David Barton

Religious Right Leaders Rally Around Ted Cruz At Secret Endorsement Meeting

Religious Right leaders are intent on being the ones to pick the Republican presidential nominee this time around and they’re throwing their collective weight behind Ted Cruz.

The movement’s leaders have been seething for eight years now that they were forced to rally behind Republican presidential candidates they weren’t excited about — John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.  After years of angling to prevent that from happening in 2016, “several dozen” Religious Right leaders met in secret in early December and voted to rally around Ted Cruz.

National Review’s Tim Alberta describes the event, which Cruz backers entered with the upper hand. It took five ballots for Cruz's supporters to browbeat backers of Marco Rubio into submission and give Cruz the three-quarters supermajority needed. Those who attended the meeting had vowed to either publicly support the eventual winner of the day’s balloting or to remain silent in the Republican primary. Reports Allen,

The impact was felt immediately on the 2016 campaign. Three prominent participants — direct-mail pioneer and longtime activist Richard Viguerie, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, and The Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats – announced their support of Cruz within 72 hours of the meeting at the Sheraton. 

Cruz, of course, had plenty of conservative evangelical support before this meeting. We noted back in the summer that he was consolidating support from the Christian Nation crowd, including discredited “historian” David Barton  —  who heads a Cruz super PAC  —  and billionaire fracking brothers Farris and Dan Wilks  —  who have pumped $15 million into the pro-Cruz super PAC effort. Since then, Cruz has been holding and attending “religious liberty” events  —  including one hosted by a pastor who calls for the execution of gays, and one at Bob Jones University, famous for claiming religious backing for its racial segregationist policies.

Cruz openly promotes the efforts of Christian-nation zealot David Lane to “take back” the country by using pastor-candidates to mobilize high evangelical turnout. Cruz told American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon this summer, “Nothing is more important in the next 18 months than that the body of Christ rise up and that Christians stand up, that pastors stand up and lead.”

Lane, who matches Cruz’s contempt for “establishment” Republicans, said back in 2013, “We’re going to try to eliminate the stuff that [GOP leaders] do to us every four years, which is picking somebody who has no chance of being viable and they kill us off and we have the McCains and the Romneys left.” Lane had cheered attacks on Romney’s faith and the “false god of Mormonism.”

Cruz has been courting Religious Right activists for years, even before the underdog, Tea Party-fueled victory in the GOP primary that propelled him into the U.S. Senate. Back before that election, he told the Freedom Federation’s Awakening conference, “we are engaged in spiritual warfare every day.” That message hasn’t changed: Just last week his campaign’s “prayer team” was told that “we’re in a spiritual battle today as never before.”

For the Religious Right, what’s not to like about Cruz? His anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-government bona fides are unquestionable. His father, Rafael Cruz, an unabashed Christian-nation extremist and anti-gay bigot who says that it is God’s plan for his son to be president, makes an effective ambassador for Cruz to the far right.

Is anyone not jumping on the Cruz bandwagon? A group of Latino Republicans held a press conference yesterday to denounce Cruz for his anti-immigrant positions  —  which they said were the same Romney “self-deportation” policies by another name  —  and for Cruz’s support of Donald Trump’s bigotry.

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, a leader of the effort to get the Religious Right to rally around a single candidate, has tried this before, without much success. In 2012, Perkins and other conservative evangelicals had tried to create unity around a single alternative to Romney. Perkins declared after a January 2012 gathering that Rick Santorum had emerged with a “strong consensus.”

But the voting process and outcome were disputed by Newt Gingrich supporters, and the idea that evangelical leaders could deliver their followers to Santorum was undermined when Gingrich won the next event, South Carolina’s primary. Richard Viguerie, among others, urged Gingrich to drop out in order to boost Santorum’s chances. In the end, Santorum went on to win other southern primaries but couldn’t catch Romney.

