This week anti-choice activist Lila Rose of Live Action, best known for her deceptive attacks against Planned Parenthood, is the featuredguest of televangelist James Robison on Life Today, where she called for the church to “rise up” because “this is our country.” Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood has reported “a string of suspicious incidents” at their clinics “in which a woman walks into a clinic, claims to be pregnant and asks a particular pattern of provocative questions about sex-selective abortions.” While it is unclear who is behind the hoax visits, it is very similar to Live Action’s visits of Planned Parenthood clinics posing as sex traffickers, which Planned Parenthood reported to the FBI.
Just as Robison and Rose talked about how “the enemy” is trying to make Christians disinterested in politics, Rose told the audience at Awakening 2012 that she is battling the “lie of Satan” that is meant to “discourage us” because “he doesn’t want our nation to be a nation under God.” Rose also claimed that she intends to “take out Planned Parenthood” until “they are no longer operating in our communities.”
We’re facing many challenges, I know with the election coming up with our president, we need a new president. We need to take out Planned Parenthood, we need to stop funding them, we need to make sure they are no longer operating in our communities.
The whole lie that we don’t need Christ, or that there’s no hope for us, there’s no hope for the girl that’s struggling, there’s no hope for the trafficking victim, there’s no hope for the unborn child, there’s no hope for our country, it’s a lie. I believe it’s a direct lie, it’s a lie of Satan himself, because he wants to discourage us and because he doesn’t want our nation to be a nation under God.
Kamal Saleem used his appearance at Awakening 2012 to denigrate Roe v. Wade, maintaining that it will lead to Sharia law, and immigration reform, also maintaining that it will lead to Sharia law and the legalization of terrorism. He also went after another measure loathed by the Religious Right: hate crimes legislation. “When and if Sharia law is allowed in the United States of America the First Amendment will have to be broken because of the hate crime bill,” Saleem said. He then went on to argue that once Sharia law is imposed in the US the “Constitution has to be brought down and establishing fascism will have to take place. Why? Because Islam is a fascist place, just like Nazism or any other fascist religion.”
Later, Saleem and his co-panelist Frank Gaffney were asked by a member of the audience if President Obama is a Muslim, a questioned that was met with applause from the crowd. Saleem responded that Obama, when he appears to be pledging allegiance to the flag, is actually participating in an Islamic prayer.
At last week’s Awakening 2012 conference, phony “ex-terrorist” Kamal Saleem not only detailed a treacherous scheme by President Obama to use immigration reform to legalize terrorism, but also uncovered a liberal plot to use the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade to “bring Sharia law liberally in our face.” Responding to co-panelist Frank Gaffney’s specious allegation that there have been anywhere between fifty to seventy instances where American judges used Sharia law to decide cases, Saleem blamed the Religious Right’s most hated ruling on the supposed proliferation of Sharia law in America.
Here’s a picture, I’m going to draw it very simply. What they’re trying to integrate into our laws is Roe v. Wade, Roe v. Wade. When they put this Islamic clause, we tracked fifty and now I’m going like there’s seventy, wow, when they establish this what happened is, they will be able to bring Sharia law liberally in our face. That’s why he said fight against those—any court that allows it we need to demonstrate outside and say no Sharia law but our constitution.
Last week’s Awakening 2012 conference included a panel on Islam featuring Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council and Kamal Saleem, the phony “ex-terrorist” who has been making the rounds on Religious Right events and television programs tellinghisbogus, discreditedbackstory.
While some panelists at the Awakening criticized the GOP’s anti-immigrant stance, Saleem maintained that immigration reform is actually a plot to have “all the illegal Muslims will be legalized here” and consequently, “terrorism will be legal.” Saleem accused President Obama of “sending millions to Hamas to import Muslim people” to the U.S. as part of a Muslim Brotherhood plot. Later in the panel, Saleem warned, “This world will become past tense and one day we’ll be wearing ragheads.”
