Rick Perry

Gary Bauer Tries To Defend Perry With Compilation Video Of Stammering Obama

Last week, Gov. Rick Perry made presidential debate history and national news when he struggled for nearly a minute to list the names of the three federal agencies that he would immediately eliminate if elected president before eventually admitting that he couldn't remember the third one and giving up.

Today, Gary Bauer's Campaign For Working Families has come rushing to Perrys' defense with a video called "53 Seconds That Should End A Presidency" that features various clips of President Obama hesitating, stumbling over his words, and misspeaking ... as if that is somehow even remotely the same thing:

Frankly, you'd think that Bauer, of all people, would be particularly disinclined to mock public gaffes in this manner given that the highlight of his own presidential campaign was when he fell off the stage while trying to flip a pancake:

Is Newt Gingrich The Religious Right Candidate By Default?

After Rick Perry jumped into the presidential race, the Texas governor quickly took the lead among Republican voters nationwide and in surveys in critical states like Iowa and South Carolina. Analysts reasonably predicted that the nomination would come down to a choice between Perry and Mitt Romney as other candidates like Michele Bachmann fizzled and Tim Pawlenty dropped out. Perry, who announced his candidacy following his The Response prayer rally, courted and won plaudits from Religious Right luminaries including James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Richard Land, David Barton, Don Wildmon, David Lane, James Leninger and Jerry Falwell Jr.

However, a number of disastrous debate appearances, including a painful fifty-three second brain freeze, have derailed Perry’s candidacy as Herman Cain has risen in the polls. But Cain’s nonsensical and inconsistent responses to standard questions on abortion rights and marriage equality, along with his dysfunctional and mismanaged campaign, did little to endear him tp Religious Right leaders.

New polls now have Newt Gingrich surging to second place behind Romney nationally, and second to Cain in Iowa and South Carolina. Rick Perry’s support in Iowa and South Carolina, on the other hand, dropped to four and six percent, respectively.

During Gingrich’s calamitous rollout, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association outlined why “social conservatives and all those in the pro-family movement must have grave reservations about his candidacy”:

But actions have consequences, and his pattern of infidelity is only made worse by the fact that he divorced diseased wives to whom he had pledged himself "in sickness and in health...til death do us part."

John the Baptist famously rebuked a politician of his day for his problematic marital history, and Mr. Gingrich rightly comes in for similar censure.

Even Gingrich’s answer to Fischer, who asked Gingrich how he would “slow down the homosexual agenda,” didn’t seem to satisfy him.

But with Perry’s collapse, Bachmann and Santorum’s single digit polling and Cain’s daily gaffes, does Gingrich have a chance at becoming Romney’s chief opponent and the Religious Right’s candidate by default? He has certainly tried to endear himself to social conservatives by participating in the “One Nation Under God” event and pastor policy briefings, and pledging to wage an all-out war on the judiciary, a favorite Religious Right punching bag. Gingrich has wooed activists and groups like John Hagee, Joseph Farah, Janet Porter, Liberty University, Liberty Counsel, The Family Leader and the Minnesota Family Council, and helped funnel money to the American Family Association’s campaign to defeat Iowa Supreme Court justices who favored marriage equality.

The Washington Times today trumpeted the new conventional wisdom that Gingrich is a top contender, emphasizing his potential to gain support among social conservative voters who are cold to Romney. The Times quotes California pastor Jim Garlow, who reporter Ralph Hallow accurately notes is “credited with organizing the evangelicals in the drive to pass a same-sex marriage ban in California,” to show Gingrich’s support in the Religious Right.

What the Times reporter does not mention is the fact that Garlow is a top spiritual adviser to Newt Gingrich and heads Gingrich’s Renewing American Leadership (ReAL). Garlow tells the Times that conservative evangelical voters are far more forgiving of Gingrich’s serial adultery and multiple divorces than of Romney’s Mormon faith and flip flops:

Contrary to the beliefs of many in the party, voters on the Christian right have not written off Mr. Gingrich despite a personal history that includes multiple marriages and admitted infidelities.

“Evangelicals will definitely go for Newt if he is the nominee,” insisted Jim Garlow, credited with organizing the evangelicals in the drive to pass a same-sex marriage ban in California. “I used to hear them say, ‘He’s the smartest one in the room, but he has personal issues.’ I’ve seen an enormous shift in the past four or five months. They no longer talk about personal issues, but about intelligence and capability of being president.”

