Faith and Freedom Coalition

Faith & Freedom Coalition Runs With Bogus 'War On Christmas' Story

Even after a Texas school district refuted an erroneous report from Fox News reporter Todd Starnes alleging that the district is banning Christmas trees and the colors red and green, Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition yesterday decided to run with the story anyway in order to scare its members about the “War on Christmas.”

In August, TX Gov. Rick Perry signed into law the “Merry Christmas Bill,” which legally permits students and teacher to use traditional holiday greetings such as “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” and also protects traditional holiday symbols. Lawmakers in the state hoped it would put an end to the “War on Christmas” scandals that plague us each winter. Unfortunately, officials at Nichols Elementary School in Waco, TX have already violated the new law, banning all reference to Christmas, from Christmas trees to the colors red and green, in their upcoming “Winter Party.”

Contact Principal Courtney Murphy & school board president Renee Ehmke and tell them that the parents and students at Nichols Elementary are guaranteed the right to celebrate Christmas. Call Nichols Elementary at (469)-633-3950 or contact them via email at nichols@friscoisd.org and contact Emke at (469)633-6000.

Of course, if the FFC had simply contacted the school district (as it advises its members to do) or just did a Google search, it would have found out that the school district’s “War on Christmas” is nothing but a Fox News-generated myth:

An unfortunate misunderstanding regarding an email that was sent by a room mom has unfairly portrayed a school and the Frisco ISD as having violated the “Merry Christmas Law.” This is simply incorrect.

The email being referenced was not an official PTA email nor was the school aware of it being sent. The email that was sent by the room mom was sent two weeks before the party planning meeting had even been held. At the party planning meeting held on November 19, prior to any knowledge of the email, the school leaders went over the new law as part of the meeting. Please understand, there has never been a ban on what is worn, what is said, or what is brought to the party (as long as they do not violate the “Limitations on Content” prohibited by policy FNAA -obscene, vulgar, inappropriate for the age, etc.). The new law is consistent with the manner in which holiday parties have been handled by the District in the past and in line with state and federal law.



When the email was forwarded to Mr. Fallon stating no red or green or Christmas trees and no reference to Christmas or another religious holiday, he sent a letter to our Superintendent regarding the law. Our Superintendent called him and assured him these were not our rules. We are still unsure of why the campus and District’s position was misunderstood and why there is the feeling that there is some sort of ban of items or greetings regarding the winter holiday parties at that school.

When in our schools and offices, you will see a variety of decorations – you will see Christmas Trees at some, you will see a winter wonderland theme at others, you may even see staff wearing Santa hats. Yesterday the District hosted a senior citizens luncheon and students performed a lovely concert with Christmas and holiday tunes.

Faith and Freedom Coalition Warns Democracy No Longer Exists As A Result Of Gay Marriage Cases

Faith and Freedom Coalition executive director Gary Marx has written a column for the Christian Post in which he claims that the Supreme Court’s rulings on DOMA and Proposition 8 have made our democracy only an illusion. After accusing the court of “dismantling American democracy” in their gay rights decisions, Marx lambastes the justices for turning America into “a nation where democracy is a mere visual effect used to spawn a perception of self-rule that no longer ultimately exists.”

“The Supreme Court has now served notice to liberty advocates that it is game on,” Marx writes. Despite the fact that a majority of Americans favor marriage equality, he claims that “traditional marriage activists” actually “vastly outnumber their opponents” and will prevent the court’s attempt “to trump the political will and wisdom of its citizens.”

If there was any doubt that the Supreme Court of the United States continues to vastly overextend its powers in ways that are dismantling American democracy and liberty, this summer's decisions striking down a core component of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and remanding California's Proposition 8 should settle the question.

How great is this threat? Put it this way: No component of American liberty or democracy is inherently safe if, as it did earlier this week, the highest court in our land is permitted to trump Constitutional principles and the political will of the American people with a progressive political and social agenda rooted in neither.



The stakes in this current cause could not be much higher. When a portion of the Supreme Court can flippantly toss aside the political will of the people on issues that are rightfully empowered to the people to decide, as this Court now has done, we no longer reside in a nation guided by our people and laws. Rather, America becomes a nation where democracy is a mere visual effect used to spawn a perception of self-rule that no longer ultimately exists.

This is the bad news for liberty loving Americans. But the Supreme Court's rulings bring good news too. Contrary to the image depicted in mainstream media, the American people are awakening to the reality of its elitist, progressive courts – and it is a reality, as Justice Antonin Scalia properly argued in his dissenting view on DOMA, that is "jaw dropping". In striking down the will of elected Members of Congress and a President of the United States (with DOMA) and the people of California (with its Proposition 8 ruling), the Supreme Court has now served notice to liberty advocates that it is game on. That is a calling that the American people will surely answer.

Additionally and importantly, the rulings in no way settle much of anything as it relates to the future of traditional marriage. DOMA may be no longer, but we at the Faith and Freedom Coalition intend to work with its advocates and a growing grassroots movement of Americans who support its principles, to ensure its basic tenets are otherwise upheld. The rulings also will certainly further inspire the efforts of traditional marriage activists, who now vastly outnumber their opponents, to work to elect state and federal legislators who will defend the treasured and traditional definition of marriage while ensuring that the nation's courts no longer serve to trump the political will and wisdom of its citizens.

Teavangelicals Told to Be ‘Happy Warriors’ Against Liberals, Big Govt, GOP Nay-sayers

Here’s a question for Ralph Reed and the ‘Teavangelical’ wing of the conservative movement: how can you portray yourselves as serious about governing when the keynote speakers at last week’s “Road to Majority” conference were Donald Trump and Sarah Palin?

Palin’s conference-closing remarks on Saturday featured a breathtakingly offensive joke about the Syrian civil war, which has taken an estimated 100,000 lives. She said we should just “let Allah sort it out.” Palin also had choice words for the bipartisan immigration reform bill moving through the Senate, which she dismissed as “a pandering, rewarding-the-rule-breakers, still-no-border-security, special-interest-written amnesty bill.” She was one of many conference speakers rhetorically crapping on Marco Rubio and the bipartisan “Gang of 8” reform bill and burning the bridges that conservative Latinos are trying to build.

At Friday night’s “gala” Reed bestowed a lifetime achievement award on Pat Robertson, who is increasingly difficult to take seriously, and who devoted his remarks to trashing President Obama.  Trump, who also addressed the gala, spoke mostly about his own Trumpian greatness and how Mitt Romney might have been president if he had the guts to run Trump’s anti-Obama “you’re fired” ad.  Trump shared plenty of pablum and piercing political insights, such as the Republicans needing to be “really smart” in choosing a “great candidate” in 2016. Trump also criticized the immigration reform bill as a “death wish” for the Republican Party, saying “every one of those people, and the tens of millions of people they will bring in with them, will be absolutely voting Democratic.”

There’s no question Ralph Reed still has pull. His conference opened with a luncheon featuring four Tea Party senators and he got a handful of Republican House members to speak along with former and future presidential hopefuls like Mike Huckabee, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, and Ted Cruz.  Rick Perry, who was introduced as a “Renaissance man,” bragged about the law he recently signed to protect the ostensibly threatened right of public school students to wish each other “Merry Christmas” Perry said, ““I hope my state is a glowing example of men and women who believe that those traditional values are how you make a stronger society.” Stronger society? Not so much.

In addition to the divide on immigration, relentless attacks on President Obama (Dick Morris said of the president, “he doesn’t care about national security”), and the unsurprising rhetoric on abortion, marriage, and supposed threats to religious liberty, there were some other major themes:

Government Bad

The conference was infused with the Tea Party’s anti-federal-government themes. Jonah Goldberg of the National Review reminded people of a video shown at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, which he recalled saying the government is the one thing we all belong to.  “Now, as sort of a Tea Party-ish kind of guy, that makes me want to flip the safety on my rifle.”

