Scott Walker

Scott Walker: I Don't Know About Birthright Citizenship

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is trying to walk back his call to end birthright citizenship, which is assured by the 14th Amendment.

In an interview with CNBC, the GOP presidential candidate said today that he actually has no position on the amendment’s clear language: “I'm not taking a position on it one way or the other.”

Walker’s vague response to a straightforward question about the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship, which has emerged as a hot topic in the presidential campaign thanks to Donald Trump, is par for the course for the candidate.

Walker, who wrote a book about himself called “Unintimidated,” has told reporters that he doesn’t know if President Obama is a Christian or loves America, refused to say whether he believes in evolution or if people choose to be gay and has consistently equivocated or flip-flopped on topics ranging from reforming the immigration system to abortion rights.

The governor appears to be trying to appeal to a GOP establishment that has tried to alter the party’s stained image on immigration at the same time as he is trying to win over Trump’s supporters “by going on the attack and emphasizing his conservatism on key issues.”

Afraid of angering the party’s dominant right-wing flank, Walker is now bravely standing for nothing.

'What's Wrong With Slavery?' And Jan Mickelson's Other Worst Pro-Confederacy, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Gay Moments

If you are a presidential candidate, you spend a lot of time talking to people in Iowa. And if you’re a Republican, that means a lot of time on Iowa conservative radio, including popular programs hosted by right-wing activists Steve Deace and Jan Mickelson.

The fact that Deace and Mickelson have long histories of extreme rhetoric has not dissuaded Republican candidates from joining their shows. But Mickelson just upped the ante with comments he made on his program today.

Media Matters caught Mickelson proposing that undocumented immigrants in Iowa become “property of the state” and pressed into hard labor. When a listener called in to point out that Mickelson’s proposal “sounds like slavery,” Mickelson asked, “Well, what’s wrong with slavery?” Undocumented immigrants, he went on to say, are the ones who are enslaving American citizens:

It will be interesting to see if any of the GOP candidates who have been on Mickelson’s radio program recently — which, according to Media Matters’ count, includes Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal — repudiate his remarks.

But the fact is that if these candidates were concerned about Mickelson’s rhetoric, they should have stopped going on his show long ago.

When Graham appeared on his program in June, Mickelson declared his allegiance to the Confederacy, as Graham scrambled to distance himself:

Mickelson has also backed Jim Crow-type voting laws.

Today’s comments are hardly Mickelson’s first foray into anti-immigrant extremism either. He has proposed barring undocumented children from public schools and said that if someone has a Hispanic name and is involved with the police, “I assume you’re not here legally.” After an interview with anti-immigrant activist Ann Corcoran, Mickelson promised to press every candidate he had on his show to oppose the U.S. resettlement of refugees from war-torn Muslim countries, which he said was an “act of jihad.” When he asked Rand Paul about it, Paul said the U.S. shouldn’t resettle Iraqi refugees because “we won the war.”

Mickelson’s anti-gay activism includes calling AIDS an “invention” of God to punish homosexuality and agreeing with former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad on the issue of homosexuality.

The Iowa talk radio host also enjoys promoting fringe right-wing conspiracy theories. Mickelson helped to bring the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theory into the GOP mainstream, asking Paul on his program about the supposed federal plan to take over Texas .

And just last week, Mickelson was getting Rep. Steve King to entertain the conspiracy theory that a botched EPA mine cleanup in Colorado was a deliberate plan to pollute a river to create a Superfund site:

Republican candidates may try to avoid Mickelson’s show after today. But given their track record, we somehow doubt that they will.

Mike Huckabee Wouldn't Let A 10-Year-Old Rape Victim Access Abortion. He's Far From Alone In The GOP

Mike Huckabee’s statement on Sunday that he thinks a 10-year-old Paraguayan girl who became pregnant after being raped by her stepfather should have been denied access to abortion was no gaffe or fluke. In fact, Huckabee was expressing a belief shared by many of his fellow Republican presidential candidates and by the anti-choice establishment.

Even “mainstream” candidates Scott and Marco Rubio came out forcefully against rape exceptions in this month’s GOP presidential debate, with Walker also clarifying that he would not allow abortions that would save the lives of pregnant women.

Major anti-choice groups agree. The head of the Susan B. Anthony List, which has sponsored trainings to teach candidates how to speak about the abortion issue, decried rape exceptions as “abominable” and “completely intellectually dishonest,” and only supports them as a means to the end of passing legislation criminalizing abortion. Similarly, the National Right to Life Committee went after GOP congresswomen who undermined an anti-choice bill earlier this year because they thought its rape exception was much too narrow.

While Huckabee wants to bring Paraguay’s harsh abortion policies to America by granting constitutional protections to zygotes (the same plan proposed by Rand Paul) and possibly sending federal agents to raid abortion clinics, the Guttmacher Institute points out that “highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates.”

Indeed, the World Health Organization recorded [PDF] nearly 3,000,000 unsafe abortions taking place in South America in 2008, or 32 per 1,000 child-bearing aged women, even though abortion is banned in most South American countries. While there is no evidence that laws banning abortions eliminate the procedure, such restrictive laws are associated with maternal death and complications.

Right Wing Round-Up - 8/7/15

  • Joe Jervis: Ben Carson: America As We Know It Will Be Destroyed By Independent Trump Run.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 8/7/15

Ben Carson's Bible-Based Tax System and Other GOP Adventures In 'Biblical Economics'

In last night’s Republican presidential debate, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson said he would base a new tax system on the biblical system of tithing. “I think God is a pretty fair guy,” he said.

