Texas Restoration Project

Ted Cruz And Mike Huckabee Follow David Lane's Christian-Nation Road Show To Michigan

Christian-nation activist David Lane is engaged in a multi-year, multi-state project to get conservative evangelical pastors more involved in electing right-wing candidates, and he is intent on making sure that the GOP nominates a 2016 presidential candidate to the Religious Right’s liking.

In spite of his extremism, Lane regularly gets Republican presidential candidates to attend his American Renewal Project events. On Monday night, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee spoke at a Michigan Renewal Project “Pastors Policy Briefing.”

Lane generally tries to stay out of the media spotlight, unless it’s for a friendly face like the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody. Even the media-hungry Cruz and Huckabee slipped quietly into Lansing for the event, which the Detroit News picked up on a few days later.

Also speaking at the event was Chad Connelly, the former head of the South Carolina GOP who was hired by the Republican National Committee last year to strengthen the party’s relationship with conservative evangelicals. According to news reports at the time, the Southern Baptist Connelly was brought on to energize evangelicals, some of whom were feeling disillusioned by recent national GOP candidates and by what they saw as the party’s “softening” on marriage equality.

Among the other speakers listed in a promotion for Monday’s event in the August newsletter of the American Decency Association:  right-wing radio host Dennis Prager, “historians” David Barton and Bill Federer, the American Family Association’s Don Wildmon, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, former Congressman Bob McEwen, and Pastor Laurence White of the Texas Restoration Project.

It seems as if Cruz is equally at home in front of the camera and behind closed doors. The Detroit News reports that he “made a quiet visit to Michigan Sunday and Monday, meeting with Republican Party activists in events that were kept hush-hush until photos of the tea party stalwart and potential 2016 presidential candidate surfaced on social media.”

In addition to Lane’s event, the paper reports, “Cruz appeared at four events over the two-day period organized by Ron Weiser, the Ann Arbor developer and national Republican fundraiser with connections throughout the country.” The paper says Weisner is seeking the GOP nomination for a seat on the University of Michigan board of regents.  Among other attendees at Cruz events were Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Tea Party activist Wendy Day, who recently lost a GOP primary bid for seat in the state House.

For David Barton, Right-Wing Political Advocacy Counts As Charity

On today’s WallBuilders Live, David Barton responded to a Houston Chronicle report that from 2000 to 2009, Rick Perry gave just $14,243 of his of $2.68 million fortune to churches and religious organizations. Barton, who claimed throughout the show that people who support social justice efforts are less likely to support charities, tried to defend Perry by pointing to the fact that the Texas governor has given away all the proceeds from his books:

Governor Perry’s getting his brains beat in because look how little he gave to charity. Time out! There’s another story there. Number one he does not itemize his deductions so you don’t know how much he gave to charity. Number two is he writes entire books and gives 100% of the proceeds to charity which doesn’t show up on his income sheet. He gives millions to charity but because he does not itemize and because he does entire books and signs the rights over there’s a lot going out that doesn’t show.

Which charities have the proceeds of Perry’s books gone to? He donated the proceeds of his first book, about the Boy Scouts, to the Boy Scouts of America. And he declares in his most recent book, the policy blueprint Fed Up!, that “all of the author’s net proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Foundation to support the work of the Center for Tenth Amendment Studies.” The Center for Tenth Amendment Studies is a division of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a right-wing think tank allied with Perry that was founded by James Leininger, who is now the group’s Chairman Emeritus.

Leininger is one of Perry’s biggest political bankrollers – he has donated and loaned millions of dollars to Perry’s political campaigns for over a decade and just so happens to be a close business partner of the governor. Columnist Molly Ivins dubbed Leininger “God’s sugar daddy” because of his prolific financial support for Religious Right activists and the Texas Restoration Project, including an Austin “Pastors’ Policy Briefing” to celebrate Perry’s reinauguration in January of 2007. The Texas Restoration Project was a pet project of Perry’s – Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News notes that “the governor helped create a network of ‘patriot pastors’ in Texas called the Texas Restoration Project, which worked for passage of the gay-marriage ban in 2005 and Perry's reelection a year later.”

