In several key House and Senate races this year, the winner may look familiar to voters — because he’s also been their pastor or faith leader.
America’s Christian Evangelical religious right has never been shy about spreading the word of God, nor about using any means to do so. Now, in several key House and Senate races, that motivation may pay off — with pastors and religious leaders winning Republican seats in Congress.Â
Oklahoma’sÂ James Lankford already has a leg up — he’s a sitting U.S. Congressman. But in November, he’sÂ likely to become the Senate’s only former full-time religious leader, and a handy tool for the religious right.Â
“Lankford served as the director of youth programs at Falls Creek, one of the largest Baptist youth camps in the country that boasts bringing 55,000 people to Oklahomaâ€™s Arbuckle Mountains every summer,” Roll Call reported last night, in “Megachurches Prove Mega-Influential in GOP Primaries.”
Republicans said that highly visible gig helped Lankford come out of nowhere to win his first House race in 2010 andÂ defeat one of this cycleâ€™s most-talked aboutÂ GOP Senate candidatesÂ in a June primary.
Lankford is vehemently anti-gay. In 2012, Think Progress cornered Lankford and asked him about supporting ENDA.
“Well, youâ€™re now dealing with behavior and Iâ€™m trying to figure out exactly what youâ€™re trying to mean by that,” Rep. Lankford told Think Progress reporters. “Because youâ€™re dealing with â€” race and sexual preferences are two different things. One is a behavior-related and preference-related and one is something inherently â€” skin color, something obvious, that kind of stuff. You donâ€™t walk up to someone on the street and look at them and say, ‘Gay or straight?'”
He added, “I think itâ€™s a choice issue.”
Roll Call also looked at several House races featuring members of the clergy, past and present.
Until late last year, Baptist Pastor Mark Walker held a leadership roleÂ at Lawndale Baptist Church, which has a membership of a few thousand, in the heart of the 6th District in Greensboro, N.C. Last week, Walker defeated the well-connected son of one of North Carolinaâ€™s most powerful politiciansÂ by 6,300 votes inÂ a GOP runoff.
Gary Palmer alsoÂ won a Republican runoff last week,Â in Alabamaâ€™s 6th District race to succeed retiring Rep. Spencer Bachus. Palmer has close ties to Briarwood Presbyterian Church, one of the largest churches in Alabama with more than 4,000 members.Â The founding pastor has endorsed Palmer.
A fourth candidate, Hice, is locked in a competitive House runoff to succeed Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia, who lost a Senate primary in May.Â Hiceâ€™s ties to a number of Baptist churches in the 10th District, including a faith-based talk radio show, could help him turn out his supporters in this district, located between the Atlanta exurbs and Augusta.
Pastor Mark Walker’s racist and anti-gay platform can be summed up in this quote from his campaign website:
“The breakdown of the American family is a tragic result of a systematic moral devastation. This travesty, created by our government, translates into many other problematic areas within our culture…Â Our government, which oppresses and misleads its people with its flawed agenda, has been effective in changing an entire culture. The social programs of the Lyndon Johnson era played a damaging role in stripping away the fabric of the family.”
Alabama’s Gary Palmer is endorsed by Rick Santorum, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Duggar family (“19 Kids and Counting”), Ralph Reed, David Barton, Gary Bauer, Erick Erickson’s Red State, and Tony Perkins and theÂ Family Research Council. Yes, a hate group has endorsed Palmer, and he proudly posts that on his campaign website.
That last candidate mentioned by Roll Call is Jody Hice.
You’ll likely rememberÂ Rep. Paul Broun, who infamously proclaimed in 2012:
“All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says. And what I’ve come to learn is that it’s the manufacturer’s handbook, is what I call it. It teaches us how to run our lives individually, how to run our families, how to run our churches. But it teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in society. And that’s the reason as your congressman I hold the Holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I’ll continue to do that.” [Bolding ours]
While Broun won’t be returning to Congress — he tried and failed to win a Senate seat — Hice, who is running to replace him, is noÂ better, and probably worse.
In May, the New Civil Rights Movement reported that Pastor Jody Hice, who is supported by the Family Research Council and Herman Cain,Â will likely become Tea Party RepublicanÂ Congressman Jody Hice.
Hice has saidÂ that gay people have a secret plot to seduce and sodomize Americaâ€™s sons, he thinks same-sex marriage is akin to bestiality and incest, and he has compared abortion to the genocide waged by Adolph Hitler.
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‘A Bunch of New Yorkers in Addition to George Soros’: Greg Abbott Accused of Antisemitism
Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott is facing a challenging re-election fight against Beto O’Rourke, the popular and charismatic former U.S,. Congressman and Democratic presidential candidate who is now his party’s gubernatorial nominee.
Texas voters have had to face mismanagement of the state’s electric grid, with hundreds of Texans dying in winter after the snowstorm that sent Senator Ted Cruz to Cancun, the horrific elementary school mass shooting in Uvalde, and Abbott spending millions of taxpayer dollars on anti-immigrant programs, including bussing migrants to Democratic-controlled cities like Washington, D.C. and New York City. Not to mention his support of the vigilante abortion ban and a “Don’t Say Gay” bill, his failed promise to end rape, and the fact that Texas leads the nation in mass shootings.
But none of that has stopped the 64-year old from doubling down on his conservative bonafides.
