Bobby Jindal

Bobby Jindal's Oddly Political Non-Political Prayer Rally

On Friday, the night before Gov. Bobby Jindal's "The Response" prayer rally, Rachel Maddow took a look at the "questionable characters" who were helping him organize and promote the event, prompting Jindal to send a statement to Maddow insisting that his rally would be "a prayer event, not a political rally."

Participants in the rally, of course, did not particularly see it that way. In addition to a segment dedicated to praying for an end to legal abortion in America, several speakers noted how getting right-wing Christians elected to public office was key to bringing reformation and revival to America.

Pastor Jim Garlow, who spoke right before Jindal shared his personal testimony and call for revival, spent most of his time railing against IRS regulations that prohibit pastors from endorsing political candidates from their tax-exempt pulpits. Garlow closed out his remarks by suggesting that America may be in the midst of another great religious revival, judging by the number of members of Congress "who really know Christ as Savior."

"We have more freshman members of the House of Representatives who understand biblical truth than we have had for decades," Garlow proclaimed excitedly, noting that the same thing is happening in state legislative chambers all over the nation.

"We are a generation that has a vision of reformation," he said. "We can see it. We can hear the sounds of it and in our lifetimes, we are going to experience it. Let's join together in prayer for the great reformation. Jesus as king of our land!"

Later in the event, Pastor Jacob Aranza of Our Savior's Church in Lafayette, Louisiana, prayed explicitly for conservative Christians to run for and win political office. Aranza even brought three members of his own church who had all been elected to public office out onto the stage as examples, including Louisiana state Sen. Jonathan Perry, who audibly heard the voice of God tell him to run for office "while giving the largest tithe check he'd ever given" to Aranza's church.

"Father, today we know that you are raising up men and women of God across this nation," Aranza prayed. "And Father now, in the name of Jesus, we pray for the elected officials. We pray for every elected city councilman, we pray for mayors. We pray for senators. We pray for state representatives. We pray for the marshals, the sheriffs,  the school board officials. Lord, we ask you in the name of Jesus, send revival to every elected official we have, oh God. We know that when revival is when you get so sick of being misrepresented that you just show up yourself. Show up in every elected official, Lord, all throughout our state, may the glory of God come ... Maybe it be known because now righteous leaders are in authority and when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice!"

The Real Problems With Bobby Jindal And His Prayer Rally

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal skipped an Iowa stage crowded with Republican presidential wannabes on Saturday so he could host a prayer rally on the campus of Louisiana State University. Jindal and others have mischaracterized objections to the rally, suggesting that its critics were somehow out to silence people of faith. So let’s be clear about the real issue: Bobby Jindal used the power and prestige of his office to promote an event backed by some of the nation’s most religiously divisive and stridently anti-gay activists. And in a bid to boost his own political future, he sent a clear message of support for the Christian-nation views of the event’s extremist organizers.

Christians Only, Please

Let’s start with the invitation, sent on Jindal’s official state letterhead. “We are in need of spiritual and transforming revival,” he wrote, “if we are to recapture the vision of our early leaders who signed on the Mayflower, ‘In the name of God and for the advancement of the Christian faith.’” Leadership to solve the country’s problems “will not come from a politician or a movement for social change,” he wrote in this time civil rights movement anniversaries. So how will we solve our problems? “Jesus Christ, Son of God and the Lord of Life, is America’s only hope.” In a separate letter he wrote to the other 49 governors inviting them to his rally to pray for “spiritual revival” and “heaven’s intervention” over the country. “There will only be one name lifted up that day – Jesus!”

What does all this suggest to non-Christian Americans (including non-Christian governors) about how Jindal views their contributions? Jindal’s letters reflect the attitudes of rally organizer David Lane, a political strategist who believes America was founded by and for Christians. The event was paid for by the American Family Association, whose chief spokesman, radio host Bryan Fischer, believes the First Amendment’s religious liberty protections apply only to Christians.

The rally was also a showcase for the dominionist views of self-proclaimed “apostles” who promoted and spearheaded the event. One of those “apostles” was the event’s emcee. Doug Stringer has called the 9/11 attacks “a wake-up call” that happened because God was not around to defend America due to abortion, homosexuality, and kicking God out of public schools. While introducing Jindal, Stringer made a brief mention to “Seven Mountains” theology, which states that all the “mountains” in society – arenas like business, entertainment, and government – must be led by the right kind of Christian. A later speaker, Gene Mills of the Louisiana Family Forum, spent more time on the “Seven Mountains.” Mills said these spheres of influence belong to God, but are currently occupied by the “enemy.” They therefore need to be evangelized and “occupied by the body of Christ.”

Not Political? Not Credible

Jindal and organizer David Lane declared, unbelievably, that the rally was not political. Lane is a self-described political strategist who works to turn conservative evangelical churches into voter turnout machines for right-wing candidates and causes. Lane is trying to get 1,000 conservative evangelical pastors to run for public office, and he held a recruiting session the day before the prayer rally. Jindal and Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma were among the speakers. Another example of the disconnect between rhetoric and reality: Stringer made the claim that the rally was not meant to lift up any politicians while he was standing in front of a huge screen featuring a quote from Bobby Jindal.

The “not political” claim was hard to take seriously given the amount of time devoted to making abortion illegal and declarations that what will tip the scales will be the “the voice of the church in the voting booth.” Jim Garlow, who led church organizing for California’s anti-gay Proposition 8, and who believes the marriage equality movement is demonic, dropped all “nonpolitical” pretense, railing against marriage equality and IRS regulations that restrict the involvement of churches in electoral politics.

