Family Research Council

Dobson and Graham Warn Christians Are Losing Their Religious Freedom

Earlier this morning, the Family Research Council hosted a pre-National Day of Prayer webcast featuring Franklin Graham, James Dobson, Harry Jackson, and Tony Perkins.

During their respective addresses, both Dobson and Graham warned those in attendance that Christianity was on the road to becoming illegal, with Dobson claiming that there are people in high places committed to eradicating every vestige of Christianity from the public square and Graham comparing the US to Communist Europe and China where Christians are not allowed to preach outside of the church walls, saying such restrictions are coming to America, probably in his lifetime:

In related new, it seems that Graham is miffed about being disinvited to the Pentagon's Day of Prayer event and is now lashing out at President Obama, saying that if he doesn't get the action reversed, "it will be a slap in the face of all Christians":

If President Obama fails to intervene to allow controversial evangelist Franklin Graham to lead a National Day of Prayer event Thursday inside the Pentagon, "it will be a slap in the face of all Christians," Graham said Tuesday.

And invited or not, he'll stand in front of the Pentagon and pray, Graham said in an interview.

...

In an interview Tuesday with USA TODAY, Graham reiterated his belief that "Muslims do not worship the same 'God the Father' I worship." He laughed at Hinduism's many manifestations of God: "No elephant with 100 arms can do anything for me. None of their 9,000 gods is going to lead me to salvation.

"We are fooling ourselves if we think we can have some big kumbaya service and all hold hands and it's all going to get better in this world. It's not going to get better," Graham said.

He also said Obama pays attention only to black charismatic and Pentecostal pastors, such as his spiritual adviser, Joshua Dubois. Dubois heads the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which has dozens of advisers from a wide spectrum of denominations.

...

Still, Graham said, he "warned" Dubois that Obama is losing millions of "mainstream evangelicals" because he appears to be "soft on Islam" and he doesn't stand up for the "rights of the historic Christian majority."

FRC Founding Board Member Discovered Traveling With "Rent Boy"

In 1983, George Rekers joined James Dobson and a handful of others in founding the Family Research Council.

Last month, Rekers was reportedly discovered returning from an overseas trip with a "rent boy":

On April 13, the "rent boy" (whom we'll call Lucien) arrived at Miami International Airport on Iberian Airlines Flight 6123, after a ten-day, fully subsidized trip to Europe. He was soon followed out of customs by an old man with an atavistic mustache and a desperate blond comb-over, pushing an overburdened baggage cart.

That man was George Alan Rekers, of North Miami — the callboy's client and, as it happens, one of America's most prominent anti-gay activists. Rekers, a Baptist minister who is a leading scholar for the Christian right, left the terminal with his gay escort, looking a bit discomfited when a picture of the two was snapped with a hot-pink digital camera.

Reached by New Times before a trip to Bermuda, Rekers said he learned Lucien was a prostitute only midway through their vacation. "I had surgery," Rekers said, "and I can't lift luggage. That's why I hired him." (Though medical problems didn't stop him from pushing the tottering baggage cart through MIA.)

...

For decades, George Alan Rekers has been a general in the culture wars, though his work has often been behind the scenes. In 1983, he and James Dobson, America's best-known homophobe, formed the Family Research Council, a D.C.-based, rabidly Christian, and vehemently anti-gay lobbying group that has become a standard-bearer of the nation's extreme right wing. Its annual Values Summit is considered a litmus test for Republican presidential hopefuls, and Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter have spoken there. (The Family Research Council would not comment about Rekers's Euro-trip.)

He has also influenced American politics, serving in advisory roles with Congress, the White House, and the Department of Health and Human Services and testifying as a state's witness in favor of Florida's gay adoption ban. A former research fellow at Harvard University and a distinguished professor of neuropsychiatry at the University of South Carolina, Rekers has published papers and books by the hundreds, with titles like Who Am I? Lord and Growing Up Straight: What Families Should Know About Homosexuality.

NOM, FRC, Harry Jackson Continue to Fight Against Marriage In DC

The Family Research Council has sent out an action alert announcing an anti-marriage equality rally tomorrow ahead of oral arguments at the D.C. Court of Appeals:

The battle for marriage in D.C. and America rages, and God's people have a voice in the outcome. As participating members of the Stand4MarriageDC executive committee I would like to ask you to join the citizens of the District of Columbia and our nation's capital to rally and show your support for marriage between one man and one woman.

Here are the details:

WHAT: "Let the People Vote" Marriage Hearing/Rally and Press Event

WHEN: Tuesday, May 4, 2010, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

WHERE: District of Columbia Court of Appeals (430 E St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001)

WHO: Stand4MarriageDC Coalition

Did you know that the citizens of D.C. have the same authority as the D.C. City Council to create a law? Well that's what the court hearing on the "Marriage Initiative of 2009" and rally is about!

Once again, thank you for your continued concern and engagement on the D.C. Marriage issue. We need your help in showing support and shining the spotlight on same-sex "marriage" in the District of Columbia. Please join me, members of The Stand4MarriageDC Coalition (Bishop Harry Jackson), and local pastors for a rally and press event on this important issue. While some will fill the seats of the courtroom, others will fill the sidewalks to show support of marriage!

