Steve King

Steve King: Obama Destroyed The Soul of America

Republican leaders may want Rep. Steve King of Iowa to make himself scarce during the 2016 presidential election season, but the vocal far-right congressman made it clear in a speech to the Susan B. Anthony List’s gala last week that he intends to do nothing of the sort. Instead, he said, he would work to pressure the party’s candidates to take strong stances against abortion rights and LGBT equality in order to assure that the next president can “restore the soul of America” that was destroyed by President Obama.

“There are some of the candidates that think if they don’t come to Iowa, they don’t have to deal with Steve King,” the congressman told the anti-choice group. “But tomorrow morning at six o’clock I’m going to get on a plane and go to New Hampshire and next May 9, I’m going to be in South Carolina. And we are going to push full-spectrum constitutional conservatism — life and marriage — all the way through this.”

King told the group that the candidates were “good people” and that Republicans are “going to have a good nominee.” But he said that likeminded conservatives still need to pray “that God raises up a president whom he will use to restore the soul of America” after the country has been “deconstructed from the White House” by “a man who is taking on the pillars of American exceptionalism with…a procedural jackhammer.”

Steve King: Undocumented Immigrants Will 'Destroy Our Republic' And Western Civilization

In an interview with Boston Herald Radio at the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform’s annual radio row event today, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, warned that undocumented immigration and “identity politics” will not only “destroy our republic” but will ultimately lead to the collapse of Western Civilization by preventing the U.S. from leading the fight against radical Islam.

“I think that if we don’t enforce immigration law and if we continue down the path of the president’s amnesty and the recruitment of people in foreign countries to come in here illegally and giving them a path to legality and eventually a path to citizenship, I think that destroys our republic,” he said.

He urged the GOP to “stick with” the anti-immigration planks in its platform, saying, “You know, identity politics I think are a mistake too. I’m just no great fan of identity politics.”

He urged the GOP to instead reach out to immigrants and Latino voters by telling them that immigration reform will prevent the U.S. from putting “the pillars of American exceptionalism back together,” thus depriving Western Civilization of a “captain” in the fight against radical Islam.

“If you look at the rest of the free world, Western Europe, for example, Australia, New Zealand, those areas of Western Civilization, they look to us to be the leader. They do not have the capability of saving this world, I should say saving Western Civilization for the world, without America,” he said.

Later in the interview, King offered a novel solution to problems with foreign student visa holders disappearing from the government’s radar: bond them like people being released from jail.

Calling it a “business proposal” based on his experience as in the construction industry when his work was guaranteed by bonds, King asked, “Why can’t we do that with these students and just say bond them into this?”

“Bond them that they’ll come and they’ll follow the law and if their visa expires, we’ll just blame this on the bonding agent,” he said. “That’s how we let people out of jail. There’s a whole system out there, there’s an industry out there, why not let that be the guarantee? And then there’s no sweat on the enforcement, you just happen to have the check and balance in place.”

King also repeated his frustration with the House GOP leadership for bucking a plan he supported to shut down the government over President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

When asked, “Why can’t we deport people?” King responded, “If we were aggressive on this, that’s how you restore the respect for the rule of law. And instead, it’s the lack of political will.”

Steve King Joins Long Line Of Conservatives Who Attack Jewish Democrats

Rep. Steve King turned heads over the weekend when he scolded Jewish Democrats for not being sufficiently supportive of Israel. In comments first reported on BuzzFeed, the Iowa congressman said he does not “understand how Jews in America can be Democrats first and Jewish second and support Israel along the line of just following their president.” He later added that “everyone in the discussion knows I’m right.”

King’s suggestion that the vast majority of Jews in America are somehow bad Jews by voting Democratic is a regular talking point among Christian Right speakers.

Here is a look at other right-wing leaders who have denounced American Jews for daring to vote against the GOP:

1) Bachmann: Jews ‘Sold Out Israel’

Before leaving Congress, Michele Bachmann denounced Jewish voters for having supposedly “sold out Israel” by showing support for President Obama.

She told Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council that she found it “shocking” that many Jews “support the political priority and the political ambitions of the president over the best interests of Israel.”

2) Family Research Council Angry With Jewish Money

Like Bachmann, FRC’s Perkins has said that it’s “ironic” that while “the Democratic Party works against the benefit of Israel in many ways,” many Democratic members of Congress are “mostly aligned with a lot of the Jewish lobby” and “enjoy the money coming from the Jewish community.” He also criticized “liberal Jewish folk” for supporting marriage equality, which he alleged will somehow harm Israel.

Jerry Boykin, the group’s executive vice president, criticized American Jews for believing that Adolf Hitler was a leader of Germany’s far-right.

3) American Jews Are Simply ‘Confused’

Like Boykin, Sandy Rios of the American Family Association thinks that American Jews are simply ignorant or “confused.”

