Separation of Church and State

Religious Right Leaders Pray for 'Healing for Those who Struggle with Same-Sex Attraction'

A number of prominent women leaders of the Religious Right have come together for the American Prayer Initiative, which is “designed to help draw ‘we the people’ of this nation back to the One upon whom she was founded.’ The group includes the National Day of Prayer’s Shirley Dobson and Vonette Bright, talk show host Janet Parshall, Liberty Counsel’s Anita Staver, Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance, Susan B. Anthony List’s Marilyn Musgrave, activist Rebecca Hagelin and Susan Allen, wife of Virginia’s George Allen. The group offers members a specific prayer for every day of each month until Election Day, including prayers condemning homosexuality and the separation of church and state.

One message asks participants to pray for God’s “healing for those who struggle with same-sex attraction” and to “replace unnatural affections”:

We pray for healing and restoration of true manhood and womanhood in America. We ask for Your wisdom and protection against attempts to re-define our very identity as men and women.

We pray for Your design for abundant and fulfilled manhood, womanhood and marriage to gain preeminence in America.

We pray for a full restoration of the image and definition of manhood and womanhood in America.

We petition You, God for Your healing for those who struggle with same-sex attraction. May they come to know Your power, Your mercy and Your love as You replace unnatural affections with ones You Yourself designed.

Another is a prayer to oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage:

We pray that the union of one man and one woman will be embraced by all societies as the sole form of legitimate marriage and the proper basis of family.

We ask that the power of Your hand intervene to transform and heal the hearts of those who would attempt to re-define marriage.

The group also sends a message criticizing the influence of judges and proponents of the separation of church and state:

We ask for leaders, a judicial system and judges who adhere to the original intent of our founding documents and their many connections to Biblical principles.

We pray for a true understanding of justice according to Your Word We pray for Your protection from attempts to redefine justice for political gain.

We ask You to convict, transform and protect those who are out of Your will. We ask You to encourage, strengthen and protect those who honor and follow You.

We ask You for judges who will follow constitutional principles rather than ruling according to pre-chosen outcomes or relying on international law.

We pray that courts will recognize parents’ fundamental rights to the care, custody and control of their children.

We ask for Your guidance for accurate rulings over first amendment issues, and an awareness in our country that the words, “separation of church and state” are found nowhere in any one of our founding documents. We ask for a reversal of rulings which have inaccurately established “separation” as a Constitutional principle.

There is even a prayer against a media looking “to bring our country down by bringing our culture down”:

We ask you, Lord, to open greater and greater opportunities for Your Gospel to flow freely across our airwaves.

We ask, Lord, for You to grant Americans the wisdom to discern truth from deception.

We pray for those in the entertainment industry that they may better serve the families of our country by creating programs and movies that are uplifting in nature and extol positive virtues.

We especially pray Your blessings upon those in media, entertainment, the arts and journalism who are driven by loyalty to You. We ask for favor and acceptance for their work.

We ask You to raise up, equip, and abundantly provide for Your true disciples in the media, the arts, entertainment and journalism.

We pray for honesty in journalism.

We pray for those who would intend to bring our country down by bringing our culture down.

We ask you to foil the plans of those who would bring others down in any form.

We ask for Your transforming power in the lives of those who would divide, deceive and destroy.

Former Rep. Hostettler Laments Church’s Extraction from Government, Agrees Schools are Hiding Truth about the Constitution

Former Indiana Rep. John Hostettler lamented yesterday that the “church has extracted itself from government,” creating a vacuum filled by “those adversarial to biblical truth.”

Hostettler, talking with Truth in Action Ministries’ Carmen Pate on the organization’s radio program, agreed with Pate that the education system is controlled by “those who really don’t want our kids to understand what the Constitution has to say” – namely, as Hostettler, puts it, that “government is an institution that is not just a God-centered one, but it was ordained by God.”

Hostettler represented southwest Indiana in Congress from 1995 through 2007, and is now president of the Constitution Institute, which dedicates itself to providing state legislators and others with “a greater understanding of the United States Constitution.”

