Faith and Action

Religious Right Slams Obama for Backing Marriage Equality

While gay conservative groups have come out attacking President Obama for endorsing marriage equality today, Religious Right groups have also started to berate Obama on the issue.

Tony Perkins of Family Research Council said Obama’s position has handed Mitt Romney “the key to social conservative support”:

The President's announcement today that he supports legalizing same-sex marriage finally brings his words in sync with his actions. From opposing state marriage amendments to refusing to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) to giving taxpayer funded marriage benefits to same-sex couples, the President has undermined the spirit if not the letter of the law.

As demonstrated by yesterday's overwhelming vote in North Carolina, redefining marriage remains outside the mainstream of American politics, especially in the critical battleground states and among minority voters. In North Carolina, the amendment received more than 60 percent of the vote in majority-black counties.

Considering that ten of the sixteen battleground states have marriage amendments that could be overturned by the President's new policy position on marriage, today's announcement almost ensures that marriage will again be a major issue in the presidential election.

The President has provided a clear contrast between him and his challenger Mitt Romney. Romney, who has signed a pledge to support a marriage protection amendment to the U.S. Constitution, may have been handed the key to social conservative support by President Obama.

American Values head and former FRC president Gary Bauer claimed to be perplexed that Obama “is spending even one second of his time thinking about how and to radically transform the institution of marriage”:

The charade is finally up. We've always known that Barack Obama supports same-sex marriage. With every action he's taken, from court appointments to his rhetoric, he's been preparing the way to undermine traditional marriage. Obama's finally made that support explicit.

Every American who can't find work, whose home is under water or who can't afford to fill up his gas tank should be wondering why the president is spending even one second of his time thinking about how and to radically transform the institution of marriage. It's a political move meant to energize his left-wing base and distract Americans from his disastrous economic policies."

Bauer later commented in an email to supporters that Obama “may have just lost the presidency”:

President Obama just told ABC News that he now supports same-sex marriage. Surprised? Didn’t think so. Obama is no doubt hoping to energize his leftwing base. And he is betting this will help him to re-energize the youth vote this November. But in fact he may have just lost the presidency.

Attention Republican Party: Obama’s announcement is a chance for boldness. There are many Republicans who would rather not talk about this issue. But if the GOP confronts Obama over marriage, it could make him a one-term president. If Republicans allow Obama to exploit this issue, then it could prove decisive for him. Republicans need to remember that if their candidates can manage to win as much of the vote as the state marriage amendments have received in 31 states, they will win in a landslide in November.
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Now look at North Carolina. It is considered a swing state. Obama won it by only 14,000 votes in 2008 – and it is a high priority for the Dems this year, which is why they are holding their national convention in Charlotte and why he has visited the state repeatedly. This morning Obama might be second guessing that Charlotte venue.

Voters in North Carolina passed a marriage amendment yesterday, making clear that marriage is one man and one woman. Obama, Biden and the entire media establishment opposed the amendment. Bill Clinton did robo calls opposing the measure. The voters felt otherwise by a 61% to 39% vote – a huge landslide and a record turnout. Current polls have Romney beating Obama in North Carolina by only two points! Governor Romney should look at the results of the marriage issue. He can win North Carolina by a landslide if he takes on Obama on this issue.

Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage pledged to defeat Obama and warned, "God is the author of marriage, and we will not let an activist politician like Barack Obama who is beholden to gay marriage activists for campaign financing to turn marriage into something political that can be redefined according to presidential whim”:

President Obama has now made the definition of marriage a defining issue in the presidential contest, especially in swing states like Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Nevada. Voters in all these states, and over two dozen more, have adopted state constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. President Obama says that although he personally supports gay marriage, he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own. However, that is completely disingenuous. His administration is already trying to dismantle the nation's marriage laws by refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. All the state marriage amendments and laws are at risk under a president who actively wants to change the definition of marriage. NOM will work ceaselessly in these swing states and across the nation to preserve traditional marriage because it is profoundly in the public good to do so. God is the author of marriage, and we will not let an activist politician like Barack Obama who is beholden to gay marriage activists for campaign financing to turn marriage into something political that can be redefined according to presidential whim. The definition of marriage was already headed for the ballot in four states this fall; now it will be one of the defining issues of the presidential election. No state in this country has ever voted for gay marriage. Just yesterday North Carolina voters sent a clear message that America wants to preserve marriage. We intend to win the marriage debate this November.

The Traditional Values Coalition president Andrea Lafferty maintained Obama’s view on marriage equality displays his “radical ideology”:

This isn’t exactly a bold move by the president. Forced by Joe Biden’s big mouth, Obama had no choice left but to publicly embrace an agenda he has privately promoted for years.

I’ve been saying this for the last four years. Obama has always been in favor of homosexual marriage, but was forced to keep his enthusiasm at a distance for fear of offending the American public.

Obama needs new friends. His leadership has completely alienated Wall Street, financial investors, small businesses, soccer moms, and virtually every other constituency by pushing his radical ideology at a time when America needed principled leadership. Who better to appease than the LGBT community with tons of disposable income to fund his re-election campaign?

North Carolina just became the 31st state to affirm the sanctity of marriage. As if mainstream Americans needed any further reasons to reject Obama’s radical social agenda, we were most certainly reminded today.

Matt Smith of the Catholic Advocate said Obama’s support for marriage equality is part of “an anti-Catholic agenda”:

Once again, the President is spending time advancing an anti-Catholic agenda. Marriage was created long before any government came into existence. It is a settled issue in the eyes of the Catholic Church and should not be redefined.

First, the Obama administration takes away grant money helping victims of sex-trafficking over the Church refusing to refer the victims for abortions. Then the Obama administration violates our religious liberties by forcing Catholic institutions to pay for contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization as the President's health care law is being implemented. And now, should his advocacy for same-sex marriage succeed, Catholic institutions could be forced once again to violate our beliefs.

