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?"

Focus Speaks Out (Very, Very Quietly) On Sanford

Yesterday we noted that the most influential Religious Right group in South Carolina couldn't decide if Gov. Mark Sanford should resign.

Dan Gilgoff wrote a semi-related post on the same topic, commenting on the noticeable silence coming from Religious Right goups on the issue:

One week after Mark Sanford admitted to his affair with an Argentine woman—and a day after he called his mistress his "soul mate" and acknowledged further indiscretions—I'm struck by the total silence of pro-family groups.

The Family Research Council has been completely quiet on the South Carolina governor's affair. So has Concerned Women for America. Ditto for Focus on the Family.

The wall of silence is all the more striking given that 10 Palmetto State senators in Sanford's own party have called for him to step down. Does the pro-family movement burn up credibility if it looks the other way when Republican allies own up to extramarital affairs?

Today, Gilgoff writes that Focus on the Family took exception to his claim:

Focus on the Family's vice president of communications E-mails to protest my post about the silence of family values groups on Mark Sanford's affair. Focus, he says, has hardly kept quiet, responding to interview requests from Politico, the Washington Times, and a small New England newspaper.

Gilgoff wisely notes that these few examples are not particularly impressive "given what Focus's powerful media ministry is capable of," but I'd take it a step further by pointing out that I can find no article from Politico quoting the organization on Sanford's affair and the Washington Times quote doesn't exactly take what anyone would consider a particularly strong stand:

Focus on Family's Carrie Gordon Earll agreed.

"If anything, it hurts the nation," she said. "Any time you have an elected official who has a moral failure, I think it affects people's general confidence in leadership. Decisions have consequences, and Gov. Sanford is experiencing that today."

She said voters have one standard when it comes to marital fidelity, regardless of party. "Adultery is a moral failure, and I think the pubic doesn't have a stomach for it," she said.

Maybe Focus spoke out more forcefully in whatever small New Englad paper it is referring to, but if it did, I haven't seen it.

Until today, the only Religious Right leaders we had seen call for Sanford's resignation was Rob Schenck:

I humbly offer to you this pastoral advice: First, when these sins overtake us and ruin what is best of our lives, it is better to say less to the public and more to God and to those who have been injured by us. I urge you to now observe an extended period of public silence and address your interior spiritual life and the repair of your family. I also admonish you to immediately step down from public office. It has been my experience and that of many others in the ministry, that such turbulent and injurious human failings, such as this one in your life, require our complete and undivided attention.

And now this call has been echoed by Al Mohler of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:

Governor Sanford is no King David, and the people of South Carolina -- as well as the watching world -- now observe the sad spectacle of a man who, while admitting to wrongdoing, shows no genuine repentance. As the Christian church has long recognized, true repentance is reflected in the "detestation of sin." This is a far cry from what we've heard from Governor Sanford.

If the governor is really serious about demonstrating character to his four sons, he should resign his office and give himself unreservedly to his wife and family. He must show his sons -- and all who have eyes to see -- how a man is led by the grace and mercy of God to hate his sin, rather than to love it. Until then, the governor must be understood to indulge himself in wistfulness for his affair and in a desperate determination to maintain his office. His remaining days in office are like a Greek tragedy unfolding into farce. The whole picture is just unspeakably sad.

Despite it claims to the contrary, aside from this one article on FOF's CitizenLink discussing efforts to voice support for Sanford's wife, Focus has been noticeably silent on the entire issue.

When The Going Gets Tough, The Right Starts A New Group

Despite all of the predictions that the Religious Right was on its deathbed, they sure do seem to be extremely active of late.

Of course, they don't seem to have any new ideas or desire to change their agenda in any way, but in last few months have seen a flurry of new groups popping up designed to fill some unseen void that has been apparently responsible for their current predicament.

In the last few months we seen the arrival of the Faith and Freedom Institute, which was followed by Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition, while Newt Gingrich was unveiling his Renewing American Leadership effort, and Lou Engle was announcing his Call to Action.

And now we come to find out via Pam that pretty much every Religious Right group has joined together under the umbrella of something called The Freedom Federation, incuding Renewing American Leadership and Call to Action, which were just recently created - so now you have two new groups created specifically to fill this void joining a new coalition effort ... designed to fill this very same void:

Press Conference to discuss the formation of the Freedom Federation and its purpose.

The Freedom Federation is a new and unique federation of some of the largest multi-ethnic and transgenerational faith-based organizations in the country committed to plan, strategize, and work together on common interests within the Judeo-Christian tradition to mobilize their grassroots constituencies and to communicate faith and values to the religious, social, cultural, and policymaking institutions.

