Religious Right

Fischer: The Tea Party Ended Slavery In America

Yesterday Bryan Fischer was asserting that Muslims were responsible for slavery in America, so it only stands to reason that it must have been Christians who were responsible for ultimately ending it. 

And that is exactly what Fischer claimed on his radio show yesterday when he declared that it was the Religious Right/Tea Party that deserves all the credit for ending slavery in America:

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Meanwhile, Jeffress falsely claims “that there has never been a church in American history that has ever lost its tax-exempt status,” while the not self-aware pastor attacks Barry Lynn for seeking “publicity.”
  • WorldNetDaily’s Jane Chastain can only dream that President Obama will tell the Occupy Wall Street protest, “You have disgraced yourself by your public displays of indecency.”
  • The New York Times looks into Michele Bachmann’s education in biblical law at Oral Roberts University.

New Religious Right Video: Secularism Means Doom For America

One of the sessions at the recent Values Voter Summit featured a showing of a new half-hour video produced by the American Family Association called “Divorcing God: Secularism and the Republic.” (Back in the summer it was being promoted as "Divorcing God: Secularism, Sexual Anarchy, and the Future of the Republic.") The video features an array of Religious Right leaders and academics, whose argument can be summarized this way:  America, whose greatness is decaying because the country has turned its back on the God who inspired the founding fathers, is doomed if it continues to allow secularists to push religion into the closet.  It's time for Christians to fight back.

And just to be clear, the God in “one nation under God” isn’t any old generic God, but the same Christian God who made western civilization possible.  It’s familiar to anyone who has followed the Religious Right’s “Christian nation” rhetoric, filled with founders’ quotes about religion and  attacks on the Supreme Court’s rulings on church-state separation.

Among the stars of the video is Princeton University’s Robert George, the Religious Right’s favorite intellectual. George, a leader of the National Organization for Marriage, is one of the authors of the Manhattan Declaration, whose signers fancy themselves potential martyrs for opposing abortion and LGBT equality in America. Others include Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute; Michael Farris, homeschooling advocate and chancellor of Patrick Henry College; and Matthew Spalding, of the Heritage Foundation. The founders clearly believed that God punishes nations, says Dacus, and when countries allow their societies to become amoral, there’s a price to be paid, not just by those individuals but society as a whole.  The video suggests that the current fight between secularists and those who want to preserve the country’s divine foundation is the last stand for the future of freedom on planet earth.

Another DVD being handed out at the Values Voter Summit hit similar themes about the importance of the nation’s foundation on biblical principles.  It features a 2010 “State of the Nation” speech delivered by Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis at the Creation Museum in Kentucky.  Ham argues that the nation is threatened by the teaching of evolution and by the Supreme Court. “There really is no such thing as separation of church and state,” says Ham, who warns that “Christianity in this nation is becoming outlawed more and more in various quarters.”  Ham blames the decline more on church leaders than on secularists.  The Bible is the “absolute authority,” he says, but too many Christians have undermined the authority of scripture by compromising on the truth of the 6,000 year-old earth and great flood described in Genesis.  And that means quoting the Bible in policy debates on abortion and gay marriage has lost its effectiveness.

Meanwhile, French scholar Denis Lacorne has just published Religion in America: A Political History (Columbia University Press, 2011), in which he examines two competing narratives about American identity.  One derives from the secular values of the Enlightenment and reflects a desire to preserve liberty by freeing it from the power of an established church.  The second ties American identity to the Puritans and Protestantism.  These two narratives are reflected in competing notions of church-state separation evident today in our politics and on our Supreme Court.  At a presentation at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. this week, Lacorne suggested that what he calls the neopuritan narrative was developed in the first half of the 19th century by historians who wanted to resurrect the influence of the Puritans, who he says were generally ignored by the founding fathers in their debates over religious liberty and whether or not to make the Constitution an explicitly Christian document.  (They chose not to.)

 

Perkins Warns Of Government "Promotion Of Same-Sex Relations" For Population Control

Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance appeared on Janet Parshall’s radio show In The Market on Tuesday to discuss the “Green Dragon” film series which was made by Beisner’s group and hosted by Parshall. As we discussed in our report The ‘Green Dragon’ Slayers: How the Religious Right and the Corporate Right are Joining Forces to Fight Environmental Protection, the “Green Dragon” series represents efforts by the Religious Right and the Corporate Right to paint environmentalism as anti-Christian and ungodly:

During the radio show, Parshall played clips from the “documentary,” including one from Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who argues that in the name of “population control” the government will eventually push “infanticide” and promote “same-sex relations”:

Perkins: Population control is a very loaded term. It includes not only abortion, contraception and sterilization, all at government expense of course, but it also includes infanticide and the promotion of same-sex relations. At the heart of this push for population control is an unbiblical view of children and of life.

Another clip featured right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton. Barton, who has made a career of infusing Religious Right beliefs into politics and American history, accused environmentalism of being “a religion” with its own rules and “high priests,” and went on to tell people to contest environmental beliefs because “that’s not science, that is the faith position that you’re taking”:

Barton: People say that environmentalism is a religion. Others say, ‘Oh no, that’s not true,’ but it really is. Now how do we know? I’ve been involved in seven cases at the US Supreme Court and I can point to a number of court decisions where the court has said religion is whatever you believe so strongly that it affects the way you live your life. That’s why the court recognizes even atheism as a religion. Environmentalism definitely is a religion, it has its own high priests, it has folks that tell us what we can and can’t do with the environment and how we can treat it and they’re the guardians of it as if it’s a great temple. It’s a religion. And as soon as we recognize that environmentalism is a religion then it helps us to understand better how to respond to what’s being said, how to filter what’s being said, and say, now wait a minute, that’s not science, that is the faith position that you’re taking.

Discussing Lawrence King's Murder, Truth In Action Ministries Blames The Victim

After the tragic shooting of Lawrence ‘Larry’ King, the openly gay California student who was shot dead by a classmate in school three years ago, Religious Right activists pounced to defame King and gay rights advocates. Randy Thomasson of Save California blamed “social engineering” and said that King’s sexual orientation and gender expression and the shooting represented the “two wrongs” in the case. Anti-gay author Michael Brown said “gay activism” was responsible for the murder. The trial of King’s shooter ended in a hung jury and will be retried.

