Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 9/29/15

  • Ben Carson knows what’s to blame for the fall of the Roman Empire: gay marriage.
  • Bobby Jindal wants to make sure everyone knows that Willie Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” did not switch his endorsement to Donald Trump.
  • Bill Muehlenberg of BarbWire says God sanctioned the death penalty so if opponents think it’s wrong then “they really need to deal with God about it”: “It is time we let God be God in these areas, and not insist that we can somehow do a better job of governing the universe than he does.”

Janet Porter: Christians In America Are Just Like Jews In Nazi Germany

Faith 2 Action’s Janet Porter is joining other Religious Right leaders in claiming that conservative Christians in the U.S. are now facing the same attacks as Jews who lived under Nazi rule, which comes as no surprise as she issued a litany of absurd warnings in her recent “documentary” film featuring Republicans such as Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul.

Today in BarbWire, Porter suggests that the recent controversy surrounding Kentucky clerk Kim Davis is signaling an upcoming holocaust of American Christians:

Religious Right's Persecution Complex On Full Display At The Values Voter Summit

We understand how difficult it might be for Religious Right activists to find cases of “anti-Christian persecution” in the U.S., especially for people like Todd Starnes and Bryan Fischer, who have done their best to rile up Christian conservatives in an effort to depict themselves as the truly marginalized and victimized class in America.

Kelly Shackelford of Liberty Institute tried his best at the Values Voter Summit last week — just as he did at last year’s summit — to portray America as a country that is no different than the former Soviet Union in how it treats Christians.

Shackelford whipped out a mix of new and old “persecution” cases. He told the crowd, for instance, that his organization had defended “senior citizens who were told that their federally funded meals were being taken away because they were praying over their meals and that would violate the separation of church and state.” Unsurprisingly, that’s just not true. As Chris Rodda pointed out after Shackelford told this story at an event last year, what actually happened was that back in 2003 three senior citizens in a Texas town complained that a city-owned senior center was hosting pastors and gospel bands during meal hours. The city council tried, in a move that was ultimately rejected in court, to restrict such activity — it did not take away anyone’s meals.

Shackelford then went on to allege that a Florida college professor directed his students to step on a sheet of paper with “Jesus” written on it. The lesson in question was created by a professor from St. Norbert College, a Catholic institution in Wisconsin, and was not about religion at all, but rather the importance of symbols:

One of the "most distinguishing features" of humans (compared to other animals) is the way they view symbols, some of which are quite powerful, he said. That's the message of the exercise. When the students hesitate to step on the word "Jesus," they understand that a piece of paper has meaning to them because of the word, which helps them understand the force of symbols, he added.

At St. Norbert, [Jim] Neuliep said he has been doing the exercise for 30 years -- without any complaints. He said that the discussion that follows tends to involve students "talking about how important Jesus is to them, and they defend why they won't step on it. It reaffirms their faith." And at the same time, he said, they learn about symbols.

The most dishonest point of Shackelford’s speech, however, was when he described the case of Marco Perez, a Florida father who said his daughter was told by a cafeteria worker that it is “not good” to pray before she eats. At the time, Perez was working to promote Starnes’ book on supposed cases of anti-Christian persecution in America and Starnes was, coincidentally, the first one to report on the story. Starnes did not mention his connection to Perez in his original report, only adding the disclosure later after the connection was revealed.

Shackelford insisted that Perez’s daughter ultimately received an apology for the incident. What he conveniently left out was the fact that the culprit identified by Perez’s daughter wasn’t in or near the cafeteria at the time and the school found no evidence whatsoever of the incident taking place. A spokesman said the school “apologized for the incident she believes occurred, but there was nothing warranted or found” in the investigation. Liberty Institute senior counsel Jeremy Dys, who was representing Perez, at first accepted the school’s apology but then rejected it, saying it wasn’t a “real apology.”

That’s right: Liberty Institute’s senior counsel rejected an apology because the school’s investigation found that the student’s story was baseless, and now this is the same apology that Liberty Institute’s president is citing as proof that the school admitted fault.

Another tale that Shackelford told the Values Voter Summit was that a “girl was punished” for “saying ‘God bless’ and ‘bless you’ when somebody sneezed,” a charge that was denied by girl in question’s the school.

He then brought up the cases of Sgt. Phillip Monk, whose tall tale of “persecution” was roundly debunked when his story fell apart under an Air Force investigation, and Cpt. Wes Modder, whom Shackelford claimed was going to be kicked out of the military simply for opposing same-sex marriage, which, as you may have guessed, was not the case.

If Shackelford wants to find some more false examples of persecution that have been parroted by the Religious Right, we are happy to provide him with further cases, seeing that it seems that he doesn’t mind giving a speech riddled with dishonest claims.

Fischer: All Immigrants Are Welcome in America, Provided They Convert To Christianity

On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer once again made his case that America's immigration policy ought to require all immigrants to convert to Christianity and adopt Christian morals, holidays, and heroes.

