Faith and Freedom Coalition

Tom DeLay, Out on Bail, Reunites with Abramoff buddy Ralph Reed at Faith and Freedom Rally

Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX) is out on bail after he was found guilty of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. DeLay was also subject to an investigation over his links to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In fact, DeLay played a central role in the Abramoff scandal on the illegal use of Indian gambling money.

Another member of the Abramoff’s crooked scheme was Religious Right activist Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition. Abramoff stealthily financed Reed’s anti-gambling organization in Alabama with money from casinos in Mississippi that were afraid of increased competition. Reed claimed he didn’t know it was gambling money, claims Abramoff laughed off as “ridiculous.” In a humiliating defeat, Reed lost his 2006 race to be the Republican nominee of Lt. Governor of Georgia, and in 2009 founded the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Does it come as a surprise to anyone that DeLay, while out on bail, will be speaking at a Faith Freedom Coalition rally in Texas?

Surely, DeLay and Reed are the best people to talk about the importance of America’s “time-honored values” and “sound public policy at every level of government.”

The only thing that could make DeLay and Reed’s Texas rally more perfect would be if Jack Abramoff himself made an appearance. Too bad he now works for the ethics watchdog United Republic.

Reed: There is Nothing Obama Won't do to Win Re-Election

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.

So it is a little ironic to see him speaking to the Palms West Republican Club in Florida recently, in a video recorded and posted by Conservative New Media, as he warns that there is no candidate who is as tough, mean, and cynical as President Obama and that his campaign will be "coming with a knife in an alley" to launch an all-out scorched earth campaign against the Republican nominee:

Romney Blasts Obama's 'Assaults' on 'Life', 'Religion' and 'Marriage'

On a conference call last night with Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, Mitt Romney laced into President Obama, arguing that he is leading an “assault on life,” an “assault on religion” and an “assault on marriage” as part of a larger “assault on American values.” With Gingrich quickly moving up the polls in Florida with the support of more conservative, evangelical voters, Romney used the conference call to pick up the same rhetoric used by unsuccessful candidates like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann and dish out red meat to Religious Right voters.

Romney, once a stalwart defender of Roe v. Wade, said President Obama shows a “disregard for the sanctity of human life [that] is absolutely appalling” and is leading an “assault on life” by rescinding the Mexico City Gag Rule, which bars the government from funding NGOs that use their own finances for family planning which include abortion services or referrals. Romney also distorted Obama’s statement marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, claiming that the President thinks pregnant women “can get rid of the child and therefore have an equal opportunity,” when actually Obama concluded his statement by saying that “we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.”

He went on to say that Obama is conducting an “assault on religion” through the administration’s opposition to employment discrimination on religious grounds and attempts to ensure that women cannot be refused birth control coverage in their insurance plans or medical procedures because of loopholes, calling it “an assault on religion unlike anything we have seen.”

Romney concluded his diatribe by attacking a push for equal rights for gays and lesbians as an “assault on marriage,” and pledged to promote the Federal Marriage Amendment and stop Obama from paving “the path to same-sex marriage.”

Listen:

Romney: I think he is detached from reality when he says that he wants to ‘reclaim American values.’ There has been in my view an assault on American values since the beginning of his administration. Clearly from the beginning the assault on life with his abandonment of the Mexico City Policy and with the Vice President being sent to China and saying we understand the one-child policy there and of course the abuses associated with that policy are alarming and disturbing, and then on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade just a couple of days ago he said that the wonderful thing about Roe v. Wade is that it provides an equal opportunity for girls to equal boys, meaning that they don’t have to have a child anymore, if they become pregnant they can get rid of the child and therefore have an equal opportunity. The disregard for the sanctity of human life is absolutely appalling.

Then of course there’s the assault on religion. I think a lot of people were surprised that he felt that the government should be able to determine who is and who is not a minister and fortunately the Supreme Court disagreed with him on that, but now he’s gone forward and said that religious institutions, universities, hospitals and so forth, religious institutions have to provide free contraceptives to all their employees, even if that religious institution is opposed to the use of contraception, as in the case of the Catholic Church. Even in that regard, fighting to eliminate the conscience clause for health care workers who wish not to provide abortion services or contraceptives in their workplace, in their hospital for instance. It’s an assault on religion unlike anything we have seen.

