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Two GOP Candidates Suggest Gonzales Should Resign

While Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has been under attack from politicians from both sides of the aisle over the firing of the U.S. attorneys, and while groups ranging from People For the American Way to the conservative American Freedom Agenda have called for his resignation over the abuse of civil liberties and other issues, the Republicans running for president have, for the most part, stayed mum. Now, two long-shot candidates are speaking out against Gonzales – albeit for different reasons.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee suggested Gonzales should resign so as to “not force the president” to make the decision, since the attorney general “is clearly creating a major distraction for the president and for the administration and for the Republican Party.”

And anti-immigrant firebrand Rep. Tom Tancredo said Gonzales should go because he “didn't fire enough” prosecutors – in particular, the U.S. attorney in Texas who “went after” border-patrol agents involved in the shooting of a fleeing Mexican.

Easter Press Release Occasion to Invoke 'War on Christians'

In a brief press release, Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean commemorated Easter by saying, “During this time Christians are called to remember who they are as people of faith, and that even the greatest of evils will not have the last word.” He also said that “peace, redemption and renewal” is a “theme which brings hope to people of all faiths.” The latter sentiment is driving some commentators to read all kinds of meaning into the press release – Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals claims that the lack of specific use of the name of Jesus is “a sad reflection of a 'lowest common denominator' religious outreach of the Democratic party” which “will not pass the smell test of any evangelical.”

More partisan activists on the Religious Right, however, go as far as accusing Dean of heresy-by-press-release by “redefining” Easter. He’s “taking Easter and making it into a nondescript, universal, nonexclusive religious celebration for all religions,” warns Don Wildmon of the American Family Association. According to Rob Schenck of the National Clergy Council, Dean’s press release proves that “the Democratic leadership is in fact secularist by philosophy and worldview” – and it’s part of a larger conspiracy against faith:

"And we see it here in Washington, where I'm located," Schenck adds, "that there is a growing hostility towards religious faith in the public arena, and this is more indication of that." Dean has attempted to redefine the meaning of Easter, the Christian spokesman contends, by "dumbing it down to a universal, New Age spirituality."

In addition to ascribing devious motives to a one-paragraph press release, Schenck also offers his discernment on Dean’s own belief:

However, since Howard Dean is not a theologian or a student of the Bible, Schenck says the politician is not in a position to redefine the meaning of Easter. In fact, after talking with Dean personally and observing him in many public settings, the National Clergy Council spokesman says he has seen nothing that would indicate the DNC chairman has any "overriding religious sensibilities."

Religious Right Unsure on Republican 'Compromise' Stem Cell Bill

Life Dynamics: “we basically rob the graves” of aborted. SBC’s Land: No comment.

Right Aghast That Gays Say Vows at Magic Kingdom

After the Walt Disney Company announced that it would sell its theme-wedding package to same-sex couples, the Religious Right reacted predictably. “America continues to slide toward the abyss. God help us!” cried Vision America head Rick Scarborough at the threat of Mickey Mouse commitment ceremonies.

At its Orlando resort, the Walt Disney Company has decided to open up its "Fairy Tale Weddings" (I didn’t make this up!) to same-sex couples, notwithstanding that gays can’t legally marry in Florida - or anywhere else outside of Massachusetts. …

Apparently, Disney (which also has "Gay Days") doesn’t care if it offends the deeply held values of its customers. Pandering to a radical fringe group seems to be more important.

"We are in the hospitality business and our parks and resorts are open to everyone,” said a Disney spokesman. The president of the American Family Association scoffed at the idea of sharing an 85-acre theme park with committed gay couples:

Such inclusiveness, says AFA president Tim Wildmon, is why families must be warned. "You could be innocently taking your family to Disney World or Disneyland, and you're walking down the middle of the park and here's comes this parade of wedding attendees [that includes] two men who've just gotten 'married' at Disney World," he says. "That's something to take into consideration before you go and patronize the Walt Disney Company this summer."

Wildmon's last statement can be taken as a threat – AFA initiated a boycott against Disney in 1996, which was joined by the Southern Baptist Convention and which lasted nominally until 2005. Similarly, Scarborough suggested restarting the boycott, writing “Perhaps it’s time to reconsider that decision” to call it off.

Fairy Tale Wedding

The Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland.

Doctors' 'Conscience' as Refusal to Provide Medical Care to Lesbians

While in some states, the Right is attempting to establish so-called “conscience clauses” to allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraceptives, one case in California finds a medical clinic – and the Religious Right – attempting to expand that principle to “conscience”-based discrimination against patients, rather than the services they seek. Doctors at an infertility clinic north of San Diego refused to provide a woman with artificial insemination services, citing their religious conviction against birth out of wedlock – and, according to the woman, citing her sexual orientation. California law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The right-wing Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing the clinic, claims this is a case about the right “to exercise your faith as a Christian.” The woman’s lawyer warned that “The next case may be about whether a doctor is willing to do a pap smear” for a lesbian.”

