- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

In a letter being distributed to pastors, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal calls on them to consider public service, as part of his invitation to a gathering scheduled to take place a day before a highly-publicized prayer event Jan. 24 at Louisiana State University.

The letter, which begins with “Pastor …” invites recipients to consider being a guest at a pastors’ briefing hosted by the American Renewal Project, which is to take place the night before “The Response: Louisiana” will take place at LSU.

“We are going to discuss the importance of raising up the next generation of leaders in America who understand these challenging times and know what to do about them,” the letter reads. “There is a great need for the kind of leaders we read about in the Old Testament, ‘The Men of Issachar’ (1 Chronicles 12:32). We need such men and women of wisdom today who will accept the challenge to restore our Judeo-Christian heritage in America.”

Mr. Jindal is scheduled to deliver the headline address at “The Response: Louisiana,” and a spokeswoman said the event is a day of prayer and fasting and is not political.

“Here’s what we do know … our nation is facing serious issues, but God is real, He is powerful, and He answers prayer,” said deputy communications director Shannon Bates. “That is why we are asking people to come to Baton Rouge, Louisiana on January 24th and pray for revival. And this is a prayer meeting — not a political rally. One thing that most people can agree on is that prayer is a positive thing.”

Though the two events are not officially connected, a tentative schedule for the Friday briefing includes sessions on first steps to running for office, campaign mechanics, and “messaging your race,” as well as an appearance by Mr. Jindal.

David Lane, the founder of the American Renewal Project, which is hosting the Friday event, is in the midst of an effort to recruit 1,000 pastors willing to run for political office, which would put religious issues front and center in 2016. He helped organize a similar prayer event in Texas in 2011 ahead of Gov. Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential bid.

Mr. Jindal, a possible 2016 presidential contender whose ties to the Republican evangelical Christian community could be strengthened by the event, goes on to ask the pastors to consider their roles going forward.

“I ask you to spend time in prayer seeking the Lord’s guidance for the role He has for you to play in protecting Religious Liberty in our nation,” Mr. Jindal continues in the letter. “As we make an appeal for leaders of faith to rise up and engage America in the public square with Biblical values, we are trusting you will hear God’s call on your life for this mission.”

“Our goal is to educate, and encourage leaders by informing them and inspiring them of their Biblical, historical roots, and to step out in courage to join us in this journey of faith,” the letter continues. “The call is not to take our nation back, but to get back to God. The time has come for pastors to lead the way and reset the course of American governance.”

Pro-gay groups have decried the Jan. 24 event because one of its benefactors is the American Family Association, which opposes same-sex marriage and abortion. According to media reports, an outdated prayer guide that had been posted to the event’s website appeared to connect rising approval of these things with such events as Hurricane Katrina.

AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer told the Advocate that the group stands “for traditional moral values and natural law.”

“It doesn’t bother us that the bullies and bigots of ‘Big Gay’ have come after this event,” Mr. Fischer said. “The more they bang on their pots and pans, the more it makes people aware of our prayer rally.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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