In a video posted yesterday by the Christian Broadcasting Network, Rand Paul addressed “a group of pastors and religious leaders at a private prayer breakfast” in Washington D.C. on Thursday about the need for “revival” in America complete with “tent revivals” full of people demanding reform.
He suggested during the event that the debate about legalizing same-sex marriage is the result of a “moral crisis” in the country: “Don’t always look to Washington to solve anything. In fact, the moral crisis we have in our country, there is a role for us trying to figure out things like marriage, there’s also a moral crisis that allows people to think that there would be some sort of other marriage.”
“We need a revival in the country,” Paul said. “We need another Great Awakening with tent revivals of thousands of people saying, ‘reform or see what’s going to happen if we don’t reform.’”
While speaking with David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Ted Cruz said that he hopes and prays that God put him in the position he is in today.
Cruz told Brody that “far too many Christians have ceded the public arena to people who aren’t believers,” urging pastors to become “watchmen on the wall” who will act “just like Esther” in the fight to save America.
Ted Cruz, one of the U.S. Senate’s most extremeandconspiratorial members, told sympathetic commentator David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network today that he plans to run a “positive, optimistic, hopeful” campaign for president that will stay out of the gutter.
“There may be other candidates who get down and nasty, who get personal, who go into the gutter and launch attacks. I ain’t going to be one of them, and I’m not going to reciprocate,” Cruz said, before clarifying that he does plan to “contrast” his record with that of other candidates. “The Scripture gives us guidance; the word tells us ‘you shall know them by their fruit.’”
When Brody asked the senator if he agrees with evangelicals who “believe that this is a Christian nation,” Cruz said that America was “built on Judeo-Christian values” and “built by people of faith, men and women of faith, who were fleeing persecution.”
Last night on “The Steve Deace Show,” Donald Trump spoke to the Iowa-based host about how this time, he is really serious about running for president. He told Deace that Republicans have failed to stand up to Democratic officials who “don’t know what they’re doing” and “just want to keep taxing.”
“They talk and they continue to talk,” Trump said. “You see this huge flair of talk and then nothing happens.” And if there is one thing the almost-1988, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 presidential candidate Donald Trump doesn’t like, it’s talk without action. If things don’t turn around soon, Trump warned, immigrants may destroy America and the middle class will rise up.
“People are flowing into this country by the millions, not by the thousands, by the millions, and destroying the fabric of the country,” Trump warned. “We’re talking about the highest-taxed nation in the world and the middle class is just getting decimated. I mean, everybody is hitting the middle class and something has to happen because we’re not going to have a middle class or the middle class is going to do something that you and I and nobody else is going to like and who can blame them? They are getting decimated.”
Farah, who has suggestedinthepast that Obama is ineligible to be president because he was secretly born abroad to an American mother and a Kenyan father, does not seem to have a problem with Cruz, who – unlike Obama – was actually born abroad. Cruz has an American mother and a father who was a Cuban national at the time of his birth.
The champion of the birther cause praised Cruz in a column this week as a Reagan-like leader who could not only win the presidency in a landslide but could also stand “on his own two feet without the assistance of a teleprompter,” which Farah hails as “refreshing after six years of Barack Obama.”
It’s been a long time since I’ve heard any political figure do what Sen. Ted Cruz did yesterday in his announcement he is seeking the Republican nomination for the presidency.
He delivered an electrifying, motivational, rousing case for liberty – explaining why it’s not too late, why Americans don’t need to lower their expectations, how this country has overcome greater odds in its history.
He is going to be a formidable candidate. More importantly, he’s a breath of fresh air for giving Americans hope again – the kind of hope we haven’t had since Ronald Reagan was articulating his vision of national renewal.
He does it standing on his own two feet without the assistance of a teleprompter – also refreshing after six years of Barack Obama.
I am not making an endorsement for the presidency here. But I am giving Ted Cruz a big hallelujah, a heartfelt amen.
This is the way I wish other Republicans and conservatives would talk. There’s a reason Ronald Reagan, with similar views, was able to win landslide victories in the 1980s. It’s because he was the Great Communicator. Ted Cruz may be one, too.
Unlike most of my colleagues in the media, I like that Ted Cruz denies man-made catastrophic climate change. Why? Because it’s not real. It’s a scam for more government control over the lives of individual citizens. It’s one of the biggest and worst collectivist schemes in history.
