David Lane

Religious Right Leaders Head To Farris Wilks Ranch To Plot How To Make Ted Cruz President

As we have been reporting for several months, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has been consolidating support from Religious Right leaders by enthusiastically embracing their anti-gay, anti-choice views. The momentum shifted into high gear after a secret meeting on December 7 at which dozens of Religious Right leaders voted to back Cruz – and a flood of endorsements has followed.

Now, the Washington Post’s Tom Hamburger reports that the group will gather again a few days after Christmas “at a remote ranch in central Texas, where Cruz, his wife and several key financial backers will visit with some of the country’s most prominent evangelical leaders for private conversations and a public rally.”

The ranch is owned by Farris Wilks, who with his brother made billions in the fracking business and has since become a major funder of far-right, anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-church-state separation organizations. The Wilks brothers have already given at least $15 million to the effort to elect Ted Cruz. Farris Wilks is also a pastor who portrays gays as child predators and mocks environmentalism. He preached after Barack Obama’s re-election, “I do believe that our country died that Tuesday night, to all that’s honorable, all that’s good, that’s ambitious, and that has justice.”

The Wilks brothers have also been big funders of Christian-nation zealot David Lane, a political operative who has been working hard to get conservative pastors to run for office and to convince Christian conservatives to rally behind a single Republican candidate. Lane is driven by the desire to get the reins of government in the hands of people who share his belief that America was founded by and for Christians and has a national mission to advance the Christian faith.

Lane and other Religious Right leaders are now publicly trashing Marco Rubio for not working hard enough to get conservative evangelical support.

 

Religious Right: Bible Dictates Laws & Economic Policy But Islam Not a Religion Because It Is A Political & Economic System

Donald Trump’s call to bar all Muslims from entering the country was widely recognized as an appeal for explicit religious discrimination and generated significant pushback.  But many of Trump’s right-wing defenders have turned to an argument that has long bounced around Religious Right circles: that Muslims are not entitled to the religious liberty protections of the First Amendment because Islam is somehow not a religion. A few years ago, for example, retired Lt. Gen Jerry Boykin called Islam “a totalitarian way of life” that “should not be protected under the First Amendment.”

At this week’s Republican presidential debate, Rick Santorum explained why he believes Islam is not protected under the First Amendment, an argument made repeatedly by the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer. Here’s Santorum:

The fact of the matter is, Islam is different. I know this is going to come as a shock to a lot of people, and I mean this sincerely. Islam is not just a religion. It is also a political governing structure. The fact of the matter is, Islam is a religion, but it is also Sharia law, it is also a civil government, it is also a form of government. And, so, the idea that that is protected under the First Amendment is wrong.

Conservative columnist and radio host Andrew McCarthy has similarly defended Trump’s comments, saying that Islam is not merely a religion because it “has ambitions to be more than a religion, that is to say that it is an ideological, sweeping system that does not recognize a division between spiritual life on the one hand and political and civic life on the other.”

Back in September, Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins defended similar comments by Ben Carson:

“Religious freedom and our liberty is ordered liberty under the Constitution,” Perkins said. “And as Dr. Caron pointed out, and I know this is driving the left crazy, that Islam is not just a religion, Islam is an economic system, it is a judicial system, it is a compressive system which is incompatible with the Constitution. That’s what Dr. Carson said and he happens to be correct.”

More recently, Perkins defended Trump with a dubiously specific statistic, saying that “only 16 percent of Islam is a religion — the rest is a combination of military, judicial, economic and political system.” Televangelist Pat Robertson also said this month that people should not view Islam as a religion but rather a “political system masquerading as a religion.”

Wait a minute. Aren’t these the same people who repeatedly insist that the Bible is the final authority on everything, from laws regulating personal relationships to economic and tax policy, and environmental protection? Anti-marriage-equality activists have insisted that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling was in violation of “God’s law” and therefore “illegitimate.” 

David Barton, an oft-discredited “historian” and Republican Party activist who is currently heading up a Ted Cruz super PAC, argues that the Bible opposes minimum wage laws, estate taxes, capital gains taxes, any progressive form of taxation and even net neutrality. He says the Constitution came right out of the Bible. If you applied Tony Perkins’ calculations to David Barton’s Bible, what percentage would come up as religion?

Many Religious Right leaders have embraced Seven Mountains dominionism, which is grounded in the belief that the right kind of Bible-believing Christians are meant to control all the important spheres of culture, including government, business, education, and entertainment. For example, the American Pastors Network’s Sam Rohrer says this:

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

Along those lines, three Republican presidential candidates, including current Iowa frontrunner Ted Cruz, recently joined a “religious freedom” rally organized by a pastor who argues that the Bible requires the government to execute gay people.

And don’t forget David Lane, whose American Renewal Project is mobilizing conservative pastors to get more involved in politics — and who argues that America was founded for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith, and that the Bible should be a primary textbook in public schools.

So, a thought for Religious Right leaders: If you are going to argue for stripping Muslims of their First Amendment religious liberty protections based on your interpretation of Islam as an enterprise that is more political and ideological than religious, you may have to trim your own political sails quite a bit. Either that, or quit pretending you are proponents of religious freedom, and admit that you, like Bryan Fischer, believe the First Amendment applies only to Christians, or, like Tony Perkins, that gay-supporting Christians don’t deserve the same legal protections because a “true religious freedom” has to “come forth from religious orthodoxy.” Just don’t try to pretend your definition of “religious freedom” owes anything to Thomas Jefferson or the First Amendment. 

Religious Right Leaders Rally Around Ted Cruz At Secret Endorsement Meeting

Religious Right leaders are intent on being the ones to pick the Republican presidential nominee this time around and they’re throwing their collective weight behind Ted Cruz.