Now, in a recently-posted interview with the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, Karen Gushta of Truth in Action Ministries argues that King’s murder demonstrates that “affirming students” is “not a healthy trend.” OneNewsNow writes that attempts to “encourage children to ‘come out’ and experiment with alternate lifestyles causes physical and mental health risks,” and claims that Brandon McInerney, the defendant, “allegedly shot King,” even though neither party is contesting the facts of the murder.

Gushta told the conservative news site that hate crimes laws and education policy were to blame for King’s brutal death:

A research coordinator says the murder of a "gay" teenage student should serve as an example for why hate crime laws "do nothing to aid in administering justice."



Dr. Karen Gushta, research coordinator for Truth in Action Ministries, points out that hate crime laws did not protect King in this case.

"Hate crime laws do nothing to aid in administering justice," she explains. "They are a solution in the search for problems because what they in actuality do is criminalize thought."

Prosecutors dropped the hate crimes count, stating that they want to "slim the case down" and "narrow the focus." If convicted under the new charges, McInerney could face 50 years to life in prison. Had he been convicted in the first trial, he would have faced 53 years to life.

Gushta warns that policies that encourage children to "come out" and experiment with alternate lifestyles causes physical and mental health risks.

"The trend toward teaching gender identity and affirming students at a young age in transgender identity that's taking place in education, and specifically in California schools, that is not a healthy trend," she contends.

McInerney allegedly shot King once, and shot him again after he fell to the floor. A pretrial hearing is set for November 21.

Beck: Barton Does More Good "Than A Pack Of Charities Combined"

Just because David Barton may be a pseudo-historian who routinely peddles falsehoods in order to promote himself and his Religious Right agenda, that is not going to stop Glenn Beck from regularly featuring him on his program.

Beck's love of Barton is well-established and he featured him again on his program last week where Beck praised Barton as "one of the most honorable men I know, one of the best Christians I know" and his hero before urging his viewers to donate to Barton's WallBuilders organization because it does more good than "a pack of charities combined":

Values Voter Summit 2011 & America in 2013

As RWW readers know, the Values Voter Summit, the year’s biggest political gathering for the Religious Right, took place in Washington, D.C. this past weekend.  Every Republican presidential candidate with the exception of Jon Huntsman addressed the summit, evidence of the continuing importance of Religious Right activists and political groups to the GOP. Polls suggest that the Religious Right is about twice as big as the Tea Party, with significant overlap between the two movements. Ron Paul’s campaign packed in enough voters to win the straw poll, but it would be wrong to say he was the favorite of the Values Voter crowd. It was up-and-coming candidate Herman Cain who won the loudest cheers (and took second place).

The two days of speeches from presidential candidates, congressional leaders, and Religious Right activists painted a clear picture of where they’ll try to take the country if they are successful in their 2012 electoral goals.  In their America, banks and corporations would be free from pesky consumer and worker protections; there would be no Environmental Protection Agency and no federal support for education; women would have no access to abortion; gays would be second-class citizens; and for at least some of them, religious minorities would have to know their place and be grateful that they are tolerated in this Christian nation. 
 
Here’s a recap of some major themes from the conference.
 
Religious Bigotry on Parade
 
In one of the most extreme expressions of the “Christian nation” approach to government, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer has stated repeatedly that the religious liberty of non-Christians is not protected by the First Amendment.  More specifically, he says Mormons are not protected by the First Amendment.  For whatever reason, VVS organizers scheduled Romney and Fischer back-to-back on Saturday morning. 
 
Before the conference, People For the American Way called on Romney to take on Fischer’s bigotry, which he did, albeit in a vague and tepid manner, criticizing “poisonous” rhetoric without naming Fischer or explaining why his views are poison.  Getting greater media attention were comments by Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress, who in his introduction of Texas Gov. Rick Perry insisted on the importance of electing a “genuine” follower of Christ. Reporters who accurately saw this as a swipe at Romney’s faith asked Jeffress about it, and he labeled Mormonism a cult.  (Mormons consider themselves Christians, but many Christians, including Southern Baptists, believe Mormon theology is anything but.)  Following Romney at the microphone, Fischer doubled down, insisting that the next president has to be a Christian “in the mold of” the founding fathers.  Fischer’s inaccurate sense of history is eclipsed only by his lack of respect for church-state separation and for the Constitution itself – even though he insisted that his religious test for the presidency was really a “political test.” Romney took only four percent in the VVS straw poll, even though he has been leading in recent polls of GOP voters.
 
Beating up on Obama
 
Religious Right leaders routinely denounce President Barack Obama, so it is no surprise that a major theme of the VVS was attacking the president and his policies.  Perhaps the nicest thing anyone said about the president was Mitt Romney’s snide remark that Obama is “the conservative movement’s top recruiter.”    Among the nastiest came from virtue-monger Bill Bennett, who said, “if you voted for him last time to prove you are not a racist, you must vote against him this time to prove you are not an idiot.” Rep. Anne Buerkle, one of the Tea Party freshmen, said flat out that the president is not concerned about what is best for the country. 
 
Health care and foreign policy were top policy targets.  Many speakers denounced “Obamacare,” and most of the presidential candidates promised to make dismantling health care reform a top priority. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Religious Right favorite who is leading a legal challenge to the health care reform law, said that if the Supreme Court did not overturn it, Americans would go from being citizens to subjects.  Just about every speaker attacked President Obama for not being strong enough in support of Israel, and repeated a favorite right-wing talking point by pledging to “never apologize” for U.S. actions abroad.
 
