Peter Montgomery's blog

Koch Brothers’ LIBRE Initiative Pushes Free-Market Gospel To Latinos

The LIBRE Initiative is the Latino outreach program of the Koch brothers’ political network. With millions of dollars from the Kochs and their allies since its founding in 2011, LIBRE has established a presence in 10 states and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on deceptive political ads. Its ultimate goal, shared with the broader network of Koch organizations, is to build political power by electing anti-government conservatives to office at all levels. LIBRE’s job is to help right-wingers into office by a) convincing more Latinos to support anti-government candidates, and/or b) discouraging other Latinos from bothering to vote by running attack ads on progressive candidates.

LIBRE is also part of another right-wing tactic – convincing religious voters that opposition to progressive taxes, unions, and government regulation are actually biblical positions. LIBRE's executive director Daniel Garza himself does this, asking in an interview with a newspaper at Pat Robertson’s Regent University, “Why should the principles espoused by Gloria Steinem or Ralph Nader have more supremacy over those espoused by Jesus Christ in the Bible?”

LIBRE has a director of faith outreach, John Mendez, who preaches this free-market gospelto religious and Tea Party groups. Mendez explained in an interview with the Pacific Justice Institute that “we come in and inform them and teach them on those principles of economic freedom and free enterprise from not only a constitutional perspective, but also a biblical perspective.” He told ThinkProgressthat Scripture says “you should not be dependent on government.”

Another LIBRE spokesperson, Rachel Campos-Duffy, spoke at a conservative evangelical gathering in 2013, where she criticized school breakfast programs for low income students, saying they infringed on family bonding. She has since backed Republican cuts in food stamp funding.

Garza has enlisted others as well, including Latino evangelical leader Samuel Rodriguez, who says in a 2011 LIBRE video that Hispanic people are being enslaved by big government and that it is both anti-Christian and anti-American to “punish success” – code for progressive taxation.

Garza and Rodriguez commiserate over the fact that the Hispanic community no longer embraces the values of family and entrepreneurship brought to this country by immigrant parents and grandparents, and they blame dependency on government. Says Rodriguez, “We become assimilated and acculturated, not to the good values but to the bad values of government dependency. We become acculturated and assimilated and integrated to the ideas of the New Deal, and big uber-government.”

Rodriguez refers to the Christian Reconstructionist notion that the government must not do things that the Bible says are the role of the family. He decries “the current reality of uber-subsidization, the role of government taking over the role of God and family.” When government replaces man’s role as bread-winner, and people depend on government, he says, “We are basically being enslaved by big government, and by uber-subsidization.”

Rodriguez says the family is in peril because “government is growing in our lives. We need to go back to the formula that made us great, which is the idea of our faith in the Lord and economic liberty, economic freedom.” He says government dependency is leading to the continued destruction of the Hispanic community as a community that “embodies the idea of la familia” into one that embodies “failure, misery, poverty, both economic poverty, but spiritual, mental, emotional and collective corporate poverty.”

In a 2014 LIBRE video telling the story of Garza’s family, much is made of his father’s “noble” refusal to accept assistance from the government. In his interview with Garza, Rodriguez also implies that there is something shameful about accepting welfare: “We need to rebuke the welfare presence, and embrace the presence of scripture, and of family, and of education…we really need to free ourselves from that slave mentality of Egypt….”

Garza asks when Latinos began to see rich people as the enemy, and Rodriguez blames liberals and a liberal media. He says wealth is a sign of God’s blessing. “It’s anti-Christian to think that people that have been blessed…that they are wrong….Blessed people are a manifestation of scripture….In scripture there is an incredible amount of support for the idea that, yes, provision and abundance comes from God…”

Rodriguez said that many have taken Jesus’s saying that it is more difficult for a rich man to make it to heaven “completely out of context.” Says Rodriguez, “We’re beyond that. We understand that one verse does not establish doctrine.” Jesus’s ministry, he says, had some “financial resourcing” from “resourceful fisherman,” tax collectors, and others who invested in his ministry. Adds Rodriguez, “We cannot punish success…For us to want to actually want to punish success is anti-Christian and anti-American.”

