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Putin's American Fans Cheer His Persecution Of Gays, Ignore His Persecution Of Christians

Pastors thrown in jail. Religious texts criminalized. Evangelism outlawed.

These are all events that Religious Right activists— inaccurately —predicted would happen during President Obama’s time in office. But sadly, these are acts that are all too common around the world.

Most recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin has stepped up his attacks on Christians who belong to denominations other than the Russian Orthodox Church, particularly Protestants, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Last month, Putin signed a law curtailing evangelism under the guise of combating “extremism,” a decision that is part of a broader trend of Putin’s government clamping down on dissidents, journalists, human rights activists and the LGBT community.

Even before this new law came into effect, religious minorities in Russia and Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine faced not only legal persecution but also violent attacks, including abductions and killings, from government-backed militias. Since the law was signed, state-sponsored attacks on religious minorities have only increased.

But none of this has stopped Putin’s American fans from singing his praises, even while they claim that President Obama has made the U.S. dangerous for Christians.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence have enthusiastically praised Putin as a brilliant and mighty trailblazer while at the same time accusing President Obama of hounding Christians at home. In fact, Trump has claimed that the U.S. government is specifically targeting him with a tax audit because he’s “ a strong Christian .”

U.S.-based Religious Right leaders, many of whom are now supporting Trump, have similarly spent years praising the Russian president for supposedly championing Christianity and for leading an infamous crackdown on LGBT Russians.

Conservative religious leaders like Franklin Graham, Brian Brown and Bryan Fischer have praised Putin for his attacks on LGBT rights. American LGBT rights opponents have descended on Russia in recent years to cheer on the government’s growing repression of sexual minorities, including laws curbing gay adoption and curtailing free speech that supports LGBT rights. Religious Right leaders have called Putin a “lion of Christianity,” “the moral leader of the world” and the protector of “traditional Christianity.”

Televangelist Rick Joyner recently said that “there is much more freedom of religion in Russia than there is in America,” where “we no longer have freedom of speech,” and radio host Rick Wiles called Putin an instrument of God sent to punish “the United Gay States of America.”

In reality, Putin’s government has done the very thing that right-wing activists falsely accuse President Obama of doing: arresting Christians, threatening churches and permitting Sharia law in majority-Muslim areas.

But it is Obama they falsely charge with being an enemy of religious liberty, and Putin they shower with praise in spite of his well-documented attacks on freedom.

The admiration for Putin from this segment of the Religious Right reveals an ugly reality behind their claims of religious oppression at the hands of the LGBT rights movement. For these activists, it seems, the persecution of LGBT people is actually more important than preserving true religious freedom, even when the welfare and freedoms of other Christians are at stake.

(This post also appears on the Huffington Post).

Pat Robertson: 'Radical Socialist' Obama Will Bring 'Death To This Country'

Today on “The 700 Club,” Pat Robertson responded to a story about conservatives criticizing Obama administration regulations by claiming that the president is a socialist who is hell-bent on destroying America.

“The left, ladies and gentlemen, the so-called progressives, want one thing: They want to bring socialized life to America and they want to control every aspect of the life you and I live,” the televangelist said.

Robertson said President Obama “is trying his dead-level best to impose his view of socialism on this nation and I think we need to call it what it is, he’s a radical socialist and he was nurtured in the school of radical, whatever you call it, revolution and his teachers are those who hate America.”

Obama’s policies, he added, will lead to government control over “everything you do” and “it will be death to this country.”

Bryan Fischer Again Falsely Claims The U.S. Banned Travel During The 2014 Ebola Crisis

On his radio program yesterday, Bryan Fischer reacted to the arrest of Ahmad Khan Rahami, who is a suspect in a string of bombings that took place in New York and New Jersey last weekend, by reiterating his call to ban all Muslim from immigrating to the United States, which he justified by once again falsely claiming that the U.S. had imposed a travel ban during the height of 2014's Ebola outbreak.

"I have been suggesting for a number of years that we need to suspend Islamic immigration," Fischer said, "because I honestly do not see an alternative. I've said before that Islam is like the Ebola virus of culture; it causes a culture to bleed out from the inside. When we had that Ebola crisis, we had to suspend immigration from any country where there was an Ebola outbreak because we could not know who was a carrier and who wasn't until it was too late, so you just had to be careful with everybody."

