Liberty Counsel

Anti-LGBT Activist Can't Name A Single Case Of Nondiscrimination Policies Leading To Sexual Assault

Last month, Liberty Counsel President Anita Staver said that she plans on “taking a Glock .45 to the ladies room” after Target announced a new policy prohibiting discrimination against transgender customers.

Liberty Counsel is a notorious anti-LGBT group that has taken credit for shaping discriminatory laws such as North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2.

In an interview with Alan Colmes that was posted online today, she repeated her claim that women should take their firearms while out shopping in order to “prepare for predators that might be in the restroom.”

When Colmes asked if she could name any cases of crimes that have occurred as a result of states states adopting LGBT nondiscrimination laws, Staver was unable to name any.

“I’m not a statistician,” she said.

However, she did claim that there have been around 20 crimes committed in Target restrooms, although she didn’t say whether any of those alleged crimes had anything to do with the store policy, and said that she was personally a victim of attempted assault.

Colmes responded: “I’m very sorry that happened to you, but the question is whether or not these laws have led to increased incidents of assault. And in state after state, whether it’s Connecticut, Hawaii, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Maine, Iowa, they’ve all said, statements from those states, no additional incidents since laws in those states have gone into effect. So it seems like it’s a solution in search of a problem.”

Staver nonetheless said that Target has “caused predators to know that women are easy prey in these places” and “put a bullseye on the women by highly publicizing this policy and that’s caused predators to go around in these different states in the country and target women.”

She then falsely claimed that a man in Washington state exposed himself to a girls’ swim team and conceded that “there may not have been increases in the past, but I guarantee you there will be with the national attention that we have.” 

Defending Roy Moore's Nullification Efforts, Liberty Counsel Shows New Concern For 'Judicial Independence'

Liberty Counsel, a Religious Right legal group that opposes legal equality for LGBT Americans, held a press conference on Wednesday with Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has been waging a campaign of resistance to the Supreme Court’s June 2015 marriage equality ruling.

Moore and his Liberty Counsel lawyers were calling on the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission to dismiss ethical complaints that had been filed against Moore earlier in 2015 after he urged the governor not to comply with a federal court order on marriage equality. Moore, of course, had gotten in trouble before; in 2003 he was removed from his seat on the court when he refused a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument he had installed in the rotunda of the judicial building.

People For the American Way Foundation was one of the groups that filed a complaint against Moore last year. The PFAWF complaint, which you can read here, was filed in early 2015, based on actions he took when he began to insert himself into a federal marriage equality case that was not before his court. He accused federal judges across the country of seeking to impose tyranny upon the nation, and he suggested he might not comply with a potential Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality (which came down a few months later). The complaint spells out the Canons of Judicial Ethics that Moore violated, undermining public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. “Like the United States as a whole, Alabama is governed by the rule of law,” the complaint concludes, noting that “the history of the state shows the violent and tragic consequences when that ideal is not met.” The complaint asked that Moore once again be removed from his office.

In defending Moore on Thursday, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver dismissed the complaints as “politically motivated” and warned that they “pose a threat to the doctrine of judicial independence.” Continued Staver, “Judges must be free to exercise their considered judgment without the threat of being attacked by organizations and individuals who wish to misuse the ethical process to further a radical political agenda.”

Staver’s concern for Moore’s judicial independence is touching, if a bit surprising, given that Staver was a cheerleader for Religious Right attacks on Iowa Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality. After a political campaign that was successful in unseating three state justices in 2010 retention elections, Staver crowed, “The justices crossed the line when they played the role of a legislator and abandoned judicial restraint.”

Moore also said at Wednesday’s press conference that this was about “judicial independence.” But when right-wing groups were cranking up the outrage machine against Iowa Supreme Court justices, Moore joined in the condemnation, saying that the conservative outcry against the justices would send “a signal all across the nation.”

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 4/27/16

  • Chaos continues to roil Eagle Forum.
  • Linda Harvey calls on Target employees to rise up: "Some may lose jobs if there’s a downturn in sales. So, why not band together and approach management to stop such foolishness? Or, better yet: Work hard and become management. And then end the promotion of deviance."
  • Glenn Beck says that Ted Cruz's decision to announce Carly Fiorina as his running mate will be a game changer because she is the "first female" with a chance to become vice president. That must come as news to Sarah Palin and Geraldine Ferraro.
  • Liberty Counsel brags of scoring "another victory for religious freedom in Tennessee schools" by helping impose regulations designed to block an LGBT club.
  • Finally, Gordon Klingenschmitt says that he's known for "being the friendliest and funniest member of the [Colorado] Legislature."

Attack On Gay-Straight Alliances Reveals Religious Right's Ugly Anti-Gay Heart

Many Religious Right activists and leaders feign hurt and indignation at being described as anti-gay. They’re not anti-anybody, they insist, they are just in favor of “traditional values” or “biblical marriage.” But others make it clear that they see homosexuality itself as the problem, and want to do anything they can to prevent LGBT people from gaining cultural acceptance and legal recognition, and their words and actions reveal the ugly anti-gay heart of the Religious Right movement.

One of these activists is Brian Camenker, a Massachusetts-based activist who operates the anti-gay hate group MassResistance. During a one-day anti-gay summit that preceded the World Congress of Families in Utah last October, Camenker disagreed with activists who call for “speaking the truth in love" to LGBT people and their allies. He said that there is scriptural justification for being “insulting and degrading” given that “we are in a war.” He said the Old Testament has a “very brutal” set of rules for treating “people who want to tear down society, who want to push immorality, who want to tear down the moral structure of society.” According to Camenker, “God says those people who want to do that must be destroyed.”

