Family Research Council

Bishop Harry Jackson Rallies The Anti-Gay Troops

Last year, Bishop Harry Jackson declared war on Washington DC in an effort to prevent the District from recognizing marriage equality.  He's fought it every step of the way and repeatedly lost, but he's not giving up and yesterday brought together dozens of pastors and right-wing activists for a "National Marriage Summit" to plot strategy for the battled in DC and across the nation:

Christians nationwide are mobilizing to oppose gay marriage as a landmark trial under way in California seeks to determine whether limiting marriage to one man and one woman is constitutional.

...

San Diego pastor Jim Garlow, who led California's Yes on 8 campaign, joined 100 church leaders in Washington, D.C., Monday for a National Marriage Summit aimed at developing strategies to preserve traditional marriage nationwide and to protect DOMA, which President Obama has said he hopes to repeal.

Convened by Bishop Harry Jackson, a Maryland pastor and chairman of the Stand4Marriage DC Coalition, the summit began Monday and ended Tuesday with a press conference on Capitol Hill lobbying Congress to uphold DOMA. Participants included Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and the Rev. Sammy Rodriquez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

"The institution of marriage is in grave danger," said Jackson, who has been at the forefront of a battle to keep gay marriage from becoming law in Washington, D.C.

"The redefinition of marriage will permanently impact businesses, education and the family unit without the voice of the residents being heard, and all traditional marriage supporters need tools to confront the battles ahead," Jackson added.

The group of mostly African-American ministers also delivered a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Barbara Lee calling on lawmakers to allow District of Columbia residents to vote on the definition of marriage. They also want Congress to veto a bill passed in December that legalized gay marriage in the district. The measure is currently awaiting a required 30-day congressional review.

Jackson also showed up on CBN yesterday to discuss the effort, where he accused his opponents of engaging in "reverse prejudice and intimidation" and said the solution was for everyone to speak out because "there is no way they can target all of us."  The Marriage Summit, he explained, was designed to get Black pastors involved in the fight against "radical gay activists" who are "going to try to enforce and impose their will on the rest of the nation by hijacking the democratic process and keeping the people from voting":

UPDATE: According to this separate CBN report, the summit also featured Rep. Steve King and Lou Engle:

After their two-day summit, they took their message to Capitol Hill, where a couple of lawmakers joined them to say they will fight hard in Congress for traditional marriage.

"Everything that we are as a people is taught to the next generation through that foundation stone of marriage between a man and a woman," said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. "And if this civilization is going to survive and prosper and go to the next level up to its destiny, then we're going to have to have the kind of relationships that have built this country and built this civilization, and that's marriage."

"Law restrains certain things," said Lou Engle, founder of the organization, The Call. "Once law is removed it opens the floodgate, proliferates it and makes it commonplace. It mainstreams it into education and everything else. That's the difficulty we have with gay marriage."

"Marriage will probably be abandoned in the future if we go this way and that's not good for children," Engle added.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Alveda King weighs in on Harry Reid ... and because she is fundamentally incapable of not relating everything back to abortion, she relates it back to abortion.
  • If Tea Party Activists were really serious about opposing government involvement in healthcare, they'd become Amish.
  • For some reason, the Family Research Council thinks it is really important that Sarah Palin base her Fox News operations out of Nashville.
  • Catholic Families for America announced that it will be holding "pro-family voter rallies" throughout the country heading into the November elections, beginning in Wichita, Kansas next week.
  • Finally, I find it hard to comprehend how a film specifically designed to "reach hungry souls with the gospel of Jesus Christ" is "not a Christian movie." That's the very definition of the Christian movie.

ERLC Files Bible-Heavy Prop. 8 Brief

Not surprisingly, several Religious Right groups have filed briefs in the Proposition 8 lawsuit making the same basic arguments against marriage equality that they always make:  marriage is for procreation; bans on gay marriage are not discriminatory because men and women are still free to marry those of the opposite sex, etc...

The Family Research Council and the Thomas Moore Law Society filed a brief (PDF) that makes all of these claims and more, and also released a statement likening this case to Roe v. Wade, warning that a court decision will "only make the issue more volitile": 

"After major setbacks in Maine, New York, and New Jersey, advocates for same-sex 'marriage' are turning to their old standby: the courts. Homosexuals have failed at the ballot box, where the people have made their commitment to traditional marriage clear time after time. So now, proponents of same sex 'marriage' are attempting to sue their way to legitimacy in the courts of America.

"The marriage laws of all fifty states would be endangered should this lawsuit succeed. As with abortion, the Supreme Court's involvement would only make the issue more volatile. As such, it's time for the far Left to stop asking judges to redefine our most fundamental social institution.

