Florida

Florida Pastor: Gays Can't Handle the Truth

Jack Hakimian is a Florida pastor who is turning into something of a Religious Right martyr after the North Miami public schools rebuked him for delivering anti-gay screeds on school property. Today, Hakimian took his case to American Family Radio, where he complained of “censorship” by gay groups. He said gay rights advocates “know that if we keep debating from biology, from theology and from sociology that homosexuality is not a healthy lifestyle, it’s not God’s plan, we will persuade people’s minds,” and so those advocates “want to destroy our presence.”

Watch:

Conservatives Denounce 'Anti-God' Human Rights Ordinance in Jacksonville

Remember gay-demon-exorcist, Halloween-candy-foe and NAR Apostle Kimberly Daniels? The preacher was elected to the Jacksonville City Council last year despite her claims that “the Jews own everything,” Haiti’s 2010 earthquake was divine punishment and that President Obama is tied to the illuminati. As Jacksonville weighs passing an anti-discrimination ordinance strongly opposed by the Religious Right due to its protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, the freshman councilwoman said that proponents of the ordinance have “discriminated against” her and are “anti-God”:

Councilwoman Kimberly Daniels, who is also a local pastor, took a point of personal privilege to address how some individuals laughed at her and made comments at the May 22 meeting.

“I am a believer; I am a Christian,” Daniels said. “Religion is a protected class. What I experienced last Tuesday night, it was not pro gay; it was anti God.”

“My family is being harassed; my life is being threatened,” Daniels continued. “I have experienced so much hate from the homosexual community…I don’t care who sleeps with who… I love America…I would like not to be discriminated against, too.”

John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council is organizing the opposition to the bill, warning that “this artificial, social construct called gay” is “new” and “dangerous”:

“We have basically exposed this piece of legislation for what it is,” Stemberger said following a June 5 hearing. “And that is an infringement upon religious liberties, the Constitution, and rights of association.”



Stemberger put the issue into a larger context.

“Same-sex attraction has always been with us since the beginning of time. That’s nothing new. … What is new, and what is dangerous and what we oppose, is this artificial, social construct called gay,” Stemberger said. “It’s in your face; it’s shoving down your throat; and it’s intimidation. It’s not just, ‘let’s be left alone and let’s just have rights.’ It’s now forcing everyone else to agree—by the force of law and lawsuits with money damages. That’s what we oppose.”

Another Anti-Gay Day at Liberty Counsel

Liberty Counsel’s fixation on attacking the LGBT community was on full display today.

First, LCAction released a memo claiming that President Obama is giving gays and lesbians preferential treatment in order to bring about the “collapse of American culture,” offering examples of the administration’s support of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, push for LGBT rights abroad, funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs, and an order prohibiting health insurance plans from discriminating against LGBT customers, which LCAction claimed would mean that “every individual is going to pay higher health care premiums.”

On Freedom’s Call, LC chairman Mat Staver attacked President Obama for backing marriage equality, alleging that the “sexual anarchists” in the White House are pushing “social engineering on steroids,” and the debate over marriage “is not and never has been about equality:

Some speculate that Vice President Joe Biden is to blame, others point to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, still others say to follow the money trail and point to the nearly $15 million he raised within days of the announcement. Despite the reason for his evolution, what the radical sexual anarchist community in their allies in the White House are seeking to accomplish is social engineering on steroids. There is simply no basis in history, science, or higher law, to justify the redefinition of marriage. This debate is not and never has been about equality; instead it is a debate over the laws of nature and whether the government is willing to recognize them.

Staver today also blasted an ordinance in Jacksonville, Florida, that would bar “discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations” based “on a person’s sexual orientation or sexual identity.” “Morality and privacy will be in jeopardy if this ordinance passes,” Staver warned.

The City Council of Jacksonville will vote next week on an ordinance that will add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of other protected classes, such as race, age, and disability.

“This ‘civil rights’ ordinance takes away more rights than it supposedly grants,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. If passed, Jacksonville will be another city whose restrooms and locker rooms will not be segregated by one’s sexual identity at birth, but rather his perceived gender. Citing a case in Orono, Maine, where a teenage boy, who self-identifies as a girl, is allowed to use the girls’ bathroom at school, he said, “Wherever this is passed, privacy and decency are eroded.”

