The On-Going Engle-ization of the Religious Right

We first started paying attention to Lou Engle in 2008 when he hosted a The Call rally in Washington, DC heading into the presidential election and another in San Diego just before the vote on Proposition 8

Seemingly coming out of nowhere, Engle was eagerly embraced by the Religious Right establishment as its leaders flocked to participate in Engle's day-long festivals of prayer and fasting.

Since then, Engle's influence within the Religious Right has continued to grow, as he co-hosted the anti-healthcare "prayercast" earlier this year and has lead a group of Religious Right leaders to Texas to pray against a new Planned Parenthood facility opening in Houston.

In September, Engle will be leading another The Call rally in Sacramento to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his first Call event.  And he has managed to line up video endorsements from the likes of Mat Staver, Samuel Rodriguez, Ron Luce, Tim Wildom ... and even Pat and Gordon Robertson:

Pat: Hi, this is Pat Robertson.

Gordon: And I'm Gordon Robertson. We'd like to take a moment to encourage you to attend The Call tenth anniversary in Sacramento this Labor Day.

Pat: And we want the blessing of God on our nation. But how can His blessing come to a nation that has slaughtered fifty million unborn babies, taken the Bible and prayer out of schools, and protected by law that what God calls an "abomination"? In our land, that which is evil is being called good. And what is good is being ridiculed and banished from the public square. It's time that we join together and seek national repentance.

Gordon: We need to ask God to send up a great move of the Holy Spirit here in America. And that's what The Call - Sacramento is all about. Thousands of young people will be crying out to God for his glory to cover the Earth as the waters cover the sea. If you want to be a part of seeing God rescue America and experience that demonstration of his power and glory, then come to The Call - Sacramento September 3-4 at Raley Field. You can find out more by logging on to TheCall.com.

Pat: This is a desperate hour for our country. Please be a part of turning out nation back to God. Come to The Call - Sacramento and stand in the gap for this great nation.

Putting the "Prophet" in Prophetic Intercessor

I've been writing a lot lately about the self-proclaimed "prophets" and "apostles" like Cindy Jacobs and Lou Engle and their increasing role within the "mainstream" Religious Right movement, so I wanted to just take an opportunity to point out something that I think is important in understanding this:  when they call themselves "prophets," they means that literally and believe themselves to have the same power and authority as the prophets of the Bible.

Case in point is this recent prophesy from Chuck Pierce, following up his recent discussion with Jacobs about the BP oil spill being due to President Obama's treatment of Israel, claiming that God has promised to stop the oil spill "supernaturally" and deliver the Gulf states from "occult spirits" with a wave of revival and prosperity that will wash over America ... note particularly that the sections in italics are reported to literally be the Word of God as it was spoken to Pierce: 

There is something peculiar in the seas that has yet to be uncovered in this situation. There will be a greater explosion to heal this explosion. There has to be something that creates a ripple and a move in the water deeper than anything we have ever seen. Some way or another the move in the water in the Gulf has to cause that which is defiled in that whole area to come out some way. We have to get into a move deeper than we know.

God says, "I am capable of moving in the waters deeper than you've seen Me move. But you're going to have to be willing to ride the wave when it comes." There is a move of God coming that is so deep, the waters are going to move so deep, it is going to create such an action that we will have to ride the waves in this coming year. I am announcing this. This is an announcement. We will have to learn to ride some unusual waves for the year ahead!

There are some occult spirits along that Gulf that the Lord is ready to move. I speak to Texas. I speak to Louisiana. I speak to Mississippi. I speak to Alabama. I speak to Florida. The Lord says, "Get ready. You are being delivered from an occult operation by MY supernatural power that is coming in some very unusual ways! I AM going to cleanse that area of divination. It is going to come through the power of MY display. I'm going to do this supernaturally. You've tried to do it with your brain and I'm going to do it supernaturally. You've tried to move one way in your thinking process.