The immigration bill is not against the Hispanic, per se, many people think it’s against the Hispanic, no, it’s not, on the contrary, our President is sending millions to Hamas to import Muslim people to United States of America. If that law passed—yes mam, check your media, Google that, he just sent $23 million dollars to Hamas recently to Hamas, just this year, we’re about to bankrupt and he sent the money to Muslims—so what happened is he’s trying to import them to United States of America to throw the power of conservatism and the Church out, you know God’s people, so what happens is they will become the upper hand or the equal hand. Because if you read the Muslim Brotherhood theology and their memorandum that they came to destroy United States of America with, is to populate United States of America with a multitude of millions of Muslims. So what happened is, when they are here, the Sharia law will, what happened when he allowed in the name of the Hispanic people, Mexican people, ‘let’s make them American,’ now all the illegal Muslims will be legalized here and terrorism will be legal in United States of America.
It’s time to make our voices known and time to stand up straight and fight for it because ultimately, the whole word just like my brother Frank [Gaffney] said, this world will become past tense and one day we’ll be wearing ragheads and walking on the street and everybody will say, ‘that used to be a Christian country where Islam conquered.’
Vision America’s Rick Scarborough headlined Awakening 2012’s “Pastors, Churches and Political Activity: Re-energizing the Pulpit” panel, where he went on a tirade about all of the culture’s social “ills,” which include programs such as The Simpsons, The Big Bang Theory, The Rachel Maddow Show, and Beavis and Butt-Head (or as he puts it, “Beavis and Behind Head”) along with movies like Brokeback Mountain. He went on to blame the growth of such supposed evils on the end of unconstitutional public school-organized prayer and the teaching of evolution in schools, and noted that “sex-education has become nothing more than the facilitation of fornication, complete with home study with the teachers.”
Scarborough: We’ve gone from Andy Griffith to Bart Simpson in my lifetime; we’ve gone from Leave it to Beaver to Beavis and Behind Head, from My Three Sons to Two and a Half Men, from the Brady Bunch to the Big Bang Theory, we’ve gone from the Partridge Family to Desperate Housewives, from Happy Days to Jerry Springer, and look at comedians, there used to be comedians like Bob Hope who epitomized class and loved his country, now we have Larry the Cable Guy being gross and crass, and Christians laugh, what used to amaze us now simply amuses us. We’ve gone from commentaries from such cultural icons as Eric Sevareid to Bill Maher and Rachel Maddow. Look at our movies; we’ve gone from True Grit to Brokeback Mountain, from musicals like the Sound of Music to Oklahoma, from showgirls to slasher porn. Our schools were once the envy of the world, now we have dropout rates exceeding fifty percent in some of our major cities, graduating seniors can’t even read the diploma they’re receiving. Prayer and bible study are out, metal directors and drug-sniffing dogs are in, the Ten Commandments are out, murder and mayhem are in, the theory of evolution is taught as fact while the fact of God is taught as theory, sex-education has become nothing more than the facilitation of fornication, complete with home study with the teachers, in many cases.
During the Awakening 2012’s panel on the “LGBT Agenda,” right-wing activist Ryan Sorba said that homosexuality is a hobby akin to playing basketball and surfing, as part of his argument that conservatives should “stop using the word gay” since it may lead people to believe that “they’re born gay.” In fact, Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber kindly provided us the headline for this post!
Sorba: The other issue is, a lot of people lose their confidence when they talk about this issue, because the other side is so good at putting you into a corner with their terms, which is why this panel is so important, because he who defines the terms controls the debate. Stop using the word gay, because implicit in the notion of a gay identity is the fact that they’re born gay and that it should be a fundamental human right, but fundamental human rights are based on human nature not on capricious desires. If fundamental human rights are based on capricious desires, guess what, we’d have every group on this planet with a different hobby arguing for fundamental rights and benefits based on the fact that they play hockey, based on the fact that they play basketball or surf, or anything that they’re interested in.
Barber: Did you catch that, Brian? I can see the Right Wing Watch headline now, ‘Sorba Calls Homosexuality a Hobby.’ I just gave it to you, go ahead and use that.
