The Response Prayer Rally

Bobby Jindal's Clueless Defense Of His AFA Prayer Rally

The controversy surrounding Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s prayer rally, which is scheduled to take place next month on LSU’s campus, continues to grow as some students have announced that they will protest the involvement of the rally’s chief funder, the American Family Association, an anti-gay hate group. A wide variety of anti-gay activists are promoting the prayer rally and have used promotional materials for the event to spread outrageous claims that natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina were the result of homosexuality and abortion.

Jindal has now been forced to personally address the issue, which he has predictably done by side-stepping criticism of the AFA's bigotry and instead accusing "the left" of attacking Christians:

"Let's be clear about what this is. This is an opportunity for people across denominational lines to come together to pray," Jindal said. "It's not a political event, it's a religious event."

He said that while he respects the rights of protesters, religious groups have the right to express their beliefs and should not be barred from being able to hold the event on the LSU campus. A protest is planned while the event is taking place at the campus's Pete Maravich Assembly Center, and critics are urging LSU not to allow the prayer rally to happen.

"Christians have the right to rent, to pay for a hall at a public university so they can come together and pray," Jindal told reporters at an economic development announcement in New Orleans.

Asked if he agreed with the American Family Association's agenda, Jindal sidestepped that question and said, "The left likes to try to divide and attack Christians."

Jindal said the protesters themselves should consider joining the prayer rally. He said they "might benefit from prayer."

Given that Jindal apparently has no qualms about partnering with the AFA for a "religious event," we feel that someone ought to ask him what he thinks of the fact that one the AFA's main spokesman, Bryan Fischer, has argued time and time again that the protections guaranteed by the First Amendment only apply to Christians.

Since Fischer has made no secret of his belief that non-Christian faiths are not entitled to any protection under the First Amendment whatsoever, one has to wonder how Jindal feels about partnering with his organization, considering that Jindal's own parents "are actively Hindu."

Not only does Fischer believe that Jindal's parents are not entitled to have their faith protected and treated equally under the Constitution, he declared just last year that Hinduism is a demonic religion when he totally freaked out because First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a Hindu event in the White House:

"This is a counterfeit religion," Fischer said. "It is an Eastern religion. It is, in essence, an occult religion.  It's a counterfeit, a false alternative to Christianity.  It ultimately represents the doctrine of demons, that is what you have with Hinduism and now this is being celebrated in the White House."

"Christians have the right to rent, to pay for a hall at a public university so they can come together and pray," Jindal says as he partners with an organization that regularly asserts that other religions do not have those very same rights.

It is truly amazing that Jindal dares to suggest that somehow Christians are being treated unfairly because people are criticizing the fact that he is quite willing to partner with an organization that openly declares that non-Christians are not entitled to equal treatment or protection under the First Amendment.

Fischer Doesn't Want His Bigotry 'To Distract' From Jindal's Prayer Event

Earlier today, we noted that Gov. Bobby Jindal's staff is not very eager to discuss the fact that he is partnering with the American Family Association for his upcoming "The Response" prayer rally, which is not very surprising considering that the AFA is an anti-gay hate group notorious for the unrelenting stream of bigotry that it produces.

Naturally, Bryan Fischer, the primary source of that bigotry, is angry that people are now trying to "torpedo" Jindal's prayer rally by highlighting the fact that the governor is partnering with the AFA and a bunch of other anti-gay activists, announcing on his radio program today that he will refuse to comment on his well-documented history of making outrageous statements until after the prayer event.

"If the media contacts us and it's in connection with this prayer event," Fischer said, "and we discover that the only reason they're talking to us is that it's in connection with this thing called 'The Response,' I think my response is going to be 'I'll be happy to talk to you this on January 26,'" which is the Monday after Jindal's prayer event.

"We don't want anything to distract from this event," he continued. "Our nation is in crisis. The need of the hour is prayer ... This event is about prayer and calling the nation to prayer [but the media's] only interest is in trying to stir up trouble and create some kind of outrage against this event by trying to make AFA look bad":

Of course, the only thing making the AFA "look bad" is Fischer and the AFA.

Fischer's reaction to this criticism of Jindal's rally is actually something of an improvement considering that when Gov. Rick Perry was getting hammered for partnering with the AFA for his "The Response" prayer rally back in 2011, Fischer responded by complaining that he was the victim of a hate crime.

