American Principles Project

The Movers Behind The Anti-LGBT 'Religious Liberty' Movement

In the first few months of this year, for the second year in a row, more than 100 anti-LGBT bills have been introduced in state legislatures, many of them promoted under the banner of protecting religious liberty.  A new report by People For the American Way Foundation, “Who is Weaponizing Religious Liberty?,” explains that “it takes a right-wing village to turn a cherished American principle into a destructive culture-war weapon.”

The report makes clear that the wave of anti-equality legislation promoted in the name of religious liberty is not an outgrowth of local conflicts but the latest step in a long-term campaign by national Religious Right legal and political groups to resist legal equality for LGBT people. As Americans have come to know and embrace their LGBT family members and friends, harsh anti-gay rhetoric has become less effective, says the report, leading social conservatives to try to reclaim the moral and political high ground by reframing debates over marriage equality and nondiscrimination protections as questions of religious liberty.

These efforts are being promoted by “a network of national Religious Right organizations that oppose legal recognition for the rights of LGBT people,” notes the report, which profiles some of the leading organizations while noting that they “represent the tip of the iceberg of a much larger movement that is trying to eliminate legal access to abortion and roll back legal protections for LGBT people, couples, and families — and trying to do so in the name of religious liberty.”

The groups covered in the report include:

·         Family Research Council and FRC Action

·         Heritage Foundation and Heritage Action

·         National Organization for Marriage

·         Alliance Defending Freedom

·         Liberty Counsel

·         American Family Association

·         Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

·         American Principles Project

The report includes links to additional resources on the organizations behind the Right’s use of religious liberty as political strategy for resisting equality. 

Cruz Backer Robert George No Fan of Trump, But Group He Founded Is

Princeton University professor Robert George was a co-chair of Catholics for Cruz; when Cruz was a student at Princeton, George supervised his junior-year independent project and senior thesis. Along with George Weigel, George wrote an anti-Trump letter signed by other conservative Catholics that was published in National Review, part of the magazine’s failed effort to derail Trump’s campaign.

That letter declared Trump “manifestly unfit to be president of the United States.” It decried his “vulgarity” and “appeals to racial and ethnic fears and prejudice” and his promises to order the American military to torture terror suspects and kill terrorists’ families — “actions condemned by the Church and policies that would bring shame upon our country.”

The letter went on:

And there is nothing in his campaign or his previous record that gives us grounds for confidence that he genuinely shares our commitments to the right to life, to religious freedom and the rights of conscience, to rebuilding the marriage culture, or to subsidiarity and the principle of limited constitutional government….

Mr. Trump’s record and his campaign show us no promise of greatness; they promise only the further degradation of our politics and our culture. We urge our fellow Catholics and all our fellow citizens to reject his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination by supporting a genuinely reformist candidate.

When Cruz dropped out, George tweeted “God help us.”

George expanded on that sentiment in a despairing interview with the Daily Princetonian:

Professor of Jurisprudence Robert George, who authored an endorsement for Cruz earlier this spring, said that with Cruz’s withdrawal from the race, it is now clear that voters will be choosing in November between Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“For many Americans, including myself, these are dreadful alternatives. We regard neither of these individuals as fit – morally or otherwise – to be president,” he said.

The two presumptive nominees have told appalling lies to advance or protect their political interests, George said.

“A number of people have written to me this evening asking, ‘Which should we support?’ I answer: If you believe that Ted Cruz’s dad was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, then vote for Trump. If you believe that the murders of Ambassador Stevens and the others at Benghazi were committed by a mob inflamed by a movie trailer, then vote for Clinton,” he said.

Since then, he’s continued tweeting criticism of both candidates, such as this one from May 4: “Dreadful Donald and Horrible Hillary are both products of the culture of narcissism which is the me-generation's true and lasting legacy.”

But in spite of all that, it is not clear whether George will remain in the #NeverTrump camp. George is connected to an extraordinary number of Religious Right groups, and it is difficult to overstate his role in shaping the anti-gay movement’s “religious liberty” strategy.  But at least one of those groups is on a different page.

George is the founder of the American Principles Project, which is embracing Trump based on a letter he sent the group last year saying he would sign the First Amendment Defense Act – the Religious Right-backed legislation to give special legal protection to anti-LGBT discrimination – if Congress would send it to his desk.

On Thursday, APP put out a press release defending Trump against criticism from the Human Rights Campaign and saying that given a choice between Trump and the “extremist” Clinton, “the choice is incredibly easy – we have to, and will, back Trump.” APP President Frank Cannon’s statement said:

Donald Trump deserves credit from social conservatives for his principled position on protecting freedom of religion…Trump has demonstrated a commitment to the concerns of social conservatives on issues like life, marriage, and religious freedom, and he has promised to appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court in the mold of the late Antonin Scalia.

On Friday, APP’s communications director Jon Schweppe published “the moral case” for Trump in the Daily Caller. Schweppe says he votes on one issue – abortion – and that the election of Hillary Clinton would be “devastating to the pro-life cause.” Under a Trump presidency, Schweppe writes, “we have the opportunity to protect the court, replace Justice Scalia with a conservative justice, and eventually overturn Roe v. Wade…He is committed to getting this right.”

