CitizenLink

Right Wing Leftovers

  • A federal judge has ruled the National Day of Prayer to be unconstitutional. The American Center for Law and Justice and the Alliance Defense Fund react negatively.
  • Richard Viguerie really is quite smitten with the Tea Party movement.
  • Rick Green says his Texas Supreme Court loss is really a win for "liberty-loving patriots."
  • Matt Barber attacks ENDA in the Washington Times.
  • The Alliance Defense Fund is launching its "Church Project, a new legal effort to protect churches from excessive and unconstitutional government intrusion prohibited by the First Amendment" designed to bloster its "Pulpit Initiative."
  • Troy Titus is a graduate of both Regent University and Liberty University ... and he'll now be serving 30 years in prison for defrauding clients out of $8 million through a Ponzi scheme.
  • Finally, Eric Buehrer complains that the American Library Association's list of most frequently "challenged" books is really an attempt to "put a chilling effect on the free speech of parents." Buehrer is apparently utterly unaware of the irony of that complaint.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann paired up for a campaign event today in Minnesota.  Somehow the universe did not implode.
  • The AFA's Don Wildmon will be a featured guest at the Florida Family Policy Council's 5th Annual Policy Awards Dinner where he will receive the FFPC's Lifetime Achievement Award, the Daniel Webster Award for Principled Service to Public Policy.
  • For some reason, Phyllis Schlafly is really focused on preventing a second Constitutional Convention. Is anybody calling for a second Constitutional Convention?
  • Peter LaBarber hops aboard Matt Barber's "the Left is just like Fred Phelps" bandwagon.
  • Thomas Sowell accuses President Obama of exploiting polarization, just like what happened in Rwanda.
  • Finally, it seems appropriate that Alan Keyes will be speaking at Tea Party rally that will be held at the Nutter Center.

Making a Federal Case Out of Perkins' Rescinded Invitation?

Last week we noted that an episode involving the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins having his invitation to speak at a prayer luncheon at Andrews Air Force Base rescinded was big news on right-wing outlets, with Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association even going so far as to declare it proof that the Constitution is on the verge of collapse and likening it to Dred Scott and McCarthyism.

The issue continues to outrage the Right and appears as if it is becoming one of those stories that right-wing media outlets will work covering diligently until they can blow it up into an all out "scandal ."

For instance, CNS News has a long article noting that conservative activists are livid about it which quotes no less than six separate leaders voicing their outrate, including Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center (which just so happens to be the parent organization of CNSNews,) Ron Robinson of Young Americans for Freedom, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, Alfred Regnery of Regnery Publishing, Elaine Donnell of the Center for Military Readiness, and Gary Bauer of American Values.

But it also quotes several Republican members of Congress, including Rep. Mike Pence who vows that Republicans will "be making appropriate inquiries" about the decision

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told CNSNews.com that he’s “disappointed” the Air Force would “un-invite” Perkins because of his positions.

“These actions are out of line with the caution that the heads of the military branches have expressed with regards to this policy,” Inhofe said.

“Each one of them has indicated that it would be best for the Pentagon to finish its review before addressing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in a manner that disrupts readiness and recruitment. I wonder if Tony Perkins would have received the same treatment if his views on repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell had matched those of President Obama.”

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, was outraged.

“I think many members (of Congress) are outraged,” Kingston told CNSNews.com. “The mainstream media hasn’t given this as much coverage as they would if they agreed with Perkins. This is something that I think that people will be asking a lot of questions--a harbinger of what may be out there to come, you know, if on a high-profile captain like Tony Perkins, they reject him. They may (start) doing it to everybody else."

Kingston said he thought the Air Force was "using" the incident to send a message to its own chaplains about what they could and could not say from the pulpit.

“(W)hat they were doing is using him to drive a message--that your brand of sermon is no longer welcome in the U.S. military,” he said.

He added: “I think it probably does go beyond the Air Force. They knew there would be a backlash to this, and I think they had a design about that: ‘OK, you know, we want other (chaplains) to understand and pipe down on your personal views on this biblical view, and you believe it, just keep it mellow; we want watered-down messages.’”

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the chairman of the House Republican Conference, said he would be looking into the incident more deeply.

