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Hispanic Evangelicals to Perry: Time For Reconciliation



Tristan Hallman – The Dallas Morning News

Hispanic Evangelicals to Perry:  Time For Reconciliation Hispanic evangelical leaders hope that Gov. Rick Perry will make amends with Hispanics and the religious community now that the bill prohibiting “sanctuary cities” appears to be dead. After Perry put the bill on the agenda for the Texas Legislature’s special session, several Hispanic evangelical leaders — who had otherwise supported Perry — declined invitations to join Perry at his Aug. 6 national day of prayer and fasting event. The religious leaders believed the bill would promote discrimination and lead to a few “rogue” police officers targeting Hispanic churches. Lynn Godsey, the Texas director of Esperanza for America, a group that promotes immigration reform, said he will consult with Houston pastors before deciding whether to attend the prayer event at Houston’s Reliant Stadium. “Hispanics have been hurt. There needs to be some healing. There needs to be some reconciliation,” Godsey said. Godsey, a pastor who has supported other conservative politicians in the past, said that it would benefit Perry to humble himself and have a discussion with Hispanic religious leaders, especially if the governor plans to run for president. As for the event itself, Godsey said Perry’s involvement with religious leaders outside of his speech will be telling. “If he comes and goes, it’s politics,” Godsey said. “He wasn’t serious about prayer” Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said he has decided to attend the prayer because he believes Perry is indeed serious about prayer. Rodriguez had been on the fence about whether to attend, but he said he was reassured after a private meeting with Perry along with other pastors last week. “I just want to see people come together and praying and believing in good things,” Rodriguez said. Rodriguez added that Perry’s push for the sanctuary cities bill could hurt his possible presidential bid. The best case scenario Perry could expect from Hispanics, he said, is “an apathetic showing of support.” Abel Lopez, a Dallas resident and president of Leadership Training Ministries, a group that trains youth workers in churches in the United States and Latin America, had declined his invitation, but is willing to reconsider. “I voted for him,” Lopez said. “He’s still my governor.” Lopez, like Godsey, said he will make a final decision on whether to attend after consulting with others. Others aren’t as sure they can just forgive and forget. John Mendez, former vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said that he still won’t attend Perry’s event because he felt deceived by Perry’s support for the bill. Both Rodriguez and Godsey also said the bill still perturbs them, but the experience has helped teach them to be more proactive in building effective organizations to fight future legislative battles.

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A Church in Phoenix Opens its Door to Access Food


USDA Blog – Posted by Marissa Duswalt, Truman Albright Fellow, and Max Finberg, Director, USDA Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

For families in Phoenix, Arizona, buying groceries through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and putting needed nutrition assistance on the kitchen table just got a little easier. Thanks to Reverend Eve Nuñez, a new SNAP access location opened earlier this spring to assist Phoenix’s Hispanic community apply for SNAP. Through the Help 4 Kidz organization and Love International Church, more than 700 families have already gotten help in putting food on the table. At the ribbon cutting ceremony for the site in June, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food and Nutrition Services, Dr. Janey Thornton, joined Reverend Nuñez and other community leaders to celebrate the site’s newly opened doors.  The center now welcome Latinos and others with the food they need immediately and the help they need to buy it. The food assistance center provides pre-certification assistance for the SNAP program, as well as a meal for the children of parents who come in and connections with other federal programs.  Earlier this year, Help 4 Kidz signed a contract with the Arizona Department of Economic Security to become an official SNAP satellite. The grand opening is a milestone in Rev. Nuñez’ work with USDA.   Nuñez began working with the Partnerships Center through their anti-hunger initiative, “Porque Tuve Hambre y Me Diste de Comer/For I was Hungry and You Gave Me Food.” She participated in USDA’s first ever Latino Food and Nutrition Consultation in October 2010, where she joined other faith leaders from across the country to advise USDA on how best to reach the Latino community with nutrition assistance. Nuñez later attended a meeting at the local St. Mary’s Food Bank where she relayed her community’s need for SNAP assistance to USDA and state officials. Following the meeting, United Way approached Nuñez with an offer to help her start the Help4Kidz SNAP satellite.  Soon after, Nuñez attended the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference Board of Directors meeting, where she learned of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Faith and Communities challenge to feed kids over the summer. Nuñez rose to the challenge. By starting the summer feeding program, a Kids Café now serves meals to kids while they wait for their parents to finish the SNAP application process at the site.   Now, USDA is assisting her in sharing her efforts with others.  A regional USDA official said, “I am hoping that she will lay the groundwork for successful participation by other pastors in Los Angeles.  Thank you for the opportunity to improve our outreach to the Latino faith community.” Reverend Nuñez’s commitment to serving families threatened by hunger is inspired by the memory of her son, Frankie Nuñez, who passed away at age fifteen.  Nuñez views the new SNAP service at Help4Kidz as a way of fulfilling her son’s dream of feeding children. “Frankie would often ask me, ‘Why can’t we give food stamps?’” Nuñez recalls. Now, that’s exactly what she is doing.  Nuñez’ example is a story of how we can truly feed our neighbors: “I am very grateful to USDA for taking the time to help me and for being persistent in providing me with the information I needed to make my son’s dream of helping more families with food come true.”