Pate: You know, it seems to me, Congressman, it’s very clear that the founding fathers intended for the government’s role to be limited, and they based this Constitution on biblical principles and truths. Yet we know that those on the left, the secular humanists, see the importance of a big government, not limited, because then they can wield more power over the people.

Not to sound conspiratorial here, but I wonder if there have been attempts perhaps by those secular humanists, those on the left, to really not allow or to take away some of the opportunities for learning more about what the Constitution has to say. Say in our public schools, you mentioned in school you didn’t learn all these things. I didn’t either. It wasn’t until I got out of school and started working with pro-family organizations that I really dug into the Constitution.

Have we allowed the education of our children to be given over to those who really don’t want our kids to understand what the Constitution has to say?

Hostettler: Well, Carmen, you’re exactly right. That is what has happened. Because the church has extracted itself from government and we have fundamentally forgotten, as Dr. Kennedy taught, that government is an institution ordained by God. Just as the family was ordained by God, and just as the church was ordained by God, government is an institution that is not just a God-centered one, but it was ordained by God.

So we have extracted ourselves from it – the church, the body of Christ has – we’ve handed it over to others, and we’ve forgotten that just has nature abhors a vacuum, politics and public policy and government likewise abhor a vacuum. Someone is going to occupy that space, some philosophy is going to occupy that space. And it’s either going to be fundamentally a philosophy that is sympathetic and is agreeable to biblical truths, or it is a philosophy that is adversarial to biblical truth. It’s going to be one of the two. And as you pointed out, it has been a philosophy overall that is adversarial to biblical truth.
 

Pastor Dennis Terry Introduces Rick Santorum, Tells Liberals and Non-Christians to 'Get Out' of America

Greenwell Springs Baptist Church pastor Dennis Terry introduced presidential candidate Rick Santorum and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins tonight in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with a rousing speech railing against liberals and non-Christians and condemning abortion rights, "sexual perversion," same-sex marriage and secular government. Terry said that America "was founded as a Christian nation" and those that disagree with him should "get out! We don't worship Buddha, we don't worship Mohammad, we don't worship Allah!" Terry, who has a long history of attacks against the gay community, went on to criticize marriage equality for gays and lesbians, and said that the economy can only recover when we "put God back" in government.

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Update: At the end of the event, Terry prayed over Santorum and asked God to "have favor upon Rick Santorum" and to "do a mighty work" in President Obama's life:

Cindy Jacobs Claims American Schools Had No Problems Before 1962

Cindy Jacobs and her husband Mike on God Knows discussed a recent meeting they had with right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton where they agreed that problems such as “teen suicide, rape, murder [and] assault” are a result of a 1962 Supreme Court decision barring school-organized prayer. Claims that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Engel v. Vitale is responsible for America’s cultural and moral decline are commonplace in the Religious Right, and Barton even started his career by blaming the decision for a decline in SAT scores.

According to Cindy Jacobs, public schools in the U.S. had no problems besides “cutting in line” and “throwing spit wads” before 1962. Of course, Jacobs seems to ignore the egregious discrimination that African American students faced in the era of legalized segregation followed by the de facto segregation of schools, and even in integrated schools students like the Little Rock Nine in 1957 faced far more problems that spit wads. 

While she argued that the end of school-organized prayer led to “every evil thing” in America today, her husband claimed that a recent meeting of prophets decided that the European Union’s current “fiscal hardships” are a result of the fact that “they refused to acknowledge God.” What they fail to mention is that Greece, the EU country facing the most severe financial problems, like other European nations actually has an official state church.

Watch:

Cindy Jacobs: 1962, when prayer was taken out of our schools by the Supreme Court, and in 1967 when Bible reading was taken out of our public schools, what happened? I mean in ’62 our biggest problem that we had in the United States was cutting in line, throwing spit wads.