Gays as Enemies of Liberty
 
It is clear that a Republican takeover of the Senate and White House would put advances toward equality for LGBT Americans in peril.  Speaker after speaker denounced the recent repeal of the ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers in the armed forces; many also attacked marriage equality for same-sex couples.  And many portrayed liberty as a zero-sum game, insisting that advances toward equality posed a dire threat to religious liberty. Rep. Mike Pompeo said “You cannot use our military to promote social ideals that do not reflect the values of our nation,” concluding his remarks with a call for the election of more Republicans, saying “ride to the sounds of the guns and send us more troops.”
Another member of the 2010 freshman class – Rep. Vicky Hartzler – attacked the Obama administration for “trying to use the military to advance their social agenda,” saying, “It’s wrong and it must be stopped.” Predictably, the AFA’s Fischer was the most vitriolic and insisted that the country needs a president “who will treat homosexual behavior not as a political cause at all but as a threat to public health.”
 
Loving Wall Street, Hating Wall Street Protesters
 
On the same day that moving pictures of Kol Nidre services at the site of Occupy Wall Street protests made the rounds on the Internet, Values Voter Summit speakers portrayed the protests as dangerous and violent.  Others simply mocked the protesters without taking seriously the objections being raised to growing inequality and economic hardship in America.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor denounced the “growing mobs” associated with the protests and decried “the pitting of Americans against Americans.” (Too bad he didn’t stick around to hear the rest of the speakers).  Glenn Beck denounced “Jon Stewart Marxism” and warned that the protests were the sign of an approaching “storm of biblical proportions” in which “the violent left” would smash, tear down, kill, bankrupt, and destroy.  Pundit Laura Ingraham simply made fun of the protesters and held up her own “hug the rich” sign.  Rising star Herman Cain defended Wall Street, blaming the nation’s economic crisis on policymakers, not reckless and irresponsible financiers.  Nobody wanted to regulate the financiers; speakers called for a repeal of the Dodd-Frank law. 
 
A number of speakers promoted Christian Reconstructionist notions of “Biblical economics,” with Star Parker declaring that “this whole notion of redistribution of wealth is inconsistent with scripture” and calling for the selection of a candidate with commitment to the free market according to the Bible.  Ron Paul also insisted “debt is not a political principle.”  The AFA’s Bryan Fischer said that liberalism is based on violating two of the Ten Commandments, namely thou shall not steal, and thou shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.  Liberalism, he said, is “driven by angry, bitter, acquisitive greed for the wealth of productive Americans.” 
 
No Love for Libertarians
 
A major theme at last year’s Values Voter Summit, as at other recent Religious Right political events, was an effort to make social-issue libertarians unwelcome in the conservative movement by insisting that you cannot legitimately claim to be a fiscal conservative if you are not also pushing “traditional family values.”  The same theme was sounded this year by the very first speaker, Tony Perkins.  Another, Joe Carter, took a shot at gay conservatives, saying it was not possible to be conservative and for gay marriage – it simply made you a “liberal who likes tax cuts.”  Carter said “social conservative” should be redundant. Ingraham echoed the theme, calling for an end to conservative modifiers (social, fiscal, national security) and, echoing popular Christian writer C.S. Lewis, called for a commitment to “mere conservatism.”  There were far fewer mentions of the Tea Party movement itself at this year’s VVS, perhaps owing to the movement’s unpopularity – or to the fact that the GOP itself has essentially become one big Tea Party party.
 
Crying Wolf on Religious Persecution
 
Religious Right leaders routinely energize movement activists with dire warnings about threats to religious liberty and the alleged religious persecution of Christians in America.  William Bennett said liberals are bigoted against “people who publicly love their God, who publicly love their country.”  Retired Gen. William Boykin said Christians are facing the greatest persecution ever in America.   The American Center for Law & Justice’s Jay Sekulow warned that the next president will probably select two Supreme Court justices, and that if it isn’t a conservative president, our Judeo-Christian values could be “eliminated.”  Crying wolf about persecution of Christians in America is offensive given the very real suffering of people in countries that do not enjoy religious freedom.  Several speakers addressed the case of a Christian pastor facing death in Iran.  That is persecution; having your political tactics challenged or losing a court case is not.
 
America is Exceptional; Europe Sucks
 
Republican strategists decided a couple of years ago that “American exceptionalism” would be a campaign theme in 2010 and 2012, and we heard plenty of talk about it at the Values Voter Summit.  Among the many who spoke about American exceptionalism was Rep. Steve King, who said “this country was ordained and built by His hand,” that the Declaration of Independence was written with divine guidance, and that God moved the founding fathers around the globe like chess pieces .  Liberals, said the Heritage Foundation’s Matthew Spalding, don’t share a belief in American exceptionalism or the American dream. Many speakers contrasted a freedom-loving, God-fearing America to socialist, post-Christian Europe.  Rick Perry said “those in the White House” don’t believe in American exceptionalism; they’d rather emulate the failed policies of Europe.  Gen. Boykin declared Europe “hopelessly lost.”
 
Smashing the Regulatory State
 
The anti-government, anti-regulatory fervor of billionaire right-wing funders like the Koch brothers was on vibrant display at the VVS.  Without the slightest nod to the fact that regulating the behavior of corporations’ treatment of workers, consumers, and the environment is in any way beneficial, a member of a Heritage Foundation panel said conservatives’ goal should be to “break the back” of the “regulatory state.”  Some presidential candidates vowed to halt every regulation issued during the Obama administration.  Michele Bachmann said her goal was to “dismantle” the bureaucracy.
 
Judging Judges
 
Many speakers criticized judges for upholding abortion rights, church-state separation, and gay rights. Newt Gingrich took these attacks to a whole new level, calling for right-wing politicians to provoke a  constitutional crisis in which the legislative and executive branch would ignore court rulings they didn’t like.  He called the notion of “judicial supremacy” an “affront to the American system of self-government.” Aside from Gingrich’s very dubious constitutional theory, the speech seemed out of place at a conference in which speakers had been calling for the Supreme Court to overturn the health care law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.
 
Deconstructing the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’
 
VVS speakers love quoting the Declaration of Independence, but some are clearly a little troubled with the notion that the “pursuit of happiness” is an inalienable right, one that might apply, for example, to happy, loving gay couples.  Rick Santorum said that the founders’ understanding of “happiness” meant “the morally right thing” and doing what God wants.  Steve King said the  pursuit of happiness was not like a tailgate party, but the pursuit of excellence in moral and spiritual development.  Michele Bachman has equated the pursuit of happiness with private property.
 
