economy

Religious Right Continues To Warn That They Will Not Be Ignored

We've noted over the last several days that the Religious Right is growing increasingly worried that GOP leaders are intentionally ignoring social issues as they lay out their agenda.  This fear was reinforced earlier this week when Haley Barbour, head of the Republican Governor's Association, said that the GOP wasn't going to use up valuable time and resources talking about issues like abortion and gay marriage because those are not things that voters care about.

Needless to say, that is not sitting well with the groups who care about abortion and gay marriage, with LifeNews responding that "if Barbour begins telling pro-life voters they need to take a back seat and that the issue of abortion won't determine how they vote, his potential campaign may be dead before it begins."

Likewise, Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council took Barbour to task in their most recent Washington Update:

On Wednesday Mississippi Governor Hailey Barber, who is also the chairman of the Republican Governors' Association, spoke to reporters here in Washington and cautioned Republican candidates against bringing social issues into their campaign. He said that if candidates go beyond economic issues, they "are using up valuable time and resources that can be used to talk to people about what they care about." My experience in the political arena is that politicians want to avoid issues that they are not very comfortable with. However, just because issues are not important to a candidate does not make them unimportant to voters.

I've repeatedly said that economic issues are currently at the forefront of the minds of most voters, but the electorate, especially social conservatives, have the ability to consider a candidate's view on more than one or two issues. Most self-identified, pro-life Americans, the number of which have been increasing over the last 30 years, will decide their vote not on where a candidate stands on a flat tax or a value added tax, but on where a candidate stands on the value of human life.

...

A nation's economy will never have greater stability than its core economic unit--the family, and the stability of the family is determined by more than money. Family matters and if the Republicans want to succeed where they failed last time, they had better remember that fact.

And Robert George, who has been raising his own alarms that conservative leaders are distancing themselves from social issues, echoes Perkins' argument that defending the family is the key to economic stability, which is the standard Religious Right response whenever this tension between economic and social conservatives flares up:

If our society goes down the tubes—and may God protect us from any such eventuality—but if we go down the tubes, if our cause is lost, it will not be in the end because of bad economic decisions (though bad economic decision cause tremendous harm and suffering). It will be because we let misguided but determined people undermine the institution of marriage and destroy the innocence of our children.

Now some will counsel that economic conservatives have no horse in this race. They will say that issues such as marriage and the sanctity of human life are moral, culture, and religious questions about which business people, and people concerned with economic freedom, need not concern themselves. That’s bad thinking! The reality is that the ideological movements today that seek to redefine marriage and abolish its normativity for romantic relations and the rearing of children, are the very same movements that seek to undermine the market system and replace it with statist control of vast areas of economic life.

Conservatives may be unified in opposing President Obama and the Democrats, but that doesn't mean that they actually have a unified agenda or even a coherent coalition, so we can expect this gulf between the economic and social conservatives to continue to widen as we approach the coming elections and their aftermath.

Barbour: Religious Right is "Using Up Valuable Time and Resources" On Issues Voters Don't Care About

Earlier this year, Gov. Mitch Daniels came in for all sorts of criticism from the Religious Right for suggesting that truce might be needed in the culture wars so that the nation can focus on addressing economic and security issues.

If there is one thing the Religious Right hates, it is being told that their issues should be placed on a back burner or that they don't motivate voter turn out.  In fact, just yesterday we noted that the Religious Right was warning House Republicans not to ignore social issues as they lay out their issues and agenda, warning that it would be an "electorally costly mistake for the future for the GOP to write off" the anti-choice, anti-gay social conservatives who make up much of the grassroots base.

So I am guessing that this is not going to sit well with them:

Republican Governor's Association Chair Haley Barbour cautioned Republican candidates on Wednesday against bringing social issues into the campaign, arguing that any discussion beyond the economy would prove distracting and problematic to their election hopes.

In a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, the Mississippi Republican was asked for his take on remarks made earlier in the year by Mitch Daniels, the Indiana Governor, who had urged social and fiscal conservatives to reach an informal truce for the purposes of 2010.

"I think what Mitch said is very similar to what I have responded to today," Barbour replied. "The voters have on their mind the economy, jobs, spending, debt and taxes and good campaigns are about the issues that are on the peoples minds.

"I'll put my bonafides up against anybody as a social conservative," he added, noting that as governor, Mississippi was voted the safest state in the country for an unborn child. "But that ain't going to change anybody's vote this year because people are concerned about job, the economy, growth and taxes... you are using up valuable time and resources that can be used to talk to people about what they care about."

You know, Mitch Daniels thought that it was his bonafides as a social conservative that gave him the standing and credibility to be able call for a truce in the culture wars, but that didn't stop him for getting raked over the coal ... so if Barbour thinks that the Religious Right is going to simply accept it when he tells them that they "are using up valuable time and resources" talking about issues nobody cares about, I think he is going to be in for a bit of a surprise.

Religious Right Demands Inclusion in GOP Agenda

Earlier this year, House Republicans launched a website called "America Speaking Out," which allowed Americans to "share their priorities and ideas for a national policy agenda" that they wanted Congress to focus on.

