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But what will Christocrats be blamed for?
by JewsOnFirst.org, October 24, 2006
Links to the reports and documents cited here are listed immediately below.
Before the votes have been cast and counted, right-wing Christian leaders are participating in a Republican blame game over responsibility for the party's impending loss of a majority in one or both houses of Congress. The loss --if that's what it will be -- calls into question the future relationship of the GOP with its religious right "base," which many expect to sit out the November 7th election. Meanwhile, fissures have opened in the Christian right over moves by some evangelical leaders to broaden the movement's narrow anti-choice, homophobic agenda.
Religious right leaders are angry at the Republicans for failing to pass legislation to further that agenda. A last minute rush of votes on gay marriage, stem-cell research and public religious displays did little to mollify these leaders. Christocrat leaders are denying that their issues are dragging down the party and ascribing disaffection in their own ranks to the Mark Foley congressional page scandal.
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council told the New York Times that voter enthusiasm on the religious right had begun to revive when the Foley scandal surfaced. Perkins has suggested that "the social agenda of the GOP [has] been stalled by homosexual [Congress] members and or staffers." (See our coverage.)
James Dobson (pictured here), head of Focus on the Family, has been warning Republicans that the religious right could desert the party if it doesn't act on their issues.
Armey calls Dobson bully
Armey said, "The Republicans are talking about things like gay marriage and so forth, and the Democrats are talking about the things people care about, like how do I pay my bills?”
Dobson gave a statement to the Times saying Armey had an old grudge against him.
Gary Bauer, the former Reagan aide and presidential candidate who now runs the American Values group, alleges that the media wants the Democrats to win and "they're not going to tell you" how "liberal" the Democratic candidates are. The media, apparently all in collusion, are also knowingly "undermining American resolve" on the Iraq war, according to Bauer.
Will patriot pastors turn out their flocks?
Media Matters faulted a CBS News report on the election in Ohio for failing to mention the news last week, that Bush officials mocked their religious right allies, according to a new book by Bush staffer David Kuo. Significantly, though, the report speculated that the "patriot pastors" who were activated in the 2004 election (see our earlier coverage) would exhort their congregations to go vote.
Even more significantly, many on the religious right are getting active against global warming. Hundreds of churches have screened a documentary called "The Great Warming." Earlier this month, a coalition of evangelicals began advertising a call to action against global warming.
Bill Moyers reported on this growing movement in his recent PBS documentary Is God Green? Some evangelicals, according to the documentary and news reports, are taking up environmentalism because of its importance to young people, who they worry, are drifting away from their childhood religion.
But sharp divisions have emerged. Focus on the Family and other powerful religious right groups oppose the environmental initiative. Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, Focus on the Family, and the Traditional Values Coalition disparaged the new president of the Christian Coalition, Rev. Joel Hunter, who plans to diversify that near-moribund group's issues.
Several state chapters of the Christian Coalition broke away from the main organization in opposition to Hunter's participation in the global warming advertisements and his other moves to broaden the organization's focus.
In a poingnant moment of his PBS documentary, Bill Moyers relates how a major leader of the global warming initiative, Richard Cizik, could not sign onto the advertisements; the members of the National Association of Evangelicals, where Cizik is a vice president, were just too divided on the issue.
Talking to National Public Radio, Michael Cromartie of the Ethics and Public Policy Center , described the ferment on the religious right: "You're seeing something of the circulation of the elite leadership off the stage," he said. "So there's less dependency on big name personalities like Pat Robertson, or James Dobson or Jerry Falwell but instead there's a dependency on the local pastor or the local leader in the state wide chapter."
by JewsOnFirst, October 16, 2006
The Family Research Council and its religious right allies staged a gay bashing election rally on Sunday October 15th at a Boston church.
There were reportedly only several hundred people in the huge church sanctuary. But Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council which staged the event, said it was beamed out to hundreds of churches and Christian radio stations.
