IHOP Classes Canceled Due To Holy Spirit

Earlier this year, we wrote a post about Lou Engle and the International House of Prayer located in Kansas City, MO, noting that it is essentially a 24/7 version of Engle's massive "The Call" prayer rallies.

Next month, IHOP is hosting a 4-day event called onething'09 that, like all other Engle-affiliated events, will focus on praying away abortion and marriage equality and the "spiritual darkness" that is engulfing this nation:

The crisis in our nation is real. The serpentine stranglehold of abortion continues to squeeze the life out of over 4,000 wombs daily. Sexual immorality, both heterosexual and homosexual, are reaching epic heights of perversity. The number of women and children being trafficked into the dark underbelly of the sex industry in our cities is growing at an alarming rate. Entire school systems are giving way to darkness. The sanctity of marriage is under siege, threatening to destroy the moral foundations of our nation.

We will also address the growing crisis that is emerging in many churches across America. A new wave of confusion is systematically seducing many young adults into deception. Sincere young people whose hearts were once ablaze for Jesus are being allured into compromise on foundational biblical truths and practices, while at the same time they are increasing in works of compassion and justice. No amount of increased ministry activity can “balance out” their profound spiritual compromises. In the name of tolerance, they are settling for a humanistic and "politically correct" theology that trivializes the glory of Jesus. Many young adult ministries are falling prey to this as they are seeking “relevance” that dulls the razor’s edge of truth for the sake of man’s approval. It is not enough to mention Jesus’ name if they deny foundational truths about Him. Our works of justice must flow from deep allegiance to Jesus and the Scripture.

Our nation has never stood on such a precarious footing as today. The onslaught of spiritual darkness is increasing in our classrooms, boardrooms, courtrooms, and bedrooms. We must confront the confusion that is pouring forth from many pulpits as well as from the halls of Washington. It is time to draw a line in the sand. We must hear what the Spirit is saying and we must act on it. The Spirit will confirm the truth with demonstrations of power.

In this letter, Engle and IHOP founder Mike Bickle also urge people to drop everything in order to attend this event because currently "the Holy Spirit is visiting His people with power" at IHOP ... so much so that they had to cancel classes for an entire week:

Many of you will have heard of the spiritual awakening at our Bible school. On Wednesday, November 11, the Spirit fell on a class for more than 15 hours. The word spread quickly and over 2,000 people spontaneously gathered in the auditorium from all over Kansas City, as deliverance and physical healings continued to increase. We canceled our classes for the next week so that each one of our 1,000 students and interns could receive from the Spirit in an extended way.

We decided to meet nightly from 6:00pm to midnight because His manifest presence continues to increase. Visitors are pouring in from many places across America to partake of this spiritual awakening.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it would support proposed city laws that would prohibit discrimination against gays in housing and employment ... and FRC is angry.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham has been censured by the Charleston County Republican Party for being insufficiently conservative.
  • In related South Carolina news, a federal district court ruled Tuesday that the "I Believe" license plate approved by the South Carolina Legislature violates the constitutional separation of church and state and cannot be issued.
  • The annual Federalist Society conference is underway.
  • The George W. Bush Oral History Project?
  • Did you know that President Obama despises America? Well, he does.
  • Amazingly, there are people running for office who still seek Alan Keyes' endorsement.

Creationists boost Islamic Fundamentalists in Turkey

Fundamentalist Christians are not generally big boosters of Islamic fundamentalism. But it appears that American creationists hate Darwin and the science of evolution even more, and are aggressively helping Islamic fundamentalists undermine both science and the secular governmental traditions in Turkey. According to an article in the Washington Post, the teaching of evolution is under attack by Islamic fundamentalists armed with materials created by American creationists. The article opens with an anecdote that, with one exception, will be all too familiar to U.S. science educators:

Sema Ergezen teaches biology to Turkish students interested in teaching science themselves, and she has long struggled with her students' ignorance of, and sometimes hostility to, the notion of evolution.

But she was taken aback when several of her Marmara University students recently accused her of being an atheist, or worse, for teaching anything but the doctrine that God created the Earth and everything on it.

"They said I was a liar if I called myself a Muslim because I also accepted evolution," she said.

Anti-evolution forces are blossoming, according to the article, thanks to American backers of creationism and intelligent design:

Translated and adapted for a Muslim society, the purported proofs that Darwinism and evolution were wrong came directly from American proponents of Christian creationism and its less overtly religious offshoot, intelligent design.

Ergezen's experience has become increasingly common. While creationism and intelligent design appear to be in some retreat in the United States, they have blossomed within Muslim Turkey. With direct and indirect help from American foes of evolution, similarly-minded Turks have aggressively made the case that Charles Darwin's theory is scientifically wrong and is the underlying source of most of the world's conflicts because it excludes God from human affairs.

"Darwin is the worst Fascist there has ever been, and the worst racist history has ever witnessed," writes Harun Yahya, the most assertive and best-known critic of evolution in Turkey, and long a favorite of more conservative American creationists.

The article notes that Turkey, with it secular government traditions, has been more open to scientific understandings of evolution than other Muslim countries, but that's changing with the help of American institutions like Seattle's Discovery Institute and The Institute for Creation Research in Dallas.

To many Turkish scientists and educators, this is a worrisome development. The founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, was an advocate of science, education and, some say, even evolution. Turkish science has been especially strong in the Muslim world. If Turks close their minds to evolutionary thinking, advocates say, it won't be long before religion and politics shut off other scientific pursuits.

To John Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research in Dallas, however, the news could hardly be more encouraging.

"Why I'm so interested in seeing creationism succeed in Turkey is that evolution is an evil concept that has done such damage to society," said Morris, a Christian who has led several searches for Noah's Ark in eastern Turkey. Members of his group have addressed Turkish conferences numerous times.

The Discovery Institute of Seattle, which researches and promotes intelligent design as an alternative to creationism and evolution, also sent speakers to Turkey after being invited by the Istanbul municipal government in 2007. President Bruce Chapman said the institute helped bring Turkish evolution critic Mustafa Akyol to a 2005 Kansas school board hearing on teaching critiques of evolution.