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NHCLC Announces the Appointments of Dr. Samuel Pagan and Dr. Alberto M. Delgado to the NHCLC Board


PR Newswire

The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference Announces the Appointments of Dr. Samuel Pagan and Dr. Alberto M. Delgado to the NHCLC Board   SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (www.nhclc.org), also known as the Hispanic Evangelical Association, the nation’s largest Christian Hispanic organization, has announced that Dr. Samuel Pagan and Dr. Alberto M. Delgado have been appointed to the NHCLC Board of Directors. Dr. Samuel Pagan, a leading Evangelical scholar and Professor of Hebrew Bible at Dar al-Kalima College in Bethlehem, has been appointed to the NHCLC Board of Directors. A Puerto Rican born Bible translator and theologian, Samuel Pagan is an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), commissioned by the General Board of Common Ministries in the USA, to serve in Israel and Palestine. A prolific writer, he has published over 35 books on theological, biblical and pastoral themes, and has edited five study editions of the Bible, two Bible encyclopedias and a Bible dictionary. He has been academic dean and president of graduate theological institutions in Puerto Rico and the USA, and has been the director of the Bible translation department of the United Bible Societies in the Americas. Dr. Samuel Pagan has lectured and taught in universities, seminaries and academic centers in Latin America, Europe, the Far East, and the Middle East. Dr. Pagan has the following academic degrees: Bachelor in Science in Chemical Engineering, Master in Divinity, Master in Theology, Doctorate in Hebrew Literature and Doctorate in Sacred Theology. Dr. Pagan and his wife, Dr. Nohemi Pagan, live in Jerusalem where they serve as professors at Dar al-Kalima College. “It is with a great honor that we welcome Dr. Samuel Pagan as a member of the NHCLC. Dr. Pagan is one of the greatest theologians of this generation,” said Rev. Gilberto Velez, M.D., M.P.H., NHCLC Chairman of the Board. “His work has been a great blessing to the Christian community at large, not only in the United States, but all around the world. His love for the gospel has taken him through different levels in which he has succeeded, planting the seed of knowledge for generations to come. I personally consider myself blessed and honored to have him and his wife, Dr. Nohemi Pagan, as my dearest friends.” “After serving the Hispanic community for many years in different scholarly programs and projects, and also after seeing the serious commitment of the NHCLC toward the Hispanic community, I am glad to be part of this organization that is in the cutting edge of service and support of our USA communities,” said Dr. Pagan. “I am looking forward to making a contribution toward the mission and vision of NHCLC, especially in their theological and scholarly programs. I am indeed honored with this opportunity.” Dr. Alberto M. Delgado, Senior Pastor of Alpha & Omega Church in Miami, Fla. (www.alpha-omega.org), one of America’s largest churches, was also appointed to the NHCLC Board of Directors. Dr. Delgado came to the United States from Cuba at the age of 15 through “The Peter Pan Program” which brought over 14,000 minors in a mass exodus from the island without their parents. There were many difficult years for the young Alberto but at the age of 27 he had a powerful, personal encounter with the love of Jesus Christ. Graduating from the RHEMA Bible Training Center in 1979, he began his life as a missionary in South America. In 1985, Pastor Alberto Delgado settled in Miami, Fla. with the strong desire to establish a church in which the word of God and the message of faith would be preached–with only 20 members, the first “Alpha and Omega” tent was set up in South Miami where his life in America had begun years before. Today, 20 years later, God has enlarged this great labor of Pastor A. Delgado, his wife Mariam Delgado and two children, to a church of more than 5000 members and a sanctuary that opens its doors to about 2000 people per service. Pastor A. Delgado completed a Master’s Degree in Arts with a specialization in Christian Counseling in Jacksonville, Fla. Dr. Delgado has a Doctorate Degree in Theology from Logos Christian College. Tony Calatayud, NHCLC Board Member, National Director of Salem Radio Espanol and Chairman of Conservadores commented on Dr. Delgado’s appointment and said, “Alberto Delgado is truly one of the preeminent ministers in America today. His message of love and hope in preaching the gospel has touched many around the world. He is a man of vision and courage. Having known Pastor Delgado for years, I can attest he will be a valuable addition to the NHCLC Board. His entry will only strengthen the NHCLC mission of partnering with the most influential leaders across America and pressing on to bring our great nation to the foundational judeo-Christian values that were its initial cornerstone.” Dr. Alberto M. Delgado, said, “It is a great honor to join the Board of Directors of the NHCLC as the Christian church faces an important and challenging time in the United States. With the persecution that many of our Hispanic brothers are enduring, the many unfulfilled promises that have been made to the Hispanic community and the families who are being divided as a result–it is important for us to join together and raise our voices in order for justice to be done so that the division does not continue.  A Christian organization such as the NHCLC which has strength and depth in its membership is what we need in order to stand resolute in the face of growing opposition to our Christian heritage and to our beliefs as united we raise our voices to the mountain tops.  I look forward to working with our President Samuel Rodriguez, with the board, and the leadership in the coming year.” President of the NHCLC, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, said, “This is an exciting time in the history of the NHCLC — to have such a high caliber of Christian scholars and pastors engaging in ministries effecting the Hispanic community and in the work of the NHCLC. We are very grateful.” The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference is the Hispanic National Association of Evangelicals unifying, serving and representing the Hispanic Born Again Community via 34,200 member churches and 20 million constituents by reconciling the vertical and horizontal of the Christian message through the 7 Directives of Life, Family, Great Commission, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth.

