Sam Rodriguez

Who's Who at Heritage Foundation's Rebuke to Pro-Immigration Reform Evangelicals

In recent years, a growing number of conservative evangelicals have joined more progressive Christians to embrace comprehensive immigration reform.  Members of the Evangelical Immigration Table have been making the case for reform at Religious Right events in recent years; one prominent conservative evangelical, Sam Rodriguez, recently announced a 40-day fast to advance reform legislation.

As RWW has reported, getting conservatives on board has been a hard sell, particularly for the “Teavangelical” wing of the Religious Right, whose members tend to stand with hard-right anti-immigration politicians. In particular, some conservatives aren’t happy about having the Bible quoted by those lobbying for passage of the bill that passed the Senate earlier this year.  In response, conservative activist Kelly Monroe Kullberg started a competing group, Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration.  

This Friday, her group is getting a boost from the Heritage Foundation, which is hosting “Doing Good to the Stranger and the Citizen: Evangelicals Discuss Immigration Reform.”

Here’s a quick look at the speaker line-up:

Kelly Monroe Kullberg

Kullberg is a founder of Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration. She accuses leaders of the Evangelical Immigration Table of being “deceptive and manipulative.” She complains that reform backers are supported by “atheist globalist and open border advocate George Soros.” She says the Senate “Gang of Eight” bill “does not reflect balanced biblical teaching” and would “make asylum easier for people like the Boston Marathon bombers.”

Kullberg decries “easy sloganeering” by reform advocates and says the U.S. cannot afford more immigrants. She says Jesus and biblical passages encourage the welcoming of some, but not all, strangers – those willing to assimilate culturally and religiously – and “also remind us to love not only the foreigner who comes to us in need, but our neighbors, such as those in Arizona, whose needs are being ignored.”

In a June letter Kullberg wrote:

The ‘Gang of Eight’ immigration bill will increase debt and danger in America for both citizens and guests, thus further precipitating the decline of the America we love and steward. In Scripture we are taught to make wise distinctions between the well-meaning sojourner (the 'ger' in Hebrew) and the foreigner who does not advance a nation’s faith, values and story (the 'goyim').

Kullberg recently spoke to American Family Association talk show host Sandy Rios where she warned of the dangers that an immigration reform bill would case people of “other faiths” and “incompatible worldviews” to flood into the United States, diminishing respect for the value of human life and leading to an increase in human trafficking.

Carol M. Swain

Swain is a professor at Vanderbilt Law School who has edited books on immigration and white nationalism.  She has created a non-profit group to help her promote her conservative views. When she showered praise on a “documentary” film called “A Conversation About Race,” the Southern Poverty Law Center called her “an apologist for white supremacists.” She and her supporters at the anti-immigration Center for Immigration Studies lambasted SPLC – she calls it a hate group that “harasses conservatives” – but even her fans at the Wall Street Journal, which came to her defense, found parts of the film “inflammatory and invidious.”  And they noted that on immigration, Swain’s views “are closer to Lou Dobbs’s than to ours.”

Swain’s most recent book, 2011’s Be the People, places her firmly in the right-wing activist camp. She says the book is “a call to action for We the People to reclaim our nation’s faith and promise.”  The blurbs at the front of Be the People let you know what you’re in for. Among the right-wing stars praising the book are Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Tony Perkins, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Robert George, Harry Jackson, and Jesse Lee Peterson. 

No wonder they love Swain: she writes respectfully of those who question President Obama’s faith and about birthers – she calls the term itself “pejorative” and an “epithet. Part of the book is a Christian-nation screed that would make David Barton proud. “We are engaged in a battle for the soul of our nation,” she writes. She slams the Supreme Court’s rulings on separation of church and state, saying, “The expulsion of God from public schools was a blow to civil religion and a clear repudiation of what Jesus proclaimed to be the greatest commandment.”

