Ted Cruz

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/1/15

The Time Bobby Jindal Waged War On A Local Official's 'Religious Liberty' To Deny Marriage Licenses

In wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality, Republican leaders, led by GOP officials in Texas and North Carolina, have rallied behind the idea that public officials should be able to deny marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples if they say same-sex marriage conflicts with their religious beliefs.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said that local clerks should be allowed to deny licenses for such reasons, as has his GOP White House rival, Bobby Jindal:

Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has said Louisiana court clerks and other state employees who don't want to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of religious objections won't have to do so.

Jindal's office has said the governor's religious freedom executive order as well as state and federal law will protect clerks and state employees who have moral objections to gay marriage and don't feel comfortable handing out licenses to same-sex couples.

"We believe the U.S. Constitution, Louisiana Constitution, Louisiana's Preservation of Religious Freedom Act, as well as our Executive Order prevents government from compelling individuals to violate sincerely held religious beliefs. We will continue to fight to protect religious liberty," said Mike Reed, spokesman for the governor's office.

The Louisiana governor, however, was singing a different tune back in 2009.

That year, a local justice of the peace “refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple” because he said he doesn’t “believe in mixing the races that way.” He went on to say that he denied the marriage license out of interest for the wellbeing of children, an argument similar to those marriage equality opponents make today.

Jindal said at the time that the justice of the peace violated the law and should lose his job:

The actions of a justice of the peace in Louisiana who refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple have prompted some top officials, including Gov. Bobby Jindal, to call for his dismissal.

Jindal said the state judiciary committee should review the incident in which Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace for Tangipahoa Parish's 8th Ward, refused to issue a marriage license to Beth Humphrey, 30, and her boyfriend, Terence McKay, 32, both of Hammond.

"This is a clear violation of constitutional rights and federal and state law. ... Disciplinary action should be taken immediately -- including the revoking of his license," the Republican governor said.

When the justice of the peace eventually resigned, Jindal said it was “long overdue.”

But now Jindal is trying to defend justices of the peace who are refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing the same arguments about personal beliefs and the welfare of children and describing himself as a “religious liberty” champion in doing so.

A History Lesson For Ted Cruz: Religious Right Once Opposed Interracial Marriage

In the run-up to the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality, anti-LGBT activists bristled at comparisons to the Supreme Court’s 1967 ruling in Loving v. Virginia, insisting that bans on same-sex marriage shouldn’t be compared to anti-miscegenation laws since the latter didn’t have a religious basis.

Of course, while indeed the vast majority of Christians today oppose laws restricting interracial marriages, many Christians at the time used much the same arguments in defense of interracial bans as conservatives do to oppose same-sex marriage today (something one pro-equality pastor demonstrated creatively back in 2012). In fact, one-fifth of white evangelicals and Mississippi and Alabama Republicans still look down upon interracial marriages.

Nonetheless, Ted Cruz said today in an interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie that unlike same-sex marriage bans, “there is no religious backing” for interracial marriage bans, and therefore government officials should be allowed to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples if they say issuing such licenses would violate their religious beliefs. He also seemed to suggest that discrimination against interracial couples ended with the Civil War.

Cruz should know better. After all, the Tea Party leader announced his presidential campaign at Liberty University, the school founded by Jerry Falwell, one of the fathers of the modern Religious Right movement, who denounced both desegregation and interracial marriages in religious terms.

And in a 2013 speech for the Heritage Foundation’s “Jesse Helms Lecture Series,” Cruz said that “we need 100 more like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate,” a reference to the notorious civil rights opponent who Tim Murphy notes “got his political start by bashing interracial marriage and accusing the spouse of a political opponent of dancing with a black man.”

Helms and Falwell were far from alone, as a majority of Americans opposed interracial marriage at the time the Loving case was decided. Another Religious Right leader, Bob Jones Sr., said in 1960 that “all orthodox, Bible-believing Christians” think that racial integration is wrong. Until they didn’t.

Indiana Anti-Gay Bill Was Ted Cruz's Alamo

At a campaign stop at a shooting range in Iowa earlier this week, captured on video by the conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts, Sen. Ted Cruz boasted of his support for a since-altered Indiana law that would have opened the door for private businesses to discriminate against LGBT people in the name of religious freedom, comparing his stand to that of Texas soldiers at the Alamo.