Bobby Jindal's Staff Has No Comment About AFA's Unmitigated Bigotry

As we noted the other day, organizers for Gov. Bobby Jindal's upcoming "The Response" prayer rally released a prayer guide blaming natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, on God’s apparent displeasure with the "alternative lifestyle" of homosexuality, marriage equality, legal abortion, and Internet pornography.

Not surprisingly, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, that prayer guide has now be scrubbed from The Response's website. Equally unsurprising is the reluctance by those in Jindal's office to comment on the long history of unmitigated bigotry regularly spewed by the American Family Association, which just so happens to be the main sponsor of his prayer rally:

Are legal abortion and same-sex marriage leading to more disasters like Hurricane Katrina? Does the First Amendment only protect Christian religious expression?

Next month, Gov. Bobby Jindal is bringing a mass prayer event to LSU's campus sponsored by a conservative Christian group that has espoused controversial views on a number of issues, including the causes of Hurricane Katrina.

The American Family Association (AFA), based out of Mississippi, has weighed in on everything from homosexuality to Eric Garner -- the man who died after a New York City police officer put him in a chokehold. They are paying for Jindal's mass prayer event at LSU, called The Response, in January.

"I haven't looked at their website, so you will need to talk to them about it. Here's what we do know...our nation is facing serious issues, but God is real, He is powerful, and He answers prayer. That is why we are asking people to come to Baton Rouge, Louisiana on January 24th and pray for revival," said Shannon Bates, Jindal's deputy communications manager, in a written statement about the organization. 

"This is a prayer meeting -- not a political rally. One thing that most people can agree on is that prayer is a positive thing," Bates said.

The AFA implied -- in a prayer guide originally distributed in connection with Jindal's January rally -- that there is a direct link between the rising approval of same-sex marriage and abortion in the United States and events like Hurricane Katrina.

The prayer guide -- which appeared to be a few years old and outdated -- was pulled from The Response's website Friday (Dec. 12).

Bobby Jindal Invites You To 'Turn Back To God' And Attend His Prayer Rally 'The Response'

Texas Gov. Rick Perry kicked off his disastrous 2012 presidential campaign with a prayer rally at which Religious Right luminaries anointed him as their candidate, expressing their hope that President Perry would bring fervent conservatism back to the White House and divine favor back to America.

While Perry’s campaign ultimately went down in flames — and many of the leaders who had previously declared that God backed Perry abandoned him for Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum — his “The Response” prayer rally succeeded in bringing a national spotlight to some of the Religious Right’s most extreme elements, including fanatical anti-gay activists and self-declared apostles and prophets.

Now it seems that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal who, like Perry, has been courting Religious Right activists by stressing his commitment to Christian Nationalism, issuing apoplectic warnings about religious persecution in America and diligently undermining the teaching of evolution in Louisiana schools, also plans to use a prayer rally to help launch his likely presidential campaign. And he’s turned to the very same people who organized the Perry event.

Jindal has been working with David Lane, a conservative activist who has been tirelessly organizing pastors in early primary states while also warning that God will allow terrorist attacks to hit the U.S. as punishment for homosexuality and abortion rights, and Doug Stringer to stage “The Response: Louisiana” in January of next year.

In a “heartfelt message” announcing the rally, Jindal calls on the nation to “turn back to God” and “light the spark that starts a spiritual revival that will put these United States of America back in the right path.”

Dominionist 'Apostle' Promotes David Barton's Distorted History

Among the many publications distributed at Liberty Counsel’s Awakening conference in April were two booklets examining Democratic and Republican party platforms. They were produced by Justice at the Gate, a group that describes its vision as “Building strategic partnerships to mobilize Christians to pray effectively and to vote righteously.”

The two publications are both titled “Democrats & Republicans In Their Own Words.”  One of them is subtitled, “National Party Platforms on Specific Biblical Issues.”  I’m not sure where in the Bible they find school prayer and “school choice and faith-based education,” but those are listed as biblical issues, along with abortion and homosexuality.  This booklet includes side-by-side excerpts from party platforms between 1976 and 2000. Other notable issues covered in the Bible, such as poverty, are nowhere to be found.

