February 2010

Sen. Scott Brown Dines With MassResistance

MassResistance, which has the distinction of being one of the few organizations classified as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, just sent out an email bragging that the organization was invited to attend a breakfast meeting with Sen. Scott Brown earlier this week which included this photo of Brown with MassResistance head Brian Camenker :

US Senator Scott Brown held an impromptu breakfast Feb. 20 in South Boston to connect with representatives of his grassroots activist supporters. It included key Republican activists, Tea Party activists, and others (even some Democrats). South Boston activists invited MassResistance to join the event as the major pro-family action group.

The Brown people seem well aware who his base is, and he genuinely wants to stay connected with them ... The meeting was at the Playwright Restaurant and Bar on West Broadway. Brown strolled in a few minutes early with just an aide.

Sen. Brown mingled and spoke individually with people for quite a while. He talked about a range of topics. And he wanted us to feel comfortable contacting his office if we needed to, and said that he would represent the average person's interests. Then everyone sat down and had breakfast. Later, he gave a short speech and left for his next appointment.

...

A meeting like this in Massachusetts is really quite astonishing. Although the liberals get this kind of meeting all the time (e.g., the current governor regularly meeting with MassEquality), the idea of a U.S. Senator (or any major politician) sitting down with real conservative activists is simply unheard of. Certainly no recent Republican governor - Bill Weld, Paul Cellucci, Jane Swift, or Mitt Romney - would have ever done this. They often met with liberal activists, but they were uncomfortable around conservatives and kept them at a distance.

But Brown's message was that he's willing to listen to us and take us seriously. And despite years of politics and sudden national fame, he hasn't become elitist or condescending -- which also makes him an oddity among politicians here.

Right Mobilizes For Marriage Amendment In West Virginia

Yesterday, the West Virginia House of Delegates killed an effort to press for a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality in the state.

And, of course, that means the right-wing, anti-marriage equality groups are trotting out their standard "let us vote" rhetoric for a press conference tomorrow to complain about it:

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia will hold a press conference during its "Let Us Vote" marriage rally featuring Maggie Gallagher, President of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), Randy Wilson, National Field Director for Family Research Council (FRC) and Jeremy Dys, President and General Counsel of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia. Several West Virginia lawmakers have also been invited to speak.

...

WHAT: Almost half of West Virginia's state senators have signed on as sponsors to a marriage protection amendment resolution promoted by the Family Policy Council of West Virginia. The West Virginia Senate is sending a strong message that there is no legitimate reason to prevent the voters of West Virginia from settling the legal definition of marriage.

WHY: The proposed amendment, which a recent poll indicates is supported by at least 78 percent of registered Democrat voters, was introduced with broad bipartisan support, including the chairmen of three major senate committees and the vice-chairman of a fourth. If approved, the resolution, SJR 14, would allow West Virginians to settle the legal definition of marriage at a special election in 2010. It proposes a simple 19-word definition of marriage: "Only the union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in West Virginia."

WHERE: West Virginia Capitol, North Steps

WHEN: Thursday, February 25, noon

A Kinder, Gentler Rick Scarborough?

Vision America is prominently featuring this rather unexpected video on its website featuring Rick Scarborough voicing deep regret over his appearance on "The Daily Show" earlier this year, saying he made a "snide, off-handed" remark during the segment that was clearly offensive and lamenting that he did not handle the situation well, declaring that he does not want "people whose lifestyle I oppose to think I oppose them."

He goes on to say that people have not rejected Christ, but have rejected "those of us who represent Christ," and vows to move away from that, saying he wants to be a "loving, kind, gentle man of truth": 

I have to say that the Scarborough in this video is utterly unlike the Scarborough we are familiar with here at RightWingWatch.  If he is indeed serious about changing his tactics and rhetoric, it would be a most remarkable and welcome change.

Liberty Counsel Finally Breaks Its Silence On Lisa Miller, Loses Similar Fight In California

For the first time since Lisa Miller disappeared with her daughter rather than transfer custody to her former partner due to her own refusal to abide by custody/visitation arrangement, a representative of Liberty Counsel has finally acknowledged her disappearance on the record:

Mathew Staver, Miller’s attorney from Lynchburg-based law firm Liberty Counsel, said neither he nor his office has had contact with Miller since last fall.

“We don’t know where she is and we don’t know anybody who does know her whereabouts,“ Staver said in a phone interview Tuesday.

...

Staver said efforts are currently under way to track down Miller through a locator service.

Staver also said that arrest warrant issued for Miller in Vermont will not have jurisdiction in Virginia, Miller's last known place of residence, unless it is recognized by a VA court, which just last week refused to hold Miller in contempt on the grounds that she had not been notified to appear in court due to the fact that nobody can find her.

