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Ted Cruz, the Houston Hype, and the Dishonesty of the Anti-Equality Movement

Conservative religious leaders have a long track record of hyping supposed threats to religious liberty in America  specifically, to the religious liberty of conservative Christians. In fact, portraying Christians as a persecuted minority under siege by anti-freedom LGBT activists and secular humanists has become the right's primary strategy for reversing the advance of equality in America. But even in the long context of crying wolf over threats to religious freedom, Sen. Ted Cruz and his religious right allies have set new records for dishonest hype in their response to this week's controversy over subpoenas sent to a few religious leaders in Houston.

Cruz told the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody that there is a "real risk" that preachers will be hauled off to jail for preaching against homosexuality, recycling an old and equally ludicrous charge that hate crimes laws would result in pastors being dragged from the pulpit.

Some in the media ridicule that threat saying there is no danger of the government coming after pastors. That is the usual response." But he adds: "The specter of government trying to determine if what pastors preach from the pulpit meets with the policy views or political correctness of the governing authorities, that prospect is real and happening now.

Cruz is lying. And he has lots of company promoting the Houston hype. Todd Starnes of Fox News charged, "There is a war over religious liberty in Houston, Texas." The Family Research Council's Ken Blackwell said it smacked of totalitarianism and said it suggested that it was "a domestic version of the terrorists outside of our country" who think "America is evil." Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, declared, "This is how religious liberty dies."

As exciting as it is to hear the alarm bells and read the hyperventilating emails, the truth is far less dramatic. Sorry, Sen. Cruz, but the government is not policing sermons for political correctness. It's not going to start tossing anti-gay preachers in jail.

So what is the real story?

The immediate cause of the ruckus was a subpoena sent by attorneys for the city of Houston to several pastors who had been active in opposition to the city's new anti-discrimination law. Conservatives ran a signature-gathering campaign to put the law before the voters, but city attorneys ruled that so many of the signatures were not valid that the effort did not qualify for the ballot.

The Alliance Defense Fund, a Religious Right law firm, stepped in and sued the city over that decision. As part of the discovery process in the lawsuit, attorneys for the city sent subpoenas to five prominent pastors asking for sermons and other communications they had about the ordinance, the signature gathering effort, and the controversy over homosexuality and gender identity.

Here's the problem. The subpoena was sent to pastors who are not party to the lawsuit, and it asked for some materials that do not seem directly relevant to the determination of whether signatures were collected in accordance with the law. By giving pundits something to scream about, the subpoena was a gift to Religious Right leaders and their political allies, who thrive on promoting the myth of anti-Christian religious persecution in the U.S. And they have run with it.

On Friday the city narrowed the scope of their discovery request somewhat. And it's entirely possible that a judge will further limit the amount of materials the city can collect in the Religious Right's lawsuit. That's how our legal system works.

It's terribly inconvenient to the Religious Right's narrative that progressive religious leaders are among those who have criticized the Houston attorneys' subpoena. Among those who criticized the city's subpoena as troubling and overly intrusive were supporters of LGBT equality and church-state separation. Baptists of all stripes weighed in. Both progressive religious leaders and atheists publicly agreed. Even the ACLU! So much for the supposed enemies of religious freedom.

Even some religious conservatives have denounced the Houston hype. In reality, the entire episode undermines right-wing claims that religious liberty is hanging by a thread in America. Indeed, it demonstrates that Religious liberty is widely respected as a core constitutional principle and a fundamental American value — by people across the religious landscape and our fractured political spectrum. If only Ted Cruz and his allies were as committed to the constitutional and legal equality of Houston's, and America's, LGBT citizens.

This post originally appeared at the Huffington Post. 

Larry Klayman: 'Ebola-Gate' Shows That Obama Is As Racist As George Wallace

Predicting that President Obama is paving the way for a wave of Ebola-related deaths in the United States, Larry Klayman took to WorldNetDaily on Friday to claim that “Obama has opened the door for Muslim terrorists to infect themselves with this deadly virus, illegally enter our country and spread the disease widely.”

Klayman argues that Obama had declined to enact a ban on travelers coming from West Africa not because medical and disease experts have advised against such a move, but because the president is “a reverse racist whose actions, not just with regard to Ebola but across the board, are skewed toward feathering the nest of ‘his’ people, and calculated to harm the rest of us if not destroy the entire country.”

“I am not a racist, and neither are you!,” Klayman writes. “Does anyone doubt that former Alabama Gov. George Wallace was a racist, after he banned blacks from attending the state’s university in the 1960s? So too can anyone refute that Obama’s not even temporarily banning West Africans from entering the United States is also as least de facto racism, as this high risk caper puts whites and others at risk at the expense of not even temporarily ‘inconveniencing’ his fellow Africans. Wallace and Obama are both despicable and both to be condemned to the trash heap of history for their actions.”

