Mississippi

Right Wing Round-Up

Rick Perry Teams Up With AFA For Call-Like Prayer Rally

Reuters reports that Texas Governor Rick Perry has teamed up with the American Family Association to launch his own Lou Engle-like all day prayer rally:

Saying "there is hope for America, and we will find it on our knees," Texas Governor Rick Perry has invited other governors to join him in a "solemn gathering of prayer and fasting" in August in Houston, according to the event's website.

Perry, who said recently he is considering a run for the Republican nomination to contest the presidency in 2012 against Barack Obama, has frequently made calls for prayer while governor.

"I sincerely hope you'll join me in Houston on August 6th and take your place in Reliant Stadium with praying people asking for God's forgiveness, wisdom and provision," Perry wrote in materials promoting the event, called "The Response, a Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis."

A message on the event's website says it is in response to a historic crisis and calls it "a non-denominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting," with the goal "to rise up and make a sound that will be heard in heaven."

The site says Perry "has invited all US governors as well as many other national and Christian political leaders."

"Right now, America is in crisis," Perry says in a message on the site. "We have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. As a nation, we must come together, and call upon Jesus to guide us..."

Perry's spokeswoman could not be reached for comment on the August event on Sunday.

Eric Bearse, a spokesman for The Response, said on Sunday: "The governor told the American Family Association about a month ago that we need to call Americans together for a time of prayer."

Bearse said the Mississippi-based American Family Association, a conservative Christian activist group, is paying for the event, and admission will not be charged.

According to the event website, the prayer rally will take place at Reliant Stadium in Houston and last from 10 am to 5 pm and will feature Don Wildmon and Buddy Smith of the American Family Association, Jim Garlow of Renewing American Leadership, David Lane, who was involved in the effort to remove the Supreme Court Justices in Iowa and is behind the various "Restoration Project" events across America, former Congressmen Bob McEwen, as well as several leaders associated with Lou Engle and/or the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.

Religious Right And Republican Establishment Square Off Over Mitch Daniels

Politico reports today that the prominent Republican politicians and activists are increasingly displeased with the current field of presidential candidates (I wonder why) and are pressuring Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels to jump into the race. “With Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s decision not to run, the party’s elites are holding out a desperate hope to persuade Daniels, who is publicly reluctant, in part because of his wife’s concerns,” Mike Allen writes, adding that the one scenario which “terrifies Washington Republicans” is “the possibility that some very conservative, insurgent candidate will become the Romney alternative.”

But Daniels’s proposed “social issues truce” has made him a persona non grata among social conservatives who will play key roles in deciding the party’s nominee.

Religious Right leaders are now taking shots at Daniels as he gets ready to announce his decision on a 2012 bid, and it appears that his support for a law that defunds Planned Parenthood has done little to tamper down criticism.

Micah Clark of the American Family Association’s Indiana chapter knocked his “weakness on the homosexual demands”:

I think he has a bit of a weakness on the homosexual demands. Two months after he was elected, he signed an executive order, elevating gender identity and cross-dressing to the same [level] as race and skin color, which was really unfortunate.

The AFA’s Bryan Fischer called the Indiana governor “toast” among the Republican faithful:

Daniels. Kept foolishly defending his call for a “truce” on social issues. But conservatives know that “truce” is just a euphemism for “surrender.” They’re looking for someone to carry the banner, not run up the white flag. He showed no eagerness to sign the Indiana ban on funding for Planned Parenthood, and showed no leadership on that issue at all. Not a good sign if you’re looking for someone who thinks pre-born babies have a right to life. Daniels ain’t gonna fight for unborn babies, and social conservatives know it. Plus he said he’d pick pro-abort Condi Rice as his VP candidate. Daniels is toast.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council was angered by Daniels’s suggestion of running on a ticket with Condoleezza Rice:

I’ve been asked a lot about the chances of Gov. Mitch “Truce” Daniels in 2012. On the heels of signing a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, Daniels managed to poke pro-lifers in the eye again when he answered a question about a possible running mate with Condoleezza Rice. Although she has stellar credentials on national defense, the former Secretary of State has long held pro-abortion views, which makes her a non-starter with social conservatives. It is ironic, however, that Governor Daniels seeks a truce with liberals while he attacks the sensibilities of pro-family conservatives within his own party.

