David Benham

Benham Brothers Back Cruz

It’s nearly impossible to keep up with the string of endorsements for Ted Cruz from Religious Right political activists, including some of the most extreme activists in the movement. It started in the summer, when we asked, “Is Ted Cruz Winning the Christian-Nation Primary?” but it really got going after dozens of Religious Right leaders anointed Cruz as their candidate at a secret endorsement meeting in Texas in December.

Now that we’re just days from the Iowa caucus, the Cruz campaign is picking up the pace. Today it announced endorsements from Jason and David Benham. According to the Cruz campaign statement, the Benhams declared that “Ted Cruz is the convictional leader we desperately need in America today.”

The Benham brothers have been regular speakers on the Religious Right circuit ever since their planned real-estate reality show was cancelled amid controversy about their far-right political activism. The Benhams emceed Cruz’s religious liberty-themed event at Bob Jones University last fall.

The Cruz campaign announcement plays up the Religious Right’s narrative portraying the Benhams as religious liberty martyrs who have been persecuted for their faith. But it’s worth recalling that the Benhams, like many of their Religious Right colleagues, are quite selective in whose freedom they champion. The brothers and their Religious Right activist father, Flip, were all part of a group of people who went to a Charlotte, North Carolina, city council meeting in 2004 to complain about a gay pride event that had taken place in a city park:

“This is filth, this is vile and should not be allowed in our city,” said David. Jason urged city council members to reject future permits for Pride celebrations – and seemingly for any LGBT-themed event.

They have a right to apply for this permit, but you have a right and responsibility to deny it. I [implore] you not to be governed by the fear in which you feel. If you deny them this permit you will open a can of worms but you in your leadership position have to take that responsibility and you have to not allow the fear of making this homosexual community mad. You have to accept that responsibility and deny them every permit that they ask for.

In the words of Charlotte Pride organizers, “The Benham brothers once tried to silence us. They failed.”

The Benham twins have repeatedly attacked gay people as pawns of Satan while comparing themselves to people murdered by ISIS.

Also today, former Concerned Women for America official Janice Shaw Crouse, who was the executive director of the World Congress of Families summit in Salt Lake City last fall, released a gushing endorsement of Cruz, comparing him to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and crediting him for “the shift to faith-based campaigning” in the GOP presidential campaign. 

Five GOP Candidates To Join Pastor Who Says AIDS Is God's Punishment For Gay People

In yet another example of what the Religious Right’s recent focus on “religious liberty” is really about, five Republican presidential candidates are scheduled to speak this weekend at a “religious freedom” event hosted by a conservative pastor who has repeatedly declared that AIDS is God’s punishment for gay people’s “immoral act” and has called for a “class action lawsuit” against homosexuality.

Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina and Mike Huckabee are scheduled to join a “Free to Believe Broadcast” on Saturday, hosted by the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and Vision America’s Rick Scarborough, two of the most outspoken anti-gay activists in the country.

Both, even while attempting to curtail the rights of LGBT people, have claimed that it is their rights that are being violated by the LGBT movement: Perkins has said that the supposed persecution of anti-gay Christians in America is inspiring ISIS, and Scarborough has declared that he is ready to burn to death in the fight against gay marriage.

But neither Scarborough nor Perkins has ever been particularly interested in a “live and let live” truce with LGBT people.

Scarborough has declared that AIDS, “a homosexual disease,” is God’s “judgment as a result of an immoral act.” Just last year, he repeated his belief that AIDS is “God’s judgment on a sinful generation, adding that “God would probably give us the cure for AIDS today” if the U.S. stopped supporting gay rights:

He also said last year that marriage equality is part of Satan’s effort to “destroy this country,” warning that gay parents will lead their children “into an early grave called hell”:

Scarborough is so concerned about gay people that back in 2013 he brought up the idea of issuing a “class action lawsuit” against homosexuality, much like actions taken against the tobacco industry:

In 2014, Scarborough agreed with Islamic fundamentalists who call America the “Great Satan,” saying that God would be perfectly justified in sending a nuclear bomb to destroy the country because of such sins as President Obama’s appointments of a handful of gay ambassadors:

And that’s just Scarborough. Perkins has a vile anti-gay record of his own, which Brian summarized last month.

Also appearing at the event will be Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, who has warned that gay people seek to “groom” and “entrap” children, and David and Jason Benham, brothers who became Religious Right martyrs when they lost a TV show they were set to star in after their anti-gay activism came to light.

Cruz might not mind appearing with an activist who has said that God is punishing gay people with AIDS — after all, he has praised Scarborough before and has David Barton, an activist who has said similar things, leading a super PAC in support of his candidacy. Cruz and Huckabee similarly showed their willingness to cozy up to the most radical people in the anti-gay movement when they appeared last year at a conference hosted by Kevin Swanson, who spent much of the event expounding on what he interprets as the Bible’s call for the death penalty for gay people.

But if any of the other candidates have an ounce more shame, they might want to think twice about appearing at Saturday’s event.

Ted Cruz To Rally With Activists Who Link Gays To Satan

Fresh off attending a conference whose host, Kevin Swanson, voiced support for the execution of gay people, Ted Cruz will stage a “Rally for Religious Liberty” in Greenville, South Carolina, on Saturday featuring a number of Religious Right activists who have referred to gay rights advocates as demonic enemies.

The rally is taking place at none other than Bob Jones University, the fundamentalist school that in the 1970s and 1980s famously cited “religious liberty” in an attempt to uphold its racist policies, which its leaders claimed were rooted in the Bible. The school’s chancellor apologized only recently for past comments he made about the need to stone gay people in order to “solve the problem post-haste.”

Just as Swanson believes that “the homosexual Borg is the power in the principality of the demonic world,” a number of the Religious Right activists who will be speaking alongside Cruz in Greenville have claimed that their battle against gay rights is really a spiritual war against Satan.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins has referred to gay activists has “hateful” and “intolerant” “pawns” of the Devil and, like Swanson, has defended the notorious Ugandan bill that would have made homosexuality a death penalty crime in some cases.

Another speaker, Virginia-based activist E.W. Jackson, has described gay people as “spiritually darkened,” adding, “Their minds are perverted, they’re frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally.” He also thinks that with President Obama “we’re really dealing with an evil presence.”

Texas-based pastor Dave Welch similarly portrayed Houston’s lesbian mayor as spiritually evil: “She literally is one of those who is caught in the snare, in the web of her darkness and her condition. I pray, we do pray for her, that God delivers her and sets her free from that.”

David and Jason Benham have made no bones about their belief that gay people are under the Devil’s thumb. They even wrote an entire column explaining why they think the gay rights movement is motivated by Satan.

Of course, Cruz’s father and campaign surrogate, Rafael Cruz, who will also be attending the Bob Jones event, has frequently depicted the gay rights movement as a sinister force, even going so far as to blame the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling on the Devil.

