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Jews On First!

... because if Jews don't speak out, they'll think we don't mind

U.S. Senate Chaplain withdraws from Christian nationalist conference

by, February 4, 2007

February 13, 2007. We've updated our report with comments from Rabbi Bruce Kahn, a retired Navy chaplain, who knows--and admires--Rev. Black. Kahn says Black thought he was being invited to speak at a church.

In April 2007, D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries announced it had shut down the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ, but would continue to hold annual conferences like the one discussed below. (Click here.)

Links to reports and sources cited in this report appear immediately below it.

The chaplain of the U.S. Senate, Rev. Barry Black, withdrew last week from participation in a training conference aimed at establishing a Christian theocracy. The website of the Reclaiming America for Christ conference, to be held next month in Fort Lauderdale, offers "power-packed training sessions taught by 'culture war' veterans" to "help you reclaim your community for Christ." Additional literature on the website, shown on this page, make it clear the reclaiming is about taking over the government, not alleviating poverty.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, televangelist. D. James Kennedy, founder and president of the host organization, the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ, wrote in literature distributed at the 2005 "Reclaiming" conference: "As the vice-regents of God, we are to bring His truth and His will to bear on every sphere of our world and our society. We are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government ... our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors - in short, over every aspect and institution of human society."

The Center's brochure for the upcoming conference says:

Reclaiming America for Christ 2007 is coming and "evil" is counting on you.

That's right. The only thing evil requires for its triumph is for Christians to say and do nothing..

...Reclaiming America for Christ 2007 offers you the tools and training, ideas and energy you need to change America for the better.

Please join us for two wonderful days, as we come together to be informed and equipped in the campaign to reutrn America to her godly heritage. This is your chance to learn, grow, and go -- to better understand the issues we face and to take you pleace -- great or small-- in the grand task of reshaping America's future.

Black, himself, has not commented on what prompted him to agree to participate in such a blatantly dominionist event. Rabbi Bruce Kahn, a retired Navy chaplain who has known Black since the 1970s, told JewsOnFirst that the Senate Chaplain believed he was being invited to speak at a church.

"He accepted an invitation to speak at a church," said Kahn. He gets about five invitations a day. He thought he was going to be showing up and talking about the work he does as the United States Senate Chaplain. He knew nothing about the agenda of the program or who would be participating in it."

Black's spokeswoman told the Associated Press that he decided to withdraw before he received a letter from the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Rev. Barry Lynn, objecting to his participation. Americans United learned of Black's involvement from a brochure picturing the chaplain with Ann Coulter and Rev. D. James Kennedy.

Kennedy, whose media operations and Florida megachurch both go by the name Coral Ridge, is infamously upfront about his theocratic ambitions. He was recently hospitalized with a major heart attack.

Rabbi Kahn said in a February 13th interview that he knows Black well and has no doubt about his commitment to the separation of church and state. "There isn't any doubt whatsoever that he embraces the full integrity of the Constitution of United States. He has had a full military career in that commitment. It was a commiment that was tested day in and day out and he passed with flying colors."

Kahn, who served as an active and reserve Navy chaplain for 32 years, currently directs the Center for Equal Rights in Washington, DC. (You can hear an earlier interview with him here.)

Before his appointment as Senate Chaplain, Black headed the military chaplain services.

The AP quoted the center's executive director Gary Cass saying that military chaplains have appeared at past reclaiming conferences to encourage attendees to consider becoming military chaplains.

Senate chaplain cancels appearance at evangelical conference

AP,, February 3-5, 2007

U.S. Senate chaplain Barry Black has canceled his scheduled appearance at a Christian evangelical conference after he was pictured with columnist Ann Coulter and other prominent conservatives in a brochure promoting the event. Black told Senate majority leader Harry Reid he wouldn't be addressing next month's "Reclaiming America for Christ" conference because his appearance wouldn't uphold the Senate chaplain's "historic tradition of being nonpolitical, nonpartisan, nonsectarian," Meg Saunders, a spokeswoman for the chaplain, said Thursday. Continue.

Website of the Reclaiming America for Christ 2007 conference

Please click here.

