alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.

lou engle

Right-Wing Extremism Coming to a Voting Booth Near You

Not long ago, a passing familiarity with Bible verses, a flair for rhetoric and hunger for a following could be enough to land someone in a small-town pulpit. Today, it seems, they are the right stuff for a top-tier Republican candidacy, perhaps even for president.

Keep reading... Show less

Newt Gingrich Teams With Anti-Gay Zealot Lou 'Uganda' Engle For U.S. Cyber-'Revival'

The Christian right has often sought to stay the hand of God, angry with our failings as a nation, by "standing in the gap" at large prayer rallies and pleading for mercy. They have made a special point of doing so in the run-up to national elections since 1980, praying for "Godly" government and righteous candidates, and this year is no exception. The beneficiaries are almost always Republicans -- and this year is probably no exception in that regard as well. But there is also an ominous element that mostly transcends parties and is on vivid display as we enter the fall campaign season.

Keep reading... Show less

Exposing the Christian Right's New Racial Playbook

NOTE: A reel of video highlights of the Freedom Federation Summit, filmed and compiled by Sarah Posner, appears at the end of this article.

Keep reading... Show less

GOP's New Prayer Guru Says Gays Possessed By Demons

As the Rachel Maddow Show has recently showcased, on December 16th the Family Research Council sponsored a "Prayercast" event, attended by GOP luminaries including Senators Jim DeMint and Sam Brownback, and House Representatives Michelle Bachmann and Randy Forbes. But FRC head Tony Perkins did not lead the prayer event. That honor fell to Lou Engle, Founder of TheCall. Besides leading the capstone stadium rally for pro-Proposition 8, antigay marriage organizers last November 1, 2008 at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, Lou Engle could also be found, at a special ceremony at a Virginia Beach megachurch last summer, anointing and blessing GOP presidential hopefuls Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich.

Meet the Republican Party's new spiritual guru, Lou Engle:

Keep reading... Show less

Gingrich, Huckabee Get Pro-Christian Martyrdom Movement Leader's Blessing

On Friday, June 5, 2009, at an event featuring aspiring politicians Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich that was broadcast over the global media networks of GodTV, a rising leader in the rapidly reconfiguring Christian right who has publicly called for acts of Christian martyrdom prayed over and blessed Huckabee and Gingrich: TheCall founder Lou Engle.

Keep reading... Show less

The Man Behind Proposition 8

Among the local ballot measures to be decided on Election Day, California’s Proposition 8 is perhaps the most fiercely contested. Backers of the proposition to ban same-sex marriage in the state cast their campaign in apocalyptic terms. “This vote on whether we stop the gay-marriage juggernaut in California is Armageddon,” born-again Watergate felon and Prison Fellowship Ministries founder Chuck Colson told the New York Times. Tony Perkins, the president of the Christian right’s most powerful Beltway lobbying outfit, Family Research Council, echoed Colson’s language. “It’s more important than the presidential election,” Perkins said of Prop 8. “We will not survive [as a nation] if we lose the institution of marriage.”

The campaign for Prop 8 has reaped massive funding from conservative backers across the country. Much of it comes from prominent donors like the Utah-based Church of Latter Day Saints and the Catholic conservative group, Knights of Columbus. Prop 8 has also received a boost from Elsa Broekhuizen, the widow of Michigan-based Christian backer Edgard Prince and the mother of Erik Prince, founder of the controversial mercenary firm, Blackwater.

While the Church of Latter Day Saints’ public role in Prop 8 has engendered a growing backlash from its more liberal members, and Broekhuizen’s involvement attracted some media attention, the extreme politics of Prop 8’s third largest private donor, Howard F. Ahmanson, reclusive heir to a banking fortune, have passed almost completely below the media’s radar. Ahmanson has donated $900,000 to the passage of Prop 8 so far.

I first met Ahmanson in 2004, when he and his wife, Roberta, agreed to an interview request for an article I was writing for Salon. Their exchanges with me marked the first time since 1984 that Howard had agreed to make contact with a journalist, and the first time since 1992 for Roberta. Howard agreed to answer questions only by email because, according to Roberta, his Tourette’s Syndrome made chatting on the phone with a stranger nearly impossible. He functions “like a slow modem,” she said. Her dual role as her husband’s spokesperson and nurse quickly became apparent.