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Looking to 2012, Robison More Focused On "What" Than "Who"

It has been reported that James Robison has been gathering Religious Right leaders and mobilizing them to defeat President Obama in 2012.  While some reports that have suggested that Robison is seeking to rally them behind Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Robison himself is making it clear that he is less interested in "who" the candidate is than he is in laying out "what" needs to be done to save America:

I am declaring to everyone with ears to hear: Now is the time to return to God. Stand up like a mighty army! Pierce the darkness, storm the gates of hell, set captives free, correct our course, reclaim the land, make God the “who” in our personal and national life, and point people to the “what.” We will never find the right “who” until we know the right “what.” When the population understands the “what to do,” we can find the “who” to help lead and insist that every “who” does the right “what.” 

To that end, Robison is laying out just "what" needs to be done so that Christians can decide on "who" will be the best candidate to support: 

  • As the Pledge of Allegiance states, we are a nation under God; and as our currency proclaims, our trust is in God—not “gov.” If national leaders do not acknowledge what America’s founders understood concerning the importance of divine providence, there will be no recovery.
  • All life must be protected and seen as precious with unlimited potential however unexpected or planned for. Remember, we can clearly learn from Nazi Germany that something can be legal but also very evil (i.e., the horrific extermination of the Jews and others considered less than perfect or unimportant).
  • America must stand in the best interests of Israel against the evil forces calling for its destruction.
  • Marriage is between a man and a woman and must be viewed as sacred. The strength of our nation depends on strong families, and national policy must protect marriage.
  • There are moral absolutes. No person’s failure reduces or redefines the standards carved in stone by the finger of God and revealed in His Word. We must find a way to stop judges and courts from misinterpreting the Constitution and writing their own laws.
  • Success and prosperity may be mishandled by some, but the potential for success that produces opportunity for all and prosperity at different levels is not the problem. Those we elect must keep the free market free, healthy and under the influence of people who understand the importance of personal responsibility.
  • There are forces of good and evil, and they must be wisely and rightly defined, discerned and resisted. A strong national defense is critical. Radical Islam and terrorism are serious threats. Extreme environmental activism is, also.
  • Depending on the federal government as our source is idolatry. We must control it, or it will control us. Stop the madness! Hitler believed that Germany needed a government over the people, not of the people. God deliver us from this kind of insanity.
  • Out-of-control spending, mismanagement of the people’s money and excessive, intrusive regulation is as wrong and immoral as stealing. Spending must be brought under control now, at whatever sacrifice. This does not include foolishly giving the government more of the people’s money to waste or mismanage.
  • We the people” must be understood to mean that we all have a “dog in the show.” We are all responsible. We can’t just lay the load and responsibility on others, no matter how many twisted thinkers try to play the blame game. The opportunities and possibilities to succeed is not the problem. Don’t blame opportunity, begin inspiring and teaching responsibility. We must find a way for every citizen to help in some way shoulder the load. This can be accomplished without being unfair and riding on anyone’s back.
  • Deal with excessive, foolish taxation and revamp the tax code along with the IRS so we can rejoice together because it will stimulate economic growth. This would create jobs and ultimately enable us to better assist the suffering, the weak, helpless and poor—not with just a handout, but with compassionate hands extended. The church can and must set the example.
  • Let the people go. Turn them loose and behold the miracle made possible when people are truly free to be productive while assuming personal responsibility. Nehemiah rebuilt the wall in 52 days. Impossible? Not with God!
  • The church must be delivered from the spirit of religion and filled with the Holy Spirit, leading us to the supernatural unity that produces holy harmony. National leaders must rise above partisanship and reason together, seeking effective solutions to serious challenges.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Coral Ridge Ministries is now to be known as Truth in Action Ministries.
  • FRC is very relieved to learn that no gay person has been appointed to the RNC.
  • Will Michele Bachmann be this election's Mike Huckabee?
  • Gordon Klingenschmitt wants GOP presidential candidates "to make a major campaign speech endorsing H.R. 297, to defund the U.N. if they seize Israeli land."
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Burt Prelutsky: "As for gay-pride parades, I can hardly imagine anything goofier. What is it exactly that they're so proud of? That their sexual activity will never lead to the birth of a baby, but only, tragically on occasion, to a dreadful disease?"

Save California Takes Last Stand Against LGBT History Bill

Yesterday, the California State Assembly followed the State Senate in passing a bill that would make sure textbooks recognize the contributions of prominent LGBT figures in California history. Randy Thomasson, the head of Save California, has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the legislation, even going so far as to liken homosexuality to drug and alcohol abuse, and is making one final plea to Governor Jerry Brown to veto the bill. If the bill is signed into law, Thomasson in a statement called on parents to “removed their children from the government school system” to protect them from what will be “the most in-your-face brainwashing yet”:

"May this brash attack upon children's innocence finally motivate parents to remove their children from the government school system, and get them into the safe havens of church schooling and homeschooling," said Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, a leading statewide pro-family organization promoting moral virtues for the common good.

"This sexual brainwashing bill would mandate that children as young as 6 years old be told falsehoods -- that homosexuality is biological, when it isn't, or healthy, when it's not," Thomasson said.

"Parents don't send their sons and daughters to school to learn to admire homosexuality, bisexuality, cross-dressing, "sex change" operations, homosexual "marriages," or to support legal persecution of people who disagree," Thomasson said. "There's already a raft of school sexual indoctrination laws on the books. Impressionable children are already being sexual indoctrinated, but SB 48 would be the most in-your-face brainwashing yet. We urge Governor Brown to respect parents, remember basic academics, and basic family values, and veto this bad bill when it reaches his desk."