Amazingly, even while this saga was unfolding, Liberty Counsel was waging the same fight in a similar case out of California ... and losing

In a case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, a Bay Area woman has won the right to parental status and visits with the daughter of her former lesbian partner, who moved out when the girl was 3 months old.

The high court denied review Monday of an appeal by the birth mother, identified only as Kristina S., who challenged her former partner's right to be considered a parent. Kristina's lawyers, from the religious conservative group Liberty Counsel, argued that recognizing parental status after a few months of care violated a mother's right to control her child's upbringing.

The court left intact a June 2009 ruling by a state appeals court in San Francisco that said Kristina's partner, identified as Charisma R., had been fully involved in conceiving and taking care of the child and was legally her co-parent.

...

Liberty Counsel representatives were unavailable for comment. The group's chairman, attorney Mathew Staver, told the Supreme Court that the California appellate court had "ordered the breakup of the autonomous, natural family comprised of Kristina and her daughter ... in favor of a new, judicially created 'family.' "

Video of Bob Marshall Proves He Said What He Meant, Meant What He Said

Watch Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall claim at an anti-Planned Parenthood press conference that disabled children are God's punishment for abortion:

After his remarks set off a national controversy, Marshall tried to claim that he had somehow been misunderstood:

A story by Capital News Service regarding my remarks at a recent press conference opposing taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood conveyed the impression that I believe disabled children are a punishment for prior abortions. No one who knows me or my record would imagine that I believe or intended to communicate such an offensive notion[.] I regret any misimpression my poorly chosen words may have created[.]

But the video speaks for itself. Marshall explicitly stated that he believes God punishes women who have abortions by giving them disabled children. And then he backed up his claim with what he evidently considered to be evidence (and the gentleman to his left nodded in agreement).

Marshall is entitled to his offensive views, but he should not run from them.

It's worth noting that Marshall has a history of saying offensive things – or being “misinterpreted.”

He said this about abortion in the case of rape: "[T]he woman becomes a sin-bearer of the crime, because the right of a child predominates over the embarrassment of the woman."

And he said this about contraception: "[W]e have no business passing this garbage out and making these co-eds chemical Love Canals for these frat house playboys in Virginia."

Marshall was not the only one at last week’s press conference to say something completely ridiculous and offensive, or as Marshall calls it – creating a “misimpression.”

Rev. Joe Ellison said he agrees with Pat Robertson’s comments that Haitians brought the recent devastating earthquake on themselves by striking a deal with the Devil and practicing voodoo:

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.

And let’s remember. These guys aren’t just some sideshow attraction in Virginia’s state capital. They hold sway with top Virginia Republicans, including Gov. Bob McDonnell, and are making gains in their war on the reproductive rights of Virginia women.

Video of Bob Marshall Proves He Said What He Meant, Meant What He Said

Watch Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall claim at an anti-Planned Parenthood press conference that disabled children are God's punishment for abortion:

After his remarks set off a national controversy, Marshall tried to claim that he had somehow been misunderstood:

A story by Capital News Service regarding my remarks at a recent press conference opposing taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood conveyed the impression that I believe disabled children are a punishment for prior abortions. No one who knows me or my record would imagine that I believe or intended to communicate such an offensive notion[.] I regret any misimpression my poorly chosen words may have created[.]

But the video speaks for itself. Marshall explicitly stated that he believes God punishes women who have abortions by giving them disabled children. And then he backed up his claim with what he evidently considered to be evidence (and the gentleman to his left nodded in agreement).

Marshall is entitled to his offensive views, but he should not run from them.

It's worth noting that Marshall has a history of saying offensive things – or being “misinterpreted.”

He said this about abortion in the case of rape: "[T]he woman becomes a sin-bearer of the crime, because the right of a child predominates over the embarrassment of the woman."

And he said this about contraception: "[W]e have no business passing this garbage out and making these co-eds chemical Love Canals for these frat house playboys in Virginia."

Marshall was not the only one at last week’s press conference to say something completely ridiculous and offensive, or as Marshall calls it – creating a “misimpression.”

Rev. Joe Ellison said he agrees with Pat Robertson’s comments that Haitians brought the recent devastating earthquake on themselves by striking a deal with the Devil and practicing voodoo:

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.

