Rick Santorum

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 9/10/14

  • Glenn Beck is now enamored with Andrew W.K., spending an entire hour with him on TV last night and calling him "one of the more important voices to unite America."
  • Some more keen insights from Todd Starnes: "Secretary of State Kerry says ISIS is anti-Islam. It seems like this administration is more interested in defending Islam than they are the United States."
  • Things would be so much better "if America were a Christian nation."
  • Deacon Keith Fournier gushes about Rick Santorum and hopes that he runs for president: "Rick Santorum is a statesman in an age of salesmen – and women. He is a man with a chest."
  • South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will speak at Bob Jones University next week.
  • Finally, Rick Joyner reveals that he recently spent eight hours in Heaven.

Santorum: Call Secularism A Religion So We Can Ban It From Public Schools

It was just yesterday that the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer was calling for people with HIV to be quarantined in the name of protecting the public health. So naturally, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum appeared on Fischer's radio program today to share his excitement at having partnered with the AFA on his most recent film "One Generation Away."

During the discussion, Santorum said that Christians have allowed their faith to be removed from the public square and need to start fighting back, arguing that removing the Bible from public school classrooms is not neutrality but rather the promotion of the secular worldview. He suggested that conservative Christians should respond by "calling secularism a religion because if we did, then we could ban that too."

Claiming that the absence of religion is itself a religion, Santorum said that Christians must reassert themselves and insist that Christianity "should be taught in the schools" instead of worrying about offending people:

Right Wing Round-Up - 8/29/14

Rick Santorum Falsely Claims Students 'Can't Pray In School'

Today, Vocativ posted an interview with Rick Santorum, who is promoting his new movie “One Generation Away,” which is about the supposed “erosion of religious liberty” in the United States.

Unsurprisingly, Santorum cites a number of myths about religious liberty in schools, including claiming that “you can’t pray in school” and that public schools "can't talk about the impact" of the Bible on "Western civilization." In reality, students have a constitutionally protected right to pray in school, as long as that prayer is not school-sponsored. In addition, schools are allowed to teach about the Bible and its impact on history.

The movie argues that the observant are being forced to practice in private, for few hours in church on Sundays. But on a personal level, can’t you observe your religion wherever you want?

Not necessarily. You can’t pray in school, but it’s good to have prayer. Are people offended by prayer? Sure. But the constitution gives us the right to offend. There are a lot of things today in America that offend me.

Right, but isn’t school different? There are lots of rules in school that don’t apply to the rest of society.

This is a fallacy. By making such a judgment, you’re communicating what’s good and bad. Not having the Bible taught in school is a mistake. The Bible is the basis upon which Western civilization was built. It is the most influential book of all. And yet it’s not taught. In school, they can’t talk about the impact of this book. This is, in fact, putting forth a view of history that is ahistorical. It’s hard to not look at the history of Western civilization and not see faith.

So what about the Quran? Should that be taught in school, too?

I would absolutely encourage more teaching about Islam. Maybe 50 years ago, when Islam had third-world status and not international status—maybe that was different. But given what’s going on, it’s important to teach it.

Republican Presidential Hopefuls Preview 2016 Campaign

On Saturday, Republican presidential hopefuls and other conservative figures converged on Ames, Iowa for the Family Leadership Summit. The event was organized by Bob Vander Plaats, the Religious Right activist who led campaigns to purge the state Supreme Court of justices who supported marriage equality.

The all-star line-up included Sen.  Ted Cruz, Gov. Bobby Jindal. Gov. Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum. Joining them were State Sen. Joni Ernst, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat from Iowa; Rep. Tim Scott; Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds; Ken Cuccinelli of the Senate Conservatives Fund; and regulars on the Religious Right speaking circuit, including David and Jason Benham, Josh Duggar of Family Research Council Action, Alveda King, and Rev. Rafael Cruz, Ted’s incendiary father.

Radio Iowa posted audio of the speeches by potential presidential candidates Huckabee, Santorum, Cruz, Jindal, and Perry. Taken together, they provide a preview of the 2016 primary campaign that will begin in earnest as soon as the 2014 elections are over. If the speeches in Ames are any indication, GOP voters will be hearing that America is on the verge of self-destruction, but can be returned to greatness with God’s help and the Republican Party in power.  It is clear that between now and then all these conservative leaders will all be trying to give Republicans a majority in the U.S. Senate, in part by getting Joni Ernst elected.

As you would expect, the speeches were generally long on Obama-bashing and empty rhetoric. Bobby Jindal’s answer for the problems at the U.S.-Mexico border, for example, was to tell President Obama to “man up.”

“I’ve got a very simple message for the president of the United States. We don’t need a comprehensive bill. We don’t need another thousand page bill. He simply needs to man up. He needs to secure the border and he needs to get it done today,” Jindal said. “There are no more excuses. No more delays.”

Jindal complained that President Obama is engaged in a relentless effort to “redefine the American Dream.” Obama’s version, he said, is based on class warfare, and expansive and intrusive government – he was not the only speaker to accuse Obama of trying to make America more like Europe. Jindal said in contrast he’s pursuing the real American Dream in Louisiana by cutting taxes, cutting government jobs and spending, and privatizing (“reforming”) education.

Jindal also complained about an “unprecedented assault on religious liberty” in the United States, recycling the Religious Right canard that the Obama administration wanted to protect only “freedom of worship.” He bragged about having coming to the defense of Duck Dynasty when Phil Robertson was criticized for making offensive remarks.

Jindal said he couldn’t figure out whether the Obama administration is “the most liberal, ideologically extreme administration” in our lifetime or “the most incompetent,” before asking, “What difference does it make?”  But he is confident that our best days are still ahead of us because “there’s a rebellion brewing.”

