Does David Dewhurst see electoral gold in politicizing Texas churches? The Texas lieutenant governor is seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat Kay Bailey Hutchison is leaving after this year. On March 23 he will attend “a private briefing” with conservative pastors at a megachurch in south Houston. The right-wing Houston Area Pastor Council (HAPC) is promoting the event.

From the event’s website:

Join pastors and community leaders for this timely opportunity to have a private briefing on critical issues facing state and nation, and also have personal interaction with Lt. Gov. Dewhurst. We will introduce other elected officials and candidates in attendance. Included in the program will be critical Primary and General election information.

This “private briefing” is a page right out of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s political playbook. Gov. Perry has made courting the support of conservative pastors a key part of building his electoral base over the years. In fact, the governor spoke before thousands of pastors and their spouses at six “Pastors Policy Briefings” sponsored by the Texas Restoration Project in 2005 and at others since then. All of the events have been closed to news reporters (except for a… Read More

Texas State Board of Education Chairwoman Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, is trying to lock up her religious-right base in her race for re-election this year. In an email today, the right-wing Houston Area Pastor Council is touting Cargill’s planned speech on March 1 at the Montgomery County Pastor Luncheon:

“The Texas State Board of Education has been in the national media repeatedly in the past several years over our stand for protecting history textbooks from political correctness, teaching both strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian Evolutionary Theory, and now over the assault by allies of Planned Parenthood to undermine Abstinence Based sex education.

Hon. Barbara Cargill is now the SBOE Chairman and one of the courageous conservatives who has withstood intense attacks by anti-religious groups such as Texas Freedom Network, ACLU and others. YOU NEED TO HEAR FROM HER as to why there is such a battle for control over Texas education and what we need to do this year!”

TFN is an “anti-religious group”? That would certainly surprise the clergy leaders who serve on our board as well as the hundreds of others who participate in our Texas Faith Network.

We do, however, oppose… Read More

Dave Welch, head of the religious–right group Houston Area Pastor Council, is obsessed with homosexuality and, especially, Houston’s openly lesbian mayor, Annise Parker. As Houstonians prepare to head to the polls for local elections next month, Welch is promoting a web video about Mayor Parker’s “GLBT agenda for Houston.” The video includes various clips and quotes from Parker, who is seeking re-election. Repeated twice (and in slow-motion) is a scene in which the mayor leans over to (gasp!) peck her life-partner on the cheek on inauguration day a couple of years ago. The video treats that touching and very G-rated moment almost as if the audience had witnessed a live, woman-on-woman porn scene on stage. (Mayors gone wild!) In today’s email promoting the video, Welch shrieks that Houston has become a “sin-sick” city:

It is astounding to have to say that most Houston citizens – including most Christians and pastors – are still unaware of the radical nature of Mayor Annise Parker’s commitment to imposing the full “San Francisco Style” Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, etc. agenda. … We have a sin-sick city and we need the power of God through Jesus Christ changing lives and changing… Read More

The far-right Houston Area Pastor Council is still trying to stir up anti-gay bigotry down on the Gulf Coast. An email blast from the extremist group today calls on pastors to attend a “‘Stand for Houston’ Citywide Pastor Luncheon” on Oct. 11:

There has never been a more important time for the pastors of Houston to follow our Lord’s directive corporately to ” ‘Come now, and let us reason together’, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 1:18)

Nothing wrong with that, of course. But the email includes a more explicit reason to attend the so-called “Emergency Summit on Defense of Life, Family and Religious Liberty”:

Did you know that there are multiple city council candidates from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered community running to achieve a GLBT majority? More details at the luncheon.

Ah. Using fear and bigotry to crowd-build. How nice.

We have noted HAPC head Dave Welch’s obsession with homosexuality in the past. In December, for example, he criticized pastors for what he sees as their indifference to “moral perversion and sin flowing from our city hall through the radical agenda of Mayor Parker and her GLBTQIA allies.” Welch calls Mayor Annise Parker, who is openly gay,… Read More

Dave Welch, the extremist who runs an outfit called the Houston Area Pastor Council, is now claiming that a federal judge who recently ruled against the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy against gay military servicemembers is a “domestic enemy” guilty of treason. From his screed at the right-wing, conspiracy-peddling website World Net Daily:

“U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips fired a judicial IED [improvised explosive device] directly into the effectiveness, readiness and moral of our military in a time of war makes this, in my non-legal opinion, an act of treason. . . . She has proven herself not only unfit for judgeship but is in fact a ‘domestic enemy’ of the very kind our military members take an oath to defend against.”

Portraying the ruling from Judge Phillips an example of “tyranny,” Welch claims her decision represents a “complete and utter rejection of the U.S. Constitution, the separation of powers and rule by the ‘consent of the governed.'” Of course, Judge Phillips sees the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy as a violation of servicemembers’ constitutional rights to due process, freedom of speech and the right to petition the government. Yet Welch says the judge should be impeached… Read More