Religious Right Angry At Business Support For Marriage Equality

Conservative religious leaders have been delighted to work with parts of corporate America – most notably the Koch brothers’ political networks – to elect candidates who back right-wing social and economic policies. Religious conservatives have championed Citizens United and the demolition of regulations on campaign cash. The Kochs even promote Religious Right leaders who tell their followers that the Bible opposes minimum wage laws, unions, and progressive taxes. But many of America’s biggest companies have also become supporters of equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and that’s making religious conservatives angry.

When a number of major corporations pushed back hard against an anti-gay “religious freedom” law in Indiana, Gov. Mike Pence asked the legislature to amend the law to state that it would not allow businesses to discriminate. And that made the Religious Right furious. Reliably pro-business Republican presidential candidates like Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, and Bobby Jindal have been attacking big business support for gay rights in a sometimes awkward attempt at right-wing populist rhetoric.

Today’s mail brought a direct mail letter from the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins complaining, “Big Business has joined the anti-Christian bullies!” Perkins warns that “the seduction of Big Business by the homosexual rights movement is the main reason that movement has gained such momentum over our freedom to believe and live according to those beliefs.” Perkins asks for donations to “Stop Big Business’s Assault on Religious Freedom” and to support an FRC initiative to talk to business leaders and bring them around.

Another direct mail piece from Perkins, this time for FRC’s political arm, FRC Action, arrived the same day, in an envelope emblazoned with, “When you can’t make a living because you’re a Christian…THAT’S NOT FREEDOM.” The letter complains that “big corporations are foolishly aligning with the Left’s social agenda” and pledges that FRC Action will help states “create and pass a protective wall of religious freedom laws.” Perkins gripes about business opposition to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act:

The media published incredible false claims about what the law said and what the law would do. Hollywood celebrities, giant corporations, sports leagues, and even other states became a national lynch mob. They threatened and enacted boycotts of the state.

Tragically the governor ultimately caved in to these pressures. With the corporate community threatening boycotts and economic loss to the state, it appears that many political leaders in the state were more concerned about economic issues than moral truth, religious freedom, and the well-being of the family.

Over at conservative journal First Things, University of Notre Dame Professor Patrick Deneen says it is clear that in Indiana, “Republicans and Christians lost, Democrats and gay activists won.” (Of course this simplistic formulation ignores the Christian leaders who were allied with LGBT activists in opposing the law.) Deneen, a critic of both corporate capitalism and liberal democracy, blames the outcome in Indiana on business involvement:

Had the only appreciable opposition to RFRA come from gay rights activists, RFRA would have been a smashing political success for Republicans. It would have made the right enemies while generating gratitude and energy in the base. They did not expect their usual friends in corporate America to join the opposition, which was an idiotic miscalculation given the fact that establishment outrage scuttled the Arizona RFRA last year.

Deneen wrote last year that “The modern corporation and modern marriage are born of the same philosophical roots: rootless individuals seeking self-gratification in whatever way they see fit, short of ‘harming’ another.” In his First Things article, he portrays corporations standing with LGBT groups as a smart business decision given pro-gay shifts in public attitudes. But he calls the gay-rights collaboration between cultural and economic “elites” a dangerous alignment that is “ready to steamroll anyone in their way.” After Indiana, he says, “religiously based opposition to gay marriage is now more likely than ever to be treated by our society as tantamount to a hate crime,” and warns that the “elite-sanctioned attack on ‘bigotry’” will “reach inevitably into the sanctuaries of the churches themselves.”

GOP Partner David Lane Calls For Christianity As 'Official Religion' of US

As Brian reported this morning, the Republican National Committee continues to partner with the American Renewal Project, which is run by Christian Nationalist and anti-gay extremist David Lane and is affiliated with the far-right American Family Association.

Lane is a busy guy these days. In addition to leading a training session at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, his American Renewal Project is gearing up for its next political prayer rally, this time hosted by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in the important early primary state. Previous Response rallies were hosted by Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

All the events push David Lane’s divisive and exclusionary view of America as a nation founded by and for Christians — a view on display in an email alert Lane sent to his supporters last night.

Lane’s letter opens with a typically distorted view of American history:

Did you realize that America's Founders established Christianity as the official religion of America in the 13 Original state Constitutions? ... Then suddenly, following three and half centuries of meteoric rise and cultural distinction, a secular U.S. Supreme Court in 1963 pronounced that the Bible would no longer be the fixed point in which to structure and judge community.

