Florida

Ralph Reed's Spiritual Battle Plan for Political Victory

Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition held a conference in Washington, D.C. this past Friday and Saturday. It attracted some of the expected Religious Right figures – Ken Blackwell, Gary Bauer, etc. – and featured such goodies as Dinesh D’Souza discoursing on the source of President Obama’s “rage.”

This was also the weekend for a FreedomWorks Tea Party rally in D.C., and Reed didn’t pull a huge crowd – a couple of hundred people. Maybe that’s because his event was sandwiched between Glenn Beck’s pre-Labor Day gathering at the Lincoln Memorial and next weekend’s Values Voter Summit, traditionally the big item on the Religious Right political calendar, which could easily attract ten times as many activists as Reed got. 
 
But Reed is interested in different kinds of numbers. He says he’s all about building a grassroots organization that turns out targeted voters. Reed puffed with pride when he recounted the surprise 2002 victory of Georgia GOP Gov. Sonny Purdue, who was behind in the polls right up until Election Day. The pollsters’ likely voter models couldn’t and didn’t take account, Reed says, of the fervent voter registration and turnout work he was organizing in evangelical churches. And he told participants that if conservatives implement his model across the country this fall, it won’t just be a big victory for conservatives, but a historic, earth-shaking victory including races nobody thinks are even in play.
 
He said he regretted that liberals out-organized conservatives in 2006 and 2008 and he pledged never to let that happen again in his lifetime. He gave activists detailed marching orders and the ability to pull up both fiscal and faith-based conservatives from a massive voter database he is compiling.
 
He’s hoping that House Republicans will help the cause when they unveil their reform agenda later this month, and that new candidates will build bridges to voters that haven’t always been comfortable with the conservative movement, including women, African Americans, and Latinos. Reed talked excitedly about Florida’s Marco Rubio, who conservative leaders see as their movement’s Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama rolled into one appealing right-wing package.
 
Reed places himself and his activists squarely within both the Tea Party and Religious Right movements, saying their two goals are to return America to the “Constitutional limited government” our founders intended and return America to God. Of course, spiritual warfare is all the rage on the Religious Right, and Reed is no exception, telling workshop participants “this is ultimately a spiritual battle” and endorsing Pastor Jim Garlow’s prescription for 40 days of prayer and fasting before the election.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • FRC, TVC, and CWA react to the DADT ruling. Shockingly, they disagree with it.
  • It seems unclear whether Terry Jones has actually canceled his "Burn a Koran Day" tomorrow, though Rob Schenck met with him and says he doesn't think he'll go ahead with it.
  • Sean Hannity has joined the Values Voter Summit.
  • Rick Santorum set to deliver a big speech on faith in the public square on the 50th Anniversary of John F. Kennedy's famous speech addressing his faith and the need to separate church and state.
  • Hey, guess what?  The World Trade Center had a Muslim prayer room in it. Didn't they realize how insensitive that was?

Right Wing Leftovers

  • International Burn a Koran Day has been canceled.
  • Which makes the trip by Faith and Action and the Christian Defense Coalition to Florida rather moot now, doesn't it?
  • Bryan Fischer continues to demonstrate just what a tremendous asset he is to the American Family Association.
  • Rick Scarborough has joined the line-up at WorldNetDaily's Take Back America Conference.
  • Rep. Steve King of Iowa, Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, author John R. Lott, and Kris Kobach will speak at the annual Eagle Forum Leadership Conference this weekend.
  • The Christian Coalition sure is web savvy.
  • The Family Research Council wants pharmacists to refuse to stock the new emergency contraceptive pill, ella.
  • Finally, it looks like Mike Huckabee's daytime TV program did not fare too well: "Needless to say, there is no reason to believe The Huckabee Show will return at a later time."

Corporate Interests Betting Big on the GOP

Two separate reports have revealed the flood of corporate dollars buttressing the Republican Party’s push to retake the House and Senate this November. Big business, whether rewarding Republican endeavors to block progressive legislation such as Wall Street reform or simply expecting a GOP wave, has ramped up efforts to support Republican politicians and expenditure committees.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, “in both the first and second quarters of this year, the broad finance, insurance and real estate sector has favored Republican candidates and committees in its political giving.” Their study indicates “an increased frustration with congressional Democrats by Wall Street interests, many of which are still smarting from passage of federal financial reforms they consider onerous.” Of the 25 leading recipients of money from the three industries, 17 were Republican candidates, and the top 5 includes: “Ohio’s Rob Portman ($820,000); Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey ($728,000); California’s Carly Fiorina ($650,000); Illinois’ Mark Kirk ($618,000) and Florida’s Marco Rubio ($613,000).”

Stewart Powell and Yang Wang in the Houston Chronicle describe the intense efforts of the National Republican Senatorial Committee to recruit donors from the corporate world. Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the head of the NRSC, “has aggressively courted business executives who are disappointed in Obama’s performance and unhappy with the Democratic Congress' legislative agenda.” The NRSC has raked in over $4.4 million from interests related to the security and investment industries, and Goldman Sachs alone “boosted donations to the NRSC by almost 200 percent.”  And with the increasing number of "Super PACs" after Citizens United, corporations have more opportunities than ever to back their preferred candidates.

