Todd Starnes

Meet The Latest Conservative To Cry Persecution: Iowa Newspaper Editor Who Said Satan Is Behind The 'Gaystapo'

We have watched conservatives claim again and again that they are the victims of liberal persecution, which allows them to then embark on the almost routine practice of filing a lawsuit with the help of a Religious Right legal group or making an appeal to the media, then appearing on right-wing talk radio shows and Fox News and then, if they are really good at describing their purported persecution, landing a book deal to allow them to repeat the process anew.

So meet the next contender in the persecution Olympics: Bob Eschliman, who lost his job at a newspaper after writing a blog post on his personal website about how people must fight Satan and his minions in the evil “Gaystapo.”

The Newton Daily News fired him as editor-in-chief over the blog post, which he has since bravely removed from his website. He insists that he is the victim of having “sincerely held religious beliefs” and is now suing the newspaper, citing religious discrimination.

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes – who frequently describes the plight of persecuted Americana Christians, even when he is completely making it up or pushing a totally untrue story – has predictably picked up Eschliman's tale and turned it into a column describing the tragic saga of this good, decent Christian man losing his Constitutional rights.

Bob Eschliman is a Christian. He’s also a veteran news editor. And when he decided to write a column on his personal blog objecting to a gay-friendly version of the Bible, Bob was unceremoniously marched out of the Newton Daily News and shoved out the front door.

After a brief investigation, the Iowa newspaper fired Bob and then publicly castigated him in an editorial. They accused him of compromising the reputation of the newspaper. They said what he wrote resulted in the loss of public trust.



“If you ask me, it sounds like the Gaystapo is well on its way,” Bob wrote. “We must fight back against the enemy.”



Wednesday, Bob filed formal charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Shaw Media and the Newton Daily News. Attorneys from Liberty Institute allege the newspaper and its parent company are guilty of religious discrimination and retaliation.

And based on my conversations with Liberty Institute attorneys – they’re going to go after the newspaper like a pit bull going after a pork chop.

“No one should be fired for simply expressing their religious beliefs,” Liberty Institute attorney Jeremy Dys told me. “That’s exactly what happened to Bob. This kind of religious intolerance has no place in today’s welcoming work force. In America, it is against the law to fire an employee for simply expressing a religious belief that his or her employer may not share.”

Dys said Bob was fired for trying to “explain his belief in Holy Scripture along with the definition of marriage.”



So are Shaw Media and the Newton Daily News anti-Christian? Do they employ executives who are religious bigots? Should journalists who endorse traditional marriage simply not apply for jobs?



And then there was the matter of the content. At first glance, it appears Bob was referring to the LGBT community as “the enemy.”

But it turns out – that’s not the case at all. He said he was referring to Satan – not homosexuals.



So for what it’s worth – Shaw Media decided that Bob, a faithful husband and father, a devout and outspoken Christian man, an award-winning journalist – did not represent the values of their company.

Maybe Shaw Media ought to reconsider its values.

It’s a shame a company that exists, thanks to freedom of press, wants to take away a man’s freedom of speech.

Richard Land Links Gay Rights To Nazi Germany

After lecturing liberals on why they are wrong to fault the United States for slavery, former Southern Baptist Convention official Richard Land drew a connection between the rise of gay rights and Nazi Germany.

While guest-hosting yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch,” Land spoke with Fox News correspondent Todd Starnes about President Obama’s recent executive order to protect employees of federal government contractors from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

He told Starnes that conservatives need to stand up to “the gay thought police” or face Nazi-style persecution, mentioning Martin Niemöller’s anti-Nazi poem “First they came….”

Earlier in the show, Starnes said that Obama was “mocking and condescending” towards religion by saying “amen” while signing the executive order, because apparently opposing discrimination is incompatible with religious values.

“It was really a mocking, in-your-face sort of a move,” Starnes said.

Land, for his part, warned of “liberal McCarthyism” since now “the question is, ‘Are you now, or have you ever been opposed to homosexual and lesbian or gay, bisexual, transgender behavior?’”

