Shirley Dobson

Surprise! National Day Of Prayer Morphed Into An Anti-Obama Affair

Why should anyone be surprised that the National Day of Prayer, led by right-wing activist Shirley Dobson, turned into an anti-Obama event?

Dobson promoted the event by warning that America “is being invaded by evils such as pornography, abortion, infidelity, same-sex marriage and the agenda of the far Left,” and invited Jonathan Cahn, who believes that President Obama’s re-election and marriage equality are signs of the End Times, to be the event’s keynote speaker.

Immediately after James Dobson, the Focus on the Family founder and Shirley’s husband, framed the National Day of Prayer as an apolitical event, he blasted Obama as the “abortion president.”

“Come and get me, Mr. President, if you must,” he said, quoting a letter he sent to Obama last week.

“I will not yield to your wicked regulations.” This is not a huge surprise coming from Dobson, who back in 2012 exposed the highly political nature of the National Day of Prayer.

Speaking with Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America after the 2012 election, Dobson said that his wife and National Day of Prayer vice chairman John Bornschein had used that year’s event to pray against Obama’s re-election.

Dobson: Many, many, many Christians were praying and we really need to address that issue first: where was God? Because there were these ’40 Days of Prayer,’ there were several of those that took place, where people fasted and prayed for forty days asking the Lord for His intervention on Election Day. We did a program last week where my wife Shirley came in with her vice-chairman John Bornschein and told how three hundred Gideon prayer warriors came to Washington, went to every single office of the House of Representatives and the Senate and prayed for the occupant, prayed for our representatives, went to the White House, went in a vigil to the Supreme Court, which is now at great risk, and went to the Pentagon. People like that were praying all over this country and the Lord said no.

Nance: He said no.

Shirley Dobson Angry Obama Won't Attend Her Anti-Obama Prayer Event

A week after President Obama won re-election, James Dobson on Family Talk said that his wife Shirley and her colleague John Bornschein used the National Day of Prayer Task Force to actively pray for Obama’s defeat.

The National Day of Prayer Task Force never did a good job pretending to be nonpartisan, but Dobson’s admission made its far-right bias all too clear.

Of course, with the ‘National Day of Prayer’ scheduled for May 2, we now get to hear Shirley Dobson, who leads the task force, complain during an interview with Janet Parshall yesterday that Obama is not attending.

That’s right, she is angry that Obama isn’t attending a function that her own husband said prayed against his re-election.

She also told Parshall that the Obama administration is leading an “attack” on religious freedom and does not give Christians a seat at the table in the White House.

You know Janet our religious liberties have been under such attack that I think Christians have — I don’t want to use the term ‘have had it’ — but I think their eyes are being opened and they realize that we have to come against this and we have to come out in corporate prayer and different prayer meetings. More than ever I think they want to assemble this year just to make a stand that our country was based on religious freedom and we are not going to give it up easily.



We do have different congressmen, Congressman [Randy] Forbes has been a great ally and Congressman [Robert] Aderholt, they participate themselves and we never have a problem at that observance. This year our honorary chairperson is going to be Greg Laurie and he’s going to be giving the main message, Chaplain Barry Black who is the chaplain of the Senate is going to be participating and Chaplain Wannick from the Pentagon is coming over to participate and of course congressman [Frank] Wolf will stand in for the legislature.

We have somebody for every branch but Janet unfortunately we’ve never had anybody come over from the executive branch. Every year we call the White House, we ask how the President wants to celebrate the National Day of Prayer and we appreciate that he does give a proclamation every year and they’ve been good with proclamations proclaiming a day of prayer in our nation, but the answer comes back ‘well the President has decided to pray silently or pray alone’ or there’s always some excuse. So we’ll say, ‘can somebody from his Cabinet come over and represent the executive branch so we can pray for them and pray for the President,’ and they’ve never sent anybody from the executive branch. We pray for them; we have somebody there that stands in the gab. But it really is so sad that they have all these other special interest groups in the White House but the Christians are not represented.

James Dobson Gives Away the Game, Admits the National Day of Prayer Task Force Prayed for Obama's Defeat

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, now the host of Family Talk, admitted on his radio program today that the National Day of Prayer Task Force, chaired by his wife Shirley Dobson, were praying for Obama to be defeated on Election Day. Religious Right activists have lambasted Obama with false smears that he had “cancelled” the National Day of Prayer and defended the event as “not politically inclined,” even though it regularly hosted anti-Obama speakers like David Jeremiah and Harry Jackson and both Dobsons are closely tied to the GOP. But during an interview with Concerned Women for America president Penny Nance, Dobson gave away the game and said that his wife and Task Force vice-chair John Bornschein put together an election season prayer effort that they hoped will defeat Obama.

Dobson: Many, many, many Christians were praying and we really need to address that issue first: where was God? Because there were these ’40 Days of Prayer,’ there were several of those that took place, where people fasted and prayed for forty days asking the Lord for His intervention on Election Day. We did a program last week where my wife Shirley came in with her vice-chairman John Bornschein and told how three hundred Gideon prayer warriors came to Washington, went to every single office of the House of Representatives and the Senate and prayed for the occupant, prayed for our representatives, went to the White House, went in a vigil to the Supreme Court, which is now at great risk, and went to the Pentagon. People like that were praying all over this country and the Lord said no.

Nance: He said no.

Later in the interview, Dobson lamented that we “we lost this election” because God “said no” and warned we are now living in a “time of judgment.” Nance even raised doubts about Obama’s Christian faith as she said that God can still “use this President” just as He has “used people who were not believers and were not followers of the Lord or followers of the God throughout the Bible to do his work.”

Dobson: Because we lost this election does not mean that the Lord has turned His back on us. I think this is a time of judgment but those of us who are trying to serve Him and defend the things that He has taught, may yet see Him act. He said no this time but who knows what will happen in the future. Nobody knows.

Nance: Nothing is too big for God. God can use this President just like He can anyone else, and He has throughout history used people who were not believers and were not followers of the Lord or followers of the God throughout the Bible to do his work, so we will pray to that end and trust the Lord knows what He’s doing, but I’m already looking ahead to 2014.

