Louisiana

Rachel Maddow Takes On 'Questionable Characters' At Jindal Prayer Rally

As we have been reporting, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has decided to hitch his apparent presidential hopes to a collection of Christian-nation extremists, teaming with the American Family Association, influential activist David Lane, and a collection of self-proclaimed prophets and apostles to host a prayer rally in Baton Rouge today meant to turn America “back to God.”

On her show last night, Rachel Maddow took a look at the array of “questionable characters” working with Jindal on his supposedly nonpolitical prayer rally:

Jindal For Christian Nation President?

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s upcoming prayer rally has been organized by David Lane, a Christian-nation absolutist who believes America was founded by and for Christians and demands that politicians make the Bible a primary textbook in public schools. The American Family Association, whose chief spokesperson believes the First Amendment’s religious freedom protections do not apply to non-Christians, is paying for the rally.

It’s clear that Jindal, a convert to Christianity, is positioning himself to win the support of conservative evangelicals for a potential presidential bid. (Lane for one has cheered Jindal’s recent remarks about Muslims.) But does Jindal see himself as a potential president for all Americans, or only American Christians?

Jindal’s initial letter inviting “friends and fellow patriots” to the eventon his official letterhead —declared, “We are in need of spiritual and transforming revival, if we are to recapture the vision of our early leaders who signed on the Mayflower, ‘In the name of God and for the advancement of the Christian faith.’” Jindal’s letter declared, “Jesus Christ, Son of God and the Lord of Life, is America’s only hope.” What does that say to non-Christian Americans about how Jindal views them and their contributions to America’s future?

Jindal also recorded a video promoting the event as the spark that would help bring the “spiritual revival” America needs.

This week the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody reported that Jindal sent a letter to the other 49 governors inviting them to attend. “We need an appeal to heaven for heaven’s intervention over us,” he wrote. “We need to pray to the Lord that He will send spiritual revival to our nation.”

“This gathering will be apolitical in nature,” Jindal writes unconvincingly to his fellow governors, adding, “There will only be one name lifted up that day – Jesus!”

Is Jindal unaware that not all his fellow governors are Christians, or does he just not care?

Jindal, of course, has the right as an American to participate in a rally like this. But it is wrong for him to use the power of his office to proselytize for his own faith and denigrate the faith of others. The critics of his prayer rally have the right, and good reason, to question what his promotion of this event says about Jindal’s judgment, values, and commitment to religious pluralism and other constitutional principles.

Bobby Jindal's Extremist Prayer Rally Brings Together Prophets, Bigots And Far-Right Activists

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who only a few years ago was lamenting the GOP’s decline into “the stupid party,” is now staking out a position on the party’s far-right fringe in preparation for an expected run for the presidency. Jindal has reached out to the party’s increasingly extreme base by undermining the teaching of evolution in public schools; promoting wild conspiracy theories about Common Core, an effort to adjust school standards that he supported before it became the target of the Tea Party’s fury; and hyping the purported persecution of Christians in America, specifically citing the plight of Christians with reality television shows.

Jindal, once hailed as the GOP’s top intellectual and reformer who denounced “dumbed-down conservatism” in an era of Tea Party populism, is slated to lead a prayer rally this weekend, “The Response: Baton Rouge,” organized and sponsored by some of the most extreme figures within the party.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry organized the original “Response” prayer gathering as a prelude to his 2012 presidential bid, allying with many of the same radical activists and organizations who are supporting Jindal’s version of the rally. While Perry’s campaign ultimately imploded, the people who helped put together his prayer rally credited it for various miracles. Jindal’s event has even recycled promotional materials from the Texas rally, including a “prayer guide” blaming marriage equality for Hurricane Katrina and the 2011 Joplin tornado.

“The Response” is being organized by David Lane, a Religious Right activist who boasts of his great influence and low profile, and various conservative pastors, including several who claim to be modern-day prophets and apostles, who all kicked off the prayer rally with an event at the Louisiana governor’s mansion earlier this month. The American Family Association, so notorious for its apoplectic anti-gay rhetoric and opposition to the freedoms of non-Christians that its chief spokesman earned a rebuke from Mitt Romney, is putting up the funding.

The organizers

David Lane, a self-styled “political operative” who gloats that he has “operated since 2005 largely under the radar” on behalf of conservative causes and Republican candidates, is serving as the organizational muscle behind Jindal’s prayer rally.

