Michele Bachmann

The Ames Straw Poll Victors: From Robertson To Bachmann

Following Michele Bachmann’s triumph in the Ames Straw Poll, she was immediately crowned the frontrunner in the Iowa Caucus. While winning the Ames Straw Poll does not guarantee a victory at the Iowa Caucus (just ask Mitt Romney), it does show the strength of a candidate’s campaign operation and popular support. But most importantly, victory at Ames does not make a candidate a mainstream political figure. As Tim Murphy writes today in Mother Jones and consistently chronicled on RWW, Bachmann throughout her entire political career has seen herself and acted as an ultraconservative, Religious Right fanatic, and her victory at Ames makes her no more mainstream or less radical.

For example, Pat Robertson won the 1987 Ames Straw Poll, topping both George Bush and Bob Dole, who went on to win the Iowa Caucus. But defeating the Vice President and the Senate Republican Leader did not make Robertson a mainstream politician, in the same way Bachmann is still a right-wing extremist even after her straw poll victory. Their victories in Ames show the endurance and growth of the Religious Right base of the Republican Party.

Need a reminder of how out of the mainstream Robertson is? Just today on The 700 Club, for instance, Robertson explained how he performed an exorcism on a girl and “cast this demon out of her” before she tried to kill her mother:

So if Pat Robertson can win in Ames, is it any surprise that Michele Bachmann could too?

Bachmann Wasn't The First GOP Candidate To Be Asked About "Submission"

During last week's Republican presidential debate, Michele Bachmann was asked by Washington Examiner’s Byron York about her past statement that she ended up studying tax law even though she "hates taxes" and never had a desire for it" but did so because wives "are to be submissive to your husband" and so she "was going to be faithful to what I felt God was calling me to do through my husband."

In her response and since, Bachmann has been trying to claim that being "submissive" merely means that she and her husband "respect each other," which is nonsense, as Sarah Posner explained today in Salon.

And now the Religious Right is rallying around Bachmann, attacking the question as unfair and inappropriate:

Penny Nance, president of the conservative group Concerned Women for America, expressed her dismay at the question in a statement: "Byron York's question to Michele Bachmann about her relationship with her husband was incredibly inappropriate and downright ignorant.”

...

Given that both men and women are called to give of themselves in marriage, Nance lamented that the male presidential candidates were not asked the same or a similar question.

Ummm ... does Nance not remember when Mike Huckabee was asked by Carl Cameron about the 1998 ad he signed stating that a "wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband" during a Republican debate in South Carolina in 2008 where Huckabee delivered a more eloquent but equally Bachmann-like response:

CAMERON: Governor Huckabee, to change the subject a little bit and focus a moment on electability.

Back in 1998, you were one of about 100 people who affirmed, in a full-page ad in the "New York Times," the Southern Baptist Convention's declaration that, quote, "A wife us to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband."

Women voters in both parties harshly criticized that. Is that position politically viable in the general election of 2008, sir?

HUCKABEE: You know, it's interesting, everybody says religion is off limits, except we always can ask me the religious questions. So let me try to do my best to answer it.

(APPLAUSE) And since -- if we're really going to have a religious service, I'd really feel more comfortable if I could pass the plates, because our campaign could use the money tonight, Carl.

(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)

We'll just go all the way.

First of all, if anybody knows my wife, I don't think they for one minute think that she's going to just sit by and let me do whatever I want to. That would be an absolute total misunderstanding of Janet Huckabee.

The whole context of that passage -- and, by the way, it really was spoken to believers, to Christian believers. I'm not the least bit ashamed of my faith or the doctrines of it. I don't try to impose that as a governor and I wouldn't impose it as a president.

But I certainly am going to practice it unashamedly, whether I'm a president or whether I'm not a president. But the point...

(APPLAUSE)

... the point, and it comes from a passage of scripture in the New Testament Book of Ephesians is that as wives submit themselves to the husbands, the husbands also submit themselves, and it's not a matter of one being somehow superior over the other. It's both mutually showing their affection and submission as unto the Lord.

So with all due respect, it has nothing to do with presidency. I just wanted to clear up that little doctrinal quirk there so that there's nobody who misunderstands that it's really about doing what a marriage ought to do and that's marriage is not a 50/50 deal, where each partner gives 50 percent.

Biblically, marriage is 100/100 deal. Each partner gives 100 percent of their devotion to the other and that's why marriage is an important institution, because it teaches us how to love.

Staver: Under Obama, The US Is "One Of The World's Immoral Leaders"

On today's episode of "Faith and Freedom Radio," Mat Staver and Matt Barber spent all of their time railing against the fact that the United States had reportedly withheld $350 million in aid to the country of Malawi due to efforts in that country to outlaw homosexuality.

Like the Family Research Council before them, Barber and Staver were outraged that the United States would be using economic extortion to impose its own immorality on a sovereign nation like Malawi which simply seeks to uphold God's laws by imprisoning gays:

Barber: What we need is to return to your moral grounding and moral roots in this nation. Until we do that, the moral and the economic are definitely combined and our nation is going to continue to sink, we're going to continue to lose our status in the world as the world leader. And frankly, when we are holding out nations hostage to a radical, sexually-immoral agenda, I don't know that we necessarily are in a position - at least the government as its stands right now under this administration - are in a position to claim to be the world's moral leaders.

Staver: We're not the world's moral leader under this administration; we're one of the world's immoral leaders ... What the administration is doing is just putting its own immoral views into its funding, trying to get other nations to come around and do the same thing. And they're literally trying to create and extend this immorality globally.

Barber: The Obama administration is saying that sexual perversion is a human right.

