Despite having attempted to distance himself from newspaper advertising for a conservative Christian event that featured his image and the words: “Come Join me in a time of worship, prayer, fasting and repentance,” Gov. Pat McCrory did show up and speak at a Saturday event in Charlotte organized by a far right religious group known as the American Renewal Project which argues that the United States is a “Christian nation.”

McCrory used his few minutes on the stage to talk about substance abuse and to ask the people who were in attendance to join in the effort to combat the problem.  “We need your help because government cannot do this alone, you can do it, God can do it,” the Governor stated.

What was weirdest and most disturbing about McCrory’s appearance, however, was the spectacle of several middle aged men crowding around the Governor to lay their hands on him and dispense statements of hate and fear masquerading as “prayer.” Click the video below to watch as a fellow who appears to be American Renewal Project founder David Lane making several remarkable claims, including:

  • that the United States is “a nation founded on the Bible,”
  • that “fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,”
  • that the U.S. committed the great sin of removing “prayer and Bibles from the public schools in 1963 after 350 years as a principal component, as the fixed point in order to judge society,”
  • that safe, legal abortion has left “55 million babies dead,”
  • that “homosexuals praying at the inauguration” and “red ink as far as the eye can see” were among the other great sins afflicting the country.

For this, Lane said, the United States “deserves judgment.” He then called on attendees to pray for McCrory and made several other offensive claims — including that the U.S. is a nation that was “founded for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.” Click below to watch:

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Commentary, News

johnson_terryAny notion that Alamance County’s anti-immigrant crusading sheriff Terry Johnson (pictured at left) would be at all chastened as a result of being sued by the federal government for unlawfully targeting Latinos has been quashed in recent days. On Monday, the Alamance County Board of Commissioners approved without debate a request submitted by Johnson to send four of his officers to Texas at taxpayer expense for a “Sheriff Border Summit” sponsored by the notorious anti-immigrant group, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

As the watchdogs at the Southern Poverty Law Center document here, FAIR is an anti-immigrant advocacy  group that maintains a “veneer of legitimacy” at the same time that “its leaders have ties to white supremacist groups and eugenicists and have made many racist statements.”

Click here and scroll down to page 7 to see a flyer describing the event, which looks as if it will feature a who’s who of anti-immigrant zealots. This is from the flyer:

“Join Sheriffs from around the nation for the 3rd Annual Border Summit, and education and training event created specifically for Sheriffs.

Hear from top experts in the field of:
Drug Cartels
Narco Culture and Occult
National Security
Transnational Gangs
The training will include a tour of the Texas-Mexico Border meeting with Texas Border Volunteers and Texas Bar B Q at the Vicker Ranch”

Johnson’s request is that Alamance County taxpayers pay “Approx. $2,570” for four individuals from his office to travel to Texas next month to attend the event. Somewhat strangely, Johnson’s request seeks approval for the men to travel to El Paso, Texas, but the flyer attached to the request says that the event will be in the city of McAllen, which is 800 miles east of El Paso. Sounds like quite a road trip could be in the offing.

According to the Associated Press, one of the men slated to attend the event, Richard Longamore, once “forwarded an email to the sheriff and his chief deputy bemoaning a federal program that provides temporary visas to foreign nationals who are the victims of such violent crimes as rape, incest and torture.”

Johnson was, of course, has long been a controversial figure in North Carolina and one of the state’s most outspoken public officials on the matter of  immigration. He was sued by the United State Department of Justice for unlawfully targeting Latino residents for investigation, traffic stops, arrests, seizures, and other enforcement actions. Last month, a federal judge in Winston-Salem dismissed the lawsuit, but advocates remain hopeful that the Department of Justice will appeal the ruling.

This is from a statement issued by the ACLU of North Carolina in response to the judge’s decision: Read More

Image: Franklin Graham's Facebook page

Image: Franklin Graham’s Facebook page

The responses are pouring into the Rev. Franklin Graham’s latest homophobic rant. The son of famed evangelist Billy Graham and head of North Carolina-based Samaritan’s Purse is calling for a boycott of Wells Fargo Bank and Tiffany & Co., because the companies have acknowledged and celebrated same sex married couples in advertisements.