In January 2012, after he won that supposed consensus endorsement for Santorum, Perkins dismissed suggestions that the meeting was too late to have an impact, even though it came after Romney had already won Iowa and New Hampshire and was building up a head of steam. Perkins clearly decided not to let that happen again.

David Barton's Sidekick Launches Another Bid For A Seat On The Texas Supreme Court

Back in 2010, Rick Green, a former right-wing Texas state legislator turned David Barton's sidekick at WallBuilders, made a run for a seat on the Texas Supreme Court, only to lose in a run-off for the GOP nomination amid worries about his controversial history. Since then, Green has continued to serve as co-host of the daily "WallBuilders Live" radio program alongside Barton, while producing his own Bartonesque presentations on American history

Today, Green announced in an email that he will once again be seeking a seat on the Texas Supreme Court, not because he wants to but because so many people have practically begged him to run:

For months I've been approached by conservative leaders across Texas and asked to consider running for Texas Supreme Court.

Honestly, I wasn't very excited about it at first. I have a fantastic job and my family is loving the opportunity we have to live out the liberty that we are given. My family has been blessed with opportunities to travel across the country and teach Americans about the Constitution and our founding fathers. It doesn't get much better than that.

But as the calls continued, my children started reminding me of the principle I have taught them: that every generation is in desperate need of leaders willing to sacrifice convenience for the sake of liberty.

Today we have a Supreme Court, both nationally and at times in Texas, which has ignored the rule of law, has trampled on marriage and has refused to stand for the very freedom upon which our nation was founded.

The deliberate violation of separation of powers is a threat to the liberty we all cherish. It’s time to put a constitutional watchdog on the Supreme Court.

I am answering the call today with my family by my side, excited about the challenge and opportunity ahead. I NEED your support.

In a video announcing his candidacy, Green says that he does not even want to run for this office but simply must because "several months ago, our Texas Supreme Court handed down a decision that ignored our Texas constitutional definition of marriage." As such, Green says he feels obligated to run in order to replace one of the justices who supported that position:

For the record, the Texas Supreme Court never struck down the state's anti-gay marriage amendment, but did decline to prevent a lesbian couple who have gotten married in Massachusetts from getting divorced in Texas and that seems to the case that so outraged Green that he had no choice but to launch a bid for a seat on the court.

Right Wing Round-Up - 12/8/15

Right Wing Round-Up - 11/24/15

World Congress of Families Closer Everett Piper: WCF Critics Hate God

The closing keynote address at the recent World Congress of Families conference in Salt Lake City was given by Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University. As we noted in our overview of WCF, Piper did not abide by the standard suggested by the conference’s opening keynoter, Mormon Elder Russell Ballard, who said, “We demonstrate our discipleship when we refuse strident tones, when we refuse derisive labels, and when we enter the public square seeking fair outcomes through understanding and mutual respect.”

Piper, by contrast, enthusiastically embraced strident tones and derisive labels in his closing keynote. Piper may have been trying to interest conservative Christian parents in sending their kids to his school, which commits itself to honoring “the Primacy of Jesus Christ, the Priority of Scripture, the Pursuit of Truth, and the Practice of Wisdom.”

Piper spent much of his time denouncing a culture and approach to education that promote bad ideas and sexual promiscuity, and values clarification rather than moral absolutes. Early in his speech he set the tone:

Imagine that we live in a time and a place where the wise and learned in our courts, and in our classrooms, and, unfortunately, even in our churches, actually work to remove a man’s soul and expect him to stay out of hell.

Piper had harsh words for the educational establishment, which he said “is known not for pursuing truth, but rather for celebrating tolerance, and in the name of tolerance they then tell us that our intolerance is intolerable.” Citing a litany of examples of ideological intolerance against conservatives on campus, he declared it undeniable that there is a “war against Christians” in the academy and the broader culture.

