Texas

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Anti-Islam activist Robert Spencer wants to see Rick Perry "make some kind of public statement that he understands the jihad threat."
  • FRC says it delivered fifty-five thousand petitions to NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg to include clergy in the 9/11 memorial service.
  • Jim Garlow says he'll probably support Rick Perry once Newt Gingrich drops out.
  • I just find it funny to see anyone affiliated with the AFA complaining about "incendiary words."
  • Finally, quote of the day from James Robison: "I will expose evil, damaging practices, and bad policy. Since most media and many academics do not seem to believe in evil and obviously some lawmakers and even ministry leaders don’t seem to either. In other words, 'the three little pigs' and Red Riding Hood need to learn there is no big, bad wolf, and while at it chunk the Bible along with the children’s stories out the window and continue living in a failing, fantasyland dream world – nightmare!"

Gingrich's Lone Religious Right Supporter Being Wooed By Perry

As we noted last week, Rick Perry gathered with a whole range of Religious Right leaders at the ranch of right-wing megadonor James Leininger over the weekend and details continue to emerge about what took place during the event, like Perry vowing to them that there would be no revelations about his past that would ever embarrass them.

We are also seeing more reports about which leaders were in attendance:

The meeting received little public attention, though the 200 or so in attendance included luminaries of the Christian right such as Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, California pastor Jim Garlow, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Washington-area Bishop Harry Jackson, who presides over one of the largest African American churches on the East Coast.

It is especially interesting to see that Garlow was present at the gathering, given that he had pretty much been the only Religious Right leader supporting Newt Gingrich's presidential bid.

The fact that Garlow traveled to Texas to participate in this meeting with Perry seems to suggest that even Gingrich's most ardent supporters know that his campaign is dead in the water.

The Religious Right's Twisted View Of Religious Freedom

For the last several weeks, the Religious Right has been hyping allegations from Kelly Shackleford and his Liberty Institute claiming that the Department of Veterans Affairs has instituted a ban on "the use of Christian words or phrases at veterans’ funerals."

Liberty Institute has even launched a website called "Don't Tear Us Down" which claims that "Jesus is not welcome at gravesides" and the campaign is receiving support from other Religious Right groups like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association.

Today the New York Times took a look at the controversy and discovered - shockingly - that the claims being made by the Religious Right are totally misleading.  As the NYT explains, the Bush administration instituted a policy in 2007 that "prohibits volunteer honor guards from reading recitations — including religious ones — in their funeral rituals, unless families specifically request them." 

In essence, the policy states that volunteer groups are not allowed to attend military funerals and inject their religion in to it unless their presence is requested by the family.  Conversely, if a family does want to included such prayers in the service, they have that right as well.

But to the Religious Right, preventing outside groups from attending funerals and offering prayers at services where they are not wanted or requested is a violation of the religious freedom of the volunteers:

The plaintiffs, aided by a conservative legal group, the Liberty Institute, contend they should be allowed to use a Veterans of Foreign Wars script dating from World War I that refers to the deceased as “a brave man” with an “abiding faith in God” and that seeks comfort from an “almighty and merciful God.” The institute has broadcast the dispute nationwide with slick videos and a Web site declaring that “Jesus is not welcome at gravesides.”

...

The lawsuit, which alleges religious discrimination by the government, and videos have generated angry letters and Internet commentary against the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as demands from members of the Texas Congressional delegation, mostly Republicans, that the Obama administration fire the Houston cemetery director, Arleen Ocasio.

Department of Veterans Affairs officials say that the original policy, enacted under President George W. Bush, resulted from complaints about religious words or icons being inserted unrequested into veterans’ funerals. They noted that active duty military honor guards, including the teams that do funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, say almost nothing during their ceremonies.

“We do what the families wish,” said Steve L. Muro, the under secretary for memorial affairs. “I always tell my employees we have just one chance to get it right.”

Though two of the largest veterans organizations, the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, have criticized the Houston National Cemetery, some veterans’ advocates have risen to the department’s support. Those advocates say that families who want prayers can have them and assert that the Liberty Institute has blown the dispute out of proportion to embarrass the Obama administration.

Lawyers with the Liberty Institute deny that ... The Department of Veterans Affairs said that funeral directors, rather than the veterans themselves, should tell families the details of the V.F.W. or other rituals, to give those families room to make their own decisions on what is recited.

“If the family wants prayers, the family will get them,” said John R. Gingrich, the department’s chief of staff.

The Governor and The Christocrat: A Match Made In Texas

As we noted last week, Rick Perry spent some time this weekend at James Leininger's ranch in Texas meeting with a bevy of Religious Right leaders and activists.

According to Time, there was some 300 such leaders in attendance and Rick Scarborough, though he refuses to confirm that he was actually in attendance, appears quite smitten with the Texas Governor:

Last weekend, Rick Perry privately met some 300 conservative evangelical leaders at long-time supporter Jim Leininger’s home near Fredricksburg, Texas. And on Monday afternoon, reported-attendee and evangelical leader Rick Scarborough told TIME he is endorsing Perry: “I was holding judgment,” says Scarborough, who in 1998 founded the group Vision America to mobilize pastors and their congregations to vote on social issues, “but the more I’ve studied and listened, the more I have liked what I have heard.”

