All

O'Donnell Credits David Barton For Inspiring Her "Political Longing"

Christine O'Donnell was the guest on "Wallbuilders Live" today where she spent most of the program complaining about how mean everyone was.  But before getting to that, she revealed that it was a presentation that David Barton delivered to her church that inspired her to get involved in politics:

O'Donnell: Thank you for having me, Rick. And I just want to know what an influence Wallbuilders have played in my own life. In the early nineties, when I first returned to the church, returned to the Lord, David Barton came to speak at the church I was attending and ti was just such an inspirational message and it really helped me know that this political longing, these leanings, that I was beginning to experience were in the right direction. So ...

Rick Green: I love it.

O'Donnell: You guys are doing amazing work and I thank you for that.

Barton has also been a huge inspiration to Michele Bachmann as well.

Religious Right Makes Michael Bloomberg Enemy Number One For His "Insult To God"

In planning a ceremony to mark the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has kept a policy observed in previous years and declined to invite religious leaders to speak at the events, which a spokesman says is to make sure “the focus remains on the families.” Of course, the Religious Right is now apoplectic and using their outrage at Bloomberg as their latest fundraising tool.

The Traditional Values Coalition emailed members today pleading for donations to stop Bloomberg’s attempts “to exterminate expressions of faith” and set up a fundraising page warning that “Islamists Continue Conquest of New York City…Islamists are spiking the football at Ground Zero! All while Mayor Bloomberg bans faith from New York's 9/11 ceremonies?!”

The American Center for Law and Justice, the right-wing legal outlet founded by Pat Robertson and led by Jay Sekulow, launched a petition demanding Bloomberg change his “damaging policy now” and include clergymen and prayer in the event. Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association said it was a “travesty that Mayor Bloomberg is so confused and clueless about America’s history, and so confused and clueless about the threat Islam poses to the West,” arguing that prayer should be included in the ceremonies but restricted to only Christian and Jewish clergy.

The Family Research Council has its own petition and prayer alert to oppose Bloomberg’s “shocking assault on religious liberty,” calling on members to pray to “Help the Mayor see that he has made a mistake and reverse his decision. Stir the families who will attend the 9/11 memorial service to insist that You, Lord, be honored there”:

The beginning of America's precipitous moral decline can be traced, statistically, to 1962, when atheist Madeleine Murray O'Hare's [sic] legal assault resulted in prayer being removed from public schools. Since then, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld prayer in public ceremonies. Bloomberg's behavior is not a matter of legal philosophy, dullness or insensitivity; it is a deliberate defiance and insult to people of faith across America.

More important to Bible believers, it is an insult to God upon whom our nation depends for our safety. Amid unprecedented natural disasters, economic calamity, homeland threats, wars abroad, troubles in our families and schools, etc., we must not insult God.

The FRC referenced the 1962 Supreme Court case Engel v. Vitale and the 1963 Abington v. Schempp, in which Madalyn Murray O’Hair, an atheist, and Edward Schempp, a Unitarian Universalist, sued against laws in their states that required their children to partake in religious exercises like Bible study and reading the Lord’s Prayer. The Court found such policies a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause.

Many in the Religious Right see the cases as the critical juncture where America turned its back on God. Pat Robertson writes in The New Millennium:

On June 25, 1962, the Supreme Court ruled in a case titled Engle v. Vitale [sic] that state-sponsored prayer could not be said in public school rooms. On June 17, 1963, the court ruled in the case of Abington v. Schempp that the Holy Bible could not be read to students in classrooms.



Acting on behalf of all the citizens of the United States, our government has officially insulted Almighty God and has effectively taken away from all public school children any opportunity for even the slightest acknowledgment of God’s existence. By rejecting Him, we have made the Protector and Champion of the United States his enemy.

The events that followed are not coincidence. On November 22, 1963, less than six months after the Bible-reading decision, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Within two years after that decision, America was massively embroiled in its second most painful war, which decimated our treasure, our servicemen, and our national resolve.

Robertson goes on to blame Watergate, the 1973 oil crisis, stagflation and the Iranian revolution on the rulings.

David Barton got his start in Religious Right politics by authoring the booklet, What Happened in Education?, where he argues that the removal of school prayer caused SAT scores to plummet. Barton claimed that the two cases represented “the first occasion in national recorded history that the public inclusion of God in academic endeavors had been officially prohibited,” as the only event “corresponding to the time of the beginning of the downturn in scores was the banning of God and of religious principles from schools.” He concludes by urging schools to reintroduce explicitly Christian teachings if they want to reverse the trend.

