Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz Agrees Pastors May Soon Be 'Hauled Off to Jail For A Hate Crime'

Sen. Ted Cruz has, unsurprisingly, positioned himself right in the center of the Religious Right’s latest cause celebre, a lawsuit in Houston in which attorneys working for the city subpoenaed materials from local pastors, including copies of their sermons.

City officials have distanced themselves from the subpoenas, issued by pro-bono lawyers defending the city in a dispute over petitions for a referendum to repeal the city’s antidiscrimination ordinance, with Mayor Annise Parker calling their scope “overly broad.” But that hasn’t stopped activists and politicians like Cruz from jumping on the case to claim that all their dire warnings about gay rights leading pastors being thrown in jail are coming true. (An extra element of the case is the fact that Parker is openly gay, which groups like the American Family Association have been quick to note.)

Cruz joined pastors and Religious Right activists at a press conference in Houston yesterday, and in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody today said that all his warnings about the persecution of Christians in America have come to fruition.

When Brody asked Cruz if “we very well soon go through a period where pastors are hauled off to jail for a hate crime because they are speaking for traditional marriage,” Cruz agreed, saying, I think that is a real risk and you and I have both pointed to that risk in the past.”

Look Who Wants To Amend The Constitution Now: Ted Cruz Wants States' Rights Amendment on Marriage

Sen. Ted Cruz has spent the past several months railing against a proposed constitutional amendment to undo the Supreme Court’s decisions in Citizens United and related campaign-finance cases, which would restore to Congress and the states the ability to “set reasonable limits” on election spending.

Cruz has gone into full hyperbole mode over the amendment, claiming that the campaign to narrowly roll back what many legal experts believe is an erroneous interpretation of the First Amendment is in fact an effort to “repeal the First Amendment,silence pastors and imprison old ladies.

So, of course, it was no surprise at all yesterday to see Cruz himself proposing to amend the Constitution to reverse what he sees as an erroneous interpretation by the courts, this time on the issue of marriage. Roll Call reported on Cruz’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s "tragic" decision yesterday to decline hearing any marriage equality appeals, thus letting same-sex couples in several states get married:

While most Republicans shied away from commenting Monday on the Supreme Court’s historic decision to let stand a slew of lower court rulings legalizing gay marriage, Sen. Ted Cruz torched the court’s decision.

The Texas Republican called the decision “tragic and indefensible” and said he would introduce a constitutional amendment that would ensure states can ban gay marriage.

“By refusing to rule if the States can define marriage, the Supreme Court is abdicating its duty to uphold the Constitution. The fact that the Supreme Court Justices, without providing any explanation whatsoever, have permitted lower courts to strike down so many state marriage laws is astonishing,” he said in a statement.

“It is beyond dispute that when the 14th Amendment was adopted 146 years ago, as a necessary post-Civil War era reform, it was not imagined to also mandate same-sex marriage, but that is what the Supreme Court is implying today. The Court is making the preposterous assumption that the People of the United States somehow silently redefined marriage in 1868 when they ratified the 14th Amendment,” he said.

“Nothing in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the 14th Amendment or any other constitutional provision authorizes judges to redefine marriage for the Nation. It is for the elected representatives of the People to make the laws of marriage, acting on the basis of their own constitutional authority, and protecting it, if necessary, from usurpation by the courts.”

For the record, here is the section of the 14th Amendment that courts have been relying on to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Ted Cruz And GOP Leaders Record Ads For Far-Right Groups: 'God's People' Must 'Restore' American Values

David Lane is an extremely influential but notoriously media-shy Religious Right activist who regularly organizes secretive events at which leading Republican politicians speak to pastors in key swing states in an effort to mobilize conservative Christian voters. He is also a full-blown Christian nationalist who believes that the Bible should serve as "the principal textbook" for public education and has warned that the United States would see car bombings all over the nation as a result of God's judgment because "homosexuals [were] praying at the inauguration" of President Obama.

So naturally, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Perry have all now recorded radio ads on behalf of Lane's current voter mobilization effort, which is being funded by the political arm of the anti-gay hate group the American Family association no less. 

As CBN's David Brody reported last night:

The Brody File has exclusively obtained brand new radio commercials recorded by possible GOP presidential candidates, urging conservative Christians to get out and vote in the upcoming Midterm Elections. Below you can listen to the spots recorded by Senator Ted Cruz, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and Texas Governor Rick Perry.

In one of the radio spots, Senator Ted Cruz tells the Christian audience, “The Bible is full of stories of men and women whose faith in God led them to take action during difficult times, trusting in Him for His glory. Today God’s people are once again being called to action as we seek to restore the values our nation was founded upon and to honor the legacy of those who have given their lives in defense of our freedom.” He then implores the audience to get out and vote.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal says the following in one of his radio spots: “Throughout the Bible, God’s people are driven to action by their faith in difficult times. Today we’re being called to action to restore the values our nation was founded.” Then, once again there is a call to action to vote.

The radio spots will run nationwide on American Family Radio, the Bott Radio Network and the National Religious Broadcasters Network. That means that these spots will be on close to 300 radio stations across the country in more than 35 states and reaching over nearly 70 million people.

The spots are part of the American Renewal Project’s, “Get Out The Vote” effort. The American Family Association political arm called AFA Action funds it. Part of their stated goal is to, “inform, equip, and activate individuals to strengthen the moral foundations of American culture.” David Lane, the influential evangelical organizer behind this effort also holds his popular, “Pastors and Pews” events around the country in multiple states including the early GOP Primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Those events are geared for pastors to get energized and mobilized so they can get more of their parishioners excited about voting their values.

Stop Persecuting Us! Five Religious Right Tactics On Clear Display At The Values Voter Summit

One thing was clear at last week’s Values Voter Summit: many of the Religious Right’s leaders and allied politicians know that their stances on abortion rights and LGBT equality are becoming more and more toxic to the average voter, and less and less popular within the GOP.

Many speakers at the conference tried to reframe the debate on issues such as same-sex marriage, insisting that opponents of LGBT rights are becoming an oppressed minority in America. This delusion even seeped into matters such as foreign policy, with speakers attacking President Obama as an Islamist sympathizer who refuses to take military action against ISIS, even while he was doing exactly that.

Naturally, one politician was able to prey upon the many fears and fantasies of the far-right: Ted Cruz.

Even as the Values Voter Summit subtly changed its tone on some familiar issues, five tried and true tactics of the Religious Right were unchanged at last week’s event:

5. Make Audacious Persecution Analogies

While addressing the plight of Christians in the Mideast and people such as Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan and Saeed Abedini in Iran — both of whom are actually the victims of shocking anti-Christian persecution — Values Voter Summit speakers often attempted to claim that conservative Christians face similar abuses and comparable treatment in America.

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel attempted to paint the Obama administration as more malicious than the government of Nazi Germany, and twins Jason and David Benham — who lost a planned HGTV reality show after we reported on their anti-gay political activism — even had the gall to compare themselves to the victims of ISIS.

Todd Starnes and Kelly Shackelford rattled off cases of purported anti-Christian persecution in America, “Duck Dynasty” star Alan Robertson said his family’s reality TV show was briefly suspended as the result of demonic attacks, and a Colorado baker who gained national attention after denying service to a gay couple broke down in tears.

Maggie Gallagher, the founder of the National Organization for Marriage, told attendees that marriage equality opponents will be “oppressed” due to their opinions, and Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel predicted Big Government persecution of Christians on behalf of “the intolerant homosexual lobby.”

4. Demand Religious Freedom… Except For Muslims

For a conference dedicated to protecting religious liberty and addressing the supposed persecution of Christians in America, there sure was plenty of animosity towards Muslims.

Conference speakers including Michele BachmannRobert DeesGary Bauer and Brigitte Gabriel dedicated their remarks to the threat of Islam, with several conflating Al Qaeda and ISIS with all of Islam and suggesting that the U.S. government somehow declare war on the religion.