But things were just getting started on “Washington Watch,” as Land later spoke with a caller who said she couldn’t understand “how seemingly intelligent people could have voted a president in by the name of Barack Obama so soon after 9/11, it doesn’t make sense to me.”

Rather than address her comments, Land went on a tangent about how Obama has an anti-American worldview and is to blame for everything from the drug war to Boko Haram’s kidnapping of girls in Nigeria.

Another Bogus Fox News Report: The University Of Wisconsin Will 'Adjust The Grades' Of Minority Students

In yet another case of Todd Starnes being a terrible reporter, the Fox News commentator said in a radio bulletin yesterday that the University of Wisconsin-Madison is going to begin factoring a student’s race into its grading system.

Starnes misrepresents the language, which dates back to 2009, of a stated university goal to see an improvement in the grades of students from “historically underrepresented racial-ethnic groups,” mangling it to suggest that the university would actually require professors to begin “adjusting the grades” of students based on their race. In other words, the school sees higher grades “as an outcome” of fostering diversity in academics, not as a mandated result.

“At face value, the University of Wisconsin seems to be sacrificing academic education on the altar of academic diversity. Whatever happened to giving kids the grades they deserved?” Starnes asked.

Good question! Maybe Starnes could use some of the journalism skills he learned in school to do some basic research — like a Google search — to see if his reporting holds water.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 7/10/14

  • Todd Starnes says that "under this administration, the government believes they are church and President Obama is the deity."
  • Bryan Fischer says that Ann Coulter is "the Manchurian Columnist."
  • Laurie Higgins argues that if opposition to homosexuality is akin to racism "then cultural disapproval of polyamory, zoophilia, and scores of other paraphilias is wrong and akin to racism."
  • The Lord says, "I am already invading Hollywood far beyond what you can imagine."
  • Matt Barber asserts that the fact that support for ENDA is dropping over religious exemptions is proof "that what this is really all about is criminalizing Christianity and doing away with freedom of religion."
  • Finally, Scott Lively is running for governor in Massachusetts and his transportation plan is exactly as crazy as you'd expect: "Overcrowding in Mass. cities is a direct consequence of the globalist United Nations Agenda 21 project, which has been using land use policies and financial incentives to push humans out of the rural areas into the cities since 1992. Massachusetts has bought into Agenda 21 in a major way, though most citizens have never heard of it. I would reverse the Agenda 21 process and work to restore the model of environmentally-conscious self-sufficient agrarian farm-communities which New England was once known for, and which offer a substantially better and healthier way of life. This would alleviate the stress of overcrowding in the cities and restore struggling rural economies at the same time."

Todd Starnes Warns Of Anti-Duck Dynasty Violence, Links Same-Sex Marriage To Healthy Food Initiatives

In an interview last week with talk show host Jeanne Dennis, Fox News commentator Todd Starnes predicted that conservative Christians will soon organize acts of civil disobedience and street demonstrations akin to the Civil Rights Movement to protest their purported oppression.

Starnes specifically cited Phil Robertson, who was briefly suspended from the A&E show “Duck Dynasty” for making racist and anti-gay remarks in a magazine interview, as a victim of “persecution.”

He even said that criticism of Robertson will lead to violence: “If you can take someone like Phil Robertson and say, ‘Phil Robertson is preaching hate,’ or, ‘He’s speaking hate,’ eventually that is going to justify violence against those kinds of people.”

Later in the interview, Starnes linked same-sex marriage to feminism, which he said is waging “an attack on men” and “putting limitations” on women, and to Michelle Obama’s healthy diet and living initiatives, which he feared would lead to a ban on Nutter Butters and cheeseburgers.

Starnes said that feminism, same-sex marriage and the first lady’s health advocacy are all part of an attempt to “tear down the family unit” and make the government “control everything.” He finished by making a joke mocking transgender people.

Tony Perkins Fears Obama Will Start Putting Christians In Jail Any Day Now

Tony Perkins invited Fox News’ go-to-Christian-persecution-commentator Todd Starnes to join him on the weekend edition of “Washington Watch,” where Starnes pointed to recent remarks by Rick Warren and Russell Moore warning of the imminent imprisonment of Christians in America as proof that Christians will indeed soon face jail sentences.