The movement’s leaders have been seething for eight years now that they were forced to rally behind Republican presidential candidates they weren’t excited about — John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.  After years of angling to prevent that from happening in 2016, “several dozen” Religious Right leaders met in secret in early December and voted to rally around Ted Cruz.

National Review’s Tim Alberta describes the event, which Cruz backers entered with the upper hand. It took five ballots for Cruz's supporters to browbeat backers of Marco Rubio into submission and give Cruz the three-quarters supermajority needed. Those who attended the meeting had vowed to either publicly support the eventual winner of the day’s balloting or to remain silent in the Republican primary. Reports Allen,

The impact was felt immediately on the 2016 campaign. Three prominent participants — direct-mail pioneer and longtime activist Richard Viguerie, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, and The Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats – announced their support of Cruz within 72 hours of the meeting at the Sheraton. 

Cruz, of course, had plenty of conservative evangelical support before this meeting. We noted back in the summer that he was consolidating support from the Christian Nation crowd, including discredited “historian” David Barton  —  who heads a Cruz super PAC  —  and billionaire fracking brothers Farris and Dan Wilks  —  who have pumped $15 million into the pro-Cruz super PAC effort. Since then, Cruz has been holding and attending “religious liberty” events  —  including one hosted by a pastor who calls for the execution of gays, and one at Bob Jones University, famous for claiming religious backing for its racial segregationist policies.

Cruz openly promotes the efforts of Christian-nation zealot David Lane to “take back” the country by using pastor-candidates to mobilize high evangelical turnout. Cruz told American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon this summer, “Nothing is more important in the next 18 months than that the body of Christ rise up and that Christians stand up, that pastors stand up and lead.”

Lane, who matches Cruz’s contempt for “establishment” Republicans, said back in 2013, “We’re going to try to eliminate the stuff that [GOP leaders] do to us every four years, which is picking somebody who has no chance of being viable and they kill us off and we have the McCains and the Romneys left.” Lane had cheered attacks on Romney’s faith and the “false god of Mormonism.”

Cruz has been courting Religious Right activists for years, even before the underdog, Tea Party-fueled victory in the GOP primary that propelled him into the U.S. Senate. Back before that election, he told the Freedom Federation’s Awakening conference, “we are engaged in spiritual warfare every day.” That message hasn’t changed: Just last week his campaign’s “prayer team” was told that “we’re in a spiritual battle today as never before.”

For the Religious Right, what’s not to like about Cruz? His anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-government bona fides are unquestionable. His father, Rafael Cruz, an unabashed Christian-nation extremist and anti-gay bigot who says that it is God’s plan for his son to be president, makes an effective ambassador for Cruz to the far right.

Is anyone not jumping on the Cruz bandwagon? A group of Latino Republicans held a press conference yesterday to denounce Cruz for his anti-immigrant positions  —  which they said were the same Romney “self-deportation” policies by another name  —  and for Cruz’s support of Donald Trump’s bigotry.

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, a leader of the effort to get the Religious Right to rally around a single candidate, has tried this before, without much success. In 2012, Perkins and other conservative evangelicals had tried to create unity around a single alternative to Romney. Perkins declared after a January 2012 gathering that Rick Santorum had emerged with a “strong consensus.”

But the voting process and outcome were disputed by Newt Gingrich supporters, and the idea that evangelical leaders could deliver their followers to Santorum was undermined when Gingrich won the next event, South Carolina’s primary. Richard Viguerie, among others, urged Gingrich to drop out in order to boost Santorum’s chances. In the end, Santorum went on to win other southern primaries but couldn’t catch Romney.

In January 2012, after he won that supposed consensus endorsement for Santorum, Perkins dismissed suggestions that the meeting was too late to have an impact, even though it came after Romney had already won Iowa and New Hampshire and was building up a head of steam. Perkins clearly decided not to let that happen again.

Right Wing Round-Up - 12/14/15

Right Wing Round-Up - 12/11/15

David Lane Teams Up With Washington Times To Promote 'Lordship' Of Jesus

We’ve written before that the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody acts as a virtual publicity agent for Christian-nation political strategist David Lane, rewarding exclusive access to Lane’s American Renewal Project's political gatherings with fawning coverage. Now Brody is promoting another Lane project, “Jesus in the Public Square,” undertaken with the right-wing Washington Times newspaper.

“Today’s secular driven society seems intent on erasing the rich Christian history and influence in our country,” reports CBN, setting Lane up to make his oft-repeated claim that America was founded by and for Christians. The project began, Lane says, with a trip to a Washington, D.C., bookstore:

"You couldn't find a Christian book with a flashlight. And it hit me again, isn't this awful? A nation founded by people on a religious mission, The Mayflower Compact, for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith, and in the nation's capital and you can't find a book or Jesus anywhere," Lane remarked.

"If the Lord does it, we're going to put Jesus right in the middle of the table in Washington, D.C. He will defend himself," Lane continued.

It’s often said the Lord works in mysterious ways, in this case through the Washington Times, whose management created a "Jesus in the Public Square" section for the newspaper’s website, which includes a daily “5 religion stories worth your time” feature. Brody reports that “biblical economics” is a popular topic.

The section is overseen by Scott Lamb of Reformation Press, whose thinking seems to be clearly in line with dominionists like Lane:

“Jesus in the Public Square at The Washington Times hopes to talk about and dialogue with people to show them that Jesus Christ and his lordship is a universal theme and they should submit to that,” Lamb told CBN News.

Brody says Lane believes the name of the feature “reminds us that all truth is God’s truth.  And for America to change course the people need to hear His word in a desperate way.” Says Lane, "God is in the business of resurrection. I believe there's going to be a resurrection of America. Literally."