Prior to the conference, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, whose group was the summit’s chief sponsor, suggested that Muslim-Americans be stripped of their rights under the Constitution.

3. Brazenly Ignore Reality

It was surreal to watch several Values Voter Summit speakers criticize President Obama for not going after ISIS at the same time as a U.S.-led coalition was launching a daily torrent of airstrikes against ISIS and the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria and Iraq.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a likely GOP presidential candidate, said Obama doesn’t believe that ISIS leaders need to be “hunted down and killed and destroyed.”

Bachmann declared that the president was ignoring her sage advice on how to handle ISIS: “You kill their leader, you kill their council, you kill their army until they wave the white flag of surrender. That’s how you win a war!”

2. Push Back Against The GOP

There was a palpable fear throughout the conference that the Republican Party is moving away from the Religious Right, as more and more GOP candidates either refuse to highlight the movement’s anti-choice and anti-gay positions or are openly trumpeting support for abortion rights and gay marriage.

Just before the conference took place, Focus on the Family, the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council issued a letter announcing their vow to defeat two openly gay Republican House candidates and the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Oregon, who is pro-choice and running advertisements boasting of her support for marriage equality.

NOM president Brian Brown criticized Republicans for blaming the party’s stances on social issues for losses in the 2012 election. “It’s not our fault,” Brown insisted as he introduced unabashedly anti-gay politician Rick Santorum at the summit.

Later, at a NOM-sponsored panel, Brown accused gay rights supporters of attempting to “hijack” the GOP. While one panel at the summit attempted to explain the potential for libertarians and social conservatives to build a political alliance, it seems many in the audience didn’t want anything to do with the libertarian message.

1. Throw Them Red Meat

Ted Cruz once again won the summit’s presidential candidate straw poll, with Ben Carson, who didn’t attend the summit this year but was well-represented by campaigners from the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, finishing in second place. Cruz and Carson notably outpaced Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, two favorites of Religious Right movement who both spoke at the summit.

Cruz packed his speech with warnings about imminent threats to the Second Amendment and religious freedom, and listing objects of conservative derision: IRS, Common Core and Obamacare.

Conference organizers said Jeb Bush and Chris Christie were not welcome at the summit, but they wouldn’t have been able to stand a chance against Cruz’s easy applause lines anyway.

Ted Cruz Throws Red Meat: Save America By Repealing Common Core And Obamacare

Ted Cruz knew just what Values Voter Summit attendees wanted to hear today, delivering a speech about how Democrats in Congress want to repeal the First Amendment’s free speech and religious liberty protections along with the Second Amendment. He even spoke out against Democrats for threatening the “right to privacy,” which ironically many conservatives believe is not part of in the Constitution but actually a liberal invention.

“Defend the values that are American values, we stand for life, we stand for marriage, we stand for Israel,” he said. 

Cruz, while applauding his own applause lines, then laid out the agenda for a GOP-controlled Senate.

“We abolish the IRS,” Cruz said, and “we repeal Common Core” — an odd agenda item since Common Core was not passed by Congress but enacted by various state legislatures controlled by Republicans and Democrats alike.

And of course, repeal Obamacare.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 9/25/14

  • The National Organization for Marriage, Family Research Council Action, and CitizenLink have announced that they are launching a joint campaign to urge voters not to support Republican House candidates Carl DeMaio in California and Richard Tisei in Massachusetts, or US Senate candidate Monica Wehby in Oregon because of their support for marriage equality.
  • FRC prays that the upcoming Values Voter Summit "will be life and nation-changing!"
  • Is anyone surprised that the Duggars do not celebrate Halloween? "Magic, sorcery, witches, spell-casting and the like are all part of the demonic realm that God wants us to stay away from. One specific thing that our parents have always been careful about is magic, which often shows up in children's movies. As harmless as it may seem, it's not a joke in God's eyes."
  • Peter LaBarbera blames support for marriage equality on a brainwashing campaign being carried out by the media.
  • Finally, Bryan Fischer praises Sen. Ted Cruz for "sounding like a guest host on 'Focal Point.'"

15 Values Voter Summit Speakers Who Think The US Is Becoming Nazi Germany

At the Values Voter Summit, which begins this Friday, Republican politicians and Religious Right leaders will come together to rebuke President Obama, attack the gay community and decry the current state of affairs in the U.S.

Subtlety and nuance aren’t this crowd’s strong suits. In fact, it wasn’t that hard for us to come up with a list of at least 15 scheduled summit speakers and panelists who believe that America has gotten so bad under Obama’s leadership that the country has become just like Nazi Germany.

1. Tony Perkins

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins thinks that gay rights supporters are bent on ushering in an anti-Christian holocaust. When are LGBT activists “going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians?” he asked in June.

Soon afterwards, Perkins said a caller on his “Washington Watch” radio show “hit the nail on the head” when she claimed Christians in America are about to be “loaded in cattle cars like it was when the Nazis took over.”

2. Mike Huckabee

Former governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee agreed last year that it was “the truth” that bills introduced to prevent gun violence are just like what happened in Nazi Germany. “[T]hey’ll start saying, ‘Oh there you go comparing to the Nazis.’ And I understand the reaction, but it’s the truth,” Huckabee said. “In every society and culture where dictators take over, one of the things they have to do is get control of the military and the police and ultimately all of the citizens and make sure the citizens are disarmed and can’t fight in the streets.”

Huckabee has also claimed that the legalization of same-sex marriage will compel Christians to defy the government in order to uphold their religious beliefs, just like people who aided Jews broke the law during the Holocaust : “It was ‘illegal’ to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. But I am sure that if I had lived in Germany during that time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers even though it was illegal.”

3. Sandy Rios

American Family Association governmental affairs director Sandy Rios said last year that the “War on Christmas” is driving Christians underground and oppressing religious expression: “This is exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany.”

4. Glenn Beck

Unsurprisingly, Glenn Beck is pretty sure that “we are Germany 1930.” Earlier this year, Beck agreed with venture capitalist Tom Perkins that billionaires in America are just like Jews under Nazi oppression and said that officials like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi are aspiring concentration camp guards. He has also predicted that the government will “scoop up” Tea Party members and “be remembered as the most evil nation in the history of the world, we will dwarf what Germany did.”

Beck predicts that President Obama is on the verge of breaking down, at which point he will “round up” conservatives and “put them in a camp.”

5. Jerry Boykin

Family Research Council executive vice president Jerry Boykin accused President Obama of reviving Hitler’s Brownshirts through the health care reform law.

“Remember Hitler had the Brownshirts and in the Night of the Long Knives, even Hitler got scared of the Brownshirts and killed thousands of them. So you say ‘are there any signs that that’s happened?’ And the truth is, yes,” Boykin said in 2010. “If you read the health care legislation which, by the way nobody in Washington has read, but if you read the health care legislation it’s actually in the health care legislation…. It's laying the groundwork for a constabulary force that will control the population in America.”

6. Michele Bachmann

At a campaign stop in New Hampshire during her presidential bid, Bachmann said that government inaction on the national debt reminded her of the world’s silence in the midst of the Holocaust. “We are seeing eclipsed in front of our eyes a similar death and a similar taking away. It is this disenfranchisement that I think we have to answer to,” she said.

Bachmann has also accused the Obama administration of setting up “reeducation camps for young people” through service-oriented programs like AmeriCorps.

In 2012, Bachmann alleged that the administration was “aiding and abetting” an Islamist plot to take over America and the rest of the world, calling on people to read about the Islamic “belief system” and find out “what they truly believe” just like how “the most important thing a person could do in World War II during that conflict was to read the book that the leader of Germany wrote.”

7. Jim Bob Duggar

In a speech to the 2013 Values Voter Summit, Jim Bob Duggar said his visit to Nazi concentration camps reminded him of the U.S., saying that the Holocaust is “where we are at in our nation.” When asked by reporters about his statement, Duggar said that America is experiencing “a baby holocaust.”

