U.S. Senator Patrick Toomey and Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley Attend Prayer Breakfast with Gen. “Jerry” Boykin

The Pocono Record reports from the Pocono Leadership Prayer Breakfast:

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin told how faith and prayer sustained him through combat in the Iranian desert, Grenada and Mogadishu.

“I worry about our country but I believe revival is coming to America,” Boykin told 870 people gathered at Camelback resort.

Boykin said he wasn’t a religious man, but told stories of how his prayers were answered in times of grave danger.

…”Prayers, we say, are acts of striving,” Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Jim Cowley [sic – should be “Jim Cawley] said. “They’re almost political acts…”

Prayer speaks to an impulse almost as old as humankind, he said.

The founding of the U.S. transcends government, said U.S. Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., calling it “the idea that our fundamental rights came from God himself.”

Judging from the article, Boykin’s speech consisted for the most part of military reminiscences; the audience was thus spared his thoughts on how Obama intends to create an army of Brownshirts as part of a Marxist conspiracy, or about how there should be “no mosques in America“. It’s not clear why Boykin is reported as saying he “wasn’t a religious man”: he describes himself as an “ordained minister”, and he is a close associate of the neo-Pentecostal evangelist Rick Joyner. Perhaps what is meant is that Boykin “hadn’t been a religious man” earlier in life.

An earlier article in the Pocono Record has some background to the Prayer Breakfast:

While the Pocono Leadership Prayer Breakfast has a Citizens Support Committee made up of prominent business people, elected officials and community leaders, Jack Muehlhan is the chief organizer… Muehlhan, a Stroudsburg Realtor for 40 years, said he and [his wife] Paula spend hundreds of hours on breakfast details.

…This year’s speaker [2008] is Barry Asmus, a senior economist with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Previous speakers include Major League baseball player Bobby Richardson, motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, syndicated newspaper columnist Cal Thomas and Prison Fellowship director Mark Early.

…”We let political figures participate, but not the year they are running, and no campaign literature is allowed,” Muehlhan said.

“I don’t care what motivates people to come,” Muehlhan said. “Most people leave with a good feeling. People are hungry. They’re looking for a relationship with God. My dream would be to see a prayer breakfast in every town across the country.”

This year’s Prayer Breakfast also included music from a singer named Robin Smith; she has posted a video to YouTube, along with a blurb:

The Pocono Leadership Prayer Breakfast is the largest gathering of its kind in the USA. I am honored to sing once again. This is my 5th time participating. It is attended by US Senators, State Governors, Representatives, Judges, Police Departments, and Local and state leaders of every kind. It is an honor and I am on my way to the White House and beyond!

Muehlhan is a Republican Party activist in Monroe County: he was Toomey’s Monroe County election coordinator in 2004, and apparently again in 2010. Toomey was profiled by Philadelphia magazine in August; the piece judged him to be “surprisingly moderate”, and noted that although he benefited from the rise of the Tea Party, he “declined to join the organization’s Senate caucus”:

Toomey might have been a radical by the mainstream GOP standards of 2004, but in 2012, stacked up against the likes of Jim DeMint and Sarah Palin, Donald Trump and Michele Bachmann, Toomey comes across as the most sober adult in the Republican room.