There’s been an assault on marriage. I think he is very aggressively trying to pave the path to same-sex marriage. I would unlike this president defend the Defense of Marriage Act. I would also propose and promote once again an amendment to the constitution to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.

GOP Presidentials Line Up to Kiss Ralph Reed's...Ring

Remember that “game-changing” endorsement of Rick Santorum by a group of evangelical leaders desperate to deny the Republican nomination to Mitt Romney?  As Brian reports, there wasn’t really that much of a consensus in Texas.  And it certainly didn’t make it to South Carolina, where Romney, Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Perry all paraded before a gathering convened by Ralph Reed’s “Faith and Freedom Coalition” just hours before the latest debate.  All had their fans in the crowd, and Gingrich seemed to have more, or at least more vocal, backers, than Santorum.

“We are here today because we say unapologetically and unequivocally that there cannot be true freedom without faith in almighty God,” announced the disgraced-and-rebounding Reed, who led the Christian Coalition to prominence in the 1990s and launched the Faith & Freedom coalition in 2009 as a voter turnout machine for conservative evangelicals.  He claims that he is going to register 2 million new voters on his way to compiling a database of 27 million voters who will be contacted over and over up and through Election Day.  “If you thought we turned out in 2010, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” he warned Democratic leaders.  Reed said “in 2012 we’re going to stand up and be counted and we’re going to say that people with faith in God aren’t what’s wrong with America, they’re what’s right with America and we need more of them engaged and more of them involved.” 

The audience may not have been united on a candidate, but the candidates were unanimous in their avowed devotion to the Religious Right’s anti-abortion, anti-gay agenda, and their promises to fight “secularism” and the Obama administration’s alleged love affair with European-style “socialism” and its supposed “war on religion.” Also on the list: promises to repeal “Obamacare,” appoint right-wing justices to the Supreme Court, and shrink government.  Reed promised that a Republican Congress and president would “dramatically slash” the corporate tax rate and take the capital gains tax to zero.

Rick Perry, whose once-mighty support has virtually evaporated in recent months, promised to set the audience on fire.  His rambling remarks – punctuated with fist-pumping exclamations like “God and country!” – were well received, but South Carolina doesn’t seem likely to resurrect his candidacy.

The Supreme Court

Several candidates and their backers talked about the importance of the next president’s ability to appoint Supreme Court justices.  Jay Sekulow, head of the Religious Right legal group American Center for Law & Justice, is one of Romney’s most prominent Religious Right backers.  Sekulow talked about counting to five when he prepares Supreme Court cases, and said he was confident that with a President Romney making appointments in the mold of Justices Roberts and Alito, “I’m not going to have to worry about my math skills.” Reed, who introduced Gingrich, cited Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito as the kind of justices he was looking forward to – and not someone like Sotomayor.  The Obama administration’s Justice Department also came in for sharp criticism, with Reed saying that Attorney General Eric Holder needs to “go back to where he came from.”

Pursuit of Happiness: The Gay Exception

One candidate after another cited the Declaration of Independence’s reference to the unalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”  -- and then went on to call for a constitutional amendment that would prevent any state from allowing same-sex couples to get married.  Romney said he would defend the Defense of Marriage Act and called for a constitutional amendment on marriage.  Santorum said government based on the principles of strong faith and strong families was needed to constrain bad behavior and immoral activity.  Perry dropped his voice to a dramatic whisper to assure gay people that “I love you regardless of what you’ve done. I hate your sin, but I love you.”

Threats to “Religious Liberty”

Many speakers argued that Christians in America are besieged by rampaging secularists.  Romney said President Obama had put America on a path to being “more and more of a secular nation.” Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) asserted, “The greatest minority under assault today are Christians – no doubt about it.” Rick Perry decried liberals in Congress and on the courts who he said wanted to “whitewash the public square of all spiritual references” and “sanitize from our history books our Judeo-Christian roots.”  “If I am president of the United States, I will not allow them to do it! I will welcome people of faith to the public arena!” said Perry.  “This is our country, ladies and gentlemen. This is our time. And it is time for people of faith to take this country back!”  Romney and Reed promised that 2012 would bring more than political victory; it will bring spiritual awakening and renewal to America.