She cites Stephen Keillor, who says the 9/11 attacks might have been God’s judgment against the United States, which we well deserve. “We are being confronted with numerous national disasters and freak weather patterns. Could some of these occurrences be related to our decision to reject biblical injunctions against abortion, greed, homosexuality, fornication, and adultery?” While Swain calls her book a “rallying cry” for people to get involved, she also says it may be too late for America to escape God’s wrath for having violated the covenant its founders made with God.  “Accept the fact that no matter what Christians and other believers do, it may be too late to save the United States of America….As it stands, we do not know if judgment has been determined for our nation.”

In the chapter on immigration reform, SWain mentions testifying on immigration before a congressional committee. She was outnumbered on the panel, she says, but was encouraged by friendly faces like those of Reps. Steve King and Lamar Smith. She writes, “In light of the high unemployment in the US, no sensible argument can be made for legalizing millions of undocumented persons currently holding jobs to which they are not entitled.”

Swain also takes on the interpretation of scripture by pro-reform evangelicals, saying that the “stranger” in Old Testament injunctions does not apply to people in the U.S. illegally. She even impugns Catholic leaders for supporting immigration reform efforts, suggesting they are motivated by a desire to boost church membership. Among the specific proposals in her definition of reform are that Congress should “flex its muscles” and legislatively close the “loophole” of birthright citizenship under the 14th amendment.

Mark Tooley

Tooley is president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a rght-wing group dedicated to attacking progressive elements within mainstream and evangelical Christianity and resisting the advance of LGBT equality at home and abroad. IRD calls the Evangelical Immigration Table a front group for George Soros and derides the Evangelical Immigration Table's “I was a stranger” campaign as “a masterful piece of emotional blackmail.” IRD has suggested that EIT is trying to manipulate evangelicals, which would be “a sad betrayal of a flock by its shepherds.”

IRD has also  insinuated that religious backers of the Senate immigration reform bill are just eager to get their hands on a “slush fund” of taxpayer dollars the bill includes for organizations that assist immigrants.

Tooley has criticized pro-reform leaders’ “superficial ‘God-talk’” and suggested that religious leaders should not be spending their time on immigration reform, which he says is not of the same “moral order” as “marriage, human life, and religious liberty.” In speaking about immigration, Tooley says it is “very problematic when people of faith start to claim that the Bible gives them very direct guidance on a particular contemporary political issue.” Well, that will certainly be news to the folks at the Heritage Foundation and the conservative evangelicals who are presumably the target for Friday’s event.

James Hoffmeier

Hoffmeier is Professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern History and Archaeology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is author of The Immigration Crisis: Immigrants, Aliens, and the Bible, a book that seems to be the basis for other speakers’ claims about the Old Testament. Hoffmeier summarizes his book in “The Use and Abuse of the Bible in the Immigration Debate,” which is published on the website of the Center for Immigration Studies, which along with FAIR and NumbersUSA form a trio of anti-immigrant groups that the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “the core of the nativist lobby in America.” He says the Old Testament makes a distinction between strangers – equivalent to a resident alien who agreed to abide by the law – and foreigners, who did not have the same legal protections. Hoffmeier criticizes the “sanctuary” movement in America, saying, “So when American cities offer their cities as sanctuary from federal law, or when churches offer their facilities as a refuge for illegal immigrants who have been tried and order deported, they are neither following the letter or spirit of the OT law.” Or in other words, “American cities that use their communities to circumvent the law to help the illegal alien in the name of justice are doing a gross injustice to the letter and spirit of the biblical law.”

From a Publisher’s Weekly review of his book:  

“The book offers little in the way of sociological, political or economic insight into the circumstances surrounding modern-day illegal immigration, beyond advocating for a law-and-order approach. Missing from this analysis is an understanding of the Bible as a prophetic document more concerned with larger issues of justice. Still, Christians looking for a biblical justification for strict federal enforcement of immigration laws may find much to like.”

Right Wing Leftovers - 11/1/13

 

 

 

 

  • Just as he promised, Rep. Steve Stockman is handing out copies of a book calling for President Obama's impeachment to his House colleagues.
  • It is truly amazing that FRC argues that ENDA should not be passed because gays will be given "special status" when all the legislation does is provide the same protections that are already granted to Christians and those of other religious faiths.
  • Samuel Rodriguez is launching a 40-day fast for immigration reform.
  • It is probably a safe bet to be wary of anyone Glenn Beck calls "his friend and Congressional candidate" such as Dan Bongino.
  • The "Draft Ben Carson" movement is setting up shop in Iowa and is being headed by none other than Vernon Robinson.