Now Camenker is praising the work of Liberty Counsel, one of the Religious Right legal groups pushing anti-LGBT and “religious liberty” legislation at the state level. This year, Liberty Counsel and MassResistance worked with parents and school board members in Franklin County, Tennessee, who opposed the creation of a Gay-Straight Alliance club at the county high school. Some of those parents waved Christian flags at a school board meeting to counter the rainbow flags of GSA supporters.

Liberty Counsel helped the school board write new rules for school clubs that Camenker gloats will “severely restrict – and eventually cause to terminate – the activities of the ‘gay’ GSA club recently put into the high school.” OneNewsNow, a “news” site affiliated with the anti-gay American Family Association, called the new rules “a way of eliminating the club, while avoiding a costly lawsuit.”

Liberty Counsel’s press release was more circumspect, saying it had helped the school board update a policy that “was inadequate to provide the necessary supervision for this group that promotes homosexuality and gender confusion.” But the intent was clearly to interfere with the creation of a safe space for students who have been struggling with their sexuality or want to support LGBT friends.

The new Franklin County regulations require, among other things, written parental approval to participate in a club, sign-in sheets documenting every attendee at a meeting, school administrators attending meetings once a quarter – all things that might well discourage questioning or vulnerable students. “When forced to be completely accountable, open, and transparent with what they’re doing with kids, and not having free access for their adult activists, these ‘gay’ clubs don’t last long,” Camenker sneers.

The reason that the school board and Liberty Counsel have to go to convoluted lengths, rather than simply refusing to allow the creation of a GSA, is that federal courts have ruled that the Federal Equal Access Act – pushed into law by Religious Right activists to protect the rights of students to form Bible clubs – also protects the right of students to form GSAs if their school district allows other non-curricular clubs. In 1999 and 2000, People For the American Way Foundation, working with Lambda Legal and the law firm of Irell & Manella, represented students in Orange County, California, to win the first court order that applied the Equal Access Act to require a school district to allow a GSA to meet on the same terms that it allows other high school non-curricular clubs to meet.

Aside from the legal requirements, the positive benefits of Gay-Straight Alliances for schools and students have been well documented. A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Child, Youth, and Family Studies and funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research found that high schools with GSAs “may reduce the odds of suicidal thoughts and attempts among both sexual minority and straight students.” According to a news release from the University of British Columbia:

LGBTQ youth and heterosexual students in schools with anti-homophobia policies and GSAs had lower odds of discrimination, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, primarily when both strategies were enacted, or when the polices and GSAs had been in place for three years or more.

UBC researchers had previously concluded that high schools with GSAs or other anti-homophobia polices reduced binge drinking and other problems with alcohol and drug use. 

A few years earlier, a study published in Applied Developmental Science found that middle and high school students with access to a GSA were less likely to experience depression and less likely to drop out. As ThinkProgress noted, “Participation in a GSA was associated with fewer problems with substance abuse, depression, and lifetime suicide attempts.”

This is what Camenker and his Religious Right friends are so proud of denying students.

 

Anti-LGBT Lawyer 'Taking A Glock .45 To The Ladies Room' To Defend Against Trans Women

Anita Staver, the president of the radical anti-LGBT group Liberty Counsel, tweeted last week that people should boycott Target for its new policy preventing discrimination against transgender customers, adding that she plans to take her pistol into the restroom from now on:

The statement comes from a leader of the group that CBS News pointed to as one of the organizations behind North Carolina’s discriminatory new law targeting the trans community.

Staver's husband and Liberty Counsel's chairman, Mat Staver, gained national notoriety for his work on behalf of Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who attempted to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and has in the past advocated for the criminalization of homosexuality.

He has also claimed that allowing transgender people to use the restroom that matches their gender identity will result in sexual assault and “even death.”

Mat Staver: Gay Boy Scouts Put Young Boys In Danger

Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel released a statement yesterday urging churches to cut ties with the Boy Scouts of America, claiming that the group’s acceptance of gay members jeopardizes “the safety of their young boys,” and encouraging churches to instead partner with a group, Trail Life USA, that was explicitly created to discriminate against gay people:

"The once great Boy Scouts of America has taken a great fall when it changes the longstanding policy to allow homosexual scout leaders and members. This change in policy is fraught with danger. While there are ways for churches to protect their integrity and the safety of their young boys, the best alternative is to abandon the scouts because the scouts abandoned them. Trail Life USA is the best alternative to the failed BSA program," said Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver. "Liberty Counsel will continue to defend the right of churches to make employment and volunteer decisions based on church religious beliefs and the teachings of the Bible," said Staver.

Staver, a longtime anti-gay activist who received national attention for representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her quest to deny marriage licenses to gay people, urged people to leave the Scouts last year because the group’s gay members would sexually abuse children and turn the organization into “a playground for pedophiles.”

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 4/1/16

  • Liberty Counsel is offering to defend North Carolina's new anti-LGBT law.
  • Jake MacAulay invites people from San Francisco to "visit North Carolina and experience some true liberty."
  • Mark Paoletta, who worked for President George H.W. Bush, is not happy about the forthcoming HBO movie about the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings: "It's a hit job, hit job, hit job. In my view, it's the second high-tech lynching of Justice Thomas."
  • Alex McFarland is outraged that President Obama invited a lesbian pastor to read scripture at the White House's Easter Prayer Breakfast: "Inviting a pro-gay activist to speak at a White House prayer breakfast is just one more in a long line of very public examples whereby the president has made it very clear that he not only wants to reshape America, but really [wants to] try to redefine Christianity."
  • Finally, Theodore Shoebat says that Ted Cruz is "an evil heretic and psychopath": "The Evangelical movement in America has helped produce terrorists who are just as violent as Muslim terrorists."

