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Staver: Tolerance Of Homosexuality 'Will Be The Downfall Of Our Civilization'

Last week, megachurch pastor John MacArthur told Glenn Beck's The Blaze website that churches that condone homosexuality "have no allegiance to the Bible ... they have no relationship to scripture, they are the apostate church, they are Satan’s church."

Not surprisingly, Mat Staver and Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel are in complete agreement, praising MacArthur's tough stance on their "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast as Staver added his own warning that tolerance of homosexuality "ultimately will be the downfall of our civilization."

"Homosexuality is against nature," Staver declared. "It is against nature to have two men and two women engaging in sexual activity. It is against the Scripture to do that ... This sinful behavior is being promoted as good, natural, and normal. It is something, I think, that ultimately will be the downfall of our civilization if we continue to go down this road":

GOP Candidate In Arizona Promises To Fight 'The Gay Lobby,' Stop Illegal Immigration 'Before It's Too Late'

In a campaign ad that began airing last week in Arizona, Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew Thomas boasts of having “stood up to the gay lobby” and promises to stop undocumented immigrants “before it’s too late.”

“When I enforced the law, illegal immigrants fled this state. Now they stay and protest” Thomas, a former Maricopa County attorney, says in the ad, as he’s flanked by a mostly-white crowd.

Thomas was disbarred in 2012 after facing corruption charges. He isn’t considered a frontrunner in a large Republican field that includes executive Christine Jones, State Treasurer Doug Ducey, Secretary of State Ken Bennett, former Rep. Frank Riggs, and others.

Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk Win GOP Primaries In Georgia

Two candidates with sterling Religious Right credentials won runoff primary elections yesterday to become GOP nominees to the U.S. House in Georgia.

Jody Hice won a primary to succeed Rep. Paul Broun in Georgia’s 10th District, and seems prepared to pick up Broun’s mantle as one of the most far-right members of Congress.

In 2012, Hice wrote a book in which he claimed that gay people have launched a scheme to “sodomize” children and proposed that Muslims be denied First Amendment rights.

Hice, a Baptist pastor, also hosts a syndicated radio show in which he has compared homosexuality to alcoholism and lamented that it “enslaves” people “in a lifestyle that frankly they are not”; blamed school shootings on the end of government-sponsored school prayer; and speculated about the prophetic qualities of “blood moons.”

Hice, who made his name advocating for copies of the Ten Commandments to be displayed in government buildings, once told a newspaper reporter  that a woman should be free to run for public office….as long as she stays “within the authority of her husband.”

And just last week, Hice suggested that the crisis of refugee children at the southern border might need to be dealt with through “Second Amendment” means.

Also winning his GOP primary in Georgia yesterday was state Sen. Barry Loudermilk, who beat former Rep. Bob Barr in a runoff in the 11th District. Loudermilk is an acolyte of fake historian David Barton, who endorsed his campaign. When he won Barton’s endorsement, Loudermilk said, "There is no greater expert on the U.S. Constitution and the underpinnings of American government, than David Barton."

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/22/14

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 7/22/14

  • Wayne Allyn Root teases that "I’m not promising it yet or officially declaring, but I’m thinking really seriously about running against Harry Reid for the United States senate in 2016."
  • The organization Christians in Defense of Israel has now become a part of Liberty Counsel.
  • Matt Barber says President Obama's ENDA executive order proves that he is an "imperialist president" who is "targeting and discriminating specifically against Christian companies."
  • Michael Brown likewise voices his displeasure: "[Y]ou took it upon yourself to enact an order which declares that, in the workplace, sexual rights trump religious rights. What a terrible, tragic shame."
  • Finally, Bob Dole is gearing up for another fight against the Religious Right over a UN treaty covering people with disabilities.

Richard Land Says Americans 'Ended Slavery, We Didn't Bring Slavery To North America'

Richard Land, the former head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s policy arm, is sick and tired of liberal public school propaganda about slavery in colonial America and the early United States. Subbing for Family Research Council president Tony Perkins on yesterday’s “Washington Watch” radio show, Land told listeners that Americans “ended slavery, we didn’t bring slavery to North America.”

He added that Native Americans were “enslaving each other before we got there.” While it is the case that some Native American groups did engage in various forms of slavery, there is no parallel between that and the vast scale of the American slavocracy.