Speakers urged activists to take advantage of the recent scandals surrounding the IRS, the Justice Department, and the National Security Agency. Santorum urged activists to “think big” and “seize the moment” provided by the IRS scandal. Sen. Ron Johnson said he would like Americans to apply their disgust about the scandals to the federal government in general. Rather than trying to restore faith in government, Johnson said, activists should be fostering distrust of the government.

Grover Norquist is known for his quip that he wants to shrink the government until it is small enough to drown in the bathtub.  At Road to Majority he spelled out his plan to complete the strategy he embarked on with the Bush tax cuts and the no-tax-increase pledge he demands Republican candidates sign. He noted that “thanks to the marvels of modern redistricting,” Republicans are likely to have a Republican House until 2022, which means they have several chances to get a Senate majority and a Republican in the White House before then. Whenever that happens, he says, Republicans can put the Ryan budget into law and dramatically curtail government spending. He calls it “completely doable.”

Meanwhile, he said, in the 25 states where Republicans control the legislative and executive branches, activists should push for the passage of more anti-union legislation, and for laws that encourage people to obtain concealed carry permits, home school their children, and participate in stock ownership, three things that he said make people more Republican. He called this changing the demographics by changing the rules.

Obamacare: Will it Destroy America or Obama?

House Republicans have made repealing the Affordable Care Act – “Obamacare” – an obsession. Rick Santorum said opposition to the law should have been the centerpiece of the 2012 campaign. And many speakers repeated the demand that the health care reform law be repealed in its entirety.  Stephen Moore, founder of the Club for Growth and a Wall Street Journal editorial board member, said repealing Obamacare is the single most important thing that has to happen in Washington over the next two years. But a number of speakers had a slightly different take, suggesting that the implementation of the complex law would be its undoing, and that public outrage at rising insurance rates would bring down the Obama administration. Dick Morris predicted Obama would be “destroyed” by the law’s implementation.

GOP: Friend or Foe?

One running theme of the conference was conservative activists’ distrust for national Republican leaders, particularly around opposition to abortion and LGBT equality. Several speakers made reference to the notorious RNC “autopsy” on the 2012 election and the perception that some party leaders want social conservatives to tone it down. Reed himself complained that while self-identified evangelicals represented 45 percent of the Republican ticket’s vote, some party leaders were saying they are the problem and should “ride in the back of the bus.” He vowed that on issue of abortion and man-woman marriage, social conservatives would not be silent, “not now, not ever.”

It’s not just Ted Cruz who mocks his fellow Republicans. Gary Bauer complained that the last two Republican nominees had a hard time talking about sanctity of life issues, and he said party officials in Washington spend too much time taking the advice of “cowardly pollsters and political consultants.”  Mike Huckabee complained that “Republicans have been, if not equal, sometimes more guilty than Democrats in thinking the brilliant thing to do would be to centralize more power in the hands of the central government.” He said he’s “sick of hearing” that people think the GOP needs to move away from a conservative message.

There was enough grumbling that when it was RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’s turn to speak on Saturday, the Wisconsin Faith & Freedom official who introduced him felt a need to vouch for Priebus’s faith and commitment to conservative causes. He said angrily that it is “an absolute lie” that Priebus is not a social conservative and insisted that there is no division in the party.

Priebus started his remarks by establishing his religious credentials: “I’m a Christian. I’m a believer. God lives in my heart, and I’m for changing minds, not changing values.” He added, “I’m so grateful that we’ve got a party that prays, that we’ve got a party that puts God first, and I’m proud to be part of that.” He said he “gets it” that conservative Christians are a “blessing” to the party. He said the GOP needs to have a permanent ground game in place all across the country. 

Priebus defended his plan to shorten the presidential primary season and move the party convention from August to June from critics who call it an insider move against grassroots conservatives. It isn’t an establishment takeover, he insisted, but a way to prevent a replay of the 2012, when Romney went into the summer months broke after a long primary season but not yet able to tap general election funding.

Still, not all the conservative are convinced that national Republicans are with them.  Palin portrayed Republicans in Washington as being overly fond of government spending: “It doesn’t matter if it’s a Republican or a Democrat sitting atop a bloated boot on your neck, out of control government, everyone gets infected, no party is immune. That’s why, I tell ya, I’m listening to those independents, to those libertarians who are saying, you know, it is both sides of the aisle, the leadership, the good old boys….”

Phyllis Schlafly talked about having waged internal battles to make the GOP a solidly anti-abortion Party and encouraged activists not to be seduced by talk of a conservative third party but to work within the Republican Party to make sure the right people on the ballot. Norquist insisted that activists had helped brand the GOP as the party that will not raise your taxes, and he said Republican elected officials who vote for tax increases damage the brand for everyone else. They are, he said, “rat heads in coca-cola.”

Message Envy

It might surprise many progressives, who have spent years bemoaning the effectiveness of Republicans’ emotion-laden rhetoric, that speaker after speaker complained that Democrats are so much better than Republicans at messaging.  Of course complaining about messaging is easier than admitting that there may be something about your policies that voters don’t like.

At a panel on messaging strategies, author Diane Medved said that when defending traditional marriage, she would love to say “what is it about ‘abomination’ that you don’t understand?” But she knows that won’t reach people who don’t already agree with her. She argued that conservatives should marshal the “science” that supports their positions.  She also tried out a new messaging strategy, saying that opposition to marriage equality is a feminist issue because it is empowering to women to affirm that they are different than men. “Women deserve to have credit for being who they are as a separate gender and they are not interchangeable with men.”

Ryan Anderson, co-author of a book on marriage with Robert George, the intellectual godfather of the anti-marriage-equality movement, took issue with the name of the panel, which was “Don’t Preach to the Choir.” Anderson said the choir needs to be preached to, because too many Christians are giving up on marriage. There is no such thing as parenting, he insisted, there is mothering and fathering. Anderson said that anti-marriage equality forces have only been fighting for five years, while proponents have been fighting for 20 to 30 years. “It’s not that our argument for marriage has been heard and been rejected,” he said. “It’s that it hasn’t been heard at all.”  Anderson promoted the widely discredited Regnerus study on family structures as evidence that science is on his side.

Eric Teetsel, executive director of the Manhattan Declaration, encouraged activists to be careful with their rhetoric. “I don’t believe that there are very many, if any, people in this movement, certainly not in public life, who have any ill will toward the same-sex community, at all. But sometimes we say things that make it sound like we do.” If Teetsel really believes that, he needs to spend some more time actually listening to conservative religious leaders, pundits and politicians who regularly charge that gay-rights advocates are Satan-inspired sexual predators who are out to destroy faith and freedom if not western civilization itself.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy or Arguing as a Lover with Stupid Liberals

Anyone who pays attention to religious right groups has been seeing the word “winsome” a lot. Conservative evangelical leaders are well aware of polling data that shows young Christians are turned off by the anti-gay bigotry they see in the church.  So there’s a push on for everyone to make conservative arguments in a “winsome” way, to be “happy warriors” like Ronald Reagan, to be cheerful when arguing with liberals. Being cheerful was a big theme at Road to Majority. Said Rick Perry, “when we fight for our county, we need to do it with joy.” 

The Manhattan Declaration's Teetsel took this theme to new heights in the messaging panel in which he called for “arguing as a lover” when “trying to woo people over to our side”: be respectful, self-effacing, funny, give people an opportunity to save face.  But he doesn’t seem to think much of his audience, saying America is no longer a society of ideas, and that in our celebrity-crazed culture it doesn’t make sense to appeal to 18th Century sources of authority like the Federalist Papers, which “are not considered authorities in my generation. People do not care what these men in wigs thought 300 years ago.”