Jindal isn’t the only potential GOP candidate who is getting Lane’s help; Lane has also arranged various events focused on energizing conservative pastors in early GOP primary states that have featured appearances from potential presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee. He also organized overseas tours with various conservative activists for likely candidates including Huckabee, Perry and Paul. Lane has also teamed up with the Republican National Committee, whose chairman, Reince Priebus, sings his praises.

Lane hopes to use “The Response” as a launching pad for his effort to recruit 1,000 pastors to run for elected office.

Lane, who has connections to the top of the Republican Party, has views which are far out of the mainstream. He has:

  • called on conservatives to attack Mitt Romney for worshiping “the false god of Mormonism”;
  • warned that LGBT rights are creating an unparalleled “crisis” leading to “our utter destruction” as a nation;
  • forecasted America’s destruction as a result of “the pagan onslaught imposing homosexual marriage” and “homosexual scouts”;
  • declared that “our long-term strategy must be to place the Bible in Public Schools as the principle [sic] textbook of American education”;
  • and predicted that “homosexuals praying at the Inauguration” in 2013 would lead to divine punishment in the form of “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa.”

The American Family Association, classified as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is providing the financial backbone for Jindal’s prayer rally, as it did for Perry’s 2011 event.

The group’s chief spokesman, Bryan Fischer, has won nationwide notoriety for his remarks about homosexuality and religious and ethnic minorities, which he shares on his daily program on the AFA’s radio network. Fischer has:

Other AFA officials have blamed gay people for natural disasters like Hurricane Isaacpromoted birther conspiracy theories and railed against secular Jews as threats to America.

The “apostles”

The latter half of Rick Perry’s “The Response” prayer rally was emceed by a self-proclaimed prophet who believes Oprah Winfrey is the harbinger of the Antichrist.

It looks like Jindal’s rally will be no different: Doug Stringer, who considers himself to be a modern-day apostle and who also worked on Perry’s rally, is spearheading the Louisiana event. Stringer has blamed American “[l]icentiousness or moral looseness to the degree that it is ‘in your face,’ including homosexuality,” for the September 11, 2001 attacks, which he described as a “wake-up call” from God.

Another self-proclaimed prophet, Cindy Jacobs, is also featured on “The Response: Baton Rouge” website. Jacobs has quite the prophetic record. She:

  • suggested that legal victories for marriage equality advocates led to Hurricane Sandy and other natural disasters;
  • proclaimed that Rick Perry’s “The Response” prayer rally “broke the curses on the land” of Texas brought on by “the Native American people [who] were cannibals and they ate people”;

Jim Garlow, a prominent “The Response: Baton Rouge” endorser who is involved in the “apostolic” movement, has been a leader of the movement against LGBT rights. Garlow has:

One event sponsor, Jennifer LeClaire, has used her column in Charisma News to broadcast several “prophetic” warnings about the evils of homosexuality and the “gay agenda” that is “working overtime to send millions to hell.” LeClaire has:

  • and claimed that gay people are possessed by a demonic “spirit of immorality” that “often enters in through some sort of abuse and the lies of the enemy [Satan] that follow.”

The activists

“The Response: Baton Rouge” has also featured endorsements from a slew of conservative politicians. Tamara Scott, as a member of the Republican National Committee representing Iowa and leader of the Iowa chapter of Concerned Women for America, is a key political player in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. But her political clout doesn’t hide her unbridled extremism. Scott has:

  • characterized young Central American immigrants as “highly trained warriors” who could “rise up against us as Americans”;
  • and suggested that Muslim-Americans are waging a “stealth jihad” to overthrow the U.S.

Another official “Response” endorser, longtime conservative activist and failed Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia E.W. Jackson, has pushed similarly radical views, particularly on gay rights, saying that “homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of.” He has also:

  • said of gay people: “Their minds are perverted, they’re frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally”;
  • warned that homosexuality will bring about a “torrent of wickedness,” including human-animal marriages;

Gene Mills, leader of the Louisiana Family Forum and another key “Response” endorser, is a vocal ally of Jindal’s who helped push the governor’s policies undermining public education and promoting religious schooling. It’s no surprise that Mills leads the state’s foremost anti-LGBT group, as he has:

  • asserted that homosexuality is not a sexual orientation but a “disorder”;
  • falsely claimed that anti-gay speech is now classified as hate crimes;
  • said that abuse shelters should turn away transgender victims of spousal abuse;
  • and explained that anti-gay discrimination is a myth because “the reality is the shame and the guilt the homosexual feels is mistakenly reinterpreted as discrimination and what they attempt to do is to call it discrimination and prohibit it.”