And he said, you know, if you give me a tithe, it doesn’t matter how much you make. If you’ve had a bumper crop, you don’t owe me triple tithes. And if you’ve had no crops at all, you don’t owe me no tithes. So there must be something inherently fair about that.

And that’s why I’ve advocated a proportional tax system. You make $10 billion, you pay a billion. You make $10, you pay one. And everybody gets treated the same way. And you get rid of the deductions, you get rid of all the loopholes, and…

Carson has plenty of company on the far right. The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer has declared, “God believes in a flat tax.” On his radio show last year, Fischer said, “That’s what a tithe is, it’s a tax.”

Of course, that kind of flat tax would amount to a massive tax cut for the richest Americans and a tax hike on the poorest. So it’s not terribly surprising the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity has teamed up with the Religious Right to promote the idea that progressive taxation is an un-Christian idea. AFP joined Religious Right groups to create the Freedom Federation, one of the right-wing coalitions that sprung up in opposition to Barack Obama’s election as president. The coalition’s founding “Declaration of American Values” declares its allegiance to a system of taxes that is “not progressive in nature.”

David Barton, the pseudo-historian, GOP activist, and Glenn Beck ally, is a major promoter of the idea that the Bible opposes progressive taxes, capital gains taxes, and minimum wage. Barton’s views are grounded in the philosophy of Christian Reconstructionism, a movement whose thinking has infused both the Religious Right and Tea Party movements with its notion that God gave the family, not the government, responsibility for education — and the church, not the government, responsibility for taking care of the poor. 

That’s how we have Republican members of Congress supporting cuts in food stamps by appealing to the Bible. And how we get Samuel Rodriguez, the most prominent conservative Hispanic evangelical leader, saying that a desire to “punish success” — i.e. progressive taxes — “is anti-Christian and anti-American.”

This notion that laissez-faire economics, small government, and flat taxes are divine mandates, and that taxation is theft, is also how we end up with the Heritage Foundation promoting the idea that “[t]hose who esteem the Bible should also applaud St. Milton Friedman and other Church of Chicago prelates, because their insights amplify what the Bible suggests about economics.” And the idea that unions and collective bargaining are unbiblical is how we get Religious Right groups celebrating Scott Walker’s war on unions.

Scott Walker’s False Claim That America Shares His Anti-Choice Extremism

Miranda reported this morning on Mike Huckabee’s radical and dangerous plan to give fertilized eggs full constitutional rights by declaring them to be human beings. But Huckabee wasn’t the only one at last night's GOP presidential debate making extreme statements when it comes to women’s health care.

Fox’s Megyn Kelly asked Walker about his position that all abortion should be illegal, even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of a pregnant woman.

Walker did not answer Kelly’s direct question of whether he would really let a woman die rather than have an abortion. Instead he declared his “pro-life” credentials and said, “I’ve said many a time that the unborn child can be protected, and there are many other alternatives that can also protect the life of the mother.”

Of course, those “alternatives” don’t always exist, and the experiences of some women in Catholic hospitals make it clear that women’s lives are at stake when no-exceptions abortion bans are in place.

Walker asserted, “I’ve got a position that’s in line with everyday America.”

That statement is utterly false. Fewer than one in five Americans believes, like Walker, that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. A recent poll for Vox found that more than two-thirds of Americans would NOT like to see the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade. Kelly noted in her question that 83 percent of Americans believe abortion should be allowed to save a woman’s life.

Gallup reported in May that more Americans describe themselves as pro-choice than pro-life (50 – 44 percent). And even that question understates the depth of Americans’ support for women having access to safe and legal abortion. Researcher Tresa Undem told ThinkProgress recently that people in focus groups are stunned when presented with data about the range of attacks and restrictions on women’s health care:

“When you get in a focus group with people and you show them the entirely of the restrictions and exactly what’s going on, there is total outrage — it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen in fifteen years of doing public opinion research,” she said.

Of course, last night’s debate was not the first time Walker has lied about his position on women’s access to abortion. In a television ad last year he said that an anti-abortion bill he was pushing “leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor,” which is basically the definition of being pro-choice. But in May, Walker explained to social conservative leaders that he was using purposefully deceptive language — in the words of anti-abortion activist Marjorie Dannenfelser, “using the language of the other side to support our own position” — a strategy she found impressive. “It’s the whole style of communication and content that you want to see moving into a presidential cycle that will make it different from 2012.”

I’m guessing that Dannenfelser was delighted by Walker’s “everyday America” line.

Scott Walker's Black Lives Matter Expert Wants Black Lives Matter To 'Shut Up'

Yesterday’s GOP presidential debate on Fox News, perhaps unsurprisingly, devoted less than a minute to the Black Lives Matter movement and its concerns. Fox’s Megyn Kelly directed exactly one question about the movement to one candidate, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who gave a bland answer about providing for better “training” for law enforcement officers.

But Walker’s answer contained one interesting tidbit, which he clearly knew would resonate with regular Fox News viewers. Walker referred in his answer to the advice of his “friend” Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, whom he noted had been a guest on Fox News:

Well, I think the most important thing we can do when it comes to policing — it's something you've had a guest on who's a friend of mine Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who's talked to me about this many times in the past — it's about training. It's about making sure that law enforcement professionals, not only in the way in to their positions but all the way through their time, have the proper training, particularly when it comes to the use of force. And that we protect and stand up and support those men and women who are doing their jobs in law enforcement. And for the very few that don't, that there are consequences to show that we treat everyone the same here in America.

