Mike Huckabee

The Religious Right's Council Of Conservative Citizens Connection

After the manifesto of the man who committed a mass murder at a black church in Charleston last week was found to contain material lifted from the white supremacist group Council of Conservative Citizens, formerly the White Citizens’ Councils, GOP politicians have been scrambling to erase their ties with the group, with several Republicans returning or donating to charity a total of tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from the group’s president.

But it’s proving to be more difficult for some in the GOP and their allies in the Religious Right to brush over a long history of ties with the group. As the Southern Poverty Law Center has reported, dozens of elected officials have attended the group’s meetings, including former RNC chair and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and current Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker. Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott has also spoken to the group, as has former Georgia congressman and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr.

Lott and the late North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms even went so far as to provide endorsements of the CCC, according to its newsletter.

A number of prominent figures on the Religious Right have also spoken to or defended the CCC, in a sign of the uneasy and often hidden alliances between the Religious Right and racist groups.

Mike Huckabee

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, now a GOP presidential candidate, submitted a video presentation to the CCC’s 1993 national convention, which the group’s newsletter later reported was a smash it. TPM:

Then-Lt. Gov. Huckabee was invited to speak at the group's 1993 national convention by the its founder, Gordon Lee Baum, according to a 2008 Huffington Post report. Baum told The Huffington Post that Huckabee "sent an audio/video presentation saying 'I can't be with you but I'd like to be speaker next time'" because he was compelled to remain in Arkansas during the convention while then-Gov. Jim Guy Tucker (D) travelled out of state.

The group's 1993 newsletter, which was obtained by Edward Sebesta, who researches neo-Confederate groups, hailed Huckabee's videotaped address as a smash hit.

"Ark. Lt. Governor Mike Huckabee, unable to leave Arkansas by law because the Governor was absent from the state, sent a terrific videotape speech, which was viewed and extremely well received by the audience," the newsletter read.

Huckabee agreed to speak in person at the group’s convention the next year but canceled after a human rights group told him that he’s be sharing the stage with a white supremacist and Holocaust denier.

Tony Perkins

Back when he was a Louisiana state legislator, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins spoke to a 2001 meeting of the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens. When asked about it several years later, Perkins said he could not “remember speaking at the event.” Unfortunately for him, there’s a picture:

Perkins also has ties to David Duke, a Louisiana politician and Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Roy Moore

The Alabama chief justice, a Religious Right hero who is currently battling the federal courts in an effort to stop marriage equality in his state, addressed CCC’s national conference in 1995, reports Buzzfeed.

(Image courtesy of Buzzfeed)

This is hardly Moore’s only troubling racist tie. Much of his career has been financed by Michael Peroutka, a former board member of the neo-Confederate League of the South, who shares many of his views on the role of “biblical law.” (SPLC reports that the League of the South’s and CCC’s “membership rolls overlap a good deal” and that the two groups have collaborated on events.)

John Eidsmoe

John Eidsmoe is the intellectual godfather of a strain of Christian nationalism that takes to an extreme the idea that “God’s law” must always be put before “man’s law.” He is a former legal advisor to Justice Moore and now works for the Foundation for Moral Law, a group that Moore founded. He is also famously a mentor of former Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Eidsmoe spoke to the 2005 national convention of the Council of Conservative citizens. He defended himself to the New Yorker, saying he would speak “to anyone.”

Ann Coulter

Perhaps even more than the Religious Right, the anti-immigrant movement sometimes has a hard time drawing a line between itself and the explicitly racist white nationalist and white supremacist movements. For instance, the work of white supremacist Sam Francis, an editor for and enthusiastic endorser of the CCC, occasionally ends up cited in the work of more “mainstream” anti-immigrant activists.

The best example of this nexus may be Ann Coulter, the anti-immigrant pundit beloved of CCC spokesman Jared Taylor and who cites white nationalist Peter Brimelow as an intellectual influence, but who has also been welcomed at Religious Right events like the Values Voter Summit.

Coulter took it upon herself in her 2009 book “Guilty,” to defend GOP politicians who had spoken to CCC, writing that the group’s statements in opposition to “forced integration” and “efforts to mix the races of mankind” were in no way endorsements of segregation:

Republican politicians who had given speeches to a conservative group, the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), were branded sympathizers of white supremacists because some of the directors of the CCC had, decades earlier, been leaders of a segregationist group, the Citizen Councils of America, which were founded in 1954. There is no evidence on its Web page that the modern incarnation of the CCC supports segregation, though its “Statement of Principles” offers that the organization opposes “forced integration” and “efforts to mix the races of mankind.” But mostly the principles refer to subjects such as a strong national defense, the right to keep and bear arms, the traditional family, and an “America First” trade policy.

Roy Beck

Another prominent anti-immigrant activist with ties to CCC is Roy Beck, head of the influential lobbying group Numbers USA, who addressed the group in the late 1990s. The Center for New Community dug up this photo:

This post has been updated to add Roy Beck.

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/23/15

Mike Huckabee Pledges To Block Gay Marriage If Elected President

Yesterday, Mike Huckabee chatted with Iowa radio host Steve Deace and Religious Right organizer Bob Vander Plaats, who led Huckabee’s 2008 campaign in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, about the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling on gay marriage.

He said that if elected president, he would simply ignore any Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality until Congress passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide…which he would then veto.

“Until the Congress of the United States puts on my desk a bill that basically defies the laws of Nature and Nature’s God and defies the longstanding tradition of marriage, the federal government will not recognize same-sex marriage because there is no law that requires it and that would be true for the military and it would be true for all federal institutions,” Huckabee said. “If the Congress decides that they want to pass enabling legislation, they could put it on my desk and I would veto it, and they can attempt to override it. That’s the process.”

Huckabee said that even his detractors should sympathize with his anti-gay-marriage stance: “If liberals were subjected to a conservative court that forced them to tithe their income to scripture or forced them to go to church or forced them to believe something that they don’t want to believe, they would say, ‘We can’t do that, that would go against our conscience.’ And I would say, ‘You are exactly right and we can’t have such a ruling. This is why I find this very unsettling is because liberals will rue the day when the sword they use to enact their agenda is the sword of the court rather than to do it by way of the people’s elected representatives.”

Of course, legalizing gay marriage won’t force opponents like Huckabee to marry someone of the same sex or officiate a same-sex couple’s wedding.

“There can be no surrender on the point of the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage,” Huckabee said, claiming that the ruling “goes to the heart of who we are as Americans and whether or not religious liberty lives or dies.”

He vowed not to “surrender to a tyranny that frankly would defy everything we are as a country,” lamenting that even people who went to law school have decided to “acquiesce to this judicial supremacy.”

Gays Lighting America On Fire! Mike Huckabee Warns Freedom Is Under Attack In Fringe Anti-Gay Movie

Faith2Action’s Janet Porter warns in her new documentary “Light Wins” that “right now, our freedoms are on fire. The attack against freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and freedom of religion has come to Main Street, the business you own, and the place that you work.”

Panning over a map of America on fire, Porter asserts that “when the government mandates public endorsement of sin, it’s not just the bakers and photographers who suffer.” It is also “the printers, the fire chiefs, adoption agencies, bed and breakfasts, facility owners, counselors, broadcasters, students, teachers, and groups like Inner City Christian Fellowship, the Knights of Columbus, and Salvation Army.” Apparently, “now under attack is anyone who ran for public office and anyone who ever will.”

We have posted excerpts here:

Former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Huckabee, who lauded Porter’s film as “groundbreaking” and “eye-opening,” also makes and appearance in the film.

“What kind of freedom of speech do we have if a person who expresses a biblical viewpoint about a marriage is told they can’t open their businesses in a location?” he asked, referring to Boston’s Mayor Menino’s condemnation of Chick-fil-A for its anti-gay activism. Huckabee recalls his appeal for a “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” when “millions of people cropped up across the country to simply buy a chicken sandwich and say, ‘We affirm the right of believers to take a biblical stand.’”

Huckabee provides viewers with a second example of Christian persecution, recalling the suspension of a star of of A&E’s show “Duck Dynasty” after he made racist and anti-gay remarks. Huckabee remarked that while Phil Robertson’s comments “might have been a little on the edge in terms of the manner in which he said them,” they are “consistent again with Christian beliefs of people all over America and the world.” Just like the Christians who supported Chick-fil-A’s right to discriminate against gays and sell fried chicken, the outcry of moral Christians to Robertson’s firing “was such they finally had to reverse that decision.”

Chalking these scenarios up to “a matter of people who were politically correct somehow wanting to tell Christians to just shut up and go away,” Huckabee reminds viewers that “Jesus told his disciples that they weren’t supposed to shut up and go away, and he told them right here in Caesarea in Philippi, so I couldn’t think of any better place to say it than here.”

