Separation of Church and State

Interfaith Clergy Speak Out Against Perry's Prayer Rally

Banding with the discriminatory American Family Association, advocates of the radical Seven Mountains Dominionism ideology, and a litany of anti-gay zealots and End Times preachers to put on his The Response prayer rally, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is orchestrating an event that rejects both non-Christians and Christians who don’t embrace the organizers’ far-right politics and religious fundamentalism.

Over fifty clergymen from the Houston area are questioning the appropriateness of Perry’s exclusionary prayer rally, which will be held in Houston’s Reliant Stadium this weekend, in a letter organized by the Anti-Defamation League:

One of Houston's greatest strengths is its religious diversity. As part of the Anti-Defamation League's Coalition for Mutual Respect, we are keenly sensitive to the fact that Houstonians may pray differently or not pray at all. We cherish the fact that we can pray freely in our own way, because our founding fathers wisely envisioned and provided for a nation grounded in the principle of separation of church and state. This freedom from government imposed religion allows all religions to flourish in our democratic society. It is with this thought in mind that we express our concern that Governor Rick Perry has called for a full day of exclusionary prayer on August 6, 2011. This religious event is not open to all faiths, as its statement of beliefs does not represent religious diversity.

Governor Perry has a constitutional duty to treat all Texans equally regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. His official involvement with the Response at minimum violates the spirit of that duty. By his actions, Governor Perry is expressing an official message of endorsement of one faith over all others; thereby sending an official message of religious exclusion and preference to all Texans who do not share that faith. We believe our religious freedom is threatened when a government official promotes religion, especially one religion over all others. We urge our elected leaders, who have the privilege of representing us, to practice their own religion as they choose without seeking to impose their beliefs on others or using their official offices to divide citizens along religious lines. They should be role models for all Americans, and can be by honoring and respecting our constitutional freedoms.

In June, the Houston Clergy Council released a statement decrying Perry for organizing the rally with the AFA and rebuffing “Houston’s vibrant and diverse religious landscape”:

We believe in a healthy boundary between church and state. Out of respect for the state, we believe that it should represent all citizens equally and without preference for religious or philosophical tradition. Out of respect for religious communities, we believe that they should foster faithful ways of living without favoring one political party over another. Keeping the church and state separate allows each to thrive and upholds our proud national tradition of empowering citizens to worship freely and vote conscientiously. We are concerned that our governor has crossed the line by organizing and leading a religious event rather than focusing on the people’s business in Austin.

We also express concern that the day of prayer and fasting at Reliant Stadium is not an inclusive event. As clergy leaders in the nation’s fourth largest city, we take pride in Houston’s vibrant and diverse religious landscape. Our religious communities include Bahais, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Unitarian Universalists, and many other faith traditions. Our city is also home to committed agnostics and atheists, with whom we share common cause as fellow Houstonians. Houston has long been known as a “live and let live” city, where all are respected and welcomed. It troubles us that the governor’s prayer event is not open to everyone. In the publicized materials, the governor has made it clear that only Christians of a particular kind are welcome to pray in a certain way. We feel that such an exclusive event does not reflect the rich tapestry of our city.

Our deepest concern, however, lies in the fact that funding for this event appears to come from the American Family Association, an organization labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The American Family Association and its leadership have a long track record of anti-gay speech and have actively worked to discriminate against the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. The American Family Association and its leadership have also been stridently anti-Muslim, going so far as to question the rights of Muslim Americans to freely organize and practice their faith. We believe it is inappropriate for our governor to organize a religious event funded by a group known for its discriminatory stances.

As religious leaders, we commit to join with all Houstonians in working to make our city a better place. We will lead our communities in prayer, meditation, and spiritual practice. We ask that Rick Perry leave the ministry to us and refocus his energy on the work of governing our state.