8. Todd Starnes

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes said last year that the so-called “War on Christmas” and purported acts of anti-Christian persecution under the Obama administration made him wonder if he was living in the U.S. or Nazi Germany: “This is not 1930s Germany, gentlemen, this is the United States of America, and unless people of faith stand up and put a stop to this, we very well could be facing a 1930s Germany here.”

9. Mat Staver

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel believes that the U.S. under President Obama’s leadership is now actually worse than Nazi Germany. He said this month that the Obama administration surpassed Nazi Germany’s crimes by “forcing” people to “participate in a genocide” through the contraceptive coverage mandate. He has also repeatedly argued that legal abortion is the same as the Holocaust.

Earlier this year, Staver drew a Nazi analogy while demanding that conservatives more strongly oppose gay marriage: “This is not an issue in which you can remain silent any more than you can remain silent during Nazi Germany.”

10. Louie Gohmert

Texas congressman Louie Gohmert — who early on in Obama’s term agreed with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ predictions that the president would introduce policies reminiscent of Hitler — took to the House floor in May to accuse gay rights advocates of treating their opponents in the same way that the Nazis demonized the people they oppressed:

So it is amazing that in the name of liberality, in the name of being tolerant, this fascist intolerance has arisen. People that stand up and say, you know, I agree with the majority of Americans, I agree with Moses and Jesus that marriage was a man and a woman, now all of a sudden, people like me are considered haters, hate mongers, evil, which really is exactly what we've seen throughout our history as going back to the days of the Nazi takeover in Europe. What did they do? First, they would call people "haters" and "evil" and build up disdain for those people who held those opinions or religious views or religious heritage. And then the next came, well, those people are so evil and hateful, let's bring every book that they've written or has to do with them and let's start burning the books, because we can't tolerate their intolerance.

11. Mark Levin

Conservative talk radio show host Mark Levin claimed last year that President Obama was organizing a Brownshirt paramilitary to defend and promote the Affordable Care Act. “All they need is special uniforms,” Levin said of Obamacare supporters. “Learn how to march and salute and carry flags. I think brown would be good, you know, Brownshirts.”

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Levin said then-presidential candidate Obama was “really into these big German-like events” reminiscent of the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

12. Ed Vitagliano

After the 2008 election, the American Family Association’s Ed Vitagliano urged the organization’s members to pray for President Obama just as one would pray for Adolf Hitler to veer away from his wicked ways. He especially urged his readers to pray to block Obama’s “plans to push both abortion and the gay agenda.”

“Obama is like Hitler because, while Hitler primarily slaughtered the Jews in the Holocaust, Obama’s support for abortion is similarly evil,” Vitagliano said. “Now I think the moral equivalency of the Holocaust and abortion is a good, defensible argument. Both objectified a category of human beings and then took horrifying steps to pursue their murder. The depths of evil connected to the Holocaust and abortion are equally difficult to comprehend.”

13. Harry Jackson

Religious right activist and preacher Harry Jackson said in 2012 that the success of “radical gay activists” was turning America into Nazi Germany:

They want to impose their will on the culture and if you cannot reproduce you may try to recruit, and what I mean by that is what is going on is an attempt to reshape, refashion the mind, hearts and desires of the next generation. Many Christians are sitting back and we aren’t speaking out, but the reality is just like during the times of Hitler we have people coming after one group after another group after another group, and folks are saying, well this doesn’t affect me I’ll let this slide, we have a problem that really we have a whole generation of people who want to affect not only their lives and choices but the choices of another generation.

14. Rick Santorum

After losing his 2012 presidential bid, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum became a Christian film producer, and he recently unveiled a new movie called “One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty.” Santorum’s latest film depicts the U.S. in a dire state eerily similar to Nazi Germany, warning that America’s transformation into a tyrannical, Nazi state will be complete thanks to the silence of conservative Christians. You can get some of the flavor of the film from its trailer, which includes footage of Germany in the 1930s.

While campaigning against for president, Santorum also told a church gathering that people should get involved in his bid to defeat Obama just as the Greatest Generation fought the spread of Nazism.

15. Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz launched his faux-filibuster against Obamacare by arguing that refusing to fight the implementation of the health care reform law was just like appeasing Adolf Hitler, and people who didn't support his plans to stop the law were like Neville Chamberlain.

As Jon Stewart explains, “Ted Cruz says we’re at Defcon Nazi.”

 

Ted Cruz's Dream Cabinet: Values Voter Summit Speakers Ready To Serve In The Cruz White House

It is no secret that Sen. Ted Cruz is a favorite of Religious Right activists. After all, at last year’s Values Voter Summit, the Texas Republican received a euphoric welcome and when one member of the audience declared that God supported Cruz’s effort to shut down the government, he was met with an enthusiastic round of applause. It’s no wonder that Cruz has won the hearts of the GOP’s far-right base, given his penchant for paranoid and incendiary rhetoric along with his boasts about his superior religious convictions.

And the affection seems to be mutual. If Cruz were to win the presidency in 2016, we imagine that his cabinet would look a lot like this week’s Values Voter Summit lineup.

So, we’ve decided to help Cruz out and pick him out a “dream cabinet” consisting exclusively of Values Voter Summit speakers.

Tony Perkins, Secretary of Homosexuality

To say that the Family Research Council leader and Values Voter Summit host is obsessed with homosexuality would be putting it mildly. Perkins fears that gays and lesbians are such a threat that he predicts they will bring about a holocaust of Christians. He calls gay people “vile” and “hateful” pawns of “The Enemy” — Satan — who are “engaged in activity, behavior and an agenda that will destroy them and our nation.”

Perkins spoke out in favor of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which, at the time, included a provision making homosexuality an offense punishable by death in some cases. He has also labeled pedophilia a “homosexual problem.”

What’s more, Perkins comes with a built-in circle of anti-gay advisors: For instance, one of his FRC colleagues once suggested that the U.S. “export homosexuals” because “homosexuality is destructive to society.”

Mike Huckabee, Secretary of Women’s Issues

After vigorously campaigning on behalf of failed Senate candidate Todd Akin and defending the Missouri Republican’s “legitimate rape” comments, Huckabee somehow managed to become the RNC’s “model” for speaking about social issues. Huckabee further displayed this model behavior at an RNC meeting this year, where he claimed that Democrats see women as “helpless and hopeless creatures” who need help from “Uncle Sugar” because they “cannot control their libido.”

Huckabee is a strong supporter of “personhood” laws that would criminalize abortion in all cases, along with common forms of birth control. Although he said rules ensuring that Hobby Lobby employees have birth control coverage would destroy the freedom of religion, as governor of Arkansas, he signed regulations on contraception coverage that had a wider impact on religiously-affiliated groups than the federal rules he now denounces as abortion subsidies and threats to liberty.

Sandy Rios, Secretary of Chain Emails

Thankfully, American Family Radio talk show host Sandy Rios breaks through the biased liberal media filter by citing the news sources America trusts: chain emails. Rios has repeatedly pointed to spurious Internet hoaxes and urban legends to warn about how same-sex marriage is encouraging incest or to expose President Obama’s Muslim writings.

Rios has also cited erroneous right-wing chain emails to shine light on Obama’s purported plan to Islamize America and his real birth place (Kenya). While such stories may not technically be true, they definitely feel true!

Michele Bachmann, Secretary of Truth

Many politicians pretend to believe in outlandish things as a way to throw red meat to their party’s base, but the Secretary of Truth pretends nothing. Whatever you may think about Michele Bachmann, she really does seem to believe that vaccinations cause mental retardation, Obamacare death panels will “literally kill” people, gays want to “freely prey on little children sexually” and AmeriCorps programs are really “re-education camps.” Bachmann also claims to be an expert in Islam, Judaism and the End Times (or, as she believes, the present day).

In fact, Bachmann speaks so much truth that the Associated Press had to impose a fact-checking “quota” on her remarks.

