Beverly LaHaye

Far-Right Ted Cruz Forces Texas Lt. Gov. into Senate Primary Runoff

Yesterday’s Texas primary gave Mitt Romney enough delegates to clinch the GOP presidential nomination, according to most counts.  But the potentially more consequential result is that right-wing candidate Ted Cruz forced Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst into a July 31 runoff election, which the Washington Post says analysts consider a toss-up.
 
The Post today describes Cruz as a Tea Party favorite, with good reason.  Cruz calls Obama the “most radical” president the nation has ever seen, calls for cuts in corporate taxes, rants against financial and environmental regulation, and slams his opponent for having supported in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants.  He is backed by the anti-government Club for Growth.
 
But Cruz is also a full-blown Religious Right candidate, reflecting the overlap between the two movements.  He has not only appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference but also at two gatherings of Religious Right political activists: the Values Voter Summit, where he touted his record as Texas solicitor general in church-state cases, and the Awakening conference, where he told participants “we are engaged in spiritual warfare every day.”  His list of endorsements includes James Dobson, Rick Santorum, David Barton, and Michael Farris, as well as Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint.
 
Cruz is on the “National Board of Reference” for a new Religious Right law school that is being created at Louisiana College with the help of the Alliance Defense Fund.  The school is designed to join law schools at Liberty and Regent in turning out lawyers committed to transforming American law to conform to the Religious Right’s worldview.  Joining Cruz on the board is an array of Religious Right leaders, including Barton, Dobson, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, the Southern Baptists’ Richard Land, and Tim and Beverly LaHaye.   As RWW has noted, Louisiana College claims it “seeks to view all areas of knowledge from a distinctively Christian perspective and integrate Biblical truth thoroughly with each academic discipline” and believes “academic freedom of a Christian professor is limited by the preeminence of Jesus Christ, the authoritative nature of the Holy Scriptures, and the mission of the institution.” Perkins describes the law school’s mission this way: 
“This law school’s not going to be pumping out ambulance chasers, this is going to be pumping out liberal chasers, I mean we’re gonna track them down, wherever they are and we’re gonna defeat them, and if we can’t defeat them in the policy realm we’re gonna defeat them in the courts.” He added, “This law school is gonna be pumping out God-fearing, American-loving, family-defending attorneys.
Cruz and his followers openly hope that he will be sweep to victory in a replay of the Florida election that saw Marco Rubio, like Cruz the son of immigrants from Cuba, lifted over a more establishment candidate by right-wing activists.  Cruz told a Hot Air interviewer at the 2011 Values Voter Summit that he wants to join Jim DeMint in changing the "character" of the U.S. Senate. 

Will Gingrich's Religious Right Backers Denounce his Funding from a Gambling Mogul?

With news that gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife have now both contributed $5 million each to the pro-Gingrich Super PAC Winning Our Future, on top of the millions of dollars the Adelson’s have contributed to Gingrich’s organizations before he entered the presidential race, Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton is wondering if social conservatives know—or care—about Gingrich’s close ties to the “billionaire casino owner.” Adelson, who is believed to be worth $26.5 billion, made his money through casinos in Las Vegas, Singapore and Macau, China, and is one of Gingrich’s longtime financers.

Ironically, members of Gingrich’s Faith Leaders Coalition have strongly denounced the gambling industry.

Beverly LaHaye, a Gingrich coalition co-chair, founded Concerned Women for America, which explicitly calls for the “elimination of gambling in all its forms” and education about “the detrimental effects of gambling on the family.” CWA actively works against the legalization of casinos and Janice Shaw Crouse, head of the Beverly LaHaye Institute, said that “gambling” is one of the ways people “are destroying their lives.”

Another Gingrich coalition co-chair, evangelical pollster George Barna, listed gambling as one of the top causes of society’s “moral decay.” Barna’s work on gambling is frequently used by casino opponents like Focus on the Family and Barna himself has written about the dangers of the growing gambling industry.