The Post quotes Aykut Kence, an American-trained scientist with a doctorate in evolutionary biology, who has been targeted by local creationists circulating leaflets with pictures of him and Mao, equating the teaching of evolution with communism. Where have we heard that before?

After a decade in the trenches, Kence said he believes aggressive creationism "is part of a larger plan to convert people to a more conservative Islam."

The Islamic-oriented government, elected in 2002 and reelected in 2007, has telegraphed its views on evolution by adding doses of creationism to a required public school course on "Religion and Morals," proponents of evolution say. This year, the editor of one of the nation's prominent science journals, Science and Technology, was fired by government officials over her magazine's plans to put Darwin on its cover.

Major Religious Right conferences like the Values Voter Summit have devoted many hours in recent years to talking about the threats posed by radical Islam. Will they now add the Discovery Institute and the Institute for Creation Science to their list of those aiding and abetting the nation's enemies? Or is their hatred for Darwin and secularism so strong that they're willing help those pushing for a more theocratic Islamic government in Turkey?

Understanding Rifqa Bary's Ties to Lou Engle

One of the questions regarding the whole Rifqa Bary saga that has been lingering is how exactly she ever ended up becoming involved with Lou Engle and appearing on the prayer call he organized a few weeks back.

As it turns out, Bary had been involved with Engle's efforts back in Ohio before she even ran away, though her connection to Brian Williams, who not only baptized her but also drove her to the bus station when she ran away. 

As Bary explained during her interview with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement [PDF], she had met Williams through her activism with Engle's "Bound for Life" in Ohio. Eventually, Williams moved to Kansas City to go to work for Engle's International House of Prayer.

Below is a shortened version of the exchange during the FDLE interview in which Bary explains her ties to Williams and to Engle's right wing activism ["DL" is Daivd Lee, an FDLE agent and "FB" is Rifqa Bary]: 

DL: Who baptized you?

FB: Brian Williams

DL: Was he your minister?

FB: Yeah, basically. Yeah, well he's a good friend, Ohio State friend and is basically going into ministry ...

DL: Ohio State friend, so he's a student at Ohio State?

FB: Um, graduated already.

DL: Okay.

FB: Lives in Kansas City now, but yeah he was the one that baptized me ...

FB: You know how I even met Brian? It was through, it was last winter, we met. I heard about I'm Pro Life, you know.

DL: Okay.

FB: And um there was something called, he did a chapter leader for Columbus for Bound for Life. Have you guys ever heard of it?

DL: Bound for Life? No, I haven't

FB: Bound for Life is basically through an organization by Lou Engle, who started The Call, if you guys know of Lou Engle.

DL: I've heard the name.

FB: Lou Engle, yes he's like my hero. He really is and basically we do is, there's red tape and you write "life" on it in black letters and we just stand outside with it and pray. It's not a protesting, it's a prayer movement if anything.

DL: Um-hum.

FB: And we just stand outside in a circle, outside these clinics, we don't say anything to anyone, you know we're not allowed to talk to them, we just pray outside there.

DL: Um-hum.

FB: And he was a chapter leader there so I met him there and actually I was sneaking out to go hear that I even met him. And every time I talked to him all we did talk about was like my parents. And he was really afraid for me as well ...

DL: And you said Brian was the only one who was willing to really baptize you?

FB: Yeah, 'cause I mean if my parents found out they would get in trouble and their would be at stake and all that sort of thing.

DL: You say he's in Kansas City now?

FB: Kansas City. International House of Prayer. IHOP.

Hoffman: The Right's Choice

I knew that the Right had gone all-in behind Doug Hoffman's campaign in the special election in New York's 23rd congressional district, but I didn't realize how complete this mobilization was until I took a look at his endorsement list - it reads like a list of the top individuals and organizations we track on this blog:

Fred Thompson
Club For Growth
Concerned Women for America
Susan B. Anthony List
American Conservative Union
Citizens United Political Victory Fund
Campaign for Working Families
NYS Right to Life PAC
Government Is Not God-PAC
Conservative Victory Fund
Eagle Forum
National Organization for Marriage
America's Independent Party
Dick Armey
Steve Forbes
Sarah Palin
Rick Santorum
U.S. Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-Kansas)
James Dobson, PhD
Tim Pawlenty
Jim Demint
National Conservative Fund
Gun Owners of American-PVF
Life and Liberty PAC
Minuteman PAC
Congressman Jeff Flake - AZ
Family Research Council PAC
Freedom First PAC
Congressman Steve King - IA

Update: See this letter from the National Conservative Campaign Fund for even more evidence of Hoffman's right-wing support.

Randall Terry's Priorities

Randall Terry is up to his old tricks, carrying out absurd protests in an effort to generate media attention for himself - and it's working:

Anti-abortion activist Randall Terry is calling on people to burn effigies of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this Halloween, as part of a "Burn in Hell" video contest to protest the health care legislation in Congress.

Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, said Tuesday that the contest serves as a political and spiritual statement that "gives people a chance to peacefully vent their rage."

"If Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid force us to pay for child killing and they die unrepentant, they will burn in hell for this," Terry said in a telephone interview.

OneNewsNow also interviewed Terry and asked him if he was concerned that his contest "could be seen as a promotion of violence against elected leaders or pro abortionists" ... and Terry doesn't appear concerned about it one bit:

"I don't want to be a wussy on the sidelines saying, 'Oh, we're just here to educate people and we want to all get along and we want to all respect each other's [opinions],'" he replies. The activist describes that approach using a derogatory phrase, and further concludes saying, "I don't respect the opinions of child killers. It's a damnable, disgusting act of murder."


With the recent murder of Kansas abortionist George Tiller and the pending passage of hate crimes legislation, OneNewsNow asked Terry if there was a less controversial way to get the point across -- a way that would not be construed as promoting physical violence. "I'm way more concerned about the pro-lifer who was assassinated outside of a school in Michigan -- Jim Pouillon," was his reply to the suggestion.