Perry first charmed Scarborough, who supported former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee for President in 2008, over a decade ago when Perry gave an impromptu personal testimony of his evangelical faith at a 1998 Republican convention. “It was obvious to me as a preacher that it was real, it was undoctored, it was unprepared, it was off the cuff. It really resonated with me.”

The governor had help in winning over the evangelical leader. Scarborough cited Perry’s wife Anita as a major factor in his decision. “I’ve had a chance here recently to hear Anita, much more close and personal,” Scarborough said. “Unlike [previous Presidents’ wives], I find that she holds the same values that he holds.”

...

The pastor’s endorsement has real sway. Vision America’s “Patriot Pastor” coalition has 20,000 members, and American Family Association founder Don Wildmon and Left Behind author Tim LaHaye are on the group’s advisory board. Scarborough says he’s already begun making his case to other influential social conservatives. “That’s not to say Rick Perry is Jesus because he is not,” he says. “But when you look at his full body of work, he’s been the best governor we’ve ever had.”

As we noted before, Scarborough is a self-proclaimed "Christocrat" who believes that it is his duty to "mix church and state God's way" in order to stop the country's "slide further into Communism/Socialism [and] sexual anarchy led by sodomites" and fight President Obama's efforts to "de-Christianize" this country.

Oh yeah, and he is also a Birther who stated, just a few months ago, that AIDS is God's judgment for engaging in an immoral act:

Fischer: Make Homosexuality "A Criminal Offense"

On his radio show Focal Point yesterday, American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer called on all fifty states to criminalize homosexuality. In 2003, the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas overturned anti-sodomy laws in the fourteen states that had them on the books and reversed the Supreme Court’s prior decision Bowers v. Hardwick. Fischer’s opinion should come as no surprise as the AFA filed an amicus brief in support of Texas’s anti-sodomy law and condemned the court’s decision, calling the decision tantamount to “tyranny.” Fischer said that since for most of American history “homosexual activity was a felony offense,” there is “no reason why it cannot be a criminal offense once again.”

Watch:

Fischer: Both of the cases that went to the United States Supreme Court that dealt with the issue of whether states should criminalize sodomy, and of course they still ought to be able to do it, every state in the union criminalized sodomy until 1962 and then forty nine states until 1972, then they began to fall like dominoes. But by the time of the founding until the late 20th Century, homosexual activity was a felony offense in the United States of America, there is no reason why it cannot be a criminal offense once again, absolutely none.

The AFA's Guide To Judaism

The American Family Association published a guide to Judaism by ‘Probe Ministries,’ which works “through balanced, biblically based scholarship, training people to love God by renewing their minds and equipping the Church to engage the world for Christ.” The post includes advice and encouragement for Christians looking to convert Jews to Christianity and claims that Jews and Christians “do not worship the same God.” While it comes as no surprise that the AFA would promote such a message, it might come as one to the "Judeo" part of the "Judeo-Christian" coalition the AFA is always talking about.

The fact that the AFA promotes such messages should come as no surprise, as the AFA’s The Response prayer rally, which they co-hosted with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, featured prayers for Jews to convert to Christianity. Moreover, the AFA’s chief spokesman Bryan Fischer contends that “non-Christian religions” do not have rights under the First Amendment, saying, “counterfeit religions, alternative religions to Christianity, have no First Amendment right to the free exercise of the religion.” But the post does make clear that despite “Israel’s failure and rejection of their Messiah,” eventually “there will be a time when Israel as a nation will turn to her Messiah”:

From our brief survey, then, it is clear that Judaism and Christianity differ significantly on major doctrines. The two do not worship the same God. They also differ in salvation theology. Judaism is works-oriented and rejects the atoning work of Christ and His divine nature. Christianity proclaims faith in the sacrificial work of Jesus on the cross. The New Testament teaches that without accepting Christ, even the sons and daughters of Abraham cannot inherit the hope of eternal life.



How do we share Christ with our Jewish neighbors? Before preaching the gospel, it would be wise to first build friendships with Jews and learn from them. Second, we should understand the Jewish perception of Christians and Christianity. For a Jewish person to become a Christian means to reject his or her heritage and distinctiveness; in other words, many equate it to becoming a gentile. This is difficult, for many harbor resentment for mistreatment by Christians and gentile nations.

After building trust, encourage them to read their own Scriptures. Many grow up reciting passages of the Old Testament but not studying the Old Testament or the messianic prophecies.



These passages and symbols reveal that Jesus is indeed the Messiah. Be sure to explain that not only must one acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, but that one must put all one's faith in His atoning work of sacrifice to be brought into a right relationship with God.