“I hold Tony Perkins in the highest regard, as do pro-family Americans across this country,” Pence said. “And I would hope that the change in the speaking roster had nothing to do with his stated positions on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. But we’ll be making appropriate inquiries,” Pence said.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Today was James Dobson's final broadcast for Focus on the Family, and to show there are no hard feelings, Focus donated $1 million toward his new venture with his son.
  • Tony Perkins' being uninvited to the prayer luncheon was big news on right-wing outlets today.
  • A collection of Religious Right leaders have sent a letter to Congress asking it to stop DC's march toward marriage equality.
  • "Atheism and Secular Humanism" were to blame for The Holocaust, not Christianity. Good to know.
  • The CADC's Gary Cass,  who continues to insist that the murder of two street preachers in Florida was an act of anti-Christian violence despite an utter lack of evidence, declares that "we need to send a message that this kind of violence against Christians cannot be tolerated in our culture."
  • Finally, quote of the day from WorldNetDaily columnist Robert Ringer attacking Mike Huckabee for interviewing First Lady Michelle Obama: "Mike Huckabee's Slick Willie cleverness makes him hard to pin down, but his interview with Michelle Obama connected a lot of the dots for me. I once speculated that Mike Huckabee could possibly get the Republican nomination without the support of the Republican Party's conservative base if he could put together a coalition of evangelicals and disenfranchised independents and liberal Democrats. Today, I'm here to tell you to forget about that theory. It won't happen. By interviewing Michelle Obama on his show – apparently without concern for Rush Limbaugh's recent chest pains – he lost any chance he may have had for gaining the Republican nomination."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • How long before Lauren Ashley becomes the next right-wing hero?
  • James Dobson's time at Focus on the Family officially ends this week.
  • Mike Huckabee pleads for civility after right-wing bloggers savage him for interviewing First Lady Michelle Obama, saying "it seemed [they] wanted me to bring her on my show only if I yelled at her. Or it seemed they wanted me to hit her."
  • I have to say that the orchestrated manner in which Liberty University is pressing for its own polling station ought to be enough to give one pause regarding the school's impact on future elections.
  • Finally, the Quote of the Day from AFA's Bryan Fischer:  "And why is it that defenders of natural marriage are always the ones who get told to shut up? If advocates for special rights for homosexuals would just shut up, this controversy would go away tomorrow. If they would take their behavior back to the bedroom instead of demanding approval for it in the streets and at conservative conferences, they’d be left alone and this conversation would be unnecessary."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • FRC goes after Dick Cheney for supporting the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
  • Contrary to earlier reports, the Illinois Family Institute is not back on the SPLC's list of anti-gay hate groups.
  • The next Tea Party convention will be held in Las Vegas in July.
  • Focus on the Family claims that its Super Bowl commercial caused 5 million people to "reconsider their views on abortion."
  • HuckPAC announces a new director ("Hogan Gidley, former executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party and communications director for former U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole's re-election campaign") to replace Mike Huckabee's daughter Sarah, who left to run Rep. John Boozman's Arkansas Senate campaign.
  • Finally, Quote of the Day from the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer: "Bottom line: let's not get stuck on stupid. No more Muslims in the military."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Politico has an excellent piece on the right-wing groups who have been funding and training activists like James O'Keefe.
  • The Washington Times reports that Janet Parshall is leaving Salem Radio Network to start up a new show with the Moody Broadcasting Network: "Some cited budget reasons on the part of Salem; others said it involved personality clashes and that Mrs. Parshall had gone through a string of producers during her 15 years with the network."
  • The ACLJ has opened yet another foreign office, this one in Kenya.
  • Focus on the Family is intent on wooing "millennials" at the upcoming CPAC conference.
  • Now that Liberty University students seemingly dominate their voting district, it only stands to reason that university officials are trying to get the place their polling place right on campus.
  • Finally, it must be nice to be a conservative activist who can rely on clueless talking points instead of having to worry about facts or having any idea what you are talking about.

Citizens United: A Win For The "Regular Guy"

Yesterday's Citizens United ruling [PDF] by the Supreme Court has has now made it possible for corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to support or oppose candidates ... and to hear the Religious Right tell it, it's a victory for the little guy:

Kelly Shackelford, president of the Free Market Foundation, tells OneNewsNow the decision is a great victory for freedom for every citizen.

"The government has no right to control the speech of citizens speaking out as a group during elections -- and these types of campaign finance laws are pure evil and destructive to any free society," he comments.

Shackelford notes that wealthy individuals such as George Soros are having a huge impact on elections, and he adds, "The idea that a group of citizens can't come together in some sort of corporate entity and speak their mind is really discrimination against the regular guy in this country" and against smaller businesses that want to take part in the election process.

