We just sent out the following press release:
The president of the Texas Freedom Network today called on Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to decline an award from an activist group whose leader says President Obama is “anti-Christian” and an “enemy” of America, compares the president and other Democratic leaders to Nazis, calls Houston’s twice-elected mayor a “sodomite,” and has praised a prominent evangelical known for his anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish statements in the past.
A group called the Houston Area Pastor Council/Texas Pastor Council plans to present Abbott with a special award at a major fundraiser for the organization on March 22 in Houston. The group’s executive director, Dave Welch, has made numerous incendiary statements about President Obama and other leaders in recent years.
“We applaud and stand with clergy who work to build stronger communities and reject the language of division and hate,” TFN President Kathy Miller said. “But it’s troubling that the attorney general of Texas would lend his name in support of a group headed by someone whose rhetoric is so incendiary that he likens the president of the United States to Nazis and regularly engages in offensive personal attacks against the twice-elected mayor of our state’s largest city.”
In public statements issued by his organization as well as in essays on conservative websites, Welch has become notorious for his deeply offensive rhetoric. Examples:
- Welch has accused President Obama of being an “enemy” of Christianity and the United States, charging that the president promotes “anti-Christian” and “anti-American” policies. He says pastors who acknowledge President Obama’s Christian faith are “much like the clergy of Hitlerian Germany and the ‘Positive Christianity’ that represented complete acquiescence to and control by the Nazi state.” In 2010 he called President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid “the Fourth Reich.”
- He calls gay people a “morally depraved special interest group” and Houston’s twice-elected, openly gay mayor, Annise Parker, a “sodomite.” He was one of the leaders of a group of social conservatives who warned of a “gay takeover” of Houston’s City Hall if Parker were elected mayor. He later cited her election as evidence that Houston is a “sin-sick city.”
- Last fall the Pastor Council praised conservative evangelist Tim LaHaye as “one of the greatest pastors of all time.” LaHaye, a prominent fundamentalist preacher and coauthor of the apocalyptic Left Behind books, in the past has called Roman Catholicism “a false religion” and even asserted that the Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus.
- In October 2010 Welch called a federal judge a “domestic enemy” and said she was guilty of treason for ruling that the Pentagon’s policy against gay people serving openly in the military was unconstitutional.
- Welch has said that clergy who accept the science of evolution are “no more a Christian than the chimpanzees from which he or she claims to have evolved.” When clergy criticized an anti-Muslim resolution at the State Board of Education as misleading, divisive and inflammatory, Welch attacked them as “pathetic preachers, pitiful pastors and compromised clergy” and said “they disgust me.”
- Welch says he opposes Muslims who seek leadership positions in government because “we have deep concerns about the loyalty of Muslims to the Constitution.”
- When Texas Gov. Rick Perry called for Americans to unite in prayer at Houston’s Reliant Stadium in August 2011, Welch publicly insisted that the event be limited to Christians only. He characterized the alternative as a “polytheistic approach and … interfaith event that requires Christians to squelch the mention of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
“Texans deserve to know whether their attorney general endorses the incendiary and divisive statements expressed by the leader a group he is helping promote,” Miller said. “Otherwise they have reason to wonder whether the state’s chief law enforcement officer will protect the rights of all Texans, regardless of their faith or their political or personal views.”
Baylor University President Ken Starr is slated as the featured speaker for the March 22 event.