California

Meet The Religious Right Extremists Behind The Pro-Bachmann Super PAC

A secretive ‘Super PAC’ tied to an Ohio political operative is planning to aid congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign after working to defeat South Carolina congressman John Spratt in the last midterm election. Chris Cillizza writes that “Citizens for a Working America, as the group is known, will be chaired by former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. Ed Brookover, a longtime political consultant and adviser to Bachmann, will be involved as will conservative lawyer and economist Marc Nuttle.”

Ken Blackwell’s ties to the Religious Right are well known, but Nuttle’s activism has flown below the radar.

Blackwell was Ohio’s Secretary of State from 2002-2006 whom after leaving office, unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2006 and chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2009. He is now a senior fellow with the ultraconservative Family Research Council, a senior fellow with the far-right American Civil Rights Union, and a board member the pro-corporate Club for Growth. Columbus-based televangelist Rod Parsley vigorously backed his failed gubernatorial campaign and Religious Right activists endorsed his abortive bid for RNC chair. His staunchly anti-gay views will serve him well in the Bachmann camp, as Blackwell once compared gay people with arsonists and kleptomaniacs and same-sex couples with farm animals.

Nuttle is a Republican adviser and economist with deep ties to an extreme movement within the Religious Right composed of advocates of Seven Mountains Dominionism. Nuttle is in fact Chairman of The Oak Initiative, a far-right organization dedicated to promoting the Seven Mountains ideology. The group claims in its mission statement, “The Oak Institute is being developed to raise up effective leaders for all of the dominant areas of influence in the culture, including: government, business, education, arts and entertainment, family services, media, and the church,” otherwise known as the Seven Mountains of society that Dominionists think should be controlled by fundamentalist Christians.

The Oak Initiative’s president Rick Joyner, the founder of MorningStar Ministries, has claimed that God is planning to destroy California and that God used Hurricane Katrina to punish America for tolerating homosexuality. The Oak Initiative’s board is filled with leading proponents of Seven Mountains Dominionism, including Jerry Boykin, Janet Porter, Lance Wallnau and self-proclaimed prophet Cindy Jacobs. Lou Sheldon, the head of the Traditional Values Coalition who described LGBT activism as “the very face of evil,” is also a board member.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council (Blackwell’s boss) and 2000 GOP presidential candidate Alan Keyes addressed the Oak Initiative’s 2011 Summit alongside Nuttle, where Perkins called gays and lesbians “hateful” people who are “pawns” of Satan and Keyes urged Congress to impeach President Obama before he seizes power with the help of foreign countries. At the Summit, Boykin said that Obama is creating his own Brownshirt army to usher in Marxism and Joyner suggested that a secretive cabal crashed the economy to help Obama win the presidential election.

Nuttle spoke to Joyner’s MorningStar Ministries on how to “apply proper biblical principles to the marketplace and the workforce” and that God “has a plan and a solution for this current world crisis we find ourselves in.” Nuttle said that people “don’t have to figure” out all the economic solutions, “all you have to do is be obedient” to God. He also claimed that the United States is the only country with a government subservient to God: “Every other government in the world is some sort of government authority, it’s a dictatorship, or Islam where government is God, or where the dictator is God, or the Constitution is God, over the constituents.” Nuttle argued that “the fight is against the 30% [of politicians] who don’t care” about the decline of the economy, “because then there’s more room for government. Government’s what they want, socialism is the goal.” He ended his speech by saying, “lock your shields with each other against the enemy.” 

Earlier this year he addressed Liberty University’s Awakening 2011, the Religious Right political event hosted by Mat Staver of the LU-affiliate Liberty Counsel. Nuttle also appeared on God Knows with Jacobs, where he shared with the 'Prophet' his plan to solve the nation’s debt troubles.

As heads of the pro-Bachmann Super PAC, Blackwell and Nuttle will surely help Bachmann link her far-right economic views with her deep-seated social conservative activism.

Unearthing Right-Wing Treasure

People For the American Way is preparing to move its headquarters to another location in Washington, D.C. , after more than 20 years in the same space. That has meant a monumental effort to sort through decades of accumulated paper and figure out what to do with video recordings in more formats than you could imagine – and endless save-or-toss decisions.

Fortunately, earlier this year PFAW’s huge library of primary source materials on the Religious Right political movement was transferred to the University of California Berkeley’s Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements, where it will be more accessible to scholars and journalists. But even still, preparing for the move has meant weeks of memory-triggering moments while plowing through file cabinets and finding hidden stashes of materials.
 