 

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 11/30/15

  • Glenn Beck had a very reasonable reaction to the annual Black Friday madness: "Tell me we are a culture that isn't destroying itself. Tell me that we are a country still worthy of God's protection."
  • We can now add Marco Rubio to the list of GOP presidential candidates who have participated in Christian nationalist David Lane's "Renewal Project" events. 
  • Craige McMillan has some news for residents of Washington, D.C.: "Those who live and work in Washington, D.C., aren’t in America. D.C. is not a state. Residents can’t vote. The rest of us are required to pay taxes to meet your needs, which have become, shall we say, excessive. You don’t live in America. You live somewhere else."
  • Larry Klayman insists that Macro Rubio and Ted Cruz are both ineligible to be president.
  • Finally, Pamela Geller declares that "nothing has ever happened to the United States that is worse than the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama."

David Lane's Bold Efforts To Recruit 1,000 Pastors To Run For Office Shows Lackluster Returns

Last year, David Lane, an influential Religious Right activist and Christian nation extremist, announced a bold plan to recruit 1,000 pastors to run for political office in 2016:

A prominent evangelical Christian leader has launched an effort to recruit 1,000 pastors willing to run for political office, hoping to inject religious issues and candidates into the 2016 election.

David Lane, the founder of the American Renewal Project, said he hopes he can persuade pastors to run for offices as varied as school board and city council to the state legislature and Congress. He’s scheduled an organizing meeting in January in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

"Government is not going to save America. Wall Street is not going to save America. The Republican party is not going to save America. If America is going to be saved it will be done by Christian men and women restoring a Judeo-Christian culture to the country," Mr. Lane said in an interview with The Washington Times.

Mr. Lane said he was inspired by his own pastor Rob McCoy, who ran for the state assembly in California. Mr. McCoy was narrowly defeated by the Democratic candidate who spent $6 million against him.

"After I watched that happen the reason I emailed pastors asking them to pray for 30 days is that if they do half as good as my pastor did, if 1,000 pastors in 2016 felt like the Lord was calling them to run for office, and they each had 300 volunteers, then that’s 300,000 people on the grass-roots level," Mr. Lane said.

To achieve that goal, Lane has held a series of Issachar Training sessions all over the country aimed at mobilizing an army of conservative pastors to run for office, often with the support of Republican presidential hopefuls and members of Congress.

Lane has been at this for a year now, and what does he have to show for it?

According to the headline of this Washington Times article today, Lane has managed to meet about half of his stated goal: "500 pastors heed call to run for office, restore Christian values in U.S."

However, if you actually read the article, you quickly learn that the figure of 500 pastors represents only those who have voiced an interest in possibly running for some office at some point in the next three years. And of those 500 who have expressed interested, merely a third might actually run for office at some point: 

His goal was to recruit 1,000 pastors across America to start walking the godly talk by campaigning for public office. The project was dubbed “Issachar,” after the Old Testament founder of one of the 12 tribes of Israel.

Mr. Lane, the California-based founder of the American Renewal Project (Mr. Gingrich dubbed it “Pastors and Pews”), appears to be halfway to that goal just a few days before his recruitment and training effort holds its first event in the Washington, D.C., area.

“Two thousand pastors and spouses have attended our Issachar Training in 2015,” Mr. Lane said proudly.

As of Thursday, 508 pastors have agreed in writing to consider running for political office over the next three years, according to Issachar Project Director Steve W. Michael.

“After our Issachar events, we do live calls with our folks on [a] ‘hot list,’ folks who seem reasonably certain to run, and our ‘mild list,’ less definite about running but definitely interested, and ‘cold list,’ people who don’t sound eager to run but may persuade others to,” Mr. Michael explained.

He said the “hot” contingent numbers about one-third of the combined 508 “hot and mild” total.

Lane set out to recruit 1,000 pastors to run for office in 2016 and spent an entire year traveling the country mobilizing right-wing Christian activists for that purpose, yet was only able to find approximately 150 who even "seem reasonably certain" that they might run for office at some point in the next three years. 

Michael Brown Joins List of Religious Right Endorsements for Ted Cruz

In August, we asked whether Ted Cruz was winning the Christian Nation primary, with fracking billionaires Dan and Farris Wilks pumping $15 million into a pro-Cruz super PAC and political operative David Lane promoting Cruz’s anti-Planned Parenthood efforts. In September, Religious Right “historian” David Barton was tapped to take over a Cruz super PAC, and CNN reported that top officials of Online for Life are “playing a growing role in the super PACs backing Ted Cruz.” Yesterday, Glenn Beck declared that Cruz “was truly raised up for this purpose at this time.”

Now Cruz has announced the endorsement of another Religious Right activist, Michael Brown, a North Carolina preacher and author of “Revolution! The Call to Holy War.” Brown participated in the anti-gay “Stand4Truth” conference that was held as a lead-in to the World Congress of Families last week.

Brown is scheduled to appear, along with David and Jason Benham and the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, at a Cruz-organized “religious liberty” rally at Bob Jones University on November 14. As we noted a few weeks ago, “the ‘religious liberty’ Bob Jones is most famous for defending was its long insistence that its segregationist policies were mandated in the Bible.”

Brown has already been portraying marriage equality as a dire threat to religious freedom in America. Back in June, when the Supreme Court released its decision affirming marriage equality nationwide, Brown wrote a snarky note to Justice Anthony Kennedy to thank him “for confirming what we have been saying for many years now, namely, that gay activism is the principle threat to our freedoms of speech, religion and conscience.” Brown also thanked Kennedy “for bringing unprecedented religious persecution to the shores of our nation,” adding, “Despite the darkness and pain ahead, this will only cause the Church to wake up and grow stronger.” 