Jacksonville’s ordinance carries an exemption for churches and religious organizations. However, religious people do not live in churches, but the community. People of faith use community day care centers and YMCA locker rooms. They participate in Boy Scouts and sporting events. “Wherever people gather, morality and privacy will be in jeopardy if this ordinance passes,” Staver said.

“This has never been about discrimination,” Staver said. “These ordinances are meant to legitimize and codify the homosexual and transgender lifestyles.”

Religious Right 'War' Room: This Weekend's Awakening Conference

The Freedom Federation – an anti-Obama amalgam of Religious Right groups, "apostolic" ministries, and the corporate-funded astroturf Americans for Prosperity – is holding its third annual Awakening conference in Orlando, Florida this weekend. Here’s how it describes the event:

Uniting our Voices Around Shared Values: Turning Voices into Votes

A war is raging against our shared values. Our faith and freedom are under attack. Silence in the face of this war is not an option. Decisive action is needed. Join with others who share the core values that make America a great nation. Take a stand for righteousness and justice and be part of a new revolution to take back America. The time has come to turn our voices into votes and to change the course of history.

Outreach to the Hispanic community is a major goal of this year’s Awakening and the theme of Friday’s opening night session.  That marks a continuation of the Freedom Federation’s efforts to re-brand the Religious Right as a multiracial and multigenerational movement, and to re-brand the culture war as a “social justice” movement. Last year’s gathering included a major effort to claim a religious grounding for the anti-tax, anti-government agenda of Grover Norquist and the Tea Party.

This year’s conference features Samuel Rodriguez, the head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who tries to sell the Religious Right’s culture war to Latinos while trying to get Religious Right leaders to make themselves more palatable to Latinos.  Rodriguez recently said that Latinos are here to “bring panic to the kingdom of darkness” and “make the gospel of Jesus Christ, the church, the most influential institution in America.”  He said God has sent illegal immigrants here to “redeem Christianity” in America.

Also scheduled to address this year’s conference is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a favorite of Tea Party and Religious Right leaders who describe him as the party’s Latino Ronald Reagan. Rubio is reportedly concocting a hollowed-out version of the DREAM Act that will try to help Romney and the GOP fix their well-earned image as hostile to the aspirations of millions of immigrants.

A new feature at this year’s Awakening is Patriot Camp on Saturday for kids ages 5-15.  Organizers promise that kids will learn about “the Christian principles on which America was founded,” which is important since, “As most Christians know, our true American heritage is not taught in schools, especially not in an objective manner.”

Notably for this Obama-bashing group, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is sending a video presentation; senior Likud official Moshe Ya'alon, Vice Premier, Minister of Strategic Affairs, is also listed as a speaker.  Also on the list, some of whom might appear by video: Former GOP presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, and Reps. John Mica and Allen West. West has been warming up for the conference by announcing, McCarthy-style, that dozens of progressive members of the House of Representatives are communists.

The list of speakers is a Who’s Who of the Religious Right and conservative legal movements, including characters like spiritual warrior Lou Engle and Cindy “God kills birds when America supports gays” Jacobs, who once haunted the fringes of the far right but have since been welcomed into a movement seeking to build the broadest political base possible.  Among them:

  • John Stemberger: head of the Florida Family Policy Council who chaired the 2008 campaign that outlawed marriage equality in Florida. Awakening organizers say he has “a unique understanding" of law and government. You could say that: He has argued that only Christians are capable of creating a free society. As a lawyer he once sued a rental car company when an Irish customer was involved in a fatal crash; he argued that the company should have known that an Irish customer “would have a high propensity to drink alcohol.” (He later apologized.) 
  • Rick Scarborough:birther, self-proclaimed “Christocrat,” and Rick Perry backer who said last year that he refused to endorse Romney in the primary because he is a Mormon. At the 2010 Awakening, Scarborough called Obama a “Marxist president.” Scarborough stated a few months ago that AIDS is God’s judgment for engaging in an immoral act. 
  • Frank Gaffney: his infamous anti-Muslim bigotry, including charges that fellow conservatives are Islamist sympathizers, is so virulent that he was denounced by the American Conservative Union.  
  • Harry Jacksonpoint man for the Religious Right’s anti-gay racial wedge strategies, defender of the National Organization for Marriage’s cynical racial wedge politics, and all-around right-wing activist, who recently called for believers to form a “fifth column” to undermine America’s secularist culture from within.  
  • Rick Joyner:  a dominionist and self-proclaimed prophet who recently warned people to get out of California because God is going to punish America for not being sufficiently supportive of Israel,  Joyner heads the Oak Initiative.
  • Richard Land:  the primary political spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, Land supports the criminalization of homosexuality and recently told NPR that “The Bible tells us that socialism and neo-socialism never worked. Confiscatory tax rates never work.” Land was recently pushed into apologizing both for racially inflammatory remarks about the Trayvon Martin case and for having plagiarized them from right-wing columnists. 
  • Janet (Folger) Porter: an anti-abortion activist who famously brought fetuses to “testify” for Ohio’s “Heartbeat Bill,” declared during the 2008 GOP primary that God had chosen Mike Huckabee to lead the nation. Her radio show was dropped by a Christian radio network unhappy with her political embrace of Christian dominionists. 
  • Mat Staver: heads Liberty Counsel, recently called the “homosexual agenda” a “moral iceberg” that threatens religious freedom.  At the 2010 Awakening, Staver agreed with a questioner that the health care reform law had a provision that gave Obama the power to create an army of brownshirts that could take control of communities. 