Your participation in this rally is important as we join to defend marriage. You can help reverse the course of marriage re-definition in our nation's capital and America by coming out and supporting the effort. A little bit of effort will go a long way in defending marriage.

We need you there! Wear white to show unity! Join us tomorrow -- Tuesday May 4th, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. for the D.C. Court's hearing on the "Marriage Initiative of 2009" to determine if the people have a right to vote on Marriage in D.C. The en banc oral arguments will be heard in the ceremonial courtroom of the D.C. Court of Appeals. So all nine judges will be present to hear the case and plea to "Let the People Vote"!

If you believe the citizens of D.C. should be allowed to vote on the redefinition of marriage, then we need you there!

The National Organization for Marriage will be joining them:

Join us Tuesday at 9am in front of the DC Court of Appeals as we rally for marriage!

On Tuesday morning, the Court of Appeals will be hearing the appeal in the DC Marriage Initiative case. As the media covers the arguments inside, NOM is joining Bishop Harry Jackson (also lead plaintiff in the case) and the Stand4Marriage DC team in calling on all marriage supporters to come together in a public display of support for marriage and for the rights of DC voters.

Join us for this historic event, as our coalition comes together across all racial, religious, and party lines to affirm the importance of marriage. Help support the African-American pastors and voters who have taken the lead in this important civil rights struggle to protect marriage and the voting rights of DC citizens. Over the past months, NOM has been contributing to Democratic city council candidates willing to stand for marriage, and on Tuesday Democrats and Republicans alike will come together in common cause to protect marriage.

Please join us!

We will gather at 9am outside the DC Court of Appeals (430 E St. NW), just four blocks west of Union Station and around the corner from the Judiciary Square Metro station. I will be joining Bishop Jackson and others in speaking at the event, as we fight to protect marriage in our nation's capital.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Cliff Kincaid's America's Survival, Inc has released a "new blockbuster report argues that the admission of open and active homosexuals into the U.S. Armed Forces threatens the lives of our service personnel."
  • The vice-president of the American Family Association of Kentucky, John Brewer, is among the candidates in the Republican primary for the 28th Kentucky House seat.
  • Guess what?  The AFA's Bryan Fischer thinks Arizona's new immigration law is great.  Who ever would have imagined?
  • Ken Cuccinelli "has demanded that the University of Virginia turn over documents related to a former UVa climatology professor at the center of the so-called 'climategate' scandal."
  • Exciting: "Fox News personality and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is in Nashville to record a music project with various country artists. A source close to the sessions, who declined to provide any other details, said it will probably be officially announced in June in conjunction with the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show in Nashville."
  • Finally, the quote of the day from the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, hailing Rep. Jack Kingston's call for a Congressional investigation into why Perkins and Franklin Graham saw their speaking invitations withdrawn: "I join Congressman Kingston in his call for a thorough Congressional investigation, which will hopefully put a stop to this Administration's efforts to compel the military to do its political bidding. DOD should stand for the Department of Defense - not the Department of Disinvitation of Bible-believing Christians." Ummm ... wouldn't that make it the DODOBBC? 

May Day on the Mall: Lifting The Curse That Obama's Election Has Brought Upon America

 
On Saturday, May 1, Religious Right leaders and public officials will gather at the steps below the Lincoln Memorial to beg God to forgive America for having elected wicked leaders like President Obama. If you can’t make it to the national mall on Saturday morning, you can watch live on God TV or via webcast thanks to the American Family Association.
 
The "May Day - A Cry to God for a Nation in Distress" event is the brainchild of Janet Porter, a Religious Right activist/conspiracy theory-promoting radio host, and member of presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee’s inner circle. Porter believes America is under a curse for having “made the choice of death” by electing President Obama (even though God TV warned us not to). She announced the May Day event at last fall’s How to Take Back America conference.  
 
Since then, Porter has lined up support from a significant number of Religious Right heavy-hitters like former Focus on the Family head James Dobson, who recorded an audio message recruiting pastors to get involved, and at least five members of Congress, including  Randy “Pray Against Health Care” Forbes (Virginia), Trent “Obama is an enemy of humanity” Franks (Arizona), Louie “Hate Crimes Act is a Pedophile Protection Act” Gohmert (Texas), and Steve “Know Your Enemies” King (Iowa).  
 

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Texas Freedom Network: California Advances Anti-Texas Textbook Bill.
  • Think Progress: Rep. Brian Bilbray Says He Can Spot Undocumented Immigrants Based On The Shoes They Wear.
  • Sarah Posner: Family Research Council's Restoration Of "Christian" Morality.
  • Bruce Wilson: Christian Right Claims Both 2010 Hawaii Gubernatorial Candidates.
  • Alvin McEwen: How to scare the bejesus out of Christians with a failed game plan.
  • David Weigel: J.D. Hayworth disavows ALIPAC -- sort of.
  • Good As You: American Family Association viciously slurs 'sick queers'.