"Watch Me go deep and push it out. I am going to start a move, and watch Me do unusual things in that Gulf Coast. I am going to go deep. I'm going to create swells. I'm going to bring in waves. I'm going to dispel things. Things are going to be thrown on land for you to wrap up and get out of the place. This is a beginning and this next year get ready to ride the waves for I will be moving people around. I will be changing locations. You get ready to ride the wave for I am going to push out that spiritual force that has held you captive and defiled the move of My Spirit. You are going to be released in a whole new way to hear Me and to move with Me and to prosper in a way you've not prospered."

This is a warning from the Lord. He says, "I can turn the Gulf upside down like I turn ponds upside down and bring the bottom to the top! I am getting ready to bring the bottom to the top. Be creative. Know that I can give you understanding on businesses. Know that I can tell you what to do. Things will be coming from the top to the bottom. Get ready because you haven't seen anything like you're about to see. BOTTOMS UP!"

Thank You, Lord, that there will be a new glory coming from the seas onto the land of America.

As Evan Hurst noted yesterday on his piece on Lou Engle, Engle likewise considers himself not a teacher but a prophet; the difference being that he has not come to "teach" us God's Word, but to "tell" us God's Word, so that God's Word and the words of the "prophets" are one and the same.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Adam Weinstein: Meet Kagan's Astroturf Military Attackers.
  • Think Progress: Coburn Has ‘No Idea’ Whether He Would Have Voted To Confirm Thurgood Marshall.
  • Towleroad: NH GOP Congressional Candidate Bob Giuda Compares Gay Marriage to Marrying 'Men and Sheep', 'Women and Dogs'.
  • Adele Stan: Right-Wing Bloggers Kicked Out of ‘For Profit’ Sarah Palin Speech.
  • Jed Lewison: Sharron Angle hits a grand slam for right-wing extremism.
  • Texas Freedom Network: Group’s Leader: Houston Mayor a ‘Sodomite’.

Egrun Caner Out As Head of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary

Last month, PFAW Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery wrote a piece for AlterNet examining the allegations that Ergun Caner, head of Liberty University's Baptist Theological Seminary, had exaggerated about about his Muslim past.

After 9/11, Caner became a popular Religious Right speaker, telling audiences how he had been raised in Turkey to wage jihad against America before converting to Christianity and presenting himself as an expert on both Islam and Islamic terrorism. 

Much of that, as it turned out, was false .. and now Liberty University has announced that when Caner's contract is up at the end of this month, it will not be renewed and Caner will no longer be head of the Seminary, though he will remain at LU as a professor:

Liberty University said Friday that Ergun Caner would no longer be dean of its seminary, following an investigation into some of his claims about being raised as a Muslim.

Caner has signed a contract to be a member of the seminary’s faculty next year, the university said in a statement Friday afternoon.

Four members of Liberty’s Board of Trustees who conducted the investigation found that “Dr. Caner has made factual statements that are self-contradictory,” the university said.

The panel, however, basically supported Caner’s testimony of being a former Muslim who converted to Christianity.

The contradictions came in “matters such as dates, names and places of residence,” the LU statement said.

Although LU didn’t provide any more details about the discrepancies, Caner said in several speaking engagements in 2001 and later that he was raised in Turkey before coming to the United States as a teenager.

He also said he was trained in Islamic jihad, a term associated with terrorist activity, according to recordings made in 2001 of his comments at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., and Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.

However, his parents’ divorce papers, on file in a Columbus, Ohio, courthouse, indicated the family moved from Stockholm, Sweden, to the U.S. when Caner was about 4 years old, and continued to live in the Columbus area.

Caner’s father was a Muslim who sought to raise his children in the Islamic faith, although he had only part-time custody after the divorce, the documents indicate.

“Dr. Caner has cooperated with the board committee and has apologized for the discrepancies and misstatements that led to this review,” the LU statement said.

The investigating committee “found no evidence to suggest that Dr. Caner was not a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager,” the statement said.

LU spokesman Johnnie Moore responded to requests for further comment by saying, “Liberty will not be making any additional comments or giving any interviews at this time.”

Here is the full statement issued by Liberty:

“After a thorough and exhaustive review of Dr. Ergun Caner’s public statements, a committee consisting of four members of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees has concluded that Dr. Caner has made factual statements that are self-contradictory.

