Coral Ridge Ministries

If Dominionism Is A Liberal Conspiracy, Why Does It Have Conservative Critics?

Over the last week Kyle has been rebutting claims by some journalists and Religious Right activists that Dominionism, which contends that fundamentalist Christians must take ‘dominion’ over society and government, is nothing more than a liberal conspiracy. Dominionism has been gaining attention as Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry’s close ties with outspoken propagators of the radical dominionist ideology come to light.

In a post today, Rachel Tabachnik takes on the Washington Post’s Lisa Miller’s much-discussed article dismissing dominionism. Tabachnik notes that Miller’s article quoted Mark DeMoss downplaying the prevalence of dominionism in the Religious Right - without noting that the DeMoss Group has ties to Bill Bright, the founder of the dominionist Seven Mountains ideology, and Gary DeMar, who is a chief proponent of the Christian Reconstructionism, a hardline dominionist ideology.

As Kyle noted last week, Pat Robertson denied knowing anything about Dominionism, even though he delivered a speech where he urged his audience to “get ready to take dominion!” and Matt Barber of Liberty University School of Law called it a “scary Christian monster that lives under liberals’ beds,” despite the fact the Liberty University School of Law sponsored DeMar’s conference last year, called "2010 Sovereignty and Dominion conference — Biblical Blueprints for Victory!" In fact, the Communications Director of Truth In Action Ministries, which until recently was called Coral Ridge Ministries, claimed that “dominionism is a sham charge-one reserved for Christians on the right,” even though prominent dominionist Janet Porter was once the head of a Coral Ridge Ministries affiliate. So if domininionism doesn’t exist and is merely a construct of the left, then why was Porter fired by two conservative Christian radio stations for promoting…“dominionism”?

Last year, Voice of Christian Youth America (VCY America) fired Porter because of what they called the “drift of [Porter’s] program toward ‘dominion theology.’” VCY America says it is dedicated to “featuring solid Bible teaching programs” and features conservative programming like ‘The Phyllis Schlafly Report’ and ‘Freedom’s Call,’ Liberty Counsel’s radio bulletin.

Listen to VCY’s decision on Porter’s firing, which states that “VCY America does not believe in Dominion theology or waging spiritual war for the establishment of an earthly kingdom of power, that is dominion theology and it is being promoted by many who are guided by their own dreams and visions and not necessarily the Word of God”:

VCY America also hosted Sarah Leslie of the Discernment Research Group and the Herescope blog, who has worked to expose dominionism. Leslie is the former head of Iowa Right to Life, hardly a liberal activist, who talked to VCY America about the rise of Seven Mountains Dominionism:

VCY America wasn’t the only Christian radio station to fire Porter for promoting dominionism. Worldview Radio also dropped Porter for promoting “Dominion theology” and working “with the Dominion theory theology people” during her May Day prayer rally.

Surely, Barber can ask Porter herself why she was fired, since she was a featured speaker at Liberty Counsel’s Awakening 2011 and Liberty Counsel sponsored Porter’s How To Take Back America conference. Or ask Dominionism’s many conservative critics.

If you want a taste of what dominionism sounds like, watch Janet Porter preach with Cindy Jacobs about taking control of the mountain of government:

If Dominionism Doesn't Exist, Someone Forgot To Tell The Dominionists

Thanks to the presidential campaigns of Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, there has been a lot of attention focused lately on dominion theology and its role within the Religious Right political movement.

This, in turn, has led to a number of pieces asserting that there is no such thing as "dominionism" and claiming that it is nothing more than a conspiracy-theory/scare-tactic dreamed up by the Left.

Our colleague Peter Montgomery addressed this effort to downplay dominionism in an excellent piece he wrote for Religion Dispatches yesterday, but Religious Right activists continue to claim that there is no cause for alarm whatsoever.

Today, John Aman, Director of Communications at Truth in Action Ministries, went a step further, writing a piece for the Christian Post claiming that dominionism doesn't even exist:

I had never even heard the term until 2005 when a Christian Science Monitor reporter asked me about it in connection with our Reclaiming America for Christ conference.

The reason I was so clueless is because, as Joe Carter explains in First Things, it’s a label used exclusively on the left. Berkeley-educated sociologist Sara Diamond, the author of several critiques of Christian civic engagement, including Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right, invented the term in the 1980s.

Dominionism, Carter explains, is a term “never used outside liberal blogs and websites. No reputable scholars use the term for it is a meaningless neologism that Diamond concocted for her dissertation.”

It is, however, a handy way to smear evangelicals like Bachmann and Perry who bring biblically informed moral convictions into public debate.

...

The truth is that dominionism is a sham charge-one reserved for Christians on the right.

Really? Maybe someone ought to tell that to all the dominionists who have suddenly started downplaying their dominionism. 

