Focus on the Family

Maine: Religious Right Barring the Media From Their Anti-Marriage Rally

The other day, Jeremy at Good As You noticed that Religious Right groups organizing behind the anti-marriage equality effort in Maine were suddenly distancing themselves from Mike Heath of the Maine Family Policy Council.

I assumed these groups were trying to avoid being seen in public with Heath because of the rabidly anti-gay insanity he's been spreading recently.  But, as it turns out, these groups just trying to avoid being seen in public period:

The Stand for Marriage Rally is being organized by Focus on the Family, The Maine Jeremiah Project, Family Research Council and Stand for Marriage Maine, which includes the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

Bishop Richard Malone is expected to address the crowd, along with religious leaders from Maryland and California.

James Dobson of Focus on the Family will provide a video message, [Rev. Bob Emrich] said.

The event is free, but tickets are required. Emrich said members of the media will not be allowed inside the event.

The most recent campaign finance reports from Main showed that of the money raised by the Religious Right groups fighting marriage equality in the state, the amount that came from actual residents of Maine constituted a mere .1%, whereas the amount donated by national Religious Right groups like the National Organization for Marriage and Focus on the Family made up the other 99.9%.

These groups sure do seem to be dumping a lot of time, money, and effort into this campaign while simultaneously trying to keep the people of Maine in the dark about it.

Bush's White House Visitor Log Reveals Revolving Door of Religious Right Leaders

From Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington:

Newly disclosed Bush-era White House visitor records suggest leading conservative Christian leaders may have had a significant voice in President Bush’s administration, and many seem to have had the ear of the president himself. The White House produced these records in response to CREW’s request for the visitor records of nine individuals beginning in January 1, 2001.

Only one record indicates a visit after October 4, 2006, the date of CREW’s request. The data is summarized below.

  • For the period April 2001 through June 2006, Focus on the Family Founder and Chairman Emeritus James Dobson visited the White House 24 times; 10 of those visits were to President Bush.
  • Andrea Lafferty, Executive Director of the Traditional Values Coalition, made an astonishing 50 visits to the White House starting on February 1, 2001, and continuing through March 16, 2008. Six of those visits were to President Bush.
  • Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, made 43 visits to the White House between May 2001 and August 2006. Four of those visits were to President Bush.
  • Gary Bauer, President of American Values, made 10 visits to the White House, starting with a January 6, 2003 visit to Vice President Cheney and ending with a July 20, 2006 visit to President Bush.
  • The late Jerry Falwell, of Jerry Falwell Ministries, made eight visits to the White House between May 2001 and September 2004. Three of those visits were to President Bush.
  • Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council, visited the White House 14 times between February 2001 and June 2006, including two visits to President Bush.
  • Louis Sheldon, Chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, made 19 visits to the White House between March 2001 and September 2006, including two visits to President Bush.
  • The late Paul Weyrich, the Founder of Free Congress foundation, made 17 visits to the White House between May 2001 and July 2005, including six visits to President Bush and one to Karl Rove.
  • Donald Wildmon, Founder of the American Family Association, made three visits to the White House between July 2001 and March 2003, including one visit to President Bush. 

The Religious Right's Miraculous Recovery

In the months following the election, there appeared a series of articles all carrying a similar theme: With the election of Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress, the Religious Right was all but dead.

As we pointed out in a series of posts and reports, these sorts of pieces tend to get written whenever Republicans fare poorly in an election and there is rarely any validity to their claims:

I have to say I find this temptation from commentators to write the Religious Right’s obituary after every Republican electoral setback rather remarkable. For one thing, as we pointed out not too long ago, these sorts of pieces appear every few years, only to be overtaken a short time later with pieces marveling that the “sudden” and “unexpected” resurgence of the “values voters" crowd. In addition, despite the gloominess from the likes of Mohler and Deace, the Religious Right is more committed than ever to regrouping as a “resistance movement” to fight for its agenda and eventually regain its position as an influential and powerful political and social force.

And that day may come sooner than many realize. While it might seem at the moment that the Religious Right is on its way out, it is important to remember that the GOP has lost exactly one mid-term election and one presidential election and Democrats have controlled Congress and the White House for less than three months.

Doesn’t anyone else remember all the talk following George W. Bush’s election, and especially his re-election, about the “values voters” and coming of a “permanent Republican majority” which would give the GOP ironclad control over the reigns of government for decades to come?

Remind me again: how did that all work out?

The point is that political fortunes change … and often change rapidly. It is far, far too early to be declaring the Religious Right to be dead based on two elections and three months of Democratic government.

Well, guess what?  After being declared moribund just a few months ago, the Religious Right has been miraculously resurrected, thank to the healthcare reform debate, declares the Washington Post:

The Christian right, facing questions before the presidential election about its continuing potency as a force for cultural and political change, has found new life with Barack Obama in office, particularly around health care.