So next time the Dobsons complain that Obama isn’t caving to their demand he participates in their event, maybe they can give up the act that they are non-partisan.

Congressional Prayer Caucus Teams Up for Seven Mountain-Themed Pre-Election Prayer Rally

At the end of September, Religious Right leaders will once again partner with the "prophets" and "apostles" of the New Apostolic Reformation for a pre-election "American For Jesus" rally on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall.

But apparently that won't quite be enough, so just a few days later, many of these same leaders and activists are hosting another prayer rally called "The Summons 2012" in Washington, DC that is being organized by National Day of Prayer Task Force, which is chaired by Shirely Dobson, the wife of James Dobson:

With each generation seeming to drift away from the God of our Fathers, now more than ever, it seems that we are truly at the precipice of a societal migration away from our Judeo-Christian foundation. With this in mind, the National Day of Prayer (NDP) Task Force has called a Solemn Assembly in Washington D.C. for such a time as this. The urgency of the moment, and the prompting of God, has paved the way for The Summons (October 3-7, 2012) to be a moment in time for God’s people to stand in the gap on behalf of all Americans – perhaps as Moses did for Israel (Exodus 32, Psalm 106). Based on Psalm 50:1-6, this special prayer gathering will focus on all institutions of government within Washington D.C. and include outdoor, corporate worship near the steps of the Capitol building, as well as the base of the Washington Monument. Groups will meet with various congressional leaders, travel to the Pentagon, the Supreme Court, and many other key locations to PRAY. This is not an assignment for the faint of heart. You will need walking shoes and clothing suitable for being on location and ‘hitting the streets’, regardless of weather. We invite you to join with us, and several hundred other like-minded believers, for this unique time of prayer and worship in our nation’s capital.

Speakers include the likes of Tony Perkins, Harry Jackson, Rep. Louie Gohmert, and Rep. Randy Forbes along with NAR leaders like Negiel Bigpond and Luis Cataldo, who played a key role in organizing Gov. Rick Perry's NAR-infused "The Response" prayer rally.

Interestingly, the Congressional Prayer Caucus is listed among the "partner ministries" along side Lou Engle's TheCall, Mike Bickle's International House of Prayer, Intercessors for America and various others.

For those who don't recall, Bickle is the one who thinks that Oprah is a forerunner of that Antichrist:

According to the schedule, the event lasts for four days, during which participants will "meet with designated elected officials" and receive a "Private Capitol Tour Led by Congressman Louie Gohmert."

And you will not be surprised to learn that the entire event is rooted in Seven Mountains theology:

As we move toward The Summons in Washington D.C., please pray specifically, focusing on the seven points of prayer for each state. As we pray, day by day, and state by state, let’s pray for the Spirit of God to sweep through our nation like a ‘mighty, rushing wind’!

Seven Point of Prayer for each State

1) Government – Pray for local and state leaders asking God to grant them wisdom, discernment, and hearts that are open to His leading.

2) Church – Pray for the Churches and Church Leaders throughout that state. Ask God to preserve and protect them, as He inspires and empowers His ‘Saints’ for the work of ministry, for the building up of the Church, and for the spreading of the Gospel.

3) Military – Pray for our Military, Guard, and Reserve units and their leadership. Pray for God to grant courage, protection, and strength for our service men and women, and their families, as they serve our country.

4) Family – Pray for families in your community and across the state. Ask Him for protection, and to strengthen marriages, encourage parents toward His priorities, heal relationships, and secure traditional values in each home.

5) Education – Pray for God’s presence in our schools, colleges, and universities. Ask Him to select teachers and administrators who honor His statutes, protect our children, and inspire them to discover their God-given calling.

6) Media – Pray for Christian influence in the media industry, from local television and radio stations, to newspaper and magazine publishers. Ask for the Lord to provide Godly men and women to work in and influence the media throughout the state and in every city.

7) Business – Pray for divine intervention in the state and local economies. Ask that God raise up Godly business leaders and provide industry to provide honest employment and generous provision for individuals and families in each community.

Religious Right Leaders Pray for 'Healing for Those who Struggle with Same-Sex Attraction'

A number of prominent women leaders of the Religious Right have come together for the American Prayer Initiative, which is “designed to help draw ‘we the people’ of this nation back to the One upon whom she was founded.’ The group includes the National Day of Prayer’s Shirley Dobson and Vonette Bright, talk show host Janet Parshall, Liberty Counsel’s Anita Staver, Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance, Susan B. Anthony List’s Marilyn Musgrave, activist Rebecca Hagelin and Susan Allen, wife of Virginia’s George Allen. The group offers members a specific prayer for every day of each month until Election Day, including prayers condemning homosexuality and the separation of church and state.

One message asks participants to pray for God’s “healing for those who struggle with same-sex attraction” and to “replace unnatural affections”:

We pray for healing and restoration of true manhood and womanhood in America. We ask for Your wisdom and protection against attempts to re-define our very identity as men and women.

We pray for Your design for abundant and fulfilled manhood, womanhood and marriage to gain preeminence in America.

We pray for a full restoration of the image and definition of manhood and womanhood in America.

We petition You, God for Your healing for those who struggle with same-sex attraction. May they come to know Your power, Your mercy and Your love as You replace unnatural affections with ones You Yourself designed.

Another is a prayer to oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage:

We pray that the union of one man and one woman will be embraced by all societies as the sole form of legitimate marriage and the proper basis of family.

We ask that the power of Your hand intervene to transform and heal the hearts of those who would attempt to re-define marriage.

The group also sends a message criticizing the influence of judges and proponents of the separation of church and state:

We ask for leaders, a judicial system and judges who adhere to the original intent of our founding documents and their many connections to Biblical principles.

We pray for a true understanding of justice according to Your Word We pray for Your protection from attempts to redefine justice for political gain.

We ask You to convict, transform and protect those who are out of Your will. We ask You to encourage, strengthen and protect those who honor and follow You.

We ask You for judges who will follow constitutional principles rather than ruling according to pre-chosen outcomes or relying on international law.