Opponents = Enemies

One of the biggest problems with treating politics as spiritual warfare is that you turn your political opponents into spiritual enemies. People who disagree with you on public policy issues are not just wrong, but evil, or even satanic. That makes it pretty hard to work together or find compromise.

In daily prayer calls leading up to the rally, organizers prayed for God to forgive students who were organizing protests, as if disagreeing with Bobby Jindal were a sin – or a form of anti-Christian persecution. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” prayed call leaders, comparing their pleas to Jesus asking God to forgive those who crucified him, and Saint Stephen asking for mercy for those who were stoning him to death. On one call, a prayer leader decreed a “no-go zone for demons” over the sports arena where the event was to be held. At the rally, one speaker talked of storming the gates of Hell. Bishop Harry Jackson finished his remarks by leading the crowd in a chant he has used at anti-gay rallies: “Let God arise and his enemies be scattered!”

Jindal Unplugged, Unhinged, and Unapologetic

Jindal seems to have decided that his best chance in a crowded Republican field is to plant himself at the far right of an already far-right group. In the days leading up to the rally, he drew criticism for comments denigrating Muslims and for repeating bogus charges about Muslim “no-go zones” that Fox News had already apologized for spreading. During a radio interview a few days before the rally, Jindal said liberals pretend that jihadist terrorism isn’t happening and pretend “it’s a good thing to kill journalists, to kill teenagers for watching soccer, to kill over 150 schoolchildren, to treat women as second-class citizens…” He decried political incorrectness and multiculturalism and said of immigrants who do not embrace American exceptionalism, “that’s not immigration, that’s invasion.”

On “This Week” on Sunday, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos noted that Jindal had declared at his prayer rally that “on the last page, our God wins,” and asked him if that was appropriate in a religiously diverse country. Jindal praised religious liberty but ducked the question.

On the same show, Jindal said he would back a push for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to allow states to discriminate against same-sex couples, all while saying “I am not for discrimination against anybody.” (Jindal describes himself as an “evangelical Catholic,” and his contradictory rhetoric parallels the language of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which says it opposes “unjust discrimination” against gay people, but defines the term “unjust discrimination” in a way that applies only to those people with “same-sex attraction” who remain celibate.)

Jindal has also promoted far-right policies as governor. As Brian has noted:

Jindal has reached out to the party’s increasingly extreme base by undermining the teaching of evolution in public schools; promoting wild conspiracy theories about Common Core, an effort to adjust school standards that he supported before it became the target of the Tea Party’s fury; and hyping the purported persecution of Christians in America, specifically citing the plight of Christians with reality television shows.

Whose Agenda?

Jindal’s rally was not an original idea. In fact Jindal’s “Response” recycled materials and themes from a similar event that Texas Gov. Rick Perry held in 2011 to launch his presidential bid. Here’s what I wrote about Perry’s event, which applies equally well to Jindal’s – not surprising since both were organized by the same groups of extremists:

Organizers argued (unconvincingly) that "The Response" was about prayer, not politics. But groups like the American Family Association (AFA), which paid for the rally and its webcast…are not designed to win souls but to change American law and culture through grassroots organizing and political power-building. They have a corrosive effect on our political culture by promoting religious bigotry and anti-gay extremism, by claiming that the United States was meant to be a Christian nation, and by fostering resentment among conservative evangelicals with repeated false assertions that liberal elites are out to destroy religious liberty and silence conservative religious voices.

Jindal, of course, has the right to talk about his faith. But it is wrong for him to use his public office to proselytize and denigrate the faith of others. Teaming up with anti-gay extremists and Christian-nation advocates gives them credibility they do not deserve. His actions speak volumes about his judgment, values, and commitment to religious pluralism and equality under the law.

It’s a Radical Right Red Meat Feast as 2016 GOP Primary Kicks Off with a Bang

Over the weekend, likely Republican 2016 presidential candidates stepped up to the microphone at two extremist events to throw red meat at their Radical Right base and prove their ultraconservative bona fides in the run up to primary season.

Here’s a taste of what went down at Iowa’s so-called Freedom Summit, hosted by Rep. Steve King – who is most famous for his radical and dehumanizing anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Union-busting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker won the day with the most well-received speech, in which his biggest applause came when he bragged about his party’s attempts at voter suppression in his state, saying, “we required in our state, by law, a photo ID to vote.”

Former Arkansas Governor and 2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee said states should ignore Supreme Court rulings favorable to marriage equality.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie played up how staunchly anti-choice he is.

Senator Ted Cruz made the case for caucus voters to weed out anyone but extreme right-wing candidates. “Every candidate is going to come to you and say they are the most conservative person that ever lived,” Cruz said. “Talk is cheap.”

And at a separate Religious Right event, hosted by SPLC-designated hate group the American Family Association, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal discussed the need to enshrine discrimination against same-sex couples in the Constitution, promoted Islamophobic conspiracy theories and closed his speech with the statement “our god wins.” That event, titled The Response, perfectly embodied the dangers of mixing religion with politics in the way that the Right so loves to do.

By making political issues – even incredibly important ones, and even ones that are historically divisive – litmus tests for their followers’ religious conviction, they cast their opponents not only as wrong, but as evil and satanic, allowing for no possibility of compromise and making even civil coexistence difficult.  

It was a lot of what you’d expect – unfortunately – but that doesn’t make it any less terrifying. These are the people who are setting the agenda for one of America’s two major parties – and the one that right now controls both houses of Congress.

