Fact Sheet: Gov. Rick Perry’s Extremist Allies

Updated 8/5/2011

On August 6, Texas Gov. Rick Perry will host The Response, a “prayer rally” in Houston, along with the extremist American Family Association and a cohort of Religious Right leaders with far-right political ties. While the rally’s leaders label it a "a non-denominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting," the history of the groups behind it suggests otherwise. The Response is powered by politically active Religious Right individuals and groups who are dedicated to bringing far-right religious view, including degrading views of gays and lesbians and non-Christians, into American politics.

In fact, a spokesman for The Response has said that while non-Christians will be welcomed at the rally, they will be urged to “seek out the living Christ.” Allan Parker, a right-wing activist who participated in an organizing conference call for the event, declared in an email bearing the official Response logo that including non-Christians in the event "would be idolatry of the worst sort."

Perry told James Dobson that the rally was necessary because Americans have “turned away from God.

The following is an introduction to the groups and individuals who Gov. Perry has allied himself with in planning this event.

The American Family Association

The American Family Association is the driving force behind The Response. Founded by the Rev. Don Wildmon in 1977, the organization is based is best known for its various boycott campaigns, promotion of art censorship, and political advocacy against women’s rights and LGBT equality. The organization also controls the vast American Family Radio and an online news service, in addition to sponsoring various conferences frequented by Republican leaders, including the Values Voter Summit and Rediscovering God in America. The AFA today is led by Tim Wildmon, Don’s son, and its chief spokesperson is Bryan Fischer, the Director of Issues Analysis for Government and Public Policy and host of its flagship radio show Focal Point.

Fischer routinely expresses support for some of the most bigoted and shocking ideas found in the Religious Right today. He has:

Other AFA leaders and activists are just as radical:

  • AFA President Tim Wildmon claims that by repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell President Obama shows he “doesn’t give a rip about the Marines or the Army” and “just wants to force homosexuality into every place that he can.”
  • AFA Vice President Buddy Smith, who is on the leadership council of The Response, said that gays and lesbians are “in the clasp of Satan.”
  • The head of the AFA’s women’s group led a boycott against Glee because she accused it of indoctrinating children in homosexuality and idolatry.The editor of AFA Journal Ed Vitagliano said that gay pride months are an affront to the Founding Fathers and will usher in “a return to pagan sexuality.”
  • A columnist for the AFA demanded Christians stop practicing yoga because it was inspired by the “evil” religions of Buddhism and Hinduism.

International House of Prayer

The Response’s leadership team includes five senior staff members of the International House of Prayer (IHOP), a large, highly political Pentecostal organization built on preparing participants for the return of Jesus Christ. In a recent video, IHOP encouraged supporters to pray for Jews to convert to Christianity in order to bring about the Second Coming. IHOP is closely associated with Lou Engle, a Religious Right leader whose anti-gay, anti-choice extremism hasn’t stopped him from hobnobbing with Republican leaders including Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee. Engle is the founder of The Call, day-long rallies against abortion rights and gay marriage, which Engle says are meant to break Satan’s control over the U.S. government. One recent Call event featured “prophet” Cindy Jacobs calling for repentance for the “girl-on-girl kissing” of Britney Spears and Madonna. Perry's The Response event is clearly built upon Engle's The Call model.

Engle has a long history of pushing extreme right-wing views and advocating for a conservative theocracy in America. Engle:

IHOP’s founder and executive director, Mike Bickle, who is an official endorser of The Response, like Engle pushes radical End Times prophesies. In one sermon, he declared that Oprah Winfrey is a precursor to the Antichrist.

The International House of Prayer, incidentally, remains locked in a copyright infringement lawsuit with the International House of Pancakes.

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, is a co-chairman of The Response. At the FRC, Perkins has been a vocal opponent of LGBT equality, often relying on false claims about gay people to push his agenda. He:

Jim Garlow

One of the most prominent members of The Response’s leadership team is pastor Jim Garlow. The pastor for a San Diego megachurch, Garlow has been intimately involved in political battles, especially the campaign to pass Proposition 8. Garlow invited and housed Lou Engle to lead The Call rallies around California for six months to sway voters to support Proposition 8, which would repeal the right of gay and lesbian couples to get married. He claims Satan is behind the “attack on marriage” and credits the prayer rallies for the passage of Prop 8. He said that during a massive The Call rally in San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium “something had snapped in the Heavenlies” and “God had moved” to deliver Prop 8 to victory.

Most importantly, Garlow is a close spiritual adviser to presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and leads Gingrich’s Renewing American Leadership (ReAL). Garlow is a principal advocate of Seven Mountains Dominionism, and wants to “bring armies of people” to bring Religious Right leaders into public office and defeat their political opponents.

Garlow has a long record of extreme rhetoric. He:

John Hagee

While Senator John McCain rejected John Hagee’s endorsement during the 2008 presidential campaign for his “deeply offensive and indefensible” remarks, Perry invited Hagee to join The Response. Hagee leads a megachurch in San Antonio, Texas, and is a purveyor of End Times prophesies. Like members of the International House of Prayer, Hagee utilizes language of spiritual warfare and says he is part of “the army of the living God.” He runs the prominent group Christians United For Israel, which believes that eventually a cataclysmic war in the Middle East will bring about the Rapture.