Land, who left his position at the SBC after making (plagiarized) racial comments regarding the Trayvon Martin case, said that people should watch Dinesh D’Souza’s new movie rather than believe their public school education.

Movies and books like Dinesh D’Souza’s book ‘America’ are so important because if you are younger than forty and you’ve been taught in the public schools, you have not learned the real story of America. You have been taught a lie about America as a colonial power, as a rapacious power. As Dinesh points out, we ended slavery, we didn’t bring slavery to North America. Slavery was there, the Native Americans were enslaving each other before we got here. Eventually, we ended slavery. We have been a civilizing influence in the world.

Kris Kobach: If People Have Trouble Registering To Vote, It's Their Own Fault

Kris Kobach is the brains behind some of the most notorious voter suppression and anti-immigrant measures in the country. He also has a day job as the secretary of state of Kansas. That’s why we’ve been closely following Kobach’s attempts to implement one of the nation’s strictest voter ID law in his own state — it offers a glimpse into what voter-suppression advocates would like to see throughout the country, and what voting rights proponents fear.

This year, Kobach is implementing for the first time a law that he encouraged the state legislature to pass in 2011 that requires Kansans to present one of a narrow set of proof-of-citizenship documents (such as a birth certificate or naturalization certificate) in order to register to vote.

So far, it’s been an unqualified mess. Two weeks before the state’s primary election, 19,000 Kansas voters still have incomplete registrations. On top of that, Kobach has implemented a two-track voting system so that people who fill out a federal voter registration form but don’t provide the extra citizenship documents are allowed to vote only in federal elections. Even voters who dig up the correct documentation and follow the instructions laid out by Kobach’s office have reported problems with getting that information to elections officials.

The debacle has drawn Kobach a Republican primary challenger, Scott Morgan, who has criticized the secretary of state for the voter-registration disaster and for the large amount of time he spends working on his pet projects in other states.

Last weekend, Kobach and Morgan held a debate, at which Kobach once again repeated his philosophy that if 19,000 Kansans aren’t finished with his byzantine voter-registration process, it’s just because they’re procrastinators who don’t care enough to vote anyway.

“They aren’t being prevented from anything,” he said of the 19,000 people whose voter registrations are on hold. “They’re simply not yet completing the process.”

In the three years after Arizona passed a similar law in 2004, 30,000 people were turned away from the polls.

Christian Reconstructionism And The GOP: 'Biblical Justice' vs Social Justice

There’s a reason so many Republican politicians seem to bring a religious fervor to their efforts to gut public institutions and social welfare spending. The modern day Religious Right draws much of its ideology from Christian Reconstructionists who teach that God gave specific duties to the government, the church, and the family.

According to this theological worldview, education and taking care of the poor are the responsibility of families and churches, and it is unbiblical for the government to take on these roles. That meshes well with the view of “constitutional conservatives” who believe, for example, the Constitution does not authorize any federal government role in education.

A stark example of the increasingly indistinct line between conservative Republicans and hard-core Christian Reconstructionists and dominionists (who believe the right kind of Christians are meant to have dominion over every aspect of society) can be found in the recent Republican primary victory of Michael Petrouka in a race for a county council seat in an Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Peroutka believes that any law that runs counter to God’s law is invalid, and that the Maryland General Assembly is itself no longer a valid legislative body. Here’s a concise summation of his approach to government:

Since civil government is ordained by God in order to protect God-given rights, then the function of civil government is to obey God and to enforce God’s law – PERIOD.

It is not the role of civil government to house, feed, clothe, educate or give heath care to…ANYBODY!

This religion-inflected ideological view of government is not relegated to inhabitants of the far-right fringe like Peroutka. David Barton, an influential Republican activist and “historian” who helped write the GOP’s national platform in 2012, claims that the Constitution was drawn directly from the Bible and the sermons of colonial preachers, and that its focus on individual freedom reflects the founders’ theology of individual salvation. In this view, the Tea Party’s belief in a radically limited federal government is not only a question of constitutional interpretation, it is a mandate of Holy Scripture.

