February 2010

Does Concerned Women For America Know Lisa Miller's Whereabouts?

A few weeks ago I noted how Lisa Miller's lawyers at Liberty Counsel and her supporters at the Protect Isabella Coalition were quietly trying to wash their hands of her after she kidnapped her daughter and disappeared.

Well, it looks like these right-wing activists are still active in supporting her, as they gathered for a prayer rally in Virginia last week during the court hearing at an event which featured a briefing from Mat Staver and the participation of Wiley Drake:

Concerned Women for America (CWA) of Virginia joined the Protect Isabella Coalition and other conservatives, who traveled from as far away as Suffolk, Harrisonburg, and Roanoke, and as near as Bedford and Lynchburg, at the Bedford County Courthouse on February 17, to support Lisa Miller and her daughter, Isabella, in prayer.

While we were disappointed not to be allowed in the courtroom — the judge had honored an ACLU request to deny access to the public— it was a privilege to join Pastor Wiley Drake of Buena Park, California, and others across the country on the Telephonic Prayer Line to pray during the court proceedings.

Mat Staver, chief attorney for Liberty Counsel, briefed our group before and after the hearing. The opposition wanted the Virginia court to find Lisa in contempt of court for failing to follow a Vermont court’s order to relinquish custody of her daughter, Isabella, to Janet Jenkins, who was Lisa’s homosexual companion before Lisa’s conversion to Christianity. It should be noted that Miss Jenkins is a Vermont resident who has no biological ties to Isabella and has never sought to adopt her, but has been awarded full custody by a Vermont court merely on the basis of Lisa and Miss Jenkins’ brief “civil union.”

Judge Harrison did not issue an order for Lisa's arrest, because she cannot be found for papers to be served. The judge also denied Janet Jenkins the opportunity to testify by phone, because there was no one present in Vermont to swear her in as a witness.

The next hearing on this case is tentatively scheduled for May 19, 2010. Please continue to pray for the three judges of the Appellate Court of Virginia; pray that their decision will put up a firewall between the laws of Vermont and Virginia to protect Isabella and allow Lisa to return to her home state.

This post contains a relatively important revelation: everybody who has been involved in this case insists that they have no idea where Lisa Miller has gone and that they have had no contact with her since she disappeared ... so why is CWA and the Protect Isabella Coalition praying that she will be allowed to "return to her home state"?  

That suggests that she is not in Virginia at the moment ... and how would these supporters know that unless they know where Miller actually is

So here is a simple question: Does CWA or the Protect Isabella Coalition know Miller's whereabouts?  If so, why aren't they informing the authorities?  Are these groups protecting and hiding Miller as she run from the law and violates her court orders? 

Scarborough Grills Candidates and Hopefuls Behind Closed Doors: "We're Trying to Mix Church and State God's Way"

I have to say that this does not seem promising at all:

Renowned social conservative and self-proclaimed "Christocrat," the Rev. Rick Scarborough of the Harvest Point Church in Nacogdoches led 15 pastors from multiple denominations in a candidate forum on Tuesday.

Behind closed doors of the fellowship hall of the First Christian Church, the church leaders interviewed dozens of elected state officials and dozens more local candidates, all seeking to be elected or re-elected to office this year.

"This is the first time we've ever gotten involved in the primaries, so because of the wide range of candidates from supreme court justices to the lone candidate for county surveyor, we had to divide them up into three groups and issue them our questions," Scarborough said. "We first compiled the questionnaire that we had them fill out for us that covered a range of things, including the Mandate to Save America'"

Scarborough and other culturally conservative leaders from around the nation helped draft the Mandate to Save America, which is a 10-point list of ideals that they believe elected leaders should commit to in order to "break the bonds of tyranny and give birth to a new nation of freedom, justice and hope."

The mandate calls for the nation to oppose same-sex marriages, give parents control over their child's education and demands the right to publicly acknowledge the existence of God.

After the candidates turned in their various questionnaires, they were then presented with several more questions from the pastor groups.