Unlike most of my colleagues in the media, I like that Ted Cruz helped shut down the government. I’d like to see much of the federal government permanently shut down to be in line with the limits of the Constitution.
Unlike most of my colleagues in the media, I like that Ted Cruz invoked God and liberty so frequently in his announcement.
I don’t think he’s out of step with mainstream American values. Not at all. I think his message is going to resonate. He’s a serious contender.
If anyone needs more evidence that the GOP leaders have increasingly caved to far-right purists intent on demonizing anyone who they deem ideologically impure, look no further than the career of Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
Ted Cruz personally called Glenn Beck last Friday night to inform him that he was going to be announcing his run for the presidency on Monday morning. As Cruz walked off the stage at Liberty University yesterday after making the announcement, he immediately called into Beck's radio program. Beck's entire programlast night was dedicated to hailing and defending Cruz. Today, Cruz once again called into Beck's radio show where he declared that he is "very proud" to "stand together happily" with Beck while making his run for the White House.
After declaring that his presidential announcement was "electric" and "inspiring," Cruz told Beck that it was made even better by the fact that "the very first voice I spoke to after the announcement speech was you."
After Beck noted that "being our friend" might not necessarily be a good thing for Cruz's campaign, Cruz assured him that "I am very proud to dance with who brung me."
For Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., stoking fear makes him an expert on national security. While no one doubts the threat of terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS, Graham has played up wild fears as part of his naked political ambition...
As Peter noted in his write-up of the American Pastors Network conference in Pennsylvania last week, Mike Huckabee was unable to attend the event and instead sent a video greeting featuring him standing on Mt. Carmel in Israel, overlooking the valley in which the End Times battle of Armageddon is supposed to occur.
In his message, Huckabee focused on another story involving Mt. Carmel as he highlighted the Old Testament showdown in which the Prophet Elijah called down the fire of God and then destroyed several hundred prophets of Baal, which Huckabee used to urge his audience to be willing to take a stand for God just as Elijah did.
"God wants us to stand in the gap," Huckabee said. "And sometimes my heart's broken because, in our own country, a lot of pastors will stand in the pulpit but they won't stand in the gap ... We wonder why our culture has turned godless. We wonder why people don't grow up understanding the fundamentals of natural law, the moral basis of our Judeo-Christian founding as a nation. Might it be that the problem is not the history classes in our high schools but the pulpits of America who have not taken what they even believe and applied it to the pulpit and to the people?"
"I stand here on Mt. Carmel today," he concluded, "and I hope that, if called upon, I would be willing to stand all by myself [and] to call fire from Heaven and believe that God will answer even if there are hundreds and hundreds of false prophets on the other side."
"You may stand here someday," he said, pointing back to the Valley of Armageddon below, "and be called upon to call the fire from Heaven. I hope you're ready to believe that God will answer that prayer."
Earlier today, Sen. Ted Cruz announced his campaign for president at Liberty University (LU), the ultraconservative school established by Jerry Falwell. His decision to choose Liberty is rather telling, considering that LU is a radically right-wing university with a law school staffed by some of the most viciously anti-gay Religious Right activists operating today.
Of course, given that LU itself was founded by Falwell, who blamed gay people for 9/11, this should not come as much of a surprise.
Staver continues to call for a revolution to fight gay marriage and is currently leading an effort to get anti-gay Christians to ignore any Supreme Court decision striking down gay marriage bans, saying that refusing to obey such a ruling is like refusing to turn a Jew over to the Nazis:
When Staver announced his resignation from Liberty's law school last year, LU President Jerry Falwell, Jr. announced that Rena Lindevaldsen would take over as interim dean. Lindevaldsen previously served as senior litigation counsel at Liberty Counsel, where she was the lead attorney in a custody case involving Lisa Miller, an "ex-gay" woman who kidnapped her daughter and fled the country rather than abide by court-ordered custody arrangements with her former partner. Lindevaldsen even wrote a book about the saga while she and Liberty Counsel continue to insist that they have no knowledge of Miller's whereabouts, despite the fact that she was reportedly living at a home in Nicaragua owned by the father of an administrative assistant working at the Liberty University Law School.