Many faithful Catholics were fooled by clever political rhetoric in 2008. This year, the anti-Catholic record of the Obama administration should inform their vote."

Rob Schenck of the Faith and Action commented: “Frankly, I question whether he really does in his heart-of-hearts. Maybe I'm naive, but, if I'm right, it's even worse, because it means he has surrendered a moral conviction for political expediency. Very wrong and very sad.”

Update: Faith and Freedom Coalition chairman Ralph Reed said the announcement shows the President is “tone-deaf and out-of-touch with the time-honored values of millions of Americans”:

Four years ago 2008 Barack Obama promised if elected not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000, pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term — and made clear his support for traditional marriage. All those promises are now broken.

At a time of high unemployment and severe economic distress, President Obama chose the week he launched his re-election campaign to flip-flop on same-sex marriage.

Combined with his administration’s opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, it reveals a president who is tone-deaf and out-of-touch with the time-honored values of millions of Americans. This is an unanticipated gift to the Romney campaign. It is certain to fuel a record turnout of voters of faith to the polls this November.

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League claimed Obama “has fully broken with his Christian moorings” and suggested he also favors polygamy:

In 1996, when Barack Obama was up for a state senate post in Illinois, he said he supported gay marriage. Eight years later, when he set his sights on the U.S. Senate, he discovered his Christian roots and said he was against it. In 2008, he said he was opposed to homosexuals marrying, but he also opposed a ballot initiative in California, Proposition 8, that affirmed marriage as being exclusively between a man and a woman. In other words, his Christian roots were losing their grip. Since then he’s been “evolving.” Now the evolution is over and he has fully broken with his Christian moorings.

The president of the United States likes the idea of Tom and Dick marrying. He did not say whether he supports Tom, Dick and Harry marrying, or whether he is “evolving” in that direction. Perhaps he has to consult with his mentor on this issue, Mr. Joseph Biden of Delaware.

Yesterday, North Carolina voters affirmed marriage as being between a man and a woman. In the 32 times voters have been asked to decide this issue, they have voted 32 times to support traditional marriage. Gay rights advocates have never won.

President Obama will be hurt by this decision in the swing states. More than that, he has now made this cultural matter a major issue in the presidential campaign.

The time has finally come to pass a constitutional amendment affirming marriage as an institution reserved to the only two people who can naturally produce a family, namely a man and a woman.

NOM co-founder Maggie Gallagher, now with the Culture War Victory Fund, writes:

On the one hand, morally this is good because lying to the American people is always wrong. President Obama has come clean that he is for gay marriage. Politically, we welcome this. We think it's a huge mistake. President Obama is choosing the money over the voters the day after 61 percent of North Carolinians in a key swing state demonstrated they oppose gay marriage. We now have clear choice between Romney and Obama, and we look forward to demonstrating in November that it's a bad idea for a national candidate to support gay marriage. Marriage is a winning issue for the GOP.

American Family Association president Tim Wildmon tells OneNewsNow:

[He] has finally come out of the closet, if you will, on the homosexual marriage issue. He's in favor of it. He always has been. The only reason he didn't say anything about it before the election last time is because he didn't want to hurt himself [politically].

President Obama, [in] his first year in office, had the homosexual activists to the White House for a dinner and he promised them he would be their 'champion' -- and so he is coming through for them on many different fronts, including the military, changing the military to allow open homosexuality there.

Jim Campbell of the Alliance Defense Fund said his endorsement “promotes the creation of even more fatherless and motherless homes”:

This shows that the Obama administration doesn’t understand the public purpose of marriage. Marriage–the lifelong, faithful union of one man and one woman–is the building block of a thriving society. It’s not something that politicians should attempt to redefine for political purposes. The president has spoken eloquently about how fatherless homes often hurt children and society. Today’s statement is a tragic contradiction that promotes the creation of even more fatherless and motherless homes.

Liberty Counsel Action released a statement [pdf] from chairman Mathew Staver, who said the country under Obama’s leadership is “headed to disaster”:

“The President has made the issues in this election very clear,” said Mat Staver, Chairman of Liberty Counsel Action. “Today, Governor Mitt Romney said he unequivocally supports natural marriage and opposes ‘marriage between people of the same gender,’ drawing a stark contrast in the upcoming election. For most voters, this election will now be an easy choice,” said Staver.

The decision by the President is not a surprise. He needs to appeal to his far-left base that helped propel him to the White House in 2008 but whose support has weakened in 2012.

“We are six months away from arguably the most critical national election in our lifetime,” said Mat Staver. “America is headed in the wrong direction: we are on the edge of a moral, financial, spiritual, and national security abyss. President Obama’s 2012 campaign slogan is ‘Forward.’ The Titanic was moving forward but headed to disaster. We need to change course.”

Religious Right Groups to 'Encircle' Supreme Court, 'Praying that Obamacare is Declared Unconstitutional'

The Christian Defense Coalition, Faith and Action and Pro-Life Nation, which is a division of Operation Rescue and led by Troy Newman, is planning to “encircle” the Supreme Court in order to pray that the justices rule the health care reform law unconstitutional. The prayer rally, dubbed “Justice at the Court,” is set to be held on March 25, the day before oral arguments in the health care case begin.

Supreme Court officials expect the Obamacare case to be the biggest one at the Court since Bush v. Gore in 2000.

If the President's health care legislation is declared unconstitutional, it would end taxpayer subsidized abortions and unjust and immoral mandates forcing religious institutions to cover abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization in their health coverage for employees.

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition and one of the organizers of "Justice at the Court", states;

"We are calling people from all America to come to Supreme Court and 'encircle it with prayer' from March 25-28 as we cry out to God for justice, human rights and religious freedom.

"Sadly, the President's Health Care legislation crushes religious freedom and liberty with unjust mandates on faith institutions and forces taxpayers to pay for abortions.

"We will be praying that Obamacare is declared unconstitutional so Congress can put forward health care legislation that will respect religious freedom, protect human life and honor the principles of our Constitution.