Arising like a sphinx in the dark night of President Barack Hussein Obama’s growing list of what he has called “phony” scandals is Ebola-gate.

Bigger than IRS-gate, Benghazi-gate, Fast and Furious-gate or Obamacare-gate, Ebola-gate threatens the very lives of all of us.



In short, does anyone think that Obama would hesitate to implement a travel ban if Ebola emanated from a predominately white country? I, for one, do not believe he would.

In addition, by not stopping travelers from West Africa from entering the United States, and through his refusal to secure our southern borders in particular, Obama has opened the door for Muslim terrorists to infect themselves with this deadly virus, illegally enter our country and spread the disease widely.

When it comes to anything Muslim, our fraudulently elected president – himself one-half Muslim by birth and totally Muslim by mentality and deed – has a tin ear at best.

These words sound harsh, and by uttering them I have received a fair number of hate emails from our leftist friends, who would run interference for Obama at all costs. But I am not a racist, and neither are you! It is time that we all stood up and exposed the president for what he is: a reverse racist whose actions, not just with regard to Ebola but across the board, are skewed toward feathering the nest of “his” people, and calculated to harm the rest of us if not destroy the entire country.

Does anyone doubt that former Alabama Gov. George Wallace was a racist, after he banned blacks from attending the state’s university in the 1960s? So too can anyone refute that Obama’s not even temporarily banning West Africans from entering the United States is also as least de facto racism, as this high risk caper puts whites and others at risk at the expense of not even temporarily “inconveniencing” his fellow Africans. Wallace and Obama are both despicable and both to be condemned to the trash heap of history for their actions.

Rodriguez: Christians Must Vote Because 'Today's Complacency Is Tomorrow's Captivity'

Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, was a guest on James Robison's "Life Today" program this morning, where he called upon Christians to vote according to "what the Word of God says" because there is a movement at work that seeks "to silence Christians in America."

Rodriguez warned that Christians cannot afford to sit out this election because "today's complacency is tomorrow's captivity" and just as Christians in other countries are being killed by terrorists, so too are Christians in America being silenced by those who promote "moral relativism and cultural decadence."

"There is an attempt, believe it or not, to silence Christians in America," he said. "There is a war against our Judeo-Christian value system. And we speak against terrorist groups that are doing so many horrific things to our brothers and sisters in Christ and other religious minorities around the world but in our own nation, from a political standpoint, from a legislative standpoint or a public policy standpoint there is an attempt to silence Christendom. There is an attempt!"

Flip Benham Crashes Gay Weddings In North Carolina

With gay marriage now legal in North Carolina, it was only a matter of time before Flip Benham of Operation Save America started crashing wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples.

The North Carolina-based pastor, who is the father of Religious Right activists David and Jason Benham, reportedly disrupted several weddings at the Mecklenburg County and Courts Office in Charlotte last week.

Benham’s group, which in July disrupted a memorial service at a Unitarian Universalist congregation in New Orleans, “interrupted several couples’ weddings as supporters held up a large rainbow flag to block his view,” according to the North Carolina LGBT publication Q Notes. “Another protester waved a bible in the air as he screamed several profanities and vulgarities.”

The Charlotte Observer also captured Benham’s protest outside the courthouse:

Kathleen Thomas also posted a photo of Benham and other demonstrators outside of the wedding ceremonies.

Right Wing Round-Up - 10/17/14

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 10/17/14

  • Mike Huckabee will be taking eighteen pastors from Iowa on an all-expenses paid "Reagan, Thatcher, Pope John Paul II Tour" through Europe and Religious Right organizer/Christian nationalist David Lane will be footing the bill.
  • The Blaze's Dana Loesch is freaking out over Ebola: "Stop it! People, stop trying to prove to everyone that there is no reason to panic. There IS a reason to panic!"
  • Billy Graham says that "America is just as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah ever were, and as deserving of the judgment of God."
  • Bryan Fischer addressed our post pointing out the AFA's inconsistency on the First Amendment by not addressing the point we made whatsoever.
  • Finally, Bill Muehlenberg declares: "Godless communists and secular Nazis saw the importance of controlling the churches with an iron grip. The homosexual Nazis have learned well from the past, and are now happy to operate in the same fashion."