Most recently, Leininger hosted a summit to introduce Religious Right leaders to Perry shortly after he announced his candidacy for president. Notable guests at Leininger’s ranch included James Dobson, Richard Land, Harry Jackson, Jim Garlow, Rick Scarborough… and, of course, David Barton.

Rick Perry's Long History Of Attending "Nonpolitical" Religious Right Events

The Austin Chronicle has begun tweeting links to old articles about Rick Perry, like this one from 2005 when Perry spoke at a "Texas Restoration Project" with a gaggle of anti-gay Religious Right activists:

A source who attended the event spoke to the Chronicle but requested anonymity because he serves in a local congregation and was sensitive to its politically diverse viewpoints. He recorded the event and provided the audiotape to the Texas Freedom Network, which in turn provided copies to the media.

Millionaire San Antonio conservative James Leininger was in attendance, as was East Texas chicken tycoon Bo Pilgrim, who introduced the governor. The two are among Perry's most generous campaign donors, most recently chipping in $50,000 apiece to the governor's re-election campaign, according to state Ethics Commission filings.

Though the audiotape is of poor quality, there is no mistaking the fever-pitched gay-bashing theme of most of the speeches. The group is fashioned after a similar evangelical organization in Ohio that worked to pass that state's marriage amendment in November and helped produce a narrow victory there for President Bush. Critics accuse the Ohio group of operating in tandem with the Bush presidential campaign, managed by Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, now running for Ohio governor in 2006. Blackwell was one of the featured speakers in Austin. Other guests who spoke in Austin included two key players in the Republican Party of Texas – Vice Chair David Barton, a self-described Christian nationalist, and former executive director Susan Weddington, who now heads Perry's faith-based initiatives program. Weddington called Perry "a spiritual giant."

Additionally, Ohio evangelical Pastor Rod Parsley lambasted the "homosexual agenda" and railed against Islam; Arlington minister Dwight McKissic – other than Blackwell, apparently the only African-American speaker at the event – delivered a hellfire condemnation of gays and lesbians, climaxing his address with the biblical story of the fire that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and declaring, "God has another match!" The crowd roared. "He said the most horrible things," the attendee said. "He was the most difficult to listen to."

Kelly Shackelford, who heads the Plano-based Free Market Foundation, may have stolen Perry's thunder in being the first to announce the governor's choice to fill the vacancy on the Texas Supreme Court – Don Willett, who was seated in the audience. Shackelford introduced Willett as a "strong believer in Jesus Christ. … I have no doubt where this man stands on any issue." Shackelford urged pastors to start organizing support for the upcoming constitutional election. "The other side is very organized," he said of the "No Nonsense in November" campaign, which opposes the amendment. "They are out there working in your communities."

Perry steered clear of directly incendiary comments, but left no doubt where he stands on the referendum. "For the record," he said, "this is one Texan who's going to be voting to protect the family unit this November by voting to preserve the institution of marriage between one man and one woman." Afterward, someone asked the governor what they could do to help him – the closest anyone came to mentioning his re-election campaign. Perry thought a moment before responding.

"Pray for me."

If the names of the participants sound familiar, there is a reason for that:  many of them also endorsed Perry's recent prayer rally, including David Barton, Dwight McKissic, and Kelly Shackelford.

You may also recognize the name of Susan Weddington, who has been working wtih Barton and close Perry friend Alice Patterson, to get African Americans to support the Republican Party.

In fact, these Restoration Project events are organized by David Lane, who was not only responsible for the recent similar Rediscover God In America conference, but just so happened to also serve as the National Finance Chairman of Perry's The Response prayer rally.

Perry has been attending these distinctly political Restoration Project events for several years and then partnered with many of these very same activists in organizing his recent prayer rally ... all while bogusly insisting that the event was distinctly non-political.