“The Jewish vote in this country is so confused,” Rios said in 2012. “So many of the Jews in this country are atheist and their hearts are with this president, at least their political concerns are with this president. They are with him on all the issues, you know abortion, all the things you might list.” She went on to say that while “most of the Jews in this country are far left, unfortunately,” even more dangerous are “Jewish atheists” who “sometimes turn out to be the worst enemies of the country.”

Rios has also claimed that “Jewish leftists in this country are eager to embrace Islam” and warned that “powerful Jewish forces” are out to suppress freedom.

4) ‘Self-Hating Jews’ Run Obama Administration

Conservative legal activist Larry Klayman marked Independence Day last year by blasting the “self-hating” Jews in the Obama administration who “lose no opportunity to distance themselves from their Judeo-Christian heritage in the style of Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky and indeed the evil Fuhrer Adolf Hitler himself, who many historians have concluded had Jewish roots on his father's side of the family.”

“These types of Jews, some of whom are present in the Obama White House to give Obama cover for his anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli acts and practices, are among the greatest enemies of the Jewish people,” he said, claiming that they help those “who are dedicated to [Israel’s] destruction.”

In another column, he went even further in criticizing the supposed “leftist Jewish influence” behind “anti-family institutions like gay marriage” and the “outright criminal behavior of the Obama administration,” writing: “I am more than embarrassed and appalled as a Jew to see my own people at the forefront of a number of scandals now perpetrated by the Muslim-in-Chief, Barack Hussein Obama, and his leftist Jewish government comrades and partners in crime. It is time for the great majority of Jews, who are honest law-abiding citizens, to speak up and play a role in helping to put these felonious liberal Jews in a place where the sun don't shine – meaning prison.”

He said that while the Jews who oppose such liberals are the “true Jews” who “police their own house and [do] not allow criminal behavior to go unaddressed, no matter what the source,” those who do not fight Obama are “more akin to ‘Hitler’s Jews.’

5) Tom DeLay’s Message To The Jewish Community

Since leaving the House, Tom DeLay has refashioned himself as a Religious Right crusader, and has a message for the “liberal Jews, Democrat Jews in America”: ditch Obama.

He said that such Jews should “never forget that this president, in everything that he has done, he has tried to undermine Israel” and push Marxism on America.

Right Wing Round-Up - 3/20/15

Steve King: Syrian 'Quasi-Refugees' Are 'The Sources Of Death And Violence'

Rep. Steve King is furious that the U.S. plans to increase the number of refugees from the Syrian Civil War admitted into the U.S. from just 500 to between 1,000 and 2,000, which the Iowa Republican said is actually a plan to resettle “tens of thousands” of “quasi-refugees.”

“The President just appears to have no fear of the consequences of doing stupid things,” King said during an interview today on Newsmax. “You’re not going to get Syria fixed if you take the people out of there that need to be the ones doing that work to fix it and there’s no way to avoid through that network of getting ISIS members and terrorist and future terrorists brought into America. That’s like creating a hole and bringing people through it.”

King, who is one of the GOP’s top anti-immigrant voices, said President Obama “seems to believe that he can pour people into America here that we know are the sources of death and violence.”

Republican Leaders Join Anti-Gay Extremists For Insane Documentary

Is the government about to ban Christianity and turn it into a criminal offense? According to one documentary, the answer is 'yes' because the gay rights movement is determined to outlaw the practice of Christianity.

As Kyle reported, the “documentary” will include appearances from Sen. Rand Paul and former Gov. Mike Huckabee, both likely presidential candidates.

Reps. Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Steve King and Tim Huelskamp also make appearances, joining the likes of creationist leader Ken Ham, discredited pseudo-historian David Barton and even “ex-homosexuals.”

Scott Lively, the Religious Right activist who pushed for laws criminalizing homosexuality in Uganda and banning pro-gay-rights speech in Russia, is also a featured guest. Not only does Lively believe that Obama is the Antichrist and claim that gay wedding songs caused Noah’s flood, but he even wrote a book, The Pink Swastika, blaming gay people for the Holocaust.

The documentary is the brainchild of Janet Porter, a former talk radio host who runs the group Faith 2 Action and the social media outlet FreedomBook (formerly known as ReaganBook).

Porter once co-chaired Huckabee’s Faith and Values Coalition during his 2008 presidential campaign and the former Arkansas governor once remarked that “there are two Janet’s that I answer to: my wife Janet and Janet Porter.” Most recently, she has dedicated her time to passing an anti-choice law, known as the Heartbeat Bill, in Ohio which would criminalize abortion even before many women know they are pregnant. Several GOP leaders, including Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich, have endorsed her bill.

Porter has built quite a reputation for claiming that President Obama is set to literally imprison, starve and murder his political opponents and that the gay rights movement will destroy freedom as we know it.