"True history focuses on the accomplishments of people -- it doesn't talk about what they did in the bedroom," Thomasson said. "Sadly, SB 48 prohibits teachers from providing students with the facts about these lifestyles. Male homosexuality has the largest transmitter of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, along with higher cancer rates and earlier deaths, but it will be illegal for teachers to teach children these facts to protect their health and their lives."

….

"California government schools are no longer morally safe for impressionable children," Thomasson said. "Because of the raft of sexual indoctrination laws already in force, which promote homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality under the guise of 'discrimination' and 'harassment,' the social engineers are already having their way with more than six million boys and girls, with or without SB 48. That's why we strongly urge loving parents to rescue their children by permanently removing them from government schools and placing them in the safe havens of church schools or homeschooling."

Remembrance of Bachmann Things Past: Her Ties To Janet Porter

In 2009, Janet Porter of Faith 2 Action organized a right-wing conference in St. Louis called "How To Take Back America" that was co-sponsored by the likes of WorldNetDaily, The American Family Association, Vision America, Liberty Counsel, and WallBuilders.  The keynote speakers at the conference were Mike Huckabee and Rep. Michele Bachmann.

The line-up at this conference was so radical that we put together a report on the participants which gave special attention to the truly fringe views espouse by Porter: 

It is probably impossible to overstate the extremism and lunacy of Janet Porter, whose radio program and Faith2Action.org website gives her a platform for promoting the most unhinged of conspiracy theories.

Porter is Mike Huckabee's biggest fan. She first fell in love when she organized the 2007 Values Voter Debate to which she had personally invited a gospel choir to sing "Why Should God Bless America?" and after which Porter (then Folger) declared that Huckabee had been revealed as the answer to Christians' prayers for a presidential candidate who shared their views, proclaiming him to be the "David among Jesse's sons." During the presidential primaries, she started a front group to attack Huckabee's arch nemesis Mitt Romney and wrote columns claiming that only Huckabee could prevent Hillary Clinton from throwing all Christians into prison and save her fantasy world from this "evil queen and her dragon of slaughter."

She has since claimed that God has cursed America for voting for Obama, that anyone who voted for him is bound for hell , and that anyone who has ever voted for a pro-choice candidate is also living under a curse. She has actively pushed the Birther conspiracies and even alleged that Obama's presidency was the culmination of a decade-long Communist conspiracy twenty years in the making. After the election, but before the inauguration, she called on God to prevent Obama from taking office, while warning that "AN EARTH-SHATTERING CALAMITY IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN" to this nation because we deserve God's judgment.

Among other fears she has recently been stoking: the Obama administration is creating internment camps for conservatives and building mass evacuation buses to take them there, while warning that the H1N1 flu vaccine is really a nefarious plot by the government to kill millions of Americans. She helped to create and inflate the Right's false claims that a Department of Homeland Security report was equating conservatives and veterans with terrorists; as noted above, she's now pushing comparisons between the Obama administration and the rise of Nazism.

Porter has written a book called "The Criminalization of Christianity" and claims that hate crimes legislation will lead to Christians being thrown in jail. More recently she's joined the chorus of extremists falsely claiming that the bill would "give heightened protection to pedophiles." As part of her campaign against hate crimes legislation, Porter has repeatedly invited on to her radio show Ted Pike, a rabid anti-Semite who claims hate crimes laws are part of a Jewish plot for world domination.

Of course, the radical views held by Porter and the others in no way dissuaded Bachmann from attending.  In fact, Bachmann appeared on Porter's radio program ahead of the event and used it as an opportunity to praiser her and endorse the May Day at the Lincoln Memorial prayer event Porter was planning for the following spring:

That May Day event ended up being so infused with Seven Mountains Dominion Theology that Porter lost her radio program and almost ended her career at a Religious Right activist, until she showed up in Ohio earlier this year where she began scheduling fetuses to "testify" on behalf of her extremist anti-choice "Heartbeat Bill."  In her downtime, she was busy praying for God to give Christians control over the media and every level of government.

But none of that seemed to bother Bachmann, who joined Porter, Joseph Farah, and others in promoting Porter's "Pink Slip" campaign to warn members of Congress that they would lose their jobs if they voted for legislation opposed by the Right:

In 2008, Porter was a key supporter of Mike Huckabee.  But with Huckabee declining to run for President this time around, Porter's endorsement is still up in the air. 

But given the already existing ties between Bachmann and Porter (and judging by the poll Porter is currently running on her website) it seems increasingly like that Bachmann could wind up being her candidate of choice.

The Timely Resurrection Of Citizens Against Religious Bigotry

It was over a year ago when several of Religious Right organizations united to form something called Citizens Against Religious Bigotry for the sole purpose of trying to keep a proposed show about Jesus Christ off of Comedy Central by demanding that potential advertisers pre-emptively promise never to support the show or else be labeled as sponsors of religious bigotry.

The program was seemingly killed off shortly thereafter and Citizens Against Religious Bigotry went dark and lay dormant ... until today, when it suddenly returned with a video and petition demanding the firing of those responsible for leaving "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance during NBC's coverage of the US Open golf tournament:

As an citizen and a patriot, I recognize the importance of our Pledge of Allegiance. Generations of American schoolchildren learn and recite the Pledge as an important exercise in passing our national values from one generation to the next. By altering the Pledge of Allegiance in the opening montage of the Sunday round of the 2011 US Open, NBC attacked people of faith and our national heritage. As an American, I demand that NBC take immediate action by terminating the employees who used a Sunday sports broadcast to insult people of faith.

