Rick Perry

Candidate Rick Perry to Speak at 'Apolitical' The Response: South Carolina

In the lead up to The Response in Houston back in August, organizers of the prayer rally and Rick Perry himself said the event had absolutely nothing to do with politics, even though the Texas Governor was actively preparing his presidential campaign at the time and announced his bid seven days after The Response.

Now, The Response is holding events in early Republican primary states, including one last month in Iowa and two prayer rallies in the next major GOP contests, South Carolina and Florida, and presidential candidate Rick Perry will be the special guest at the event in Greenville, which will take place just days before the primary vote:

Of course, having a presidential candidate who has made South Carolina the last stand of his campaign address the prayer event flies in the face of everything The Response organizers and Perry said about the “apolitical” nature of The Response. Perry’s office said in a statement publicizing The Response, which he headed along with the far-right American Family Association, that it was decidedly “apolitical”:

Gov. Rick Perry has proclaimed Saturday, Aug. 6th, as a Day of Prayer and Fasting for our Nation to seek God's guidance and wisdom in addressing the challenges that face our communities, states and nation. He has invited governors across the country to join him on Aug. 6th to participate in The Response, a non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting hosted by the American Family Association at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Gov. Perry also urged fellow governors to issue similar proclamations encouraging their constituents to pray that day for unity and righteousness for our states, nation and mankind.

Don Wildmon, the founder of the AFA even claimed that “no political candidates will be speaking” at The Response, and organizer Doug Stringer, who called the September 11th attacks divine punishment, said he wouldn’t participate if it advanced anyone’s “political aspirations”:

"The Response is an open event. Anyone who wants to pray to Jesus for a nation in crisis is welcome to attend. Next, The Response is a prayer event, not a political event," Wildmon says. "No political candidates will be speaking. Finally our critics say The Response violates the separation of church and state. The event will be held at a public stadium which has no connection to a religious body."



“I didn’t want to officially be a part of The Response if there was any inkling that this would be anything political or that preaching pontificators would use this as an agenda for their individual denominations or political aspirations,” Stringer says. “But the governor said it’s going to stay pure. You can’t buy your way or influence your way to the platform.”

But Luis Cataldo of The Response and the International House of Prayer today told the Christian Post that he is bringing the prayer rally in primary states so the campaign can “reflect the values of the evangelical church”:

The Response Director Luis Cataldo acknowledged to The Christian Post that its schedule is intentionally aligned to that of the primaries. And The Response, he said, is definitely about influence.

“We are trying to influence the primary race in that the [current] moral climate, the legislation doesn’t reflect the values of the evangelical church,” Cataldo revealed.



“That was one of the things we most said at the beginning that we’re not political people, we’re praying people,” said Cataldo. But he added, “Prayer must be followed by action.”

Many of the original organizers of The Response had high hopes for Perry, with Lou Engle even saying that Perry’s presidential campaign announcement caused God to end the drought in Texas, but as his presidential bid has badly floundered, even Wildmon, the official host of The Response, has abandoned him.

Candidate Rick Perry to Speak at 'Apolitical' The Response: South Carolina

In the lead up to The Response in Houston back in August, organizers of the prayer rally and Rick Perry himself said the event had absolutely nothing to do with politics, even though the Texas Governor was actively preparing his presidential campaign at the time and announced his bid seven days after The Response.

Now, The Response is holding events in early Republican primary states, including one last month in Iowa and two prayer rallies in the next major GOP contests, South Carolina and Florida, and presidential candidate Rick Perry will be the special guest at the event in Greenville, which will take place just days before the primary vote:

Of course, having a presidential candidate who has made South Carolina the last stand of his campaign address the prayer event flies in the face of everything The Response organizers and Perry said about the “apolitical” nature of The Response. Perry’s office said in a statement publicizing The Response, which he headed along with the far-right American Family Association, that it was decidedly “apolitical”:

Gov. Rick Perry has proclaimed Saturday, Aug. 6th, as a Day of Prayer and Fasting for our Nation to seek God's guidance and wisdom in addressing the challenges that face our communities, states and nation. He has invited governors across the country to join him on Aug. 6th to participate in The Response, a non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting hosted by the American Family Association at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Gov. Perry also urged fellow governors to issue similar proclamations encouraging their constituents to pray that day for unity and righteousness for our states, nation and mankind.

Don Wildmon, the founder of the AFA even claimed that “no political candidates will be speaking” at The Response, and organizer Doug Stringer, who called the September 11th attacks divine punishment, said he wouldn’t participate if it advanced anyone’s “political aspirations”:

"The Response is an open event. Anyone who wants to pray to Jesus for a nation in crisis is welcome to attend. Next, The Response is a prayer event, not a political event," Wildmon says. "No political candidates will be speaking. Finally our critics say The Response violates the separation of church and state. The event will be held at a public stadium which has no connection to a religious body."



“I didn’t want to officially be a part of The Response if there was any inkling that this would be anything political or that preaching pontificators would use this as an agenda for their individual denominations or political aspirations,” Stringer says. “But the governor said it’s going to stay pure. You can’t buy your way or influence your way to the platform.”

But Luis Cataldo of The Response and the International House of Prayer today told the Christian Post that he is bringing the prayer rally in primary states so the campaign can “reflect the values of the evangelical church”:

The Response Director Luis Cataldo acknowledged to The Christian Post that its schedule is intentionally aligned to that of the primaries. And The Response, he said, is definitely about influence.

