Rick Santorum

Santorum: Curtail Single Motherhood To Reduce The Democratic Advantage

While speaking with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins on yesterday’s edition of Today’s Issues, Rick Santorum argued that single mothers were the “political base” of the Democratic Party, and that Republicans should work to lessen single motherhood in order to score political points against their Democratic rivals. The Democratic Party, Santorum said, relies on “single mothers who run a household” and have a “desire for government” as their voter base, and concluded that building “two parent families” is necessary “to reduce the Democratic advantage.”

Look at the political base of the Democratic Party: it is single mothers who run a household. Why? Because it’s so tough economically that they look to the government for help and therefore they’re going to vote. So if you want to reduce the Democratic advantage, what you want to do is build two parent families, you eliminate that desire for government.

Santorum: Curtail Single Motherhood 'To Reduce The Democratic Advantage'

While speaking with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins on yesterday’s edition of Today’s Issues, Rick Santorum argued that single mothers were the “political base” of the Democratic Party, and that Republicans should work to lessen single motherhood in order to score political points against their Democratic rivals. The Democratic Party, Santorum said, relies on “single mothers who run a household” and have a “desire for government” as their voter base, and concluded that building “two parent families” is necessary “to reduce the Democratic advantage.”

Look at the political base of the Democratic Party: it is single mothers who run a household. Why? Because it’s so tough economically that they look to the government for help and therefore they’re going to vote. So if you want to reduce the Democratic advantage, what you want to do is build two parent families, you eliminate that desire for government.

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.
 

Who’s Who at the Values Voter Summit 2011

This weekend, nearly every major GOP presidential candidate, along with the top two Republicans in the House of Representatives, will speak at the Values Voter Summit, an annual gathering of the leaders of the movement to integrate fundamentalist Christianity and American politics.

The candidates – Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich – and the congressmen – House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor – will join a who’s who of the far Right at the event. The organizers of the Values Voter Summit and many of its prominent attendees are on the frontlines of removing hard-won rights for gay and lesbian Americans, restricting women’s access to reproductive healthcare, undermining the free exercise rights of non-Christian religions and breaking down the wall of separation between church and state.

In perhaps the starkest illustration of how far even mainstream Republican candidates are willing to go to appease the Religious Right, Mitt Romney is scheduled to speak immediately before the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, a man whose record of hate speech should be shocking by any standard. Along with regularly denigrating gays and lesbians, Muslims, and other minority groups, Fischer has no love for Romney’s Mormon faith. In a radio program last week, Fischer insisted that Mormons have no right to religious freedom under the First Amendment and falsely claimed that the LDS Church still sanctions polygamy.

People For the American Way has called on GOP presidential candidates appearing at the conference to denounce Fischer’s bigotry. Last year, PFAW issued a similar call to attendees, which was met with silence.

The following is a guide to some of the individuals with whom the leaders of the GOP will be rubbing shoulders at the Values Voter Summit this year.

Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer is the Director of Issues Analysis at the American Family Association, which is a sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. Fischer acts as the chief spokesman for the group and also hosts its flagship radio program, Focal Point, on which he has interviewed a number of prominent figures including Bachmann, Gingrich, Santorum and Mike Huckabee.

On his radio program and in blog posts, Fischer frequently expresses unmitigated bigotry toward a number of minority groups, including gays and lesbians, Muslim Americans, Native Americans, low-income African Americans and Mormons.

Fischer has:

At a speech at last year’s Values Voter Summit, Fischer said that if Christians don’t get involved in politics, they “make a deliberate decision to turn over the running of the United States government to atheists and pagans.” Of the gay rights movement, he warned, “We are going to have to choose, as a nation, between the homosexual agenda and freedom, because the two cannot coexist.”

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council, the main organizer of this weekend’s summit. Perkins leads the group’s efforts against gay rights, abortion rights and church/state separation.

The FRC famously expressed its hostility to religious pluralism in a 2000 statement blasting a Hindu priest who was invited to give an opening prayer in Congress: "[W]hile it is true that the United States of America was founded on the sacred principle of religious freedom for all, that liberty was never intended to exalt other religions to the level that Christianity holds in our country's heritage…. Our Founders … would have found utterly incredible the idea that all religions, including paganism, be treated with equal deference."

The FRC has one of the most anti-gay platforms of any major political organization, including expressions of support for the criminalization of homosexuality. Earlier this year, the group called on members to pray for the continuation of Malawi’s law prohibiting homosexuality , under which a gay couple was sentenced to fourteen years in jail. Senior fellow Peter Sprigg said he would “much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.”