Rick Perry: Join Me To "Pray and Fast Like Jesus Did"

Governor Rick Perry has now filmed a video urging people to join him for the prayer rally he is organizing with the American Family Association and various Religious Right activists in Houston in August, saying prayer is needed now more than ever to fix this nation's spiritual problems:

This is Governor Rick Perry and I'm inviting you to join your fellow Americans for a day of prayer and fasting on behalf of our nation. As an elected leader, I am all too aware of government's limitations when it comes to fixing things that are spiritual in nature. That's where prayer comes in, and we need it more than ever. With the economy in trouble, communities in crisis and people adrift in a sea of moral relativism, we need God's help. That's why I'm calling on Americans to pray and fast like Jesus did and as God called the Israelite to do in the Book of Joel. I sincerely hope you will join me in Houston on August the sixth and take your place in Reliant Stadium with praying people asking God's forgiveness, his wisdom and provision for our state and nation. To learn more, visit TheResponseUSA.com then makes plans to be part of something even bigger than Texas.

You know, if Perry really wanted people to "pray and fast like Jesus did," he probably wouldn't be urging them to join with him in this massive public display:

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you ... 16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Farah: What Happened In Nazi Germany "Is Happening Again In America"

President Obama came to power in the same fashion as Adolf Hitler, says WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah. Even though Farah claims he is not likening Hitler to Obama, he goes on to write an entire column comparing Obama with the German dictator:

It's not unprecedented that failing republics dumb down eligibility requirements for the presidency. It's not unprecedented that failing republics ignore or obscure eligibility requirements for the presidency. It's not unprecedented that failing republics make tragic mistakes in permitting non-qualified candidates to serve in the presidency.

It happened in 1932 in Germany with a candidate named Adolf Hitler.

In fact, this tragedy, which resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of innocents and the utter destruction of the German republic, is documented in the biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas.

We learn that on March 13, 1932, the day the German national election was being held to determine who would be president, "Nazi rowdies rode around in the backs of trucks with megaphones, stirring things up. A month earlier Hitler was found ineligible to run since he was born and reared in Austria. But this problem was strenuously shoved through a loophole, and he would run after all."

On Jan. 30, 1933, Hitler became the democratically elected president of Germany.

Imagine how the course of history might have been changed had that "loophole" not been found – if the German people, political elite and media elite had held firm to their constitution that required presidents to be German-born when Hitler clearly was not.

I can almost visualize the reaction to what I am saying here: "Farah is comparing Obama to Hitler!"

No, I am not.

Hitler is in a unique historical class of tyrants and fiends and mass murderers. There's Hitler and Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong. Together they are responsible for the deaths of more than 100 million people.

For perspective, Obama has merely contributed to the economic and moral degradation of the greatest country on earth.

I use the Hitler illustration only to demonstrate there are real-world consequences to bending the rules in constitutional republics for political expediency.

That's what happened in Germany in 1932.

It is happening again in America in the 21st century.

Bryan Fischer's Two Modes Of Operation: Bigotry and Denial

The AFA's resident spokesbigot Bryan Fischer operates on a very consistent pattern:  he spends months saying and writing outrageously bigoted things but when some pressure starts to mount over all of the bigoted things he says, he lashes out and accuses his detractors of lying about what he said.

He has done it several times before, and now that Gov. Rick Perry is getting some heat for associating with Fischer and the AFA, he has done it again, taking issue with this Tim Murphy piece in Mother Jones.  Fischer claims that Murphy "strung together a litany of lies and distortions" and then proceeds to try and set the record straight.

In three instances Fischer fully admits to the views attributed to him - gays should be banned from public office and Muslims should be banned from the military and from building mosques:

- "gays should be banned from holding public office" — This is accurate. I do believe this, for the same reason that I believe Anthony Weiner should resign, as did Larry Craig, John Ensign and Mark Foley and numerous other Republicans caught in sexual misconduct. Aberrant sexuality morally disqualifies a practitioner from public office, and whatever else homosexual behavior is, it is aberrant sexual behavior.

- "there should be a permanent ban on mosque construction in the United States" — Partly true. What I have recommended is that local planning and zoning boards no longer issue permits — what about the word "permit" do people not understand? — for the building of mosques. This is because 81% of the mosques in America distribute literature that supports violent jihad and the imposition of sharia law by force, and 95% of Muslims who attend prayers regularly attend one of these mosques. I have suggested our policies toward Islam should be the same as our policies toward the KKK and white supremacist groups, since they are equally and violently antisemitic. Whatever the NAACP thinks ought to be done to halt the spread of the KKK and white supremacists I'll be happy to adopt as our policy against the spread of Islam.

- "Muslims should be prohibited from serving in the armed forces" — True. Serving in the United States military is a privilege not a right, and we should have no room in our military for those whose religion teaches them to "slay the idolaters wherever you find them" (Surah 9:5). If you don't think this policy suggestion makes sense, ask the families of Major Nidal Malik Hasan's homicidal rampage at Ft. Hood, done in the name of Allah.

But Fischer takes issue with several other assertions ... and, in typical Fischer fashion, attempts to clarify the record by more or less reiterating the very thing he claims he never said in the first place:

1. "gays caused the Holocaust." False. What I spoke is the simple truth: the Nazi Party was responsible for the Holocaust. If the question is then further asked, who was responsible for the Nazi Party, the answer, as a matter of simple historical truth: homosexual thugs. The Nazi Party was actually formed in a gay bar in Munich, and virtually all of Hitler's early enforcers in his rise to power were homosexuals.

Here is what I wrote in my column on what Nazi Germany teaches us about the wisdom of allowing open homosexuals in the military:

"Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews. Gays in the military is an experiment that has been tried and found disastrously and tragically wanting. Maybe it's time for Congress to learn a lesson from history."

So I clearly lay the blame for the Holocaust on the Nazi Party, but attribute the rise of the Nazi Party to homosexual brutes. That's not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of historical fact, as inconvenient as that fact may be to the mavens of political correctness on the left.

