Family Research Council

Perkins: Advocates of Church-State Separation Are "Cultural Terrorists"

While the Family Research Council tries to paint itself as one of the Religious Right’s more mainstream and respectable lobbying organizations, its extreme rhetoric continues to gain exposure. Just yesterday, for instance, FRC president Tony Perkins called the anti-suicide It Gets Better Project “immoral” and “disgusting” in a fundraising letter.

Now, Perkins is calling advocates of church-state separation “cultural terrorists.” Yesterday during Today’s Issues with American Family Association president Tim Wildmon on the AFA’s American Family Radio, Perkins portrayed liberals as unpatriotic and attacked legal organizations that support secular government as un-American, comparing them to terrorists.

Earlier this month, Perkins joined FRC Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell in expressing outrage about a questionable report that Vice President Joe Biden likened Tea Party activists to terrorists. As Kyle pointed out at the time, the FRC had itself produced a documentary which described the Employment Non-Discrimination Act as “economic terrorism” for adding job protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Now, Perkins is using the ‘terrorist’ language to depict people who believe in the separation of church and state:

Perkins: It’s still ok to pray before a football game, it’s still ok to stand for the American flag, it’s still ok to be an American, yes, it’s tea party country, it’s people that love this country, it’s people that send their sons and daughters to fight for these liberals who enjoy all the liberties and the freedoms but won’t lift a finger to protect it and they want to come down here and intimidate these folks. And the school board’s strapped for money, don’t want to take on these expensive cases to defend themselves with these out of town, carpet bagging lawyers.

Wildmon: You preach it brother.



Perkins: That’s what these groups are banking on, because in these financially difficult times, administrators wanting to be prudent, some of them not having enough backbone, will say, ‘ah we shouldn’t challenge this let’s just give in and appease them.’

I like President Reagan’s view, we don’t negotiate with terrorists. These are cultural terrorists.

They want to remake America in their own godless image, and we should not tolerate that. You know Tim, enough is enough. It’s time that Christians be bold and stand up for the rights that we have, rights that were won with the blood of patriots and sustained by patriots and by those that love this country, and it’s time that we in this generation stand up and defend those rights as well. We have those rights in this country but if we don’t stand up and defend them, using the laws, using our voice, and a lot of time that’s all it takes Tim, just stand up and say, I don’t care what you think, I don’t care about your atheist agenda. Take a hike, we’re gonna pray, we’re gonna acknowledge God, and if you don’t like it, so what?

FRC Blasts Obama Administration Support For "It Gets Better," Calls It "Immoral," "Disgusting," "Perversion"

Today in the mail I received a letter from the Family Research Council seeking to use the "It Gets Better" project to outrage right-wing activists into opening their wallets and donating money to FRC.

In it, FRC said it was "disgusting" that the Obama administration would support this effort, calling homosexuality both "immoral" and a "perversion" and accusing activists of using the project in order to "recruit [kids] into that 'lifestyle'" [obviously, the image below is a composite from the letter itself]: 

 

Meet The Religious Right Extremists Behind The Pro-Bachmann Super PAC

A secretive ‘Super PAC’ tied to an Ohio political operative is planning to aid congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign after working to defeat South Carolina congressman John Spratt in the last midterm election. Chris Cillizza writes that “Citizens for a Working America, as the group is known, will be chaired by former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. Ed Brookover, a longtime political consultant and adviser to Bachmann, will be involved as will conservative lawyer and economist Marc Nuttle.”

Ken Blackwell’s ties to the Religious Right are well known, but Nuttle’s activism has flown below the radar.

Blackwell was Ohio’s Secretary of State from 2002-2006 whom after leaving office, unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2006 and chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2009. He is now a senior fellow with the ultraconservative Family Research Council, a senior fellow with the far-right American Civil Rights Union, and a board member the pro-corporate Club for Growth. Columbus-based televangelist Rod Parsley vigorously backed his failed gubernatorial campaign and Religious Right activists endorsed his abortive bid for RNC chair. His staunchly anti-gay views will serve him well in the Bachmann camp, as Blackwell once compared gay people with arsonists and kleptomaniacs and same-sex couples with farm animals.

Nuttle is a Republican adviser and economist with deep ties to an extreme movement within the Religious Right composed of advocates of Seven Mountains Dominionism. Nuttle is in fact Chairman of The Oak Initiative, a far-right organization dedicated to promoting the Seven Mountains ideology. The group claims in its mission statement, “The Oak Institute is being developed to raise up effective leaders for all of the dominant areas of influence in the culture, including: government, business, education, arts and entertainment, family services, media, and the church,” otherwise known as the Seven Mountains of society that Dominionists think should be controlled by fundamentalist Christians.

The Oak Initiative’s president Rick Joyner, the founder of MorningStar Ministries, has claimed that God is planning to destroy California and that God used Hurricane Katrina to punish America for tolerating homosexuality. The Oak Initiative’s board is filled with leading proponents of Seven Mountains Dominionism, including Jerry Boykin, Janet Porter, Lance Wallnau and self-proclaimed prophet Cindy Jacobs. Lou Sheldon, the head of the Traditional Values Coalition who described LGBT activism as “the very face of evil,” is also a board member.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council (Blackwell’s boss) and 2000 GOP presidential candidate Alan Keyes addressed the Oak Initiative’s 2011 Summit alongside Nuttle, where Perkins called gays and lesbians “hateful” people who are “pawns” of Satan and Keyes urged Congress to impeach President Obama before he seizes power with the help of foreign countries. At the Summit, Boykin said that Obama is creating his own Brownshirt army to usher in Marxism and Joyner suggested that a secretive cabal crashed the economy to help Obama win the presidential election.