Piper slammed gay rights advocates and other liberals for “ideological fascism,” declaring, “The result of this nonsense is that the rainbow banner of tolerance has become the dark flag of tyranny almost overnight.” And he went after President Obama harshly:

Where is our president in the midst of this? Where is the leader of the free world? Christians are losing their jobs, losing their businesses, losing their tenure, losing their education, and losing their freedom and he says nothing. He lectures us about the crusades rather than defend us in the courts. Christians are being enslaved and burned alive and beheaded across the Middle East and he is silent. Christians are being threatened and intimidated and sued and sequestered in the middle of America and mum’s the word.

For decades, Piper said, “we’ve sent our kids off to sit under the tutelage of faculty who have panned the Judeo-Christian ethic and praised its antithesis.”

“Why are we surprised now,” he asked, “that we have a White House that’s seemingly more aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood than Franklin Graham?”  The Muslim Brotherhood zinger was recycled from Piper’s appearance at the “Future Conference” organized by anti-gay activist Jim Garlow in June.

More from Piper’s WCF rant:

Our judges can’t find the word ‘marriage’ in the dictionary. Our State Department thinks the way to stop terrorists is to give them jobs. Our president says he appreciates the legitimate grievances of the terrorists who are crucifying children. Why are we surprised to see tens of millions of women buying the lie of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ when colleges have been promoting Sex Weeks on their campuses across the land, teaching these same women the virtue of bondage and dominance for the past several decades.

Piper concluded with a prayer, in which he asked God to forgive America for a long list of the kind of things he spent his speech blaming the liberal establishment for, among them “the foolishness of expecting cultural sanity while removing a culture’s soul” and “worshiping government more than God.”

“Please,” he asked, “rescue us from the ugly hell of our own making and give us liberty within the bounds of your law and free us from the bondage of our licentiousness.”

Piper repeated some of his gripes about education on Glenn Beck’s show, which was recorded the day before his WCF speech and broadcast a few days later. One of Piper’s talking points is that “opinions are dangerous; truth sets us free.” Among the dangerous people who had opinions, he notes, were Pol Pot, Mao, Robespierre, Chavez, Hitler and Mussolini. Piper has also appeared on David Barton’s radio show.

The week after the World Congress of Families wrapped up, Piper took to his blog to decry WCF’s critics, especially those who labeled the WCF a hate group.

The bold-faced duplicity of those condemning those who love the family is indeed hateful. Intolerance in the name of tolerance. Bullying while decrying bullying. Exclusion in the name of inclusion. Dumbing down the human being while arguing for human rights. Pretending to be pro-woman while using women as pawns and products. Hate under the banner of anti-hate… These ideas do not come from love, but rather from disdain: Disdain for children, disdain for family, and disdain for truth. Such ideas come from a hateful people who hate anyone who dares stand in their way of hating God.

If you like what Everett Piper has to offer, you’ll probably get plenty of opportunities to hear more of it. In the program book for the WCF gathering, he is listed as chair of the “SWAT Team” in charge of “Strategic Planning for the Future.”

 

Right Wing Round-Up - 11/3/15

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 11/2/15

  • Glenn Beck, who has spent months openly attacking Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Donald Trump and the entire GOP, is now asking the RNC to allow his network to host a GOP primary debate in February. 
  • Bad news for Andrew Shirvell: "The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a former lawyer for the state of Michigan who lost a defamation lawsuit filed by a gay student at the University of Michigan."
  • Liberty University appears to be relaxing some elements of its hardline code of conduct for students.
  • Beware of the "atheist Gestapo," which is trying to put "an end to Christian activity in sports."
  • Finally, Rafael Cruz is giddy that David Barton is leading one of Ted Cruz's super PACs because Barton "is a man of unquestionable integrity" and "a man that America highly, highly respects."

Barton: 'Conservatives Don't Want To Speak Until They Feel Like They've Mastered The Facts'

David Barton, one of the Religious Right's most relentless promoters of dishonest and misleading information, appeared on Glenn Beck's television program last night, where the two discussed the importance of teaching people not "what to think," but rather "how to think." Teaching people "how to think," Barton said, would pay huge dividends for America by giving conservatives confidence to speak up on the issues of the day. 