The APP bio of George ends with this disclaimer: “Views expressed by the American Principles Project and/or on this website are not necessarily those of Professor George.” Not necessarily.

 

More than 50 Conservative Catholics Back Ted Cruz

The latest announcement in the Ted Cruz presidential campaign’s ongoing rollout of endorsements from right-wing leaders is a group of more than 50 “Catholic influencers” led by Robert George, the intellectual muscle for the Religious Right, and Ken Cuccinelli, former attorney general of Virginia and failed gubernatorial candidate. The campaign announced the endorsement of Robert George yesterday; some others on the list have also been announced previously.

Not surprisingly, the list of Catholics for Cruz is heavy on culture warriors who have been fighting to criminalize abortion and resist legal equality for LGBT people and same-sex couples. Although Cruz is not Catholic, he made a reference to the Year of Mercy announced by Pope Francis, saying “we have an opportunity to protect the most vulnerable and safeguard the truth revealed through Scripture and the tradition of millennia.”

One eyebrow-raising name on the list is Anne Schlafly Cori, president of Missouri Eagle Forum and daughter of Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly, who endorsed Donald Trump last week

Also on the list:

Six GOP Hopefuls Vow To Enshrine Anti-Gay Discrimination Into Law

In the wake of the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling, anti-gay Religious Right groups rallied around a piece of legislation known as the First Amendment Defense Act, which would prohibit the federal government from "taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage."

In essence, the law would give individuals and businesses a license to openly discriminate against gay people and others in the name of "religious liberty," so naturally anti-gay groups have lined up in support of the legislation.

Today, several of these groups — the American Principles Project, Heritage Action for America, Family Research Council Action — announced that six GOP presidential hopefuls have all signed a pledge to, if elected to the White House, push for the passage of the FADA within their first 100 days in office:

American Principles Project has joined together with Heritage Action for America, the action arm of the Heritage Foundation, and FRC Action, the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council, to invite each of the candidates running for President to sign the following pledge:

“If elected, I pledge to push for the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) and sign it into law during the first 100 days of my term as President.”

So far, six candidates have signed the pledge:

•   Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

•   Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida)

•   Dr. Ben Carson

•   Carly Fiorina

•   Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania)

•   Former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas)

...

Maggie Gallagher, Senior Fellow at American Principles Project, released the following statement:

“It has become clear that the First Amendment Defense Act is rapidly becoming a signature issue that unifies the GOP. Three out of the four top contenders for the nomination — Carson, Cruz, and Rubio — have pledged to prioritize passing FADA in their first 100 days of office. Additionally, Bush, Graham, Paul, and now for the first time, Donald Trump, have publicly expressed support for FADA. Real, concrete protections for gay marriage dissenters appear to be just one election victory away.”

Ted Cruz On Trans Rights: 'I Don't Want My Daughters Taking Showers With Little Boys'

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, responded last month to the Obama administration’s efforts to enforce transgender rights in public schools by declaring that he doesn’t want his young daughters “taking showers with little boys.”

Asked by Robert George in a November 25 interview on the EWTN network about a Department of Education ruling that an Illinois school district should have provided a transgender girl access to the girls’ locker room at her school, Cruz said it was a “ridiculous” decision made by “zealots.”

“Well, look,” he said. “This is ridiculous. It shows just how radical and extreme the current administration is. You know, I’m the father of two little girls. Caroline and Catherine are seven and five. I don’t want my daughters taking showers with little boys, I don’t want them when they’re in junior high or high school. And it’s absurd, no parents do. And these are zealots.”

He then pivoted to his pledge to do away with the Common Core standards initiative and abolish the Department of Education entirely.

Ted Cruz: President Can Ignore 'Fundamentally Illegitimate,' Nazi-Like Gay Marriage Decision

In an interview with influential social conservative commentator Robert George on the Catholic television network EWTN last month, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said that the president should defy the Supreme Court’s “fundamentally illegitimate” decision striking down bans on same-sex marriage, which he compared to “Nazi decrees.”

George, the co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage and a mentor of Cruz’s, likened the court’s “tragic mistake” in Obergefell to infamous Supreme Court decisions including Dred Scott, asking Cruz, “Was Lincoln right to defy the court on [Dred Scott] and would you, as president, do that with the Obergefell decision?”

“Lincoln was absolutely right, I agree with President Lincoln,” Cruz responded. “And courts do not make law. That is not what a court does. A court interprets the law, a court applies the law, but courts don’t make law.”

Saying that it is “profoundly wrong” to refer to the gay marriage decision as the law of the land, Cruz said, “I think the decision was fundamentally illegitimate, it was lawless, it was not based on the Constitution.”

Cruz then brought up remarks that Justice Anthony Kennedy made recently at Harvard Law School, in which he discussed when it is the duty of public officials to resign rather than carry out laws that they think are unjust, such as in the case of opponents of marriage equality. Kennedy used the extreme example of judges who resigned under Nazi rule, saying that whether they can morally carry out their official duties is “a fair question that officials can and should ask themselves” and that “great respect … ought to be given to people who resign rather than do something they think is morally wrong in order to make a point.”

This, Cruz declared, amounted to Kennedy comparing “the Supreme Court of the United States to the Nazis.”

“This isn’t me calling them the Nazis,” he said, “this is Justice Kennedy calling the court on which he serves, calling the opinion that he wrote, analogizing that to the Nazi decrees that we must obey.”

