American Center for Law and Justice

American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ)

Founded by Pat Robertson, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and its Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow quickly established themselves as key players in the right-wing movement, litigating a variety of cases at all levels, including the Supreme Court. The ACLJ has been particularly active in fighting marriage equality and defending the Pledge of Allegiance, while Sekulow has maintained very close ties to the Bush White House and played a central role in pushing for the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito.

The Religious Right Makes Friends Across The Atlantic

BuzzFeed’s Lester Feder is out with an investigative report today on the rise of Europe’s own homegrown Religious Right. Feder cites People For the American Way’s research into funding going from American groups to the European Right — including from Alliance Defending Freedom, the American Center for Law and Justice, and, surprisingly, the fringe anti-choice group Personhood USA — but also notes that a lot of the movement’s energy is travelling in the opposite direction across the Atlantic.

Feder reports, for instance, that last month’s sparsely attended March for Marriage in Washington, D.C., was followed by a very well-attended gathering of representatives from about 70 countries who “met to discuss creation of an International Organization for Marriage.”

A review of tax disclosures conducted by the progressive advocacy group People for the American Way found that several U.S. groups — many of which boomed in the 1990s — had recently invested in conservative drives across Europe: The American Center for Law and Justice, founded by Pat Robertson, sent $1.1 million to its European branch, the European Center for Law and Justice, in 2012, which is the most recent year for which tax disclosures are available. Another group founded by well-known American social conservatives called the Alliance Defending Freedom spent more than $750,000 on European programs that year. The Federalist Society, which promotes conservative legal philosophy, reported spending nearly $800,000 in “conferences and seminars” in Europe that year. Personhood USA, a small Colorado-based group that has tried to pass ballot measures that would give fetuses the legal status of “persons” — a strategy for rolling back abortion rights that is controversial even among pro-life activists — poured $400,000 into Europe in 2012, just after one of its ballot measures went down in flames in Mississippi. (Personhood USA President Keith Mason declined to answer questions from BuzzFeed about which organizations received the funds or what they were used for.)

But while there are links to the U.S., the movement is very much homegrown. Arsuaga said neither HazteOír nor CitizenGo get funding from U.S. groups — and they don’t need it. Arsuaga said 99% of HazteOír’s 1.9 million euro ($2.5 million) annual budget comes from donations from Spanish citizens. CitizenGo has been raising 30,000 to 40,000 euros (roughly $40,000 to $55,000) each month from the 1.2 million members it’s signed up worldwide since its October launch.

Today, American ties seem much more about a shared vision to build a global conservative movement rather than leaning on stronger and wealthier U.S. partners for support. Arsuaga, Volontè, and La Manif Pour Tous President Ludovine de La Rochère were all in Washington on June 19 to support the National Organization for Marriage’s March for Marriage. Their more important business, however, might have been in a closed-door summit the next day, where representatives of around 70 countries met to discuss creation of an International Organization for Marriage, according to Volontè and another participant. A follow-up meeting is planned for next year.

Many LGBT rights supporters mocked the March for Marriage’s paltry turnout. So these Europeans appeared as if they were there to encourage a beleaguered movement, not the other way around — they now possess the vigor that has evaporated from the U.S. movement as opposition to marriage equality has collapsed.

We have reported on how American anti-gay groups, frustrated in their mission at home, are quietly working to form alliances with activists, politicians and funders in Europe, Russia and South America.

The strange case of Personhood USA’s $400,000 expenditure in Europe in 2012 —which represented more than one-third of its total spending that year — offers a clue that a similar dynamic may be happening in the extreme anti-choice movement. While Feder notes that most of the funding for recent viral anti-choice campaigns in Europe has been homegrown, and Personhood USA refused to say what its European shopping spree went toward, the personhood movement could be hoping that it can reclaim some of its energy by looking overseas.

It’s also important to note that the anti-gay and anti-choice movements on both sides of the Atlantic have significant overlap. One example: Last year, National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown — who has worked extensively with European and Russian anti-gay groups — joined the board of CitizenGo, a conservative platform modeled on MoveOn.org that Feder reports recently helped to defeat a comprehensive sex-ed proposal in the European Parliament.

Flashback: When The Religious Right And Republicans Quashed An Investigation Into Right-Wing Extremism

Reports that the married couple who shot and killed two police officers, a bystander and themselves in Las Vegas this week were motivated by right-wing extremism have highlighted one of the more troubling trends in even the “mainstream” Right — denial that violent right-wing extremism even exists.

As Brian mentioned earlier today, a conservative pundit’s claim on the same day as the shooting that far-right violence is a “complete and total bogeyman” echoes the objections the attacks that many right-wing groups lobbed at a 2009 Department of Homeland Security report on domestic extremism. Right-wing groups and their allies in Congress created a fuss about the report, claiming that it was an attack on conservatives, Christians and veterans.

The American Family Association, Concerned Women for America and the American Center for Law and Justice piled on. Republicans in Congress demanded an investigation into how the report had come to pass. Spotting a good fundraising opportunity, Liberty Counsel even printed out “Proud to be a Right-Wing Extremist” cards to distribute to its members.

Eventually, the pressure led DHS to retract the report and later to cut back the team that produced it. Two years later, speaking publicly for the first time, the analyst who wrote the report — who happened to be a conservative Republican Mormon —  said that the attacks on his unit’s work had undermined law enforcement’s ability to address the “growing and dangerous problem” of violent right-wing extremism.

What happened at DHS as a result of the criticism?
My team was dissolved. All training courses and briefings presentations were stopped. DHS leaders made it increasingly difficult to release another report on this topic.

Why would DHS leaders dissolve your team and stop these analytic activities?

The subject had become too politically charged. As a result, DHS leaders adopted a risk adverse approach toward this issue. Perhaps they thought it was a matter of organizational preservation.

Do you think the dissolution of your unit that you discuss has negatively affected State and local law enforcement?

Certainly. There is one less agency to assist state and local law enforcement with this growing and dangerous problem at a time of heightened activity.

Yet, as recently as last year, Religous Right groups were still using their bogus criticism of the report as a talking point against the Obama administration.

Matt Barber Praises Slovakia For Resisting 'Demonic' Marriage Equality

As RWW and others have documented, American Religious Right figures are part of a global anti-equality movement.  Groups like the American Center for Law and Justice, National Organization for Marriage and World Congress of Families are working with right-wing movements in Europe to resist advances in LGBT Equality.

Today, Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel praises this week’s passage of an anti-marriage-equality constitutional amendment in Slovakia, where there is no legal recognition of same-sex civil unions.