Ron Paul’s Biblical Economics

Journalist Adele Stan has reported on Ron Paul’s ties to Christian Reconstructionists and their religious view of limited government. Paul cited the Bible to support his monetary policies, saying “The Bible says we’re supposed to have honest currency and we’re not supposed to print the money.”  He also cited Biblical stories from Isaiah and Elijah about the importance of the “remnant” – the small number of people who could be counted on to hear the word of God.  The portrayal of conservative Christians as the righteous remnant is a popular theme at Religious Right gatherings.

Romney v (Gingrich v Santorum)

The current story of the GOP primary seems to be whether Santorum or Gingrich can rally enough conservatives who distrust Romney to wrest the nomination away from him.  On one South Carolina radio station, Gingrich and Santorum ads ran back to back on Monday, each making the “electability” case.  Santorum and Gingrich both attacked Romney’s ability to challenge “Obamacare,” and each used their remarks to argue that they could best carry the banner of unapologetic conservatism.   Santorum bragged that he opposed the Wall Street bailouts while Romney, Gingrich, and Perry supported them.  He claimed that he was the only one whose economic plan was grounded in building strong families.  Gingrich pledged that he would challenge Obama to seven 3-hour Lincoln-Douglas-style debates, even offering to let Obama use a teleprompter (those jokes never go out of style at GOP gatherings), saying, “I think I can tell the truth without notes better than he can lie with a teleprompter.”  Gingrich’s brashness was mirrored in the comments of Rep. Trent Franks, who once called President Obama an “enemy of humanity,” told the Faith & Freedom crowd that in a debate with President Obama, Gingrich “will eat Mr. Obama’s cookies and all accoutrements thereto.”

Appropriating a Sanitized MLK

Several speakers noted that the Faith & Freedom rally and GOP debate were taking place on Martin Luther King Day.  Romney expressed admiration for King, who he referred to as “a great man.”  But King’s Poor People’s Campaign and demand for government help in finding people jobs would not have won any praise from Romney or others at this event.  Neither would Jesus’ teaching that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.  Building on the backlash against Gingrich and Perry’s criticism of Romney’s record as a “vulture capitalist,” Romney denounced “class warfare” and charged that Obama wants to create an “entitlement society.”  Obama, he said, wants to replace ambition with envy, and “poison the American spirit by replacing a sense of unity with a sense of class warfare.”  According to Romney, believing “one nation under God” means not noticing economic inequality. Others took the same line. Santorum, who says it’s un-American to even talk about a “middle class,” said Obama “wants to rule us” and thinks he can win by “dividing America up.”  He said that Obama is destroying the incentive to create wealth.

In his eagerness to rally the Founding Fathers to his side, Romney mangled history in a way that called attention to the importance of MLK Day being more about learning and less about empty platitudes.  According to Romney, the Founders’ choice of words about the unalienable right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence indicated that they meant to create an opportunity society.  “This would be a nation where people would pursue happiness according to their dreams,” said Romney. “We would not be limited by the circumstances of our birth, we would not be limited by our race or gender…”   Well, Mr. Romney, we’re closer to that ideal, thanks to the work of Martin Luther King and countless others, but the founders were quite willing to limit people’s opportunities based on race and gender.  And they weren’t the last.

Gingrich Floats Choosing Sarah Palin as Vice President, Energy Secretary

Last night during a tele-town hall hosted by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, a caller asked Newt Gingrich if he would consider choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate if he wins the Republican nomination. Gingrich responded that Palin “is certainly one of the people you would look at” and told the caller that he is “a great admirer of hers,” saying “she was a remarkable reform governor of Alaska.” He also floated appointing Palin to a Cabinet position such as Energy Secretary because he “can’t imagine anybody who would do a better job of driving us to an energy solution than Gov. Palin.” Earlier this week, Gingrich pledged to fill the judiciary with graduates of the far-right Liberty and Regent University.