Among the random bits of right-wingalia I stumbled across:
  • a letter from Jerry Falwell urging his supporters to call Congress and oppose sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa in order to prevent a Communist takeover (an  accompanying 16-page “Fundamentalist Journal – Special Report” included a Falwell interview with the foreign minister saying that the West “has been doing the work of Moscow.”);
  • a 1990 Christian Coalition leadership manual that includes the assertion that the relationship between employers and employees should be based on Bible verses telling slaves to obey their masters, no matter how harsh;
  • a 1982 PFAW report on the Religious Right’s efforts to use the Texas textbook process to foist their ideology on American students nationwide (sound familiar?);
  • books and campaign plans for the takeover of America by once-obscure Christian Reconstructionist figures who are now in the news thanks to the frightening ascension of followers like Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann;
  • candidate questionnaires from Religious Right groups in the 1980s demanding to know whether politicians would support across-the-board tax cuts, a reminder that the Religious Right has been pushing Tea Party economics for a long time;
  • a lavishly produced press kit for the 2006 opening of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, where a disturbing number of Americans have flocked to be mis-educated about biology, geology, and history; and
  • in honor of Rick Perry’s recent prayer rally in Houston, a 1985 campaign flyer from the "Straight Slate" of candidates for Mayor and City Council, warning that Houston “has become the Southwest capital for homosexuality and pornography” and insisting that “We must not allow Houston to become another San Francisco!” (Current Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who was sworn in last year, is a lesbian who parents three children with her partner.)
It’s also been a reminder that the Religious Right has been declared dead more often than Freddy Krueger, usually by someone who is focusing on one organization in disarray or one election defeat for conservatives. But as our current political climate makes clear, the Religious Right and its political and economic allies have built a massive infrastructure of national and state-level think tanks, legal and political organizations, radio and TV networks, universities and law schools, and elected officials they have helped put into office at all levels of government.  They aren’t going anywhere. And neither are we – well, just a few blocks across town.

Perry, Prayer, Politics and the Presidency

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barton: "I Don't Consider Myself A Historian"

As we have said time and time and time again, David Barton may be a lot of things, but he is not a historian.

Of course, that has not stopping people like Mike Huckabee from routinely hailing Barton as "the single best historian in America today."

So I imagine it will come as quite a surprise to the Religious Right to learn that Barton does not consider himself to be a historian, as he explained on an episode of "Face to Face" with Oral Roberts University President Mark Rutland:

Barton: I really kind of do a whole lot of all of it, but I don't consider myself a historian because I'm not sure there is such a thing ... So I really don't call myself a historian. I probably know more about history than most folks. I've probably read more history books than most folks, I've read thousands and literally tens of thousands. But I don't consider myself a historian; I just happen to know some things about it.

I don't think anybody can ever be an expert, per se, because in the case of history we have millions of documents at the Library of Congress, at the National Archives. If I've read a million of them, let's say, that's still only one percent of the knowledge that's out there. How can I be an expert with one percent knowledge? I may know more than some other people in this area, but I can't really consider myself a historian or an expert because there is too much left too learn, there is too much still to come to and in that sense I don't look at myself as a historian.

Um, huh?  So nobody can be an expert or a historian because they don't know everything there is to know?

If that is the case, then maybe Barton should stop calling himself both in his official bio:

His exhaustive research has rendered him an expert in historical and constitutional issues and he serves as a consultant to state and federal legislators, has participated in several cases at the Supreme Court, was involved in the development of the History/Social Studies standards for states such as Texas and California, and has helped produce history textbooks now used in schools across the nation.

A national news organization has described him as "America's historian," and Time Magazine called him "a hero to millions - including some powerful politicians. In fact, Time Magazine named him as one of America's 25 most influential evangelicals.

And given this admission, maybe the next time the Texas School Board is looking to overhaul its curriculum, it won't include Barton on its panel of "experts."

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."

 

Right Wing Leftovers

  • It looks like Tim Pawlenty will also sign the National Organization for Marriage's pledge.
  • Speaking of NOM, they are unsurprisingly not impressed with the American Psychological Association's support for marriage equality.
  • Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's hatred of Gov. Rick Perry continues, as she announces she won't endorse him for president.
  • Apparently, praying at Gov. Perry's prayer rally is just like being Indiana Jones.
  • Finally, is there any anti-gay activist more obsessed with gay sex than Peter LaBarbera?