While the U.S. seems bound and determined to destroy natural marriage and family, other nations around the world have figured out that radically deconstructing these fundamental cornerstone institutions – institutions necessary to the survival of any healthy society – will have devastating effects in the long-term.

Slovakia is the latest such nation. Lawmakers there have constitutionally banned counterfeit “same-sex marriage.”

...Let’s pray that this pro-family trend across the world continues. As the radical “LGBT” agenda continues to weaken America, obliterate religious liberty and hurt and confuse countless children and families, we can at least take solace in the fact that much of the world has not been duped by this demonic incursion of sexual anarchy.

 

ACLJ: Blasphemy Laws For Me, But Not For Thee?

Yesterday, Miranda reported on the seemingly contradictory views of the American Center for Law and Justice’s European and Slavic affiliates when it comes to blasphemy laws. The ECLJ has been vocal in opposing blasphemy laws in Muslim-majority countries, but the SCLJ supported passage of a new anti-blasphemy law in Russia. The law provides for fines, “correctional labor” and up to three years behind bars for “public actions expressing obvious disrespect toward society and committed to abuse the religious feelings of believers.” SCLJ’s co-chairman Vladimir Rehyakovsky expressed some reservations about the final form of the law, but said it was “very important” to have such a law in place.

So, where does the ACLJ stand on blasphemy laws?  On one hand, it is proud of its opposition in international forums like the United Nations to blasphemy laws that are used by Islamist governments to restrict religious expression.  In 2011, the ACLJ said the UN’s Human Rights Committee endorsed an ECLJ-backed position that “no right exists to protect the reputation of an ideology, rather human rights belongs to individuals.”

But more than a decade ago, in response to an “Ask Jay” question posted on the ACLJ’s website, the group’s chief counsel, Jay Sekulow, said it was “an unfortunate situation” that states no longer have laws against blasphemy, something he blamed on “the ACLU and those who trumpet the First Amendment as a license to really degrade people.”  Sekulow bemoaned the fact that “religion lacks protection in the law.”

Joe from Rhode Island asks: In Black’s classic law dictionary, blasphemy is illegal. When did it become legal to mock a person’s faith in God?

Jay answers: Black’s is the standard of legal definitions that law students are given around the country and Black’s is still cited in Supreme Court decisions. Not only in English common law but also in most states in the USA, blasphemy was prohibited speech. Clearly, the ACLU and those who trumpet the First Amendment as a license to really degrade people have changed that and that’s an unfortunate situation. But you’re absolutely correct, Black’s Law Dictionary is right. There are many definitions like that in Black’s, but religion lacks protection in the law. Not only is religion seen as irrelevant, but religion is trivialized and even mocked. This behavior has become an accepted part of who we are as a people and in some cases the Supreme Court hasn’t been particularly helpful in that context. The composition of the Supreme Court is obviously something we’re always watching because we know that with the more conservative court obviously some of our values will be more protected. Things have changed drastically if you look at our history, and it’s not even old history. Our country is still very young, but things are very different since our founding. We’re continuing to hope here at the American Center for Law and Justice that history will continue to change in a way that protects the rights of religious people across America. This is what we’re working toward. Selection of Supreme Court Justices is critical in the interpretation of these kinds of cases.

So it appears that the ACLJ is ready to champion free speech when it comes to opposing blasphemy laws in Muslim-majority countries, but supports restrictions on blasphemy in place where Christians are in the majority.  Perhaps that double standard is not much of a surprise, given that the ACLJ, which portrays itself as a champion of religious liberty, helped lead opposition to the construction of a Muslim community center in New York that critics inaccurately called the “Ground Zero Mosque.”

The ACLJ is a legal group founded by televangelist Pat Robertson and run by Jay Sekulow and his son Jordan in a manner that is very lucrative for the Sekulow family.

Religious Right 'Freedom And Liberty' Group ACLJ Backed Russian 'Gay Propaganda' And Blasphemy Bans

The American Center for Law and Justice, the group founded by televangelist Pat Robertson to be a right-wing counter to the American Civil Liberties Union, bills itself as a champion of the “ongoing viability of freedom and liberty in the United States and around the world.”

But the ACLJ – which has joined in the Religious Right chorus claiming that progressive policies are causing American Christians to lose their religious freedom – has never been so keen on the civil liberties of those with whom they disagree, especially in its work overseas. As we’ve noted in the past, the ACLJ led the fight to block the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” in Manhattan and through its African affiliate has backed efforts to prevent legalized abortion in Kenya and to keep homosexuality illegal in Zimbabwe.

And in recent years, the ACLJ’s European and Russian branches have also supported key parts of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on gay rights and civil liberties, even as the group has served as a watchdog for Russia’s evangelical minority in the face of government persecution.

Both the European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ) and the Slavic Center for Law and Justice (SCLJ) affiliates voiced support for Russia’s 2013 gag order on gay-rights advocacy. In addition, following the 2012 Pussy Riot protest, the SCLJ called for a law criminalizing religious blasphemy. One of its leading attorneys then helped draft one proposed version of the law.

In 2012, the last year for which records are available, the ACLJ directed $300,000 to funding the SCLJ with the “goal of protecting religious rights and freedoms of individuals and associations in Russia.” Its bigger overseas project is the European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ), based in Strasbourg, France, to which it gave $1.1 million in 2012. The ACLJ’s chief counsel, Jay Sekulow, founded the SCLJ's overseas branches and serves as the chief counsel of the European affiliate. A handful of sources list him as the chief counsel of the Russian affiliate as well, although it is unclear if he still serves in that capacity.

The ACLJ did not respond to a request for comment on the work of its work in Russia.

Shortly after the feminist punk band Pussy Riot staged a protest at a Russian Orthodox cathedral – for which they were ultimately sentenced to two years in a penal colony for “hooliganism” – the SCLJ issued a press release endorsing the efforts of Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, an Orthodox Church official, to criminalize blasphemy, which at the time was punishable by just a small fine. The press release argued that “seemingly innocuous mischief of a few aggressive individuals led to real religious conflicts that posed a threat to people’s lives and health,” and recommending “harsh punishments” for people found guilty of blasphemy.

The press release called for Russian officials “to toughen laws against incitement of religious hatred and hostility, but also against insult to the religious feelings of the faithful and assaults against their shrines and temples. We also believe that there is an urgent need to introduce harsh punishments for disseminating such information on the Internet.”