Immigration Reform a Tough Sell to Ralph Reed's 'Teavangelicals'

A group of conservative evangelical leaders has been pushing their fellow conservatives to embrace immigration reform, in part as a way to make the Religious Right and the Republican Party more appealing to the nation’s growing Latino population. Ralph Reed has been among those supporting the idea of a comprehensive reform bill, but at his Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference in Washington DC, many of the “Teavangelical” activists – people who are part of both the Tea Party and Religious Right movement – aren’t buying.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who has been telling white evangelicals that they should embrace an influx of Jesus-loving Latinos as the salvation of Christianity in America, spoke in Friday morning’s session. He urged attendees not to drink the anti-immigrant “Kool-aid.” He told them not to believe the charge that 11 million immigrants would become Democratic voters if given citizenship. The conservative movement does not exist to conserve pigmentation or a white majority, he said, and it needs some “salsa sauce” on top.

Unfortunately for Rodriguez and his fellow proponents of immigration reform, two previous speakers, Gary Bauer and Allen West, had already spoken in disparaging terms about the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill moving through the Senate.  Bauer said Republicans in Washington spend too much time listening to consultants rather than standing firm on their principles. “You don’t have to go off and pass amnesty,” he said.  Former Congressman Allen West said that the “illegal immigration and amnesty bill” would make life harder for African Americans. And immediately following Rodriguez to the microphone was Phyllis Schlafly, who ramped up the rhetoric, telling attendees that they should threaten to run primary challengers against Senate Republicans who voted for the immigration bill.

Driving home that message was Colleen Holcomb, executive director of Schlafly’s Eagle Forum.  Holcomb was part of a panel on immigration reform that was moderated by Carlos Campo, president of Pat Robertson’s Regent University. Campo, who backs immigration reform, introduced Holcomb as a Regent alum, but that didn’t deter her from making slashing attacks on the Senate immigration bill. In fact, she at least indirectly criticized Campo and Ralph Reed himself when she said she was “profoundly offended” when faith leaders suggested that there was a biblical mandate for this kind of bill. She urged people to take advantage of resources available at www.stopgangof8.com. Holcomb later agreed with a questioner that it was an “outrageous lie” to suggest that the Senate bill reflects conservative principles.

Panelist Carlos Curbelo of the Miami-Dade County School Board tried to convince audience members that the current bill is not “amnesty” the way the 1986 immigration bill had been. Another panelist, state rep Steve Montenegro of Arizona, said the bill needed to include stronger border security provisions. When he asked for a show of hands – not a single person said they trusted that the Senate bill would secure the border.  And when he followed up, asking in effect, but how many of you would be willing to work with provisions of the bill if it did secure the border, very few hands went up.

It seems clear that Reed’s audience is more in sync with Schlafly than Rodriguez. That may be why Reed, who says reform should reflect Judeo-Christian principles – which he says include strengthening the family, respecting the rule of law, meeting the needs of the U.S. economy, and including “enforcement triggers” on border security – is also careful to include vehement denunciations of “amnesty” and “guaranteed paths to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently residing in the country.”

Rodriguez: Blacks and Latinos Not Voting with a 'Christian Worldview'; Gay Marriage will Force us to 'Surrender Christianity'

Samuel Rodriguez has appointed himself to be the spokesman for all Hispanic-Americans, telling Republican leaders that Latinos are just itching to vote for Republicans if only they put a greater emphasis on their anti-choice and anti-gay positions while moderating their rhetoric around immigration.

During an interview on BreakPoint, Rodriguez described a meeting with Karl Rove where they predicted that the majority of Latino voters will back Republicans, a political prognostication that has been proven very wrong, and found it completely inconceivable that any Christian would support Democratic candidates over Republicans. He reasoned that the GOP “provoked the Hispanic community to go and vote for a party that does not affirm the values of life and the strengthening of marriage that Hispanics hold as sacred values” by not supporting immigration reform during Bush’s second term. “The Democratic platform does not resonate or reflect the core values of the Hispanic-American community; that’s not anecdotal that is a matter of quantitative fact,” he said.

