Shortly after Rick Perry's prayer rally earlier this year, organizers of that event started promoting a Religious Right voter mobilization effort called "Champion The Vote," which seeks to "mobilize 5 million unregistered conservative Christians to register and vote according to the Biblical worldview in 2012."
It turned out that the Champion The Vote effort was a project of organization called United In Purpose, which is being funded by conservative millionaires for the purpose of mobilizing "40 million out of the estimated 60 million evangelicals in the United States to vote" over the next decade.
As part of this effort, United In Purpose/Champion The Vote are producing an event called "One Nation Under God" where churches and Religious Right activists will gather to watch a three-hour DVD being provided United In Purpose and featuring David Barton, Newt Gingrich, James Dobson, and others talking about the importance of keeping America "one nation under God":
The media was advised that Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s speech to a gathering of Florida pastors Friday would be closed to the public, but apparently the group behind the meeting didn’t even want media in the same hotel.
A couple weeks ago, Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry were announced as possible speakers at a two-day event in Orlando Thursday and Friday called the Florida Renewal Project. But this week no one wanted to talk about it, except to say it would be closed to the media and public.
Perry’s staff even denied he would attend. Gingrich’s staff confirmed his appearance but would not return phone calls to discuss it.
I went anyway this morning, to the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, to see if Gingrich would be willing to talk to me before or after his speech. When he arrived shortly before noon, I was the lone journalist on the scene, waiting in the hallway outside the meeting room. Gingrich and his staff agreed to talk to me later, at another hotel. After seeing that exchange, hotel officials approached me and, saying they were acting on behalf of event organizers, ordered me to leave the Rosen Centre property immediately, and escorted me to my car.
Then it turned out Perry had attended after all, sort of, Thursday night - by satellite link-up, according to tweets posted Thursday night by John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, which was a participant in the Florida Renewal Project.
That appearance, which included a speech and taking questions from the pastors, came just hours after the Texas governor’s campaign staff assured the Sentinel he would not attend.
Who organized the event though? No one would say for sure, though Stemberger acknowledged that the California-based organization United in Purpose, which had organized similar “Renewal Project” events in California and Iowa earlier this year, “was involved.”
The last time United In Purpose hosted one of these conferences, we caught Mike Huckabee telling the audience that Americans ought to be forced to listen to David Barton at gunpoint. But when United In Purpose later broadcast the event, that exchange was entirely edited out.
So while organizers are going to be releasing a DVD of this Florida event in the coming weeks, it seems that they want to be able to control what people actually see and don't want reporters around revealing what was really taking place.
John Stemberger earlier this week appeared on a conference call for Champion the Vote and warned that the future of the country relies on the Religious Right. Stemberger, the head of the Florida Family Policy Council and the past chairman of the campaign to have a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality in Florida, was promoting the One Nation Under God event with Newt Gingrich, David Barton, James Dobson, Sam Rodriguez and Lila Rose which focuses on boosting right-wing activism and learning about “God’s fingerprint all over the founding of our country”:
While Champion the Vote is technically nonpartisan, Stemberger warned that America is being “fundamentally transformed into a different type of culture, a different country” and that “we will lose this beautiful thing we call America.” According to Stemberger, only Christians are capable of creating a free society. “As only the Christian presuppositions of theology created this country,” Stemberger said, “only Christians can save it and unless the church rises up, we’re done.” He went on to say that without the resurgence of the church, “our country’s going to slip away into something we don’t even recognize”:
Stemberger went on to say that Christian conservatives are facing extreme “hostility” in American society and warned that their opponents want their anti-gay views “expunged from the marketplace”:
A few weeks ago, David Barton was featured on a conference call promoting United In Purpose's upcoming "One Nation Under God" event and, during the discussion, asserted that his work is "documented so well" that all his critics can do is attack him personally.
On yesterday's program, where he and Sally Kern stoked fears of gay violence, Barton picked up on the idea that Kern was some sort of modern day Anita Bryant and, in recounting Bryant's story, perfectly demonstrated his own lack of concern for getting his facts right:
Now most people don't know Anita Bryant, especially in this generation. Anita Bryant goes back to 1977. She was Miss America runner-up ... at that time, she was a spokeswoman for Florida orange juice and Florida oranges and what they did and she was, in '77, getting a hundred thousand dollars a year on contact to be a spokesman and that's a lot of money, that's in the millions today.
Even before the opening bell at the Values Voter Summit, the Liberty Counsel hosted a breakfast on messaging and outreach to Hispanic Americans. Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver shared the stage with Tony Calatayud, a Miami-based activist who works for the Spanish language arm of Christian radio Salem Communications. Calatayud, who helped Marco Rubio get elected to the U.S. Senate from Florida, now travels the country helping to identify and support conservative Hispanic candidates with the group Conservadores.
