ethics

Porter Goes Deeper Into Dominionism

Last week we noted that, since losing her radio show due to her growing involvement with Dominion theology, Janet Porter appears to have decided to double down by further aligning herself with those who advocate this theology.

Her initial reaction upon losing her show was to lash out at those who accused her of embracing Dominionism, though without much success as her own words and history undermined her defense.   But months have passed since then and Porter is now seemingly aware that any future she hopes to have in Religious Right activism is going to involve a full-embrace of both Dominionism and its most ardent supporters, which helps explain this:

Just take one guess what the focus of this Worldview Super Conference was:

Sovereignty & Dominion: Biblical Blueprints for Victory!

The Bible tells us in Genesis 1:28 that God created us to multiply, fill the earth, and take dominion of His creation for His Glory. When Jesus came to earth, He gave his disciples the Great Commission and told them to make disciples of all nations, Baptize them, and teach them to obey all that he had commanded (Matthew 28:18-20). These two mandates form the basis for why Christ’s Church exists on this planet. Every square inch of this world belongs to King Jesus. It is our privilege to serve Him by exercising servanthood dominion in every area of life.

And this was not a conference that just happened to have a few Dominionists as speakers, but was rather organized by full-blown Christian Reconstructionists like Gary DeMar of American Vision and Gray North. 

DeMar's mission is to see "an America that recognizes the sovereignty of God over all of life, where Christians apply a Biblical worldview to every facet of society. This future America will be again a 'city on a hill' drawing all nations to the Lord Jesus Christ and teaching them to subdue the earth for the advancement of His Kingdom," while North is the son-in-law of Christian Reconstructionist guru R.J. Rushdoony and likewise an open Reconstructionist himself:

While many Christians believe that biblical law is a guide to morality and public ethics, when interpreted in faith, Reconstructionism is unique in advocating that civil law should be derived from and limited by biblical law. For example, they support the recriminalization of acts of abortion and homosexuality, but also oppose confiscatory taxation, conscription, and most aspects of the welfare state. Protection of property and life needs grounding in biblical law, according to Reconstructionism, or the state set free from the restraint of God's law will take what it wishes at a whim. Accordingly, Reconstructionists advocate biblically derived measures of restitution, a definite limit upon the powers of taxation, and a gold standard or equivalent fixed unit for currency.

While Porter's radio program has gone off the air, her WorldNetDaily column seems to have ben abandoned, and even her Faith2Action website is rarely updated, that doesn't mean Porter has disappeared - she's just abandoned her traditional Religious Right activism in favor of linking up with those openly seeking the creation of a theocracy. 

Religious Right Working to Limit Reproductive Choice At Home and Abroad

It is important to remind ourselves occasionally that right-wing anti-choice groups don't just want to control the rights of women in America, they want to control the rights of women everywhere.

Case in point: Pat Robertson's ACLJ has been deeply involved and spent tens of thousands of dollars in trying to keep abortion out of the constitution being drafted in Kenya ... and now it looks like dozens of other Religious Right leaders are backing the effort:

With just two weeks to go until Kenyans vote on a new Constitution, World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs announced the conclusion of a successful petition drive "In Support Of The 'No' Campaign -- Kenyans Opposed To The Pro-Abortion Constitution."

In less than a week, the Congress gathered signatures from more than 170 pro-life and pro-family leaders in 21 countries. Signers include former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Former Boston Mayor and Vatican Ambassador Ray Flynn and Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay ...

Organizations whose leaders are represented include:

-- Priests for Life
-- Tradition, Family and Property
-- Concerned Women for America
-- Alliance Defense Fund
-- Human Life International
-- Liberty Counsel
-- Americans United for Life
-- National Right to Life Committee
-- LifeSiteNews.com
-- Eagle Forum
-- Vision America Action
-- Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
-- The Beverly LaHaye Institute
-- Focus on The Family
-- Family Talk [w/James Dobson]
-- Traditional Values Coalition

While the Religious Right is working to outlaw abortion overseas, they are also working to limit access to legal abortions here in the US in increasingly imaginative ways, which is why the ACLJ is representing a Texas bus driver who lost his job after refusing to take a passenger to a Planned Parenthood facility because it performed abortions:

[Edwin] Graning had asked his wife to call the facility; she heard a recording directing callers to call 911 in case of abortion complications. "I said, dear God in heaven, this woman's gonna have an abortion," he said.

Graning said that no protocol for orders to drive people to abortion clinics had ever been discussed. "I'm a Christian ... I love the Lord and I'm not going to be a part of something like this," said Graning, a former pastor. He pointed out that the woman quickly received a ride from another bus.

When he told his supervisor that he would not make the drive, Graning says the supervisor replied, "Then you are resigning." He objected, but was later directed to bring his vehicle and belongings back to CARTS, and received a letter of termination on grounds of insubordination.

Graning, 63, who celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary last month, is a father of two and grandfather of three.

He is being represented by lawyers from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).

NEW PAC TO FUNNEL ANTI-GAY ‘WHITE SUBURBAN CHRISTIAN REPUBLICAN’ MONEY INTO DC POLITICS

The National Organization for Marriage and allies like Bishop Harry Jackson have been looking for some way to overturn marriage equality legislation that became law in the District earlier this year with overwhelming support from the city’s elected leadership. But NOM and Jackson haven’t been doing so well. On the legal front, they were handed one more major defeat this week. The DC Court of appeals rejected their claim that the Board of Elections and Ethics was wrong to prevent an anti-marriage initiative from going before voters, which the BOEE ruled would violate the city’s Human Rights Act. 

