CitizenLink

Some Voting Advice From Focus on the Family

With the mid-term elections approaching, Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery has some simple advice on how to choose the correct candidate for whom to vote: vote for the Christian.

And how do you know which candidate is the true Christian? Well, it is the candidate that supports Focus on the Family's agenda, of course:

Does the candidate have a Christian world-view? Is he pro-life? A clue is whether he knows the embryonic stem-cell debate and opposes the process. Does she firmly support God’s definition of marriage, and does she oppose civil unions that give marriage benefits to same-sex couples? Does he believe that parents, rather than the state, have ultimate say over what a child learns in school? Is she hostile toward or silent on matters of faith? A candidate’s positions on all these issues are important indicators.

But beware that you can't just vote for the Christian - you have to make sure that you vote for the candidate from the right party because that determines who gets to set the agenda: 

Political Parties matter. You like the platform and values of a local candidate who’s running with the party you typically vote against. Should you cross party lines and vote for him? Don’t forget that whichever party is in the majority has control over which bills eventually reach the floor. You’re voting for more than individual candidates; you’re voting for which party sets the agenda.

Gee, since Focus on the Family is nonpartisan, I wonder what they could possibly mean by warning their activists not to "cross party lines"?

Finally, Rock-Solid Proof That Liberals Hate The Declaration of Independence!

Yesterday, Sarah Posner tweeted that this post from CBN's David Brody would become the "next idiotic anti-Obama meme":

In a speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute last week, President Obama ad-libbed a key line from the Declaration of Independence but in the process left out the word “creator”.

...

If you look at President Obama’s prepared remarks before the speech was delivered, the Declaration of Independence line was not in there so clearly President Obama ad-libbed the line...and gets it wrong.

Conservative websites have been quick to pounce on this to possibly suggest that President Obama left the word “Creator” out on purpose.

And right she was, as Focus on the Family called it part of a "troubling trend," while Rob Schenck sees it as further evidence that Obama is a "skeptical humanist universalist," and Day Gardner sees it as proof that Obama is a secret Muslim because "no real Christian would do that."

And, of course, Bryan Fischer declares it to be due to the incontrovertible fact that liberals hate the Declaration of Independence:

So the President of the United States quotes the Declaration of Independence but omits the references to the Creator with a capital C.

And this highlights something that I observed before; I observed it with Elena Kagan and that is a striking thing, but liberals in the United States of America hate the Declaration of Independence.

Liberals, and statists, and socialists, and Marxists, and communists, and the political class by and large hates the Declaration of Independence.

Why?

They hate the Declaration of Independence because it unapologetically affirms the existence of a Creator.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Twice-divorced, thrice-married Newt Gingrich has been confirmed as a speaker for the FRC's Values Voter Summit.
  • The Traditional Values Coalition, of all groups, opposes "Burn a Quran Day."
  • David Barton, Rick Green, and Tom DeLay go on and on about how poor DeLay was the victim of a partisan witch-hunt because he was such an awesome Congressman and Christian.
  • Focus on the Family is outraged that George Soros donated $100 million to the "Anti-Family, Anti-Faith Group" Human Rights Watch.
  • I genuinely have no idea what the point of this Catholic League press release is supposed to be.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Alan Sears of the Alliance Defense Fund: "Judges and politicians can ignore all the legal and constitutional standards they want to ram the homosexual political agenda down our throats. But they will never make the actions at the base of that agenda anything but a sin—and like any other sin, its indulgence brings only misery, for individuals, and for a nation."

Right Wing Leftovers

Focus on the Family: Dedicated to Defending The Rights of "People of all Faiths," Just Not Muslims

Earlier this month, just as the right-wing anti-mosque hysteria was getting whipped up, Focus on the Family posted a video in which Stuart Shepard and Bruce Hausknecht complained about how municipalities were discriminating against churches using zoning laws:

Shepard: What does this tell us about the state of religious freedom in the United States?

Hausknecht: Well, we're seeing first a hostility toward religion. You would think in this day and age of tolerance that there would be tolerance for religious views, religious people. There is not. We're seeing it in the zoning cases, we're seeing it in the schools. That is a definite wake-up call for people of all faiths to stand up and protect their rights.

At the time, Focus was one of the few Religious Right groups that had not yet taken a position on Park 51, so I wondered if the organization would defend the right of Muslims to build the Islamic Center, especially in light of the organization's plea for "people of all faiths" to wake up and protect their religious freedoms.

So I know it will come as a shock to you all to learn that Focus' concerns for the rights of "people of all faiths" does not, in fact, apply to Muslims:

During CitizenLink's weekly webcast, Tom Minnery said, "Nobody is suggesting that the brand of Islam practiced by the owners of this mosque [is] going to lead to more terrorist attacks. But for Heaven's sake, in the name of all that is decent and in the name of common sense, build it elsewhere."

He said the group had the right to build, but he questioned the prudence of doing so. "Is it dishonoring to the 3,000 people who gave their lives to have this mosque which, in some minds, represents a similar religious belief that caused the terrorists to do what they did?" said Minnery.

Stuart Shepard, host of the webcast, noted that this position is a departure from Minnery's previous positions on religious liberty.

"You have spent a lot of time talking about religious freedom. And you work for Alliance Defense Fund quite a bit helping them fight for the rights of people, for religious freedom. It is quite a turn for you to say that this is not the right location for religious freedom to be expressed," said Shepard.

"Well, it is indeed," said Minnery.

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet: Ominous Rumblings From the Right

As I noted last week, it appears as if the Religious Right's primary plan for upholding Proposition 8 and preventing marriage equality is not so much to argue why stopping gay marriage is necessary and constitutional, but rather to simply warn that there will be hell to pay if they are not.

That certainly seems to be what Bruce Hausknecht of Focus on the Family's Citizenlink is saying:

"I will say that the Supreme Court, even the liberals on the court, ought to be thinking at least twice about the culture wars they will ignite -- just like they did with Roe v. Wade -- if they were to affirm this ruling," he replies.

That said, the analyst suggests that the Supreme Court justices leave the matter up to the states. "They would be smart, even if they want to uphold liberal ideals, to leave this in the legislatures' hands around the country," he says.

Gee, gay marriage would ignite a culture war?  That would be new and utterly unprecedented.  

What exactly does Hausknecht think is taking place now? 

Right Wing Reactions to Prop 8 Decision

I'll be updating this post as more statements are released reacting to the decision to oveturn Prop 8, but Focus on the Family is out with the first statement blasting the ruling (if you don't count Harry Jackson, who Tweeted a statement hours ago):

“Judge Walker’s ruling raises a shocking notion that a single federal judge can nullify the votes of more than 7 million California voters, binding Supreme Court precedent, and several millennia-worth of evidence that children need both a mom and a dad.

“During these legal proceedings, the millions of California residents who supported Prop 8 have been wrongfully accused of being bigots and haters. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, they are concerned citizens, moms and dads who simply wanted to restore to California the long-standing understanding that marriage is between one woman and one man – a common-sense position that was taken away by the actions of another out-of-control state court in May 2008.

“Fortunately for them, who make up the majority of Californians, this disturbing decision is not the last word.

