Concerned Women for America

Concerned Women Concerned About Women on Submarines

Apparently, Concerned Women for America is now concerned about women serving on submarines ... or, more accurately, the babies those women may or may not be carrying while serving on said submarines:

Concerned Women for America (CWA), the nation's largest public policy women's organization, is disappointed in recent statements by Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus indicating their wish to lift the ban on women serving aboard submarines. Admiral Mullen advocated the policy change in written congressional testimony on Friday. Navy Secretary Mabus said he was "moving out aggressively on this."

"Unlike any other assignment in the U.S. Navy, the submarine service is a hazardous environment for women of child-bearing age," noted CWA President Wendy Wright. "No other assignment exposes women to a constantly recycled atmosphere of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and more than 200 potentially toxic chemicals. Those contaminants remain even with filtering. While normal adults can adjust to this environment, a developing child in the first trimester cannot, and the levels of carbon dioxide that crewmembers are exposed to can be linked to birth defects. Also, no study has been done to determine the impact of this environment on a woman's fertility."

"Another serious consideration is the threat to the life and health of the women assigned to submarine crews should an ectopic pregnancy occur. These cases, about four out of every 1,000 women per year, can be life-threatening situations that demand evacuation," Wright said. "For a great many women, the acute symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy are their first indication that they are even pregnant. Pre-deployment pregnancy testing is not a silver bullet either, since tests may not give a positive reading in the earliest stages of pregnancy."

"Along with the medical issues, there are very real social and psychological difficulties posed by mixing the sexes in the 'Silent Service,'" Wright added. "Military readiness and cohesiveness will be affected, and commanders will have the added difficulties of harassment and fraternization to deal with, which are inevitable in this situation of confined quarters with extremely little privacy. National security is the Navy's primary mission, not advancing women's careers."

Religious Right Demands Sanctions on Iran

Every once in a while, Religious Right leaders take a break from railing against abortion and gays and czars and death panels and whatever to weigh in on foreign policy issues, like back in 2007 when a group of them released a statement demanding that the US remain in Iraq, or last year when another group demanded a meeting with Barack Obama to discuss their ideas on how to defeat terrorism.

Now a similar group is back with a new letter demanding sanctions on Iran:

In a remarkable ecumenical and bipartisan display of unity, Christian leaders representing over 28 million evangelicals, Roman Catholics, and other Christians have sent a letter to Congress today and other key world leaders calling for urgent action to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The letter urges a total arms embargo and a cut off of exports of refined petroleum products, including gasoline, as a firm yet peaceful measure against the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

...

The leaders include Pat Robertson of Christian Broadcasting Network, Southern Baptist Convention chairman and pastor Johnny Hunt of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Charles Colson of the Prison Fellowship Ministries, Richard Land of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, , Dr. Michael Youssef of Leading the Way, Dr. James Merritt of Cross Pointe Church, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, Gary Bauer of American Values, and Dr. John Hagee of the Conerstone Church in San Antonio.

I'm not sure what is so "bipartisan" about this, since just about every person who signed their name to this appears to be a right-wing activist.  

But there was one interesting revelation among the signatories: 

Manuel Miranda, President, The Iraq Society

Presumably, that is this Manuel Miranda.

So Miranda is not only an expert on judges and immigration, but also on Iraq now?  Who knew?

Dobson, Malkin, and the Merging of the Right Wing Movement

At lunch yesterday, I was having a conversation with a colleague about the apparent merging of various factions of the right-wing movement under President Obama, noting how right-wing supergroups like the Freedom Federation were bringing together organizations like Concerned Women for American and the Family Research Council with outlets that they had never really aligned themselves with before, like Americans for Prosperity and Morning Star Ministries.

We also commented on the fact that the Heritage Foundation is sponsoring this year's Values Voter Summit, which is a first, as far as we can recall, and that James Dobson has started having people like Rick Scarborough on his radio show, which was also a rather new development.

But I didn't realize how fully integrated the right-wing movement was becoming until I saw this:

This is actually just the first part of a scheduled two part interview. You can listen to part one here or here.

Right Wing Paranoia Knows No Bounds

On September 9th, President Obama delivered his healthcare address to a joint session of Congress. Not surprisingly, security around the Capitol was pretty tight ... but to Janice Shaw Crouse of Concerned Women for America, this sizable security presence wasn't there to protect the President or members of Congress; it was really an effort by "the Left" to intimidate conservatives:

Everything was on hand in preparation for an assault. But by whom?

Were they mobilizing for an attack by jihadists bent on acts of terrorism? No, the State Department has decreed that the bad old days of the Bush Administration’s preoccupation with the Axis of Evil and the War on Terror are over.

Then it came to me.

They are there to ensure that those evil right-wing terrorists who have been running amuck at TEA Parties and town halls all over the country don’t get the idea that they can weaken the grip of Pelosi and company by mounting a disruptive demonstration prior to, during, or after Obama’s health care reform address to Congress. Can’t allow those wicked conservatives to take a page out of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals! Can’t allow those wicked conservatives to behave like ACORN or the Black Panthers! It just wouldn’t do.

...

If the left — with its majorities in both the House and the Senate — has everything nailed down as solidly as “I’ve-got-the-votes” Pelosi claims, why all the frustration, anger, fear, and hysteria that we’re seeing? That much is not merely theatre. Those emotions are real and very hard to hide. You can see them in the eyes and body language and hear them in the tone of voice.

No. What we are seeing is something very real. And it certainly isn’t pretty.

CWA: Repealing DOMA "Will Result in Reverse Discrimination"

Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler introduced legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the House of Representatives and, predictably, Concerned Women for America is not happy about it, going so far as to claim that repealing DOMA would amount to discrimination against people who don't think gays should be treated equally: 

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), said, "The citizens of 39 states have worked hard to pass legislation and constitutional amendments to protect marriage as the union between one man and one woman. DOMA ensures the integrity of our constitutional system and the will of Americans. DOMA reflects the reality that marriage provides unique benefits to individuals, children, and society which cannot be replicated by any other living arrangement.