From a legal perspective, that leaves only the U.S. Supreme Court as a possible avenue for appeal, which Jackson’s lawyers at the Alliance Defense Fund say they’re “strongly considering.”   But NOM is not leaving things to the courts. We’ve reported that in recent months that the National Organization for Marriage has been pouring money into DC elections. Turns out that was just a start.
 
Now they’re planning an even bigger investment in DC politics. In an email yesterday, NOM’s Brian Brown took a break from bragging about the launch of his anti-equality bus tour across America to announce this: 
One final bit of news: Something else big has just been birthed here in this country, the D.C. Values PAC. Bishop Jackson's heroic leadership has lead to something no one has ever seen before: a coalition of black Democrats leaders and white suburban Christian Republicans to help elect pro-marriage and pro-life black Democrats in the District of Columbia. 

On Monday I was at Georgia Brown's in D.C. in a room that was 80 percent African-American leaders, including two local commissioners and a candidate for the D.C. City Council. God is making amazing things happen. Old barriers are breaking down, new ideas are springing up--and you are the ones making all of this possible.

Dominionism and The Religious Right: The Merger Is Complete

For weeks now I have been writing regular posts on the increasing intersection between the "mainstream" Religious Right and Dominionist prophetic intercessors like Lou Engle, Cindy Jacobs, Rick Joyner and others.

But I have always been careful to note that just because the more "mainstream" leaders have been joining forces with these self-proclaims prophets and apostles, it didn't mean that they necessarily shared their Dominionist agenda. 

But I think it is fair to say that I no longer need to be so careful, as the leaders of the Religious Right have now openly embraced Seven Mountains Dominionist theology, which is described thusly:

First, human beings are blessed by God. Secondly, these blessed human beings are given a mandate to take dominion of the earth for the purpose of blessing it. ... The first advent of Christ was for the purpose of creating a blessed seed upon the earth - the church. The second coming of Jesus will take place after this blessed seed has completed the Dominion Process upon the earth by making disciples of all nations.

In short, Dominionist theology believes that Christians are called to take "dominion" over every aspect of our culture and use them to create God's kingdom on Earth in order to bring about the return of Jesus Christ. And their method for gaining "dominion" is through something called the "Seven Mountains Mandate," which seeks to place Christians at the top of seven distinct spheres that shape our culture: (1) Business; (2) Government; (3) Media; (4) Arts and Entertainment; (5) Education; (6) Family; and (7) Religion.

One of the leading authorities on the Seven Mountains Mandate among the new apostles and prophets is a man named Lance Wallnau, and here is a video of him explicitly explaining how it is to work:

Most believers on the Earth are more frightened at the prospect of taking on the insurmountable giants represented by the mountains near them in their nations. They're more intimidated by trying to take possession of what is an opposition that has strength and fortification in the natural, from the IRS, to Hollywood, to whatever. Most believers are afraid, so they create a theology that eliminates the responsibility for having to take territory and rather focuses on just getting people saved so that when Jesus comes back he can repopulate the Earth with people that are followers and let him take over the planet.

There is just a little problem with that: the little problem is Heaven is his throne and the Earth is the footstool of his feet and he was told that he was to sit at the Father's right hand until God made his enemies a footstool for his feet, which means He doesn't come back until He's accomplished the dominion of nations.

The point is this: God wants to have the tabernacle at the top of every one of these spheres. You want to know what the spheres are that shape a nation? This is how you take a nation: you have to get into the family - that is why same-sex marriage such a demonic agenda ... because who ever shapes the family mountain shapes the idea of what culture is for a man and wife. You got to get into the education mountain, you know why? Because whoever's ideology is shaping that little kid when he's a child, by the time he's 19, hey for all you know he could become part of the Hitler Youth movement and die for the Fuhrer. Hitler basically knew that if he educated them as kids, he'd have them as sons to go fight for him. Government mountain where your laws get legislated. Media mountain where the truth is debated. And the arts mountain which is where sports and creativity come along, and we've got business and finance. Is it possible that there are seven sovereign spheres of authority?

By the way, that's how you take nations. It's the only way you take nations. There has never been a nation taken as the result of an evangelism harvest. Shocking but true. Believers don't know these things, which is why we get in trouble.

You realize that when you have 8% of a population, that's the key. 8%, that's all it takes. 8%, according to the Center for Religious and Diplomacy, practice Jihad. 8%, according to the research of James Davidson Hunter, are doing the same sex marriage initiative, You've got 80% Jews, Catholics, Protestants, 35% of Evangelicals, even Mormons - you have a very broad constituency of 85-90% of the American population is not for same-sex marriage. How is it that 7% can impose their agenda on the other 90%? It's not because we don't have enough converts to an idea - it's because when Satan is shrewder in his own generation than the Sons of Light, he makes sure that he has his prophets of Baal at the high places. So what you have is a well-positioned 8% whose agenda is working with the will of Principalities and Powers while Christians are in pursuit of the supernatural or glory or prosperity, but they're missing the apostolic assignment. They're to take over spheres and administer them for the glory of God.

It is exceedingly clear that the Seven Mountains is a Dominionist theology that carries with it the ultimate goal of creating God's kingdom on Earth so as to create the conditions needed to bring about Christ's return.