Caller: If you’re fortunate enough to be nominated, would you consider having Sarah Palin as your running mate?

Gingrich: She is certainly one of the people you would look at. I am a great admirer of hers and she was a remarkable reform governor of Alaska, she’s somebody who I think brings a great deal to the possibility of helping in government and that would be one of the possibilities. There are also some very important Cabinet positions that she could fill very, very well. I can’t imagine anybody who would do a better job of driving us to an energy solution than Gov. Palin, for example. Tell her that she would certainly be on the list of one of the people we would consider.

Rick Perry, Quoting Isaiah, Answers God: "Here Am I; Send Me!"

Rick Perry, Quoting Isaiah, Asks God: “Here I am! Send Me!” Last night, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has been working vigorously to court Religious Right activists, appeared on a conference call with Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition where he spent most of the time discussing his accomplishments in Texas and his committed opposition to abortion rights and gay rights. He quoted Ezekiel 22:30 to call on Americans to “stand in the gap” by fighting “for the unborn and for the traditional values” and against “the secular left.” Perry also claimed that God is commissioning leaders to “get our country back,” and cited Isaiah 6:8: ““Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’”

Perry: I just want to challenge you tonight that the values that are going to be decided in Washington DC and in our state capitals, somebody’s values are going to be what are used to put legislation in place. I think the question is: whose values? And are people of faith going to stand in the gap for the unborn and for the traditional values that America was founded upon? Or are we going to continue to cede more ground to the secular left because of their threatening to sue us or the ACLU or the various, sundry groups. I think we don’t have a choice. If we’re going to get our country back, we have to stand in the gap; we have to be the ones that will stand up. As it says in Isaiah, in chapter 6:8, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’”

Tom Emmer Joins Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition

Tom Emmer, the former Republican state legislator who lost his bid for Minnesota governor last year to Democrat Mark Dayton, today was named chairman of the state chapter of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. Ralph Reed launched the FFC to be a new and improved Christian Coalition with a special emphasis on linking tea party activists to the Religious Right. Emmer’s gubernatorial bid gained national attention after he indirectly received support from corporations like Target, BestBuy and 3M, who financed a pro-Emmer group, and for his zealous anti-gay beliefs. Emmer donated to the extremist group You Can Run But You Cannot Hide, led by right-wing extremist Bradlee Dean, and even opposed bullying-prevention legislation because it would address anti-gay bullying. He also showed his “support” for “family values” when he proposed legislation that would reduce the penalties for drunk driving, and Emmer himself was ticketed twice for driving under the influence:

The Faith & Freedom Coalition is pleased to announce that it has named Tom Emmer as the organization’s Minnesota Chairman.

Emmer joins the Minnesota Faith & Freedom Coalition amidst a distinguished law career of over 20 years, during which time he grew his firm to over 20 employees. That business combined with his legislative time in the Minnesota state house will serve the Minnesota Faith & Freedom Coalition well. “I’m excited about this opportunity to work with the Minnesota Faith & Freedom Coalition toward building a stronger conservative grassroots movement in Minnesota as we seek to restore America’s greatness and founding principles.” said Emmer.

The Minnesota Faith & Freedom Coalition is committed to educating voters on how new tax increases would impact family budgets as well as the bottom-line of small businesses. Minnesota FFC seeks to empower voters to express their views about what is best for Minnesota families at every level of government. The Minnesota Faith & Freedom Coalition believes strongly that Minnesota state legislators should hear from their constituents who are closest to the grassroots; not from the bullhorns of special interest groups and public employee unions.

Reed: When The Government Helps The Poor, It Takes Away Our Liberty

Someone, presumably Billy Kirkland, the National Field Director of Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition, uploaded a video to YouTube of a presentation that Ralph Reed recorded for some sort of Tea Party class on the Constitution, at least judging by the context of Reed's remarks. 