Michael Brown Joins List of Religious Right Endorsements for Ted Cruz

In August, we asked whether Ted Cruz was winning the Christian Nation primary, with fracking billionaires Dan and Farris Wilks pumping $15 million into a pro-Cruz super PAC and political operative David Lane promoting Cruz’s anti-Planned Parenthood efforts. In September, Religious Right “historian” David Barton was tapped to take over a Cruz super PAC, and CNN reported that top officials of Online for Life are “playing a growing role in the super PACs backing Ted Cruz.” Yesterday, Glenn Beck declared that Cruz “was truly raised up for this purpose at this time.”

Now Cruz has announced the endorsement of another Religious Right activist, Michael Brown, a North Carolina preacher and author of “Revolution! The Call to Holy War.” Brown participated in the anti-gay “Stand4Truth” conference that was held as a lead-in to the World Congress of Families last week.

Brown is scheduled to appear, along with David and Jason Benham and the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, at a Cruz-organized “religious liberty” rally at Bob Jones University on November 14. As we noted a few weeks ago, “the ‘religious liberty’ Bob Jones is most famous for defending was its long insistence that its segregationist policies were mandated in the Bible.”

Brown has already been portraying marriage equality as a dire threat to religious freedom in America. Back in June, when the Supreme Court released its decision affirming marriage equality nationwide, Brown wrote a snarky note to Justice Anthony Kennedy to thank him “for confirming what we have been saying for many years now, namely, that gay activism is the principle threat to our freedoms of speech, religion and conscience.” Brown also thanked Kennedy “for bringing unprecedented religious persecution to the shores of our nation,” adding, “Despite the darkness and pain ahead, this will only cause the Church to wake up and grow stronger.” 

David Benham's Gay-Bashing Tirade At 'Nonpolitical' Prayer Rally

Last weekend’s Response rally in Charlotte, North Carolina was another in a series of supposedly nonpolitical gatherings organized by political strategist David Lane. Like other Response gatherings, the event served as a platform for culture warriors associated with Christian-nation dominionism to promote anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-church state ideology all while proclaiming that they are simply bringing Christians together to pray for the state and nation.

Among the culture warriors to take the microphone in Charlotte was David Benham, half of the Benham Brothers duo who have parlayed a cancelled television show into Religious Right folk-hero status.

David and his brother have a long record of anti-gay rhetoric and activism. They once urged Charlotte officials to deny permits for the city’s pride celebration. David has repeatedly linked gays with Satan, so it is not terribly surprising that he portrayed the LGBT equality movement as a force of darkness in a spiritual battle for the soul of America:

As we shift into individual repentance I want to provide a little context for where we’re meeting right now. Eight years ago, I came to the Charlotte convention center, and sat in a meeting with 1500 individuals in the room directly above this room. It was a meeting with the Human Rights Campaign. The president stood on the stage and said that we are going to take the key to Charlotte, we are going to take North Carolina, and we will force our agenda on this nation. And all of you bigots that think that you can stand against us, you can do nothing about it because you sit in your living rooms laughing at our humor on television.

And I listened to that from the Human Rights Campaign and I found it very interesting that just a few months ago I sat at a city council meeting with the transgender bill that sat and was about to be voted upon. And the city attorney was asked, who was in the meeting helping you craft this ordinance, and he said, the Human Rights Campaign.

At the time the nondiscrimination ordinance in Charlotte was being debated, Benham called it “depraved” and “craziness.”

Benham argued, as is customary among Religious Right leaders, that America’s biggest problem is that “the church” hasn’t been aggressive enough in the culture wars.

The problem today is not the presence of darkness. The problem is the absence of light. This is nothing new in America. The spirit of the age is the spirit of Babylon, the same spirit that Daniel spoke about in his book, and this Babylonian spirit that seeks to remove Christian influence, that seeks to demonize and come against those who hold the commandments of God and keep the testimony of Jesus Christ.

This is the spiritual battle that is now waging before us in this nation, the home of the brave and the land of the free. And it’s time for the church of Jesus Christ to get off the sidelines and to step into the game. We don’t have a second Chronicles 7:14 moment – if my people who are called by my name, and the healing of the land – we don’t have that moment if it does not first begin with 1 Peter 4:17.

It is time for judgment to begin in the House of God.

Benham went on to talk about the sins “manifest in Israel” before the captivity in Babylon:  

“…the worship of the goddess of Ashera, sexual perversion of all kind, and the worship of the god of Moloch, child sacrifice. That is what we are finding in America, and we see it in North Carolina, that the shedding of innocent blood – 60 million unborn babies – have been slaughtered while we grow church. C’mon!

And we are now watching, as God is allowing our sexual perversion, not just the homosexual agenda, but adultery and divorce and pornography that are rooted in the church and it is time for us to fall on our faces before God and to repent of our sins.

Benham said God had a purpose in placing The Response directly below the room where that HRC meeting had been held:

It is no coincidence that we are in a basement underneath the room where the Human Rights Campaign issued their secular declaration that they would take this nation. Now it’s time for us to issue our declaration, that God we are sorry, forgive us of our sins, heal our land, O God.

In Daniel chapter 9 in Babylon he says this, I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed my sins and said alas, Lord, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant in loving kindness for those who love him and keep his commandments. We have sinned. We have committed iniquity. We have acted wickedly and rebelled. We have turned aside from your ordinances and commandments.

It’s time for us, as God has positioned us in this room, to get on our faces and to humble ourselves. We can point at our elected leaders. We can point at the secular media. We can point at Hollywood, and DC and New York City, but the finger points right to the church of Jesus Christ.

And we know that the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but are divinely powerful for the destruction of strongholds, those strongholds that come to rob, to kill, and to destroy. So let’s enter in now, this is not something that you can just sit there and watch. We must get on our faces before God for the sake of this nation, for the sake of our children and for the sake of the kingdom of heaven…

God we have sinned. God we have concerned ourselves with our rights but have forsaken our responsibility to be salt and light. God we have turned our backs Lord and gotten comfortable with American Christianity. Bring us back to biblical Christianity, oh God. Forgive us Lord Jesus for the perversion that is in our own ranks, God. Forgive us Lord Jesus for turning a blind eye to the shedding of innocent blood. God we ask you Lord forgive us. We intercede on behalf of our land knowing that we are the ones responsible. So Lord Jesus forgive us now as we enter individual repentance knowing that the only ones that ascend the hill of the Lord is he who has clean hands and a pure heart.

 

Who's Who At The Values Voter Summit 2015

Next weekend, GOP presidential contenders and top lawmakers will mingle with some of the most extreme Religious Right activists in the country at the Values Voter Summit, an annual event in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, American Values, and others.

Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham and Ben Carson have all confirmed that they will be speaking at the event. Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich have been invited but have not yet confirmed their attendance, according to the event’s website. Jeb Bush, who was snubbed by FRC at last year’s event, declined to attend but will send a video address. Donald Trump is the only presidential candidate to have publicly turned down the invitation, provoking the ire of FRC’s president, Tony Perkins.

Candidates who attend the Values Voter Summit choose to align themselves with some of the most radical activists and organizations working to dehumanize LGBT people, erode reproductive rights, demolish the separation between church and state, and eliminate First Amendment rights for religious minorities.

The Family Research Council routinely smears LGBT people with false and degrading pronouncements and campaigns for a United States ruled by the dicta of a small faction of fundamentalists Christians. Another principal sponsor of the summit, the American Family Association, has an equally extreme record.

In addition to the abhorrent record of the sponsors of this event, the presidential candidates will also be joined by a host of radical Religious Right speakers.

Below is an introduction to some of the people who will be sharing the stage with the Republican presidential hopefuls.

Tony Perkins

As the president of the Family Research Council, the summit’s main sponsor, Tony Perkins heads the organization’s efforts to erode gay rights, reproductive rights, and the separation of church and state.

FRC continually expresses hostility to the rights of Americans who don’t share his conservative brand of Christianity. Last year, Perkins suggested that the First Amendment’s religious liberty protections do not apply to Muslims, not surprising for the leader of an organization that once issued a statement that read, “[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." He similarly suggested that Christians who support LGBT rights should not have the same religious freedoms as anti-gay conservatives because “true religious freedom” only applies to those whom he believes hold “orthodox religious viewpoints.”

Perkins has also overseen one of the most anti-gay platforms of any major political organization. FRC officials have expressed support for the criminalization of homosexuality not only in the United States, but also in Malawi and Uganda. Senior fellow Peter Sprigg once 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 has:

Jerry Boykin

Family Research Council vice president and retired Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin sparked a controversy when, as a high-ranking official in the Bush Defense Department, he framed the fight against terrorism as a holy war between Christianity and Islam. He has since built a career as a Religious Right speaker, specializing in anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-Obama conspiracy theories. He:

Mat Staver

Mat Staver is the founder and head of Liberty Counsel, which is the organization currently representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her campaign to deny marriage licenses to gay couples in her county. At a previous Values Voter Summit, Staver claimed that progressives are using LGBT rights and secular government as part of an effort to “ultimately implode America” and that the “agenda of the homosexual movement” is to destroy freedom and western civilization. Staver has:

Jonathan Cahn

Messianic rabbi Jonathan Cahn is best known for his novel “The Harbinger,” which asserts that the 9/11 attacks were a result of America losing God’s protection due to its sins.  Cahn also:

Todd Starnes

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes has become notorious for filing false reports based on right-wing conspiracy theories, especially about the supposed persecution of Christians in America, which of course makes him a favorite “journalist” among conservative activists. Starnes has also:

Star Parker

Star Parker is a longtime Religious Right activist who is particularly active in anti-gay and anti-choice advocacy. She has called legal abortion a “genocide” on par with slavery and the Holocaust and blamed “sexual promiscuity” for nearly all financial and societal problems. At the 2011 Values Voter Summit, she claimed that God was getting ready to punish America for marriage equality and legal abortion. Parker has also:

David and Jason Benham

Twin brothers Jason and David Benham were catapulted to national attention when an HGTV show that they were set to star in was cancelled following revelations about their anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Muslim activism. Since the show’s cancellation, the brothers have become martyrs in the eyes of the Religious Right, which has lifted them up as an example of the supposed persecution of conservative Christians in America. One or both of the brothers have:

  • Asserted that the LGBT equality movement is part of a “spiritual fight" between God and the “kingdom run by Satan
  • Compared themselves to ISIS victims
  • Urged the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, to deny permits to an LGBT Pride event, calling it a “vile” and “destructive” activity that “should not be allowed in our city”
  • Compared the fight against marriage equality to opposing Nazi Germany
  • Called an Islamic community center a “den of iniquity” and referred to Muslims as “the enemy attacking" America
  • Organized a prayer rally to coincide with the 2012 Democratic National Convention, declaring that America must repent for “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation”
  • Led protests outside of abortion clinics, praising anti-choice demonstrators for taking a stand at “the gates of hell” and confronting the “altars of Moloch”

Kim Davis

Kim Davis, the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, became a Religious-Right folk hero this summer when she refused to allow her office to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. Davis, saying that she was acting under “God’s authority” and wanted to use her county office to spread “God’s word,” spent five nights in jail after a federal judge found her in contempt of court for violating multiple court orders to begin issuing licenses. The viciously anti-gay group Liberty Counsel and its founder Mat Staver has been active supporters of Davis and have been representing her in court

At the summit, Davis will receive FRC’s “Cost of Discipleship” award, which previously went to Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman who was actually persecuted for her Christian faith. Tony Perkins, the president of FRC, has previously compared Davis’ experience to that of Ibrahim, who was imprisoned for converting to Christianity and was later granted asylum in the U.S.

Casey Davis

Casey Davis (no relation to Kim Davis) is another Kentucky clerk who has refused to grant marriage licenses to gay couples. Davis called the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality a “war on Christianity,” and vowed to go to jail — and even die — in order to protect his “freedom” to deny gay couples marriage licenses.

Brigitte Gabriel

Brigitte Gabriel is the founder and president of ACT! for America, where she works with local activists throughout the country to promote fears that Sharia law is taking hold in the U.S. and must be banned and to challenge textbooks that she believes are insufficiently critical of Islam. She makes frequent media appearances to warn of what she calls the “secret Islamification” of the West. Among other attacks on Mulsim-Americans, Gabriel has:

Pat Fagan

Pat Fagan is the director of summit sponsor the Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religious Research Institute. He has compared a UN report criticizing the Vatican over its handling of sexual abuse cases to Kristallnacht, the spate of violence in which Nazis attacked Jews and destroyed their property while German police turned a blind eye, and  has advocated for coming up with new names for gay marriage, such as “garriage,” “larriage” or “harriage,” so that when he says “marriage” it will be clear he means heterosexual marriage. He has said that Eisenstadt v. Baird, the Supreme Court ruling that allowed the distribution of contraception to unmarried people, may be “the single most destructive decision in the history of the Court,” explaining that “functioning” societies “punish” and “shame” people who have sex outside of marriage.

Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson is a Fox contributor and the editor of conservative blog RedState. Constantly pushing for the conservative movement to move further to the right, Erickson has:

Craig James

Former sportscaster Craig James joined the Family Research Council in 2014. In addition to claiming that Obama may secretly be a Muslim, James has:

Aaron & Melissa Klein

Aaron and Melissa Klein are the owners of an Oregon bakery who were sued for violating the state’s nondiscrimination laws when they refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. They have since become Religious Right martyrs and were featured by Sen. Ted Cruz in a campaign video. Aaron Klein has said that denying a cake to a gay couple was part of his fight against “Satan.”