And I guess someone ought to really tell C. Peter Wagner to change the name of his book:

And perhaps Aman ought to talk to Janet Porter, since she lost her radio program because of her well-documented dominionism

As it happens, Porter was once the National Director for the Center for Reclaiming America, the sister organization to Coral Ridge Ministries ... which just so happens to be the former name of Truth in Action Ministries, where none other than John Aman serves as the Director of Communications.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Coral Ridge Ministries is now to be known as Truth in Action Ministries.
  • FRC is very relieved to learn that no gay person has been appointed to the RNC.
  • Will Michele Bachmann be this election's Mike Huckabee?
  • Gordon Klingenschmitt wants GOP presidential candidates "to make a major campaign speech endorsing H.R. 297, to defund the U.N. if they seize Israeli land."
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Burt Prelutsky: "As for gay-pride parades, I can hardly imagine anything goofier. What is it exactly that they're so proud of? That their sexual activity will never lead to the birth of a baby, but only, tragically on occasion, to a dreadful disease?"

DeMint, Akin Join Coral Ridge Ministries To Stop The "Secularization" Of America

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) appeared in a Coral Ridge Ministries documentary about the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, which they claim is covertly trying to weed faith out of public life. Coral Ridge Ministries is one of the leading proponents of Christian Reconstructionism and frequently makes documentaries about creeping socialism and the dangers of Obama’s presidency. Akin, who recently declared that “at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God,” argued that the Center's lack of religious content shows that it “will snuff out the light of freedom,” while DeMint argued that “secularization is a forerunner of socialization” and will destroy freedom.

Watch:

Religious Right United In Outrage Over SPLC Hate Group Designations

Last week the Southern Poverty Law Center updated its list of anti-gay groups and added several new organizations to its list of anti-gay hate groups. 

Many influential Religious Right groups found themselves placed upon the SPLC's updated list, including the Family Research Council, American Family Association, Concerned Women for American, National Organization for Marriage, and Liberty Counsel.  And to say that they are not happy about it would be a massive understatement.

NOM called it an "absurd distraction," saying it stood by its work and that the report was really an attack "on the majority of Americans who believe that to make a marriage you need a husband and wife" while Robert Knight of Coral Ridge Ministries and Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America both responded by accusing the SPLC of being the ones "who are actually filled with hate and bigotry."

For it's part, the Family Research Council called the designation part of a "smear campaign" designed to silence Christians and demanded an apology:

"The Left's smear campaigns of conservatives is also being driven by the clear evidence that the American public is losing patience with their radical policy agenda as seen in the recent election and in the fact that every state, currently more than thirty, that has had the opportunity to defend the natural definition of marriage has done so. Earlier this month, voters in Iowa sent a powerful message when they removed three Supreme Court justices who imposed same-sex marriage on the state. Would the SPLC also smear the good people of Iowa?

"Family Research Council will continue to champion marriage and family as the foundation of our society and will not acquiesce to those seeking to silence the Judeo-Christian views held by millions of Americans. We call on the Southern Poverty Law Center to apologize for this slanderous attack and attempted character assassination."

Matt Barber, who is one of the most vehemently anti-gay Religious Right activists operating today, yet somehow he and Liberty Counsel managed to avoid being labeled a hate group ... but that didn't stop him from ripping the SPLC in an op-ed in the Washington Times accusing the SPLC of comparing conservatives to Nazis:

So, center-right America: If you happen to believe in the sanctity of natural marriage and that, as a culture, we're best served by honoring the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic of our forefathers, you're now an official "hater."

Of course, the tired goal of this silly meme is to associate in the public mind's eye mainstream conservative social values with racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazism. The ironic result, however, is that, as typically occurs with such ad hominem and hyperbolic attacks, the attacker ends up marginalizing himself and galvanizing his intended target (I'm rubber, you're glue and all that).

Hence, beyond a self-aggrandizing liberal echo chamber, the SPLC - and by extension the greater "progressive" movement - has become largely, as it stews in its own radicalism, just another punch line.

It's often said that the first to call the other a Nazi has lost the argument.

Congratulations, conservative America: They're calling you a Nazi. Carry on.

Of course, that argument might carry more weight if, as Warren Throckmorton points out, groups like the American Family Association weren't regularly saying that all the Nazis were literally gay.

But in terms of sheer absurdity, it is hard to beat the reaction from the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission:

"The Southern Poverty Law Center has utterly discredited themselves by this provocative attack on organizations that promote traditional family values," said Rev. Gary L. Cass, of DefendChristians.Org, a ministry of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.

"Labeling mainstream conservative organizations as 'Hate groups' is defamatory and is simply an intimidation tactic. We call on Congress to cut off their funding."

"Defend Christians.Org will work to form a coalition of organizations to lobby Congress to withhold funds from SPLC. We will also demand Congress restrict Federal law enforcement from relying on the biased SPLC reports, like the discredited 'Report on Right-Wing Extremism' SPLC wrote for the Department of Homeland Security," said Cass.

