Robert Knight

Right Wing Round-Up

  • For some reason, Focus on the Family thought it appropriate to ask Matt Barber and Robert Knight what they think about domestic partnership benefits.  Guess what, they don't like it.
  • Stay classy, Pete Hoekstra.
  • Has the Right completely forgotten about "shoe-bomber" Richard Reid?  Apparently.
  • It seems that just about every day, everything related to Orly Taitz just keeps getting more bizarre.
  • Finally, Newt Gingrich has a great suggestion: we should be profiling dangerous people instead of harassing innocent people.  Why didn't somebody think of that before? Maybe next Gingrich could come up with some way of actually telling them apart, since that is kind of the problem.

Surprise! Professional Anti-Gays Oppose Chai Feldblum

Sadly, my knowledge of what is going on on the Hill is determined primarily by whatever the Religious Right is talking about on a given day.

Today, for instance, the Senate HELP committee is scheduled for a vote on Chai Feldblum's nomination to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ... and the reason I know that is because a bunch of Religious Right groups have announced (again) their opposition.

The Family Research Council included an attack on her in its most recent "Washington Update," Phyllis Schlafly included an attack in her most recent audio commentary, and Concerned Women for America issued a press release.

And then, for good measure, all of the professional anti-gay activists got together to sign on to a letter [PDF] put together by the Traditional Values Coalition:

Signers include Andrea Lafferty and Lou Sheldon of TVC, Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association, Robert Knight of Coral Ridge Ministries, Rick Scarborough of Vision America, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, Linda Harvey of Mission America, Rob Schenck of Faith and Action, Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, and dozens of others.

Highlights From the Religious Right's Anti-Islam Counter Offensive

Last night we posted audio of Rifqa Bary's surprise appearance on the National Day of Prayer Task Force's effort to mobilize its Christian warriors to counter the "dark spiritual content" of the scheduled Muslim prayer rally in Washington, DC, which, as we've seen over the last several days, and continue to see, seems to be causing the Religious Right to completely freak out:

Robert Knight is a senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union and a senior writer for Coral Ridge Ministries. He says having 50,000 Muslims on Capitol Hill paints a very potent picture for Muslims around the world.

"It's adding up to a picture that the United States may not want to paint because there are a lot of Muslims who will be inspired, perhaps, to get more militant if they think the United States is falling into Muslim hands, basically," he points out.

According to Knight, many Muslims believe they have a sympathetic ear in President Barack Obama. "Obama held no National Day of Prayer events at the White House this year, but gave a very positive eloquent speech about Ramadan," he recalls. "And he also has said some very interesting things overseas about the emergence of Islam."

Organizers say it was President Obama's inauguration speech in January and his speech broadcast from Egypt in June that inspired them to hold Friday's event, scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

At least one pro-family organization has expressed deep concern about the individuals who have organized the gathering and who are scheduled to speak. In an Action Alert to its constituents, the American Family Association has described those individuals as "men who harbor both anti-Semitic and fundamentally anti-American views." And like Knight, AFA notes President Obama's refusal to participate in the National Day of Prayer in May -- in contrast to his hosting of a White House dinner celebrating what Obama called "the Holy Month of Ramadan."

Meanwhile, Christians alarmed at today's scheduled gathering of tens of thousands of Muslims outside the U.S. Capitol have prayed together in a national conference call. Shirley Dobson, who heads the National Day of Prayer Task Force, said she and other Christians "are so troubled at what we see going on in our nation -- we're watching the foundations crumble."

Associated Press says Christian leaders in last night's conference call were unconvinced the gathering will be a time for Muslims to pray together, read the Quran, and celebrate America's religious freedom -- as its organizers insist. Family Research Council president Tony Perkins wondered if the Muslims would be "praying for the well-being of our nation."

Perkins called the Muslim gathering "a wake-up call for the church" and a warning that if Christians do not "fill the void that's in this nation with the truth, it will be filled with something else."

We've put together this clip featuring some of the highlights from the call itself, featuring Dobson saying the effort was designed to "put a shield of prayer around the United States of American and our world, while just praying for God's intervention." She was followed by Perkins, who insisted that it was not a question of whether Muslims had a right to gather to pray but rather "the focus of their prayers, are they praying for the well-being of our nation," saying that the Islamic community has been silent when acts of terrorism have been committed against America and has been equally silent on the "threats" facing Rifqa Bary and, as such, "we have reason to be suspicious about the motives this community has for the well-being of this country. Perkins then introduced his "good friend" Lou Engle, who proceeded to warn that Americans did not "understand the spiritual implications of what is taking place" with this Muslim rally, saying they were "taking the spiritual power of 40 days Ramadan and then channeling it like an arrow right into the White House."  Eventually, others began to pray as well, asking God for a "great turning in education, a great turning in the political arena, [and to] turn the media in America over to your son" at which point Engle took over again asking God to help them win "the challenge in the spirit realm" and defeat "every demonic ideology [and] every spirit of darkness":

A Taste of What's To Come on ENDA

It was just last week that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act was introduced in the Senate, so the Religious Right campaign of screaming their heads off is just getting off the ground. 

