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Barber: 'Ben Carson Is Dead In My Eyes' After Apology For Anti-Gay Comments

On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio show, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver and Matt Barber declared that Ben Carson has effectively destroyed his presidential chances by apologizing for his statement that prison sex proves that homosexuality is a choice and vowing not to talk about the issue of gay rights anymore.

Barber blasted Carson for backtracking after he had "rightly" stated that being gay is a choice, saying "it took, I think, a day for him to come out with hat-in-hand and give this blathering mea culpa, just apologizing and saying how he'll never do this again and then promising never to talk about this issue again. So they have intimidated him into silence. From a political standpoint, now Ben Carson is dead in my eyes."

Staver agreed, saying that there is no way that Carson can refuse to talk about this issue "because it is a real threat against our faith and freedom and we can't ignore it."

"We need politicians and we need leaders who can speak boldly on this issue and who will not shrink," Staver said. "Saying that you're never going to speak on it and apologizing is not the kind of leadership you need":

A Spiritual Battle For America's Future: Five Takeaways From The Religious Right's Awakening Conference

On Saturday, roughly 2,000 activists gathered at Faith Assembly, a megachurch in Orlando, for the Awakening, an annual “Prayer and Patriotism event” organized by the Christian Right legal group Liberty Counsel. The Awakening, which Liberty Counsel organizes under the auspices of an amalgam of Religious Right groups called the Freedom Federation, brings together activists from the evangelical Right with the GOP politicians who want their votes.

At this year's event, GOP politicians including Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal (via video) and RNC faith director Chad Connelly shared a stage with far-right activists including "ex-gays," a phony ex-terrorist and at least two Religious Right leaders who insist that AIDS is God's punishment for homosexuality. 

Here are five takeaways from a day with the core of the Religious Right.

1. Gay Marriage Will Send Christians To Jail

While some on the Right may be trying to shy away from the issue of marriage equality now that it could be on its way to a Supreme Court victory, the activists at the Awakening were not among them. Throughout the conference, marriage between gay and lesbian couples was portrayed as a demonic and existential threat to liberty, one that if allowed to proceed would end in Christianity being outlawed and Christians thrown in jail.

The Republican National Committee’s faith outreach director, Chad Connelly, who was moderating a panel on abortion rights, echoed the Religious Right’s rhetoric when he warned that LGBT rights activists are “coming for the church.”

Far-right pastor Rick Scarborough, who was sitting beside him, agreed that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality, pastors will be forced to “participate in same-sex marriage ” or be thrown in jail. Liberty Counsel’s Harry Mihet, moderating a separate panel, issued a similar warning.

Scarborough repeated his warning when he told activists that a pro-equality Supreme Court ruling would outlaw anti-gay speech, thus undermining “the whole nature of America.”

Multiple speakers compared a potential Supreme Court decision on marriage equality to Dred Scott, the infamous pre-Civil War decision that barred African Americans from citizenship, declaring that it should be met with similar resistance.

2. Losing The Church on Gay Rights Issues

Although the Awakening took place in what appeared to be a generationally diverse, multiethnic church, the crowd at the conference was overwhelmingly older and white. Throughout the conference, speakers bemoaned the fact that the Religious Right was losing support among younger Christians for its political agenda, especially its opposition to LGBT rights.

Liberty University’s Rena Lindevaldsen told the audience at a breakout panel on “sexual rebellion” that when fellow conservative Christians ask her what the “big deal” is about LGBT rights, she responds “it’s a big deal because it’s a big deal to God.” Marriage equality, she told the enthusiastic audience, matters to God because it is “the heart of where Satan’s attacking”:

Evangelist Franklin Graham also lamented that “a lot of pastors have quit preaching against homosexuality” out of fear of offending people in their churches who might have gay relatives. He told the audience that “God will bless you and he’ll honor you” if you “don’t shut up” about gay rights and abortion:

This was a crowd that had not given up on discredited “ex-gay” therapy. An “ex-lesbian” activist, Janet Boynes, was given a main stage speaking slot and “ex-gay” activist Greg Quinlan earned a roaring round of applause from the audience at the “sexual rebellion” panel when he announced that he had been “out of homosexuality for 27 years.”