As Kyle noted yesterday, Religious Right leaders are looking for a candidate to rally behind after Mike Huckabee decided against running. If Daniels runs and doesn’t apologize for his ‘truce’ talk, expect social conservative activists to pull out all the stops to defeat his candidacy.

Newt: Worst Campaign Promise Ever?

“I know how to get the whole country to resemble Texas.”  

      Newt Gingrich on Sean Hannity, May 11, 2011
 
In his presidential campaign announcement on Sean Hannity’s Fox News Channel show, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich praised job creation in Texas and said he’d been talking to Texas governor Rick Perry and knows “how to get the whole country to resemble Texas.” That could go down as the worst campaign promise ever. 
 
“I dearly love the state of Texas,” the late Texan and progressive icon Molly Ivins wrote, “but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part, and discuss it only with consenting adults.” Noting that Texas was a state that provided relatively few services to its residents, she once wrote, “The only depressing part is that, unlike Mississippi, we can afford to do better. We just don’t.”  Maybe that should be the motto for Newt Gingrich and his fellow anti-government demagogues.
 
The impact of that governing philosophy is spreading a lot of pain in Texas right now. Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote earlier this year:  
 
Texas is where the modern conservative theory of budgeting — the belief that you should never raise taxes under any circumstances, that you can always balance the budget by cutting wasteful spending — has been implemented most completely. If the theory can’t make it there, it can’t make it anywhere.
 
In fact, Texas lawmakers have been struggling all year to figure out how to deal with a massive budget deficit.  An AP story from March, headlined “Texas’ economic miracle beginning to tarnish,” noted that the state’s budget shortfall was “among the worst in the nation.” A temporary budget deal in March involving more than $1 billion in spending cuts still left the state $23 billion short over the next two years by one estimate. Proposed cuts could result in layoffs for 100,000 school employees and 60,000 nursing home workers and eliminate 9,600 state jobs this year. Just this week lawmakers struggled to reach agreement on a deal to close a $4 billion deficit in the current year, which ends in August.  
 
It is possible that entire crisis may have been manufactured by Perry and other anti-government Republicans to give lawmakers a justification for further slashing government and basic human services.
 
Does Newt think we really want the whole country to look like Texas, which ranks:
 
 50th in percentage of population without health insurance (2010)
 
50th  in percentage of children insured (2009)
 
50th  in percentage of women receiving early prenatal care (2010)
 
45th  in rate of infectious diseases (2010)
 
44th  in percentage of children in poverty (2010)
 
42nd  in per capita health care funding (2010)
 
40th  in overall health (2010)
 
36th  in high school graduation rate (2010)
 
35th  in crime (2010)
 
35th  in percentage of children immunized (2010)
 
34th  in rate of occupational fatalities (2010)
 
30th in percentage of people with college degree (2008)
 
Texas also ranks:
 
1st  in amount of recognized carcinogens released into the air (2002)
 
4th highest  in release of toxic chemicals into the environment (2002)
 
8th highest  in percentage of people below poverty level (2008)
 
13th highest  in obesity (2010)
 
“I know how to get the whole country to resemble Texas.”   Uh, thanks, Newt, but no thanks.
 

Porter: Tornadoes Due To Legal Abortion, Israel Policy

Janet Porter believes that the recent tornadoes that left hundreds dead in the South were a consequence of America’s acceptance of legal abortion and “sexual sin,” along with the supposed mistreatment of Israel. In addition to wildfires in Oklahoma and Texas, Porter claims that Americans gave “God reason to at least partially lift His protective Hand from America.” Porter isn’t the only Religious Right leader who said that the tornadoes signaled that America trigged God’s wrath: Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance said the tornadoes were “early warning signals” and “little tastes” of God’s judgment. Porter warns that America continues to risk “God’s wrath against us” until Americans “give their undivided attention to God.”

Is God trying to get our attention?

The worst tornado outbreak in American history has left hundreds dead. Mississippi flooding has not been this bad in 80 years. Wildfires have swept through millions of acres in Texas and Oklahoma.

There are a number of things that could give God reason to at least partially lift His protective Hand from America, including the millions of abortions done here each year, the flaunting of sexual sin, and our recent treatment of Israel.

Any support that the U.S. provides for dividing the Holy Land risks God’s wrath against us. Rabbi Aryeh Spero says that a division could displace 400,000 Jews from their homes and more Christian holy sites would fall under Muslim control.