Cindy Jacobs: Yeah, these were our problems, after we took the law of God out of our school, what happened? Teen suicide, rape, murder, assault, kids bringing guns to school, does it matter whether we pray? Absolutely it matters. Does it matter whether we read the Bible? Absolutely it matters. You know Mike when we were kids here in the state of Texas, we began our school with prayer and we prayed in the name of Jesus, I mean nobody was forced to do it, they didn’t have to do it, and then we read the Bible and nobody complained. It was amazing what happened in the nation, but when you take out God out of the house, God out of the schools, what happens is every evil thing comes in, there’s a void place.

Mike Jacobs: Remember the prophets were talking specifically about the European Union and that one of the curses that’s on them right now, one of the reasons they are enduring some of the financial, fiscal hardships right now, is they said when they were doing the founding documents, they refused to acknowledge God.

Cindy Jacobs: That’s right, it’s not in there.

Rick Green Warns Separation of Church and State leads to 'Communism' and 'Crime'

Rick Green of WallBuilders today appeared on Truth that Transforms with Carmen Pate and John Rabe where he claimed that the separation of church and state is the “exact opposite” of what the Founders wanted. He went on to claim that the separation of church and state is simply a tool to move the country “towards socialism and communism” and is responsible for increases in out-of-wedlock births and crime. Of course, this should come as no surprise as Green and WallBuilders president David Barton have made careers out of mischaracterizing church-state separation and blaming it for everything from a decline in SAT scores to a rise in sexually transmitted diseases.

Rabe: I think Rick if you ask most Americans today what the Constitution’s position is on the church they’ll throw out that phrase, ‘separation of church and state.’ That mantra is really, deeply embedded now but the picture that most people have is not exactly what the Founders meant by the First Amendment, is it?

Green: It is actually the exact opposite. Founders intended the First Amendment to restrict government, not restrict us, we the citizens it was actually intended to protect our freedom of religion, protect our opportunity to exercise that faith, whether that was in the public square or the private square, now we flip it on its head and we’ve used the First Amendment to actually restrict the individual. If you happen to step into the public square and sometimes even in the private square, government steps in and says ‘we’re not going to let you live out your faith.’ It’s exactly the opposite of what they intended and that only happens when we the people don’t know our history, don’t know where we came from, we don’t read the Constitution anymore, we don’t read the Founding Fathers, but I tell you there’s a lot of people now that are hungry to do that and they hear this phrase ‘separation of church and state’ and instead of just saying ‘oh yeah I guess that’s what the country was founded on’ they say ‘wait, wait, wait, where exactly in the Constitution is that’? People are starting to ask questions and I think that’s when you start turning this thing around.

Pate: They say when a lie is repeated often enough it becomes truth in the minds of the masses, it really causes us to stop and think, what has fueled the perpetuation of this myth?

Green: It’s a desire to get God out of the equation. At the heart of this entire debate, we’re right back to that question of whether as Rabbi [Daniel] Lapin says we’re going to be a Nimrod society or an Abraham society, will the church and God be the center of our culture and our nation or will government be the center? You cannot go towards socialism without moving away from God, you got to get God out of the equation to do that. Throughout history, anyone that has wanted a nation to move towards socialism and communism in that direction, has had to push God out of the equation first. So separation of church and state has been distorted.



Green: When you think about fifty years of this myth of separation of church and state and the impact on our culture it has been huge, it has had a dramatic impact on not only our children and school but you can look at any statistical graph on whether you want to look at crime, out-of-wedlock birth I mean you look at all of it, removing God from the equation from this supposed phrase ‘separation of church and state’ has had a devastating impact on our culture.

Jackson: IRS Regulations Designed To Silence Black Churches

Earlier this month, hundreds of pastors across the nation participated in the Alliance Defense Fund's annual "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," during which they openly endorsed or opposed political candidates from their pulpits in a direct challenge to the IRS.

Among those participating pastors was Bishop Harry Jackson who, along with Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, was featured in a short video from Odyssey Networks about the effort.