Right Wing Leftovers

Sputtering Start to Religious Right's Rebranding

The Freedom Federation’s “Awakening” conference convened at Liberty University on April 15 and 16  with the ambitious goal of transforming America by touching off the greatest religious revival that America or the world has ever known.   Short of that, the gathering was all about rebranding the Religious Right political movement as a “multiracial, multi-ethnic, transgenerational” movement that cares about social justice (sorry, Glenn Beck). In short, the conference was meant to send a message to young and non-white evangelicals: this ain’t your father’s Religious Right.

Given the gathering’s audacious goals, and the number and firepower of participating Religious Right leaders (who it was claimed represented 40 million Americans), attendance was dismal. In fact there’s probably never been a conference with a higher ratio of featured speakers (52) to attendees (a couple of hundred at best, not counting the session that used a regularly scheduled student convocation to give speaker Sam Rodriguez a larger audience). 
 
Of course, there were plenty of signs that the old Religious Right and its focus on divisive fear-driven politics haven’t gone anywhere.  Speaker after speaker portrayed faith and freedom under relentless attack in America. In spite of repeated assertions that the movement was nonpartisan and would not be co-opted by any political party, it was clear that the top political priorities for these leaders are to help Republicans take back at least one house of Congress in 2010 and to defeat the tyrannical Barack Obama in 2012. Ending abortion and turning back progress toward equality for LGBT people are top policy priorities.
 
Despite the low turnout, the conference served as an opportunity for organizers to meet and strategize for the 2010 elections, and to try out some new messaging and public relations strategies. Here were the conference’s main themes:
  • Tyranny! Red Alert! America is in big trouble. Freedom is under attack by President Obama and his allies in Congress. And since Obama is no friend of Israel, we’re in trouble with God.
  • Fight! Big threats mean we have to be ready to fight, fight fight. The tea party movement was invoked favorably and, given the turnout, a bit wistfully.
  • Unify. A major theme of the event was the need to ignore major theological differences among speakers and focus on common values such as ending abortion and the Obama administration.
  • Diversify. The conference made a major effort to showcase the Freedom Federation’s claims to be a multiracial, multiethnic, multigenerational movement. 
  • Seek Social Justice. Watch out, Glenn Beck, these right-wingers are eager to portray themselves as a social justice movement.
  • Millennial Generation, saving America is your job.

The Secular Purpose of Prayer?

I realize that I may not be as deeply schooled in theology as many Religious Right leaders - or even Fox News anchors - but when exactly did prayer become a secular activity?

Occasionally live television provides a vivid display of the mental gymnastics and cognitive dissonance deployed to advance an argument. Take Fox News' Megyn Kelly, who recently asked what was so "promotional about religion" in setting aside a day to celebrate "the role that God has played in the formation of this country and its laws."

Discussing a court ruling that declared national prayer day unconstitutional, Kelly hosted Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Lynn set forth an argument against the appropriateness of the government setting aside a day to commemorate prayer:

Prayer is religious. It's nothing but that. There is no secular purpose here. This isn't like declaring Christmas a holiday, which the federal government does, because that's got not just religious rituals, but now glommed onto it all secular rituals. National Day of Prayer is only about religion. There is nothing secular about it.

At this point, Kelly jumped in to display an astounding failure to grasp the concept:

Why can't it be a day where people acknowledge not just prayer, but they are encouraged to meditate as well, which is not necessarily prayer? And why can't it be a day where we take a moment and we stop and we acknowledge the role that God has played in the formation of this country and its laws. What's so promotional about religion there?

And it is not just Fox News, as Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council argued made a similar argument to Anderson Cooper, claiming that there is no coercion involved and therefore the National Day of Prayer is constitutional since it has a "secular purpose because it unites the nation, especially in times of trouble, in times of economic downturn, in times of war": 

Yes, the goal of the National Day of Prayer is to unite the nation in prayer ... and, according to the right-wing National Day of Prayer Task Force, unite the nation in Christian prayer:

The National Day of Prayer Task Force’s mission is to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, mobilizing the Christian community to intercede for America and its leadership in the seven centers of power: Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family.

In fact, the National Day of Prayer Task Force even explicitly bans non-Christian groups from NPDTF events:

The National Day of Prayer Task Force was a creation of the National Prayer Committee for the expressed purpose of organizing and promoting prayer observances conforming to a Judeo-Christian system of values. People with other theological and philosophical views are, of course, free to organize and participate in activities that are consistent with their own beliefs. This diversity is what Congress intended when it designated the Day of Prayer, not that every faith and creed would be homogenized, but that all who sought to pray for this nation would be encouraged to do so in any way deemed appropriate. It is that broad invitation to the American people that led, in our case, to the creation of the Task Force and the Judeo-Christian principles on which it is based.

Explain again how this is part of a "secular purpose."

FRC Calls for Impeachment Over National Day of Prayer Ruling

Last Friday, a judge struck down Arkansas' law banning adoption by unmarried couples but, interestingly, the decision has not yielded an outpouring of outrage from the Religious Right - at least, not yet.

And the reason for that seems to be due to the fact that they are still too busy being outraged about the other ruling from last week finding the National Day of Prayer to be unconstitutional.