George interjected: “Just to be clear, surely Justice Kennedy was not embracing Nazism.”

Cruz hesitated and smiled. “He drew the analogy,” he said, “and the obvious implication was just as you were forced to obey the Nazis, you’re forced to obey us as well … even if we are tyrannical and oppressive. Now, look, certainly he wasn’t embracing all of the horrible things the Nazis did but to make that analogy, that is essentially saying, we wear the jackboot and you must obey us.”

Ted Cruz: We Can 'Absolutely' Outlaw Abortion Without Overturning Roe

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said last month that Congress could “absolutely” criminalize all abortion by passing a law giving 14th Amendment protections to fetuses and zygotes, thus bypassing a constitutional amendment overturning Roe v. Wade.

This represents the Republican presidential candidate’s strongest endorsement yet of the radical anti-choice “personhood” strategy, which, based on a questionable interpretation of Roe, holds that Congress can simply outlaw abortion by classifying fertilized eggs as persons under the law. If successful, personhood would outlaw nearly all abortions and could even criminalize certain types of birth control.

Cruz made the comments in a November 25 interview with influential social conservative commentator Robert George as part of a series of candidate interviews that George is hosting on the the Catholic television network EWTN.

After outlining the personhood strategy, George asked Cruz, “Do you believe that unborn babies are persons within the meaning of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and, if so, will you call on Congress to use its authority under the 14th Amendment pursuant to Section Five, to protect the unborn? Or do you take the view, as some do, that we can’t do that until Roe v. Wade is overturned either by the court itself or by constitutional amendment? Where do you stand on that?”

“Listen, absolutely yes,” Cruz responded.

“I very much agree with the pope’s longstanding and prior popes’ before him longstanding call to protect every human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death,” he added.

“And we can do that by Congressional action without waiting for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade?” George asked.

“Absolutely yes, under the 14th Amendment,” Cruz responded.

Cruz has on two separate occassions promised personhood groups that he would support their strategy, but has previously been eclipsed on the issue by his presidential rival Mike Huckabee, who has vowed to impose personhood by executive fiat if he becomes president. Another GOP presidential candidate, Rand Paul, has sponsored a personhood bill in Congress.

Anti-Abortion Groups Target GOP Congresswoman For Expressing Concern About Rape Survivors

Anti-choice Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina became public enemy number one of the anti-abortion movement earlier this year when she helped sink a planned vote on a 20-week abortion ban — the top priority of many anti-choice groups — because she feared the legislation’s harsh treatment of rape survivors could turn off young voters.

Now, it appears that the anti-choice movement’s collective rage at Ellmers has kept her off of a House special committee investigating Planned Parenthood — which she had aggressively lobbied to join — and is fueling a number of primary challengers in her home state.

Ellmers was conspicuously absent from a list of Republican members of the Planned Parenthood investigative committee released today, after anti-choice groups — such as the Susan. B Anthony List, which had previously endorsed her lobbied to keep her off the committee.

On top of that, LifeSiteNews yesterday assembled an impressive collection of quotes from anti-choice leaders vowing to oppose Ellmers in a primary:

"Congresswoman Renee Ellmers has betrayed the pro-life community," said the North Carolina Values Coalition. The American Principles Project's founder shared, "I hope that Ellmers will be subjected to a strong primary challenge in the next election by someone who is genuinely pro-life and that our movement to protect the lives of unborn children at all stages and in all conditions will now move forward." National Right to Life said, "If you can't vote for such a humanitarian no-brainer of a law to protect the unborn, you can't be trusted to vote for any pro-life legislation."

"We need to send a message loud and clear to all 'pro-life' representatives who ask for our vote, but who betray the lives of vulnerable unborn babies when they get in office: If you vote or work behind the scenes to allow the slaughter of abortion to continue, you will hear from pro-life voters loudly and clearly at the polls," National Right to Life president Carol Tobias said.

Dr. James Dobson, author and founder of Focus on the Family, commented, "Conservatives will know Rep. Renee Ellmers best for her opposition to the Marriage Protection Amendment, her sponsorship of the radical Equal Rights Amendment, and for withdrawing her sponsorship of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act."

Ambassador and former presidential candidate Alan Keyes released a statement about Ellmers, saying that she is "a faithless Representative, favored by political bosses, who must be removed from office if decent politics is to prevail."

Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List, which has been training Republican candidates to avoid talking about rape when talking about their opposition to abortion rights, was furious at Ellmers for “creating a firestorm on an issue that this was never about, that this was about rape” and said back in January that if Ellmers got a primary challenger, “she deserves it.”

Meanwhile, Ellmers is desperately trying to remind her constituents that despite having once expressed concern about rape survivors, she still very much opposes abortion rights.

Right Wing Round-Up - 10/9/15

  • Matthew Yglesias @ Vox: Ben Carson's far from the only conservative saying gun control caused the Holocaust.
  • Andy Towle @ Towleroad: One Million Moms Have Their Pitchforks Out for the Gay Campbell’s Soup Dads.
  • Jason Stanford @ TPM: Here's Everything The GOP Blames For Gun Deaths (Other Than Guns, Of Course).
  • Zack Ford @ Think Progress: Anti-LGBT Groups Absolutely Deserve Their ‘Hate Group’ Designations.
  • Arturo Garcia @ Raw Story: Republican committee chair admits: No evidence Planned Parenthood misused federal funding.
  • Joe Jervis: Right Wing Think Tank Calls For All “State And Federal Officeholders” To Defy SCOTUS On Obergefell.