Mat Staver: The Fight To Reverse Marriage Equality 'Will Never Be Over'

On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver declared that the fight against gay marriage will never end because marriage equality is a direct assault on God.

After praising Florida Gov. Rick Scott for signing the "Pastor Protection Act," which shields churches and pastors from being sued for refusing to perform same-sex marriages (something they were already allowed to do), Staver declared that such laws need to be passed all over the country because the fight to undo marriage equality will never stop.

"This issue of marriage," he said, "this attempted redefinition of marriage, some have said, 'Well, it's over with, the Supreme Court has decided, let's move on;' even some presidential candidates, past and present, have made that kind of a statement. What they don't realize is this is not over, it will never be over and there will never be churches, pastors and people of Christian faith and values who will accept this. Period."

"I think that we can ultimately reverse this trend as well," Staver continued. "Pendulums swing and I believe that if you remain faithful, you will ultimately be encouraged by being on the right side of history. People say, 'Well, you're on the wrong side of history.' I would rather be on the side of God's history and the natural created order, millennia of human history than some newfangled idea. This is an assault on marriage and family, our freedom and an assault on God himself."

Conservative Groups Double Down On SCOTUS Obstruction

After President Obama announced his nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court today, conservative groups quickly doubled down on their calls for Senate Republicans to block any person the president nominates to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Although a handful of senators are now hinting that they may be willing to at least meet with Garland — who has won praise from Republicans in the past — conservative groups have reiterated their demands that the GOP block his nomination.

Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice issued a statement repeating his call for “no confirmation proceedings until after the election.” Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver similarly repeated that there should be “no Senate hearing on any Obama nominee.” Concerned Women for America announced that “President Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court does not change the fact that the Senate needs to continue to do the proper thing by fulfilling its role of ‘advice and consent’” — by which CWA means blocking a nominee.

Alliance Defending Freedom’s Casey Mattox offered no criticism of Garland himself but claimed that the Obama administration is untrustworthy and so Garland’s nomination should be blocked: “The Obama administration has demonstrated it cannot be trusted to respect the rule of law, the Constitution, and the limits of its own authority. So it should be no surprise that the American people would be highly skeptical that any nominee this president puts forth would be acceptable.”

Heritage Action, which was calling for an end to most judicial and executive branch confirmations even before Scalia’s death, declared that “nothing has changed” with the nomination of Garland and that we areone liberal Justice away from seeing gun rights restricted and partial birth abortion being considered a constitutional right.”

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council similarly tried to paint Garland as a liberal, saying he is “far from being a consensus nominee,” although he offered no specifics about the “serious questions” he said there were about Garland’s “ability to serve as a constitutionalist.” Kayla Moore, who heads the Foundation for Moral Law, the group founded by her husband Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, also opted for vague and dire warnings, saying that Americans “may very well lose our rights” if Garland is confirmed.

Anti-abortion groups also doubled down on their opposition to any confirmation proceedings, while at the same time struggling to find specific reasons to oppose Garland.

Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life didn’t bother to criticize Garland at all, writing instead that this is “no time for a lame duck President to push through a judge for a lifetime appointment.” (Never mind that Obama, with nearly a year left in his second term in office, is not a lame duck president.)

The Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser wrote:

This changes nothing. We do not know this nominee but we do know Barack Obama. Anyone he nominates will join the voting bloc on the Court that consistently upholds abortion on-demand. The President should not be permitted one last opportunity to stack the Court with pro-abortion Justices.

Meanwhile, Americans United for Life dug up this one unconvincing piece of opposition research:

Consider that Judge Garland spoke at a gathering celebrating Linda Greenhouse’s book on Justice Harry Blackmun, Becoming Justice Blackmun. He described the release of the papers of the late Justice Blackmun—the author of one of the Supreme Court’s worst decisions, Roe v. Wade—as a “great gift to the country.”

Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman said his group would oppose any nominee who does not publicly “renounce Roe v. Wade”:

"Millions of lives hang in the balance of each ruling on abortion put forth by the Supreme Court. I refuse to support any nominee - Republican or Democrat - that will not renounce Roe v. Wade and commit to restoring legal protections to the pre-born," said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.



"I strongly urge the members of the Judiciary Committee to hold fast to their promise, for the sake of the future of our country and the future of our posterity," said Newman. "The Senate Republican leadership cannot afford to break this important promise to their conservative, pro-life base, if they expect us to vote for any of them ever again."

Gun groups also came out swinging against Garland, with the National Rifle Association claiming that he “ does not respect our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense” and Gun Owners of America colorfully calling on the Senate to “bury this nomination and write ‘Dead On Arrival’ as its epitaph.” Both groups based their objections on Garland’s vote, as a D.C. Circuit judge, simply to rehear an important gun rights case.

The Judicial Crisis Network’s Carrie Severino — who previously called Garland a “best case scenario” Obama nominee to the Supreme Court — has been relying on thesame flimsy criticism to attack Garland.

We’ll update this post with more reactions as they come in.

This post has been updated.

Paul Blair Wants Oklahoma To Lead States' Nullification of Marriage Equality, Abortion Rights

Anti-gay pastor Paul Blair, a former professional football player, is among the far-right activists whose endorsements have been celebrated by the Ted Cruz campaign. At last weekend’s The Awakening conference, Blair promoted his efforts to get states to defy the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision.

Resistance to marriage equality and other “unjust” laws was a major theme at the conference and Blair was part of an afternoon panel devoted to the topic, along with Rick Scarborough, E.W. Jackson and Keith Fournier. Blair and others praised the Alabama Supreme Court’s diatribe against the legitimacy of the Obergefell ruling, which was released last Friday, the day before The Awakening.