Nuttle spoke to Joyner’s MorningStar Ministries on how to “apply proper biblical principles to the marketplace and the workforce” and that God “has a plan and a solution for this current world crisis we find ourselves in.” Nuttle said that people “don’t have to figure” out all the economic solutions, “all you have to do is be obedient” to God. He also claimed that the United States is the only country with a government subservient to God: “Every other government in the world is some sort of government authority, it’s a dictatorship, or Islam where government is God, or where the dictator is God, or the Constitution is God, over the constituents.” Nuttle argued that “the fight is against the 30% [of politicians] who don’t care” about the decline of the economy, “because then there’s more room for government. Government’s what they want, socialism is the goal.” He ended his speech by saying, “lock your shields with each other against the enemy.” 

Earlier this year he addressed Liberty University’s Awakening 2011, the Religious Right political event hosted by Mat Staver of the LU-affiliate Liberty Counsel. Nuttle also appeared on God Knows with Jacobs, where he shared with the 'Prophet' his plan to solve the nation’s debt troubles.

As heads of the pro-Bachmann Super PAC, Blackwell and Nuttle will surely help Bachmann link her far-right economic views with her deep-seated social conservative activism.

The Religious Right's Spin On Science

The mainstream scientific community rejects the Religious Right’s assertion that gays and lesbians can change their sexual orientation to become heterosexual: the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers and the American Psychiatric Association all deny the effectiveness, safety and ethics of ‘ex-gay’ reparative therapy.

But that doesn’t stop right-wing activists from citing and exaggerating the claims of small, fringe organizations in order to bolster their support of reparative therapy and claim that such “therapy” has extensive backing in the medical community.

Today, Liberty Counsel heads Mat Staver and Matt Barber, who according to their official biographies have no background in psychology, dedicated their Faith & Freedom radio show to assailing the American Psychological Association, arguing that they have more psychological expertise than the APA. Staver pointed to a small, Christians-only psychological group has “the most definitive, most recent research that’s come out that says change is possible” for gays and lesbians:

Liberty Counsel even declared that the American Association of Christian Counselors is “larger than American Psychological Assn”:

 

In reality, the AACC has just one-third of the membership of the APA, which has 154,000 members.

Staver and Barber are far from the only anti-gay figures to promote the findings of tiny, religious groups over the claims of more reputable and mainstream organizations.

As reported on RWW, David Barton on WallBuilders Live last week falsely described the American College of Pediatricians as “the leading pediatric association in America” as he cited a memo from the group claiming that “most students will ultimately adopt a heterosexual orientation if not otherwise encouraged.” Barton used the ACP’s memo as evidence to show that all children will “end up being heterosexual unless [schools] force them to be homosexual”:

The ACP is not “the leading pediatric association in America,” but a far-right offshoot of the real leading pediatric group, the American Academy of Pediatricians, which vigorously condemned the ACP’s memo. Barton’s co-host Rick Green tried to defend his dishonest representation of the ACP, but as Warren Throckmorton points out, while the ACP has “probably less than 200” members, the AAP has around 60,000.

Moreover, Focus on the Family, Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America frequently cite the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality as a reliable source of information on reparative therapy despite the group’s history of fraud and promotion of anti-gay and racist views.

The argument over the efficacy of ‘ex-gay’ reparative therapy mirrors the fight over teaching Creationism and Creationist-influenced Intelligent Design in public schools. Religious Right figures have a tendency to call any study from a leading and mainstream scientific associations biased if it doesn’t reflect their views, and then find (or create) small, non-credible organizations to reflect their viewpoints. Desperate to reject the consensus of the scientific community, like clockwork Religious Right activists try to pass off these tiny groups as large, credible, and legitimate institutions in an effort to lend authority to their foundering arguments.

Santorum: Same-Sex Marriage Helped Destroy The Economy

Yesterday, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum appeared on Today’s Issues on American Family Radio, along with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and the American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon, to discuss the Ames Straw Poll. After celebrating his fourth place finish in the straw poll, Santorum told Perkins and Wildmon that marriage equality, or what he calls the “redefinition of marriage,” secular government and legal abortion are responsible for the country’s economic collapse and created “a society that’s broken”:

Santorum: Letting the family break down and in fact encouraging it and inciting more breakdown through this whole redefinition of marriage debate, and not supporting strong nuclear families and not supporting and standing up for the dignity of human life. Those lead to a society that’s broken.



If you think that we can be a society that kills our own, and that disregards the family and the important role it plays, and doesn’t teach moral values and the important role of faith in the public square, and then expect people to be good, decent and moral when they behave economically, if you look at the root cause of the economic problems that we’re dealing with on Wall Street and Main Street I might add, from 2008, they were huge moral failings. And you can’t say that we’re gonna take morality out of the public square, morality out of our schools, God out of our schools, and then expect people to behave decently in a country that requires, capitalism requires some strong modicum of moral consciousness if it’s gonna be successful.

Staver: Under Obama, The US Is "One Of The World's Immoral Leaders"

On today's episode of "Faith and Freedom Radio," Mat Staver and Matt Barber spent all of their time railing against the fact that the United States had reportedly withheld $350 million in aid to the country of Malawi due to efforts in that country to outlaw homosexuality.

Like the Family Research Council before them, Barber and Staver were outraged that the United States would be using economic extortion to impose its own immorality on a sovereign nation like Malawi which simply seeks to uphold God's laws by imprisoning gays:

Barber: What we need is to return to your moral grounding and moral roots in this nation. Until we do that, the moral and the economic are definitely combined and our nation is going to continue to sink, we're going to continue to lose our status in the world as the world leader. And frankly, when we are holding out nations hostage to a radical, sexually-immoral agenda, I don't know that we necessarily are in a position - at least the government as its stands right now under this administration - are in a position to claim to be the world's moral leaders.

Staver: We're not the world's moral leader under this administration; we're one of the world's immoral leaders ... What the administration is doing is just putting its own immoral views into its funding, trying to get other nations to come around and do the same thing. And they're literally trying to create and extend this immorality globally.

Barber: The Obama administration is saying that sexual perversion is a human right.

Staver: More than sixty countries have laws criminalizing homosexuality and virtually every country in the world has laws that criminalize pedophilia and child incest. Malawi was doing what it was doing in its own best interest and America should not be trying to make that country act in an immoral way.