Staver: More than sixty countries have laws criminalizing homosexuality and virtually every country in the world has laws that criminalize pedophilia and child incest. Malawi was doing what it was doing in its own best interest and America should not be trying to make that country act in an immoral way.

I think that maybe we should point out that, earlier this year, Michele Bachmann personally tapped Staver to come to Washington to teach her Tea Party on the Constitution.

Imagine If Janet Porter Ran For President

Perhaps one of the most alarming realizations about Michele Bachmann is that even if she hand never a member of Congress and a Republican presidential contender, we would probably still be writing about her here on Right Wing Watch because she is, at heart, a hardcore Religious Right activist.

Tim Murphy of Mother Jones has a new profile of Bachmann which, I feel, perfectly demonstrates that point: 

There was one issue that seemed to consume Bachmann. The slow creep of the gay rights movement was, in her words, an "earthquake issue," with the potential to shake the foundation of society itself: the family. Taking a page from Schaeffer, who vilified the "rampant sexuality" and moral relativism of the Romans, Bachmann saw the gay rights movement as a secular ideology that posed a direct challenge to traditional marriages.

As she'd done before with the Profile of Learning, Bachmann embraced her role as a messenger. When EdWatch, as the Maple River Education Coalition was later known, invited her to deliver a speech at its 2004 convention, she unleashed a masterful presentation, mixing slides with self-deprecating humor, that hammered home the same urgent message that has since become familiar to a national audience: The forces working against you are bigger than you think.

Bachmann ripped into pop culture, telling her audience about a dangerous show she'd discovered called Sex and the City. ("It's received critical acclaim," she said, "so that tells you, 'Don't watch it.'") She warned that The Lion King soundtrack was potentially toxic to small children because it was written by Elton John, a gay man. She urged her audience to pray for Melissa Etheridge, suggesting that the lesbian songwriter's breast cancer diagnosis might be a wake-up call for her to turn away from her sinful lifestyle. To Bachmann, homosexuals had even usurped the English language. "It's part of Satan, I think, to say that this is 'gay,'" she said. "It's anything but gay."

The Bachmanns worked as a tag team. In 2005, they both participated in the Minnesota Pastors' Summit, a conference sponsored by the Minnesota Family Council that was designed to train religious leaders for the culture wars. Michele led a session on a state gay marriage amendment; Marcus, in a rare moment of public activism, moderated a talk called "The Truth of the Homosexual Lifestyle."

Imagine if Sally Kern or Janet Porter were not only running for president but winning the Iowa Straw Poll and being treated like a front-runner and you start to get an idea of just how truly amazing/terrifying this development is.

Tim Pawlenty's Short-Lived Post-Straw Poll Bravado

On Sunday, after a disappointing defeat in Iowa's Ames Straw Poll, Tim Pawlenty withdrew from the presidential race, saying that "the audience, so to speak, wanted something different." What Iowa Republicans want, at least according to the straw poll results, is Michele Bachmann, who many pundits agreed had bested Pawlenty in a harsh exchange at last week's GOP debate. Just hours before he dropped out of the race, Pawlenty's campaign emailed supporters with a claim that he was eager to continue the fight, a fundraising pitch, a new video title "The American Comeback Begins," and a bravado that seems to have lasted about 12 hours:

Hello Friends -

I want to congratulate Congresswoman Bachmann on her victory in today's straw poll. I'm also very proud of the work my campaign has done, and I appreciate their hard work. As I've said all along, we needed to show progress to do well, and we did just that. This is a long process to restore America -- we are just beginning, and I'm eager for the campaign.

I'm encouraged by our progress, and I'm so thankful for the thousands of Iowans who showed their support for my candidacy by voting for me in Ames. Don't miss my remarks at the straw poll earlier today including our latest video
 
We are now moving onto the next phase of our campaign. Over the coming weeks we will be visiting New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida while continuing to grow our already strong ground game in Iowa.
 
Mary and I will never forget your continued support, words of encouragement, and friendship. But we need YOUR help to take the message that resonated in Iowa to the rest of the country. Can I count on you for a special “Victory Contribution” of $25, $50, $100 or even $250, to commemorate our strong showing in Ames?
 
We’ve completed an important first step on the road to the Republican nomination and, ultimately, the White House.  We can’t do it alone, and I need your support to continue the journey.

 
Sincerely,


Tim Pawlenty

Right Wing Round-Up

Unearthing Right-Wing Treasure

People For the American Way is preparing to move its headquarters to another location in Washington, D.C. , after more than 20 years in the same space. That has meant a monumental effort to sort through decades of accumulated paper and figure out what to do with video recordings in more formats than you could imagine – and endless save-or-toss decisions.

Fortunately, earlier this year PFAW’s huge library of primary source materials on the Religious Right political movement was transferred to the University of California Berkeley’s Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements, where it will be more accessible to scholars and journalists. But even still, preparing for the move has meant weeks of memory-triggering moments while plowing through file cabinets and finding hidden stashes of materials.
 