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 10/29/15

  • David Lane declares that "the fact is, the engine that birthed America was spiritual; winning the world for Christ was the driving force in the founding of America."
  • Franklin Graham is fed up with political correctness: "Our society had better stop being so concerned about being politically correct and start being concerned about being spiritually correct! As individuals and as a nation we need to turn our hearts to Almighty God. We need to understand that God’s laws and His standards never change, and He will hold us accountable."
  • One Million Moms is "extremely disappointed that American Girl ... is promoting sin in the November/December 2015 issue of its magazine" by featuring a story that included "a large picture of a girl with her two dads, Daddy and Dada, and three other adopted children." 
  • FRC prays for the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act: "Pray that God’s people will awaken to the present and escalating threat we and our children face. May pastors enlist in the fight and lead their people to reclaim religious liberty. May FADA find new life and may Congress pass and the President sign it!"
  • Finally, David Brody's infatuation with Donald Trump has become utterly laughable: "Something happened Wednesday night on the debate stage in Boulder. Donald Trump didn’t come across as 'Donald Trump From Celebrity Apprentice.' Rather, he came across as, 'Hall of Fame Coach Donald Trump.'"

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 10/26/15

  • Guess who said it: “It has not been easy for me, and, you know, I started off in Brooklyn my father gave me a small loan of $1 million.” 
  • A new warning from Jesse Lee Peterson: “Chaos is on the rise in our cities. And I blame Barack Obama for stoking it. He has opened the gates of hell on America.” 
  • The first couple denied a marriage license by Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis have married
  • Speaking of Davis, Justice Kennedy appeared to address her case at a recent Harvard Law event where he said that “the rule of law is that, as a public official in performing your legal duties, you are bound to enforce the law.”

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 10/13/15

  • According to WND's Joseph Farah, Jonathan Cahn is "the definition of a prophet" despite being terrible at making predictions.
  • Jennifer LeClaire helpfully lays out "5 Clear Signs Witchcraft Is Attacking You Right Now."
  • Rafael Cruz absurdly claims that David Barton taking over one of Ted Cruz's Super PACs is a tremendous advantage because it'll help Cruz appeal to "a bloc of the population that has been basically absent from the political process in very high numbers." 
  • David Lane says that "it's important that we find a spiritual man for the Speaker of the House."
  • Yet another column from the Benham brothers saying that the gay rights movement is Satanic.
  • Phyllis Schlafly argues against allowing women to serve in combat: "There’s a reason why no woman has ever won our nation’s highest award for valor."
  • Finally, Californians for Population Stabilization will air a television commercial calling for an end to birthright citizenship during tonight's Democratic primary debate.

David Lane: Frito-Lay Has 'Become An Apostle For Anarchy' By Selling Rainbow Doritos

A few weeks ago, we noted that Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee had launched a boycott against Frito-Lay over the release of Rainbow Doritos, which benefited the anti-bullying It Gets Better Project, despite his previous stance that such boycotts were "economic terrorism."

Supporting Huckabee in this effort was extremist Christian nationalist David Lane of the American Renewal Project, who recently penned a column explaining the need for the boycott on the grounds that Frito-Lay had partnered with an organization that was founded by "anti-Christian bully Dan Savage." 

By doing so, Lane said, Frito-Lay has proclaimed "solidarity with sexual anarchy" and is fueling America's "rebellion against God" by spreading "Carcinogenic Secularism":

This Madison Avenue maneuvering by Frito-Lay to capitalize on and exalt homosexual acceptance in America fuels a rebellion against God's created order for life. Sexual sin, including the sin of homosexuality, seeks gratification in the denial of God's order. Sinful acts have rebellion against God for their root, but the fruit from that tree will never satisfy the soul. God equates rebellion with witchcraft, "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry" (1 Samuel 15:23).

Because virtue is a key component of freedom, Frito-Lay positions itself at the forefront of undermining liberty in America. The snack maker has become an apostle for anarchy. As one Bible scholar wrote, "Widespread, systemic violations of law brings on anarchy, both as its natural consequence and as its fitting punishment, and with anarchy comes an oppressive multiplicity of rulers and factions."

Dan Savage has a spiritual problem. And, like me, he needs Jesus Christ.

Take three minutes to watch Mr. Savage spew his rage at high schoolers in 2012. Then, take three minutes to pray for him.

Mr. Savage is the distinct outcome of a decadent, godless society ruined (and now ruled) by secularists. Like a rotten apple, Savage sours his realm with vice. Carcinogenic Secularism has reached every vestige and segment of society: government, the bureaucracy, the courts, public education, universities, media, and Hollywood. The Supreme Court's June edit legalizing homosexual marriage, Obergefell v. Hodges, was not "harmless triviality but rather that perversion of truth which makes good evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20)."

America's only hope is a spiritual resurrection. 

Mike Huckabee: Boycott Rainbow Doritos! But Chick-Fil-A Boycott Was 'Economic Terrorism'

Back in 2012, Mike Huckabee came to Chick-fil-A’s defense after the restaurant chain faced criticism for its founder’s anti-gay statements and for donations the company’s foundation had made to anti-gay groups. Huckabee organized a “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” in an attempt to block what he described as “economic terrorism” targeting the company. On his Fox News show, he said he would never call for a boycott of Starbucks, Apple or Amazon even though he disagrees with their leaders’ politics.

Huckabee, however, seems to have changed his tune on culture-war boycotts. Time reports that Huckabee has “called on Christians to boycott all snacks made by” Frito Lay after it released limited edition Rainbow Doritos to benefit the anti-bullying It Gets Better Project. Huckabee had demanded that the group apologize and cut its ties with Dan Savage, who founded the anti-bullying group.

The GOP presidential candidate’s anti-Frito Lay campaign reportedly came at the behest of David Lane, a Republican organizer who has linked gays to everything from car bombs to America’s looming destruction and who bizarrely suggests that the creation of Rainbow Doritos could destroy America and curtail religious freedom.