“However, the committee found no evidence to suggest that Dr. Caner was not a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager, but, instead, found discrepancies related to matters such as dates, names and places of residence.

“Dr. Caner has cooperated with the board committee and has apologized for the discrepancies and misstatements that led to this review.

“Dr. Caner’s current contractual term as Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary expires on June, 30, 2010.

“Dr. Caner will no longer serve as Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.

“The university has offered, and Dr. Caner has accepted, an employment contract for the 2010-2011 academic year. Dr. Caner will remain on the faculty of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary as a professor.”

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW: Palin Endorses Article Equating Obama with Hitler, Calling Obama Voters ‘Useful Idiots’.
  • See also: Palin takes her cartoonish extremism to the next level, endorses comparison of Obama to Hitler.
  • Edge Boston: Anti-gay pastor holds prayer meetings at St. Louis church.
  • Alan Colmes: U.S. Authorities May Have Deported An American Citizen.
  • AU: Borking Kagan?: Failed High Court Candidate Lashes Out At Latest Nominee.
  • Political Correction: Meet The Texas Republican Party.
  • TPM's Justin Elliot: Sharron Angle's Fringe Third Party Sponsored Virulently Anti-Gay Flier In '90s.
  • Finally, have I mentioned that I'm now writing our Twitter updates?  Because I am.  And have I mentioned that you should follow them?  Because you should.

Praying Away The BP Oil Spill

I guess that it if the BP oil spill in the Gulf is due to God's anger over President Obama's treatment of Israel, then it only stands to reason that the best way to end the crisis is prayer.

And that is exactly the solution that four Southern Republican governors appear to be banking on:

Four Gulf Coast governors are calling on residents to set aside Sunday as a Day of Prayer to pray for a solution to the oil spill and for citizens impacted by the disaster.

Alabama's Bob Riley, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, Mississippi's Haley Barbour and Texas' Rick Perry all issued proclamations calling on prayer for the spill, which entered its 66th day Thursday.

"Throughout our history, Alabamians have humbly turned to God to ask for His blessings and to hold us steady during times of struggle. This is certainly one of those times," Riley said in a statement.

Riley's proclamation reads in part, "Citizens of Alabama are urged to pray for the well-being of our fellow citizens and our State, to pray for all those in other states who are hurt by this disaster, to pray for those who are working to respond to this crisis, and to pray that a solution that stops the oil leak is completed soon."

Perry's proclamation says it "seems right and fitting that the people of Texas should join with their fellow Gulf Coast residents" and others across the country and around the world "to thank God, seek his wisdom for ourselves and our leaders, and ask him for his merciful intervention and healing in this time of crisis."

Barbour's notes that the spill threatens the "livelihoods of our fellow citizens, the environmental beauty of our coast, and our quality of life." Jindals's says "Louisianians all across the world are united in hope for an end to this catastrophic event and pray for" the coast's recovery.

Jindal, in fact, participated in a prayer vigil earlier this week where, according to the Louisiana Famly Forum (Tony Perkins old haunt,) "intercessors" laid hands upon him:

Pastors Dino Rizzo, Apostle Lloyd Benson, Bishop Ricky Sinclair, Bishop Raymond Johnson, and Pastor Dennis Blackwell led in prayers for the bereaved families, for our government officials, for the environment, for the people and businesses of the Gulf Coast, and for solutions to this economic and environmental crisis.

And they were not alone, as Southern Baptist Convention is calling on churches and Christians "to pray for the end of this catastrophe and for the homes, lives, cultures, and livelihoods of those in the Gulf Coast region" while John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council "is working on a coordinated effort, and is asking believers and churches across America to unite in prayer for the Gulf this Sunday" and even Wallbuilders is "urging everyone across the nation to join with these states, asking for God's hand to be on all the decision-makers and lawmakers, that He would give them discernment and guidance, and that a solution would be forthcoming."

