October 2009

Right Wing Round-Up

  • David Weigel: National Organization for Marriage Chairman Takes On Kevin Jennings.
  • The New Republic: The never-ending lunacy of Betsy McCaughey.
  • Why do right-wingers hate America?
  • Texas Freedom Network: Could the Republican Party of Texas move even farther to the extreme right? Apparently, yes.
  • Why is Stand For Marriage Maine linking marriage equality to an increase in AIDS infections?
  • Why is Mike Huckabee using his position with Fox News to bolster his PAC?

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Bishop E.W. Jackson Sr., Founder and President of S.T.A.N.D, has sent a letter to President Obama demanding the firing of Kevin Jennings: "As American citizens we demand that he be dismissed because his behavior and his bigotry make him unfit to serve."
  • The Christian Defense Coalition and Operation Rescue have launched the "I AM 71" Project, which claims to represent the "71% of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion in the proposed health care reform package."
  • The Lodi City Council unanimously supported changing its invocation policy to allow religious leaders to give uncensored prayers before its meetings despite a threat of a lawsuit from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
  • Karl Rove has donate $1000 to Marco Rubio's Senate campaign.
  • Finally, it looks like they took credit a little too soon.

Lawsuit: Stop Praying For My Death!

Earlier this year, Gordon Klingenschmitt issued a call for imprecatory prayer against Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, praying:

God, do not remain silent, for wicked men surround me and tell lies about me. We bless them, but they curse us. Therefore, find them guilty, not me. Let their days be few, and replace them with godly people. Plunder their fields and seize their assets. Cut off their descendants. And remember their sins. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Now, Weinstein is suing Klingenschmitt, alleging that the effort resulted in harassment and death threats:

A former military lawyer who served in the Reagan White House and worked for Ross Perot is suing a Dallas-based religious organization in a case that could test the limits of free speech and prayer.

Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said he wants Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former U.S. Navy chaplain, to "stop asking Jesus to plunder my fields ... seize my assets, kill me and my family then wipe away our descendants for 10 generations."

The suit also asks the court to stop the defendants – Klingenschmitt and Jim Ammerman, the founder of the Dallas-based Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches – from "encouraging, soliciting, directing, abetting or attempting to induce others to engage in similar conduct."

Weinstein, 54, said his family has received death threats, had a swastika emblazoned on their home in New Mexico, animal carcasses left on their doorstep and feces thrown at the house.

Klingenschmitt insists that he is not to blame because even though he wants God to kill Weinstein, he has "never incited anybody" to hurt him:

"I never prayed for anyone's death," he said. "I never prayed for anyone's violence. All I did was quote the Scriptures." His prayers are available on his Web site and for radio broadcast.

...

Klingenschmitt called the lawsuit a publicity stunt and Weinstein a "paranoid megalomaniac who has a history of anti-Christian persecution."

He "would never pray evil upon my enemies," he said, "but the justice of God is not evil."

Does he want Mikey Weinstein to die? "I pray the Psalm that his days are few," he replied.

Ralph Reed Is Back In Business

Earlier this year, Ralph Reed announced the formation of his Christian Coalition, Version 2.0, known as the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Reed vowed that this iteration wouldn't be "your daddy's Christian Coalition," and that it would be "more brown, more black, more female, and younger" than the first version ... also, hipper and even more strident.

Since it's launch, it hasn't made much, if any, national news, but that is in keeping with Reed's style of political guerilla warfare and so it is no surprise that he's been hard at work building up a nationwide infrastructure.

Starting with the Faith and Freedom Rally efforts, Reed has been slowly picking up state affiliates and making inroads in states like Iowa:

FFC Chairman Ralph Reed was the guest speaker at the 9th Annual Friends of the Family Banquet hosted by the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition/Iowa Christian Alliance. ICCF is one of Faith and Freedoms newest state affiliates formed in August when the existing Iowa Christian Alliance Board voted to affiliate with the national Faith and Freedom Coalition. Other speakers who addressed the over 750 attendees included, Steve Scheffler, IFFC President, Representative Steve King, Senator Chuck Grassley, and David Barton of Wallbuilders.