Fischer's analogy is total nonsense, especially when you recall that during the outbreak, he accused Obama of intentionally refusing to impose a travel ban because he wanted the disease to come to America as punishment. As we pointed out before, the United States never imposed any sort of travel ban during the Ebola crisis because doing so would have been counterproductive. Instead, the government put in place protocols requiring that anyone traveling to the U.S. from Ebola-affected nations enter through one of five specific airports where enhanced screening would take place:

The Department of Homeland Security has announced that all passengers arriving from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa must go by way of a handful of U.S. airports as part of measures to control the spread of Ebola.

"Today, I am announcing that all passengers arriving in the United States whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea will be required to fly into one of the five airports that have the enhanced screening and additional resources in place," Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said in a statement.

Starting on Wednesday, those passengers will then be subject to "secondary screening and added protocols, including having their temperature taken, before they can be admitted into the United States," the statement said.

The airports are: New York's JFK; Newark, N.J.; Washington, D.C.'s Dulles; Atlanta; and Chicago O'Hare.

Of course, we don't expect Fischer to actually stop using his favorite analogy just because it happens to be totally false.

Rick Wiles: President Trump Will Uncover The Truth About Obama's Birth Certificate

On Friday, “Trunews” host Rick Wiles thanked Donald Trump for taking on “the birth certificate issue” and urged him to “just leave the issue alone until January 20th” of next year, Inauguration Day, when the real investigation into the veracity of President Obama’s birth certificate can begin.

Wiles said that Trump should drop the issue of Obama’s birth certificate, which he said “is not even a good forgery, it’s a sloppy forgery,” until he takes office as president:

The forgery was so, so bad that we could spend hours just talking about how ludicrous it was. Here’s what Donald Trump can do. When he goes in the White House, he will have access to the White House server, right? Obama put his birth certificate—he put an image, not the birth certificate, he put an image of what he said was his birth certificate, he put it on the White House website. That is now government property. Barack Obama is not permitted to remove it from the White House website. That is U.S. government property.

So, if his birth certificate image disappears on January 20, 2017, that can only mean one thing: The Obamanistas cleaned the White House server to get that image off the server before the Trump people arrived. So, Mr. Obama, you just leave your fake birth certificate digital image on the White House website so that when Mr. Trump gets there, he can have an official verification of whether that is an authentic birth certificate. Just leave the issue alone until January 20th.

Trump, like Wiles, has repeatedly suggested that Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery, a myth he continued to promote well after the president released a long-form copy of the document, despite recent claims to the contrary from Trump and his campaign.

Ex-Rep. Paul Broun: President Obama Is A 'Domestic Enemy'

On Friday, after telling far-right radio host Rick Wiles that America is coming under God’s judgment and approaching collapse, former Georgia Republican congressman Paul Broun claimed that domestic enemies are running the country.

“We’re being destroyed for a lack of knowledge and we’re headed down a road that’s going to lead to the total destruction of our liberty and freedom and a total destruction of what our founding fathers gave us,” he said. “A total destruction of those things that I believed in very firmly when I, as a young man, raised my right hand and said when I was sworn in to the United States Marine Corps that I would defend and uphold the Constitution against enemies both foreign and domestic.”

Broun continued: “One of those domestic enemies of the Constitution is Barack Obama. Another one is Nancy Pelosi. Another one is Harry Reid. But so is Mitch McConnell. And Paul Ryan. And most of the members of the U.S. Senate as well as the U.S. House of Representatives. We’ve got to get rid of them. Well, we’ve got to make them change from their wicked ways or get rid of them and put people in place who are going to stand firm with a biblical worldview as well as a constitutional governmental view as our founding fathers meant it.”

David Barton: Christians Need To 'Quit Making Excuses' And Vote For Donald Trump Because He Is God's Choice In This Election

Last night, "respected prophet" Cindy Jacobs hosted a voter mobilization conference call featuring right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton to discuss "the significant role women can play in elections and impacting the nation."