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The Potter’s House Annoucnes Alliance With National Christian Hispanic Leadership Conference



DALLAS, July 18, 2011 – Bishop T.D. Jakes, senior pastor at The Potter’s House, together with Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Christian Hispanic Leadership Conference NCHLC) announce an alliance whereby the seminal conference, “ManPower” would become the sanctioned men’s event for the NCHLC, creating the largest, most diverse Christian men’s conference to date. Reverend Rodriguez will also be a featured speaker at the historic event whose 2011 theme is “Breaking New Ground.” ManPower will take place from August 11 to 13 at The Potter’s House in Dallas. “Our alliance shows that neither language nor culture can withstand the unity of the cross,” said Bishop T.D. Jakes, senior pastor at The Potter’s House and conference Host.   “We welcome our Latino brothers and brothers of every culture wholeheartedly as all men of all races face similar challenges every day.” Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is senior pastor of the California-based Christian Worship Center and named by The Wall Street Journal as one of “America’s Seven Most Influential Hispanic Leaders.” A prominent leader in Latino community, Reverend Rodriguez has been described by CNN as “The leader of the Hispanic Evangelical movement,” and is currently the president of America’s preeminent Latino Christian organization, the NCHLC, which has more than 20 million members. Founded by Bishop T.D. Jakes, the annual ManPower Conference is a gathering of men from all walks of life, backgrounds, and cultures who come together to discover their God-given gifts and talents and gain essential tools to enhance their spiritual journeys. ManPower is an exhilarating three-day conference, featuring eminent speakers, such as Bishop T.D. Jakes and other renowned guests who will share inspirational messages to men. The Potter’s House expects to repeat last year’s success when nearly 10,000 men packed the Fort Worth Convention Center to receive biblical impartation from some of the country’s most well-known Christian speakers and musical artists. Approximately 15 percent of the audience included men of Latino dissent from around the nation. The event resulted in an economic impact of more than $3.9 million. 2011 Featured conference speakers include: •Bishop T.D. Jakes, senior pastor of The Potter’s House, a global humanitarian organization and 30,000-member nondenominational, multicultural church located in Dallas and named “America’s Best Preacher” by Time Magazine •Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, senior pastor of the California-based Christian Worship Center and named by The Wall Street Journal as one of “America’s 7 Most Influential Hispanic Leaders” •Apostle Ron Carpenter, senior pastor of Redemption World Outreach Center in Greenville, South Carolina, entrepreneur and host of the television show, “Redemption Today,” which is broadcast worldwide on Trinity Broadcast Network •Bishop I.V. Hilliard, co-founder of the New Light Christian Center Church, with multiple locations in Houston and Austin, Texas •Pastor Bill Winston, founder and pastor of Living Word Christian Center in Forest Park, Illinois, and Tuskegee Christian Center in Tuskegee, Alabama The 2011 ManPower Conference will be held at The Potter’s House of Dallas; 6777 W. Kiest Boulevard; Dallas, TX. Registration is $40. For more information or to register for the 2011ManPower Conference, visit www.manpowerconfercence.com or call 1-800-BISHOP2. About The Potter’s House Located in Dallas, The Potter’s House is a 30,000-member nondenominational, multicultural church and humanitarian organization led by Bishop T. D. Jakes, twice featured on the cover of Time magazine as “America’s Best Preacher” and as one of the nation’s “25 most influential evangelicals.” The Potter’s House has four locations, The Potter’s House of Dallas, The Potter’s House of Fort Worth, The Potter’s House of North Dallas, and The Potter’s House of Denver and a Spanish language church, Casa de Fe.www.thepottershouse.org. About The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) is the National Hispanic Association of Evangelicals. As the largest Latino Christian organization in America and the sister organization of the 47 million strong National Association of Evangelicals, the conference leads the 16 million vibrant and growing Hispanic Born Again community and 25,434 Evangelical congregations by providing leadership, networking, partnerships, strategic partnerships and public policy advocacy platforms to its 7 Directives: Life, Family, Great Commission, Stewardship, Education, Youth and Justice. http://www.nhclc.org. About ManPower Conference ManPower, created by Bishop T.D. Jakes, is designed to address the specific needs, hurts, and struggles of all men from a biblical perspective. The first ManPower conference was held in 1994 in Detroit, Michigan. In 2003, ManPower was held in Atlanta, Georgia, where more than 44,000 men attended and millions more watched from home, as the event was aired live internationally in both English and Spanish. Years later, ManPower continues to equip and encourage men to build strong marriages, increase their confidence and take on community responsibilities. To date, ManPower has drawn over 150,000 men from around the world. www.manpowerconference.org. Media Contact: Zakiya Larry, 469-230-5171 cell, zlarry@tdjakes.org Kayla Adams, 469-360-7716 cell, kadams@tdjakes.org