But as we’ve noted before, a majority of Latinos support a woman’s right to choose and marriage equality.

He went on to say that Latinos (and African Americans) are backing Democrats by wide margins because “we vote our ethnicity” and “vote our cultural heritage rather than our Christian worldview,” contradicting his claim that Latino culture makes them Republicans.

The Democratic platform does not resonate or reflect the core values of the Hispanic-American community, that’s not anecdotal that is a matter of quantitative fact. Every single survey, even the recent Barna survey, reaffirms that finding. The fact of the matter is, the disconnect exists because of the rhetoric. Forty-four percent of Hispanics supported George W. Bush in 2004, forty-four percent. Karl Rove and I sat down and we predicted in 2006 that in 2008 fifty-two percent of Hispanics would go GOP, and for at least a generation that number would continue to go up. Then came immigration reform, and at the end of the day that sort of ‘we don’t know whether this party really wants us’ provoked the Hispanic community to go and vote for a party that does not affirm the values of life and the strengthening of marriage that Hispanics hold as sacred values.



I have to say this to ethnic communities: putting President Obama aside, the African American and the Latino community, we suffer from what I call vertical myopia. That is to say that many of us go to the voting booth and we vote our ethnicity, rather than our Christian worldview. I find that to be a problem, as a believer, as a follower of Christ, as a born again Christian, I find it to be a significant problem biblically and theologically, when we vote our cultural heritage rather than our Christian worldview.

Rodriguez also claimed that Obama’s second term will bring about a “greater erosion of our religious liberties” and even charged that under the Obama administration, “Christians that stand up for biblical marriage will be continued to be labeled with a de facto sort of federal endorsement as bigoted and homophobic” if they do not “surrender Christianity on the altar of political expediency.”

 

I think we’re going to see greater erosion of our religious liberties. I think we’re going to see those Christians that stand up for biblical marriage will be continued to be labeled with a de facto sort of federal endorsement as bigoted and homophobic. I think the war on the biblical doctrine of marriage will continue to increase. At the end of the day, it’s going to prompt the Christian community to say: is this the generation that will surrender Christianity on the altar of political expediency or will we activate or engage in a prophetic posture?

Samuel Rodriguez: 'America for Jesus' to Make Voters 'Go Biblical' in Election

RWW has reported on plans for this weekend’s dominionist-heavy ‘America for Jesus’ rally in Philadelphia, which will kick off some of the prayer-and-fasting-to-beat-Obama campaigns being waged by Religious Right leaders. Today, Charisma published an interview about the rally with Hispanic evangelical leader Samuel Rodriguez.

Charisma, whose publisher Steven Strang is helping Harry Jackson raise funds for his anti-Obama, anti-marriage-equality swing-state racial wedge campaign, is not exactly a neutral source; it introduced the interview, in part, with “Despite all the atheistic, socialistic, humanistic agendas that are attacking our foundations, there is yet a remnant. And part of that remnant is gathering in an historical city to pray for the salvation of our nation.”

Rodriguez, who excels at portraying himself as above partisanship even while participating fully in the Religious Right’s political campaigns, cites a litany of right-wing talking points as “historical proof” of the rally’s importance:

I can give you historical proof of this. We have never spiritually been down the road we find ourselves in as a nation. From abortion on demand to the diluting of the basic definition of marriage to the government requiring religious organizations to offer contraception and abortion services via the HHS Mandate to even a political party extracting any mention of God from the platform, we have never been down this road before. Never ever, ever have we been down this road before.

He says a “lukewarm church” is America’s most serious problem and that the objective of the rally is “to revitalize, to ignite a fire in the American Bible-believing church so the church will stand up for righteousness and justice in the name of Jesus.” He says the national character of the rally, and its location in Philadelphia, make it stand out among other such gatherings. “There’s an issue here of independence and freedom about the values that make our nation great.”