Mr. Garlow, senior pastor of the Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, said if the nomination fight came down to Mr. Romney and Mr. Gingrich, “I’m guessing 80 [percent] to 90 percent of the evangelical vote in America would go to Newt. Romney’s Mormonism may be a factor, but the reason I hear most is they don’t trust Romney on abortion, marriage, economics and health care.”

“I think, no question, evangelicals will go for Newt if it comes down to him and Romney,” said Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Director Steve Scheffler, credited with organizing support for Pat Robertson’s stunning second-place finish in the 1988 Iowa caucuses. “Evangelicals are concerned with personal conduct, but most will judge people on their present conduct, and they have concluded Newt’s present lifestyle is exemplary.”

Now that Gingrich is rising in the polls, will the Religious Right have to embrace him to stop Romney?

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Rick Santorum goes after Herman Cain on the issue of abortion and using quotes from various Religious Right leaders to drive home the point.
  •  

  • The Rick Perry campaign has hit upon a novel possible solution to addressing the candidate's poor debate performances: skipping future debates.
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  • Quran-burning pastor Terry Jones is running for president.
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  • FRC's latest prayer target: "Pray that DOMA will be preserved! May the people elect a President and Congress next November who will pass, and may the states ratify a Federal Marriage Amendment that will protect the definition of natural marriage as found in the Bible."
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  • Bryan Fischer says "the left is profoundly anti-science," which is why they refuse to admit that gays can choose to become straight.
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  • Finally, Concerned Women for America has released talking points [PDF] opposing the Respect for Marriage Act.  Point one: "Despite its deliberately deceptive name, the 'Respect for Marriage Act' insidiously seeks to destroy the historical, traditional definition of marriage."

Right Wing Round-Up

Blackwell Ditches Bachmann For Perry

Back when Michele Bachmann was the GOP’s flavor of the month, three Religious Right leaders formed a Super PAC to bolster Bachmann’s fledgling campaign. Kenneth Blackwell, the former Ohio Secretary of State, failed gubernatorial nominee and unsuccessful candidate to be chairman of the Republican National Committee, was to chair the pro-Bachmann Citizens for a Working America. In fact, the announcement came just days after Rick Perry entered the presidential race.

How times have changed. Today, Blackwell switched sides and is now endorsing Rick Perry:

Ken Blackwell, the former Republican Secretary of State of Ohio and one time candidate for Governor who lost against Democrat Ted Strickland in 2006, has endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry for President.

“I am proud to endorse Texas Gov. Rick Perry for president,” said Blackwell in a release from the Perry campaign. “Gov. Perry’s successful record of job creation shows that he has the skill, experience and ideas necessary to get our nation working again. His proven conservative values, and his proven executive experience are exactly what this country needs to reverse the failed policies of the Obama Administration.”

Blackwell’s endorsement comes just as Perry’s campaign is having a second roll-out following a major slip in the polls as a result of dreadful debate performances and other missteps. Bachmann’s poll numbers have also dropped significantly as Herman Cain, for now, has emerged as Mitt Romney’s closest rival. But with Cain flubbing and flip-flopping even straight-forward questions on abortion rights and gay rights and Bachmann’s campaign running low on support, staffers and funding, it may be time that establishment figures in the Religious Right rally behind Perry as their choice.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • "The 700 Club" profiled Janet Porter's Heartbeat Bill on today's broadcast.
  •  

  • Want to learn Chuck Norris' secret to spiritual success? You are in luck.
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  • Scott Lively writes another open letter to the gay community.
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  • Bryan Fischer declares that, with the release of his tax plan, Rick Perry "will win the Republican nomination and vanquish Barack Obama next November."
  •  

  • Choice4Life announces that "eleven women from seven states will be recognized as heroes for saving the life of their rape conceived babies" at an awards ceremony next month.
  •  

  • Finally, this is a real ad from the Herman Cain campaign:

Perkins Agrees With Jeffress That Voters Should Prefer Christian Leaders

Coverage of the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit this year was dominated by stories of Robert Jeffress’ criticism of the Mormon faith; Bryan Fischer’s unabashed bigotry; and the infighting that rose to the surface when Bill Bennett rebuked Jeffress and Mitt Romney, tepidly and not by name, denounced Fischer. The press coverage of the Religious Right conference was so completely focused on Jeffress and Fischer that the FRC even asked members to pray that the media will stop reporting on the story.