Perkins, who recently warned that gay rights advocates are about to launch an anti-Christian Holocaust, naturally agreed that such arrests are going to “play out very quickly in our day.”

The Family Research Council president told Starnes: “I do think that it could very well come to that in our lifetime. A few years ago I didn’t think it would, not this quickly, but as we have seen the aggressive nature of this administration and this president and the open hostility of this administration toward orthodox faith — we have seen it in the HHS mandate, we have seen it in the numerous cases regarding marriage — I think it is going to come down to that.”

Religious Right Reacts To Hobby Lobby Decision: A Victory Over King George III And 'Subsidized Consequence Free Sex'

The Religious Right’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case — in which the Court’s conservative majority ruled that some for-profit businesses must be exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate — has started rolling in.

Erick Erickson sees the decision as a victory over the promiscuous:

Eric Metaxas thinks King George III would have been on the side of contraceptive insurance:

The Franciscan University of Steubenville compared businesses that don’t want to provide their employees with contraception coverage to religious martyrs in ancient Rome:

Steve Deace called the Green family, which owns the Hobby Lobby chain, "the Rosa Parks of the religious liberty fight" and urged the movement not to "settle" with just the Hobby Lobby victory:

If we play our cards right, and God grants us a favor, we can use this as a momentum changer. That’s mainly thanks to the Green family, who just became the Rosa Parks of the religious liberty fight. Just as her refusal to comply with an unjust edict on a bus one day blew the lid off the civil rights movement, perhaps the Greens’ refusal to comply with Obamacare’s unjust edict can accomplish the same for a similarly worthy cause.

But that won’t happen if we “settle” for this win like we have all too many others.

AFA’s Bryan Fischer thinks he knows Chief Justice John Roberts’ motivation to vote with the Court's majority:

And finally, the American Family Association is taking a poll:

The Persecution Myth: New Report Takes On The Right's Deceptive Rallying Cry

Every day we hear figures on the Religious Right declaring that conservative Christians in America are being persecuted by a government that has embraced, in the words of Samuel Rodriguez, “secular totalitarianism.”

This narrative has helped to feed the opposition to gay rights and reproductive rights, and has even been used to advocate against the rights of religious minorities. And it continues even as Christians and members of other minority faiths face real persecution throughout the world.

The Right has managed to gain traction with this narrative by providing a never-ending supply of martyrdom myths. These stories of children banned from praying and of Christmas celebrations curtailed are carried to a wide audience by people like Fox News’ Todd Starnes — and are often quickly proved to be completely apocryphal.

In a new report, "The Persecution Complex: The Religious Right’s Deceptive Rallying Cry," we look at the machine that produces those myths and how they are then used to influence public policy:

The tales of horror keep pouring in: Two middle school girls are forced into a lesbian kiss as part of an anti-bullying program; an Air Force sergeant isfired because he opposes same-sex marriage; a high school track team is disqualified from a meet after an athlete thanks God for the team’s victory; a Veterans Affairs hospital bans Christmas cards with religious messages ; a man fixing the lights in a Christmas tree falls victim to a wave of War-on-Christmas violence; an elementary school student is punished for praying over his school lunch; a little boy is forced to take a psychological evaluation after drawing a picture of Jesus.

None of these stories is true. But each has become a stock tale for Religious Right broadcasters, activists, and in some cases elected officials. These myths – which are becoming ever more pervasive in the right-wing media – serve to bolster a larger story, that of a majority religious group in American society becoming a persecuted minority, driven underground in its own country.

This narrative has become an important rallying cry for a movement that has found itself on the losing side of many of the so-called “culture wars.” By reframing political losses as religious oppression, the Right has attempted to build a justification for turning back advances in gay rights, reproductive rights and religious liberty for minority faiths.

Read the rest here .

