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Will Evangelical Right Cry 'Persecution' At Mormon Public School Prayer Case?

It is an article of faith among Religious Right activists that the supposed persecution of Christians in America is rooted in a series of Supreme Court decisions banning government-sponsored prayer in schools, rulings which they blame for everything from school shootings to crime and HIV/AIDS.

But the mostly fundamentalist Protestant leadership of the Religious Right rarely talk about the possibility that if such bans were lifted, the state could require prayer not to their liking.

As Think Progress reports today, one varsity softball coach at a Mesa, Arizona, public school has been hit with a lawsuit for requiring his players to participate in Mormon-led prayers…and, unsurprisingly, we have heard no evangelical conservatives complaining that the lawsuit represents religious persecution of the coach.

Three athletes alleged in a complaint against the school district [PDF] that they “were penalized for not conducting ‘team prayer’ in accordance with the directive of Joseph Goodman,” the team’s Mormon coach.

They argued in their complaint that the coach took disciplinary actions against them for “not being members of the LDS Church” and their unwillingness to “accede to having and allowing student-led group ‘team prayer.’

Mesa was founded by Mormons and has a large Mormon community, so it is no surprise that when a team decided to have a prayer, it was skewed toward the Mormon tradition. Even generic, non-sectarian generic prayers organized by public schools can undermine the free exercise of religious and non-religious students alike.

This case provides yet another reminder that if the Religious Right gets its wish of lifting the constitutional prohibition of official public school prayers, not all schools would adopt the prayers that they themselves would choose.

25. Terry Richardson, along with another parent, Kelly Roberts (also an LDS Church member) expected that ‘team prayer’ would be part of the activities of the team prior to the games.

26. The expectation that there would be ‘team prayer’ was communicated to Joseph Goodman by LDS parents.



38. The Plaintiffs in fact were penalized for not conducting ‘team prayer’ in accordance with the directive of Joseph Goodman, acting for himself and at the behest of certain parents that were part of the LDS Church.

39. The Plaintiffs in fact were penalized because the parents of certain LDS students on the team complained to Joseph Goodman about the speech and expressive speech of the Plaintiffs, which actual and expressive speech events were perfectly acceptable and within the bounds of a secular society and that of a public school system.

40. The Establishment Clause provides a right of freedom from religion in the public school system, whether during academic sessions, or, during extra-curricular activities.

41. By Defendants treating Plaintiffs in the foregoing manner, dismissing them from the Team for not conducting ‘team prayer,’ for utilizing certain speech and expressive speech through pop music, social media, and otherwise, the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the Plaintiffs were violated.



62. The actions of the Defendant, Joseph Goodman, were based upon the Plaintiffs not being members of the LDS Church and who did not accede to having and allowing student-led group ‘team prayer.’

Sandy Rios Offended By Obama's 'Colbert Report' Appearance, Not Brutal Torture

Sandy Rios of the American Family Association lit into the Senate Intelligence Community on her radio show today for releasing its report [PDF] on the CIA’s use of torture, calling the report’s publication an “evil” act that will “likely cause the death of Americans.”

She even cited the interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as proof that torture works, even though the report found that such interrogation methods, including waterboarding, only caused the 9/11 mastermind to make false confessions and did not produce much reliable information.

After a long diatribe against the Senate report, Rios unveiled what really offended her: President Obama’s appearance last night on the Colbert Report.

Rios also agreed with the Fox News line that the release of the torture report was merely a Democratic attempt to distract the public from Obamacare. 

Beck: 'Family Guy' Basically Re-crucified Jesus Christ

Glenn Beck is very upset about the most recent episode of "Family Guy," which featured a plot portraying Jesus Christ, as The Blaze puts it, "as a lying, sex-crazed adulterer."

After fuming that "it is not brave" for people to mock Christianity, Beck took a moment to attack "Saturday Night Live" as "the biggest group of pussies on the planet" for supposedly refusing to adequately mock President Obama, before he got back to venting his displeasure over this particular "Family Guy" episode.

"Every great, truly great, freeing act was inspired by the teachings of Jesus Christ," Beck declared. "Why would we take down just that man? Why would we make him into a joke? Out of all of the people you can joke about, all of the things you could do and did we sit here as a nation and laugh as he was mocked. Why not just put him up at the pillar again? Why not just whip him and beat him? Why not just publicly humiliate him? Why not just tear his clothing from him, spit on him, and when he asks for water, we give him vinegar?"

"Father, forgive them," Beck concluded, "they know not what they do":

Perkins: We'll Win The Fight Against Gay Marriage Because 'We're On The Side Of The One Who Wrote History"

Last week, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins appeared on the "Point Of View" radio program to discuss his participation in the marriage conference hosted by the Vatican in November, saying that the event has convinced him that the Religious Right will win the fight against gay marriage in America because "we're on the side of the one who wrote history."

After predicting that President Obama "more than any president in the history of this country, will be recorded in history as undermining the culture and the fabric and foundation of this country," Perkins likened the Vatican event to receiving a motivational pep talk during halftime at a football game, declaring that anti-gay activists are now "ready to go back out on the field and win the game."

"This was a moment to step back and get it into perspective of world history, human history, and say 'you know what? We are on the winning side,'" Perkins said. "This idea that we're on the wrong side of history; no, we're on the side of the one who wrote history and we will prevail in this":

Pat Robertson: Fight The 'War On Christmas' And 'Bring In The Green'

The Christian Broadcasting Network is giving away Christmas window clings which “700 Club” host Pat Robertson hopes will remind people to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays.”