Furthermore, Staver and Lindevaldsen even reportedly taught a class at Liberty based on the Miller case in which students were instructed that the "right" thing for a Christian lawyer to do in a case such as this would be to counsel their client that they have an obligation to ignore the law and court orders and instead engage in "civil disobedience" to uphold God's law. In 2012, the school was hit with a lawsuit over its alleged involvement in Miller's kidnapping.
When Lindevaldsen spoke at a right-wing conference earlier this month, she told the audience at a breakout panel on "sexual rebellion" that when fellow conservative Christians ask her what the "big deal" is about LGBT rights, she responds that "it’s a big deal because it’s a big deal to God." Marriage equality, she told the enthusiastic audience, matters to God because it is "the heart of where Satan’s attacking":
Matt Barber is another Liberty University/Liberty Counsel crossover. He formerly served as vice president of Liberty Counsel Action and still co-hosts Liberty Counsel's daily radio program with Staver, while also holding positions as associate dean and adjunct professor at Liberty.
Baber happens to be one of the most viciously anti-gay bigots operating today, as demonstrated by his view that homosexuality is nothing more than "one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it "love.'"
He has said that marriage equality mocks God and desecrates the Church, declared that the Defense of Marriage Act was necessary to prevent children from becoming gay and getting AIDS, said that gay teens end their own lives because they "know that what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, [and] immoral," proclaimed gay adoption to be "tragic," "unconscionable," and "reprehensible," and warned that gay activists are seeking to poison the minds of children and are "running interference for the pedophile movement."
He has supported repressive anti-LGBT regimes around the world, praising Russian President Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay crackdown and saying he'd like to see a ban on "gay propaganda" in the U.S., as well as defending Uganda's harsh criminal penalties for LGBT people.
Several other anti-gay activists also hold teaching positions at Liberty University, including Shawn Akers, who has said that measures to prevent the bullying of LGBT youth are "a form of indoctrination and reeducation that smacks of socialist and Communist countries" and accused gay rights advocates of bullying Christians and persecuting them in the same way as Adolf Hitler persecuted Jews.
Any way you cut it, it is clear that Liberty University is home of a slew of anti-gay bigots. The fact that Ted Cruz chose this as the venue at which to announce his presidential campaign speaks volumes.
This morning Ted Cruz asked the Liberty University students who attended his (mandatory) speech announcing his campaign for president to “imagine” an America without President Obama but instead a country led by “courageous conservatives,” such as Ted Cruz.
After pledging to “stand up for the First Amendment rights of every American,” Cruz said that while Obama is using the government to “undermine our values” and unfairly target Christians, he would “defend the sanctity of human life and uphold the sacrament of marriage.”
Chris Christie’s ties to “establishment” party figures have enabled him to become a prolific fundraiser and frequent campaign surrogate, and his heated and bombastic rhetoric has animated many conservatives.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee celebrated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign victory during an interview today with Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg, lauding Netanyahu as “a Churchill in a world of Chamberlains.”
When Malzberg asked Huckabee why President Obama has “extraordinary disdain for Israel in general,” Huckabee responded that Obama has “an extraordinary sense of identity with and sympathy for many of the other Middle Eastern nations.”
Huckabee added that the president also resents Israel and Netanyahu’s strength: “I think he resents the strength of Israel. I think he resents very much the strength of Benjamin Netanyahu, who is absolutely forthright in his understanding of what the threats are with Islamic jihadism, a term that President Obama cannot bring himself to utter nor can his administration. I believe as a result of that he finds that Netanyahu represents what he can’t be, and that’s a very strong leader who can keep his word.”
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio show, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver and Matt Barber declared that Ben Carson has effectively destroyed his presidential chances by apologizing for his statement that prison sex proves that homosexuality is a choice and vowing not to talk about the issue of gay rights anymore.
Barber blasted Carson for backtracking after he had "rightly" stated that being gay is a choice, saying "it took, I think, a day for him to come out with hat-in-hand and give this blathering mea culpa, just apologizing and saying how he'll never do this again and then promising never to talk about this issue again. So they have intimidated him into silence. From a political standpoint, now Ben Carson is dead in my eyes."
Staver agreed, saying that there is no way that Carson can refuse to talk about this issue "because it is a real threat against our faith and freedom and we can't ignore it."