As the president prepares to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night to press for health-care reform, conservative Christian leaders are rallying their troops to oppose him, with online town hall meetings, church gatherings, fundraising appeals, and e-mail and social networking campaigns. FRC Action, the lobbying arm of the Family Research Council, has scheduled a webcast Thursday night for tens of thousands of supporters in which House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and other speakers will respond to the president's health-care address.

...

"It's a busy time," said Tom Minnery, senior vice president of Focus on the Family Action, the lobbying arm of Focus on the Family. He said donations to Focus Action have climbed beyond expectations, although he declined to say by how much.

[F]or the moment, conservative Christian leaders are riding high on opposing health-care reform.

"Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and Henry Waxman have done more to energize Christian conservatives than any conservative leader could have done with this health-care package," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. "I, who never believed that we were dead, did not believe that it would happen this quickly."

...

"We're not having to build a grand new organization. We're using the strengths of other organizations that understand the needs of their particular constituencies," said Mathew Staver, dean of the Liberty University School of Law and an organizer of the Freedom Federation.

Christian right leaders say it is too soon to tell whether health-care reform will trigger a flood of donations, but they are encouraged by the response they are seeing in other ways.

Gary Bauer, who heads the socially conservative group American Values, said that the list of addresses to which he sends his daily e-mail alerts was down to 170,000 and that he was getting only 50 requests a week to sign up for it before the election. Now, he said, the e-mail list is up to 225,000, and he is getting 1,000 or more requests a week asking to be added.

"The passion that was so evident in the Obama campaign right now, at least, has shifted to our side," he said.

The Post reports that "experts say the resurgent interest is proving that predictions of the death of the Christian right -- widespread before the election -- were again premature." 

Gee, really? 

And who exactly was making all those "predictions" about the "death of the Christian right"?  It was the media that declared the Religious Right dead ... and now it is the media declaring that they have been resurrected. 

It is sort of like a doctor declaring a sleeping patient to be dead and then proclaiming it a miracle when the patient wakens while blaming others for "prematurely" writing their obituary.

Another 75 Layoffs At Focus on the Family

To follow-up on a post from yesterday, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports that Focus on the Family is undergoing another round of layoffs:

Focus on the Family announced a reorganization Wednesday that will eliminate 75 jobs — an 8 percent reduction in a workforce that already has been cut twice since September 2008.

The Colorado Springs-based ministry is shutting down the creative division of its advertising department, accounting for 30 of the layoffs. The others are from various departments throughout the ministry, including Love Won Out, a program aimed at homosexuals that Focus is handing over to an organization in Florida.

In 2002, Focus’ employment reached a high of about 1,400. A year ago, it was down to about 1,155. The cuts announced Wednesday, coupled with two rounds of layoffs since 2008, bring the local workforce to 860.

“These are tough economic times,” Focus spokesman Gary Schneeberger said. “The challenges have made us take a hard look at what we do structurally and strategically so we can accomplish our mission more efficiently.”

Most workers affected will be paid through Sept. 18, though not all will be expected to report to work, Schneeberger said.

Even though Focus cut its budget from $160 million in fiscal 2008 to $138 million in fiscal 2009, it still suffered a $6 million shortfall. Schneeberger said the deficit largely was due to the loss of donations from small- to medium-sized businesses. Donations from families has remained steady, he said.

The latest job cuts are part of a series of moves by Focus to reorganize its operations in response to a drop in donations during the recession. Focus eliminated 46 positions a year ago and 202 in November. The organization also axed the print editions of four of its eight magazines.

More Layoffs Looming At Focus On the Family?

That is what local media outlets are reporting.

KKTV:

Amid a serious budget shortfall, Focus on the Family has announced plans to restructure. That will include a reduction of staff.

This news comes less than a month after Focus president and CEO Jim Daly wrote in a letter to 800,000 donors that projected income for the year is 6-million dollars short of expectations.

The organization’s fiscal year budget is $138 million.

It remains to be seen how many staff members will be let go during the restructuring. But more details are expected later today.

News Channel 13:

More changes could be on the way for Springs-based Focus on the Family.

An anonymous source tells NEWSCHANNEL 13 that employees will be told of the upcoming layoffs during a staff meeting to be held around 4:00 p.m. The ministry would not confirm if any jobs will be cut Wednesday -- only that they will be making some major changes.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Sarah Palin's PAC filings show donations to Reps. Michele Bachmann and Marsha Blackburn, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, and Sens. Lindsey Graham and Orrin Hatch.
  • LifeNews: A federal judge has issued a ruling saying a collection of pro-life groups don't have standing to file a lawsuit against the FDA over its decision allowing the sales of the morning after pill to minors. The groups wanted to reverse the Food and Drug Administration ruling opening the morning after pill to 17-year-olds.
  • The Republican National Lawyers Association has named James Bopp its Republican Lawyer of the Year.
  • Take that, Woodstock.
  • Focus on the Family President and CEO Jim Daly is scheduled to appear on Thursday night's episode of "Hannity" as part of "The Great American Panel."