In a few weeks, House GOP leaders are expected to roll out set of guiding principles and agenda that is based on the suggestions they have received and reportedly distributed a 22-page draft packet to members earlier this month.  And the draft focuses largely on issues related to jobs, spending, health care, and the economy while almost entirely ignoring social issues ... which, of course, is not sitting well with the Religious Right:

Today, the Susan B. Anthony List announced the launch of its “Life Speaking Out Campaign” aimed at encouraging House GOP leadership to make protecting women and the unborn a priority in its legislative blueprint expected after Labor Day. The campaign includes a website for pro-life activists to lobby House GOP leadership (www.LifeSpeakingOut.com) and an encouraging letter to leadership signed by SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.

“The Republican Party must show what it is made of this time around. They can do so by acting on their convictions and those of their party, and by making a commitment to passage of common-sense, life-saving legislation,” said Dannenfelser. “Missing from the GOP’s original Contract in 1994 was any emphasis on policies protecting the unborn. Pro-life legislation was not made a priority in the following Congress. With the support of a vibrant pro-life movement that understands the urgency of addressing the tragedy of nearly 4,000 abortions per day coupled with the vast majority of Americans who support a commonsense pro-life agenda, enacting that agenda would not require a heavy lift ... It would be an electorally costly mistake for the future for the GOP to write off one leg of the three-legged stool of Ronald Reagan conservatism. Real leaders multi-task. The strongly pro-life GOP leadership should be able to respond to the economic crisis and enact pro-life legislation,” Dannenfelser said.

Expect to see more of this, as other Religious Right groups started demanding that things like support for "traditional marriage" and religious freedom also be explicitly included in any GOP governing agenda.

Liberty Counsel Warns That Obama Seeks To Become Global Dictator

Ever since Barack Obama started running for the White House, we've seen occasional pieces wondering if he was the Antichrist. In December 2008, Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel said he did not think that Obama was, in fact, the Antichrist but that it was entirely understandable that people were worried that he was:

No wonder, then, that Obama triggers such fear in the hearts of America's millennialist Christians. Mat Staver, dean of Liberty University's law school, says he does not believe Obama is the Antichrist, but he can see how others might. Obama's own use of religious rhetoric belies his liberal positions on abortion and traditional marriage, Staver says, positions that "religious conservatives believe will threaten their freedom." The people who believe Obama is the Antichrist are perhaps jumping to conclusions, but they're not nuts: "They are expressing a concern and a fear that is widely shared," Staver says.

I wonder if Staver's views have changed since then because it sure sounds like he's convinced that Obama is out to make himself some sort of global dictator because today he and Matt Barber, LC's Director of Cultural Affairs, dedicated their radio program to explaining how Obama, from the very beginning, has been focused on systemically weakening America so that he could ultimately position himself to take over the entire world:

Staver: When President Barack Obama was running for president, when we became president, I've long since stated that his end game has and is not President of the United States of America; that he has a broader worldwide agenda. And that's why he's to go to places around the world and down the United States of America, because he thinks that's going to gain him popularity in some of the other foreign areas. And that's really where I think his eyes are focused, not on [being] President of the United States.

Barber: Now here's the scary thing, I believe that that is true, but in order to have a post-American world, you have to have a post-America. And that's why his policies are pushing us into a post-American world. He is destroying American exceptionalism and is trying to do away with our free market system here in the United States. He's trying to create the climate where we have a post-American world.

Staver: Well, because America is always going to be, or at least it has been up until now, world player. And for him to be on the world scene, he's going to have to bring America down to the level of some of the European and some other countries with regards to commonality. And America always had the exceptionalism and you can't really have worldwide influence if you've got the America exceptional nation because you're going to have to have them all basically on the same level.

So for him to go into this national, or global, leadership - which he wants to do - it's no wonder why he wants to make America's economy like the European economy; it's no wonder why he wants to downplay Christianity so he can up-play Islam.

This man does not respect America. He never has.

Liberty Counsel is, of course, on of the main co-sponsors of the upcoming Values Voter Summit at which Staver is confirmed as a speaker, along with Rep. Michele Bachmann, Gov. Bob McDonnell, and Mike Huckabee (and it should be noted that Huck and Staver have a close personal relationship that goes back years.)

Right Wing Round-Up

Another 100+ Focus Employees Let Go

Last Friday we noted that Focus on the Family was facing another round of lay-offs, though it was unknown at the time just how many employees would lose their jobs

Today, it is being reported that another 110 employees have been let go, reducing the organization's size almost by half from it's peak in 2002:

Focus on the Family laid off 110 workers Friday, a 13 percent reduction in workforce.

While most of the positions eliminated were in service departments, more than 15 managerial jobs, including two senior executive positions, were also axed, Focus spokesman Gary Schneeberger said today.

With Friday's layoffs, Focus has let go 385 employees over the past two years. Since 2002, Focus' workforce has been trimmed almost in half, from 1,400 to 750.

"The economy continues to be in recession," said Schneeberger, explaining a reason for the layoffs. "And people who have given in the past are having financial difficulties of their own."

The ministry's fiscal 2010-11 budget is $105 million, a $27 million cut from last year's fiscal budget, Schneeberger said.

Focus' budget for fiscal 2008-09 was $160 million.