The Family Research Council hails it as a victory for all of those oppressed "corporate citizens":

"Under the principles established by the First Amendment, nothing is more foundational than free speech. This is a win for free political speech and the right of corporate citizens to join the political process.

"The court's decision is a step toward restoring open political discourse in this country. Speech should not be truncated by government regulation; rather, transparency should be pursued. The standard of accountability must be full and prompt disclosure, not unconstitutional prohibitions on financial contributions.

While Focus on the Family rejoices, because apparently up until now, they too were having their voices silenced:

Tim Goeglein, vice president of external relations for Focus on the Family Action, said the pro-family movement will benefit.

"Organizations like Focus on the Family Action, the family policy councils, all of our allies," he said, "this will give us an incredible voice in the great issues of our time."

And Concerned Women for America declares that "Americans are the real winners today" and says the decision is the first step toward reclaiming "the ideals our Founders believed in when they fought and died to establish a country where we can be truly free to speak and worship our God without government interference":

Penny Young Nance, Concerned Women for America's (CWA) Chief Executive Officer, said, "The Court correctly concluded that judges should stop playing semantics with our Constitution and read the text as it is written. The government should not be limiting political speech because someone is rich or poor, or because they disagree with a particular point of view. Americans are the real winners today. Further, I recall upon the passage of the legislation that Members of Congress openly admitted voting in favor of the McCain-Feingold knowing it was unconstitutional. Those days have to end."

CWA President Wendy Wright said, "CWA joined an Amicus brief asking the Court to overrule these laws that serve only to chill political speech and open the door for those in power to choose favorites. We applaud the Court for listening to the voices of millions of Americans who believe in those foundational principles embodied by the First Amendment.

"We hope this is just the first in a series of steps to reclaim the ideals our Founders believed in when they fought and died to establish a country where we can be truly free to speak and worship our God without government interference."

You know, I wonder what these groups will be saying if the makers of Plan B were to now start pumping their $11 Billion into taking out conservative candidates who oppose their product.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Lou Engle declares the year 2010 to be "73-37 window" because it has been 37 years since the Supreme Court issued Roe v. Wade in 1973. Get it?
  • The message of this year's March for Life will be "no abortion funding in health care."
  • Tim Pawlenty will headline a fundraising event in March for the anti-choice Susan. B. Anthony List.
  • Tea Parties are plotting how to take over the GOP.
  • On a semi-related note, Richard Viguerie will deliver the keynote speech at the inaugural Leadership Tea Party training event to be held at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport Westin Hotel from January 29-31.
  • Matt Barber joins the "is Mark Kirk gay? "crowd.
  • Finally, will Tony Perkins be rocking his roguish new beard when receives the National Pro-Life Religious Council's National Pro-Life Recognition Award next week?

A Month Late And a Half-Million Signatures Short

Supporters of the right-wing culture war manifesto, The Manhattan Declaration, seem really intent on getting one million signatures. Focus of the Family has a piece on its website yesterday, claiming that 375,000 have already signed and urging others to join them.

And now Catholic Archbishops are doing their part to get people to sign on as well:

Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia, Archbishop Wuerl of Washington, DC, Archbishop Dolan of New York and Archbishop Kurtz of Louisville reached out to all of their brother Catholic bishops asking them to spread this document throughout their dioceses and encourage their clergy and faithful to study it and join as signatories. The Archbishop of Detroit has planned a grassroots effort throughout his archdiocese. The Bishop of Phoenix has already organized a grassroots effort there. We are also receiving many reports of evangelical gatherings in a number of areas - and many evangelical pastors referring to the Manhattan Declaration in their sermons. This bold and exciting movement needs to reach 100 or 200 cities in America. Why not? Can you help? We are urging you to encourage your pastors and community leaders to do what these other cities are doing. Organize ecumenical meetings organized around the Manhattan Declaration; get other concerned citizens to join the effort. Get on the internet or phone and ask friends to join you.

Allow me to just point out that when the document was first released in late November, the mission was to get one million signatures by December 1:

This Friday, November 20, 2009, at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., a seminal statement signed by over 125 Evangelical, Orthodox, and Catholic leaders will be released. Known as the Manhattan Declaration, this document addresses the necessity of defending and advancing the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty.

Click here after noon on Friday, November 20. There you can read the Declaration and sign on in support of the statement. The goal is to have one million signatures by December 1.