The Values Voter Summit Gets With The Times

Every fall for the last several years, the Family Research Council and allied groups like Focus on the Family and American Values have hosted the Values Voter Summit to which Republican presidential candidates have come seeking the support of Religious Right activists while right-wing speakers have warned that the Antichrist is gay and exhorted the audience to use words like"faggot" and "sissy" as a statement of principle.

This year things look to be a little different as organizers seek to get in on all the right-wing activism that is the rage at the moment, tweaking what has traditionally been known as the "Values Voter Summit" so that it is now being billed as the "Values Voter Town Hall":

Like the upcoming How To Take Back America Conference, this event is offering a variety of exciting and informative workshops and break-out sessions as well:

I am particularly intrigued by the panel entitled "The New Masculinity" and really look forward to hearing what Senator Tom Coburn's Chief of Staff has to say about it:

THE NEW MASCULINITY
Dr. Pat Fagan, Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Family and Religion, FRC; Michael Schwartz, Chief of Staff, Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.); Dr. Matthew Spalding, Director, B. Kenneth Simon Center for Studies, The Heritage Foundation

Feminism has wreaked havoc on marriage, women, children and men. It is time to redress the disorder it has wrought and that must start with getting the principles and ideals for a new "masculinism" right. Such a "masculinism" will have its dovetailing counterpart in a new "feminism" for they mutually define each other and, in nature, are meant to be complimentary. This panel will begin this exploration.

What Would That "Good Reason" Be?

Newsweek profiles LeRoy Carhart, one of the few remaining doctors capable and willing to perform late-term abortions. Given the small number of doctors willing to perform this service, Carhart is making efforts to train more of them:

He's fielded calls from three physicians who want to learn how to do abortions. Two have already begun training. "I think the only thing I can do…is just train as many doctors as I can to go out on their own and provide abortions and get enough people providing them," says Carhart. "That makes [the anti-abortion activist's] job 10 times harder because there are now 10 times more of us."

Not surprisingly, Focus on the Family doesn't approve:

Carrie Gordon Earll, senior bioethics analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said that may be easier said than done.

"Many obstetrics and gynecology residency programs offer abortion training, yet the number of physicians willing to do abortions doesn't seem to be on the increase," she noted. "It's not a preferred profession or even sideline for most doctors, and for good reason."

And what would that "good reason" be for why doctors might be reluctant to provide this sort of service? Presumably, Earll thinks they have some sort of moral opposition to it, but the real reason probably has more to do with the fact that they would prefer not to be routinely harassed, vilified, and even murdered:

Carhart knows there are people who want him dead, too. A few days after Tiller's murder, Carhart's daughter received a late-night phone call saying her parents too had been killed. His clinic got suspicious letters, one with white powder. It's been like this since Carhart started performing abortions in the late 1980s. On the same day Nebraska passed a parental-notification law in 1991, his farm burned down, killing 17 horses, a cat, and a dog (the local fire department was unable to determine the fire's cause). The next day his clinic received a letter justifying the murder of abortion providers. His -clinic's sidewalks have been smeared with manure. Protesters sometimes stalk him in airports ... A wave of anti-abortion violence in the 1990s—three doctors killed in five years—coincided with a dramatic drop in providers, from 2,680 in 1985 to 1,787 in 2005.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Is Rick Santorum contemplating a presidential run in 2012?  We can only hope so.
  • Focus on the Family is facing a budget shortfall and handing off its "Love Won Out" conferences to Exodus International.
  • Charisma profiles Alveda King.
  • Time profiles Marco Rubio.
  • The Right is quite unhappy that Harvey Milk is being posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • The Family Research Council is hosting several right-wing events in the coming months in New Jersey, California, and Maine.
  • The ACLJ is apparently so concerned that Democrats are trying to "intimidate and silence critics of President Obama’s policies" that it felt the need to release a report reminding lawmakers "that this nation has a long history of Americans exercising free speech to comment on important social issues of the day."
  • Finally, I am going to be on vacation until Thursday, August 20.  Hopefully, the Right will have gotten all of the crazy out of its system by the time I get back.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Steve Benen: For some reason, a recent Gallup poll showing strong "pro-life" numbers was a huge story, even though the results were dubious, whereas a new Gallup poll showing weaker "pro-life" numbers is a complete non-story.
  • Eleanor Bader at RH Reality Check examines the Right's campaign against ENDA and hate crimes legislation.
  • David Weigel reports that conservative TEA Party and town hall protesters are literally taking a page out of Saul Alinsky 1971 book “Rules for Radicals."
  • Autumn Sandeen: "I couldn't be more surprised to find out that I'm apparently now the honest to gawd, serious 'face' for the second tier religious right organizations regarding Obama Tranny-Care."
  • David Hart debunks Exodus International's new study that claims a 53% "success rate" in converting gays.
  • Good As You reports that the Family Research Council has gotten into the act of peddling Paul Cameron's bogus "research."
  • Truth Wins Out: Even though Focus on the Family is facing a $6 million budget shortfall, it doesn't mean it is necessarily hurting for money.