“We fully expect the judge’s decision to be overturned upon appeal. The redeeming feature of our judicial system is that one judge who ignores the law and the evidence must ultimately endure the review and reversal of his actions from the appellate courts.

“We do want Americans to understand the seriousness of this decision, however. If this judge’s decision is not overturned, it will most likely force all 50 states to recognize same-sex marriage. This would be a profound and fundamental change to the social and legal fabric of this country.

“Our Founders intended such radical changes to come from the people, not from activist judges. Alexander Hamilton, in advocating for the ratification of our Constitution in 1788, argued that the judiciary would be ‘the least dangerous’ branch of government. Today’s decision shows how far we have come from that original understanding.”

Randy Thomasson and Save California:

"Natural marriage, voter rights, the Constitution, and our republic called the United States of America have all been dealt a terrible blow. Judge Walker has ignored the written words of the Constitution, which he swore to support and defend and be impartially faithful to, and has instead imposed his own homosexual agenda upon the voters, the parents, and the children of California. This is a blatantly unconstitutional ruling because marriage isn't in the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution guarantees that state policies be by the people, not by the judges, and also supports states' rights, thus making marriage a state jurisdiction. It is high time for the oath of office to be updated to require judicial nominees to swear to judge only according to the written words of the Constitution and the original, documented intent of its framers. As a Californian and an American, I am angry that this biased homosexual judge, in step with other judicial activists, has trampled the written Constitution, grossly misused his authority, and imposed his own agenda, which the Constitution does not allow and which both the people of California and California state authorities should by no means respect."

Concerned Women for America:

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), said:

“Judge Walker’s decision goes far beyond homosexual ‘marriage’ to strike at the heart of our representative democracy. Judge Walker has declared, in effect, that his opinion is supreme and ‘We the People’ are no longer free to govern ourselves. The ruling should be appealed and overturned immediately.

“Marriage is not a political toy. It is too important to treat as a means for already powerful people to gain preferred status or acceptance. Marriage between one man and one woman undergirds a stable society and cannot be replaced by any other living arrangement.

“Citizens of California voted to uphold marriage because they understood the sacred nature of marriage and that homosexual activists use same-sex ‘marriage’ as a political juggernaut to indoctrinate young children in schools to reject their parent’s values and to harass, sue and punish people who disagree.

“CWA stands in prayer for our nation as we continue to defend marriage as the holy union God created between one man and one woman.”

CWA of California State Director Phyllis Nemeth said:

“Today Judge Vaughn Walker has chosen to side with political activism over the will of the people. His ruling is slap in the face to the more than seven million Californians who voted to uphold the definition of marriage as it has been understood for millennia.

“While Judge Walker’s decision is disappointing it is not the end of this battle. Far from it. The broad coalition of support for Proposition 8 remains strong, and we will support the appeal by ProtectMarriage.com, the official proponent of Proposition 8.

“We are confident that Judge Walker’s decision will ultimately be reversed. No combination of judicial gymnastics can negate the basic truth that marriage unites the complementary physical and emotional characteristics of a man and a woman to create a oneness that forms the basis for the family unit allowing a child to be raised by his or her father and mother. Any other combination is a counterfeit that fails to provide the best environment for healthy child rearing and a secure foundation for the family. It is this foundation upon which society is – and must be – built for a healthy and sustained existence.”

Family Research Council:

FRC President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

"This lawsuit, should it be upheld on appeal and in the Supreme Court, would become the 'Roe v. Wade' of same-sex 'marriage,' overturning the marriage laws of 45 states. As with abortion, the Supreme Court's involvement would only make the issue more volatile. It's time for the far Left to stop insisting that judges redefine our most fundamental social institution and using liberal courts to obtain a political goal they cannot obtain at the ballot box.

"Marriage is recognized as a public institution, rather than a purely private one, because of its role in bringing together men and women for the reproduction of the human race and keeping them together to raise the children produced by their union. The fact that homosexuals prefer not to enter into marriages as historically defined does not give them a right to change the definition of what a 'marriage' is.

"Marriage as the union between one man and one woman has been the universally-recognized understanding of marriage not only since America's founding but for millennia. To hold that the Founders created a constitutional right that none of them could even have conceived of is, quite simply, wrong.

"FRC has always fought to protect marriage in America and will continue to do so by working with our allies to appeal this dangerous decision. Even if this decision is upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals-the most liberal appeals court in America-Family Research Council is confident that we can help win this case before the U.S. Supreme Court."

Liberty Counsel:

Although Liberty Counsel has defended the marriage laws in California since the battle began in 2004, the Alliance Defense Fund, representing the Prop 8 initiative, opposed Liberty Counsel’s attempt to intervene on behalf of Campaign for California Families. The California Attorney General did not oppose Liberty Counsel’s intervention, but ADF did. Liberty Counsel sought to provide additional defense to Prop 8 because of concern that the case was not being adequately defended. After ADF actively opposed Liberty Counsel, ADF presented only two witnesses at trial, following the 15 witnesses presented by those who challenged the amendment. Even Judge Walker commented that he was concerned by the lack of evidence presented by ADF on behalf of Prop 8. Liberty Counsel will file an amicus brief at the court of appeals in defense of Prop 8.

The California Supreme Court previously stated, “The right of initiative is precious to the people and is one which the courts are zealous to preserve to the fullest tenable measure of spirit as well as letter.” Moreover, the U.S. Constitution cannot be stretched to include a right to same-sex marriage.

Except for this case, since Liberty Counsel was excluded by ADF, Liberty Counsel has represented the Campaign for California Families to defend the state’s marriage laws since 2004 and has argued at the trial, appellate and state Supreme Court levels.

Mary McAlister, Senior Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel, commented: “This is a classic case of judicial activism. The Constitution is unrecognizable in this opinion. This is simply the whim of one judge. It does not reflect the Constitution, the rule of law, or the will of the people. I am confident this decision will be overturned.”

Alliance Defense Fund:

“In America, we should respect and uphold the right of a free people to make policy choices through the democratic process--especially ones that do nothing more than uphold the definition of marriage that has existed since the foundation of the country and beyond,” said ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum.

“We will certainly appeal this disappointing decision. Its impact could be devastating to marriage and the democratic process,” Raum said. “It’s not radical for more than 7 million Californians to protect marriage as they’ve always known it. What would be radical would be to allow a handful of activists to gut the core of the American democratic system and, in addition, force the entire country to accept a system that intentionally denies children the mom and the dad they deserve.”

...

“The majority of California voters simply wished to preserve the historic definition of marriage. The other side’s attack upon their good will and motives is lamentable and preposterous,” Raum said. “Imagine what would happen if every state constitutional amendment could be eliminated by small groups of wealthy activists who malign the intent of the people. It would no longer be America, but a tyranny of elitists.”

“What’s at stake here is bigger than California,” Pugno added. “Americans in numerous states have affirmed--and should be allowed to continue to affirm--a natural and historic public policy position like this. We are prepared to fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.”