The other “In Their Own Words” booklet features an African American couple with a young child on the front cover. It is subtitled, “A 124-Year History of Major Civil Rights Efforts Based on a Side-by-Side Comparison of the Early Platforms of the Two Major Political Parties.” Apparently, racial justice and civil rights do not count as “biblical issues,” since they aren’t mentioned in the other publication. The side-by-side comparison in this booklet goes back to old anti-abolitionist planks in Democratic platforms from the 1840s, before the Republican Party was even formed.  The booklet takes 13 pages before it even gets to the 20th Century -- and that part of the booklet, which focuses on Southern Democrats’ support for segregation, stops in 1964.

In other words, this supposed history of racial justice and the political parties finds no room for a discussion of the Republican Party’s post-civil-rights-era southern strategy, which built power by fomenting racial resentment among southern whites, or for any of the political parties’  positions on racial justice and civil rights over the past 50 years.

Why does that sound so familiar? The answer lies inside the front cover: “Historical footnotes and annotations by David Barton, President of WallBuilders.” Barton has been peddling the notion that Republicans are civil rights heroes for more than a decade. He made the same kind of distorted and truncated history the centerpiece of his 2006 DVD, “Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black and White,” and in the outreach he has done to African Americans on behalf of the GOP.  (For those just joining us, Barton is a right-wing “historian” whose book on Jefferson was disavowed by its publisher last year after complaints about its inaccuracies.)

Who or what is Justice at the Gate?  It’s a vehicle for Alice Patterson, who is among the Religious Right leaders hoping that the right kind of outreach will get African American Christians to start voting more conservatively. Patterson is an “apostle” affiliated with the dominionist New Apostolic Reformation who believes the Democratic Party is controlled by demons. Her mission has been described as bringing NAR’s views into government, which is why she organized The Response, the dominionist-heavy prayer rally that was supposed to launch Rick Perry into the White House.  

How Prayer Ended the Drought in Texas and Stopped the BP Oil Spill

As we have noted before, Rick Scarborough of Vision America is organizing an effort called 40 Days to Save America which seeks to mobilize Christians who will engage in forty days of prayer, fasting and repentance leading up to the election. As part of the organizing effort, Scarborough has been hosting conference calls featuring Republican members of Congress and Religious Right leaders. 

Earlier this month, Scarborough teamed up for a call with David Barton, who discussed the importance and effectiveness of prayer and fasting, which then prompted a discussion between the two about how Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer rally ended the drought in Texas as well as how prayer controlled the BP oil spill along the Gulf Coast:

Scarborough: Our Governor here in the state of Texas called for a day of prayer and fasting last May. We were at the height of a drought that meteorologists were telling us was part of a cycle that would last perhaps for a number of years and that it would take us years to get our lake levels back up and so forth. It occurs to me that, not immediately, but after that prayer event that thirty thousand people participated in, we started getting rain and in less than a year, our lakes are full, our fields are brimming. A lot of people seem not to connect the dots on that, but we've got a fresh illustration of how God honors prayer.

Barton: Yeah, that's one of those many things that historians will looks back upon and say 'look at the correlation.' But I look back over the last few years at Sonny Perdue of Georgia who called, in the middle of their drought - that was an unprecedented century drought that they had there - he called for prayer and within three days they had rain falling in Georgia again. They're back in good condition.

I recall what happened with the oil spill in the Gulf, how all the Gulf governors except for Charlie Crist of Florida got together and called for a time of prayer that God would mitigate the damage of that and cause that thing to be sealed. And guess what? All the expected damage along the shorelines to all the wildlife, it didn't happen.

Next Religious Right Prayer Event in the Capitol's Statuary Hall

Yesterday, Pastor Dan Cummins spoke to Chelsen Vicari of Concerned Women for America to publicize a May 8th prayer event, hosted by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and endorsed by Speaker John Boehner, in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall that Cummins said was inspired by Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s The Response:

CWA is sponsoring a similar event called “Prayer in the People’s House,” and Cummis mentioned that David Barton, Jim Garlow, Harry Jackson, Alveda King and Doug Stringer, all of whom also participated in The Response, will be leading the prayer meeting in the Capitol:

Cummins: As part of the activities for National Day of Prayer, we are inviting members of the Congress, of the House and Senate, and their staff, to participate in this prayer event in probably the most sacred hall of the Capitol, Statuary Hall.

