If you haven't noticed, the religious right has operated in a rather consistent cycle since the 1980s. Get a little bit of power, overreach, get smacked down, climb back up in a few years. Well, there's yet another sign that the overreach is underway. Brian Barcelona, a fundie activist in the Sacramento area, has recently launched One Voice, a movement dedicated to restoring government-mandated prayer in the public schools. And it turns out that Barcelona has close ties to Lou Engle, the so-called "prophet" behind TheCall and a major leader in the New Apostolic Reformation.
Barcelona claims that nothing less than a miracle has happened since he started a prayer group at Elk Grove High School in Elk Grove, a Sacramento suburb, back in 2009. Since then, he's started similar prayer groups at eight other high schools in the Sacramento area. He's trotted out the usual shopworn lies about all that's happened since Engel v. Vitale,, Abington School District v. Schempp and Murray v. Curlett ended government-mandated prayer, arguing that those decisions meant that students can't pray at all. However, as People for the American Way points out, the mere fact it's even spread this far proves he's blowing smoke.
He's formally launching his push with a rally in Sacramento on March 31. The location hasn't been determined yet, but odds are it will probably be at either Hornet Stadium or Hughes Stadium (Power Balance Pavillion is hosting a Kings game that night). According to his schedule, further rallies are planned in Hayward, Bakersfield and San Diego--and he's also partnering with Engle in TheCall Southern California on September 1.
The fact that a major religious right heavyweight like Engle is lending his name to this push should eliminate once and for all any claims that the religious right is merely standing up for persecuted born-agains. After all, there is no way in the world you can scream about being oppressed and in the same breath line up behind an effort to roll back the three landmark Supreme Court cases that ended government-mandated prayer.