Rick Perry

Right Wing Round-Up

  • NOM Exposed: Circumventing campaign finance law for donor secrecy.
  • Towleroad: NOM Rabbi Yehuda Levin Blames Earthquake on Gays, Claims Direct Link Between Quakes and Homosexuality.
  • Nick @ Bold Faith Type: Kathryn Jean Lopez Continues to Put Partisanship over Principles.
  • Norman Lear @ Variety: "What You Talkin' Bout, Willard?"
  • Alvin McEwen: GLSEN forces Family Research Council to change fraudulent video.
  • Igor Volsky @ Think Progress LGBT: Rick Perry Compared Homosexuality To Alcoholism, Condemned ‘Radical Gays’ For Promoting ‘Gay Lifestyle.’
  • NPR: The Evangelicals Engaged In Spiritual Warfare.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Florida school teacher Jerry Buell has been reinstated after posting anti-gay marriage remarks on his Facebook page. But that probably won't be the end of the Religious Right's crusade about it.
  • Tony Perkins says the Religious Right would be pretty happy with any of the GOP frontrunners. I highly doubt that is true regarding Mitt Romney.
  • Rick Perry has signed the Susan B. Anthony's anti-choice pledge.
  • Another day, another piece dismissing dominionism devoid of any research whatsoever.
  • The defamation claim against John Stemberger over statements he made while representing Rifqa Bary has been dropped.
  • Finally, Peter LaBarbera thinks that Fox News is pro-gay because it is "based in New York City, which is a gay Mecca."

Right Wing Round-Up

If Dominionism Doesn't Exist, Someone Forgot To Tell The Dominionists

Thanks to the presidential campaigns of Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, there has been a lot of attention focused lately on dominion theology and its role within the Religious Right political movement.

This, in turn, has led to a number of pieces asserting that there is no such thing as "dominionism" and claiming that it is nothing more than a conspiracy-theory/scare-tactic dreamed up by the Left.

Our colleague Peter Montgomery addressed this effort to downplay dominionism in an excellent piece he wrote for Religion Dispatches yesterday, but Religious Right activists continue to claim that there is no cause for alarm whatsoever.

Today, John Aman, Director of Communications at Truth in Action Ministries, went a step further, writing a piece for the Christian Post claiming that dominionism doesn't even exist:

I had never even heard the term until 2005 when a Christian Science Monitor reporter asked me about it in connection with our Reclaiming America for Christ conference.

The reason I was so clueless is because, as Joe Carter explains in First Things, it’s a label used exclusively on the left. Berkeley-educated sociologist Sara Diamond, the author of several critiques of Christian civic engagement, including Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right, invented the term in the 1980s.

Dominionism, Carter explains, is a term “never used outside liberal blogs and websites. No reputable scholars use the term for it is a meaningless neologism that Diamond concocted for her dissertation.”

It is, however, a handy way to smear evangelicals like Bachmann and Perry who bring biblically informed moral convictions into public debate.


The truth is that dominionism is a sham charge-one reserved for Christians on the right.

Really? Maybe someone ought to tell that to all the dominionists who have suddenly started downplaying their dominionism. 

And I guess someone ought to really tell C. Peter Wagner to change the name of his book:

And perhaps Aman ought to talk to Janet Porter, since she lost her radio program because of her well-documented dominionism

As it happens, Porter was once the National Director for the Center for Reclaiming America, the sister organization to Coral Ridge Ministries ... which just so happens to be the former name of Truth in Action Ministries, where none other than John Aman serves as the Director of Communications.

For Rick Perry, Fighting "Over-Taxation" Is A Testament Of Faith

Texas Gov. Rick Perry raised eyebrows yesterday when, while campaigning in South Carolina, he likened the struggles of corporations resisting paying their fair share in taxes to the civil rights movement. When told that he was visiting a town where civil rights advocates held a sit-in fifty years ago, Perry mused that the corporate fight against taxes and regulation is an extension of the civil rights movement: “I mean we’ve gone from a country that made great strides in issues of civil rights,” Perry said, “And as we go forward, America needs to be about freedom. It needs to be about freedom from over-taxation, freedom from over-litigation, freedom from over-regulation.”

Immediately, critics rightfully questioned how the fight against “over-taxation” and “over-regulation” could be seen as an outgrowth of a movement that fought for social and economic justice.