"Self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals in nearly every state," Barton said, claiming that conservatives are reluctant to speak up on current events because they are afraid that they do not have enough knowledge or information, whereas liberals simply don't care that they are clueless and are just willing to lie.

"Why is it that conservatives are convinced that they are in the minority?" Barton asked. "In reality, we're not, but we think we are ... According to statistics, when you look at the groups of liberals, and moderates and conservatives, conservatives are by far the most silent of those three groups. They're least likely to speak up, and why is that? It's because conservatives don't want to speak until they feel like they've mastered the facts about whatever the subject is that is under discussion. Now, liberals or moderates, they're happy to give you their opinion and tell you what they think, regardless of whether they know the facts. But conservatives don't like doing that, they want to know the facts before they answer what are often wild and baseless claims made by liberals and moderates."

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 10/27/15

  • Rush Limbaugh knows who is to blame for the divisiveness of today's political climate and, of course, it is not people like him: "The divisiveness and the reason there is so much partisanship and mean-spirited, extreme rancor is all on the Democrats."
  • Without a hint of irony, David Barton complains that a Stanford history professor "selectively quotes [John] Adams to make him appear to say almost the opposite of what he actually said."
  • Billy Graham tells Christians in America to "prepare for persecution."
  • Theodore Shoebat is not a fan of Ben Carson's Seventh Day Adventist faith: "This is the fruit of the SDA: cult abuse, heresy, murder and the support for Nazism."
  • Some hard-hitting analysis from CBN's David Brody: "Watching Jeb Bush today at Regent University in Virginia Beach, it dawned on me: this guy is a serious candidate for the serious times we live in."
  • Finally, Robert Jeffress is "convinced that there are a legion of 'closeted' evangelical Trump supporters who are almost apologetic for being attracted to him."

David Barton: Iran Deal Requires US To 'Fight Israel,' Will Bring God's Wrath

David Barton, the right-wing activist who is now running Ted Cruz’s super PAC, falsely insisted on his “WallBuilders Live” program on Thursday that the nuclear deal with Iran will require the U.S. to ally with Iran and “fight Israel” if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, warning that this will all bring God’s wrath upon America.

Responding to a question from a listener who wondered if the Bible’s promise that “whoever curses Israel will be cursed” means that the U.S. “won’t fight against Israel,” Barton was not optimistic.

He had been talking to a number of elected officials, he explained, who were surprised when he told them that the Iran deal requires the U.S. to side with Iran if Israel attacks the country.

“They were unaware that in the agreement with Iran … that it contains the provision that says that under this accord, if Iran gets attacked, America will come to the defense of Iran,” Barton claimed. “Now, question: If Iran gets attacked, who’s going to be the first nation attacking Iran for having a nuclear weapon? It will be Israel. So we’re now going into a treaty where we pledge to come to the defense of Iran against Israel, we will fight Israel. If Israel sends in her F-16s and others to blow up nuclear weapons that they will have there, we’re going to fight Israel?”

“These legislators that I’ve talked to, they were shocked to find out that that was in the provision, because that’s not covered in much in the news at all, it’s not out there,” he added.

The legislators may have been shocked to find this out because it is not true. As a State Department spokeswoman explained to CNN after Donald Trump made a similar claim, the deal “does not commit any country to engage in this kind of routine nuclear security cooperation, and it is absurd to suggest it [commits] anyone to 'defend' Iran's nuclear facilities.” In a Senate hearing on the agreement, Secretary of State John Kerry also responded to the claim, clarifying that the U.S. “will coordinate in every possible way with Israel with respect to Israel's concern."

But according to Barton, this nonexistent provision will bring God’s wrath upon America because it will “put us in the position of fighting against Israel physically, and that’s a losing position if you believe there’s a God in Heaven, if you believe in his word, if you believe he keeps his word, that is a losing proposition for America.”

