Peter Montgomery's blog

Pastors Network's Sam Rohrer: Gov't Officials' Job Is To 'Promote God’s Moral Law'

The American Pastors Network organized a Pennsylvania pastor summit last week featuring right-wing activists David Barton and Sandy Rios, along with video greetings from Mike Huckabee overlooking the valley of Armageddon. Sam Rohrer, president of both the Pennsylvania and American Pastors Networks, is a graduate of Bob Jones University and a former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he authored legislation to direct millions of tax dollars into Christian schools. At last year’s March for Marriage, Rohrer warned that marriage equality will doom America to tyranny and “invite God’s judgment.”

Following “God’s promptings,” Rohrer ran for governor in 2010 and for the U.S. Senate in 2012. He did not win either of those races, but says “God used the statewide travels to deepen his relationship with many pastors across the state.”

Rohrer wants to build networks of conservative pastors in all 50 states. His “Stand in the Gap” radio shows have a growing Pennsylvania-based radio presence. Rohrer’s philosophy about church-state relations and his vision for the state networks he has set out to build are summarized in a pamphlet distributed at the conference:

The Biblical Relationship: Pastors and Government Leaders

The phrase “Ministers of God” is often used to describe pastors in the pulpits. Yet God also uses the title of “Ministers of God” to describe those in positions of civil government as referred to in Romans 13. This is a title God gives to those He raises up and both of these positions of authority are equally established by God to accomplish His purposes.

Pastors are charged with wielding the Word of God as an instrument of Truth, preaching the whole counsel of God into all of His institutions – the Home, Civil Government, and the Church to equip people to advance God’s design for society (II Tim. 4:2)

Government leaders are charged with wielding the Word of God as an instrument of Justice, promoting God’s moral law as the foundation of right and wrong, encouraging those who do well biblically, and executing judgment on those who break the law (Romans 13:3,4)

Rohrer writes that the relationship between pastors and government leaders is “biblical, not political.”  The APN’s Ministers Together Initiative “seeks to restore the biblical relationship and commitment between the Pastor and the Government Leader to help each other, pray for each other, encourage each other and together commit to acting in obedience to the commands of scripture.”

 

Pastors Network: America Going Down the Tubes, Needs Pastors To Call Down Fire

The American Pastors Network, a Religious Right group hoping to organize networks of politically active evangelical pastors in all 50 states, met with Pennsylvania pastors at Lancaster Bible College on Thursday. The day-long event featured several national speakers like “historian” David Barton, activist Paul Blair of Reclaiming America for Christ, and right-wing broadcaster Sandy Rios, who as Kyle reported yesterday, urged participants to prepare for martyrdom

The threat of anti-Christian persecution was a frequent theme at the U-Turn conference, which took its name and themes from a recent book co-authored by Barton and evangelical pollster George Barna. For example, Steve Scheibner, an American Airlines pilot who narrowly avoided being on a flight that was hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center, declared, “Persecution is coming.” But, he added, “It may be the best thing that’s ever happened to the church.” Another speaker, Dale Anderson, thanked “that rascal” Barack Obama for having woken up the church.

Paul Blair gave David Barton-esque remarks about the nation’s history and cited English jurist William Blackstone in arguing that there can be no valid law that is contrary to scripture. He declared that “Judge Roy Moore,” Alabama’s Supreme Court Chief Justice, is “a hero” for defying a federal judge’s decision on marriage equality. Blair said America is in its current state because too many pastors and people have been “sheep.” He insisted that marriage equality is a line that Christians must not allow to be crossed.

Barna was the Debbie Downer of the conference, reeling off pages of statistics designed to show the moral decline of America and the diminishing influence of the church in American culture.  Among the statistics that seemed to land like a punch to the gut: only nine percent of born-again Americans have what Barna calls a “biblical worldview” – just over 51 percent of Protestant senior pastors make the grade. Barna decried the fact that so many pastors do not preach about current political topics.

Barton’s speech contained no surprises for anyone familiar with his shtick about the influence of colonial-era pastors on the country’s founding, the number of Bible verses supposedly contained in the U.S. Constitution, and his insistence that the Bible is filled with specific policy prescriptions, such as opposition to minimum wages and capital gains taxes. In fact, he said, the Bible includes 613 civil laws for running the country.