But Robert Knight of Coral Ridge Ministries gives us a nice preview of the sort of hyperbolic nonsense we can expect to see:

On Aug. 5, the GOP's Maine kleptocrats, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, joined Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and longtime sponsor Ted Kennedy in reintroducing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which we'll call the "gay quota bill" for short. ENDA is profoundly dangerous. It turns private sin into a public right and brings the force of government against morality itself. Any such law is a violation of our unalienable rights as proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. To put it more simply, a statute that directly contradicts God's moral law is illegitimate. Laws embody and reflect morality, or they are not laws. They are tyranny. That's why so-called same-sex "marriage" laws are absurd and treacherous. Forcing citizens to accept a counterfeit as the real thing is an act of despotism.

ENDA adds not only "sexual orientation" but "gender identity" to federal workplace anti-discrimination law. Thus, it takes an ax to the idea that sexual behavior has a natural normalcy or any relation to morality. It falsely equates a changeable condition (sexual desire) with race and ethnicity. Worse, it turns traditional values into a form of bigotry punishable under the law.

First of all, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act already has a short-hand name: ENDA.  So we don't need your suggestion that it should be called the "gay quota bill" because a) that's false and b) it's longer than the one we already have.

And secondly, it looks like efforts to pass this legislation are going to run into the same sort of Religious Right lies that plagued the hate crimes legislation, with right-wing activists claiming that it will grant "special rights" to those in the LGBT community. 

Of course, that will raise the exact same problems as their efforts to make that claim about hate crimes legislation, considering that there are already a number of federal laws on the books that outlaw employment discrimination based on things like race, religion, gender, and disability: 

    • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;

    • the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination;

    • the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older;

    • Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which prohibit employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments;

    • Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government

So, once again the Right will have to explain why gays shouldn't receive similar protections as say, Christians. 

And once again, they'll fail to do that because they have no reason other than claims that God hates gays and therefore it should be okay to discriminate against them, leading to pieces like Knight's where the Right is reduced to bellowing that any "statute that directly contradicts God's moral law is illegitimate."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • We can now add Concerned Women for America to the list of right-wing groups opposing David Hamilton, President Obama's first judicial nominee, while Rod Parsley's Center for Moral Clarity says "the Senate’s response to this nomination will tell us more about them than it will about the nominee."
  • Congressman Steve King and others have called on President Obama to withdraw the nomination of Dawn Johnsen. You can see the letter here [PDF].
  • Remember when it was the Republicans who were labeling the Democrats as "the party of no" for opposing President Bush's agenda?
  • It looks like Sarah Palin's grandstanding on the stimulus legislation is going to get sidestepped by the state legislature.
  • Richard Viguerie sees the decision by the University of Notre Dame to invite President Obama as a sign of "the general collapse in American institutions and the failure of America's leadership class."
  • Focus on the Family is asking people to "pick up the phone or send an e-mail to Barney Frank and tell him they’re disgusted by the fact (he) would use such disgraceful language toward a sitting member of the United States Supreme Court."
  • Coral Ridge Ministries responds to Truth Wins Out's recent piece noting that Robert Knight has joined Coral Ridge Ministries.
  • Finally, in an interview with the Action Institute, SC Gov. Mark Sanford was asked if it is a good thing that "faith traditions played a big role in the 2008 presidential race":
  • It is. But I don’t know if it was more window dressing than not. Obama had Rick Warren speak at the inauguration, and then got some guy of another persuasion to give the benediction. I don’t think you want it as an accoutrement. I think that you want it to show up in policy. In other words, conversation is certainly an important starting point. It can’t be the ending point.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • David Neiwert reports that Bernie Goldberg doesn't trust dictionaries because they have a liberal bias.
  • Something tells me that the Media Research Center is wishing it hadn't asked Joe the Plumber to accept an award at its 2009 gala.
  • Media Matters catches Tammy Bruce calling the Obama's "trash" on Laura Ingraham's radio show.
  • Pam says that Michael Steele doesn't seem to understand what the First Amendment is all about.
  • Truth Wins Out reports that Robert Knight has landed at Coral Ridge Ministries, where he is already having a "deleterious influence."
  • Will Michelle Bachmann ever stop embarrassing herself?  Will Sarah Palin?
  • A lot of people wrote about Assemblyman Jim Tedisco obligatory apology to Rush Limbaugh, but I'm liking to this post about it at Firedoglake because it had a brilliant title.
  • Bill O'Reilly and crew remain as classy as ever and are now stalking bloggers at Think Progress who are on vacation.
  • Finally, AU has a good post about the Family Research Council's response to the Obama administration's decision to endorse a UN Declaration on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. FRC says the US should have instead stood with the 58 countries who issued a counter-statement to the UN declaration - among those on that list are Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Libya, Zimbabwe , Sudan, and Iraq.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Like Sarah Palin, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is coming under fire for appointing a justice to the state Supreme Court whom the Religious Right did not support.
  • We can all be glad that we didn't make donations to Norm Coleman's re-election campaign.
  • Former Congressman and right-wing crank Virgil Goode has filed to re-claim the seat he lost last November.
  • John Hagee, Rod Parsley, and others are coming together for GOD TV's "Mammoth Missions Week" which, unfortunately, has nothing to do with mammoths.
  • Robert Knight says that efforts to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell is "a train wreck waiting to happen."
  • Finally, Al Mohler says that there is no human punishment that can fully achieve justice for Bernie Madoff's crimes:
  • True justice is achieved only by the only one who is truly just and all powerful, whose verdicts are perfect and whose judgments are eternal. Human justice points to the need for a greater justice. The very inadequacy of human courts points to our yearning for a heavenly court.