And amazing, it is something that just about every Religious Right leader has now officially embraced.

Last week, Lou Engle was featured on Focus on the Family's "Friday Five" where he announced his latest political endeavor: a groups called Pray and A.C.T.  The acronym A.C.T stands for "Affirming the Basics, Conforming our Lives, and Transforming the Culture," and the "basics" which they are affirming are those values set out in The Manhattan Declaration, the document produced by the Religious Right earlier this year vowing to give their lives to withstand President Obama's attempts to set himself up as a Nazi-like dictator. 

"Transforming the Culture" is a idea rooted in the "spiritual warfare" practiced by the self-styled apostles and prophets, but that pales in comparison to Pray and A.C.T's explicit reliance upon Seven Mountains theology:

For these reasons, we call on all faithful Christians to join us in the fight to defend life, protect and revitalize marriage, and preserve religious liberty and the rights of conscience. We must work tirelessly in all the “seven spheres of cultural influence:” (1) the home, (2) the church, (3) civil government / law / military, (4) business / technology, (5) education, (6) media, and finally (7) arts / entertainment / professional sports.

We noted a while ago that Jim Garlow, who serves as Chairman of Newt Gingrich's Renewing American Leadership is a Seven Mountains advocate and close friend of Lou Engle, so it is no surprise to see him featured on the front page of Pray and A.C.T's website ... but it is surprising to see Gingrich's organization openly aligning itself with Engle's new organization - and it is even more surprising to see all of the other Religious Right leaders who have also climbed on board:

Jim Garlow, Skyline Church & Renewing American Leadership
Chuck Colson, Founder Prison Fellowship & BreakPoint
Che Ahn, Harvest International Ministry
Vonette Bright, Co-Founder, Campus Crusade for Christ, International
Bishop Keith Butler, Founding Pastor, Word of Faith International Christian Center
Kristina Arriaga, Executive Director, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
Jim Daly, President & CEO, Focus on the Family
Lou Engle, TheCall to Conscience, TheCall
Father Joseph Fessio, Editor in Chief, Ignatius Press, San Francisco
Maggie Gallagher, National Organization for Marriage
Professor Robert George, Princeton University
Professor Timothy George, Dean, Beeson Divinity School
Jack Hayford, Founder and Chancellor, The King's College and Seminary
Mike Huckabee, Former Governor of Arkansas & Host, The Mike Huckabee Show
Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., High Impact Church Coalition
Alveda King, Silent No More Awareness Campaign
Richard Land, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Ron Luce, Founder, Teen Mania & Battle Cry
Bishop Richard Malone, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland (Maine)
Eva Muntean & Dolores Meehan, Co-Founders, West Coast Walk for Life, San Francisco
Penny Nance, Concerned Women for America
Tony Perkins, Family Research Council
James Robison, Life Outreach, International
Samuel Rodriguez, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Alan Sears, Alliance Defense Fund
Chuck Stetson, Let’s Strengthen Marriage Campaign

Pray and A.C.T is planning a series of Call-like events leading up to the 2010 election; events that are explicitly rooted in a theology which seeks to place Christians in complete "dominion" over every aspect of this nation ... and this effort is now being supported by the heads of highly influential "mainstream" Religious Right groups like Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, National Organization for Marriage Concerned Women for America, the Southern Baptist Convention, and even a potential Republican presidential candidate in Mike Huckabee. 

A few months ago, Janet Porter of Faith 2 Action lost her radio program because of her growing support for this sort of Seven Mountains Dominionism, and today this very same theology is being embraced by the Religious Right as a whole ... and I don't think it is possible to overstate just what a radical transformation the movement appears to be undergoing.  

Rep. Bachmann Signs on to Fringe Fest

Last year, we wrote a series of posts about the How To Take Back America Conference which was hosted by Janet Porter and Phyllis Schlafly and several other Religious Right groups and featured as speakers everyone from Mike Huckabee to Michele Bachmann to Trent Franks.

This year, the event has been taken over by Joseph Farah and WorldNetDaily and seems to have lost most of its ties to the Religious Right, which is why we had not really mentioned it until now. 

The speaker's list contained just the sort of fringe right-wing activists you'd expect from a WND-organized conference: Birthers like Alan Keyes and Jerome Corsi, fake prostitutes like Hannah Giles, rabidly anti-gay critics like Matt Barber, impeachment advocates like Floyd Brown, and all around kooks like Victoria Jackson.

But recently, Farah announced a few new big-name attendees, including Ann Coulter and now Rep. Michele Bachmann:

Rep. Michele Bachmann, the red-hot rising star of the Republican Party, has joined an all-star lineup of speakers, debaters and presenters, including Ann Coulter, Alan Keyes, Victoria Jackson, Hannah Giles, Joseph Farah and Jerome Corsi, at WND's "Taking America Back" national conference in Miami Sept. 16-18.

"Michele Bachmann is one of the leaders in calling for a repeal of Obamacare," said Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND. "She's a rock star, a principled, liberty-loving woman of conviction. It will be a treat to see her and hear her and interact with her in Miami."

Other speakers include Gary North, son-in-law of Christian Reconstructionist guru R.J. Rushdoony and an open Reconstructionist himself:

While many Christians believe that biblical law is a guide to morality and public ethics, when interpreted in faith, Reconstructionism is unique in advocating that civil law should be derived from and limited by biblical law. For example, they support the recriminalization of acts of abortion and homosexuality, but also oppose confiscatory taxation, conscription, and most aspects of the welfare state. Protection of property and life needs grounding in biblical law, according to Reconstructionism, or the state set free from the restraint of God's law will take what it wishes at a whim. Accordingly, Reconstructionists advocate biblically derived measures of restitution, a definite limit upon the powers of taxation, and a gold standard or equivalent fixed unit for currency.