The cynical, blasphemous actions in the Church of Christ the Savior that took place this week aroused a broad public outcry. The participants of the women’s feminist punk group Pussy Riot ran into the church wearing masks and performed a blasphemous song with a political subtext right before the altar. They recorded the “performance” on video. Based on these recordings, a video clip was put together and posted on social networks, after which a flood of blasphemous and anti-church comments appeared online.

SCLJ recently raised the issue of the danger of dissemination through social networks of blasphemous information that insults the religious feelings of the faithful, at times openly inciting interreligious conflicts. Today we see that this concern is becoming even more acute and urgent. Criticism of certain religious views and beliefs is undoubtedly possible; however, insult and humiliation of the dignity of individuals who hold them or profess any religion is simply unacceptable.

The main problem is that the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation does not currently contain adequate penalties for such acts. The maximum punishment that can be brought down upon the participants in this blasphemous act at the Church of Christ the Savior is that they will be cited for an administrative offense and required to pay a small fine. However, the consequences of their activities may be very serious.

It should be noted that such cases are not rare. SCLJ staff members have often come upon similar situations in other regions of the country. Moreover, in many cases, seemingly innocuous mischief of a few aggressive individuals led to real religious conflicts that posed a threat to people’s lives and health.

Law enforcement agencies typically respond to incidents of this nature by glossing over any anti-religious motives. No one wants crimes motivated by religious hatred and hostility. Therefore, officials strain to limit charges to “hooliganism” and sometimes refuse to open a criminal case at all.

In this regard, SCLJ supports the initiative of Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin to toughen laws against incitement of religious hatred and hostility, but also against insult to the religious feelings of the faithful and assaults against their shrines and temples. We also believe that there is an urgent need to introduce harsh punishments for disseminating such information on the Internet.

In September of 2012, members of the Duma introduced a bill that would criminalize “insulting citizens’ religious views and feelings.”

Despite SCLJ’s initial call for an anti-blasphemy law, the group’s co-chair Vladimir Rhyakovsky was apparently not thrilled with the first draft of the law. Rhyakovsky, a member of Putin’s Council on Civil Society and Human Rights, joined with a fellow council member to propose a revised version of the bill that proposed more moderate penalties for violation and created “zoned” free speech areas, but also, disturbingly, would have made the definition of “insulting religious feeling” even vaguer to cover such beliefs as “patriotism” and “commitment to traditional values.”

In June, 2013, Putin signed the final version of the blasphemy ban. The Moscow Times summarized its provisions:

The blasphemy law will punish “public actions expressing obvious disrespect toward society and committed to abuse the religious feelings of believers,” with potential punishment of up to three years behind bars, fines of up to 500,000 rubles ($15,430), and compulsory correctional labor, Lenta.ru reported.

It also stipulates fines of 80,000-300,000 rubles and a prison term of up to three months for hindering the activities of religious organizations and preventing religious rites from being conducted.

A fine of over 200,000 rubles can be levied for deliberate destruction of religious or theological literature.

Ryakhovsky – speaking in his capacity as a member of the human rights council – said after the Duma passed the bill that while he felt that it was “very important” to pass such a law and acknowledged that some of the human rights council’s proposals had been adopted, he was still concerned that “the problem of legal ambiguity remains,” which could “lead to arbitrary application and interpretation of the law, and willful use of it by law enforcement agencies.”

“Whenever the law, and especially criminal law, contains room for arbitrary interpretation, it is fraught with negative consequences,” he said. “I believe that this law is better than the one that was originally proposed, but on the other hand – it is not what it should be.”

That an ACLJ affiliate advocated for a blasphemy law – even if its leader offered only tepid support for the final product – is especially unsettling given that the group has strongly opposed blasphemy bans in its work at the United Nations. In a comment to the UN’s human rights committee in 2011, the ECLJ urged the committee to adopt a strong condemnation of blasphemy laws, such as those in Islamist countries. “Blasphemy prohibitions and laws regarding the defamation of religions violate the very foundations of the human rights tradition by protecting ideas instead of the person who hold those ideas,” the ECLJ wrote in a memo cosigned by its director, Gregor Puppink.

“Freedom of expression includes the right to be controversial, insulting, or offensive, even when such expression targets ideas that are devoutly held beliefs,” the group added.

The SCLJ and its leaders may have had mixed feelings about the final version of the blasphemy ban, but they offered more enthusiastic praise to another bill that Putin signed the same day: a ban on the distribution of “gay propaganda” to minors, essentially a gag order on gay-rights advocacy.

After the Duma passed the “propaganda” ban, Ryakhovsky’s fellow SCLJ co-chairman, Anatoly Pchelintsev, told Voice of America that although he would “refine” parts of the bill, it addressed an important problem. “You only have to turn on a few TV channels to become convinced: promotion of homosexuality is there in both direct and hidden forms,” he said.

Co-chair of the Slavic Center for Law and Justice Anatoly Pchelintsev told Voice of America that he believes there is such a thing as homosexual propaganda, and that it must be combated as much as possible. “You only have to turn on a few TV channels to become convinced: promotion of homosexuality is there in both direct and hidden forms.”

However, Pchelintsev believes there is no need to apply the law in all cases, since it is primarily minors who need protection against homosexual propaganda. “Adults are capable of understanding what is good and what is bad,” added Pchelintsev.

Pchelintsev says that he shares the opinion of Sergei Nikitin about the necessity of refining some of the terminology used in the bill. “You have to know what “propaganda” is before banning it.”

Pchelintsev told another outlet that he was “very pleased” about the move toward adopting the law because LGBT people should be allowed to “live as they want to, but without propagandizing their way of life.”

“I’m against homosexual propaganda, especially among minors. I am for strong families, but in this case I admit that there may be some kind of anomaly, it’s difficult to say in what way exactly—psychological, biological, or something else, but the problem exists—there are people like this. And let them live as they want to, but without propagandizing their way of life,” believes the scientific director of the Institute for Religion and Law, lawyer Anatoly Pchelintsev. “So I’m very pleased about the adoption of this law on the federal level. The key will be that it works and guarantees some kind of punishment. In my view, citation for an administrative offense is sufficient, violations like this do not fall under the purview of criminal law.”

The ACLJ’s European affiliate also voiced support for the “propaganda” ban. In an essay last year, ECLJ’s director, Gregor Puppinck, wrote that the law was “intended to protect children from messages about LGBT practices” that portray homosexuality as “favorable to or equivalent to marital relationships.” He portrayed Russia’s suppression of gay rights as a beacon of hope to France and the rest of Western Europe, showing that the trend toward gay rights is “strong, but not inevitable.”

