Samuel Rodriguez

Rodriguez: Christians Must Vote Because 'Today's Complacency Is Tomorrow's Captivity'

Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, was a guest on James Robison's "Life Today" program this morning, where he called upon Christians to vote according to "what the Word of God says" because there is a movement at work that seeks "to silence Christians in America."

Rodriguez warned that Christians cannot afford to sit out this election because "today's complacency is tomorrow's captivity" and just as Christians in other countries are being killed by terrorists, so too are Christians in America being silenced by those who promote "moral relativism and cultural decadence."

"There is an attempt, believe it or not, to silence Christians in America," he said. "There is a war against our Judeo-Christian value system. And we speak against terrorist groups that are doing so many horrific things to our brothers and sisters in Christ and other religious minorities around the world but in our own nation, from a political standpoint, from a legislative standpoint or a public policy standpoint there is an attempt to silence Christendom. There is an attempt!"

TBN Leaders Broadcast From Bahamas Shortly After Anti-Gay Backlash Halts Pride Event

Yesterday, Trinity Broadcasting Network recorded its flagship Praise the Lord program from a waterfront resort in the Bahamas. Among those who joined the broadcast were Religious Right activist Samuel Rodriguez and anti-gay “ex-gay” singer Donnie McClurkin. TBN’s visit to the Bahamas came shortly after a gay pride event scheduled for this past weekend at a private resort in the Bahamas was cut short in response to a backlash that reportedly included death threats and vitriol on local talk shows.

Among those who slammed the pride event and the LGBT movement in general was Dr. Myles Munroe, who heads Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Munroe has hosted shows on TBN in the past and been a guest on some of the network’s major shows. Over the weekend he put out a six-page statement attacking the LGBT rights movement and saying it has “hijacked” and “raped” the civil rights movement. He called the gay pride event a “celebration of insanity.”

“I think the attempt to equate the historical civil rights movement with the demands for the right to dignify, glorify and accept as normal the practice of a lifestyle that could render the human race, for which they sacrificed, extinct is illogical, dishonest, and is the abuse of the blood and imprisonment of many.

“It’s a hijacking of the gains paid for by the blood of honorable men and women for an unnatural, human-destroying behavior.”

story this morning quotes a spokesperson for the resort advertised as the site of the pride event denying that any event had been booked.

The Ministry of Tourism and Manager for Religious Tourism celebrated the TBN visit.  A Ministry of Tourism update in the Bahamas Weekly said that Grand Bahamas “remains the choice destination for repeat International religious events such as Dr. Myles Munroe’s Global Leadership Summit and Angela Pipersburgh’s International Womens Summit.”

Mat Staver & Samuel Rodriguez Film Ads Promoting GOPFaith.com

Last week we noted that David Barton had begun promoting GOPFaith.com, a new effort from the Republican National Committee to mobilize a hundred thousand Religious Right activists on behalf of GOP candidates that is being headed by South Carolina GOP chairman Chad Connelly.

South Carolina GOP chairman Chad Connelly

Now it looks like Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver and The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference's Samuel Rodriguez have also climbed on board, as both have now filmed videos promoting the effort as well.

In his video, Staver says that he is "excited about this outreach from the RNC to wake up this sleeping giant because our Judeo-Christian values of liberty and life, they're all at stake" if conservative Christians do not get involved in politics:

For his part, Rodriguez, who inexplicably still manages to maintain a reputation as a moderate, nonpartisan Christian activist, declares that he is "so excited that the Republican National Committee has launched a very powerful and vibrant outreach component. I commend and applaud the leadership of Chad Connelly and really believe that the best days are yet to come":

Samuel Rodriguez: New General In Global Anti-Gay Culture War

Last month the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference announced that it was merging with Conela, a Latin America-based organization, to become “the world’s largest Hispanic Evangelical association” claiming to represent more than 500,000 churches. As Kyle reported, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver had encouraged the NHCLC’s Samuel Rodriguez to expand into Latin America after Staver’s visit to Peru, where he encouraged legislators to resist legal equality for gay people and same-sex couples.

The wildly anti-gay Matt Barber, also with Liberty Counselpraised the merger as a way for the NHCLC to join the Religious Right’s global war against LGBT equality:

"And so NHCLC," Barber said, "is really putting up a firewall to protect Latin America from, unfortunately, this cancerous invasion of immorality and [this] exporting [of] radical homosexual activism and radical pro-abortion activism, ultimately a culture of death.”

In a new interview with the Christian Post, Rodriguez uses similar language about creating a “firewall against moral relativism” and discloses some details about the merger and the combined group’s plans. Rodriguez is the CEO of the new merged NHCLC/Conela, while Conela’s former President Ricardo Luna is the executive director.

Rodriguez says Conela had already adopted NHCLC’s agenda and so the new group can go to work immediately building out an infrastructure in Latin America.

Conela already has been functioning with the Lamb's agenda and our 7 Directives, so it's a matter of creating infrastructure and amplifying the media and messaging platforms in Latin America.

If the question is whether or not we are going to be as active on the social political front in Latin America as we are in America, the answer is yes, again, not in the spirit of political advocacy, but in the spirit of prophetic activism.

Let me give you an example. Two weeks ago, in Baja California, the Mexico chapter director met with the governor of Baja California with hundreds of pastors united to discuss the issues of religious liberty, to discuss the issues of the 7 Directives as it pertains to Mexico.

He says they’re still working out the structural details.

We are in the board restructuring phase right now and a number of events taking place. One in October in Panama and there's one in December with 1,000 pastors in Mexico, there's one taking place in Europe at the beginning of the year.

My objective is to travel around Latin America with Ricardo, get to know the key influential pastors and leaders as we structure this global network and provide the resources that national pastors and regional leaders need to advance the Lamb's agenda.

Rodriguez, in spite of his media treatment as an evangelical moderate, made crystal clear that his organization is part of the Religious Right political movement when it reached a formal agreement to make the far-right Liberty Counsel the NHCLC’s official legislative and policy arm, and when Staver became a board member and chief legal counsel to the group.

Rodriguez’s rhetoric doesn’t seem to be changing.

Theologically speaking, we are on the same track. We are committed to biblical orthodoxy. We are committed to biblical truth. We are committed to making sure that truth is never sacrificed on the altar of expediency. We are committed to Billy Graham's message of salvation through Christ alone and through Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s March for Justice. So, we are committed to both righteousness and justice. We are evangelical. We do embrace the Manhattan Declaration. We would sign on to that.

Merging Billy Graham with Martin Luther King is the standard rhetoric of Rodriguez’s stump speech. Rodriguez has built allies among more progressive Christians by advocating for immigration reform and signing on to the Circle of Protection, a call from religious leaders not to sacrifice programs for the poor in order to reduce the deficit. But Rodriguez has also signed onto right-wing declarations that oppose progressive taxation, and embraced right-wing rhetoric about people being “enslaved” by government and “uber-entitlements.” And, of course, he is utterly opposed to marriage equality and legal access to abortion.

 

Rodriguez is connected to the dominionist New Apostolic Reformation and was a founding board member of the Oak Initiative, though he resigned after being confronted about the group’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and activities. He clearly has big ambitions for the new group.