Another Reconstructionist also scheduled to speak is Gary DeMar of American Vision, whose mission is to see "an America that recognizes the sovereignty of God over all of life, where Christians apply a Biblical worldview to every facet of society. This future America will be again a 'city on a hill' drawing all nations to the Lord Jesus Christ and teaching them to subdue the earth for the advancement of His Kingdom."

So that is whom Bachmann has signed on with - a bunch of Birthers, fake prostitutes, anti-gay militants, rhetorical bomb-throwers, and Christian Reconstructionists.

PS: Interestingly, DeMar's American Vision is also hosting its own "Sovereignty and Dominion" Worldview Super Conference next month that includes Liberty University Law School among its sponsors:

The Bible tells us in Genesis 1:28 that God created us to multiply, fill the earth, and take dominion of His creation for His Glory. When Jesus came to earth, He gave his disciples the Great Commission and told them to make disciples of all nations, Baptize them, and teach them to obey all that he had commanded (Matthew 28:18-20). These two mandates form the basis for why Christ’s Church exists on this planet. Every square inch of this world belongs to King Jesus. It is our privilege to serve Him by exercising servanthood dominion in every area of life.

Senate Republicans Tap Holy Warrior as Witness Against Kagan

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee released the list of witnesses who will testify during Elena Kagan's confirmation hearing next week - here is the list of "Minority Witnesses" who will oppose her confirmation

- Robert Alt, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director, Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, The Heritage Foundation
- Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, US Army (ret.)
- Capt. Pete Hegseth, Army National Guard
- Commissioner Peter Kirsanow, Benesch
- David Kopel, Esq., Independence Institute
- Colonel Thomas N. Moe, USAF (ret.)
- David Norcross, Esq., Blank Rome
- William J. Olson, Esq., William J. Olson, P.C.
- Tony Perkins, Family Research Council
- Steven Presser, Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History, Northwestern University School of Law
- Ronald Rotunda, The Doy & Dee Henley Chair and Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence, Chapman University School of Law
- Ed Whelan, President, Ethics and Public Policy Center
- Dr. Charmaine Yoest, Americans United for Life
- Capt. Flagg Youngblood, USAF

Most of the witness are to be expected, but some -like Tony Perkins and Charmaine Yoest - are rather surprising.

And then there is Jerry Boykin.  Really? That guy is completely off the rails.

He's the one who was forced to retire after declaring that we were engaged in a spiritual war with Islam that "will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus," saying that knows we will eventually win because our God is bigger than theirs.

Since then, Boykin has become a fixture on the fringe right-wing circuit, teaming up with the likes of  "Christocrat" Rick Scarborough and Dominionist Janet Porter and even sharing the stage with professional anti-gay activists like Peter LaBarbera.

In fact, Boykin is also on the Board of Rick Joyner's Oak Initiative which I wrote about just earlier today, along with Porter, Lou Sheldon, and Cindy Jacobs.

This is who Senate Republican want to bring it in testify against Kagan?  The mind reels.

Right Wing Leftovers

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

The War On Norquist Gets Personal

When the news broke that Grover Norquist had agreed to join the board of GOProud, the conservative gay group, the reaction from the Religious Right was disappointment mixed with an attempt to edify Norquist about supposedly radical nature of the group in order to get him to see the error of his ways.

When that didn't work, they tried convincing him that his willingness to work with GOProud was going to undermine his "prestige" and effectiveness as social conservatives wondered if they could trust him.

That didn't work either, so now they have gone into full-attack mode, as Brent Bozell does in his latest commentary:

Comes now the news that fiscal conservative leader Grover Norquist, a man who prides himself on forming grand working coalitions, has joined the board of a group called GOProud, calling the group “an important part of the conservative movement” with a commitment to “core conservative values.”

It’s a gay group. And Norquist thinks social conservatives are going to accept this absolute abandonment?

Traditional marriage and the right of religious people to speak out against homosexuality as a sin are “core conservative values.” Proposition 8 in California – defending the institution of marriage, the only thing the GOP won in 2008 -- was victorious because culturally conservative blacks and Hispanics joined the GOP coalition.

Norquist wants to take the GOP in the exact opposite direction now, full speed ahead, the consequences be damned ... Norquist has declared open war on social conservatives. Note to Chairman Steele: If he succeeds, and they leave the party, the GOP is ruined.

The FRC's Tom McClusky is also going after Norquist as well, openly questioning Norquist's ethics by highlighting, among other things, his ties to Jack Abramoff:

I’ve got to say, many in the conservative movement — especially among social conservatives — saw Grover Norquist’s, the president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), move to join the advisory council of the homosexual advocacy group GOProud as “Grover being Grover.” The phrase meaning that he is well known for his questionable affiliations (from being a middle man for convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, profiting from the oppressed Northern Mariana Islands to partnering with Poker Players Alliance to advocate for legislation that ultimately taxes the Internet) and also for his disdain of social conservative issues like life and marriage (once deriding pro-lifers as “pontificators” and on marriage that he doesn’t “focus on it.”) Yet in this case he is actually going beyond his normal “profit and party before principles” motto.