Read more and check out video from both events at RightWingWatch.org.

PFAW

Bobby Jindal: 'We Need A Spiritual Revival To Fix What Ails Our Country'

After four hours of continual prayer, worship, and singing at today's "The Response" prayer rally, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal took the stage to share his personal testimony with the audience.

After recounting his journey to faith in Jesus, Jindal closed out his remarks by declaring that no amount of laws or elections of godly politicians can save America because only wholesale spiritual revival can restore this nation.

"We can't just elect a candidate to fix what ails our country," he said. "He can't just pass a law and fix what ails our country. We need a spiritual revival to fix what ails our country ... We are a united people. We are God's children. We are precious because we are made in His image. God has created us with a God-shaped void in our hearts and we frustrate Him by filling it with things and material goods and substances. Now it is time for us on bended knee to turn back to God in humble prayer. To repent and ask for His blessing because He is a faithful God. He desires our prayers. I believe in the power of prayer and I pray that we will see a spark lighted here, we will see fifty responses in every state in these United States and we will see a spiritual revival ignite across these United States of America":

Rachel Maddow Takes On 'Questionable Characters' At Jindal Prayer Rally

As we have been reporting, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has decided to hitch his apparent presidential hopes to a collection of Christian-nation extremists, teaming with the American Family Association, influential activist David Lane, and a collection of self-proclaimed prophets and apostles to host a prayer rally in Baton Rouge today meant to turn America “back to God.”

On her show last night, Rachel Maddow took a look at the array of “questionable characters” working with Jindal on his supposedly nonpolitical prayer rally:

Jindal: Liberals Want Us To Pretend 'It's A Good Thing To Kill Journalists'

During his Wednesday interview on “The Steve Deace Show,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal repeated his criticisms of Muslim faith leaders who denounced the recent attacks in Paris, insisting that their condemnations didn’t go far enough because they didn’t specifically say that the perpetrators are going to Hell. Maybe he missed the statements saying just that, or he is simply moving the goalposts so he can continue to score political points at the expense of a frequently demonized minority.

Nonetheless, Jindal made clear that as president, he plans to “hunt down, exterminate and kill” Islamists, which he, unlike President Obama, will apparently do by ignoring political correctness.

“He can’t seem to find the words ‘terrorism’ or ‘radical Islam’ in his vocabulary; he continues to think of this as a criminal act, that is not what this is,” Jindal said. “Other people want to tiptoe around the truth, they can do that if they want but I’m not going to do it anymore. We cannot be intimidated by the left or all of these liberals who don’t want us to speak about this. The reality is, we can pretend like it’s not happening, we can pretend that it’s a good thing to kill journalists, to kill teenagers for watching soccer, to kill over 150 schoolchildren, to treat women as second class citizens, but it’s not.”

Jindal said extreme Islam “sees weakness in the West and is trying to attack that weakness. According to Jindal, the radicals “use our freedoms to undermine our freedoms,” and liberals are letting them do it with political correctness and multiculturalism: “that’s not immigration, that’s invasion.”

Bobby Jindal Hopes To Emulate Rick Perry's Miracle-Producing Prayers

Just as Texas Gov. Rick Perry launched his 2012 presidential bid with a prayer rally called “The Response,” fellow Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is set to lead his own “Response” prayer event this Saturday in Baton Rouge. Many of the pastors and conservative activists who backed the 2011 rally credited Perry’s actions with various miracles, raising the bar for Jindal’s event, which is being organized by the very same people.

Unfortunately for Perry, the various miracles produced by his prayer rally did not include producing even a single delegate in his disastrous presidential campaign, but it did save Texas from the scourge of Native American cannibals, at least according to Cindy Jacobs, a self-proclaimed prophet who endorsed both “Response” prayer rallies.

Jacobs said that Native Americans who “ate people” produced a “curse” in Texas, until it was healed by Perry’s prayer rally:

Another evangelist who joined Perry at “The Response,” Lou Engle, noticed evidence that God blessed Perry’s bid for president. According to Engle, God sent rain to Texas in response to the governor’s campaign announcement.

“I heard that actually the day that Governor Perry announced that he’s running for president, and this is not an endorsement I’m giving here, it simply it rained I believe he said for five hours, it poured,” Engle said on a 2011 conference call. “And people think that that could’ve been a sign, I don’t know. I think that was a historic prayer gathering for a governor to call a true Joel:2 solemn assembly. You don’t always see an immediate answer to these kinds of prayers but God does, God sees and responds and I believe we’ll look back at that gathering as a historic moment in American history and that’s what I’ve got to believe.”

Rick Scarborough, a prominent Texas conservative activist, also claimed that Perry’s prayers ended a drought during a conference call for his 40 Days to Save America campaign. Texas Republican leader David Barton agreed, adding that Perry’s prayers also controlled the BP gulf oil spill:

Scarborough: Our Governor here in the state of Texas called for a day of prayer and fasting last May. We were at the height of a drought that meteorologists were telling us was part of a cycle that would last perhaps for a number of years and that it would take us years to get our lake levels back up and so forth. It occurs to me that, not immediately, but after that prayer event that thirty thousand people participated in, we started getting rain and in less than a year, our lakes are full, our fields are brimming. A lot of people seem not to connect the dots on that, but we've got a fresh illustration of how God honors prayer.

Barton: Yeah, that's one of those many things that historians will looks back upon and say 'look at the correlation.' But I look back over the last few years at Sonny Perdue of Georgia who called, in the middle of their drought - that was an unprecedented century drought that they had there - he called for prayer and within three days they had rain falling in Georgia again. They're back in good condition.