-- American Association of Christian Counselors
-- American Family Association
-- Americans for Prosperity
-- Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND)
-- Campaign for Working Families
-- Catholic Online
-- Concerned Women for America
-- Conservative Action Project
-- Eagle Forum
-- Exodus International
-- Faith and Action
-- Family Research Council
-- High Impact Leadership
-- Liberty Alliance Action
-- Liberty Counsel
-- Liberty University
-- Life Education and Resource Network (LEARN)
-- Marc Nuttle
-- Morning Star Ministries
-- National Clergy Council
-- National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
-- Renewing American Leadership
-- Strang Communications
-- Teen Mania
-- The Call to Action
-- Traditional Values Coalition
-- Vision America

Wow - did they put this coalition together by going through our list of right-wing organizations and simply inviting all the groups and individuals we write about most frequently to join?  Sorry,  Christian Anti-Defamation Commission  - if only we had written about you a few more times, maybe you would have been deemed worthy of inclusion in this ground-breaking new effort by the Religious Right ... to do whatever it is this new organization is going to do.

Honestly, what purpose can this possibly serve?  Are the Council for National Policy and the Arlington Group somehow lacking and so these groups decided that what they really needed was yet another coalition to carry out the same work?

Anyway, this effort seems to be organized by Rick Scarborough ... or at least he is the first to send out a press release trying to take credit for it:

Today, representatives of some of America's largest faith-based groups gathered in the nation's capital to announce that they will organize and mobilize their grassroots constituencies in a common cause.

At the National Press Club, Vision America President Pastor Rick Scarborough joined other conservative leaders, including Mat Staver, dean of Liberty University Law School and the Federation's convener, to formally announce the formation of the Freedom Federation.

The Federation encompasses individuals of different races, faiths and backgrounds who are committed to the preservation of freedom and American values, founded on the Judeo-Christian tradition. The Freedom Federation is not a separate organization, but an association of like-minded national organizations with large and unique religious and political constituencies.

...

Scarborough commented: "These organizations represent some of the nation's largest constituencies of youth, Hispanics, African-Americans, women, pastors and churches, who are uniting to defend a tradition increasingly under attack."

The Freedom Federation is committed to defending and extending core values expressed in the Declaration of American Values, the organization's founding document. These include the right to life, the institution of marriage, parental rights, religious liberty, an environment free of pornography and indecency, the right to property, freedom from excessive taxation, and national sovereignty. The statement is posted on the Vision America website at www.visionamerica.us.

And here is their Declaration of American Values, which they vow to protect with their lives:

We the people of the United States of America, at this crucial time in history, do hereby affirm the core consensus values which form the basis of America’s greatness, that all men and women from every race and ethnicity are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We adhere to the rule of law embodied in the Constitution of the United States and to the principles of liberty on which America was founded. In order to maintain the blessings of liberty and justice for ourselves and our posterity, and recognizing that personal responsibility is the basis of our self-governing Nation, we declare our allegiance –

1. To secure the sanctity of human life by affirming the dignity of and right to life for the disabled, the ill, the aged, the poor, the disadvantaged, and for the unborn from the moment of conception. Every person is made in the image of God, and it is the responsibility and duty of all individuals and communities of faith to extend the hand of loving compassion to care for those in poverty and distress.

2. To secure our national interest in the institution of marriage and family by embracing the union of one man and one woman as the sole form of legitimate marriage and the proper basis of family.

3. To secure the fundamental rights of parents to the care, custody, and control of their children regarding their upbringing and education.

4. To secure the free exercise of religion for all people, including the freedom to acknowledge God through our public institutions and other modes of public expression and the freedom of religious conscience without coercion by penalty or force of law.

5. To secure the moral dignity of each person, acknowledging that obscenity, pornography, and indecency debase our communities, harm our families, and undermine morality and respect. Therefore, we promote enactment and enforcement of laws to protect decency and morality.

6. To secure the right to own, possess and manage private property without arbitrary interference from government, while acknowledging the necessity of maintaining a proper and balanced care and stewardship of the environment and natural resources for the health and safety of our families.

7. To secure the individual right to own, possess, and use firearms as central to the preservation of peace and liberty.

8. To secure a system of checks and balances between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches within both state and federal governments, so that no one branch – particularly the judiciary – usurps the authority of the other two, and to maintain the constitutional principles of federalism which divide power between the state and federal governments.

9. To secure our national sovereignty and domestic tranquility by maintaining a strong military; establishing and maintaining secure national borders; participating in international and diplomatic affairs without ceding authority to foreign powers that diminish or interfere with our unalienable rights; and being mindful of our history as a nation of immigrants, promoting immigration policies that observe the rule of law and are just, fair, swift, and foster national unity.

