Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Trump unveils his college of cardinals: long on televangelism, showbiz and private jets; short on women and theological substance.

Only one of the thirty anti-LGBT religious advisors to vanquished GOP presidential hopefuls made the cut for The Donald’s new prayer circle.

Bishop Harry Jackson is a DC suburban spitemonger who was willing to put out for the National Organization for Marriage’s agenda back when it still had walking-around money. In August 20132 the website Shadowproof reported,

He has received $20,000 from NOM’s education fund and has rallied support for same-sex marriage bans in Florida and Washington, DC, where he joined Councilmember Marion Barry to oppose a marriage equality bill in 2009. 

As the head of the political action committee Stand4MarriageDC, Jackson was meant to be the voice of local opposition (he had a condo in the city). NOM’s fingerprints, however, were obvious: The two groups shared an address; NOM gave Stand4MarriageDC direct financial support; and Brian Brown, NOM’s executive director, was its treasurer. The measure passed, and NOM then spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to unseat councilmembers who supported the bill, without success. 

Enlisting minority spokespeople to deflect accusations of bigotry is nothing new. But the anti-gay-rights movement is going further in using black preachers like Jackson to battle the very idea that marriage equality is a civil right. 

Considering the millions that roll in for anti-gay causes, Jackson is a cheap date.  Notably, Jackson is affiliated with Rev. William Owens of Memphis of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (see Alvin’s post). That group is calling for blacks to withhold their votes in November to protest the President’s support for marriage equality. His very public ties with Owens to anti-gay bigotry go back to Jackson’s spearheading of the The Don’t Muzzle Our Pulpits campaign back in 2007 against the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Jackson’s high profile with NOM made him the subject of a huge expose by People for the American Way considering him the “point man” in the overall strategy of organizations like NOM to dividing the black and gay communities.

Jackson has also claimed he put a curse on a DC gay newspaper, forcing it into bankruptcy. The Washington Blade went into a bankruptcy reorganization, and continues in businesses to this day, five years later.

The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Jackson a “polite opponent of LGBT rights.”

An unsurprising Trump reject is Family Research Council head Tony Perkins, who forgot to tell Trump how to say “II Corinthians.” All the Carolina Cruzers- the Benham twins and Rev Mark Harris, fresh of his primary loss in a congressional race, stayed benched.

· Michele Bachmann, 60 - Former Congresswoman and 2012 GOP presidential candidate. Among her thoughts on LGBT issues are those:

“And I took a walk and I just went to prayer and I said Lord, what would you have me do in the Minnesota state senate? And just through prayer I knew that I was to introduce the marriage amendment in Minnesota.” 

She’s past poster girl for HB2: “Help! I’m being held against my will.” Michele’s perfectly rational response when two women run into her in a ladies’ room and ask her about her position on LGBT rights. In addition to her cry for help, Michele files a complaint with the police alleging, according to the police report, “she had no idea what those two women were going to do to her.” The county prosecutor refuses to press the charges, realizing that constituents have a right to talk to a politician. 

“Very effective way to do this with a bunch of second graders, is take a picture of The Lion King for instance, and a teacher might say, ‘Do you know that the music for this movie was written by a gay man?’ The message is: I’m better at what I do, because I’m gay.” Michele on how 7-year-olds are desensitized to the horrors of homosexuality by viewing Disney cartoons.

The Bachwomann’s husband runs a pray away the gay therapy center.

· A.R. Bernard, 62 - Senior Pastor and CEO, Christian Cultural Center

Bernard is an ex-banker who runs his Brooklyn megachurch from the customer service manual of American Express. He likes working the inside lane, and being close to the levers of power, as the New York Times reported:

He is a Republican who opposes abortion and gay lifestyles, believes in creationism and global warming. But he voted twice for Bill Clinton, and last year for Barack Obama. His endorsement was the first that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg unveiled in his bid for a third term.

· Mark Burns - Pastor, Harvest Praise and Worship Center, Easley, SC: Burns, 37,  is part of the Trump campaign gaggle. He introduces and prays for Tump at rallies, and won fame for telling a North Carolina rally audience that the Jewish candidate Bernie Sanders “needs to get saved.”

· Tim Clinton - President, American Association of Christian Counselors, Forest, VA: in 2014 Clinton’s 50,000 member groups changed its precept calling for LGBT people to undergo conversion therapy, and since then directs them to be celibate.

· Kenneth and Gloria Copeland - Founders, Kenneth Copeland Ministries: an old school money hustler, Kenneth Copeland, 79,  was a Ted Cruz supporter who explained in January that he shares a common interest with Trump:

Televangelists Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis defended their use of private jets as a luxury means of travel, arguing that commercial planes are full of “a bunch of demons” that will bog down their busy schedules with prayer requests. 
In a Dec. 29 segment of Mr. Copeland’s “Believer’s Voice of Victory” television program, Mr. Duplantis recalled a story where he was on a plane and had to unbuckle his seat belt to speak to God, The Blaze reported.

“You couldn’t have done that over an airline,” added Mr. Copeland. “Stand up and say, ‘What did you say, Lord?’”

“No, sir, no way,” Mr. Duplantis agreed.

“You can’t do that,” Mr. Copeland said. “This is so important and those of you that are just now coming into these things in the first place: Jesse and I and others … the world is in such a shape, we can’t get there without [private jets]. We’ve got to have them.”

“That’s why we are on that airplane. We can talk to God,” he said. “Now, Oral [Roberts] used to fly airlines. But, even back then it got to the place where it was agitating his spirit. People coming up to him, he had become famous, and they wanted him to pray for them and all that. You can’t, you can’t manage that today. This dope-filled world, and get in a long tube with a bunch of demons. And it’s deadly.”