Porter’s remarks on LGBT people include:

  • Claimed that pastors who won’t perform same-sex marriages will be “carried off into jail” in states with marriage equality laws.
  • Blamed gay rights for Noah’s Flood in a column entitled: “How Same-Sex Marriage Points To End Of The World.”
  • Claimed Jason Collins’ decision to come out of the closet will endanger freedom. 

That’s not all, as she has also:

  • Warned that President Obama will use the Swine flu to “round up American citizens” and throw them in “FEMA concentration camps.”
  • Wondered if former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson is the Antichrist.

GOP Presidential Hopefuls And Members Of Congress Appear In New Anti-Gay 'Documentary'

Update: Porter has also released a trailer featuring Rand Paul and several GOP congressmen.

Today, Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter sent out an email to activists excitedly announcing that she is finishing up editing a new anti-gay documentary that she intends to release at the National Religious Broadcaster's Convention in Nashville at the end of this month.

Porter, who was a longtime Religious Right activist and radio host until she lost her program due to her increasing radicalism only to re-emerge as an anti-abortion activist and right-wing social media entrepreneur, has brought together a who's who of hardline anti-gay activists, members of Congress, and presidential hopefuls for her film entitled "Light Wins: How To Overcome The Criminalization Of Christianity."

Among the participants are Rep. Steve King, Rep. Trent Franks, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, Sen. Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, David Barton, James Dobson, Mat Staver, Phyllis Schlafly, Scott Lively, Alveda King, Brian Camenker, Frank Pavone, Robert Knight, John Stemberger, and, of course, Porter herself, who can been seen walking around in the woods with a lantern, warning that gay activists are seeking to turn Christians into criminals:

Porter released a separate preview of the film today, featuring a clip in which she blasts the Boy Scouts for having "needlessly caved to a dark sexual agenda" by allowing gay Scouts to join the organization while Knight and Stemberger warn that, as a result, the Boy Scouts will soon face "homosexual scandals" just like Penn State and the Catholic Church:

While it might come as a bit of a surprise to see someone like Rand Paul listed as appearing in this documentary, Mike Huckabee's participation should come as no surprise at all, as he has had close ties to Porter for years, even having named her as co-chair of his Faith and Family Values Coalition when he ran for president in 2008.

Predictably, Huckabee has nothing but praise for Porter's film:

"Light Wins" reveals the frightening trend not to simply ignore Christian believers, but to rid society of us altogether. This ground breaking, eye opening film will awaken viewers to the fact that being a spectator is no longer an option. One will be part of the solution or part of the problem, and I hope this riveting documentary will cause believers to take notice."

For more info on Porter's long history of making insane claims, see this round-up.

Steve King: DREAMers Come From Another Planet

Rep. Steve King got a little mixed up in his remarks at the Iowa Freedom Summit this morning, accidentally remarking that Americans “come from every possible planet.”

The Iowa Republican quickly caught himself and said that the DREAMers protesting the right-wing event are the ones who really come from outer space.

“We’re a great people, we have a vitality that’s unequaled on the planet, we come from every possible planet — every possible continent. There across the street [are] those people that come from the other planet,” he joked. King then returned to criticizing President Obama, alleging that the president is “eroding” America’s foundations of liberty and freedom.

King has previously compared immigrants to dogs and suggested that the majority of DREAMers are drug smugglers with “calves the size of cantaloupes.”

Steve King Summit Kicks Off With Attacks On DREAMers

Jan Mickelson, the conservative Iowa-based radio talk show host, is the emcee of today’s Iowa Freedom Summit, where several GOP presidential candidates have joined Rep. Steve King to appeal to voters in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

Mickelson boasted of King’s anti-immigrant extremism, and made fun of DREAMers, who organized a protest across from the summit, by likening them to people trying to crash a hotel breakfast.

“Nobody from Iowa cares a sliver about immigration. All of us came from somewhere, but what we do care about is illegal gate-crashers, as Steve would say,” Mickelson said. “This is about rule of law.”

“‘We’ve borrowed the keys and we’re not happy about the maid service, the TV doesn’t work and we can’t eat at the continental breakfast,’” he said while imitating DREAMers. “‘That’s unfair, we’re dreamers, we’re dreaming about that breakfast. That’s pretty much the same argument the protesters outside are using. They haven’t checked in, they’re using property not of their own, they’re demanding room service and they say they can’t be evicted now because their kids have been born in that room they busted into.” 

Anti-Choice Activists Furious About GOP's Reversal On 20-Week Abortion Ban

Yesterday, Republican leaders in the House decided to pull a plan to vote on a national ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy after Republican women balked at a provision that would have exempted rape survivors only if they reported their assault to the police. The vote had been planned to coincide with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the anti-choice March for Life on the National Mall.

