Austin Ruse

C-Fam 'Mission' in Africa: Spreading Anti-Family Planning, Anti-Gay Gospel

There are a lot of challenges facing the people of Nigeria and Kenya, including campaigns of terror being waged by Islamist militants with Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab. But that’s not the focus of the “mission trip” for which C-Fam’s Austin Ruse is urgently raising money this week.

No, Ruse and the Center for Family and Human Rights (formerly known as the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute) are raising money to warn against “UN radicals and the Obama administration” and the “bloody, soul-destroying” consequences of family planning, reproductive choice, and LGBT equality:

As you read this, two C-Fam staffers are on the ground in Africa; one in Kenya and one in Nigeria. 
 
They have traveled so far and into such dangerous situations in order to take our message to the African people:

·         NO UN-STYLE FAMILY PLANNING

·         NO GLOBAL RIGHT TO ABORTION

·         NO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

The people of Africa are under severe pressure from UN radicals, the Obama administration, and the European Union to accept the ideology that has led to millions of abortion deaths and deaths from disease here in the United States and in Europe. 
 
C-Fam is in Nigeria and Kenya this week to raise the alarm. We are there to let our African brothers and sisters know what the UN radicals and the Obama administration has planned for them and what the bloody, soul-destroying result will be. 
 
While in Nigeria and Kenya our fearsome team will meet with the Catholic bishops, with activists and, we hope, government officials.

It’s not as if marriage equality is about to break out in either of these countries. Homosexual sex is a criminal act in Kenya, where last year a fringe party proposed a bill to allow the stoning of gay foreigners. Nigeria’s outgoing president signed a harsh anti-gay law last year that has led to persecution and violence against LGBT people.

Last year, Ruse energetically defended Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law and suggested that critics of the increasingly anti-democratic Vladimir Putin were “stuck in cold war amber” and consumed by a “visceral hatred of all things Russian. He even dismissed concerns about Putin’s attack on freedom of the press, saying Russians had no “historical memory” of that kind of freedom.  

The Personhood Movement: Undermining Roe In The Courts: Part 3

This is the third post in a RWW series on the reemergence of the fetal personhood movement and what it means for the future of abortion rights in the U.S.

Part 1: The Personhood Movement: Where It Comes From And What It Means For The Future Of Choice
Part 2: The Personhood Movement: Internal Battles Go Public
Part 4: The Personhood Movement: Regrouping After Defeat

As we have detailed in previous posts in this series, ever since the anti-choice movement rose to prominence in the wake of Roe v. Wade, it has been divided over how to go about repealing Roe and recriminalizing abortion in the U.S.

Groups like Americans United for Life (AUL) and the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) have achieved great success in pushing states to adopt incremental measures targeting abortion providers in the name of protecting women’s health and in advocating for national policies — such as the 2003 “partial-birth” abortion ban and the 20-week abortion ban currently being considered by Congress — that attempt to undermine the legal reasoning in Roe by targeting a small segment of abortion procedures.

But the anti-choice personhood movement believes that the incremental strategy is doing too little to end legal abortion. They believe they have a better plan.

The personhood movement argues that small, incremental legal victories cutting off access to abortion will never achieve the ultimate goal of completely criminalizing the procedure — in part because those measures fail to make a moral argument on behalf of the humanity of the fertilized egg and fetus.

At the founding convention of the Personhood Alliance late last year, the chief of staff to Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, notorious for his legal fight over a Ten Commandment monument he placed in the courthouse rotunda, discussed an alternate legal strategy to end abortion rights. As Nina Martin has outlined in The New Republic, Moore’s protégé and colleague Justice Tom Parker has been carefully laying out a legal framework to overturn Roe, not by constitutional amendment, but by the legal redefinition of what it means to be a person protected by the law.

Parker, with Moore’s backing, has been building a body of jurisprudence that offers a blueprint for a personhood victory in the courts. In doing so, he’s drawn the attention and praise of anti-choice activists; Liberty Counsel, a right-wing legal group, has called him a “modern-day Wilberforce.”

Since efforts to overturn Roe by passing a Human Life Amendment or a legislative alternative faltered in Congress in the 1970s and 1980s, personhood advocates have focused on the states, passing legislation giving limited rights to fetuses as separate entities from pregnant women. Since 1986, 38 states have passed “fetal homicide” laws identifying fetuses at some or all stages of development as separate victims of crime and in 2004 Congress passed a similar law covering federal crimes. Similarly, in 18 states substance abuse during pregnancy is legally considered child abuse. In Alabama last year, Republicans passed a law allowing judges to appoint lawyers for fetuses. As Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues associate at the Guttmacher Institute, put it in an interview, “all of that is about trying to build up a legal case that personhood starts at fertilization.”

Personhood USA’s 2014 attempt to insert personhood language into Colorado law drew on this legal history, specifically limiting its new definition of personhood to the Colorado criminal code and Colorado Wrongful Death Act. But the proposal was nonetheless widely recognized as an attempt to ban abortion, or at least to set up a legal battle challenging Roe. In fact, Colorado had already passed laws imposing extra penalties for crimes against pregnant women, the purported purpose of the personhood amendment. “They are changing the tone, they are changing the language, they are changing the messaging to try to win,” Nash said.

Parker has chronicled laws treating fetuses as full-fledged humans in certain cases to argue that “[t]oday, the only major area in which unborn children are denied legal protection is abortion, and that denial is only because of Roe.” He has urged the Supreme Court to address the issue at the next chance it gets.

Parker and Moore’s strategy relies on what the personhood movement’s proponents believe is a loophole in Roe v. Wade that would allow anti-abortion advocates to effectively undo the decision without a constitutional amendment or a Supreme Court friendlier to their cause. In Roe, the Justices rejected the idea of fetal personhood. Justice Blackmun wrote in his majority opinion that “no case could be cited that holds that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment,” noting, “If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses...for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment.”

A federal bill that currently has 132 cosponsors in the House and 21 in the Senate takes aim at this supposed loophole in Roe, simply declaring that “the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being," which includes “each member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.”

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, the chief sponsor of the Senate bill, signed a fundraising email for the pro-personhood National Pro-Life Alliance in November, arguing that his was the strategy that would work:

The Supreme Court itself admitted  if Congress declares unborn children 'persons' under the law, the constitutional case for abortion-on-demand 'collapses.'

Alabama’s Supreme Court is the most prominent court to give a serious hearing to the personhood strategy, long considered by even some in the anti-choice movement to be a crackpot theory and a potential political and legal disaster. As recently as 2009, Clarke Forsythe, senior counsel at Americans United for Life, wrote in the National Review that the so-called “personhood loophole” was an “urban legend” and those pursuing it were “heading toward a brick wall.” Forsythe argued that in 1992 Casey decision, the Supreme Court had shifted the abortion debate from the personhood of fetuses to the rights of women, and that that was therefore the ground that the anti-choice movement should be playing on. “The real challenge for pro-lifers in 2009 is to effectively address the assumption that abortion is good for women,” he wrote, presaging AUL’s revamped woman-focused messaging.

Even more alarming to the personhood strategy’s detractors in the anti-choice movement is the possibility that a personhood challenge to Roe could create the opportunity for a Supreme Court ruling that would actually strengthen constitutional protections for abortion rights. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for instance, has said that she believes abortion rights should be secured under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, making the issue more clearly about the rights of women. In 2010, Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) wrote, “If a personhood amendment comes before this court, a new and terrifying decision may put the pro-life movement back a quarter century or more.”

In 2007, as the anti-choice movement’s schism over a ban on so-called “partial-birth” abortion was gaining national attention, Georgia Right to Life, which was at the the state affiliate of NRLC, worked with legislators to introduce a state constitutional amendment defining a “person” under state law as “including unborn children at every state of their biological development, including fertilization.”

Although the Georgia amendment was based on language originally drafted as a federal constitutional amendment by NRLC, NRLC’s chief counsel James Bopp, Jr. tried to shut it down. In a lengthy and frank memo to his fellow anti-choice activists, Bopp contended that such an amendment would be immediately struck down in federal courts and, if it made it to the Supreme Court, could give the court’s majority the opportunity to rewrite Roe in the way favored by Ginsburg. The state-level personhood strategy, he cautioned, was “presently doomed to expansive failure.”