10. To secure a system of fair taxes that are not punitive against the institution of marriage or family and are not progressive in nature, and within a limited government framework, to encourage economic opportunity, free enterprise, and free market competition.

We hereby pledge our Names, our Lives and our Sacred Honor to this Declaration of American Values.

Nobody Could Have Predicted

Last week, I wrote a post about an incoherent claim from Focus on the Family's Steve Jordahl in which he mashed together the infamous DHS report, the current hate crimes bill in the Senate, and an amendment added to the National Defense Authorization Act by Rep. Alcee Hastings that "would prohibit the recruitment, enlistment, or retention of individuals associated" with hate groups by the US military to claim that the "hate-crimes bill may target pro-life servicemen and women."

As I wrote in that post:

[E]ven though this claim is utterly incoherent and fundamentally nonsensical, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see it get picked up by others in the right-wing echo chamber and quickly establish itself as part of the narrative.

So imagine my complete lack of surprise when I saw this:

Opposition is surfacing to a move in Congress that could categorize pro-life organizations and their members as dangerous.

Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America (CWA) has written a letter to Congress, urging defeat of the measure. "An amendment has been added to the Defense Authorization Bill that would prohibit the recruitment, enlistment, or retention of military personnel who are connected to groups associated with what the amendment calls 'hate-related violence,'" she explains.

Wright recalls the recent Homeland Security report on right-wing extremists, which inferred that people associated with single-issue groups are potentially problematic. In the 1990s, Wright says the Department of Justice initiated a politically driven investigation against pro-lifers and religious leaders based on them being pro-life.

CWA has even dashed off a letter [PDF] opposing this amendment and sent it to members of Congress:

On behalf of Concerned Women for America’s (CWA) 500,000 members nationwide, I am writing you today to respectfully raise concerns with an amendment offered by Representative Alcee Hastings to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010 which would prohibit recruitment, enlistment or retention of military personnel connected to groups associated with “hate-related violence.” The language in this amendment is vague and unclear and raises constitutional questions.

...

The Hastings amendment on its face targets people “associated or affiliated with” certain groups. However, the Constitution gives individuals the right to associate and the Supreme Court has determined that the government cannot penalize an individual for “mere association” without proof that a person shares the illegal aims of the group. The Hastings amendment appears to prohibit recruitment, enlistment or retention of military personnel simply based on one’s affiliation with a particular group that the Attorney General disfavors.

CWA urges you to oppose this amendment in its present form and to clarify the language in this amendment on the House floor or during conference process to make it more consistent with current Department of Defense policies and the Constitution.

You can read Hastings' amendment here [PDF] and, if you do so, you'll see that it explicitly defines "hate groups" as those that advocate violence against others based on race, religion, or ethnicity, engage in criminal activity, or advocate armed revolution against the government or that are otherwise "determined by the Attorney General to be of a violent, extremist nature."

The language is in no way "vague and unclear" and contains no threat to constitutional rights to association - it simply, and logically, prohibits the military from recruiting those who are associated or affiliated with violent extremist groups. 

But that doesn't matter to the Right, which apparently thinks that it has found yet another non-issue over which it can raise and ruckus and try to set off a "controversy" for political gain. 

Look for this issue to start picking up steam in the days and weeks ahead. 

The Key to Right-Wing Success

I don't really have anything to say about this latest column from Matt Barber other than to marvel at how he's managed to become a relatively high-profile right-wing activist based on little more than his seething animosity toward gays:

The idea of open homosexuality within our armed services has long been considered preposterous.

[George] Washington wisely understood that to allow men among the ranks who sodomized other men would necessarily distract from the mission at hand, disrupt unit cohesion and damage the morale of non-sodomy-disposed soldiers forced to sleep and bathe alongside those so inclined. It's understandably disquieting to wonder whether your foxhole buddy "has your back" or wants to rub it.

Barack Obama is no George Washington. He and a like-minded gaggle of congressional liberals have pledged to repeal the federal law, Section 654, Title 10, which stipulates that homosexual practice is incompatible with military service. Furthermore, they intend to do away with Bill Clinton's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" administrative compromise.

The president has asked Congress to pass and send to his desk H.R. 1283, which, for the first time in American history, would homosexualize the military. To wit, he seeks to supplant military vitality with San Francisco vice. Whereas George Washington put a premium on combat readiness and national security, these indispensable safeguards play last fiddle to liberals' obtuse fixation with political correctness.

In the deadly game of war it's dangerously irresponsible to place extreme social ideology above national security. In combat, even the slightest disruption or distraction can spell the difference between victory and defeat – life and death. The left fails to understand this grave reality.