How The 'No-Go Zones' Myth Traveled From The Anti-Muslim Fringe To The Mouths Of GOP Politicians

Shortly after terrorist gunmen killed 12 people in an attack on the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris earlier this month, conservative commentator Steve Emerson went on Fox News and claimed that Europe was being taken over by “no-go zones” controlled by Islamic law to such an extent that non-Muslims were not allowed to enter Birmingham, England’s second-largest city.

Emerson’s claim was met with ridicule, including by British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Emerson and Fox quickly retracted the claim.

But at the same time, the “no-go zone” myth gained traction among conservative activists and Republican leaders, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who mentioned it in a speech in London despite refusing to offer the names or locations of the purported no-go zones, and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, who claimed last week that France has “like 700 no-go zones where authorities have allowed Sharia law to be imposed,” something that he claimed is also beginning to happen in the United States.

The “no-go zone” myth didn’t spring out of nowhere two weeks ago. Instead, it has been percolating for years in fringe media, perpetuated by anti-Muslim activists warning that Europe was being overtaken by Sharia law, soon to be followed by the United States.

Bloomberg pinpoints the beginning of the myth at a 2006 article by conservative pundit Daniel Pipes, who gave the name “no-go zones” to a list of French “sensitive urban zones,” some with large populations of Muslim immigrants, that were, in reality, nothing more than areas hit by high crime and poverty that were actually targeted by the government for urban renewal projects. A few years later, Pipes had the opportunity to visit a few of these “no-go zones” and reported that they were “very mild, even dull” compared to high-crime neighborhoods in the U.S. and that “immigrant areas are hardly beautiful, but buildings are intact, greenery abounds, and order prevails.” He wrote, “Having this first-hand experience, I regret having called these areas no-go zones.”

But Pipes’ retraction came too late to stop the “no-go zone” story from becoming an established fact in fringe right-wing media.

The far-right outlet WorldNetDaily mentionsno-go zones” frequently, often warning that the United States will soon face the same fate. Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller told WND last year:

The Muslim population, for example, in France is over 10 percent,” she said. “You see outside of Paris … it can be very frightening. The no-go zones, the Shariah zones, where firefighters and police cannot go. They are many times lured by particular criminal activity into these zones, only to be ambushed. We see it in the U.K., increasingly, the imposition of Shariah law. And people think it can’t happen here, but it is happening here.

A search for the term “no-go zones” in Geller’s blog before the Charlie Hebdo attack produces 10 pages of results. Prominent anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney has also perpetuated the myth, warning repeatedly on his website and radio program of such zones “where authorities dare not enter” and “Shariah rules instead of the laws of the host government.”

Last year, the Clarion Project’s Ryan Mauro similarly warned in a FrontPageMag article that European “no-go zones” would provide “precedent” for such “Muslim enclaves” in the U.S. The publication has been another prominent generator of the myth, frequently citing Pipes since-rejected claim about French “no-go” neighborhood.

The myth percolated to the top of the news cycle briefly in 2010 when Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle claimed that Dearborn, Michigan, and the made-up town of Frankford, Texas, were ruled by “Sharia law.” She didn’t use the term “no-go zone,” but was clearly influenced by the myth that had by then become established fact in fringe media.

As recently as last month, Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt was citing the myth to warn that U.S. protests against police brutality would create “no-go zones.”

“It’s like in England and Scandinavia and I guess in Paris and a lot of Europe, perhaps in a lot of their metropolitan areas, the Muslims have come to a preponderant population in those areas that the police do not dare go into the urban areas controlled by Muslims,” he said.

The myth, propagated by a few voices in fringe media, is too wild for Fox News. But it is now apparently perfectly acceptable in the Republican Party.

Bobby Jindal Gets A Jump-Start On His Right-Wing Prayer Rally

In preparation for his upcoming "The Response" prayer rally, Gov. Bobby Jindal hosted a prayer meeting at the Louisiana governor's mansion last month with more than 70 local and national pastors. The participants included anti-gay activists like Jim Garlow and E.W. Jackson, as well secretive and influential Religious Right activist David Lane, whom Jindal can been seen praying with around the :30 mark in this piece produced by local reporter Rick Rowe:

Lane is actually the one orchestrating Jindal's entire prayer event, which is just part of his overarching agenda to ensure that America is run by Christians who share his extremist views. As such, Lane is also organizing an effort to recruit 1,000 pastors for run for political office.