Lane’s opening misses a few minor historical points: the adoption of the Constitution, First Amendment,  and Bill of Rights, and the fact that states with established official churches had disestablished them in the 18th and 19th centuries, long before the Supreme Court ruling Lane is complaining about.

Speaking of the Supreme Court, Lane declares, “God defines marriage, not secularist crusaders of the superior court.” And in order to be “completely transparent and unclouded on God’s position on homosexuality,” he quotes several Bible verses, including one from Leviticus that a man who sleeps with another man “shall surely be put to death.”

Lane denounces the American church for its “submission to secularists.”

Egregious and scandalous is the Church’s submission to secularists, and the resignation of America’s Founder’s mission, “We do hereby Dedicate this Land, and ourselves, to reach the People within these shores with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to raise up Godly generations after us, and with these generations take the Kingdom of God to all the earth.”

That’s another historical sleight-of-hand. In common usage, terms like “founders” and “founding fathers” typically refer to men involved in the Declaration of Independence and the writing and ratification of the Constitution. Lane’s quote comes from Robert Hunt, a leader of the British settlement at Jamestown nearly two centuries earlier.

Republicans who attend Lane’s candidate forums, invite him to conduct trainings, or join him on all-expenses-paid trips to Israel, can’t really claim ignorance of his agenda, which is crystal clear, as he states in this week’s email alert:

The American church has lost its commission in the public square, its purpose for being. Ultimately, unless we find the chart and compass used by Colonial America to establish Christianity as the official religion of America, America will no longer be.

 

Rebuffed by Republican Legislators, Bobby Jindal Issues Executive Order on 'Religious Liberty'

In a Republican presidential field crowded with far-right candidates, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is trying to distinguish himself as the far-rightest candidate, especially on issues relating to marriage equality and its supposed threat to the religious freedom of conservative Christians.

Jindal’s latest came at the end of the day on Tuesday. Unwilling to accept the legislature’s failure to pass a so-called “religious liberty” bill (it was voted down 10-2 in a House committee), Jindal issued an executive order designed to protect any person who “acts in accordance with a religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.” The order explicitly defines “person” to include for-profit corporations and well as nonprofit organizations.

Jindal has adopted the rhetorical strategy promoted by the National Organization for Marriage and other opponents of LGBT equality: try to turn conversation about anti-gay discrimination “on its head” by declaring that laws protecting gay people are actually a form of discrimination against Christians. His statement about the executive order said it was designed to “prevent the state from discriminating against persons or entities with deeply held religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Jindal’s order invokes the Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby, making it the latest sign that the decision – which granted corporations a right to claim legal exemptions based on the religious beliefs of company owners -- poses a threat to nondiscrimination measures and potentially a wide range of laws protecting the interests of workers. Jindal declared that his order is “not about discrimination,” even though its clear intent is to give legal cover to companies, government officials, and others who discriminate against same-sex couples.

Louisiana does not currently give legal recognition to same-sex couples, but Jindal is concerned that the state’s ban on marriage equality may soon be struck down by the Supreme Court, a potential ruling which his order seems to be a legally questionable effort to pre-empt. Jindal should be asked to clarify exactly what actions his legislation is designed to “protect”: a courthouse clerk who refuses to process marriage license paperwork? Religious schools getting tax dollars under Jindal’s education policy refusing to accept children of gay parents? Catholic hospitals refusing to recognize the spousal or parental rights of gay couples during medical emergencies?   

Jindal’s “religious liberty” bill had been opposed by business and tourism leaders as well as civil rights groups. The New Orleans Times Picayune reports that the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Stephen Perry had called the bill “a radioactive, poisonous message.”

But Jindal’s primary audience is no longer his Louisiana constituents; it's right-wing activists nationwide. Jindal boasted about the executive order by stopping by the radio program hosted by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, an anti-gay activist who once suggested that LGBT non-discrimination measures would lead to the Holocaust perpetrated against Christians.

Right-wing pundit and Iowa GOP activist Steve Deace reacted rapturously, proclaiming Jindal his “winner of the week” for standing up to “Republicrats.”

Jindal immediately stepped in and ordered that while he’s governor the state government is not going to be a tool of the Cultural Marxists’ Rainbow Jihad against religion — particularly Christianity….

