Bobby Jindal's Extremist Prayer Rally Brings Together Prophets, Bigots And Far-Right Activists

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who only a few years ago was lamenting the GOP’s decline into “the stupid party,” is now staking out a position on the party’s far-right fringe in preparation for an expected run for the presidency. Jindal has reached out to the party’s increasingly extreme base by undermining the teaching of evolution in public schools; promoting wild conspiracy theories about Common Core, an effort to adjust school standards that he supported before it became the target of the Tea Party’s fury; and hyping the purported persecution of Christians in America, specifically citing the plight of Christians with reality television shows.

Jindal, once hailed as the GOP’s top intellectual and reformer who denounced “dumbed-down conservatism” in an era of Tea Party populism, is slated to lead a prayer rally this weekend, “The Response: Baton Rouge,” organized and sponsored by some of the most extreme figures within the party.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry organized the original “Response” prayer gathering as a prelude to his 2012 presidential bid, allying with many of the same radical activists and organizations who are supporting Jindal’s version of the rally. While Perry’s campaign ultimately imploded, the people who helped put together his prayer rally credited it for various miracles. Jindal’s event has even recycled promotional materials from the Texas rally, including a “prayer guide” blaming marriage equality for Hurricane Katrina and the 2011 Joplin tornado.

“The Response” is being organized by David Lane, a Religious Right activist who boasts of his great influence and low profile, and various conservative pastors, including several who claim to be modern-day prophets and apostles, who all kicked off the prayer rally with an event at the Louisiana governor’s mansion earlier this month. The American Family Association, so notorious for its apoplectic anti-gay rhetoric and opposition to the freedoms of non-Christians that its chief spokesman earned a rebuke from Mitt Romney, is putting up the funding.

The organizers

David Lane, a self-styled “political operative” who gloats that he has “operated since 2005 largely under the radar” on behalf of conservative causes and Republican candidates, is serving as the organizational muscle behind Jindal’s prayer rally.

Jindal isn’t the only potential GOP candidate who is getting Lane’s help; Lane has also arranged various events focused on energizing conservative pastors in early GOP primary states that have featured appearances from potential presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee. He also organized overseas tours with various conservative activists for likely candidates including Huckabee, Perry and Paul. Lane has also teamed up with the Republican National Committee, whose chairman, Reince Priebus, sings his praises.

Lane hopes to use “The Response” as a launching pad for his effort to recruit 1,000 pastors to run for elected office.

Lane, who has connections to the top of the Republican Party, has views which are far out of the mainstream. He has:

  • called on conservatives to attack Mitt Romney for worshiping “the false god of Mormonism”;
  • warned that LGBT rights are creating an unparalleled “crisis” leading to “our utter destruction” as a nation;
  • forecasted America’s destruction as a result of “the pagan onslaught imposing homosexual marriage” and “homosexual scouts”;
  • declared that “our long-term strategy must be to place the Bible in Public Schools as the principle [sic] textbook of American education”;
  • and predicted that “homosexuals praying at the Inauguration” in 2013 would lead to divine punishment in the form of “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa.”

The American Family Association, classified as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is providing the financial backbone for Jindal’s prayer rally, as it did for Perry’s 2011 event.

The group’s chief spokesman, Bryan Fischer, has won nationwide notoriety for his remarks about homosexuality and religious and ethnic minorities, which he shares on his daily program on the AFA’s radio network. Fischer has:

Other AFA officials have blamed gay people for natural disasters like Hurricane Isaacpromoted birther conspiracy theories and railed against secular Jews as threats to America.

The “apostles”

The latter half of Rick Perry’s “The Response” prayer rally was emceed by a self-proclaimed prophet who believes Oprah Winfrey is the harbinger of the Antichrist.

It looks like Jindal’s rally will be no different: Doug Stringer, who considers himself to be a modern-day apostle and who also worked on Perry’s rally, is spearheading the Louisiana event. Stringer has blamed American “[l]icentiousness or moral looseness to the degree that it is ‘in your face,’ including homosexuality,” for the September 11, 2001 attacks, which he described as a “wake-up call” from God.

Another self-proclaimed prophet, Cindy Jacobs, is also featured on “The Response: Baton Rouge” website. Jacobs has quite the prophetic record. She:

  • suggested that legal victories for marriage equality advocates led to Hurricane Sandy and other natural disasters;
  • proclaimed that Rick Perry’s “The Response” prayer rally “broke the curses on the land” of Texas brought on by “the Native American people [who] were cannibals and they ate people”;

Jim Garlow, a prominent “The Response: Baton Rouge” endorser who is involved in the “apostolic” movement, has been a leader of the movement against LGBT rights. Garlow has:

One event sponsor, Jennifer LeClaire, has used her column in Charisma News to broadcast several “prophetic” warnings about the evils of homosexuality and the “gay agenda” that is “working overtime to send millions to hell.” LeClaire has:

  • and claimed that gay people are possessed by a demonic “spirit of immorality” that “often enters in through some sort of abuse and the lies of the enemy [Satan] that follow.”