Perkins himself frequently reflects the extreme views of his organization. He:

At last year’s Values Voter Summit, Perkins managed to simultaneously insult U.S. servicemembers and several important U.S. allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying that armies that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly “ participate in parades, they don’t fight wars to keep the world free .”

Mat Staver

Mat Staver is the head of the Liberty University School of Law and its legal affiliate, Liberty Counsel, both sponsors of the Values Voter Summit. Liberty Counsel vehemently opposes rights for gays and lesbians, and in July filed the lawsuit to overturn New York’s Marriage Equality Act . The group’s Director of Cultural Affairs Matt Barber has called marriage equality “ rebellion against God” and said LGBT youth are more likely to commit suicide because they know “ what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, [and] is immoral .” Barber has also described liberalism as “hatred for God” and said the president and Democrats “are anti-God.” In fact, Liberty Counsel claimed that Obama is “ pushing America to move under the curse ” of God and “ jeopardizing our nation” for purportedly not supporting Israel.

Through his role at Liberty Counsel and on his radio program Faith & Freedom, Staver has:

Staver aggressively promotes “ex-gay” reparative therapy and warns that gays and lesbians are “ intent on trampling upon the fundamental freedoms ” of others. He is also closely linked to the saga of Lisa Miller, a woman represented by Liberty Counsel who kidnapped her daughter and fled to Central America after a court granted custody to her former partner, a lesbian woman. Although Liberty Counsel denies involvement in the kidnapping, earlier this year Miller was reportedly staying at the house of Staver’s administrative assistant’s father in Nicaragua . Staver has also taught the Miller case in his law classes as an example of an instance where “God’s law” preempts “man’s law.”

Jerry Boykin

Retired Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin sparked a controversy when, as a high-ranking official in the Bush Defense Department, he framed the War on Terror as a holy war against Islam. He has since built a career as a Religious Right speaker, specializing in anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-Obama conspiracy theories. Boykin rejects religious freedom for American Muslims, claiming that Islam “is not just a religion, it is a totalitarian way of life.” In an interview with Bryan Fischer, he called for “no mosques in America.”

Boykin is a leading member of the dominionist group The Oak Initiative. In a speech at the group’s conference in April, he declared that George Soros and the Council on Foreign Relations conspired to collapse the U.S. economy in order to help President Obama get elected. Last year, he told the group that President Obama was using his health care reform legislation as a cover to establish a private army of Brownshirts loyal just to him .

Star Parker

Parker is a long-time Religious Right activist who is particularly active in anti-gay and anti-abortion rights work. As Washington, DC was poised to legalize marriage equality, Parker warned that it would lead to more HIV infections in the city, which would “ transform officially into Sodom.” In a recent radio interview with Tony Perkins, Parker mused that black family life was “ more healthy” under slavery than it is today and has accused liberals of treating Justice Clarence Thomas and Gov. Sarah Palin like runaway slaves. She has called legal abortion a “genocide” on par with slavery and the Holocaust.

Ed Vitagliano

As the AFA’s research director, Ed Vitagliano helped co-produce the 2000 anti-gay documentary “It’s Not Gay,” which is riddled with misleading statistics about gays and lesbians and promotes “ex-gay” reparative therapy. The “documentary” starred ex-gay leader Michael Johnston, a self-described “former homosexual,” who was later revealed to have been secretly having sex with other men. Vitagliano’s anti-gay work has continued apace — on the AFA’s radio program this year, Vitagliano argued that gay men are “ abusing the nature of the design of the human body” and said homosexuality is not a “ natural and normal and healthy activity.” Vitagliano also scolded congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis for supporting marriage equality , saying that Lewis “thumbed [his] nose” at God and “needs to go back and read his Bible.”

Bishop Harry Jackson

Jackson, who built his career as an avowed opponent of rights for gays and lesbians, is a regular speaker at Religious Right conferences. He has called for a “SWAT Team” of “Holy Ghost terrorists” to work against hate crimes legislation that protects gays and lesbians, and said that black organizations that support gay rights have “ sold out the black community” and have been “ co-opted by the radical gay movement .” Jackson claims that gay marriage is part of “ a Satanic plot to destroy our seed” and that the larger gay rights movement is “ an insidious intrusion of the Devil.”