Maggie Gallagher: Tell Gay Friend He's Driving His Spouse Away From 'God's Plan'

Maggie Gallagher, the former head of the National Organization for Marriage who is now a senior fellow at the American Principles Project, writes in the National Review today that she, unlike Sen. Marco Rubio, would decline to go to a gay or lesbian friend’s wedding and would instead tell them that they are driving the one they love away from “God’s plan” and into sin.

While she praised the “great dignity and kindness” of Rubio’s statement — that he would attend the wedding of a gay or lesbian loved one while still opposing marriage equality as policy — Gallagher said that she would personally tell her loved one that “on your happy day you should be surrounded by people who can honor your vow and help you keep it” and “I can’t do that.”

At the end of her draft speech to her hypothetical gay friend, Gallagher urges, “let us somehow against all odds find a way to love each other as we are, and not how each of us would wish the other to be.”

So I would sit down with my friend and tell them this:

Here’s what I think. We are born male and female, and marriage is the union of husband to wife that celebrates the necessity of the two genders’ coming together to make the future happen. I know you don’t think that. I know the law no longer thinks that. But I have staked my life on this truth.

The problem for me in celebrating your gay wedding, as much as I love you, is that I would be witnessing and celebrating your attempt not only to commit yourself to a relationship that keeps you from God’s plan but, worse, I would be witnessing and celebrating your attempt to hold the man you love to a vow that he will avoid God’s plan. To vow oneself to sin is one thing, to try to hold someone you love to it — that’s not something I can celebrate.

And I would be party to the idea that two men can make a marriage, which I do not believe.

On your happy day you should be surrounded by people who can honor your vow and help you keep it. I can’t do that.

“Porneia” is a word in the Bible that has been much mistranslated. But I think it means a sexual relationship that cannot by its nature become a marriage. That’s why Christ said that marriage is forever, unless it is porneia. I understand that you might well want to rupture our friendship over this, my honest view.

I choose to love you both and keep you in my life. But let us somehow against all odds find a way to love each other as we are, and not how each of us would wish the other to be.

Maggie Gallagher Warns Of 'The Horrible Things The Left Is Going To Do' As They Impose 'This New, Strange Sexual Orthodoxy'

On Saturday, a group of Religious Right activists at the Values Voter Summit were pitched on the possibility and necessity of a stronger union between social conservatives and libertarians, a discussion that was heavily tinged with the rhetoric of anti-Christian persecution that dominated the weekened.

In a panel titled “Moral Decline Causes Big Government,” the American Principles Project’s Maggie Gallagher (formerly of the National Organization for Marriage), the director of Rand Paul’s PAC, Doug Stafford, and conservative pollster Kellyanne Conway made their best case for libertarians to adopt social conservative causes — or, given the makeup of the crowd, for social conservatives to be open to an alliance with libertarian conservatives.

Gallagher brought up the Religious Right’s fears about the persecution of conservative Christians by the LGBT rights movement, warning that with the current Supreme Court she was “not optimistic” about preventing marriage equality from becoming law in all 50 states, and that if that happens, there will be “more cases where people are being oppressed…for their views on marriage.”

Libertarians, Gallagher said, should share the concern of social conservatives about gay rights advocates “using the government to impose this new, strange sexual orthodoxy” and their fears of “the horrible things the left is going to do.” She warned that the window for a stronger alliance was narrow, because if LGBT rights advocates succeed, “there’s not a way to build a winning conservative coalition.”

She also made an ideological case for libertarians to join social conservatives, arguing that  “the decline of marriage” caused the growth of “pretty much every part of government, besides the defense budget, in America.”

“When the family falls apart, the government grows to step in,” she said.

Conway told the crowd that “values voters and libertarians have a great deal in common” from opposition to “big government” and abortion rights to being “sick of lawyers in black robes making stuff up” to a refusal to “redefine” family to be “whatever feels cool.” She also saw an opening to win over libertarians with the Religious Right’s increasing reliance on persecution rhetoric, or what she called the “assault on religious liberty in so many parts of our culture.”

Stafford echoed Conway, explaining that many libertarians oppose abortion rights and putting in a plug for the two groups to work together and with liberals to end the drug war.

Whatever the few libertarians in the room might have thought of the panel’s appeals, however, the bulk of the social conservative crowd seemed deeply skeptical of any attempt to woo libertarians. The biggest round of applause at the event came when a man came to the microphone, introduced himself as a pastor and proceeded to deliver a soliloquy against such “sins” as homosexuality. In an apparent jab at Sen. Paul’s position that marriage equality legislation should be left to the states, the pastor said, “Don’t let the states decide on marriage. God has already decided!”

As the panel ended, after little discussion of the morality of same-sex marriage, the woman next to me turned to me and shook her head. The panelists, she said, “didn’t listen to a thing that pastor said.”
 