ECLJ has worked closely with a number of French groups that have been touting Putin’s social conservative crackdown as a model for Europe. Last month, Puppinck joined a delegation of French activists in a visit to Russia to meet with leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church and members of parliament to discuss partnering in “protecting traditional values.”

Although participants in the meeting said that they avoided foreign policy subjects, the visit by the delegation just a few weeks after Russia’s seizure of Crimea provoked some controversy in France, including criticism from a French Catholic leader who said, “If they think that Russia protects human rights, they should go for a tour of Crimea.” The magazine Nouvel Observateur accused the delegation of endorsing Putin’s propaganda of “Russia as a paradise of Christian values.”

In response to the Nouvel Observateur piece the president of the leading French anti-gay group Manif Pour Tous denied that anybody of authority in her group had participated.

But the ECLJ was far from shy about its own participation. According to the Russian Orthodox Church’s representative in Strasbourg, it was Puppinck who requested that he organize the delegation of French activists who support “the traditional concept of the family and oppose abortion, euthanasia, etc.”

We haven’t been able to find any detailed accounts of the visit, but one member of the delegation, the Russian Orthodox church’s representative in Strasbourg, repeated the idea of Russia as the moral protectors of Europe. “Russia is a unique country in Europe,” said Abbot Philip Rybykh. “It seeks to protect the natural order of life, and not the various deviations from it.”

Another report notes that the delegates reached the conclusion that “Western societies would do well to emulate” Russia’s “religious awakening.”

Puppinck reportedly said during the visit that he was “very impressed” by Russia’s newly established “moral” policies, specifically citing the drop in the country’s abortion rate. Russia’s anti-gay policies and protecting Europe from the “contagion” of gay rights were also reportedly objects of discussion.

GOP Congressmen Jump On Phony Internet Scandal

Even though the right-wing conspiracy theory about President Obama handing over control of the Internet to foreign powers has been completely discredited, the myth continues to survive among conservative activists and Republicans in Congress, who have seized upon the debunked claim to attack the Obama administration.

WorldNetDaily reports today that Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice, one of the chief groups pushing the false attack, has garnered over 100,000 signatures on its petition demanding Congress take action against the phony scandal.

GOP congressmen are more than happy to help. Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois told WND that Obama is helping “authoritarian governments” push “their anti-freedom agendas” on the Internet, while Tennessee’s Rep. Marsha Blackburn warned that Obama’s move “will allow countries like China and Russia that don’t place the same value in freedom of speech to better define how the Internet looks and operates.”

As we’ve noted before, the Obama administration actually turned down requests from China and Russia to give Internet oversight to a United Nations-led panel and instead completed a sixteen year plan to relinquish oversight to a non-profit backed by the US Department of Commerce.

But Republicans and right-wing activists don’t seemed to be bothered by the fact that the administration’s decision actually represented a rebuke to countries like Russia and China, and are more than happy to gin up fears that Obama is paving the way for the censorship of the Internet.

It took just days for more than 113,000 people to sign a petition by the American Center for Law and Justice opposing the plan.

Members of Congress confirmed that in just the past few weeks, some of the possible members of the multinational body — including Russia, Turkey, China and Malaysia — either have censored the Internet in their own nations or vowed to do it.

“This isn’t a theoretical debate,” warned Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., one of several lawmakers working on one of the legislative plans.

He’s joined by Reps. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

“There are real authoritarian governments in the world today who have no tolerance for the free flow of information and ideas,” Shimkus said. “What possible benefit could come from giving the Vladimir Putins of the world a new venue to push their anti-freedom agendas?”



“This decision represents another hostile step by the administration on the heels of net neutrality and the FCC’s CIN Study that threatens our freedom of speech. Giving up control of ICANN will allow countries like China and Russia that don’t place the same value in freedom of speech to better define how the Internet looks and operates,” she warned.

The American Center for Law and Justice, which organized the petition effort, said the Obama administration is pushing into dangerous territory.

“This move would put the online liberty of Americans at great risk,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ. “By turning over this key oversight to an international community – which is likely to include countries hostile to America – the world’s most powerful instrument of free speech would be subject to censorship, could be taxed, and would make it easier for cyber-fraud schemes to expand in countries around the globe.”

Sekulow said the “success and freedom of the Internet would be in grave jeopardy if the Obama administration is allowed to carry through with its plan to turn over control of the Internet to a ‘multinational’ body.”

“Free speech is at the core of our Constitution. We’re working with members of Congress on legislation to keep the Internet – and our free speech – free,” he said.

Jay Sekulow Touts Phony Internet Scandal, Claims It Will 'Censor The Church'

As we have noted several times, right-wing groups are falsely claiming that the Obama administration has relinquished control of the Internet to a United Nations-controlled group. In fact, quite the opposite is true: Politico reports that the administration rebuffed calls from Russia and China to give authority to the United Nations-led International Telecommunication Union, and instead completed a sixteen year transition of Internet oversight to a US-backed nonprofit.

Naturally, Obama critics are now alleging that the president did the opposite of what actually occurred and handed over authority to the UN body.

Religious Right leader Jay Sekulow today emailed members of the American Center for Law and Justice to warn that “the President wants to hand over control of the Internet to a multinational group, including corrupt dictatorships in China, Russia, and Iran,” warning that the move could “mean censoring the Church if it reaches out to Islamic lands” and “exposing our own computers to greater risk of fraud and other cybercrimes.”

So there you have it: the Obama administration rejects efforts to relinquish Internet oversight to the UN, and conservative activists decide to attack him anyway by falsely claiming that he did the exact opposite of what he did.

There is simply no excuse for the Obama Administration’s latest move.

The President wants to hand over control of the Internet to a multinational group, including corrupt dictatorships in China, Russia, and Iran.

Why?

China, Russia, and Iran have all signaled they want greater control over the Internet, including control over what we see and write.

Does this mean censoring the Church if it reaches out to Islamic lands?

Does this mean exposing our own computers to greater risk of fraud and other cybercrimes?

America has kept the Internet free for a generation; let’s keep it free. Stand with the ACLJ and stand against the Obama Administration’s latest attack on your liberty.

No, Obama Hasn't Handed Over The Internet To China And Islamists

Need more proof that right-wing activists will keep pushing their conspiracy theories even after they have been thoroughly and decisively debunked?

Take the case of the recent announcement that the federal government will relinquish oversight of the Internet to a US-backed nonprofit, which has prompted conservatives to claim that the United Nations, China, and Islamic governments will now seize control of the Internet. As it turns out, the transition has been in the making for 16 years and actually stifles attempts to increase the authority of the UN-led International Telecommunication Union.