Along with his fierce opposition to LGBT rights, Jackson has compared legal abortion to “lynching” and urged the Senate to defeat Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court because she is not a Protestant (Kagan is Jewish). Jackson has even described his political efforts in apocalyptic terms, telling a Religious Right group before the 2010 elections, “God is saying to us ‘I want to pick a fight in which I can wipe out my enemies and cause them to be silenced once and for all.’ This is where America is; if we do not recognize and repent, we are going to see our way of life destroyed as we now know it.”

Lila Rose

Rose is the anti-choice activist responsible for carrying out a deceptive hit job against Planned Parenthood this year. Members of Rose’s group, Live Action, went to Planned Parenthood clinics around the country posing as clients seeking help with a child sex trafficking ring. Planned Parenthood alerted the FBI about the activity, and the one staffer who handled the supposed traffickers inappropriately was promptly fired. Nevertheless, Rose claimed that her hoax proved “beyond a shadow of a doubt that Planned Parenthood intentionally breaks state and federal laws and covers up the abuse of young girls it claims to serve.”

Rose is no newcomer to the Values Voter Summit: in a speech at 2009’s summit, she called for abortions to be performed “in the public square.”

Glenn Beck

Until Beck’s Fox News program was canceled earlier this year, he was one of the Right’s most visible fear-mongers and conspiracy theorists. When his violent rhetoric inspired some real threats against progressive leaders, he laughed off the critics who urged him to choose his words more responsibly. Beck’s elaborate conspiracy theories include the idea that socialists and Islamists were planning a global caliphate, with the help of American progressives; an obsession with the progressive funder George Soros, at whom he leveled a number of anti-Semitic smears including a personal attack that the Anti-Defamation league called “horrific”; and a distrust of President Obama, who he once said was “racist” with a “ deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture .”

On air, Beck joked about killing prominent progressives (for instance, poisoning Nancy Pelosi’s wine), but frequently insisted that it is progressives who were urging violence, even predicting his own martyrdom. In one 2010 broadcast, he warned that "anarchists, Marxists, communists, revolutionaries, Maoists" have to "eliminate 10 percent of the U.S. population" in order to "gain control."

After a terrorist in Oslo killed dozens of young members of Norway’s Labor Party at an island summer camp, Beck attacked the victims , comparing the camp to “Hitler Youth” and calling it “disturbing.”

Right Wing Round-Up

PFAW Urges GOP Candidates To Condemn Fischer

We reported yesterday that American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer will not only be speaking at the upcoming Values Voter Summit but will immediately follow Mitt Romney. Today, People For the American Way released a statement urging Romney and fellow Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum to condemn Fischer’s unmitigated bigotry rather than lending it legitimacy by appearing with him:

• Fischer, the chief spokesman for the AFA, has insisted that American Muslims have no First Amendment rights, has said that Muslims should be banned from the U.S. military, and has called for a ban on the building of new mosques in the U.S.

• Fischer has written that “gay sex is a form of domestic terrorism,” thinks gays and lesbians should be “disqualified from public office,” claims that gays are responsible for the Nazi Party and that gay people today will “do the same thing to you that the Nazis did to their opponents in Nazi Germany.”

• Fischer has insisted that Native Americans are “morally disqualified” from controlling American land and insists that American Indian communities are “mired in poverty and alcoholism” because not all have converted to Christianity.

• He has written that African American welfare recipients “rut like rabbits.”

• Last year, Fischer insulted Medal of Honor winner Sal Giunta, who saved the lives of two fellow soldiers under heavy fire in Afghanistan, saying “we have feminized the Medal of Honor” because "we now award it only for preventing casualties, not for inflicting them."

People For the American Way president Michael Keegan urged Romney and his fellow presidential candidates to denounce Fischer’s bigotry before appearing with him at the event.

“Bryan Fischer’s stunning record of public bigotry would make him a pariah in any sane political movement,” Keegan said. “But his long record of hate speech doesn’t seem to bother the supposed ‘mainstream’ GOP politicians like Mitt Romney and Rick Perry who are sharing the stage with him at an event sponsored by his employer. Candidates don’t have to agree with the views of everyone they appear with – but they should be wary of lending legitimacy to those who peddle hate and fear of their fellow Americans.

“If Mitt Romney wants to appeal to mainstream audiences, he should publicly disassociate himself from Fischer’s bigotry before handing him the podium.”

Are VVS Organizers Trying To Hide Fischer's Involvement?

Last month, we asked why Bryan Fischer was not being pictured among the confirmed and invited leaders to the upcoming Values Voter Summit.