Coming Soon: AFA 'documentary' could save the Republic from secularists and gays

Another reason to get your tickets for this year's Values Voter Summit: a fundraising letter from the American Family Association promises that its new "documentary" -- Divorcing God: Secularism, Sexual Anarchy and the Future of the Republic -- will debut at the VVS, the major annual political gathering for the Religious Right movement.

The letter from AFA President Tim Wildmon indicates that the group is eager to maintain its status at a top source for over-the-top anti-gay rhetoric and religious bigotry. Wildmon writes that Divorcing God "connects the dots" among three movements that have "contributed to America's moral decline" -- the secular/humanist movement, the sexual revolution, and the homosexual movement. But it's really about the latter.  "In the relentless drive to convince our society that homosexuality is the moral equivalent of heterosexuality, we see the convergence of all three movements. The New York [marriage equality] vote is a potent case-in-point."

Wildmon cites a verse from the biblical book of Jeremiah in which he says God complains about humanity's rebellion against His law, and then Wildom writes:

Doesn't this describe the past 60 years of America's attempt to run from God?

It began when the humanists insisted that God be driven from the public square through the so-called 'separation of church and state.'

It continued into the 1960s with the transformation of the marital embrace from an act of love and creativity to an act of mere self-pleasure and self-worship that ultimately led to the legalization of abortion.

Now our nation's rebellion has reach [sic] the point that homosexuality is seen as normal, and same-sex marriage is embraced as a civil right.

In Romans 1, Paul uses homosexuality to describe the ultimate idolatry and rejection of God and His dominion over us, since it is a violation of the natural law that God wrote on the hearts of all mankind.

Fortunately, says Wildmon, God hasn't abandoned America...yet.  God is "calling us back to Himself," says Wildmon, "And one way He is doing so is through the voice of the AFA, especially the message of Divorcing God: Secularism, Sexual Anarchy and the Future of the Republic."  And if the AFA can raise "literally hundreds of thousands" of dollars to get Divorcing God onto cable networks and into churches across America, it just might be possible to save the Republic.

Right Wing Round-Up

Tim Pawlenty Wants You To Know That He Is A Christian

Tim Pawlenty's presidential campaign has released a six-minute video dedicated entirely to Pawlenty and his wife Mary talking about the importance of their Christian faith, criticizing the separation of church and state, and highlighting their opposition to abortion and marriage equality:

AFA Says "No Political Candidates Will Be Speaking" At Gov. Perry's Prayer Rally

Sure, Gov. Rick Perry's key advisers may be laying the groundwork in Iowa for his increasingly likely presidential campaign and leading Religious Right activists might be privately rallying behind that possible campaign ... but just because he is also organizing a massive public prayer rally with dozens of Religious Right activists doesn't mean that his "The Response" event is in any way a political event:

American Family Association sponsors the Response, a national prayer event planned for Reliant Stadium in Houston on August 6. Donald E. Wildmon, founder and Chairman Emeritus of AFA, said those who oppose the event are wrong.

"The Response is an open event. Anyone who wants to pray to Jesus for a nation in crisis is welcome to attend. Next, The Response is a prayer event, not a political event," Wildmon says. "No political candidates will be speaking. Finally our critics say The Response violates the separation of church and state. The event will be held at a public stadium which has no connection to a religious body."

Doug Stringer, founder of Somebody Cares America and president of Turning Point Ministries International, is serving as the National Church and Ministry Mobilization Coordinator for The Response. When he was asked to serve, he admits he was initially reluctant to join forces with Perry. But after discussing the event with other leaders was satisfied that there was no political agenda.

“I didn’t want to officially be a part of The Response if there was any inkling that this would be anything political or that preaching pontificators would use this as an agenda for their individual denominations or political aspirations,” Stringer says. “But the governor said it’s going to stay pure. You can’t buy your way or influence your way to the platform.”

So does that mean that Gov. Perry, the man who is responsible for the entire event and is serving as its public face, will be not be speaking at the event?  Or does it mean that he will speak because he is not going to be a political candidate running for office?