...

The argument I have heard from Grover’s supporters is that he is willing to work with anyone who fights for lower taxes. However, even here GOProud fails to live up to those standards — unless you define “fighting for lower taxes” to be limited to “fighting for lower taxes for gay families” (as opposed to for everyone). In fact, most of their “conservative” positions are centered and conditional on that the “gay community” gets special carve-outs. They oppose the Death Tax, but according to their own website they oppose it because it “discriminates against gay and lesbian couples for whom there is no marital exemption.” They opposed the health care bill, and again according to their own website, because it “does indeed discriminate against gay families”

Grover of course has every right to associate himself with whomever he wants, but he shouldn’t call himself conservative if he is willing to disregard even ATR principles. By joining GOProud’s board he is not saying “I agree with you 80 percent of the time” but is instead fully embracing their agenda.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • If you need a simple reason to support Elena Kagan, they fact that Robert Bork opposes her seems like a pretty good one.
  • The National Organization for Marriage is asking the Maine ethics commission to dismiss the investigation into its fundraising during last year's gay-marriage vote.
  • Ted Haggard uses Twitter to predict the end of the Religious Right.
  • Speaking of Twitter, why is Matt Barber's Twitter feed made up of nothing but WorldNetDaily and OneNewsNow articles?
  • Tom Tancredo lashes out at those who are trying to keep immigration off the Tea Party's agenda.
  • You know what will finally stop the oil spill?  Prayer and divine intervention.
  • Finally, I am very much looking forward to hearing J.D. Hayworth's explanation for why he was pitching "get free money from the government" seminars in 2007.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • I have no idea what "Freedom Fest 2010" is supposed to be, but it is sponsored by the ACLJ and being headlined by Sarah Palin.
  • Someone just gave Cindy Jacobs $15,000 to continue her prophetic intercession.  Really? 
  • It looks like Samuel Rodriquez has joined up with Harry Jackson and Niger Innis for their bogus Affordable Power Alliance.
  • The House's Office of Congressional Ethics says there is no "probable cause to believe the alleged violation occurred" by members of Congress getting cheap rent at The Family's house on C Street.
  • Legislators in Virginia are looking to pass Arizona-like immigration laws in the state.
  • Keep in mind that Richard Land and the Southern Baptist Convention support immigration reform because they see it as an opportunity to grow their church.
  • Finally, Paul Blair of Reclaiming America for Christ is also a participant in the ADF's "Pulpit Initiative."

Immigration: Blaming Democrats In Order To Lure Hispanics Into the Conservative Movement

While I appreciate the risk some Religious Right leaders are taking in supporting immigration reform legislation, it would be nice if they were at least willing to admit where the problem lies:  

Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land and other evangelicals called for Congress and President Obama to set aside partisanship and special interests to resolve the controversy and problems of illegal immigration.

The immigration crisis "is fanning the flames of hostility and animosity and distrust between various elements in our society, and it is time for our representatives in Congress and our president to put aside partisanship, to put aside narrow political interests and do what is best for the country," said Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

"This just takes national will and insistence that our representatives and our senators and our president do what is in the best interest of the nation," Land said.

Both parties have failed on the issue, said Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

"Democrats are willing to save the auto industry, the housing market, health care and banks but somehow do not find time or the political will to save children from being separated from their parents, securing our borders and integrating 12 million into a legal status that would reconcile our communities," Rodriguez said.

It's not Democrats and the President who have consistantly killed efforts to reform our immigration laws - it's Republicans and conservative activists. 

But you do have to admire how Rodriguez, like Land, is openly admitting that his support for immigration reform is frankly part of an effort to lure Hispanics into the conservative movement:

The Republican Party "stands at the brink of repeating history by completing a wall, not between Mexico and the United States but between Hispanic Americans and the conservative movement. How ironic," he said. "The group that [President Ronald] Reagan believed would invigorate the Republican Party via its traditional values of God, family and country today potentially stands rejected by the party of Reagan. The family values party is alienating the most pro-life, pro-family constituency in America. Go figure."

Land Supports Immigration Reform Because Hispanics Are "Tailor-Made to be Social Conservatives"

Last month a handful of Religious Right leaders announced support for immigration reform legislation that contained a path to citizenship for those already in the country.  This was a distinct break from the traditional right-wing position of demanding immigration reform legislation that consisted entirely of building fences and round-up and deporting immigrants ... but even the support from these Religious Right leaders was somewhat tenuous, as they recently announced that any effort to include same-sex partners in the legislation would force them to withdraw their support.

Among those leaders signaling their conditional support for immigration reform was Richard Land of Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission who explains that he supports such measures because he is commanded to do so by the Bible: 

"It's love your neighbor, do unto others," Land said. "This is a kingdom issue. They are disproportionately suffering because they are forced to remain in the shadows because of their illegal status."

That may be part of it ... and an even larger part of it has a lot to do with the fact that Land sees the political benefits of luring Hispanics into the right-wing movement:

Religious leaders are trying to find middle ground. Most illegal immigrants in the U.S. are Hispanic, a growing demographic with socially conservative views that could be tapped to increase churches' numbers.

"Do all agree with me? No," Land said. "But (Hispanics) are hard-wired to be social conservatives unless we drive them away. They are family oriented, religiously oriented and pro-marriage, pro-life ... tailor-made to be social conservatives."