2. "gays...are planning on doing it (the Holocaust) again." False.

Here is the transcript of my remarks:

"Homosexual activists, when it comes to freedom of speech, are Nazis. When it comes to freedom of religion, they are Nazis. There is no room in their world for dissent, there is no room in their world for disagreement, there is no room in their world for criticism. You criticize homosexual behavior, they tag you as a bigot and a homophobe and then they go to work to silence you just like the Roman Catholic Church did in the days of Galileo — it's no different; it's the Spanish Inquisition all over again.

"Ladies and gentlemen, they are Nazis. Do not be under any illusions about what homosexual activists will do with your freedoms and your religion if they have the opportunity. They'll do the same thing to you that the Nazis did to their opponents in Nazi Germany."

Clearly the parallel I was drawing here is that homosexuals are out to suppress freedom of speech, religion, and dissent just as the Nazis did. This is indisputable.

So Fischer never said that gays caused the Holocaust and they are going to commit another one against Christians - he simply said that the Holocaust was the fault of the Nazis (who were all gay) and that, if given the chance, gays would do the same thing again today.

So you can see that that is totally different. 

Fischer also claims he never called for the forced conversion of Muslims or their deportation from America:

5. "foreign Muslims should either be exterminated or forced to convert to Christianity" — Horrendous distortion. What I said was that, if we are attacked from or by a Muslim nation, we should go in with military force and neutralize the threat. Then I suggest we bring missionaries in, since it is Christianity that has made the United States the freest, strongest, and most prosperous nation on earth. If they don't want to listen to our missionaries, fine. We'll bring them and our soldiers home. But we let them know that if you attack us again and we have to come back, this time we'll come back not with missionaries but with overwhelming lethal force.

6. "American Muslims should be deported" — Wrong again. What I have written is that American Muslims who have been naturalized of course should remain, as well as American citizens who convert to Islam. But I do believe we should not extend citizenship any longer to immigrant Muslims, even the ones who are here legally. When their legal immigration provisions expire, we should happily bear the cost of repatriating them to their homelands. Immigration is a privilege, not a right, and the god of Islam teaches his followers to kill Americans. It's simply bad policy to extend citizenship to people who have a solemn, sacred, religious obligation to exterminate us.

Fischer was quite clear when he said that when the US goes into a Muslim nation, it must try to convert them to Christianity but if the Muslims refuse to convert, then the next time the US returns, it will be to kill them. 

Likewise, Fischer has asserted that simply by virtue of being a Muslim, they are guilty of treason and that Muslims living in the US ought to be deported.

Yet, somehow Fischer thinks it is an unfair distortion of his views to claim that he supports forced conversion and the deportation of Muslims.

Fischer has a long history of saying openly bigoted things on an almost daily basis ... and he has just as long a history of claiming that all of the bigoted things he said were taken out of context or misrepresented.

As I have said before, it is utterly pointless to try and have any sort of rational debate with Fischer ... and this is further evidence of just why that is the case. 

The Whole Point Of Public Education Is To Make Sure Kids Can Read The Bible

On today's episode of Faith and Freedom Radio, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver and Shawn Akers discussed the fight over prayer at the Bastrop High School graduation ceremony in Louisiana.

The issue was especially important to Akers, as he graduated from Bastrop High School and so he was outraged by the idea that prayer might be banned from the ceremony ... mainly because the entire purpose of public education is to educate students so that they can read the Bible and learn how to live:

Gingrich Films Ad For Liberty Law School

Last month, Sarah Posner reported that professors at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University Law School were teaching students to break the law in cases where US law conflicted with "God's Law," which goes a long way toward explaining by the affiliated Liberty Counsel's star client, Lisa Miller, ended up kidnapping her daughter and fleeing the country.

Today, Liberty Law School unveiled a new ad featuring Newt Gingrich urging students who care about America's future to enroll and learn how to become more effective "conservative advocates":

David Barton: The 2011 National Hero of Faith

Last year, Mike Huckabee received the "National Hero of Faith" award from Rick Scarborough, a self-proclaimed "Christocrat" who believes that AIDS is God's judgment for immoral behavior, and even showed up in person at the Vision America gala to receive it.

This year that honor will go to the man that Huckabee calls the "single best historian in America today" and whom he wishes everyone would be forced to listen to at gunpoint - David Barton [PDF]:

David Barton's "Expertise" On African American History

Jason Cherkis of The Huffington Posts reports that, according to tax records, David Barton considers himself an expert on Black history:

David Barton, the Republican establishment’s favorite amateur historian, claims in tax records reviewed by HuffPost to be something of an expert on African-American history.

In filings with the Internal Revenue Service, Barton’s nonprofit, Wallbuilder Presentations, Inc., justified its tax-exempt status by highlighting among its "accomplishments" a video project “of the moral heritage and political history of African Americans."

As luck would have it, we actually wrote an entire report about the very video that Barton produced a few years ago called "Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White" ...  and I am sure you will be surprised to learn that it was utterly and intentionally misleading:

Though the program is billed as an attempt to recognize “the forgotten heroes and untold stories from our rich African American political history,” it is, in reality, a 90-minute effort to portray the Democratic Party as responsible for every problem that has ever plagued the African American community in America and imply that the Republican Party is the antidote. Barton’s website proudly claims that he “is currently breaking ground in the African-American community with his presentations” based on this DVD.

Throughout the program, Barton presents a staggeringly slanted, openly partisan, and tellingly incomplete view of American history. Barton focuses on the Democratic Party’s historical support for slavery and Jim Crow, but completely ignores the transformation of American politics brought about by the civil rights movement. Barton, of course, never mentions that the rise of the modern Republican Party was built on a “southern strategy” of embracing and exploiting the resentments of racist southern Democrats who joined the Republican Party after Democratic President Lyndon Baines Johnson pushed and signed landmark civil rights and voting rights legislation.