Israel was unable to obey God's law because they depended on their strength to live the law. What was needed was a new heart and empowerment to live the law. This pledge provides this, and guarantees that there will be a time when Israel as a nation will turn to her Messiah.

Several aspects of these covenants have been fulfilled. Abraham's descendants have become a nation. Christ was a descendant of David and fulfilled the old law making it possible for all men to know God. However, other promises are yet to be fulfilled. Israel doesn't yet possess the promised land in peace, and a Davidic Kingdom hasn't been established in Jerusalem.

Despite Israel's failure and rejection of their Messiah, however, God is faithful, and He will fulfill His promises at the appointed time.

Rick Perry To Spend The Weekend With A Pseudo-Historian, A Christocrat, And God's Sugar Daddy

Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News reports that Rick Perry is heading to a weekend retreat to meet with a group of Religious Right leaders and donors:

When Rick Perry heads this weekend to Jim Leininger's ranch for a confab of Christian conservatives, he'll be on hallowed ground. Leininger has long been one of Perry's financial angels. He's been a leading proponent of school vouchers. And he's given large sums to Perry campaigns over the years. In some quarters, he's seen as saving Perry's political career with a last-minute infusion of $1.1 million to fuel Perry's 1998 victory as lieutenant governor.

...

Perry is scheduled to attend and to talk politics with leading evangelical leaders including retired judge Paul Pressler, a Southern Baptist leader, Christian historian David Barton, East Texas evangelist Rick Scarborough and others who supported Perry's Christian prayer rally in Houston. The event isn't about fundraising, but about motivating true believers.

Leininger has been called "God's Sugar Daddy" due to his willingness to dump large sums of money onto right-wing groups and candidates that share and promote his views.

David Barton is already well-known to readers of this blog – he's the Religious Right's favorite pseudo-historian who thinks that Jesus supports employment discrimination and opposes and the minimum wage, that the Founding Father's were against the teaching of evolution and that gay sex ought to be regulated by the federal government.

And Rick Scarborough is a self-proclaimed "Christocrat" who believes that it is his duty to "mix church and state God's way" in order to stop the country's "slide further into Communism/Socialism [and] sexual anarchy led by sodomites" and who stated, just a few months ago, that AIDS is God's judgment for engaging in an immoral act:

We can now add these activists to the ever-growing list of extremist Religious Right activists with whom Rick Perry is associating himself.

For Rick Perry, Fighting "Over-Taxation" Is A Testament Of Faith

Texas Gov. Rick Perry raised eyebrows yesterday when, while campaigning in South Carolina, he likened the struggles of corporations resisting paying their fair share in taxes to the civil rights movement. When told that he was visiting a town where civil rights advocates held a sit-in fifty years ago, Perry mused that the corporate fight against taxes and regulation is an extension of the civil rights movement: “I mean we’ve gone from a country that made great strides in issues of civil rights,” Perry said, “And as we go forward, America needs to be about freedom. It needs to be about freedom from over-taxation, freedom from over-litigation, freedom from over-regulation.”

Immediately, critics rightfully questioned how the fight against “over-taxation” and “over-regulation” could be seen as an outgrowth of a movement that fought for social and economic justice.

But it is important to remember that Perry’s fight for lower taxes and regulations for corporations (on the backs of low-income families) is not just an economic position but also a spiritual issue. Before his Response prayer rally earlier this month, Perry told The 700 Club that he would be praying to end “government’s over-taxed, over-regulated, over-litigated” policies that have “caused roadblocks to economic prosperity.”

In an interview with televangelist James Robison in May, Perry claimed that the current economic crisis was God’s way of ending our “slavery” to government. Like civil rights leaders who used the story of Exodus in their struggle against discrimination, Perry contended that “Pharaoh” exists today in the form of government and “we’ve become slaves to government”:

Rick Perry's Long History Of Attending "Nonpolitical" Religious Right Events

The Austin Chronicle has begun tweeting links to old articles about Rick Perry, like this one from 2005 when Perry spoke at a "Texas Restoration Project" with a gaggle of anti-gay Religious Right activists:

A source who attended the event spoke to the Chronicle but requested anonymity because he serves in a local congregation and was sensitive to its politically diverse viewpoints. He recorded the event and provided the audiotape to the Texas Freedom Network, which in turn provided copies to the media.

Millionaire San Antonio conservative James Leininger was in attendance, as was East Texas chicken tycoon Bo Pilgrim, who introduced the governor. The two are among Perry's most generous campaign donors, most recently chipping in $50,000 apiece to the governor's re-election campaign, according to state Ethics Commission filings.

Though the audiotape is of poor quality, there is no mistaking the fever-pitched gay-bashing theme of most of the speeches. The group is fashioned after a similar evangelical organization in Ohio that worked to pass that state's marriage amendment in November and helped produce a narrow victory there for President Bush. Critics accuse the Ohio group of operating in tandem with the Bush presidential campaign, managed by Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, now running for Ohio governor in 2006. Blackwell was one of the featured speakers in Austin. Other guests who spoke in Austin included two key players in the Republican Party of Texas – Vice Chair David Barton, a self-described Christian nationalist, and former executive director Susan Weddington, who now heads Perry's faith-based initiatives program. Weddington called Perry "a spiritual giant."