I think that maybe we should point out that, earlier this year, Michele Bachmann personally tapped Staver to come to Washington to teach her Tea Party on the Constitution.

Perry, Prayer, Politics and the Presidency

Casual viewers of “The Response,” including some political reporters who don’t pay a lot of attention to the Religious Right, may have watched Texas Governor Rick Perry’s prayer rally on Saturday and wondered what all the fuss was about.  Most of the time was taken up with prayer and praise music.  Few of the speakers seemed overtly political.  Nobody used the occasion to endorse Perry’s pending presidential bid.

But context is everything, and the context for this event was remarkable: a governor launching a presidential bid by teaming up with some of the nation’s most divisive extremists to hold a Christians-only prayer rally that suggested Americans are helpless to solve the country’s problems without divine intervention. Some media coverage is missing the boat: the issue wasn’t whether it was ok for a politician to pray, or the size of the audience, but the purposes of the event’s planners and their disturbing vision for America.

Organizers argued (unconvincingly) that “The Response” was about prayer, not politics. But groups like the American Family Association (AFA), which paid for the rally and its webcast, and organizations like the Family Research Council, whose president was among the speakers, are not designed to win souls but to change American law and culture through grassroots organizing and political power-building.  They have a corrosive effect on our political culture by promoting religious bigotry and anti-gay extremism, by claiming that the United States was meant to be a Christian nation, and by fostering resentment among conservative evangelicals with repeated false assertions that liberal elites are out to destroy religious liberty and silence conservative religious voices.

By calling for this rally, and partnering with the far right of the evangelical world, Perry aligned himself with all these troubling strategies.  When he drew criticism for the event and the extremism of its sponsors, Perry suggested his critics were intolerant of Christians.  Speakers returned to the theme, with one of them declaring that “there is an attack on the name of Jesus.” Such claims of anti-Christian persecution are a tried-and-true strategy of the Religious Right for rousing conservative Christians to political activism.  And for those who actually believe that Christianity is on the verge of being criminalized in America, Perry’s event defined him as a defiant and courageous defender of the faith. 

As journalist Dave Weigel writes, “That's the brilliance of what Perry has done here…He doesn't need to talk about politics, or do anything besides be here and understand this event. The religion is the politics. These worshippers understand that if they can bring ‘the kingdom of God’ to Earth, economic problems, even macroeconomic problems, will sort themselves out.”

A major chunk of the day was given over to Mike Bickle, who runs the International House of Prayer (IHOP) movement, which recruits young people into “radical” devotion to prayer and fasting. Yes, he’s the guy who said that Oprah is paving the way for the Antichrist. Bickle’s associate Lou Engle has organized a series of stadium events pushing prayer, fasting, and politics under the banner of “The Call,” which provided the model for “The Response.”  Bickle and Engle are hard-core dominionists who believe they are ushering in a new Christian church which will take its rightful place of dominion over every aspect of government and society.  But in spite of their well-documented extremism, they are embraced by Republican leaders.  Engle, for example, took part in a Family Research Council prayer-a-thon against health care reform, at which he introduced Rep. Michele Bachmann.

The Christian-nation crowd, like Response speaker David Barton and AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer, who says the First Amendment protects only Christians’ religious liberty, shares a certain vision for America’s future.  Some of the political goals of “The Response” sponsors were brutally clear at the rally; a series of speakers prayed for an end to legal abortion.  While rhetorical gay-bashing was surprisingly absent at an event whose sponsors include the most vehemently anti-gay groups in America (including the AFA, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center), it is clear that in the America envisioned by “The Response” planners, same-sex couples would have no chance at legal recognition or protection for their families.  Shortly before the event, Perry himself was forced to walk back from his very brief flirtation with a states’ rights defense of New Yorkers’ decision to extend marriage equality to same-sex couples -- and to vow his support for a federal constitutional amendment that would strip married same-sex couples of their rights and make sure that in the future gay couples could not get married anywhere in the U.S.
And lest anyone think that Perry’s religious agenda is limited to social issues, he made clear that a rigid conservative economic agenda was central to his spiritual mission. Just days before the rally, on “The 700 Club,” Perry said he’d be praying for “our country’s economic prosperity. There just so many people that can’t take care of their family because government’s over-taxed, over-regulated, over-litigated, it caused roadblocks to economic prosperity.” Those words echo the theology of activists like Barton, who have preached that the Bible condemns progressive taxation, the minimum wage and collective bargaining.
 
Perry is clearly positioning himself to enter the Republican presidential primary as a political savior to right-wing activists who are underwhelmed with their choices so far.  Yet, oddly for someone who wants to be president, he insists that America’s problems are beyond human ability to fix. (Sadly, that may only be true to the extent that enough legislators believe that God, like Grover Norquist, is opposed to any tax increases.)

Perry’s worldview and that of “The Response” organizers seems to see no useful role for non-Christian Americans, whose religious beliefs were denigrated at “The Response.”  When Perry told Americans on Saturday that we, “as a nation,” must return to God, it’s clear he meant God as understood by the event’s organizers.  Jim Garlow, who organized anti-marriage equality pastors in California before being hired by Newt Gingrich to run one of his political groups, told journalist Sarah Posner on Saturday that “The Response” was “not about whether Perry becomes president, it’s about making Jesus king.” Perry used the event to let right-wing religious voters and churches nationwide know that for those who see politics as spiritual warfare, he is the warrior they have been waiting for.

Santorum: Marriage Equality Will "Destroy The Family"

Presidential candidate and former senator Rick Santorum spoke with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council on Friday’s Today’s Issues to discuss New York’s new same-sex marriage law. Santorum said that it is “absurd” that “they’re using this idea of equality” to advance the legalization of same-sex marriage, which he believes is part of “an agenda that is ultimately going to destroy the family.” He went on to tell Perkins that marriage equality is part of the left’s effort to take “more control of your lives” by weakening “the family and the church.”

Perkins: But you see what’s behind this with the homosexual activists that they will not rest with simply accommodation but they want to force every state in the nation to change their laws to recognize same-sex marriage.