Sarah Palin, Secretary of Syntax

Sarah Palin is known for her captivating way with words and is always providing new material for observers of an evolving English language. Since Cruz sees Palin as a “fearless” leader of the conservative movement, certainly she can serve in a role greater than poet laureate. After all, it’s not everyone who is able to rewrite (with help from the Internet) the works of Dr. Seuss:

Todd Starnes, Secretary of Scam Artistry

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, ever the muckraker, claims to have blown the whistle on dozens of scandals involving anti-Christian persecution in America.

However, many of his reports have been completely debunked, including his stories about forced lesbian kisses in schools and discrimination against Christian athletes, kindergartenersfirst gradersmilitary service members and people celebrating Christmas. He has also falsely accused the military of court martialing Christians and blocking access to a church website, and made bogus statements about “gangs of roving thugs” and anti-Christian zealots running New York.

But don’t worry, none of these false reports have in any way negatively impacted Starnes’ career or his reputation, as he swears he only reports on “the most accurate information possible.”

Glenn Beck will also be addressing the summit, meaning that Starnes will have a real fight on his hands for this prestigious Cabinet office.

Jerry Boykin, Secretary of Islam

Protecting religious liberty is one of the major issues of the Values Voter Summit this year, and religious liberty has no better friend than FRC Executive Vice President Jerry Boykin, who cherishes the First Amendment so deeply that he wants to ban mosques and strip Muslim-Americans of their First Amendment rights (a view that FRC’s president, Tony Perkins, shares). Boykin insists that the Constitution should not protect Muslims because their religion will “destroy” America “from within.”

Boykin also believes that the Obama administration’s actions are part of a spiritual war against Christianity which will provoke people to “take up arms” against the government and even prompt military leaders to hope to “fulfill their constitutional duty and take out the president.”

Jim Bob Duggar, Secretary of Historical Analysis

Reality TV star Jim Bob Duggar, a frequent right-wing campaign surrogate whose son Josh serves as executive director of the Family Research Council, made a splash at last year’s summit when he said that a visit to a Nazi concentration camp reminded him of the U.S. today. Speaking of the Holocaust, he said, “that’s where we are at in our nation.” In Duggar’s telling, the Nazis are pro-choice advocates who have taken over America, while Duggar and his conservative movement allies are like concentration camp liberators.

While defending his remarks to the press, Duggar said Roe v. Wade has led to “a baby holocaust” no different than what took place in Nazi Germany.

Louie Gohmert, Secretary of Intelligence

Louie Gohmert, an actual congressman, has many smart things to say. For example, he believes that Obamacare will “absolutely kill senior citizens” and set up a “secret security force”; thinks America is worse off now than it was during the days of slavery; worries that “extreme leftists” and “radical jihadists” are working together to bring terror babies into the U.S.; and claims that Obama is “supporting” Al Qaeda and Democrats are hoping for terrorist attacks “to create a new jobs bill.”

He is also a zoologist, having warned that a wildlife protection bill would send animals to China and we would “end up with moo goo dog pan or moo goo cat pan.” He once also memorably defended oil pipelines by linking them to caribou sex.

Gohmert is an expert in the field of human sexuality, although he asserts that sex-ed classes are reminiscent of the Soviet Union. The Republican especially knows a thing or two about homosexuality, warning that gay marriage signals the collapse of civilization and will lead America “down the road to the dustbin of history”; claiming that those of “the persuasion of being homosexual” violate “the plumbing that God created”; insisting that gay people undermine humanity’s evolution (which he insists he doesn’t believe in himself); fearing that America will cease to exist because of gays serving openly in the military; and positing that gay marriage will lead to bestiality and extreme restrictions on gun rights.

Mat Staver, Secretary of Ex-Gays

While not an “ex-gay” himself, Liberty Counsel attorney Mat Staver is a leading proponent of sexual orientation conversion therapy and is attempting to bring his defense of the discredited, pseudo-scientific practice to the Supreme Court.

Staver has also been tied to an “ex-gay” client’s alleged kidnapping of her daughter to Central America to avoid sharing custody with the daughter’s other mother. He claims that gay people want to “entrap” and “groom” children and force them “into a lifestyle of destruction” by barring the use of ex-gay therapy on minors.

Staver will likely have many immediate policy changes to suggest, as he fears that the Obama administration supports “forced homosexuality” and likens fading opposition to gay rights to silence in Nazi Germany about the Holocaust.

Tony Perkins Uses Meriam Ibrahim To Promote Anti-Obama, Anti-Gay Agenda

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins has excitedly touted a big “get” for this week’s Values Voter Summit: Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian woman who was persecuted by the Sudanese government over charges of apostasy. Evangelicals in the U.S. were part of the international chorus of voices who worked to keep a spotlight on Ibrahim’s plight, and Ibrahim may wish to thank some of the activists who advocated for her freedom.

But Perkins and FRC have another agenda entirely: They have been using Ibrahim as a prop in their relentless, over-the-top attacks on the Obama administration — and their claims that Christians in America are themselves facing government persecution.

Ibrahim’s vividly compelling case — for being a Christian, she was shackled to a prison floor with one small child while pregnant, then gave birth in jail — drew worldwide attention. Ibrahim had a Muslim father but was raised by a Christian mother, and in 2011 she married a Catholic American, Daniel Wali.  She was arrested last September after being charged with apostasy — abandoning the Muslim faith — and for adultery given that the court didn’t recognize her marriage to a Christian.  This May she was sentenced to receive 100 lashes and be hanged.

An Amnesty International campaign on her behalf generated more than a million signatures. European leaders condemned her treatment and called for her release. In the U.S., religious and political leaders called for her freedom. A petition on the White House website pushed by Perkins and others gained more than 50,000 signatures.

On May 15, the White House condemned her sentence in a statement by National Security Council Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden, which urged the government of Sudan to respect Ibrahim’s religious freedom andto respect the fundamental freedoms and universal human rights of all its people.” The State Department also expressed concerns in May; Secretary of State John Kerry released a statement in June.

Ibrahim was freed on June 23, then re-arrested and detained briefly when she tried to leave the country. She was sheltered by the U.S. embassy for about a month until she was permitted to leave Sudan in late July. She is now living with her husband and children in New Hampshire.

Perkins has repeatedly used Ibrahim’s plight as a way to hammer the Obama administration. 

In late May, Perkins fumed:

While many international groups have taken up efforts to pressure the Sudanese government to release Meriam and her children, the Obama administration has said little, and done nothing.

Think about this: two innocent American children are imprisoned abroad as their life hangs in the balance. If President Obama will not act in a situation like this, what will he act upon? Does Obama care?

Fox News’ hosts got in on the act, even as its own website was contradicting those claims.  A May 31 Fox News story by Joshua Rhett Miller was headlined, “US 'fully engaged' in case of Sudanese woman sentenced to die for Christian faith.” It included a quote from the State Department:

Through the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, the White House and the State Department, we have communicated our strong concern at high levels of the Sudanese government about this case,” State Department spokeswoman Nicole Thompson wrote FoxNews.com in an email. “We have heard from many, many Americans that they are deeply alarmed by [Ibrahim’s] plight. We have conveyed these views to the Government of Sudan.”

Yet the video at the top of that very story on the Fox News website featured Perkins saying the U.S. government was doing “so far, nothing that we can tell” other than condemning Ibrahim’s treatment. Megyn Kelly fumed that the State Department had “refused to say bupkis” about what the U.S. government was doing. If Perkins or Kelly were aware of the possibility that U.S. officials may have believed that quiet diplomacy would be more effective, they gave no hint of it.

Other conservatives piled on: On June 11, Nina Shea at the Hudson Institute wrote, “And, as Ibrahim looks toward an appeals court review of her case, President Obama and the U.S. State department have been silent about it.”

On June 12, FRC and Concerned Women for America held a rally in front of the White House. Perkins was joined by Obama-bashers Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Trent Franks. Perkins’ remarks were wildly inflammatory.  “There was a time when people of faith could sit down inside the White House and talk about these issues,” he said. Claiming that administration inaction was threatening the lives of Ibrahim’s children, Perkins said, “If this president is content with the blood of small children on his hands, then God help him.”