We pray that courts will recognize parents’ fundamental rights to the care, custody and control of their children.

We ask for Your guidance for accurate rulings over first amendment issues, and an awareness in our country that the words, “separation of church and state” are found nowhere in any one of our founding documents. We ask for a reversal of rulings which have inaccurately established “separation” as a Constitutional principle.

There is even a prayer against a media looking “to bring our country down by bringing our culture down”:

We ask you, Lord, to open greater and greater opportunities for Your Gospel to flow freely across our airwaves.

We ask, Lord, for You to grant Americans the wisdom to discern truth from deception.

We pray for those in the entertainment industry that they may better serve the families of our country by creating programs and movies that are uplifting in nature and extol positive virtues.

We especially pray Your blessings upon those in media, entertainment, the arts and journalism who are driven by loyalty to You. We ask for favor and acceptance for their work.

We ask You to raise up, equip, and abundantly provide for Your true disciples in the media, the arts, entertainment and journalism.

We pray for honesty in journalism.

We pray for those who would intend to bring our country down by bringing our culture down.

We ask you to foil the plans of those who would bring others down in any form.

We ask for Your transforming power in the lives of those who would divide, deceive and destroy.

Bachmann Lauds Schlafly, LaHaye for Inspiring Her Political Career

After exalting James Dobson on his show Family Talk yesterday, today Michele Bachmann credited antifeminist luminaries Phyllis Schlafly and Beverly LaHaye, along with Dobson and his wife Shirley, for motivating her to become a conservative activist. Bachmann has previously called Schlafly, who has endorsed her presidential campaign, her “hero” and “the person that I hope to be someday,” and said that LaHaye is “an extraordinary woman of God.” In fact, Bachmann said that LaHaye’s warnings “on the threats to the family” riled her enough to join LaHaye’s organization Concerned Women for America:

Bachmann: As a young woman I read a lot, I was a big reader my whole life, and I loved reading Phyllis Schlafly, she is just smart as a whip.

Ryan Dobson: Who started off as a homemaker and a mom, and then had a law career.

Bachmann: And who also taught her children how to read at home, she did that, she was self-taught in many ways and she was very interested in national security, as I am, and defense issues, but also very cognizant on financial issues.

And also Bev LaHaye, Marcus and I were brand new newlyweds and I got in our mailbox a cassette tape back in the cassette tape days from Bev LaHaye, talking about where our nation was at. I listened to it, and she was trying to pull the alarm on the threats to the family, like Dr. Dobson was doing, so I joined Concerned Women for America, that was the inception, and started getting materials from her, from Phyllis Schlafly, from Dr. Dobson. Over the course of the years, I’ve poured all of these great women and Dr. and Shirley Dobson into my life, and they’ve really been my teachers.

LaHaye, whose husband Tim is best known for writing the Left Behind series and for his attacks on gays, Roman Catholics and “the Illuminati,” still chairs CWA and has a long history of Religious Right activism. She started CWA because she “knew the feminists’ anti-God, anti-family rhetoric did not represent her beliefs, nor those of the vast majority of women,” and also outlined the “biblical worldview” in politics that Bachmann often talks about: “America is a nation based on biblical principles. Christian values dominate our government. The test of those values is the Bible. Politicians who do not use the Bible to guide their public and private lives do not belong in office.” According to LaHaye, conservative Christians need to enter politics in order to “stand up against the wiles of the devil.”

Not only does LaHaye have harsh words for feminists and people “who do not use the Bible to guide” their political lives, but also doesn’t take kindly to gays and lesbians, writing in a CWA mailer: “[Homosexuals] want their depraved ‘values’ to become our children’s values. Homosexuals expect society to embrace their immoral way of life. Worse yet, they are looking for new recruits!”

With her role models holding such extreme views, it is no wonder Bachmann turned out to be one of the most far-right figures in contemporary politics.

AFA Threatens To Fire Any Host Who Partners With NAR Critic

Back when Gov. Rick Perry was organizing his massive "The Response" prayer rally, we were hard at work chronicling the ties between organizers of the event and the self-proclaimed prophets and apostles affiliated with the New Apostolic Reformation.

But it was not just people like us who were taking note of the fact that Republicans and Religious Right leaders were embracing this new breed of spiritual warriors, as some conservatives leaders began to raise alarms of their own.

One of the leading conservative critics of this development has been Brannon Howse of Worldview Weekend, who has been using his radio program to voice his opposition. 

And his criticism is apparently causing such massive headaches for the folks over at the American Family Association that, as Warren Throckmorton reports, hosts of programs that air on the AFA's American Family Radio network are now being told that their shows will be dropped if they in any way partner with Howse:

The American Family Association has taken aim at fellow religious conservative Brannon Howse over his criticism of the AFA’s recent sponsorship of GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry’s The Response prayer meeting. Earlier this week, Jim Stanley, program director of AFA’s radio network, American Family Radio, sent notices to two talk show hosts who are associated with Howse, informing them that continued presence on the AFA’s radio network was conditioned on severing ties with Howse.

The talk show hosts, John Loeffler and Todd Friel, have shows aired by American Family Radio and also speak at Howse sponsored events. According to Tim Wildmon, president of the AFA, “we identified two people with programs on our networks and told them, ’you have to make a choice.’” In defense of the move, Wildmon said “AFR is under no obligation to run programs of individuals who are going to help Brannon when he is attacking our friends. We make programming decisions all the time.”

Howse heads Worldview Weekend, a socially conservative ministry which espouses similar conservative views as the AFA on culture war issues as abortion and homosexuality. However, Howse charges that religious right leaders have formed improper religious alliances with leaders in the New Apostolic Reformation such as Cindy Jacobs in order to promote a conservative political agenda. About his stance, Howse said, “Christians must defend the gospel when we believe Christian leaders are giving credibility to what the Bible describes as false teaching ... In an email, Wildmon told me that Howse had tried to “sabotage The Response that we were sponsors of and has gone after our friends and associates like Jim Garlow, Tony Perkins, James and Shirley Dobson, etc., by name.” He explained that the network had received calls from listeners and that the situation had been “a headache.”