Among the random bits of right-wingalia I stumbled across:
  • a letter from Jerry Falwell urging his supporters to call Congress and oppose sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa in order to prevent a Communist takeover (an  accompanying 16-page “Fundamentalist Journal – Special Report” included a Falwell interview with the foreign minister saying that the West “has been doing the work of Moscow.”);
  • a 1990 Christian Coalition leadership manual that includes the assertion that the relationship between employers and employees should be based on Bible verses telling slaves to obey their masters, no matter how harsh;
  • a 1982 PFAW report on the Religious Right’s efforts to use the Texas textbook process to foist their ideology on American students nationwide (sound familiar?);
  • books and campaign plans for the takeover of America by once-obscure Christian Reconstructionist figures who are now in the news thanks to the frightening ascension of followers like Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann;
  • candidate questionnaires from Religious Right groups in the 1980s demanding to know whether politicians would support across-the-board tax cuts, a reminder that the Religious Right has been pushing Tea Party economics for a long time;
  • a lavishly produced press kit for the 2006 opening of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, where a disturbing number of Americans have flocked to be mis-educated about biology, geology, and history; and
  • in honor of Rick Perry’s recent prayer rally in Houston, a 1985 campaign flyer from the "Straight Slate" of candidates for Mayor and City Council, warning that Houston “has become the Southwest capital for homosexuality and pornography” and insisting that “We must not allow Houston to become another San Francisco!” (Current Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who was sworn in last year, is a lesbian who parents three children with her partner.)
It’s also been a reminder that the Religious Right has been declared dead more often than Freddy Krueger, usually by someone who is focusing on one organization in disarray or one election defeat for conservatives. But as our current political climate makes clear, the Religious Right and its political and economic allies have built a massive infrastructure of national and state-level think tanks, legal and political organizations, radio and TV networks, universities and law schools, and elected officials they have helped put into office at all levels of government.  They aren’t going anywhere. And neither are we – well, just a few blocks across town.

Does Bryan Fischer Think Only Men Should Be Involved In Politics?

Bryan Fischer offers up his thoughts on last night's Republican debate by commenting that the heated exchanges between Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann were unfortunate because Pawlenty "took a swing at a girl" while Bachmann, if she chooses to fight back, only "hardens a little bit of her soul and sacrifices a little bit of her femininity." 

And that, says Fischer, is "one of the reasons to question whether it’s a good idea for women to get involved in the rough and tumble of politics":

Pawlenty was hurt by the exchange, because he took a swing at a girl. No matter how much progress we think we’ve made on gender equality, there is still something deep inside us that says men should use their strength to protect women, not attack them, and Pawlenty put on the full-court press last night.

But Ms. Bachmann chose to get into the ring, and can’t complain if punches are thrown, nor should anyone complain on her behalf. That’s one of the reasons to question whether it’s a good idea for women to get involved in the rough and tumble of politics. I hate to see a woman attacked like Bachmann was last night, but she made herself vulnerable to it by throwing her hat into the ring.

What has been done to Sarah Palin and what is being done to Michele Bachmann - the grotesque beating they have taken from the hostiles on the left (I’m not talking about Pawlenty here) - is a travesty and a shameful embarrassment to any culture which claims to have an enlightened view of the treatment of women.

But this is what conservative women who enter politics are choosing to accept. It is not right, but it is inevitable, since too many on the left are consumed with bitterness and hatred toward conservatives in general and conservative women in particular. They are enslaved to a driving, brooding passion to destroy, and the more attractive the conservative woman is, the more it feeds their blood lust. As captives to this dark, driving vitriol, they can’t help themselves. It will take the power of God to set them free from their own bondage to this mindless anger and rage. This means that a woman must count the cost, as Jesus taught, before jumping into the fray.

Part of the problem here is that when a women mixes it up in the political arena, and gets punched, she must punch back. The danger to the woman here is that every time she punches back, which she must do, she hardens a little bit of her soul and sacrifices a little bit of her femininity. I’m not sure that’s a good trade. But each woman needs to make that choice for herself. No one else can or should make that decision for her.

Bachmann's Mentor Wants To Bring 'Ex-Gay' Reparative Therapy To The Military

Earlier this summer the group Truth Wins Out exposed Marcus and Michele Bachmann for practicing ‘ex-gay’ reparative therapy, the disreputable therapy that attempts to make gays and lesbians become straight, at their counseling clinic. Bachmann’s mentor John Eidsmoe was not only a proponent of reparative therapy but also wanted it used by the military. Eidsmoe writes in Gays & Guns that “one cannot help wondering why homosexuals would persist in a life-style that is in fact a ‘death-style’” (p. 79), and urges the military to adopt a policy to use reparative therapy to change the sexual orientation of gay and lesbian servicemembers. If the transformation is unsuccessful, they will be discharged:

Since considerable evidence indicates that a large percentage of homosexuals can convert or revert to heterosexuality, especially if they strongly desire to do so, they should if possible be given that opportunity. The armed forces could establish a program similar to the Limited Privileged Communication program which the Air Force operated for drug abusers during the 1970s. The individual could report to an internal department overseeing social actions, acknowledge his homosexuality, and have his admission treated with complete confidentiality. He coudl then be given a program of therapy to convert or revert to heterosexuality. if, upon completion of the program, a military psychologist or psychiatrist certifies that he has been cured of homosexuality and is unlikely to revert to homosexuality in the future, and if the member himself affirms that he has no intention of engaging in future homosexual behavior, he may be retained in the armed forces and his past homosexuality and treatment would be kept confidential. If a cure cannot be effected, he would be honorably discharged.



One of the most encouraging elements of this rather sober study is the abundant evidence that homosexuals can change, particularly if they are motivated to do so. It is my hope that the hard data presented in this study will persuade homosexuals to seek help and escape from a life-style that is in fact a death-style (ps. 116-117).

Bachmann's Mentor Says If Gays Join The Military They Will Molest Children

In 1993 Michele Bachmann’s mentor John Eidsmoe wrote the book Gays & Guns: The Case Against Homosexuals In The Military to combat President Clinton’s efforts to repeal the ban on gays and lesbians in the military. In the face of resistance, Clinton ultimately compromised to conjure up the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, which was recently repealed. Eidsmoe, who claimed in God & Caesar that “homosexuality invites the judgment of God upon all of society,” relies heavily on the discredited work of anti-gay researcher Paul Cameron to back his claim that gays and lesbians should be banned from military service.