"We are not drinking the proverbial Kool-Aid that Christianity is in decline, that this is the last hour of the Christian global narrative in a significant matter," Rodriguez told The Christian Post recently in an exclusive interview about the merger that took place on May 1. "We are not drinking the Kool-Aid. As a matter of fact, we have a very strong sense of optimism … we do believe the best is yet to come….

"It may very well be the largest Protestant network in the world, meaning that after the Catholic Church, this may very well be the largest Christian network organization in the world," he said. "I believe it speaks accolades to the growth of the Latino Christian demographic. I think it speaks accolades to Latino born-again Christians around the world because if this is the largest network in the world and now we are leading the charge of global evangelicalism."

Evangelical Leaders Warn Of 'Secular Totalitarianism' And 'Jail' For U.S. Christians

Religious Right leaders love to claim that Christians are threatened in the U.S., the subject of a forthcoming PFAW report on the Religious Right’s persecution complex. The latest example comes from the just-completed annual conference of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Russell Moore, who heads the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, hosted Rick Warren, David Platt, and Samuel Rodriguez for a June 9 panel on religious freedom in America through the lens of the Hobby Lobby case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

According to an account by Tom Strode in the Baptist Press, Rodriguez, who heads the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, warned, “Today’s complacency is tomorrow’s captivity. The firewall against secular totalitarianism is religious liberty and religious pluralism.”

“Secular totalitarianism” in this context is the requirement, being challenged in the Hobby Lobby case, that for-profit businesses provide insurance coverage that includes contraception methods to which the company’s owners have religious objections.

“The justices will decide whether “there is the freedom to dissent and the freedom to accommodate these conscientious objections in the governing of people’s lives and the running of their businesses,” Moore said. “This will have everything to do with everything that your church does for the next 100 years.”

Moore of course is ignoring, or rather obfuscating, the clear constitutional, legal, and policy distinction between churches, who are exempt from the requirement, and for-profit corporations, whose claim to a religious conscience is at the core of the Hobby Lobby case.

Rodriguez and Warren agreed that religious liberty is the civil rights issue of the future.  And panelists spoke as if Christians are on the verge of being jailed for their beliefs:

“I’m spending all of my time right now making sure that we stay out of jail,” [Moore] told the audience. “But there is one thing worse than going to jail, and that’s staying out of jail and sacrificing the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Warren responded, “This issue may take – just as it did with Martin Luther King – it may take some pastors going to jail. I’m in.”

The idea that pastors are going to be thrown into jail is a ridiculous argument that Religious Right leaders have used to oppose hate crimes legislation and laws against anti-gay discrimination in the workplace. This kind of rhetoric is not only ridiculous, it is also irresponsible and damaging. As People For the American Way Foundation’s Twelve Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics says in explaining that religious and political leaders should not “cry ‘wolf’” about religious persecution:

Inflammatory charges about religious persecution can lead to an angrier and more divisive political arena. If you believe your political opponents are actually out to take away your religious freedom, shut down your church, and literally criminalize Christianity—goals that some Religious Right figures attribute to political liberals—you have little reason to treat your opponents civilly or engage in a search for constructive common ground or compromise. Creating that kind of environment is not good for our country.

 It is possible to have a vigorous debate about political issues and about the separation of church and state without resorting to falsehoods about religious persecution.

The panel wasn’t a total bust, apparently. Unlike some Religious Right leaders, who claim that religious liberty protections apply only to Christians – or to a particular subset of Christians – news reports indicate that Rodriguez, Warren, and Moore said Christians should promote religious liberty for everyone in the context of religious pluralism. We don’t say this often about these guys, but we agree.

Barber: NHCLC Setting Up A 'Firewall' To Fight Back America's 'Cancerous Invasion Of Immorality'

Back in 2012, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver joined the board of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) and also took on the responsibility of serving as the organization's chief legal counsel. When Staver traveled to Peru last year to be honored for his anti-gay and anti-choice activism, he was so impressed by the commitment of local churches to resist the American government's efforts "to undermine the Judeo-Christian values of life and marriage" that, upon returning to the United States, he called NHCLC president Samuel Rodriquez and encouraged him to expand into Latin America in order to assist with this effort.

Earlier this month, the NHCLC announced that it would be doing just that by merging with a Latin America-based organization called Conela:

The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), the largest Hispanic Christian organization in the U.S. representing millions of Evangelicals and over 40,000 churches, announced today that it will merge with Conela, a Latin America-based organization that serves over 487,000 Latin churches across the world.

“This merger is a win-win for both NHCLC and Conela, and we are thrilled to join together to better serve Hispanic Evangelicals worldwide,” said Dr. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the NHCLC. “Under the new NHCLC, we will continue to unify, serve and represent the Hispanic Evangelical community with the divine and human elements of the Christian message all while advancing the Lamb’s agenda.”

This merger, which came at the request of Conela President Ricardo Luna, will result in a worldwide organization that represents over half a million churches and millions of individuals, making it the largest Evangelical association in the world.

Staver recounted these developments on today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, where Matt Barber said the efforts was needed now more than ever because "under this current administration, there is no question that the United States of America is exporting immorality."

"And so NHCLC," Barber said, "is really putting up a firewall to protect Latin America from, unfortunately, this cancerous invasion of immorality and [this] exporting [of] radical homosexual activism and radical pro-abortion activism, ultimately a culture of death":

Right Wing Leftovers - 5/8/14

  • Matt Barber's very credible website BarbWire has learned from an equally credible "inside" source that "Allen B. West is seriously considering a 2016 presidential run." We very much hope that this is true.
  • Speaking of Barber, he says that we are an "anti-Christian segregationist organization that exist for the sole purpose of segregating Christians and Christianity from any public forum." We are pretty sure that is not true.
  • Samuel Rodriguez says that Oklahoma's recent botched execution ought to be generating an outcry of evangelical Christians.
  • Representatives of The American Family Association, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, Family Research Council, and Morality in Media all recently met with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to voice their concerns about plans to "relax broadcast decency rules."
  • FRC prays: "May religious liberty flourish; may we use that liberty to pray and proclaim the Gospel as never before; and May awakening result that will turn the tide in our nation. May the local jurisdictions that have caved-in to the anti-prayer forces rethink and re-establish regular public prayer for their cities, counties and states."
  • Finally, Rep. Louie Gohmert grilled Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen today during a hearing about why his network refuses to carry Glenn Beck's The Blaze network.  Can you imagine the fit that Beck would throw if a member of Congress lobbied a cable executive on behalf of some other network like this? His head would explode.

Evangelicals Gather In Texas For Get Out The Vote Effort, With Eternity In Mind

Today, Religious Right leaders including Rick Scarborough, David Barton, Jim Garlow and Glenn Beck are meeting with Religious Right and Tea Party activists in Dallas at a summit “bringing together leaders of conservative organizations from around the country to brainstorm and strategize on how to get out the vote for the 2014 midterm elections.”

The summit is being jointly organized by Rick Scarborough’s Tea Party Unity and United In Purpose, a voter-mobilization group funded largely by Silicon Valley venture capitalists that partnered with several dozen Religious Right and Tea Party groups in the lead-up to the 2012 elections with the goal of getting five million new evangelical Christian voters to the polls .