Huckabee-Endorsed Documentary: Homosexuality Like A Toy That Kills Hundreds Of Thousands Of Children

Janet Porter, founder and president of Faith2Action, compares homosexuality to a deadly children’s toy in her new anti-gay documentary “Light Wins,”  which features appearances from Republican leaders Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul.

Porter ominously questions: “If hundreds of thousands of people died from a product that’s being marketed to your children, would you want to know about it? A lethal product like that would have more than a warning label, it would be pulled from the shelves and anyone caught selling it would be held legally liable?” The answer would be yes, Porter explained, “unless that product happened to be homosexual behavior, a behavior responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands.”

Anti-gay activist John R. Diggs, Jr. explains to viewers that the facts regarding the deadliness of homosexuality come from “the biggest sources of medicine, whether it be the Center for Disease Control, National Institute of Health, the Journal of the American Medical Association.” For this reason, Diggs suggests that gay people who are angry about what he is saying “speak to the most anti-gay force in the world, and that is Mother Nature herself.”

Religious Right pseudo-historian David Barton also chimes in, saying that in order for a revival to take place, Americans must “address the homosexual issue” and “confront it head-on.” Michigan state Rep. Gary Glenn adds that it is possible to save gay individuals because “there have been thousands of people who have” gotten out of the homosexual “lifestyle.”

Porter laments that her prophesized criminalization of sexual orientation conversion therapy has come to fruition. Now, “licensed counselors in California and New Jersey are forbidden from giving hope to minors who do not want same-sex attractions.” Even if pastors “do anything other than encourage homosexual behavior, they will lose their license to counsel,” she claims. Porter, dramatically positioned in front of a closing iron door, warns that “for those who want help leaving homosexuality, that door is closed.”

We have posted excerpts here:

Mike Huckabee: Fight Gay Marriage Like Dred Scott Ruling With Civil Disobedience

In an interview last week with Fox News pundit Todd Starnes, GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee reiterated his call for civil disobedience if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality in the next few days.

Huckabee, who recently issued a letter pledging to fight gay marriage, told Starnes that conservatives should wage “civil disobedience” against a government that “acted outside of nature and nature’s God, outside of the bounds of the law, outside of the bounds of the Constitution,” warning that otherwise they will be forced to commit “biblical disobedience.”

“What if no one had acted in disobedience to the Dred Scott decision of 1857?” Huckabee continued. “What if the entire country had capitulated to judicial tyranny and we just said that because the Supreme Court said in 1857 said that a black person wasn’t fully human? Suppose we had accepted that, suppose Abraham Lincoln, our president, had accepted that, would that have been the right course of action?”

Calling a potential gay marriage ruling patently unconstitutional, Huckabee said that “if we’re not going to follow our Constitution, maybe we should loan it to some developing country so that they could try it out if we’re not going to use it anymore.” 

In the same interview, Huckabee blamed the Charleston church shooting on a lack of guns

Meet The Republican Candidates Who Have Defended The Confederate Flag

Following the murder of nine people in an apparent hate crime in a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday night, many Americans, including prominent political figures, are calling for South Carolina to remove the Confederate flag from the North side of the state’s capital building. Gov. Nikki Haley, who defended the flag during her campaign for reelection last year and supported its placement because business leaders had not complained to her about its posting, said today that “the state will start talking about” the flag issue again following the shooting.

The following Republican presidential hopefuls have voiced their support for the Confederate flag to remain on government buildings and public property.

Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina came to the defense of the South Carolina Confederate flag display yesterday, describing it as an integral “part of who we are”

While Graham did admit to CNN that the flag has been “used in a racist way” in the past, he argued that “the problems we have in south Carolina and the world are not because of a movie or a symbol, it’s about what’s in people’s heart.”

He added that South Carolina’s “compromise” of having both a Confederate War memorial and an African American memorial at the state capitol “works.”

Mike Huckabee

Hoping to mobilize white evangelical voters against Republican “establishment” candidates in 2008, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee demanded his fellow candidates stop asking for the removal of the Confederate flag from government offices.

Huckabee had this to say: “You don’t like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag…if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we’d tell them what to do with the pole. That’s what we’d do.”

Rick Perry

During his last presidential campaign, Rick Perry came under scrutiny for his efforts to oppose the removal of the Confederate flag from display at the statehouse when he was lieutenant governor of Texas. In a March, 2000 letter to the Sons of Confederate Veterans obtained by the Associated Press, Perry wrote, “Although this is an emotional issue, I want you to know that I oppose efforts to remove Confederate monuments, plaques and memorials from public property.”

However, Perry seems to have begun to rethink his stance on Confederate symbols. In 2011, he opposed an effort to create Confederate flag license plates, and in an interview on Newsmax’s The Steve Malzberg Show this week Perry voiced his agreement with critics of the flag that “we need to be looking at these issues as ways to bring the country together. And if these are issues that are pushing us apart, then maybe there’s a good conversation that needs to be had about [it].”

Mike Huckabee: Charleston Shooting Could've Been Prevented If Church Members Were Armed

Mike Huckabee spoke today to Todd Starnes of Fox News, who was agitated that the “despicable” President Obama “wants to go after the guns” following the shooting at an African American church in Charleston. Huckabee agreed, claiming he was “disappointed” that the president considered the shooting “a great opportunity for me to grandstand and jump up on the stump and talk about gun control.”

The GOP presidential candidate said that the only thing that could have stopped the shooting would have been an armed member of the church. Channeling the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, Huckabee said: “It sounds crass, but frankly the best way to stop a bad person with a gun is to have a good person with a weapon that is equal or superior to the one that he’s using.”

Starnes ended the brief interview by castigating Obama for “playing politics” and “scoring cheap political points on the graves of the innocent” when he should’ve remained silent.

Mike Huckabee: Gay Marriage Ruling Will 'Criminalize Christianity,' Threaten The Republic

Yesterday, Mike Huckabee sent a letter to Religious Right leaders [PDF] warning that a ruling in favor of marriage equality from the Supreme Court would be just as “backwards” and “broken” as rulings which “rationalized the destruction of human life, defined African Americans as property and justified Japanese-American internment camps.”

“I refuse to sit silently as politically driven interest groups threaten the foundation of religious liberty, criminalize Christianity, and demand that Americans abandon Biblical principles of natural marriage,” Huckabee continued. “I will fight to defend religious liberty at all costs.”

The GOP presidential candidate and former governor added that he will never worship the “false god” of the judiciary: “I also refuse to surrender to the false god of judicial supremacy, which would allow black-robed and unelected judges the power to make law and enforce it, which upends the separation of powers so very central to our Constitution. Too much power concentrated in the courts is a threat to our Republic. I will fight judicial tyranny and return power to the people.”

Dear conservative leaders and pro-family activists,

I share your concerns regarding the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. As you mentioned, any decision that redefines the institution of marriage, which has existed for thousands and thousands of years, would overturn the will of American citizens in more than 30 states who have passed constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Under the U.S. Constitution, we have three, co-equal branches of government. The Supreme Court is not the Supreme Branch, and it is certainly not the Supreme Being. Throughout our nation’s history, the court has delivered backwards, broken rulings. These nine, unelected Supreme Court justices have rationalized the destruction of human life, defined African Americans as property and justified Japanese-American internment camps.

The notion that the Supreme Court is an exclusive entity empowered to interpret the Constitution is a modern myth, which has flourished since the 1960s. I reject this idea as just another flawed, failed feature of big government, inconsistent with what our founders fought a revolution to establish.

As both an American and a candidate for president, I will never forget who I serve: my God, my country, and the U.S. Constitution.

I refuse to sit silently as politically driven interest groups threaten the foundation of religious liberty, criminalize Christianity, and demand that Americans abandon Biblical principles of natural marriage. I will fight to defend religious liberty at all costs.

I also refuse to surrender to the false god of judicial supremacy, which would allow black-robed and unelected judges the power to make law and enforce it, which upends the separation of powers so very central to our Constitution. Too much power concentrated in the courts is a threat to our Republic. I will fight judicial tyranny and return power to the people.

I call on all GOP candidates to join me in this fight to defend the Constitution. If you lack the backbone to reject judicial tyranny and fight for religious liberty, you have no business serving our nation as President of the United States.