According to Eidsmoe, gays and lesbians will turn the military into a “cesspool of immorality and a haven for the promiscuous,” and as a result “few will proudly wear the uniform” (p. 70-71). Eidsmoe says that once gays and lesbians are allowed into the military, then why not admit murderers or child molesters? “While it is true that many homosexuals have served with honor and some have even been decorated for valor, the same could be said for alcoholics, drug addicts, and pedophiles. This does not mean such persons belong in the armed forces.” He explains:

The fact that homosexual persists does not mean the ban is unenforceable or should be repealed. The same reasoning could be applied to other problems: Murder is against the law, but people still commit murder; therefore, the ban on murder is unenforceable and should be repealed. Theft is against the law, but people still commit theft; therefore, the ban on theft is unenforceable and stealing should be made legal. Child abuse is against the law, but people still abuse children; therefore, the ban against child abuse is unenforceable and should be repealed (p. 49).

In fact, one of Eidsmoe’s key arguments against admission of gays and lesbians into the military is that they will molest the children of their fellow soldiers:

It is reasonable to assume that crime of various types would increase if homosexuals are allowed into the military. It is also reasonable to assume more child molestation would take place on military outposts. At present most military families regard base housing as a relatively safe place to raise their children. If homosexuals are allowed into the military, base housing may no longer be perceived as safe for children. If the morale of military families collapses, the moral of the armed forces as a whole will likewise be devastated (p. 88).

Right Wing Round-Up

Bachmann's Mentor Says Women Must Submit To Their Husbands

Michele Bachmann told an audience in 2006 that she followed her husband’s education path because, “The Lord says be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.” Her mentor John Eidsmoe makes a similar case throughout God & Caesar, his book on how Christians should engage in politics and government.

For Eidsmoe, the role of a woman is chiefly second class to her husband: “God’s Word gives women respect and respectability which they had never enjoyed in any other culture, and we must do what we can to preserve biblical standards. But it establishes the man as the head of the house” (p. 125). He writes:

Humans cannot function without leadership, at least not when they must live and work together. And the basic unit of authority in human society is the family. The husband is the head of the wife (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:23), and children are to obey their parents (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:2).

Husbands are to instruct their wives in things of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:35), and parents are to instruct their children (ps. 115-116).

He goes on to condemn the rise of feminism and criticize feminist scholars, saying that they “violate the normal order” God put in place: “I personally believe there would be no women’s liberation movement today, were it not for the weakness of men. But that is the exception, not the rule. The normal order of God’s institution in the family with the husband and father as its head” (p. 126).

Eidsmoe especially attacks feminists for what he believes is their disrespectful attitudes towards housewives, lamenting that husbands now have to deal with wives who want to have careers of their own:

Many had planned all their lives to become housewives and mothers, believing such a calling would bring meaning and fulfillment to their lives. Now they are told by the feminists that it is ‘demeaning’ and ‘unfulfilling’ to be a housewife, and they don’t know what to believe. They are frustrated as housewives and feel guilty for not being ‘more,’ but don’t feel any inclination for anything else. And the husband, who planned all this life to be a traditional husband and father and thought he was marrying a traditional wife, feels threatened, insecure, and resentful about these changes in his wife. If the wife goes to work, he may resent sharing housework; that wasn’t what he bargained for when he entered the marriage (p. 124).

Bachmann's Mentor Warns Of Public Education "Brainwashing"

Michele Bachmann regularly speaks about her work in Minnesota to advance homeschooling and charter schools, and she even co-founded a Christian-themed charter school that helped launch her political career. According to the New York Times, “state and local school officials warned the school that it was at risk of losing its charter” for running afoul of code, and Bachmann ultimately had her “children enrolled in private Christian schools.”

Her mentor John Eidsmoe in God & Caesar details the case against public schools that may have influenced Bachmann’s early activism in education issues. Eidsmoe discusses the supposed dangers of the public education system throughout God & Caesar, saying, “The power to educate is the power to control though and shape personality. The power to educate is the power to brainwash.” He even said that America’s stalwart public school system is reminiscent of Nazi Germany, warning “exclusive state control of education is a blueprint for tyranny” (p. 143).

Eidsmoe laments that instead of promoting Christianity, public schools endorse “secular humanism.” He writes that ever since public schools embraced secular humanism, children have been “brainwashed” into supporting evolution, sex education, and moral relativism instead of creationism and conservative Christian teachings.

He calls on Christians to “voice our objections when we see government funds or government facilities being used to promote humanism” (p. 139), since he believes that secular humanism was created by the devil: “When Lucifer rebelled against God, he declared, ‘I will be like the Most High’ (Isaiah 14:14). And, having fallen from heaven, he seduced Eve with the same temptation: ‘Ye shall be as gods’ (Genesis 3:5). The modern humanists offer man the same promise” (p. 132).

Eidsmoe explains the reasons why Christians should challenge the public school system:

As we have seen, Scripture gives parents the right and duty to educate their children. Traditionally, parents have fulfilled this duty with help from the church or synagogue. Within the last century and a half, however, the state has gradually usurped this function. As long as the public schools taught nominally Christian values to their children, many Christians did not object to the state taking over education. Within the past few decades, however, and particularly within the past few years, more and more parents have become concerned that the public schools may be teaching values to their children that place them at odds with their parents.



The Christian parent who believes in special creation may find his children brainwashed by evolutionists. The parent may believe that the source of values is God and his revealed Word, but the child may learn from his teacher that values are relative and that we must discover them for ourselves. The parent may believe that sex is to be confined to marriage, but the school health teacher may teach that premarital sex is okay “if you really care about each other.”

