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Right-Wing Republican Platform Committee Affirms Opposition to LGBT Equality

We noted yesterday that Religious Right leaders had spent months making sure that the Republican platform committee would be stacked with “strong conservative voices” in order to resist an organized effort by pro-equality Republicans to replace anti-gay language in 2012’s far-right platform with something more inclusive. Yesterday’s platform committee session made it clear that the Right Wing was successful, as efforts to amend the draft platform language were repeatedly batted down.

Instead the committee affirmed the party’s support for marriage only for one man and one woman. The platform specifically rejects the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling and calls for its reversal “whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states.”

A delegate from D.C., Rachel Hoff, identified herself as the first openly gay member of the platform committee and joked that as she hadn’t been raised in a Republican family, she wasn’t “born this way” and chose to be a Republican. But her colleagues were unmoved by her heartfelt plea for a more inclusive platform and rejected language that would have encouraged a “thoughtful conversation” and  recognized the growing support among Republicans for marriage equality (a 2014 Pew poll found more than 60-percent support for marriage equality among Republicans under 30).

There were a few libertarian-leaning voices on the committee, and they tended to appear younger than the average member, but they were out-gunned on LGBT issues as well as challenges to drug war orthodoxy and support for medicinal marijuana. Perhaps in deference to the twice-divorced and thrice-married Donald Trump, platform committee members did vote down an amendment condemning no-fault divorce. The committee voted to keep in language calling on government officials to encourage schools to teach the Bible as literature.

Some of the debate was spirited even if the results were ultimately one-sided. When a conservative delegate proposed inserting “traditional” before “two-parent families” in a section about what is best for children, a couple of delegates called it an extra slap in the face to LGBT people and an insult to single parents, but the amendment passed. When a New York delegate challenged language supporting the First Amendment Defense Act — a federal bill to give legal protection to anti-LGBT discrimination — a Virginia delegate accused her of calling the bill’s supporters bigots, language she had not used.

Among the members of the committee who have worked to make sure the platform keeps the party’s social conservatives happy: the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins; discredited Christian-nation “historian” David Barton; former Texas Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar; Eagle Forum political chair Sandy McDade; right-wing attorney James Bopp; and Center for Arizona Policy founder Len Munsil.

Munsil, who now heads Arizona Christian University, gave the prayer to open today’s platform committee session, which began a little after 8 a.m. with a discussion of the platform’s economic policy section. Munsil’s prayer had echoes of the Christian-nation rhetoric of activists like Barton and David Lane; he referenced the Mayflower Compact, said God has blessed America because “we have honored You and Your word,” and prayed, “in the mighty name of Jesus,” for “an awakening among our leaders.”

Bryan Fischer: 'It's Not Okay For Christians To Have Diverse Opinions'

On his radio program yesterday, Bryan Fischer recounted a debate he had last week on Twitter with Christian Today writer Andrew Walton over Walton's piece criticizing the newly opened Ark Encounter theme park in Kentucky, which was built by the Creationist group Answers in Genesis for the purpose of promoting the organization's fundamentalist view of the Bible.

During his discussion, Fischer took exception to Walton's assertion in his article that Christians "may have diverse opinions on sexual ethics, on life issues, on evolution, on hell, on what role government should play in society, on healthcare, and indeed on science," insisting that, in fact, Christians cannot have opinions on those issues if they differ from Fischer's interpretation of the Bible.

"No, it is not okay for Christians to be all over the map, to have diverse opinions," Fischer insisted. "No, it's not okay. The Bible is abundantly clear about sexual ethics, sex is reserved for marriage, marriage is a union of one man and one woman, homosexuality is a sin, sexual immorality is a sin, et cetera. These things are not ambiguous in the scripture so, no, it's not okay to have diverse opinions on those issues."

"It's not okay to have diverse opinions on life issues," Fischer continued. "It's not okay for Christians to have diverse opinions about evolution."

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/11/16

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 7/11/16

  • Meet Donald Trump's spiritual adviser, Paula White.
  • Mat Staver says that a man trying to marry his laptop is what happens "when you say that gender no longer matters in a gender-specific relationship such as marriage, then anything goes. It becomes a free-for-all; marriage becomes a mockery, and that, I think, is one of the aspects of this particular case — marriage becomes a mockery. But we're going to see more of that ridiculous kind of notion, and really, at the end of the day, all this is an assault on marriage itself."
  • Ted Nugent says that President Obama "wants a race war."
  • A warning from Bill Muehlenberg: "When the heavy hand of the law gets into bed with the homosexual and transgender militants then we are all at risk."
  • Finally, Mike Heath is back in Maine with a new right-wing group that is working "to restore America to its former greatness by repealing same sex marriage laws and making homosexuality a crime."

