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The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party

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Ohio's Patriot Pastors
From Bill Moyer's 9/11 and the Sport of God:

Let's take a brief detour to Ohio and I'll show you what I am talking about. In recent weeks a movement called the Ohio Restoration Project has been launched to identify and train thousands of "Patriot Pastors" to get out the conservative religious vote next year.  According to press reports, the leader of the movement- the senior pastor of a large church in suburban Columbus-casts the 2006 elections as an apocalyptic clash between "the forces of righteousness and the hordes of hell." The fear and loathing in his message is palpable: He denounces public schools that won't teach creationism, require teachers to read the Bible in class, or allow children to pray.   He rails against the "secular jihadists" who have "hijacked" America and prevent school kids from learning that Hitler was "an avid evolutionist." He links abortion to children who murder their parents. He blasts the "pagan left" for trying to redefine marriage. He declares that "homosexual rights" will bring "a flood of demonic oppression." On his church website you read that "Reclaiming the teaching of our Christian heritage among America's youth is paramount to a sense of national destiny that God has invested into this nation."  

One of the  prominent allies of the Ohio Restoration Project is a popular televangelist in Columbus who heads a $40 million-a-year ministry that is accessible worldwide via l, 400 TV stations and cable affiliates. Although he describes himself as neither Republican nor Democrat but a "Christocrat"-a gladiator for God marching against "the very hordes of hell in our society"-he nonetheless has been spotted with so many Republican politicians in Washington and elsewhere that he has been publicly described as a"spiritual advisor" to the party. The journalist Marley Greiner has been following his ministry for the organization, FreePress.  She writes that because he considers  the separation of church and state to be "a lie perpetrated on Americans-especially believers in Jesus Christ"-he identifies himself as a "wall builder" and "wall buster." As a wall builder he will "restore Godly presence in government and culture; as a wall buster he will tear down the church-state wall." He sees the Christian church as a sleeping giant that has the ability and the anointing from God to transform America. The giant is stirring. At a rally in July he proclaimed to a packed house: "Let the Revolution begin!" And the congregation roared back: "Let the Revolution begin!"

(The Revolution's first goal, by the way, is to elect as governor next year the current Republican secretary of state who oversaw the election process in 2004 year when a surge in Christian voters narrowly carried George Bush to victory. As General Boykin suggested of President Bush's anointment, this fellow has acknowledged that "God wanted him as secretary of state during 2004" because it was such a critical election. Now he is criss-crossing Ohio meeting with Patriot Pastors and their congregations proclaiming that "America is at its best when God is at its center.") [For the complete  stories from which this information has been extracted, see: "An evening with Rod Parsley, by Marley Greiner, FreePress, July 20, 2005; Patriot Pastors,"  Marilyn Warfield, Cleveland Jewish News , July 29, 2005; "Ohio televangelist has plenty of influence, but he wants more", Ted Wendling, Religion News Service , Chicago Tribune, July 1, 2005; "Shaping Politics from the pulpits,"  Susan Page, USA Today , Aug. 3, 2005;  "Religion and Politics Should Be Mixed Says Ohio Secretary of State," WTOL-TV Toledo, October 29, 2004].

The Ohio Restoration Project is spreading. In one month alone last year in the president's home state of Texas, a single Baptist preacher added 2000 "Patriot Pastors" to the rolls.  On his website he now encourages pastors to "speak out on the great moral issues of our restore and reclaim America for Christ."

Last updated: September-2005