Religious Right Activist Compares California LGBT History Law To Nazism

With the emergence of the Stop SB 48 Coalition, which seeks to overturn the California law that makes sure textbooks include prominent LGBT historical figures by referendum, Religious Right activists have been stepping up their rhetoric against the new law. Larry Jacobs, the Vice President and Managing Director of the right-wing World Congress of Families, told the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow that the LGBT-inclusive law represents “a Nazi state or a communist type of way of dealing with an issue”:

Larry Jacobs of the World Congress of Families expects Californians to support the ban because lawmakers did not put a vote before the people before they passed the mandate.

"When people have [voted], and Governor Brown knows that he has an issue that would fail when put to a popular vote, of course, they just go around the people," Jacobs explains. "They essentially implement their will. And, of course, in a democracy, that's not the way things are supposed to work. It's certainly something that forces our children to be indoctrinated in a certain way. It's like a Nazi state or a communist type of way of dealing with an issue."

And he contends the bill has enforced the homosexual agenda on children in the state.

"What the homosexual movement has done with ... SB 48 [and] in general, in calling for equality, what they're calling for is special rights," the pro-family group spokesman notes. "We don't have special things in education to teach people to change history based on a particular Christian worldview or Muslim worldview, but they go beyond that."

Liberty Counsel: Gay Rights Advocates Are The Real Bullies

Liberty Counsel has stringently opposed anti-bullying programs, with LC’s Director of Cultural Affairs Matt Barber even claiming that the reason gay and lesbian youth have a higher rate of suicide is because they “often look inward and know that what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, is immoral.” So it came as no surprise when Shawn Akers, LC’s Public Policy Analyst, said today on Faith & Freedom that California’s LGBT-inclusive history law represented bullying of the worst kind. Akers said it was “ironic” that gay rights groups supported anti-bullying initiatives, and referencing a case in New Mexico where LC is representing students who said they were disciplined for handing out bible verses, Akers said regarding the California law, “if you want to talk about bullying, this is the state bullying the weakest members of society.”

Watch:

Author of ‘Anti-Christian’ DHS Report on Right-Wing Extremism is a Conservative, Anti-Choice Gun Owner

The Religious Right loves manufacturing controversies that “prove” the victimization of Christians in the United States. When NBC left the words “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance in the broadcast of a golf tournament, Religious Right groups jumped to proclaim that the network was in the pocket of God-hating liberalism. When an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery included an image of Christ’s suffering made by a gay artist, the Religious Right called it “hate speech” and got the work of art pulled.

Recently, we’ve been reminded of one of these made-up controversies that may have more sinister consequences. In 2009, a Department of Homeland Security report on the threat of violent right-wing extremists was leaked. The report dealt exclusively with violent racist and anti-government groups – your Timothy McVeighs and Hutaree militias – but the Religious Right saw an opportunity to play the victim and do some fundraising. Groups including the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America and the American Center for Law and Justice labeled the report an attack on American Christians, ginned themselves up some allies in Congress, and ultimately got the report pulled. (But not before Liberty Counsel had a chance to print up some “I’m Proud to be a Right Wing Extremist” membership cards).

Now, the main author of the DHS report, who left his job after the fallout from the controversy made it “difficult to get any work accomplished,” is speaking out. Daryl Johnson tells California State University’s Brian Levin that he is a gun-owning, anti-choice Republican Mormon who started work on the report under the Bush Administration. And he’s worried that the manufactured controversy over the report continues to hinder DHS’s ability to combat violent right-wing extremism:

Do you have any political antagonism towards conservatives, military veterans or religious people?
Absolutely not. I am a conservative. I'm married, have children and am a lifetime third generation registered Republican. I have military veterans in my extended family. I'm also a Mormon. I respect people of all faiths. I feel so strongly about our religious freedoms, that I served two years as a missionary for my church.

Would you consider yourself prolife?
Yes. I believe in the sanctity of life including the preborn.

Do you support a broad right to individual gun ownership by competent non-felons?
Yes, I am a gun owner myself and enjoy target shooting and experienced game hunting in my youth.

Why interview now?
Obviously, I couldn't discuss this with the media while employed at DHS. It took me a year after leaving to finally decide that this was truly the right thing to do. I also wanted to give DHS adequate time to determine whether or not it wanted to reconstitute the domestic non-Islamic terrorism effort. It never did.
Since Obama took office, there have been nearly twenty extremist rightwing attacks and plots, including the killing of almost a dozen police officers in six separate attacks. There have also been militia plots in places like Alaska and Michigan that targeted government officials such as a judge and police. Package bombs were mailed in the DC area. In recent months we had three sovereign citizen related shootings in Florida, Arizona and Texas.