But it is important to remember that Perry’s fight for lower taxes and regulations for corporations (on the backs of low-income families) is not just an economic position but also a spiritual issue. Before his Response prayer rally earlier this month, Perry told The 700 Club that he would be praying to end “government’s over-taxed, over-regulated, over-litigated” policies that have “caused roadblocks to economic prosperity.”

In an interview with televangelist James Robison in May, Perry claimed that the current economic crisis was God’s way of ending our “slavery” to government. Like civil rights leaders who used the story of Exodus in their struggle against discrimination, Perry contended that “Pharaoh” exists today in the form of government and “we’ve become slaves to government”:

Right Wing Round-Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Pray for me."

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

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

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

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

Why Are The Dominionists Suddenly Downplaying Dominionism?

Last week, we noted that C. Peter Wagner was growing the recent attention and criticism his New Apostolic Reformation movement has been receiving and sent out an email trying to downplay all of their talk of taking dominion.

It now seems like this is becoming a pattern as Os Hillman, a leading Seven Mountains advocate and the man behind Reclaim7Mountains.com, is also seeking to downplay all that dominionism talk:

An important understanding and distinction must be stated at this point. Dominion, or perhaps a better word to use is influence, is a result of our love and obedience to God, not a goal to be achieved. It is the fruit of our obedience. Otherwise we begin to use fleshly strategies to exploit and subjugate others to our way of thinking.

Jesus never sought to have dominion; rather, He encouraged others to love and obey God. It is better that we avoid the word dominion in our culture today due to the connotation that comes with this word of control and manipulation of others. It also reminds people of a flawed movement in the body of Christ called dominion theology that caused great harm to many.

On August 19th during a CNN Situation Room broadcast with Wolf Blitzer, Jack Cafferty attempted to tie Michelle Bachman [sic] and Rick Perry to dominionsim theology. He took their words out of context, yet the very word "dominion" brought out the worst in the secular media for fear that Christians want to rule the world.

Of course, none of this changes the basic facts about dominionism or the agenda, as Hillman's own website still makes clear that the US is insufficiently Christian because "we have not understood our biblical mandate to have dominion on the earth" and they have failed in their responsibility to institute "preparatory dominion, as in the earth being prepared for the return of the King":  

(1) God’s covenant people taking dominion of the earth has been the main theme of every covenant that God has ever made with mankind.The New Covenant for the church is no different with its expectation of dominion by making disciples of all nations.

(2) The Dominion Process is two-fold.First, human beings are blessed by God. Secondly, these blessed human beings are given a mandate to take dominion of the earth for the purpose of blessing it.

(3) The first advent of Christ was for the purpose of creating a blessed seed upon the earth - the church.The second coming of Jesus will take place after this blessed seed has completed the Dominion Process upon the earth by making disciples of all nations.

And, of course, they are focused on taking "the Mountain of Government" since it is "the most important of the mountains because it can establish laws and decrees that affect and control every other mountain." As such, every level of government - from presidents to mayors - must be taken over by "true Apostles" because "we need to fill the entire mountain with children of the Kingdom who know why they are there" in order to establish a "virtual theocracy" and "bring the influence of heaven to bear on whatever political machinery that exists."

And the key to this endeavor is stealth:

The goal is not just to have Christians in high places, but rather to have Christians who are called to be in high places step into that role. And wearing a "Christian” label on our sleeve isn’t the point. We need to learn to be "as wise as serpents and harmless as doves” and realize that stealth authority and influence are much preferred over overt authority and influence. A low profile diffuses resistance from the opposition. Political righteousness isn’t determined by whether someone calls himself a Christian or not anyway. That’s established by whether the political values they are prepared to defend or establish are actually righteous. A Christian who espouses abortion rights or the validity of gay marriages, for example, is worthless as a "Christian” candidate. If candidates don’t understand righteous politics, they aren’t anointed for this mountain. They may have enough Christianity in them to enter heaven, but they don’t have enough Christianity to bring the rule and reign of God down to earth.

This will change as the Elijah Revolution is released upon the nations. Sons and daughters of the King who understand the call to take the seven mountains will rise to the mountaintops ... One of the primary roles of future government leaders will be to instruct in righteousness. The more God’s judgments are poured out on earth, the more explicitly will they be able to give that instruction.

I guess one good way to maintain a low profile and diffuse resistance from the opposition would be to try and downplay all the talk about taking dominion.  Which is exactly what they are now doing.

AFA Using Perry's Prayer Rally Mailing List To Mobilize Christian Voters

One of the standard claims from organizers of Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer event was that the event was going to be non-political, so that any criticism about mixing church and state was totally unfounded.