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Rev. Rodriguez and Circle of Protection Leaders Meet with President Obama

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — In a meeting with President Barack Obama and senior White House staff yesterday, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and seven other national Christian leaders involved in the “Circle of Protection” asked the president to protect funding for programs for hungry and poor people in the ongoing budget debate and in any deal concerning the default crisis. The “Circle of Protection,” is a nonpartisan movement that insists budgets are moral documents and that poor and vulnerable people should be protected–not targeted–in efforts to reduce long-term deficits. The meeting addressed both the nation’s responsibility to cut the deficit and address the debt while not abandoning the Christian allocations embedded in the budget as it pertains to helping the poor globally like malaria tents that Bush provided, AIDS and domestic programs that address the poorest of the poor including faith based programs. The meeting occurred in the Roosevelt Room at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, just before Obama met with Democratic Senate and House leaders about the debt ceiling and deficit-reduction talks. President Obama stayed for 40 minutes of the hour-long session according to leaders in attendance. White House staff in attendance with President Obama at Wednesday’s meeting were Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett, Director of Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes, National Economic Council director Gene Sperling, Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Josh DuBois, and Jarrett’s Senior Aide, Michael Strautmanis. Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who participated in Wednesday’s meeting at The White House, is the president of The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (www.nhclc.org), also known as the Hispanic Evangelical Association, the nation’s largest Christian Hispanic organization. His voice is important to Washington DC because he represents over 34,200 member churches and 20 million constituents- especially important to Washington DC in light of the recent US Census which reported that the Hispanic community is now over 50 million strong. “As Christians,” said Rev. Rodriguez, “our agenda cannot be dictated by the donkey or the elephant but only by the Lamb. As it pertains to the current budget and fiscal debate, our nation carries a moral imperative to balance the budget, reduce the deficit, and put our fiscal house in order; all without sacrificing the most vulnerable on the altar of expediency. Matthew 25 and Luke 4 compel us to reconcile financial stewardship with Christian outreach to the poor and suffering.” The Circle of Protection statement has been signed by more than 60 heads of Christian denominations and religious organizations, and endorsed by 45 heads of development agencies as well as leaders of other faiths. The Circle of Protection movement has worked to uphold the bipartisan consensus that has long prevailed in deficit-reduction agreements–that programs serving poor and hungry people should be protected and exempted from any automatic cuts. The Circle of Protection leaders have met with both Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress, and they have requested meetings with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “As Christian leaders, we urge Congress and the administration to give moral priority to programs that protect the life and dignity of poor and vulnerable people in these difficult times, our broken economy, and our wounded world,” they write. For more information on the Circle of Protection and to view the full list of signatories, visit www.circleofprotection.us and for more information Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and the NHCLC visit www.nhclc.org. The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference is the Hispanic Evangelical Association unifying, serving and representing the Hispanic Born Again Community via 34,200 member churches and 20 million constituents by reconciling the vertical and horizontal of the Christian message through the 7 Directives of Life, Family, Great Commission, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth. LINK: http://www.prnewswire.com/search-results/news/Rev.+Rodriguez-7-days-page-1