    We yearn for the end of history, when God will bring His creation to a perfect end; when God's redemptive purposes will be known to all; when justice flows like a mighty river. On that day justice will be perfect, and the righteous Judge will be none other than Jesus Christ, who paid the only adequate penalty for sin. On that day, God will judge both the quick and the dead, and his judgment upon the sheep and the goats will be both holy and just

Who’s Socialist Now?

The American Family Association’s One News Now is a “news” service in the same way that Fox is “fair and balanced.”  Remember, One News Now is the outfit that published stories about “Tyson Homosexual” because they were so opposed to using the word “gay.”  ONN’s “Daily News Briefs” have become a one-stop shop of wing-nuttery. Today it was also a victim of bad timing

Today ONN’s top “story” – by our old pal Robert Knight -- complained that the national media “ignores Obama’s socialist past.”  Knight, like a number of right-wing bloggers, is up in arms about the fact that Obama was endorsed years ago for state Senate by the progressive New Party. 
 
But today’s top story in the Washington Post was about the Bush administration forcing major national banks to accept partial nationalization in return for a financial helping hand.  But even the easily enraged Michelle Malkin can’t get worked up about charges of “socialism” when the Treasury Department is taking ownership stake in the banking system.

The World Congress of Families Chooses Its Destination

Every few years, right-wingers from all over the globe gather for the World Congress of Families in order to “affirm that the natural human family is established by the Creator and essential to good society,” share strategy, and urge their governments to adopt policies that “protect and support the family, and not usurp the vital roles it plays in society.”  Not surprisingly, high on their list of priorities is the protection of marriage and families against “pornography, promiscuity, incest or homosexuality”: 

 

The complementary natures of men and women are physically and psychologically self-evident. These differences are created and natural, not primarily socially constructed. Sexuality is ordered for the procreation of children and the expression of love between husband and wife in the covenant of marriage. Marriage between a man and a woman forms the sole moral context for natural sexual union. Whether through pornography, promiscuity, incest or homosexuality, deviations from these created sexual norms cannot truly satisfy the human spirit. They lead to obsession, remorse, alienation, and disease. Child molesters harm children and no valid legal, psychological or moral justification can be offered for the odious crime of pedophilia. Culture and society should encourage standards of sexual morality that support and enhance family life.

 

So where is the next World Congress of Families going to be held, you ask?  Of all places, Amsterdam:

 

Last week, the Selection Committee for World Congress of Families V met in Washington, D.C. and unanimously recommended Amsterdam as the site for the next Congress. Their recommendation was accepted by the WCF Management Committee.