How many people worked on your team?
Six worked directly for me with two others in support roles.

How many analysts at DHS worked Muslim extremism issues?
A: In 2008, there were close to 40. A year later that number had decreased to around 25. There were additional analysts working other topics such as critical infrastructure, border security and weapons of mass destruction.

How does the threat from radical Muslim extremists in the U.S. compare with that of right wing domestic extremists?
During the past 10 years there have been five successful attacks in the U.S. by Muslim extremists, but in the last three years there have been 20 attacks attributed to domestic right wing extremists and the number of fatalities is about equal between the two. There were more firearms possessed by the Hutaree [an alleged extremist] militia than by all 200 of the Muslim extremists arrested in the U.S. since 9/11.

What happened at DHS as a result of the criticism?
My team was dissolved. All training courses and briefings presentations were stopped. DHS leaders made it increasingly difficult to release another report on this topic.
Why would DHS leaders dissolve your team and stop these analytic activities?
The subject had become too politically charged. As a result, DHS leaders adopted a risk adverse approach toward this issue. Perhaps they thought it was a matter of organizational preservation.

Do you think the dissolution of your unit that you discuss has negatively affected State and local law enforcement?
Certainly. There is one less agency to assist state and local law enforcement with this growing and dangerous problem at a time of heightened activity.

Why did you leave DHS?
I could no longer effectively do my job. New processes made it increasingly difficult to get any work accomplished.

Have the conditions which affected your conclusions changed since the report was issued?
No. The factors have remained the same - the economy remains sluggish and uncertain; unemployment hovers around 10 percent nationally; Obama is still President; and the 2010 Census results show a changing demographic in America shifting away from a predominantly Caucasian nation.

Has the leak had a chilling effect on the analyst community?
Within the intelligence community at-large, I don't think so. Inside the Department of Homeland Security, I believe it did. Other DHS analysts saw what happened to us - saw leadership backing away from supporting the report and those responsible for writing it. Many left the agency as a result.

 

Fischer: It Is Impossible To Be An LGBT Role Model

The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer is unsurprisingly down on a California law that makes sure public school students learn about the accomplishments of historical LGBT figures. Fischer, who has previously said that “homosexuals should be disqualified from public office,” argued in yesterday’s Focal Point radio program that LGBT people can’t be considered role models “by definition.”

Watch:

You know I say every day that we are fighting a winnable war, and here is more proof. A controversial law in California was enacted last week that’s going to require that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender role models be taught, starting in kindergarten, in California schools. Ladies and gentleman, by definition, somebody who engages in sexually aberrant behavior is not and cannot be a role model, period, end of story.

Thomasson: "Civil War" May Be Necessary To Stop LGBT "Brainwashing"

Save California’s Randy Thomasson told conservative radio talk show host Janet Mefferd yesterday that Americans may need to have a new revolution to block a new California law that makes sure history textbooks include historic LGBT figures. Thomasson, who has likened homosexuality to drunk driving and drug abuse, said that “homosexual activists want children” and accordingly “the Democrat governor gave the homosexual activists the brains of children.” He went on to say that “we’re declaring independence” just like the colonists during the American Revolution, warning that if people don’t “vote christianly then we’re heading toward a real civil war”:

Thomasson: I believe he was responding to a tremendous amount of pressure from homosexual, bisexual and transsexual activists, they were saying, ‘Hey, Jerry [Brown], we’re demanding that you sign our bill on LGBT role models for children,’ and he did it. I think they are just reminding him that they own him, he is their governor, because what the Democrats give the homosexual activists what the homosexual activists want, and the homosexual activists want children. So the Democrat governor gave the homosexual activists the brains of children, six million children in California government schools now are going to be suffering under an eighth school sexual indoctrination law, the most direct, in-your-face brainwashing I’ve ever seen.



Thomasson: We can harken back to our American revolution. The Declaration of Independence has a long list of sayings that the colonists were lobbying King George III about, but King George III just kept coming back with more and more taxes, he didn’t listen. So they said, well, you know what, it’s our right to alter or dissolve the government. And that’s what we’re doing, we’re declaring independence. We’re not there yet but I tell you what if we don’t start voting different and telling people how to vote and if pastors don’t repent and teach people how to vote christianly then we’re heading to toward a real civil war I’m afraid.

Mefferd: Strong words, but I’m with you all the way.