Rodriguez also makes it clear that he believe the rally will have consequences for the November election:

I believe that God has a purpose for this rally. I believe it will serve as an ignition point for the church to really light up. There's an election coming up in November. There are decisions that a Christian has to make. I hope this rally will engage the Spirit of God in each and every Christian to go beyond political ideology and to start holding Biblical worldview and go biblical about it. And I hope the church understands that the only thing that can save America in the end is not the donkey or the elephant but the agenda of the lamb. But we need to act according to that agenda in the name of Jesus.

Samuel Rodriguez to Join 'Xenophobic' Sheriff Joe Arpaio at the Republican National Convention

The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference’s Samuel Rodriguez has been trying to push Latino voters to join the Republican Party while also begging the GOP to soften its hardline stance on immigration reform. But acting as a self-styled champion of immigrant rights while also boosting a party that is vociferously opposed to them ultimately creations tensions. It appears that for Rodriguez, helping the GOP is more important than opposing anti-immigrant policies and activists. Rodriguez is scheduled to share the spotlight at the Republican National Convention with none other than Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Rodriguez has previously described Arpaio as a “xenophobic person” and in February tweeted that “any candidate that seeks the endorsement of Sheriff Arpaio also seeks the rejection of the Hispanic community.”

Rodriguez also blasted SB 1070, Arizona’s harsh anti-immigrant law backed by Arpaio, as “xenophobic and nativist,” calling for a fast to protest the law and the creation of “a multi-ethnic firewall against the extremists in our nation.” “The Arizona Law stands as evidence that in 21st Century America, we may no longer be in the Desert of Segregation or the Egypt of Slavery but we just discovered there are Giants to be slain in the land of Promise,” his group proclaimed in a statement. “The Arizona Law is without a doubt, anti-Latino, anti-family, anti-immigrant, anti-Christian and unconstitutional.”

He later said that the Supreme Court didn’t go far enough in striking down the law’s “draconian measures” that “polarize and segregate our communities.”

Arpaio, who is being sued by the Justice Department for violating the civil rights of Hispanics (just one of his many scandals), will address an invitation-only audience at the Republican National Convention days after Rodriguez delivers a benediction.

Of course, Arpaio’s involvement in the convention should come as no surprise, as Arpaio was the co-chair of Mitt Romney’s 2008 Arizona campaign and served as a Romney surrogate. At the time, Romney said Arpaio was one of his “strong surrogates for our optimistic message of a stronger and safer Amreica” and was “gratified” to have his support.

Religious Right Unites Behind '40 Days to Save America' Initiative

In March, Kyle reported that Rick Scarborough of Vision America was launching a new effort, 40 Days to Save America, to rally conservative voters before the November election and stop the “daily deluge of sinful activity”:

We fully understand and are grateful for the fact that America was birthed first in your heart. We acknowledge that America has been a blessed nation above all the nations of the world. Hallelujah!

But we also acknowledge that we have forgotten as a people that it was you and your laws that made this country the land of freedom and opportunity that has been the envy of the world for more than two hundred years. Dear Lord, forgive us of our pride and apathy that has allowed men to call good, evil; and evil, good. We acknowledge that we have grown calloused to the daily deluge of sinful activity, degradation and speaking that has become the routine in American life, and we repent.

Reignite our love for purity and holiness, and create in us a will to initiate the changes in our society that will allow you to once again bless our beloved America.

Scarborough is now unveiling endorsements of the effort from Senator Roy Blunt and Congressmen Todd Akin, Doug Lamborn, Duncan Hunter and Louie Gohmert, and major Religious Right groups like the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, Liberty Counsel, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and the Family Research Council. Dominionist organizations including Lou Engle’s The Call and Cindy Jacobs’ Generals International have also signed on, along with Janet Porter’s Faith2Action, Jerry Boykin’s Kingdom Warriors, Sam Roriguez’s National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and Jim Garlow’s Renewing American Leadership.