“Sadly more than a few Republicans ran for the hills, including more than a few candidates who are running for president in 2016,” he said. :Some of them chose that exact moment to go rearrange their sock drawer.”

But Ted Cruz, said Cruz, was made of stronger stuff.

“In my view, Indiana was a time of choosing. In my view, Indiana was, as William Barret Travis at the Alamo said as he drew the line in the stand, it was a moment to choose which side of the line you stand.”

Cruz previously referred to opposition to Indiana’s measure as a gay “jihad.”

Religious Right Powerbroker David Lane: 'We Are Mobilizing An Army'

The Washington Times today profiled David Lane, the far-right extremist who is working with the Republican National Committee to mobilize conservatives come Election Day, and trains pastors to get “involved in the ‘dirty’ game of politics.”

These trainings, part of Lane’s effort to recruit 1,000 pastors to run for office, have particularly popped up in early primary states, with one speaker, Bruce Waltke, urging “the righteous” in attendance to “defend against the wicked by vigilant and spiritual warfare.”

Presidential candidates such as Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee, the conservative outlet notes, recently joined Lane’s training sessions or are scheduled to do so (Rand Paul and Rick Perry have also made appearances at Lane’s events).

“Fighting back tears, Mr. Lane prayed for mercy over the 55 million babies that have been aborted since Rove v. Wade, the mounting national debt, the growing acceptance of homosexuality and fears of Islamic terrorism,” the article continued, while adding that Lane criticized Caitlyn Jenner’s “perverse” gender transition as a “mark of a decadent society.”

“We are mobilizing an army,” David Lane, founder of American Renewal, told The Washington Times on the sidelines of the training session, which he named after a biblical tribe of Israel that produced wise leaders.

During the six-hour session, Bruce Watke [sic], author of “Proverbs and Politics: The Biblical Foundation for Righteous Governing,” told the rapt attendees that there has been a misunderstanding of the separation of church and state in politics. He used parables to outline the need for Christians to be involved in the “dirty” game of politics.

“The righteous must defend society against the wicked by vigilant and spiritual warfare. If Christians don’t fight, the wicked will plunder their heritage,” Mr. Watke [sic] said. “With hard work, the wise will prevail over the evil as surely as oil protects iron from rust, as cedar wood protects cloth from moths and salt preserves meat from maggots.”

Dave Hageman and Steve Michael, the young political masterminds behind the American Renewal Project’s $2 million ground game in last year’s U.S. Senate races that helped turn out low-propensity evangelical Christian voters, shared a beginner’s guide on running for office, outlined the mechanics of campaign operations and provided some insight into messaging.



In response to a question about Bruce Jenner, he said he feels sorry for the former Olympic athlete, who now goes by the name Caitlyn, whom he argued needs prayer. He shook his head at the attention the “liberal” media have given to his “perverse” behavior.

“The mark of a decadent society is the exaltation and normalization of sin,” he said. “That is what they are doing.”



Fighting back tears, Mr. Lane prayed for mercy over the 55 million babies that have been aborted since Rove v. Wade, the mounting national debt, the growing acceptance of homosexuality and fears of Islamic terrorism.

Some of the big names in Republican Party politics have taken notice. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a declared presidential candidate, attended the second training in Oklahoma, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is expected to enter the presidential race June 24, addressed a training session in Baton Rouge and last week’s session in South Carolina.

Mr. Huckabee is scheduled to appear at the next training session July 10 in Orlando, Florida. Close to 100 pastors have signed up for the event.

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/11/15

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 Bonus Tracks - 6/9/15

  • It looks like Ted Cruz easily won over the Religious Right activists who gathered for the secretive Council for National Policy vetting session.
  • OneMillionMoms is now going after the TV Land show "Impastor," warning the network "that if the show does air, then we will contact sponsors aggressively."
  • The person handling the Duggar family's current public image crisis also just happens to be one of Mike Huckabee's long-time political advisors.
  • Joseph Farah says that "it's not only true that Christians and Jews are facing a new wave of marginalization and persecution in America today, it’s also true that those precious freedoms are also under assault."
  • Phyllis Schlafly uncovers Hillary Clinton's "devious plan to capture even more illegal-alien vote" and stuff the ballot box.
  • Finally, David Ravenhill has a dire warning: "As tragic as Bruce Jenner's twisted mind and mutilated body has become, it is nothing in comparison to what is about to be unleashed. The scriptures make it clear that God is not mocked and that whatever we sow we reap. And when we sow to the wind we will reap a whirlwind."