"We had them answer eight questions personally on issues ranging from taxes, a couple of social issues, and we discussed their feelings about allowing Intelligent Design to be taught alongside evolution in public schools," Scarborough said. "This is a way for us to ascertain their positions on not only specific issues, but more importantly character issues. We encourage people to vote their values."

...

"We believe Christians have a real responsibility, and we pastors especially, to find out where the candidates stand and what they believe, and then give those answers to the people," he said. "We want them to vote not as Republicans or Democrats, but as we like to say, followers of Jesus Christ. We're trying to mix church and state God's way."

Scarborough will reportedly make the findings public before primary election day next week and has plans, though this newly created Nacogdoches County Pastors Roundtable, to host a debate in September and is also launching an effort to "register a record number of Christians in Nacogdoches County to vote in the November elections."

When Defending Lisa Miller, Facts Are Unnecessary

Is it too much to ask that right-wing groups who are going to be supporting Lisa Miller's criminal actions to at least have some understanding of what is actually going on?

Apparently it is, judging by this Christian Anti-Defamation Commission statement:

Lisa Miller was living in Vermont in a lesbian civil union with Janet Jenkins. During this time Lisa became pregnant with a little girl through artificial insemination. But before little Isabella was born, Lisa left her partner and moved to Virginia where civil unions are not recognized.

Soon thereafter Lisa became a Christian and renounced homosexuality. But her former partner Jenkins is now fighting for custody of Isabella, even though she has no biological relationship.

A Vermont court has ordered Lisa to turn over her daughter to Jenkins, but Lisa did not comply. Now there is a warrant out for her arrest in the state of Vermont and Lisa and Isabella are in hiding.

This is what happens when mankind corrupts and confuses the laws of nature and nature’s God. Society suffers, particularly the children.

First of all, Lisa and Isabella aren't "in hiding" because there is a warrant out for her; there is a warrant out for her because Lisa kidnapped her daughter and disappeared rather than abide by court orders and custody arrangements. That is an important distinction.

Secondly, the claim that Miller left Jenkins before Isabella was born is fundamentally false, as Isabella was nearly a year and a half old when the women split.  In fact, Jenkins continued to pay child support and see her regularly until Miller declared herself a born-again Christian and sought to completely cut off Jenkins' contact with Isabella.

If Religious Right activists are going to defend Miller's actions, it would be nice if they could be bothered to actually know the facts before doing so.

VIDEO: Does Bob Marshall Agree w/ Rev. Ellison that Haitian Earthquake Was God's Punishment for Voodoo?

Rev. Joe Ellison introduced Del. Bob Marshall last week as a "warrior who will fight for our cause." Ellison – with Marshall at his back – agreed with Pat Robertson and said that the Haitian earthquake was God's punishment for practicing voodoo. Two minutes later, Marshall said that disabled children are God's punishment for abortion.

Here's the video of Ellison's comments on Haiti and introduction of Marshall:

"From a spiritual standpoint, we think the Dr. Robertson was on target about Haiti, in the past, with voodoo. And we believe in the Bible that the practice of voodoo is a sin, and what caused the nation to suffer. Those who read the Bible and study the history know that what Dr. Robertson said was the truth."

Does Marshall stand behind Ellison and his remarks on Haiti? Or will Marshall blame the Washington Post for first reporting Ellison's comments, just as he has blamed the Capital News Service for first reporting his own?

It is not an accident that Marshall and Ellison echoed one another and Pat Robertson. They all believe that God exacts vengeance on those who do not follow their peculiar and ultraconservative interpretation of the Bible.

Ellison may like to believe that Robertson's comments merely "angered a lot of the so-called, in my opinion, liberals." But the truth is that Americans overwhelmingly reject such views, just as they reject Marshall's views on disabled children and abortion – including a not-so-liberal Governor named Bob McConnell.

And for those of you who missed it, here’s the video of Bob Marshall claiming that disabled children are God’s punishment for abortion:

VIDEO: Does Bob Marshall Agree w/ Rev. Ellison that Haitian Earthquake Was God's Punishment for Voodoo?