Interestingly, Wallbuilders' David Barton "drafted the prayer day proclamations for the governors to adapt."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Shockingly, the Religious Right opposes Elena Kagan.
  • The Maine ethics commission has rejected the National Organization for Marriage's request to have its investigation dismissed.
  • Does it seem odd that an out-of-state Republican group would spend $500K+ to get Green Party candidates on the ballot in Texas?
  • Giving Elliot Spitzer a TV show is just like giving O.J. Simpson a TV show.
  • Ralph Reed and Marco Rubio meet up in California.
  • Bryan Fischer continues his "all public policy should be based on the Bible" agenda by explaining that it is okay to make immigrants show their papers because Nehemiah had papers.
  • Attention potential spies:  Peter LaBarbera is on to you.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Joe.My.God: Texas GOP Platform Calls For Making It A Felony To Perform Gay Marriages.
  • Wonk Room: Texas Can’t Afford To Buy New Far-Right Textbooks, But Rick Perry Still Resists Federal Aid.
  • Alvin McEwen: Is the LGBT Community Plotting to Make Children 'Crossdress?' Of Course Not.
  • William Saletan: If it's OK to Reject Blood from Gay Men, What About Blacks?
  • Bruce Wilson: Leading Biblical Law Advocate "Jubilant" To Endorse Angle For Senate.
  • Iowa Independent: National Organization for Marriage heading to Iowa.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Janet Jenkins' attorney Jennifer Levi regarding the Liberty Counsel's continuing efforts to represent Lisa Miller in court despite the fact that she reportedly fled the country in order to avoid court orders: "It doesn’t make sense for a lawyer unable to communicate with a client to pursue very important issues at the appellate level. Clearly, they have a broader legal agenda in continuing this legal fight, which is all but dead."

Mike Huckabee: Schlafly, Robison, and Jokes About Gay Marriage

I am sure that by now you have seen posts about the profile on Mike Huckabee in the New Yorker in which he admits that his opposition to gay marriage stems, at least in part, to "the ick factor" while also joking that he'd be fully in support of gay marriage if his only choices were Nancy Pelos or Helen Thomas. Typical Huckabee.

Anyway, I want to focus on some of the other interesting nuggest contained in the piece, like this:

In her kitchen is a watercolor painting of a house surrounded by trees, with the words “To Janet Huckabee, 1995 full-time homemaker of the year, presented by the Eagle Forum and Phyllis Schlafly.”

The profile also looks at how Huckabee got his start back in 1970s working for right-wing evangelist James Robison:

In 1976, after college, Huckabee was enrolled at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Texas, when he came into contact with the televangelist James Robison. It was Robison who famously declared that he was “sick and tired of hearing about all of the radicals and the perverts and the liberals and the leftists and the Communists coming out of the closet,” and was ready “for God’s people to come out of the closet” and take back the nation. Despite Huckabee’s inclination toward a forgiving Christianity, Robison’s passion drew him in. He dropped out of seminary after one year to take a job as Robison’s director of communications.

“The way the Moral Majority movement was actually started was there was a rally that James Robison did in 1979 that I helped coördinate,” Huckabee said. “It was all because of the local television station in Dallas throwing him off the air, because, in a sermon that he preached on television, Robison said homosexuality is a sin. Think: 1979, it wasn’t really an outrageous statement. Anyway, they got some complaints and they told him he couldn’t be on television. Well, Texas? Are you kidding me?” More than ten thousand Christians came to a “Freedom Rally” at the Reunion Arena, in Dallas, to protest Robison’s expulsion. “There was this amazing energy coming up from these evangelical Christians,” Huckabee said. “I remember almost being frightened by it. If someone had gotten to the microphone and said, ‘Let’s go four blocks from here and take Channel 8 apart,’ that audience would’ve taken the last brick off the building.”

Today, the name Robison is almost unknown, but he is still around and active - in fact, the video I posted of Jim Garlow just last week was taken from an interview he did with Robison earlier this year.

Back in the Religious Right's heyday in the 1980s, Robison was a key leader and so this seems like a good time to repost this video we put together back in 2007 to provide a sense of just who Huckabee dropped out of seminary to follow: 

Lou Engle Supports The Criminalization of Homosexuality

Sarah Posner interviewed Lou Engle in an effort to try and understand's Engle's claims that he doesn't support Uganda's legislation that carries the death penalty for gays while supporting Uganda's effort to take a "principled stand" against the homosexual agenda.