Capitol Resource Institute:

"Today's ruling is indicative of an out-of-control judiciary willing to circumvent California's direct democracy by imposing their point of view," said Karen England Executive Director of Capitol Resource Institute (CRI). "Family values are under constant assault now more then ever. CRI was instrumental in passing proposition 22 in 2000 and we fought to get proposition 8 on the ballot and subsequently in California's Constitution. We will continue to battle interest groups who wish to redefine one of our oldest institutions; the institution of marriage. We will continue to represent the 7 million Californians who took to the polls in favor of marriage."

American Family Association:

“This is a tyrannical, abusive and utterly unconstitutional display of judicial arrogance. Judge Walker has turned ‘We the People’ into ‘I the Judge.’

“It’s inexcusable for him to deprive the citizens of California of their right to govern themselves, and cavalierly trash the will of over seven million voters. This case never should even have entered his courtroom. The federal constitution nowhere establishes marriage policy, which means under the 10th Amendment that issue is reserved for the states.

“It’s also extremely problematic that Judge Walker is a practicing homosexual himself. He should have recused himself from this case, because his judgment is clearly compromised by his own sexual proclivity. The fundamental issue here is whether homosexual conduct, with all its physical and psychological risks, should be promoted and endorsed by society. That’s why the people and elected officials accountable to the people should be setting marriage policy, not a black-robed tyrant whose own lifestyle choices make it impossible to believe he could be impartial.

“His situation is no different than a judge who owns a porn studio being asked to rule on an anti-pornography statute. He’d have to recuse himself on conflict of interest grounds, and Judge Walker should have done that.

“The Constitution says judges hold office ‘during good Behavior.’ Well, this ruling is bad behavior - in fact, it’s very, very bad behavior - and we call on all members of the House of Representatives who respect the Constitution to launch impeachment proceedings against this judge.”

Traditional Values Coalition:

"It is an outrage that one arrogant and rogue federal judge can take it upon himself to overturn a centuries old definition of marriage and family," said Rev. Lou Sheldon, chairman and founder of Traditional Values Coalition (TVC). "On November 4, 2008, 7 million voters of California cemented into the state constitution a definition of marriage for one man and one woman only. Now with US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling today he has completely undermined the expressed will of voters at the ballot box. Direct Democracy has been blatantly attacked today."

"First it was the California Supreme Court's decision in 2008 to overturn Prop 22 and force the people of California to accept homosexual marriages. Well, the people adamantly rejected their ruling and homosexual marriages and they passed Prop 8, which was designed to forever tie the hands of judges from redefining marriage. Now one judge has yet again slapped the people in the face, even though the state constitution now clearly tells them what marriage means; we spelled it out for them in black and white," Sheldon added. "This is a blatant sign of judicial activism and lack of judicial restraint."

Sheldon added: "There is more at stake than just traditional marriage and the centuries long definition of the family. This ruling seriously undermines the expressed vote and will of the people on initiatives and proposed amendments they approve at the ballot box. This judge's ruling says that any vote of the people will have no weight, credence, sovereignty, value or worth at all. On appeal, the courts will either realize their limits and not undermine the constitutional power of the vote, or they will continue to demonstrate the most blatant arrogance and impose judicial tyranny by declaring that they alone, and not the people, have the ultimate final say on all matters of the state. Democracy, the constitution and the people would be beneath them."

TVC state lobbyist Benjamin Lopez, who was publicly credited by homosexual State Senator Mark Leno for the defeat of his proposed homosexual marriage bill in 2005, echoed Sheldon's statements:

"The issue at hand now is whether the will of 7 million voters outweighs that of either 7 Supreme Court justices or any one judge anywhere in the state. Homosexual marriage advocates may kick and scream the loudest demanding that Prop 8 be struck down, but they should be drowned out by the deafening voice of 7 million Californians who settled this issue not once, but twice already. We are hear because homosexual radicals continue to act like immature children who throw tantrums when they do not get their way."

"Same-sex marriage supporters repeatedly beat the drum of civil rights to equate their cause to the legitimate struggles of minority groups and say the public is on their side. Yet not even in 'liberal' California have they won over the people so they must resort to sympathetic, liberal black-robed activists who sit on the bench to force same-sex marriage on the people.

"If folks think that the Tea Party movement is a force to be reckoned with now, wait until the silent majority of pro-family voters flex their political muscle once again. Judges beware, you will go the way of Rose Bird, stripped of their robes and kicked off the bench," Lopez added.

The battle of same-sex marriage began in March 2000 when California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 22. It stated: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Homosexual marriage advocates challenged Prop 22 in court and in March 2005, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer struck it down ruling it in violation of the equal protection clause. Kramer's ruling was then challenged all the way to the California Supreme Court. In early 2008 the high court upheld Kramer's ruling allowing homosexual marriages to take place. Voters passed Prop 8 in November 2008 cementing Prop 22's language into the state constitution. After challenges to Prop 8 reached the state supreme court, the justices upheld Prop 8 and allowed for some 18,000 same-sex marriages to stand. The current ruling by Judge Walker was the result of a challenge to the California Supreme Court's ruling.

Richard Land:

 “This is a grievously serious crisis in how the American people will choose to be governed. The people of our most populous state—a state broadly indicative of the nation at large demographically—voted to define marriage as being between one man and one woman, thus excluding same-sex and polygamous relationships from being defined as marriage. 

“Now, an unelected federal judge has chosen to override the will of the people of California and to redefine an institution the federal government did not create and that predates the founding of America. Indeed, ‘marriage’ goes back to the Garden of Eden, where God defined His institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

“This case will clearly make its way to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court of the United States, where unfortunately, the outcome is far from certain. There are clearly four votes who will disagree with this judge—Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, and Alito. The supreme question is: Will there be a fifth? Having surveyed Justice Kennedy’s record on this issue, I have no confidence that he will uphold the will of the people of California.

“If and when the Supreme Court agrees with the lower court, then the American people will have to decide whether they will insist on continuing to have a government of the people, by the people and for the people, or whether they’re going to live under the serfdom of government by the judges, of the judges and for the judges. Our forefathers have given us a method to express our ultimate will. It’s called an amendment to the Constitution. If the Supreme Court fails to uphold the will of the people of California—if we are going to have our form of government altered by judicial fiat—then the only alternative left to us is to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman.

“Many senators who voted against the federal marriage amendment the last time it came up said publicly if a federal court interfered with a state’s right to determine this issue, they would then be willing to vote for a federal marriage amendment. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to vote.

“Despite egregious court rulings like this one, there is nonetheless an unprecedented effort going on across the nation of Christians uniting for sustained prayer, for revival, awakening and deliverance. I encourage everyone to join me in this effort and go to 4040prayer.com for more information.” 

National Organization for Marriage:

"Big surprise! We expected nothing different from Judge Vaughn Walker, after the biased way he conducted this trial," said Brian Brown, President of NOM. "With a stroke of his pen, Judge Walker has overruled the votes and values of 7 million Californians who voted for marriage as one man and one woman. This ruling, if allowed to stand, threatens not only Prop 8 in California but the laws in 45 other states that define marriage as one man and one woman."

"Never in the history of America has a federal judge ruled that there is a federal constitutional right to same sex marriage. The reason for this is simple - there isn't!" added Brown.