Instead, Bopp said, the anti-choice movement should continue its incremental strategy, which was succeeding in curtailing access to abortion while keeping the issue in the public eye. He wrote that the “partial-birth” abortion law had been a successful example of this strategy because it “forced the pro-abortion camp to publicly defend a particularly visible and gruesome practice.” Acknowledging that “most pro-lifers” believe that abortion should only be available to save the life of a pregnant woman, he warned that absolutist, no-exceptions approaches like personhood were both legally unwise and poor public relations:

By contrast, the pro-life movement must at present avoid fighting on the more difficult terrain of its own position, namely arguing that abortion should not be available in cases of rape, incest, fetal deformity, and harm to the mother. While restricting abortion in these situations is morally defensible, public opinion polls show that popular support for the pro-life side drops off dramatically when these “hard” cases are the topic. And while most pro-lifers believe that a consistent pro-life position requires permitting abortion in only the rare circumstances where it is necessary to save the life of the mother, some pro-lifers believe that there should not even be an exception to preserve the life of the mother. Other pro-lifers advocate exceptions for rape or incest. This is an important debate to have, and we should be ready to convince the public of the need for few, if any, exceptions to laws prohibiting abortion when such laws can be upheld. However, since that is currently not the case, such a debate is premature and would undermine public support for the pro-life position.

Responding to Bopp’s memo, the conservative Thomas More Law Center, which drafted the Georgia amendment, argued that the incremental strategy had taken too long and done too little and that “after 34 years of abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy, it is time to rethink pro-life strategy.”

“[T]he central holding of Roe v. Wade remains the primary obstacle to any meaningful pro-life initiative that seeks to end abortion,” wrote Thomas More attorney Robert J. Muise. “To remove this obstacle, a case must be presented to the United States Supreme Court that challenges the central premise of Roe — that the unborn is not a person within the meaning of the law.”

If personhood laws were to succeed in the courts, the legal implications would be immense and unpredictable.

The ambiguous wording of personhood measures has led to concerns that they could be interpreted to outlaw oral contraception, IUDs and in-vitro fertilization. But birth control is not the only issue. As the National Advocates for Pregnant Women’s Lynn Paltrow and Fordham sociologist Jeanne Flavin have documented, laws granting legal rights to fetuses outside the context of abortion have led to hundreds of cases of pregnant women being arrested or otherwise apprehended after suffering miscarriages or for alleged drug and alcohol use deemed to be harmful to the fetus.

In countries that completely criminalize abortion — the goal of the “pro-life” movement in the U.S. — pregnant woman can find themselves in terrifying situations: recently in El Salvador, a woman was sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder after suffering a miscarriage.

As Paltrow told Newsweek in 2012, “There’s no way to give embryos constitutional personhood without subtracting women from the community of constitutional persons.”

By redefining what it means to be a person under the law, personhood measures could also have a broad legal impact on issues unrelated to reproductive rights, threatening to upend everything from inheritance law to census results. In 2014, the Colorado Bar Association opposed the state’s personhood ballot measure, warning that the vaguely worded measure would have “potentially serious, unintended and unknown consequences for Colorado lawyers…From areas of Family Law to Probate Law to Real Estate Law, as well as the explicit effect on Criminal Law and Wrongful Death statutes, this Amendment could create uncertainty and endless litigation.”

Daniel Becker, the former leader of Georgia Right to Life and founder of the Personhood Alliance, also sees the personhood issue as extending beyond abortion rights, but in a different direction. The final chapter of Becker's 2011 manifesto, "Personhood," is written in the form of a science fiction story set in a "post-human future" in which computers have gained consciousness, procreation has been moved to laboratories, and a "specialized sub-class of human-animal hybrids" has been developed to perform menial labor. The anti-abortion rights movement, he argues, will cease to be relevant in coming battles over biotechnology if it remains "at its heart, anti-abortion as opposed to pro-sanctity of human life." He argues that only by embracing full "personhood" rights for zygotes and fetuses will the movement remain viable in the future.

The personhood movement, while it has hope in the legal system, also recognizes that it won’t get far without winning hearts and minds. In the final post in this series, we’ll look at the movement’s efforts to reorganize in the wake of electoral defeats.

C-FAM Blogger Wonders 'Which Camp To Choose' Between Ukraine-Invading Putin And Sodomy-Promoting Obama

Last week, Austin Ruse, head of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), was among the Americans scheduled to speak at a conference in Moscow sponsored by close allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin that ended with a call for countries around the world to pass laws restricting LGBT rights. Ruse was a member of the planning committee for the event, which was originally organized under the name of the Illinois-based World Congress of Families — WCF dropped its official sponsorship after it came under pressure after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

So it was interesting yesterday to see Turtle Bay and Beyond, a blog sponsored by C-FAM, run a lengthy post by contributor J.C. von Krempach, in which he acknowledges that Putin is using anti-choice and anti-LGBT policies for cynical expansionist ends, but wonders if the Russian president's leadership is nonetheless preferable to President Obama’s support for LGBT equality and reproductive rights around the globe.

(He, like many of his fellow admirers of Putin’s embrace of the Russian Orthodox church, neglects to mention the devastating impact the Ukraine conflict is having on that country's evangelical protestants.)

“The problem with the US today is that President Obama has a religion of his own making,” writes Krempach. “That religion has abortion and same-sex 'marriage' as its most precious sacraments, and Obama is its messiah.”

“If Obama kept his religion for himself, that would not be such a great problem. In actual fact, however, he puts his position as the head of the executive of the world’s largest and most powerful democracy entirely at the service of this novel religion, promoting sodomy and child-slaughtering domestically and abroad.”

All of this, he writes, makes it difficult to “know which camp to choose.”

Definitely, we are living in strange times. Pro-lifers and defenders of marriage and family meet at a conference in Moscow, hosted by two men with close links not only to the Russian Orthodox Church, but also to Russian President (and former KGB-boss) Vladimir Putin just at a time when the latter is waging a war of aggression against neighbouring Ukraine (not to mention the very similar wars he has waged against Georgia and Moldova and, domestically, against the Chechens…). At the same time Barack Obama, supposedly the leader of the most powerful democratic country in the world, is not only the one of the world’s most active advocates of violence against unborn children, but also uses all the powers of his office to wage a full-fledged war, domestically and world-wide, against marriage and the family – which are the very fundaments of any democratic society. And we, perplexed, do not know which camp to choose.

[T]he state ideology [in Russia] has changed once more – and whatever one may think of the close union between Church and State we see today, this change is for the better. For all practical purposes Christianity is more conducive to the common good than Marxism-Leninism. And the promotion of stable families is certainly a better idea than promoting class struggle and collectivization.

If we now turn to look at the United States, we see the nearly opposite scenario. While Americans are (at least by comparison to most Europeans) a very religious nation, they have a secular (not “secularist”) State, with no established religion. The purpose of the clause that there be no established religion is not to fight against religion, but to guarantee religious freedom.

The problem with the US today is that President Obama has a religion of his own making. That religion has abortion and same-sex “marriage” as its most precious sacraments, and Obama is its messiah.

If Obama kept his religion for himself, that would not be such a great problem. In actual fact, however, he puts his position as the head of the executive of the world’s largest and most powerful democracy entirely at the service of this novel religion, promoting sodomy and child-slaughtering domestically and abroad. This includes, in particular, the funding of abortion in developing countries through so-called “development aid”, the use of diplomatic pressure on developing countries to legalize abortion or sodomy, or the public endorsement given by US diplomats to “gay pride” events and other displays of obscenity. These provocative activities have, among many other countries, also targeted Russia – in particular at the Sochi Winter Olympics, where the US foreign Office orchestrated a “LGBT-rights campaign”. But there, as elsewhere, they have not won over the population for Obama’s noble cause, but provoked astonishment and disgust.