John McCain was forced to disavow Hagee for a reason as the Texas pastor:

James Dobson

James Dobson, an official endorser of The Response, is one of the most prominent figures in the Religious Right. Founder of both Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council , Dobson has been instrumental in bringing the priorities of the Religious Right to Republican politics, including campaigning hard for President George W. Bush. But many of the views that Dobson pushes are hardly mainstream. Dobson:

  • is no fan of the women’s movement, writing that women are just “waiting for their husbands to assume leadership” ;
  • claims that marriage equality will “destroy the Earth”;
  • insists that the Religious Right’s fight against Planned Parenthood is “very similar” to that of abolitionists who fought against the slave trade.
  • Asked if God had withdrawn his hand from America after 9/11, Dobson responded: “Christians have made arguments on both sides of this question. I certainly believe that God is displeased with America for its pride and arrogance, for killing 40 million unborn babies, for the universality of profanity and for other forms of immorality. However, rather than trying to forge a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the terrorist attacks and America's abandonment of biblical principles, which I think is wrong, we need to accept the truth that this nation will suffer in many ways for departing from the principles of righteousness. "The wages of sin is death," as it says in Romans 6, both for individuals and for entire cultures.”

David Barton

David Barton, an official endorser of The Response, is a self-proclaimed historian known for his twisting of American History and the Bible to justify right-wing political positions. Barton’s strategy is twofold: he first works to find Biblical bases for right-wing policy initiatives, and then argues that the Founding Fathers wanted the United States to be a Christian nation, so obviously wanted whatever policy he has just found a flimsy Biblical basis for. Barton, “documenting” the divine origins of his interpretations of the Constitution gives him and his political allies a potent weapon. Opponents who disagree about tax policy or the powers of Congress are not only wrong, they are un-American and anti-religious, enemies of America and of God.

Barton uses his shoddy historical and biblical scholarship to push a right-wing political agenda, including:

  • Biblical Capitalism: Barton’s “scholarship” helps to form the basis for far-right economic policies. He claims that “Jesus was against the minimum wage,” that the Bible “absolutely condemned” the estate tax,” and opposed the progressive income tax.
  • Revising Racial History: Barton has traveled the country peddling a documentary he made blaming the Democratic Party for slavery, lynching and Jim Crow…while ignoring more recent history.
  • Opposing Gay Rights: Barton believes the government should regulate gay sex and maintains that countries which “rejected sexual regulation” inevitably collapse.

Other Allies

Among the other far-right figures who have signed on to work with Gov. Perry on The Response are:

  • Rob Schenk, an anti-choice extremist who was once arrested for throwing a fetus in the face of President Clinton, and who allegedly had ties with the murderer of abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian.
  • Loren Cunningham, who is working to mobilize support for the rally is a co-founder of the radical “Seven Mountains Dominionist” ideology. Cunningham says that he received the “seven mountains” idea, which holds that evangelical Christians must take hold of all aspects of society in order to pave the way for the Second Coming, in a message directly from God.
  • Doug Stringer, The Response's National Church and Ministry Mobilization Coordinator, who blamed American secularism and the increased acceptance of homosexuality for the 9/11 attacks, saying “It was our choice to ask God not to be in our every day lives and not to be present in our land.”
  • Cindy Jacobs, self-proclaimed “prophet” and endorser of The Response, who famously insisted that birds were dying in Arkansas earlier this year because of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
  • C. Peter Wagner, an official endorser of The Response, is one of the most prominent leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation, a controversial movement whose followers believe they are prophets and apostles on par with Christ himself (other adherents include Engle, Jacobs and Anh). Wagner has advocated burning Catholic, Mormon and non-Christian religious objects. He blamed the Japanese stock market crash and later the devastating earthquake and tsunami in the country on a traditional ritual in which the emperor supposedly has “sexual intercourse” with the pagan Sun Goddess.
  • Che Ahn, a mentor of John Hagee and official endorser of The Response, who endorses “Seven Mountains” dominionism and compares the fight against gay rights to the fight against slavery.
  • John Benefiel, a self-proclaimed "apostle" and official endorser of The Response, who claims the Statue of Liberty is a "demonic idol" and that homosexuality is a plot cooked up by the Illuminati to control the world's population, and that he renamed the District of Columbia the “District of Christ” because he has “more authority than the U.S. Congress does.”
  • James “Jay” Swallow, official endorser of the rally, who calls himself a “spiritual warrior” and hosts “Strategic Warriors At Training (SWAT): A Christian Military Training Camp for the purpose of dealing with the occult and territorial enemy strong holds in America.”
  • Alice Smith, who advocates "spiritual housecleaning" because demons "sneak into" homes through everyday objects.
  • Willie Wooten, a self-proclaimed “apostle” who claims that God is punishing the African American community for supporting gay rights, reproductive freedom and the Democratic Party.
  • Pastor Stephen Broden – Broden, an endorser of The Response, has repeatedly insisted that a violent overthrow of the U.S. government must remain “on the table.”
  • Timothy F. Johnson – Johnson, a former vice-chairman of the North Carolina GOP, was elected to that post despite two domestic violence convictions and still unresolved questions about his military service and educational record.
  • Alice Patterson – Patterson, a member of The Response's leadership team, insists that the Democratic Party is controlled by a "demonic structure."


Perry Prayer Rally Organizer Says Democratic Party Controlled By Demons

A few weeks ago we noted that Alice Patterson has been is in charge of "Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma Church Mobilization" for Gov. Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer rally.  Patterson has dedicated her career to "racial healing" and has been working closely with David Barton to convince African Americans to support the Republican Party.