Rev. Joe Ellison introduced Del. Bob Marshall last week as a "warrior who will fight for our cause." Ellison – with Marshall at his back – agreed with Pat Robertson and said that the Haitian earthquake was God's punishment for practicing voodoo. Two minutes later, Marshall said that disabled children are God's punishment for abortion.

Here's the video of Ellison's comments on Haiti and introduction of Marshall:

"From a spiritual standpoint, we think the Dr. Robertson was on target about Haiti, in the past, with voodoo. And we believe in the Bible that the practice of voodoo is a sin, and what caused the nation to suffer. Those who read the Bible and study the history know that what Dr. Robertson said was the truth."

Does Marshall stand behind Ellison and his remarks on Haiti? Or will Marshall blame the Washington Post for first reporting Ellison's comments, just as he has blamed the Capital News Service for first reporting his own?

It is not an accident that Marshall and Ellison echoed one another and Pat Robertson. They all believe that God exacts vengeance on those who do not follow their peculiar and ultraconservative interpretation of the Bible.

Ellison may like to believe that Robertson's comments merely "angered a lot of the so-called, in my opinion, liberals." But the truth is that Americans overwhelmingly reject such views, just as they reject Marshall's views on disabled children and abortion – including a not-so-liberal Governor named Bob McConnell.

And for those of you who missed it, here’s the video of Bob Marshall claiming that disabled children are God’s punishment for abortion:

Fischer: Sea World Death Due To West's Failure to Follow Scripture

Sometimes I wonder if the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer ultimate goal is just to make his organization look foolish by writing pieces like this one claiming that the death of a trainer at Sea World yesterday was the result of a failure to abide by Biblical mandates.

Fischer cites this article noting that the whale in question was considered particularly dangerous and had a history of violent incidents to claim that the death can be chalked up to "animal rights insanity and to the ongoing failure of the West to take counsel on practical matters from the Scripture:

What about the term "killer whale" do SeaWorld officials not understand?

If the counsel of the Judeo-Christian tradition had been followed, Tillikum would have been put out of everyone's misery back in 1991 and would not have had the opportunity to claim two more human lives.

Says the ancient civil code of Israel, "When an ox gores a man or woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten, but the owner shall not be liable." (Exodus 21:28)

So, your animal kills somebody, your moral responsibility is to put that animal to death. You have no moral culpability in the death, because you didn't know the animal was going to go postal on somebody.

But, the Scripture soberly warns, if one of your animals kills a second time because you didn't kill it after it claimed its first human victim, this time you die right along with your animal. To use the example from Exodus, if your ox kills a second time, "the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death." (Exodus 21:29)

If I were the family of Dawn Brancheau, I'd sue the pants off SeaWorld for allowing this killer whale to kill again after they were well aware of its violent history.

If Fischer thinks we ought to be following Scripture here, then why isn't he calling for Sea World's  owners to be put to death instead of merely sued? After all, he's the one who cites Exodus 21:29 which mandate a death sentence for the animal's owners.

Bob Marshall Doubles Down, Insisting He Never Said Exactly What He Said

Amazingly, instead of just apologizing for his claim that women who have abortions are subsequently punished with giving birth to children with disabilities, Virginia state Rep. Bob Marshall continues to insist that he never made any such comments and is instead lashing out at Capital News Service, a project of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Mass Communications, for having reported his remarks:

Virginia Del. Robert G. Marshall took to the floor of the House of Delegates on Wednesday to dispute reports that he said women who have abortions run the risk of birth defects in later pregnancies as a punishment from God ... Marshall denied saying that disabled children are a punishment from God or even having suggested such a thing. But that notion, he said, "has been repeated endless times in print and in the electronic media without anyone producing the smoking-gun tape."