So maybe they can explain why the American Family Association is now sending out this email to everyone who registered to attend "The Response," urging them to get active politically and "imagine the impact we could make on the future of America if these Christians made their voices heard in the voting booth":

Thank you for registering for The Response on August 6 in Houston. I hope you were able to attend or participate online as it was certainly a day to remember. I was especially encouraged to see so many youth and young adults in attendance. In addition to the tens of thousands who were in attendance at Reliant Stadium, over 2,000 churches and groups gathered together and joined the event via a live web stream, and hundreds of thousands participated via a live web stream from their homes. If you were not able to participate live, we encourage you to watch the video archives of The Response that will be available at the website (http://www.theresponseusa.com) until the end of August.

The Response was just the beginning of a nationwide initiative to return America to the principles on which she was founded, with God at the center of our nation. All of us in attendance in Houston were moved by the overwhelming call to repentance, prayer and action.

Today, I want to introduce you to Champion the Vote (CTV), a friend of AFA whose mission is to mobilize 5 million unregistered conservative Christians to register and vote according to the Biblical worldview in 2012. Only half of the Christians in the United States are registered to vote. Imagine the impact we could make on the future of America if these Christians made their voices heard in the voting booth!

CTV’s research has shown that it takes only 5 million voters to influence the outcome of an election. This is a do-able goal, and Champion the Vote is seeking Champions – an army of volunteers -- to help with the effort. A Champion is simply a Christian talking to other Christians about registering and voting.

If you would like to be involved in this important initiative, go to the CTV website (http://www.ChampionTheVote.com) for complete details. We can make a difference, one by one, multiplied across the nation.


Don Wildmon, Founder
American Family Association

Champion The Vote is a initiative of United in Purpose, the group responsible for the Rediscover God In America conference, which was organized by David Lane ... who just so happened to also serve as the National Finance Chairman of The Response.

Geller: Republicans Allied With Norquist Are Tied To The Muslim Brotherhood

Pamela Geller has a second column out today attacking Texas Gov. Rick Perry for his ties to the Aga Khan, the leader of the Ismaili sect of Shiite Islam, and to one of Geller’s favorite targets, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform. Anti-Muslim activists have long viewed Norquist as one of the principal architects of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the conservative movement and American society at large because of his work to make the political Right more inclusive of Muslim-Americans. Geller writes today in her WorldNetDaily column that she doesn’t “want to see a GOP presidential candidate palling around with Grover and his thugs,” and says that Perry’s relationship with Norquist “raises legitimate questions about whether or not Perry knows about, or cares about, or even endorses, that activity by Norquist”:

First, Norquist. Yes, all Perry did was give a speech in partnership with Grover Norquist, and promote it on his website. Norquist heads up Americans for Tax Reform, and Perry's tax-cutting message is redolent of Norquist's influence. But Norquist also has deep and extensive ties to Islamic supremacists and jihadists, as I showed in the first commentary. That raises legitimate questions about whether or not Perry knows about, or cares about, or even endorses, that activity by Norquist. I certainly would refuse to speak at the same event in partnership with Grover Norquist – let alone promote it on my website. Shouldn't Rick Perry have, too?

Grover Norquist's background is no secret. His tax mask has worn thin. It was old five years ago. Grover Norquist is toxic and should be persona non grata in the Republican Party. He is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood. And has been exposed as the recipient of huge donations from a Brotherhood figure who is now in jail for financing terror activity. I don't want to see a GOP presidential candidate palling around with Grover and his thugs. I want a presidential candidate to declare that he will appoint an attorney general at the Department of Justice who will press forward immediately with the prosecutions of the co-conspirators named in the Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terror funding trial in our nation's history. I want a presidential candidate who is unafraid of the stealth jihadists in our midst, and who will vow that he will clean out the infiltrators.

But Perry is far from the only Republican to collaborate with Norquist, who Geller calls “a front for the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Norquist’s organization Americans for Tax Reform spent close to $4 million in the midterm election to elect Republicans to Congress, and 235 Congressmen and 41 Senators, all Republicans, have signed Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge.” In fact, just seven Republican representatives and seven Republican senators have not signed Norquist’s pledge to never support a tax increase. Already, Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have signed Norquist’s pledge, as have congressmen Louie Gohmert and Allen West, both darlings of anti-Muslim activists.

Since the vast majority of Republican members of Congress have no problems affiliating with Norquist, does Geller see them all working with the Muslim Brotherhood?