And this is, I believe, where the heart of the matter lies. I don’t believe for a moment that Putin is a devout Christian, nor that he has any particularly strong convictions on homosexuality. But he is not stupid either. He has discovered that, by promoting abortion and sodomy as “human rights”, the US and other Western governments have within a very short period of time depleted all the moral capital they had accumulated during the Cold War. Instead with sympathy and admiration, the West is nowadays viewed with contempt in many regions of the world. For the US, this loss of moral capital is a political disaster of unspeakable dimension – and one doesn’t have the impression that Foggy Bottom is even aware of it. For Russia, by contrast, it is a golden opportunity: stand up for a proper understanding of marriage and the family, gain credibility on human rights (which, for quite different reasons, isn’t really due to them, and act as the leader of a world-wide coalition of countries (including most of Asia and Latin America, and nearly all of Africa) that grow increasingly wary of Obama’s bizarre set of “values”. Putin isn’t a democrat. He simply is a politician who understands that cultural issues can play a very important role in world politics, and who is clever enough to draw an easy profit from America’s moral and social self-destruction. It doesn’t cost him a dime.

There is a second reason for Putin to fight abortion promote “large families”. That reason is that Russia cannot be great if its population is dwindling. Russia not only has one of the highest abortion rates in the world, but she is (for a variety of reasons, which include widespread alcoholism, drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, economic problems, emigration, etc.) losing nearly 1 million inhabitants per year. To halt this decline, decisive action is necessary. It is a matter of survival for Russia as a nation (and hence for Putin as a political leader). Thus it seems to me that Putin is not necessarily fighting abortion out of a deep moral conviction, but for more profane reasons. But these reasons are, in and by themselves, certainly legitimate. One can do the right thing for the wrong reasons, and it still remains the right thing.

So whose camp do I choose, Putin’s or Obama’s? Neither. Both have, for very different reasons, a pretty bad human rights record. But both also do some good. When Obama sets out to restore peace and order in the Middle East, I do wish him the best of successes. And when Putin defends marriage and family at the UN, I also wish him all the best. There is not only black and white in this world. There are also many shades of grey.

Moscow Forum Attended By American Activists Ends With Call For More 'Gay Propaganda' Bans

UPDATED

According to the foundation run by Russian oligarch Constantin Malofeev, this week’s international gathering of anti-gay, anti-abortion-rights activists in Moscow ended with delegates issuing a proclamation that blasts liberal social policies in Western countries and calls for Russian-style “homosexual propaganda” bans to be passed throughout the world.

The forum in Moscow was originally organized under the name of the Illinois-based World Congress of Families, which officially “suspended” its planning of the conference after Russia invaded Ukraine, although two World Congress of Families officials were until recently listed as organizers on the event’s website and attended the gathering. National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown also spoke at the event yesterday, and American representatives from the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, the Christian Broadcasting Network, Personhood USA, and Family Watch International were also scheduled to speak.

It’s unclear if any of the Americans at the conference officially backed the resolution.

In the resolution — which was posted on the website of a foundation chaired by Putin ally Vladimir Yakunin, which also helped fund the event — the delegates express their “profound concern because certain countries are pursuing  tenacious policies and an unprecedented propaganda campaign, all of which is leading to the ultimate destruction of the Natural Family − an institution that in a civilized society is the foundation of order, state’s prosperity and social peace.”

In the resolution, delegates vow to "uphold the interests of children and to work for the adoption of legislative bans on all types propaganda concerning homosexual relationships in the environment of children and juveniles” and to support research on “the negative social and psychological effects of raising children in same-gender couples.”

The delegates also vow “demand initiatives and directives from the governments and heads of state to ensure protection of the natural family, childhood, and motherhood in both, domestic and foreign policies.”

UPDATE: Joe Jervis points out that an English translation of the resolution is available. I've updated the quotes above and you can read the whole thing here:

An Urgent APPEAL
To the Nations of the World

To all people of goodwill in the everywhere: To leaders of all faiths, To the architects of public opinion, To those at the helm of professional, women’s and youth organizations, To the UN General Assembly, To the heads of state and legislative bodies and To the mass media.

 We, the Participants of the Moscow International Forum “Large Family and Future of Humanity” (September 10-11, 2014), express our profound concern because certain countries are pursuing  tenacious policies and an unprecedented propaganda campaign, all of which is leading to the ultimate destruction of the Natural Family − an institution that in a civilized society is the foundation of order, state’s prosperity and social peace. 

 The preservation of mankind is based on a system of family and kindred ties that are formed through the bonds of marriage between a male and a female and the children born to them.  This and only this alone, is capable of ensuring the reproduction, stability and continuity of human civilization. All other kinds of sexual relationships or alliances intentionally that exclude the birth of children are meaningless for they are devoid of the notion set down in the very definition of the word “family.” And no political or economic interests can serve as a pretext for replacing the true and time-tested concept of “family” by any kind of surrogate.  

It is precisely this understanding that was set down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted by the United Nations in 1948), as well as in the constitutions of more than 100 countries and reflected in the holy scriptures of various religions. This understanding determines the philosophy and creativity of humanists and thinkers of the past and the contemporary epoch.

  We regretfully declare that the systemic policy pursued by the ruling elite in the developed countries of the world in order to implement the “theory of the post-modern society” – in essence, a “society of unrestrained consumerism,” a policy of creating a society of individuals who are absolutely unconcerned about the future and who are focused only on satisfying their selfish desires of the moment. Actually, such a society is ultimately aimed at destroying faith in God, as well as belief in good. These post-modern policies focused on the material wealth are destroying what is human in the human being (as created by God), at wrecking the spiritual dimension in Man – all of which are his distinguishing features in Living Nature.

  We appeal to all people who acknowledge the significance and values of the Natural Family for preserving human civilization:

  • To unite before the threat of total dehumanization of society, to set up a barrier on the road of ideology-lined, state-supported interference in the private lives of people, in an attempt to foist specific sexual lifestyles and preferences of the minority upon the majority;
  • To strive to set forth legislative initiatives in the laws and constitutions of all countries that clearly define the naturally predetermined relationships in the Family as relationships between the male and female, their children and their relatives;
  • To advocate and support the Natural Family as the sole source of preserving the civilization, the life of Mankind;
  • To make use of all thematic international Days (…protection of children, the family, etc.) whose slogans and mottos refer to traditional values, for demonstrating their disagreement with and dissent for State-supported destructive tendencies in the sex and family life, especially of the young people, and consolidating the understanding of a Natural Family as the foundation of human life at the level of the individual, society, state and civilization;
  • To oppose  the cynical utilization of women as surrogate mothers in the interests of same-gender liaisons and alliances;
  • To uphold the interests of children and to work for the adoption of legislative bans on all types propaganda concerning homosexual relationships in the environment of children and juveniles;
  • To initiate and support scientific research to study the conditions  and prospects of developing a Natural Family, as well as studying the negative social and psychological effects of raising children in same-gender couples;
  •  To support public efforts aimed at ensuring integrity of human life from the moment of conception to natural death, to protect children from influences taken against their individuality, and to uphold the child-rearing rights of parents – both father’s and mother’s;
  • To demand initiatives and directives from the governments and heads of state to ensure protection of the natural family, childhood, and motherhood in both, domestic and foreign policies.

  We  urgently call upon the UN General Assembly, the UN Secretary General and the UN Supreme Commissioner for Human Rights that, while formulating the programs of the United Nations, to follow the letter and the spirit of Article 16 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which underscores the understanding of the Human Family as the only possible and acceptable notion to human civilization, and to proclaim in the foreseeable future a Special Year or Program in support of the Natural Family.

  We call upon all people who agree with the given Appeal to sign it and support it for the sake of preserving life and civilization on our Earth.

 

 

American Religious Right Leaders Join Moscow Event, May Not Be Able To Avoid Foreign Policy

This week, a number of American Religious Right activists are participating an in international forum on “large families and the future of mankind,” which is organized and funded by a number of close allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin and kicked off its session at the Kremlin yesterday with the reading of a personal message from Putin himself.