"The 'trial' in San Francisco in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case is a unique, and disturbing, episode in American jurisprudence. Here we have an openly gay (according to the San Francisco Chronicle) federal judge substituting his views for those of the American people and of our Founding Fathers who I promise you would be shocked by courts that imagine they have the right to put gay marriage in our Constitution. We call on the Supreme Court and Congress to protect the people's right to vote for marriage," stated Maggie Gallagher, Chairman of the Board of NOM.

"Gay marriage groups like the Human Rights Campaign, Freedom to Marry, and Equality California will, no doubt, be congratulating themselves over this "victory" today in San Francisco. However, even they know that Judge Walker's decision is only temporary. For the past 20 years, gay marriage groups have fought to avoid cases filed in federal court for one good reason - they will eventually lose. But these groups do not have control of the Schwarzenegger v. Perry case, which is being litigated by two egomaniacal lawyers (Ted Olson and David Boies). So while they congratulate themselves over their victory before their home-town judge today, let's not lose sight of the fact that this case is headed for the U.S. Supreme Court, where the right of states to define marriage as being between one man and one woman will be affirmed--and if the Supreme Court fails, Congress has the final say. The rights of millions of voters in states from Wisconsin to Florida, from Maine to California, are at stake in this ruling; NOM is confident that the Supreme Court will affirm the basic civil rights of millions of American voters to define marriage as one man and one woman," noted Gallagher.

Robert George - American Principles Project:

“Another flagrant and inexcusable exercise of ‘raw judicial power’ threatens to enflame and prolong the culture war ignited by the courts in the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade,” said Dr. Robert P. George, Founder of the American Principles Project. “In striking down California’s conjugal marriage law, Judge Walker has arrogated to himself a decision of profound social importance—the definition and meaning of marriage itself—that is left by the Constitution to the people and their elected representatives.”

“As a decision lacking any warrant in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution, it abuses and dishonors the very charter in whose name Judge Walker declares to be acting. This usurpation of democratic authority must not be permitted to stand.”

Judge Walker’s decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger seeks to invalidate California Proposition 8, which by vote of the people of California restored the conjugal conception of marriage as the union of husband and wife after California courts had re-defined marriage to include same-sex partnerships.

“The claim that this case is about equal protection or discrimination is simply false,” George said. “It is about the nature of marriage as an institution that serves the interests of children—and society as a whole—by uniting men and women in a relationship whose meaning is shaped by its wonderful and, indeed, unique aptness for the begetting and rearing of children.

“We are talking about the right to define what marriage is, not about who can or cannot take part. Under our Constitution the definition and meaning of marriage is a decision left in the hands of the people, not given to that small fraction of the population who happen to be judges.”

“Judge Walker has abandoned his role as an impartial umpire and jumped into the competition between those who believe in marriage as the union of husband and wife and those who seek to advance still further the ideology of the sexual revolution. Were his decision to stand, it would ensure additional decades of social dissension and polarization. Pro-marriage Americans are not going to yield to sexual revolutionary ideology or to judges who abandon their impartiality to advance it. We will work as hard as we can for as long as it takes to defend the institution of marriage and to restore the principle of democratic self-government,” concluded Dr. George.

Newt Gingrich:

"Judge Walker's ruling overturning Prop 8 is an outrageous disrespect for our Constitution and for the majority of people of the United States who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife. In every state of the union from California to Maine to Georgia, where the people have had a chance to vote they've affirmed that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Congress now has the responsibility to act immediately to reaffirm marriage as a union of one man and one woman as our national policy. Today’s notorious decision also underscores the importance of the Senate vote tomorrow on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court because judges who oppose the American people are a growing threat to our society.”

Where Does Focus On The Family Stand On The "Ground Zero Mosque"?

While some Religious Right groups have made it very clear that they oppose the construction of an Islamic Center near Ground Zero in New York City despite their so-called commitments to religious freedom, other groups have remained rather silent. 

As far as I can tell, the only comment the Family Research Council has made on this issue came in the form of this radio commentary back in June:

Muslims are gaining ground all right--Ground Zero. Hello, I'm Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. Nine years after terrorists forever altered the New York City skyline, an Islamic leader is threatening to do it again--this time, by building a mosque three blocks from where the twin towers collapsed. To the families of 9-11, this 13-story project is the ultimate insult. "This is a burial ground," said a dad who lost his son in the attack. The man who bought the land said his people's only goal was peace. But that'll be a tough sell in a city that lost 3,000 to his religion's extremists. Besides, if he really cared about harmony, he'd have picked a less offensive location. Instead, he's building a monument to Islam on a site where terrorists committed mass-murder in Allah's name. For years, Muslims have said we need to be sensitive to their needs, their customs, their rights. But is there anything more insensitive than creating a foundation for shar'iah law on the graves that its fanatics killed?

Other Religious Right groups don't appear particularly eager to take a position on the issue either:

The Becket Fund, which describes itself as a "public interest law firm protecting the free expression of all religious traditions," has been notably silent considering how outspoken it has been in the past. In addition to helping the Third Church of Christ, Scientist in Washington, DC sue the city using RLUIPA in 2008, the fund represented a New Jersey mosque in 2006 in a RLIUPA case claiming that the city of Wayne, N.J., was "improperly and arbitrarily delaying the mosque's land development application" due to "community anti-Moslem hostility." The group is normally not shy about wading into public debates, and recently caused a minor furor by reading nefarious intent into President Obama's use of the phrase "freedom of worship" instead of "freedom of religion." Its silence may be related to its conservative political backers. For instance, Newt Gingrich, who has loudly opposed Cordoba House, served as honorary vice chair of one of its annual black-tie dinners.

The Alliance Defense Fund, another conservative religious rights group that has made frequent use of RLUIPA cases, has also stayed out of the debate. "We've been asked by a few outlets," a spokesperson told The Upshot. "We're not commenting."

The Upshot spoke with just one person within this ecosystem of religious rights organizations who was neither silent nor contradicting past actions: Matthew Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a religious rights law firm associated with Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

"The Constitution cuts both ways," Staver said. "I think you have to be principled from a legal perspective, because the First Amendment is a double-edged sword."

Which brings us to this new report from Stuart Shepard and Bruce Hausknecht of Focus on the Family's Citizenlink voicing their outrage over a church being shut down in Georgia for violating zoning regulations:

Hausknecht: Well here's the problem: for some reason, around the country cities and counties and other municipalities are hostile to churches, they don't want them for some reason or another. Usually its taxes ...

Shepard: The fact that they don't pay property taxes.

Hausknecht: They're usually exempt and so they try to zone them away or discourage them away. And by creating zoning laws the discriminate against churches, they're violating federal law and the First Amendment.

Shepard: What does this tell us about the state of religious freedom in the United States?

Hausknecht: Well, we're seeing first a hostility toward religion. You would think in this day and age of tolerance that there would be tolerance for religious views, religious people. There is not. We're seeing it in the zoning cases, we're seeing it in the schools. That is a definite wake-up call for people of all faiths to stand up and protect their rights.

So, does that mean that Focus on the Family supports the right to build this Islamic Center or does the organization, like seemingly so many others on the Right, really only believe in protecting and defending "religious freedom" when it involves Christians? 