Should be more fun than Disney World.  Watch for updates.

Florida Family Association Gears up for Battle against 'Gay Days at Disney'

As is tradition, the Florida Family Association is raising money to hire a plane to fly over Orlando with a banner “to warn families” about “same-sex revelry” at Disney World. The FFA claims that Gay Days at Disney in June, which last year brought approximately 150,000 people to the theme park even though it is not an official Disney event, led to steep declines in attendance as families fear witnessing “thousands of same-sex couples holding hands, hugging, kissing and wearing tee-shirts that promoted their lifestyle.” “Just like activists’ attempts to gain access to youthful minds through LGBT characters in video games,” referring to the group’s fervent protests of Star Wars: The Old Republic for allowing users to enter same-sex relationships, “they also want to impact a captured audience of tens of thousands of children during the first Saturday of Summer Break”:

How would you feel if you entered the Magic Kingdom anticipating a normal day of fun with your family only to witness thousands of same-sex couples holding hands, hugging, kissing and wearing tee-shirts that promoted their lifestyle?

LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender) activists converge on the Magic Kingdom the first Saturday of every June for an event called Gay Day at Disney.



Just like activists’ attempts to gain access to youthful minds through LGBT characters in video games they also want to impact a captured audience of tens of thousands of children during the first Saturday of Summer Break.

Last year Florida Family Association hired an aircraft company to pull a banner for ten hours the day before and ten hours the day of to warn families about this offensive event before they arrived at the park on Saturday.

The airplane banner influenced mainstream family attendance at Disney during Gay Day to DROP between 50% to 60%. We believe this aircraft banner warning to families SPARED TENS OF THOUSANDS of children from the unexpected exposure to this coming out party. This airplane banner is the most cost effective manner to warn families before they:

• Expose their children to same-sex revelry.

• Spend hundreds of dollars on tickets.

• Pay for parking.

• Commit a day for fun now ruined.

• Purchase food and novelties.

 

Allen West, the Manchurian Candidate?

Rep. Allen West did his best to channel Joseph McCarthy in a Palm City, Florida town hall. In response to a question about “card-carrying Marxists” in Congress, West said there are between 78 and 81 Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party.

Reed: There is Nothing Obama Won't do to Win Re-Election

There are few political operatives active today that are as ruthless and cynical as Ralph Reed.

Reed is, after all, the man who infamously declared that he specializes in "guerrilla warfare," and bragged "I paint my face and travel at night. You don't know it's over until you're in a body bag." 

Reed also knowingly took hundreds of thousands of dollars from corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff to manipulate and mobilize his Religious Right allies to fight gambling expansions in order to protect Abramoff's client's gambling interests.  Reed even had some of the money laundered through third-parties in order to try and conceal its origins, yet continues to insist to this day that he is "proud" of the "outstanding" work he did on behalf of Abramoff and his clients.

So it is a little ironic to see him speaking to the Palms West Republican Club in Florida recently, in a video recorded and posted by Conservative New Media, as he warns that there is no candidate who is as tough, mean, and cynical as President Obama and that his campaign will be "coming with a knife in an alley" to launch an all-out scorched earth campaign against the Republican nominee:

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Herman Cain seems to believe that the number "45" holds specific significance for his life.
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  • The media finally notices that Michele Bachamnn has a tendency to just make things up.
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  • On a related note, Bachmann's campaign is so dysfunctional that staffers have to publicly release letters announcing that they have quit her campaign.
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  • Rick Joyner does not seem particularly enamored with any of the GOP candidates.
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  • The Florida Family Association is going after Target for advertising on a show on a channel that also airs ads for The Trevor Helpline, which seeks to prevent suicides among gay youth. Seriously.
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  • Finally, Bryan Fischer interviews Kirk Cameron.  You are welcome.