Respectfully,

Governor Mike Huckabee

cc: Cathy Adams - President, Eagle Forum

Kerby Anderson - Host, Point of View radio talk show

Tad Armstrong - President, ELL Constitution Clubs

Ted Baehr - Publisher, www.movieguide.org

Brenda Baller

David Barton - President, WallBuilders

Gary Bauer - President, American Values

Jeffrey K. Beene - Colonel, USAF (retired)

Hon. J. Kenneth Blackwell - Visiting Professor, Liberty School of Law

Floyd Brown - President Western Center for Journalism

Brian Burch - President, CatholicVote.org

Phil Burress - President, Citizens for Community Values Action

Joe R. Calvert - President, Rabon Calvert Interests, Inc.

Larry Cirignano - American Catholic Citizens

Clint Cline - President, Design4

Chaplain (COL) Ron Crews - Executive Director Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty

Hon. Ken Cuccinelli - President, Senate Conservatives Fund

Bill Dallas - CEO, United in Purpose

Steve Deace - USA Radio Network & Conservative Review

Tom DeLay - Former Congressman

Penna Dexter - Co-Host, Point of View Radio Show

James C. Dobson, Ph.D. - Founder and President, Family Talk

Tim Von Dohlen - President, St. John Paul II Life Center

Ken and Roberta Eldred - Living Stones Foundation

Bob Ellis - CEO, Dakota Voice LLC

Tricia Erickson - President, Angel Pictures & Publicity Publisher

William A. Estrada - Director of Federal Relations, Home School Legal Defense Association

Carol Everett - Chief Executive Officer, The Heidi Group

Kristin Fecteau - Co-Founder, Campaign to Free America

William J. Federer

Robert K. Fischer - Meeting Coordinator, Conservatives of Faith

Mark Fitzgibbons - President of Corporate Affairs, American Target Advertising, Inc.

Richard Ford - President, Heritage Alliance

Kevin Freeman

Dr. Jim Garlow - Pastor, Skyline Church

Gina Gleason - Executive Director, Faith and Public Policy

Thomas A. Glessner - President, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates

Kristan Hawkins - President, Students for Life of America

Kirk Hays

Donna Hearne - Constitutional Coalition

Dr. Carl Herbster - AdvanceUSA

Chuck Hurley, J.D. - Vice-president and Chief Counsel, The Family Leader

Harry R. Jackson Jr. - Hope Christian Church and The High Impact Leadership Coalition

Jerry A. Johnson, Ph.D. - President and CEO, National Religious Broadcasters

Finn Laursen - Executive Director, Christian Educators Association International

Dr. Richard Lee - There's Hope America

Dr. Richard Land - Southern Evangelical Seminary

Tim LeFever - Chairman, Capitol Resource Institute

Loren Leman - Former Legislator and Lieutenant Governor, Alaska

Matt Mackowiak - Fight For Tomorrow

Joseph Mattera

Bradley Mattes - President, Life Issues Institute

Kevin McGary - Chairman and President, Frederick Douglass Foundation of Ca.

Joe Miller - President, Restoring Liberty

Tom Minnery - President & CEO, Citizenlink

Len Munsil, J.D. - President, Arizona Christian University

William J. Murray - Chairman, Religious Freedom Coalition

Penny Nance - President and CEO, Concerned Women for America

Rev. Dean Nelson - Chairman, Frederick Douglass Foundation

Troy Newman - President, Operation Rescue and ProLife Nation

C. Preston Noell, III - President, Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.

Paige Patterson, PhD - President, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Bob Pearle - Birchman Baptist Church

Tony Perkins - President, Family Research Council President, Council for National Policy

Judson Phillips - Tea Party Nation

Everett Piper - President, Oklahoma Wesleyan University

Bob Vander Plaats - President/CEO, The FAMiLY LEADER

Janet (Folger) Porter - Producer and Documentarian

Dr. Robert (Bob) Reccord - Former Executive Director, Council for National Policy

Elizabeth B. Rex, Ph.D., MBA - President, The Children First Foundation

Richard Rios - Christian Coalition, California Chairman

Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt - Congregation Ohr Ha Torah, Dallas, TX

Austin Ruse - President, Center for Family & Human Rights

Nancy Schulze - Founder, Republican Congressional Wives Speakers

Mat Staver - Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel

Steve Strang - CEO/Founder, Charisma Media

Frank & Sarah Teed - Arkansas Eye Surgery

Eric Teetsel - Executive Director, Manhattan Declaration

Mark Tooley - President, Institute on Religion and Democracy

Patrick A. Trueman - Attorney at Law, Washington, DC

Richard A Viguerie - Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com

Eric M. Wallace, PhD - President & Co-founder, Freedom's Journal Institute

Jennifer L. Wallace - Co-founder, Freedom's Journal Institute

C. Richard Wells - President, John Witherspoon College Rapid City, South Dakota

C. Frederick Wehba - Founder, Bentley Forbes

Dr. Donald E. Wildmon - Founder and Chairman Emeritus, American Family Association

Tim Wildmon - President, American Family Association

Walt Wilson - Founder & Chairman, Global Media Outreach

Religious Right Powerbroker David Lane: 'We Are Mobilizing An Army'

The Washington Times today profiled David Lane, the far-right extremist who is working with the Republican National Committee to mobilize conservatives come Election Day, and trains pastors to get “involved in the ‘dirty’ game of politics.”

These trainings, part of Lane’s effort to recruit 1,000 pastors to run for office, have particularly popped up in early primary states, with one speaker, Bruce Waltke, urging “the righteous” in attendance to “defend against the wicked by vigilant and spiritual warfare.”

Presidential candidates such as Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee, the conservative outlet notes, recently joined Lane’s training sessions or are scheduled to do so (Rand Paul and Rick Perry have also made appearances at Lane’s events).

“Fighting back tears, Mr. Lane prayed for mercy over the 55 million babies that have been aborted since Rove v. Wade, the mounting national debt, the growing acceptance of homosexuality and fears of Islamic terrorism,” the article continued, while adding that Lane criticized Caitlyn Jenner’s “perverse” gender transition as a “mark of a decadent society.”

“We are mobilizing an army,” David Lane, founder of American Renewal, told The Washington Times on the sidelines of the training session, which he named after a biblical tribe of Israel that produced wise leaders.

During the six-hour session, Bruce Watke [sic], author of “Proverbs and Politics: The Biblical Foundation for Righteous Governing,” told the rapt attendees that there has been a misunderstanding of the separation of church and state in politics. He used parables to outline the need for Christians to be involved in the “dirty” game of politics.

“The righteous must defend society against the wicked by vigilant and spiritual warfare. If Christians don’t fight, the wicked will plunder their heritage,” Mr. Watke [sic] said. “With hard work, the wise will prevail over the evil as surely as oil protects iron from rust, as cedar wood protects cloth from moths and salt preserves meat from maggots.”

Dave Hageman and Steve Michael, the young political masterminds behind the American Renewal Project’s $2 million ground game in last year’s U.S. Senate races that helped turn out low-propensity evangelical Christian voters, shared a beginner’s guide on running for office, outlined the mechanics of campaign operations and provided some insight into messaging.



In response to a question about Bruce Jenner, he said he feels sorry for the former Olympic athlete, who now goes by the name Caitlyn, whom he argued needs prayer. He shook his head at the attention the “liberal” media have given to his “perverse” behavior.

“The mark of a decadent society is the exaltation and normalization of sin,” he said. “That is what they are doing.”



Fighting back tears, Mr. Lane prayed for mercy over the 55 million babies that have been aborted since Rove v. Wade, the mounting national debt, the growing acceptance of homosexuality and fears of Islamic terrorism.

Some of the big names in Republican Party politics have taken notice. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a declared presidential candidate, attended the second training in Oklahoma, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is expected to enter the presidential race June 24, addressed a training session in Baton Rouge and last week’s session in South Carolina.

Mr. Huckabee is scheduled to appear at the next training session July 10 in Orlando, Florida. Close to 100 pastors have signed up for the event.

Why Do Republican Officials Keep Partnering With Christian-Nation Extremist David Lane?

In pursuit of conservative evangelical voters, GOP candidates embrace far-right political operative who is raising an ‘army’ to fulfill his ‘Christian nation’ vision

On Saturday, June 13, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will host a day-long, Christians-only prayer rally organized by political operative David Lane. Lane, who organized similar events for Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, is trying to recruit 1,000 conservative evangelical pastors to run for office, which he believes would mobilize hundreds of thousands of election volunteers and lead to conservative election victories in 2016.

Lane prefers to work outside the glare of the national media. Although his close connections to Republican officials and presidential candidates have drawn some notice, the extremism of the agenda he is promoting deserves far more attention than it has received to date.