Gov. Mitt Romney (pictured here with his wife) repeated his speech because the simulcast system failed the first time through; Perkins said someone tampered with it.
Broadcast condemns same-sex marriage
Romney urges evangelical fight
By Maria Cramer, The Boston Globe, October 16, 2006
Governor Mitt Romney joined social conservatives and religious leaders at a downtown Boston church last night for a nationwide broadcast that condemned same-sex marriage and called on evangelicals to fight what they see as a threat to Christian beliefs and values.
In a cavernous, gilded room festooned with American flags, speakers described how a ``homosexual agenda" was interfering with the constitutional rights of same-sex marriage opponents to express their dissent and religious freedom.
Romney, a Republican who may run for president in 2008, told several hundred people at the Tremont Temple Baptist Church, ``Every child deserves a mother and a father." Continue.
Social conservatives say gay marriage threatens religious freedom
By Brandie M. Jefferson, The Boston Globe, October 15, 2006
BOSTON --Gov. Mitt Romney displayed the enthusiasm of a preacher Sunday at a Baptist church as he addressed an anti-gay marriage rally of conservative religious leaders who argue that their rights to religious expression are being threatened. Continue.
Gov. condemns gay marriage in simulcast
Vigil held outside church in protest
by Chris Conte, Daily Free Press (Indpendent student newspaper at Boston University), October 16, 2006
Gov. Mitt Romney and wife Ann spoke to thousands of people at the Tremont Temple Baptist Church and via satellite simulcast rallying against gay marriage. The rally met opposition as protesters outside the church held a candlelight vigil and chanted "shame."
Gov. Mitt Romney spoke to millions of Americans via simulcast and to a rallying crowd of nearly 1,000 people at the Tremont Temple Baptist Church last night about the dangers of same-sex marriage while a group of gay rights activists held a candlelit vigil in protest outside the church, chanting "shame."
In his speech -- which was delivered a second time after President of the Family Research Council Tony Perkins said someone tampered with the system simulcasting the event -- Romney said marriage should be exclusive to a man and a woman because that is the only environment which provides a sound environment for raising children. Continue.
Same-sex marriage foes rally in Boston
AP, Advocate.com, October 17, 2006
Conservative religious and political leaders rallied in Boston on Sunday in opposition to same-sex marriage, arguing that their rights to religious expression are being threatened. The event, being broadcast to churches nationally, is part of a larger effort to energize conservative voters before the November 7 congressional elections.
''Here in Massachusetts, activist judges struck a blow to the foundation of civilization: the family,'' Republican governor Mitt Romney, a likely presidential candidate, told an applauding crowd of about 1,000 people, some of whom responded with ''Amen.''
Romney, during his speech inside Tremont Temple Baptist Church, criticized the state's highest court for its 2004 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. ''What [the judges] ignored is that marriage is not primarily about adults; marriage is about the nurturing and development of children.... Every child deserves a mother and a father,'' he said. Continue.
Evangelicals Bid To Energize The Right Despite Foley Affair
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff via The Talon, October 14, 2006
(Boston, Massachusetts) Far right religious groups will attempt to unify their base Sunday in what is being described by foes as a gay-baiting to get out the vote.
Called "Liberty Sunday" it is patterned after similar events just prior to the elections in 2000 and 2004. But this time conservatives are concerned that evangelical Christians, considered the core of the Republican Party, may stay home on election day to show their disgust over the GOP handing of the Mark Foley affair.
Liberty Sunday this year will originate in Boston at the Tremont Temple Baptist Church and be broadcast by satellite to churches across the country. The list of speakers reads like a who's who of gay foes. It includes Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, Alan Chambers, President of the so-called ex gay group Exodus International, and video cutins from James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Gary Bauer from American Values, Alan Sears of the Alliance Defense Fund and Don Wildmon of the American Family Association.
It will also include a video presentation by Mitt Romney the governor of Massachusetts. Continue.