...

I'm speaking from personal experience. I served 12 years in the Army National Guard. During basic training a young man who later turned out to be homosexual was discharged after making unwanted advances toward other soldiers and for inappropriately touching several while they slept in the barracks.

A lengthy investigation ensued. Troops were pulled away from their regular training to answer questions. It was a tremendous distraction for our entire platoon. This incident most definitely disrupted unit cohesion and harmed troop morale.

But none of this matters to liberals. Obama is the un-Washington. The left – of which Obama sits on the fringe – loathe the armed services. Rather than viewing the military as a noble and necessary institution designed as our last line of defense, they consider it a giant petri dish ripe for radical social experimentation. Move over Army National Guard; make way for the smarmy avant-garde.

Once upon a time, Barber was an manager for Allstate Insurance until he was fired for writing anti-gay pieces for right-wing websites like The Conservative Voice and Men's News Daily. That firing transformed him into a right-wing hero and he quickly became Policy Director for Cultural Issues with Concerned Women for America, where he continued his militantly anti-gay diatribes.  He was eventually lured away from CWA by the Liberty Counsel where he became Director of Cultural Affairs, as well as the Associate Dean for Career and Professional Development at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

In just four years, Barber has gone from an unknown employee at an insurance company to an associate dean at a right-wing university thanks solely to his unrelenting hatred of gays.

Amazing.

Miranda Set To Issue More Demands

Just yesterday I wrote a post about the fact that Manuel Miranda seems to think that the time-line for a vote on Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court should be determined primarily by ... well, Manuel Miranda.

Today, CQ reports that Miranda and his Third Branch Conference will be sending a letter to Senators tomorrow demanding that any debate and vote on the nomination be held off until after the August recess:

The Third Branch Conference will send a letter to senators Friday asking that debate on Sotomayor's nomination be postponed until September, said the group's leader, Manuel Miranda.

"It would be a failure of leadership to allow a confirmation vote before the August recess," Miranda said Thursday.

Asked about the idea Thursday, Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee said, "I haven't given that any thought. Obviously they're trying to rush this through."

But Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., who serves on the Judiciary Committee told reporters the confirmation schedule will not slip into September.

Miranda said the focus should be on trying to push back the floor vote rather than Sotomayor's confirmation hearing scheduled to begin in the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 13.

"I'm afraid the postponed hearing will be the basis for a barter," Miranda said, in which Republicans would agree to a floor vote prior to the August recess.

Despite Miranda's claim that they would never engage in an "obstructive filibuster" of Sotomayor's nomination, you can already see them plotting to do just that by incessantly issuing demands that, are they not met, they can use to justify to filibuster or otherwise obstruct the confirmation process.

The Hill has more on this "not-a-filibuster" effort to filibuster Sotomayor's nomination:

A coalition of more than 100 conservative activists have called on Senate Republicans to delay a final vote on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor until the fall.

A group of conservatives have called on Senate Republicans to use every tactic at their disposal to hold up Sotomayor’s confirmation until September.

“The confirmation debate and the final vote should occur is September and Republicans should ensure that happens, to allow the American people to engage in this debate,” said Manuel Miranda, chairman of the Third Branch Conference, which includes groups such as the American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform, Focus on the Family and Concerned Women for America.

The Third Branch Conference polled its members in recent days and found unanimous desire among more than 100 conservative activists and leaders to press Senate Republicans for a delay.

“This issue is bigger than partisan politics; some of the statements Sotomayor has made should be of concern to everybody,” said Mario Diaz, policy director of legal issues for Concerned Women for America.

Members of the coalition will begin contacting and writing letters to Senate Republicans on Friday.

...

Miranda argued that Republicans could delay the nomination by refusing to participate in a vote to move Sotomayor to the Senate floor.

Rule IV of the Judiciary Committee states that at least one member of the minority party must vote to cut off debate in committee.

Right Wing: Campaign Promises Only Valid When Made to Us

Yesterday, President Obama extended some benefits to same-sex partners of US government workers, but progressive groups and activists were decidedly unimpressed.  We released a statement calling it a "very small step in the right direction" and urged the president to live up to his own rhetoric about being a "fierce advocate" for gay and lesbian Americans and many others issued similar statements.

On the opposite side, Religious Right groups blasted the move, calling it an affront to traditional marriage and a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act while accusing Obama of pandering, with the Family Research Council saying he was using taxpayer funds to "placate an angry portion of his base" while Concerned Women for America called the move an "outrageous abuse by the president to benefit his supporters and quell their criticism of him.”

