Rick Scarborough's New Crusade
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Sun Jul 08, 2007 at 03:35:05 PM EST
 Guest front pager Rev. Don Wilkey Jr. is the pastor of  Onalaska First Baptist Church, in Onalaska, Texas. This is his first-hand account on the launch of a new religious right political campaign. -- fc      

          Rick Scarborough's new idea of a crusade -- launched in Lufkin, Texas on July 5th -- is a radical departure from his past. His mentor, the late Jerry Falwell claimed in a PBS  documentary on the Religious Right, that the old idea that holding revivals and winning converts meant the nation would move in the right direction was flawed.  Rick used to hold revival meetings known in those circles often as "crusades," in which unchurched people were called upon to profess faith in Christ and Christians were called to turn from sin and resume following Jesus.

           Now Rick's idea of leading a Crusade has more to do with calling people to get involved in politics, specifically the right wing of the GOP.  Rick used to give an invitation at the end of his earlier crusades asking people to come forward to respond to Christ.  Recently it was reported that Rick uses the same technique to invite people to sign-up for the Republican Party.          

          In the past you might have heard Scarborough speak in defense of the Apostle Paul, now he is more prone to defend people like Tom DeLay, who Rick claims was treated harshly in the nation by the media because of his Christian convictions.  The Texas-based activist even suggested  DeLay was crucified much in the same way Jesus was.1   Rick had made other comparisons of  Terry Schairo's death and Judge Roy Moore to Jesus' own excecution.2

            Politics makes strange bed fellows and the former evangelist is even willing to work with TV Pentecostal woman preacher Joyce Meyer, an avid critic of the idea of separation of church and state.  Rick's Baptist denomination, who heartily admires and promotes him, believes it is heresy for a woman to be a preacher.  All these prohibitions can be placed aside in order to fight a greater battle which Rick claims is the all out war against the Christian faith waged by the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.  Teaming-up with Judge Roy Moore of Ten Commandments fame, Rick has been stumping the nation raising money to save the nations' very soul.  Rick's battle cry states, "We won't give an inch."3

           Scarborough's most recent venture has centered on the idea of what he considers "activist judges".  Teaming up with other Religious Right activists the group has been seeking to control court decisions claiming activist judges can be compared to the  Ku Klux Klan, dictators,  or five  old people in black dresses who need impeachment.4  To those who wonder at Rick's advice that ministers stand behind the pulpit and publicly proclaim who they are voting for.  The crusade leader reminds all through his booklet on the subject, "After all, it is impossible for you, who truly know Christ as Savior, to separate church and state."  One newsletter urged followers to send money to keep Rick on the airways as he stated, "Radio provides us with an educational arm to refute the myth of separation of church and state...."5

          I attended the event and free banquet provided for area pastors sponsored by Rick's Vision America.  At the meeting Scarborough introduced himself and warned that the threat of Islamic terrorists should be a wake up call to America to get behind his movement.  He later implied that the terrorist threat was God's judgment on America for its pro-abortion stance.  

            Rick cautioned the crowd to be on guard because the "other side" was building an organization to shut them down.  As an example of how bad it has gotten he claimed the Supreme Court said you cannot pray or read the Bible in schools. Opponents like the Southern Poverty Law Center were identified as the enemy.  One continual theme was that great patriots like Judge Roy Moore, Tom Delay and the Navy chaplain present suffered from religious persecution in America.

             Hate crime legislation was a topic of a great deal of emphasis.  We were told the legislation would mean ministers who took a position against the homosexual lifestyle could be prosecuted if this bill passed.

           Next, the media savvy Pat Robertson law school grad and former Navy chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt was introduced.  He was the focal point of much of the evening.  "Chaps", as he referred to himself, claimed he was terminated from the armed forces because he prayed in Jesus name.  He later admitted he could hold services using Jesus name, but in civic ceremonies the prayer was deemed offensive.  Since he was persecuted, as claimed for his prayer, he determined he was crucified for preaching the gospel.  God showed him he was the David to take on the Goliath of government pluralism.  In his story legislatures came to his aid and restored his place of service.  His government support was all going well until Hillary Clinton blocked his push for the Christian prayer.  Senator Barack Obama did not help him either.  Obama fared better with Chap's evaluation than Alan Keye's later appraisal of him at the event.  Keyes was the political rival and Ivy League educated black counter who ran against Obama for the Senate.  Keyes was often asked what he thought of Obama and he replied, "I try not to."  He then stated that the famous Democrat is "an evil man."