Reclaiming America for Christ, a ministry of Blair’s church in Edmond, Oklahoma, is promoting “Protect Life and Marriage,” an effort “dedicated to the proposition that the state of Oklahoma has federal and state constitutional authority to (1) protect the institution of natural, traditional marriage and; (2) protect innocent, unborn children from abortion; and that in the face of unjust, unlawful U.S. Supreme Court actions it is time for Oklahoma to exercise this authority.”

Blair said his group has 980 pastors and over 20,000 supporters, and is working with the governor, attorney general and state legislators to promote a nullification strategy: “We are trying to stop this legally, lawfully, politically, actually using the Constitution initially…” Speakers at a Protect Life and Marriage rally at the Oklahoma state capitol last October included U.S. Sen. James Lankford and Rep. Jim Bridenstine, along with state legislators and pastors. Blair also said people supporting some kind of state-led resistance are working through different channels in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Texas.

“We are not 320 million people ruled by five nonelected attorneys,” he said. “The federal government does not have unlimited power, and they do not have the ability to determine the limits of their own power…”

At The Awakening, Blair distributed glossy reprints of an interview he did with The New American, the magazine of the far-right John Birch Society, last summer after the Obergefell decision. In that interview he made the case for states to nullify U.S. Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality and abortion.

There’s no need for constitutional amendments overturning those decisions, he argued, saying that states have the power to enforce the 10th Amendment.

Oklahoma lawfully amended its state Constitution in 2004 to incorporate God’s definition of marriage. There’s no place in the U.S. Constitution where we delegated to Washington the authority to redefine marriage in our state. In fact, according to the 10th Amendment (which is part of the U.S. Constitution) that authority clearly remains with us. Our governor, attorney general, and legislators have all sworn oaths to uphold the constitutions of the State of Oklahoma and the United States. We call upon them to uphold their oaths of office and ignore the U.S. Supreme Court’s unlawful Obergefell opinion. In fact, we want Oklahoma to be a “sanctuary state” for marriage, life and the Constitution.

Blair told The New American that Obergefell is illegitimate, unconstitutional, violates natural law and “celebrates immoral conduct.” The decision, he said, “is an attempt to force everyone to celebrate a behavior that violates conscience and the Holy Scriptures, and to force the acceptance of that behavior on our children through public education.”

In the interview, Blair also praised the John Birch Society, saying it has “faithfully stood in defense of our Constitution.” He said Reclaiming America for Christ has included the Society’s "Overview of America" DVD as part of its “biblical worldview training package.” 

Cruz Campaign Seeking Pastor Endorsements At Extremist Summit

Ted Cruz’s campaign has been clear from the start that its path to victory depends on the mobilization of conservative evangelical voters. In service of that goal, Cruz has pursued and welcomed the endorsements of a stunning array of extreme anti-gay and Christian-nation activists.

At last weekend’s Awakening conference in Orlando, Team Cruz was the only presidential campaign with a visible presence, hoping to boost support in the 10 days that were remaining before the crucial March 15 primary in Florida. Campaign volunteers staffed a table, selling t-shirts and bumper stickers, but what they were really looking for was pastors who would publicly back Cruz.

Religious Right leaders, including Ted’s father Rafael Cruz, often blame the decline of America on pastors who aren’t preaching aggressively enough. That message was also heard at the Awakening and the Cruz campaign gave pastors in attendance a way to do something about it. The campaign asked pastors to sign a commitment card allowing their names to be used publicly. It also encouraged pastors to host a voter registration drive and regularly address political and cultural issues from the pulpit.

“Your endorsement encourages members of your congregation and your community to vote for Ted Cruz,” said a flyer aimed at pastors. “It inspires courage in other leaders to endorse too, multiplying the influence.” 

Boykin's Defense of 'Religious Freedom' Includes Violent Anti-Trans Rhetoric

On Saturday retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council, addressed the Awakening conference, an annual event sponsored by Liberty Counsel and the Freedom Federation. Boykin, known for his anti-Muslim and anti-gay rhetoric, dedicated his remarks in the plenary session to denouncing Bernie Sanders supporters for wanting free things, and to calling on Christians to do more to stand up for religious freedom and against LGBT equality.

Boykin quoted socialist Norman Thomas saying in 1927, “America will never vote for socialism, but under the name of liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program.” Boykin asked, “Is that where we are today?” He declared that support for Sanders is “an indication of the sad state of affairs in this country.”

I am absolutely, incredibly amazed at the number of young people, particularly young people, that are flocking to Bernie Sanders. My generation never would have believed we would have taken a socialist seriously. And here we have tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of people, flocking to Bernie Sanders, and when you pin ‘em down and say, ‘What is it about Bernie Sanders that you really like? it comes back to one thing. Oh, they’ll give you the pablum – ‘I like his policies, I like this and I like that.’ But listen to them very carefully they’ll eventually tell you it’s because he’s going to give them something for nothing. He’s going to give them something that’s free.

Boykin warned that American Christians are not fighting hard enough against what the Religious Right claims are efforts to narrow the concept of freedom of religion that the Founding Fathers placed in the First Amendment down into a more restrictive freedom of worship:

Folks, if you accept the concept of freedom of worship you are going down a dangerous path. They didn’t just give us freedom of worship, they gave us freedom of religion. What they said was you can believe what you want to believe, and you can live your faith. Today, that constitutional freedom is in the greatest jeopardy of any of our constitutional liberties. It is the freedom of religion and it is based on a radical agenda to tell you that you can believe what you want to believe but you cannot live your faith in the public square…

Boykin quoted Eric Metaxas, biographer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor who was killed for his resistance to German Nazis, telling him that “if America accepts what Hitler forced the church in Germany to accept, which was freedom to worship, we’re going to wind up being just like Germany.” Added Boykin, “We’re in the same situation today. We’re being told that we can have freedom of worship but we cannot have freedom of religion and we’re going to have to pay a price … We’ve got to stand up to evil.”