"The plaintiffs are really asking for a wholesale recasting and redefinition of this vital human institution that has been the foundation of civilization's progress for millennia.

Whereas the FRC brief focused primarily on legal issues and filled with legal citations, the same cannot be said for the brief [PDF] filed by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, which consists primarily of Biblical citations as it attempts to make the case that one-man, one-woman marriage is the only arrangement acceptable to God: 

Our love for God and our love for all people, not atavistic hatred of difference, motivates our opposition to all forms of non-marital sexual union, including between persons of the same sex. We believe that any sexual conduct outside the bond of marriage, the union of one man and one woman, is contrary to the will of God because God has designed marriage as the only appropriate context in which sexual relations should occur. Genesis 1:26-28; 2:18-25.

Engaging in sexual conduct outside the bond of marriage demeans the dignity of the individual, ignores God's full plan for marriage, and interferes with a person's relationship with God. Sexual activity within God's design is good. Hebrews 13:4. When one engages in sexual activity outside of God's design, that person demeans his or her dignity as God's creation in His image. Genesis 1:27; Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:18.

The Baptist Faith and Message affirms that marriage provides for a man and a woman "the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race." Article XVIII, "The Family." Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Proverb 22:6; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 19:3-9; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21. Any sexual activity in which all of these fundamental purposes are not represented ignores God's design for marriage.

Our beliefs about marriage and human sexuality must also be understood in the context of our love for all people. Matthew 22:39. There is no authority in Biblical teachings for hatred of any people including those who identify as gay or lesbian. Of course, sinful behavior cannot be approved or promoted, but we believe that all people are sinners. Romans 3:23. There are many forms of sin, including dishonesty, gossip, lust, envy, jealousy, love of money, and all sexual impurity (sexual relations outside the marital union of a husband and wife). We invite all sinners (or in other words all people) to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Southern Baptists must, and do, pray that all people, including those who experience same-sex attraction, come to know and love Jesus Christ and keep His commandments. We aspire to follow the example of Jesus Christ who loves all people and who extends the possibility of forgiveness and freedom from sin to all who seek Him.

Staver Available For Everything ... Except Lisa Miller Coverage

I have been keeping track of how long it takes Mat Staver or anyone at Liberty Counsel to make any comment about their star-client Lisa Miller's disappearance with her daughter (it has been ten days, now).  

While Miller and Liberty Counsel continually insist that Staver is "unavailable to comment" on the case, the fact is that he appears readily available for all sorts of other things, like appearing on Janet Porter's radio program last week or joining Lou Engle and other Religious Right leaders in Houston next week to protest a new Planned Parenthood facility:

Mat Staver is joining with other national leaders on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to protest Planned Parenthood's creation of the largest abortion clinic in America and the racist roots of the nation's largest abortion provider.

The event will begin January 18, 9:30 a.m., at 1949 Cullen Boulevard in Houston. The abortion clinic is a six-story high, 78,000-square-foot monstrosity set in the midst of four communities, of which 80% are minorities. Formerly a bank, the abortion clinic will be dedicated for late-term abortions and is scheduled to open in April.

The history of Planned Parenthood is repulsive. The genocide agenda of Margaret Sanger continues today through Planned Parenthood. On the memorial day of Martin Luther King Jr., we will gather to stand for life. African-American and Hispanic communities have been particularly hit hard by Planned Parenthood's genocide. The time has come for all who respect human dignity to stop the killing. Please pray that the this event will bring light to expose the dark agenda of Planned Parenthood.

...

Lou Engle of The Call to Conscience is the organizer of the event. Other nationwide leaders who will be present include Ken Blackwell of Conservative Action Project, Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Bishop Harry Jackson of High Impact Leadership Coalition, Star Parker of the Coalition for Urban Renewal & Education, Pastor Stephen Broden of Fair Park Bible Fellowship, Dr. Richard Land of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Alan Keyes goes after Glenn Beck for dismissing the Birthers are loons.
  • Legatus will present President George W. Bush with its Cardinal John J. O’Connor Pro-Life Award next month.
  • Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs says "the kinds of hate mail and the kinds of attacks I am getting from the right wing are way beyond anything I got when I was criticizing the left or even radical Islam" ever since he broke with the Right.
  • According to the Traditional Values Coalition, Interpol is a tool of the Devil.
  • Marvel at how hard it must be to be a Republican candidate for public office.
  • The Family Research Council will be hosting a panel discussion next week explaining how healthcare reform is unconstitutional.
  • Finally, Christian Newswire informs us that the next installment of American Idol will "lose middle America" because its viewers have an "anti0gay bias" and will object to the addition of Ellen DeGeneres

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Big donors are not happy with RNC Chair Michael Steele and are withholding donations, to which he defiantly replies "fire me or shut up."
  • According to WND, Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Ga., is a Birther and "has written to President Obama asking him to prove his eligibility to hold the office of U.S. president."
  • The World Congress of Families says it is standing Don Schmierer, who was one of three Americans mentioned in the recent New York Times article against the anti-gay legislation in Uganda.
  • The Susan B. Anthony List, Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum and others are planning a press tour to pressure House Democrats to kill healthcare reform over the issue of abortion.
  • Finally, Rep. Mark Kirk insists that he is not gay.

