Religious-right leaders and activists in Texas will converge October 20 on Lewisville near Dallas for the second annual “Reclaiming Texas for Christ” conference. It sure seems from the conference program that what’s really going on here is another cynical effort to use faith to advance a political agenda.
Still, the “Reclaiming Texas” website assures visitors:
“This is not a political event and is not supported by any one church or denomination. Our committee of volunteers are conservative patriots who want to see our great nation return to the heritage from which she was founded. We believe America is great because our Great God formed and blesses her.” [Emphasis in original.]
Hmmm… “Not a political event”? Don’t believe it. The conference program includes some of the most political and extreme voices on the religious right in Texas. Among the speakers:
- Timothy Barton is a speaker for WallBuilders, the Texas-based organization his father — former Texas GOP vice chairman David Barton — founded. WallBuilders, which argues that separation of church and state is a “myth,” acts increasingly like a propaganda ministry for the Republican Party.
- Robert Jeffress is senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas. His incendiary attacks on Muslims include calling Islam a “religion that promotes pedophilia.” Jeffress has suggested that President Obama is a Muslim and has criticized Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for his Mormon faith, calling Mormonism a “cult.”
- Erik Stanley (not a Texan) is senior legal counsel for the right-wing Alliance Defense Fund. The ADF wants to turn conservative evangelical pastors essentially into partisan political bosses who work to influence the votes of their congregants.
A session called “Exposing the Radical Islamic Agenda in the United States” will be led by a “special guest.” Ooh. The anticipation.