Barton cited principles of warfare taught at the Army War College to argue that the church is supposed to be on offense, not defense, in current culture war battles. Making that happen is the goal of those who are working to build the American Pastors Network, including Sam Rohrer, a former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and a 2010 gubernatorial candidate, who serves as president of both the national and Pennsylvania networks.

Among the video presentations at the conference was a message recorded by Mike Huckabee in Israel, standing on a ridge overlooking the valley that he said would be the site of the battle of Armageddon. He stood on Mt. Carmel, the site of an Old Testament showdown in which Elijah showed up the prophets of Baal by having God rain down fire on an altar he had drenched with water. America, said Huckabee, needs pulpits willing to call down God’s fire.

Among the vendors doing a brisk business at the conference was the Institute of the Constitution, which promotes a Christian Reconstructionist ideology, and which has used its materials to train Tea Party activists in their vision of a radically, and biblically, limited role for the government.

Priebus Pal David Lane: 'Wicked' Pro-Equality Republicans Threaten Collapse of GOP

Religious Right political strategist David Lane, who urges greater political engagement by conservative evangelical pastors and promotes right-wing candidates, has managed a pretty neat trick: he trashes “establishment” Republicans while taking RNC members on junkets to Israel and being embraced by top RNC officials, including GOP Chairman Reince Priebus and Director of Faith Engagement Chad Connelly. Lane is out today with another slam at Republicans who support legal equality for LGBT Americans – a category that does not, to be clear, include Priebus and Connelly.

What has Lane so agitated is the amicus brief that was signed by 300 Republicans urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in favor of marriage equality nationwide. Lane, to put it mildly, is not pleased. Lane quotes 18th Century English theologian William Berriman:

"It is the property of the Devil, not to mistake the nature of virtue, and esteem it criminal, but to hate it for this reason, because it is good, and therefore most opposite to his designs. The wicked, as his proper emissaries, resemble him in this, and grieve to have the foulness of their vices made conspicuous by being placed near the light of virtuous example."

And then, just so we don’t miss the point, Lane writes:

These GOP Chieftains and Lieutenants lack wisdom. They are neither "shrewd," "insightful," nor "wise"-but "weak-willed" and "easily seduced." They do not believe in the truth that "The true glory of a nation lies in its righteousness rather than its wealth or power."

…These leaders have served as key cogs of the Republican Party apparatus for a quarter of a century. Defining themselves as "conservative" camouflages their radical, secular ideology. They are responsible for frittering away the branding and legacy of limited government, lower taxes, deregulation of business and a philosophy of-"the-one-thing-government-can-do-for-me-is-leave-me-alone"-bequeathed to the Republican Party by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

Lane singles out former RNC Chair and White House Political Director Ken Mehlman for calling marriage equality “the conservative position.” Says Lane, “What Mehlman is trying to pull here is unconscionable-without principle.”

As we have noted before, Lane views himself both as a warrior for the Republican Party – turning out evenglical voters to support right-wing candidates, and a warrior within the GOP against those who do not share his Christian-nation, anti-gay extremism (or his religion). More from his latest salvo:

This trend of redefining words has only just begun. Phony Republican leaders will continue to use the word "conservative," but with two different meanings. Therefore, if we mean to appreciate conservative values, defend them, and even judge them any better than the Democrat Party's penchant for abortion, homosexual marriage, and anti-god values, then we must define the basic values of the Grand Old Party.

Evangelical and Pro-Life Catholic Christians will find little "community" with Republican secularists, as these agnostics attempt to impose a godless paganism on the nation. After all, what is a political party if not a group of individuals supporting certain beliefs?

Lane says “secular Republicans who impose so-called homosexual marriage on the nation in 2015 will have the exact same effect on the Republican Party that slavery had on the Whig Party in 1852-it will collapse.”