Republicans in Congress are reaping the benefits of their unfailing defense of corporate interests, as seen when GOP leaders even went out of their way to protect British Petroleum after the Gulf oil spill. With Wall Street’s unfettered access to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, the prospect of Republican majorities is motivating more and more giving to the Republican cause.

Fischer: Muslim Reaction to Quran-Burning Proves They Are All Violent Terrorists

On Saturday, Terry Jones, senior pastor from the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida is planning on burning copies of the Quran to mark the anniversary of 9/11, despite the fact that Gen. David Petraeus says his actions could "endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort [in Afghanistan]."

The AFA's Bryan Fischer says Jones' plan is a step too far:

Pastor Terry Jones intends to burn copies of the Qur'an at his church on 9/11. It's not something I would do were I still in the pastorate, and not something I recommend.

Really?  What exactly is Fischer's standard for what is appropriate when it comes to demonizing Islam?  He's already called for the deportation of every Muslim in the US on the grounds that they are traitors and demanded an end to the construction of any mosques anywhere in America.  So why would Fischer consider burning copies of the Quran to be beyond the pale?  Especially since he seemingly supports it because it proves his point that all Muslims are violent terrorists: 

How can American lives be endangered by doing nothing more than putting a match to pieces of paper, if Islam is a religion of peace and moderation? How can this be?

When atheists and secularists like the minions of the ACLU, get the Bible banned from schools what do Christians do? They make phone calls, send emails, and go to court. What do Muslims do under similar circumstances? They start shooting and throwing bombs.

Notice as well that nobody is asking what Muslims might have done that ticked off Rev. Jones, how the Muslim world may in fact to blame for his little demonstration. Nobody is out there saying that Muslim policies are "an accessory" to his bonfire, or he is "made in the Muslim world" because of Islamic attacks against America. Nope.

Islam has defenders galore, all eager to excuse Muslim violence against Americans on the grounds that Muslims have been provoked by the West. But when Rev. Jones does nothing more than commit violence against a dead tree, he has nary a defender to say that Muslim provocation is to blame. 

So, according to Fischer, the Quran is just a book and if Muslims react badly to the idea of people burning copies of it, it just proves that Islam is inherently violent ... which itself only goes to further demonstrate why the US must take steps to strip all Muslims of their citizenship and expel them from the country.

Bary's Attorney Sues Pamela Geller and John Stemberger for $10 Million

It was one year ago when I wrote my first post about Rifqa Bary, the teenage girl who fled from Ohio to Florida claiming that her Muslim parents were going to kill her for converting to Christianity.

Ove the past year, the person who most eagerly and relentlessly sought to expolit the Rifqa Bary saga for her own political ends was anti-Muslim zealot Pamela Geller of Atlas Shurgs  ... and for her efforts, she is now being sued for $10 million by the attorney who represented Rifqa's parents:

An Ohio lawyer says a blogger and a former attorney for a runaway Christian convert defamed him by alleging he has contacts with terrorists and criminals.

Omar Tarazi (tuh-RAH'-zee) is seeking $10 million in damages in a federal lawsuit filed Friday to compensate for damage he claims to his reputation.

Tarazi represented the parents of Rifqa Bary, a teenage convert who ran away to Florida saying she feared harm from her Muslim mother and father.

He says blogger Pamela Oshry wrongly linked him to Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the U.S. government.

"Pamela Oshry" was the name Geller went by before her divorce.

UPDATE: Tarazi is also suing John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council:

A Muslim attorney on one side of the Rifqa Bary dispute has filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against Orlando attorney John Stemberger, an activist Christian attorney who worked for the other side.

The suit was filed by Omar Tarazi in federal court in Columbus, Ohio, Friday. It names John Stemberger of the conservative Florida Family Policy Council.

...

Stemberger represented Rifqa for several weeks in Florida. That was in the days just after she ran away but before a state circuit judge in Orlando ordered her returned to Ohio.

In the suit, Tarazi accuses Stemberger of falsely claiming on Fox News that Tarazi was associated with a Columbus-area mosque that had ties to terrorists. It also says Stemberger defamed Tarazi by saying Rifqa's parents fired qualified court-appointed Ohio attorneys to use only one – Tarazi – who was paid by a pro-Muslim group in Ohio, the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR.

Tarazi was paid by no one, according to the suit.

Stemberger on Tuesday called the suit "ridiculous and frivilous."

"This is just an attempt at grandstanding after a loss," he said.

Stemberger acknowledged but would not discuss an investigation by the Florida Bar into possible ethics violations by him for statements he made about the case.

Compare and Contrast: Sarah Palin's Star Power

Gary Bauer marvels at Sarah Palin's star power:

Gary Bauer, chairman of American Values, thinks it is evident that Palin still has a lot of star power.

"Sarah Palin is the only figure in the Republican Party that can go into any mid-size city in America and put 10,000 people in an arena -- so she's a force to be reckoned with," he notes.