 

If the World Congress of Families sounds like some sort of international version of the sorts of “values voters” events put on in this country by right-wing political groups, that probably has something to do with the fact that many of those same groups are members of the WCF’s various steering committees, with groups like Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, and Concerned Women for America all playing a role:

The 16-member Selection Committee was composed of: Ignacio Arsuaga (HazteOir.org, Spain), Chuck Donovan (Family Research Council), Don Feder (World Congress of Families), Farooq Hassan (Pakistan Family Forum), Jesus Hernandez (The Family Network, Mexico), Marie-Claire Hernandez (Family & Society, Mexico), Randy Hicks (Georgia Family Council), Robert Knight (Culture and Media Institute, Media Research Center), Ewa Kowalewska (Human Life International,  Europe), Gwendolyn Landolt (REAL Women of Canada), Yuri Mantilla (Focus on the Family), Dorothy Patterson (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary), Austin Ruse (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute), Mary Ellen Smoot, Jennifer Swim (GFC Foundation) and Father Jaroslaw Szymczak (Institute of Family Studies, Poland). The meeting was chaired by Gwen Landolt (Real Women of Canada).

...

The Management Committee, which has ultimate oversight of the Congress, consists of Carlson, Janice Crouse (Senior Fellow, Beverly LaHaye Institute, Concerned Women for America), Paul Mero (President, Sutherland Institute), William Saunders (Senior Fellow & Human Rights Counsel, Family Research Council) and Christine Vollmer (President, Latin American Alliance for Families).

When the event was held last year in Poland, members of the European Parliamentary Working Group on Separation of Religion and Politics were not particularly jazzed that right-wing advocates were preparing to use the nation as a staging ground for saving Europe and the rest of the world from the “demographic winter and … the secularists.”

But the group soldiered on, despite the opposition. As Robert Knight of the Media Research Center put it

 

This is a nation that has suffered enormously over many decades. First from Nazism and then communism. They're a tough bunch of people who appear to have the strength to resist especially the homosexual agenda. If you've been victim of communists and Nazis, you're not going to run in fright from the forces from San Francisco.

 

Falwell Never Apologized

Robert Knight weighs in on the Jeremiah Wright controversy, saying it is unfair to compare to Jerry Falwell to Wright because "Falwell was no hater. After his most controversial moment, when he blamed pro-abortion and pro-homosexual groups for 9/11 as God's punishment on America for abandoning moral standards, he apologized." Of course, Falwell did nothing of the sort.

Religious Right Rally against Marriage Equality in Florida

Just days after the Religious Right’s B-team gathered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to question Republican candidates for president (including the ones who didn’t show up), a number of more prominent right-wing figures are convening in Tampa for the Family Impact Summit, sponsored by the Focus on the Family-affiliated Florida Family Policy Council, the Tampa-based Community Issues Council, the Family Research Council, and the Salem radio network.

Advertised topics range from “Christian Citizenship” to “Homosexual Agenda,” but the focus will no doubt be on the 2008 election, and in particular, the effort by Florida’s Right to put a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage on the ballot—even though gays are already prohibited from marrying by statute.

Below is some background on the featured speakers, from Tony Perkins and Richard Land to Katherine Harris and Ken Blackwell.

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council, considered the leading religious-right think tank in Washington, DC. Before coming to FRC, Perkins was a state legislator in Louisiana, and as a campaign manager for a Republican candidate, he reportedly bought David Duke’s e-mail list.

Under Perkins’s leadership, FRC, along with Focus on the Family, put together several “simulcasts” of political rallies held in churches, including three “Justice Sunday” events in 2005-2006—“Stopping the Filibuster Against People of Faith,” ”God Save the United States and this Honorable Court,” and “Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land”—featuring religious-right luminaries such as James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, and Phyllis Schlafly, along with politicians like Rick Santorum and then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, arguing that opposition to Bush’s extreme judicial nominees constituted an assault on their faith or Christianity itself. A fourth event just before the 2006 elections, “Liberty Sunday,” promoted the idea that gays and their “agenda” were out to destroy religious freedom.

That fall, FRC also organized a “Values Voter Summit,” in which Dobson and other activists exhorted their constituency to turn out for the GOP; the conference showcased a number of future presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Sam Brownback. A second Values Voter Summit is planned for next month.

Also appearing from FRC at the Family Impact Summit are David Prentice and Peter Sprigg.

Richard Land

Since 1998, Richard Land has served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, which is “dedicated to addressing social and moral concerns and their implications on public policy issues from City Hall to Congress.”   

Land has been an active and influential right-wing leader for many years and in 2005, was named one of “The Twenty-five Most Influential Evangelicals in America” by Time Magazine, joining the likes of James Dobson, Chuck Colson, David Barton, Rick Santorum, and Ted Haggard.

Land also hosts three separate nationally syndicated radio programs and has written several books including, most recently “The Divided States of America? What Liberals and Conservatives are Missing in the God-and-Country Shouting Match!,” which Land claims seeks a middle ground between the right and the left on the role of religion in the public square.  In reality, the middle ground Land stakes out consists mainly of standard right-wing positions on political and social issues that are made to appear moderate in comparison to ultra-radical positions put forth by far-right fringe elements.  