Not surprisingly, Lane sees an opportunity to combine these efforts, which he is doing by calling upon pastors to attend Jindal's prayer rally and participate in the pastors' briefing on running for office the day before:

A month ago, I appealed for pastors to commit to pray for 30-45 days, in order to discern if the Lord is calling them to run for city council, county commissioner, school board, mayor or congress in 2016. By simple arithmetic, if the Lord called 1,000 pastors to run in 2016 and if they averaged 300 volunteers per campaign, then that would mean 300,000 ground-level evangelicals working within their local precincts. When my own pastor, Rob McCoy, ran for office this fall, he saw 625 volunteers join in his campaign. A similar grassroots evangelical movement—from coast-to-coast—would change America for good.

...

If we advance spiritual men and women into the public square-people who know wisdom, then we improve America's chances for remaining free. We trust in the Lord and we marshal the army ... Godly wisdom has inestimable superiority to military might and gold. A key to sustaining freedom is the launching of spiritual men and women from behind the pulpit and four walls of the church ... right on into City Hall.

...

If you feel called, then we hope to see you in Baton Rouge on Jan. 23, 2015. The Friday Pastors' Briefing will be called "Issachar: Training The Men and Women of Issachar."

Jindal Rally Organizers Remove Controversial Prayer Guide, Still Think Gays Are Responsible For Natural Disasters

Last week, we reported that the anti-gay, Christian nationalist organizers of a supposedly nonpolitical prayer rally that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is hosting next month had reused some materials from a similar rally hosted by Texas Gov. Rick Perry back in 2011, including a prayer guide blaming LGBT rights and legal abortion for natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

Blaming Hurricane Katrina on gay people and abortion, it turns out, didn’t go over so well in the state that was hardest hit by the 2005 storm, and after reporters in Louisiana started asking the organizers and Jindal’s office about the prayer guide, it was scrubbed from the rally’s website.

But disappearing one document can only do so much to hide the fact that Jindal is partnering with some pretty extreme organizations to put on his "The Response" event. In fact, the offending document was replaced on the event’s website by a letter from organizer Doug Stringer which only slightly more vaguely blames “earthquakes, floods, fires, and an escalation of natural disasters across the country and the world” on “the continued moral failures of our leaders.”

And when the New Orleans Times-Picayune approached Bryan Fischer, a spokesman for the event’s main funder the American Family Association, about the controversial prayer guide, he told them that his group stood by the original content. "We do know that natural disasters can be a form of God's judgment on an unrepentant nation,” Fischer told the Times-Picayune, before explaining that it’s “fitting that a part of the country that is obviously at risk for natural disasters would lead the nation in modeling repentance."

Still, the AFA initially issued a prayer guide that has offended many Louisiana residents. It implied legal abortion, same-sex marriage and pornography use contributed to Hurricane Katrina and other disasters. Though the prayer guide has been taken down, Fischer reiterated that sentiment on Wednesday. He said Louisiana should be especially concerned about the morality of the country, given its vulnerability to natural disasters.

"We do know that natural disasters can be a form of God's judgement on an unrepentant nation," Fischer said, "It's fitting that a part of the country that is obviously at risk for natural disasters would lead the nation in modeling repentance."

Jindal Claims Obama Refuses To Stand 'On The Side Of Those Fighting Against Terrorists'

In an interview with Steve Deace yesterday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal praised Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee’s efforts to force a government shutdown last weekend and criticized the Republicans who were openly exasperated with Cruz and Lee’s gambit, which ultimately backfired.

“This president has done severe damage to our foreign policy, to our military, to our economy, to our freedoms, we need leaders who will stand up to him and understand what’s at stake here,” Jindal said.

He said that Republican leaders are enforcing a “double standard” by criticizing conservatives like Cruz while supposedly letting president Obama get away with “forcing liberal radical judges on our courts” and “using the EPA to go after our economy” while the president — who has steadily increased U.S. national security aid to Israel — “refused stand with Israel against Hamas” and “unequivocally say ‘We’re on the side of those fighting against terrorists.’”

“Nobody was there when they were forcing liberal radical judges on our courts, nobody was there when they were using the EPA to go after our economy, nobody said that when this president refused to stand with Israel against Hamas, when he refused to unequivocally say ‘We’re on the side of those fighting against terrorists,’ nobody was out there wringing their hands, I don’t get this double standard,” he said.

“We need Republicans who understand they’re not trying to please the New York Times editorial page, they’re not trying to please the Washington Post editorial page, and if they’re making them happy they’re probably doing something wrong,” he concluded.

Bobby Jindal's Staff Has No Comment About AFA's Unmitigated Bigotry

As we noted the other day, organizers for Gov. Bobby Jindal's upcoming "The Response" prayer rally released a prayer guide blaming natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, on God’s apparent displeasure with the "alternative lifestyle" of homosexuality, marriage equality, legal abortion, and Internet pornography.