In fact, Patterson wrote a whole book about it which I have just finished reading called "Bridging the Racial and Political Divide: How Godly Politics Can Transform a Nation" in which mentions how she went to hear Chuck Pierce speak in Louisiana where he preached on "Saul Structures" at which points she realized that the Democratic Party is "an invisible network of evil comprising an unholy structure" that is, quite literally, controlled by demonic forces: 

As Chuck described Saul Structures, my thoughts raced to politics. "Oh my God, Chuck is describing the Democratic Party!" This was the first time I'd ever considered that an evil structure could be connected to and empowered by a political party ... One strong fallen angel cannot wreak havoc on an entire nation by himself. He needs a network of wicked forces to restrain the Church and to deceive the masses. Unlike the Holy Spirit, who is everywhere at once and can speak to millions of people simultaneously, the devil can only be in one place at a time. By himself Satan would be totally ineffective, but in cooperation with other powers of darkness he erects structures to deceive and manipulate entire nations ... At the time I was listening to Chuck Pierce in Louisiana, I hadn't given any thought at all to strongholds in political parties. If I had ever thought about it, of course, it would have made sense, but it was new information. As Chuck's words began to sink in, I asked the "Lord, Father, what is the demonic structure behind the Democratic Party?"

Patterson goes on to explain that "the demonic structure behind the Democratic Party" is in fact "the Jezebel structure" which is rooted in long-ago Democratic support for slavery and which remains today because of the party's support for reproductive and gay rights.

Huckabee: GOP Primary Voters Too "Unrealistic"

OnThe 700 Club with Pat Robertson today, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee said that he decided against running for president partly because the Republican base is too “unrealistic.” Robertson, who endorsed Rudy Giuliani in 2008, asked Huckabee if he passed on a second presidential campaign in order to pursue his new career as a Fox News commentator and the head of a line of conservative history videos, which he was promoting on the show.

Huckabee responded, “I felt like the atmosphere right now is so toxic and part of it is that I think that many people in my party, the Republican Party, are unrealistic, and what they want is something that no one can deliver, and that’s a candidate who is going to solve every problem in an election cycle.”


Is Rick Perry a moderate? Perhaps, if the price is right.

Cross-Posted on the People For blog

Here at People For the American Way, we’ve spent the last several weeks marveling as Texas Gov. Rick Perry plans a blockbuster Christian prayer rally in Houston, gathering around him a remarkable collection of Religious Right extremists – from a pastor who claims that the Statue of Liberty is a “demonic idol” to a self-described “apostle” who blamed last year’s mysterious bird deaths in Arkansas on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Perry claims the event is apolitical, but it is conveniently timed to coincide with the possible launching of his presidential bid and bolstered by groups that are dedicated to working far-right evangelical values into American politics.

Which is why we were all surprised today to find a story in The Hill titled “At second glance, Texas Gov. Rick Perry not as conservative as some think.” Really?

The evidence presented for Perry’s maverick-moderate tilt is that the governor has taken some reasonable positions on immigration reform and that he once angered Religious Right groups by requiring that all 6th grade girls in the state receive a vaccine for HPV, a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to cervical cancer.

Perry’s 2007 executive order requiring that the vaccine be offered to Texas’s sixth graders was a wonderful, progressive public health policy…but seemed a little odd coming from a far-right Texas governor. Interestingly, while the move angered Perry’s supporters on the Religious Right, it made one constituency very happy: lobbyists for Merck & Co., the pharmaceutical giant that manufactured the vaccine and stood to gain billions from the new law. The Associated Press reported at the time on the cozy relationship Merck had developed with the newly-reelected Texas governor:

Merck is bankrolling efforts to pass laws in state legislatures across the country mandating it Gardasil vaccine for girls as young as 11 or 12. It doubled its lobbying budget in Texas and has funneled money through Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country.

Details of the order were not immediately available, but the governor's office confirmed to The Associated Press that he was signing the order and he would comment Friday afternoon.

Perry has several ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company's three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, his former chief of staff. His current chief of staff's mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.

Toomey was expected to be able to woo conservative legislators concerned about the requirement stepping on parent's rights and about signaling tacit approval of sexual activity to young girls. Delisi, as head of the House public health committee, which likely would have considered legislation filed by a Democratic member, also would have helped ease conservative opposition.

Perry also received $6,000 from Merck's political action committee during his re-election campaign.

Maybe Gov. Perry just really cared about helping prevent an epidemic and helping girls in Texas receive good medical care. On the other hand, health care for Texans doesn’t seem to have been a major priority for Perry: by last year, the tenth year of his governorship, Texas ranked last in the country in terms of the percentage of the population with health insurance and the percentage of insured children.

The “Perry bucks the Religious Right for the health of young girls” story will probably continue to reappear as he continues to be lauded as the Republican Party’s last, best hope for 2012. But the full story in no way proves that Perry’s an independent-minded moderate. Instead, it offers a case study of the sometimes conflicting priorities of the Religious and Corporate Right, and a politician who tries to appease them both.


The Intersection of David Barton, Dominionism, Texas Republicans And Racial Politics

Alice Patterson is in charge of "Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma Church Mobilization" for Gov. Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer rally and is, not surprisingly, deeply involved in the New Apostolic Reformation movement where she focuses on "racial healing."

Last year she released a book entitled "Bridging the Racial and Political Divide: How Godly Politics Can Transform a Nation" in which she explained how she had served as Field Director of the Texas Christian Coalition for years until she discovered the works of "apostles" and "prophets" like Cindy Jacobs, Chuck Pierce, Dutch Sheets and Ed Silvoso.  Her growing involvement with this movement led her to step down from the Texas Christian Coalition in order to focus on "reaching entire cities for Christ." 

As the granddaughter of a former Ku Klux Klan member, Patterson dedicated herself to reaching out to African Americans through "identificational repentence" whereby individuals repent for the sins of their forefathers in order to break the various curses that plague this land because of past unforgiven sins.