Pray that this will not happen and that many Americans will give their undivided attention to God.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The pastor arrested in connection with the Lisa Miller kidnapping has been released on bond.  Let's hope he doesn't flee the country.
  • Richard Land says those who President Obama's Christian faith or birthplace are "irrational and a little unbalanced."
  • Haley Barbour is not running for president.
  • David Barton is headlining the Citizens for Community Values Annual Spring Partnership Banquet, along with Rep. Jim Jordan.
  • Finally, Gary Bauer says everyone ought to get down on their knees and be thankful that America is a Christian nation.

Right Wing Round-Up

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 4/5/11

Michele Bachmann

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

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

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

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

Haley Barbour

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

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

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

Herman Cain

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

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

Newt Gingrich

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

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

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

Rudy Giuliani

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

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

Mike Huckabee

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

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

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

Sarah Palin

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

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

Rand Paul

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

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

Tim Pawlenty

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

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

Mitt Romney

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

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

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

Rick Santorum

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

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

Alabama Weighs Extreme "Personhood" Laws

As neighboring Mississippi is set to vote on a “personhood” amendment in November, Alabama may have its own personhood debate as a “personhood” amendment and statute have been introduced in the state legislature. Republican legislators in the Alabama legislature have introduced “personhood” laws as both statutes and amendments to the state constitution. Both chambers are controlled by Republicans, and the Senate statutory bill already has the support of a majority of state senators.

Personhood laws grant constitutional rights to zygotes and fetuses, and ban abortion without exception, certain forms of birth control, in vitro fertilization, and the treatment of pregnancy complications such as ectopic pregnancies. The radical anti-choice group Personhood USA along with the Foundation for Moral Law, led by former Alabama state Supreme Court justice and likely presidential candidate Roy Moore, are the main forces behind the state’s personhood legislation. Ben DuPré, the point person for the state’s personhood campaign, is a graduate of Pat Robertson’s Regent University and Regent University School of Law and a former clerk for Robertson’s American Center for Law and Justice and Moore, and is now an attorney for the Foundation for Moral Law and the head of Personhood Alabama. DuPré likened legal abortion to the dehumanization of black people in America:

The Foundation for Moral Law and Personhood Alabama have announced personhood bills and amendments in the House and the Senate, backed by a large number of supporters.

SB301 is a clear recognition of the personhood rights of all human beings, regardless of their age, size, or location. SB 301 states “The term ‘persons’ as used in the Code of Alabama 1975, shall include any human being from the moment of fertilization or the functional equivalent thereof.”

SB 301 is a statutory change to the Alabama Code, and is sponsored by a staggering 19 of 35 Alabama Senators.



Yesterday HB 405 and HB 409 were filed in the House by Representative John Merrill,a Personhood Statute and Personhood Amendment, respectively. The Personhood Statute and Amendment were backed by 31 co-sponsors.

“It is my belief that this bill will clearly affirm that, under law, an individual becomes a person upon fertilization,” stated Representative Merrill.



DuPré added, “America used to define the meaning of ‘person’ along racial lines; now we draw the line at the womb. Personhood legislation finally gives equal protection of the laws to the unborn as well as the born, and from the first moment of human life.”

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 3/29/11

Michele Bachmann

Fundraising: Embellishes fundraising skills (WaPo, 3/28).

Religious Right: Slams proposed “social issues truce” at conservative forum (Des Moines Register, 3/26).

Iowa: Names State Senator and prominent Birther the director of her Iowa campaign (MoJo, 3/25).

Haley Barbour

Mississippi: State lawmakers criticize Barbour’s out of state traveling that caused him to miss budget deadline (The State Column, 3/28).

Obama: Claims President sees Americans as “too stupid to take care of ourselves” (ABC News, 3/26).

Equality: Calls to reinstate Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in order to prevent an “amorous mindset” among soldiers (RWW, 3/25).

Herman Cain

Equality: Says he will not appoint any Muslims if elected President (ThinkProgress, 3/26).

Race: Declares he “won’t stay on the Democrat plantation” (Politico, 3/26).

Newt Gingrich

Background: Believes it wasn’t hypocritical to impeach Clinton for affair while he was having an affair himself (CBS News, 3/28).

Religious Right: Tells John Hagee’s church he fears America as “a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists” (CNN, 3/28).

Equality: Discusses with Bryan Fischer how he will “slow down the homosexual agenda” (RWW, 3/25).

