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11/16/2010

Familiar names on familiar presidential course; makes our civil rights hurt just thinking about it

by Jeremy Hooper

Maggie Gallagher, Tony Perkins, Jim Garlow, Miles McPherson. Those are just a few of the familiar LGBT names who have been busy brainstorming ways to turn 2012 into 1980:

About 40 conservative Christian leaders gathered in Dallas on Sept. 8-9 to begin laying the groundwork for a religious-political movement similar to the one that helped Ronald Reagan oust the Baptist Sunday school teacher from the Oval Office. Convened by evangelist James Robison – a key figure in the religious effort 30 years ago to promote Reagan's candidacy – the list of attendees included many of the most prominent Christian evangelists and ministers, including several Southern Baptist leaders.

Southern Baptist leaders attending the meeting included: Richard Land (president of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission); Richard Lee (pastor and the editor of The American Patriot's Bible); John Meador (pastor of First Baptist Church of Euless, Texas); and Paige Patterson (president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary).

Others at the meeting included: Tony Evans (a megachurch pastor in Texas); Father Joseph Fessio (founder and editor of Ignatius Press); Craig Groeschel (pastor of LifeChurch.tv); Miles McPherson (a megachurch pastor in California who spoke at the 2008 Republican National Convention); Johnnie Moore (a vice president at Liberty University who defended the school's decisions to have Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich as recent speakers); Tom Mullins (a megachurch pastor in Florida); Doug Napier (legal counsel at the Alliance Defense Fund); Dino Rizzo (a megachurch pastor in Louisiana); Dave Roever (an evangelist who prayed at Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally); Mark Rutland (president of Oral Roberts University); David Stone (a megachurch pastor in Kentucky); and Stu Weber (a megachurch pastor in Oregon).

Several conservative Christian leaders highly active in politics attended the meeting, including: Stephen Broden (a pastor and Republican politician in Texas); Keith Butler (a pastor and Republican politician in Michigan); Maggie Gallagher (a conservative columnist who received tens of thousands of dollars for her work from the George W. Bush administration); Jim Garlow (chairman of Newt Gingrich's organization, Renewing American Leadership); Harry Jackson (pastor of Hope Christian Church in Washington, D.C.); Gene Mills (executive director of the Louisiana Family Forum); and Tony Perkins (president of the Family Research Council).

Some attendees have been guests on Glenn Beck's program on Fox News (including Broden, Garlow, Lee, McPherson, Mullins, Robison, Roever and Stone), and several were involved with his "Restoring Honor" rally (including Jackson, Land, Lee, Gallagher, Garlow and Roever).

Three of the attendees at the meeting have been under investigation since 2007 by Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Baptist from Iowa, for perhaps violating IRS tax-exempt rules. Those at the meeting included televangelists Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar and Joyce Meyer.

Other individuals helped plan the September meeting but were unable to attend. They included: Jerry Falwell Jr. (president of Liberty University); Jack Graham (a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention); O.S. Hawkins (head of the SBC's Guidestone Financial Resources); Jack Hayford (president of Foursquare International); and author Ravi Zacharias.
Conservative Christian Leaders Plot to Replace Obama [Ethics Daily]

So far no leaks revealing what kind of strategies this crew devised at the summit. Though if you hear rumblings about some of them working out an agreement to get themselves temporarily held as hostages in Iran, you'll know why.

***

**Oh, and because you never have to pull these threads far to find homo-hostility: James Robison, organizer both then and now, is known for his homo-centric musings:

July 13, 1979
Screen Shot 2010-11-16 At 3.15.18 Pm

Times change. Social conservatism gays the same.

***

*SEE ALSO: An October of '80 article from the now-defunct Family Weekly (penned by current NBC News correspondent Lisa Myers), charting the religious right's rise in general, and a Robison-initiated Dallas meeting in particular:

201011161607

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*Robsion has written two blog posts mentioning the summit, but with few details:

A Miracle in the Face of Storms [JamesRobison.com]
Return to the LIGHT [JamesRobison.com]

Note that in the first, Robison makes a big deal out of the violent storms and tornado winds that greeted his guests, as if they are a positive sign. Can't help but think how differently those storms would've been spun had this been a pro-gay (or even merely Democratic) event.

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