Barton: Teach Riflery In Public Schools To Eliminate Gun Violence And Accidents

In the wake of the Charleston church shooting earlier this year, David Barton appeared on the "Up For Debate" radio program to discuss the question of whether Christians should support gun control.

Given that Barton believes there should literally be no limits on the Second Amendment and that individual citizens have the right to own a tank or even a fighter jet, it was not a surprise to hear him argue that Christians should not, in fact, support any sort of gun control efforts.

In fact, Barton said that the only sort of change needed in America is to return to the days when public schools taught riflery in P.E. class because, he insisted, back then there were no gun accidents or violent crime.

"In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s," he said, "in the P.E. books in school, we had a chapter on riflery and we should students all about how to use guns, how to unload guns, how to shoot guns, how to create indoor ranges. We talked about gun safety, gun responsibility; we had such an emphasis on that aspect of training and education that you'll find in the '50s and '60s, gun accidents nearly never existed and violent crime, outside of organized crime, was just almost nonexistent."

Yet Again, David Barton Falsely Claims That 91% Of Christians Want To Hear Their Pastors Preach Anti-Abortion Sermons

One thing that you can count on when it comes to David Barton is that once he has adopted a talking point, he is going to continue to endlessly repeat it regardless of how false or misleading it may be.  

Last month, Barton and Glenn Beck unveiled the results of a survey that they had commissioned Christian pollster George Barna to conduct for the purpose of finding out what sorts of issues average churchgoing Christians wanted to hear their pastors preach about from the pulpits.

Or at least, that is how Barton has been presenting it.

In reality, Barna's survey was heavily biased since a whopping 92 percent of those surveyed were "spiritually active Christians who hold politically conservative views." In other words, Barna's survey represents only the views of Religious Right and conservative Christian activists, but Barton has misleadingly presented it time and again as representing the views of all Christians.

Last month, Barton spoke at a conference on "Religious Liberty in 21st Century America" at a church in Hartland, Michigan, where yet again he falsely portrayed this survey as representing the views of Christians as a whole.

"Christians, in particular, are saying , 'We need some clarity for ourselves and for our kids, we need to know what the Bible says on certain issues,'" Barton stated. "Well, what issues do Christians want to know about? And so we commissioned a poll, George Barna, national pollster, went to the field and asked Christians, 'What is it you want clear guidance on from the Bible? What do you want to hear from your religious leaders?'"

"It came back," he continued, "that of those who said it is critically important or very important for me and my family to hear a biblical perspective ... The number one issue is abortion. Ninety-one percent of Christians said, 'I need to hear about abortion from church leaders.'"

Barton: Churchgoers Are 'Unanimous' In Wanting To Hear Anti-Abortion, Anti-Gay Sermons

One of the most interesting aspects of monitoring David Barton, the right-wing pseudo-historian who is currently running one of Ted Cruz's presidential Super PACs, is watching how the claims that he makes become more and more dishonest as the misinformation that he spreads goes unchecked by his audience and associates.

A few weeks ago, Barton appeared on Glenn Beck's television program to promote a new survey conducted by Christian pollster George Barna, which they all falsely claimed had found that the vast majority of churchgoers wanted to hear their pastors preach against things like legal abortion and gay marriage.

As we pointed out at the time, "92% of the total respondents" of Barna's survey were conservative Christian activists, meaning that it really only represented the views of "spiritually active Christians who hold politically conservative views." But despite the fact that this survey was absurdly biased and represented only the views of a narrow segment of the Christian population, Barton has been hard at work falsely claiming that it represents the views of all churchgoers as he seeks to encourage pastors to start preaching on the issues that are central to his right-wing political agenda.

Last night, Barton appeared on Beck's television program again to misleadingly promote this same survey, which he did this time by claiming that it shows that churchgoers are "unanimous" in wanting to hear these sorts of right-wing issues preached from their pulpits. 

