LEARN

Joseph Farah Eulogizes Ted Kennedy

Would you expect anything else

I know there's an old adage that one shouldn't speak ill of the dead.

But I don't subscribe to the idea that when evil and foolish people die we should pretend they were something other than evil and foolish.

And Ted Kennedy was evil and foolish.

He wasn't just a politician with whom I disagreed.

He was a rotten man – a wicked man.

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Over four decades he has served as a kind of "enemy within" the American political system – attempting to elicit the support of the Soviet Union against President Reagan's policies in the 1980s, ignoring the tax-cutting prescription of his elder brother, failing to learn the real lessons of Vietnam, failing even to learn the lessons of his own brother's errors of appeasement in the Bay of Pigs, practicing his own unique brand of plantation racism and blaming America for all the problems of the world. That's Ted Kennedy.

That even one of the 50 states would deem him worthy of serving in the U.S. Senate for most of his life is something of a national disgrace.

Have I mentioned that, next month, Mike Huckabee will be headlining an event that Farah is co-hosting?

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.

Texas Curriculum: Thurgood Marshall Out, Newt Gingrich In?

Back in April, the Texas Freedom Network reported that the Texas State Board of Education had named both David Barton of WallBuilders and the Rev. Peter Marshall, who suggests that California wildfires and Hurricane Katrina were divine punishments for tolerance of homosexuality, to its social studies curriculum “experts” panel.

When Barton and Marshall released their recommendations for changing the curriculum, they suggested, among other things, dropping mentions of both César Chavez and Thurgood Marshall.

"Review committees" are now putting together a draft of a new curriculum based on recommendations from the "expert" panel and it looks they are set to fill their history books with figures like Newt Gingrich, James Dobson, and Phyllis Schlafly:

Texas high school students would learn about such significant individuals and milestones of conservative politics as Newt Gingrich and the rise of the Moral Majority under the first draft of new standards for public school history textbooks, but nothing about people or groups considered more liberal.

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The first draft for proposed standards in "United States History Studies Since Reconstruction" says students should be expected "to identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly and the Moral Majority."

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Conservatives form the largest bloc on the 15-member State Board of Education, whose partisan makeup is 10 Republicans and five Democrats.

David Bradley, R-Beaumont, one of the conservative leaders, figures that the current draft will pass a preliminary vote along party lines "once the napalm and smoke clear the room."

But not all conservative board members share that view.

"It is hard to believe that a majority of the writing team would approve of such wording," said Terri Leo, R-Spring. "It’s not even a representative selection of the conservative movement, and it is inappropriate."

Another board conservative, Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, said he thinks that students should study both sides to "see what the differences are and be able to define those differences."

He would add James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, conservative talk show host Sean Hannity and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to the list of conservatives. Others have proposed adding talk show host Rush Limbaugh and the National Rifle Association.

Mercer says he would also mention groups like the National Education Association, MoveOn.org, Planned Parenthood and the Texas Freedom Network so that students will be "able to identify what’s conservative ... [a]nd what is liberal in contrast."

MOAA Debunks Its Own DADT Survey

The other day, the American Family Association's OneNewsNow ran an article claiming that a recent poll conducted by the Military Officers Association of America showed that members of the military overwhelming oppose efforts to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell:

One of the leading activists opposed to homosexuals serving in the U.S. military says she's pleased that a recent poll of military officers shows overwhelming support for the 1993 ban enacted during the Clinton administration.

The poll was conducted by the Military Officers Association of America, or MOAA, with the results recently published in The Washington Times. By a two-to-one margin, the MOAA survey respondents favored the current policy or an even stronger law regarding the ban of homosexuals from military service. The survey also found that 68 percent of respondents believe that repeal of the law would have a negative effect on troop morale and military readiness.

Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, says this survey has effectively torpedoed the high-powered PR campaign for homosexuals in the military.

"What they're saying here is, 'Mr. President and Congress, we support this law. We think it would be disruptive to repeal it. And we ask that you support the law or certainly not go along with any efforts to undermine or repeal that law,'" she notes.

The Washington Times article in question noted that while the "organization consists of about 370,000 members representing every branch of the armed forces," the web-based survey it conducted only "received 1,664 responses." But that was apparently enough for the paper to declare that the "majority of American service members oppose integrating gays openly in the military" and for OneNewsNow and Donnelly to declare that the "survey has effectively torpedoed the high-powered PR campaign for homosexuals in the military."

Not so fast, says Col Marv Harris, MOAA's Director of Public Relations, who sent a message to David Hart explaining that the survey was "statistically invalid [and] not a reliable indicator of how a population feels about an issue":

To seek some member input, MOAA developed a five-question survey for MOAA members and put it on the MOAA web site and highlighted it in the legislative update. Web surveys aren't a reliable tool, but it was our only option to let members respond because we did not have time to develop a mail-out survey to a statistically valid random sample of members before the November meeting.

As it turned out, only about 500 people took the survey over 11 days. Because of the low response and indications that some non-members were passing the survey around to their friends in an effort to skew the results, we concluded that the results could not be considered a valid representation of member views and removed the link to the survey from our web site. Only recently did we learn that the data was still accessible if someone had written down the original link to it. We've since removed it.

The Board, in determining its position, considered inputs from members of the Board (particularly those currently serving), the Currently Serving Advisory Committee, and the MOAA staff. They agreed that the survey results were too skimpy and unreliable to be of any validity.

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We are declining to provide a copy of the survey or discuss the results. The survey was statistically invalid for the reasons stated above, and therefore not a reliable indicator of how a population feels about an issue.

To its credit, MOAA is refusing to stand by the "results" of this survery, but I highly doubt that will stop Donnelly from continuing to cite it as "proof" in her campaign to protect the military from the scourge of homosexuality.

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.

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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!

Barton Says Thomas Jefferson Would Make The Religious Right Look Moderate

Last week we noticed that David Barton was scheduled for a segment on Mike Huckabee's weekend program on Fox News.  We assumed that Barton would use the opportunity to spread his bogus, one-sided views that America was founded as a distinctly Christian nation and that is exactly what he did, giving his standard presentation about how essentially every one of the Founding Fathers was a dyed-in-the-wool Christian believer, including Thomas Jefferson who, Barton claims, was, even as "the least religious founder [was] way out there even further than most Religious Right today would be."

One of Barton's central claims is that the majority of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution held seminary degrees, thus making them extremely religious.  This was a claim that Huckabee himself made during his presidential election and one that was quickly shot down:

During the Republican debate, Mike Huckabee said he believes one of the defining issues facing the country is the sanctity of human life. Arguing that the issue is of historical importance, he invoked the Declaration of Independence's rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and said that most of the signers of the declaration were clergymen.

Not even close.

Only one of the 56 was an active clergyman, and that was John Witherspoon. Witherspoon was a Presbyterian minister and president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University).

A few more of the signers were former clergymen, though it's a little unclear just how many. The conservative Heritage Foundation said two other signers were former clergymen. The religion web site Adherents.com said four signers of the declaration were current or former full-time preachers. But everyone agrees only Witherspoon was an active minister when he signed the Declaration of Independence.

One issue that may contribute to the confusion about which signers had a history in the clergy is that during the time the Declaration was written, people who studied at universities often received doctorates of divinity, a common degree designation, even if they were not working clergy, said Mary Jenkins of the Independence National Historical Park. As for religious affiliations, all of the signers were Protestant Christians with one exception, Charles Carroll of Maryland, who was Roman Catholic.

We'd like to give Huckabee every benefit of the doubt, but even if you consider former clergymen among the signers the best you could come up with is four. Out of 56. That's not "most," that's Pants-on-Fire wrong.