“We serve a God who condescended to become a man in order to share his gospel. And I think that’s an example that we can learn from. Romans 12:16 advises us, do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. So we have to bite the bullet.  We have to recognize some of these facts and condescend to watching Glee from time to time so that we can talk to people about it.”

 

Right Wing Leftovers - 6/17/13

  • Glenn Beck is bringing David Barton and several other members of the "Black Robe Regiment" to Washington, DC on Wednesday when he joins Tea Party Republicans in attempting to stop immigration reform.
  • Speaking of Beck, it looks like his Blaze network is now reporting on his End Times fears as if they were actual news.
  • Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition conference last week had dozens of leading Republicans and conservative activists as speakers, but not even 400 actual attendees.
  • It is always funny when conservatives who have always hated President Obama urge liberals to join them in hating Obama by assuring them that it is not about hating Obama.
  • Finally, for some reason, FRC thinks that people care that Josh and Anna Duggar are moving to Washington, DC.

Conservative Latinos Slam Anti-Immigrant Voices at Ralph Reed Conference

The immigration divide evident from the opening hours of the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference became even more stark as the conference went on.  During a Friday afternoon breakout session on outreach to minorities, called “The True Rainbow Coalition: Building an Organization in Minority Faith Communities,” Hispanic conservatives went after Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum, and other speakers who had trashed the immigration reform bill during the morning session.

Panelist Adryana Boyne, director of VOCES Action who is also promoting Voto Honesto, a Hispanic-focused initiative of voter ID-advocating True the Vote, warned that without the Hispanic vote, conservatives will never win another election. Boyne said that conservative Latinos are angered by the kind of rhetoric she was hearing at the conference. “We understand how to reach minorities,” she said. “When we hear people saying that we do not need the minority vote, we just need the white vote, we get outraged….”

Boyne said she understands people’s frustration with the RNC, though she gave party leaders some credit for trying to engage Latinos. But she said those efforts are stymied by other conservatives. “People like us that are building bridges – that’s what I do every day – get really very upset when somebody else burns the bridge that I just built, like just happened today, here.”

She also noted the racist online responses to the 11-year old Mexican-American who sang the national anthem to open game 3 of the NBA finals. When a questioner suggested that maybe those posts were planted by liberals to try to make conservatives look bad, Boyne rejected the effort to deflect blame for conservatives’ problems with Latinos onto liberals. “Let me just be clear with you,” she said, “We are talking about Republicans. We are talking about the speakers who came here today, Faith & Freedom, to speak, and who we disagree with.”

Another panelist, businessman Alfredo Ortiz, Director of Hispanic Initiatives for the Job Creators Network, agreed with Boyne that there is a problem with Republicans, including party leaders, senators, and representatives, who go on Fox and use anti-immigrant rhetoric. It’s about winning the war, not the battles, he said. And unless conservatives abandon anti-immigrant rhetoric, they will lose the war.  He described the turnout for the minority outreach session as “a pretty pathetic showing.”

As if to confirm the problem Boyne and Ortiz identified, Donald Trump, the keynoter at Friday night’s gala dinner, talked about undocumented immigrants as “those people” and said Republicans supporting the reform bill had a “death wish” because “every one of those people, and the tens of millions of people that they will bring in with them, through family, through relationship, through birth, they will be absolutely voting Democratic.”

The back-and-forth continued on Saturday. Two Hispanic speakers, John Mendez of the LIBRE initiative and Rachel Campos Duffy, argued that Hispanics share conservatives’ values and could help build a majority if conservatives invested in community organizing and outreach. On an all-white-guys panel on conservatism and changing demographics, right-wing journalist John Fund echoed the call for conservatives to build bridges in minority communities by organizing businesses and churches to provide needed services.

But the final word went to closing speaker Sarah Palin, who spoke of the bipartisan immigration reform bill moving through the Senate in the most dismissive terms: “And let’s not kid ourselves into believing that we can rebuild our majority, by the way, by passing a pandering, rewarding-the-rule-breakers, still-no-border-security, special-interest-written amnesty bill.”

Immigration Reform a Tough Sell to Ralph Reed's 'Teavangelicals'

A group of conservative evangelical leaders has been pushing their fellow conservatives to embrace immigration reform, in part as a way to make the Religious Right and the Republican Party more appealing to the nation’s growing Latino population. Ralph Reed has been among those supporting the idea of a comprehensive reform bill, but at his Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference in Washington DC, many of the “Teavangelical” activists – people who are part of both the Tea Party and Religious Right movement – aren’t buying.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who has been telling white evangelicals that they should embrace an influx of Jesus-loving Latinos as the salvation of Christianity in America, spoke in Friday morning’s session. He urged attendees not to drink the anti-immigrant “Kool-aid.” He told them not to believe the charge that 11 million immigrants would become Democratic voters if given citizenship. The conservative movement does not exist to conserve pigmentation or a white majority, he said, and it needs some “salsa sauce” on top.

Unfortunately for Rodriguez and his fellow proponents of immigration reform, two previous speakers, Gary Bauer and Allen West, had already spoken in disparaging terms about the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill moving through the Senate.  Bauer said Republicans in Washington spend too much time listening to consultants rather than standing firm on their principles. “You don’t have to go off and pass amnesty,” he said.  Former Congressman Allen West said that the “illegal immigration and amnesty bill” would make life harder for African Americans. And immediately following Rodriguez to the microphone was Phyllis Schlafly, who ramped up the rhetoric, telling attendees that they should threaten to run primary challengers against Senate Republicans who voted for the immigration bill.

Driving home that message was Colleen Holcomb, executive director of Schlafly’s Eagle Forum.  Holcomb was part of a panel on immigration reform that was moderated by Carlos Campo, president of Pat Robertson’s Regent University. Campo, who backs immigration reform, introduced Holcomb as a Regent alum, but that didn’t deter her from making slashing attacks on the Senate immigration bill. In fact, she at least indirectly criticized Campo and Ralph Reed himself when she said she was “profoundly offended” when faith leaders suggested that there was a biblical mandate for this kind of bill. She urged people to take advantage of resources available at www.stopgangof8.com. Holcomb later agreed with a questioner that it was an “outrageous lie” to suggest that the Senate bill reflects conservative principles.

Panelist Carlos Curbelo of the Miami-Dade County School Board tried to convince audience members that the current bill is not “amnesty” the way the 1986 immigration bill had been. Another panelist, state rep Steve Montenegro of Arizona, said the bill needed to include stronger border security provisions. When he asked for a show of hands – not a single person said they trusted that the Senate bill would secure the border.  And when he followed up, asking in effect, but how many of you would be willing to work with provisions of the bill if it did secure the border, very few hands went up.

It seems clear that Reed’s audience is more in sync with Schlafly than Rodriguez. That may be why Reed, who says reform should reflect Judeo-Christian principles – which he says include strengthening the family, respecting the rule of law, meeting the needs of the U.S. economy, and including “enforcement triggers” on border security – is also careful to include vehement denunciations of “amnesty” and “guaranteed paths to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently residing in the country.”

Rand Paul Links 'Liberal Elites Here at Home' with Islamists Who Put Christians to Death

In his speech yesterday at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to the Majority conference, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) claimed that the Senate’s 81-10 vote against his bill to end aid to Pakistan, Egypt and Libya was part of a taxpayer-funded “war on Christianity.” In the speech, Paul even compared “liberal elites here at home” to governments that have harsh laws, including the death penalty, against Christians.

Paul also said that he would allow “not one penny” in foreign aid to countries that allow the burning of the American flag, which we should note is also legal in the U.S.

Watch:

It saddens me to see these countries that are supposedly our allies that they continue to persecute Christians. It angers me to see my tax dollars supporting regimes that put Christians to death for blasphemy against Islam, countries that put to death Muslims who convert to Christianity and countries who imprison anyone who marries outside their religion, I say no more money to countries that are doing that to Christians. There is a war on Christianity, not just from liberal elites here at home, but worldwide. And your government, or more correctly, you are having to pay for it. You are being taxed to send money to countries that are not only intolerant of Christians but openly hostile.