In fact, the idea that President Obama was somehow caving to a bunch of gay rights whiners seems to be predominant theme of the Right's response:

A Christian pastor and staunch opponent of same-sex "marriage" says President Obama threw a bone to homosexual activists yesterday, but they're acting like "playground bullies" because he's not moving quickly enough to enact their top priorities ... Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, believes President Obama issued the directive in order to placate homosexual activists who are upset that the Obama Justice Department defended DOMA in a legal brief earlier this month -- a move that was at odds with Obama's campaign pledge to repeal DOMA.

Apparently, the prospect of activists trying to hold a president to his campaign rhetoric is completely foreign to the Right ... or at least it is now that they are no longer in power because, in case they have forgotten, when George W. Bush was in office and making nominations to the Supreme Court, they were very very vocal in demanding a “return on their investment” and crowed repeatedly about how Bush had kept his promise when he nominated John Roberts. And when Bush later nominated Harriet Miers, the Right went absolutely bonkers, accusing him of betraying the very voters who had put him in office, forcing Miers to withdraw her nomination and then, when Bush subsequently nominated Samuel Alito, the Right went back to crediting him for once again living up to his promise.

It is especially hypocritical of Jackson, of all people, to be claiming that activists are acting like "playground bullies" for holding President Obama to his promises, considering that, ahead of the 2008 election, Jackson told Jay Sekulow that if John McCain were to win the election, they were going to make sure that McCain knew that they got him elected and that they expected a significant return on their investment (skip ahead to the 3:25 mark):

Sekulow: Senator McCain becomes President-elect McCain, what's the message? What is the message you say to him as President-elect?

Jackson: Well, I think you say to him "we got you elected." If he gets elected, it's only going to be because Christians turned out en masse at the last minute, without being really wooed by him, and then we need to say "look, we have several key priorities, we need to protect life" and we can go down the list of things that we're very concerned about. But we need access - most people don't realize that we did not have as much access to President Bush in the last term that we should have had by rights, having put him in 2004.

The Right Joins Hands To Stop Hate Crimes Legislation

Last week we noted that Religious Right groups were planning on making a coordinated push to stop hate crimes legislation by threatening to "shut down the Capitol Switchboard to stop this dangerous bill that will criminalize Christianity and protect pedophiles."

Now, it looks like a variety of groups and leaders have done just that and banded together to send a letter to the Senate begging members to join their colleague Sen. Jim DeMint in filibustering the bill: 

This week, a letter is being hand-delivered to every member of the United States Senate imploring conservatives to join Senator Jim DeMint's filibuster of the pending Hate Crimes bill, which would criminalize preaching the Gospel and put preachers in the crosshairs.

The letter explains that, in its current form, the Hate Crimes legislation would: "Silence the moral voice of the Church" -- "Punish principled dissent from the homosexual agenda" -- "Be a savage and perhaps fatal blow to First Amendment freedom of expression" -- and "Empower the left and encourage it to move forward with even more radical measures."

The letter is signed by more than 60 conservative leaders, including some of the leading lights of the Values Voter movement, among them: James Dobson (Focus On The Family), Tony Perkins (Family Research Council), Don Wildmon (American Family Association), Gary Bauer (American Values), Hon. Tom DeLay (former Majority Whip, U.S. House of Representatives), Phyllis Schlafly (Eagle Forum), Mat Staver (Liberty Counsel), Wendy Wright (Concerned Women for America) and Rick Scarborough (Vision America).

Vision America President Dr. Rick Scarborough commented: "We are urging Senators to join DeMint (R, SC) in filibustering this pernicious -- one might almost say 'toxic' -- legislation. As Values Voter leaders, we are saying this vicious assault on the Church and the First Amendment must not and will not be allowed to succeed."

The press release didn't include an actual copy of this letter, which is rather odd.  Presumably, the letter has not been finalized or sent yet but, when it is and it is made available publicly, we'll be sure to write it up.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • You know what Lou Pritchett? You scare me.
  • Barbara Simpson has been too lazy to get her TV set up for the digital conversion, so now she's mad at the government.
  • Thanks to the Alliance Defense Fund, a local ministry will now be able to hand out religious literature at St. Louis' upcoming PrideFest.
  • Sam Brownback's main primary challenge for Governor has now dropped out.
  • Anti-choice activists are going to recreate the Civil Rights march across the Pettus Bridge in Alabama along with Alveda Kind and 70 pro-life organizations.
  • Sen. Jim DeMint is set to endorse Marco Rubio's bid for Governor of Florida.
  • This column from Kathryn Jean Lopez says that Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America used to work for Operation Rescue, which is something we didn't know.
  • Speaking of K Lo, she is transitioning to a new position at the National Review.
  • President Obama was in Illinois addressing the American Medical Association ... and Peter LaBarbera was there protesting the "radical homosexual agenda."
  • Finally, Pat Boone declares ""Like it or not, believe it or not, the end times seem to be drawing near."