United In Purpose, which received national news coverage for its data-driven efforts in 2011 and 2012, has what you might call a long-term goal: it is closely tied to advocates of “Seven Mountains Dominionism,” who aim to have conservative Christians take control of every aspect of government, business and the culture in order to pave the way for the return of Christ.

United in Purpose is led by Bill Dallas, a former broadcast executive who is also on thesteering committee of Tea Party Unity. The board of its political armconsists of Barton, a pseudo-historian and “Seven Mountains” advocate, and former congressman Bob McEwan. Its education arm’s board consists of Ken Eldred – a major funder of the Seven Mountains movement -- and pollster George Barna.

United in Purpose was involved with Rick Perry’s 2011 “The Response” prayer rally, the event that meant to launch the Texas governor’s presidential campaign but ended up just highlighting his extremism because of its ties with Seven Mountains theology.

After the Response rally, the American Family Association sent an email to everyone who had registered for The Response urging them to join United In Purpose’s new project: a voter mobilization effort called “Champion The Vote.”

“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,” wrote AFA president Tim Wildmon. The goal of the new project, he announced, was to “mobilize 5 million unregistered conservative Christians to register and vote according to the Biblical worldview in 2012.”

The project’s website says its mission is “to get unregistered Christians registered to vote, educated in the Biblical worldview, and voting accordingly on Election Day.” As part of this “worldview” education, the group distributes a guide called “Developing a Biblical Worldview,” which explains that “there are basically two worldviews: Biblical and atheistic.” The guide includes a helpful “worldview comparison chart” contrasting the two mindsets. For instance, the guide reports, the biblical worldview on marriage is “one man united with one woman” while the atheistic worldview is “lives by no real moral code – do whatever feels good, no accountability, self serving, me focused.”

As well as its get out the vote efforts, the group organized a series of conferences in the lead-up to the 2012 election, including one organized by Christian Nation and Dominionist advocate David Lane, who famously predicted that God would arrange car bombings in cities across the country in reaction to an openly gay poet’s reading at the inauguration. The group produced DVDs of Lane’s event to distribute to voter mobilization house parties.

United In Purpose has also provided steady funding to the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the group run by evangelical immigration reform proponent Sam Rodriguez. In 2012, UIP granted $30,000 to Rodriguez’s group. In 2011, it provided Rodriguez’s group with $300,000, nearly one-third of its entire budget. Rodriguez’s support for immigration reform has caused him to be painted as something of a moderate in the media, but he is in fact a conservative culture warrior and a leader in the New Apostolic Reformation, a movement closely tied to Seven Mountains dominionism. Until 2011, Rodriguez was a vice president of the dominionist Oak Initiative.

The speakers at this week’s summit in Dallas include prominent advocates of Seven Mountains theology, including Garlow and Barton. Beck has also featured Seven Mountains dominionists on his program.

During the 2012 presidential primary, Scarborough urged GOP voters to reject Mitt Romney because of his Mormonism, saying, “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.” (Although in the same interview, he went out of his way to praise Beck, also a Mormon, as “most prominent spokesperson for our values in the radio field.”) Garlow also fought against Romney’s nomination, saying he was not “visceral on the issues that are cardinal to me.”

We can imagine that the leaders gathered in Dallas today are disappointed in how their efforts turned out in 2012 and are looking for a change in strategy for launching candidates with their own “biblical worldview” into office.

Right Wing Leftovers - 2/5/14

  • David Barton and Rick Green officially announce their support for a Convention of States.
  • Bryan Fischer offers a simple guide to "Defeating Darwin in four easy steps."
  • Samuel Rodriguez and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference have endorsed Common Core.
  • It's almost as if Glenn Beck doesn't want people who don't share his right-wing views living in Texas. But that can't be the case because that would kind of make him a hypocrite.
  • Apparently, Satan doesn’t want men to have close male friendships by stoking fears it would lead to homosexual intimacy ... or something?
  • Finally, "Coach" Dave Daubenmire calls for reinstatement of the draft, by which he means a "6 weeks of mandatory boot camp" for all high school graduates.

Rodriguez Civility Campaign Partners With World's Most Uncivil People

Rev. Sam Rodriguez, who heads the evangelical National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, has an extraordinary talent for self-promotion – and for positioning himself as a moderate evangelical while being a fully engaged culture warrior with close ties to both mainstream Religious Right groups and fringier dominionist ones.  His reputation is based on the fact that he parts ways with the right on a few issues, like comprehensive immigration reform, for which he has been an energetic advocate.

Rodriguez has repeatedly portrayed himself as a voice of reason calling for more civility in public discourse.  His latest gambit is the Imago Dei campaign, whose goal, according to TIME’s Elizabeth Dias, is “to change the narrative of evangelical engagement in the public square, especially when it comes to traditional culture war issues.”

Rodriguez says that too often evangelicals in the United States have become known for what they oppose, and not for what they propose, and younger generations have had enough. “The church of Jesus Christ and the word hatred should not even appear in the same sentence,” Rodriguez says. “What if every single person can recognize the image of God in the other? Wouldn’t that bring down the noise of the hateful rhetoric? Wouldn’t that build a firewall between intolerance and bullying? Wouldn’t that build a firewall against extremism?”

This might sound like a big deal to people who either aren’t familiar with Rodriguez or with the Religious Right leaders who have signed on to his campaign. But it’s hard to see anything new here. Back in 2010, Rodriguez was a signer of the “Covenant of Civility,” which said in part,

“We believe that each of us, and our fellow human beings, are created in the image of God… We pledge that when we disagree, we will do so respectfully, without impugning the other’s motives, attacking the other’s character, or questioning the other’s faith, and recognizing in humility that in our limited, human opinions, “we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

In 2011 he was part of a Christianity Today ad campaign talking about disagreeing with love and civility. That same year, in the wake of the public shooting in Tucson, he was among religious leaders who signed a letter to members of Congress that said “This tragedy has spurred a sorely needed time of soul searching and national public dialogue about violent and vitriolic political rhetoric. We strongly support this reflection, as we are deeply troubled that rancor, threats and incivility have become commonplace in our public debates.”  In 2012, he told Patheos blogger Timothy Dalrymple, We want to look at a new narrative of evangelicalism, one that’s less hostile, less confrontational and more full of civility.”

The language used to launch the Imago Dei campaign comes from Rodriguez’s 2013 book, The Lamb’s Agenda. In the book he says, it is wrong to “marginalize or malign those with whom we disagree….The day of angry evangelicalism is officially over. The day of a loving, Bible-believing community espousing truth with love officially commences right now.”

Well, at least he keeps trying, right?

There are two major problems here: one is Rodriguez’s own rhetoric, which doesn’t always meet his civility standard. Sometimes he comes across as conciliatory, as when he described a meeting with President Obama as “a conversation amongst believers.” But there’s also the Rodriguez who suggests that his political opponents represent “the forces of darkness.” In a Religious Right “prayercast” that unsuccessfully asked God to defeat health care reform legislation, he declared, "the same spirit of Herod who 2000 years ago attempted to exterminate the life of the Messiah today lives even America. The legislation that incorporates death and infanticide all under the canopy of reform.”

In 2012 after Obama came out in support of marriage equality, Rodriguez said the promotion of marriage equality is “an attempt to silence the church of Jesus Christ.”