Anti-choice activists are, predictably, furious. After all, many saw the rape and incest exception as an unacceptable compromise in the first place. The bill, originally proposed by Rep. Trent Franks last year, included only an exception for abortions that could save the life of the pregnant woman. After Franks claimed in a hearing that “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low,” GOP leaders quietly added a rape exception to the bill and picked a Republican woman, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, to handle the vote on the House floor.

Rep. Steve King of Iowa told the National Journal yesterday that he would fix the problem by eliminating the rape exception entirely: "I would not make exceptions for rape and incest, and then the reporting requirement would not be necessary.”

After House leaders decided to pull the bill yesterday, prominent anti-choice blogger Jill Stanek and the group Students for Life announced that they were putting together a last-minute protest at the offices of two Republican women, Reps. Renee Ellmers and Jackie Walorski, who reportedly led the fight against the rape reporting provision:

Conservative pundit Erik Erickson, in a late-night blog post, attacked Ellmers for her “two-faced ploy” and shot off a series of tweets giving her the “abortion Barbie” label he had previously bestowed on Wendy Davis:

 

Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s policy arm, responded with a press release saying he was “disgusted” by the House leadership’s “act of moral cowardice” and urged his supporters to call their members of Congress to protest the “breach of trust.”

“I am disgusted by this act of moral cowardice. If the House Republicans cannot pass something as basic as restricting the abortion of five-month, pain-capable unborn children, what can they get done?

“The Republicans in Congress should come and explain this atrocity to the hundreds of thousands of people gathering here in the nation’s capital to march for life. The congressional Republicans seem to think that pro-lifers will be satisfied with Ronald Reagan rhetoric and Nancy Pelosi results. They are quite wrong.”

House Republicans are now scheduled to vote on a bill Thursday that would prohibit federal funding for abortions. This scheduled vote coincides with the annual March for Life event, held in Washington, D.C., on or around the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing abortion in the case Roe v. Wade.

Conservative columnist Ross Douthat seemed to capture the feelings of many abortion rights opponents:

 

Steve King: Obama Learned Nothing From The Burr–Hamilton Duel

Steve King appeared on WorldNetDaily’s Radio America yesterday to explain that he made his decision to oppose John Boehner’s re-election as speaker of the House because of concerns that Boehner won’t put up a strong fight against President Obama’s immigration policies.

The Iowa Republican told host Greg Corombos that the nation’s founders would be aghast at Obama, who he said violated his oath of office “as if his word means nothing.”

“It’s been 210 years since Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr fought a duel over honor. Life and death over honor, honor meant that much to our founding fathers and they did not imagine that a president would dishonor his own oath in the fashion that he has done,” King said.

King said that he, on the other hand, is fulfilling his oath by voting against Boehner and insisted that the speaker would be ousted from his position if only other members of Congress took their oaths of office as seriously as he does.

Steve King Defends Government Shutdown Since The Voters Will Forget Anyway

Rep. Steve King took his crusade to block President Obama’s executive action on immigration to “The Steve Deace Show” last night, where the Iowa congressman urged House Republicans to thwart immigration reform even if it results in a government shutdown.

“Let’s throw out the fact that we have a Marxist in the White House and our very way of life is at stake,” Deace explained, “could an argument be made that a smart political move is to actually have a showdown with the president right now?”

After all, the radio host said, “in case it does blow up and the media loses their minds, the next election that matters is not for twenty-three months and a lot of things can change, Jesus could come back in the next twenty-three months, a lot of things can change in twenty-three months so let’s do it now when not much damage can be done [and] not many people are paying attention.”

King said he completely agreed with Deace’s analysis, adding that “there’s probably no better time to fight than now and no better time to risk a government shutdown than now.”

“The people would have twenty-three months to forget, presumably, but I would like it rather that they remember that we would have the courage, and I wish they don’t think it takes a lot, to stand on principle,” he said. “When the president violates his oath of office, it’s ever more incumbent upon the rest of us to stand up to our oath.”

Video: The Worst Of The GOP's Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

As President Obama prepares to announce the steps that he will take to provide temporary deportation relief for some undocumented immigrants, it’s important to remember why he’s taking this step. It’s not because Obama and Democrats refuse to work with Republicans to address pressing immigration problems. It’s because a small but influential segment of the Republican caucus refuses to do anything to fix the immigration system.

Today, we at People For the American Way joined with American Bridge to release a video highlighting the kind of rhetoric from congressional Republicans that has sunk any kind of attempt at bipartisan immigration reform.

Some of the examples of anti-immigrant rhetoric from GOP members of Congress will be familiar to RWW readers. And, sadly, we have plenty more where they came from.

Steve King Compares Immigration Standoff To Fighting ISIS; Keeps Shutdown, Censure & Impeachment On The Table

In an interview with WorldNetDaily today, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, compared the congressional GOP’s standoff with President Obama over immigration reform to the fight against ISIS, saying that the Republican caucus should be prepared to “use all the constitutional means at our disposal” and not take a government shutdown or impeachment proceedings off the table.”