Yes, parents can combat much of this by carefully instructing their children at home, and they should be careful to do so. But why should parents have to support a school system that teaches alien values or compete with the state for their children’s allegiance, perhaps for their children’s very souls? (p. 123)

Bachmann's Mentor Says Gay Rights Will Doom America

Michele Bachmann’s zealous opposition to gay rights helped launch her career in local politics and made her a darling of social conservatives, and reading God & Caesar by her mentor John Eidsmoe sheds some light on her views. Eidsmoe’s God & Caesar serves to encourage Christians to enter politics in order to introduce and impose biblical law. As Frederick Clarkson writes in Political Research Associate’s Public Eye that Reconstructions want to shape not just the state but all of society, as “Reconstructionists believe that there are three main areas of governance: family government, church government, and civil government” that need to abide by “God’s law.” Similarly, Eidsmoe thinks that the family, the church, and the government are the three divine institutions that must follow biblical precepts.

But the family, like the church and government, Eidsmoe explains is under attack by secular humanism. He points to welfare, tax policies, divorce law, “women’s liberation,” “kid’s liberation,” and “gay liberation” as the principal dangers to the stability of the family.

Eidsmoe explains that “gay liberation” may be the most pernicious “attack upon the family” because it not only tears families apart but can doom all of society. He attacks gays and lesbians for destroying families by “coming out” and warns that “the more widespread homosexuality becomes, the greater the likelihood that homosexuals will recruit our children into homosexuality, voluntarily or involuntarily.” Eidsmoe concludes that “homosexuality invites the judgment of God upon all of society” and America may face the same fatal judgment as Sodom and Gomorrah if gays and lesbians gain equal rights and affirmation:

Few sins are denounced in Scripture as strongly as homosexuality.



Homosexuality is not only a moral issue, but a political one, and it is largely the gay liberation advocates who have made it so. They have pushed, at the federal and state level and in counties and cities across the nation, for special laws recognizing them as a minority group and giving them special protection against discrimination. They have asked for the right to teach our children in public schools, at our expense. They have demanded that our public schools teach our children that homosexuality is an acceptable life-style. But homosexuality is not simply an individual matter; it affects society as a whole. It influences the entire moral strength and moral fibre of society. Furthermore, the more widespread homosexuality becomes, the greater the likelihood that homosexuals will recruit our children into homosexuality, voluntarily or involuntarily.

Homosexuality also constitutes an attack upon the family. Not only is homosexuality by nature contrary to the very purposes and functions of the family; in addition, as homosexuality comes ‘out of the closet’ and is openly practiced and advocated in society, it tears families apart. Parents and children are alienated from one another when a child announces that he is homosexual; marriages are torn apart at the seams when a spouse announces that he has become ‘gay.’ Parents are fearful of public schools, media, and other community agencies that teach their children that homosexuality is an acceptable life-style, or a ‘swinger’ life-style, or any of the other alternatives advocated today, the traditional family declines in influence and number in society.

And homosexuality invites the judgment of God upon all of society. The great sin that brought destruction by fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah was homosexuality (Genesis 19:5, 8). It is a mistake to suggest that the decision to become a homosexual affects no one but oneself. (ps. 126-127).

Bachmann's Mentor Calls On Christian Leaders To Bring Biblical Law To America Or Face God's Judgment

Congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has touted Oral Roberts University law professor John Eidsmoe as her mentor and guide, bolstering her already impeccable credentials with Religious Right voters. Profiles by writers such as Ryan Lizza and Michelle Goldberg offered further insight into how Eidsmoe shaped Bachmann’s thinking, and highlighted some of Eidsmoe’s more controversial views, such as his commitment to biblical government and belief that the abolition of slavery was devastating for African Americans. In an interview with Lizza, Eidsmoe said that he thinks Bachmann mirrors the political views he outlined, and Bachmann told an Iowa pastor conference that Eidsmoe was “one of the professors who had a great influence on me” who is “absolutely brilliant.”

In 1984 Eidsmoe wrote God & Caesar, which is essentially a manual to why and how Christians should work in politics and government. Eidsmoe dedicated the book to his children, “in the hope that their generation will more fully implement biblical norms and standards.” In the book, Eidsmoe finds that the biblical view and the conservative agenda virtually always coincide, while the liberal position represents the rejection of God and godly principles. No matter the issue, economic, social, family, law, and foreign policy, Eidsmoe finds that conservatives are always on the right side of the Bible while liberals are on the side of godlessness.

As Julie Ingersoll writes in Religion Dispatches, Eidsmoe is a proponent of Christian Reconstructionism, a philosophy designed by R. J. Rushdoony that wants America governed  according to Biblical law.

Eidsmoe frequently promotes Rushdoony in God & Caesar and his dominionist teachings about the role of “God’s Word” in the political field:

God’s Word has a lot to say about government, about crime and punishment, about abortion, about national defense, about war and peace, about the many political issues that face us daily. Paul declared that he had ‘not shunned to declare unto all the counsel of God’ (Acts 20:27). The fundamentalist who refuses to preach or consider what God’s Word has to say about politics is not declaring the whole counsel of God and has a serious gap in his ministry. R. J. Rushdoony put it well when he said,

Man must exercise dominion in the name of God, and in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness…. The world, moreover, cannot be surrendered to Satan. It is God’s world and must be brought under God’s law politically, economically, and in every other way possible. The Enlightenment, by its savage and long-standing attack on Biblical faith, has brought about a long retreat of Christianity from a full-orbed faith to a king of last-ditch battle centering around the doctrines of salvation and of the infallible Scripture. The time has come for a full-scale offensive, and it has indeed begun, to bring every area of thought into captivity to Christ, to establish the whole counsel of God and every implication of His infallible word. (p. 56)

Eidsmoe believes that God brings people into the political arena and then uses them to enforce his will. He cites right-wing activist Phyllis Schlafly as one such leader that God used to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment, and Texas activists Mel and Norma Gabler to “analyze and critique textbooks and expose humanist, anti-Christian, immoral, or anti-American content. I’m sure the Gablers never dreamed God would use them like that” (p. 60).