Rick Santorum said Republicans should focus on their vision rather than on bashing Obama, but he couldn’t resist. He called the president the “divider-in-chief” and denounced the “Obama-Clinton-Kerry regime,” which he says has turned its back on Israel.

Santorum’s speech suggests that he’ll be campaigning on themes in his most recent book, “Blue Collar Conservative.”  He said the Republican Party focuses on too narrow a group of people – business owners and entrepreneurs – when most people don’t own businesses, but work for someone else. They are hurting, he says, but nobody is speaking to them.  In addition to cutting taxes and government, he called for more investments in vocational education and greater restrictions on legal as well as illegal immigration, which he said are causing distress in labor markets.  Santorum’s biggest heresy against Republican dogma may have been saying it was time to stop invoking Ronald Reagan, who was elected almost 35 years ago. It would have been like candidate Reagan invoking Wendell Willkie, he said.

Ted Cruz started his upbeat speech with Washington- and Obama-bashing jokes. He’d spent much of the past month in Washington, he said, and it’s “great to be back in America.”  He described “the Obama diet” as “every day, you let Putin eat your lunch.” Cruz said he was optimistic that Republicans would re-take the Senate this year and the White House in 2016, and described five conservative victories and two victories-in-waiting.

1.       Killing gun control legislation in Congress

2.       The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision

3.       Blocking entry to the US for Iran’s chosen ambassador

4.       Grassroots activism leading to freedom for Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim

5.       Overturning the FAA’s temporary ban on flights to Israel

He described two “fixin’ to be completed” projects that Republicans would be able to finish when they take control of the Senate and then the White House

1.       Ending Obama administration “lawlessness” on immigration

2.       Repealing “every single word of Obamacare.”

Rick Perry declared that it is “easy to govern” and bragged about the success that red state governors are having by limiting regulation, restricting lawsuits, holding public schools accountable, and getting out of the way so the private sector can help provide people with jobs so they can take care of their families. (As Sam Brownback’s experience in Kansas makes clear, passing right-wing policies is no magic bullet.)

Perry denounced the president for not securing the border and declared that Texas would. Similarly, he told the audience that they have all been “called to duty” in the face of activist judges and assaults on the unborn. “Somebody’s values are gonna be legislated,” he said. “The question is whose values are going to be legislated.”  The future is bright, he said, because God is still alive and still impacting this country.

Mike Huckabee’s closing speech was in part a reprise of the one he gave at the Faith and Freedom coalition conference in June, in which he denounced “judicial supremacy” and compared the Chinese government’s systematic erasure of the Tiananmen Square massacre with the fact that American textbooks do not teach children that America’s founding was dependent on the hand of God.

Huckabee demonstrated his penchant for simplistic, inflammatory rhetoric. The IRS is a “criminal enterprise” and should be abolished. The 16th Amendment should be repealed. The Obama administration isn’t supporting Israel because it hasn’t “seen enough dead Jews to make them happy.”

Politics won’t fix the country, Huckabee said, unless there is a “spiritual transformation,” because “what has to happen first in America is that we get our hearts right, and then we’ll get our politics right. It rarely works the other way around.”

 

Rick Santorum Presents Latest 'Religious Persecution' Movie

Two current Religious Right fixations — the “persecution” of American Christians and the need for conservatives to do more to influence the pop culture — have come together in movies like “Persecuted” and “We the People—Under Attack.” The latest entry, “One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty,” was screened by Rick Santorum at the Heritage Foundation on Monday night.

Santorum said the movie will be released in September. His EchoLight Cinemas is trying to create an alternative to Hollywood distribution channels by building a network of thousands of tech-equipped churches who will sell tickets for "One Generation Away" and other movies. He says the long-term strategy is to bring more people into churches and put the church back at the center of the culture.

"One Generation Away" is described as a documentary, but it’s really a preaching-to-the-choir call to arms for conservative Christians and pastors to get more involved in culture war battles while they still have the freedom to do so. Among the film’s producers are Donald and Tim Wildmon from the American Family Association, which Santorum said is packaging a shorter version of the movie into more of an activist tool.

The title comes from Ronald Reagan – specifically from a speech to the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce in 1961, a time in which Reagan was working with conservatives to rally opposition to Medicare – “socialized medicine”:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

The thrust of "One Generation Away" is that religious freedom in the United States is disappearing fast, and if the church doesn’t fight for it now, it will soon be gone forever. Before running the film on Monday, Santorum quoted Cardinal Francis George, who said during the debate about insurance coverage of contraception, “I expect to die in my bed. I expect my successor to die in prison. I expect his successor to be a martyr.” That’s just the kind of hyperbolic “religious persecution” rhetoric we have come to expect from Religious Right leaders and their allies in the Catholic hierarchy.

At one point toward the end of the movie, it seems as if the filmmakers might be striking a more reasonable tone, with a couple of speakers saying that Christians should stand up for the rights of people of different faiths — even though the AFA’s chief spokesman opposes First Amendment protections for non-Christians— and others actually acknowledging that it is problematic for American Christians to be complaining of “religious persecution” over policy disputes when Christians and others are facing horrific, deadly persecution in many other parts of the world.

But that caution is quickly abandoned as the movie makes a direct comparison of the status of the Christian church in America with the church in Germany as the Nazis came to power. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor who tried to mobilize German Christians to resist Nazi tyranny and was executed by the regime, is held up as the model that American Christians need to be willing to follow.

Eric Metaxas, a Bonhoeffer biographer who became a Religious Right folk hero when he questioned President Obama’s faith at a National Prayer Breakfast attended by the president, warned that if the church doesn’t link arms to fight, all will be lost. “The good news,” he said, “is that the American church is slightly more attuned to the rumbling heard in the distance than the German church was in the 30s. The bad news is, only slightly, right?”