I recall what happened with the oil spill in the Gulf, how all the Gulf governors except for Charlie Crist of Florida got together and called for a time of prayer that God would mitigate the damage of that and cause that thing to be sealed. And guess what? All the expected damage along the shorelines to all the wildlife, it didn't happen.

Bobby Jindal Won't Rest Until Non-Existent No-Go Zones Are No More

Even after Fox News retracted several of their reports on European Muslim “no-go zones,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says he knows that such areas are real since “people in Europe” have personally told him that no-go zones run according to Sharia law are popping up throughout the continent.

Jindal, speaking to Iowa talk show host Steve Deace yesterday, said that such anecdotal evidence trumps whatever facts are out there.

He warned that America may be next, unless his upcoming prayer rally ushers in a spiritual revival: “Folks, if we don’t get serious, that’s what is going to be in our future. One of the reasons we’re doing something called The Response this Saturday at LSU where we are calling Christians together in prayer, just to pray to turn back to God for a spiritual revival in our country. When you talk in those terms, the media, the academic left, they go apoplectic. Just like they will call you a racist for calling out radical Islam, they will attack you for talking about a spiritual revival. That is what our country needs.”

Jindal For Christian Nation President?

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s upcoming prayer rally has been organized by David Lane, a Christian-nation absolutist who believes America was founded by and for Christians and demands that politicians make the Bible a primary textbook in public schools. The American Family Association, whose chief spokesperson believes the First Amendment’s religious freedom protections do not apply to non-Christians, is paying for the rally.

It’s clear that Jindal, a convert to Christianity, is positioning himself to win the support of conservative evangelicals for a potential presidential bid. (Lane for one has cheered Jindal’s recent remarks about Muslims.) But does Jindal see himself as a potential president for all Americans, or only American Christians?

Jindal’s initial letter inviting “friends and fellow patriots” to the eventon his official letterhead —declared, “We are in need of spiritual and transforming revival, if we are to recapture the vision of our early leaders who signed on the Mayflower, ‘In the name of God and for the advancement of the Christian faith.’” Jindal’s letter declared, “Jesus Christ, Son of God and the Lord of Life, is America’s only hope.” What does that say to non-Christian Americans about how Jindal views them and their contributions to America’s future?

Jindal also recorded a video promoting the event as the spark that would help bring the “spiritual revival” America needs.

This week the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody reported that Jindal sent a letter to the other 49 governors inviting them to attend. “We need an appeal to heaven for heaven’s intervention over us,” he wrote. “We need to pray to the Lord that He will send spiritual revival to our nation.”

“This gathering will be apolitical in nature,” Jindal writes unconvincingly to his fellow governors, adding, “There will only be one name lifted up that day – Jesus!”

Is Jindal unaware that not all his fellow governors are Christians, or does he just not care?

Jindal, of course, has the right as an American to participate in a rally like this. But it is wrong for him to use the power of his office to proselytize for his own faith and denigrate the faith of others. The critics of his prayer rally have the right, and good reason, to question what his promotion of this event says about Jindal’s judgment, values, and commitment to religious pluralism and other constitutional principles.

Bobby Jindal's Prayer Warriors Fret About Protests, Declare 'No-Go Zone For Demons'

Is protesting Bobby Jindal’s prayer rally a sin? Organizers seem to think so.

For the past few weeks, organizers of this weekend’s prayer rally with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal have been sending out calls to prayer and fasting in support of the event. This week they’ve added daily prayer calls at which they have led participants in prayer for Jindal, for the event’s organizers, for those in charge of logistics like sound and security, and even for those who will be protesting the event. While there is a big rhetorical emphasis on rally leaders having a “posture of humility,” this week’s prayer calls have demonstrated what you might call spiritual arrogance regarding those who have been planning a protest. Protesters being organized by Louisiana State University students and progressive allies have been portrayed as spiritual enemies. During open prayer time, one call participant asked forgiveness for the protesters, saying “they hate us because they hated You first.” One participant prayed that God would “silence the mouths of those who would speak against You.”

On Tuesday, prayers for “those who would stand against us” asked that protesters would experience God’s love from rally participants. On Wednesday’s call, prayer leaders asked God to forgive the protesters,  saying “they know not what they do” — language used by Jesus asking God to forgive those who were crucifying him, according to the account in the Gospel of Luke.  Martyrdom and crucifixion returned on Thursday’s call, with a call leader praying that God “release” the protesters to God, the way Stephen asked forgiveness for those who were stoning him and Jesus did for those who were crucifying him.

Clearly, Response organizers have embraced the tendency of Religious Right leaders to portray disagreeing with them as a form of persecution. One prayer leader cited the biblical story of God appearing to Saul, who had been persecuting Christians but saw the light and become the evangelist Paul. A woman asked to lead prayer for the protesters prayed that God would similarly release “the angels of the harvest” over them.

Organizers are worried that the protesters, who are planning a rally and activist training, might be a threat. They prayed that God would help police and security officers see any “flanking” or “positioning” maneuvers. One prayed that God would “bind any demonic assignment” and one thanked God that He would send angels to guard the arena where the rally is being held, and declare it a “no-go zone for demons in the name of Jesus.” (That’s a clever reference to Jindal’s recent comments about Muslims, which according to call organizers have stirred up more “anger” and “angst” against Jindal.) “There is a confrontation in the heavenlies going on,” declared one prayer leader.