Latest Response Rally Endorser: The Antichrist Is Gay

As we noted the other day, organizers of Gov. Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer rally have removed the link to the endorsements page from the event website, perhaps out of concern that people would actually be able to see all of the radical leaders with whom Perry is partnering for his event.

But they did not remove the actual endorsement page and, in fact, continue to update it and today added Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church to the ever-growing list:

You may perhaps remember McKissic from his appearance at the Values Voter Summit back in 2006 where he asserted that the gay rights movement had come straight out of "the pit of hell itself" and suggested that the Antichrist will be gay:

It wasn’t easy at this conference to distinguish yourself by the ugliness of your anti-gay remarks, but Rev. Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Texas rose to the occasion in a Saturday workshop on “Impacting the Culture Through the Church.” His remarks were one part bragging about “Not on My Watch,” his road show of opposition to marriage equality for gays, and four parts attacking the gay rights movement.

McKissic denounced as “insulting, offensive, demeaning, and racist” the gay right’s movement trying to “hitch itself” to civil rights. Gays, he said, can’t “compare their sin to my skin.” He repeated the classic charge that gays “can’t reproduce so they have to recruit.”

But he was just warming up. The civil rights movement, he said, was grounded in moral authority, truth and righteousness, the impetus to freedom, constitutional authority, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In contrast, he said, the gay rights movement was inspired “from the pit of hell itself,” and has a “satanic anointment.” The gay rights movement was birthed and inspired by the anti-Christ. He suggested that the anti-Christ is himself gay, citing a verse from the book of Daniel saying the anti-Christ will have no desire for a woman.

“I don’t think there is any issue more important than how we are going to define the family,” said McKissic. Television shows portraying homosexuality in a positive light have put us “on the road to Sodom and Gomorrah,” and “God’s got another match…He didn’t run out of matches.”

Or for his claims that Hurricane Katrina was sent by God to "to purify our nation":

"I'm raising the question," Dwight McKissic, senior pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, said last week at meetings of the Texas Restoration Project, according to the Austin American-Statesman. "At some point, God will hold us accountable for our sins."

"They have devil worship. They advertise 'Sin City' tours. They celebrate Southern decadence. Girls go wild in New Orleans," said McKissic, a founder of the "Not on My Watch" coalition against gay marriage. "Sometimes God does not speak through natural phenomena. This may have nothing to do with God being offended by homosexuality. But possibly it does."

Barton, Gingrich, and AFA Launch "Restoration Project" in Nevada

As we noted back in 2008, every election season sees a return of the so-called "Restoration Projects," supposedly nonpartisan events that are, in reality, aimed a mobilizing pastors to get their flocks to the polls on Election Day.

Well, as Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News reports, the Restoration Project is back once again and is heading to Nevada where David Barton, Newt Gingrich, and the American Family Association are hoping to help Sharron Angle defeat Harry Reid:

Four years ago, Rick Perry cultivated a network of conservative pastors - the Texas Restoration Project - to scare off Kay Bailey Hutchison in the primary and to help win reelection. The project has pretty much fallen off the political radar in Texas since then. This year, the energy on the right is from the tea party - which is focusing on fiscal themes, not the social issues of abortion and gay marriage . Now, the Texas-tinged event has emerged in a most unlikely place - Las Vegas. Next month, Christian historian David Barton of Aledo and the Rev. Laurence White of Houston are headlining a "Nevada Renewal Project" event in Las Vegas. Both were regulars at Texas Restoration events. The keynote speaker will be Newt Gingrich.

The Nevada event is nonpartisan, but appears aimed at helping Republican tea-party favorite Sharon Angle against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in one of the country's hottest Senate races. Polls indicate the race is close. An email by American Family Association chief Tim Wildmon inviting pastors to the two-day event suggested which side it's on: "At a time when Congress is buy trying to legislative defeat ... the Nevada event is aimed at energizing pastors "to help them and their congregations engage in the battle."