"Of course, if some wish to make their own inferences, that is their prerogative," Marshall said. "However, they should acknowledge that is what they are doing. Furthermore, it is no one's prerogative to claim I spoke words which never came from my mouth, have never been in my heart and have never been in my public record."

Marshall also called for a correction from Capital News Service, which is produced by journalism students at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Mass Communications and whose report ignited the controversy. Jeff South, an associate professor who oversees the program, said the service stands by its report.

And Marshall has posted video of his statement on his website, which he somehow believes will exonerate him.  In his accompanying statement, Marshall insists that he never made this comment, and then provides video and a transcript of his remarks that proves he said exactly what Capital News Service quoted him as saying (emphasis added): 

A February 22nd Capital News Service story claimed, “Western Prince William Del. Bob Marshall (R-13th) says disabled children are God’s punishment to women who have aborted their first pregnancy.”

I never made this statement. I believe that all children, no matter their background are a blessing from the Lord, not a punishment. Capital News Service never called me about these alleged comments.

No other reporter who attended the same February 18th press conference regarding Planned Parenthood funding made the same claim for the simple reason that I never made such a statement about disabled children.

A video of the press conference bears this out. (May be accessed in its entirety at the end of this article)

Furthermore, my personal and public life show a respect for unwanted or disabled children, including our adoption of three children, my bills to provide for health insurance for autistic children, and my bill this year requiring that women be informed of possible problems in future pregnancies from abortion.

I acknowledge that my extemporary remarks could have been better chosen to explain the medical research findings which show a high incidence of complications following induced abortions.

I understand how disability groups could react, but they are reacting in part to words I never said, never meant, and don’t believe. But I apologize to all for the misuse of my words especially to disabled Virginians or others offended.

My purpose was to show how authentic medical findings demonstrate that abortion has consequences beyond the death of the child being aborted. That is why I have proposed HB 334, which passed the House of Delegates 95-2, and which requires women undergoing abortion to be offered medical articles concerning possible complications in future pregnancies.

I take my oath of office seriously, and believe it is important to protect my constituents by ensuring full transparency about a procedure that may adversely impact their future reproductive health. That is why I strongly believe that Planned Parenthood, which performs one-fourth of abortions nationwide and opposes protecting women with this vital information, should not be funded by Virginia taxpayers.

Children, whether wanted or unwanted, intended or unintended, “normal” or disabled, are blessings from a loving God, and I will continue to fight on their behalf and on behalf of the courageous families who care for these wonderful children.

Fighting for you,

Delegate Bob Marshall
13th District Delegate

FULL TRANSCRIPT:
Verbatim. The TRT is 2:05:

“Thank you very much for coming here today. We are dealing with an attempt to defund, frankly, a malevolent organization. And I say that because you know people by their fruits. In 1960, 65, the out of wed-lock birthrate for blacks was 25 percent. I think it was about 23 percent in 1960 – it was 5 percent for all races. Now it’s 40 percent. It’s 72% for blacks, 51% for Latinas. These are the fruits of planned parenthood. OK. Nothing else. More heartache. More guys who are completely irresponsible and think that women have one function and one function only for a few minutes. OK. But this just isn’t affecting our families, our inner cities, our communities and our state. This poison animates a world-wide population control program that the United States funds and which is unnecessarily making us enemies overseas. We are attacking traditional family structure in a way that no country should be doing. These aren’t my words. Go read a book by Denesh DeSouza [sic]. Ok. He’s looking at it from a cultural, historical perspective. This organization should be called Planned Barrenhood cause they have nothing to do with families, they have nothing to do with responsibility. One-fourth of all abortions are done by Planned Parenthood in the United States. Ok. The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion who have handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first-born of any, Nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children. In the Old Testament, the first-born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment Christians would suggest, and with the knowledge they have from faith has been verified by a study by the Virginia Commonwealth University. First abortions of the first pregnancy are much more damaging to the woman than latter abortions. None of these are good for anybody but this organization has had its time. They have failed in their efforts and we need to defund them and not have them receive a dime of public money.”