It's pretty obvious that Huckabee got this "fact" directly from Barton and that the two have a close personal relationship, as demonstrated by the fact that Huckabee introduced Barton by proclaiming that he is " a big fan and, for the past several years, a friend" of his. This reinforced Huckabee's past statements that Barton is "the greatest living historian on the spiritual nature of America's early days" and maybe even the single best historian in America today.

We've written a great deal about Barton's "history" in the past and how he uses it to further the Religious Right's political agenda, including this report on his work from a few years ago entitled "Propaganda Masquerading as History."

But Barton's mission can basically be summed up with this explanation he gave of his work last year, which is to try and ensure that every aspect of this nation's life operates in accordance with Biblical principles:

The Bible clearly teaches that the way people view their own history affects the way they behave. God wants us to know our history and learn its lessons. At WallBuilders, we present American history, and we do so with a Providential perspective. In short, history not only shows God’s workings and plans but it also demonstrates the effectiveness of biblical principles when applied to church, education, government, economics, family, entertainment, military or any other aspect of life.

For Barton, History and Religion Are One And The Same

Back in April, it was reported that David Barton had been appointed to serve on the Texas State Board of Education's "panel of experts" tasked with examining the state's social studies curriculum.

At the time, Barton made is clear that his goal was to ensure that the standards better reflected his right-wing views regarding our nation's history, especially as it pertained to the issue of religion, but vowed to be so thoroughly accurate that nobody would be able to question his biased recommendations:

Barton expects outside groups to "holler and scream" about his recommendations to fix those errors due to the fact that he is a Christian and a conservative. But he adds that he and other members of the panel will give recommendations that are so historically accurate that board members will have a hard time refuting them.

Needless to say, it came as no surprise that when Barton unveiled his recommended changes [PDF], it contained a heavy focus on the need to teach students about the religious aspects of the nation's history:

Understanding American Government. Students [Grade 5 (a)(1), (b)(16)] are told to “identify the roots of representative government in this nation as well as the important ideas in the Declaration of Independence,” but nowhere are those ideas specifically identified. Students should be familiar with the fundamental principles of America government set forth in the 126 words in the first three sentences at the beginning of the Declaration and those principles should be regularly reviewed throughout their tenure as a student:

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitles them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

(It is from this section that students are to recite by memory under state law.)

The principles set forth here and subsequently secured in the Constitution and Bill of Rights include:

1. There is a fixed moral law derived from God and nature
2. There is a Creator
3. The Creator gives to man certain unalienable rights
4. Government exists primarily to protect God-given rights to every individual
5. Below God-given rights and moral law, government is directed by the consent of the governed

Students must also understand the Framers’ very explicit (and very frequent) definition of inalienable rights as being those rights given by God to every individual, independent of any government anywhere (as John Adams explained, inalienable rights are those rights that are “antecedent to all earthly government; rights [that] cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights [that are] derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe”). The inalienable rights specifically listed in the Declaration include those of life, liberty, and property, and the Bill of Rights subsequently identified other inalienable rights, including freedoms of religion, press, speech, assembly, and petition; the right of self-defense; the sanctity of the home; and due process. Each of these rights is to remain beyond the scope of government and is to be protected inviolable by government. These fundamental five precepts of American government must be thoroughly understood by students, but they are not currently addressed in the TEKS.

This is standard procedure for Barton: claiming that he is merely explaining history while focusing entirely on promoting his claims that American was fundamentally designed to be a Christian nation. 

In fact, he has more or less admitted that to ABC News

David Barton, president of the Texas-based Christian heritage advocacy group WallBuilders, is another expert on the panel who would like to see changes made to the school curriculum.

"I think there should be more of an emphasis on history in the social studies curriculum," Barton said. "If there is an emphasis on history, there will be a demonstration of religion."

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Barton told ABCNews.com that he believes Texas' public school curriculum should "reflect the fact that the U.S. Constitution was written with God in mind."

And this is exactly the sort of result one would expect when a biased pseudo-historian like Barton is appointed to a "panel of experts" tasked with evaluating public school curriculum.

Hate Crimes Legislation is a Jewish Plot for World Domination

Last week I wrote a post based on a revelation from Ted Pike that he apparently has regular contact with Janet Porter, but that Porter had been "reamed out" by Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition for associating with Pike and that, in response, Porter told Pike that if he ever publicly revealed that they spoke to one another, she would stop talking to him entirely.

Porter has had Pike on her radio program at least twice in recent months to discuss hates crimes legislation and apparently they have been working together in fighting the legislation ever since, which Pike opposes because he sees it as part of the plot by Jews to destroy and enslave Christian, which is why the Anti-Defamation League lists Pike in its Extremism in America database:

To promote his virulent anti-Semitic ideology, Pike often works under the guise of opposing federal hate crimes legislation and upholding free speech and Christian values. He gives interviews to extremist cable TV and Internet radio shows to further disseminate his anti-Semitic views and also links from his organization's Website to various anti-Semitic sites. Similarly, a variety of extremists, including neo-Nazis, post Pike's columns to their own hate sites, where they praise Pike's anti-Semitic invective.

If you want to know what ADL means when it says that Pike uses hate crimes legislation to spread his virulent anti-Semitic ideology, you need look no further than this new piece he just published on his website in which he calls Israel "the Great Harlot" and claims that the legislation is key part of the effort by "organized world Jewry" to gain "world dominion," funnel Christians into concentration camps and bring about the Anti-Christ:

We need to help make the hate law unenforceable by resisting and disobeying inevitable government edicts (particularly as precedents from liberal courts) to limit free speech. This will require willingness to suffer for the cause of truth and freedom. To help empower such courage we must continue widespread education against hate laws (such as exists at www.truthtellers.org). We must publicize as widely as possible the fact that a cabal of liberal Jewish supremacists is behind all hate laws worldwide. These, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, says are in “relentless attack on evangelical Christians.” Only through encountering massive public resistance and exposure will ADL/B’nai B’rith (organized world Jewry) be slowed on their fast track to world dominion.

The epicenter of such liberal Jewish attack on Christian civilization is the state of Israel. Israel is a nation founded on theft, repression, and terror (See, Israel: Founded on Terror). Despite its claim to democracy, it is one of the most repressive speech crime regimes in the world. In 1920 Christians constituted 20% of the inhabitants of Palestine. Now, as a result of decades of official harassment and discrimination as well as “anti-missionary” laws criminalizing even casual conversations about Christ with Jews, only 2% of Israelis are Christians. The Israeli government continues to look the other way as Messianic Christian Jews in Israel suffer constant harassment, discrimination and even violence, especially from ultra-Orthodox zealots (See website of Lura Maimon Beckford). Knesset continues to propose even stricter speech crime laws against Christians.

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[B]ecause Jewish supremacism wants to destroy and enslave Christian/conservatives, the present “turn to the left” to which Dobson referred is actually a left turn into the steel gates of an international concentration camp with the clink of its padlock fastened behind us. The direction to the left in which we are now hurtling is part of the same Talmudic/Kabbalistic conspiracy that incited Jewish takeover of Russia in 1917. (See, Jewish Activists Created Communism ) In all its forms, Jewish-inspired Communism has killed more than 100 million, including millions of Christians. If ADL/B’nai B’rith and organized world Jewry are successful in uniting the world under its control, such atrocities will be repeated and probably even exceeded across a blood-stained planet. (Watch, Ted Pike's Zionism and Christianity: Unholy Alliance) Revelation 18:2 tells us that the garments of the Great Harlot, Israel, are drenched with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. (See, Israel: On the Way to Empire in the Mideast ) ADL/B’nai B’rith represents an unbroken chain of anti-Christian/Gentile hatred and desire for revenge going back to those who crucified Jesus, the Pharisees. As the Book of Acts relates, ADL’s forefathers did their best to destroy the infant church in the first century AD. ADL wants to finish the job tomorrow, under its false messiah, the one-world ruler, Anti-Christ.

