North Carolina Lt. Gov Dan Forest is being promoted as the “special guest” at an event organized by Christian nationalist activist David Lane and the North Carolina arm of his American Renewal Project, to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, later this week. Forest launched his campaign for is hoping to be elected governor in 2020.
Lane believes the U.S. has a covenant with God to promote the Christian faith and has said that Christians “must be retrained to war for the Soul of America and quit believing in the fabricated whopper of the ‘Separation of Church and State,’ the lie repeated ad nauseam by the left and liberals to keep Christian America – the moral majority – from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning and pagan media.”
It’s not terribly surprising that Forest would team up with Lane. Speaking at a church this summer, Forest said America was “founded on the principles of Jesus Christ” and referred to “identity politics” as part of Satan’s plan to sow division. ThinkProgress first reported on Forest’s comments, which included this:
“God doesn’t want us to divide our state,” Forest said. “He doesn’t want us to divide our nation. He wants us to bring people together and live in the world like the Acts 2 church did. And yet no other nation, my friends, has ever survived the diversity and multiculturalism that America faces today, because of a lack of assimilation, because of this division, and because of this identity politics.”
“No other nation has ever survived this. But no other nation has ever been founded on the principles of Jesus Christ, that begin the redemption and reconciliation through the atoning blood of our savior,” he continued.
Lane has called the LGBTQ-equality movement a “pagan onslaught” that “has threatened our utter destruction.” Forest has said that city ordinances that prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people are evidence that “we have a lack of moral compass in our country right now, we’ve taken our eyes off God in America, we have turned our back on God, we have forgotten God in a lot of ways, so the moral compass has broken here.” Forest is, like Lane, deeply opposed to legal abortion.
Lane has been organizing “pastors and pews” events for more than 20 years. His group pushes conservative evangelical pastors to get their congregations more politically engaged and to consider running for office themselves. Like other pastors and pews events, Lane’s group is picking up the hotel and meal tab for pastors and their wives to attend the North Carolina gathering.
In spite of Lane’s extreme views, he has had no problem attracting Republican politicians, like Forest, to his events, a sign of the Republican Party’s increasing reliance on generating a large turnout among conservative white evangelicals. Then-candidate Donald Trump attended a Lane event in Florida in 2016.
In addition to Forest, speakers at the Charlotte event include:
- Ken Graves, a Calvary Chapel pastor from Maine who warns that “militant homofascism” wants to turn America into Sodom and that secular humanists are working with militant Islam to “destroy everything we have” and establish a “secular humanist caliphate.”
- “Historian” and failed congressional candidate Bill Federer, a conspiracy theorist who was warning a few years ago that the “atheist homosexual gay agenda movement” would move America “into an Islamic future” and that Muslim refugees and drug dealers were plotting to start riots so that President Obama could set up a “militarized dictatorship.”
- Right-wing anti-gay activist and unsuccessful political candidate E. J. Jackson, who recently called for every undocumented immigrant to be rounded up and deported because he said Hispanics are “having lots of children” and will soon “overwhelm the culture.” Jackson said in August that liberals’ demonization of white people, not white nationalism, is the cause of mass shootings.
- Dave Brat, a former member of Congress who became dean of Liberty University’s business school earlier this year. When he was in Congress, Brat spoke to the anti-Muslim group ACT for America and said that Black Lives Matter was made up of “radical groups” and “confused people” and said the real “institutional racism” was taking government-sponsored religious teaching out of public schools.
- Rob McCoy, Lane’s own pastor-politician, who serves as mayor of Thousand Oaks, California, and is working with Lane to boost evangelical voter turnout in California so that Christians can “dominate every election up and down the state.”
- CBN’s David Brody, who Lane can always count on for gushingly positive media coverage of his activities.
Last week the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Forest to withdraw from the event. According to North Carolina Policy Watch, the group’s government affairs director Robert McCaw said, “By sharing the stage with anti-Muslim speakers, the lieutenant governor would legitimize the bigoted views espoused by the speakers and delegitimize the Republican Party’s claim of supporting religious freedom for all.”