One of Gingrich’s first Religious Right endorsers and a coalition co-chair, American Family Association founder Don Wildmon, is also an outspoken opponent of the gambling industry. In his native Mississippi, Wildmon condemned then-governor Haley Barbour for betraying the “moral people” who voted for him by siding with the “money people” in his move to liberalize gambling laws. The AFA has consistently opposed the legalization of casinos and said [pdf] that “a federal commission to study the impact of gambling in America” should only include “people with sound Judeo-Christian values and no ties to the gambling industry,” while attacking congressmen who have taken “big gambling bucks.” In fact, that was the very same commission Gingrich tried to weaken to the chagrin of gambling opponents and AFA Journal noted that Gingrich “used one of his two choices to appoint the chairman and CEO of a Las Vegas casino company” to the commission. Wildmon himself wrote in 2005:

But the truth is that all our fine talk about personal freedoms in the U.S. can be nullified by the freedom we take with the moral laws of God. … Our consciences have become blunted and dulled with an overdose of pseudosophistication and broad-mindedness. We have become so tolerant of sin and sinfulness that we have lost our capacity to protest and rebel against plain indecency and moral rottenness. In many quarters we are so accustomed to violence, licentiousness, the glorification of sex, the shady deal, and the fast dollar — to say nothing of the gambler’s passion for something for nothing — that old-fashioned righteous indignation is regarded as a corny exercise for squares.

The tragedy is that modern Christians too often go along with the tide. We try to convince ourselves that drunkenness is illness, that filthy writing is realism, that obscenity is social comment, that perversion, adultery, cynicism, and gambling are the folkways of our time. … The cause of our problem does not lie altogether in poverty or slums or ignorance. … The truth is, the human mind is being poisoned, not by common immorality, but by an amoral, humanistic, nihilistic, cynical outlook on human behavior, wholly divorced from any concept of right or wrong.

Seeing as that Ralph Reed continues to be a leading Religious Right figure despite his past funding from casinos, Gingrich may still be able to balance his campaign focus on attracting “values voters” while his Super PAC is bankrolled with casino money.

While Santorum wins Religious Right Support, No Signs of 'Strong Consensus'

Did social conservative leaders come together and jointly endorse Rick Santorum at the Texas retreat over the weekend? That is the way Family Research Council president Tony Perkins and many in the media interpreted the meeting of leading Religious Right luminaries, where on the second ballot Santorum led Gingrich 70 to 49, and on the third ballot 85 to 29. Perkins claimed there was a “strong consensus” behind Santorum, who has won the backing of Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Young Nance, former National Organization for Marriage president Maggie Gallagher, American Values president Gary Bauer and the expected endorsement of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.

But have Religious Right leaders really coalesced around Santorum?

Gingrich has locked in the support of prominent social conservative leaders: Concerned Women for America founder and chairman Beverly LaHaye; Council for National Policy founder and author Tim LaHaye; American Family Association founder and chairman Don Wildmon; Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver; California pastor and Proposition 8 organizer Jim Garlow; evangelical pollster George Barna; Restoration Project organizer David Lane and pastor and former congressman J.C. Watts.

Gingrich supporters have even claimed that the third ballot, which showed Santorum winning handling, occurred after many leaders left the meeting and that some Santorum boosters were involved with “ballot-box stuffing.” Bob Vander Plaats, an early Santorum endorser, told Bryan Fischer on Focal Point that the Texas gathering only showed “divided support” between Santorum and Gingrich, and Red State’s Erick Erickson, who attended the meeting, said that “it was divided with many thinking Gingrich is the only one who can win.”

The real loser of the meeting was Texas Governor Rick Perry, who won just three votes in the first ballot. Major Religious Right leaders gathered in Texas last summer where they urged Perry to run for president. Dobson, Perkins, Garlow, Nance and other Religious Right figures all appeared with Perry at his The Response prayer rally and after Perry announced his candidacy, he courted a group of social conservative activists including Perkins, Dobson, Garlow at the Texas ranch of mega-donor James Leininger. John Stemberger, the head of the Florida Family Policy Council who was a Perry campaign chairman, has now even switched his support from Perry to Santorum.

While it remains to be seen if social conservatives will really “coalesce” behind Santorum, it is clear that the Religious Right leadership that begged Perry to enter the race has now utterly abandoned him.

LaHaye: Obama is Trying to 'Destroy This Country'

Religious Right leader and Left Behind author Tim LaHaye has always reserved strong criticism for President Obama, even going so far as to say that he is pushing the world “closer to the Apocalypse,” continued to lash out at the Obama administration in his letter to South Carolina pastors asking them to support Newt Gingrich. LaHaye and his wife Beverly, the founder and chairman of Concerned Women for America, endorsed Gingrich yesterday and, like Gingrich’s other supporters from the Religious Right, is warning that America may collapse if Obama wins reelection.

