Keyes: Slavery Was All About Guaranteed Food, Shelter, Clothing, and Jobs

Is it just me or does Alan Keyes' attempt to claim that President Obama desires to turn us all into slaves utterly dependent upon the government rely on a rather odd understanding of the institution of slavery: 

Keyes compared the institution of slavery with liberalism and socialism.

“What did it mean to be a slave?” Keyes asked. “It meant that you actually had guaranteed shelter, guaranteed clothing. Your master guaranteed your food, your clothing, your shelter and a job. “Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?” he said. “That’s exactly what the Obama faction and the leftists and the socialists and the so-called ‘liberals’ want to pretend is what all Americans should aspire to."

Keyes said he grew up wrestling with the heritage of slavery and understanding its true meaning. As a result, he said, "I have seen through that phony promise of socialism, that government-dominated largesse. It simply means that we shall all become slaves on the government’s plantation."

Is that what slavery was all about?  An effort by white landowner to provide food, shelter, and jobs to blacks? 

Did Keyes get that idea from a Texas textbook or something? 

Gov. Perry Raffles Off Lunch With Rove, Capitol Tour With Barton

Texas Governor Rick Perry's re-election campaign has come up with a rather unique strategy for getting contact info for possible supporters by offering changes to win prizes to anyone who provides the names of at least eleven registered votes to the campaign.

Among the "prizes" being offered are lunch with Karl Rove and a tour of the US Capitol with David Barton:

The Perry campaign is offering supporters who submit 11 names of registered voters for the campaign to contact a chance to win prizes in a raffle. The gifts include a jogging lesson from RunTex founder Paul Carrozza and a shooting lesson from the paramilitary outfit LaRue Tactical.

Or how about a calf-roping demonstration by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst?


The 11 announced prizes, in addition to those above, include lunch with political guru Karl Rove, a tour of the U.S. Capitol with WallBuilders founder David Barton and a football clinic from former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach.

Liberty Institute Sought More Than $1 Million In Legal Fees Over Candy Cane Pens

While Kelly Shackelford is not necessarily a household name, he is an influential Religious Right leader, serving as President of Liberty Institute (the new name given to the merger of the Free Market Foundation and the Liberty Legal Institute).

Based in Texas, the organization has been very involved in state-level issues but has, in recent years, also started to branch out into other areas, such as getting involved in lawsuits involving Sarah Palin and "Troopergate" and representing "ACORN prostitute" Hannah Giles.

Liberty's growing portfolio and budget resulted in a lengthy and informative profile of the group appearing in the Dallas Morning News over the weekend which contained several interesting pieces of information - for instance, the group represented the parents of a boy who, back in 2003, was stopped by school officials from distributing candy cane pens that contained the message "The blood Christ shed for the sins of the world."   The District eventually revised its policy regarding the distribution of religious materials ... and then Liberty tried to collect more than $1 million in legal fees: 

In the Greenville ISD case, the lawyer representing Liberty, Charles Bundren, claimed more than $1.2 million in legal fees before the trial started, according to court documents, and Shackelford asked for an additional $113,000.

Senior federal Judge Barefoot Sanders reviewed those fees and concluded that they were the "most unreasonable fee application this Court has reviewed in 25 years on the district bench."

Sanders (who died in 2008) struck down Shackelford's request and lowered Bundren's fees to $109,000.

Just keep that in mind the next time you hear the Religious Right screaming about how Democrats, the ACLU, and trail lawyers are always siphoning off your tax dollars with their "frivolous lawsuits."

Omniscient Bus Driver Reserves Right To Refuse Service Based Entirely On Own Imagination

Yesterday I noted that the explanation for why Texas bus driver Edwin Graning refused to transport a woman to Planned Parenthood keeps changing.

First he said that his wife called the facility and heard a message directing callers to call 911 in case of abortion complications and so he refused to go.  Then he said that he called the facility and heard abortion listed among the services they provide, so he refused to go.  Both of those claims turned out to be demonstrably false, as no such messages exist.

So that left Graning's ACLJ attorney with no choice but to admit that his client really had no idea what reason this woman may have had for wanting to go to Planned Parenthood, but he assumed it was for an abortion, so he was justified in refusing to transport her. 

And that seems to be where we stand today:

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) represents Edwin Graning, a former driver for the Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS), which is a nine-county transit service that often provides transportation in rural areas surrounding Austin, Texas. Senior attorney Edward White tells OneNewsNow the driver was dispatched in January to transport two women to a Planned Parenthood clinic.