The Religious Right: Always The Victim

It was just over a week ago that Dr. George Tiller was murdered and today his family announced that the clinic he operated in Kansas would be shutting down permanently:

The Wichita clinic of slain abortion provider George Tiller will be "permanently closed," his family said Tuesday.

Operations at Women's Health Care Services Inc. had been suspended since Tiller's death May 31. In a statement released by his attorneys, Tiller's family said it will close, effective immediately.

...

Randall Terry, who founded the original Operation Rescue group, responded to news that Tiller's clinic would remain closed with, "Good riddance." He said history would remember Tiller's clinic as it remembers Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps.

"What set him apart is that he killed late-term babies," Terry said. "If his replacement was going to continue to kill late-term children, the protests would continue, the investigations would continue, the indictments would continue."

In the days that followed, right-wing anti-choice activists were lamenting that Tiller's murder would undermine their cause, warning that "pro-abortion activists and politicians to use this tragedy to manipulate public opinion or our laws," and saying that Tiller was murdered because anti-choice activists feel "helpless" and under attack.

But what has been most remarkable about this is the way that the Right has tried to use Tiller's murder to claim that they are being victimized

Operation Rescue will not stand by and act as if this organization's Pro-Life message has been silenced by Mr. Roeder's egregious act and insidious statements. Operation Rescue will continue to advocate for the sanctity of human life, born and unborn.

While Operation Rescue recognizes the Obama Administration's endeavor of protection of abortion providers we caution that this protection should not be used as a ruse to conduct a witch-hunt against the Pro-Life movement. Neither persecution nor adulteration of the rule of law can be tolerated pursuant to this sad event.

Concerned Women for America's Wendy Wright made a similar complaint

Late Friday afternoon, the DOJ made it clear that it believes other individuals or groups may have been involved in Tiller's shooting on Sunday, May 31. The agency's press release stated it will "work tirelessly to determine the full involvement of any and all actors in this horrible crime, and to ensure that anyone who played a role in the offense is prosecuted to the full extent of federal law." (See earlier story)

Is it a legitimate investigation -- or a political payoff from the Obama administration to the pro-abortion movement? Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, believes politics could be a motive. But she suspects there may be more behind the announced investigation than meets the eye.

"This may be more of a nefarious effort than it appears on its face," she exclaims, "that in fact, the Department of Justice may be trying to smear pro-lifers, as if we all belong in the same camp, as if we all advocate violence, when it's [actually] just the opposite."

You really have to marvel at the Right's ability to take the cold-blooded murder of the man they routinely demonized as the incarnation of the absolute wickedness of abortion and turn it into a pity party for themselves.

What's Norm Coleman Up To?

I have to say that, in the six years that Norm Coleman was in the Senate, I don't ever recall him showing up at right-wing events and hob-nobbing with grassroots activists.

But times have changed, apparently:

Norm Coleman will be joined by Phyllis Schlafly, Rush Limbaugh's brother, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's son - a Roman Catholic priest - at a gathering this week in St. Louis for a conference on conservative principles.

Coleman will be the keynote speaker for the Conservative Heartland Leadership Conference, which began Wednesday and concludes Thursday at the Millennium Hotel in St. Louis.

...

Coleman is scheduled to speak Thursday at a luncheon with an introduction by political commentator and author David Limbaugh, brother of talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.

Underwriting the event is the conservative American Issues Project, a nonprofit group that has aired political ads, including one linking candidate Barack Obama to 1960s radical William Ayers.

...

The Rev. Paul Scalia, a Catholic priest of the Arlington, Va., diocese and the Supreme Court justice's son, will host a prayer breakfast featuring Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America; Joe Ortweth of Missouri Family Council; and Don Hinkle of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

Former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent will speak on national security.

Kris Kobach, a candidate for Kansas secretary of state who has helped draft laws sanctioning illegal immigration, will discuss judicial selection in Kansas. Kobach is an attorney and University of Missouri law professor.

For the record, Grover Norquist is also attending.

O'Reilly Was Not Alone In Targeting Tiller

Bill O'Reilly is deservedly getting lots of attention for his years-long vicious crusade against George Tiller:

But it should be pointed out that O'Reilly had a lot of company in this effort to demonize Tiller, as Religious Right groups had been targeting Tiller for years and regularly holding him up as the epitome of the "evil" that is reproductive choice.