Additionally, Ohio evangelical Pastor Rod Parsley lambasted the "homosexual agenda" and railed against Islam; Arlington minister Dwight McKissic – other than Blackwell, apparently the only African-American speaker at the event – delivered a hellfire condemnation of gays and lesbians, climaxing his address with the biblical story of the fire that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and declaring, "God has another match!" The crowd roared. "He said the most horrible things," the attendee said. "He was the most difficult to listen to."

Kelly Shackelford, who heads the Plano-based Free Market Foundation, may have stolen Perry's thunder in being the first to announce the governor's choice to fill the vacancy on the Texas Supreme Court – Don Willett, who was seated in the audience. Shackelford introduced Willett as a "strong believer in Jesus Christ. … I have no doubt where this man stands on any issue." Shackelford urged pastors to start organizing support for the upcoming constitutional election. "The other side is very organized," he said of the "No Nonsense in November" campaign, which opposes the amendment. "They are out there working in your communities."

Perry steered clear of directly incendiary comments, but left no doubt where he stands on the referendum. "For the record," he said, "this is one Texan who's going to be voting to protect the family unit this November by voting to preserve the institution of marriage between one man and one woman." Afterward, someone asked the governor what they could do to help him – the closest anyone came to mentioning his re-election campaign. Perry thought a moment before responding.

"Pray for me."

If the names of the participants sound familiar, there is a reason for that:  many of them also endorsed Perry's recent prayer rally, including David Barton, Dwight McKissic, and Kelly Shackelford.

You may also recognize the name of Susan Weddington, who has been working wtih Barton and close Perry friend Alice Patterson, to get African Americans to support the Republican Party.

In fact, these Restoration Project events are organized by David Lane, who was not only responsible for the recent similar Rediscover God In America conference, but just so happened to also serve as the National Finance Chairman of Perry's The Response prayer rally.

Perry has been attending these distinctly political Restoration Project events for several years and then partnered with many of these very same activists in organizing his recent prayer rally ... all while bogusly insisting that the event was distinctly non-political.

Geller: Republicans Allied With Norquist Are Tied To The Muslim Brotherhood

Pamela Geller has a second column out today attacking Texas Gov. Rick Perry for his ties to the Aga Khan, the leader of the Ismaili sect of Shiite Islam, and to one of Geller’s favorite targets, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform. Anti-Muslim activists have long viewed Norquist as one of the principal architects of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the conservative movement and American society at large because of his work to make the political Right more inclusive of Muslim-Americans. Geller writes today in her WorldNetDaily column that she doesn’t “want to see a GOP presidential candidate palling around with Grover and his thugs,” and says that Perry’s relationship with Norquist “raises legitimate questions about whether or not Perry knows about, or cares about, or even endorses, that activity by Norquist”:

First, Norquist. Yes, all Perry did was give a speech in partnership with Grover Norquist, and promote it on his website. Norquist heads up Americans for Tax Reform, and Perry's tax-cutting message is redolent of Norquist's influence. But Norquist also has deep and extensive ties to Islamic supremacists and jihadists, as I showed in the first commentary. That raises legitimate questions about whether or not Perry knows about, or cares about, or even endorses, that activity by Norquist. I certainly would refuse to speak at the same event in partnership with Grover Norquist – let alone promote it on my website. Shouldn't Rick Perry have, too?

Grover Norquist's background is no secret. His tax mask has worn thin. It was old five years ago. Grover Norquist is toxic and should be persona non grata in the Republican Party. He is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood. And has been exposed as the recipient of huge donations from a Brotherhood figure who is now in jail for financing terror activity. I don't want to see a GOP presidential candidate palling around with Grover and his thugs. I want a presidential candidate to declare that he will appoint an attorney general at the Department of Justice who will press forward immediately with the prosecutions of the co-conspirators named in the Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terror funding trial in our nation's history. I want a presidential candidate who is unafraid of the stealth jihadists in our midst, and who will vow that he will clean out the infiltrators.

But Perry is far from the only Republican to collaborate with Norquist, who Geller calls “a front for the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Norquist’s organization Americans for Tax Reform spent close to $4 million in the midterm election to elect Republicans to Congress, and 235 Congressmen and 41 Senators, all Republicans, have signed Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge.” In fact, just seven Republican representatives and seven Republican senators have not signed Norquist’s pledge to never support a tax increase. Already, Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have signed Norquist’s pledge, as have congressmen Louie Gohmert and Allen West, both darlings of anti-Muslim activists.

Since the vast majority of Republican members of Congress have no problems affiliating with Norquist, does Geller see them all working with the Muslim Brotherhood?