This action by Jindal is an example of what will be required of the next president if he’s going to truly honor his oath of office to defend our Constitution against all enemies — “both foreign and domestic.”

Let’s face it, the vast majority of alleged conservatives won’t stand up to the Democrats. And almost none of them will stand up to the Republicrats. On perhaps the most important issue of them all — the First Amendment that allows us the freedom to peacefully and publicly stand on principle for everything else — Jindal has done both.

But he didn’t just stand up to them rhetorically, he actually did something about it. There are several potentially exciting presidential candidates this cycle. There’s even a couple that like Jindal have shown they will tell the Republicrats bleeding us dry to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.

 

Albert Mohler at CNP: Freedom To Preach Gospel Threatened By 'Erotic Liberty'

The secretive Council for National Policy (CNP) and the Conservative Action Project, right-wing coalitions that are trying to figure out how to get conservative evangelicals united around one of the many GOP presidential candidates vying for their support, met outside Washington, D.C. late last week to vet the presidentials and strategize for 2016.

While most of what happens at CNP gatherings is kept behind closed doors, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) was happy to brag that its president, Albert Mohler, had received the 2015 Edwin Meese III Originalism and Religious Liberty Award from the Alliance Defending Freedom on Friday. The award was presented by ADF’s Alan Sears and the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, identified by the SBTS as president of the CNP.

Meese, who played a major role in the rise of the Federalist Society and the right-wing school of constitutional interpretation known as “originalism”— colloquially referred to as “strict constructionism” — was on hand for the event.  According to the SBTS account, Meese said originalism and religious liberty “go hand-in-hand” and asserted that “religious liberty is under attack as never before” in America.

That was also the theme of Mohler’s remarks, which took their title, “The Gathering Storm: The Eclipse of Religious Liberty and the Threat of a New Dark Age,” from Winton Churchill’s account of the period leading up to the World War II. “We are not facing the same gathering storm,” Mohler declared, “but we are now facing a battle that will determine the destiny of priceless freedoms and the very foundation of human rights and human dignity.”

Other excerpts from Mohler’s speech:

A revolution in morality now seeks not only to subvert marriage, but also to redefine it, and thus to undermine an essential foundation of human dignity, flourishing, and freedom….

Already, religious liberty is threatened by a new moral regime that exalts erotic liberty and personal autonomy and openly argues that religious liberties must give way to the new morality, its redefinition of marriage, and its demand for coercive moral, cultural, and legal sovereignty.

A new moral and legal order is ascendant in America, and this new order is only possible, in the arena of American law and jurisprudence, if the original intent and the very words of the Constitution of the United States are twisted beyond recognition….

We are in a fight for the most basic liberties God has given humanity, every single one of us, made in his image. Religious liberty is being redefined as mere freedom of worship, but it will not long survive if it is reduced to a private sphere with no public voice. The very freedom to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ is at stake, and thus so is the liberty of every American. Human rights and human dignity are temporary abstractions if they are severed from their reality as gifts of the Creator. The eclipse of Christian truth will lead inevitably to a tragic loss of human dignity. If we lose religious liberty, all other liberties will be lost, one by one. I am a Christian, and I believe that salvation is found in no other name than Jesus Christ and in no other gospel, but I will fight for the religious liberty of all.

 

Charles Murray Wants Right Wing To Use Scientology Strategy In Legal War On U.S. Government

Right-wing think tanker Charles Murray’s latest book is coming out this week, and it offers a plan “to make large chunks of the Federal Code of Regulations unenforceable.” In other words, he says, “I want to pour sugar into the regulatory state’s gas tank.”

Not surprisingly, Murray’s anti-regulation manifesto is being giddily promoted by right-wing organizations like the American Enterprise Institute, Murray’s institutional home, as well as the CATO Institute, the State Policy Network, and right-wing pundits like National Review’s Jonah Goldberg and Fox News’s John Stossel.

Murray is probably best known as co-author of “The Bell Curve,” which infamously explored theories on race and intelligence. His new book, “By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission,” is a call to “massive civil disobedience” to government regulations: “The government cannot enforce its mountain of laws and regulations without voluntary compliance. Let’s have a private-sector counterweight that pulls back the curtain and exposes the Wizard’s weakness.”

Washington Post book critic Carlos Lozada wrote recently, “If ‘Atlas Shrugged’ had been written by a despondent social scientist instead of a dyspeptic novelist, it would read a lot like ‘By the People’.”