Peter and I also discussed the report in a conference call with PFAW members a couple of weeks ago. You can listen to that here:

Todd Starnes 'Cannot Wait For The Day That We Have A President That Loves America'

Todd Starnes appeared on the AFA's "Today's Issues" radio program last week to discuss the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl where he suggested that President Obama has "deserted" the United States of America.

Claiming that Bergdahl is a traitor who had betrayed his country, Starnes declared that "this soldier may not be the only one who has deserted; I think President Obama has deserted his obligations and responsibilities as President of the United States of America."

AFA president Tim Wildmon agreed, asserting that he feels like he is "living in the Twilight Zone" because "it's as if our own president is against our country ... I look at what's going on and I go 'whose side is this guy on?'"

While Wildmon predicted that this story would help the Republicans in the midterm elections because "Democrats are scurrying like rats on a ship that's on fire" to distance themselves from this story, Starnes simply stated that "I cannot wait for the day that we have a president that loves America":

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 5/27/14

  • Allen West just so happened to be seated next to someone on a plane who knew the "ground truth" about what really happened in Benghazi and he told him all about it!
  • Whenever something that the Religious Right supports gets banned from Facebook for violating hate speech standards, they throw a fit and scream "persecution."
  • Todd Starnes is unafraid to ask the hard questions: "Does Google Hate America?"
  • Michael Peroutka donated a dinosaur skeleton worth over a million dollars to the Creation Museum.
  • Finally, "Duck Dynasty's" Phil Robertson will address the Republican Leadership Conference on Thursday, presumably because the GOP is intent on constantly solidifying its reputation as the party of choice for people who don't like gays.

Starnes: 'I Feel Like Washington D.C. Is Twerking On All Of Us'

The only thing more painful than reading Todd Starnes' dreadfully unfunny book is listening to him recite "jokes" from it, as he did last week while hosting a panel on religious persecution at the Watchmen on the Wall conference.

Starnes, who always goes to great lengths to assure his audience that he remains a Southerner at heart despite the fact that he lives in the Park Slope neighborhood of New York City, told the gathering of pastors that the idea for this new book, "God Less America," came to him one day while sitting at brunch in Brooklyn when he realized that he is "a Duck Dynasty guy living in a Miley Cyrus world and I feel like Washington D.C. is twerking on all of us":

Religious Right Activists Working To Water Down Air Force Rules On Religious Coercion

Fox News pundit Todd Starnes made waves last year when he claimed that the Air Force was preparing to “court martial” Christians as part of an Obama administration “religious cleansing of the military.”

As it turned out, the policy on proselytizing that Starnes cited to make these claims [PDF] was crafted in 2008 – during the Bush administration – and in no way calls for the court martialing of Christians.

The regulations do stress that “leaders at all levels” should “avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion. Commanders or supervisors who engage in such behavior may cause members to doubt their impartiality and objectivity. The potential result is a degradation of the unit’s morale, good order, and discipline.”

But the facts didn’t stop Republicans politicians and conservative activists from using the Bush-era policy to attack President Obama and to push for looser restrictions on religious proselytizing in the military.

And now, the Religious Right’s campaign may be succeeding in pressuring the Air Force to water down the 2008 policy. McClatchy reports today that while Air Force officials maintain that the accusations of religious persecution in the military aren’t true, they are considering altering the rules on religious coercion in response to pressure from the Right.

The Air Force reportedly convened a meeting to discuss the policy in March, and the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins is claiming that the service plans to “make a policy change shortly.”

In the “religious persecution in the military” meme, the Religious Right has found an issue that it can fundraise off in perpetuity that also works toward two of its main goals: attacking President Obama and undermining laws that promote the separation of church and state.

Don Boyd of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty rightly asks: “If the claims of persecution are ‘not true,’ why change the policy? Americans who want to serve their country without receiving unwanted religious pressure should have some protection.”

McClatchy:

“The single biggest frustration I’ve had in this job is the perception that somehow there is religious persecution inside the United States Air Force,” Gen. Mark Welsh III told a House Armed Services Committee hearing earlier this spring. “It’s not true.” Welsh’s irritation underscored the pressure the Air Force is under from Republicans in Congress, evangelical Christians and conservative advocacy groups to end what they allege is the service’s suppression of religious freedom. Their charge isn’t new, but the target is: a regulation designed to prevent religious bias by barring commanders and other leaders from “the actual or apparent use of their positions to promote their religious convictions to their subordinates.”