Santorum: Yeah. They want to force their worldview on us and they’re using this idea of ‘equality,’ which is absurd. This has nothing to do with how two people want to live their lives. It has everything to do with an agenda that is ultimately going to destroy the family, weaken the family and weaken our religious liberties in this country. This is going to transform, you know, the left is very enthusiastic about this agenda because it is an opportunity to get after the things that they see standing in the way of them taking control, more control of your lives, which is the family and the church. And so what better to do that than by destroying the institution of marriage and by saying anybody who opposes them is a bigot and therefore, and that includes people in the clergy.

Perkins Tries And Fails To Downplay The Extreme Views Of 'The Response' Organizers

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews on Friday to discuss The Response. During the show, Matthews played a number of videos, first posted on Right Wing Watch, of Response organizers Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer, John Hagee of the Cornerstone Church, and John Benefiel of the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network.

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Lynn said Perry’s links to such extreme figures don’t represent “guilt by association” but “guilt by construction.” Perkins, on the other hand, tried to distance the import of Bryan Fischer, saying, “Look, he has a talk show on the American Family Association.”

While Perkins may be trying to downplay Fischer’s role at the AFA, he knows full well that Fischer isn’t just some radio talk show host but is in fact the public face of the American Family Association. In fact, his official bio lists him as the “spokesman for AFA.” He represented the AFA at Perkins’ Values Voters Summit and had a prime speaking slot, although as Kyle notes Fischer is not a listed speaker this year. Fischer is the group’s Director of Issues Analysis for Government and Public Policy, hosts AFA’s flagship radio program Focal Point and is the go-to voice of the AFA for inquiring journalists. Perkins himself co-hosted Today’s Issues with Fischer on AFA radio.

Perkins acknowledged that he knew the background of Fischer and other organizers, commenting, “Look, I don’t, as I said before, not everybody that’s on that platform agrees with what others have said or what they hold to believe.”

But no one has suggested that Rick Perry agrees with Bryan Fischer’s argument that gays and lesbians should be banned from holding public office, Mike Bickle’s claim that Oprah is the harbinger of the Antichrist or John Benefiel’s belief that the Statue of Liberty is a demonic idol. The problem is that a sitting governor and likely presidential candidate is effectively endorsing and promoting individuals and organizations with such far-right and extreme views in an exclusively fundamentalist Christian prayer rally.

While Perkins attempted to give Perry cover about the extreme views of the prayer rally organizers, The Response represented the extent Republican leaders and Religious Right groups will go to jockey for the support of even the most fringe figures and elevate their voices.

Fact Sheet: Gov. Rick Perry’s Extremist Allies

Updated 8/5/2011

On August 6, Texas Gov. Rick Perry will host The Response, a “prayer rally” in Houston, along with the extremist American Family Association and a cohort of Religious Right leaders with far-right political ties. While the rally’s leaders label it a "a non-denominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting," the history of the groups behind it suggests otherwise. The Response is powered by politically active Religious Right individuals and groups who are dedicated to bringing far-right religious view, including degrading views of gays and lesbians and non-Christians, into American politics.

In fact, a spokesman for The Response has said that while non-Christians will be welcomed at the rally, they will be urged to “seek out the living Christ.” Allan Parker, a right-wing activist who participated in an organizing conference call for the event, declared in an email bearing the official Response logo that including non-Christians in the event "would be idolatry of the worst sort."

Perry told James Dobson that the rally was necessary because Americans have “turned away from God.

The following is an introduction to the groups and individuals who Gov. Perry has allied himself with in planning this event.

The American Family Association

The American Family Association is the driving force behind The Response. Founded by the Rev. Don Wildmon in 1977, the organization is based is best known for its various boycott campaigns, promotion of art censorship, and political advocacy against women’s rights and LGBT equality. The organization also controls the vast American Family Radio and an online news service, in addition to sponsoring various conferences frequented by Republican leaders, including the Values Voter Summit and Rediscovering God in America. The AFA today is led by Tim Wildmon, Don’s son, and its chief spokesperson is Bryan Fischer, the Director of Issues Analysis for Government and Public Policy and host of its flagship radio show Focal Point.

Fischer routinely expresses support for some of the most bigoted and shocking ideas found in the Religious Right today. He has:

Other AFA leaders and activists are just as radical:

  • AFA President Tim Wildmon claims that by repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell President Obama shows he “doesn’t give a rip about the Marines or the Army” and “just wants to force homosexuality into every place that he can.”
  • AFA Vice President Buddy Smith, who is on the leadership council of The Response, said that gays and lesbians are “in the clasp of Satan.”
  • The head of the AFA’s women’s group led a boycott against Glee because she accused it of indoctrinating children in homosexuality and idolatry.The editor of AFA Journal Ed Vitagliano said that gay pride months are an affront to the Founding Fathers and will usher in “a return to pagan sexuality.”
  • A columnist for the AFA demanded Christians stop practicing yoga because it was inspired by the “evil” religions of Buddhism and Hinduism.

International House of Prayer

The Response’s leadership team includes five senior staff members of the International House of Prayer (IHOP), a large, highly political Pentecostal organization built on preparing participants for the return of Jesus Christ. In a recent video, IHOP encouraged supporters to pray for Jews to convert to Christianity in order to bring about the Second Coming. IHOP is closely associated with Lou Engle, a Religious Right leader whose anti-gay, anti-choice extremism hasn’t stopped him from hobnobbing with Republican leaders including Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee. Engle is the founder of The Call, day-long rallies against abortion rights and gay marriage, which Engle says are meant to break Satan’s control over the U.S. government. One recent Call event featured “prophet” Cindy Jacobs calling for repentance for the “girl-on-girl kissing” of Britney Spears and Madonna. Perry's The Response event is clearly built upon Engle's The Call model.

Engle has a long history of pushing extreme right-wing views and advocating for a conservative theocracy in America. Engle:

IHOP’s founder and executive director, Mike Bickle, who is an official endorser of The Response, like Engle pushes radical End Times prophesies. In one sermon, he declared that Oprah Winfrey is a precursor to the Antichrist.