3. A Spiritual Battle Against Islam And Progressivism

Just as the crowd at the Awakening was upset that the conservative movement and the church have supposedly become less invested in fighting LGBT rights, they were also wary of any overtures between Christians and Muslims.

Graham declared that “Islam is a wicked system” and blasted Christians who say that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.

Kamal Saleem, the self-proclaimed “ex-terrorist” whose personal story has never quite held up to scrutiny , also warned that churches are being “invaded by ‘Chrislam,’” lamenting that Americans are oblivious to the dangers of radical Islam: “We’re watching American Idol and they are doing jihad.” He also warned of what he called “jihad of the womb,” or Muslim immigrants giving birth in order to outnumber Christians.

What activists at the Awakening saw as a war against Islam was merely part of a larger “spiritual battle” between good and evil, God and Satan. In the panel discussion he led on LGBT rights, Matt Barber declared that there is an “Islamo-progressive axis of evil” with a “common enemy”: Christians.

Maine pastor Ken Graves repeated that theme when he declared that American Christians are fighting “militant Islam” and “militant homofascism” and secularists who want to establish a “secular humanist caliphate”:

4. Time Is Running Out On America, And It’s Up To The Church To Save It

Throughout the day, speakers warned that America is running out of time before it is lost forever, and that it is up to conservative Christians to get involved in politics to save the country.

Graham told the crowd that he is more politically outspoken than his father, Billy Graham, because America is in a more dire state of secularism. “When my father was born, the Ten Commandments were on the wall of every school in America. When my father was born, the teachers still led the class in the Lord’s Prayer. Our country is not that anymore,” he said, declaring that the 2016 election is the last chance for the Religious Right to save the country.

Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate, delivered a similar message, warning that “we are heading down in a direction that, let’s be honest, no civilization has ever been able to recover from.” Conservative Christians, he declared, must reinvest themselves in politics in order, to among other things, put the Bible in public schools:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, another likely GOP presidential hopeful, told the crowd that prayer was needed to bring about “spiritual revival” and change the political direction of the country: “If God’s people truly pray down a spiritual awakening, then the political landscape will change.”

“This country did not start because some people had some brilliant ideas, although they did. This country happened because God’s providence was the foundation of their brilliant ideas,” Huckabee said. “Because of his inspiration, this country has been sustained throughout all of its history because of God’s specific intervention in helping us to win battles we should never have one and in keeping us from losing battles we should have lost.”

The RNC’s Connelly also made a plug for conservative churches to engage in partisan politics , urging pastors to buck IRS rules preventing politicking from the pulpit and declaring that “voting is not political, it’s spiritual.”

5. The Religious Right And The GOP Still Need Each Other

One of the strangest moments of the day came when a George W. Bush impersonator walked onto the stage with Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver as he introduced Huckabee. Staver jokingly reassured the audience that it was not the former president’s brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has clashed with the Religious Right over gay rights issues. It seemed to be a spontaneous addition to the program, it was hard not to see it also as a reminder to the audience of the potential power of the evangelical vote.

Unlike the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit, which has become the flagship gathering of the GOP and the Religious Right, the Awakening tends to attract only true believers in the cause. This year, Santorum and Huckabee spoke, while Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal submitted a video message. Connelly, who heads the GOP’s outreach to evangelical voters, moderated a panel on abortion rights, but largely deflected difficult questions from the far-right crowd.

Connelly did not, however, shy away from right-wing conspiracy theories, responding to a question about the “culture of death” in end-of-life care by claiming that the Affordable Care Act’s mythical “death panels” are “a reality":

It was clear throughout the day that however wary the Religious Right and the GOP establishment may be of each other, they still need each other. Speakers like Graham urged conservative Christians to revive the powerful Religious Right pressure machine to win GOP politicians to their side, whether or not they agreed with their issues. Meanwhile, the presence of the GOP candidates and Connelly indicated that this is a voting bloc that is still important to the party, however extreme its priorities may be.

Remember That Time Obama Almost Nuked Charleston?