“Liberal secularists had brought our nation to the verge of maylieze [sic] and stagnation because over half the Christians in America didn’t even bother to vote,” LaHaye writes, “Please payerfully [sic] onsider going to the polls and help elect Newt Gingrich, a proven conservative who has the best chance of replacing the present occupant of the White House with a man with a proven record of appointing conservatives to office that can return this country to the constitutional principles that God has chosen to bless for over two hundred years”:

The reason I am writing you is because as a South Carolinian, you are in a strategic position to help America at this historic time in our nation’s history. During the last three years our nation has been led by liberal secularists who have tried their best to remove God from our public square and the elimination of the Biblical principles our founding fathers built this nation on. Their financial policies have already brought us to the brink of bankruptcy and their government policies of over regulation has prolonged our recession and will, if continued for four more years, destroy this country as we know it. Some in this government want to tell churches who they can hire or fire to run their church, which is the very thing our forefathers wanted to keep the King and his government from doing. If we do not change our leaders in the next election we will end up being like the godless socialist countries of Europe. That will so destroy our country in four years that many experts believe we will never be able to reclaim it for moral and physical sanity.

That is where you come in! As a voter you can go to the polls and elect the one man in the up coming primary with the intelligence, conservative philosophy and hands on experience in government that is so needed today to return our country to the God honoring principles that made our nation the greatest country in world history. That man is our personal friend, Speaker Newt Gingrich. My wife Beverly, the Founder and Chairman of Concerned Women For America based in Washington D.C., and I believe he is the only man running for the office of President of America who shares our conservative principles who can beat the present leader in open debate and win! As my friend, the late Dr. Jerry Falwell told me personally, Speaker Newt Gingrich is the most qualified man in America to run as president of the United States. We agree!

In 1980, America was on a decline not unlike our country is today. Liberal secularists had brought our nation to the verge of maylieze [sic] and stagnation because over half the Christians in America didn’t even bother to vote. That’s why we started the Moral Majority that helped elect conservative Ronald Regan and with God’s help he changed the direction of our country. I am one of the two minister board members still living who helped Jerry get that majority started. Today we have no regrets!

Now it is your turn. It seems apparent the Republican candidates have come down to two possible winners. Please payerfully [sic] consider going to the polls and help elect Newt Gingrich, a proven conservative who has the best chance of replacing the present occupant of the White House with a man with a proven record of appointing conservatives to office that can return this country to the constitutional principles that God has chosen to bless for over two hundred years. Not just for ourselves, but for our children and to maintain the religious [sic] freedom thais [sic] so important today in preserving our nation’s future.

Tim and Beverly LaHaye and Mat Staver Endorse Newt Gingrich

Is the Religious Right beginning to coalesce behind Newt Gingrich? Yesterday, the former Speaker hosted a conference call with the members of his Faith Leaders Coalition: American Family Association founder Don Wildmon, Religious Right pollster George Barna and pastor Jim Garlow. Now, Gingrich is racking up additional endorsements from Religious Right figures just days before conservative activists are set to meet in Texas to see if they can get behind one of the presidential candidates.

Tim LaHaye, the author of the Left Behind series on the End Times and founder of the Council for National Policy, and his wife Beverly, the founder and chairman of Concerned Women for America, endorsed Gingrich, warning that America may “end up being like the godless socialist countries of Europe,” as did Mat Staver, the chairman of Liberty Counsel, one of the country’s most stridently anti-gay groups, and the dean of the Liberty University School of Law. “America will be unrecognizable if Obama is elected for four more years,” Staver said. “We need a strong leader with domestic, international and political experience who can inspire a new conservative resurgence in the line of Ronald Reagan. Speaker Gingrich is the clear choice.”

Tim LaHaye has claimed that President Obama is a socialist and not a Christian who is bringing America “closer to the Apocalypse,” and Staver has referred to Obama as a tyrant who is making the U.S. “one of the world’s immoral leaders” by opposing countries that criminalize homosexuality. 

Gingrich even appeared in TV advertisements for Liberty University School of Law, and LU ran ads featuring Gingrich in Iowa right before the caucus. While appearing on David Barton’s radio program WallBuilders Live, Gingrich said he would look to graduates of Liberty University when making appointments to the judiciary.