While Julie Ingersoll actually attends fundariser headlined by Palin last night in Jacksonville, Florida:

This was a fundraiser for Heroic Media, a faith-based non-profit that publicizes alternatives to abortion. Originally planned for an auditorium that holds over 2000 people, it was moved to a smaller venue (600 seats) and ticket sales remained low even after ticket prices were cut in half. There were still probably 80 empty seats, and it was clear that some number of attendees had free tickets.

Reed Unveils More Speakers at Faith And Freedom Conference

Earlier this month I wrote about Ralph Reed's upcoming Faith and Freedom Conference and Strategy Briefing to be held in Washington, D.C., September 9-11 which Reed is calling the "the political equivalent of NFL minicamp."

Today, Reed sent out an email urging activists to register and provided the first look at the line-up of scheduled speakers he has landed:   

  • Gary Bauer, President, American Values
  • Ken Blackwell, Senior Fellow of Family Empowerment, Family Research Council
  • Glen Bolger, Political strategist and pollster
  • Jim Bopp, Legal Counsel, Faith & Freedom Coalition
  • Brent Bozell, President, Media Research Center
  • Herman Cain, Conservative radio talk show host
  • Tucker Carlson, Political correspondent
  • Teresa Collett, Congressional candidate (R-MN 4th district)
  • Kellyanne Conway, President and CEO, Women Trend
  • S.E. Cupp, Author, “Losing Our Religion”
  • Majorie Dannenfelser, President , Susan B. Anthony List
  • Brian Donahue, Founder, CRAFT Media/Digital
  • Erick Erickson, Founder, RedState.com
  • Mindy Finn, E- Media strategist
  • J. Randy Forbes, Congressmen (R-VA-4th district)
  • John Fund, Political journalist and conservative columnist
  • Dr. Jim Garlow, Coauthor, “Cracking Da Vinci's Code”
  • Tim Goeglein, Vice President, Focus on the Family
  • Ed Goeas, Political strategist and pollster
  • Deal Hudson, Director, Morley Institute for Church and Culture
  • Richard Land, President, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
  • Anna Little, Congressional candidate (R-NJ-6th district)
  • Dana Loesch, Conservative radio talk show host
  • Jenny Beth Martin, Tea Party Leader
  • Jack St. Martin, Partner, Orange Hat Group
  • Jason Mattera, Political Blogger and Author of “Obama  Zombies”
  • Thaddeus McCotter, Congressman  (R-MI-11th district)
  • Bob McDonnell, Governor of Virginia
  • Mark Meckler, Tea Party Leader
  • Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform
  • Star Parker, Congressional candidate (R-CA-37th district)
  • Tony Perkins, President, the Family Research Council
  • Tom Price, Congressmen (R-GA-6th district)
  • Karl Rove, Sr. Advisor, White House
  • Patrick Ruffini, E-Media Strategist
  • Chip Saltsman, Former Campaign Manager, Mike Huckabee for President
  • Rick Santorum, Former U.S. Senator
  • Tim Scott, Congressional candidate (R-SC-1st district)
  • Orit Sklar, Executive Director, Fulton County Republican Party
  • Mark Smith, President, Ohio Christian University
  • Matt Smith, Priest
  • Bill Stephens, President, Florida Faith & Freedom Coalition
  • Jim Talent, Former U.S. Senators
  • Hans von Spakovsky, Senior Legal Fellow , Heritage Foundation
  • Jackie Walorski, Congressional candidate (R-IN-2nd district)
  • Lynn Westmoreland, United States Congressman (R-GA-3rd district)

Interestingly, the names Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Huckabe are not on this list despite the fact that Reed has been using them in his promos for weeks now: 

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • After initially announcing that a Christian militia would provide protection during the upcoming "Burn a Quran Day," the militia now says it will not participate because "we don't want to be a part of inciting violence and racism anymore."
  • Richard Viguerie claims that Sen. John McCain's primary win over J.D. Hayworth is a win for the Tea Party.  Huh?
  • Hey Joseph Farah, we get it:  you don't like GOProud.
  • Hey Bryan Fischer, we get it: you don't like Muslims.
  • Hey Cliff Kincaid, we get it: you don't like gays.
  • Finally, Terence Jeffrey is mad at President Obama for recognizing that there are atheists in America, saying it is just making Muslims hate us even more.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Media Matters: Schlessinger ending her radio show because "my First Amendment rights have been usurped by angry, hateful groups".
  • Christina Bellantoni @ TPM: George Bush Stays Out Of 'Ground Zero Mosque' Fray.
  • Jason Hancock @ Iowa Independent: GOP candidate apologizes for anti-gay statements.
  • Joe.My.God: GOP Candidate For Gov Rips AG Bill McCollum Over Rekers Scandal.
  • Mike Tidmus: When did cheating become a ‘Christian’ value?
  • Towleroad: Watchdog Pushes IRS to Investigate Anti-Gay Pastor for His Support of Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern.
  • Steve Benen: When even Pat Buchanan thinks you've gone too far...
  • Amanda Marcotte @ Slate: Is Sharron Angle a Christian Reconstructionist?