I do believe that the power of the pulpit in addressing truth and righteousness is critical.  We can’t sacrifice Biblical truth because at times it becomes confrontational. Listen, Jesus Christ had very strong confrontational moments. This idea that this is a patsy sort of Christianity. That’s not the Christianity that we follow and adhere to. Sometimes, truth hurts.

But much worse than Rodriguez’s own  rhetoric is the fact that his group has formally partnered with Liberty Counsel, an organization whose spokespeople regularly spew some of the most hostile, bullying, confrontational, uncivil rhetoric in the public arena. 

To put it bluntly, it is hard to treat with any seriousness a “civility campaign” that features the face of Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver. As Kyle wrote in 2012 when it was announced that Liberty Counsel had become NHCLC’s official legislative and policy arm, “Few groups operating today can match Liberty Counsel in terms of unmitigated hostility toward gays and Muslims and those with whom they disagree or in terms of overall general craziness ...”

In a press release announcing the Imago Dei campaign, Mat Staver is quoted:

"We should continually remind ourselves that every human being is created in the image of God," said Staver. "This has profound consequences. In the blogosphere and social media culture where people are dehumanized, bullied, and slandered, and where political rhetoric has polarized the populace, the Imago Dei in every person compels us to love and respect all people, including those who disagree with us."

It’s hard not to laugh out loud while reading this. Staver regularly denigrates his opponents, and his Liberty Counsel colleague Matt Barber is even worse.

Just a few examples from an ocean of possibilities: Staver says Planned Parenthood "is not interested in the health and well-being of women" but is really only interested in "their death agenda" and in "damaging the very core and foundation of who we are as Americans and a people of faith and values." Of the movement toward marriage equality, Staver says, “This whole assault on marriage is really an attempt to obliterate not only morality but Judeo-Christian morality, to obliterate marriage and to even obliterate the idea that there even is a God.” And he compares Republicans who are soft on the issue to cockroaches.

Here’s the mini-profile of Staver we prepared for our preview of the 2013 Values Voter Summit:

Mat Staver is the head of the Liberty University School of Law and its legal affiliate, Liberty Counsel, a sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. Liberty Counsel has been implicated in the Lisa Miller kidnapping case, where a client kidnapped her daughter and fled to Central America after a court granted custody to her former partner. At a previous Values Voter Summit, Staver claimed that progressives are using LGBT rights and secular government in order to “ultimately implode America” and that the “agenda of the homosexual movement” is to destroy freedom and western civilization. Through his role at Liberty Counsel, Staver has:

Staver says Obama and his “bloodthirsty administration” are worse than King George. He denounces “homofascists” and praised Putin’s anti-gay laws and the Indian Supreme Court decision criminalizing homosexuality.

We could go on. And on.

Meanwhile, Staver’s Liberty Counsel Matt Barber is a bully who rivals Bryan Fischer in the realm of “rhetorical pornography.” He calls Islam “satanic” and people who don’t get it “useful idiots.” He says marriage equality isn’t about marriage or equality but is a political weapon designed to destroy religious liberty. Barber praises Putin and supports laws criminalizing homosexuality. He says Americans are living under “a tyranny of a secularist minority that wants to engage in religious cleansing." There’s much more.

And to repeat, for emphasis: Staver is a leader of Rodriguez’s new Imago Dei campaign, and Liberty Counsel was chosen by Rodriguez to function as the official legislative and policy arm of his National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Just today, Barber tweeted:  "Gay marriage" is a disordered, sin-based & oxymoronic novelty that mocks God & defiles any church in which the silly stunt is performed...”

Paging Rev. Rodriguez.

Right Wing Leftovers - 12/3/13

  • Every election cycle, right-wing pundits start tossing around the phrase "Reaganesque" about their favorite candidates.  This time, it is Gov. Scott Walker.
  • It is amazing how Religious Right activists seem to be experts on everything, because why else would anyone care what Samuel Rodriguez thinks about the deal with Iran?
  • Glenn Beck's The Blaze debunks another right-wing myth, which means that Beck will probably repeat it on some future show.
  • God will help you lose weight.
  • Finally, "Dr. Chaps" Gordon Klingenschmitt says that the lesbian legislator in Hawaii who voted against marriage equality was moved by the Holy Spirit even though she is also possessed by a demon of homosexuality.

Who's Who at Heritage Foundation's Rebuke to Pro-Immigration Reform Evangelicals

In recent years, a growing number of conservative evangelicals have joined more progressive Christians to embrace comprehensive immigration reform.  Members of the Evangelical Immigration Table have been making the case for reform at Religious Right events in recent years; one prominent conservative evangelical, Sam Rodriguez, recently announced a 40-day fast to advance reform legislation.

As RWW has reported, getting conservatives on board has been a hard sell, particularly for the “Teavangelical” wing of the Religious Right, whose members tend to stand with hard-right anti-immigration politicians. In particular, some conservatives aren’t happy about having the Bible quoted by those lobbying for passage of the bill that passed the Senate earlier this year.  In response, conservative activist Kelly Monroe Kullberg started a competing group, Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration.  

This Friday, her group is getting a boost from the Heritage Foundation, which is hosting “Doing Good to the Stranger and the Citizen: Evangelicals Discuss Immigration Reform.”

Here’s a quick look at the speaker line-up:

Kelly Monroe Kullberg

Kullberg is a founder of Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration. She accuses leaders of the Evangelical Immigration Table of being “deceptive and manipulative.” She complains that reform backers are supported by “atheist globalist and open border advocate George Soros.” She says the Senate “Gang of Eight” bill “does not reflect balanced biblical teaching” and would “make asylum easier for people like the Boston Marathon bombers.”

Kullberg decries “easy sloganeering” by reform advocates and says the U.S. cannot afford more immigrants. She says Jesus and biblical passages encourage the welcoming of some, but not all, strangers – those willing to assimilate culturally and religiously – and “also remind us to love not only the foreigner who comes to us in need, but our neighbors, such as those in Arizona, whose needs are being ignored.”

In a June letter Kullberg wrote:

The ‘Gang of Eight’ immigration bill will increase debt and danger in America for both citizens and guests, thus further precipitating the decline of the America we love and steward. In Scripture we are taught to make wise distinctions between the well-meaning sojourner (the 'ger' in Hebrew) and the foreigner who does not advance a nation’s faith, values and story (the 'goyim').

Kullberg recently spoke to American Family Association talk show host Sandy Rios where she warned of the dangers that an immigration reform bill would case people of “other faiths” and “incompatible worldviews” to flood into the United States, diminishing respect for the value of human life and leading to an increase in human trafficking.

Carol M. Swain

Swain is a professor at Vanderbilt Law School who has edited books on immigration and white nationalism.  She has created a non-profit group to help her promote her conservative views. When she showered praise on a “documentary” film called “A Conversation About Race,” the Southern Poverty Law Center called her “an apologist for white supremacists.” She and her supporters at the anti-immigration Center for Immigration Studies lambasted SPLC – she calls it a hate group that “harasses conservatives” – but even her fans at the Wall Street Journal, which came to her defense, found parts of the film “inflammatory and invidious.”  And they noted that on immigration, Swain’s views “are closer to Lou Dobbs’s than to ours.”

