According to Right Wing Watch, pastors gathered earlier this week at more than 200 sites throughout California, Arizona, and Florida to be pushed by national Religious Right leaders like Tony Perkins, Harry Jackson, Maggie Gallagher, and Chuck Colson and others to stop at nothing in the fight against marriage equality.
The People For the American Way Foundation released a memo outlining the Right's plans for the weeks ahead in what they call the "Armageddon of the Culture War", where much of the language used by the religious fundies turns violent:
The primary focus of the call was Proposition 8 in California, described by Colson as "the Armageddon of the culture war." Many speakers invoked the language of warfare, raising up an army of believers, putting soldiers in the streets, being on the front lines of a battle. Lou Engle actually described a massive rally planned in Qualcomm stadium on November 1 as a "blitzkrieg moment."
The call to action continued to spiral into crazyland:
While speaker after speaker spoke of the dire threats same-sex married couples pose to "traditional" marriage, religious freedom, and civilization itself, the overall tone of the call was confidence that victory would be won with God's help, 40 days of prayer and fasting before the election, teams of intercessors and prayer warriors around the country, and a massive highly organized deployment of volunteers in a systematic voter identification and turnout campaign.
Ron Luce from Teen Mania ministries and other organizers talked about plans to organize 300,000 youth and their families for an October 1 simulcast, and using them to reach 2.4 million. A representative of the Church Communication Network, a satellite network that has downlink equipment in 500 churches in California, 95 in Arizona, and 321 in Florida, said it would simulcast the youth event free of charge, and would make a satellite dish available "at cost" to churches who don't yet have one. Said one speaker of the youth organizing, "if we don't use them, Satan will."
Another speaker, Rev. Dudley Rutherford, predicted that if Prop. 8 fails, the God-ordained institution of marriage would be destroyed; the engine of hate crimes legislation would be fueled, ultimately leading to it being illegal to read some sections of the Bible; the floodgates would be open to gay couples suing to force churches to marry them; and the polygamists would be next.
Wow. Where to begin...
So not only are the fundie right using the pulpit to spread their political messages (isn't that against their tax-exempt status?), but they are targeting America's youth. Not just targeting them, but by their own admission "using them" so Satan (and by association- gays) won't. That's grade "A" hate that Anita "Save the Children" Bryant would be proud of.
And of course the fear mongering rhetoric couldn't end there. Besides the "soldier and war" language and youth focus, they had to give red meat to the masses. If gays can marry the bible will be illegal, polygamy will reign supreme, and churches would be overrun by homosexuals! Hide the children (when they aren't busy being indoctrinated with this ignorance)!
Well, praise the Lord and pass the ammunition...
These "moral leaders" continue to warp religion and blur the lines between church and state. I can tell you from personal experience here in Florida, this type of hyper-violent, inflammatory language- especially when coming from religious leaders- can directly lead to violence against our community.
All one has to do is look at what happened in South Florida when Mayor Naugle and his religious cronies held a press conference (in military fatigues) saying they would "take back the streets from homosexuals however necessary." In the months following, a gay couple was bashed on the streets, Trans/Gay youth Simmie Williams was gunned down, and anti-gay graffiti and harassment continue to mar South Florida.
We have to continue to call attention to these violent words and hold these groups accountable. As political battles heat up, so will the rhetoric and violence directed towards LGBT people. This kind of rhetoric isn't about religious freedom or political disagreement- this about inciting violence and stoking the flames of intolerance and hatred.
These types of speeches are calls to action for bigoted fundies. They say loud and clear that it is open season on LGBT people. And as we have seen, too many are willing to answer that call.