Tony Perkins

The Mystery of Richard Viguerie's Sudden Support For The Mount Vernon Statement

Earlier today I wondered just what Richard Viguerie's name was doing on The Mount Vernon Statement since, on Monday, he called it embarrassing pablum.  But today he went ahead and signed it and even issued his own statement praising it as a good first step:

"I am pleased to be a signer of the Mount Vernon Statement.

"I feel it's a good first step, and I applaud those conservatives who have provided the leadership to produce this statement of conservative principles.

"In the coming weeks, I look forward to working with all principled conservatives, including the newest branch of the small-limited government coalition, the Tea Partiers, to take the steps necessary to maximize our victories in 2010 and beyond.

This doesn't really make any sense; why would he dismiss the statement as a meaningless joke on Monday only to turn around two days later and add his name to it?

I wonder if it might have had something to do with the fact that initially it looks like he wasn't asked to sign on. 

The first mentions of this statement appeared last week, first on The Atlantic and Politico, both of which listed key signers but didn't include Viguerie:

The Atlantic - "Some key conservative luminaries will be in attendance at the Collingwood Library and Museum in Alexandria, VA (an original part of George Washington's Mount Vernon properties): Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, David Keene of the American Conservative Union, former Reagan policy adviser Kenneth T. Cribb, Kenneth Blackwell of Coalition for a Conservative Majority, and Federalist Society co-founder David McIntosh."

Politico - "The big names attached to it include former Attorney General Ed Meese, Heritage Foundation President Edwin Feulner, Family Research Council head Tony Perkins, Media Research Center leader Brent Bozell, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist and David Keene, head of the American Conservative Union, which is putting on CPAC, among others."

On Monday, the Washington Times wrote about it and quoted Viguerie dismissing the statement as meaningless.

And guess what? The very next day, Politico wrote another article about the statement and guess who's name appeared in the list:

The statement's drafters, who will sign it near George Washington's Mount Vernon home Wednesday afternoon, include figures from differing wings of the movement: former Attorney General Ed Meese, Heritage Foundation President Edwin Feulner, Family Research Council head Tony Perkins, Media Research Center leader Brent Bozell, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, direct-mail guru Richard Viguerie and David Keene, the head of the American Conservative Union, sponsor of this week's Conservative Political Action Conference, with which the signing of the Mount Vernon statement is meant to coincide.

This list is nearly identical to the list Politico provided last week, with the exception of the sudden inclusion of Viguerie.

So what happened between Monday, when Viguerie was telling the Washington Times the whole thing was a pathetic joke, and Tuesday when he name was being listed among the statement's primary supporters? 

I'm guessing that organizers reached out to him and asked him to add his name, which was all it took to make this embarrassing pablum into a demonstration of conservative leadership and principles.

You Can Spend $4000 and Twelve Days Helping to Bring About The Next Great Awakening

I have spent over a decade analyzing and monitoring the Religious Right and I have to say that I have never seen anything like this upcoming "Next Great Awakening Tour," which is a $4000, 12 day right-wing tour of the East Coast hosted by David Barton, Jim Garlow, and David Lane in which participants will visit "the sites of the 1st and 2nd Great Awakening, while praying for the 3rd." [PDF]

The "Great Awakenings" of the past have been times of nationwide religious revival and it is sites that played important roles in previous religious and political awakenings throughout Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC that participants will be visiting:

We welcome you to a truly great tour. Jim has led several church history tours in Europe and some in the US and David Barton has led over 200 tours in Washington, DC and others on the East Coast. We believe this NEXT GREAT AWAKENING TOUR is the most significant tour we have ever led or heard of. When you consider the line-up of speakers, this is the finest tour of its kind. This is a most unique tour.

But, of course, this is not a strictly spiritual journey, but rather a political one judging by the special speakers the event has lined up [PDF], including Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Tony Perkins, Maggie Gallagher, Harry Jackson, and others:

Special lectures by

Governor Mike Huckabee (NY) “Overcoming Obstacles to an Awakening”

Newt Gingrich (DC) “Rediscovering God in America: Reflections on the Role of Faith in Our Nation’s History and Future”

Scott Rasmussen (NJ), nationally known founder of the Rasmussen Poll, “My Spiritual Odyssey”

Congressman Bob McEwen (DC) “Biblical & Timeless Foundations to Civil Government: Renewing the ‘Mind’ of Government”

