When Texas Governor Rick Perry was gearing up to run for president the last time around, he decided to kick things off by headlining a large right-wing prayer rally organized by the American Family Association, an anti-gay hate group, and David Lane, a secretive Religious Right organizer and Christian nationalist, called The Response. But rather than propelling him into the White House, the event became infamous mostly for the scores of radical figures with whom Perry had chosen to align himself.
Over the weekend, organizers posted videos featuring several Religious Right activists urging conservative Christians to attend the event, including invitations from folks like Tamara Scott, Jennifer LeClaire, Jim Garlow, E.W. Jackson, and Cindy Jacobs:
- Scott is a leader of Concerned Women for America’s Iowa chapter, as well as a Republican National Committee member, who believes that Muslim immigrants are being brought to America in order to wage “stealth jihad” and warns that child migrants from Central America are “highly trained as warriors” who could “rise up against” the U.S. She has also argued that gay marriage will lead to people trying to marry the Eiffel Tower.
- LeClaire is the editor of Charisma magazine, where she routinely warns that Halloween is demonically evil and that gay superheroes are corrupting your children’s souls. She has repeatedly told gay athletes to stay in the closet and repent and warned that the fight for gay marriage is a Satanic plot to send people to Hell.
- Garlow played a key role in the fight to pass California’s Proposition 8 and has repeatedly attacked gay marriage as a demonic effort to persecute Christians, crush the Bible, and destroy America. So vehemently opposed to gay marriage is Garlow that he has even vowed that he is willing to lose his life fighting against it, if necessary.
- Jackson is a Religious Right activist and former GOP candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia who has asserted that the push for gay rights has killed more black men than the KKK and said that gay men and women are “perverted,” “degenerate,” and “frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally.” He has warned that gay marriage will lead to bestiality and said that there is a “direct connection” between homosexuality and pedophilia. The definition of marriage can never change, Jackson has declared, because “America was ordained by Almighty God.”
- Jacobs is a self-proclaimed “respected prophet” who claims that her prayers have the power to cure insanity, reverse hysterectomies, heal tumors, stop terrorist attacks, capture world leaders, prevent coups, and revive the dead. Even her children, she claims, possess similar power to stop tornadoes and prevent assassinations. She once said that President Obama’s “anti-Biblical” policies are responsible for natural disasters and warned that even more will strike America as the result of gay marriage, which is a Satanic plot. Jacobs claimed that Perry’s Response prayer rally freed Texas from the curse of Native American cannibals and, perhaps most infamously, she once declared that thousands of birds died in Arkansas because of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
On Friday, the AFA’s Bryan Fischer also noted that he would be in attendance at the event and providing broadcast coverage, and there is quite possibly no other figure within the “mainstream” Religious Right movement today who can match him in terms of consistently unadulterated bigotry.
Gov. Jindal does not seem to have learned any lessons from the first Response rally and, if anything, remarkably seems quite intent on surrounding himself with the same group of radical Religious Right activists that made the last one so notorious.