Just this month, Barton promoted these views on “Praise the Lord,” the flagship program of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, which bills itself as the world’s largest religious network and America’s most-watched faith channel. “In the Bible, Jesus has a teaching about minimum wage,” Barton said. “In the Bible, Jesus has two teachings on capital gains tax.” The Bible, according to Barton, opposes those taxes as well as estate taxes and progressive income taxes. A flat tax is “what the Bible supports.”

On the same show Barton denounced government spending on welfare. “It’s not the government’s responsibility to take care of the poor and needy,” he said, “it’s the church’s responsibility.”

According to Barton, there are 205 verses in the Bible that instruct the family or church to take care of the poor, but not the government. “The government is told to do only one thing with taking care of the poor and that one thing is to make sure that when the poor come into court they get justice. That’s the only thing government is told….What we’re doing right now is for the first time in America we have ignored what the Bible says, the Bible says you don’t work, you don’t eat.” He went on to say that people “not having to work and getting free money…violates everything the Bible tells us” about dealing with the poor.

These themes are repeated in Social Justice: How Good Intentions Undermine Justice and Gospel, a booklet published last year by the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, and the anti-environmentalist Cornwall Alliance. The booklet, written by Cornwall’s Calvin Beisner (according to him, at the request of the Family Research Council), was distributed at last month’s “Road to Majority” conference, which was organized by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition.

The premise of the booklet is that “social justice” is contrary to “Biblical justice.” If that sounds familiar, you may be recalling Glenn Beck’s diatribes against “social justice” a few years ago, when he urged people to leave their church if its website included the phrases “social justice” or “economic justice.”

It is wrong, Beisner writes, to try to mitigate inequality “through force of government.” Why? “Because God ordained the state to dispense justice, and the church to dispense grace.” According to Beisner, giving someone “unearned” benefits is grace, not justice. People should graciously serve the poor, he writes. “But if care for the needy is made a matter of justice to the needy rather than to God, then grace becomes law. Then, the needy—and those who merely profess to be needy—may claim the benefits of grace as their due by justice.”

In other words, government has no right to tax someone in order to help feed someone else.

That is a widely shared belief on the Religious Right. Speakers at Religious Right conferences like Reed’s June event, and Republican Members of Congress, can be heard justifying cuts in food stamps with an appeal to the Bible passage that David Barton quoted on TBN. That verse, depending on your translation, says something like “he who will not work shall not eat.”

Reps. Kevin Cramer and Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee cited that verse last year. Fincher said, “The role of citizens, of Christianity, of humanity, is to take care of each other, not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country.” In equating taxation for social services with theft, Fincher echoes Barton, Beisner, and others. (In context, by the way, the work-to-eat verse referred to early Christians who were so confident of the imminent return of Christ that they quit doing anything.)

Poor people turning to the government, Beisner writes in his anti-social-justice booklet, results in “the stultifying effects of wealth redistribution by the coercive power of the state.” Even worse, he says, “it blinds [poor people] to their deepest need: the grace of God offered in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

This is another theme of the Republican Party’s right wing. Sharron Angle, the GOP’s 2010 Senate nominee in Nevada, said during her campaign that entitlement programs are “idolatry” because they “make government our God.” Farris Wilks, the Texas fracking billionaire who gives huge amounts to the Heritage Foundaiton and other right-wing groups, declares that “the Torah is set up on the free enterprise system” and that “Yahweh never intended for us as a people to be afraid and reliant on government.” Former Sen. Jim DeMint, who now heads the Heritage Foundation, says “the bigger government gets, the smaller God gets.

Heritage is just one of the institutions working to make right-wing economics an article of faith just like opposition to gay rights and abortion. The Freedom Federation, one of the many right-wing entities created in the wake of Barack Obama’s 2008 election, brings both "mainstream" and fringe Religious Right groups together with the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity. The Freedom Federation’s “Declaration of American Values” includes not only the expected rhetoric about traditional values, but also opposition to progressive taxation.

John Lofton, a right-wing pundit, is the spokesperson for Republican county council candidate Peroutka, and for Peroutka’s Christian Reconstructionist Institute on the Constitution, which has trained Tea Party activists on the biblical basis of the Constitution. Lofton has spoken on “God and Government” at Liberty University’s Helms School of Government. In 2012, in reference to an article about evangelicals disagreeing on budget priorities, Lofton wrote that “there should be no disagreement among those who believe the Bible is true. Because it is crystal clear that in God’s Word He gives NO AUTHORITY to civil government (Caesar) to give health, education or welfare to ANYBODY. If people need help, it is the role of the Church – God’s people – to provide this help and NOT government.”