“We are trying to influence the primary race in that the [current] moral climate, the legislation doesn’t reflect the values of the evangelical church,” Cataldo revealed.



“That was one of the things we most said at the beginning that we’re not political people, we’re praying people,” said Cataldo. But he added, “Prayer must be followed by action.”

Many of the original organizers of The Response had high hopes for Perry, with Lou Engle even saying that Perry’s presidential campaign announcement caused God to end the drought in Texas, but as his presidential bid has badly floundered, even Wildmon, the official host of The Response, has abandoned him.

Divided Religious Right Leaders may ask Presidential Candidates to Withdraw

Divided Religious Right Leaders may ask Presidential Candidates to Withdraw With Religious Right leaders set to meet in Texas about the GOP presidential primary, divisions within the movement may hinder efforts to put on a united front. Just as in 2008, when many social conservatives were divided and John McCain was able to win the Republican nomination, it looks like discord and delay will doom any chance that this meeting will be a game-changer.

Elizabeth Dias of TIME reports that Don Wildmon, the founder of the American Family Association who was an early supporter of Rick Perry but has since endorsed Newt Gingrich, told invited guests that they must be prepared to switch which candidate they support so as not to “not divide our strength.” Dias also reports that there “is a rumor among several invitees that the leaders may ask a candidate to withdraw” from the race:

Some 125 evangelical leaders and their spouses will gather this weekend at a Texas ranch to discuss the latest iteration of Operation What To Do About Mitt Romney. While organizers say it is not a meeting to stop the GOP front runner, the invitation is urgent: “This coming election could prove to be the most critical of our lifetime,” it reads. The real kicker: Event sponsor and former American Family Association chairman Don Wildmon has asked invitees if they would be “be willing to compromise and change your choice to one that the body as a whole supports in order to not divide our strength,” according to someone who has received the invitation. The implication? Time’s running out to anoint a consensus candidate for social conservatives.

Getting all the members of this group, let alone the voters of South Carolina, behind this proposition in the middle of January will likely require an act of God. Evangelical votes and donations are already splintered between Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum. (Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman, despite their second and third place finishes in New Hampshire, will not be under consideration at the ranch outside Houston this weekend.) There is a rumor among several invitees that the leaders may ask a candidate to withdraw, but entrenched loyalties will make it difficult to settle on one or possibly two contenders to take to the fall. Wildmon financed Perry’s “Response” prayer rally this summer, and event organizer Gary Bauer, a former Family Research Council president and a U.S.-presidential hopeful in 2000, endorsed Santorum at a South Carolina campaign event this past Sunday.

Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times found that Religious Right leaders are trying to make sure that they don’t come across as hostile to Mitt Romney as he inches closer to winning the nomination, noting that Romney’s evangelical supporters will be present:

Gary L. Bauer, president of American Values and one of the organizers, said Tuesday in an interview, “We’re not forming some alliance to stop somebody else that’s competing for the nomination,” adding, “the only person in that room the people want to stop is Barack Obama from having a second term.”

Mr. Bauer, it happens, will be supporting Mr. Santorum, whom he endorsed and campaigned with last week. But Mr. Bauer said the meeting would include advocates “for all of the candidates, including Romney.” Mr. Romney’s advocates are expected to be working the room aggressively.

For some insider knowledge, AFA spokesman and Perry-cheerleader Bryan Fischer urged his allies to all rally around the Texas governor despite his extraordinarily low place in the polls and beyond-terrible debate performances:

The only alternative to this scenario is if social conservatives are able to rally around Rick Perry. Newt Gingrich is fatally flawed and bleeding from too many self-inflicted wounds, including morphing into Michael Moore in his attacks on free enterprise. Rick Santorum, despite his unapologetic and vigorous social conservatism, does not have the infrastructure, the organization, or the money to run a nationwide campaign. He will not even be on the ballot in four or five states.

Only Rick Perry combines effective executive experience, a proven record of economic vitality, a consistently conservative set of social values, and the structure and fund-raising capacity to defeat Romney in the primary and Obama in the general. He or Santorum could blunt some of the Ron Paul mania and keep many conservatives from defecting to Paul. But Perry finished fifth in Iowa, was barely a blip in New Hampshire, and is polling at five percent in South Carolina.

Jeffress: Social Security Crisis, Medicare Crisis and Deficit are ‘God’s Judgment’ for Legal Abortion

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Robert Jeffress, a prominent endorser of Gov. Rick Perry, said in an interview with Janet Mefferd yesterday that the Social Security crisis, the Medicare crisis and the mounting federal deficit are “God’s judgment” for legalized abortion.

Citing a study by the fringe anti-choice group Movement for a Better America, Jeffress claims that legalized abortion is responsible for $35 trillion in lost GDP over the last 35 years.

Listen:

Jeffress: Since Roe v. Wade, we’ve had 40 million babies aborted, murdered. Do you realize that if those children, one study I cite in the books says, if those children had been allowed to live, if they had grown up and become productive citizens, it would have added $35 trillion to our Gross National Product in the last 35 years, and there would be no Social Security crisis or Medicare crisis because those people would be paying, productive citizens into the system.