Fischer has been a featured speaker for each of the last two years at the event and has always been prominently featured on the speaker's list in years past.  And considering that his employer, The American Family Association, is a co-sponsor of the event, it seemed rather unlikely that Fischer had been dropped, despite his long record of unmitigated bigotry.

The Values Voter Summit is being held next week and Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum are all pictured on the confirmed speaker list, as are dozens of other GOP and Religious Right leaders ... but Fischer is nowhere to be found:

But just because he is not listed on the speakers page, that doesn't mean that Fischer won't be speaking, because the event schedule has him listed as speaking directly after Mitt Romney on Saturday:

9:00 a.m. - Noon

MORNING PLENARY SESSION - Regency Ballroom

- Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas), Republican Presidential Candidate*

- Dr. Bill Bennett, Host, Morning in America*

- Governor Mitt Romney, Republican Presidential Candidate*

- Bryan Fischer, Director of Issues Analysis, American Family Association*

Straight Talk on Gay "Marriage"

- Moderator: Tom McClusky, Senior Vice President, FRC Action
- Daniel Avila, J.D., Policy Advisor for Marriage and Family , U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops*
- Brian Brown, Executive Director, National Organization for Marriage
- Derek McCoy, President, Maryland Family Alliance*
- David Tyree, Former Wide Receiver, New York Giants

- General William Boykin (Ret.), Former Commander, Delta Force*

The asterisk by Fischer's name indicates that he is a confirmed speaker, so why are event organizers seemingly trying to conceal his participation?

Anti-Immigrant Activists Blast Perry Over DREAM Act Defense

At last night’s Republican presidential debate Gov. Rick Perry defended a state law he signed that allows the children of undocumented immigrants living in Texas to pay in-state tuition at the state’s public colleges and universities. Although Perry has attacked the federal DREAM Act as “amnesty,” anti-immigrant activists are furious over his defense of the Texas law.

In a statement, Americans for Legal Immigration-PAC president William Gheen speculated that Perry has “assured his own defeat”:

Texas Governor Perry destroyed his chances of winning the GOP Presidential primary during last night's debate when he defended his support for in-state tuition for illegal aliens which is opposed by 81% of all Americans.

"Rick Perry proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is not the right choice for America by supporting these radical illegal immigration attracting measures," said William Gheen, President of ALIPAC. "Perry's support for in-state tuition for illegals forces taxpayers to pay to replace their own children in the limited seats in our colleges!"



"GOP voters cannot vote for Rick Perry now without legitimizing and supporting in-state tuition for illegal immigrants," said William Gheen. "Perry has assured his own defeat despite the fact that he is receiving so much support and favoritism from globalist groups in the media. It is clear to me that the globalists who are responsible for illegal immigration in America are using their power to promote Rick Perry at this time."

Chris Chmielenski of Numbers USA also criticized Perry:

Legal immigration aside, the storyline of tonight's debate was Gov. Perry's insistence to stand behind his decision to sign the Texas Dream Act, granting in-state tuition benefits to illegal aliens. Perry's response continues to be that these individuals will become a drag on society, but what he fails to understand is that with or without an education, these young people can't legally work in the United States. Plus, as Rick Santorum pointed out, no one is denying illegal aliens an education. Illegal aliens can still go to the University of Texas, but they should have to pay the same tuition rate that Arizona residents who attend the University of Texas pay.

Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation wrote in an email to members that his stance will haunt him throughout the primary:

Perry blew it.

How?

By pandering to the illegal alien vote.

Perry has gained a lot of traction from the Tea Party movement. By doubling down on the illegal alien issue, he has gained no friend and alienated many in the conservative movement.



His support of illegal aliens is hurting him.

Even American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer got into the mix, taking particular issue with Perry’s claim that those who oppose in-state tuition for the children of undocumented immigrants don’t “have a heart”:

It’s fine to say we should not punish children for the sins of their fathers. But neither should we reward them. And we are not just rewarding the children, we are rewarding the parents, since many of them stole into the U.S. because they wanted to give their children a shot at a decent education. (The solution: help Mexico improve its educational system.) So Gov. Perry simply cannot get around the fact that he is rewarding the illegal behavior of aliens who have no right to be here. That is an exceedingly troublesome position for someone who wants to be our nation’s chief law enforcement officer.



Public schools at every level should be reserved for students who have a legal right to be in this country. The immigration status of every applicant should be checked and enrollment reserved for legal residents of the United States. If illegal aliens wants [sic] to pursue higher education, let’s repatriate them to their native land where they can pursue education to their heart’s content.