We even took several clips from Barton's program and included them in the report, and so I decided to edit a few of them together just to give you a sense of what sort of propaganda Barton is peddling in the DVD as he tries to link today's Democratic Party to the Ku Klux Klan and asserts that Democrats supported slavery just as they support abortion today:

Historians Agree: David Barton Is No Historian

David Barton has been in the spotlight lately.  In recent weeks, he was featured in a New York Times profile, interviewed on "The Daily Show," and was even the focus on a long report we released chronicling his career of peddling right-wing pseudohistory for political gain.

The upside of Barton's recent high profile is that bona fide historians who, unlike Barton, actually have training and credentials, are starting to stand up to Barton's flagrant and intentional misuse of history.

For instance, yesterday Paul Harvey, a Professor of History at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, wrote a piece for Religion Dispatches explaining that Barton is not in any sense a historian, but rather a propaganda artist who seeks to create the impression that there is some sort of "debate" over the issue of America's identity as a Christian nation that he can use to promote his right-wing political agenda:

Barton’s intent is not to produce “scholarship,” but to influence public policy. He simply is playing a different game than worrying about scholarly credibility, his protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. His game is to inundate public policy makers (including local and state education boards as well as Congress) with ideas packaged as products that will move policy.

Historical scholarship moves slowly and carefully, usually shunning the public arena; Barton’s proof-texting, by contrast, supplies ready-made (if sometimes made-up) quotations ready for use in the latest public policy debate, whether they involve school prayer, abortion, the wonders of supply-side economics, the Defense of Marriage Act, or the capital gains tax. ...

In short, perhaps the best way to understand Barton is as a historical product of Christian providentialist thinking, one with significant historical roots and usually with a publicly convincing spokesman. He is the latest in a long line of ideologically persuasive spokesmen for preserving American’s Protestant character ... The Christian Nation “debate” is not really an intellectual contest between legitimate contending viewpoints. Instead, it is a manufactured “controversy” akin to the global warming “debate.” On the one side are purveyors of a rich and complex view of the past, including most historians who have written and debated fiercely about the founding era. On the “other side” is a group of ideological entrepreneurs who have created an alternate intellectual universe based on a historical fundamentalism. In their drive to create a usable past, they show little respect for the past as a foreign country.

That point was echoed by Randall Stephens, an Associate Professor of History at Eastern Nazarene College, who has no time for Barton's "kindergarten" understanding of history or his "hyper-politicized work":

Barton does not recognized the idea that the past is like a foreign country. Instead Barton tends to flatten out time and space and make it almost seem as if the Founders are our contemporaries, motivated by the same concerns that motivate us now. Yet people in the past--whether we're talking about leaders of Bronze Age tribes or bewigged 18th century nabobs who tinkered on their mansions, read Montaigne in their spare time, or enjoyed arm-chair speculation about nature and providence--are not the same as us. This seems like a kindergarten point, but it's apparently lost on David Barton.

...

Nearly any trained historian worth his or her salt who takes a close look at Barton and his hyper-politicized work will see glaring gaps in what he writes and talks about. He dresses his founders in 21st-century garb. He's not interested in knowing much about the history of colonial America or the US in the early republic. Why? Because he's using history to craft a very specific, anti-statist, Christian nationalist, evangelical-victimization argument in the present. (Remember the many unconfirmed quotations Barton used in the 1990s? He did so because, first and foremost, he was trying to make a political point.)

In history circles this is what we call "bad history."

Finally, John Fea, author of "Was America Founded As a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction," and Associate Professor of American History at Messiah College, has been writing an ongoing series debunking Barton's appearance on "The Daily Show," along with a piece warning Christians not to fall for his propaganda:

Wallbuilders is a political organization that selectively uses history to promote a religious and ideological agenda. Barton believes that America's last, best hope is a return to its so-called Christian roots. In his most famous book, Original Intent, Barton argues that the removal of Christianity from the public square has resulted in a rise in birth rates for unwed girls, a spike in violent crime, more sexually transmitted diseases, lower SAT scores, and an increase in single parent households. And he has convinced thousands and thousands of Christians that he is right.

Barton claims to be a historian. He is not. He has just enough historical knowledge, and just enough charisma, to be very dangerous. During his appearance on The Daily Show, Barton impressed the faithful with his grasp of American history and his belief that Christians are being subtly persecuted in this country. But if you watch the show carefully, you will notice that Barton is a master at dodging controversial questions. He refuses to admit that sometimes history does not conform to our present-day political agendas.

...

Here is the bottom line: Christians should think twice before they rely on David Barton for their understanding of the American founding. Let's not confuse history with propaganda.

As Fea says, "the more popular Barton becomes, the more his views will be debunked by what I am imagining will be an ever-growing chorus of critics" ... but that task sure would be made easier if  Republican leaders like Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Mike Huckabee would stop actively embracing and promoting Barton's pseudohistorical propaganda.

Colson Warns Of The Creeping Influence Of Ayn Rand In The Conservative Movement

The rise of the Tea Party and economic libertarians has inspired a revitalization of Ayn Rand’s book sales and sparked more curiosity for her ‘Objectivist’ thinking. Leading Republicans have embraced Rand, as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) called Rand the “the reason I got involved in public service” and Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) gives a copy of Atlas Shrugged to his interns. The movie Atlas Shrugged: Part I premiered at CPAC and won burgeoning interest from conservative moviegoers, until it received abysmal reviews that were so bad it convinced the producer to drop plans for parts II and III.