On Wednesday over at Fox News, Abbott engaged in what many are calling some old-fashioned antisemitism.
“We will explain to our fellow Texans that the Beto campaign is being aided by a bunch of New Yorkers in addition to George Soros, and that will do nothing but harm his campaign,” Abbott told Fox News host Harris Faulkner.
Greg Abbott: “We will explain to our fellow Texans that the Beto campaign is being aided by a bunch of New Yorkers in addition to George Soros, and that will do nothing but harm his campaign.” pic.twitter.com/23O6TtLwTO
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) August 10, 2022
George Soros, who is Jewish, is a Democratic philanthropist and one of the liberals most-hated by the right, in large part because he funds left wing causes.
He also donated $1 million to help elect O’Rourke governor.
Two weeks ago polls showed O’Rourke gaining ground, striking with five points of his entrenched Texas Republican rival.
And now Abbott is being blasted for what many are calling antisemitism over his Soros statement.
“In this context, ‘New Yorkers’ and ‘George Soros’ are both signifiers for the alleged Jewish elite who supposedly control the world. Abbott is peddling antisemitic conspiracy theory rhetoric,” says writer and human rights activist Leah McElrath.
“When they say ‘Soros’ and ‘New Yorkers,’ they mean Jews,” notes freelance writer Henry Schulman. “It’s an old dog whistle and a code all the Trump-humping Nazis and their sympathizers understand. So add a new adjective besides ‘fascist’ in front of Abbott’s name. It’s ‘anti-Semitic fascist.'”
Others were even more direct.
“Just say Jews you coward,” tweeted a columnist for The Forward, Alex גדעון בן װעלװל.
“‘The bespectacled, bagel-eating, gefilte fish-slurping, globalist intelligentsia from the Upper West Side’ is what he’s trying to say, although the specifics of who that is maddeningly unclear,” mocked Aki Pertiz, an intel and national security expert. “Also, doesn’t Soros live in NY state? Why single him out hmmmmm.”
Former Chicago Tribune editor Mark Jacob explains: “Right-wing code is pretty simple. ‘New York’ and ‘Soros’ = Jewish. ‘Chicago’ = Black people.”
Former Governor of Vermont, DNC Chair, and 2004 presidential nominee Howard Dean blasted Abbott, comparing him to the Hungarian dictator and, some say, fascist.
“Abbott has become just another GOP whack job. He sounds like victor Orban,” Dean wrote.
‘Same Answer’: Trump Sat Across From the NY Attorney General and Pleaded the Fifth to Each Question For About 5 Hours
Donald Trump arrived at the New York Attorney General’s Office early Wednesday morning, around 9 AM. At 10:04 AM posted to his Truth Social account was a lengthy statement that says, “under the advice of my counsel and for all of the above reasons, I declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen.”
Trump was finally forced to appear after a subpoena ordering him to give a deposition on January 7 in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation into his real estate pricing practices. Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen told Congress in 2019 his former boss would increase what he claimed his properties are worth when attempting to arrange credit and decrease their value for tax purposes.
The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell reported Trump “departed 28 Liberty at 3:20pm slumped in a black Secret Service SUV and peered out of the rear window as his motorcade crawled out of an underground garage past onlookers.”
At 3:42 PM Trump posted: “Just leaving the Attorney General’s Office – A very professional meeting.”
The New York Times reports “Trump and James sat across from each other for hours as he said ‘same answer’ again and again.”
Trump “read a statement into the record in which he called the inquiry a continuation of ‘the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country’ and accused Ms. James of having ‘openly campaigned on a policy of destroying me.'”
That statement is similar to the one posted to his Truth Social account.
Trump’s attorney, Ronald P. Fischetti, “said that over the course of about four hours, with several breaks, Mr. Trump answered only one question, about his name, toward the beginning of the interview.”
That statement Trump posted Wednesday morning attempted to merge the FBI’s Monday raid on his Mar-a-Lago home with his appearance for sworn testimony in a very different case.
Dem Congressman Posts Horrific Audio of Violent Death Threat Against Him and His Family by Caller Praising ‘Trump 2024’
Democratic U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California on Wednesday posted audio of a violent death threat against him and his family. The Congressman is married and the couple have three children. The speaker in the audio also calls for “all Democrats” to be killed, and ends with a call for “Trump 2024.”
Swalwell is a popular target for the right. He is a former candidate for president, a very visible member of the Democratic Party, and is the Co-Chair of the House Democratic Steering Committee.
The audio is profane and gruesome. In it, a male voice can be heard hoping for decapitations of the Congressman, his wife, and their children. The language is graphic.
READ MORE: House Republicans Visited Trump After FBI Raid to Urge Him to Announce Run for President
The voice also references President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, using horrifically racist slurs, along with Back Lives Matter, immigrants, and Democrats in general.
It also attacks the state of California and Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, and then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
It ends with a repeated call of “Trump 2024!”
The audio is nearly two minutes long but appears to have been edited, with at least the beginning cut off.
“LISTEN to this death threat against my children,” Swalwell urges. “Since the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, Trump, McCarthy, and MAGA Republicans are stoking violent rhetoric against lawmakers and law enforcement. Someone is going to get killed.”
In 2019 Swalwell also posted a death threat he received. Fox News’ Tomi Lahren mocked him on social media.
NCRM has opted to not embed the audio but it can be heard here.
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