It seems that Response organizers are making a lot of awfully big assumptions about people who simply think it’s a bad idea for a governor and potential presidential candidate to lend the power of his office to an event promoting anti-gay bigotry and religious exclusion: namely, that all such protesters must not be Christians, must not be right with God and may in fact be demonic agents, and are in need of forgiveness for their audacity to “stand against” Jindal and his prayer warriors.

Response organizers might want to pray a little harder for a spirit of humility.

Bobby Jindal's Extremist Prayer Rally Brings Together Prophets, Bigots And Far-Right Activists

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who only a few years ago was lamenting the GOP’s decline into “the stupid party,” is now staking out a position on the party’s far-right fringe in preparation for an expected run for the presidency. Jindal has reached out to the party’s increasingly extreme base by undermining the teaching of evolution in public schools; promoting wild conspiracy theories about Common Core, an effort to adjust school standards that he supported before it became the target of the Tea Party’s fury; and hyping the purported persecution of Christians in America, specifically citing the plight of Christians with reality television shows.

Jindal, once hailed as the GOP’s top intellectual and reformer who denounced “dumbed-down conservatism” in an era of Tea Party populism, is slated to lead a prayer rally this weekend, “The Response: Baton Rouge,” organized and sponsored by some of the most extreme figures within the party.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry organized the original “Response” prayer gathering as a prelude to his 2012 presidential bid, allying with many of the same radical activists and organizations who are supporting Jindal’s version of the rally. While Perry’s campaign ultimately imploded, the people who helped put together his prayer rally credited it for various miracles. Jindal’s event has even recycled promotional materials from the Texas rally, including a “prayer guide” blaming marriage equality for Hurricane Katrina and the 2011 Joplin tornado.

“The Response” is being organized by David Lane, a Religious Right activist who boasts of his great influence and low profile, and various conservative pastors, including several who claim to be modern-day prophets and apostles, who all kicked off the prayer rally with an event at the Louisiana governor’s mansion earlier this month. The American Family Association, so notorious for its apoplectic anti-gay rhetoric and opposition to the freedoms of non-Christians that its chief spokesman earned a rebuke from Mitt Romney, is putting up the funding.

The organizers

David Lane, a self-styled “political operative” who gloats that he has “operated since 2005 largely under the radar” on behalf of conservative causes and Republican candidates, is serving as the organizational muscle behind Jindal’s prayer rally.

Jindal isn’t the only potential GOP candidate who is getting Lane’s help; Lane has also arranged various events focused on energizing conservative pastors in early GOP primary states that have featured appearances from potential presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee. He also organized overseas tours with various conservative activists for likely candidates including Huckabee, Perry and Paul. Lane has also teamed up with the Republican National Committee, whose chairman, Reince Priebus, sings his praises.

Lane hopes to use “The Response” as a launching pad for his effort to recruit 1,000 pastors to run for elected office.

Lane, who has connections to the top of the Republican Party, has views which are far out of the mainstream. He has:

  • called on conservatives to attack Mitt Romney for worshiping “the false god of Mormonism”;
  • warned that LGBT rights are creating an unparalleled “crisis” leading to “our utter destruction” as a nation;
  • forecasted America’s destruction as a result of “the pagan onslaught imposing homosexual marriage” and “homosexual scouts”;
  • declared that “our long-term strategy must be to place the Bible in Public Schools as the principle [sic] textbook of American education”;
  • and predicted that “homosexuals praying at the Inauguration” in 2013 would lead to divine punishment in the form of “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa.”

The American Family Association, classified as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is providing the financial backbone for Jindal’s prayer rally, as it did for Perry’s 2011 event.

The group’s chief spokesman, Bryan Fischer, has won nationwide notoriety for his remarks about homosexuality and religious and ethnic minorities, which he shares on his daily program on the AFA’s radio network. Fischer has:

Other AFA officials have blamed gay people for natural disasters like Hurricane Isaacpromoted birther conspiracy theories and railed against secular Jews as threats to America.

The “apostles”

The latter half of Rick Perry’s “The Response” prayer rally was emceed by a self-proclaimed prophet who believes Oprah Winfrey is the harbinger of the Antichrist.

It looks like Jindal’s rally will be no different: Doug Stringer, who considers himself to be a modern-day apostle and who also worked on Perry’s rally, is spearheading the Louisiana event. Stringer has blamed American “[l]icentiousness or moral looseness to the degree that it is ‘in your face,’ including homosexuality,” for the September 11, 2001 attacks, which he described as a “wake-up call” from God.

Another self-proclaimed prophet, Cindy Jacobs, is also featured on “The Response: Baton Rouge” website. Jacobs has quite the prophetic record. She:

  • suggested that legal victories for marriage equality advocates led to Hurricane Sandy and other natural disasters;
  • proclaimed that Rick Perry’s “The Response” prayer rally “broke the curses on the land” of Texas brought on by “the Native American people [who] were cannibals and they ate people”;

Jim Garlow, a prominent “The Response: Baton Rouge” endorser who is involved in the “apostolic” movement, has been a leader of the movement against LGBT rights. Garlow has:

One event sponsor, Jennifer LeClaire, has used her column in Charisma News to broadcast several “prophetic” warnings about the evils of homosexuality and the “gay agenda” that is “working overtime to send millions to hell.” LeClaire has:

  • and claimed that gay people are possessed by a demonic “spirit of immorality” that “often enters in through some sort of abuse and the lies of the enemy [Satan] that follow.”