Senator Rick Santorum (DC) “The Moral Foundations for Our Nation”

Tony Perkins (DC) “Spiritual Renewal & Public Policy”

Dr. Robby George (Princeton) “The Manhattan Declaration: A Blueprint for Spiritual Renewal”

Dr. Ken Minkema (Yale) “Jonathan Edwards & the 1st Great Awakening”

Billy Wilson (Philadelphia) “Practical Steps for Awakening America”

Gabriel Joseph (DC) “A Conversation About Indicators for Spiritual Renewal – Data and Survey Results”

Lance Wallnau (Philadelphia) “Strategizing Cultural Transformation”

Dr. Joseph Mattera (NY) “Components of Cultural Transformation”

Christopher West (DC) “Sexuality, Marriage & Spiritual Awakening”

Maggie Gallagher (DC) “The Importance of Marriage in America’s Needed Spiritual Awakening”

Bishop Harry Jackson (DC) “Renewing a Nation through High Impact Leadership”

Christopher Anderson (Madison, NJ) “National Awakenings Under John Wesley and Francis Asbury”

Scarborough Unveils Yet Another Right Wing Coalition and Declaration

Devin Burghart of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights attended the National Tea Party Convention and notes that Rick Scarborough used his address at the event to unveil a new coalition called "Mandate to Save America":

A workshop by Dr. Rick Scarborough indicated a shift taking place at the convention, transforming the focus from bailouts and deficits to the culture war. Scarborough is a former Southern Baptist pastor from Pearland, Texas, and a he heads up a corporate constellation including Vision America, Vision America Action and the Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration. He has been fixture on the Christian Right for several years (Jerry Falwell published his first book).

After showing an eight minute video cataloguing his many television appearances, the jovial Scarborough told a packed room of around 215 people that the gap between “fiscal and social conservatives has got to cease.” In addition to attacking the Obama administration for its commitment to ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and supporting the inclusion of gays and lesbians into federal hate crimes protections, Scarborough warned that we "now have a government of thieves" and that we are moving towards a “collectivist” society. We have a Godly duty to defend “American exceptionalism,” he said.

Scarborough used much of his speech to launch a new campaign, called the Mandate to Save America, a project of the S.T.O.P. Obama Tyranny National Coalition.

The pamphlet he distributed read, “We, the undersigned, and millions of other American patriots, including many who comprise the growing TEA Party movement, are no less determined than patriots of the past, who fought for our freedom. We will make any sacrifice, endure any hardship, and confront any foe to keep the flame of freedom burning bright; so help us God.”

The list of signers reads like a who’s who of the Christian Right: Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association, Gary Bauer of American Values, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, and many more. The ten campaign demands marked an overt attempt to fuse Tea Party desires with the broader agenda of the Christian Right into a more potent form of Christian nationalism.

Scarborough worked up the crowd in the room, and got a standing ovation when he demanded, “enough is enough!” When he finished, an older woman in the front row stood up and stated, “What we need is revival and revolt!” which also brought enthusiastic cheers from the audience.

And sure enough, Mandate to Save America has a website carrying this declaration:

So far the list of signers includes Gary Bauer, Tom DeLay, Janet Porter, Tony Perkins, Phyllis Schlafly, Mat Staver, Tim Wildmon, Wendy Wright, Richard Viguerie, and several others.

Anxiously Awaiting The Conservative Movement's "Definitive Statement"

It seems that the Right's efforts to unify in opposition to President Obama and the Democratic Congress are continuing ... with yet another coalition/declaration to be unveiled next week at CPAC

They're calling it "The Mount Vernon Statement": a group of leaders of conservative groups will gather in Washington, DC on the eve of the yearly national Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and sign a pact--a "definitive statement," as it's being billed, defining the principles of the conservative movement.

"A Who's Who of the conservative movement's leaders will unveil and sign the Mount Vernon Statement: a document defining the movement's principles, beliefs and values in light of the challenges facing the country and the need for Constitutional Conservatism since the Obama administration came to power," CRC Public Relations says in a press release announcing the solemn document.

Some key conservative luminaries will be in attendance at the Collingwood Library and Museum in Alexandria, VA (an original part of George Washington's Mount Vernon properties): Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, David Keene of the American Conservative Union, former Reagan policy adviser Kenneth T. Cribb, Kenneth Blackwell of Coalition for a Conservative Majority, and Federalist Society co-founder David McIntosh.