           Scarborough's web site has more insults for Democrats.  One featured article  says "Democrats are to traditional religion what Islam is to tolerance.  Democrats practice a religion alien to both Christianity and Judaism."6

           We all adjourned to a large arena where laymen were invited. A huge crowd was gathered to hear the stories repeated.  In evangelistic fervor speakers proceeded.  GOP Congressman Louie Gomer led off after being introduced as one called by the Lord to his job.  His friend reminded the crowd that a lot of liberal God haters, many who ran newspapers, don't like Louie.  Representative Gomer was named the leading opponent of hate crimes legislation.

           Scarborough told the crowd that 2006 saw lots of horrible things.  These things took place because good people stayed home and didn't vote.  Rick told the crowd he was non-partisan but the GOP aligned with their values. He admitted some have stopped sending in their offerings to his movement because of 2006.  They had decided to resume giving to mission causes instead.  Thus Rick holds a 16 hour prayer meeting in Houston with several leaders around the nation. He then came up with the revelation for his 70 week Crusade because, "I am not content to sit back and watch this nation be destroyed."

               Scarborough said the purpose for his Crusades was to take back what was stolen. He promised to deliver votes and to influence candidates with our values.  This was only if we would go back and organize his army.  In his brochure he told pastors they could give their church roles out to political campaign leaders.  It was apparent from the meeting that Chaps would not be alone in his effort to slay the government's pluralism dragon.


         1.  Jeremy Leaming, "Fright Plan", Church and State, May 2006. pgs. 5-6.

         2.  www.visionamerica.us 3/28/07

         3.  Vision American mailout by Rick Scarborough.

         4.  www.ethicsdaily.com  4/13/2007& Armstrong Williams, National Liberty Journal, Arpil 2005, pg. 23.

         5.  Vision America newsletter, Dec. 19, 2002.

         6.  www.visionamerica.us July 4, 2007 see Don Feder article.

Many, Many, Many thanks! This is in Houston next week, with Alan Keyes.

by Larissa on Mon Jul 09, 2007 at 09:45:50 AM EST

Rick will be hosted by First Baptist Houston, home to one of his board members, Paul Pressler.  FBC Houston had Rick's buddy Judge Roy Moore in for a rally a couple of months back.  Will be interesting to see if the church goes full throttle into this stuff the way 2nd Baptist in town has.  

by wilkyjr on Mon Jul 09, 2007 at 02:11:49 PM EST

Thanks so much for posting such an informative story on the machinations of the so-called "religious" right here in Texas. Far more than any conflated fears of Islamic jihad, the Christian Reconstructionist/Dominionist cult (along with the ultra right-wing militias & anti-government types who are not openly associated with them but who frequently share their religious beliefs and eschatology and advocate - and use - violence against governmental representatives) poses a clear and present danger to American democracy. Partly the reason one might think, for an administration sympathetic to those beliefs keeping the American public's attention focused on the threat of Islamic terrorism by uncovering "plots" such as the group of near idiots in Miami who were unable to create a terrorist cell without the assistance of an FBI informant and raising public fears of "...fighting them here". One point of clarification: You refer to "GOP Congressman Louie Gomer" in your piece. I suspect you actually mean Congressman Louie Gohmert the GOP representative of (my - sadly) 1st Congressional District ( http://gohmert.house.gov/). Louie's a dyed-in-the-wool arch conservative and, clearly, fundamentalist. I was surprised, though, to read of him so openly associating with the Reconstructionist/Dominionists although I never doubted his allegiance to them.

by Marshalldoc on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:41:12 AM EST

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