Right Wing Round-Up

Perry to Address Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit

Family Research Council Action, the political arm of the Family Research Council, just announced that Texas Gov. Rick Perry will address the upcoming Values Voter Summit in Washington. As Religious Right leaders continue to coalesce behind Perry — FRC president Tony Perkins was among those attending a pro-Perry gathering of conservative leaders at James Leninger’s ranch earlier this month — addressing the Values Voter Summit should only help his standing among social conservatives. Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are the only other presidential candidates who have so far committed to the event. Other Religious Right leaders scheduled to speak include Gary Bauer, Brent Bozell, Mathew Staver, Phyllis Schlafly and Bill Bennett, along with lesser known but radical activists like Lila Rose, Jerry Boykin and Star Parker:

Family Research Council Action (FRC Action) has confirmed that GOP presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) will speak at the Values Voter Summit this October 7-9 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Gov. Perry joins other Republican presidential candidates, including U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), at the largest annual gathering of pro-family activists in the nation's capital.

The annual event, which is expected to draw 2,000 grassroots activists from across the country, will have a speaker line-up that includes House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), U.S. Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Steve King (R-IA), Dr. Bill Bennett, Mark Levin, Lt. Gen. William Boykin (U.S. Army-Ret.), Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Erick Erickson, Ed Morrissey, Heritage Foundation fellow Edwin Meese III, Lila Rose and Phyllis Schlafly. The 2011 Values Voter Summit is cosponsored by AFA Action, American Values, The Heritage Foundation, Liberty University, and Liberty Counsel. A presidential straw poll, exhibit hall, book signings, breakout sessions and much more will be packed into this three-day conference. On Saturday evening Family Research Council will award Heritage Foundation fellow Edwin Meese, III with its 2011 Vision and Leadership Award.

Right Wing Leftovers

• Rick Santorum frets that the gay community has gone out on a “jihad against Rick Santorum.”

• Ron Paul says he does not believe in evolution.

• Liberty Counsel contends that the State Department tried to sabotage Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Courage” rally.

• Michael Brown goes to a Pride Parade, and doesn’t like what he sees.

• How many times can Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality say ‘homosexual’ in one sentence? “I think what's going to happen is that homosexual activists will try as best they can to manipulate the system, and Obama will pander to homosexual activists by allowing homosexuals to stay in the country using this executive order.”

Santorum: Same-Sex Marriage Helped Destroy The Economy

Yesterday, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum appeared on Today’s Issues on American Family Radio, along with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and the American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon, to discuss the Ames Straw Poll. After celebrating his fourth place finish in the straw poll, Santorum told Perkins and Wildmon that marriage equality, or what he calls the “redefinition of marriage,” secular government and legal abortion are responsible for the country’s economic collapse and created “a society that’s broken”:

Santorum: Letting the family break down and in fact encouraging it and inciting more breakdown through this whole redefinition of marriage debate, and not supporting strong nuclear families and not supporting and standing up for the dignity of human life. Those lead to a society that’s broken.



If you think that we can be a society that kills our own, and that disregards the family and the important role it plays, and doesn’t teach moral values and the important role of faith in the public square, and then expect people to be good, decent and moral when they behave economically, if you look at the root cause of the economic problems that we’re dealing with on Wall Street and Main Street I might add, from 2008, they were huge moral failings. And you can’t say that we’re gonna take morality out of the public square, morality out of our schools, God out of our schools, and then expect people to behave decently in a country that requires, capitalism requires some strong modicum of moral consciousness if it’s gonna be successful.

Santorum: Marriage Equality Will "Destroy The Family"

Presidential candidate and former senator Rick Santorum spoke with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council on Friday’s Today’s Issues to discuss New York’s new same-sex marriage law. Santorum said that it is “absurd” that “they’re using this idea of equality” to advance the legalization of same-sex marriage, which he believes is part of “an agenda that is ultimately going to destroy the family.” He went on to tell Perkins that marriage equality is part of the left’s effort to take “more control of your lives” by weakening “the family and the church.”

Perkins: But you see what’s behind this with the homosexual activists that they will not rest with simply accommodation but they want to force every state in the nation to change their laws to recognize same-sex marriage.

Santorum: Yeah. They want to force their worldview on us and they’re using this idea of ‘equality,’ which is absurd. This has nothing to do with how two people want to live their lives. It has everything to do with an agenda that is ultimately going to destroy the family, weaken the family and weaken our religious liberties in this country. This is going to transform, you know, the left is very enthusiastic about this agenda because it is an opportunity to get after the things that they see standing in the way of them taking control, more control of your lives, which is the family and the church. And so what better to do that than by destroying the institution of marriage and by saying anybody who opposes them is a bigot and therefore, and that includes people in the clergy.