Geller goes on to argue that Perry is one of the “dhimmi candidates” who is “going along with our civilization suicide.” She contends that Perry must take a more active stance against Muslims and Muslim organizations or will be complicit in the “stealth jihad,” or the furtive and gradual Islamic takeover of American society, and must not put “lipstick on a halal pig”:

The fact that Hamas-tied CAIR, one of the top five groups named in AFDI's Threats to Freedom Index, immediately praised Perry, speaks volumes. All this speaks to a pattern. And the pattern is not good. It speaks to a pattern of going along with our civilization path to suicide. No matter who wins the nomination, I will support him or her with every breath of my body. But I am going to fight like a cat to get the right cat there. Of course, a candidate should make nice with Muslims who oppose jihad. But introducing the Islamic whitewash into our public schools and universities is the most dangerous thing you can do. It is not my intention to damn all Muslims, but we need a president who will call out the Islamic supremacist groups on stealth jihad. That is real political courage, not calling for tax cuts.

We have had enough of dhimmi candidates who kowtow, out of ignorance or financial interest or both, to Islamic supremacists. In my new book, "Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance," I detail the advances it is making, and show how Americans can and must resist. Do you really think that Rick Perry, in light of the information above, is really the man who is going to lead that resistance? Has Gov. Perry addressed the jihad ideology that has been responsible in recent years for the slaughter of thousands across the world? Or is he busy putting lipstick on a halal pig?

Jackson: There Is No Separation Of Church And State

Earlier this month Harry Jackson appeared on the Trinity Broadcasting Network to talk about his commitment to Seven Mountains dominionism, the ideology that calls on fundamentalist Christians to take control key sectors of society: business, media, education, arts and entertainment, family, religion and the church, and government. Jackson has emerged as a regular Religious Right spokesman and is a vociferous opponent of abortion rights and LGBT equality. He was even co-chair of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally.

Yesterday, Jackson was the guest on TBN’s Praise The Lord yesterday and discussed how he thinks God is using him to help fundamentalists seize the ‘government mountain’ because the separation of church doesn’t exist and “Jesus came not to take sides, but to take over”:

Jackson: It’s one thing to be in a church preaching all these messages, seeing people shout and whatever it is. But it’s another thing to command the attention of the nation, and then begin to tell these folks, ‘we vote too.’ We don’t just dance and sing, we vote. And some of what you’re doing has to be accountable to us, the people of God. There really is no separation of church and state. In God’s mind, the word of the Lord should impact everything that happens out there in the state. So time and time again we got folks who want us to say our place is just behind these four walls. But Jesus came not to take sides, but to take over.

Engle: The Call Needed To Convert Gays and Lesbians, Muslims

After many of the organizers for Lou Engle’s The Call put on Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally in Houston, Engle is gearing up for The Call: Detroit on November, 11th. The Call is a youth-focused prayer rally centered on militantly anti-choice and anti-gay messages and has received the endorsements of leading Republican and Religious Right figures like Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Tim Wildmon, Mat Staver and Pat Robertson. Engle recently promoted The Call at Awakening: 2011 in Chicago, and echoed his earlier sentiment about The Call’s goal of converting “millions of Muslims” to Christianity and transforming “urban communities”:

Later, Engle discussed the 2008 The Call rally in San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium which he led with Dobson, Perkins, Jim Garlow, Dutch Sheets, and Che Ahn where they supposedly secured the passage of Proposition 8 through their prayers. He said that during the rally he prayed for gays and lesbians to become heterosexual ‘ex-gays,’ saying, “We held a big gathering of The Call in San Diego praying that God would save and can transform a hundred thousand gay and lesbian men and women by the power of God.” Engle even claimed that he later met a woman who said she became an ‘ex-gay’ as a result of their prayers:

Right Wing Round-Up

Unearthing Right-Wing Treasure

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

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

Rick Perry, Alice Patterson, And The Demons Who Control Our Politics

When Gov. Rick Perry took to the stage at his prayer rally last weekend, he brought with him two close friends: C.L Jackson and Alice Patterson, whom he publicly praised and thanked:

Patterson, as you may recall, is deeply involved in the New Apostloic Reformation where she focuses on "racial healing" in order to get African Americans to leave the Democratic Party, which she believes is literally controlled by demonic spirits.

As it turns out, not only is the Democratic Party controlled by such spirits, but the Republican Party is as well.  But whereas the Democrats are controled by "Jezebel" via a "network of demonic principalities that demanded allegiance, worship, and the shedding of innocent blood," the Republicans are controlled by "Ahab" which makes GOP leaders passive and yield to intimidation instead of standing up on Godly principles.

In fact, Patterson explains in her book how it was this very spirit of passivity that caused prayer to be removed in school, which resulted in the murder to President Kennedy:

Passivity caused the court cases that removed prayer from our public schools to remain, causing the protective wall around the United States, our schools and our government to crumble. The very next year President John Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. The country mourned but the protective walls were not restored.