"The Defense of Marriage Act anticipated the assault that homosexual activists would inflict upon marriage. Through DOMA, the will of the people is honored, as evidenced in the 39 states that have passed laws protecting marriage."

Shari Rendall, CWA's Director of Legislation and Public Policy, said, "Homosexual activists and their congressional supporters are making the outrageous claim that protecting marriage is a form of discrimination. But the reverse is true -- failing to protect marriage and overturning marriage laws will result in reverse discrimination against people who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman."

The Right Piles On

I have been diligently following the developments in the shooting death of anti-abortion activist James Pouillon in Michigan since the news broke this morning and based on the little information and few details that are available, it is impossible to know why Pouilon was killed.

Reports indicated that Pouilon was gunned down from a moving car early this morning.  A witness got the car's license plate and police arrested someone an hour later.  At that point, the suspect reportedly informed the police that he had committed another murder earlier in the morning and police were soon informed that the body of Mike Fouss, the owner of a local gravel pit, had been discovered, shot multiple times in his office:

Fuoss knew the suspected shooter, according to Shiawassee County Sheriff George Braidwood. Braidwood said it appeared he was shot at close range.

Subsequent reports indicate that the suspect in custody had some sort of personal connection to Fuoss:

Fuoss’ brother-in-law, Glen Merkel, told the Free Press that Fuoss was found shot dead in his office around 7:30 a.m. by an employee. He said Fuoss was seen alive perhaps 20 minutes earlier when another truck driver for his company came to pick up a load of gravel.

Merkel said the suspect in the shootings is the son of a former Fuoss Gravel employee, but said he did not know any reason for Fuoss’ slaying.

In short, at this point, it’s far, far too soon to say what the motive in either of these crimes actually was.

But none of that seems to matter to right-wing groups and individuals like Randall Terry, all of whom are releasing statements and holding press conferences demanding political action.

From Concerned Women for America:

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), stated, "We are shocked at this senseless violence against a peaceful man. Jim Pouillon sincerely lived out his belief that babies have the right to be born. He dedicated his life to convincing others to reject the violence of abortion. It is a tragedy upon tragedy that a peaceful man who tried to end violence was himself violently killed.

"We hope Attorney General Holder will as vigorously denounce the murder of Jim Pouillon, who tried to save babies from violence, as he did the murder of George Tiller, the late-term abortionist."

CWA President Wendy Wright will speak at a press conference today, September 11, along with pro-life leaders Troy Newman, Patrick Mahoney and Rob Schenck. The press conference will be held at 2:30 outside the Department of Justice (950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, D.C.).

From the Pro-Life Action League:

"We are shocked to learn of the killing of pro-life activist Jim Pouillon, a man who day after day stood as a witness to the violence of abortion. Now he himself is a victim of violence," said Joseph M. Scheidler, national director of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League, "Just last month at a clinic on the north side of Chicago a man shouted to one of our counselors, 'I'll get my gun and shoot you through the head.' On a number of occasions, our 'Face the Truth Tour' was threatened with deadly weapons."

"When the late term abortionist, Dr. George Tiller, was murdered, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office launched a federal investigation into federal crimes in connection with the murder, and the Civil Rights Division convened a meeting of the National Task Force on Violence Against Reproductive Health Care Providers," commented Scheidler. "Now the Pro-Life Action League is calling on those government agencies to investigate this murder and established a task force to protect pro-life advocates."

Let me say this again: at this point, nobody knows why Pouillon was killed.  He may have been targeted for his activism, or it may have just been random, but nobody knows.  Perhaps it would behoove these right wing groups to hold off until some facts are actually known about this case before they start issuing statements and making all sorts of demands.

And maybe media outlets like the New York Times ought to hold off on running articles carrying headlines like "Man Killed Over Anti-Abortion Stance" until that has actually been established:

If You Thought PFOX Was A Group For "Ex-Gays," Think Again

Via AMERICAblog we get this excellent article in the Washington City Paper about Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX):

PFOX has always had a hard time getting ex-gays to join the club. PFOX’s board of directors includes a surplus of everstraights but few former homosexuals. Parents of openly ex-gay children are also in short supply. The closest the group comes to fulfilling its name is Griggs, who speaks publicly about her loving—and disapproving—relationship with her openly gay son.

Beyond the one hopeful parent of a future ex-gay, PFOX’s directors are more fit to provide political influence than ex-gay support. Paul Rondeau, the group’s president, is not ex-gay. Estella Salvatierra, vice president, is a civil rights attorney and is not ex-gay. If Scott Strachan, the group’s secretary, is ex-gay, he’s not talking about it. Michelle Hoffman, the treasurer, once told the Montgomery County School Board that “I know many former homosexuals and am proud to call them my friends.” Peter Sprigg, a director, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and has publicly identified as everstraight. Retta Brown, a director, is not ex-gay. Robert Knight, a former director of Concerned Women for America, is not a woman and is not ex-gay. Barber, a director, works at Liberty University Law School and is not ex-gay. Quinlan, a director, is ex-gay.

Thanks to Quinlan, the closest ex-gay connection that most PFOX members claim is that they are the “friends” of an ex-gay. They better be. The organization’s ex-gays are stuck with the dirty work: fighting off homosexual urges, inserting themselves into possibly discriminatory scenarios, and never, ever accomplishing the full heterosexuality of the everstraights. Ex-gays aren’t even welcome in PFOX meetings. In an e-mail posted on one ex-gay message board, a PFOX rep made the group’s target audience clear: “PFOX meetings are for families and friends of strugglers only, and not for ex-gays.”