A major theme at the Freedom Federation’s Awakening conference last weekend was the need for more effective outreach to Hispanic Christians. Religious Right leaders who are trying to bring more Latinos into the conservative political movement know they are swimming upstream against the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the GOP primaries and the Tea Party, the impact of anti-immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama, and the hostility of GOP elected officials to the DREAM Act. They fear that the well-earned antipathy of Latino voters toward the GOP could prevent them from defeating Barack Obama, which they believe is necessary to prevent the country’s slide into socialist, secularist tyranny.
Several strategies for repairing the breach were on display.
To GOP leaders and the conservatives attending the Awakening, organizers and speakers delivered a surprisingly blunt denunciation of the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has led to the disastrously low polling numbers for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party. At Saturday’s panel on immigration, if you closed your eyes you could almost imagine that you were at a La Raza-sponsored gathering. All the panelists talked about the need for multifaceted “comprehensive immigration reform,” a term that has been vilified by right-wing activists and Republicans as code for “amnesty.”
The Southern Baptists’ Richard Land said it was “absurd” to deport teens whose parents had brought them to the US as children. “I was depressed and angered by the response that Rick Perry got at the debate when he was defending the in-state tuition for the children of undocumented workers in Texas,” said Land, who decried those who “would condemn them to the margins of society and waste a precious national recourse.” During the presidential primary, Land lamented, “the Republican party has painted itself into a corner, and then having surveyed the damage, applied a second coat.” He said many people think Florida Sen. Marco Rubio would be the best possible running mate for Romney, because his support for a “conservative DREAM Act” (which falls far short of the real thing) would be a step toward improving a “dismal and indefensible policy by the Republican Party and the Republican candidates.”
Robert Gittelson, a businessman and co-founder of Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, called strategies to push immigrants to “self-deport” by making their lives miserable – Romney’s stated approach -- “unbiblical” and “cruel.” Barrett Duke, Vice President for Public Policy and Research and Director of the Research Institute of the Southern Baptist’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, talked about a paper he has co-written with Land for Regent University’s law journal, which reviews Bible verses about treatment of strangers. He criticized an “offended citizen” or “law and order” approach to illegal immigration, urging conservatives to take a love-thy-neighbor perspective. “I am not a citizen of the United States first,” he said, “I am a Christian first.”
Panelists even opposed Arizona’s wildly-popular-among-conservatives SB 1070. Regent University president Carlos Campo said the law was “impractical” and made it “almost impossible” for law enforcement not to engage in ethnic profiling. Gittelson worried that if the law is upheld by the Supreme Court, 21 to 23 states would pass similar laws within a year.
And Regent University’s Campo even cautioned against putting too much emphasis on “assimilation,” saying that the “melting pot can burn off some important things.” Land added that the US had been enriched in its culture, cuisine, and music by waves of immigration, though all agreed on the importance of English remaining a common language in the US.
Friday night’s opening session was devoted to Hispanic outreach. Samuel Rodriguez, head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, was scheduled to give the keynote, but he was kept away by a basketball injury so organizers showed his speech from a previous gathering. Rodriguez tries to sell conservatives on bringing Latino evangelicals into the movement; he gets a warm reception by preaching a Religious Right-Tea Party view of government, saying the big-government “Pharaoh” wants to silence Christians and make people dependent on the government.
But Rodriguez and others are also pushing an even bolder strategy for convincing white evangelicals to take a friendlier view of undocumented immigrants – one that was picked up on by other speakers at the Awakening. You could call it the Hispanic Exceptionalism corollary to the theory of divinely inspired American Exceptionalism that is a constant refrain at these gatherings. According to this Hispanic Exceptionalism theory, illegal Hispanic immigrants have actually sent by God to save America from itself.