The activists

“The Response: Baton Rouge” has also featured endorsements from a slew of conservative politicians. Tamara Scott, as a member of the Republican National Committee representing Iowa and leader of the Iowa chapter of Concerned Women for America, is a key political player in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. But her political clout doesn’t hide her unbridled extremism. Scott has:

  • characterized young Central American immigrants as “highly trained warriors” who could “rise up against us as Americans”;
  • and suggested that Muslim-Americans are waging a “stealth jihad” to overthrow the U.S.

Another official “Response” endorser, longtime conservative activist and failed Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia E.W. Jackson, has pushed similarly radical views, particularly on gay rights, saying that “homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of.” He has also:

  • said of gay people: “Their minds are perverted, they’re frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally”;
  • warned that homosexuality will bring about a “torrent of wickedness,” including human-animal marriages;

Gene Mills, leader of the Louisiana Family Forum and another key “Response” endorser, is a vocal ally of Jindal’s who helped push the governor’s policies undermining public education and promoting religious schooling. It’s no surprise that Mills leads the state’s foremost anti-LGBT group, as he has:

  • asserted that homosexuality is not a sexual orientation but a “disorder”;
  • falsely claimed that anti-gay speech is now classified as hate crimes;
  • said that abuse shelters should turn away transgender victims of spousal abuse;
  • and explained that anti-gay discrimination is a myth because “the reality is the shame and the guilt the homosexual feels is mistakenly reinterpreted as discrimination and what they attempt to do is to call it discrimination and prohibit it.”

Jindal's Comments On Muslims Win Plaudits From Christian Nationalist Allies

As we have been reporting, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is currying favor with conservative evangelical voters by hosting “The Response,” a prayer rally at Louisiana State University on Saturday that has been organized by Christian-nation activist David Lane and paid for by the anti-gay American Family Association.  Yesterday, Lane’s American Renewal Project sent out an email rapturously praising Jindal for his recent comments about Muslims, in which Jindal insisted that it is not enough for Muslim leaders to denounce terrorist violence. They must, Jindal said, declare that those committing violence will go to hell.

“We need to understand the challenge we face in radical Islam...In many ways, you’re looking at folks who want to come, and in some ways, overturn our culture. They want to come in and almost colonize our countries. I think we’ve got to stop those people from coming into our country. But unfortunately, today the politically correct view is to say that anybody that says that is viewed as being culturally arrogant, as being insensitive, having a colonial perspective. I think that’s wrong.”

Lane was beside himself with excitement. “This is E-P-I-C,” he gushed. “Bobby Jindal speaks the truth.” Lane went on to complain that previous presidents have not been willing to say that Islam itself – not just radical or extremist Islam – “opposes Western values.”

Lane, who believes America was founded by and for Christians, goes on to slam both secularism and religious pluralism:

America’s predicament in 2015 is driven by the fact that we have “Forgotten the name of our God”, the first step toward apostasy; then we adore the false. Secularism is paganism clothed in tolerance, its ubiquitous chant, “We are a pluralistic society,” is not the same nation bequeathed to us by our Founders.

Jindal’s other prayer rally partner, the American Family Association, is also not big on religious pluralism. The AFA’s chief spokesman, radio host Bryan Fischer, insists that the First Amendment’s religious liberty protections apply only to people he considers Christians, not to Muslims, Hindus, or Mormons.

Jindal has also recently decried supposed Muslim-only “no-go zones” in Europe even after Fox News retracted and apologized for similar claims. 

Anti-LGBT Activist Attacks Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt's Parenting

Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality is furious that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have supported their firstborn’s desire to be called John, claiming their decision is the latest in a string of “destructive ideas” from the LGBT rights movement that “are ruining people’s lives.”

LaBarbera told conservative talk show host Janet Mefferd earlier this week that it’s LGBT rights advocates, not the Religious Right, who should apologize to gay and transgender people.