The movie cuts to Mike Huckabee saying that Bonhoeffer could have saved his life if he had been willing to soften his faith, but that instead he resisted and rebuked the Nazi regime. And then we’re back to Metaxas to complete the Nazi analogy:

 “The parallel today is simply that. You have a government, a state, which is getting larger and larger and more and more powerful, and is beginning to push against the church. There’s a window of opportunity where we can fight. If we don’t wake up and fight before then, we won’t be able to fight. That’s just what happened in Germany. And that’s the urgency we have in America now. And people that’s incendiary, or I’m being hyperbolic. I’m sorry, I wish, I wish, I wish I were. I’m not.”

Filmmakers said at the screening that they had conducted 75 interviews for the movie, and it sure feels like it.  It includes names that will be well-known to RWW readers, like Mike Huckabee, Tony Perkins, Harry Jackson, Tim Wildmon, Alveda King, Robert George, Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention, Eric Teetsel of the Manhattan Declaration, and Ryan Anderson and Jennifer Marshall of the Heritage Foundation.

Also appearing are Rep. Doug Collins; Rick Perry backer Robert Jeffress; Matthew Franck of the Witherspoon Institute, which sponsored the infamous and discredited Regnerus “family structures” study; Stephen McDowell of the dominionist Providence Foundation; Gregory Thornbury of Kings College; lawyers from the Alliance Defense Fund, the Beckett Fund, the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund; and a number of pastors.

The film also includes interviews with some opponents of the Religious Right, including Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Princeton’s Peter Singer, and Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Santorum told the audience at Heritage that he wishes he had even more of his opponents included in the film because “they scare the hell out of me” and would help motivate the right-wing base.

In order to keep the movie from being one brutally long succession of talking heads, the filmmakers resort to a tactic of constantly shifting scenes, a couple of seconds at a time, in a way that feels like they got a volume discount on stock images of Americana: boats on the water, kids playing softball, families walking together. There are also odd random fillers, like close-ups of the pattern on a couch in the room in which a speaker is sitting. The endless, repetitive succession of images actually makes the film feel even longer than it actually is. (Zack Ford at ThinkProgress had a similar reaction to this technique.)

The meat of the film, or the “red meat,” mixes the personal stories of people being  victimized by intolerant secularists and/or gay activists with miniature David Bartonesque lectures on the Christian roots of America’s founding; the fact that the phrase “separation of church and state” never appears in the U.S. Constitution; the notion that the American government is trying to replace “freedom of religion” with “freedom of worship” and require any expression of faith to take place behind church walls; and the disgracefulness of making any analogies between the civil rights movement and the LGBT equality movement. The 1947 Supreme Court decision in which Jefferson’s “separation of church and state” phrase was invoked by the Court and “changed everything” is portrayed as nothing more than a reflection of Justice Hugo Black’s hatred of Catholics.

Featured “persecution” stories include:

  • a long advertisement for Hobby Lobby and its owners, the Green family, which recently won its legal battle against the contraception mandate;
  • a baker and florist who ran afoul of their state’s anti-discrimination laws when they refused to provide services for a same-sex couple getting married;
  • cheerleaders at a public high school in Texas who were challenged by the Freedom From Religion Foundation for creating football game banners featuring Christian scriptural quotes;  
  • Catholic Charities being “forced” to give up adoption services rather than place children with same-sex couples;
  • an ACLU challenge to a large cross at the Mt. Soledad war memorial; and
  • the supposed frontal attack on the religious freedom of military chaplains as a result of allowing LGBT members of the armed forces to serve openly. On this issue, Tony Perkins declares, “The military is being used as a vanguard of radical social policy. And in order for that policy to permeate and to take root, you’ve got to take out the religious opposition.”

In spite of the parade of horrors, the movie tries to end on an upbeat note, saying that the early Christian church expanded while it was being suppressed, and that it will only take “one spark of revival” to change the nation.  A familiar theme at Religious Right conferences is that blame for America’s decline rests with churches that don’t speak up and pastors who don’t preach or lead aggressively enough. One Generation Away ends on this point, telling Christian pastors it is their responsibility to wake up and challenge their congregants to live their faith “uncompromisingly.”

During the Q&A after the screening, Santorum said the fact that Hobby Lobby was a 5-4 decision demonstrated the importance of the 2016 election. “Part of me almost wishes we’d lost,” says Santorum, because that would have made the threat clearer to conservative activists. “We are one judge away,” he said, adding that “if we get a Democratic president, our five, or four-and-a-half, justices are not going to hold out forever.”

“I just worry,” he said to the young people in the audience, “that the longer we delay, and America sleeps, and your generation is indoctrinated the way it is, the harder it will be to come back.”

Rick Santorum Angry That Marriage Equality Supporters 'Devalued' Marriage

While speaking over the weekend on “Eagle Forum Live,” Rick Santorum said that conservatives need to “reclaim” marriage from the left and “the folks who are trying to change the marriage laws to allow same-sex couples.”

The former senator and presidential candidate told host Anne Cori, Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly’s daughter, that supporters of marriage equality have “devalued marriage” and “divorced marriage from any meaning beyond a romantic relationship,” while Cori lamented the “celebration of single mothers.”

He also warned of polygamy: “If marriage is simply a romantic relationship between two people, and by the way, that’s what it’s devolved to the minds of a lot of Americans, if that’s all that marriage is well then it’s hard to make the argument that any two people or any three or four people shouldn’t be able to get married.”

Right Wing Gets It: Elections Matter Because Courts Matter

For right-wing advocates, big conservative wins in the Supreme Court’s recently completed term have only confirmed the importance of electing a president in 2016 who will give them more justices in the mold of Samuel Alito and John Roberts.  The Roberts and Alito nominations, and the conservative majority created by their confirmations, represent the triumph of a decades-long push by right-wing funders, big business, conservative political strategists, and legal groups to take ideological dominion of all levels of the federal judiciary.