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Mike Huckabee endorses Bill McCollum for Governor of Florida.
  • A gaggle of right-wing groups are holding a press conference to "voice opposition to the Obama administration's use of narrow discretionary powers to effect de facto amnesty on a broad scale."
  • TD Jakes, Samuel Rodriguez, Myles Munroe, and others are going to teach you how to be a man.
  • NOM's Brian Brown lays out his weak case for opposing marriage equality in Human Events.
  • Liberty Counsel continues to blast the Alliance Defense Fund for losing the Prop 8 trial.
  • And sadly, Bryan Fischer's "good friend" Raul Labrador is trailing badly in his race for Congress.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Ben Quayle has now admitted "that he did, in fact, post comments on DirtyScottsdale.com, a website devoted to chronicling the trashy side of the Scottsdale nightclub scene."
  • Benny Hinn says that he did have a "friendship" with Paula White but that there was "no immorality whatsoever" and now it is over.
  • Billy Graham says your atheist friend might seem like a good person, but they aren't "because a true atheist has no real reason to believe in right and wrong or to behave sacrificially toward others."
  • I can only imagine that this campaign again birth control and "transhumanism" will be a huge hit for the anti-choice movement.
  • Finally John Stemberger, President of the Florida Family Policy Council, wants people to follow him on Twitter. So I did ... and then he blocked me:

As Rifqa Bary Turns 18, Her Parents Speak Out

Today is Rifqa Bary's eighteenth birthday, which means that she is officially an adult and that her long legal saga has finally come to an end.

It also means that the gag order binding all parties has been lifted and while Rifqa so far hasn't made a statement and little is known about her plans for the future other than that she "looks forward to preaching the word to all the nations," her parents are speaking out, revealing that Rifqa sent them letters, videos, and cards and also blasting Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and the Religious Right activists who turned this family's saga into a political and religious circus: 

Her father and mother today disclosed that their daughter two weeks ago sent them a video, along with candy and music, saying she loved them.

She also has sent them letters. In one, she thanked them for helping her be a successful student. She graduated recently from a Columbus-area high school, her father said, and was valedictorian.

"'I'm here because of you guys,' " her father said she wrote them.

...

In the statement, her parents also lambasted Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, saying he turned what should have been a routine case into a circus.

"It was his statements and abuse of his office by putting improper influence on the Florida courts that turned our case from a private family law issue into a media circus. He is responsible for setting the stage for months of wasted time and taxpayer money in Florida and Ohio and all because he wanted to shore up his extreme right-wing base of support for his U.S. Senate run. Gov. Crist should be ashamed of himself for all the harm he has caused our family."

They said their daughter has been a pawn by people focused on "xenophobia and religious bigotry."

So while this part of Rifqa's saga has come to an end, it is probably safe to assume that her professional career as a Religious Right hero is just getting underway. 

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Reactions to Prop 8 Decision

I'll be updating this post as more statements are released reacting to the decision to oveturn Prop 8, but Focus on the Family is out with the first statement blasting the ruling (if you don't count Harry Jackson, who Tweeted a statement hours ago):

“Judge Walker’s ruling raises a shocking notion that a single federal judge can nullify the votes of more than 7 million California voters, binding Supreme Court precedent, and several millennia-worth of evidence that children need both a mom and a dad.

“During these legal proceedings, the millions of California residents who supported Prop 8 have been wrongfully accused of being bigots and haters. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, they are concerned citizens, moms and dads who simply wanted to restore to California the long-standing understanding that marriage is between one woman and one man – a common-sense position that was taken away by the actions of another out-of-control state court in May 2008.

“Fortunately for them, who make up the majority of Californians, this disturbing decision is not the last word.

“We fully expect the judge’s decision to be overturned upon appeal. The redeeming feature of our judicial system is that one judge who ignores the law and the evidence must ultimately endure the review and reversal of his actions from the appellate courts.

“We do want Americans to understand the seriousness of this decision, however. If this judge’s decision is not overturned, it will most likely force all 50 states to recognize same-sex marriage. This would be a profound and fundamental change to the social and legal fabric of this country.

“Our Founders intended such radical changes to come from the people, not from activist judges. Alexander Hamilton, in advocating for the ratification of our Constitution in 1788, argued that the judiciary would be ‘the least dangerous’ branch of government. Today’s decision shows how far we have come from that original understanding.”

Randy Thomasson and Save California:

"Natural marriage, voter rights, the Constitution, and our republic called the United States of America have all been dealt a terrible blow. Judge Walker has ignored the written words of the Constitution, which he swore to support and defend and be impartially faithful to, and has instead imposed his own homosexual agenda upon the voters, the parents, and the children of California. This is a blatantly unconstitutional ruling because marriage isn't in the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution guarantees that state policies be by the people, not by the judges, and also supports states' rights, thus making marriage a state jurisdiction. It is high time for the oath of office to be updated to require judicial nominees to swear to judge only according to the written words of the Constitution and the original, documented intent of its framers. As a Californian and an American, I am angry that this biased homosexual judge, in step with other judicial activists, has trampled the written Constitution, grossly misused his authority, and imposed his own agenda, which the Constitution does not allow and which both the people of California and California state authorities should by no means respect."