In this capacity, Patterson worked closely with Susan Weddington who, at the time, was Chair of the Texas Republican Party:

As intercessors began to pray many weeks before the [Republican State] convention, one of them envisioned Susan pouring oil on bricks. So we started looking for bricks. Susan wanted to meet privately in front of the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston and pray about whatever caused Black Republicans to walk away from the political party they had founded in that city. I called Doug Stringer in Houston, founder of Somebody Cares America and he sent two Black ministers from his staff. Tim and Joyce James, pastors of Total Man Christian Ministries in Houston, a mostly Black congregation and formerly on my Pray Texas board, came as well. It was a small group. We met in a little park right across the street from the convention center. Lo and behold, there were the bricks!

We worshiped. The presence of God came. When it came time for Susan to pour the oil on the bricks as the intercessor had visualized, Susan surprised me. I thought she would ask forgiveness for whatever White Republicans did to drive Blacks away from their party but instead she prayed, "Lord, I forgive our leaders for walking away. And I open the door and invite them back in."

As part of the effort to bring African Americans back to the Republican Party, Patterson reveals, Weddington eventually reached out to none other than David Barton:

Two years before, Susan had asked David Barton to do research to find out why Black Republicans had left the party they founded. He had been researching for two years and he discovered some astounding facts. David's research is now in both DVD and a book, "Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black and White."

And with the research in hand Patterson, Barton and others then embarked upon a campaign to use it to win African Americans back to the GOP: 

We had an agenda. Worship to invite the presence of God, repent for racism share Dr. Jackson's testimony, and have David Barton give the truth about American and Black history. This wasn't a Republican meeting even though Susan and David were Republican Party officials. It was a spiritual meeting. And lives were changed.

Our team consisted of Blacks Dr. Jackson and Falma Rufus, Hispanic Ruben Duarte, and Whites David Barton, Susan Weddington, and me. Ruben led us into God's presence with worship. Falma released the prophetic word in song and worshiped along with Ruben. They are powerful together. Susan or I would repent for racism. Dr. Jackson would share his story and give his favor to David. David shared hidden truths about America's spiritual heritage and eye opening facts about Black History.

As we have have been saying all along, Barton's attempt to "set the record straight" on this issue was blatantly misleading and obvious propaganda designed to convince African Americans to stop supporting the Democratic Party.

And now, thanks that Alice Patterson, we have proof that that was in fact the intention all along.

Rick Perry Partners With 'Apostle' Who Thinks The Statue Of Liberty Is A 'Demonic Idol'

As we've been reporting on Right Wing Watch, Texas Governor Rick Perry is working a number of radical preachers to plan his upcoming Christians-only prayer rally. Perry's partners in the event include extremists who believe that tolerance for homosexuality caused the September 11th attacks, Oprah Winfrey is the harbinger of the Antichrist, the deadly Japanese earthquake was caused by the country’s Emperor having sex with a demon, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell caused bird deaths in Arkansas and violence should be considered to overthrow President Obama, among many other extreme beliefs.

One self-described ‘Apostle’ who has signed on as an official endorser to Perry's The Response prayer rally is John Benefiel of the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network, a group affiliated with the New Apostolic Reformation with ties to other The Response endorsers including Cindy Jacobs, C. Peter Wagner and Jay Swallow. In a sermon last August, Benefiel argued that America is under a curse from God because the country possesses monuments to pagan idols and that Americans needs to renounce those idols if not destroy them. Benefiel claims that the Statue of Liberty is in fact a “demonic idol” because it represents a “false goddess.”


Libertas is also called the Freedom Goddess, Lady Freedom, the Goddess of Liberty. You know there’s a statue in New York harbor called the Statue of Liberty. You know where we got it from? French Free Masons. Listen folks that is an idol, a demonic idol, right there in New York harbor. People say, ‘well no it’s patriotic.’ What makes it patriotic? Why is it? It’s a statue of a false goddess, the Queen of Heaven. We don’t get liberty from a false goddess folks, we get our liberty from Jesus Christ and that Statue of Liberty in no way glorifies Jesus Christ. There is no connection whatsoever. So I’m just telling you we practice idolatry in America in ways that we don’t even recognize.

Rick Perry Partners With 'Apostle' Who Blames America For September 11th Attacks

Right Wing Watch has looked into organizers of Gov. Rick Perry's The Response from Cindy Jacobs, who blamed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell for mass bird deaths in Arkansas, to televangelist John Hagee, who claimed God sent Hitler to be a “hunter” of Jews, and the rabidly anti-gay International House of Prayer. The Response's National Church and Ministry Mobilization Coordinator Doug Stringer, a Texas ‘Apostle’ who believes that the America only had it self to blame for the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 because the country rejected God and His protection:

In our gathering in Dallas, we realized there are three primary things in Scripture that are so disheartening to God that they cause Him to be ill, and they ultimately cause His presence to depart from His people:

1. Ritual or temple prostitution

2. The shedding of innocent blood on the altar

3. Licentiousness or moral looseness to the degree that it is “in your face,” including homosexuality

Immediately after the tragedy of 9/11, I was contacted by national media who asked me if I thought this was a judgment of God. Along with Anne Graham Lotz, I stated:



When I asked my friend David Ravenhill to address a gathering of pastors in Houston, he challenged us with this question: “Are you asking God to come as invited guest or as an inhabitant?”

I have many close friends who will invite me into their houses and tell me to make myself at home. While there, I know I can help myself to the kitchen, get up or go to bed when I want to, borrow a book from a bookshelf. But what would my friends think if I began painting the walls, changing out the furniture, or redecorating the living room to fit my own tastes?

This is, sadly, what we do with God. We want Him around, but only as our invited guest rather than One who has the right to create an atmosphere or an environment in which He wants to dwell.