Perkins continued throughout the summer to complain that the Obama administration was doing nothing to help Ibrahim, even though he was told otherwise on his own radio show by a Republican congressman. On June 23, Perkins had Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., on his radio show to talk about the case. As Brian reported in RWW, Meadows undermined Perkins’ attacks on the administration:

Asked if the State Department was working to help Ibrahim and her children, Meadows reported that the U.S. has in fact worked vigorously behind the scenes to free Ibrahim: “I got off of a call not more than an hour or so ago and a number of agencies across the board are working hand-in-glove to make sure that this is handled quickly and efficiently. And I am heartened by what I heard on that phone call and really encouraged that this is a government that cares about people. Sometimes I wish they would speak up louder and quicker, but I can tell you behind the scenes a number of agencies are working to make sure that they are safe.”

In July, Perkins testified about the case at a congressional subcommittee hearing. One of his fellow panelists, Grover Rees, who served as a U.S. ambassador during the George W. Bush presidency, said that even though Ibrahim’s husband had said he was rebuffed by a U.S. consular officer when he sought help, Rees believed that government agencies were doing what they could. Rees said that “the State Department seems to be making amends, supplying appropriate attention and care.”

Perkins has even kept up the Obama-bashing rhetoric since Ibrahim’s release and safe passage to the U.S. In August, Perkins cited the case as a reason people think Obama is a Muslim.

Perkins isn’t alone. In August, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer allied himself with ISIS’s characterization of Iraq’s Yazidi minority and griped, “Obama will fight for Satan-worshipers but not for Christians!”

ISIS has been beheading Christian children and crucifying Christians by the side of the road. Christians for months have been fleeing Iraq in droves ahead of the murderous hordes of Al Qaeda. And Obama yawns.

When Christian wife and mother Meriam Ibrahim is imprisoned in Sudan for being a Christian, and forced to give birth in a filthy jail cell while shackled to the wall, Obama yawns. While Christian pastor and American citizen Saeed Abedini languishes in the hellhole of an Iranian prison, Obama yawns.

But when worshipers of Lucifer get in trouble at the hands of the same blood-thirsty savages, suddenly Obama springs into action.

What this reveals about the president’s religious sympathies I will leave for others to decide. But it can’t be good.

Real Persecution vs the Religious Right’s Persecution Complex

We have previously suggested that American religious conservatives should be ashamed of equating their policy disagreements or losses in legal disputes with the kind of brutal religious persecution experienced by Meriam Ibrahim and so many Christians and other religious minorities around the globe. But Perkins and others have been happy to use her case to promote their narrative that Christianity in the U.S. is on the verge of being criminalized.

Advocates for LGBT equality are often portrayed as persecutors of Christians, as in Perkins’ statement in June that he was wondering, “When are they going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians?” As part of FRC’s announcement that Ibrahim would be speaking at the Values Voter Summit, Perkins said: 

"Meriam's bold stand for Jesus Christ as she faced death has touched the hearts of people in every nation. Her incredible example of courage should inspire Christians in America to be bold and courageous in their faith as we witness growing religious hostility here in our country.”

At a July 23 hearing by the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, Perkins said:

“It is difficult to look at these facts [about Ibrahim’s case] and not understand then in the light of the current administration’s unilateral reinterpretation of religious freedom domestically. This administration believes religious beliefs should be quarantined to private spaces and excluded from the public space. This truncated view of religious freedom domestically, more accurately described as the freedom of worship, is matched by the administration’s failure to even address the growing threats to religious freedom internationally.”

In August, Dusty Gates, who works for the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, Kansas, wrote in Crisis magazine that liberals were uncomfortable supporting Ibrahim because they don’t support religious freedom in the U.S.

Naturally, this victory for freedom (liber) is being celebrated, at least to some degree, by liberals of all kinds. A human being freed from oppression, especially from such extreme persecution as Ibrahim faced, seems to be a grand slam for the liberal cause. But with the Ibrahim case, as well as the larger situation of global anti-Christian persecution, is causing liberals to sweat a little. Just as they stand up to cheer, it seems that their impending jubilation is cut short; subdued by a palpable fear that maybe they shouldn’t be celebrating the thing they want to celebrate. “A victory for freedom? Hoora… Oh wait, for religious freedom? Uh oh….”

Gates even slammed the welcome given Ibrahim by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, saying the Nutter’s comparison of Ibrahim to Rosa Parks rather than to other religious martyrs was “a subtle attempt to hijack Ibrahim’s story: taking it out of its full context and using it as a vehicle for the liberal agenda.”

In June, Christian author Benjamin Corey called out right-wing claims of religious persecution in the United States:

Meanwhile in the United States, we’re going about our daily lives panicking with cries of religious persecution as well…although, they’re not the cries one would think. Instead of a collective focus on wide-spread human rights abuses and religious persecution in places like Sudan, North Korea where an estimated 33,000 Christians have been incarcerated in prison camps, or the estimated thousands who actually die for their religious faith each year, we’re focused on a first world version of persecution that’s not really persecution at all.

When A&E temporarily made the decision to disassociate with Phil from Duck Dynasty over anti-gay comments he made in the media, it was labeled as “persecution”.

When public business owners in the baking industry have insisted on the right to discriminate and faced just accountability, it becomes another example of “persecution”.

We even have potential presidential candidates perpetuating such a persecution complex, with figures like Rick Santorum falsely stating that people who oppose same sex marriage are being sent to re-education camps.

With all of the legitimate and horrifying human rights violations occurring in the world, some in America have sadly adopted a very first world, privileged, and self-centered version of persecution. Instead of doubling efforts to shed light on international abuses, we’ve seen a flood of first world persecution claims– from internet trolls right up to the right wing members of government.

…Let’s reserve the “persecution” word for the real thing– such as what we saw in the case of Meriam Ibrahim.

Using Ibrahim to Attack LGBT Human Rights

Perkins has also used Meriam Ibrahim’s case to promote his attacks on the Obama administration’s advocacy for the human rights of LGBT people who face brutal persecution in many countries. In June, he wrote,

President Obama, who can't find a few minutes to call for Meriam Ibrahim's release from a Sudanese prison, had plenty of time to fly to New York and fundraise for homosexual activists.

In a late August direct mail piece, Perkins complained angrily about the “utterly shocking” fact that the rainbow flag was flown over the US embassy in Israel during a gay pride celebration.

“This would be outrageous enough all by itself—but the reality of the big picture is more frightening by far. The global Obama crusade for gay rights is happening against a backdrop of the total collapse of his real foreign policy responsibilities. We are witnessing an unprecedented level of anti-Christian persecution around the world, a colossal, international, multifront assault on religious freedom. Yet in response to these atrocities, the administration has remained all but silent….This administration is pressuring other nations to adopt Barack Obama’s radical gay agenda—but not to observe the most basic universal human right of religious freedom.”

The rest of Perkins’ letter goes back and forth between portraying the administration as fixated on gay rights and unconcerned about persecuted Christians. “We had no choice but to stand up for Meriam — because the Obama administration wouldn’t, and didn’t.”

“I urge you to stand with FRC Action again today as we fight back against the Obama administration’s outrages — their devotion to the cause of sexual immorality and their simultaneous indifference toward Christians suffering persecution for their faith.”

All the while Perkins portrays advocacy for the human rights of LGBT people — who certainly face brutal persecution in many parts of the world — as extremism.

When we see the rainbow flag of the homosexual movement flying over our embassies in Tel Aviv, London, and Prague, we can see with our own eyes what an extremist is sitting in the Oval Office.

Similar language appears in a September 6 fundraising email from Perkins, which says in part:

With President Obama promoting the homosexual movement around the world through the Obama administration, yet not working to prevent Christians from being persecuted, jailed, even tortured and killed for their faith, FRC Action’s work has grown more important than ever before.