Ed Vitagliano

As research director of the American Family Association, Ed Vitagliano is a vocal anti-gay activist. Not only does he believe “pray away the gay” works, but he also claims that gay rights will lead to the destruction of America.

Brent Bozell

Bozell is the Founder and President of the Media Research Center, which works to expose what it claims is rampant “liberal media bias.”

Bozell has:

Benham Brothers Defend Kim Davis With Fake George Washington Quote

Jason and David Benham, two right-wing activists with experience in portraying themselves as Christian martyrs, hailed the latest “victimof religious persecution, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, in a column for the far-right outlet WorldNetDaily this weekend:

Her jailing last week reveals that we have deep spiritual and political fractures in our foundation as a nation.



We have abandoned the God of the Bible, the very God of our founding. Our spiritual foundation has been compromised.

George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”

When we reject God’s law by removing His influence from every vestige of society, how can we rightly govern ourselves?

The answer is: We can’t, and we’re not.

Of course, Washington never actually said that.

As the Mount Vernon Association points out, this remark that is sometimes attributed to Washington first emerged in 1835, decades after Washington’s death.

(Incidentally, the Benham’s father, Religious Right activist Flip Benham, has led protests at the home of Judge David Bunning to hold him "in contempt of the Court of Almighty God.") 

Nonetheless, the Benham twins went on to claim that gay marriage is still illegal in Kentucky:

The power to define marriage is not delegated to the federal government anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, according to the 10th Amendment, individual states have the right to define marriage. And the way to do this is to amend a state constitution, which dozens of states have already accomplished by votes of the people. This is the beauty of our system. “We the People” get to decide on our laws (democracy).

Kentucky did this very thing in 2004, saying, “Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”

This is the law in Kentucky.

So, based on our system of government, Kim Davis did what was right by refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses because she was upholding Kentucky law. And the 10th Amendment protects the law that Kentuckians put in place.

So the question is, if Kim Davis is sitting in jail as a lawbreaker today, what law did she break? Did the U.S. Congress pass a gay-marriage law when we weren’t looking? Was a same-sex marriage amendment voted on by the people of Kentucky without notice? The answer to all of these is “No.”

The fact of the matter is that five members of our Supreme Court have gone rogue and become tyrannical, disregarding our constitutional and federal system of government. And we the people believe that their opinion (decision) actually made a new law, legalizing gay marriage.

Benham Brothers: Gay 'Bully Agenda' Coming At Christians With 'Guns Blazing'

David and Jason Benham, who have become Religious Right heroes since their anti-gay activism got them fired from HGTV, joined former Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller on his radio program Saturday to publicize their new book, “Whatever the Cost.”

David Benham kicked things off by warning that “all of the things that are going on in our country in the name of equality and love and tolerance,” such as marriage equality, are really “just a disguise for a bully agenda that is going to turn its guns blazing towards religious liberty in this country.”

David cautioned Miller that he should definitely be “concerned about [his] radio station” because it is “especially the voices of Christians that say homosexuality is a forbidden practice” who are at risk of censorship. “When our country no longer honors the exercise of religion, which is what that is, in the marketplace of wherever we are, it’s a very scary place to be,” he said.

Jason Benham traced marriage equality back to the end of government-sponsored prayer in public schools, which he said is the reason “sex has moved” to become “the theme of culture.”

Marriage equality, he said, is “the worst thing that could have ever happened to our nation” but “the best thing that could have ever happened to the church,” because now Christians will “get a chance to experience real persecution” which will “purify” the church by separating “the wheat from the chaff.”

“I really believe that if we are going to embrace the purification process we have to welcome the fire that purifies,” he said. “And a Supreme Court decision like this is the very thing that God’s going to use to turn his church back to him.”

Jason brought up the concept of the “doom loop,” a phrase that author Jim Collins uses to describe companies that are in a downward spiral, which he said also applies to American culture. “It takes forever to get” the doom loop “to take one revolution around,” but “then once it gets going it just spins consistently and goes faster and faster and faster,” he said.

“This is what’s happening in the culture as well,” Jason explained. “The devil has been working overtime for a long time, and now it’s just spinning out of control.”

But, he said, Christians can fight back by “lovingly” correcting people they disagree with because we’re “not yet” in “a physical fight.”

“The first thing you gotta recognize, at least here in America, is we’re not in a physical fight, at least not yet,” he said. “It’s a spiritual battle going on, so we’re not trying to kill people or pull guns on people or anything like that. What we’re doing is saying to Christians, get involved in the spiritual battle. Get involved with ideas that present themselves against the knowledge of God. Stand up and say ‘no, that’s not true,’ while you reach out lovingly to the people who hold those ideas. That’s what Christ is calling for today: cultural warriors who will stand strong for him on truth.”

Benhams Celebrate Father's Day By Warning Of Impending Persecution, God's Wrath

Jim Garlow celebrated Father’s Day this year by inviting David and Jason Benham — conservative activists who became Religious Right martyrs when they lost a planned house-flipping TV show after their extreme views came to light — to speak about manly courage at his Skyline Church. As an extra bonus, the Benham brothers brought along their father, Flip Benham, a fiery street preacher and anti-choice activist who told the audience that the real problem of “fatherlessness” in America is the rejection of “the Heavenly Father.”

The elder Benham quoted the book of Malachi: “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, the hearts of the children to their fathers, or I will smite the land with a curse.”

“That is what is happening here,” he said, “fatherlessness. The Heavenly Father, we reject him, we’ve expelled him from school, we’ve banished him from the schoolyard and he’s been replaced with metal detectors, condoms, drugs and violence of unprecedented order, while we’re looking at each other with awkward amazement wondering what has happened here. When you move God, when you take Him out of the equation, violence always enters in.”

After the brothers told their story of persecution at the hands of gay rights activists, David Benham compared America today to first-century Rome, when Nero “started the persecution against the Christians” by using a “narrative that the Christians and Jews were haters of Rome because they would not bow to the emperor.”

“I’m telling you, the same spirit of Nero is in America,” he said, “and persecution is coming.”

Benham Brothers Recount Bravely Disrupting A Nonexistent 9/11 Celebration In New York

Remember when Muslims took to the streets of New York to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks? No? Well, Jason and David Benham remember that totally real 9/11 celebration and were in fact American heroes who traveled to New York just to put a stop to it.

The Benham brothers recently recounted their brave heroism in an interview with WorldNetDaily, the conspiracy theory outlet that publishes their weekly column, while promoting WND’s annual 9/11 Day of Prayer.

David Benham told WND that “on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Jason and I went to New York City and I remember watching radical Muslims marching through our streets screaming, ‘Allahu Akbar,’ and I stepped into the middle of the street and I began to proclaim the gospel and let them know that that stuff is not welcome in our nation.”