Lane is a Christian nationalist who says America was founded for “the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith” and demands that the Bible be made a primary textbook in public schools. He has blamed Supreme Court decisions upholding church-state separation for imposing a “pagan” secularism on the nation. He returns to that theme in today’s screed:

The Founders established the Bible as the fixed point in order to judge, therein establishing the unity, structure, and shape that welded a people together in a single terrain and fashioned American Exceptionalism. In 1963, the shortsighted Supreme Court eliminated the Bible from public schools causing lone dissenting Justice Potter Stewart to prophesy, "...[the decision] led not to true neutrality with respect to religion, but to the establishment of a religion of secularism." This atrocity has finally reached its denouement in America. One worldview is going to reign supreme between these two competing ideologies: godless secularism or biblical Christianity. One philosophy leads on to fortune, the other "over the falls of Niagara."

 

Tony Perkins: Obama Immigration Order Inviting Terror Attacks on US Christians

A direct mail letter from FRC Action dated February 2015 features a shadowy outline of a machine-gun-wielding terrorist with the warning:

TERRORISM: no longer “out there”

How they’re become a threat to YOU and your family

Inside, the letter from Family Research Council President Tony Perkins connects the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris, the attacks on Coptic Christians in the Middle East, and what he calls the Obama administration’s “illegal amnesty program.”  Perkins warns that “it is clear that American families are being placed in serious danger by President Obama’s illegal executive order on immigration.”

After discussing ISIS efforts to recruit American Muslims, Perkins states:

It is clear that some people are coming across the border with ulterior motives—not simply looking for working in hopes of sending money home to their families. These are not simply rumors from news reports; I have this firsthand from people in government and in organizations focused on national security.

Perkins even manages to work in marriage equality:

This President refuses to acknowledge that there is evil in the world. Terrorists are not simply people who grew up in bad neighborhoods and developed bad attitudes. These are people who want to kill us.

President Obama holds a worldview – and a view of America – that puts everything we value at risk. In the same way that he shrugs off a radical redefinition of marriage, in the same way that he shrugs off the persecution of Christians in other countries (and adopts policies that contribute to it in our own country), he minimizes the threat of Islamic terrorists.

And by connecting these threats to what he calls the administration’s “lawlessness,” Perkins is even able to work in Obamacare.

Perkins ends with a P.S.:

As “People of the Cross,” it is clear that you and I have been targeted by the terrorists. It is no longer a vague “concern.” It is a very real threat. Our President is not protecting us. We must move Congress to ensure your safety and the safety of your children and grandchildren. We will fight for you on Capitol Hill. Please help us. Give generously today. Thank you again.

 

Birther Joseph Farah Wants PFAW Help To Block Third Obama Term. Let’s Make A Deal.

Last Friday, Miranda noted that birther, conspiracy theorist par excellence, and WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah was publicizing one of the more ridiculous right-wing scare-stories: that President Obama will refuse to leave the White House after his second term is over in January 2017. Farah said in a column last week that “there’s great concern” about the possibility “out there across the fruited plain.”

In classic Fox News and far-right trolling style, Farah said he didn’t actually believe Obama would refuse to leave office, but was just asking questions: why should we should take a departure for granted given what he calls Obama’s “contempt of the law” and “disrespect for American tradition” – and “the ever-present reality that Obama himself may not even be constitutionally eligible for office.”  

Farah was seemingly not pleased that RWW poked fun at his column, responding over the weekend with an appeal to another unimpeachable source of information on the president’s plans, Rush Limbaugh.  Limbaugh, says Farah, responded to a Friday caller raising the same question by spinning out a hypothetical scenario in which Obama refuses to go. Here’s Limbaugh:

“So as a service to the nation, he is going to forget the 22nd Amendment and either not leave office or run for re-election himself as the Democrat nominee. Just imagine that scenario. I don’t care how unreal it sounds, how unbelievable it sounds. Imagine it.

What would anybody do? What would Mitch McConnell do? What would John Boehner do?

Adds Farah,

“There’s simply no organized opposition to Obama’s illegal, criminal actions and behavior. He’s getting away with all of it. There are no serious repercussions. No political price. No major media opposition. Few judicial rulings that worry him. Not one political, religious or social institution that is holding him accountable – least of all the Republican Party."

Farah was apparently bothered that Miranda’s RWW post did not include a pledge that People For the American Way would “use all of its influence and legal firepower” to stop Obama from chucking the Constitution in a White House power-grab. Of course we don’t take the possibility seriously, but since Farah seems to, let’s offer him a proposition: If President Obama refuses to allow a constitutional transfer of power to his successor, we will join you at the barricades. If the American republic miraculously survives, you will stop polluting the public discourse with toxic nonsense. Deal? 