"He called up his supervisor and said, 'You know, I'm an ordained minister...and Planned Parenthood does abortions. And I don't know if this lady's going there for an abortion. However, if she is, I want nothing to do with that,'" White accounts. "And so in effect, he was asking for his supervisor to just get one of the other CARTS drivers to pick up this woman."

Graning's own attorney admits that he had no idea why the woman was going to the facility, but he decided not to take her because she might be going to have an abortion.  Of course, she might have been going to get a pregnancy test or abstinence education - the point is that Graning had no way of knowing, as his attorney freely admits.

Frankly, Graning has no way of knowing what any of his riders intend to do at their destinations. 

Can he refuse to transport someone he thinks might be going off to have an affair? Could he deny service to someone he thinks might be going to a gay rights rally?  Could he refuse to take someone to the airport because he thought they might be flying to Las Vegas to engage in gambling and prostitution? Where does it end?

Does the ACLJ really believe that Graning ought to be able to refuse service to anyone based entirely on his own speculation about the intentions of his riders?

Omniscient Texas Bus Driver's Story Falls Apart

I want to follow up on my last post about bus driver Edwin Graning to note that his explanation of why he refused to transport of woman to a Planned Parenthood facility doesn't make a lot of sense.

His initial claim was that he had been assigned to drive a woman to Planned Parenthood's South Austin facility:

Graning had asked his wife to call the facility; she heard a recording directing callers to call 911 in case of abortion complications. "I said, dear God in heaven, this woman's gonna have an abortion," he said.

But that is different from what he told Focus on the Family:

Before picking her up, Graning called the clinic in advance to confirm someone would be there on her arrival. As he was waiting to leave a message, he listened to a list of the clinic’s services.

Graning – an ordained Christian minister – could not go against his religious beliefs.

“Dear God, this woman’s going to have an abortion,” he said. “I went ahead and called my supervisor at home and told her, ‘I can’t be a part of this.’”

So at first Graning was saying that his wife called the facility and heard a recording about abortion, and so he refused to transport the woman ... but then claimed that he called the facility himself and heard a list of services offered by the clinic which included abortion, so he refused to take the woman.

Now that discrepancy might not be particularly significant ... especially when compared to the fact that the clinic's recorded message makes absolutely no mention of abortion at all.  I know because I called the clinic and recorded it:

Thank you for calling Planned Parenthood, the most trusted name in reproductive health care.

You have reached the South Austin clinic at 201 East Ben White Blvd. Our business hours are Monday-Friday, 9 am to 6:30 pm and Saturday, 9 am to 3 pm.

For more information about our services, to make a donation, or to join our email activist network, please visit us on the web at www.ppaustin.org.

Please select from the following options: for clinic directions or other clinic locations,press 1. To schedule an appointment or to speak with a staff member, please press 0 or stay on the line.

Now where exactly in the message do you hear anything about performing abortions? Nowhere - which is probably why Graning's attorney, Edward White III of the American Center for Law and Justice, is now claiming that Graning "just figured that that clinic did abortions and because it was so early in the morning, he was assuming that she was probably going there for an abortion."

Of course, as I pointed out before, that facility offers a whole range of services from pregnancy and HIV tests to abstinence education.  So not only did Graning have absolutely no way of know why this woman wanted to go to this facility, his claim that the facility's message alerted him that abortions were performed there is flagrantly false.

Graning just assumed that this woman was going to Planned Parenthood to get an abortion and refused to take her.  For that, he was fired ... and became a Religious Right hero.

The Omniscient Edwin Graning

I know that I mentioned the situation regarding Edwin Graning yesterday, but the level of hypocrisy involved is just so staggering that it almost defies belief ... or at least it would if hypocrisy wasn't seemingly the foundation of everything the Religious Right does.

Basically, Graning had been working for a bus service in Texas for less than a year when he was assigned to bring a woman to a Planned Parenthood facility in South Austin and refused:

Before picking her up, Graning called the clinic in advance to confirm someone would be there on her arrival. As he was waiting to leave a message, he listened to a list of the clinic’s services.

Graning – an ordained Christian minister – could not go against his religious beliefs.

“Dear God, this woman’s going to have an abortion,” he said. “I went ahead and called my supervisor at home and told her, ‘I can’t be a part of this.’”

Graning said he was told to park the van immediately. He was fired the next day.

I have a simple question:  how did Graning know that the woman was going to have an abortion? Did it ever occur to him that maybe she worked at the facility?  Or that maybe she was going there to get a pregnancy test, or a HIV test, or a STD test, or a Hepatitis vaccine, or a breast exam, or a cervical cancer screening, or a pap test, or any one of the other countless services offered by the facility

Heck, for all Graning knew, this woman was going to Planned Parenthood to get some abstinence education, which they also offer. 