Walker probably assumed that regular Fox viewers would recognize Clarke’s name, as the sheriff is a rising Tea Party star who makes frequent appearances on the conservative network to assure its viewers that the Black Lives Matter movement is wrong and that there are no racial disparities in policing.

In his Fox appearances, Clarke has said that he would have used “more force” against a group of black teenage girls who were tackled by police outside a swimming pool in Ohio, telling people who pointed out a racial component in the case to “shut up already”; blamed Sandra Bland for the way she was treated by the police; called a Ferguson, Missouri, plan to install a plaque memorializing Michael Brown an “appeasement” and a “disgrace”; derided criminal justice reform as an ineffective “social engineering experiment”; and declared that “the real issue in the country as it relates to crime” is “the disproportionate involvement by young black males.”

In response to the Black Lives Matter movement, Clarke offers a response made for Fox News:

"The real [problem] in the American ghetto, and it is not the American police officer, it is modern liberalism that has been a wrecking ball on the black community and the black family structure," Clarke said.

Clarke has taken his message to other conservative media outlets as well, insisting that Michael Brown“ chose thug life” so was “a coconspirator in his own demise” and claiming that President Obama is using controversies over police killings as part of a plot to “emasculate” law enforcement, “get rid of the Constitution” and implement a “socialist agenda.”

Clarke recently parlayed his conservative media stardom into his very own radio show on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze network, using one of his first programs to call for a revolution complete with “pitchforks and torches” in response to the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. In a WorldNetDaily column, he wrote that the decision may have presented a “Lexington-Concord type moment.”

The Milwaukee County sheriff became a hero to the gun lobby when he urged his constituents to arm themselves rather than count on calling 911. He told conspiracy theorist Alex Jones that federal gun control laws could launch “the second coming of the American Revolution, the likes of which would make the first revolution pale by comparison.” And he used his speaking slot at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention this year to throw red meat to the crowd, including a call for the arrows on the Great Seal of the United States to be replaced with a semi-automatic rifle.

Walker clearly sees Clarke as an important ally: Earlier this summer, signed a pair of laws weakening Wisconsin’s gun regulations in Clarke’s office.

Scott Walker 'Wouldn't Change' Military's Transgender Ban

In an interview with Newsmax TV that was posted online yesterday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said that he “wouldn’t change” the military’s prohibition on transgender people serving openly, as the Pentagon is preparing to do.

J.D. Hayworth, the former Republican congressman from Arizona who is now a Newsmax host, asked Walker about Jeb Bush’s comment that he would be “fine” with transgender people serving openly in the military as long as it wouldn’t negatively affect morale. “As commander in chief, what would be your position on transgender and gays and lesbians serving in our armed forces?” he asked.

“I wouldn’t change the policy,” he said. “And I think at a time when we just came off the week when four Marines and a petty officer in the Navy were ambushed and killed at a recruiting center, where we see the current administration under the Obama-Clinton doctrine not lifting the political restrictions on our men and women in uniform in Iraq, when we see the challenges we face around the world, I think those of us who are talking about running for president need to focus on what we need to do to rebuild the military.”

“Our goal is to be peace, but there will be times when America must fight, and I think it needs to be clear that Americans fight to win, and our men and women in the military need to have the resources to do that,” he said, “so as president I’m going to spend my time focused on those issues, not those others.”

Hayworth asked the same question of Mike Huckabee last week, to which the former Arkansas governor replied that lifting the military’s ban on transgender people would undermine morale.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 7/27/15

  • With every passing day, Franklin Graham is sounding more and more like Bryan Fischer.
  • Speaking of Fischer, his understanding of the First Amendment remains consistently incoherent.
  • Mark Creech says that Donald Trump must seek God's forgiveness for his "support of gambling."
  • Gov. Scott Walker's recently hired two staffers for his presidential campaign who both ran Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition at one point.
  • Eugene Delgaudio says his Democratic opponents "want my demise" because they cite the SPLC's coverage of his long history of insane views and comments.
  • Finally, Mike Huckabee encourages churches to donate to FRC's Watchmen on the Wall effort:

Tony Perkins: Planned Parenthood Opposes 20-Week Abortion Bans Because The 'Parts' Are 'More Valuable'

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, suggested during a conversation with Gov. Scott Walker on his “Washington Watch” radio program last week that Planned Parenthood opposes 20-week abortion bans such as the one recently passed by the House because they can make more money selling the “parts” of later-term fetuses.

Perkins was discussing a right-wing group’s deceptively edited shock video that purported to show that the reproductive health group sells “aborted baby parts” for a profit, in violation of federal law. In reality, the group donates fetal tissue to medical research with the patient’s consent.

“This suggests why they may have been opposed to bans such as this, these five-month bans, because the longer the pregnancy goes, the more valuable the parts,” Perkins alleged.

Walker, who signed such a ban into law in Wisconsin today, didn’t address Perkins’ claim directly, but restated his desire to make sure that “Planned Parenthood is defunded from any tax dollars, be it at the local or state or the federal level.”

'I Don't Know': 5 Times Scott Walker Showed He's The Candidate Of Equivocation

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been facing a firestorm after he refused to say this weekend whether he thinks people choose to be gay. Walker told CNN’s Dana Bash that he didn’t “know the answer to that question,” all the while boasting in the same interview that “people find [it] unique” that “I actually answer questions. People ask me a question, I’ll answer a question.”