The Religious Right Gets In On the Town Hall Fun

As anybody who has been paying any attention knows, right-wing groups have been busy urging activists to descend on Congressional "town hall" meetings during the August recess and voice their opposition to health care legislation, in some cases going so far as to encourage them to cause a commotion in an effort to disrupt them.

To date, most of these efforts have been carried out by anti-tax and fiscal conservative groups:

Conservative and business groups, some funded in part by insurers, are mobilizing members and supporters to participate in health-care forums that lawmakers are holding in their states and districts this month.

...

America’s Health Insurance Plans, the national association representing 1,300 health insurers, is out with “August Recess Talking Points” that assert a “government-run plan would dismantle employer-based coverage … [and] add significant liabilities to the federal budget.”

The group is also offering a sample “August Recess Activation Letter” http://tr.im/vIsV for CEOs to send to employees.

“All over the country, conversations on health care reform are taking place, from Town Halls to coffee shops,” the letter says. “Members of Congress and the Administration are planning and participating in several events during the month of August as Congress breaks for recess. You can help share the perspective of the health plan community during these conversations by signing up.”

AHIP’s director of strategic communications, Robert Zirkelbach, says the group discourages confrontations “We encourage people to be positive and constructive.”

FreedomWorks, chaired by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, is e-mailing 380,000 supporters this week with a link to an “August Recess Action Kit.”

“Turn Up the Heat in August: Help Defeat ObamaCare,” the group says on its website. “While Senators and Representatives are home for their August recess they need to hear from you, regardless of party. … Find a town hall meeting near you. If your representative or senator isn’t holding one - ask them why.”

Americans for Prosperity is going a step further and recommending in-person visits to lawmakers’ district and state offices. The groups says on its website that it “has always encouraged members to visit the district offices and attend town hall meetings of their senators and representatives, especially during this August break when issues like health care and cap-and-trade are at the peak of debate.”

But it looks like Religious Right groups are getting into the act as well, encouraging their own activists to attend these events and get in on the action:

Focus on the Family Action has been sending e-mail alerts to subscribers that encourage them to attend town-hall meetings and demand that abortion funding be explicitly excluded from any reform bill, according to Ashley Horne, federal policy analyst for the Colorado Springs-based group.

recent Washington Update from the Family Research Council likewise urged activists to attend their local meetings and provided a list of various town hall events across the country:

Americans are talking. The leadership just refuses to listen. Until it does, House and Senate Democrats can expect a long, uncomfortable August where the temperatures outside are nothing compared to the heat they're feeling inside their District offices. FRC has posted a schedule of townhall meetings across the country and sample questions you can ask. Please make a point of going to the forums near you and share--in a respectable manner--your thoughts with your congressman. While you're at it, why not bring your video camera?

For it's part, the Traditional Values Coalition is urging its activsts to participate as well:

The U.S. House of Representatives is on their summer break and the Senate starts on August 7th. They will be in their home districts through Labor Day.

Sign up today to learn where your elected officials are holding their Town Hall meetings! They need to hear from you and hundreds of other concerned Americans.

President Obama has been trying to rush through his government-run health care reform bill. It took him six months to pick a dog for the White House, but he wanted Congress to pass a health care bill in only a few weeks!

His plan to nationalize health care has been slowed down by citizen activism, but he still plans on pushing for passage of his government-run health care plan this fall. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) has admitted that Obama's health care plan is designed to socialize our medical system!

Attend Your Congressional Member's Town Hall MeetingGo to Town Hall meetings and challenge your legislators on these issues:

1. Government-Run Health Care and the 53 New Federal Bureaucracies it creates.

2. Employment Non-Discrimination Act (will force religious employers like Bible publishers, day cares, camps, etc., to hire gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons)

3. Pledging to read Legislation before voting on it!

Important Civics Lesson!

Bring a van load of friends, children and grandchildren to these Town Hall meetings. Most students have not returned to school, yet. Let them learn a valuable civics lesson about how our system of government works!

Once you sign up for our Town Hall alert, you’ll be sent the dates of your elected officials’ Town Hall meetings. We want your feedback on how they responded! Sign up today!

As is the American Family Association:

Gary Bauer sent out a special alert yesterday concerning how the liberal politicians and liberal media outlets are seeking to silence those who are speaking out against out of control spending and the take over of vital industries. The liberals are upset that common citizens like you are exercising their right to free speech, and are using it to let the liberals know they have had enough and are going to let their voice be heard.

I urge you to get involved, stand up and speak out. Make the phone calls, send the e-mails, make the phone calls. Don't let the liberal left silence you! The future of our country and our children and grandchildren is at stake. The ugly name calling shows that your voices are being heard. Please keep it up!