FRC Simulcast - Join Us live for Liberty Sunday: Defending Our First Freedom October 15, 2006
Email from Tony Perkins, Family Research Council, October 13, 2006
As the forthcoming elections draw nearer, it is imperative that Christians increase their awareness of radical threats to religious liberty. We now face on the front-line the legalization of same-sex policies -- an issue that slowly is creeping into the very fabric of our schools, our government, and our homes. Therefore, we are faithfully crusading to warn devout Christians everywhere of impending dangers that will affect their states if they do pray and act now! Continue.
Family Research Council's Liberty Sunday page
The FRC's Liberty Sunday page claims the event was a success and is hawking DVDs of the program. It repeats its anti-gay call to arms: "The expansion of non-discrimination laws to include homosexuality inevitably constricts our right to express and act on our religious beliefs." Click here.
by JewsOnFirst, September 26, 2006
Links to the reports and documents cited here are listed immediately below.
The major religious right organizations moved into campaign mode last week by blatantly supporting the Republican Party at a "Value Voter Summit" in Washington, D.C. and in the first of series of arena rallies to turn out Republican voters in swing states.
Following a week of news reports about the IRS scrutinizing (or not) churches' political activities (see our report) the big organizations shrugged off warnings by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State not to misuse their tax status by engaging in partisan political activity.
The Value Voter event, which took place September 22-24th, under the sponsorship of the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and the American Family Association, opened with the leaders of the major religious right groups carping about the failure of the Republicans to enact their anti-choice and anti-gay values agenda.
Nevertheless, the conference showcased Republican presidential hopefuls -- no Democrats -- and as in the past, leaders urged their followers to get active in the election in support the Republicans. James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family speaking to his hometown Colorado Springs newspaper said he was "absolutely convinced that there is absolutely is no choice, because the alternative is terrible."
At the September 20th arena rally in Pittsburgh, Dobson argued that the Republicans needed to control foreign policy. According to the Post-Gazette:
"We are at war in this country with an enemy who wants to destroy us," he said. He stressed that only a small minority of Muslims believe that their faith justifies violence, "but let's say 4 percent of Muslims want to kill us ... . That's 48 million people who want to bring us to our knees."
Falwell says Sen. Clinton would rile his followers more than "Lucifer"
Less than 2,000 attended the summit according to the New York Times. The rally, held in Pittsburgh's Mellon Stadium, reportedly drew only 3,000 and organizers (pictured here) used a curtain to shrink the space.
Americans United warns clergy the tax code bans partisan politics
Rev. Barry Lynn, the director of Americans United, slammed the voter "summit" as "a shameless display of partisan politics" put on by religious right leaders who know their power depends on keeping the Republicans in power. Lynn also registered for the "summit."
In a mocking mass email sent September 21st, the head of the Family Research Council taunted Lynn:
An Open Letter to the Reverend Barry W. Lynn
The two events followed the disclosure of a memo by the Kansas Attorney General showing plans for an election committee "in every church." It also followed an IRS summons to the liberal All Saints Church in Pasadena in an investigation which many regard as harassment. (JewsOnFirst reported last week on these developments. Please click here)
No pretense of nonpartisanship
The Post Gazette said of the Pittsburgh arena rally:
Although tax law forbids Dr. Dobson's Focus On The Family Action, the nonprofit organization that sponsored the rally, to endorse candidates, organizers said that last night's Stand for the Family Rally was held in Pennsylvania because of its high-profile U.S. Senate race
At the Washington voters' summit, "Dobson joined other evangelical chieftains in lobbying pastors to feel more free to advocate for conservative causes from the pulpit despite recent investigations by the Internal Revenue Service into alleged partisan activities by churches," according to the Los Angeles Times,
The conference included a workshop entitled "Getting Church Voters to the Polls," according to the Kansas City Star. The New York Times reported:
Even in this crowd of nearly 2,000 Christian conservative activists, some balked at one tactic recommended to turn out church voters. In a workshop, Connie Marshner, a veteran organizer, distributed a step-by-step guide that recommended obtaining church directories and posing as a nonpartisan pollster to ask people how they planned to vote.