Who's Who in Today's DOMA Hearing

Cross-posted on PFAW blog

Senate Republicans have called Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, David Nimocks of the Alliance Defense Fund and Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center as witnesses in today’s hearing on the “Defense of Marriage Act.” The groups these witnesses represent have a long record of extreme rhetoric opposing gay rights:

CitizenLink, Focus on the Family’s political arm, is a stalwart opponent of gay rights in every arena:

• Focus on the Family has consistently railed against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, demanding the discriminatory policy’s reinstatement.

• The group claims anti-bullying programs that protect LGBT and LGBT-perceived youth in schools amount to “homosexual indoctrination” and “promote homosexuality in kids.”

• The group insists that House Republicans investigate the Justice Department over its refusal to defend the unconstitutional Section 3 of DOMA.

The Ethics and Public Policy Center is backed by the far-right Sarah Scaife Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and the Koch- backed Castle Rock Foundation, all well-known right-wing funders.

• George Weigel of EPPC wrote in June that “legally enforced segregation involved the same kind of coercive state power that the proponents of gay marriage now wish to deploy on behalf of their cause.”

• Ed Whelan spearheaded the unsuccessful and widely panned effort to throw out Judge Vaughn Walker’s 2010 decision finding California’s Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional on the grounds that Walker was in a committed same-sex relationship at the time of the decision.

The Alliance Defense Fund, which bills itself as a right-wing counter to the American Civil Liberties Union, is dedicated to pushing a far-right legal agenda:

• The ADF has been active on issues including pushing "marriage protection," exposing the "homosexual agenda" and fighting the supposed "war on Christmas."

• The ADF claims 38 “victories” before the Supreme Court, including: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allows corporations to spend unlimited money on elections in the name of “free speech” and Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000), which allowed the Boy Scouts to fire a Scout Leader because he was gay.


Right-Wing Columnist: Eliminate Public Schools To Stop "Stalinist" LGBT History Law

Writing for the ultraconservative Crisis magazine, Kevin Ryan of Boston University’s Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character is outraged over the recently signed California law that makes sure textbooks cover important LGBT historical figures. Ryan said that the policy has a “distinct Stalinist odor” that will bolster the “gay agenda.” But Ryan has a way to respond to the new textbook law: abolish public schools. “Eliminate state-run public schools,” Ryan writes, “make a transition to one of the many school choice options” like home schooling:

Given the brute fact that the state can and does put parents in the slammer for not delivering up their children for the state approved and directed schooling, this new legislation has about it a distinct Stalinist odor. The odor is particularly strong in the nostrils of those parents who believe such grave matters as how one lives out their sexuality is not the educational province of the state bureaucrats who create the lesson plans for teachers.

It is tempting to dismiss this soon-to-be statewide curriculum as just another in a long line of outrageous and kooky, La-La Land events seemingly designed to keep the rest of us chuckling and mildly finger-wagging. However, the Sunshine State is the 800-pound gorilla of the textbook world and teachers and parents in Montana, Iowa and Georgia will surely be seeing the “gay agenda” in their next textbook adoptions.



Another idea — and one which is receiving a great boost from legislation requiring a gay-friendly curriculum — is to eliminate state-run public schools. That is, make a transition to one of the many school choice options that put parents back in charge of their children’s education.

Increasingly, the very idea of the state answering the core educational question, “what is most worth a child knowing,” is being acknowledged as dangerous and a violation of parents’ right to control the education of their children. Currently in the US the parents of well over one million children are making huge personal and financial sacrifices to homeschool their children, and the movement is growing. While motivations vary, many of these parents have withdrawn their children from the public school because of the very over-sexualized environment this new California legislation will doubtlessly intensify.

It is tempting to take solace in the idea that this latest school victory by gay activists is a step too far and will spark a revolt. However, the public school teachers unions, local, state and national, are very strong and very politically protected. The opposition is underfunded, disorganized and tends to have a short attention span.

On the other hand, if attempts to alter our children’s understanding of their sexuality and what is the correct way for them to live out their sexuality cannot arouse parents to action, what, in God’s name and our nation’s future, will?

Perry Insists His Prayer Rally Is Not A Political Event

We are starting to get the impression that Gov. Rick Perry and those organizing his massive public prayer event have not really put much thought into how it might look.

Response spokesperson Eric Bearse actually admitted that no one is vetting the endorsers of the event, to which we can only reply "well, no duh!"