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Religious Right's healthcare webcast was held last night and you can listen to the audio here. It was apparently such a success that the Family Research Council has decided to hold its own webcast next week.
  • Boy, it seems like Republicans can't even send around racist emails about President Obama any more with getting into loads of trouble.  What is this world coming to?
  • Al Mohler explains why the Southern Baptists aren't going to be changing their stance on the role of women in the faith any time soon: "Ultimately, I'm not so fearful that the times will judge us as I'm aware that God will judge us, and I hope with all my heart that he will find our church is faithful to his word."
  • Alan Chambers talks to Focus on the Family about his new book Leaving Homosexuality: "The key thought here is the opposite of homosexuality isn’t heterosexuality. It’s holiness. There are people who are conflicted with their sexuality, involved with homosexuality, and there is a way out for those who want it. But it doesn’t say that they’re going into heterosexuality, because that’s not the point. The point is that people can leave whatever it is that God calls less than His best and move into something that is His best, becoming more like He is."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Bill Donohue says Randall Terry’s threat not to pay taxes is a "recipe for anarchy."
  • Al Mohler is not impressed by Jimmy Carter's decision to sever his ties with the Southern Baptist Convention.
  • Focus on the Family really seems to be getting behind The Civility Project.
  • Oral Roberts University has signed an agreement with the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference that will position ORU as the exclusive educational strategic partner for the NHCLC.
  • The Alliance Defense Fund has filed suit against Wisconsin's Domestic Partnetship law, claiming it violates the marriage amendment passed in 2006.
  • You just can't win against WorldNetDaily: "The announcements of Barack Obama's birth printed by two Hawaii newspapers in 1961 do not provide solid proof of a birth in the Aloha State."
  • Finally, Jesse Lee Peterson weighs in on the arrest of Henry Louis Gates:
  • "Henry Gates and Al Sharpton are abusing police while black," said Rev. Peterson. "Their false allegations say to young blacks that they too can abuse police and cry racism. Gates was abusive and disorderly and the police dealt with him accordingly--where's the racism? This is a case of black males gone wild."

    ...

    Rev. Peterson said, "What's regrettable is that the city of Cambridge and the police have allowed themselves to be intimidated by a race hustler like Al 'The Riot King' Sharpton. The race card has once again been used to unjustly smear law enforcement and thwart justice. This is Tawana Brawley all over again!"

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Haaretz: "Mike Huckabee plans to broadcast his weekend show on Fox News from the site of a disputed Israeli construction project in East Jerusalem, a New York politician has told Haaretz. New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind said Huckabee will air the talkshow during a solidarity visit to the site of the project, which is in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah."
  • Associated Press: "An independent investigator has found evidence that Gov. Sarah Palin may have violated ethics laws by accepting private donations to pay her legal debts."
  • In other Palin news, Vanity Fair provides her with the copy editor she so badly needs.
  • Focus on the Family has a new blog.
  • Finally, Carrie Prejean will be speaking at the Republican Party of Florida's "Drive the Discussion" event next month where she'll be sharing the stage with Bruce Jenner and Jonathan Krohn.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Steve Benen takes a look at how the American Conservative Union sells its principles to the highest bidder.
  • On a semi-related note, Conor Friedersdorf has a good post on how Human Events shills for obvious scams.
  • TPM reports that infidelity seems rampant among those who inhabit the house on C Street, this time involving former Rep. Chip Pickering who, by the way, was recognized as a "True Blue" member of Congress "for supporting public policy that values human life, protects our religious liberties, and upholds the institutions of marriage and the family" by the Family Research Council Action and Focus on the Family Action last year.
  • Alan Colmes provides a handy chart demonstrating how Frank Lutz controls Republican messaging.
  • Box Turtle Bulletin: "Lying About The Hate Crime Bill, #2."
  • On a related note, we released out latest Right Wing Watch In Focus yesterday entitled "As Senate Prepares to Take Up Hate Crimes Bill, Far Right’s Inflammatory Claims Should Not Be Taken Seriously":
  • Anti-gay organizations have been fighting the steady advance of federal hate crimes legislation with rhetoric that is increasingly unhinged from reality. When the U.S. House of Representatives passed a hate crimes bill on April 29 with a bipartisan 74-vote margin, Religious Right leaders and some of their congressional allies were inspired to new heights (or depths) of literally incredible accusations.

Right Wing Hate Crimes Lies Now Available in Convenient Video Form

With hate crimes legislation moving towards a vote in the US Senate, I was thinking of pulling together a blog post cataloging all of the various lies the Religious Right has been spreading about what passage of such legislation would do. 

But it turns out that I don't have to, because the Family Research Council has more or less already done it for me by producing this video featuring Reps. Mike Pence, Sen. Jim DeMint, Bishop Harry Jackson, and David Barton of Wallbuilders that pretty much covers them all. 

Pay special attention to lies spewed by Barton and DeMint, who don't seem to understand the difference between hate crimes legislation and legislation pertaining to things like marriage equality or employment discrimination:

It seems as if the Religious Right is going all out to spread as many lies as it can in trying to ramp up opposing to this legislation as the deadline nears, with Focus on the Family warning that "gay activists have and will continue to use these kinds of laws to silence Christians who speak publicly about God's design for human sexuality – and make them pay if they stand up for their beliefs" and is therefore "encouraging Christians everywhere to stop and pray that the Lord would intervene."