"We need politicians and we need leaders who can speak boldly on this issue and who will not shrink," Staver said. "Saying that you're never going to speak on it and apologizing is not the kind of leadership you need":
On Saturday, roughly 2,000 activists gathered at Faith Assembly, a megachurch in Orlando, for the Awakening, an annual “Prayer and Patriotism event” organized by the Christian Right legal group Liberty Counsel. The Awakening, which Liberty Counsel organizes under the auspices of an amalgam of Religious Right groups called the Freedom Federation, brings together activists from the evangelical Right with the GOP politicians who want their votes.
At this year's event, GOP politicians including Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal (via video) and RNC faith director Chad Connelly shared a stage with far-right activists including "ex-gays," a phony ex-terrorist and at least two Religious Right leaders who insist that AIDS is God's punishment for homosexuality.
Here are five takeaways from a day with the core of the Religious Right.
1. Gay Marriage Will Send Christians To Jail
While some on the Right may be trying to shy away from the issue of marriage equality now that it could be on its way to a Supreme Court victory, the activists at the Awakening were not among them. Throughout the conference, marriage between gay and lesbian couples was portrayed as a demonic and existential threat to liberty, one that if allowed to proceed would end in Christianity being outlawed and Christians thrown in jail.
The Republican National Committee’s faith outreach director, Chad Connelly, who was moderating a panel on abortion rights, echoed the Religious Right’s rhetoric when he warned that LGBT rights activists are “coming for the church.”
Far-right pastor Rick Scarborough, who was sitting beside him, agreed that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality, pastors will be forced to “participate in same-sex marriage ” or be thrown in jail. Liberty Counsel’s Harry Mihet, moderating a separate panel, issued a similar warning.
Scarborough repeated his warning when he told activists that a pro-equality Supreme Court ruling would outlaw anti-gay speech, thus undermining “the whole nature of America.”
Multiple speakers compared a potential Supreme Court decision on marriage equality to Dred Scott, the infamous pre-Civil War decision that barred African Americans from citizenship, declaring that it should be met with similar resistance.
2. Losing The Church on Gay Rights Issues
Although the Awakening took place in what appeared to be a generationally diverse, multiethnic church, the crowd at the conference was overwhelmingly older and white. Throughout the conference, speakers bemoaned the fact that the Religious Right was losing support among younger Christians for its political agenda, especially its opposition to LGBT rights.
Liberty University’s Rena Lindevaldsen told the audience at a breakout panel on “sexual rebellion” that when fellow conservative Christians ask her what the “big deal” is about LGBT rights, she responds “it’s a big deal because it’s a big deal to God.” Marriage equality, she told the enthusiastic audience, matters to God because it is “the heart of where Satan’s attacking”:
Evangelist Franklin Graham also lamented that “a lot of pastors have quit preaching against homosexuality” out of fear of offending people in their churches who might have gay relatives. He told the audience that “God will bless you and he’ll honor you” if you “don’t shut up” about gay rights and abortion:
This was a crowd that had not given up on discredited “ex-gay” therapy. An “ex-lesbian” activist, Janet Boynes, was given a main stage speaking slot and “ex-gay” activist Greg Quinlan earned a roaring round of applause from the audience at the “sexual rebellion” panel when he announced that he had been “out of homosexuality for 27 years.”
3. A Spiritual Battle Against Islam And Progressivism
Just as the crowd at the Awakening was upset that the conservative movement and the church have supposedly become less invested in fighting LGBT rights, they were also wary of any overtures between Christians and Muslims.
Graham declared that “Islam is a wicked system” and blasted Christians who say that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.
Kamal Saleem, the self-proclaimed “ex-terrorist” whose personal story has never quite held up to scrutiny , also warned that churches are being “invaded by ‘Chrislam,’” lamenting that Americans are oblivious to the dangers of radical Islam: “We’re watching American Idol and they are doing jihad.” He also warned of what he called “jihad of the womb,” or Muslim immigrants giving birth in order to outnumber Christians.
What activists at the Awakening saw as a war against Islam was merely part of a larger “spiritual battle” between good and evil, God and Satan. In the panel discussion he led on LGBT rights, Matt Barber declared that there is an “Islamo-progressive axis of evil” with a “common enemy”: Christians.