Ted Cruz Picks Tennessee Sharia-Hunter As State Campaign Chair

Last month, we noted that Sen. Ted Cruz had picked Lee Bright, a state senator with a record of stoking fears of a new civil war, to co-chair his presidential campaign in South Carolina. Cruz has now made a similarly revealing choice in Tennessee, according to the AP, picking Tea Party activist and former Williamson Country GOP chairman Kevin Kookogey to lead his campaign in that state.

Back in 2012, Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam faced a backlash within his own party. His offense? Picking a Muslim American woman who had previously built expertise in Sharia-compliant finance — helping Muslim business owners arrange for loans in ways that don’t run afoul of religious restrictions on paying or collecting interest — to a top economic position in the state.

Egged on by anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney, who warned that “ the financial jihadists will soon be targeting the Volunteer state for infiltration and influence operations,” a number of county GOP committees passed resolutions condemning Haslam for his hire. One of those resolutions was spearheaded by Kookogey, who told Talking Points Memo that Haslam had neglected to “consider that, perhaps, those bent on destroying Western Civilization might just be infiltrating our institutions.”

“It is not like this has never happened before,” he continued. “The Muslim Brotherhood is following the blueprint of the Communists, who infiltrated the highest levels of government and society in the 1950's. Shariah, however, is an even greater threat, because it has cloaked itself under the auspices of a religion, thus confusing the uninformed."

Kookogey also used his position as county GOP chairman to warn that Agenda 21 — a nonbinding UN sustainable development resolution signed by President George H.W. Bush — “ is, in fact, an insidious strategy of environmental totalitarianism”:

Of course, the choice of Kookogey as a top state official isn’t a huge surprise coming from Cruz, who himself has claimed that “Sharia law is an enormous problem” in American life and warned that Agenda 21 is a scheme to abolish golf courses.

Ted Cruz Praises Radical Gun Group's Extremism, Credits It With Senate Win

A couple of weeks ago, we reported that Sen. Ted Cruz had agreed to participate in a “tele-town hall meeting” with activists from Gun Owners of America, an extremist gun group led by a far-right activist with a history of ties to militia groups and white supremacists.

GOA has posted audio of the call on YouTube, and it was quite the love-fest. Cruz thanked the “fighters” and “patriots” at GOA for endorsing him when he ran for Senate in 2012, and said that the group “played a critical part in helping get me elected.” Media Matters captured the comment:

Cruz specifically praised GOA’s extremism, saying, "I agree with Ronald Reagan who said we must paint in bold colors and not pale pastels, that's why I'm running and that's one of the things I love about GOA is GOA has never been accused of painting in pale pastels."

GOA definitely does not paint “in pale pastels.” For instance, the group’s executive director, Larry Pratt, is fond of saying that the Second Amendment exists for the purpose of putting the fear of assassination into politicians who disagree with him on gun issues. Just the latest example of this was in April, when Pratt declared, “The Second Amendment was designed for people just like the president and his administration” and “Democrats who want to take our rights.”

In March, he said he hoped President Obama would learn from the example of Charles I, who was executed for treason:

Pratt has even repeatedly said that he hopes Cruz’s colleagues in Congress maintain a “healthy fear” of assassination:

The love between GOA and Cruz is mutual. Pratt frequently sings the praises of the junior senator from Texas, saying that Cruz “ has not disappointed us and I’m certain that he’s not going to disappoint us,” and rejoicing that “everybody understands that Ted Cruz runs the United States House.” The New York Times has described Cruz as Pratt’s “key ally in the Senate.”

Religious Right Angry At Business Support For Marriage Equality

Conservative religious leaders have been delighted to work with parts of corporate America – most notably the Koch brothers’ political networks – to elect candidates who back right-wing social and economic policies. Religious conservatives have championed Citizens United and the demolition of regulations on campaign cash. The Kochs even promote Religious Right leaders who tell their followers that the Bible opposes minimum wage laws, unions, and progressive taxes. But many of America’s biggest companies have also become supporters of equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and that’s making religious conservatives angry.

