When we covered Vision America’s “War on Christians and Values Voters” conference earlier this year, we noted that the so-called “War on Christians” was little more than a marketing ploy designed to convince right-wing activists that their faith was under attack in order to mobilize them for the November elections.
[C]onference attendees and speakers proclaimed themselves convinced that people of faith, especially Christians, are under constant attack by radical secularists, homosexual activists, federal judges, non-believers and “pagans.”
There’s a reason they work so hard to convince others of this. It’s easier to convince people they should support discrimination against gays and lesbians and hate judges who interpret the Constitution to protect civil rights and liberties such as the right to privacy, if you have first convinced them that gays and judges are out to destroy their faith and religious freedom. This is a long-term strategy, and in this election year, it is clear that the cries of “victimization” and “persecution” are an attempt to gin up the Republican Party’s right-wing base.
A new article in Christianity Today more or less confirmed our assessment, thanks to a direct quote from the “War on Christians” conference organizer, Rick Scarborough of Vision America.
The article focuses primarily on Rod Parsley and the right-wing political work he is doing via the Ohio Restoration Project’s “Patriot Pastors” network – a group we examined in this recent report. The bulk of the article covers Parsley’s appearance at Vision America’s “War on Christians” conference, where he outshone dozens of other right-wing leaders with his fanatical rhetoric:
Parsley compared the struggle against the “war on Christians” to the civil rights movement, defiantly shouting that “We [are] not going to the back of the bus … My Father owns the bus line. I will sit where I please!” He promised “freedom at any cost” – “If you think 2004 was something, we have not reached critical mass! We are the largest special interest group! … We’re building order from chaos! We’re fighting the sword with the word! We’re fighting savagery with hope!” Swelling with the force of his own metaphors, he shouted at the crowd, “I came to incite a riot! Man your battle stations! Ready your weapons! Lock and load!”
For two days, speaker after speaker took the stage and recounted how Christians were under attack by homosexual activists, activist judges, the liberal media, and society as a whole – but then, when the audience had departed and the conference room was empty, Scarborough admitted to Christianity Today that this supposed “War on Christians” was little more than a marketing ploy:
Talking with Scarborough as waiters clear the cups and napkins, it’s clear that the conference has been a great success. His new book, Liberalism Kills Kids, sits in stacks on the book table. He has the ear of senators and members of Congress. His editorial in USA Today will appear tomorrow.
But was proclaiming a “War on Christians” putting it a bit too strongly? “We were accused of using hyperbole. I confess we did,” Scarborough says with a grin. “Our desire was to get the press exercised.”