You know, we’ve got even conservatives, Janet, in the Republican Party who are saying, “Oh, this is the year where we’re interested in the economy and not in social issues.” Listen, there is a connection between social issues and economic issues. You cannot wipe out 20 percent of your population, like we have done as a nation through abortion, without great economic repercussions, which I think are God’s judgment. I think the mounting deficit, the Social Security crisis, all those things are part of God’s judgment because we have murdered 20 percent of our population. 

Jeffress Warns that First Amendment Protections will “Kindle the Anger of God Against Us”

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Robert Jeffress, a prominent endorser of Rick Perry, is not happy about the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom. In fact, Jeffress warns in a sermon posted online today, the religious protections of the First Amendment will “kindle the anger of God against us”:

Although our Constitution grants every citizen the right to worship or not worship any god he chooses, that right in no way changes God’s attitude toward idolatry. God does not change. Any nation that chooses to publicly renounce the true God in order to embrace and elevate other gods is going to face God’s judgment. That is what the Word of God says. And I closed that editorial in the Washington Post by saying, how ironic that the Air Force, which is trying to protect our nation against terrorist attacks, how ironic that our nation is doing the very thing that is guaranteed to kindle the anger of God against us.

And ladies and gentlemen, when God chooses to judge us, remember how he did it with Israel? He used a pagan nation that worshipped pagan gods to bring his punishment on Israel. And I believe he will do the same with us, and when he chooses to do that, no military power, no matter how strong we are, will be able to protect us against the judgment of Almighty God.

Jeffress refers to the Air Force's facilitaton of worship by members of minority faiths. Like Jeffress, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) has ripped into the Air Force for its equal treatment of religious minorities and televangelist John Hagee has claimed that pagan worship in the military is the reason why the U.S. is unable to win wars.

Jeffress sums up the Almighty’s beef with the First Amendment thus: “What we call diversity, God calls idolatry”:

 

Earlier in the sermon, Jeffress claimed that a school shooting in Kentucky was divine retribution for a series of Supreme Court decisions on prayer in public schools.

Jeffress: Kentucky School Shooting God’s Retribution for Supreme Court Decision

Robert Jeffress, the prominent Dallas pastor who endorsed Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit last year and immediately got the candidate in hot water when his less than friendly views on Mormonism, Catholicism, Judaism and Islam came to light, is out with some new sermons in his ongoing series about America’s imminent collapse.

In a sermon posted yesterday, Jeffress argued that three key Supreme Court decisions on the separation of church and state have “so weakened our nation’s spiritual and social structure that collapse is inevitable.” He singles out the Court’s 1980 decision in Stone v. Graham, which struck down Kentucky’s law requiring that the Ten Commandments be posted in all public school classrooms. This decision, Jeffress argues, led directly to a tragic 1997 shooting spree in a Kentucky high school by a 14-year-old student who was later diagnosed with schizophrenia.

“Is that just a coincidence?” Jeffress asks. “I don’t think so. God warned Israel repeatedly of the devastating consequences she would experience if she forsook God and forgot his commandments.”
 

The prohibition against prayer, the prohibition against voluntary reading of the Bible, were only preambles to the most outlandish Supreme Court decision to date. For years, the public schools in Kentucky had posted copies of the Ten Commandments in the hallway. Understand, there was no obligation for the students to read the Ten Commandments, there was no explanation, no teaching of it in the schools. The Ten Commandments were simply displayed in the hallways, commandments like, “Thou shalt not kill,” “Thou shalt not covet,” “Thou shalt not steal.” That was what was posted. However, in 1980, in the case of Stone v. Graham, the Supreme Court ruled that the posting of the Ten Commandments was unconstitutional.

In a tragic twist of irony, 17 years after the Stone decision in 1980, a group of students had assembled together at Heath High School in Paducah, Kentucky, as they did every morning for a time of prayer and Bible reading. As these students stood around a set of lockers and they were engaging in prayer, a 14-year-old student approached them, pulled out a handgun and opened fire, killing three of the students and seriously wounding five. All of that occurred in the hallway of a Kentucky school where the Supreme Court said, “You cannot post the words, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’” Is that just a coincidence? I don’t think so. God warned Israel repeatedly of the devastating consequences she would experience if she forsook God and forgot his commandments.
 

Another Rick Perry Endorser tells Voters to Reject Romney over Mormonism

We frequently hear from conservative commentators that Religious Right voters have no problem with supporting a Mormon politician and any anti-Mormon sentiments actually come from the left and the media. But today on American Family Radio’s The Matt Friedman Show, Rick Scarborough of Vision America said he refuses to support Mitt Romney in the primary because he is a Mormon. Scarborough is a prominent endorser and ally of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose campaign earlier this year promoted the fiercely anti-Mormon pastor Robert Jeffress, and is best known for organizing “patriot pastors.” Scarborough previously signed a letter with other Religious Right activists opposing Romney, and told Friedeman that he disagreed with Chuck Colson and Franklin Graham for saying that voters should not reject Romney outright because of his faith.

Like Jeffress, Scarborough said he would ultimately vote for a Mormon over Barack Obama but would certainly not support Romney “as long as there is another candidate” because Mormonism is “so outside the realm of normal, theological boundaries.”