When a number of major corporations pushed back hard against an anti-gay “religious freedom” law in Indiana, Gov. Mike Pence asked the legislature to amend the law to state that it would not allow businesses to discriminate. And that made the Religious Right furious. Reliably pro-business Republican presidential candidates like Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, and Bobby Jindal have been attacking big business support for gay rights in a sometimes awkward attempt at right-wing populist rhetoric.

Today’s mail brought a direct mail letter from the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins complaining, “Big Business has joined the anti-Christian bullies!” Perkins warns that “the seduction of Big Business by the homosexual rights movement is the main reason that movement has gained such momentum over our freedom to believe and live according to those beliefs.” Perkins asks for donations to “Stop Big Business’s Assault on Religious Freedom” and to support an FRC initiative to talk to business leaders and bring them around.

Another direct mail piece from Perkins, this time for FRC’s political arm, FRC Action, arrived the same day, in an envelope emblazoned with, “When you can’t make a living because you’re a Christian…THAT’S NOT FREEDOM.” The letter complains that “big corporations are foolishly aligning with the Left’s social agenda” and pledges that FRC Action will help states “create and pass a protective wall of religious freedom laws.” Perkins gripes about business opposition to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act:

The media published incredible false claims about what the law said and what the law would do. Hollywood celebrities, giant corporations, sports leagues, and even other states became a national lynch mob. They threatened and enacted boycotts of the state.

Tragically the governor ultimately caved in to these pressures. With the corporate community threatening boycotts and economic loss to the state, it appears that many political leaders in the state were more concerned about economic issues than moral truth, religious freedom, and the well-being of the family.

Over at conservative journal First Things, University of Notre Dame Professor Patrick Deneen says it is clear that in Indiana, “Republicans and Christians lost, Democrats and gay activists won.” (Of course this simplistic formulation ignores the Christian leaders who were allied with LGBT activists in opposing the law.) Deneen, a critic of both corporate capitalism and liberal democracy, blames the outcome in Indiana on business involvement:

Had the only appreciable opposition to RFRA come from gay rights activists, RFRA would have been a smashing political success for Republicans. It would have made the right enemies while generating gratitude and energy in the base. They did not expect their usual friends in corporate America to join the opposition, which was an idiotic miscalculation given the fact that establishment outrage scuttled the Arizona RFRA last year.

Deneen wrote last year that “The modern corporation and modern marriage are born of the same philosophical roots: rootless individuals seeking self-gratification in whatever way they see fit, short of ‘harming’ another.” In his First Things article, he portrays corporations standing with LGBT groups as a smart business decision given pro-gay shifts in public attitudes. But he calls the gay-rights collaboration between cultural and economic “elites” a dangerous alignment that is “ready to steamroll anyone in their way.” After Indiana, he says, “religiously based opposition to gay marriage is now more likely than ever to be treated by our society as tantamount to a hate crime,” and warns that the “elite-sanctioned attack on ‘bigotry’” will “reach inevitably into the sanctuaries of the churches themselves.”

Rafael Cruz: Can't Stay Silent Against Gay Marriage, Just Like During Nazi Germany

Rafael Cruz said at an event in Brenham, Texas, this month that the impending Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage will be “an ominous decision” that will determine “whether the definition of marriage we have had for 6,000 years is going to be thrown out the window.”

Cruz, the father and top campaign surrogate of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, warned that “if this decision comes against the biblical definition of marriage, the next thing that is going to happen is the government is going to come demanding that churches hire homosexual pastors and churches perform homosexual marriages. It is a very critical time in America.”

Likening the silence of Christians in the face of impending gay marriage doom to the silence of German citizens in Nazi Germany, Cruz asked, “How long are we going to remain silent? Or perhaps the more important question is are we going to have to answer to God for our silence? You know, silence is not an option.” Quoting German pastor and dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Cruz reminded his audience that “silence in the face of evil is evil itself…not to speak, is to speak. See, the silence sends the message loud and clear. We can’t afford to be silent anymore.”

Rafael Cruz: Gay Marriage Undermines Freedom And Therefore Turns Us Into Slaves

During an April speech at Easley First Wesleyan Church in Easley, South Carolina, Rafael Cruz said that while the unlimited right to bear arms is God-ordained, allowing gay people to marry will destroy freedom and turn us all into “slaves.”