In spite of these facts, right-wing activists are now arguing that the exact opposite is happening.

Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice today unveiled a misleading petition suggesting that the UN will take control of the Internet.

The Obama Administration is giving up American control over the Internet, handing over its most important technical functions to a “multinational” body – perhaps even the U.N.

But do we want Russia or China influencing whether we can create websites? Do we want the U.N. controlling key aspects of the world’s most powerful mode of communication – our free speech?

America has kept the Internet free. Don’t let our nation sign over our freedom to dictators.

Dear President Obama and Members of Congress,

America has kept the Internet free for decades. There is no reason to trust that dictators from Russia and China will protect our freedoms. Maintain American control and protect our online liberty.

ACT! for America, Brigitte Gabriel’s anti-Muslim group, released an even more frantic and deceptive response to the announcement, warning that the administration’s move will lead to the imposition of Sharia law on the Internet.

“Our founding fathers are turning in their grave!” the group said about the Internet oversight transition. “The truth cannot be silenced!”

WE MUST EXPOSE THIS OUTRAGE

Once again President Obama is putting you and your family at risk by giving power to the United Nations (UN) to control the Internet and muzzle YOUR freedom of speech, putting you at a risk of legal action just for expressing your view on the Internet!

If you’re a politician in Washington, and you want to bury bad news, you release an announcement late on Friday afternoon.

On Friday, March 14th, at 3:30pm, the Obama administration announced that America was surrendering control to the UN over key aspects of the Internet (control that America had because we built it in the first place).

Unfortunately, the largest voting bloc in the UN is the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a Saudi-dominated bloc of 57 nations that has waged an aggressive campaign against free speech, freedom of the press and free expression.

For an American president to betray the American public, our founding fathers, our Constitution, and throw our freedom of speech at the feet of tyrants to decide what we can and cannot say under the threat of a law suit for hate crime is unconscionable – shameful – reckless and stretches the boundaries of betrayal.

Our founding fathers are turning in their grave!

We at ACT! For America believe that truth is invincible. The truth cannot be silenced! We believe that if we can reach enough people with our message in defense of our security, our liberty and our values, America will prevail over those who want to destroy our way of life.



We know that the Jihadists not only have our country, our values and our citizens in their crosshairs, but the truth itself. And Jihad is based on the belief that the truth must be hidden, bent and broken.

It is disturbing and chilling that the Obama administration could allow the OIC, along with the Shariah doctrine to which it adheres, to suppress free speech on a global basis via control of the Internet.

Up to now, American oversight of the Internet has ensured that it has run with efficiency and openness, without political pressure.

Authoritarian governments, such as those in Saudi Arabia and Iran, have already been working to control the Internet and now they will no doubt move to fill the power vacuum caused by America's unilateral retreat.

In the future, domains could be banned and new ones not approved for groups deemed undesirable by the OIC or its members.

Let us never forget all that our founding fathers sacrificed so that we can enjoy the democratic freedoms we have today. Let us not forget how so many of them gave their lives for this and that many of them died destitute. They were willing to give everything they had. We cannot let them down. We must stand up, fight this, and inform Americans about what our president has just done. Please help us get this message out by following this link right away to make the most generous tax deductible donation you can afford.

Barbaric regimes from Khartoum to Tehran, and Damascus to Riyadh, have cut off their own citizens' Internet access in the past, but they have been unable to undermine general access to the Internet, where no one needs any government's permission to launch a website. This hallmark of Internet freedom is now endangered.

Dictators and tyrants, who have always silenced their critics and suppressed independent media, have long had a goal of “international” control over the Internet. Now the stage is set for them to achieve that goal.

UN members have called for a UN agency called the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to replace America’s authority and challenge an open Internet. One critic calls the ITU “the chosen vehicle for regimes for whom the free and open Internet is seen as an existential threat.”



ACT! For America isn’t going to take this lying down. If the Internet is silenced, liberty will be silenced. If those who oppose tyranny are prevented from delivering their message, it is the same as being bound and gagged.

We must continue to confront the enemies of freedom at home and abroad.

No, The New IRS Rules Aren't Targeting Conservatives

Since the IRS proposed new regulations of political activity by 501(c)4 nonprofit groups, the Religious Right has been up in arms, claiming that President Obama wants to use the regulations to “silence the Christians,” “silence conservatives,” and “eliminate his enemies.”

The only problem with this claim is that the proposed regulations wouldn't actually target conservative groups – they would affect all 501(c)4 groups equally, including many progressive groups like People For the American Way. In fact, progressive groups have been split on the issue from the beginning, with some speaking out publicly against the proposed rules.

In a blog post today, the American Center For Law and Justice (ACLJ) freely admits this, announcing, “Thankfully, this time some groups on the Left are starting to see just how invasive and damaging to free speech (everyone’s free speech) this proposed rule would be.”

But in the very same blog post, ACLJ associate counsel Matthew Clark insists that “[t]he new rules are clearly an attempt to legitimize the targeting of conservative groups, giving color of law to the Obama Administration’s mission to silence conservative viewpoints in the social welfare arena.”

In fact, the ACLJ has a petition on its website claiming that the Obama administration wants to use the rules “to crack down on the free speech rights of conservatives.”

So which is it? Is the Obama administration using the proposed regulations to “silence conservative viewpoints” or would the rules affect “everyone’s free speech” equally?

This is beginning to sound a lot like the previous IRS “targeting scandal,” in which conservative groups claim they were politically targeted despite the fact that the program in question also affected plenty of progressive groups.

No, The FCC Is Not Going To Be Stationing Monitors In Local Newsrooms

Last week, Ajit Pai, a Republican nominee serving on the Federal Communications Commission, wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in which he alleged that the FCC was planning to "send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run" in newsrooms all over the nation.

Predictably, the claim has been picked-up by all sorts of folks on the Right who are now warning that it is part of an attempt by the Obama administration to shut down conservative media outlets; most recently Glenn Beck, who spent a large portion of his radio broadcast today freaking out about it, at one point declaring that he would renounce his citizenship if this is what America is becoming:

As luck would have it, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler recently sent a letter to the chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee explaining that the right-wing fear-mongering over this study is totally overblown and inaccurate, as the FCC "has no intention of regulating political or other speech of journalists or broadcasters."

As Wheeler explained, the FCC has a legal obligation to identify "market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses in the provision and ownership of telecommunications services and information services" and make a report to Congress. The study in question aims to identify the "access/barriers to [Critical Information Needs] in diverse American communities" within "FCC regulated markets."