How has PFOX managed to build the local ex-gay movement with the participation of so few actual ex-gays? Through the clever use of a smokescreen. The group claims to represent relatives and friends of ex-gays, which is code for the true constituency—Christian conservatives. Accordingly, PFOX does not deal in ex-gay counseling, therapy, or support groups; PFOX sues people.

Obama Wants To Kill You

That seems to be the message behind this banner on the Concerned Women for America's website:

Bush's White House Visitor Log Reveals Revolving Door of Religious Right Leaders

From Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington:

Newly disclosed Bush-era White House visitor records suggest leading conservative Christian leaders may have had a significant voice in President Bush’s administration, and many seem to have had the ear of the president himself. The White House produced these records in response to CREW’s request for the visitor records of nine individuals beginning in January 1, 2001.

Only one record indicates a visit after October 4, 2006, the date of CREW’s request. The data is summarized below.

  • For the period April 2001 through June 2006, Focus on the Family Founder and Chairman Emeritus James Dobson visited the White House 24 times; 10 of those visits were to President Bush.
  • Andrea Lafferty, Executive Director of the Traditional Values Coalition, made an astonishing 50 visits to the White House starting on February 1, 2001, and continuing through March 16, 2008. Six of those visits were to President Bush.
  • Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, made 43 visits to the White House between May 2001 and August 2006. Four of those visits were to President Bush.
  • Gary Bauer, President of American Values, made 10 visits to the White House, starting with a January 6, 2003 visit to Vice President Cheney and ending with a July 20, 2006 visit to President Bush.
  • The late Jerry Falwell, of Jerry Falwell Ministries, made eight visits to the White House between May 2001 and September 2004. Three of those visits were to President Bush.
  • Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council, visited the White House 14 times between February 2001 and June 2006, including two visits to President Bush.
  • Louis Sheldon, Chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, made 19 visits to the White House between March 2001 and September 2006, including two visits to President Bush.
  • The late Paul Weyrich, the Founder of Free Congress foundation, made 17 visits to the White House between May 2001 and July 2005, including six visits to President Bush and one to Karl Rove.
  • Donald Wildmon, Founder of the American Family Association, made three visits to the White House between July 2001 and March 2003, including one visit to President Bush. 

What Rifqa Bary Means To The Religious Right

The saga of Rafiq Bary continues to drag on.

The short version is that Bary is a 17 year old girl from a Muslim family in Ohio who converted to Christianity, reportedly 4 years ago. Several months ago, her father bought her a laptop and she started spending all of her time on Facebook and sometime during that period became convinced that her father was going to kill her in an "honor killing."  Someone eventually bought her a bus ticket and she fled from her home in Ohio to Florida where she lived for nearly two weeks Blake and Beverly Lorenz of Global Revolution Church, whom she had gotten to know through a Facebook prayer group. Her parents say she's been brainwashed, her defenders say they are just trying to save her life.

Bary's case has, in recent weeks, become a huge deal for the Religious Right and has been getting lots of coverage from places like Fox News, WorldNetDaily, OneNewsNow, and Human Events and has also been championed by several Religious Right groups like Concerned Women for America, the Traditional Values Coalition and the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.

It's likewise been a huge deal on right-wing blogs, and some bloggers even showed up outside of the hearing last week:

Before the hearing on Thursday, outside in front of the courthouse, Tom Trento held a news conference, as he did before the first hearing. He's from the Florida Security Council, an organization with the slogan of "Securing Florida Against Terror." This time, though, he brought a pastor from Ohio and a pair of anti-Islam bloggers.

Jamal Jivanjee, the Ohio pastor, compared Rifqa Bary to Anne Frank, the Jewish girl who was killed by Nazis in World War II and whose diary became what many consider one of the most important books of the 20th century.

Robert Spencer, who writes on a blog called Jihad Watch, told reporters Islam was here to take over America. Pam Geller of the Atlas Shrugs blog dismissed the results of the Franklin County investigation by saying things were "corrupt in Ohio."

"Forget your political correctness!" she said.

But the driving force behind this entire spectacle seems to be John Stemberger, who stepped in to represent Bary and just so happens to be the president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council, which is a state affiliate of Focus on the Family.  He was also deeply involved in passing Florida's anti-gay marriage amendment last November. 

Once he got involved, he started leveling all sorts of wild accusations, claiming that if Bary were sent back to her parents she'd be murdered and alleging that the mosque her parents attend is a terrorist hotbed and throwing around allegations of sexual and physical abuse. He even publicly revealed Bary's parent's address in Ohio.

The authorities in Ohio conducted an investigation and found there was no reason to suspect that such allegations were true and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted its own investigation and delivered it to court last week ahead of a scheduled hearing on Bary's situation. But suddenly Stemberger asked the judge to seal the report so that nobody in the press or the public could see it.  Though those involved has been barred from discussing the report's findings, Bary's parent's attorney stated that it came back "very favorable" and contained "no evidence whatsoever" of alleged abuse or threats of death made by the girl's parents. The judge ordered the FDLE's investigation into allegations against her parents was sealed for ten days and ordered Bary and her parents to seek the mediation within 30 days, scheduling another hearing for September 29 if the family is not able to resolve the conflict.

Whatever happens regarding Bary's status, it seems clear that those claiming to represent her interests will continue to utilize a strategy that hinges largely on transforming the story of a runaway girl into a full-blown war between Christianity and Islam:

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch. He was in Orlando to take part in a news conference supporting the girl's contention that she would be at grave risk if returned to her family.

"Her testimony is entirely credible. There is indeed a death penalty in Islam for those who leave Islam. Her father attended a mosque that is very devout. It's not the least unbelievable that with the death penalty for apostasy existing, this would put this girl at risk," he notes.