When one-third of the Republican National Committee took a nine-day junket to Israel in January with the American Family Association picking up the tab, things got a little ugly. Israeli media started asking questions about the extreme positions taken by AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer, including his claims that the First Amendment’s religious liberty protections apply only to Christians and that gays were responsible for the rise of the Nazi Party. In damage control mode, the AFA disavowed some of Fischer’s most inflammatory statements and took away his title – but not the radio show that continues to give him a bigotry-spewing platform. Meanwhile, the actual organizer of the trip, Christian nationalist David Lane, slipped out of the spotlight and got right back to building political alliances between high-level Republican politicians and conservative evangelical pastors, especially those in key primary states.

David Lane runs the American Renewal Project, which functions as a project of the American Family Association. Bad publicity over the Israel trip did not keep Lane from inviting all 168 members of the Republican National Committee to an Iowa Renewal Project “Pastors and Pews” event on March 9 and 10, which was headlined by two Republican presidential hopefuls, Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Bobby Jindal, along with Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. It didn’t prevent the RNC’s faith outreach arm from teaming up with Lane to present a breakout session at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in May. And it hasn’t kept Gov. Haley from endorsing Lane’s latest “Response” prayer rally.

Why David Lane Matters

David Lane promotes a vision of America as a nation founded by and for Christians; denounces court rulings upholding church-state separation; calls for Christianity to be established as America’s official religion with the Bible as a primary textbook in public schools; vehemently opposes legal equality for LGBT people; and demands the impeachment of judges who rule in favor of allowing same-sex couples to be legally married. Lane matters because these are not just the opinions of a far-right fringe figure. They are the explicit agenda of a political operative who is working closely with the highest leaders of the Republican Party. The explicit goal of Lane’s political organizing is to advance his particularly narrow and divisive vision of America. Republican politicians who embrace Lane in the hope of winging votes are playing with fire, giving credibility to his divisive worldview and troubling political agenda.

David Lane’s Worldview

In Lane’s worldview, there are essentially no gray areas: America will either be a Christian nation or a pagan nation and there will be no peace until we decide which. Judges who uphold the right of same-sex couples to marry must be impeached. The Supreme Court’s rulings upholding the separation of church and state have imposed a destructive secularism on America and must be reversed. Secularism and homosexuality are twin evils from which America must be rescued. This quote gives a pretty good summary of Lane’s worldview:

Who will wage war for the Soul of America and trust the living God to deliver the pagan gods into our hands and restore America to her Judeo-Christian heritage and re-establish a Christian culture?...

As to the future of America – and the collapse of this once-Christian nation – Christians must not only be allowed to have opinions, but politically, Christians must be retrained to war for the Soul of America and quit believing the fabricated whopper of the ‘Separation of Church and State,” the lie repeated ad nauseum by the left and liberals to keep Christian America – the moral majority – from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning, and pagan media….

Christian America is in ruins…

You ask, “What is our goal?” To wage war to restore America to our Judeo-Christian heritage with all of our might and strength that God will give us. You ask, “what is our aim?” One word only: victory, in spite of all intimidation and terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory, America will ultimately collapse.

Lane has no patience for those who don’t see the world as he does. His message to lawmakers: “Vote to restore the Bible and prayer in public schools or be sent home,” he has written. “Hanging political scalps on the wall is the only love language politicians can hear.”

Lane’s emails to activists, often including garbled syntax and repetitive rhetoric, nonetheless give a good sense of his approach to the world. These are excerpts from a January 27, 2015 email from Lane:

  • “This struggle for the Soul of America is merely the ongoing battle since the beginning of time, “man says” or “God says.” God has said multiple times over thousands of years that homosexuality is wickedness – just like stealing or committing adultery, it is sin – but to double-down on the U.S. Supreme Court, in its omniscience, sanctioned and legitimized homosexual marriage in 2014 as a diverse and acceptable lifestyle, well inside the cultural norm.”
  • “God says” or man says” is the choice facing America. “We the people” must hold the Judicial, Legislative and Executive Branches of government accountable or be ready to answer to God; this is our point of no return. The secularist ideology is more than a mere political philosophy, dueling for ideological supremacy, it is a Weltanschauung (a world view), a religion. Secularism – the false idol instituted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963 – has finally bloomed, blossomed, and produced fruit, it’s stench is nauseating.

He made similar points in a January op ed for Charisma:

“More to the point, there can be no reconciliation of opposites, particularly the spiritual and the secular. Therefore, we need to establish if America is a pagan or Christian nation and get on with it- the sooner the better….We have to make the peace: either secularism of Christian values are going to reign supreme….The grandiosity and recklessness of the radicalized, secular United States Supreme Court in the last century is mind-blowing. The Court has birthed a full-scale catastrophe, corrupting 500 years of natural law and threatening America’s long-term, sustainable freedom. Congress has failed to fulfill its historic role to check and balance the judicial and executive branches of government. It’s up to us “we the people” to hold them accountable.”

Last November he told the Washington Times:

“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….

He argued that America was established as a Judeo-Christian nation and that separation of church and state was never meant to keep religion out of politics.

“There’s no truth to that, the Constitution says the state is to keep out of the church, it doesn’t say the church is to keep out of the state,” Mr. Lane said, adding that secularism is another religion that’s being imposed on Americans.

“It’s just a matter of somebody’s values are going to reign supreme,” Mr. Lane said, “It’s just a little minority imposing their values. It’s part of a spiritual battle. If we are going to survive as a nation, we have to have a spiritual resurrection”

Christian Nation Covenant versus Secularism/Paganism

“Secularism is paganism clothed in tolerance,” Lane wrote in a January 21 email, “its ubiquitous chant, ‘We are a pluralistic society,’ is not the same nation bequeathed to us by our Founders.” 

Lane’s belief that America is “a nation founded by Christians…for the Glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith” is not based on the people traditionally seen as the nation’s Founding Fathers – the authors of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Lane looks back to the pilgrims and the Mayflower compact, and even further to the covenant declared by Robert Hunt, founder of the Jamestown, Virginia, colony in 1607:

“We do hereby Dedicate this Land, and ourselves, to reach the People within these shores with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to raise up Godly generations after us, and with these generations take the Kingdom of God to all the earth. May this Covenant of Dedication remain to all generations, as long as this ear remains, and may this Land, along with England, be Evangelist to the World.”

That covenant, Lane insists, “is still in force.” In May 2015, he ranted, “Egregious and scandalous is the Church’s submission to secularists,” and the abandonment of that founding “mission.”

“America was a Christian nation,” he says. But now, “America has boarded the wrong, secular train. Now we’ve lost our Judeo-Christian heritage and its byproduct – a Christian culture.”

“It’s evident we’ve lost the culture, and we’ve lost our heritage now,” he said in a fall 2014 interview.  “I mean, with Obama, you’ve got red ink as far as the eye can see, homosexuals praying at the inauguration, 55 million babies dead.” He sounded a similar theme in Charisma in January:

 “Ah, but what has godless secularism produced? Red ink as far as the eye can see: racism, injustice, the murder of fifty-five million babies, the advancement of the homosexual agenda, fatherless homes, an epidemic of drugs and crime and the widespread acceptance and usage of pornography, especially among America’s youth.”

Punishing and Purging Judges

Who is to blame for secularism and its attendant evils? According to Lane, it’s the Supreme Court, secularists in the schools, politicians who promote the secularist agenda – and pastors who don’t stand against all these evils. He complains that the “the Church didn’t even shudder when the Bible, prayer, Jesus, and the Ten Commandments were removed from the public schools in 1963.” And he says there was “not a peep from the Christian Church” in response to the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, when the church “should have initiated riots, revolution, and repentance.”

By ending Bible reading in public schools, he says, the Supreme Court removed the foundation for real knowledge and the transmission for wisdom and virtue. He wrote in August 2014:

Virtue is required for sustainable freedom. Secularists have successfully removed the transmission agent (The Word of God) for the accumulation of wisdom and knowledge, which created freedom in America. The nation is now basically biblically illiterate. Let’s be clear, the secularists and their priests — i.e., public education, higher learning, Hollywood and Media elite — have a coordinated, deliberate, sustained effort, a blitzkrieg, imposing an intolerant and aggressive false religion on America — Secularism.

This false god of Secularism — embedded in public education by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963 — has glamorized, exalted and now normalized sin in America, creating a spiritually decadent, godless society.

This is why the work of Lane’s American Renewal Project is so urgent, he explained in a March 2015 email: “Unless Christianity resurrects in America and the moral underpinning restored, secularism’s amoral ideology will eventually collapse, along with Western Civilization.”

One response is to go after judges who don’t share Lane’s view of the Constitution. In October 2014 Lane told the Washington Post  that the American Renewal Project would “take aim at lower court judges who have overturned anti-gay marriage statutes and constitutional provisions.” Says Lane: “I want a fight over this,” he said. “I think the way to address it is to start removing these unelectable and unaccountable judges who are doing this to our country. They have no right to rule a free people. What they’re doing, it’s judicial anarchy.”

