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‘Reclusive’ evangelical organizer David Lane bemoans the rise of secular judges, media

Image has not been found. URL: http://images.americanindependent.com/2010/07/MahurinReligion_Thumb.jpgDavid Lane, the influential California-based activist the New York Times has called “a stealth weapon for the right,” typically avoids the mainstream media spotlight — as he has since the mid-1990s, when he began mobilizing evangelical pastors and their congregations to vote during “Pastor Policy Briefings” and the Texas Restoration Project, which he used to lead.

But in an interview with the Texas Independent, Lane said his cause to “restore America to its Christian heritage” has been made more difficult by the nation’s descent into secularism over the last 60 years.

Lane said he is highly “reclusive,” especially with the media, which he considers ineffective.

“I don’t like to talk to media. They don’t do anything. They are meaningless,” said Lane, clumping his disdain for the press in with Hollywood, for which he also professed contempt.

But his reticence belies his authority in evangelical circles.

With the financial backing of the Christian conservative American Family Association, a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group, Lane has brought together a cast of rotating evangelical figures, conservative Republican candidates and some 10,000 pastors, at meetings in at least 14 states across the country — including pivotal fields in presidential politics.

His Iowa briefing is said to have helped former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee secure victory during the state’s Republican caucuses in 2008.

Given his strong ties to presidential hopeful Rick Perry, it may be little surprise that Lane extended an invitation for the evangelical favorite to speak at his upcoming AFA-funded pastor briefing in Florida — a state where the evangelical vote comprises nearly one quarter of the electorate.

Lane told the Independent there is no favoritism at play in his invitation, though, and that other Republican presidential candidates like Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann were invited as well.

While Lane strove to distance himself from the notion his evangelical network has thrown its support behind Perry, Lane’s record suggests otherwise, most recently when he coordinated Perry’s all-day August prayer rally, The Response, as its “National Finance Chairman.”

In 2005 Lane took the helm of the Texas Restoration Project, organizing pastor meetings during Perry’s 2007 reelection campaign that featured no other prospective candidate. The Internal Revenue Service investigated a group that funneled $1.26 million in donations from major Perry donors to finance the project, including Lane’s salary.

Lane also was involved with a set of secretive meetings held by right-wing Christian leaders in Texas this June which sought to develop a wider strategy to unseat President Barack Obama in 2012. During those meetings, Perry was declared “anointed to lead.”

Perry spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger told the Independent Perry’s involvement in Lane’s latest effort is no sure thing. The late October event in Orlando is, “on the governor’s radar” but not on his schedule quite yet. “We are considering a number of invites at this time,” said Cesinger.

Lane’s political activism hasn’t stopped at organizing pastor briefings. The Christian-right advocate helped push a proposition against same-sex marriage in California in 2000 and a similar one in Texas in 2005, which passed successfully. California’s Proposition 22 was eventually overturned eight years after its passage, a fact Lane attributes to “unaccountable” judges.

“There were seven million Californians who voted in favor of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, but it was one unelected and unaccountable judge that pushed his will over the millions who opposed homosexual marriage,” said Lane. “This is unacceptable.”

With support from the AFA and the Family Research Council, the born-again Christian was also instrumental in unseating three Iowa Supreme Court Justices based on their support for same-sex marriage. Lane called the judges “Judicial Gods” who believe they have the “right to rule a free people” and “impose their will” however they see fit.

Rather than focusing on politicians, whom he described as mere actors, “performing a script written off stage,” Lane targeted “secularist” judges during the phone conversation. “We have documented proof this nation was founded by Christians, but they have taken prayer, the Bible, Jesus and the Ten Commandments off the wall,” he said.

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