As is customary at Religious Right events, Boykin and other speakers blamed the church for not doing enough to resist evil and stand up to the LGBT rights movement. Boykin praised Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver for his defense of Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis, who refused to process marriage licenses for same-sex couples after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. And he took now-familiar Religious Right rhetoric targeting transgender people over their use of bathrooms to an ugly new low:

Where is the Christian world today? Where are the Christians of America today? They should be flocking to people like Kim Davis. They should be flocking to the city council and say, ‘No, you’re not going to let a man go in my daughter’s bathroom just because he feels like a man today.’ Where are the Christians that are standing up to this kind of evil?

And I’ve already said, and somebody’ll be recording this and this’ll be on YouTube before it’s all over with. But I will tell you what, the first man that walks in my daughter’s bathroom, he ain’t going to have to worry about surgery. That’s not right. That is not right. It’s not right. It’s ungodly. But it’s also just unnatural. This is crazy. Where are the Christians that are standing up?

 

James Robison: Christians Should Not Shun Trump Because God Can Use Him

Among the speakers at “The Awakening” conference, which was held in Orlando on Saturday, was televangelist James Robison. Robison’s main message  literally screamed at Awakening attendees  was that sitting out the election is not an option, even if Donald Trump is the nominee, as he derided those who suggest ways to manipulate the election process to deny Trump the nomination.

Robison mentioned David Green, head of Hobby Lobby and Religious Right folk hero, who recently endorsed Marco Rubio and said that Trump scares him to death. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich all love the Lord, said Robison, and “they would be my choice,” but it is unlikely that any of them will get the nomination.

It doesn’t seem like that may be the person we get. So what are you gonna do, throw your hands up? Are you gonna do what one of the bravest Christians I know in this nation said earlier this week he’s gonna do? ‘If it boils down to that person and the person on the other side, I’m staying home.’ DON’T DO IT! And I will go to David Green’s home and drive him to the poll. He’s a man of God. He’s an incredible example of Christ in a man and a man in Christ. We don’t opt out! We’re His ambassadors in Christ, more than conquerors in Christ, witnesses for Christ.

What happens, said Robison, is up to God, not would-be kingmakers. Robison drew an analogy to the 1980 election, when the Democratic candidate was Jimmy Carter, a Sunday school teacher and a born-again Christian who “truly loved the Lord” but could not provide the principled leadership that the country needed. “God miraculously gave us an actor that had an encounter with God,” said Robison.

Robison said he hopes that Christian leaders who are close to Trump like Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Robert Jeffress will lead Trump to a “road to Damascus experience” that would demonstrate God’s power to the world even more effectively than the Religious Right successfully playing kingmaker. For the world to see God transform someone “who so obviously needs changing” would be, he said, like writing another chapter in the biblical book of Acts.

(Of course, Trump already claims to be a “big-league” Christian).

Robison said the U.S. is experiencing its most critical days since the nation’s founding: “We just lost a Catholic Supreme Court justice that was a gift from God. They need to be replaced by men who have an understanding of truth like him.” But, he said, there has also been good news.

Now, I want you to really listen up, because we’re seeing prayer answered, when you think about this…Do you agree that you heard more candidates running for the highest office in the land talking about the importance of life, standing for life, did they not? Did we not have more true Christians who know Christ personally running for office than you’ve ever seen in your lifetime?

Robison also used his remarks to promote The Stream, an online news site he publishes that is dedicated to “championing freedom, smaller government and human dignity,” and to attacking “the Left” for its views on government:

The ones of what is referred to as the Left, they say, ‘Depend on Pharaoh, depend on Caesar, depend on the government, depend on a source other than God, and Uncle Sam will now be Father God and take care of you.’ That’s what they’re saying. That’s the lie, and it came straight out of the pit of hell. Now you may be a wonderful person in that party, but that belief system is rotten to the core. It’s simply anti-biblical, anti-God, anti-truth and anti-people. It will not work. It will keep us in bondage.

Franklin Graham: US In Trouble For Embracing Godless Secularism

While political activists gathered outside Washington D.C. last Saturday for the final day of the Conservative Political Action Conference, a group of Religious Right activists converged in Orlando for “The Awakening,” an annual conference sponsored by Liberty Counsel and the Freedom Federation. Among the major themes of the conference were the threat posed by Islamic extremism and the need for Christians to unite in resistance to the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.

The conference opened with a video from Franklin Graham, who is in the midst of a 50-state “Decision America” tour. Graham said he had no hope for the Democratic Party, adding:

Before you Republicans out there start high-fiving each other, I don’t have any hope in the Republican Party. The only hope that I have is for Almighty God. We’ve got to get God back into the political process of our country.

We need God. We have become secular. And secularism and communism, you know, there’s no difference. Both are godless. And that’s what we have accepted and adopted the last few years is a secular form of government. And we’ve taken God out. And so our country is in trouble…

Pray that God would touch the hearts of men and women across this country to run for political office. We need Christian men and women to run, not just for president, or Senate or Congress. But think how important local elections are. We need Christian men and women running for mayors across this country. Just think of America if the majority of mayors of America were born-again evangelical Christians. Just think of the impact it would have…

 

Conservative Groups Circle The Wagons On SCOTUS Obstruction

When the news broke of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death on Saturday, Republicans in the Senate almost immediately vowed to block the nomination of any person President Obama puts forward to fill the empty Supreme Court seat.