Mike Huckabee

Religious Right: Calls on activists to become “spiritual warriors” in social issues fight (RWW, 3/25).

Poll: Leads all other Republican candidates in national poll (TPM, 3/25).

Jon Huntsman

PAC: Horizon PAC hires more staffers and readies for potential campaign (Politico, 3/28).

Background: Staffers looks to distance Huntsman from Obama (AP, 3/26).

Roy Moore

2012: Alabama justice best known for Ten Commandments controversy plans to announce presidential bid in April (CBS News, 3/28).

Equality: Addressed Iowa opponents of marriage equality law at rally (Des Moines Register, 3/15).

Sarah Palin

Poll: Loses support in survey of Republicans nationwide (Reuters, 3/25).

Media: Refers to Bill Maher as an “annoying little mosquito” (Politico, 3/24).

Tim Pawlenty

Religious Right: Focuses Iowa campaign on attracting support of the Religious Right (RCP, 3/28).

Fundraising: Announces finance team led by former McCain fundraiser (WaPo, 3/28).

Mitt Romney

Campaign: Hires former Bush Administration staffer as policy advisor (Politico, 3/28).

Fundraising: Hopes to raise $50 million for the primary campaign (The Caucus, 3/25).

Rick Santorum

Family: Cancels campaign appearances to attend to ill daughter (CBN News, 3/28).

New Hampshire: Scheduled to appear at “first town hall meeting” of 2012 primary (Union Leader, 3/22).

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 3/22/11

Michele Bachmann

History: New Hampshire politicians take jabs at Bachmann's history blunder (Politico, 3/17).

2012: Deep roots in conservative movement bolster her campaign prospects (TNR, 3/17).

Haley Barbour

Campaign: Expanding campaign and presence in early state (NYT, 3/22).

Mississippi: State taxpayers paid for $300,000 of his out-of-state traveling costs (Clarion Ledger, 3/21).

Foreign Affairs: Calls for reducing troop level in Afghanistan (CBS News, 3/16).

Mitch Daniels

Book: Signs book deal with conservative publisher (AP, 3/21).

2012: Wife raises doubts about potential run (Indianapolis Star, 3/20).

Newt Gingrich

New Hampshire: Schedules speeches and meetings in the Granite State (Union Leader, 3/21).

Foreign Affairs: Claims President Obama "does not even know who his enemies are" (Union Leader, 3/20).

Obama: Says President is busy on ESPN instead of handling crises (LA Times, 3/18).

Mike Huckabee

Religious Right: Says he wants world leaders to have a "biblical worldview" (RWW, 3/21). 

Anti-Choice: Lauds anti-choice leaders on Fox News show (News Hounds, 3/21).

Fox News: Favorite candidate of Fox News viewers (HuffPo, 3/18).

Sarah Palin

Foreign Affairs: Plans to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu during tour of Israel after visiting India (Forward, 3/21).

Energy: Alaska abandons much of Palin's energy agenda (NYT, 3/17).

Campaign: Top aide profiled by Los Angeles Times (LA Times, 3/16).

Ron Paul

Foreign Affairs: Slams US involvement in no-fly zone as "unconstitutional" (Raw Story, 3/21).

GOP: Wins California GOP convention straw poll (Sacramento Bee, 3/20).

Economy: Pushes elimination of the Federal Reserve (Reuters, 3/17).

Tim Pawlenty

2012: Announces formation of exploratory committee (Star Tribune, 3/21).

Campaign: Adopts Southern accent in stump speech (Minnesota Public Radio, 3/18).

Tea Party: Set to address New Hampshire Tea Party rally (Think Progress, 3/17).

Mitt Romney

Health Care: Allies downplay impact of Massachusetts health care reform law on primary (The Hill, 3/17).

Campaign: Recruits fundraisers close to former President Bush (Bloomberg, 3/17).

Donald Trump

Foreign Affairs: Brags to Fox News that he "screwed" Qaddafi on land deal (Fox News, 3/21).

New Hampshire: Scheduled to address political forum in New Hampshire (Boston Herald, 3/16).

Rick Santorum

Foreign Affairs: Derides Obama for turning the US into "the military of the UN" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3/18).

Health Care: Calls Mitt Romney's health care reform law a "failure" (The State Column, 3/18).

Religious Right: Tells far-right Catholic group that he was "appalled" by JFK's "radical" support of the separation of church and state (Boston Globe, 3/15).