The board of directors appears to be a who’s who of leading conservative activists and pastors:

David Bereit
40 Days for Life

General Jerry Boykin
Kingdom Warriors

Dave Butts
Harvest Prayer Ministries

Dr. Jim Garlow
Renewing American Leadership

Bishop Anne Gimenez
Rock Church, Virginia Beach, VA

Bishop Harry Jackson
Hope Christian Church

Dr. Robert Jeffress
First Baptist Church, Dallas, TX

Penny Nance
Concerned Women for America

Father Frank Pavone
Priests for Life

Tony Perkins
Family Research Council

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Dr. Rick Scarborough
Vision America

Kelly Shackelford
Liberty Institute

Mat Staver
Liberty Counsel

Tim Wildmon
American Family Association

Religious Right 'War' Room: This Weekend's Awakening Conference

The Freedom Federation – an anti-Obama amalgam of Religious Right groups, "apostolic" ministries, and the corporate-funded astroturf Americans for Prosperity – is holding its third annual Awakening conference in Orlando, Florida this weekend. Here’s how it describes the event:

Uniting our Voices Around Shared Values: Turning Voices into Votes

A war is raging against our shared values. Our faith and freedom are under attack. Silence in the face of this war is not an option. Decisive action is needed. Join with others who share the core values that make America a great nation. Take a stand for righteousness and justice and be part of a new revolution to take back America. The time has come to turn our voices into votes and to change the course of history.

Outreach to the Hispanic community is a major goal of this year’s Awakening and the theme of Friday’s opening night session.  That marks a continuation of the Freedom Federation’s efforts to re-brand the Religious Right as a multiracial and multigenerational movement, and to re-brand the culture war as a “social justice” movement. Last year’s gathering included a major effort to claim a religious grounding for the anti-tax, anti-government agenda of Grover Norquist and the Tea Party.

This year’s conference features Samuel Rodriguez, the head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who tries to sell the Religious Right’s culture war to Latinos while trying to get Religious Right leaders to make themselves more palatable to Latinos.  Rodriguez recently said that Latinos are here to “bring panic to the kingdom of darkness” and “make the gospel of Jesus Christ, the church, the most influential institution in America.”  He said God has sent illegal immigrants here to “redeem Christianity” in America.

Also scheduled to address this year’s conference is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a favorite of Tea Party and Religious Right leaders who describe him as the party’s Latino Ronald Reagan. Rubio is reportedly concocting a hollowed-out version of the DREAM Act that will try to help Romney and the GOP fix their well-earned image as hostile to the aspirations of millions of immigrants.

A new feature at this year’s Awakening is Patriot Camp on Saturday for kids ages 5-15.  Organizers promise that kids will learn about “the Christian principles on which America was founded,” which is important since, “As most Christians know, our true American heritage is not taught in schools, especially not in an objective manner.”

Notably for this Obama-bashing group, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is sending a video presentation; senior Likud official Moshe Ya'alon, Vice Premier, Minister of Strategic Affairs, is also listed as a speaker.  Also on the list, some of whom might appear by video: Former GOP presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, and Reps. John Mica and Allen West. West has been warming up for the conference by announcing, McCarthy-style, that dozens of progressive members of the House of Representatives are communists.

The list of speakers is a Who’s Who of the Religious Right and conservative legal movements, including characters like spiritual warrior Lou Engle and Cindy “God kills birds when America supports gays” Jacobs, who once haunted the fringes of the far right but have since been welcomed into a movement seeking to build the broadest political base possible.  Among them:

  • John Stemberger: head of the Florida Family Policy Council who chaired the 2008 campaign that outlawed marriage equality in Florida. Awakening organizers say he has “a unique understanding" of law and government. You could say that: He has argued that only Christians are capable of creating a free society. As a lawyer he once sued a rental car company when an Irish customer was involved in a fatal crash; he argued that the company should have known that an Irish customer “would have a high propensity to drink alcohol.” (He later apologized.) 
  • Rick Scarborough:birther, self-proclaimed “Christocrat,” and Rick Perry backer who said last year that he refused to endorse Romney in the primary because he is a Mormon. At the 2010 Awakening, Scarborough called Obama a “Marxist president.” Scarborough stated a few months ago that AIDS is God’s judgment for engaging in an immoral act. 
  • Frank Gaffney: his infamous anti-Muslim bigotry, including charges that fellow conservatives are Islamist sympathizers, is so virulent that he was denounced by the American Conservative Union.  
  • Harry Jacksonpoint man for the Religious Right’s anti-gay racial wedge strategies, defender of the National Organization for Marriage’s cynical racial wedge politics, and all-around right-wing activist, who recently called for believers to form a “fifth column” to undermine America’s secularist culture from within.  
  • Rick Joyner:  a dominionist and self-proclaimed prophet who recently warned people to get out of California because God is going to punish America for not being sufficiently supportive of Israel,  Joyner heads the Oak Initiative.
  • Richard Land:  the primary political spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, Land supports the criminalization of homosexuality and recently told NPR that “The Bible tells us that socialism and neo-socialism never worked. Confiscatory tax rates never work.” Land was recently pushed into apologizing both for racially inflammatory remarks about the Trayvon Martin case and for having plagiarized them from right-wing columnists. 
  • Janet (Folger) Porter: an anti-abortion activist who famously brought fetuses to “testify” for Ohio’s “Heartbeat Bill,” declared during the 2008 GOP primary that God had chosen Mike Huckabee to lead the nation. Her radio show was dropped by a Christian radio network unhappy with her political embrace of Christian dominionists. 
  • Mat Staver: heads Liberty Counsel, recently called the “homosexual agenda” a “moral iceberg” that threatens religious freedom.  At the 2010 Awakening, Staver agreed with a questioner that the health care reform law had a provision that gave Obama the power to create an army of brownshirts that could take control of communities. 

Should be more fun than Disney World.  Watch for updates.

Washington for Jesus Returns as the 'America for Jesus' Prayer Rally in Philadelphia

The late Virginia pastor John Gimenez founded the Washington for Jesus rally on April 29, 1980 with fellow Religious Right activists including Pat Robertson, Jim Bakker, Bill Bright and Jerry Falwell to mobilize “against abortion, in favor of allowing prayer in schools, opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment and against homosexual conduct.” Bright told Ronald Reagan that his election was a result of the Washington for Jesus prayer rally, telling him: “Mr. President, you were elected April 29, 1980, not in November.”

Gimenez’s wife Anne is now planning a similar prayer rally in Philadelphia called ‘America for Jesus’ to combat “widespread moral depravity and economic meltdown,” and has the help of figures such as Jim Garlow, Cindy Jacobs, Lou Engle, Samuel Rodriguez, Doug Stringer and Harry Jackson.

The prominent role of New Apostolic Reformation leaders in the event reveals just how much the Religious Right has changed and grown even more extreme, as leaders now not only claim that they have a divine mandate to change politics but also that they are actual apostles and prophets with the same divine appointment as the apostles and prophets of the Bible and receive direct prophesies from God.

But much like Washington for Jesus, this prayer rally will be non-political in name only, as the host of far-right and partisan figures organizing the event demonstrates.

"America's soul is sick, but I believe America still has a chance; I believe in resurrection, and I believe prayer changes things--and that is what we intend to do," said Bishop Anne Gimenez, pastor of Rock Church International in Virginia Beach, Va., and chairman of America for Jesus 2012. "It's not about who will be in the White House nor our current financial crisis, it's about America needing the presence of God."



To-date, the five national and numerous regional rallies attended by several hundred thousand people have made significant impact affecting millions across the country and the national movement continues to call for a return to biblical values rather than endorsing any particular party or candidate.

"Much like the movement for independence in the 18th century, America for Jesus 2012 is a patriotic movement, not a political one," said John Blanchard, national coordinator for America for Jesus 2012. "Although the presidential election will be less than six weeks away, there will be no partisan divisions when we convene in Philadelphia. We don't need to follow the elephant or the donkey, but rather the Lamb of God."



"Forty days before the election, we will be bringing the salt of the nation to the headwaters of America to pray for an awakening and for the spiritual needs of the country," said Billy Wilson, co-chair for America for Jesus 2012 and Executive Director of the International Center for Spiritual Renewal.
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