The International House of Prayer, incidentally, remains locked in a copyright infringement lawsuit with the International House of Pancakes.

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, is a co-chairman of The Response. At the FRC, Perkins has been a vocal opponent of LGBT equality, often relying on false claims about gay people to push his agenda. He:

Jim Garlow

One of the most prominent members of The Response’s leadership team is pastor Jim Garlow. The pastor for a San Diego megachurch, Garlow has been intimately involved in political battles, especially the campaign to pass Proposition 8. Garlow invited and housed Lou Engle to lead The Call rallies around California for six months to sway voters to support Proposition 8, which would repeal the right of gay and lesbian couples to get married. He claims Satan is behind the “attack on marriage” and credits the prayer rallies for the passage of Prop 8. He said that during a massive The Call rally in San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium “something had snapped in the Heavenlies” and “God had moved” to deliver Prop 8 to victory.

Most importantly, Garlow is a close spiritual adviser to presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and leads Gingrich’s Renewing American Leadership (ReAL). Garlow is a principal advocate of Seven Mountains Dominionism, and wants to “bring armies of people” to bring Religious Right leaders into public office and defeat their political opponents.

Garlow has a long record of extreme rhetoric. He:

John Hagee

While Senator John McCain rejected John Hagee’s endorsement during the 2008 presidential campaign for his “deeply offensive and indefensible” remarks, Perry invited Hagee to join The Response. Hagee leads a megachurch in San Antonio, Texas, and is a purveyor of End Times prophesies. Like members of the International House of Prayer, Hagee utilizes language of spiritual warfare and says he is part of “the army of the living God.” He runs the prominent group Christians United For Israel, which believes that eventually a cataclysmic war in the Middle East will bring about the Rapture.

John McCain was forced to disavow Hagee for a reason as the Texas pastor:

James Dobson


James Dobson, an official endorser of The Response, is one of the most prominent figures in the Religious Right. Founder of both Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council , Dobson has been instrumental in bringing the priorities of the Religious Right to Republican politics, including campaigning hard for President George W. Bush. But many of the views that Dobson pushes are hardly mainstream. Dobson:

  • is no fan of the women’s movement, writing that women are just “waiting for their husbands to assume leadership” ;
  • claims that marriage equality will “destroy the Earth”;
  • insists that the Religious Right’s fight against Planned Parenthood is “very similar” to that of abolitionists who fought against the slave trade.
  • Asked if God had withdrawn his hand from America after 9/11, Dobson responded: “Christians have made arguments on both sides of this question. I certainly believe that God is displeased with America for its pride and arrogance, for killing 40 million unborn babies, for the universality of profanity and for other forms of immorality. However, rather than trying to forge a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the terrorist attacks and America's abandonment of biblical principles, which I think is wrong, we need to accept the truth that this nation will suffer in many ways for departing from the principles of righteousness. "The wages of sin is death," as it says in Romans 6, both for individuals and for entire cultures.”

David Barton


David Barton, an official endorser of The Response, is a self-proclaimed historian known for his twisting of American History and the Bible to justify right-wing political positions. Barton’s strategy is twofold: he first works to find Biblical bases for right-wing policy initiatives, and then argues that the Founding Fathers wanted the United States to be a Christian nation, so obviously wanted whatever policy he has just found a flimsy Biblical basis for. Barton, “documenting” the divine origins of his interpretations of the Constitution gives him and his political allies a potent weapon. Opponents who disagree about tax policy or the powers of Congress are not only wrong, they are un-American and anti-religious, enemies of America and of God.


Barton uses his shoddy historical and biblical scholarship to push a right-wing political agenda, including:

  • Biblical Capitalism: Barton’s “scholarship” helps to form the basis for far-right economic policies. He claims that “Jesus was against the minimum wage,” that the Bible “absolutely condemned” the estate tax,” and opposed the progressive income tax.
  • Revising Racial History: Barton has traveled the country peddling a documentary he made blaming the Democratic Party for slavery, lynching and Jim Crow…while ignoring more recent history.
  • Opposing Gay Rights: Barton believes the government should regulate gay sex and maintains that countries which “rejected sexual regulation” inevitably collapse.


Other Allies


Among the other far-right figures who have signed on to work with Gov. Perry on The Response are:

  • Rob Schenk, an anti-choice extremist who was once arrested for throwing a fetus in the face of President Clinton, and who allegedly had ties with the murderer of abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian.
  • Loren Cunningham, who is working to mobilize support for the rally is a co-founder of the radical “Seven Mountains Dominionist” ideology. Cunningham says that he received the “seven mountains” idea, which holds that evangelical Christians must take hold of all aspects of society in order to pave the way for the Second Coming, in a message directly from God.
  • Doug Stringer, The Response's National Church and Ministry Mobilization Coordinator, who blamed American secularism and the increased acceptance of homosexuality for the 9/11 attacks, saying “It was our choice to ask God not to be in our every day lives and not to be present in our land.”
  • Cindy Jacobs, self-proclaimed “prophet” and endorser of The Response, who famously insisted that birds were dying in Arkansas earlier this year because of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
  • C. Peter Wagner, an official endorser of The Response, is one of the most prominent leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation, a controversial movement whose followers believe they are prophets and apostles on par with Christ himself (other adherents include Engle, Jacobs and Anh). Wagner has advocated burning Catholic, Mormon and non-Christian religious objects. He blamed the Japanese stock market crash and later the devastating earthquake and tsunami in the country on a traditional ritual in which the emperor supposedly has “sexual intercourse” with the pagan Sun Goddess.
  • Che Ahn, a mentor of John Hagee and official endorser of The Response, who endorses “Seven Mountains” dominionism and compares the fight against gay rights to the fight against slavery.
  • John Benefiel, a self-proclaimed "apostle" and official endorser of The Response, who claims the Statue of Liberty is a "demonic idol" and that homosexuality is a plot cooked up by the Illuminati to control the world's population, and that he renamed the District of Columbia the “District of Christ” because he has “more authority than the U.S. Congress does.”
  • James “Jay” Swallow, official endorser of the rally, who calls himself a “spiritual warrior” and hosts “Strategic Warriors At Training (SWAT): A Christian Military Training Camp for the purpose of dealing with the occult and territorial enemy strong holds in America.”
  • Alice Smith, who advocates "spiritual housecleaning" because demons "sneak into" homes through everyday objects.
  • Willie Wooten, a self-proclaimed “apostle” who claims that God is punishing the African American community for supporting gay rights, reproductive freedom and the Democratic Party.
  • Pastor Stephen Broden – Broden, an endorser of The Response, has repeatedly insisted that a violent overthrow of the U.S. government must remain “on the table.”
  • Timothy F. Johnson – Johnson, a former vice-chairman of the North Carolina GOP, was elected to that post despite two domestic violence convictions and still unresolved questions about his military service and educational record.
  • Alice Patterson – Patterson, a member of The Response's leadership team, insists that the Democratic Party is controlled by a "demonic structure."