The Response: Dobsons Ask God To Give America A "Miracle At Dunkirk"

James and Shirley Dobson helped to kick off Gov. Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer rally by likening America to hundreds of thousands of allied soldiers surrounded by Nazi soldiers at Dunkirk during World War II.  The Dobson's called upon God to rescue America from the evil that surrounds it just as he rescued those soldiers from the Nazis at the "Miracle of Dunkirk":

Maybe David Barton "Should Take A Lesson in Religious Freedom"

Not too long ago, David Barton tweeted a link to this piece by Kelly Shackleford, suggesting that those who dare to criticize Gov. Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer rally need a "lesson in religious freedom":

It seems that criticizing or opposing a public prayer rally is an attack on the religious freedom of those organizing such a rally. 

Which is interesting considering that back in 2009 when a group of Muslims sought to organize a prayer rally on the National Mall, David Barton, Lou Engle, Tony Perkins, Shirley Dobson, Cindy Jacobs and others swung into action to mobilize their their own activists to counter the rally's "dark spiritual intent":

[O]n the 25th of September, Muslims are calling for a Muslim Day of Prayer in Washington DC (http://www.islamoncapitolhill.com/). They are calling for 50,000 Muslims to gather and pray on the DC Mall. This is the exact word of one of the Sheikhs who is leading this historic gathering, "Muslims should march on the White House. We are going to the White House so that Islam will be victorious, Allah willing, and the White House will become into a Muslim house." These are not empty words. They speak of a dark spiritual intent and a coming day of great trouble to America.

Therefore we are calling Christians all over America to join Lou Engle, Shirley Dobson, Tony Perkins, David Barton, and many other major leaders in America to a national conference call to pray for America. Please join us on Thursday, September 24th from 7:30PM to 9:00PM Eastern Time for possibly one of the greatest moments in American history.

A related group of Religious Right activists them unveiled a letter demanding that rally organizers disavow a list of specific acts of terrorism that were "committed by Muslims, in the name of Islam" while Barton used it as an opportunity to pen a long piece blaming President Obama for giving Muslims courage to gather in this sort of public manner and urging Christians to use it as an opportunity to demonstrate the superiority of Christianity:

Heartened by this new encouragement, Muslim leaders have called 50,000 observant Muslims to come to the Capitol this Friday, September 25, for a day of Jummah (Friday congregational prayer). The sponsors promise that from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m., "the Athan [the call given five times each day for Muslims to participate in mandatory prayer] will be chanted on Capitol Hill, echoing off of the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and other great edifices that surround Capitol Hill." The goal of this event is that "the peace, beauty and solidarity of Islam will shine through America's capitol." In fact, their website for this unprecedented event proudly and unabashedly declares, "Our Time Has Come!"

As Bible-believing people, let's also make this Friday a day of prayer – and please encourage others to participate with you. We know that our contest is with spiritual forces (Ephesians 6:12), and we firmly believe that He Who is within us is greater than any other god or force (1 John 4:4), so I encourage you to fill America with prayer to the True God this coming Friday.

Of course, Barton tried to downplay the idea that he was urging Christians to directly compete against Islam:

This call for Christians to pray this Friday is not a prayer "competition" between Christianity and Islam, nor is it a spiritual Christian "jihad" or "holy war" (what an oxymoronic term – a holy war!). After all, in I Kings 18, Elijah encouraged the prophets of the god Baal to take more time in their praying; he didn't object to their prayers, he just wanted to make sure that he was able to make his own prayers to the True God. This Friday offers a similar opportunity for those who fear God and believe His Scriptures to offer up their own prayers to Him.

And that might seem like a convincing argument ... unless you actually know that in the Bible passage Barton cites the prophet Elijah literally pitted God against Baal in competition and then "taunted" Baal's prophets when they lost - and then killed every one of them:

38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!"

40 Then Elijah commanded them, "Seize the prophets of Baal. Don't let anyone get away!" They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.

So when Muslims wanted to hold a public prayer rally, the Religious Right mobilized to challenge it in "one of the greatest moments in American history." 

But when Rick Perry organizes a public prayer rally and anyone dares to criticize it, those anti-Christian bigots need to "take a lesson in religious freedom."

Perry: America Has "Turned Away From God"

Texas Gov. Rick Perry joined James and Shirley Dobson on Family Talk this morning to talk about his upcoming prayer rally, The Response. They were joined by Response organizers Jim Garlow and Bob McEwen. At the beginning of the program, Dobson bemoaned that America is “sliding towards moral depravity and cultural chaos” as a result of legal abortion and “homosexual propaganda” in schools. Later in the interview, Perry said that America has “turned away from God” and “is being attacked by seemingly all these different things at the same time.” The Dobsons, who are honorary co-chairs of The Response, announced on the show that they will also be leading the opening services at the prayer rally:

Perry: If there is good and strong and direct direction for people, when we’ve turned away from God and our country is being attacked by seemingly all these different things at the same time. What a time in our country’s history, just to recognize we don’t have all the answers. This is beyond us, go to God and prayer.

Dobson: I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you doing this, I’m sure Shirley does too. Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands do because this is precisely what we need at this time.

James And Shirley Dobson Endorse "The Response"

On a daily basis, it seems, new endorsers are being added to website for Gov. Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer rally.

Today, the website unveiled a new "What Others are Saying" page that features Governor Paul LePage of Maine:

In addition, the page also features radio ads promoting the event recorded by James and Shirley Dobson:

Hello everyone, I'm Shirley Dobson, Chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. And I'd like to invite you to a day of prayer and fasting for America on August 6th at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Our country is in crisis, but there is hope in prayer. Scripture tells us God is mighty to save, so join us in Houston on August 6th. To learn more, visit TheResponseUSA.com.