Patterson warns that "the further you get up the ladder in Washington, D. C. or state government, the harder it is to withstand the power of the Ahab structure if you’re a Republican" ... which is why President George W. Bush did so many ungodly things, like appointing "an open homosexual to high office," meeting with Muslims, and failing to pass a federal marriage amendment:

Although the Republican Party Platform is full of virtue, many individual Republicans tolerate what the platform does not. Take former evangelical President George W. Bush. Here are just a few of his actions that align with King Ahab’s tolerance of Jezebel.

• He was the first Republican President to appoint an open homosexual to high office— Scott Evertz to the White House Office of National AIDS Policy.

• After the Islamic terrorist attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001, President Bush invited 50 ambassadors from Muslim countries for a traditional meal and prayer at the White House in November 2001 to mark the start of Ramadan. A Republican President was the first to invite Muslims to pray in the White House. President Barack Obama continued the celebration of Ramadan in the White House, but it was started by a Republican President.

• President and Mrs. Bush bowed before the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo.

• President Bush “removed his shoes, entered a mosque and praised Islam for inspiring ‘countless individuals to lead lives of honesty, integrity and morality.’ For the second time since the September 11 terrorist attacks, the president yesterday visited Washington’s oldest mosque, the Islamic Center, where Muslims from 75 nations gather to worship. Bush marked the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan by praising Islam as a hopeful religion of mercy and tolerance.”

• President Bush outraged evangelicals by stating that he believes that Christians and Muslims worship the same god.

• In 2004 President Bush campaigned in favor of a Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that says that marriage is between one man and one woman. However, when he was elected, he said no more about it. If he had put as much importance on it as he did in reforming Social Security, the Marriage Amendment would have passed through Congress. He even said on several occasions that he supported civil unions, which give the same rights as marriage to same-sex couples.

• President Bush proved over and over again that he was an Ahab.

Understanding The "Apostle" In The New Apostolic Reformation

Last night, Rachel Maddow dedicated a segment of her program to discussing the New Apostolic Reformation and its ties to Rick Perry as well as a follow-up segment with Forrest Wilder, author of the excellent piece on NAR in The Texas Observer - also, if you watch carefully, you will recognize lots of our videos:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

For all the recent talk about the New Apostolic Reformation, one of the issues that has largely gone uncovered is just what it means to be an  "apostle" within this movement.  I have recently been reading C. Peter Wagner's "Apostles Today: Biblical Government for Biblical Power" in which he helpfully sets out his definition:

An apostle is a Christian leader, gifted, taught, commissioned, and sent by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the growth and maturity of the church and for the extension of the kingdom of God.

Wagner also explains that there is no such thing as "self-appointed apostles" because all apostles are appointed by God.  But that creates a bit of a dilemma for those trying to determine who are actual apostles versus those who are false apostles and so Wagner offers a rather ingenious way to tell the difference:

God's decision to make an individual an apostle must be recognized and affirmed by real people. If someone says, “God has called me to be an apostle,” but no one else agrees, then I have to doubt whether that person has accurately heard from God.

Now, if that logic seems rather circular to you, Wagner also offers up a list of "12 characteristics that are displayed by many (if not most) apostles," though he is careful to explain that not all apostles have all 12 characteristics. 

But, as a basic rule of thumb, seeing Jesus, performing miracles, suffering persecution, casting out demons, and fighting witchcraft are among the characteristics that a NAR apostle might posses:

1. Seeing Jesus personally. Of course the original 12 saw Jesus, but so did Paul, when Jesus appeared to him on the Damascus Road, and as he indicated in 1 Corinthians 9:1: “Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” According to an informal survey of the apostles whom I know today, about 20 percent have actually seen Jesus personally.

2. Performing supernatural manifestations such as signs and wonders. “Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds” (2 Cor. 12:12). Almost every apostle I know has seen physical healing in their ministry, but not many have seen mass healings through the casting of their shadow as did Peter (see Acts 5:15). The application of this, therefore, might well be mostly a matter of degree.

3. Planting churches. “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation and another builds on it” (1 Cor. 3:10). While planting churches is a very important apostolic characteristic (one that David Cannistraci even included in his definition above), not all apostles have a church-planting ministry.

4. Appointing and overseeing local church pastors (or “elders”). Paul and Barnabas planted churches, and then returned and “appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting” (Acts 14:23). Paul instructed Titus, a member of his apostolic team in Crete, to “set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city” (Titus 1:5).

5. Settling disputes in the church. The Corinthian believers were at each other’s throats. Paul wrote, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10). Apostles are frequently called upon to bring resolution and unity to division.

6. Applying discipline, including excommunication. “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! … In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 5:1,4-5). Denominational pastors are rarely equipped to take this kind of drastic action. Apostles, however, have few inhibitions about doing it when needed. Sadly, I have found it necessary through the years to dismiss or to force the resignation of several members of ICA.

7. Providing spiritual covering for other leaders. Paul did this. Here are two examples: “I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you” (Rom. 16:12). And, “Now if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. Therefore, let no one despise him. But send him on his journey in peace” (1 Cor. 16:10-11).

8. Suffering physical persecution. “For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles … From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep” (2 Cor. 11:5,24-25).