This tatic could possibly be effective if the SPLC actually received federal funds ... but it doesn't.  And for some reason Cass continues to insist that the SPLC wrote the DHS report despite having absolutely no evidence that that is the case. 

FRC, AFA Among New Organizations Designated "Anti-Gay Hate Groups" By SPLC

Via Truth Wins Out, we see that the Southern Poverty Law Center has released a piece profiling Of 18 anti-gay organizations and has announced that they will be adding 5 new organizations to their list of active anti-gay hate groups.

The new additions are:

1. American Family Association
2. Americans for Truth About Homosexuality
3. Dove World Outreach Center
4. Family Research Council
5. Illinois Family Institute

The other anti-gay groups profiled by the SPLC but not offically designated as hate groups are:

1. Christian Anti-Defamation Commission
2. Concerned Women for America
3. Coral Ridge Ministries
4. Liberty Counsel
5. National Organization for Marriage

Given that SPLC make these designations "based on their propagation of known falsehoods...and repeated, groundless name-calling," how some other these other groups - like Matt Barber/Liberty Counsel and Robert Knight/Coral Ridge Ministries - managed to stay off the list of designated hate groups is a bit of a mystery.

Yet Another Election-Oriented 40 Day Prayer Effort

One of the defining features of the Religious Right is the remarkable redundancy of so many of their efforts.  For instance, as we noted earlier this month, there are at least five different 40 day prayer efforts underway targeting the mid-term elections ... or rather, make that six, as Coral Ridge Ministries is running one as well:

Join your Coral Ridge Ministries family and pray for the sake of this land we love!

September 1 through October 10 launches our brand-new 40 Days of Prayer for America campaign ... calling all concerned Christian citizens to fervent, focused, and committed prayer for America, her leaders, and her future.

Just visit www.CoralRidge.org daily, beginning September 1, to read the prayer for the day and commit this land we love to God in prayer.

Let righteousness reign in America, and let it begin by praying God's Word!

And you'll notice that Coral Ridge is using 2 Chronicles 7:14 as the effort's foundational passage, which is the same passage used by Janet Porter's May Day 2010 Prayer Rally, the Global Day of Prayer, the National Day of Prayer, the FRC's Call 2 Fall event, and the Pray and Act effort.  

So in case you didn't get the message, the key to winning the mid-term elections is for Christians to pray and seek forgiveness so that God will heal our land by tossing the Democrats out of office.

Dismantling the Right Wing Campaign Against Elena Kagan

Our latest Right Wing Watch In Focus in now available and it examines the Right's plan of attack against Elena Kagan and her nomination to the Supreme Court.

It explains how, from the very moment Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement, the Right was vowing to fight any nominee that President Obama put forward to replace him, without even having any idea who it might be, even though they knew that probably would not be able to defeat them. 

So when President Obama nominated Elena Kagan, they swung into action, raising concerns about her so-called "radicalism": 

The right-wing's routine charges of "radicalism" have settled into a tight little rhetorical circle which leaves no room for actual facts or logic. Here's how it goes: because Obama is dangerously radical, anybody he appoints to anything should be assumed to be radical. And the fact that he is appointing radicals just proves how radically radical he himself is.

While any Supreme Court nominee would draw close scrutiny from across the legal and political spectrum, including someone with Kagan's widely acknowledged intellect and her academic and public service credentials, those who were ready to scream "radical" no matter what the facts might actually be have been screaming about Kagan's alleged radicalism:

  • Fox pundit Sean Hannity said "her background is strident radical left like the president's."
  • Robert Knight of the Coral Ridge Ministries charged that the nomination was Obama's "in your face" selection of a "radical lawyer."
  • FRC's Perkins decried Kagan as an "ideological twin" to President Obama and said her "ultimate agenda" is "to reshape the court with a profoundly radical bent."
  • Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery calls her nomination "a triumph for liberal ideology and judicial activism."
  • And this from the Traditional Values Coalition's Andrea Sheldon Lafferty: "President Obama's pick of Elena Kagan demonstrates his willingness to subvert the Constitution for his personal agenda and impose his leftist ideology on our nation for the next 30 to 40 years."
  • Vision America's Rick Scarborough, in a piece called Elena Kagan and the War Against Christianity, calls her nomination "the latest step toward the moral abyss for America." He calls Kagan "a doctrinaire radical leftist with a written disdain for the Constitution of the United States…."
  • David McIntosh, co-founder of the Federalist Society, criticized Obama for nominating "an individual who has demonstrated a lack of adherence to the limits of the Constitution and a desire to utilize the court system to enact her beliefs of social engineering.

Those pushing the radical charges won't hear anything else. Sean Hannity asked former Clinton advisor Dick Morris, "So is this just another Obama radical being elevated to the highest levels of our government?" But when Morris repeatedly told Hannity that Kagan had been a moderate-to-conservative voice in the Clinton administration, and predicted based on his experience working with her that she would be a moderate voice on the Court, Hannity would hear nothing of it, cutting Morris off to insist "no way."