Hello everyone, this is James Dobson from Family Talk with a special announcement. On August the sixth, the nation will come together at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas for a solemn gathering of prayer and fasting for this country. Right now America is in crisis, but there is hope - it lies in Heaven and we will only find it on our knees. I'll be there and I hope you will too. Go to TheResponseUSA.com for all the details.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Don Wildmon is officially stepping down from his role at the American Family Association due to on-going health problems.
  • Politico got its hands on a rather remarkable RNC fundraising presentation, and the RNC is already furiously backing away from it, calling its images and language "unacceptable" and saying "it will not be used by the Republican National Committee – in any capacity – in the future."
  • Shirley Dobson has been dismissed from the lawsuit against the National Day of Prayer.
  • Rick Perry has been the Governor of Texas for more than a decade, so why is he playing off his primary win last night as some sort of shot at the establishment?
  • Rick Warren and the Jonas Brothers, together at last.
  • Wow, FRC is really producing groundbreaking research.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Rev. Rob Schenck reacting to marriage equality officially coming to Washington DC today: "Let me remind everyone that there’s nothing new about what happened today at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Marriage Bureau. In fact, it’s very old. Thousands of years ago, the world at the base of Mount Sinai looked very much like Indiana Avenue, NW, the street outside the Marriage Bureau office. Actually, it was far worse. On the Day of Pentecost, when the Christian Church was born at Jerusalem, Greco-Roman athletes competed in the nude and engaged in homosexual acts to titillate insatiably wild crowds. Worse, Roman men of stature kept wives to sire children by, but young boys as sexual play toys. Temple prostitutes were used and abused as an act of worship. It was into this kind of moral abandon that the Jews first taught God’s moral code and Christians later were called to evangelize. Both remain our challenge today. It was this kind of sin-sick, miserably wretched, often shockingly coarse and even frightening world that 'God so loved,' and to which He 'gave His only begotten son' ... If there’s anything to be disappointed about today here in the Nation’s Capital, it’s that we thought human progress had come so far, but, in fact, it has regressed."

ADF Likens Day of Prayer Lawsuit To Hostage-Taking Gunman

Back in 2008, the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed suit against the National Day of Prayer and named White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, and National Day of Prayer Task Force Chairwoman Shirley Dobson in the lawsuit.

The case is on-going, and Dobson is being represented by the Alliance Defense Fund (which just so happens to have been founded by Shirley's husband, James Dobson, and others).  As such, the case was the cover story of the ADF's latest issue of its publication "Truth and Triumph" ... and I have to say that ADF's attempt to liken the lawsuit to a hostage-taking episode that unfolded at Focus on the Family headquarters more than a decade ago seems a bit over-the-top:

The receptionist for Focus on the Family had just come back from lunch when she heard the disturbance at the glass doors in front of her. She looked up into the very intense face of a man demanding to talk immediately with Dr. James Dobson, head of the ministry.

Graciously, the receptionist began explaining that Dr. Dobson was with his wife, Shirley, in Washington, D.C., that afternoon for National Day of Prayer observances …but she quickly became distracted.

The man, she realized, was holding a gun. And tied around his waist were what appeared to be some kind of explosives.

The Dobsons had just returned to their hotel room when the phone rang with word that the receptionist and three others were being held hostage at the ministry in Colorado Springs. The couple immediately paused to pray for the Focus staff and the gunman, and began asking others around them to pray, too.

Soon, word came that the gunman had surrendered, without hurting anyone – though he did fire his weapon, tearing a hole high on the wall behind the receptionist’s desk.

When Mrs. Dobson enters the front doors at Focus, she walks right by that gash. It remains unrepaired – a reminder of God’s powerful intervention one long, frightening afternoon nearly 14 years ago.

These days, though, it’s also a quiet reminder of something else. For these days, it is the National Day of Prayer itself that’s endangered. And it’s Shirley Dobson who is under the gun.

Prayercast: James and Shirley Dobson

James and Shirley Dobson called in to last night's "prayercast" during which they prayed for our country because "the principles of righteousness that you taught us are just being abandoned now by our governmental leaders" and the institution of marriage is on the verge of being destroyed.

James Dobson delcared "I just pray that you will frustrate the plans of the Evil One and revive us again with conviction and forgiveness":

Dobsons and Daly Join The FRC "Prayercast"

Earlier this week, we noted that tonight The Family Research Council would be holding a special anti-healthcare reform "prayercast" this evening featuring several Republican members of Congress, including Rep. Michele Bachmann and Sen. Jim DeMint, as well as Religious Right activists like Lou Engle and Harry Jackson.

Today, FRC announced that the event had picked up several new Focus on the Family participants, including James and Shirley Dobson, as well as FOF President Jim Daly:

Tonight, Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 8:30 pm ET, Family Research Council Action, The Call to Conscience and Focus on the Family Action will host a special one hour webcast that will mobilize thousands of Christians and churches to join in corporate prayer over the health care overhaul bill. Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins will be joined by Congressional leaders, prominent pastors, and policy experts to discuss and pray over significant concerns within the bill that will have far reaching consequences for the Christian community and our society.

FRC Action President Tony Perkins made the following comments:

"Life and death hinges on the Senate health care bill. We face significant threats to the God-given right to human life through government funding of abortions, our health from rationing, our family finances from higher taxes, and our general freedoms posed by the government plan to take over health care.

"There have been a number of critical hours in American history. Our nation has struggled mightily and, under God, always risen to the challenges before us. Tonight, we will face this moral crisis by taking action and obeying the Biblical mandate to pray for our nation and its leaders."

Who:
Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council Action
Lou Engle, Founder and President, The Call to Conscience
Jim Daly, President, Focus on the Family Action
Dr. James Dobson, Founder, Focus on the Family Action
Shirley Dobson, National Day of Prayer Task Force Chairman
Hon. Sam Brownback, United States Senator, Kansas
Hon. Jim DeMint, United States Senator, South Carolina
Hon. Randy Forbes, United States House of Representatives, Virginia
Hon. Michele Bachmann, United States House of Representatives, Minnesota
Bishop Harry Jackson, President, High Impact Leadership Coalition
Pastor Jim Garlow, Skyline Church, San Diego, Calif.
Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Leadership Conference

Highlights From the Religious Right's Anti-Islam Counter Offensive

Last night we posted audio of Rifqa Bary's surprise appearance on the National Day of Prayer Task Force's effort to mobilize its Christian warriors to counter the "dark spiritual content" of the scheduled Muslim prayer rally in Washington, DC, which, as we've seen over the last several days, and continue to see, seems to be causing the Religious Right to completely freak out:

Robert Knight is a senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union and a senior writer for Coral Ridge Ministries. He says having 50,000 Muslims on Capitol Hill paints a very potent picture for Muslims around the world.