Today FRC president Tony Perkins used his radio alert today to defend Jeffress, who made it clear that Romney’s Mormon faith was a reason he endorsed his chief rival, Rick Perry. “His rational; all else being equal a Christian leader is to be preferred over a non-Christian,” Perkins said, “I whole heartedly agree.”

Listen:

Do you have the freedom to choose between Christian and a non-Christian candidate? Hello, this is Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. Texas pastor Robert Jeffress created a firestorm when he declared at the Values Voter Summit he was voting for Rick Perry because he was a Christian. His rational; all else being equal a Christian leader is to be preferred over a non-Christian. I whole heartedly agree. So did the first justice of the Supreme Court John Jay who said it was in the "interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." Many so-called journalists have gone apoplectic claiming such a bigoted position violates article 6 of the Constitution, how absurd. The article reads, “Congress may not require religious tests for an office." The Constitution restricts what the government can require, not what individuals can consider. If voters can consider a candidate's party and that party's platform, they can consider a candidate’s religion and the tenets of that faith. We should prefer mature, qualified Christians for public office over those who reject the orthodox teachings of scripture.

This prompts the question: how would Tony Perkins feel about the competence of a Jewish leader over a Christian one? Perkins and the Religious Right always talk about their Judeo-Christian coalition and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who is Jewish, addressed the Values Voter Summit and is seen as a rising star in GOP circles. So much for that.

And would it impact Perkins’ decision in the Republican primary? During the Jeffress spat, Perkins told CNN’s John King that he does not consider Mormons to be Christians: “Well, let me say this, John. I do not see Mormonism as the same as Christianity. Now, whether it’s defined as a cult, I don’t know. I would say it’s not Christianity the way evangelicals view Christianity. There’s a distinction. There’s no question there’s a theological distinction between Mormonism and Christianity.”

If Perkins thinks that Christians should be given preference over non-Christians, and that Mormons are not Christians, is there any difference between his view and Jeffress’ view on Romney’s candidacy?

Rick Perry Still Refuses To Denounce His Radical Allies

When Rick Perry announced that he would be holding a massive prayer rally in Houston this summer, conveniently timed to coincide with the launch of his presidential campaign, Right Wing Watch started chronicling the litany of extremists who were endorsing, organizing, bankrolling and speaking at the event. Prominent among these was Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer, the church that lent its organizational muscle to The Response, who emceed the latter portion of the rally. Bickle, we reported, had previously claimed that Oprah Winfrey is the harbinger of the Antichrist and that gay marriage is literally from “the depths of Hell.”

At The Response, Bickle gave a rousing speech about how “in the name of tolerance, even in the name of love, we are redefining love that’s not on God’s term.” He also attacked non-Christian faiths — no surprise, since The Response also included a speaker who called for attendees to pray for Jews to convert to Christianity and for God to send a Christian revival to Israel.

Joining Bickle at The Response was controversial pastor John Hagee, whose endorsement Perry openly courted. John McCain was forced to reject Hagee’s endorsement in 2008 after the pastor’s statements that God sent Adolf Hitler to be a “hunter” of Jews came to light.

Now, Bruce Wilson of Talk to Action has compiled a video of excerpts of past Bickle sermons making similar claims about Hitler’s supposedly providential role as a “hunter.” In the sermons, Bickle alleges that by refusing “the chance to respond to the fishermen” and “grace” of God, the Jews were given up to a hunter—Hitler. Wilson’s video also includes Bickle’s prediction that, according to his interpretation of Scripture, the Jews will be persecuted in the End Times. In fact, as we’ve reported, IHOP has frequently called for Jews to convert to Christianity in order to fulfill the Second Coming.

As Perry has been silent about Hagee and the many other radical supporters of The Response, it is no surprise that Perry’s campaign refuses to comment on Bickle.

Media Banned From Secretive Religious Right Event

Shortly after Rick Perry's prayer rally earlier this year, organizers of that event started promoting a Religious Right voter mobilization effort called "Champion The Vote," which seeks to "mobilize 5 million unregistered conservative Christians to register and vote according to the Biblical worldview in 2012."

It turned out that the Champion The Vote effort was a project of organization called United In Purpose, which is being funded by conservative millionaires for the purpose of mobilizing "40 million out of the estimated 60 million evangelicals in the United States to vote" over the next decade.