Lane has said he is looking for a member of the House of Representatives to introduce an impeachment bill. “The way we address this is we start removing unelected an unaccountable judges,” he said. “And then we remove the members of Congress who don’t vote to impeach them.” Lane was deeply involved in the 2010 purge of three Iowa Supreme Court justices who voted for marriage equality.

This approach to the courts is one reason Lane seems so fond of Huckabee, whose win in the 2008 Iowa caucus is often attributed to Lane’s efforts. (Evangelical strategist Doug Wead described Lane as “the mysterious, behind-the-scenes, evangelical kingmaker who stormed into Iowa in 2008 and tilted the whole thing from Romney to Huckabee.) Huckabee has signaled for some time that he would make attacks on “judicial supremacy” central to his campaign. His call for a rejuvenated nullification movement among the states has been taken up by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and the state Supreme Court.

Republican Party Loves Lane

While Lane often expresses his contempt for “establishment” Republicans who don’t embrace his radical vision for a Christian America in which the Bible is a primary textbook in public schools, GOP officials like party head Reince Priebus attend and promote his events. Priebus was scheduled to participate in Lane’s trip to Israel in January before controversy flared; he ended up not making the trip, saying he needed to attend a funeral.

Indeed, Republican Party officials seem unconcerned with Lane’s extremism and are eager to make use of his network of conservative pastors. The invitation letter for the Israel junket came from Priebus himself; although he said it was not an RNC trip, committee members interested in participating were told to RSVP to the RNC’s Member Services department. Priebus praised David Lane by name in October during a television interview in which he reiterated the Party’s support for a federal constitutional ban on same-sex couples marrying, which would overturn marriage equality in every state that now recognizes it.

TIME reported that the RNC members’ trip to Israel was organized by the American Family Association and Lane’s American Renewal Project, “in concert with RNC faith director Chad Connelly.” When Right Wing Watch reported in August 2014 that Cruz and Huckabee were planning to appear at a Lane-sponsored event in Michigan, the RNC’s Connelly posted on his Facebook page, “My buddy David Lane is drawing the attention of the God-haters and left wingers, but I repeat myself, out there! We had a great Michigan event and I’m convinced that the faith component is what will bring our nation together!” Connelly’s post was shared by the American Renewal Project, as was one of Connelly’s photos from the event, with Connelly’s caption: “honored to speak and give my testimony to a terrific crowd of enthusiastic pastors at the Michigan Renewal Project last night!” A few days later, Connelly bragged, “The RNC was well represented tonight at the California renewal project conference….”

Lane returns the love by helping Republicans win elections. Last year, his American Renewal Project teamed up with four potential 2016 candidates – Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, and Mike Huckabee – to record radio ads urging “God’s people” to vote in the 2014 mid-terms. The ads were reportedly meant to run on almost 300 radio stations in more than 35 states. Those ads capped off the American Renewal Project’s 12-state strategy to turn out conservative evangelical voters in the 2014 cycle, a strategy that reportedly included a $2 million registration, education, and turnout ground game in North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa and Arkansas, states with key Senate races

Lane’s love for the GOP, however, is far from unconditional. In April 2013 he complained that the Republican Party establishment was not taking a strong enough stand against homosexuality and said there was a war for ideological supremacy – “the moral against the immoral” – within the Republican Party between “establishment moderates and the biblically conservative grassroot, precinct-level ground forces.” He has praised GOP officials who speak out against marriage equality, as he did when  Iowa State GOP Chair AJ Spiker wrote:

“While inclusion is important, elected Republicans (we all know the most recent example) and National/State Party leaders who embrace so-called same sex marriage are doing grave harm to our Party and the whole of society.

Lets not forget, so-called same sex marriage is an irreconcilable difference with the Republican PARty’s largest constituency…Committed Christians.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

All of Lane’s events are designed to promote conservative GOP candidates by introducing them to networks of politically engaged conservative pastors who are willing to turn their churches into GOTV operations on behalf of the right kind of right-wing candidate. Lane claims those events have engaged some 15,000 pastors since he began conducting them in the 1990s.

Bobby Jindal is one beneficiary. In January, Jindal hostedThe Response,” the Lane-organized prayer rally that was modeled on a similar event that Lane put together in 2011 to help Rick Perry launch his ill-fated presidential bid. Two months later, Lane organized a meet-and-greet for Bobby Jindal with pastors in Greenville, South Carolina. Jindal has also accepted Lane’s invitation for his own trip to Israel this summer, where he will be joined by evangelical pastors from the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Rand Paul talked about his own trip to Israel with Lane this past fall at a meeting Lane organized for Paul with a group of North Carolina pastors.

Lane also picked up the tab – reportedly a million dollars -- for a group of pastors from Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina (four early primary contests) to join Mike Huckabee on a European tour. It was a pilgrimage to Poland, London, and California to celebrate the leadership of Pope John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan. Right-wing blogger Bethany Blankley joined Huckabee’s European tour, on which the subpoena of Houston ministers’ emails and sermons were apparently cited to suggest American Christians were facing Nazi-like persecution. “On route to Auschwitz,” she wrote, “Lane reference similarities between 1930 Germany and 2014 America.” Huckabee said at Auschwitz that the horrors carried out by educated Germany “should be a sobering reminder that unless we stand against evil in our own time,” another Holocaust to another people group “will happen again.”

Lane, who calls himself a political operative, still tries to portray some of his events – like the Perry and Jindal prayer rallies, as spiritual and not political. But Huckabee was clear about the political benefits of his European junket:

“A lot of them asked the obvious question – sort of the 800-pound gorilla in the room: Why are pastors from Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada the lion’s share of participants on this trip?” Huckabee said. “And I think some of them probably honestly, and perhaps somewhat cynically, probably said, ‘Is it because you’re trying to secure their support, if, in fact, you decide to run?’ My honest answer was, ‘Fair enough. If I should run, would I like to have your support? Sure.’”

Also on the trip were people like Rich Bott, president of a Christian radio conglomerate, whose support could be very useful.

During the flap over RNC members’ trip to Israel, Lane told Ha’aretz that he made his first trip to the country in 2008 or 2009 and has since taken seven or eight trips, including the one with Rand Paul in 2013, abou which Lane says, “A lot of people believe that after Rand Paul went in January 2013, his views evolved and he saw how wonderful the Jewish people are.” Researcher Rachel Tabachnik reports that Perry has also taken one of Lane’s trips to Israel.

Lane’s American Renewal Project also hosted an event for Rand Paul in October 2014 with 400 anti-abortion pastors in North Carolina. At the event, which was closed to press except for Breitbart, Paul reportedly said that “a civilization cannot long endure that doesn’t respect life from the very beginning to the very last breath.”

“When we talk about freedom or liberty people say that can get carried away you can’t have too much of that. I tell people thought that the fabric of our country though wasn’t just liberty and freedom. It was liberty and freedom and tradition.”

In organizing these events, Lane works with other Religious Right leaders. Among those listed in promotional materials for an event in Michigan were 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.

Lane’s 2016 Political Strategy

Lane himself is not a pastor; he describes himself as a political operative. He believes America is in the sad state it’s in because pastors have not preached more aggressively, and conservative Christians have not been active enough in the public arena. He told the New York Times’ Jason Horowitz in March that his goal is to raise up “an army.”

Right-wing blogger Bethany Blankley quotes Lane saying, “With the retreat of evangelical pastors from the public square, it’s no accident that America’s city halls and statehouses are spiritually empty. The only currency to rebuild America is God’s economy rooted in righteousness – beginning with a contrite spirit for what we believers have allowed to happen to America.”

In 2016, Lane’s political strategy has two major prongs: one is using “Pastors and Pews” events, trips to Israel, and public prayer rallies to promote politicians he likes and mobilize political engagement by conservative evangelicals. During controversy over Israel trip, Lane told Ha’aretz, “The Lord gave me this model of mobilizing pastors to try and engage the culture. Somebody’s values are going to reign supreme. America was founded by Christians for the glory of God and the Christian faith.”

Lane clearly hopes these efforts to vet presidential candidates will help conservative evangelicals coalesce around a single champion. He says he will not endorse in the primary, but he has complained bitterly about Jeb Bush’s hiring of pro-marriage-equality campaign staff. Lane bemoans the fact that divided evangelical voters allowed McCain and Romney to take the GOP nominations in 2008 and 2012. He told the Houston Chronicle in 2013, “We’re going to try to eliminate the stuff that they [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 Romneys left.”

