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Prayer Effort Seeks 'Right Thinking' From Liberals

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Prayer Effort Seeks 'Right Thinking' From Liberals

Religion

Prayer Effort Seeks 'Right Thinking' From Liberals

Prayer Effort Seeks 'Right Thinking' From Liberals

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/113453702/113479780" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

You can see why Christian conservatives might be in a funk. Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress. They see a liberal drift in the country's leadership and worry about social issues like same-sex marriage, abortion, stem cell research, health care and immigration.

Now Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit legal, education and policy group associated with the late Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, is pulling out the heavy artillery: prayer.

"We believe in the power of God. We are commanded to pray for our leaders, even those we disagree with," says Mat Staver, who, as head of Liberty Counsel, spends most of his time fighting for Christian causes in court. "And so we are asking people to pray so that our leaders are restored to right thinking."

So far, 11 leaders are on the "Adopt a Liberal" roster: President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Republicans Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made the list for their support of same-sex marriage. Then there's Democrat Barney Frank, Massachusetts' openly gay congressman who, Staver says, is "100-percent committed to the homosexual agenda."

Democrat Barney Frank, Massachusetts' openly gay congressman, is on Liberty Counsel's "Adopt a Liberal" roster. "They didn't bother to tell me," he says. "Maybe they thought I would find out by revelation." Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images hide caption

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Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Democrat Barney Frank, Massachusetts' openly gay congressman, is on Liberty Counsel's "Adopt a Liberal" roster. "They didn't bother to tell me," he says. "Maybe they thought I would find out by revelation."

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

"We also believe Barney Frank was created in the image of God, that he's not outside of God's love and we ought to pray for him," he says. "So we believe in miracles."

Frank was unaware he was the object of prayer.

"They didn't bother to tell me," he says. "Maybe they thought I would find out by revelation."

Frank said he doubts that God is a conservative and believes the Almighty should not be used as a partisan weapon. He's amused by Liberty Counsel's plan to make cards of the liberals, which, like baseball cards, will have photos and information about them.

"In other words, if people got one of me, they could trade for, like, 11 Hillary Clintons and three Arnold Schwarzeneggers?" he asks. "I suppose the committee I chair does deal in currency, but we'll have to branch out in trading baseball card ratios."

The only adopted liberal who is not a politician is Staver's nemesis, Barry Lynn, who runs the watchdog group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

"As a Christian minister myself, I'm always happy to accept the prayers of other people, particularly when they're not calling for my death and dismemberment," Lynn says.

He says this is far better than the "imprecatory prayers" that some right-wing ministers have flung at him — prayers that his teeth will fall out, his legs will break and worse. Lynn says he would defend Staver's prayerful attempt to convert him in court, as long as the prayer was a private affair, not recited by, say, children in public schools.

"One of the great things about the principle of separation of church and state is that people can pray for people whether they like it or not," he says.

Still, Lynn says, Staver shouldn't expect a political conversion for him or anyone on the list.

For his part, Staver says he won't hold his breath. But he does think one thing is on his side: "God is the ultimate trump card, there's no question about that."

Staver says some liberals, such as radio host Alan Colmes, have asked to be put on the prayer list.

"So anyone else who wants to be nominated on this list is free to do so," he says. "We would be happy to add you."

Just send some biographical information. And don't forget a picture.

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