As part of this effort, United In Purpose/Champion The Vote are producing an event called "One Nation Under God" where churches and Religious Right activists will gather to watch a three-hour DVD being provided United In Purpose and featuring David Barton, Newt Gingrich, James Dobson, and others talking about the importance of keeping America "one nation under God":

Over the weekend, all of the speakers gathered in Florida for a Florida Renewal Project event for pastors at which the filming for the DVD was presumably done ... and it seems that organizers did not want any attention because when a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel showed up at the event, he was tossed out of the hotel by security:

The media was advised that Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s speech to a gathering of Florida pastors Friday would be closed to the public, but apparently the group behind the meeting didn’t even want media in the same hotel.

A couple weeks ago, Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry were announced as possible speakers at a two-day event in Orlando Thursday and Friday called the Florida Renewal Project. But this week no one wanted to talk about it, except to say it would be closed to the media and public.

Perry’s staff even denied he would attend. Gingrich’s staff confirmed his appearance but would not return phone calls to discuss it.

I went anyway this morning, to the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, to see if Gingrich would be willing to talk to me before or after his speech. When he arrived shortly before noon, I was the lone journalist on the scene, waiting in the hallway outside the meeting room. Gingrich and his staff agreed to talk to me later, at another hotel. After seeing that exchange, hotel officials approached me and, saying they were acting on behalf of event organizers, ordered me to leave the Rosen Centre property immediately, and escorted me to my car.

...

Then it turned out Perry had attended after all, sort of, Thursday night - by satellite link-up, according to tweets posted Thursday night by John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, which was a participant in the Florida Renewal Project.

That appearance, which included a speech and taking questions from the pastors, came just hours after the Texas governor’s campaign staff assured the Sentinel he would not attend.

Who organized the event though? No one would say for sure, though Stemberger acknowledged that the California-based organization United in Purpose, which had organized similar “Renewal Project” events in California and Iowa earlier this year, “was involved.”

The last time United In Purpose hosted one of these conferences, we caught Mike Huckabee telling the audience that Americans ought to be forced to listen to David Barton at gunpoint.  But when United In Purpose later broadcast the event, that exchange was entirely edited out

So while organizers are going to be releasing a DVD of this Florida event in the coming weeks, it seems that they want to be able to control what people actually see and don't want reporters around revealing what was really taking place.

Right Wing Leftovers

Rick Perry Grovels To Bill Donohue, Rejects Robert Jeffress' Anti-Catholicism

So when Robert Jeffress is running around telling anyone who will listen that Mormonism is a cult, Rick Perry just kind of shrugs his shoulders and says he is not going to tell Jeffress what he can and can't say.

But when Jeffress says that the Catholic faith is a counterfeit "Babylonian mystery religion" that represents "the genius of Satan" and ends up angering the Catholic League's resident squeaky wheel/blowhard Bill Donohue, well then Perry just can't apologize fast enough, as Dononhe reports that Perry called him personally last night to distance himself from Jeffress' anti-Catholicism:

Last night, I discussed the flap over Rev. Robert Jeffress with Chris Matthews on “Hardball." While I made it clear that the anti-Catholic comments made by Jeffress must be roundly condemned, I also stated that I was not blaming Gov. Rick Perry for what the pastor said. One of the reasons I said this was because I was assured by my friend, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, that Perry would never countenance any scurrilous remarks about the Catholic Church.

When I got home, I received a phone call from Gov. Perry. Catholic activist Deal Hudson, who has a history of forging good relationships between Catholics and evangelicals, intervened in this matter and arranged for the phone call. Perry and I spoke candidly about the Jeffress incident, and about religion, in general. He spoke sincerely: nothing that Jeffress said about Catholicism represents his views.

I very much appreciate Gov. Perry’s interest in getting this issue behind him in a responsible manner. He succeeded. Case closed.

Right Wing Leftovers

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

Jeffress Denies Provocative Statements About Catholicism, Mormonism

Robert Jeffress appeared on The Alan Colmes Show last night to explain his inflammatory statements about Catholicism, Mormonism and other non-Protestant religions. During the interview, Colmes asked Jeffress, who has said that Christian voters should vote for Rick Perry over his Mormon opponent Mitt Romney, about his view that the Roman Catholic faith represents “the genius of Satan” and that the Mormon religion is a “cult” that is “from the pit of Hell.”