Conservative groups quickly followed suit, putting forward various rationales for keeping a Supreme Court seat open for more than a year in the hopes that a Republican is elected president in November.

Some of these activists made variations on the false claim that the Senate never confirms judicial nominees during election years. Others warned of dire consequences for America if the president is allowed a Supreme Court pick. One activist going so far as to claim that Scalia’s seat should be kept vacant in perpetuity until a Republican is elected president.

Conservative legal activist Ed Whelan said it would be “grossly irresponsible” to let Obama pick the next justice:

Senate Republicans would be grossly irresponsible to allow President Obama, in the last months of his presidency, to cement a liberal majority that will wreak havoc on the Constitution. Let the people decide in November who will select the next justice.

Whelan also told “Breitbart News Daily” that “we are at risk of really losing the Supreme Court and losing the Constitution.”

The American Center for Law and Justice ’s Jay Sekulow said that President Obama was perfectly free to nominate a conservative to replace Scalia:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley are both committed to letting the American people decide at the ballot box this November, letting our 45th President appoint Justice Scalia’s replacement. While President Obama remains free to appoint a conservative committed to upholding the Constitution as his replacement, he has given us no reason to believe he would.

So the American people should get to decide.

This is a prime opportunity for all branches of government to show that we still have a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network (formerly the Judicial Confirmation Network), said President Obama is the “last person” who should be nominating the next Supreme Court justice:

… This president, who has shown such contempt for the Constitution and the laws, is the last person who should be appointing his successor. The American people on both sides of the aisle are disgusted with the status quo in Washington and another nomination by this President would just bring about more of the same. The people’s voice should be heard in November to determine who will appoint the next Supreme Court Justice.”

Mat Staver, head of the conservative legal group Liberty Counsel (which represented Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and is now representing an anti-Planned Parenthood activist) declared that the “future of the Supreme Court and America” depends on the Senate blocking any Obama nominee:

“With the passing of Justice Scalia, the future of the High Court and the future of America is hanging in the balance. The Senate must not confirm any nominee to the Supreme Court from President Obama. The Senate must hold off any confirmation until the next President is seated. Unfortunately the presidential debates have been more theater and less substance about the real issues surrounding the Supreme Court. The election of the next President has now taken on even greater importance. The future of the Supreme Court and America now depends on the Senate blocking any nominee by President Obama and the people electing the right person to occupy the White House,” said Staver.

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins echoed the call to hold Scalia's seat open:

"The Supreme Court has now become the centerpiece in this presidential election. There has not been an election-year nomination in generations and the Senate must not break that trend now. With the election only 269 days away, the people should decide what president should fill this seat," concluded Perkins.

As did the American Family Association’s Buddy Smith:

We cannot allow President Obama to replace him with a judicial activist. Activist judges have mangled the Constitution almost beyond recognition, and we cannot allow Justice Scalia to be replaced by a justice who will continue to shred the Constitution rather than protect it and uphold it.

While the Constitution gives the president the right to nominate Supreme Court justices, it also gives the Senate the right to reject them. The Constitution does not even require an unacceptable nominee be given a vote on the floor.

Americans United for Life’s Charmaine Yoest said, “His loss is tragic, and we hope that when it comes time for the Senate to vote on his replacement, that a worthy successor who can pick up his banner can be found after the election.”

Alan Sears, head of Alliance Defending Freedom, hedged his bets, saying that “it is unlikely that a new justice will be installed prior to the election of our next president.

Janet Porter of Faith 2 Action declared, “The best way to honor Justice Scalia’s legacy is to make sure there is no Obama nominee confirmed by the U.S. Senate.”

Troy Newman, head of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue and a member of Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, warned that if Obama were to nominate the next justice, America would become a “totalitarian government”:

"With the passing of the esteemed Justice Scalia, America stands at a crossroads. Will she choose the path of fascism or freedom? We are just one Obama appointee away from a totalitarian government. Two years ago, the GOP promised the American people that, if elected, they would thwart Obama's radical leftist agenda. This is the GOP's moment. Will it shine as a light for liberty in this dark moment or will that light be extinguished by political appeasement?" asked Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

John Zmirak, editor of James Robison’s website The Stream, went even further, saying that if the next president is a Democrat, a Republican Senate should still refuse to confirm any of their judicial nominees:

But they should go further. As long as Republicans control the Senate, there is no excuse for any pro-choice, anti-gun rights, anti-marriage justices to be confirmed to our highest court. If, God forbid, Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton is elected, they should face a Republican Senate — or even a GOP minority — that will obstruct their every judicial appointment, even if it means leaving key seats on national benches empty, for years at a time. As justices retire or die, the court will simply grow smaller. Big deal. America will muddle through. This is the kind of implacable determination that defeated the solidly conservative Justice Bork and got us the muddled Anthony Kennedy — and Casey v. Planned Parenthood and Obergefell. It is time for that worm to turn.

Conservatives must drop the facade of high-minded bipartisanship, which only ever cuts to the left. The courts have staggering power to change our lives, and damage our country. They can kill our nation’s unborn babies, seize our guns and punish our churches. If GOP senators aren’t willing to fight long, hard and relentlessly to stop that from happening, we should find other senators who can, back them in the next primary election, and cripple the re-election of squishy moderate turncoats. A presidential candidate who appreciates all this will get my vote. And I think he’ll earn yours.

Liberty Counsel Growing Increasingly Desperate In Its Effort To Smear Planned Parenthood

Last week, Miranda noted that Liberty Counsel is representing Sandra Merritt after she and her Center for Medical Progress colleague David Daleiden were indicted by a grand jury in Texas over their failed efforts to expose Planned Parenthood for supposedly illegally selling fetal tissue for profit. 