In recent months, Land has been positioning himself to play a much more high-profile role in the presidential campaign than he has in the past, repeatedly asserting that he and other Evangelicals will not support Rudy Giuliani or Newt Gingrich, should he run,  while regularly bolstering the campaign of Fred Thompson, who Land calls a “Southern-fried Reagan.”

Harry Jackson

Jackson, pastor of a Maryland megachurch, has become a frequent spokesman for right-wing causes in recent years. In 2004, he played a prominent role in urging blacks to vote for George Bush, and in 2005, he started the High Impact Leadership Coalition and unveiled his “Black Contract with America on Moral Values”—an agenda topped with fighting gay marriage—at an event co-sponsored by the far-right Traditional Values Coalition. Jackson spoke at “Justice Sunday,” a religious-right rally in favor of Bush’s judicial nominees, as well as “Justice Sunday II, where he promised to “bring the rule and reign of the Cross to America.” He is a member of the Arlington Group.

Since then, Jackson has continued to urge blacks to vote for right-wing causes and candidates. “[Martin Luther] King would most likely be a social conservative,” he wrote in one typical column. His most recent efforts have focused on opposing hate crimes protections for gays, falsely claiming that a proposed bill would “muzzle our pulpits.”

In an article in Charisma magazine, Jackson wrote that the “wisdom behind” the “gay agenda” is “clearly satanic,” and he called for an aggressive “counterattack.” He asserted to The New York Times that “Historically when societies have gone off kilter, there has been rampant same-sex marriage.”

Don Wildmon

Wildmon is the Founder and Chairman of the American Family Association, which exists primarily to decry whatever it deems “immoral” in American culture and lead boycotts against companies that in any way support causes, organizations, or programs it deems offensive, particularly anything that does not portray gays and lesbians in a negative light. 

Over the years, AFA has targeted everything from the National Endowment for the Arts, Howard Stern, and the television show “Ellen” to major corporations such as Ford , Burger King, and Clorox.  AFA has also been particularly focused on Disney, declaring that the company’s “attack on America’s families has become so blatant, so intentional, so obvious” as to warrant a multi-year boycott.

Recently, AFA has been busy warning that proposed hate-crimes legislation is designed to lay the “groundwork for persecution of Christians,” attacked presidential candidate Mitt Romney over his time on the board of Marriott Corporation because the company offers adult movies in its hotels, and warned that the US Senate was “angering a just God” and bringing “judgment upon our country” by allowing a Hindu chaplain to deliver an opening prayer. 

Gary Bauer

Gary Bauer is a long-time right-wing activist and leader.  After serving President Ronald Reagan's administration for eight years in various capacities, Bauer went on to become President of the Family Research Council, which was founded, in part, by James Dobson of Focus on the Family, where Bauer also served as Senior Vice President. 

Bauer stepped down from FRC in 1999 when he launched an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.  After dropping out of the race, Bauer made a surprising endorsement of Sen. John McCain at a time when many of the other right-wing leaders had lined up behind George W. Bush.  

Bauer’s standing took a beating when he defended McCain’s attack on Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as “agents of intolerance” and he was ostracized by many for quite a while after McCain lost.  But Bauer pressed ahead, creating his own non-profit, American Values, and gradually reestablished himself in right-wing circles.  

Since then, Bauer has been active in various right-wing campaigns, most notably joining with likes of Tony Perkins and James Dobson in defending and pressing for the confirmation of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.  

William Owens

Owens, a graduate of Oral Roberts University and a Memphis pastor, founded the Coalition of African American Pastors to combat equal marriage rights for gay couples. Owens reportedly told the “Rally for Traditional Marriage” held in Mississippi in 2004 that “homosexual activists of today have hijacked the civil rights cause,” adding: “We're going to fight until we win,” he said. “We're going to have crusades and rallies like this until we win. We're going to let our political leaders know ‘if you don't stand for God, we won't stand for you.’” Owens lent the CAAP name to the Religious Right’s judges campaign, signing on to the “National Coalition to End Judicial Filibusters” and holding a press conference in support of Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court nomination.

In 2004, Owens formed an alliance with the Arlington Group, a coalition of powerful religious-right leaders that was widely credited with being the driving force behind the effort to put anti-gay marriage amendments on the ballot in 11 states in that year’s election. Owens is now on the group’s executive committee, alongside James Dobson, Gary Bauer, Bill Bennett, Tony Perkins, Paul Weyrich, Rod Parsley and others.