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Leader of Hispanic Organization at Center of Sought-After Voters

(CNN) – For the Rev. Sam Rodriguez, who leads a Hispanic organization that represents more than 24,000 Christian congregations, the future of American Evangelicalism is clear. “If you are an Evangelical Christian, the fastest growing demographic in the American Evangelical community is embedded in the Hispanic church,” said Rodriguez, leader of the National Hispanic Leadership Conference. Rodriguez is in Houston this week preparing for a leading role in Saturday’s Christian prayer, “The Response,” which organizers describe as “a call to prayer.” Described by Rodriguez as an answer to the country’s moral crisis, it’s already being viewed through the lens of the 2012 presidential election. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, considered a potential GOP presidential candidate, has endorsed the event. Rodriguez said Perry asked him several weeks ago to join as a co-chair with other evangelical leaders who will be speaking and offering prayers in Houston. The daylong gathering to be held at Reliant Stadium is expected to draw at least 8,000 participants. While Rodriguez admits there’s no way to remove the planned day of prayer from 2012 politics, he said the event is not a political endorsement of any candidate. “It cannot be political. It cannot be partisan,” Rodriguez said. “It needs to focus on God and humility, repentance and prayer and that’s why I signed on.” Rodriguez’s participation is important given the millions of Hispanics who attend services in one of the many Evangelical churches that make up the NHLC. The California-based minister recognizes that both parties have been courting him, eager to reach an important political constituency. His organization has started a voter sign-up drive, called Fuerza 2011, which encourages Hispanics to vote. Yet, Rodriguez insists his role is nonpartisan. “I think my role is to speak truth to both the donkey and the elephant, to do it with integrity, to do it with civility.” Republicans and Democrats alike are eager to court the Latino population he represents. According to CNN exit polls, then Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, won two-thirds of the Hispanic vote in 2008. In last year’s midterm elections, Democrats won 60% of the Hispanic vote. Rodriguez said he has no intention of endorsing a political candidate. Yet he recognizes the importance his congregation will have in the upcoming election. And he’s not beholden to Democrats. “I want to speak truth to the Democratic Party and say, ‘You all gave us a promise in 2008 and you failed on your promise. You never passed immigration reform in the first 100 days, never passed it in the first three years of the Obama administration’,” Rodriguez said. He has a similarly strong warning for Republicans, saying, “Without the Hispanic vote, the Republican Party will be a minority party for decades to come.” While Rodriguez supports a legal path to citizenship for immigrants living in the U.S., many of his Evangelical colleagues have a different view. Rodriguez hopes that Saturday’s event will begin a conversation that gives Hispanics a greater role within the Evangelical community. “We are the fastest growing segment,” Rodriguez said. “In other words we are the future of American Evangelicalism. For you to support the idea of deporting 11 million immigrants you may very well be deporting the future of American Christianity.” Rodriguez said Texas is a part of the National Hispanic Leadership Conference largest chapters, which represent 4,000 churches and he expects many members to attend Saturday’s “Response.” **Click Here for Link to CNN Article**

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Officials, Groups Raising Cain Over Perry Prayer Rally


Joe Holley, Houston Chronicle

Three days before The Response, the Reliant Stadium prayer event Gov. Rick Perry initiated two months ago, the response has been spirited among those objecting to the governor’s participation.