Walker’s (non)comments on homosexuality come after the Republican presidential candidate said that he supported the Boy Scouts of America’s current ban on gay scoutmasters “because it protected children and advanced Scout values.”

Incomprehensibly, a campaign spokesman later said that Walker was only saying that “the previous policy protected Scouts from the rancorous political debate over policy issues and culture war.”

But snubbing direct questions and finding ways to take contradicting stances on basic policy issues has been the way Walker has been campaigning from the beginning.

1) ‘Punt’ on Evolution

Walker raised eyebrows earlier this year when he refused to answer a straightforward question on whether he believes in the theory of evolution, explaining: “I’m going to punt on that one as well. That’s a question a politician shouldn’t be involved in one way or the other. So I’m going to leave that up to you.”

When asked about it again days later, Walker stood by his refusal to answer the question, simply saying that he thinks “science and my faith aren’t incompatible.”

2) ‘I Don’t Know’ If Obama Is A Christian

Following his “punt” on evolution, Walker fielded a question from the Washington Post on whether he believes that President Obama is a Christian. “I don’t know,” Walker replied, a stance he continued to take even after he was “told that Obama has frequently spoken publicly about his Christian faith,” explaining: “I’ve never asked him that.”

A spokesman later told the Post that Walker does believe Obama is a Christian, he just didn’t want to answer “gotcha questions.”

3) ‘I Don’t Know’ If Obama Loves America

At the very same event where Walker refused to say whether he believes Obama is a Christian, the Wisconsin governor also declined to answer a question about whether Obama loves America.

Walker, who attended the dinner at which Rudy Giuliani claimed that Obama doesn’t love his country, told reporters: “You should ask the president what he thinks about America. I’ve never asked him so I don’t know.”

4) ‘There’s Not A Flip Out There’ On Immigration

Walker has been all over the place on immigration reform, from supporting a path to citizenship, then denouncing such a move as “amnesty” and saying that even legal immigration should be curbed, to then telling a group of New Hampshire GOP bigwigs that he supports a path to citizenship. More recently, Alex Leary at the Tampa Bay Times reported that Scott Walker is "dead set against a path to citizenship." PolitiFact also noted that Walker accused one newspaper of “misquoting him” on his immigration views, “despite video proving otherwise.”

To make things even more confusing, Walker said recently that he actually hasn’t flip-flopped on the issue since, as governor, he has never voted on the issue like a member of the legislature would.

“There’s not a flip out there,” Walker said. “A flip would be someone who voted on something and did something different. I don’t have any impact on immigration as a governor or former county official.”

Since he didn’t vote on anything because he was an executive official, Walker said, it doesn’t count, no matter what he has said in the past.

5) Misleading on Abortion Rights

During his race for re-election, Walker defended anti-choice legislation he signed by insisting in a TV ad that “the bill leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor.”

Such remarks weren’t received well by anti-choice activists, who agreed with Walker’s pro-choice detractors that the governor was trying to make it seem like he was protecting reproductive rights and keeping abortion “safe” for women.

Now as a presidential candidate, Walker has been catering to anti-choice leaders, reportedly telling them that, as one paraphrased, he was “using the language of the other side” to promote his anti-abortion views.

When Laura Ingraham, a right-wing radio host, asked him last week, “You don’t believe the final decision should be between a woman and her doctor?,” Walker said, “No.”

At least he finally answered that question in a straightforward way. It’s too bad that he rarely gives such clear answers to voters.

Scott Walker Says His Presidential Bid Is 'God's Plan'

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who announced his presidential bid on Twitter this morning and will have a launch event later today in Waukesha, has sent an email to activists declaring that his presidential run “is God’s plan for me.”

“My relationship with God drives every major decision in my life,” starts the note, which is clearly designed to appeal to Religious Right voters who make up a major part of the GOP base vote, particularly in the early primary states Iowa and South Carolina.

The letter goes on to talk about Walker’s faith as “the guiding force of my life in both politics and in private” and promotes opposition to reproductive choice and marriage equality. “A lifelong supporter of the pro-life movement, my work defending the unborn goes back to my college days where I was a leader of Marquette Students for Life,” he writes, bragging about signing into law new restrictions on access to abortion and pledging to do the same as president. He calls the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision a “grave mistake” and calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn it. And he pledges to nominate Supreme Court justices who share his approach to the Constitution.

“Our country is at a crossroads and we need a proven conservative leader who is not afraid to fight for what is right -- even when it’s not politically expedient,” Walker says. “My decisions are guided by my relationship with God -- not by what might win me a few votes.”

Among those decisions are Walker’s moves to savage public education in his new budget.

The full letter follows:

 

Peter,

My relationship with God drives every major decision in my life. Each day I pray and then take time to read from the Bible and from a devotional named Jesus Calling.

As you can imagine, the months leading up to my announcement that I would run for President of the United States were filled with a lot of prayer and soul searching.

Here’s why: I needed to be certain that running was God’s calling -- not just man’s calling. I am certain: This is God’s plan for me and I am humbled to be a candidate for President of the United States.

Now, it is up to the voters to decide who will win the election. If you support my conservative campaign, please join my team right now with $10, $35, $50, $100, or even $250 today.

As the son of a Baptist preacher, my faith comes first. It is the guiding force of my life both in politics and in private. For example, I believe in the sanctity of life. I believe in the covenant of marriage. I believe in strong families. I believe in protecting religious liberties. And I believe these things are worth fighting for -- and I have.