Cindy Jacobs: God's Mercy Depends On How We Vote In 2010

Last week, Cindy Jacobs issued "a serious warning and a call for urgent prayer," warning that God had told her that unless the nation turned to massive prayer, fasting, and revival - along with support for Israel and proper voting, of course - our economy was going to be destroyed.

Since then, Jacobs has had a bit more time to convene with God and so now she is back with a new video message reporting that God has told her that whether the US receives His blessing or His judgment depends entirely on how we vote in November:

The next elections, 2010, are so critical. We know that they'll take place November 2, so this is what I feel from the Lord: we must declare a forty day fast leading up to the elections. We must have a situation where we have a movement called "Fast America," meaning every single day thousands, hopefully tens of thousands, of Americans will fast and pray for God to give wisdom for these next elections, for His candidate that are His choice - pro-life, pro-Biblical definition of marriage - that will be put in office . It is not only critical but it is imperative that we do so.

This is not something that will be easily turned. It will not be turned without a battle, a battle both through our prayers, a battle on our knees, but a battle with our feet. We must vote with our feet for righteousness, for these pro-life, pro-Biblical values candidates. We must engage as we have never engaged before.

But I know that if we will do this, that God is going to have mercy upon the nation.

There is actually a lot more in the original video, as Jacobs explains how their intercession capped the BP oil well and turned away the hurricane that was threatening the Gulf and also assures us that the Word she received from God has been endorsed by the "other major prophets in the Aposotilc Council of Prophetic Elders," so you know that you can trust that it is totally legit:

Cindy Jacobs Issues "A Serious Warning and a Call for Urgent Prayer"

Cindy Jacobs reports that on July 17, God spoke to her and warned that America was on the verge of slipping into "another Great Depression" and the only hope of stopping it was for massive prayer, fasting, revival, support for Israel ... and, of course, proper voting

A few days ago as I watched the financial news, the Lord clearly spoke these words to me, "The nation is teetering!" I then had a vision of the economy of the United States, on what looked like a "scale of justice." He then went on to show me that we must fast, pray and cry out to the Lord for mercy and solutions that will balance righteousness and justice.

In praying to the Lord for wisdom about this word, I realized what must be done—it is time for the Church in America to stand up and take her place once again in the nation. I mulled over the fact that we have already lost so many of our liberties and this is what I heard, "If the Church doesn't fast and pray for a faster acceleration of revival and awakening, the iniquitous sin structures in the nation will tip the scale that is teetering and there will be another great depression."

Of course, this word shook me to the core of my being. Many of you may be aware that the Holy Spirit spoke to me almost a year before the September 2008 economic melt down, that there would be "no more business as usual."

The balance of the economy is fragile and depending on the way we fast, pray, and how we cast our votes in the next election will depend on which way the scale tips. We must pray and do. We must pray and act. We must awaken the Church to the state of the nation without fear of pleasing man or fear for our reputation.

God is watching to see which way the die will be cast. If we shift the nation to Biblical values in the arenas of righteousness and justice, the economy will follow. If we continue in our stance of support for Israel, the Stock Market will stabilize and prosper, and that which is fragile will become strong. Supernatural solutions will be sent from Heaven that our natural minds could never reason, nor grasp and they will heal the land.

If we do not heed in this hour there will be a tumbling of our economy and dark days will be ahead to such a degree that our nation will possibly never fully recover from and have the greatness as a nation that God has favored us with for generations.

God have mercy. God send an awakening. God send salvation.

Deregulation, In Jesus' Name

Every once in a while it is important to remind ourselves that the Religious Right doesn't want our nation's laws to reflect Biblical principles only on issues like abortion or gay marriage, but on all laws.

And though we tend to forget that from time to time, fortunately they are willing to remind us, which is what David Barton and Rick Green of Wallbuilders did today, laying out the case for complete economic deregulation on the grounds that that is what the Bible says that Christians should be free to do as they please, while laws and regulations should only be targeted at "the bad people."

As an added bonus, the guest on today's radio program was Rep. Randy Neugebauer, whom you may remember as the man who screamed "baby killer" at Rep. Bart Stupak during the health care debate, who slammed the idea of bailing out companies because they will never learn their lesson if we don't let them go out of business:

Barton: There is a great Bible verse, 1 Timothy 1, 8-10 where God tells us why he gives us laws. And we should use this as the standard by which we judge laws in a city, or in a county, or in a state, or anything else. Here's was Scripture says, God says "we know that the law is good if one uses it properly." So what is the proper use of the law? It says that "we also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels." So the first point of law is you don't make laws to regulate the good people, you make laws to regulate the bad people. You want to restrain the bad, not restrain the good. So it says "we know the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, and homosexuals, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine."

The purpose we have laws is to restrain the bad, that is the purpose of government, that is the purpose of law. We obviously have gotten away from that. We have so many laws now that restrain the good folks and regulate the good folks ... if you look at all the bailouts that have happened over the last two years, the only divisions of the economy that needed bailouts were the most heavily regulated divisions, the ones with the most government, and that's insurance, that's real estate, that's banking, you had regulations through the unions on the car dealers that went out of business. The guys that had competitive market stuff, we had a lot of car dealers that didn't go under.