Notably weird speeches
 
Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel gave a meandering address that moved from U.S. policy on Israel to the war on Islamic radicalism to an attack on the United Nations to denunciations of sexologist Alfred Kinsey and humanist/educator John Dewey for undermining western civilization. He warned against conservatives using rhetoric that might push the growing Latino population into the maw of the “leftist machine,” making an aside about Latinos whose names end in “z” having a special connection to Israel.
 
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who ended up taking third place in the straw poll, seemed personally hurt that conservative evangelicals weren’t rallying around him given all that he had done for them and the price he had paid for it.  He whined, “Don’t you want a president who’s comfortable in his shoes talking about these issues?”
 
Rep. Steve King of Iowa said that people who support marriage equality or legal abortion don’t do so because they have a value system supporting those things, but because they want to spite the Religious Right – “because they know it’s precious to us.”
 
Former Fox TV personality Glenn Beck gave a trademark lurching speech contrasting visceral anger with his recitation of Abraham Lincoln’s “with malice toward none.” The speech was long on mockery of Wall Street protestors and on the messianic narcissism that was on display at his Lincoln Memorial rally last year.  “We need to give America the same choice” that Moses gave Israel, he said: good or evil, light or dark, life or death, freedom or slavery.  He said America is in a religious war, a race war, a class war, and other wars.  In one breath he insisted that the nation “must return to God” and talked about the “country’s salvation” – and in the next he denounced the notion of “collective salvation,” which he has elsewhere attributed to President Obama and denounced as evil and satanic.
 

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW: Gingrich’s Radical Plan to Weaken the Judiciary.
  •  

  • Rob Boston @ AU: Congressional Leaders, Presidential Candidates Court Religious Right, As Theocratic Movement Gears Up For 2012.
  •  

  • Sarah Posner @ Religion Dispatches: Robert Jeffress Has a Lot of Nerve.
  •  

  • Think Progress: Prominent Perry Endorser Robert Jeffress Calls AIDS A ‘Gay Disease’, Claims 70 Percent Of Gays Have AIDS.
  •  

  • Warren Throckmorton: Former Love in Action Director: I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual.
  •  

  • Ashley Lopez @ Florida Independent: Obama ‘witch doctor’ emailer to host fundraiser for Hasner tonight.
  •  

  • Truth Wins Out: Southern Poverty Law Center and Truth Wins Out Launch Campaign Targeting Destructive Conversion Therapy.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Bill Keller and Janet Mefferd rally to Robert Jeffress' side and defend his assertion that Mormonism is a cult.
  •  

  • Chris Christie has endorsed Mitt Romney.
  •  

  • Tim Pawlenty regrets dropping out of the presidential race.
  •  

  • Michele Bachmann is still trying to pretend that her campaign is right on track.
  •  

  • Joe the Plumber is running for Congress.  This ought to be good.
  •  

  • Matt Barber says the Religious Right doesn't seek "dominion," but simply "intend to 'take over government' insofar as this means ensuring that true, traditionalist statesmen are elected to office."
  •  

  • Finally, Herman Cain didn't really want to run for President, but God insisted.

Bryan Fischer Pleads Ignorance About His "Poisonous Language"

On AFA Today with Buster Wilson this morning, Bryan Fischer said he was stunned that Mitt Romney rebuked him, albeit not by name, for having crossed a line in civil debate and using “poisonous language.” As Kyle points out, Fischer has been playing the victim and defended himself during the same interview, saying, “Jesus used far more incendiary and inflammatory language than I have ever used.”

Fischer told Wilson that he was on Romney’s “hit list” since the 2008 campaign and “didn’t anticipate that he would go after me” at the Religious Right gathering. He also expressed bewilderment that Romney would characterize his language as “poisonous,” saying he has “no idea” what Romney was talking about. Fischer and Wilson went on to name People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch for pressuring Romney to call out Fischer and his unremitting bigotry:

Fischer has a point, as RWW has documented and exposed Fischer’s ultraconservative, intolerant, and discriminatory bombast for years, or as Fischer puts it, waged a “jihad” and “holy war” against him. We have repeatedly asked Republican presidential candidates, congressmen and senators who appear on his radio show and the presidential candidates, Romney in particular, who were sharing a stage with him at the Values Voter Summit to denounce him.

Since Fischer seems to have “no idea” what in his rhetoric could have forced Romney to condemn him, we put together this video to remind Fischer that the word “poisonous” may actually be an understatement:

Robert Jeffress Endorses Perry, Thinks America’s Doomed Anyway

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Robert Jeffress, a leading figure on the Religious Right, has announced that he will endorse Rick Perry for president later today at the Values Voter Summit.

Jeffress’s choice of Perry is not hugely surprising – in the past, he has attacked Mitt Romney for his Mormonism, saying, “Even though he talks about Jesus as his Lord and savior, he is not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity. Mormonism is a cult” and saying that Mormons “worship a false god.”

In 2010, Jeffress urged Christians to vote solely based on religion, saying “I believe we should always support a Christian over a non-Christian."

Mormonism isn’t the only religion Jeffress condemns – he has called Islam an “evil, evil religion” and said, “What we label today as ‘pluralism,’ God called ‘idolatry.’” This “idolatry,” Jeffress warned, has opened up the nation to “God’s wrath.”

Jeffress may have found a presidential candidate he likes, but he’s not too optimistic about the future of the United States. In September, he launched a series of sermons called “Twilight’s Last Gleaming,” in which he posits that America is doomed and Christians need to see the nation’s collapse as an opportunity to spread the Gospel.

 

Religious Right Hoping to Exploit Hispanic Frustration with Obama

Even before the opening bell at the Values Voter Summit, the Liberty Counsel hosted a breakfast on messaging and outreach to Hispanic Americans. Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver shared the stage with Tony Calatayud, a Miami-based activist who works for the Spanish language arm of Christian radio Salem Communications.   Calatayud, who helped Marco Rubio get elected to the U.S. Senate from Florida, now travels the country helping to identify and support conservative Hispanic candidates with the group Conservadores.