Lane ally Bob Vander Plaats of the Iowa Family Leader said in November that the only way that will happen will be through prayer that God will reveal to us… that’s the one we need to coalesce around.”  Lane said something similar to the Christian Examiner in January 2015.

“Only a merciful God can cause America to change, and God works through His people,” Lane said.

That’s why prayer is so important; people need God’s guidance about whom to elect, Lane explained.

In a March 3 email, Lane summed up the quest this way: “The challenge is this – can we find a man or a woman whose faith is so great that they will voluntarily abandon those things which men cherish, including their very life, to defend against the seemingly invincible omnipotence of secularism?”

The other prong of Lane’s 2016 strategy is an effort to recruit 1,000 conservative evangelical pastors to run for office themselves. Lane says he was inspired by his own pastor, Rob McCoy of Calvary Chapel in Thousand Oaks, California, who decided to run for the state assembly last year. McCoy won the Republican primary but was defeated in the general election. In both races he was outspent but managed to mobilize hundreds of volunteers. Lane figures that if he could replicate that experience on a grand scale, “would revolutionize the political process” and dramatically change the political climate in America.”

Here’s how he described the plan to the Washington Times in January:

“Our goal in 2016 is to have 1,000 pastors running for city council, county commissioner, school board, mayor, Congress — who attract an average of 300 Christian volunteers per campaign,” Mr. Lane explained.

“That would amount to a total 300,000 grassroots, evangelical, precinct-level conservatives — from the bottom up — in 2016,” he added. “It would change America for good, a step toward restoring the nation to our Judeo Christian heritage and reestablishing a Christian culture.”

In January, Lane put on a recruitment and training session for pastors thinking about running for office. Jindal signed an invitation letter, which said, “There is a great need for the kind of leaders we read about in the Old Testament, ‘The Men of Issachar’ (1 Chronicles 12:32). We need such men and women of wisdom today who will accept the challenge to restore our Judeo-Christian heritage in America.” Jindal and Sen. Steve Lankford of Oklahoma were among the speakers at the event, which was held the day before “The Response,” the Lane-organized, Jindal-hosted prayer rally.

Lane says he sent an invitation to 100,000 pastors on his list, in which he spelled out his vision:

A thousand pastors running in 2016-and three to four hundred pastors winning their political races – would ignite a spiritual movement in the public arena of America not seen since America’s Founding. Again, the flock of God hungers for leadership in the battle for restoring America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and reestablishing a Christian culture.”

Among similar “Issachar Training” events Lane is holding across the country were a training for pastors in Las Vegas in April and one in Oklahoma City in May (featuring Ted Cruz and Sen. James Lankford).  Jindal will host an Issachar training in Charleston, South Carolina this Friday before Nikki Haley’s prayer rally and fellow presidential contender Mike Huckabee will host one in Orlando on July 9 and 10.

Funding Lane’s Christian-Nation Politicking

Lane’s American Renewal Project operates under the umbrella of the American Family Association, a nonprofit organization that is not required to disclose its donors. Lane has always refused to name the big donors who pick up the tab for flying pastors and politicians around the world, or picking up the meals and lodging for preachers to attend one of his state “Pastors and Pews” events with elected officials. But we know where at least some of Lane’s money is coming from.

 In 2013, the Christian Broadcasting Networks’ David Brody reported on one of Lane’s Iowa events. Brody’s story included short clips of comments by brothers Farris and Dan Wilks, who were identified only as members of Lane’s Pastors and Pews group. Brody introduced the brothers by saying, “The Wilks brothers worry that America’s declining morals will especially hurt the younger generation, so they’re using the riches that the Lord has blessed them with to back specific goals.”  Dan Wilks told Brody, “I just think we have to make people aware, you know, and bring the Bible back into the school, and start teaching our kids at a younger age, and, uh, you know, and focus on the younger generation.”  Brother Farris said, “They’re being taught the other ideas, the gay agenda, every day out in the world so we have to stand up and explain to them that that’s not real, that’s not proper, it’s not right.”

As Right Wing Watch reported in 2014, Farris and Dan Wilks made billions of dollars in the fracking business and have since become major funders of Religious Right organizations and groups associated with the Koch brothers’ networks. Farris also pastors a church founded by the brothers’ father, and his sermons make it clear that he shares much of Lane’s anti-gay, anti-secular, Christian-nation worldview, and has been inspired by Lane to do more to shape America’s future. RH Reality Check reported this year that the Wilks brothers’ are big funders of right-wing radio host Denis Prager’s right-wing propaganda site, Prager University.

Each of the brothers has, with their wives, set up charitable foundations: Farris and Joann created The Thirteen Foundation and Dan and Staci the Heavenly Father’s Foundation. The Thirteen Foundation in particular became a source of millions for right-wing political groups. According to the 2013 990 forms filed by the foundations with the IRS, The Thirteen Foundation gave 922,000 that year to the American Family Association. It is not clear how much of that was for Lane’s projects, but the filing from Heavenly Father’s Foundation is more explicit, reporting $750,000 to the AFA for three Pastors and Pews conferences.

Lane is, not surprisingly perhaps, a fan of today’s big-money approach to politics. Speaking about a post-Citizens United World, Lane told NBC News’s Perry Bacon in 2014: “The problem used to be, you had to raise $2,500 per person, so you had to come up with the bundlers. With Citizens United, I don’t think it’s as big of a hurdle. Now you can have somebody who gives $15 or $20 million into a super PAC and that changes the game.”

CBN’s David Brody as David Lane’s Personal Press Agent

David Lane has been careful over the years to manage his media presence, preferring with few exceptions to do his work beneath the radar of the national news. But he has often relied on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody, who calls Lane “a good friend,” to promote his events or videos, reported breathlessly by Brody as “exclusives.”

One good example of Brody serving as Lane’s public relations man came in a March blog post, in which Brody enthused about the upcoming event featuring Jindal and Cruz: “The influential David Lane has done it yet again, pulling together a big event in Iowa where the two soon-to-be presidential candidates will speak in front of a couple hundred pastors next week.”

Brody added a message directly to reporters:

“Hey mainstream media: you better pay attention to these events. These spiritual events are authentic as can be and here's some straight talk for the media as well: don't think that Cruz, Jindal, and others do these events for political purposes. They are both authentic Christians who believe every word of what they say when they talk to these pastors. They are NOT ashamed of the Gospel.

Will there be some political benefit? Well, of course but their heart is in the right place. And after all, God looks at the heart.”

Is it remotely possible that David Brody really believes that Cruz and Jindal do not go to Lane’s explicitly political events “for political purposes”?

David Lane, the GOP, Gideon and Rahab the Harlot

Lane ends just about every email and column with the question, “Will a Gideon or Rahab the Harlot please make a stand?” As RWW has noted, in the Old Testament, Gideon is called by God to defeat the armies of enemies of the Israelites and end the worship of false gods. Rahab the Harlot enabled the Israelites’ conquest of Jericho by helping two spies sent into the city by Joshua. She and her family were the only ones spared when the city was destroyed and every other man, woman and child was killed. Politicians who stand with Lane might consider asking him just what he means by his frequently repeated calls for a Gideon or Rahab to stand up among American evangelicals.

Appendix: A David Lane Primer

  • Argued that “homosexuals praying at the Inauguration” of President Obama in 2013 will provoke God’s wrath in the form of “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa.”
  • Feared that God might destroy the U.S. just as he punished Nazi Germany: “If we get judgment like Nazi Germany, I’m assuming we go to rebel, and God says ‘I’m done.’”
  •  Urged conservative Christians to prepare for martyrdom in their fight to “save the nation from the pagan onslaught imposing homosexual marriage [and] homosexual scouts.”
  • Warned that homosexuality has created an unparalleled “moral crisis” and “threatened our utter destruction.”
  • Favorably quoted a Christian author who said that “same-sex marriage practiced universally is suicide. To survive gays and lesbians are parasites, depending for their cultural survival on couples that birth the next generation.”
  • Explained why homosexuality is a threat to freedom: “Homosexuality is debauchery. God’s loyalty and fidelity — that guard the nation — make sustainable freedom dependent on seeking virtue.”
  • Predicted that homosexuality will lead to the destruction of America: “Homosexual desire and marriage is unnatural and — more so — is a symptom of advanced cultural decay and precursor to the collapse of the Republican Party and the nation.... The mark of a decadent society is the exaltation and normalization of sin — which leads to the death.”
  • Said homosexuality is part of a Marxist “psychological conditioning” plot.
  • Attacked gay Republicans Richard Tisei and Ken Mehlman along with GOP marriage equality supporters Rob PortmanLaura Bush, Barbara Bush and Cindy McCain for trying “to impose homosexual marriage — and indecency — on Christian America.”
  • Compared Republicans who support marriage equality to politicians who backed slavery in the run-up to the Civil War.
  • Called the separation of church and state a “lie” and a “fabricated whopper” used to stop “Christian America – the moral majority – from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning and pagan media.”
  • Claimed that while “America was a Christian nation” since its founding, now it must choose between being “a Christian nation or a pagan nation.”
  • Said America needs a “thorough cleaning from pornography, abortion, homosexuality, filth from TV and Hollywood, racism, and injustice.”
  • Asserted that the “false gods of multiculturalism, political correctness and secularism must be removed from Christian America.”
  • Disclosed that “our long-term strategy must be to place the Bible in Public Schools as the principle [sic] textbook of American education.”
  • Congratulated a pastor for exposing Mitt Romney’s belief in the “false god of Mormonism” during the 2012 GOP primaries.
  • Lamented that the “‘religion of secularism’ has produced red ink as far as the eye can see, homosexuals praying at the Inauguration, tax-funded abortion, homosexual marriage in several States, Evangelicals held in contempt, and God expelled from the classrooms of America — and the public square.”
  • Warned that while America has “grovel to the false god of Islam,” “America, a Christian nation in heritage and culture, is being dismantled brick by brick.