"When Roe v. Wade was decided, the Christian community was detached and uninvolved. We want to make sure that is not the case this time as we challenge people of faith to publicly pray and speak out with boldness and passion."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Sen. John Thune says American needs "Christian people to be in the arena," influencing every aspect of public life.
  • Hillary Clinton says she is done running for elected office.
  • The pastor who said Facebook leads to affairs has copped to having his own affair.
  • Religious Right groups are expecting to make gains on their social issues agenda with thanks to the GOP gains in Congress.
  • What do you expect when you name an ACLJ affiliated attorney as the Chief of Staff for Georgia's Department of Education?
  • Finally, Faith and Action put on a live nativity scene on the steps of the Supreme Court:

Right Wing Leftovers

  • International Burn a Koran Day has been canceled.
  • Which makes the trip by Faith and Action and the Christian Defense Coalition to Florida rather moot now, doesn't it?
  • Bryan Fischer continues to demonstrate just what a tremendous asset he is to the American Family Association.
  • Rick Scarborough has joined the line-up at WorldNetDaily's Take Back America Conference.
  • Rep. Steve King of Iowa, Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, author John R. Lott, and Kris Kobach will speak at the annual Eagle Forum Leadership Conference this weekend.
  • The Christian Coalition sure is web savvy.
  • The Family Research Council wants pharmacists to refuse to stock the new emergency contraceptive pill, ella.
  • Finally, it looks like Mike Huckabee's daytime TV program did not fare too well: "Needless to say, there is no reason to believe The Huckabee Show will return at a later time."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The person responsible for the $2000 RNC expense at a bondage-themed nightclub has been fired.
  • And Concerned Women for America is still very upset about the whole thing.
  • Janet Porter says that President Obama's views toward Israel are "racist."
  • Rob Schenck of Faith and Action and Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition will honor the fifth anniversary of Terri Schiavo's death by protesting the White House.
  • The Media Research Center seems unable to understand the importance of context.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from the FRC's Tom McClusky: "[I]f it was argued during his two terms in office that Bill Clinton was 'our first black President' because of his supposed liberal policies that would benefit African-Americans ... shouldn’t Barack Obama already be our 'first gay President' due to his liberal policies pushing the homosexual agenda?"

Sotomayor Hearing Set, So Bring on the Oil

Now that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing has been set to begin on July 13, you know what comes next: Rob Schenck has to anoint the room with oil.

David Brody reports:

The Christian group "Faith and Action in the Nation's Capitol" has made its way to Capitol Hill and Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor might be interested in what they did. They blessed the doors of Senate Hart Building Room 216 with prayer and oil because they believe this will be the room most likely used for her confirmation hearing which begins July 13th.

Here is the video Faith and Action has posted of Schenck in action, along with an alert the organization is sending out to its members:

You probably heard the news that US Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy has set the start date for confirmation hearings surrounding Judge Sonia Sotomayor as President Obama's nominee to the United States Supreme Court. They will begin Monday, July 13, and probably last through that week. I waited for that announcement before making one of my own:

A firm foundation of prayer has been laid for this confirmation process. Wednesday morning, June 3, about 8:00, I went to the US Senate Hart Building across the street from our ministry center where the last two Supreme Court nomination hearings took place. Once there, I proceeded to Committee Room 216, the very same chamber where we have held numerous prayer and worship services over the years. This will most likely be the venue for the Senate hearing.

I went to the hearing room doors, and, following biblical and long-held Christian traditions, anointed them with oil as a symbol of consecration, or a setting apart for God's purpose. In respect for Judge Sotomayor's strong Catholic background, I used oil specially formulated for this purpose. It was also blessed by a Catholic priest at the St. Francis Monastery here in Washington, DC.

As I prayed, I touched the doors in three spots, making the sign of the cross. I prayed for God to superintend over the entire confirmation process and mark them with truth because Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life," and He prayed to His Father, saying, "Thy Word is Truth." Of course, in the end, we always pray that God's will be done.

There is so much we can do as part of this enormously consequential exercise, including letting our senators know how we feel about this nomination. Nothing, though, is as important as prayer. I invite you to join me in praying as often as you can during the entire hearing process beginning Monday morning, July 13.

I will keep you informed.

Your missionary to Capitol Hill,

Rev. Rob Schenck
President
Faith and Action in the Nation's Capital

This is the first time Schenck has done this sort of thing alone, as he has traditionally been joined by Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition in the anointing ceremonies they carried out before the hearings for John Roberts and Samuel Alito and the inauguration of President Obama.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • A gaggle of right-wing groups - including Abiding Truth Ministries, AFA, Americans for Truth, Citizens for Community Values, Concerned Women for America, Faith2Action, Illinois Family Institute, Liberty Counsel, Mission America, and PFOX - are calling on parents to pull their kids from school on the Day of Silence.
  • The Hill reports that right-wing groups are livid with Republicans for not doing more to try and stop Kathleen Sebelius.
  • Iowa Family Policy Council reacts to the marriage ruling: "It's only a matter of time now before those of us who are still willing to speak the truth and say that homosexuality is wrong are the ones that they are calling criminals. We have to rise up now. We have to protect marriage."
  • Faith and Action has posted video of Rob Schenck and Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition carrying out their annual Stations of the Cross prayer pilgrimage on Capitol Hill.
  • Ben Stein will deliver the commencement address at Liberty University this year.
  • Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is reportedly facing growing dissatisfaction from conservatives in the state who are contemplating a possible primary challenge if he runs for the U.S. Senate next year.
  • The ACLJ is warning that the Obama administration is "embracing foreign and economic policies that may very well put U.S. sovereignty at risk." Their proof? "The Obama Administration is reversing a long-standing U.S. policy refraining from participation in the United Nations Human Rights Council."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • In a move that surprises nobody, the Family Research Council is welcoming Tony Dungy's invitation to join the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, saying they "hope President Obama will be open to the counsel he offers on behalf of millions of other Bible-believing Christians [and] hope the Faith Council will work to channel pro-family policies."
  • Sarah Palin has been dropped as keynote speaker at the GOP's annual Senate-House Dinner in Washington on June 8 and replaced by Newt Gingrich, but she'll still be attending the Vanderburgh County Right to Life dinner in Evansville, IN on April 16th.
  • Faith and Action has posted video of Rob Schenck's remarks at yesterday's PreNDA press conference, while Frank Pavone and Alveda King have also come out in support of the legislation.
  • RNC Chair Michael Steel says the GOP needs to be more "unconventional [and] unpredictable" while one-time supporter Ken Blackwell says that if the Republican candidate doesn't win the special election in New York state's heavily Republican 20th district, the defeat will be "devastating" for Steele, though he is not sure if it'll result in Steele's ouster because "it is as hard to get rid of an ineffective chairman of the RNC as it is to get rid of a bad teacher in the New York City public schools."
  • Finally, a poll conducted by Deseret News/KSL-TV found that 63 percent of Utahns favored the action taken against state Sen. Chris Buttars for his anti-gay rant, while only 31 percent opposed it.