He goes on to say that America is facing “political and economic decline” as a result of “moral decay” and God’s judgment because of the government’s failure to embrace biblical law. Eidsmoe argues that unless Christians that follow his Reconstructionist positions enter politics, God will judge America in the same way he judged Judah before exiling the Jews to Babylon:

We should add that this political and economic decline is a natural and logical consequence, but it is also a supernatural consequence. It is the result of God’s judgment (Leviticus 26:14-29).

I believe the political and economic decline that grips America today is the result of moral decay. I believe God is calling upon believers today to lead the spiritual awakening that can overcome that moral lapse. That’s how believers can truly be the salt of the earth, preserving their nation from divine judgment.

After decrying the sin of Judah, their oppression and robbery, their vexation of the poor and needy and the sojourner, God declared in Ezekiel 22:30, ‘And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it.’

God is looking for believers today to ‘stand in the gap,’ to assert themselves in the political arena and transform America’s political institutions.

But I omitted the last four words of that verse: ‘…but I found none.’ The Lord continued in the next verse, ‘Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God.’

God’s judgment indeed came upon Judah: seventy years of exile in Babylon.

That was true of Judah. I pray it won’t be true of America. Will you do your part, as others have done theirs? (p. 68)

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Matt Barber is not happy with Ann Coulter for joining GOProud's Advisory Council.
  • Speaking of GOProud, the groups is not happy about being tossed-out of CPAC.
  • PBS takes a look at Francis Schaeffer and his work, which had a big influence on Michele Bachmann.
  • Albert Mohler says the the biggest problem with marriage equality "is not that homosexuality will be normalized and accepted, but that homosexuals will not come to know of their own need for Christ and the forgiveness of their sins."
  • Finally, it seems that Focus on the Family is still angry about the American Family Association being labled a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Maybe they should watch this.

Barton: If Christians Ran Things, Schools Would Institute Prayer & Government Wouldn't Help The Poor

Like Michele Bachmann, David Barton also sat down for an interview with George Barna to discuss "Faith In Politics" a few months back.  During the discussion, Barna asked Barton how America would be different if people actually followed the teaching of Jesus, to which Barton explained that everything from our economic to our foreign policy would be drastically different and that public schools would start the day off with prayer because "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" and the government would stop helping the poor:

Barna: How do you think the political and governmental system in our country if Christians actually followed the teaching of Christ?

Barton: Everything from foreign policy to economics - I mean, if we apply biblical teachings, we would stay out of debt ... Debt is bad in the Bible ... Our economic system would be totally different. We would have a different educational system. We believe the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Just something as simple as a prayer at the beginning of the day and, as you and other document, we're looking at about 75-80% of the nation still wants prayer to start a school day. I mean, it's not that our values are weak, it's just that we don't have the opportunity to express what most of the nation wants.

So education would be different, economics would be different, social policy would be different, the role of the church in what's called "social justice." I mean there are 205 verses in the Bible that talk about helping the poor, the government is only told to do one thing and that is when the poor come into court, make sure they get justice. Every other verse tells the church and tells individuals to take care of the poor. We would have a whole different look at so many things and be so much more effective.

Perry, Prayer, Politics and the Presidency

Casual viewers of “The Response,” including some political reporters who don’t pay a lot of attention to the Religious Right, may have watched Texas Governor Rick Perry’s prayer rally on Saturday and wondered what all the fuss was about.  Most of the time was taken up with prayer and praise music.  Few of the speakers seemed overtly political.  Nobody used the occasion to endorse Perry’s pending presidential bid.

But context is everything, and the context for this event was remarkable: a governor launching a presidential bid by teaming up with some of the nation’s most divisive extremists to hold a Christians-only prayer rally that suggested Americans are helpless to solve the country’s problems without divine intervention. Some media coverage is missing the boat: the issue wasn’t whether it was ok for a politician to pray, or the size of the audience, but the purposes of the event’s planners and their disturbing vision for America.

Organizers argued (unconvincingly) that “The Response” was about prayer, not politics. But groups like the American Family Association (AFA), which paid for the rally and its webcast, and organizations like the Family Research Council, whose president was among the speakers, are not designed to win souls but to change American law and culture through grassroots organizing and political power-building.  They have a corrosive effect on our political culture by promoting religious bigotry and anti-gay extremism, by claiming that the United States was meant to be a Christian nation, and by fostering resentment among conservative evangelicals with repeated false assertions that liberal elites are out to destroy religious liberty and silence conservative religious voices.

By calling for this rally, and partnering with the far right of the evangelical world, Perry aligned himself with all these troubling strategies.  When he drew criticism for the event and the extremism of its sponsors, Perry suggested his critics were intolerant of Christians.  Speakers returned to the theme, with one of them declaring that “there is an attack on the name of Jesus.” Such claims of anti-Christian persecution are a tried-and-true strategy of the Religious Right for rousing conservative Christians to political activism.  And for those who actually believe that Christianity is on the verge of being criminalized in America, Perry’s event defined him as a defiant and courageous defender of the faith. 