 

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/11/15

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/8/15

Mike Huckabee: Obama Is 'Redistributing Poverty'

Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson is furious that Dubuque, Iowa, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have reached an agreement on the distribution of federally funded housing vouchers. In the future, the city will no longer give preferential treatment to people already living in the Dubuque area, which HUD said put people moving to the area “from predominantly African American areas” such as Chicago and Milwaukee “at a disadvantage.”

Mickelson spoke to Mike Huckabee, the Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas governor, about the decision on Friday. Huckabee shared Mickelson’s indignation, lambasting the “insane” decision.

“Nothing surprises me anymore about the Obama administration,” Huckabee said. “But what an interesting idea: the concept of not only redistributing income but now redistributing poverty so that his hometown is not going to experience it.”

Huckabee Stands By 'Commonsense' Transgender Locker Room Joke

Former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee stood by a joke he made at the expense of transgender people, telling Iowa talk radio host Steve Deace on Friday that his off-color joke was a “commonsense answer to the insanity that’s going on out there.”

In a speech to the National Religious Broadcasters convention in February, Huckabee joked that when he was in high school he would have liked to have pretended to be transgender in order to shower with the girls in gym class. The comment gained national attention after the conservative website WorldNetDaily posted it on YouTube last month, shortly before Caitlyn Jenner’s introduction in Vanity Fair put transgender rights in the media spotlight.

When Deace asked Huckabee if the criticism of his locker room joke was an example of the media’s “misplaced priorities,” Huckabee responded, “It’s absolutely an example.”

“And by the way, Steve, I take nothing back from that speech,” he added. “I’m kind of glad it’s posted because people, if they watch the whole clip, what they’re going to see is that I’m giving a commonsense answer to the insanity that’s going on out there. Because I hear people, everybody wants to be politically correct, everybody wants to be loved by the media and loved by the left and loved by the elitists. But, you know, I know I’m not going to be, so let’s just get it over with. I’d rather be a commonsense candidate for people who did take their brains to work today.”

The Duggar Family And The Christian Right's Persecution Complex

The ability of Religious Right activists and their allies in the conservative media to paint themselves as the targets of horrible persecution, a core strategy of the conservative movement for decades, is truly astounding. No matter the issue, whether it is defending laws denying equal rights to gay people or opposing government neutrality towards religion, the strategy is always the same: play the victim.

Outside of just issue advocacy, Religious Right figures attempt to depict any criticism of their political positions and records as a direct attack on their freedoms and religious beliefs, suggesting that their deeply held beliefs should somehow give them immunity from political reproach.

This strategy has been so effective that the Duggar family, reeling from a sexual abuse cover-up scandal, has adopted it, and it was on full display in Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s interview last night with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.

“Do you think in particular your Christian beliefs at issue here?,” Kelly asked the Duggar parents, who, according to police reports, took months to report their son Josh Duggar’s alleged sexual abuse of several young girls including his sisters and may not have sought counseling for their children. Josh Duggar, who resigned from his position as a Family Research Council executive when the allegations became public and who has since admitted to sexually abusing several girls as a teenager, was not interviewed.

Jim Bob and Michelle, stars of the TLC reality show “19 Kids and Counting,” told Kelly that they are victims of an “agenda” that is out to get their family and a media that won’t offer them privacy as the scandal unfolds.

This victimization narrative, coming from a family that stars in a nationally broadcast reality TV show and that has been active in conservative political causes — including campaigning against a local nondiscrimination measure in North Carolina by portraying LGBT people as threats to child safety — may seem insincere. But the Duggars they know that the strategy is effective, and that outlets like Fox News are there to help them.

Mike Huckabee too labeled the Duggar parents and Josh Duggar as victims of an “insensitive” media. CNN reports that Chad Gallagher, Huckabee’s “longtime adviser” and “the executive director of Huck PAC,” is managing the Duggar family’s public relations strategy.

As for the daughters who survived the abuse, two of whom spoke to Kelly in defense of their brother, Jim Bob explained that “they didn’t even know he had done it” since they were asleep when several of the instances occurred. “This was not rape or anything like that. This was like touching over the clothes. There were a couple instances where he touched someone under the clothes, but for like a few seconds.”

Instead, Kelly and the Duggar parents took aim at In Touch magazine, which found the police report about Duggar’s abuse through a Freedom of Information Act request, and the local police unit which complied with the request, as the real perpetrators of wrongdoings, insisting that the current media coverage has been far more damaging to the abuse survivors.

As CNN’s Brian Stelter pointed out, Fox News “barely covered” the scandal when it first came to light, far less than their cable news rivals, but was more than happy to help the family “speak to their Christian conservative base” by helping the Duggars become the latest Religious Right activists to use the play-the-victim strategy.

Religious Right Angry At Business Support For Marriage Equality

Conservative religious leaders have been delighted to work with parts of corporate America – most notably the Koch brothers’ political networks – to elect candidates who back right-wing social and economic policies. Religious conservatives have championed Citizens United and the demolition of regulations on campaign cash. The Kochs even promote Religious Right leaders who tell their followers that the Bible opposes minimum wage laws, unions, and progressive taxes. But many of America’s biggest companies have also become supporters of equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and that’s making religious conservatives angry.

When a number of major corporations pushed back hard against an anti-gay “religious freedom” law in Indiana, Gov. Mike Pence asked the legislature to amend the law to state that it would not allow businesses to discriminate. And that made the Religious Right furious. Reliably pro-business Republican presidential candidates like Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, and Bobby Jindal have been attacking big business support for gay rights in a sometimes awkward attempt at right-wing populist rhetoric.

Today’s mail brought a direct mail letter from the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins complaining, “Big Business has joined the anti-Christian bullies!” Perkins warns that “the seduction of Big Business by the homosexual rights movement is the main reason that movement has gained such momentum over our freedom to believe and live according to those beliefs.” Perkins asks for donations to “Stop Big Business’s Assault on Religious Freedom” and to support an FRC initiative to talk to business leaders and bring them around.

Another direct mail piece from Perkins, this time for FRC’s political arm, FRC Action, arrived the same day, in an envelope emblazoned with, “When you can’t make a living because you’re a Christian…THAT’S NOT FREEDOM.” The letter complains that “big corporations are foolishly aligning with the Left’s social agenda” and pledges that FRC Action will help states “create and pass a protective wall of religious freedom laws.” Perkins gripes about business opposition to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act:

The media published incredible false claims about what the law said and what the law would do. Hollywood celebrities, giant corporations, sports leagues, and even other states became a national lynch mob. They threatened and enacted boycotts of the state.

Tragically the governor ultimately caved in to these pressures. With the corporate community threatening boycotts and economic loss to the state, it appears that many political leaders in the state were more concerned about economic issues than moral truth, religious freedom, and the well-being of the family.

Over at conservative journal First Things, University of Notre Dame Professor Patrick Deneen says it is clear that in Indiana, “Republicans and Christians lost, Democrats and gay activists won.” (Of course this simplistic formulation ignores the Christian leaders who were allied with LGBT activists in opposing the law.) Deneen, a critic of both corporate capitalism and liberal democracy, blames the outcome in Indiana on business involvement:

Had the only appreciable opposition to RFRA come from gay rights activists, RFRA would have been a smashing political success for Republicans. It would have made the right enemies while generating gratitude and energy in the base. They did not expect their usual friends in corporate America to join the opposition, which was an idiotic miscalculation given the fact that establishment outrage scuttled the Arizona RFRA last year.