When it became clear that Frito-Lay would not back down, Huckabee and Lane called on Christians to boycott all snacks made by the company in order to protest the perceived connection to Savage, whom they call an “anti-Christian bully.” In a letter to over 100,000 pastors, Lane wrote that “tolerance for Frito-Lay’s brazen corporate support of hate speech by Dan Savage— that were it directed toward Muslim’s, would warrant a Justice Department investigation and prosecution— is chipping away at the very character and soul of the American experience.”



Savage is no longer actively affiliated with the It Gets Better Project, but he did start the idea of It Gets Better, a series of videos by prominent people assuring LGBT youth that if they’re being bullied, it won’t last forever. The idea is to comfort LGBT teens who may be contemplating suicide because of bullying or isolation. “Its hilarious to read that ‘we’re gonna boycott Doritos,’” Savage says. “Michelle Obama’s probably going to call to thank me for getting so many right wing nuts to give up snacks. Maybe they’ll be a little thinner.”



Savage says the backlash to the LGBT Doritos is a perfect analogy for a general attitude towards gay rights. “I don’t see how a gay bag of chips limits anyone else’s religious freedom,” he says. “You don’t have a right to live in a world without bags of gay chips, and it doesn’t infringe on anyone’s private beliefs of practices if there’s a bag of gay chips out there.

Lane disagrees. “He’s promoting an agenda that we believe will collapse America,” Lane says. “Homosexuals used to have a libertarian position: ‘let me do what we do in the privacy of my own home.’ They’ve moved into a totalitarian position: ‘you’re going to participate in our weddings, or we’re going to bankrupt you.’ The next step is fascism: ‘you’re going to cheer at our weddings, or we’re going to put you in jail.”

David Benham's Gay-Bashing Tirade At 'Nonpolitical' Prayer Rally

Last weekend’s Response rally in Charlotte, North Carolina was another in a series of supposedly nonpolitical gatherings organized by political strategist David Lane. Like other Response gatherings, the event served as a platform for culture warriors associated with Christian-nation dominionism to promote anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-church state ideology all while proclaiming that they are simply bringing Christians together to pray for the state and nation.

Among the culture warriors to take the microphone in Charlotte was David Benham, half of the Benham Brothers duo who have parlayed a cancelled television show into Religious Right folk-hero status.

David and his brother have a long record of anti-gay rhetoric and activism. They once urged Charlotte officials to deny permits for the city’s pride celebration. David has repeatedly linked gays with Satan, so it is not terribly surprising that he portrayed the LGBT equality movement as a force of darkness in a spiritual battle for the soul of America:

As we shift into individual repentance I want to provide a little context for where we’re meeting right now. Eight years ago, I came to the Charlotte convention center, and sat in a meeting with 1500 individuals in the room directly above this room. It was a meeting with the Human Rights Campaign. The president stood on the stage and said that we are going to take the key to Charlotte, we are going to take North Carolina, and we will force our agenda on this nation. And all of you bigots that think that you can stand against us, you can do nothing about it because you sit in your living rooms laughing at our humor on television.

And I listened to that from the Human Rights Campaign and I found it very interesting that just a few months ago I sat at a city council meeting with the transgender bill that sat and was about to be voted upon. And the city attorney was asked, who was in the meeting helping you craft this ordinance, and he said, the Human Rights Campaign.

At the time the nondiscrimination ordinance in Charlotte was being debated, Benham called it “depraved” and “craziness.”

Benham argued, as is customary among Religious Right leaders, that America’s biggest problem is that “the church” hasn’t been aggressive enough in the culture wars.

The problem today is not the presence of darkness. The problem is the absence of light. This is nothing new in America. The spirit of the age is the spirit of Babylon, the same spirit that Daniel spoke about in his book, and this Babylonian spirit that seeks to remove Christian influence, that seeks to demonize and come against those who hold the commandments of God and keep the testimony of Jesus Christ.

This is the spiritual battle that is now waging before us in this nation, the home of the brave and the land of the free. And it’s time for the church of Jesus Christ to get off the sidelines and to step into the game. We don’t have a second Chronicles 7:14 moment – if my people who are called by my name, and the healing of the land – we don’t have that moment if it does not first begin with 1 Peter 4:17.

It is time for judgment to begin in the House of God.

Benham went on to talk about the sins “manifest in Israel” before the captivity in Babylon:  

“…the worship of the goddess of Ashera, sexual perversion of all kind, and the worship of the god of Moloch, child sacrifice. That is what we are finding in America, and we see it in North Carolina, that the shedding of innocent blood – 60 million unborn babies – have been slaughtered while we grow church. C’mon!

And we are now watching, as God is allowing our sexual perversion, not just the homosexual agenda, but adultery and divorce and pornography that are rooted in the church and it is time for us to fall on our faces before God and to repent of our sins.

Benham said God had a purpose in placing The Response directly below the room where that HRC meeting had been held:

It is no coincidence that we are in a basement underneath the room where the Human Rights Campaign issued their secular declaration that they would take this nation. Now it’s time for us to issue our declaration, that God we are sorry, forgive us of our sins, heal our land, O God.

In Daniel chapter 9 in Babylon he says this, I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed my sins and said alas, Lord, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant in loving kindness for those who love him and keep his commandments. We have sinned. We have committed iniquity. We have acted wickedly and rebelled. We have turned aside from your ordinances and commandments.

It’s time for us, as God has positioned us in this room, to get on our faces and to humble ourselves. We can point at our elected leaders. We can point at the secular media. We can point at Hollywood, and DC and New York City, but the finger points right to the church of Jesus Christ.