Jeffress appeared to deny his past statements about Catholicism and Mormonism, but defended the content of the statements he claims he didn’t make:

Colmes cited Right Wing Watch, which first reported Jeffress’ claims. We are happy to remind Jeffress that he did in fact contend in a sermon last year that Catholicism originated from a “Babylonian mystery religion” and is tied to Satan:

Moreover, Jeffress said in a Trinity Broadcasting Network interview last year that Mormonism, along with Islam, is a “heresy from the pit of hell”:

Listen to Colmes’ entire interview with Jeffress here.

While Condemning Religious Bigotry, Romney Aligns Himself With Anti-Muslim Activists

This morning on the Today Show Mitt Romney and Chris Christie repeated their call for Rick Perry to disassociate himself from pastor Robert Jeffress because of the pastor’s denigration of Romney’s Mormon faith. Yesterday, Christie even compared Jeffress to “those folks in New Jersey who disparaged in both parties my decision to appoint a Muslim judge” and said that any “campaign that associates itself with that type of comment is beneath the office of President of the United States, in my view.”

Ironically, one of the people who slammed Christie over his criticism of anti-Muslim activists is Jay Sekulow, who endorsed and introduced Romney at the Values Voter Summit last week and in 2008 was a member of Romney’s “National Faith and Values Steering Committee.”

In fact, Sekulow and his organization, the American Center for Law and Justice, which was founded by Pat Robertson, tried to prevent American Muslims from exercising their First Amendment rights by suing to block the construction of a mosque in lower Manhattan and also issued a pamphlet which claims that Sharia law is on the brink of eclipsing the U.S. Constitution that “devout Muslims cannot truthfully swear the oath to become citizens of the United States of America.” Tim Murphy pointed out the irony in Romney condemning anti-Muslim bigot Bryan Fischer while praising Sekulow, and People For the American Way urged Romney to disavow Sekulow in the same way he has urged Perry to “repudiate” Jeffress:

“Mitt Romney is right to criticize his rivals for silently standing by and accepting bigotry,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Now it is time for him to apply those standards to his own campaign. The truly courageous position for Romney to take would be to stand up against religious bigotry of all stripes – including the GOP’s increasingly prevalent scapegoating of American Muslims.

“Romney endorser Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice has suggested that devout Muslims cannot become true citizens of the United States. Sekulow himself has perpetuated the debunked claim that the Constitution is under a threat from Sharia law and was a leader of the extremist backlash against the building of an Islamic community center in lower Manhattan, including overseeing the ACLJ’s lawsuit attempting to stop the community center’s construction.

“Last weekend, Mitt Romney called Sekulow a ‘treasure.’ If Romney wishes to show that he is a true champion of the American values of religious freedom and tolerance, he must apply the same standard to his own endorsers as he does to those of Rick Perry.”

But Sekulow isn’t the only anti-Muslim activist in the Romney camp.

Walid Phares was recently named a foreign policy adviser to Romney. As the Council on American Islamic Relations pointed out in a letter [pdf] to Rep. Peter King, Phares has close ties to a Lebanese militiamen and even served as an official in a militia that was “implicated, by Israel’s official Kahan inquiry and other sources, in the 1982 massacre of civilian men, women and children at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon.”

Phares also claims [pdf] that “jihadists within the West pose as civil rights advocates, interested solely in the ‘rights’ of their immigrant communities” in order for their “institutions [to] fall into their hands,” and warns of the “spread of Wahhabism” through Muslim infiltration of “the U.S. armed forces and ultimately even into the Pentagon.”

While Romney was willing to call out Jeffress and Fischer over their intolerant rhetoric, it is uncertain if he will apply that standard to his own campaign.

Jeffress Denounces Gays As Promiscuous, Manipulative And Abnormal

Robert Jeffress’ criticism of the Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Mormon faiths has gained increasing attention since he endorsed and introduced Rick Perry at last week’s Values Voter Summit. Just as Jeffress disparages non-Protestant religions and the very concept of religious pluralism, he also has harsh words for gays and lesbians.

In a sermon earlier this year called “What to Say to Those Who Are Gay,” Jeffress cited a study from the Netherlands to bolster his argument that gays are incapable of having long-term, monogamous relationships. As Jim Burroway notes, the study of gay men in Amsterdam was conducted in the 1980s and the 1990s and was far from representative of the gay community as it “was heavily weighted with HIV/AIDS patients, excluded monogamous participants, was predominantly urban, and consisted only of those under the age of thirty.” Furthermore, study participants didn’t have the right to marry since marriage equality wasn’t enacted in the Netherlands until 2001.