Dave Welch of the US Pastor Council says the ruling "is grounded in a fundamental hostility against public expression of the Christian faith" and the result of the fact that the nation continues to "reject the existence and/or sovereignty of God," while Focus on the Family's Stuart Shepard made the issue the focus on his latest "Stoplight" video (note Mike Huckabee's appearance in the very beginning):

And while Fox News' Megyn Kelly can't seem to understand how a day designed to "acknowledge the role that God has played in the formation of this country and its laws" could ever be seen as promoting religion, The Christian Defense Coalition's Rev. Patrick Mahoney and Faith 2 Action's Rev. Rob Schenck are planning a press conference to demand that the Obama administration appeal the ruling:

President Obama has a unique chance to build a bridge to the faith community by acting quickly on this matter and reaffirming his commitment to public expressions of faith and the National Day of Prayer. It is not enough for Mr. Obama to make wonderful speeches about protecting religious freedom around the world.

"Now is the time to act on protecting religious freedom in America.

"Sadly, the President's record concerning the Christian community and religious liberty is not a good one.

Meanwhile, Rep. Randy Forbes is telling Focus on the Family that the decision should be a "wake-up call" to all Americans about the importance of keeping "activist judges" off the bench:

The federal judge’s decision to call the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional represents a movement we are seeing across the country of a small minority who want to exclude faith, religion and morality from the marketplace of ideas. In so doing, they may be depriving us of the very principles we need to secure our freedom.

...

While we cannot speculate how the Supreme Court would rule on this case, one thing this particular decision should make clear is how dangerous it is to appoint activist judges. This federal judge has essentially said that the Declaration of Independence – a document that very clearly states that our rights were given by a Creator – is unconstitutional. Is there any question this judge would have declared the Declaration of Independence unconstitutional if it were written today, since it proclaims all our rights come from the Creator? It is regrettable that we would have a federal judge essentially rule against the very premise of the nation's foundational document of freedom. The decision should be a wake-up call to Americans across the country.

But not to be outone is the Family Research Council, which is demanding the impeachment of the judge and that the nation fall on its knees to pray for our nation during these "darkest days":

Make no mistake. This judicial mutiny lies directly at the feet of the Left, including President Obama, who has created an atmosphere in which the Constitution is silly putty in the hands of liberal activists. Slowly but surely, he is making American soil more fertile for the radical redefinition of society. This cannot be tolerated. We must ensure that the President's bench nominees have a reverence for the Constitution that this judge lacks. In the meantime, we call on Congress to start the impeachment proceedings for Barbara Crabb, as she violated of her sacred oath of "administering justice... under the Constitution and laws of the United States." What she has done to repress, we will use to revive. What she meant to undermine prayer, we will use as the reason why it's necessary. When the great men and women of our past bent their knees to God on behalf of the "sacred fire of liberty," it was often during the nation's darkest days. My friends, it is time we join them.

Jacobs: "The Bible is the Government of the People, by the People, and for the People"

As Sarah Posner notes, last night's opening session of the Freedom Federation's "The Awakening" Conference was pretty much a bust:

The Freedom Federation Summit taking place April 15-16 at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia was billed as the next Great Awakening, the inaugural gathering of "a new movement [that] is forming in America comprised of people of all races, ethnicities and generations." With the mobilizing power of dozens of religious right organizations behind it, why was the first night attended by only a few hundred people?

I'm not sure what the organizers were thinking, but kicking off this thing on tax day, knowing that tea parties were mobilizing around the country, was obvious poor planning. Last night's activities took place inside Thomas Road Baptist Church, which seats several thousand, but only drew a few hundred spectators, and when I first arrived there were only a few dozen. This could not have made many of the first night's top speakers -- including the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, the Southern Baptist Convention's Richard Land, and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli -- very happy. Some of today's activities are slated to take place in the University's basketball arena, which seats 10,000, and it would be remarkable if Liberty and/or Thomas Road aren't able to send out an ABP to get some more warm bodies in the place.

In fact, the only interesting speaker was Cindy Jacobs, who was part of a panel on "Politics and People of Faith" with Richard Land, Samuel Rodriguez, and Arnold Culbreath during which she declared that "the Bible is the government of the people, by the people, for the people" and got so excited about the coming national awakening that all Culbreath could say when she finished was "wow":

When we talk about God, politics, and people of faith, you have to say that politics is not neutral. Many times we think that it is a neutral thing, but it is not ideologically neutral ever. And if the people of faith don't engage, then someone will engage.

But the point is, we have to say this: does the Creator have a right to say how nations are governed? Of course he does. I think it's John Wycliffe, I know it is, in 1382 that said "the Bible is the government of the people, by the people, for the people." And many of us don't even understand that in the United States today our roots, everything we are, is based upon the Manufacturer's handbook. That we took our law from English common law and that what we have and who we are works because the Creator put it into a constitution and then put it into a people that would cause righteousness and justice to come to the land.

And so I believe this is why we are here. We're here for a great awakening to understand that politics are simply the ideological vessel that God has allowed to be in society today that will determine what happens in the soul of the nation. So we cannot be idle and we cannot be silent.