Gingrich, Sharia, Marital Rape, and Phyllis Schlafly

Earlier this week I wrote about the absurd hypocrisy of Newt Gingrich decrying efforts by Muslims to impose their religious views on the world through Sharia while his very own organization is seeking to impose its religious views on the world through Dominionism.

One of the other points that Gingrich made in that same article was that Sharia tolerates marital rape, but I didn't bother to include that as it was not related to the point I was making at the time. 

But now that Gingrich made the same point in his speech yesterday at the American Enterprise Institute, let's revisit it:

In June 2009, a New Jersey state judge rejected an allegation that a Muslim man who punished his wife with pain for hours and then raped her repeatedly was guilty of criminal sexual assault, citing his religious beliefs as proof that he did not believe he was acting in a criminal matter. “This court believes that he was operating under his belief that it is, as the husband, his desire to have sex when and whether he wanted to, was something that was consistent with his practices and it was something that was not prohibited.” Thankfully, this ruling was reversed in an appellate court.

As I pointed out earlier this week, you know who else supports marital rape?  Phyllis Schlafly:

At one point, Schlafly also contended that married women cannot be sexually assaulted by their husbands.

"By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don't think you can call it rape," she said.

Schlafly said that back in 2007.  In 2008, Washington University in St. Louis decided to honor Schlafly with an honorary doctorate, which set off protests on campus ... to which Schlafly responsed by reiterating this view:

Could you clarify some of the statements that you made in Maine last year about martial rape?

I think that when you get married you have consented to sex. That's what marriage is all about, I don't know if maybe these girls missed sex ed. That doesn't mean the husband can beat you up, we have plenty of laws against assault and battery. If there is any violence or mistreatment that can be dealt with by criminal prosecution, by divorce or in various ways. When it gets down to calling it rape though, it isn't rape, it's a he said-she said where it's just too easy to lie about it.

Was the way in which your statement was portrayed correct?

Yes. Feminists, if they get tired of a husband or if they want to fight over child custody, they can make an accusation of marital rape and they want that to be there, available to them.

So you see this as more of a tool used by people to get out of marriages than as legitimate-

Yes, I certainly do.

And it's not like this was some anomaly, as Schlafly has a long history of making outrageous statements. I mean, doesn't anyone remember when she blamed the Virginia Tech massacre on the university's English Department?

And how does the Religious Right respond to such views?  By awarding Schlafly the James C. Dobson Vision and Leadership Award at last year's Values Voter Summit.

So, to sum up:  conservatives are outraged that Sharia says husbands are free to rape their wives, which is proof that Muslim values are at odds with our cherished America values ... while Phyllis Schlafly believes the exact same thing and she is honored a visionary and leader of the conservative movement.

Omniscient Texas Bus Driver's Story Falls Apart

I want to follow up on my last post about bus driver Edwin Graning to note that his explanation of why he refused to transport of woman to a Planned Parenthood facility doesn't make a lot of sense.

His initial claim was that he had been assigned to drive a woman to Planned Parenthood's South Austin facility:

Graning had asked his wife to call the facility; she heard a recording directing callers to call 911 in case of abortion complications. "I said, dear God in heaven, this woman's gonna have an abortion," he said.

But that is different from what he told Focus on the Family:

Before picking her up, Graning called the clinic in advance to confirm someone would be there on her arrival. As he was waiting to leave a message, he listened to a list of the clinic’s services.

Graning – an ordained Christian minister – could not go against his religious beliefs.

“Dear God, this woman’s going to have an abortion,” he said. “I went ahead and called my supervisor at home and told her, ‘I can’t be a part of this.’”

So at first Graning was saying that his wife called the facility and heard a recording about abortion, and so he refused to transport the woman ... but then claimed that he called the facility himself and heard a list of services offered by the clinic which included abortion, so he refused to take the woman.

Now that discrepancy might not be particularly significant ... especially when compared to the fact that the clinic's recorded message makes absolutely no mention of abortion at all.  I know because I called the clinic and recorded it:

Thank you for calling Planned Parenthood, the most trusted name in reproductive health care.

You have reached the South Austin clinic at 201 East Ben White Blvd. Our business hours are Monday-Friday, 9 am to 6:30 pm and Saturday, 9 am to 3 pm.

For more information about our services, to make a donation, or to join our email activist network, please visit us on the web at www.ppaustin.org.

Please select from the following options: for clinic directions or other clinic locations,press 1. To schedule an appointment or to speak with a staff member, please press 0 or stay on the line.

Now where exactly in the message do you hear anything about performing abortions? Nowhere - which is probably why Graning's attorney, Edward White III of the American Center for Law and Justice, is now claiming that Graning "just figured that that clinic did abortions and because it was so early in the morning, he was assuming that she was probably going there for an abortion."

Of course, as I pointed out before, that facility offers a whole range of services from pregnancy and HIV tests to abstinence education.  So not only did Graning have absolutely no way of know why this woman wanted to go to this facility, his claim that the facility's message alerted him that abortions were performed there is flagrantly false.

Graning just assumed that this woman was going to Planned Parenthood to get an abortion and refused to take her.  For that, he was fired ... and became a Religious Right hero.

The Omniscient Edwin Graning

I know that I mentioned the situation regarding Edwin Graning yesterday, but the level of hypocrisy involved is just so staggering that it almost defies belief ... or at least it would if hypocrisy wasn't seemingly the foundation of everything the Religious Right does.

Basically, Graning had been working for a bus service in Texas for less than a year when he was assigned to bring a woman to a Planned Parenthood facility in South Austin and refused:

Before picking her up, Graning called the clinic in advance to confirm someone would be there on her arrival. As he was waiting to leave a message, he listened to a list of the clinic’s services.

Graning – an ordained Christian minister – could not go against his religious beliefs.

“Dear God, this woman’s going to have an abortion,” he said. “I went ahead and called my supervisor at home and told her, ‘I can’t be a part of this.’”

Graning said he was told to park the van immediately. He was fired the next day.

I have a simple question:  how did Graning know that the woman was going to have an abortion? Did it ever occur to him that maybe she worked at the facility?  Or that maybe she was going there to get a pregnancy test, or a HIV test, or a STD test, or a Hepatitis vaccine, or a breast exam, or a cervical cancer screening, or a pap test, or any one of the other countless services offered by the facility

Heck, for all Graning knew, this woman was going to Planned Parenthood to get some abstinence education, which they also offer. 

But Graning decided for himself that she was going for an abortion and refused to take her and was justifiably fired ... and now his case has been taken up by Pat Robertson's ACLJ and he's been turned into a Religious Right cause célèbre.

I'm sure that if Graning had refused to take someone to church, the Religious Right would have had an entirely different response.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The AFA is now boycotting Home Depot ... or, as they refer to it, "Homosexual Depot."
  • Leave it to Alan Keyes to make the Shirley Sherrod saga even more ridiculous than it already was.
  • Think of it as Vacation Bible School, as run by Glenn Beck.
  • Texas Lawyer has named Kelly Shackelford of the Liberty Institute as one of the state’s greatest attorneys in the past quarter-century. That doesn't reflect too highly on TX lawyers, now does it?
  • You know AZ's draconian immigration law is good because it is supported both by the Constitution and the Bible.
  • Finally, quote of the day from Bryan Fischer, responding to the settlement in the Constance McMillen case: "This is how evil advances in America - one weak-kneed group of kind-hearted, wimpish people at a time ... what this situation called for was not niceness but goodness, not capitulation but courage."