On Tuesday, more than 50 Houston-area religious and community leaders disseminated a signed statement drafted by the Anti-Defamation League expressing “deep concern” about a prayer rally “not open to all faiths,” while the Houston GLBT Political Caucus and related organizations announced a Friday rally at Tranquility Park to protest the event. The groups that represent gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals accused the American Family Association and other sponsors of the prayer event of hatred toward the GLBT community.

The ADL statement followed a June letter from the Houston Clergy Council that criticized the governor for excluding non-Christians, partnering with an anti-gay group and blurring boundaries between church and state.

“Governor Perry has a constitutional duty to treat all Texans equally, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity,” the ADL statement reads. “His official involvement with The Response, at minimum, violates the spirit of that duty.”

Signatories include Rabbi Samuel E. Karff, rabbi emeritus of congregation Beth Israel; Shaikh Omar Inshanally, head clergy of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston; the Rev. Lisa Hunt, rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church; and Rev. William A. Lawson, pastor emeritus of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church.

Lawson to speak

“We strongly believe this statement, signed by so many of our most respected religious and community leaders, reflects the feelings of many Texans who are concerned that Governor Perry is overstepping his bounds in supporting an exclusionary sectarian religious event,” Martin B. Cominsky, ADL southwest regional director, said in a news release.

Lawson also will be the keynote speaker at a “family, faith and freedom” event on Friday at the Mount Ararat Baptist Church. The event is sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Brownback opts out?

Organizers of the Perry prayer event have not announced whether the governor will give a speech or how he will participate during the seven-hour program. Last week, a federal judge threw out a lawsuit brought by atheists and agnostics aimed at preventing Perry from participating in his official capacity as governor.

Perry, who joked last week that he may be an usher at the event, initially invited all the nation’s governors, but the only one who has said he would attend, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, may be having second thoughts, the Lawrence Journal World reported. Brownback announced in June that he had accepted Perry’s invitation, but since then, according to the Lawrence newspaper, the Kansas governor’s office would not confirm his plans, saying only that Brownback would be on vacation this weekend.

Co-chairs of event

Response spokesman Eric Bearse said Tuesday that two nationally known religious figures serving as co-chairs of the event, Dr. James Dobson and Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, will help lead the gathering in prayer and worship. Dobson hosts the daily radio program, “Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson,” while Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Bearse said “several thousand people” have registered, indicating they will attend, and more than a thousand churches and individuals have signed up to simulcast the event in their local communities.

Reliant Park officials have said they planned a “small arena configuration” the would accommodate about 10,000 people.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7680975.html

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Rick Perry’s Religious Event Mired in Controversy