Myth number five: homosexuals enjoy the same kind of healthy monogamous relationships as heterosexuals. Ladies and gentlemen, the idea of long-term, monogamous homosexual relationships is a myth. According to a study in the Netherlands, one of the most gay-tolerant nations in the world, they discovered that the average duration of a homosexual relationship is 1.5 years. Now while I high percentage of heterosexual married couples remain faithful to each other, homosexual couples - the same study revealed - engage in a high degree of promiscuity.

This study concluded that among committed homosexual couples - not just transitory couples, but committed homosexual couples - among them they had an average of eight different sexual partners a year outside of their relationship.

It is a myth that homosexuals engage in the same kind of monogamous healthy relationships as heterosexuals.

In another sermon entitled “Homosexuality is a Perversion,” Jeffress cited the rabidly anti-gay group National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), which pushes “ex-gay” reparative therapy and has a history of fraud, in order to make the claim that gays and lesbians are using “brainwashing techniques” to “inject homosexuality” into the culture and that “homosexuality is being crammed down our throats.”

There is a concerted effort to try to call normal what God has called abnormal, and it is a process, a well-thought out process, that has been wildly successful. Dr. Charles Socarides is the head of psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York he’s also the president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. I have no idea if he’s a Christian or not but I picked up a paper he had written describing the brilliant plan of gay activists to normalize the abnormal practice of homosexuality using the same brainwashing techniques that had been used by the Chinese for hundreds of years. And in his paper he talks about the three stages that are being used by gay activists to cause our culture to embrace rather than reject homosexuality, and I’ve listed those three brainwashing techniques on your outline today.

First of all, Dr. Socarides says the first technique in brainwashing is to desensitize, desensitization, the desensitization of the public to homosexuality by showing people that homosexuals are “just like everyone else.” If you can laugh with smart, articulate gays like the character on TV’s ‘Will & Grace,’ or if you can be made to sympathize with homosexuals who are being persecuted like the character, lawyer dying of AIDS that Tom Hanks portrayed in the movie ‘Philadelphia.’ If we can laugh with them, if we can cry with them, then immediately we become intoxicated with this idea that ‘they’re nothing to be frightened by, we don’t need to be repulsed by homosexuals, they are just like us.’ Desensitization.

The second step, in the brainwashing activity, is jamming, that is, causing the public to feel guilty of their bigotry toward homosexuals. How do they make us feel guilty about our bigotry toward homosexuals? What they do is they portray in a stereotypical way anybody who’s against homosexuals as being shrill, being uneducated, as being bigoted in their beliefs, and then showing them being shunned by society. Isn’t that how the media portrays those that are against homosexuality? They’re uneducated, they’re shrill, and they’re being shunned by mainstream society, and a person watching that on television says, ‘My gosh, I don’t want to be like that!’ That’s jamming.

And then the third stage in the brainwashing technique Dr. Socarides says, is conversion, during which masses of people change their attitudes about homosexuality in a planned psychological attack in the form of propaganda fed to the nation via the media. Have you noticed how the television airwaves are being flooded right now by programs that celebrate homosexuality? Homosexuality is being crammed down our throats and being presented as a normal, alternative lifestyle.

Values Voter Summit 2011 & America in 2013

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

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

Bill Donohue Condemns Jeffress As A "Poster Boy For Hatred"

Last week we posted audio of Robert Jeffress, the prominent Rick Perry endorser who introduced the candidate at the Values Voter Summit, condemning the Roman Catholic faith as a “counterfeit religion” that represents “the genius of Satan” in a sermon last year. Jeffress linked the Catholic Church to a Satanic “Babylonian mystery religion” that worshiped a fish god and warned that Catholics will “miss eternal life” because of their religion’s supposed paganism:

Catholicism isn’t the only religion that has encountered hostility from Jeffress: he is best known for calling Mormonism a cult that is “from the pit of Hell.” He has argued that Hindus, Muslims and Jews are also destined for Hell.