“Now we learn that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s beautiful daughter, Shiloh, wants to be called John and be a boy, and they’re apparently going to accommodate this,” LaBarbera said, adding:

Then we learn that Bruce Jenner, the Olympic decathlete, this stud athlete, looks like he’s transitioning to become a woman. In other words, ideas have consequences. We’re all sick of this all-gay, all-the-time promotion, and now this transgender confusion revolution. We’re all sick of it but it has consequences. I actually witnessed a 20-something girl who wanted to be a man who had her healthy breasts removed by a surgeon, I’ve seen that in person. These destructive ideas are ruining people’s lives and yet all we hear is constantly this guilt being foisted on us by the homosexual and the transgender lobby. We’re the ones who are supposed to feel guilty. Why don’t they feel guilty when a young healthy female has her healthy breasts removed to become so-called a trans man? I don’t see the homosexual lobby and the transgender lobby apologizing for that incredibly disgusting and dangerous thing. It’s just a sad, tragic thing happening to these young people.

LaBarbera also likened being transgender to believing you are a car: “Just because somebody believes they are something doesn’t make that who they think they are. That’s just bizarre thinking. I think I’m a car, I think I’m a woman, I can become a woman. This is anti-reason thinking.”

Mike Huckabee & Jim Bakker: Christians Are Second Class Citizens In America

Yesterday, Jim Bakker posted the second part of his recent interview with Mike Huckabee, who stopped by the disgraced televangelist’s show to promote his book “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy.” Huckabee agreed with Bakker’s assessment that “Christians have become second-class citizens in our nation,” which led him to rant about the so-called War on Christmas and the Hobby Lobby case.

“Now it seems like we will protect the rights of almost any religion except Christians,” Huckabee said.

So fearful of anti-Christian persecution is Bakker that he said he was “afraid” that “the government will come for us” because he criticizes Obamacare on television.

Huckabee and Bakker repeatedly accused the government of forcing Hobby Lobby to cover “abortifacients” in its health insurance plans, with Huckabee arguing that the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage requirements jeopardize freedom and liberty.

This is indisputably untrue, as abortifacients are excluded from the contraception mandate. As Mother Jones explained last year, the morning-after pill, which is not an abortifacient, was actually covered in Hobby Lobby’s insurance plans “until the mandate became a political issue.”

The magazine reported that at the time it filed its lawsuit against the contraception coverage mandate, Hobby Lobby’s “employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions.”

Mike Huckabee Plans To Run For President To Fight The Secular Theocracy

Mike Huckabee was the guest again this morning on James Robison's "Life Today" television program, where he declared that he is thinking about running for president in order to fight what Robison called the "secular theocracy" that is destroying Christian liberty in America.

"We've divorced ourselves from an understanding that we cannot survive as a republic if we do not become once again a God-centered nation that understands that our laws do not come from man, they come from God," Huckabee said. "It is the natural law of God."

After insisting that he is not intending to create a theocracy, Robison piped up to declare that "we have a theocracy right now; it is a secular theocracy" and Huckabee readily agreed.

"That's it!" Huckabee said. "It is a humanistic, secular, atheistic, and even antagonistic toward Christian faith, and that's what we need to understand. Our basic fundamental rights are being robbed from us, taken from us piece by piece."

Later, Huckabee asked for the audience to pray that God's hand will be upon him as he decides whether to run for president.

"The only thing worse than not being elected president would be to be elected president without God's blessing," he said. "I can't think of a worse place in the world to be than in the Oval Office without God's hand upon you. I'd rather not get near the place."

Lindsey Graham Tells Anti-Choice Activists: Need To Find 'Way Out Of This Definitional Problem With Rape'

Sen. Lindsey Graham, chief Senate sponsor of the GOP’s effort to undermine Roe by banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, spoke this morning to the Family Research Council’s “ProLifeCon,” about the House GOP’s decision to cancel a vote on its version of the bill that had been planned for today. The House leadership pulled the plug on the vote in response to protests from some Republican women who objected to a provision that exempted rape survivors from the ban only if they report the rape to police. Some anti-choice groups have objected to including a rape exception in the bill at all, a last-minute addition after the bill’s previous House sponsor, Trent Franks, implied that women who are raped rarely get pregnant.

Graham acknowledged that opponents of rape exceptions are being “intellectually consistent and honest about ‘the baby is the baby’” but argued that banning rape survivors from accessing abortion is a political impossibility: “Some of us who have these exceptions do so in a democratic society believing that there are some places we will not go.”

“I’m going to need your help to find a way out of this definitional problem with rape,” he told the audience, saying that his plan was to hold a Senate vote on a Democratic bill aimed at pushing back on state-level abortion clinic “TRAP” laws in order to show that it’s Democrats who are “extreme” on abortion rights.

“The rape exception will be part of the bill…We just need to find a way definitionally to not get us in a spot where we’re debating about what a legitimate rape is, that’s not the cause that we’re in,” he said.

This post has been updated with additional details of Graham's speech. 