Alan Chambers

"Ex-gay" Alan Chambers is president of Exodus International and executive director of Exodus North America, which claim gay men and lesbians can be “cured" and "change" their sexual orientation to heterosexual. Exodus' board includes long-time anti-gay activist Phil Burress of Ohio's Citizens for Community Values, his wife Vickie Burress – founder of the American Family Association of Indiana – and Mike Haley, who replaced discredited "ex-gay" John Paulk at Focus on the Family as chief spokesperson on homosexuality and gender issues. Exodus also co-sponsors a series of "ex-gay" conferences across the country with Focus on the Family. One recent Love Won Out event was particularly mired in controversy when it was revealed that one of its presenting organizations had published a racist column that appeared to justify slavery. During a 2006 CPAC conference panel, Chambers insisted "lifelong homosexual relationships are not possible" and the battle for marriage equality was solely being promoted by the liberal media.

Other representatives of the “ex-gay” activist community scheduled for the conference include Scott Davis and Mike Ensley of Exodus and Nancy Heche, whose book “The Truth Comes Out” describes “how to respond lovingly, yet appropriately, to homosexual family members and friends,” such as her husband, who held secret “homosexual affairs,” and her daughter, whose open relationship with Ellen DeGeneres Heche called “Like a betrayal of an unspoken vow: We will never have anything to do with homosexuals.”

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is something of a journeyman within the right-wing movement.  After starting out as a journalist and editor for various newspapers, Knight has held a series of jobs with various right-wing organizations including Senior Director of Cultural Studies at the Family Research Council, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and director of the Culture & Family Institute at Concerned Women for America.

Currently, he is the head of the Media Research Center’s Culture and Media Institute at the Media Research Center and a columnist for Townhall.com.

His hostility toward gays is well-known, as evidenced by his response to the news that Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of the Vice President, was expecting a child with her partner: 

"I think it's tragic that a child has been conceived with the express purpose of denying it a father," Knight said.

"Fatherhood is important and always will be, so if Mary and her partner indicate that that is a trivial matter, they're shortchanging this child from the start."

"Mary and Heather can believe what they want," Knight said, "but what they're seeking is to force others to bless their nonmarital relationship as marriage" and to "create a culture that is based on sexual anarchy instead of marriage and family values."

John Stemberger

Stemberger, a personal injury attorney and former political director for the Florida GOP, is the president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Counsel/Florida Family Action, a state affiliate of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family.

Stemberger is leading the petition drive to put on next year’s ballot a constitutional amendment to ban equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, which is already banned by statute. While a 2006 effort fell short, as of September 5, Florida4Marriage.org claimed to have gathered 594,000 of the 611,000 signatures they need to submit by February 1, making it likely that the amendment will be on the ballot in 2008.

Ken Blackwell

Blackwell is most famous as the controversial Ohio secretary of state during the 2004 election, overseeing voting laws while moonlighting as state co-chair for Bush/Cheney. But he has a long history of far-right activism on economic and civil rights issues, and in 2004 Blackwell forged an alliance with the Religious Right as he campaigned for an anti-gay ballot measure. By 2006, when Blackwell ran for governor, this alliance had grown into a church-based political machine, with megachurch pastors Rod Parsley and Russell Johnson taking Blackwell to rallies of “Patriot Pastors,” who signed on to a vision of a Christianity under attack by dark forces, in need of “restoration” through electoral politics. “This is a battle between the forces of righteousness and the hordes of hell,” declared Johnson.

Blackwell’s gubernatorial bid failed, but he continues his career as a right-wing activist with affiliations with the Family Research Council and the Club for Growth, as well as a column on Townhall.com.

Katherine Harris

Harris is well known for her controversial role in Florida’s 2000 presidential election debacle, when she served as both secretary of state, overseeing a “purge” of voter rolls as well as the recount itself, and as a state co-chair for Bush/Cheney. She was elected to the U.S. House in 2002 and 2004, and spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference in both 2002 and 2003.

In 2006 Harris made a quixotic Senate run, during which she heavily courted the Religious Right. In an interview with the Florida Baptist Witness, she implied that her opponent, Sen. Bill Nelson, was not a Christian, saying, “[I]f you’re not electing Christians then in essence you are going to legislate sin. They can legislate sin. They can say that abortion is alright. They can vote to sustain gay marriage. And that will take western civilization, indeed other nations because people look to our country as one nation as under God and whenever we legislate sin and we say abortion is permissible and we say gay unions are permissible, then average citizens who are not Christians, because they don’t know better, we are leading them astray and it’s wrong.” She also advised people to disbelieve “that lie we have been told, the separation of church and state.”