Or, more likely, does it merely mean that Perry is going to remain coy about his plans until after the prayer event and then use it as a launching pad for his presidential campaign? 

Marriage Equality Opponent: Real Jews Don't Wear Rainbow Yarmulkes

Pastor Joseph Mattera is one of the most outspoken opponents of marriage equality legislation in New York, and has condemned gays and lesbians for, among other things, their supposed ties to Nazism and lack of concern for the poor. Reacting to dueling rallies in Albany between the bill’s supporters and detractors, Mattera blasted religious leaders who support marriage equality and cast doubt on their religiosity. He even criticized one “supposed rabbi” for wearing “a rainbow Yakama [sic].”

In anticipation of the state Senate's vote, various groups held rallies Monday -- one side requesting the "separation of church and state," while the other chanted, "God says no!" Joseph Mattera, overseeing bishop of Resurrection Church in New York, tells OneNewsNow many of those who support same-sex marriage were irreverent and antagonistic toward the Christian faith.

"The other side was very belligerent. There were ministers, there were people dressed in Catholic garb, and there were supposed rabbis -- at least one with a rainbow Yakama," Bishop Mattera accounts. "So they tried to bring out so-called 'clergy' who were in favor of what they call 'marriage equality.'"

Perkins: Separation Of Church And State Is Provoking God's Judgment On America

Family Research Center president Tony Perkins joined James Robison on Life Today to discuss the dire consequences of the separation of Church and State that has allowed the “unrighteous” to rule. Perkins and Robison, who was Mike Huckabee’s mentor and recently addressed FRC’s Watchmen on the Wall summit, both agreed that God will judge America for not voting for politicians aligned with the Religious Right.

Watch:

Minnesota Republican Candidate For Senate Rejects Separation Of Church And State

The first announced Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Minnesota doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state. According to the Associated Press, former state representative Dan Severson will announce later today that he is challenging Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar in the state Capitol after running unsuccessfully for Secretary of State in 2010. During his race for Secretary of State, Severson told religious broadcaster Brad Brandon of Word of Truth Radio that the separation of church and state “just does not exist.”

Andy Birkey of The Minnesota Independent reports:

“Quite often you hear people say, ‘What about separation of church and state?’ There is no such thing,” Severson told Brandon. “I mean it just does not exist, and it does not exist in America for a purpose, because we are a Christian nation.”

He continued, “We are a nation based on Christian principles and ideals, and those are the things that guarantee our liberties. It is one of those things that is so fundamental to the freedoms that we have that when you begin to restrict our belief and our attestation to our Christian values you begin to restrict our liberties.”

He added, “You simply cannot continue a nation as America without that Christian base of liberty.”

Severson says voters must know his position on the matter.

“Look, this is what I stand for. If you don’t like that, don’t vote for me, and then the majority of the people will have their voice heard,” he said. “It’s wrong for politicians to do one thing on the campaign trail to get the vote and do exactly the opposite once they get to office. To me that is an impeachable offense.”

Scott Walker’s Latest Pro-Voucher Gambit Exposes Dishonesty Of The Voucher Movement

Private school voucher advocates and their allies in the so-called “education reform” movement readily talk about the need for rigorous, constant testing along with the application of free market principles to education: reward high-performing schools and teachers and punish bad ones.

Over the last decade, Milwaukee has been a laboratory for private school vouchers, and the results have been poor: numerous studies have shown that vouchers failed to make any difference in student performance. Just like in Washington, DC and Cleveland, private school vouchers in Milwaukee failed to produce the gains their supporters promised as students, with students in the Milwaukee voucher program actually performing worse than comparable public school students.

But now Republican Gov. Scott Walker wants to expand the ineffective voucher program while cutting funds to public schools. And so much for the emphasis on testing -- voucher students will now be exempted from the tests that revealed the program’s failure.

The Wausau Daily Herald reports:

Milwaukee’s voucher school program would be expanded under a Republican-backed bill expected to pass the state Assembly on Tuesday.