Tiller was murdered in church by an anti-choice fanatic who has since become a hero to radical anti-abortion activists, while Pouillon was killed back in September by a man who went on a killing spree and was initially determined to be mentally incompetent to stand trial and now plans an insanity defense in his upcoming murder trial.

But Terry is "way more concerned" about random acts of violence that happen to anti-choice activists than he is about the targeted assassination of reproductive health providers or Democratic members of Congress.

Right uses 'ACORN' as mantra in bid to restrict voting

Right-wing groups have long made unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud the supposed rationale for pushing legislation that would erect new barriers to the ballot box. A How to Take Back America workshop on “Voter Fraud, the Census, and ACORN” made it clear that right-wing politicians will try to use ACORN’s recent troubles to build momentum for restrictive voting laws.

Kris Kobach, a lawyer and failed congressional candidate who has made a name for himself on the Right as an anti-illegal immigration crusader, announced this summer that he is running to be Secretary of State in Kansas. His theme is combating voter fraud, a solution in search of a problem in Kansas. Kobach, like other speakers, implied that Al Franken’s Senate seat was somehow illegitimate, referring to Franken’s “pseudo-election.”

The workshop was largely a tirade against ACORN and the “hard left,” which is supposedly engaged in a massive effort to steal elections. No one, said Kobach, is disenfranchised based on the color of their skin these days. He slammed the Obama Justice Department for signaling to states that they’re “on their own” when it comes to fighting voter fraud.

Kobach’s five-step prescription for states, which he hopes he can implement in Kansas as a model, includes ramping up prosecutions for voter fraud, enacting photo-ID laws, taking more aggressive steps to “clean up” voter rolls (otherwise known as purging), requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration, and standardizing provisional ballot and recount procedures, which he said “the left” was abusing.

The other workshop speaker was Ed Martin, who is preparing to mount a challenge for the congressional seat now held by Rep. Russ Carnahan. Martin bragged about taking on ACORN as chair of the St. Louis City Board of Elections and argued that voter fraud next year could be financed by federal stimulus money. One solution he offered was to get “tea party” activists to sign up as poll workers.

In spite of the worskhop’s name, little was said about the census in the session or at the conference generally – even by census-bashing Michele Bachmann – possibly because people were feeling a little chastened about the recent murder of a census employee and the creepy anti-government overtones to that crime. Helen Blackwell, the workshop’s moderator, did quip that its title referenced “three of my very favorite atrocities.” And Kobach made reference to the “pernicious” move by the administration to bring oversight of the census into the White House and the Census Bureau’s have included ACORN among its partner organizations.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • CQ: Chip Pickering's otherwise dormant CHIP PAC made a donation of $5,000 to Haley Barbour's PAC on Aug. 15 -- four days after Barbour's PAC gave $5,000 to David Vitter's 2010 re-election campaign. The two checks comprise all of the month's activities for Haley's PAC, Is it just a coincidence?
  • Speaking of PACs, Gov. Tim Pawlenty has formed one.
  • Bill Cosby was the featured guest at the Independent Women's Forum' "About Our Children" event, which was itself a collaboration with MSNBC.
  • Is the Right still complaining about this nonsense?  Apparently.
  • 40 Days of Life: Starting tomorrow, and continuing through November 1, tens of thousands of faithful people in 212 cities -- across 45 American states, five Canadian provinces, and Denmark -- will conduct a unified 40-day campaign of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion, peaceful vigils outside abortion facilities and Planned Parenthood offices, and grassroots community organizing."
  • Finally, from the Topeka Capital-Journal: Former Attorney General Phill Kline and former senior deputy attorney general Eric Rucker will receive ethics complaints no later than 45 days from Tuesday, Ron Keefover, spokesman for the Kansas Supreme Court said Tuesday. On Monday, former assistant attorney general Stephen D. Maxwell was issued a formal complaint alleging nine violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct, all tied to Kline's investigations of two abortion providers.

Going Out of Business? OR's Newman Says "No," While His Letter Says "Yes"

The other day, we posted on a Washington Post article highlighting a recent fund-raising letter from Operation Rescue warning that it was on the verge of shutting its doors if it didn't get donations and financial help soon.

Now, OR's Troy Newman is complaining that the letter "is being misreported by the media":

Media obtained a copy of the letter and then started placing stories indicating Operation Rescue "is very close to shutting down unless emergency help arrives soon" (Associated Press). That report quotes Operation Rescue's Troy Newman as saying: "We're so broke (as the saying goes), we can't even pay attention."

But Newman tells OneNewsNow that report is an exaggeration. "Rumors of Operation Rescue's demise are grossly overrated -- and it's something that the liberal left-wing media loves to salivate over," he states.

One report theorized the pro-life group suffered financially because of its long campaign against late-term abortionist George Tiller, who was murdered in May. AP refers to the murder as "a public relations nightmare" for the group. But Newman says that is not true.

"The real impact upon us and all non-profits is that the economic crisis, the recession that we're in that began late last year, has impacted everybody, across the board, 30-40% down in their giving -- and Operation Rescue is no different," he adds.

Newman says there have been good and bad times during his 20 years of ministry, but they rely first on the Lord and secondly on donors. The end result, he shares, is that no bills have gone unpaid.

Really?  Because if you read the letter Newman sent out it seems as if the media reports were entirely accurate.  After all, how else are you supposed to interpret Newman's assertions that the organization was "now so broke (as the saying goes), we can't even pay attention," admissions that "we struggle to pay every bill [and] had to borrow money just to send you this letter," and warnings that "we're completely out of money" and that "we're getting very close to the point of shutting everything down if emergency help doesn't arrive soon"?:

Dear Friend of Operation Rescue,

I need you to please stop whatever you're doing right now and read this letter. It's that urgent.

At this moment, I'm writing this from a closed abortion mill.

