Jun 26, 2009

Yesterday, Let Freedom Ring Ministries (LFRM) sponsored the first of many grassroots rallies it hopes will "save" America from "destruction."

The Roanoke Times reported that around 100 people showed up at the Penn Forest Worship Center in Roanoke, Va., to listen to speakers peddle "Christian nation" propaganda.

LFRM, led by Bethlehem, Ga.-based religious broadcaster and pastor Jody Hice, preaches that America was found by Christians and that the country is based on biblical precepts. Supporters believe there is no such thing as church-state separation, and reproductive choice, feminism and gay rights are responsible for the declining morals of our country.

This was the first rally the group held in Virginia, but others have been held or are planned in North Carolina and Georgia.

The Rev. Rick Scarborough, a Texas evangelist and critic of church-state separation, will be speaking at most of the rallies, as he did last night.

"In my lifetime," Scarborough said, "We have gone from 'Ozzie and Harriet' and 'Leave it to Beaver' to 'Sex in the City' and 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.'

"America is on the verge of destruction," he blustered. "You, beloved, are the hope."

Though rallies such as this one often fly under the media's radar, they're part of an aggressive grassroots movement to train fundamentalists to organize, run for office and push a "biblical worldview" on all Americans through government action. Call it boot camp for theocrats.

Take, for example, Worldview Weekend's "Code Blue" rallies, which are held in cities across the country every weekend. According the group's Web site, these rallies "seek to train adults and teens to understand the times, acquire a Biblical worldview for all areas of life and contend for the faith. Code blue means that there is no time to waste, an emergency exists, and a pro-active response is necessary in order to save lives."

Another outfit called American Majority, run by former congressman Jim Ryun's son, Ned,   sponsors events that train candidates, local activists and college students on how to get elected to public office and use their political power to push a right-wing, Religious Right-oriented agenda.   (Sources in Oklahoma tell us that several Religious Right legislators in the Sooner State are "graduates" of this training program.)

Another group, the U.S. Pastor Council, also leads "Christian nation" training. On the group's Web site, it states: "We must commit to training every man, woman and child in our congregation in a comprehensive Biblical worldview that 'connects the dots' between Scripture and our social and political decisions, as well as our true Christian heritage as a nation, the text and content of the U.S. Constitution and how each can 'put wheels on it.'"

And the Virginia Renewal Project is one of several state "renewal" projects that do the same thing. The group invites pastors to "Rediscovering God in America" briefings in order to continue the "daily struggle to reclaim the foundation that has kept America strong for so many generations."

So while a mere 100 people in attendance at LFRM's rally in Roanoke seems hardly threatening to church-state separation, the event there is only one of many that calls for our country to abandon our secular democracy and move as far as possible toward a fundamentalist theocracy.

When Religious Right leaders talk about a "biblical worldview," they really mean they want to impose their fundamentalist view of the Bible on everyone in the world through government action.

As the Rev. Barry W. Lynn , Americans United executive director, told The Roanoke Times, "It's very dangerous, and it's proven to be disastrous" across the world when religion gets too cozy with government, Lynn said.

Groups such as Let Freedom Ring, he said, "preach a false history."

Lynn's right, and Americans who care about freedom need to stand ready to resist "worldview" warriors when they invade your community.