In Egypt, in Pakistan, they burn our flag—I say not one penny more to countries that are burning the American flag.

Tea Party Senators Kick Off Ralph Reed's Faith & Freedom Conference

Four of the Tea Party’s favorite senators – Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, and Marco Rubio of Florida – addressed the kick-off lunch for this year’s “Road to Majority” conference, which is sponsored by Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition.

Rand Paul made his case for a humbler foreign policy, suggesting that anti-abortion “pro-life” advocates should also think about the lives of 18- and 19-year old soldiers sent abroad before applauding a politician who talks with bravado about pre-emptive wars.  He said that even when American soldiers go to war with the best of intentions, the law of unintended consequences can be merciless.

Paul told activists that there is a worldwide “war on Christianity” that is being waged not only by “liberal elites” but also by American taxpayers through the country’s financial support of countries that persecute Christians. “American taxpayer dollars are being used to enable a war on Christianity in the Middle East.”

Paul took the requisite political shot at Barack Obama, saying the "scandals" surrounding the administration were causing the president to lose his "moral authority" to lead the country.

Johnson said the root cause of the country’s problem was that too many Americans were either never taught or have forgotten the “foundational premise” of the country. The nation’s founders, he said, understood that while government is necessary, its growth is something to fear. “Far too many Americans,” he said, “are willingly trading their freedom and ours for the false sense, the false promise of economic security.”

Johnson said he would like Americans to take their disgust about the IRS, or Benghazi, or the NSA, and apply it in a broader way to the federal government.  He said people who talked about restoring trust in government have the wrong idea.  What we should do, he said, is foster a healthy distrust of the government.

Lee said conservatives had not focused too much on families, but too little.  He said conservatives have to have an agenda that includes “forgotten” families at the bottom rung of the economic ladder, policies that address the effect of stagnant wages, rising costs of housing, etc. He called for a new “conservative reform” agenda that didn’t seem all that new: tax cuts to encourage entrepreneurship, school choice, and welfare reform, as well as an end to “corporate welfare.” 

Lee said conservatives are opposed to big government because a small government encourages a healthy civil society. Conservatives, he said, aren’t about a “you’re on your own” philosophy, but rather a “we’re in this together” one. But in his take, “in this together” does not involve the government. Without an intrusive government, he said, communities and churches would take care of people. Remember, Lee is the guy who believes the welfare state is unconstitutional, along with restrictions on freedom such as child-labor laws.

Marco Rubio has taken some heat from some of his fellow conservatives recently for his advocacy of immigration reform.  Reed is on record supporting comprehensive reform, but talking points for the activists’ post-lunch lobbying on Capitol Hill reflect tensions within the movement.  While it talked about the biblical basis for a compassionate immigration policy, it also talked about the rule of law and a so-called “enforcement trigger.”  One of the talking points says, “Alongside our principles, we vehemently oppose amnesty and guaranteed paths to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently residing in the country.”

Rubio revisited his campaign theme of American exceptionalism.  He used a biblical passage from Matthew chapter 5 to encourage activists to keep bringing their faith into their political activism, especially, he said, at a time when people are told they should silence their faith.

Rubio expanded on the notion that Christians should be the “salt of the earth” and a light unto the world to take on the foreign policy portion of Rand Paul’s remarks, without naming Paul specifically. A call to retreat from the world, he said, is a call for America to hide its light, and there is no nation that can replace the U.S. and its example of freedom:

“Our light must shine so that others will look to us and give glory to our heavenly father.”

Rubio made a couple of references to protecting marriage, but none of the senators explicitly addressed the battle over marriage equality. Talking points for activists’ afternoon lobbying visits on Capitol Hill were clearer. “Public polling overstates the support for same-sex marriage,” claim the talking points “The American people have overwhelmingly supported traditional marriage in votes on state referenda and initiatives.”

Also on the lobbying agenda: asking representatives to support the House of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act, which would allow churches and preachers to engage in explicit electoral politicking without consequences for their nonprofit tax status.

College Republicans Tell GOP to Play Down Anti-Gay Views, Sponsor Anti-Gay Conference

A new report released by the College Republican National Committee has been making waves this week for its stern warning that the GOP’s appeal is foundering among young voters. Chris Moody notes that the group explicitly mentioned the party’s opposition to gay rights as a reason why young voters are repelled by the party:

"[T]he conventional wisdom is right," the study's authors write in a section on how Republicans should approach marriage policy for gay and lesbian couples. "Young people are unlikely to view homosexuality as morally wrong, and they lean toward legal recognition of same-sex relationships."



With the culture shifting away from the party's policies, here's what they recommend:

The best course of action for the party may be to promote the diversity of opinion on the issue within its ranks. (After all, for quite some time, former vice president Dick Cheney was to the left of President Obama on same-sex marriage) and to focus on acceptance and support for gay people as separate from the definition of marriage. Where the Republican Party will run into the most trouble over this issue is when it is not winning on any of the more prominent issues, either – the economy and spending. If a candidate is compelling enough on economic opportunity and spending, they may well be able to overcome a difference of opinion with young voters on same-sex marriage.

The authors conclude: "On the 'open-minded' issue, yes, we will face serious difficulty so long as the issue of gay marriage remains on the table. In the short term, the party ought to promote the diversity of thought within its ranks and make clear that we welcome healthy debate on the policy topic at hand. We should also strongly oppose the use of anti-gay rhetoric."

But it turns out the College Republican National Committee is sponsoring the “Road to the Majority Conference,” hosted by Ralph Reed’s far-right Faith & Freedom Coalition, along with other anti-gay groups like Concerned Women for America, the Manhattan Declaration, the American Civil Rights Union and televangelist Pat Robertson’s Regent University.

In fact, some of the GOP’s most stringently anti-gay leaders like Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum are scheduled to address the conference, and Robertson will receive Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ralph Reed Makes 'The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage'

A few weeks ago, Ralph Reed stopped by the offices of the Wall Street Journal to make "The Case Against Gay Marriage" which he did by declaring that "all the statistics and data that we have" prove that children of intact, loving families to better than children who do not grow up in such families. 

Reed proceeded to cite some unnamed CEO who claimed to have studied the most productive staff in the company and discovered that "the number one determinant of how hard they worked and how dedicated they were" was coming from an intact, loving family.

Of course, that might lead one to ask how exactly that is supposed to be an argument against gay marriage, since gay marriage would only lead to the creation of more intact, loving families, but Reed wasn't buying it because "we have not tested that thesis on a national level." 

Apparently the anecdotal evidence that Reed gleaned from some anonymous CEO was very convincing but the idea that gay families could also produce productive, hard working citizens was too untested and so it would be dangerous to "tinker" with the institution of marriage so "willy-nilly":

CPAC Reject McDonnell Welcomed at Religious Right Prayer Breakfast

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was not officially welcomed at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, but he was invited to speak at Friday morning’s prayer breakfast hosted by Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition, along with a couple Members of Congress.

Not everybody was happy that McDonnell was on the premises: activists from the National Taxpayers Union and the insanely anti-gay Public Advocate USA gave out anti-McDonnell flyers and stickers to people entering the breakfast.  McDonnell’s sin against CPAC orthodoxy was his support for a transportation plan in Virginia that activists say violates a campaign pledge against raising taxes.  Public Advocate also complained that by praising the General Assembly’s approval of a gay district court nominee, McDonnell “BROKE HIS PLEDGE TO SUPPORT TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE.”