Another Day, More Bigoted Attacks On Amanda Simpson

The bigoted attacks from Religious Right activists on transgender Commerce Department appointee Amanda Simpson just keep coming:

Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality is not surprised that Simpson was appointed. "This is a man -- and by the way he is a man; he's not a woman -- who is one of the leaders in crusading for so-called 'civil rights' based on gender-confused behavior," he points out.

...

But LaBarbera says there is a bigger issue than just the one appointment to a federal government post.

"Obama is supporting ENDA -- the Employment Non-Discrimination Act -- with a transsexual provision," he shares, "meaning that if that version of the bill gets through and Obama signs it, we will have businesses being forced to accommodate gender-confused individuals in the name of civil rights."

LaBarbera adds it is time for America to wake up to the agenda of the Obama administration.

Tying the appointment of Simpson to their fear-mongering about ENDA seems to be the newest right-wing talking point, as judging by this "action alert" from the Family Research Council which, like LaBarbera, insists that Simpson is really a man and puts her name in quotes: 

Mitchell Simpson, a man who had sex-change surgery and now calls himself a woman (named "Amanda"), was appointed as Senior Technical Advisor to the Commerce Department. Simpson announced that "as one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds."

The day after Simpson began work, The New York Times reported that the main website advertising jobs with the federal government now says there will be no "discrimination" based on "gender identity"-even though Congress has never passed a law saying that.

This new policy applies only to the federal government. But there is a bill being considered in Congress, the so-called "Employment Non-Discrimination Act" (ENDA), which would require every employer in America to open every position to homosexuals (by making "sexual orientation" a protected category) and "transgenders" (by protecting "gender identity").

All American employers including Christian owned businesses and potentially Christian ministries would be affected.

"Gender identity disorder" is a recognized mental illness that should be treated-not affirmed and protected. And the right of employers to set "dress and grooming standards" for their employees should include the most basic standard of all-that people dress in a way appropriate for their biological sex.

Don't let Congress and President Obama force American employers to hire homosexuals, transsexuals, and cross-dressers.

Usually, the Right goes to great lengths to hide its bigotry, but when it comes to commenting on the appointment of Simpson, they aren't even bothering to try.

The Amazing Findings Of FRC's "Mapping America" Project

For some time now, the Family Research Council has been running a program called Mapping America which seeks "to demonstrate, through data from major surveys, mainly U.S. federal surveys, that the intact married family that worships weekly is the greatest generator of human goods and social benefits and is the core strength of the United States."

Recently, FRC has enlightened us about wonderful and useful facts like "adults who frequently attended religious services as adolescents are less likely to smoke than those who did not" and "adults who attend religious services at least monthly are the most likely to be proud of the type of work they do."

But those findings pale in comparison to this amazing discovery Mapping America has made:

Married adults are more likely than unmarried adults to report that being married is personally very important to them.

Really?  Wow!  What's next: "Couples with children are more likely than couples without children to report that children are very important to them"?  Or maybe "Dog owners are more likely than those without dogs to report that dogs are very important to them." 

Truly groundbreaking research they are doing over there at FRC.

Engle Leads The Right Into Houston

It seems as if Lou Engle has now become a full-fledged Religious Right leader whose gatherings are now regularly attended by everyone from Tony Perkins and Richard Land to Star Parker and Harry Jackson:

A coalition of pro-life advocates and religious leaders plan to gather in Houston on Jan. 18 to oppose what is expected to be the largest abortion clinic in the country.

Planned Parenthood is renovating a former bank, turning it into a 78,000 square foot facility that will include a surgical wing equipped to provide late-term abortions.

“It’s an abortion super center,” Lou Engle, founder of the pro-life group The Call to Conscience, which is organizing the rally, told CNSNews.com.

Joining Engle at the “prayer march” will be Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Religious leaders expected to attend include Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church; Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Star Parker, president of the Coalition for Urban Renewal and Education; and Abby Johnson, the former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Engle compared the fight for the rights of the unborn to another critical movement in America. “As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘It is time to subpoena the conscience of America,’” he said.