As journalist Dave Weigel writes, “That's the brilliance of what Perry has done here…He doesn't need to talk about politics, or do anything besides be here and understand this event. The religion is the politics. These worshippers understand that if they can bring ‘the kingdom of God’ to Earth, economic problems, even macroeconomic problems, will sort themselves out.”

A major chunk of the day was given over to Mike Bickle, who runs the International House of Prayer (IHOP) movement, which recruits young people into “radical” devotion to prayer and fasting. Yes, he’s the guy who said that Oprah is paving the way for the Antichrist. Bickle’s associate Lou Engle has organized a series of stadium events pushing prayer, fasting, and politics under the banner of “The Call,” which provided the model for “The Response.”  Bickle and Engle are hard-core dominionists who believe they are ushering in a new Christian church which will take its rightful place of dominion over every aspect of government and society.  But in spite of their well-documented extremism, they are embraced by Republican leaders.  Engle, for example, took part in a Family Research Council prayer-a-thon against health care reform, at which he introduced Rep. Michele Bachmann.

The Christian-nation crowd, like Response speaker David Barton and AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer, who says the First Amendment protects only Christians’ religious liberty, shares a certain vision for America’s future.  Some of the political goals of “The Response” sponsors were brutally clear at the rally; a series of speakers prayed for an end to legal abortion.  While rhetorical gay-bashing was surprisingly absent at an event whose sponsors include the most vehemently anti-gay groups in America (including the AFA, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center), it is clear that in the America envisioned by “The Response” planners, same-sex couples would have no chance at legal recognition or protection for their families.  Shortly before the event, Perry himself was forced to walk back from his very brief flirtation with a states’ rights defense of New Yorkers’ decision to extend marriage equality to same-sex couples -- and to vow his support for a federal constitutional amendment that would strip married same-sex couples of their rights and make sure that in the future gay couples could not get married anywhere in the U.S.
And lest anyone think that Perry’s religious agenda is limited to social issues, he made clear that a rigid conservative economic agenda was central to his spiritual mission. Just days before the rally, on “The 700 Club,” Perry said he’d be praying for “our country’s economic prosperity. There just so many people that can’t take care of their family because government’s over-taxed, over-regulated, over-litigated, it caused roadblocks to economic prosperity.” Those words echo the theology of activists like Barton, who have preached that the Bible condemns progressive taxation, the minimum wage and collective bargaining.
 
Perry is clearly positioning himself to enter the Republican presidential primary as a political savior to right-wing activists who are underwhelmed with their choices so far.  Yet, oddly for someone who wants to be president, he insists that America’s problems are beyond human ability to fix. (Sadly, that may only be true to the extent that enough legislators believe that God, like Grover Norquist, is opposed to any tax increases.)

Perry’s worldview and that of “The Response” organizers seems to see no useful role for non-Christian Americans, whose religious beliefs were denigrated at “The Response.”  When Perry told Americans on Saturday that we, “as a nation,” must return to God, it’s clear he meant God as understood by the event’s organizers.  Jim Garlow, who organized anti-marriage equality pastors in California before being hired by Newt Gingrich to run one of his political groups, told journalist Sarah Posner on Saturday that “The Response” was “not about whether Perry becomes president, it’s about making Jesus king.” Perry used the event to let right-wing religious voters and churches nationwide know that for those who see politics as spiritual warfare, he is the warrior they have been waiting for.

Bachmann: Politics Is Not My Career, But I've Been Called To Run

A few months back, George Barna of The Barna Group, a Christian polling and research firm, sat down with Michele Bachmann to get her thoughts on the faith in politics.

During the interview, Barna said that politicians have a reputation of caring more about their own careers than representing the people and, given that, asked Bachmann why she served in public office ... to which she replied that she was different because politics was not her career and she was called to serve and she is just trying to be faithful:

I didn't go for public office to have it be a career. I went in order to represent the viewpoint of the people that are in my district and I've done that faithfully, I believe. And that's what the people in my district say and that's why I think they've returned me to public office because, again, I fight very hard fights on their behalf. And they see sometimes the abuse that I take in the media for standing up for their values. People appreciate the fact that I am fighting for them. They know that I don't do it because it's fun; I do it because there is something more at stake and I'm willing to do that.

After all, life is short - it's very brief, our time on this earth - and so I think we need to fulfill what we are called to do and that's what I'm trying to do: be faithful.

So, life is very short and politics is neither fun nor her career ... but Bachmann has to run for president because that is what she has been called to do and she is just trying to be faithful? 

If You Love Roy Moore, Bachmann Is A Good Second Choice

When Bob Vander Plaats and Terry Branstad were locked in a tight race for Iowa's Republican gubernatorial nomination last year, it came as quite a shock with the influential Iowa Family Policy Council publicly declared that it would never support Brandstad if he won the nomination:

The public refusal of an influential social conservative group to support the eventual GOP nominee for governor is causing long-term damage to the party and could result in a second term for Gov. Chet Culver, Republican leaders said Tuesday.

At an event originally billed as a rally to oppose same-sex marriage, Iowa Family Policy Center (IFPC) chairman Danny Carroll announced the group’s endorsement of Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bob Vander Plaats. While that news wasn’t a shock, Carroll’s announcement that the group would sit out the 2010 governor’s race if former Gov. Terry Branstad wins the party’s nomination caught many by surprise.

“[Gov. Branstad] has failed to boldly address the values that we embrace,” Carroll said Tuesday. “And even if he were to win the nomination, the Iowa Family PAC would not support him.”

Branstad eventually won the primary and the election while Carroll went on join Vander Plaats at The Family Leader where he served as a lobbyist.