Dominionism and The Religious Right: The Merger Is Complete

For weeks now I have been writing regular posts on the increasing intersection between the "mainstream" Religious Right and Dominionist prophetic intercessors like Lou Engle, Cindy Jacobs, Rick Joyner and others.

But I have always been careful to note that just because the more "mainstream" leaders have been joining forces with these self-proclaims prophets and apostles, it didn't mean that they necessarily shared their Dominionist agenda. 

But I think it is fair to say that I no longer need to be so careful, as the leaders of the Religious Right have now openly embraced Seven Mountains Dominionist theology, which is described thusly:

First, human beings are blessed by God. Secondly, these blessed human beings are given a mandate to take dominion of the earth for the purpose of blessing it. ... The first advent of Christ was for the purpose of creating a blessed seed upon the earth - the church. The second coming of Jesus will take place after this blessed seed has completed the Dominion Process upon the earth by making disciples of all nations.

In short, Dominionist theology believes that Christians are called to take "dominion" over every aspect of our culture and use them to create God's kingdom on Earth in order to bring about the return of Jesus Christ. And their method for gaining "dominion" is through something called the "Seven Mountains Mandate," which seeks to place Christians at the top of seven distinct spheres that shape our culture: (1) Business; (2) Government; (3) Media; (4) Arts and Entertainment; (5) Education; (6) Family; and (7) Religion.

One of the leading authorities on the Seven Mountains Mandate among the new apostles and prophets is a man named Lance Wallnau, and here is a video of him explicitly explaining how it is to work:

Most believers on the Earth are more frightened at the prospect of taking on the insurmountable giants represented by the mountains near them in their nations. They're more intimidated by trying to take possession of what is an opposition that has strength and fortification in the natural, from the IRS, to Hollywood, to whatever. Most believers are afraid, so they create a theology that eliminates the responsibility for having to take territory and rather focuses on just getting people saved so that when Jesus comes back he can repopulate the Earth with people that are followers and let him take over the planet.

There is just a little problem with that: the little problem is Heaven is his throne and the Earth is the footstool of his feet and he was told that he was to sit at the Father's right hand until God made his enemies a footstool for his feet, which means He doesn't come back until He's accomplished the dominion of nations.

The point is this: God wants to have the tabernacle at the top of every one of these spheres. You want to know what the spheres are that shape a nation? This is how you take a nation: you have to get into the family - that is why same-sex marriage such a demonic agenda ... because who ever shapes the family mountain shapes the idea of what culture is for a man and wife. You got to get into the education mountain, you know why? Because whoever's ideology is shaping that little kid when he's a child, by the time he's 19, hey for all you know he could become part of the Hitler Youth movement and die for the Fuhrer. Hitler basically knew that if he educated them as kids, he'd have them as sons to go fight for him. Government mountain where your laws get legislated. Media mountain where the truth is debated. And the arts mountain which is where sports and creativity come along, and we've got business and finance. Is it possible that there are seven sovereign spheres of authority?

By the way, that's how you take nations. It's the only way you take nations. There has never been a nation taken as the result of an evangelism harvest. Shocking but true. Believers don't know these things, which is why we get in trouble.

You realize that when you have 8% of a population, that's the key. 8%, that's all it takes. 8%, according to the Center for Religious and Diplomacy, practice Jihad. 8%, according to the research of James Davidson Hunter, are doing the same sex marriage initiative, You've got 80% Jews, Catholics, Protestants, 35% of Evangelicals, even Mormons - you have a very broad constituency of 85-90% of the American population is not for same-sex marriage. How is it that 7% can impose their agenda on the other 90%? It's not because we don't have enough converts to an idea - it's because when Satan is shrewder in his own generation than the Sons of Light, he makes sure that he has his prophets of Baal at the high places. So what you have is a well-positioned 8% whose agenda is working with the will of Principalities and Powers while Christians are in pursuit of the supernatural or glory or prosperity, but they're missing the apostolic assignment. They're to take over spheres and administer them for the glory of God.

It is exceedingly clear that the Seven Mountains is a Dominionist theology that carries with it the ultimate goal of creating God's kingdom on Earth so as to create the conditions needed to bring about Christ's return.

And amazing, it is something that just about every Religious Right leader has now officially embraced.

Last week, Lou Engle was featured on Focus on the Family's "Friday Five" where he announced his latest political endeavor: a groups called Pray and A.C.T.  The acronym A.C.T stands for "Affirming the Basics, Conforming our Lives, and Transforming the Culture," and the "basics" which they are affirming are those values set out in The Manhattan Declaration, the document produced by the Religious Right earlier this year vowing to give their lives to withstand President Obama's attempts to set himself up as a Nazi-like dictator. 

"Transforming the Culture" is a idea rooted in the "spiritual warfare" practiced by the self-styled apostles and prophets, but that pales in comparison to Pray and A.C.T's explicit reliance upon Seven Mountains theology:

For these reasons, we call on all faithful Christians to join us in the fight to defend life, protect and revitalize marriage, and preserve religious liberty and the rights of conscience. We must work tirelessly in all the “seven spheres of cultural influence:” (1) the home, (2) the church, (3) civil government / law / military, (4) business / technology, (5) education, (6) media, and finally (7) arts / entertainment / professional sports.

We noted a while ago that Jim Garlow, who serves as Chairman of Newt Gingrich's Renewing American Leadership is a Seven Mountains advocate and close friend of Lou Engle, so it is no surprise to see him featured on the front page of Pray and A.C.T's website ... but it is surprising to see Gingrich's organization openly aligning itself with Engle's new organization - and it is even more surprising to see all of the other Religious Right leaders who have also climbed on board:

Jim Garlow, Skyline Church & Renewing American Leadership
Chuck Colson, Founder Prison Fellowship & BreakPoint
Che Ahn, Harvest International Ministry
Vonette Bright, Co-Founder, Campus Crusade for Christ, International
Bishop Keith Butler, Founding Pastor, Word of Faith International Christian Center
Kristina Arriaga, Executive Director, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
Jim Daly, President & CEO, Focus on the Family
Lou Engle, TheCall to Conscience, TheCall
Father Joseph Fessio, Editor in Chief, Ignatius Press, San Francisco
Maggie Gallagher, National Organization for Marriage
Professor Robert George, Princeton University
Professor Timothy George, Dean, Beeson Divinity School
Jack Hayford, Founder and Chancellor, The King's College and Seminary
Mike Huckabee, Former Governor of Arkansas & Host, The Mike Huckabee Show
Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., High Impact Church Coalition
Alveda King, Silent No More Awareness Campaign
Richard Land, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Ron Luce, Founder, Teen Mania & Battle Cry
Bishop Richard Malone, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland (Maine)
Eva Muntean & Dolores Meehan, Co-Founders, West Coast Walk for Life, San Francisco
Penny Nance, Concerned Women for America
Tony Perkins, Family Research Council
James Robison, Life Outreach, International
Samuel Rodriguez, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Alan Sears, Alliance Defense Fund
Chuck Stetson, Let’s Strengthen Marriage Campaign

Pray and A.C.T is planning a series of Call-like events leading up to the 2010 election; events that are explicitly rooted in a theology which seeks to place Christians in complete "dominion" over every aspect of this nation ... and this effort is now being supported by the heads of highly influential "mainstream" Religious Right groups like Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, National Organization for Marriage Concerned Women for America, the Southern Baptist Convention, and even a potential Republican presidential candidate in Mike Huckabee. 