In the video, Jackson provided a rather unique explanation for his involvement in opposing IRS regulations that prohibit churches from engaging in politics, asserting that such regulations were put in place in order to prevent black churches from speaking out in support of the civil rights movement:

Of course, the reality is that the prohibitions grew out of an amendment inserted into the tax code by Senator Lyndon Johnson in 1954 (years before he became president) in response to attacks on him by tax-exempt groups that accused him of being soft of Communism during his re-election campaign.

If Jackson is going to be involved in leading this challenge to the IRS, it might be helpful for him to actually know what he is talking about.

New Religious Right Video: Secularism Means Doom For America

One of the sessions at the recent Values Voter Summit featured a showing of a new half-hour video produced by the American Family Association called “Divorcing God: Secularism and the Republic.” (Back in the summer it was being promoted as "Divorcing God: Secularism, Sexual Anarchy, and the Future of the Republic.") The video features an array of Religious Right leaders and academics, whose argument can be summarized this way:  America, whose greatness is decaying because the country has turned its back on the God who inspired the founding fathers, is doomed if it continues to allow secularists to push religion into the closet.  It's time for Christians to fight back.

And just to be clear, the God in “one nation under God” isn’t any old generic God, but the same Christian God who made western civilization possible.  It’s familiar to anyone who has followed the Religious Right’s “Christian nation” rhetoric, filled with founders’ quotes about religion and  attacks on the Supreme Court’s rulings on church-state separation.

Among the stars of the video is Princeton University’s Robert George, the Religious Right’s favorite intellectual. George, a leader of the National Organization for Marriage, is one of the authors of the Manhattan Declaration, whose signers fancy themselves potential martyrs for opposing abortion and LGBT equality in America. Others include Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute; Michael Farris, homeschooling advocate and chancellor of Patrick Henry College; and Matthew Spalding, of the Heritage Foundation. The founders clearly believed that God punishes nations, says Dacus, and when countries allow their societies to become amoral, there’s a price to be paid, not just by those individuals but society as a whole.  The video suggests that the current fight between secularists and those who want to preserve the country’s divine foundation is the last stand for the future of freedom on planet earth.

Another DVD being handed out at the Values Voter Summit hit similar themes about the importance of the nation’s foundation on biblical principles.  It features a 2010 “State of the Nation” speech delivered by Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis at the Creation Museum in Kentucky.  Ham argues that the nation is threatened by the teaching of evolution and by the Supreme Court. “There really is no such thing as separation of church and state,” says Ham, who warns that “Christianity in this nation is becoming outlawed more and more in various quarters.”  Ham blames the decline more on church leaders than on secularists.  The Bible is the “absolute authority,” he says, but too many Christians have undermined the authority of scripture by compromising on the truth of the 6,000 year-old earth and great flood described in Genesis.  And that means quoting the Bible in policy debates on abortion and gay marriage has lost its effectiveness.

Meanwhile, French scholar Denis Lacorne has just published Religion in America: A Political History (Columbia University Press, 2011), in which he examines two competing narratives about American identity.  One derives from the secular values of the Enlightenment and reflects a desire to preserve liberty by freeing it from the power of an established church.  The second ties American identity to the Puritans and Protestantism.  These two narratives are reflected in competing notions of church-state separation evident today in our politics and on our Supreme Court.  At a presentation at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. this week, Lacorne suggested that what he calls the neopuritan narrative was developed in the first half of the 19th century by historians who wanted to resurrect the influence of the Puritans, who he says were generally ignored by the founding fathers in their debates over religious liberty and whether or not to make the Constitution an explicitly Christian document.  (They chose not to.)

 

Fischer: Rights Endangered If President Believes In Evolution

The theory of evolution was a central topic in Bryan Fischer's speech to the Values Voter Summit, where he argued that the presidential candidates should reject evolution. "I submit to you that not a single one of our unalienable rights will be safe," Fischer said, "in the hands of a president who believes that we evolved from slime and that we are the descendents of apes and baboons." Fischer called the separation of church and state "mythical" and argued that a result of secular government and the theory of evolution result in mass murder like in Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and Maoist China.

