State GOP Leader Rounding Up Christian Votes
at Church Where Child Sex Suspect Led Youth
By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor
September 9, 2020
Texas Republican Party Chairman Allen West plans to lead a rally for Christian voters later this month at a Denton church that was in the news this summer when a former youth pastor was charged with multiple counts of child sex trafficking.
But the state GOP appeared to be more concerned with the future than the past on Wednesday when it announced the new leader's role in the Christian vote quest at the Denton Bible Church on September 21.
The Texas party organization said the event will be "named after Psalm 29 – The Voice of the Lord is in the Storm," a variation of the signature battle cry that West has installed at the GOP here since his ousting of then-incumbent James Dickey at the virtual state convention in June.
"Christians across Texas and the rest of the nation must register and make their voices heard, by voting for candidates with values based in scripture and doctrine," the Republican Party of Texas said in an email trumpeting the Denton rally. "Religious freedom is under assault, and it is up to the faithful to defend our God-given rights and responsibilities."
West has been an unconventional party leader in his first three months - having focused more time on attacking Republican Governor Greg Abbott than Democrats as a result of restrictions that have been imposed Texas during the coronavirus pandemic. West had been embarrassed in recent weeks by reports that his slogan We are the Storm also happened to be the motto for the right-wing conspiracy group QAnon.
West suggested that the common rally cries was purely coincidental. But West might have some new cover on that sore subject in the wake of an Associated Press report on Wednesday about a fundraiser that Vice-President Mike Pence and other high-ranking Republicans are planning to attend next week in Montana at the home of a couple who've subscribed to QAnon.
While West is a former Florida congressman who led American troops in combat as a lieutenant colonel in the Army, he has remained silent up to now on reports that Trump branded U.S. soldiers who'd died in battle as losers and suckers during a visit to Germany. West, who's African-American, has been an enemy of the Black Lives Matter movement while parrotting Trump claims about leftist mobs conspiring with the Democrats to destroy the United States in a socialist feeding frenzy.
But West picked an interesting choice for a pitch for religious votes on the hard right. The Denton house of worship that bills itself as The Church That Nobody Wanted was conceived about 44 years ago by a group that includes it current and only pastor Tommy Nelson.
Nelson is a prominent name in conservative evangelical circles - having led conferences at places like Liberty University with a focus on the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman and personal failures and weaknesses that culminate in divorce. Liberty University was led by minister Jerry Falwell Jr. until he was given the boot last month for a voyeuristic sex scandal involving a pool boy and his wife and other indiscretions.
The Denton Bible Church received some unflattering publicity in June when a man who'd been in charge of the youth ministry there for six years until 2001 was charged in a federal case with transporting minors across state lines for sexual activity. Some of the alleged crimes occurred while the man was the youth pastor in Denton.
Nelson will be teaming up with West for the political rally in two weeks.
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