“It’s when the commander becomes the preacher that we have a problem,” said a former senior defense official who dealt with the issue but requested anonymity in order to speak freely. “It’s commanders turning to subordinates and saying, ‘Here’s what makes my life worthwhile. It’s going to my church and subscribing to my views.’ ”



The Air Force defends the regulation as a measure that “seems to make good sense.” Yet the pressure — legislation, congressional hearings, meetings, letters, media statements and online appeals — to revise or dump it is having an impact.

Late last month, James and Welsh convened a “Religious Freedom Focus Day” conference of senior chaplains and legal and manpower officials to discuss the policy. An Air Force spokeswoman, Rose Richeson, declined to make the results of the April 28 meeting public, saying it would be “too premature to provide an interview.”

But Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, a Christian conservative policy institute that leads a coalition of organizations that are fighting the regulation, said that based on what he’d heard from people at the meeting he expected the Air Force to “make a policy change shortly.”

The prospect alarms supporters of the policy, who say a pro-Christian bias in the Air Force remains overwhelming and that the regulation provides an avenue of relief to service members who object to being regaled with their superiors’ religious views or who worry that declining invitations to “voluntary” Bible classes might jeopardize their fitness reports and chances of promotion.

The regulation has been “an umbrella in a tsunami of Christian fundamentalist extremism,” asserted Mikey Weinstein, the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and a former Air Force officer whose outspokenness has won him scorn and death threats.

Since the regulation went into effect, 4,121 Air Force personnel have sought the organization’s help in fending off proselytizing by superiors, Weinstein said. The organization has a 95 percent “success rate” in ending “the offending behavior,” he said. Evangelical Christians draw the largest number of complaints — ironically enough, from fellow Christians, he said.



“We don’t advocate that someone in a position of authority use that authority to somehow force someone to participate in a religious activity,” Perkins said. “On the flip side of that is just because someone in a command position (has) a devotional or weekly Bible study and you invite your colleagues, there is nothing wrong with that as long as you are not requiring (attendance). It’s like asking someone to come play dominoes.”

Military culture, however, is very different from the civilian world, the regulation’s defenders responded. The services are closed, clannish and hierarchical, and in such an atmosphere a commander’s exhortation to follow his or her beliefs or an invitation to a voluntary prayer circle can be perceived as tantamount to an order.

To illustrate the point, Weinstein said his organization had received 17 complaints _ all from Protestants _ in early May after a commander at an Air Force base left invitations to a “Purity Ball” _ a religious, high school prom-like event attended by fathers and daughters _ on the chairs of three senior subordinates. The girls take vows to refrain from premarital sex.

The subordinates “understood that they had to distribute the invitations. They distributed them to 212 people,” said Weinstein, who declined to identify the base, the commander or the complainants because of confidentiality considerations.

Todd Starnes Jokes About 'The War Of Northern Aggression'

As we have mentioned before, Fox News correspondent Todd Starnes likes to use his schtick as a folksy Southerner with downhome charm to make up for his often totally false reporting.

Take for instance a recent appearance in Georgia, where Starnes dedicated most of his speech to describing how tough it is to be a good Southerner among the heathens of New York.

“I still can’t figure out how we lost the War of Northern Aggression, I just don’t get it living among those people,” he joked. “These are the folks that wear the skinny jeans and they have the mustaches, some of the girls do too.”

Todd Starnes Takes Time Off From Eating 'Chick-fil-A, The Official Chicken Of Jesus,' To Denounce Michael Sam

Fox News pundit Todd Starnes has built a reputation as one of the least reliable or credible “reporters” even in the conservative media, consistently pushing misleading stories and making bogus claims.

But his folksy, down-home schtick plays well with his audience.