Right-wing groups have long made attacks on the federal judiciary a staple of their rhetoric. Many claim America’s decline began with Supreme Court rulings against required prayer and Bible readings in public schools in the 1960s. Roe v. Wade, and more recently, judicial rulings in favor of marriage equality, have been characterized as “judicial tyranny” and “judicial activism.” Of course right-wing legal groups have been pushing hard for their own form of judicial activism, and have pushed Republican presidents to nominate judges they can count on. 

As Jeffrey Toobin notes in a recent profile of presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz in the New Yorker,

Conservatives like Cruz never stopped denouncing liberals for their efforts to use the courts to promote their ideological agenda, even as they began to do much the same thing themselves. The heart of Cruz’s legal career was a sustained and often successful undertaking to use the courts for conservative ends, like promoting the death penalty, lowering the barriers between church and state, and undermining international institutions and agreements.

Right-wing activists are proud of what they have accomplished, as Richard Land, long-time leader of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told National Journal’s Tiffany Stanley.  As Brian Tashman reports in RWW, Land “waxed nostalgic for the days when President Bush was in office…and especially for Bush’s commitment to nominating ultra-conservative federal judges.”

 “Alito and Roberts are the gifts that keep on giving, and we would have gotten neither one of those without our involvement,” Land said, predicting that Roe v. Wade will soon be “thrown onto the ash heap of history.”

…The Supreme Court’s ruling this year in the Hobby Lobby case shows the Religious Right’s strong focus on the judiciary is paying off.  And Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council told Stanley that conservatives will continue to use the courts as part of their strategy to keep “the barbarians at bay.”

But in spite of their wins, and their success in creating the most pro-corporate Court since the New Deal, right-wing activists are nervous that some of their big wins, like Hobby Lobby and Citizens United, were 5-4 decisions. They want to pad their majority and continue their march to remake America via the courts.

The Senate

Since federal judges have to be confirmed by the Senate, right-wing groups are also using the Supreme Court in 2014 Senate campaigns. An anti-choice PAC, Women Speak Out, followed the Hobby Lobby ruling almost immediately with attacks on Mark Pryor and other Democrats for not having supported the confirmation of Samuel Alito.

On the day of the Court’s decisions in Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, a Republican, who is challenging U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, tweeted “Today’s SCOTUS rulings were a win for our 1st Amendment freedoms, a loss for Hagan, Obama, & DC bureaucrats.”

Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who represents right-wing groups, told the Washington Post, “These Supreme Court decisions, it’s a reminder to people on our side of the aisle of the importance of the court, and then the importance of recapturing the Senate.”

Religious Liberty ‘Hanging by a Thread’

Right-wing pundits and organizations are already ramping up their rhetoric on judges as a 2016 presidential campaign issue, with many touting the 5-4 decision in Hobby Lobby as evidence that religious liberty is “hanging by a thread.”

Rush Limbaugh went on a tirade against Hillary Clinton after she criticized the Hobby Lobby ruling:

Can I tell you the truth about the Hobby Lobby ruling?  We're in such dangerous territory in terms of losing our freedom that we cheer when five out of nine people uphold the Constitution.  We're not advancing anything, folks.  We are barely hanging on here.  …  And here comes Hillary Clinton thinking this decision is a step toward the kind of anti-women policy seen in extremist undemocratic nations is outrageous. 

The woman is either a blithering idiot or a total in-the-tank statist, maybe a combination of the two.  But this is not a step toward anything.  This is a temporary halt in the onslaught toward totalitarianism.

We're just barely hanging on.  We cheer! We conservatives stand up and cheer when we manage to get five people to see it the right way.  "Oh, my God! Oh, Lord! Thank you so much, Lord. You saved another day."  Five people out of nine, five said the Constitution means what it says.  The troubling thing to me is the four people that didn't!  Liberty and freedom are hanging by a thread here! 

That theme was echoed by the Archdiocese of Washington’s Msgr. Charles Pope:

“OK, We won. But the Hobby Lobby vote should have been 9-0. Wake up, America. Your liberty is on the line!”

It is simply outrageous that four Supreme Court Justices, and many Americans, cannot see the clear and offensive proposition of the Government in this regard…..We won today, but barely. It should have been 9–0. Wake up, America; your religious and other liberties are hanging by the thread of one vote.

Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer of American Values weighed in in similar fashion:

“While we celebrate this victory, the fact remains that four justices on the Supreme Court, including the two appointed by Obama, evidently share his narrow view of America's first freedom and were willing to trample the religious liberty of millions of Americans in order to advance their radical pro-abortion agenda.

This narrow decision, with four liberal justices eager to go the wrong way, is a stark reminder to every man and woman of faith that their religious liberty is hanging by a thread.

The Court as Right-Wing Campaign Issue for 2016

Right-wing pundits and presidential candidates frequently use the federal judiciary as an issue to excite base voters. Back in 2012, one of the most effective things Mitt Romney did to shore up his weak support among conservative activists was to name a judicial advisory team headed by Robert Bork. That year, Terence Jeffrey, who worked on Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaigns and has written for right-wing publications, wrote:

Three of the nine justices on a U.S. Supreme Court that has decided many significant issues by 5-4 votes over the past decade will turn 80 years of age before the 2016 presidential election.

The three justices are Antonin Scalia, an anchor of the court’s conservative wing, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an anchor of the court’s liberal wing, and Anthony Kennedy, who is often the decisive swing vote in 5-4 opinions….

Bobby Jindal is among the crop of potential 2016 presidential candidates who is making an issue of the courts.  In an interview with a conservative Christian blogger during last month’s Iowa state Republican convention, Jindal suggested if Republicans take control of the Senate this year they would block additional nominees. Asked about federal judges overturning state marriage bans for same-sex couples, Jindal said, ““This shows you the importance of the November elections.  We don’t need this President putting more liberal judges on the bench.”