· James Dobson - Author, Psychologist and Host, My Family Talk- The 80 year old Dobson is cofounder of Focus on the Family, the hate group Family Research COuncil, and the nonprofit antigay law firm Alliance Defending Freedom. Though he has repeatedly confessed defeat in all his works  recent years, apparently that was just to raise money. He never gives up.

· Jerry Falwell, Jr., 54 - President, Liberty University. His father gave him a university to run. Early Trump endorser.

· Ronnie Floyd - Senior Pastor, Cross Church- Floyd, 60, completed a two year term as president of the Southern Baptist Convention last week. In 1989 he was defeated for the presidency of the Arkansas State Baptist Convention by Mike Huckabee.

· Jentezen Franklin - Senior Pastor, Free Chapel- Franklin, 52, is another private jet enthusiast:

After preaching two sermons in Gainesville, Florida, beginning early Sunday morning and then shaking hands with his congregation, Franklin, his family and important staff members board a private jet. The team flies 2,300 miles west to Orange County, Calif., where by 6 pm, Franklin is in the pulpit for his one evening service there. He and his immediate family live in his private California home until Tuesday or Wednesday and then fly back to Gainesville. 

Franklin states that having individual staff, both in Georgia and California, allow him to be able to minister to his parishioners at opposite ends of the United States. He said that his congregations understand when he cannot visit them in the hospital and perform other pastoral work such as counseling those in need personally. These and other duties are assigned to other pastoral staff members.

· Jack Graham - Senior Pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church- Preston, 65, is another past president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastors a Texas megachurch.

· Harry Jackson - Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church: see intro above

· Robert Jeffress - Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Dallas. Jeffress, 60, has a long history of antigay comments.Most recently, he said LGBT-friendly businesses are a greater danger to America than ISIS.

· David Jeremiah - Senior Pastor, Shadow Mountain Community Church: Jeremiah, 75, successed Left Behind author Tim LaHaye in the pulpit, and has recently been accused to pre-selling his books for “donations” at $10 above the cover price, to inflate sales figures, get him on the New York Times Bestseller List, and make him more money.

· Richard Land – President, Southern Evangelical Seminary. A standard-issue jowly Southern Baptist white guy, Land has turned neatly from what he said last October:

Richard Land [told] a Christian radio program this week that he was “dismayed” by Trump’s “mystifying and somewhat depressing” popularity among evangelicals. 

“I guess I would have to say that I’m somewhat dismayed that Donald Trump is doing as well as he is among evangelicals,” Land told South Carolina pastor Kevin Boling on his radio program on Tuesday. “I frankly take that as a failure on our part to adequately disciple our people. I mean, Donald Trump’s a showman, Donald Trump’s a master at manipulating the media, but when we have so many good candidates, from an evangelical perspective, why perhaps as many as one fifth of evangelicals are supporting Donald Trump, who among other things is in his third marriage, has acknowledged that he’s never really had anything that he’s needed to ask God for forgiveness for, I find mystifying and somewhat depressing.” 

Land said the better choices for evangelicals would be Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina.

· James MacDonald – Founder and Senior Pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel” Macdonald, 56, is a high-roller multicampus church builder who sank his congregation $56 million in debt for his building program, then disciplined elders who spoke out against his profligacy. He apologized for his actions in 2013- the discipline, into the dbt- around the time he resigned from the board of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church- then imploding from financial and disciplinary scandals of its own- over “methodological differences.”

· Johnnie Moore - Author, President of The KAIROS Company: Moore’s company is a “boutique” public relations agency for evangelicals. He got his start at Liberty University (see Jerry Falwell Jr, above), then moved to Mark Burnett/Roma Downey’s religious broadcasting unit before going out on his own.

· Robert Morris - Senior Pastor, Gateway Church. Morris, 54, is another multi campus megachurch franchise in Texas.

· Tom Mullins – Senior Pastor, Christ Fellowship­- a former football coach, Mullins’s multi campus evangelical church sites are scattered around Trump's Palm Beach, Florida base.

· Ralph Reed - Founder, Faith and Freedom Coalition. Reed, 54, was so consumed by GOP politics it took him six years to graduate college. He, Grover Norquist and the lobbyist Jack Abramoff ran the College Republican National Committee before branching out to make real money.  Reed heard God in a Capitol Hill bar called Bullfeathers, and ran the Christian Coalition for Pat Robertson in the 1990s. After leaving it, he worked as a political consultant and saw his campaign for Lt Governor of Georgia founder in 2006 over his ties to Abramoff and the latter’s Marianas Islands sweatshop and Indian gaming corruptions.

· James Robison - Founder, Life OUTREACH International. Robison, 72, is another veteran televangelist fundraiser.

· Tony Suarez - Executive Vice President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Suarez’s boss, Sam Hernandez, was on the anti-LGBT boards of both Cruz and Rubio. Suarez himself endorsed Rubio back in February.

· Jay Strack - President, Student Leadership University. The 63-year-old stadium evangelist tweeted yesterday, “Hair tigger [sic]anger will leave you with a bald life.”

· Paula White - Senior Pastor, New Destiny Christian Center. White, 50, is a Trump confidante whose Wikipedia bio says Trump often flies her Atlantic City for personal Bible study sessions. He has led to Florida megachurches and been married three times. Her first church was one of those investigated by Senator Chuck Grassley in 2007 for the lavish life is provided its leadership.

· Tom Winters - Attorney, Winters and King, Inc.: An Oral Robert University alum, Winters is a church lawyer and Christian writers’ agent in Tulsa.

· Sealy Yates – Attorney, Yates and Yates: Mr Yates is a Southern California version of Tom Winters, crossing law practice with being a literary agent.

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