Savage: 'Straight, Heterosexual, White, Male, Christian' Is The 'Most Oppressed Member Of Society'

Last week, talk radio host Michael Savage continued his attacks on former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson for filing a sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes, the network’s CEO.

He compared defendants in sexual harassment lawsuits to the dissidents who have been persecuted in communist countries like North Korea and mocked “the myth” of “the poor, downtrodden woman” in America.

“What’s this nonsense about ‘oppressed this, oppressed that’?” Savage said on his program on Wednesday. “The most oppressed member of society, as I’ve said before and I’m willing to stand by this again: The most ridiculed, the most oppressed member of society today is the straight, heterosexual, white, male Christian. Period.”

The Anti-Choice Movement Is Going All-In For Trump

At last weekend’s National Right to Life Convention outside of Washington, D.C., there was one name that was on everyone’s minds, even if it was rarely uttered aloud: Donald Trump.

Speaker after speaker discussed the 2016 election while sidestepping what one conference-goer called the “elephant in the room,” Trump’s place at the top of the Republican ticket. But attendees were not about to let the topic go, and several speakers were pressed about the organization’s stance on the presidential election during question-and-answer sessions.

While a handful of National Right to Life state affiliates have endorsed Trump, the national group has yet to take an official position in the general election. The group endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz in the waning days of the Republican primary, citing Trump’s many flip-flops on abortion rights.

James Bopp, the legendary conservative attorney who serves as the National Right to Life Committee’s general counsel, was one of the few speakers to bring up the presumptive GOP nominee without prompting, never mentioning the candidate by name but saying that “there’s only one conclusion you can come to” in the race since the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, is “100 percent evil” and “will never make a correct decision on anything.”

Fr. Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, made a similar argument after being pressed about his position on Trump at the conference, attempting to downplay the power that Trump would have and play up the influence that he would give to those around him, presumably people more in line with the anti-choice movement’s goals and messaging.

“When you think about it,” Pavone said, “the situation we have now is just a heightened version of what we face in any electoral choice, namely you’re choosing between two people, you know, you can have problems with both of them. A vote doesn’t mean that you agree with the person, a vote doesn’t mean that you think the person’s right. A vote is a transfer of power.”

“Remember that the presidency is more than the man or woman who occupies the Oval Office,” he added. “You’re putting a whole party into power. You’re putting a whole team into power. Every one of these candidates is surrounded by a large number of smart and influential people who are going to set boundaries and advise them and point them in the right direction. And not only that, but you have, we still do have checks and balances in our system. So if we were voting for a dictator it would be a very different scenario.”

Pavone mentioned that he had recently spoken with John Mashburn, a Trump aide whose hiring was meant in part as a bridge to abortion rights opponents.

Karen Cross, National Right to Life’s political director, was also confronted about Trump during a breakout session by an attendee who called the Republican candidate “the elephant in the room at this whole convention.”

Cross, whose presentation had been about the damage she said was caused by anti-choice activists who demand purity in their candidates and thus let pro-choice candidates win, also offered the Clinton-is-worse argument.

“We have to work against Hillary,” she said. “Hillary is 100 percent pro-abortion, she is the Emily's List, Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, voted and worked against — I mean, she's against the partial-birth abortion ban, she's spoken against the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, she has committed to appointing pro-abortion justices to the court. She is horrible.”

Yet she acknowledged that “this is the most different, most difficult election I've ever seen, ever.”

Mainstream anti-abortion groups have largely fallen in line behind Trump, despite their initial doubts. The Susan B. Anthony List, for instance, has said it will back Trump despite the fact that its president once signed a letter urging primary voters to “support anyone but Donald Trump,” calling into question his commitment to the anti-abortion cause and saying she was “disgusted by Mr. Trump’s treatment of individuals, women, in particular.” Americans United for Life has not taken an official position on Trump, but its acting president told The Washington Times in May that it would be impossible to support Clinton.

At the National Right to Life Convention, speakers focused on the goal of keeping a Republican majority in the Senate, while not dwelling on the risk that having Trump at the top of the ticket may pose to some of their favored candidates.

In one moment of dissonance, Raimundo Rojas, the National Right to Life Committee’s director of Latino outreach, who was giving a workshop on reaching Latino audiences, showed a slide detailing the performance of past Republican presidential candidates among Latino voters. He noted that ignoring or alienating the Hispanic media can spell doom for a candidate. He never mentioned Trump.

Richard Land: Trump Can Get Evangelical Votes By Promising To Put Ted Cruz On Supreme Court

Evangelical seminary president Richard Land told the American Family Association’s One News Now today that Donald Trump could help himself “enormously” with social conservatives “if he were to hold a press conference and say that if he is indeed elected president, that he will nominate Ted Cruz to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.”

Land has previously promoted some pretty extreme ideas about the federal courts. Just after the November 2014 elections in which Republicans took control of the Senate, Land called on Republicans not to confirm a single federal judge for the final two years of Obama’s term.