Barton's remarks consisted largely of the typical talking points that he has been using in recent weeks to try and convince reluctant Christians that they must vote for Donald Trump in November, including doubling down on his belief that Trump must be "God's guy" in the election because he won so many Republican primaries in which conservative Christians voted.

When a caller asked for advice on how to respond to Christians who say they cannot vote for someone like Trump because of his ungodly lifestyle and behavior, Barton dismissed those concerns as little more than people looking for excuses in order to avoid their responsibility to vote. Citing wicked leaders from the Bible whom God used for good, as well as godly leaders in the Bible who displayed various personal failings, Barton declared that Christians do not have a choice about whether or not they are going to vote because God has commanded them to do so and therefore they must vote for the candidate who is going to promote policies that most closely align with the Bible. 

In this case, that is Donald Trump and Barton knows that Trump is God's candidate of choice based on the fact that so many Christians voted for him in the Republican primaries.

"God doesn't always think the way we do," Barton said. "The leaders he chooses, the people he calls his servants are often people that would not fit our paradigm, not by a long shot. But I will point out, I have no clue what's in store for America but I guarantee you God knows what we're going to need 16 months from now, 23 months from now, 47 months from now and it may be somebody that, if we Christians had picked and gotten our heart's desire, would not have been competent for what's coming. I have to believe that with the highest recorded turnout, particularly in primaries and as many evangelicals as voted, that not all of them missed hearing from God. They chose people that we would probably not choose as our first choice. It doesn't matter. God's people showed up and voted in record amounts in this election and I've got to believe that God used them to guide us to what we have as our final few choices now."

"So get on board, you're going to vote," Barton concluded. "Now figure out who you are going to vote for and quit making excuses."

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/19/16

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 9/19/16

  • John Zmirak warns that we are now seeing "the overt return of human child sacrifice to our culture’s religious rituals."
  • The fight between Walid and Theodore Shoebat and others in the anti-Islam movement continues.
  • This ought to be interesting, especially since it features Scott Lively: "The Descent from Sodomy into Sexual Orientation to Transgendering: What’s Next?"
  • Joseph Farah says that President Obama himself was the first birther.
  • Matt Barber reveals himself to be a Hillary Clinton health truther.
  • Finally, retired Navy Chaplain Wes Modder is outraged that the White House was once lit in rainbow colors: "Our leaders have done abominable things in the sight of God."

Samuel Rodriguez Says His Freedom To Preach Is At Stake In 2016 Election

We have written before about My Faith Votes, a supposedly nonpartisan organization chaired by Donald Trump surrogate Ben Carson and supported by Religious Right activists including Robert Jeffress, Richard Lee, Alveda King and Kirk Cameron.  The group, which sponsored the meeting this summer between Trump and hundreds of Religious Right leaders, says on its website, “My Faith Votes won’t tell you who to choose but we can make the process easier.” In fact, the group is not at all shy about telling Christians who they should vote for, as a recent interview with conservative Hispanic evangelical Samuel Rodriguez made clear.

Rodriguez also has a long track record of posturing as a political independent who is not wedded to, as he puts it, the agenda of the donkey or elephant, but of the lamb, Jesus Christ. Rodriguez, who had been critical of Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric earlier in the election process, now says he has had a “wonderful conversation” with Trump and has seen a “significant pivot” from the candidate when it comes to dealing humanely with people who have been in the country illegally for many years.

During the online interview and Q&A session for My Faith Votes, Rodriguez repeated Religious Right alarms about religious liberty, saying that there is a Jezebel spirit in the land, one that intimidates and threatens Christians based on fear and hatred of Christianity and the “biblical worldview.”

Rodriguez fielded a couple of questions from people who are not happy with either of the presidential candidates and were not feeling motivated to vote. He was not having it, telling one person, “In my personal opinion, the number one deliverable from the next president will be the Supreme Court.” Citing the potential for the next president to nominate three or four justices, he said, “Who I vote for has to be connected to which nominee…has committed to nominating justices on the court that will protect life and religious liberty and respect the image of God in every American. That’s what compels me to vote in 2016.”

