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Interfaith Clergy Speak Out Against Perry's Prayer Rally

Banding with the discriminatory American Family Association, advocates of the radical Seven Mountains Dominionism ideology, and a litany of anti-gay zealots and End Times preachers to put on his The Response prayer rally, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is orchestrating an event that rejects both non-Christians and Christians who don’t embrace the organizers’ far-right politics and religious fundamentalism.

Over fifty clergymen from the Houston area are questioning the appropriateness of Perry’s exclusionary prayer rally, which will be held in Houston’s Reliant Stadium this weekend, in a letter organized by the Anti-Defamation League:

One of Houston's greatest strengths is its religious diversity. As part of the Anti-Defamation League's Coalition for Mutual Respect, we are keenly sensitive to the fact that Houstonians may pray differently or not pray at all. We cherish the fact that we can pray freely in our own way, because our founding fathers wisely envisioned and provided for a nation grounded in the principle of separation of church and state. This freedom from government imposed religion allows all religions to flourish in our democratic society. It is with this thought in mind that we express our concern that Governor Rick Perry has called for a full day of exclusionary prayer on August 6, 2011. This religious event is not open to all faiths, as its statement of beliefs does not represent religious diversity.

Governor Perry has a constitutional duty to treat all Texans equally regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. His official involvement with the Response at minimum violates the spirit of that duty. By his actions, Governor Perry is expressing an official message of endorsement of one faith over all others; thereby sending an official message of religious exclusion and preference to all Texans who do not share that faith. We believe our religious freedom is threatened when a government official promotes religion, especially one religion over all others. We urge our elected leaders, who have the privilege of representing us, to practice their own religion as they choose without seeking to impose their beliefs on others or using their official offices to divide citizens along religious lines. They should be role models for all Americans, and can be by honoring and respecting our constitutional freedoms.

In June, the Houston Clergy Council released a statement decrying Perry for organizing the rally with the AFA and rebuffing “Houston’s vibrant and diverse religious landscape”:

We believe in a healthy boundary between church and state. Out of respect for the state, we believe that it should represent all citizens equally and without preference for religious or philosophical tradition. Out of respect for religious communities, we believe that they should foster faithful ways of living without favoring one political party over another. Keeping the church and state separate allows each to thrive and upholds our proud national tradition of empowering citizens to worship freely and vote conscientiously. We are concerned that our governor has crossed the line by organizing and leading a religious event rather than focusing on the people’s business in Austin.

We also express concern that the day of prayer and fasting at Reliant Stadium is not an inclusive event. As clergy leaders in the nation’s fourth largest city, we take pride in Houston’s vibrant and diverse religious landscape. Our religious communities include Bahais, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Unitarian Universalists, and many other faith traditions. Our city is also home to committed agnostics and atheists, with whom we share common cause as fellow Houstonians. Houston has long been known as a “live and let live” city, where all are respected and welcomed. It troubles us that the governor’s prayer event is not open to everyone. In the publicized materials, the governor has made it clear that only Christians of a particular kind are welcome to pray in a certain way. We feel that such an exclusive event does not reflect the rich tapestry of our city.

Our deepest concern, however, lies in the fact that funding for this event appears to come from the American Family Association, an organization labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The American Family Association and its leadership have a long track record of anti-gay speech and have actively worked to discriminate against the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. The American Family Association and its leadership have also been stridently anti-Muslim, going so far as to question the rights of Muslim Americans to freely organize and practice their faith. We believe it is inappropriate for our governor to organize a religious event funded by a group known for its discriminatory stances.

As religious leaders, we commit to join with all Houstonians in working to make our city a better place. We will lead our communities in prayer, meditation, and spiritual practice. We ask that Rick Perry leave the ministry to us and refocus his energy on the work of governing our state.

Coming Soon: AFA 'documentary' could save the Republic from secularists and gays

Another reason to get your tickets for this year's Values Voter Summit: a fundraising letter from the American Family Association promises that its new "documentary" -- Divorcing God: Secularism, Sexual Anarchy and the Future of the Republic -- will debut at the VVS, the major annual political gathering for the Religious Right movement.