A few months ago, Janet Porter of Faith 2 Action lost her radio program because of her growing support for this sort of Seven Mountains Dominionism, and today this very same theology is being embraced by the Religious Right as a whole ... and I don't think it is possible to overstate just what a radical transformation the movement appears to be undergoing.  

The Hypocrisy At The Heart Of The Right's Complaints About "Judicial Activism"

Given that we are in the middle of Elena Kagan's Supreme Court confirmation hearing and keep hearing all sorts of complaints from the Right about "judicial activism" and "legislating from the bench" and whatever, I just wanted to highlight this article from Focus on the Family because it  perfectly demonstrates just how bogus this entire talking point really is: 

A new front just opened Monday in the political tug-of-war over "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" – a Clinton-era policy prohibiting people who are openly gay or lesbian from serving in the military.

U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips in Riverside, Calif., agreed to hear a case that challenges the military policy. The lawsuit was filed by the Log Cabin Republicans, a fiscally conservative, gay-activist group within the Republican Party.

Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for CitizenLink, is concerned the proceedings could become a show trial – with the underlying intent to solidifying the concept that gay members of the military are a victimized class and in need of special protections.

"Once again, gay activists want to use the courts to impose social change rather than leaving this issue to the democratic process," said Hausknecht. "There never seems a lack of judges who will jump at the chance to legislate from the bench."

Hausknecht is angry that the Log Cabin Republicans are trying to use to the courts to impose this change instead of allowing the democratic process to take care of it.  At the same time, Focus on the Family is vehemently opposing efforts in Congress to repeal DADT, which is the very "democratic process" they say should be used. 

So what happens if Congress does manage to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell?

Robert Maginnis, senior fellow for national security with the Family Research Council, doesn't make much out of this case, as he believes Congress will succeed in repealing the policy well before the November election – and before the court can rule.

"The real decision's going to be made by the Congress," said Maginnis, "and then we have a fight after that – if, in fact, they do repeal."

Hmmm .... is FRC suggesting that they will go to court to fight the repeal of DADT?  

But what about the sanctity of the "democratic process"?  What about using judges to impose decisions contrary to the will of the people?  What about legislating from the bench? 

So apparently the Religious Right is opposed to using the courts to try and repeal DADT ... but entirely willing to use the courts to try and repeal any repeal of DADT. 

Norquist Unfazed By Religious Right Outrage

Last week we noted that Grover Norquist had joined the advisory council of GOProud, a gay conservative organization, and that Religious Right groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council were outraged.

I have to say that Norquist doesn't seem overly concerned, telling Focus on the Family's CitizenLink that he is willing to work with anyone who shares his agenda: 

Norquist says he agrees with GOProud on some issues that are important to him.

"When people are willing to fight for limited government and lower taxes," he said, "I'm willing to work with them."

Norquist said he's not worried that his appointment will hurt the conservative cause in November.

"One fish, one hook," he said. "Every voter only needs one reason to vote for a congressman and a senator who will stop the Obama nonsense in Washington, DC."

Of course, that is just upsetting Focus even more:

Tom Minnery, senior vice president for CitizenLink, disagreed the Norquist's summation.

Minnery said that by lending his name and prestige to the minuscule number of homosexuals who are conservative, he is more likely to earn the distrust of the far larger numbers of grassroots social conservatives with whom he should be in coalition.

Iowa Family Policy Center Refuses To Support GOP Nominee

Back in January, the Iowa Family Policy Center, a state affiliate of Focus on the Family, hosted a rally ostensibly designed to oppose gay marriage in the state that turned into a campaign event for GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats.

At the event, the IFPC's chairman explicitly ruled out the possibility of supporting Vander Plaats' opponent should Vander Plaats lose the primary election, says "[Terry Branstad] has failed to boldly address the values that we embrace. And even if he were to win the nomination, the Iowa Family PAC would not support him."

On Tuesday Branstad won the primary and, as the Iowa Independent reports, the IFPC is following through on its threat:

The Iowa Family Policy Center is prepared to make good on its threat not to support former Gov. Terry Branstad’s campaign to unseat incumbent Gov. Chet Culver, and have sent an e-mail message to supporters encouraging them to do the same.

…The Iowa Family PAC has been clear about what we are looking for in political candidates. We owe it to God, and to those who sacrificially give to support the work of [Iowa Family Policy Center] Action and the Iowa Family PAC to hold fast to the standards that we established.

If and when a political party provides a candidate we can support, we will be happy to unify around that candidate. We do not, however, accept the notion that voting for one candidate makes us responsible for the election of another. We answer to God, so if there are no candidates worthy of our support, that is the problem of the political parties, not ours. …

Of course one has to wonder if the IFPC will be able to stick with its pledge or if they, like their allies at Focus on the Family, will suddenly have a change of heart as Election Day approaches.

Right Wing Leftovers

Focus On The Family Tries To Distance Itself From Itself

As we noted yesterday, Focus on the Family announced that it was changing the name of its c4 lobbying arm from Focus on the Family Action to CitizenLink, apparently as part of an attempt to continue with its right-wing political agenda while separating the negative ramifications of said agenda from the parent organization.

This move doesn't really make a lot of sense, as everyone knows that CitizenLink is the lobbying arm of Focus on the Family .. but apparently the powers that be over a Focus think this is a wise move

Focus on the Family announced Wednesday that Focus Action, the lobbying arm of the family group, is now CitizenLink, the name of Focus’ online newsletter.

“We wanted to create clarity between the two organizations,” CitizenLink spokeswoman Sonja Swiatkiewicz said.

...

Swiatkiewicz said the re-branding of Focus Action is meant to end the confusion of people attributing Focus Action’s public-policy efforts to Focus on the Family. She said Focus spends its time not in the political arena but in “helping families thrive.”

...

Swiatkiewicz said the stances of Focus Action are identical to CitizenLink’s.

So the agendas of Focus on the Family Action and CitizenLink are exactly the same, but now all the negative attention they generate when they suddenly backtrack and announce that they would oppose a gay Supreme Court nominee simply because said nominee is gay will reflect badly upon CitizenLink instead of Focus on the Family? 

How is that supposed to work, considering that people like Tom Minnery, who has been the main spokesperson for Focus Action and will presumably retain that position with "CitizenLink," are also "senior vice presidents" for Focus on the Family.

The idea that by simply changing the name of its lobbying arm, Focus on the Family is going to be able to separate itself from the political agenda of "CitizenLink" is laughable, especially since every time anyone writes about the activities of CitizenLink from now on, they are simply going to write "Focus on the Family's CitizenLink" or "CitizenLink, the political arm of Focus on the Family."

I know that I will.