Among the Americans speaking at the forum, according to a preliminary schedule, are the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute’s Austin Ruse, Family Watch International’s Sharon Slater and representatives from Personhood USA, the Home School Legal Defense Association and the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Janice Shaw Crouse is also scheduled to attend, although possibly no longer as a representative of Concerned Women for America, a group critical of the Moscow conference with which she seems to have parted ways.

The conference was originally organized under the name of the Illinois-based World Congress of Families, but after Russia invaded Ukraine, the group began to lose support from its American allies and announced that it had “suspended planning” on the event, noting that it “takes no position on foreign affairs, except as they affect the natural family.”

In reality, very little but the official name of the conference seems to have changed. World Congress of Families officials Don Feder and Larry Jacobs are attending in their personal capacities, and insist that their group is not “financially sponsoring” the event and would not have its name attached to it. But WCF’s sponsorship was always nominal — the group has a very small budget of its own and instead acts as an agent for bringing together better-funded activists and organizations. Even before WCF dropped its official involvement, it had given credit to a number of Russian allies for funding the conference.

Although the focus of the conference is the promotion of “large families” (and with it the resistance to LGBT equality and abortion rights), it may be impossible for attendees to ignore the foreign policy implications of the event.

As we have noted, Putin played up the supposed dangers of LGBT rights in his efforts to prevent Ukraine from joining the EU — a geopolitical ploy that had dangerous consequences for the LGBT communities in Russian and Ukraine.

Constantin Malofeev, the oligarch who helped to organize and fund the conference this week, brought this up in his speech to the event yesterday, presenting the “propagation of homosexuality and gay parades” as a defining factor in the battle over Ukraine:

In Ukraine, which is our fraternal country, association with European Union was not signed last year because, in this case, the Ukrainians learned that they had to allow propagation of homosexuality and gay parades. So, the new regime in Ukraine, the first thing they did was to allow a gay parade in Kiev. So we are defending our position. We are protecting fathers, mothers and children.

He also attacked the United States for including Yelena Mizulina, the force behind many of Russia’s harsh new anti-gay laws, on its economic sanctions list. (Putin ally Vladimir Yakunin, who along with his wife Natalia also spoke at and helped fund the conference, is another U.S. sanctions target).

And if we are part of the sanctions for Ukraine. But Madam Mizulina was included in the sanctions as one of the first, and this is just because she defends the family values.

And as Richard Bartholomew points out, today’s schedule includes a panel titled “Family Policy in Ukraine: Conclusions and Warnings for Russia.”

An ever-present theme at the first day of the conference was the idea of Russia as a bulwark protecting the world against the U.S. and Europe’s encroaching liberalism. The Moscow Times writes that the theme came up in both Yakunin and Mizulina’s remarks:

In choosing conservative values, Russia represents "the final hope" for the modern world, which has been corrupted by the Western debauchery of individualism, consumerism and globalization, participants of a Moscow forum agreed Wednesday.

Yakunin, whose wife Natalya moderated the proceedings, attended the forum, taking to the stage to talk about Russia's departure from the Western model of development that, according to him, does not lead to either material or spiritual well-being.

Mizulina, who chairs the Duma's committee on family, women and children's issues and has advocated a law requiring women to get their husband's permission in order to have an abortion, lashed out at the West.

"I am sure that in contemporary Europe it would not be possible to hold a forum like this," Mizulina told the audience after reading a welcome note from State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin.

"Even if they are held there, they are not hosted at the Kremlin, like in Russia, but somewhere on the outskirts," she said.

One Year After Passage Of Gay Propaganda Ban, American Right Continues To Look To Russia As A Guide

The Human Rights Campaign released a report today to mark the first anniversary of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s signing of his infamous ban on “gay propaganda” and related anti-LGBT legislation. HRC reports “an uptick in violent attacks on LGBT people” since the bills’ passage that has accompanied a spike in “anti-LGBT sentiment” in the public square.

Yet despite the dangerous consequences of the increasing use of LGBT people as scapegoats — both in Russia and in neighboring Eastern European and Central Asian countries — and the place of anti-gay politics in Putin’s expansionist agenda, many on the American Religious Right continue to celebrate Putin’s crackdown on gay rights and even to hail it as a model for the United States.

The issue has been divisive on the Right. For instance, Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid — hardly a fan of gay people — got into a memorable shouting match earlier this year with World Congress of Families representatives, who he accused of cozying up to Putin.

It has also put some groups in tough positions. The World Congress of Families was forced to suspend its planned conference at the Kremlin, which was to be funded by a handful of people close to Putin, after Russia seized Crimea and groups including Concerned Women for America started backing out.

But we continue to hear right-wing activists heaping praise on Putin for his enthusiastic anti-gay politics and increasing embrace of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Just last week, Phyllis Schlafly praised Putin for “warming up to religious freedom” as “Americans are rejecting it”:

And earlier this week, WorldNetDaily announced that people around the world are “fleeing” to Russia to escape homosexuality in their own countries .

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer continues to push for the U.S. to adopt a “propaganda” ban like Russia’s:

Anti-gay activists including Pat Buchanan,Peter LaBarbera,Franklin Graham,Scott Lively,Keith Davies,Linda Harvey,Randall Terry,Gordon Klingenschmitt,Janice Shaw Crouse, Austin Ruse, Bob Vander Plaats , Rick Scarborough and, of course, the WorldCongress of Families have defended Russia’s anti-gay crackdown or called for similar laws in the U.S.

And, of course, some have directly lent their support to the passage of anti-gay laws in Russia: the World Congress of Families has an active network in Russia and Eastern Europe and just days before Putin signed the propaganda ban recruited the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown to warn Russian lawmakers about the risks of gay rights.

The support for laws that have dangerously scapegoated LGBT people in Russia is especially ironic coming from a movement that claims that the gay rights movement in the United States is persecuting them .

Right Wing Round-Up - 3/19/14

  • Hatewatch: Could Austin Ruse’s Violent Rhetoric Endanger C-FAM’s Status with the UN?
  • Dylan Scott @ TPM: Jindal's Totally Bogus Obamacare Attack At Center Of Billboard Feud.
  • Brian Powell @ Media Matters: The Bizarre Writings Of A Conservative Radio Host Embraced By Sen. McConnnell To Help With Fundraising.
  • Andy Towle @ Towleroad: Anti-Gay Groups Fail: All Three Illinois Republicans Who Voted for Marriage Equality Win Primaries.
  • Jeremy Hooper: FRC launches 'National Campaign in Defense of Marriage;' claims gay parents 'provide distorted values to innocent adopted kids.'
  • David Edwards @ Raw Story: Fox News host Bill Hemmer explains missing plane: ‘It took 2,000 years to find Noah’s Ark.’

Sandy Rios: Austin Ruse Was Merely Using 'Words Of Life' When Saying Professors Should Be Shot

Yesterday, American Family Radio’s Sandy Rios defended her former guest host Austin Ruse after his comment that liberal professors should be “taken out and shot” caused AFR to cut ties with him. Rios said on her show that comments like Ruse’s are really just “words of life” because they warn people like liberal professors that they will be condemned by God and sent to Hell.

“Austin was talking about the damage that’s being done to innocent children in our culture, whether it’s our children in public schools, whether it’s those of you who handle and mold and shape their minds in colleges and universities,” she said. “If you are in the business of defiling them, of perverting their innocence, of sexualizing them, it isn’t us that condemns you, it’s God himself.”

Rios also said she would have said the same thing as Ruse in private conversations, just not on the radio.

Austin Ruse sat in for me last week, and Austin brings to this microphone such experience and intellect and passion and I love that about him. Toward the middle of the week, he made a statement that was picked up by one of the left-wing posts and it was taken and run with. It was probably an intemperate remark, it reminded me of something I would’ve said, I could’ve easily said what Austin said, I think any of us could. In conversation sometimes we’ll be saying something—I might not say this on the mic—but I would say this to my friends, ‘Just kill me, just put me out of my misery.’ Or I would say something, ‘They should all — they all ought to be all — whatever.’ I think we’ve all in intemperate, uncareful moments of passion said things like that, but you can’t say that at a radio microphone without their being some sort of response to it, so that’s what Austin got, a big wave of negative response.