So just let me reiterate that this man has been on Janet Porter's radio program twice so far this year and that Porter co-chaired Mike Hucakbee's Faith and Family Values Coalition during his presidential campaign and will be co-hosting the How To Take Back America Conference at which Huckabee will speak in September.

The Important Difference Between "Could" and "Did"

Via Americans United, we learn that the Community Issues Council spent $50,000 to rent billboards in Florida proclaiming there is no such thing as the separation of church and state:

That’s what Floridians will see as they drive through Pinellas and Hillsborough counties near Tampa Bay, Fla., during the next six months.

A local fundamentalist group has decided to wage war on church-state separation by posting ten billboard advertisements that send the message that “America’s government was made only for people who are moral and religious.”

The billboards highlight quotes from our Founding Fathers that are misleading, false or taken out of context.

AU points to this billboard in particular:

They point out that there is no evidence that Washington ever said this, but the CIC's president, Terry Kemple, doesn't really care:

Others carry the same message but with fictional attribution, as with one billboard citing George Washington for the quote, "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."

"I don't believe there's a document in Washington's handwriting that has those words in that specific form," Kemple said. "However, if you look at Washington's quotes, including his farewell address, about the place of religion in the political sphere, there's no question he could have said those exact words."

A look at the CIC's "No Separation" website shows that they are apparently relying heavily on the "scholarship" of David Barton ... but even Barton admits that this quote cannot be attributed to Washington.

But apparently the fact that Washington never said it isn't going to stop the CIC from claiming that he did, because it's something that he "could have said."

Of course, George Washington could have said a lot of things:

Can Someone Be Too Crazy For Janet Porter? Yes and No

Despite the fact that we had apparently written about him a few times, I was not familiar with Ted Pike until today.  We had apparently mentioned him back in 2006 when he signed on to some letter with a bunch of other right-wing activists like Paul Weyrich, Sandy Rios, Robert Knight, Dr. Paul Cameron, Peter LaBarbera, Gary Glenn, and Brian Camenker calling on then-Governor Mitt Romney "to declare immediately that homosexual “marriage” licenses issued in violation of the law are illegal and to issue an order to all state and local officials to cease violating the law."

And we mentioned him again not long after that when he said that hate crimes legislation was “the most dangerous legislation ever to come before Congress,” claiming that it would “lead inexorably to the end of free speech.”

But that was about it, until I stumbled across this post he wrote on his National Prayer Network website complaining about how his right-wing allies don't want to be seen as having anything to do with him:

For the past seven months, I have repeatedly seen the religious right ignore vital information about the hate bill threat and opportunities to defeat it for only one possible reason: they didn't want to be seen as influenced by me.

After Janet Porter, head of Faith2Action, informed me that conservative witnesses were being turned away by Sen. Leahy’s Senate Judiciary Committee, I immediately quoted her, mounting a national campaign of protest. She called back to tell me that Andrea Lafferty of Traditional Values Coalition and some of her radio listeners had “reamed her out" for even talking to me! She warned me that if ever again I mentioned publicly that I had talked to her, she would never answer any call from me -- even concerning an imminent hate bill threat!

Now why would Janet Porter get "reamed out" by Andrea Lafferty for talking to Pike?

Maybe this is why:

Ted Pike, the national director of the Oregon-based National Prayer Network, has for years engaged in an anti-Semitic campaign that denigrates the Jewish religion, as well as what he perceives as Jewish-controlled organizations and leaders. Through a series of Web-based articles, Internet radio interviews, videotapes, and books, Pike constantly claims Jewish control over the government and media and asserts Jewish hatred of Christians and the alleged desire of "evil" Jewish leaders and organizations to control what Christian Americans do and say.

To promote his virulent anti-Semitic ideology, Pike often works under the guise of opposing federal hate crimes legislation and upholding free speech and Christian values. He gives interviews to extremist cable TV and Internet radio shows to further disseminate his anti-Semitic views and also links from his organization's Website to various anti-Semitic sites. Similarly, a variety of extremists, including neo-Nazis, post Pike's columns to their own hate sites, where they praise Pike's anti-Semitic invective.

It should be pointed out that Porter had Pike on her radio show on both May 4 and April 28 of this year and that, at least according to Pike, she didn't say that she was going to stop talking to him, merely that she would stop taking his calls only if he mentioned publicly that they were in contact.

I've often wondered just what someone would have to do in order to be shunned by the likes of Janet Porter, considering that she apparently knows no limits herself.  Now we know: promote virulent anti-Semitic ideology ... and only then will they be cut off if they make their connection to Porter known. 

Have I mentioned that Porter is going to be co-hosting the upcoming How To Take Back America Conference featuring Mike Huckabee and Michelle Bachmann and served as co-chair of Huckabee's Faith and Family Values Coalition during his presidential campaign?  Just wanted to point that out.

Alan Keyes Is (The Only One) Making Sense!

The emerging convention wisdom among the Religious Right and conservative commentators regarding Sarah Palin's abrupt decision to resign before the end of her sole term as Governor seems to be that she was hounded out of office by Democrats, bloggers, and mean people who criticized her.

Gary Bauer says "she was tired of being harassed" but that her decision is "a move that could end up serving her very well."

Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America decried the "dirty politics" that forced Palin out, saying no other politician in "public life has ever had her children and family so maligned and attacked so brutally, explicitly, and disrespectfully" but likewise believes that Palin will "find a way back into national politics, and she'll be a formidable force when she does."

Matthew Continetti of The Weekly Standard, who has a book called "The Persecution of Sarah Palin" coming out next year, just wrote an article for the next issue in which he explains that she has been "trapped" in the Governor's office and has now been set free. Continetti explains that, in her short time in office, Palin has been so successful that not only did not need to run again, but that she didn't even have to finish out her first term and that she had finally become fed-up with the incessant attacks:

As the months passed, Palin arrived at the conclusion that she didn't want a second term as Alaska's governor. She had achieved what she had set out to do, so why bother with one more lame-duck legislative session in 2010? "I know that we've accomplished more in our two years in office than most governors could hope to accomplish in two terms," Palin said. "And that's because I hired the right people." For Palin to remain shuttling between Juneau, Anchorage, and Wasilla would waste both her and her constituents' time. And "I cannot waste time," she said. "I cannot waste resources."

...

Why is Palin leaving? At this writing, there is no reason to doubt her stated position: Her enemies' concerted efforts to tear her down have caused her family financial stress and distracted her from her duties as governor. Since she returned to Alaska in November 2008, she has been hemmed in. Ethics complaints, insults, invective, undue attention, and legal bills have been all-consuming. "I can't fight for what's right when I'm shackled to the governor's seat," Palin said. For the last seven months the governor's office has been a ward. A trap. She is breaking free.

...

Unable or unwilling to grasp her true accomplishments and character, the media shoehorned Palin into a ready-made caricature of the know-nothing Christian PTA mom who enters politics because of "those damned lib'ruls." The reality is far different. Palin is a savvy and charismatic politician whose career has been filled with courageous stands against entrenched authority. Ideological or partisan attachments do not concern her. She has her flaws--who doesn't?--but they should be measured against her strengths. Instead the media ignored the positives and colluded with Palin's adversaries to reduce her to a cartoon.