Following a CBN advertisement about a sales clerk who catches herself before saying “Merry Christmas” and construction workers dismantling a Nativity scene, Robertson railed against the “outrageous” and “ridiculous” “War on Christmas.”

In fact, Robertson reminded shop owners of the real reason for the season: saying “Merry Christmas” to customers will boost sales!

“They better get behind Christmas. The holidays don’t bring in the green, but Christmas does,” he said.

RNC Teams Up With Anti-Gay Extremist And Hate Group

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus insists that the GOP’s opposition to marriage equality must be “draped in the concepts of grace, love and respect” … and what better way to show it than partnering with two radical anti-gay groups to send 168 RNC members to Israel.

Priebus is working with David Lane, founder of the American Renewal Project, and the American Family Association to organize a week-long trip to Israel for committee members, paid for by Lane’s group and the AFA. Sen. Rand Paul and Gov. Rick Perry have previously traveled to Israel on tours sponsored by Lane, who also joined Mike Huckabee’s recent European tour.

Proudly working “under the radar,” Lane is a conservative activist who assembles summits in key primary states where pastors and likely presidential candidates meet, including Paul, Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Mike Pence and Bobby Jindal, who is sponsoring a prayer rally with Lane early next year. Lane’s group announced a plan to recruit 1,000 pastors to run for elected office and produced election-themed ads featuring Cruz, Perry, Jindal and Huckabee.

Lane seeks to keep a low profile, in part, to conceal his extreme rhetoric, such as his claim that “homosexuals praying at [Obama’s] inauguration” would cause God to allow “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa,” his call for conservatives to “wage war” to stop “the pagan onslaught imposing homosexual marriage [and] homosexual scouts” and his attacks on Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith.

Despite this track record, Priebus has praised Lane and his concerns about America’s dark future.

The other sponsor of the RNC trip, the American Family Association, also attacked Romney’s faith and has decried homosexuality in similar terms, insisting that homosexuality should be outlawed and praising draconian anti-gay laws in countries like Uganda and Gambia. The AFA’s chief spokesman, Bryan Fischer, has likened homosexuality to terrorism and blamed the Holocaust on gay people.

Fischer has repeatedly defended the massacres and expulsions of Native Americans from their lands as divine justice and once lamented that welfare makes African-American women “rut like rabbits.”

We look forward to Priebus explaining how David Lane and Bryan Fischer are simply trying to address key social issues with “grace, love and respect.”

Rep. John Fleming Looking To Expand Protections For Anti-Gay Discrimination In The Military

Louisiana Republican congressman John Fleming apparently feels right at home among radical Religious Right activists, judging by his willingness to appear regularly on their radio programs and at their events. To date, he has appeared on radio programs hosted by David Barton, Tony Perkins, Janet Mefferd, and even End Times fanatic Rick Wiles.

To that impressive list we can now also add Gordon Klingenschmitt, who recently interviewed Fleming on his "Pray In Jesus Name" program, mostly about his efforts to add language to the National Defense Authorization Act that essentially seeks to give military service members the right to engage in anti-gay discrimination under the guise of protecting religious liberty.

After failing to get his preferred language adopted last time around, Fleming told Klingenschmitt that he is hopeful that his efforts to guarantee such protections will succeed now that Republicans have gained control of both the House and the Senate.

Warning that liberal activists are seeking to "expand secularism, humanism, atheism to limit your First Amendment right of speech not only in the military but elsewhere," Fleming said that conservative Christians must remain vigilant and work to expand protections for their religious liberty.

"With the next NDAA, we hope to strengthen our language even more," he said, "because we'll have both a Senate and a House Republican majority. So we'd really like to expand upon the language we already have in the NDAA that protects First Amendment speech and also protects atheist chaplains":

Louie Gohmert's Bizarre Explanation Of Why Central American Gang Violence Is A Hoax

Speaking on a panel about immigration at conservative pundit David Horowitz’s “Restoration Weekend” last month, Rep. Louie Gohmert recounted a conversation he had with “a Hispanic border patrolman” which he said proved that the crisis of children fleeing to the U.S. border from violence in Central America was a hoax.

Insisting that “not a single child, young child, ever comes across unaccompanied” because many came with the help of smugglers, the Texas Republican said that the fact that some of the children were brought to the border by people affiliated with gangs shows that they were not actually fleeing gang violence.

Gohmert quoted the border patrolman, who he said told the children: “Now you may find some gringo who buys that stuff, but you and I know you paid a gang to bring you into this country, so don’t tell me you came to escape gang violence!”

Gohmert has previously claimed that the Central American children where lying about gang violence.

In the same panel discussion, Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana claimed that unlike “the way it worked traditionally in America,” today’s immigrants “come from countries where they look to the government, that’s their tradition is that the government takes care of them.”

“Now when it destroys their civilization, when it destroys their economy, they look for another place to go. And where do they come? They come here. And then what you see is a progressive lower standard of living.”

“Many of them now when they come they refuse to learn our culture, they refuse to learn our language, they refuse to build the skills necessary to be successful in America,” he added.

Right Wing Round-Up - 12/8/14

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 12/8/14

  • John Hagee nows says that he didn't mean to call President Obama one of the "most anti-Semitic presidents" in history but merely one of the most "anti-Israel."
  • Hans von Spakovsky says that the Eric Garner grand jury decision would have been "an ideal time" for President Obama "to discuss the deeper cultural, behavioral problems that exist in the black community."
  • Dave Daubenmire wonders "why is Fox News so white?"
  • Just because the story about Disney supposedly censoring God has been debunked, that is not going to stop OneNewsNow from continuing to report on it.
  • Finally, Janet Porter imagines that Jesus must feel very lonely when people celebrate Christmas without wishing him a happy birthday.