Watch:

Friedeman: I’m asking you here, with Franklin Graham and Chuck Colson coming out and saying Mormonism isn’t that big of a deal in this presidential election, do you agree?

Scarborough: I do not agree. I respect profoundly both of those men for a myriad of reasons, but I do not agree with that statement. Right now, the most prominent spokesperson for our values in the radio field is Glenn Beck, who is an avowed Mormon, and now the leading presidential candidate is an avowed Mormon. Because of the state of the spiritual life of our country right now, I just think that’s a place I don’t want to go. And the other side of that is, what is not spoken are some of the details of Mormonism, which will be aired completely in a presidential race and I think it will make it difficult if this man secures the nomination for him to be elected just because there are some aspects of the doctrines of Mormonism that are so outside the realm of normal, theological boundaries, that I think it will be a real issue if he got the nomination. Now if the choice comes down for me between a Mormon and Barack Obama, I’d vote for the Mormon every time, but I’m certainly not going to support him as long as there is another candidate.

Rick Perry, Quoting Isaiah, Answers God: "Here Am I; Send Me!"

Rick Perry, Quoting Isaiah, Asks God: “Here I am! Send Me!” Last night, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has been working vigorously to court Religious Right activists, appeared on a conference call with Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition where he spent most of the time discussing his accomplishments in Texas and his committed opposition to abortion rights and gay rights. He quoted Ezekiel 22:30 to call on Americans to “stand in the gap” by fighting “for the unborn and for the traditional values” and against “the secular left.” Perry also claimed that God is commissioning leaders to “get our country back,” and cited Isaiah 6:8: ““Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’”

Perry: I just want to challenge you tonight that the values that are going to be decided in Washington DC and in our state capitals, somebody’s values are going to be what are used to put legislation in place. I think the question is: whose values? And are people of faith going to stand in the gap for the unborn and for the traditional values that America was founded upon? Or are we going to continue to cede more ground to the secular left because of their threatening to sue us or the ACLU or the various, sundry groups. I think we don’t have a choice. If we’re going to get our country back, we have to stand in the gap; we have to be the ones that will stand up. As it says in Isaiah, in chapter 6:8, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’”

Conservative Iowa Radio Host Attacks Rick Perry for Hiring Openly Gay Staffer

Following a series of debate gaffes and blunders that have pushed him out of his spot as a frontrunner in the presidential race, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has tried to win back support by stressing his social conservative credentials. He is kicking off a bus campaign around Iowa focusing on “faith, family and freedom” and has framed himself as a victim of the media, claiming he is being “criticized for standing up for the values Jesus Christ talked about.” In one ad he discusses alleged liberal attacks against his faith and in another attacks openly gay soldiers while lamenting President Obama’s supposed “war on religion.” While Perry has won praise from Religious Right leaders for his ads that vilify gays while stoking fears about President Obama’s handling of religious freedom, at least one right-wing talk show host is angry at the candidate—because he hired a gay pollster.

After the governor’s gay-baiting ad was released, the two leaders of the gay conservative group GOProud tweeted that a high-level pollster on the Perry campaign, Tony Fabrizio, is himself fact gay. Fabrizio has previously worked for pro-gay rights causes, including the campaign to stop Florida’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Steve Deace, an influential Iowa radio host, condemned Perry on his radio show yesterday for hiring an openly gay staffer, who  to work on his campaign for president, likening it to hiring a pedophile or a rapist: “When you put someone in place in your organization, regardless of whether they’re a practicing homosexual, a polygamist, a pedophile, a thief, a rapist, or any other form of behavior that violates the natural law, you are empowering people within your organization that are lawbreakers.”

Deace argued that Perry cannot claim to stand opposed to gay rights while working with people who are trying to “redefine” marriage and that Perry’s decision to hire Fabrizio “repudiates everything that his campaign is supposedly based on.” He went on to say that Perry either “didn’t know” or “didn’t care” about Fabrizio’s sexual orientation, which shows why “despite the fact he’s got $50 million, he’s got six percent more of the popular vote in the polls than I do”:

Deace: So what happens is here is the homosexual deviation from the script, from a public policy standpoint presents challenges to a culture that the rest of the deviations do not. It demands by its very nature, or its violations of nature, it demands that you change the definition of what nature is on everything, across the entire board. So therefore—what is the legal system in America? Well, let’s again go back to our founding document; our founding document says we are governed by ‘the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,’ the natural law. Like, gravity is the natural law, it just is, whether you accept it or not, this is the natural law. So if this natural law is one man and one woman procreating and perpetuating the next generation, and so we’ve set up an entire standard in our system based off of this defined law, if we attempt to redefine that law, we are going to have to redefine everything else.

And so when you put someone in place in your organization, regardless of whether they’re a practicing homosexual, a polygamist, a pedophile, a thief, a rapist or any other form of behavior that violates the natural law, you are empowering people within your organization that are lawbreakers. We are all lawbreakers to some extent, but there’s a difference between recognizing that and going to God for grace and mercy, as opposed to saying you have to change the law and your tradition because of who I am right now, I don’t have to change, you must all change for me.

For the life of me I can’t understand why anybody who’s espousing what Rick Perry espouses in that television ad would put somebody in a place of prominence in his campaign who repudiates everything that his campaign is supposedly based on. What sense does that make? Who would do such a thing? So that leaves two options, either they didn’t know and didn’t do their own homework or they didn’t care. I’m not sure either one of those is really a good answer. That might be signs of why despite the fact he’s got $50 million, he’s got six percent more of the popular vote in the polls than I do.