Vicari: That sounds fabulous, in conjunction to this event there is an event that our listeners can actually partake in and that’s Prayer in the People’s House, can you tell us about that?

Cummins: While we are having this event in the Capitol, in fact, let me first tell you some of the speakers that will be participating in this event for our members of Congress. Dr. Jim Garlow of Skyline Wesleyan Church and also Renewing American Leadership will be with us, Bishop Harry Jackson from High Impact Leadership, Dr. Doug Stringer of Somebody Cares International, Dr. Alveda King from Priest for Life, and everybody knows historian David Barton.

Barton of course is best known for his revisionist, pro-Republican writings about American history, Garlow and Jackson for their staunch anti-gay activism, King for her role in the anti-choice movement, and Stringer, who was heavily involved in putting together The Response, for blaming the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on abortion rights and homosexuality.

NAR Critic Slams James Dobson and 'Pro-Family Leaders' for 'Giving Credibility to False Teachers'

Earlier today we reported on the appearance of the International House of Prayer’s Lou Engle on James Dobson’s radio show Family Talk, where Dobson, who appeared at Engle’s The Call: San Diego prayer rally to mobilize support Proposition 8, endorsed Engle’s latest prayer rally in Dallas, Texas. But the growing connections between Religious Right leaders and New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and dominionist figures like Engle have enraged influential conservative Christian commentator Brannon Howse of Worldview Weekend. Last year, Howse strongly denounced Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally, and the American Family Association, which co-hosted the event, even forced broadcasters who appeared on the AFA’s radio network to cut ties with Howse.

On his radio show this week, Howse laced into Dobson for consolidating his partnership with Engle, arguing that Dobson’s collaboration with Engle is an example of how “pro-family leaders” are “giving credibility to false teachers.” He also cited evangelist John MacArthur’s criticism of NAR, saying they are “blaspheming the Holy Ghost.”

Howse concludes by warning that Religious Right leaders have no interest in learning more about NAR’s theology, and that their activism “is how you destroy a culture and speed up God’s judgment”:

Howse: You’re going to listen to Lou Engle, Jim Dobson, on what’s biblical? Would you know what was biblical or not biblical coming out of the mouth of Lou Engle? Are you enough of a Verian, Jim Dobson, that you would know whether what he was saying was biblical or not? Because this is the kind of stuff that Lou Engle has said, are you ready?

If we actually have The Call and you don’t sustain prayer ongoing you open a vacuum for demons seven times worse to come in, if black and white can’t move together in prayer and sustain it, forget it let’s not even go there, you get demons seven times worse.

Demons seven times worse? So if we actually have The Call he says and you don’t sustain prayer ongoing you open a vacuum for demons seven times worse? Where is that in the Bible? Where is that in the Bible? So does Dobson agree with his? Does Dobson agree with IHOP? Does Dobson agree with contemplative prayer and the things that are being promoted within the New Apostolic Reformation? Does he agree with blaspheming the Holy Ghost, because that’s what [John] MacArthur says these guys are doing, and I agree with MacArthur, does Dobson even know this? Or is this exactly the kind of example I’ve been trying to paint for the church in America today is you better be very careful who you’re listening to, just because they’re popular doesn’t mean they’re right.

Do you understand when I tell you that some of the biggest pro-family leaders in America I believe have become some of the biggest potential threats to the true Bible-believing church by the fact that they’re giving credibility, I believe, this is my opinion you can agree or disagree, but I believe they are giving credibility to false teachers. John MacArthur, again, says they are blaspheming the Holy Ghost. And you wonder why I get so fired up and why I don’t have any patience and tolerance for this anymore when these people have been warned, when I specifically have warned many of them myself with phone calls to them, when there are search engines and there are organizations that write papers, people who have been a part of IHOP who have left and who have written extensive reports and papers?

But as so many of these guys would tell me ‘oh we’re not a theological group, we have to work with lots of people to reclaim the culture.’ Folks, if embracing false teachers is how you reclaim the culture I don’t want to be a part of it. Secondly, it’s not how you reclaim the culture, I think God’s Word tells us, Romans 1, this is how you destroy a culture and speed up God’s judgment.

