Rick Scarborough Rides Again

We haven’t heard from the president of the far-right, Texas-based group Vision America for a long time. But today Pastor Rick Scarborough sent out an email blast blaming the nation’s debt on immorality and promoting Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s Saturday prayer rally in Houston as a step toward solving the problem:

“Billions of dollars are required every year to assist in paying for the lack of responsible behavior in our nation, whether it is in fighting various sexually transmitted diseases, welfare, various assistance programs for those in poverty, etc. I lay the blame at the feet of both the politicians and the preachers, for their unwillingness to address the moral disintegration of our nation. Add to these indisputable facts that our courts have declared war on God. Seldom has a day passed in recent years that someone, somewhere, does not file a lawsuit seeking to ban any mention of the God who gave us our freedoms from the public square. Tragically, few if any, even among Christians, truly fight to end this madness.

Could it be that God has decided to do what so many have demanded…to just leave us to ourselves? Could it be that He is withdrawing His hand of blessings from the most blessed of all nations, America? If so, then our only hope is that He will be gracious to forgive our national and personal transgressions and once again, bless our land.

That’s why the debt crisis and the prayer meeting at Reliant Stadium in Houston on August 6th are directly linked. “

The belief that welfare recipients and assistance programs for the poor are the causes of federal overspending has long been a shibboleth on the right. But someone might want to tell Scarborough that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and defense are, by far, the biggest drivers in the nation’s budget. Are our senior citizens immoral, Pastor Scarborough? Our military servicemembers?

Scarborough also praises Gov. Perry for hosting the Houston prayer event, The Response. He accuses critics who see the governor as exploiting faith for political gain of being “atheists” who want “to prevent anyone from praying”:

“A Governor of a Southern State, my own Governor Rick Perry of Texas, has courageously called for a day of prayer and fasting for the nation on Saturday, August 6th, and immediately he fell under attack as a religious bigot for announcing that while all faiths are welcomed, this prayer meeting would be in ‘Jesus’ Name.'”

Actually, we think Gov. Perry has every right to encourage others to join him publicly in prayer. But he is governor of all Texans, not just conservative evangelical Christians and nakedly partisan supporters who want him to run for president. His decision to have a hate group and an assortment of anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic religious extremists organize his event is the primary reason so many people see him as misusing faith to divide rather than unite Americans. Gov. Perry isn’t a religious bigot, Pastor Scarborough, but he has chosen to share a stage with many who are.

6 thoughts on “Rick Scarborough Rides Again

  1. Scarborough says that God gave us our freedoms Since Scarborough is on such intimate terms with the deity, perhaps he would ask him )or her) to explain why he (or she) has been so stingy with freedoms historically, why these freedoms were not declared by anyone until 1776 and then only for white males in the nascent US. — Edd Doerr

  2. We have good evidence of Pastor Perry’s influence with the Almighty. He called on all Texans to pray for drought relief all Easter weekend. See what we got?

  3. Did anyone here ever read “Paradise Lost” by John Milton? Over into it a ways, there is this big scene in heaven where all of the heavenly host is gathered together around God. God puts out a request for a volunteer to go on a dangerous mission to planet Earth to confront Satan and save all of mankind from its sins. It is likely a suicide mission, something completely foreign to the heavenly population where no one has ever died (or can), and it is not at all clear that anyone who is alive there was ever born either. There’s a big discussion that lasts for several pages in some pentameter or other as Milton slowly jacks up the tension towards a fever pitch climax moment when Jesus steps forward and says, “I’ll go!!!!!!”