Oddly, the only one who doesn't seem to be buying into the "Palin-as-vicitm" explanation is Alan Keyes, who accuses her of dereliction of duty and "bad statesmanship":

In her speech, Sarah Palin refers to a "recent trip to Kosovo and Landstuhl, to visit our wounded soldiers overseas" and "what we can all learn from our selfless troops ... they're bold, they don't give up and they take a stand …" Here words are an apt reminder of what the faithful performance of duty requires. Soldiers take a stand in the very teeth of enemy fire, even though it means certain death or grievous wounds. There is a word for soldiers who quit their posts because the enemy is shooting at them. It is not intended as a compliment, especially when it's their own bad judgment that has put them in the way of enemy fire in the first place.

Sarah Palin calls to mind our wounded soldiers in the very moment when she fails to follow their heroic example. In the process, she acknowledges that, thanks to the provision of Alaska's taxpayers, she has successfully evaded the cost-free political attacks allowed by "the ethics law I championed." She won! Had Custer won the battle at Little Big Horn, I doubt that anyone would have questioned the money expended for the guns and bullets required to do so. He had a duty to defend his command, especially after his own mistakes exposed it to danger.

Of course, resignation would have been in order once he acknowledged and took responsibility for those mistakes. But Sarah Palin has done no such thing. She claims Alaska is being damaged by the attacks against her, but that the fault lies entirely with the bad motives and actions of others. She says her tenure as governor has been successful; her judgments and actions sound; her record all for the good of the state and its people. But if this is true, it makes no sense to deprive the state of the governor duly elected by the people simply because bad folks attack her. In that case, resigning simply lets the (political) assassins finish their work. How can letting the duly elected governor be taken out in this way be consistent with her sworn duty to defend the state?

If she is without fault or blame, then Palin's explanation makes no sense except as a clear dereliction of duty. She swore faithfully to perform the duties of her office. She claims to have done so. Others have abused the law to attack her. She successfully defended against them. If, as she contends, she has simply been performing her duties, her defense of herself is in fact simply a defense of her office, in the literal sense. To preserve that office with integrity is one of her duties as governor. By resigning, she fails in the performance of that duty. She encourages the "politics of personal destruction" in much the same way that allowing terrorists to succeed encourages further acts of terrorism. This cannot be good for Alaska, and it does not keep faith with the people who elected her. They rightly expected her to defend the integrity of the office, which obviously means standing firm against those who attack its occupant without good reason.

If her stated explanation makes no sense, we are forced to look for an alternative that does. Absent that, we are forced to conclude that her decision to resign is, like championing the law used to harass her, just another example of her bad statesmanship.

You know something bizarre is underway when the only person on the Right who is making any sort of sense is Alan Keyes.

When The Going Gets Tough, The Right Starts A New Group

Despite all of the predictions that the Religious Right was on its deathbed, they sure do seem to be extremely active of late.

Of course, they don't seem to have any new ideas or desire to change their agenda in any way, but in last few months have seen a flurry of new groups popping up designed to fill some unseen void that has been apparently responsible for their current predicament.

In the last few months we seen the arrival of the Faith and Freedom Institute, which was followed by Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition, while Newt Gingrich was unveiling his Renewing American Leadership effort, and Lou Engle was announcing his Call to Action.

And now we come to find out via Pam that pretty much every Religious Right group has joined together under the umbrella of something called The Freedom Federation, incuding Renewing American Leadership and Call to Action, which were just recently created - so now you have two new groups created specifically to fill this void joining a new coalition effort ... designed to fill this very same void:

Press Conference to discuss the formation of the Freedom Federation and its purpose.

The Freedom Federation is a new and unique federation of some of the largest multi-ethnic and transgenerational faith-based organizations in the country committed to plan, strategize, and work together on common interests within the Judeo-Christian tradition to mobilize their grassroots constituencies and to communicate faith and values to the religious, social, cultural, and policymaking institutions.

-- American Association of Christian Counselors
-- American Family Association
-- Americans for Prosperity
-- Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND)
-- Campaign for Working Families
-- Catholic Online
-- Concerned Women for America
-- Conservative Action Project
-- Eagle Forum
-- Exodus International
-- Faith and Action
-- Family Research Council
-- High Impact Leadership
-- Liberty Alliance Action
-- Liberty Counsel
-- Liberty University
-- Life Education and Resource Network (LEARN)
-- Marc Nuttle
-- Morning Star Ministries
-- National Clergy Council
-- National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
-- Renewing American Leadership
-- Strang Communications
-- Teen Mania
-- The Call to Action
-- Traditional Values Coalition
-- Vision America

Wow - did they put this coalition together by going through our list of right-wing organizations and simply inviting all the groups and individuals we write about most frequently to join?  Sorry,  Christian Anti-Defamation Commission  - if only we had written about you a few more times, maybe you would have been deemed worthy of inclusion in this ground-breaking new effort by the Religious Right ... to do whatever it is this new organization is going to do.

Honestly, what purpose can this possibly serve?  Are the Council for National Policy and the Arlington Group somehow lacking and so these groups decided that what they really needed was yet another coalition to carry out the same work?

Anyway, this effort seems to be organized by Rick Scarborough ... or at least he is the first to send out a press release trying to take credit for it:

Today, representatives of some of America's largest faith-based groups gathered in the nation's capital to announce that they will organize and mobilize their grassroots constituencies in a common cause.

At the National Press Club, Vision America President Pastor Rick Scarborough joined other conservative leaders, including Mat Staver, dean of Liberty University Law School and the Federation's convener, to formally announce the formation of the Freedom Federation.

The Federation encompasses individuals of different races, faiths and backgrounds who are committed to the preservation of freedom and American values, founded on the Judeo-Christian tradition. The Freedom Federation is not a separate organization, but an association of like-minded national organizations with large and unique religious and political constituencies.

...

Scarborough commented: "These organizations represent some of the nation's largest constituencies of youth, Hispanics, African-Americans, women, pastors and churches, who are uniting to defend a tradition increasingly under attack."

The Freedom Federation is committed to defending and extending core values expressed in the Declaration of American Values, the organization's founding document. These include the right to life, the institution of marriage, parental rights, religious liberty, an environment free of pornography and indecency, the right to property, freedom from excessive taxation, and national sovereignty. The statement is posted on the Vision America website at www.visionamerica.us.

And here is their Declaration of American Values, which they vow to protect with their lives:

We the people of the United States of America, at this crucial time in history, do hereby affirm the core consensus values which form the basis of America’s greatness, that all men and women from every race and ethnicity are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We adhere to the rule of law embodied in the Constitution of the United States and to the principles of liberty on which America was founded. In order to maintain the blessings of liberty and justice for ourselves and our posterity, and recognizing that personal responsibility is the basis of our self-governing Nation, we declare our allegiance –

1. To secure the sanctity of human life by affirming the dignity of and right to life for the disabled, the ill, the aged, the poor, the disadvantaged, and for the unborn from the moment of conception. Every person is made in the image of God, and it is the responsibility and duty of all individuals and communities of faith to extend the hand of loving compassion to care for those in poverty and distress.

2. To secure our national interest in the institution of marriage and family by embracing the union of one man and one woman as the sole form of legitimate marriage and the proper basis of family.

3. To secure the fundamental rights of parents to the care, custody, and control of their children regarding their upbringing and education.

4. To secure the free exercise of religion for all people, including the freedom to acknowledge God through our public institutions and other modes of public expression and the freedom of religious conscience without coercion by penalty or force of law.

5. To secure the moral dignity of each person, acknowledging that obscenity, pornography, and indecency debase our communities, harm our families, and undermine morality and respect. Therefore, we promote enactment and enforcement of laws to protect decency and morality.

6. To secure the right to own, possess and manage private property without arbitrary interference from government, while acknowledging the necessity of maintaining a proper and balanced care and stewardship of the environment and natural resources for the health and safety of our families.