Bachmann Joins Schenck, Childress, Gardner, and Others for PreNDA Press Conference

In Rob Schenck's latest video update, which we mentioned earlier, he said that he was going to be participating in a press conference pressing for passage of the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, a piece of legislation introduced by Rep. Trent Franks that would "prohibit discrimination against the unborn on the basis of sex or race, and for other purposes."

Franks introduced the same legislation last year, but it never went anywhere, so he is apparently back to give it another try and has brought some of the more right-wing anti-abortion activists on board to rally support:

Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-02), a Member of the House Judiciary Committee, will host a press conference on Tuesday to introduce the Prenatal Nondiscrimation Act (“PreNDA”). PreNDA would prohibit knowingly performing or soliciting funding for race- or sex-selection abortion.

What: Press conference introducing the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act

Who:

· Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ)

· Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN), Republican Conference Chairman

· Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)

· Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO)

· Day Gardner — President, National Black Pro-Life Union

· Reverend Clenard Childress — Northeast Region President of the Life Education And Resource Network (L.E.A.R.N.)

· Wendy Wright, President, Concerned Women for America

When: Tuesday, March 31, 2009, 1:00p.m. EST

Faith and Action has now posted some photos from the press conference and indeed Wright, Gardner, and Childress were all there, as was Schenck.

Wright and Schenck are already well-known to readers of the blog, but you may not know much about the others, like Childress, who is listed as being associated with LEARN but is better known for his BlackGenocide.org website and the movement of the same name that he leads. Gardner is also active in that movement and known for making statements, such as she did before the election, that "Christians who vote for Obama are voting against the word of God."

But guess who also showed up:

That's right - Michele Bachmann, flanked by Gardner on the left and Schenck on the right (with Wright's blonde hair visible in the back.)

This photo pretty much tells you all you need to know about Rep. Bachmann and where any of the support for PreNDA will be coming from.

Will Schenck Also Get a White House Meeting?

Over the last few days, we've written several posts about an upcoming meeting at the White House between Joshua DuBois, head of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and representatives of Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council, and other right-wing groups.

Now, in his daily video update, Faith and Action's Rob Schenck reveals that his organization is also trying to set up a meeting with DuBois.

Schenck explains that he has a busy day ahead of him, entailing a meeting with Tim Goeglein, the former Bush Administration aide who was forced to step down after admitting to plagiarism and was recently hired by Focus on the Family to be their chief lobbyist in DC and with whom Faith and Action shares office space. He then has a meeting with the Salvation Army and then another meeting with the leaders of a new Congressional Prayer Caucus and finally a reception with "Christian members of Congress."

Then, around the 2:50 mark, Schenck reveals that they will also be talking to the White House today about a meeting with the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and Josh DuBois.  After a bit of rambling, Schenck says that Christian conservatives are losing credibility because when the opposition says or does the right thing, they are reluctant to commend them.

Schenck says he is "finding some stuff that is really good here and I've quoted President Obama recently on his statement that marriage is reserved for a man and a woman. Hey, I 've got to applaud that and I'm using it and I'm complementing him on it and, in fact, using it to reinforce our argument that the sanctity of marriage requires that it be reserved for a man and a woman, exclusively."

Interestingly, before the election the Obama campaign was supposed to participate in an event hosted by Schenck and his group but pulled out at the last minute, which turned out to be a smart move, as Sarah Posner explained:

The meaning of the Declaration of Independence was supposed to take center stage at a forum for religious outreach representatives from both presidential campaigns yesterday, but the lunchtime crowd of conservative activists and congressional staff at the Capitol Hill Club was instead treated to a lineup of speakers tossing out apocalyptic rhetoric about Barack Obama.

The event was sponsored by the Capitol Hill-based Faith and Action's Reese Roundtable, an annual luncheon about the moral meaning of the Declaration of Independence. Faith and Action's motto is "bringing the word of God to bear on the hearts and minds of those who make public policy in America." One of its goals is to "restore the moral foundations of our American culture" through placing Ten Commandments displays in public buildings.

Faith and Action's Rob Schenck, a perennial religious-right adviser and gadfly, moderated and wasted no time in lambasting the Rev. E. Terri LaVelle, the Obama campaign's senior religious adviser, who had committed to attend but cancelled at the last minute. "A snub!" protested Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America.

With McCain's conservative-coalitions director Robert Heckman looking on, and at one point chiming in that Obama's recent faith and values outreach was a "colossal flop," Obama was portrayed by speakers as a figure of evil and doom. No one came right out and called him the Antichrist, but the apocalyptic message was clear.

Bernie Reese, the octogenarian founder of the Reese Roundtable, said, "I grew up during [the] days of Hitler; we've almost got a blueprint to what brought Hitler to power. He rode in on an economic crisis and promised the moon to the middle class. He was a man who had glittering rhetoric; he could sit in the room and have his audience in his hand." Alveda King, niece of the civil-rights icon and an adviser to Priests for Life, the militant anti-abortion group, said abortion in the African American community had been done "deliberately, by genocide." We're "beyond chastisement," she went on. "We're in judgment."

