RR Organizers Plan Texas Event Designed to Politicize Churches for Elections

Religious-right organizers are gearing up for another major effort to politicize churches in support of Republican candidates for office. This month they’re targeting Texas pastors.

United in Purpose, founded by Silicon Valley venture capitalists in 2011, will host a “Voter Mobilization Strategy Summit” on March 25-26 at a DFW Airport hotel. The event will feature speakers such as phony historian David Barton of Texas-based WallBuilders, Rick Scarborough of Texas-based Vision America and right-wing fire-breather Glenn Beck.

According to the United in Purpose website, the organization’s mission is “to unite and equip like-minded conservative organizations to increase their reach, impact, and influence through the latest technology, research and marketing strategies for the purpose of bringing about a culture change in America based on Judeo-Christian principles.”

Groups like the Texas Pastor Council headed by gay-hater Dave Welch are helping recruit pastors to a “Special Strategy Session for Church Leaders” at the two-day event. A Texas Pastor Council email on Thursday says the session’s purpose is to “help pastors think through effective strategies for getting out the vote in their congregations in 2014.”

Inviting pastors to closed-door gatherings where they’re encouraged by prominent religious-right leaders to politicize their churches is hardly a new strategy. The Texas Restoration Projection spent more than $1 million to host thousands of pastors and their spouses for a series of “Pastors Policy Briefings” at hotels across state in 2005. The “briefings” were part of a thinly disguised effort to build support for Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s re-election campaign the following year. In fact, wealthy Perry campaign donors footed the bill for the events.

But these pastor-mobilization efforts have become increasingly sophisticated and extensive. “Renewal Projects,” modeled after the Texas Restoration Project, have continued to host similar pastor gatherings in major presidential election battleground states around the country. Now United in Purpose organizers are harnessing the power of new technology and communications tools to mobilize pastors. And their efforts could be particularly effective in midterm elections, when overall voter turnout is lower than in presidential election years.

10 thoughts on “RR Organizers Plan Texas Event Designed to Politicize Churches for Elections

  1. As much as I would like to see them pay taxes, I think it is crucial that we continue to fight for first amendment separation. Once we let go of that it can only be continued bad news. There is a good reason why it is the very first amendment.

  2. ” …for the purpose of bringing about a culture change in America based on Judeo-Christian principles.”

    Hey, that’s the stated goal of the Discovery Institute as described in the Wedge Document!

    What this plan needs is some “intelligent design,” I say!

  3. Just a nit pick, but they spelled “Judeo-Christian” wrong.

    It’s “judeo-C H R I S T I A N”

  4. I thought that churches were granted their tax free status due to being non-political. Shouldn’t these churches have to pay taxes if they are trying to sway political outcomes?

    1. Erika. You are right. The thing they have been trying to do for a number of years now is to whip up support for a landmark national demonstration weekend where 25,000 or 50,000 fundie churches all violate the tax law at the same time by endorsing candidates from the pulpit on Sunday. The idea is to have so much rebelliousness and disobedience that the IRS cannot possibly take away the tax exempt status of all of them without looking like it is beating up Nazi-style on “poor widdle ole Christian me.”

      The problem (and chief deceit) is that many small congregations are ignorant of the details of the tax law in this regard, and the people organizing these disobedience efforts know that and hope that this ignorance will cause them to be suckered into the disobedience show anyway. The thing they never tell them is that the IRS will probably snag a few churches to set an example. The snagged church then sits there in tears asking, “How could this have happened to us? Why didn’t someone warn us?” Then the organizers will say, “Oh? You didn’t know? We thought everyone knew. Oh well, just consider the loss of your church’s tax-exempt status as persecution of the church and know that your reward in Heaven will be great for having helped us out—so long suckers!!!”

      Yes, this is evil incarnate.

  5. “bringing about a culture change in America based on Judeo-Christian principles.”

    If that’s their goal they’re losing, and losing in a big way. I’m referring to the Dec 2013 Harris poll on religion in America:

    – The number of Americans that believe in God dropped from 82% to 74% in 5 years

    – The number of Americans that believe Jesus is the son of God dropped from 72% to 68% in 5 years

    – The number of Americans that believe in hell dropped from 62% to 58% in 5 years

    Etc etc etc

    1. Jeopardizing Tax-Exempt Status
      All IRC section 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and religious organizations, must abide by certain rules:
      ■ they must not devote a substantial part of their activities to attempting to influence legislation
      ■ they must not participate in, or intervene in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office