And we know that the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but are divinely powerful for the destruction of strongholds, those strongholds that come to rob, to kill, and to destroy. So let’s enter in now, this is not something that you can just sit there and watch. We must get on our faces before God for the sake of this nation, for the sake of our children and for the sake of the kingdom of heaven…

God we have sinned. God we have concerned ourselves with our rights but have forsaken our responsibility to be salt and light. God we have turned our backs Lord and gotten comfortable with American Christianity. Bring us back to biblical Christianity, oh God. Forgive us Lord Jesus for the perversion that is in our own ranks, God. Forgive us Lord Jesus for turning a blind eye to the shedding of innocent blood. God we ask you Lord forgive us. We intercede on behalf of our land knowing that we are the ones responsible. So Lord Jesus forgive us now as we enter individual repentance knowing that the only ones that ascend the hill of the Lord is he who has clean hands and a pure heart.

 

Seven Mountains Dominionism At North Carolina's 'Response' Rally

Last Saturday’s five-and-a-half-hour “Response” rally in North Carolina was, like previous “Response" rallies, a culture war rallying cry disguised as a nonpolitical prayer gathering. The event, organized by Christian-nation activist David Lane and emceed by “apostle” Doug Stringer, promoted Seven Mountains dominionism, the idea that the right kind of Christians are meant to control every sphere – or “mountain” – of cultural influence: business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, family, and religion.

While laying hands on North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who Lane said was put in place by God, Lane prayed that God could give McCrory “courage to fight.” 

Lord, we pray that you would give him courage to fight. And Lord that the pastors of North Carolina would rise. And Lord that this would be the beginning. You say we war against not flesh and blood but principalities and powers. And like over the body of Moses in the book of Jude, the archangel Michael said, ’the Lord rebuke you. We’re asking the living God to intervene on what he have allowed in a nation founded for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith. Jesus help us, and begin with Pat McCrory, we’re asking in Jesus name.

Stringer continued the prayer over McCrory, saying that the Bible makes clear “that all authority, kingdom’s authorities, principalities and rulerships are subject to you, but your intention to give it to the church and through the church.”

Lord would you guide and protect and watch over the governor of this great state, all of our leaders across this nation, that they would come to renewed revelation of their need for you and that Lord as they submit themselves to you,  true reformation will take place and revival across this nation again.

In the session on “reformation,” Stringer talked about the development of “seven mountains” theology by people like the late Bill Bright of Campus Crusade. Another speaker fleshed out the concept:

Jesus gave a parable of a man, a certain nobleman who went into a far country, and he said, he gave 10 pounds to ten servants, and he said, “Occupy until I come.” Reformation is about occupying the places of influence in our nation, the places of influence in our culture. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. And God has commissioned the church to occupy until he comes…

There are 7 major issues or arenas in which we believe that God has appointed and assigned the church to occupy. We believe that the church, or the faith and religious community, must experience a time of reformation. The word tells us in Matthew the fifth chapter that the church, the body of Christ, is the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Let us pray that there would be an awakening in the faith community. Pray that the church would experience a revelation of holiness, righteousness, love and justice. Pray that the church would occupy every arena in our society. Pray that the church would be salt and light.

A number of speakers prayed for various mountains. Regarding the family, “that the unborn would be protected” and “that the family would have true biblical marriages” – which speakers made clear is not just about one-man, one-woman marriage, but about wifely submission.

Prayers for the government sphere included:

Pray for the government, that it would be, that we would have god-appointed leaders, men and women who would serve him and humanity. Pray for government that we would have voters who are informed, knowledgeable and insightful in how to vote righteously and biblically.

On education, one speaker prayed, “Restore prayer to our schools, O Holy God, restore one educational system to the biblical principles of Jesus Christ, in Jesus’s holy and mighty name, amen.” Another said this:

I repent for the folly of expelling you from our halls of learning. We have considered ourselves wise in our own eyes, when in reality wisdom in this world is foolishness before you. As a person working in the academic realm, I invite you back into the education system, to take your rightful place, as the foundation and the compass for learning. You are the only true source of knowledge and wisdom. I cry out to you to reform and transform the education system in this state and in this nation. Apart from you we can do nothing. In Christ we can do all things AMEN!

On the media:

“We are going to ask God to reform this mountain of media, we are at the point in this country where it is either reformation or revolution – the first is of the spirit, and the latter is of the force of the flesh, so God, we call upon you to reform the mountain of media for your kingdom purposes. Lord, you know that there’s a saying in the newsroom, that if it bleeds, it leads. My God, you bled for us. I know of no other way for mountain reformation to come than by the precious blood of the lamb. So Lord, we recognize you as our risen Lord and savior, and we ask for you to invade the news media. We ask you to loose skilled laborers to come into that mountain, to repossess the land where the enemy has taken up residence. God, we call for truth.…We ask for the truth of the gospel to go forth in the media…for the people of God to meet today in the city of intercession that you would begin a massive reformation in the mountain of media….

One of the final speakers made clear what the day was about – spiritual warfare against “the enemy.”

I thank you father for the reminder from your word and from the remarks that have been made throughout this day that this is war, and that we’re not looking for refreshing in order to be relieved of our responsibilities, but father we’re coming here today as a people of God, an army of God, seeking to be refreshed in order to renew the fight against the enemy. And today father, the people that are in this place, pick up the world-class weapon of prayer and we take it father against the enemy in the name of Jesus Christ. And we come against every obstacle, we come against every foe. 

Culture War Politics At David Lane's 'Nonpolitical' Prayer Rally

Last Saturday, while the Values Voter Summit drew Religious Right activists and pandering politicians together in Washington, D.C., a group of Christian dominionists was holding an all-day political prayer rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, featuring Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. McCrory had objected to the way Response organizers used his name to recruit participants, but it didn’t keep him away.