It's the one in Wichita, Kansas, where more than 50,000 innocent babies were brutally murdered from 1983 to 2006, until we at Operation Rescue bought the building and kicked the baby-killers out!

The abortion staff who worked here never re-opened. They are permanently out of business. And babies are thereby saved.

We "exorcised" this building and turned it into our national headquarters. So now, babies are being saved in this building! And I firmly believe that the souls of the 50,000 babies killed here are cheering me on.

I sure hope so. Because right now, I need cheering on.

You see, this summer has been brutal for Operation Rescue. Not only did George Tiller's death throw everybody in the pro-life movement for a loop (and especially us), but the economic crisis our nation is suffering from has brought our financial support to nearly a halt.

We're now so broke (as the saying goes), we can't even pay attention.

Seriously. We struggle to pay every bill. I had to borrow money just to send you this letter, in hopes that you will come to our rescue so that we can continue to rescue babies.

And, what's really frustrating is that this crisis couldn't have come at a worse time.


Because, in the next 30 days, we're planning to launch the most ambitious and most significant project in our entire history.

It's something that's going to devastate the abortion cartel. It could even help end abortion in America once and for all.

Basically, it centers around our unique ability to close abortion mills.

And although I can't go into detail about it -- because we need to take the abortion cartel by surprise -- I can tell you that it will be a totally NEW phase in the pro-life fight.

We've been working on it all summer. And we were planning to launch it in the next 30 days.

However, now that we're completely out of money, I'm afraid we won't even be able to launch it... ever!

And that would be the worst defeat imaginable.

The only thing that can save this project is EMERGENCY FUNDING -- and EMERGENCY PRAYERS -- so that we can move forward as planned.

Because when abortion mills get closed, babies are saved.

It's just that simple.

For instance, here at the closed abortion mill that's now my office, we recently had a young woman knock on our door.

She came for an abortion, because she thought this was still an abortion mill. The same one where she had an abortion as a teenager years ago.

What she got instead was about an hour of much-needed counseling from our staff, plus an armload of educational materials.

And, praise God, she's decided to keep her baby!

With our new project, we can continue to close abortion mills around the country -- faster and easier than ever before.

Why, just last year, we were instrumental in closing at least 10 mills!

And as you'll see on the enclosed yellow sheet of paper, we've closed more than 40 abortion mills over the years!!

Right now, there are only about 729 mills left in the United States -- down significantly from the 2,126 mills that were killing babies back in 1991...!!

Our new project can get rid of those 729 mills -- one at a time -- peacefully and legally.

No violence. No threats. Just super-effective activism that we've learned and perfected over the last 20 years.

I'll tell you all about this new project in my next letter to you. Revealing the details now would be counter-productive.

However, I can't even move forward on it unless we get out of this financial crisis immediately.

That's why I urge you to take a look at the enclosed yellow sheet with the list of closed abortion mills. You'll be pleasantly shocked.

And then I beseech you to rush a life-saving gift -- of any amount -- so that we can get back on our feet and move forward with this exciting new project.

Without your help -- and your prayers and God's grace -- this project will go nowhere.

And that means all those abortion mills will stay OPEN and continue killing the innocent little babies like the ones that were killed in this building I'm sitting in.

50,000 of them--in one abortion mill alone.

We know how to close abortion mills. And this new project is how we'll get the job done.

But we can't even get it started without your utmost help at this time.

Frankly, we're getting very close to the point of shutting everything down if emergency help doesn't arrive soon.

That would be a devastating blow -- especially at this time when we're actually WINNING the pro-life fight.

More people (a majority of Americans, in fact) identify themselves as opposed to abortion, especially younger Americans. The number of abortion mills has been cut by two-thirds since 1991. The total number of abortions is down by 400,000 per year! The abortion cartel can't find new abortionists, and the average age of the existing abortionists is 72. All this adds up to VICTORY for the babies and for our country -- but ONLY if we can keep moving forward.

And that, unfortunately, takes money.

So please prayerfully consider what size gift you can afford to send to us right away.

There's no time to lose.

I thank you for being there for us in the past.

And I thank you in advance for helping us now.

God bless you.

For the Babies,

Troy Newman

President, Operation RescueP.S. I can't emphasize this enough...

This is the worst financial crisis we have ever faced. And it's hit us at the worst time possible.

Without emergency help from our loyal supporters like you, I hate to think what kind of situation we'll be forced into.

But let me tell you: Our enemies in the abortion cartel would rejoice. And the angels would weep.

Please don't let that happen. Please send your emergency gift TODAY.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Rifqa Bary and the Right Wing Holy War

Back on September 3, the judge overseeing the case involving Rifqa Bary sealed the findings from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's investigation into the wild allegations made by right-wing activists who have been claiming that she'd be she'd be murdered if she were sent back to her parents in Ohio, alleging that the mosque her parents attend is a terrorist hotbed, and even throwing around allegations of sexual and physical abuse.

The report was to be sealed for ten days to give all parties a chance to read it over. Well, the ten days are up and early reports on its contents say the report has not substantiated any of the right-wing claims:

The FDLE report on the case of a teenage girl who ran away from home fearing an honor killing for converting to Christianity shows local church officials likely had a role in getting her to Orlando.

The report, which was under a 10-day seal that expired Monday, alleges 17-year-old Rifqa Bary misled investigators about most of the details about how she arrived in Florida.

Bary initially claimed she hitchhiked her way to the Greyhound bus station in Columbus, Ohio and used money she had saved up from her job to buy the ticket to Orlando. Instead, investigators say she was driven to the bus station by a young pastor named Brian Williams. He baptized Bary in Columbus but has since moved to Kansas City. And the ticket, they say, was purchased under a fake name by someone in Orlando.

Once here, authorities say she was met by the Law family, apparently leading members of the Global Revolution Church, and taken to the home of the church's Pastor Blake Lorenz. She stayed there for 2-and-a-half weeks before her first hearing in juvenile court that placed her in foster care. The report does not say that the Lorenz family, or the church as a whole, had an explicit role in getting Bary to Orlando.