Inside the prayer breakfast, McDonnell (like the Coalition’s Executive Director Gary Marx an alum of Pat Robertson’s Regent University) was introduced by Rep. Randy Forbes and warmly received.  McDonnell gave a talk that was light on conservative red meat and focused on themes of faith and service, urging activists to pray for humility and wisdom.  He did say it is the job of public officials to get things done according to “Judeo-Christian principles.”  And he cited George Washington saying that the nation could not expect “the smiles of heaven” if it abandoned “eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself have ordained.”

Forbes, a leader of the congressional prayer caucus, said our nation’s problem is that God belongs on the throne, we’ve taken Him off, and we need to put Him back up there.  Forbes resorted to a caricature common among Religious Right leaders, complaining about people he said were trying to change the concept of church-state separation to mean that no one in government can speak about their faith and no one in church can talk about the government.

Also speaking was Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, who invoked a mural of the radical abolitionist John Brown that portrays him with a Bible in one hand, a rifle in the other, and the tornado of the civil war approaching. He called the HHS requirement for insurance coverage of contraception a “tremendous threat” and an attack of religious liberty. “What would John Brown be doing now?” he asked, suggesting that Brown would be on his knees in prayer but also on his feet demanding action from Congress.  Huelskamp complained that his colleagues in Congress are not acting to protect religious liberty, and denounced their “deafening silence” on threats to marriage. Huelskamp has previously complained to Tony Perkins about “the folks on the left that would like to delete, exclude and repeal any religious liberties or any religious values throughout our entire government and our entire society.”

Rachel Campos-Duffy, a conservative activist, author, and Real World: San Francisco alum who is married to Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, talked about the dangers of churches and families having ceded territory to “an ever-expanding and insatiable government.” For example, Campos said, school breakfast programs for poor students give parents an excuse not to make breakfast for their own kids and just push them out the door rather than talking to them.

Ralph Reed didn’t make the breakfast, but Gary Marx delivered a version of Reed’s post-2012 “it’s not my fault” analysis. Marx ran through statistics on the millions of contacts the Faith & Freedom Coalition made with the 23.3 million evangelical and Catholic voters in its proprietary database, and he said five million more evangelicals voted in 2012 than in 2008, with 78 percent of them voting for Romney. He said the group is actively engaged in this year’s Virginia elections and pledged that 2014 will see the largest mid-term conservative turnout ever.

The breakfast opened with a prayer by Father John De Celles of St. Raymond Penafort Roman Catholic Church in Springfield, Virginia, and closed with a benediction from Rabbi Aryeh Spero of the Caucus for America, who called for a reaffirmation of our “national identity” as a “Judeo-Christian nation” and denounced those who threaten the country from within by trying to "dismantle" that heritage and usurp God’s will.

Footnote: Among the VIP attendees acknowledged from the podium was conservative mega-donor Foster Friess, who backed Rick Santorum’s presidential bid but who has more recently encouraged a more moderate approach to LGBT issues, which he has said is due to his familiarity with gay people, including his brother-in-law and his partner.  There was no mention at the breakfast of news that broke last night about Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s about-face on marriage after his son came out to him. 

Remembering Jennifer Carroll: America Needs 'Christians to Step Up and Lead This Country'

The news broke this morning that Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll has resigned from office over her ties to an organization that ran a series of "internet cafes" in the state that is now at the center of a racketeering investigation. According to reports, Carroll had close ties this organization and even appeared in a commercial for it in 2010.

These "cafes" are often borderline casinos that exist in a legal gray area by claiming that they are merely offering "sweepstakes" to customers.

So it is just a little too perfect that back in 2011, Carroll was a featured speaker at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event ahead of a Republican presidential debate in Florida, organized by none other than Ralph Reed, where she declared that America needs "good, solid Christians to step up and lead this country on a proper moral path":

You know the Bible says faith is believing in what is not seen, today unfortunately many in the media would like nothing better to ridicule Christians: they promote 'The Da Vinci Code,' they place doubt in the public’s mind that Christ was not risen and they condemn the 'Passion of Christ,' yet they sensationalize stories that call for the end of prayer in school and removing the name of God from our country’s pledge. Ladies and gentlemen, these are very sad times when we allow the minority to poison the minds of the majority. This is exactly what dictators and socialist rulers did.

Man does not have all the answers, some of our political leaders bow down to scientists and let them have the stage to push their evolution, but there’s nothing, nothing a scientist can make, that is exactly like what God creates.

Trust Him to give you the strength to fight back against those who want to take God out of our country. Trust Him to give you the wisdom to speak out against injustice and blasphemy of His name. Trust God to guide your path to bring about a righteous government. …

Ladies and gentlemen, Christianity is in a fight and it is one of the greatest trials we have seen in modern times. Without a doubt, America and her people are in grave need of prayer, divine guidance, protection, to have good, solid Christians to step up and lead this country on a proper moral path. I firmly believe that if we magnify God, our problems will be minimized.

Right Wing Leftovers - 3/12/13

  • Ralph Reed wants you to get your tickets now for the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s 2013 "Road to Majority" Conference.
  • Sarah Palin is writing a book about Christmas which, ironically, nobody will ask for next Christmas.
  • Christian apologist Alex McFarland says "the survival of America depends on a revival of Christianity."
  • Right-wing blogger John Hawkins helpfully offers up a list of "10 Hollywood Celebrities Who Should Be Blacklisted By Conservatives."
  • Finally, in trying to encourage people to attend the upcoming "March for Marriage," NOM is comparing the upcoming Prop 8 and DOMA cases to Roe v Wade: "If you could go back to 1973, would you participate in a march to save society from the scourge of abortion? Would you go to Washington to show the Supreme Court that you are one of a multitude of people who are demanding that they not use our constitution to create a great moral and civic wrong?"

Ralph Reed's Group Wants to Cut Grants to the National Cathedral over Gay Marriage

Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition wants the federal government to end its “Save America’s Treasures Grants” to the National Cathedral because the church decided to perform same-sex marriages. While same-sex marriage is legal in Washington D.C., where the historic Episcopal church is located, the FFC claims that the cathedral is undermining the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and therefore should not receive federal money “until such time that it ceases the practice of homosexual ‘marriage’ certification.”

“Taxpayers are being asked to subsidize gay marriage ceremonies,” the FFC writes, “Pro-family and Pro-freedom Americans will not sit idly by as the government attempts to change the Biblical definition of marriage.”

That’s right, the same FFC which believes Obama is waging a “war on religion” and trampling on “religious liberty” wants the government to cut off its grants to a church due to its opposition to marriage equality.

On January 9, 2013, the National Cathedral announced that it would start performing same-sex marriages and will be one of the first Episcopal congregations to implement the rite.



In recent years, the National Cathedral has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants. The Episcopal Church is one of the richest denominations in the United States and the oldest. According to Richard Ostling of the Associated Press, “the 7,364 congregations of the Episcopal Church receive $2.14 billion in offerings a year: Their buildings and liquid assets are worth untold billions." Why is a church with untold billions in assets and asking American taxpayers to fund their church? With this policy change, taxpayers are being asked to subsidize gay marriage ceremonies for a church that can readily access millions of their own funds.

Pro-family and Pro-freedom Americans cannot sit idly by.

We believe the definition of “marriage” to be the union of one man to one woman. If the National Cathedral wants to continue to receive taxpayer funding from Congress, they should respect Congressional action like the Defense of Marriage Act.



Pro-family and Pro-freedom Americans will not sit idly by as the government attempts to change the Biblical definition of marriage.

As concerned American citizens, we believe the definition of “marriage” to be the union of one man to one woman. Accordingly, we are outraged that the Federal Government would provide funding to the Washington National Cathedral, which has publicly announced its intention to perform homosexual marriage ceremonies.

We therefore demand an immediate suspension of any current or future federal funds to this institution, until such time that it ceases the practice of homosexual “marriage” certification.