Gee, do you think it'll focus on things like cutting taxes, shrinking government, killing terrorists, opposing gay rights, and outlawing abortion?

Do they want me to write it for them?  Because I am pretty sure that I could.  

Religious Right Vows to Fight Effort to "Sexualize the Military"

In his State of the Union Address last night, President Obama pledged to "work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are" and Religious Right groups wasted no time in pledging to fight his "sexualize the military":

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement in response to President Obama's first State of the Union Address:

"At a time of enormous economic challenge, two on-going wars in which Americans are fighting and increased terrorist threats to Americans at home, President Obama seems untethered from that reality as he called on Congress to force the military to allow open homosexuality. As a veteran of the Marine Corps, the timing of the President's call in the midst of two wars shows that he is willing to jeopardize our nation's security to advance the agenda of the radical homosexual lobby.

"The military is a warrior culture for a reason: Our service members wear the uniform to fight and win wars, not serve as liberal social policy guinea pigs. The sexual environment the President is seeking to impose upon the young men and women who serve this country is the antithesis of the successful warfighting culture and as such should be rejected.

While Rob Schenck doesn't seem to realize that gays are already serving in the military

Come ‘on, let’s be grown ups. There’s a reason the military doesn’t have men and women showering together. Please don’t dismiss this one as a childish vestige of a now distant Victorian past. The fact is you don’t want people around you in a shower that are erotically stimulated by your naked body. Now, I may be betraying my naïve ignorance here about how gay people get excited, but none of my gay acquaintances have ever said it works terribly different for them then it does for straights. The site of an attractive nude body probably does for gays what it does for straights. (Unless, of course, you are gifted with a disinterest in sex, period. That’s another matter.) For most of us, testosterone, estrogen and libido are forward moving forces that need at least a modicum of external controls, including segregated showering and dressing spaces.

I’ve purposely left until last the most incendiary element of this State of the Union attack on personal, moral, social and religious sensibilities—its affect on our relations with the Muslim world. When I participated in my first face-to-face formal dialogue between Christian and Muslim leaders in an Islamic country, I was asked at the start, “Do you accept homosexuality?” Homosexuality is a deal-breaker for the vast majority of Muslims. I know, we don’t want to kowtow to oppressive religions, no matter how many adherents they have, but, again, if we’re looking to solve problems, this is not the way to do it.

Cindy McCain's Support for Marriage Equality Is Why She's Not First Lady

Tony Perkins responds to the news that Cindy McCain posed for the NOH8 Campaign by suggesting that her husband lost his race for the White House because people did like her views

[C]onservatives shrug at the suggestion that Cindy McCain is influencing the public.

“The people of California have been very clear on this issue,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, one of the groups that supported the Proposition 8 campaign in California. “They’ve voted twice to preserve the definition of marriage.”

...

“There’s probably a reason she’s not first lady,” Perkins said. “People were worried about the influence she would have on social issues such as this.”

Oddly, when just about every Religious Right group in existence was ardently backing McCain during the election, nobody was raising concerns about his wife's views.  But since that he lost, it's because people were worried that she might support for marriage equality?

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Concerned Women for America declares the Citizen's United decision the "first in a series of steps to reclaim the ideals our Founders believed in when they fought and died to establish a country where we can be truly free to speak and worship our God without government interference."
  • John McCain's wife and daughter may support marriage equality, but he most certainly does not.
  • Maggie Gallagher will be debating Jonathan Rauch on marriage on Jan. 25 at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
  • Apparently, the election of Scott Brown "put a stake in the heart of Camelot."
  • Wow, the Traditional Values Coalition really, really hates transgender people.
  • Bonus TVC lunacy: "The American people must quarantine Obama by electing conservatives to the Senate and House in November. His Al Capone management style must be brought under control. Our nation’s future depends on what each of us does this year to fight every aspect of the Obamunist agenda."
  • Finally, if you can't make it to the National March for Life, you can always Sarah Palin, Governor Mike Huckabee, James Dobson, Tony Perkins and other for the Virtual March for Life.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • CBN's David Brody now has his own 30 minute weekly program.
  • Cindy McCain is demonstrating her support for marriage equality by posing for the NOH8 campaign.
  • Harry Jackson and Tony Perkins will be joining Frank Pavone for the 16th Annual National Clergy Conference for the Preborn.
  • Tony Perkins says the "President's obsession with abortion and the redefinition of marriage is becoming alarmingly clear to most families in America."
  • Finally, this has to be just about the worst defense of Pat Robertson I've heard yet.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Lou Engle declares the year 2010 to be "73-37 window" because it has been 37 years since the Supreme Court issued Roe v. Wade in 1973. Get it?
  • The message of this year's March for Life will be "no abortion funding in health care."
  • Tim Pawlenty will headline a fundraising event in March for the anti-choice Susan. B. Anthony List.
  • Tea Parties are plotting how to take over the GOP.
  • On a semi-related note, Richard Viguerie will deliver the keynote speech at the inaugural Leadership Tea Party training event to be held at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport Westin Hotel from January 29-31.
  • Matt Barber joins the "is Mark Kirk gay? "crowd.
  • Finally, will Tony Perkins be rocking his roguish new beard when receives the National Pro-Life Religious Council's National Pro-Life Recognition Award next week?