Geller goes on to argue that Perry is one of the “dhimmi candidates” who is “going along with our civilization suicide.” She contends that Perry must take a more active stance against Muslims and Muslim organizations or will be complicit in the “stealth jihad,” or the furtive and gradual Islamic takeover of American society, and must not put “lipstick on a halal pig”:

The fact that Hamas-tied CAIR, one of the top five groups named in AFDI's Threats to Freedom Index, immediately praised Perry, speaks volumes. All this speaks to a pattern. And the pattern is not good. It speaks to a pattern of going along with our civilization path to suicide. No matter who wins the nomination, I will support him or her with every breath of my body. But I am going to fight like a cat to get the right cat there. Of course, a candidate should make nice with Muslims who oppose jihad. But introducing the Islamic whitewash into our public schools and universities is the most dangerous thing you can do. It is not my intention to damn all Muslims, but we need a president who will call out the Islamic supremacist groups on stealth jihad. That is real political courage, not calling for tax cuts.

We have had enough of dhimmi candidates who kowtow, out of ignorance or financial interest or both, to Islamic supremacists. In my new book, "Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance," I detail the advances it is making, and show how Americans can and must resist. Do you really think that Rick Perry, in light of the information above, is really the man who is going to lead that resistance? Has Gov. Perry addressed the jihad ideology that has been responsible in recent years for the slaughter of thousands across the world? Or is he busy putting lipstick on a halal pig?

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Following a poor showing in Iowa, Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the presidential race.
  • Apparently, the fact that he had back surgery is somehow going to help Rick Perry attack healthcare reform ... or something.
  • Richard Viguerie hasn't liked any GOP candidate for a long time, but he likes Rick Perry.
  • WorldNetDaily, on the other hand, does not like Perry.
  • Barry Hankins, author of "Francis Schaeffer and the Shaping of Evangelical America," does not approve of the portrait of Schaeffer constructed by Ryan Lizza's in his profile of Michele Bachmann.
  • Finally, Gary Bauer says that "the media’s war on faith — their continued attempts to force Christianity into the closet — is very dangerous for our republic."

The Company That Rick Perry Keeps: Jerry Boykin and Obama's Brownshirt Army

When Rick Perry was organizing his massive public prayer rally, we put in a lot of work chronicling the radical views of the activists with whom Perry was partnering. 

But there are others with ties to Perry who were not involved in this effort and therefore never made it on to our list ... people like Jerry Boykin who believes that George Soros and the Council on Foreign Relations worked to collapse the economy in order to help Barack Obama win the election and that passage of healthcare reform legislation is really just cover for Obama to establish a private Brownshirt army loyal only to him:

I vaguely recall having seen clips of Boykin talking about attending Gov. Perry's inauguration in January 2011 and have been trying to track it down for the last week or so but have been unable to find it.  But today I stumbled across a different video of remarks Boykin recently delivered at something called the Gideon Media & Arts Conference where he proudly asserted that he is intolerant while praising Rick Perry for being one of the few political leaders who are willing to stand up for Biblical truth and revealing that he met with Perry recently as part of a private meeting the Governor held in June with right-wing leaders: 

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Alan Keyes is not impressed with Rick Perry and doesn't seem to think he is a very sincere Christian.
  • But Keyes is an anomaly, as lots of other Religious Right leaders really love Perry.
  • S&P makes clear that it was the fact that a minority of "people in political arena [that] were even talking about a potential default" that led to the downgrade.  Can you guess who they are talking about?
  • James Robison is still worked up about living in a "secular theocracy."
  • Finally, Gary Cass explains that it is okay to outlaw drugs and prostitution because they are unbiblical, but not alcohol, because it is.

Rick Perry, Alice Patterson, And The Demons Who Control Our Politics

When Gov. Rick Perry took to the stage at his prayer rally last weekend, he brought with him two close friends: C.L Jackson and Alice Patterson, whom he publicly praised and thanked:

Patterson, as you may recall, is deeply involved in the New Apostloic Reformation where she focuses on "racial healing" in order to get African Americans to leave the Democratic Party, which she believes is literally controlled by demonic spirits.

As it turns out, not only is the Democratic Party controlled by such spirits, but the Republican Party is as well.  But whereas the Democrats are controled by "Jezebel" via a "network of demonic principalities that demanded allegiance, worship, and the shedding of innocent blood," the Republicans are controlled by "Ahab" which makes GOP leaders passive and yield to intimidation instead of standing up on Godly principles.