Staver said that Hispanic unhappiness with Barack Obama is “a really good thing going into 2012.” Calatayud agreed. The growing Hispanic community could be a huge electoral force for conservatives, he said, if only Republicans would stop alienating Hispanic voters with “idiotic” anti-immigrant rhetoric. He said “the Hispanic evangelical movement in this country is exploding” and said repeatedly that Hispanics are “conservative in nature” and share the Religious Right’s values on social issues. Polls suggest, in fact, that Latinos are pro-LGBT equality, but also that Latino evangelicals are more politically conservative than Latino Catholics.
 
Calatayud argued that conservative leaders need to make a “covenant” with “Kingdom-minded” Latino leaders and support an approach to immigration that includes four points: border security first; family reunification; a guest worker program; and “just integration” (a term he attributed to Sam Rodriguez) of the 12-15 million undocumented people already in the country. Calatayud said he didn’t want to hear the word “amnesty” ever again; he and Staver complained about Republicans who use the word “amnesty” to describe anything short of mass deportation. Calatayud got a polite but quiet hearing from the audience for his presentation on immigration; the only applause came when, in response to a question, he affirmed his belief that everyone must learn English.
 
Calatayud also insisted that the eventual Republican candidate must build a “covenant” relationship with Latino evangelical pastors and devote real money to campaign outreach. He said he had hoped Marco Rubio would run this time around; he predicts Rubio will not accept a VP slot this year, but believes he will be the GOP nominee in 2016 or 2020.

WallBuilders Enlists Christopher Columbus & Reconstructionist Eidsmoe in Christian Nation Crusade

David Barton’s WallBuilders is tireless in pushing its “Christian nation” version of American history.   Today it encourages its supporters to “Celebrate Columbus Day!” and to read John Eidsmoe’s Columbus and Cortez: Conquerors for Christ.  

Eidsmoe is the Christian Reconstructionist cited by Michele Bachmann as her mentor and major influence.  He is also a colleague of Roy Moore, who lost his job as Chief Justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court when he refused to obey federal court orders to remove a Ten Commandments memorial he had installed in the state courthouse.

As we have reported, Eidsmoe believes that feminists “violate the normal order” that God put in place for husbands to head households, that “homosexuality invites the judgment of God upon all of society,” that gays will turn the military into a “cesspool of immorality,” and that public education is brainwashing students to believe in secularism and evolution.  Ryan Lizza recently reported that Eidsmoe was uninvited from a Tea Party event last year after addressing an event in Alabama commemorating Secession Day and telling an interviewer that it was the state’s “constitutional right to secede,” and that “Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun understood the Constitution better than did Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Webster.”

Eidsmoe’s book on Columbus has an introduction by Peter Marshall, another “Christian Nation” advocate who served with Wallbuilders’ founder David Barton as an “expert” to Religious Right members of the Texas Board of Education pushing massive revisions to social science textbooks.  Marshall writes:

In his customary careful and thorough manner, John Eidsmoe has pierced through the obfuscating fog of twentieth-century humanist bias and judgments that have obscured the truth about two of the most controversial figures in American history, Christopher Columbus and Hernando Cortez. Using earlier sources, he has presented us with a well-researched, even-handed, and fair treatment of both their Christian motives for their incredible exploits, and the very real mistakes they made .This is a valuable contribution toward restoring a true Christian perspective on our American past.

WallBuilders’ Columbus Day email celebrates Columbus’ belief that he was being led by the Holy Spirit and complains that modern scholarship has denigrated Columbus specifically because of his religious motivation:

It is especially because of Columbus’ religious motivations and convictions that today he has become a villain for most modern educators and writers, who regularly attack and condemn him.

That echoes Eidsmoe’s book, which claims, “A scholarly desire to correct the historical record is not the primary reason [for modern criticism of Columbus]…No, the attack is directed toward values – biblical values and the Christian civilization that is based on biblical values.”

Eidsmoe writes:

The reason may of us find history boring is that we fail to see the sovereign hand of God at work as history unfolds. The way you look at history depends in large part upon your world view….For the Christian, history is, or should be, the unfolding of God’s plan for the human race. For the Christian, the discovery, exploration and settlement of the Western Hemisphere takes on a whole new dimension of meaning as God works through imperfect vessels like Columbus, Cortez….and others who bring salvation to the inhabitants of the Western world through the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

He decries the effort to “move this nation away from its Christian foundations” in order to “remake America into a secular or pagan society….If the Christian professions of Christopher Columbus and others can be proven insincere, if their deeds can be downplayed and their sins and shortcomings magnified, then this element of America’s Christian past can be discredited and set aside.”

Who’s Who at the Values Voter Summit 2011

This weekend, nearly every major GOP presidential candidate, along with the top two Republicans in the House of Representatives, will speak at the Values Voter Summit, an annual gathering of the leaders of the movement to integrate fundamentalist Christianity and American politics.

The candidates – Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich – and the congressmen – House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor – will join a who’s who of the far Right at the event. The organizers of the Values Voter Summit and many of its prominent attendees are on the frontlines of removing hard-won rights for gay and lesbian Americans, restricting women’s access to reproductive healthcare, undermining the free exercise rights of non-Christian religions and breaking down the wall of separation between church and state.

In perhaps the starkest illustration of how far even mainstream Republican candidates are willing to go to appease the Religious Right, Mitt Romney is scheduled to speak immediately before the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, a man whose record of hate speech should be shocking by any standard. Along with regularly denigrating gays and lesbians, Muslims, and other minority groups, Fischer has no love for Romney’s Mormon faith. In a radio program last week, Fischer insisted that Mormons have no right to religious freedom under the First Amendment and falsely claimed that the LDS Church still sanctions polygamy.

People For the American Way has called on GOP presidential candidates appearing at the conference to denounce Fischer’s bigotry. Last year, PFAW issued a similar call to attendees, which was met with silence.

The following is a guide to some of the individuals with whom the leaders of the GOP will be rubbing shoulders at the Values Voter Summit this year.

Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer is the Director of Issues Analysis at the American Family Association, which is a sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. Fischer acts as the chief spokesman for the group and also hosts its flagship radio program, Focal Point, on which he has interviewed a number of prominent figures including Bachmann, Gingrich, Santorum and Mike Huckabee.

On his radio program and in blog posts, Fischer frequently expresses unmitigated bigotry toward a number of minority groups, including gays and lesbians, Muslim Americans, Native Americans, low-income African Americans and Mormons.

Fischer has:

At a speech at last year’s Values Voter Summit, Fischer said that if Christians don’t get involved in politics, they “make a deliberate decision to turn over the running of the United States government to atheists and pagans.” Of the gay rights movement, he warned, “We are going to have to choose, as a nation, between the homosexual agenda and freedom, because the two cannot coexist.”

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council, the main organizer of this weekend’s summit. Perkins leads the group’s efforts against gay rights, abortion rights and church/state separation.

The FRC famously expressed its hostility to religious pluralism in a 2000 statement blasting a Hindu priest who was invited to give an opening prayer in Congress: "[W]hile it is true that the United States of America was founded on the sacred principle of religious freedom for all, that liberty was never intended to exalt other religions to the level that Christianity holds in our country's heritage…. Our Founders … would have found utterly incredible the idea that all religions, including paganism, be treated with equal deference."

The FRC has one of the most anti-gay platforms of any major political organization, including expressions of support for the criminalization of homosexuality. Earlier this year, the group called on members to pray for the continuation of Malawi’s law prohibiting homosexuality , under which a gay couple was sentenced to fourteen years in jail. Senior fellow Peter Sprigg said he would “much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.”

Perkins himself frequently reflects the extreme views of his organization. He:

At last year’s Values Voter Summit, Perkins managed to simultaneously insult U.S. servicemembers and several important U.S. allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying that armies that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly “ participate in parades, they don’t fight wars to keep the world free .”

Mat Staver

Mat Staver is the head of the Liberty University School of Law and its legal affiliate, Liberty Counsel, both sponsors of the Values Voter Summit. Liberty Counsel vehemently opposes rights for gays and lesbians, and in July filed the lawsuit to overturn New York’s Marriage Equality Act . The group’s Director of Cultural Affairs Matt Barber has called marriage equality “ rebellion against God” and said LGBT youth are more likely to commit suicide because they know “ what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, [and] is immoral .” Barber has also described liberalism as “hatred for God” and said the president and Democrats “are anti-God.” In fact, Liberty Counsel claimed that Obama is “ pushing America to move under the curse ” of God and “ jeopardizing our nation” for purportedly not supporting Israel.

Through his role at Liberty Counsel and on his radio program Faith & Freedom, Staver has:

Staver aggressively promotes “ex-gay” reparative therapy and warns that gays and lesbians are “ intent on trampling upon the fundamental freedoms ” of others. He is also closely linked to the saga of Lisa Miller, a woman represented by Liberty Counsel who kidnapped her daughter and fled to Central America after a court granted custody to her former partner, a lesbian woman. Although Liberty Counsel denies involvement in the kidnapping, earlier this year Miller was reportedly staying at the house of Staver’s administrative assistant’s father in Nicaragua . Staver has also taught the Miller case in his law classes as an example of an instance where “God’s law” preempts “man’s law.”

Jerry Boykin

Retired Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin sparked a controversy when, as a high-ranking official in the Bush Defense Department, he framed the War on Terror as a holy war against Islam. He has since built a career as a Religious Right speaker, specializing in anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-Obama conspiracy theories. Boykin rejects religious freedom for American Muslims, claiming that Islam “is not just a religion, it is a totalitarian way of life.” In an interview with Bryan Fischer, he called for “no mosques in America.”

Boykin is a leading member of the dominionist group The Oak Initiative. In a speech at the group’s conference in April, he declared that George Soros and the Council on Foreign Relations conspired to collapse the U.S. economy in order to help President Obama get elected. Last year, he told the group that President Obama was using his health care reform legislation as a cover to establish a private army of Brownshirts loyal just to him .

Star Parker

Parker is a long-time Religious Right activist who is particularly active in anti-gay and anti-abortion rights work. As Washington, DC was poised to legalize marriage equality, Parker warned that it would lead to more HIV infections in the city, which would “ transform officially into Sodom.” In a recent radio interview with Tony Perkins, Parker mused that black family life was “ more healthy” under slavery than it is today and has accused liberals of treating Justice Clarence Thomas and Gov. Sarah Palin like runaway slaves. She has called legal abortion a “genocide” on par with slavery and the Holocaust.

Ed Vitagliano

As the AFA’s research director, Ed Vitagliano helped co-produce the 2000 anti-gay documentary “It’s Not Gay,” which is riddled with misleading statistics about gays and lesbians and promotes “ex-gay” reparative therapy. The “documentary” starred ex-gay leader Michael Johnston, a self-described “former homosexual,” who was later revealed to have been secretly having sex with other men. Vitagliano’s anti-gay work has continued apace — on the AFA’s radio program this year, Vitagliano argued that gay men are “ abusing the nature of the design of the human body” and said homosexuality is not a “ natural and normal and healthy activity.” Vitagliano also scolded congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis for supporting marriage equality , saying that Lewis “thumbed [his] nose” at God and “needs to go back and read his Bible.”

Bishop Harry Jackson

Jackson, who built his career as an avowed opponent of rights for gays and lesbians, is a regular speaker at Religious Right conferences. He has called for a “SWAT Team” of “Holy Ghost terrorists” to work against hate crimes legislation that protects gays and lesbians, and said that black organizations that support gay rights have “ sold out the black community” and have been “ co-opted by the radical gay movement .” Jackson claims that gay marriage is part of “ a Satanic plot to destroy our seed” and that the larger gay rights movement is “ an insidious intrusion of the Devil.”