To give you a sense of what his gimmick sounds like, yesterday he kicked off his interview with Janet Mefferd by joking that he just “enjoyed lunch, Chick-fil-A, the official chicken of Jesus.”

Later in the interview, Starnes showed off his “charm” while discussing Michael Sam, saying that “this slobber-knocker of a kiss” was all about “advancing an agenda.”

He previously took to his Facebook page to lament that Sam’s kiss proves “we are no longer allowed to have fun and enjoy sports or entertainment programs.”

Todd Starnes Has A Good Laugh Comparing Gay Marriage To Bestiality

On Friday we mentioned that we are reading through Todd Starnes' genuinely awful new book "God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values" in which, in between collected tales of supposed Christian persecution and endless attempts to remind his reader just how much he loves the South, Starnes intersperses little fantasy vignettes about how President Obama is trying to literally turn himself into a god or, in the case of chapter 11, how the Supreme Court has legalized marriage between humans and animals.

In a chapter entitled "The Great Interspecies Marriage Act Of 2025," Starnes mocks advances in marriage equality by penning a fake Associated Press article announcing that the Supreme Court has "legalized interspecies marriage" and that couples can now begin marrying at pet stores across the nation:

(AP) THE FUTURE - A divided Supreme Court finally legalized interspecies marriage, striking down a key section of a federal law that denied veterinary benefits to humans and pets, and marking what activists are calling the greatest civil rights ruling of the twenty-first century ...The landmark ruling means that more than one hundred thousand human and animal couples who are legally married will be able to take advantage of tax breaks, pension rights, and other benefits that are available to other married couples ... Pet stores in California, New York, and Illinois have already announced plans to begin issuing marriage licenses. The first couples to tie the knot will receive a lifelong supply of Kibbles & Bits or Meow Mix.

...

The White House tried to put religious groups at ease by suggesting marriage between species is not only constitutional, but also biblical.

"Don't have a cow," the White House press secretary told reporters. "Or do have a cow. That's what so great about this nation. We are free to love whoever we choose to love. Marriage is a sacred union, whether it's a man and a woman or a man and a man or a woman and a woman or a transgender and a transgender (which could technically be all of the above) or a man and a goat. God's in the mix."

The Almighty did not immediately respond to the White House statement, but in an unrelated incident, San Francisco was suddenly turned into a pillar of salt and the Vegas strip was burned to the ground during a freak lightning storm.

Todd Starnes In Fantasy Land

We have been reading through Todd Starnes' latest book, "God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values," which was released earlier this week and mainly it consists of the standard "Christian persecution" stories that fill most of his columns for Fox News.

But then we got to chapter 5, entitled "So Absurd It Could Be True: The Gospel Of Barack Obama," which consists entirely of Starnes imagining a meeting between himself and a fictional DC insider named Miles O'Leary who had just been put in charge of a project aimed at literally turning President Obama into a god.

Starnes imagines a conversation between himself and O'Leary as the latter explains that an "Office of Theological Repatriation" has been created in order to use the force of government and compliance of the media to compel all Americans to abandon their faith and worship Obama:

"You look at it as a problem, but the White House looks at it as an opportunity," he said. "We realized that we had a chance to truly make history—to change the world. Do you remember what happened at the Democratic National Convention, when the Democrats booed God?"

Who could forget? Delegates to the 2012 DNC meeting in Charlotte had voted God out of the party platform. "There's only room for one god in the Democratic National Convention," Miles said.

The Almighty was subsequently reinstated into the party, which resulted in a round of contentious jeers from the crowd full of atheists and God-haters. I was there. It was one of the most incredulous moments in American politics—a major political party giving God a Bronx cheer.

"We took an immediate flash poll of God's approval rating among Democrats, and we got a shocking wake-up call," Miles told me. "He was only polling at 10 percent—and that was mostly among Southern Blue Dog Democrats. So we decided to immediately implement a top-secret program—code name G-O-D"

GOD?

"It stands for Get Obama Deified," Miles said in a hushed voice. "We decided to create a national religion based solely on President Obama. Our internal polling data on the deification of the president is spectacular."