Catholic Leader Resigns From Austin Ruse's Group Following Remarks About Shooting Professors

Not only did Austin Ruse lose his gig guest hosting at American Family Radio after calling for left-leaning professors to be shot, but he has now lost one of the board members of his lobbying organization, the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM).

Yesterday, Faithful America launched a petition asking Monsignor Anthony Frontiero of the St. Joseph Cathedral in Manchester, New Hampshire, to resign from C-FAM’s board of directors. Today, Frontiero informed Faithful America in an email that he has resigned.

Besides Ruse, there are now just two members left of C-FAM’s board of directors: John O’Sullivan, a conservative columnist and former aide to Margaret Thatcher, and Robert Royal of the Faith and Reason Institute, a Catholic think tank.

Ruse apologized for his remarks on Friday, but only after going on a diatribe about how he had nothing to be sorry for and was being unfairly smeared by the left.

You can listen to Ruse’s original comments, in which he blamed women’s studies professors for a Duke University student’s decision to go public about her work in the pornography industry, here:

Before Talking About Shooting College Professors, Austin Ruse Wanted To 'Take Out' Hillary Clinton

Perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised that Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute head Austin Ruse wanted to have liberal and women’s studies professors “taken out and shot,” as he once called for the murder of Hillary Clinton.

Back in 2001, Catholics for Choice released a report [PDF] on Ruse and his lobbying efforts at the United Nations, especially his campaign against the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Beijing Platform for Action, which he dubbed the work of “radical feminists.”

The report notes that in a 2000 address to the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation, Ruse told a story about talking to a Catholic priest about killing Clinton: “Hillary [Clinton] is the ‘conquering queen’ at the United Nations…I was standing on the floor of the UN a couple of months ago, when she was thinking about running, and I was talking to a priest from the Holy See delegation and — I shouldn’t tell you this but he offered me guaranteed absolution if I just took her out — and not on a date.”

Catholics for Choice adds that Ruse sees his conflict with “radical feminists” in “terms of war and attacks and battles”:

Its values and the way in which it promotes them have a negative impact on international policy discourse, especially the efforts of NGOs and governments to work more closely for the development and implementation of public policies on social issues. Perhaps most disturbing is the warlike mindset that permeates [Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute’s] thinking and actions. It is of course very shocking that such a mindset should exist within the Holy See delegation, where, according to Ruse, a priest member of the delegation suggested to him that he should “take out” Hillary Rodham Clinton. It is hard to believe that a member of the Catholic clergy would even joke about such things, but why would Austin Ruse lie about such things?



Suggestions of this kind emerge when groups or individuals see value conflicts in absolutist terms; when they believe God is on their side. The values and ideas of the “other”—who is demonized—need to be crushed. Note how frequently and passionately Austin Ruse talks about this conflict in terms of war and attacks and battles:

My friends, we are in a war….this war is being fought exclusively in quiet and carpeted room at international fora in Rome, Istanbul, Cairo, Beijing, and Rio. I believe one day these place names should be recognized as battlefields just like Bunker Hill, Normandy and Khe San for they are the sites of major battles in this war…

…In the summer of 361 B.C., a Theban general gathered an army of 60,000 freemen, yeoman farmers, a democratic army of citizens…Their victory came almost all at once and their victory rocked the ancient world.

Long under attack by her enemies, the family seems now to be disintegrating all around us….I will focus on one institution with which I am most familiar, the United Nations, an institution that is increasingly at the forefront of the attack on the family.

It was a windowless office where UN negotiators held something called informals...It is the room where the battles are won and lost.

American Family Association Cuts Ties With Austin Ruse After He Called For Professors To Be Shot

UPDATE: Even though Austin Ruse spent yesterday’s broadcast insisting that wouldn’t back down from his comments that left-wing professors should be “taken out and shot” because he wasn’t serious and his critics are all “dumb” “pajama boys,” today he told Talking Points Memo that he is now sorry: “I deeply regret and apologize for using the expression 'taken out and shot' on the Sandy Rios Show this week. It was not intended to be taken literally. I have dedicated my life and career to ending violence. I regret that these poorly chosen words are being used to attack my friends at American Family Radio and American Family Association.”

Austin Ruse, who regularly filled in as a guest host for American Family Radio’s Sandy Rios, has lost his gig after we reported Wednesday on his call for liberal professors to be “taken out and shot.” Ruse is a leading Religious Right activist who heads the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-Fam) and is a writer for conservative outlets such as Breitbart News and The Daily Caller.

The day after we posted the audio, Ruse lashed out at Right Wing Watch and defended his comments, which you can listen to here:

Yesterday, Ruse deactivated his Twitter account “due to leftist swarm” and the American Family Association, which runs American Family Radio, removed audio episodes of the Wednesday and Thursday broadcasts from its website. On today’s edition of Sandy Rios In The Morning, AFR host Dan Celia filled in.

On its Facebook page today, AFR said that Ruse “is no longer on the air with us and will not be filling in on AFR in the future.”

The group also said, “AFR condemns such comments, no matter who makes them.”

The American Family Association’s decision to break with Ruse is unusual since it claims that its radio show hosts – including Bryan Fischer, who is the group’s own spokesman and hosts AFR’s flagship talk showdo not speak on behalf of the group.

AFA insists that Fischer’s commentary, including racist remarks and a defense of Native American genocide that the group tried to expunge from its website, do not reflect the AFA’s views.

While the AFA cut loose Ruse, who was only a guest host, it appears to have no problem allowing Fischer to continue to serve as the public face of the organization while insisting that his bigoted views should in no way reflect upon the AFA.

UPDATE II: AFR also said his comments were “un-Christian.”

Austin Ruse: Right Wing Watch Is Trying To Shut Me Up By Quoting Me Verbatim

Austin Ruse is upset that we reported on comments he made yesterday on Sandy Rios In The Morning, the American Family Association radio program he is guest hosting, where he said that “the hard left, human-hating people that run modern universities,” especially the women’s studies departments, “should all be taken out and shot.” Ruse, who heads the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-Fam), spent yesterday and today lashing out at critics on Twitter, saying liberals are “dumb,” “stupid” and “idiots.”

Ruse started today’s show by explaining that his remarks yesterday weren’t serious and that liberals should “turn to Wikipedia or the Internet, I don’t know if they know how to use the Internet.”

“The pajama boys over at Right Wing Watch have their panties all in a twist about what I said, and I sometimes think that the left is really dumb, these are the low-information voters that make all of these mistakes when they get into the ballot box and all of these mistakes as they go through their lives and one of the reasons is because they are so dumb,” he said.

After calling liberals “dumb” and “pajama boys,” he then criticized them as “smear merchants” who “call [people] names” and want to shut him up.

“These people, these dumb leftists, are really smear merchants, they’re out to hurt, to harm, to isolate,” Ruse said. “They don’t like me, they don’t like you, they don’t like your children, they don’t like anything about you and they want you to basically shut up and go away…. It’s quite astounding what these folks are able to get away with and it’s also astounding how dumb they are.”

Austin Ruse Says Left-Wing University Professors 'Should All Be Taken Out And Shot'

While filling in today for American Family Radio host Sandy Rios, Austin Ruse commented on the media frenzy surrounding a Duke University freshman who announced that she is a porn actress.

Ruse, who leads the ultraconservative Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-Fam), promptly blamed the college’s women’s studies department and said that “the hard left, human-hating people that run modern universities” should “all be taken out and shot.”

That is the nonsense that they teach in women’s studies at Duke University, this is where she learned this. The toxic stew of the modern university is gender studies, it’s “Sex Week,” they all have “Sex Week” and teaching people how to be sex-positive and overcome the patriarchy. My daughters go to a little private religious school and we pay an arm and a leg for it precisely to keep them away from all of this kind of nonsense. I do hope that they go to a Christian college or university and to keep them so far away from the hard left, human-hating people that run modern universities, who should all be taken out and shot.