Using churches as campaign operations has allowed Republicans to pull off improbable victories before, most notably in the 2004 presidential election. Despite polls showing the Democrats poised to win a number of contested congressional seats – and despite the religious right's moaning and groaning about disaffection with the GOP – Falwell, according to the Los Angeles Times, expressed optimism about November's outcome: "I think we're going to keep the House and the Senate," he said. "I think the Lord will take care of that."
Outside rally, followers and foes face off
By Chico Harlan, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 21, 2006
Those waiting to hear James Dobson's message last night parked in lots above Mellon Arena and trickled toward Gate 1. Those hoping to counteract Mr. Dobson's message crowded in front of the entrance, lining both sides, creating a tunnel of signage -- in essence, one message forming the physical passageway to the opposite message.
Here, perhaps only here, the two ends of a polarizing issue rubbed against each other. Those walking into the arena saw some 150 protesters. They saw two arrests. They saw signs -- for instance, "5 Christian kids + 2 Christian moms = 1 Christian family." And then they kept walking. Continue.
Tennessee: Stand for the Family Rally Changes Venue
Focus on the Family, September 29, 2006
The Stand for the Family rally in Nashville, Tenn., will still take place Oct 16 at 6:30 p.m., but will be held at Two Rivers Baptist Church, 2800 McGavock Pike, across from the Opryland Hotel. It's also now a free event. People who bought tickets can have their money refunded by Ticketmaster and will receive special seating at the rally. Continue.
Pastors Guiding Voters to GOP
The Christian right seeks out members who might not go to the polls. The focus is issues, but some leaders don't oppose endorsement.
By Stephanie Simon, The Los Angeles Times, October 1, 2006
With a pivotal election five weeks away, leaders on the religious right have launched an all-out drive to get Christians from pew to voting booth. Their target: the nearly 30 million Americans who attend church at least once a week but did not vote in 2004.
Their efforts at times push legal limits on church involvement in partisan campaigns. That is by design. With control of Congress at stake Nov. 7, those guiding the movement say they owe it to God and to their own moral principles to do everything they can to keep social conservatives in power. Continue.
Faithful, GOP on a Mission to Save Santorum
By Janet Hook, Los Angeles Times, The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy, October 16, 2006
Keith Hollenberg, a member of the evangelical Assemblies of God church, is worried that one of his political heroes is about to lose his bid for reelection.
So when he saw Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) at a car show here, Hollenberg volunteered to help in what has become an urgent project for social conservatives in Pennsylvania and around the country: keeping Santorum in the Senate. Continue.
Pastors Push Living Wage as Election Issue
by Abid Aslam, OneWorld.net via Common Dreams, October 4, 2006
WASHINGTON - Call them the Religious Left: Church leaders are seeking to rally ''values voters'' ahead of next month's elections in a nationwide crusade to raise the minimum wage.
The Let Justice Roll campaign, a congregation of some 80 religious and community organizations including the National Council of Churches USA, said in a statement it plans to hold hundreds of rallies, workshops, religious services, and prayer breakfasts across the country to urge state and federal officials and candidates to boost working families' fortunes. Continue.
Christian Conservatives Look to Re-energize Base
By David D. Kirkpartick, The New York Times, September 25, 2006
Openly anxious about grass-roots disaffection from the Republican Party, conservative Christian organizers are reaching for ways to turn out voters this November, including arguing that recognizing same-sex marriage could also limit religious freedom.
Just two years after many conservative Christians exulted that their voter turnout efforts had pushed President Bush to re-election, organizers say their constituents are disengaged. Continue.