Along with his fierce opposition to LGBT rights, Jackson has compared legal abortion to “lynching” and urged the Senate to defeat Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court because she is not a Protestant (Kagan is Jewish). Jackson has even described his political efforts in apocalyptic terms, telling a Religious Right group before the 2010 elections, “God is saying to us ‘I want to pick a fight in which I can wipe out my enemies and cause them to be silenced once and for all.’ This is where America is; if we do not recognize and repent, we are going to see our way of life destroyed as we now know it.”

Lila Rose

Rose is the anti-choice activist responsible for carrying out a deceptive hit job against Planned Parenthood this year. Members of Rose’s group, Live Action, went to Planned Parenthood clinics around the country posing as clients seeking help with a child sex trafficking ring. Planned Parenthood alerted the FBI about the activity, and the one staffer who handled the supposed traffickers inappropriately was promptly fired. Nevertheless, Rose claimed that her hoax proved “beyond a shadow of a doubt that Planned Parenthood intentionally breaks state and federal laws and covers up the abuse of young girls it claims to serve.”

Rose is no newcomer to the Values Voter Summit: in a speech at 2009’s summit, she called for abortions to be performed “in the public square.”

Glenn Beck

Until Beck’s Fox News program was canceled earlier this year, he was one of the Right’s most visible fear-mongers and conspiracy theorists. When his violent rhetoric inspired some real threats against progressive leaders, he laughed off the critics who urged him to choose his words more responsibly. Beck’s elaborate conspiracy theories include the idea that socialists and Islamists were planning a global caliphate, with the help of American progressives; an obsession with the progressive funder George Soros, at whom he leveled a number of anti-Semitic smears including a personal attack that the Anti-Defamation league called “horrific”; and a distrust of President Obama, who he once said was “racist” with a “ deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture .”

On air, Beck joked about killing prominent progressives (for instance, poisoning Nancy Pelosi’s wine), but frequently insisted that it is progressives who were urging violence, even predicting his own martyrdom. In one 2010 broadcast, he warned that "anarchists, Marxists, communists, revolutionaries, Maoists" have to "eliminate 10 percent of the U.S. population" in order to "gain control."

After a terrorist in Oslo killed dozens of young members of Norway’s Labor Party at an island summer camp, Beck attacked the victims , comparing the camp to “Hitler Youth” and calling it “disturbing.”

Perry Is Smarter, More Honest, And A Better Leader Than Obama And Romney Combined

Yesterday, the Barna Group released the results of a survey it conducted comparing President Obama to Mitt Romney and Rick Perry on four key "character or competency qualities that voters often evaluate when selecting their preferred candidate."

The four characteristics examined were perceived honesty, intelligence, philosophy of government, and leadership ability and Barna added together each candidate's "excellent" or "good" ranking and determined that on three of the four characteristics, President Obama came out on top (Romney came out on top in the category of leadership ability.)

Barna is well-known for its excellent research and polling on the evangelical community and reports that, in contrast to voters on the whole, evangelicals placed Rick Perry at the top of every category and that his scores were generally higher than the scores of Obama and Romney combined:

Among evangelicals the candidate with the top score was Mr. Perry in all four categories – leadership (30% excellent versus 9% for each of his two peers); honesty (26% excellent, compared to 18% for Mr. Obama and 9% for Mr. Romney); intelligence (42% excellent rating, dwarfing the 26% given to Mr. Obama and 20% to Mr. Romney); and philosophy of government 25% excellent, 15% for Mr. Obama, 6% for Mr. Romney). Note that on all four attributes, evangelicals rated Mr. Romney last (although his scores tied him with Mr. Obama regarding leadership ability).

Right Wing Leftovers

Mefferd: Homosexuality Part Of A Pagan Plot To "Wipe Out Christianity"

Religious Right talk show host Janet Mefferd yesterday lashed out at the gay rights movement, arguing that “the homosexuality issue is an excuse” to “wipe out Christianity” and that “pagans” are using homosexuality to stifle the “word of God” and “shut Christians up.” This is, of course, not the first time Mefferd has used her program to denounce rights for gays and lesbians.

Listen:

Mefferd: I think the homosexuality issue is an excuse, I think it’s an excuse. I think it’s an excuse of the pagan mind to begin what they have wanted to do for a very long time and that is to wipe out Christianity. Maybe that’s overstated, maybe I’m being a little bit over the top, but I really don’t think so. I think it’s an excuse. I think it’s the pagan who doesn’t want to hear about sin. I think it’s the pagan who doesn’t want the word of God to be believed by anybody because it’s an offense. And I think homosexuality is the perfect issue for them to use to shut Christians up.

Parshall Says You Cannot Be Gay And Christian

Last week Kyle noted that Denny Burk of the Southern Baptist Convention is urging Christians to “drop the phrase” “gay Christian” because “Christians never speak of ‘lying Christians, ’ ‘adulterer Christians, ’ ‘fornicating Christians, ’ ‘murderer Christians, ’or ‘thieving Christians.’” On Friday, Religious Right radio talk show host Janet Parshall made a similar claim on her show In The Market, where she criticized a self-described “gay Christian” who wrote to her:

I got an interesting comment from a person who identified themselves as a gay Christian. Now, that is something I want to linger here for two seconds, because either you are a bible-believing born again Christian who’ve confessed your sins and you’ve asked the Lord of your life as Savior and you’ve slid into sin and you’re now currently practicing homosexuality, or, you’re using the word Christian without understanding what the word Christian means. But I will tell you in love, if you are listening to me right now, that if you are a practicing gay Christian you dear friend are in sin. Not because Janet Parshall said so, you’re in sin because the bible says any sex outside of marriage is sin. God in His sovereignty designed sex, now that’s just some people keep forgetting that but it was God who came up with this idea of a man and a woman expressing themselves sexually, but then in His sovereignty and His perfect wisdom he said ‘and, here’s where it’s done: within the parameters of marriage.’ And then, so you wouldn’t have to fumble in the dark, ‘and by the way marriage is defined as one man and one woman.’ But when someone comes along with a sin, and wants the government to put it into statutory law, the men and women of God have no choice but to stand up and say: that’s wrong.