Staver said that Hispanic unhappiness with Barack Obama is “a really good thing going into 2012.” Calatayud agreed. The growing Hispanic community could be a huge electoral force for conservatives, he said, if only Republicans would stop alienating Hispanic voters with “idiotic” anti-immigrant rhetoric. He said “the Hispanic evangelical movement in this country is exploding” and said repeatedly that Hispanics are “conservative in nature” and share the Religious Right’s values on social issues. Polls suggest, in fact, that Latinos are pro-LGBT equality, but also that Latino evangelicals are more politically conservative than Latino Catholics.
Calatayud argued that conservative leaders need to make a “covenant” with “Kingdom-minded” Latino leaders and support an approach to immigration that includes four points: border security first; family reunification; a guest worker program; and “just integration” (a term he attributed to Sam Rodriguez) of the 12-15 million undocumented people already in the country. Calatayud said he didn’t want to hear the word “amnesty” ever again; he and Staver complained about Republicans who use the word “amnesty” to describe anything short of mass deportation. Calatayud got a polite but quiet hearing from the audience for his presentation on immigration; the only applause came when, in response to a question, he affirmed his belief that everyone must learn English.
Calatayud also insisted that the eventual Republican candidate must build a “covenant” relationship with Latino evangelical pastors and devote real money to campaign outreach. He said he had hoped Marco Rubio would run this time around; he predicts Rubio will not accept a VP slot this year, but believes he will be the GOP nominee in 2016 or 2020.
Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll addressed Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition’s pre-debate gathering in Florida yesterday, where she went on the attack against the media, scientists, blasphemers, secular Americans and all those who don’t fit into her idea of a “righteous government.” We made a compilation of her speech’s most remarkable moments, but the whole speech, courtesy of the Associated Press, is worth watching:
You know the Bible says faith is believing in what is not seen, today unfortunately many in the media would like nothing better to ridicule Christians: they promote 'The Da Vinci Code,' they place doubt in the public’s mind that Christ was not risen and they condemn the 'Passion of Christ,' yet they sensationalize stories that call for the end of prayer in school and removing the name of God from our country’s pledge. Ladies and gentlemen, these are very sad times when we allow the minority to poison the minds of the majority. This is exactly what dictators and socialist rulers did.
Man does not have all the answers, some of our political leaders bow down to scientists and let them have the stage to push their evolution, but there’s nothing, nothing a scientist can make, that is exactly like what God creates.
Trust Him to give you the strength to fight back against those who want to take God out of our country. Trust Him to give you the wisdom to speak out against injustice and blasphemy of His name. Trust God to guide your path to bring about a righteous government. …
Ladies and gentlemen, Christianity is in a fight and it is one of the greatest trials we have seen in modern times. Without a doubt, America and her people are in grave need of prayer, divine guidance, protection, to have good, solid Christians to step up and lead this country on a proper moral path. I firmly believe that if we magnify God, our problems will be minimized.
“With all due respect, since Rick Perry’s stadium prayer event in Houston, Texas has been quite literally on fire,” Maddow said, noting that “Texas has not only been burning but it’s still locked in it’s terrible, historic drought.” After playing the twovideos of Jacobs from Right Wing Watch, Maddow said, “But if Cindy Jacobs really thinks that Governor Perry’s prayer event has led to the land in Texas rejoicing along with the cannibal spirits, I protest, along with the puppy in the drought crack.”
Before heading to this week’s Presidency 5 conference in Orlando, Rick Perry named two Religious Right leaders to his Florida Presidency 5 campaign leadership team: John Stemberger and Pam Olsen. While Stemberger’s anti-choice, anti-gay and anti-Muslim activism is well known, Olsen is a far more obscure figure, but no less extreme. Olsen has said that same-sex marriage will lead to God’s judgment, preached Seven Mountains dominionism, and even claims that she, as a prophet, will have the power to raise the dead in the End Times.
We are under judgment. Do you know how many of the denominations now are suddenly saying, ‘Oh ok we think it’s ok now to have gay marriage, we think it’s ok to have gay preachers, we think it’s ok.’ Whole denominations! The Episcopalians fell off the planet, they think it’s ok to have gay priests. We’ve got other groups, one of the Presbyterians, they’re looking at voting, we’ve got other ones, they’re all of the sudden going, ‘Oh in the name of tolerance,’ and they’re forgetting God’s word completely in whole denominations. You know what, God is not one that’s gonna wink at sin, He will come and shake at everything that can be shaken. God is a God of judgment, He is. If we think we’re not gonna be judged…He judged Israel? Are we better than that? And sometimes I think we think we are, but we’re not. And God is shaking. If anybody looks at the news and has just seen what’s been happening recently with the floods, the fires, the tornadoes, God is shaking. Yeah I think you have God shaking, sure you have the Enemy shaking, you have both and I don’t want to say oh that’s the judgment of God or that’s the Enemy. But the reality is God is judging us, and I think it’s going to get worse.
