Panic Mode?

by Dan Quinn

Is the religious right about to hit panic mode after Mitt Romney edged out Rick Santorum in the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses? POLITICO reports that James Dobson (Focus on the Family), Don Wildmon (American Family Association), Gary Bauer (American Values) and other movement leaders have been invited to a confab next weekend at the Texas ranch of Paul Pressler (who helped lead the right-wing takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention in the 1970s). According to POLITICO, the invitation reads:

“You and your spouse are cordially invited to a private meeting with national conservative leaders of faith at the ranch of Paul and Nancy Pressler near Brenham, Texas, with the purpose of attempting to unite and to come to a consensus on which Republican presidential candidate or candidates to support, or which not to support.”

Many of the invitees are members of The Arlington Group, a secretive cabal of religious-right political leaders. It’s no secret that those Christian fundamentalist poo-bahs are appalled that Romney, a Mormon and pseudo-moderate, might become the GOP presidential nominee. But Bauer told POLITICO that the purpose of the meeting at the Pressler ranch isn’t to find a way to stop Romney.

Well, we’ll see.

Interesting side note: Pressler, a former Texas judge, is the campaign treasurer for Donna Bahorich, a Houston Republican who is seeking election the Texas State Board of Education this year.

UPDATE: Dallas Morning News writer Wayne Slater is reporting what at least one expected participant at the Pressler meeting told him:

“One thing unites all in this group — Romney is not their guy…. The goal is to come together around somebody who will carry our issues and won’t abandon those issues when he becomes president.”

Slater writes that other invitees include Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Christian Zionist leader John Hagee of San Antonio, and Kelly Shackelford of the Plano-based Liberty Institute (the Texas affiliate of Focus on the Family).

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