When Rick Santorum joined other GOP presidential hopefuls for a “national security” summit hosted by right-wing conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney last weekend, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that they would encounter fringe conspiracy theorists in the audience, including one activist who asked Santorum a winding question about immigration, an imminent communist takeover and President Obama’s plot to nuke Charleston, South Carolina.

As we reported on Monday, Santorum responded to the activist’s accusation not by rebutting her conspiracy theory but by taking offense to her claim that Santorum, a former U.S. senator, had some responsibility for the congressional GOP leadership’s response to Obama’s immigration actions. He went on to label the president a “tyrant.”

The story of Obama’s purported plot to detonate a nuclear bomb in Charleston, which the questioner said occurred just “a few months ago,” has been circulating in far-right outlets for several years.

Essentially, the story goes that Obama planned to nuke Charleston as part of a false flag attack to build support for the U.S. entering the war in Syria or another conflict.

Dave Weigel posted a breakdown of the wild accusation, which unsurprisingly, involves “InfoWars” host Alex Jones:

Jim Garrow, a fringe activist who occasionally appears in far-right media outlets insisting that he is a former intelligence agent out to expose Obama’s plan to speak to aliens, launch a Canadian invasion of the U.S. and kill 300 million Americans, has also promoted the claim, with a twist involving George Soros.

Garrow pointed to a spike in dolphin deaths, which were likely caused by the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill, as proof that three U.S. military officials thwarted Obama’s plot by detonating a nuclear bomb in the ocean, keeping Charleston safe from attack. 

He told Jones that these three patriots, along with God, stopped Obama by safely detonating one of the devices off of the Carolina coast. Garrow’s bizarre claims must have struck a chord, as he appeared last year alongside then-Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich., and aspiring anti-Obama coup leader Paul Vallely at a Michigan “Freedom Summit.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 3/18/15

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 3/18/15

  • Grover Norquist says that he welcomes the NRA investigation into him that has been fomented by Glenn Beck's attacks, saying that he hopes it will "put an end once and for all" to the campaign against him.
  • Donald Trump will not be renewing his TV show because he is launching a presidential exploratory committee. This is going to be so awesome!
  • Dick Cheney says that President Obama is "the worst president of my lifetime, without question." Try not to choke on the irony.
  • Bryan Fischer asserts that "43% of homosexuals admit that they've had more than 500 sexual partners in one lifetime."
  • Finally, while Glenn Beck is busy saying that boycotting companies is basically fascism, his website is reporting that anti-gay activists are calling for the president of American Baptist College to be fired for allowing a lesbian pastor to speak on campus. Will Beck spend a single minute decrying this? We won't hold our breath.

Ted Cruz: The Tea Party's Doomsday Prophet

No candidate flaunts his Tea Party bona fides more loudly than Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, whose 2012 campaign for an open Senate seat made him a celebrity among conservative activists nationwide.

Franklin Graham: Only One Election Left To Save America

As we noted yesterday, easily the biggest round of applause at Liberty Counsel’s Awakening conference on Saturday came when Franklin Graham, the fiery son of evangelist Billy Graham, walked onto the main stage of Faith Assembly. Graham, who leads his father’s ministry as well as an international relief organization, benefits from the reverence paid to his father but has also built a reputation of his own as a commentator on the apocalyptic nature of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Graham told his audience that he has a more political and divisive reputation than his father because America has gone downhill since his father’s time and might not recover if the Religious Right doesn’t turn out to vote in the 2016 and stop taking candidates like Obama at face value when they say they’re Christians:

Now, some people say, ‘Franklin, you’re a lot more harsh than your father. Your father wouldn’t have done this’…When my father was born, the Ten Commandments were on the wall of every school in America. When my father was born, the teachers still led the class in the Lord’s Prayer. Our country is not that anymore. And I can tell you right now it ain’t coming back. But we’re going to lose everything if we don’t in this next election — and we only have this next election, I think, for our voice to be heard.