The LaHaye’s, Staver and Wildmon all endorsed Huckabee in the 2008 election. While Rick Santorum has picked up the support of social conservative figures such as Gary Bauer, Maggie Gallagher and Bob Vander Plaats, it appears that Gingrich is winning over Religious Right leaders who are desperate to defeat Mitt Romney.

UPDATE: The Gingrich campaign released this statement from Tim LaHaye:

“During the last three years our nation has been led by liberal secularists who have tried their best to remove God from our public square and the elimination of the Biblical principles our founding fathers built this nation on” said LaHaye.

“Please prayerfully consider going to the polls on January 21 and help elect Newt Gingrich, a proven conservative who has the best chance of replacing the present occupant of the White House with a man with a proven record of appointing conservatives to office that can return this country to the constitutional principles that God has chosen to bless for over two hundred years” he said.

Pastor LaHaye also pointed to Speaker Gingrich’s qualifications as the best candidate to defeat President Obama as one of the reasons for his endorsement.

“It seems apparent the Republican candidates have come down to two possible winners,” LaHaye said. “As my friend, the late Dr. Jerry Falwell told me personally, ‘Speaker Newt Gingrich is the most qualified man in America to run as president of the United States”… We agree!’”

"I am honored to have Tim's endorsement. His work as both a minister and author is truly unmatched," said Gingrich. "Tim will be a terrific partner for the Gingrich Faith Leaders Coalition as we work to combat the influence of radical secularism and activist judges."

Bachmann Lauds Schlafly, LaHaye for Inspiring Her Political Career

After exalting James Dobson on his show Family Talk yesterday, today Michele Bachmann credited antifeminist luminaries Phyllis Schlafly and Beverly LaHaye, along with Dobson and his wife Shirley, for motivating her to become a conservative activist. Bachmann has previously called Schlafly, who has endorsed her presidential campaign, her “hero” and “the person that I hope to be someday,” and said that LaHaye is “an extraordinary woman of God.” In fact, Bachmann said that LaHaye’s warnings “on the threats to the family” riled her enough to join LaHaye’s organization Concerned Women for America:

Bachmann: As a young woman I read a lot, I was a big reader my whole life, and I loved reading Phyllis Schlafly, she is just smart as a whip.

Ryan Dobson: Who started off as a homemaker and a mom, and then had a law career.

Bachmann: And who also taught her children how to read at home, she did that, she was self-taught in many ways and she was very interested in national security, as I am, and defense issues, but also very cognizant on financial issues.

And also Bev LaHaye, Marcus and I were brand new newlyweds and I got in our mailbox a cassette tape back in the cassette tape days from Bev LaHaye, talking about where our nation was at. I listened to it, and she was trying to pull the alarm on the threats to the family, like Dr. Dobson was doing, so I joined Concerned Women for America, that was the inception, and started getting materials from her, from Phyllis Schlafly, from Dr. Dobson. Over the course of the years, I’ve poured all of these great women and Dr. and Shirley Dobson into my life, and they’ve really been my teachers.

LaHaye, whose husband Tim is best known for writing the Left Behind series and for his attacks on gays, Roman Catholics and “the Illuminati,” still chairs CWA and has a long history of Religious Right activism. She started CWA because she “knew the feminists’ anti-God, anti-family rhetoric did not represent her beliefs, nor those of the vast majority of women,” and also outlined the “biblical worldview” in politics that Bachmann often talks about: “America is a nation based on biblical principles. Christian values dominate our government. The test of those values is the Bible. Politicians who do not use the Bible to guide their public and private lives do not belong in office.” According to LaHaye, conservative Christians need to enter politics in order to “stand up against the wiles of the devil.”

Not only does LaHaye have harsh words for feminists and people “who do not use the Bible to guide” their political lives, but also doesn’t take kindly to gays and lesbians, writing in a CWA mailer: “[Homosexuals] want their depraved ‘values’ to become our children’s values. Homosexuals expect society to embrace their immoral way of life. Worse yet, they are looking for new recruits!”

With her role models holding such extreme views, it is no wonder Bachmann turned out to be one of the most far-right figures in contemporary politics.

Anti-Gay Politics and the Religious Right

An analysis of the Religious Right's anti-gay policies and activities, leading up to the Christian Coalition's 1998 Road to Victory Conference.

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