While Santorum wins Religious Right Support, No Signs of 'Strong Consensus'

Did social conservative leaders come together and jointly endorse Rick Santorum at the Texas retreat over the weekend? That is the way Family Research Council president Tony Perkins and many in the media interpreted the meeting of leading Religious Right luminaries, where on the second ballot Santorum led Gingrich 70 to 49, and on the third ballot 85 to 29. Perkins claimed there was a “strong consensus” behind Santorum, who has won the backing of Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Young Nance, former National Organization for Marriage president Maggie Gallagher, American Values president Gary Bauer and the expected endorsement of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.

But have Religious Right leaders really coalesced around Santorum?

Gingrich has locked in the support of prominent social conservative leaders: Concerned Women for America founder and chairman Beverly LaHaye; Council for National Policy founder and author Tim LaHaye; American Family Association founder and chairman Don Wildmon; Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver; California pastor and Proposition 8 organizer Jim Garlow; evangelical pollster George Barna; Restoration Project organizer David Lane and pastor and former congressman J.C. Watts.

Gingrich supporters have even claimed that the third ballot, which showed Santorum winning handling, occurred after many leaders left the meeting and that some Santorum boosters were involved with “ballot-box stuffing.” Bob Vander Plaats, an early Santorum endorser, told Bryan Fischer on Focal Point that the Texas gathering only showed “divided support” between Santorum and Gingrich, and Red State’s Erick Erickson, who attended the meeting, said that “it was divided with many thinking Gingrich is the only one who can win.”

The real loser of the meeting was Texas Governor Rick Perry, who won just three votes in the first ballot. Major Religious Right leaders gathered in Texas last summer where they urged Perry to run for president. Dobson, Perkins, Garlow, Nance and other Religious Right figures all appeared with Perry at his The Response prayer rally and after Perry announced his candidacy, he courted a group of social conservative activists including Perkins, Dobson, Garlow at the Texas ranch of mega-donor James Leininger. John Stemberger, the head of the Florida Family Policy Council who was a Perry campaign chairman, has now even switched his support from Perry to Santorum.

While it remains to be seen if social conservatives will really “coalesce” behind Santorum, it is clear that the Religious Right leadership that begged Perry to enter the race has now utterly abandoned him.

Candidate Rick Perry to Speak at 'Apolitical' The Response: South Carolina

In the lead up to The Response in Houston back in August, organizers of the prayer rally and Rick Perry himself said the event had absolutely nothing to do with politics, even though the Texas Governor was actively preparing his presidential campaign at the time and announced his bid seven days after The Response.

Now, The Response is holding events in early Republican primary states, including one last month in Iowa and two prayer rallies in the next major GOP contests, South Carolina and Florida, and presidential candidate Rick Perry will be the special guest at the event in Greenville, which will take place just days before the primary vote:

Of course, having a presidential candidate who has made South Carolina the last stand of his campaign address the prayer event flies in the face of everything The Response organizers and Perry said about the “apolitical” nature of The Response. Perry’s office said in a statement publicizing The Response, which he headed along with the far-right American Family Association, that it was decidedly “apolitical”:

Gov. Rick Perry has proclaimed Saturday, Aug. 6th, as a Day of Prayer and Fasting for our Nation to seek God's guidance and wisdom in addressing the challenges that face our communities, states and nation. He has invited governors across the country to join him on Aug. 6th to participate in The Response, a non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting hosted by the American Family Association at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Gov. Perry also urged fellow governors to issue similar proclamations encouraging their constituents to pray that day for unity and righteousness for our states, nation and mankind.

Don Wildmon, the founder of the AFA even claimed that “no political candidates will be speaking” at The Response, and organizer Doug Stringer, who called the September 11th attacks divine punishment, said he wouldn’t participate if it advanced anyone’s “political aspirations”:

"The Response is an open event. Anyone who wants to pray to Jesus for a nation in crisis is welcome to attend. Next, The Response is a prayer event, not a political event," Wildmon says. "No political candidates will be speaking. Finally our critics say The Response violates the separation of church and state. The event will be held at a public stadium which has no connection to a religious body."



“I didn’t want to officially be a part of The Response if there was any inkling that this would be anything political or that preaching pontificators would use this as an agenda for their individual denominations or political aspirations,” Stringer says. “But the governor said it’s going to stay pure. You can’t buy your way or influence your way to the platform.”