DeMint's Double: Rep. Tim Scott, for All the Right-Wing Reasons

Sen. Jim DeMint’s announcement that he will resign from the U.S. Senate to become president of the right-wing Heritage Foundation left the decision of DeMint’s successor in the hands of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.  DeMint has made it clear that his top choice would be Rep. Tim Scott, who was among the five people on Haley’s short list. This morning some are reporting that Haley has indeed chosen Scott.

Scott was elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave after defeating Strom Thurmond’s son in the GOP primary with backing from Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin.  He’s considered a rising star in the party -- after the 2012 election he was elected to serve as the liaison to leadership for the rising sophomore class.  Like DeMint, he embraces both the Religious Right’s anti-gay, anti-choice social agenda and the Tea Party’s anti-government, anti-tax, anti-regulation agenda.  No wonder he’s a Fox News favorite – and no wonder Fred Barnes, writing in the Weekly Standard, calls Scott an “ideal replacement” for DeMint.

Scott holds particular appeal for conservatives after this year’s elections in which people of color overwhelmingly supported President Obama.  If appointed, Scott would become the only African American member of the U.S. Senate.  In 2010, he was one of 15 black conservative candidates backed by “Operation Black Storm,” a project of Alan Keyes’ Patriot PAC.  Only Scott and Allen West were elected. Scott shares West’s politics but not his tendency to spout ridiculous rhetoric about President Obama being a Marxist tyrant. That may be one reason West will soon be a former member of Congress and Scott may soon be a U.S. Senator.

Anti-Obama Cred

Scott has the fervent anti-Obama record demanded by the far right.   On Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, Scott said, “This president has consistently found himself on the wrong side of the concept of the rule of law.” He claimed, “It’s a liberal media bias that insulates this president from having to explain the truth to any American citizen about the things that go wrong in this government.”

He embodies the Tea Party’s opposition to the federal health care reform bill and has joined House Republican efforts to defund it and repeal sections of it.  He joined an anti-health care reform rally at the U.S. Supreme Court, where he said “the last thing anybody wants to see happen is the United States government take over health care and ruin the best health care system in the world today.” 

Scott was an energetic participant in House Republicans’ desperate but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to politicize the botched “Fast and Furious” operation and turn it into an election-year scandal for the Obama administration.  Those efforts included a House vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.   At the same time Scott was frantically working to politicize the death of a border control agent, he was accusing  the left of politicizing the issue. 

At this year’s Republican National Convention, Scott said “The past four years of hope and change have led me to one conclusion: our only hope is to change the current resident of the White House. Amen.” And his “heartfelt” and not exactly respectful message to the president: “Hit the road, Jack, and dontcha come back no more no more no more.”

Scott told CBN’s David Brody that he understood why some black people would vote for Obama as a matter of history, but not him.  “I think the question is, ‘who am I?’ Well, if I am first a Christian conservative then that dictates my response to all questions so my response first as a Christian conservative is to vote consistent with my value system. I’m not saying whether President Obama is a Christian or not. I’m talking about one thing and one thing only. What he represents as a politician, is it consistent with what I think our country needs, and if the answer is no then I have to vote consistent with my values.”

In response to speculation during congressional obstruction on the debt limit that President Obama could invoke the 14th Amendment’s requirement that the government pay its debts to get around congressional inaction, Scott said that would be “an impeachable act.”

Religious Right Cred

Scott espouses far-right positions on abortion and gay rights – he has a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign – and he promotes the Religious Right’s absurd claim that Christians are somehow a persecuted minority in this country.  During this year’s South Carolina primary, Scott was among the speakers at a pre-debate rally hosted by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition. “The greatest minority under assault today are Christians,” Scott said. “No doubt about it.” He also said, “We need a revolution in this country.”  “And we need a revival in this land.” 

Scott opposes the requirement in the Affordable Care Act  for contraception coverage and argues that the administration’s compromise does not protect religious liberty.  In an op-ed he published in The Hill, he wrote, “Our nation was founded by those who believed in faith and freedom. Too often, Americans who are proud of their faith and the values it instills find themselves under attack. Government should be protecting our right to religious freedom, not assaulting it.”

In the “traditional values” section of his campaign website Scott lists legislation he has supported promoting abstinence education, defunding United Nations family planning programs, imposing abortion restrictions on women in the District of Columbia, and “protecting” Christmas.  It includes this summary:

I am unapologetically pro-life.  Each and every human life is valuable and my legislative agenda and record reflect my resolute commitment to protect the sanctity of life.

I support traditional marriage.  The institution of marriage is the unity of one man and one woman.   Allowing the government to weaken the definition of marriage takes away from our children and we must not allow that to happen.

I will fight for religious freedoms. The Constitution expressly safeguards our freedom to practice and embrace religion.  The federal government’s role is not to protect government from religion, but to protect religion from government intrusion.  Government is already interfering in our homes and businesses; we must not allow it to do the same with our faith.

The website also includes dispatches from the leader of Scott’s prayer warrior team.  The January 2012 dispatch includes this:

We can rest assured that regardless of what is happening, we are a nation born on a foundation of the Gospel of our Savior, Jesus and He lives and reigns this very day and forevermore and His perfect peace is ours in the midst of the storm!  Tim wanted you to know that in the knowledge of God’s assurance, this year should be about pursuing Isaiah 61 especially because of our times.  There are so many who are lost and in need of answers and, Praise God, you have them!

With the leading of the Holy Spirit, we should seek heavenly strategies to take on the challenges of 2012.  

At the Ralph Reed rally during the South Carolina primary, he told a story about a public fight over the Ten Commandments when he was on the county council.  “We are in desperate need of a compass, a moral compass that tells us the difference between right and wrong,” he said. “And I believe that you can look no further than the word of God to find that compass.”

Tea Party Cred

Scott came to Congress on the 2010 Tea Party wave and talks like it.  He takes a Tea Partier’s rhetorical approach to the Constitution, telling attendees at a town hall meeting, “I think states’ rights, state sovereignty, the 9th and 10th amendment, has to be protected against our federal government.” He says the immigration issue is “easy” -- “We want to make sure the local law enforcement is empowered to enforce the laws of the country.” Congress is a “freak show.”  The country needs to “drill baby, drill.”  The Environmental Protection Agency is a “job-killing agency” that needs to be chopped off at the knees.

He has been part of the no-compromise wing of the 2010 class.  He refused to support House Speaker John Boehner’s plan for getting past the crisis over lifting the debt ceiling after he and two of his fellow freshman prayed about the issue.  Here’s how the Washington Post recounted the events:

Not even gentle persuasion could overcome higher powers Thursday. As Boehner was in his meetings, three freshman Republicans from South Carolina were in the House chapel nearby, in quiet discussion and in prayer. Reps. Mick MulvaneyTim Scott and Jeff Duncanwanted a stronger provision to guarantee a balanced-budget amendment and knew they would be lobbied furiously in the hours to come.

At one point, Duncan said, Mulvaney picked up a Bible and read a verse from Proverbs 22: “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”

“It’s telling me to really be bold, to really fight for structural changes,” Duncan said.

“Mulvaney snapped the Bible closed. And I said, ‘Guys, that’s all I need to see,’ ” Duncan said. “Tim said, ‘Yep.’ And we stood up and walked out.”

Discussing the episode with Fox News, Scott said “I try to lean on the highest level of wisdom I can find and that is divine wisdom.”

Scott also enlists Martin Luther King to support the Tea Party’s anti-spending agenda (pay no attention to King’s actual call for government action on jobs).  He said at a 2012 MLK commemoration that his deficit-cutting efforts were akin to King’s movement:  "We can't be free when we have a $1.5 trillion annual deficit, there is no freedom in America for a black man, a white man, a Jew, a gentile, a Protestant or a Catholic. We can't be free.”  He has told constituents, “The more we spend, the less freedom we have.” 