Richard Land: Houston Subpoenas Foretell True LGBT 'Agenda'

In an interview with Newsmax yesterday, former Southern Baptist Convention public policy chief Richard Land reacted to the controversy over subpoenas issued to Houston pastors , warning that the incident is a harbinger of a future shaped by the gay “agenda” in which pastors will be prosecuted under unconstitutional hate speech laws.

“Are you afraid at some point that your sermons are going to have to be dictated?” the Newsmax host asked Land.

“Well, I think that there’s certainly the danger that they’re going to try to make any biblical reference to homosexuality hate speech,” Land responded.

He added: “I think that this is a warning. This is an overreach by a group that, let’s make no mistake about it, their agenda from the beginning has been not only to have their lifestyle tolerated but to have it affirmed and have it paraded before our children as normal and healthy and to marginalize anyone who disagrees with that to the level of being Klansmen. They want to turn us into Klansmen.”

Eugene Delgaudio Warns Gay Men Will Soon Be 'Skipping Down To Adoption Centers To Pick Out A Little Boy For Themselves'

Eugene Delgaudio, a Loudoun County, Virginia Republican supervisor who heads the group Public Advocate of the United States is warning his supporters that gay people are preparing to “terrorize daycare centers, hospitals, churches and private schools” by teaching schoolchildren “perverted sex acts” and getting married, at which point “[y]ou’ll see men hand-in-hand skipping down to adoption centers to ‘pick out’ a little boy for themselves.”

In a fundraising email yesterday with the subject line, “They say you support homosexual ‘marriage,’” Delgaudio told supporters that he is the only one who can reverse the “Homosexual Agenda” in Congress.

You see, the radical homosexuals are storming through Washington demanding passage of their agenda.

And with the Democrats dominating the Senate and Barack Obama calling the shots in the White House, they say NOW is the time to push their perverse “lifestyle” on every man, woman and child in America.

And they insist YOU actually support them.

To make matters worse, more and more Republicans in Congress are coming out in favor of the Homosexual Agenda .

The Homosexual Lobby has already rammed through Thought Control and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I can only begin to imagine how much more damage the radical homosexuals will do now that they’ve broken the ranks of the opposition party.

As the President of Public Advocate of the United States, I’ve devoted thirty years to battling the radical homosexuals in Washington.

Backed by Hollywood celebrities, the media, and millions of your tax dollars, the radical homosexuals have many Congressmen, both Democrat AND Republican, quivering with fear -- and because of that they have a radical homosexual-friendly majority in control of Congress.

That’s why pro-Family Senators and Congressmen are counting on me to find out if you really support the Gay Bill of Special Rights and homosexual “marriage” as the radical homosexuals claim .

Frankly, if you really do support the radical Homosexual Agenda -- or if you just no longer care enough to stand up for the Family -- insiders in Congress say the entire Homosexual Agenda could pass in a matter of months.

Passage of the Homosexual Agenda will ignite a firestorm that will rip through families, communities and businesses:

* Special job rights for homosexuals. Businesses may have to adopt hiring quotas to protect themselves from lawsuits. Every homosexual fired or not hired becomes a potential federal civil rights lawsuit.

Radical homosexuals will terrorize daycare centers, hospitals, churches and private schools. Traditional moral values will be shattered by federal law.

* Same-sex marriages and adoptions. Wedding gown-clad men smooching before some left-wing clergyman or state official is just the beginning.

You’ll see men hand-in-hand skipping down to adoption centers to “pick out” a little boy for themselves.

* The Homosexual Classrooms Act, which pushes their agenda into our schools. Your children or grandchildren will be taught homosexuality is moral, natural and good. High school children will learn perverted sex acts as part of “safe sex” education.

With condoms already handed out in many schools, radical homosexuals will have little trouble adopting today’s “if it feels good do it” sex-ed curriculum to their agenda.

But the email doesn’t stop there. Delgaudio goes on to tell the harrowing story of a recent “stormy night” in which he drove to a deserted warehouse where “long-haired, earring-pierced” men were printing gay-rights petitions until they spotted him and chased him away, shouting, “This time, Delgaudio, we can’t lose!” [UPDATE: Joe points out that this story is a favorite of Delgaudio's.]

One stormy night, I drove to a mailshop hidden deep in a nearly deserted stand of warehouses. I’d heard something was up and wanted to see for myself.

As I rounded the final turn, my eyes nearly popped. Tractor-trailers pulled up to loading docks, cars and vans everywhere and long-haired, earring-pierced men scurrying around running forklifts, inserters and huge printing presses.

Trembling with worry, I went inside. It was worse than I ever imagined.

Row after row of boxes bulging with pro-homosexual petitions lined the walls, stacked to the ceiling .