In fact, Patterson explains in her book how it was this very spirit of passivity that caused prayer to be removed in school, which resulted in the murder to President Kennedy:

Passivity caused the court cases that removed prayer from our public schools to remain, causing the protective wall around the United States, our schools and our government to crumble. The very next year President John Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. The country mourned but the protective walls were not restored.

Patterson warns that "the further you get up the ladder in Washington, D. C. or state government, the harder it is to withstand the power of the Ahab structure if you’re a Republican" ... which is why President George W. Bush did so many ungodly things, like appointing "an open homosexual to high office," meeting with Muslims, and failing to pass a federal marriage amendment:

Although the Republican Party Platform is full of virtue, many individual Republicans tolerate what the platform does not. Take former evangelical President George W. Bush. Here are just a few of his actions that align with King Ahab’s tolerance of Jezebel.

• He was the first Republican President to appoint an open homosexual to high office— Scott Evertz to the White House Office of National AIDS Policy.

• After the Islamic terrorist attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001, President Bush invited 50 ambassadors from Muslim countries for a traditional meal and prayer at the White House in November 2001 to mark the start of Ramadan. A Republican President was the first to invite Muslims to pray in the White House. President Barack Obama continued the celebration of Ramadan in the White House, but it was started by a Republican President.

• President and Mrs. Bush bowed before the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo.

• President Bush “removed his shoes, entered a mosque and praised Islam for inspiring ‘countless individuals to lead lives of honesty, integrity and morality.’ For the second time since the September 11 terrorist attacks, the president yesterday visited Washington’s oldest mosque, the Islamic Center, where Muslims from 75 nations gather to worship. Bush marked the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan by praising Islam as a hopeful religion of mercy and tolerance.”

• President Bush outraged evangelicals by stating that he believes that Christians and Muslims worship the same god.

• In 2004 President Bush campaigned in favor of a Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that says that marriage is between one man and one woman. However, when he was elected, he said no more about it. If he had put as much importance on it as he did in reforming Social Security, the Marriage Amendment would have passed through Congress. He even said on several occasions that he supported civil unions, which give the same rights as marriage to same-sex couples.

• President Bush proved over and over again that he was an Ahab.

Understanding The "Apostle" In The New Apostolic Reformation

Last night, Rachel Maddow dedicated a segment of her program to discussing the New Apostolic Reformation and its ties to Rick Perry as well as a follow-up segment with Forrest Wilder, author of the excellent piece on NAR in The Texas Observer - also, if you watch carefully, you will recognize lots of our videos:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

For all the recent talk about the New Apostolic Reformation, one of the issues that has largely gone uncovered is just what it means to be an  "apostle" within this movement.  I have recently been reading C. Peter Wagner's "Apostles Today: Biblical Government for Biblical Power" in which he helpfully sets out his definition:

An apostle is a Christian leader, gifted, taught, commissioned, and sent by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the growth and maturity of the church and for the extension of the kingdom of God.

Wagner also explains that there is no such thing as "self-appointed apostles" because all apostles are appointed by God.  But that creates a bit of a dilemma for those trying to determine who are actual apostles versus those who are false apostles and so Wagner offers a rather ingenious way to tell the difference:

God's decision to make an individual an apostle must be recognized and affirmed by real people. If someone says, “God has called me to be an apostle,” but no one else agrees, then I have to doubt whether that person has accurately heard from God.

Now, if that logic seems rather circular to you, Wagner also offers up a list of "12 characteristics that are displayed by many (if not most) apostles," though he is careful to explain that not all apostles have all 12 characteristics. 

But, as a basic rule of thumb, seeing Jesus, performing miracles, suffering persecution, casting out demons, and fighting witchcraft are among the characteristics that a NAR apostle might posses:

1. Seeing Jesus personally. Of course the original 12 saw Jesus, but so did Paul, when Jesus appeared to him on the Damascus Road, and as he indicated in 1 Corinthians 9:1: “Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” According to an informal survey of the apostles whom I know today, about 20 percent have actually seen Jesus personally.

2. Performing supernatural manifestations such as signs and wonders. “Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds” (2 Cor. 12:12). Almost every apostle I know has seen physical healing in their ministry, but not many have seen mass healings through the casting of their shadow as did Peter (see Acts 5:15). The application of this, therefore, might well be mostly a matter of degree.

3. Planting churches. “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation and another builds on it” (1 Cor. 3:10). While planting churches is a very important apostolic characteristic (one that David Cannistraci even included in his definition above), not all apostles have a church-planting ministry.