Arlette Saenz, ABC News

A prayer event initiated by Texas Governor Rick Perry will take place tomorrow in Houston, Texas, but the religious revival is mired in controversy concerning exclusion of non-Christian religions, controversial figures, and the question whether a public official is violating the separation of church and state by hosting a religious event. Perry, a self described “man of faith” and Methodist who attends an evangelical mega-church in Austin, laid out plans for the event called “The Response,” a gathering of Christians dedicating a day to prayer and fasting for a “nation in crisis,” which will take place in Reliant Stadium, a football arena home to the Houston Texans. “As an elected leader, I’m all too aware of government’s limitations when it comes to fixing things that are spiritual in nature. That’s where prayer comes in, and we need it more than ever,” Perry says in a video on The Response’s website.  “With the economy in trouble, communities in crisis and people adrift in a sea of moral relativism, we need god’s help.” Perry, who many speculate will run for president this election season, has insisted the event holds no ulterior political motives. “The event’s not political.  The event’s not about promoting an organization, it’s not some fancy promotional event.  It’s going to be simple.  This is simply people coming, calling out to God,” Perry told a Christian radio show hosted by Tony Perkins and Tim Wildmon last month. But in the weeks leading up to the event, many have stepped forward with concern. Approximately 8,000 people plan on attending the event in a stadium that seats 70,000.  Perry extended an invitation to his fellow governors to attend, but none have committed, including Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, who once said he would attend but is now stepping back from the event. Last month, Perry faced a lawsuit from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a church/state watchdog group, attempting to bar him from participating in the event. The Freedom From Religion Foundation argued “nonbelievers who support the free exercise of religion, but strongly oppose the governmental establishment and endorsement of religion, including prayer and fasting, which are not only an ineffectual use of time and government resources, but which can be harmful or counterproductive as a substitute for reasoned action.” But a district judge threw out the case, siding with Perry based on precedent to allow government officials to hold prayer events, citing President Obama and the National Prayer Breakfast. Though he conceptualized the event, Perry will play a minor role on Saturday.  He is expected to read scripture and lead the group in prayer.  Many religious figures from across the country will attend the event, including Sam Rodriguez of the  National Hispanic Leadership Conference, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. But some controversial figures will be leading and participating in the event, including Dr. James Dobson, founder and former president of Focus on the Family.  In the past, Dobson has likened embryonic stem cell research to operations performed by the Nazis during WWII and criticized the LGBT community, saying homosexuality could lead to incest and beastiality. Other divisive figures attending the event are San Antonio mega-church pastor John Hagee, who has espoused anti-Catholic views, and John Benefiel, head of the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network, who has called the State of Liberty a “demonic idol.” The event is paid for by the American Family Association, whose website describes the group as being on the “frontlines of the culture war.”  The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the American Family Association as an anti-gay group. Alternative rallies are planned in the Houston area throughout the weekend.  The LGBT Political Caucus will hold a rally to “recognize and honor the many contributions made by members of the LGBT community to the quality of life in Houston,  Harris County, Texas and the nation, and will also be attended by Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who is openly gay. The Texas ACLU and Americans United will host a “Family, Faith and Freedom” event to draw attention to the exclusive nature of Perry’s prayer rally. “Gov. Perry’s decision to sponsor a ‘Christians-only’ prayer rally is bad enough.  That he turned to an array of intolerant religious extremists to put it on for him is even worse,” Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United, said.  “This event unites us in our conviction that government should have no favorite theology and that it must always strive to ensure that all citizens – Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists and others – are full and equal partners in the public square.” Read More:  http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2011/08/rick-perrys-religious-event-mired-in-controversy-.html

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NHCLC Endorses Hollywood Movie Release of The HELP

The NHCLC was given a private screening of “The HELP” on Monday, August 8, and after reviewing the movie would like to endorse and encourage our NHCLC churches and families to go to the theaters for the OPENING WEEKEND of “The HELP” and enjoy a date night or a fun family moment as the summer comes to a close. When we, as believers, show up on the opening weekend of a strong, excellent, “family-friendly” movie such as “The HELP” it gives HOLLYWOOD a strong signal that this is what is going to sell which in turn encourages Hollywood to make more “family-friendly” movies. Let’s support The HELP this weekend! When “The Help” opens in theaters on August 10, 2011, the audience will be treated to a moving story of hope and courage, laced throughout with large doses of humor. Director Taylor sums up his hopes for the film’s impact on the audience: “I hope it will make people stop and consider their past and start sharing their own personal stories about what someone meant to them. It’s honoring these people, past and present, because these characters are heard and seen in this movie and that serves as a touchstone for remembrance and tribute for the people watching the movie.” From DreamWorks Pictures comes the inspiring and poignant drama, “The Help.” Based on the critically acclaimed, No. 1 New York Times best-selling debut novel by Kathryn Stockett, “The Help” boasts an illustrious ensemble cast, including, in alphabetical order, Jessica ssica Chastain, Academy Award® nominee Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Emmy® Award winner Allison Janney, Chris Lowell, Oscar® winner Sissy Spacek, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Academy Award® nominee Cicely Tyson and Mike Vogel. The film is written for the screen and directed by Tate Taylor, with Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan producing. Set in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960s, “The Help” chronicles the relationship between three different and extraordinary women who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. A remarkable sisterhood emerges from their improbable alliance, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed-even if it means bringing everyone in town face to face with the changing times. Deeply moving, filled with humor, hope and heart, “The Help” is a timeless and universal

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