And what she found out is that while Engle might not support the death penalty for gays, he certainly does support their criminialization:

[Engle] made absolutely clear that he supports the criminalization of homosexuality, believes there could be a biblical basis for a death penalty, that the United Nations has promoted the "homosexual agenda" to Uganda's detriment, and he lauded the bill's promoters' efforts to take a "principled stand" against that.


I pressed Engle to explain what he meant by a "principled stand" and a "principled bill." I asked him whether he supported a law that dealt with homosexuality in some way, and he stated that there needs to be "some kind of restraint from the homosexual agenda:"

Most definitely. For instance, the court case Lawrence v. Texas, is the court case that basically decriminalized homosexuality in the U.S. Everybody knew that when that bill passed, or when that court case shifted, then it opened the door for the legalization, for the definition, or the legalization of same-sex marriage, which is now rolling into America. We knew that. So I’ve always had -- yes, there needs to be a principled stand. There needs to be some kind of restraint from the homosexual agenda being able to roll over this, a nation that does not want it.


I pressed him about which penalties in the bill he didn't support -- and he did say that although he could see someone supporting the death penalty, he did not, and he did not support "hard labor" as punishment or the requirement that churches report LGBT people to the authorities. But when I asked him if he would support a bill with less harsh penalties, he added: 

My main thing is to keep -- is to not allow it to be legalized, so to speak, so then it just spreads through the legal system of the nation. So I’m not -- I’m not making a statement as to what I think the penalties should be. It’s not my job to do that. I do think, I do think that these leaders are trying to make at least some kind of statement that you’re not just going to spread the agenda without some kind of restraint, a legal restraint and punishment. And I don’t know what the line is on those, but I can’t go that far as I understand that bill already said. [emphasis mine]

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • CBN's David Brody asserts that Sharon Angle is not some "Evangelical Weirdo." So that is reassuring.
  • Do you know why liberals hate Sarah Plain?  Because she is beautiful.
  • Mike Huckabee will endorse "seven Texas candidates today in what could be a sign that he’s building up a Texas network for another run at the White House."
  • Joseph Farah attacks Grover Norquist for joining GOProud.
  • Richard Land warns that "social experiments" are going to destroy America.
  • Matt Barber being Matt Barber.
  • Quote of the day from the Traditional Values Coalition: "President Obama’s latest judicial nominee--I kid you not—is a defender of serial killers, rapists and child molesters. He is set to sail through the U.S. Senate, unless you act immediately."
  • Finally, do not even think of stealing John McMillan's yard signs:

Mike Huckabee: National Hero of Faith

According to this flyer [PDF] posted on Vision America's website, Mike Huckabee is scheduled to headline VA's "Heroes of Faith Gala" in August where he will receive the "National Hero of Faith Award": 

Vision America's President Rick Scarborough, who is among the most radical of Religious Right leaders, served on Huckabee's Faith and Family Values Coalition when he was running for president.

And Steve Hotze is another ultra right-wing Huckabee supporter who not only bankrolled the anti-gay attacks against Houston mayor Annise Parker but also happens to believe that disease is caused by sin

Hotze was able to better articulate his views in 1986, when he was one of dozens of ministers, professionals and laypersons who signed the Coalition on Revival's Manifesto for the Christian Church. The coalition claims on its Web site to be a national network of religious leaders aligned in a mission "to help the Church rebuild civilization on the principles of the Bible so God's will may be done on earth as it is in heaven." They want all aspects of life -- government, science and education -- to adhere to fundamental biblical beliefs. These beliefs include the following:

• A wife may work outside the home only with her husband's consent

• "Biblical spanking" that results in "temporary or superficial bruises or welts" should not be considered a crime

• No doctor shall provide medical service on the Sabbath

• All disease and disability is caused by the sin of Adam and Eve

• Medical problems are frequently caused by personal sin

• "Increased longevity generally results from obedience to specific Biblical commands"

• Treatment of the "physical body" is not a doctor's highest priority

• Doctors have a priestly calling

• People receiving medical treatment are not immune from divine intervention or demonic forces

• Physicians should preach to their patients because salvation is the key to their health

• "Christians need better health to have more energy, tolerate more stress, get depressed less often, and be more creative than our non-Christian counterparts for the advancement of God's Kingdom."