7. To secure the individual right to own, possess, and use firearms as central to the preservation of peace and liberty.

8. To secure a system of checks and balances between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches within both state and federal governments, so that no one branch – particularly the judiciary – usurps the authority of the other two, and to maintain the constitutional principles of federalism which divide power between the state and federal governments.

9. To secure our national sovereignty and domestic tranquility by maintaining a strong military; establishing and maintaining secure national borders; participating in international and diplomatic affairs without ceding authority to foreign powers that diminish or interfere with our unalienable rights; and being mindful of our history as a nation of immigrants, promoting immigration policies that observe the rule of law and are just, fair, swift, and foster national unity.

10. To secure a system of fair taxes that are not punitive against the institution of marriage or family and are not progressive in nature, and within a limited government framework, to encourage economic opportunity, free enterprise, and free market competition.

We hereby pledge our Names, our Lives and our Sacred Honor to this Declaration of American Values.

Women Just Can't Compete

One thing about this job is that every time you start to think that you have seen every argument imaginable about why letting gays get married with destroy America, you come across something that proves you wrong.  And via Amanda Marcotte, who got it via Dan Savage, we found just one of those things in this new and novel argument from David Klinghoffer, a Senior Fellow at the creationist Discovery Institute. 

Writing on Beliefnet, Klinghoffer offers up the thoughts of Joshua Berman, author of "Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought" on "How Women Will Be Hurt by Gay Marriage." The gist of the argument is that "on the issue of same-sex marriage, we have much to learn from the writers of ancient Rome" where "homoeroticism [was] fully accepted" and, as such, women just simply couldn't compete.

Seriously

Men, we learn from ancient Rome, will enjoy sex with other men, if there is no social censure. Now, all of this should be fine for us as well -- after all, we should let free choice and tolerance reign.

The real problems begin, however, when we read what these writers had to say about marriage. Consider this piece from the first century BCE poet Catullus (Carmen 61:134-141), in which the poet addresses himself to a bridegroom on the eve of his nuptials:

"You are said to find it hard, Perfumed bridegroom, to give up Smooth-skinned boys, but give them up... We realize you've only known Permitted pleasures: husbands, though, Have no right to the same pleasures."

The social history behind this piece is clear: once they've experienced sex with other men, Catullus tells us, men are unsatisfied with what their new wives provide them. Notice that the poet is unconcerned about the husband's dallying with other women -- it's the other men around that threaten the marital union.

If Catullus addressed the bridegroom on the eve of his wedding, the satirist Martial (Book 11, Epigram 43) depicts the reality of married life itself. As satire, the section is too bawdy to be reprinted here, but the sanitized version goes like this: A woman chastises her husband for continuing to dally with male acquaintances. He counters that many other married men are doing it as well. Desperate, she offers to service him in the same way that his male suitor does. He rebuffs, concluding, that she just can't satisfy him the way his suitor can.

And so now we come back to the idyllic day of free choice and tolerance envisioned by the gay and lesbian movement. It turns out that that day has winners and losers. The winners -- big time -- are homosexual men, because the historical record shows that they can expect their potential pool of partners to expand exponentially. Of note here is that this expanded pool of partners accrues to gay men, but not to homosexual women. At the risk of getting too explicit, I leave it the reader's basic grasp of anatomy to figure out why in ancient Rome a man who found pleasure in a woman, could also find pleasure in a man, while the record shows that a heterosexual woman rarely found sexual satisfaction in the company of another woman.

The losers from all this will be the vast majority of women. With full social sanction given to homoerotic activity, the historical precedent suggests that tomorrow's women will have a harder time finding and holding on to suitable men. As women will suffer, so will the vitality and stability of the nuclear family.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Family Research Council and Kansans for Life both endorsed Rep. Todd Tiahrt bid for the Senate today.
  • Two actual Washington, DC residents are challenging Harry Jackson's claims to live in The District.
  • The Parental Rights Amendment continues to pick up co-sponsors.
  • Focus on the Family whines: ""The Obama administration, which refused to send a representative to a Capitol Hill commemoration of the National Day of Prayer, is hosting a White House celebration of what most gay activists regard as the birth of their movement."
  • Thanks goodness for WorldNetDaily - after all, how else would we learn that the Ark of the Covenant is about to be unveiled?

Kern’s Strategy for Republican Success: Expose and Attack Homosexuality

Last week, we noted that Oklahoma state legislator Sally Kern was going to be joining Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel, and others for a press conference to "highlight President Obama's radical homosexual appointments and overall 'gay' agenda."

As far as we know, the event didn't generate any press coverage but via David Hart we learn that LaBarbera has posted Kern's speech on his website during which she sought to explain that "the homosexual agenda is only one symptom of the real problem in America" and that the real "problem is that we have forsaken the Judeo-Christian values upon which this nation was founded." 

Right off the bat, Kern went after Obama:

For the first time in America’s history, we have a president who has no understanding of the Biblical worldview and who has even less understanding of the truths of the Bible. This is evident when he says that support for homosexual “marriage” [unions] can be found in the Sermon on the Mount or that certain passages in Romans are just obscure passages. Whereas George Washington expelled from his military those who practiced sodomy, President Obama honors sodomites by proclaiming an entire month as Gay Pride Month, but he won’t acknowledge one day for our National Day of Prayer.

He won't acknowledge the National Day of Prayer?  Then how does Kern explain this:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 7, 2009, as a National Day of Prayer. I call upon Americans to pray in thanksgiving for our freedoms and blessings and to ask for God's continued guidance, grace, and protection for this land that we love.

Kern went on to blast Obama as "a president who doesn’t know the difference between God-given rights and sinful, perverted behavior" before declaring "these behaviors should be exposed and attacked":

Today many in our churches and even many ministers have forsaken belief in absolute truth and are instead reinterpreting the Bible to justify their behavior. This leads to acceptance of anything and everything.

While conservatives attack the symptoms, like homosexuality or abortion, and these behaviors should be exposed and attacked; however, we should love the people involved in these behaviors and tell them God has a better way.

...

Today we have a national moral crisis and leading the charge against religion and morality is the homosexual agenda with the president carrying their water ... Republicans lost control of Congress because they acted like Democrats. They forgot their conservative roots. But the issue is not whether you’re a Republican, Democrat or whatever. The issue is that if you believe in Judeo-Christian values, you need to wake up and wake up soon before it’s too late.

In short, Kern claims that gays are sinful perverts whose behavior must be both exposed and attacked, all in the name of love ...  and that the Republican Party lost power because it failed to embrace this agenda. 

We can only hope that the GOP takes Kern's warnings seriously and thereby dooms itself to perpetual irrelevance.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • On Top reports that the right-wing anti-marriage rally in New York was something of a flop.
  • Good As You points out that the man running around defending Carrie Prejean just so happens to also be the general counsel for the National Organization For Marriage.
  • Speaking of Prejean, Box Turtle Bulletin notes that NOM is not taking the latest news very well.
  • Josh Harkinson explains the story behind Operation Rescue's plans to buy George Tiller's clinic.
  • Via PZ Myers we learn that Coca-Cola is a corporate partner with the Creationism Museum.
  • Media Matters alerts us to the fact that, in the wake of the shooting at the Holocaust Museum, Newsmax published a piece entitled "Obama Breeds Climate of Hate Against Jews."
  • Steve Benen notes that while Fox News' Shepard Smith is worried that his channel's viewers are increasingly "out there," Fox News keeps running Glenn Beck's program, which is the epitome of "out there."
  • Finally, like Alan Colmes we wonder what the reaction would be if, in the wake of left-wing lunatics shooting people in a series of incidents, a liberal web site were to promote stickers denoting the shooting of conservatives?