Steve Lonegan Gets Job Pushing Gold Standard With Anti-Gay Group That Supported His Campaign

The Star-Ledger reported earlier this week that Steve Lonegan, the unsuccessful Republican candidate for Senate in last year’s New Jersey special election, has a new job: leading the anti-gay, anti-choice American Principles Project’s sideline effort to bring back the gold standard.

Lonegan told The Auditor he is now the director of monetary policy for the American Principles Project, a conservative advocacy group. He plans to work to spread the gospel about what he says as the Federal Reserve’s “failed policy” and the need to bring back the gold standard.

“We will be working hard in states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina to see to it that the (presidential) primary candidates in both parties are forced to talk about this issue,” Lonegan said. “They can’t hide from it.”

The American Principles Project was started in 2009 by Robert George, the intellectual leader of the anti-gay movement, to pressure Republican politicians to embrace both fiscal and social conservative policies. APP currently employs Maggie Gallagher, who founded the National Organization for Marriage along with George and served as NOM’s first president.

In his new job, it seems that Lonegan will unite the main political interests of APP’s chairman Sean Fieler, a little-known hedge fund manager who has become a major donor to the Religious Right and to social conservative causes in New York and New Jersey.

As we noted in a profile of Fieler earlier this year, the gold standard seems to be a pet project of his, so much so that an idea that is widely dismissed among mainstream economists has become a major policy platform of the American Principles Project. The issue was mentioned nowhere in the group’s original mission statement and doesn’t seem to have appeared on the group’s website until Fieler came on board as chairman in 2010.

Fieler and the American Principles Project have a history with Lonegan. Fieler is the major funder of the American Principles Fund , a super PAC affiliated with APP, which last year spent nearly $100,000 running anti-choice ads against Lonegan’s Democratic opponent Cory Booker. Fieler himself has maxed out personal contributions to Lonegan’s recent campaigns, giving his candidate committee $10,400 over the past two years.

Now, Lonegan will bring his unabashed anti-choice and anti-gay politics (remember when he speculated about whether Booker was gay?) to help unite the American Principles Project’s social and economic policy priorities.

The Star-Ledger notes that until this year, APP employed Booker’s current Republican Senate opponent Jeff Bell.

Anti-Immigrant Leader Brent Bozell Launches Latino Media Watchdog

Yesterday, the Media Research Center launched a new affiliate called MRC Latino with support from Rand Paul and the American Principles Project, a Religious Right group. On the day of its launch, MRC Latino came out with a report attacking Univision and Telemundo for allegedly having a liberal bias, suggesting that the networks are “being used as pawns of public relations” by the Obama administration. Politico reports:

The study is part of the launch of MRC’s new Spanish-language media watch group MRC Latino, which is officially launching on Tuesday. Oliver-Méndez and MRC President Brent Bozell said they hope the study and MRC Latino will lead to more conservative voices in Spanish-language media and that they plan to meet with executives at the two networks to discuss the study.

“It’s going to be outreach that we’re going to do to hopefully sit down with some of the major players in the Latino media, go through these findings and try to see if we can have a constructive dialogue,” Bozell said. “I don’t believe in any suggestion that liberals shouldn’t have their world view presented, but a, conservatives need to have equal footing. And b, you can’t use your network to actively promote a political agenda.”

MRC Latino will be run by Ken Oliver-Méndez, who “led the Bush administration’s domestic ethnic and religious media outreach, including management of the White House Spanish language web site and serving as Spanish-language coach to the President.”

While Bozell insists that the Spanish-language press is unfair to Republicans, the activist who once compared President Obama to “a skinny, ghetto crackhead” may want to consider if he himself is playing a role in damaging the GOP brand.

For example, Bozell “called for a clean sweep of the House Republican leadership if it moved forward on the issue” of immigration reform, and his group “blitzed the speaker’s office with thousands of phone calls to jam the lines and protest his stance on immigration.” He also defended Arizona’s draconian anti-immigrant SB 1070, a law strongly opposed by Latino voters.

Even though Bozell says he now supports greater Latino outreach and engagement, he once criticized “Big Tent conservatism” for hurting the larger movement. “We reject completely the idea of Big Tent conservatism,” he told a Citizens United event in March.

He also dismissed the Latino vote, which swung heavily towards Obama, in the run-up to the 2012 election and attacked the media for being “too busy celebrating and pandering to minority voters as the most crucial, special voters of all.”

Time's cover carried the words "Yo Decido: Why Latinos Will Pick the Next President."

This is odd, since whites are still 64 percent of the population. Time and CNN select the Latino vote as crucial because they want to make the Republicans cry uncle on amnesty. Time's Michael Scherer began his cover story by slamming Gov. Jan Brewer for "the most incendiary immigration law in the country."

But who made that law a national issue? The liberal media did. They put all the political pressure on anyone opposed to illegal immigration. It was "incendiary" despite a Rasmussen poll finding 70 percent of Arizonans supported the tougher law. The Obama-obedient media never found it "incendiary" for Obama to announce in 2011 that he was suspending most deportations in a transparently political move.

Take a look at the numbers from the Pew Hispanic Center, which estimated that 69 percent of Latinos voted for Democrats in 2006 and 67 percent for Obama in 2008. But in 2010, that percentage dropped to 60 percent, even though liberals surely tried to make Tea Party "racism" an issue to Latino voters.