Staver et al Threaten to Withdraw Support For Immigration Reform Over Domestic Partners

Last month a handful of Religious Right leaders banded together and announced their support for a "just assimilation immigration policy" that contained a pathway to citizenship for those already in the country. 

The group, consisting of Mat Staver, Richard Land, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Ken Blackwell, and Lou Engle, was trying to break away from the knee-jerk right-wing opposition to comprehensive immigration reform and the temptation to scream "AMNESTY!" any time a pathway to citizenship was proposed. 

Alan Colmes had Staver on his program to talk about this effort and, at one point, asked him why he was willing to show so much compassion for immigrants but so unwilling to show similar compassion to gays.  Staver responded that the immigration issue was complicated enough and didn't want to get into that conversation and go off track.  

Which is interesting, considering that today this same group of Religious Right activists issued a statement saying that any effort to cover "same-sex domestic partners" in immigration reform legislation "will cause religious conservatives to withdraw their support":

"A flawed immigration policy and the failure of the federal government to enforce existing immigration laws pose serious threats to our national security and domestic tranquility," said Mathew Staver, Founder & Chairman of Liberty Counsel. "Any potential consensus for key aspects of immigration may quickly be set back by partisan politics and special interests," Staver continued.

Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) proposed immigration bill includes a provision for same-sex domestic partners. President Barack Obama supports the objective of this provision, despite the fact that inclusion of domestic partnerships will kill any immigration bill. The provision in Schumer’s bill, like the proposed Uniting American Families Act, will treat same-sex domestic partners like spouses in a marriage, thus making way for a foreign same-sex partner to become a legal citizen because of the relationship to a U.S. citizen. Despite the fact that homosexual groups estimate that the domestic partner provision will benefit only about 36,000 people, Sen. Schumer and President Obama still support the measure.

The undersigned question whether President Obama and Sen. Schumer are more interested in pandering to special interest groups than they are to the pressing needs of immigration. "Same-sex domestic partnerships will doom any effort for bipartisan support of immigration and will cause religious conservatives to withdraw their support," Staver warned. "If same-sex domestic partnerships are included, the immigration bill will have no chance of passing," Staver said. We call upon the President and Congress to secure our borders, enforce the law, and pass a Just Assimilation Immigration bill. We urge our elected leaders to put the interest of America first and stop the political posturing.

The following evangelical leaders affirm this statement on Immigration: Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Dr. Richard Land, President of The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel; Lou Engle, Co-founder, The Call to Conscience, and more.

2 Chronicles 7:14: The Religious Right's Mobilizing Passage

Recently 2 Chronicles 7:14 has became the central verse for mobilizing the Religious Right ... and it happened not long after President Obama won the White House:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Ever since Obama and the Democrats took over, the Religious Right has become convinced that the election was the result of our nation's wickedness and the only way to cast off this curse is for its people to humble themselves and plead with God to heal our land. 

Thus, this passage has been the foundation of Janet Porter's May Day 2010 Prayer Rally, the Global Day of Prayer, the National Day of Prayer, and the FRC's upcoming Call 2 Fall event.  And it was also the central theme of Richard Land's recent address to FRC's Watchmen on the Wall conference, where he warned that without revival, this country was on its way to becoming fundamentally unrecognizable:

American Christians will one day not recognize their country if a movement of God that begins with a revival among His people does not occur, Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land told a pastors briefing in the nation's capital.

"If we don't have a revival that becomes an awakening and ripens into a reformation, many of us -- if we live out our full lives -- are going to walk the streets of our neighborhood, drive the roads of our city and our state, and, oh, we'll recognize the place names, but the America we've known will be gone," said Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "We'll be strangers in our own land...."

Land spoke at the annual Watchmen on the Wall pastors briefing sponsored by Family Research Council and attended by more than 500 people.

He spoke on 2 Chronicles 7:14, which says, "If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

"All great movements of God," Land said, "start with God's people getting right with God.

...

Washington "has been, is and always will be a caboose," he said. "It's never been, and it never will be, a locomotive. Washington is what sociologists call a lagging social indicator. When the country changes, Washington will change. Washington's not going to change the country. We're going to change Washington."

The Least Informative Elena Kagan Discussion Ever

When I saw that Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network had spent nearly an hour discussing Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court with Terry Jeffrey, editor in chief of CNSNews.com, I certainly wasn't expecting it to be exciting.

But I didn't expect it to be downright painful ... but that is exactly what it was, as Jeffrey tried to use the Citizen's United decision, which he held up as a fundamental victory for the First Amendment, to make the case that Kagan should have resigned her position as Solicitor General rather than try to strip Americans of their basic rights.

To their credit, both Whelan and Severino repeatedly shot down Jeffrey's claims ... but it didn't matter, as every explanation they offered just seemed to further convince Jeffrey that government lawyers and Supreme Court justices and basically all lawyers are morally unfit to hold public office on the grounds that they are willing to argue positions with which they might not agree.

All of this eventually leads Jeffrey to start asking random hypothetical questions about whether an anti-choice Solicitor General who worked for a pro-choice administration would be morally fit to hold the office ... as if that is relevant to anything at all. 

So if you want to see the single least informative discussion of Elena Kagan's Supreme Court nomination, jump ahead to the 5:00 mark of this video and watch as Whelan and Severino struggle to deal with Jeffrey's never-ending stream of nonsense:

The Strange SCOTUS Demands of the Religious Right

I have to say that I am rather confused by the strange demands that Religious Right leaders are making of President Obama as he prepares to name his nominee to replace Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court.