Land replaces Senate chaplain at Religious Right meeting

By Robert Marus, Associated Baptist Press, February 2, 2007

WASHINGTON (ABP) -- United States Senate Chaplain Barry Black has canceled a scheduled appearance at a conference featuring prominent Religious Right activists -- and will be replaced by the Southern Baptist Convention's ethics guru.

Black informed organizers of the "Reclaiming America for Christ Conference" Jan. 31 that he would not be appearing, according to a press release from the group.

The release also noted that Richard Land, head of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, would replace Black in the conference line-up. Continue.

Melissa Rogers blog
Thoughts on and news about religion's intersection with public affairs

February 2, 2007

In her posting, which includes several useful links, Rogers notes that former Arkansas governor and recently declared GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee spoke at an earlier conference. She wonders if he agrees with the statement of D. James Kennedy, President of the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ that: "As the vice-regents of God, we are to bring His truth and His will to bear on every sphere of our world and our society. We are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government ... our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors - in short, over every aspect and institution of human society." Click here.

Senate chaplain: Air America okay, Christian conference not

Jim Brown, (AgapePress) via, February 6, 2007

U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black's decision to cancel a planned appearance next month at a conference sponsored by Dr. D. James Kennedy’s Center for Reclaiming America has the ministry expressing disappointment -- and questioning the role Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State played in the cancellation.

A spokesman for Dr. D. James Kennedy's Center for Reclaiming America is expressing disappointment over U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black’s decision to cancel a planned appearance at the Christian ministry's conference next month, calling the matter "unsettling" and certain allegations about the reasons behind the cancellation, "disingenuous." Continue

Senate Chaplain Bows Out of Evangelical Conference

Citizen Link (Focus on the Family), February 2, 2007

The spiritual leader of the U.S. Senate will not make a speaking appearance at an upcoming conference on Christianity and public service after all.

According to the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ, Senate Chaplain Barry Black has reneged on his agreement to speak at the group's March 2 conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Black said he had determined that his "nonpartisan role as chaplain conflicts with the conference agenda." But the cancellation came after Americans United for Separation of Church and State wrote a letter to Black complaining about the appearance. The group's objection was apparently prompted by a promotional photo of Black with conservative author Ann Coulter, another conference speaker. Continue

A Mission To 'Reclaim America'
Some Evangelicals Want U.S. To Have 'Biblical Worldview'

by Jane Lampman, Christian Science Monitor via Yurica Report, March 16, 2005

For the Reback daughters, the big attraction was the famous Ten Commandments monument, brought to Florida on tour after being removed from the Alabama judicial building as unconstitutional. The youngsters - dressed in red, white, and blue - clustered proudly around the display.

For more than 900 other Christians from across the US, the draw at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church last month was a national conference aimed at "reclaiming America for Christ." The monument stood as a potent symbol of their hopes for changing the course of the nation. Continue.

Churches struggle with transitions
Strong leader's loss brings grief, doubt.

By James D. Davis, The Sun-Sentinnel, February 3, 2007

On Dec. 28, the Rev. D. James Kennedy's heart stopped briefly. It was quickly revived, and he was rushed to nearby Holy Cross Hospital.

Ministers and staff at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church swung into action, keeping things running and assuring the 10,000 congregants that Kennedy was on the mend.

What they didn't dwell on, understandably, was what if the top man was unable to return -- what would happen to the Fort Lauderdale megachurch, and to the broadcast ministry, and the school and other organizations he heads. Continue.

D. James Kennedy Remains Hospitalized

CBN News, January 25, 2007 - FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Coral Ridge Ministries says its founder, the Reverend D. James Kennedy, remains hospitalized, recuperating after suffering a cardiac arrest nearly a month ago.

On the Coral Ridge Web site, the Executive Vice President of Coral Ridge, Brian Fisher, requests continued prayer for Dr. Kennedy as he continues to recover from the heart attack and his subsequent surgery on January 3, to implant a pacemaker/defibrillator.

The 75-year-old Kennedy is a leader of the conservative Presbyterian Church in America. Continue.


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