How Times Have Changed For Glenn Beck

It was just over a year ago when Focus on the Family yanked a small interview with Glenn Beck off of its website amid complaints that Focus never mentioned that Beck is Mormon and that "Mormonism is a cult."

Well, times sure have changed:

And considering that Beck has become the voice of the Right, it only stands to reason that he'd be closing out this year's CPAC event:

Last year, the Conservative Political Action Conference closed with a speech from Rush Limbaugh. This year, according to CPAC director Lisa De Pasquale, it will close with a speech from Glenn Beck–who really became a national leader of some importance last year, if you talk to Tea Party activists.

Right Loses It Over Transgender Appointee

Amanda Simpson is believed to be the first openly transgender presidential appointee, after being named senior technical adviser in the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security, where she will monitor the exports of U.S. weapons technology.

But she fears that the Right will ignore her thirty years of experience and degrees in physics, engineering, and business and focus instead on her gender:

But what gnaws at her, she says, is the fear of being labeled a token who was hired because of her sexual identity rather than on her merits.

"Being the first sucks," she told ABC News.com. "I'd rather not be the first but someone has to be first, or among the first. I think I'm experienced and very well qualified to deal with anything that might show up because I've broken barriers at lots of other places and I always win people over with who I am and what I can do."

...

"[There will be] questions like: Is this a token? Are you here to do a job or just to fill a quota or appease other people? In that regard it makes it a bit more difficult," she said. "I'm sure I will have to do and intend to do a far superior job than any other person. But I'm sure I will always be second guessed."

And of course that is exactly what is happening: 

"Simpson's nomination was forwarded through to President Obama by a gay activist group, making it appear that this appointment of a male-to-female 'transgender' activist to a high level Commerce Department position to be payback to his far-left base for their political support," Monica Schleicher, spokeswoman for Christian group Focus on the Family, said in statement.

"Efforts to promote 'transgenderism' in public policy deconstruct one of the most fundamental concepts known to mankind. It renders gender, the most basic organization of social systems, completely meaningless. In doing so, activists like Simpson are asking the rest of society to radically reorder the ways in which the culture makes reasonable and rational accommodation for the two genders," she said.

And predictably Matt Barber and Peter LaBarbera are likewise outraged

"Is there going to be a transgender quota now in the Obama administration?" asked Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth. "How far does this politics of gay and transgender activism go? Clearly this is an administration that is pandering to the gay lobby."

According to most estimates, "transgender" individuals account for less than a fraction of 1 percent of the population. Yet, LaBarbera said, they have convinced the Obama administration to affirm their position that gender is fluid and changeable.

"We should consider what transgender activism is about," he said," which is essentially recognizing civil rights based on gender confusion."

Matt Barber, associate dean at Liberty University, said the appointment "boggles the mind."

"This isn't like appointing an African-American in order to try to provide diversity and right some kind of discriminatory wrong," he said. "This is about political correctness.

"President Obama, before he was inaugurated, told the world that he had signed off on every single demand of the homosexual-activist lobby."

LaBarbera said it's just another way to normalize homosexuality and transgenderism.

"It's always the incremental change that keeps moving forward and keeps getting more radical," he said. "It's hard for the American people to keep up."

You know, I can at least understand the "logic" behind the right-wing opposition to appointees like Kevin Jennings or Chai Feldblum since they were placed in positions at the Department of Education and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission respectively where they could theoretically have an impact on policy in a manner that the Religious Right would oppose. 

But Simpson is at the Commerce Department monitoring the export of U.S. weapons technology ... and apparently transgender people shouldn't be getting jobs in the federal workplace. The Right's opposition to her is nothing more than flat-out bigotry.

Nelson Amendment Voted Down: The Right Responds

Yesterday, the Senate rejected the restrictive anti-choice amendment Sen. Ben Nelson sought to add to health care reform legislation.

Not surprisingly, the Religious Right is not pleased.

Concerned Women for America:

"Nelson-Hatch was a reasonable amendment that does one thing: ensures federal funds are not spent on elective abortions. What the government funds, we get more of. Without this amendment, the health care bill will violate two of Pres. Obama's promises: that the bill will not fund abortion and that he will work to reduce abortions.

"Since abortion costs less than delivery of a baby, it is not unlikely that bureaucrats, facing pressure to reduce costs, will sign off on paying for abortion but not for the health care that pregnant women and their babies need. This could lead to women being coerced into abortion by their own government.

"The Senate bill is now at odds with the House version, which prohibits funding of elective abortions.