Personhood Law Would Ban Treatment of Life-Threatening Pregnancies

As personhood legislation sprouts up in states like Mississippi, Georgia, Florida and Iowa, the radical anti-choice group Personhood USA also hopes to introduce their extreme (and unconstitutional) legislation in North Dakota. Personhood bills criminalize abortion and certain forms of birth control by granting legal rights to zygotes, declaring it a separate ‘person’ from the mother. Many doctors believe that such legislation would ban in vitro fertilization and prohibit doctors from giving medical assistance to women with serious pregnancy complications like ectopic pregnancies. The AP reports on North Dakota doctors speaking out against the radical legislation in their state:

Doctors told the North Dakota Senate's Judiciary Committee that it could affect couples using in vitro fertilization to try to have a baby as well as women who have complications in early pregnancy that will prevent an embryo from developing into a viable baby. Such complications include an ectopic pregnancy, which happens when a fertilized egg begins growing outside the uterus. The doctors who testified said they did not perform abortions.



Although the measure exempts in vitro fertilization from criminal penalties, it includes language saying that "causing injury to a human being" is not justified.

Dr. Stephanie Dahl, a Fargo infertility specialist who works at North Dakota's only in vitro fertilization center, said the bill would make it illegal to do the procedure.

"The process of IVF may result in injury to an embryo," Dahl said. "It is unavoidable."

Dr. Shari Orser, a Bismarck obstetrician and gynecologist, told the committee that most eggs that are fertilized for in vitro fertilization never become viable embryos "and only a small percentage of embryos thought to be viable produce a child."

"To suggest that every embryo is a person is absurd," Orser said.

Orser said the law also would complicate the treatment of ectopic pregnancies. Without treatment, a tubal pregnancy can result in serious internal bleeding and death, she said.

Other conditions can result in a fetus developing without kidneys, lungs or a brain, Orser said.

"These diagnoses are often made in the first half of these pregnancies," Orser said. "Should a woman be forced to continue the pregnancy when she knows that her baby will die, or can she be spared the emotional distress and the risks of carrying a pregnancy to term?"

Will Republican Presidential Prospects Address The Iowa Renewal Project?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DOMA Decision Becomes Test Of GOP Fealty To Religious Right

When news broke that the Obama administration had decided to stop defending DOMA in court because the law in unconstitutional, the Religious Right went nuts and immediately swung into action to get Congress to step in and take up the fight.

But as both the Washington Post and New York Times report, the GOP establishment doesn't appear particularly eager to wade into this battle:

President Obama’s decision to abandon his legal support for the Defense of Marriage Act has generated only mild rebukes from the Republicans hoping to succeed him in 2012, evidence of a shifting political climate in which social issues are being crowded out by economic concerns.

The Justice Department announced on Wednesday that after two years of defending the law — hailed by proponents in 1996 as an cornerstone in the protection of traditional values — the president and his attorney general have concluded it is unconstitutional.

In the hours that followed, Sarah Palin’s Facebook site was silent. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, was close-mouthed. Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, released a Web video — on the labor union protests in Wisconsin — and waited a day before issuing a marriage statement saying he was “disappointed.”

Others, like Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, took their time weighing in, and then did so only in the most tepid terms. “The Justice Department is supposed to defend our laws,” Mr. Barbour said.

Asked if Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana and a possible presidential candidate, had commented on the marriage decision, a spokeswoman said that he “hasn’t, and with other things we have going on here right now, he has no plans.”

But if the GOP thinks it can sit this one out, it had better think again because its Religious Right base is demanding that Republican leaders and candidates step up and make this a central issue heading into 2012:

Angered conservatives are vowing to make same-sex marriage a front-burner election issue, nationally and in the states, following the Obama administration's announcement that it will no longer defend the federal law denying recognition to gay married couples.

"The ripple effect nationwide will be to galvanize supporters of marriage," said staff counsel Jim Campbell of Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal group.

On the federal level, opponents of same-sex marriage urged Republican leaders in the House of Representatives to intervene on their own to defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, against pending court challenges.

"The president has thrown down the gauntlet, challenging Congress," said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. "It is incumbent upon the Republican leadership to respond by intervening to defend DOMA, or they will become complicit in the president's neglect of duty."

Conservatives also said they would now expect the eventual 2012 GOP presidential nominee to highlight the marriage debate as part of a challenge to Obama, putting the issue on equal footing with the economy.

...