Rick Perry's Gay-Baiting Ad Lauded by Anti-Gay Leaders

Rick Perry’s desperate ad attacking openly gay service members and criticizing President Obama’s purported “war on religion” has quickly become one of the most disliked videos on YouTube, but it has found a few unsurprising fans: anti-gay zealots in the Religious Right. The ad even divided Perry’s own campaign staff with one pollster calling it “nuts”:

But vilifying gay soldiers and stoking fears about the administration’s supposed hostility to religion is common currency in the Religious Right.

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer said that the ad’s hostile reception on YouTube proves that Perry is a good candidate for Christian conservative voters: “Perry’s ad had triggered an astonishing 637,738 dislikes to just 19,792 likes by 10:53 Eastern time this morning, clearly stamping him as the candidate the vengeful, hate-filled, vitriolic homosexual lobby wants to destroy,” Fischer wrote today. “If you’re looking for your values candidate, conservatives, you may have just found him.” On his radio show last week, Fischer even said that AFA founder and chairman emeritus Don Wildmon, who led The Response prayer rally with Perry, called the ad “the best political ad he’s ever seen.”

Wildmon’s son Tim, the current head of the AFA, agreed with Todd Starnes of Fox News that the ad might help Perry consolidate support among conservative voters and propel Perry to the top of the polls. Starnes predicted “that we are going to see a bump in the poll numbers as the result of this ad, they may not give this ad credit but if you see a rise in the numbers I think it is because of this ad,” saying that it “articulated” how evangelical Christians in America feel:

The Family Research Council even promoted the ad to members and dismissed concerns that it would backfire on the Texas governor, whom they claim is in touch with “everyday Americans”:

Rick Perry's latest ad was intended for Iowa, but thanks to the national media, it's airing on every network in America. A number of pundits are panning the spot for its bold social conservative themes, which they insist will hurt the Texas Governor's chances. "I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian," Gov. Perry says, "but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school." The ad is called "Strong," and that's the kind of message it sends on issues like religious freedom. "As President, I'll end Obama's war on religion. And I'll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage." True, Gov. Perry probably wouldn't win the media's vote with that kind of platform--but he does stand to benefit with everyday Americans who are tired of seeing their values in the line of fire under this administration.

GOP Candidates Line Up to Attend Huckabee's Anti-Choice Premier

Lately, Mike Huckabee has been making the rounds on right-wing radio promoting a new anti-choice documentary he produced with Citizens United called "The Gift of Life" which profiles anti-choice activists as well as those who were "saved from the abortionist":

Huckabee is scheduled to premier the film in Iowa next week and he invited the candidates seeking the Republican nomination to join him for the event where each would be given five minutes to address the audience and flaunt their anti-choice credentials ... and so far, four candidates have accepted the invitation:

Four of the Republican presidential candidates have committed to be at a pro-life forum in Des Moines, Iowa hosted by Mike Huckabee on December 14 to join more than 1,000 pro-life advocates for the unveiling of the new pro-life film Gift of Life.

Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum will come together for the event along with local pro-life Iowans as “The Gift of Life” will make its debut that night. The documentary was produced by Citizens United, the company made famous by a U.S. Supreme Court case that opened the door for unlimited spending on election ads by corporations.

Three other GOP presidential hopefuls, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Jon Huntsman, have also been invited to the event and they, along with the attending candidates, have been invited to address the audience on pro-life issues before the screening.

Also taking part will be Family Leader President Bob Vander Plaats, Iowa Right To Life Executive Director Jenifer Bowen, Citizens United President David Bossie, and “Mickelson In The Morning” radio host Jan Mickelson, said Jeff Marschner, a spokesman for Citizens United. The event takes place at the Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines.

In New Ad, Perry Attacks Gays, “Obama’s War on Religion"

Rick Perry is out with a new TV spot that uses a seasonal “War on Christmas” theme to attack gays serving openly in the military and accuse President Obama of waging a “war on religion.”

Just last week, Perry released an ad assuring us that he’s “not ashamed of his faith” even though, he claims, “some liberals say that faith is a sign of weakness.” Oddly, we had never assumed that Perry was at all ashamed of his faith.

Openly attacking gay people seems to be something of a new strategy for Perry. Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the Obama administration would be using foreign aid to work toward LGBT rights around the world, noting that in many countries people are routinely beaten, jailed and even killed just for being gay. In response, Perry lashed out with a statement accusing the administration of “promoting a lifestyle many Americas of faith find so deeply objectionable.”
 

Romney and Perry Channel President Bush on the Supreme Court, Call for "Strict Constructionists"

“Strict constructionism,” whatever that means, was a hot topic at Saturday’s GOP presidential forum on Fox News. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry took pains to show that they would be very strict about their constructionism. Channeling George W. Bush, they heartily endorsed the rulings of Roberts and Alito and spoke out against judges who supposedly “legislate from the bench.”
 
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli kicked things off by asking Perry, “What does the term ‘strict constructionist’ mean to you and would that be the standard for your nominees to the Supreme Court?”
 