And now Perry and organizers are trying to defend the event by insisting that it is entirely non-political:

Perry spoke to pastors from around the country in a conference call regarding The Response, a daylong prayer and fasting event planned for Aug 6 at Reliant Stadium.

"I know there are people, critics, that say this is just some political event," Perry said. "Well it's not that. This event is not about supporting some organization...It's going to be very simple...It's just a time to call out to god and that's it and lift Jesus’ name up on high."

Event organizers on the call stressed that the event is designed to be religious in nature. They said attendees will be encouraged not to wear political shirts or bring political signs to the event.

"This is not an issue of who's going to be our president...It absolutely has nothing to do with that at all. it's about making Jesus king...," said Jim Garlow, a California Pastor.

...

Garlow said Perry’s involvement in the event is key to its historic

"We have not seen historically a governor call other governors to a national prayer before that I'm aware of," Garlow said. "Even if only 1 or 2 other governors respond, at least this governor had the courage to ask other governors to respond. That's critical."

Perry conceded some assume there are "other motivations" behind the event. Perry is widely expected to announce whether he’s running for president soon after the event.

"I can't control that," Perry said. "We can't control that. We're just going to pray. We're just going to get on our knees and pray right there in Reliant Stadium."

Rick Perry is a sitting governor and likely presidential candidate who is partnering with an extremely powerful Religious Right political organization in order to organize a event that features a variety of Religious Right political activists, all for the purpose of seeking God's help in solving the nation's "economic, political, and military" problems.

But the event is entirely non-political.

Whatever.

And frankly, the political nature of Perry's event is really the least of his problems.

Religious Right Activists Warn GOP Not To Nominate Mitt Romney

Right-wing activist and former California legislator Steve Baldwin has organized an open letter to “Conservative, Catholic and Evangelical Leaders” asking them to refuse support for Mitt Romney’s campaign for president. Already a number of activists including failed US Senate candidate and Tea Party hero Joe Miller; Rick Scarborough of Vision America; Brian Camenker of MassResistance; Linda Harvey of Mission America; Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association; Ted Beahr of WND and Movieguide; Gary Glenn of American Family Association-Michigan, Kelly Shackleford of the Liberty Institute; Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation; Floyd Brown of WND; Dick and Richard Bott of Bott Family Radio, and the leaders of a number of anti-choice groups have signed the letter.

The letter says that “a Romney candidacy would be disastrous for the conservative movement and for the country,” writing that he is insincere in his conservative beliefs and “continues to support many aspects of the homosexual agenda even today.” The activists claim that “the flatly illegal charade of ‘gay’ marriage exists solely in Massachusetts due to Governor Romney’s illegal actions,” and lists numerous other issues including abortion rights and health care reform where Romney has reversed himself: “Romney has also been both in favor and against minimum wage legislation, capital gains taxes, gun control, amnesty for illegal aliens, campaign finance reform, the Kyoto agreement, gambling, gun control, and many other issues.”

They conclude by warning that nominating Romney “would be a disastrous mistake”:

Most disturbing is the key role Mitt Romney played in accelerating two of the greatest threats to our Judeo-Christian culture and free enterprise system: Homosexual marriage and government control of health care. In both instances, the actions Romney took – or didn’t take – on homosexual marriage and RomneyCare have done lasting damage to our country. Romney’s aggressive efforts to implement the unconstitutional Goodridge decision set a precedent which inspired pro-homosexual marriage activity nationwide, and his RomneyCare bill served as the model for ObamaCare, the biggest lurch toward socialism since the New Deal.

As such, Romney has done more damage to America in his four years as Governor than any Democrat officeholder we can think of. But Romney, to this day, defends his actions on both fronts and sincerely believes he has done nothing wrong, an attitude which only raises additional questions about his fitness for national office. We must question his worldview, his sincerity, and his judgment. We believe the election of Mitt Romney would be a disastrous mistake for the conservative movement and for the country.

A Who's Who of Religious Right Activists Participated In Robison's Leadership Summits

Last week, Time's Amy Sullivan reported that dozens of Religious Right leaders gathered for "a conference call to discuss their dissatisfaction with the current GOP presidential field, and agreed that Rick Perry would be their preferred candidate if he entered the race."

Brian Kaylor of EthicsDaily.com had reported on the same thing a few weeks back, noting that the effort was being organized by James Robison.

Last Friday, Robison wrote a post on his blog in which explained that he had called these gatherings in September of 2010 and June of 2011 because "there is an insidious attack on God, faith, family and freedom" and that God was planning on using this group of "national leaders to help inspire a spiritual awakening, a return to sanity and a restoration of freedom’s foundation."