And Good as You catches the Illinois Family Institute making even more absurd claims [PDF]

Miss California, Carrie Prejean, could have been charged with a “hate crime” for her views on same-sex marriage if S. 909 was already law. What could constitute a “hate crime” under this bill is a homosexual man or woman claiming they were discriminated against and hurt by what was said.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The New York Times examines the factors at work behind Sarah Palin's sudden resignation.
  • Mike Huckabee says its unfair to call Palin a "quitter" while predicting that Mark Sanford's political career is over.
  • The ACLU is taking a look at Sally Kern's "proclamation for morality."
  • Rick Scarborough has found a new crusade: Obama's various czars, which he complains "are unelected and unaccountable [and] have too much money and power, and are remaking America in ways none of us could have imagined."
  • Jesse Lee Peterson lambastes Michael Jackson's memorial service saying it was all "about unrealistically lifting up a black Michael as the 'king' in order to lift up blacks, and, in so doing, lowering the value of the hated white man."
  • Personhood advocates claim their movement is gaining momentum.
  • Ted Cruz, who is running for Texas Attorney General, unveils a list of endorsements and backers [PDF] that includes, Cathie Adams of the President of Texas Eagle Forum, Kelly Shackelford of the Free Market Foundation, Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ, David Barton of Wallbuilders, Tim Goeglein of Focus on the Family Action and many other right-wing figures.
  • Finally, Harry Jackson, Niger Innis, Dr. William Owens, Sr, Bishop Dale Bronner and Pastor Terry Millender have penned a letter to President Obama urging him to fight the "disintegration of marriage" by saving DOMA and opposing marriage equality:
  • Changing the definition of marriage will have many unintended consequences, which will hurt generations to come. If one redefines marriage, then the family is redefined. If the family is redefined then the nature of parenting must also be redefined.

    “We are concerned that an attempt to recognize and adjust to one group’s sense of alienation may actually confuse future generations of children about their sexuality and blur lines of responsibility in our families. The very definitions of motherhood and fatherhood may be unnecessarily challenged in years to come.

    “Same-sex marriage is not a civil right. The laws enacted by Congress during a century of struggle for equal rights for African Americans were intended to eliminate discrimination on the basis of race, not on the basis of an individual’s sexual preferences or personal behavior.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Focus on the Family says "President Barack Obama's selection to head the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is being met with appreciation by family advocates."
  • Joseph Farah has written a timely new column ... in praise of Carrie Prejean.
  • Get your Marriage War Bonds while they last.
  • Randall Terry declares it his "mission ... to dance on the grave of Roe vs. Wade."
  • Finally, keep your schedule open for the Taxpayer March on Washington:
  • On Saturday, September 12th FreedomWorks will be joined by over ten thousands of liberty-loving activists to take a stand against politicians who are bankrupting our future. National co-sponsors include Tea Party Patriots, ResistNet, National Taxpayers Union, Americans For Tax Reform, Young Americans for Liberty, Ayn Rand Center, Campaign for Liberty, Free Republic, Young America’s Foundation, Smart Girl Politics, and The Club for Growth.

    The event will kick-off on September 10th and 11th with various events throughout Washington including grassroots leadership training and Capitol Hill visits. The three-day event culminates on September 12th as taxpayers march on the Capitol building.

Hate Crimes Deja Vu

With hate crimes legislation scheduled to be voted on in the Senate next week, the Religious Right seems somewhat resigned to the fact that they do not have to votes to stop it or even slow it down, but that doesn't mean that they aren't trying.

Yesterday was apparently "National 'Stop S. 909' Day" during which "the American Family Association, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and other conservative activist groups [urged] their supporters to call, e-mail, fax, or visit their senators today to express their disapproval of S. 909, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (Senate Bill 909)."

James Dobson and Tony Perkins discussed it on Dobson's radio program yesterday, with Dobson proclaiming that its passage would be used to silence pastors and Focus on the Family is calling on its activists to contact their senators and ""ask them to oppose S.909 or 'hate-crimes' legislation in any form."

Of course, as we've pointed out before, the Religious Right doesn't really oppose "hate crimes legislation in any form," they just oppose protection for gays.

But since it looks like they'll be unable to stop the legislation's passage, they appear to be turning their attention toward stopping efforts to amend the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act to include bullying and harassment prevention program because it also provides protection based on sexual orientation ... and so they are trotting out the exact same bogus claims they used in opposing hate crimes legislation:

The U.S. House of Representatives is considering a so-called bullying bill that would require public schools to spell out special categories in their discipline policies, including "sexual orientation" and "gender identity."

Family advocates say it will pave the way for a pro-homosexual, adult-driven agenda in public schools.

The name of the bill is Safe Schools Improvement Act.

Focus on the Family's Education Analyst Candi Cushman explained that there is a way to deal with the issue in a fair and objective way, without sexualizing and politicizing the school environment.

"We recognize that bullying and the harm it causes in the lives of kids is tragic and shouldn't be allowed to happen," Cushman said. "We agree schools should be encouraged to have strong policies prohibiting bullying—applied equally and across the board, against any child for any reason."