This attitude, if we stay home, or if someone says ‘I’m a Christian,’ ‘Oh, I’ll just vote for him without doing a little investigation,’ we’re going to lose everything. But let me tell you if the church speaks with the voice of Almighty God, let these candidates know you don’t take us Christians for granted. Don’t just think we’re going to show up and vote for you. You’ve got to convince us that what you say is correct and what you say is true.

Earlier in the speech, Graham urged pastors not to “shut up” on opposing gay rights and abortion.

Gordon Klingenschmitt: Impeach Obama Over Gay Rights, Mythical Election Tampering

In an email to Pray In Jesus Name Project supporters on Saturday, televangelist and Colorado state legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt blasted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s 2012 decision to cover discrimination against transgender people under laws that prevent discrimination on the basis of sex.

He berated the EEOC’s move as a sign that President Obama is becoming a dictator who committed an impeachable act.

The Dictator-in-Chief, President Obama, is once again using his phone and his pen to change laws without Congressional approval. This time he called Jacqueline A. Berrien, Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), to simply "reinterpret" the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect homosexual status as if it were discrimination against "sex."



When dictators can change laws without Congress, simply by "reinterpreting" laws against federal courts rulings that held the opposite interpretation, we have truly become a lawless nation ruled by dictators. This is an impeachable offense.

In another email today, Klingenschmitt brought up the myth that the Obama administration spent federal funds “to try to defeat Netanyahu,” claiming that the “anti-Semitic” Obama "clearly wants Iran to get nuclear power, which they will use to destroy Israel.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won re-election, and his main opponent has conceded, despite alleged misuse of American tax-dollars to try to defeat Netanyahu.



If the investigation confirms Obama and Kerry used our tax-dollars to fund an election to defeat Netanyahu, this is an impeachable offense. It's not only illegal, and theft, but anti-Semitic, intended to harm our closest ally in the middle east. Obama clearly wants Iran to get nuclear power, which they will use to destroy Israel. Thank God the people of Israel saw past Obama's corruption, and re-elected Bibi.



I agree with PM Netanyahu, and I disagree with John Kerry. Giving nuclear energy to Iran is not a roadblock to weapons, rather it paves the road to nuclear weapons in the hands of militant Islamists who vow to wipe Israel off the map of history.



Obama is so disliked in Israel now, that his campaign against Netanyahu will actually help Netanyahu gain votes. Israeli's are fed up with Obama's support of Iran, and tired of being bombed with rockets by Muslim terrorists. I predict the Israeli elections in March will move them further to the right. Netanyahu's real challenge comes from hawks to his right, not from Obama on his left.

Fox's Todd Starnes Attacks Michelle Obama For Marking Persian New Year, Just Like George W. Bush

As conservative pundits in the U.S. gush over the election victory of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, American Religious Right activists continue to conveniently ignore Netanyahu’s government’s support for taxpayer funding to cover abortion procedures, universal health care and gay rights.

In an appearance on the American Family Association’s radio network today, Fox News commentator Todd Starnes continued that trend, boasting to host Ed Vitagliaono that he “put out a tweet yesterday: ‘Netanyahu wins, Obama loses, praise be to God.’”

Starnes said the Obama administration has made the U.S. “BFFs with the Islamic Republic of Iran” and hostile to Israel and took issue with First Lady Michelle Obama’s appearance at an event marking the Persian New Year, or Nowruz.

Of course, the White House tradition of celebrating Nowruz started with George W. Bush.

Beck: Netanyahu's Victory Shows That 'The Lord Does Exist And He Is Sitting On His Throne'

On his radio program today, Glenn Beck declared that the victory of Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party in yesterday's Israeli election proves that "the Lord does exist."

Repeating the bogus right-wing claim that the Obama administration had used tax dollars to fund an anti-Netanyahu election campaign, Beck declared that "our administration is completely out of control and criminal," but that God carried Likud to victory despite the president's dirty tricks.

"The Lord does exist and he is sitting on his throne," Beck declared, saying that there was no way that Netanyahu should have won the election and the fact that he did is proof that "God exists."

"God exists for us as well," he continued. "No matter what they have, no matter how dirty they play it, if we do what we're supposed to do, the scales will be even. God will have his thumb on the scale":