Dennis Terry

Illuminating Rick Santorum and the Religious Right’s Vision for America

Last weekend, People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch captured video of prominent Louisiana pastor Dennis Terry introducing Rick Santorum at an event with an incendiary sermon in which he insists that those who don’t believe that America is a Christian nation “get out” of the country.

The video quickly went viral, and Santorum was forced to distance himself slightly from Terry’s remarks, saying “I didn’t clap when he said that.”

As PFAW Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery wrote in a column for the Huffington Post, the incident illuminates the Religious Right worldview that Santorum and supporters like the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins – himself a parishioner of Terry’s – embrace:

While the media may understandably focus on Santorum's garbled economic message, his Sunday evening appearance is worth a longer look -- for what it tells us about Santorum and the Religious Right movement that is propelling his campaign.

The church at which Santorum appeared is Baton Rouge, La.'s Greenwell Springs Baptist Church, which Family Research Council President Tony Perkins describes as his home church. Perkins, in fact, was introduced at the event as a "dear friend" of Pastor Terry and as a church elder. Perkins, whose FRC has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for relentlessly promoting false and malicious propaganda about LGBT people, said of Greenwell Springs Baptist, "there is not a better church in the United States of America than right here." So in Perkins's mind, there is no better congregation than the one that applauded wildly at Pastor Terry's "Christian nation" assertions and his seeming suggestion that people who do not worship Jesus Christ should find some other country to live in.

Peter discussed his column and the Religious Right movement behind Santorum’s candidacy in an interview with TruthDig radio in Los Angeles yesterday. You can listen to the interview here.
 

PFAW

Dennis Terry and Crew Try to Scrub the Web of his 'Get Out' Sermon

As we have noted several times already, Greenwell Springs Baptist Church pastor Dennis Terry is now desperately trying to deny that he told those who disagree with his views that  there is only one God and America was founded as a Christian nation that they should "get out!" of the country during an event at his church on Sunday featuring Rick Santorum.

Terry has been claiming that his words were taken out of context and misreported ... but we have the video that proves otherwise.

Now, you would think that if Terry really believed that we had taken his statements and presented them out of context, he'd be encouraging people to go and watch the original video in an effort to prove that . But that does not seem to be the case, as all of the videos from Sunday's night's event with Rick Santorum have now been removed from the Greenwell Springs Baptist Church's UStream archive:

On top of that, Greenwell Springs' Worship Minister Jeremy Dailey posted a message on his Facebook page yesterday asking that all church members "remove from Facebook and/or any other public site, any video showing footage from the Sunday Evening service of March 18, 2012":

None of this really does much good, considering that we have the orginal video that we recorded live during the event and our video featuring the "highlights" from Terry's introduction is still posted on YouTube for the whole word to see:

Dennis Terry Continues to Play the Victim

Earlier today we noted that Greenwell Springs Baptist Church pastor Dennis Terry is now trying to claim that he is being misquoted and his views misrepresented over the heated rhetoric he used on Sunday evening at an event with Rick Santorum when he told those who "don’t like the way we do things" that they can "get out" of the country.

Terry has now turned to CBN's David Brody to present his side of the story because Brody is the one Religious Right journalist that they can reliably count on to take whatever they say at face value and report it.

So here is the statement Terry released exclusively to Brody:

Sunday night our church was privileged to host Sen. Rick Santorum, a candidate in the Republican Presidential contest. As stated Sunday night, Greenwell Springs Baptist church has invited all of the candidates, including President Barack Obama to visit our congregation.

Prior to Senator Santorum speaking on Sunday night I gave a short exhortation to our congregation on why we as Christians should be involved in the political and public policy process. My message was based in 1 Peter 2:11-17. In my remarks I said the following:

“This nation was founded as a Christian Nation. The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, there is only one God. There is only one God! And his name is Jesus!

I’m tired of people telling me I can’t say those words, I’m tired of people telling us as Christians that we can’t voice our beliefs or we can no longer pray in public. Listen to me if you don’t love America or you don’t like the way we do things I‘ve got one thing to say get out!”

These comments have been misreported saying that I suggested those who do not believe like me should leave the country. I said no such thing. I said those who do not love America and what she stands for should leave. Chief among the principles that America is founded upon is that of religious freedom, and that includes Christianity. I will not be made to feel as if we as Christians should apologize for our faith or that we should take the backseat as America is morally and spiritually being driven in the wrong direction.

Muslims, Hindus, people of different religions or no religions have the right to be here in America, but they do not have the right to force me to be silent while they work to transform our nation.

My comments on Sunday night were my comments as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The validation of my comments is found in the response by those who are screaming separation of church and state.

You will notice that Terry conveniently left off the intro sentence of his statement where he declared "I don't care what the liberals say, I don't care what the naysayers say, this nation was founded as a Christian nation  ..." 

That is kind of a key element to understanding what Terry was saying since he was not simply saying that those who don't love America should leave but was specifically talking about liberals, claiming that liberals are the ones who are telling him he can't pray in public and that if they don't love America and don't share his views, they ought to "get out" of the country.

The video speaks for itself, as anyone who watches it can see.  But Brody, of course, simply accepts Terry's claims wholesale and reports that the controversy Terry has created is "a good example of how the mainstream media just doesn’t understand the evangelical worldview."

Dennis Terry Responds to Controversy: 'I Love America'

On Sunday evening, Rick Santorum joined Family Research Council President for an event at Perkins' home church, Greenwell Springs Baptist Church, in Louisiana where Santorum and Perkins were seated on stage as Pastor Dennis Terry declared that America "was founded as a Christian nation" and those that disagree with him should "get out!":

I don't care what the liberals say, I don't care what the naysayers say, this nation was founded as a Christian nation, the God of Abraham, the God of Issac, and the God of Jacob, there's only one God. There's only one God and his name is Jesus.

I'm tired of people telling me that I can't say those words. I'm tired of people telling us, as Christians, that we can't voice our beliefs or we can no longer pray in public. Listen to me, if you don't love America and you don't like the way we do things, I got one thing to say: Get Out!

This outburst has, not surprisingly, generated a good bit of news and forced Santorum to try to distance himself from Terry. 

Yesterday, WBRZ news in Baton Rouge interviewed Terry about the controversy he has created and, of course, he responded by claiming that "people are misquoting" what he said and "twisted and edited" his words because all he meant was that "I love America":  

You will notice that Terry never explains how he had been misquoted or had his words twisted .... and that is probably because the original video of Terry telling liberals and all others who don't share his right-wing views that they should "get out" of the country clearly speaks for itself.

Pastor Dennis Terry Introduces Rick Santorum, Tells Liberals and Non-Christians to 'Get Out' of America

Greenwell Springs Baptist Church pastor Dennis Terry introduced presidential candidate Rick Santorum and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins tonight in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with a rousing speech railing against liberals and non-Christians and condemning abortion rights, "sexual perversion," same-sex marriage and secular government. Terry said that America "was founded as a Christian nation" and those that disagree with him should "get out! We don't worship Buddha, we don't worship Mohammad, we don't worship Allah!" Terry, who has a long history of attacks against the gay community, went on to criticize marriage equality for gays and lesbians, and said that the economy can only recover when we "put God back" in government.

Watch:

Update: At the end of the event, Terry prayed over Santorum and asked God to "have favor upon Rick Santorum" and to "do a mighty work" in President Obama's life:

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