One of the most sad and telling claims of so-called ‘faith healers’ from Benny Hinn to Todd Bentley is that the reason people are not healed at their healing conferences or through their television ministries is not because the faith healer wasn’t able to cure the ailment or sickness but because of the lack of faith of the person (and often the inadequate size of their financial gifts) who sought the healing. If only the person had genuine faith, so it goes, then the healing would’ve worked, so don’t blame the healer!
Today on the 700 Club, we saw an example of that when a viewer called in wondering why it is that when he prayed with Pat Robertson during his show for a healing of his knee pain the pain came back the next day. Robertson responded that people can “give up” his healings because “you don’t believe that it’s real” and never claimed the healing, “this is mine.” He also maintained that the return of the pain “may be Satanic and the things come back on you, they come back and you need to rebuke it and command it to leave you, permanently.”
Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut, who today is testifying at Rep. Darrell Issa’s male and conservative dominated hearing on whether the “Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience,” earlier appeared on James Dobson’s program Family Talk to claim that “aggressive secularity” is “becoming the established ‘religion’ in our country today.”
After discussing the contraception mandate, Lori went on to claim that gay rights measures are attempts to “force us out of foster care and adoption.” To be clear, no group has been ‘forced out’ of such services, some church-affiliated organizations did not receive taxpayer dollars for such services because they insisted on using taxpayer money while discriminating against gay and lesbian taxpayers. Lori went on to lament that public schools are denigrating Christianity while affirming homosexuality:
Lori: When in a state they’re proposing a same-sex marriage law, they always say to religious people ‘you don’t have to solemnize these marriages so we’re protecting your freedom,’ but they want to force us out of foster care and adoption, they want to force us to provide benefits for same-sex couples. The other thing we should not miss is that when we send our kids off to public schools and a lot of places its being drilled into them that the sexual mores taught by the churches are bad, repressive, that same-sex marriage is OK, that homosexuality is all right. Of course if you look at a Western Civ. course the role of Christianity is always portrayed in a negative light, as an impediment to progress. As I say, there is an established religion, it’s really an un-religion, an aggressive secularity, that’s a system of belief and that’s becoming the established ‘religion’ in our country today.
Dobson also angrily claimed that the Obama administration is trying to use the term “freedom to worship” to replace the freedom of religion:
Dobson: You know that brings tears to my eyes, literally, just the importance of this issue. We’re dealing with things here that can’t be compromised, it’s the freedom of everybody to express their beliefs and not only in private. What bothered me is the Obama administration this last year and Hillary Clinton and others began talking about the ‘freedom to worship.’ No! It’s the freedom of religion!
But if Dobson wants to claim that the mere use of the phrase “freedom to worship” is a sign that Obama seeks to weaken the freedom of religion, then Dobson must not only believe that Bush too wanted to undermine the freedom of religion, but that he himself opposes the freedom of religion. Why? Because Dobson earlier this year claimed “freedom to worship” was a central freedom in the U.S.:
Remember, according to Dobson’s own absurd rule the use of such a phrase is an attack on the freedom of religion, so maybe Dobson should reconsider saying that anyone who speaks about the freedom of worship must therefore want to curtail the freedom of religion.
In January of 2010 televangelist Pat Robertson notoriously blamed the deadly earthquake in Haiti on the country’s supposed “pact to the Devil.”
While Robertson’s remarks sparked outrage, the televangelist refused to back down and even found support from Rev. Joe Ellison of the Virginia Pastors Coalition, who claimed Robertson spoke the “truth” and the practice of voodoo among Haitians was responsible for the earthquake:
Today, the Washington Postreports that Ellison has been paid close to $25,000 in consulting fees from George Allen’s campaign to return to the U.S. Senate. Ironically, the delegate Ellison was introducing in the video where he endorsed Robertson’s remarks, Bob Marshall, is now running against Allen in the GOP primary:
Former governor and senator George Allen (R) is amending his campaign disclosure forms filed with the Federal Elections Commission to indicate that Richmond minister Joseph Ellison has been added to the payroll of his U.S. Senate campaign for clergy outreach.