Tea Party? Religious Right? GOP? Or all of the above?

Dinesh D'Souza: 'I Don't Want To Seem Like A Crybaby' But Google And Costco Are Persecuting Me

Conservative activist Dinesh D’Souza insists that he is the victim of persecution by a left-wing conspiracy emanating from the White House which directed Costco, the New York Times and Google to discriminate against his latest anti-Obama movie and companion book, “America: Imagine the World Without Her.”

D’Souza recently suggested that he was also the victim of a nefarious Obama plot when he was charged with breaking campaign finance laws, which he admitted to doing and to which he ultimately pleaded guilty. (He initially pleaded not guilty to “get his story out there.”)

As Dave Weigel explained recently, D’Souza has riled up conservative angst by arguing, with no evidence, that Costco pulled his book not because of low sales but as the result of a political vendetta against him, and that Google is making it difficult for potential viewers to find show time information for his film: “Only after the author/campaign finance scofflaw threw several fits about the bias that was preventing America (the country, not the movie) from reading his book did purchasing it become a cause. Up the charts it went, as gullible people took their stands against bias.”

D’Souza took his persecution story to “The Lars Larson Show” yesterday, where he claimed that he isn’t being a crybaby and that he was just asking the question as to whether Google and Costco are part of a political conspiracy against him.

“It is not [accidental]. When you look at both Costco and Google, it is the case that the top executives of both of those companies are very much in bed with Obama. Now, that’s a fact. It doesn’t mean they run their corporation that way and I am sure there are other companies where the CEOs give to Obama or gave to Romney and nevertheless they have customers and they are happy to service them across the political spectrum,” he said.

“I don’t want to seem like a crybaby, I’ve tried to be very restrained with Google and just say, ‘I am puzzled, I am baffled, I am frustrated.’ I am not saying anything more than that but it has been now over two weeks and it is time to get this settled.”

After his lawyers contacted Google and D’Souza hit conservative media outlets with his tale of persecution, a Google representative explained that, shockingly enough, “America” is actually “a common term and appears in many movie titles.”

And at least according to a Google search that I just conducted, the “problem” seems to be resolved…or maybe that is just what Google wants you to think.

Anti-Choice Activist Who Clashed With National Right To Life Over Gay Rights To Head Rival Group

A new anti-choice organization meant to be an even more extreme version of the National Right to Life Committee has picked its first president — and they chose someone who embodies the growing schism within the anti-choice movement.

The National Personhood Alliance, which was formed last month by a disaffected former Georgia affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee, announced last week that it had named Molly Smith, president of Cleveland Right to Life, as its first leader.

Cleveland Right to Life caused a stir in the anti-choice movement last year when it vowed to oppose the reelection of Sen. Rob Portman, an abortion rights opponent, because of his support for marriage equality. This prompted National Right to Life president Carol Tobias to send Smith a letter informing her that her chapter could no longer be affiliated with the national group because it “embraced an advocacy agenda that includes issues beyond the right to life.” Smith then fought back, blasting National Right to Life for distancing itself from anti-gay politics in order to keep the support of Sen. Portman.

The most prominent split in the anti-choice movement is about the strategy of allowing rape and incest exemptions to abortion bans — National Right to Life has supported bills that include exemptions, arguing that such bills are better than no legislation at all, while the National Personhood Alliance’s members oppose any hint of compromise in abortion bills.

But Smith’s appointment as the new group’s president highlights the larger divide within the movement. As the anti-choice movement’s leaders get savvier about pushing their message to a wider audience in ways meant to appear more moderate (pushing for “health” regulations that close clinics rather than picketing them, for instance), they are inciting a backlash among those who see anti-choice activism as an integral part of a larger war.

Leaving the issue of LGBT rights alone is a smart strategic decision for leading anti-choice groups, as is the willingness to accept “compromises” like rape exceptions. But by rejecting this kinder, gentler makeover of the movement, the National Personhood Alliance reminds us of what is still at the heart of the opposition to abortion rights.