My spiritual grandfather, Leonard Ravenhill, used to say, “Is the life you’re living worth Christ dying for?” We cannot live the kind of life worth the price our Savior paid unless we allow God in, not as a guest but as an inhabitant. We must open our hearts, our churches, and our public venues as dwelling places and allow Him to conform them to fit His preferences instead of our own. That is the difference between institutional Christianity and impartational relationship with the person of Jesus Christ.

Arkansas Group Says California's Harvey Milk Day Will Force Students To Cross-Dress

In 2009, California declared Harvey Milk Day a state holiday on the slain civil rights leader’s birthday, May 22nd, despite vitriolic protests from the Religious Right. Now, Jerry Cox of the Arkansas Family Council and the Family Council Action Committee is warning that by honoring Milk, children will be forced to cross-dress and have mock gay weddings, telling the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow that schools should instead spend more time honoring the Founding Fathers who “exemplified all the good in mankind in their life”:

Jerry Cox, president of the Family Council Action Committee in Little Rock, sees a double standard in public schools, as officials refuse to honor Christian leaders.

"On the other hand, if a person has left-leaning philosophies, a left-leaning theology, a left-leaning view of the world, then it seems that it's always in vogue to honor those people and to have a special holiday for them," Cox notes.

Children will be required to participate in exercises that honor Milk, which could include mock homosexual "weddings" and cross-dressing contests, as well as writing or reading activities. The pro-family leader decides that public schools are failing to promote good role models for students.

"What we ought to be doing is holding up the lives of people that were truly great, people like the Founding Fathers -- the ones who have exemplified all the good in mankind in their life," Cox contends.

Cox isn’t alone in claiming that a Harvey Milk Day would include mandatory cross-dressing, as Save California’s Randy Thomasson argued in 2009:

"The bill -- which will honor a sexual predator, a polygamous relationship advocate, and a public liar -- and extend a homosexual, bisexual, transsexual agenda as a role model to children to aspire to is going to the governor after a short stop on the [California] Senate floor," Thomasson explains.

If the bill is signed, Thomasson believes public schools and colleges would be pressured to honor Milk.

"It could mean gay-pride parades on campus, mock gay weddings, and cross-dressing exercises because these are all things that Harvey Milk believed in," he adds. "And to remember his life and values is to go with his sordid history, both publicly and privately, that are detailed in his biography."

Mike Huckabee Endorses Janet Porter's Radical Anti-Choice Bill

Janet Porter continues to nab more endorsements for her extreme “Heartbeat bill,” the Ohio legislation which would criminalize most abortions, as she announced at The Awakening that Mike Huckabee has endorsed her bill. Porter, who brought in two fetuses to testify on behalf of the bill in the State House, was able to get the legislation out of committee by just one vote after Ohio Right to Life Society criticized the bill as plainly unconstitutional. Along with Huckabee, Porter said that Republican Rep. Steve Chabot and potential Senate candidates Josh Mandel and Ken Blackwell also back her bill. Huckabee’s endorsement of Porter’s legislation shouldn’t come as a surprise, the former Arkansas governor said that he would base a potential presidential campaign on his opposition to abortion-rights and that he answer’s to two Janet’s, his wife and Janet Porter.

Arkansas Family Council Blasts Decision To Overturn Gay Adoption Ban As "Anti-Child"

Today the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s opinion that a recently passed law that would prohibit unmarried, cohabitating couples from adopting or fostering children is unconstitutional. The court ruled that the law, which was targeted at gay and lesbian families, needlessly violated their right to privacy. As Arkansas Justice Robert Brown maintained, under the ban such couples “must choose either to lead a life of private, sexual intimacy with a partner without the opportunity to adopt or foster children or forego sexual cohabitation and, thereby, attain eligibility to adopt or foster.”

Naturally outraged, the far-right Arkansas Family Council condemned the decision as “judicial tyranny” and “anti-child.” The AFC actually brought in the Alliance Defense Fund to defend the adoption prohibition, which was passed in 2008, because the group didn’t trust the state’s Democratic administration to effectively defend the law:

“This is a classic example of judicial tyranny,” said Family Council Action Committee President Jerry Cox. “We have said all along that Act One was about child welfare, and fifty-seven percent of the voters in 2008 agreed. They declared that the State of Arkansas has an obligation to adoptive and foster children to ensure that they are placed in the best possible homes. The Arkansas Supreme Court has chosen to run roughshod over the people’s will and refused to uphold a good law that protected the children in the state’s care.”

Cox said, “I’d like to personally thank the 75 county coordinators and 2,700 volunteers who helped gather signatures to get Act One on the ballot. They worked hard to gather over 100,000 signatures between January and August of 2008. It is because of their dedication that this good law made it on the ballot and passed in 73 counties. I will be forever grateful to everyone who put time and effort into this worthy initiative.

“Today’s ruling was anti-child,” said Cox. “The ACLU couldn’t defeat this good law in a fair election, so they used the court system against the people of Arkansas. This is the worst decision ever handed down by the Arkansas Supreme Court.”

Jacobs: "Everything That I Said Has Happened"

In January, Cindy Jacobs posted a video claiming that birds were dying in Arkansas because the United States had repealed Don't Ask, Don' Tell.

Today, she posted a new video discussing the various situations in the Middle East, the earthquake in Japan, and the looming earthquake in California which she used as an opportunity to declare that everything that she said would happen in her last video is now happening because "we have disrupted the laws of God":

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 4/5/11

Michele Bachmann

Iowa: Hires Mike Huckabee’s former state director for campaign (MN Public Radio, 4/4).

Religious Right: Slated to speak at Family Leader events (Des Moines Register, 4/4).