According to Spencer, those advocating for the family attempted to disrupt their news conference. "There was a very rude individual who was connected with the family in Ohio who disrupted our press conference and tried to spread lies about Islamic apostasy law," he adds.

While others will continue to use it an opportunity to win more converts to Christ:

Attorneys for Bary's parents have accused Stemberger in particular of using the case to attack Islam. On Monday, Stemberger filed documents alleging the Ohio mosque the Bary family attends has ties to terrorist groups, claims the mosque's leader denies.

Christian observers say Bary's case, and the media attention it has received, may be part of God's plan for the teen. If her parents had learned of her faith just a year from now, there likely would have been little uproar.

"It is possible that God wanted to do something through this for the Muslim children," said evangelist Steven Masood, a native of Pakistan whose father tried to kill him after learning of his conversion in 1973. He ultimately fled the predominantly Muslim nation in 1981 after being imprisoned for violating its anti-blasphemy laws, which are punishable by death.

"There are teenagers who are looking seriously at what has happened," Masood added. "[They say], ‘If she is doing this, why can't we?' It will bring a lot of honest teenagers out of Islam."

[Jamal] Jivanjee agrees. "I think God wants to elevate her story," he said. "He wants to use it as a wake-up call to other Christians ... and a story of hope for other Muslims. What gave her courage to stand up to her parents has been Jesus. She'd been quiet about her abuse in the past, but she's not quiet about Jesus. It needs to be talked about."

In fact, it seems as if actively seeking the conversion of Muslims is part of a growing right-wing effort:

The Christian missionaries came to Dearborn [Michigan] this summer from across the United States to win over souls for Jesus.

The evangelists handed out literature, held religious debates and met with residents in a city they sought out because of its large numbers of Muslims. It's part of an increasing effort by some Christians, mostly evangelicals, to convert the Muslims of metro Detroit -- in schools, at festivals and on street corners.

To Eric Haven, executive pastor at Woodside Bible Church in Troy, the growth of Islam in the United States gives churches a chance to convert closer to home.

"For years, Christians have sent missionaries around the world to proclaim the gospel of Christ," Haven said. "In this day and age, the world is coming to America. ... So, it's a great opportunity."

The efforts have stepped up in recent years as more Christians have become aware of the Islamic presence in Dearborn, where about one-third of the city's 98,000 residents are of Arab descent, many of them Muslim and some Christian ...

There is money behind the push. One group spent at least $67,000 on materials, airfare and lodging for Christian activists to visit Dearborn this summer.

...

Some residents said the efforts in recent months have crossed over into harassment and bigotry.

During the annual Arab International Festival in Dearborn in June, for instance, some Christian evangelists were accused of openly insulting Islam's prophet. And others yelled at passersby "that they were going to hell because they were Muslim," according to a Dearborn police report.

 

The Inane State of the Health Care Debate

Earlier today The Freedom Federation held its press conference demanding "explicit exclusion" for abortion coverage in any legislation as well as protections "for those with debilitating or terminal illness and the elderly."

That was too be expected ... as was this sort of crassly moronic attempt to use Sen. Ted Kennedy's passing to bolster their case, I suppose:

“When [Kennedy] faced a serious health problem he did not go to England, he did not go to Canada, he did not go to a country that has a government plan. He sought treatment in the country that he believed had the best treatment available, and that is America,” said Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women For America, during a news briefing at the National Press Club. “That is a lesson that we can take from Ted Kennedy.”

Of course, nobody is arguing that our healthcare treatments are not excellent; they are arguing that our method of getting people access to those treatments is in need of reform.  Those are two completely different issues.

On a semi-related note, Frank Pavone of Priests for Life has announced the creation of what it calls "Political Responsibility Teams" that will be dedicated to getting churches to "speak out" on political issues and "educate and activate citizens to exercise their responsibility to participate in the electoral process."

Again that is not particularly surprising, considering that new right-wing organization seems to be popping up every other week.  But I don't even know what to make of this statement: 

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, the Catholic Church's largest pro-life ministry, stated today, "The reason for the mess we are in with the health care reform debate is the elections of 2008, and the way out of the mess will be the elections of 2010 and 2012."

I honestly have no idea that that is even supposed to mean.  Is he suggesting that if Barack Obama had not become President and Democrats had not taken control of Congress last year, the healthcare reform debate would be just swimming along all nice and peaceful like?  

If you want to know what is really causing the "mess" in the healthcare reform debate, these sorts of inane statements from Religious Right groups pretty much exemplify it.

When You Are Wrong, Blame The Gays

The other day Daimeon over at Pam's House Blend caught the Maine Family Policy Council posting this image on its website along with this description:

Who would know the meaning of the symbols shown below, for example? The bumperstickers on this car in Augusta are a silent 'dog-whistle' which tells other homosexuals that the owner supports the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest homosexual rights organization (the yellow and blue equal sign) and has had some contact with a sadomasochist organization in Georgia (a map of the state of Georgia drawn with the colors used by the sadomasochist movement, black and blue.)

The only problem was that the decal of the state of Georgia with a blue line across it is actually "displayed in honor of those injured or killed in the line of duty" in law enforcement.

Today, Jeremy at Good As You noted that MFPC has owned up to the mistake, but did so by blaming gays and society and pretty much everyone but themselves:

Yesterday The RECORD ran a photo of an auto in Augusta which sported two decals, one for the Human Rights Campaign, and one for what we incorrectly stated was the decal of a sadomasochistic organization. It was instead a "Thin Blue Line" decal which honors police.

Given the similarity of the "Thin Blue Line" design to the flag of the sadomasochistic movement, the mistake was understandable ... This is an error that anyone could have made, and is understandable in a society which is no longer shamed by perversion, but actually boasts of perversion and publically endorses it as "pride." The fault lies ultimately with those who seek to normalize deviancy.

We regret, however, if we have unwittingly and unintentionally associated anyone with this despicable movement.