This was, of course, just one part of a multi-faceted strategy of lies that the Right has undertaken as they try anything and everything in an effort to sink Kagan's nomination - so be sure to read the entire report to understand how Republicans and the Right are trying to use this issue to boost their political standing.

Reclaiming Oklahoma For Christ Is Now Reclaiming America For Christ

Last year we noted that a group calling itself Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ which had more or less proclaimed itself the second incarnation of the late D. James Kennedy's defunct Center for Reclaiming America for Christ, though it was to be focused initially on Oklahoma.

Since then its founder, Paul Blair, has managed to establish himself among the Religious Right's B-list activists, co-organizing last fall's anti-hate crimes legislation rally and playing a key role in Janet Porter's recent May Day 2010 rally .. and so the organzation's mission has been expanded beyond Oklahoma to the entire nation:

We began working to “Reclaim Oklahoma for Christ” and now have an effective working relationship with over 100 pastors from across our state. Our goal is to connect with, encourage, and if needed, assist pastors all over the nation in reclaiming their own states for Christ and the Christian liberty upon which our founding fathers built this great country.

Although we are not affiliated or connected with Coral Ridge Ministries or its former initiative, the Center for Reclaiming America, we have been granted permission by those entities to use the name “Reclaiming America for Christ” as we expand this vision across America. We hope to honor the name and legacy of Dr. Kennedy as we strive for another Great Awakening in this nation.

And next month, the group is hosting two day conference/Tea Party event that is scheduled to feature the likes of David Barton, Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, Jim Garlow, and Rick Scarborough:

Right Wing Leftovers

Right Wing Leftovers

  • According to the new Coral Ridge Ministries "documentary" on socialism, the whole country is going to end up like Detroit if President Obama has his way.
  • National Association of Evangelicals has announced its willingness to partner with groups that offer contraceptive services and other programs aimed at reducing the number of abortions.
  • The ACLJ is demanding that the Department of Justice allow volunteers to erect a replacement cross Mojave Desert World War I memorial.
  • Mike Huckabee is taking his Fox News show to Las Vegas.
  • Liberty Counsel says Dont' Ask, Don't Tell must be retained because "the military should not be used as a pawn to promote a political agenda, nor should it be used for a social experiment to deconstruct the family." Huh? 
  • I continue to be amazed by rigorous logic displayed by the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Maggie Gallagher: "Sarah Palin had me at the word 'Trig.'"

Coral Ridge Exposes America's Descent into Socialism

Via Joe.My.God we get this preview of Coral Ridge Ministries' latest "documentary" about how President Obama is turning America into a socialist nation, featuring the likes of Harry Jackson, Wendy Wright, David Horowitz, Al Mohler, Steve Forbes, and Michele Bachmann:

Pots Calling Kettles "Radical"

Back in 2007, the D. James Kennedy's Center for Reclaiming America for Christ shut down, as Coral Ridge Ministries announced that it would focus on expanding its media operations.  

Since then, Coral Ridge has produced several DVD programs like "10 Truths About Hate Crime Laws Book and Hate Crime Laws" and "Pastors, Pulpits, And Politics" ... and now, via Good As You, we see that they are back with their latest production "Radical Rulers And The Obama White House Radicals": 

America has come under the rule of the most radical administration in our nation’s history. In this explosive new book, journalist Robert Knight identifies more than a dozen White House appointees (plus President Obama) who are all working to bring extreme change to America. The Obama team’s far left ideology means a government takeover of healthcare, soaring budget deficits, redistribution of wealth, forcing taxpayers to subsidize abortions, punitive energy and environmental rules, restrictions on free speech, a push to mainstream homosexuality, and much more.

Along with the book, the DVD, The Obama White House Radicals, uncovers the backgrounds of several Obama Administration appointees—from a self-avowed Communist to a member of the Socialist International. The DVD also examines the influence of Rules for Radicals author Saul Alinsky on President Obama’s political education. Experts appearing on the program include Janice Shaw Crouse, political commentator for Concerned Women for America; William Federer, a nationally known speaker and host of the American Minute radio broadcast; and Gary Cass, president of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.

In case you missed it, the point is that President Obama's administration is extremely "radical" ... at least, according to far-right radicals.

And for a mere $40, this insightful DVD exposé and accompanying book explaining that can be yours.

Liberty University Hosting Two Day Anti-Gay Conference

Mat Staver, Matt Barber, Elaine Donnelly, Alan Chambers, Robert Knight and various other anti-gay activists will be gathering at Liberty University for two days next week to discuss all things gay ... or rather, the threat that the "homosexual agenda" poses to this nation:

Liberty University School of Law will host a one-day conference followed by a one-day symposium addressing homosexuality and its consequences. The Friday, February 12, conference is entitled “Understanding Same-sex Attractions and Their Consequences.” On Saturday, February 13, the Liberty University Law Review will host a legal symposium entitled “Homosexual Rights and First Amendment Freedoms: Can They Truly Coexist?”

