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American Prayer Hour vs. National Prayer Breakfast

Jim Burroway

February 3rd, 2010

Several groups are sponsoring the American Prayer Hour for tomorrow, February 4, as an alternative to the National Prayer Breakfast which will take place at the same time in Washington, D.C. The National Prayer Breakfast is organized by the secretive Evangelical group known as the Family, some of whose members are linked to Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The American Prayer Hour was conceived as a multi-city event to call on the UGandan government to withdraw the bill that Saddleback pastor Rick Warren characterized as “unjust, extreme and un-Christian toward homosexuals.”

To kick off the event, APH organizers held a news conference yesterday featuring Harry Knox, Director of Religion and Faith for the Human Rights Campaign; the Rev. Elder Darlene Garner, Metropolitan Community Church pastor;  Bishop Carlton Pearson, interim senior pastor at Chicago’s Christ Universal Temple; Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay man elected bishop in the Episcopal Church; and Frank Schaeffer, son of pre-eminent conservative theologian Francis Schaeffer. More on Mr. Schaeffer later.

But the star of the event was “Moses,” a Ugandan citizen who is seeking asylum in the United States. He appeared in disguise because he fears for his life if he should be forced to go back to Uganda, and his testimony shows us exactly what’s at stake.

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Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer’s presence is particularly notable. His father, Frances Schaeffer, was a very influential and conservative theologian who rejected modernism in all its theological forms. His book, The Christian Manifesto is credited — or blamed — for inspiring the rise of the Christian Right as a political force, as well as the rise of Dominionism as a theological one. His son, Frank, grew up immersed in the work of his father, and in his book Crazy for God, Frank described his own role in pushing religious leaders to tackle abortion in the 1970’s and 1980’s. But over time Frank became disillusioned with the movement his father helped to inspire, and came to the conclusion that the Evangelical right had distorted his father’s teachings beyond recognition. He is now a critic of the very movement he and his father helped to establish.

At yesterday’s news conference, Frank was quoted as saying:

“As a person who was raised in the heart of conservative Christianity, it took me years to realize that anti-gay beliefs are wrong and not inherent to Christianity. Today, fundamentalists are exporting anti-gay beliefs because fewer and fewer people here believe the lies. It’s time to stop using gay people as political pawns and understand that we are all children of God.”

Comments

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libhomo
February 3rd, 2010 | LINK

We need to get all religion out of politics. Queers are inevitable collateral damage whenever the political debate degenerates into “my god can beat up your god” nonsense.

Evan Hurst
February 3rd, 2010 | LINK

I agree.

But at the same time, it can be valuable to go play on their turf sometimes.

William Bell
February 4th, 2010 | LINK

I agree with you

“At ‘The Family’ prayer breakfast, Obama condemns Uganda’s anti-gay bill” and related posts « Twitter
February 4th, 2010 | LINK

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David
February 4th, 2010 | LINK

Poor Moses! I feel so sorry for him. Is there a way we can show some support for him?

Ray
February 4th, 2010 | LINK

Schaffer’s “Crazy For God” is REQUIRED reading. It is cold water in the face for those who think we can sleep while the Religious Right demeans our Constitution.

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