Bishop Harry Jackson Rallies The Anti-Gay Troops

Last year, Bishop Harry Jackson declared war on Washington DC in an effort to prevent the District from recognizing marriage equality.  He's fought it every step of the way and repeatedly lost, but he's not giving up and yesterday brought together dozens of pastors and right-wing activists for a "National Marriage Summit" to plot strategy for the battled in DC and across the nation:

Christians nationwide are mobilizing to oppose gay marriage as a landmark trial under way in California seeks to determine whether limiting marriage to one man and one woman is constitutional.

...

San Diego pastor Jim Garlow, who led California's Yes on 8 campaign, joined 100 church leaders in Washington, D.C., Monday for a National Marriage Summit aimed at developing strategies to preserve traditional marriage nationwide and to protect DOMA, which President Obama has said he hopes to repeal.

Convened by Bishop Harry Jackson, a Maryland pastor and chairman of the Stand4Marriage DC Coalition, the summit began Monday and ended Tuesday with a press conference on Capitol Hill lobbying Congress to uphold DOMA. Participants included Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and the Rev. Sammy Rodriquez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

"The institution of marriage is in grave danger," said Jackson, who has been at the forefront of a battle to keep gay marriage from becoming law in Washington, D.C.

"The redefinition of marriage will permanently impact businesses, education and the family unit without the voice of the residents being heard, and all traditional marriage supporters need tools to confront the battles ahead," Jackson added.

The group of mostly African-American ministers also delivered a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Barbara Lee calling on lawmakers to allow District of Columbia residents to vote on the definition of marriage. They also want Congress to veto a bill passed in December that legalized gay marriage in the district. The measure is currently awaiting a required 30-day congressional review.

Jackson also showed up on CBN yesterday to discuss the effort, where he accused his opponents of engaging in "reverse prejudice and intimidation" and said the solution was for everyone to speak out because "there is no way they can target all of us."  The Marriage Summit, he explained, was designed to get Black pastors involved in the fight against "radical gay activists" who are "going to try to enforce and impose their will on the rest of the nation by hijacking the democratic process and keeping the people from voting":

UPDATE: According to this separate CBN report, the summit also featured Rep. Steve King and Lou Engle:

After their two-day summit, they took their message to Capitol Hill, where a couple of lawmakers joined them to say they will fight hard in Congress for traditional marriage.

"Everything that we are as a people is taught to the next generation through that foundation stone of marriage between a man and a woman," said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. "And if this civilization is going to survive and prosper and go to the next level up to its destiny, then we're going to have to have the kind of relationships that have built this country and built this civilization, and that's marriage."

"Law restrains certain things," said Lou Engle, founder of the organization, The Call. "Once law is removed it opens the floodgate, proliferates it and makes it commonplace. It mainstreams it into education and everything else. That's the difficulty we have with gay marriage."

"Marriage will probably be abandoned in the future if we go this way and that's not good for children," Engle added.

Staver Available For Everything ... Except Lisa Miller Coverage

I have been keeping track of how long it takes Mat Staver or anyone at Liberty Counsel to make any comment about their star-client Lisa Miller's disappearance with her daughter (it has been ten days, now).  

While Miller and Liberty Counsel continually insist that Staver is "unavailable to comment" on the case, the fact is that he appears readily available for all sorts of other things, like appearing on Janet Porter's radio program last week or joining Lou Engle and other Religious Right leaders in Houston next week to protest a new Planned Parenthood facility:

Mat Staver is joining with other national leaders on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to protest Planned Parenthood's creation of the largest abortion clinic in America and the racist roots of the nation's largest abortion provider.