Matt Barber's BarbWire: Gays, Unitarians, and Satan, Oh My!

BarbWire, the website created by anti-gay activist Matt Barber, has become home to some of the most out-there right-wing anti-gay punditry imaginable. But the site is not resting on its laurels. The latest installment comes from Linda Wall, who calls herself a “former lesbian” and founder and CEO of Virginia Mass Resistance.

Wall is a friend of Lisa Miller, another “former lesbian” who fled the country illegally rather than comply with courts’ custody rulings regarding the daughter she had with her former partner. In 2012, Wall argued that Hurricane Sandy was part of God’s vengeance against America for Lisa Miller’s plight.

In her latest post, Wall gets right to the point. Who is behind the LGBT movement? “It is none other than Satan himself.” It’s hard to do justice to Wall’s description of the “world of darkness” she experienced when working for an art gallery owner and managing his rental properties, so we’ll let her words speak for themselves, though they sound more like an overwrought movie treatment than an op-ed column. Wall describes a vision she had the night before she was scheduled to clean out the basement of her boss's house to get rid of a "homeless squatter's belongings."

The night before I was due to accomplish this dreaded assignment, I did something I had not done in fifteen years or more; I got on my knees to pray. Somehow I knew I was about to face the rulers of the darkness of this world.

After asking God to be with me and protect me, I jumped into bed. What happened next must have been a vision because not enough time had passed for me to be asleep and dreaming. I saw the pile of junk I was to remove from the basement and watched a snake crawl out from beneath it. In my ignorance of the dark side of the supernatural I thought God was telling me to watch out for the snake, but He was warning me about a much bigger serpent!

The next day I gathered some 50 gallon trash bags, a spotlight and an iron pipe and headed into the cellar. Entry to the earthen floor basement was an exterior entrance much like a tornado shelter. As I swung the heavy wooden cellar doors open my heart raced with fear. While I climbed down the steps I began banging the pipe on anything that would make a noise in hopes of scaring off any snake. Once my feet were on the ground I began shining the spotlight all around.

I felt like I had stepped into a live horror story. Enormous spider webs were hanging everywhere. The place was damp and cold. What was this place of darkness I had entered? All through the basement were wooden stalls with doors that one might keep animals behind. My imagination went wild as I could only imagine what was going to take place in this basement behind these “cages.”

Humanly, I was alone in the basement, but I could sense there were many eyes watching me. I began to sing hymns I use to sing as a kid in church. I couldn’t remember all of the words, but what came to mind I sang out loudly. I knew my only line of defense was God’s Word from those “old –timey” hymns.

As in fast forwarding a movie, I began to stuff the unwanted items into the plastic bags and in a flash the task was completed. What a relief when I exited the cellar and slammed the door. I had been expecting to be captured and locked up any moment the entire time I was down there.

I caught my breath and immediately entered the house to retrieve my car keys and sunglasses. Before leaving, I noticed all of the eyes in the pictures glaring at me. Often I had studied the art work, but for the first time I understood what they all had in common. It was the eyes. It was Satan himself glaring at me.

All of a sudden my brain put little incidences together to paint a bigger picture. Many times I had been invited to attend the “calling of the dead” that occurred weekly in the room of this house where the windows were painted black. It seemed that every time I turned around my employer was trying to get me to drink something or eat something that was described as “good for you.” There had also been an ongoing campaign at the gay bar I frequented to convince me to be hypnotized. I had a feeling I had truly encountered the occult.

On Sunday, I visited the Unitarian church where my employer was also a preacher. He had supposedly been away all week at a seminar for pastors to be alone with God. Even though the dots were connecting to indicate satanic activity, I was still curious enough to attend the service. It ended up being my last.

When he began to preach he went into a “trance” speaking with a different accent and under the name of St. Benedict. As I watched this unexplainable happening, I saw the devil’s head on his body and knew God Almighty was intervening and saying, “get out!”

Stay tuned for Wall’s “Satan and the GLBT Demons – Part 2.”

 

CPAC Superheroes: Who's The Hulk?