But Luis Cataldo of The Response and the International House of Prayer today told the Christian Post that he is bringing the prayer rally in primary states so the campaign can “reflect the values of the evangelical church”:

The Response Director Luis Cataldo acknowledged to The Christian Post that its schedule is intentionally aligned to that of the primaries. And The Response, he said, is definitely about influence.

“We are trying to influence the primary race in that the [current] moral climate, the legislation doesn’t reflect the values of the evangelical church,” Cataldo revealed.



“That was one of the things we most said at the beginning that we’re not political people, we’re praying people,” said Cataldo. But he added, “Prayer must be followed by action.”

Many of the original organizers of The Response had high hopes for Perry, with Lou Engle even saying that Perry’s presidential campaign announcement caused God to end the drought in Texas, but as his presidential bid has badly floundered, even Wildmon, the official host of The Response, has abandoned him.

Candidate Rick Perry to Speak at 'Apolitical' The Response: South Carolina

In the lead up to The Response in Houston back in August, organizers of the prayer rally and Rick Perry himself said the event had absolutely nothing to do with politics, even though the Texas Governor was actively preparing his presidential campaign at the time and announced his bid seven days after The Response.

Now, The Response is holding events in early Republican primary states, including one last month in Iowa and two prayer rallies in the next major GOP contests, South Carolina and Florida, and presidential candidate Rick Perry will be the special guest at the event in Greenville, which will take place just days before the primary vote:

Of course, having a presidential candidate who has made South Carolina the last stand of his campaign address the prayer event flies in the face of everything The Response organizers and Perry said about the “apolitical” nature of The Response. Perry’s office said in a statement publicizing The Response, which he headed along with the far-right American Family Association, that it was decidedly “apolitical”:

Gov. Rick Perry has proclaimed Saturday, Aug. 6th, as a Day of Prayer and Fasting for our Nation to seek God's guidance and wisdom in addressing the challenges that face our communities, states and nation. He has invited governors across the country to join him on Aug. 6th to participate in The Response, a non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting hosted by the American Family Association at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Gov. Perry also urged fellow governors to issue similar proclamations encouraging their constituents to pray that day for unity and righteousness for our states, nation and mankind.

Don Wildmon, the founder of the AFA even claimed that “no political candidates will be speaking” at The Response, and organizer Doug Stringer, who called the September 11th attacks divine punishment, said he wouldn’t participate if it advanced anyone’s “political aspirations”:

"The Response is an open event. Anyone who wants to pray to Jesus for a nation in crisis is welcome to attend. Next, The Response is a prayer event, not a political event," Wildmon says. "No political candidates will be speaking. Finally our critics say The Response violates the separation of church and state. The event will be held at a public stadium which has no connection to a religious body."



“I didn’t want to officially be a part of The Response if there was any inkling that this would be anything political or that preaching pontificators would use this as an agenda for their individual denominations or political aspirations,” Stringer says. “But the governor said it’s going to stay pure. You can’t buy your way or influence your way to the platform.”

But Luis Cataldo of The Response and the International House of Prayer today told the Christian Post that he is bringing the prayer rally in primary states so the campaign can “reflect the values of the evangelical church”:

The Response Director Luis Cataldo acknowledged to The Christian Post that its schedule is intentionally aligned to that of the primaries. And The Response, he said, is definitely about influence.

“We are trying to influence the primary race in that the [current] moral climate, the legislation doesn’t reflect the values of the evangelical church,” Cataldo revealed.



“That was one of the things we most said at the beginning that we’re not political people, we’re praying people,” said Cataldo. But he added, “Prayer must be followed by action.”

Many of the original organizers of The Response had high hopes for Perry, with Lou Engle even saying that Perry’s presidential campaign announcement caused God to end the drought in Texas, but as his presidential bid has badly floundered, even Wildmon, the official host of The Response, has abandoned him.

Divided Religious Right Leaders may ask Presidential Candidates to Withdraw

Divided Religious Right Leaders may ask Presidential Candidates to Withdraw With Religious Right leaders set to meet in Texas about the GOP presidential primary, divisions within the movement may hinder efforts to put on a united front. Just as in 2008, when many social conservatives were divided and John McCain was able to win the Republican nomination, it looks like discord and delay will doom any chance that this meeting will be a game-changer.