What the video was recorded for exactly is hard to say because there is very little information provided by the person who uploaded it, but in it Reed asserts that when the government creates programs to help the poor or senior citizens, it takes away our liberty:

The sad thing is that we as a nation have lost our way and we began to lose sight of the wisdom of the Constitution and the Declaration, we began to ask government to do more than it should do to meet every need; to take care of every hurting person; to set up a huge welfare state that meets every need we have; to have entitlement programs to take care of the poor, the underclass, senior citizens, and others.

Those are all good objectives. The problem is when we ask the government to do more then what it is specifically charged to do at the federal level in the Constitution, then we have the danger of our liberties being taken away. And that is exactly what has happened.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Michele Bachmann will be speaking to Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition "Presidential Series National Tele-Town Hall" next week.
  • Fortunately for CAIR, Herman Cain will never become president.
  • Randall Terry needs money.
  • So does the Family Research Council.
  • And Gary Bauer is asking for donations to "help us defend normal marriage" despite the fact that his organization doesn't seem to ever really do much of anything.
  • Finally, can someone explain to me how the Obama administration is playing politics by refusing to release the photos of Osama Bin Laden?

Florida Lt. Governor Rallies "Christians To Step Up And Lead This Country"

Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll addressed Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition’s pre-debate gathering in Florida yesterday, where she went on the attack against the media, scientists, blasphemers, secular Americans and all those who don’t fit into her idea of a “righteous government.” We made a compilation of her speech’s most remarkable moments, but the whole speech, courtesy of the Associated Press, is worth watching:

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

  • Michele Bachmann spoke at the Florida Family Policy Council awards banquet last night where she received the organization's "William Wilberforce Award."
  • Rick Joyner says "the Obama’s extravagant lifestyle at the expense of taxpayers is far out of bounds, especially with the hard times so many are going through now."
  • NOM continues to lose in its effort to flout disclosure laws.
  • Religious Right activists are threatening to sue if they are prevented from praying at Ground Zero on 9/10, even though they have no reason to think that they will be.
  • You know your movie is bad if you are reduced to sending out press releases announcing that someone drove three hours in bad weather to see it.
  • Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann will all be attending the Faith and Freedom Coalition's Kick-Off Rally on Sept. 22.

Robertson: The Tea Party Is God's Answer

Pat Robertson and the Christian Broadcasting Network have been heavily promoting the so-called “Teavangelicals,” or the ties between the Religious Right and the Tea Party. Following a report by David Brody, who hosted a panel on “Teavangelicals” at the Faith and Freedom Coalition summit, on the religious views of Tea Party activists Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots and Amy Kremer of the Tea Party Express, Pat Robertson claimed that God sent the Tea Party to stop America from sliding into “chaos.”

Watch:

I believe God loves America. I believe He remembers the sacrifice of past generations and how they’ve stood up and how this country has been a beacon of freedom around the world, and He doesn’t want this country to go into chaos. It’s heading that way, but is the Tea Party His answer? It would be. It’s almost like the humor of God that He’s going to bring a bunch of housewives in to change the government, isn’t that great?

At Ralph Reed Confab, Obama Portrayed as Enemy of Faith and Freedom

Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition gathering in Washington, D.C. this past weekend was essentially a relentless repetition of the GOP’s 2012 attack themes on the Obama administration, mixed with Religious Right leaders’ demands that the Tea Party not abandon social conservatives’ priorities and conservative politicos’ appeals for unity behind whichever candidate emerges from the presidential crowd.  Just about everyone running, or thinking about running, for the presidency on the Republican side was in attendance with the exception of Newt Gingrich.

One of the easiest, and most frequently used, ways to get applause at F&F was to pledge that Obama will be a one-term president.  Among the other major themes:
 
American Exceptionalism
 
Former Senator Rick Santorum, who officially announced his presidential bid this morning, said his campaign theme will be American exceptionalism.  Unfortunately, for Santorum, it seems that every Republican candidate is talking about American exceptionalism – and the claim that President Obama, Democrats, and “liberal elites” don’t believe that the U.S. is the God-ordained greatest nation in the history of the world – so it’s going to be hard to break away from the pack on that score.  Gary Bauer claimed that American elites don’t believe the words of the Declaration of Independence. 
 