It is important, whether you are a lawyer or not, to understand what it means for the courts to actually apply the Constitution as opposed for them just to create new laws or to read things and just decide they are going to contradict what the other two branches of government did.  We’ve gotten away from these three separate but equal branches of government and instead we’ve got these activist judges who are overreaching. We have to recognize the problem for what it is,” Jindal added.

He emphasized the importance of elections and their impact on judicial confirmations because sometimes Constitutional amendments will correct the problem, and other times federal judges will just overrule them.

Mike Huckabee has seemingly made attacks on the judiciary a centerpiece of his campaign. In May, he called for the impeachment of an Arkansas judge who ruled in favor of marriage equality. Last year, urging Senate Republicans to block an Obama appeals court nominee, he said, “Judges can linger on for decades after a President leaves office, and a bad one can wreak havoc that echoes down the ages.”

Meanwhile, presidential contender Rick Santorum and the right-wing Judicial Crisis Network are attacking Chris Christie for not sufficiently making right-wing ideology a litmus test for his state judicial appointments.  Santorum told Yahoo News earlier this month, “To see a record as abysmal as Gov. Christie’s record in the state of New Jersey, I guarantee you that will be a red flag for most voters in the state of Iowa, but also most voters in the Republican primary.” (Earlier this month, while in Iowa campaigning for Gov. Terry Branstad, Christie said he supports the Court’s Hobby Lobby decision; he had initially declined to say whether he supported the decision.)  

The Judicial Crisis Network has also slammed Christie, saying his failure to “deliver on judicial activism” may have doomed his 2016 presidential hopes. It has created an entire website devoted to trashing Christie’s judicial record to conservative voters:  www.christiebadonjudges.com. In June, Fox News ran an op ed by JCN’s Carrie Severino using Christie’s alleged failure to appoint right-wing ideologues to the state supreme court as a way to discredit him with conservative activists.

Christie didn’t deliver on judicial activism. Has he doomed his 2016 bid?

If a candidate’s tenure as governor is his road-test for the presidency, Governor Chris Christie just flunked.

As a candidate for governor, Christie talked the talk on judges, vowing to "remake" the New Jersey Supreme Court and to transform the most activist court in the nation into one that operates under the rule of law. 

Despite having the opportunity to appoint four of seven justices on the court since taking office, Christie has repeatedly nominated individuals with no discernible judicial philosophy….

And while elected representatives must stand for re-election every few years, federal judges sit for life. 

Today’s nominee could still be playing the same tricks in 2050 or beyond.  That is why the issue of judges matters so much during presidential primaries and caucuses….

Right-wing advocates have been talking for a while about how important it is to their judicial plans not just to elect a Republican, but to elect a Republican committed to making the kind of Supreme Court nominations they want. In February, right-wing activist Mychal Massie complained that many justices nominated by Republican presidents over the past few decades did not turn out to be ideological warriors (though that is hardly the case with more recent nominees).

But forward-thinking conservatives are keenly aware that we must be concerned about the future as well, and not just because of Obama. Based on age alone, one of the primary areas of concern is that the person elected president in 2016 will potentially have at least four Supreme Court Justices to replace. Two of the potential four are liberals, so a Democrat president would simply be replacing liberals with liberals, ergo, it would be a wash. But of the other two the one is a solid Constructionist, and the other is a swing vote who has, in recent years, ruled based on Constructionism enough times that we should be concerned if a Democrat president replaces him….

As you can see, the potential for the political complexion of the High Court to be changed for decades to come should be of critical concern if a Democrat wins the presidency in 2016. But, it is myopic betise on an epic level to even for an instant believe we need not be concerned if a Republican wins. Especially if it is an establishment Republican….

With Karl Rove and Reince Priebus pulling the strings of the GOP and RNC, the Republican Party resembles a RINO theme park more than it does the Party true conservatives have supported.

With them controlling things from behind the curtain it is not just critical that the next president be “conservative” but he/she must be a legitimate conservative whose conservative bonafides are unimpeachable. It does conservatism no good to elect a Mitt Romney, John McCain, or Jeb Bush type. The 2016 election will place in office a person with the potential to change the face of SCOTUS for many decades to come. And as John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, et al. have showed us — it’s not just Democrats who are betraying us.

Religious Right leaders will certainly be keeping the issue of judicial nominations at the forefront of the 2016 campaigns. This week, George O. Wood, who heads the Assemblies of God denomination, wrote:

Moreover, we should encourage voting because elections have consequences. One of those consequences is that the president nominates judges who serve on district and appellate courts and on the Supreme Court. The U.S. Senate must then approve those nominees. It is a sad fact that no evangelical sits on the Supreme Court—even though evangelicals constitute a very large faith community in America. I suspect that at present no evangelicals could even be nominated or confirmed to a federal bench because they hold views that are pro-life and pro-traditional marriage. People in our Fellowship need to remember that when they cast a ballot, they effectively decide who will sit as a federal judge. Indirectly, they are casting a vote for or against a robust understanding of the free exercise of religion.

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/1/14

Glenn Grothman Snags Endorsement Of 'Soul Mate' Rick Santorum

Glenn Grothman, the Wisconsin state senator and U.S. House candidate who is bravely fighting against the “war on men,” this weekend earned the endorsement of a man he calls his “soul mate”: former senator Rick Santorum.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that Santorum announced his Patriot Voices PAC’s endorsement of Grothman on a joint conference call late last week, where the two “praised each other for their devotion to conservative principles.”

State Sen. Glenn Grothman snagged a high-profile endorsement this week when he won the backing of previous GOP presidential hopeful and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, from Pennsylvania, and his Patriot Voices PAC.

During a Thursday conference call with reporters, Grothman and Santorum praised each other for their devotion to conservative principles. Grothman talked about how Santorum won him over when they first met during Santorum’s unsuccessful bid to become the 2012 presidential nominee.