State Superintendent Tony Evers has questioned expanding the voucher program at the same time Walker is proposing cutting public school aid by more than $800 million over the next two years.



Walker is also proposing eliminating in his budget that voucher students take the same statewide achievement tests that public school students must take.

This year, results were released for the first time comparing public school and voucher students. They showed voucher students lagging behind their peers in public schools.

That’s right, even though voucher students are “lagging behind their peers in public schools,” voucher programs are being rewarded with expansion while public schools are punished with cuts. With little care for accountability and testing, this move by Walker and the Wisconsin GOP demonstrates how the push for private school vouchers is really about the Right’s ideological war against public education.

The pro-voucher American Federation for Children is even launching an ad campaign to defend Wisconsin Republicans facing recall votes, and recently hosted an event where they honored Walker for his voucher advocacy. AFC was founded and funded by Betsy Devos, a Religious Right activist and wife of Dick Devos, the son of the founder of Amway and an unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor of Michigan. Today, AFC is one of the most aggressive pro-voucher groups, and aims to fully privatize public education.

Through their advocacy for private school vouchers, the Devos family merged their anti-union and anti-public school beliefs with their mission to chip away at the separation of church and state. The Devos family is a key benefactor of Religious Right groups across the country, financing major social conservative organizations like Focus on the Family and the Council for National Policy, and provided almost the entire funding for Maggie Gallagher’s Institute for Marriage and Public Policy.

With Scott Walker admitting that the private school voucher movement’s emphasis on testing, results and accountability is hogwash, it is abundantly clear what the real goal is: privatizing public education.

Fact Checking Barton Part I: Texas Textbooks

With no academic credentials as a historian, David Barton toldThe Daily Show host Jon Stewart that his involvement in editing textbooks around the country was proof that he is a respected and esteemed historian. However, his work with textbooks if anything reveals his blatant partisanship and pseudo-scholarship.

As Mariah Blake writes in The Washington Monthly, Barton’s Christian nation mythology was indeed just one aspect of his role shaping the Texas textbooks as a consultant for the Texas School Board. Barton wanted to give a positive spin to Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist politics and “purge the standards of key figures of the civil rights era, such as César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall.” As Blake writes, Barton tried to diminish the work of civil rights leaders like Martin Luther Ling Jr. by arguing “that they shouldn’t be given credit for advancing the rights of minorities. As Barton put it, ‘Only majorities can expand political rights in America’s constitutional society.’ Ergo, any rights people of color have were handed to them by whites—in his view, mostly white Republican men.”

Barton, who was once vice-chair of the Texas GOP and a paid surrogate of the Republican National Committee, tirelessly works to convince black audiences that they should vote for Republicans and oppose the Democratic Party because the GOP is responsible for black civil rights.

But Barton’s claims that he writes about more than just America as a “Christian nation” shouldn’t distract from the reason Texas School Board members invited Barton to edit their textbooks in the first place. In fact, then-Texas School Board member Cynthia Dunbar admitted that it was the board’s goal to promote religion through the state’s textbooks to counteract “a Biblically illiterate society,” and another ex-member Don McLeroy said that it was his job at the School Board to fight “secular humanists” because “we are a Christian nation founded on Christian principles” and “the way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel.”

Barton also told Jon Stewart that he was used to help write textbooks in other states, namely California. However, this is quite an exaggeration. Rob Boston writes that while Barton was invited by a conservative to advise California in its development of textbooks, his proposals went nowhere:

In 1998, a conservative member of the California Academic Standards Commission appointed Barton to an advisory position, asking the Texan to critique proposed social studies/history standards. From that perch, Barton attacked the portion of the standards that discussed the development of religious freedom, trying to remove every reference to separation of church and state.

He almost pulled it off. Commission members, unfamiliar with Barton’s agenda, seemed open to adopting his suggestions. They changed course only after intervention by Americans United’s Sacramento Chapter, AU’s national office and others.