Other right-wing groups have filed amicus briefs in the case. Peter Ferrara of the American Civil Rights Union defended the doctor’s decision because, he said, it was based on “a commonly held view, well grounded in Christian tradition.” Brian Rooney of the Thomas More Law Center warned that the case “smacks of Nazi Germany when Hitler forced doctors to do diabolical acts that were like this.”

AFA Michigan Opposes Anti-Bullying Measure

Citing “segregated, protected class categories, including homosexual behavior and cross-dressing.”

Stem Cell Research Opponents Warn of Egg 'Harvest'

As the Senate once again debates funding for embryonic stem cell research, many right-wing groups are reminding us of their fervent opposition. Focus on the Family’s Carrie Gordon Earll, who says embryos discarded from fertility treatments can be adopted, says “”We oppose destroying these embryos or any young humans for research.” Joseph Cella of Fidelis, Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, and Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee similarly voice their objections, and Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition claims that the bill constitutes persecution of “people of faith”:

This shows utter contempt and disdain by the United States Senate for people of faith.  And let it be made very clear, supporters of this legislation can no longer consider themselves friends to historic Christianity.

Meanwhile, the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ warns that “the potential of the emergence of a market for the sale and harvesting of eggs would be immense,” a scenario grimly predicted by Cathy Ruse of the Family Research Council in a Washington Times op-ed as mass “exploitation” of “the bodies of young women” as “human hens”: “If embryonic stem cell researchers have their way, young women will soon be paid to lay eggs on demand like chickens in a factory farm, but with more pain and personal risk.”

Schiavo Lawyer Sets Sights on Gay Students

Florida lawyer David C. Gibbs III, general counsel for the Christian Law Association (and son of its founder David Gibbs Jr.), received national attention for his role representing Terri Schiavo’s parents. Where is he now? Trying to prevent students at Okeechobee High School from convening a gay-straight alliance (GSA) club.

While passed to allow student-led Bible groups to meet where other non-curricular clubs have access, the federal Equal Access Act protects against any discrimination “on the basis of the religious, political, philosophical, or other content of the speech at such meetings” – and, as courts have found, that includes GSAs. Gibbs, who is representing Okeechobee High, offers a “For me and not for thee” argument for discriminating against the club based on his claim that the “real motive” of GSAs is to promote sex, as he explained to the American Family Association’s news service:

Gibbs contends the club is not being honest about its real motives when it uses vague arguments about fairness and non-discrimination. "[T]he reality is they want to encourage sexual activity," he says. "They want to encourage sexual experimentation, they want to encourage even experimentation with homosexuality and bisexuality and different things -- and they believe this is good."

American Life League: 'Anti-Life' Catholic Politicians Should Be 'Punished'

By church.

Schlafly: ERA 'Will Be Rejected'

Op-ed: “’Equal rights’ for women: wrong then, wrong now.” More: “hidden agenda” abortion and gay marriage.

Anti-Gay Group Urges Mass Hooky

To protest anti-bullying Day of Silence. ADF tries “Day of Truth.”

Religious Right: 'The Homosexual Agenda Knows They Can’t Win with the American People' [sic]

Thomas More Law Center attacks (elected) Massachusetts governor.

Opponent of GOP Stem Cell Measure Compares Bill to Nazis Stealing 'Gold Teeth out of the Jews'

Mark Crutcher of Life Dynamics.

Pennsylvania Anti-Gay Activist Decries Anti-Bullying Bill

Would “open the door” for “pro-homosexual organizations” in schools. Meanwhile: “Ex-gay” Stephen Bennett calls for mass hooky on “Day of Silence.”

Texas Activist Attacks 'Race for Cure' to End Breast Cancer

Linked to Planned Parenthood, warns Pro-Life Waco.

SBC 'Ethicist' Declares NAE Anti-Torture Stance 'Irrational'

A “moral travesty,” according to Heimbach. Critics accuse NAE of “move to liberalism.” Meanwhile: “Is your baby gay?” asks Southern Baptist leader Mohler, advocating medical intervention.

Religious Right Continues Warnings against Gays in the Military

AFA, Schenck, Mahoney defend Pace, warn against soldiers being “subject to … a political agenda.” Perkins: “… showers and bathroom facilities.” David Limbaugh: gays would “compromise” national security.