    This is what I am expecting tomorrow at Reliant Stadium. I am expecting an all-day redneck preacher recapitulation of this famous scene in “Paradise Lost.” From the first moment, we will hear one oral tirade after another from the “heavenly host” gathered there about how America has lost her spiritual way, her moral way, and every other way you might dream up. Across the day the tension will build slowly towards a fever pitch that will coincide with the last scheduled redneck preacher of the day. This preacher will play the role of God in “Paradise Lost.” It will be his job to publicly plead in Jimmy Swaggart tears for an answer to all of America’s problems that have been bemoaned throughout the day. He will ask if there is any Godly man there in the stadium who would be brave enough to go on a spiritual suicide mission into the bowels of Washington, D.C. to rescue America from all her ills and lostness—and kill people like you and me. In the critical moment immediately after the question is asked, Rick Perry will boldly step forward like Jesus in the great historical play and announce, “I will go!!!!!! I want to be your President!!!!”

    I know it sounds hokey—but you have to understand that this crowd is not long on good taste and sophistication. Whether anyone there had enough brains to read and understand “Paradise Lost” is surely in doubt. Nonetheless, some version of this scene from Milton’s famous epic poem is what I am expecting.

    Does anyone at TFN or any of you other guys/gals here want to bet against me?

  4. I’ve always wondered why America wasn’t modeled after England or France. After all when our founders were establishing our system of government those two offered both Protestant and Catholic examples of official government. I guess it was the massive corruption that dissuaded Jefferson, Madison, Franklin et. al. from going the Christian Nation route. And had one an opportunity to talk with the multitude of poor, starving and disenfranchised living on the streets of Paris, as Jefferson sometimes did, one would no doubt have wondered why God wasn’t blessing all the citizens.

  5. Well, JamesBreck. When James Madison brought his stack of books to the constitutional convention in that hot summer of 1787, he had been studying them a lot and had become an expert on the governments of Europe and other places going back into ancient times. He looked for trends and lessons in those books. When the debate started, he used the better part of a day or two to lecture on what he had learned to the representatives seated at the convention. This was one of the chief things he had learned and spoken about:

    “A number of ancient and more recent peoples had established new governments. In many cases these governments set up a deep and fundamental conflict between a strong central government and various provincial governments (read that as state, county, city). They all shared one thing in common. Not a single one of them had ever survived.”

    That appears to be our problem now—as perceived by people at the local level like the Tea Party and Religious Right organizations, and that conflict is one of the things that brought our AAA credit rating down today for the first time since 1917.

    Just the other day, I was reading an article written by the local Tea Party leader in the town where i grew up. He was upset because the ACLU had sued the local school system over religious issues. This was his point. The First Amendment prohibits Congress from passing any law to establish an official national religion. I went and looked it up and found out that this was actually the way it was understood judicially for most of American history up until the 1940s when federal judges started interpreting the 14th amendment to make this prohibition apply at the state, county, and city levels too—which has been done ever since with a string of legal precedents.

    The Tea Party guy believes that these later 14th amendment-based interpretations were illegal and immoral usurpations of the original intent of the establishment clause in the First Amendment. Therefore, we need to rescind those later interpretations and get back to the original intent of the First Amendment. He believes that it is wrong for the federal government to pass a law establishing an official central government religion—clearly a First Amendment violation as originally intended. However, states, counties, and cities all over the nation should be allowed to formally establish and operate their own official local government religions. If that is what they want to do, there is no law against it—nor should there be. If the Southern Baptists are the predominate religious group in Hannibal, Missouri, and they wish for their religion to be the official one for that town, then so be it. If the local school system wants to teach Southern Baptist theology to every child in the system for one hour each day, regardless of some kid’s other family religion, there should be nothing to stop it because it is—after all—the official town religion.

    There’s Madison’s conflict between the central government and provincial governments. These conflicts exists across a broad spectrum of issues and people are absolutely rabid over these issues. Perhaps our country is doomed.

  6. By the way, some of these people believe that the First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press because that is what it says. The government cannot tax or otherwise interfere with the publication of a newspaper, pamphlet, handbill, banner, magazine, flier, or other printed product. However, because there is no specific constitutional stipulation against it, the government has broad freedom control the content of radio, television, movies, telephones, cell phones, etc. In other words, the government should be able to shut down CNN and officially lift up FOX News as the official government news outlet for the nation.