Deneen wrote last year that “The modern corporation and modern marriage are born of the same philosophical roots: rootless individuals seeking self-gratification in whatever way they see fit, short of ‘harming’ another.” In his First Things article, he portrays corporations standing with LGBT groups as a smart business decision given pro-gay shifts in public attitudes. But he calls the gay-rights collaboration between cultural and economic “elites” a dangerous alignment that is “ready to steamroll anyone in their way.” After Indiana, he says, “religiously based opposition to gay marriage is now more likely than ever to be treated by our society as tantamount to a hate crime,” and warns that the “elite-sanctioned attack on ‘bigotry’” will “reach inevitably into the sanctuaries of the churches themselves.”

Mike Huckabee: Gay Marriage Will Criminalize Christianity by Elevating 'A Lifestyle To The Status Of A Civil Right'

This month’s issue of Billy Graham’s Decision magazine contains, along with a fawning profile of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a “special report” on the upcoming Supreme Court gay marriage decision, featuring panicked interviews with GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver.

In an interview with Decision, Huckabee repeated his warning that marriage equality will lead to the “criminalization of Christianity,” saying, “When you elevate a lifestyle to the status of a civil right, I don’t think a lot of believers fully understand or comprehend that once it’s risen to that level and our government accepts it, then anyone who disagrees with it could be at least civilly liable, but more than likely would be criminally liable.”

He warned that if marriage equality is legalized nationwide, it will become a “criminal act” for a pastor to preach against gay marriage. Of course, this has not yet happened in any of the states where gay marriage is currently legal, nor did it ever become illegal to preach against interracial marriage after that was legalized by the Supreme Court nearly 50 years ago.

Similarly, Staver warned that marriage equality is an attack on “the very image of God” and urged churches to prepare for civil disobedience in the mold of pastor and anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “We’re no longer going to just talk like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, we’re going to act like Dietrich Bonhoeffer.”

“To attack marriage attacks the very image of God,” said Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel and former dean of the School of Law at Liberty University.

“It puts the State in the position of acting as though it knows better than God and, in fact, is the creator, with the ability to redefine God’s natural created order.”

A decision in favor of same-sex marriage would set off an unprecedented avalanche of threats on religious liberties, potentially affecting virtually every church, pastor, ministry and Christian-owned business.

“The implications are staggering,” Staver said.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee warns that it could even lead to the “criminalization of Christianity.”

“When you elevate a lifestyle to the status of a civil right, I don’t think a lot of believers fully understand or comprehend that once it’s risen to that level and our government accepts it, then anyone who disagrees with it could be at least civilly liable, but more than likely would be criminally liable,” Huckabee, a Republican presidential candidate, told Decision during a recent visit to the Billy Graham Library.

“The impact is this: A pastor getting up in the pulpit and proclaiming God’s Word that marriage is the act of one man and woman joining together for life would violate the civil rights of a same-sex couple. … That would make it a criminal act.”

Proponents of same-sex marriage—backed by the Obama administration—say LGBT couples are being discriminated against and deserve marriage equality protections.

Regardless of how the case turns out, Huckabee made clear that the true definition of marriage will stand.

“Even if the Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage is OK, it doesn’t make it OK because the Supreme Court is not the Supreme Being,” he said. “The ultimate rules for marriage were not made by the Supreme Court, but by God. He is the One who gave us the blueprint.”

Liberty Counsel’s Staver said of the threat to religious liberties: “You’re not going to be able to have your own opinion if it’s a contrary opinion because the force of the police state will require individuals not just to remain silent, but to affirm and promote same-sex unions and immoral sexual behavior.”

[Liberty Institute president Kelly] Shackelford said it will be difficult for churches to follow their doctrine without interference from the government.

“Almost every ministry is going to have implications,” he said. “Every Christian organization and every church is going to find themselves in a situation where they’re going to have to decide, in many cases, whether to follow man’s new law or God’s law.”

Staver said churches, ministries and individual believers must be willing to practice civil disobedience if that’s what it takes to obey God’s Word.

“We’re no longer going to just talk like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, we’re going to act like Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” Staver said, referring to the German pastor who was imprisoned for resisting Hitler’s Nazi regime.

“We have to say we will not move and we will not compromise. We must say that this is a line we cannot cross, not because we want a controversy or a conflict, not because we’re being belligerent, but because it is such a stark assault on our religious freedom and our Christian beliefs that we cannot cross it. We have to render to God what belongs to God.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/2/15

Right Wing Round-Up - 5/26/15

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Mike Huckabee Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Monday 08/10/2015, 5:33pm
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Mike Huckabee, and others will be speaking at one of David Lane's upcoming "Renewal Project" events in Texas later this month. CBN's David Brody says that "Fox News should be utterly ashamed. Donald Trump should sue the network for harassment." Phyllis Schlafly says that "Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in favor of gay marriage is an affront to God, the Constitution, and the American people." Phil Burress warns that gay rights activists are "persecuting anyone who disagrees with them, [they... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Monday 08/10/2015, 1:40pm
In last week’s GOP presidential debate, Mike Huckabee made an explicit argument in favor of radical fetal personhood laws, claiming that Congress could pass a law granting rights to fertilized eggs and fetuses under the 14th and Fifth Amendments, thus criminalizing all abortion and possibly common forms of birth control in one fell swoop. But one of Huckabee’s fellow candidates made a very similar comment, which has received less attention because he did not explicitly acknowledge the personhood movement. Here’s what Marco Rubio said when Fox News’ Megyn Kelly... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Monday 08/10/2015, 11:14am
In a field of GOP presidential candidates who spent a good part of their first presidential debate trying to out-extreme each other on the issue of abortion restrictions, Mike Huckabee is trying to stand out by going all in on the idea of fetal personhood, which would criminalize abortion under all circumstances and could even ban common forms of birth control.  As we noted last week, Huckabee seems to have gotten behind the idea that fertilized eggs and fetuses can be granted equal protection and due process rights under the 14th and Fifth Amendments through simple legislation,... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Friday 08/07/2015, 5:45pm
Tara Culp-Ressler @ ThinkProgress: GOP Candidates Reveal Their Terrifying Fantasies About Abortion At First Debate. Steve Benen @ Maddow Blog: Republicans in need of a Reagan refresher. Eric Hananoki @ Media Matters: “Are You Freaking Kidding Me?" Fox's Starnes Spends Debate Trashing His Employer. Joe Jervis: Ben Carson: America As We Know It Will Be Destroyed By Independent Trump Run. Tom Boggioni @ Raw Story: Texas judge orders young man to marry girlfriend and write Bible verses to avoid jail time. MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 08/07/2015, 1:11pm
RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right. There is a lot to be scared about this week: Obama demons, Obama killing white people, Obama nuking Texas. Perhaps there is a phrase to describe this phenomenon. 5) Obama’s Demon…Exposed! While WorldNetDaily has so far failed in its quest to find President Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate, it has stumbled upon something even more sinister: Obama’s Kenyan demon. In an article titled, “Is this a demon racing in front of Obama?,” WND executive... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Friday 08/07/2015, 11:17am
At last night’s presidential debates hosted by Fox News, it was jarring to hear Fox personalities and Republican presidential candidates alike using the derogatory term “illegals” to refer to undocumented immigrants. Fox and other conservative media outlets have rejected efforts — including Colorlines’ the Drop the I-Word campaign —  to stop using terms like “illegal immigrant” and “illegal alien.” Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist who “came out” as an undocumented immigrant in 2011, started the following year to... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Friday 08/07/2015, 10:57am
Last night’s Republican presidential debate on Fox News featured plenty of disturbing rhetoric about women, from the ridiculous (Donald Trump’s weird ad hominem attack on Rosie O’Donnell) to the infuriating (Marco Rubio speaking out against rape and incest exceptions) to the terrifying (Scott Walker clarifying that he does not support allowing abortions that would save the lives of pregnant women). But Mike Huckabee took things to a new level when he calmly presented his plan to grant legal “personhood” to fertilized eggs and fetuses. Some commentators have... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Tuesday 08/04/2015, 11:54am
This weekend, Mike Huckabee addressed an “All Lives Matter” summit in Illinois sponsored by conservative groups hoping to link the Black Lives Matter movement to abortion rights opposition, where he declared that America is in a “dangerous place” because it is bucking God with marriage equality and abortion rights. “I would suggest that if man believes that he can redefine marriage, it’s apparent that man believes he has become his own god,” Huckabee told the crowd, “and  this is a dangerous place for America to be.” He told them... MORE >