Fundraising: Tops Mitt Romney in fundraising (Time, 4/1).

Obama: Says President Obama is deliberately damaging the economy (RWW, 3/31).

Haley Barbour

2012: Wife concerned about presidential race, says bid “horrifies” her (Reuters, 4/2).

Mississippi: Economic conservatives criticize Barbour’s record as governor (Politico, 4/2).

Poll: Trails Huckabee in poll of home state’s Republican voters (Mississippi Press, 3/31).

Herman Cain

Obama: Says President Obama is “not the president of black people” (Daily Caller, 4/4).

Birther: Joins Donald Trump in questioning President Obama’s birth certificate (Politico, 4/1).

Newt Gingrich

Iowa: Defends financial assistance to Religious Right group in Iowa judicial election (Think Progress, 4/4). 

Obama: Likens Obama's fundraising goal to extortion (CNN, 4/4). 

Religious Right: Poised to kickoff right-wing Awakening conference at Liberty University (RWW, 3/28). 

Rudy Giuliani

2012: Frames himself as an electable Republican candidate (GOP12, 4/4).

Foreign Affairs: Criticizes President Obama’s handling of Libyan crisis (Ozarks Unbound, 4/4).

Mike Huckabee

Campaign: Advisers want Huckabee's 2012 campaign to be less family-run (US News & World Report, 4/4). 

South Carolina: Wins straw poll in heavily GOP county in upstate South Carolina (UPI, 4/3). 

Background: Public records as governor destroyed (Mother Jones, 4/1). 

Sarah Palin

Media: Slated to appear in E! True Hollywood story biopic (Mediaite, 4/4).

New Hampshire: Former GOP Senator from New Hampshire slams Palin as overly ambitious, polarizing (Boston Globe, 4/4). 

Rand Paul

Religious Right: Scheduled to address Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition (RWW, 4/4).

Iowa: Speaks to Iowa GOP’s “Night of the Rising Stars” (Iowa Independent, 4/4).

Tim Pawlenty

Obama: Launches new cinematic video to respond to Obama's reelection announcement (HuffPo, 4/4). 

Background: Left Minnesota with a massive budget deficit (LA Times, 4/2). 

Mitt Romney

Foreign Affairs: Claims his experience in business will help him in foreign policy (RCP, 4/5).

New Hampshire: Set to address Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity forum in New Hampshire (CNN, 4/4). 

Campaign: Runs subdued campaign in order to reintroduce himself to voters (NYT, 4/2).

Rick Santorum

South Carolina: Accepts invitation to appear in South Carolina debate for presidential candidates (CBS News, 4/1).

Religious Right: Blames legal abortion for Social Security problems (RWW, 3/29).

Jacobs In Alaska, Announces Mobilization of a Half Million Intercessors to Swing 2012 Election

Pop Quiz:  What is this?

If you answered "Cindy Jacobs preaching," you get a gold star. 

But can you tell me where Jacobs is preaching?

Here's a hint: Sarah Palin

Looks familiar, does it not?  That is because Jacobs was preaching at Palin's home church, Wasilla Assembly of God, on March 3, 2011.

And what was Jacobs preaching, you ask? 

That her army of prayer intercessors was responsible for the Republican wins in the 2010 elections; so much so that they are mobilizing 500,000 such intercessors to shift this nation in the 2012 election toward righteousness and justice:

And, just as a reminder, here is Jacobs explaining earlier this year that birds were dying in Arkansas because Don't Ask, Don't Tell had been repealed:


Huckabee Would Reinstate DADT: "That's Really What The Military Wants"

Mike Huckabee tells the AFA's OneNewsNow that he supports reinstating Don't Ask, Don't Tell: 

Mike Huckabee says he would support legislation aimed at reinstating the 1993 law that prohibits homosexuals from serving openly in the military.

In January former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty said if he were to become president in two years, he would work to reinstate the prohibition of open homosexual service. Now former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, another potential GOP presidential hopeful, tells OneNewsNow that he, too, would support re-imposing the ban.

"I would -- because that's really what the military wants," says Huckabee. "There's been some talk that the military is fine with having same-sex orientation people. But if you really surveyed the combat troops, that is not at all the case."

According to Huckabee, currently a political analyst for Fox News, politicians should back out of the picture. "...I don't think that these are decisions that politicians should make. These are decisions that soldiers should make," he says emphatically. "And when the soldiers in the foxholes make the decisions, they choose something different -- and we should listen to them."

Arkansas GOP Campaigns Against "Pro-Abortion Jewish Lawyer"

RWW reported in November on an internal Republican feud in Texas where the Religious Right unsuccessfully tried to push out the Speaker of the House, who is Jewish, in favor of a challenger who was a “True Christian.”

Now, Republicans in Arkansas are using a similar tactic against Democrat Jerry Repham in the race to fill a vacancy in the state legislature. The blog Blue Arkansas found a campaign email from Chuck Chatham, a committeeman of the local Republican Party, which contrasts Republican candidate Bruce Cozart with Repham, who Chatham calls a “pro-abortion Jewish lawyer.” He goes on to say that “this is a very important race to anyone who values Christian principles.”

Tuesday [March 8th is a special election to fill the vacant state legislature seat that was vacated by Keith Krass’s death last year. The election is between Bruce Cozart (R) a pro-life, Christian who has served a number of years on the Lake Hamilton school board and Jerry Rephan (D). Jerry is a pro-abortion Jewish lawyer who specializes in “environmental law” which means his primary clients as such were the Sierra Club and PETA, among others.