Concerned Women for America is demanding that Obama name a nominee that they supports their right wing views and Phyllis Schlafly is demanding that Obama name a military veteran ... and now a group of leaders are demanding that he name someone "who will support the right of the government to maintain a decent society and to protect children from indecent and other media content that is harmful to them":

In a letter sent yesterday to the president, the group said, "There are currently four cases pending in the lower federal courts in which the major broadcast TV networks are challenging FCC indecency rulings and the broadcast indecency law itself. What the networks ultimately want is an unrestricted 'right' to curse as much as they want and to depict as much nudity and sex as they want (presumably, short of obscenity), regardless of the impact of this programming on children, on unwilling adults who are assaulted by it in the privacy of their homes, and on the moral fabric of society."

...

The letter was signed by representatives of Morality in Media, Decent TV, Parents Television Council, American Family Association, OneMillionMoms.com, American Decency Association, Citizens for Community Values, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Christian Film & TV Commission, Concerned Women for America, Focus on the Family, National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families, Family Research Council Action, Business & Athletes for Kids.

I have to say that when I frist saw this press release about a letter signed by FRC, CWA, AFA, and others making demands regarding a SCOTUS nominee, I certainly did not think it was going to be calling for one who will protect children from indecent media. 

Lou Engle Walks A Fine Line In Uganda

Last week before Lou Engle headed to Uganda for a scheduled TheCall rally, he tried to distance himself and his movement from Uganda's proposed "kill the gays" bill:

Now recently, TheCall has been wrongfully marked and vilified as an organization promoting hatred and violence against homosexuals and as one that supports the Uganda bill as currently written. To the contrary, we have never made a private or a public statement of support for that bill. Though we honor the courage and stand with the stated purpose of the many Church leaders in Uganda who are seeking to protect the traditional and biblical family foundations of the nation, we have serious concerns with the bill as presently written, especially in terms of some of the harsh penalties for certain homosexual behaviors or offenses.

You'll notice that Engle was careful not to either explicitly endorse or disavow the bill, merely saying they have some "serious concerns" about it. 

And, according to this report from Uganda on Religion Dispatches, Engle tried to walk the same fine line while appearing at the event itself, voicing his support for those "showing courage to take a stand for righteousness" without explicitly supporting the bill:

When Engle himself finally took the microphone at about 5 p.m., he dug almost immediately into the controversy, saying he hadn’t known about the bill and nearly canceled his trip over questions raised by his presence. But at no point did he contest Oyet’s support for the bill.

“We know that Uganda has been under tremendous pressure—the church. We felt that same pressure. But I felt like The Call was to come and join with the church of Uganda to encourage you that in the nation who are showing courage to take a stand for righteousness in the earth,” Engle said.

Since arriving, Engle went on, he had consulted with Uganda’s pastors, who are “dealing with a controversy they never wanted.” He then pivoted to the blame-the-West assertion so popular among the bill’s Ugandan supporters. “What I found out was that NGOs, the UN, and UNICEF were coming in and promoting an agenda that the church of Uganda did not want to be in this nation.”

Engle was careful never to explicitly call for the passage of the bill itself, and to avoid being accused of inciting violence. “We are not standing with violence or hatred to people with homosexual lifestyles,” he preached. Still, as he does in the United States, he insisted that homosexuality harms society: “We are trying to restrain an agenda that is going to hurt the nation and hurt families.”

In addition to homosexuality, Engle preached against abortion and child sacrifice and repeatedly praised Uganda for its piety. “I think that Uganda is beyond the U.S. in their stand for righteousness,” Engle commented to reporters in a brief exchange on the way from the stage to his car, stipulating that he didn’t mean the anti-gay bill. He also said he’d felt “massive pressure” from gay rights groups in the United States.

But as soon as Engle departed, other speakers took to the stage to hail the law and call for its passage "without any debate": 

As the car carrying American evangelist Lou Engle gained distance from the stage, exiting the grass sports field for the airport, the revival meeting organized by Engle’s The Call kicked into high gear in support of Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill.

“The bill will be passed into law without any debate,” boomed James Nsaba Buturo, Uganda’s Minister for Ethics and Integrity, and a well-known backer of the bill, drawing cheers from the audience while Engle’s vehicle was still in view.

“We must tell the whole world that Uganda will not accept that nonsense that says homosexuality is a human right,” Buturo added to the crowd of several hundred people. “It is an abomination.”

Mike Heath Files To Run for Governor

It was just a few weeks ago that we were noting that Mike Heath, formerly of the Maine Family Policy Council, had suddenly reappeared on the scene as the head of the American Family Association's affiliate in Maine.

During the fight over marriage in Maine, Heath had repeatedly embarrassed the right-wing effort by claiming that gay marriage leads to things like graffiti, vandalism, and crop failure and eventually found himself cast aside by the movement entirely.  As a result, he resigned his position as the head of the Maine Family Policy Council, announcing that it was time for him to do something else with his life and declaring that he was going to get involved in the manufacture and distribution of solar cookers in Africa.

Then he disappeared for several month, only to reemerge in March, leading the state's AFA affiliate.

And now, via Pam's House Blend, we see that Heath has even bigger plans

Michael Heath, former executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, has registered with the state ethics commission as a gubernatorial candidate.