Tom Minnery

Minnery is vice president for public policy at Focus on the Family and a frequent spokesman for the group. He is the author of “Why You Can’t Stay Silent: A Biblical Mandate to Shape Our Culture,” arguing that society should be “changed from the top down morally.” Focus on the Family, with a combined budget of over $160 million, promotes far-right positions on social issues to millions of Americans through radio, print, and the web, and Focus founder James Dobson is probably the single most influential figure on the Religious Right.

“There are more than enough Christians to defeat the Left," Minnery said at a rally in South Dakota. "There are a lot of pastors who didn't want to be seen as an 'activist,' but this issue of marriage has left them with little choice but to get involved."

Tinky-Winky Controversy Revived in Poland

Many scoffed in 1999 when the late Jerry Falwell’s magazine proposed that Tinky-Winky, a character on the “Teletubbies” children’s show, was intended as a gay role model, but recently the Polish government’s advocate for children said that she would be looking into the possibility of “hidden homosexual undertones” in the form of the character’s handbag. Ewa Sowinska backed away from the warning this week, but at least one American religious-right activist is defending her proposed investigation as a “legitimate inquiry.”

Allen Carlson of the Howard Center said, “I don't think anyone doubts that the creators of Tinky Winky intentionally were using stereotypes regarding homosexuality in creating this character.” Carlson praised Poland for “erring on the side of protecting children from harmful propaganda generated by the sexual revolution.”

Carlson support for reactionary anti-gay policies from the Polish government should be no surprise. Last month, Carlson organized the so-called World Congress of Families in Warsaw, where he and other speakers – including a U.S. State Department official – praised the Polish government for its efforts, in the words of the country’s education minister, to combat the “propagation of homosexual culture.”

As Robert Knight of the Media Research Center declared of a Poland standing alone in Europe,

This is a nation that has suffered enormously over many decades. First from Nazism and then communism. They're a tough bunch of people who appear to have the strength to resist especially the homosexual agenda. If you've been victim of communists and Nazis, you're not going to run in fright from the forces from San Francisco.

From communism to Nazism to “the forces from San Francisco” – and now to Tinky Winky.

Religious Right's Trip to Poland: From Nazism to Communism to the 'Forces from San Francisco'

At a convening of U.S. religious-right activists and reactionary leaders from around the world, Assistant Secretary of State Ellen Sauerbrey passed along an important message. “I bring you greetings from President Bush!” she told the World Congress of Families in Poland, helping to legitimize the controversial conference. Sauerbrey also specifically thanked the Illinois-based Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society “for all of their hard work in organizing this wonderful opportunity to celebrate and reflect upon the family and its vital role in society.”

Right on Veep’s New Grandchild: 'Tragic'

Media Research Center ’s Robert Knight called it “tragic.” Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth called it “immoral.” Concerned Women for America ’s Janice Crouse called it “unconscionable.” What are they talking about? A couple deciding to have a kid. If Vice-President Cheney thought that some of his biggest supporters would congratulate him on a new grandchild – or at least restrain themselves from sending out press releases – he had to be disappointed at the right-wing reaction to his daughter’s pregnancy and her plans to raise the child with her lesbian partner.

According to the Right, gays just aren’t fit to be parents – and raising a child is akin to a malicious act. CWA’s Crouse told ABC that Cheney and her partner are “deliberately bringing a child into the world without a father, leaving a great gaping hole” and that leads to “all sorts of negative outcomes — drug use, juvenile delinquency. You name it.” Crouse’s former fellow Concerned Woman Bob Knight went further, claiming that the “child has been conceived with the express purpose of denying it a father,” and “they're shortchanging this child from the start." LaBarbera described the situation as “fatherless by design,” and decry the couple’s plans to “model immoral homosexual behavior before innocent children.”

Carrie Gordon Earll of Focus on the Family was a little more tactful, saying, "Just because you can conceive a child outside a one-woman, one-man marriage doesn't mean it's a good idea. Love can't replace a mother and a father.” She also talked, obliquely, about gay adoption, saying it “intentionally denies children either a mother or a father” and put the “desires of adults” above the “needs of children.” In this she echoed radio talker Kevin McCullough, who wrote that Cheney and her partner were withholding a father “purposefully, simply to stroke one's own desire to have a child - sort of like a new handbag, or pair of shoes.”

Gay advocates pointed out that Mary Cheney’s home state, Virginia, recently passed a constitutional amendment to bar her partner, Heather Poe, from marrying her (or even entering a legal arrangement to approximate marriage), and so the efforts of the right-wing will have a real, deleterious effect on the child’s family situation. “Unless they move to a handful of less restrictive states, Heather will never be able to have a legal relationship with her child,” said Jennifer Chrisler of Family Pride.