Concerned Women For America Drops Out Of World Congress of Families Moscow Summit

As we’ve been reporting, the American Religious Right has found itself in a tough spot following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, since many Religious Right leaders have not only praised Putin’s anti-gay, anti-choice policies but are planning to attend a World Congress of Families summit at the Kremlin later this year.

Now, one such group that previously praised Putin has announced that it will pull out of the Moscow summit. Buzzfeed reported yesterday that Concerned Women for America will no longer be participating in the World Congress of Families event because, as the group’s CEO Penny Nance said, “I don’t want to appear to be giving aid and comfort to Vladimir Putin.”

CWA’s choice is especially surprising because its senior fellow, Janice Shaw Crouse, is amember of the board of the World Congress of Families and has been a vocal defender of Putin’s social policies. Last month, Crouse even appeared at a press conference promoting the Moscow summit.

Now the question becomes whether other American groups will follow Nance’s lead. An organizing meeting for the event in October included Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, Benjamin Bull of Alliance Defending Freedom, Justin Murff of the Christian Broadcasting Network and Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute.

A draft program for the event that was obtained by Buzzfeed includes speeches by ADF president Allan Sears, Focus president Jim Daly, Mike Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association, Brown, Ruse and Murff, among others.

In addition, the World Congress of Families receives funding from “partner organizations” including the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, and Americans United for Life.

The World Congress of Families’ Larry Jacobs said at last month’s press conference that members of the U.S. Congress would also attend the event, though he would not specify which ones since he said their confirmations were not yet finalized. The draft program also accounts for speeches from unidentified members of Congress. to speak.

As we’ve noted, the planned summit is more than just a trip to Moscow. It’s being held at the Kremlin with funding from key Putin allies and will include a joint forum with Russia’s parliament. In addition, the World Congress of Families itself has been working to support Putin’s crackdown on LGBT rights in Russia, along with his push to keep Ukraine out of the European Union. Riling up hostility to gay rights, in particular, has become a powerful wedge issue for Russian-aligned, anti-EU activists in Ukraine.

Ruse articulated the apparent attitude of many American groups when he told Buzzfeed that although the Ukraine invasion “muddied the water,” he had not been concerned about working so closely with the Putin regime until now, “because the Russian government has been quite good on our issues.”

Nance is aware of the message that her group’s participation in the summit would send. Will anybody else follow her lead?

Paranoia-Rama: Parent-Child Marriages Coming Soon, The Devil's United Nations & Michael Sam Is Aiding The Antichrist

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right. 

This week, we learn that NFL prospect Michael Sam helped usher in the reign of the Antichrist by coming out of the closet, although apparently the Devil already controls the United Nations.

5. Satan Behind United Nations

The United Nations released a report this month that is heavily critical of the Roman Catholic Church’s handling of sex abuse cases. Church spokesmen were outraged by the scope of the study. “The range of the report appeared to infuriate the Vatican,” the Washington Post reported. “In blunt language, the committee took particular aim at church stances on sexual orientation, reproductive health and gender equality.”

Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) blamed Satan for the investigation. “Only the Devil could tell children they have a right to sex and abortion,” Ruse said in a message to C-FAM members.

“This committee has basically said that children have a right under this treaty to have sex, to use condoms and to get abortions. And that Church opposition to this is a violation of human rights,” Ruse said. “This Committee actually told the Church that its teaching on homosexuality has caused violence against the same-sex attracted.”

“What these radicals need a good shaking.”

4. Immigrants Will Turn Us Into Slaves

Phyllis Schlafly has been making the rounds on right-wing media to push her claim that Latino immigrants don’t share American values because they are less likely to vote Republican and back a right-wing political agenda. InfoWars host Alex Jones strongly agreed with Schlafly, and warned that immigrants will team up with George Soros to “support literally making those of us that produce their slaves.”

“This takes us back to a democracy where two wolves can vote to eat the sheep for dinner,” Jones said.

3. Michael Sam Helping The Gay Antichrist

Southern Baptist preacher Dwight McKissic is joining other anti-gay activists in criticizing Michael Sam, the University of Missouri defensive end who recently came out of the closet.

McKissic is especially concerned that the likely NFL draft pick will “become the face of the ‘gay rights’ movement that takes us down the road to Sodom and Gomorrah at a record setting pace.” America’s transformation into Sodom, McKissic warns, will bring about the coming of the Antichrist, who he thinks will probably be gay.

2. Google, Gawker Are Persecuting WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily insists that Google is unjustly threatening it for violating the company’s ad policy regarding the use of “derogatory racial or ethnic slurs to refer to an individual or group.” Adam Weinstein at Gawker noted that the right-wing website has published 670 stories on “black mob” violence, while WND editor Joseph Farah offered a less-than-convincing defense of WND’s handling of race issues.

Now Farah is striking back, arguing that Gawker has pretty much ruined the Internet with its “venomous, personal, ad hominem, groundless attack” against him.

“It’s mean-spirited. It’s irresponsible. It’s childish and immature,” Farah writes in an editorial today. “You can see it for yourself, but I would caution you the coarse, vulgar language and name-calling is pretty rough. Don’t blame me. I’m just the target. Visitor beware.” Thanks to Gawker, this “early Internet entrepreneur and pioneer” is “starting to hate the Internet.”

Farah added: “I wonder if people like this Gawker guy would allow his children to read his posts – if he has children or knows any. I guess it would be even more disturbing if he would or does. What are their standards? Do they have any? Is it supposed to be funny?”

1. Gay Marriage Leads To Parent-Child Marriage

Mitch McConnell’s GOP primary challenger Matt Bevin is doing the best he can to link the incumbent senator to a recent federal court ruling that struck down part of Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage. The Tea Party-backed candidate told a Religious Right talk show host this week that if same-sex marriage becomes legal, soon parents will be able to marry their children.

Bevin’s campaign spokesman defended his remarks and accused Right Wing Watch of “gross misrepresentation” of the candidate’s comments…which we merely quoted verbatim.

World Congress Of Families: Criticism Of Putin Is Liberal Media Hysteria

Representatives of the World Congress of Families held a news conference at the National Press Club on Wednesday to talk about their 2014 summit, which will be held in Moscow in September.  The WCF and the Religious Right groups it partners with are ardent promoters of anti-gay legislation worldwide, and they love Russia's anti-gay President Vladimir Putin. 

Earlier this week the WCF announced that the opening session would be held in the Congress Hall of the Kremlin Palace, that a special parliamentary session will also be held in the Russian Duma and a special scientific forum at St Petersburg State University. At today's press conference it was announced that the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church is expected to address the gathering.

WCF Managing Director Larry Jacobs, C-FAM’s Austin Ruse, Concerned Women for America’s Janice Shaw Crouse, and Alexey Komov, WCF’s man in Russia, were delighted about anti-gay legislation that has passed in Moscow and were defensive about western criticism of Putin’s regime.

Given the record of the event organizers, none of that was very surprising. What was surprising is the way the press conference was hijacked by conservative activist Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media, who pointed out that Putin was a product of the Communist-era KGB; he took the organizers to task for partnering with Putin and produced a list of political prisoners he said are being held in Russia.

Kincaid’s strident criticism of Russia’s history provoked Komov into a screed against real and imagined problems from American history, from the slaughter of Native Americans to political prisoners in Guantanamo, complete with references to the supposed killing of 200 witnesses to the JFK assassination and the question of who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Komov suggested that during the era of Ronald Reagan, the U.S. was free, pro-Christian, and pro-capitalist, while Russia was mired in communism. He suggested that under Obama and Putin, a role reversal is under way. He said he would hesitate to say which country is more free, Russia or the U.S.

UPDATE: Kincaid has posted video of the exchange. Watch:

Jacobs was clearly uncomfortable with Komov’s rant, perhaps because, as he had mentioned earlier, WCF has yet to finalize confirmations from Members of Congress who they hope will attend the Moscow summit.

Speakers said they were proud of what Crouse called Russia's "leadership role" on behalf of the family, and proud of what Ruse called the "massive network" of people organizing around the world on behalf of the family and in opposition to "the agenda of the sexual left."