Bachmann, Romney, Santorum Promise "Presidential Commission To Investigate Harassment Of Traditional Marriage Supporters"

As we mentioned yesterday, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, and Michele Bachmann will be joining FRC, the National Organization for Marriage and the Susan B. Anthony List for a ""Values Voter Bus Tour" through Iowa.

In kicking off the event, NOM has announced that Santorum, Bachmann, and Mitt Romney have all signed a five-point "Marriage Pledge" [PDF] that includes a promise to establish a "presidential commission" to "investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters":

One, support sending a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the states for ratification.

Two, nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and to applying the original meaning of the Constitution, appoint an attorney general similarly committed, and thus reject the idea our Founding Fathers inserted a right to gay marriage into our Constitution.

Three, defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act vigorously in court.

Four, establish a presidential commission on religious liberty to investigate and document reports of Americans who have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if needed.

Five, advance legislation to return to the people ofthe District of Columbia their right to vote on marriage.

GOP Leaders Joining Religious Right Groups For "Values Voter Bus Tour" Through Iowa

The Family Research Council has just announced that Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Steve King, and Louie Gohmert will be joining FRC, the National Organization for Marriage and the Susan B. Anthony List for a ""Values Voter Bus Tour" through Iowa next week:

FRC Action's Faith Family Freedom Fund, the National Organization for Marriage and the Susan B. Anthony List today announced the "Values Voter Bus Tour" that next week will cover 1,305 miles in four days with events in 22 cities. The tour will pass through 47 of Iowa's 99 counties.

Presidential candidates Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum will participate in the tour, and candidate Michele Bachmann and other GOP presidential candidates are expected to join the tour as well. U.S. Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX) will also join Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins, National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown, Susan B. Anthony List's Marilyn Musgrave, and other state and national leaders. The tour will be kicked off by Faith Family Freedom Fund Chairman Connie Mackey on Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at the state capitol and conclude at the Ames Straw Poll on August 13.

Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins made the following comments:

"Last November, the people of Iowa reclaimed their right to govern themselves by removing three activist judges from power. We were honored to play a part in that victory with our successful Judge Bus tour that traveled the state highlighting the issue.

"The Values Bus Tour will speak to the views held by millions of American voters who want to make sure that issues impacting the family and the broader culture are understood and addressed by each of the candidates. The race is clearly wide open. Values voters will be closely watching next week's events as they determine which of the candidates are willing to do what it takes once elected to restore fiscal sanity, protect marriage, safeguard religious liberty and protect the rights of the unborn," concluded Perkins.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, made the following comments:

"President Obama is the most pro-abortion President in United States history. He has shown a willingness to shut down the federal government in order to keep Planned Parenthood funded with tax payer subsidies and even threatened individual states for exercising their Tenth Amendment right to de-fund the organization at a state level. It is time to replace Obama with a true pro-life leader in the White House. That effort begins in Iowa. The Values Voter Bus Tour is designed to get the word out to straw poll and caucus goers regarding which Presidential candidates can be counted on as strong and vocal leaders for women and unborn children."

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), made the following comments:

"President Obama has done virtually everything in his power to undermine the institution of marriage, including refusing to defend the bi-partisan Defense of Marriage Act signed into law by President Clinton. NOM is committed to ensuring that the next president is a strong and committed supporter of traditional marriage and will commit his or her administration to vigorously defending marriage in the courts, Congress and in the court of public opinion. We were the largest contributor to the effort to unseat the state judges who imposed same-sex marriage on Iowa by judicial fiat. We look forward to playing an extremely active role in encouraging the people of Iowa, including our tens of thousands of supporters, to make a difference in selecting an unambiguously pro-marriage candidate in Iowa."

Parker: Black Family Life "Was More Healthy" Under Slavery

While appearing on American Family Radio’s Today’s Issues with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association, right-wing activist and onetime Republican congressional candidate Star Parker endorsed the claim that Black families were better off under slavery. She was discussing a pledge signed by presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum written by The Family Leader which “suggested that black children born into slavery were better off in terms of family life than African-American kids born today.” Parker, who recently argued that “too many Blacks do not want to be free,” said that under slavery “black family life, in the vulnerable state that it was, some could say more healthy than it is today,” even though black people were considered property and it was illegal for slaves to marry.