As I said yesterday, I have spent a lot of time chronicling Huckabee's ties to the radical Religious Right fringe and I'd hate to see it all go to waste if he decided not to run for president in 2012.

Cathie Adams Ousted As Head of Texas GOP

It was just last October that former Texas Eagle Forum President Cathie Adams was elected Chair of the Texas Republican Party.

On Saturday, less than eight months after taking office, Adams was ousted:

The state Republican Party ousted a longtime social conservative leader and instead elected Houston lawyer Steve Munisteri as its new party chairman Saturday, after a rare floor fight.

Munisteri capitalized on concerns over party financial problems and the lack of grass-roots organizing to overtake Cathie Adams of Dallas, who has held the post for the last eight months.

Munisteri, 52, took more than 59 percent of the votes from more than 7,000 delegates who remained for the ballot as the convention neared its end Saturday afternoon.


In her nomination speech, Adams gave a fiery account of her fight of 30 years against abortion, gay marriage and the United Nations, and for maintaining a Christian nation. More recently, she said, "I'm saying no to Barack Hussein Obama."

"I'm not here just to say I'm offering change. We've fallen for that one before," she said.

Adams has played hardball politics for years, creating opponents along the way. Recently, she angered some GOP activists by declining to release financial information about the party.

When a supporter tried to nominate her to be the party's vice chairwoman, many delegates loudly booed.

"As a party, we need to practice what we preach. As a whole over the years, we have drifted away from core values of openness," said Austin delegate Eric Stratton, who supported Munisteri.

Adams has been a good spokeswoman, but the party is now looking for a strong grass-roots organizer, Stratton said.

Gov. Perry: Voters Need to Decide If They Worship Government or God

For years, Cathie Adams has been the President of the Texas affiliate of Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, until she was elected Chair of the state Republican Party last year.

So I guess it should come as no surprise that Gov. Rick Perry would attend a Texas Eagle Forum event at which Don McLeroy received a "Patriot Award" for his efforts to remake the state's textbooks and curriculum ... or that Perry would use his appearance to demand to know whether voters worship government or God

Gov. Rick Perry painted the upcoming election as a religious crusade to take back the soul of the country during a Thursday night speech to the conservative Texas Eagle Forum.

While Perry has invoked God and country before, his 14-minute speech to the 500 gathered, most of them delegates to the Texas Republican state convention, was stronger and more strident than previously.

"We will raise our voices in defense of our values and in defiance of the hollow precepts and shameful self-interests that guide our opponents on the left," Perry said to the receptive audience.

He said the November election is bigger than "red states and blue states, conservatives or liberals, stimulus or budget cuts."

"We are in a struggle for the heart and soul of our nation," Perry said.

"That's the question: Who do you worship? Do you believe in the primacy of unrestrained federal government? Or do you worship the God of the universe, placing our trust in him?"


Featured at the event was national Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly, who said she is heartened by shifts in public attitudes. She cited the diminished influence of big media, the majority of Americans considering themselves conservatives and anti-abortion, and the overall pervasive feeling that come November, "conservatives know they can win."

The group presented its Patriot Award to State Board of Education leader Don McLeroy, who led the board for the past two years as it tackled curriculum standards for English, science and social studies.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Texas Freedom Network: The Whole Truth about the Confederacy.
  • David Weigel: The sagging popularity of the tea parties.
  • Justin Elliot: Republican Jewish Coalition Hosts Birther Taitz As 'Special Guest' At Annual Bash.
  • Andy Birkey: Bachmann riles New Jersey Tea Partiers with robo-calling.
  • Alvin McEwen: THIS is what a hate attack looks like!
  • Iowa Independent: Mailers focus on gay marriage in HD66 Democratic primary.
  • Jim Burroway: Exodus President Expresses Regret For Uganda Debacle.
  • Towleroad: John Podesta and Robert Levy to Co-Chair Advisory Board of AFER, Currently Fighting Prop 8 in Federal Court.