One of the best responses thus far is entitled “So let me get this straight…” and it comes from Prof. Dominick Scudera of Ursinus College courtesy of the Huffington Post. As Scudera notes:

“So let me get this straight …

All mothers deserve to be celebrated, except lesbian mothers who adopt deaf children because those particular mothers are part of the moral decay being crammed down the throat of Christians in America? Is that right? Am I understanding that correctly?

In his Facebook post, Graham supports a boycott of businesses that are supportive of gay rights: ‘At the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we are moving our accounts from Wells Fargo to another bank … Let’s just stop doing business with those who promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards.’

Graham used his Facebook account to spread his message. Facebook is a gay-friendly business. Facebook is one of 379 corporations and employer organizations who have urged the Supreme Court to strike down state bans on gay marriage in a friend-of-the-court brief.

So let me get this straight …

We should stop doing business with those companies which promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards, except Facebook. Yes?

Well, maybe Twitter, too. At the bottom of the “Celebrate Moms” campaign page, readers are urged to share the message on Facebook and Twitter. Twitter is another one of the 379 corporations supporting gay marriage….”

Read Scudera’s entire post by clicking here.



Mooresville writer John Deem is not impressed with state House Speaker Tim Moore’s recent statements about the so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” and its potential impact on North Carolina’s “brand”:

Speaker Moore: “I’m all about the brand, ’bout that brand, no trouble …”

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore’s promise of a pragmatic approach in deliberations over the proposed Religious Freedom Restoration Act is all the confirmation we need that the issue has little to do with the protection of faith-guided principles, and everything to do with pure, partisan politics.

Moore’s explanation that he and his colleagues should be guided by how passage of any such legislation could potentially “harm North Carolina’s brand” also is an egregious display of political cowardliness in the face of right-handed flamethrowers from of his own party.

Either the “religious freedom” of North Carolinians is being threatened, or it isn’t. If Speaker Moore believes that it is, then pragmatism be damned. He should push ahead with the legislation at full speed. Protecting the inalienable rights of North Carolinians should always trump concerns about how the state looks to outsiders, after all.

If Moore disagrees with the proposed legislation’s dire warnings of religious oppression, then he should say so (as Gov. McCrory and other influential Republicans already have) and expose the conservative mavericks in the House as extremists bent on using Christianity – a faith rooted in grace – as a tool to separate themselves from their neighbors who might not look, think or love exactly as they do.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is either a battle cry of freedom or a sacrilegious sham. I look forward to hearing what “brand” of legislation Speaker Moore thinks it is.

– John Deem is an award-winning writer and editor living in Mooresville.


No, hell has not frozen over and the following excerpt from a story in Upstart Business Journal does not appear to be an April Fools’ joke. Rather, it is the latest sure sign that troubled souls on the American religious right are, blessedly, losing the fight for the hearts and minds of the nation:

“Facing opposition from the world’s largest retailer and his state’s biggest business, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson today backed away from signing a ‘religious freedom’ bill many said would be an open invitation to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

Hutchinson, a Republican who had previously said he would sign the bill passed Tuesday by the Arkansas House, instead asked legislators to revisit the bill and make it more like a federal law signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993. ‘I’ve asked them to recall it and change the language,’ Hutchinson said at a news conference….

‘Every day, in our stores, we see firsthand the benefits diversity and inclusion have on our associates, customers and communities we serve,’ McMillan said in a statement posted on Twitter. ‘It all starts with our core basic belief of respect for the individual. Today’s passage of HB1228 threatens to undermine the spirit of inclusion present throughout the state of Arkansas and does not reflect the values we proudly uphold. For these reasons, we’re asking Governor Hutchinson to veto this legislation.’

Other states including North Carolina and Georgia had been considering similar bills. But politicians in those states have slowed down the process since the Indiana firestorm, with N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory, of North Carolina saying, “What is the problem they’re trying to solve?”

Read the entire story by clicking here.