"Federal funding of abortion will increase the number of abortions and lead to higher health care costs for women who suffer complications, such as hemorrhaging, infection, subsequent premature births, and psychological issues.

"If more children are aborted, who will pay for this massive government entitlement when it balloons in 20 years?"

Susan B. Anthony List:

"Tonight Senator Reid invoked Henry Clay, posing as a great compromiser even as he denied the consciences of the majority of Americans. Yet Clay himself would have never blanched at Nelson's amendment, a commonsense proposal backed by 61% of America. You can't find greater common ground than the decision to restrict government funding for abortion on-demand. With his actions tonight, Harry Reid has effectively tabled the common ground.

"Senator Reid's tabling of the pro-life Nelson Amendment is just the latest reason why incumbents like Harry Reid are becoming top political targets: the disconnect between their words and actions inspire a rising populist opposition. Senator Reid calls himself pro-life, yet he continues to advance the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade at taxpayers' expense.

"As it stands today, there should be no question about opposing the Senate health care bill. If you call yourself pro-life and genuinely care about preserving true common ground, you cannot possibly vote for this bill. Pro-Life senators - the sponsors of Nelson's amendment included - must oppose this legislation.

"As the debate continues, on behalf of the 280,000 pro-life Susan B. Anthony List members and activists nationwide, I call on Senator Casey to follow the unyielding leadership of his father, former Governor Bob Casey. Senator Casey and his Democratic colleagues now have the opportunity to honor the consistent pro-life ethic of his father."

Focus on the Family:

“Today, the U.S. Senate failed to protect the preborn and ignored the will of the people they represent.

“Although 67 percent of Americans oppose the use of federal money to pay for abortion in any government-run healthcare, Senators nevertheless rejected the Hatch-Nelson amendment. Their vote would compel Americans who have moral and religious objects to abortion – and who now make up the majority of the country – to fund it. This is what Thomas Jefferson described as ‘tyrannical.’

“Focus on the Family continues to oppose the health care bill because it fails to protect the most vulnerable among us – the preborn. We will keep working diligently to ensure that this faulty legislation does not pass by giving a voice to the millions of Americans who oppose the use of federal funds to pay for abortion.”

Priests for Life:

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, commented on the Senate's vote on the Nelson Amendment to the health care bill. "Those in the Senate who rejected this Amendment have voted to let their attachment to the abortion industry interfere with health care reform in this country. These Senators could have listened to their constituents and opposed abortion funding. Instead, they are allowing this effort at reform to be hijacked by abortion extremists."

American Center for Law and Justice:

“The vote reflects a callous disregard for the protection of innocent human life,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “It is clear most Americans do not want abortion classified as a mandatory health care benefit. The House understood this in passing the Stupak-Pitts Amendment. Sadly, the Senate chose to ignore the concerns of the American people and refused to approve an Amendment that would have put into place much-needed pro-life protections in the Senate's version of health care reform. Rejecting this Amendment is disappointing, but not surprising.”

“With this vote, we now call on pro-life Democrats - including Sen. Nelson, co-sponsor of the Amendment, to follow through with the promise to reject the Senate's health care measure because it fails to exclude abortion funding,” added Sekulow.

“The battle over health care reform is far from over. We will continue to oppose the Senate's health care bill and continue to work to ensure that a final version of health care to be considered at some point by Congress includes the pro-life protections so many Americans demand.”

Another Right Wing Hate Crimes Horror Story Goes Down

During the debate about expanding hate crimes legislation to cover sexual orientation, one of the standard scare tactics employed by the Religious Right was to point to pastors in other nations who had been arrested for speaking out about homosexuality and warning that, if this legislation passed, the same thing would start happening here.

One of the incidents they regularly pointed to involved Canadian pastor Stephen Boissoin ... in fact, Sen. Jim DeMint explicitly mentioned Boissoin in his speech on the Senate floor opposing the legislation:

Today in the United States, only actions are crimes. If we pass this conference report, opinions will become crimes. What is to stop us from following the lead of European countries and American college campuses, where certain speech is criminalized?

Can priests, pastors, and rabbis be sure their preaching will not be prosecuted if they say certain things are right and wrong? Again, in Canada, for instance, Pastor Stephen Boissoin was so prosecuted by Alberta’s Human Rights Commission for publishing letters critical of homosexuality.

Or will this provision serve as a warning to people not to speak out too loudly about their religious views, lest federal agents come knocking on their doors?

What about the unintended consequences, such as a pedophiles and sex-offenders claiming protected status under this provision as being “disabled”?