Bruce Cozart is pro-second amendment rights and has been an active member of the First Assembly of God church for many years. He has been a local contractor and construction worker for the last 35+ years here in Garland County. We need a contractor/dozer driver instead of another liberal lawyer in the Arkansas state legislature. Please go and vote!! This is a very important race to anyone who values Christian principles.

The 24th district includes most of the area south of highway 27O and west of Central avenue. It extends to the lake near 270 and on both sides of highway 70 west of the lake to near Lake Hamilton school. Your voters card will show if you are located in the 24th district, but if Keith Krass was on your ballot in November, you are in that district. If you don’t live in the district, please encourage your friends that do to go vote for Bruce, just as I am doing for you.


Chuck Chatham

The special election will take place on March 8th.

Land Takes Preemptive Shot At Daniels Presidential Bid, Calls Truce "Political Suicide"

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Richard Land took a preemptive strike against Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who raised eyebrows after calling for a “truce” on social issues and is considering a run for president. Land writes just one day after a WSJ poll found that the majority of GOP primary voters would be sympathetic to the “truce” offered by Daniels, who believes that the nation should be focusing on economic issues instead of fighting the “culture war.” Land, like many other Religious Right leaders, has come out swinging against Daniels’s proposal and dubbed the truce “political suicide.” The influential head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission said that if Daniels continues to pursue the truce, he would go the way of former Sen. Phil Gramm, who lost many socially conservative supporters in his failed 1996 campaign for president. Land writes:

Indiana governor and likely Republican presidential candidate Mitch Daniels has suggested that Americans call a "truce" on divisive social issues until our precarious financial house is back in order. Many pundits have praised the idea, typically thrilled that a Republican leader seems willing to jettison, even temporarily, strong positions on abortion or gay marriage. But social conservatives are mad, and rightly so.

Throughout the 1980s and '90s, social conservatives were the foot soldiers for Republican victories—only to see their issues bargained away or shoved to the bottom of the GOP agenda, beneath issues of fiscal and foreign policy. Reacting to Gov. Daniels, former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee recently said: "For those of us who have labored long and hard in the fight to educate the Democrats, voters, the media and even some Republicans on the importance of strong families, traditional marriage and life to our society, this is absolutely heartbreaking."

Perhaps Gov. Daniels interprets the emergence of the tea party as a sign that GOP candidates don't have to depend on social-issues voters as they once did. That seems unlikely. As Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has said, "Calling for a truce on core conservative principles might get you some high profile media sound bites, but it won't win you the Republican presidential nomination."

For Republicans to do anything to de-energize this voting bloc would amount to political suicide.

Most social conservatives are also fiscal conservatives. They recognize that a federal government that borrows more than 40 cents of every dollar it spends is committing generational theft, spending our grandchildren's money and impoverishing their future. Social conservatives also argue that government has such high costs partly because of the broken families, broken communities and broken ethics generated by moral relativism.

As Mark Twain reportedly observed, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." There once was a promising Republican presidential candidate known for being an economic guru and master of the numbers: Sen. Phil Gramm. At one point in 1996, he had raised more money than any other candidate. Like Gov. Daniels, Sen. Gramm had a sterling social conservative voting record and his lack of telegenic charisma was seen as an advantage, in contrast to President Clinton's slick persona. But Sen. Gramm's candidacy went down in flames after he dismissed a question about social issues by saying: "I'm not running for preacher, I'm running for president."

There is a deep longing in large segments of the American populace for a restoration of a morality that emphasizes personal obligations and responsibilities over rights and privileges. Such a society will have a restored moral symmetry in which exemplary personal and professional behavior is rewarded and less exemplary behavior is not. As Jesus reminded us, "Man shall not live on bread alone."

Will Republican Presidential Prospects Address The Iowa Renewal Project?

A little-reported Iowa event may bring together Religious Right leaders and potential Republican presidential candidates for a summit with pastors. Iowa Renewal Project is hosting a “Pastors’ Policy Briefing,” according to The Iowa Independent, that plans to include Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Haley Barbour. The Iowa Renewal Project is one of many state-level “restoration projects” that attempt to organize pastors to support conservative causes and Republican candidates. Most recently, Gingrich and David Barton participated in an event by the Nevada Renewal Project and the American Family Association to mobilize pastors to help Sharron Angle’s unsuccessful Senate bid.

Today, The Iowa Independent uncovered details of a group in Iowa that hopes to connect Republican presidential candidates with not only Iowa pastors but also extreme Religious Right figures such as Don Wildmon, John Stemberger, George Barna, Ken Graves, Jack Hibbs, and Laurence White. Despite the prominence of the attendees, the Iowa Renewal Project like other restoration projects offers little openness or transparency to the public (which might explain why we found out about this event from a letter to pastors, not a press release to the media):

But several rumored Republican candidates will gather in Des Moines later this month for conversations with clergy and congregants, and unlike most events featuring presidential hopefuls, very little is known about exactly who is behind the two-day, all-expenses-paid “Pastors’ Policy Briefing.”

An invitation, stamped with the return address of a West Des Moines UPS Store mailbox, went out this week to Iowa’s faithful. Those who received the call will have an opportunity to hear from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann during a two-day conference at the Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel on March 24 and 25.

“Meals and lodging are complimentary,” states the invitation, “and will be provided by the Iowa Renewal Project.”

An insert “from the desk of Mike Huckabee,” who addressed the group in 2007, reads:

America and our Judeo Christian heritage is under attack by a force that is more destructive than any threat America has faced in decades. Over the past year, we have been declared to be “not a Christian nation”; a response is necessary from those who believe that while government itself should not establish a faith, our principles are rooted in the notion that we are the result of providence and a dynamic Creator. Defeating the radicals who wish to ignore or revise our history will require renewed resolve and spiritual rearmament by the evangelical pastors in America.