But Graning decided for himself that she was going for an abortion and refused to take her and was justifiably fired ... and now his case has been taken up by Pat Robertson's ACLJ and he's been turned into a Religious Right cause célèbre.

I'm sure that if Graning had refused to take someone to church, the Religious Right would have had an entirely different response.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The AFA is now boycotting Home Depot ... or, as they refer to it, "Homosexual Depot."
  • Leave it to Alan Keyes to make the Shirley Sherrod saga even more ridiculous than it already was.
  • Think of it as Vacation Bible School, as run by Glenn Beck.
  • Texas Lawyer has named Kelly Shackelford of the Liberty Institute as one of the state’s greatest attorneys in the past quarter-century. That doesn't reflect too highly on TX lawyers, now does it?
  • You know AZ's draconian immigration law is good because it is supported both by the Constitution and the Bible.
  • Finally, quote of the day from Bryan Fischer, responding to the settlement in the Constance McMillen case: "This is how evil advances in America - one weak-kneed group of kind-hearted, wimpish people at a time ... what this situation called for was not niceness but goodness, not capitulation but courage."

Religious Right Working to Limit Reproductive Choice At Home and Abroad

It is important to remind ourselves occasionally that right-wing anti-choice groups don't just want to control the rights of women in America, they want to control the rights of women everywhere.

Case in point: Pat Robertson's ACLJ has been deeply involved and spent tens of thousands of dollars in trying to keep abortion out of the constitution being drafted in Kenya ... and now it looks like dozens of other Religious Right leaders are backing the effort:

With just two weeks to go until Kenyans vote on a new Constitution, World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs announced the conclusion of a successful petition drive "In Support Of The 'No' Campaign -- Kenyans Opposed To The Pro-Abortion Constitution."

In less than a week, the Congress gathered signatures from more than 170 pro-life and pro-family leaders in 21 countries. Signers include former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Former Boston Mayor and Vatican Ambassador Ray Flynn and Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay ...

Organizations whose leaders are represented include:

-- Priests for Life
-- Tradition, Family and Property
-- Concerned Women for America
-- Alliance Defense Fund
-- Human Life International
-- Liberty Counsel
-- Americans United for Life
-- National Right to Life Committee
-- LifeSiteNews.com
-- Eagle Forum
-- Vision America Action
-- Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
-- The Beverly LaHaye Institute
-- Focus on The Family
-- Family Talk [w/James Dobson]
-- Traditional Values Coalition

While the Religious Right is working to outlaw abortion overseas, they are also working to limit access to legal abortions here in the US in increasingly imaginative ways, which is why the ACLJ is representing a Texas bus driver who lost his job after refusing to take a passenger to a Planned Parenthood facility because it performed abortions:

[Edwin] Graning had asked his wife to call the facility; she heard a recording directing callers to call 911 in case of abortion complications. "I said, dear God in heaven, this woman's gonna have an abortion," he said.

Graning said that no protocol for orders to drive people to abortion clinics had ever been discussed. "I'm a Christian ... I love the Lord and I'm not going to be a part of something like this," said Graning, a former pastor. He pointed out that the woman quickly received a ride from another bus.

When he told his supervisor that he would not make the drive, Graning says the supervisor replied, "Then you are resigning." He objected, but was later directed to bring his vehicle and belongings back to CARTS, and received a letter of termination on grounds of insubordination.

Graning, 63, who celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary last month, is a father of two and grandfather of three.

He is being represented by lawyers from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).

Note to Lafferty: It Was Conservatives Who Took Out Harriet Miers

I have to say that this op-ed from Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition alleging that there has been some sort of double-standard in the treatment of Elena Kagan and Harriet Miers might just be the dumbest thing that anyone has written during this entire confirmation process: 

The parallels between the nominations of Kagan and Miers — their similar legal background and connection to the presidents who nominated them — makes the various reactions from the right and the left stand in stark contrast. While Miers was harassed and criticized by both sides of the aisle until she withdrew her name from consideration, Kagan has faced relatively mild opposition, and this coming almost exclusively from the right.

Why the deferential treatment for the current nominee? It seems as though Kagan’s friends in the executive and legislative branches have no problem with her aforementioned disqualifications. Harriet Miers’s close connection to President Bush was unacceptable to many, but Elena Kagan’s connection to President Obama and her political ties to many left-wing causes is permissible, according to those who would like to give her activist tendencies new life with this increased power.