Elizabeth Dias of TIME reports that Don Wildmon, the founder of the American Family Association who was an early supporter of Rick Perry but has since endorsed Newt Gingrich, told invited guests that they must be prepared to switch which candidate they support so as not to “not divide our strength.” Dias also reports that there “is a rumor among several invitees that the leaders may ask a candidate to withdraw” from the race:

Some 125 evangelical leaders and their spouses will gather this weekend at a Texas ranch to discuss the latest iteration of Operation What To Do About Mitt Romney. While organizers say it is not a meeting to stop the GOP front runner, the invitation is urgent: “This coming election could prove to be the most critical of our lifetime,” it reads. The real kicker: Event sponsor and former American Family Association chairman Don Wildmon has asked invitees if they would be “be willing to compromise and change your choice to one that the body as a whole supports in order to not divide our strength,” according to someone who has received the invitation. The implication? Time’s running out to anoint a consensus candidate for social conservatives.

Getting all the members of this group, let alone the voters of South Carolina, behind this proposition in the middle of January will likely require an act of God. Evangelical votes and donations are already splintered between Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum. (Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman, despite their second and third place finishes in New Hampshire, will not be under consideration at the ranch outside Houston this weekend.) There is a rumor among several invitees that the leaders may ask a candidate to withdraw, but entrenched loyalties will make it difficult to settle on one or possibly two contenders to take to the fall. Wildmon financed Perry’s “Response” prayer rally this summer, and event organizer Gary Bauer, a former Family Research Council president and a U.S.-presidential hopeful in 2000, endorsed Santorum at a South Carolina campaign event this past Sunday.

Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times found that Religious Right leaders are trying to make sure that they don’t come across as hostile to Mitt Romney as he inches closer to winning the nomination, noting that Romney’s evangelical supporters will be present:

Gary L. Bauer, president of American Values and one of the organizers, said Tuesday in an interview, “We’re not forming some alliance to stop somebody else that’s competing for the nomination,” adding, “the only person in that room the people want to stop is Barack Obama from having a second term.”

Mr. Bauer, it happens, will be supporting Mr. Santorum, whom he endorsed and campaigned with last week. But Mr. Bauer said the meeting would include advocates “for all of the candidates, including Romney.” Mr. Romney’s advocates are expected to be working the room aggressively.

For some insider knowledge, AFA spokesman and Perry-cheerleader Bryan Fischer urged his allies to all rally around the Texas governor despite his extraordinarily low place in the polls and beyond-terrible debate performances:

The only alternative to this scenario is if social conservatives are able to rally around Rick Perry. Newt Gingrich is fatally flawed and bleeding from too many self-inflicted wounds, including morphing into Michael Moore in his attacks on free enterprise. Rick Santorum, despite his unapologetic and vigorous social conservatism, does not have the infrastructure, the organization, or the money to run a nationwide campaign. He will not even be on the ballot in four or five states.

Only Rick Perry combines effective executive experience, a proven record of economic vitality, a consistently conservative set of social values, and the structure and fund-raising capacity to defeat Romney in the primary and Obama in the general. He or Santorum could blunt some of the Ron Paul mania and keep many conservatives from defecting to Paul. But Perry finished fifth in Iowa, was barely a blip in New Hampshire, and is polling at five percent in South Carolina.

Rick Perry's Gay-Baiting Ad Lauded by Anti-Gay Leaders

Rick Perry’s desperate ad attacking openly gay service members and criticizing President Obama’s purported “war on religion” has quickly become one of the most disliked videos on YouTube, but it has found a few unsurprising fans: anti-gay zealots in the Religious Right. The ad even divided Perry’s own campaign staff with one pollster calling it “nuts”:

But vilifying gay soldiers and stoking fears about the administration’s supposed hostility to religion is common currency in the Religious Right.

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer said that the ad’s hostile reception on YouTube proves that Perry is a good candidate for Christian conservative voters: “Perry’s ad had triggered an astonishing 637,738 dislikes to just 19,792 likes by 10:53 Eastern time this morning, clearly stamping him as the candidate the vengeful, hate-filled, vitriolic homosexual lobby wants to destroy,” Fischer wrote today. “If you’re looking for your values candidate, conservatives, you may have just found him.” On his radio show last week, Fischer even said that AFA founder and chairman emeritus Don Wildmon, who led The Response prayer rally with Perry, called the ad “the best political ad he’s ever seen.”