There is no such thing as a criminal thought, only criminal acts. Once we endorse the concept of thought-crime, where will we draw the line? And more importantly, who will draw that line?

...

I urge my colleagues to consider the implications of what we’re doing, just the raw cynicism of attaching this type of controversial legislation to the bill that funds the defense of our country. What type of legislative extortion will they consider of next? I have a choice to vote for hate crimes legislation that I feel would undermine the very justice system in our country or against the defense of my country. I don’t think we could be more cynical.
 

Well, guess what happened yesterday?

A Court of Queen's Bench judge has ruled an anti-gay letter written by a former Alberta pastor in 2002 was not a hate crime and is allowed under freedom of speech.

Justice E.C. Wilson overturned a 2008 ruling by the Alberta Human Rights Commission that the letter by Stephen Boissoin that was published in the Red Deer Advocate broke provincial law.

At the time, the commission said it may even have played a role in the beating of a gay teenager two weeks after it was published.

The commission had ordered Boissoin to refrain from making disparaging remarks about homosexuals and to pay the complainant, former Red Deer high school teacher Darren Lund, $5,000 in damages.

Neither order can now be enforced, as Wilson declared them "unlawful or unconstitutional."

The letter carried the headline "Homosexual agenda wicked" and suggested gays were as immoral as pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps.

Boissoin had argued he was simply commenting on government policy by criticizing homosexuality being portrayed positively in the public school curriculum.

On Thursday, Boissoin said he was thrilled with the judge's ruling, calling it a victory for "freedom of speech and religious expression in Canada."

Of course, this won't stop the Religious Right from continuing to cite this case as proof of their claims, just as they continue to cite the case involving two grandmothers arrested a few years back in Philadeplhia, as we explained in our Right Wing Watch In Focus on the issue:

One story Religious Right leaders like to tell revolves around the arrest of some Repent America protestors at a Philadelphia gay pride rally. This incident has become the stuff of mythology on the right, in part due to ads produced by Repent America in 2007 featuring a couple of grandmothers who were supposedly arrested for sharing the Gospel. The way they tell it, it’s understandable that it would concern people. So it’s worth finding out what really happened.

The kernel of truth under the pile of propaganda is that a group of Repent America activists were in fact arrested while protesting Philadelphia’s OutFest, and a local prosecutor did charge them with violations of several laws, including the state’s hate crimes law. But none of those charges were for “sharing the gospel.” Repent America – and the religious and political leaders who tell the same story – don’t mention that the police in fact were careful to protect their right to protest. The court found that among other things the protesters “blocked access to vendors, and disobeyed direct orders from the police, who were trying to preserve order and keep the peace.”

The First Amendment allows equality advocates to rally, and allows those with a different point of view to protest. But it doesn’t mean that the protesters have the right to disrupt the rally or drown out its speakers. It is universally recognized that public safety officials can place reasonable “time, place, or manner” restrictions on people exercising their First Amendment rights in order to preserve public order and prevent one group from trampling another’s rights. The court, which noted that Repent America did not get a permit for its protest, found that the police applied the law reasonably when the bullhorn-wielding Repent America protesters refused a request to move to another location and instead sat down in the street.

It’s also important to note that the court ruled that the prosecutor’s decision to file charges under the hate crimes law was a misapplication of the law – and charges against the protesters were dismissed. The court affirmed that the hate crimes law did not apply to the protesters’ speech or even to their disruptive behavior and refusal to obey police requests. That’s not exactly the impression you’ll get from listening to Religious Right leaders. It’s also important to note that federal courts rejected Repent America’s claims that the city and Outfest organizers had violated their First Amendment rights.

Understanding the "War On Christmas" Mindset

I think this video from Focus on the Family's Stuart Shepard pretty much sums up the mindset of those who annually fight the "war on Christmas":

It's almost like Shepard is entirely unaware that there are millions of people in America who aren't Christians but who also celebrate holidays this time of year and that advertisers might want to reach them as well.

And considering that Shepard thinks that "the entire nation is ready to celebrate Christmas," that seems to be exactly the case. 