I was dumbfounded. How in the world could they do something like that—something so brazen, so blasphemous, so unconstitutional?

"Todd, we've already done it," Miles said. "I was just put in charge of President Obama's new Office of Theological Repatriation. We're in the process of destabilizing other religions so that we can recruit more followers. Why do you think we've been marginalizing Christianity within the armed forces and public schools?"

"But why make the president a god?"

"Let's face it, Todd," Miles explained. "He's a young man. He's going to need to do something to earn a paycheck after he leaves the White House."

"So when did you guys decide to go forward with this hair-brained scheme?" I asked.

"Ironically it was just a few hours before that earthquake hit Washington," he said. "About two minutes after President Obama signed the executive order declaring himself to be America's Lord and Savior, the earth started shaking."

"How does one even go about creating a new religion?" I wondered.

"Well, as I said, I head up the Office of Theological Repatriation," Miles said. "Once the Christians and Jews renounce their faiths, they are assigned to a six-month session of theological conversion therapy. After they complete the appropriate coursework, the new followers are then turned over to the Office of Spiritual Indoctrination."

"What about the Muslims?" I asked.

"Um, yeah, we're not going to touch the Muslims," Miles said.

"It's all about having a good back story," he said. "That's why we've employed the best screenwriters in Hollywood to create our version of the Bible. It's called The Gospel According to Barack."

Miles laid out some sample chapters for me, including Obama's version of the Golden Rule: "Do unto others before they do it to you."

And they've also started working on the origins story. Miles said the White House has pending legislation that would make December 25 "Barack Obama Day."

"We've even got a few passages of the origins scripture ready for Hallmark cards," Miles said. "'For unto you is born this day in a city of undetermined origin—a savior who is Barack the Lord.'"

Suddenly the skies outside the coffeehouse darkened. I could hear the distant rumbling of thunder and an occasional flash of lightning. Miles said they'd also commissioned choirs to perform some new holiday anthems with lyrics such as, "Joy to the world / Barack has come / Let earth receive her king." They also created the new songs "Jingle Bell Barack" and "Michelle, Did You Know?"

"We've recently acquired the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which we've renamed the Obama Tabernacle Choir, and they are going to be producing our signature song, a new rendition of the 'Hallelujah Chorus,'" Miles said. "Instead of 'Hallelujah,' they sing `Barack Obama."

But what about the inner workings of the religion? What about the doctrine?

Miles conceded that to be a bit more problematic. He said there'd been fierce debate over who gets to sit at the right hand of Obama. "Valerie Jarrett wants to sit at the left and the right hand," he said. "Michelle's not too happy about that, but we may have a solution. We're contemplating making Michelle the Holy Mother."

What about the sacraments?

"Well, we require followers of Obama to drink the Kool-Aid at least once a week," Miles said. "We've also got the folks over at the Food Network developing a wafer made in the president's likeness from organically harvested wheat."

As for confessional booths, Miles said there aren't going to be any.

"That's what we've got the NSA for," he said. "They already know your darkest secrets."

And how does one become a follower of Obama?

"We believe in predestination," Miles said. "All Americans are predestined to follow the president and do his bidding."

Last rites, he said, were being outsourced to the Department of Health and Human Services death panels.

I still wasn't totally convinced this wild scheme would work. How in the world could they indoctrinate so many people?

"We bought ourselves a cable television network," Miles crowed, proudly. "We're calling it MSNBC—the Messianic Savior Named Barack Channel."

Well, that explained a lot.

Right Wing Round-Up - 5/8/14

Todd Starnes Says LGBT Activists Will Demand Christians Be Deported; Religious Right Got There First

Fox News pundit Todd Starnes joins the parade of right-wing outrage about the Home & Garden Television Network pulling the plug on a show featuring David and Jason Benham after Right Wing Watch reported on David’s anti-gay activism.  Starnes posted a story about HGTV’s decision, then promoted it with a tweet that said,

Hmm, you mean the way Family Research Council spokesman Peter Sprigg said in 2008 that he would like to export homosexuals from the U.S. because homosexuality is destructive to society?  Sprigg apologized for using language that “did not communicate respect for the essential dignity of every human being as a person created in the image of God.” But since then he has said that gay sex should be criminalized.