"Strangers are welcome here in the United States under one condition," he explained, "that they be willing to assimilate completely into American culture. That they be willing to adopt our God, that they be willing to adopt our Judeo-Christian heritage ... adopt our Christian holidays ... If you come to America, you understand that we are a Christian country and therefore we observe Christian holidays; don't expect us to make room for your holidays. We're expecting you to accommodate yourself to our standards, our traditions, and our holidays."

"We will expect you to adopt our Christian moral values," he continued. "No place, no room for Sharia law in the United States. You'll be welcome here, we'll open our arms to you, we'll open our hearts to you, we'll open our communities to you, but we will expect you to adopt our cultural and Christian moral standards. We will expect you to adopt our Christian heroes and we will expect you to adopt our Christian history."

GOP Congressman: Planned Parenthood Unnecessary Because 'As A Guy' I Have Plenty Of Options

Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wisc., perhaps best encapsulated today’s House hearing grilling Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards when he told Richards that her organization’s services aren’t necessary because “as a guy” he has plenty of health care options in his home state.

Grothman, who presumably receives very good health insurance through his job as a member of Congress, told Richards that “when I look at cities around me that have a Planned Parenthood clinic … usually in those cities, as a guy, I could go to many clinics locally that have all the machines that one would need, all these clinics as far as I know take Medicaid dollars, so you could go to any of those clinics to get any medical service you could.”

“I guess what I’m getting at is if Planned Parenthood disappeared tomorrow in those towns, there would still be three or four or five clinics or hospitals providing all the … medical care you would want,” he said.

Grothman then claimed that Medicaid, which provides health care for low-income people, is “superior care” to private insurance because “without the deductibles and copays it’s usually better insurance than other people have.” Grothman has previously claimed that people who use the public safety net are fleecing taxpayers by living luxuriously.

Richards reminded Grothman that Planned Parenthood’s 22 health centers in Wisconsin serve 65,000 people a year. The claim that other health care providers could easily absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients if it was forced to stop providing care is simply false, especially since many of the supposed “replacement” clinics Planned Parenthood’s critics point to don’t have reproductive health care expertise.

How Abortion Restrictions Can Land Pregnant Women In Jail

In a new paper for the Guttmacher Policy Review, Andrea Rowan explores how the many new restrictions on abortion access, combined with laws criminalizing women who attempt to self-induce abortions, are leading to disturbing cases of women being prosecuted for attempting to self-induce or even for suffering miscarriages.

Rowan writes:

Since Roe v. Wade, a number of women have been prosecuted in the United States for self-inducing abortion under a variety of state statutes, ranging from fetal homicide to failure to report an abortion to the coroner. Recently, the issue has gained greater attention because of several well publicized cases in which women were prosecuted—and even imprisoned—for self-inducing an abortion or being suspected of doing so. Despite claims from antiabortion advocates and lawmakers that abortion restrictions are intended to only criminalize providers of abortion care, some prosecutors have exercised their discretion under current state laws to penalize women who end their pregnancies on their own. Moreover, these laws are even being used to pursue women who are merely suspected of having self-induced an abortion, but in fact had suffered miscarriages.

She notes that this pattern can be seen clearly in El Salvador, where abortion is criminalized and dozens of women have been charged with attempting to self-induce an abortion:

This phenomenon has been playing out for some time and most starkly in other countries where abortion is illegal altogether. For instance, El Salvador has been one of the most aggressive countries in terms of accusing, prosecuting and imprisoning women believed to have medically self-induced an abortion. An estimated 129 women in El Salvador were charged with self-inducing an abortion between 2000 and mid-2011, and at least 26 were convicted of homicide and imprisoned; however, some of these women emphatically assert that they did not know they were pregnant or that they miscarried without attempting to self-induce.

Laws criminalizing “fetal homicide” in a number of states have been an important part of the radical anti-choice movement’s attempt to establish fetal “personhood” with the goal of one day outlawing all abortion and even some forms of birth control. Sociologists Jeanne Flavin and Lynn Paltrow have documented hundreds of cases since Roe v. Wade in which pregnant women have been detained under these and other laws that can effectively criminalize pregnancy.

Todd Bentley Claims To Have Brought 35 People Back From The Dead

On Friday night, we spotted a tweet from Rick Joyner's MorningStar Ministries, alerting us to the fact that Todd Bentley was preaching at Joyner's church that evening on the raising of the dead:

Joyner has been key in "restoring" Bentley's reputation after he divorced his wife back in 2008 and, on Friday, the two men were preaching together at Joyner's "Harvest Fest 2015" event. Unfortunately, the footage from the event is only available to those with a subscription so we have been unable to watch it, though a short excerpt was released on the MorningStar YouTube page showing Bentley bragging about how he recently revived three people from the dead during an event in Pakistan:

It turns out that these are just the latest in a long string of resurrections of the dead in Bentley's career, as he explained earlier this month at a different event that he has been responsible for no fewer than 35 such miracles over the years.