The event will begin January 18, 9:30 a.m., at 1949 Cullen Boulevard in Houston. The abortion clinic is a six-story high, 78,000-square-foot monstrosity set in the midst of four communities, of which 80% are minorities. Formerly a bank, the abortion clinic will be dedicated for late-term abortions and is scheduled to open in April.

The history of Planned Parenthood is repulsive. The genocide agenda of Margaret Sanger continues today through Planned Parenthood. On the memorial day of Martin Luther King Jr., we will gather to stand for life. African-American and Hispanic communities have been particularly hit hard by Planned Parenthood's genocide. The time has come for all who respect human dignity to stop the killing. Please pray that the this event will bring light to expose the dark agenda of Planned Parenthood.

...

Lou Engle of The Call to Conscience is the organizer of the event. Other nationwide leaders who will be present include Ken Blackwell of Conservative Action Project, Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Bishop Harry Jackson of High Impact Leadership Coalition, Star Parker of the Coalition for Urban Renewal & Education, Pastor Stephen Broden of Fair Park Bible Fellowship, Dr. Richard Land of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director.

Engle Leads The Right Into Houston

It seems as if Lou Engle has now become a full-fledged Religious Right leader whose gatherings are now regularly attended by everyone from Tony Perkins and Richard Land to Star Parker and Harry Jackson:

A coalition of pro-life advocates and religious leaders plan to gather in Houston on Jan. 18 to oppose what is expected to be the largest abortion clinic in the country.

Planned Parenthood is renovating a former bank, turning it into a 78,000 square foot facility that will include a surgical wing equipped to provide late-term abortions.

“It’s an abortion super center,” Lou Engle, founder of the pro-life group The Call to Conscience, which is organizing the rally, told CNSNews.com.

Joining Engle at the “prayer march” will be Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Religious leaders expected to attend include Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church; Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Star Parker, president of the Coalition for Urban Renewal and Education; and Abby Johnson, the former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Engle compared the fight for the rights of the unborn to another critical movement in America. “As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘It is time to subpoena the conscience of America,’” he said.

Here is Engle's latest video and the announcement on his website:

Houston We Have A Problem

The Second largest abortion clinic in the world is being built at this present moment in Houston, Texas. This six-story Planned Parenthood abortion “super center” is right in the middle of four (4) “super neighborhoods.” Three average to 85% Latino in population and the other is 85% African American. Planned Parenthood is targeting these minority pro-family communities, both for their finances and the restriction of their populations. But, there is a voice rising out of Houston and out of Texas, declaring, “We don’t want this death camp specializing in late-term abortions in our neighborhoods!”

On Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday, January 18th, 2010, thousands are gathering to march against this Goliath to pray, fast, and peacefully siege this massive injustice in the spirit of that great liberator Martin Luther King Jr. Key African American, Latino, and political leaders are coming to speak and hold a nationwide press conference challenging this “super center.” This is a great hour for the Hispanic pro-LIFE people, Catholic and Evangelical, to raise their voices against abortion and for adoption. Public opinion over abortion is shifting radically in America to pro-LIFE at the same time this facility is exalting itself above the humble and oppressed.

We are entering into the 37th anniversary of the “Roe V. Wade” abortion decree of 1973 on January 22, 2010. We are in a ’73/’37 window to reverse that decree. It started in Texas, now let it begin to reverse there. We are calling for the pro-LIFE people of Houston, Texas, and America to gather Sunday night, January 17th, 2010 for four (4) hours of prayer for spiritual awakening and justice, from 6:00pm to 10:00pm at Grace Community Church. On this evening, 1/17, we will be unifying with one voice before God to pray for the Luke 1:17 answer to the killing of our babies and the wounding of our women – “And he will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the rebellious to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