If “superhero” is not the word that comes to mind when you think of Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, or Rick Perry, you clearly aren’t CPAC material. The Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual right-wing gathering hosted by the American Conservative Union, is promoting this year’s event with a graphic inspired by the movie “Avengers” – or Disney’s animated series “Avengers Assemble.”

As in the Marvel universe, there are some household names, and some clearly second- or third-tier heroes. We’ll leave it to you to speculate on the superpowers wielded by Bobby Jindal, John Bolton, Laura Ingraham, Ben Carson, and others.

National School Choice Week: PR For Privatizers?

On Wednesday morning, a roomful of school children were herded into a congressional meeting room and required to sit through an hour and a half worth of speeches by conservative Members of Congress, including House Speaker John Boehner, Sens. Ted Cruz and Tim Scott, Chief Deputy Whip Rep. Patrick McHenry, Education & Workforce Committee Chair John Kline of Minnesota, and a handful of others. Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana was the emcee.

The Capitol Hill event was in honor of National School Choice Week, whose organizers describe it as a nonpolitical, nonpartisan “independent public awareness campaign” promoting the idea that every child deserves access to an excellent education. Who would disagree?

In other words, it’s a PR campaign, one that wraps itself in the moral mantle of children. But the bright yellow scarves it wraps around its participants are meant to distract attention from the fact that sponsors of this week’s thousands of events include many anti-public education, anti-union, anti-government ideologues, including the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the Heritage Foundation, the Alliance for Prosperity and others. The President of National School Choice Week, Andrew Campanella, used to work at the Alliance for School Choice, whose board is chaired by deep-pocketed right-wing activist Betsy DeVos and is funded by a who’s who of right-wing foundations.

As we noted during last year’s NSCW:

Education policy is a vast, complicated, and hotly contested arena. Terms like “education reform” and “school choice” sound good, but they are so broad as to be almost meaningless. They can be applied to genuine efforts to strengthen teaching and educational opportunity as well as cynical schemes to destroy public employee unions and dismantle public education altogether.

In particular, “school choice” encompasses a huge array of education policies, from public charter and magnet schools to taxpayer-funded for-profit cyberschools and homeschooling.  Even a seemingly specific term like “charter schools” cloaks a more complex reality that ranges from innovation labs co-located in public schools to for-profit chain operations.  

Indeed, this year, Richard Kahlenberg and Halley Potter published “A Smarter Charter: Finding What works for Charter Schools and Public Education.” The book documents that the original vision for charter schools – teachers empowered to be creative in diverse schools that could identify ways to strengthen public education – has been turned on its head. Rather than a teacher-empowering and collaborative paradigm, charter schools are often noted for tightly controlled teachers in highly segregated schools dominated by an ideology of competition with public schools. 

There are more collaborative models, just as there are charter schools with strong academic track records as well as those that lag behind the public schools that choice advocates consistently disparage. Important distinctions get lost under the big, vague, banner of school choice. And that’s intentional.

NSCW is about painting in broad strokes and drawing no distinctions, for example, between public magnet schools and for-profit corporations cashing in on the “reform” movement. No distinction is made between giving students choice among their district’s public schools and diverting education dollars into religious academies and online homeschooling via vouchers and other schemes.  These do not have the same impact on public schools, or the same levels of public accountability, but in the interest of keeping things simple, and winning public support for across-the-board expansion of these programs, they’re all “choice.”

As we wrote last year:

The problem with this “collective messaging” approach is that it hides the anti-public-education agenda of some “reformers.” Celebrating “school choice” across the board lends credibility to organizations pushing for destructive policies that are not at all popular with the American public. In spite of decades of right-wing-funded attacks on public education, for example, Americans oppose privatization plans like vouchers that transfer public education funds to private schools.

Self-proclaimed reformers often dismiss concerns about privatization as a “red herring.” But you can’t embrace the Milton Friedman Foundation as a partner and then pretend that privatization is only an imaginary threat dreamed up by teachers unions.  Friedman has an explicit goal of getting rid of public schools altogether; they see programs like vouchers for poor kids as a tactical stepping stone toward that ultimate goal.