“When I met him, I felt we were almost soul mates,” Grothman said. “It’s kind of an odd thing.”

Along with exposing the “war on men” being waged by “gals” in the workplace, Grothman has defended Uganda’s harsh anti-gay law, tried to make abortion a crime even if it would save the life of the pregnant women, claimed that women earn less because "money is more important for men," wanted to officially classify single parenthood as a factor in child abuse, goes out of his way to bash Kwanzaa, and is a leader in pushing for blatantly political voter suppression laws.

In other words, exactly the sort of politician who would find an ally and soul mate in Rick Santorum.

Paranoia-Rama LGBT Pride Month Edition: 'Gay Gulags,' 'Reeducation Camps' And HIV Cure

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

In honor of LGBT Pride Month, we have dedicated this week’s edition to looking at five of the most bizarre anti-LGBT stories coming from the Right Wing just in the past week.

5. Rick Santorum Fears Gay ‘Reeducation Camps’

Religious Right activists continue to stoke fears about gay rights supporters organizing an anti-Christian holocaust, and Rick Santorum is happy to help. The former senator and presidential candidate, out with a new film about the purported loss of religious freedom in America, warned this week that Christians in the U.S. are being sent off to “reeducation camps” and face jail and martyrdom. Santorum was speaking to none other than Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association radio host who believes gay people are to blame for the Holocaust and are modern-day Nazis.

4. Gay Gulags

If you thought Santorum’s remarks were a rare occurrence in the Religious Right, just read today’s commentary from BarbWire senior editor Jeff Allen, who warns that the “gaystapo” wants its opponents “summarily shipped off on the ‘highway’ to the ‘gay’ gulag of sensitivity training — actually, reeducation camp to receive a government-provided, pro-perversity lobotomy.”

He warns about “alarming homosexual efforts at shredding the dictionary, distorting of the Constitution, creating false rights out of thin air, rewriting civil laws to criminalize deeply held moral convictions, hijacking science to promote a deviant political/social agenda, and eliminating all religious and conscience protections for business owners,” adding that “every advance of the militant ‘gay agenda’ comes at the literal expense of true democracy and freedom.”

“Many of the vindictive items on homosexual agenda are designed exactly as vengeance against their supposed oppressors,” Allen writes. “Unlike the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s in which African Americans united and fought against the truly heinous injustices of racial inequality and unprovoked acts of violence, the homosexual rights movement has no intentions of being peaceful. Nobody should fool themselves, this is a hostile takeover of America.”

3. Gays Want To Molest Their Kids

Those of you who haven’t been shipped off to a gay FEMA camp yet may want to consider this brilliant analysis by Mission America’s Linda Harvey, who this week alleged that gay parents are much more likely than others to sexually abuse their children because “when you are open to sinful, God-defying behavior in one profound way, violating other boundaries happens more easily.”

2. More GOP Rebranding

Speaking out in opposition to amendment to prohibit charter schools from discriminating in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, North Carolina House Speaker Pro Tem Paul ‘Skip’ Stam compared gay people to pedophiles and “distributed a flier titled ‘What Is A “Sexual Orientation”?’ that compares being lesbian or gay to mental disorders such as apotemnophilia (sexual arousal associated with an amputee’s stump) and coprophilia (sexual arousal associated with feces).”

The handout reportedly originated from the far-right Traditional Values Coalition. Catherine Thompson of TPM notes that “Stam did not mention that the information in his handout, which dated back to 2000, had been updated in the APA manual to classify those attractions as ‘disorders’ rather than ‘orientations,’ according to the news station.”

Local Religious Right activists quickly rushed to Stam’s defense after word of the flier got out.

This isn’t the first time Stam has tried to pull off this sort of stunt: he made similar claims while denouncing the School Violence Protect Act.

1. HIV/AIDS Cure At Pride

The latest religious group to claim to be able to cure HIV comes out of Minnesota, where an evangelical coalition is insisting that they will cure people of HIV at the upcoming Twin Cities Pride.

Andy Birkey of The Column reports that the group’s leader, Steven Uggen, believes God told him that he has the “healing power” to cure people of HIV, although most will not be grateful:

One of the words we got out of this outreach, the Lord really wanted to demonstrate his goodness to this community by releasing healing of HIV and AIDS, so we believe we’re going to see people healed of HIV and AIDS and we’re just, we’re carrying that word of the Lord into this outreach. And that will be part of our training just praying with boldness for the releasing of healing power and then sending them back to their doctors literally after praying for them. ‘Here’s what I want you to do: go to your doctor, get tested for HIV or AIDS and when you come back negative, you’ve got a decision to make whether you’re gonna serve the God who just healed you’ and then give them some gospel materials that they can take with them and encourage them to call on us and let us know and I’m confident that we’re going to have people healed of HIV and AIDS that are going to be contacting us. The funny thing is Jesus healed the 10 lepers and only one came back to acknowledge him so there may be 10 that get healed but only one come back, you know. This is a strategy that God wants to use so the very fruit of their sin is what he wants to, like, take away to show them his kindness and his goodness. I mean it’s just totally Jesus. I mean it’s like totally his way so we’re excited about that.

Rick Santorum Will Run For President Because Republicans Aren't Conservative Enough

Yesterday, Rick Santorum appeared on “The Capitol Hill Show” with Tim Constantine to tout Chris McDaniel’s campaign in the Mississippi Republican primary against Sen. Thad Cochran, a race he described as part of a larger battle within the GOP to weed out supposed moderates.

Santorum said that Republican leaders have silenced conservative figures like himself:

You look at our side and it’s, ‘You got to be quiet about this issue, you can’t talk about this issue, you got to stay away from this issue.’ When you do that, you’re not making the argument to the American public as to why you’re right and of course you’re going to lose on that issue if you never talk about it. That’s the problem, is that we have a bunch of people who run the Republican Party from the financial point of view who don’t believe in the party platform and have been trying to cow us into walking away from it.