Barton, without a hint of irony, stated that conservatives tend to remain quiet on contentious cultural issues because "they're concerned about truth" and often don't feel that they know enough to be able to comment intelligently on such issues, unlike liberals, who don't care about the truth at all and "will just throw stuff out all the time."

He then proceeded to explain his theory that 20 percent of the population will "oppose everything all of the time," which means that if a survey finds that 80 percent of people support something, then it is essentially unanimous. As such, he said that Barna's survey, which supposedly found that upwards of 80 percent of all churchgoers want to hear anti-abortion and ant-gay sermons, means that American congregations are unanimous on these positions.

"It's a landslide," he said. "When I see a poll that has 80 percent, that tells me it is unanimous. You';re going to have 20 percent of the people who don't think the sun comes up in the east and goes down in the west, so you'll always have 20 percent who are loudmouths on the other side. When you get 80 percent, you're talking unanimous."

David Barton Now Misleadingly Using Barna Poll To Mobilize Conservative Christian GOTV Effort

Last week, we noted that David Barton and Glenn Beck had launched an effort to pressure pastors into speaking out on issues of importance to conservatives by misleadingly citing a survey conducted by Christian pollster George Barna.

All three men appeared on Beck's show to promote the poll, claiming that it found that large majorities of average churchgoers are clamoring to have their pastors preach against things like abortion, gay marriage and the separation of church and state. In reality, the poll represented only the views of "spiritually active Christians who hold politically conservative views," which was not surprising since conservative Christians made up "92% of the total respondents."

Barton is now this same poll to promote an effort called "One Nation Under God," which was organized by Pastor Erwin Lutzer and Eagle Forum's Phyllis Schlafly and is aimed at getting pastors to mobilize their congregations to vote and get involved in politics.

Barton filmed a video on behalf of the effort in which he, once again, misleadingly created the impression that the findings of the Barna poll represent the views of all churchgoers.

Saying that the poll represents the views of "Bible-minded churchgoers," Barton proceeded to declare time and again that "an astounding 91 percent of churchgoers say that it was critically important that they learn the biblical perspective on abortion," and that "82 percent of Bible-believing churchgoers felt that it was crucial to hear the biblical view of sexual identity," and that "80 percent of churchgoers want to hear about Israel," and that "79 percent of churchgoers want to hear about our Christian heritage."

Of course, what the poll really found was that these were the issues that conservative Christians want to hear their pastors preach about. But Barton never bothers to mention that basic fact because doing so would undermine his effort to create the impression that America's churches are filled with people just dying to hear anti-abortion and anti-gay sermons.

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/29/15

  • Timothy B. Lee @ Vox: Whatever you think of Planned Parenthood, this is a terrible and dishonest chart. 
  • Media Matters: After NASA Announces It Found Water On Mars, Rush Limbaugh Says It's Part Of A Climate Change Conspiracy. 
  • Warren Throckmorton: Challenge to David Barton: Where Are the 1500 Bible Verses in Locke’s Two Treatises?

Glenn Beck And David Barton Launch Misleading Effort To Pressure Pastor To Preach On Conservative Issues

Glenn Beck felt that his television program last night was so important that he took to Facebook to tell his fans that "if you only watch one show the rest of this year from me on the blaze, make it today's." What his viewers found if they tuned in was David Barton promoting Seven Mountains dominionism, a movement that believes that Christians must gain control of the seven main cultural centers in order to create a "virtual theocracy" in America:

Barton has been openly promoting Seven Mountains since 2011 and now Beck is likewise on board, declaring in a separate Facebook post last night that "there are seven hills of culture. If you plan on surviving as a culture you must have these seven hills."

But all of this dominionist rhetoric was really just a lead-up to the release of a poll conducted by Christian pollster George Barna that reportedly found that churchgoers want their pastors to deliver more sermons opposing things like gay marriage and abortion rights and Islam.