Other supporters of National School Choice Week have included companies that want to tap into the huge flow of public dollars spent every year on education. K12, a member of the “choice”-promoting American Legislative Exchange Council and a company the New York Times has described as “the biggest player in the online-school business,” paid its president more than $5.5. million last year; two other executives each made more than $4 million. A November 2014 investigation by Bloomberg focused on the company’s efforts to turn around “subpar test scores” and declining enrollments.

National School Choice Week promoters say it is nonpolitical and has no legislative agenda, but that’s hard to take seriously given the agendas of its backers. At this week’s event on Capitol Hill, the only Democratic Member of Congress to join the Republican parade was Illinois’ Dan Lipinski, who declined to endorse Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012. (Former Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford also spoke.)

Members of Congress at Wednesday’s event talked about pushing legislation this year to expand “school choice” programs, meaning that battles over vouchers, charter schools, and other education issues will be on the agenda this year, including February’s Senate markup of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. And, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, “There are currently private school voucher and tuition tax credit programs in 23 states and at least 10 states are looking to create new or expanding existing school voucher programs this year.”

Obviously, not everyone who participates in National School Choice Week activities is an anti-public-education ideologue. People from across the political spectrum are eager to strengthen schools and give students an opportunity for a great education. That includes public school teachers, administrators, and school board members – people who are collectively smeared as “the blob” by some “reformers.” People who are seeking to strengthen public education and make schools better for all children should think twice about making common cause with organizations that see public education as something to be dismantled and corporations that see students as the means to a bigger bottom line.

This post originally appeared on People For the American Way's blog.

Tony Perkins: 2015 'Most Dangerous Year' For American Christians

As readers of RWW are well aware, Religious Right leaders have adopted a strategy of portraying just about any policy they disagree with as a dire threat to their religious freedom. And they love to portray President Barack Obama as a sinister enemy of religious liberty. Today’s frantic email from the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins is a model of both the Obama-is-evil paradigm and frothing-at-the-mouth alarmism about threats to religious freedom in America.

This money beg has it all: President Obama scheming to turn America into a godless, totalitarian wasteland; ridiculous claims that the administration wants to silence the religious expression of its critics; conspiracy theories about Common Core; and flat-out lies that the administration did nothing to secure the release of Meriam Ibrahim from the Sudanese prison where she had been unjustly held.

Coming from Perkins, none of this is terribly surprising. After all, this is the guy who responded to a Colorado baker being required to abide by the state’s anti-discrimination law by wondering, “When are they going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians?”

To avoid any accusations that we’ve taken Perkins out of context, here’s today’s fundraising letter in full:

January 27, 2015

Dear Peter,

As I wrote to you earlier this month, 2015 could very well be the most dangerous year for Christians in American history!

President Obama seems willing to do anything to further his radical agenda—even if it means violating the Constitution to take away your religious freedom.

This President has clearly placed the religious freedom of millions of Christians like you in his sights. Why? You are among the people who are standing in the gap against his radical plans to transform America into a godless, secular country where government reigns supreme.

In these evil days it is more important than ever that you stand your ground for religious freedom!

Can I count on your continued prayers for FRC and our staff in 2015? And can I count on you to make a special financial contribution to the work of FRC?

2015 could very well be a make-or-break year for the future of religious liberty in America. Between now and 2016, President Obama, who knows his time to "leave his mark on history" is growing short, will go all-out. He will use the unlimited resources at his disposal in a drive to attempt to . . .

  • PUNISH Christians for opposing same-sex "marriage";

  • FORCE pro-life people to fund abortions through ObamaCare;

  • INDOCTRINATE your children with the help of Common Core;

  • BAN religious expression and free speech when it conflicts with federal speech regulations; and

  • STOP Christian-owned businesses from doing business with the government because they will not embrace the homosexual agenda.

President Obama and his supporters wrongly believe that our rights as Christian citizens are granted by, and can therefore be repealed, by government. They do not believe, as you and I do, or even as our Founding Fathers did, that . . .

Our rights are inalienable because they come from God.

We will never compromise on that truth. And that's why we can win so many of the showdowns. Truth has power when people of faith stand up for it. With God's help and your faithful support, FRC has been able to . . .