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Fischer: All Will Be Lost If Gay Marriage Passes

On Focal Point today Bryan Fischer says that everything, even the country's economic future and national security, relies on whether Americans can defeat marriage equality. Fischer went on to say that George Washington would view LGBT rights activists and groups that support the separation of church and state are "anti-American":

Fischer: Our survival as a civilization, as a culture, depends on protecting the institution of marriage, everything is at risk here: our economic prosperity, our survival, our national security, all of it hinges on our willingness as a culture to protect monogamy and to protect the institution of marriage. You know, George Washington says 'In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who would labor to subvert these two great pillars,' you push these pillars over, you undermine the foundation of these pillars, you cause them to weaken, you cause them to crumble, you are not a patriot. So George Washington would have no hesitation of looking at groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State, ACLU, Freedom From Religion Foundation, all of these gay rights groups, George Washington would have absolutely no hesitation saying these groups are unpatriotic, they are un-American, in fact they are anti-American because they are laboring to subvert the pillars which this civilization rests.

Barber: Gay Community Will Ruin America With Their "Flamboyant Narcissism, Moral Relativism And Plenty Of Gyrating Nude Bodies"

Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber took to the Washington Times this morning to lay out yet another anti-gay screed. According to Barber, the future of the country will be determined over a conflict between the conservative movement’s patriotism and the left’s supposedly unpatriotic support for equal rights and the separation of church and state. Barber, who has argued that liberalism is the “hatred for God” and that gay children commit suicide because they know homosexuality is “unnatural,” said that gay rights will bring about the country’s moral collapse as “the ‘gay pride’ parade leaves nothing behind but a huge mess for the rest of us to clean up”:

Indeed, the “gay pride” parade, perhaps more than any other, best encapsulates the values embraced by today’s secular-progressive left.

Think about it. It’s got it all:

c Obscenely expensive, taxpayer-funded actions-without-consequences gaiety.

c Celebration of a caution-to-the-wind, enjoy-now-pay-later lifestyle.

c Men who act like women and women who look like men.

c Flamboyant narcissism, moral relativism and plenty of gyrating nude bodies.

c Colorful public sex displays to forever confuse, desensitize and sexualize the kiddos. (Mustn’t forget: “Childhood events permanently impact beliefs and behavior.”)

c Lots of anti-Americanism.

c And a total absence of God.

Oh, and much like the homosexual lobby’s No. 1 cheerleader, President Barack “downgrade” Obama, the “gay pride” parade leaves nothing behind but a huge mess for the rest of us to clean up.

So which America do you live in? The one with public displays of patriotism or the one with public displays of perversion? The one with lots of flag-waving or the one with lots of, well, whatever waving?

As the Good Book says: “Pride cometh before the fall.”

We’re falling.

Can we get back up?

I don’t know, but for starters, we sure could use a lot less pride and a little more patriotism. More important, though, let’s take a lesson from those who came before us.

If we don’t turn back to God, our best days are done.

Perkins: Advocates of Church-State Separation Are "Cultural Terrorists"

While the Family Research Council tries to paint itself as one of the Religious Right’s more mainstream and respectable lobbying organizations, its extreme rhetoric continues to gain exposure. Just yesterday, for instance, FRC president Tony Perkins called the anti-suicide It Gets Better Project “immoral” and “disgusting” in a fundraising letter.

Now, Perkins is calling advocates of church-state separation “cultural terrorists.” Yesterday during Today’s Issues with American Family Association president Tim Wildmon on the AFA’s American Family Radio, Perkins portrayed liberals as unpatriotic and attacked legal organizations that support secular government as un-American, comparing them to terrorists.

Earlier this month, Perkins joined FRC Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell in expressing outrage about a questionable report that Vice President Joe Biden likened Tea Party activists to terrorists. As Kyle pointed out at the time, the FRC had itself produced a documentary which described the Employment Non-Discrimination Act as “economic terrorism” for adding job protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Now, Perkins is using the ‘terrorist’ language to depict people who believe in the separation of church and state:

Perkins: It’s still ok to pray before a football game, it’s still ok to stand for the American flag, it’s still ok to be an American, yes, it’s tea party country, it’s people that love this country, it’s people that send their sons and daughters to fight for these liberals who enjoy all the liberties and the freedoms but won’t lift a finger to protect it and they want to come down here and intimidate these folks. And the school board’s strapped for money, don’t want to take on these expensive cases to defend themselves with these out of town, carpet bagging lawyers.