Land, who was president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission for 25 years, is serving on a religious advisory panel for Trump even though last October he said he was “dismayed” by Trump’s “mystifying and somewhat depressing” popularity among evangelicals. At the time, he called support for Trump “a failure on our part to adequately disciple our people.”

His earlier lack of enthusiasm for Trump was in spite of sharing some similar personal history. In 2012, Land announced his retirement from the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission in the midst of a controversy over inflammatory comments he made saying that President Obama was using the Trayvon Martin killing “to try to gin up the black vote” for his re-election. Although Land eventually apologized, his initial response to criticism was defiant, saying that he had been “speaking the truth in love” and would not “bow to the false god of political correctness.”

Jesse Lee Peterson: Dems Orchestrated Black Lives Matter Protests To Distract From Hillary's Emails

Conservative activist Jesse Lee Peterson said in an interview on “Breitbart News Saturday” this weekend that Democrats, including the “evil” President Obama, orchestrated recent protests of police killings of black men in order to distract from the controversy over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while at the State Department.

Matt Boyle, the program’s host, first floated the theory, saying that “professional agitators” including the president, Rev. Al Sharpton and “some of these local organizers” are “whipping up fear and hatred, all designed to then corral that anger into a political force that they can use to win elections.”

Boyle said that it seemed to him that “this was their response to Hillary Clinton coming under serious scrutiny and losing control of the narrative, right, is that they go right back to doing this, which is designed to try to propel her into the White House over Donald Trump.”

“That’s right,” Peterson said, “Hillary Clinton lying about her emails is now out of the news. We’re not talking about that anymore, because if they knew that that could stay in the news, if Americans were reminded that Hillary was a liar and that she cannot be trusted, there’s a big chance that she would not win come November.”

He said that “a lot of black folks” he’d talked to around the country “like Donald Trump.”

“The Democrats know that,” he said, “Barack Obama understands that for the first time they could lose this election with a Clinton, toward a Clinton, and so they don’t want that to happen and that’s why they have to keep her lies out of the media. And, unfortunately, between now and November, it’s going to get worse. We think what happened in Dallas the other day was bad … but it’s going to get worse between now and November, because Barack Obama is an evil man. He has no love in his heart at all. He’s been taught how to manipulate, connive, and how to organize a people in a way where he can control them.”

Sarah Palin: Black Lives Matter Is Racist And 'The Antithesis Of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Message'

Yesterday on “Breitbart News Sunday,” Sarah Palin blamed the murder of five police officers in Dallas on the “intolerant” Black Lives Matter movement, which she said preaches that “one race matters more than another” and “is excluding anyone but someone who happens to be a black America in terms of wanting to protect and respect that person’s life.”

“It’s the antithesis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s message, it’s the antithesis of our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, our charters of liberty which says, ‘All men are created equal,’” she said.

“They’re not protesters,” she said of Black Lives Matter supporters, claiming that these “thugs” and “rioters” are “shouting ‘death to cops’ and celebrating violence.”

Palin then, incomprehensibly, said that listeners must “consider this atrocity that is going on right now which is the quashing of or thwarting of America’s law and order as exemplified, as worked out, as manifested by that thin blue line, by our law enforcement and men and women in uniform who are protecting law and order in America, the not peaceful protesters who are up in arms against just, you know, the whole kit and caboodle of all law enforcement right now, as we see in Black Lives Matter, is turning our country into such a volatile and scary place, it is part of that fundamental transformation of America that Barack Obama had promised to do to America, that’s what I came at with my perspective is.”

David Barton Will Train Right-Wing Christians To 'Regain' Control Of Government And Implement Biblical Public Policy

Last week, David Barton spoke at Charis Bible College's "Summer Family Bible Conference" to promote the Seven Mountains based "School of Practical Government" that he is establishing at Andrew Wommack's Charis Bible College in Colorado for the purpose of training right-wing Christians how to take control of all levels of government. 

Barton, who is currently in Cleveland helping to shape the GOP platform ahead of the Republican National Convention, said that Christians must "regain this arena that God has originally given to us." To this end, the main purpose of Barton's school will be to instill in students the proper "biblical worldview" because having the correct biblical worldview is key to implementing biblical public policy. 

People who haven't read the Bible "won't have a clue about marriage, they won't have a clue about abortion, they won't have a clue about God made them male and female, end of story," Barton said, which is why these are "not the kind of people that we want to put in office."

Graduates of Barton's school, on the other hand, will know the Bible verses that set out the proper public policy for everything from the minimum wage to estate taxes.

"You'll know what God says about the capital gains tax," Barton promised, "you'll know what God says about the progressive income tax, you will know what God says about due process rights ... All of these are public policy issues and if you know the position that God has taken on public policy issues, then you get much better policy coming out."