Allen’s campaign originally wrote that it hired Ellison as a “fundraising consultant’’ but spokesman Bill Riggs said that was a “mistake” and as soon as staff learned about it they began working to fix it.
Ellison was paid $22,500 last year, according to the documents. He also received nearly $2,000 for mileage reimbursement, meals and lodging.
“Twenty five thousand dollars is a huge chunk of campaign cash, and George Allen needs to explain exactly what that money paid for,’’ said Matt Thornton, spokesman for American Bridge 21st Century. “But with his long history of not answering even the most basic questions like who his consulting clients are, Virginians shouldn’t hold their breath waiting.”
Ellison has appeared with other Republicans, including Gov. Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and has been a long time supporter of Allen’s when he ran for governor and senator. He attended Allen’s 2006 victory party and organized a group of local black ministers to meet with Allen.
Since Allen is trying to repair the damage from his ‘macaca’ outburst in 2006, paying a pastor who believes that Haitians suffered as a result of divine punishment may not be the best way to start his 2012 campaign.
When one wonders why polls show that the number of Americans who don’t believe President Obama is a Christian is actually rising, consider the harsh rhetoric of Religious Right leaders like American Family Association head Tim Wildmon and Rick Scarborough of Vision America. On Today’s Issues, Wildmon and Scarborough told listeners that President Obama is not a Christian and that there are “no fruits of [Christian faith] in his public policy positions.” In fact, the Religious Right leaders argued that he is “anti-Christian”:
Wildmon: I’m just somewhat stunned by the secular, anti-Christian, anti-life attitude and statements and policies of President Obama, it’s just one thing after another. He claims to be a Christian, I see no fruits of that in his public policy positions, you claim to be a Christian yet you’re for murdering unborn babies in the womb. How do you put that together?
Scarborough: At some point finally you have to look at the man’s life and determine whether to believe the rhetoric or not.
Scarborough: You have to conclude, something is wrong, something is missing, the rhetoric doesn’t match the life.
Wildmon: I think there’s an anti-Christian, overt anti-Christian hostility.
Last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference, James Lafferty of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force spoke at Pamela Geller’s panel opposing the construction of mosques and the supposed threat of sharia law in the U.S. and bragged that while attending a hate crimes summit convened by the Department of Justice he watched “pictures of some mosque somewhere, and it was usually in the South I’m proud to say where a guy would drive a pickup truck right into the mosque.”
Today in her WorldNetDailycolumn, Geller responded to the “anti-freedom, pro-jihad left” for trying to “twist the meaning of remarks by one of our speakers, James Lafferty.” She then included a short statement to “set the record straight” saying that he “does not condone ore encourage nay criminal act or vandalism against any mosque” and believes in the free exercise of religion:
I have been organizing events at CPAC since I first brought Geert Wilders to the conservative confab back in 2009, but this was our most powerful one yet. The only coverage of our landmark event in defense of freedom, however, was from the anti-freedom, pro-jihad left. Islamic supremacists and their quisling apologists in the leftist media immediately tried to twist the meaning of remarks by one of our speakers, James Lafferty. They accused Lafferty, founder and chairman of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force, of applauding the destruction of mosques. Lafferty set the record straight in a statement he sent me: “I do not condone or encourage any criminal act or vandalism against any mosque. I am a firm believer in the rule of law and the protections our Constitution provides for the free exercise of religion – and that means all religions.”
But this brief statement does nothing to “set the record straight,” and doesn’t even come close to addressing what Lafferty said at the panel.
Lafferty may have released a statement saying he doesn’t “condone or encourage” vandalism after the video of him was released, but Lafferty in his statement in no way explains how his statement didn’t express his pride in the fact that his home region of the South is where a preponderance of attacks on mosques take place.