  • FREE persecuted overseas Christians, even when our own government would not—Christians such as Mariam Ibraheem who was imprisoned for her faith;

  • DEFEND the religious liberty of the brave servicemen and women in the U.S. military who are persecuted and punished because they publicly affirm their Christian values;

  • PROTECT employers and employees forced to leave their faith at the door when they enter public service;

  • UPHOLD natural marriage while countering the pro-homosexual agenda which wants to silence Christians and their objections to same-sex "marriage";

  • PRESSURE Congress to officially protect religious freedom and oppose the President's unconstitutional power grab; and

  • EXPOSE the relentless assault on religious liberty that has largely been ignored by the mainstream media.

Thanks to champions of freedom like you . . . No organization has done more to preserve religious freedom in Washington, D.C., than FRC!

But there is still much, much more that must be done to stop the assault on religious freedom that threatens the very future of our nation. I won't mince words: All of us must redouble our efforts to meet the incredible challenges ahead of us.

Your gift today is essential if we are to stop the assaults on religious freedom and reclaim those liberties already lost.

One of my heroes was 18th century conservative, Edmund Burke. In the British Parliament, he fought slavery and actually supported the American Revolution. A man of faith, he is credited with saying, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Today, I urge you to do something. Something great. Something lasting. Something having immediate yet ongoing impact. You achieve that when you financially stand with FRC. Thank you for refusing to sit by and "do nothing."

Standing (Ephesians 6:13),

Tony Perkins
President

P.S. Please renew your support to help FRC start 2015 strongly. Thank you. God bless you.

The Real Problems With Bobby Jindal And His Prayer Rally

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal skipped an Iowa stage crowded with Republican presidential wannabes on Saturday so he could host a prayer rally on the campus of Louisiana State University. Jindal and others have mischaracterized objections to the rally, suggesting that its critics were somehow out to silence people of faith. So let’s be clear about the real issue: Bobby Jindal used the power and prestige of his office to promote an event backed by some of the nation’s most religiously divisive and stridently anti-gay activists. And in a bid to boost his own political future, he sent a clear message of support for the Christian-nation views of the event’s extremist organizers.

Christians Only, Please

Let’s start with the invitation, sent on Jindal’s official state letterhead. “We are in need of spiritual and transforming revival,” he wrote, “if we are to recapture the vision of our early leaders who signed on the Mayflower, ‘In the name of God and for the advancement of the Christian faith.’” Leadership to solve the country’s problems “will not come from a politician or a movement for social change,” he wrote in this time of civil rights movement anniversaries. So how will we solve our problems? “Jesus Christ, Son of God and the Lord of Life, is America’s only hope.” In a separate letter he wrote to the other 49 governors inviting them to his rally to pray for “spiritual revival” and “heaven’s intervention” over the country. “There will only be one name lifted up that day – Jesus!”

What does all this suggest to non-Christian Americans (including non-Christian governors) about how Jindal views their contributions? Jindal’s letters reflect the attitudes of rally organizer David Lane, a political strategist who believes America was founded by and for Christians. The event was paid for by the American Family Association, whose chief spokesman, radio host Bryan Fischer, believes the First Amendment’s religious liberty protections apply only to Christians.

The rally was also a showcase for the dominionist views of self-proclaimed “apostles” who promoted and spearheaded the event. One of those “apostles” was the event’s emcee. Doug Stringer has called the 9/11 attacks “a wake-up call” that happened because God was not around to defend America due to abortion, homosexuality, and kicking God out of public schools. While introducing Jindal, Stringer made a brief mention to “Seven Mountains” theology, which states that all the “mountains” in society – arenas like business, entertainment, and government – must be led by the right kind of Christian. A later speaker, Gene Mills of the Louisiana Family Forum, spent more time on the “Seven Mountains.” Mills said these spheres of influence belong to God, but are currently occupied by the “enemy.” They therefore need to be evangelized and “occupied by the body of Christ.”

Not Political? Not Credible

Jindal and organizer David Lane declared, unbelievably, that the rally was not political. Lane is a self-described political strategist who works to turn conservative evangelical churches into voter turnout machines for right-wing candidates and causes. Lane is trying to get 1,000 conservative evangelical pastors to run for public office, and he held a recruiting session the day before the prayer rally. Jindal and Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma were among the speakers. Another example of the disconnect between rhetoric and reality: Stringer made the claim that the rally was not meant to lift up any politicians while he was standing in front of a huge screen featuring a quote from Bobby Jindal.