Today, right-wing Catholic activist Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights released a statement slamming Jeffress for having “demonized” the Catholic faith. In 2008, Donohue called on John McCain to renounce one of his endorsers, John Hagee, who has a history of anti-Catholic rhetoric and once said that God sent Hitler to be a “hunter” of Jews. While McCain ultimately rejected Hagee’s endorsement, Perry has so far refused to disavow Jeffress:

Last Friday, Rev. Robert Jeffress, the Dallas pastor who introduced Gov. Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit, spoke derisively about the Mormon faith of Mitt Romney, making the case that “Mormonism is a cult.” Two days later, he chided Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as “false religions.”

Last year, Rev. Jeffress said the Roman Catholic Church was the outgrowth of a “corruption” called the “Babylonian mystery.” He continued, “Much of what you see in the Catholic Church today doesn’t come from God’s word. It comes from that cult-like pagan religion. Isn’t that the genius of Satan?”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue offered these remarks today:

Where did they find this guy? When theological differences are demonized by the faithful of any religion—never mind by a clergyman—it makes a mockery of their own religion. Rev. Jeffress is a poster boy for hatred, not Christianity.

Jeffress: God Will Judge America For Electing A Mormon President

During a 2008 debate with Jay Sekulow of the American Center of Law and Justice, who endorsed Mitt Romney’s last presidential bid, Robert Jeffress said that not only are Mormons like Romney not Christians but that America would suffer God’s judgment if a Mormon were elected President.

Jeffress, an influential pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention, stepped into the political spotlight when he introduced Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit in a speech that appeared to contrast the fight between Perry and Romney as a choice between a Christian conservative and a conservative who is simply a “moral person.” Jeffress believes that Romney is not “indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God” but actually is a member of a “cult” that is “from the pit of Hell.” He also contends that “counterfeit religions,” including Roman Catholicism, represent “the genius of Satan.”

At the 2008 debate, arguing that Christians are “indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God” and “uniquely favored by God,” and therefore favored in public office, Jeffress said that Mormons, along with Hindus and Muslims, “are following after false gods.” Jeffress warned that “God always judges a nation that has a ruler who introduces false gods into that national life.”

Watch:

The value of electing a Christian goes beyond the public policies that he or she may enact. We believe that a genuine Christian has a relationship with God, is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, is led by the spirit of God, and is uniquely favored by God. Even if that genuine believer does not embrace every position we hold important we still believe that we make a grave mistake in underestimating the value of having a Christian in office.



Followers of Mormonism, Hinduism, Islam, they’re not worshiping the same God in a different way. We believe they are following after false gods. And as Christians, we can look at the Bible and see very clearly that God always judges a nation that has a ruler who introduces false gods into that national life.

Jeffress Says Satan Is Behind Roman Catholicism

Yesterday, Robert Jeffress introduced Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit with a fiery endorsement, giving us an opportunity to reflect on Jeffress' history of anti-Mormon rhetoric. But the Mormon faith isn't the only one that faces Jeffress' ire. Last year on his show Pathway To Victory, Jeffress said that Satan is behind the Roman Catholic Church.

At The Response prayer rally, we called out Perry for partnering with John Hagee, who has called the Roman Catholic Church the "The Great Whore" of Babylon from the Book of Revelation. Similarly, Jeffress calls the Catholic church a result of "the Babylonian mystery religion" found in the Book of Revelation, and says the Catholic Church represents "the genius of Satan."

Listen:

Jeffress: This is the Babylonian mystery religion that spread like a cult throughout the entire world. The high priests of that fake religion, that false religion, the high priests of that religion would wear crowns that resemble the heads of fish, that was in order to worship the fish god Dagon, and on those crowns were written the words, 'Keeper of the Bridge,' the bridge between Satan and man. That phrase 'Keeper of the Bridge,' the Roman equivalent of it is Pontifex Maximus. It was a title that was first carried by the Caesars and then the Emperors and finally by the Bishop of the Rome, Pontifex Maximus, the Keeper of the Bridge.

You can see where we're going with this. It is that Babylonian mystery religion that infected the early church, one of the churches it infected was the church of Pergamos, which is one of the recipients of the Book of Revelation. And the early church was corrupted by this Babylonian mystery religion, and today the Roman Catholic Church is the result of that corruption.

Much of what you see in the Catholic Church today doesn't come from God's Word, it comes from that cult-like, pagan religion. Now you say, 'pastor how can you say such a thing? That is such an indictment of the Catholic Church. After all the Catholic Church talks about God and the Bible and Jesus and the Blood of Christ and Salvation.'