We talk a lot about the seven centers of power or the seven mountains, asking God to come. If you are ever in any intercession set here at the house of prayer, you will find us often crying out God move on the hearts of the family; awaken the church in the West, in this city awaken the church; we cry out for the government, we’re in capital city and we better be crying out to the government; pray for the campuses and the youth to be moved; that God will move and change the media’s heart that He would begin to cause them to speak truth; that He would come and move in the marketplace and awaken and bring His people the finances to literally fund the Kingdom of God; that He come and move in every area in arts and entertainment. Those are the seven mountains of influence that God would begin to move, and we cry out for that because God wants to come, the Holy Spirit wants to come and it is like hot molten lava that He would literally sweep over every area.
Man I tell you what, we better know God’s word in this hour with what’s coming, we better know God’s word, and we better be saying, God I want to partner with your heart, whatever’s coming I want to be prepared as an End Time messenger who has walked in the fire and knows You and knows how to say, God that person needs to be raised from the dead and I’m gonna say, in Jesus’ name rise up and walk, and I’m gonna pray that in and see the dead raised!
Last week we noted that John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council was hinting that he was going to be endorsing Rick Perry for President, despite the fact that Michele Bachmann had recently headlined a fundraising event for his organization.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry today announced his leadership team for Presidency 5 (P5), with Speaker Dean Cannon serving as chairman. Gov. Perry will participate in Florida P5 this week, including the P5 debate, CPAC and straw poll in Orlando, Fla.
In addition to Speaker Cannon, conservative activists John Stemberger and Pam Olsen will serve as co-chairs.
An attorney suing Dollar Rent-A-Car has apologized for filing a lawsuit that characterized the Irish as hopelessly tethered to pubs and pints and unfit to drive the highways of America.
John Stemberger admitted he made a mistake and promised Wednesday to rewrite the negligence lawsuit he filed in March.
The suit was filed on behalf of the family of Carmel Elizabeth Cunningham, an Irish woman who was killed last year when her boyfriend, Sean McGrath, crashed their rental car. He is also Irish.
Prosecutors say McGrath, 33, was drunk at the time of the crash and have charged him with manslaughter. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
In the suit, Stemberger claimed Dollar "knew or should have known about the unique cultural and ethnic customs existing in Ireland which involve the regular consumption of alcohol at `Pubs' as a major component to Irish social life.''
He went on to charge that Dollar "knew or should have known that Sean McGrath would have a high propensity to drink alcohol.''
Update: Sarah Posner reports that the other co-chair, Pam Olsen, is a Cindy Jacobs associate and the founder of the Tallahassee International House of Prayer:
Olsen founded the Tallahassee International House of Prayer after she "received a prophetic word through Cindy Jacobs that God was going to use her as a mighty weapon against the enemy through the prayer movement and that He was going to raise up a physical location that would be a place of refuge for people, pastors and missionaries to come and pray."
But just because the FFPC thinks Bachmann is a hero for her willingness to stand "firm for principles of life, marriage or family in the face of opposition," that apparently doesn't translate into support for her presidential campaign as FFPC president John Stemberger is announcing his pending support for Rick Perry because Bachmann is just not a realistic or viable candidate ... and Mitt Romney "wasn’t Mormon enough":
Florida evangelical leader John Stemberger is a step away from endorsing Rick Perry for president, a big coup for the Texas governor and a loss for fellow Republican Michele Bachmann. Stemberger's likely endorsement follows some top-level Perry staff hires.
"We really like Michele Bachmann She has stellar credentials when it comes to our issues. She is an amazing woman. Our primary drive is principle and the issues," Stemberger said. "But we also have to be realistic, pragmatically, and determine who’s viable."
Stemberger said that meant he and the Florida Family Policy Council, which has an email list of about 65,000 Florida evangelical voters, had two choices.
"This is a two man race between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. And there’s a growing consensus among evangelical leaders and, to some degree, among those in the tea party and pro-life Catholics that Rick Perry is the most trustworthy candidate on our issues," Stemberger said.
"There are too many trust issues with Mitt Romney," he continued. "The issue not that he is a Mormon. The issue is that he wasn’t Mormon enough. If he had been consistent with traditional Mormon values his whole career, that would make me feel a lot more comfortable about where he’s coming from. Perry is a lot more solid on our issues."