Wildmon: You preach it brother.



Perkins: That’s what these groups are banking on, because in these financially difficult times, administrators wanting to be prudent, some of them not having enough backbone, will say, ‘ah we shouldn’t challenge this let’s just give in and appease them.’

I like President Reagan’s view, we don’t negotiate with terrorists. These are cultural terrorists.

They want to remake America in their own godless image, and we should not tolerate that. You know Tim, enough is enough. It’s time that Christians be bold and stand up for the rights that we have, rights that were won with the blood of patriots and sustained by patriots and by those that love this country, and it’s time that we in this generation stand up and defend those rights as well. We have those rights in this country but if we don’t stand up and defend them, using the laws, using our voice, and a lot of time that’s all it takes Tim, just stand up and say, I don’t care what you think, I don’t care about your atheist agenda. Take a hike, we’re gonna pray, we’re gonna acknowledge God, and if you don’t like it, so what?

Jackson: There Is No Separation Of Church And State

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

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

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

Robertson: Perry "Founded His Administration On The Bible"

Today on The 700 Club, Pat Robertson praised Texas Gov. Rick Perry for leading The Response prayer rally in Houston on Saturday. Perry did an interview with The 700 Club just days before the event to publicize it, disclosing that he would be praying against the “over-taxed, over-regulated, and over-litigated” economy. Robertson lauded Perry’s much disputed handling of Texas’s economy, arguing, “He has founded his administration on the Bible, and if I might add it works.” Robertson went on to say that Perry is trying to bring America “back to the roots of our nation” against forces that are trying to “separate this country from God.”

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Robertson: Is it any wonder that man was elected for three terms to lead one of the largest states in our nation, and if I might add a very prosperous states, a state that has low unemployment, paying the bills. He has founded his administration on the Bible, and if I might add it works. Man, it took courage for him to do this. All this ‘blurred the lines of separation of church and state,’ no it doesn’t. We had never, never had a time in our country where we separated this country from God, but it looks like we’re trying to do it as hard as we can. And I appreciate Gov. Perry, bringing that emphasis to come back to the roots of our nation.

Perkins Tries And Fails To Downplay The Extreme Views Of 'The Response' Organizers

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews on Friday to discuss The Response. During the show, Matthews played a number of videos, first posted on Right Wing Watch, of Response organizers Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer, John Hagee of the Cornerstone Church, and John Benefiel of the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network.

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Lynn said Perry’s links to such extreme figures don’t represent “guilt by association” but “guilt by construction.” Perkins, on the other hand, tried to distance the import of Bryan Fischer, saying, “Look, he has a talk show on the American Family Association.”

While Perkins may be trying to downplay Fischer’s role at the AFA, he knows full well that Fischer isn’t just some radio talk show host but is in fact the public face of the American Family Association. In fact, his official bio lists him as the “spokesman for AFA.” He represented the AFA at Perkins’ Values Voters Summit and had a prime speaking slot, although as Kyle notes Fischer is not a listed speaker this year. Fischer is the group’s Director of Issues Analysis for Government and Public Policy, hosts AFA’s flagship radio program Focal Point and is the go-to voice of the AFA for inquiring journalists. Perkins himself co-hosted Today’s Issues with Fischer on AFA radio.

Perkins acknowledged that he knew the background of Fischer and other organizers, commenting, “Look, I don’t, as I said before, not everybody that’s on that platform agrees with what others have said or what they hold to believe.”