Perkins, the Family Research Council leader, suggested that House Republicans would risk alienating their conservative base if they did not tackle the marriage issue head-on.

"The president was kind of tossing this cultural grenade into the Republican camp," he said.

"If they ignore this, it becomes an issue that will lead to some very troubling outcomes for Republicans."

DOMA Decision Becomes Test Of GOP Fealty To Religious Right

When news broke that the Obama administration had decided to stop defending DOMA in court because the law in unconstitutional, the Religious Right went nuts and immediately swung into action to get Congress to step in and take up the fight.

But as both the Washington Post and New York Times report, the GOP establishment doesn't appear particularly eager to wade into this battle:

President Obama’s decision to abandon his legal support for the Defense of Marriage Act has generated only mild rebukes from the Republicans hoping to succeed him in 2012, evidence of a shifting political climate in which social issues are being crowded out by economic concerns.

The Justice Department announced on Wednesday that after two years of defending the law — hailed by proponents in 1996 as an cornerstone in the protection of traditional values — the president and his attorney general have concluded it is unconstitutional.

In the hours that followed, Sarah Palin’s Facebook site was silent. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, was close-mouthed. Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, released a Web video — on the labor union protests in Wisconsin — and waited a day before issuing a marriage statement saying he was “disappointed.”

Others, like Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, took their time weighing in, and then did so only in the most tepid terms. “The Justice Department is supposed to defend our laws,” Mr. Barbour said.

Asked if Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana and a possible presidential candidate, had commented on the marriage decision, a spokeswoman said that he “hasn’t, and with other things we have going on here right now, he has no plans.”

But if the GOP thinks it can sit this one out, it had better think again because its Religious Right base is demanding that Republican leaders and candidates step up and make this a central issue heading into 2012:

Angered conservatives are vowing to make same-sex marriage a front-burner election issue, nationally and in the states, following the Obama administration's announcement that it will no longer defend the federal law denying recognition to gay married couples.

"The ripple effect nationwide will be to galvanize supporters of marriage," said staff counsel Jim Campbell of Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal group.

On the federal level, opponents of same-sex marriage urged Republican leaders in the House of Representatives to intervene on their own to defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, against pending court challenges.

"The president has thrown down the gauntlet, challenging Congress," said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. "It is incumbent upon the Republican leadership to respond by intervening to defend DOMA, or they will become complicit in the president's neglect of duty."

Conservatives also said they would now expect the eventual 2012 GOP presidential nominee to highlight the marriage debate as part of a challenge to Obama, putting the issue on equal footing with the economy.

...

Perkins, the Family Research Council leader, suggested that House Republicans would risk alienating their conservative base if they did not tackle the marriage issue head-on.

"The president was kind of tossing this cultural grenade into the Republican camp," he said.

"If they ignore this, it becomes an issue that will lead to some very troubling outcomes for Republicans."

Iowa Personhood Bill Could Legalize the Murder of Abortion Providers

After the failed attempt in South Dakota to push a bill that would legalize the killing of abortion providers, Iowa is now set to take up legislation with a similar effect. The Iowa State House is weighing both a Personhood bill, which gives legal rights to zygotes by classifying them as separate “persons,” and a bill that expands the right to use deadly force to protect a third party. The Personhood legislation attempts to criminalize abortion and common forms of birth control and has already been approved by a State House subcommittee; Personhood Amendments are also under consideration in Mississippi, North Dakota, and Georgia. Essentially, by declaring that a zygote and a fetus have all of the same legal rights as a “person” while also broadening the legal protections regarding the reasonable use of deadly force, abortion providers could be legally targeted with the rationale of protecting a third party.

Lynda Waddington of The Iowa Independent reports:

Currently, abortion is also settled law in Iowa. But House File 153, sponsored by 28 Republicans, challenges it. Under that bill, the state would be mandated to recognize and protect “life” from the moment of conception until “natural death” with the full force of the law and state and federal constitutions. Essentially, the bill declares that from the moment a male sperm and a female ovum join to create a fertilized egg that a person exists.

House File 7, which has been sponsored by 29 GOP House members, seeks to expand state law regarding use of reasonable force, including deadly force. Current state laws provide that citizens are not required to retreat from their dwelling or place of business if they or a third party are threatened. The proposal would significantly expand this to state that citizens are not required to retreat from “any place at which the person has a right to be present,” and that in such instances, the citizen has the right to use reasonable force, including deadly force, to protect himself or a third party from serious injury or death or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.