As far as we can tell, Perkins and other Religious Right leaders haven’t raised much of a ruckus about the persecution of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi who faces 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes after being convicted of “insulting Islam” by calling for religious tolerance, or about the imprisonment in Indonesia of Alexander Aan for publicly declaring himself an atheist.

The Values Voter Summit

Meriam Ibrahim may consider an appearance at the extremism-heavy Values Voter Summit as an opportunity to thank the thousands of Americans who advocated on her behalf while she was suffering in a Sudanese prison cell, and to celebrate the freedom of religion that she and her family enjoy in America.

Unfortunately, her attendance at the Values Voter Summit will put her in the company of people like the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, who argues that the First Amendment does not protect religious minorities in the U.S., and the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, who argues that Christians whose beliefs on the equality of LGBT people differ from his do not deserve “true religion freedom.” And it will include many activists, like the Benham Brothers, who cry anti-Christian persecution despite their own record of working to restrict the religious and political freedoms of others.

Americans of every political and religious stripe can admire Ibrahim’s exceptional strength and courage in the face of real persecution. The same cannot be said for those who are trying to exploit her moral authority to advance their own political agendas.

Ted Cruz Raises Money For Ted Cruz With Anti-Immigration Reform Campaign

Sen. Ted Cruz is out with a new effort today opposing President Obama’s possible executive action preventing the deportation of many undocumented immigrants living in the U.S…and in the process is raising money and collecting email addresses for Sen. Ted Cruz.

In a new website and online video, Cruz incorrectly links the crisis of unaccompanied minors at the southern border with Obama’s executive order deferring deportation for DREAMers. A voiceover in the online video says, “we cannot hope to address the crisis on the border without first addressing the fundamental cause of it,” before showing a still shot of someone climbing over the border fence.

But luckily, Cruz is here to save the day! “Senator Ted Cruz is leading the fight to secure the border, stop Obama’s amnesty and celebrate legal immigration,” he voiceover says.

The website, “StopObamasAmnesty.com,” then leads visitors to give Cruz’s fundraisers their email addresses and to donate to Cruz’s joint fundraising committee. The committee has raised over $4 million so far in this election cycle, much of it during the government shutdown that he orchestrated.

This summer, Cruz successfully lobbied a number of GOP House members to block a bill to handle the crisis of unaccompanied minors on the border. So, once again, Cruz is fundraising off a problem that he personally prevented the government from trying to solve.

h/t Center for New Community

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/12/14

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/11/14

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 9/11/14

  • Federal prosecutors are seeking sixteen months in prison for Dinesh D'Souza, largely based on the fact that his supposed contrition before the court does not square with the public statements he made about the case elsewhere.
  • Ray Comfort's upcoming anti-gay movie is going to be absolutely amazing, according to Ray Comfort.
  • Peter LaBarbera is furious that the U.S. will not support other nation's efforts to criminalize homosexuality: "Just because America has fallen so far that we now treat sin, in this case homosexuality, as a civil right doesn't mean we have the right to force that on other countries that have more wholesome and biblical values."
  • New Jersey's ban on ex-gay therapy has been upheld by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Finally, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rep. Louie Gohmert, and Sen. Ted Cruz all participated in David Barton's most recent pastor's briefing in Washington, D.C.

GOP Members Of Congress Join Anti-Muslim Group ACT For America At Capitol Hill Briefing

ACT for America, the anti-Muslim group run by Brigitte Gabriel, held a legislative briefing on Capitol Hill today where it was joined by Republican members of Congress including Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan, Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam, and Arkansas Sen. John Boozman.

Gabriel posted pictures on Facebook and Twitter of Boozman, Bachmann and Gohmert speaking and of Roskam receiving the group’s “Patriot Award.” Duncan tweeted that he was planning on speaking to the gathering. Gabriel wrote that she had planned on presenting another award to Sen. Ted Cruz, but that he was unable to attend.

 

Gabriel also presented awards to Alabama state Sen. Gerald Allen, the author of that state’s bill banning the use of Sharia law, and Kansas state Rep. Peggy Mast, who introduced a similar bill in her state.

In addition to pushing meaningless Sharia bans throughout the country, Gabriel has gone after Muslim Student Associations at colleges and school textbooks that she deems too friendly to Islam .

She has also suggested the President Obama secretly a Muslim.

A few months ago, Gabriel made the news when she berated a Muslim woman who asked her a question at a Heritage Foundation panel.

No, Ted Cruz, The #GetMoneyOut Amendment Wouldn't Censor SNL

Cross-posted from PFAW's blog.

Sen. Ted Cruz has been known to make some pretty outlandish comments about the Democracy for All Amendment, a proposed constitutional amendment being debated in the Senate which would overturn decisions like Citizens United, but his latest may take the cake. “Lorne Michaels [of Saturday Night Live] could be put in jail under this amendment for making fun of any politician,” Sen. Ted Cruz claimed on the floor of the Senate this week.

Luckily, a number of more grounded voices were able to set the record straight about Cruz’s wild and inaccurate remark. Last night, CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin said:

I think [Cruz] is wrong… This amendment is simply about restoring the old status quo about campaign contributions… I think his point…really has very little, if anything, to do with the constitutional amendment that the Senate is debating.

Amendment sponsor Sen. Tom Udall clarified that “[n]othing in the amendment would permit the arrest of anyone for engaging in political speech,” and pointed out that the proposal intends to bring the country’s campaign finance rules back to what they were in 1975, when Saturday Night Live began.

Other responders were a little more fiery, including former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, who on Monday published an op-ed with Sen. Udall in support of the Democracy for All Amendment. Simpson called Cruz’s remarks about Saturday Night Live “outrageous,” and urged Sen. Cruz to “read the damn amendment. That would be a wonderful thing.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders also joined the conversation on The Ed Show last night, noting that Sen. Cruz “sounds like he is on Saturday Night Live. It’s a very funny skit.” He pointed out that “Citizens United is a little over four years old; Saturday Night Live has been on the air for decades. And I don’t recall too many people on Saturday Night Live going to jail for making fun of politicians.” Sen. Sanders added that it’s a “preposterous argument” and “just another scare tactic.”

Indeed, as Sen. Udall said in a speech on the Senate floor yesterday, quoting People For the American Way President Michael Keegan:

‘A good rule of thumb in politics is that the scarier someone sounds, the more you should doubt what they’re saying.’ We heard some scary things in the last couple of days. Lorne Michaels is going to jail. And he’s sharing a cell with the little old lady who put up a $5 dollar political yard sign. Books and movies are banned. The NAACP, Sierra Club, and Moveon.org have been prohibited from speaking about politics. Scary stuff. But none of it is true. [emphasis added]

Here’s what is true: the proposed amendment is supported by 73 percent of voters, including a growing body of grassroots activists who have pushed for hundreds of state and local resolutions and who are making senators’ phones ring off the hook this week with thousands of calls expressing their support for fixing our democracy.

So if the best that amendment opponents like Sen. Cruz can do is to push wild-eyed myths about comedic producers being thrown in jail, it’s clear that the American people are winning this fight.
 

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 9/5/14

  • Family Research Council says President Obama shows “warmth toward” America’s “Islamic enemies,” warning that “his seeming disinterest in ISIS’ genocide of Christians and his vacillation amid other world threats” means “radical terrorists can only be expected to increase their attacks within and without the U.S.”

Sen. Ted Cruz To Join Anti-Gay Activists In Honoring His Father

Next month, Rick Scarborough's Vision America will host its annual "Heroes of Faith Gala" where the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins will receive the 2014 "National Hero of Faith Award" and Rafael Cruz, a Religious Right activist and father of Sen. Ted Cruz, will be honored with the "Don Wildmon Award," named for the founder of the American Family Association.