“We do not get the right to bear arms from the Second Amendment… the Second Amendment assumes you already have that right because that right is intrinsic in our unalienable right to life,” he said. “You see, if you have an unalienable right to life, you also have the right to protect that life and protect the life of your loved ones. So the attack on the Second Amendment ultimately goes to the unalienable right to life.”

Not so with gay marriage, Cruz said, which is not a right but an attack on freedom.

The gay marriage case at the Supreme Court, he claimed, “is not about homosexual marriage, it’s about religious freedom. Because if the Court rules that homosexual marriage is a right, mark my words, the next thing will be going to a church and saying ‘you must perform homosexual marriage, or we’ll put you in jail’ or ‘you must hire a homosexual pastor, or we’ll put you in jail.’”

Cruz added that marriage isn’t necessary for gay and lesbian couples since civil unions — which his son has fought against — are legal in a number of places.

This attack on religion, concluded Cruz, is an attack on the liberty of conservative Christians and “of course, if you don’t have liberty, you’re a slave and if you’re a slave, you can’t pursue happiness.”

Larry Pratt: Obama Follows In Hitler's Footsteps, Creating A Race War To Take Away Our Guns

We recently noted that Sen. Ted Cruz has agreed to be the “first of several” Republican presidential candidates to join the far-right gun group Gun Owners of America in “tele-Town Hall” conferences to make their case for the group’s endorsement. This is problematic for a number of reasons, including that the gun group’s executive director, Larry Pratt, is a fringe extremist who enjoys threatening Democratic elected officials with assassination and warning of an impending Obama-led race war.

Although Pratt has indulged in race-war speculation a number of times, when Alan Colmes asked him about those comments last year, he denied ever making them, saying that when he discusses a “black force” he is taking about ninjas. Even so, we were not exactly surprised to hear Pratt asked yet again about an Obama-led “black race war” and to hear him respond that such a thing indeed exists and is a plot to take away everyone’s guns.

Back in January, Pratt appeared on the far-right radio show “Voices of Global Freedom,” hosted by a man who goes by Roy “Backpack Baron” and his friend “Yoda,” where he spoke for an hour about the danger of President Obama taking away Americans’ guns. “Yoda” questioned Pratt as to how he sees gun regulation “tying in with [Obama’s] brazen support, with Al Sharpton and others, despite the cop ambush in New York and Vegas and elsewhere, he’s brazenly supporting this black race war. How, if at all, does this tie into our guns?”

Pratt responded that said race war is an idea “right out of Saul Alinsky,” whom he called Obama’s “intellectual mentor.” He argued Obama is following Alinsky’s “idea that you create a crisis so that you can so disorient society so that it begins to collapse.”

“Yoda” went on to argue that Obama, like Vladimir Lenin, believes “the best way to confiscate guns is a thorough comprehensive registration.”

Pratt took this argument one step further, stating that historically “it’s not just Lenin” who used gun registration laws to disenfranchise citizens, but “it’s pretty much anybody that has ever gone after the people’s guns…Hitler built on the Weimar German registration of firearms and went after the Jews first …And that’s pretty typical of how these elitist governments operate. And it becomes dangerous when they have a very aggressive anti-this or that group type of ideology. Lenin was against the middle class farmers beginning in Ukraine. Hitler was against the Jews.”

“Yoda” was able to connect the dots, asking his viewers to question if there is a “coincidence with what Obama is doing and what did Hitler do.”

Larry Pratt: Obama 'Has Made It Very Clear He Doesn't Like The United States'

Larry Pratt, the far-right conspiracy theorist executive director of Gun Owners of America, who will be hosting a presidential campaign call with Sen. Ted Cruz next week, claimed last month that President Obama has “made it very clear he doesn’t like the United States” and that “he thinks that Christianity is at best on par with jihad.”

Pratt told fringe conservative commentator Stuart Vener that Obama ”doesn’t like people speaking against the dirt bag Muhammad like I just did, he thinks that that is a name to be revered, he thinks that Christianity at best is on par with jihad.”

Agreeing with Vener’s claim that Obama “wants to take everyone’s guns away,” Pratt hailed former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani for “speaking the truth” when he alleged that the president doesn’t love America.