Chris Rodda of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation notes that this isn’t the only time Barton embellished his work with other states, as he also worked with Michele Bachmann when she was a Minnesota state legislator to ensure that schools display the Declaration of Independence.

Such a record of exaggeration demonstrates why real historians, including Christian historians, who have followed David Barton have repeatedly criticized and dismissed his faulty “scholarship.”

Exposing David Barton's Bunk

Today, People For the American Way released a new report entitled "Barton’s Bunk: Religious Right ‘Historian’ Hits the Big Time in Tea Party America" written by PFAW Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery that exposes David Barton's shoddy pseudo-history and why it matters: 

Barton’s growing visibility and influence with members of Congress and other Republican Party officials is troubling for many reasons: he distorts history and the Constitution for political purposes; he encourages religious divisiveness and unequal treatment for religious minorities; and he feeds a toxic political climate in which one’s political opponents are not just wrong, but evil and anti-God.

Scholars have criticized Barton for presenting facts out of context or in misleading ways, but that hasn’t stopped him from promoting his theories through books, television, and, yes, the textbooks that will teach the next generation of Americans. He promotes conspiracy theories about elites hiding the truth from average Americans in order to undermine the nation from within. Last summer, he declared that liberal and media attacks on the Tea Party were just like attacks on Jesus. In February, Barton spoke at the Connect 2011 Pastors Conference, where he said that Christians needed to control the culture and media so that “guys that have a secular viewpoint cannot survive.” Said Barton, “If the press lacks moral discrimination, it’s because we haven’t been pushing our people to chop that kind of news off.”

Barton’s work is not just an academic exercise. It is meant to have a political impact. For Barton, “documenting” the divine origins of his interpretations of the Constitution gives him and his political allies a potent weapon. Barton promotes a false reality in which anyone who opposes any element of his political agenda stands in opposition to both the Founding Fathers and to God. He believes that everything in our society – government, the judiciary, the economy, the family – should be governed according to the Bible, and he promotes a view of the Bible and Jesus that many Christians would not recognize. Opponents, even Christians, who disagree with Barton about tax policy or the powers of Congress are not only wrong, they are un-American and anti-religious, enemies of America and of God.

President Obama is a particularly frequent target of Barton’s. In January, one of his WallBuilders Live radio shows was titled “Why is Obama Trying to Remove God from the United States?” In March, right-wing “news” service WND quoted Barton accusing Obama (falsely of course) of being “engaged in a pattern of ‘willfully, deliberately’ repudiating America's Christian heritage.”

Those are the kind of accusations long favored by the Religious Right, and they are destructive. Claims that political opponents are evil and are actively trying to destroy Americans’ freedoms poison the public arena, make constructive civic discourse nearly impossible, and have the potential to incite acts of violence.

Elected officials who endorse Barton give his claims credibility they do not deserve. He in turn gives cover and a veneer of legitimacy to right-wing politicians interested in putting their notions of a nation created by and for Christians into public policy. Both Barton and his backers are undermining understanding of, and respect for, vital American values and constitutional principles like separation of church and state and equal treatment under the law.

And last night, Peter appeared on "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell to discuss Barton and his influence:

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 3/22/11

Michele Bachmann

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

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

Haley Barbour

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

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

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

Mitch Daniels

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

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

Newt Gingrich

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

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

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

Mike Huckabee

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

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

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

Sarah Palin

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

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

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

Ron Paul

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

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

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

Tim Pawlenty

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

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

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

Mitt Romney

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

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

Donald Trump

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

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

Rick Santorum

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

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

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

Right Wing Leftovers

  • It seems like Tim Kaine is preparing to run for the Senate.
  • Governor Haley Barbour's press secretary has resigned after sending out an email joking about the Japan earthquake and former Attorney General Janet Reno.
  • On a similar note, the 91 year-old New Hampshire legislator who declared that "crazy people" should be sent to Siberia has also resigned.
  • Rick Santorum attacked Mitt Romney over healthcare and John F. Kennedy for supporting the separation of church and state.
  • Herman Cain says you never hear people talking about the fact that Planned Parenthood was started "so they could help kill black babies before they came into the world,” Really? He ought to come and work here because we hear about that every day.