Today, Vision America sent out an email urging activists to register for the event, revealing that the senator is also going to be in attendance, picking up the Don Wildmon Award on behalf of his father and delivering remarks:

As we have noted before, Ted Cruz has great admiration for Scarborough despite Scarborough's long history of rabidly anti-gay bigotry.

In recent years, Scarborough has defended Russia's anti-gay laws, claimed there should be no such thing as Gay Pride Month because "those who engage in unnatural acts should hang their heads in shame," insisted that gay people should always be referred to as "sodomites," and called for a class action lawsuit to be filed against homosexuality.

Just last month, Scarborough said that God would be entirely justified for destroying America with a nuclear bomb because of the nation's tolerance and embrace of gay rights:

Back in 2011, he declared that AIDS is God's judgment upon those who engage in immoral acts:

And on September 4, Sen. Ted Cruz will be joining Scarborough for a gala honoring his father.

Ted Cruz And Mike Huckabee Follow David Lane's Christian-Nation Road Show To Michigan

Christian-nation activist David Lane is engaged in a multi-year, multi-state project to get conservative evangelical pastors more involved in electing right-wing candidates, and he is intent on making sure that the GOP nominates a 2016 presidential candidate to the Religious Right’s liking.

In spite of his extremism, Lane regularly gets Republican presidential candidates to attend his American Renewal Project events. On Monday night, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee spoke at a Michigan Renewal Project “Pastors Policy Briefing.”

Lane generally tries to stay out of the media spotlight, unless it’s for a friendly face like the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody. Even the media-hungry Cruz and Huckabee slipped quietly into Lansing for the event, which the Detroit News picked up on a few days later.

Also speaking at the event was Chad Connelly, the former head of the South Carolina GOP who was hired by the Republican National Committee last year to strengthen the party’s relationship with conservative evangelicals. According to news reports at the time, the Southern Baptist Connelly was brought on to energize evangelicals, some of whom were feeling disillusioned by recent national GOP candidates and by what they saw as the party’s “softening” on marriage equality.

Among the other speakers listed in a promotion for Monday’s event in the August newsletter of the American Decency Association:  right-wing radio host Dennis Prager, “historians” David Barton and Bill Federer, the American Family Association’s Don Wildmon, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, former Congressman Bob McEwen, and Pastor Laurence White of the Texas Restoration Project.

It seems as if Cruz is equally at home in front of the camera and behind closed doors. The Detroit News reports that he “made a quiet visit to Michigan Sunday and Monday, meeting with Republican Party activists in events that were kept hush-hush until photos of the tea party stalwart and potential 2016 presidential candidate surfaced on social media.”

In addition to Lane’s event, the paper reports, “Cruz appeared at four events over the two-day period organized by Ron Weiser, the Ann Arbor developer and national Republican fundraiser with connections throughout the country.” The paper says Weisner is seeking the GOP nomination for a seat on the University of Michigan board of regents.  Among other attendees at Cruz events were Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Tea Party activist Wendy Day, who recently lost a GOP primary bid for seat in the state House.

Republican Presidential Hopefuls Preview 2016 Campaign

On Saturday, Republican presidential hopefuls and other conservative figures converged on Ames, Iowa for the Family Leadership Summit. The event was organized by Bob Vander Plaats, the Religious Right activist who led campaigns to purge the state Supreme Court of justices who supported marriage equality.

The all-star line-up included Sen.  Ted Cruz, Gov. Bobby Jindal. Gov. Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum. Joining them were State Sen. Joni Ernst, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat from Iowa; Rep. Tim Scott; Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds; Ken Cuccinelli of the Senate Conservatives Fund; and regulars on the Religious Right speaking circuit, including David and Jason Benham, Josh Duggar of Family Research Council Action, Alveda King, and Rev. Rafael Cruz, Ted’s incendiary father.

Radio Iowa posted audio of the speeches by potential presidential candidates Huckabee, Santorum, Cruz, Jindal, and Perry. Taken together, they provide a preview of the 2016 primary campaign that will begin in earnest as soon as the 2014 elections are over. If the speeches in Ames are any indication, GOP voters will be hearing that America is on the verge of self-destruction, but can be returned to greatness with God’s help and the Republican Party in power.  It is clear that between now and then all these conservative leaders will all be trying to give Republicans a majority in the U.S. Senate, in part by getting Joni Ernst elected.

As you would expect, the speeches were generally long on Obama-bashing and empty rhetoric. Bobby Jindal’s answer for the problems at the U.S.-Mexico border, for example, was to tell President Obama to “man up.”

“I’ve got a very simple message for the president of the United States. We don’t need a comprehensive bill. We don’t need another thousand page bill. He simply needs to man up. He needs to secure the border and he needs to get it done today,” Jindal said. “There are no more excuses. No more delays.”

Jindal complained that President Obama is engaged in a relentless effort to “redefine the American Dream.” Obama’s version, he said, is based on class warfare, and expansive and intrusive government – he was not the only speaker to accuse Obama of trying to make America more like Europe. Jindal said in contrast he’s pursuing the real American Dream in Louisiana by cutting taxes, cutting government jobs and spending, and privatizing (“reforming”) education.

Jindal also complained about an “unprecedented assault on religious liberty” in the United States, recycling the Religious Right canard that the Obama administration wanted to protect only “freedom of worship.” He bragged about having coming to the defense of Duck Dynasty when Phil Robertson was criticized for making offensive remarks.

Jindal said he couldn’t figure out whether the Obama administration is “the most liberal, ideologically extreme administration” in our lifetime or “the most incompetent,” before asking, “What difference does it make?”  But he is confident that our best days are still ahead of us because “there’s a rebellion brewing.”

Rick Santorum said Republicans should focus on their vision rather than on bashing Obama, but he couldn’t resist. He called the president the “divider-in-chief” and denounced the “Obama-Clinton-Kerry regime,” which he says has turned its back on Israel.

Santorum’s speech suggests that he’ll be campaigning on themes in his most recent book, “Blue Collar Conservative.”  He said the Republican Party focuses on too narrow a group of people – business owners and entrepreneurs – when most people don’t own businesses, but work for someone else. They are hurting, he says, but nobody is speaking to them.  In addition to cutting taxes and government, he called for more investments in vocational education and greater restrictions on legal as well as illegal immigration, which he said are causing distress in labor markets.  Santorum’s biggest heresy against Republican dogma may have been saying it was time to stop invoking Ronald Reagan, who was elected almost 35 years ago. It would have been like candidate Reagan invoking Wendell Willkie, he said.

Ted Cruz started his upbeat speech with Washington- and Obama-bashing jokes. He’d spent much of the past month in Washington, he said, and it’s “great to be back in America.”  He described “the Obama diet” as “every day, you let Putin eat your lunch.” Cruz said he was optimistic that Republicans would re-take the Senate this year and the White House in 2016, and described five conservative victories and two victories-in-waiting.

1.       Killing gun control legislation in Congress

2.       The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision

3.       Blocking entry to the US for Iran’s chosen ambassador

4.       Grassroots activism leading to freedom for Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim

5.       Overturning the FAA’s temporary ban on flights to Israel

He described two “fixin’ to be completed” projects that Republicans would be able to finish when they take control of the Senate and then the White House

1.       Ending Obama administration “lawlessness” on immigration

2.       Repealing “every single word of Obamacare.”

Rick Perry declared that it is “easy to govern” and bragged about the success that red state governors are having by limiting regulation, restricting lawsuits, holding public schools accountable, and getting out of the way so the private sector can help provide people with jobs so they can take care of their families. (As Sam Brownback’s experience in Kansas makes clear, passing right-wing policies is no magic bullet.)

Perry denounced the president for not securing the border and declared that Texas would. Similarly, he told the audience that they have all been “called to duty” in the face of activist judges and assaults on the unborn. “Somebody’s values are gonna be legislated,” he said. “The question is whose values are going to be legislated.”  The future is bright, he said, because God is still alive and still impacting this country.