“Will you run again in 2016? Will you carry the mantle of the conservative movement?” Constantine asked.

In response, Santorum strongly hinted that he will in fact run: “Well, I’m in South Carolina today.”

Rick Santorum Joins Bryan Fischer For Christian Persecution Fear Fest

Even though Rick Santorum came under fire during his presidential campaign for appearing on Bryan Fischer’s radio program, the former senator stopped by Fischer’s show again today to promote his film studio’s new movie, “One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty.” The movie, which was made in conjunction with Fischer’s American Family Association, draws heavily from the right-wing narrative about supposed anti-Christian persecution in America.

Santorum told Fischer that business owners who refuse service to gay customers have been sent to “reeducation camps” and that pastors in the U.S. may soon be thrown into jail or martyred.

The former senator said that conservatives should emulate the intensity of liberal activists and refuse to throw in the towel on gay marriage: “We haven’t even lost yet and the majority of Americans still believe in marriage, and yet our side is willing to fold our tent and go away. We have to understand that this is a war and if we don’t engage in this war we will lose this war.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/20/14

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 6/20/14

  • World Magazine laughably claims that there were ten thousand people at yesterday's March for Marriage.
  • While attending yesterday's march, Rick Santorum declared that "supporters of traditional marriage 'need to fight back' against the current momentum of the same-sex marriage legalization movement."
  • Lee Duigon, writing for BarbWire, says of gay activists that "like Satan himself, they want the man’s soul."
  • Peter LaBarbera is pleading not guilty to a charge of "mischief" after being arrested in Canada in April.
  • Accuracy in Academia is launching Conservative University. The first class is "Sex, Lies & Women’s Studies."

Rick Santorum Defends Rick Perry's Gay-Alcoholism Comparison, Says Hillary Clinton Isn't 'Bling' Enough

In an interview with USA Today’s Capital Download today, Rick Santorum defended his one-time — and possibly future — presidential rival Rick Perry’s comparison of homosexuality to alcoholism, arguing that homosexuality is indeed a choice.

Santorum, who has notoriously attempted to explain his opposition to marriage equality by speaking about beer and paper towels, told USA Today that while politicians should avoid making comparisons, Perry’s larger point was “accurate.”

Back in 2011, the former Pennsylvania senator back in 2011 insisted that homosexuality is a choice because he knows of “people who were gay and lived a gay lifestyle and aren’t anymore.”

Santorum also claimed in the USA Today interview that Hillary Clinton may not win the Democratic nomination for president if she decides to run because she is “old” and not “young and bling” enough for Democratic voters.

Ted Cruz And Rick Santorum To Join Iowa Pastor Who Predicted Marriage Equality Would Increase The Murder Rate, Destroy America

Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum are slated to appear at a September “American Heritage Summit” in Washington, D.C., hosted by a right-wing Iowa pastor Cary Gordon of Cornerstone World Outreach.

Along with Gordon and the pair of likely presidential candidates, the guests include conservative pseudo-historian David Barton, Iowa-based talk show host Steve Deace and Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King.

Gordon became heavily involved in politics during the 2010 campaign to remove Iowa Supreme Court Justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality, and he endorsed Santorum’s 2012 presidential campaign, helping the former Pennsylvania senator to win the Iowa caucuses.

At an anti-gay marriage rally in 2011, Gordon described marriage equality as a demonic attempt that would bring about America’s destruction, warning that Iowans must “protect the virtue of true Americanism from our own mental barbarians who attack our minds with the God-hating secularism of Europe” or risk being “extinguished from the earth.”

Gordon even predicted that gay marriage would increase the murder rate: “The natural problem that causes is an overt immorality. The crime rates go up, people suffer, people are stealing and murdering and [doing] all the things morality tells you not to do.”

The pastor, insisting that it is a “glaringly obvious fact that being ‘gay’ is a behavior, and has nothing to do with civil rights,” charged in a 2010 blog post that the same-sex marriage ruling put Iowa on the road to Nazism: “True pastors, in the fashion of Christ, will not and cannot bow before the arrogance of Caesar and Herod. We have learned from our past mistakes. We will not repeat the mistake made by Lutheran pastors when confronted with German fascism.”

“[T]o the intelligent religious man, homosexuality will always be un-natural for a myriad of obvious reasons one shouldn’t have to explain,” Gordon wrote. “To the intelligent evolutionist, it will NEVER agree with the doctrine of ‘survival of the fittest.’”

Gordon’s church also released a video asserting that same-sex marriage would legalize incest, pedophilia and bestiality.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 6/9/14

  • Matt Barber wants President Obama impeached for treason and he wants it done now!
  • Austin Ruse is upset that nobody will cover Robert Reilly's new anti-gay book.
  • Rick Santorum has been added to the line-up for NOM's "March for Marriage."
  • People are apparently very eager to have their photo taken with David Barton and Ted Cruz.
  • Lee Duigon warns that "the 'transgender' movement is picking up steam. Its purpose is to cut us off from God."
  • Finally, "Coach" Dave Daubenmire says the only thing that prevented BLM agents from killing the people at the Bundy Ranch was the fact that the protesters had cell phones and weapons.

Rick Santorum Seems To Think His Movie Was More Successful Than 'Noah'

Despite the fact that Rick Santorum’s movie, “The Christmas Candle,” made just $2.3 million, well short of its $7 million budget, he nonetheless claims that it was an “authentic” film that was much more successful than Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah.”

“One of the reasons that Noah had such a great splash and then died like a rock, it sank, was that it wasn’t true, wasn’t authentic,” the former senator and presidential candidate said of the movie that grossed well over $300 million.