The Money Behind Those Restoration Projects

The Texas Freedom Network discovers the source of the funding behind the various right-wing "restoration" projects popping up around the country - primarily "God's Sugar Daddy" James Leininger and the American Family Association, who funneled their money through something called the Niemoller Foundation:

As it turns out, the executive director of the Texas Restoration Project — a man named David Lane — also helped organize similar pastor recruitment efforts elsewhere. We began to see “Renewal” and “Restoration” projects crop up in Colorado, Florida, Iowa and other states that were expected to become major battlegrounds in the 2008 presidential election.

Documents filed by Niemoller with the IRS show that Leininger and the far-right American Family Association were continuing to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Niemoller Foundation in 2006 and 2007, when these national pastor recruitment efforts were moving into high gear. In 2006 more than $200,000 of the Niemoller money went to pay the salary of Lane for “fundraising.” Niemoller also spent nearly $400,000 on “Pastors’ Policy Briefings” in Florida (Jan. 15-16, 2006) and Colorado (June 5-6 and again Oct. 2-4 of that year). Niemoller reported $615,000 in contributions that year, much of it from Leininger and the AFA (which were the only two names listed as “substantial contributors” on the foundation’s IRS Form 990).

IRS documents show that Niemoller raised another nearly $240,000 in 2007, nearly all of it from Leininger. That money helped cover $56,000 for Lane’s salary and nearly $200,000 to pay for an Austin ”Pastors’ Policy Briefing” to celebrate Gov. Perry’s reinauguration in January of that year.

David Barton: America’s Greatest Historian

I mentioned the return of the Texas Restoration Project a few months ago and then promptly forgot about it. Fortunately, the folks at Talk 2 Action have a better memory than I do and actually attended the event and provide an inside report.  

Back when he was running in the GOP primary, Mike Hucakbee praised right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton as perhaps "the greatest living historian on the spiritual nature of America's early days."  But it seems that, since dropping out, his opinion of Barton has only increased because he is now calling him the "single best historian in America today": 

According to candidate Mike Huckabee, history revisionist David Barton is the best historian our country has to offer the nation. Barton's best seller, The Myth of Separation of Church and State, violates the basic tenets of the Baptist faith Huckabee was ordained into and is still a member. This view by Huckabee about Barton was uttered at the Texas Restoration Project meeting in Austin, Texas, October 9-10th. Helping to host and speak at the event were Barton, Huckabee and Governor Perry - the state GOP official. On a first-to-call basis, the pastors of the state's churches, as well as their wives, were invited to come and stay free of charge in a $250/night Hilton Hotel room. Over 1,000 showed up, and it was announced that several hundred more wanted to attend, but could not because there was no room for them. Perry sits atop a state platform that wants to pull the nation out of the U.N., abolish the U.S. Department of Education, appeal minimum wage and do away with Social Security. Not to mention the platform affirms giving state money to religious schools and wants to dispel the myth of separation of church and state.

Huckabee and good buddy David Barton were up next, and between sessions provided photo opts for admiring pastors. Huckabee said this was a spiritual, not a political meeting, and he preached to the crowd. In spite of the get out the vote drive and lamenting of the false concept of separation of church and state, the mixture of pulpit and ballot continued … Huckabee introduced his friend David Barton as a man God raised up for the moment. Mike knew of no other man in the country having such a great impact on the land.

Next, Barton did his Christian-nation thing and stated the Bible had something to say about minimum wage and estate taxes. Evidently, that meant the text was against them both. A common religious right position in voter guides is that minimum wage is immoral. Barton told several stories of heroic Revolutionary War pastors who left the pulpit and led the men of the church into killing English troops. He lamented that this is what is needed today to restore the nation: That is, motivated and active pastors who lead out. Barton then said that separation of church and state, which he stated - is not in the Constitution - and only applies to the state interference in the church - a common religious right position.