It’s interesting that the FRC brought up the school prayer cases: both the case of school prayer and clergy participating in the September 11th anniversary ceremonies show the Religious Right trying to gin up panic over a supposed but not actual infringement on religious freedom, and then warning of divine punishment when they don’t get their way.

Garlow Announces First Annual "Ruben Diaz Courage Award"

Jim Garlow has recently become a leading figure in promoting the Alliance Defense Fund's "Pulpit Initiative" which encourages pastors to challenge the IRS by speaking on political issues during their sermons and endorsing candidates.

On the ADF's "Speak Up" blog, a post appeared the other day announcing that Garlow would be hosting a "webinar" today to promote the effort that would feature New York state Senator Ruben Diaz, one of the most consistently vociferous anti-gay leaders operating today.

The post has since been removed, but we retained a copy of it in which Diaz was hailed as perhaps "the most courageous pastor in America":

Who is the most courageous pastor in America? There are likely many candidates for this title, but I would nominate Pastor Ruben Diaz of New York City. After you hear what he stands for and what he has endured, you might want to nominate him, too.

But more importantly, you have the privilege of hearing him in a special nationwide webinar for pastors (from either your phone or your computer) this Wednesday, August 31 at 9 AM Pacific, 10 AM Mountain, 11 AM Central, 12 Noon Eastern.

Ruben serves as pastor of, the Christian Community Neighborhood Church in New York City, in the Bronx. But there is more. He is a New York State Senator. But there is even more. Prior to being a Senator, he served on the New York City Council, winning the election 79% to 22%, the only ordained minister serving on the council.

But there is yet even more. In liberal New York City, he is 100% pro-life, one of very few – if not the only – Democrat State Senator to hold to the biblical position.

And – as you would expect – yes, there is even more. Pastor Diaz has fought hard for traditional, natural marriage, the only Democrat to stand for one man-one woman marriage in bitterly fought legislative battles year after year.

But Pastor Diaz stood – like a rock. And he has paid dearly.

Bottom line: (1) he may well be the most courageous pastor in America, and (2) you can hear him in a pastors webinar interview the Wednesday, August 31.

Today, we listened in to the webinar where Jim Garlow positively gushed over Diaz and announced that he would be the first recipient of the first annual "Ruben Diaz Courage Award" from the Newt Gingrich-founded Renewing American Leadership organization:

Garlow: You know that I am so impressed with your story and there's all kind of details that we can't go into right now. But I'm so impressed with how you have stood that an organization that I'm chairman of in Washington DC called Renewing American Leadership - as soon as we can, I hope in the next few week - I'm going to be with you in New York City and I want to present to you what I think is the first annual Ruben Diaz Courage Award that will go to elected officials each year who are willing to withstand the tide of public pressure to stand for moral and biblical issues. But you are modeling something that is such a huge encouragement to us ...

Diaz: I'm honored and humbled to hear you say that. I'm praying and waiting for that day so that I can meet you and hug you and praise the Lord together.

Garlow: I think anyone listening sees why Ruben Diaz has an award named after him. I'm going to be presenting the first annual to him, the Ruben Diaz Courage Award. Senator Diaz, we bless you, we love you, it's a joy to know you this way and I'll look forward to meeting you in person.

Following Fischer's Views To Their Scriptural Conclusion

It is no secret that Bryan Fischer wants to see our nation governed by the Bible, going so far as to demand that whales, bears and other wild animals be put to death in accordance with scriptural mandates.  So it was no surprise to see that he has written a new post defending the use of the death penalty as entirely biblical

The King James version, “Thou shalt not kill,” has led some to erroneously believe that God was prohibiting killing of every kind, but he most certainly was not. The Sixth Commandment is specifically a command against cold-blooded murder. Killing in self-defense, war, and as punishment for murder are not only permitted but prescribed in the Scripture.

In fact, on the next page on the book of Exodus, in chapter 21, there are six specific crimes for which capital punishment is the prescribed penalty. As an aside, it’s worth noting that the death penalty was mandated for participation in the slave trade: “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death” (Exodus 21:16).

In other words, if the United States had simply followed the standards found in Scripture, slaves never would have appeared on our shores, slavery never would have been an issue, and the Civil War would never have been fought. Then, as always, the Scriptures show us the way forward not just personally but politically as well.

It is a little hard to understand how Fischer can claim that if the US had just followed Scripture, slavery would have been illegal since just a few passages later in Exodus 21: 20-21 it is made pretty clear that it was not slavery that warranted the death penalty, but theft:

When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money.