Liberty Counsel seems to have decided to defend Merritt by attacking Lauren Reeder, one of the 300 attorneys in the Harris County District Attorney's Office who had nothing to do with the investigation of Merritt and Daleiden, because she serves on the board of the local Planned Parenthood affiliate. But since Liberty Counsel cannot attack Reeder on the merits, given that she disclosed her relationship with Planned Parenthood and had nothing to do with the DA's investigation, the right-wing legal organization has decided to attack her instead for having once worn "hot pants and a very revealing tank top" to a Planned Parenthood fundraising event.

Reeder attended the Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast's "Party Like A Rock Star" event dressed as a dancer from Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" video and on Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast today, Mat Staver and Matt Barber attacked her for wearing "what looks like a bra but it's actually a very low-cut tank-top and also, hot pants, very short shorts."

Even more upsetting to Staver was the fact that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast's director of development, Ed Benyon, attended the event in make-up and a shirt covered in blood.

Benyon was clearly dressed as Alice Cooper, which was somehow scandalous to Staver.

"He's got a white, like almost a lab coat," Staver said, "and on the left shoulder, all covering the entire shoulder and the left part of his chest, dripping down the left side of that shirt is what appears to be blood."

Barber, of course, was equally scandalized.

"I guess they think that is funny, somehow?" he sneered. "That's cute? To wear this lab coat with blood dripping down it? I don't know if they're mocking pro-lifers, but it does underscore just how they devalue human life here, that they were even jokingly mock themselves for what they do."

Anti-Abortion Activists Raise Money To Defend Daleiden, See Planned Parenthood 'Crumble'

A number of anti-abortion groups joined together last night for a webcast aimed at raising money for a legal defense fund for David Daleiden, the anti-Planned Parenthood activist who is facing an indictment in Texas, along with his fellow activist Sandra Merritt.

Life Legal Defense Foundation, the group that is representing Daleiden in a separate case in California, is managing a legal defense fund for Daleiden and Merritt. Thomas More Society’s Peter Breen, who is representing Daleiden in Texas, and Charles LaMandri of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, who is representing Daleiden on other charges, also joined the call, which was hosted by the anti-abortion protest group 40 Days for Life.

David Bereit of 40 Days for Life urged the reported 2,400 activists on the call to “pray” for Daleiden, “promote” his cause and “pitch in” for his legal defense, which the attorneys said had already cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Breen reported that he would try on Thursday get a Houston judge to “quash the indictment” against Daleiden. Daleiden’s allies at the radical anti-abortion protest group Operation Rescue will also be holding a press conference on Thursday urging prosecutors to drop the grand jury’s charges. Liberty Counsel, which is representing Merritt, will hold a similar press conference on Wednesday.

Breen, repeating the dubious claim that Daleiden is an “investigative journalist,” said a bad outcome for the activist in Houston would harm freedom of the press and at the same time give prosecutors in other parts of the country the confidence to “come after” anti-abortion activists.

“The stakes are as high as they could possibly be,” he said. “If the other side is allowed to proceed in bringing criminal prosecutions against legitimate journalism, I mean we certainly don’t want to live in a country where journalists can be tossed in jail for decades for just doing their jobs. And certainly what would this do to the pro-life movement and other prosecutors who say, ‘I want to come after the pro-life movement, I’m just not sure I can get away with it.’ If they get away with it here, they’ll be able to get away with it in other jurisdictions.”

Daleiden himself also joined the call, expressing hope that the next president will investigate Planned Parenthood, cut off its federal funding and leave the women’s health provider watching “their abortion empire … crumbling all around them.”

“I think they’re going to be pulling out all of the stops in the coming year,” he said, “every last bit of political capital they have to cash in, they’re going to do it, because they know the only thing that stands between them and getting completely cut off from the taxpayer trough at the federal level is a pro-life president, the only thing that stands between them and a federal investigation and criminal convictions for trafficking baby parts and money laundering and the money off of aborted baby parts is a pro-life Department of Justice. Planned Parenthood knows that this issue is the last thing that stands between their abortion empire and it crumbling all around them, and so that’s why they’re lashing out in the way that they are.”

Anti-Planned Parenthood Lawyer Shames Attorney For Once Wearing A 'Very Revealing' Top

Last month, a grand jury in Houston that had been convened to investigate Planned Parenthood in the wake of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) instead indicted CMP’s David Daleiden and his colleague Sandra Merritt on charges related to their infiltration of the women’s health provider.

Planned Parenthood opponents, searching for a way to spin the indictments, have latched on to the fact that one of the 300 attorneys in the office that launched the investigation is a member of the board of the local Planned Parenthood affiliate — never mind that the district attorney’s office disclosed the connection from the very beginning and made it clear that the attorney in question would have nothing to do with the case.

But the fact that the attorney with the Planned Parenthood connection had nothing to do with the activists’ indictments hasn’t stopped Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, the attorney famous for defending anti-gay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and who is representing Merritt, from questioning her influence on the case and calling her out for once wearing “hot pants and a very revealing tank top” at a Planned Parenthood fundraising event.

A post on Liberty Counsel’s website on Friday say that the “history and actions” of the district attorney’s office “raise serious questions about bias” and includes a photo of Laruen Reeder, the attorney who is on the local Planned Parenthood board, at a costume party fundraiser for the organization “wearing a revealing tank top and hot pants.”

Staver continued this line of attack in an interview with Pennsylvania radio host Bobby Gunther Walsh today, in which he insisted that “it remains to be seen” whether Reeder influenced the investigation and added that she had once been “pictured in hot pants and a very revealing tank top” at the Planned Parenthood fundraiser.