The first day of the conference will focus on the issues underlying same-sex attractions with personal and ministry insights shared by Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International. Conference leaders will then discuss the American Psychological Association Task Force Report on counseling people with same-sex attractions. Current research and therapies will be discussed by experts from the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and the American Association of Christian Counselors. The first day is designed for lay people, counselors, pastors, educators, attorneys, and those interested in learning more about the subject. The second day will focus on the legal implications arising from the clash between the quest for homosexual rights and freedom of speech, religion and association.

This two-day long symposium begins at 10:00 a.m., Friday, February 12, in the Vines Center of Liberty University at Liberty’s convocation service during which Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, will speak. The afternoon event, titled “Understanding Same-Sex Attractions and Their Consequences,” begins at 2:00 p.m. in the Supreme Courtroom of Liberty University School of Law. Speakers include Alan Chambers; Julie Harren-Hamilton, President of NARTH; Tim Clinton, President of the American Association of Christian Counselors; Rena Lindevaldsen, Associate Professor of Law at Liberty University School of Law, and Mathew Staver, Dean of Liberty University School of Law.

The symposium reconvenes at 9:00 a.m., Saturday, February 13, at the School of Law, and ends with a banquet held in the Grand Lobby of Liberty University, located in DeMoss Hall, at 5 p.m. Saturday speakers include: Professor Lynne Marie Kohm of Regent University School of Law; Professor Lynn D. Wardle of Brigham Young University and J. Reuben Clark Law School; Elaine Donnelly, Founder and President of the Center for Military Readiness; Robert H. Knight, Senior Writer for Coral Ridge Ministries and Senior Fellow for American Civil Rights Union; Matt Barber, Associate Dean at Liberty University School of Law, and others.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “The clash between free speech, religious and homosexual rights is a like the grinding of two tectonic plates. It is imperative to understand the implications of same-sex attractions and the broader homosexual agenda. Those struggling with same-sex attractions need understanding and hope for a life without conflict. The politicized radicalism of the homosexual agenda on the other hand is aggressive and intent on trampling upon the fundamental freedoms of anyone who may disapprove. That is why this conference at Liberty University is vitally important.”

A Taste of What's To Come on ENDA

It was just last week that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act was introduced in the Senate, so the Religious Right campaign of screaming their heads off is just getting off the ground. 

But Robert Knight of Coral Ridge Ministries gives us a nice preview of the sort of hyperbolic nonsense we can expect to see:

On Aug. 5, the GOP's Maine kleptocrats, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, joined Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and longtime sponsor Ted Kennedy in reintroducing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which we'll call the "gay quota bill" for short. ENDA is profoundly dangerous. It turns private sin into a public right and brings the force of government against morality itself. Any such law is a violation of our unalienable rights as proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. To put it more simply, a statute that directly contradicts God's moral law is illegitimate. Laws embody and reflect morality, or they are not laws. They are tyranny. That's why so-called same-sex "marriage" laws are absurd and treacherous. Forcing citizens to accept a counterfeit as the real thing is an act of despotism.

ENDA adds not only "sexual orientation" but "gender identity" to federal workplace anti-discrimination law. Thus, it takes an ax to the idea that sexual behavior has a natural normalcy or any relation to morality. It falsely equates a changeable condition (sexual desire) with race and ethnicity. Worse, it turns traditional values into a form of bigotry punishable under the law.

First of all, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act already has a short-hand name: ENDA.  So we don't need your suggestion that it should be called the "gay quota bill" because a) that's false and b) it's longer than the one we already have.

And secondly, it looks like efforts to pass this legislation are going to run into the same sort of Religious Right lies that plagued the hate crimes legislation, with right-wing activists claiming that it will grant "special rights" to those in the LGBT community. 

Of course, that will raise the exact same problems as their efforts to make that claim about hate crimes legislation, considering that there are already a number of federal laws on the books that outlaw employment discrimination based on things like race, religion, gender, and disability: 

    • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;

    • the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination;

    • the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older;

    • Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which prohibit employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments;

    • Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government

So, once again the Right will have to explain why gays shouldn't receive similar protections as say, Christians. 

And once again, they'll fail to do that because they have no reason other than claims that God hates gays and therefore it should be okay to discriminate against them, leading to pieces like Knight's where the Right is reduced to bellowing that any "statute that directly contradicts God's moral law is illegitimate."

D. James Kennedy's Daughter Banned From Coral Ridge

Earlier this year, following the 2007 passing of D. James Kennedy, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church tapped tapped Billy Graham's grandson, Tullian Tchividjian, to take over as pastor of the church.