So if you beat a slave to death, you are to be punished but if the slave recovers, there will be no punishment ... yet somehow Fischer thinks that this should have been our guide to "show us the way forward not just personally but politically as well."

For what it is worth, the Exodus 21 passage Fischer cites also mandates death for anyone who strikes or curses his mother or father, so maybe he thinks we ought to enact that into law as well.

And we already know that Fischer wants to see homosexuality criminalized, so given that he wants Scripture to show us the way forward politically, one has to wonder whether he thinks Leviticus 20's "Punishments for Sexual Immorality" ought to be enacted into law as well:

10 If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

...

13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

I'd encourage others to ask Fischer that question but we all know that trying to get Fischer to actually defend or explain his views is just an exercise in futility.

Huckabee To Keynote Fundraiser For Personhood Mississippi

Mike Huckabee is scheduled to be the featured speaker at a fundraiser for Personhood Mississippi, the group running the campaign to pass Amendment 26, which would criminalize abortion with no exceptions by giving rights to zygotes. In addition to banning abortion, the personhood amendment would also make certain forms of birth control, in-vitro fertilization and the treatment of problem pregnancies a crime. The American Family Association, which is based in Mississippi, committed $100,000 to fund the effort to pass Amendment 26 in November.

By supporting Amendment 26, Huckabee places himself even to the right of the National Right to Life Committee, which refused to back Colorado’s failed personhood amendment because they thought it was counter-productive and likely to be struck down as unconstitutional.

Moreover, the founder and director of Personhood Mississippi is far-right extremist Les Riley. Riley used to be a featured blogger for the Christian separatist group Christian Exodus, until his posts were conspicuously removed from the group’s site. But luckily, he left a paper trail:

According to Christian Exodus’s mission statement, “The initial goal was to move thousands of Christian constitutionalists to South Carolina to accelerate the return to self-government based upon Christian principles at the local and State level. This project continues to this day, with the ultimate goal of forming an independent Christian nation that will survive after the decline and fall of the financially and morally bankrupt American empire.”

The group, which is closely tied to the neo-confederate League of the South, attempted to set up an independent, theocratic state in South Carolina by 2016 but has since moved on to creating theocratic settlements in Panama and Idaho.

Riley is also chairman of the Constitution Party of Mississippi and stated that its goal is to “restore American government to its Constiutional [sic] limits and American jurisprudence to its Biblical presuppositions.” According to their platform, “The U.S. Constitution established a Republic rooted in Biblical law.”

But for Huckabee, it seems no activist is too radical to work with.

Fischer: "It's Not A Problem When A Christian Says That"

Yesterday, the Pew Research Center for People and the Press released a survey that found that "Muslims in the United States continue to reject extremism" and that there is "no indication of increased alienation or anger among Muslim Americans in response to concerns about home-grown Islamic terrorists, controversies about the building of mosques and other pressures that have been brought to bear on this high-profile minority group in recent years."

But Bryan Fischer, of course, wasn't buying it at all and dedicated a segment of his radio program yesterday to warning that the survey showed that nearly half of Muslims identify themselves as Muslims first and Americans second.  Of course, Christians do the same thing but, as Fischer explained, it is a good thing when Christians do it and a bad thing when Muslims do it:

Nearly half of Muslims in the US say that they think of themselves first as Muslims rather than Americans. Now that's a problem. It's not a problem when a Christian says that. For the Christian to say "I am a Christian first and an American second," that's what we all ought to say. Our ultimate allegiance is not to country, not to the Constitution, it's to God and the the Scripture. If you have to make a choice between the two, we must obey God rather than man.

But when a Christan says "I'm a Christian first and an American second," the fact that he is a Christian first, he's got devotion and allegiance to Jesus Christ means he's going to be a better American. He's going to be an asset to his country, he's going to love his country, he's going to become more fervent in his patriotism. His love for his country and for its traditions are going to deepen because those traditions are rooted in the soil of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Now if you have a Muslim, on the other hand, that says that - "I am a Muslim first and an American second" - look out! Because that indicates his ultimate devotion is to the Quran, it's to Allah, it's to Muhammad. It's not to Jesus Christ, it's not to the Judeo-Christian tradition, it is not to American values and American tradition and American history and American heroes - it is to Allah and Allah tells him to slay the idolaters wherever you find them.

So the more devout a Muslim gets, the more of a threat he becomes to America's nation security.

So there you have it:  being a Christian makes you a better American while being a non-Christian makes you a threat to this nation.