4. Appointing and overseeing local church pastors (or “elders”). Paul and Barnabas planted churches, and then returned and “appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting” (Acts 14:23). Paul instructed Titus, a member of his apostolic team in Crete, to “set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city” (Titus 1:5).

5. Settling disputes in the church. The Corinthian believers were at each other’s throats. Paul wrote, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10). Apostles are frequently called upon to bring resolution and unity to division.

6. Applying discipline, including excommunication. “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! … In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 5:1,4-5). Denominational pastors are rarely equipped to take this kind of drastic action. Apostles, however, have few inhibitions about doing it when needed. Sadly, I have found it necessary through the years to dismiss or to force the resignation of several members of ICA.

7. Providing spiritual covering for other leaders. Paul did this. Here are two examples: “I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you” (Rom. 16:12). And, “Now if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. Therefore, let no one despise him. But send him on his journey in peace” (1 Cor. 16:10-11).

8. Suffering physical persecution. “For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles … From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep” (2 Cor. 11:5,24-25).

9. Attracting and distributing financial resources. “All who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need” (Acts 4:34-35). Most apostles have access to the financial resources necessary to implement the vision that God has given them.

10. Casting out demons. “So that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from [Paul’s] body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them” (Acts 19:12). Not all apostles have deliverance ministries, though many do.

11. Breaking curses of witchcraft. Paul broke the spirit of divination (witchcraft) in Philippi (see Acts 16:1618) and directly confronted the occult sorcerer Elymas in Cyprus (see Acts 13:8-11).

12. Frequent fasting. As he displays his credentials as an apostle, Paul mentions that he fasted often (see 2 Cor. 11:27).

Fischer's New Definition of "States' Rights"

I always thought that when conservatives used the phrase "states' rights," it meant that the federal government was to have limited powers and the individual states were to have the right to decide how to legislate issues for themselves.

Once upon a time, Gov. Rick Perry was a supporter of that idea ... until he decided he wanted to run for president and realized that "states' rights" meant that states could recognize marriage equality and a woman's right to choose. 

Seeing as such things are diametrically opposed to the agenda of the Religious Right base he needs to court to win the GOP nomination, Perry quickly flip-flopped on that position, announcing his support for constitutional amendments to outlaw both abortion and gay marriage.

But make no mistake, Perry's cowardly pandering has not gone unnoticed by those he seeks to court ... but don't imagine that they are holding it against him becuse they are not.  In fact, Bryan Fischer is praising and defending Perry for taking this stand by unveiling a rather novel new definition of what the term "states' rights" really means:

Gov. Rick Perry has been castigated by some conservatives and 10th Amendment aficionados for his public support of federal amendments to protect the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage.

They accuse him of abandoning his commitment to federalism, states’ rights, and the 10th Amendment and committing unpardonable Tea Party heresy in the process

But to consider amending the federal Constitution as an abandonment of the 10th Amendment and states’ rights absurd.

You can’t get any more “states’ rights” than amending the Constitution, for one simple reason: only the states can amend the Constitution in the first place.

Unless proponents can get voters in 38 states to agree with them, our supreme legal document remains unchanged.

When the Constitution is amended, this is the exact opposite of the federal government imposing something on the states, but is rather a manifestation of the states expressing their political will. If anything, it’s the states imposing something on the federal government. Everybody ought to get pumped up about doing something like that.

So it turns out that "states' rights" doesn't mean that the states have the right to decide the issues as they see fit, but rather that the majority of the states have the right to decide what the minority must do.

Is this any surprise, coming from a man who doesn't believe the First Amendment covers non-Christians?

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Hey, CBN's David Brody got a book deal. Should be an objectively journalistic look at why Democrats hate God.
  • Gary Bauer can't believe anyone would think Gov. Rick Perry partnered with a bunch of extremists for his prayer event ... and that just proves that those people are extremists!
  • Les Kingsolving says "for President Obama and his new secretary of defense to rejoice as they force our armed forces to accept the self-announced sodomites who are the nation's leading AIDS-spreaders is a national outrage that truly should be remembered at the polls one year from this November."
  • Not surprisingly, Robert Spencer is not pleased with Gov. Chris Christie.
  • Finally, I am sure that is someone warming up the crowd for an event with President Obama called conservatives "political suicide bombers," the Right would lose their minds.