This sort of insanity and vitriol is not an anomaly. In fact, just a few weeks ago the MFPC claimed that "call for same sex marriage and other forms of sexual immorality" are directly linked to urban blight and even said that crops were failing in the state due to gay marriage.

Amazingly, the organization is not just some crackpot fringe group, but is rather a "fully associated" affiliate of Focus on the Family whose leaders routinely participate in events with representatives from groups like the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America.

Freedom Federation Press Conference

Yesterday I noted that the right-wing supergroup The Freedom Federation had taken its first public position on a policy issue by announcing its "opposition to health care policies that either fund abortion or ration care based on treating life as a mere cost-benefit commodity" and justified its position by citing standard right-wing lies about rationing care and killing grandmothers.

Tomorrow, the group is holding a press conference, presumably so that they can spread these sorts of lies even further:

The Freedom Federation, a cross-section of multi-ethnic and transgenerational Evangelical groups, will hold a press conference to address the impact of health care reform on issues of human life and liberty.

The press conference will be held Wednesday, August 26, at 10:00 a.m. at the National Press Club.

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, stated:

"Doctors have earned patients' trust because they've taken an oath to 'do no harm.' Politicians have lost Americans' trust because their health care legislation would harm unborn babies, the elderly, and disabled. What this debate comes down to is that people do not trust the government with their health care decisions."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Do you know what causes prostitution? Craigslist.
  • Josehph Farah insists that "it's not my job to prove [President Obama] was born elsewhere," it's Obama's job to prove he was born here, while also declaring that the evidence already provided "could never and will never suffice."
  • Rick Scarborough says that the DNC ad about right-wing protesters disrupting congressional town hall sessions is just like the DHS report that called conservatives "extremists." And he's right: they are both rooted in nonsensical right-wing paranoia.
  • A board member for Concerned Women for America pens an excruciating op-ed comparing President Obama to the movie "He's Just Not That Into You."
  • Did President Bush really tell French President Jacques Chirac in early 2003 that Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible’s satanic agents of the Apocalypse?
  • Finally, expect Religious Right groups to complain wildly when this eventually begins to air.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • David Weigel discovers the source of the Birthers' forged Kenyan birth certificate.
  • Linda Harvey did not like Joe.My.God's take on her statement on the shooting in Tel Aviv, but JMG insists that her "words spoke for themselves and I stand by my original post."
  • Christy Hardin Smith asks if the NRA is backtracking on its opposition to Sonia Sotomayor by saying it doesn't know how heavily it will weigh the vote on her nomination in its scorecard.
  • Good As You: Concerned Women for America says gays are no different than thieves and alcoholics.
  • Talking Points Memo: Bonner and Associates was working on behalf of the coal industry when it sent forged letters -- purporting to come from local Hispanic and black groups -- to a member of Congress, urging him to oppose the recent climate change bill. Also, Rep. Ed Markey wants some answers from the company.

"White Americans Need to Speak Up or Lose Their Country"

The last time I wrote about Jesse Lee Peterson of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND) I noted that he had managed to carve out a rather unique niche for himself among right-wing activists:

Peterson, who is black, has carved out a niche for himself as an outspoken foe of racism ... or rather, an outspoken foe of black racism which, in his view, is the same thing as being a Democrat, like when he declares that Barack Obama was elected president thanks to the votes of "black racists and white guilty people" and proclaims that black ministers who supported Obama were leading their congregations straight to hell.

Conversely, when it comes to white racism, Peterson tends to serve primarily an apologist for the likes of Michael Richards or Duane “Dog” Chapman.

In Peterson's world, all Democrats are racist, except for African America Democrats, who are actually Black supremacists who out to intimidate conservatives and Republicans (who are totally not racists) into silence for fear of being called racist. 

This niche must be quite lucrative for Peterson because he is still producing columns (for WorldNetDaily, naturally) spewing this sort of nonsense - like this one:

Barack Obama hates white people – especially white men.

That is the very first line, and it just gets better from there:

A growing number of Americans were questioning his out-of-control spending ($1 trillion in six months), but they didn't see him as racially polarizing. That all changed after he weighed in on the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and accused the white cops of racial profiling without knowing the facts. For the first time he spoke from his heart without the aid of a teleprompter, and we saw the real Barack Obama.

Barack Obama is Jeremiah Wright Jr. He is the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus! He embodies the aspirations of every left-wing black group that wants to tear down this country and take power away from the "oppressive" white man. He's not an obvious race hustler like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson; but Obama is a smooth pathological liar – with a wicked heart.

...

Barack Obama is dividing the races like no other president in history ... Both Obama and his friend Henry Louis Gates are racist ... President Obama spoke of this being a teachable moment, and it certainly is for white Americans. The lesson is that they need to speak up or lose their country!

Allow me to also point out that not only do right-wing rags like WND give Peterson a platform to spew this nonsense, he and his BOND organization were recently tapped to join the Religious Right umbrella coalition calling itself The Freedom Federation, along with groups like the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum, Family Research Council, and several others.

The Right Readies for Sotomayor

With Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing getting underway, the Right readies its attacks.

Manuel Miranda says "the Sotomayor hearings are a spotlight on the president who nominated her, and if the Republicans don't use it that way they are fools."

Yesterday, the Christian Defense Coalition held a prayer vigil outside the Supreme Court  while Randall Terry is planning more protests:

On Monday, a Sotomayor look alike will parade around with a "Sickle of Death," showing Sotomayor's support of the slaughter of unborn children. There will also be child coffins holding "dead babies."

Randall Terry States:

"We are tired of Senators using unborn babies to seduce pro-lifers before elections - taking pro-lifers' volunteer labor, money, and votes - only to cast us and the babies aside like an embarrassing mistress after an election. It is disgusting.