Many of the charismatic preachers, particularly those involved in the New Apostolic Reformation, claim that they are in the midst of taking control of the Seven Mountains of society: arts and entertainment, business, the church, education, the family, government and the media, through a mix of political advocacy and spiritual warfare. As Kyle has noted, we have already seen large prayer rallies with “the purpose of swinging elections, ending abortion, fighting marriage equality, converting Muslims, and even launching a presidential campaign,” and there is even a brand new effort to take dominion over Hollywood.
Now, there is a new spiritual warfare effort targeting public schools to bring about the return of government-organized school prayer.
Many Republican politicians and right-wing activists regularly and quite falsely assert that prayer has been outlawed in schools. As K. Hollyn Hollman, General Counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee writes: “Students, too, are free to pray voluntarily at various times of the school day, absent school involvement or disruption to others. There is simply nothing constructive to be gained from official prayer that advances or harms a particular religion. On the contrary, such prayers threaten individual freedom of conscience and violate the First Amendment’s promise of religious liberty for all.”
Brian Barcelona said he started a group called “the Christian Club” in a California public school that grew to hundreds of members and that thanks to his club “teachers have been healed of incurable diseases” and “students no longer have to turn to the counselors for advice.” He calls for students of all faiths to come together under Christianity:
This is a movement that is not about a denomination or a church, but a DEMONSTRATION of the Kingdom of God. Signs, wonders, and miracles have broken out amongst students and teachers alike. Teachers have been healed of incurable diseases, and students no longer turn to the counselors for advice, but the Christian Club for prayer and support.
A movement that doesn’t care if a student is a Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Wiccan, Atheist, or anything in between, all are invited to encounter the Love of Jesus and what He has to offer.
He goes on to say that a series of Supreme Court decisions have resulted “in the effective banning of prayer and Bible verse recitation in public schools” and dramatic increases in teen pregnancy, STDs, divorce, cohabitation, out-of-wedlock births, violent crimes, abortion rate and a decline in SAT scores.
Of course, if this were true his “Christian Club” and thousands of other clubs in the U.S. would have been shut down. But it’s not and that’s why students are allowed to pray as they choose to, rather than have the government dictate and lead students in organized prayer.
As. Dr. W. Kenneth Williams of the Baptist Joint Committee points out, government-compelled prayer “violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and offends the consciences of those would not choose to participate in the prayers” due to their faith or lack of faith” and “many believers consider watered-downed, generic prayers to be deeply offensive.”
Most of all, Barcelona’s own example proves that students are not prevented from engaging in voluntary prayer, and surely he or others involved in his version of charismatic prayer may find vapid, government-written prayers offensive just as many students may not want to participate in a government-sponsored charismatic prayer.
Robert George, the Chairman Emeritus of the National Organization for Marriage and founder of the American Principles Project, today on James Dobson’s show Family Talk accused President Obama and the left in general of using the federal government as a “weapon” to “undermine religious liberty.” He claims that the “massive assault on religious liberty” is necessary for the left to win political debates on legal abortion, stem-cell research and marriage equality. George specifically called the mandate for insurance plans to cover contraception a “pure declaration of war on the Catholic Church” and also “on the evangelical community and people of faith across the spectrum.”
There’s a massive assault on religious liberty going on in this country right now, it is coming from the left and the Obama administration’s coming to power three years ago placed a powerful weapon, the entire apparatus of the federal government, at the disposal of those whose agenda it is to undermine religious liberty. Now they’re not doing this simply because they dislike religious liberty, they’re doing it for reasons that are deeper than that. They understand that there is no way that you can completely win the victory they want to win on the issue of abortion, on the issue of embryo-destructive research, on sanctity of human life issues generally including assisted suicide and euthanasia, or prevail as they wish to prevail on redefining marriage without undermining religious liberty.
This is an unprecedented attack Jim on the religious liberty and the rights of conscience on all Americans, it is really an outrage. The Catholic bishops who have said it are absolutely right; it is a pure declaration of war on the Catholic Church and not only on the Catholic Church but on the evangelical community and people of faith across the spectrum.