Asked about bipartisan criticism of the increasingly anti-democratic nature of Putin’s rule, Ruse suggested that some people are “stuck in cold war amber” and are consumed by a “visceral hatred of all things Russian.” He energetically supported Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” law, saying “there is no human right to tell the gay narrative to schoolchildren.” And he dismissed concerns about Putin’s moves against freedom of the press, saying Russians had no “historical memory” of that kind of freedom.

Janice Shaw Crouse said she had “no problem whatsoever” with the prosecution of members of Pussy Riot, falsely claiming that they had disrupted a church service with the performance that landed them in jail.

All the speakers claimed that freedom of press and dissent is alive and well in Russia, saying that they have criticized Putin’s crackdown on homeschoolers and that bloggers are free to criticize the government. And they portrayed Russia as a sort of paradise where gay couples can stroll hand in hand without fear. (For another view, read Jeff Sharlet's recent reporting from Russia in GQ.)

Komov slammed “radical LGBT activists” who he said were trying to turn the Olympics into a “gay pride parade.” Komov said he opposed violence against gay people, but he insisted there was no correlation between passage of anti-gay laws and anti-gay violence in the country, dismissing the idea as “hysteria” from “the liberal media.”

Komov also opined that the Olympics were no place for gay rights: “Olympics is the place for sports and health and normal values that unite everyone ...And we know that if we want Olympics to be sports and health, we know, statistics show us that homosexual lifestyles are not healthy.”

UPDATE: Video of the comments taken by Kincaid:

 

Austin Ruse Warns Thanksgiving Day Parade Is Not Safe For Kids After 'Kinky Boots' Performance

The Mayc’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has drawn the ire of Austin Ruse, president of The Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), for its inclusion of a performance from the highly successful Broadway play "Kinky Boots," the winner of the 2013 Tony Award for Best Musical. Guest-hosting Sandy Rios’ American Family Radio program today, Ruse claimed that the performance, which featured performers in drag, was harmful to children.

“We all know that you can’t watch television anymore, you can’t leave the children unattended in front of the television anymore, and this is true of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” Ruse lamented. “It was a bunch of transvestites convorting around the main stage, in the street, in front of Macy’s and they were in ladies’ underwear and kinky boots and they were all dancing around and singing these songs and there was absolutely no warning for parents to change the channel.”

“I am profoundly grateful that we didn’t turn it on until 10 a.m. after Kinky Boots had performed, but I know many other people that were not so lucky,” he added.

Ruse, who earlier this year criticized the Food Network for featuring a lesbian chef, said that he is also upset about a New York Times article about custom suits for women transgender men. He said that Leslie Wolfgang, whose husband Peter leads the Family Institute of Connecticut, was scarred by the Kinky Boots performance: “They will not let us alone, I don’t know what to do about it, I mean they have these crazy, crazy ideas that men want to wear ladies’ underwear and dance around in the street and women want to cut off their breasts and they are in the New York Times.”

Religious Right Piles On To Defend Proponent Of Russia Anti-Gay Laws

A couple of weeks ago, the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society -- an Illinois-based group that through its World Congress of Families helped promote Russia’s new anti-gay laws -- was forced to relocate a Capitol Hill symposium on “family policy lessons from foreign lands” when Sen. Mark Kirk learned what it was up to and pulled the plug on its meeting room.

The group got a last-minute helping hand from House Speaker John Boehner , but the symposium’s speakers – World Congress of Families (WCF) founder Allan Carlson, Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute president Austin Ruse, and Concerned Women For America senior fellow/WCF board member Janice Shaw Crouse – still spent much of the event bashing Kirk over the scheduling snafu .

Now, Religious Right groups including the National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council, and the American Family Association are coming to WCF’s defense.

The National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown – who WCF arranged to testify before the Russian parliament in favor of its broad ban on adoption by gay people – told the American Family Association’s One News Now that Kirk decided to “discriminate against a group that stands for traditional marriage” and that by doing so he was “undermining the party platform” because “it’s part of the Republican Party platform to stand up for traditional marriage.”

The Family Research Council piled on with a press release accusing the senator of “true discrimination” and “silencing anyone who doesn’t adhere to a politically correct view of sexuality.”

"Holding a different view of marriage and sexuality is not discriminatory - especially when all the social science research demonstrates the benefits of the natural family,” added FRC’s Tony Perkins.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Family Institute, the state affiliate of the American Family Association, published an article accusing Sen. Kirk of wanting to “normalize sexual deviance while trampling the conscience rights of untold numbers of people” and followed it up with an email urging its members to call Kirk’s office and express their displeasure.

Despite what all three groups said, the Howard Center and the World Congress of Families don’t merely hold “a different view of marriage and sexuality.” WCF actively works to push oppressive anti-gay laws throughout the world, including actively working toward Russia’s ban on pro-gay-rights speech. Indeed, the speakers at the Capitol Hill symposium enthusiastically defended Russia's anti-gay laws and denyied that the laws actually harm gay people.

It maybe shouldn’t come as a surprise that three of the largest anti-gay groups in the US have jumped to the defense of WCF: Brown has close ties with WCF and has signed fundraising emails for the group, and FRC and AFA are both official “partners” of the organization.

Austin Ruse Uncovers 'The Real Lives Of Gay Men'

C-FAM president and Putin admirer Austin Ruse knows all about what it means to be gay. Just kidding, we meant to write that Ruse knows nothing about it but will happily quote from an article by a self-described “refugee from the homosexual insane asylum” to scare straight readers about the supposed perils of homosexuality.

In a story in Crisis Magazine entitled “The Real Lives of Gay Men,” Ruse uncovers some shocking details. For example, he learns that anal intercourse has a higher preponderance among same-sex couples than opposite-sex couples.

Ruse, of course, writes out of love for gay men because “not caring about what happens to gay men is like not caring about prison rape.”

Not caring about what happens to gay men is like not caring about prison rape. Prisoners are our brothers, too, and so are gay men. We must care deeply about the abuse of our brothers in prison and we must care deeply about the lives led by our gay brothers.

Prison rape seems a world away from us, a subject we try not to think about, yet it is rampant, dehumanizing and deadly dangerous. In the same way, we avert our gaze from the lives led by gay men. Certainly ignoring the lives of gay men is what the paladins of the gay movement want us to do. If others peek behind the curtain of the white-picket-fence-homosexuality they have built up for public consumption, support for the movement would wither and probably die.

I do not equate sex between gay men and prison rape. I draw the parallel simply to compare how we look away from certain things and act as if the subjects of those acts are not part of us, part of society, part of the human family. The active gay man and the prisoner are our brothers and we have to be concerned with both. But we quite deliberately look away from the reality of both.



Recently I was reading an excellent manuscript of an upcoming book by long-time Crisis Magazine contributor Robert Reilly on how the gay movement has moved through our institutions and our culture. He references a 2006 essay by a man named Ronald G. Lee who described himself as “a refugee from the homosexual insane asylum.” Lee lived as an out and active gay man for going on three decades and what he describes is not only insane but also deeply heartbreaking. Lee was lied to before he came out of the closet. He was lied to the whole time he lived the gay way of life. He was lied to each and every day. What was the lie? That gay men are interested in sexually monogamous relationships.



The ugly reality Lee discovered his whole gay life was that this way of life is almost wholly about sex and plenty of it. Even supposedly stable relationships, the ones we read about in the New York Times, are largely facades. A gay man once told me he was in a long-time relationship but they never had sex anymore, just masturbated in front of porn with lots of action outside the relationship. He said this was typical. Lee says so, too, and so does the research.



Reilly quotes psychiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Santinover in Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth that “The typical homosexual (needless to say there are exceptions) is a man who has frequent episodes of anal intercourse with other men, often with many different men. These episodes are 13 times more frequent than heterosexuals’ acts of anal intercourse, with 12 times as many different partners as heterosexuals.”



Such relationships are not spousal in any way, shape or form and this is what Ronald Lee found in his decades long search for real love, for a relationship that would fit into any notion of Christian sexual ethics.