But Religious Right leader Chuck Colson isn’t happy with the Ayn Rand retrospective. He made a two minute video attacking Rand and her devotees, deriding Rand as an anti-Christian atheist. “Not only should you stay away from the film,” Colson says, “you ought to stay away from anybody who wants to see the film, unless their interest is ironic.” Colson warns that Rand’s “patently anti-Christian ideas seem to be gaining steam” among conservatives, cautioning that her Objectivist philosophy is the “antithesis of Christianity” and that her followers are “undermining the Gospel”:

Colson also posted an article that expresses bewilderment on how Ryan or any other politician could have been inspired by Rand:

What makes this newly-renewed regard especially troubling is that Rand’s worldview is explicitly anti-Christian. She once said she wanted to be known as “the greatest enemy of religion.” And when Rand said “religion” she meant Christianity, which she once called the “kindergarten of communism.”

For Rand the idea of God, as understood by Christianity, was “degrading to man.” According to her, the only god who can bring men peace and joy was not the great “i am” but “I.” Yet even some prominent Christians are being sucked in.

It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that her worldview, called Objectivism, which rejects love of God, has even less regard for love of neighbor. Jennifer Rubin, who wrote the definitive biography of Rand, says that “whereas traditional conservatism emphasized duties, responsibilities, and social interconnectedness, at the core” of Rand’s ideology “was a rejection of moral obligations to others.”

Thus, Rand could say that the world was “perishing from an orgy of self-sacrifice.” Not because it was true but because, for Rand, any regard for your neighbor was an offense against the only god who mattered: the self. How such a toxic idea can inspire “public service” is beyond me.

Fischer: Beating of Transgender Woman "Proves That We Are Right"

Last week, a transgender woman was violently beaten at a McDonald's in Baltimore, MD.

Bryan Fischer talked about the assault on his radio program today and I am sure you will be shocked to learn that not once did he utter a single word of condemnation, but rather used it as justification for the AFA's opposition to "bathroom bills":

The victim appeared to be a woman. In the video, it looked like a woman [with] long hair. But at one point in the fracas, her wig is pulled off and you still think its a woman, looks like a woman, and she's beaten to within an inch of her life, she winds up in convulsions on the floor.

And then we discover now that it was a guy all the time, it's not a woman at all. It's a transgendered woman, which means he's a man, he's a male. He's a male in every single cell his DNA. Every single cell of his body, every strand of his DNA in his entire body is male. He's not a woman, he's not a transgendered woman, he's not a transgendered female, he is a man. And here's the deal: apparently he was getting ready to go into, or had been in, the ladies' restroom.

And remember, Maryland came within one vote - I don't know if you knew this - Maryland came within one vote of passing a law this last session that would have provided special protections for transgendered people, people who think they're in the wrong body.

So if that law had passed, then this man would have had every legal right to go into the ladies' restroom, even if there are young teenage girls present and nobody would have stopped him. In fact, if McDonald's had tried to keep him, as a man, from going into the ladies' restroom, if that law had passed McDonald's is the one who would have got in trouble. They would have gotten sued, a potential franchise ending lawsuit.

That's why we always call these things "bathroom bills" and this proves that we are right. This exactly shows you the hazard of these bathroom bills. You give special privileges to people based on deviant sexuality, you're going to get in all kinds of trouble and all traditional norms of respect, privacy, civility, those are going to be completely shredded.

Whalen: Vacate Walker's Proposition 8 Decision

Ed Whalen is back with another nonsensical article, arguing in the National Review that since Judge Vaughn Walker, who was appointed by George H. W. Bush, is openly gay, his decision to overturn Proposition 8 should be vacated and he should have been disqualified from ruling on the case in the first place. Using Whalen’s logic, white judges should be barred from ruling on cases involving white people, female judges should not be allowed to rule on cases involving women, and Jewish judges should be prohibited from ruling on cases involving Jews or Judaism:

In taking part in the Perry case, Judge Walker was deciding whether Proposition 8 would bar him and his same-sex partner from marrying. Whether Walker had any subjective interest in marrying his same-sex partner — a matter on which Walker hasn’t spoken — is immaterial under section 455(a). (If Walker did have such an interest, his recusal also would be required by other rules requiring that a judge disqualify himself when he knows that he has an “interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.”) Walker’s own factual findings explain why a reasonable person would expect him to want to have the opportunity to marry his partner: A reasonable person would think that Walker would want to have the opportunity to take part with his partner in what “is widely regarded as the definitive expression of love and commitment in the United States.” A reasonable person would think that Walker would want to decrease the costs of his same-sex relationship, increase his wealth, and enjoy the physical and psychological benefits that marriage is thought to confer.



Now that Walker has finally disclosed facts that would have warranted his disqualification from Perry, the appropriate remedy is for the Ninth Circuit — or, if necessary, the Supreme Court — to vacate Walker’s judgment upon a request by Prop 8 proponents. As the Supreme Court ruled more than two decades ago in Liljeberg v. Health Services Acquisition Corp. (1988), where a district judge has violated section 455(a) by deciding a case that he should have disqualified himself from, it is “appropriate to vacate the judgment unless it can be said that [the losing party] did not make a timely request for relief, or that it would otherwise be unfair to deprive the prevailing party of its judgment.” In that case, the losing party did not learn of the facts requiring disqualification until ten months after the court of appeals had affirmed the district court’s judgment, so the question was whether the judgment that had become final on appeal should nonetheless be set aside. The Court found the request for relief to be timely, as the delay was attributable to the judge’s failure to disclose the facts requiring disqualification. A request now by Prop 8 proponents to vacate Walker’s judgment would indisputably be timely (and would clearly not involve any unfairness to the Perry plaintiffs), as the appeal on the merits is still pending, and Walker has only now revealed the information requiring his disqualification.