Better Courts Now: Seeking Judges With a Christian Bias

When Better Courts Now was launched back in March, its stated goal was to see right-wing judges elected "across San Diego County and eventually America."  For now, the group is focusing on California and has, in recent weeks, been making it clear that they are not looking to support merely conservative judges, but Christian judges who will carry out God's will on the bench.

The election is tomorrow and pastor Brian Hendry, who is running the group, really wants to make their goal clear:

"We've always been involved in the political realm, in believing that too often Christians have dropped the ball over the years and have allowed...an agenda that's not a biblical agenda to take over," Hendry explains. "In our prayers and in looking for different ways to attack, we realized, especially in California, that the judiciary was definitely an area that had been running amok, if you will."

He contends that judicial activists have tried to push a social agenda, such as when the state Supreme Court legalized, albeit for a short time, homosexual marriage. Better Courts Now wants godly men on the bench, but opponents say Christian judges would be activists for Christ.

"To say that somehow a Christian coming in with a biblical worldview will give them a bias that will lead them to not be able to follow the law -- we actually believe that bias, if you will, or that worldview helps them to follow the law, because they stand on virtues and principles that they cannot violate," Hendry contends.

Hendry was also the guest on "WallBuilders Live" last Friday where he discussed this effort with Rick Green, who recently lost his own run for the state Supreme Court.  To say that Green was excited by this new effort would be a massive understatement, as Green and Hendry spent a large part of the interview discussing their desire to see this operation duplicated all across the country.

So it should not come as a surprise if we see some sort of WallBuilders/Better Court Now joint operation emerge down the road.   

Has Lisa Miller Fled The Country?

As we noted yesterday, Lisa Miller's attorneys at Liberty Counsel are continuing to work on her behalf even though she kidnapped her daughter and disappeared six months ago.  Liberty Counsel continues to insist that it does not know where Miller is ... but now it is being reported that she may have fled the country entirely:

An 8-year-old girl at the heart of a long-running child custody fight between former lesbian partners may be in Central America with her birth mother, a lawyer for one of the women said.

The girl, Isabella Miller-Jenkins, and her birth mother, Lisa Miller, failed to appear for a court-ordered custody swap in January and are believed to have flown to El Salvador last September, said attorney Sarah Star, who represents ex-partner Janet Jenkins.

Star said a Virginia police officer told her that Miller and the girl flew to El Salvador’s capital, San Salvador, from Juarez, Mexico, which is across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas.

“This is obviously horrifying,“ Star said yesterday. “Isabella’s not in school. She’s most likely in a country that is not as developed as the U.S., and [Jenkins is] worried about her. She’s worried she’s not in a safe environment. As far as we know, Lisa Miller doesn’t even speak Spanish.“

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has turned its attention to Central America, distributing photos and information about Isabella to news outlets throughout the region, apparently believing she and her birth mother moved there, Star said yesterday.

Since her disappearance, Miller has received praise from a wide-variety of right-wing groups for her actions ... including members of Concerned Women for America of Virginia who, as I noted back in February, seemingly admitted that they know where Miller is.

Miller had a significant support system when she was attending Jerry Falwell's Thomas Road Church, which is how she came to be represented by the Falwell-founded Liberty Counsel, and has been a cause célèbre of the Religious Right for several years ... all of which is making it increasingly difficult to believe that, as this saga wears on, this Religious Right network have not been deeply involved in hiding Miller and her daughter. 

David Barton Should Start Taking His Own Advice

Not too long ago, I received an email from someone demanding to know why I constantly referred to David Barton of WallBuilders as a "pseudo-historian" instead of a "historian," given that he has copious original documents to back of his assertions. 

I wrote back to explain that I call Barton a "pseudo-historian" not because he gets his history factually wrong (though he does that, too) but because he uses his history selectively to present a warped and biased view designed specifically to bolster his right-wing political agenda.