 

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The New York Times profiles the American Family Association and the role they are playing in funding Rick Perry's prayer rally.
  • On a related note, the Family Research Council will be streaming the event live on Saturday.
  • Speaking of FRC, they have released their latest list of prayer targets: "May the Lord intervene to stop these efforts to homosexualize our nation – and to indoctrinate our children with evil!
  • C. Boyden Gray has filed a complaint with the IRS seeking to revoke Media Matters' tax-exempt status.
  • Gary Cass says the only hope for America is for Islam to be defeated. And he is just the man to do it!
  • Pamela Geller is just like Gen. George Patton.
  • Finally, quote of the day from Peter LaBarbera: "I think a lot of things are gay, such as the disproportionate STDs related to homosexual sex. But marriage isn't one of them. Marriage isn't homosexual; marriage is between a man and a woman."

FRC's Selective Outrage

Listen to this clip from the AFA radio program "Today's Issues" the other day in which Tony Perkins and Ken Blackwell, both of the Family Research Council, complain that people are calling the Tea Party activists "terrorists":

Perkins: You have the comments being made by the Vice President of the United States ... and he's equating conservative members of Congress who are identified with the Tea Party as being terrorists and holding the nation hostage.

Blackwell: Well, that is just consistent with the strategy of define and destroy that the Left, headed up by the President and the Vice President, have been putting on us for the last couple of years ... Look this is an attempt to define those who are asking tough questions not just as being rabble-rousers or folks who are really tough in pressing the issue, but as being terrorists. And this really has to stop.  

Oh, the outrage! 

FRC would never stoop so low! 

Oh wait ... what about this clip from the Family Research Council's very own "ENDA: The End of Religious Freedom in America?" DVD where, at the 1:37 mark, Frank Wright of National Religious Broadcasters calls ENDA and hate crimes legislation "economic terrorism":

Wright: On Capitol Hill, as we say, at the end of the day, ENDA and hate crimes are really a form of economic terrorism. They hold an extortion-like threat over your head and say that if you don't submit, you will pay for it in legal fees and in judgments and in pain and suffering in court for years to come. Some people will stand against that. Some people don't have the resources to stand against that. Others, sadly, are going to cut and run and that is the great pity of the whole thing.

GOP Leaders Joining Religious Right Groups For "Values Voter Bus Tour" Through Iowa

The Family Research Council has just announced that Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Steve King, and Louie Gohmert will be joining FRC, the National Organization for Marriage and the Susan B. Anthony List for a ""Values Voter Bus Tour" through Iowa next week:

FRC Action's Faith Family Freedom Fund, the National Organization for Marriage and the Susan B. Anthony List today announced the "Values Voter Bus Tour" that next week will cover 1,305 miles in four days with events in 22 cities. The tour will pass through 47 of Iowa's 99 counties.

Presidential candidates Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum will participate in the tour, and candidate Michele Bachmann and other GOP presidential candidates are expected to join the tour as well. U.S. Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX) will also join Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins, National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown, Susan B. Anthony List's Marilyn Musgrave, and other state and national leaders. The tour will be kicked off by Faith Family Freedom Fund Chairman Connie Mackey on Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at the state capitol and conclude at the Ames Straw Poll on August 13.

Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins made the following comments:

"Last November, the people of Iowa reclaimed their right to govern themselves by removing three activist judges from power. We were honored to play a part in that victory with our successful Judge Bus tour that traveled the state highlighting the issue.

"The Values Bus Tour will speak to the views held by millions of American voters who want to make sure that issues impacting the family and the broader culture are understood and addressed by each of the candidates. The race is clearly wide open. Values voters will be closely watching next week's events as they determine which of the candidates are willing to do what it takes once elected to restore fiscal sanity, protect marriage, safeguard religious liberty and protect the rights of the unborn," concluded Perkins.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, made the following comments:

"President Obama is the most pro-abortion President in United States history. He has shown a willingness to shut down the federal government in order to keep Planned Parenthood funded with tax payer subsidies and even threatened individual states for exercising their Tenth Amendment right to de-fund the organization at a state level. It is time to replace Obama with a true pro-life leader in the White House. That effort begins in Iowa. The Values Voter Bus Tour is designed to get the word out to straw poll and caucus goers regarding which Presidential candidates can be counted on as strong and vocal leaders for women and unborn children."

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), made the following comments:

"President Obama has done virtually everything in his power to undermine the institution of marriage, including refusing to defend the bi-partisan Defense of Marriage Act signed into law by President Clinton. NOM is committed to ensuring that the next president is a strong and committed supporter of traditional marriage and will commit his or her administration to vigorously defending marriage in the courts, Congress and in the court of public opinion. We were the largest contributor to the effort to unseat the state judges who imposed same-sex marriage on Iowa by judicial fiat. We look forward to playing an extremely active role in encouraging the people of Iowa, including our tens of thousands of supporters, to make a difference in selecting an unambiguously pro-marriage candidate in Iowa."