The former senator told Christian Today that his company, EchoLight Studios, can help “reclaim the public square” and make the church “the centre of culture.”

"Popular culture has an impact on the government, on culture and the direction that policies take. As a moviegoer who appreciates good quality art and entertainment, it's always been an interest of mine to see that impact," he says.

He took up the opportunity to lead the team at EchoLight after being approached by a friend in the business who wanted to make movies "consistent with the guiding principles of our country - in particular, portraying faith in an authentic way to movie-going audiences".

"That had a really great appeal to me, to make movies based on universal truths and that deal with faith in a way that is more representative of how it actually affects people and their lives, as opposed to the contrivance born of other, Hollywood, films," Santorum says.



Santorum is certain that popular culture is the means to effect change. "I use this phrase all the time: that politics is downstream from culture," he insists.

"If we want to impact the political system and shape the country, then we have to reclaim the public square and make an impact in popular culture."

The focus of EchoLights, which will debut one of its first movies, Hoovey, next year, is to "turn the industry on its head" and use churches to premiere films, rather than leave them as an afterthought. Santorum explains: "We want the Church to be the centre of culture, which it has been missing...We're about enabling the Church to do what it was designed to do – to be salt and light.



"One of the reasons that Noah had such a great splash and then died like a rock, it sank, was that it wasn't true, wasn't authentic," he says.

Rick Santorum And Pat Robertson Lecture Republicans On How To Win Elections

Rick Santorum is busy traveling the country explaining to Republicans how they can win elections by embracing the principles outlined in his new book, “Blue Collar Conservative.”

And what better way to rebrand the image of the GOP by appearing on the “700 Club” with far-right firebrand Pat Robertson?

The two failed presidential candidates bonded over their purported appeal to working class voters. Santorum argued that working families are abandoning the Democratic Party over “the destruction of the culture that the left is doing and the destruction of the family.”

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Rick Santorum Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 09/10/2014, 5:50pm
Glenn Beck is now enamored with Andrew W.K., spending an entire hour with him on TV last night and calling him "one of the more important voices to unite America." Some more keen insights from Todd Starnes: "Secretary of State Kerry says ISIS is anti-Islam. It seems like this administration is more interested in defending Islam than they are the United States." Things would be so much better "if America were a Christian nation." Deacon Keith Fournier gushes about Rick Santorum and hopes that he runs for president: "Rick Santorum is a statesman... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 09/09/2014, 3:46pm
It was just yesterday that the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer was calling for people with HIV to be quarantined in the name of protecting the public health. So naturally, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum appeared on Fischer's radio program today to share his excitement at having partnered with the AFA on his most recent film "One Generation Away." During the discussion, Santorum said that Christians have allowed their faith to be removed from the public square and need to start fighting back, arguing that removing the Bible from public school... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 08/29/2014, 5:34pm
Media Matters: Laura Ingraham Tells Radio Listeners That Obama Considers Them, Not Islamic State, The "True Enemy." Andrew Kaczynski @ BuzzFeed: A Republican Congressman Is Actually Upset About Obama’s Tan Suit. Daniel Strauss @ TPM: Ben Carson: No, I'm Not Sorry I Compared U.S. To Nazi Germany. Alice Ollstein @ Think Progress: Kirsten Gillibrand Reports Sexual Harassment, Gets Criticized By Media (Updated). Ben Child @ The Guardian: Rick Santorum plans to take movies out of the cinema – to show them in church. MORE >
Miranda Blue, Thursday 08/28/2014, 10:36am
Today, Vocativ posted an interview with Rick Santorum, who is promoting his new movie “One Generation Away,” which is about the supposed “erosion of religious liberty” in the United States. Unsurprisingly, Santorum cites a number of myths about religious liberty in schools, including claiming that “you can’t pray in school” and that public schools "can't talk about the impact" of the Bible on "Western civilization." In reality, students have a constitutionally protected right to pray in school, as long as that prayer is... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Monday 08/11/2014, 5:24pm
On Saturday, Republican presidential hopefuls and other conservative figures converged on Ames, Iowa for the Family Leadership Summit. The event was organized by Bob Vander Plaats, the Religious Right activist who led campaigns to purge the state Supreme Court of justices who supported marriage equality. The all-star line-up included Sen.  Ted Cruz, Gov. Bobby Jindal. Gov. Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum. Joining them were State Sen. Joni Ernst, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat from Iowa; Rep. Tim Scott; Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds; Ken... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Thursday 07/31/2014, 11:28am
Two current Religious Right fixations — the “persecution” of American Christians and the need for conservatives to do more to influence the pop culture — have come together in movies like “Persecuted” and “We the People—Under Attack.” The latest entry, “One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty,” was screened by Rick Santorum at the Heritage Foundation on Monday night. Santorum said the movie will be released in September. His EchoLight Cinemas is trying to create an alternative to Hollywood distribution... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 07/30/2014, 11:40am
While speaking over the weekend on “Eagle Forum Live,” Rick Santorum said that conservatives need to “reclaim” marriage from the left and “the folks who are trying to change the marriage laws to allow same-sex couples.” The former senator and presidential candidate told host Anne Cori, Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly’s daughter, that supporters of marriage equality have “devalued marriage” and “divorced marriage from any meaning beyond a romantic relationship,” while Cori lamented the “celebration of single mothers.... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Thursday 07/24/2014, 12:52pm
For right-wing advocates, big conservative wins in the Supreme Court’s recently completed term have only confirmed the importance of electing a president in 2016 who will give them more justices in the mold of Samuel Alito and John Roberts.  The Roberts and Alito nominations, and the conservative majority created by their confirmations, represent the triumph of a decades-long push by right-wing funders, big business, conservative political strategists, and legal groups to take ideological dominion of all levels of the federal judiciary. Right-wing groups have long made attacks on... MORE >