My mind reeled as I realized hundreds, maybe thousands, more boxes were already loaded on the tractor-trailers. And still more petitions were flying off the press.

Suddenly a dark-haired man screeched, “Delgaudio, what are you doing here?” Dozens of men began moving toward me. I’d been recognized.

As I retreated to my car, the man chortled, “This time, Delgaudio, we can’t lose !”

Driving away, my eyes filled with tears as I realized he might be right. This time the radical homosexuals could win.

You see, even though homosexuals are just 1% of the population, if every one sent a petition to Congress, it would generate a tidal wave of two or three million petitions or more.

Hundreds of thousands of pro-homosexual petitions will soon flood Congress , and my friends in Congress tell me there’s virtually nothing on Capitol Hill from the tens of millions of Americans like you who oppose the radical Homosexual Agenda and the Gay Bill of Special Rights.

I made up my mind that night to write to you and as many other patriotic Americans as possible. To stop the radical homosexuals and protect marriage, there must be an immediate outpouring of support from folks like you.

Delgaudio then repeats his fundraising plea to reach “twice as many” families as “all the homosexuals in America” so that he can finally let Congress know that the “radical homosexuals are lying.”

I’ve identified nearly 10 million families I believe would join our struggle for morality if only I can reach them. That’s more than twice as many as all the homosexuals in America ... and most of these families represent two or three voters each. But without your financial help, I’ll never be able to reach them.

My hope is you care enough to contribute sacrificially so I can reach these families.

A generous gift of $25 will let Public Advocate reach 45 more families. $50 will help us rally more than 97 homes. And a special gift of $100 will generate over 215 contacts.

Only you know whether chipping in $10, $20, or more is best suited to your budget.

I ask you to do what you can.

The radical homosexuals boast you support same-sex marriage, special job rights and the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

Please let Congress know the radical homosexuals are lying.

H/T RWW reader Erik

Larry Pratt Vows To Give An Award To Gun Range Owner Who Banned Muslims

Last month, an Arkansas gun range owner named Jan Morgan got some national attention when she declared her business a “Muslim free zone,” writing on her website, “This is more than enough loss of life on my home soil at the hands of muslims to substantiate my position that muslims can and will follow the directives in their Koran and kill here at home.”

What many news reports missed is that Morgan is not just the owner of a single shooting range, but a national gun activist who has spoken at multiple events for the “religious liberty” group Liberty Counsel as well as Tea Party gatherings and last month’s misnamed “Two Million Bikers” rally against President Obama.

And Morgan has some friends in high places in the gun lobby. In an interview with Arizona-based radio host Josh Bernstein this week, Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt praised Morgan, saying that she was “on very sound ground” with her Muslim ban.

“I know there will be a lot of people that will be outraged at that, but we don’t facilitate murderers and if you read the Quran, it’s an instruction to go kill people, lots of them,” Pratt said. “And there are Muslims that don’t buy into that, well, how do I know which one you are?”

All of which reminded Pratt that he had been meaning to start giving out a Gun Owners of America award and Morgan “ought to get it.”

FRC's Ken Blackwell: Houston Pastor Subpoenas Stem From 'Domestic Version Of The Terrorists Outside Our Country'

The Family Research Council’s Ken Blackwell, formerly the secretary of state of Ohio, was a guest on FRC’s “Washington Watch” program yesterday, where the exclusive topic was, of course, the subpoenas of a number of pastors in Houston.

“There are two things throughout human history that welfare states, totalitarian states, utilitarian states have done to maintain their control and to force their worldview on all who are under their governance, and that is they have destroyed the family and they have silenced the church,” Blackwell told guest host Craig James.

The Houston subpoenas, he said, are part of “the big welfare state’s attempt to silence the church, to marginalize the church, to silence Christians so that they can actually concentrate power on reshaping not only their cities, their towns, their states, but also the country.”

He then urged Christians to speak out or else “buy into a domestic version of the terrorists outside of our country” who think “America is evil.”

Conservative Christians must fight back against the “political powers that ride roughshod over us when we relegate ourselves to the sidelines and fall into silence in the face of this sort of abuse of power and cultural attack on what has made us not only the freest country in all of human history, the most prosperous country in all of human history, but has also made us the most diverse country in all of human history,” he said. “So for folks to buy into this ‘blame America first,’ ‘America is evil,’ to buy into a domestic version of the terrorists outside of our country is ridiculous and cannot stand.”

Elsewhere in the program, Blackwell called the subpoenas “a blatant attempt to criminalize Christianity” and alleged that city officials are “engaging in a good, old-fashioned inquisition.”

“Just as the inquisition of old, it wasn’t arrested until good people overtook evil,” he added.