Reed and the FFC are also setting up shop in Florida, where they plan on opening chapters in every country in order to play a key role in the Republican Gubernatorial primary:

Florida is the largest of a half-dozen states where the Faith and Freedom Coalition now has chapters, which some have dubbed a 2.0 version of the Christian Coalition, intended to draw younger, Internet-savvy social conservatives.

“Our goal within Florida is to open a chapter in every county and mobilize social conservatives,” said Jack St. Martin, chief operating officer of Reed’s coalition. “We plan to make a difference in many elections in Florida.”

The organization plans to be involved in state legislative races along with statewide campaigns in Florida next year, including the competitive U.S. Senate Republican primary between Gov. Charlie Crist and former House Speaker Marco Rubio, St. Martin said.

Along with grassroots organizing, the Faith and Freedom Coalition is forming a federal political action committee to pour cash into campaigns across the nation, including Florida.

Bill Stephens, executive director of the state’s Christian Coalition, is joining the Florida affiliate as its leader.

“We think there are a lot of social conservatives who have stayed at home in Florida the past two election cycles because they didn’t like what they heard or saw from the candidates,” Stephens said. “We hope to change that next year.”

The new organization was created last weekend at the Florida Christian Coalition’s 20th anniversary “God and Country” celebration in Orlando. Speaking at the event was Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, who condemned President Obama’s health care initiative as “something like what the Nazis’ did.”

Gingrich and Huckabee Recommend the Ravings of Matt Barber

There are few Religious Right activists who can match Americans for Truth's Peter LaBarbera when it comes to militant anti-gay hostility, but one who can, and regularly does, is Matt Barber, Director of Cultural Affairs with Liberty Counsel and Associate Dean of the Liberty University School of Law. The view of LaBarbera and Barber are so closely aligned that Barber is even headlining the AFTHA fundraising banquet later this month.

Now, via Pam's House Blend, we learn that Barber has a book out that has received predictably glowing blurbs from the likes of Tim and Beverly LaHaye, Joseph Farah, Robert Knight, and Mat Staver, but it also received blurbs from Tom DeLay, Mike Huckabee, and Newt Gingrich:

“Our country is at a crossroads. Now, more than ever, we need strong voices to stem the tide of liberalism that is washing away America’s Judeo-Christian heritage. Matt Barber is one of those voices and The Right Hook provides conservatives with an important call to action.” – Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

“Devout left-wing ideologues have for decades moved progressively closer to their goal of erasing our nation’s Judeo-Christian founding and remaking America in their own secular humanist self-image. But Matt Barber is fighting back. The Right Hook is a must read for anyone who seeks to preserve America’s Godly heritage.” – Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich

“Matt Barber needs to be heard by every American. He is a man who’s faith drives him to fight for the truth and that makes him the kind of leader people should follow.” – Congressman Tom Delay

Given Barber's history of vehement attacks, I'm really looking forward to reading through his book to see just what sort of rhetoric Huckabee and Gingrich are recommending

Building a More Conservative Bible

It looks like Conservapedia, the conservative alternative to Wikipedia founded by Andy Schlafly, son of the Eagle Forum's Phyllis Schlafly, has undertaken a new project - making a more conservative Bible:

Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations. There are three sources of errors in conveying biblical meaning:

  • lack of precision in the original language, such as terms underdeveloped to convey new concepts of Christianity
  • * lack of precision in modern language
  • * translation bias in converting the original language to the modern one.

Of these three sources of errors, the last introduces the largest error, and the biggest component of that error is liberal bias. Large reductions in this error can be attained simply by retranslating the KJV into modern English.

As of 2009, there is no fully conservative translation of the Bible which satisfies the following ten guidelines:

1. Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias

2. Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, "gender inclusive" language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity

3. Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level[3]

4. Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop;[4] defective translations use the word "comrade" three times as often as "volunteer"; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as "word", "peace", and "miracle".

5. Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as "gamble" rather than "cast lots";[5] using modern political terms, such as "register" rather than "enroll" for the census

6. Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.

7. Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning

8. Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story

9. Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels

10. Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word "Lord" rather than "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" or "Lord God."

Thus, a project has begun among members of Conservapedia to translate the Bible in accordance with these principles.

The new Conservapedia-approved version of the Bible can be found here, but it looks like they have a long way to go as none of the Old Testament has been translated and only small portions of the New Testament have been properly updated.  But from what is currently available, it looks like this is what we can expect from this endeavor:

Here is Chapter 3, verses 1-6 from the Book of Mark (New International Version)

1 Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there.

2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath.

3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Stand up in front of everyone."

4 Then Jesus asked them, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they remained silent.

5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.

6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

Here are the same passages from the Conservapedia translation in which "Pharisees" becomes "intellectuals"

1 Jesus returned to the synagogue, and noticed man with a crippled hand.

2 The intellectuals watched Jesus to see if he might catch and accuse him of healing on the Sabbath.

3 Jesus told the man with the crippled hand, "Stand up in front of everyone."

4 Jesus asked the intellectuals, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: doing good or evil? Saving a life, or killing one? The intellectuals did not answer."

5 Jesus looked at them, feeling anger and pity for the hardness of their hearts, and said to the injured man, "Open your hand." He then opened and held out his hand, and it was as good as new.

6 The intellectuals then fled from the scene to plot with Herod's people against Jesus, and plan how they might destroy him. 

Vision America Goes Full-On Birther

We already knew that Vision America's Rick Scarborough, who recently spoke at the How To Take Back America Conference, was a Birther.  But we were not aware of the fact that the organization was also actively involved in the various lawsuits, but it looks like that is the case since they just used their email list to send out this fundraising pitch from Gary Kreep and the United States Justice Foundation:

You can read the full text of Kreep's email after the jump:

Right uses 'ACORN' as mantra in bid to restrict voting

Right-wing groups have long made unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud the supposed rationale for pushing legislation that would erect new barriers to the ballot box. A How to Take Back America workshop on “Voter Fraud, the Census, and ACORN” made it clear that right-wing politicians will try to use ACORN’s recent troubles to build momentum for restrictive voting laws.

Kris Kobach, a lawyer and failed congressional candidate who has made a name for himself on the Right as an anti-illegal immigration crusader, announced this summer that he is running to be Secretary of State in Kansas. His theme is combating voter fraud, a solution in search of a problem in Kansas. Kobach, like other speakers, implied that Al Franken’s Senate seat was somehow illegitimate, referring to Franken’s “pseudo-election.”

The workshop was largely a tirade against ACORN and the “hard left,” which is supposedly engaged in a massive effort to steal elections. No one, said Kobach, is disenfranchised based on the color of their skin these days. He slammed the Obama Justice Department for signaling to states that they’re “on their own” when it comes to fighting voter fraud.

Kobach’s five-step prescription for states, which he hopes he can implement in Kansas as a model, includes ramping up prosecutions for voter fraud, enacting photo-ID laws, taking more aggressive steps to “clean up” voter rolls (otherwise known as purging), requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration, and standardizing provisional ballot and recount procedures, which he said “the left” was abusing.

The other workshop speaker was Ed Martin, who is preparing to mount a challenge for the congressional seat now held by Rep. Russ Carnahan. Martin bragged about taking on ACORN as chair of the St. Louis City Board of Elections and argued that voter fraud next year could be financed by federal stimulus money. One solution he offered was to get “tea party” activists to sign up as poll workers.

In spite of the worskhop’s name, little was said about the census in the session or at the conference generally – even by census-bashing Michele Bachmann – possibly because people were feeling a little chastened about the recent murder of a census employee and the creepy anti-government overtones to that crime. Helen Blackwell, the workshop’s moderator, did quip that its title referenced “three of my very favorite atrocities.” And Kobach made reference to the “pernicious” move by the administration to bring oversight of the census into the White House and the Census Bureau’s have included ACORN among its partner organizations.