And he also conveniently posted a list of every person who had participated:

AFA: Gays Are "Abusing The Nature Of The Design Of The Human Body"

As Brian mentioned in the last post, the Religious Right is none-too-pleased about the passage of a bill that would make sure textbooks recognize the contributions of prominent LGBT figures in California history.

So it was no surprise that it was a topic of discussion on today's broadcast of the AFA Report where Ed Vitagliano said that gay men are "abusing the nature of the design of the human body" while Jeremy Wiggins was outraged that they would allow such things into school before comparing gay sex to using a screwdriver to open paint cans:

Vitagliano: Our perspective here at AFA has been not only a biblical one, we've made this point numerous times, but it is also a physiological, a biological, a natural law perspective. And that perceptive is humankind is divided into male and female and the male and female have different - you know, I don't want to make this a biology lesson - but different organs that are designed for, well, intercourse. And so the fact of the matter is homosexuals can only imitate that and this is the primary reason why the sexually transmitted disease rates and infection rates are so high in, especially, the gay male community. They are abusing their body and they are abusing the nature of the design of the human body.

And so you don't even have to be a Christian or an orthodox Jew or a Muslim to argue against the unnaturalness of homosexual activity. We're not saying that people should be beaten up because they're gay or persecuted because they're homosexual, we're just simply saying that our society should not develop as a worldview that this is a natural and normal and healthy activity, because it's not.

Wiggins: When you look at the standards for the paste or the crayons that go into a classroom, how stringent the government is on the materials that a child can use because of health and safety regulations, but they want to teach a child that it's okay to be gay even though you can catch something that will kill you in a most horrific way that I wouldn't wish on anyone.

And also, when you use something - just to piggyback off of Ed - when you use something that it's not designed for, bad things happen. Why do you think they tell you don't use your screwdriver to open up paint can lids? It wasn't designed for that. It could break. And that's what we're seeing. You go against the unnatural [sic] state of things and things break down.

Save California Takes Last Stand Against LGBT History Bill

Yesterday, the California State Assembly followed the State Senate in passing a bill that would make sure textbooks recognize the contributions of prominent LGBT figures in California history. Randy Thomasson, the head of Save California, has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the legislation, even going so far as to liken homosexuality to drug and alcohol abuse, and is making one final plea to Governor Jerry Brown to veto the bill. If the bill is signed into law, Thomasson in a statement called on parents to “removed their children from the government school system” to protect them from what will be “the most in-your-face brainwashing yet”:

"May this brash attack upon children's innocence finally motivate parents to remove their children from the government school system, and get them into the safe havens of church schooling and homeschooling," said Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, a leading statewide pro-family organization promoting moral virtues for the common good.

"This sexual brainwashing bill would mandate that children as young as 6 years old be told falsehoods -- that homosexuality is biological, when it isn't, or healthy, when it's not," Thomasson said.

"Parents don't send their sons and daughters to school to learn to admire homosexuality, bisexuality, cross-dressing, "sex change" operations, homosexual "marriages," or to support legal persecution of people who disagree," Thomasson said. "There's already a raft of school sexual indoctrination laws on the books. Impressionable children are already being sexual indoctrinated, but SB 48 would be the most in-your-face brainwashing yet. We urge Governor Brown to respect parents, remember basic academics, and basic family values, and veto this bad bill when it reaches his desk."

"True history focuses on the accomplishments of people -- it doesn't talk about what they did in the bedroom," Thomasson said. "Sadly, SB 48 prohibits teachers from providing students with the facts about these lifestyles. Male homosexuality has the largest transmitter of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, along with higher cancer rates and earlier deaths, but it will be illegal for teachers to teach children these facts to protect their health and their lives."

….

"California government schools are no longer morally safe for impressionable children," Thomasson said. "Because of the raft of sexual indoctrination laws already in force, which promote homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality under the guise of 'discrimination' and 'harassment,' the social engineers are already having their way with more than six million boys and girls, with or without SB 48. That's why we strongly urge loving parents to rescue their children by permanently removing them from government schools and placing them in the safe havens of church schools or homeschooling."