A lifelong supporter of the pro-life movement, my work defending the unborn goes back to my college days where I was a leader of Marquette Students for Life. As a state lawmaker, I helped write and pass legislation banning the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion. As Governor of Wisconsin, I prohibited abortion from being covered by Wisconsin health plans in a health insurance exchange, signed an ultrasound bill into law, and defunded Planned Parenthood while maintaining health services for women throughout Wisconsin.

Earlier this year, I called for legislation to protect unborn children once they can feel pain at five months. The members of the State Legislature just passed the bill and I will sign it into law next week. Yet another pro-life victory here in Wisconsin!

If elected President, I would be honored to sign similar legislation at the federal level. I was raised to believe in the sanctity of life and I will always fight to protect it.

Please stand with me today to help elect a pro-life President.

Our conservative values were handed a big blow with the recent Supreme Court ruling. Let me be very clear: this decision was a grave mistake. Five unelected judges took it upon themselves to take that responsibility away from the states and redefine the institution of marriage.

In 2006, I voted to amend my state constitution to protect the institution of marriage because I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman.

I believe that the states have the right to define marriage.

To protect this right, I support an amendment to the United States Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage.

Going forward, we need to focus our attention on protecting the religious rights of Americans. Our U.S. Constitution calls for freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. The founders of this exceptional country took religious freedom very seriously and we must redouble our efforts to protect these freedoms today.

Peter, I have been a tireless advocate for religious liberty. And my state’s families and children are better off because of our pro-life, pro-family agenda that promotes life, freedom, and opportunity.

As President, I will stand up for these same values. And I will appoint men and women to the Court who will faithfully uphold the Constitution -- without injecting their own political agendas into legal matters.

Our country is at a crossroads and we need a proven conservative leader who is not afraid to fight for what is right -- even when it’s not politically expedient. My decisions are guided by my relationship with God -- not by what might win me a few votes.

I am proud to have earned the early support of conservative and religious activists across the country and hope to earn your support today. Visit here to become a leader of our conservative team with a contribution of $10, $35, $50, $100, $250, or whatever amount is right for you.

Every day I pray that our best days of peace, prosperity, and freedom are ahead of us. As President, I will uphold the traditional values that have made our country great, but I need your help to win.

Your enthusiastic support will help us build much-needed momentum in these early weeks as we take our conservative message to voters across the country.

God bless you and God bless America,

Scott Walker

 

'Satan Dancing With Delight': The Religious Right Reacts To The Legalization Of Gay Marriage

This morning, the Supreme Court ruled that state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, effectively legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states.

Needless to say, anti-gay Religious Right activists and Republican politicians who have repeatedly warned that such a ruling would literally destroy America have not reacted well, as exemplified by Bryan Fischer, who fired off a series of tweets declaring that Satan is now dancing in the streets of America:

Other anti-gay activists were equally outraged:

Anti-gay Republican presidential hopefuls were quick to weigh in:

Mike Huckabee

"The Supreme Court has spoken with a very divided voice on something only the Supreme Being can do-redefine marriage. I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.

"This ruling is not about marriage equality, it's about marriage redefinition. This irrational, unconstitutional rejection of the expressed will of the people in over 30 states will prove to be one of the court's most disastrous decisions, and they have had many. The only outcome worse than this flawed, failed decision would be for the President and Congress, two co-equal branches of government, to surrender in the face of this out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny."

"The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature's God on marriage than it can the law of gravity. Under our Constitution, the court cannot write a law, even though some cowardly politicians will wave the white flag and accept it without realizing that they are failing their sworn duty to reject abuses from the court. If accepted by Congress and this President, this decision will be a serious blow to religious liberty, which is the heart of the First Amendment."

Bobby Jindal

Governor Jindal said, “The Supreme Court decision today conveniently and not surprisingly follows public opinion polls, and tramples on states’ rights that were once protected by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that.

This decision will pave the way for an all out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision. This ruling must not be used as pretext by Washington to erode our right to religious liberty.

The government should not force those who have sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage to participate in these ceremonies. That would be a clear violation of America’s long held commitment to religious liberty as protected in the First Amendment.

I will never stop fighting for religious liberty and I hope our leaders in D.C. join me.”

Rick Santorum

Today, five unelected justices decided to redefine the foundational unit that binds together our society without public debate or input. Now is the people’s opportunity respond because the future of the institution of marriage is too important to not have a public debate. The Court is one of three co-equal branches of government and, just as they have in cases from Dred Scott to Plessy, the Court has an imperfect track record. The stakes are too high and the issue too important to simply cede the will of the people to five unaccountable justices.

“But leaders don’t accept bad decisions that they believe harm the country, they have the courage of their convictions and lead the country down the better path. Marriage, the family and our children are too central to a healthy society to not fight for what is best. I realized that fact early on and that is why I lead the charge against some in my own party in 2004 to ensure the Federal Marriage Amendment received a vote and I continue to stand for marriage, for families, for freedom.

“As President, I will be committed to using the bully pulpit of the White House to lead a national discussion on the importance to our economy and our culture of mothers and fathers entering into healthy marriages so that every child is given their birthright- to be raised by their mother and father in a stable, loving home. I will stand for the preservation of religious liberty and conscience, to believe what you are called to believe free from persecution. And I will ensure that the people will have a voice in decisions that impact the rock upon which our civilization is built.”

Scott Walker

I believe this Supreme Court decision is a grave mistake. Five unelected judges have taken it upon themselves to redefine the institution of marriage, an institution that the author of this decision acknowledges “has been with us for millennia.”