And let’s remember. These guys aren’t just some sideshow attraction in Virginia’s state capital. They hold sway with top Virginia Republicans, including Gov. Bob McDonnell, and are making gains in their war on the reproductive rights of Virginia women.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • James Dobson has endorsed Gov. Rick Perry.
  • Speaking of Perry, he's gone full-on Tenther in his latest ad.
  • Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says he can't rule out the prospect of accepting a Vice Presidential slot if offered.
  • RNC Chair is just burning through money.
  • Concerned Women for America is accused of being insufficiently pro-life.
  • Prosecutors are worried they will be unable to find jurors who don't have an opinion about murdered anti-abortion activist James Pouillon as they make their case against Harlan Drake because Pouillon's protests and antics had made him notoriously unpopular.
  • Apparently, Ken Blackwell got a book deal.  The title of his tome? "THE BLUEPRINT: Barack Obama’s Secret Plan for an Imperial Presidency and a Permanent Liberal Government."
  • Finally, Quote of the Day from Gary Cass: "Thankfully, many principled Christian organizations pulled out of CPAC and they should be commended for standing up for truth. We cannot allow anti-Christian groups like GOProud to infiltrate and corrupt the conservative movement."

ADF Likens Day of Prayer Lawsuit To Hostage-Taking Gunman

Back in 2008, the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed suit against the National Day of Prayer and named White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, and National Day of Prayer Task Force Chairwoman Shirley Dobson in the lawsuit.

The case is on-going, and Dobson is being represented by the Alliance Defense Fund (which just so happens to have been founded by Shirley's husband, James Dobson, and others).  As such, the case was the cover story of the ADF's latest issue of its publication "Truth and Triumph" ... and I have to say that ADF's attempt to liken the lawsuit to a hostage-taking episode that unfolded at Focus on the Family headquarters more than a decade ago seems a bit over-the-top:

The receptionist for Focus on the Family had just come back from lunch when she heard the disturbance at the glass doors in front of her. She looked up into the very intense face of a man demanding to talk immediately with Dr. James Dobson, head of the ministry.

Graciously, the receptionist began explaining that Dr. Dobson was with his wife, Shirley, in Washington, D.C., that afternoon for National Day of Prayer observances …but she quickly became distracted.

The man, she realized, was holding a gun. And tied around his waist were what appeared to be some kind of explosives.

The Dobsons had just returned to their hotel room when the phone rang with word that the receptionist and three others were being held hostage at the ministry in Colorado Springs. The couple immediately paused to pray for the Focus staff and the gunman, and began asking others around them to pray, too.

Soon, word came that the gunman had surrendered, without hurting anyone – though he did fire his weapon, tearing a hole high on the wall behind the receptionist’s desk.

When Mrs. Dobson enters the front doors at Focus, she walks right by that gash. It remains unrepaired – a reminder of God’s powerful intervention one long, frightening afternoon nearly 14 years ago.

These days, though, it’s also a quiet reminder of something else. For these days, it is the National Day of Prayer itself that’s endangered. And it’s Shirley Dobson who is under the gun.

Christian Defenders Baselessly Demand DOJ Investigation of Florida Murder

Several weeks ago, two men who were preaching Boynton Beach, Florida were murdered and ever since Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission has been convinced that this was an anti-Christian hate crime, claiming without any justification or evidence whatsoever that the crime is proof that a "violent anti-Christian spirit is growing in America" and that the two men were killed "for preaching the gospel."

Cass eventually got Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition involved and the two groups held a press conference/vigil for the victims last week at which they demanded Attorney General Eric Holder "launch a federal investigation to see if these murders broke federal laws or federal civil rights statutes."

And now Mahoney and Cass have sent a letter to Holder asking for a Department of Justice investigation:

"The gruesome murder of Tire Sifra and Steven Ocean while sharing the Word of God in their neighborhood has raised some very serious civil rights issues," said Dr. Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission. "If they were targeted for their exercising their religion then their murder is not simply routine gang violence but raises important matters of civil rights. We have sent a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder asking for an investigation."

"We are pleading with the city of Boynton Beach, do not sweep the faith issue under the carpet," Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition. "We want the police to ask questions about religious issues involved here. We just don't want them to say this is just another episode of gang violence."

Of course, there is no evidence that this crime had anything at all to do with religion:

Faith not a factor, police say ... The shooting suspect, Jeriah Woody, 18, turned himself in last week. And a local history of gang violence and revenge killings makes for an attack scenario that requires much less imagination.

One of the dead preachers, Ocean, was arrested outside the Boynton Beach Mall four years ago with a loaded automatic pistol. He was with three other reputed gang members, one of whom was shot dead in the mall a month later on Christmas Eve.

"We have spoken with numerous witnesses, as well as the suspect," Boynton Beach Police Chief Matt Immler said Friday in a statement, "and at this point we have no reason to believe that the victims' religious activities or beliefs factored into the commission of this crime."

So basically, Cass and Mahoney have decided for themselves that this was some sort of anti-Christian hate crime. And based entirely upon their own say so, they are now calling for a Department of Justice investigation in hopes of finding some actual evidence that might justify their groundless claims.

And when the DOJ refuses to carry out the investigation requested, you can rest assured that Cass and Mahoney will declare that decision to be further proof of the Obama administration's antipathy toward Christians.