Mike Huckabee’s closing speech was in part a reprise of the one he gave at the Faith and Freedom coalition conference in June, in which he denounced “judicial supremacy” and compared the Chinese government’s systematic erasure of the Tiananmen Square massacre with the fact that American textbooks do not teach children that America’s founding was dependent on the hand of God.

Huckabee demonstrated his penchant for simplistic, inflammatory rhetoric. The IRS is a “criminal enterprise” and should be abolished. The 16th Amendment should be repealed. The Obama administration isn’t supporting Israel because it hasn’t “seen enough dead Jews to make them happy.”

Politics won’t fix the country, Huckabee said, unless there is a “spiritual transformation,” because “what has to happen first in America is that we get our hearts right, and then we’ll get our politics right. It rarely works the other way around.”

 

FRC Claims Citizens United Repeal Would 'Muzzle The Christian Viewpoint'

In a fundraising email today, FRC Action — the Family Research Council’s political arm — announced that it is “working closely with Senator Ted Cruz to take the lead” in opposing a proposed constitutional amendment to roll back Citizens United and related Supreme Court rulings that struck down federal campaign finance rules.

FRC president Tony Perkins has also picked up Cruz’s talking points about the subject, claiming in the email that an amendment restoring the power of Congress to regulate election spending would “scrap” the First Amendment and ultimately allow liberals to “quash our freedom of speech; to silence our calls for liberty and self-government; to muzzle the Christian viewpoint; to make the debate totally one-sided; to brainwash the next generation into believing that this is how it should be.”

In reality, the amendment would return to Congress and state governments the ability to place reasonable regulations on campaign spending, a power they had until very recently.

I thought I'd seen it all.

I thought the First Amendment was settled. I thought freedom of speech -- the fundamental bulwark of liberty at the very heart of our republic -- was so basic to our American way of life, no liberal would have the audacity to suggest scrapping it.

But I was wrong.

It's utterly outrageous to suggest gutting the First Amendment. It is critically important to our national life. Freedom of speech, especially political speech, sets us apart from most other countries in the world. It keeps liberty alive.

It seems Democrats want "free speech" to consist only of government-authorized speech.

They claim they want to cut back on the influence of "special interests" in election campaigns. But of course, the "special interests" they want to silence are organizations like FRC Action. They want to muzzle you and me.

This is not about "election accountability." This is a naked power grab.

This amendment to the Constitution would give the foxes the keys to the henhouse. Those in power -- whom FRC Action is committed to holding accountable -- would now have the ability to silence us, to gag us, to strip us of our right to fully engage in the political process.

Interestingly, if such a far-fetched alteration of our Constitution were to actually take place, there is a particularly strong group that would be protected -- the press! Democrats' liberal allies in the mainstream media would retain their free political speech, while organizations like FRC Action would lose theirs.

Maybe you're thinking: they can't seriously think such a proposal would make it through Congress. And you would be right: they don't.

This is a bald-faced tactic for firing up the Democrats' base -- to get more liberal voters to swarm the polls in the midterm elections this November.

But if we remain silent, if we simply sit and roll our eyes at the absurdity of it all . . . liberals in Congress will be emboldened to keep pushing in this deadly direction.

The Left would love nothing more than to quash our freedom of speech; to silence our calls for liberty and self-government; to muzzle the Christian viewpoint; to make the debate totally one-sided; to brainwash the next generation into believing that this is how it should be.

We're working closely with Senator Ted Cruz to take the lead in exposing this outrage and in challenging any attempt to rewrite our Bill of Rights.

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Sen. Ted Cruz has, unsurprisingly, positioned himself right in the center of the Religious Right’s latest cause celebre, a lawsuit in Houston in which attorneys working for the city subpoenaed materials from local pastors, including copies of their sermons. City officials have distanced themselves from the subpoenas, issued by pro-bono lawyers defending the city in a dispute over petitions for a referendum to repeal the city’s antidiscrimination ordinance, with Mayor Annise Parker calling their scope “overly broad.” But that hasn’t stopped activists and... MORE >

Ted Cruz Posts Archive

Miranda Blue, Tuesday 10/07/2014, 10:59am
Sen. Ted Cruz has spent the past several months railing against a proposed constitutional amendment to undo the Supreme Court’s decisions in Citizens United and related campaign-finance cases, which would restore to Congress and the states the ability to “set reasonable limits” on election spending. Cruz has gone into full hyperbole mode over the amendment, claiming that the campaign to narrowly roll back what many legal experts believe is an erroneous interpretation of the First Amendment is in fact an effort to “repeal the First Amendment,” silence pastors... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 09/30/2014, 10:42am
David Lane is an extremely influential but notoriously media-shy Religious Right activist who regularly organizes secretive events at which leading Republican politicians speak to pastors in key swing states in an effort to mobilize conservative Christian voters. He is also a full-blown Christian nationalist who believes that the Bible should serve as "the principal textbook" for public education and has warned that the United States would see car bombings all over the nation as a result of God's judgment because "homosexuals [were] praying at the inauguration" of... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 09/29/2014, 4:40pm
One thing was clear at last week’s Values Voter Summit: many of the Religious Right’s leaders and allied politicians know that their stances on abortion rights and LGBT equality are becoming more and more toxic to the average voter, and less and less popular within the GOP. Many speakers at the conference tried to reframe the debate on issues such as same-sex marriage, insisting that opponents of LGBT rights are becoming an oppressed minority in America. This delusion even seeped into matters such as foreign policy, with speakers attacking President Obama as an Islamist... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 09/26/2014, 11:40am
Ted Cruz knew just what Values Voter Summit attendees wanted to hear today, delivering a speech about how Democrats in Congress want to repeal the First Amendment’s free speech and religious liberty protections along with the Second Amendment. He even spoke out against Democrats for threatening the “right to privacy,” which ironically many conservatives believe is not part of in the Constitution but actually a liberal invention. “Defend the values that are American values, we stand for life, we stand for marriage, we stand for Israel,” he said.  Cruz,... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 09/25/2014, 5:31pm
The National Organization for Marriage, Family Research Council Action, and CitizenLink have announced that they are launching a joint campaign to urge voters not to support Republican House candidates Carl DeMaio in California and Richard Tisei in Massachusetts, or US Senate candidate Monica Wehby in Oregon because of their support for marriage equality. FRC prays that the upcoming Values Voter Summit "will be life and nation-changing!" Is anyone surprised that the Duggars do not celebrate Halloween? "Magic, sorcery, witches, spell-casting and the like are... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 09/25/2014, 1:50pm
At the Values Voter Summit, which begins this Friday, Republican politicians and Religious Right leaders will come together to rebuke President Obama, attack the gay community and decry the current state of affairs in the U.S. Subtlety and nuance aren’t this crowd’s strong suits. In fact, it wasn’t that hard for us to come up with a list of at least 15 scheduled summit speakers and panelists who believe that America has gotten so bad under Obama’s leadership that the country has become just like Nazi Germany. 1. Tony Perkins Family Research Council President Tony... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 09/25/2014, 1:10pm
It is no secret that Sen. Ted Cruz is a favorite of Religious Right activists. After all, at last year’s Values Voter Summit, the Texas Republican received a euphoric welcome and when one member of the audience declared that God supported Cruz’s effort to shut down the government, he was met with an enthusiastic round of applause. It’s no wonder that Cruz has won the hearts of the GOP’s far-right base, given his penchant for paranoid and incendiary rhetoric along with his boasts about his superior religious convictions. And the affection seems to be mutual. If Cruz... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Monday 09/22/2014, 12:12pm
The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins has excitedly touted a big “get” for this week’s Values Voter Summit: Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian woman who was persecuted by the Sudanese government over charges of apostasy. Evangelicals in the U.S. were part of the international chorus of voices who worked to keep a spotlight on Ibrahim’s plight, and Ibrahim may wish to thank some of the activists who advocated for her freedom. But Perkins and FRC have another agenda entirely: They have been using Ibrahim as a prop in their relentless, over-the-top attacks on the... MORE >