Concerned Women for America:

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), said:

“Judge Walker’s decision goes far beyond homosexual ‘marriage’ to strike at the heart of our representative democracy. Judge Walker has declared, in effect, that his opinion is supreme and ‘We the People’ are no longer free to govern ourselves. The ruling should be appealed and overturned immediately.

“Marriage is not a political toy. It is too important to treat as a means for already powerful people to gain preferred status or acceptance. Marriage between one man and one woman undergirds a stable society and cannot be replaced by any other living arrangement.

“Citizens of California voted to uphold marriage because they understood the sacred nature of marriage and that homosexual activists use same-sex ‘marriage’ as a political juggernaut to indoctrinate young children in schools to reject their parent’s values and to harass, sue and punish people who disagree.

“CWA stands in prayer for our nation as we continue to defend marriage as the holy union God created between one man and one woman.”

CWA of California State Director Phyllis Nemeth said:

“Today Judge Vaughn Walker has chosen to side with political activism over the will of the people. His ruling is slap in the face to the more than seven million Californians who voted to uphold the definition of marriage as it has been understood for millennia.

“While Judge Walker’s decision is disappointing it is not the end of this battle. Far from it. The broad coalition of support for Proposition 8 remains strong, and we will support the appeal by ProtectMarriage.com, the official proponent of Proposition 8.

“We are confident that Judge Walker’s decision will ultimately be reversed. No combination of judicial gymnastics can negate the basic truth that marriage unites the complementary physical and emotional characteristics of a man and a woman to create a oneness that forms the basis for the family unit allowing a child to be raised by his or her father and mother. Any other combination is a counterfeit that fails to provide the best environment for healthy child rearing and a secure foundation for the family. It is this foundation upon which society is – and must be – built for a healthy and sustained existence.”

Family Research Council:

FRC President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

"This lawsuit, should it be upheld on appeal and in the Supreme Court, would become the 'Roe v. Wade' of same-sex 'marriage,' overturning the marriage laws of 45 states. As with abortion, the Supreme Court's involvement would only make the issue more volatile. It's time for the far Left to stop insisting that judges redefine our most fundamental social institution and using liberal courts to obtain a political goal they cannot obtain at the ballot box.

"Marriage is recognized as a public institution, rather than a purely private one, because of its role in bringing together men and women for the reproduction of the human race and keeping them together to raise the children produced by their union. The fact that homosexuals prefer not to enter into marriages as historically defined does not give them a right to change the definition of what a 'marriage' is.

"Marriage as the union between one man and one woman has been the universally-recognized understanding of marriage not only since America's founding but for millennia. To hold that the Founders created a constitutional right that none of them could even have conceived of is, quite simply, wrong.

"FRC has always fought to protect marriage in America and will continue to do so by working with our allies to appeal this dangerous decision. Even if this decision is upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals-the most liberal appeals court in America-Family Research Council is confident that we can help win this case before the U.S. Supreme Court."

Liberty Counsel:

Although Liberty Counsel has defended the marriage laws in California since the battle began in 2004, the Alliance Defense Fund, representing the Prop 8 initiative, opposed Liberty Counsel’s attempt to intervene on behalf of Campaign for California Families. The California Attorney General did not oppose Liberty Counsel’s intervention, but ADF did. Liberty Counsel sought to provide additional defense to Prop 8 because of concern that the case was not being adequately defended. After ADF actively opposed Liberty Counsel, ADF presented only two witnesses at trial, following the 15 witnesses presented by those who challenged the amendment. Even Judge Walker commented that he was concerned by the lack of evidence presented by ADF on behalf of Prop 8. Liberty Counsel will file an amicus brief at the court of appeals in defense of Prop 8.

The California Supreme Court previously stated, “The right of initiative is precious to the people and is one which the courts are zealous to preserve to the fullest tenable measure of spirit as well as letter.” Moreover, the U.S. Constitution cannot be stretched to include a right to same-sex marriage.

Except for this case, since Liberty Counsel was excluded by ADF, Liberty Counsel has represented the Campaign for California Families to defend the state’s marriage laws since 2004 and has argued at the trial, appellate and state Supreme Court levels.

Mary McAlister, Senior Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel, commented: “This is a classic case of judicial activism. The Constitution is unrecognizable in this opinion. This is simply the whim of one judge. It does not reflect the Constitution, the rule of law, or the will of the people. I am confident this decision will be overturned.”

Alliance Defense Fund:

“In America, we should respect and uphold the right of a free people to make policy choices through the democratic process--especially ones that do nothing more than uphold the definition of marriage that has existed since the foundation of the country and beyond,” said ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum.