Maine pastor Ken Graves repeated that theme when he declared that American Christians are fighting “militant Islam” and “militant homofascism” and secularists who want to establish a “secular humanist caliphate”:
4. Time Is Running Out On America, And It’s Up To The Church To Save It
Throughout the day, speakers warned that America is running out of time before it is lost forever, and that it is up to conservative Christians to get involved in politics to save the country.
Graham told the crowd that he is more politically outspoken than his father, Billy Graham, because America is in a more dire state of secularism. “When my father was born, the Ten Commandments were on the wall of every school in America. When my father was born, the teachers still led the class in the Lord’s Prayer. Our country is not that anymore,” he said, declaring that the 2016 election is the last chance for the Religious Right to save the country.
Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate, delivered a similar message, warning that “we are heading down in a direction that, let’s be honest, no civilization has ever been able to recover from.” Conservative Christians, he declared, must reinvest themselves in politics in order, to among other things, put the Bible in public schools:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, another likely GOP presidential hopeful, told the crowd that prayer was needed to bring about “spiritual revival” and change the political direction of the country: “If God’s people truly pray down a spiritual awakening, then the political landscape will change.”
“This country did not start because some people had some brilliant ideas, although they did. This country happened because God’s providence was the foundation of their brilliant ideas,” Huckabee said. “Because of his inspiration, this country has been sustained throughout all of its history because of God’s specific intervention in helping us to win battles we should never have one and in keeping us from losing battles we should have lost.”
5. The Religious Right And The GOP Still Need Each Other
One of the strangest moments of the day came when a George W. Bush impersonator walked onto the stage with Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver as he introduced Huckabee. Staver jokingly reassured the audience that it was not the former president’s brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has clashed with the Religious Right over gay rights issues. It seemed to be a spontaneous addition to the program, it was hard not to see it also as a reminder to the audience of the potential power of the evangelical vote.
Unlike the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit, which has become the flagship gathering of the GOP and the Religious Right, the Awakening tends to attract only true believers in the cause. This year, Santorum and Huckabee spoke, while Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal submitted a video message. Connelly, who heads the GOP’s outreach to evangelical voters, moderated a panel on abortion rights, but largely deflected difficult questions from the far-right crowd.
Connelly did not, however, shy away from right-wing conspiracy theories, responding to a question about the “culture of death” in end-of-life care by claiming that the Affordable Care Act’s mythical “death panels” are “a reality":
It was clear throughout the day that however wary the Religious Right and the GOP establishment may be of each other, they still need each other. Speakers like Graham urged conservative Christians to revive the powerful Religious Right pressure machine to win GOP politicians to their side, whether or not they agreed with their issues. Meanwhile, the presence of the GOP candidates and Connelly indicated that this is a voting bloc that is still important to the party, however extreme its priorities may be.
Likely GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson appeared on the American Family Association’s radio network today to promote his book, “You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to Think Big.”
“We live in a culture of heavy indoctrination, it starts in preschool and people try to influence the way people think about things,” Carson told host Ed Vitagliano. “I think it was Stalin who said, ‘Give me the children for a few years and I will have them for life.’ And the point being that it is relatively easy at that inflexion point to indoctrinate people and to change their way of thinking for the rest of their lives.”
In his 2012 book “America the Beautiful,” Carson was caught plagiarizing from the website socialismsucks.net in a passage criticizing the supposed socialist indoctrination taking place in schools:
Anytime you give to government the responsibility and authority to provide government-made jobs, old-age financial security, “free” health care, and “free” education and indoctrination of children, it will control the lives of the people who live under its jurisdiction, and individual liberty and freedom of choice are sacrificed.
Sure, there are several different brands of socialism — at least as many types as there are would-be people-planners who wish to impose their plans to control the moral and economic lives of other people. But are you willing to surrender your precious liberties to a socialist state which promises “security” for everyone and government-enforced equality? Isn’t this what Hitler and other socialists promised the German people in his Nazi (national socialist) platform — a country in which government guarantees security and “equality” in exchange for giving up individual freedom? Will Americans fall for the same scam?
Since losing to Mitt Romney in the 2012 Republican presidential primary season, Rick Santorum has tried to position himself as the “anti-Romney.” The former Pennsylvania senator isn’t just a conservative warrior on issues like immigration, legal abortion and gay rights;
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee may have lost his 2008 presidential bid, in which he ran as a folksy “Christian leader,” but the heavy media exposure he got from it helped him to become a national Religious Right hero with his very own Fox News show.