9. Attracting and distributing financial resources. “All who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need” (Acts 4:34-35). Most apostles have access to the financial resources necessary to implement the vision that God has given them.

10. Casting out demons. “So that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from [Paul’s] body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them” (Acts 19:12). Not all apostles have deliverance ministries, though many do.

11. Breaking curses of witchcraft. Paul broke the spirit of divination (witchcraft) in Philippi (see Acts 16:1618) and directly confronted the occult sorcerer Elymas in Cyprus (see Acts 13:8-11).

12. Frequent fasting. As he displays his credentials as an apostle, Paul mentions that he fasted often (see 2 Cor. 11:27).

Bachmann's Mentor Calls On Christian Leaders To Bring Biblical Law To America Or Face God's Judgment

Congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has touted Oral Roberts University law professor John Eidsmoe as her mentor and guide, bolstering her already impeccable credentials with Religious Right voters. Profiles by writers such as Ryan Lizza and Michelle Goldberg offered further insight into how Eidsmoe shaped Bachmann’s thinking, and highlighted some of Eidsmoe’s more controversial views, such as his commitment to biblical government and belief that the abolition of slavery was devastating for African Americans. In an interview with Lizza, Eidsmoe said that he thinks Bachmann mirrors the political views he outlined, and Bachmann told an Iowa pastor conference that Eidsmoe was “one of the professors who had a great influence on me” who is “absolutely brilliant.”

In 1984 Eidsmoe wrote God & Caesar, which is essentially a manual to why and how Christians should work in politics and government. Eidsmoe dedicated the book to his children, “in the hope that their generation will more fully implement biblical norms and standards.” In the book, Eidsmoe finds that the biblical view and the conservative agenda virtually always coincide, while the liberal position represents the rejection of God and godly principles. No matter the issue, economic, social, family, law, and foreign policy, Eidsmoe finds that conservatives are always on the right side of the Bible while liberals are on the side of godlessness.

As Julie Ingersoll writes in Religion Dispatches, Eidsmoe is a proponent of Christian Reconstructionism, a philosophy designed by R. J. Rushdoony that wants America governed  according to Biblical law.

Eidsmoe frequently promotes Rushdoony in God & Caesar and his dominionist teachings about the role of “God’s Word” in the political field:

God’s Word has a lot to say about government, about crime and punishment, about abortion, about national defense, about war and peace, about the many political issues that face us daily. Paul declared that he had ‘not shunned to declare unto all the counsel of God’ (Acts 20:27). The fundamentalist who refuses to preach or consider what God’s Word has to say about politics is not declaring the whole counsel of God and has a serious gap in his ministry. R. J. Rushdoony put it well when he said,

Man must exercise dominion in the name of God, and in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness…. The world, moreover, cannot be surrendered to Satan. It is God’s world and must be brought under God’s law politically, economically, and in every other way possible. The Enlightenment, by its savage and long-standing attack on Biblical faith, has brought about a long retreat of Christianity from a full-orbed faith to a king of last-ditch battle centering around the doctrines of salvation and of the infallible Scripture. The time has come for a full-scale offensive, and it has indeed begun, to bring every area of thought into captivity to Christ, to establish the whole counsel of God and every implication of His infallible word. (p. 56)

Eidsmoe believes that God brings people into the political arena and then uses them to enforce his will. He cites right-wing activist Phyllis Schlafly as one such leader that God used to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment, and Texas activists Mel and Norma Gabler to “analyze and critique textbooks and expose humanist, anti-Christian, immoral, or anti-American content. I’m sure the Gablers never dreamed God would use them like that” (p. 60).

He goes on to say that America is facing “political and economic decline” as a result of “moral decay” and God’s judgment because of the government’s failure to embrace biblical law. Eidsmoe argues that unless Christians that follow his Reconstructionist positions enter politics, God will judge America in the same way he judged Judah before exiling the Jews to Babylon:

We should add that this political and economic decline is a natural and logical consequence, but it is also a supernatural consequence. It is the result of God’s judgment (Leviticus 26:14-29).

I believe the political and economic decline that grips America today is the result of moral decay. I believe God is calling upon believers today to lead the spiritual awakening that can overcome that moral lapse. That’s how believers can truly be the salt of the earth, preserving their nation from divine judgment.

After decrying the sin of Judah, their oppression and robbery, their vexation of the poor and needy and the sojourner, God declared in Ezekiel 22:30, ‘And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it.’

God is looking for believers today to ‘stand in the gap,’ to assert themselves in the political arena and transform America’s political institutions.

But I omitted the last four words of that verse: ‘…but I found none.’ The Lord continued in the next verse, ‘Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God.’

God’s judgment indeed came upon Judah: seventy years of exile in Babylon.