“We will certainly appeal this disappointing decision. Its impact could be devastating to marriage and the democratic process,” Raum said. “It’s not radical for more than 7 million Californians to protect marriage as they’ve always known it. What would be radical would be to allow a handful of activists to gut the core of the American democratic system and, in addition, force the entire country to accept a system that intentionally denies children the mom and the dad they deserve.”

...

“The majority of California voters simply wished to preserve the historic definition of marriage. The other side’s attack upon their good will and motives is lamentable and preposterous,” Raum said. “Imagine what would happen if every state constitutional amendment could be eliminated by small groups of wealthy activists who malign the intent of the people. It would no longer be America, but a tyranny of elitists.”

“What’s at stake here is bigger than California,” Pugno added. “Americans in numerous states have affirmed--and should be allowed to continue to affirm--a natural and historic public policy position like this. We are prepared to fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.”

Capitol Resource Institute:

"Today's ruling is indicative of an out-of-control judiciary willing to circumvent California's direct democracy by imposing their point of view," said Karen England Executive Director of Capitol Resource Institute (CRI). "Family values are under constant assault now more then ever. CRI was instrumental in passing proposition 22 in 2000 and we fought to get proposition 8 on the ballot and subsequently in California's Constitution. We will continue to battle interest groups who wish to redefine one of our oldest institutions; the institution of marriage. We will continue to represent the 7 million Californians who took to the polls in favor of marriage."

American Family Association:

“This is a tyrannical, abusive and utterly unconstitutional display of judicial arrogance. Judge Walker has turned ‘We the People’ into ‘I the Judge.’

“It’s inexcusable for him to deprive the citizens of California of their right to govern themselves, and cavalierly trash the will of over seven million voters. This case never should even have entered his courtroom. The federal constitution nowhere establishes marriage policy, which means under the 10th Amendment that issue is reserved for the states.

“It’s also extremely problematic that Judge Walker is a practicing homosexual himself. He should have recused himself from this case, because his judgment is clearly compromised by his own sexual proclivity. The fundamental issue here is whether homosexual conduct, with all its physical and psychological risks, should be promoted and endorsed by society. That’s why the people and elected officials accountable to the people should be setting marriage policy, not a black-robed tyrant whose own lifestyle choices make it impossible to believe he could be impartial.

“His situation is no different than a judge who owns a porn studio being asked to rule on an anti-pornography statute. He’d have to recuse himself on conflict of interest grounds, and Judge Walker should have done that.

“The Constitution says judges hold office ‘during good Behavior.’ Well, this ruling is bad behavior - in fact, it’s very, very bad behavior - and we call on all members of the House of Representatives who respect the Constitution to launch impeachment proceedings against this judge.”

Traditional Values Coalition:

"It is an outrage that one arrogant and rogue federal judge can take it upon himself to overturn a centuries old definition of marriage and family," said Rev. Lou Sheldon, chairman and founder of Traditional Values Coalition (TVC). "On November 4, 2008, 7 million voters of California cemented into the state constitution a definition of marriage for one man and one woman only. Now with US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling today he has completely undermined the expressed will of voters at the ballot box. Direct Democracy has been blatantly attacked today."

"First it was the California Supreme Court's decision in 2008 to overturn Prop 22 and force the people of California to accept homosexual marriages. Well, the people adamantly rejected their ruling and homosexual marriages and they passed Prop 8, which was designed to forever tie the hands of judges from redefining marriage. Now one judge has yet again slapped the people in the face, even though the state constitution now clearly tells them what marriage means; we spelled it out for them in black and white," Sheldon added. "This is a blatant sign of judicial activism and lack of judicial restraint."

Sheldon added: "There is more at stake than just traditional marriage and the centuries long definition of the family. This ruling seriously undermines the expressed vote and will of the people on initiatives and proposed amendments they approve at the ballot box. This judge's ruling says that any vote of the people will have no weight, credence, sovereignty, value or worth at all. On appeal, the courts will either realize their limits and not undermine the constitutional power of the vote, or they will continue to demonstrate the most blatant arrogance and impose judicial tyranny by declaring that they alone, and not the people, have the ultimate final say on all matters of the state. Democracy, the constitution and the people would be beneath them."

TVC state lobbyist Benjamin Lopez, who was publicly credited by homosexual State Senator Mark Leno for the defeat of his proposed homosexual marriage bill in 2005, echoed Sheldon's statements:

"The issue at hand now is whether the will of 7 million voters outweighs that of either 7 Supreme Court justices or any one judge anywhere in the state. Homosexual marriage advocates may kick and scream the loudest demanding that Prop 8 be struck down, but they should be drowned out by the deafening voice of 7 million Californians who settled this issue not once, but twice already. We are hear because homosexual radicals continue to act like immature children who throw tantrums when they do not get their way."

"Same-sex marriage supporters repeatedly beat the drum of civil rights to equate their cause to the legitimate struggles of minority groups and say the public is on their side. Yet not even in 'liberal' California have they won over the people so they must resort to sympathetic, liberal black-robed activists who sit on the bench to force same-sex marriage on the people.