Jim DeMint: A Modern Day Bonhoeffer?

The latest issue of Focus on the Family's "Citizen Magazine" features a cover story on Sen. Jim DeMint and the cost he has had to pay for standing on his Christian/Tea Party principles ... but it is a sacrifice DeMint is willing to make because "our government has never been further from the principles of freedom" and only Christians can save it:

Tea Party icon Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., is just one example of a Christian opting to stand on principle — and his faith — and paying the price in doing so.

While his fiscal conservatism is widely reported, his strong social values and Christian beliefs have proffered him not only perspective, but also courage and perseverance — rare commodities inside the Beltway.

...

DeMint said there’s always a sacrifice involved when people begin to stand for their convictions, but he said one must have courage.

“I’m afraid Christians have been intimidated with this idea of separation of church and state — which is not in our Constitution at all — and that maybe their views aren’t welcomed in the public square; that maybe expressing a value judgment about right or wrong is no longer welcomed,” he said.

“We can’t have that anymore. If a society can’t speak out about what’s right or wrong according to their religious convictions, the culture will continue to decline and those who want lower and lower standards will continue to prevail. Biblical standards have preserved our country to this point.

“People of faith are going to have to stand back up. They’re afraid to go out in the community and say what’s right and wrong and challenge the culture. When I speak to pastors today, I challenge them and say, ‘Don’t let this government make you hide within the walls of your church.’ We need leaders. If we didn’t have pastors to lead this country in the revolution, America would never be free.”

Allow me to just call attention to the title of this piece:

"The Cost of Discipleship" just so happens to be the title of a book written in 1937 by German Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was executed for opposing the Nazis.

Jim DeMint: A Modern Day Bonhoeffer?

The latest issue of Focus on the Family's "Citizen Magazine" features a cover story on Sen. Jim DeMint and the cost he has had to pay for standing on his Christian/Tea Party principles ... but it is a sacrifice DeMint is willing to make because "our government has never been further from the principles of freedom" and only Christians can save it:

Tea Party icon Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., is just one example of a Christian opting to stand on principle — and his faith — and paying the price in doing so.

While his fiscal conservatism is widely reported, his strong social values and Christian beliefs have proffered him not only perspective, but also courage and perseverance — rare commodities inside the Beltway.

...

DeMint said there’s always a sacrifice involved when people begin to stand for their convictions, but he said one must have courage.

“I’m afraid Christians have been intimidated with this idea of separation of church and state — which is not in our Constitution at all — and that maybe their views aren’t welcomed in the public square; that maybe expressing a value judgment about right or wrong is no longer welcomed,” he said.

“We can’t have that anymore. If a society can’t speak out about what’s right or wrong according to their religious convictions, the culture will continue to decline and those who want lower and lower standards will continue to prevail. Biblical standards have preserved our country to this point.

“People of faith are going to have to stand back up. They’re afraid to go out in the community and say what’s right and wrong and challenge the culture. When I speak to pastors today, I challenge them and say, ‘Don’t let this government make you hide within the walls of your church.’ We need leaders. If we didn’t have pastors to lead this country in the revolution, America would never be free.”

Allow me to just call attention to the title of this piece:

"The Cost of Discipleship" just so happens to be the title of a book written in 1937 by German Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was executed for opposing the Nazis.

Repent Amarillo Leader Running for Mayor, Wins Endorsement of Terry Jones

The fundamentalist ministry Repent Amarillo has gained notoriety for badly failing in their attempt to burn the Quran, harassing swingers, and executing Santa Claus in a firing squad. Now, the leader of the self-proclaimed “Army of God” has announced his bid for mayor of Amarillo.