Tchividjian said he planned to stay away from political issues (though the affiliated Coral Ridge Ministries has continued its right-wing activism) but it looks like the change he has brought about have created some serious conflicts in the congregation, leading to the banning of Kennedy's daughter Jennifer Kennedy Cassidy, and several others from the church:

Six members of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church -- including the daughter of founding pastor D. James Kennedy -- have been banned from the premises and all functions of the Fort Lauderdale church.

The action, announced by a letter mailed to Coral Ridge members over the weekend, is the latest round in a brewing dispute between recently appointed Pastor W. Tullian Tchividjian and those members spearheading an effort to fire him. In recent weeks, the dissidents have sent two letters and a petition form to call a congregational meeting and put an end to his four-month-old pastorate.

"No church government can tolerate such an insurrection from those who will not listen to admonition, refuse all counsel, and will stop at nothing until they have overthrown legitimate authority and replaced it with their own," Tchividjian's letter says.

Besides Jennifer Kennedy Cassidy, the six people banned are Lorna Bryan, Kaye Carlson, Romeo DeMarco, and Jim and Jeanne Filosa. Tchividjian has ordered them to stay off church property and out of church programs, and "to stop writing accusatory letters to the congregation."

Tchividjian, one of seven grandsons of evangelist Billy Graham, is former pastor of New City Church in Margate, which has merged with Coral Ridge. He was picked March 15 to lead Coral Ridge, succeeding Kennedy, who died in September 2007.

Among the accusations of the dissidents are that Tchividjian has replaced some longtime Coral Ridge staff with his own people. The dissidents have also accused Tchividjian of watering down Coral Ridge's traditional worship style, de-emphasizing the Evangelism Explosion method developed by Kennedy, selling land at the church's west campus "to make up for budget shortfalls," and appointing an executive commission with equal power to the standard church government.

More than 1,600 copies of the petition, along with accusatory letters, were mailed to church members on July 24. A follow-up letter was mailed Aug. 1.

At a Town Hall meeting on July 31, attended by several hundred people, Tchividjian and his staff countered all the charges. They said there was no budget shortfall and that only 15 of more than 70 church staff are from the former New City Church. They said that Coral Ridge is actually adding Evangelism Explosion classes and that rather than loosening the traditional service, Tchividjian plans to make the contemporary service more traditional.

Cassidy, Kennedy's daughter, declined to comment Monday beyond saying that "This is something that will be handled at the church." However, Jim Filosa said the ban was no surprise because he was told lastTuesday that he wouldn't be allowed to attend choir rehearsal the next night.

"Quite honestly, we expected this," said Filosa, a Coral Ridge member since 1991. "Tullian won't leave without a fight, and neither will we.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • We can now add Concerned Women for America to the list of right-wing groups opposing David Hamilton, President Obama's first judicial nominee, while Rod Parsley's Center for Moral Clarity says "the Senate’s response to this nomination will tell us more about them than it will about the nominee."
  • Congressman Steve King and others have called on President Obama to withdraw the nomination of Dawn Johnsen. You can see the letter here [PDF].
  • Remember when it was the Republicans who were labeling the Democrats as "the party of no" for opposing President Bush's agenda?
  • It looks like Sarah Palin's grandstanding on the stimulus legislation is going to get sidestepped by the state legislature.
  • Richard Viguerie sees the decision by the University of Notre Dame to invite President Obama as a sign of "the general collapse in American institutions and the failure of America's leadership class."
  • Focus on the Family is asking people to "pick up the phone or send an e-mail to Barney Frank and tell him they’re disgusted by the fact (he) would use such disgraceful language toward a sitting member of the United States Supreme Court."
  • Coral Ridge Ministries responds to Truth Wins Out's recent piece noting that Robert Knight has joined Coral Ridge Ministries.
  • Finally, in an interview with the Action Institute, SC Gov. Mark Sanford was asked if it is a good thing that "faith traditions played a big role in the 2008 presidential race":
  • It is. But I don’t know if it was more window dressing than not. Obama had Rick Warren speak at the inauguration, and then got some guy of another persuasion to give the benediction. I don’t think you want it as an accoutrement. I think that you want it to show up in policy. In other words, conversation is certainly an important starting point. It can’t be the ending point.

Unknown Organization Faults Right-Wing Powerbrokers for Losing Culture War

Exodus Mandate, an organization created to “encourage and assist Christian families to leave Pharaoh's school system (i.e. government schools) for the Promised Land of Christian schools or home schooling,” is not particularly impressed with the current crop of Religious Right organizations.

