By Bryan Fischer
Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer, on Facebook at “Focal Point”
Reflections on “The Response,” in no particular order:
1. It was a major bummer for mainstream media, which tried to Alinsky the event by demonizing participants, including yours truly. Chris Matthews, for instance, devoted several minutes of his Friday broadcast specifically to try to marginalize me, and by marginalizing me, the event itself. It didn’t work. The media was breathless over rumors that just 8,000 people were going to show up. It just wigged them out that 35,000 people showed up to praise and pray for seven hours.
(The floor seating and the first tier of seats held 30,000 people; an additional tier had to be opened up when these seats filled up. That additional section was pretty well filled, meaning 35,000 is actually a conservative estimate. With over 1000 churches participating through The Response’s webcast, we estimate conservatively that 250,000 Americans took part in the event.)
2. The mainstream media had to endure seven hours of church, more total time in a church setting than many of them have spent in their entire lives put together. I loved it. I went into the press room several times during the event, and it was mournful in there, like somebody had died. And something had died - their hope that America had become so secularized and godless that an event like this was bound to flop.
The disappointment in the press room as people streamed into the facility was palpable. An event like this was not supposed to happen in their America. Well, gang, it’s our America too, and this event was entirely in harmony with the faith of the Founding Fathers who believed in - and worshiped - the Creator with a capital “C” who is the source of our human rights.
3. Secular fundamentalists, despite decades of brainwashing in public education and the media, haven’t imprisoned all teens and twenty-somethings in America in their dark and airless dungeon of unbelief. Thousands and thousands of young Americans were in Reliant Stadium, providing the single greatest source of energy in the room.
When evangelical leaders say the war over fundamental social values, including man-woman marriage, has been lost with the millennial generation, don’t believe them for a minute. Divorce rates, for example are dropping rapidly among college-educated Americans. They are victims of a divorce culture and don’t want to inflict the pain they suffered on their mates or on their children. There is still hope for America and its next generation of leaders, and that hope was on vivid display on Saturday.
4. The media was all aflutter over the question about whether this was a “political” event. Well, it wasn’t. It was a spiritual event. But even the question itself is irrelevant. There never has been, nor should there ever be, a separation between God and government in America.
As I reminded the reporter from Mother Jones who interviewed me during the event, the political superstructure of this nation was built on an explicitly religious foundation, the “self-evident” truth that there is a Creator who is the source of all our rights. The Founders intended to create a republic with public policy in alignment with the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” and that’s still the only plan that will preserve our liberty, strength and prosperity.
5. The left complained that this was an explicitly Christian event. Well, yes it was, and unapologetically, unashamedly, and unabashedly so. This too is consistent with the view of the Founders, who dated both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to the year of Christ’s birth.
Israel doesn’t use the “anno domini” (year of our Lord) dating system on its official documents for one simple reason: it’s not a Christian nation. None of the 57 nations in the Muslim world use the anno domini dating system for one simple reason: they’re not Christian nations. We use the anno domini dating system because we are.
6. It was criticized as an “exclusive” and “divisive” event. Hardly. Everybody in America was invited to participate, and nobody’s doctrinal views were checked at the door. Even some of the old media reported on how ethnically and racially diverse the crowd was. This was the most inclusive event in America on August 6. Even the atheists and homosexual-hating Fred Phelps followers who picketed outside could have come in if they had wanted to.
That’s the difference between us and the Fred Phelps types, by the way. They want homosexuals to burn in hell; we want them saved. (For what it’s worth, Fred Phelps picketed my church one time since in his worldview I’m too gay-friendly.) And while we’re on the subject of homosexuals, here’s the difference between Christianity and Islam: Muslims want to kill them; we want to help them.
7. And lastly, Saturday was an indication that if Gov. Perry wants to be our next president, it’s his for the taking. His evangelical faith is the real thing, and thus he meets the criterion set by the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay, who said, “It is the duty, privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” He was right then and he’s right now.
The governor is a staunch social conservative, believing in both the sanctity of life and marriage not just as personal principles but as principles of public policy. He supports federal amendments to protect both the unborn and man-woman marriage. The conservative grassroots, meanwhile, has yet to coalesce around a declared candidate. There is a vacuum there, waiting to be filled. That all could change once Perry declares, which I expect he will do by Labor Day.
And all he has to do to win the nomination and the presidency is burn one number into the brains of the American people: 907,000. According to the Census Bureau, that’s the number of jobs created in Texas alone in the last decade. The rest of the nation put together only managed about 700,000. (If memory serves, California, Illinois and Michigan all lost north of 600,000 jobs.) With our economy in the tank, that’s about the only message he needs.
Gov. Perry spoke at a banquet following The Response Saturday night, and my sense is that there are a number of prominent evangelical leaders who will personally endorse Gov. Perry if he declares, and will do so sooner rather than later.
Gov. Perry said, echoing Ronald Reagan, that “our freedom is only one election away (from extinction).” He was referring to the 2012 election, with the implication that it may represent our last chance to turn around the ship of state. No one in the room disagreed.
What “The Response” will mean for America only time will tell. But if God’s heart is moved by his people praising him, confessing their sins and the sins of their nation, and asking for his divine intervention, then there is every reason to be hopeful for America. To borrow from Mark Twain, If Saturday is any indication, the reports of the death of America are greatly exaggerated.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)