"Any pro-life Senator who votes for Sotomayor is turning their back on unborn children and continuing this holocaust. They can't say, 'I want to overturn Roe,' and then confirm a Supreme Court Judge who will uphold Roe. To do so is hypocrisy, cowardice, and treachery of the first order.

Wendy Long of the Judicial Confirmation Network lists some questions she want to see asked:

Does Judge Sotomayor believe the abortion industry should be excused from having to prove its case in court when it sues to strike down a duly-enacted abortion regulation?

Does she believe medical records are relevant and admissible as a general matter but not if they involve abortion?

Does Sotomayor have such great faith in abortion providers that she is willing to accept their verbal claims as fact and impose them as a matter of law?

The American Center for Law and Justice likewise wants to see "tough questions" asked:

“The Senate must fulfill its constitutional role in providing advice and consent and that means asking the tough, in-depth questions about Judge Sotomayor’s view of the Constitution and her judicial philosophy,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “What does Judge Sotomayor believe is the proper role of judges? How does she view her role as a judge? These are important questions that deserve straight-forward answers. A Supreme Court appointment is the lasting legacy of a President. And, as President Obama moves to reshape the federal judiciary, it’s critical that the American people understand the judicial philosophy and temperament of Judge Sotomayor. Let’s not forget the scope and intensity of questions posed to President Bush’s Supreme Court nominees – John Roberts and Samuel Alito. The questioning of Judge Sotomayor must be direct, focused and in-depth. The nominee must answer the questions clearly and without reservation. The American people deserve nothing less.”

Concerned Women for America is sending a letter to Senators asking them to oppose her nomination:

CWALAC President Wendy Wright said, "Sonia Sotomayor has lived the American dream. Rising from a poor childhood to being nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Sotomayor is a testimony to the opportunities and blessings of America. But as we investigate her record, we are struck by her unwillingness to allow others to have the same opportunities as she has had. Her record reveals she lacks the primary characteristic required of a judge: impartiality. She has used her position as a judge to deny equal opportunity to people based on their ethnicity. She worked with organizations that aggressively fought against basic human rights for preborn children and ethical rights to ensure women and girls are not coerced into abortion. After giving her the benefit of the doubt, her record of giving preferences to certain classes of people and denying equal justice to others obliges Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee to oppose her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. We urge senators to vote against her nomination.

The Traditional Values Coalition has released a "scorecard" containing "16 questions Americans must demand U.S. Senators ask Judge Sonia Sotomayor before approving her lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land."  The questions include [PDF]:

How can we expect her to rule impartially on the law and the Constitution when she considers herself a world citizen – and openly supports Obama’s political agenda? She has violated the code of conduct for judges and should be disqualified.

Does Judge Sotomayor still believe in the superiority of female Hispanic justices over justices of other races and sex?

Why did race disqualify Miguel Estrada from receiving Senate approval, but not Sonia Sotomayor?

Will Judge Sotomayor refrain from abusing her new power on the Supreme Court to bring about radical change in American society?

Finally, the Committee for Justice claims that Sotomayor is as unpopular as was Harriet Miers and unveils two ads calling for her defeat, with one contrasting her to Martin Luther King and another claiming she wants to "take away your guns":

Alan Keyes Is (The Only One) Making Sense!

The emerging convention wisdom among the Religious Right and conservative commentators regarding Sarah Palin's abrupt decision to resign before the end of her sole term as Governor seems to be that she was hounded out of office by Democrats, bloggers, and mean people who criticized her.

Gary Bauer says "she was tired of being harassed" but that her decision is "a move that could end up serving her very well."

Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America decried the "dirty politics" that forced Palin out, saying no other politician in "public life has ever had her children and family so maligned and attacked so brutally, explicitly, and disrespectfully" but likewise believes that Palin will "find a way back into national politics, and she'll be a formidable force when she does."

Matthew Continetti of The Weekly Standard, who has a book called "The Persecution of Sarah Palin" coming out next year, just wrote an article for the next issue in which he explains that she has been "trapped" in the Governor's office and has now been set free. Continetti explains that, in her short time in office, Palin has been so successful that not only did not need to run again, but that she didn't even have to finish out her first term and that she had finally become fed-up with the incessant attacks:

As the months passed, Palin arrived at the conclusion that she didn't want a second term as Alaska's governor. She had achieved what she had set out to do, so why bother with one more lame-duck legislative session in 2010? "I know that we've accomplished more in our two years in office than most governors could hope to accomplish in two terms," Palin said. "And that's because I hired the right people." For Palin to remain shuttling between Juneau, Anchorage, and Wasilla would waste both her and her constituents' time. And "I cannot waste time," she said. "I cannot waste resources."

...

Why is Palin leaving? At this writing, there is no reason to doubt her stated position: Her enemies' concerted efforts to tear her down have caused her family financial stress and distracted her from her duties as governor. Since she returned to Alaska in November 2008, she has been hemmed in. Ethics complaints, insults, invective, undue attention, and legal bills have been all-consuming. "I can't fight for what's right when I'm shackled to the governor's seat," Palin said. For the last seven months the governor's office has been a ward. A trap. She is breaking free.

...

Unable or unwilling to grasp her true accomplishments and character, the media shoehorned Palin into a ready-made caricature of the know-nothing Christian PTA mom who enters politics because of "those damned lib'ruls." The reality is far different. Palin is a savvy and charismatic politician whose career has been filled with courageous stands against entrenched authority. Ideological or partisan attachments do not concern her. She has her flaws--who doesn't?--but they should be measured against her strengths. Instead the media ignored the positives and colluded with Palin's adversaries to reduce her to a cartoon.