Media Banned From Secretive Religious Right Event

Shortly after Rick Perry's prayer rally earlier this year, organizers of that event started promoting a Religious Right voter mobilization effort called "Champion The Vote," which seeks to "mobilize 5 million unregistered conservative Christians to register and vote according to the Biblical worldview in 2012."

It turned out that the Champion The Vote effort was a project of organization called United In Purpose, which is being funded by conservative millionaires for the purpose of mobilizing "40 million out of the estimated 60 million evangelicals in the United States to vote" over the next decade.

As part of this effort, United In Purpose/Champion The Vote are producing an event called "One Nation Under God" where churches and Religious Right activists will gather to watch a three-hour DVD being provided United In Purpose and featuring David Barton, Newt Gingrich, James Dobson, and others talking about the importance of keeping America "one nation under God":

Over the weekend, all of the speakers gathered in Florida for a Florida Renewal Project event for pastors at which the filming for the DVD was presumably done ... and it seems that organizers did not want any attention because when a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel showed up at the event, he was tossed out of the hotel by security:

The media was advised that Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s speech to a gathering of Florida pastors Friday would be closed to the public, but apparently the group behind the meeting didn’t even want media in the same hotel.

A couple weeks ago, Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry were announced as possible speakers at a two-day event in Orlando Thursday and Friday called the Florida Renewal Project. But this week no one wanted to talk about it, except to say it would be closed to the media and public.

Perry’s staff even denied he would attend. Gingrich’s staff confirmed his appearance but would not return phone calls to discuss it.

I went anyway this morning, to the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, to see if Gingrich would be willing to talk to me before or after his speech. When he arrived shortly before noon, I was the lone journalist on the scene, waiting in the hallway outside the meeting room. Gingrich and his staff agreed to talk to me later, at another hotel. After seeing that exchange, hotel officials approached me and, saying they were acting on behalf of event organizers, ordered me to leave the Rosen Centre property immediately, and escorted me to my car.

...

Then it turned out Perry had attended after all, sort of, Thursday night - by satellite link-up, according to tweets posted Thursday night by John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, which was a participant in the Florida Renewal Project.

That appearance, which included a speech and taking questions from the pastors, came just hours after the Texas governor’s campaign staff assured the Sentinel he would not attend.

Who organized the event though? No one would say for sure, though Stemberger acknowledged that the California-based organization United in Purpose, which had organized similar “Renewal Project” events in California and Iowa earlier this year, “was involved.”

The last time United In Purpose hosted one of these conferences, we caught Mike Huckabee telling the audience that Americans ought to be forced to listen to David Barton at gunpoint.  But when United In Purpose later broadcast the event, that exchange was entirely edited out

So while organizers are going to be releasing a DVD of this Florida event in the coming weeks, it seems that they want to be able to control what people actually see and don't want reporters around revealing what was really taking place.

Right Wing Round-Up

Stemberger Warns Of America's Imminent Collapse If The Church Doesn't "Rise Up"

John Stemberger earlier this week appeared on a conference call for Champion the Vote and warned that the future of the country relies on the Religious Right. Stemberger, the head of the Florida Family Policy Council and the past chairman of the campaign to have a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality in Florida, was promoting the One Nation Under God event with Newt Gingrich, David Barton, James Dobson, Sam Rodriguez and Lila Rose which focuses on boosting right-wing activism and learning about “God’s fingerprint all over the founding of our country”:

While Champion the Vote is technically nonpartisan, Stemberger warned that America is being “fundamentally transformed into a different type of culture, a different country” and that “we will lose this beautiful thing we call America.” According to Stemberger, only Christians are capable of creating a free society. “As only the Christian presuppositions of theology created this country,” Stemberger said, “only Christians can save it and unless the church rises up, we’re done.” He went on to say that without the resurgence of the church, “our country’s going to slip away into something we don’t even recognize”:

Stemberger went on to say that Christian conservatives are facing extreme “hostility” in American society and warned that their opponents want their anti-gay views “expunged from the marketplace”:

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW: Gingrich’s Radical Plan to Weaken the Judiciary.
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  • Rob Boston @ AU: Congressional Leaders, Presidential Candidates Court Religious Right, As Theocratic Movement Gears Up For 2012.
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  • Sarah Posner @ Religion Dispatches: Robert Jeffress Has a Lot of Nerve.
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  • Think Progress: Prominent Perry Endorser Robert Jeffress Calls AIDS A ‘Gay Disease’, Claims 70 Percent Of Gays Have AIDS.
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  • Warren Throckmorton: Former Love in Action Director: I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual.
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  • Ashley Lopez @ Florida Independent: Obama ‘witch doctor’ emailer to host fundraiser for Hasner tonight.
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  • Truth Wins Out: Southern Poverty Law Center and Truth Wins Out Launch Campaign Targeting Destructive Conversion Therapy.

David Barton Is Just As Good At Math As He Is At History

A few weeks ago, David Barton was featured on a conference call promoting United In Purpose's upcoming "One Nation Under God" event and, during the discussion, asserted that his work is "documented so well" that all his critics can do is attack him personally.

The idea that critics cannot challenge Barton's "facts" is absurd. In fact, it was just last week that Barton was forced to admit that he misleadingly characterized the American College of Pediatricians, a small, right-wing splinter group,  as "the leading pediatric association in America" ... though, in typical Barton fashion, he did so by refusing to admit that he was wrong.

On yesterday's program, where he and Sally Kern stoked fears of gay violence, Barton picked up on the idea that Kern was some sort of modern day Anita Bryant and, in recounting Bryant's story, perfectly demonstrated his own lack of concern for getting his facts right:

Now most people don't know Anita Bryant, especially in this generation. Anita Bryant goes back to 1977. She was Miss America runner-up ... at that time, she was a spokeswoman for Florida orange juice and Florida oranges and what they did and she was, in '77, getting a hundred thousand dollars a year on contact to be a spokesman and that's a lot of money, that's in the millions today.

Now, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator, $100,000 in 1977 equals $373,836.63 today - not quite the "millions" that Barton claims.

You'd think that Barton, who attended Oral Roberts University on a math and science scholarship and actually taught math at a Christian school would be ... well, a little bit better at math.

Now this instance is not a particularly egregious example of Barton's misleading work, but it is another good example of just how fundamentally uninterested he is in making sure that anything he says is based in reality

Religious Right Hoping to Exploit Hispanic Frustration with Obama

Even before the opening bell at the Values Voter Summit, the Liberty Counsel hosted a breakfast on messaging and outreach to Hispanic Americans. Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver shared the stage with Tony Calatayud, a Miami-based activist who works for the Spanish language arm of Christian radio Salem Communications.   Calatayud, who helped Marco Rubio get elected to the U.S. Senate from Florida, now travels the country helping to identify and support conservative Hispanic candidates with the group Conservadores.

Staver said that Hispanic unhappiness with Barack Obama is “a really good thing going into 2012.” Calatayud agreed. The growing Hispanic community could be a huge electoral force for conservatives, he said, if only Republicans would stop alienating Hispanic voters with “idiotic” anti-immigrant rhetoric. He said “the Hispanic evangelical movement in this country is exploding” and said repeatedly that Hispanics are “conservative in nature” and share the Religious Right’s values on social issues. Polls suggest, in fact, that Latinos are pro-LGBT equality, but also that Latino evangelicals are more politically conservative than Latino Catholics.
 
Calatayud argued that conservative leaders need to make a “covenant” with “Kingdom-minded” Latino leaders and support an approach to immigration that includes four points: border security first; family reunification; a guest worker program; and “just integration” (a term he attributed to Sam Rodriguez) of the 12-15 million undocumented people already in the country. Calatayud said he didn’t want to hear the word “amnesty” ever again; he and Staver complained about Republicans who use the word “amnesty” to describe anything short of mass deportation. Calatayud got a polite but quiet hearing from the audience for his presentation on immigration; the only applause came when, in response to a question, he affirmed his belief that everyone must learn English.
 
Calatayud also insisted that the eventual Republican candidate must build a “covenant” relationship with Latino evangelical pastors and devote real money to campaign outreach. He said he had hoped Marco Rubio would run this time around; he predicts Rubio will not accept a VP slot this year, but believes he will be the GOP nominee in 2016 or 2020.

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Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

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