Perry, somewhat giddy, replied that “Alito and a Roberts are the type of the jurists, a strict constructionist, not a legislator in a robe.” “You know, we have about four of each of those on the Supreme Court,” he continued.
 
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt raised the possibility of multiple vacancies on the Supreme Court during the next presidential term, and asked Romney what it means to him to appoint a “strict constructionist.” Romney said that he looks “at the opinions of the last several years by justices like Roberts and Alito, Thomas, Scalia, and I say, these people are strict constructionists.”
 
Despite all the talk about “strict constructionists,” it was hard to know from their words what they actually meant by it. Mike Huckabee, the host, acknowledged as much when he asked Perry, “We’ve all talked about ‘strict constructionists.’ For the layman out there, just help them understand exactly what that means.”
 
Perry sputtered for a couple seconds, then fumbled with his lapel, knocking his mic loose, and pulled out a pocket constitution. Holding it out, upside down no less, Perry defined the term: “It’s right there… That’s the Constitution. Read it. Exactly what it says. That’s what we’re talking about. Don’t read anything into it. Don’t add to it.” Well, that explains it!
 
There’s actually a good reason for all the vague language around “strict constructionism.” When you look at the rulings of Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas, “strict constructionism” has a very different meaning – being strict with everyday Americans while constructing new rights and privileges for powerful business interests, such as the right for corporations to be “people” and spend unlimited sums to influence elections.
 
It’s little wonder that Romney and Perry, like Bush, are sticking to vague buzzwords and catchphrases. Here are some clips of the candidates from Saturday alongside clips of Bush from 2004 and 2008:

 

Perry and Bachmann on Immigration: Shut Down the Border, Deport 11 Million People

The issues of border security and illegal immigration are incredibly complex and directly affect tens of millions of Americans – not to mention the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are estimated to be living in the United States. In other words, these are issues that call for some level of nuance.

Nuance, however, isn’t something that Governor Rick Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann do: 

 When asked about border security by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Perry responded:
I have made the commitment that 12 months after being inaugurated as president, that border will be shut down, and it’ll be secure. 
We can only hope that Perry misspoke about shutting down the border with Mexico. Bachmann, however, was very clear in stating her determination to tear apart millions of families and devastate the economy by deporting all 11 million undocumented immigrants: 
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi: You have pledged to deport all 11 million illegal aliens. Homeland Security tells us that will cost $135 billion. Tell us, first, how you plan to pay for that and how you will execute that plan.
 
Bachmann: This is the thorniest, most difficult issue in dealing with illegal immigration. What about deportation? I believe that we should uphold the laws of the land which does include deportation. […]
 
Bondi: What is your plan for executing it?
 
Bachmann: It would be enforcement. Enforcement both at the border but also by the ICE agents. Right now, essentially, our ICE agents – those are the agents in the interior of the country who are tasked with enforcing the laws – they’re not enforcing them. We also have sanctuary cities where they don’t enforce the laws either on deportation. 

 

Perry Challenges The Judiciary's "Offensive" Decisions

Texas Gov. Rick Perry during Mike Huckabee's presidential candidate forum demanded that Supreme Court justices have term limits because of decisions he finds "offensive" regarding organized prayer and the placement of the Ten Commandments on government grounds. He said that Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito are his models for the courts because they were "strict constructionists." When asked what strict constructionism means in layman's terms, he pulled out the Constitution, holding it upside down, and argued that the current Justices have strayed from it by using the Commerce Clause. As explained in a recent People For the American Way Foundation report, the Commerce Clause has been "the most important constitutional instrument for social progress in our history."

Watch:

Perry's Latest Ad: "I'm Not Ashamed to Talk About My Faith"

Rick Perry wants it known that he is not ashamed to talk about his faith ... and so he's released a new ad letting everyone know exactly that:

When you run for president, you get a bunch of questions about your faith. People want to know what drives you--how you make decisions.

Now some liberals say that faith is a sign of weakness. Well, they're wrong.

I think we all need God's help. America's greatest leaders have been people of strong faith, of strong values. That makes for a strong America.

I'm Rick Perry. I'm not ashamed to talk about my faith. And I approve of this message.

Gee, really?  Who ever would have guessed that after the massive public prayer rally he organized?

Anita Perry Tries, And Fails, To Explain Disastrous Debates

The day after Governor Rick Perry’s devastating debate flub on Wednesday’s CNBC debate, when he forgot one of the three government agencies he had pledged to cut, Texas First Lady Anita Perry appeared on American Family Radio to do damage control. She stressed that the CNBC debate was only his sixth and claimed that the debates were unfair to Perry because “there were people on that stage that have been on the national debate stage for six years, some have been running for president for six years, some have run for president before” and “of the eight candidates on the stage, four of the candidates on the stage had run for president before.” Actually, of the candidates, only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have run for president before.

Anita Perry went on to say that Perry was busy working as governor and fundraising for his campaign, hindering his debate performance. While she cited Texas’ legislative session, the last day the governor can sign or veto bills was actually in June, giving the governor more than four months to prepare for the debate last week.

Of course, maybe Perry would have had more experience debating if he didn’t choose to skip all of the debates against his Democratic opponent in last year’s gubernatorial race. But apparently raising $17 million, and remembering his anniversary, is more important than crafting and learning his own sweeping policy proposals.