Denouncing Islam as a “extremely murderous, extremely violent” religion, Pratt praises the Europeans who finally “got themselves together” during the Crusades to get “rid of the Muslim dirt bags”.

We’d also like to note that the cohost for Vener’s show, “Stuart Vener Tells It Like It Is!,” is a genie.

        

Ted Cruz Vows To 'Always, Always, Always' Stand For The Right Of Christians To Discriminate Against Gays

As Brian noted earlier, Sen. Ted Cruz spoke today at a "Watchmen on the Wall" event hosted by the far-right Family Research Council, where he shared the stage with a variety of other extreme anti-gay activists.

Naturally, when Cruz took the stage this morning, after being introduced by his father Rafael Cruz, who is also an anti-gay Religious Right activist in his own right, the Texas senator promised the gathering of pastors that he will "always, always, always" stand for the right of Christian business owners to discriminate against gays in the name of religious liberty.

Lamenting opposition to "religious liberty" bills in Indiana and Arkansas that would have allowed businesses to deny services to gay customers, Cruz declared that "the modern Democratic Party has become so radical, so extreme, that they have determined that their devotion to mandatory gay marriage in all 50 states trumps any allegiance to religious liberty under the First Amendment."

Even worse, Cruz said, was the fact that some of the leading GOP presidential hopefuls fell silent during the controversy as well ... but not Ted Cruz!

"I can tell you this," he said, "I will always, always, always stand and fight for religious liberty of every American!"

Ted Cruz To Speak Alongside Gay-Wedding-Crasher Flip Benham, 'Faggots'-Basher Wellington Boone

Sen. Ted Cruz and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise addressed the “Watchmen on the Wall” summit today, an event sponsored by the radical Family Research Council, whose leaders have defended Uganda’s “kill the gays” bill, pushed the expulsion of gay people from the U.S. and fear an imminent anti-Christian holocaust in the U.S.

One speaker, anti-abortion-rights crusader Flip Benham, will speak alongside his sons, Religious Right activists David and Jason Benham. Along with his anti-abortion work, the elder Benham is notorious for heckling same-sex couples at their weddings, screaming at Muslim worshipers, organizing disruptions of liberal church services and linking gay people to Satan. The young Benhams have similar views, describing gay rights as demonic and stoking fears about homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation.”

Another “Watchmen” speaker is E.W. Jackson, who joined the FRC after badly losing his race for lieutenant governor of Virginia and who has described gays as “perverted,” “degenerate,” “very sick people” and linked the Democratic Party to the Antichrist.

Wellington Boone will also speak at the event, even though he once told the audience at another FRC conference that he wishes he could call people “faggots.” At a 2006 event featuring FRC President Tony Perkins and Mitt Romney, Boone delivered a speech about the dangers of an island full of “sodomites,” defending laws making homosexuality a crime punished by the death penalty.

Ted Cruz Panders To Assassination-Threatening, Race-Baiting Gun Lobbyist Larry Pratt

Gun Owners of America, the radical and influential gun group that boasts that it is far to the right of the NRA, announced in an email to its members yesterday that it will be holding a series of “tele-town hall meetings” with Republican presidential candidates in order to vet the candidates on their gun-law orthodoxy.

The “first of several” calls, to be held next week, will feature Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a clear favorite of Gun Owners of America’s executive director, Larry Pratt.

While it’s unclear which other GOP candidates have agreed to participate in GOA’s calls, it’s disturbing that any have agreed to associate themselves with the far-right group and with Pratt.

GOA promotes an extreme, “no compromise” ideology that has helped to pull the NRA to the right and to sink any attempts at bipartisan gun law reform. But what is even more troubling is Pratt’s long history of pushing dangerous paranoia to the far right, encouraging firearms ownership as a way to stave off race riots and government takeovers and making frequent references to assassinating political leaders.

Pratt has long stood at the intersection of the “mainstream” right, Christian nationalists, and fringe militia movements. In 1996, he was forced to step down from a position on Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaign when it came to light that he had spoken at a militia event featuring a number of neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic activists. Several years earlier, Pratt had coauthored what the Southern Poverty Law Center calls the book that “introduced the concept of citizen militias to the radical right.”