Whereas historians examine past events in order to present a coherent and comprehensive explanation of those event, Barton filters history through his own narrow ideology and highlights only those things that support his overall conservative political agenda.

I actually wrote a report about this tactic several years back that examined Barton's "Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black and White" DVD, in which he recounted the Democratic Party's historical hostility to African Americans and insinuated throughout that similarly racist views are still held by the party today. Barton ran through a litany of Democratic sins - ranging from slavery to Jim Crow to segregation to the Ku Klux Klan - while praising the Republican Party as the party of abolition and civil rights ... until his history lesson suddenly ended after the Civil Rights Act of 1965.

Barton made absolutely no mention of the political transformation that overtook the country following the passage of this legislation or the rise of the Republican Party’s “Southern Strategy.” Instead, it simply concluded with Barton telling his audience that African Americans cannot be bound blindly to one party or the other, but must cast their votes based on the “standard of biblical righteousness … the principles of Christianity … and an awareness that voters will answer to God for their vote."

I also posted a video containing excerpts from the DVD to demonstrate exactly how Barton misleadingly uses this history to support the Republican Party:

So imagine my surprise when I saw this quote from Barton praising the new textbook standards in Texas (which, not insignificantly, he helped to draft):

Defenders of the new social studies standards just passed by the Texas SBOE say it will encourage students to go back to the Constitution and First Amendment to learn about religious freedom. WallBuilders founder and president David Barton was among the six advisers the Board brought in to help rewrite the standards.

"You should present history has it happened -- the good, the bad, the ugly; the right, the left, the center; the anything else that is out there," argues the Christian historian. "And I think that's the final product that we got, despite all the media clamor to the otherwise. When you just read the standards, they're extremely balanced, extremely fair, and extremely thorough."

Presenting a balanced, fair, and thorough look at history is exactly the opposite of what Barton does, which is precisely why he has recently become Glenn Beck's go-to historian.  Incidentially, Chris Rodda has a great new piece up debunking Barton's favorite shtick of pulling out a rare Bible printed in 1782 by Philadelphia printer Robert Aitken and claiming that it was printed by Congress for the use of schools.  Among all the other useful information the piece contains is evidence Barton's ties to Beck are really starting to pay off, at least in terms of book sales:

Needless to say, Beck and his audience are just eating this stuff up. Barton's appearances on Beck's show have propelled his fifteen-year-old book of historical hogwash, Original Intent, to bestseller status, reaching as high as #6 on Amazon. Right now, as I sit here writing this post, this masterpiece of historical revisionism is ludicrously, and alarmingly, holding the #1 spot in the category of "Constitutional Law."

Protest The Pill ... To Save The Planet?

When a large group of anti-choice organizations and activists band together in order to protest the 50th anniversary of the birth control pill, you assume it is because they are the sorts of people who tend to consider all contraception immoral and a form of abortion.

But no!  They really just care deeply about the environment:

The following is released by the American Life League and the following groups:

WHO: American Life League , Human Life International, Pro-Life Wisconsin, Pharmacists for Life International, Archdiocese of Mobile Respect Life, Operation Rescue, Jill Stanek, Generation Life/Brandi Swindell, Life Education Ministry, Pro-Life Unity, Movement for a Better America, AMEN (Abortion Must End Now), Pro-Life Action of Oregon, Children of God for Life, Expectant Mother Care/Chris Slattery, Mother and Unborn Baby Care, Defenders of the Unborn, California Right to Life Education Fund, Delaware Pro-Life Coalition, Life Guard, Homeschoolers for Life, Focus Pregnancy Center, Central Texas Voices for Life and Dubuque County Right to Life

WHAT: Protest the Pill Day 2010: The Pill Kills the Environment

This year, birth control advocates are celebrating 50 years of decriminalized hormonal contraceptives. American Life League and our co-sponsors don't think half a century of contaminating our waterways is something to celebrate. Study after study has shown that hormonal estrogen in the water has severely damaged the ecosystem and our health.

Join American Life League and co-sponsors as they launch the largest nationwide protest against the birth control pill.

Who ever would have guessed that right-wing anti-choice activists were such committed environmentalists?

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