In fact, Jason Benham said, this brave stand against a pro-9/11 rally got the Benhams labeled “anti-Muslim” by us here at Right Wing Watch! “That is one of the things that Right Wing Watch had pulled out, some comments that he made during that celebration where they were saying, ‘Allah conquers everything,’ and David stood up and boldly proclaimed, ‘No he does not,’ and that’s how we got the label that we are anti-Muslim,” Jason said.

David added: “We’re not anti-Muslim, we love individuals and especially peace-loving Muslims, but I am anti-any idea that would seek to take our freedoms away and take the lives of innocent people, especially anybody that would want to silence biblical Christianity.”

In our report on the Benhams’ right-wing activism, activism which they at first strenuously denied in the midst of the controversy surrounding their planned HGTV show, we excerpted a single paragraph from a report published by the Anti-Defamation League about David Benham’s involvement in an anti-Muslim demonstration organized by Operation Save America, the far-right group run by David and Jason’s father Flip Benham:

David Benham, Flip Benham's son and an OSA spokesman, called the Islamic center a "den of iniquity," and referred to Muslims as "the enemy attacking" America. Benham, portraying the United States as a Christian nation, also drew this distinction: "The difference between Islam and Christianity: Islam takes life and enslaves it. Christianity lays its life down and sets you free." The day prior to the demonstration, OSA released a statement asserting that [it] seeks to convert Muslims who are "enslaved in the tyrannical bondage of Islam" to Christianity.

The demonstration that the Benhams were participating in was not a 9/11 celebration. Instead, it was a protest of plans to build an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan, dubbed the “Ground Zero Mosque” by anti-Muslim activists. (The community center’s detractors neglected to mention that a Muslim prayer room existed in the south tower of the World Trade Center and there was already a mosque four blocks away from the site.)

The ADL report continues:

Since Spring 2010, OSA has exploited the controversy surrounding the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero by renewing their efforts to demonize Islam. On the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, several OSA leaders organized a protest in downtown Manhattan against the Islamic center. At the protest, held the same day as the rally organized by Stop the Islamization of America, Reverend Rusty Lee Thomas, assistant director of the OSA, said that the religion of Islam was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. "[The center] is a dagger in the heart of our nation by a religion that killed 3000 of our citizens on September 11, 2001," he said.

Thomas also asked rhetorically, "But why are mosques springing up all over the United States of America? Why are Muslims coming in droves, buying us up and buying us out? Why were we blissfully ignorant of Islam on September 11, 2001, and now there is not a day under the Obama administration we are not being inundated with Islamic indoctrination?"

Ante Pavkovic, described by OSA as its regional director in Charlotte, North Carolina, told rally participants: "How is it…that they are on the verge of building a mosque and insulting us, and offending us, and trampling on the all those that died. Why is Islam gaining in our nation? Why are our leaders assenting to, appealing to, and appeasing the Muslims? Well, we know why. We as a nation have departed from our god."

David Benham, Flip Benham's son and an OSA spokesman, called the Islamic center a "den of iniquity," and referred to Muslims as "the enemy attacking" America. Benham, portraying the United States as a Christian nation, also drew this distinction: "The difference between Islam and Christianity: Islam takes life and enslaves it. Christianity lays its life down and sets you free." The day prior to the demonstration, OSA released a statement asserting that seeks to convert Muslims who are "enslaved in the tyrannical bondage of Islam" to Christianity.

OSA has been protesting at mosques and harassing Muslim worshippers since 2001, when the group described Islam on its Web site as a "false religion, birthed from the very pit of hell [that] has led to the eternal damnation of billions of precious people." For years, Flip Benham and his supporters approached Muslims outside their houses of worship to communicate that "Islam and Christianity cannot peacefully coexist. They are at war," according to OSA's Web site.

Such messages were delivered by the group on August 6, 2010, when Reverend Benham and other OSA activists harassed worshippers after Friday prayers outside Masjid An-Noor in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Activists reportedly shouted at worshippers leaving and entering the mosque that “Jesus hates Muslims” and “Islam is a lie.”

A few weeks later, OSA activist Pastor Mark Holick was arrested in Wichita, Kansas, after refusing to move his protest against the Islamic Center of Wichita to a location designated by police. Holick reportedly tried to disseminate OSA “Gospel tracts,” described later by media as “anti-Muslim DVDs,” to individuals on their way to the mosque.

Ted Cruz To Speak Alongside Gay-Wedding-Crasher Flip Benham, 'Faggots'-Basher Wellington Boone

Sen. Ted Cruz and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise addressed the “Watchmen on the Wall” summit today, an event sponsored by the radical Family Research Council, whose leaders have defended Uganda’s “kill the gays” bill, pushed the expulsion of gay people from the U.S. and fear an imminent anti-Christian holocaust in the U.S.

One speaker, anti-abortion-rights crusader Flip Benham, will speak alongside his sons, Religious Right activists David and Jason Benham. Along with his anti-abortion work, the elder Benham is notorious for heckling same-sex couples at their weddings, screaming at Muslim worshipers, organizing disruptions of liberal church services and linking gay people to Satan. The young Benhams have similar views, describing gay rights as demonic and stoking fears about homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation.”

Another “Watchmen” speaker is E.W. Jackson, who joined the FRC after badly losing his race for lieutenant governor of Virginia and who has described gays as “perverted,” “degenerate,” “very sick people” and linked the Democratic Party to the Antichrist.

Wellington Boone will also speak at the event, even though he once told the audience at another FRC conference that he wishes he could call people “faggots.” At a 2006 event featuring FRC President Tony Perkins and Mitt Romney, Boone delivered a speech about the dangers of an island full of “sodomites,” defending laws making homosexuality a crime punished by the death penalty.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 3/5/15

  • According to WND, the Benham brothers "were noticed by HGTV when they were part of a prayer rally in Charlotte." Given that this prayer rally was organized by the Benham brothers explicitly to repent for and denounce homosexuality, it seems that producers at HGTV should have know exactly what they were getting when they signed them up as hosts.
  • Jerry Newcombe insists that "without God, there would be no America and no American freedom."
  • Larry Ward of the Constitutional Rights PAC is outraged that an "unelected bureaucratic panel voted to take away one of the best inventions ever created in the United States" by protecting net neutrality.
  • Laurie Higgins says that "Obama ought to admit that he doesn’t study Scripture to inform his leadership. Rather he distorts and exploits Scripture to defend his political positions."
  • Finally, anti-choice activists are organizing a sit-in at John Boehner's office "in response to Republicans reneging on their promise to vote on 'The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act'" back in January.