Some have said gays act out promiscuously because they have internalized homophobia, that they were “forced to look for love in dimly lit bars, bathhouses, and public parks for fear of harassment at the hands of the homophobic mainstream.” Lee answers, “But 35 years have passed since the infamous Stonewall riots of 1969 in New York…. During that time, homosexuals have carved out for themselves public spaces in every major American city, and many of the minor ones as well. They have had the chance to create whatever they wanted in those spaces, and what have they created? New spaces for locating sexual partners.”

Religious Right Leaders Defend Russia's Anti-Gay Law

As Miranda reported earlier, House Speaker John Boehner’s office stepped in to provide space to the anti-gay Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society for its symposium on what Americans should learn from other countries when it comes to “family policy.” Sen. Mark Kirk, who had originally sponsored the group for a room, withdrew his support last night saying he doesn’t affiliate with groups that discriminate.

The Howard Center’s Allan Carlson, who described himself as a historian by training, saw fascism at work: “The parallel I see here is what happened in Italy, Germany, other lands in the 1920s and 1930s as fascism began to impose its fear-driven grip on debate, on conversation, and on policy-making.”

[UPDATE: Concerned Women of America has posted videos of the event]

Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America boasted about having been a speaker at all but one of the World Congress of Families summits – annual events organized by the Howard Center and attended by conservative religious activists from around the world. Crouse acknowledged that “things don’t look so good” to activists watching the advance of same-sex marriage in Europe and the U.S., and public opinion in many countries shifting to “quote LGBT rights.”  But, she said that’s not the whole story, and praised countries that have outlawed gay marriage and other groups of citizens who are “with the help of God” changing the world.

Crouse is particularly excited about what is happening among opponents of marriage equality in France, which she portrays as a “David v. Goliath” battle of plucky pro-family activists fighting the French government and media. She mentioned activists in Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, and Nigeria. She encouraged the small number of attendees to “take heart” and count on the power of truth and faithfulness.

Austin Ruse, the enthusiastically anti-gay head of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, devoted much of his remarks to supporting Russia’s new anti-free-speech and anti-gay propaganda law.  He read from a statement of support from “pro-family groups” defending Russia’s new law. The letter claims that “the Russian law protects the innocence of children and the basic rights of their parents recognized in the international legislation and treaties.”  More from the letter:

With its new law Russia is protecting genuine and universally recognized human rights against artificial and fabricated “values” aggressively imposed in many modern societies….We thus call for respect of the sovereignty of the Russian people and we invite all organizations and people who feel responsible for the protection of the innocence of children and their rights, the natural family and parental rights to stand up for Russia, as well as for Ukraine and Moldova suffering the same pressure due to similar laws.

Ruse, who has been spending time in Russia to prepare for the World Congress of Families 2014 summit, being held in Moscow, said western LGBT rights advocates were guilty of overheated rhetoric and “propaganda” about the status of gays in Russia. He saw gays everywhere in Moscow! They can enjoy themselves “hassle-free” at clubs.  Russians, he said, accept that homosexuality exists, but they believe the political movement to celebrate and regularize it is harmful to children.

Speakers actually seemed envious of Russia in some ways.  Ruse said that with the resurgence of the Russian Orthodox Church, “Christians over there are truly dominant.” In the U.S., though, there is “an increasingly hostile atmosphere toward people with traditional values” and a “vicious totalitarianism that is loose in the land.” And “there’s more trouble coming” with the Employment Non Discrimination Act.  Crouse said American gay-rights activists are “turning into thugs who are destroying freedom of speech, destroying religious liberty.” It’s very “refreshing,” she said, to see that’s not the case in other countries.

Ruse acknowledged that anti-gay violence and thuggery is a problem in Russia. He denounced such violence and said he has urged Russian officials to do more to stop it. But when he was asked whether the conversation about the anti-gay propaganda law and protecting children from gay people might encourage such violence, he said anti-gay violence in Russia has been going on for a long time and didn’t think the new law was to blame. And he said blaming religious conservatives for creating a climate of hate is a tactic of gay-rights groups, a “maneuver to silence people.” 

Carlson said he cuts Russia a lot of slack because the country is “trying to put decent moral society back together” after both Communism and some of the “bad things” – like a “libertine approach to sexuality” – that poured into Russia from the west after the fall of Communism.

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Austin Ruse Posts Archive

Peter Montgomery, Thursday 04/16/2015, 12:03pm
There are a lot of challenges facing the people of Nigeria and Kenya, including campaigns of terror being waged by Islamist militants with Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab. But that’s not the focus of the “mission trip” for which C-Fam’s Austin Ruse is urgently raising money this week. No, Ruse and the Center for Family and Human Rights (formerly known as the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute) are raising money to warn against “UN radicals and the Obama administration” and the “bloody, soul-destroying” consequences of family planning,... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Monday 01/26/2015, 2:05pm
This is the third post in a RWW series on the reemergence of the fetal personhood movement and what it means for the future of abortion rights in the U.S. Part 1: The Personhood Movement: Where It Comes From And What It Means For The Future Of Choice Part 2: The Personhood Movement: Internal Battles Go Public Part 4: The Personhood Movement: Regrouping After Defeat As we have detailed in previous posts in this series, ever since the anti-choice movement rose to prominence in the wake of Roe v. Wade, it has been divided over how to go about repealing Roe and recriminalizing abortion in... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Friday 09/19/2014, 2:02pm
Last week, Austin Ruse, head of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), was among the Americans scheduled to speak at a conference in Moscow sponsored by close allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin that ended with a call for countries around the world to pass laws restricting LGBT rights. Ruse was a member of the planning committee for the event, which was originally organized under the name of the Illinois-based World Congress of Families — WCF dropped its official sponsorship after it came under pressure after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. So it was... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Friday 09/12/2014, 10:56am
UPDATED According to the foundation run by Russian oligarch Constantin Malofeev, this week’s international gathering of anti-gay, anti-abortion-rights activists in Moscow ended with delegates issuing a proclamation that blasts liberal social policies in Western countries and calls for Russian-style “homosexual propaganda” bans to be passed throughout the world. The forum in Moscow was originally organized under the name of the Illinois-based World Congress of Families, which officially “suspended” its planning of the conference after Russia invaded Ukraine,... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Thursday 09/11/2014, 2:48pm
This week, a number of American Religious Right activists are participating an in international forum on “large families and the future of mankind,” which is organized and funded by a number of close allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin and kicked off its session at the Kremlin yesterday with the reading of a personal message from Putin himself. Among the Americans speaking at the forum, according to a preliminary schedule, are the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute’s Austin Ruse, Family Watch... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Friday 06/27/2014, 1:57pm
The Human Rights Campaign released a report today to mark the first anniversary of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s signing of his infamous ban on “gay propaganda” and related anti-LGBT legislation. HRC reports “an uptick in violent attacks on LGBT people” since the bills’ passage that has accompanied a spike in “anti-LGBT sentiment” in the public square. Yet despite the dangerous consequences of the increasing use of LGBT people as scapegoats — both in Russia and in neighboring Eastern European and Central Asian countries — and... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 03/19/2014, 5:34pm
Hatewatch: Could Austin Ruse’s Violent Rhetoric Endanger C-FAM’s Status with the UN? Dylan Scott @ TPM: Jindal's Totally Bogus Obamacare Attack At Center Of Billboard Feud. Brian Powell @ Media Matters: The Bizarre Writings Of A Conservative Radio Host Embraced By Sen. McConnnell To Help With Fundraising. Andy Towle @ Towleroad: Anti-Gay Groups Fail: All Three Illinois Republicans Who Voted for Marriage Equality Win Primaries. Jeremy Hooper: FRC launches 'National Campaign in Defense of Marriage;' claims gay parents 'provide distorted values to... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 03/18/2014, 12:20pm
Yesterday, American Family Radio’s Sandy Rios defended her former guest host Austin Ruse after his comment that liberal professors should be “taken out and shot” caused AFR to cut ties with him. Rios said on her show that comments like Ruse’s are really just “words of life” because they warn people like liberal professors that they will be condemned by God and sent to Hell. “Austin was talking about the damage that’s being done to innocent children in our culture, whether it’s our children in public schools, whether it’s those of you... MORE >