Right Wing Reaction to Sotomayor

So, anything happen while I was on vacation? 

Oh yeah, President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court.  And guess what?  The Right already doesn't like her:

Family Research Council:

"President Obama has chosen a nominee with a compelling personal story over judicial pick with a solid constitutional judicial philosophy. A compelling personal story is no substitute for allegiance to the Constitution and its sound application to public life.

"Judge Sotomayor's failure to premise her decisions on the text of the Constitution has resulted in an extremely high rate of reversal before the high court to which she has been nominated.

"With that fact in mind Judge Sotomayor appears to subscribe to a very liberal judicial philosophy that considers it appropriate for judges to impose their personal views from the bench. President Obama promised us a jurist committed to the 'rule of law,' but, instead, he appears to have nominated a legislator to the Supreme Court.

Focus on the Family:

"From what we know about her, Judge Sotomayor considers policy-making to be among a judge’s roles, no matter what the law says," said Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst at Focus on the Family Action. "She disregards the notion of judicial impartiality."

...

Hausknecht said: "The president's professed desire for judges with 'empathy' rather than impartiality might deny the country what the Founding Fathers intended and wrote into the Constitution — judges who dispense justice without regard for the status of any party that comes before them."

Traditional Values Coalition:

To no one’s surprise, President Obama has nominated an individual who supports his position of deciding cases based on who you are, rather than on the facts and the law. Although Sotomayor spoke strongly of the importance of the rule of law and principles of the Founding Fathers, her previous decisions contradict this, as do the previous statements and promises of President Obama.

...

Judge Sotomayor fits the “empathy” qualification. During a law conference, she has openly bragged that she views her role as a judge as a policymaker and activist who will impose her leftist political views on the rest of us. She may have empathy for the poor, gays and minorities – but she is likely to ignore the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law. She is clearly the ideal nominee for President Obama but will be a disaster for our legal system.

Concerned Women for America:

CWA President Wendy Wright said, "A necessary quality for a Supreme Court justice is to be committed to equal treatment of the law, regardless of ethnicity or sex. Sonia Sotomayor has an extensive record and several troubling opinions where she seems willing to expand certain 'rights' beyond what the Constitution establishes and the appropriate Supreme Court precedent. Revealing her immodest bias, she stated that a 'Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.' Congress needs to thoroughly vet Judge Sotomayor and Americans deserve enough time to evaluate her record and her announced bias for certain people. Her high reversal rate alone should be enough for us to pause and take a good look at her record. Frankly, it is the Senate's duty to do so."

Mario Diaz, Esq., CWA's Policy Director for Legal Issues, said, "Much has been made in the media about a Hispanic woman being nominated, but the truth is that none of that should matter as the Senate fulfills its 'advise and consent' role. What matters are the judge's judicial temperament and her view of the Constitution. We must determine if Judge Sotomayor will respect the Constitution as written or legislate from the bench. She has made some disconcerting statements that should require everyone to examine her record with an open mind and reach some conclusions. For example, she said once that 'policy was made at the appellate level,' a very dangerous way of looking at the role of a judge for those of us who value our freedoms as guaranteed in the Constitution."

Judicial Confirmation Network:

"Judge Sotomayor is a liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important than the law as written. She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one's sex, race, and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.

"She reads racial preferences and quotas into the Constitution, even to the point of dishonoring those who preserve our public safety. On September 11, America saw firsthand the vital role of America's firefighters in protecting our citizens. They put their lives on the line for her and the other citizens of New York and the nation. But Judge Sotomayor would sacrifice their claims to fair treatment in employment promotions to racial preferences and quotas. The Supreme Court is now reviewing that decision.

"She has an extremely high rate of her decisions being reversed, indicating that she is far more of a liberal activist than even the current liberal activist Supreme Court."

Committee for Justice:

Having told colleagues that I thought President Obama was too smart to pick someone with as much baggage as Sonia Sotomayor, I was surprised to learn of her nomination. Many other people were surprised as well, given both the widespread expectation that Obama would choose an intellectual heavyweight and Obama’s own recent statement that he would not make gender or race the major factors in his selection. Liberal law professor Jonathan Turley summed it up well on MSNBC yesterday, expressing bewilderment that Obama chose Sotomayor when heavyweights like “[Seventh Circuit Judge] Diane Wood would have met all his criteria.”

The only plausible explanation for Sotomayor’s selection is that the President was boxed in by demands from Hispanic and women’s groups that he pick one of their own. What else could explain his choice of a nominee who presents such a big target for conservatives and so clearly forces red state Democratic senators to choose between the values of their constituents and those of the nominee?

Priests for Life:

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, says he has just one question about Judge Sonia Sotomayor as she is nominated by President Obama for the Supreme Court: "Does justice include the right to tear the arms and legs off of babies, crush their skulls, and treat them as medical waste?"

"We all draw the line somewhere. An avowed racist or anti-Semite is not acceptable on the Supreme Court. Why should we give a pass to the violence of abortion?"

Operation Rescue:

"Just as Obama has attempted to abuse the process of law in reshaping America to the far left, so too Sonia Sotomayor believes in the abuse of judicial authority having stated that courts can create social policy," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "This philosophy dangerously overreaches the duties of the judicial branch and flies in the face of the separation of powers doctrine."

"Sonia Sotomayor is a far left ideologue that blurs the lines between the legislature and judiciary and will surely be a rubber stamp for Obama's radical abortion agenda, which is opposed by the majority of Americans."

Organized for Life:

Peter Shinn, National Director of Organized for Life, commented that, "Sonia Sotomayor is out of step with the American people. Quoted in 2005 as believing that policy comes from the bench, she stands counter to the American people's desire to end the tragedy of abortion."

Ruben Obregon, President of Organized for Life, added, "In nominating Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama chose to further his own pro-abortion agenda rather than seek common ground on the abortion issue. Instead of faithfully representing America's views, President Obama has added another reliably liberal member to the Court who will continue to impose the Court's will on the people. Pro-life activists, the Davids in this epic battle for life, can only stop the Goliath of the White House by banding together and signing the petition at www.stopsotomayor.com."

Vision America:

Scarborough warned: "At age 54, Sotomayor could be a member of the United States Supreme Court for the next 20 years -- or longer. As a dedicated liberal, we know her views on abortion, gay marriage and reverse-discrimination -- whether or not she's ruled directly on these issues."

"That much power simply can't be bestowed by a compliant Senate," Scarborough observed. "This nomination must be stopped dead in its tracks. Sonia Sotomayor isn't a 'centrist,' she's a disaster at every level."

Susan B. Anthony List:

"Women are best protected by the rule of law -- and blind justice. Their rights are most endangered when personal preference, ideology or painful personal history inform judgment. Susan B. Anthony and her early feminist compatriots fought for a human rights standard sustained only through blind justice. When evidence of personal preference appears in any Supreme Court nominee's judgment, it should give all women pause. Given what we know about Judge Sonia Sotomayor's own judicial philosophy -- including her support of policymaking from the bench -- Americans should be concerned about the role of personal preference in her overall judicial philosophy.

When it comes to protecting all human life, one group is never served by undermining the rights of another. Women will never be served by ignoring the rights of unborn children. Judge Sonia Sotomayor's record of support for judicial activism offers little comfort that she will be a friend to the unborn on the Supreme Court. As the Senate fulfills its Constitutional role to 'advise and consent,' Senators should ask the hard questions to thoroughly assess Sotomayor's judicial temperament, and reaffirm the authentic feminist standard of blind justice for all."