Swain’s most recent book, 2011’s Be the People, places her firmly in the right-wing activist camp. She says the book is “a call to action for We the People to reclaim our nation’s faith and promise.”  The blurbs at the front of Be the People let you know what you’re in for. Among the right-wing stars praising the book are Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Tony Perkins, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Robert George, Harry Jackson, and Jesse Lee Peterson. 

No wonder they love Swain: she writes respectfully of those who question President Obama’s faith and about birthers – she calls the term itself “pejorative” and an “epithet. Part of the book is a Christian-nation screed that would make David Barton proud. “We are engaged in a battle for the soul of our nation,” she writes. She slams the Supreme Court’s rulings on separation of church and state, saying, “The expulsion of God from public schools was a blow to civil religion and a clear repudiation of what Jesus proclaimed to be the greatest commandment.”

She cites Stephen Keillor, who says the 9/11 attacks might have been God’s judgment against the United States, which we well deserve. “We are being confronted with numerous national disasters and freak weather patterns. Could some of these occurrences be related to our decision to reject biblical injunctions against abortion, greed, homosexuality, fornication, and adultery?” While Swain calls her book a “rallying cry” for people to get involved, she also says it may be too late for America to escape God’s wrath for having violated the covenant its founders made with God.  “Accept the fact that no matter what Christians and other believers do, it may be too late to save the United States of America….As it stands, we do not know if judgment has been determined for our nation.”

In the chapter on immigration reform, SWain mentions testifying on immigration before a congressional committee. She was outnumbered on the panel, she says, but was encouraged by friendly faces like those of Reps. Steve King and Lamar Smith. She writes, “In light of the high unemployment in the US, no sensible argument can be made for legalizing millions of undocumented persons currently holding jobs to which they are not entitled.”

Swain also takes on the interpretation of scripture by pro-reform evangelicals, saying that the “stranger” in Old Testament injunctions does not apply to people in the U.S. illegally. She even impugns Catholic leaders for supporting immigration reform efforts, suggesting they are motivated by a desire to boost church membership. Among the specific proposals in her definition of reform are that Congress should “flex its muscles” and legislatively close the “loophole” of birthright citizenship under the 14th amendment.

Mark Tooley

Tooley is president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a rght-wing group dedicated to attacking progressive elements within mainstream and evangelical Christianity and resisting the advance of LGBT equality at home and abroad. IRD calls the Evangelical Immigration Table a front group for George Soros and derides the Evangelical Immigration Table's “I was a stranger” campaign as “a masterful piece of emotional blackmail.” IRD has suggested that EIT is trying to manipulate evangelicals, which would be “a sad betrayal of a flock by its shepherds.”

IRD has also  insinuated that religious backers of the Senate immigration reform bill are just eager to get their hands on a “slush fund” of taxpayer dollars the bill includes for organizations that assist immigrants.

Tooley has criticized pro-reform leaders’ “superficial ‘God-talk’” and suggested that religious leaders should not be spending their time on immigration reform, which he says is not of the same “moral order” as “marriage, human life, and religious liberty.” In speaking about immigration, Tooley says it is “very problematic when people of faith start to claim that the Bible gives them very direct guidance on a particular contemporary political issue.” Well, that will certainly be news to the folks at the Heritage Foundation and the conservative evangelicals who are presumably the target for Friday’s event.

James Hoffmeier

Hoffmeier is Professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern History and Archaeology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is author of The Immigration Crisis: Immigrants, Aliens, and the Bible, a book that seems to be the basis for other speakers’ claims about the Old Testament. Hoffmeier summarizes his book in “The Use and Abuse of the Bible in the Immigration Debate,” which is published on the website of the Center for Immigration Studies, which along with FAIR and NumbersUSA form a trio of anti-immigrant groups that the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “the core of the nativist lobby in America.” He says the Old Testament makes a distinction between strangers – equivalent to a resident alien who agreed to abide by the law – and foreigners, who did not have the same legal protections. Hoffmeier criticizes the “sanctuary” movement in America, saying, “So when American cities offer their cities as sanctuary from federal law, or when churches offer their facilities as a refuge for illegal immigrants who have been tried and order deported, they are neither following the letter or spirit of the OT law.” Or in other words, “American cities that use their communities to circumvent the law to help the illegal alien in the name of justice are doing a gross injustice to the letter and spirit of the biblical law.”

From a Publisher’s Weekly review of his book:  

“The book offers little in the way of sociological, political or economic insight into the circumstances surrounding modern-day illegal immigration, beyond advocating for a law-and-order approach. Missing from this analysis is an understanding of the Bible as a prophetic document more concerned with larger issues of justice. Still, Christians looking for a biblical justification for strict federal enforcement of immigration laws may find much to like.”

Right Wing Leftovers - 9/4/13

  • Sam Rodriguez defends Common Core.
  • Why are cast members from "Duck Dynasty" appearing on radio programs hosted by the anti-gay bigots at the American Family Association?
  • Rep. Joe Wilson thinks that President Obama is pushing for military action in Syria in order to distract from Benghazi and Obamacare.
  • The owners of a bakery who refused to provide a wedding cake to a lesbian couple are complaining that they are the victims of "mafia tactics" being used against their business.
  • Finally, Bryan Fischer says White Christians are the real victims of persecution and discrimination in America:

Immigration Reform a Tough Sell to Ralph Reed's 'Teavangelicals'

A group of conservative evangelical leaders has been pushing their fellow conservatives to embrace immigration reform, in part as a way to make the Religious Right and the Republican Party more appealing to the nation’s growing Latino population. Ralph Reed has been among those supporting the idea of a comprehensive reform bill, but at his Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference in Washington DC, many of the “Teavangelical” activists – people who are part of both the Tea Party and Religious Right movement – aren’t buying.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who has been telling white evangelicals that they should embrace an influx of Jesus-loving Latinos as the salvation of Christianity in America, spoke in Friday morning’s session. He urged attendees not to drink the anti-immigrant “Kool-aid.” He told them not to believe the charge that 11 million immigrants would become Democratic voters if given citizenship. The conservative movement does not exist to conserve pigmentation or a white majority, he said, and it needs some “salsa sauce” on top.

Unfortunately for Rodriguez and his fellow proponents of immigration reform, two previous speakers, Gary Bauer and Allen West, had already spoken in disparaging terms about the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill moving through the Senate.  Bauer said Republicans in Washington spend too much time listening to consultants rather than standing firm on their principles. “You don’t have to go off and pass amnesty,” he said.  Former Congressman Allen West said that the “illegal immigration and amnesty bill” would make life harder for African Americans. And immediately following Rodriguez to the microphone was Phyllis Schlafly, who ramped up the rhetoric, telling attendees that they should threaten to run primary challengers against Senate Republicans who voted for the immigration bill.

Driving home that message was Colleen Holcomb, executive director of Schlafly’s Eagle Forum.  Holcomb was part of a panel on immigration reform that was moderated by Carlos Campo, president of Pat Robertson’s Regent University. Campo, who backs immigration reform, introduced Holcomb as a Regent alum, but that didn’t deter her from making slashing attacks on the Senate immigration bill. In fact, she at least indirectly criticized Campo and Ralph Reed himself when she said she was “profoundly offended” when faith leaders suggested that there was a biblical mandate for this kind of bill. She urged people to take advantage of resources available at www.stopgangof8.com. Holcomb later agreed with a questioner that it was an “outrageous lie” to suggest that the Senate bill reflects conservative principles.