Murray says his book grew out of frustration over the experience of a friend, who he describes as an honest businessman unjustly harassed by arrogant federal bureaucrats. Murray’s solution is to have one or a few anti-government billionaires kick in to create “The Madison Fund,” a legal group that would flood the government with lawsuits challenging the enforcement of regulations they deem unnecessary. As AEI cheerfully explains in its cartoonish graphic: “Even the largest government agency cannot afford to carry a large number of small legal cases that are strung out for as long as the law permits. Goliath cannot win against hundreds of Davids.”

That is exactly the strategy used by the Church of Scientology in its long-running war on the Internal Revenue Service. Murray doesn’t credit Scientology leader David Miscavige, but it sure seems like he should.

Journalist Lawrence Wright covered Scientology’s legal strategy in his 2013 book, “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief,” which was the basis for this year’s HBO documentary on the church. Wright reported that Scientology besieged the IRS with 200 lawsuits from the church and more than 2,300 lawsuits on behalf of individual parishioners in every jurisdiction in the country, “overwhelming government lawyers, running up fantastic expenses, and causing an immense amount of havoc inside the IRS.” Miscavige boasted that church lawyers had so exhausted the IRS’s legal budget that the agency couldn’t afford to send its lawyers to an American Bar Association conference.

That is what Murray wants to do to agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Scott Ott, cheering Murray on at PJ Media, puts it this way:

“By flooding the zone, Murray hopes to cripple the ability of the regulatory state to fight a multi-front war against we, the people….Murray would overwhelm government agencies to get them to stop arbitrary enforcement actions; to leave us alone except in situations that genuinely threaten public health and safety. He likens it to the way police don’t stop every speeding car, but only those that pose the greatest threat to the well-being of others.”

Murray does say he is not opposed to all regulation. But it’s not clear who will make those judgment calls, especially given that Murray’s examples of unnecessary government regulation include meat safety inspections (!) and health regulations applied to dental offices. Murray says supermarket chains and the American Dental Association should be trusted to police their own, with the threat of bad publicity on social media providing sufficient incentive.

Murray’s plan includes another strategy used by the Church of Scientology. Murray says the Madison Fund will wage public relations campaigns to ridicule government regulations and the officials enforcing them. Wright documents that Scientology supplemented its legal war on the IRS with ads featuring celebrities, including non-Scientologists, who had been audited or otherwise had tangled with the IRS.

The legal war waged by Scientology worked, winning the church official recognition as a tax-exempt religion and all the legal protections that came with it when the IRS caved. Wright says that IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg “had to balance the longing on the part of some of his executives to destroy the church against the need to keep his resources, both human and financial, from being sucked into the black hole that Scientology had created.”

At least Scientology officials had just one goal – official recognition — and backed off once they won that battle. In contrast, Murray envisions an ongoing, wide-ranging, black-hole-creating campaign that he openly admits is an end-run around the democratic process, which has failed to produce the radical restrictions in government that libertarians are looking for.

In fact, Murray is remarkably down on the democratic process. “You are not going to roll back the reach of government through the political process,” he declares. “It can’t be done.”

Murray admits he is “a lot more overtly hostile toward the government – toward what’s been done to the American project – than I have ever been before.” He argues that the U.S. is the only country ever founded on a charter designed to limit the power of government, and “from 1789 to the 1930s is the sole example of minimal government anywhere, at any time.” Since the New Deal, however, government has grown in ways that can no longer be reversed, even by electing Republicans. Says Murray, “Attacking the regulatory state through the legal system is the only option for rebuilding liberty.”

Murray says he fears for America’s limited-government “soul.” It will be interesting to see how many conservatives agree that saving America’s soul means pushing the country back toward a pre-New Deal reality by a systematic campaign of legal harassment designed to prevent much of the federal government from doing its work.

The Anti-Equality Movement's Favorite Laughably Disingenuous Talking Point

Anyone who has paid any attention at all to the marriage equality debate has heard an equality opponent speak some version of this line: “All Americans have the freedom to live as they choose. But no one has the right to redefine marriage for the rest of us.”