"It's adding up to a picture that the United States may not want to paint because there are a lot of Muslims who will be inspired, perhaps, to get more militant if they think the United States is falling into Muslim hands, basically," he points out.

According to Knight, many Muslims believe they have a sympathetic ear in President Barack Obama. "Obama held no National Day of Prayer events at the White House this year, but gave a very positive eloquent speech about Ramadan," he recalls. "And he also has said some very interesting things overseas about the emergence of Islam."

Organizers say it was President Obama's inauguration speech in January and his speech broadcast from Egypt in June that inspired them to hold Friday's event, scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

At least one pro-family organization has expressed deep concern about the individuals who have organized the gathering and who are scheduled to speak. In an Action Alert to its constituents, the American Family Association has described those individuals as "men who harbor both anti-Semitic and fundamentally anti-American views." And like Knight, AFA notes President Obama's refusal to participate in the National Day of Prayer in May -- in contrast to his hosting of a White House dinner celebrating what Obama called "the Holy Month of Ramadan."

Meanwhile, Christians alarmed at today's scheduled gathering of tens of thousands of Muslims outside the U.S. Capitol have prayed together in a national conference call. Shirley Dobson, who heads the National Day of Prayer Task Force, said she and other Christians "are so troubled at what we see going on in our nation -- we're watching the foundations crumble."

Associated Press says Christian leaders in last night's conference call were unconvinced the gathering will be a time for Muslims to pray together, read the Quran, and celebrate America's religious freedom -- as its organizers insist. Family Research Council president Tony Perkins wondered if the Muslims would be "praying for the well-being of our nation."

Perkins called the Muslim gathering "a wake-up call for the church" and a warning that if Christians do not "fill the void that's in this nation with the truth, it will be filled with something else."

We've put together this clip featuring some of the highlights from the call itself, featuring Dobson saying the effort was designed to "put a shield of prayer around the United States of American and our world, while just praying for God's intervention." She was followed by Perkins, who insisted that it was not a question of whether Muslims had a right to gather to pray but rather "the focus of their prayers, are they praying for the well-being of our nation," saying that the Islamic community has been silent when acts of terrorism have been committed against America and has been equally silent on the "threats" facing Rifqa Bary and, as such, "we have reason to be suspicious about the motives this community has for the well-being of this country. Perkins then introduced his "good friend" Lou Engle, who proceeded to warn that Americans did not "understand the spiritual implications of what is taking place" with this Muslim rally, saying they were "taking the spiritual power of 40 days Ramadan and then channeling it like an arrow right into the White House."  Eventually, others began to pray as well, asking God for a "great turning in education, a great turning in the political arena, [and to] turn the media in America over to your son" at which point Engle took over again asking God to help them win "the challenge in the spirit realm" and defeat "every demonic ideology [and] every spirit of darkness":

NDPTF Tries to Tone Down Its Rhetoric

Last night I highlighted the upcoming Lou Engle-Tony Perkins-David Barton-backed National Day of Prayer Task Force conference call/prayer rally designed to counter the "dark spiritual content" of the upcoming Muslim prayer rally.  

But now it looks as the organizers have realized that their call to arms against the "rising tide of Islamic boldness" might have been a bit over the top, because they have removed the original press release and replaced it with this less confrontational version:

The National Day of Prayer Task Force is committed to prayer for the nation 365 days a year. We are thankful that we live in a country founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and consequently there is freedom for all to gather, pray and worship.

It is important that we understand the signs of the time and what we must do. The need is great for Christians to join together in Solemn Assembly seeking transformation in our communities today.

Therefore, we are calling Christians to join Lou Engle, Shirley Dobson, Tony Perkins, David Barton, and many other major leaders in America to a national conference call to pray for America. Please join us tonight, Thursday, September 24th from 7:30PM to 9:00PM Eastern Time for possibly one of the greatest moments in the prayer movement.

Compare that with what they originally posted last night:

It is critical that the church in America understands the times and what needs to be done now. The natural things speak of the invisible. Natural happenings on the earth are revealing something that is going on in the spiritual realm. There is a great spiritual conflict with a rising tide of Islamic boldness being manifested.

Our President has recently honored the Muslim holy days of prayer and fasting called Ramadan. Interestingly at the same time a major Christian leader of the Emergent Church called for forty days of fasting and prayer in the same Ramadan period with the goal that the church will better understand our Muslim friends. We advocate for understanding, but we must have spiritual discernment as to the spiritual dark powers that are being invoked into our nation.

At the same time, on the 25th of September, Muslims are calling for a Muslim Day of Prayer in Washington DC (http://www.islamoncapitolhill.com/). They are calling for 50,000 Muslims to gather and pray on the DC Mall. This is the exact word of one of the Sheikhs who is leading this historic gathering, "Muslims should march on the White House. We are going to the White House so that Islam will be victorious, Allah willing, and the White House will become into a Muslim house." These are not empty words. They speak of a dark spiritual intent and a coming day of great trouble to America.

Therefore we are calling Christians all over America to join Lou Engle, Shirley Dobson, Tony Perkins, David Barton, and many other major leaders in America to a national conference call to pray for America. Please join us on Thursday, September 24th from 7:30PM to 9:00PM Eastern Time for possibly one of the greatest moments in American history.

While the NDPTF may be trying to tone down its rhetoric, the same cannot be said for Engle, who has issued his own "urgent nationwide call to prayer" in order to stand "against [the] principalities, powers, and forces of darkness" and pray that God will "use what the enemy meant for evil to bring about a great day of salvation for Muslims in America":

Now these events are enough to awaken us to this significant throbbing moment, but when they all converge it becomes a massive spiritual alarm that must be responded to by the praying Church. This convergence, I believe, is urgently summoning us in the midst of the rising tide of Islamic influence in America to recognize that our God is above every god and that if we return to Him with all of our hearts and call upon Him with fasting and prayer then God could use what the enemy meant for evil to bring about a great day of salvation for Muslims in America.