Santorum To Join The Family Leader In Iowa

Bob Vander Plaats’s The Family Leader just announced that Rick Santorum will join them for two events in early May. The Family Leader is an obsessive, militantly anti-gay organization that wants to remove the entire Iowa Supreme Court for ruling in favor of marriage equality. Already, likely presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty and Ron Paul have joined Vander Plaats for his religious right group’s Presidential Lecture Series, and Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain plan to address the group this summer:

The goal of the Presidential Lecture Series is to provide an educational platform whereby Iowans can learn about the pro-family vision of national leaders.

Come and hear the pro-family lecture of former Senator Rick Santorum on Monday, May 2, 2011.

University of Iowa Iowa Memorial Union - Ballroom 125 N. Madison St., Iowa City, IA 52242 9:00 AM

Pella Christian High School, 300 Eagle Lane, Pella, IA 50219 Vermeer Auditorium 12:30 PM

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann Dordt College, 498 4th Ave. NE, Sioux Center, IA 51250 Campus Center 4:30 PM

Come hear the following leaders on these upcoming dates:
June 6 - Herman Cain
July 11 - Speaker Newt Gingrich
August - TBA
September - TBA
October - TBA

"Ex-Gay" Activists Want To Crash The Day Of Silence

While the American Family Association and Liberty Counsel are calling on parents to prevent their children from attending school today and Concerned Women for America is encouraging a “Day of Silence Walk Out,” other Religious Right groups are trying to add anti-gay “balance” to today’s Day of Silence. Focus on the Family’s Day of Dialogue, which will take place on Monday in order to directly follow the Day of Silence, wants to help students they believe are “messed up sexually.” The “Day of Dialogue” is the successor to the ex-gay ministry Exodus International’s Day of Truth, and continues to employ the same anti-gay rhetoric as the group urges students to use stories like one from Rochelle, about the deleterious consequences of “embracing a lesbian lifestyle”:

Yet the further I plunged into lesbianism, the greater the void in my soul grew. I found girlfriends and guy friends; went to social events, gay bookstores and clubs; wore the clothes, talked the talk, and tried to become the person I thought I was, but deep inside I still was unsatisfied. What appeared to be a wonderful, enriching lifestyle turned out to be an illusion. It looked thrilling and exciting, but in reality, there was backbiting and selfishness, much as I’d already experienced in heterosexuality. People I encountered weren’t satisfied and confident; they were depressed, empty, and anxious, just like I was. What I thought would bring me life and community left only brokenness and bitterness in its wake.

Jeff Johnston, the group’s “gender and homosexuality analyst,” discussed his “road out of homosexuality,” which he blames on his early exposure to pornography, and his experience attending a conference called “Hope and Healing for the Homosexual”:

I learned at this event that I wasn’t alone – there were others in the church who wrestled with same-sex attractions. Some of them had walked away from homosexuality. I also learned that there might be some influencing factors in my life that had steered me toward homosexual thoughts and feelings, my early sexual experiences, for example. And I began talking to people about my struggle.



I wouldn’t trade any of my life now for “gay pride” or for “being gay.” There is such freedom in living a life without trying to push down all those secrets, dark thoughts and feelings. There is joy in being a father and a husband. And there is peace in being forgiven.

Like Focus on the Family, the group Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) wants students to learn about “former homosexuals” and accuses the Day of Silence of “intolerance of ex-homosexuals”:

Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), says homosexual activists are censoring her group's point of view. "We would love people to make the decision to leave homosexuality, but they can't make a decision when they don't even know former homosexuals exist," she contends.

Pro-homosexual groups are promoting today's Day of Silence to encourage students to remain silent for a day at school to protest society's intolerance of homosexuals and cross-dressers. But Griggs wonders if they are concerned about the intolerance of ex-homosexuals.

"If you're going to worry about sexual orientation non-discrimination and pick a day every year to host it, shouldn't that include all sexual orientations, such as former homosexuals," the PFOX executive director questions. "Where are their rights?"

So she is encouraging students to distribute her organization's literature in schools today so that the message of hope will reach a hurting community.

Staver: Stop "The Intolerance Promoted By The Day Of Silence"

We already know that Liberty Counsel, like other Religious Right groups, zealously opposes programs designed to stop bullying if they include bullying based on sexual orientation. Matt Barber, Director of Cultural Affairs with Liberty Counsel, decried such anti-bullying programs as a “homo-fascist tactic” and a “‘Trojan Horse’ strategy,” saying that high suicide rates among gay and lesbian youth is because “kids who are engaging in homosexual behavior often look inward and know that what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, is immoral, and so they become depressed and the instances of suicide can rise there as well.” Liberty Counsel’s Public Policy Analyst Shawn Akers dubbed bullying-prevention initiatives as “a form of indoctrination and reeducation that smacks of socialist and communist countries.”

Now, the group’s founder Mat Staver is deriding tomorrow’s Day of Silence for allegedly propagating a “radical sexualized agenda.” Like the American Family Association, Liberty Counsel is urging a boycott. The Day of Silence is an event where students take a vow of silence to show their solidarity with children who are bullied, harassed or attacked due to their sexual orientation, but Liberty Counsel claims that it is “not protected under the First Amendment” and part of the “homosexual and transsexual promotion agenda.” In another attempt by far-right groups to play the victim, Liberty Counsel claims that the Day of Silence makes students “feel like outsiders” and pushes “intolerance” by protesting the marginalization and bullying of gay students.

Parents and students will protest the so-called “Day of Silence” agenda tomorrow. Last year, some parents chose to withdraw their children from any school that promotes the Day of Silence. The Day of Silence is a project of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which promotes a radical sexualized agenda, including the promotion of books that encourage sex between adults and minors.