You see, Exodus Mandate believes that “fresh obedience by Christian families in educating their children according to Biblical mandates will prove to be a key for the revival of our families, our churches and our nation” and, as such, it is now publically calling out the likes of Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, the American Family Association, Vision America, and Wallbuilders all of whom have failed to adequately encourage their members to flee the public school system and are thereby responsible for losing the culture war:

Chaplain E. Ray Moore issued a Report Card at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) in Nashville, Tennessee, on Feb 10, 2009, at a news conference, on how effectively major Christian ministries and organizations support K-12 Christian education or home schooling. Nine organizations were rated, many of which have actively engaged in the cultural war in the US for the past several decades. Moore said, "Even though these organizations have been valiantly fighting the culture war, they have suffered terrible defeats. They have not been able to arrest and reverse the moral and cultural slide by protests, lobbying, voting and legislative remedies. It's time for these ministries to revisit their methodology and ask themselves if there is a biblical model for spiritual and cultural renewal." The nine criteria used to rate the organizations in the K-12 Christian education Report Card included: promoting a Christian worldview and not promoting K-12 public schools as morally equivalent to Christian and home schools.

The nine ministries generally earned high scores for promoting a Christian worldview, for promoting K-12 Christian education or home schooling and for warning about the dangers of public schools, but they received poor grades for wasting their efforts on public-school reform, on justifying keeping Christian children in public schools to be salt and light, and on promoting a moral equivalence between K-12 public, Christian and home schools. Moore said, "The failure in these criteria is largely due to the fact that some Christian ministries have not yet come to believe that there is an explicit biblical theology of Christian education in the Holy Scriptures. These same ministries have promoted a Christian worldview, and many Christian families, taking this teaching to its logical conclusion, have now outstripped the ministries."

You can see the report card here [PDF], where Coral Ridge Ministries come out on top with a grade of B:

The Less Things Change

Last week we noted that Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church had tapped a new pastor to replace the late D. James Kennedy who appeared intent on modernizing the church and removing it from the political and culture wars.  

But just because change might be coming to the church doesn’t seem to mean that any sort of similar change will be coming to its political arm, Coral Ridge Ministries:  

Many traditional marriage supporters have been taken aback by the pro-gay rights tone the Whitehouse.gov website has taken for its "Civil Rights" agenda, which supports the expansion of hate crimes statutes, discrimination employment laws that would grant special protections to the LBGT community, gay civil unions, gay couples' adoption rights and the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask-Don't Tell" policy.

Coral Ridge Ministries, a Christian media organization, also sent out an e-mail alert over the weekend stating, "Our new president wants to force Americans to accept homosexuality in the workplace and in the military."

"Right now, the President has the political wind at his back. Most in the media and Congress are cheering for him and his agenda to succeed," the ministry added. "That means he most likely will unless men and women of moral conviction and courage stand up and say 'No!'"

The email from Coral Ridge Ministries can be found here:

“It’s only the third day of Barack Obama’s presidency, but he just announced his aggressive plan to force Americans to accept homosexuality.

His just-revealed gay rights agenda, posted on the http://whitehouse.gov website, is a dream come true for the homosexual lobby. Our new president wants to force Americans to accept homosexuality in the workplace and in the military. Plus, he will push hard to pass hate crimes legislation and give marriage benefits to same-sex couples.

Here’s a short list of what our new president wants to do:

- Pass hate crimes legislation that will criminalize opposition to homosexuality.
- Allow homosexuals to enter into civil unions, which will 'give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples.'
- Repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
- Oppose a federal constitutional amendment to limit marriage to a man and a woman.
- Repeal federal law to allow open homosexuals to serve in the U.S. military.
- Give homosexual couples the right to adopt young children.
- Fight AIDS with sex education, condoms, and needle-exchange programs.

Right now, the President has the political wind at his back. Most in the media and Congress are cheering for him and his agenda to succeed. That means he most likely will unless men and women of moral conviction and courage stand up and say 'No!'..."

Changes Underway At Coral Ridge

Shortly before D. James Kennedy passed away in 2007, his Coral Ridge Ministries announced that it was shutting down its Center for Reclaiming America, the home of its right-wing activism, in favor of concentrating on expanding its audience via its media productions.  And that is what it did, unveiling various videos during the election on how Christianity is being “suppressed” in America by liberals and the “militant homosexual agenda" and that hate crimes legislation will result in the “criminalization of Christianity.”

But for the most part, Coral Ridge has been relatively silent lately on political and culture war issues ... and now it looks like the church itself is about to undergo a significant change.  Yesterday I mentioned that Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church had tapped Billy Graham's grandson, Tullian Tchividjian, to become pastor and today, via AU's Wall of Separation, we come to find out that Tchividijan intends to remove the church from politics and politics from the church:

When D. James Kennedy, the influential pastor who pushed conservative politics from the pulpit of Fort Lauderdale's Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, died in 2007, members lost the fiery leadership of the man who built it from a congregation of a few dozen to more than 10,000 with internationally viewed television and radio programs.

Now, successor William Graham Tullian Tchividjian, 36, grandson of evangelist Billy Graham and head of Margate's relatively small New City Church, is ready to take Coral Ridge in a new direction.