The activists

“The Response: Baton Rouge” has also featured endorsements from a slew of conservative politicians. Tamara Scott, as a member of the Republican National Committee representing Iowa and leader of the Iowa chapter of Concerned Women for America, is a key political player in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. But her political clout doesn’t hide her unbridled extremism. Scott has:

  • characterized young Central American immigrants as “highly trained warriors” who could “rise up against us as Americans”;
  • and suggested that Muslim-Americans are waging a “stealth jihad” to overthrow the U.S.

Another official “Response” endorser, longtime conservative activist and failed Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia E.W. Jackson, has pushed similarly radical views, particularly on gay rights, saying that “homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of.” He has also:

  • said of gay people: “Their minds are perverted, they’re frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally”;
  • warned that homosexuality will bring about a “torrent of wickedness,” including human-animal marriages;

Gene Mills, leader of the Louisiana Family Forum and another key “Response” endorser, is a vocal ally of Jindal’s who helped push the governor’s policies undermining public education and promoting religious schooling. It’s no surprise that Mills leads the state’s foremost anti-LGBT group, as he has:

  • asserted that homosexuality is not a sexual orientation but a “disorder”;
  • falsely claimed that anti-gay speech is now classified as hate crimes;
  • said that abuse shelters should turn away transgender victims of spousal abuse;
  • and explained that anti-gay discrimination is a myth because “the reality is the shame and the guilt the homosexual feels is mistakenly reinterpreted as discrimination and what they attempt to do is to call it discrimination and prohibit it.”

Jindal's Comments On Muslims Win Plaudits From Christian Nationalist Allies

As we have been reporting, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is currying favor with conservative evangelical voters by hosting “The Response,” a prayer rally at Louisiana State University on Saturday that has been organized by Christian-nation activist David Lane and paid for by the anti-gay American Family Association.  Yesterday, Lane’s American Renewal Project sent out an email rapturously praising Jindal for his recent comments about Muslims, in which Jindal insisted that it is not enough for Muslim leaders to denounce terrorist violence. They must, Jindal said, declare that those committing violence will go to hell.

“We need to understand the challenge we face in radical Islam...In many ways, you’re looking at folks who want to come, and in some ways, overturn our culture. They want to come in and almost colonize our countries. I think we’ve got to stop those people from coming into our country. But unfortunately, today the politically correct view is to say that anybody that says that is viewed as being culturally arrogant, as being insensitive, having a colonial perspective. I think that’s wrong.”

Lane was beside himself with excitement. “This is E-P-I-C,” he gushed. “Bobby Jindal speaks the truth.” Lane went on to complain that previous presidents have not been willing to say that Islam itself – not just radical or extremist Islam – “opposes Western values.”

Lane, who believes America was founded by and for Christians, goes on to slam both secularism and religious pluralism:

America’s predicament in 2015 is driven by the fact that we have “Forgotten the name of our God”, the first step toward apostasy; then we adore the false. Secularism is paganism clothed in tolerance, its ubiquitous chant, “We are a pluralistic society,” is not the same nation bequeathed to us by our Founders.

Jindal’s other prayer rally partner, the American Family Association, is also not big on religious pluralism. The AFA’s chief spokesman, radio host Bryan Fischer, insists that the First Amendment’s religious liberty protections apply only to people he considers Christians, not to Muslims, Hindus, or Mormons.

Jindal has also recently decried supposed Muslim-only “no-go zones” in Europe even after Fox News retracted and apologized for similar claims. 

National Review Doesn't Get The Problem with Jindal's Political Prayer Pals

The National Review’s Eliana Johnson has taken note of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s hosting of this weekend’s “Response” prayer rally as well as the protests it has sparked on the campus of Louisiana State University. Johnson’s article accurately portrays the rally as part of presidential hopeful Jindal’s political outreach to evangelical voters, but it mischaracterizes the reason for the protests.

The event has already sparked controversy because the group underwriting it, the American Family Association, has organized boycotts against companies that do not use the word “Christmas” in their holiday advertising and communications as well as those that participate in gay-rights events or donate to gay-rights causes. That included a one-month boycott of PetSmart last November and a three-year boycott of Home Depot that ended in 2013.

People aren’t protesting Jindal’s partnership with the American Family Association because it has organized boycotts. Boycotts are the least of the problems with the intensely anti-gay AFA, whose chief spokesperson Bryan Fischer is a font of broadcast bigotry and has argued that only Christians — and certainly not Muslims, Hindus or Mormons (whom he does not consider Christian) — are covered by the First Amendment’s religious liberty guarantees. 

Jindal’s desire to position himself as the favored candidate with conservative evangelical primary voters means he is unconcerned about partnering with rally organizer David Lane, a Christian-nation advocate who believes the Bible must become a primary textbook in the nation’s public schools. Lane also organized the prayer rally – also called “The Response” – that launched Rick Perry’s doomed presidential bid.

How The 'No-Go Zones' Myth Traveled From The Anti-Muslim Fringe To The Mouths Of GOP Politicians

Shortly after terrorist gunmen killed 12 people in an attack on the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris earlier this month, conservative commentator Steve Emerson went on Fox News and claimed that Europe was being taken over by “no-go zones” controlled by Islamic law to such an extent that non-Muslims were not allowed to enter Birmingham, England’s second-largest city.

Emerson’s claim was met with ridicule, including by British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Emerson and Fox quickly retracted the claim.

But at the same time, the “no-go zone” myth gained traction among conservative activists and Republican leaders, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who mentioned it in a speech in London despite refusing to offer the names or locations of the purported no-go zones, and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, who claimed last week that France has “like 700 no-go zones where authorities have allowed Sharia law to be imposed,” something that he claimed is also beginning to happen in the United States.

