Today Texas Gov. Rick Perry ended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination and threw his support behind former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia. Perry’s withdrawal from the race wasn’t a big surprise — his support in polls was very low after a series of embarrassing stumbles and gaffes over the past few months.
On the other hand, Perry’s endorsement of Gingrich is at least a little surprising. The Texas governor had aggressively courted conservative evangelical voters throughout a campaign that began just after he hosted a large prayer rally in a Houston football stadium last August. Perry had repeatedly pointed to his positions on social issues, including his desire to “protect” traditional marriage by opposing same-sex unions. But he decided to support thrice-married Gingrich anyway.
Moreover, just before today’s announcement, ABC News released an excerpt of an interview with one of Gingrich’s former wives. She says Gingrich had asked her for an open marriage so that he could continue an affair with the woman who would become his third (and current) wife.
In her most provocative comments, the ex-Mrs. Gingrich said… Read More
The far-right hate group American Family Association and other well-known religious right organizations and leaders put together Rick Perry’s big prayer rally in Houston last August. But Perry’s presidential campaign is sinking fast, and Sarah Posner writes in Religion Dispatches that follow-up “The Response” events in Republican presidential primary states are being promoted by somewhat lesser-known groups like the International House of Prayer and its affiliated local churches. Today’s “The Response” event in South Carolina, for example, is being promoted by small churches like the Forerunner House of Prayer (FHOP) in Easley, South Carolina, and the the Greenville House of Prayer.
These IHOP churches attract followers who believe, among other things, that the end times are near. Writes Posner:
These self-anointed “intercessors,” or “end-times warriors,” see themselves as modern-day apostles and prophets, purifying the kingdom, “transforming” cities, regions, and the country through a new Great Awakening, preparing the world for Christ’s return.
Posner explores the theological divide between these “end-time warriors” and the old guard of the religious right:
(T)he national elites had pressed for and endorsed The Response. At last summer’s event, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson called it “the highlight of my… Read More
According to the new poll from Washington Whispers, a feature in the U.S. News & World Report since 1933, when asked “what news event [Americans] feared the most in 2012,” they responded — by a 2-to-1 margin — “President Obama’s re-election.” While only 16 percent said they fear Obama will not win a second term, 33 percent said they fear four more years.
Then the article quotes right-wing blogger Les Rayburn:
“Most Americans are terrified. President Obama … he’s made it very clear that he’s out to destroy the United States.”
So 33 percent somehow represents “most Americans”? In addition, we suspect that not all of that 33 percent see President Obama’s re-election in such apocalyptic terms. On the other hand, it’s certainly possible given that the propaganda from the far right in recent years has been increasingly extreme and irresponsibly apocalyptic.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry lost a key vote in his own backyard on Saturday. Prominent religious-right leaders meeting at a Texas ranch decided to back former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania over Perry, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and other candidates for the Republican presidential nomination this year. That decision should give Santorum a boost in his efforts to rally social conservatives behind his challenge to frontrunner and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. From the Associated Press:
Surrogates for each campaign were said to have made presentations and answered questions. The goal was to determine whether conservative leaders could rally behind one alternative candidate to Romney, in hopes of ensuring one of their own wins the nomination instead of someone they consider more moderate. Many conservative leaders fear a repeat of four years ago when, in their view, a divided conservative base led the GOP to nominate McCain.
Meeting attendees said it took several ballots for 75 percent of attendees to agree on Santorum after winnowing down the field from three candidates: Santorum, Gingrich and Perry. They also said that there was some support for Romney.
The decision appears to have upset David Lane, who in… Read More
Rick Perry’s presidential campaign is stumbling, but the folks behind his prayer extravaganza in a Houston football stadium last August seem to be marching on. An email from organizers of The Response today invites folks to a South Carolina prayer rally on January 17 — just four days before that state’s Republican presidential primary.
In fact, The Response organizers have planned all of their post-Houston events for early Republican presidential caucus and primary states. One was in Iowa on December 6, less than a month before that state’s party caucuses. A January 24 Florida rally is scheduled a week before that state’s presidential primaries. And organizers are planning an event in Arizona for February — Republicans go to the polls there on February 28.
Organizers haven’t set specific dates for events in the March GOP primary and caucus states of Washington, Tennessee, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri and Ohio. Those are all listed as “pending.” Perhaps they think the Republican nomination will be settled by then.
You will recall that the Houston rally came just a week before Gov. Perry formally announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.