Republicans shouldn't write off the Latino vote, but they can wonder how much of that 9-percent slice of Latinos would vote Republican if they Xeroxed the liberal amnesty position. CNN and Time could wonder if Obama will hurt his Latino "landslide" by canceling pipelines and signaling a hard-left position on abortion, gay marriage and religious liberty. But they're too busy celebrating and pandering to minority voters as the most crucial, special voters of all.

APP: Republicans Will Win Women & Young Voters By Amplifying Anti-Choice, Anti-Gay Stances

The American Principles Project, the Religious Right group that helped torpedo Mary Cheney’s short-lived Senate bid in Wyoming, claims that Republicans can win young and women voters if they campaigned more aggressively on their party platform’s ultraconservative positions on abortion rights and LGBT equality.

The organization issued a report [PDF] last fall which criticizes Republican candidates like Mitt Romney for trying to play down or moderate the GOP’s stances on such social issues. APP’s Maggie Gallagher -- formerly of the National Organization for Marriage -- even chided the far-right Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli for not being conservative enough.

In an interview today with OneNewsNow, an affiliate of the American Family Association, APP spokeswoman Kate Bryan claims that the GOP’s opposition to choice and gay rights will actually help the party win over women and young voters.

Bryan may want to check out the 2012 election exit poll, which found that 59 percent of voters supported legal abortion, or the many studies that report support for marriage equality reaching record highs.

Spokesperson Kate Bryan of the American Principles Project points out that Mitt Romney had little to say about abortion and homosexuality, and he was defeated by Barack Obama "instead of standing strong on these foundational principles that the majority of Americans stand with."



Bryan insists Republicans were afraid they would lose the votes of women and youth, so they "deflected" on social issues.

"For lack of a better term," she says, "they were cowards."

What about the future?

"I think that they're starting to see the trend and instead of shying away from it, they're really embracing their stance and being a strong voice," says the American Principles spokesperson.

Because of that change, she predicts the GOP will garner more votes from women and from young people.

Gallagher: GOP Will Commit 'Suicide' If It Considers 'Stupid' Social Issues 'Truce'

National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher has been sounding the alarm about moves to moderate the GOP’s positions on issues such as abortion rights and LGBT equality.

Gallagher recently harangued Ken Cuccinelli for not adequately advocating for his ultraconservative views on social issues in his foundering gubernatorial campaign. That’s right: Even though over half of Virginia voters consider Cuccinelli to be “too conservative,” she believes he is trailing in the polls because he isn’t playing up his right-wing credentials.

Speaking with radio host Steve Deace last night, Gallagher insisted any shift in the party’s right-wing platform would be “suicidal” and criticized the social issues “truce” proposed — to much Religious Right resistance — by then-Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2010.

“The truce strategy is the stupidest of all possible strategies,” Gallagher said, attacking party “elites” for “adopting a suicidal political strategy.”

Gallagher, who is now with the American Principles Project, recently joined the group in issuing its own report [PDF] about the GOP’s defeats in 2012 to counter the Republican National Committee’s autopsy report, which was not received well by the party’s right flank, to say the least.

Politico reports:

“We believe the conventional explanation emerging from the Republican National Committee’s ‘autopsy’ report gets the core issues exactly wrong,” reads the report from American Principles in Action, a conservative advocacy group. “Accepting this emerging conventional wisdom will, in our view, likely consign the GOP to a permanent minority status.”

The report was authored by social issues activist and author Maggie Gallagher; activist Frank Cannon, who in a separate interview was more measured about the RNC’s effort; and Rich Danker, an economic projects director with the group. All are tied to the affiliated American Principles Project.Set to be released Thursday, their report takes issue with what they call “conventional wisdom” that Republican losses in 2012 stemmed from candidates who focused too much on “extremist” social issues, taking away from the party’s “winning economic message.”



“The Democrats know they will not pay a price for their increasingly aggressive advocacy of their extremist social issues stances, because the GOP will not counterpunch on these issues,” the report says. “Thus they can please their base at no cost.”



Cannon noted that the group agreed with some of the RNC’s recommendations, but differed when it came to emphasis of social issues.

The conservative assessment, titled “Building a Winning GOP Coalition: The Lessons of 2012,” dismisses what former Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.) called a “truce” on social issues, arguing that even if Republicans stopped fighting over them, Democrats would continue to highlight GOP positions on their terms.

The Virginia governor’s race emerges as one example of that dynamic, the report says.

GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli, who has a deeply conservative record on social issues, has often declined to wade too deeply into the subject on the stump. The report singles out an instance when Cuccinelli ducked a question about abortion restrictions, suggesting “that his campaign has accepted the conventional wisdom that the best use to make of social issues is to signal to voters that you don’t take your own positions seriously enough to govern with them, so it’s safe for the mushy middle to vote for you.”

Religious Right Groups Launch the 'Life and Marriage Coalition'

A number of Religious Right organizations are coming together for an election season coalition to attack President Obama in swing states. The Family Research Council, National Organization for Marriage, The Family Leader, Concerned Women for America, American Principles Project, the Susan B. Anthony List and Common Sense Issues have joined the “Life and Marriage Coalition,” which FRC head Tony Perkins said is needed to defeat Obama’s “anti-marriage and anti-life policies.”