The letter from AFA President Tim Wildmon indicates that the group is eager to maintain its status at a top source for over-the-top anti-gay rhetoric and religious bigotry. Wildmon writes that Divorcing God "connects the dots" among three movements that have "contributed to America's moral decline" -- the secular/humanist movement, the sexual revolution, and the homosexual movement. But it's really about the latter.  "In the relentless drive to convince our society that homosexuality is the moral equivalent of heterosexuality, we see the convergence of all three movements. The New York [marriage equality] vote is a potent case-in-point."

Wildmon cites a verse from the biblical book of Jeremiah in which he says God complains about humanity's rebellion against His law, and then Wildom writes:

Doesn't this describe the past 60 years of America's attempt to run from God?

It began when the humanists insisted that God be driven from the public square through the so-called 'separation of church and state.'

It continued into the 1960s with the transformation of the marital embrace from an act of love and creativity to an act of mere self-pleasure and self-worship that ultimately led to the legalization of abortion.

Now our nation's rebellion has reach [sic] the point that homosexuality is seen as normal, and same-sex marriage is embraced as a civil right.

In Romans 1, Paul uses homosexuality to describe the ultimate idolatry and rejection of God and His dominion over us, since it is a violation of the natural law that God wrote on the hearts of all mankind.

Fortunately, says Wildmon, God hasn't abandoned America...yet.  God is "calling us back to Himself," says Wildmon, "And one way He is doing so is through the voice of the AFA, especially the message of Divorcing God: Secularism, Sexual Anarchy and the Future of the Republic."  And if the AFA can raise "literally hundreds of thousands" of dollars to get Divorcing God onto cable networks and into churches across America, it just might be possible to save the Republic.

Is Wendy Wright Out At Concerned Women For America?

Wendy Wright may be out of a job at Concerned Women for America. Once President and CEO of the powerful Religious Right organization, she appears to have been eclipsed by the new CEO Penny Young Nance. Now, Wright has been completely removed from CWA’s leadership page and her bio was taken down (you can still see her cached page). In fact, she is listed as “Past President, Concerned Women for America” on this new social conservative petition opposing government social services programs.

 

An outspoken opponent of evolution science, reproductive freedom and LGBT rights, Wright had a long career marshalling the Religious Right.

She was a frequent visitor to the White House during the Bush administration, although wasn’t a fan of the Obama administration’s attempts to bring progressive and conservative groups together to reduce the need for abortion (she claims there is never a “need” for abortion). On LGBT rights issues, Wright lobbied hard against hate crimes laws, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. She flatly dismissed a comprehensive study that showed the fitness of gay and lesbian parents and said that she and her allies were victims of discrimination from “homosexual activists,” while doubting the existence of any discriminatory laws in the US. In 2008, Wright blasted Hallmark for allegedly trying to “destroy the family” by supposedly pushing “homosexual messages.”

“There is no evidence of evolution from one species to another,” she told evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, arguing that there is no substantiation for evolutionary theory. Wright also argued that evolution science was responsible for “horrific abuses against human beings.”

Wright even contends that environmental protection efforts are devastating for humanity, arguing in the Resisting the Green Dragon series: “the policies that environmental groups and even these evangelical groups got behind were ones that would consign the poorest people around the world to grinding poverty, to disease, to premature death.” During the debate over health care reform, Wright claimed that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act violated all of the Ten Commandments and mocked the law’s plans to combat racism in the health care sector.

We’ll miss you Wendy! Although I have a feeling you won’t be gone for long…

Fischer: Gov. Perry's Prayer Rally Leading The Way To Establishing "Sound Spiritual Policy" In US

On his radio program yesterday, Bryan Fischer spent a good bit of time explaining how central Christianity has been to America's success as a nation and warning that secularists are "ruining this country."  That is why, Fischer explained, Gov. Rick Perry's upcoming "The Response" prayer rally is so important; because it is an effort to unify politics and Christianity and establish the "sound spiritual policy" without which America has no future:

In the last forty to fifty years, for the first time in our history as a nation it is secular fundamentalists - that is, those who reject transcendent truth and transcendent values - they are the ones that are running this country. They are running this country and they are ruining this country because they are rejecting the transcendent truths and transcendent moral values of the Judeo-Christian tradition. They are rejecting the spirit of Christ and they are rejecting Christianity. But Christianity is the secret to our success. America is what it is, it is what it has become, because of the spirit of Christ and the spirit of Christianity.

