Ohio’s gubernatorial race tests the power of the Christian right.
Issue of 2006-07-31
Posted 2006-07-24

Pastor Rod Parsley stood on a flag-bedecked dais on the steps of Ohio’s Statehouse last October and, amid cheers from the crowd below, proclaimed the launch of “the largest evangelical campaign ever attempted in any state in America.” A nationally known televangelist and the leader of a twelve-thousand-member church on the outskirts of Columbus, Parsley had gathered a thousand people for the event, and attracted bystanders with a multimedia performance involving a video on a Jumbotron and music by Christian singers and rappers broadcast so loud that it reverberated off the tall buildings south of the Statehouse. TV crews from Parsley’s ministry taped the event. “Sound an alarm!” he boomed. “A Holy Ghost invasion is taking place. Man your battle stations, ready your weapons, lock and load!” In the course of the performance, Parsley promised that during the next four years his campaign, Reformation Ohio, would bring a hundred thousand Ohioans to Christ, register four hundred thousand new voters, serve the disadvantaged, and guide the state through “a culture-shaking revolutionary revival.”

Among those who spoke at the rally were Senator Sam Brownback, of Kansas, and Representative Walter B. Jones, of North Carolina, both Christian conservatives, and J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio’s secretary of state, who is now the Republican nominee for governor. All talked about the need to bring God and morality back into government. “We refuse to give up or back up or shut up until we’ve made a better world for all,” Blackwell said.

For the past two years, the religious right in Ohio has been on a victory march. In 2004, a coalition of conservative Christian organizations campaigned statewide for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, enlisting hundreds of pastors and collecting half a million signatures. The ballot initiative, known as Issue One, passed with sixty-three per cent of the vote, and many concluded that this effort to bring out “values voters” won the state for President Bush, and returned him to the White House. Parsley and another megachurch pastor, Russell Johnson, of the Fairfield Christian Church, campaigned hard for the initiative, as did Ken Blackwell, whose role in overseeing the election procedures caused a controversy of its own, and who was the only Republican leader in the state to join them. Subsequently, the two pastors formed organizations—Reformation Ohio and Johnson’s Ohio Restoration Project—to get out the vote in 2006 and beyond. This year, there is nothing like Issue One on the ballot, but Blackwell, who carries the standard of the religious right, could become governor of Ohio.

Read more.


  • What are the strange, code-like characters in this post?

  • The odd code-like characters are just one word processing program dealing with the website’s format. I’ve seen them before, nothing exciting.

  • Mark, Lopez Obrador just occupied Mexico City. He established a permanent encampment– 2.5 MILLION people showed up for the demo today– which will not recess until they count the votes.

    The second Mexican Revolution– this one peaceful, with whistles and drums and smiling people– has begun.

  • For Christ sake…
    Just when you think it’s OK to unpack your suit case and put away your pass port, another loony tunes is outed.

    What in hell is the matter with the center of this country? Is it the friggin’ water, or what? When will these people just go back under the rocks they crawled out from, and leave the rest of us alone.

    Just what we need, another mal-adjusted mal-content megalomaniac “preacher man” I don’t even give a shit what this guy thinks he stands for stands for at this point. All I know is he and his ilk typically want to get into OUR Constitution with their religion. Enough is enough with this bunch, I will have to leave this one off for Mr. Parsely, something from a real heart-lander…

    – The trouble is not that there are too many fools, but that the lightning is not distributed right – Mark Twain

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