What on earth is Lafferty talking about? As she freely admits, it was the opposition of conservatives that caused Miers' nomination to be withdrawn by President Bush.  It was right-wing leaders who screamed and yelled that Miers was insufficiently conservative, which made her unqualified for a seat on the Supreme Court. 

Lafferty claims that Miers was forced to withdraw due to opposition from "both sides of the aisle," which is just laughably false, as it was the concerted efforts of conservative activists who organized opposition campaigns that took out Harriet Miers:

According to “WithdrawMiers.org,” a coalition formed by the Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly, Fidelis, and others for the sole purpose of opposing the nomination: “Miers’ … few published writings offer no real insight or assurance of a judicial philosophy that reflects a commitment to the Constitution.” And on issues where Miers had something of a record, WithdrawMiers.org was not impressed: “Ms. Miers fought to remove the pro-abortion plank in the American Bar Association platform, yet fought this Bush Administration in ending the ABA’s role in vetting judges which is known to be biased against judges whose judicial philosophies reflect a clear commitment to the Constitution. She donated money to a Texas pro-life group, yet helped establish an endowed lecture series at Southern Methodist University that brought pro-abortion icons Gloria Steinem and Susan Faludi to campus.”

Like WithdrawMiers.org, Americans for Better Justice sprang up simply to oppose the Miers nomination. Founded by ultra-conservatives like David Frum, Linda Chavez, and Roger Clegg, ABJ was unconvinced that Miers shared its founders’ right-wing views and began gathering signatures on a petition demanding Miers’ withdrawal: “The next justice of the Supreme Court should be a person of clear, consistent, and unashamed conservative judicial philosophy … The next justice should be someone who has demonstrated a deep engagement in the constitutional issues that regularly come before the Supreme Court — and an appreciation of the originalist perspective on those issues … For all Harriet Miers’ many fine qualities and genuine achievements, we the undersigned believe that she is not that person.”

The right-wing magazine National Review had, in many ways, led the charge against the Miers nomination from the very beginning. Its writers called Miers “a very, very bad pick,” declared her nomination “the most catastrophic political miscalculation of the Bush presidency” and complained that the Right had been forced to endure “an embarrassingly lame campaign from the White House, the Republican National Committee, and their surrogates.”

What caused this gnashing of teeth was the fact that, according to the National Review’s editorial board, “There is very little evidence that Harriet Miers is a judicial conservative, and there are some warnings that she is not … neither being pro-life or an evangelical is a reliable guide to what kind of jurisprudence she would produce, even on Roe, let alone on other issues.”

Others on the Right were just as dismayed by the nomination. American Values’ Gary Bauer explained: “[Harriet Miers] has not written one word, said one word, given a speech, written a letter to the editor on any of the key constitutional issues that conservatives care about and are worried about and want to make sure the court does not go down the road on."

The Wall Street Journal called the nomination a “political blunder of the first order,” lamenting that “After three weeks of spin and reporting, we still don't know much more about what Ms. Miers thinks of the Constitution.”

Stephen Crampton of the American Family Association said Miers is a “stealth candidate for a seat on the Supreme Court [and] is an unknown with no paper trail,” while the Christian Defense Coalition blasted the president, saying his supporters “did not stand out in the rain for 20 hours passing out literature or putting up signs for the President to have him turn around and nominate Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. A nominee in which there is no record of their judicial philosophy or view of the Constitution.”

Back when John Roberts was preparing for his confirmation hearing, Concerned Women for America was praising him as a “highly qualified nominee with extraordinary personal integrity who has proven himself worthy to sit on our nation's highest court.” CWA said “Senators should ignore the ridiculously inappropriate litmus tests and document demands of the radical left” and that Roberts “should receive overwhelming bi-partisan support and confirmation.”

This is in stark contrast to the stand CWA took on Miers: “We believe that far better qualified candidates were overlooked and that Miss Miers’ record fails to answer our questions about her qualifications and constitutional philosophy … We do not believe that our concerns will be satisfied during her hearing." In calling for her withdrawal, CWA revealed their real objection: “Miers is not even close to being in the mold of Scalia or Thomas, as the President promised the American people.” They demanded that the president give them a “nomination that we can whole-heartedly endorse.”

It was right-wing leaders who vehemently opposed Miers over concerns that she not conservative enough ... and now Lafferty is accusing the Left of being hypocritical for supporting Kagan? 

Nice try.

