A new Religious Right group has begun running full-page newspaper advertisements attacking church-state separation and asserting that the United States is in crisis because it has abandoned Christianity.
The group, Save America Now, ran the ads in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Seattle Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and several other publications in late January and early February. The ads, headlined, "America Is In Trouble," assert that the nation faces dire consequences because of efforts to remove the Ten Commandments from courthouses, failure of public schools to inculcate Christianity and activity by gay-rights groups.
The ads urge readers to send for a free booklet, America in Crisis, which recycles the Religious Right's bogus "Christian nation" history and criticizes courts for upholding church-state separation.
Employing hysterical language, the booklet asserts that unless Americans embrace fundamentalism, the country will be plagued with terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
Without a massive prayer initiative, in 2004, it has been prophesied that we will see terrorist acts all over America," read the booklet. "September 11, 2001 was only a wakeup call. Terrorism will be on a greater scale and pervasiveness than anyone could have ever predicted. During this year, we will also see more natural disasters, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires and floods like never before."
The booklet asserts terrorists plan to increase their attacks to undermine the Bush administration and to distract the nation from "the true purpose spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ!" The United States, the booklet insists, "was founded on Christianity."
The group, which operates from a post office box in San Diego, says it wants to sign up one million people to pray for the nation.
Save America Now's "Board of Reference" contains few familiar names, mostly b-list TV preachers and faded Religious Right activists. Among them are singer Pat Boone, TV preachers Morris Cerullo, Paul Crouch and the Rev. Jack Van Impe as well as Bill McCartney, founder of the Promise Keepers. Also listed is Ted Baehr of the Christian Film and Television Commission.
In other news about the Religious Right:
Board members of the Montana Family Coalition, a Montana-based Religious Right group, are leaving the group to form a new entity aligned with Focus on the Family (FOF).
The new FOF affiliate will be called the Montana Family Foundation. A Montana state representative, Jeff Laszloffy, said he plans to retire from politics in 2005 and run the FOF-aligned group full time. The Montana Family Coalition was formerly an affiliate of the Christian Coalition. Religious Right foes in Montana said the shift from one group to another will not make much difference.
"These groups from the Religious Right come and go," said state Rep. Christine Kaufmann, co-director of the Montana Human Rights Network. "Their names may change, their tactics may change, but it's really the same people running the same agenda."
The Montana Family Coalition sparked controversy last September when the group's executive director, Julie Millam, attacked the television show "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" in the Billings Gazette, remarking, "To me, that's not a reality show about gay people. A really good reality show for gay people would be five gay men dying of AIDS."
The League of Christian Voters, a newly formed Alabama group, hopes to ask state judicial candidates a series of questions, including queries about their religious beliefs.
The League, headed by Jim Zeigler, a Mobile attorney, hopes to play off the controversy over ousted Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and spur conservative Christians to the polls. Zeigler hopes to be able to ask candidates where they worship and where they stand on issues like gay marriage and abortion, reported the Associated Press.
The questions may not be legal under Alabama law, however. Zeigler has asked the state's Judicial Inquiry Commission for an opinion, but that body is under no obligation to offer one.
A conservative Roman Catholic member of Congress has helped launch a study group designed to bring traditionalist church teachings to Capitol Hill. U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy (R-Minn.) was profiled recently in the National Catholic Register. Kennedy told the paper he worked with U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) to form the St. Thomas More Study Group, a bipartisan effort that hears lectures from conservative Catholics like Richard John Neuhaus and George Weigel.
TV preacher Pat Robertson was honored by Israeli officials last month for his help in bringing evangelical Christian tourists to the country. Robertson was honored by Israel's Ministry of Tourism Feb. 15 during the National Religious Broadcasters annual convention in Charlotte. N.C.
"Dr. Robertson's commitment to strengthening tourism to Israel, and the number of visitors to our country is greatly welcomed," said Rami Levi, Israel's Tourism Ambassador to North and South America. "His influence over his millions of viewers and Christian Zionists is appreciated, and we look forward to working with him for years to come."