For instance, just last month, more than two dozen right-wing groups and activists sent a letter to Senators opposing the nomination of Kathleen Sebelius to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, citing among their primary concerns her "ties" to Tiller:

Governor Sebelius has long close and personal ties to notorious abortionist George Tiller, known for performing late-term abortions in Kansas, include donations from Mr. Tiller of hundreds of thousands of dollars to PACs and organizations controlled by the Kansas Governor. She has also repeatedly interfered in cases brought against Mr. Tiller, including recruiting a candidate to replace the state attorney general who was originally prosecuting the abortion doctor.

Signatories of the letter included the likes of Tom McClusky of Family Research Council Action, Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, Jim Backlin of the Christian Coalition, Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, Brian Burch of Fidelis, Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, and Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition.

The fact of the matter is that, for years, right-wing groups sought to make Tiller the face of the abortion fight and a quick search of several of the leading organization's websites demonstrates just how often they citied Tiller in their own anti-abortion efforts.

For instance, Tiller's name was mentioned dozens if not hundreds of times on the websites of organization's like Focus on the Family, Faith 2 Action, Vision America, American Family Association, Christian Coalition, American Center for Law and Justice, the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, the Traditional Values Coalition, and the Alliance Defense Fund where he was often referred to with terms like "accused serial abortionist," the most notorious abortionist in America," "George (the Killer) Tiller," and "Tiller the Killer."

There are at least 78 mentions of the name "George Tiller" on the Family Research Council website, often in connection with statements like this from March of this year:

The trial of notorious Kansas abortionist, George Tiller, is now underway. During his career as an abortionist, Tiller has performed over 80,000 abortions, among them thousands of viable, third-trimester babies. Women travel to Kansas from all over the world to obtain late abortions they cannot get elsewhere. Tiller's body count is greater by far than all the American troops killed in Vietnam ... This man should be in jail. Whatever the outcome of the trial now underway, the fact is that jail is the only appropriate place for 'doctors' who kill children" ... May George Tiller finally be brought to some semblance of justice!

But perhaps no organization outside of the single-issue groups like Operation Rescue made Tiller a bigger target than did Concerned Women for America, which has more than 200 mentions of him on its website, including this column by Janice Crouse from just a few weeks ago:

The bloodshed of the thousands of late-term abortions that Dr. George R. Tiller of Wichita, Kansas, performs each year vastly eclipses the death toll from the struggle over the slavery contest in Kansas in the years immediately prior to the Civil War. The slaughter in Tiller's abortion clinic - by his own account he has performed over 60,000 abortions, with a "special interest" and focus on "late-term" abortions - should justly revive the label of "Bleeding Kansas."

It is hard to know what is in the mind of someone like George Tiller, the abortionist who for years has routinely killed the babies of women in the last stages of their pregnancies - seven, even eight months along ... Tiller takes upon himself the role of God and condemns to death any innocent child whose mother chooses to label it as "unwanted." Then he executes them.

As I've been reading the coverage of Tiller's murder over the last two days, I've been asking myself "why do I even know his name?"  

I don't know the name of even one other women's health provider in this country, yet I was well-aware of George Tiller ... and that is because, for years, the Right had demonized Tiller and his perfectly legal practice, turning him into the poster boy for the abortion debate writ large, and routinely holding him up as the incarnation of the absolute wickedness of abortion. 

George Tiller and the DHS Report

It was just a few weeks ago that the Religious Right was up-in-arms over the report released by the Department of Homeland Security called “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” [PDF] because it contained this footnote:

Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

Because of this passage, Religious Right leaders immediately began decrying the report as not only "offensive to millions of Americans who hold constitutionally-protected views opposing abortion" but also an outright attack on Jesus Christ:

[Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America] tells OneNewsNow the report is a direct attack on the church. "[It's] a direct assault on the basic principles of religious beliefs that have been here since the time of Christ," she argues. "These are the things that Christ died on the cross for."

Within days, groups like the American Center for Law and Justice and the Family Research Council were using the report in their fund-raising efforts:

Today, federal employees whose salaries we pay are issuing reports from the Department of Homeland Security that say some conservatives are a grave threat to America. Why? Because we oppose abortion and the massive growth of the federal government. Do they no longer see Al Qaeda or the Taliban as the greatest threat to Americans' liberty? Apparently they are now targeting us. I remind DHS and all who read this that we oppose all violence or lawbreaking. But speaking out is an American right we will not give up!

...

Will you help Family Research Council (FRC) fight excessive government and defend your rights with a donation today? 

Soon calls began to emerge for an investigation into the drafting of the report, and that was quickly followed by the launching of an ad campaign supported by various right-wing groups demanding DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano's resignation:

Among the groups sponsoring the ad were Operation Rescue, the American Family Association, Faith2Action, Vision America, Americans for Truth, Liberty Counsel, Traditional Values Coalition, and others. 