Parents are encouraged to call the schools their children attend and tell them the reason their children will not be attending. School administrators usually listen, because the school loses money for each absence.

The Day of Silence has been turned into a homosexual and transsexual promotion agenda. Neither students nor public school teachers or staff should be forced to promote homosexual behavior.

School teachers should be aware that students do not have the right to remain silent when they are called upon by teachers. Conduct on the part of a student that causes a substantial disruption or material interference with school activities is not protected under the First Amendment. Students cannot learn if they refuse to participate in class, and they harm other students’ experience by not contributing to a dialogue of learning.

School administrators do not have to promote the Day of Silence. In those states that require abstinence instruction, schools do not have to recognize clubs that promote sexual activities.

Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, said, “The Day of Silence is not about tolerance or bullying. It is about pushing a sexual agenda. Students and staff who disagree with a radical sexualized agenda are demonized and made to feel like outsiders. Children should be afforded a rigorous education opportunity and not be forced to accept a radical sexualized agenda subsidized with tax dollars. Parents and lawmakers should take the time to learn about the extreme views of GLSEN and the intolerance promoted by the Day of Silence.”

Shouldn't a "Day of History" Feature Actual Historians?

When Rith Aragon, Secretary of Oklahoma's Department of Veterans Affairs, writes a column explaining that as a former elementary teacher and principal she understands the need for students to learn and understand our history, we completely agree. 

But where she loses us is when she announces that she'll be hosting a "Day of History" event at the Oklahoma History Center featuring "historian David Barton":

That's why I am excited to emcee the professional development workshop, “A Day of History,” on April 29 at the Oklahoma History Center. Teachers and the general public across Oklahoma are invited to learn about ways to make the nation's founding come alive from nationally known author and historian David Barton and University of Oklahoma professor J. Rufus Fears.

Barton may be many things, but he is not a historian. Which raises the question as to why the Oklahoma History Center, which is an "affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute," is allowing Barton to use its facility [PDF] to spread his patented brand of pseudo-history:

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LEARN Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 09/20/2011, 10:15am
Ever since Rick Perry help his public prayer rally in August, we have been noting how organizers of that event have been hard at work promoting something called "Champion The Vote" which is a Religious Right voter mobilization effort designed to get "5 million unregistered conservative Christians to register and vote according to the Biblical worldview in 2012." The Champion The Vote effort is of project of a group called United in Purpose, which is an organization that seeks to "mobilize 40 million out of the estimated 60 million evangelicals in the United... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 09/08/2011, 2:43pm
Prior to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally, we posted video of one of the rally’s official endorsers, John Benefiel, claiming that demonic spirits ruling Washington, D.C. were literally warping the minds of politicians and elected officials. Benefiel, who leads the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network, is not alone in this view. David Barton, the right-wing pseudo-historian who has counseled leading Republicans like Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee, similarly believes that demonic principalities are literally controlling parts of... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 09/02/2011, 4:16pm
Anti-Islam activist Robert Spencer wants to see Rick Perry "make some kind of public statement that he understands the jihad threat." FRC says it delivered fifty-five thousand petitions to NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg to include clergy in the 9/11 memorial service. Jim Garlow says he'll probably support Rick Perry once Newt Gingrich drops out. I just find it funny to see anyone affiliated with the AFA complaining about "incendiary words." Finally, quote of the day from James Robison: "I will expose evil, damaging practices,... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 08/30/2011, 3:20pm
For the last several weeks, the Religious Right has been hyping allegations from Kelly Shackleford and his Liberty Institute claiming that the Department of Veterans Affairs has instituted a ban on "the use of Christian words or phrases at veterans’ funerals." Liberty Institute has even launched a website called "Don't Tear Us Down" which claims that "Jesus is not welcome at gravesides" and the campaign is receiving support from other Religious Right groups like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association. Today the New York Times took a... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 08/26/2011, 3:00pm
The American Family Association published a guide to Judaism by ‘Probe Ministries,’ which works “through balanced, biblically based scholarship, training people to love God by renewing their minds and equipping the Church to engage the world for Christ.” The post includes advice and encouragement for Christians looking to convert Jews to Christianity and claims that Jews and Christians “do not worship the same God.” While it comes as no surprise that the AFA would promote such a message, it might come as one to the "Judeo" part of the "Judeo-... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 08/22/2011, 10:15am
Last week, we noted that C. Peter Wagner was growing the recent attention and criticism his New Apostolic Reformation movement has been receiving and sent out an email trying to downplay all of their talk of taking dominion. It now seems like this is becoming a pattern as Os Hillman, a leading Seven Mountains advocate and the man behind Reclaim7Mountains.com, is also seeking to downplay all that dominionism talk: An important understanding and distinction must be stated at this point. Dominion, or perhaps a better word to use is influence, is a result of our love and obedience to God, not a... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 08/11/2011, 1:31pm
Michele Bachmann regularly speaks about her work in Minnesota to advance homeschooling and charter schools, and she even co-founded a Christian-themed charter school that helped launch her political career. According to the New York Times, “state and local school officials warned the school that it was at risk of losing its charter” for running afoul of code, and Bachmann ultimately had her “children enrolled in private Christian schools.” Her mentor John Eidsmoe in God & Caesar details the case against public schools that may have influenced Bachmann’s early... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 08/08/2011, 1:06pm
As we have said time and time and time again, David Barton may be a lot of things, but he is not a historian. Of course, that has not stopping people like Mike Huckabee from routinely hailing Barton as "the single best historian in America today." So I imagine it will come as quite a surprise to the Religious Right to learn that Barton does not consider himself to be a historian, as he explained on an episode of "Face to Face" with Oral Roberts University President Mark Rutland: Barton: I really kind of do a whole lot of all of it, but I don't consider myself a... MORE >