On January 18th, at 9:00am on Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday, we will gather by the thousands to launch a silent prayer march through the streets to the abortion “super center” for the nationwide press conference and prayer stand. As Martin Luther King Jr. would proclaim it – It is time to “subpoena the conscience” of the nation from the flashpoint of Houston, Texas. Maybe Houston could become the Birmingham of our day to let the unborn go free and spare the pregnant mother the agony of guilt. Maybe out of Houston a great demonstration of compassion could be launched through pregnant mother care with a mass movement of adoption. Martin Luther King Jr. cried, “I have a dream”. Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King Jr., has eloquently stated, “How can the dream live as long as we kill our children?” God has a dream. He has a dream for America and He has a dream for every mother and every child and a six-story massive abortion facility has never been a part of that dream. Lets end the nightmare and let the dream live.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Is anyone surprised that Joseph Farah has joined those claiming that President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize is unconstitutional?
  • Family Research Council President Tony Perkins headed down to Senator Mary Landrieu's office in Baton Rouge to deliver a letter asking her to oppose health care reform, but couldn't get in because her office was closed for the holidays.
  • I'm sure someone on the Right will find some way to complain about this.
  • Mike Huckabee has endorsed Andre Bauer's bid for Governor of South Carolina.
  • Finally, Rep. Steve King continues to prove that he is one of the most unhinged members of Congress, declaring that the ACORN "scandal" will be bigger than Watergate.

Prayercast: Forbes, Engle, and Perkins

Rep. Randy Forbes, Tony Perkins, and Lou Engle discuss the importance of prayer in shaping public policy, after which Engle leads the gathering in prayer:

Dobsons and Daly Join The FRC "Prayercast"

Earlier this week, we noted that tonight The Family Research Council would be holding a special anti-healthcare reform "prayercast" this evening featuring several Republican members of Congress, including Rep. Michele Bachmann and Sen. Jim DeMint, as well as Religious Right activists like Lou Engle and Harry Jackson.

Today, FRC announced that the event had picked up several new Focus on the Family participants, including James and Shirley Dobson, as well as FOF President Jim Daly:

Tonight, Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 8:30 pm ET, Family Research Council Action, The Call to Conscience and Focus on the Family Action will host a special one hour webcast that will mobilize thousands of Christians and churches to join in corporate prayer over the health care overhaul bill. Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins will be joined by Congressional leaders, prominent pastors, and policy experts to discuss and pray over significant concerns within the bill that will have far reaching consequences for the Christian community and our society.

FRC Action President Tony Perkins made the following comments:

"Life and death hinges on the Senate health care bill. We face significant threats to the God-given right to human life through government funding of abortions, our health from rationing, our family finances from higher taxes, and our general freedoms posed by the government plan to take over health care.

"There have been a number of critical hours in American history. Our nation has struggled mightily and, under God, always risen to the challenges before us. Tonight, we will face this moral crisis by taking action and obeying the Biblical mandate to pray for our nation and its leaders."

Who:
Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council Action
Lou Engle, Founder and President, The Call to Conscience
Jim Daly, President, Focus on the Family Action
Dr. James Dobson, Founder, Focus on the Family Action
Shirley Dobson, National Day of Prayer Task Force Chairman
Hon. Sam Brownback, United States Senator, Kansas
Hon. Jim DeMint, United States Senator, South Carolina
Hon. Randy Forbes, United States House of Representatives, Virginia
Hon. Michele Bachmann, United States House of Representatives, Minnesota
Bishop Harry Jackson, President, High Impact Leadership Coalition
Pastor Jim Garlow, Skyline Church, San Diego, Calif.
Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Leadership Conference

Right Wing Leftovers

An Experiment in Character Assassination

Alvin McEwen has been doing heroic work combating the relentless stream of lies about Kevin Jennings, especially the allegations that Jennings' taught "fisting" to a group of children, as Rush Limbaugh claimed yesterday, and that GLSEN was distributing copies of "The Little Black Book," a directory of gay bars.  

McEwen has repeatedly debunked these claims, in all their forms, pointing out time and again that the incidents underlying the claims involved are being completely misrepresented and that Jennings was never personally involved in any of them.

For instance, the "fisting" allegation stems from a dental dam kit distributed by Planned Parenthood at a GLSEN conference, while the "Black Book" allegation stems from a community health group which accidentally left a few copies on its table at a GLSEN conference, and which no students ever received.

And, from that, the Right has declared Jennings "a raging pervert who taught fisting ... to grade school and junior high school students."

Now let's try an experiment:

Remember last year when a vendor was selling Obama Waffles at the Values Voter Summit?

Obama Waffles

The Waffle Booth

The Family Research Council quickly issued a statement saying it "strongly condemned the tone and content of the materials" and Focus on the Family pledged to "do everything in its power to prevent another such unacceptable situation in the future."