This was the fourth “Response” rally headlined by a state governor. The first, in 2011, served as the unofficial launch to Rick Perry’s disastrous 2012 presidential bid. Since then, Response rallies have been hosted by Bobby Jindal in Louisiana and Nikki Haley in South Carolina. Florida Gov. Rick Scott is scheduled to host the next “Response” on October 24. The North Carolina Response was the smallest to date; one speaker referred to “hundreds” of participants, while the Charlotte Observer reported that it attracted “more than 1,000” people.

The rallies are in effect a series of bait-and-switch events. They are disingenuously promoted as non-political gatherings to create Christian unity by bringing people together across denominational and racial lines to pray for the state and the country. And while that promise of ecumenical prayer and worship is undoubtedly what brought many people to the event in Charlotte, the “non-political” veneer was discarded almost immediately.

The organizers are a group of Christian-nation zealots who believe every sphere of influence in society – including business, government, education, media, and entertainment – is meant to be controlled by the right kind of Christians. And they’re intent on electing politicians – and a president – who share that vision. The events are sponsored by Christian-nation extremist David Lane, a favorite of GOP presidential hopefuls whose American Renewal Project organizes and funds The Response rallies as well as other efforts to get conservative evangelicals more involved in politics. The American Renewal Project operates under the umbrella of the American Family Association, home to the notorious font of bigotry, radio host Bryan Fischer.

Here’s how Lane opened his prayer at the unifying, non-political Response rally:

The problem is us, a Christian nation founded for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith that has left God. So Lord, we start here. We’re so sorry what we’ve allowed to happen to a once-Christian nation, Lord. We deserve judgment. We pray for mercy, the mercy of God. A nation founded on the Bible; fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And Lord, they removed prayer and Bible from the public schools in 1963 after 350 years as a principal component, as the fixed point in order to judge society. We did this, we allowed this to happen. We pray for mercy. Fifty-five million babies dead, homosexuals praying at the inauguration, red ink as far as the eye can see -- judgment is on us. We need mercy Lord. We deserve judgment.

Like other Response events, it was emceed by “apostle” Doug Stringer, who announced that the day would follow the five-theme Response formula: repentance, reconciliation, revival, reformation, and refreshing. As the Response moved through its five segments, Religious Right speakers took turns at the microphone, interspersed with praise music and prayers from locals. Some prayed for the church to be filled with God’s love, and some shouted out culture war rhetoric about abortion, homosexuality, and separation of church and state:

Lord, you’ve called us to be salt and light, and Lord, salt is flavoring, salt is an irritant, and salt is a preservative. Lord, it is sin for us to not study your word, and know it, and obey it. Oh, God, it is sin for us to not know our Constitution, our liberties, and it is sin for us to not know how to be good citizens, preserving our liberties and our freedoms. Change us, oh God, and help us be like Kim Davis, obeying the Constitution and defying federal criminals. In Jesus’ name.  

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 9/16/15

  • David Lane predicts that Donald Trump will flame out because "he doesn't know Jesus."
  • Jake MacAulay explains that the true purpose of public education is to enslave Christians: "If you can isolate children, and train them to believe that there is a wall of separation between God and government, then you can enslave them—or rather—they will have enslaved themselves."
  • Susan Stamper Brown has some very valid concerns about what might happen if Kim Davis is required to issue marriage licenses to gay couples: "Might the same un-law someday authorize her to issue marriage licenses between stuffed animals and humans? Or robots?"
  • A Muslim started a petition calling on Germany to cancel Oktoberfest and it has received a few hundred signatures, so naturally Glenn Beck sees it as validation of his warnings about "the Caliphate."
  • Finally, "Coach" Dave Daubenmire can't understand why everyone can't see the obvious: "If you just take a few minutes to stop and look around, you will be able to see these Demonic forces hard at work in 'high places.' Can you say the Supreme Court? Can you say Congress? Can you say the White House? Can you not see all of the 'high places' where Satan is in control? "

Ted Cruz Seeks To Solidify Christian Right Support With Attacks On Planned Parenthood

As we have noted recently, there’s evidence that Ted Cruz is consolidating support from influential Religious Right leaders. That includes pseudo-historian David Barton, billionaire fracking brothers Farris and Dan Wilks, and anti-choice activists behind the group Online for Life.

But Cruz is still well back in the polls, and evangelical voters are currently showing a preference for Donald Trump and Ben Carson, whose support has been rising since the first Republican debate.

Carson is now polling second to Donald Trump and ahead of Jeb Bush, with the New York Times reporting this weekend his growing support from Religious Right activists. Earlier this month, a Quinnipiac survey of likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa had Carson leading Trump 27-20 among born-again evangelicals; Cruz was in third at 12 percent.

Cruz is hoping to boost his support among evangelicals by leading an effort in Congress this month to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. Last month Cruz partnered with GOP political operative and Christian-nation extremist David Lane to encourage pastors to preach sermons against Planned Parenthood.

Lane has argued that conservative evangelicals need to unite behind a single candidate to prevent the nomination of an unacceptably establishment figure along the lines of John McCain and Mitt Romney — and he has organized many events for pastors to meet GOP presidential candidates. Cruz backers like Barton and the Wilks brothers are close allies of Lane —  and the Wilks brothers are big funders of Lane’s organizing projects as well as Online for Life.

Lane, who has had kind words for Donald Trump, has not publicly endorsed a candidate, but he has previously been dismissive of Ben Carson’s candidacy. He told the Washington Post’s Sebastian Payne last year, “Anyone who votes for Ben Carson has no idea what they are doing politically. He’s got zero chance of becoming president or getting the Republican nomination.”

Pat McCrory Tries To Have It Both Ways On Political Prayer Rally

North Carolina’s Pat McCrory is the fourth Republican governor to agree to host a “Response” prayer rally organized by Christian-nation extremist David Lane and other dominionist activists. Rick Perry used a “Response” rally to launch his doomed 2012 presidential bid; since then Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and South Carolina’s Nikki Haley have hosted rallies in their states.

