lay-offs, though it was unknown at the time just how many employees would lose their jobs

Today, it is being reported that another 110 employees have been let go, reducing the organization's size almost by half from it's peak in 2002:

Focus on the Family laid off 110 workers Friday, a 13 percent reduction in workforce.

While most of the positions eliminated were in service departments, more than 15 managerial jobs, including two senior executive positions, were also axed, Focus spokesman Gary Schneeberger said today.

With Friday's layoffs, Focus has let go 385 employees over the past two years. Since 2002, Focus' workforce has been trimmed almost in half, from 1,400 to 750.

"The economy continues to be in recession," said Schneeberger, explaining a reason for the layoffs. "And people who have given in the past are having financial difficulties of their own."

The ministry's fiscal 2010-11 budget is $105 million, a $27 million cut from last year's fiscal budget, Schneeberger said.

Focus' budget for fiscal 2008-09 was $160 million.

Oak Initiative Warns Democrats "We're Coming After YOU!"

A few weeks back, I wrote a post about Rick Joyner and The Oak Initiative, one of the "prophetic intercessor" groups that, like Lou Engle and The Call and Cindy Jacobs and General International, are becoming increasingly active within the more "mainstream" Religious Right.

Like The Call and Generals International, The Oak Initative is a member of the Religious Right "supergroup" known as The Freedom Federation and Joyner, along with Engle and Jacobs, participated in the group's "Awakening" conference earlier this year, sitting on a panel on "Pastors and Political Activity" with Rick Scarborough and Richard Land.

Later this month, The Oak Initiative will be hosting its first ever Oak Convention in South Carolina which is scheduled to include Joyner, Samuel Rodriguez, Lance Wallnau, Jerry Boykin, Cindy Jacob, and others where they will discuss methods for gaining influence over their version of the 7 Mountains: 

At this time it is important to establish a leadership forum that focuses on the current major areas of dominant influence and crisis, including:

1. Spiritual and moral
2. Government and politics
3. Media
4. Economic
5. Social Issues
6. Environmental
7. Education

To do this we want to establish a leader and a council to address each of these spheres. Organizing this will be one of the major goals of the August Oak Convention. We will be establishing each of these with a Chairman, Asst. Chairman, and a staff devoted to both Research and Communications. The purpose of these councils will be to provide an accurate assessment of the great issues of the times, and to propose answers and solutions to them.

And among the ways they hope to do this is by creating their own "Christian Intelligence Service" and building their own media empires [PDF]: 

The formation of a Christian Intelligence Service

This is for training an army of “watchmen” who are skilled in discerning important issues or events as they unfold, and can gather basic information about it that is accurate and trustworthy.

One of the number one issues that seems uniform across nations and cultures at this time is a deteriorating trust in the media for accurate reporting and information. Most of the people on earth have never had government information sources that they trusted to be accurate, but in recent times even the most trusted governments have had a significant collapse of integrity and trust. If this void is not filled with truth and accurate information, the level of deception of the people will continue to grow. We believe this is a basic call of Christians who are supposed to be a light in their times, which is more than just preaching the gospel, but it is also exposing what is hidden in darkness with the truth that will set people free. We believe fundamentally that all men were created to be free, and that the basis of all freedom is truth.

The formation of media outlets with the highest standards of integrity and accuracy

We intend to build a world-class media outlet that is built more on trust and integrity than just style and technology, though we intend to be good at these too. The body of Christ has the people resources to quickly become a great light that shines in this darkness with truth. We have the ability to almost immediately reach virtually every major nation, and most of the world’s population with news and information for less than the cost that is now paid to a single executive at present media outlets.

And of course the aim of all of this is decidely political, as demonstrated by this new ad The Oak Initiative has posted on its YouTube page which declares that America regrets electing President Obama and the Democrats because they are a threat to this nation and so "we're coming after you" and "now you will pay" in 2010: 

Update: Apparently this video has been around for a while and is not an original Oak Initiative ad.