First of all, we cannot be passive as a Church to let these kinds of developments go on without being challenged in the spirit. Our fight is not against Muslims, it is against principalities, powers, and forces of darkness. We are calling the Church of America at the end of Ramadan, from September 21st through 25th, to five days of concerted prayer. On Friday, September 25th, the Muslim Day of Prayer, we are calling the Church of America to fast and pray that Muslims would be moved by the Holy Spirit, convicted by the testimony of Christ, and even be visited by Jesus in dreams. We must pray that God would restrain the spiritual powers behind Islam and grant us the great awakening that we desperately need for America.

Therefore we are calling Christians all over America to join Lou Engle, Mrs. Shirley Dobson, Tony Perkins, and many other major leaders in America to a national conference call to pray for America. Please join us on Thursday, September 24th from 7:30PM to 9:00PM Eastern for what we believe is a critical moment in American History.

Religious Right Mobilizes to Counter Muslim Prayer Rally's "Dark Spiritual Intent"

Earlier today I wrote about the fact that Lou Engle, David Barton, and the Family Research Council were raising warning flags about the Muslim prayer rally in Washington, DC on Friday and urging their own activists to hold their own prayer rallies in an effort to convent Muslims to Christianity and fight the elevation of Islam in America.

Now, these forces are teaming up with the National Day of Prayer Task Force to mobilize their own Christian forces for a rival prayer rally/conference call:

It is critical that the church in America understands the times and what needs to be done now. The natural things speak of the invisible. Natural happenings on the earth are revealing something that is going on in the spiritual realm. There is a great spiritual conflict with a rising tide of Islamic boldness being manifested.

Our President has recently honored the Muslim holy days of prayer and fasting called Ramadan. Interestingly at the same time a major Christian leader of the Emergent Church called for forty days of fasting and prayer in the same Ramadan period with the goal that the church will better understand our Muslim friends. We advocate for understanding, but we must have spiritual discernment as to the spiritual dark powers that are being invoked into our nation.

At the same time, on the 25th of September, Muslims are calling for a Muslim Day of Prayer in Washington DC (http://www.islamoncapitolhill.com/). They are calling for 50,000 Muslims to gather and pray on the DC Mall. This is the exact word of one of the Sheikhs who is leading this historic gathering, "Muslims should march on the White House. We are going to the White House so that Islam will be victorious, Allah willing, and the White House will become into a Muslim house." These are not empty words. They speak of a dark spiritual intent and a coming day of great trouble to America.

Therefore we are calling Christians all over America to join Lou Engle, Shirley Dobson, Tony Perkins, David Barton, and many other major leaders in America to a national conference call to pray for America. Please join us on Thursday, September 24th from 7:30PM to 9:00PM Eastern Time for possibly one of the greatest moments in American history.

Call: 712-338-8100
Alternate Dial in Numbers: 218-486-1400, 507-726-3200
Participant Passcode: 637# (NDP#)

Time Zones:
7:30 - 9 pm EASTERN
6:30 - 8 pm CENTRAL
5:30 - 7 pm MOUNTAIN
4:30 - 6 pm PACIFIC

What Will Focus on the Family Look Like in the Future?

Over the last few years, James Dobson has been slowly relinquishing control over Focus on the Family and, earlier this year, stepped down as the organization's chairman.  To be sure, Dobson remains the face and primary voice of the organization and remains as committed as ever to pressing his right-wing agenda, but eventually he will step aside completely and control will be handed over to Jim Daly, FOF's President and CEO.

And when that does happen, it looks as if we can expect some changes at the organization, at least in terms of tone, according to this lengthy profile of Daly in the Denver Post:

The secret of Jim Daly's success, he says only half-jokingly, is "low expectations" ... Daly is as low-key, quick with a self-effacing joke and seemingly lighthearted as Dobson was authoritative, intense and formidable in defense of Christian values.

"I cannot be Dr. Dobson. I'm hoping for a different pair of shoes," Daly said. "He's black and white — a scientist. That's a good thing. He's provided clarity for the culture. For me, it's more about having a conversation with people."

...

Dobson rarely engaged directly and publicly with political opponents, although he sometimes met them behind the scenes. Daly expects to be more open.

"We're in a democracy. How do we express Christian ethos in a way that draws people into the discussion?" Daly asked. "We are the church. We have to be more understanding and not expect the world to act like the church. We also don't accept the church acting like the world."

Dobson had first handed over the Focus presidency to interim leader Don Hodel, then 68, in 2003 and then hand-picked a 44-year-old Daly to serve in that position in 2005.

It took Daly some time to feel comfortable in the new role.

"I literally laughed when they said they were considering me," Daly said. " 'Oh, no,'

I said. 'You're making a mistake.' I wasn't elated. I went home that night with a feeling of heaviness."

Jim also saw his wife Jean's "deer in the headlights" look at the thought of following Dobson's wife, Shirley, an elder stateswoman of conservative Christianity in her own right.

"At Jim's investiture ceremony, I could not stop sobbing," Jean said. "I thought I had to be Shirley Dobson. Jim told me, 'I have no expectations of you.' And, nothing's changed for me."

A few months ago, when the 72-year-old Dobson resigned as chairman of the Focus board, completely surrendering any administrative role over the 1,000-person staff, Daly and the new generation of leaders truly came into their own.

Dobson was no longer the boss, just the voice of the flagship radio broadcast.

When Dobson stepped down, he said a few words on the occasion. And then Daly spoke.

"What we want to see are more families like Barack Obama's," Daly said.

"Everybody's jaw went clunk, including Dr. Dobson's," Daly recalled, laughing. "But we can respect what Obama does well. We can focus more on the positive. And I respect his family."

Daly says he is results-oriented, not an ideologue.

"When those who are right, left and center all say, 'Let's make abortion rare,' let's meet at that starting point," Daly said. "Let's shove off the rhetoric and get together on practical matters."

