The Same Hate Crimes Lies, From a New Source

Until I saw this article in WorldNetDaily, I was completely unaware of the Reclaiming Oklahoma For Christ:

[Pastor Paul Blair of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, Okla.] is founder of a group called Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ, an outreach to pastors that encourages church leaders  to take a stand against the spread of immorality in American culture. He is urging pastors across the nation to stop being silent and muster the courage to speak out against efforts to criminalize Christianity. He said church leaders have abandoned the prophetic call and have chosen instead to be CEOs of competitive church businesses rather than proclaiming “faith in Christ alone and repentance from sin.”

“Pastors used to speak strongly about issues – like when Billy Sunday led a crusade, and the next thing you know, liquor was outlawed. So they made a difference,” he said. “The year 1954 is when pastors began to grow timid because, all of the sudden, they had this misguided notion that they might lose their tax exemption if they made too much noise.”

Shortly after ministers grew silent, prayer and Bible reading were taken out of schools. The sexual revolution immediately followed, along with Roe v. Wade. Now, he said, attacks on Christian liberty and morality have become more brazen and coordinated than ever – with widespread movements to legalize homosexual marriage, the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to profile Christians as “potential terrorists” and strategies to silence pastors through hate crimes legislation.

Blair is stepping up the effort by calling on “patriot pastors” to lead their congregations in three areas: 1) evangelizing and leading people to Christ to change the culture 2) educating people about the truth of America’s Christian heritage and real threats like the Hate Crimes Prevention Act and 3) contacting elected representatives by writing letters and participating in petition drives.

His church is planning a special Memorial Day weekend sermon where he will bring in a 150-foot crane to fly the American flag as he warns his congregation of attacks on freedom.

“We absolutely will be addressing the fact that freedom isn’t free,” he said. “We’ll talk about the great sacrifice that was paid for the liberty we enjoy and how there are attacks on that liberty not just abroad, but here at home.”

Accompanying this article was this ten minute video in which Blair runs through the litany of right-wing lies about hate crimes legislation:

While watching it, my first thought was “this sounds an awful lot like the nonsense Janet Porter has been peddling” which, as it turns out, makes sense because Blair’s organization has ties to Porter, having signed on to her recent effort to pressure Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to resign.

It made even more sense when I saw that she was going to be a featured speaker at the upcoming Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ Conference:        

The 2009 conference will be held on July 24 and 25 at Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond.

Scheduled speakers include Peter LaBarbera from Americans for Truth, Dr. John Morris from the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), LTG (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, one of the original members of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force, and Faith2Action President Janet (Folger) Porter.

Boykin, you may recall, made news a few years back when he declared that we were at war with Islam and that our “spiritual enemy … will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus” but that we would eventually win because our God is real while they worshiped an idol.  Since leaving the military, he’s hooked-up with fringe Religious Right figures like Rick Scarborough and now, apparently, Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ.

In fact, ROC seems to have some pretty significant ties to a variety of second and third-tier right-wing leaders.  According to its website, its 2008 conference featured the likes of David Barton, Bill Federer, and Mat Staver.  The organization also participated in the “One Day Crusade” events put on by Scarborough and Gordon Klingenschmitt before the election last year and was deeply involved in rallying support for Oklahoma legislator Sally Kern, the self-proclaimed “warrior for Judeo-Christian values” who declared that the “homosexual agenda” was “the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam.”

It seems that while we were busy not paying any attention this organization, they were busy building relationships with a variety of more high-profile right-wing leaders and organizations to whom we do pay attention.  And since they seem to be treating ROC as a legitimate ally, I guess we’re going to have to start trying to pay a bit more attention to what they are up to.