And unless we get that back, that is why this prayer event is so critical, that's why it is so important ... it is far, far more important that we have sound spiritual policy in the United States, that we get back to this wholehearted, unapologetic, unambiguous embrace of Christianity. Not just by the people, but by our leaders and that is why Gov. Perry is showing the way. He's a political leader who is demonstrating what [Alexis] de Tocqueville talked about, this unity of politics and Christian faith as the thing that represents the secret source of America's greatness. And unless we get back to that, we have no hope.

It doesn't matter how sound our economic policy is, if we do not get back to embracing the spirit of Christ and the spirit of Christianity we have no future.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • GOProud has reportedly been dumped by CPAC, though the group insists that it has not officially been informed.
  • WorldNetDaily continues to promote "The Pink Swastika."
  • Harry Jackson and Tony Perkins complain that when the government helps those in need, it robs Christians of an opportunity to evangelize.
  • Florida Gov. Rick Scott will not attend "The Response" but will send a video message.
  • Bryan Fischer is disappointed in Herman Cain for apologizing for his anti-Muslim statements.

Robison: "Godliness Is The Solution" To Our Economic Problems

For the last year, Religious Right groups have been actively promoting the book "Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem" by Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Jay Richards.

In it, Richards lays out the Biblical case for unfettered free market deregulation and claims that minimum wage laws, fare trade practices, and foreign aid are all unbiblical.  Richards asserts that it was God who created the free market system and therefore every result of that free market system is "a stunning example of God's providence over a fallen world," meaning that there is nothing wrong with inequality because it is all part of God's master plan.

Today, Richards was the guest on James Robison's television program where Robison positively gushed over his book, calling it "as important of a read as anything anybody is going to read right now apart from the Bible." During the interview, Robison claimed that our country will never work its way out of its economic problems until Christians who understand that "godliness is the solution" are put in charge: 

This is my firm conviction. If the church of Jesus Christ does not stand up today and become the light that not only pierces the darkness but illuminates the way, out of the despair and out of the quote 'recession/depression,' whatever you want to call it, if we don't take the lead and put principle leaders in place who understand basic laws of poverty and wealth, who understand the damage that greed can impart to the whole community and all of society, but understand that government is not the solution - godliness is the solution. I don't think we're going to solve the economic crisis without having a kingdom mentality in the lives of Christians where God rules in our heart. You quote [Abraham] Kuyper, a Dutch theologian philosopher who said there is not one square inch on planet Earth that Christ hadn't said "mine" over. That means we're the overseers of it right? That means we're the stewards of what God has entrusted to our watch care.

Anti-Muslim Bloggers Smear Victims Of Norway Attack

Following the deadly attacks in Norway, anti-Muslim bloggers immediately tried to distance themselves from right-wing anti-Muslim terrorist Anders Breivik.But now some of these anti-Muslim activists are beginning to vilify the participants in the progressive youth summit near Oslo where scores were killed and the burgeoning multicultural youth political culture that they embodied.

Daniel Greenfield of the David Horowitz Freedom Center wrote in Horowitz’s FrontPageMag that the Labor Party youth camp was filled with “indoctrination of hate” and that Breivik would’ve fit right in:

How can we make sense of this? Glenn Beck compared the Workers Youth League camp to a Hitler Youth camp. He was close, but not entirely right. The roots of the Workers Youth League are actually Communist.

Norway’s Labour Party was a member of the Communist International. The Workers Youth League was formed by the merger of the Left Communist Youth League and the Socialist Youth League of Norway. We often use “Communist” as a pejorative– but in this case the Utoya camp, literally was a Communist youth camp.

The day before the massacre, Norwegian Foreign Minister Gahre-Store visited the camp and was greeted with banners calling for a boycott of Israel, and Gahre-Store responded with an Anti-Israel speech to cheers from the campers. There is something ominous about such indoctrination of hate. It is not quite on the level of the Hitler Youth, but neither is it a world apart.