Voter guides from Barton's organization were placed at the tables where we sat. There was a sign-up sheet to list name, email and church information. Morning speakers reminded us that the glory of God has been lost in the nation, and the Bible and prayer have been expelled from schools. The key question was what the church would do about these things. Barton proceeded to defend his position that the two key issues of the election centered around abortion and gay rights. He said the Bible taught that these were the key priority issues and poverty, environment, justice, civil rights and the prospect of an unjust war all sat as minor ethical issues compared to the other two. He explained that in the past few elections, laws have been enacted by Christians to limit abortions. That was - he admitted - until the 2006 elections. He conceded pro-life forces lost ground. His conclusion was that a get out the vote effort in 2008 could reverse this. David stated that what a person believed about abortion defined how one would vote regarding all other legislative issues. Barton reminded the group that judicial appointments will define our culture. He then explained to the pastors that for the past 50 years government has told pastors what to say in the pulpit. The Texan then complained that the government did a terribly inefficient job of helping the poor. It would better for the churches to hand out this money and do drug and prison rehab. He restated, "The church has got to be involved in the election." 

We weren’t there so obviously we don’t know exactly what Barton’s presentation was like, but if you want to get a sense of how Barton typically uses his biased history of America to promote the Religious Right’s political and electoral agenda, you can watch him do so here.

The Return of the Restoration Project

Back in 2006, we wrote a report about the "Patriot Pastors" movement, various state level efforts by evangelical pastors to organize so-called “Restoration Projects” that would transform America by applying the significant resources of their churches to political campaigns. The most high-profile effort was in Ohio and run by Rod Parsley and Russell Johnson, with close cooperation from then Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, though efforts were underway in several other states as well, including Texas. While the forces behind the Ohio movement are lying low, with Parsley still smarting from being humiliated by John McCain and Blackwell busy with his various jobs with the Family Research Council, the Club for Growth, and Tom DeLay's Coalition for a Conservative Majority, the Texas Freedom Network reports that the efforts in Texas are still going strong, thanks to the committed backing of Gov. Rick Perry:

The governor’s disturbing mix of faith and militancy comes in an invitation to conservative evangelical pastors to attend a Texas Restoration Project event in Austin next month … The Pastors’ Policy Briefing on Oct. 9-10 in Austin will be the group’s eighth since May 2005. … According to the invitation, [Mike] Huckabee will be joining Gov. Perry at the Austin event next month. Other speakers will include David Barton, who is the former Texas Republican Party vice chairman and the founder of the Christian advocacy group WallBuilders, and Kelly Shackelford, head of Free Market Foundation, which is Focus on the Family’s Texas affiliate.

TFN has also posted the invitation sent out by Perry:

Both our nation and our Judeo Christian heritage are under attack by a force that is more dangerous than any threat our world has faced in recent memory. I am convinced that our ability to defeat the radical jihadists who threaten our nation will be significantly impacted by the prayers and leadership of America’s evangelical pastors.

"Rediscovering God in America” was created to inspire people of faith to engage the culture and bring America back to our worldwide standing as a beacon of hope, a city shining on a hill.

Because God entrusted you to care for and lead His flock, you can play a key role in restoring God to the center of American life, thus strengthening our nation to confront this looming threat.

While Congress occupies its time trying to legislate defeat in Iraq, we hope you will attend a Pastors’ Policy Briefing that will equip you to walk point in the war of values and ideas.

Rediscovering God in America-Austin is intended to remind us that excuses are not the proper strategy when facing evil and confronting enemies. Instead, we must rally godly people and seek God’s provision for the resources, the courage, and the strength necessary to win and, ultimately, glorify Him.

'Patriot Pastor' Alliance Did Not Inoculate Texas Gov. against Vaccine Backlash

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) worked closely with the Religious Right over the last few years leading up to his re-election in November. He appeared at “Patriot Pastor” rallies organized by the Texas Restoration Project and held the ceremonial signing of a ban on same-sex marriage at a church, surrounded by Rod Parsley, Tony Perkins, and Texas Restoration Project leader Laurence White, who promised to register 300,000 voters. Today, however, the Religious Right is not happy with their man in Austin.