Here is Engle's latest video and the announcement on his website:

Houston We Have A Problem

The Second largest abortion clinic in the world is being built at this present moment in Houston, Texas. This six-story Planned Parenthood abortion “super center” is right in the middle of four (4) “super neighborhoods.” Three average to 85% Latino in population and the other is 85% African American. Planned Parenthood is targeting these minority pro-family communities, both for their finances and the restriction of their populations. But, there is a voice rising out of Houston and out of Texas, declaring, “We don’t want this death camp specializing in late-term abortions in our neighborhoods!”

On Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday, January 18th, 2010, thousands are gathering to march against this Goliath to pray, fast, and peacefully siege this massive injustice in the spirit of that great liberator Martin Luther King Jr. Key African American, Latino, and political leaders are coming to speak and hold a nationwide press conference challenging this “super center.” This is a great hour for the Hispanic pro-LIFE people, Catholic and Evangelical, to raise their voices against abortion and for adoption. Public opinion over abortion is shifting radically in America to pro-LIFE at the same time this facility is exalting itself above the humble and oppressed.

We are entering into the 37th anniversary of the “Roe V. Wade” abortion decree of 1973 on January 22, 2010. We are in a ’73/’37 window to reverse that decree. It started in Texas, now let it begin to reverse there. We are calling for the pro-LIFE people of Houston, Texas, and America to gather Sunday night, January 17th, 2010 for four (4) hours of prayer for spiritual awakening and justice, from 6:00pm to 10:00pm at Grace Community Church. On this evening, 1/17, we will be unifying with one voice before God to pray for the Luke 1:17 answer to the killing of our babies and the wounding of our women – “And he will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the rebellious to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

On January 18th, at 9:00am on Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday, we will gather by the thousands to launch a silent prayer march through the streets to the abortion “super center” for the nationwide press conference and prayer stand. As Martin Luther King Jr. would proclaim it – It is time to “subpoena the conscience” of the nation from the flashpoint of Houston, Texas. Maybe Houston could become the Birmingham of our day to let the unborn go free and spare the pregnant mother the agony of guilt. Maybe out of Houston a great demonstration of compassion could be launched through pregnant mother care with a mass movement of adoption. Martin Luther King Jr. cried, “I have a dream”. Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King Jr., has eloquently stated, “How can the dream live as long as we kill our children?” God has a dream. He has a dream for America and He has a dream for every mother and every child and a six-story massive abortion facility has never been a part of that dream. Lets end the nightmare and let the dream live.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Is anyone surprised that Joseph Farah has joined those claiming that President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize is unconstitutional?
  • Family Research Council President Tony Perkins headed down to Senator Mary Landrieu's office in Baton Rouge to deliver a letter asking her to oppose health care reform, but couldn't get in because her office was closed for the holidays.
  • I'm sure someone on the Right will find some way to complain about this.
  • Mike Huckabee has endorsed Andre Bauer's bid for Governor of South Carolina.
  • Finally, Rep. Steve King continues to prove that he is one of the most unhinged members of Congress, declaring that the ACORN "scandal" will be bigger than Watergate.

FRC: Hard At Work

I spend my days tracking Religious Right groups and wading through right-wing websites and media outlets trying to keep track of what they are up to ... while the people who work for those organization seem to get to spend their days re-writing holiday songs:

Thus, creating a vicious circle whereby I end up having to write blog posts about the fact that they are writing partisan holiday songs.

Freedom Federation Resurfaces, Still Opposed to Health Care Reform

Back in June, a new right-wing supergroup was formed.  Known as The Freedom Federation, the coalition paired several established Religious Right groups with various several lesser known organizations in an effort to unify the movement for greater political gain.

In August, the coalition announced its opposition to health care reform, but that was the last we had heard of them, until today when it announced, again, that it still opposes health care reform (note also the inclusion of Lou Engle in the press release.  It seems as if Engle is now a bona fide Religious Right political leader): 

Mathew Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, remarked: "Abortion is not healthcare. The Senate bill forces the American people to conspire with the federal government in murdering innocent children. This is morally unacceptable."

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Hispanic National Association of Evangelicals, said: "We vehemently and unequivocally oppose any and all healthcare legislation that funds abortion directly or indirectly, explicitly or implicitly without exception. Abortion is not health care. We oppose any and all legislation, language or compromise that surrenders this core value on the altar of political expediency. Any and all statements, endorsements or commentaries outside the canopy of the aforementioned commitment hereby stand rectified. As an organization serving 25,434 congregations, we seek to facilitate a multi-ethnic firewall against the Spirit of Herod and the Culture of Death. Once again, we say to Senator Reid and the leadership in the Senate -- Life cannot be compromised."