The poll itself was conducted by Barna through the American Culture and Faith Institute, which just so happens to be "the public opinion research arm of United in Purpose," a Religious Right effort started several years ago for the purpose of mobilizing millions of right-wing Christians to vote.

To hear Barton, Beck and Barna tell it, the poll found that the average churchgoer is simply dying to have their pastor take on a whole host of controversial issues from the pulpit:

Top 12 Issues the Church Wants to Hear:

1. Abortion: Beginning of life, right to life, contraception, adoption, unwed mothers. 91%

2. Religious persecution/liberty: Personal duty, government duty, church response, global conditions. 86%

3. Poverty: Personal duty, government role, church role, homelessness, hunger, dependency. 85%

4. Cultural restoration: Appropriate morals, law and order, defensible values and norms, self-government. 83%

5. Sexual identity: Same-sex marriage, transgenderism, marriage, LGBT. 82%

6. Israel: Its role in the world, Christian responsibility to Israel, US foreign policy toward Israel and its enemies. 80%

7. Christian Heritage: role of Christian faith in American history, church role in US development, modern-day relevance. 79%

8. Role of Government: Biblical view, church-state relationship, personal responsibility, limitations. 76%

9. Bioethics: Cloning, euthanasia, genetic engineering, cryogenics, organ donation, surrogacy. 76%

10. Self-governance: Biblical support, personal conduct, impact on freedom, national sovereignty. 75%

11. Church in politics/government: Separation of church and state, legal boundaries, church resistance to government. 73%

12. Islam: Core beliefs, response to Islamic aggression, threat to US peace and domestic stability. 72%

Throughout the program, all three men repeatedly created the impression that this was a poll of average "church-going, Bible-believing people" and that pastors have been failing to address the issues that their congregations care most about:

But if you actually bother to read the poll, you discover that "conservatives represented 92% of the total respondents" and that it's findings primarily reflected the desires of "spiritually active Christians who hold politically conservative views."

It should not come as a surprise to anyone that conservative Christians want their pastors to preach against abortion and gay rights, but obviously conservatives are not the only ones filling the pews on Sundays.

In Barna's poll, 92% of respondents were conservative, while the other 8% were "moderates"; unsurprisingly, the moderates did not share the conservative views at all:

Christian conservatives were twice as likely as Christian moderates to desire more information (67% vs. 31%). Christian moderates, in contrast, were five times more likely to say that churches should not be involved in politics at all ... It is helpful to note that there are huge differences in the opinions of conservative Christians and moderate Christians on the importance of receiving biblical teaching on these matters from their church. Comparing their answers on the dozen most important issues to conservatives, realize that the average gap between the two segments is 30.2 percentage points, with the conservatives indicating a higher level of interest on each of these twelve subjects.

Predictably, nobody on Beck's show last night bothered to point out this rather important fact, as they repeatedly presented the poll as representing the views of regular churchgoers instead of the views of right-wing Christians, which is what it actually represents.

To make matters worse, the misleading poll findings are now being used by Beck and Barton to launch an effort aimed at pressuring pastors into preaching on the issues that the conservatives want to hear about.

Beck even posted a sample letter on his website for people to use in urging their pastors to address these issues:

We also want to encourage you to be bold in providing a Biblical perspective and spiritual guidance on the important moral, social and cultural issues confronting us today. As never before in our history, we are facing complex problems, and there is a competing cacophony of voices telling us what to think about these issues. We need clear guidance on what the Scriptures tell us about such issues such as abortion, religious persecution, sexual identity, bioethics and so much else. Our thinking, our children and our families are under attack from so many secular voices telling us how to think about these issues.

We understand many of these things will be seen as controversial to some, but this is all the more reason we need a clear spiritual perspective on them. Everyone seems to have their own opinion, but we want to know what the Bible says on each of these issues.

We have recently discovered we are not alone in our hunger for clear guidance on specific issues. A recent survey conducted by national pollster George Barna of the American Culture & Faith Institute shows that the overwhelming majority of serious Bible-minded church-goers are also hungering for relevant information.