Via Good As You.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Sarah Palin says she's qualified to be President because she has "common sense" and "American values."  By that logic, isn't pretty much anyone qualified to be President?
  • Lou Dobbs for President? Are you kidding me?
  • Gov. Mark Sanford faces 37 charges of violating state ethics laws.
  • I have to admit that the absurd editing in this Newsmax interview with Richard Land just cracked me up.
  • Ralph Reed and Mike Huckabee: together at last.
  • Joseph Farah warns that "America is being judged by God."
  • Janet Jenkins has been granted custody of her daughter due to Lisa Miller's repeated refusal to provide her access.
  • Randall Terry is heading out on tour ... again.
  • Finally, I though the Manhattan Declaration was a vow by the Right to never give up in the culture war, but Jim Daly sees it differently: "What this declaration is saying is, if you want a fulfilling, rewarding, joyful, peaceful life then embrace Jesus Christ as your Savior."

The Manhattan Martyrdom Declaration: Dobson Vows To Leave America

Last week, nearly 150 Religious Right leaders and activists signed on to the Manhattan Declaration, vowing to join together in an effort to stop America's descent into a totalitarianism, and not surprisingly signers are comparing themselves to Martin Luther and those who resisted the Nazi's

[Richard] Land said, "It was an honor and a privilege to be a part of the process that produced the document. It is a sterling and forthright declaration of first principles. To paraphrase Martin Luther: Here we stand; we can do no other."

...

[David] Dockery said, "Not unlike the 1934 Barmen Declaration [the statement of the confessing church in Nazi Germany], the Manhattan Declaration is a clarion call for Christians of every tradition to stand together in biblical faithfulness for foundational matters of society and culture like commitments to life, marriage and family.... I pray that God will use this declaration among leaders and laity in churches, the academy and parachurch organizations to join hands together for the sake of the kingdom of God."

On today's radio program, James Dobson hosted Chuck Colson and Robert George to discuss the manifesto during which Dobson explained that if their values are "not preserved at this moment of destiny, this nation and most others in the Western world will fold and freedom itself will go down with it." Saying we are facing a "defining moment in America and the Christian Church," Dobson declared that the statement "deserves our most careful attention, I just want to emphasize that in every way that I can," before asking George just what precipitated this document, to which George explained that it was basically the election of Barack Obama and Democratic majorities in Congress who are out to destroy traditional marriage and basic Christian values. Finally, Dobson stated that with the passage of hate crimes legislation, "it could get very costly to follow this Christ," meaning that pastors and Christians are about the come under direct attack from the government, to which George responded that Christian "martyrs have [always] been called on to pay the ultimate price rather than to deny the Lord or to do what is evil in his sight": 

Eventually, Dobson turned to the supposed "monthly abortion premium" that Rep. John Boehner has been claiming is included in health care reform legislation, which Dobson vowed he would never accept, saying he and his wife Shirley would pay ruinous fines, go to prison, or even "leave this beloved country and spend the rest of our lives in exile": 

Dobson: Kevin Jennings Is My Greatest Nightmare

Over the last two days, James Dobson has dedicated his radio program to discussing current political issues, with yesterday's program focusing on healthcare reform, while today's program focused on things like ENDA, but primarily on Kevin Jennings. 

If you need a reason to support Jennings, just listen to Tom Minnery explain that Jennings and GLSEN are "anathema to everything that Focus on the Family stands for" while Dobson says that what is happening in Washington right now is his "greatest nightmare" as everything he has worked for over the last twenty-five years is coming undone and "Kevin Jennings is the quintessential expression of that far-left agenda":

Dobson's Lament: Obama Is No Reagan

The Council for National Policy is a notoriously secretive organization, so it came as a bit of a surprise to see that Focus on the Family had posted video of the entire speech that James Dobson recently delivered at the group's annual meeting when he accepted the "Ronald Reagan Lifetime Achievement Award."

For the majority of the speech, Dobson recounted his personal history in light of the difficulties those who share his right-wing views and values faced in the 1960s and 1970s and contrasted that with the joy they felt with the election of Ronald Reagan.  Toward the end of his remarks, Dobson turned to the current political environment, lamenting that President Obama is opposed to everything that Ronald Reagan stood for, alleged that Obama believes in "peace through appeasement" with the nation's enemies and compared him to Neville Chamberlain, and declared that the nation is in "greater danger, right now I think, than at any time since the Civil War."