Perry, Prayer, Politics and the Presidency

Casual viewers of “The Response,” including some political reporters who don’t pay a lot of attention to the Religious Right, may have watched Texas Governor Rick Perry’s prayer rally on Saturday and wondered what all the fuss was about.  Most of the time was taken up with prayer and praise music.  Few of the speakers seemed overtly political.  Nobody used the occasion to endorse Perry’s pending presidential bid.

But context is everything, and the context for this event was remarkable: a governor launching a presidential bid by teaming up with some of the nation’s most divisive extremists to hold a Christians-only prayer rally that suggested Americans are helpless to solve the country’s problems without divine intervention. Some media coverage is missing the boat: the issue wasn’t whether it was ok for a politician to pray, or the size of the audience, but the purposes of the event’s planners and their disturbing vision for America.

Organizers argued (unconvincingly) that “The Response” was about prayer, not politics. But groups like the American Family Association (AFA), which paid for the rally and its webcast, and organizations like the Family Research Council, whose president was among the speakers, are not designed to win souls but to change American law and culture through grassroots organizing and political power-building.  They have a corrosive effect on our political culture by promoting religious bigotry and anti-gay extremism, by claiming that the United States was meant to be a Christian nation, and by fostering resentment among conservative evangelicals with repeated false assertions that liberal elites are out to destroy religious liberty and silence conservative religious voices.

By calling for this rally, and partnering with the far right of the evangelical world, Perry aligned himself with all these troubling strategies.  When he drew criticism for the event and the extremism of its sponsors, Perry suggested his critics were intolerant of Christians.  Speakers returned to the theme, with one of them declaring that “there is an attack on the name of Jesus.” Such claims of anti-Christian persecution are a tried-and-true strategy of the Religious Right for rousing conservative Christians to political activism.  And for those who actually believe that Christianity is on the verge of being criminalized in America, Perry’s event defined him as a defiant and courageous defender of the faith. 

As journalist Dave Weigel writes, “That's the brilliance of what Perry has done here…He doesn't need to talk about politics, or do anything besides be here and understand this event. The religion is the politics. These worshippers understand that if they can bring ‘the kingdom of God’ to Earth, economic problems, even macroeconomic problems, will sort themselves out.”

A major chunk of the day was given over to Mike Bickle, who runs the International House of Prayer (IHOP) movement, which recruits young people into “radical” devotion to prayer and fasting. Yes, he’s the guy who said that Oprah is paving the way for the Antichrist. Bickle’s associate Lou Engle has organized a series of stadium events pushing prayer, fasting, and politics under the banner of “The Call,” which provided the model for “The Response.”  Bickle and Engle are hard-core dominionists who believe they are ushering in a new Christian church which will take its rightful place of dominion over every aspect of government and society.  But in spite of their well-documented extremism, they are embraced by Republican leaders.  Engle, for example, took part in a Family Research Council prayer-a-thon against health care reform, at which he introduced Rep. Michele Bachmann.

The Christian-nation crowd, like Response speaker David Barton and AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer, who says the First Amendment protects only Christians’ religious liberty, shares a certain vision for America’s future.  Some of the political goals of “The Response” sponsors were brutally clear at the rally; a series of speakers prayed for an end to legal abortion.  While rhetorical gay-bashing was surprisingly absent at an event whose sponsors include the most vehemently anti-gay groups in America (including the AFA, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center), it is clear that in the America envisioned by “The Response” planners, same-sex couples would have no chance at legal recognition or protection for their families.  Shortly before the event, Perry himself was forced to walk back from his very brief flirtation with a states’ rights defense of New Yorkers’ decision to extend marriage equality to same-sex couples -- and to vow his support for a federal constitutional amendment that would strip married same-sex couples of their rights and make sure that in the future gay couples could not get married anywhere in the U.S.
And lest anyone think that Perry’s religious agenda is limited to social issues, he made clear that a rigid conservative economic agenda was central to his spiritual mission. Just days before the rally, on “The 700 Club,” Perry said he’d be praying for “our country’s economic prosperity. There just so many people that can’t take care of their family because government’s over-taxed, over-regulated, over-litigated, it caused roadblocks to economic prosperity.” Those words echo the theology of activists like Barton, who have preached that the Bible condemns progressive taxation, the minimum wage and collective bargaining.
Perry is clearly positioning himself to enter the Republican presidential primary as a political savior to right-wing activists who are underwhelmed with their choices so far.  Yet, oddly for someone who wants to be president, he insists that America’s problems are beyond human ability to fix. (Sadly, that may only be true to the extent that enough legislators believe that God, like Grover Norquist, is opposed to any tax increases.)