Watch:

I look at this man who performed his sixth national debate last night—sixth—there were people on that stage that have been on the national debate stage for six years, some have been running for president for six years, some have run for president before. Out of the eight candidates there, four of the candidates on the stage had run for president before. So we got into this twelve weeks ago, Rick is a sitting governor of Texas, we had a legislative session, he had a veto period, he raised almost $17 million across America in forty-seven days so that he can be a serious contender. So when I’m looking last night at the stage and I see this man who forgot a word, which is very, very, human, I must say, to forget a word when you’re trying to perform on the national stage, I mean I don’t know how they all don’t do it except, you know, they got more under their belt. But I will say this about him, he may have forgotten a word last night on stage, but he remembered our anniversary last week.

Gary Bauer Tries To Defend Perry With Compilation Video Of Stammering Obama

Last week, Gov. Rick Perry made presidential debate history and national news when he struggled for nearly a minute to list the names of the three federal agencies that he would immediately eliminate if elected president before eventually admitting that he couldn't remember the third one and giving up.

Today, Gary Bauer's Campaign For Working Families has come rushing to Perrys' defense with a video called "53 Seconds That Should End A Presidency" that features various clips of President Obama hesitating, stumbling over his words, and misspeaking ... as if that is somehow even remotely the same thing:

Frankly, you'd think that Bauer, of all people, would be particularly disinclined to mock public gaffes in this manner given that the highlight of his own presidential campaign was when he fell off the stage while trying to flip a pancake:

Is Newt Gingrich The Religious Right Candidate By Default?

After Rick Perry jumped into the presidential race, the Texas governor quickly took the lead among Republican voters nationwide and in surveys in critical states like Iowa and South Carolina. Analysts reasonably predicted that the nomination would come down to a choice between Perry and Mitt Romney as other candidates like Michele Bachmann fizzled and Tim Pawlenty dropped out. Perry, who announced his candidacy following his The Response prayer rally, courted and won plaudits from Religious Right luminaries including James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Richard Land, David Barton, Don Wildmon, David Lane, James Leninger and Jerry Falwell Jr.

However, a number of disastrous debate appearances, including a painful fifty-three second brain freeze, have derailed Perry’s candidacy as Herman Cain has risen in the polls. But Cain’s nonsensical and inconsistent responses to standard questions on abortion rights and marriage equality, along with his dysfunctional and mismanaged campaign, did little to endear him tp Religious Right leaders.

New polls now have Newt Gingrich surging to second place behind Romney nationally, and second to Cain in Iowa and South Carolina. Rick Perry’s support in Iowa and South Carolina, on the other hand, dropped to four and six percent, respectively.

During Gingrich’s calamitous rollout, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association outlined why “social conservatives and all those in the pro-family movement must have grave reservations about his candidacy”:

But actions have consequences, and his pattern of infidelity is only made worse by the fact that he divorced diseased wives to whom he had pledged himself "in sickness and in health...til death do us part."

John the Baptist famously rebuked a politician of his day for his problematic marital history, and Mr. Gingrich rightly comes in for similar censure.

Even Gingrich’s answer to Fischer, who asked Gingrich how he would “slow down the homosexual agenda,” didn’t seem to satisfy him.

But with Perry’s collapse, Bachmann and Santorum’s single digit polling and Cain’s daily gaffes, does Gingrich have a chance at becoming Romney’s chief opponent and the Religious Right’s candidate by default? He has certainly tried to endear himself to social conservatives by participating in the “One Nation Under God” event and pastor policy briefings, and pledging to wage an all-out war on the judiciary, a favorite Religious Right punching bag. Gingrich has wooed activists and groups like John Hagee, Joseph Farah, Janet Porter, Liberty University, Liberty Counsel, The Family Leader and the Minnesota Family Council, and helped funnel money to the American Family Association’s campaign to defeat Iowa Supreme Court justices who favored marriage equality.

The Washington Times today trumpeted the new conventional wisdom that Gingrich is a top contender, emphasizing his potential to gain support among social conservative voters who are cold to Romney. The Times quotes California pastor Jim Garlow, who reporter Ralph Hallow accurately notes is “credited with organizing the evangelicals in the drive to pass a same-sex marriage ban in California,” to show Gingrich’s support in the Religious Right.

What the Times reporter does not mention is the fact that Garlow is a top spiritual adviser to Newt Gingrich and heads Gingrich’s Renewing American Leadership (ReAL). Garlow tells the Times that conservative evangelical voters are far more forgiving of Gingrich’s serial adultery and multiple divorces than of Romney’s Mormon faith and flip flops:

Contrary to the beliefs of many in the party, voters on the Christian right have not written off Mr. Gingrich despite a personal history that includes multiple marriages and admitted infidelities.

“Evangelicals will definitely go for Newt if he is the nominee,” insisted Jim Garlow, credited with organizing the evangelicals in the drive to pass a same-sex marriage ban in California. “I used to hear them say, ‘He’s the smartest one in the room, but he has personal issues.’ I’ve seen an enormous shift in the past four or five months. They no longer talk about personal issues, but about intelligence and capability of being president.”

Mr. Garlow, senior pastor of the Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, said if the nomination fight came down to Mr. Romney and Mr. Gingrich, “I’m guessing 80 [percent] to 90 percent of the evangelical vote in America would go to Newt. Romney’s Mormonism may be a factor, but the reason I hear most is they don’t trust Romney on abortion, marriage, economics and health care.”