As we have repeatedly explained, there are serious problems with governors lending their name and the power of their office to events that are built on the premise that the only answer to the nation’s problems is for the country to “return” to Jesus. They are exclusionary events that suggest only Christians — more specifically, Christians who share the Religious Right’s views — can be part of solving the nation’s problems. And, while pretending to be nonpolitical, they use politicians to give credibility to their anti-gay, anti-choice, America-as-Christian-nation agenda. They turn politics into spiritual warfare and political opponents into enemies of God.

The North Carolina “Response” event is scheduled for September 26 at the convention center in Charlotte. On Monday, organizers placed a full-page ad in the Charlotte Observer, featuring a photo of McCrory and the invitation, “Come Join Me in a time of worship, prayer, fasting and repentance.”

McCrory is getting some negative feedback, and the Observer reported yesterday that McCrory has distanced himself from the ad, with a spokesman saying the governor had agreed to speak but had not given permission to use his name in inviting people to the event. McCrory reportedly said he’s “proud to attend the event and be a part of what hopefully will be a constructive dialog.”

But either McCrory hasn’t done his homework or he’s being disingenuous. Response events are not meant to be a dialogue. They are part of a strategic public relations and political strategy being advanced by men like David Lane, who is trying to mobilize an “army” of conservative Christians to turn the 2016 elections and to remake the United States along the lines of what Lane sees as the country’s covenant with God. America, Lane says, is a nation founded by Christians “for the Glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”

This event, like other Response rallies, will be hosted by “apostle” Doug Stringer and paid for by David Lane’s American Renewal Project, which operates under the umbrella of the viciously anti-gay American Family Association. In advance of the rallies kicking off Perry’s and Jindal’s presidential bids in Texas and Louisiana, organizers distributed materials that blamed supposed national sins like the acceptance of homosexuality for Hurricane Katrina.

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David Lane Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 04/05/2016, 5:30pm
David Lane says that Christians must not allow "secularists" to win the next election: "We must not wait around for them to place an additional three to four secularists on the U.S. Supreme Court; handing them a Hillary Clinton victory in November is political and cultural suicide." Dennis Prager says that "the most profound thinkers in America are conservative." Glenn Beck continues his feud with Sarah Palin. Sandy Rios asserts that any Republican can beat Hillary Clinton in the general election because "she cannot even win among her own... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 03/29/2016, 5:36pm
Theodore Shoebat says that gays "are no different than terrorists and should be treated as such. It makes no difference whether or not you are nice to them or confrontational with them, if you disagree with their delusional perversions, they want to kill you. There should be no peaceful talk with such a wicked group of deviants." Shari Goodman proclaims that "the crucifixion of Donald Trump is a desperate attempt by the left to halt the threat posed by Trump to reverse Obama’s socialist/communist agenda." Michael Brown calls on Christian players in... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 03/22/2016, 5:38pm
There will be a free showing of Janet Porter's anti-gay film "Light Wins" at the Great Oaks Cinema in Wadsworth, Ohio, tomorrow night. David Lane warns that "whatever public benefits secularism may promise, departing from God's fixed boundaries and moral order bring bitter consequences in the end." Rick Joyner says that Christians are rallying to Donald Trump because "the ones [Jesus] chose were more like Trump than those we tend to esteem. Even the Apostle John, who is now known as the great messenger of love, was so reactionary that he wanted... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 03/01/2016, 6:31pm
Jerry Falwell Jr. has recorded a robo-call for Donald Trump in which he attacks Ted Cruz. Presumably, Cruz is now regretting having launched his presidential campaign at Falwell's Liberty University. Speaking of Cruz, he rolled out his Religious Liberty Advisory Council, which is predictably filled with a bunch of anti-gay activists. Theodore Shoebat is a big fan of security at Trump rallies roughing up reporters: "Glad to see these little manipulators being stood up against." Richard Viguerie can't believe "we’re talking about electing... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Monday 02/29/2016, 6:28pm
On the eve of Super Tuesday, the dream of Christian-nation advocates like David Lane to get evangelicals to coalesce around one of their own in the Republican primary is fading away as Donald Trump pulls ahead of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in national polling, and among evangelical voters in particular. The ongoing split is reflected among right-wing political leaders.  Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach both endorsed Trump for his anti-immigrant policies. But first-term Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, the former president of a Christian college, wrote a... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Tuesday 02/16/2016, 4:32pm
We’ve noted before that the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody often acts as a virtual press agent for Christian-nation political operative David Lane, promoting his matchmaking events for Republican politicians and conservative pastors in return for exclusive access.  It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Yesterday, Lane’s American Renewal Project promoted Brody’s recent interview with Ted Cruz, which was arranged while Cruz was in Spartanburg, South Carolina, “to meet privately with pastors at an event sponsored by the American Renewal... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 02/08/2016, 6:31pm
David Lane blasts President Obama for defending Muslims: "What happened at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., was not just unholy, but an abomination." Jesse Lee Peterson says that Trayvon Martin's parents "gave no love while he lived, but profit today from his death ... Now that he’s dead, they want to pretend they loved him." Phyllis Schlafly has issued a 15-page report arguing that "Marco Rubio is the candidate of open borders, Obamatrade and mass immigration, making one last attempt to pull off one big con."... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 01/12/2016, 6:30pm
James Dobson and Liberty University have teamed up to form the James C. Dobson Center for Child Development, Marriage, & Family Studies. Ben Carson is calling for an investigation into two Muslim leaders who will be attending tonight's State of the Union address on the grounds that they have "done things that are clearly not pro-American." "Mark my words": Glenn Beck predicts that tonight will not be President Obama's last State of the Union address because he will insist on delivering another one before leaving office next year. The... MORE >