The “no-go zone” myth didn’t spring out of nowhere two weeks ago. Instead, it has been percolating for years in fringe media, perpetuated by anti-Muslim activists warning that Europe was being overtaken by Sharia law, soon to be followed by the United States.

Bloomberg pinpoints the beginning of the myth at a 2006 article by conservative pundit Daniel Pipes, who gave the name “no-go zones” to a list of French “sensitive urban zones,” some with large populations of Muslim immigrants, that were, in reality, nothing more than areas hit by high crime and poverty that were actually targeted by the government for urban renewal projects. A few years later, Pipes had the opportunity to visit a few of these “no-go zones” and reported that they were “very mild, even dull” compared to high-crime neighborhoods in the U.S. and that “immigrant areas are hardly beautiful, but buildings are intact, greenery abounds, and order prevails.” He wrote, “Having this first-hand experience, I regret having called these areas no-go zones.”

But Pipes’ retraction came too late to stop the “no-go zone” story from becoming an established fact in fringe right-wing media.

The far-right outlet WorldNetDaily mentionsno-go zones” frequently, often warning that the United States will soon face the same fate. Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller told WND last year:

The Muslim population, for example, in France is over 10 percent,” she said. “You see outside of Paris … it can be very frightening. The no-go zones, the Shariah zones, where firefighters and police cannot go. They are many times lured by particular criminal activity into these zones, only to be ambushed. We see it in the U.K., increasingly, the imposition of Shariah law. And people think it can’t happen here, but it is happening here.

A search for the term “no-go zones” in Geller’s blog before the Charlie Hebdo attack produces 10 pages of results. Prominent anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney has also perpetuated the myth, warning repeatedly on his website and radio program of such zones “where authorities dare not enter” and “Shariah rules instead of the laws of the host government.”

Last year, the Clarion Project’s Ryan Mauro similarly warned in a FrontPageMag article that European “no-go zones” would provide “precedent” for such “Muslim enclaves” in the U.S. The publication has been another prominent generator of the myth, frequently citing Pipes since-rejected claim about French “no-go” neighborhood.

The myth percolated to the top of the news cycle briefly in 2010 when Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle claimed that Dearborn, Michigan, and the made-up town of Frankford, Texas, were ruled by “Sharia law.” She didn’t use the term “no-go zone,” but was clearly influenced by the myth that had by then become established fact in fringe media.

As recently as last month, Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt was citing the myth to warn that U.S. protests against police brutality would create “no-go zones.”

“It’s like in England and Scandinavia and I guess in Paris and a lot of Europe, perhaps in a lot of their metropolitan areas, the Muslims have come to a preponderant population in those areas that the police do not dare go into the urban areas controlled by Muslims,” he said.

The myth, propagated by a few voices in fringe media, is too wild for Fox News. But it is now apparently perfectly acceptable in the Republican Party.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 1/16/15

  • Contrary to right-wing claims, there are not hundreds of Muslim-controlled "no-go zones" all over Europe.
  • Gov. Bobby Jindal apparently doesn't actually care about the truth, which is why he is reportedly set to repeat this myth when he speaks in London on Monday.
  • BarbWire's Gina Miller declares that "the only rational conclusion is that this [President Obama] is an enemy of the United States."
  • Ben Carson is expected to officially launch his presidential exploratory committee in the next few weeks.
  • Finally, while most of the other speakers have dropped out of the Legatus conference after learning of the organization's anti-gay views, Gov. Jindal is still scheduled to speak and Peter LaBarbera is urging anti-gay activists to thank him for not capitulating to the "Gay Thought Police."

Gov. Jindal, Rep. Lankford To Speak At Christian Nationalist's Training Session For Pastors Running For Office

Last week, we noted that David Lane, the secretive and radical Religious Right activist who is organizing Gov. Bobby Jindal's upcoming "The Response" prayer rally, is also behind an effort to get 1,000 pastors to run for political office.

Lane is seeking to transform America through the election of hundreds of right-wing pastors who share his Christian Nationalist agenda and, to that end, has organized a training session to take place the day before Jindal's prayer rally called "Issachar Training: Men and Women of Issachar," which will feature advice for pastors on how to run for office from Jindal, Rep. James Lankford, and others:

Dear Pastor,

Please prayerfully consider being my guest at a pastors’ briefing hosted by my friends at the American Renewal Project. We are going to discuss the importance of raising up the next generation of leaders in America who understand these challenging times and know what to do about them. There is a great need for the kind of leaders we read about in the Old Testament, “The Men of Issachar” (1 Chronicles 12:32). We need such men and women of wisdom today who will accept the challenge to restore our Judeo-Christian heritage in America.

On January 23, 2015, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pastors will be given an exclusive opportunity to explore the Call to Serve. I ask you to spend time in prayer seeking the Lord’s guidance for the role He has for you to play in protecting Religious Liberty in our nation. As we make an appeal for leaders of faith to rise up and engage America in the public square with Biblical values, we are trusting you will hear God’s call on your life for this mission.

Our goal is to educate, and encourage leaders by informing them and inspiring them of their Biblical, historical roots, and to step out in courage to join us in this journey of faith.  The call is not to take our nation back, but to get back to God. The time has come for pastors to lead the way and reset the course of American governance.

I hope you will join us for an evening of information and inspiration as we all work together in the mission of bringing America back to God. A formal invitation is coming to you. Let me encourage you to register online by means of the link provided in the invitation, as soon as you receive it.