A few days after the Oklahoma City bombing, he spoke to a far-right “Christian Patriots” group on the “biblical mandate to arm,” telling them that whoever had taken on the government “beast” in Oklahoma knew that “they can’t rely on the Lord to take vengeance.”

Pratt continues to promote an anti-government paranoia, urging citizens to arm themselves against a repressive government and make their elected officials fear assassination.

On his radio show in March, Pratt said that he hoped President Obama would learn from the example of Charles I, who was executed for treason in 1649:

In an interview last year, Pratt said that being afraid of assassination was “a healthy fear” for members of Congress to have, because that’s what makes them “behave.” When Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, who had felt threatened by one of GOA’s members, complained about his comments, Pratt doubled down, saying that elected officials should fear “the cartridge box” and accusing the congresswoman of being “foolish” and having “a hissy fit.” Later, he boasted that Democratic proponents of stricter gun laws are “afraid of getting shot and they ought to be!”

Pratt also pushes all manner of conspiracy theories regarding President Obama. He has claimed that Obama is building up a private security force within the Department of Homeland Security to use for his own purposes “if he can’t actually commandeer the military”; warned that Obama will enlist undocumented immigrants into a private “Praetorian guard” and advise police officers to go after people with conservative bumper stickers; said Obamacare will ultimately “take away your guns”; feared Obama is stockpiling “anti-personnel rounds” because he “seems to view the American people as the enemy”; claimed that Obama “had to steal” the 2012 presidential election and even buys into the fringe birther theory that holds that the president’s “real father” was labor activist Frank Marshall Davis.

Pratt repeatedly suggests that President Obama will seek to bring violence against white Christians, possibly in the form of race riots. In a 2013 conversation with far-right pundit Stan Solomon, Pratt predicted that “there is inevitably going to be some kind of social implosion, some kind of neighbor-against-neighbor” violence brought about by “these folks in power.” When Solomon predicted that that “implosion” would take the form of a race war pitting “black, Muslim and/or atheist…have-nots” on “Christian, heterosexual white haves,” Pratt replied that he wasn’t “stretching” anything.

In a separate interview, Pratt agreed with Solomon that Obama “would definitely be capable of something as evil” as raising what Solomon called “a black force” to massacre white Americans. Pratt later denied that their conversation had anything to do with race, insisting that it was really about ninjas, but said that such a racial massacre was “something that the president wouldn’t mind seeing.” Pratt holds that this race war will then allow Obama and Hillary Clinton to “build their own communist society” in the race war’s wreckage.

Pratt’s reaction to recent protests of police brutality and racial inequality have taken a similar tone. Earlier this month, he suggested that there would be no problems in Baltimore if armed citizens had simply shot dead anyone who rioted; in 2013, he blamed Trayvon Martin’s death on the teen’s “broken family.” On his radio program last year, he mused that “the African from Africa” is generally “a very happy person” and could therefore “approach some of their fellow blacks” in America to teach them to exhibit less “surliness.”

And Pratt’s reprehensible politics don’t stop there. In the 1980s, he called for a quarantine of people with AIDS, saying, “We don’t think AIDS should have civil rights.” He opposes immigration reform because he says it will bring in people who will be “sitting around drawing welfare and voting Democrat” and who will support firearms restrictions.

Despite all this, Ted Cruz and apparently other Republican presidential candidates are choosing to pander to Pratt and his group’s members.

Right Wing Round-Up - 5/20/15

Ted Cruz: Gay Marriage Is The Greatest Threat To Religious Freedom In American History

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the Republican presidential candidate who believes that the gay “jihad” may soon lead to the imprisonment of pastors and the end of free speech, told a right-wing radio host yesterday that the legalization of same-sex marriage represents the greatest threat to religious liberty in the history of the United States.

“We are seeing today profound threats to religious liberty in America, I think the greatest threats we’ve ever seen,” Cruz told conservative author and talk radio host Eric Metaxas.

Cruz said that the fights over “religious freedom” laws in Indiana and Arkansas were “heartbreaking” examples of how the Democratic Party has “gotten so extreme and so radical in its devotion to mandatory gay marriage that they’ve decided there’s no room for the religious liberty protected under the First Amendment.”

He added that while “Democrats joined with big business in vilifying an effort to protect our religious liberty,” too many Republican leaders and presidential candidates “ran and hid in the hills.”