Deacon Keith Fournier, Editor in Chief, Catholic Online, said: "Abortion is the taking of innocent human life. Killing is not - and will never be - health care. It is always and everywhere wrong to kill our innocent neighbors. To use federal funds to do so is an egregious violation of fundamental human rights and must never be considered healthcare."

Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council, commented: "A federal government run health care system will create a nationwide abortion network funded by government dollars resulting in the greatest abortion expansion since Roe v. Wade. Senators Ben Nelson and Robert Casey gave mere lip service to protecting the most innocent among us by placing their stamp of approval on government funding for abortion coverage in direct conflict with longstanding policy. I ask them to reverse course."

Lou Engle, Founder and President of The Call to Conscience, said: "The shedding of the blood of our most innocent citizens, the unborn, can never be a solution to the great social problems of our day. We reject and renounce Sen. Reid's bill being pushed through the Senate, including Sen. Casey's and Sen. Nelson's compromised amendments."

Dobsons and Daly Join The FRC "Prayercast"

Earlier this week, we noted that tonight The Family Research Council would be holding a special anti-healthcare reform "prayercast" this evening featuring several Republican members of Congress, including Rep. Michele Bachmann and Sen. Jim DeMint, as well as Religious Right activists like Lou Engle and Harry Jackson.

Today, FRC announced that the event had picked up several new Focus on the Family participants, including James and Shirley Dobson, as well as FOF President Jim Daly:

Tonight, Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 8:30 pm ET, Family Research Council Action, The Call to Conscience and Focus on the Family Action will host a special one hour webcast that will mobilize thousands of Christians and churches to join in corporate prayer over the health care overhaul bill. Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins will be joined by Congressional leaders, prominent pastors, and policy experts to discuss and pray over significant concerns within the bill that will have far reaching consequences for the Christian community and our society.

FRC Action President Tony Perkins made the following comments:

"Life and death hinges on the Senate health care bill. We face significant threats to the God-given right to human life through government funding of abortions, our health from rationing, our family finances from higher taxes, and our general freedoms posed by the government plan to take over health care.

"There have been a number of critical hours in American history. Our nation has struggled mightily and, under God, always risen to the challenges before us. Tonight, we will face this moral crisis by taking action and obeying the Biblical mandate to pray for our nation and its leaders."

Who:
Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council Action
Lou Engle, Founder and President, The Call to Conscience
Jim Daly, President, Focus on the Family Action
Dr. James Dobson, Founder, Focus on the Family Action
Shirley Dobson, National Day of Prayer Task Force Chairman
Hon. Sam Brownback, United States Senator, Kansas
Hon. Jim DeMint, United States Senator, South Carolina
Hon. Randy Forbes, United States House of Representatives, Virginia
Hon. Michele Bachmann, United States House of Representatives, Minnesota
Bishop Harry Jackson, President, High Impact Leadership Coalition
Pastor Jim Garlow, Skyline Church, San Diego, Calif.
Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Leadership Conference

The Next Raymond Raines?

I recall reading an Ann Coulter column several years ago which she dedicated to praising David Limbaugh's then-new book, "Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity." Among the stories of "persecution" that Limbaugh highlighted, and which Coulter also highlighted in her column, was the story of Raymond Raines:

In a public school in St. Louis, a teacher spotted the suspect, fourth-grader Raymond Raines, bowing his head in prayer before lunch. The teacher stormed to Raymond's table, ordered him to stop immediately and sent him to the principal's office. The principal informed the young malefactor that praying was not allowed in school. When Raymond was again caught praying before meals on three separate occasions, he was segregated from other students, ridiculed in front of his classmates, and finally sentenced to a week's detention.

In turns out that back in 1994, Newt Gingrich and various Religious Right leaders had made Raymond's sorry tale the centerpiece of their campaign of Christian victimization, despite the fact that it was entirely untrue:

"These are not isolated examples," said Gary Bauer, a former Ronald Reagan Administration adviser who heads the Family Research Council. The American Civil Liberties Union "has convinced educators that they cannot allow any religious expression at school," he said.

These complaints of hostility toward religion have circulated widely in conservative and Christian evangelical groups in recent years. Now they are fueling a drive among some activists to draft a broad amendment to the Constitution that would go beyond voluntary school prayer.

...

"These school incidents are fueling the fire," said Jay Sekulow, counsel for Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson's American Center for Law and Justice.

Three weeks ago, Gingrich, in a television appearance, cited the St. Louis case as evidence that "it's illegal to pray," even privately, in schools today.

