The religious right’s campaign to drag houses of worship into partisan politics marches on. The man who helped organize thousands of conservative pastors in support of Texas Gov. Rick Perry in 2005 and 2006 is now mobilizing pastors in Missouri behind controversial Republican Senate nominee Todd Akin.

The Washington Post reports that political strategist David Lane recently pulled 400 Missouri pastors together to pray over a kneeling Akin at a St. Louis event. The occasion was one of a series of “Renewal Project” events Lane has organized in that state. The gatherings are similar to the six “Texas Restoration Project” events Lane organized for Gov. Perry in 2005 and a seventh for his re-inauguration as Texas governor in January 2007. (Gov. Perry spoke at the St. Louis “Renewal Project” event that featured Akin.) Thousands of pastors and their spouses attended those Texas events. Organizers attending the gatherings in Texas and other states have encouraged pastors to politicize their own congregations.

Akin has alienated mainstream Missourians by suggesting that only some rapes are “legitimate” — part of an absurd argument that rape triggers something in a woman’s body that keeps her from becoming pregnant, thus eliminating rape… 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

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.

Yet here is what we see posted on TheRead More

The American Family Association isn't the only one playing fast and loose with election law in their almost-but-not-really-endorsement of Gov. Rick Perry. The American Renewal Project -- part of a shadowy network of state-based organizations, including the Texas Restoration Project, that supported conservative candidates in previous election cycles -- does them one better. Check out the email sent by the founder of the American Renewal Project on Saturday, August 13 -- just hours after Perry formally declared his candidacy for President: Read More

Gov. Rick Perry ignited a firestorm with his controversial and erroneous comments about the teaching of creationism in Texas public schools while he campaigned for Republican primary votes in New Hampshire last week. But while most of the press focused on Perry's remarks, far less attention was paid to the actions of the American Family Association and how it basically confirmed our suspicions about the real intent of Gov. Perry's Aug. 6 prayer and fasting rally. Read More

Forrest Wilder

. @SenJaneNelson: Post-Planned Parenthood, the state women's health program "has more providers than we ever had." Our reporting: Nearly half of the approximately 5,400 providers didn’t see a single patient in the program in 2017. texasobserver.org/te…