In 2006 I, like millions of Americans, voted to amend our state constitution to protect the institution of marriage from exactly this type of judicial activism. The states are the proper place for these decisions to be made, and as we have seen repeatedly over the last few days, we will need a conservative president who will appoint men and women to the Court who will faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our land without injecting their own political agendas.

As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage.

Anti-gay Religious Right organizations, like the Family Research Council, likewise vowed never to accept this ruling:

"Five justices on the Supreme Court have overturned the votes of 50 million Americans and demanded that the American people walk away from millennia of history and the reality of human nature.

“In reaching a decision so lacking in foundation in the text of the Constitution, in our history, and in our traditions, the Court has done serious damage to its own legitimacy.

“No court can overturn natural law.  Nature and Nature’s God, hailed by the signers of our Declaration of Independence as the very source of law, cannot be usurped by the edict of a court, even the United States Supreme Court.

“Marriage is rooted not only in human history, but also in the biological and social reality that children are created by, and do best when raised by, a mother and a father. No court ruling can alter this truth.

“It is folly for the Court to think that it has resolved a controversial issue of public policy. By disenfranchising 50 million Americans, the Court has instead supercharged this issue.

"Just as with Roe v. Wade in 1973, the courts will not have the final say on this profound social matter.  The American people will stand up for their right to have a voice and a vote, especially as they experience the ways in which redefining marriage fundamentally impairs their freedom to live and work in accordance with their beliefs.

“With this ruling, the Supreme Court has set our government on a collision course with America’s cherished religious freedoms, explicitly guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution.

“Americans will not stop standing for transcendent truth, nor accept the legitimacy of this decision.  Truth is not decided by polls or the passage of time, but by the One who created time and everything that exists therein.

“We will not lapse into silence but will continue to speak uncompromisingly for the truth about what marriage is, always has been, and always will be: the union of one man and one woman,” concluded [Tony] Perkins.

The National Organization for Marriage:

Though expected, today's decision is completely illegitimate. We reject it and so will the American people. It represents nothing but judicial activism, legislating from the bench, with a bare majority of the Justices on the Supreme Court exercising raw political power to impose their own preferences on marriage when they have no constitutional authority to do so. It is a lawless ruling that contravenes the decisions of over 50 million voters and their elected representatives. It is a decision that is reminiscent of other illegitimate Court rulings such as Dred Scott and Roe v Wade and will further plunge the Supreme Court into public disrepute.

Make no mistake about it: The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and countless millions of Americans do not accept this ruling. Instead, we will work at every turn to reverse it.

The US Supreme Court does not have the authority to redefine something it did not create. Marriage was created long before the United States and our constitution came into existence. Our constitution says nothing about marriage. The majority who issued today's ruling have simply made it up out of thin air with no constitutional authority.

In his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," Dr. Martin Luther King discussed the moral importance of disobeying unjust laws, which we submit applies equally to unjust Supreme Court decisions. Dr. King evoked the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas that an unjust law or decision is one that is "a human law that is not rooted in eternal law or natural law."

Today's decision of the Supreme Court lacks both constitutional and moral authority. There is no eternal or natural law that allows for marriage to be redefined.

American Family Association

“This morning’s ruling rejects not only thousands of years of time-honored marriage but also the rule of law in the United States,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “In states across the nation, voters acted through the democratic process to protect marriage and the family. Yet, courts around the country chose to disregard the will of the people in favor of political correctness and social experimentation. And we witnessed firsthand the consequences, as individuals were repeatedly targeted by the government for not actively supporting homosexual marriage. Sadly, our nation’s highest Court, which should be a symbol of justice, has chosen instead to be a tool of tyranny, elevating judicial will above the will of the people.

“There is no doubt that this morning’s ruling will imperil religious liberty in America, as individuals of faith who uphold time-honored marriage and choose not to advocate for same-sex unions will now be viewed as extremists. But to the Court, we send this unequivocal message: We will continue to uphold God’s plan for marriage between one man and one woman, and we call on all Christians to continue to pray for the nation, and for those whose religious liberties will be directly impacted by this ruling.”

In the years leading up to the landmark SCOTUS case, voters in 31 states had acted through the democratic process to uphold marriage and the family. Yet, same-sex marriage was legalized in 36 states, due in large part to overreaching judges who chose to disregard the will of the people and cater to those who advocate for homosexuality. 

Concerned Women For America

Today goes down in history as the day nine unelected judges kicked the Constitution to the curb — overturning traditional marriage — and put your religious freedom dangerously at risk.

The decision is in. The justices have ruled. Marriage will be redefined to conform to the pro-LGBT view of marriage.

In one appalling decision, the Supreme Court has effectively opened the door to the criminalization of Christianity when it comes to the marriage issue ... and not just Christianity, but every major religion that supports God’s model for marriage and family.

Catholic League

Once again, five Supreme Court justices have invented a right that is nowhere mentioned or implied in the U.S. Constitution. Instead of allowing the states the right to make decisions about marriage, these judges have elected to impose their will on the nation.

Moreover, their reasoning is sociologically illiterate. The idea that marriage is a matter of individual autonomy—and not a social institution—is the most profound flaw in their ruling. In their mind, society is composed of monads.

For people of faith, this decision is ominous. On p. 27, the majority declares that religious Americans “may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.” It is nice to know they respect our First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

“The First Amendment,” the five justices say, “ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives….” That’s the best they can do? Justice Clarence Thomas, in his dissent, rightly criticizes this genuflection to religious rights. “Religious liberty,” he says, “is about freedom of action in matters of religion generally”—it is not confined to advocacy.