The On-Going Engle-ization of the Religious Right

We first started paying attention to Lou Engle in 2008 when he hosted a The Call rally in Washington, DC heading into the presidential election and another in San Diego just before the vote on Proposition 8

Seemingly coming out of nowhere, Engle was eagerly embraced by the Religious Right establishment as its leaders flocked to participate in Engle's day-long festivals of prayer and fasting.

Since then, Engle's influence within the Religious Right has continued to grow, as he co-hosted the anti-healthcare "prayercast" earlier this year and has lead a group of Religious Right leaders to Texas to pray against a new Planned Parenthood facility opening in Houston.

In September, Engle will be leading another The Call rally in Sacramento to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his first Call event.  And he has managed to line up video endorsements from the likes of Mat Staver, Samuel Rodriguez, Ron Luce, Tim Wildom ... and even Pat and Gordon Robertson:

Pat: Hi, this is Pat Robertson.

Gordon: And I'm Gordon Robertson. We'd like to take a moment to encourage you to attend The Call tenth anniversary in Sacramento this Labor Day.

Pat: And we want the blessing of God on our nation. But how can His blessing come to a nation that has slaughtered fifty million unborn babies, taken the Bible and prayer out of schools, and protected by law that what God calls an "abomination"? In our land, that which is evil is being called good. And what is good is being ridiculed and banished from the public square. It's time that we join together and seek national repentance.

Gordon: We need to ask God to send up a great move of the Holy Spirit here in America. And that's what The Call - Sacramento is all about. Thousands of young people will be crying out to God for his glory to cover the Earth as the waters cover the sea. If you want to be a part of seeing God rescue America and experience that demonstration of his power and glory, then come to The Call - Sacramento September 3-4 at Raley Field. You can find out more by logging on to TheCall.com.

Pat: This is a desperate hour for our country. Please be a part of turning out nation back to God. Come to The Call - Sacramento and stand in the gap for this great nation.

Putting the "Prophet" in Prophetic Intercessor

I've been writing a lot lately about the self-proclaimed "prophets" and "apostles" like Cindy Jacobs and Lou Engle and their increasing role within the "mainstream" Religious Right movement, so I wanted to just take an opportunity to point out something that I think is important in understanding this:  when they call themselves "prophets," they means that literally and believe themselves to have the same power and authority as the prophets of the Bible.

Case in point is this recent prophesy from Chuck Pierce, following up his recent discussion with Jacobs about the BP oil spill being due to President Obama's treatment of Israel, claiming that God has promised to stop the oil spill "supernaturally" and deliver the Gulf states from "occult spirits" with a wave of revival and prosperity that will wash over America ... note particularly that the sections in italics are reported to literally be the Word of God as it was spoken to Pierce: 

There is something peculiar in the seas that has yet to be uncovered in this situation. There will be a greater explosion to heal this explosion. There has to be something that creates a ripple and a move in the water deeper than anything we have ever seen. Some way or another the move in the water in the Gulf has to cause that which is defiled in that whole area to come out some way. We have to get into a move deeper than we know.

God says, "I am capable of moving in the waters deeper than you've seen Me move. But you're going to have to be willing to ride the wave when it comes." There is a move of God coming that is so deep, the waters are going to move so deep, it is going to create such an action that we will have to ride the waves in this coming year. I am announcing this. This is an announcement. We will have to learn to ride some unusual waves for the year ahead!

There are some occult spirits along that Gulf that the Lord is ready to move. I speak to Texas. I speak to Louisiana. I speak to Mississippi. I speak to Alabama. I speak to Florida. The Lord says, "Get ready. You are being delivered from an occult operation by MY supernatural power that is coming in some very unusual ways! I AM going to cleanse that area of divination. It is going to come through the power of MY display. I'm going to do this supernaturally. You've tried to do it with your brain and I'm going to do it supernaturally. You've tried to move one way in your thinking process.

"Watch Me go deep and push it out. I am going to start a move, and watch Me do unusual things in that Gulf Coast. I am going to go deep. I'm going to create swells. I'm going to bring in waves. I'm going to dispel things. Things are going to be thrown on land for you to wrap up and get out of the place. This is a beginning and this next year get ready to ride the waves for I will be moving people around. I will be changing locations. You get ready to ride the wave for I am going to push out that spiritual force that has held you captive and defiled the move of My Spirit. You are going to be released in a whole new way to hear Me and to move with Me and to prosper in a way you've not prospered."

This is a warning from the Lord. He says, "I can turn the Gulf upside down like I turn ponds upside down and bring the bottom to the top! I am getting ready to bring the bottom to the top. Be creative. Know that I can give you understanding on businesses. Know that I can tell you what to do. Things will be coming from the top to the bottom. Get ready because you haven't seen anything like you're about to see. BOTTOMS UP!"