In the 1930′s, Germans were encouraged to blame their problems on the Jews. In this decade, Norwegians are encouraged to blame their problems on the Jews. There are few children of workers at the Workers Youth League camp. They are for the most part the children of the party, the sons and daughters of bureaucrats and party leaders, training the next generation to perpetrate the Labour Party state.

Breivik came from that same background. The son of the left wing elite. And if his parents’ marriage had not collapsed, with the young boy allotting a share of the blame to the Labour Party, he would likely have a comfortable spot in the socialist state. Breivik may have turned against his roots, but the idea that terroristic violence is a legitimate solution is one that he could have easily picked up on the left.

Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs labeled the youth camp an “anti-Semitic indoctrination center” that is “not far off” from the Hitler Youth. Lee Fang at Think Progress notes that a photo caption in Geller’s original blog entry – which has since been edited -- lamented that the campers’ faces “are more MIddle [sic] Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian”:

Glen Beck was not far off when he compared it to the Hitlerjugend or Young Pioneers.

It’s so the junior members of the aristocracy can be properly told what to think and can network with each other in preparation for their brilliant careers ruling over the peasants.



The camp was run by the Youth Movement of the Labour Party and used to indoctrinate teens and young adults.

Breivik was targeting the future leaders of the party responsible for flooding Norway with Muslims who refuse to assimilate, who commit major violence against Norwegian natives, including violent gang rapes, with impunity, and who live on the dole... all done without the consent of the Norwegians.

LaBarbera: Gays Must Be Kept Off The Bench Because They Will Undermine Religious Liberty

Last month, J. Paul Oetken won Senate confirmation by a vote of 80-13, making him the first openly gay man to be confirmed as a federal judge.

Peter LaBarbera has long demanded a sexual orientation test for judges, asserting that all nominees must declare if they have a history of "practicing immoral homosexual behavior" or "consider yourself homosexual."

So needless to say, the milestone of Oetken's confirmation is not sitting well with him:

"Homosexual activists are quite clear that their so-called 'rights' trump our religious liberty, our freedom to act on our beliefs to oppose sexual immorality," he explains. "So we certainly can't trust open homosexual activists to give us fairness and to defend religious liberty and our First Amendment freedom to live by our faith."

LaBarbera adds that it is because homosexual activists strive to convince people, and force them by judicial fiat, to accept the homosexual lifestyle as somehow equal to heterosexuality.

"This is dangerous territory where we are seeing homosexual activists trying to get on the bench," says the spokesman. "The Democratic Party is advancing their cause and it's not going to help justice. In fact, I predict this will undermine religious liberty in this country."

Says LaBarbera: "We have a big fight ahead of us."

I wonder what LaBarbera's response would be if people were to demand that an openly Christian judicial nominee be kept off the bench because everyone knows that the Religious Right cannot be trusted to "give us fairness" on equality issues? 

Religious Right Activist Compares California LGBT History Law To Nazism

With the emergence of the Stop SB 48 Coalition, which seeks to overturn the California law that makes sure textbooks include prominent LGBT historical figures by referendum, Religious Right activists have been stepping up their rhetoric against the new law. Larry Jacobs, the Vice President and Managing Director of the right-wing World Congress of Families, told the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow that the LGBT-inclusive law represents “a Nazi state or a communist type of way of dealing with an issue”:

Larry Jacobs of the World Congress of Families expects Californians to support the ban because lawmakers did not put a vote before the people before they passed the mandate.

"When people have [voted], and Governor Brown knows that he has an issue that would fail when put to a popular vote, of course, they just go around the people," Jacobs explains. "They essentially implement their will. And, of course, in a democracy, that's not the way things are supposed to work. It's certainly something that forces our children to be indoctrinated in a certain way. It's like a Nazi state or a communist type of way of dealing with an issue."

And he contends the bill has enforced the homosexual agenda on children in the state.

"What the homosexual movement has done with ... SB 48 [and] in general, in calling for equality, what they're calling for is special rights," the pro-family group spokesman notes. "We don't have special things in education to teach people to change history based on a particular Christian worldview or Muslim worldview, but they go beyond that."