More Right-Wing Comments on Pace

Religious-right activists continue to voice their enthusiastic support for recent comments by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that gays should not be allowed to serve openly in the military because homosexuality is “immoral.” While some make specious arguments about the military value of a ban on gays in the armed forces, most of these activists incorporate Gen. Peter Pace’s remarks into their larger “culture war” against gays in all walks of life.

Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition asserts that being gay is “incompatible with effective military service,” writing that “Sodomy is one of those behaviors that has been considered dissolute and a danger to military cohesiveness and readiness. … we do not want a ‘Brokeback Mountain’ military.” A form letter from Vision America argues that allowing gays to serve openly would weaken the military because “Ultimately our security is in God's hands. To ensure his aid, we must remain obedient to his law.” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins warns that backers of letting gays serve want to "turn the military into a laboratory for their liberal social ideas."

Top Military Leader’s Stand against Gay Servicemembers Draws Cheers from Religious Right, Brownback

After the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Chicago Tribune that his support for barring gays and lesbians from openly serving in the armed forces was based on his belief, from his “upbringing,” that homosexuality is “immoral” and analogous to adultery, supporters of equality for gays were quick to criticize the nation’s top military officer for his prejudice-based promotion of public policy and for sending an inappropriate message to gays currently serving under his command. Not surprisingly, the Religious Right has come to the defense of Gen. Peter Pace, who has refused to apologize, and ambitious politicians are not far behind.

Concerned Women for America’s Matt Barber wrote that Pace “is to be commended for publicly expressing the common sense values shared by the majority of Americans, for having the courage to face down America’s self-appointed thought police and for his bold attempt to reign in our nation’s political correctness run amok.” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins declared that “Gen. Pace's job is not to be politically correct but to protect the nation and the well-being of our soldiers.” Rob Schenck of the National Clergy Council said his group will “ask President Bush to support General Pace's right to stand by his convictions as he enforces the military code of conduct.” And Phil Magnan, director of a group called Biblical Family Advocates, issues a press release attacking gays as “licentious”:

"If there is any apologizing that needs to be done, it's by homosexual advocates who have drawn millions of young people, including soldiers into a destructive, immoral and unhealthy lifestyle."

"The homosexual community has sold the public their licentious lifestyle in the name of tolerance and freedom when they should be seeking to be freed from it. Ask the person dying from HIV if it was worth having hundreds of partners or if some of the millions who are enslaved to it would like to be free of it."

Others claimed that criticism of Pace was “clearly an effort to purge from authority anyone who dares represent the most basic tenets of a Judeo-Christian moral code,” as WorldNetDaily.com editor Joseph Farah put it. Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth said of Pace critics, “Their idea of civil rights is that we can’t voice our moral beliefs about homosexuality. … If you say that homosexuality is wrong, they come after you; and, ultimately, we have to believe that they are going to want to ban [speaking out against] it, just like is happening in Canada, and England, and other countries.” The American Family Association is asking its supporters to send a letter to President Bush in support of Pace and in opposition to gays serving in the military: “I strongly oppose homosexual activists who want to force the military to approve their immoral lifestyle,” reads the letter template.

Already, one Republican presidential candidate struggling to gain momentum and distinguish himself among the Right has taken on the Pace cause. Sen. Sam Brownback circulated a letter in which he characterizes Pace’s justification of the military’s anti-gay policy as merely the expression of “his personal moral views.”

The moral behavior of members of the Armed Forces is of the highest importance, particularly during this time of war. The question is whether personal moral beliefs should disqualify an individual from positions of leadership in the U.S. military? We think not.

The “Maturing” Right-Wing Voters

One has to wonder just what world right-wing commentator Cal Thomas inhabits.  The fact that the Right is resoundingly under-whelmed and dismayed by the current crop of GOP presidential frontrunners is not to be taken as a sign that their influence may be waning, but rather as sign that “Conservative Evangelical Christian voters” are supposedly “maturing” in their political outlook: 

Conservative Evangelical Christian voters have come a long way in a short time. From their nearly unanimous condemnation of Bill Clinton for his extramarital affairs, a growing number of these “pro-family” voters appear ready to accept several Republican presidential candidates who do not share their ideal of marriage and faith.

Thomas then goes on to recount the various infidelities of Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, and John McCain before concluding

That substantial numbers of conservative evangelical voters are even considering these candidates as presidential prospects is a sign of their political maturation and of their more pragmatic view of what can be expected from politics and politicians.