Watch:

Parker: Now we don’t have clear data getting to your question about what black family life looked like during slavery as what the attacks are now even against people like Michele Bachmann who signed on to a document that said the black family was more intact than it is today. But we do know the reason we don’t have clear data of course is because only some data made it through the civil war.

Wildmon: What about prior to civil rights?

Parker: Well I’m going back to this point in history that they went back to, which was slavery, during slavery. Because black family life, in the vulnerable state that it was, some could say was more healthy than it is today.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Rep. Michele Bachmann announced (again) her intention to run for president.
  • And she is off to a great start.
  • The Family Research Council says that passage of marriage equality in New York was the result of "enormous political coercion [that] resulted in a profound failure of moral courage in the New York Senate."
  • The National Organization for Marriage is pledging $2 million to defeat the NY Republicans who voted for the marriage equality bill.
  • Bryan Fischer continues his hate crime crusade.
  • Finally, part two of Randall Terry's interview with Rick Santorum was disappointingly dull.

Randall Terry Interviews Rick Santorum

I don't know about you, but if I was hoping to be taken seriously as a Republican presidential candidate and Randall Terry approached me at a conference for an interview, I would run away as fast as I could.

But, then again, I am not Rick Santorum:

Turns out that both Terry and Santorum attended a homeschool convention in Iowa and Terry managed to land an interview with the GOP presidential hopeful.  Terry is breaking the interview up into three parts which he is showing on his television program. 

Part one aired last night (starting around the 11:00 mark) and it was relatively uneventful, though Terry did try to get Santorum to promise to eliminate the Department of Education:

Hopefully parts two and three will be a little more interesting.

Religious Right Intensifies The Fight Against Gay-Straight Alliances

After Education Secretary Arne Duncan sent a letter declaring that Gay-Straight Alliances and similar groups are protected under the 1984 Equal Access Law, which was passed with the help of Religious Right activists, the Religious Right was unsurprisingly enraged. Many anti-gay organizations forcefully oppose the creation of such clubs, and the Family Research Council even urged schools to encourage clubs that support ex-gay therapy. Now, American Principles In Action (APIA) is denouncing Duncan’s letter as a threat to “the innocence” of children.

APIA is the political arm of the American Principles Project, an anti-gay group that is best known for launching the boycott of the Conservative Political Action Conference over the participation of GOProud and the alleged sidelining of the social conservatives. Even though APIA took on leading conservative groups with its CPAC boycott, recently presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson and Rick Santorum signed up for their Iowa “Tea Party Bus Tour.”

In a statement, the APIA charged Secretary Duncan with bullying for supporting students who want to form clubs that actively fight school bullying and harassment. The group instead claimed that it was part of the Obama Administration’s “sexual agenda” and need to “pander to the gay lobby,” requesting the Supreme Court overrule the decision:

Today, American Principles in Action (APIA) criticized Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan for another attempt to bully local schools into accepting the Administration’s sexual agenda. On June 14, he sent a “Dear Colleague” letter notifying schools across the country that they are prohibited from denying the formation of “Queer-Straight” and “Gay-Straight” Alliance groups.

“This is a situation where local school boards have been making their own decisions about how to protect the students entrusted to their care,” said Andy Blom, Executive Director of APIA. “It is simply unacceptable for Sec. Duncan to push local school districts around and force them to accept their sexual agenda, especially when case law is so conflicted on the issue.”

In his letter, Secretary Duncan backed up his decision by citing a July 2008 decision made in Gonzalez vs. School Board of Okeechobee County where a Florida federal judge prohibited the local school board from preventing a Gay-Straight Alliance Group from forming under the Equal Protection Act.



“What we really need is for the Supreme Court to weigh in to protect the ability of local school districts to manage the innocence of their children without interference from federal courts,” said Blom. “Instead, Sec. Duncan has used yet another opportunity to pander to the gay lobby. It is time for the Supreme Court and Congress to step forward and reign in this overaggressive Department of Education.”

Beisner: Environmentalists' Objective Is To Kill 95% Of Humanity

Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance spoke to Bryan Fischer yesterday on American Family Radio about the evil plans that environmentalists have in store for humanity. Beisner, who has his PhD in Scottish History and whose group is tied to energy companies, previously worked with Fischer and other Religious Right leaders on the “Resisting The Green Dragon” miniseries which attacked the supposedly anti-Christian, anti-human environmentalist movement.