But the Right took the opposite view: that Cheney was getting in the way of their anti-gay mission. Crouse told the L.A. Times, “Not only is she doing a disservice to her child, she's voiding all the effort her father put into the Bush administration.” Knight said, "Mary and Heather can believe what they want, but what they're seeking is to force others to bless their nonmarital relationship as marriage" and to "create a culture that is based on sexual anarchy instead of marriage and family values.”

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Robert Knight Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 12/10/2013, 6:33pm
David Ferguson @ Raw Story: Republican official: It’s ‘immoral’ to insure gays because their ‘lifestyle’ kills them. Hemant Mehta @ Friendly Atheist: Oklahoma Legislator Who Supports Ten Commandments Monument Slams Satanic Temple’s Proposal for Being Too ‘Religious.’ Jeremy Hooper: Robert Knight: 'Peter [LaBarbera] is today's Paul Revere. Rebecca Leber @ Think Progress: Lawmakers In 23 States Introduced Secret Lobbying Group ALEC’s Anti-Immigrant Bill. Josh Feldman @ Mediaite: McCain Sees Something Strangely... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 10/08/2013, 10:55am
Washington Times columnist Robert Knight wants the government to remove a transgender child from her parents and charge her parents “with endangerment, abuse and whatever else the authorities can find to deter such criminal insanity.” Knight is referring to Tammy Lobel, the adopted daughter of a lesbian couple. Tammy, born Thomas, is on hormone blockers to delay puberty and her parents support her decision to live as a girl. Knight claims that the parents’ support for their “acquired” daughter represents “child abuse,” and said that the only “... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 08/26/2013, 5:30pm
It is amazing to see anti-gay activists keep attributing language found in Justice Scalia's DOMA dissent to Justice Kennedy's majority opinion. Does anyone care what Todd Starnes thought of last night's Video Music Awards? Of course not.  But he wrote about it anyway. Wait, Trump University was a total scam? Who would have guessed. Robert Knight thinks that the movie "Lincoln" was "a clever way to justify the ruthlessly partisan enactment of Obamacare." In case you need them, here are "The Dos and Don'ts of Fashion as a... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 08/12/2013, 11:00am
American Civil Rights Union fellow Robert Knight has a column in the Washington Times today blasting President Obama and the American Civil Liberties Union for acting like Soviet commissar trying to extinguish religious liberty. Knight cites an upcoming Supreme Court case surrounding the town of Greece, New York, in which two non-Christian residents sued the town for exclusively inviting Christian pastors to open council meetings in prayer. The residents claimed that the town violated the establishment clause and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. But that is an interesting case for... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 07/01/2013, 10:35am
The American Civil Rights Union’s Robert Knight is calling for Southern California to secede from the rest of the state over marriage equality. Falsely claiming that same-sex marriages are only allowed in the northern part of the state, Knight writes that Southern Californians now have “more incentive to push secession.” He goes on to warn that the American Civil Liberties Union is “proclaiming jihad” against states that ban same-sex marriage and will receive assistance from “ruling elites, who are determined to refashion America into an updated version of... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 06/28/2013, 6:20pm
Sarah Posner @ The Guardian: Understanding 'God's war' against abortion and Wendy Davis in Texas. Jeremy Hooper @ Good As You: Robert Knight admits gay households are *slightly* better than burning buildings.  Jonathan Chait @ New York Magazine: Remember the Obama Scandals? That Used to Be a Thing.  Bridge Project: Barriers To Reform: The Anti-Immigrant Policies And Extremist Money Blocking Progress In The House. Jessica Mason Pieklo @ RH Reality Check: Federal Court Temporarily Blocks Alabama TRAP Law. Ian Millhiser @ Think Progress:... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 06/24/2013, 11:48am
Robert Knight of the American Civil Rights Union today penned an “if I were the devil” column, inspired by radio commentator Paul Harvey. As you probably already guessed, he claims Satan is pushing marriage equality to attack religious people, convinced the Boy Scouts to “commit suicide” by including openly gay scouts and expanded healthcare access through Obamacare. Knight, while writing for the Unification Church-tied Washington Times, called the Episcopal Church a “subsidiary” of the Devil and claimed the government is becoming a Satanic tool to... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 06/17/2013, 1:35pm
With Religious Right activists increasingly torn over the debate on immigration reform, American Civil Rights Union senior fellow and Washington Times columnist Robert Knight is warning Republicans of grave consequences if they support the bipartisan Senate bill. He claims that offering a pathway to citizenship for “unregistered Democrats” means that the GOP will commit “political suicide”: “flooding America with millions more people who have no understanding of constitutional, limited government is a fast track to dependency, one-party rule and socialism.... MORE >