“The president is holding a right hostage to an ultimatum,” he said. “We have a right to secure borders, we have a right to demand and expect that our president enforce the law, but he’s giving us an ultimatum that Congress can either pass amnesty or he’s going to commit it by a constitutional violation.”

“I think that we can’t take cutting off funding off the table,” he continued. “It’s about the equivalent of saying in the fight against ISIS that there will be no boots on the ground. Republicans should not make those kind of mistakes that the president has made in his messaging to ISIS. So that means that we should use all the constitutional means at our disposal.”

He added that “I want to do the minimum possible to restore the constitution,” which could include “cutting off the funding,” passing a motion to censure the president, or impeachment, which he called “the last resort, not one that I favor at all.”
 

 

Right Wing Round-Up - 11/19/14

Steve King: 'Screechy' Hillary Clinton Won't Play Well In Iowa

Rep. Steve King thinks that if Hillary Clinton decides to run for president, her “fingernails on the chalkboard” voice will make her vulnerable in the Iowa caucuses.

The Iowa Republican told Steve Malzberg today that there is a “lack of excitement” for a Clinton candidacy and that the former secretary of state’s fellow Democrats should challenge her because her “screechy voice” will “play over and over again in Iowa.”

Steve King: Immigration Action Would Send Country 'Descending Abruptly Into An Abyss'

In an interview this week with Rick Santorum, who was guest-hosting Steve Deace’s radio program, Rep. Steve King of Iowa said that if President Obama takes  executive action to grant deportation relief to some immigrants, he may push for Congress to shut down the government or impeach President Obama in order to prevent the country from “descending abruptly into an abyss that we have never seen in the history of this country.”

King said that if the president were to issue such an order, he would advocate for Congress to only pass a spending bill funding the government until January “so that we could address this thing by shutting off the funding.”

“I don’t want to go down the path that would bring us to where the confrontation between Congress and Bill Clinton in 1998, but neither would I take it off the table,” King said, referring to impeachment. He then compared his strategy for confronting Obama with the president’s national security policy: “The president has said some things like no boots on the ground and the war in Afghanistan is over at the end of 2014. You don’t make those kinds of predictions and you don’t unilaterally disarm. You use all the constitutional tools at our disposal. ”

“Our constitution will be torn asunder if we let the president do this,” King continued.

“What he’s contemplating doing is the equivalent of standing up in front of America, opening up the Constitution, taking ahold of Article 1 — all of the congressional legislative authority — tearing that out and putting it in his shirt pocket and saying, ‘I’ll do the lawmaking in this country, it’s not your business, Congress.’ If we let that happen, our constitutional republic is descending abruptly into an abyss that we have never seen in the history of this country.”

As the American Immigration Council has documented, every president since Eisenhower has used executive authority to grant “temporary immigration relief to one or more groups in need of assistance.”

Steve King Stands By Remark On Gays And Heaven, Even Though It Was 'Fabricated' By People Who Are Going To Hell

In an interview with an Iowa newspaper this week, Rep. Steve King suggested that gay people as well as those who are divorced and cohabiting will have unfavorable prospects in the afterlife, saying, “I’ll just say that what was a sin 2,000 years ago is a sin today, and people that were condemned to hell 2,000 years ago, I don’t expect to meet them should I make it to Heaven.”

The comment was quickly picked up by outlets like Talking Points Memo and Salon, so when King visited the “Steve Malzberg Show” today, Malzberg gave him the opportunity to clarify his comments.

In response, King simultaneously stood by what he said and claimed that the story was “false” and had been “fabricated.”

“What I said was it’s between them and God. And I said what was a sin 2,000 years ago is a sin today. That was what I said. And I stand on what I said, and they’ve manufactured this,” he insisted.

He added a dig at the people who had reported the story: “So maybe I won’t meet the people who distort the truth in the next life either, and I’m going to do my best to get to Heaven.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 10/23/14

Five Years After Passage Of Hate Crimes Law, Religious Right's Dire Predictions Still Haven't Come True

Here we go again. If Religious Right activists are to be believed, any day now the government will throw pastors in jail, have people “fined $500 a day” for reading the Bible and “start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians.” These are among the claims that were made this year by conservative politicians and movement leaders, who warn that America is now witnessing a “war on religion.” 

Similar dire warnings about the federal hate crimes law that was passed five years ago today have proven to be utterly false.

The apocalyptic rhetoric is a reaction to the advances in LGBT rights, including the legalization of same-sex marriage in dozens of states and the passage of non-discrimination ordinances in municipalities across the country. Along with categories such as race, gender, religion, age and ability, more localities are recognizing sexual orientation and gender identity as traits warranting protection from discrimination in the public domain.