Not surprisingly, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, that prayer guide has now be scrubbed from The Response's website. Equally unsurprising is the reluctance by those in Jindal's office to comment on the long history of unmitigated bigotry regularly spewed by the American Family Association, which just so happens to be the main sponsor of his prayer rally:

Are legal abortion and same-sex marriage leading to more disasters like Hurricane Katrina? Does the First Amendment only protect Christian religious expression?

Next month, Gov. Bobby Jindal is bringing a mass prayer event to LSU's campus sponsored by a conservative Christian group that has espoused controversial views on a number of issues, including the causes of Hurricane Katrina.

The American Family Association (AFA), based out of Mississippi, has weighed in on everything from homosexuality to Eric Garner -- the man who died after a New York City police officer put him in a chokehold. They are paying for Jindal's mass prayer event at LSU, called The Response, in January.

"I haven't looked at their website, so you will need to talk to them about it. Here's what we do know...our nation is facing serious issues, but God is real, He is powerful, and He answers prayer. That is why we are asking people to come to Baton Rouge, Louisiana on January 24th and pray for revival," said Shannon Bates, Jindal's deputy communications manager, in a written statement about the organization. 

"This is a prayer meeting -- not a political rally. One thing that most people can agree on is that prayer is a positive thing," Bates said.

The AFA implied -- in a prayer guide originally distributed in connection with Jindal's January rally -- that there is a direct link between the rising approval of same-sex marriage and abortion in the United States and events like Hurricane Katrina.

The prayer guide -- which appeared to be a few years old and outdated -- was pulled from The Response's website Friday (Dec. 12).

Bobby Jindal Is Predictably Partnering With Anti-Gay Radicals For His Prayer Rally

When Texas Governor Rick Perry was gearing up to run for president the last time around, he decided to kick things off by headlining a large right-wing prayer rally organized by the American Family Association, an anti-gay hate group, and David Lane, a secretive Religious Right organizer and Christian nationalist, called The Response. But rather than propelling him into the White House, the event became infamous mostly for the scores of radical figures with whom Perry had chosen to align himself.

This time around, the AFA and Lane are organizing another Response prayer rally to be headlined by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and it seems to be operating from exactly the same playbook.

Over the weekend, organizers posted videos featuring several Religious Right activists urging conservative Christians to attend the event, including invitations from folks like Tamara Scott, Jennifer LeClaire, Jim Garlow, E.W. Jackson, and Cindy Jacobs:

On Friday, the AFA's Bryan Fischer also noted that he would be in attendance at the event and providing broadcast coverage, and there is quite possibly no other figure within the "mainstream" Religious Right movement today who can match him in terms of consistently unadulterated bigotry.

Gov. Jindal does not seem to have learned any lessons from the first Response rally and, if anything, remarkably seems quite intent on surrounding himself with the same group of radical Religious Right activists that made the last one so notorious.

Bobby Jindal's Prayer Rally Materials Blame Gays & Legal Abortion For Hurricane Katrina

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is following in the footsteps of Texas Gov. Rick Perry and kicking off his possible presidential campaign next month with a stadium prayer rally organized by radical religious right activists. As Brian reported on Monday, the virulently anti-gay Christian nationalist American Family Association, influential Religious Right leader David Lane and Doug Stringer, a self-proclaimed “apostle” from Texas who has blamed America’s rejection of God for the September 11 attacks, are spearheading Jindal’s Baton Rouge rally.

These activists are the perfect ambassadors for the Christian nationalists that Jindal appears to be courting. In a letter introducing the rally — printed on official governor’s mansion stationary — Jindal warns of “a new world order of chaos…being driven by militant Islam seeking to impose Sharia Law worldwide” and domestic epidemics of “fatherless homes,” “drugs and crime in our inner cities” and “a saturation of pornography, abortion, racism,” problems for which Jesus Christ “is America’s only hope.”

Jindal’s prayer rally appears to be so closely modeled after Perry’s that its organizers are even reusing materials from the 2011 Texas event, including a prayer guide contending that natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, were the result of God’s displeasure with the “alternative lifestyle” of homosexuality, marriage equality, legal abortion, and Internet pornography.

The prayer guide listed on the “resources” page of the website for Jindal's rally includes suggestions for seven days of prayer leading up the event. It appears to be exactly the same as the guide disturbed to participants in Perry’s event in 2011  it hasn't even been updated to include the increased number of states that are bringing God’s judgment on America by allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry:

Day 2 - Locust plagues

CONSIDERATION

In Joelʼs day Israel experienced the destruction of a massive locust plague. The nationʼs economy was crippled because of the decimation of the agriculture. The reason these plagues came was because of the peopleʼs negligence to worship and serve God with their whole heart. Because the people grew cold and eventually departed from God, they experienced incredible hardships. The result of their inner departure was multiple external crises.