I was thinking where would we be today without a [William] Wilberforce that had said people of faith have to do something when they see something is unjust. There would be slavery still today, or these things.

I want to tell you, and I believe, that we are on a verge of the greatest awakening, not only what we would say just in the church, but we are on the verge of the greatest awakening that we have ever seen in our history as a nation ... I want to say something radical: it's not the faith of our founders that is going to heal this nation; it is a people who will rise up and understand that the Bible is the government of the people, by the people, and for the people. And I believe there is an awakening that is not going to begin, but has already begun that will do just that.

Jacobs' panel was then immediately followed by a speech from Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia's Attorney General.

Social Conservatives Shut Out of Tea Party "Contract From America"

Despite the Religious Right's best efforts, they just cannot get Tea Party activists to adopt their social agenda as part of the Tea Party movement.

Just last week, the Family Research Council signed on to the National Tea Party Federation despite that fact that it consisted primarily of libertarian-leaning groups who openly refuse to consider FRC's anti-gay, anti-abortion missions are part of the agenda. 

Today, a collection of Tea Party groups released their "Contract From America" and there is not one issue among the ten listed that speaks to the central concerns of the social conservative movement:

1. Protect the Constitution
Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does.

2. Reject Cap & Trade
Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation’s global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures.

3. Demand a Balanced Budget
Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax hike.

4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words—the length of the original Constitution.

5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington
Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste, ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states or local authorities, or ripe for wholesale reform or elimination due to our efforts to restore limited government consistent with the US Constitution’s meaning.

6. End Runaway Government Spending
Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of the inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth.

7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care
Defund, repeal and replace the recently passed government-run health care with a system that actually makes health care and insurance more affordable by enabling a competitive, open, and transparent free-market health care and health insurance system that isn’t restricted by state boundaries.

8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy
Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation, lowering prices and creating competition and jobs.

9. Stop the Pork
Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark.

10. Stop the Tax Hikes
Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains, and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011.

To be sure, most social conservative groups would support all of these issues, as would pretty much all conservatives.  But these are not the social issues on which Religious Right groups have traditionally focused.

Dozens of Tea Party groups sponsored and endorsed this "Contract From America" which not only had zero issues of concern to social conservatives, but did not even include any such issues among the list of ideas from which to choose.

Which is making it even harder to understand a) why a group like FRC would join up with the Tea Party activists, and B) why its president, Tony Perkins, keeps trying to insist that these groups that don't care about social issues are not representative of the "true tea parties."

Look Who's Joined The Tea Party

As I've noted several times already, the social conservatives in the Religious Right have been trying desperately to associate themselves with the Tea Party movement, even though Tea Party activists have been uninterested in making issues like abortion or gay rights a key part of the movement's agenda.

This, in turn, has lead some Religious Right activists to try and hijack the Tea Party name and attach it to his own Religious Right agenda, while others has tried to partner with the fiscal conservatives leading the Tea Party movement, even though they have been on less-than-friendly terms in recent years.

Now comes news that several local Tea Party groups are forming a federation with several established national groups in order to better coordinate strategy:

Several tea party leaders announced plans Thursday to form a national federation to promote the movement's conservative message and to counter the idea that the tea parties are politically unsophisticated and disorganized.

Tea party leaders from Memphis, Tenn., Richmond, Va., and Orlando, Fla., along with representatives of several other groups announced the new National Tea Party Federation during a rally outside the Minnesota Capitol. They said 21 tea party groups around the nation had joined the federation.

Memphis Tea Party founder Mark Skoda said recent media coverage had questioned whether the conservative tea parties, which number in the thousands nationwide, were too loosely organized to be politically effective in the national midterm election. He said the federation intends to convey a unified message about the tea party's brand of fiscal conservatism, which emphasizes limited government, less public spending and free markets.

He said the organization also hopes to rebut allegations about the movement: "Everything from calling the tea party members racist, that we are violent, that somehow we are fermenting another Kristallnacht. These accusations are indeed false and they won't stand."

The organizers said that the federation does not intend to direct activities by the farflung groups, but to improve communications among them, along with affiliate groups such as Americans for Tax Reform, Let Freedom Ring and Citizens United.

Now it makes sense that local Tea Party groups would partner with national groups that share their agenda ... but look who else has joined this federation:

One of the affiliated organizations, the Family Research Council, works primarily to oppose abortion rights and gay marriage. Skoda said the tea party movement would not make those issues part if its core mission but could still find points of common ground with conservative social-issue groups.

"The family needs to have low tax rates, choice on health care, no mandate on health care, and the automony to make decisions. The family is an important part of our strategy," Skoda said.

So to the extent that issues like taxes and health care can be considered "pro-family" issues, the Tea Party activists are fine to partner with the likes of FRC, but they won't be taking on the contentious social issues that are FRC's primary focus.

Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that FRC was complaining that groups like FreedomWorks and the other libertarian organization's did not represent the "true tea parties" because the "real" Tea Parties cared about social issues? 

If so, why as FRC now joined up with all those libertarian Tea Party organizations when they have been explicitly told that their social issues will have no place on the agenda?