A coalition of the nation’s most prominent conservative social issue groups (www.lifeandmarriagecoalition.com) today announced that they are coordinating efforts in Ohio, Iowa and North Carolina to talk about the importance of preserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and supporting the sanctity of human life. The groups hope to influence voters in key swing states that Barack Obama carried in 2008.

“This is a historic coming together of premiere social conservative groups to coordinate efforts in three swing states most likely to determine the outcome of this fall’s presidential election,” said Tony Perkins, president of FRC Action, the legislative action arm of the Family Research Council. “Many supporters of life and marriage do not realize that their votes could determine the outcome of the election, which in turn could determine the future of marriage and life in this country. We’re working together to ensure they understand that President Obama is anti-marriage and anti-life.”

The Life and Marriage Coalition includes FRC Action, Susan B. Anthony List, National Organization for Marriage, American Principles in Action, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee and Common Sense Issues. Combined efforts will include independent expenditures for radio advertisements, billboards, phone and bus tour events designed to educate and mobilize socially conservative voters in the three targeted states.

“For millions of Americans, this election is about more than the economy, it’s about the direction our nation takes on foundational principles, like what constitutes marriage, and whether unborn children have a right to life,” said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage. Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List added, “We will work together as national groups and partner with local pro-family organizations to make sure that voters know that if we value marriage and want to stop government funding of abortion groups, we must defeat Barack Obama.”

State groups that are part of the effort are the North Carolina Values Coalition, and The Family Leader in Iowa.

“Fiscal and social issues are not separate issues and it is our goal to educate voters of this indisputable truth,” said Patrick Davis of Common Sense Issues. “In fact and in practice they are inseparable principles fortifying and empowering each other much like the fiscal, spiritual and emotional union of a man and woman in marriage or the life-long relationship between a mother and father and their child. All fiscal issues have a social element to them.”

The coalition also said its efforts this year are just the beginning. “Our coalition members are determined to defend American values on marriage and life for the long haul, said Davis. “The 2012 election is critical, but it is also important to lengthen the horizon to make sure that we have marriage and life champions running in critical races over the next several election cycles. We’re beginning to talk to prospective candidates now.”

Pat Robertson Weighs in on Sandra Fluke's 'Fornication'

Televangelist Pat Robertson on the 700 Club today attacked Sandra Fluke’s testimony at a Democratic hearing, after she was barred from speaking at a GOP-led committee, in support of making religiously-based institutions like universities cover contraception in their insurance plans. Robertson falsely claimed Fluke was asking for “$3,000 a year” for contraceptives, as Fluke actually said that without insurance “contraception can cost a woman over $3,000” over the course of law school, and noted that contraceptives are important not only to prevent unintended pregnancies but also matters such as ovarian cysts, hormonal disorders and early menopause. His guest Jeffrey Bell of the American Principles Project said that Fluke’s testimony was part of a larger left-wing plot from the 1790s, not the 1970s, of “imposing the values of the sexual revolution on everybody else” and trying to “attack organized religion and the traditional family.” Bell later told Robertson, a former presidential candidate and founder of the Christian Coalition who talks about social issues almost every day of his show, that social issues “keep coming up” in political debates “because it’s in the DNA of the left.”

Watch:

Robertson: You know there was a woman, the law student at Georgetown University who appeared before a congressional committee, and she said that students needed $3,000 a year for contraception and that they couldn’t afford it. As I understand, the Catholic school was supposed to pay for it. Now Catholics say that fornication, if you will, sex outside of marriage, is a sin. This woman is saying ‘I’m going to be committing sin but I want you to pay for my sin.’ Now am I overstating that? Rush Limbaugh got a little bit over the top on that thing but is that what it amounted to?

Bell: I honestly think that the left, their greatest achievement is the sexual revolution and they want to complete the job of imposing the values of the sexual revolution on everybody else, including those who have held out and disagree with some aspects of it. They’ve been this way since the 1790s, when the word ‘the left’ was invented, that was all about tearing down the existing social institutions and the political institutions, yes the royalty and nobility, but also the left from the beginning in the 1790s with the Jacobins and Robespierre wanted to attack organized religion and the traditional family and they have never changed in that regard. Every left movement has been about getting rid of traditional institutions.

Robertson: So Obama’s playing right down to that playbook, is that what you’re saying?

Bell: I think he’s being true to it, I don’t think he calculated the potential damage of doing this to the Catholic Church because it’s in the DNA of the left, that’s why the issues are unavoidable and why they’re going to keep coming up, because the left is going to insist on that.

Robert George Warns of Obama's 'Massive Assault on Religious Liberty'

Robert George, the Chairman Emeritus of the National Organization for Marriage and founder of the American Principles Project, today on James Dobson’s show Family Talk accused President Obama and the left in general of using the federal government as a “weapon” to “undermine religious liberty.” He claims that the “massive assault on religious liberty” is necessary for the left to win political debates on legal abortion, stem-cell research and marriage equality. George specifically called the mandate for insurance plans to cover contraception a “pure declaration of war on the Catholic Church” and also “on the evangelical community and people of faith across the spectrum.”