Isn't that the genius of Satan? If you want to counterfeit a dollar bill, you don't do it with purple paper and red ink, you're not going to fool anybody with that. But if you want to counterfeit money, what you do is make it look closely related to the real thing as possible.

And that's what Satan does with counterfeit religion. He uses, he steals, he appropriates all of the symbols of true biblical Christianity, and he changes it just enough in order to cause people to miss eternal life.
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Rick Perry Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Monday 05/06/2013, 11:00am
Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) appeared in the Family Research Council’s “Stand With Scouts Sunday” webcast last night where he told FRC president Tony Perkins that the Boy Scouts of America must resist those trying to “tear apart” the organization’s values and replace them with the “flavor of the month”—homosexuality. He warned the BSA against becoming “more like pop culture” and urged scout leaders to channel the spirit of Sam Houston, whom Perry said lost his governorship because he was “against slavery” and opposed... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Friday 05/03/2013, 2:23pm
Among the many publications distributed at Liberty Counsel’s Awakening conference in April were two booklets examining Democratic and Republican party platforms. They were produced by Justice at the Gate, a group that describes its vision as “Building strategic partnerships to mobilize Christians to pray effectively and to vote righteously.” The two publications are both titled “Democrats & Republicans In Their Own Words.”  One of them is subtitled, “National Party Platforms on Specific Biblical Issues.”  I’m not sure where in the... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 04/08/2013, 5:31pm
Anti-gay/anti-Mormon pastor Pastor Robert Jeffress opened a new $130 million campus at his church and Gov. Rick Perry was on hand to dedicate it. Glenn Beck returned from a week off today and guess what he talked about? This is actually an article from CNSNews: "Obama Responded Faster to Ebert's Death Than He Did to Thatcher's." We predict that this story about the Army supposedly calling evangelicals a threat is one of those things that we initially dismiss as obvious nonsense, but then end up having to write about because the Religious Right goes nuts over... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 03/20/2013, 5:30pm
LiveAction bizarrely claims that Steven Crowder's Ashley Judd rape joke at CPAC "never happened."  Matt Barber blasts Pastor Rob Bell's "apostasy" for supporting marriage equality. Bryan Fischer says "same-sex 'marriage' fails to satisfy even the companionship purpose for this most sacred of relationships." Keep in mind that no matter how crazy Glenn Beck gets, Sen. Rand Paul will continue to regularly appear on his program. And so will Gov. Rick Perry. MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 02/27/2013, 6:45pm
More Religious Right groups have signed up [PDF] for NOM’s “Marriage March.” It appears that Steve King is getting closer to locking up the GOP nomination for Iowa’s open U.S. Senate seat. Rick Perry will attend Concerned Women for America’s “Texas Faith and Family Rally.” Sarah Palin writes that “the feds are stockpiling bullets in case of civil unrest” after we go into default…and then calls on politicians to “stop the hysterics.” The right-wing news outlet Human Events is ending its print... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/05/2013, 4:50pm
Barbara Cargill, whom Rick Perry picked to chair the State Board of Education, is upset that a curriculum used by several Texas schools called CSCOPE, which has been at the center of right-wing conspiracy theories, doesn’t teach students about alternative theories to evolution. As first reported by the Texas Freedom Network, Cargill said that publishers and CSCOPE should teach “another side to the theory of evolution.” Our intent, as far as theories with the [curriculum standards], was to teach all sides of scientific explanations…. But when I went on [to the... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 02/05/2013, 3:05pm
Texas Governor Rick Perry stopped by "WallBuilders Live" today to voice his opposition to the upcoming vote by the Boy Scouts of America on possibly ending the organization's ban on gay scouts and scout leaders. Perry, the author of the book "On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For," was predictably opposed to any such change, calling on the organization not to "break the hearts" of those who love it by caving to the "cruel intolerance" of the left: What this gets down to Rick is that scouting is not about... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 01/29/2013, 6:30pm
Bryan Fischer warns that “homosexual pedophiles already seek to infiltrate scouting because it provides a target rich environment for their twisted desires. Abolishing the sexual orientation standard will turn every Boy Scout in America into vulnerable prey for the sexually deviant.”  Peter LaBarbera claims the BSA’s “proposal opens the door to the sexual and spiritual corruption of boys.” Rick Perry is one of the most unpopular governors in the U.S., which bodes well for his second presidential campaign. Lindsey Graham continues to be... MORE >