David Benham: Charlotte Nondiscrimination Ordinance 'So Depraved,' 'Absolutely Craziness'

David and Jason Benham stopped by the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville yesterday, where they told FRC President Tony Perkins about their work to defeat a proposed LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance in Charlotte, North Carolina, which David Benham called “so depraved and just absolutely craziness.”

Jason Benham kicked things off by describing how the Devil had worked through the separation of church and state to “remove our God” from society.

“And when God is removed, chaos is the only thing that’s going to fill the void, and when chaos happens people are going to cry for order, and when people cry for order but they’re not willing to turn to God, who are they going to turn to? The government. And the government is the one then that defines your rights, and if they give your rights they can surely take them away. You have to remove God first,” he explained. 

“We are about to fight in Charlotte this transgender bathroom ordinance,” David Benham chimed in. “It’s so depraved and just absolutely craziness that I look back and I see that pattern.”

“It’s taken the form of nondiscrimination,” he continued. “That’s just simply the fourth point of the radical gay agenda’s plan to change America. The fourth point is ‘do not request direct support for our lifestyle, but rather assume nondiscrimination as our support.’ This is a disguise. And it’s not because of LGBT people, it’s because of this radical agenda.”

Benham Brothers: Satan Behind Homosexuality, Gay Marriage

Jason and David Benham have been making the rounds of conservative media outlets this week to promote their new book, Whatever The Cost, which gives their opinion on losing their planned HGTV reality show after being exposed as extreme anti-gay activists.

For example, today the twin brothers stopped by “The 700 Club,” where they posed like so with Pat Robertson:

During an appearance today on “AFA Today,” the daytime talk show of the American Family Association, the Benham brothers once again linked Satan to the gay community.

David Benham told host Kevin McCullough that “America has systemically removed God from society, starting in the public schools. He’s been removed from business, he’s been removed from every vestige of society. Do we have any inclination that he’s not going to be removed from one of the three institutions that was in working order before sin entered the world — work, Sabbath and marriage? Those three things God set in place before sin entered the world; Satan is coming after all of them.”

After McCullough asked the brothers why “activists, primarily of the sexual nature,” criticized them, David Benham said that “Satan wants to bring a false intimacy” through things like gay relationships. Jason Benham suggested that Satan is behind both gay relationships and abortion rights because he hates reproduction.

Jason Benham: He made man — He didn’t have to make man, but He did — and He made man in his image. And then he says, ‘You know it’s not good for man to be alone,’ and then he makes woman. Because he knows a man and a woman together is a perfect physical picture of what happens in the spirit, that when God comes into us and his life explodes into us and then out of us flows the product of God and us and our perfect DNA mix. It’s the same thing that happens in physical intimacy between a man and a woman, and Satan is a big phony, he’s a big counterfeit. He’s always going to attack sex because the goal of sex is life, it’s life in your marriage, it’s physical life with children, it’s offspring, and the Devil is making war against the offspring of the woman, which means that the Devil hates life. Jesus came to bring life, the Devil, I come to destroy life.

The 2014 Equine Posterior Award: Vote For Your Favorite Right-Wing Extremist

It’s time to cast your vote for the winner of People For the American Way’s annual Equine Posterior Achievement Award, which recognizes the worst of the worst in right-wing extremism.

Our 2014 nominees outdid themselves this year in promoting conspiracy theories, inventing persecution myths and pushing bigotry, and now it’s your turn to decide who wins this year’s coveted award.

Ted Cruz: Last year's EPAA winner Ted Cruz didn’t run for office in 2014, but that didn’t stop him from rallying Religious Right voters. The possible 2016 presidential hopeful spent the year supporting anti-government rancher Cliven Bundy and helping to block the nomination of Debo Adegbile.

Cruz was an outspoken opponent of the proposed amendment to overturn Citizens United, claiming it would “repeal the First Amendment” and “muzzle” pastors. Also threatening the free speech of pastors, Cruz contended, are equal rights for LGBT people, to which he is as vehemently opposed as ever.

The Benham Brothers: After reporting on HGTV’s plans for a new home improvement reality show starring notorious anti-gay, anti-choice extremist David Benham and his brother Jason back in May, the Benham brothers have now taken their tale of "persecution!" throughout the Religious Right speaking circuit.

When HGTV dropped the show just hours after our first reporting on their anti-gay activism, including their claims that homosexuality is “destructive” and “demonic, Religious Right leaders from Pat Robertson to Bryan Fischer wasted no time in drumming up a “Christian persecution” narrative and declaring the Benhams modern-day martyrs. The Benhams enthusiastically embraced their new role, repeatedly likening themselves to ISIS beheading victims and making an appearance at the 2014 Values Voter Summit.

Gordon Klingenschmitt: What a year for Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt! Klingenschmitt, whose whole career has been based on a myth about his supposed religious persecution in the military, used his “Pray in Jesus Name” program this year to spread the word that it’s basically child abuse for a kid to be raised by gay parents, and that transgender people are just in need of an exorcism and a spanking. (Of course, this is a man who once tried to perform an exorcism on President Obama.)

But in between spouting anti-gay vitriol and denouncing Obamacare, Klingenschmitt somehow managed to run a campaign for a seat in the Colorado House of Representatives and won! Congratulations to Colorado’s new anti-gay, demon hunting state legislator.

Jody Hice: Jody Hice is a Georgia Republican who won a seat in the U.S. House this year despite saying that women should ask their husbands for permission before entering politics, that homosexuality “enslaves” people, and that Muslims shouldn’t have First Amendment rights. He blamed everything from the Sandy Hook School shooting to the Penn State abuse scandal on the separation of church and state. He’s a big believer in the power of “blood moons” and he thinks our public schools are a lot like Nazi Germany.

And, again, he will soon be a member of Congress.

Texas State Board of Education: This year, we nominate the Texas State Board of Education for an Equine Posterior Achievement Award for their approval of social studies textbooks that were more about the ideological beliefs of the board members than, you know, actual history.

While the approved textbooks were an improvement on the original proposed content, which included blatant denial of climate change and negative stereotypes of Islam as a violent religion, the final editions emphasize the biblical influence in America’s founding, even going so far as to reference Moses as an influence on the Constitution and the Old Testament as the root of democracy.

Glenn Beck: This year Glenn Beck assured his viewers that his many prophetic visions and predictions would finally, definitely come true. It’s hard to imagine where Beck found the time for all his clairvoyance and divine inspiration, what with everything else he accomplished this year including devising plans to fix the VA and destroy ISIS. But 2014 hasn’t been a banner year for Beck. In March, he was sued for defamation after falsely accusing one of the victims injured in the Boston Marathon bombing of being behind the attack. (Unfortunately for Beck, a federal judge recently allowed the lawsuit to move forward.)

Pat Robertson: This year, EPAA staple Pat Robertson kept up the HIV fear-mongering with his assertion that you can get AIDS from a towel -- you may remember last year, when he accused gay people of intentionally spreading HIV by cutting people with special rings.