That was true of Judah. I pray it won’t be true of America. Will you do your part, as others have done theirs? (p. 68)

Barton On Spanking: "We Do The Same Thing With Horses"

David Barton dedicated today’s program of WallBuilders Live to discuss a case in Texas where a woman was convicted of causing injury to a child. “It was her daughter's grandmother who noticed red marks on the child’s rear end, and took her to Driscoll Children's Hospital to be checked out,” reports the local NBC affiliate KZTV, saying the mother “plead guilty to the charge after reaching an agreement with prosecutors.” The office of the state’s Attorney General explains that “corporal punishment can be extremely damaging and dangerous, and this is what the law prohibits as abuse,” and local prosecutors and courts have discretion in handling such cases.

Barton argues that a judge had no right to convict her because, he explained, the Bible justifies and even encourages spanking. He claims that if anything parents should spank their children not with their hands but with “belts or hairbrushes, or they can use a paddle or whatever it is,” because “always in the Bible discipline is with a rod, it’s not with a hand.” Barton goes on to say “we do the same thing with horses,” saying spanking children is like beating horses with a rod or crop.

The right-wing pseudo-historian blames evolution as the culprit for the diminishment of spanking, maintaining that the application of evolution already ruined our understanding of the Constitution, science, and history, and is now set to destroy traditional parenting:

Barton: Always in the Bible, discipline is with a rod, it’s not with a hand. ’Cause the hand is supposed to reach out in love, you don’t want kids flinching from your hand. We do the same thing with horses. When I reach my hand to the face of a horse, I don’t want to flinch him from my hand. So if I have to beat a horse, and occasionally I do, you take something like a switch or a little crop or something else. And you can’t hurt a horse, I mean you can, but you have to convince a 1,200 lbs horse that me at 150 lbs is tougher than you and you do that by training. But when I extend my hand to my horse he doesn’t run from my hand, now he may not like that crop if he sees it, but after he’s had it a few time he’ll do exactly what I want, we have no difficulty, that’s why you also use spurs at times.

So the deal with spanking with hands, that’s why you really don’t want to do that you want to use something else so your hand is always associated with love and tenderness and reaching out to kids, there’s nothing to flinch, so people use belts or hairbrushes, or they can use a paddle or whatever it is.



When you say something ‘your yea’s should be yeas, your nay’s nays,’ say something, if they don’t follow through, no anger needed, there’s just a penalty to pay for it. A consequence.

So, you get this thing where we have now moved into applying evolution to parenting. Now we’ve already applied evolution to the Constitution, we’ve applied evolution to science, we’ve applied evolution to history, that’s why we don’t teach history, we teach culture. Not any of the of the fifty major universities in America, elite universities require any course in history, they all teach culture, not history. So we’ve applied evolution. Now we’re applying evolution to parenting, and ‘you don’t spank.’

Wait a minute, the Bible says I do. You mean we evolved past the Bible? That’s what you getting. As you can tell I’m exercised over this one.

Barton: "Hang These Four Republican Scalps Over The Senate Rail" For Supporting Marriage Equality

Today on WallBuilders Live, David Barton and co-host Rick Green had the National Organization for Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher as a guest to discuss NOM’s efforts to defeat senators that voted for the marriage equality law in New York, especially the law’s four Republican supporters. Following Gallagher’s interview, Barton lauded NOM’s campaign and warned that unless those Republicans are defeated, “Ken Mehlman,” the former head of the Republican National Committee and Bush campaign chief who recently came out as gay, “and his kind [will] come in and start rewarding these guys for going against pro-family stuff.” Barton went on to say that “this is where you hang a bloody scalp over the gallery rail,” to intimidate other Republicans who consider supporting equal rights for gays and lesbians:

Barton: If you allow the Ken Mehlman kind of Republicans to come in, and Melhman’s the guy who ran the Republican National Convention, he’s the guy who came out, who’s openly homosexual, trained with Karl Rove and was an understudy to Karl, if you allow those guys to be able to facilitate the Republicans to turn on these issues and other squishy Republicans across the country will say, ‘hey I can take on these pro-family people,’ they’ll start doing the same thing. Then you’ll lose your opportunity to have at least one party that still has the ability to allow people to talk about biblical, moral issues. You just cannot let this happen. Here I sit in Texas, I’ll contribute to the campaign to take these guys out, I’ll send money from Texas to New York.

Green: It’s kind of like the Iowa deal, going after judges up there and the necessity to defeat them.

Barton: Hey, you think that didn’t scare a bunch of judges straight in other states? You bet it did. And I want to see pro-family guys scared straight that are squishy on this issue, and if we can’t take out these four Republicans and the Majority Leader in New York, we will have opened a huge door for Melhman and his kind to come in and start rewarding these guys for going against pro-family stuff, and you just can’t let that happen.



Barton: No disrespect to our Native American friends, but this is where you hang a bloody scalp over the gallery rail. You hang these four Republican scalps over the Senate rail and every other Republican senator looks up and sees those scalps and says, ‘my gosh, I’ll be hanging up there beside them if I don’t stay with this pro-family stuff.’ And that’s exactly what has to happen.

Perry, Prayer, Politics and the Presidency

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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