"Lord," prayed Johnny Hunter, an African American pastor who gave the benediction, don't let us elect someone who might "bring this nation down."

The Obama campaign didn't want to be seen with Schenck and Faith and Action during the election—good choice—and let's hope that nothing has changed since then.

We have written about Schenck and his ties to a variety of different right wing groups a number of times, most recently when he, Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, and Rep. Paul Brown anointed the door at the Capitol before Barack Obama’s inauguration.  While far from a household name, Schenck has seemingly been becoming more influential over the last few years – he met privately with John McCain during the campaign and even received a VIP invitation to McCain’s announcement that Sarah Palin would be his running mate, where he had the opportunity to speak with both of them.  

He also has a history of harassing Democratic politicians, especially former President Bill Clinton, having been arrested back in 1992 for thrusting a fetus at him during the campaign and being stopped by the Secret Service after confronting him outside of the Washington Cathedral in 1996. He was also deeply involved in the early 1990’s in protesting women’s health clinics, including targeting one where a doctor was eventually assassinated.

Say Hello to The Faith and Freedom Institute and Goodbye to "Satanic Wickedness"

Yesterday we mentioned that there was a new Faith and Action affiliated right-wing group on the scene calling itself the Faith and Freedom Institute that believes that our nation's myriad of problems are caused by our "rejection of God and His values." NBC's Lauren Appelbaum reports that they are out to fix that:

In the wake of James Dobson retiring from Focus on the Family, leaving a possible vacuum of power in evangelical leadership, Dr. Gary Dull and other Christian leaders are forming The Faith and Freedom Institute to combat "satanic wickedness" in order to return America to a foundation of Biblical principles.

"America was founded with a spiritual basis, but there are those who want to make it a purely secular nation," Dull said near Capitol Hill Thursday. "Because of the rejection of God and His values, we can expect nothing but His judgment. All one needs to do is to read in history and find out how that when a nation forgot God, God forgot the nation."

That is where Dull says the Faith and Freedom Institute plans to step in. According to Dull, the Institute "is being formed to lead America back to the knowledge of God in order to save the nation from the judgment of God."

"Without a doubt, we believe that there is a definite agenda to destroy America that is being empowered by satanic wickedness and enhanced by Godless citizens," Dull said. "The Faith and Freedom Institute desires to put those who have an adverse vision for America on notice that we will not lie down and allow them to overtake us and our heritage, but that we will intend to stand up and fight for those rights given to us by God Himself and proclaimed by many who committed their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to make America work."

As a result, Dull blamed things like economic failure and moral decline to abortion and same-sex marriages on an idea that "God is being forgotten."

Dull said the new Christian conservative organization would provide educational opportunities in order to motivate leaders to call for a return to God and basic values.

"The Faith and Forum Institute intends to motivate religious, governmental and social leaders, as well as the general public to confess the sins of forgetting God and His word, to repent and turn back to God, and begin to live by the values that made America great," Dull said.

Faith And Action's Tangled Web

A few weeks back, Faith and Action's Rob Schenck provided a video update in which he reported that Focus on the Family's new lobbyist to Capitol Hill, former Bush administration aide Tim Goeglein, would soon be sharing office space with them.

Shortly after we highlighted the video, Faith and Action yanked it down, but in it Schenck related how their office was actually the office of several allied ministries as well including the Christian Defense Coalition, Priests for Life, the National Pro-Life Action Center, the Judicial Action Group, and the Life Education and Resource Network.

In fact, there are so many different organization operating out of that office and being run by people with ties to Faith and Action that it is almost impossible to tell them apart.  For instance, Schenck and Christian Defense Coalition Director Patrick Mahoney regularly work together, like when they got together to annoint the door through which Barack Obama would walk on his way to his inauguration.

Priests for Life is run by Frank Pavone, who is also a trustee at Faith and Action, as well as president of the National Pro-Life Religious Council and Pastoral Director of Rachel’s Vinyard.

The National Pro-Life Action Center is run by Paul Schenck, Rob's twin brother, who is Chairman of Faith and Action as well as the Chief Operating Officer for National Pro-Life Radio, which itself was founded by Stephen Peroutka, who just so happens to also be the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the National Pro-Life Action Center.  National Pro-Life Radio's on air broadcasters include Frank Pavone, Paul Schenck, and Rob Schenck, as well as other allies like Day Gardner of the National Black Pro-Life Union and Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice who has his own close ties to Rob and Paul Schenck.

As for Rob Schenck, in addition to being a co-founder of Faith and Action, he is also president of the National Clergy Council. Among the board members of the NCC are Patrick Mahoney of the CDC as well as a man named Gary Dull, who is also an executive board member of Faith and Action.

All of which is a long way of saying that it looks like we'll soon have yet another Faith and Action-related group to try and keep an eye on because Dull is set to announce that he is starting his own new right-wing organization to confront the problem of godlessness in America:

Why is the USA in the midst of a great economic crisis? Why is there so much corruption in government? Why are American marriages breaking up at the rate of nearly 50%? Could it be that there is a root cause that many are overlooking? Could it be that the America we love is facing the judgment of God due to rejecting His laws regarding abortion, same-sex marriages, the public display of God in public spaces, trying to borrow our way into wealth, and the funding of godless programs? It appears that we too often attempt to fix the symptom of the problem, as the root of the problem continues to eat at the very core of the nation.

Today, Faith and Action in the Nation's Capitol, HOPE Ministries of Hickory, NC, and The Way of Truth Ministries of Altoona, PA are announcing the formation of THE FAITH AND FREEDOM INSTITUTE for the purpose of motivating religious, governmental, and community leaders to call our nation back to its basic values defined in historical documents. The vision of TFFI will be to perpetuate true patriotism and generate a genuine desire for biblical values in churches, schools and governmental entities within the USA.