Thank You, Lord, that there will be a new glory coming from the seas onto the land of America.

As Evan Hurst noted yesterday on his piece on Lou Engle, Engle likewise considers himself not a teacher but a prophet; the difference being that he has not come to "teach" us God's Word, but to "tell" us God's Word, so that God's Word and the words of the "prophets" are one and the same.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Adam Weinstein: Meet Kagan's Astroturf Military Attackers.
  • Think Progress: Coburn Has ‘No Idea’ Whether He Would Have Voted To Confirm Thurgood Marshall.
  • Towleroad: NH GOP Congressional Candidate Bob Giuda Compares Gay Marriage to Marrying 'Men and Sheep', 'Women and Dogs'.
  • Adele Stan: Right-Wing Bloggers Kicked Out of ‘For Profit’ Sarah Palin Speech.
  • Jed Lewison: Sharron Angle hits a grand slam for right-wing extremism.
  • Texas Freedom Network: Group’s Leader: Houston Mayor a ‘Sodomite’.

Egrun Caner Out As Head of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary

Last month, PFAW Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery wrote a piece for AlterNet examining the allegations that Ergun Caner, head of Liberty University's Baptist Theological Seminary, had exaggerated about about his Muslim past.

After 9/11, Caner became a popular Religious Right speaker, telling audiences how he had been raised in Turkey to wage jihad against America before converting to Christianity and presenting himself as an expert on both Islam and Islamic terrorism. 

Much of that, as it turned out, was false .. and now Liberty University has announced that when Caner's contract is up at the end of this month, it will not be renewed and Caner will no longer be head of the Seminary, though he will remain at LU as a professor:

Liberty University said Friday that Ergun Caner would no longer be dean of its seminary, following an investigation into some of his claims about being raised as a Muslim.

Caner has signed a contract to be a member of the seminary’s faculty next year, the university said in a statement Friday afternoon.

Four members of Liberty’s Board of Trustees who conducted the investigation found that “Dr. Caner has made factual statements that are self-contradictory,” the university said.

The panel, however, basically supported Caner’s testimony of being a former Muslim who converted to Christianity.

The contradictions came in “matters such as dates, names and places of residence,” the LU statement said.

Although LU didn’t provide any more details about the discrepancies, Caner said in several speaking engagements in 2001 and later that he was raised in Turkey before coming to the United States as a teenager.

He also said he was trained in Islamic jihad, a term associated with terrorist activity, according to recordings made in 2001 of his comments at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., and Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.

However, his parents’ divorce papers, on file in a Columbus, Ohio, courthouse, indicated the family moved from Stockholm, Sweden, to the U.S. when Caner was about 4 years old, and continued to live in the Columbus area.

Caner’s father was a Muslim who sought to raise his children in the Islamic faith, although he had only part-time custody after the divorce, the documents indicate.

“Dr. Caner has cooperated with the board committee and has apologized for the discrepancies and misstatements that led to this review,” the LU statement said.

The investigating committee “found no evidence to suggest that Dr. Caner was not a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager,” the statement said.

LU spokesman Johnnie Moore responded to requests for further comment by saying, “Liberty will not be making any additional comments or giving any interviews at this time.”

Here is the full statement issued by Liberty:

“After a thorough and exhaustive review of Dr. Ergun Caner’s public statements, a committee consisting of four members of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees has concluded that Dr. Caner has made factual statements that are self-contradictory.

“However, the committee found no evidence to suggest that Dr. Caner was not a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager, but, instead, found discrepancies related to matters such as dates, names and places of residence.

“Dr. Caner has cooperated with the board committee and has apologized for the discrepancies and misstatements that led to this review.

“Dr. Caner’s current contractual term as Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary expires on June, 30, 2010.

“Dr. Caner will no longer serve as Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.

“The university has offered, and Dr. Caner has accepted, an employment contract for the 2010-2011 academic year. Dr. Caner will remain on the faculty of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary as a professor.”

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW: Palin Endorses Article Equating Obama with Hitler, Calling Obama Voters ‘Useful Idiots’.
  • See also: Palin takes her cartoonish extremism to the next level, endorses comparison of Obama to Hitler.
  • Edge Boston: Anti-gay pastor holds prayer meetings at St. Louis church.
  • Alan Colmes: U.S. Authorities May Have Deported An American Citizen.
  • AU: Borking Kagan?: Failed High Court Candidate Lashes Out At Latest Nominee.
  • Political Correction: Meet The Texas Republican Party.
  • TPM's Justin Elliot: Sharron Angle's Fringe Third Party Sponsored Virulently Anti-Gay Flier In '90s.
  • Finally, have I mentioned that I'm now writing our Twitter updates?  Because I am.  And have I mentioned that you should follow them?  Because you should.