Perkins Will Lead The Response In Prayer

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson already told listeners of his radio program that he will be giving the opening prayer at The Response, Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s upcoming prayer rally in Houston. Now, Family Research Council head Tony Perkins has announced that he will also be speaking at the event, reports Kate Shellnutt of the Houston Chronicle:

Instead, Perkins sees The Response as an extension of the Family Research Council’s efforts to encourage Christians to pray on behalf of the country and its leaders. He will be on the podium at Reliant leading the crowd — now an estimated 8,000 people — in prayer.

A former Republican state legislator in Louisiana, he’s disappointed that more governors and public officials won’t be joining Perry at the event. The only yes RSVP, Kansas’ Gov. Sam Brownback, may be unable to attend, Texas on the Potomac reported today.

Response organizers have yet to publicly release the names of event speakers, and Perry himself isn’t even sure if he will address the prayer rally. However, as we have already noted many of The Response’s organizers and endorsers are extremely troubling (and frequently entertaining) figures.

Perkins is one of the most influential activists in the Religious Right and a vocal opponent of President Obama, reproductive freedom, anti-bullying measures and equal rights for gays and lesbians.

While addressing the dominionist Oak Initiative Summit, Perkins said of gays and lesbians, “they’re intolerant, they’re hateful, they’re vile, they’re spiteful.”

“We know there are individuals who are engaged in activity and behavior and an agenda that will destroy them and our nation,” Perkins added, “the Enemy is simply using them as pawns; they are held captive by the Enemy”:

Right Wing Round-Up

  • The Daily Caller: GOProud And Birchers Ousted As CPAC Co-Sponsors (David Horowitz Survives Vote).

Right Wing Leftovers

  • MSNBC responds to Bradlee Dean’s lawsuit, saying, “This suit is baseless and we stand by our reporting.”
  • A whopping fifteen people turned up to the Tea Party rally led by Herman Cain, Jim DeMint, Mike Lee and Rand Paul.
  • Note to David Barton, the Founding Fathers were not fans of massive, football stadium prayer rallies.

Author of ‘Anti-Christian’ DHS Report on Right-Wing Extremism is a Conservative, Anti-Choice Gun Owner

The Religious Right loves manufacturing controversies that “prove” the victimization of Christians in the United States. When NBC left the words “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance in the broadcast of a golf tournament, Religious Right groups jumped to proclaim that the network was in the pocket of God-hating liberalism. When an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery included an image of Christ’s suffering made by a gay artist, the Religious Right called it “hate speech” and got the work of art pulled.

Recently, we’ve been reminded of one of these made-up controversies that may have more sinister consequences. In 2009, a Department of Homeland Security report on the threat of violent right-wing extremists was leaked. The report dealt exclusively with violent racist and anti-government groups – your Timothy McVeighs and Hutaree militias – but the Religious Right saw an opportunity to play the victim and do some fundraising. Groups including the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America and the American Center for Law and Justice labeled the report an attack on American Christians, ginned themselves up some allies in Congress, and ultimately got the report pulled. (But not before Liberty Counsel had a chance to print up some “I’m Proud to be a Right Wing Extremist” membership cards).

Now, the main author of the DHS report, who left his job after the fallout from the controversy made it “difficult to get any work accomplished,” is speaking out. Daryl Johnson tells California State University’s Brian Levin that he is a gun-owning, anti-choice Republican Mormon who started work on the report under the Bush Administration. And he’s worried that the manufactured controversy over the report continues to hinder DHS’s ability to combat violent right-wing extremism:

Do you have any political antagonism towards conservatives, military veterans or religious people?
Absolutely not. I am a conservative. I'm married, have children and am a lifetime third generation registered Republican. I have military veterans in my extended family. I'm also a Mormon. I respect people of all faiths. I feel so strongly about our religious freedoms, that I served two years as a missionary for my church.

Would you consider yourself prolife?
Yes. I believe in the sanctity of life including the preborn.

Do you support a broad right to individual gun ownership by competent non-felons?
Yes, I am a gun owner myself and enjoy target shooting and experienced game hunting in my youth.

Why interview now?
Obviously, I couldn't discuss this with the media while employed at DHS. It took me a year after leaving to finally decide that this was truly the right thing to do. I also wanted to give DHS adequate time to determine whether or not it wanted to reconstitute the domestic non-Islamic terrorism effort. It never did.
Since Obama took office, there have been nearly twenty extremist rightwing attacks and plots, including the killing of almost a dozen police officers in six separate attacks. There have also been militia plots in places like Alaska and Michigan that targeted government officials such as a judge and police. Package bombs were mailed in the DC area. In recent months we had three sovereign citizen related shootings in Florida, Arizona and Texas.

How many people worked on your team?
Six worked directly for me with two others in support roles.

How many analysts at DHS worked Muslim extremism issues?
A: In 2008, there were close to 40. A year later that number had decreased to around 25. There were additional analysts working other topics such as critical infrastructure, border security and weapons of mass destruction.

How does the threat from radical Muslim extremists in the U.S. compare with that of right wing domestic extremists?
During the past 10 years there have been five successful attacks in the U.S. by Muslim extremists, but in the last three years there have been 20 attacks attributed to domestic right wing extremists and the number of fatalities is about equal between the two. There were more firearms possessed by the Hutaree [an alleged extremist] militia than by all 200 of the Muslim extremists arrested in the U.S. since 9/11.

What happened at DHS as a result of the criticism?
My team was dissolved. All training courses and briefings presentations were stopped. DHS leaders made it increasingly difficult to release another report on this topic.
Why would DHS leaders dissolve your team and stop these analytic activities?
The subject had become too politically charged. As a result, DHS leaders adopted a risk adverse approach toward this issue. Perhaps they thought it was a matter of organizational preservation.

Do you think the dissolution of your unit that you discuss has negatively affected State and local law enforcement?
Certainly. There is one less agency to assist state and local law enforcement with this growing and dangerous problem at a time of heightened activity.

Why did you leave DHS?
I could no longer effectively do my job. New processes made it increasingly difficult to get any work accomplished.