He has also, as noted by Brian Beutler at TPM, helped voodoo economics  make “a triumphant return to Capitol Hill.” Scott claimed that tax increases would lead to lower revenue.  Scott made the same argument to constituents during a town hall meeting:  “If you increase taxes you get fewer dollars to the treasury…This is not a partisan issue. This is what we call truth.”

Big Business Cred

Scott’s anti-tax, anti-regulation, anti-union positions make him a favorite of the big business lobby: during his short tenure he has already been honored by the Club for Growth, which gave him its “Defender of Economic Freedom Award,” and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which gave him its “Spirit of Enterprise” award. Receiving that award, he said, “We must free our job creators from the burden placed on their backs by the federal government, and provide them with the right opportunities to move our economy forward.”  Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donahue gushed, “While many in Congress were busy playing politics, Representative Scott was working to protect and advance the interests of America’s job creators.”  Scott, who supports a flat tax, introduced “the Rising Tides Act,” which would cut corporate taxes. 

The Party of the Tea Party

Jim DeMint helped create the uncompromising, ideologically extreme Republican Party that has engaged in unprecedented obstructionism during the Obama administration – and is wreaking havoc in states like Michigan.  Tim Scott seems eager to further that destructive legacy. 

 

Ralph Reed: It's Not My Fault

Election Day was a lousy day for the Religious Right. But movement leaders have been quick to assert that they are not to blame, pointing fingers variously at Hurricane Sandy, Mitt Romney, the unknown waiter who recorded Romney’s dismissive “47 percent” remarks, and the strong turnout of young voters and people of color.

Religious Right leaders had spent four years attacking Obama an enemy of faith, freedom, God, and America, only to see him re-elected in an Electoral College landslide. They had warned that defeating him might be a last chance to forestall God’s judgment on America. They fasted and prayed and believed that they would be delivered on Election Day. But that’s not what happened. 
 
Not only did Obama win big, but voters in Maine and Maryland embraced marriage equality, and Washington seems likely to join them.  Minnesota voters rejected a Religious Right-backed attempt to put anti-gay discrimination into the state’s constitution.  Tammy Baldwin was elected to the Senate, where she will be the first openly gay member.
 
Well before all those results were in, it was clear that the night was not going according to what Religious Right leaders had thought was God’s plan.  At 10 pm, Tony Perkins and Jim Garlow held a phone call briefing for pastors. It was a very subdued affair, with representatives of the state marriage campaigns trying to sound hopeful about the then-uncalled outcomes in their states.  Perkins and Garlow also held a Wednesday webcast on the "aftermath and aftershocks" as the scope of their Election Day drubbing sank in (see video highlights).  “The problem in America is sin,” said Garlow. But, he said, “we have no problem that the next Great Awakening cannot solve.”
 
The tendency after an election defeat to avoid blame by casting it elsewhere was in full flower the day after the election.  Rep. Jim Jordan, a Religious Right favorite, described Mitt Romney as “the most liberal Republican nominee in history” who had “waffled” on abortion, had passed a health care bill as governor, and had a hard time convincing conservatives on his commitments on taxing and spending.  Perkins criticized Romney for not campaigning on issues of life, marriage, and religious liberty, even though Obama used them to appeal to his base. Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway agreed, saying Republicans had not done enough to draw the contrast on social and “moral” issues. Regarding the marriage wins, Perkins blamed Obama in part, saying the president’s policies have had “a shaping influence on the culture.” He and others also blamed marriage equality proponents’ financial advantage.
 
In a Wednesday morning press conference at the National Press Club, Ralph Reed’s message was clear: don’t look at me. Reed had made sweeping promises that the Faith and Freedom  Coalition, his conservative voter ID and turnout operation, would stun pollsters and lead to a big conservative victory.  “We did our job,” he insisted, recounting the tens of millions of phone calls, mailings, and other voter contacts his group made.  He said his group had run the most efficient, most technologically superior voter contact and GOVT operation the faith community has ever seen.  He claimed credit for increasing both white evangelicals’ share of the electorate and the share of the vote they gave to the Republican nominee.  But it wasn’t enough.
 
“We can’t do the Republican Party’s job for them.  We can’t do the candidates’ job for them.” In part, Reed blamed “candidate performance issues,” his euphemism for the Akin-Mourdoch rape comments that led to their undoing.
 
Reed said his successful efforts were not in the end sufficient because people of color and young voters turned out in numbers that he had not anticipated -- and voted overwhelmingly to re-elect the president.  The fact that young voters, African Americans, and Latinos turned out so strongly seems to have stunned conservative figures across the board. And it confirmed for many of them the need for the Republican Party and the conservative movement to stop alienating Latinos and figure out how to attract younger voters.  “We need to do a better job of not looking like your daddy’s Religious Right,” said Reed.
 
Some Religious Right leaders sought solace in faith that God is ultimately in control.  “America as we know it may have signed its death warrant tonight,” said Garlow during the pastors' briefing.  But not to worry, he said, nations come and go, but God’s kingdom is forever. Perkins said FRC and its allies would continue to stand strong in the face of “an increasingly hostile culture.”
 
Others looked forward to the next political fight.  Pollster Conway predicted that 2014 would bring, like 2010’s Tea Party wave, a conservative resurgence and called for candidate recruitment to begin now.  Perkins agreed that conservatives have never had a stronger “farm team” and touted potential conservative candidates for 2016, including Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, and Mike Pence.

Five Religious Right Myths Exposed in Election Defeat

The Religious Right took a drubbing at the polls yesterday as voters rejected not only Mitt Romney but also some of the most extreme Republican candidates, even those in races that should have been easy Republican victories. Like other conservatives, many Religious Right activists predicted a big victory for Romney and Republicans in the U.S. Senate based on five myths they hold about the electorate:

Myth #1: Americans want a ‘True Conservative’

The Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody called the results a “nightmare for the GOP” and a “colossal disaster.” Of course, right-wing activists will be quick to declare that Mitt Romney, like John McCain, wasn’t conservative enough for voters, and that the self-described “severely conservative” Romney couldn’t effectively articulate or sell conservative principles. Their solution is that the next nominee must be a pure right-wing ideologue who emphasizes social issues, like Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum. Of course, if voters were seeking to support ultraconservative politicians, then Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock wouldn’t have lost their Senate races in the red states of Missouri and Indiana, Tea Party hero Allen West wouldn’t have lost re-election and Michele Bachmann wouldn’t have merely eked out a tiny win in her heavily Republican district.

Myth #2: Blacks will Defect from Obama over Gay Rights

Black conservative activists such as Harry Jackson, E.W. Jackson, William Owens, Patrick Wooden and Star Parker continue to tell the largely white Religious Right leadership that African Americans are defecting en masse from the purportedly demonic, Baal worshiping, anti-Christian and anti-God Democratic Party and will turn against Obama over the issue of marriage equality. Pat Robertson even said that Democratic support for marriage equality is a “death wish” and Mike Huckabee said the move “may end up sinking the ship.” According to exit polls, however, Obama won African Americans 93-6 percent. African Americans also turned out in strong numbers and didn’t stay home, with the same high turnout rate (13 percent of all voters) as 2008. In addition, marriage equality had victories in the four states it was on the ballot.

Myth #3: Hispanics are ‘Natural Allies’ of the Religious Right

Conservatives claimed that Hispanic voters, especially those who identify as evangelical and Pentecostal, are ripe for supporting Republicans. Samuel Rodriguez of the conservative National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and others continue to argue that Hispanics are strongly opposed to abortion rights (not true) and gay rights (also not true), and therefore “natural allies” of the Religious Right. Romney actually fared worse (27%) than McCain (31%) among Hispanics.