Bentley recalled how he had recently cured a young girl of Down syndrome and had even brought back from the dead a man who, 48 hours earlier, had been electrocuted so badly that all of his internal organs were melted.

"I wish we had a dead body we could pray for, but we don't. That would have been a great illustration," Bentley stated, explaining that he travels with a "raising the dead tent" in which he places those who have recently died so that he can pray them back to life.

So far, he's managed to bring back 35 people, Bentley said, but for best results, they have to have died in the last couple of days.  Four days, it turns out, is generally the limit at which he is capable of bringing people back from the dead.

Rick Joyner: Jade Helm 15 Could Lead To Martial Law, Which Might Be A Good Thing

In a program that aired over a week after the conclusion of the Jade Helm 15 training exercise televangelists Jim Bakker and Rick Joyner wondered if the military drill was a precursor to martial law.

Joyner said that he received a message from God in 1987 that martial law was coming to America, insisting that “it can be a good thing” if we “get the right martial who can get things back on track.”

Bakker, who worried that he would end up in jail as a result of Jade Helm 15, then asked Joyner if he was worried that “martial law is going to come out of” the military exercise, which Joyner said is a possibility since all “first world nations” are “preparing for everything from pandemics to whatever to create a situation where you need martial law.”

Rick Joyner: God Could Be Sending Donald Trump To Save America

Conservative televangelist Rick Joyner is a big fan of Donald Trump, so used some of his time at a “Prophetic Conference” organized by Jim Bakker last week to sing the praises of the GOP presidential frontrunner.

Likening Trump to King Cyrus, the Persian king hailed for liberating the Jews from captivity in Babylon, Joyner said that God could use a President Trump to “turn it around” for the country because “his kind of boldness” and “courage” is exactly what America needs.

“It’s going to take incredible boldness to think ways nobody else can think and do things, if God is going to send us somebody to do it,” he said.

The Radical History Behind The Center For Medical Progress' Sham Planned Parenthood Investigation

This summer, a group called the Center for Medical Progress began to release a series of videos from an undercover “investigation” which it claimed showed that Planned Parenthood “sells aborted baby parts” for profit.

Since then, those claims have been roundly debunked, but the stir created by CMP’s videos has led to votes on defunding Planned Parenthood in the House and Senate and in several states, multiple House hearings (including one happening right now) and the threat of a government shutdown, and even contributed to the resignation of the speaker of the House.

Although little was known at first about who the Center for Medical Progress was, researchers and journalists quickly traced its ties to a number of radical anti-choice groups, and especially to Operation Rescue, which has existed for decades on the radical fringe of the anti-choice movement.

In a new report released today, People For the American Way explores the ties between CMP and its founder, David Daleiden, and Operation Rescue, placing Daleiden’s project in the history of the “direct action” anti-choice movement’s attempts to harass and intimidate abortion providers and patients.

In a radio interview first reported in the PFAW report, Operation Rescue’s second-in-command, Cheryl Sullenger, who spent time in federal prison in the 1980s for attempting to bomb an abortion clinic, explained that Daleiden approached her organization because he “shared our vision” for bringing “an end to the abortion industry in America” through attacking Planned Parenthood.

The “direct action” movement that Operation Rescue and CMP represent originated with dissidents from the National Right to Life Committee, which after the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade was the main organization working to overturn the decision and outlaw abortion through legislation. Early “direct action” protesters abandoned this legislative strategy and instead focuses on attacking legal abortion at its source, harassing abortion providers and patients and sometimes physically preventing women from entering abortion clinics in what became known as “rescue” missions.

As part of this strategy, Operation Rescue now advises activists to use a wide range of methods, including covert ones such as the “sting” operation Daleiden carried out, to gather information on abortion providers (and sometimes patients) in order to harass them at their homes and workplaces or to make their clinics expensive to operate.

One strategy later perfected by Mark Crutcher, who runs a group called Life Dynamics, used sham “investigations” to infiltrate and unnerve abortion providers. One of Crutcher’s investigations attacked the legal practice of fetal tissue donation for medical research; Daleiden has admitted that Crutcher gave him the idea for CMP’s project. The purpose of Crutcher’s investigations was not to shed light on hidden truths, but instead to intimidate abortion providers in order to stop them from offering their services, with the goal of building Crutcher once called “an America where abortion may indeed be perfectly legal, but no one can get one.”

Although Daleiden calls himself an “investigative journalist,” he actually comes out of this tradition of intimidation and harassment disguised as investigation.

PFAW’s full report, “Operation Rescue’s Big Break: How an Organization Rooted in the Radical Fringes of the Anti-Choice Movement Is Threatening to Shut Down the Government,” is available here.