Gohmert: Obama Breached His Oath Of Office; "Is Making Us Like A Third World, Corrupt Country"

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) joined Frank Gaffney yesterday on Secure Freedom Radio to discuss President Obama’s recent executive order that would prioritize the deportation of undocumented immigrants “who have been convicted of crimes or pose a security risk” over “people who are low priorities for deportation,” such as children, students and veterans. During his appearance on Gaffney’s show, Gohmert maintained that this executive order represents “a breach of the oath” and proves that Obama “has done more to undo the very foundation of the country: the rule of law.” Later in the interview the congressman alleged that Obama is “making us like a Third World, corrupt country where the rule of law is tossed aside”:

Gaffney: What does it mean to a polity like ours, that you have a president who says, I am going to selectively enforce the laws on immigration, for example and to what extent does that really represent a breach of his oath of office?

Gohmert: Well it does represent a breach of the oath. This is a president who has done more to undo the very foundation of the country: the rule of law, that no matter who you are, President, member of Congress, whoever it doesn’t matter, the law is to be equally applied across the board. And there’ve been exceptions where people have gotten away with stuff but never to the extent that this guy has pushed, and like you said he’s shown contempt for the lawmaking process.



So immigration is now one more thing where he is making us like a Third World, corrupt country where the rule of law is tossed aside and it’s not equal application of the law, it’s who you know that gets you by.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • FRC is seeking fifty thousand signatures on its petition to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to include members of the clergy in the 9/11 memorial service.
  • Michele Bachmann assures us that she has a great sense of humor.
  • Frank Gaffney and Rick Joyner, together again.  What could go wrong?
  • If you thought the offical end of the Fairness Doctrine was going to bring an end to right-wing fearmongering about efforts to shut down Christians ... well, you were wrong.
  • Calvin Beisner says that Christians who care about the environment and protest "are actually disobeying scripture by doing this."

The Religious Right's Twisted View Of Religious Freedom

For the last several weeks, the Religious Right has been hyping allegations from Kelly Shackleford and his Liberty Institute claiming that the Department of Veterans Affairs has instituted a ban on "the use of Christian words or phrases at veterans’ funerals."

Liberty Institute has even launched a website called "Don't Tear Us Down" which claims that "Jesus is not welcome at gravesides" and the campaign is receiving support from other Religious Right groups like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association.

Today the New York Times took a look at the controversy and discovered - shockingly - that the claims being made by the Religious Right are totally misleading.  As the NYT explains, the Bush administration instituted a policy in 2007 that "prohibits volunteer honor guards from reading recitations — including religious ones — in their funeral rituals, unless families specifically request them." 

In essence, the policy states that volunteer groups are not allowed to attend military funerals and inject their religion in to it unless their presence is requested by the family.  Conversely, if a family does want to included such prayers in the service, they have that right as well.

But to the Religious Right, preventing outside groups from attending funerals and offering prayers at services where they are not wanted or requested is a violation of the religious freedom of the volunteers:

The plaintiffs, aided by a conservative legal group, the Liberty Institute, contend they should be allowed to use a Veterans of Foreign Wars script dating from World War I that refers to the deceased as “a brave man” with an “abiding faith in God” and that seeks comfort from an “almighty and merciful God.” The institute has broadcast the dispute nationwide with slick videos and a Web site declaring that “Jesus is not welcome at gravesides.”

...

The lawsuit, which alleges religious discrimination by the government, and videos have generated angry letters and Internet commentary against the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as demands from members of the Texas Congressional delegation, mostly Republicans, that the Obama administration fire the Houston cemetery director, Arleen Ocasio.

Department of Veterans Affairs officials say that the original policy, enacted under President George W. Bush, resulted from complaints about religious words or icons being inserted unrequested into veterans’ funerals. They noted that active duty military honor guards, including the teams that do funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, say almost nothing during their ceremonies.

“We do what the families wish,” said Steve L. Muro, the under secretary for memorial affairs. “I always tell my employees we have just one chance to get it right.”

Though two of the largest veterans organizations, the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, have criticized the Houston National Cemetery, some veterans’ advocates have risen to the department’s support. Those advocates say that families who want prayers can have them and assert that the Liberty Institute has blown the dispute out of proportion to embarrass the Obama administration.

Lawyers with the Liberty Institute deny that ... The Department of Veterans Affairs said that funeral directors, rather than the veterans themselves, should tell families the details of the V.F.W. or other rituals, to give those families room to make their own decisions on what is recited.

“If the family wants prayers, the family will get them,” said John R. Gingrich, the department’s chief of staff.