Following a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control, a number of states have implemented or are considering vaccinating girls attending public school against HPV, a virus that causes 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. While vaccinations against measles, mumps, and tetanus are not controversial, the Religious Right sees HPV differently: It is sexually transmitted. The Family Research Council’s Bridget Maher warned that young women may see vaccination “as a licence to engage in premarital sex,” and former Focus on the Family advisor Reginald Finger said that marketing the vaccine “would undermine the abstinence-only message.”

So when Perry signed an order requiring incoming sixth-grade girls to get vaccinated, many on the Right reacted immediately. A spokesman for Concerned Women for America called it “outrageous assault on girls and their parents” that “forces little girls to be shot with a sex virus vaccine.” Texas Eagle Forum’s Cathie Adams declared, “He's replacing parents' rights with state's rights.” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins wrote that Perry “usurped the rights of parents and the legislature” and warned that “political actions have consequences.”

And Rick Scarborough, an early organizer of the kind of “Patriot Pastor” network that aided Perry’s re-election – and of whom Perry has said that “One hundred years from now” people will say “the great revival of the early 21st Century” began “with people like Rick Scarborough” – is now calling Perry an “erstwhile friend,” warning that “At time when increasing numbers of pastors and conservative Christians are becoming politically active in Texas, this unfortunate move by an erstwhile friend is a serious setback.” Meanwhile, activists are pushing the anti-vaccine message out to the same groups that Perry’s religious-right campaigning worked to mobilize in 2005-6.

Perry so far has stood firm, saying that “Providing the HPV vaccine doesn’t promote sexual promiscuity any more than providing the Hepatitis B vaccine promotes drug use.” And in fact, while right-wing groups mobilize their grassroots to oppose the vaccine, closer examination reveals that they have a difficult time denying its potential to save lives. Going against the public-health theory that mass vaccinations can eradicate the disease, groups like FRC and Focus on the Family take the position that the vaccine should be available but not mandatory, formulating the issue in terms of “parents’ rights.” “[M]oms and dads should make the decision about their kids' health without state coercion,” writes Perkins. And even if it is optional, as in Texas, it should be “opt-in” rather than “opt-out,” according to Perkins.

But the Religious Right’s strong reaction against “forc[ing] little girls to be shot with a sex virus vaccine” leaves little room in the debate for details about which form parents have to fill out to preserve so-called “parents’ rights.” Instead, the Right’s abstinence-only refrain makes it sound like Texas is requiring girls to carry condoms, as one right-wing group put it. The emphasis on abstinence to the point of excluding other information is already dangerous policy when it comes to sex ed, but it’s doubly so when it comes at the direct cost of passing up a life-saving cure – especially when many on the Right acknowledge that abstinence might not be enough. Vaccination would protect not only the 94 percent of women who have sex before marriage, but also those who “practice[] abstinence and fidelity” yet “could be exposed to HPV through sexual assault or marriage to an infected partner,” as FRC’s Sprigg admitted.

Keyes: Abortion, Gay Marriage Same Issue

Texas “Patriot Pastors” organizer Rick Scarborough has been holding rallies across Missouri this summer, featuring Alan Keyes, to build opposition to the state’s upcoming vote on stem cell research. At the recent “Values Voter Summit” in Washington, D.C., Scarborough said that Missouri wasn’t the only state he was worried about: if voters in Missouri approve stem cell research, and voters in South Dakota reject a total ban on abortion, then “we may have stepped over the line with” God.

So Scarborough and Keyes are taking their act on the road again, with a series of rallies across South Dakota this week. They also feature Laurence White, a Houston pastor who founded the Texas Restoration Project. In Rapid City on Monday, speakers railed against both abortion and same-sex marriage, although only the former is on the ballot. According to Keyes, the former presidential and senatorial candidate, the two defining issues of the modern Religious Right are inseparable because they are “one and the same issue.” “Abortion does at the physical level what homosexual marriage does at the institutional level,” he explained.

And yesterday, Scarborough told a crowd in Aberdeen that the referendum is “both a promised blessing” as well as “a certain assurance of a curse” – if voters do not approve the ban. White said that approval of the ban would augur “the beginning of a new awakening in America.”