Randall Terry:

"The filibuster trail was blazed by President Obama, VP Biden, Majority Leader Reed, Sec State Clinton, and other Democrat leaders in 2005 with Justice Alito. Do GOP leaders have the courage and integrity to filibuster an activist, pro-Roe judge?

"The Democrats have two weak links in their chain; Senators Nelson (NE) and Casey (PA) who both declare they are 'pro-life.' The question of conscience and courage is on the table: will they choose babies' lives or party loyalty?"

Ken Blackwell:

The White House is telling us all about Judge Sotomayor’s compelling personal story — and it is an amazing story of what is possible “only in America.” But compelling personal stories are not the question. Miguel Estrada, whom President George W. Bush nominated to the D.C. Circuit appeals court and was planning on nominating to the Supreme Court, had a compelling story as a Hispanic immigrant who legally came to this country not even speaking English. Democrats filibustered Mr. Estrada.

Supporters point out that Judge Sotomayor was first appointed by George H.W. Bush for the federal trial court — before Bill Clinton elevated her to the Second Circuit appeals court. That’s true, but George H.W. Bush also gave us Justice David Souter, so clearly he wasn’t too careful about putting liberals on the federal bench. We can’t allow the left to hide behind the Bushes.

But when it comes to gun rights, we don’t need to guess. Judge Sotomayor has put in writing what she thinks. President Obama has nominated a radically anti-Second Amendment judge to be our newest Supreme Court justice.

There are a number of pro-Second Amendment Democratic senators from deeply red states, including Mark Begich from Alaska, Jon Tester and Max Baucus from Montana, Ben Nelson from Nebraska, Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad from North Dakota, and Tim Johnson from South Dakota.

These senators will jeopardize their seats if they vote to support an anti-gun radical for the Supreme Court. Second Amendment supporters will now be up in arms over this radical anti-Second Amendment nominee, and you should never underestimate the political power of American gun owners.

Mike Huckabee (after first mistakenly calling her "Maria Sotomayor"):

The appointment of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court is the clearest indication yet that President Obama's campaign promises to be a centrist and think in a bi-partisan way were mere rhetoric. Sotomayor comes from the far left and will likely leave us with something akin to the "Extreme Court" that could mark a major shift. The notion that appellate court decisions are to be interpreted by the "feelings" of the judge is a direct affront of the basic premise of our judicial system that is supposed to apply the law without personal emotion. If she is confirmed, then we need to take the blindfold off Lady Justice.

Richard Viguerie actually issued three different releases, including this one:

"The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor unites all wings of the conservative movement--economic, foreign policy, social, traditional, neocon, and libertarian--in a way we haven't seen since the early Clinton years.

"Judge Sotomayor frightens all conservatives. As the debate over her nomination heats up, conservatives will provide the primary opposition to Sotomayor and will quickly launch a massive educational campaign using direct mail, the Internet, talk radio, cable TV, You Tube, and other forms of new and alternative media.

"It was sad to read that Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele's comment on the Sotomayor nomination reflected the typical reaction Americans have come to expect from Republican politicians when he said that Republicans will reserve judgment on Sotomayor.

"No wonder conservatives now look to talk show hosts and other unelected conservatives for leadership, rather then wet-finger Republican politicians who always seeming to be waiting to see the direction of the political winds.

"It remains to be seen how active and effective Republican politicians will be on this historic fight, but conservatives are on the field, engaged, and ready to battle President Obama and all U.S. Senators who support Sotomayor."

This collection is actually just a fraction of the statements made in opposition to Sotomayor by right-wing groups, but it's more than enough to drive home the point that they appear intent on doing everything they can to oppose her nomination.

Good News: Liberty Counsel Loses

Back in March I wrote a post about how the Liberty Counsel was becoming the right-wing organization of choice for former lesbians who have found Christ and then needed legal help to deny their former partners access to their children.

One of the cases mentioned in the post involved Kimberly Ryan, who was seeking to keep her former deny access to her former partner, Lara Embry.  I was happy to learn that a Florida court has decided in Embry's favor: 

Florida must recognize gay couples' adoptions that were granted in other states even though its laws bar granting such adoptions, a state appeals court ruled Wednesday.

A trial court erred when it wouldn't recognize a former lesbian couple's adoptions that had been completed when the women lived in Washington state, the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled unanimously. Florida is the only state that prohibits all gays from adopting, but the judges said the U.S. Constitution requires it to give "full faith and credit" to the actions of other states.

While living as a couple in Seattle, Kimberly Ryan and Lara Embry each gave birth to one child. Each then adopted the other's child as the second parent. They moved to Sarasota and then split up, originally agreeing to share custody.

Ryan then became engaged to a man and cut off contact between her biological child and Embry, saying that under her new Christian beliefs she didn't think the relationship was good for the child. Embry sued for custody.

Of course, Mat Staver isn't going to take this basic recognition of a Embry's right lying down - solely because she is gay - and so they intend to appeal: 

Ryan's attorney, Mathew Staver, said he plans to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

"Florida law does not allow homosexual adoptions, so logically they shouldn't be recognized from another state," said Staver, the founder and president of Liberty Counsel, a conservative Christian legal group.

Nonsense.  Embry had already adopted this child back in Washington and in no way does it "logically" follow that just because Florida doesn't allow gays to adopt, the legal mother of a child should be denied access to her child simply because her former partner fled there. 

This sort of reasoning is only "logical" if your goal is to destroy parent-child relationships solely because on the fact that the parent happens to be gay.

Honestly, there is almost nothing that the Religious Right can do at this point that has the capacity to shock and appall me, but the insidious disdain groups like Liberty Counsel consistently demonstrate for the rights of gay parents is one exception.

DHS Report: It's Déjà Vu All Over Again

I have already written several posts about the entirely bogus "controversy" surrounding the recent Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism.

In several of these posts, I noted how the closely it resembled the similarly bogus controversy from a few months back regarding the stimulus legislation, the only difference being that this trumped up right-wing scandal had not really managed to make its way into the halls of Congress.

Well, now that one last difference has been erased:

House Republicans demanded Wednesday that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano detail how the controversial "right-wing extremism" report was compiled, using a rare legislative maneuver that ensures that the Democrats must take a public stand - one way or another.

...

House Republicans filed their request under the chamber's Rule XIII, Clause 7 - called "a resolution of inquiry" - which will force the Homeland Security Committee to vote within 14 legislative days on the Republican request. The request covers all documents relating to the intelligence assessment titled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment."

The panel is required to vote on the resolution in an up-or-down vote and send it to the floor within the time period, stating that the request for information has been reported favorably or unfavorably.

The resolution is sponsored by Mr. King and every ranking subcommittee member, as well as Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia and Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, Republican Conference chairman.

This is absolutely unbelievable and just one more reminder of the lesson I repeatedly fail to learn:  never underestimate the ability of the Right and their allies in Congress to generate "controversy" out of absolutely nothing at all.

SCOTUS Round-Up

Americans United for Life has sent a letter to the Senate demanding exhaustive hearings on President Obama's nominee to replace Justice David Souter:

When the Senate Judiciary Committee gathers to hold hearings on a Supreme Court nominee, one pro-life group tells the panel's chairman it wants a full discussion of where the nominee stands on abortion. The letter comes from Charmaine Yoest, the president of Americans United for Life.

"The most important question a nominee for the Supreme Court must answer is to articulate their judicial philosophy: will they advance an agenda that limits the right of the people to determine the content of abortion-related laws through the democratic process?" she writes.

"In the days ahead, we look to our Senators to uphold their duty to raise serious questions on the nominee’s judicial philosophy and reject any nominee who places personal preference over upholding the Constitution," the AUL leader adds.