Panelist Carlos Curbelo of the Miami-Dade County School Board tried to convince audience members that the current bill is not “amnesty” the way the 1986 immigration bill had been. Another panelist, state rep Steve Montenegro of Arizona, said the bill needed to include stronger border security provisions. When he asked for a show of hands – not a single person said they trusted that the Senate bill would secure the border.  And when he followed up, asking in effect, but how many of you would be willing to work with provisions of the bill if it did secure the border, very few hands went up.

It seems clear that Reed’s audience is more in sync with Schlafly than Rodriguez. That may be why Reed, who says reform should reflect Judeo-Christian principles – which he says include strengthening the family, respecting the rule of law, meeting the needs of the U.S. economy, and including “enforcement triggers” on border security – is also careful to include vehement denunciations of “amnesty” and “guaranteed paths to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently residing in the country.”

Right Wing Leftovers - 5/8/13

  • It is nice to know that someone like Mark Sanford can abandon his government post and his family to fly out of the country to visit his mistress and then get re-elected to Congress by conservative family values Republican voters in South Carolina.
  • Rev. Steve Kern, the husband of Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern, has announced that he is seeking a state Senate seat.
  • Samuel Rodriguez says that right-wing Christian activists will abandon immigration reform efforts if gay couples are included in the legislation.
  • Is anyone shocked?: "A co-author of a new Heritage Foundation study highly critical of the Senate’s bipartisan immigration proposal also wrote a doctoral dissertation in which he argued that immigrants generally had an I.Q. that was 'substantially lower than that of the white native population.'”
  • No, Tamerlan Tsarnaev will not be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
  • Finally, Gary Bauer says that political correctness "has promoted institutional intolerance of traditional ideas and views. As a result, many people of faith are being pushed into the same proverbial closet that everyone else has been invited to leave."

The Awakening: More Right-Wing Preaching Needed to Save America

This past weekend’s “Awakening” conference, sponsored by the far-right legal and advocacy group Liberty Counsel, attracted several hundred people to First Baptist Church in Oviedo, a suburb of Orlando, Florida. While the turnout was not big enough to fill half of the sanctuary, the event gave an insight into the state of mind of America’s Religious Right leaders.

The overall message of the weekend was that America is in spiritual decline and on the verge of total destruction at the hands of dictator-emulating, jihad-enabling socialist President Barack Obama and his religious-freedom-hating allies in the radical homosexual lobby. Many of the speakers reveled in recounting their tales of being persecuted for having the courage to take on left-wing radicals.
 
Other major themes:
  • America, or conservative America, is at war – at war with militant Islam, secular humanism, abortionists, a “radical homosexual activist movement,” and with Satan, who inspires those movements.
  • President Obama is leading America down the road to socialist tyranny.
  • Public schools are left-wing indoctrination centers and there’s no excuse for Christian parents to send their students to a public school. Christian educators should treat public schools as a mission field.
  • Conservative political losses among Hispanics and youth are due to lousy public education, media bias, and bad messaging by conservatives. Conservatives can win them over with better messaging and outreach.
  • Political action alone will not be enough to save America – only a religious revival and Great Awakening will turn America around, and that requires conservative preachers to be much more aggressive in their preaching, since so much of the church is lukewarm and preaching a useless “happy-clappy” Jesus.
In addition to the Religious Right leaders profiled in our preview of the conference, participants heard from Sen. Marco Rubio (via video) and from Rep. Michelle Bachmann (in person). Rubio thanked people for their activism on behalf of “traditional values” and encouraged them to keep at it. Bachmann, who received the “Great American Patriot Award” from Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, continued her well-documented record of blithely lying about her political opponents, saying that President Obama did not send a delegation to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, which Bachmann attended as part of a House of Representatives delegation. (In fact the Obama administration sent former Secretaries of State George Schultz and James Baker to the funeral, along with other diplomatic representatives.) Bachmann said Americans have to choose between a free America and an oppressive America. “We need to recognize the desperate situation of our condition,” she said, and need to focus on “spiritual warfare.” She called on Christians to make September 11, 2013 a day of fasting and humbling themselves before God.
 
Loving the Hispanic People
 
Like last year’s Awakening, the opening session focused on the importance of reaching out to the growing constituency of American Latinos. Salem radio official and conservative activist Tony Calatayud warned that American elections will be decided by Hispanics for decades to come. American Hispanics, he said, have been “kidnapped” by the Left; he lamented the fact that Cubans in Miami are no longer voting overwhelmingly for Republicans.
 
Speakers at right-wing events are fond of claiming that Hispanics are “naturally” conservative and should be voting for Republicans, despite repeated polling evidence to the contrary. Calatayud said Hispanics “have this crazy notion that a man should be married to a woman.” (In reality, a majority of Latinos favors marriage equality, though most Hispanic evangelicals are opposed.) Staver said the Hispanic community could be a “firewall for our values.” In the real world, Hispanic voters did indeed provide a firewall in 2012, but it was on behalf of Democratic senators in key states.
 
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who heads the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, gave a version of the same stump speech he has been giving for years, including his line that Hispanics are in America “to bring panic to the kingdom of darkness in the name of Jesus Christ.” Echoing Rodriguez, “prophet” Cindy Jacobs said God had brought Latinos to America to teach “us” something. “God has given them the playing field,” she said, and Anglo Christians need to be humble and willing to learn from them. Christians are a family that needs to learn to function together as a family, she said, and that includes voting “consistent with our Father’s family values.” Rodriguez, who is formally allied with the far-right Liberty Counsel but promotes himself as a Latino mash-up of Martin Luther King and Billy Graham, is among evangelicals who are pushing for comprehensive immigration reform in the hopes that its passage would clear the way for more Latino citizens to vote Republican.
 
Neither Rodriguez nor Rubio made much mention of immigration reform, but a questioner made the division among conservatives evident when he cited Rush Limbaugh’s assertion that reform would create 11 million new Democratic voters. Calatayud’s response was that they wouldn’t all vote for Democrats if Republicans did a good job reaching out to them. He said conservative Salem broadcasting now has seven Spanish language radio stations and he hinted at a much bigger project in the works, a conservative TV station or network along the lines of a Spanish language Fox News.
 
Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico, a member of the Tea Party caucus in the House of Representatives, said he gets elected in his heavily Hispanic district by spending a lot of time in the community; he was refreshingly blunt about the fact that many of his congressional colleagues don’t “get it” and aren’t likely to. The solution, he said, was to elect more people like him who do.
 
Not-so-loving the Gays
 
Many speakers insisted that there can be “no compromise” on civil unions or marriage equality because it is a “zero sum game” in which advances in LGBT equality come at the expense of religious liberty.
 
Rena Lindevaldsen, an associate dean at Liberty University law school, talked about Christian business owners getting into trouble for violating anti-discrimination laws by refusing to serve gay couples and warned things could get worse. “If civil government has the authority to fine you,” she warned, “the same authority can put you in jail.”
 
Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber complained that young people have bought gays’ “hijacking” of the civil rights movement “hook, line, and inker.” Barber said gay activists are “shamelessly using” bullying as a “Trojan horse” to get their indoctrination into the schools. Same-sex marriage, he said, is the head of the spear in the culture war, a “hammer” to destroy religious freedom and silence dissent. It’s not really about marriage for homosexuals, he said. “Their goal is not to have the white picket fence, their goal is to burn down the white picket fence.”
 
While Awakening speakers did assert that their opposition to gay rights was an expression of their “love” for “people with same-sex attraction,” they didn’t try to pretend, as NOM often does in the political arena, that their opposition is not grounded in religious belief. “It’s all about God,” said Barber. “It’s all about an attack and rebellion against God, against God’s plan for humanity.” Bachmann said marriage “is one man, one woman – because God says it is. Not because it’s poll tested – because God says it is.” Lindevaldsen said “there is no compromise…once you start down that path you are condoning that which God says is sinful and you are putting the government with the authority to now say that which is sinful is good.” Rick Scarborough said, “now we debate whether marriage shall be between a man and a woman. That’s been settled already. That decision was handed down by the supreme judge of the universe, and no court has a say in that.”
 
Matt Barber said gay activists’ attacks on Christians reflect their hatred of Jesus. “They hate the way, which is Christ, they hate the truth, which they are in conflict with, and they hate the life.” He added, “the wages of sin is death,” adding, “The homosexual lifestyle astronomically from a statistical standpoint leads to death.”
 
Greg Quinlan, a self-described ex-gay who heads PFOX, asserted that homosexuality is “outside God’s intention.” He complained about the “Demoncrats” support for anti-reparative-therapy laws. Asked about anti-bullying laws, he said: “This is fascism! This is fascism! We need to put a swastika on it.” He complained that New Jersey activists had exploited gay boy’s suicide. “One boy jumps off the George Washington Bridge,” he said, and gay activists seized the moment and turned it to their advantage.
 
Public Schools = ‘Cesspool of Indoctrination’
 
Several speakers said Christian parents have no business sending their children to public schools. Right-wing radio personality and anti-gay activist Bradlee Dean, who markets his presentation to public schools, called public schools a “cesspool of indoctrination” and said “you can’t justify having your kid in a public school.” Taking the Bible out of schools, he said, opened the door to Satanism. He warned that the International Baccalaureate program used in some schools is teaching children to disarm and promoting homosexuality.
 
The Southern Baptists’ Richard Land also said Christian parents should not hand their children off to public schools, which are “a lousy place for Christian kids.” Rodriguez said Christian schools and the homeschooling movement are a kind of firewall against the public education system. He added that “serious Christ followers” are needed as teachers, principals, and administrators, who should view the schools as mission fields.
 
Cynthia Dunbar, who was part of a Religious Right group on the Texas Board of Education during recent textbook battles, said education is the most important battleground, because conservatives can’t win when the vast majority of children are being indoctrinated in a “socialized” education system.
 
Several speakers and activists denounced the Common Core standards, developed and adopted by many governors and state education officials. As RWW has reported, the Common Core is a new target of right-wing conspiracy theories on public education.
 
Obama = Evil
 
Anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller warned that Obama has “enabled and empowered” the ideology of jihad. It was no accident, she said, that the Obama administration supported a “Muslim brotherhood revolution” in Egypt to replace the former secular government there.
 
Bradlee Dean said that Obama was emulating Mao:
“This president is emulating dictators. Do you not understand that he is not playing games? If you look at Mao Tse-tung, this boy is emulating Mao Tse-tung to a T. You know what Mao Tse-tung did, he went to the younger generation, he overthrew the Republic of China to implement what? Democracy. Who is the last president that actually acknowledged that we are a republic? Reagan. Every president since has continuously inundated the next generation with the fact that we are a democracy. That is dangerous, guys.”
Dean talked about those killed in 20th Century wars, saying “many of those boys in those graveyards, hundreds of thousands of them all across the country, fought, bled and died fighting against the ideology that the American people are tolerating today.”
 
God and Guns
 
Jan Morgan, a right-wing social media pro-gun activist, was a late addition to the program. She almost didn’t make it because of an unfortunate incident at the airport when TSA found a few stray bullets and a couple of four inch folding tactical combat knives in her purse (she teaches self-defense classes). She railed against the Obama administration, liberal media, and the “gun grabbers.” She said mass murders take place in gun-free zones (but she didn’t mention the signs on doors of the church that said no firearms were allowed inside). Morgan even seemed to take issue with some gun advocates’ attempt to shift the focus to mental health issues, saying she didn’t want the federal government deciding who is fit to own a gun; soon she said liberal doctors empowered by Obamacare would say anyone who believes in Jesus Christ could not be mentally stable.
 
Abortion
 
The Duggars, Jim Bob and Michelle, a couple made famous by a reality TV show focused on their ever-growing family, spoke about their efforts to outlaw abortion. Jim Bob Duggar praised Janet Porter’s efforts to promote a “heartbeat bill.” Although Porter has failed to win its passage in Ohio, Duggar celebrated the passage of similar legislation in Arkansas and North Dakota.
 
Keith Fournier, representing conservative Catholics at the conference, said “life” is the lens through which all issues should be examined, calling it the first pillar of collaboration between conservative evangelicals and Catholics.
 
Politics, Pastors and the Third Great Awakening
 
A major theme of the Awakening conference was the need for conservative Christians, especially pastors, to be more politically active, but that in the end politics could not save America unless there is a third Great Awakening. The notion that “the next Great Awakening starts here” has been a staple of Religious Right gatherings in recent years, as has the idea that the fault for America’s problems is a “lukewarm” church with pastors who aren’t living up to the example set by earlier Religious Right leaders like Jerry Falwell and D. James Kennedy.
 
Fournier said America had slipped from secularism into a “new paganism” and called for Christians not to view America as “post-Christian” but as “pre-Christian,” primed for a new missionary period.
 
Rick Scarborough said, “In a nation such as this it is a sin for a preacher not to be speaking to the great political issues of our day. That’s not an option. And if your pastor will not do that, bless him with your absence.” Land said “there’s nothing wrong with America that a good old-fashioned revival won’t fix.”
 
Boykin warned that the country is “on the precipice of total destruction.” The church, he said, should be the dominant influence in our society, but instead it is calling good evil, and evil good, and “it’s killing us as a nation.” It is time, he said, for the church to “rise up.”
 
Harry Jackson said “we as a nation are under the chastening hand of God” because of “bad choices” Americans, including Christians, have made.
“We’re at a place now where the GOP can’t help us. And the Democratic Party doesn’t want us. And we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place and we’re going to need a visitation from the Holy Spirit to see America transformed…Repentance is in order because the church has become the carnal church in America….What we need now is that revival and awe to be the substructure or the foundation of what we do. Nothing else will do. We don’t need another television personality, we don’t need radio ministries that awe and get us inspired. We need church planting, but church planting without the fire of God will not make a difference. We don’t need prophetic preaching unless it turns the hearts of masses of men. We need the kind of authoritative pulpits thundering the glory of God that will see whole cities shift in our land.”
More to Come
 
If you missed the Awakening, have no fear. The Family Research Council’s conference for pastors who want to “transform America,” Watchmen on the Wall, takes place in DC May 22-24. Religious Right activists and Republican allies will gather at the "Road to Majority" conference sponsored by by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington on June 13-15. And the biggest Religious Right political event of the year, the Values Voter Summit sponsored by the Family Research Council and a collection of other far-right groups, will be held in Washington October 11-13.