Heath, a resident of China, is listed as an unenrolled candidate, which means he has until June 1 to get at least 4,000 signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Heath recently announced the formation of a group called the American Family Association of Maine. At the time, he said he was "re-entering public life to continue the fight against the gay-rights lobby."

Heath spent 15 years working for the Christian Civic League, and became its executive director in 1994. He twice led people's veto efforts to overturn gay-rights laws.

Heath was not a visible part of last year's fight over same-sex marriage, which ended with voters repealing a state law legalizing it. He announced his resignation in September from the civic league, which is now called the Maine Family Policy Council.

There are now 24 people running for governor. Of those, 12 are Democrats or Republicans who will compete in the June 8 primary for the right to represent their parties on the November ballot. For the other 12, June 1 is the deadline to determine who among them will qualify to compete in November.

Right Wing Round-Up

Baptist Church to Be Cut Off Over Female Pastor

Back during the last presidential election, questions were raised about the Southern Baptist Convention's position that women are subservient to men, especially as it related to Mike Huckabee and his support for the belief that "a wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ."

The issue came up again when John McCain named Sarah Palin as his running mate, with people like Tony Perkins and Richard Land saying it was perfectly acceptable for Palin to possible be VP, but not okay for a woman to serve in a leadership position within the church.

Well, the issue is coming up once more, as the Georgia Baptist Convention is considering cutting ties with a local church where a husaband and wife team have been serving as co-pastors:

A more than 95-year-old church in Atlanta may be ousted from the Southern Baptist Convention over a woman pastor.

The Rev. Mimi Walker has been serving as co-pastor at Druid Hills Baptist Church with her husband, the Rev. Graham Walker, since 2003. But earlier this month, leaders of the Georgia Baptist Convention recommended cutting ties with the local congregation.

...

Dr. Richard Land, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said the Baptist Faith and Message does not state that "women are to be subservient to men." They are of equal worth before God, he stated earlier.

And though women are gifted for service in the church, Land says the New Testament teaches that "a woman is not to usurp authority over the man" and thus women are not to serve as pastors.

It was just last year that Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, warned that the SBC risked dying out if it did not find a way to stop losing members. 

Of course, that was said just weeks after the SBC had kicked out a church due to the fact that it was insufficiently hostile to gays.

It should also be noted that this would be the second time in a year that the Georgia Baptist Convention has severed ties with a local church over a female pastor.

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ethics Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 03/09/2011, 10:28am
CBN's David Brody went to Iowa to cover the Iowa Faith and Freedom event earlier this week and, while there, sat down for a short interview with Newt Gingrich, who explained that reason he carried on an affair while he was still married - not once, but twice - was because he was working too hard because he just loved America so much ... but now God has forgiven him:  “There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate. And what I can... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 03/08/2011, 10:32am
On Thursday, Rep. Peter King, in his capacity as chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, will kick off hearings which seek to investigate the "radicalization" of Muslims in the United States. While lots of religious leaders are uniting in opposition to these hearings, others, like Richard Land, think they are a fantastic idea and a great opportunity for Muslims to prove that they are not terrorists ... and if they dare to object, they are only making things worse: Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 03/04/2011, 9:40am
Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Richard Land took a preemptive strike against Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who raised eyebrows after calling for a “truce” on social issues and is considering a run for president. Land writes just one day after a WSJ poll found that the majority of GOP primary voters would be sympathetic to the “truce” offered by Daniels, who believes that the nation should be focusing on economic issues instead of fighting the “culture war.” Land, like many other Religious Right leaders, has come out swinging against Daniels’s... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 02/25/2011, 11:04am
On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that a group of openly gay soccer fans requested that the European Championships soccer matches set up separate seating for gay and lesbian attendees out of fear of anti-gay violence in Poland. Catholic League president Bill Donohue unsurprisingly took offense to the way the reporter cited “the teachings” of the Catholic Church as a reason for anti-gay views that are commonplace in Poland, and derided the “gay-crazy and anti-Catholic” media for pointing out the church’s attitude towards gays. “If being opposed to... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 02/25/2011, 11:04am
On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that a group of openly gay soccer fans requested that the European Championships soccer matches set up separate seating for gay and lesbian attendees out of fear of anti-gay violence in Poland. Catholic League president Bill Donohue unsurprisingly took offense to the way the reporter cited “the teachings” of the Catholic Church as a reason for anti-gay views that are commonplace in Poland, and derided the “gay-crazy and anti-Catholic” media for pointing out the church’s attitude towards gays. “If being opposed to... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 02/22/2011, 5:37pm
Mike Huckabee sounds like a man who loves his millionaire lifestyle more than he does the prospect of a grueling presidential run. On a related note, John Thune says he is not going to run for president. But Gov. Bob McDonnell is very open to the idea of being someone's VP. Benny Hinn is being sued by his Christian book publisher for violating a morality clause in his book contract. John Stemberger's hearing on his misconduct complaint will be in June. Phill Kline stands by his witch-hunt against Planned Parenthood. Finally, the quote of the day from Bryan... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 01/24/2011, 10:24am
Richard Land has been among the most vocal Religious Right opponents of the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque." Apparently concerned that his opposition was blatantly hypocritical, Land eventually signed on to the Anti-Defamation League's "Interfaith Coalition on Mosques" stating that while he opposed the location of the "Ground Zero Mosque" he believed it was important to "help preserve the First Amendment for all Americans" by ensuring that all people "have the right to the free exercise of our faith without the interference of the government.... MORE