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Family Research Council is running radio ads targeting Rep. Bart Stupak.
  • Speaking of FRC, Tony Perkins has been invited to speak at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference.
  • Sen. Jim DeMint is out to fill the Senate with as many ultra-right-wing senators as possible.
  • Concerned Women for America says their criticism of the RNC has brought in a lot of money for the organization.
  • On a related note, Sarah Palin says RNC Chair Michael Steele is "doing a great job."
  • Finally, behold the current state of the GOP:
  • Although the rally was for Bachmann, the lawmaker spoke first and introduced Palin. The two women were quick to share their mutual admiration for each other.

    “She is so much one of us,” Bachmann said of Palin, “And as absolutely drop dead gorgeous this woman is on the outside, I’m here to testify that she is 20 times more beautiful on the inside.”

    Palin responded in kind, recalling a meeting in Alaska: “I knew that we’d be buddies when I met her when she said, ‘Drill here, drill now.’ And then I replied, ‘Drill, baby, drill’ and then we both said, ‘You betcha!’”

The ENDA Is Near!

One of the points we made repeatedly in the posts we wrote on the Religious Right's militant opposition to expanding hate crimes legislation to include "sexual orientation" was that the Right never once complained during the decade when "religion" and "race" received federal protections.  It wasn't until protections for sexual orientation were added that they started screaming about supposed "special rights" and claiming that the legislation amounted to an unconstitutional threat to their religious liberty that would lead to pastors being tossed into jail. 

Of course, it has now been more than five months since this legislation was signed into a law and not a single pastor or religious leader has seen their religious freedom impacted in any way. 

Everything the Right said about expanding hate crimes protections was false and designed to scare people into opposing it ... and now groups like the Family Research Council are putting the same strategy to work in generating opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and raise money:

Do you think it's right for liberals running the government to ... 

  • Force a Christian bookstore to hire a man . . . who dresses in women's clothing?
  • Force your child's religious school to hire homosexual instructors?
  • Force your employer to fire or censure you for what they call "anti-gay harassment" . . . for simply keeping a Bible on your desk?

That's the nightmare you could face if the Obama/Pelosi/Reid Congress passes the so-called Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

And that's why it must be exposed.  

... 

You are standing in the way of the Left's immoral vision for America. And laws like ENDA are intended for one thing-to silence your "obsolete" Christian morality and tear down all boundaries to unhealthy sexual behavior.

By sustaining your prayers and generous support of FRC, you're not only investing in the long-term health of faith, family, and freedom in America . . .

You're also strengthening the leading social conservative organization in Washington, D.C. Our respected team has decades of experience developing and blocking legislation, voicing the truth in and through the media, and mobilizing Americans.

Please join with other loyal FRC supporters in our campaign to expose ENDA by sending a generous, tax-deductible donation

 Of course, just as with hate crimes, the Right's claims are totally false:

What ENDA Does

  • Extends federal employment discrimination protections currently provided based on race, religion, sex, national origin, age and disability to sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Prohibits public and private employers, employment agencies and labor unions from using an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis for employment decisions, such as hiring, firing, promotion or compensation
  • Provides for the same procedures, and similar, but somewhat more limited, remedies as are permitted under Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Applies to Congress and the federal government, as well as employees of state and local governments

What ENDA Does Not Do

  • Cover businesses with fewer than 15 employees
  • Apply to religious organizations
  • Apply to the uniformed members of the armed forces (the bill doesn't affect the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy)
  • Allow for quotas or preferential treatment based on sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Allow a "disparate impact" claim similar to the one available under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Therefore, an employer is not required to justify a neutral practice that may have a statistically disparate impact on individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Allow the imposition of affirmative action for a violation of ENDA
  • Allow the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to collect statistics on sexual orientation or gender identity or compel employers to collect such statistics.
  • Apply retroactively

ENDA does not "force" anyone to hire or fire anyone, it simply extends anti-discrimination protections in the workplace to cover sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Just as with hate crimes, anti-discrimination protections for things like religion have existed for decades and the Religious Right never once complained about the fact that Christians were receiving "special rights" ... but now that there are efforts to ensure that sexual orientation receives similar protections, it is proof that liberals are out to silence Christians.

FRC Urges Donor Boycott of RNC

In yesterday's "Washington Update" from the Family Research Council, the group finally followed through on its lingering threat to urge its activists to stop donating to the Republicans:

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is at the center of another controversy, this one regarding nearly $2,000.00 spent at a bondage-themed strip club outside of Los Angeles. Information about the $1,946.00 dollar expenditure at Voyeur West Hollywood became public when the RNC released its most recent financial disclosure report. The public controversy over the expenditure led to the firing of the staffer yesterday who had incurred the expense. This latest incident is another indication to me that the RNC is completely tone-deaf to the values and concerns of a large number of people from whom they seek financial support.