As anti-gay politicians lose in the courts, Congress, state houses, town halls, and perhaps most importantly, at the ballot box, many have taken to conflating political defeat with a loss of rights and liberty. Only by depriving other people of their rights, so they claim, can conservatives and people of faith in this nation truly be free.

This month, many Republicans latched onto a complicated legal case in Houston to justify their hyperbolic warnings about impending doom for Christians in America. After Houston passed an equal rights ordinance this year, a pastor-led group tried — and failed — to collect enough valid petition signatures to force a referendum on repealing the ordinance. When a group of conservative activists and pastors filed a lawsuit demanding that officials accept the invalid petitions, pro-bono attorneys working for the city subpoenaed several pastors’ communications, including sermons, on petition collecting and related issues like homosexuality as part of the discovery process.

While many groups from the left and right alike called out the subpoenas as overly broad and intrusive, the Religious Right cited the legal move as proof that pastors will be, as the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody put it, “hauled off to jail for a hate crimes because they are speaking for traditional marriage.”

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who in 2012 warned that America was “at the edge of a precipice” and would soon see non-existent “hate speech” laws used “against Christian pastors who decline to perform gay marriages [or] who speak out and preach biblical truths on marriage,” agreed with Brody’s assessment.

(In a similar episode this month, the owners of a for-profit wedding chapel business filed a lawsuit against their hometown over a nondiscrimination ordinance, arguing that city officials have threatened them with prosecution and jail time for denying service to same-sex couples — even though officials haven’t pursued any legal action against the couple.)

The rhetoric surrounding the Houston case has become so apoplectic that even some conservatives are calling out their allies for making false and grossly misleading claims.

We’ve seen this movie before. In 2007, members of a group called Repent America were charged after disrupting a gay pride event and refusing to abide by police orders. The way conservatives tell the story, godly missionaries were punished by law enforcement for exercising their First Amendment rights and “sharing the gospel,” but as court records show, the group tried to disturb the peace and protest inside an event without a permit.

In fact, if Religious Right were correct in their warnings, America should have experienced a wave of arrests targeting pastors, church-goers and Republicans following the passage of the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Predictions about the criminalization of the Bible, pastors locked in jail cells and concentration camps for Christians never came true, mainly because these prophecies had no basis in reality.

The Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Law was passed by Congress five years ago today, and so far, the far-right’s twisted and baseless claims about the law have all been proven false. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t stopped making the exact same discredited arguments five years after the bill’s passage:

End of Free Speech

Despite the hate crimes law’s provision making clear that it is applicable only to cases of violent crime and nothing “shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual’s expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual’s membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs,” Religious Right activists and their allies in the GOP nonetheless predicted that the 2009 law would bring free speech to an end.

“Gay activists will use it against preachers who present the Biblical view of homosexuality,” Rick Scarborough said at the time. “The federal hate crimes law doesn’t target crime, but free speech.” He also warned that the law’s passage would “criminalize pastors and ordinary citizens who speak out biblically against homosexuality,” telling members of his group, Vision America, that he may face arrest for “speaking out against sexual deviancy.”

Scarborough, a Texas anti-gay pastor and political organizer close to Ted Cruz, hasn’t backed down from his claims even years after the law has gone into effect. At the 2013 Values Voter Summit, Scarborough declared that the “infidels” in the Obama administration are “hell-bent on silencing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Christians wouldn’t rise up against the attacks, he feared, “until a bunch of us are thrown into concentration camps.”

The Traditional Values Coalition went as far as to claim that the hate crimes law would imprison Jesus Christ.

“I believe that ‘hate crimes’ is the most dangerous bill in America, it is precisely what they are using to silence Christians around the world,” Janet Porter, a Religious Right activist with the group Faith 2 Action, said in an interview the year before the bill was passed. “How much of a stretch is it, really, to say that because I would say to you homosexuality is a sin or it’s dangerous behavior, before that speech alone is worthy of jail time? And that’s what we’re facing.” Porter told a Washington, D.C., rally shortly after the law was passed that it “criminalizes Christianity” and “sends pastors to prison for biblical positions and speech.”

In an 2009 email message with the subject line, “The Senate Will Vote To Silence You!,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins claimed that “what ‘hate crimes’ legislation does is lay the legal foundation and framework for investigating, prosecuting and persecuting pastors, business owners, and anyone else whose actions reflect their faith.”

He also alleged that the law would “gag people of faith and conviction who disagree with the homosexual agenda” and that it “punishes a person’s beliefs — part of the Left's intolerant agenda to silence the voice of Christians and Conservatives in America and eliminate moral restraint.”

“If federal thought crimes laws are passed, your right to share politically incorrect parts of your Christian faith could become a federal crime,” Perkins warned. At another conservative event, Perkins said hate crimes laws will curtail freedom and breed “chaos in America.”