David Grisham of Repent Amarillo explained his political philosophy in his announcement, stating that “if we get elected office then we take Christ with us into office. He rules over us and then we rule over people – that’s just how the government works, so as far as I’m concerned there is no separation of church and state.”

Grisham also believes that God has called him to run for mayor in order to make life easier for businesses and more difficult for “promiscuity, homosexuality and non-Christian worship”:

“The Scriptures are quite clear that the governing authorities are ministers of God, and if that is true — and we know from God’s word that it is — then it just makes sense that ministers of God should be running for office,” Repent Amarillo Director David Grisham Jr. said before filing paperwork Monday to run in the May 14 mayoral election.



Grisham said he wants to lead the city in a different direction, repealing ordinances that place design standards on downtown properties and a sign ordinance he thinks limits the freedoms of business owners.



Repent Amarillo and Grisham aim to deter promiscuity, homosexuality and non-Christian worship practices through confrontation and prayer, and their actions have sparked controversy, both locally and nationwide.

He has already won the coveted endorsement of Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who threatened to burn copies of the Quran in a bonfire to mark the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. “I’m glad to have his endorsement because he’s a brother in Christ,” Grisham said, “and that’s what’s more important to me than political implications.”

Jones believes that Grisham is simply “trying to do the right thing,” adding, “I believe he has the best interests of the city in mind.”

Repent Amarillo Leader Running for Mayor, Wins Endorsement of Terry Jones

The fundamentalist ministry Repent Amarillo has gained notoriety for badly failing in their attempt to burn the Quran, harassing swingers, and executing Santa Claus in a firing squad. Now, the leader of the self-proclaimed “Army of God” has announced his bid for mayor of Amarillo.

David Grisham of Repent Amarillo explained his political philosophy in his announcement, stating that “if we get elected office then we take Christ with us into office. He rules over us and then we rule over people – that’s just how the government works, so as far as I’m concerned there is no separation of church and state.”

Grisham also believes that God has called him to run for mayor in order to make life easier for businesses and more difficult for “promiscuity, homosexuality and non-Christian worship”:

“The Scriptures are quite clear that the governing authorities are ministers of God, and if that is true — and we know from God’s word that it is — then it just makes sense that ministers of God should be running for office,” Repent Amarillo Director David Grisham Jr. said before filing paperwork Monday to run in the May 14 mayoral election.



Grisham said he wants to lead the city in a different direction, repealing ordinances that place design standards on downtown properties and a sign ordinance he thinks limits the freedoms of business owners.



Repent Amarillo and Grisham aim to deter promiscuity, homosexuality and non-Christian worship practices through confrontation and prayer, and their actions have sparked controversy, both locally and nationwide.

He has already won the coveted endorsement of Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who threatened to burn copies of the Quran in a bonfire to mark the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. “I’m glad to have his endorsement because he’s a brother in Christ,” Grisham said, “and that’s what’s more important to me than political implications.”

Jones believes that Grisham is simply “trying to do the right thing,” adding, “I believe he has the best interests of the city in mind.”

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

Barton to Teach Two-Day Seminar for Arkansas Legislators

If Rep. Michele Bachmann believes that David Barton is qualified to teach members of Congress about the Constitution, I guess we shouldn't be surprised that the Arkansas Family Council is bringing Barton in for a two-day seminar to impart his wisdom to state legislators and government officials:

A political activist who claims America was founded on biblical principles has been invited to speak to elected officials at the state Capitol later this month.

The Christian conservative Family Council has asked David Barton to hold a seminar for state legislators and constitutional officers on Jan. 25 and 26 and has reserved the Old Supreme Court chamber on those dates, said Jerry Cox, the group's executive director.

Barton, of Aledo, Texas, is the founder of the group WallBuilders and the author of several books on American history. Cox said he has spoken with Barton and is 90 percent certain he will accept the invitation.