Beneath all the jargon, as far as we can determine the study will allow the FCC to monitor "television, newspaper, radio, and Internet" reports in communities of varying sizes at various periods in order to determine if there are barriers in place in the given media market that are preventing entry by entrepreneurs and small businesses. As part of this study, researchers working on it will interview "corporate management, local management, and lower level employees" at various media outlets in order to "ascertain the process by which stories are selected, station priorities (for content, production quality, and populations served), perceived station bias, perceived percent of news dedicated to each of the eight CINs, and perceived responsiveness to under-served populations."

The FCC is not going to be stationing agents in local news stations all over the country in order to monitor their reporting, as the Right has been frantically proclaiming. As Wheeler explained in his letter, the study is designed merely as "a tool intended to help the Commission consider effective, pro-competitive policies that would encourage new entrants" and is currently being modified so as "not [to] go beyond our responsibilities."

Will this clarification from the FCC stop the Right from continuing to make feverishly overblown and politically charged claims about the study? If history is any indication, most certainly not.

Right Wing Leftovers - 10/23/13

  • Al Mohler told a Mormon audience that "I do not believe that we are going to heaven together, but I do believe we may go to jail together."
  • The ACLJ now says the IRS scandal was the result of "some very ugly, very targeted statements by the president of the United States" in conjunction with a “climate of hostility” created by congressional Democrats and the media.
  • If you are an anti-gay Christian, the Liberty Counsel wants you to know that they are "standing for your liberty."
  • Comedy, Concerned Women For America style.
  • Finally, the folks at AFA are none-too-pleased with remarks made by Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and Bryan Fischer uses it as an opportunity to vent: "The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) are in fact part of an evil conspiracy to celebrate behavior that according to Romans 1 is 'contrary to nature,' consists of 'shameless acts' and causes participants to 'receiv(e)...in themselves the due penalty for their error.'"

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/8/13

Fox News vs. Fox News on Imprisoned Pastor in Iran

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes claimed today in a Fox Nation blog post entitled “Why Won’t Obama Call for Iran to Release American Pastor?” that the Obama administration “has not done anything to help free” Rev. Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen who is being held in a notorious Iranian prison:

The wife of an American pastor held captive in an Iranian prison for nearly a year said the Obama Administration has not done anything to help free her husband – and the law firm representing the family believes it’s because the pastor is a Christian who converted from Islam.

However, this contrasts with what Fox News reported in January of this year:

Although the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with Iran, National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said in a statement Sunday the administration is "deeply disappointed that Saeed Abedini has been sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran on a charge related to his religious beliefs.

"We condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion and we call on the Iranian authorities to release Mr. Abedini."

Meehan added that the State Department remains in close contact with Abedini.

The State Department also called for Abedini's release.

"Mr. Abedini's attorney had only one day (January 21) to present his defense, so we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and transparency of Mr. Abedini's trial," spokesman Darby Holladay said in a statement.

State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said in a January press conference that Iran should “release” the pastor and condemned “Iran’s continued violation of the universal rights of freedom of religion.”

We remain very concerned about U.S. citizen Saeed Abedini, who is detained in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs. Mr. Abedini’s attorney had only one day to present his defense. And we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and the transparency of his trial. We condemn Iran’s continued violation of the universal rights of freedom of religion, and we call on the Iranian authorities to respect Mr. Abedini’s human rights and to release him. We are in close contact with his family as well and we’re actively engaged in the case.

Nuland reiterated the call for his release just last week:

[W]e remain concerned about Mr. Abedini. We raise this at regular intervals. We also remain deeply concerned that the Iranians have not yet granted access to him by our Swiss protecting power. We continue to believe he should be released immediately.

Brian Thorn of Media Matters points out that the American Center for Law and Justice’s Jordan Sekulow praised the White House and the State Deparmtnet for their “strong statements” to “secure the freedom of Pastor Saeed.” “Thanks to the State Department and White House for their statements today and involvement to secure Pastor Saeed’s freedom,” Sekulow said.

Thorn also notes that White House spokesman Jay Carney also condemned Abedini’s imprisonment.

Well, I can tell you a couple of things. One, that we remain concerned about Saeed Abedini, who is, as you mentioned, detained in Iran on a charge related to his religious beliefs. The State Department is in close contact with his family and is actively engaged on this case. As you know, Mr. Abedini's attorney had only one day to present his defense. And earlier this week, Mr. Abedini was not allowed to attend his own trial, so we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and transparency of that trial. We condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal right of freedom or religion, and we call on the Iranian authorities to release Mr. Abedini.

Right Wing Round-Up - 2/26/13

  • Jeremy Hooper: In equality vs. discrimination debate, writing is on the wall; 70+ leading conservatives put it in a brief, too.
  • Chris Rodda: Barton Admits Getting Gun-Toting Students Story from Louis L’Amour, but it’s OK Because L’Amour Said it Really Happened.

Pat Robertson on Obama's Victory: 'What is Going On with the American People?'

The Christian Broadcasting Network put on an election night special and host Pat Robertson appeared to be dumbfounded that President Obama won re-election. Robertson’s guests included Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard, John Fund of the Wall Street Journal, Regent University vice president Paul Bonicelli and Romney adviser Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, the legal group Robertson founded. Barnes reassured Robertson that even if Obama wins, the President “hardly has a mandate for anything” because “this was a status quo election,” as apparently Barnes thinks any incumbent who gets re-elected doesn’t have a mandate. But Sekulow said that Obama will likely appoint two or three justices to the Supreme Court and will use the power of the executive branch to push new “encroachments on liberty and freedom.”

Robertson, who throughout the program held out hope that Karl Rove’s prediction that Romney could win Ohio would materialize, was stunned that Obama was the winner: “What have they got? He doesn’t seem to have any program and yet he’s been able to win a re-election, what is going on with the American people?” Bonicelli said that Americans will spend their next four years “regretting this decision” and Robertson warned that the U.S. is looking more like Western Europe and even Zaire.

Watch highlights here:

Of course, Robertson should not have been surprised since earlier this year God told him who would win the election.

Right Wing Round-Up - 10/9/12

  • Jeremy Hooper: Harry Jackson calls gay families 'discombobulated, Frankenstein structures.'
  • Warren Throckmorton: David Barton’s Founders’ Bible: John Adams and the General Principles of Christianity.
  • Judd Legum @ Think Progress: Republican Candidate In Arkansas Says Parents Should Seek Death Penalty Against ‘Rebellious Children.’

 

Religious Right Groups Laud Paul Ryan, Highlight Anti-Choice and Anti-Gay Voting Record

Conservative leaders hailed Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan, the far-right congressman, to be his running mate, emphasizing his opposition to LGBT and reproductive rights.

Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance said that besides his one-time vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, she is excited “to pull back out my t-shirt from 2008 that says ‘Our VP is hotter than your VP!’”

Paul Ryan is a great choice. He has one little blip in that he voted for ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) a long time ago but voted right on the marriage amendment and supports the unborn. Plus, I get to pull back out my t-shirt from 2008 that says ‘Our VP is hotter than your VP!’ Bonus.

Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition commended Ryan’s “100 percent pro-life and pro-family voting record.”

Mitt Romney choosing Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee is an inspired, outstanding selection. Paul Ryan is a rare and exceptional public servant who combines the courage of his convictions with a sharp intellect and a winsome personality. I have known him since he worked for Jack Kemp at Empower America in the early 1990s, worked with him in passing sound budgets in the House, and am proud to count him as a friend. He is a person of devout Christian faith who has a 100 percent pro-life and pro-family voting record in his 14 years in Congress. He will excite and energize social conservatives, who will play a critical role in the outcome of the elections.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is proud that Ryan “believes that social, fiscal and national security conservatism is indivisible.”

Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan shows that he is serious about getting America's fiscal house in order. Paul Ryan's voting record also suggests that he believes that social, fiscal and national security conservatism is indivisible. Paul Ryan's philosophy clearly includes the understanding that America's financial greatness is tied directly to its moral and cultural wholeness.

As a member of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, he has been a defender of religious expression in the public square. Paul Ryan has spoken out strongly against President Obama's abortion drug and contraception mandates as an affront to religious liberty. He has articulately described how the President's government takeover of health care has pushed aside our First Amendment right of religious freedom.

We look forward to hearing Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan speak at the upcoming Values Voter Summit so that the conservative grassroots will have an opportunity to hear more about their agenda on the critical issues facing our country including religious liberty, marriage, the sanctity of human life as well as fiscal responsibility and national security.

The Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjore Dannenfelser hailed Ryan’s rejection of a “culture war truce.”

“By selecting Congressman Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, Governor Romney demonstrates his commitment to protecting American women and unborn children,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List. “A longtime pro-life advocate and a strong fiscal conservative, Congressman Ryan has insisted that there can be no ‘truce’ when it comes to advancing the rights of the unborn and achieving fiscal responsibility. He has a pristine pro-life voting record and will be an asset to Governor Romney’s campaign.

“Pro-life voters are a key demographic and help secure victory in critical elections,” continued Dannenfelser. “The addition of a second strong pro-life leader to the ticket energizes the pro-life base – we are thrilled with this pick.”

The Catholic Association called Ryan an “excellent choice” since “he has been thoughtful and articulate in applying Catholic principles to the other challenges facing America.”

We believe Governor Romney has made an excellent choice. As a smart, serious Catholic, Congressman Ryan has been steadfast on issues of fundamental principle – defending religious liberty, life, and traditional marriage.

In addition, he has been thoughtful and articulate in applying Catholic principles to the other challenges facing America.

The American Center for Law and Justice’s David French noted Ryan’s opposition to reproductive rights.

In the next days and weeks, there will be a lot of attention on Paul Ryan’s economic expertise and experience with fiscal reform. He became famous in political circles for the “Ryan budget” and for his fearlessness and effectiveness in challenging President Obama in the midst of the Obamacare debate. But what many may not know is that Paul Ryan is a man completely committed to the cause of life.

Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families is glad this “youthful, forward-looking ticket [is] reminding us that with the right choices America's best days are still ahead of us.”

Just moments ago, Governor Mitt Romney formally announced his selection of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to be his vice presidential running mate. He made the announcement at a naval museum in Norfolk, Virginia, with the USS Wisconsin as his backdrop. This is a bold choice, and I am very excited about this pick!

The selection of Paul Ryan shows Governor Romney is serious about confronting the fiscal challenges facing our country. It shows the kind of talented and experienced team Governor Romney will put together that will work for American exceptionalism.

Ryan is a strong conservative. He is pro-life and believes in traditional marriage. Of course, what he is most known for is entitlement reform and stopping the growth of government. He's 42 with a young family.

So this will be a youthful, forward-looking ticket, reminding us that with the right choices America's best days are still ahead of us. It will be a stark contrast to Obama's failed tax and spend policies that are taking us down the dead-end road of European-style socialism. It's clear which presidential ticket is serious about making real change!

Jay Sekulow Continues to Push False Claim that Obama is Threatening Military Voters

Yesterday we noted that Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice is pushing a bogus charge, initially leveled by Mitt Romney’s campaign, that President Obama is trying to suppress the military vote in Ohio. The Obama campaign is challenging a new state law pushed by Republicans which limited early in-person voting to military personnel. The lawsuit’s goal is to expand early in-person voting to all eligible voters, including 900,000 veterans, not to limit military voting.

Even the Romney campaign’s general counsel admits that the lawsuit is not about excluding military voters but expanding the voter pool, as Washington Post’s “The Fact Checker” reports: “As for the memo from Katie Biber, who serves as general counsel to the Romney campaign, the plaintiffs’ argument of arbitrariness and unconstitutionality relates only to Ohio’s exclusion of civilians from the later voting deadline, not to the privilege granted to service members…. Again, the emphasis throughout the Democratic complaint is that Ohio should protect the Equal Protection Clause by ordering the state to extend the later deadline to civilian voters.”

But while Romney’s own general counsel cannot honestly defend the campaign’s preposterous claim, Jay Sekulow is standing by the debunked allegation.

Yesterday on Jay Sekulow Live, he berated Obama over the phony charge and said the ACLJ will file an amicus brief opposing the Obama campaign’s challenge. Sekulow even added to the already manufactured claim by saying that the Obama campaign wants to restrict the voting of “military men and women serving overseas,” even though the law only covers in-person early voting, and the challenge to it could in no way restrict the right of any service member to vote.

I want people to understand this, folks, the Obama administration has initiated this lawsuit, I should say to be particular the Obama re-election committee, it’s Obama for America, has filed suit against Ohio because Ohio is trying to accommodate military men and women serving overseas. I want you to think about that for a moment. The Obama administration or their re-election committee has filed a federal lawsuit to stop a law that would allow for an accommodation for men and women serving in the military serving overseas to vote. How does that make you feel? I hope you get outraged as I am on this and that’s why we’re not just talking about it because on this broadcast we don’t just talk about it we’re taking direct action but this is where you come in, I want all of the states to come to the aid of Ohio and you can do that with me so no matter where you are living, we want you on this brief.