ConservativesjustseemtolovecallingPresidentObamaadictator, as today on the 700 Club televangelist Pat Robertson repeated his claim that Obama is building a dictatorship. Robertson argued Obama “doesn’t care about the real management of the United States government” but only wants to win re-election and “impose a so-called progressive agenda upon America.” “He wants to take control of every aspect of this nation by the federal government,” Robertson said, “If you want a dictatorship, then that’s the way to get it because he’s giving it to you.”
Once again, American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer is accusing President Obama of “behaving like a dictatorial tyrant.” Yesterday on Focal Point, Fischer railed against Obama for supposedly supporting the First Amendment rights of Muslims, something Fischer believes Muslims should not have, while using “the jackbooted heel of fascism” against Christians. Later in the program Fischer likened Obama to Adolf Hitler and said that America is “no different” from Nazi Germany as both countries “elected their own tyrant.”
The only religion that President Obama has expressed any concern about is the Islamic faith that apparently is the only religion he wants to be sure has religious liberty protections. He’s gonna do that ‘we’re gonna go to court to protect the rights of Muslim women to wear these hijabs and we’re gonna punish anybody who gets in their way,’ now when it comes to evangelicals, when it comes to Christians, when it comes to Roman Catholics, ‘we’re gonna sue them if they try to exercise their religious liberty, we’re gonna come down on them with the jackbooted heel of fascism if they even so much as think about exercising their religious liberty.’
What this really is, this is no different, it’s really very little different than the government than the form of government you had in Nazi Germany. Remember, Adolf Hitler got elected, people elected him in 1933 in overwhelming majorities, they elected their own tyrant. We’ve essentially done the same thing here in the United States, we elected somebody at the ballot box who is behaving like a dictatorial tyrant, completely ignoring the constraints and the limits of the law and the Constitution and imposing his view of society on us. He just sees the Constitution as a nuisance, something that gets in his way, something that has to be overcome. Ladies and gentlemen you can’t reason with somebody who is moving like that, you just have to defeat him, that’s the only thing that you can do.
During an appearance on Concerned Women for America’s radio program, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) admitted that his bill to ban abortions based on the race or sex of the fetus wasn’t so much about stopping race or sex-based abortions but a ploy to criminalize abortion overall. “The people on the pro-abortion side say, ‘Trent you have a much bigger issue and a much bigger agenda here than just sex-selection and race-selection abortion,’” Franks said, “and I think the honest thing for me to do is say yes that’s true.” Franks has long been a proponent of the discreditedassertion that abortion providers are deliberately trying to abort black children in order to exterminate African Americans, even arguing that black women were better off under slavery than today when abortion is legal.
Later in the interview, Franks repeated his extreme and conspiratorial claims about President Obama, arguing that his reelection would lead to constitutional and security crises and even the emergence of “nuclear terrorism.”
The people on the pro-abortion side say, ‘Trent you have a much bigger issue and a much bigger agenda here than just sex-selection and race-selection abortion,’ and I think the honest thing for me to do is say yes that’s true. I want someday for children of all sexes and all races to be protected and that’s definitely an agenda for me and I think it should be for all people in the human family. But at least we can get together on this much, that it’s wrong to abort a little child because it’s the wrong sex or the wrong race, if we can’t come together on that then I’m afraid that any hope of commonalty and unity in this country is lost forever.
The greatest challenge we have, and I’m going to be partisan for a moment but its reality, we must change presidents. At all costs, we must change presidents. This is the most pro-abortion president in the history of the country and not only will the unborn suffer terribly, the Constitution itself will essentially be abrogated by his Supreme Court nominees, our national security will be fundamentally weakened, we will become a regional power and we will face potentially nuclear terrorism in our world and unfortunately we will step into the shadow of European socialism if this president is reelected and the Congress won’t have anything to do to stop that. The equation is very, very clear, Americans must change presidents and I pray we understand that for the sake of the unborn and essentially everything else that we care about in this country.