Marshall insists that he was making a point based on science and medical findings and that focusing on the "vengence," "punishment" "Old Testament" and "Christians would suggest" language is taking his words out of context in order to make it look like he said something that he never said.

Of course, as Marshall's own video proves, he did make these comments and, in fact, all the "science" stuff at the end is meant to bolster his central point that women who have abortions are subsequently punished with disabled children later on.

But instead of just admitting that that is what he said and apologizing, Marshall continues to insist that he never made this comment and is instead lashing out and attacking those who dared to report it.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Good As You makes a convincing case that Ryan Sorba get into anti-gay activism thanks to Scott Lively.
  • Also, if you missed the right-wing anti-DADT repeal press conference at CPAC, Good As You has all the video.
  • Speaking of DADT, Media Matters examines all the myths and falsehoods conservative media figures have pushed in their efforts to prevent repeal.
  • John McCain is whacking his Republican primary challenger for his Birtherism with a new ad.
  • Allow me to quote Steve Benen: "So, let me get this straight. Prominent conservative voices don't mind [Glenn] Beck's deranged conspiracy theories, his humiliating ignorance, and his hatred for those who don't think as he does. But these conservative voices mind a great deal if Beck notes that Republicans have an embarrassing record when it comes to deficit reduction, the national debt, government spending, and increasing the size and scope of the federal government's powers -- an observation that happens to be true. What an odd movement."
  • Finally, in the annals of idiotic right-wing lying hypocrisy, this is hard to beat.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • How long before Lauren Ashley becomes the next right-wing hero?
  • James Dobson's time at Focus on the Family officially ends this week.
  • Mike Huckabee pleads for civility after right-wing bloggers savage him for interviewing First Lady Michelle Obama, saying "it seemed [they] wanted me to bring her on my show only if I yelled at her. Or it seemed they wanted me to hit her."
  • I have to say that the orchestrated manner in which Liberty University is pressing for its own polling station ought to be enough to give one pause regarding the school's impact on future elections.
  • Finally, the Quote of the Day from AFA's Bryan Fischer:  "And why is it that defenders of natural marriage are always the ones who get told to shut up? If advocates for special rights for homosexuals would just shut up, this controversy would go away tomorrow. If they would take their behavior back to the bedroom instead of demanding approval for it in the streets and at conservative conferences, they’d be left alone and this conversation would be unnecessary."

Staver: Real Conservatives Wouldn't Have Booed Ryan Sorba's Anti-Gay CPAC Rant

CBS has an article on GOProud and CPAC that revolves mostly around Ryan Sorba's attack on the group from the stage and the boos it elicited from the audience which quotes Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver saying that GOProud free to be part of the conservative movement so long as they don't expect the movement to actually support their agenda. How kind of him.

But he  was also asked about his views regarding the negative reaction Sorba elicited with his attack, and Staver said that this year's CPAC was dominated by libertarian Ron Paul supporters, suggesting that if it had been dominated by social conservatives, Sorba would not have been booed

Mathew Staver, dean of the evangelical Liberty University School of Law and founder and chair of the Liberty Counsel, says that he and his allies "certainly don't support the idea that anybody would be eliminated from the political process because of their sexual orientation."

But he said Liberty University School of Law felt compelled to pull its sponsorship from CPAC over GOProud's support for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and other policies.

"Those are not conservative policies, and they are not supported by the Republican Party," he said, noting that the GOP continues to oppose a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal as well as same-sex marriage and hate crimes protections based on gender identity. "I welcome all people being part of the conversation, but I also think that just because of your individual orientation, it does not mean that we change the values that conservatives support."

Asked if he was disappointed with Sorba's reception, Staver noted that Ron Paul won the CPAC straw poll of 2012 presidential candidates - evidence, he suggested, that those in the room were not "reflective of the conservative movement or the Republican Party."

Really!? So if those who booed Sorba "are not reflective of the conservative movement or the Republican party," then isn't Staver saying that "real" conservatives wouldn't have booed Sorba for his anti-gay rant?