Wildmon’s son Tim, the current head of the AFA, agreed with Todd Starnes of Fox News that the ad might help Perry consolidate support among conservative voters and propel Perry to the top of the polls. Starnes predicted “that we are going to see a bump in the poll numbers as the result of this ad, they may not give this ad credit but if you see a rise in the numbers I think it is because of this ad,” saying that it “articulated” how evangelical Christians in America feel:

The Family Research Council even promoted the ad to members and dismissed concerns that it would backfire on the Texas governor, whom they claim is in touch with “everyday Americans”:

Rick Perry's latest ad was intended for Iowa, but thanks to the national media, it's airing on every network in America. A number of pundits are panning the spot for its bold social conservative themes, which they insist will hurt the Texas Governor's chances. "I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian," Gov. Perry says, "but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school." The ad is called "Strong," and that's the kind of message it sends on issues like religious freedom. "As President, I'll end Obama's war on religion. And I'll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage." True, Gov. Perry probably wouldn't win the media's vote with that kind of platform--but he does stand to benefit with everyday Americans who are tired of seeing their values in the line of fire under this administration.

Will Matt Barber Take Janet Mefferd to Task for Her Anti-Dominionist Activism?

As we noted in our earlier post, Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber joined Janet Mefferd to rail against the Obama administration for attempting to defend the rights of gays and lesbians abroad. But Barber’s appearance on Mefferd’s radio program was notable for another reason. Mefferd has used her show to speak about the dangers of dominionism, while Barber claims that dominionism does not exist and anyone who worries about it is “no different than 9/11-truthers, global-warmers or Holocaust-deniers.”

As we’ve noted, many of the dominionists’ biggest critics are other conservative Christians, including Mefferd, who invited Robert Bowman of the Institute for Religious Research to discuss the movement on her program and the ties between dominionists and Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally. On the program, Mefferd and Bowman outlined dominionists’ beliefs, the New Apostolic Reformation and the “Seven Mountains” ideology, warned against Christians participating in events like The Response that are affiliated with dominionist leaders and groups, and claimed that traditional Religious Right groups working with dominionists represented an unfortunate and “strange turn of events” for the conservative movement.

One group that has worked with dominionists includes Barber’s Liberty Counsel, who sponsored the “2010 Sovereignty and Dominion conference - Biblical Blueprints for Victory!” with American Vision, and hosted figures associated with the dominionist movement including Lou Engle, Cindy Jacobs and Rick Joyner at their Awakening conference.

But since Mefferd is actively criticizing the dominionist movement, surely Barber will include her with the likes of Rachel Maddow, Michelle Goldberg and RWW’s own Kyle Mantyla, whom Barber called out in an article attacking people who, just like Mefferd, are speaking out against dominionism:

Now, you may laugh. You may think these anti-Christian “Dominioners” like Maddow, Goldberg and Mantyla – these fearless progressives risking all to sound the alarm on the rising threat of Christian Dominionism – are just a bunch of liberal, tinfoil hat-wearing kooks.

You might believe they’re merely a left-wing gaggle of tattooed, body-pierced pot-brownie pies in pajamas, no different than 9/11-truthers, global-warmers or Holocaust-deniers.

Oh, you may suppose these liberal Dominioners – daring beyond measure – are simply a batty band of anti-Christian bigots and Daily-Kos-, MSNBC-types looking to smear Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and other GOP presidential hopefuls as a bunch of clandestine theocrats bent on Christian world domination.

Maybe Barber will next time use his platform on The Janet Mefferd Show not to attack gays and lesbians but instead to chastise Mefferd for investigating and warning against dominionism.

PFAW: Rick Perry's Prayer Rally, Sponsored by Intolerance

Texas Gov. Rick Perry today held The Response prayer rally, an event he organized with the the American Family Association, a group with a history of intolerance toward gays and lesbians, Muslims, Native Americans and progressives.

Perry Rally Spokesman Says Event is Meant to Convert Non-Christians; PFAW Urges Governor to Drop Support

Today, a spokesman for “The Response,” a rally spearheaded by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, told American Family Radio that the event would be open to people of all faiths…but with the goal of encouraging non-Christians to “seek out the living Christ.”
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