Rediscovering God in America’s goal is to ignite people of faith to again engage the culture and bring America back to our standing around the world as a Beacon of Hope and a Shining City on a Hill.

Because God has entrusted you to care for His flock, you are a critical component to reclaiming the centrality of God in American life and confronting the evil that faces us now. At a time when Congress is busy trying to legislate defeat, we are inviting you to a Pastors’ Policy Briefing that will help you engage the battle, to walk point. Today, with our troops facing danger abroad and our nation looking for guidance here at home, America’s need is to rearm spiritually through the leadership of her Pastors. The silence of the church and her pastors have helped to create this mess: Russell Kirk offers insight into the political climate of America if bible believing pastors pick up the mantle, “politicians are actors performing a script that is written by the audience”. Rediscovering God in America-Des Moines is to remind and encourage us that the proper position for America when facing evil and confronting enemies is not to find excuses for defeat but to find the resources, the courage and the strength from God necessary to win.

As Waddington notes, Huckabee’s letter is extremely similar to one Texas Governor Rick Perry sent to the Texas Renewal Project in 2008:

Both our nation and our Judeo Christian heritage are under attack by a force that is more dangerous than any threat our world has faced in recent memory. I am convinced that our ability to defeat the radical jihadists who threaten our nation will be significantly impacted by the prayers and leadership of America’s evangelical pastors.

"Rediscovering God in America” was created to inspire people of faith to engage the culture and bring America back to our worldwide standing as a beacon of hope, a city shining on a hill.

Because God entrusted you to care for and lead His flock, you can play a key role in restoring God to the center of American life, thus strengthening our nation to confront this looming threat.

While Congress occupies its time trying to legislate defeat in Iraq, we hope you will attend a Pastors’ Policy Briefing that will equip you to walk point in the war of values and ideas.

Rediscovering God in America-Austin is intended to remind us that excuses are not the proper strategy when facing evil and confronting enemies. Instead, we must rally godly people and seek God’s provision for the resources, the courage, and the strength necessary to win and, ultimately, glorify Him.

Huckabee: If I Run Again, It'll Be To Fight Abortion

Mike Huckabee continues to insist that he hasn't yet made up his mind about whether he intends to make another run for president.

But yesterday he was in Tennessee to headline a fundraiser for an ultra-right wing anti-choice group called Tennessee for the Center for Bioethical Reform which operates under the tag line" Graphically Exposing The Injustice of Abortion" and "on the principle that abortion represents an evil so inexpressible that words fail us when attempting to describe its horror. Until abortion is seen, it will never be understood."

The CBR is responsible for something called The Genocide Awareness Project which is "a traveling photo-mural exhibit which compares the contemporary genocide of abortion to historically recognized forms of genocide. It visits university campuses around the country to show as many students as possible what abortion actually does to unborn children and get them to think about abortion in a broader historical context."

And while delivering his keynote address, Huckabee asserted that if he does decide to run for president, it will be simply so that he can make abortion an issue:

During an appearance at a pro-life fundraising event on Monday night, pro-life potential Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee confirmed that, for him, abortion is the most important political issue.

“For me this is an issue that — as I’ve said before — it transcends all of the political issues,” he said. “I’ve often said I would gladly lose an election before I would ever yield on the issue of the sanctity of human life.”

At the event, held at the Knoxville Convention Center, the former Arkansas governor confirmed he is “seriously looking at” running for president again in 2012 and may do if only to “elevate the issue of life.”

Huckabee: If I Run Again, It'll Be To Fight Abortion

Mike Huckabee continues to insist that he hasn't yet made up his mind about whether he intends to make another run for president.

But yesterday he was in Tennessee to headline a fundraiser for an ultra-right wing anti-choice group called Tennessee for the Center for Bioethical Reform which operates under the tag line" Graphically Exposing The Injustice of Abortion" and "on the principle that abortion represents an evil so inexpressible that words fail us when attempting to describe its horror. Until abortion is seen, it will never be understood."

The CBR is responsible for something called The Genocide Awareness Project which is "a traveling photo-mural exhibit which compares the contemporary genocide of abortion to historically recognized forms of genocide. It visits university campuses around the country to show as many students as possible what abortion actually does to unborn children and get them to think about abortion in a broader historical context."

And while delivering his keynote address, Huckabee asserted that if he does decide to run for president, it will be simply so that he can make abortion an issue:

During an appearance at a pro-life fundraising event on Monday night, pro-life potential Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee confirmed that, for him, abortion is the most important political issue.

“For me this is an issue that — as I’ve said before — it transcends all of the political issues,” he said. “I’ve often said I would gladly lose an election before I would ever yield on the issue of the sanctity of human life.”

At the event, held at the Knoxville Convention Center, the former Arkansas governor confirmed he is “seriously looking at” running for president again in 2012 and may do if only to “elevate the issue of life.”

At Last Minute, Barton Backs Out of Teaching Seminar for Arkansas Legislators

Earlier this month we noted that the Arkansas Family Council had scheduled a two-day seminar for Arkansas legislators to be held today and tomorrow that was to be led by David Barton, who was going to teach them that helping the poor is not the government's responsibility.

But, at the last minute, Barton backed out without providing an explanation:

Evangelical activist David Barton has declined an invitation from the Family Council to speak to Arkansas lawmakers at the state Capitol, Family Council President Jerry Cox said Monday.

Cox said he did not know why Barton declined. The Family Council had reserved a room at the Capitol for Barton to hold a seminar today and Wednesday. The Christian conservative Family Council has no plans to reschedule the seminar, Cox said.

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