...

The St. Louis case concerned 10-year-old Raymond Raines who, his mother said, was given detention because he sought to pray over his lunch. When lawyers for the Rutherford Institute heard about the case, they filed a lawsuit against the principal and issued a press release denouncing the school system.

"I know it sounds bizarre, but we have substantial evidence to believe it happened," said Timothy Belz, the St. Louis lawyer working with the Rutherford Institute.

On NBC-TV's "Meet the Press," Gingrich described the situation as "a real case about a real child. Should it be possible for the government to punish you if you say grace over your lunch? That's what we used to think of Russian behavior when they were the Soviet Union."

But school officials said the incident never happened. Rather, they said, Raymond was disciplined for fighting in the cafeteria.

"I can tell you he was not reprimanded for praying," said Kenneth Brostron, the school's lawyer. "Do you think it makes sense that the teachers would look around the cafeteria and target the one student who was praying quietly at his seat?"

Why am I bringing this up?  Well, because I have started seeing this story popping up on right-wing websites:

An 8-year-old boy has been suspended from school and forced to undergo a psychological evaluation after he drew a picture of Jesus Christ on the cross, his father claims.

A teacher at Lowell Maxham Elementary School in Taunton, Mass., allegedly said the second-grade student created a violent drawing, the Taunton Daily Gazette reported.

The boy's picture portrayed a crucified Jesus with Xs over his eyes to indicate that he had died on the cross.

The child's father, outraged at the school's action, asked to remain anonymous to protect his son. He said his boy drew the picture after returning from a family trip to see the Christmas display at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, a Christian retreat.

He said when the teacher asked students to draw something that reminded them of Christmas on Dec. 2, the boy recalled his trip and created a portrait of Christ on the cross.

"As far as I'm concerned, they're violating his religion," he told the newspaper.

Of course, the full story gives an entirely different perspective:

City officials sharply disputed yesterday widely distributed reports that a local elementary school suspended a second-grader and required the boy to undergo a psychological evaluation for drawing a picture of Jesus on the cross.

The story, initially reported by the local newspaper, raised questions of religious bias days before Christmas and was broadcast by local television stations and other news media. Making the story more compelling, the boy’s father held court for much of the day at his girlfriend’s apartment, granting interviews to reporters from Providence to Boston, demanding that the school district compensate him for his family’s pain and suffering.

“It hurts me that they did this to my kid,’’ Chester Johnson, the boy’s father, said in an interview with the Globe. “They can’t mess with our religion. They owe us a small lump sum for this.’’

But school officials say that the account in yesterday’s Taunton Daily Gazette was rife with errors and that the father’s description of what happened is untrue.

“The report is totally inaccurate,’’ Julie Hackett, superintendent of the Taunton public schools, said in an interview in her office yesterday. “The inaccuracies in the original media story have resulted in a great deal of criticism and scrutiny of the system that is unwarranted.’’

Hackett said the student, age 9, was never suspended and that neither he nor other students at the Maxham Elementary School were asked by the teacher to sketch something that reminded them of Christmas or any religious holiday, as the Gazette and other media reported and the father suggested, although his story changed as he explained it.

She said it was unclear whether the boy, who put his name above a stick figure portrait of Christ on the cross, had drawn the picture in school, which his teacher discovered Dec. 2.

“Religion had nothing to do with this at all, 100 percent nothing to do with it,’’ Hackett said, adding that Taunton is known as “The Christmas City.’’

She said the drawing was seen as a potential cry for help when the student identified himself, rather than Jesus, on the cross, which prompted the teacher to alert the school’s principal and staff psychologist. As a result, the boy underwent a psychological evaluation.

The right-wing myth regarding Raymond Raines was debunked back in 1994, but it was still being repeated by people like Coulter and Limbaugh nearly a decade later, and I suspect that we'll be hearing this story about a young student who suspended from school for drawing a picture of Jesus at Christmas for years to come.

FRC's Sprigg Has "Serious Questions" About Nevada Brothels

Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council has some "serious questions" about Nevada's decision to allow males to work in brothels - namely, shouldn't they be required to have sex with men?

This does not mean that there has never been homosexual prostitution in Nevada. The female prostitutes have long been free to accept either male or female clients, according to the report, and male prostitutes will have the same right.

This raises serious questions about gender equity, however. If a Christian psychologist or a fertility doctor is not free to turn away a homosexual client for fear of “discrimination” charges, how can a homosexual male prostitute be allowed to turn away a female client? Isn’t that discrimination, too? On the other hand, if you require them to take all clients, then maybe that would effectively mean that only bisexuals can work as prostitutes in Nevada. Wouldn’t that be discrimination, too?