There’s a reason for that. The National Organization for Marriage instructs its activists that it is the “most effective single sentence” the anti-marriage-equality movement has:

Extensive and repeated polling agrees that the single most effective message is the following: “Gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose; they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for all of us.” This allows people to express support for tolerance while opposing gay marriage.

Not surprisingly, people like former NOM President Maggie Gallagher use that talking point. And even as the movement continues to lose public support and legal battles, they have maintained message discipline when it comes to using this sentence. You can find nearly endless examples of it with tiny variations, spanning more than a decade. Here are just a few examples:

  • Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson used the line in his speech at last year’s Conservative Political Action Conference;
  • Kate Sweeney, assistant director of the Colorado-based Catholic women's group ENDOW, used it while opposing a state civil unions bill in 2013;

Of course, the line is not only ineffective, judging by the continued pro-equality swing in public attitudes, but it’s also ridiculously disingenuous coming from people who have tried so hard over the years to restrict the ability of LGBT people “to live as they choose,” as PFAW Senior Legislative Counsel Paul Gordon recently documented.

That includes DeMint, who believes gay people should not allowed to be teachers and slams the Supreme Court for overturning sodomy laws that made gay people criminals. And it certainly includes the Heritage Foundation, which slams landmark equality cases Lawrence v. Texas and Romer v. Evans as examples of unacceptable “judicial activism.”

Heritage, also the professional home of the fresh-faced hope of the marriage equality movement Ryan T. Anderson, opposes the Employment Non Discrimination Act, which would protect people from being fired for being gay, and fought federal hate crimes legislation. Of course, Anderson frequently uses the same poll-tested phrase, as he did in a 2013 briefing paper for Heritage on the perils of “redefining marriage.”

While it is increasingly true that LGBT Americans are “free to live as they choose,” that goal is far from being accomplished nationwide. And whatever progress has been made, it has been over the opposition of people who now smile into the camera and hope to hide their anti-gay agenda with a little deceptive messaging. 

Matt Barber's Latest Anti-Gay Diatribe in Form of 'Prayer for Marriage'

Sometimes Matt Barber’s anti-gay diatribes are so over the top,  you have to wonder if he’s just trolling for a reaction.  His latest, titled “A Prayer for Marriage,” is a mean-spirited doozy

Barber slams loving gay couples and parents in the most dismissive terms he can muster, imploring, “Lord have mercy on those precious babes, acquired like so much chattel, as selfish adults set up to play house.”

He decries marriage equality as a “sterile, shameful, feculent mockery of Your masterful design for our fruitful multiplication.”

He says anti-gay activists “battle the powers and principalities who pull temporal puppets by marionette strings aflame from the pits of hell.”

Like many anti-gay rants from Religious Right leaders, Barber’s “prayer” reeks with shirt-rending shame for America and American Christians for not having done enough to stop the advance of LGBT equality.

Sodom crumbles about as we gaze palmward, distracted and glassy-eyed, at shimmering digital confections.

They pound at our temple doors, demanding to know our heavenly hosts.

Yet naught we do.

Save cower.

Your bride has been unfaithful, Lord Jesus. As it was in the days of Noah, we tempt our Lord God.

We entreat Your mercies, but merit Your wrath…

Forgive us, Lord Jesus. We, Your bride, repent of our own part in this national sin. Forgive us for undermining this gift You have given – for succumbing to the devilish devices of divorce, infidelity and spousal neglect.

For our selfish ambition.

For making unholy, holy matrimony.

Embolden us.

Strengthen us.

Guide and direct us.

Mortify this national sin, oh God.

End it.

Kill it.

Barber rails against Supreme Court justices for debating “that which is closed for debate,” and complained, “At least four of the nine appear poised to defy Your Supreme Authority.”

And like so many other Religious Right leaders who have been beating the drums for massive resistance to a possible marriage equality ruling, Barber declares that such a ruling would place the government “at enmity with God” and subject Christians to persecution.

And we, Your faithful, will be marked subversive.

But waiver we shan’t.

Where the contrived “laws” of man are at odds with Your transcendent truths – with Your Law – it is You, oh Lord, to Whom we pledge obedience.

We will not comply with an unjust ruling.

And we will face persecution.

And we will count it all joy.

Because You are sovereign.

And victory is Yours.

Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee to Attend Samuel Rodriguez Confab This Week

Presidential contenders Mike Huckabee and Jeb Bush are scheduled to appear at this week’s convention of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference in Houston. The NHCLC is headed by Rev. Samuel Rodriguez:

While Rodriguez cultivates a public posture that he is nonpartisan and committed to justice as well as righteousness – he fancies himself  a combination of Billy Graham and Martin Luther King – he cemented his position as a member of the Religious Right when he made the wildly anti-gay Liberty Counsel the NHCLC’s official “legislative and policy arm” and welcomed Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver onto the group’s board.

Rodriguez does break with right-wing orthodoxy on a couple of big issues, including his support for immigration reform and support for the embattled Common Core educational standards. But not on abortion, marriage, and the Religious Right's religious liberty rhetoric.

Rodriguez has called the push for marriage equality “the war on the biblical doctrine of marriage” and warned that in America “there is an attempt to silence Christendom.” Just last week he joined more than 200 anti-gay extremists in signing a pledge to resist any Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality. The pledge says, in part:

Our highest respect for the rule of law requires that we not respect an unjust law that directly conflicts with higher law. A decision purporting to redefine marriage flies in the face of the Constitution and is contrary to the natural created order. As people of faith we pledge obedience to our Creator when the State directly conflicts with higher law. We respectfully warn the Supreme Court not to cross this line.

The conference at which Bush and Huckabee are scheduled to appear will celebrate NHCLC going global through last year’s merger with a Latin American evangelical organization CONELA; a new name for the merged NHCLC/CONELA will be announced. Staver had encouraged Rodriguez to expand into Latin America after Staver traveled to Peru to oppose moves toward LGBT equality there. Staver colleague Matt Barber praised NHCLC for “putting up a firewall” to protect Latin America from a “cancerous invasion of immorality” being exported by the Obama administration and “radical homosexual activism and radical pro-abortion activism.”

For the record, Rodriguez’s claims that the NHCLC/Conela merger makes it the biggest evangelical network in the world and the representative of evangelicals in Latin America has been publicly challenged by the World Evangelical Alliance, which recognizes the Latin Evangelical Alliance as the regional representative of evangelicals; the group was formed in 2013 by the presidents of 19 national Evangelical Alliances in Latin America.

This week, Rodriguez announced that the NHCLC is partnering with Trinity Broadcasting Network to launch TBN Salsa, which will feature music and ministry programs aimed at English-speaking second- and third-generation Hispanics. 

C-Fam 'Mission' in Africa: Spreading Anti-Family Planning, Anti-Gay Gospel

There are a lot of challenges facing the people of Nigeria and Kenya, including campaigns of terror being waged by Islamist militants with Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab. But that’s not the focus of the “mission trip” for which C-Fam’s Austin Ruse is urgently raising money this week.

No, Ruse and the Center for Family and Human Rights (formerly known as the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute) are raising money to warn against “UN radicals and the Obama administration” and the “bloody, soul-destroying” consequences of family planning, reproductive choice, and LGBT equality:

As you read this, two C-Fam staffers are on the ground in Africa; one in Kenya and one in Nigeria. 
 
They have traveled so far and into such dangerous situations in order to take our message to the African people:

·         NO UN-STYLE FAMILY PLANNING

·         NO GLOBAL RIGHT TO ABORTION

·         NO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

The people of Africa are under severe pressure from UN radicals, the Obama administration, and the European Union to accept the ideology that has led to millions of abortion deaths and deaths from disease here in the United States and in Europe. 
 
C-Fam is in Nigeria and Kenya this week to raise the alarm. We are there to let our African brothers and sisters know what the UN radicals and the Obama administration has planned for them and what the bloody, soul-destroying result will be. 
 
While in Nigeria and Kenya our fearsome team will meet with the Catholic bishops, with activists and, we hope, government officials.

It’s not as if marriage equality is about to break out in either of these countries. Homosexual sex is a criminal act in Kenya, where last year a fringe party proposed a bill to allow the stoning of gay foreigners. Nigeria’s outgoing president signed a harsh anti-gay law last year that has led to persecution and violence against LGBT people.

Last year, Ruse energetically defended Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law and suggested that critics of the increasingly anti-democratic Vladimir Putin were “stuck in cold war amber” and consumed by a “visceral hatred of all things Russian. He even dismissed concerns about Putin’s attack on freedom of the press, saying Russians had no “historical memory” of that kind of freedom.  

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