Schools and Signs: Lou Engle's Ever-Growing Army

It is important to remember that when he is not hosting massive prayer rallys for young people, Lou Engle focuses on turning those spiritual warriors into activists through things like TheCall School where students can spend a semester engaged in a "disciplined schedule of prayer sets, awakening services, classes and training sessions led by Lou Engle and the leadership team of TheCall School" in order to prepare themselves to become members of TheCall's mobile prayer force called the "Prayer Strike Team":

The Prayer Strike Program is a ministry of the International House of Prayer in conjunction with Lou Engle and TheCall. From its base in Kansas City, teams will be developed and deployed to key regions in the earth where breakthrough is needed for the spreading of the Lord's justice and salvation. In those regions, the teams will engage in concentrated worship, prayer, and fasting. Like a military's air force, these teams will provide the needed “air support” for the "ground troops" – the onsite ministries and churches – to advance in the Lord’s assignments. Such a role is described in Paul’s exhortation: “Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for Me.” (Rom. 15:30)

Years ago, Lou Engle had a dream in which he was playing soccer. He was the goalie, and in the midst of the game, he heard the Lord’s voice repeating, “You are a striker, not a goalie. You are striker, not a goalie…” From that dream, he knew that God wanted to raise up a people who would go on the offensive instead of the defensive. They would take their intercession right into those places bound by injustice and gripped by evil. We believe that these Prayer Strike Teams will play a key role in God’s strategy in this hour of history.

And later this month, Engle's acolytes are launching something called 8:18 The Sign which is an effort to bring more African Americans into the movement:

The black community is in an hour of crisis!

Our community is bending underneath the weight of the spiritual and moral bankruptcy that has manifested in the leadership of the church.

As a people, the physical chains around our necks and lashes on our backs have ceased. We are no longer fighting for the right to vote, or the opportunity to drink out of a water fountain. However, the number of fatherless kids and single-parent families in our communities is astounding. Our teens are being swept away by music and media that promotes death, while our young men without purpose or hope, are filling up prisons cells and graveyards. HIV/AIDS, violent crime, illiteracy and poor education plague us while the death decree of abortion is exterminating us as a race.

Through the seemingly inexhaustible list of issues that grip us, it is clear that the battle in this hour is for the lives of our sons and daughters.

Engle, Harry Jackson, and Alveda King are among the "current members of the 8:18 Leadership Team":

-Rev. Arnold Culbreath
Protecting Black Life

-Dr.Alveda King
Priests for Life

-Catherine Davis
Georgia Right to Life

-Bishop Harry Jackson
High Impact Leadership Coalition

-Lou Engle
The Call

-Will Ford
Hilkiah Ministries

-Stacy Campbell
RevivalNOW! Ministries

-Christina Martin
IHOP-Atlanta

-Stuart Greaves
International House Of Prayer-KC

-Dehavilland Brown
Blacks United For Life

-Jonathan Tremaine
EastGate Studios,Inc.

-Pastor Kyle Searcy
Fresh Anointing House of Worship

-Faith Chilongo
Warring Ministries, Intl.

Here is a new video from Engle and crew announcing the effort to "raise up an army of African American children from the prayer movement that will bring forth justice and revival to this nation": 

ACLJ, Spiritual Warfare, and Zimbabwe's Constitution

For a while now, we've been covering the fact that Pat Robertson's American Center for Law and Justice has set up offices in Kenya and Zimbabwe for the purpose of shaping the draft constitutions that are being prepared in both nations.

Today, Sarah Posner of Religion Dispatches has an important new report on the intersection between the ACLJ, "Word of Faith" spiritual warfare, and the future of Zimbabwe's government as demonstrated by a recent "Women, Weapons of Warfare conference" that took place in Kentucky:

At the heart of this women’s conference is the concept of “spiritual warfare,” the idea that God has anointed his “generals” to defeat Satan and bring the world to Christ. During this pre-conference prayer session, the group prays for a “mega-breakthrough” and for God to “take down the enemy.” It’s not a war of flesh and blood, conference speakers are quick to point out, but against the evil evident everywhere around us: in the “total moral decay” of America; in the nearby “liberal” Indiana University; in the unexpected frog in the throat of a speaker from Georgia; in the angry outburst of a woman whose husband had left her; and in the fear of failure recounted by speaker after speaker—until they found Jesus, that is. It becomes evident, as the speakers give testimony about their relationship with Jesus, that for many he is not only their savior, but someone they converse with to obtain instructions for most details of their lives. Many call him “Daddy.”

Bourland introduces special guest from Zimbabwe, Pastor Vicky Mpofu, her “spiritual mother” whom she likens to Moses, a figure “God has anointed” to “deal with an affliction on her people.” Mpofu is, says Bourland, “an oracle of God to bring a warning to our country.” She predicts that people, “will wake up and listen”; then she prays for there to be “more than enough to take care of all the children of Zimbabwe.”