In America today we face a similar crisis. We have watched sin escalate to a proportion the nation has never seen before. We live in the first generation in which the wholesale murder of infants through abortion is not only accepted but protected by law. Homosexuality has been embraced as an alternative lifestyle. Same-sex marriage is legal in six states and Washington, D.C. Pornography is available ondemand through the internet. Biblical signs of apostasy are before our very eyes. While the United States still claims to be a nation “under God” it is obvious that we have greatly strayed from our foundations in Christianity.

This year we have seen a dramatic increase in tornadoes that have taken the lives of many and crippled entire cities, such as Tuscaloosa, AL & Joplin, MO. And let us not forget that we are only six years from the tragic events of hurricane Katrina, which rendered the entire Gulf Coast powerless.

Furthermore, because of mismanagement and greed, our national economy is in incredible disarray, with our national debt topping 14 trillion dollars. We have effectively mortgaged our childrenʼs future, while spending money we do not have on entitlements as we search in vain for “the American dream”. The first “wave of locusts” has begun to descend upon us and many are oblivious to the fact that destruction has come and is still coming.

God destined America to be a gospel beacon to the rest of the earth – a nation under God who declares His goodness, truth and mercy to a world desperately in need.

The Jindal rally’s prayer guide also includes the 2011 guide’s plea to conservative Christians to save the United States from “debauchery, sin and ultimately destruction.”

There is much at stake for the church in America. In many ways we are at a crossroads of two divergent paths. Either the church will turn to the Lord with her whole heart, sparking a great revival and reformation in our nation, or she will continue in compromise, keeping the status quo as we watch our nation turn to debauchery, sin and ultimately destruction.

(Emphases are ours.)

Both “Response” rallies are modeled after the “Call” rallies organized by Religious Right leader Lou Engle. The leadership team of Perry’s rally included a number of officials from the International House of Prayer, a ministry closely associated with Engle that promotes the dominionist theology that calls for evangelical Christians to gain control of all parts American culture and government. 

Rob Maness: Health Care Not A Right Because It Has To Be 'Taken From Another Human Being To Be Given To You'

In a debate two weeks ago, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu and her two Republican challengers were asked if they think health care is a “fundamental right.” Landrieu and Rep. Bill Cassidy, the GOP frontrunner, said “yes.” Republican Rob Maness, who has been backed by several Tea Party groups in the “jungle primary,” said “no.”

In an interview with the Sarah Palin fans at Mama Grizzly Radio’s “Palin Update” yesterday, Maness expanded on his answer, arguing that access to health care can’t be a fundamental right because “a fundamental right is one given to us by God that doesn’t have to be taken from another human being to be given to you.”

“And what happens with health care is it’s a product, a service that has to be taken from one person or group of people and given to somebody to make that a fundamental right for them,” he added. “And that’s not the American way, that’s the way of totalitarianism and authoritarianism and socialism.”

GOPer Zach Dasher: Americans Need Unlimited Guns To Defend Against 'Tyrannical Government'

In an interview with the Sarah Palin enthusiasts at Mama Grizzly Radio last month, Louisiana Republican congressional candidate Zach Dasher — a nephew of "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson — repeated the view of anti-government extremists that the Second Amendment was designed to enable Americans to launch an armed insurrection against the sitting government.

“Well, you know, the Second Amendment is the one right that ensures the rest,” Dasher told host Kevin Scholla. “You take away a person’s right to defend themselves, then guess what, you can do whatever you want to them.”

“It’s important to recognize that the Second Amendment is not just the right to bear arms so we can go duck hunting or deer hunting or shoot skeet. This is a right to defend yourself, and not just against criminals but against a tyrannical government as well,” he added.

When Scholla suggested that tyranny might have arrived with the Obama administration, Dasher was less sure about the timeline, but added, “You’re right, Ronald Reagan said we’re always one generation away from tyranny. And I think it’s something that if we don’t fight for our rights, it’s a continual fight to stay free, then this will happen, you will eventually end up being taken over by a tyrant.”

David Vitter Suggests Obama Lied About Terror Threat To Help With Election

In an interview with Newsmax’s J.D. Hayworth today, Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana suggested that the Obama administration lied about the terror threat posed by Khorasan Group — a group of al Qaeda operatives in Syria — in order to justify airstrikes and ultimately help Democrats in the upcoming election.