Now imagine if we wrote about this incident by claiming "Family Research Council president Tony Perkins peddles racist paraphernalia" or "Focus on the Family's James Dobson traffics in crude racial stereotypes. " How do you think FRC, FOF, and others on the Religious Right would react?  

Do you think they'd accuse us of flagrant misrepresentation and baseless character assassination?  If so, they'd be right ... and that is exactly what they are doing to Kevin Jennings.   

Following Defeat, Religious Right Mobilizes For A Filibuster

Earlier today I had a post pulling together right-wing reaction to the defeat of Sen. Ben Nelson's anti-choice amendment to the healthcare reform legislation and it seems as if they are not about to take the defeat lying down, and so they are mobilizing to get Senators to filibuster the bill

"[T]his is a long way from over," the National Right to Life Committee said in a statement, noting that the bill again must pass the House, where there are a bloc of pro-life Democrats.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said he found Tuesday's Senate vote both "discouraging and encouraging."

"It's discouraging that the Senate as a whole could not comprehend the need to respect the will of 70 percent of the American people that public funds should not pay for or subsidize the killing of our nation's unborn citizens," Land told Baptist Press. "It was encouraging in that the motion to table got 54 votes, well short of the 60 needed to stop a filibuster. As long as there are sufficient pro-life senators such as Sen. Nelson who are willing to filibuster any health legislation that does not contain these restrictions on abortion, it will be difficult to break the filibuster and pass the entire bill.

"In that case," Land added, "then pro-choice supporters will have to decide between their pro-choice convictions and their desire for a vastly increased government role in health care."

Other groups, including the Family Research Council, Democrats for Life, Concerned Women for America and Americans United for Life, also said they would support a filibuster.

"We now have no choice but to work vigorously to defeat this bill," Americans United for Life said.

...

Pro-life groups are trying to pressure those and other Democratic senators to support a filibuster if pro-life language isn't added. The Family Research Council says it is calling every household in Arkansas, South Dakota and Louisiana -- all conservative states with Democratic senators -- to conduct a survey on such topics as abortion funding, rationing, higher taxes and the public option. It is also calling pro-life households in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Participants who answer a particular way will be given information on contacting their senators, an FRC release stated. Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Jim Webb (Va.) and Mark Warner (Va.) all sided with pro-choicers in voting to table the Nelson amendment.

"We're doing everything in our power to make sure that the constituents of those senators know that those senators are voting to expand abortion in this country," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said.

Jackson and Perkins: We Must Keep the Gays Out of the National Cathedral for the Good of the Nation

Bishop Harry Jackson appeared on the Family Research Council's "Washington Watch Weekly" with Tony Perkins to discuss the state of the right-wing effort to stop marriage equality in Washington, DC.

Perkins complained that nobody in the press was paying attention to the DC fight and Jackson agreed (did he forget about this?) saying there was a conspiracy afoot on the part of the media not to talk about it even though it is a national issue. And it is a national issue, Jackson explains, because just "imagine two men coming out of the National Cathedral, rice coming down, them embracing and kissing, on the front page of USA Today. That will lift the spirits of pro-same-sex marriage advocates around the country." Perkins then likens the fight over marriage equality to the Civil War and other wars, because in war that is always "a real effort to take the capital city."

Manhattan Declaration Press Conference: A Little Glimpse of Heaven

I don't know about you, but the gathering of right-wing leaders for the Manhattan Declaration press conference last month is not my exactly my idea of "heaven" ... but then again, I'm not Chuck Colson:

There, in front of all those cameras and lights, Christian leaders lovingly, winsomely, and firmly took a stand. I will never forget the picture. I stood between Archbishop Wuerl of Washington and Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia. I looked over at Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Jim Daly of Focus on the Family, and Ron Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action.

To my left was the brilliant Bishop Harry Jackson, a man who has mobilized African American churches in the District to oppose gay “marriage.” And there was Fr. Chad Hatfield, chancellor of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary. I was missing only one man, my dear friend, the late Richard Neuhaus.

It was a foretaste of what we’re all going to see in heaven, when those of us who can truly trust the Bible, who love Christ with all our hearts, minds, and souls, are re-united in the presence of our gracious and loving God.

Colson claims that while some are attempting to paint the Declaration as a political manifesto of the Religious Right "nothing could be further from the truth" because "this document is a clarion call to reach out to the poor and the suffering."

