Republicans To Get Free “Spiritual, Historical” Trips to Israel

Remember a few weeks ago I wrote that Israel will be a 2016 litmus test for evangelical voters? Here’s more evidence that I’m right: Zeke Miller reports in TIME that all Republican National Committee leaders are being offered a free trip to Israel, thanks to the American Family Association and the American Renewal Project:

The 168 members of the committee, three from each state, district, and territory, have been invited to visit the country from Jan. 31–Feb.8, 2015, paid for by conservative political operative David Lane’s American Renewal Project and the American Family Association. The meeting follows January’s winter meeting of the party committee in Coronado, Calif., where Priebus is set to be resoundingly re-elected to his post.

According to Priebus’ email, the trip is not an RNC event, but is reserved exclusively and is being coordinated by the RNC for members and their guests.

An RNC spokesperson said the trip was not officially a committee trip, but is a “spiritual, historic journey through Israel” organized by the groups in concert with RNC faith director Chad Connelly. According to the official, who declined to be named, about 60 members RSVPd to attend, or 36% of the full committee.

Lane’s Renewal Project made headlines during the 2008 Republican primary, when the group, which organized Pastors Policy Briefings, at which candidates spoke privately to groups of pastors in key primary states, came under fire over the perception that it was backing Mike Huckabee’s candidacy over the other Republican hopefuls. The watchdog group Texas Freedom Network sought, unsuccessfully, an Internal Revenue Service probe into whether the Niemoller Foundation, a non-profit that had helped fund the Texas Restoration Project, which hosted Pastors Policy Briefings featuring Rick Perry when he ran for governor in 2006, had violated its tax exempt status.

In 2011, Lane and the American Family Association were behind The Response, which started as Texas Governor Rick Perry’s prayer gathering in Reliant Stadium in Houston just before he declared his presidential bid, and continued throughout the primary season with smaller events in early primary states that weren’t organized around a particular candidate. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is planning a similar event in Baton Rouge next year, and Lane is reportedly inviting 100,000 pastors.

In the past, these events have focused on themes like “Rediscovering God in America,” and Lane has described his efforts—which he says date back to the 1990s—as “the mobilization of pastors and pews to restore America to her Judeo-Christian heritage.” About his mobilization of evangelical voters for the 2014 mid-terms (which saw a big turnout of white evangelical voters), Lane told the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody, “If the key to maintaining sustainable freedom is righteousness — the same virtue that produced freedom — what is the greatest threat to freedom? Unrighteousness. America has left God.” Lane also aims to persuade 1,000 pastors to run for political office.

Lane has already taken Rand Paul to Israel, after which the Kentucky Republican said, “Absolutely we stand with Israel. What I think we should do is announce to the world — and I think it is pretty well known — that any attack on Israel will be treated as an attack on the United States.”


  •' Frank6548 says:

    Sounds like a great idea. Can I go?

  •' Liya says:

    what a dangerous bunch…. How can scum like that gained political momentum in USA, supposedly freedom loving country, that’s what i cant wrap my mind around.

  •' Craptacular says:

    “If the key to maintaining sustainable freedom is righteousness — the same virtue that produced freedom — what is the greatest threat to freedom?” – David Lane

    Right now, in the US, I would say christian privilege. They want to curtail personal freedoms in an effort to maintain their own privilege. “Righteousness” has nothing to do with freedom or lack of it.

  •' Andre M says:

    Are you a Republican National Committee leader?

  •' Guest says:

    Lots of violence over there in the Middle East. Sure would be a shame if these “people” didn’t make it back.

  •' Tige Gibson says:

    Terrorists have an opportunity to strike the U.S. and Israel simultaneously by targetting the whole RNC while they are in Israel.

  •' phatkhat says:

    There is more related info on Lane, Priebus, and the RNC at the link above. Scary, scary stuff. And while libs stay home in protest of insufficiently progressive – but secular – democrats on the ballot, the faithful turn out in droves and elect red slates. If we do not wake up, we will all find ourselves living in New Gilead.

  •' phatkhat says:

    I hope you can. You will find (as I did, on a trip there in the late 70s while I was an evangelical) that the Zionist Jews you love so much will hate your guts.

  •' Frank6548 says:

    We are suppose to love our enemies so I’ll be ok.

  •' Andre M says:

    That’s rich coming from you. Also, you won’t be okay, because you won’t be going on this trip, because if you’d read the article, you’d understand that it’s only offered to Republican National Committee leaders. You can’t even offer any interesting extreme right-wing commentary, because you don’t read the articles. You’re awful.

  •' Frank6548 says:

    I love it when a foolish person shows up. Perfect!

  •' Andre M says:

    Why do you love it?

  •' Frank6548 says:

    Why wouldn’t I? Every word out of your mouth reveals your true nature for all to see. Perfect!

  •' Andre M says:

    I’ve never denied who I am. I don’t really understand why you’re delighting in the alleged foolishness of another person.

  •' Frank6548 says:

    You are the fool.

  •' Andre M says:

    Yeah, I think we’re clear on whom you believe to be the fool. But, again, what I don’t understand is why you’re delighting in the alleged foolishness of another person.

  •' Frank6548 says:

    I am not. I am thankful that as you continue to say foolish things more people will know that you say foolish things.

  •' Andre M says:

    But you said that you love it when a foolish person (allegedly me) shows up. Why do you love that? Why do you like for foolish people to be around?

  •' Frank6548 says:

    Because you expose yourself publicly and that’s a good thing for everyone else.

  •' Andre M says:

    What, in front of all the other “fools” here who disagree with and dislike you?

    But, really you’re not answering my question. What is it about a fool (not me specifically) showing up that you love so much?

  •' LegalizeLezMarriage says:

    It’s so strange how much GOPers over here “love” Israel, when it possesses so many of the things they rail against in the US:

    – Socialized medicine, including government funding for abortions/contraception
    – welfare state
    – high taxes
    – generally socialist government leanings (even the right wing parties are, more than those in the US)
    – Acceptance of gay marriage and of gays in general – this is often used as an example to contrast with arab nations around Israel
    – tight gun control laws for non-servicepersons

    And most importantly, they lack any actual religious freedom. There are “recognized sects” such as Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Muslims, and certain Protestant sects. The most fundamentalist of evangelicals, the ones that don’t fall under any sect, are unrecognized in Israel and therefor lack the ability to perform marriages or obtain certain privileges that go along with government recognition. Of course the only recognized Jewish sect is Orthodox Judaism, so the majority of the world’s Jews are disregarded. Non-Jews have a good life there, but there is definitely a lack of Christian privilege that people like “Frank” enjoy in the states.

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