Ahn: Prayers Led Prop 8 To Victory

In a speech recently posted on GOD TV about how “strategic prayer, strategic intercession was absolutely crucial in shifting Prop 8” in California, megachurch pastor Che Ahn told a story about how prayer led the amendment to victory. Ahn joined Lou Engle, Dutch Sheets, and Jim Garlow in The Call rallies across California to promote Proposition 8, which repealed marriage equality through a constitutional amendment, including a final rally in Qualcomm Stadium with major Religious Right leaders like James Dobson and Tony Perkins. Ahn, who is an endorser of Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally (which is modeled after The Call), described how their prayers reversed the lead Proposition 8’s opponents had in the polls: following intense prayer, Garlow, Sheets and Ahn at the same time “felt it was a done deal” that Proposition 8 would succeed:

It was amazing because the polls showed that those who were opposed to Prop 8, the ten point lead they had, the first ten days that dissipated, and after ten days the polls were even up to the election. And Jim [Garlow] was convinced that the beginning of prayer and fasting wiped out the ten point lead and so we know that strategic prayer, strategic intercession, was absolutely crucial in shifting Prop 8. Then on the day of The Call, we had maybe around 20,000 that gathered in Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, and I’ll never forget around 4:15, 4:30 in the afternoon after we had prayed all afternoon for Prop 8 to be passed I felt something shift in my spirit and I knew it was a done deal. I turned to Lou and I said Lou, it’s a done deal I know Prop 8 is gonna pass. And then Dutch was right there and Dutch Sheets said, ‘I felt the same thing.’ Later on I’ve heard from Pastor Jim Garlow he felt the same thing around the same time all of us felt it was a done deal. Now we didn’t know that about the election, the national election, because we didn’t have a word about who was gonna win, but we did know that Prop 8 was gonna pass in this incredibly liberal state of California. And sure enough we saw the evidence of that and it won by a strong 52-48 margin. I need to thank God again for that let’s thank the Lord for that.

God Has Chosen Tony Perkins To Save America

Back in 2009, the Family Research Council launched a prayer effort timed to coincide with the 4th of July holiday called "Call 2 Fall" during which churches across the country would commit to dedicating several minutes to praying that God will save our nation.

It has since turned into an annual event and, as FRC reports, the event is needed now more than ever because, thanks to the passage of marriage equality in New York, "our nation has already crossed thresholds of decline and decadence which, unless the spiritual leaders of our nation (pastors and churches) arise to pray, take hold of God and follow His leadership to turn the tide in our nation, America's destruction is virtually assured."

So it is perfectly understandable why FRC would undertake this endeavor, especially considering that Tony Perkins was personally chosen by God for just this purpose:

The rot in American culture and our social institutions is beyond man's redemption.

Our hope is in God, not men! ... FRC President Tony Perkins has long pondered the promise of Scripture in 2 Chronicles 7:14. He was uniquely prompted by the Holy Spirit to lead this effort.

In early 2009, Tony preached in a large Southern California church about "Real Change" in America -- the message of "repentance," preached by Jesus, John the Baptist, Peter and all of the apostles (see Mt 3:2; 4:7; Mk 6:12; Acts 2:38; 17:30). After church a little lady stood in line to greet Tony. When she reached him, she told Tony his message was for the entire Church in America; that God was calling him to call the Church to get on its knees. Tony thanked her, and told her he would pray about it. But she stopped him, "No, you don't understand... God has called you to call His people to get on their knees." Later that day, flying home, Tony opened a book he had been reading, Ira Stoll's biography of Samuel Adams, and began to read where he left off.

Tony's eyes fixed upon a paragraph recounting how the Continental Congress proclaimed a day of "public humiliation, fasting, and prayer throughout the Colonies on July 20th, 1775," a full year before the Declaration of Independence. Military clashes between Britain and the colonies were already underway. It was a time of great perplexity, but God-fearing men like Samuel Adams, knew what they had to do. They called Americans to seek the face of God. Three million heeded that urgent "call to fall." Later, Adams' friend, James Warren, described what he observed in his own church that day.

This fast," he wrote, "has been observed as you could wish; with that deference to the authority that appointed it; with that devotion that our circumstances require. It is a grand solemnity. Three millions of people on their knees at once, supplicating the aid of Heaven, is a striking circumstance, and a very singular one in America. May the blessings of Heaven follow in answer to our prayers!

When Tony saw, "three millions of people on their knees at once...," he remembered the little lady's words, "God has called you to call His people to get on their knees."

Deeply stirred, Tony conferred with FRC's Pastors Council, who wholeheartedly affirmed the call and the need to obey. The urgency of the hour demanded a response. July 5th, 2009, the Sunday after "Independence Day," was chosen to declare our "national dependence upon God." Obedience was our driving motivation.

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