The Global Revolution Church is now "restructuring," according to reports.

The report also found no evidence to back up claims of abuse or serious threats to Bary.

Bary told investigators her father had punched her while they rode in a car because she had shown embarrassment about wearing an Islamic headscarf. Her father denied that allegation. However, FDLE says it did not investigate that specific incident, or other claims of physical or sexual abuse, because they would have occurred outside Florida's jurisdiction. Ohio authorities told them they had no reports of the abuse.

The teen also told authorities her teacher had offered to let Bary stay at her house if she needed to get away from repercussions from her family because of her Christian faith. But when the FDLE interviewed that teacher, she told them she offered up her house because Bary's brother was having parties with alcohol at the Bary home when their parents were out of town, and she had never been told about threats of danger to Bary because of her Christian faith.

Of course, the findings in this report probably won't dissuade right-wing activists like Pamella Geller of Atlas Shrugs from their crusade to save Bary from the horrors of Islam or stop her from penning diatribes like this piece entitled "Is Newsweek Trying to Kill Rifqa Bary?" any time anyone writes an article that doesn't re-confirm her biases.

In her piece, Geller attacks this recent Newsweek article as being riddled with errors and misrepresentations, such as this: 

Finally, [author Arian] Campo-Flores asked of Rifqa's family: "if they were indeed such fanatics, why would they have let their daughter prance around as a cheerleader?" But according to [Rifqa's friend Jamal] Jivanjee, Rifqa's parents never saw her in her cheerleader's uniform. The cheerleaders had a warm-up suit; when Rifqa dressed to go to games, she had the warm-up suit on, never the cheerleading skirt. But Campo-Flores never bothered to discover that.

Really?  Because if you scroll ahead about 2 minutes into this recent video from ABC News, you can see Bary's father showing ABC's Dan Harris photos of Rifqa in her cheerleading outfit:

And if there are any doubts that the right-wing activists who have rallied around Riifqa are doing so as part of their perceived battle between Christianity and Islam, this ought to dispel it:

At the Orlando prayer meeting on Sept. 2, believers talked about how God is using Rifqa as a catalyst to bring more people to Christ.

They asked God to heal her right eye, blinded in a childhood accident, as a divine sign. "It would show the world there is one true living God,"[Blake] Lorenz said. "We do believe, oh God, Jesus is preparing the world for his return."

As should this article from Charisma:

U.S., author Joel C. Rosenberg and Oklahoma pastor Reza Safa hope to educate Christians about the ongoing danger of Muslim extremism through events being broadcast tonight online.

"The leaders of racial Islam no longer simply want to terrorize us, they want to annihilate us, and they're trying to obtain the weapons to do it," said Rosenberg, author of the New York Times best-seller Inside the Islamic Revolution, which was adapted into a documentary that released today.

Rosenberg will lead a webcast town hall tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern that is to be broadcast into more than 600 churches from Calvary Chapel Philadelphia. Speakers include retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, former deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, and Christian revivalist Hormoz Shariat, a former radical Shia Muslim.

Meanwhile, Safa is hosting a free conference at River of Life Assembly of God in Estero, Fla., that is aimed at reversing the ideology that birthed 9/11, which Safa says is still alive and well. The Reversing Jihad Conference begins tonight at 6:30 p.m. Eastern and will be broadcast live online at Lifestream.tv.

The event, which runs through Saturday afternoon, features such speakers as evangelist Sam Shamoun; Tom Trento, president of the Florida Security Council, a terrorist watchdog group; and pastor Jeremiah Cummings, a former member of the Nation of Islam.

Trento's Florida Security Council just so happens to be the group behind the website "The Rifqa Bary Story"

In fact, this spiritual battle against Islam seems to be a driving force behind a lot of right-wing activism, like the "Cry Out America" 9/11 prayer rally we mentioned last week:

[Billy Wilson] said 9/11 also illuminated the spiritual battle the nation is in to maintain its Judeo-Christian identity.

"There is an encroachment of Islamic thought in America, and the Islamic agenda is growing in the United States," Wilson said. "We see that the real spiritual battle in America is going to be around this particular front, the pluralism of the nation. Cry Out America is really about lifting the name of Jesus in the public square again and that wherever else we look, the real answer for us is in God and in Christ in the nation."

Rifqa Bary: A Schaivo-Like Controversy in the Making?

Newsweek has a good article on the Rifqa Bary saga that we've been covering here for the last few weeks and it contains a few new nuggets of interesting information, such as the fact that Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel is more than just a "longtime friend," as the Orlando Sentinel reported, of Blake and Beverly Lorenz, the couple to whom Bary fled in Florida. He is also serving as their lawyer:

Bary's parents ... became frantic when they discovered their daughter was gone. They filed a missing-persons report with Columbus police and reached out to everyone they could think of. Police say the Barys cooperated fully with their investigation and seemed like loving parents who were worried sick. Searching among Rifqa's personal items, the Barys found a flash drive filled with spiritual writings by [Brian] Williams. He'd already spoken to the family and told them he didn't know where Rifqa was. But on Aug. 5—more than two weeks after the girl went missing—Columbus police interviewed him by phone (he was now living in Kansas City, Mo.). He says they threatened to arrest him if Bary didn't appear in the next 24 hours. Immediately after that call, he says, Kansas City police went to his home looking for the girl. Alarmed, Williams says he called and e-mailed all the people he knew Bary had been in touch with, including Blake Lorenz, who's a Facebook friend of his.

The Lorenzes had been housing Bary the whole time, even though it's a misdemeanor in Florida to shelter an unmarried minor for more than 24 hours (the Florida Department of Law Enforcement won't say whether it's investigating the couple). Their attorney, Mat Staver, says they consulted various agencies and nonprofits regarding how to handle Bary's situation. They also called the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) several times, though they didn't provide the specifics of her case until Aug. 6.