Praying Away The BP Oil Spill

I guess that it if the BP oil spill in the Gulf is due to God's anger over President Obama's treatment of Israel, then it only stands to reason that the best way to end the crisis is prayer.

And that is exactly the solution that four Southern Republican governors appear to be banking on:

Four Gulf Coast governors are calling on residents to set aside Sunday as a Day of Prayer to pray for a solution to the oil spill and for citizens impacted by the disaster.

Alabama's Bob Riley, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, Mississippi's Haley Barbour and Texas' Rick Perry all issued proclamations calling on prayer for the spill, which entered its 66th day Thursday.

"Throughout our history, Alabamians have humbly turned to God to ask for His blessings and to hold us steady during times of struggle. This is certainly one of those times," Riley said in a statement.

Riley's proclamation reads in part, "Citizens of Alabama are urged to pray for the well-being of our fellow citizens and our State, to pray for all those in other states who are hurt by this disaster, to pray for those who are working to respond to this crisis, and to pray that a solution that stops the oil leak is completed soon."

Perry's proclamation says it "seems right and fitting that the people of Texas should join with their fellow Gulf Coast residents" and others across the country and around the world "to thank God, seek his wisdom for ourselves and our leaders, and ask him for his merciful intervention and healing in this time of crisis."

Barbour's notes that the spill threatens the "livelihoods of our fellow citizens, the environmental beauty of our coast, and our quality of life." Jindals's says "Louisianians all across the world are united in hope for an end to this catastrophic event and pray for" the coast's recovery.

Jindal, in fact, participated in a prayer vigil earlier this week where, according to the Louisiana Famly Forum (Tony Perkins old haunt,) "intercessors" laid hands upon him:

Pastors Dino Rizzo, Apostle Lloyd Benson, Bishop Ricky Sinclair, Bishop Raymond Johnson, and Pastor Dennis Blackwell led in prayers for the bereaved families, for our government officials, for the environment, for the people and businesses of the Gulf Coast, and for solutions to this economic and environmental crisis.

And they were not alone, as Southern Baptist Convention is calling on churches and Christians "to pray for the end of this catastrophe and for the homes, lives, cultures, and livelihoods of those in the Gulf Coast region" while John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council "is working on a coordinated effort, and is asking believers and churches across America to unite in prayer for the Gulf this Sunday" and even Wallbuilders is "urging everyone across the nation to join with these states, asking for God's hand to be on all the decision-makers and lawmakers, that He would give them discernment and guidance, and that a solution would be forthcoming."

Interestingly, Wallbuilders' David Barton "drafted the prayer day proclamations for the governors to adapt."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Shockingly, the Religious Right opposes Elena Kagan.
  • The Maine ethics commission has rejected the National Organization for Marriage's request to have its investigation dismissed.
  • Does it seem odd that an out-of-state Republican group would spend $500K+ to get Green Party candidates on the ballot in Texas?
  • Giving Elliot Spitzer a TV show is just like giving O.J. Simpson a TV show.
  • Ralph Reed and Marco Rubio meet up in California.
  • Bryan Fischer continues his "all public policy should be based on the Bible" agenda by explaining that it is okay to make immigrants show their papers because Nehemiah had papers.
  • Attention potential spies:  Peter LaBarbera is on to you.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Joe.My.God: Texas GOP Platform Calls For Making It A Felony To Perform Gay Marriages.
  • Wonk Room: Texas Can’t Afford To Buy New Far-Right Textbooks, But Rick Perry Still Resists Federal Aid.
  • Alvin McEwen: Is the LGBT Community Plotting to Make Children 'Crossdress?' Of Course Not.
  • William Saletan: If it's OK to Reject Blood from Gay Men, What About Blacks?
  • Bruce Wilson: Leading Biblical Law Advocate "Jubilant" To Endorse Angle For Senate.
  • Iowa Independent: National Organization for Marriage heading to Iowa.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Janet Jenkins' attorney Jennifer Levi regarding the Liberty Counsel's continuing efforts to represent Lisa Miller in court despite the fact that she reportedly fled the country in order to avoid court orders: "It doesn’t make sense for a lawyer unable to communicate with a client to pursue very important issues at the appellate level. Clearly, they have a broader legal agenda in continuing this legal fight, which is all but dead."