In order to stop the IRS from revoking the tax-exempt status of religious institutions that refuse to marry two men or two women, Congress needs to pass the First Amendment Defense Act that was introduced last week. Nothing less is acceptable.

Walker Signs New Gun Laws In Office Of Extremist Sheriff Who Wanted To Add Semi-Automatic Rifle To Great Seal

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker further paved the way for his GOP presidential bid today, signing two bills weakening his state’s gun laws, just one week after a gun massacre left nine people dead at a church in South Carolina. Walker said that he went ahead with the planned signing despite the recent attack because if he had postponed it, “it would have given people the erroneous opinion that what we signed into law today had anything to do with what happened in Charleston.”

Walker gave another signal to the far-right base that he is apparently hoping to attract in his choice of location for the bill-signing: the office of Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.

We last wrote about Clarke when he addressed the National Rifle Association’s convention and called for a semi-automatic rifle to be added to the Great Seal of the United States:

Clarke first emerged as a Tea Party hero in 2013, when he recorded a radio ad urging his constituents to arm themselves because “calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option.” This earned him the “Constitutional Sheriff of the Year” award from the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officer’s Association, a far-right group that holds that county sheriffs have the power to defy federal laws that they believe are unconstitutional and arrest federal agents enforcing them. Accepting the award, Clarke called the group a “friend for life.”

Last year, Clarke joined conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio program to warn that a renewal of the federal assault weapons ban would lead to weapons confiscation and would spark “the second coming of the American Revolution, the likes of which would make the first revolution pale by comparison”:

This year, Clarke has burnished his Tea Party credentials by appearing repeatedly on Fox News to assure its viewers that racial disparities in the justice system are a myth and to attack President Obama for saying otherwise.

While the choice of Clarke’s office for the bill-signing may have seemed mundane to many observers, Walker was sending a clear signal to some of the most extreme elements of his party’s base.

Scott Walker: Clinton Using Equal Pay To 'Pit One Group Of Americans Versus Another'

In an interview with Boston Herald Radio last week, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker attacked Hillary Clinton for her advocacy for equal pay legislation, saying that she was just following in the footsteps of President Obama in trying to “pit one group of Americans versus another.”

When the program’s host, Adriana Cohen, asked Walker about misleading statistics from the conservative website Washington Free Beacon purporting to show a gender pay gap in Clinton’s Senate office, Walker agreed that it was “part of that amazing double standard.”

“But I think even a bigger issue than that,” he said, “and this is sadly something that would make her consistent with the president, and that is I believe that the president and now Hillary Clinton tend to think that politically they do better if they pit one group of Americans versus another.”

He said that, in contrast, “Americans are hungry” for leaders who will “make every American’s life better” rather than those who want to “pit one group against another group out there.”

He added that equal pay legislation is part of the liberal plot to get Americans “dependent on the government”: “For them, their measure of success in government is how many people are dependent on the government, how many people are dependent, on whether its Medicaid or food stamps or health care or other things out there.”

Walker has previously called equal pay “a bogus issue.”

John Kasich Kicks Off Presidential Bid By Addressing Religious Right Gathering

The Faith and Freedom Coalition, the Religious Right group led by disgraced right-wing lobbyist Ralph Reed, is holding its annual “Road to Majority” conference next week. Nearly every Republican presidential candidate has signed up for the event, and today, the FFC announced that Ohio Gov. John Kasich will be addressing the conservative summit.

Kasich recently made waves by tapping John Weaver and Fred Davis, two veterans of John McCain’s 2008 campaign, to work for his increasingly likely campaign for president.

The conference is cosponsored by radical right-wing groups such as Concerned Women for America, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family & Property and the World Congress of Families, and will feature speeches from Religious Right favorites such as Reps. Steve King and Louie Gohmert, Fox News pundit Todd Starnes, Christian Broadcasting Network “reporter” David Brody, pastor Jim Garlow, rabbi Daniel Lapin and activists like Phyllis Schlafly, Lila Rose and Gary Bauer.

Clearly, no right-wing activist is too radical or corrupt for Republican presidential candidates to embrace, which is why Kasich, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham and Carly Fiorina have no qualms about attending this event organized by someone like Reed.

Reed is best known for his involvement in the Jack Abramoff scandal, where he organized a Christian Coalition anti-gambling campaign in Alabama with the help of secretive funding from Mississippi tribes that owned casinos – who just so happened to be Abramoff’s clients that didn’t want business competition from the neighboring state. Reed denied knowing the source of the funding, even though investigators uncovered emails from Abramoff asking Reed to send invoices for approval from a Mississippi tribe which controlled major gaming interests. Abramoff later said that Reed “didn't want it out that he was getting gambling money,” adding that Reed was “a tap dancer and constantly just asking for money.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/3/15

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/1/15

Does Scott Walker Even Know What's In His Mandatory Ultrasound Law?

Scott Walker has been receiving plenty of blowback for his recent comments about a bill he signed mandating medically unnecessary ultrasounds for Wisconsin women seeking abortions, most recently a scathing column by Gail Collins in the New York Times.

Walker told conservative radio host Dana Loesch that forced ultrasounds aren’t a “crazy idea” because when members of his family obtained ultrasounds, he thought they were “a lovely thing” and “just a cool thing out there.” Since then, Walker has been accusing the “gotcha” media of twisting his words all while doubling down on the substance of his argument, asking, “Who’s opposed to an ultrasound?”