...

We want – indeed, we need – to hear what God says about these things, which are pressing in upon our thinking from so many directions. We want you to know that if you will take leadership in teaching us about these things, we will have your back – we will ourselves stand up to the critics – we will stand with you and for you. We want to become better disciples and think like Jesus thought on all of these issues.

A few years ago, Beck and Barton launched the National Black Robe Regiment, which was designed to mobilize "courageous and patriotic ministers who will provide leadership and speak out on the pressing issues of the day."

We are guessing that that effort must not have been much of a success if Beck and Barton have now been forced to launch a separate effort misleadingly designed to get congregations to pressure their pastors into preaching on the issues that only conservative Christians care about.

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/22/15

  • Timothy Johnson @ Media Matters: Gun Owners Of America Lashes Out After Media Scrutiny Of Ted Cruz Endorsement Exposes Extremist History.
  • Sean Mandell @ Towleroad: Kim Davis Is Ready To Go Back To Jail, Insists She’s Not a Hateful Hypocrite.
  • Joe Jervis: Huckabee: Inviting Gays To Meet The Pope Is Like Inviting Alcoholics To An Open Bar.
  • Alan Colmes: Alan Colmes vs. Frank Gaffney: Ben Carson makes sense.
  • Warren Throckmorton: With David Barton as Principal Officer, Non-Profit Mercury One Gave $100k to Barton’s Wallbuilders.

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/14/15

Ted Cruz Seeks To Solidify Christian Right Support With Attacks On Planned Parenthood

As we have noted recently, there’s evidence that Ted Cruz is consolidating support from influential Religious Right leaders. That includes pseudo-historian David Barton, billionaire fracking brothers Farris and Dan Wilks, and anti-choice activists behind the group Online for Life.

But Cruz is still well back in the polls, and evangelical voters are currently showing a preference for Donald Trump and Ben Carson, whose support has been rising since the first Republican debate.

Carson is now polling second to Donald Trump and ahead of Jeb Bush, with the New York Times reporting this weekend his growing support from Religious Right activists. Earlier this month, a Quinnipiac survey of likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa had Carson leading Trump 27-20 among born-again evangelicals; Cruz was in third at 12 percent.

Cruz is hoping to boost his support among evangelicals by leading an effort in Congress this month to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. Last month Cruz partnered with GOP political operative and Christian-nation extremist David Lane to encourage pastors to preach sermons against Planned Parenthood.

Lane has argued that conservative evangelicals need to unite behind a single candidate to prevent the nomination of an unacceptably establishment figure along the lines of John McCain and Mitt Romney — and he has organized many events for pastors to meet GOP presidential candidates. Cruz backers like Barton and the Wilks brothers are close allies of Lane —  and the Wilks brothers are big funders of Lane’s organizing projects as well as Online for Life.

Lane, who has had kind words for Donald Trump, has not publicly endorsed a candidate, but he has previously been dismissive of Ben Carson’s candidacy. He told the Washington Post’s Sebastian Payne last year, “Anyone who votes for Ben Carson has no idea what they are doing politically. He’s got zero chance of becoming president or getting the Republican nomination.”

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 9/10/15

  • Ted Cruz spoke at David Barton's "Pastors' Briefing" last night on Capitol Hill.
  • Even Joe Arpaio thinks Donald Trump has gone too far with his anti-immigration rhetoric, which is quite an accomplishment.
  • Speaking of Trump, he has reportedly turned down an invitation to speak at the upcoming Values Voter Summit.
  • Dave Daubenmire credits the prayers of his "Salt and Light Brigade" for Kim Davis' release from jail.
  • Finally, Phyllis Schlafly says that "when the Supreme Court ruled that all 50 states must license same-sex unions on the same terms as marriage, the court was implicitly declaring that Christianity and the Bible are wrong."
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