There was hardly a news story this year that Robertson didn’t weigh in on, from Michael Brown’s death to marijuana legalization, and even Robin Williams’ suicide. He spread the word about the demonic threat posed by Ouija boards and the serious risk of fighting climate change. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Pat Robertson his show can cure the neck injuries and asthma of its viewers, after all.

Ben Carson: Right-wing activist and potential presidential candidate Ben Carson kicked off 2014 with a rousing CPAC speech denouncing “extra rights” like marriage equality for gay people. Despite repeatedly speaking out against marriage equality and calling it a Marxist plot, Carson believes that gay rights supporters are trying to inhibit his right to free speech. Carson also shared his many opinions on the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, blaming Michael Brown’s death on his lack of a father figure, and accusing protestors of being part of a “me generation” started by women’s libbers.

Bryan Fischer: Bryan Fischer spent a lot of 2014 being grossed out, horrified, and otherwise offended by openly gay football player Michael Sam. After that, he said that commemorating Harvey Milk is a lot like honoring Jeffrey Dahmer, asked Michelle Obama to start an anti-lesbian campaign, and expressed his preference for sharia law and displeasure with Pope Francis. Perennial EPAA nominee Fischer also chimed in on Ferguson, claiming that Michael Brown was possessed by a homicidal demon.

Kevin Swanson: Religious Right broadcaster Kevin Swanson took to the airwaves in 2014 to warn his audience about the sinister motives of “The Hunger Games” movies, the potential for LGBT nondiscrimination laws to protect murderers and rapists, and the threat of “Antichrist” Presbyterians. But maybe most memorable were Swanson’s ruminations on popular culture, including his speculation that Beyonce may be possessed by a demonic spirit, and his claim that the Disney movie “Frozen” is a Satanic movie that turns kids gay.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 11/4/14

  • Glenn Beck's constantly shifting positions are now starting to confuse even his loyal audience, with one listener saying today, "I feel like I’m taking crazy pill" just trying to figure out Beck's contradictory stances.
  • David Lane issues a word of warning: "Secularism’s worldliness will only tolerate Christianity so long as its carnal tranquility is not disturbed or its authority challenged. But let the Christian bring his biblical values to the political arena, and he is immediately denounced as narrow-minded, out of step, behind the times, and a religious bigot."
  • Richard Land says that pastors in Houston "have felt the cold, suppressive hand of government and the attempt by the gay rights thought police to weaponize government against them."
  • James O'Keefe thinks that he is a "threat to the media."

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 10/29/14

  • Houston Mayor Annise Parker has announced that the subpoenas sent to five area pastors have been withdrawn.
  • David Benham was on hand in Ohio last night to a support radical right-wing pastor's fight against a local strip club.
  • A good question: "Is Ebola a Sign of Judgment or a Prophetic Warning?"
  • Is anyone surprised that there is now a right-wing effort underway to get nurse Kaci Hickox fired from her job for refusing to submit to involuntary quarantine after she returned from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone?
  • Janet Mefferd is not happy with Russell Moore for "playing right into the hands of Big Gay."
  • Personhood Alliance has announced a "ground-breaking campaign to launch pro-life ballot initiatives at the county and municipal level across the country in 2015."
  • Finally, Phil Robertson says that Christians need to "vote godly!"

Benham Brothers Once Again Compare Themselves To ISIS Victims

During last weekend's "iPledge Sunday" event, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins interviewed David and Jason Benham, who repeated their new favorite talking point likening the loss of their planned reality television show to Christians who are being murdered by ISIS in the Middle East.

"This is a spiritual battle," Jason said. "From the outset, there was a war in Heaven and now it's manifesting itself here on this earth" in the form of attacks on Christians like them.

"We see the struggle between good and evil, light and darkness, truth and lies," David said, pointing to ISIS as he then declared that "what's happening with swords over in the Middle East is happening with silence over here in America."

"The exact same agenda in the form of silence," he said. "That's their weapon and Jason and I were targeted and it's a very well orchestrated, well-oiled machine that comes after us."

Perkins completely agreed, saying that "in the Middle East they use the sword, and here they use silence but in both ways the voice of Christians are lost":

Stop Persecuting Us! Five Religious Right Tactics On Clear Display At The Values Voter Summit

One thing was clear at last week’s Values Voter Summit: many of the Religious Right’s leaders and allied politicians know that their stances on abortion rights and LGBT equality are becoming more and more toxic to the average voter, and less and less popular within the GOP.

Many speakers at the conference tried to reframe the debate on issues such as same-sex marriage, insisting that opponents of LGBT rights are becoming an oppressed minority in America. This delusion even seeped into matters such as foreign policy, with speakers attacking President Obama as an Islamist sympathizer who refuses to take military action against ISIS, even while he was doing exactly that.

Naturally, one politician was able to prey upon the many fears and fantasies of the far-right: Ted Cruz.

Even as the Values Voter Summit subtly changed its tone on some familiar issues, five tried and true tactics of the Religious Right were unchanged at last week’s event:

5. Make Audacious Persecution Analogies

While addressing the plight of Christians in the Mideast and people such as Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan and Saeed Abedini in Iran — both of whom are actually the victims of shocking anti-Christian persecution — Values Voter Summit speakers often attempted to claim that conservative Christians face similar abuses and comparable treatment in America.

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel attempted to paint the Obama administration as more malicious than the government of Nazi Germany, and twins Jason and David Benham — who lost a planned HGTV reality show after we reported on their anti-gay political activism — even had the gall to compare themselves to the victims of ISIS.

Todd Starnes and Kelly Shackelford rattled off cases of purported anti-Christian persecution in America, “Duck Dynasty” star Alan Robertson said his family’s reality TV show was briefly suspended as the result of demonic attacks, and a Colorado baker who gained national attention after denying service to a gay couple broke down in tears.

Maggie Gallagher, the founder of the National Organization for Marriage, told attendees that marriage equality opponents will be “oppressed” due to their opinions, and Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel predicted Big Government persecution of Christians on behalf of “the intolerant homosexual lobby.”

4. Demand Religious Freedom… Except For Muslims

For a conference dedicated to protecting religious liberty and addressing the supposed persecution of Christians in America, there sure was plenty of animosity towards Muslims.

Conference speakers including Michele BachmannRobert DeesGary Bauer and Brigitte Gabriel dedicated their remarks to the threat of Islam, with several conflating Al Qaeda and ISIS with all of Islam and suggesting that the U.S. government somehow declare war on the religion.

Prior to the conference, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, whose group was the summit’s chief sponsor, suggested that Muslim-Americans be stripped of their rights under the Constitution.

3. Brazenly Ignore Reality

It was surreal to watch several Values Voter Summit speakers criticize President Obama for not going after ISIS at the same time as a U.S.-led coalition was launching a daily torrent of airstrikes against ISIS and the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria and Iraq.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a likely GOP presidential candidate, said Obama doesn’t believe that ISIS leaders need to be “hunted down and killed and destroyed.”