The article also contains this other interesting bit of information 

Mohamed and Aysha Bary left Sri Lanka in 2000 with their two kids, Rifqa and an older brother, and moved to New York (their third child, a boy, was born in the United States). The reason: concern about Rifqa's well-being. As a child, she'd fallen on a toy airplane that pierced her right eye. Doctors in Sri Lanka wanted to remove the eye, prompting Mohamed to relocate the whole family so Rifqa could obtain better medical treatment. In the end, her eye was spared, though she can't see out of it.

Now, that piece of information is interesting primarily because groups like the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission have been spreading this story:

Rifqa Bary, a petite 17 year old cheerleader, fled from Ohio to Florida to escape her abusive Muslim family. She fled out of fear that she would be killed because she has become a Christian and she has good reasons.

Her father screamed at her that if she had Jesus in her heart, she was dead to him and he would kill her. Prior to that Rifqa had been repeatedly beaten by her family even to the point of losing vision in one eye.

I keep writing about this issue because a) I find it fascinating and b) it has the potential to eventually blow up into an Elian Gonzalez or Terri Schiavo-like story. 

I'm not predicting that it will, mind you, but John Stemberger, who is serving as Bary's attorney, was intimately involved in the Schiavo battle back in 2005, when he authored  "The Terri Schiavo Controversy - Facts, Myths and Christian Perspectives," which was disseminated by the Family Research Council (see #17, though the document has since been removed from FRC's website.)

With someone like Stemberger leading the fight and right-wing news outlets and Religious Right groups getting more involved by the day, this story has all of the hallmarks of a full-blown right-wing crusade in the making.

Rick Scarborough Hits The Big Time

Last year, when Vision America's Rick Scarborough was organizing his "Crusade to Save America" events, he scheduled in Kansas in order to rally support for Phill Kline's bid to become Attorney General.

James Dobson had endorsed Kline's bid as well and so Scarborough sought to get Dobson to come to Kansas to participate in the event, but Dobson declined.

At the time, I said it looked as if "even James Dobson has enough sense to avoid being seen in public" with the likes of Scarborough. 

After all, Scarborough is a self-described “Christocrat” who, when he’s not out palling around with Alan Keys, has a penchant for suggesting that evangelical leaders are dying off because the nation has turned its back on God, suggesting that Christians will have "the blood of martyrs on [their] hands" if they don't oppose hate crimes legislation, blaming "the church" for just standing by and allowing the election of "unrighteous leaders" in 2006, saying that opponents of the War in Iraq are committing treason, organizing conferences designed to highlight the “War on Christians and Values Voters,” warning that removing the phrase "so help me God" from the president’s oath of office would be national "suicide," telling gays they "should hang their heads in shame [because of] their sinful lifestyle," and penning books entitled “Liberalism Kills Kids” among other things.

But apparently I was wrong about Dobson having enough sense to avoid Scarborough, because he is going to be bringing him onto his radio program at the end of the week:

This is certainly a big step up for Scarborough from his regular appearances on Janet Porter's radio program.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • I'm guessing that U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins wishes she hadn't declared that "Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope" who can take on Obama.
  • When someone declared themselves to be a "a proud right-wing terrorist" at a town hall meeting, Rep. Wally Herger replied "Amen, God bless you. There is a great American."
  • Seriously, how on earth does Michael Steele still have a job?
  • Joe.My.God: Peter LaBarbera has filed a federal religious discrimination lawsuit against a Chicago-area Holiday Inn because they canceled a 2007 event for the Americans For Truth About Homosexuality over fears of bad publicity.
  • A “2009 Future of American Health Survey” sent out by the Republican National Committee contained this question: "It has been suggested that the government could use voter registration to determine a person’s political affiliation, prompting fears that GOP voters might be discriminated against for medical treatment in a Democrat-imposed health care rationing system. Does this possibility concern you?"
  • Finally, The Onion: Afterbirthers Demand To See Obama's Placenta.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • It looks like, after just one event, Rep. Eric Cantor's National Council for a New America has already flamed out.
  • Operation Rescue has launched a petition aimed at stopping LeRoy Carhart from opening a new facility in Kansas.
  • The Alliance Defense Fund has announced that September 27 will be its second "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" in which churches and pastors are urged to challenge tax rules barring them from endorsing political candidates [PDF].
  • A principal overseeing a high school in which church-state violations were reportedly rampant now faces possible jail time for violating a court order to cease such practices.
  • Finally, Ralph Reed declares that "values voters" will resuscitate the GOP:

    The bottom line is that voters primarily motivated by their values will not go away. They are a persistent bunch. They have now gained a place at the table, have been seasoned by the experience of building (and now losing) a governing majority, and they are going to speak to a broad range of issues, from the economy to climate change to health care. They will likely be at the center of any GOP revival of fortunes. No amount of name-calling or intimidation will make them go away.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • More trouble for Gov. Mark Sanford.
  • Dr. George Tiller's alleged murderer sure is getting some interesting visitors in jail.
  • The Orlando Sentinel: Kissimmee commissioner Art Otero is not letting go of his effort to add the words "In God We Trust" to the city logo and says he will take the initiative to a referendum if needed ... Otero had told the Orlando Sentinel he started the logo effort because he feared the country was moving toward "liberal postures such as homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion and the legalization of marijuana." He also referred to the Obama administration as "socialist."
  • The Christian Coalition calls Sonia Sotomayor the "most unpopular Supreme Court justice in history."
  • Roy Moore: “Our morality is declining because we don’t recognize a moral absolute anymore. There’s no truth. We need the recognition of God. We ought to recognize God is the sovereign source of law and liberty in government.”
  • Richard Land: "I don't want to seem overly dramatic here, but I'm telling you, based on everything I know, if we get Obama-care ... it will significantly lower the quality of life and length of life of your children and grandchildren."
  • Finally, have you ever wished that someone would finally put the Birther conspiracy to music?  Well, you are in luck:

Right Wing Leftovers

  • It doesn't look like Gov. Mark Sanford's efforts to save his marriage are working out as he had planned.
  • Sen. Mel Martinez announced that he is resigning his seat and will step down as soon as a replacement is named.
  • Alan Keyes wants to know why people like Don Wildmon, Gary Bauer, and others on the Right aren't defending the Birthers.
  • OneNewsNow: Operation Rescue is formally launching a campaign called "Keep it Closed" that targets Nebraska abortionist LeRoy Carhart. Carhart has stated that he will open a late-term abortion facility in Kansas or Nebraska in the aftermath of the shooting death of Wichita abortionist George Tiller. Operation Rescue, in conjunction with Rescue the Heartland and Nebraskans United for Life, hopes to prevent Carhart from opening the clinic.
  • Finally, for those who can't wait for September's "How To Take Back America Conference," there will be a pre-conference webcast with many of the hosts on August 18th.