But, aside from being clueless about why his “cool” comment was offensive, does Walker even know what was in the law he signed?

At a campaign event in Concord, New Hampshire on Saturday, an audience member asked Walker about his ultrasound comments, and he struggled to explain what was in the bill, falsely claiming that the law allows a woman to choose whether to undergo the procedure.

The Concord Monitor reports that a Walker spokesman “later clarified that he was referring to transvaginal ultrasounds when he was indicating that the procedure was optional.”

We obtained audio of the exchange, which you can listen to here:

Walker disputed the audience member’s claim that Wisconsin’s law requires a transvaginal ultrasound for women seeking abortions. While is true that the law allows women to choose between a transvaginal and abdominal ultrasound, experts point out that in the early weeks of a pregnancy — when most abortions take place — a transvaginal ultrasound is the only one that will produce the images that the law requires a doctor to describe to the pregnant woman.

Walker also stated that the law says an ultrasound “has to be offered, it doesn’t have to be done,” and that a woman “can choose whether they want to see [the ultrasound] or not, or have it done or not.”

This is not true. With a few narrow exceptions, the law requires a woman to undergo an ultrasound and for the doctor to describe it to her. The only choice the woman has is to decline to view the ultrasound images.

Scott then repeated the very same story he told to Loesch of viewing his children’s ultrasounds, saying, “I think for most people that ultrasound picture that many of us have, that many of us have seen from our children and grandchildren now, is a wonderful thing and a wonderful opportunity.”

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Scott Walker Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Friday 08/21/2015, 2:05pm
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is trying to walk back his call to end birthright citizenship, which is assured by the 14th Amendment. In an interview with CNBC, the GOP presidential candidate said today that he actually has no position on the amendment’s clear language: “I'm not taking a position on it one way or the other.” Walker’s vague response to a straightforward question about the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship, which has emerged as a hot topic in the presidential campaign thanks to Donald Trump, is par for the course for the candidate.... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Wednesday 08/19/2015, 4:41pm
If you are a presidential candidate, you spend a lot of time talking to people in Iowa. And if you’re a Republican, that means a lot of time on Iowa conservative radio, including popular programs hosted by right-wing activists Steve Deace and Jan Mickelson. The fact that Deace and Mickelson have long histories of extreme rhetoric has not dissuaded Republican candidates from joining their shows. But Mickelson just upped the ante with comments he made on his program today. Media Matters caught Mickelson proposing that undocumented immigrants in Iowa become “property of the state... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 08/17/2015, 1:00pm
Mike Huckabee’s statement on Sunday that he thinks a 10-year-old Paraguayan girl who became pregnant after being raped by her stepfather should have been denied access to abortion was no gaffe or fluke. In fact, Huckabee was expressing a belief shared by many of his fellow Republican presidential candidates and by the anti-choice establishment. Even “mainstream” candidates Scott and Marco Rubio came out forcefully against rape exceptions in this month’s GOP presidential debate, with Walker also clarifying that he would not allow abortions that would save the lives of... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Friday 08/07/2015, 5:45pm
Tara Culp-Ressler @ ThinkProgress: GOP Candidates Reveal Their Terrifying Fantasies About Abortion At First Debate. Steve Benen @ Maddow Blog: Republicans in need of a Reagan refresher. Eric Hananoki @ Media Matters: “Are You Freaking Kidding Me?" Fox's Starnes Spends Debate Trashing His Employer. Joe Jervis: Ben Carson: America As We Know It Will Be Destroyed By Independent Trump Run. Tom Boggioni @ Raw Story: Texas judge orders young man to marry girlfriend and write Bible verses to avoid jail time. MORE >
Miranda Blue, Friday 08/07/2015, 5:41pm
Last night’s GOP presidential debate broke ratings records. WorldNetDaily had some thoughts on the debate’s commercials. Anti-choice activists are upset that Megyn Kelly asked Scott Walker about his extreme abortion positions. Donald Trump is upset that Megyn Kelly asked him about his history of sexist comments, so he is tweeting sexist comments at her. Donald Trump is leading among evangelical voters. MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Friday 08/07/2015, 3:58pm
In last night’s Republican presidential debate, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson said he would base a new tax system on the biblical system of tithing. “I think God is a pretty fair guy,” he said. And he said, you know, if you give me a tithe, it doesn’t matter how much you make. If you’ve had a bumper crop, you don’t owe me triple tithes. And if you’ve had no crops at all, you don’t owe me no tithes. So there must be something inherently fair about that. And that’s why I’ve advocated a proportional tax system. You make $10 billion... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Friday 08/07/2015, 1:59pm
Miranda reported this morning on Mike Huckabee’s radical and dangerous plan to give fertilized eggs full constitutional rights by declaring them to be human beings. But Huckabee wasn’t the only one at last night's GOP presidential debate making extreme statements when it comes to women’s health care. Fox’s Megyn Kelly asked Walker about his position that all abortion should be illegal, even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of a pregnant woman. Walker did not answer Kelly’s direct question of whether he would really let a woman die rather than... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Friday 08/07/2015, 12:45pm
Yesterday’s GOP presidential debate on Fox News, perhaps unsurprisingly, devoted less than a minute to the Black Lives Matter movement and its concerns. Fox’s Megyn Kelly directed exactly one question about the movement to one candidate, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who gave a bland answer about providing for better “training” for law enforcement officers. But Walker’s answer contained one interesting tidbit, which he clearly knew would resonate with regular Fox News viewers. Walker referred in his answer to the advice of his “friend” Milwaukee... MORE >