Bachmann declared that the president was ignoring her sage advice on how to handle ISIS: “You kill their leader, you kill their council, you kill their army until they wave the white flag of surrender. That’s how you win a war!”

2. Push Back Against The GOP

There was a palpable fear throughout the conference that the Republican Party is moving away from the Religious Right, as more and more GOP candidates either refuse to highlight the movement’s anti-choice and anti-gay positions or are openly trumpeting support for abortion rights and gay marriage.

Just before the conference took place, Focus on the Family, the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council issued a letter announcing their vow to defeat two openly gay Republican House candidates and the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Oregon, who is pro-choice and running advertisements boasting of her support for marriage equality.

NOM president Brian Brown criticized Republicans for blaming the party’s stances on social issues for losses in the 2012 election. “It’s not our fault,” Brown insisted as he introduced unabashedly anti-gay politician Rick Santorum at the summit.

Later, at a NOM-sponsored panel, Brown accused gay rights supporters of attempting to “hijack” the GOP. While one panel at the summit attempted to explain the potential for libertarians and social conservatives to build a political alliance, it seems many in the audience didn’t want anything to do with the libertarian message.

1. Throw Them Red Meat

Ted Cruz once again won the summit’s presidential candidate straw poll, with Ben Carson, who didn’t attend the summit this year but was well-represented by campaigners from the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, finishing in second place. Cruz and Carson notably outpaced Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, two favorites of Religious Right movement who both spoke at the summit.

Cruz packed his speech with warnings about imminent threats to the Second Amendment and religious freedom, and listing objects of conservative derision: IRS, Common Core and Obamacare.

Conference organizers said Jeb Bush and Chris Christie were not welcome at the summit, but they wouldn’t have been able to stand a chance against Cruz’s easy applause lines anyway.

Benham Twins: We Are Like ISIS Victims!

We have gotten used to Religious Right activists compare themselves to Jews living under Nazi Germany, but David and Jason Benham took a new approach at the Values Voter Summit last night and compared themselves to victims of the terrorist group ISIS.

The Benham twins, of course, were referring to how they lost their planned HGTV reality show after we reported on their anti-gay, anti-choice and anti-Muslim political activism.

In their speech to the summit, the Benham twins argued that just as ISIS beheads their victim with a sword, progressive groups like Right Wing Watch “silence” conservatives by quoting them verbatim.

Jason Benham kicked it off by likening himself and his brother to Jesus Christ — a theme throughout their speech — and later David said that Christians in America are facing persecution just like Christians in the Mideast who are coming under attack from violent groups such as ISIS.

“There is a radical agenda that has come in our nation,” David explained, “the weapon of choice for the agenda in the Middle East is a sword, but the weapon of choice for the agenda in America is silence. They demand silence.”

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David Benham Posts Archive

Peter Montgomery, Friday 01/29/2016, 12:15pm
It’s nearly impossible to keep up with the string of endorsements for Ted Cruz from Religious Right political activists, including some of the most extreme activists in the movement. It started in the summer, when we asked, “Is Ted Cruz Winning the Christian-Nation Primary?” but it really got going after dozens of Religious Right leaders anointed Cruz as their candidate at a secret endorsement meeting in Texas in December. Now that we’re just days from the Iowa caucus, the Cruz campaign is picking up the pace. Today it announced endorsements from Jason and David Benham... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Wednesday 01/13/2016, 1:53pm
In yet another example of what the Religious Right’s recent focus on “religious liberty” is really about, five Republican presidential candidates are scheduled to speak this weekend at a “religious freedom” event hosted by a conservative pastor who has repeatedly declared that AIDS is God’s punishment for gay people’s “immoral act” and has called for a “class action lawsuit” against homosexuality. Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina and Mike Huckabee are scheduled to join a “Free to Believe Broadcast” on... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 11/12/2015, 2:30pm
Fresh off attending a conference whose host, Kevin Swanson, voiced support for the execution of gay people, Ted Cruz will stage a “Rally for Religious Liberty” in Greenville, South Carolina, on Saturday featuring a number of Religious Right activists who have referred to gay rights advocates as demonic enemies. The rally is taking place at none other than Bob Jones University, the fundamentalist school that in the 1970s and 1980s famously cited “religious liberty” in an attempt to uphold its racist policies, which its leaders claimed were rooted in the Bible. The... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Thursday 11/05/2015, 5:23pm
In August, we asked whether Ted Cruz was winning the Christian Nation primary, with fracking billionaires Dan and Farris Wilks pumping $15 million into a pro-Cruz super PAC and political operative David Lane promoting Cruz’s anti-Planned Parenthood efforts. In September, Religious Right “historian” David Barton was tapped to take over a Cruz super PAC, and CNN reported that top officials of Online for Life are “playing a growing role in the super PACs backing Ted Cruz.” Yesterday, Glenn Beck declared that Cruz “was truly raised up for this purpose at... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Thursday 10/01/2015, 12:57pm
Last weekend’s Response rally in Charlotte, North Carolina was another in a series of supposedly nonpolitical gatherings organized by political strategist David Lane. Like other Response gatherings, the event served as a platform for culture warriors associated with Christian-nation dominionism to promote anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-church state ideology all while proclaiming that they are simply bringing Christians together to pray for the state and nation. Among the culture warriors to take the microphone in Charlotte was David Benham, half of the Benham Brothers duo who have parlayed... MORE >
Isabel Carter-Kahn, Monday 09/21/2015, 10:51am
Next weekend, GOP presidential contenders and top lawmakers will mingle with some of the most extreme Religious Right activists in the country at the Values Voter Summit, an annual event in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, American Values, and others. Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham and Ben Carson have all confirmed that they will be speaking at the event. Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich have been invited but have not yet confirmed their... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 09/08/2015, 10:00am
Jason and David Benham, two right-wing activists with experience in portraying themselves as Christian martyrs, hailed the latest “victim” of religious persecution, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, in a column for the far-right outlet WorldNetDaily this weekend: Her jailing last week reveals that we have deep spiritual and political fractures in our foundation as a nation. … We have abandoned the God of the Bible, the very God of our founding. Our spiritual foundation has been compromised. George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation... MORE >
Mikayla Bean, Wednesday 08/05/2015, 3:31pm
David and Jason Benham, who have become Religious Right heroes since their anti-gay activism got them fired from HGTV, joined former Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller on his radio program Saturday to publicize their new book, “Whatever the Cost.” David Benham kicked things off by warning that “all of the things that are going on in our country in the name of equality and love and tolerance,” such as marriage equality, are really “just a disguise for a bully agenda that is going to turn its guns blazing towards religious liberty in this country.” David... MORE >