Earlier this month the RNC made a big deal about hiring "renowned Supreme Court lawyer" Ted Olson to represent the RNC in a campaign finance case that is expected to go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Yes, this is the same Ted Olson that is trying to overturn the results of the marriage amendment in California. The outcome of Olson's challenge to Prop 8 goes far beyond nullifying the votes of nearly 7 million voters in California; his efforts could lead to the overturning of amendments and laws in all 45 states that currently define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

I've hinted at this before, but now I am saying it--don't give money to the RNC. If you want to put money into the political process, and I encourage you to do so, give directly to candidates who you know reflect your values. Better yet, become a member of FRC Action and learn about the benefits it offers, including participating in the FRC Action PAC which can support candidates who will advance faith, family and freedom!

The FRC has actually been making these sorts of threats for some time now, starting shortly after the election in 2008 when they attacked Pete Sessions, Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, for attending a fund raising dinner for the Log Cabin Republicans, saying such outreach was should be causing "pro-family voters[to] reserve judgment about giving their financial support" to the GOP.

UPDATEPerkins tells CNN that this incident was just the last straw for social conservatives who are angry that the GOP has been ignoring their issues since the 2006 election:

FRC: Deranged Video Threats Part of a "Clear Pattern of Intimidation" From Gay Activists

Earlier this week, a man named Norman Leboon was arrested for posting a video threatening to kill Rep. Eric Cantor and it was soon revealed that Leboon had made some 2,000 videos that contained pseudo-religious incantations with random warnings and threats, including videos that targeted President Obama, Vice President Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as well as threats against judges, David Duke, and even against the movie "Babe."

So it seems pretty clear to everyone that Leboon's myriad of threats were most likely driven by some sort of mental illness ... everyone, that is, except the Family Research Council which claims that Leboon's threat against Cantor is part of a "clear pattern of intimidation that comes from many homosexual activists"

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and his family were the targets of a death threat for which a Philadelphia man was arrested on Monday. While the media reported the threat against Rep. Cantor, they didn't point out that the suspect, Norman Leboon, claimed on his YouTube website that he is the "Messiah" of "gays and lesbians" and asks his homosexual "children" to leave the armed forces so that he might "smite" those remaining. This was not an insignificant omission. There is a clear pattern of intimidation that comes from many homosexual activists.

In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue next month in a case that springs from the Washington State ballot measure to protect marriage. As they have in Massachusetts, California and elsewhere, homosexual activists in Washington State resorted to civic terrorism to intimidate those who signed the ballot measure. The question in this case is whether or not those who sign can do so without their names being publicly released. The evidence is mounting that those who are trumpeting the call for tolerance, have little tolerance for those they disagree with.

AFA's Fischer Hopes Americans Will Violently Revolt Against the "Tyranny of a Repressive Central Government"

Last week, the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer reacted to the passage of health care reform legislation with utter fury, declaring that it signaled the death of America and warning that unless the individual state's asserted their rights under 10th Amendment and stopped its implementation, it would lead to bloodshed.

In case there by any doubt that Fisher is entirely serious about the prospect of violent armed revolution in response to this legislation, rest assured that he is:

The American people are overwhelmingly opposed to the implementation of MussoliniCare. It is heavy-handed and repressive and is a worse form of oppression than any the Crown imposed on the Colonies in the 1770s.

It is a shocking thing almost beyond comprehension that our president intends to lock up his own citizens for refusing to cooperate with a wholly unconstitutional mandate which forces us at gunpoint to purchase a product as a condition of maintaining what remains of our liberty.

The Intolerable Acts were passed by the British Parliament on virtually the same day in 1774 the Democrats passed MussoliniCare in 2010. The passage of the Intolerable Acts in 1774 led directly to the convening of the Continental Congress which produced the Declaration of Independence and prompted Americans to defend their newly declared liberty with the force of arms.

The question immediately arises as to what remedies the states and the people within them possess to resist the tyranny imposed on us by the Intolerable Act of 2010.

Fischer goes on to quote James Madison at length, highlighting Madison's calls for armed revolution, saying that while he hopes it never comes to that, if it fails he hopes that people will rise up and use all "morally and constitutionally justified means" to resist the "tyranny of a repressive central government":

Let us fervently hope and pray that things do not come to this pass, and that our state officials will exercise their constitutional authority to protect their own citizens by flatly refusing to meekly submit to this gross abuse of power.

But let us also hope that the Father of the Constitution was right, that no free people will in the end submit to the tyranny of a repressive central government, and that they will, as a last resort, use all the morally and constitutionally justified means at their disposal to defend their inalienable rights to life, liberty and property. Otherwise, we are serfs and not citizens.