...

Today (March 5) at 4:00 PM, a press conference will be held by the organizers to TFFI at the headquarters of the Faith and Action Ministry at 109 2nd Street, NW Washington (behind the Supreme Court) to explain the mission and objectives of the organization.

Understanding The Meaning of "Exclusive"

Unlike David Brody, I am not a journalist and don't regularly get asked to host programs and provide insight on CNN ... so maybe there is some journalistic definition of the word "exclusive" with which I am unfamiliar:

EXCLUSIVE: Video of Pastors Physically Blessing Obama's Inaugural Walkway
January 9, 2009

You have to check out this video. It was sent exclusively to The Brody File.

The video in question is of Congressman Paul Broun, Rob Schenck of Faith and Action and Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition anointing the doorway President-Elect Barack Obama will pass through on his way to being sworn in next week ... which we posted last week:

Considering that Schenck and company sent out a press release about it on January 7th and then posted the video the same day on Schenck's Faith and Action YouTube page, at which point we and others wrote about it, it's hard to understand how this is in any way a Brody File "exclusive." 

The Anointers Strike Again

As something of a follow-up to my last post, it looks like Patrick Mahoney has found time in his hunger-striking, prayer-vigil-organizing, anti-abortion rally-planning schedule to join a few of his allies for some good old fashioned pre-inaugural anointing:

In a first for presidential inaugurations, Congressman Paul Broun (pronounced BROWN) of Georgia joined the Reverends Rob Schenck (pronounced SHANK) of Faith and Action and Patrick J. Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, both based in Washington, DC, in a prayer service inside the US Capitol today that included anointing the doorway President-Elect Barack Obama will pass through on his way to the platform to be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States on January 20.

"Anointing with oil is a rich tradition both in the Bible and in the history of the US Capitol," said Rev. Schenck. "Oil symbolizes consecration, or setting something apart for God's use. George Washington used oil during the dedication of the US Capitol. We used oil today to set apart the walkway and doors that will be the literal right of passage for Barack Obama as he ascends to the highest office in our land."

Rep. Broun spoke during the 10-minute prayer service, delivering a short sermon-like talk on the need to obey God and His will, and for the future president to do what is right. Rev. Schenck read Bible passages and applied sacred oil to the doorposts of the arched doorway leading out of the Capitol and onto the inaugural stage, immediately in front of the riser where Obama will stand with Chief Justice John Roberts who will administer the Oath of Office. Rev. Mahoney, who is undertaking a 21-day fast and daily prayer schedule for Mr. Obama across the street from the White House, read an inaugural prayer by Dr. Billy Graham delivered 40 years ago.

You might recall that, a few years ago, Schenck and Mahoney also anointed the seats and doors in the Senate rooms where John Roberts and Samuel Alito held their confirmation hearings ... so at least they are being bipartisan about it.

Schenck "Profoundly Disappointed" By Obama Campaign's "Snub"

Just the other day we were wondering why Barack Obama’s campaign was legitimizing right-wing leader Rob Schenck of Faith and Action by attending the forum he was moderating, especially considering his attacks on Obama’s Christian faith and his long history of militant anti-abortion activism, fines, and arrests.

Now, it looks like the campaign figured out whom it was dealing with and decided to pull out of the event and Schenck is none-too-pleased:

A top-level advisor and ten-member delegation for Sen. Barack Obama were no-shows at yesterday's Reese RoundTable on Capitol Hill, a forum for the campaigns to present their respective candidates' worldviews and how that informs their ideas about government.

The Obama representative, the Reverend Evna Terri La Velle, Senior Advisor Religious Affairs for Obama for America, inexplicably cancelled only hours before the event. When event organizers appealed to Democratic Party Officials, they were told someone would "look into it," but that these decisions are made in Chicago, meaning Obama campaign headquarters.

Event host, Rev. Rob Schenck (pronounced SHANK), who moderated the discussion, said he was profoundly disappointed. He released this statement:

"Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean assured me last year in a private meeting in his office that his party would do everything possible to constructively engage Evangelicals, traditional Catholics and other moral conservatives. He even pledged to participate in events like this. Barack Obama has made similar promises. They did a couple of high-profile media events, but it appears they were not serious at a grass-roots level. Yesterday's last-minute unexplained cancellation was nothing short of a snub. Our capacity crowd was insulted by their absence."

The campaign’s cancellation was anything but inexplicable – most politicians don’t want to be associated with the type of people who do things like this (except John McCain of course):

3 Charged in Scheme to Thrust Fetus at Clinton
14 July 1992
The Associated Press

Three anti-abortion supporters were arrested Tuesday after thrusting a container with a 19-week-old fetus at presidential candidate Bill Clinton.

"By the grace of God, Bill Clinton has been brought face to face with a victim of choice," Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry said outside Clinton's headquarters at the Hotel Inter-Continental.

Clinton appeared unfazed by the incident.

"They tried to hand it to me but I wouldn't take it," he said. "It was no big deal."

The incident occurred as Clinton left the hotel around 8:30 a.m. for his morning jog.

Harley David Belew, 37, of Binghamton; the Rev. Robert Schenck, 34, of Tonawanda; and the Rev. Joseph Forman, 30, of Marietta, Ga., were charged with three health code violations: transporting a fetus into New York, removal of human remains from the place of death and improper disposal of a fetus.

Minister's advice to Clinton draws Secret Service scrutiny Pro-lifer cited God's judgment
26 December 1996
The Washington Times

The Rev. Robert Schenck, a pro-life activist, gave President Clinton some Christmas Eve advice as their paths crossed at the Washington Cathedral.

"God will hold you to account, Mr. President," Mr. Schenck said he told Mr. Clinton as he walked by to receive Communion.

Mr. Schenck, general secretary of the theologically conservative National Clergy Council, said he was inspired to remind the president of God's judgment on his pro-choice policies when he realized he would walk past him in a Communion line.