But no one has suggested that Rick Perry agrees with Bryan Fischer’s argument that gays and lesbians should be banned from holding public office, Mike Bickle’s claim that Oprah is the harbinger of the Antichrist or John Benefiel’s belief that the Statue of Liberty is a demonic idol. The problem is that a sitting governor and likely presidential candidate is effectively endorsing and promoting individuals and organizations with such far-right and extreme views in an exclusively fundamentalist Christian prayer rally.

While Perkins attempted to give Perry cover about the extreme views of the prayer rally organizers, The Response represented the extent Republican leaders and Religious Right groups will go to jockey for the support of even the most fringe figures and elevate their voices.

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.'"
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Separation of Church and State Posts Archive

Miranda Blue, Tuesday 02/10/2015, 1:08pm
Last week, Iowa-based radio host Steve Deace invited conservative activist Star Parker to discuss her new book, “Blind Conceit,” a collection of her columns in which she argues that liberals are waging “wars against our American culture” in pursuit of “revenge and redistribution, the antithesis of Dr. King’s Dream.” Parker told Deace that when it comes to fixing America, “the first step would be to admit that there’s good and evil”… and that the evil is progressivism. “Socialism is inconsistent with the Scripture... MORE
Miranda Blue, Friday 02/06/2015, 2:49pm
People For the American Way released a new video today calling out the Republican National Committee for accepting an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel for several dozen of its members from the American Family Association, an organization with a long record of promoting bigotry against LGBT people and non-Christians. The trip is being organized by David Lane, an influential Christian nationalist strategist. Shortly before the RNC trip began, the AFA stripped its spokesman Bryan Fischer of his official title at the organization but retained him as a host on its radio network. PFAW previously... MORE
Miranda Blue, Monday 02/02/2015, 4:23pm
Iowa Republican National Committee member Tamara Scott, who also runs the state chapter of Concerned Women for America and works as a lobbyist for The Family Leader, told the “View From a Pew” radio program last week that more prayer rallies like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s “The Response” are needed to prevent God from destroying America . One of the things for which the country needs to repent in order to get back on God’s good side, Scott said later in the interview, is the end of state-sponsored prayer in schools. “When the prayer came out in... MORE
Miranda Blue, Monday 02/02/2015, 11:50am
In an interview Friday with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore defended a letter he sent to Gov. Robert Bentley urging him to ignore a federal court ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying that he was just like abolitionists and desegregationists standing up against the “rejection of God’s law by the federal judiciary.” Moore told Rios that the case is similar to his famous defiance of a federal court order to remove a monument of the 10 Commandments from a court building because... MORE
Miranda Blue, Tuesday 01/06/2015, 5:31pm
Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis was a guest on American Family Radio today, where he discussed with Tim Wildmon his new project building a Noah’s Ark theme park in Kentucky. Ham insisted that the theme park, a complement to Ham's Creation Museum, has come under attack from “intolerant” liberals who want to deny it taxpayer funding. Last month, Kentucky’s tourism board announced that the Noah’s Ark park wouldn’t be eligible for an $18 million tourism tax break because Answers In Genesis intends to use the site to proseletize and refuses to promise not to... MORE
Miranda Blue, Thursday 12/11/2014, 4:15pm
Earlier this week, the New York Times reported on the efforts of a group of church-state separation activists, led by Todd Stiefel, who are trying to remove long-forgotten articles in seven state constitutions that require people holding public office to believe in God. This did not sit well with Jake McAuley, the chief operating officer of Michael Peroutka’s Institute on the Constitution, who writes in BarbWire today that it is “impossible” for an elected official who doesn’t believe in God to fulfill his or her duties. “This isn’t about discrimination... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 12/09/2014, 4:10pm
It is an article of faith among Religious Right activists that the supposed persecution of Christians in America is rooted in a series of Supreme Court decisions banning government-sponsored prayer in schools, rulings which they blame for everything from school shootings to crime and HIV/AIDS. But the mostly fundamentalist Protestant leadership of the Religious Right rarely talk about the possibility that if such bans were lifted, the state could require prayer not to their liking. As Think Progress reports today, one varsity softball coach at a Mesa, Arizona, public school has been hit with... MORE