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Vision America founder Rick Scarborough and two-time presidential candidate Alan Keyes are kicking off a 70-week series of one-day crusades to “save America” beginning the week of the Fourth of July and ending the week of national elections in 2008.

“Many of us throw our hands up and say how did America get to the place where she is?” Scarborough says in a GodTube video introducing 70 Weeks to Save America. “Well, she got there because in large measure the church has been silent. Silent no more, we’re going to empower you with tools to change the culture.”

Scarborough, former pastor of First Baptist Church of Pearland, Texas, said the aim is “to inform, equip and mobilize millions of God-fearing Americans to rise up and reclaim our heritage as a country uniquely blessed and called by God to be an example to the world of freedom.”

“You’re the greatest fear of the left, a church united and mobilized,” Scarborough says in a video excerpt of a sermon on the introductory video.

Joining Scarborough and Keyes, worked 11 years with the U.S. State Department and served as Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, is former Navy Chaplain James Klingenschmitt.

Klingenschmitt was discharged in May after staging an 18-day hunger strike outside the White House in January 2006 protesting regulations on military chaplains’ public prayers and appearing in uniform outside the White House at a similar event, violating Navy rules about wearing attire.

The Navy said he was court-martialed for disobeying orders, but Klingenschmitt said he was punished for praying in Jesus’ name. Klingenschmitt resumed eating and claimed victory after an 18-day fast asking President Bush to issue an executive order allowing military chaplains to pray according to their individual beliefs.

According to the Washington Post, a Navy spokesman said Klingenschmitt was tilting at windmills and that the Navy has no regulations against praying in Jesus’ name and “has always encouraged every chaplain to pray according to his own individual faith during worship services.”

Klingenschmitt made national headlines for objecting to rules that encourage chaplains to use generic and inclusive prayers at public ceremonies where they have a multi-faith audience, like ship commissionings and changes of command.

Klingenschmitt tells his story in detail at a Web site called Persuade the World Ministries.

Scarborough’s Vision America has developed a Web site to promote 70 Weeks to Save America, raise funds and encourage people to sign up as hosts of one-day crusades. So far seven events are listed, starting with Thursday, July 5, in Lufkin, Texas, followed by July 18 at FirstBaptistChurch in Houston and July 25 at FirstBaptistChurch in Nacogdoches. One event is scheduled in August and September, one in January and one in July.

Scarborough, who founded Vision America in 1998 has been dubbed a rising star of the Religious Right for his efforts at organizing the grassroots. He built a 5,000-member network called Patriot Pastors to lead conservative Christians to the polls in 2004.

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.

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