"If folks think that the Tea Party movement is a force to be reckoned with now, wait until the silent majority of pro-family voters flex their political muscle once again. Judges beware, you will go the way of Rose Bird, stripped of their robes and kicked off the bench," Lopez added.

The battle of same-sex marriage began in March 2000 when California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 22. It stated: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Homosexual marriage advocates challenged Prop 22 in court and in March 2005, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer struck it down ruling it in violation of the equal protection clause. Kramer's ruling was then challenged all the way to the California Supreme Court. In early 2008 the high court upheld Kramer's ruling allowing homosexual marriages to take place. Voters passed Prop 8 in November 2008 cementing Prop 22's language into the state constitution. After challenges to Prop 8 reached the state supreme court, the justices upheld Prop 8 and allowed for some 18,000 same-sex marriages to stand. The current ruling by Judge Walker was the result of a challenge to the California Supreme Court's ruling.

Richard Land:

 “This is a grievously serious crisis in how the American people will choose to be governed. The people of our most populous state—a state broadly indicative of the nation at large demographically—voted to define marriage as being between one man and one woman, thus excluding same-sex and polygamous relationships from being defined as marriage. 

“Now, an unelected federal judge has chosen to override the will of the people of California and to redefine an institution the federal government did not create and that predates the founding of America. Indeed, ‘marriage’ goes back to the Garden of Eden, where God defined His institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

“This case will clearly make its way to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court of the United States, where unfortunately, the outcome is far from certain. There are clearly four votes who will disagree with this judge—Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, and Alito. The supreme question is: Will there be a fifth? Having surveyed Justice Kennedy’s record on this issue, I have no confidence that he will uphold the will of the people of California.

“If and when the Supreme Court agrees with the lower court, then the American people will have to decide whether they will insist on continuing to have a government of the people, by the people and for the people, or whether they’re going to live under the serfdom of government by the judges, of the judges and for the judges. Our forefathers have given us a method to express our ultimate will. It’s called an amendment to the Constitution. If the Supreme Court fails to uphold the will of the people of California—if we are going to have our form of government altered by judicial fiat—then the only alternative left to us is to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman.

“Many senators who voted against the federal marriage amendment the last time it came up said publicly if a federal court interfered with a state’s right to determine this issue, they would then be willing to vote for a federal marriage amendment. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to vote.

“Despite egregious court rulings like this one, there is nonetheless an unprecedented effort going on across the nation of Christians uniting for sustained prayer, for revival, awakening and deliverance. I encourage everyone to join me in this effort and go to 4040prayer.com for more information.” 

National Organization for Marriage:

"Big surprise! We expected nothing different from Judge Vaughn Walker, after the biased way he conducted this trial," said Brian Brown, President of NOM. "With a stroke of his pen, Judge Walker has overruled the votes and values of 7 million Californians who voted for marriage as one man and one woman. This ruling, if allowed to stand, threatens not only Prop 8 in California but the laws in 45 other states that define marriage as one man and one woman."

"Never in the history of America has a federal judge ruled that there is a federal constitutional right to same sex marriage. The reason for this is simple - there isn't!" added Brown.

"The 'trial' in San Francisco in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case is a unique, and disturbing, episode in American jurisprudence. Here we have an openly gay (according to the San Francisco Chronicle) federal judge substituting his views for those of the American people and of our Founding Fathers who I promise you would be shocked by courts that imagine they have the right to put gay marriage in our Constitution. We call on the Supreme Court and Congress to protect the people's right to vote for marriage," stated Maggie Gallagher, Chairman of the Board of NOM.

"Gay marriage groups like the Human Rights Campaign, Freedom to Marry, and Equality California will, no doubt, be congratulating themselves over this "victory" today in San Francisco. However, even they know that Judge Walker's decision is only temporary. For the past 20 years, gay marriage groups have fought to avoid cases filed in federal court for one good reason - they will eventually lose. But these groups do not have control of the Schwarzenegger v. Perry case, which is being litigated by two egomaniacal lawyers (Ted Olson and David Boies). So while they congratulate themselves over their victory before their home-town judge today, let's not lose sight of the fact that this case is headed for the U.S. Supreme Court, where the right of states to define marriage as being between one man and one woman will be affirmed--and if the Supreme Court fails, Congress has the final say. The rights of millions of voters in states from Wisconsin to Florida, from Maine to California, are at stake in this ruling; NOM is confident that the Supreme Court will affirm the basic civil rights of millions of American voters to define marriage as one man and one woman," noted Gallagher.

Robert George - American Principles Project:

“Another flagrant and inexcusable exercise of ‘raw judicial power’ threatens to enflame and prolong the culture war ignited by the courts in the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade,” said Dr. Robert P. George, Founder of the American Principles Project. “In striking down California’s conjugal marriage law, Judge Walker has arrogated to himself a decision of profound social importance—the definition and meaning of marriage itself—that is left by the Constitution to the people and their elected representatives.”

“As a decision lacking any warrant in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution, it abuses and dishonors the very charter in whose name Judge Walker declares to be acting. This usurpation of democratic authority must not be permitted to stand.”