Allow me to point out, again, that just two weeks ago Fischer was featured on the Family Research Council's anti-health care reform webcast along with Rep. Tom Price, (R-GA), Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Will Kentucky really forgo $42 million in federal funds just to save a "Hell Is Real" billboard? 
  • Family Research Council Action and the Oklahoma Family Policy Council are backing a measure that will ban compensation for young women who donate their eggs to fertility clinics.
  • Rob Schenck meets Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
  • Ann Coulter will be headlining WorldNetDaily's "Taking Back America" conference.  Is anyone even remotely surprised.
  • Liberty Counsel says 10,000 people will be attending the Freedom Federation's "Awakening" Summit. I don't buy that for a minute.
  • Tea Partiers are reportedly getting tired of Dick Armey's control over the movement.
  • Rep. Bart Stupak admits that "pro-life groups rallied behind me -- many without my knowledge or consent -- not necessarily because they shared my goals of ensuring protections for life and passing health-care reform but because they viewed me as their best chance to kill health-care legislation."
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Al Mohler, who is outraged over the idea of colleges allowing co-ed roommates: "All of this adds up to a perfect jumble of moral confusion ... First, we have schools collapsing under the logic of gender rebellion ... Second, we have students insisting that there is nothing remotely odd or sexualized about two heterosexual students of opposite genders living in the same small space. That is both unbelievable and deeply sad. Third, we have activists and administrators lecturing parents that they have no right to resist all this ... This is nuts."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Matt Barber continues to attack the SPLC for labeling Peter LaBarbera's Americans for Truth a hate website while LaBarbera takes pride in the designation.
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann spoke at a Susan B. Anthony List fund-raiser last night where she declared that she was among the first to highlight President Obama's "anti-American views ... and now I look like Nostradamus.”
  • Speaking of the Susan B. Anthony List, Sarah Palin will be headlining their "Celebration of Life Breakfast" in May.
  • Operation Rescue says that it has been inundated with hateful messages and death threats for its opposition to health care reform.
  • Not surprisingly, the Family Research Council does not like the new Don't Ask, Don't Tell guidelines.
  • Concerned Women for America claims that "thousands of women we represent cannot and do not feel safe with AG [Eric] Holder directing the Department of Justice."
  • Finally, behold Pat Robertson's birthday cake:
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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

Brian Tashman, Friday 02/01/2013, 12:20pm
The Religious Right is mobilizing against Chuck Hagel’s nomination for Defense Secretary, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is saying exactly what they want to hear. In an interview with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council yesterday, Rubio suggested that if Hagel is successfully confirmed then countries like Iran and Syria may consider going to war against Israel, which will “end up pulling us into an armed conflict in that region.” Rubio: Israel’s enemies look for daylight of any kind in order to move forward on actions. Just today we are reminded of that, there... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 01/31/2013, 5:42pm
The Family Research Council and Liberty Counsel are urging activists to contact the Boy Scouts and voice their opposition to the possibility of lifting the ban on gay scouts and scout leaders. In case that is not enough, FRC is also asking God to intervene: "Thanks be to God for keeping the Scout Program strong till now. May He intervene to prevent this travesty against righteousness and justice from taking place! May God give the BSA leaders courage and understanding NOT to forsake their own laws by BOWING to those behind this immoral shakedown. May those within who are behind... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 01/31/2013, 3:20pm
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council once again warned that incidents of child abuse will rise if the Boy Scouts end their national prohibition on gay members. Yesterday on his radio show, Perkins said that people are gay as “the result of abuse” and “trauma” in their life. “With an open door policy,” Perkins said, child abuse “can only get worse. So that could lead to these experiences and trauma for young boys that could lead them into that lifestyle.” Listen: Perkins: I don’t think the vast majority of those who are involved... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 01/30/2013, 4:55pm
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has joined American Family Association’s Buster Wilson in linking the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to the military’s suicide rate. Discussing the Pentagon’s new policy on allowing women to serve in combat units yesterday on his radio program, Perkins said that the Obama administration’s work in “driving Christianity out [and] putting homosexuality in” are “adding additional stress” that leads to a higher rate of suicide. Perkins cited no evidence to back up his claim, but as with his... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 01/30/2013, 4:05pm
In an interview yesterday with John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins alleged that the Boy Scouts of America will “throw the door open” to “sexual predators” by lifting their national ban on gay members and will face more child molestation lawsuits as a result. Stemberger warned that Boy Scouts will now have members who “promote this behavior and promote their personal sexuality.” Perkins: The national board released about 15,000 pages of documentation on sexual predators and what had taken... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Tuesday 01/29/2013, 1:12pm
On his radio program on Friday, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins added his voice to the Religious Right’s collective outrage over the Pentagon’s decision to allow women to serve in combat positions. The move, Perkins warned, will decrease morale and deter volunteers to the point that “we will have to reinstate the draft.” I spoke with Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma earlier today about this. He is the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee and he is probably going to be joining me next week on the program. We talked about it and he says... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Tuesday 01/29/2013, 10:16am
The Family Research Council submitted two amicus briefs to the Supreme Court yesterday urging it to reject challenges to DOMA and to California’s Proposition 8. The briefs lay out some of the same arguments that we’ve heard many times from the FRC. But we were curious if the FRC would jettison one of its favorite talking points– the success of discriminatory measures at the ballot box –in light of last year’s resounding marriage equality victories in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. The answer was yes and no. In its brief on Hollingsworth v. Perry, the... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 01/28/2013, 5:35pm
After news reports came out today that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) may drop its national policy banning openly gay members in favor of “passing any decisions on gay membership to the local level,” outrage among Religious Right activists has just begun. For example, American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer suggested the move would allow Jerry Sandusky-like pedophiles to become troop leaders: Conservative talk show host Janet Mefferd followed suit. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, which launched a boycott of UPS after the company stopped donating to the... MORE >