Pittsburgh Site of 'Stand for the Family' Rally
Focus on the Family via Newsbull.com, September 21, 2006
With the midterm elections just around the corner, Focus on the Family Action Chairman James C. Dobson, Ph.D., and others have launched a series of rallies intended to educate and motivate Christian voters. The first event kicked off Wednesday night in Pennsylvania.
Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena was buzzing with excitement as nearly 4,000 people packed in the hall to learn how to make their votes count. One family even brought three generations to the event. Continue.
With election ahead, GOP base is shaken
Christian conservatives say they’re not seeing returns after getting Republicans in office.
By Matt Stearns, The Kansas City Star, September 24, 2006
This report describes the religious right's Pittsburgh rally to get out the Republican vote as "part political rally, part church revival. Held at a downtown hockey arena, it featured entertainment by the Christian pop group the Sounds of Liberty. An enormous American flag hung behind the speakers, who included Dobson, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and Gary Bauer of American Values. All warned of threats to religious liberty, to marriage and, as Perkins put it, of 'our children being indoctrinated with homosexuality in our public schools.'" Continue.
Dobson preaches mixed message
Conservative leader criticizes, praises GOP leadership
By Ann Rodgers, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 21, 2006
Standing before an enormous American flag in Mellon Arena, conservative evangelical activist James Dobson told thousands of supporters he was deeply disappointed in the nation's Republican leadership, but that the nation's future depended on re-electing them.
I have flat-out been ticked at Republicans for the past two years," he said, to some applause from a crowd that arena security estimated at around 3,000. Continue.
Tactic Uses Pulpits to Power the GOP
Evangelical leaders, on the first day of a rally, ask pastors to advocate for a social conservative agenda despite recent IRS investigations.
By Peter Wallsten, The Los Angeles Times, September 23, 2006
WASHINGTON -- Worried that discontent among conservatives and the lack of a clear standard-bearer to follow President Bush might cost Republicans in November, top evangelical leaders pleaded with their followers Friday to put aside frustrations and turn out for GOP candidates.
The appeals, coming on the opening day of a weekend-long rally and strategy conference, included entreaties to pastors to use their pulpits on behalf of the social conservative agenda. Continue.
Falwell Says Faithful Fear Clinton More Than Devil
The evangelical leader tells a conference that the New York senator will mobilize his base like no one else if she runs for president.
By Peter Wallsten, The Los Angeles Times, September 24, 2006
Nothing will motivate conservative evangelical Christians to vote Republican in the 2008 presidential election more than a Democratic nominee named Hillary Rodham Clinton -- not even a run by the devil himself. Continue.
'Values Voter Summit' Supports GOP, Americans United Charges
Dobson, Religious Right Seek To 'Lead Evangelical Flock Into Republican Fold In November,' Says AU's Lynn
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, September 22, 2006
A Religious Right-sponsored “Values Voter Summit” this week is nothing but an attempt to drum up evangelical support for Republican candidates before the November elections, charges Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Continue
Evangelical Voters Become Jaded
by The Associated Press , 365Gay.com, September 22, 2006
(Nashville, Tennessee) Christian conservatives, traditionally a reliable Republican constituency, aren't necessarily a GOP given this time around. There is an undercurrent of concern that some evangelicals, unhappy that the GOP-led Congress and President Bush haven't paid more attention to gay marriage and other "values" issues, may stay home on Election Day or even vote Democratic.
"Conservative Christians are somewhat disenchanted with Republicans," said Kenyn Cureton, vice president for convention relations with the executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination with nearly 16 million members.
Religious conservatives are unhappy the Republican-led Congress hasn't paid enough attention to "values issues," he said, noting that even a push this summer against same-sex marriage came too late. Continue.
Americans United Announces National Campaign To Alert Churches To The Dangers Of Partisan Politicking
Watchdog Group's Campaign Will Counter Religious Right Leader James Dobson's Plan For A Church-Based Political Machine
News Release, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, September 18, 2006
Americans United for Separation of Church and State today announced a national campaign to inform churches about federal tax law forbidding partisan politicking by tax-exempt groups.
The Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group said it will mail a special election-year alert to all houses of worship in 11 states, reminding them that intervention in partisan political campaigns is a violation of the Internal Revenue Service Code.
The letters, totaling over 117,000, begin mailing today and will be sent to every house of worship in Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Missouri and Virginia.
Churches in those states are being targeted by James Dobson and other Religious Right leaders who want to build a church-based political machine on behalf of favored Republican candidates. Continue.
Speaker At 'Values Voter Summit' Recommends Church-Based Organizing Plan Based On Deception
Religious Right Has A 'Deficit Of Values' Says Americans United's Lynn
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, September 25, 2006
A speaker at this past weekend’s “Values Voter Summit” in Washington, D.C., outlined a plan to organize churches on behalf of political candidates that relies heavily on deception and even outright lies.
Long-time far-right activist Connie Marshner ran a session titled “Getting Church Voters to the Polls.” She distributed an 18-page document that she said was originally prepared for U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum’s 2000 reelection effort but that can be used for others. Continue
Extreme Weekend: Religious Right ‘Values Voters’ Gather In Washington
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, September 25, 2006
Nearly 2,000 Religious Right political activists gathered over the weekend in Washington, D.C., to rally in advance of the November elections and hear incendiary speeches from top religious and political leaders of the far right.
The conference, dubbed “The Washington Briefing: 2006 Values Voter Summit,” was replete with attacks on church-state separation, the “secular left,” gays, those concerned about global warming, opponents of the war in Iraq, critics of President Bush and others from the Religious Right’s growing enemies list. Continue
Dobson makes reluctant return to politics
By M.E. Sprengelmeyer, The Rocky Mountain News, September 22, 2006
WASHINGTON -- Focus on the Family Founder James Dobson made a reluctant return to the political stage this week, rallying family values voters for key congressional races despite deep disappointment in what Republicans have delivered on his agenda.
In a candid discussion at a Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., on Friday, the founder of the Colorado Springs evangelical Christian group said he was reluctant to work hard for the GOP this year, as he did with 28 public appearances two years ago. Continue.
Letter Outlines What's Legal for Churches in an Election Year
The law allows non-profit groups to do a lot.
Focus on the Family via Newsbull.com, September 28, 2006
The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and the Family Research Council (FRC) sent thousands of letters to churches last week, spelling out what's legal for congregations to do during an election season. Some liberal groups have been trying to scare churches out of doing what they legally may. Continue.
SBC's Land to Christians: It's Your Duty -- Get Out and Vote Your Values
By Jim Brown, AgapePress, September 28, 2006
A well-known Southern Baptist theologian has told a gathering of conservative activists that it's a sin not to vote in the upcoming mid-term elections.
Dr. Richard Land says Christians and churches should be engaging in the political process. At the recent "Values Voter Summit" in Washington, DC, he outlined the biblical basis for that belief. Continue.
Dobson to Listeners: Don't Let the Media Keep You From Voting
Gary Bauer describes what a change in power would be like.
Wendy Cloyd, CitizenLink.org, October 31, 2006
Dr. James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family Action, on today's Focus on the Family radio broadcast, spoke with Gary Bauer, president of American Values, about attempts by the mainstream media to discourage conservatives this election season.
"We're only one week away from an extremely important election," Dobson told listeners.
It is imperative, he said, for conservatives to be alert to what's at stake. Dobson asked Bauer whether he's ever seen the media more biased and more determined to suppress conservative turnout.
"I thought I had seen it all," Bauer said. "This has been unbelievable. It's not even camouflaged. Big, liberal media has been engaging in an all-out war on the Christian vote -- to suppress that vote, to discourage faith-based voters, to make them think through distorted polls that the election is already over." Continue