Right Wing Leftovers - 4/3/13

  • Mark Sanford disappeared from his job as Governor of South Carolina and left the country in order to carry on an extra-marital affair and now he is the Republican nominee for Congress ... because the GOP is the party of family values.
  • It looks like Charisma magazine is engaged in some sort of tiff with TBN.
  • Samuel Rodriguez has a book coming out and the news release likens him to Martin Luther King, Jr and Billy Graham.
  • Apparently there really is no need for conservatives to worry because "the Left will soon be extinct."
  • Finally, because we can never get enough of efforts to link gay marriage to Sodom and Gomorrah, here is another one from Gary Cass: "God’s retribution on Sodom and Gomorrah for homosexual sin is used as a severe warning of what will come to all who refuse to repent of their sin."

Right Wing Leftovers - 3/19/13

  • Happy 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq war.
  • Samuel Rodriguez's support for gun control measures will probably not sit well with his allies in the Religious Right.
  • Glenn Beck continues to blame video games for the massacre in Newtown.
  • The Right's argument that prohibiting gay marriage is not discriminatory is really getting old: "Those who choose not to enter into a male-female union—whether because of their sexual orientation, or from any other reason—are not being denied the 'right' to marry. They are, like those who choose celibacy, singleness, cohabitation, or polyamory, simply choosing not to marry—that is, choosing not to enter the type of relationship that is rationally defined as a 'marriage.'”
  • Janet Mefferd rips the GOP: "I've never seen such cowardice and apathy. All these politicians who've given up on the issue of marriage really, truly disgust me."
  • Finally, Liberty Counsel is making a feature film about religious liberty that is going to star Erik Estrada. We are at a loss for words.

Right Wing Leftovers - 3/7/13

  • How sad: James O'Keefe is now $100,000 poorer.
  • Hey Todd Starnes, maybe we "claimed" and "alleged" all of these things because they are true.
  • Is anyone surprised that Samuel Rodriguez and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference are threatening to stop supporting immigration reform because they "refuse to budge on allowing visas for same-sex couples, due to their biblical view on marriage."
  • With the Supreme Court scheduled to heard Prop 8 and DOMA cases, now is the time to pray.
  • Finally, "CWA Celebrates Women's History Month" by lumping Rosa Parks in with Phyllis Schlafly:  

Right Wing Leftovers - 2/26/13

  • As we have said before, we cannot understand how Samuel Rodriguez maintains his reputation as some sort of "moderate" when he constantly associates himself with the most extreme elements of the Religious Right.
  • Matt Barber says that by failing to defend DOMA, the Obama administration is essentially trying to criminalize Christianity.
  • Once again, Glenn Beck hauls out his chalkboard to demonstrate that most Americans are just like him and Ted Cruz.
  • S.E Cupp has withdrawn from CPAC in protest of the ban on GOProud.
  • Finally, Bryan Fischer channels David Barton in claiming that Jesus was a capitalist because apparently parables about Heaven are also literal lessons about economics.
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Samuel Rodriguez Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Monday 10/20/2014, 11:30am
Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, was a guest on James Robison's "Life Today" program this morning, where he called upon Christians to vote according to "what the Word of God says" because there is a movement at work that seeks "to silence Christians in America." Rodriguez warned that Christians cannot afford to sit out this election because "today's complacency is tomorrow's captivity" and just as Christians in other countries are being killed by terrorists, so too are Christians in... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 09/03/2014, 3:43pm
Yesterday, Trinity Broadcasting Network recorded its flagship Praise the Lord program from a waterfront resort in the Bahamas. Among those who joined the broadcast were Religious Right activist Samuel Rodriguez and anti-gay “ex-gay” singer Donnie McClurkin. TBN’s visit to the Bahamas came shortly after a gay pride event scheduled for this past weekend at a private resort in the Bahamas was cut short in response to a backlash that reportedly included death threats and vitriol on local talk shows. Among those who slammed the pride event and the LGBT movement in general was Dr... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 08/20/2014, 12:28pm
Last week we noted that David Barton had begun promoting GOPFaith.com, a new effort from the Republican National Committee to mobilize a hundred thousand Religious Right activists on behalf of GOP candidates that is being headed by South Carolina GOP chairman Chad Connelly. South Carolina GOP chairman Chad Connelly Now it looks like Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver and The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference's Samuel Rodriguez have also climbed on board, as both have now filmed videos promoting the effort as well. In his video, Staver says that he is "excited... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Monday 06/30/2014, 3:22pm
Last month the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference announced that it was merging with Conela, a Latin America-based organization, to become “the world’s largest Hispanic Evangelical association” claiming to represent more than 500,000 churches. As Kyle reported, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver had encouraged the NHCLC’s Samuel Rodriguez to expand into Latin America after Staver’s visit to Peru, where he encouraged legislators to resist legal equality for gay people and same-sex couples. The wildly anti-gay Matt Barber, also with Liberty Counsel,... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Thursday 06/12/2014, 12:38pm
Religious Right leaders love to claim that Christians are threatened in the U.S., the subject of a forthcoming PFAW report on the Religious Right’s persecution complex. The latest example comes from the just-completed annual conference of the Southern Baptist Convention. Russell Moore, who heads the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, hosted Rick Warren, David Platt, and Samuel Rodriguez for a June 9 panel on religious freedom in America through the lens of the Hobby Lobby case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.  According to an account by Tom Strode in the... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 05/13/2014, 10:25am
Back in 2012, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver joined the board of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) and also took on the responsibility of serving as the organization's chief legal counsel. When Staver traveled to Peru last year to be honored for his anti-gay and anti-choice activism, he was so impressed by the commitment of local churches to resist the American government's efforts "to undermine the Judeo-Christian values of life and marriage" that, upon returning to the United States, he called NHCLC president Samuel Rodriquez and encouraged... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 05/08/2014, 5:30pm
Matt Barber's very credible website BarbWire has learned from an equally credible "inside" source that "Allen B. West is seriously considering a 2016 presidential run." We very much hope that this is true. Speaking of Barber, he says that we are an "anti-Christian segregationist organization that exist for the sole purpose of segregating Christians and Christianity from any public forum." We are pretty sure that is not true. Samuel Rodriguez says that Oklahoma's recent botched execution ought to be generating an outcry of evangelical Christians... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Wednesday 03/26/2014, 1:48pm
Today, Religious Right leaders including Rick Scarborough, David Barton, Jim Garlow and Glenn Beck are meeting with Religious Right and Tea Party activists in Dallas at a summit “bringing together leaders of conservative organizations from around the country to brainstorm and strategize on how to get out the vote for the 2014 midterm elections.” The summit is being jointly organized by Rick Scarborough’s Tea Party Unity and United In Purpose, a voter-mobilization group funded largely by Silicon Valley venture capitalists that partnered with several dozen Religious Right... MORE >