Green: The power of government was coming in to those that did go under controlling it.

Barton: And there is was.

Green: And so the excuse, typically, for these regulations is to keep from having the problems but you the result is ...

Barton: You have more problems every time, because you're violating the Biblical principle that laws are made to restrain the bad, not the good. You cannot violate God's principles and have it work.

[EDIT - Green reiterates this argument to Rep. Neugebauer]

Neugebauer: We should have let those companies fails. You talk about learning a lesson, companies don't learn a lesson when the government and the tax payers bail 'em out. Companies learn lessons when they fail and that makes the market then pay better attention to some of these entities and whether they are providing 'em credit or buying stock in those companies. But if there is this implied guarantee that somehow, don't worry, the taxpayers will swoop in and pick up the tab then there is no encouraging the market to be a little careful in their selection and really no pressure on management to manage their balance sheets better.

Behold the economic ideology driving the Religious Right: Christians don't need regulation because they are good people, and trying to regulate Christians violates God's will, which in turns caused our economy to nearly collapse ... and we should have let it collapse, because that is the only way that business would learn its lesson.

[And, as an interesting side note, when Barton quotes from 1 Timothy, he seems to be reading from the New International Version, as that appears to be the only version that uses the word "properly" while the others use the word "lawfully."  And the NIV version of that passage does not mention "homosexuals" .. but apparently Barton thought it important to add that.]
 

Huckabee Issues Second Statement Condemning Any "Truce," Saying Morality Is Key To Protecting The Economy

Mike Huckabee has already weighed in on Gov. Mitch Daniels statement that there might need to be a "truce" in the culture wars so that we can focus on economic issues, saying that he "cannot" and "will not" ever accept such a truce.

That seemed pretty clear, but apparently Huckabee was not content to let this issue go and so he has released a second statement saying that, contrary to Daniels' assertion that social issues must be put aside in favor of economic ones, it is actually the morality at root of the social issue fights that can solve our economic problems: 

Sadly, Gov. Daniels is not alone in his way of thinking and it’s not a new concept. During the last presidential election – many reporters, Republicans and Democrats suggested the same moratorium on morality. The political winds began to whisper of stopping the discussion on morality and starting the discussion on the “important issues.”

Let me be clear – MORALITY AND THE ECONOMY are inextricably linked.

• The collapse of morality and ethical business practices preceded the collapse of Wall Street – unchecked greed caused the downfall;

• A decrease in morality preceded an increase in the prison population – state budgets via taxes, increase every year to pay for prisons; and,

• We don’t emphasize character in our public schools, and ignorance is expensive-- a national high school drop out rate of 1 in 3 students produces poverty – crippling our economy in countless ways.

I’m not saying Wall Street, prisons and poverty are not the only influences on our economy – there are countless others – nor am I saying morality solves every economic crisis we face. But I am saying strong moral fiber would prevent many of our nation’s economic disasters.

Should we focus on the economy and the staggering and crippling debt? Absolutely! But I fear that talk of a “truce” means that we are making excuses for compromise on moral issues, and there is no need to separate economic issues from the social issues. We can and must focus on both.

Now is not the time to shift focus from moral issues we need to shift focus toward moral issues.

The idea that there is a "connection between traditional social issues like abortion and gay marriage and the economy" has been the Religious Right's standard response ever since the economy tanked back in 2008 ...and apparently it is one that they are sticking with. 

Daniels: Truce Talk "Just a Suggestion"

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has now responded to the outrage from the Religious Right to his statement that we need to call a "truce" in the culture wars in order to focus on economic issues.

And while Daniels is neither backing down or defending it, he does seem to think that the Religious Right ought to be able to discuss the suggestion like rational adults ... good luck with that approach:

Daniels, talking to reporters in Indiana, said his remarks were “just a suggestion,” and a reflection of the fact that he believes the nation has to focus on the soaring debt and national security threats.

“It’s an expression of the urgency I think all Americans should feel about certain other questions. The debt burden, which I think literally threatens not just our economy but America’s role in the world, and the threat of nuclear terror -- or weapons of mass destruction, I should say, in the hands of people who are perfectly willing to use them,” he said.

“I really believe that for the first time the future of the American experiment is at risk. It’s a thought that maybe we could agree to disagree. I picked the word truce because no one has to change their point of view, no one has to surrender. Just that we might simply try to come together, I think it will take that if we’re going to address what I believe are the most urgent problems of the country.”

VCY Responds to Porter's Attacks

To say that we do not have very much in common with VCY America or its flagship radio program "Crosstalk" would be something of an understatement:

Crosstalk covers the issues that affect our world, our nation, our families and the Christian church from a perspective centered in the Word of God. Whether we discuss the economy, the political scene, the continuing moral collapse of our nation, legislation that affects the family, or the state of evangelicalism, our authority is found in the unchanging standard of the Holy Scriptures.

But one thing that we do have in common is a concern about Dominon Theology and its increasing prevalence within the Religious Right movement, especially as it pertains to Janet Porter and her sphere of activists.