Todd Miler, a criminal defense attorney in Des Moines, agrees that these two bills, when combined, create a situation that could lead to someone claiming the killing of an abortion provider or a family planning worker was reasonable use of deadly force.

“My first thought when I looked at House File 153 was that it was a first step — something that had been put out there as a first step toward a larger political goal. But, when you place it next to House File 7 the potential ramifications are startling,” Miler said.

“[House File 7] explicitly provides that people have a right to defend themselves or others at any place they are legally allowed to be. That would definitely include sidewalks or streets outside of clinics. They could attempt to kill a physician or a clinic worker, and if they did so while believing they were protecting another person, which would be defined under House File 153 as a fetus, then, under this law, they would have the right to do that.”

Iowa Personhood Bill Could Legalize the Murder of Abortion Providers

After the failed attempt in South Dakota to push a bill that would legalize the killing of abortion providers, Iowa is now set to take up legislation with a similar effect. The Iowa State House is weighing both a Personhood bill, which gives legal rights to zygotes by classifying them as separate “persons,” and a bill that expands the right to use deadly force to protect a third party. The Personhood legislation attempts to criminalize abortion and common forms of birth control and has already been approved by a State House subcommittee; Personhood Amendments are also under consideration in Mississippi, North Dakota, and Georgia. Essentially, by declaring that a zygote and a fetus have all of the same legal rights as a “person” while also broadening the legal protections regarding the reasonable use of deadly force, abortion providers could be legally targeted with the rationale of protecting a third party.

Lynda Waddington of The Iowa Independent reports:

Currently, abortion is also settled law in Iowa. But House File 153, sponsored by 28 Republicans, challenges it. Under that bill, the state would be mandated to recognize and protect “life” from the moment of conception until “natural death” with the full force of the law and state and federal constitutions. Essentially, the bill declares that from the moment a male sperm and a female ovum join to create a fertilized egg that a person exists.

House File 7, which has been sponsored by 29 GOP House members, seeks to expand state law regarding use of reasonable force, including deadly force. Current state laws provide that citizens are not required to retreat from their dwelling or place of business if they or a third party are threatened. The proposal would significantly expand this to state that citizens are not required to retreat from “any place at which the person has a right to be present,” and that in such instances, the citizen has the right to use reasonable force, including deadly force, to protect himself or a third party from serious injury or death or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.



Todd Miler, a criminal defense attorney in Des Moines, agrees that these two bills, when combined, create a situation that could lead to someone claiming the killing of an abortion provider or a family planning worker was reasonable use of deadly force.

“My first thought when I looked at House File 153 was that it was a first step — something that had been put out there as a first step toward a larger political goal. But, when you place it next to House File 7 the potential ramifications are startling,” Miler said.

“[House File 7] explicitly provides that people have a right to defend themselves or others at any place they are legally allowed to be. That would definitely include sidewalks or streets outside of clinics. They could attempt to kill a physician or a clinic worker, and if they did so while believing they were protecting another person, which would be defined under House File 153 as a fetus, then, under this law, they would have the right to do that.”

Tony Perkins Embraces the Extreme Personhood Movement

The anti-choice campaign to pass “Personhood Amendments,” the radical plan once shunned by major Religious Right organizations, continues to gain prominent supporters within the conservative movement. Following in the footsteps of other right-wing leaders like Bryan Fischer, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins has come out in favor of the Personhood Amendment, which would give legal rights to zygotes and criminalize abortion, stem-cell research, common forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization.

As voters consistently voted down Personhood Amendments by lopsided margins in Colorado, leading groups like National Right to Life and Americans United for Life refused to back the Amendment and the Colorado Eagle Forum warned allies in 2009 that the Personhood movement intends to “spread their disaster to key swing states like Florida, Missouri, Nevada and Montana.”

And now the Personhood movement is doing exactly that, but this time with the support of major Religious Right figures, and even Republican politicians.

Fischer, the American Family Association, and the Liberty Counsel have come out strongly in favor of the Personhood Amendment that will be on Mississippi’s November ballot, as have top Republicans like Senator Roger Wicker and Congressman Alan Nunnelee.

In Georgia, Perkins praised the Personhood Amendment introduced by state Sen. Barry Loudermilk, saying, “The Georgia Personhood Amendment is a reflection of a growing pro-life sentiment across the country.”