Today, Michele Bachmann announced that she had secured Carroll's endorsement:

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann announced today that she has received the endorsement of former Iowa Family Leader Chairman Danny Carroll.

“I’m honored to have the support of Representative Carroll,” Bachmann said. “He has been a strong leader on issues that we hold near to our hearts – strong families, pro-life, and fiscal responsibility.”

Carroll is a former Iowa legislator from Grinnell who served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1994-2006, including two terms as Speaker Pro Tempore. He was also the Iowa co-chair for Mike Huckabee’s campaign in 2008.

“I have admired and respected Michele ever since I first met her back in the legislative session,” Carroll said. “The fact that she stood strong on the debt ceiling issue was a clincher for me. She was correct in her position on the debt limit and I appreciate the leadership she has demonstrated throughout the process.”

I am no campaign guru, but I have to imagine that courting an activist who is an avowed enemy of the sitting Republican governor might complicate Bachmann's efforts in the state.

And it should also be noted that Carroll is only supporting Bachmann because his first choice, Roy Moore, was just too much of a long-shot:

Republican Danny Carroll is no longer involved with the campaign of Roy Moore, a former Alabama judge.

“It didn’t feel like he was going to be able to raise the money necessary for a viable campaign,” Carroll said today. “He’s a great guy. I love him and respect him. He’s a hero, that’s for sure. And he’s an honorable person. I can’t say anything negative against Judge Moore. Just the reality of politics, I guess.”

I guess this makes sense - if you are looking for a more "electable" version of Roy Moore, Michele Bachmann seems like the logical choice.

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Michele Bachmann Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Monday 02/10/2014, 12:35pm
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) continues to impress with her incredible ability to make egregiously false statements, this time arguing that Secretary of State John Kerry is supporting war against Israel. Kerry recently suggested that if Mideast peace talks collapse, Israel could face increasing economic boycotts or possibly a third Palestinian uprising. Kerry wasn’t advocating such actions but simply said that such events could occur if negotiations fail. Israel’s own Justice Minister said that Kerry’s statement “does not constitute a threat to the State of Israel... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/07/2014, 6:34pm
Peter Montgomery @ Religion Dispatches: Global LGBT Recap. Sarah Posner @ Al Jazeera America: Wave of new state bills: Religious freedom or license to discriminate? Amanda Marcotte @ AlterNet: The Christian Right's Bizarre Delusions of Persecution. Ben Dimiero & Oliver Willis @ Media Matters: How Fringe Media Helped Turn A Conspiracy-Loving SNL Star Into A Politician. Scott Kaufman @ Raw Story: Michele Bachmann: Immigrants don’t like the GOP because we love the Constitution. MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 02/07/2014, 2:30pm
Conservative leaders are continuing to rally around Dinesh D’Souza, who has been charged with making illegal “straw donations” to the campaign of a Republican Senate candidate, by claiming — citing zero evidence — that the prosecution is due to D’Souza’s right-wing activism. WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah posted a story today featuring congressmen Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Steve Stockman (R-TX) denigrating the prosecution as political maneuvering by the Obama administration. But the most incendiary rhetoric came from Ben Carson, who compared the... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 02/06/2014, 6:31pm
Gary Bauer is not happy that AT&T had condemned Russia anti-gay crackdown: "[W]hen I worked in the Reagan White House, I don't recall AT&T or other major corporations condemning the Soviet Union while Jews and political dissenters rotted in Siberian gulags. Sadly, while Ronald Reagan worked to rebuild pride in America and America's standing in the world, many corporate elites were eager to trade and "coexist" with the Soviets. And today most big corporations don't feel a need to condemn Christian persecution and human rights violations. Why does... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 12/23/2013, 4:20pm
While the vast majority of Americans, including Republicans, back a comprehensive immigration reform plan that includes a pathway to citizenship, the Nativist movement is still trying to scare voters and elected officials into thinking that attempts to fix America’s broken system will actually destroy the country…and all of civilization. Here’s a look at some of 2013’s worst xenophobic leaders, including our choice for “Nativist of the Year”: 8. William Gheen Americans For Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) leader William Gheen hasn’t changed his tune... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 12/03/2013, 6:35pm
TFN Insider: The Mythical ‘War on Christmas’ in Texas Schools. Hemant Mehta @ Friendly Atheist: We Raised More Than $3,000 for the Morton Grove Park District and They Rejected It. Josh Israel @ Think Progress: Ex-Senator Who Accused Teachers Of Spreading Homosexuality Wants His Old Job Back. Andrew Kirell @ Mediaite: The Very Best of ‘Right-Wing Art.’ David Edwards @ Raw Story: Michele Bachmann: President Obama ‘has rewritten the Constitution for himself.’ Emily Arrowood @ Equality Matters: O'Reilly Praises Anti-Gay Group In His... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 11/21/2013, 6:30pm
Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver slammed [PDF] the Senate rule change on judicial nominees as a dangerous threat to freedom… but in 2005 demanded the Senate “end the judicial filibusters at the earliest possible moment.”  Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) appears to be deliberately excluding same-sex couples from a resolution honoring National Adoption Month.  Indiana Republicans reaffirmed their plan to advance a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.  After leading a one-man protest against the signing of the Illinois... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 11/19/2013, 4:45pm
In an appearance on The Lars Larson Show last week, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) claimed that President Obama wants to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Bachmann called Wendy Sherman, the State Department’s lead negotiator with Iran, a “terrible negotiator” and said “her goal is to make sure that Iran has full ability to continue to enrich uranium and continue to stockpile it, they will have the full ability to create a nuclear bomb.” “For some unknown reason the Obama administration wants the last country in the world that should have a nuclear bomb... MORE >