As we noted earlier, Porter used her WorldNetDaily column to lash out at Discernment Ministries and its blog, Herescope, which was instrumental in covering Porter's May Day rally and its ties to Dominion Theology.  This coverage ultimately lead VCY America to sever its ties with Porter's radio program which, in turn, has rendered Porter's organization almost non-existent.

In the wake of this decision, Crosstalk hosted a special program last month with Herescope's Sarah Leslie to expose the dangers of Dominionism ... and today Crosstalk hosted another program with Leslie to respond to Porter's attacks during which both Leslie and host Ingrid Schlueter marveled at Porter's viciousness ... to which I say, "welcome to our world."

I will post a link to the entire program once VCY makes it available on their website (UPDATE: here is the link to the program) but for now I'm going to post two clips that I recorded myself.

In this first clip, Schlueter says that she does not have enough time to debunk all of the lies in Porter's column, but that she, like many others, is horrified by the cultural collapse in this country. But the collapse of our culture is not the result of Christians not caring, but rather Christians (like Porter) who are abandoning the Gospel in favor of false teachers (like Cindy Jacobs) who spread lies and theologies that are not supported by Biblical truth.  Leslie then recounts her long history as a Religious Right activist, especially as the head of Iowa Right to Life in the 1980s when she knew Jack Kemp and Pat Robertson on a first name basis and regularly received death threats because of her activism:

In this second clip, Leslie delivers an concise and informative explanation of New Apostolic Reformation/Dominionism/7 Mountains Theology movements where she explains that this is not your typical "get out the vote" type of activism, but rather a concerted effort to literally take over all aspects of our culture so as to bring about the Kingdom of God here on Earth. At the end, Leslie finally says "I don't know how to say it any other way: they're wacky.  If you go and look at YouTube, they are barking like dogs and laughing like hyenas":

When The Right Starts Warning About Dominionism, Pay Attention

I know I have been writing a lot about the creeping dominionsim of the Religious Right here lately, but that is because I think it is an important development that has the potential to fundamentally change the movement from an effort by conservative Christians to engage in and shape the political process to an effort to create create a borderline theocracy in which every aspect of America life is dedicated to honoring God in order to bring about the return of Christ.

And we are not the only ones alarmed by this development.  As we noted earlier this week, VCY America had decided to drop Janet Porter's Faith 2 Action radio program due to her increasing ties to dominion theology, as demonstrated by her May Day prayer rally.

VCY America is run by Vic Eliason, who also co-hosts VCY's flagship program "Crosstalk" with Ingrid Schlueter.

On Monday, Schlueter dedicated her program to analyzing the rise of dominion theology and the New Apostolic Reformation within the Religious Right.  Her guest was Sarah Leslie, an author, researcher, and member of the board of directors of Discernment Ministries, which has been voicing alarm at the rise of dominion theology within the movement on their blog:

Sarah Leslie is an author and researcher, a member of the board of directors of Discernment Ministries and also a member of the Discernment Research Group.

In response to the May Day event held this past Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial, Ingrid and Sarah brought to listener attention a movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation. This title was coined by C. Peter Wagner during the 1990’s.

Featuring teachers such as Dutch Sheets, Chuck Pierce, and false "prophetesses" Cindy Jacobs and Stacey Campbell, the New Apostolic Reformation is centered around a theology of dominionism. It teaches that Christians can take down demonic spirits in order to take back territories and institutions for Christ. The movement is post-millennial believing that Jesus will not return until Christians take over the 7 Mountains. These “mountains” are institutions like the media, entertainment, the economy, etc. In other words, their eschatology requires that instead of reaching people with the gospel one heart at a time, they believe they are to conquer the earth one demonic spirit at a time and make the earth perfect so that Jesus can return.

The program is an hour long and I strongly encourage you to listen to it because it is quite informative.  And keep in mind that this discussion is taking place between two people who consider themselves a part of the Religious Right - Leslie was actually the head of Iowa Right to Life in the 1980s - so these are not religion-hating liberals voicing alarm about the radical views of dominionists, but very conservative activists who are warning that this movement is, in essence, a cult built on intolerance and coercion that is intent on creating an army of believers who will take complete control over our society and ultimately the world.

When extremely conservative Christian activists start issuing warnings about the radical turn the movement appears to be taking, it is probably a good idea to pay them heed.

Hagee: Iceland Volcano Was God's Response To British Ad Ban

Last week, Rush Limbaugh said the eruption of the volcano in Iceland was "God speaking" in response to the passage of health care reform.

But John Hagee has a different explanation, saying it was God's response to the decision by Britain's Advertising Standards Authority that the Western Wall could not appear in tourism ads:

Television and radio evangelist Pastor John Hagee believes the recent eruption of the volcano in Iceland stems from Britain breaking God's covenant.

The day after Britain's Advertising Standards Authority said the Western Wall in Jerusalem could not be used in Israeli tourism ads in Britain because it is considered occupied territory, Hagee said, the volcano erupted, shutting down Britain's economy in one day.

"That's coincidence, like the flood was a coincidence. That's coincidence, like the Red Sea was coincidence. That's coincidence, like the earthquake and the Resurrection was coincidence," Hagee told about 3,200 people at Lancaster County Convention Center on Thursday night as part of John Hagee Ministries' Rally and Prophecy Seminar.