Judge Walker’s decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger seeks to invalidate California Proposition 8, which by vote of the people of California restored the conjugal conception of marriage as the union of husband and wife after California courts had re-defined marriage to include same-sex partnerships.

“The claim that this case is about equal protection or discrimination is simply false,” George said. “It is about the nature of marriage as an institution that serves the interests of children—and society as a whole—by uniting men and women in a relationship whose meaning is shaped by its wonderful and, indeed, unique aptness for the begetting and rearing of children.

“We are talking about the right to define what marriage is, not about who can or cannot take part. Under our Constitution the definition and meaning of marriage is a decision left in the hands of the people, not given to that small fraction of the population who happen to be judges.”

“Judge Walker has abandoned his role as an impartial umpire and jumped into the competition between those who believe in marriage as the union of husband and wife and those who seek to advance still further the ideology of the sexual revolution. Were his decision to stand, it would ensure additional decades of social dissension and polarization. Pro-marriage Americans are not going to yield to sexual revolutionary ideology or to judges who abandon their impartiality to advance it. We will work as hard as we can for as long as it takes to defend the institution of marriage and to restore the principle of democratic self-government,” concluded Dr. George.

Newt Gingrich:

"Judge Walker's ruling overturning Prop 8 is an outrageous disrespect for our Constitution and for the majority of people of the United States who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife. In every state of the union from California to Maine to Georgia, where the people have had a chance to vote they've affirmed that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Congress now has the responsibility to act immediately to reaffirm marriage as a union of one man and one woman as our national policy. Today’s notorious decision also underscores the importance of the Senate vote tomorrow on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court because judges who oppose the American people are a growing threat to our society.”

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Sarah Palin will headline the Pennsylvania Family Institute's annual fundraiser later this month.
  • Mat Staver and David Barton are holding a series [PDF] of "Florida Awake!" events across this state next month.
  • Rep. Steve King does not approve of efforts by liberals to cite the Bible in support of their political agenda.
  • Newt Gingrich is winning accolades from professional Muslim bashers.
  • MassResistance is excited about Peter LaBarbera's upcoming anti-gay conference.
  • On the final day of campaigning, MI Gov. candidate Pete Hoekstra held "tele-town halls with evangelical author and radio talk show host Dr. James Dobson and U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann."

Land: Christians Burning the Koran is an Act of Blasphemy

On September 11, the folks at Dove World Church in Gainesville, Florida (perhaps best known for their "No Homo Mayor" signs a few months back) will be hosting "International Burn A Quran Day."

And this move it apparently so extreme that even some Religious Right leaders are denouncing it:

"Dove World Outreach Center, shame on you," responded Angel Nuñez, vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

"If I want to win a Muslim to Christ, I surely won't do it by burning the Qur'an in public and provoking them to hate us more," said Nuñez. "The greatest weapon a Christian has is godly love."

The National Association for Evangelicals released a statement Thursday urging the church, which averages 50 attendees each Sunday, to call off the event.

"It sounds like the proposed Qu'ran burning is rooted in revenge," said NAE president Leith Anderson. "The most powerful statement by the organizers of the planned September 11th bonfire would be to call it off in the name and love of Jesus Christ."

"I think it is appalling, disgusting, and brainless," said Richard Land, director of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. "I think that those of us who find what they are doing abhorrent should say so, and say so publicly and often."

Land added that the church's actions "besmirch the reputation of our Savior, and that makes it blasphemy."

Of course, it should also be noted that while Land thinks burning the Koran is blasphemous, he's not exactly defender of Muslims or their rights, as he's also vehemently opposed to the proposed "Ground Zero Mosque"

As a Baptist who believes in religious freedom and separation of church and state, I strongly support religious communities' right to have places of worship within reasonable distance of where they live. However, no religious community has an absolute right to have a place of worship wherever they choose, regardless of the community's objections.

I believe that putting a mosque at Ground Zero, or very close to Ground Zero, is unacceptable ... Having a mosque at Ground Zero would be the equivalent of having a Japanese Shinto shrine built next to the USS Arizona.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW Statement: Federal Judge Blocks Portions of Arizona’s SB1070.
  • Alan Colmes: Florida Church Plans “Burn A Koran Day” September 11.
  • Brian Beutler @ TPM: Sherrod Critic: She Used 'Lynching' To Gin Up Democratic Voters.
  • Towleroad: FRC Hits Holland, MI with Anti-Gay Ad Based on Discredited Pamphlet as City Considers Anti-Discrimination Ordinance.
  • The Advocate: Elisabeth Hasselbeck Cracks Lesbian Code.
  • Alvin McEwen: Court knocks down latest religious right cause célèbre.
  • Eric Boehlert: Why are RW pundits suddenly silent about NJ Gov. Christie? Or, paging Rush Limbaugh.
  • The Big Picture: Fools Gold: Inside the Glenn Beck Goldline Scheme.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Jonathan Chait, responding to the Joe Klein quote I used as the QOTD yesterday: "My view is that Gingrich says dumb, angry things constantly and without regard to electoral ambitions. He is a dumb, angry man."
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