From Crooks and Liars blog in the USA:
Dobson’s Focus on the Family humiliated by ‘Pray for Rain’ video
By: Steve Benen on Wednesday, August 13th, 2008 at 5:30 AM – PDT
James Dobson’s Focus on the Family employs Stuart Shepard to make short, “clever” religious-right videos for the evangelical powerhouse. Shepard creates these videos regularly, and most of them are entirely forgettable.
Last week, however, Focus unveiled a new video, asking politically-conservative Christians to pray for rain on Aug. 28, in order to disrupt Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Shepard called for “abundant rain, torrential rain … flood-advisory rain.” He adds, “I’m talking about umbrella-ain’t-gonna-help-you rain … swamp-the-intersections rain.” Explaining why he wants everyone to pray for rain, Shepard explains, without a hint of humor, “I’m still pro-life, and I’m still in favor or marriage being between one man and one woman. And I would like the next president who will select justices for the next Supreme Court to agree.”
In other words, Obama disagrees with the religious right on culture-war issues, so Focus on the Family wants God to smite Obama with rain. Got it.
This week, some Colorado reporters picked up on this, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann featured Shepard as the “worst person in the world,” and as of yesterday, Focus is a little humiliated. (via my friends at Right Wing Watch):
“Focus on the Family Action pulled a video from its Web site today that asked people to pray for “rain of biblical proportions” during Barack Obama’s Aug. 28 appearance at Invesco Field in Denver to accept the Democratic nomination for president.
Stuart Shepard, director of digital media at Focus Action, the political arm of Focus on the Family, said the video he wrote and starred in was meant to be “mildly humorous.”
But complaints from about a dozen Focus members convinced the organization to pull the video, said Tom Minnery, Focus Action vice president of public policy.
“If people took it seriously, we regret it,” Minnery said Monday.”
Um, Tom? People took it seriously because Focus took it seriously.
Focus has disabled its own video clip, and has yanked it from online video sites, but as it turns out, someone managed to post an additional copy to YouTube.
Update September 2009: Focus on the Family has managed to remove that video at YouTube. However, another one, embedded on top of this blog post, is still at YouTube.
Shepard told reporters, “It’s called hyperbole. It is meant to be humorous.”
Watch the clip. I don’t think he was kidding.
Maybe, in a later phase of the election campaign, Shepard will call on fundamentalist Christians to help John McCain by praying for God to smite Obama with a stroke of lightning. At the moment, he is not yet on the level of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News and its Liz Trotta, who called for assassination of Obama and then after the fact also called that “humour“.
Gunman murders Arkansas Democratic Party chairman: here.
The religious right during Obama’s presidency: here.