Really?  Because when I read it [PDF], most of what I see is a call to arms in the culture war over marriage, choice, and religion.  In fact, that Declaration itself all but admits that while "concern for the poor and vulnerable" is important, it is not the focus of the manifesto itself: 

While the whole scope of Christian moral concern, including a special concern for the poor and vulnerable, claims our attention, we are especially troubled that in our nation today the lives of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly are severely threatened; that the institution of marriage, already buffeted by promiscuity, infidelity and divorce, is in jeopardy of being redefined to accommodate fashionable ideologies; that freedom of religion and the rights of conscience are gravely jeopardized by those who would use the instruments of coercion to compel persons of faith to compromise their deepest convictions. Because the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as a union of husband and wife, and the freedom of conscience and religion are foundational principles of justice and the common good, we are compelled by our Christian faith to speak and act in their defense.

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Tony Perkins Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Friday 08/17/2012, 4:15pm
After trying to blame the Southern Poverty Law Center for the deplorable shooting that occurred at the Family Research Council’s office this week, FRC president Tony Perkins today also implicated the Obama administration in the shooting. While speaking with Rick Santorum today on Washington Watch Weekly about the Obama administration’s “attack on religious freedom,” Perkins said that what “we witnessed this past week at the Family Research Council” is “clearly linked to that same atmosphere of hostility that’s created by the public policies of... MORE >
Josh Glasstetter, Friday 08/17/2012, 3:39pm
Dana Milbank writes in a column in today’s Washington Post, “Hateful speech on hate groups,” that the Southern Poverty Law Center “should stop listing a mainstream Christian advocacy group alongside neo-Nazis and Klansmen.” He’s talking about the Family Research Council, which he describes as “a mainstream conservative think tank founded by James Dobson and run for many years by Gary Bauer” which “advocates for a full range of conservative Christian positions, on issues from stem cells to euthanasia.” Going further, Milbank says it... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 08/17/2012, 11:30am
Janet Mefferd hosted Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality yesterday to discuss the deplorable and unconscionable shooting at the Family Research Council’s headquarters. Mefferd criticized the Human Rights Campaign for posting an article the day before the shooting “that was very inflammatory about the Family Research Council, ‘they want to export homosexuals from the US’ and ‘they equate homosexuals with pedophiles’ and all this stuff,” and wished there would be “public pressure on some of these gay rights organizations to... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Friday 08/17/2012, 9:58am
Religious Right groups have publicly seethed at the Southern Poverty Law Center's decision a couple of years ago to designate several of them as hate groups for consistently spreading false, inflammatory, and defamatory propaganda about LGBT people.  It is now clear that Religious Right leaders are hoping to exploit this week's shooting at the Family Research Council to try to damage the SPLC.   FRC's Tony Perkins said this week that the SPLC gave the shooter "license" to attack the organization by calling it a hate group.  Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/16/2012, 4:46pm
Today, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins held a press conference to comment on the shooting that took place at the organization's Washington, DC headquarters yesterday. While Perkins put the blame for the attack on the shooter, he declared that the Southern Poverty Law Center was also responsible for the attack, saying the gunman "was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organizations 'hate groups' because they disagree with them on public policy." Perkins claims that SPLC labeled... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 08/14/2012, 3:50pm
Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association appeared on Today’s Issues with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins and American Family Association head Tim Wildmon today to call on Religious Right activists to mobilize against the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. After passing out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the treaty is up for a vote by the full Senate. But Farris warns that the treaty is too ambiguous and flexible and could mean that children who wear glasses or have ADHD could be placed “under control... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 08/13/2012, 11:25am
Conservative leaders hailed Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan, the far-right congressman, to be his running mate, emphasizing his opposition to LGBT and reproductive rights. Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance said that besides his one-time vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, she is excited “to pull back out my t-shirt from 2008 that says ‘Our VP is hotter than your VP!’” Paul Ryan is a great choice. He has one little blip in that he voted for ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) a long time ago but voted right on the marriage... MORE >
, Friday 08/10/2012, 4:30pm
In an interview with Tony Perkins on Washington Watch Weekly, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell slammed the Obama campaign’s effort to expand early voting procedures in Ohio, saying that the President is running “probably the most bareknuckle campaign I’ve seen”. Blackwell also accused democrats of exploiting the “Voter ID controversy to gin up their base” and energize minority voters in their favor. The controversy surrounding early voting in Ohio centers on a new special exemption that the state extends to military voters. The Obama campaign... MORE >