Rusty Lee Thomas of Operation Save America even encouraged opposition to the law by alleging that “there is a direct connection between the sins and crimes of abortion and the sodomite agenda and the Islamic terrorism that threatens our nation.”

One group of GOP and Religious Right figures claimed the law would be “a savage and perhaps fatal blow to First Amendment freedom of expression.” 

E.W. Jackson, a Virginia pastor and GOP politician, told a conservative rally that the law “represents a virulent strain of anti-Christian bigotry and hatred” that is “another step in the process of robbing all Americans of the very freedoms the founding fathers pledged their lives for and the civil rights martyrs gave their lives for.”

Ohio-based televangelist Rod Parsley, best known for his work supporting George W. Bush’s re-election campaign and the passage of his state’s gay marriage ban, said that the hate crimes law would force him out of the pulpit.

“This deceptive ploy of liberal, homosexual agenda begins to lose its allure once you pull the mask back and take a closer look,” Parsley said. “The legislation that’s before our United States senators right now extends to speech and can punish people not for their actions but for their culturally incorrect thoughts. This legislation could become law, and you and I could find ourselves forbidden to speak from God’s word right here in America. I could no longer share my heart with you on critical issues, such as this, through the medium of television, or even in the pulpit of my own church.”

We can report that despite Parsley’s grim predictions, he is still very much “sharing his heart” as a preacher.

Outlawing the Bible

One group of Michigan pastors, joined by local Republican politician and American Family Association state chairman Gary Glenn, filed an unsuccessful legal challenge against the hate crimes law soon after it was enacted. The group’s legal representative, the conservative Thomas More Law Center, contended that “the sole purpose” of the law was “to criminalize the Bible and use the threat of federal prosecutions and long jail sentences to silence Christians from expressing their Biblically-based religious belief that homosexual conduct is a sin.”

Pseudo-historian David Barton told a California church that the law will throw pastors in jail for reading the Bible.

Pastor Paul Blair of Reclaiming America for Christ also offered an ominous warning: “If preaching the Bible is now against the law, then let us be arrested.” One WorldNetDaily commentator said the law would “crack down” on Christians for “reading the Bible.”

“Christianity Is Now Outlawed,” declared the Christian Seniors Association, a front group of the Traditional Values Coalition, in a fundraising letter following the law’s passage. “Did you know that the new Hate Crimes Act that President Obama signed into law makes the Bible illegal ‘Hate Literature?’” the letter continued.

“Most Christians might as well rip the pages which condemn homosexuality right out of their Bibles because this bill will make it illegal to publicly express the dictates of their religious beliefs,” said Andrea Lafferty of the TVC. “The ultimate objective of this legislation is to claim that ‘hate speech’ — criticism of homosexuality — incites individuals to violence and must be suppressed and punished. This will violate the First Amendment rights of any person or group that opposes the normalization of homosexuality in our culture.”

Legalizing pedophilia

In the paranoid conservative alternate reality, pedophilia has been legal for five years now thanks to the updated federal hate crimes law.

“The main purpose of this ‘hate crimes’ legislation is to add the categories of ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity,’ ‘either actual or perceived,’ as new classes of individuals receiving special protection by federal law. Sexual orientation includes heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality on an ever-expanding continuum. Will Congress also protect these sexual orientations: zoophiles, pedophiles or polygamists?” asked televangelist Pat Robertson.

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, similarly charged: “We have a record roll call vote that shows every Democrat on the Judiciary Committee voting to have pedophiles protected.”

King’s colleague Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, went one step further and said that as a result of the hate crimes law, courts would “have to strike any laws against bestiality” along with laws targeting “pedophiles or necrophiliacs.” Gohmert went on to warn that the law would effectively turn the U.S. into Nazi Germany.

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, for his part, predicted that the law would extend legal protections to “bisexuality, exhibitionism, fetishism, incest, necrophilia, pedophilia, prostitution, sexual masochism, urophilia, voyeurism, and bestiality.”

Richard Thompson of the Thomas More Law Center claimed the law “elevates those persons who engage in deviant sexual behaviors, including pedophiles, to a special protected class of persons as a matter of federal law and policy.”

Porter dubbed the law the “Pedophile Protection Act,” “summarizing” the law by completely making things up: “Pushing away an unwelcome advance of a homosexual, transgendered [sic], cross-dresser or exhibitionist could make you a felon under this law. Speaking out against the homosexual agenda could also make you a felon if you are said to influence someone who pushes away that unwelcome advance. And pedophiles and other sexual deviants would enjoy an elevated level of protection, while children, seniors, veterans and churches would not.”

Pedophilia, bestiality and necrophilia are still against the law and such laws have not been affected by the Hate Crimes Act, while declining “an unwelcome advance of a homosexual” is still very much legal. However, we are still waiting with bated breath for Porter’s lawsuit detailing how she was forced and legally bound to succumb to the charms of a homosexual enticer.

Can the Religious Right Be Trusted?

