August is looking to be a hot month for politically-tinged mega-events. There is, of course, the Iowa State GOP Straw Poll on August 13, which is likely to winnow the Republican presidential field and perhaps produce the long-awaited “conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.”
But there’s big fun elsewhere. Glenn Beck is planning a sequel to last year’s “Restoring Honor” event–not in DC, but in Jerusalem, on August 24. It’s dubbed “Restoring Courage,” and best as I can tell, its aim is to oppose a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There will apparently be rock bands and other pyrotechnics, and as many Israeli and American politicians as Beck can rope in to the event. There have been conflicting reports about which American pols are likely to show up, but so far, it looks like Beck can probably count on Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, and Joe Lieberman if no one else.
A bit closer to home, and earlier in the month (August 6), in Austin, Texas, Gov. Rick Perry, who may be an announced candidate for president by then, is hosting a mega-rally of right-wing religious figures called “The Response”. It’s a follow-on to Perry’s famous “pray for rain” event in April, but with much, much bigger ambitions for divine intervention in American affairs. And it’s attracting practically every well-known theocrat in the country.
Here’s the indispensable Sarah Posner on the nature of “The Response”:
I’ve reported on, and experienced, the very type of rally Perry is planning…. They are indeed intended to convert new followers to Christ. But they really are about something much, much more: purging America of non-believers, LGBT people, and perceived political enemies, depicted as satanic…..
So while Rick Perry is out to pander for votes, he’s pandering to people who believe in signs and wonders and spiritual warfare; who care nothing for policy or respecting other people’s faith beliefs; who disdain other people’s reproductive choices and gender identities; and who believe that God is calling them to engage in a bloodless (although apocalyptic) battle with political enemies. If Perry runs for president, it won’t be for the United States of America. It will be for a new Zion whose followers believe God will smite their enemies and declare a new Kingdom on earth, and in America, one that is ruled by their singular version of Jesus Christ.
If Perry is a candidate by then, it sure looks like “The Response” could position him to decisively outflank his rivals–perhaps even Michele Bachmann–among the hard-core conservative evangelical faithful. I guess they’ll first have to forgive him for endorsing that sodomite-loving, adulterous baby-killer-enabler Rudy Giuliani for president in 2008, but repentance is always welcomed by these folk.