Should her organization not like the answers, Yoest promises an immediate response.

"We will oppose any nominee to the Court who believes social activism trumps interpreting the Constitution," she says.

David Weigel of the Washington Independent profiles several of the right-wing judicial activist groups:

Curt Levey sometimes wears a lapel pin with the faces of Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito and the legend “Thanks, W.” Once in a while he swaps that out for another button, with the same portraits of George W. Bush’s two high court appointments, but a more forward-looking slogan: “The kind of change we can believe in.”

“I used to work to confirm good judicial nominees,” Levey told TWI this week. “Now I’m trying to limit the damage Barack Obama can do.”

Levey is the executive director of the Committee for Justice, one of the hubs of a far-flung but close-knit group of conservatives who plan on holding President Barack Obama’s first Supreme Court pick up to a magnifying glass. During the Bush years, Levey worked at the Center for Individual Rights, a libertarian law firm that made its biggest impact with the landmark Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger affirmative action cases. Levey went on to the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, then left to work on Supreme Court confirmations with conservatives who had prepped for these fights ever since the failed 1987 nomination of Judge Robert Bork.

Movement conservatives are in a position to oppose the nomination of almost any nominee that the president puts forward. In conversation with TWI, activists portrayed the coming confirmation hearings as a chance to peel the bark off of the president’s bipartisan image, to unite the conservative movement, and to learn lessons for future hearings with higher stakes. Few imagined that the president could get a much more liberal pick than retiring Justice David Souter through the Senate. Their focus was not so much on defeating this pick — an incredibly difficult task with only 40 Republican senators — but on carving out an election issue for the 2010 midterms and on building capital for a theoretical future battle to replace one of the court’s conservatives.

“This can be an educational moment for the American people,” said Gary Marx, the executive director of the Judicial Confirmation Network. “This is a chance to reaffirm the meaning of judicial restraint and explode the myth that Barack Obama is trans-partisan leader.”

They have some strength in numbers. While Levey cautioned that “the groups on the right are smaller than the groups on the left,” such as People for the American Way, he put together one of the first intra-movement conference calls on the coming Supreme Court fight days after the 2008 election, bringing on around 50 people. In the months since, he has collected around 30 short dossiers (averaging three pages each) on possible Obama nominees. The quiet coalition that’s ready to scrutinize Obama’s nominees includes several people who faced Democratic wrath during the Bush years, such as Tim Goeglein, a former White House aide who is now a vice president at the political arm of Focus on the Family, and Manny Miranda, a one-time aide to former Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) who spent the Roberts and Alito confirmation battles at the head of his own effort, the Third Branch Conference.

“A lot of the old Bush people went on to law firms,” Levey explained. “No one group has the resources to do 30 research memos, but by pooling out work to people and recruiting pro bono help, we’ve got more than we need at this point.”

Finally, there is lots of speculation about how Republicans and the Right would respond to a gay SCOTUS nominee, with Sen. Jeff Session saying that it wouldn't be "an automatic disqualification" while Sen. John Thune is not so sure:

“I know the administration is being pushed, but I think it would be a bridge too far right now,” said GOP Chief Deputy Whip John Thune. “It seems to me this first pick is going to be a kind of important one, and my hope is that he'll play it a little more down the middle. A lot of people would react very negatively.”

The interesting this about Thune's statement is that it sounds an awful lot like the statement Tony Perkins made earlier this week:

"I think that would be a bridge too far for him to be honest because that would enter a whole new element into the debate that I don't think he's ready for," said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. "A parallel to that would be Bill Clinton's gays in the military battle, which really hurt his agenda from that point forward."

Perkins said his group would not investigate anyone's sexual preferences and planned to focus on a nominee's judicial views. "The issue is the ideology," he said.

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LEARN Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Thursday 02/10/2011, 11:12am
Erick Erickson of the prominent right-wing blog RedState and a commentator for CNN hasn’t made any comments about the CPAC boycott controversy until now, attacking GOProud and its ally Grover Norquist for criticizing the Religious Right. GOProud’s leaders Chris Barron and Jimmy LaSalvia recently lashed out at social conservative leaders boycotting CPAC as “nasty, anti-gay bigots” in an interview with Metro Weekly, and Erickson is not happy about it: I have done my best to stay out of this business, keep my mouth shut, and appreciate my friends on both sides of the CPAC... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 02/10/2011, 11:12am
Erick Erickson of the prominent right-wing blog RedState and a commentator for CNN hasn’t made any comments about the CPAC boycott controversy until now, attacking GOProud and its ally Grover Norquist for criticizing the Religious Right. GOProud’s leaders Chris Barron and Jimmy LaSalvia recently lashed out at social conservative leaders boycotting CPAC as “nasty, anti-gay bigots” in an interview with Metro Weekly, and Erickson is not happy about it: I have done my best to stay out of this business, keep my mouth shut, and appreciate my friends on both sides of the CPAC... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 02/08/2011, 12:16pm
Bryan Fischer is back with another history lesson for us all - this one on how the Native Americans deserved to lose control of North America because "the superstition, savagery and sexual immorality" made them "morally disqualified from sovereign control of American soil." You see, there are three ways that control over land is established: settlement, purchase, and conquest.  And in the case of Native Americans, it turns out that they were just like the Canaanites who were so immoral that God decided that "the slop bucket was full, and it was time to empty... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 02/08/2011, 12:16pm
Bryan Fischer is back with another history lesson for us all - this one on how the Native Americans deserved to lose control of North America because "the superstition, savagery and sexual immorality" made them "morally disqualified from sovereign control of American soil." You see, there are three ways that control over land is established: settlement, purchase, and conquest.  And in the case of Native Americans, it turns out that they were just like the Canaanites who were so immoral that God decided that "the slop bucket was full, and it was time to empty... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 02/02/2011, 11:58am
Cindy Jacobs and Generals International have released a lengthy prayer guide for dealing with the crisis in Egypt, stating that "it is a HUGE error to think that these protests are about the Egyptians demanding democracy" and warning that Egyptians need to take a lesson from America about the "danger of blindly voting for un-delineated change, simply because of discontent with the present leadership":  With the Brotherhood coming across as the source of comforting benefits to the nation, the people are blindly agreeing to their order of doing business. The people are... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 02/02/2011, 11:58am
Cindy Jacobs and Generals International have released a lengthy prayer guide for dealing with the crisis in Egypt, stating that "it is a HUGE error to think that these protests are about the Egyptians demanding democracy" and warning that Egyptians need to take a lesson from America about the "danger of blindly voting for un-delineated change, simply because of discontent with the present leadership":  With the Brotherhood coming across as the source of comforting benefits to the nation, the people are blindly agreeing to their order of doing business. The people are... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 02/02/2011, 10:54am
Within hours of the release of Lila Rose's latest hoax video attack on Planned Parenthood, Religious Right anti-choice leaders had already lined-up in support and began using it to demand that the organization be de-funded. Taking down Planned Parenthood has been a primary goal of the Religious Right for years and it looks like plans have been in the works to exploiting this latest video for some time now, because these same leaders have already launched a new effort called Expose Planned Parenthood complete with its own website: Anti-abortion groups will launch today an aggressive campaign... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 02/02/2011, 10:54am
Within hours of the release of Lila Rose's latest hoax video attack on Planned Parenthood, Religious Right anti-choice leaders had already lined-up in support and began using it to demand that the organization be de-funded. Taking down Planned Parenthood has been a primary goal of the Religious Right for years and it looks like plans have been in the works to exploiting this latest video for some time now, because these same leaders have already launched a new effort called Expose Planned Parenthood complete with its own website: Anti-abortion groups will launch today an aggressive campaign... MORE >