Such are thickets in which the sexual revolution and political correctness entrap us. In the meantime, if you want to know how to get to Las Vegas—just climb in a handbasket and travel toward the heat as far as you can go.

FRC Rehashes Smears Against Kevin Jennings In New "Exposé"

Earlier today, Media Matters posted a piece entitled "Unraveling the Right's false attacks on Kevin Jennings" that went through and debunked a bevy of right-wing smears aimed at the founder of GLSEN and current Assistant Deputy Secretary for Safe and Drug-Free Schools, Kevin Jennings.

Media Matters chronicled seventeen separate Jennings-related attacks ...and seemingly every single one of them has now shown up in this new Family Research Council "exposé":

UPDATE: Media Matters debunks this video, calling it "devoid of facts and full of homophobic smears."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The right-wing anti-Jennings crusade gets covered by Fox News, which shoots down some of the unfounded allegations while giving the likes of Peter Sprigg and Peter LaBarbera an opportunity to sound off.
  • On a related note, MassResistance is taking credit for a myriad of the Jennings-related smears.
  • Al Mohler says it is his prayer that someone "can reach Tiger Woods with the Gospel of Jesus Christ" while Wendy Wright blames the saga on Nike's "Just Do It" slogan.
  • Peter LaBarbera hails Bill Keller ... yes, Bill Keller.
  • Bill Donohue takes credit for killing the remainder of the "His Dark Materials" film series.
  • A gaggle of right-wing leaders are calling on the Senate to reject the nomination of Louis Butler.
  • Sen. Jim DeMint says he couldn't support a gay or lesbian president: "“It would be bothersome to me just personally because I consider it immoral.”
  • Finally, I suspect that if we had posted this sort of photo of Dick Cheney, the Family Research Council would have had a fit: 

Bachmann and DeMint Joining Engle and Perkins For Health Care "Prayercast"

On Wednesday December 16, Reps. Michele Bachmann and Randy Forbes and Sens. Jim DeMint and Sam Brownback will be joining forces with the likes of Lou Engle, Tony Perkins, Jim Garlow, and Harry Jackson for a "prayercast" organized by the Family Research Council during which they will seek God's intervention to prevent the passage of healthcare reform: 

Did you know that deep within the Senate health care bill is a tax penalty for couples that are married? Or that in Nancy Pelosi's version of health care "reform" that not only is tort reform not included - but trial lawyers are rewarded even more? To learn more facts about this attempted government takeover of health care, tune your browsers this Wednesday night to FRCAction.org.

On December 16, FRC Action and The Call to Conscience will host a live video webcast entitled "An FRC Action PrayerCast: Government Takeover of Healthcare". Beginning at 8:30 p.m. (EST), this PrayerCast will feature a powerful line-up of speakers, including:

  • Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council Action
  • Lou Engle, Founder and President, The Call to Conscience
  • Hon. Sam Brownback, United States Senator, Kansas
  • Hon. Randy Forbes, United States Congressman, Virginia
  • Hon. Jim DeMint, United States Senator, South Carolina
  • Hon. Michele Bachmann, United States Congresswoman, Minnesota
  • Bishop Harry Jackson, President, High Impact Leadership Coalition
  • Pastor Jim Garlow, Skyline Church, San Diego, Calif.

During the webcast, you will hear the latest on the threats to the God-given right to human life through government funding of abortions, our health from rationing, our family finances from higher taxes, and our general freedom posed by the government plan to take over healthcare.

We will enter into a time of prayer for the nation, and our leaders. Your engagement and urgent prayer is more critical than ever as Congress will very soon vote on a final health care bill. Register today!

Right Wing Leftovers

An Experiment in Character Assassination

Alvin McEwen has been doing heroic work combating the relentless stream of lies about Kevin Jennings, especially the allegations that Jennings' taught "fisting" to a group of children, as Rush Limbaugh claimed yesterday, and that GLSEN was distributing copies of "The Little Black Book," a directory of gay bars.  

McEwen has repeatedly debunked these claims, in all their forms, pointing out time and again that the incidents underlying the claims involved are being completely misrepresented and that Jennings was never personally involved in any of them.

For instance, the "fisting" allegation stems from a dental dam kit distributed by Planned Parenthood at a GLSEN conference, while the "Black Book" allegation stems from a community health group which accidentally left a few copies on its table at a GLSEN conference, and which no students ever received.

And, from that, the Right has declared Jennings "a raging pervert who taught fisting ... to grade school and junior high school students."

Now let's try an experiment:

Remember last year when a vendor was selling Obama Waffles at the Values Voter Summit?