Hagee went on to warn President Obama for his treatment of Israel, saying "any country who tries to change [God's covenant with Abraham] will get the judgment of God. It's like sticking your finger in the eye of God."

The Newest Right Wing Crusade: Defund the SPLC!

It is no secret that Religious Right groups do not particularly like the Southern Poverty Law Center, especially ever since it started keeping a list of "Active Anti-Gay Groups" that includes groups like the Family Research Institute, Watchmen on the Walls, and Traditional Values Coalition. 

MassResistance is also featured on the list, and is now fighting back, claiming that the SPLC secretly wrote the Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism that was released last year: 

So now we find out that the Southern Poverty Law Center, the leftist front group that has called so many good Americans "haters", authored the infamous Dept. of Homeland Security report last year (“Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”).

MassResistance links to this article by Tom DeWeese, president of the American Policy Center, who asserts that this is the case: 

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) hates us. Who? According to several reports they have released over the past year, “us” is the following: One concerned over the economy; loss of jobs; foreclosures; antagonism toward the Obama Administration (that it’s racist); criticism of free trade programs like NAFTA and the Security and Prosperity Partnership; anti-abortion; oppose same-sex marriage; believe in the “end times;” stock pile food, ammunition and weapons; oppose illegal immigration; opposition to the new world order; opposition to the United Nations; opposition to global governance; fear of Communist regimes; opposition to loss of US manufacturing to overseas nations; opposition to loss of US prestige; use of the Internet (or alternative media) to express these ideas. Did this list miss anyone reading it? You are all haters and potential terrorists.

The above list was published in a report issued last year by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) entitled, “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” The report, while issued by the DHS, was in fact, written by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which labels itself as a civil rights organization which “tracks the hate movement.” Ironically, SPLC is becoming one of the biggest purveyors of hate and discord in the nation. Worse, SPLC’s reports are often so inaccurate and misleading that they would be simply laughable if they didn’t have the support of the Federal government.

DeWeese provides no evidence or documentation for the allegation that the SPLC drafted the DHS report ... but that doesn't matter, as the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission is already accepting it as truth and is therefore demanding that Congress must "defund the Southern Poverty Law Center":

The Southern Poverty Law Center is an extremely liberal group that compiles a list of hate groups in America. But according to their latest list, if you advocate for traditional biblical values, you are lumped together with violent neo-Nazis and skinheads.

The Law Center just named forty leaders of the conservative movements as extremists including pastors and elected members of Congress. This is slanderous and outrageous, yet many people take this unscientific, biased list seriously.

Even the Federal Government, that gives the Law Center millions of your tax dollars, uses the biased information to shape national policy. Last year’s discredited report from the Department of Homeland Security on Right-Wing Extremism was actually written by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

We must stop the biased practices and the hateful campaign against Christians and urge Congress to defund the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Where the CADC got the idea that the Federal Government "gives the [SPLC] millions of your tax dollars" is anybody's guess, since they cite absolutely nothing to support the claim.

Sputtering Start to Religious Right's Rebranding

The Freedom Federation’s “Awakening” conference convened at Liberty University on April 15 and 16  with the ambitious goal of transforming America by touching off the greatest religious revival that America or the world has ever known.   Short of that, the gathering was all about rebranding the Religious Right political movement as a “multiracial, multi-ethnic, transgenerational” movement that cares about social justice (sorry, Glenn Beck). In short, the conference was meant to send a message to young and non-white evangelicals: this ain’t your father’s Religious Right.

Given the gathering’s audacious goals, and the number and firepower of participating Religious Right leaders (who it was claimed represented 40 million Americans), attendance was dismal. In fact there’s probably never been a conference with a higher ratio of featured speakers (52) to attendees (a couple of hundred at best, not counting the session that used a regularly scheduled student convocation to give speaker Sam Rodriguez a larger audience). 
 
Of course, there were plenty of signs that the old Religious Right and its focus on divisive fear-driven politics haven’t gone anywhere.  Speaker after speaker portrayed faith and freedom under relentless attack in America. In spite of repeated assertions that the movement was nonpartisan and would not be co-opted by any political party, it was clear that the top political priorities for these leaders are to help Republicans take back at least one house of Congress in 2010 and to defeat the tyrannical Barack Obama in 2012. Ending abortion and turning back progress toward equality for LGBT people are top policy priorities.
 