Mike Huckabee: Schlafly, Robison, and Jokes About Gay Marriage

I am sure that by now you have seen posts about the profile on Mike Huckabee in the New Yorker in which he admits that his opposition to gay marriage stems, at least in part, to "the ick factor" while also joking that he'd be fully in support of gay marriage if his only choices were Nancy Pelos or Helen Thomas. Typical Huckabee.

Anyway, I want to focus on some of the other interesting nuggest contained in the piece, like this:

In her kitchen is a watercolor painting of a house surrounded by trees, with the words “To Janet Huckabee, 1995 full-time homemaker of the year, presented by the Eagle Forum and Phyllis Schlafly.”

The profile also looks at how Huckabee got his start back in 1970s working for right-wing evangelist James Robison:

In 1976, after college, Huckabee was enrolled at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Texas, when he came into contact with the televangelist James Robison. It was Robison who famously declared that he was “sick and tired of hearing about all of the radicals and the perverts and the liberals and the leftists and the Communists coming out of the closet,” and was ready “for God’s people to come out of the closet” and take back the nation. Despite Huckabee’s inclination toward a forgiving Christianity, Robison’s passion drew him in. He dropped out of seminary after one year to take a job as Robison’s director of communications.

“The way the Moral Majority movement was actually started was there was a rally that James Robison did in 1979 that I helped coördinate,” Huckabee said. “It was all because of the local television station in Dallas throwing him off the air, because, in a sermon that he preached on television, Robison said homosexuality is a sin. Think: 1979, it wasn’t really an outrageous statement. Anyway, they got some complaints and they told him he couldn’t be on television. Well, Texas? Are you kidding me?” More than ten thousand Christians came to a “Freedom Rally” at the Reunion Arena, in Dallas, to protest Robison’s expulsion. “There was this amazing energy coming up from these evangelical Christians,” Huckabee said. “I remember almost being frightened by it. If someone had gotten to the microphone and said, ‘Let’s go four blocks from here and take Channel 8 apart,’ that audience would’ve taken the last brick off the building.”

Today, the name Robison is almost unknown, but he is still around and active - in fact, the video I posted of Jim Garlow just last week was taken from an interview he did with Robison earlier this year.

Back in the Religious Right's heyday in the 1980s, Robison was a key leader and so this seems like a good time to repost this video we put together back in 2007 to provide a sense of just who Huckabee dropped out of seminary to follow: 

Lou Engle Supports The Criminalization of Homosexuality

Sarah Posner interviewed Lou Engle in an effort to try and understand's Engle's claims that he doesn't support Uganda's legislation that carries the death penalty for gays while supporting Uganda's effort to take a "principled stand" against the homosexual agenda.

And what she found out is that while Engle might not support the death penalty for gays, he certainly does support their criminialization:

[Engle] made absolutely clear that he supports the criminalization of homosexuality, believes there could be a biblical basis for a death penalty, that the United Nations has promoted the "homosexual agenda" to Uganda's detriment, and he lauded the bill's promoters' efforts to take a "principled stand" against that.


I pressed Engle to explain what he meant by a "principled stand" and a "principled bill." I asked him whether he supported a law that dealt with homosexuality in some way, and he stated that there needs to be "some kind of restraint from the homosexual agenda:"

Most definitely. For instance, the court case Lawrence v. Texas, is the court case that basically decriminalized homosexuality in the U.S. Everybody knew that when that bill passed, or when that court case shifted, then it opened the door for the legalization, for the definition, or the legalization of same-sex marriage, which is now rolling into America. We knew that. So I’ve always had -- yes, there needs to be a principled stand. There needs to be some kind of restraint from the homosexual agenda being able to roll over this, a nation that does not want it.


I pressed him about which penalties in the bill he didn't support -- and he did say that although he could see someone supporting the death penalty, he did not, and he did not support "hard labor" as punishment or the requirement that churches report LGBT people to the authorities. But when I asked him if he would support a bill with less harsh penalties, he added: 

My main thing is to keep -- is to not allow it to be legalized, so to speak, so then it just spreads through the legal system of the nation. So I’m not -- I’m not making a statement as to what I think the penalties should be. It’s not my job to do that. I do think, I do think that these leaders are trying to make at least some kind of statement that you’re not just going to spread the agenda without some kind of restraint, a legal restraint and punishment. And I don’t know what the line is on those, but I can’t go that far as I understand that bill already said. [emphasis mine]

Right Wing Round-Up

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