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Texas Restoration Project Posts Archive

Peter Montgomery, Friday 08/15/2014, 1:18pm
Christian-nation activist David Lane is engaged in a multi-year, multi-state project to get conservative evangelical pastors more involved in electing right-wing candidates, and he is intent on making sure that the GOP nominates a 2016 presidential candidate to the Religious Right’s liking. In spite of his extremism, Lane regularly gets Republican presidential candidates to attend his American Renewal Project events. On Monday night, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee spoke at a Michigan Renewal Project “Pastors Policy Briefing.” Lane generally tries to stay out of the media... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 09/19/2011, 3:52pm
On today’s WallBuilders Live, David Barton responded to a Houston Chronicle report that from 2000 to 2009, Rick Perry gave just $14,243 of his of $2.68 million fortune to churches and religious organizations. Barton, who claimed throughout the show that people who support social justice efforts are less likely to support charities, tried to defend Perry by pointing to the fact that the Texas governor has given away all the proceeds from his books: Governor Perry’s getting his brains beat in because look how little he gave to charity. Time out! There’s another story there.... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 08/22/2011, 3:19pm
The Austin Chronicle has begun tweeting links to old articles about Rick Perry, like this one from 2005 when Perry spoke at a "Texas Restoration Project" with a gaggle of anti-gay Religious Right activists: A source who attended the event spoke to the Chronicle but requested anonymity because he serves in a local congregation and was sensitive to its politically diverse viewpoints. He recorded the event and provided the audiotape to the Texas Freedom Network, which in turn provided copies to the media. Millionaire San Antonio conservative James Leininger was in attendance, as was... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 07/21/2011, 10:41am
As we noted the other day, organizers of Gov. Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer rally have removed the link to the endorsements page from the event website, perhaps out of concern that people would actually be able to see all of the radical leaders with whom Perry is partnering for his event. But they did not remove the actual endorsement page and, in fact, continue to update it and today added Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church to the ever-growing list: You may perhaps remember McKissic from his appearance at the Values Voter Summit back in 2006 where he asserted that... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 09/30/2010, 5:05pm
As we noted back in 2008, every election season sees a return of the so-called "Restoration Projects," supposedly nonpartisan events that are, in reality, aimed a mobilizing pastors to get their flocks to the polls on Election Day. Well, as Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News reports, the Restoration Project is back once again and is heading to Nevada where David Barton, Newt Gingrich, and the American Family Association are hoping to help Sharron Angle defeat Harry Reid: Four years ago, Rick Perry cultivated a network of conservative pastors - the Texas Restoration Project -... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 01/07/2009, 5:06pm
The Texas Freedom Network discovers the source of the funding behind the various right-wing "restoration" projects popping up around the country - primarily "God's Sugar Daddy" James Leininger and the American Family Association, who funneled their money through something called the Niemoller Foundation: As it turns out, the executive director of the Texas Restoration Project — a man named David Lane — also helped organize similar pastor recruitment efforts elsewhere. We began to see “Renewal” and “Restoration” projects crop up in... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 10/20/2008, 2:04pm
I mentioned the return of the Texas Restoration Project a few months ago and then promptly forgot about it. Fortunately, the folks at Talk 2 Action have a better memory than I do and actually attended the event and provide an inside report.   Back when he was running in the GOP primary, Mike Hucakbee praised right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton as perhaps "the greatest living historian on the spiritual nature of America's early days."  But it seems that, since dropping out, his opinion of Barton has only increased because he is now calling him the "single... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 08/27/2008, 12:25pm
Back in 2006, we wrote a report about the "Patriot Pastors" movement, various state level efforts by evangelical pastors to organize so-called “Restoration Projects” that would transform America by applying the significant resources of their churches to political campaigns. The most high-profile effort was in Ohio and run by Rod Parsley and Russell Johnson, with close cooperation from then Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, though efforts were underway in several other states as well, including Texas. While the forces behind the Ohio movement are lying low, with Parsley still smarting from... MORE >