Seeing as these men are widely considered to be among the GOP’s frontrunner and that the first Republican presidential primary is still almost a year away, these voters don’t really have much choice but to consider these candidates at this point.  Nonetheless, according to the most recent New York Times/CBS News poll, they don’t seem too happy about it:

ASKED OF REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS ONLY:

Are you generally satisfied with the candidates now running for the Republican nomination for President, or do you wish there were more choices?

Satisfied – 40%

More choices – 57%

DK/NA – 2%

But if, in fact, “conservative evangelical voters” really are willing consider these candidates despite their past infidelities, then they are a lot more forgiving and mature than some of their self-described political leaders, who are actively writing off GOP candidates for an endless variety of reasons:

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Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/12/2010, 5:30pm
Liberty Counsel is not happy with Judge Walker's decision not to permanently stay his Prop 8 ruling. Neither is FRC or Tony Perkins. Meanwhile, Harry Jackson and CBN complain about the original ruling as well. I guess we'll be hearing a lot from "Susan" in the coming months as Focus on the Family highlights how its Super Bowl ad convinced her not to have an abortion. Chuck Colson, Timothy George, and Robert George were guests on Hugh Hewitt yesterday. Finally, kudos to Donald Crosby of God's Kingdom Builders Church of Jesus Christ in Macon, Georgia for... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 08/11/2010, 5:38pm
Ben Quayle has now admitted "that he did, in fact, post comments on DirtyScottsdale.com, a website devoted to chronicling the trashy side of the Scottsdale nightclub scene." Benny Hinn says that he did have a "friendship" with Paula White but that there was "no immorality whatsoever" and now it is over. Billy Graham says your atheist friend might seem like a good person, but they aren't "because a true atheist has no real reason to believe in right and wrong or to behave sacrificially toward others." I can only imagine that this... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 08/10/2010, 11:33am
Last year, Rep. Trent Franks spoke at the How To Take Back America Conference where he called President Obama an "enemy of humanity": What he meant, Franks' spokesperson later insisted, was that Obama was an enemy of "unborn humanity," due to his views on abortion. So I looked forward to hearing Franks' clarification of his latest statement that Obama is one of the most dangerous enemies facing America today:  From Elena Kagan's nomination and subsequent confirmation to the Supreme Court, to the recent passage healthcare reforms, a sitting congressman says... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 08/09/2010, 10:06am
As I noted last week, it appears as if the Religious Right's primary plan for upholding Proposition 8 and preventing marriage equality is not so much to argue why stopping gay marriage is necessary and constitutional, but rather to simply warn that there will be hell to pay if they are not. That certainly seems to be what Bruce Hausknecht of Focus on the Family's Citizenlink is saying: "I will say that the Supreme Court, even the liberals on the court, ought to be thinking at least twice about the culture wars they will ignite -- just like they did with Roe v. Wade -- if they were... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/05/2010, 5:42pm
An appeal has already been filed in the Prop 8 decision. Charles Colson responds to the Prop 8 decision: "I have warned you for months that our religious freedoms are imperiled. Well, Armageddon may be close at hand if a new court decision holds up." Mike Huckabee says the decision shows the need for a Federal Marriage Amendment. The director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council says in vitro fertilization is dangerous because it "not only takes the Creator out of the equation, but it makes creation of life superficial, and she believes the... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/05/2010, 3:40pm
When Elena Kagan was first nominated to the Supreme Court, rumors swirled that she was a lesbian, which was more than enough evidence for Byran Fischer, who declared that all gays are biased, deviant borderline pedophiles who do not belong in public office. So take just one guess how he is responding to the Prop 8 ruling: Although almost no other organizations other than the American Family Association are making an issue of this, Judge Walker should have recused himself from this case since he is a practicing homosexual. This created a clear conflict of interest, and he had no business... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 08/04/2010, 6:39pm
Behold the latest right-wing conspiracy: bikes! Here's an earth-shattering discovery: Conservative states are most religious. Peter LaBarbera says his upcoming Truth Academy is designed to "'de-brainwash' young people of the many myths advanced by homosexual activists." The American Family Association is now targeting Sears for being too, too sexy. At long last, an opportunity to intern for the Congressional Prayer Caucus. You know the Tea Party cannot be racist with a bunch of African American conservatives like Alan Keyes say so. MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 07/30/2010, 11:02am
Via Joe.My.God it looks like we can expect yet another round of layoffs at Focus on the Family: I’ve gotten a few calls from people saying Focus on the Family is planning to announce layoffs, more than 100, on Friday. I called Focus spokesman Gary Schneeberger on Monday. He did not confirm or deny the rumors. Later he sent me a statement, which you can read below. “We are still working out the details of fitting our FY ‘11 budget to the figure our board of directors established,” Schneeberger wrote. “As soon as those decisions are final — we’re... MORE >