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Responses to Pat Robertson's "Prayer Offensive"

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  • umcornet
    Two press releases... one from Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the other from Soulforce ... For Immediate Release July 15, 2003
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 18, 2003
      Two press releases... one from Americans United for Separation of
      Church and State and the other from Soulforce


      For Immediate Release July 15, 2003
      Americans United for Separation of Church and State
      Contact: Joseph Conn, Rob Boston or Jeremy Leaming
      202.466.3234 telephone



      TV preacher Pat Robertson, in an apparent effort to promote a Supreme
      Court that approves his religio-political agenda, is urging his
      nationwide audience to pray for a change in the make-up of the high

      Incensed by the Lawrence v. Texas ruling, which stated that gays "are
      entitled to respect for their private lives," Robertson is seeking
      divine help in restructuring the nation's top court. To achieve that
      goal, the religious broadcaster is sponsoring a 21-day "prayer

      Last week, Robertson e-mailed an "Urgent call for prayer" letter to
      Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) viewers, exhorting them to pray
      for the retirement of several of the high court's justices. He noted
      that one "justice is 83 years old, another has cancer, and another
      has a heart condition."

      The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for
      Separation of Church and State, expressed anger at Robertson's plea.

      "There is something ghoulish about praying for the removal of some
      the Supreme Court's justices while noting their age and health
      problems," Lynn said. "This shows how desperate Robertson and his
      Religious Right allies are to remake the high court.

      "Robertson and his friends want a Supreme Court that enforces the
      Religious Right's version of biblical law," continued Lynn. "They
      despise court rulings that uphold individual liberty and freedom of

      According to Robertson's letter, the Supreme Court has done great
      damage to America with decisions that "ruled prayer out of the public
      schools" and found a right of privacy that opened "the door to the
      slaughter of more than 43,000,000 innocent unborn children."

      But with the Lawrence ruling, the high court had gone too far,
      Robertson proclaimed. Parroting Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.),
      Robertson informed his CBN viewers that the ruling in Lawrence
      declared a "constitutional right to consensual sodomy and, by the
      language in its decision, has opened the door to homosexual marriage,
      bigamy, legalized prostitution, and even incest."

      Robertson's letter then asked his viewers if they would "join with me
      and many others in crying out to our Lord to change the Court?"

      Robertson followed his plea for prayer with his observations about
      the health and age of three of the current justices.

      "Would it not be possible," Robertson asked, "for God to put it in
      the minds of these three judges that the time has come to retire?
      With their retirement and appointment of conservative judges, a
      massive change in federal jurisprudence can take place."

      Lynn added that Robertson's latest tactic is part of his long-
      standing obsession to bring the Supreme Court into line with his
      religious beliefs. Not long after the terrorist attacks of 9/11,
      Robertson and fellow TV preacher Jerry Falwell asserted that the
      federal courts and supporters of church-state separation had angered
      God, thereby prompting the tragedies of 9/11.

      Speaking on his "700 Club" program Sept. 13, 2001, Robertson
      blasted "rampant pornography on the internet," "rampant secularism,"
      abortion rights and church-state separation.

      "We have a court that has essentially stuck its finger in God's eye
      and said we're going to legislate you out of the schools," thundered
      Robertson. "We're going to take your commandments from off the
      courthouse steps in various states. We're not going to let little
      children read the commandments of God. We're not going to let the
      Bible be read, no prayer in our schools. We have insulted God at the
      highest levels of our government. And then we say, 'Why does this

      "Well, why it's happening," Robertson concluded, "is that God
      Almighty is lifting his protection from us."

      Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in
      Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans
      about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding
      religious freedom.


      For Immediate Release: July 17, 2003
      Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
      Cell 717-278-0592


      On Monday, July 14, 2003, televangelist Pat Robertson launched a
      campaign to encourage his audience to pray for the early retirement
      of several Supreme Court justices. This "prayer offensive" is in
      response to the recent decision by the United States Supreme Court in
      overturning both Texas's sodomy law in Lawrence v Texas and the 1986
      Supreme Court decision in the Bowers v Hardwick case that upheld
      Georgia sodomy laws.

      Soulforce, a national interfaith movement committed to ending
      spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings
      against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people issued
      the following statement:

      "Asking people to pray for the retirement of Supreme Court justices
      after the Court overturned the Texas's sodomy law, Pat Robertson is,
      in fact, fueling anti-gay religious bigotry that leads to
      discrimination, prejudice and spiritual violence.

      In the Lawrence v. Texas ruling, the Supreme Court justices awarded
      to all people what was rightfully theirs to begin with, as the
      government never belonged in anyone's bedroom in the first place.

      Obviously, Pat Robertson and other religious right conservatives feel
      they need the US Supreme Court to be able to implement their
      interpretation of Biblical law in the United States, despite the fact
      that the laws of the United States are based on the Constitution -
      not the Bible.

      The "miracle" Pat Robertson seeks is, in essence, hoping his God will
      interfere to undermine equality for people that do not agree with
      him. And now, Pat Robertson's anti-gay bias and prejudice not only
      extends to gays and lesbians, but to Supreme Court justices as well.

      We believe this "prayer offensive" is Pat Robertson's way to continue
      to fuel anti-gay bigotry disguised as religion. GLBT people and
      allies should be concerned about conservatives' attempts to undermine
      equality and fuel anti-gay bigotry, whatever form it takes.

      We believe that the best way to counter this anti-gay bigotry is to
      take an ACTIVE role to ensure equality for all people, calling
      congress people about legislation, contacting elected officials to
      hold them accountable for their stand on equality, donating to
      organizations and churches that support GLBT rights, and refusing to
      be complicit in one's own oppression.

      And despite what Pat Robertson believes, we know that God loves GLBT
      people just the way we are and that equality for all people will
      someday be realized."
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