In response to another discouraged voter, he argued that his very freedom to preach the gospel is at risk:

We have to rise up and look beyond the candidates. We have to look at the issues that are at play here. What’s at risk, truly? Will anything impact me? If I do not vote, will I personally suffer any consequences? Well, if you’re a Christian, if you’re a Bible-believing Christ follower, the answer is yes. There are legislative initiatives right now, that serve, that actually carry the great potential of limiting our expression of our Christian faith.

What if I tell you there are initiatives out there that would attempt to silence us from preaching about what the Bible may deem as sinful, and that speech may be deemed as hate speech, because it runs counter to a cultural narrative out there, a cultural thread or a cultural dynamic? Not only that; recently, as I alluded to in the beginning of this broadcast, in California there was an attempt to punish Christian colleges and universities for believing the Bible and preaching the Bible. It’s this sort of thing taking place, not only in California but across the nation.

So staying home may very well jeopardize my ability as a pastor to reach people with the loving gospel of Jesus Christ. Without a doubt, staying at home carries the potential of enlarging and increasing the number of abortions that take place in this country. How about this: and around the world, because there are candidates that are committed to funding abortions around the world. My taxpayer money going out and helping someone else terminate a life. So if you care about the sanctity of life, and if you care about religious liberty, then you should care about voting this election.

And again, if you can’t vote for a candidate, vote for the platform, vote for the party platforms, and the party platform that best will protect your right to be a Christian and reach others with the loving, grace-filled message of Jesus Christ.

And in response to a questioner complaining that church leaders are not willing to talk to people about how to vote, he said:

Elections have consequences. Because 25 million Christians did not vote in 2012, the institution of marriage suffered a radical transformation via the conduit of judicial and executive fiat. Elections have consequences. Because 25 million Christians did not vote in 2012, we have more and more children that were aborted, and we had an agency in America that sold aborted baby parts, and they were protected…This time, the stake is even higher and greater. The consequences are more egregious and more serious. So I would tell them, if you care about the future of America, if you care about the future of Christianity in America, you must vote. And you must vote righteousness and justice. And you must vote life and religious liberty. You must vote.

 

What Would The First Amendment Look Like Under President Trump?

In a segment this morning on “Fox & Friends,” Donald Trump claimed “freedom of the press” was in part to blame for bombings this weekend in New York and New Jersey. His statement was a reminder that he either does not understand or does not like the contents of the First Amendment.

Speaking on the conservative morning show, Trump proclaimed:

“They’re all talking about it so wonderfully because, you know, it’s called ‘freedom of the press,’ where you buy magazines and they tell you how to make these same bombs that I saw” Trump said. “They tell you how to make bombs. We should arrest the people that do that because they’re participating in crime. Instead they say ‘oh no you can’t do anything, that’s freedom of expression.’”

This is just the latest time that Trump has expressed a dislike for the protections contained in the First Amendment.

In February, during a rally in Fort Worth, Trump suggested he would “open up our libel laws” to make it easier to sue journalists, telling the crowd:

One of the things I’m going to do if I win, and I hope we do, and we’re certainly leading, is I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws so that when The New York Times writes a hit piece, which is a total disgrace, or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.

This protection was established in the landmark Supreme Court case New York Times v. Sullivan, which was decided more than 50 years ago. But it clearly hasn’t stopped Trump from wanting to use lawsuits as a weapon against the media: Just this weekend Trump tweeted, “My lawyers want to sue the failing ‪@nytimes so badly for irresponsible intent.”

And it’s not just the freedom of the press. Trump clearly views other sections of the First Amendment with similar distain.

In an appearance on “Morning Joe” in November, Trump suggested he would ignore the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause, agreeing that as president he would “strongly consider” closing down some mosques. "I would hate to do it, but it's something that you're going to have to strongly consider because some of the ideas and some of the hatred—the absolute hatred—is coming from these areas," he said.

A month earlier he said that closing down mosques was something “you’re going to have to certainly look at.”

Trump also has expressed disdain for protestors, suggesting he doesn’t simply want them removed from his rallies but would like them to be arrested and get a “big mark” on their records. “Once that starts happening, we're not going to have any more protesters, folks. We're not going to have any more protesters,” he said.

With these statements in mind, Trump’s First Amendment might look something like this:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Trump hasn’t served in government yet; if he were in the White House, he might decide that he isn’t keen on the amendment’s final clause either.