Right Wing Round-Up

AFA Threatens To Fire Any Host Who Partners With NAR Critic

Back when Gov. Rick Perry was organizing his massive "The Response" prayer rally, we were hard at work chronicling the ties between organizers of the event and the self-proclaimed prophets and apostles affiliated with the New Apostolic Reformation.

But it was not just people like us who were taking note of the fact that Republicans and Religious Right leaders were embracing this new breed of spiritual warriors, as some conservatives leaders began to raise alarms of their own.

One of the leading conservative critics of this development has been Brannon Howse of Worldview Weekend, who has been using his radio program to voice his opposition. 

And his criticism is apparently causing such massive headaches for the folks over at the American Family Association that, as Warren Throckmorton reports, hosts of programs that air on the AFA's American Family Radio network are now being told that their shows will be dropped if they in any way partner with Howse:

The American Family Association has taken aim at fellow religious conservative Brannon Howse over his criticism of the AFA’s recent sponsorship of GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry’s The Response prayer meeting. Earlier this week, Jim Stanley, program director of AFA’s radio network, American Family Radio, sent notices to two talk show hosts who are associated with Howse, informing them that continued presence on the AFA’s radio network was conditioned on severing ties with Howse.

The talk show hosts, John Loeffler and Todd Friel, have shows aired by American Family Radio and also speak at Howse sponsored events. According to Tim Wildmon, president of the AFA, “we identified two people with programs on our networks and told them, ’you have to make a choice.’” In defense of the move, Wildmon said “AFR is under no obligation to run programs of individuals who are going to help Brannon when he is attacking our friends. We make programming decisions all the time.”

Howse heads Worldview Weekend, a socially conservative ministry which espouses similar conservative views as the AFA on culture war issues as abortion and homosexuality. However, Howse charges that religious right leaders have formed improper religious alliances with leaders in the New Apostolic Reformation such as Cindy Jacobs in order to promote a conservative political agenda. About his stance, Howse said, “Christians must defend the gospel when we believe Christian leaders are giving credibility to what the Bible describes as false teaching ... In an email, Wildmon told me that Howse had tried to “sabotage The Response that we were sponsors of and has gone after our friends and associates like Jim Garlow, Tony Perkins, James and Shirley Dobson, etc., by name.” He explained that the network had received calls from listeners and that the situation had been “a headache.”

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Religious Right Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Monday 10/24/2011, 4:01pm
Several weeks ago, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins hosted a press briefing at the National Press Club to discuss just what it is that the Religious Right is seeking in a Republican presidential nominee. During the Q&A, Perkins was asked to discuss the idea that the very positions that make a candidate appealing to the Religious Right are the same positions that make such candidates unappealing to the general voting population. Not surprisingly, Perkins took issue with that assessment and asserted instead that without the support of the Religious Right, no Republican candidate... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 10/24/2011, 3:55pm
Coverage of the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit this year was dominated by stories of Robert Jeffress’ criticism of the Mormon faith; Bryan Fischer’s unabashed bigotry; and the infighting that rose to the surface when Bill Bennett rebuked Jeffress and Mitt Romney, tepidly and not by name, denounced Fischer. The press coverage of the Religious Right conference was so completely focused on Jeffress and Fischer that the FRC even asked members to pray that the media will stop reporting on the story. Today FRC president Tony Perkins used his radio alert today to... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 10/24/2011, 11:25am
Today on The 700 Club televangelist and past Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson warned that the Republican primary base is pushing their party’s potential nominees to such extremes that they will be unelectable. While Robertson has said that he will not make an endorsement this cycle, in 2008 he caught flak from many in the Religious Right for supporting Rudy Giuliani. After a segment on Herman Cain’s ever-changing and completely incoherent views on abortion rights, Robertson told viewers that he thinks that the Republican presidential nominee may be unelectable if he... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 10/24/2011, 10:04am
Shortly after Rick Perry's prayer rally earlier this year, organizers of that event started promoting a Religious Right voter mobilization effort called "Champion The Vote," which seeks to "mobilize 5 million unregistered conservative Christians to register and vote according to the Biblical worldview in 2012." It turned out that the Champion The Vote effort was a project of organization called United In Purpose, which is being funded by conservative millionaires for the purpose of mobilizing "40 million out of the estimated 60 million evangelicals in the United... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 10/21/2011, 3:40pm
Herman Cain has said this week that he is pro-life and that abortion should be made illegal, but also that the government shouldn’t have any role in it and the decision should be left up to the woman and her family. As Kyle notes, it seems that Cain’s position is that abortion should be outlawed but “in situations where a family was deciding whether or not to break the law, it is none of the government’s business to tell them what to do.” Cain seems to be the only person who understands this view, and the Religious Right is not happy, to say the least. Rick Perry... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 10/21/2011, 2:43pm
You really have to feel for Herman Cain because it seems that people are always misunderstanding his perfectly consistent and reasonable statements.  Like how his 9-9-9 plan will not raise taxes on the poor because he has a super-secret solution that he just hasn't told anyone about or how just because he said he wouldn't allow any Muslims to serve in his administration, that doesn't mean he wouldn't allow Muslims to serve in his administration. Yesterday Cain made news again after saying that it is not the "government’s role, or anybody else’s role" to make the... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 10/20/2011, 1:45pm
John Stemberger earlier this week appeared on a conference call for Champion the Vote and warned that the future of the country relies on the Religious Right. Stemberger, the head of the Florida Family Policy Council and the past chairman of the campaign to have a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality in Florida, was promoting the One Nation Under God event with Newt Gingrich, David Barton, James Dobson, Sam Rodriguez and Lila Rose which focuses on boosting right-wing activism and learning about “God’s fingerprint all over the founding of our country”: While... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 10/20/2011, 10:42am
Back in 2009, when Congress was working on legislation to expand hate crimes laws to include protections for sexual orientation, the Religious Right pitched a fit and mobilized to try and stop it.  They failed, but Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel was among the leaders of the movement, going so far as to not only oppose adding sexual orientation to the law but calling for all hate crimes laws to be repealed: Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle — in Washington and around the country — should not only reject S. 909, but should also begin working toward repeal of all state and... MORE >