...

Mpofu, who co-founded the WWW conference with Bourland, is the executive director of the African Centre for Law and Justice, a branch of the American Center for Law and Justice, founded by Pat Robertson in 1990 as a “Christian” answer to the American Civil Liberties Union ... The African Centre for Law and Justice is injecting itself into the political process of drafting a new constitution that will supposedly pave the way for new elections. The African Centre for Law and Justice is aiming to do in Zimbabwe precisely what the religious right seeks to accomplish in the United States: declare the country a “Christian nation” guided by biblical principles, outlaw abortion, and ostracize and criminalize LGBT people ... Together with the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the African Centre for Law and Justice is working to garner the support of religious leaders and activists for constitutional provisions that would “affirm that Zimbabwe is a predominantly Christian nation founded on Biblical principles,” and require application of “the Laws of God in order to prosper and avoid chaos and destruction,” according to a pamphlet prepared by the EFZ and supported by the ALCJ.

Backed by the ACLJ, Mpofu has been traveling Zimbabwe to rally religious support for the EFZ’s constitutional proposals. “We’ve had a lot of support from ACLJ in America because for me to be able to go around the country to visit the ten provinces we’ve received some help financially and also we’ve received some help from the teams from America visiting and working with us,” Mpofu said. “The support has been tremendous.”

...

The EFZ/ACLJ pamphlet also calls for constitutional prohibitions on both abortion, by defining life as “beginning at conception,” and on attempts to reform the country’s laws criminalizing homosexuality. It calls for defining marriage “as being between a man and a woman” and for “any and all definitions of a family or marriages or relationships or legal unions that seek to include or permit same sex unions to be prohibited,” as well as for “sexual relations between partners of the same sex, bestiality, and other perversions to remain a criminal activity.”

Posner also posted video highlights of the conference, which has a Lou Engle/Cindy Jacobs sort of familiarity to it:

Be sure to read the whole thing.

Randall Terry Sets Off Anti-Choice Civil War

Last week Randall Terry sent out an email essentially declaring war on all the other pro-life organizations, calling them frauds and scam-artists who take money from anti-choice activists and produce nothing of value, targeting Priests for Life and Americans United for Life by name: 

Our team spent a long time talking about the material for this show and preparing for it. So I am not going to spend the time now typing out what I said. If this interests you, please watch the show.

But the essence is this: some LEADERS and MANY CHARLATANS in the pro-life movement are like PRO-LIFE VAMPIRES, living off the blood of babies. The very fact that they DO NOT FIGHT KAGAN is the proof of their hypocrisy and duplicity. And their silence is driven by MONEY; the "tax exempt status."

They are useless; they are collaborators with the baby killers themselves. (I DO NOT perceive Fr. Pavone to be fully in that camp, but he is flirting with the wrong people, and it comes out loud and clear in his letter. His organization has clearly put money ahead of the babies in certain fights; I beg your prayers for him and his organization.)

So, using the words of the Priests for Life letter that just went out, and using the useless, godless letter sent out by Americans United for Life - and signed by other pathetic groups - I am drawing a line in the sand, for the sake of the babies.

If the babies - who are being butchered and thrown in sewers and landfills at the rate of 3,500 souls per day - have these men and women as their advocates and protectors, we shall witness millions more perish because of the treachery, love of money, and love of "respect" that guides these cowards and collaborators with the child-killers.

Terry then went on to continue his attacks on his television program on Friday (skip ahead to the 7:00 mark):

And on Saturday, Terry sent out another email containing the original Priests for Life fundraising email that initially set him, which I want to highlight because it reveals that the organization has nearly $1 million in overdue bills: 

I’ve sent you this urgent email because your mission to end abortion is in serious jeopardy!

For years you have dedicated your life to saving innocent babies from the terrible horror of abortion. Your absolute and unwavering commitment to the youngest members of our human family is beyond question. Your loyal and generous support for the work of Priests for Life proves it.

But Priests for Life is in a huge financial hole. I just met with our finance department and our outstanding payables have reached the critical stage:

* Bills now over 90 days old total $673,379.18
* Those over 60 days are another $175,215.76

That’s $848,594.94 in overdue bills that must be paid … now!

But the only way that can happen is if you click here and rush Priests for Life the largest financial gift you can send … today!

It is critically important that you do this before you go on to your next email.

I’m counting on your help because our financial crisis here at Priests for Life threatens to derail your pro-life mission.