"At that moment I said, `Here we are,' " Mr. Schenck said in a telephone interview yesterday. "It was a rare moment when you are this close to the president. As I got closer to him I thought, No. 1, it had to be brief."

Mr. Schenck said his comment drew on a verse in Hebrews 14. "I said it respectfully, in what I would call my pastoral voice."

Mr. Schenck is no stranger to the limelight - nor to President Clinton. In 1992, he led Operation Rescue's protest of Buffalo abortion clinics and participated in handing Mr. Clinton a dead fetus.

Obama Must Explain His Faith

For months, rumors have been swirling around that Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim.  One would think that these sorts of rumors would be easily quashed by his seemingly straight-forward declarations that he is, in fact, a “devout Christian [who has] been a member of the same church for 20 years [and prays] to Jesus every night.” 

For the most part, these rumors have been dismissed by anyone willing to look at the evidence or take Obama’s words at face value.  But for those with a religious/political agenda to advance, it turns out that the simple question of Obama’s faith is really, really complicated.  

Case in point

Missionary to Capitol Hill and Evangelical leader Rev. Rob Schenck (pronounced SHANK) takes on the thorny question of Barack Obama's religious identity in a new video blog posting called Faith and Action Live! which will post today, March 5, at 1:00 PM (EST) at www.faithandaction.org.

In his video blog, Rev. Schenck discusses Senator Obama's public profession of Christian faith, his Muslim background and the view of the Islamic world on what defines a Muslim.

Schenck apparently fancies himself an expert on the topic because he “has been at the forefront of a series of religious dialogues between Evangelical leaders and their Muslim counterparts” and his “adult daughter has for the last year lived among Muslims while directing a private school in the desert of North Africa.” 

Schenck reports that last year he “sent a research assistant to Chicago to investigate Obama's relationship to his church, the Trinity United Church of Christ, where until recently Obama's spiritual mentor, Dr. Jeremiah Wright, was pastor” and emerged with a report that found “Obama's Christianity woefully deficient.” 

At the time, Schenck seemed willing to accept that Obama was a Christian, but now Schenck is growing concerned that Obama may in fact be a Muslim because, as he put it, the issue is really how the Muslim world defines being Muslim.  As he sees it, Muslims inherit their religion from their parents, specifically their fathers. Thus, to be born of a Muslim father makes one a Muslim.  By Schenck’s analysis, Obama has a Muslim father and a Muslim name and while he may now proclaim himself a Christian, the question remains whether he is really just an apostate, infidel, or unfaithful Muslim rather than a non-Muslim.

For his part, Schenck declared that he has no reason not to take Obama “at his word” regarding his Christianity  … and then proceeded to question the legitimacy and depth of his faith, saying “The question becomes: How serious, how profound is the religious commitment that Barack Obama has made" considering that the United Church of Christ to which he belongs has strayed dramatically from “historical, Biblical Christianity … from historic, moral Christian instruction.”  Schenck also says it is interesting that Obama claims to “pray to Jesus” rather than “pray to God in Jesus’ name” and takes issue with Obama’s claim that his views on topics like civil unions and abortion don’t make him any less of a Christian, saying that “he owes the public a further explanation of that and most certainly religious people.”   

Schenck declares that what religious affiliation a political figure claims is less important that what positions they espouse and promote – and when it comes to Obama, this issues is vitally important because not only is he a bad Christian, he might also be a unwitting Muslim:

 

“Obama has said quite plainly that he is a Christian.  It is true that he is a member of a Christian church, that he did in fact walk the aisle and kneel beneath a cross.  He has told us that he prays every day to Jesus.  Muslims certainly do not pray to Jesus.  They do not kneel at the foot of a cross.  They do not join churches.  They do not make a public statement such as “I am a Christian, a devout Christian. They don’t do that.  Based on that, I would have to conclude, no, he is not a Muslim.  And yet the question haunts us: how does the Muslim world see that?  How does a Muslim religious authority see that? Would a Muslim religious authority say he was born of a Muslim father, therefore he remains a Muslim.” 

 

The issue of Obama’s faith is, according to Schenck, an “extremely important question that demands to be asked more and in greater depth” – one that he is pressuring Obama to discuss with him “face to face.”

Praying Beside the Courthouse

Faith and Action and the Christian Defense Coalition announced that they would be holding a "prayer service in front of the US Supreme Court to mark the opening of the Court's new term ... A poster with the images of the nine justices will be mounted on an easel next to which the ministers will kneel ... Rev. Rob Schenck stated, "This year's prayer service is particularly important because the future of the Supreme Court hangs on the outcome of next year's presidential election ... We will pray God's will be done in the future selection of justices." The CDC's Patrick Mahoney also vowed to get arrested outside the Red Mass.

"Fess Up to God and Man, Step Aside and Seek Help"

Rev. Rob Schenck of Faith and Action offers some unsolicited advice to Sen. Larry Craig and even pens a sample statement for him that concludes: "I hereby resign my seat in the United States Senate. Thank you."

Abortion is America's Darfur

So says the Reverend Rob Schenck (pronounced SHANK) of Faith and Action and the National Clergy Council: "In fact, I'll show that America's abortion tragedy is in many ways worse than what's happening in Darfur." See this post for our take on Schenck's trip to Darfur.

GOP Candidates Delve Deeper into Far Right

Although it is still early, the current crop of candidates running for next year’s Republican nomination for president are almost all treating the Religious Right as their first and most important constituency. And that goes beyond the familiar names of right-wing leaders the press likes to call “kingmakers” – such as Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and Jerry Falwell. At this stage, candidates are vying for the attentions of even lesser known radical activists.

This week, four candidates made the pilgrimage to Orlando, Florida for the National Religious Broadcasters convention. Sen. John McCain, who has been working overtime to reach across bridges he burned in 2000, and former Gov. Mitt Romney, who has been struggling to regain the Right’s favor after revelations of past moderation, both held private meetings with far-right activists, and it appears the meetings bore fruit.

Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, who recently organized a protest when House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (a Catholic) attended a Mass to remember the children of Darfur, said McCain “helped himself in that room tremendously today.” The National Right to Life Committee issued a statement from their exhibit booth at the convention to note their approval on McCain’s recent about-face on Roe v. Wade. And Rev. Rob Schenck, head of the National Clergy Council and Faith and Action (with his twin brother Paul), bragged about his face time with the candidates and how pleased he was with their performances:

I was able to get a read of these two men away from the cameras, the reporters and rah-rah audiences. These were honest, candid dialogues on critically important aspects of Governor Romney's and Senator McCain's personal and political principles. We got a pretty good assessment of where they are on the key issues for traditional Christians and particularly for Evangelicals. I was impressed by both, but especially Mitt Romney.

Schenck – who once walked out on a Billy Graham crusade after the famous evangelist was introduced by Bill Clinton and who implied that only Christians who are “moral failures” care about peace and justice -- cited the same narrow platform as he did in a warning to presidential hopefuls almost a year ago: abortion, gay marriage, and “the public acknowledgement of God.”

Schenck and Mahoney have worked together on a number of creative projects such as organizing a protest (featuring another presidential candidate, Sam Brownback) over the mythical “War on Christmas” and “consecrating” the seats in the Senate hearing room with oil prior to Sam Alito’s confirmation hearing. The pair also attacked “Purpose-Driven Life” author and megachurch pastor Rick Warren for inviting Barack Obama to participate in a global AIDS conference. “Having Senator Barack Obama speak on issues of social justice is like having a segregationist speak on civil rights,” said Mahoney. More recently, Schenck’s National Clergy Council expanded its religious test of Obama with an “examination and debate focused on his faith. Sadly, we will find Mr. Obama's Christianity woefully deficient.”

So far, no indication that Romney or McCain are at all bothered by their new-found friends’ attacks on the faith of their political opponents.

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Faith and Action Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Wednesday 05/09/2012, 4:30pm
While gay conservative groups have come out attacking President Obama for endorsing marriage equality today, Religious Right groups have also started to berate Obama on the issue. Tony Perkins of Family Research Council said Obama’s position has handed Mitt Romney “the key to social conservative support”: The President's announcement today that he supports legalizing same-sex marriage finally brings his words in sync with his actions. From opposing state marriage amendments to refusing to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) to giving taxpayer funded marriage... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 02/23/2012, 2:35pm
The Christian Defense Coalition, Faith and Action and Pro-Life Nation, which is a division of Operation Rescue and led by Troy Newman, is planning to “encircle” the Supreme Court in order to pray that the justices rule the health care reform law unconstitutional. The prayer rally, dubbed “Justice at the Court,” is set to be held on March 25, the day before oral arguments in the health care case begin. Supreme Court officials expect the Obamacare case to be the biggest one at the Court since Bush v. Gore in 2000. If the President's health care legislation is declared... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 11/22/2010, 6:25pm
Sen. John Thune says American needs "Christian people to be in the arena," influencing every aspect of public life. Hillary Clinton says she is done running for elected office. The pastor who said Facebook leads to affairs has copped to having his own affair. Religious Right groups are expecting to make gains on their social issues agenda with thanks to the GOP gains in Congress. What do you expect when you name an ACLJ affiliated attorney as the Chief of Staff for Georgia's Department of Education? Finally, Faith and Action put on a live nativity... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 09/09/2010, 5:36pm
International Burn a Koran Day has been canceled. Which makes the trip by Faith and Action and the Christian Defense Coalition to Florida rather moot now, doesn't it? Bryan Fischer continues to demonstrate just what a tremendous asset he is to the American Family Association. Rick Scarborough has joined the line-up at WorldNetDaily's Take Back America Conference. Rep. Steve King of Iowa, Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, author John R. Lott, and Kris Kobach will speak at the annual Eagle Forum Leadership Conference this weekend. The Christian Coalition sure is web savvy... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 03/30/2010, 5:29pm
The person responsible for the $2000 RNC expense at a bondage-themed nightclub has been fired. And Concerned Women for America is still very upset about the whole thing. Janet Porter says that President Obama's views toward Israel are "racist." Rob Schenck of Faith and Action and Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition will honor the fifth anniversary of Terri Schiavo's death by protesting the White House. The Media Research Center seems unable to understand the importance of context. Finally, the quote of the day from the FRC's Tom McClusky... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 06/10/2009, 9:48am
Now that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing has been set to begin on July 13, you know what comes next: Rob Schenck has to anoint the room with oil.David Brody reports:The Christian group "Faith and Action in the Nation's Capitol" has made its way to Capitol Hill and Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor might be interested in what they did. They blessed the doors of Senate Hart Building Room 216 with prayer and oil because they believe this will be the room most likely used for her confirmation hearing which begins July 13th. Here is the video Faith... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 04/06/2009, 5:57pm
A gaggle of right-wing groups - including Abiding Truth Ministries, AFA, Americans for Truth, Citizens for Community Values, Concerned Women for America, Faith2Action, Illinois Family Institute, Liberty Counsel, Mission America, and PFOX - are calling on parents to pull their kids from school on the Day of Silence.The Hill reports that right-wing groups are livid with Republicans for not doing more to try and stop Kathleen Sebelius.Iowa Family Policy Council reacts to the marriage ruling: "It's only a matter of time now before those of us who are still willing to speak the truth and say... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 04/01/2009, 5:41pm
In a move that surprises nobody, the Family Research Council is welcoming Tony Dungy's invitation to join the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, saying they "hope President Obama will be open to the counsel he offers on behalf of millions of other Bible-believing Christians [and] hope the Faith Council will work to channel pro-family policies."Sarah Palin has been dropped as keynote speaker at the GOP's annual Senate-House Dinner in Washington on June 8 and replaced by Newt Gingrich, but she'll still be attending the Vanderburgh County Right... MORE >