Myth #4: Catholics Abandoning Obama for ‘Declaring War’ on the Church

Heavy politicking from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and growing outreach to Catholics by traditionally evangelical Religious Right groups didn’t stop Obama from once again carrying the Catholic vote. Republicans consistently claimed that Obama declared “war on religion” and specifically “attacking the Catholic Church,” and hoped Paul Ryan’s use of Catholicism to justify his draconian budget plan would bring Catholics into the GOP fold. Obama led 50-48 percent in exit polls, down slightly from his 54 percent total in 2008.

Myth #5: Evangelical Wave Waiting in the Wings

New groups such as the Faith and Freedom Coalition and United in Purpose/Champion the Vote boasted of grand plans to turn out a wave of evangelical Christians upset about health care reform and marriage equality. But according to exits, Protestant (not all of whom identify as evangelical) turnout remained about the same this year (53 percent) as the last president election (54 percent). Christianity Today notes that in swing states, self-described evangelical turnout was approximately identical or merely slightly larger as it was in 2008, and Romney’s support among evangelicals compared to McCain’s decreased in states like Ohio and Nevada.

Right Wing Round-Up - 11/5/12

Right Wing Round-Up - 10/26/12

Ryan's Real Values? Reed and Rand

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will hold a town hall teleconference with Ralph Reed, the disgraced former head of the Christian Coalition who is making a political comeback with a conservative voter turnout project called the Faith and Freedom Coalition. That group is sending voters flyers warning that reelecting Obama would allow the president to “complete America’s destruction.” They also compare Obama’s policies to the threat posed to America by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

For all Paul Ryan’s talk about values, it’s worth remembering who his pal Ralph Reed is: a self-enriching win-at-any-cost political operative whose own campaign for office was tanked by revelations of Reed’s involvement in a scandal with Jack Abramoff, the convicted corrupt lobbyist who helped Reed get business “humping in corporate accounts” after he left the Christian Coalition and started his own consulting firm.

As Kyle has noted:

There are few political operatives active today that are as ruthless and cynical as Ralph Reed.

Reed is, after all, the man who infamously declared that he specializes in "guerrilla warfare," and bragged "I paint my face and travel at night. You don't know it's over until you're in a body bag." 

Reed also knowingly took hundreds of thousands of dollars from corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff to manipulate and mobilize his Religious Right allies to fight gambling expansions in order to protect Abramoff's client's gambling interests.  Reed even had some of the money laundered through third-parties in order to try and conceal its origins, yet continues to insist to this day that he is "proud" of the "outstanding" work he did on behalf of Abramoff and his clients.

Ryan cites his Catholic faith to distract attention from his devotion to Ayn Rand and her infamous hostility to charity toward the poor.  Reed himself preaches the Tea Party’s notion that federal government programs that serve the poor and elderly are unconstitutional. (And of course, for a big chunk of the Religious Right, the social safety net is not only unconstitutional, but unbiblical.)

The FFC held several events at the Republican National Convention featuring other notable “values” stalwarts such as Newt Gingrich, union-busting Scott Walker, anti-gay activist Jim Garlow and down-the-government-in-the-bathtub anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist.

Reed said earlier this year that American Christians must get down on their knees and beg God for forgiveness for “what we have allowed to happen” to the country – then God might have mercy on America (the implication being that God would help Romney defeat Obama).

 Back in 2008, John McCain was embarrassed by watchdog groups over his participation in a fundraiser organized by Reed; in the end Reed did not attend. Four years later, the values-promoting Paul Ryan seems to have no hesitation embracing Reed, who exemplifies the self-promoting values of Ryan inspiration Ayn Rand.

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Faith and Freedom Coalition Top Posts

There’s a reason so many Republican politicians seem to bring a religious fervor to their efforts to gut public institutions and social welfare spending. The modern day Religious Right draws much of its ideology from Christian Reconstructionists who teach that God gave specific duties to the government, the church, and the family. According to this theological worldview, education and taking care of the poor are the responsibility of families and churches, and it is unbiblical for the government to take on these roles. That meshes well with the view of “constitutional... MORE >

Faith and Freedom Coalition Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Friday 06/20/2014, 10:42am
Speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's "Road To Majority" conference today, Ralph Reed declared that after Republicans gain total control over Congress in the midterm elections, conservatives "are not going to stop" until they completely abolish the IRS and raze its headquarters to the ground "and build a monument on the rubble so that future generations will know that we stood up and stopped tyranny": Later, Reed once again promised big results in the midterm elections, saying "the cavalry is on its way" but also warning that there is only... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Thursday 06/19/2014, 4:29pm
Monica Crowley of Fox News served as the emcee for a “legislative luncheon” that kicked off the “Road to Majority” conference sponsored by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition. The speakers’ lineup – Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Allen West, and John Bolton – promised a butcher shop’s worth of red meat for right-wing activists, and Crowley must have decided she didn’t want to be overshadowed. She complained that she has both a Marxist president and mayor (New York’s Bill de Blasio) and asserted that “we are in a... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 06/19/2014, 10:35am
According to the schedule [PDF] for tomorrow’s Road to Majority summit, the annual event organized by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, Family Research Council vice president Jerry Boykin’s address will be followed by a speech by Grover Norquist, the Americans for Tax Reform leader. This might be a bit awkward since Boykin has frequently smeared Norquist as a secret Islamist, claiming that the conservative lobbyist is a “is a Muslim Brotherhood facilitator” who “has been involved with some very questionable insurgent elements from the Muslim... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 06/04/2014, 2:25pm
Today, Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition announced that Gov. Chris Christie will speak at its “Road to Majority” conference this month, where perhaps Reed can offer the embattled governor advice on how to downplay scandals. But the director of the New Jersey Faith and Freedom Coalition, Larry Cirignano, doesn’t seem to be much of a fan of his state’s governor. On his Facebook page, Cirignano has posted columns attacking Christie from the right, including articles titled “Chris Christie dooms NJ to judicial activism and himself to obscurity” and... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Tuesday 05/06/2014, 12:38pm
Religious Right groups are celebrating yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding sectarian prayer at official public meetings – like city council sessions – and narrowly defining what would amount to unconstitutional religious coercion of people attending. The case is Town of Greece v. Galloway. Though divided on their reasoning, the Court’s five conservative Justices upheld a practice in which, month after month, year after year, town leaders reached out to Christians and Christians only to offer opening prayers at town meetings, prayers that were often quite... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Monday 05/05/2014, 3:08pm
In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court today overturned a ruling by the Second Circuit appeals court and upheld the practice of an upstate New York town that begins its council meetings with prayers that are almost always given by Christian clergy. Religious Right groups are celebrating the ruling; Ralph Reed announced that his Faith and Freedom coalition would use the ruling to “redouble its efforts” to encourage more prayers at city and county government meetings. Both the decision and the Religious Right's responses are likely to invite more religiously divisive... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Monday 03/31/2014, 10:01am
Last month, we wrote that the Iowa Republican Party had picked a new co-chair , Danny Carroll, a social conservative culture warrior who serves as a lobbyist for The Family Leader. Shortly after Carroll became co-chair, the state party chairman, libertarian-leaning A.J. Spiker, announced that he was resigning from his position. And this weekend, Carroll was elected to replace him as the chairman of the Iowa GOP. It’s unclear how long Carroll’s reign over the state party will last and if he will still be at its helm in 2016, when he would be in charge of running the Iowa... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/19/2014, 11:00am
Pat Robertson’s protégé Ralph Reed, who formerly ran Robertson’s Christian Coalition and now leads the Faith & Freedom Coalition, appeared on the 700 Club today to discuss his new book, “Awakening.” Reed said that after the GOP’s defeat in the 2012 election, he realized that the United States can only “turn around” and return to greatness if the Religious Right rises into a powerful political force as it did in the 1980s. Robertson added that Reed’s book seems to take “a page out of my playbook” from his 1988... MORE >