You got the Commander in Chief, the President of the United States’ re-election committee, filing a lawsuit to stop an accommodation. I want people to understand this. The Commander in Chief of the United States has his re-election committee file a federal lawsuit against the state of Ohio and the state of Ohio with wide bipartisan Democratic and Republican support passed legislation accommodating military men and women so that they’re vote will actually count. And the Obama re-election committee says ‘well we think that is arbitrary, capricious and unconstitutional.’

ACLJ Promotes Bogus Claim that Obama is Suppressing Military Voters

President Obama’s campaign is suing Ohio after Republicans changed a voting law that ended early in-person voting, while leaving intact the right for service members to show up to the polls early. But Republicans, including Mitt Romney, say that the lawsuit meant to restore voting rights of most Ohioans would somehow hamper the right of soldiers to vote early, an obviously false and dishonest claim. Fox News has repeated the debunked talking points, and now Jay Sekulow, an early Romney backer, today emailed members of the American Center for Law and Justice stating that “Obama obstructs military voting rights.”

The Obama re-election campaign has filed a lawsuit to overturn a law that gives members of the military a few extra days to vote prior to Election Day.

Our heroes in the military sacrifice so much for us and face considerable risks that often make it more difficult for them to vote.

It's outrageous that the President's re-election campaign would oppose giving them extra consideration to exercise their right to vote.

They are serving to protect our right to vote; we need to stand up now to protect their voting rights. The ACLJ is filing an amicus brief, and we would like you to stand with us.

The ACLJ even started the “Committee to Defend Military Voting Rights” based on an entirely manufactured threat to military voting.

The Obama Re-election campaign has filed a lawsuit to overturn a law that gives members of the military a few extra days to vote early. Men and women in the military sacrifice dearly for our country and they deserve and have the lawful and constitutional right to additional consideration.

Stand with the U.S. military. The ACLJ will file an amicus brief backing the Ohio law - giving our military men and women an opportunity to cast their ballots in a constitutional manner. Add your name to our brief defending the voting rights of the U.S. military today.

This challenge by the Obama Re-election Campaign is not only unconstitutional, but it is also offensive to millions of Americans. Our military heroes deserve to have this lawful courtesy extended to them - not more roadblocks making it even more difficult for them to participate in the election.
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American Center for Law and Justice Top Posts

Founded by Pat Robertson, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and its Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow quickly established themselves as key players in the right-wing movement, litigating a variety of cases at all levels, including the Supreme Court. The ACLJ has been particularly active in fighting marriage equality and defending the Pledge of Allegiance, while Sekulow has maintained very close ties to the Bush White House and played a central role in pushing for the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito. MORE >

American Center for Law and Justice Posts Archive

Miranda Blue, Monday 07/28/2014, 11:23am
BuzzFeed’s Lester Feder is out with an investigative report today on the rise of Europe’s own homegrown Religious Right. Feder cites People For the American Way’s research into funding going from American groups to the European Right — including from Alliance Defending Freedom, the American Center for Law and Justice, and, surprisingly, the fringe anti-choice group Personhood USA — but also notes that a lot of the movement’s energy is travelling in the opposite direction across the Atlantic. Feder reports, for instance, that last month’s sparsely... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Monday 06/09/2014, 1:56pm
Reports that the married couple who shot and killed two police officers, a bystander and themselves in Las Vegas this week were motivated by right-wing extremism have highlighted one of the more troubling trends in even the “mainstream” Right — denial that violent right-wing extremism even exists. As Brian mentioned earlier today, a conservative pundit’s claim on the same day as the shooting that far-right violence is a “complete and total bogeyman” echoes the objections the attacks that many right-wing groups lobbed at a 2009 Department of Homeland... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Friday 06/06/2014, 9:31am
As RWW and others have documented, American Religious Right figures are part of a global anti-equality movement.  Groups like the American Center for Law and Justice, National Organization for Marriage and World Congress of Families are working with right-wing movements in Europe to resist advances in LGBT Equality. Today, Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel praises this week’s passage of an anti-marriage-equality constitutional amendment in Slovakia, where there is no legal recognition of same-sex civil unions. While the U.S. seems bound and determined to destroy natural... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Tuesday 05/20/2014, 1:19pm
Yesterday, Miranda reported on the seemingly contradictory views of the American Center for Law and Justice’s European and Slavic affiliates when it comes to blasphemy laws. The ECLJ has been vocal in opposing blasphemy laws in Muslim-majority countries, but the SCLJ supported passage of a new anti-blasphemy law in Russia. The law provides for fines, “correctional labor” and up to three years behind bars for “public actions expressing obvious disrespect toward society and committed to abuse the religious feelings of believers.” SCLJ’s co-chairman Vladimir... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Monday 05/19/2014, 11:52am
The American Center for Law and Justice, the group founded by televangelist Pat Robertson to be a right-wing counter to the American Civil Liberties Union, bills itself as a champion of the “ongoing viability of freedom and liberty in the United States and around the world.” But the ACLJ – which has joined in the Religious Right chorus claiming that progressive policies are causing American Christians to lose their religious freedom – has never been so keen on the civil liberties of those with whom they disagree, especially in its work overseas. As we’ve noted... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 04/04/2014, 10:35am
Even though the right-wing conspiracy theory about President Obama handing over control of the Internet to foreign powers has been completely discredited, the myth continues to survive among conservative activists and Republicans in Congress, who have seized upon the debunked claim to attack the Obama administration. WorldNetDaily reports today that Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice, one of the chief groups pushing the false attack, has garnered over 100,000 signatures on its petition demanding Congress take action against the phony scandal. GOP congressmen are... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 03/28/2014, 2:35pm
As we have noted several times, right-wing groups are falsely claiming that the Obama administration has relinquished control of the Internet to a United Nations-controlled group. In fact, quite the opposite is true: Politico reports that the administration rebuffed calls from Russia and China to give authority to the United Nations-led International Telecommunication Union, and instead completed a sixteen year transition of Internet oversight to a US-backed nonprofit. Naturally, Obama critics are now alleging that the president did the opposite of what actually occurred and handed over... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/26/2014, 12:00pm
Need more proof that right-wing activists will keep pushing their conspiracy theories even after they have been thoroughly and decisively debunked? Take the case of the recent announcement that the federal government will relinquish oversight of the Internet to a US-backed nonprofit, which has prompted conservatives to claim that the United Nations, China, and Islamic governments will now seize control of the Internet. As it turns out, the transition has been in the making for 16 years and actually stifles attempts to increase the authority of the UN-led International Telecommunication Union... MORE >