Right Wing Round-Up - 5/7/14

Right Wing Round-Up - 5/6/14

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Todd Starnes Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Thursday 07/24/2014, 1:45pm
We have watched conservatives claim again and again that they are the victims of liberal persecution, which allows them to then embark on the almost routine practice of filing a lawsuit with the help of a Religious Right legal group or making an appeal to the media, then appearing on right-wing talk radio shows and Fox News and then, if they are really good at describing their purported persecution, landing a book deal to allow them to repeat the process anew. So meet the next contender in the persecution Olympics: Bob Eschliman, who lost his job at a newspaper after writing a blog post on... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 07/23/2014, 3:15pm
After lecturing liberals on why they are wrong to fault the United States for slavery, former Southern Baptist Convention official Richard Land drew a connection between the rise of gay rights and Nazi Germany. While guest-hosting yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch,” Land spoke with Fox News correspondent Todd Starnes about President Obama’s recent executive order to protect employees of federal government contractors from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. He told Starnes that conservatives need to stand up to “the gay... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 07/23/2014, 11:45am
In yet another case of Todd Starnes being a terrible reporter, the Fox News commentator said in a radio bulletin yesterday that the University of Wisconsin-Madison is going to begin factoring a student’s race into its grading system. Starnes misrepresents the language, which dates back to 2009, of a stated university goal to see an improvement in the grades of students from “historically underrepresented racial-ethnic groups,” mangling it to suggest that the university would actually require professors to begin “adjusting the grades” of students based on their... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 07/10/2014, 5:42pm
Todd Starnes says that "under this administration, the government believes they are church and President Obama is the deity." Bryan Fischer says that Ann Coulter is "the Manchurian Columnist." Laurie Higgins argues that if opposition to homosexuality is akin to racism "then cultural disapproval of polyamory, zoophilia, and scores of other paraphilias is wrong and akin to racism." The Lord says, "I am already invading Hollywood far beyond what you can imagine." Matt Barber asserts that the fact that support for ENDA is... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 07/08/2014, 11:50am
In an interview last week with talk show host Jeanne Dennis, Fox News commentator Todd Starnes predicted that conservative Christians will soon organize acts of civil disobedience and street demonstrations akin to the Civil Rights Movement to protest their purported oppression. Starnes specifically cited Phil Robertson, who was briefly suspended from the A&E show “Duck Dynasty” for making racist and anti-gay remarks in a magazine interview, as a victim of “persecution.” He even said that criticism of Robertson will lead to violence: “If you can take someone... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 07/07/2014, 1:10pm
Tony Perkins invited Fox News’ go-to-Christian-persecution-commentator Todd Starnes to join him on the weekend edition of “Washington Watch,” where Starnes pointed to recent remarks by Rick Warren and Russell Moore warning of the imminent imprisonment of Christians in America as proof that Christians will indeed soon face jail sentences. Perkins, who recently warned that gay rights advocates are about to launch an anti-Christian Holocaust, naturally agreed that such arrests are going to “play out very quickly in our day.” The Family Research Council president... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Monday 06/30/2014, 12:56pm
The Religious Right’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case — in which the Court’s conservative majority ruled that some for-profit businesses must be exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate — has started rolling in. Erick Erickson sees the decision as a victory over the promiscuous: My religion trumps your “right” to employer subsidized consequence free sex. — Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) June 30, 2014 Eric Metaxas thinks King George III would have been on the side of... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Friday 06/13/2014, 5:15pm
Every day we hear figures on the Religious Right declaring that conservative Christians in America are being persecuted by a government that has embraced, in the words of Samuel Rodriguez, “secular totalitarianism.” This narrative has helped to feed the opposition to gay rights and reproductive rights, and has even been used to advocate against the rights of religious minorities. And it continues even as Christians and members of other minority faiths face real persecution throughout the world. The Right has managed to gain traction with this narrative by providing a never-ending... MORE >