By Adelle M. Banks
Saturday, March 13, 2010; B02
Attention, Californians: Your governor has just been adopted. Next up: your bleeding-heart senator, Barbara Boxer, and not far behind Boxer, her Senate colleague Dianne Feinstein.
Not by a new set of parents, mind you, but rather an army of conservative prayer warriors committed to restoring "poor leaders to right thinking."
The Republican governor's alleged sins? Supporting abortion funding, "imposing same-sex 'marriage' " on the Golden State and allowing "out-of-control liberal spending." Boxer, a Democrat, is cited as a "radical environmentalist" and as embracing "ultraliberal" positions. Feinstein, also a Democrat, "encourages closing Guantanamo" and shipping terrorist suspects to her home state.
And we haven't even mentioned the views of San Francisco's Nancy Pelosi, another Democrat and the speaker of the U.S. House. Or Oprah Winfrey's sit-down with a transgender man who had a baby, Hillary Clinton's support of global abortion rights, Warren Buffet's "open marriage" or New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's support of gun control.
Last fall, the Florida-based firm posted a list of about a dozen liberals on its Web site. But founder Mathew Staver and his colleagues decided that there were enough for a deck of cards.
Now, for $20, you can shuffle through a collection of liberals, including former vice president Al Gore, HBO's Bill Maher, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington and the now-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.
"We created the card deck with 51 cards so it's one card short of a full deck," Staver said, only half joking. The 52nd features a question mark for the "Unknown Liberal" in government, media, higher education or "other liberals of your choice."
It might be a gimmick that gets people talking, said pop culture expert Robert Thompson, but liberals should think twice before countering with their own "Adopt a Conservative" cards.
"You're putting that person in a position of . . . being in this childlike need to be enlightened," said Thompson, a Syracuse University professor. "There's a certain unmitigated arrogance and hubris involved."
The 51 standing in the need of prayer include the president, who is identified as "Barack Hussein Obama," White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), actress Anne Hathaway, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore and MSNBC pundits Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow.
Just four of the 51 are known Republicans: Schwarzenegger, Maine's U.S. senators (Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins), and Senate candidate Mark Kirk of Illinois, who is misidentified as already an elected senator.
"We encourage you to seek the Lord's guidance on how to pray for your liberal(s), always allowing God to temper your prayer with his love and mercy," the cards say. ". . . In fact, we fully expect that many of our adoptees will 'graduate' from this prayer program with vivid testimonies of God having changed their lives and worldviews!"
Some of the designated liberals in the "prayer-in-action" program actually welcomed the designation, although some would put limits on what was prayed for.
"I like to stay up late," the Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State warned any and all prospective prayer parents, "and I'm not doing any chores around the house."
When political pundit Alan Colmes learned of the campaign last fall, he asked to be included, Staver said. Liberty Counsel was more than happy to make room. "Actually requested inclusion in the Adopt a Liberal list and asked for prayer!" his card says.
"He was disappointed that he wasn't part of the original list," said Staver, dean of the law school at Liberty University. "He looked at it as a badge of honor to be on the liberal list." The card deck is certainly a kinder, gentler alternative to prayer initiatives of more extreme conservatives who have prayed for God to smite the president and his congressional allies, among other things.
Along with the deck of cards, donors get a "Have you adopted a liberal today?" bumper sticker.
Staver cautioned that praying for liberals is not for the faint of heart.
"The Scriptures don't say to pray for those who you agree with only," Staver said, "but to pray for those in leadership."
-- Religion News Service