“Are you afraid the administration cries wolf once too often in these situations?” Hayworth asked.

“Yes, particularly right before an election,” Vitter responded.

Later in the interview, Vitter claimed that the administration is offering public benefits to undocumented immigrants in order to “increase illegal flow into the United States with the eventual goal of making them citizens and voters and everything else.”

Steve Scalise Hails Louisiana Anti-Marriage Equality Ruling

Rep. Steve Scalise praised a federal judge for upholding his home state of Louisiana’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, telling the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins yesterday that the ruling “was an important win for marriage today.”

“I was the lead author of the bill that put a constitutional amendment on the ballot back in 2004,” the House GOP whip said on the FRC’s “Washington Watch.”

Perkins agreed: “A big win for Louisiana but also a big win for the nation in that it has, I think, slowed down this train of activist decisions.”

Mike Johnson of the Religious Right group Freedom Guard, who Scalise called “a great warrior on our behalf,” later told Perkins that anti-gay activists are “standing on the right side of millennia of history” and that no one in their right mind could disagree with the judge’s ruling: “His opinion was so well-written and well-reasoned that no person can objectively read this and disagree.”

Johnson defended the state’s marriage ban in court as the state attorney general’s special counsel.

Richard Land: Cities With Non-Discrimination Laws Criminalized Free Speech

Filling in for Tony Perkins on yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch,” former Southern Baptist Convention official Richard Land discussed the defeat of an LGBT non-discrimination measure in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with Gene Mills of the right-wing Louisiana Family Forum.

Land and Mills both claimed that the ordinance barring employment and housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity would actually, in Land’s words, “suppress the freedom of speech.”

“Homosexuality and the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community, that is the ultimate rebellion against God,” Land declared. “We don’t want them to take away from us the right to say that, to say that’s a rebellion against God.”

Mills replied: “And that’s exactly what they were doing, they were going to use a cause of action against us to silence — and that is what is happening in ‘everywhere USA’ — religious liberty is under assault…. Any expression, any thought, anything you just shared, could have been construed as a hate crime or an act of discrimination, and the reality is the shame and the guilt the homosexual feels is mistakenly reinterpreted as discrimination and what they attempt to do is to call it discrimination and prohibit it.”

According to the Human Rights Campaign, approximately 200 cities have non-discrimination ordinances in place. If anything Mills or Land said in the interview was true, then pastors around the country would be facing prosecution… but they’re not because the two Religious Right activists are completely dishonest.

Louisiana Activist Waxes Nostalgic For Days When Homosexuality Was Considered A Disorder

Gene Mills of the Louisiana Family Forum, who is campaigning against a non-discrimination ordinance in the city of Baton Rouge, said on Friday that the ordinance could potentially make pedophilia a legally protected sexual orientation.

Speaking on the Family Research Council radio show “Washington Watch,” Mills also claimed that that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation, “and other behaviors are considered disordered. Because of the sexual, political agenda of many of these activists, they’ve been successful at redefining those disorders and classifying them as orientations.”

“Washington Watch” host Craig James also dismissed the ordinance because “less than three percent, I believe the exact number is 2.3 percent of the people in this country identify themselves with the LGBT community, yet it is a far greater feeling that they are out there in greater force.”

Self-Aware Bobby Jindal Is Tired Of 'Candidates Who Tell Us One Thing Then Go Do Another'

In an interview earlier this month with the Iowa blog Caffienated Thoughts, noted paragon of consistency Bobby Jindal lamented about “candidates who tell us one thing then go do another” on judicial nominations.

Jindal was discussing recent court decisions in favor of marriage equality, which he suggested could be grounds for recalling judges. In 2012, Jindal joined the failed effort to recall an Iowa Supreme Court justice who had joined the court’s unanimous marriage equality ruling.

The Louisiana governor spent the first half of the interview deriding the Common Core education standards — which he previously backed — as a “federal takeover of education."

Bobby Jindal Courts 'Christian Nation' Crowd For 2016 Presidential Bid

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal would like to be president, so he spent the weekend at Liberty University doing what a Republican presidential wannabe does: courting Religious Right leaders by assuring them that he is one of them and shares their vision for America.  Jindal spoke at Liberty’s commencement address on Saturday, where he spouted Religious Right talking points about the “war” on religious liberty by a “left” that wants to “silence people of faith.” And on Friday night, he spent two hours talking about his faith in a session with politically influential pastors organized by Christian-nation zealot David Lane.