The Next Phase In the Battle Over Operation Rescue

We have written several times in the past about the confusing in-fighting among anti-choice activist over the rights to the name "Operation Rescue."

After Randall Terry shut down the original Operation Rescue in the late 1980's in an effort to evade various restraining orders, debt, and monetary judgments against the organization, it was reborn as a smaller group headed by Flip Benham and called Operation Save America.

Eventually another member of the original OR created a group called Operation Rescue West that was headquartered in California, though it eventually moved itself to Wichita, Kansas to focus on protesting Dr. George Tiller and now goes by the name Operation Rescue and is headed by Troy Newman.

Benham has protested Newman's use of the name "Operation Rescue" and Terry has sued Newman over it, which in turn has set off feuding among activists as they chose sides in the fight while all three men (Terry, Benham, and Newman) battle over who truly owns the right to the name "Operation Rescue."

That was as much as we've been able to figure out about this fight, but it looks like there are some developments in the works, as in the last two days we have seen Terry allies suddenly lash out at Newman.

First, it was announced that Newman had been booted from Women Against the Killing and Exploitation of Unprotected Persons' [W.A.K.E.U.P] advisory board "because of his continued unethical and divisive behavior" pertaining to his on-going fight against Terry.

The following day, a former ally on Newman's named George Offerman announced that he was starting a new website to fight Newman's lies against Terry:

"In my 27 years in the movement, I have seen extensive infighting and accusations from one pro-lifer to another. It sickens me. There needs to be more unity in the pro-life movement, and the constant bickering and backbiting is actually causing problems with the intended goal of ending legalized child-killing. In that light, I intend to also focus on other attacks against pro-lifers by fellow pro-lifers.

"In the past, I was a large supporter of Troy Newman, and I encouraged many friends and family to give to Mr. Newman. This resulted in well over $10,000 in contributions to Mr. Newman's work.

"Nearly 2 years ago, Mr. Newman made allegations against Mr. Terry that I believed, and have since learned to be false. When I approached Mr. Newman to discuss these falsehoods, he became more and more belligerent over time.

"I then decided to launch this site to fight these false allegations made by people like Troy Newman against Randall Terry.

This seemed so sudden and out-of-the-blue that we didn't really know what to make of it, but now it looks like it was part of an effort by Terry to do preemptive spinning and damage control ahead of an anticipated article about the trademark fight from the Los Angeles Times:

Background: Mr. Randall Terry has been attacked repeatedly on line and in the press for some of his recent statements and actions, including activities and Notre Dame and his comments about the shooting of George Tiller. The Los Angeles Times is doing a story on Mr. Terry and his fiercest critics and adversaries in the pro-life movement.

Mr. Randall Terry states:

"I have been doing interviews with journalists for over 25 years. When an LA Times reporter contacts me and says, 'I want to do a story about the trademark dispute,' and then proceeds to repeat slanderous allegations -- with the possibility of printing false allegations -- I smell a big dead rat. The Washington Post recently did a feature story on me -- and while certainly not favorable, and at points a little demeaning -- the Post had the integrity to not stoop to printing false allegations against me made by my pro-life adversaries. Let's see what The Los Angeles times is made of."

Mr. George Offerman states:

"I've been in the mental health field since 1987, I've been a licensed clinical social worker since 1995, and worked with a myriad of pathologies including both Axis I and Axis II diagnoses. I was contacted by the journalist from the Los Angeles Times, ostensibly to talk about my knowledge of the parties involved in a trademark dispute. I attempted to discuss the possible pathologies involved with those falsely attacking Randall. I left the phone call with the concern that this would be a hatchet job on Randall. I will reserve judgment until the piece runs, but I want my friends in the pro-life movement to know with absolute certainty: if the article is untrue or inaccurate... you'll be hearing from me!"

The article in question has not yet been published, but when it is, we'll certainly have to read it just to see what all the fuss is about.

IHOP: The Call, 24/7

Lou Engle of The Call tends to only generate press when he hosts one of his massive prayer rallies, and even then, only the events that are timed to coincide with political events or elections ever receive any coverage, like the one he held last year in San Diego that was focused largely on the need to pass Proposition 8. 

As recent developments have made clear, Engle has been making a leap from mainly religious events into more overtly political activism, joining hands with the likes of Tony Perkins, Mike Huckabee, and James Dobson and appearing at rallies where he introduced and prayed over Newt Gingrich and unveiled his own political organization called "Call 2 Action."

In addition to his work with The Call, Engle is also a "a senior leader at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City with Mike Bickle," an organization which is the focus of this excellent profile by Donald Bradley of The Kansas City Star:

The article explains that IHOP's mission is to engage in constant prayer in effort to bring about and prepare the world for the return of Christ :

The digital signal from the International House of Prayer in south Kansas City, Mo., makes its way via Washington, D.C., to Jerusalem, where it streams live on God TV for broadcast all over the world.

This ... never ... stops.

Two in the morning, 8 at night, dusk and dawn. Holidays and ice storms. Time doesn't matter because these young worshippers are more concerned with the "End Times." The signs are here. The Messiah is near.

So they've come here for the last 10 years, by the hundreds - thousands - for what perhaps is Kansas City's biggest religious phenomenon in a century.

They've come to an old renovated strip mall on Red Bridge Road.

