Scarborough Claims Growing Movement, Shrinking Purse in Missouri Stem Cell Effort

In an e-mail to his supporters, Rick Scarborough of Vision America announces his second rally against a Missouri stem-cell research ballot initiative, to be held in Cape Girardeau, home of commentator and Rush-brother David Limbaugh. His first rally featured Alan Keyes, who compared their effort to protect embryos with African-Americans’ struggle for civil rights. Keyes will again speak at Cape Girardeau.

Our rallies are creating quite a stir in Missouri and increasingly in the national press, as the church is coming together to say in a united voice that cloning human beings for body parts is  unacceptable.

This week we were informed that CNN is sending a crew to cover our rally in St. Louis on September 28.  And this week, we added our fifth rally to be held in Springfield, Missouri, which will be hosted by the historic Central Assembly of God Church in downtown Springfield.  We have now been requested to host two additional rallies, for a total of seven rallies across the state, as the Church is increasingly uniting in this battle for curbing the growing menace of science without God. …

We are currently finalizing details for Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family to partner with us in this effort.  The entire nation will be watching Missouri this fall and Vision America is leading the way for the cause of life!

Scarborough, however, claims that he’s feeling the pinch financially. In a solicitation for donations, he specifically complains that organizations active in electoral politics and legislative advocacy are not given the same benefits as 501(c)3 non-profits, donations to which are tax deductible. “Our battles in Missouri over the human cloning issue is a fresh reminder of how the tax exemption known in the IRS code as a 501c3 status, is crippling the church and muting her historic prophetic role in America,” he writes, threatening that he is “ready to burn our 501c3 if necessary to continue preaching righteousness and applying scripture to the great national debates of our time.” The former pastor writes, “You can help me in this battle by making the largest gift you can, and by doing it without regard to tax exemption. … You will not be able to deduct it, but I am convinced that God will bless you significantly for it.”

While Vision America may have some difficulty drawing specific attention to its Missouri campaign, it seems unlikely that the group is in abject poverty. According to its IRS filing, the group amassed $2.6 million from 2000-2003—and that was before it really established itself on the national scene during the filibuster fight, the formation of the Judeo-Christian Council for Constitution Restoration, and the “Values Voters Contract with Congress,” which was effectively taken up by the Republican leadership this summer.

Scarborough also takes time to boast that his efforts in Missouri have attracted the notice of Internet blogs:

This week I discovered that Vision America was the featured organization on People for the American Way’s “Right Wing Watch” website. It seems that with all the money being spent by the left, our shoe string budget counter-offensive is increasingly being viewed as a threat.

Indeed, “Right Wing Watch” is watching Scarborough’s Missouri campaign. In Texas, Scarborough pioneered the strategy of building a network of so-called “Patriot Pastors” that mobilize their congregations to work both for ballot initiatives (like bans on same-sex marriage) and, effectively, on behalf of candidates for office. A new People For the American Way report details the “Patriot Pastor” strategy in Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania and elsewhere. With his “pastors’ briefings” and “Patriot Partners” in Missouri, Scarborough may very well be laying the groundwork for yet another “Patriot Pastors” franchise.