When You Hear The Name "CitizenLink," Think Focus on the Family

The Denver Post reports that Focus on the Family is changing the name of its c4 lobbying arm from Focus on the Family Action to "CitizenLink":

Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family Action, the lobbying organization created in 2004 by Focus on the Family ministry founder James Dobson, today changed its name and logo to CitizenLink.

...

From the beginning, some confusion about the exact identities and missions of the two similarly named organizations has existed in the general public and media, said Tom Minnery, Focus vice president of public policy.

"We want to create some clarity about the two organizations. It's better branding," Focus President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Daly said ... "We're not saying (Focus on the Family) is stepping out of the public policy realm," Daly said. "From my perspective, it means Focus on the Family can focus on the family, and CitizenLink can do its job of engaging the citizenry."

...

The change in name is not an attempt, Daly said, to distance Focus on the Family from the lobbying group's fierce opposition to abortion rights, same-sex marriages and embryonic stem cell research.

I don't buy this explanation for a minute as it seems like more evidence that Focus on the Family has become hyper-cautious and schizophrenic ever since Jim Daly took over as he tries to incorporate his talk of love, compassion and civility with the organization's hard-line, ultra-right wing social and political agenda. 

Daly seems to think that he can maintain the organization's militant opposition to gays while insisting that they do so out of love, as if that makes a bit of difference or changes the bottom line.

This name change seems like a similar attempt to allow the organization to continue to press its right-wing political agenda without dirtying the name of Focus on the Family. 

The New, Hyper-Cautious, Schizophrenic Focus on the Family

I have to admit that I have been having a hard time understanding what is going on over at Focus on the Family.

New president Jim Daly keeps saying that he's all about civility and that Focus would have a much less confrontational tone while, at the same time, Focus representatives are giving in to pressure from militant anti-gay activists and announcing that they would oppose a Supreme Court nominee solely on the grounds that said nominee was gay. 

It all seems rather schizophrenic ... and that is exactly the impression I got after listening to this recent Focus on the Family broadcast examining Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court as well as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

In the past, a Focus on the Family program dedicated to these issue would almost surely have contained some over-the-top rhetoric from either the host or the guests ... but this broadcast, which featured Daly, Chuck Colson, Focus on the Family Judicial Analyst Bruce Hausknecht, and Focus on the Family Vice President of Government and Public Policy Tom Minnery, was downright dull.

In fact, any time anyone said anything that might be considered even borderline controversial, Daly went to great lengths to explain that their views are not based on hate and that the ultimate goal is to bring people to Christ.

As such, during the discussion on Kagan, Daly ended up reading passages from the Bible about loving your enemies, explaining that those who don't share their political and cultural views are "gnarled in their sin" and can't see the world properly.

The discussion then turned to ENDA and as Tom Minnery explained that Christian were alarmed about it because it would make it illegal for them to discriminate against gays, Daly was again quck to say that they were not opposing this legislation out of hatred toward gays, but rather on the grounds that while all people are sinners, we shouldn't be passing laws that encourage such sins. 

Then Hausknecht began to explain that gays want ENDA to pass because it is a stepping stone to marriage equality and ultimately the marginalization of Christians, at which point Daly again stepped in say that their opposition to gay marriage was not about hate toward gays, but rather about what is best for our culture and our children, insisting there is no ill-will toward gays and no desire to offend them since the ultimate goal is to get them to know the love of Jesus.

I've edited the program down so you can listen for yourself:

If this is the new, more civil Focus on the Family, I have to say I almost prefer the older, more confontational one. 

At least you knew where they stood.

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CitizenLink Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Wednesday 08/17/2011, 5:50pm
The mainstream scientific community rejects the Religious Right’s assertion that gays and lesbians can change their sexual orientation to become heterosexual: the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers and the American Psychiatric Association all deny the effectiveness, safety and ethics of ‘ex-gay’ reparative therapy. But that doesn’t stop right-wing activists from citing and exaggerating the claims of small, fringe organizations in order to bolster their... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 08/02/2011, 5:39pm
Focus on the Family rejoices that CPAC has given GOProud the boot. On a related note, this might help explain CPAC's new-found hostility to the group. A federal judge has ruled that healthcare reform does not fund abortion, a key ruling that allows a defamation lawsuit against the Susan B. Anthony List to move forward. Gary Cass says there is no point in creating a "Religious Freedom Envoy" to monitor Islamic countries because "the only way that Islam is going to stop doing what it's doing is when it's defeated." Finally, Peter LaBarbera... MORE >
Coral, Wednesday 07/20/2011, 10:42am
Cross-posted on PFAW blog Senate Republicans have called Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, David Nimocks of the Alliance Defense Fund and Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center as witnesses in today’s hearing on the “Defense of Marriage Act.” The groups these witnesses represent have a long record of extreme rhetoric opposing gay rights: CitizenLink, Focus on the Family’s political arm, is a stalwart opponent of gay rights in every arena: • Focus on the Family has consistently railed against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 06/23/2011, 1:30pm
When NBC cut the phrase "under God" for the Pledge of Allegiance during its coverage of the US Open golf tournament last weekend, it was obvious that the Religious Right would seize on it ... and that is exactly what they did. And it was equally obvious that, in reacting to this incident, they would also wildly overreact ... which exactly what they are doing now, with the Family Research Council now demanding "the network play a public service announcement featuring the Pledge of Allegiance, in its entirety, daily" and produce an entire program to... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 06/21/2011, 5:36pm
Newt Gingrich’s campaign continues to implode. Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel thinks People For the American Way and other members of the “intolerant left” are going to purge religion from the US. Focus on the Family is, ironically, upset that gays are political. Abby Johnson has signed on as a blogger for Life News, even though her story about leaving Planned Parenthood falls short of reality. Finally, the Family Research Council pleads that we pray against marriage equality in New York. MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 06/03/2011, 11:14am
In May Rep. Pete Stark (R-CA) introduced the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which prohibits “discrimination in adoption or foster care placements based on the sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status of any prospective adoptive or foster parent, or the sexual orientation or gender identity of the child involved.” While it is unlikely that the GOP-controlled House would approve the legislation, it is an important step in the fight to ensure that children awaiting adoption or foster care can find homes. But the “pro-family” Religious Right wants to... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 05/26/2011, 5:34pm
Looks like Sarah Palin will be launching a "hey, please pay attention to me" bus tour. Rep. Eric Cantor is the latest Republican to sign on to Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition conference. Focus on the Family looks at how marriage equality was defeated in Maryland. John Stamos will be joining The Beach Boys for the second annual Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Concert. Sounds exciting. The AFA loves Herman Cain so I wonder how long it will be before they remove this Elijah Friedeman post from their blog. Finally, I am looking forward to seeing... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 04/04/2011, 5:25pm
Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery has been chosen by the Republican National Committee to serve on its Committee on Presidential Debates. WorldNetDaily is not longer to be known as WorldNetDaily, but simply WND. Based on previous experience with these kinds of stories, I am willing to bet that this story from The Rutherford Institute about a child being suspended from school for crying is either bogus or completely misleading. Janet Porter is hosting an "intercessory prayer" session for passage of her "Heartbeat Bill." Quote of the day from Pat... MORE >