The “not political” claim was hard to take seriously given the amount of time devoted to making abortion illegal and declarations that what will tip the scales will be the “the voice of the church in the voting booth.” Jim Garlow, who led church organizing for California’s anti-gay Proposition 8, and who believes the marriage equality movement is demonic, dropped all “nonpolitical” pretense, railing against marriage equality and IRS regulations that restrict the involvement of churches in electoral politics.

Opponents = Enemies

One of the biggest problems with treating politics as spiritual warfare is that you turn your political opponents into spiritual enemies. People who disagree with you on public policy issues are not just wrong, but evil, or even satanic. That makes it pretty hard to work together or find compromise.

In daily prayer calls leading up to the rally, organizers prayed for God to forgive students who were organizing protests, as if disagreeing with Bobby Jindal were a sin – or a form of anti-Christian persecution. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” prayed call leaders, comparing their pleas to Jesus asking God to forgive those who crucified him, and Saint Stephen asking for mercy for those who were stoning him to death. On one call, a prayer leader decreed a “no-go zone for demons” over the sports arena where the event was to be held. At the rally, one speaker talked of storming the gates of Hell. Bishop Harry Jackson finished his remarks by leading the crowd in a chant he has used at anti-gay rallies: “Let God arise and his enemies be scattered!”

Jindal Unplugged, Unhinged, and Unapologetic

Jindal seems to have decided that his best chance in a crowded Republican field is to plant himself at the far right of an already far-right group. In the days leading up to the rally, he drew criticism for comments denigrating Muslims and for repeating bogus charges about Muslim “no-go zones” that Fox News had already apologized for spreading. During a radio interview a few days before the rally, Jindal said liberals pretend that jihadist terrorism isn’t happening and pretend “it’s a good thing to kill journalists, to kill teenagers for watching soccer, to kill over 150 schoolchildren, to treat women as second-class citizens…” He decried political incorrectness and multiculturalism and said of immigrants who do not embrace American exceptionalism, “that’s not immigration, that’s invasion.”

On “This Week” on Sunday, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos noted that Jindal had declared at his prayer rally that “on the last page, our God wins,” and asked him if that was appropriate in a religiously diverse country. Jindal praised religious liberty but ducked the question.

On the same show, Jindal said he would back a push for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to allow states to discriminate against same-sex couples, all while saying “I am not for discrimination against anybody.” (Jindal describes himself as an “evangelical Catholic,” and his contradictory rhetoric parallels the language of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which says it opposes “unjust discrimination” against gay people, but defines the term “unjust discrimination” in a way that applies only to those people with “same-sex attraction” who remain celibate.)

Jindal has also promoted far-right policies as governor. As Brian has noted:

Jindal has reached out to the party’s increasingly extreme base by undermining the teaching of evolution in public schools; promoting wild conspiracy theories about Common Core, an effort to adjust school standards that he supported before it became the target of the Tea Party’s fury; and hyping the purported persecution of Christians in America, specifically citing the plight of Christians with reality television shows.

Whose Agenda?

Jindal’s rally was not an original idea. In fact Jindal’s “Response” recycled materials and themes from a similar event that Texas Gov. Rick Perry held in 2011 to launch his presidential bid. Here’s what I wrote about Perry’s event, which applies equally well to Jindal’s – not surprising since both were organized by the same groups of extremists:

Organizers argued (unconvincingly) that "The Response" was about prayer, not politics. But groups like the American Family Association (AFA), which paid for the rally and its webcast…are not designed to win souls but to change American law and culture through grassroots organizing and political power-building. They have a corrosive effect on our political culture by promoting religious bigotry and anti-gay extremism, by claiming that the United States was meant to be a Christian nation, and by fostering resentment among conservative evangelicals with repeated false assertions that liberal elites are out to destroy religious liberty and silence conservative religious voices.

Jindal, of course, has the right to talk about his faith. But it is wrong for him to use his public office to proselytize and denigrate the faith of others. Teaming up with anti-gay extremists and Christian-nation advocates gives them credibility they do not deserve. His actions speak volumes about his judgment, values, and commitment to religious pluralism and equality under the law.

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