All of the caterwalling eventually lead DHS to pull the report ... but in light of the details emerging about Scott Roeder, the man arrested in the killing of physician George Tiller, it seems as if the report - far from being an offensive attack on Christians and anti-choice activists - was remarkably timely and accurate.

The real irony here is that the report itself focused almost entirely on violent anti-government extremists and militia groups, never mentioning anti-choice activists outside of this one isolated footnote.

But it was that footnote that the Right seized upon, repeatedly and intentionally misrepresenting what is said in order to generate controversy over the report, culminating in this sort of fear mongering from the ACLJ ... which is now blowing up in their face:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has labeled you, a member of the pro-life community, THE MOST DANGEROUS DOMESTIC TERRORIST

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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, Tuesday 07/19/2011, 4:55pm
The American Family Association today announced that more traditionally pro-GOP Religious Right organizations are joining them in hosting The Response prayer rally with Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Kyle reported that Focus on the Family founder James Dobson is on board, and now Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America have been named co-chairmen. Even though Perry and the AFA are adamant that the prayer rally is apolitical, the fact that leaders of three of the most prominent Religious Right political groups in the country are hosting the event... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 07/08/2011, 5:29pm
Tony Perkins wants it known that, contrary to reports, he was not on the Religious Right's Rick Perry conference call. It is apparently unfair for Rep. Keith Ellison to point out that his opponent is an intolerant anti-Islam right wing activist. I never fails to amuse me when Religious Right groups best known for hating gays decide to speak out on foreign policy issues. It looks like Sally Kern will be promoting her new book on AFA Radio and with Concerned Women for America, so we have that to look forward to. Finally, Peter LaBarbera says "Christians and all... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 06/24/2011, 12:40pm
When the Chicago Cubs made an It Gets Better video to send an anti-bullying, anti-suicide message, Peter LaBarbera of the Illinois-based Americans for Truth About Homosexuality was unsurprisingly outraged. Already numerous Religious Right groups such as the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission and Mission America have condemned the It Gets Better project, which works to prevent suicide particularly among LGBT youth, and now LaBarbera wants to tell LGBT youth: “it doesn’t get better.” The anti-gay activist tells... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 05/18/2011, 1:45pm
Even after Republicans in the Senate and their conservative allies railed against filibusters of judicial nominees during the Bush administration and pushed to give even the most far-right nominees up-or-down votes, it appears that they have made an exception for President Obama’s nominees. The Senate is expected to vote tomorrow on UC Berkley Law Professor Goodwin Liu, who is nominated to serve on the 9th Circuit Court. While many conservative legal scholars support Liu, many in the GOP “appear to be opposing his nomination because he is too qualified.” Republicans have... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 05/13/2011, 11:15am
The Religious Right’s favorite Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is the “honorary host” of a Virginia fundraiser for Concerned Women for America. Cuccinelli won plaudits from right-wing activists for using his Virginia post to challenge anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation, attack scientists who believe in climate change, undercut health care reform, and censor the official state seal over nudity. It makes sense that Cuccinelli is hosting a fundraiser for a group which believes that health care reform violates the Ten Commandments, gays are... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 05/13/2011, 11:09am
In an email to supporters, Concerned Women For America CEO Penny Nance said that they have one final opportunity to prevent the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Nance tells supporters that while the House GOP is likely to approve amendments to three Defense bill that would block the repeal and restrict gay-rights in the military, the Senate would be a graver challenge because Majority Leader Harry Reid “is beholden to the homosexual lobby.” She asks activists to show the Republicans support “in light of the likely response from the radical homosexual activists.... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 05/09/2011, 12:52pm
Concerned Women for America has led the fight against the U.S.’s ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women since Jimmy Carter first signed it in 1980, and is now ramping up pressure against ratification following a Senate hearing on the treaty. Thanks to pressure from CWA and other Religious Right groups, the U.S. joins Iran, Somalia and Sudan in not ratifying CEDAW, which works to end political, economic and healthcare gender disparities, sex trafficking, and violence and discrimination against women. In an email to members,... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 04/15/2011, 10:33am
While the American Family Association and Liberty Counsel are calling on parents to prevent their children from attending school today and Concerned Women for America is encouraging a “Day of Silence Walk Out,” other Religious Right groups are trying to add anti-gay “balance” to today’s Day of Silence. Focus on the Family’s Day of Dialogue, which will take place on Monday in order to directly follow the Day of Silence, wants to help students they believe are “messed up sexually.” The “Day of Dialogue” is the successor to the ex-gay... MORE >