Tchividjian (chi-VID-gen) -- friends call him Tullian -- is no stranger to the church, whose congregants erupted in cheers Sunday when they heard he was offered the job. An occasional guest speaker at Coral Ridge who has a radio show on WAFG-FM 90.3, he is expected to modernize the thinking of the church over which Kennedy presided for more than five decades and take it back to the basics of teaching the Bible instead of reigniting the culture wars.

Energetic and easygoing, he will be a stark contrast to the often stiff and formal Kennedy, people familiar with the church say. Kennedy, a notable member of the Moral Majority before its dissolution, rallied against same-sex marriage and evolutionary theory and sought to ``reclaim America for Christ.''

''The impression out there of Coral Ridge is that they are a church that is stuck in the past and unwilling to change,'' said Tchividjian, a father of three who lives in Coconut Creek. ``This move on their part corrects that assumption" ... Tchividjian said he plans to stay away from politics. A registered Republican, he would not answer questions on current political issues, such as same-sex marriage.

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Coral Ridge Ministries Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Monday 08/29/2011, 12:30pm
Over the last week Kyle has been rebutting claims by some journalists and Religious Right activists that Dominionism, which contends that fundamentalist Christians must take ‘dominion’ over society and government, is nothing more than a liberal conspiracy. Dominionism has been gaining attention as Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry’s close ties with outspoken propagators of the radical dominionist ideology come to light. In a post today, Rachel Tabachnik takes on the Washington Post’s Lisa Miller’s much-discussed article dismissing dominionism. Tabachnik notes that... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 08/23/2011, 4:35pm
Thanks to the presidential campaigns of Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, there has been a lot of attention focused lately on dominion theology and its role within the Religious Right political movement. This, in turn, has led to a number of pieces asserting that there is no such thing as "dominionism" and claiming that it is nothing more than a conspiracy-theory/scare-tactic dreamed up by the Left. Our colleague Peter Montgomery addressed this effort to downplay dominionism in an excellent piece he wrote for Religion Dispatches yesterday, but Religious Right activists continue to... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 07/06/2011, 5:43pm
Coral Ridge Ministries is now to be known as Truth in Action Ministries. FRC is very relieved to learn that no gay person has been appointed to the RNC. Will Michele Bachmann be this election's Mike Huckabee? Gordon Klingenschmitt wants GOP presidential candidates "to make a major campaign speech endorsing H.R. 297, to defund the U.N. if they seize Israeli land." Finally, the quote of the day from Burt Prelutsky: "As for gay-pride parades, I can hardly imagine anything goofier. What is it exactly that they're so proud of? That their sexual activity will... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 07/05/2011, 2:43pm
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) appeared in a Coral Ridge Ministries documentary about the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, which they claim is covertly trying to weed faith out of public life. Coral Ridge Ministries is one of the leading proponents of Christian Reconstructionism and frequently makes documentaries about creeping socialism and the dangers of Obama’s presidency. Akin, who recently declared that “at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God,” argued that the Center's lack of religious content shows that it “will snuff out the light... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 11/29/2010, 11:10am
Last week the Southern Poverty Law Center updated its list of anti-gay groups and added several new organizations to its list of anti-gay hate groups.  Many influential Religious Right groups found themselves placed upon the SPLC's updated list, including the Family Research Council, American Family Association, Concerned Women for American, National Organization for Marriage, and Liberty Counsel.  And to say that they are not happy about it would be a massive understatement. NOM called it an "absurd distraction," saying it stood by its work and that the report was really... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 11/22/2010, 1:17pm
Via Truth Wins Out, we see that the Southern Poverty Law Center has released a piece profiling Of 18 anti-gay organizations and has announced that they will be adding 5 new organizations to their list of active anti-gay hate groups. The new additions are: 1. American Family Association 2. Americans for Truth About Homosexuality 3. Dove World Outreach Center 4. Family Research Council 5. Illinois Family Institute The other anti-gay groups profiled by the SPLC but not offically designated as hate groups are: 1. Christian Anti-Defamation Commission 2. Concerned Women for America 3.... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 09/28/2010, 1:23pm
One of the defining features of the Religious Right is the remarkable redundancy of so many of their efforts.  For instance, as we noted earlier this month, there are at least five different 40 day prayer efforts underway targeting the mid-term elections ... or rather, make that six, as Coral Ridge Ministries is running one as well: Join your Coral Ridge Ministries family and pray for the sake of this land we love! September 1 through October 10 launches our brand-new 40 Days of Prayer for America campaign ... calling all concerned Christian citizens to fervent, focused, and... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 06/11/2010, 3:30pm
Our latest Right Wing Watch In Focus in now available and it examines the Right's plan of attack against Elena Kagan and her nomination to the Supreme Court. It explains how, from the very moment Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement, the Right was vowing to fight any nominee that President Obama put forward to replace him, without even having any idea who it might be, even though they knew that probably would not be able to defeat them.  So when President Obama nominated Elena Kagan, they swung into action, raising concerns about her so-called "radicalism":... MORE >