Barton has argued that the Founding Fathers intended for the United States to be a Christian nation and did not support the separation of church and state as the phrase is understood today. Cox said Barton will discuss his views on the proper role of government, including his belief that "helping the poor ... is primarily a function of the church," not government.

Cox said he agrees with Barton's views and wants to help educate lawmakers who will be sworn into office next week, the first week of the legislative session.

"I want to help our lawmakers understand what the role of government is and then try to keep the laws that we pass within the bounds of the proper role of government," he said.

Maybe Barton will use the seminar to encourage Arkansas legislators to regulate gay sex.

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Separation of Church and State Posts Archive

Ian Silverstone, Wednesday 07/23/2014, 10:14am
Truth in Action Ministries, a purveyor of incendiary “documentaries” that explore our country’s apparent slide into anti-Christian moral turpitude, is back to warn us that Christians are now an increasingly persecuted minority in America. Watch highlights of the film here: Hosted by conservative activists Jerry Newcombe and John Rabe, the group’s most recent film, “We the People: Under Attack,” is a field guide to how “activist judges” are restricting religious liberties and the freedom of speech, and includes appearances from right-wing... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 05/05/2014, 4:30pm
American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer said on his radio program today that he loved Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion in Town of Greece v. Galloway so much that after reading an excerpt to his audience, he remarked, “I’m reading this and I’m thinking, man, I’m listening to myself.” As Peter noted, Thomas argued that “the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment does not apply to the states at all,” a view shared by Fischer. “Clarence Thomas is sounding like me,” Fischer said. “There’s no... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 04/24/2014, 11:20am
Today on the 700 Club, Pat Robertson pointed to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent description of the United Kingdom as a “Christian country” as a source of hope against the Islamist-atheist hordes attacking America. “This nonsense about separation of church and state has gotten way, way beyond the bounds of what the Founders of our Constitution thought,” Robertson said. “We’re under assault by militant Islamists, militant atheists, secularists, those who want to destroy all of the fabric of faith in our society.” Later in the program... MORE
Peter Montgomery, Monday 12/02/2013, 12:13pm
“Christian nation” advocate David Lane is organizing pastors in more than a dozen states in order to elect like-minded candidates, and hopes to get conservative evangelicals to coalesce around a presidential candidate in 2016 (it’s early, but Ted Cruz seems to have an inside track). On Thanksgiving, Lane urged American Christians to ask God for mercy and forgiveness for “what we Christians have allowed to happen to America in our lifetime.” Lane argues that the pilgrims, who believed that their undertaking was “for the glory of God and the advancement... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 09/11/2013, 10:55am
Two days following 9/11 terrorist attacks, televangelists Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell blamed the attacks on “the pagans, the abortions, the feminists and the gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way.” Today, Robertson remembered 9/11 by attacking former president George W. Bush for calling Islam a “religion of peace.” “They believe that anybody who doesn’t submit is at war with them and they are prime targets, and for the Western nations to welcome this fifth column into their... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/29/2013, 10:56am
On this week's "Hagee Hotline," Matthew Hagee responded to a question from a viewer about how she should respond to people who support the separation of church and state by telling her that such people will ultimately have to answer to God for believing this deception. Claiming that the government uses the idea of separation of church and state to discourage Christians from getting involved in politics, Hagee said that one's faith must determine how they vote. "As a Bible-believer," Hagee counseled, "you should never vote for someone who is pro-abortion.... MORE
Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 07/17/2013, 10:02am
Senators and presidential hopefuls Rand Paul and Ted Cruz will head to Iowa this week as featured speakers at a closed-door event for conservative pastors that has been organized by David Lane, an anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Mormon, Christian-nation absolutist who has declared war, not only on secularism and separation of church and state, but also on establishment Republicans who don’t embrace his vision of an America in which the Bible serves as “the principle textbook” for public education and a “Christian culture” has been “re-established.” He... MORE