“We’re a nation that was founded by men and women who were fleeing religious oppression and coming to seek out a land where everyone of us could worship God Almighty with all of our hearts, minds and souls, and that is under profound jeopardy today,” Cruz said.

Cruz later claimed that Solicitor General Donald Verrilli had said during last month’s Supreme Court marriage equality arguments that if marriage equality is legalized nationwide, the IRS will start denying tax-exempt status to churches. (In the exchange Cruz referred to, Verrilli had said nothing of the sort.)

“The next step on this,” he said, “is your church being told it now pays income taxes on the tithes that are given each week, that it is now singled out and discriminated against, that universities like Notre Dame or Georgetown and Brigham Young or any university that is founded as a Christian university, if it continues to follow biblical teachings on marriage, the federal government is asserting the power to discriminate and persecute them.” This led Metaxas to warn of “parallels” to what occured in Nazi Germany.

Metaxas seemed to be pleased with Cruz’s responses, especially compared to his GOP presidential rival Jeb Bush, whom Metaxas criticized for failing to forcefully denounce marriage equality and hiring “top people in his campaign who are very aggressively pro-same-sex-marriage.” 

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Ted Cruz Posts Archive

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 >
Brian Tashman, Monday 06/29/2015, 2:55pm
In wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality, Republican leaders, led by GOP officials in Texas and North Carolina, have rallied behind the idea that public officials should be able to deny marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples if they say same-sex marriage conflicts with their religious beliefs. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said that local clerks should be allowed to deny licenses for such reasons, as has his GOP White House rival, Bobby Jindal: Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has said Louisiana court clerks and other state employees who don't want to issue... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 06/29/2015, 2:30pm
In the run-up to the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality, anti-LGBT activists bristled at comparisons to the Supreme Court’s 1967 ruling in Loving v. Virginia, insisting that bans on same-sex marriage shouldn’t be compared to anti-miscegenation laws since the latter didn’t have a religious basis. Of course, while indeed the vast majority of Christians today oppose laws restricting interracial marriages, many Christians at the time used much the same arguments in defense of interracial bans as conservatives do to oppose same-sex marriage today (something one pro... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Tuesday 06/23/2015, 2:58pm
At a campaign stop at a shooting range in Iowa earlier this week, captured on video by the conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts, Sen. Ted Cruz boasted of his support for a since-altered Indiana law that would have opened the door for private businesses to discriminate against LGBT people in the name of religious freedom, comparing his stand to that of Texas soldiers at the Alamo. “Sadly more than a few Republicans ran for the hills, including more than a few candidates who are running for president in 2016,” he said. :Some of them chose that exact moment to go rearrange their... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 06/16/2015, 12:15pm
The Washington Times today profiled David Lane, the far-right extremist who is working with the Republican National Committee to mobilize conservatives come Election Day, and trains pastors to get “involved in the ‘dirty’ game of politics.” These trainings, part of Lane’s effort to recruit 1,000 pastors to run for office, have particularly popped up in early primary states, with one speaker, Bruce Waltke, urging “the righteous” in attendance to “defend against the wicked by vigilant and spiritual warfare.” Presidential candidates such as... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 06/11/2015, 5:33pm
Andrew Kaczynski & Ilan Ben-Meir @ BuzzFeed: Co-Author Of Mike Huckabee Books Was Accused Of Child Molestation In Two Legal Cases. Jenny Kutner @ Salon: Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar pull out of homeschool conference in light of new investigation. Erik Schelzig @ TPM: Cruz Stands By Anti-Shariah Activist Leading Tennessee Campaign. Jim Redmond @ Towleroad: Mike Huckabee: Obama Cares More About LGBT Pride Than Defeating ISIS. Zoe Greenberg @ RH Reality Check: California Assemblywoman: Drought Represents God’s Wrath Over Abortion. MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 06/11/2015, 2:00pm
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... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 06/09/2015, 5:30pm
It looks like Ted Cruz easily won over the Religious Right activists who gathered for the secretive Council for National Policy vetting session. OneMillionMoms is now going after the TV Land show "Impastor," warning the network "that if the show does air, then we will contact sponsors aggressively." The person handling the Duggar family's current public image crisis also just happens to be one of Mike Huckabee's long-time political advisors. Joseph Farah says that "it's not only true that Christians and Jews are facing a new wave of... MORE >