Self-proclaimed “apostle” Cindy Jacobs told Awakening attendees that God has gathered Latino people to the United States and given them a special emphasis on families and children. As RWW has reported, Rodriguez recently made the same pitch on evangelist James Robison’s TV show. “Now, why has God permitted these Hispanics to arrive in America in the 21st Century? I think it’s a prophetic purpose, and that is to redeem Christianity or we will end up even worse than post-modern Europe.” Rodriguez said the Hispanic community “can once again help make the gospel of Jesus Christ, the church, the most influential institution in America” and he warned that “when we talk about deporting, we are deporting Christianity in America in the 21st century.”
One of the main concerns addressed during Awakening 2012 was how to outreach to young people and the Hispanic community since the Religious Right’s leadership is largely white and aging. After the passing of Chuck Colson on Saturday, Lou Engle asked God to release “hundreds with the mantle of Chuck Colson” as part of a “new generation” of activists who will be like Elijah in fighting “Jezebel’s death culture” through a “cultural revolution” while praying over a group of young people, mostly homeschoolers, who attended the conference. Towards the end, Engle started reciting the Lord ’s Prayer but changed the last word from “heaven” to “America,” praying: “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in America.”
At the Awakening 2012’s panel on the “LGBT Agenda,” Lou Engle, who was not a panelist but an audience member, called for Religious Right leaders to launch a “massive concerted prayer movement” to counter the demonic “principalities and powers” behind gay rights activism. Panelists including Rena Lindevaldsen and Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel, Greg Quinlan of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, and former Texas board of education member Cynthia Dunbar jumped over each other in expressing their hope that Engle or another conservative would lead such a movement to stop the “two tornadoes coming to destroy America,” which he said are “the homosexual and abortion tornadoes.”
Engle, who brought The Call prayer rally to Uganda to help rallysupport for the country’s proposed “kill the gays bill,” lamented that he gets “blasted” over his anti-gay work and is “haunted that God has not opened the door for me to go after this thing.” Lindevaldsen agreed that “we need a prayer movement because a spiritual battle is at the root of this.”
It seems that Engle’s first prayer initiative, StoneWall Now, a “nation wide prayer movement” to “stand in the gap crying to God to restrain the homosexual ideology” isn’t going so well as its website is offline.
Engle: I think we need a massive, concerted prayer movement to deal with principalities and powers and pray that God would release laborers into the harvest field.
Barber: If there is anybody in the room who is adept that leading that ...
Dunbar: You’ve got that in your heart, with your spirit, and we’re with you.
Quinlan: We need that.
Barber: Did you volunteer yourself, Lou?
Engle: In 2006, we did 50 days and 50 nights of intercession of seven young people, we were given a dream of two tornadoes coming to destroy America and they were the homosexual and abortion tornadoes. In the dream I was given a sight to raise up intercession to confront those tornadoes.
Engle: And Bound4Life was raised up but I'm haunted that God has not opened the door for me to go after this thing, I’ve tried, I’ve gotten blasted.
Barber: It’s time.
Engle: I don’t know how to do it but I am crying out to God for an answer.
Lindevaldsen: Meet with us afterwards ... we need a prayer movement because a spiritual battle is at the root of this.
The third annual Awakening conference was held this weekend and, unlike the first two which took place at Liberty University, this year's conference was held down in Orlanda, Florida. But other than that, the event was similar to those held in previous years, featuring various breakout sessions mixed with a few plenary session featuring panel discussions, messages from various Republican leaders, and time for worship.
This year, attendees were treated to video messages from the likes of Marco Rubio, Allen West, and Newt Gingrich, interspersed between addresses from leaders like Richard Land, panels featuring various Religious Right activists like Matt Barber and Rick Scarborough, and praise and worship services led by Lou Engle.
The event kicked off Friday evening the with a panel discussion on "Religious Liberty, Life and Family" that featured several Hispanic leaders ... and Cindy Jacobs, whom moderator Mat Staver repeatedly referred to as "Wendy."
And, as you would expect, Jacobs kicked off the panel by declaring that "Satan wants to steal God's family and create tyranny to have a people he can rule over" and is doing so by undermining God's design for the family as featuring one man and one woman:
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.
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 Jackson: point 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.