There’s a massive assault on religious liberty going on in this country right now, it is coming from the left and the Obama administration’s coming to power three years ago placed a powerful weapon, the entire apparatus of the federal government, at the disposal of those whose agenda it is to undermine religious liberty. Now they’re not doing this simply because they dislike religious liberty, they’re doing it for reasons that are deeper than that. They understand that there is no way that you can completely win the victory they want to win on the issue of abortion, on the issue of embryo-destructive research, on sanctity of human life issues generally including assisted suicide and euthanasia, or prevail as they wish to prevail on redefining marriage without undermining religious liberty.



This is an unprecedented attack Jim on the religious liberty and the rights of conscience on all Americans, it is really an outrage. The Catholic bishops who have said it are absolutely right; it is a pure declaration of war on the Catholic Church and not only on the Catholic Church but on the evangelical community and people of faith across the spectrum.

CPAC: Christians Have Been too Nice and Need to Stop Compromising

During a panel at CPAC on "The Role of Faith, Life, & Family in Our Culture & the 2012 Elections," the panelists claimed that the slippery slope toward gay marriage all began when people started accepting the idea of recognizing the legitimacy of gay relationships by granting civil unions, and Andy Blom, Executive Director of the American Principles Project, blamed it on the fact that Christians just don't want to be mean and called on Christians to be aggressive in defending their values and refuse to compromise:

CPAC: The Left's Goal is to Destroy the Family and Religion

The first panel discussion of the day at CPAC was entitled "Do 'We Still Hold These Truths?': The Future of the Conservative Movement" and featured remarks by Jeffrey Bell, the Policy Director at the American Principles Project who explained that the ultimate goal of "the Left" is not socialism or equality but rather the destruction of religion and the family ... and it has been ever since the movement was formed during the French Revolution:

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American Principles Project Posts Archive

Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 06/01/2016, 2:59pm
In the first few months of this year, for the second year in a row, more than 100 anti-LGBT bills have been introduced in state legislatures, many of them promoted under the banner of protecting religious liberty.  A new report by People For the American Way Foundation, “Who is Weaponizing Religious Liberty?,” explains that “it takes a right-wing village to turn a cherished American principle into a destructive culture-war weapon.” The report makes clear that the wave of anti-equality legislation promoted in the name of religious liberty is not an outgrowth of... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Friday 05/06/2016, 5:36pm
Princeton University professor Robert George was a co-chair of Catholics for Cruz; when Cruz was a student at Princeton, George supervised his junior-year independent project and senior thesis. Along with George Weigel, George wrote an anti-Trump letter signed by other conservative Catholics that was published in National Review, part of the magazine’s failed effort to derail Trump’s campaign. That letter declared Trump “manifestly unfit to be president of the United States.” It decried his “vulgarity” and “appeals to racial and ethnic fears and... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Friday 03/18/2016, 3:13pm
The latest announcement in the Ted Cruz presidential campaign’s ongoing rollout of endorsements from right-wing leaders is a group of more than 50 “Catholic influencers” led by Robert George, the intellectual muscle for the Religious Right, and Ken Cuccinelli, former attorney general of Virginia and failed gubernatorial candidate. The campaign announced the endorsement of Robert George yesterday; some others on the list have also been announced previously. Not surprisingly, the list of Catholics for Cruz is heavy on culture warriors who have been fighting to criminalize... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 12/18/2015, 2:38pm
In the wake of the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling, anti-gay Religious Right groups rallied around a piece of legislation known as the First Amendment Defense Act, which would prohibit the federal government from "taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage." In essence, the law would give individuals and businesses a... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Monday 12/07/2015, 3:35pm
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, responded last month to the Obama administration’s efforts to enforce transgender rights in public schools by declaring that he doesn’t want his young daughters “taking showers with little boys.” Asked by Robert George in a November 25 interview on the EWTN network about a Department of Education ruling that an Illinois school district should have provided a transgender girl access to the girls’ locker room at her school, Cruz said it was a “ridiculous” decision made by “zealots.” “Well, look,” he said... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Monday 12/07/2015, 3:13pm
In an interview with influential social conservative commentator Robert George on the Catholic television network EWTN last month, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said that the president should defy the Supreme Court’s “fundamentally illegitimate” decision striking down bans on same-sex marriage, which he compared to “Nazi decrees.” George, the co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage and a mentor of Cruz’s, likened the court’s “tragic mistake” in Obergefell to infamous Supreme Court decisions including Dred Scott, asking Cruz,... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Monday 12/07/2015, 1:25pm
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said last month that Congress could “absolutely” criminalize all abortion by passing a law giving 14th Amendment protections to fetuses and zygotes, thus bypassing a constitutional amendment overturning Roe v. Wade. This represents the Republican presidential candidate’s strongest endorsement yet of the radical anti-choice “personhood” strategy, which, based on a questionable interpretation of Roe, holds that Congress can simply outlaw abortion by classifying fertilized eggs as persons under the law. If successful, personhood would... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Friday 10/23/2015, 1:20pm
Anti-choice Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina became public enemy number one of the anti-abortion movement earlier this year when she helped sink a planned vote on a 20-week abortion ban — the top priority of many anti-choice groups — because she feared the legislation’s harsh treatment of rape survivors could turn off young voters. Now, it appears that the anti-choice movement’s collective rage at Ellmers has kept her off of a House special committee investigating Planned Parenthood — which she had aggressively lobbied to join — and is... MORE >