The many frantic, unfounded warnings about the perils the 2009 Hate Crimes Act are just one example of anti-gay activists’ penchant for manufacturing myths and brazenly distorting cases of supposed persecution.

Religious Right commentators now regularly liken themselves to Jews living under Nazi Germany or shamelessly compare the state of Christians in the U.S. to that of Middle East Christians facing displacement and death at the hands of terrorist groups like ISIS.

Apocalyptic warnings and blatantly dishonest remarks have always been characteristic of the Religious Right's crusade against LGBT rights and we can expect such activists to continue to engage in such shameless fear mongering and misinformation before the 2014 election.

But, like the Religious Right’s warnings about the effects of the 2009 Hate Crimes Act, these dire predictions should be taken with a heavy dose of salt.

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Steve King Posts Archive

Miranda Blue, Friday 07/10/2015, 1:18pm
In an interview with The Hill newspaper today, Rep. Steve King defended Donald Trump’s comments calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and drug dealers, echoing Trump in claiming that the risk of sexual assault for women crossing the southern border translates into Mexican and Central American men being rapists. "So yes, they’re being raped, they’re being murdered they’re being brutalized,” he told The Hill, “and when I know I’ve been challenged on that, 'well you can’t conclude that (it's) Mexicans or Central Americans... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Thursday 07/02/2015, 10:45am
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, told radio host Jan Mickelson on Tuesday that House Speaker John Boehner tried to punish him for bucking House leadership by denying him tickets to see the Supreme Court oral arguments in King v. Burwell, the Affordable Care Act case, but then Chief Justice John Roberts saved the day in the end by finding him a seat. “He’s also trying to block me from hearing oral arguments before the Supreme Court, on Obamacare, for example, so I went to Chief Justice Roberts and he gave me a couple tickets on his special front bench and we went ahead anyway,” King... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 07/01/2015, 5:33pm
Patricia Murphy @ The Daily Beast: How the Right Hijacked MLK to Fight Gay Marriage. Anu Joshi @ Imagine 2050: Blurring Borders: Collusion between anti-immigrant groups and immigration enforcement agents. Matt Wilstein @ Mediaite: GOP. Rep Steve King Endorses Trump’s Mexican Rapist Comments. Sarah Posner @ Religion Dispatches: The Theology Behind Alabama Official’s Demand to Flout SCOTUS. Daniel Angster @ Media Matters: Racially-Charged Texas Radio Host Michael Berry Renews Friendship With Ted Cruz. Christopher Massie @ BuzzFeed: Huckabee: Calling Same-Sex... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Wednesday 07/01/2015, 5:02pm
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said yesterday that he would support impeaching Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan over their participation in the Supreme Court’s marriage equality case whenever “the public is ready” for such proceedings. King, a guest on Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson’s program, took a call from a listener who said of the justices who voted to strike down same-sex marriage bans, “I submit that these are rogue justices and they can be impeached and removed by Congress.” King told the caller that he agreed with him, but “... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 06/22/2015, 3:10pm
Janet Porter, the creator of the anti-gay film “Light Wins,” says in the “documentary” that opponents of the gay rights movement should look to Ronald Reagan for inspiration. Just as Reagan brought down the Soviet Union, Porter dubiously claims, conservatives can still beat the odds and roll back the tide in favor gay rights. As Dr. John Diggs adds, communism may be coming to the U.S.: “Political correctness, as people may not recall, is a term that was born in the Soviet Union where thousands if not millions of people died because they tried to quash religion... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Monday 06/22/2015, 11:43am
In an interview with Iowa talk radio host Simon Conway on Friday, Rep. Steve King slammed President Obama for remarking in the wake of the mass shooting in Charleston last week that because of tighter gun laws “this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.” King acknowledged that mass shootings are more frequent in the United States, but said that American has a “higher calling” than preventing “one event of violence” and can only be “the bastion of western civilization” if individual gun rights are unrestricted... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Monday 06/22/2015, 10:51am
Steve Malzberg invited Rep. Steve King onto his Newsmax program on Friday to discuss issues ranging from the church shooting in Charleston, which King blamed on prescription medication, to undocumented immigrants, whom he said have killed “multiples of the victims of the September 11 attacks,” to Caitlyn Jenner, whom he said illustrates “how far this society has gone from rational thought.” The Iowa Republican also had some thoughts on Hillary Clinton’s slam of Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric in his presidential announcement. King said that Clinton... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Thursday 05/14/2015, 12:35pm
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said yesterday that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s promise earlier this year to “give voice to the plight of Muslims living in this country and the discrimination that they face” was “just appalling,” adding that he does not believe Muslim-Americans face any discrimination. Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson played King a clip of Johnson’s remarks at a February summit on violent extremism, asking incredulously, “So the guy that we put in charge of homeland security thinks that it’s his job as chief of the... MORE >