But in 2007, James Bopp, the General Counsel for the National Right to Life Committee, criticized the Personhood measure in Georgia, known as the Human Life Amendment (HLA), in a legal memo. Warning of “the inevitable striking down” of the amendment and that “significant damage would be done,” Bopp said that “the proposed HLA has serious flaws and is not a wise use of pro-life resources at this time.”

Georgia and Mississippi aren’t the only states where the Personhood movement is moving into high gear.

The State House in North Dakota just passed a personhood bill that one supporter said “should shut down” the state’s last clinic that provides abortion services, and a subcommittee in the Iowa State House also approved a personhood bill. Personhood USA, the leading advocacy organization, has pledged to mount fights in states like Texas, Oklahoma, and Montana as well.

Tony Perkins Embraces the Extreme Personhood Movement

The anti-choice campaign to pass “Personhood Amendments,” the radical plan once shunned by major Religious Right organizations, continues to gain prominent supporters within the conservative movement. Following in the footsteps of other right-wing leaders like Bryan Fischer, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins has come out in favor of the Personhood Amendment, which would give legal rights to zygotes and criminalize abortion, stem-cell research, common forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization.

As voters consistently voted down Personhood Amendments by lopsided margins in Colorado, leading groups like National Right to Life and Americans United for Life refused to back the Amendment and the Colorado Eagle Forum warned allies in 2009 that the Personhood movement intends to “spread their disaster to key swing states like Florida, Missouri, Nevada and Montana.”

And now the Personhood movement is doing exactly that, but this time with the support of major Religious Right figures, and even Republican politicians.

Fischer, the American Family Association, and the Liberty Counsel have come out strongly in favor of the Personhood Amendment that will be on Mississippi’s November ballot, as have top Republicans like Senator Roger Wicker and Congressman Alan Nunnelee.

In Georgia, Perkins praised the Personhood Amendment introduced by state Sen. Barry Loudermilk, saying, “The Georgia Personhood Amendment is a reflection of a growing pro-life sentiment across the country.”

But in 2007, James Bopp, the General Counsel for the National Right to Life Committee, criticized the Personhood measure in Georgia, known as the Human Life Amendment (HLA), in a legal memo. Warning of “the inevitable striking down” of the amendment and that “significant damage would be done,” Bopp said that “the proposed HLA has serious flaws and is not a wise use of pro-life resources at this time.”

Georgia and Mississippi aren’t the only states where the Personhood movement is moving into high gear.

The State House in North Dakota just passed a personhood bill that one supporter said “should shut down” the state’s last clinic that provides abortion services, and a subcommittee in the Iowa State House also approved a personhood bill. Personhood USA, the leading advocacy organization, has pledged to mount fights in states like Texas, Oklahoma, and Montana as well.

Porter's Ohio Effort Being Undercut By Her Former Employer

As we have noted in the past, the groups pushing the anti-choice "personhood" amendments all around the country have tended to operate on their own because other established anti-choice groups have refused to support the efforts because a) they are unlikely to pass and b) they are unlikely to survive court challenges.

And despite the fact that the whenever "personhood" has made it onto the ballot, it has failed miserably, organizers continue to press the issue, and are even picking up support for an effort in Mississippi from the American Family Association while Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker is introducing national "personhood" legislation in Congress.

And in Ohio, Janet Porter has resurfaced with her own "personhood"-like legislation called "The Heartbeat Bill." The legislation would ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected and, just like with the various "personhood" efforts, Porter's former colleagues at Ohio Right to Life are refusing to support her measure because it won't stand up in court: 

[T]he so-called “Heartbeat Bill” legislation, which would ban abortion as early as 18 to 24 days after conception, isn’t supported by the Ohio Right to Life Society. That organization is backing a number of other anti-abortion bills, including a ban on late-term abortions after 20 weeks except when necessary to prevent the death of the mother or the irreversible impairment of a major body function.

Mike Gonidakis, the group’s executive director, said the heartbeat legislation would not survive a court challenge. “Despite noble aspirations, there is no scenario under which the heartbeat legislation will be upheld by any court and therefore no lives will be saved by passage of this bill,” Gonidakis said in an e-mail. “Our goal is to protect the lives we can now and that is why we introduced the late-term ban.”

...

Janet Porter, a key backer and a former Ohio Right to Life legislative director, said, “If we never ask, we’re never going to get it.”

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