‘Obamacare’ = Socialism = The End of Freedom
 
Many speakers cited health care reform as the ultimate example of the Democrats’ commitment to freedom-destroying socialism.  Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network said it was one example of progressives’ tendency to say “to hell with the Constitution” when it got in the way of their policy goals.  Rep. Allen West even attacked the notion of “shared sacrifice,” which he said was code for “redistribution of wealth,” which is how the right-wing looks at progressive taxation.  Rep. Tom Price, who clearly needs to spend some time studying American history, called the health care reform bill “the furthest reach of oppression that this society has ever seen.”  Others similarly insisted that the implementation of the law would mean the end of liberty in America.  Michele Bachman shouted, “I will not rest until we repeal Obamacare. America will not rest until we repeal Obamacare.”  Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said the fight against Obamacare is just one sign that federalism is reemerging.  He argued that Americans need to understand that there is a “liberty pie” that does not grow – and it has only two slices, government power and individual liberty – and one necessarily grows at the expense of the other. 
 
America Needs More Religion (as long as it’s not Islam)
 
The FFC was long on Religious Right rhetoric on religion and politics.  The pastor who gave the opening prayer for the conference gave thanks for “a nation founded for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”  The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins exulted that it was good to be among folks who are “not ashamed to defend the Christian principles on which this nation was founded.”  The Republican National Committee’s Reince Priebus said America’s greatness is “rooted in our faith” and that “faith in our God, and faith in our savior” is “not a convenience, it is the foundation of a good life.” But Islam was clearly deemed a threat, with one participant telling a contentiouspanel on Sharia law that in Minnesota “we practically have a Muslim state.”  
 
Reproductive Rights and Gay Rights = Big Government
 
In the “Social Issues: Why They Still Matter” panel, John Fund of the Wall Street Journal discussed “the psychology of those who are trying to undermine the moral fiber of this country,” arguing that liberals are compelled by a lust for power and therefore need to “control people” and “lower standards of society as a whole.” Fund explained that “if you can lower standards” by permitting legal abortion and gay equality, then liberals can gain control over society, and insisted that “we have to bring back shaming” of women who had abortions because “we need to be judgmental about this issue, we need to call out people for the choices that they made, ‘shaming’ is not a bad word in this society.” On a separate panel, National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher said, “When you redefine marriage, you also redefine the relationship between Genesis and the American tradition,” which would jeopardize freedom because “in some cases, the power of government is already being used to marginalize and stigmatize people who disagree with the foundational ideas of same-sex marriage.”
 
Obama as Enemy of Israel
 
Michele Bachman was one of several speakers who misportrayed recent Obama administration comments about Israel, calling them a “shocking display of betraying our greatest friend and ally.” One participant commented that “life, liberty, and Israel” were the elements that make up “the pursuit of happiness.” Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice said Obama may soon be referring to Israel as “the Zionist regime” and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission implied that Obama may bringing upon the country the curse of God for his policy towards Israel. Peter Roff of U.S. News and World Report lamented that “the American Jewish community is for some reason enamored of Democratic politicians in general and Barack Obama specifically.”
 
Unified Conservative Movement
 
FRC’s Perkins was among many Religious Right speakers who argued for keeping social conservatives’ priorities at the forefront of the movement in the name of conservative movement unity.  Perkins used a strange mixed metaphor, saying it is the “bottom of the ninth for our beloved country” and no time to lapse into an undisciplined orchestra, calling for a “rousing symphony” – drums of national defense, the horns of economic abundance, and the strings that bind a strong family.  Among others who sounded the same theme were Indiana gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence, who said, “we have to recognize that our present crisis is not just economic or political but moral in nature” and touted the importance of the sanctity of life, “traditional marriage,” and the importance of organized religion in our daily life.
 
Haley Barbour, one of the potential presidential candidates who decided not to run, devoted his remarks to lecturing attendees about the need to rally behind whichever candidate was nominated even though the nominee won’t be perfect.  “In politics,” he said, “purity is the enemy of victory.” Tony Blankley warned that the media and Democrats would love to “divide and conquer” the movement.
 