Despite the low turnout, the conference served as an opportunity for organizers to meet and strategize for the 2010 elections, and to try out some new messaging and public relations strategies. Here were the conference’s main themes:
  • Tyranny! Red Alert! America is in big trouble. Freedom is under attack by President Obama and his allies in Congress. And since Obama is no friend of Israel, we’re in trouble with God.
  • Fight! Big threats mean we have to be ready to fight, fight fight. The tea party movement was invoked favorably and, given the turnout, a bit wistfully.
  • Unify. A major theme of the event was the need to ignore major theological differences among speakers and focus on common values such as ending abortion and the Obama administration.
  • Diversify. The conference made a major effort to showcase the Freedom Federation’s claims to be a multiracial, multiethnic, multigenerational movement. 
  • Seek Social Justice. Watch out, Glenn Beck, these right-wingers are eager to portray themselves as a social justice movement.
  • Millennial Generation, saving America is your job.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW Blog: Meet the Right’s Newest Judicial Codeword.
  • Joe.My.God: LGBT Rights For Missoula, Montana.
  • TFN: Education Is a ‘Religious Conflict.’
  • Raw Story: Nebraska to ban all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Think Progress: Cornyn: ‘I’d have to think about’ whether I could support an openly gay Supreme Court nominee.
  • AMERICAblog: 67% of white Tea Party supporters think gays should be allowed to serve in the military.
  • TPM: 'Is It Scary? Sure It Is' -- Tea Partiers Want Oklahoma Militia.
  • Finally, Rachel Maddow covers Ken Cuccinelli's scheduled appearance at "The Awakening":
  • Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Wilderness Outcry: A 5 Day Prayer-Fueled Woodstock To Save America

This June, Lou Engle will be pairing with other prophetic intercessors such as Ron Luce, Jim Garlow,* and Dutch Sheets for 5 days of Call-like prayer and fasting on a ranch near Poplar Bluff, Missouri called "Wilderness Outcry":

In September of 2009 Lou Engle (founder and leader of TheCall) and I stood on this property praying about the possibility of using it for just such a purpose. It is very hard to describe the feeling that overtakes a person as he or she steps onto this beautiful land—God’s presence is truly there. As Lou and I prayed, dreaming of thousands of people gathering there before the Lord, Lou, knowing nothing about Jerry’s prayers, suddenly began to exclaim, "this is Isaiah 44:4!"

God is indeed coming to Poplar Bluff, Missouri this summer to fulfill Isaiah 44:3-5, “I will pour out water on the thirsty…I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring…they will spring up like poplars by streams…one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’…and another will write on his hand, ‘Belonging to the Lord’…” I truly believe this has the potential to help launch the Third Great Awakening in America. Be a part of God recapturing His dream for America. I assure you this is His idea—and He will come! It’s not a camp, it’s a consecration!

Organizer Dutch Sheets explains that the nation must come together in prayer and repentance to ask God to forgive us for having elected President Obama and the Democrats ... and even then, "our only hope [is] for a reduced sentence. Judgment cannot be fully averted but it can be lessened":

If God brought corrective but serious judgment to Israel, we are horribly deceived if we think it will not happen to us. If something doesn’t happen to lessen this judgment—and it can be lessened–we are headed for very difficult times. The economy is going to be devastated. The stock market will go well below where it went a few months back—a crash is coming, and soon. More terrorism and violence will occur in our land, perhaps even war. In my spirit I’ve seen buildings crumbling and cities burning. Devastating natural disasters will take place. In general, hard times will be prevalent. Why is this so? Because we have turned from God and His ways. Consider the true condition of America. This assessment is bleak but accurate.

1) Our government is in decay. The current leaders of Congress promote homosexuality, abortion and socialism, while arrogantly ignoring God and the wishes of the people. They are proud, power-hungry, self- serving, career politicians, not the statesmen/women we so desperately need. Our President fits the same description. Along with the above, while honoring—in the White House—the Muslim day of prayer, homosexual activists and a coalition of atheists, he refused to honor the time-honored traditions surrounding the National Day of Prayer. And along with Congress and the President, we have many Judges with no regard for God’s word, the Constitution or our true history. The predictable verdict is in: America is in a moral and spiritual crisis of such magnitude that it is almost unbelievable.

...

It is not too late for America. Together we can release the transforming effect of a Third Great Awakening. If Woodstock 40 years ago could change a nation, what could thousands of believers crying out to God for several days accomplish?!

* UPDATE: Jim Garlow has informed us that he was in no way involved with this event.  Our apologies for mistakenly asserting that he was.

At Missouri Budget Prayer Rally, Anne Graham Lotz Declares 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina "Wake-up Alarms from God"

Last week we noted that Missouri legislators had asked Christian leaders to host a prayer rally to ask God to help them find a way to balance the state's budget.

The rally was held yesterday and featured Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy Graham, who praised state lawmakers for turning to God for help on this issue, because 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the economic crisis are all signs that God is judging this nation:

The keynote speaker was Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, and a prominent minister in her own right.

"We have problems in this country and we have problems in this state,” Lotz said. “But I believe you and I hold the answer.”

Lotz told the audience that events like 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, recent earthquakes, even the meltdown in the economy, are all wake-up alarms from God.

"I am so honored and humbled and thrilled to come to Jefferson City in Missouri because I believe you may be the first ones to start waking up,” Lotz said.

The prayer efforts are scheduled to continue for 40 days, ending on May 7, which is the deadline for lawmakers to craft the budget.

Anti-Immigration Groups Going Out of Business?

Today, the American for Legal Immigration PAC sent out an email desperately seeking a meger $30,000 in donations to keep the organization afloat, saying it needed $11,000 in the next six days to avoid a potential shutdown, which is what has reportedly happened to the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps:

Only six days remain for us to reach our minimum safe fund raising goal of $30,000. While ALIPAC has never failed to reach our goals, the last few funds drives have been like pulling teeth.