Have the conditions which affected your conclusions changed since the report was issued?
No. The factors have remained the same - the economy remains sluggish and uncertain; unemployment hovers around 10 percent nationally; Obama is still President; and the 2010 Census results show a changing demographic in America shifting away from a predominantly Caucasian nation.

Has the leak had a chilling effect on the analyst community?
Within the intelligence community at-large, I don't think so. Inside the Department of Homeland Security, I believe it did. Other DHS analysts saw what happened to us - saw leadership backing away from supporting the report and those responsible for writing it. Many left the agency as a result.

 

Parker: Black Family Life "Was More Healthy" Under Slavery

While appearing on American Family Radio’s Today’s Issues with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association, right-wing activist and onetime Republican congressional candidate Star Parker endorsed the claim that Black families were better off under slavery. She was discussing a pledge signed by presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum written by The Family Leader which “suggested that black children born into slavery were better off in terms of family life than African-American kids born today.” Parker, who recently argued that “too many Blacks do not want to be free,” said that under slavery “black family life, in the vulnerable state that it was, some could say more healthy than it is today,” even though black people were considered property and it was illegal for slaves to marry.

Watch:

Parker: Now we don’t have clear data getting to your question about what black family life looked like during slavery as what the attacks are now even against people like Michele Bachmann who signed on to a document that said the black family was more intact than it is today. But we do know the reason we don’t have clear data of course is because only some data made it through the civil war.

Wildmon: What about prior to civil rights?

Parker: Well I’m going back to this point in history that they went back to, which was slavery, during slavery. Because black family life, in the vulnerable state that it was, some could say was more healthy than it is today.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Roll Call looks into the strategy sessions at the Family Research Council’s Washington headquarters.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Why am I not surprised that the Religious Right claim that a Texas military cemetery banned religious expression is wildly off-base?
  • Fox News daringly exposes the left-wing plot to “eradicate the poor” through birth control.
  • Opponents of teaching evolution suffer a major defeat in Texas.
  • Quote of the day from Bryan Fischer: “Alas, the homosexual lobby is rapidly turning us into China and the former Soviet Union. Christians are now being treated officially as second-class citizens with far fewer human and civil rights than those who engage in aberrant sexual behavior.”
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801 G Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 www.frc.org President: Tony Perkins Date of founding: 1983 Membership: 455,000 members. Finances: $10 million (2000 revenue)   MORE >

Family Research Council Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Monday 01/13/2014, 2:05pm
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins and the group’s senior fellow Cathy Ruse dedicated a segment of Washington Watch on Friday to attacking the Girl Scouts over a Twitter “scandal.” In December, the Girl Scouts tweeted a link to a HuffPost Women article called, “These Incredible Ladies Should Be Women Of The Year For 2013.” The article included a HuffPost Live video in which panelists mentioned Malala Yousafzai, Beyoncé Knowles and Wendy Davis as their picks for Woman of the Year. The mention of Davis, the Texas state senator and gubernatorial... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 01/09/2014, 6:31pm
Politico profiles "America's craziest governor," Paul LePage. "God is not homophobic." He just doesn't like gays, apparently. Peter LaBarbera unveils the first half of his "Ten Culture-Engaging Resolutions for 2014 for Christians Fighting the ‘Gay’ Agenda." The Southern Baptist Convention's "ERLC Leadership Network is about ministering in the midst of a devil-haunted universe." You too can read and sign the "Declaration of Dependence." Finally, FRC prays that God will move the Supreme Court to... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 01/09/2014, 5:20pm
Less than a year after Supreme Court invalidated a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, a Republican Congressman is offering a bill that would make it more difficult for married same-sex couples to receive legal recognition. Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) has introduced the “State Marriage Defense Act,” which would prohibit the federal government from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples who live in states that don’t acknowledge their union (for instance, a couple who gets married in Iowa and then moves to Alabama). The bill would undermine an Obama administration... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Friday 01/03/2014, 11:49am
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins has sent out a first installment of FRC Action’s political plan for 2014, which is not surprisingly filled with over-the-top rhetoric about catastrophe, socialism, the end of freedom in America, etc.  It is more than anything else a drumbeat for Religious Right leaders’ ongoing “religious liberty” strategy, in which liberals and the policies they support are portrayed as bent on the destruction of religious freedom. The House of Representatives is where we have the greatest potential to make the greatest impact—... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Friday 12/20/2013, 3:54pm
An anti-gay law championed by evangelical Christians in Uganda with the enthusiastic backing of Religious Right leaders in the U.S. has passed parliament and is awaiting the president’s decision on whether to sign it.  The bill as passed apparently no longer includes the death penalty provision but makes homosexuality a crime punishable by life in prison. LGBT activist Frank Mugisha says his colleagues are panicking, fearing that “there is going to be a hunt.” Martin Ssempa, a Ugandan minister who has pushed the bill for years, and has been praised by Religious Right... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 12/20/2013, 12:57pm
Earlier this year, Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk became a cause célèbre for the Religious Right after he was supposedly relieved of duty for opposing gay marriage; so much so that his tale of victimization was even the focus of an entire panel at the annual Values Voter Summit. The only problem was that his tale of anti-Christian persecution was false: The Air Force has found unsubstantiated the claim of a senior master sergeant who said he was reassigned after making known his religious objections to same-sex marriage. Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk, now assigned to the... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 12/19/2013, 6:32pm
Ken Hutcherson, best known around here for being a vehemently anti-gay activist, has died after a long battle with cancer. If you are going to send out an email blasting a member of Congress, at least make sure you are attacking the right one. FRC prays against ENDA: "While the Democratic-controlled Senate passed the bill, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said the House will not take it up. Pray for the activist agenda to end here and for future Congresses to turn back the clock on the legalization and celebration of what the Bible declares to be sinful and... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Wednesday 12/18/2013, 1:24pm
The Family Research Council is upset that Obama administration allies are working to enroll LGBT people – who are disproportionately uninsured -- in health care plans because they are “a high risk pool fed by even higher risk behavior.” MORE >