Oddly, the only one who doesn't seem to be buying into the "Palin-as-vicitm" explanation is Alan Keyes, who accuses her of dereliction of duty and "bad statesmanship":

In her speech, Sarah Palin refers to a "recent trip to Kosovo and Landstuhl, to visit our wounded soldiers overseas" and "what we can all learn from our selfless troops ... they're bold, they don't give up and they take a stand …" Here words are an apt reminder of what the faithful performance of duty requires. Soldiers take a stand in the very teeth of enemy fire, even though it means certain death or grievous wounds. There is a word for soldiers who quit their posts because the enemy is shooting at them. It is not intended as a compliment, especially when it's their own bad judgment that has put them in the way of enemy fire in the first place.

Sarah Palin calls to mind our wounded soldiers in the very moment when she fails to follow their heroic example. In the process, she acknowledges that, thanks to the provision of Alaska's taxpayers, she has successfully evaded the cost-free political attacks allowed by "the ethics law I championed." She won! Had Custer won the battle at Little Big Horn, I doubt that anyone would have questioned the money expended for the guns and bullets required to do so. He had a duty to defend his command, especially after his own mistakes exposed it to danger.

Of course, resignation would have been in order once he acknowledged and took responsibility for those mistakes. But Sarah Palin has done no such thing. She claims Alaska is being damaged by the attacks against her, but that the fault lies entirely with the bad motives and actions of others. She says her tenure as governor has been successful; her judgments and actions sound; her record all for the good of the state and its people. But if this is true, it makes no sense to deprive the state of the governor duly elected by the people simply because bad folks attack her. In that case, resigning simply lets the (political) assassins finish their work. How can letting the duly elected governor be taken out in this way be consistent with her sworn duty to defend the state?

If she is without fault or blame, then Palin's explanation makes no sense except as a clear dereliction of duty. She swore faithfully to perform the duties of her office. She claims to have done so. Others have abused the law to attack her. She successfully defended against them. If, as she contends, she has simply been performing her duties, her defense of herself is in fact simply a defense of her office, in the literal sense. To preserve that office with integrity is one of her duties as governor. By resigning, she fails in the performance of that duty. She encourages the "politics of personal destruction" in much the same way that allowing terrorists to succeed encourages further acts of terrorism. This cannot be good for Alaska, and it does not keep faith with the people who elected her. They rightly expected her to defend the integrity of the office, which obviously means standing firm against those who attack its occupant without good reason.

If her stated explanation makes no sense, we are forced to look for an alternative that does. Absent that, we are forced to conclude that her decision to resign is, like championing the law used to harass her, just another example of her bad statesmanship.

You know something bizarre is underway when the only person on the Right who is making any sort of sense is Alan Keyes.

Roberts and Alito: Good for Women, Sotomayor: Bad

Apparently the confirmations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito were great things for women in this country whereas the possible confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor, an actual woman, would be a bad thing - at least that seems to be the message of the Women's Coalition for Justice:

Members of the Women's Coalition for Justice released the following statements in advance of the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor beginning next Monday.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List, stated, "Women are best protected by the rule of law -- and blind justice. Their rights are most endangered when personal preference, ideology or painful personal history inform judgment ... Given what we know about Sonia Sotomayor's own judicial philosophy, including her support of policymaking from the bench, senators have just cause to reject her appointment to the United States Supreme Court."

Genevieve Wood, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, The Heritage Foundation ..."[Sonia Sotomayor's] statements raise grave concerns about whether she can truly be impartial and the current defense that she simply endorses including different perspectives doesn't hold water. The Senators must ask challenging questions to determine whether she believes that a wise woman can reach the same conclusion as a wise man, or whether she intends to bring bias, as she has suggested, even to most cases."

Connie Mackey, Senior Vice President for FRCAction ... Women think independently and most women will see that Sonia Sotomayor is a judicial activist who will use the courts to make policy reflective of her own personal judgments as opposed to ruling based upon the tenets put forth by the Constitution.

Charmaine Yoest, President and CEO of Americans United for Life remarked ... "Her record of activism in support of a radical pro-abortion agenda is clear and documented. This is a judge with a record significantly worse than Judge Souter's. We are asking the Senate Judiciary Committee to seriously consider the consequences of confirming a Supreme Court justice whose radical record shows she would rule against all common-sense legal protections for the unborn, including parental notification, informed consent and bans on partial-birth abortion. The American people will not tolerate a nominee who is outside the mainstream of American public opinion."

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee stated, "Sonia Sotomayor's record reveals she lacks the primary characteristic required of a judge -- impartiality ... After giving her the benefit of the doubt, her record of giving preferences to certain classes of people and denying equal justice to others obliges Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee to oppose her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Sonia Sotomayor has disqualified herself from the U.S. Supreme Court. Senators need to set aside their party loyalty and do their Constitutional duty to uphold equal justice for all by opposing Sonia Sotomayor's nomination."

Not surprisingly, many of these same conservative women also participated in the "Women For Roberts" coalition which held a press conference at which they praised the fact that John Roberts "doesn't have a sexist bone in his body" as well as a “Women for Alito” press conference to make the case that "Samuel Alito possesses the capability, character and commitment to the law America needs in a Supreme Court justice, and he deserves a swift and fair confirmation."

So there you have it: the appointment of ultra-conservative men to the Supreme Court by President Bush greatly advances the interests of women, whereas the appointment of an actual woman by President Obama greatly undermines those interests and Senators have an obligation to uphold the rights of all women by rejecting the nomination of this particular woman.

Concerned Women for America, Confused on Sanford

A few days ago, Kyle mentioned that one Focus on the Family state affiliate, the Palmetto Family Council, couldn't quite make up their mind on whether or not to call for South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's resignation.

Then, their national organization, Focus on the Family, spoke, albeit rather softly, about the governor's actions. It seemed a good deal of family values organizations were having a difficult time deciding how to react when a "family-values" governor goes against the family values they preach about.