Advocating for social issues at the FFC was clearly preaching to the choir.  But some Tea Party activists were clearly annoyed by the “you’re nothing without us” attitude of Religious Right activists Jordan Sekulow and Matt Barber at a panel on the “Teavangelicals” that was moderated by the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody.

Garlow: "Your Land Has Cancer"

For years now, Jim Garlow's wife has been battling cancer and recently had a setback that prompted Garlow to consider canceling his scheduled appearance at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference over the weekend.  Ultimately, at his wife's insistence, he kept his commitment and traveled to Washington DC where he delivered an address in which he likened marriage equality to children losing their parents on 9/11 and declared that America has cancer and that, come 2012, he hopes to be able to say that not only has his wife survived, but the nation has as well:

Right Wing Round-Up

Richard Land Says Ralph Reed Was "Victimized by Abramoff"

Richard Land was one of the dozens of speakers Ralph Reed lined up for his Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference, so it makes sense that he would have some nice things to say about him ... but his ill-informed gushing over Reed's supposed brilliance is downright embarrassing:

"Ralph invented the game and how to play the game. He's got a PhD in political science," said Dr Richard Land the head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Church, the nation's largest denomination with 16 million members.

"He's one of them. He's and evangelical. He understands the evangelical and the conservative Catholic positions. He understand what rings their chimes and what doesn't."

"Any time Ralph Reed is involved in something it's going to make a difference. If I were running for office the very first thing i would do is hire Ralph as a consultant," Land said. "Ralph knows how to do this."

...

"Most evangelicals who know about it, view Ralph as a victim and that he was victimized by Abramoff like so many others," Land said adding, "Conservatives don't have any problem with people making money."

First of all, Reed received his Ph.D in history, not political science.  And secondly, only in the intentionally myopic view of the Religious Right was Reed in any way a "victim" of Jack Abramoff. 

Reed was a knowing participant in Abramoff's scheme to use the Religious Right to protect his client's gambling interest and Reed, as such, went out of his way to conceal the source of that money from his Religious Right allies. 

Abramoff and his colleague Jeff Scanlon called Reed a "bad version of us" and yet, to this day, Reed maintains that he "proud" of the work he did for Abramoff and insists that "it advanced sound public policy."

Hardly the words one would expect from someone who was "victimized by Abramoff."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Bryan Fischer really does not understand the definition of a "hate crime."
  • The Freedom From Religion Foundation wants the California Attorney General to investigate Harold Camping for fraud.
  • WND says White House Counsel Bob Bauer resignation "marks the beginning of the Obama eligibility cover-up starting to unwind."
  • It is pretty clear that nobody on the Religious Right actually cares about Newt Gingrich's serial infidelity.
  • Glenn Beck will speak at Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference.
  • Mike Huckabee does not want to be President, but is apparently open to being Vice President.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Looks like Sarah Palin will be launching a "hey, please pay attention to me" bus tour.
  • Rep. Eric Cantor is the latest Republican to sign on to Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition conference.
  • Focus on the Family looks at how marriage equality was defeated in Maryland.
  • John Stamos will be joining The Beach Boys for the second annual Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Concert. Sounds exciting.
  • The AFA loves Herman Cain so I wonder how long it will be before they remove this Elijah Friedeman post from their blog.
  • Finally, I am looking forward to seeing how Bill Donohue responds to this.  I am sure he will blame "the gays."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Mitch Daniels is out.
  • But Tim Pawlenty is in and he'll be attending Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition conference.
  • FRC says gays activists are trying to keep their "goal of perverting children under wraps."
  • The title of Gary Bauer's latest column is literally "Obama Signs Israel's Death Warrant."
  • Finally, an interesting piece on David Barton, Glenn Beck, and Mormon conspiracy theorist W. Cleon Skousen.

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 5/17/11

Michele Bachmann

2012: More likely to run for president following Mike Huckabee's decision against running (CBS News, 5/16). 

Constitution: High school student challenges her to a debate on the Constitution as a result of her record of making incorrect statements (Minnesota Independent, 5/13). 

Herman Cain

Georgia: Wins praise for speech at Georgia GOP convention (Southern Political Report, 5/16). 