To answer the call of a leader named Mike Bickle, who says a purpose of their worship is to hasten the Second Coming.


Bickle says he's heard God's voice. And that he's been to heaven. Twice.

Inside the walls of his growing IHOP nation, the 53-year-old is revered as a great leader and something of a prophet.

Outside, Bickle and other IHOP officials acknowledge, they're seen by some as a cult.

Many of Bickle's messages can be read or heard on the IHOP Web site. In a recent post about a prophetic dream about war between Satan and Michael the archangel, Bickle wrote that he saw "large snakes, over 100 feet long and 50 feet thick, each having a huge head that looked like a dragon, and many of them were coming from the sky down to the earth."

His brand of Christianity relies heavily on the Book of Revelation and a sense of urgency that the Rapture is near.

When Jesus returns to make war against his enemies and marches into Jerusalem, Bickle preaches, "untold millions will die in the wake of his righteous, loving judgments."

Some of what is preached at IHOP is heard in other fundamentalist denominations. Israel is embraced for its role on the path to the End Times. Fasting is encouraged.

Other aspects seem well out of the mainstream.

IHOP has a "Children's Equipping Center," which, according to the Web site, seeks to mold a million children to lead the next generation, by empowering them "with DNA components that produce in them a holy passion."

Throw in the proportionally heavy infusion of young believers, things such as the "Fire in the Night" internship that meets from midnight to 6 a.m. and a "prenatal soaking room" for expectant mothers and the word "cult" occasionally can be heard in the neighborhood.

One owner of a nearby business, who did not want to be identified, said many people in the neighborhood worry that IHOP is a cult.

The entire piece is worth reading, just as this video explaining IHOP's mission is worth watching: 

Tiller's Killer Asserts He Was An Operation Rescue Donor and Supporter

Over the weekend, the New York Times ran a lengthy piece on the late George Tiller, who was gunned down by an anti-abortion zealot while attending church in May.  The piece focused on Tiller's resolution to continue provided badly-needed services to women in the face of relentless protests, lawsuits, threats of violence, and assassination attempts from anti-abortion activists, most notably Operation Rescue:

“His is the only abortion clinic we’ve never been able to close,” Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, said in an interview.


There seemed an endless supply of fresh accusations.

“Wichita shoppers unknowingly sprinkled with the burnt ash of fetal remains,” declared one news release, referring to the clinic’s crematorium.

“If I can’t document it, I don’t say it,” Mr. Newman of Operation Rescue said, moments before suggesting without any proof that Dr. Tiller had bought off the local district attorney, Nola T. Foulston, by giving her a baby for adoption. He referred a reporter to a Web site that vaguely asserted that Dr. Tiller “may have delivered the ultimate bribe to Nola Foulston.” A spokeswoman for Ms. Foulston declined to discuss the accusation.

Anti-abortion activists routinely portrayed Dr. Tiller’s campaign contributions as “blood money” that co-opted politicians. “He owned the attorney general’s office,” Mr. Newman said. “He owned the governor’s office. He owned the district attorney’s office.”

The article notes that Operation Rescue and Newman eventually changed tactics and began relying on an "obscure Kansas statute allowing residents to petition for grand jury investigations" and then gathered thousands of signatures to convene two grand juries against him. Both times the juries refused to indict him.

Eventually, Tiller was charged with 19 misdemeanor violations of state's late-term abortion law and was acquitted after the jury deliberated for a mere thirty minutes:

It was an enormous victory, but Dr. Tiller’s supporters feared a backlash. Anti-abortion activists who had attended court sessions were disgusted. Mr. Newman remembered one new face among the regulars in court — Scott Roeder, who told other protesters that the trial was a “sham” and had argued in years past that homicide was justifiable to stop abortions.

Roeder is the man charged with murdering Tiller, which brings us to this article in the Kansas City Star in which Roeder disputes Newman's repeated assertions that he was never a member or supporter of Operation Rescue, insisting that he was, in fact, both:

The Kansas City Star interviewed Roeder three times in recent weeks, including once at the Sedgwick County Jail.

In a phone interview Friday, Roeder said he was upset at the president of Operation Rescue, Troy Newman, who had condemned the killing and said his organization had nothing to do with Roeder.

“He said that I never was a member and I never contributed any money,” Roeder said. “Well, my gosh, I’ve got probably a thousand dollars worth of receipts, at least, from the money I’ve donated to him.”

Roeder said he wrote Newman a letter from jail.

“I told him, ‘You better get your story straight because my lawyer said it’d be good for me to show that I was supporting a pro-life organization.’”

For his part, Newman continues to insist that they have no record of Roeder making donations to his organization in their database.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Think Progress: Former President Jimmy Carter, who in 2000 officially severed ties with the Southern Baptist Convention after the SBC declared its opposition to female pastors and reiterated its calls “for wives to be submissive to their husbands,” condemned the mistreatment of women by religious leaders, writing that “the words of God do not justify cruelty to women.”
  • RH Reality Check's Lindsay Beyerstein asks if George Tiller's assassin should be charged as a domestic terrorist.
  • Good As You takes a look at the latest from the Maine Family Policy Council and reminds us: "This group is not some separate entity from the larger marriage fight. They are connected with Focus on the Family/Family Research Council. In fact, it was just this past February that FRC head Tony Perkins spoke at the groups' banquet. So it's not like this is a fringe story that's detached form Maine's "people's veto." THIS is the fight. THESE are the people. THIS is how they think of us: As innately immoral beings who are linked by unsavoriness."
  • Joe My God points to The Lost Ogle catching the Baptist Messenger photoshopping Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry’s signature on to Rep. Sally Kern's “Proclamation for Morality" and placing the text of proclamation onto Executive Department letterhead while forging the signature of Secretary of State M. Susan Savage next to the state seal of Oklahoma in order to make it appear legitimate.
  • Finally, Steve Benen asks just what House Minority Whip Eric Cantor's proposed "Judeo-Christian" foreign policy would look like.
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