She said parents need to keep a close watch on the progress of the bill, because if it passes, it could be used to undermine parental rights and local control.

"People need to realize that gay activists will use this federal mandate as the leverage they need to get promotion of homosexuality into public schools," Cushman cautioned.

Jeremiah Dys, president of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia, said the bill's language is taking the focus off of the real problem.

"A bully is a bully because he's a bully, not because of who he bullies," Dys said. "The rules ought to be enforced against the bullies regardless of who they're bullying or what actions he takes."

The Traditional Values Coalition has also come out against it by tying it into the Religious Right's crusade against Kevin Jennings, claiming it turn the nation's public schools into bastions of homosexuality:

If this legislation is passed, it will permit Jennings to spend millions of our tax dollars to push the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender agenda in schools under the guise of fighting “bullying” and allegedly promoting “school safety.”

...

Jennings will use millions of our tax dollars to push the promotion of lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender behaviors upon hundreds of thousands of school districts throughout our nation.

Make no mistake: The Safe Schools Improvement Act is an ATM machine for the LGBT agenda. Issues about school safety and bullying are simply smokescreens to hide the real agenda.

Note the definitions of bullying and harassment. Under this bill, any gay or cross-dressing teen who is “bullied” or “harassed,” can claim protection. It includes a teen’s “actual or perceived” sexual orientation or gender identity (code for cross-dressers or transsexuals).

If a straight teen criticizes the sexual behavior of a gay or cross-dressing teen, he is guilty of bullying or harassment. This is a direct attack upon free speech.

Let's take a look at the definitions of bullying and harrassment, as TVC suggests, shall we:

(12) BULLYING- The term `bullying' means conduct that--

`(A) adversely affects the ability of one or more students to participate in or benefit from the school's educational programs or activities by placing the student (or students) in reasonable fear of physical harm; and

`(B) includes conduct that is based on--

`(i) a student's actual or perceived--

`(I) race;

`(II) color;

`(III) national origin;

`(IV) sex;

`(V) disability;

`(VI) sexual orientation;

`(VII) gender identity; or

`(VIII) religion;

`(ii) any other distinguishing characteristics that may be defined by a State or local educational agency; or

`(iii) association with a person or group with one or more of the actual or perceived characteristics listed in clause (i) or (ii).

`(13) HARASSMENT- The term `harassment' means conduct that--

`(A) adversely affects the ability of one or more students to participate in or benefit from the school's educational programs or activities because the conduct, as reasonably perceived by the student (or students), is so severe, persistent, or pervasive; and

`(B) includes conduct that is based on--

`(i) a student's actual or perceived--

`(I) race;

`(II) color;

`(III) national origin;

`(IV) sex;

`(V) disability;

`(VI) sexual orientation;

`(VII) gender identity; or

`(VIII) religion;

`(ii) any other distinguishing characteristics that may be defined by a State or local educational agency; or

`(iii) association with a person or group with one or more of the actual or perceived characteristics listed in clause (i) or (ii).

Bullying entails "reasonable fear of physical harm" and harassment must be "severe, persistent, or pervasive" but, just as they did with hate crimes, the Right is completely misrepresenting this legislation.

And notice also that they are not complaining about the protections included for religion or race - they are simply opposed to protections for gays.

It's becoming pretty clear that even after the hate crimes legislation is passed by Congress and signed into law, we can look forward to having the same exact fight over anti-bullying legislation, complete with the same exact right-wing scare-tactics and false claims.

Concerned Women for America, Confused on Sanford

A few days ago, Kyle mentioned that one Focus on the Family state affiliate, the Palmetto Family Council, couldn't quite make up their mind on whether or not to call for South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's resignation.

Then, their national organization, Focus on the Family, spoke, albeit rather softly, about the governor's actions. It seemed a good deal of family values organizations were having a difficult time deciding how to react when a "family-values" governor goes against the family values they preach about.

It seems, today, that Concerned Women for America have outdone the indecisiveness of both the Palmetto Family Council and Focus on the Family. On Thursday, CWA published an article in which they chastised the governor for his "teary press conference" and showing "no emotion as he talked about betraying and hurting his wife and sons."

But, let's look at the facts. Gov. Sanford turned to Mrs. Chapur again and again via e-mail and long-distance visits; there is no evidence that he attempted to turn away from temptation. Gov. Sanford was not honest in his accounting of the times they got together. Amazingly, even after his wife accidentally learned of the affair, Gov. Sanford asked her repeatedly for permission to go to Argentina to see Mrs. Chapur. 

Can you imagine anything more bizarre? He asked his wife for permission to go visit his mistress!

When a politician won't keep his commitments to his family (the philanderers are generally men), how can we trust him to keep his commitments to the public he represents? If his wife and children can't trust his word and depend upon his character, how can we?

CWA had their course laid out and it seemed their stance could be easily deciphered...until today, that is.

The CWA's president, Wendy Wright, has written an article commenting on the affair and, of course, blaming the media for "salivat[ing] over the juicy details" of it. Wright does acknowledge Sanford's failings, but reels back heavily from the rhetoric of CWA's first statement on the issue. She pleads for a "civil and sober moment to sympathize with Gov. Mark Sanford and his family."