Mat Staver: Gays Are Imposing A 'Jizya' Tax On Christians In America

On a recent "Freedom's Call" radio commentary, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver declared that gays are now imposing a "jizya" tax on Christians in America.

Staver, the anti-gay legal activist representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, said that gays have borrowed the concept of the jizya, a discriminatory tax imposed on non-Muslims under Islamic law, and are now subjecting Christians in America to such taxes.

"Deep in the Islamic tradition is jizya, a tax which forces non-Muslims to pay an exorbitant fee for living within a Muslim state," Staver said. "Now, from farmers in New York to those offering wedding cakes, photography and other services, all have been fined thousands, and sometimes more than a hundred thousand dollars for having and acting on a religious belief that is different from homosexuals who demand their services. These fees and fine are in essence a tax on Christians who are living out their faith and beliefs in the businesses that they labored for and have built. In America, we should not fear paying a tax or fee to Muslims, nor to homosexuals, just because our faith is different from theirs."

Kim Davis: God Chose Me To Stand Against Gay Marriage

Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who became a Religious Right hero last year when she tried to stop issuing marriage licenses in the wake of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, told an American Family Radio host that she was chosen by God to fight gay marriage.

On Friday, American Family Radio host and American Family Association official Sandy Rios broadcast an interview that she had conducted with Davis, in which she lavished praise on Davis for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. "It's interesting to me how God chose you," Rios said. "Not a Sunday school teacher, not a Republican, not the standard — this is like God, this is so like God, so he chose you."

Davis said that she considered it "a joy to be chosen, to make a stand and to defend my God's word, the infallible word of God."

"You were chosen, Kim," Rios agreed. "I know that. God picked you, plucked you out."

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Liberty Counsel Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Tuesday 05/03/2016, 1:35pm
Last month, Liberty Counsel President Anita Staver said that she plans on “taking a Glock .45 to the ladies room” after Target announced a new policy prohibiting discrimination against transgender customers. Liberty Counsel is a notorious anti-LGBT group that has taken credit for shaping discriminatory laws such as North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2. In an interview with Alan Colmes that was posted online today, she repeated her claim that women should take their firearms while out shopping in order to “prepare for predators that might be in the restroom.” When... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Thursday 04/28/2016, 10:35am
Liberty Counsel, a Religious Right legal group that opposes legal equality for LGBT Americans, held a press conference on Wednesday with Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has been waging a campaign of resistance to the Supreme Court’s June 2015 marriage equality ruling. Moore and his Liberty Counsel lawyers were calling on the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission to dismiss ethical complaints that had been filed against Moore earlier in 2015 after he urged the governor not to comply with a federal court order on marriage equality. Moore, of course, had gotten in trouble before; in... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 04/27/2016, 5:31pm
Chaos continues to roil Eagle Forum. Linda Harvey calls on Target employees to rise up: "Some may lose jobs if there’s a downturn in sales. So, why not band together and approach management to stop such foolishness? Or, better yet: Work hard and become management. And then end the promotion of deviance." Glenn Beck says that Ted Cruz's decision to announce Carly Fiorina as his running mate will be a game changer because she is the "first female" with a chance to become vice president. That must come as news to Sarah Palin and Geraldine Ferraro... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Monday 04/25/2016, 1:14pm
Many Religious Right activists and leaders feign hurt and indignation at being described as anti-gay. They’re not anti-anybody, they insist, they are just in favor of “traditional values” or “biblical marriage.” But others make it clear that they see homosexuality itself as the problem, and want to do anything they can to prevent LGBT people from gaining cultural acceptance and legal recognition, and their words and actions reveal the ugly anti-gay heart of the Religious Right movement. One of these activists is Brian Camenker, a Massachusetts-based activist... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 04/25/2016, 12:20pm
Anita Staver, the president of the radical anti-LGBT group Liberty Counsel, tweeted last week that people should boycott Target for its new policy preventing discrimination against transgender customers, adding that she plans to take her pistol into the restroom from now on: The statement comes from a leader of the group that CBS News pointed to as one of the organizations behind North Carolina’s discriminatory new law targeting the trans community. Staver's husband and Liberty Counsel's chairman, Mat Staver, gained national notoriety for his work on behalf of Kim Davis, the... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 04/14/2016, 4:05pm
Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel released a statement yesterday urging churches to cut ties with the Boy Scouts of America, claiming that the group’s acceptance of gay members jeopardizes “the safety of their young boys,” and encouraging churches to instead partner with a group, Trail Life USA, that was explicitly created to discriminate against gay people: "The once great Boy Scouts of America has taken a great fall when it changes the longstanding policy to allow homosexual scout leaders and members. This change in policy is fraught with danger. While there are ways... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 04/01/2016, 5:30pm
Liberty Counsel is offering to defend North Carolina's new anti-LGBT law. Jake MacAulay invites people from San Francisco to "visit North Carolina and experience some true liberty." Mark Paoletta, who worked for President George H.W. Bush, is not happy about the forthcoming HBO movie about the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings: "It's a hit job, hit job, hit job. In my view, it's the second high-tech lynching of Justice Thomas." Alex McFarland is outraged that President Obama invited a lesbian pastor to read scripture at the White House's... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 03/29/2016, 10:35am
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver declared that the fight against gay marriage will never end because marriage equality is a direct assault on God. After praising Florida Gov. Rick Scott for signing the "Pastor Protection Act," which shields churches and pastors from being sued for refusing to perform same-sex marriages (something they were already allowed to do), Staver declared that such laws need to be passed all over the country because the fight to undo marriage equality will never stop. "This issue of marriage,... MORE >