Perry’s worldview and that of “The Response” organizers seems to see no useful role for non-Christian Americans, whose religious beliefs were denigrated at “The Response.”  When Perry told Americans on Saturday that we, “as a nation,” must return to God, it’s clear he meant God as understood by the event’s organizers.  Jim Garlow, who organized anti-marriage equality pastors in California before being hired by Newt Gingrich to run one of his political groups, told journalist Sarah Posner on Saturday that “The Response” was “not about whether Perry becomes president, it’s about making Jesus king.” Perry used the event to let right-wing religious voters and churches nationwide know that for those who see politics as spiritual warfare, he is the warrior they have been waiting for.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • In a shocking move, Rick Perry is going to announce that he is running for president a week after holding his massive "nonpolitical" prayer rally.
  • And Bryan Fischer thinks that, thanks to said prayer rally, the GOP nomination will be Perry's to lose.
  • Fox News viewers don't seem very fond of atheists.
  • Neither is Gary Bauer, for that matter.
  • James Robison complains that America has become a "secular theocracy."
  • Finally, Michele Bachmann says she is "not a talker; I'm a doer."  Which is interesting considering that she hasn't actually done anything.
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Rick Perry Posts Archive

Peter Montgomery, Friday 05/03/2013, 1:23pm
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, 4:31pm
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 >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 03/20/2013, 4:30pm
LiveAction bizarrely claims that Steven Crowder's Ashley Judd rape joke at CPAC "never happened."  Matt Barber blasts Pastor Rob Bell's "apostasy" for supporting marriage equality. Bryan Fischer says "same-sex 'marriage' fails to satisfy even the companionship purpose for this most sacred of relationships." Keep in mind that no matter how crazy Glenn Beck gets, Sen. Rand Paul will continue to regularly appear on his program. And so will Gov. Rick Perry. MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 02/27/2013, 5:45pm
More Religious Right groups have signed up [PDF] for NOM’s “Marriage March.” It appears that Steve King is getting closer to locking up the GOP nomination for Iowa’s open U.S. Senate seat. Rick Perry will attend Concerned Women for America’s “Texas Faith and Family Rally.” Sarah Palin writes that “the feds are stockpiling bullets in case of civil unrest” after we go into default…and then calls on politicians to “stop the hysterics.” The right-wing news outlet Human Events is ending its print... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/05/2013, 3:50pm
Barbara Cargill, whom Rick Perry picked to chair the State Board of Education, is upset that a curriculum used by several Texas schools called CSCOPE, which has been at the center of right-wing conspiracy theories, doesn’t teach students about alternative theories to evolution. As first reported by the Texas Freedom Network, Cargill said that publishers and CSCOPE should teach “another side to the theory of evolution.” Our intent, as far as theories with the [curriculum standards], was to teach all sides of scientific explanations…. But when I went on [to the... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 02/05/2013, 2:05pm
Texas Governor Rick Perry stopped by "WallBuilders Live" today to voice his opposition to the upcoming vote by the Boy Scouts of America on possibly ending the organization's ban on gay scouts and scout leaders. Perry, the author of the book "On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For," was predictably opposed to any such change, calling on the organization not to "break the hearts" of those who love it by caving to the "cruel intolerance" of the left: What this gets down to Rick is that scouting is not about... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 01/29/2013, 5:30pm
Bryan Fischer warns that “homosexual pedophiles already seek to infiltrate scouting because it provides a target rich environment for their twisted desires. Abolishing the sexual orientation standard will turn every Boy Scout in America into vulnerable prey for the sexually deviant.”  Peter LaBarbera claims the BSA’s “proposal opens the door to the sexual and spiritual corruption of boys.” Rick Perry is one of the most unpopular governors in the U.S., which bodes well for his second presidential campaign. Lindsey Graham continues to be... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 01/17/2013, 5:33pm
PFAW: PFAWF Releases Reports on Outside Election Spending in 21 States, Organizes ‘Money Out/Voters In’ Events Across the U.S. Anjali Sareen @ Mediaite: Rick Perry Says Obama’s Actions On Gun Control ‘Disgust’ Him, Claims Prayer Is The Answer. Scott Keyes @ Think Progress: Republicans Brag They Won House Majority Because Of Gerrymandering. Sergio Munoz @ Media Matters: Drudge And Limbaugh Misrepresent What Obama And The Affordable Care Act Say About Doctors And Guns. Eric Lach @ TPM: NRA Warns Members That Confiscation Could Be Next. Warren... MORE >