It seems, today, that Concerned Women for America have outdone the indecisiveness of both the Palmetto Family Council and Focus on the Family. On Thursday, CWA published an article in which they chastised the governor for his "teary press conference" and showing "no emotion as he talked about betraying and hurting his wife and sons."

But, let's look at the facts. Gov. Sanford turned to Mrs. Chapur again and again via e-mail and long-distance visits; there is no evidence that he attempted to turn away from temptation. Gov. Sanford was not honest in his accounting of the times they got together. Amazingly, even after his wife accidentally learned of the affair, Gov. Sanford asked her repeatedly for permission to go to Argentina to see Mrs. Chapur. 

Can you imagine anything more bizarre? He asked his wife for permission to go visit his mistress!

When a politician won't keep his commitments to his family (the philanderers are generally men), how can we trust him to keep his commitments to the public he represents? If his wife and children can't trust his word and depend upon his character, how can we?

CWA had their course laid out and it seemed their stance could be easily deciphered...until today, that is.

The CWA's president, Wendy Wright, has written an article commenting on the affair and, of course, blaming the media for "salivat[ing] over the juicy details" of it. Wright does acknowledge Sanford's failings, but reels back heavily from the rhetoric of CWA's first statement on the issue. She pleads for a "civil and sober moment to sympathize with Gov. Mark Sanford and his family."

As we watched his heartrending press conference on Wednesday, our immediate thoughts were for his family. Confessing his infidelity, apologizing to his family and loyal friends, recognizing that breaching God’s law carries serious consequences, it was a stark contrast to other politicians caught cheating who act defiantly.

Christians understand that humans are broken, all of us are sinners in need of redemption through a Savior, Jesus Christ. God has given us high moral standards, and we commit to help each other to live up to them. People fail (as we all do in some manner). The conversation at that point is: Is the person sorry, willing to make amends, and do all it takes not to fall again?

So, CWA, is Sanford an "untrustworthy, not credible, [person who] treats those closest to him with disdain" or is he "a stark contrast to other politicians caught cheating who act defiantly?"

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Concerned Women for America Top Posts

Founded by Beverly LaHaye, wife of Religious Right activist Tim LaHaye, as a counter to the progressive National Organization of Women, Concerned Women for America (CWA) describes itself as "the nation's largest public policy women's organization." CWA opposes gay rights, comprehensive sex education, drug and alcohol education, and feminism, while advocating what it calls "pro-life" and "pro-family" values. MORE >

Concerned Women for America Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Wednesday 08/24/2011, 11:40am
Wendy Wright, who left her job as president of Concerned Women for America under mysterious conditions, is continuing her right-wing activism by taking the fight to the Girl Scouts of the USA. Wright joined Janet Parshall yesterday on In The Market to discuss their shared antipathy to the Girl Scouts and what parents can do to fight the Girl Scouts. Wright, who previously argued that the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood were “working together to steal children's innocence and make them vulnerable to the negative consequences of promiscuity thereby creating clients for their abortion... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/18/2011, 5:33pm
Lisa Miller demonstrates just how easy it is to dismiss the rise of dominionism by doing no research and providing no evidence at all. I have no idea what this is, but it seems rather sketchy to me. The Christian Defense Coalition's Pat Mahoney is protesting President Obama's "$50,000 a week vacation." Michele Bachamann stopped by Liberty University to meet with Jerry Falwell Jr. yesterday. It is truly amazing to watch right-wing activists now rail against George W. Bush and his aides as "Ruling Class Republicans." Concerned Women For America... MORE >
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 >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 08/17/2011, 3:40pm
As researchers continue to challenge and discredit right-wing claims that gays and lesbians can be transformed by reparative therapy and are harmful to children, anti-gay activists simply deny the validity of the science. For example, when the journal Pediatrics found that children with same-sex parents “were psychologically well-adjusted and had fewer behavioral problems than their peers,” then-president of Concerned Women for America Wendy Wright said that the study must be wrong simply because their finding “just defies common sense and reality.” Today on Faith... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 08/16/2011, 3:51pm
Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern has been promoting her book "The Stoning of Sally Kern: The Liberal Attack on Christian Conservatism - And Why We Must Take a Stand" in which she compares the attacks on her to Pearl Harbor for several weeks now and last week appeared on the radio with Concerned Women for America where she and host Martha Kleder marveled at how God has kept her in office by placing her in a conservative district so she could win re-election: Kleder:Well it is a testament to God's grace that you are still in office, given the firestorm that erupted, given the... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 08/15/2011, 1:09pm
During last week's Republican presidential debate, Michele Bachmann was asked by Washington Examiner’s Byron York about her past statement that she ended up studying tax law even though she "hates taxes" and never had a desire for it" but did so because wives "are to be submissive to your husband" and so she "was going to be faithful to what I felt God was calling me to do through my husband." In her response and since, Bachmann has been trying to claim that being "submissive" merely means that she and her husband "respect each... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 08/12/2011, 10:41am
Recently, a Facebook page and petition have been launched asking PBS to let the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie get married to which executives have responded by explaining that they cannot get married because they are puppets "and do not have a sexual orientation." But, of course, the Religious Right is utterly incensed by the idea of this and so now we get to listen to Concerned Women for America bring on Matt Barber to go off on a patented anti-gay tirade about "sexual anarchists" are out to target your children and "plant this poison in their... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 08/02/2011, 1:18pm
In June, Janet Porter's radical anti-choice "Heartbeat Bill" passed the Ohio State House but then stalled when the state legislature recessed without the bill being taken up by the Senate. But the Legislature will return in September and Porter is already planning a rally to welcome them back that will continue her efforts to join together Religious Right leaders with prophetic dominionists by mixing the likes of Wendy Wright [formerly] of Concerned Women for America and Rick Scarborough from Vision America in with Porter's prophetic pal Rick Joyner of The Oak Initiative: MORE >