“I think, no question, evangelicals will go for Newt if it comes down to him and Romney,” said Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Director Steve Scheffler, credited with organizing support for Pat Robertson’s stunning second-place finish in the 1988 Iowa caucuses. “Evangelicals are concerned with personal conduct, but most will judge people on their present conduct, and they have concluded Newt’s present lifestyle is exemplary.”

Now that Gingrich is rising in the polls, will the Religious Right have to embrace him to stop Romney?

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Rick Santorum goes after Herman Cain on the issue of abortion and using quotes from various Religious Right leaders to drive home the point.
  •  

  • The Rick Perry campaign has hit upon a novel possible solution to addressing the candidate's poor debate performances: skipping future debates.
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  • Quran-burning pastor Terry Jones is running for president.
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  • FRC's latest prayer target: "Pray that DOMA will be preserved! May the people elect a President and Congress next November who will pass, and may the states ratify a Federal Marriage Amendment that will protect the definition of natural marriage as found in the Bible."
  •  

  • Bryan Fischer says "the left is profoundly anti-science," which is why they refuse to admit that gays can choose to become straight.
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  • Finally, Concerned Women for America has released talking points [PDF] opposing the Respect for Marriage Act.  Point one: "Despite its deliberately deceptive name, the 'Respect for Marriage Act' insidiously seeks to destroy the historical, traditional definition of marriage."
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Rick Perry Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Wednesday 06/26/2013, 6:25pm
Rep. Tim Huelskamp believes that now is the time to reintroduce the Federal Marriage Amendment. Remember, this is the same congressman who is under the impression that between 70% to 85% of Americans oppose legalizing same-sex marriage.  Rush Limbaugh, who has been married four times, claims the court’s marriage equality rulings show the “disintegration of the United States.”  Janet Mefferd’s reaction to Washington, DC, churches ringing their bells in support of marriage equality: “America the Pagan Country rejoices in its evil.... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 06/25/2013, 6:05pm
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has launched a “national political rehabilitation tour” to prepare for a potential second presidential bid.  Cathy Adams of Texas Eagle Forum is upset with “feminazi” protesters and “Whining Wendy” Davis, whom she also calls a “hot air bag” for filibustering the state’s anti-choice bill.  The Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act has allowed Texas to implement its voter suppression law.  Just like in 2012, John Bolton is once again floating a run for president.... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 06/25/2013, 12:10pm
Just as the GOP’s hyperventilation and grandstanding over Benghazi turned up empty, so are their claims that the IRS has been targeting right-wing groups. New reports show that the IRS did apply extra scrutiny to groups with phrases like “Tea Party” in their names…but the agency also applied the same scrutiny to groups with “progressive” or “occupy” in their titles. This backs up an earlier story from The Atlantic which also found that liberal groups had been targeted. Prior to these revelations, we learned that the White House had no... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 05/28/2013, 2:25pm
Rick Perry, who has equated the fight against gays in the Boy Scouts to the fight to abolish slavery, told Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council on Friday’s edition of Washington Watch that the Boy Scouts of America’s delegates bowed to “political correctness” and “money” in ending the ban on gay members under the age of 18. The Texas governor went as so far as to say that God will hold the BSA’s leadership accountable: “they will look back on it someday and be held accountable, so that day will come and they will stand before their maker... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 05/08/2013, 10:45am
Todd Starnes of Fox News has dedicated himself to finding cases of Christians facing persecution. Starnes recently reported that the military is deliberately blocking access to a Baptist website and may court-martial Christian soldiers, and alleged that a school in New York is forcing girls to kiss one another. However, these three incidents were all completely false. On Sunday, Starnes filed another report on how a high school track team in Texas “was disqualified from competing in the state championships because one of the runners made a gesture thanking God after he crossed the... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 05/06/2013, 11:00am
Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) appeared in the Family Research Council’s “Stand With Scouts Sunday” webcast last night where he told FRC president Tony Perkins that the Boy Scouts of America must resist those trying to “tear apart” the organization’s values and replace them with the “flavor of the month”—homosexuality. He warned the BSA against becoming “more like pop culture” and urged scout leaders to channel the spirit of Sam Houston, whom Perry said lost his governorship because he was “against slavery” and opposed... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Friday 05/03/2013, 2:23pm
Among the many publications distributed at Liberty Counsel’s Awakening conference in April were two booklets examining Democratic and Republican party platforms. They were produced by Justice at the Gate, a group that describes its vision as “Building strategic partnerships to mobilize Christians to pray effectively and to vote righteously.” The two publications are both titled “Democrats & Republicans In Their Own Words.”  One of them is subtitled, “National Party Platforms on Specific Biblical Issues.”  I’m not sure where in the... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 04/08/2013, 5:31pm
Anti-gay/anti-Mormon pastor Pastor Robert Jeffress opened a new $130 million campus at his church and Gov. Rick Perry was on hand to dedicate it. Glenn Beck returned from a week off today and guess what he talked about? This is actually an article from CNSNews: "Obama Responded Faster to Ebert's Death Than He Did to Thatcher's." We predict that this story about the Army supposedly calling evangelicals a threat is one of those things that we initially dismiss as obvious nonsense, but then end up having to write about because the Religious Right goes nuts over... MORE >