Rachel Maddow reports on the 'PrayerCast' attended by Senators Jim DeMint and Sam Brownback and Rep. Michele Bachmann where they prayed for the defeat
December 19, 2009

Rachel Maddow reports on the 'PrayerCast' attended by Senators Jim DeMint and Sam Brownback and Rep. Michele Bachmann where they prayed for the defeat of the health care bill. This has to be one of the creepiest things I've watched in a long time.

Transcript via MSNBC.

MADDOW: A lot of attention being paid today to the fight within the left over whether or not to support health reform now that it‘s been so watered down. I‘m here to tell you that this is the other side of that fight.


LOU ENGLE, PASTOR: Let‘s take hands together and let‘s pray right now for our leaders, the senators who are in this debate now. Would you just lift your voices just for a few moments? And let‘s just altogether pray together.

Lord, right now, we‘re calling on you. Oh, Lord, come and come to our senators. Would you break into their hearts and minds? Would you rule over them?

Lord, we‘re praying, give them wisdom. The wisdom that comes down from up above. For such a time as this we cry out to you!

And we thank you, Living God, that you hear in Jesus name, amen.


MADDOW: Those two vaguely looking familiar men you see there at the end of that clip, those are two sitting Republican U.S. senators, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas. They were the headlining politicians at last night‘s effort to stop health reform with prayer.

Senators DeMint and Brownback were the headlining politicians at last night‘s online anti- health reform prayercast. But the marquee pastor chosen to lead the prayers at the anti-health reform event was Lou Engle.


ENGLE: We dare to believe today that you overthrow, overrule keys, that you actually rule in the Senate debates even as we pray. So now we stand before you and worship you. The God who answers prayer, rise, oh, God. Hear, show mercy and turn this nation to you, we pray.

In Jesus name, break in—break in at this moment as we lift our voices all across America. Come, Lord. Hear from heaven and intervene in Jesus name we pray.


MADDOW: Liberals are debating whether or not it is smart and ethical to have a mandate without a public option. On the Jim DeMint and Sam Brownback side of the aisle, they are approaching this rather differently, as you can see here.

Lou Engle leading the prayer part of the anti-health reform fight with Senators Brownback and DeMint is founder and president of a group called Call to Conscience, as we reported last night. Call to Conscience describes itself as a movement to bring holiness and purity back to America.


ENGLE: What happened to California will release a spirit that is more demonic than Islam, a spirit of lawlessness and anarchy. And a sexual insanity will be unleashed into the Earth.


MADDOW: It is Mr. Sexual Insanity there who presidential hopefuls, like Senator Jim DeMint and Senator Sam Brownback have turned to as their interlocutor, for killing health care reform maybe not by voting it down, maybe not by filibustering it, maybe not by delaying it to death, maybe not by getting liberals to fight each other to death over it, but killing health care reform through God‘s intervention.


SEN. JIM DEMINT ®, SOUTH CAROLINA: If we have the government making decisions about the most personal and private part of our lives, it is so naive to think that that coverage is not going to include a number of things that cause people of faith a lot of heartburn, whether it‘s funding abortions, whether it‘s rationing care, whether it‘s funding medical marijuana, whether it‘s euthanasia.


MADDOW: Funding abortions, rationing care, medical marijuana and killing people. None of which is actually in the bill.


TONY PERKINS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: The Democratic leadership wants to fund abortion in this bill. And it‘s a real tragedy, because abortion is not health care.

DEMINT: It‘s not about health care. It‘s about government control.

SEN. SAM BROWNBACK ®, KANSAS: It‘s a debate about life or death.


MADDOW: Also not actually talking about what‘s in the bill. But as off the wall as those senators‘ claims sound about health reform, the senators often sounded almost rational next to the other leaders of this national prayercast.


BROWNBACK: Most people agree with this statement, I‘m satisfied with my own health care. I think it costs too much and I‘m concerned about people that don‘t have health coverage.

PERKINS: I think that about milk, though, too. I mean, I think I pay too much for it, but I like it.


MADDOW: And that penetrating interviewer‘s name is Tony Perkins. Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council which doesn‘t just produce prayercasts against health reform. They also produce broadcast ads against health reform.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They won‘t pay for my surgery. But we‘re forced to pay for abortions.


MADDOW: The Family Research Council‘s Tony Perkins was joined at the prayercast against health reform by James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Mr. Dobson phoned it in literally to the anti-health reform prayercast and he gave his own interpretation of what he thinks the health reform bill would do.


DR. JAMES C. DOBSON, FOCU ON THE FAMILY ACTION: Heavenly Father, the principles of righteousness that you taught us are just being abandoned now by our governmental leaders. And if they prevail in the measures that they‘re now considering, even more babies will die. More than 50 million already have. And in other measures, the institution of marriage itself, will be destroyed.


MADDOW: It‘s amazing that they found room in the health reform bill to abolish marriage. I mean, what with all the room taken up in the bill by the “killing the babies” and the marijuana and the expensive milk being taken away.


DEMINT: We cannot fall for this idea that we need to keep our faith in a closet and let the country go its own secular way.


MADDOW: Senator DeMint not falling for that old separation of church and state canard, even as Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, another participant of last night‘s event, praised, in this case, for power.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: Lord, as leaders of our country, Lord, I pray as a stand-in for myself, I pray as a stand-in for others, Lord, who may not have looked to you in all your ways, Father, as leaders. Father, we want to represent you in the way that we should.

And so, Lord, I ask for forgiveness for that and our own country. Lord, we know that we have failed and we haven‘t done as we should. And so that‘s why now, Lord, we ask for your forgiveness. And we repent and we turn from that.

And we say, oh, Lord, we deserve your wrath. But would you yet give our nation mercy? We ask for your mercy. We cry out to you, oh, God.

This is our moment and this is our time. Lord, we are at the end of ourselves. And now, we need you.


MADDOW: At the end of ourselves and now we need you.

And now, I‘m not sure what we need. But we have had a bit of a revelation about some of the less well-known opposition to health reform. We will have much, much, much more on that in just a moment.

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