Obama Waffles

The Waffle Booth

The Family Research Council quickly issued a statement saying it "strongly condemned the tone and content of the materials" and Focus on the Family pledged to "do everything in its power to prevent another such unacceptable situation in the future."

Now imagine if we wrote about this incident by claiming "Family Research Council president Tony Perkins peddles racist paraphernalia" or "Focus on the Family's James Dobson traffics in crude racial stereotypes. " How do you think FRC, FOF, and others on the Religious Right would react?  

Do you think they'd accuse us of flagrant misrepresentation and baseless character assassination?  If so, they'd be right ... and that is exactly what they are doing to Kevin Jennings.   

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Family Research Council Top Posts

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

Josh Glasstetter, Thursday 09/13/2012, 12:25pm
Bad news for Eric Cantor. He’s speaking tomorrow at the Values Voter Summit, but he’s apparently still going to hell. Let me explain. Jerry Boykin is the Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council and Tony Perkins’ right-hand man. FRC is hosting the far right conference that the House Majority Leader, who is Jewish, plans to address tomorrow. Boykin, much like Bryan Fischer, has a penchant for saying exactly what’s on his mind – things which others know not to say, even when they’re thinking the same thing. While you may know Boykin from his... MORE >
Josh Glasstetter, Tuesday 09/11/2012, 5:20pm
[Update 9-12-12: Ann Romney Joins Cardinal Dolan In Declining Values Voter Summit Invitation] Ann Romney, the person tasked with humanizing her husband Mitt, is apparently scheduled to address a conference that dehumanizes others. I’m talking about the Values Voter Summit, which is hosted and sponsored by two Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate groups – the Family Research Council and American Family Association. The National Journal Daybook and Values Voter Summit website both list Ann Romney on the schedule:       Notably absent from the list is Cardinal... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 09/06/2012, 2:45pm
In a radio bulletin that either reveals a stunning level of ignorance or sheer insanity, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said that the National Organization for Marriage’s campaign to boycott Starbucks over its stance on gay rights called “Dump Starbucks”—which so far has collected fewer than 50,000 signers—is responsible for a $10 billion reduction in market capitalization. “Siding with radical homosexuals has its price in this country,” Perkins said. “And in Starbucks case, the cost is about ten billion dollars.” That... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 08/31/2012, 12:55pm
During the presidential campaign, Rick Perry was one of the first candidates to embrace the theme that Obama is waging a “war on religion,” a message that was quickly embraced by Mitt Romney. As Perry ponders another run for the presidency, he told Family Research Council head Tony Perkins on today’s Washington Watch Weekly that he believes President Obama thinks he was elected “King” and is leading a “clear attack on people of faith”. How? Perry cited the contraception mandate, the Department of Justice’s stance in the Hosanna Tabor case, where... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/30/2012, 10:49am
At the end of September, Religious Right leaders will once again partner with the "prophets" and "apostles" of the New Apostolic Reformation for a pre-election "American For Jesus" rally on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall. But apparently that won't quite be enough, so just a few days later, many of these same leaders and activists are hosting another prayer rally called "The Summons 2012" in Washington, DC that is being organized by National Day of Prayer Task Force, which is chaired by Shirely Dobson, the wife of James Dobson:... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Tuesday 08/28/2012, 5:23pm
The Log Cabin Republicans group turns 20 this year, but the party’s platform committee did not give them much to celebrate. The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins has been bragging for more than a week about how much influence his group had on the platform, which reflects the religious right’s anti-gay opposition to marriage equality.  Perkins and others shot down an attempt to add support for civil unions to the platform. But at a Monday afternoon reception co-hosted by Log Cabin and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, the mood is... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 08/28/2012, 2:05pm
A number of Religious Right organizations are coming together for an election season coalition to attack President Obama in swing states. The Family Research Council, National Organization for Marriage, The Family Leader, Concerned Women for America, American Principles Project, the Susan B. Anthony List and Common Sense Issues have joined the “Life and Marriage Coalition,” which FRC head Tony Perkins said is needed to defeat Obama’s “anti-marriage and anti-life policies.” A coalition of the nation’s most prominent conservative social issue groups (... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 08/28/2012, 12:55pm
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins continued to brag about his role in shaping the Republican Party platform, as he along with Religious Right activists like David Barton and James Bopp heavily influenced the document dubbed the “most conservative platform in modern history.” While speaking to Janet Mefferd yesterday, Perkins said he “inserted the language as it pertains to marriage and some other key issues” and was happy to report that “we have one of the most conservative platforms that the Republican Party’s ever had.” Perkins also... MORE >