The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Maddow spotlights Perry-AFA prayer endorsers

Last updated: 07/31/2020 08:00 | 07/13/2011 10:09
Daisy-Mae Schmitt

The Rachel Maddow Show once again turned its attention to the extremist record of those endorsing Gov. Rick Perry’s August prayer event, hosted by the American Family Association, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated an anti-gay hate group.

Tuesday night, the MSNBC anchor spotlighted video of Mike Bickle, founder of the International House of Prayer. Bickle — who calls Oprah the “harbinger of the Antichrist” — and the all-day prayer center were subject of a recent New York Times feature:

Mr. Bickle has won praise from many evangelicals, but he has also been criticized by some pastors for what they describe as unorthodox theology and a cultish atmosphere, charges that Mr. Bickle rejects. Some former students said they had been expelled for questioning the fascination with mystical healings, prophesies, angels and demons.

The show also featured, in rapid-fire succession:

John Hagee, a San Antonio pastor whose endorsement for former Republican presidential candidate John McCain was retroactively declined in reaction to Hagee’s sermons preaching Hitler was a hunter sent by God to kill Jewish people, and calling the Catholic church “the great whore.”

AFA’s director of policy analysis Bryan Fischer, who has argued homosexuality caused the Holocaust, all non-Christians should not be allowed religious freedom, Muslims should not have First Amendment rights, permits should not be granted to build any mosques in the U.S., that Pres. Obama nurtures a “hatred” for the U.S. and the white man and that Herman Cain is the only “authentically” black/ “the real black man” in the presidential race.

Cindy Jacobs, who claims birds are dying because of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell; John Benefiel, a self-proclaimed “apostle” who asserts the Statue of Liberty is a “demonic idol” and homosexuality is a strategy designed by the Illuminati to control global population; and C. Peter Wagner, who likens himself to a prophet equal to Christ and has promoted the destruction of Catholic, Mormon and non-Christian religious objects. Wagner contends Japan’s economic and environmental woes were caused by paganism brought on by Sun Goddess that had sexual intercourse with Japan’s Emperor.

Maddow referenced comprehensive research from Right Wing Watch. The site maintains an updated list of Perry’s prayer event endorsers and their backgrounds.

Later, Dallas Morning News political reporter Wayne Slater joins Maddow to discuss how Perry’s alignment with these figures may help him secure the Republican nomination. Perry is gaining the support of “Teavangalelists,” Slater said — tea partiers and evangelists — who are increasingly eyeing the Texas governor as their preferred candidate. Slater said associations with contentious figures such as Hagee will only serve to strengthen Perry’s appeal to that group.

The two also discussed how the connections between religion and policy, given some event endorsers’ remarks that violations of religious laws have real-world policy implications. Perry has billed the event as a time for prayer over national crises like “financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters.”

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