If you want to see Americans for Legal Immigration PAC continue our mission as one of the largest national organizations in America fighting against illegal immigration and against Amnesty on your behalf, then please get your donation on the way now!

Due to many factors, including the bad economy and shifting interests, over 40 smaller groups and organizations in our coalition have folded in the the last year.

Today, we say farewell to ALIPAC's ally known as the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps headed up by Chris Simcox and Carmen Mercer. Citing a lack of adequate funding, the group has sent out a national release announcing their permanent closure.

This leaves ALIPAC as the only major national group formed since 2004 to still be in operation.

We need a very strong response to THIS EMAIL request to make sure ALIPAC does not join the growing organizational casualty list.

We only have SIX DAYS LEFT to raise almost $11,000. Should we fail to reach our minimum operations budget, we will use your donations to keep the main site operational as long as possible during a phased out shutdown.

This was the first we had heard about the Minutemen shutting down, but it looks like that is indeed the case:

The Arizona-based Minuteman Civil Defense Corps that was a border watch group comprised of private citizens has decided to disband.

Minuteman president, Carmen Mercer, says she and the board's two other directors voted to dissolve the group after a five-year run over concerns that her recent "call to action" would attract the wrong people to the Arizona-Mexico border.

Mercer sent an e-mail on March 16 urging members to come to the border "locked, loaded and ready." She proposed changing the group's rules to allow members to track illegal immigrants and drug smugglers instead of just reporting the activity to the U.S. Border Patrol.

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Brian Tashman, Wednesday 06/29/2011, 12:51pm
Pat Robertson has already warned that God will destroy America over New York’s new marriage equality law, and now Religious Right commentator Michael Bresciani is saying that marriage equality may bring the coming of the Antichrist. Writing for Renew America, Bresciani claims that America is abandoning God and will be led into a “foreign tyranny and a ruthless ruler the scriptures refer to as the antichrist”: The children of Belial could not be expected to understand it but the hour is late and never has there been a time in our history when the following has been truer of... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 06/29/2011, 11:48am
Governor Rick Perry has now filmed a video urging people to join him for the prayer rally he is organizing with the American Family Association and various Religious Right activists in Houston in August, saying prayer is needed now more than ever to fix this nation's spiritual problems: This is Governor Rick Perry and I'm inviting you to join your fellow Americans for a day of prayer and fasting on behalf of our nation. As an elected leader, I am all too aware of government's limitations when it comes to fixing things that are spiritual in nature. That's where prayer comes in, and we need... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 06/17/2011, 11:58am
Last night, People For the American Way senior fellow Peter Montgomery went on MSNBC's The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell to discuss the American Family Association's chief spokesman Bryan Fischer and his organization's work with Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Make sure to read our new Right Wing Watch: In Focus on Fischer here. And watch the interview with O'Donnell: Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 06/13/2011, 5:26pm
PFAW: Perry Rally Spokesman Says Event is Meant to Convert Non-Christians; PFAW Urges Governor to Drop Support. Sarah Posner @ Religion Dispatches: The View from a Jew at a "Solemn Assembly" Like Rick Perry's. Alvin McEwen: Family Research Council sneaking misleading studies back onto its webpage. Ian Millhiser @ Think Progress: Santorum: Doctors Providing Abortions To Rape And Incest Victims Should Be Criminally Charged. Timothy Kincaid @ Box Turtle Bulletin: Chuck Colson v. Warren Throckmorton on preventing homosexuality. Towleroad: Gay Men... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 06/10/2011, 2:11pm
Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance spoke to Bryan Fischer yesterday on American Family Radio about the evil plans that environmentalists have in store for humanity. Beisner, who has his PhD in Scottish History and whose group is tied to energy companies, previously worked with Fischer and other Religious Right leaders on the “Resisting The Green Dragon” miniseries which attacked the supposedly anti-Christian, anti-human environmentalist movement. Last time Beisner was on Fischer’s program, Beisner said that the deadly tornadoes in the American South were “little... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 06/07/2011, 12:36pm
Rick Joyner of Morning Star Ministries and the Oak Initiative is warning in his latest prophesy, “America in Crisis,” that the country is facing the treat of tyranny far worse than even Nazi Germany. Last month, Joyner hosted Religious Right leaders like Tony Perkins, Janet Porter, Alan Keyes and Jerry Boykin at his South Carolina compound to demonize gays, float conspiracy theories, demand Obama’s impeachment, and warn of America’s imminent destruction. Joyner believes that the “the very same demonic principles and powers” responsible for the rise of... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 06/03/2011, 5:50pm
Michael B. Keegan @ Huffington Post: Mitt Romney the Weathervane: What Our Most Changeable Politician Can Tell Us About the Modern GOP. Tanya Somanader @ Think Progress: Sarah Palin’s History Lesson: Paul Revere Warned The British. Towleroad: VA Lawmaker Says Bank's Gay Pride Flag 'Undermines the American Economy', Demands It Be Taken Down. Evan McMorris-Santoro @ TPM: George Allen Offers Emotional Apology For Macaca Incident. Nick @ Bold Faith Type: New Jersey Congressman Touts Foreign Aid Programs He Voted to Cut. Sarah Posner @ Religion... MORE