Minnesota Congressman Invites Right-Wing Leader To Visit Minneapolis's Non-Existent No-Go Zones

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins is pretty sure that several neighborhoods in Minneapolis, along with the entire city of Dearborn, Michigan, have become “no-go zones” where Sharia law has effectively replaced the authority of the U.S. government:

Well, now Perkins has an opportunity to see the (non-existent) no-go zones for himself.

In reaction to Perkins’ remarks, which were first reported by Right Wing Watch, Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, has invited Perkins to tour Minneapolis and meet with the Muslim residents of the city, reassuring him that the city is “completely under the jurisdiction of local, state, and federal authorities.” Ellison posted a copy of his invitation to Perkins on Twitter yesterday:

Dear Mr. Perkins:

I am writing regarding your recent comments about my hometown. As you know, I represent the 5th district, of Minnesota which includes most of Minneapolis. You recently said that you believe parts of our city are so called “no-go zones” where state and federal laws are subordinate to Sharia Law. Having lived in Minneapolis for over two decades, I can assure you this is not true. But I would like you to come see firsthand that Minneapolis is an inclusive and thriving city completely under the jurisdiction of local, state, and federal authorities. The Muslim Americans in Minneapolis help make our vibrant and diverse place to live.

If you accept my invitation it may represent an important step toward interfaith understanding. I would be glad to organize meetings with local and federal enforcement as well as community leaders.

Anti-Choice Activists Furious About GOP's Reversal On 20-Week Abortion Ban

Yesterday, Republican leaders in the House decided to pull a plan to vote on a national ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy after Republican women balked at a provision that would have exempted rape survivors only if they reported their assault to the police. The vote had been planned to coincide with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the anti-choice March for Life on the National Mall.

Anti-choice activists are, predictably, furious. After all, many saw the rape and incest exception as an unacceptable compromise in the first place. The bill, originally proposed by Rep. Trent Franks last year, included only an exception for abortions that could save the life of the pregnant woman. After Franks claimed in a hearing that “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low,” GOP leaders quietly added a rape exception to the bill and picked a Republican woman, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, to handle the vote on the House floor.

Rep. Steve King of Iowa told the National Journal yesterday that he would fix the problem by eliminating the rape exception entirely: "I would not make exceptions for rape and incest, and then the reporting requirement would not be necessary.”

After House leaders decided to pull the bill yesterday, prominent anti-choice blogger Jill Stanek and the group Students for Life announced that they were putting together a last-minute protest at the offices of two Republican women, Reps. Renee Ellmers and Jackie Walorski, who reportedly led the fight against the rape reporting provision:

Conservative pundit Erik Erickson, in a late-night blog post, attacked Ellmers for her “two-faced ploy” and shot off a series of tweets giving her the “abortion Barbie” label he had previously bestowed on Wendy Davis:


Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s policy arm, responded with a press release saying he was “disgusted” by the House leadership’s “act of moral cowardice” and urged his supporters to call their members of Congress to protest the “breach of trust.”

“I am disgusted by this act of moral cowardice. If the House Republicans cannot pass something as basic as restricting the abortion of five-month, pain-capable unborn children, what can they get done?

“The Republicans in Congress should come and explain this atrocity to the hundreds of thousands of people gathering here in the nation’s capital to march for life. The congressional Republicans seem to think that pro-lifers will be satisfied with Ronald Reagan rhetoric and Nancy Pelosi results. They are quite wrong.”

House Republicans are now scheduled to vote on a bill Thursday that would prohibit federal funding for abortions. This scheduled vote coincides with the annual March for Life event, held in Washington, D.C., on or around the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing abortion in the case Roe v. Wade.

Conservative columnist Ross Douthat seemed to capture the feelings of many abortion rights opponents:


Right Wing Round-Up - 1/21/15

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 1/21/15

  • Glenn Beck and crew spent last night's State of the Union Address providing sarcastic commentary so that viewers "got to hear just how awful it was in real-time, as it happened." 
  • If we were petty right-wing pundits, we'd ask how Ted Cruz can ever expect to run this nation effectively as president when he can't even manage to post a simple State of the Union response? 
  • Phyllis Schlafly calls upon Congress to "enact laws denying funding and withholding jurisdiction from enforcement of any redefinition of marriage by the federal judiciary."
  • The American Family Association has now launced a companion organization to its OneMillionMoms called, appropriately enough, OneMillionDads.
  • Gov. Bobby Jindal has invited the nation's 49 other governors to join him at this weekend's prayer event.
  • Finally, Gary Cass warns that the "Spiritual State of the Nation" is dire: "A small but militant minority is hell bent on destroying all vestiges of our Christian heritage. Marxist / Secularists have prosecuted their 100 year Cultural Jihad to infiltrate the media, education and politics, especially the courts, and impose their secular fundamentalism. The election and re-election of Barack Obama is sobering proof of their formidable influence."
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