Last time Beisner was on Fischer’s program, Beisner said that the deadly tornadoes in the American South were “little tastes” of God’s judgment. Yesterday, the two discussed how they believe environmentalists are earth-worshippers who are deliberately destroying the economy and that climate change is a myth, lauding Rick Santorum for calling global warming a “patently absurd,” liberal plot.

Fischer asked Beisner if the environmental movement wanted a return “into dark paganism” and Beisner agreed, saying that the end-game of environmentalism “would require the disappearance of about 95% of the human race.”

Watch:

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Rick Santorum Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Tuesday 05/28/2013, 6:15pm
Shockingly, Republican politicians are far more likely to make false statements than Democrats. Speaking of fallacious claims, did you know that President Obama was using cocaine and having sex with another man during the Benghazi attack? Bob Vander Plaats is giddy about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s potential run for president. Rick Santorum endorsed American Spectator editor Quin Hillyer’s campaign for Congress.  The Creation Museum is introducing an exhibit on how stories about dragons prove that humans lived with dinosaurs.  Jim Bob... MORE >
Layne, Wednesday 05/22/2013, 2:12pm
As the Boy Scouts of America consider lifting a ban on openly gay scouts, here’s a look at Right Wing Watch’s collection of recent claims from the Religious Right on what might happen if that shift were to occur.  Relying on outlandish predictions and harmful lies, right-wing personalities are linking gays in the Boy Scouts to everything from sexual abuse to North Korean nuclear threats. Here are highlights of Right Wing Watch’s recent reporting on right-wing opposition to lifting the ban on gay members in the Boy Scouts: 5. Swanson: Allowing Gays in Boy Scouts Like... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 04/10/2013, 1:05pm
This week, a Michigan high school canceled a planned speech by Rick Santorum after Santorum refused to provide school district officials with an advance copy of his remarks. But Religious Right activists think there is another explanation for the cancellation. Fox News commentator Todd Starnes reports that he spoke to a conservative youth group spokesman who said that Santorum’s speech was cancelled because of his well-known anti-gay remarks. In the past, Santorum has likened same-sex unions to “man on dog” and “man on child” marriages. Talk show host Janet... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 04/09/2013, 5:30pm
Rick Santorum says "it would be suicidal" for the Republican Party to accept marriage equality. Melissa Harris-Perry responds to the right-wing freakout over her MSNBC promo. Diane Gramley, president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, responds to news that Sen. Bob Casey Jr. now supports gay marriage by saying that "if Bob Casey, Sr. was still alive, he would be extremely disappointed in his son." Judging by the fact that its website is now defunct, we are guessing that the Newt Gingrich-founded and Jim Garlow-led Renewing American... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 04/08/2013, 12:40pm
Rick Santorum’s group Patriot Voices is out with a new contest focused on saving the American dream before President Obama destroys it. During an appearance on Patriot Voices Radio last month, Santorum declared that it is necessary to protect the American dream from companies like Starbucks that support gay rights. Starbucks is the focus of a boycott campaign backed by groups like the National Organization for Marriage, Concerned Women for America, Liberty Counsel and the Family Research Council over the company’s endorsement of Washington state’s marriage equality. At a... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 04/05/2013, 5:29pm
Rick Santorum is considering another run for president in 2016 because, if recent history has demonstrated anything, it is that GOP presidential candidates who can't even win the nomination the first time have a really good track record of winning the next time around. Did you miss NOM's sparsely-attended anti-marriage rally outside the Supreme Court?  Now you can watch all the boring speakers. Michael Brown explains that "there is no such thing as an unrepentant, born-again Christian prostitute." Edward Hudgins of The Atlas Society says the GOP should... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/13/2013, 4:25pm
Rick Santorum and James Dobson are back together again, this time promoting Dobson’s “dystopian thriller” on Patriot Voices Radio, which is Santorum’s new radio show. The former presidential candidate said that the Obama administration is pushing “godlessness” and is “overtly hostile to people of faith,” to which Dobson agreed and predicted the creation of euthanasia clinics in the future that result from a dramatic decline in the birth rate. Later, Dobson lamented that he has “never seen a time when there was less common sense in... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 03/05/2013, 5:14pm
Pamela Geller will not be welcomed back to CPAC this year, representing yet another development in annual conservative gathering’s frequent clashes over Islamophobia. Anti-Muslim activists like Geller, David Horowitz, Frank Gaffney and Robert Spencer claim that the Muslim Brotherhood and its cohorts, namely Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan, are trying to infiltrate the conservative movement. During her panel last year, James Lafferty of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force bragged that he was “proud” that many of the attacks on mosques in the U.S. have occured in the South.... MORE >