Dobson closed by laying out the recipe for conservative (and Republican) political success in the coming elections and "save America from national disaster," warning that efforts to purge the Religious Right from the GOP will lead to disaster and proclaiming that what the movement needs "are political candidates who love conservative principles, who believe in them, who can articulate and defend them to the public, men and women who cherish liberty and are willing to give their very lives for it, and will oppose the evil of liberalism, and will speak with conviction about the institutions of marriage and parenting, and will revere and uphold free enterprise and defend the Constitution.  If American patriots will do this and then bathe their efforts in prayer, as did the Founding Fathers, then they will restore our country to its heritage and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity":

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The LA Times takes a look at the "personhood" efforts, which is now coming to Missouri as well.
  • Al Mohler declares that "liberal theology is taking God's name in vain."
  • Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition is now setting up state-based affiliates, with its first one getting off the ground in Florida.
  • Why is it that the more right-wing someone is, the more they seem to love Mike Huckabee?
  • Finally, the Pacific Justice Institute has filed suit against a school district over it anti-bullying efforts, claiming it is really a effort to indoctrinate school children into the gay lifestyle.
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CitizenLink Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Friday 03/25/2011, 12:47pm
Yesterday, RWW reported on the Religious Right’s virulent opposition to a California bill that would make sure lesbian and gay historical figures are represented in the curriculum. Now, Focus on the Family’s political arm CitizenLink is linking the curriculum bill to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in its post “Indoctrination 101: From the Battlefield to the Ball Field.” Focus on the Family has consistently railed against “homosexual indoctrination” in schools and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, demanding its reinstatement.... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 03/22/2011, 5:16pm
Candi Cushman of Focus on the Family’s True Tolerance campaign has been an outspoken opponent of anti-bullying policies, and now she is warning parents that the safe-schools group GLSEN wants to make school sports teams a friendlier and less hostile environment for gay and lesbian athletes. While the National Education Policy Center found that 85% of LGBT students “report being harassed because of their sexual or gender identity” at school, anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family militantly oppose any efforts to tackle the bullying problem and claim “pro-homosexual... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 03/15/2011, 11:48am
The Religious Right continues to parade the myth that gays and lesbians are trying to “recruit” followers in schools, and are increasingly using the lie as the basis of their opposition to anti-bullying programs. Leaders and groups continue to describe anti-bullying policies as attempts to “homosexualize their children” and “promote homosexuality in kids” through “homosexual indoctrination.” Focus on the Family has been at the forefront of challenging anti-bullying policies, which often cover the widespread harassment and bullying directed... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/02/2011, 2:15pm
In another sign that former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is running for President, Fox News has suspended his contract as a commentator and he is scheduled to address the “Tax Payer Tea Party Rally” in Concord, New Hampshire on April 15th. John DiStaso of the Union Leader reports that Santorum is “is the first likely presidential candidate to confirm an appearance” to the event hosted by the pro-corporate group Americans for Prosperity and the far-right Cornerstone Action. “With all eyes once again focused on New Hampshire, Cornerstone Action is excited to... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/25/2011, 6:33pm
Congrats to Pamela Geller for getting herself designated an anti-Islam hatemonger by the SPLC. Tom DeLay has set up a legal defense fund. Focus on the Family’s Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad won the Best Television Commercial award at the National Religious Broadcasters conference. What an honor. Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery warns that if people ignore the Religious Right "then individual liberty degenerates into selfishness, and eventually into social chaos. And, at that point, it is only the loaded gun and the barbed wire fence that can preserve order.... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/25/2011, 5:14pm
Today, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, joined Focus on the Family's Jim Daly on his radio program to discuss the news that the Obama administration would no longer defend DOMA in court. During the discussion, Mohler said that it is all but inevitable that day is coming when marriage equality will "become normalized, legalized, and recognized in the culture" and that Christians had better be prepared for living in a nation where they find themselves in the minority: Daly: Do you think, as we look at those demographics and the polling data and... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/25/2011, 5:14pm
Today, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, joined Focus on the Family's Jim Daly on his radio program to discuss the news that the Obama administration would no longer defend DOMA in court. During the discussion, Mohler said that it is all but inevitable that day is coming when marriage equality will "become normalized, legalized, and recognized in the culture" and that Christians had better be prepared for living in a nation where they find themselves in the minority: Daly: Do you think, as we look at those demographics and the polling data and... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/25/2011, 3:11pm
The latest issue of Focus on the Family's "Citizen Magazine" features a cover story on Sen. Jim DeMint and the cost he has had to pay for standing on his Christian/Tea Party principles ... but it is a sacrifice DeMint is willing to make because "our government has never been further from the principles of freedom" and only Christians can save it: Tea Party icon Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., is just one example of a Christian opting to stand on principle — and his faith — and paying the price in doing so. While his fiscal conservatism is widely reported, his... MORE >