Florida: Tops field in Fort Lauderdale Tea Party straw poll (Sunshine State News, 5/16). 

Mitch Daniels

Reproductive Rights: Signs law defunding Planned Parenthood that costs thousands their health care, state millions of dollars (The Faster Times, 5/16).

2012: Members of Indiana Republican Party encourage Daniels to run during state convention (AP, 5/13).

Religious Right: Anti-choice activists upset Daniels weighed Condoleezza Rice as a running mate because she is pro-choice (Life News, 5/13). 

GOP: Reports say that Governors Haley Barbour, Chris Christie and Scott Walker would endorse Daniels (CBS News, 5/12). 

Newt Gingrich

Religious Right: Denies advisers' links to Dominionist theology (RWW, 5/16).

Medicare: Describes Paul Ryan's plan to privatize Medicare as "right wing social engineering" but previously said he would've voted for it (Think Progress, 5/16). 

Health Care: Makes inconsistent remarks over his past support for health care insurance mandates (Politico, 5/16). 

Iowa: Will make swing through Iowa this week following official announcement (Dubuque Telegraph Herald, 5/15). 

Jon Huntsman

Religious Right: Set to address Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition (RWW, 5/16).

South Carolina: Huckabee's former state campaign chair announces his support for Huntsman (Politico, 5/16). 

Florida: Meets with key donors in Florida (St. Petersburg Times, 5/11). 

Roy Moore

Religious Right: Claims President Obama is "pushing his own immoral values without regard to what the people think or believe" (WND, 5/16). 

Campaign: Launches website for exploratory committee (RoyMoore2012.com).

Sarah Palin

PAC: Embarks on new direct mail campaign with focus on 2012 election (WaPo, 5/16). 

2012: Supporters hope that Huckabee's announcement will create an opening for Palin (Commentary, 5/16). 

Tim Pawlenty

South Carolina: Hires political director for South Carolina primary (The Hill, 5/17). 

Environment: Continues to apologize for past support of ‘cap and trade’ system (Minnesota Post, 5/17).

Mitt Romney

Fundraising: Raises over $10 million on Monday call-day in Las Vegas (WaPo, 5/17). 

Health Care: Defends state health plan that is analogous to federal health care law (NYT, 5/13). 

Rick Santorum

Medicare: Criticizes Gingrich for attacking Paul Ryan’s Medicare privatization proposal (The Hill, 5/16). 

Health Care: Knocks Romney for defending his Massachusetts health care law (The State Column, 5/13).

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Faith and Freedom Coalition Posts Archive

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 >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 03/12/2014, 1:51pm
After delivering his remarks at CPAC, Ralph Reed sat down with the PolitiChicks to discuss the lack of attention given to social issues like gay marriage or abortion at the conference. Reed said it was unfortunate that these issues did not receive more attention not only at CPAC but from Republican candidates in general "because I think they're winning issues." These sorts of social issues "never go away," Reed said, so any Republican running for office needs to just "plant your feet, stand and fight, and make it clear where you stand." What is particularly... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 03/07/2014, 12:50pm
Speaking at CPAC, today, Ralph Reed defended Louisiana’s constitutionally dubious voucher program -- which the Department of Justice warned was resegregating schools -- by comparing President Obama to notorious segregationist George Wallace. The Faith and Freedom Coalition head told CPAC today that Obama was harming black children and lifted from the spiritual “Go Down, Moses,” to tell Obama: “Let those children go!” Reed also chastised “left-wing bullies” for defeating Arizona’s right-to-discriminate bill and completely misrepresented the... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 02/11/2014, 3:24pm
It looks as if right-wing grifter Ralph Reed has a new book coming out soon entitled "Awakening: How America Can Turn from Moral and Economic Destruction Back to Greatness." In an effort to promote the book, Reed has filmed a series of short videos highlighting different aspects of the topics covered in his book, including one that purports to reveal with "real" Barack Obama, whom Reed met back in 1997 when they both served on a Harvard working group tasked with studying "civil engagement and social capital." Reed says his participation in that working group was... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 12/10/2013, 6:10pm
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... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 08/22/2013, 11:50am
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... MORE >