Blessings,

Governor Bobby Jindal

Schedule

3:00-4:00PM    Dr. Bruce K. Waltke: Proverbs and Politics

4:00-4:30PM    Governor Bobby Jindal (LA): Spiritual State of the Union

4:30-5:00PM    Senator James Lankford (OK): A Call to Serve

5:00-5:45PM    Dave Hageman: How To Recruit and What To Look For

5:45-6:15PM    Steve Michael: First Steps In Running For Office

6:15-6:45PM    Dave Hageman: Campaign Mechanics 101

6:45-7:00PM    Q&A From Session

7:00-8:00PM    Break for dinner

8:00-8:15PM    CA Assemblywoman Shannon Grove Messaging Your Race

8:15-9:00PM    Dr. Bruce K. Waltke: Proverbs and Politics

9:00-9:15PM    Setting up your finance committee

9:15-9:30PM    Pastor Rob McCoy: A Pastor's Experience As A Candidate

9:30-10:00PM  Senator James Lankford (OK): A Call to Action

Right Wing Round-Up - 1/8/15

Bobby Jindal Gets A Jump-Start On His Right-Wing Prayer Rally

In preparation for his upcoming "The Response" prayer rally, Gov. Bobby Jindal hosted a prayer meeting at the Louisiana governor's mansion last month with more than 70 local and national pastors. The participants included anti-gay activists like Jim Garlow and E.W. Jackson, as well secretive and influential Religious Right activist David Lane, whom Jindal can been seen praying with around the :30 mark in this piece produced by local reporter Rick Rowe:

Lane is actually the one orchestrating Jindal's entire prayer event, which is just part of his overarching agenda to ensure that America is run by Christians who share his extremist views. As such, Lane is also organizing an effort to recruit 1,000 pastors for run for political office.

Not surprisingly, Lane sees an opportunity to combine these efforts, which he is doing by calling upon pastors to attend Jindal's prayer rally and participate in the pastors' briefing on running for office the day before:

A month ago, I appealed for pastors to commit to pray for 30-45 days, in order to discern if the Lord is calling them to run for city council, county commissioner, school board, mayor or congress in 2016. By simple arithmetic, if the Lord called 1,000 pastors to run in 2016 and if they averaged 300 volunteers per campaign, then that would mean 300,000 ground-level evangelicals working within their local precincts. When my own pastor, Rob McCoy, ran for office this fall, he saw 625 volunteers join in his campaign. A similar grassroots evangelical movement—from coast-to-coast—would change America for good.

...

If we advance spiritual men and women into the public square-people who know wisdom, then we improve America's chances for remaining free. We trust in the Lord and we marshal the army ... Godly wisdom has inestimable superiority to military might and gold. A key to sustaining freedom is the launching of spiritual men and women from behind the pulpit and four walls of the church ... right on into City Hall.

...

If you feel called, then we hope to see you in Baton Rouge on Jan. 23, 2015. The Friday Pastors' Briefing will be called "Issachar: Training The Men and Women of Issachar."

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 12/23/14

  • Gov. Bobby Jindal is inviting pastors to attend his "The Response" prayer rally by telling them that "the time has come for pastors to lead the way and reset the course of American governance."
  • The IRS investigation carried out by House Republicans did not find any link to the White House.
  • In a long and rambling Facebook post, Glenn Beck lays out his theory that The Hobbits are a lot like Americans ... or something.
  • A Canadian judge has found Peter LaBarbera not guilty of "mischief" after he was arrested there earlier this year.
  • Don Boys says Christians are under attack from "heathens, homosexuals, and humanists."
  • Finally, Mike Huckabee is apparently set to be a guest on Jim Bakker's television program early next year.

Jindal Rally Organizers Remove Controversial Prayer Guide, Still Think Gays Are Responsible For Natural Disasters

Last week, we reported that the anti-gay, Christian nationalist organizers of a supposedly nonpolitical prayer rally that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is hosting next month had reused some materials from a similar rally hosted by Texas Gov. Rick Perry back in 2011, including a prayer guide blaming LGBT rights and legal abortion for natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

Blaming Hurricane Katrina on gay people and abortion, it turns out, didn’t go over so well in the state that was hardest hit by the 2005 storm, and after reporters in Louisiana started asking the organizers and Jindal’s office about the prayer guide, it was scrubbed from the rally’s website.

But disappearing one document can only do so much to hide the fact that Jindal is partnering with some pretty extreme organizations to put on his "The Response" event. In fact, the offending document was replaced on the event’s website by a letter from organizer Doug Stringer which only slightly more vaguely blames “earthquakes, floods, fires, and an escalation of natural disasters across the country and the world” on “the continued moral failures of our leaders.”

And when the New Orleans Times-Picayune approached Bryan Fischer, a spokesman for the event’s main funder the American Family Association, about the controversial prayer guide, he told them that his group stood by the original content. "We do know that natural disasters can be a form of God's judgment on an unrepentant nation,” Fischer told the Times-Picayune, before explaining that it’s “fitting that a part of the country that is obviously at risk for natural disasters would lead the nation in modeling repentance."

Still, the AFA initially issued a prayer guide that has offended many Louisiana residents. It implied legal abortion, same-sex marriage and pornography use contributed to Hurricane Katrina and other disasters. Though the prayer guide has been taken down, Fischer reiterated that sentiment on Wednesday. He said Louisiana should be especially concerned about the morality of the country, given its vulnerability to natural disasters.

"We do know that natural disasters can be a form of God's judgement on an unrepentant nation," Fischer said, "It's fitting that a part of the country that is obviously at risk for natural disasters would lead the nation in modeling repentance."

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