As we watched his heartrending press conference on Wednesday, our immediate thoughts were for his family. Confessing his infidelity, apologizing to his family and loyal friends, recognizing that breaching God’s law carries serious consequences, it was a stark contrast to other politicians caught cheating who act defiantly.

Christians understand that humans are broken, all of us are sinners in need of redemption through a Savior, Jesus Christ. God has given us high moral standards, and we commit to help each other to live up to them. People fail (as we all do in some manner). The conversation at that point is: Is the person sorry, willing to make amends, and do all it takes not to fall again?

So, CWA, is Sanford an "untrustworthy, not credible, [person who] treats those closest to him with disdain" or is he "a stark contrast to other politicians caught cheating who act defiantly?"

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Focus on the Family founder and chairman James Dobson is perhaps the most influential right-wing Christian leader in the country, with a huge and loyal following that he can reach easily through an impressive media empire. MORE >

Focus on the Family Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 05/11/2011, 5:40pm
Newt Gingrich is officially blah, blah, blah. Speaking of joke GOP candidates, Donald Trump is meeting with some pastors. In related news, Mike Huckabee wants your prayers ... but not officially. But back to Gingrich - can the media please stop quoting Ralph Reed about how Gingrich's past misdeeds should not be held against him? Gary Bauer says "rarely have I seen such an assault on our values as we have witnessed in the past 24 hours." Focus on the Family thanks Lou Engle. Finally, some bravely anonymous "Southern Baptist leader"... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 04/21/2011, 11:53am
On Monday, Focus on the Family kicked off their first Day of Dialogue, which replaced the Day of Truth that had been sponsored by the “ex-gay” group Exodus International. Brad Clark, the executive director of One Colorado, wrote an open letter to Focus on the Family calling for them to work towards building “a true dialogue about what it means to be LGBT—instead of encouraging young people to spread harmful rhetoric to vulnerable youth in our schools.” Focus on the Family has consistently claimed that anti-bullying programs send students a “homosexual... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 04/01/2011, 10:48am
After taking over the Day of Truth from the ex-gay ministry Exodus International, Focus on the Family has been heavily publicizing the renamed event as the Day of Dialogue. The Day of Dialogue, which pushes students to confront those who are “messed up sexually” and encourages gay students to take “the road out of homosexuality,” will be held on April 18th, three days after the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network’s Day of Silence. According to GLSEN, the Day of Silence is “a day of action in which students across the country take some form of a vow... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 03/25/2011, 12:47pm
Yesterday, RWW reported on the Religious Right’s virulent opposition to a California bill that would make sure lesbian and gay historical figures are represented in the curriculum. Now, Focus on the Family’s political arm CitizenLink is linking the curriculum bill to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in its post “Indoctrination 101: From the Battlefield to the Ball Field.” Focus on the Family has consistently railed against “homosexual indoctrination” in schools and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, demanding its reinstatement.... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 03/22/2011, 5:16pm
Candi Cushman of Focus on the Family’s True Tolerance campaign has been an outspoken opponent of anti-bullying policies, and now she is warning parents that the safe-schools group GLSEN wants to make school sports teams a friendlier and less hostile environment for gay and lesbian athletes. While the National Education Policy Center found that 85% of LGBT students “report being harassed because of their sexual or gender identity” at school, anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family militantly oppose any efforts to tackle the bullying problem and claim “pro-homosexual... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/16/2011, 2:00pm
In November Right Wing Watch highlighted a video by the Cornwall Alliance featuring prominent Religious Right leaders who lashed out at the environmentalist movement for trumpeting “exaggerations and myths,” and “seducing” and “scaring” children. Now, the Cornwall Alliance is pushing a book, “Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion, Not Death,” about environmentalists’ “anti-human and anti-Christian ideas.” Focus on the Family has already endorsed the book. According to author James Wanliss of the Cornwall Alliance,... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 03/16/2011, 1:48pm
On today's broadcast, James Dobson interviewed Ralph & Danielle Drollinger, longtime friends of his who run an organization called Capitol Ministries, an organization that hosts regular Bible studies for, and ministers to, Members of Congress. Among the members listed as sponsors on the organization's website are Todd Akin, Michele Bachmann, Paul Broun, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Sue Myrick, Mike Pence, Tom Price, Lamar Smith, Joe Wilson and various others. Danielle was actually a former employee of Focus on the Family before Dobson helped her get a job as a staffer for a Congressional... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 03/15/2011, 11:48am
The Religious Right continues to parade the myth that gays and lesbians are trying to “recruit” followers in schools, and are increasingly using the lie as the basis of their opposition to anti-bullying programs. Leaders and groups continue to describe anti-bullying policies as attempts to “homosexualize their children” and “promote homosexuality in kids” through “homosexual indoctrination.” Focus on the Family has been at the forefront of challenging anti-bullying policies, which often cover the widespread harassment and bullying directed... MORE >