The Washington Post’s Tom Hamburger reports that Jindal talked the pastors through his conversion from Hinduism to Protestantism in high school, while not spending much time on his conversion to Catholicism a few years later in college. Jindal positions himself solidly in the conservative religious coalition by calling himself an “evangelical Catholic.”  According to the Post,

The visiting pastors flew to Lynchburg over the weekend at the invitation of the American Renewal Project, a well-funded nonprofit group that encourages evangelical Christians to engage in the civic arena with voter guides, get-out-the-vote drives and programs to train pastors in grass-roots activism. The group’s founder, David Lane, has built a pastor network in politically important states such as Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and South Carolina and has led trips to Israel with Paul and others seeking to make inroads with evangelical activists.

The group that Lane invited to Lynchburg included Donald Wild­mon, a retired minister and founder of the American Family Association, a prominent evangelical activist group that has influence through its network of more than 140 Christian radio stations.

As regular RWW readers know, the Post’s description, while accurate, only begins to describe David Lane, who we reported last year is “an anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Mormon, Christian-nation absolutist who has declared war, not only on secularism and separation of church and state, but also on establishment Republicans who don’t embrace his vision of an America in which the Bible serves as ‘the principle textbook' for public education and a ‘Christian culture’ has been ‘re-established.’” Lane believes Christians “must be retrained to war for the Soul of America and quit believing the fabricated whopper of the ‘Separation of Church and State.’” He says America must repent for breaking the founders' covenant with God or face the wrath of God, which he said last year would include car bombings in Los Angeles, Des Moines, and Washington, D.C. as a consequence of abortion rights, the national debt, and “homosexuals praying at the inauguration.”

Jindal’s personal appeal to Religious Right leaders may encourage them to take a closer look at his record. Given his hostility to abortion rights and LGBT equality and his record of privatizing public education, using tax dollars to promote creationism, and rejecting Medicaid expansion, far-right pastors will probably like what they see. 

Eagle Forum Spokeswoman Warns Real ID Licenses Are Like Nazi Star Of David Badges

Testifying yesterday against Lousiana’s bill to allow its residents to access REAL ID compliant drivers licenses, Eagle Forum spokeswoman Sandy McDade said the gold stars marking REAL ID licenses are like the Star of David badges Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany.

However, she said that while she opposes the REAL ID Act, she does support requiring a photo ID to vote because she had “read documents” about people voting “several times.”

McDade, who is the chairwoman of Eagle Forum’s Louisiana chapter and who also serves at the national group’s political chairwoman, told the state house’s transportation committee that the only country she could think of with a national ID card was Nazi Germany.

“I will leave that there, I won’t go down that path, I just want you to have that image,” she said.

But then just a few minutes later, she ended her testimony with a “humorous, but it’s not really” anecdote. “We’re talking about putting a star on our drivers’ licenses,” she said, “and I have to ask: Is that a ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ or is it the Star of David? Because we all know where that went.” 

She later confirmed to the Baton Rouge Advocate that she was indeed referring to the badges Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany.

After her testimony, Rep. Sam Jones asked her if she supported requiring photo identification to vote. McDade replied that she did because “I have read documents where people go and vote several times and declare themselves to be different people.”

“Wow,” Jones responded.

David Lane Digs In

In July, we reported on Christian-nation extremist David Lane’s closed-door pastors briefing in Iowa, and the presidential hopefuls and other politicians who have flocked to Lane’s gatherings over the years.

This week the Des Moines Register’s Jennifer Jacobs reported that Lane’s American Renewal Project is holding church-based voter registration drives on three Sundays this month: Sept. 15, Sept. 22 and Sept. 29.  Steve Michael, a spokesperson for the project, told the Register that after the American Renewal Project’s $1.2 million voter registration campaign in Missouri during the last election cycle, the state saw a 3 percent increase in evangelical voters.  He said it will organize in Iowa “steadily until the 2014 election.”

The "Stand-up Sundays" model goes like this: Pastors ask their congregation members to stand up if they're already registered. Volunteers will then hand out voter registration paperwork to the adults still seated. But each Iowa pastor will decide how to do it, Lane told the Register.

Iowa is among 11 states the American Renewal Project is targeting in the 2014 cycle, Michael said. The others are Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.

Organizers will do “Pastors and Pews” events followed by voter registration drives in each state. Next up is Louisiana on Sept. 26-27….

Lane said Iowa may be one of the most registered states in the nation, thanks to the attention from the presidential campaigns, so he expects Louisiana, Arkansas and North Carolina to be more "target rich areas."

It’s worth noting that Louisiana, Arkansas, and North Carolina are also among the top Senate races for 2014, as are other states on Lane’s target list. 

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