NDP Organizers Insisted Any White House Representative Be Pro-Life

Yesterday I wrote a post about the Religious Right blasting the Obama administration for abandoning the "tradition" of hosting an official National Day of Prayer event at the White House, despite the fact that said "tradition" was started and observed by exactly one president: George W. Bush.

So instead of an event at the White House, an event was held at the Capitol and James Dobson, whose wife Shirley heads the pseudo-official National Day of Prayer Task Force, criticized for White House for not only refusing to host an event itself but for not even sending a representative to the event held on the Hill:

Evangelical author and radio host James Dobson said that he is "disappointed" that for the first time in nearly two decades there was no representative from the White House during the National Day of Prayer event.

"I have not asked to meet with the president and certainly he has not asked to meet with me, but I would just like this country to remember its foundation, to remember its heritage and honor it, especially on the day set aside by George Washington in the beginning for prayer in this country," he said. "And I would hope that that would have occurred."

...

"The national day of prayer is important for people all across the country and I think the president missed a wonderful opportunity," he said. "...Not only did he not have any ceremony himself, he did not send any representatives from the White House to this event."

Well, according to Dan Gilgoff, it turns out that that was because Day of Prayer organizers "stipulated that the White House representative had to be opposed to abortion rights:"

"The administration's representative had to be pro-life," says the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "Nobody else was allowed to go."

National Day of Prayer Task Force Marketing and Media Manager Becky Armstrong declined to comment on the report. An E-mail message sent yesterday to Focus on the Family's vice president for media relations, Gary Schneeberger, went unreturned. The prayer day task force operates out of Focus's Colorado Springs headquarters and is chaired by Shirley Dobson, the wife of the Focus founder.

...

[T]he well-placed source said the only Obama cabinet secretary to receive an invite to yesterday's event was Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, an anti-abortion rights Republican. LaHood did not attend the event.

Earlier this week, the Family Research Council weighed in to criticize Obama for not hosting a White House event in a piece entitled "The National Day of Prayer Is Everyone's Day." 

Everyone, that is, except those who don't share the Religious Right's views, apparently.

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Shirley Dobson Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Friday 05/02/2014, 10:00am
Why should anyone be surprised that the National Day of Prayer, led by right-wing activist Shirley Dobson, turned into an anti-Obama event? Dobson promoted the event by warning that America “is being invaded by evils such as pornography, abortion, infidelity, same-sex marriage and the agenda of the far Left,” and invited Jonathan Cahn, who believes that President Obama’s re-election and marriage equality are signs of the End Times, to be the event’s keynote speaker. Immediately after James Dobson, the Focus on the Family founder and Shirley’s husband, framed the... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 04/25/2013, 2:10pm
A week after President Obama won re-election, James Dobson on Family Talk said that his wife Shirley and her colleague John Bornschein used the National Day of Prayer Task Force to actively pray for Obama’s defeat. The National Day of Prayer Task Force never did a good job pretending to be nonpartisan, but Dobson’s admission made its far-right bias all too clear. Of course, with the ‘National Day of Prayer’ scheduled for May 2, we now get to hear Shirley Dobson, who leads the task force, complain during an interview with Janet Parshall yesterday that Obama is not... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 11/16/2012, 1:50pm
Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, now the host of Family Talk, admitted on his radio program today that the National Day of Prayer Task Force, chaired by his wife Shirley Dobson, were praying for Obama to be defeated on Election Day. Religious Right activists have lambasted Obama with false smears that he had “cancelled” the National Day of Prayer and defended the event as “not politically inclined,” even though it regularly hosted anti-Obama speakers like David Jeremiah and Harry Jackson and both Dobsons are closely tied to the GOP. But during an interview... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/30/2012, 9:49am
At the end of September, Religious Right leaders will once again partner with the "prophets" and "apostles" of the New Apostolic Reformation for a pre-election "American For Jesus" rally on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall. But apparently that won't quite be enough, so just a few days later, many of these same leaders and activists are hosting another prayer rally called "The Summons 2012" in Washington, DC that is being organized by National Day of Prayer Task Force, which is chaired by Shirely Dobson, the wife of James Dobson:... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 07/30/2012, 10:30am
A number of prominent women leaders of the Religious Right have come together for the American Prayer Initiative, which is “designed to help draw ‘we the people’ of this nation back to the One upon whom she was founded.’ The group includes the National Day of Prayer’s Shirley Dobson and Vonette Bright, talk show host Janet Parshall, Liberty Counsel’s Anita Staver, Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance, Susan B. Anthony List’s Marilyn Musgrave, activist Rebecca Hagelin and Susan Allen, wife of Virginia’s George Allen. The group offers... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 12/08/2011, 11:05am
After exalting James Dobson on his show Family Talk yesterday, today Michele Bachmann credited antifeminist luminaries Phyllis Schlafly and Beverly LaHaye, along with Dobson and his wife Shirley, for motivating her to become a conservative activist. Bachmann has previously called Schlafly, who has endorsed her presidential campaign, her “hero” and “the person that I hope to be someday,” and said that LaHaye is “an extraordinary woman of God.” In fact, Bachmann said that LaHaye’s warnings “on the threats to the family” riled her enough to... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 09/30/2011, 3:00pm
Back when Gov. Rick Perry was organizing his massive "The Response" prayer rally, we were hard at work chronicling the ties between organizers of the event and the self-proclaimed prophets and apostles affiliated with the New Apostolic Reformation. But it was not just people like us who were taking note of the fact that Republicans and Religious Right leaders were embracing this new breed of spiritual warriors, as some conservatives leaders began to raise alarms of their own. One of the leading conservative critics of this development has been Brannon Howse of Worldview Weekend, who... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Saturday 08/06/2011, 10:36am
James and Shirley Dobson helped to kick off Gov. Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer rally by likening America to hundreds of thousands of allied soldiers surrounded by Nazi soldiers at Dunkirk during World War II.  The Dobson's called upon God to rescue America from the evil that surrounds it just as he rescued those soldiers from the Nazis at the "Miracle of Dunkirk": MORE >