Texas

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The American Family Association will be webcasting the Values Voter Summit live - you can watch it here.
  • Several Religious Right groups have "delivered 20,000 petitions from Americans to the Republican leadership in Congress demanding that it feature family values in its soon-to-be-released legislative agenda."
  • Some rare good news: people don't think that Glenn Beck should be in a position as a religious leader.
  • The insanity regarding Texas textbooks just never stops.
  • Mike Huckabee has endorsed Rand Paul.
  • Rob Schenck and Pat Mahoney secured all the copies of the Koran that Terry Jones intended to burn and transported them back to Washington, DC for safe-keeping.
  • The Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation has changed its name to the "Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network."
  • Marco Rubio teams up with David Barton.
  • The new head of the Idaho Values Alliance doesn't want to talk about Bryan Fischer.
  • Finally, I have to say that all of the revelations about Christine O'Donnell that are coming out are not really all that surprising.  After all, what do you expect from someone who worked at Concerned Women for America, which was founded by a woman who believes that "Christian values should dominate our government. The test of those values is the Bible. Politicians who do not use the Bible to guide their public and private lives do not belong in office."

Right Wing Leftovers

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.

Religion and Politics at Beck's Nonpolitical Event

It may seem too obvious to be said, but let’s say it. Beck’s claim that his event was nonpolitical doesn’t pass the smell test, the laugh test, or any other test. He picked Sarah Palin to speak just because she’s a military mom, not because she’s the darling of the Tea Party movement, right? 

Alveda King, who invoked “Uncle Martin” repeatedly with her own “I have a dream” speech (let’s just say his version’s place in history is secure), used her remarks to press two of her major political projects, criminalizing abortion and denying equality to gay and lesbian Americans, decrying that “the procreative foundation of marriage is being threatened, and the wombs of our mothers have become places where the blood of our children is shed in a womb war that threatens the fabric of our society.” King said we will know we have arrived “when prayer is once again welcomed in the public squares of America and in our schools,” which is standard Religious Right rhetoric. 

Beck says God led him away from a political message to a focus on faith, hope, and charity. Beck’s faith award went to Pastor C.L. Jackson, whose long ministry as a preacher is only part of his record. Jackson is also a Republican Party activist. A Texas Freedom Network report described him as “Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s point man in drawing African-American voters in Houston.” In 2004, Jackson bragged to Tavis Smiley about having helped deliver those votes to Perry and pledged to do the same for George W. Bush in Louisiana, Alabama, and Ohio. Among the reasons he cited were “family values” and same-sex marriage. In June of that year, Jackson hosted a Juneteenth celebration featuring Perry and David Barton, whose Christian-nation view of history is getting a huge new audience thanks to Beck. 
 
Jackson’s praise for Beck was remarkable. He called him “servant of God, son of God, Glenn Beck,” and said “God sent his son to this earth so that we could all gather, and I think that’s the dream and the vision of Glenn Beck.” He seemingly compared Beck to Jesus when, telling the story of the woman who washed Jesus’ feet , he urged the audience to “pray, give the best you have for a young man named Glenn Beck.”
 
Rabbi Daniel Lapin, reportedly a pal of Karl Rove and Tom Delay, is another strange choice for a non-political event.  (His record of funneling money through his nonprofit foundation to aid his buddy Abramoff may also make him an odd choice for an event devoted to honor.) Lapin, long the Religious Right’s favorite rabbi, was on stage at both the Friday night “Divine Destiny” event and along with a small group of other religious figure, helping to give the event a veneer of religious pluralism.
 
In the clumsiest effort to give a nod to religious pluralism, a speaker at Renewing Honor followed a song promoting unity by saying, “we are Americans and we stand together, black, white, Jew, Gentile, together in unity as one strong group of people, Americans today in the name of Christ.”

Glenn Beck and God are ready to rock

Right Wing Watch has been watching the recent morphing of Glenn Beck from political hatchet man into messianic religious figure. That self-transformation continued at America’s Divine Destiny, the Friday night warm-up to Beck’s Lincoln Memorial rally. The three-hour program at the Kennedy Center for the Arts combined gospel music, patriotic songs, and speeches about the need for spiritual renewal in America.

It is impossible to overstate Beck’s assessment of the importance of his events. Toward the beginning of Divine Destiny, he stated , “this is the beginning of the end of darkness. We have been in darkness a long time.”  Saturday’s rally, he said, would be a “defibrillator to the spiritual heart of America.” Near the end of the program, he emphatically declared, “We are 12 hours away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America. It has nothing to do with this city or politics, it has everything to do with God Almighty.”
 
Beck’s co-host for the evening event was David Barton, the Religious Right “historian” who has
made a career promoting his theory that America was founded as a “Christian nation.” Beck is clearly enamored of Barton, having recently called him “the most important man in America.” Beck introduced Barton to the Divine Destiny audience as “the best man I know.”
 
Barton’s primary role at tonight’s event was to tell stories and wave copies of old books and sermons to make the case that the nation’s founding documents were cribbed from Christian sermons, and that Jewish and Christian leaders have since the nation’s founding banded together to fight those who would secularize America.   Barton referred to the conflict with the Barbary pirates in the early 19th century as the first time “we had Muslims targeting us.”
 
For anyone who has followed Barton’s long career as a propagandist for the Republican Party in Texas and nationally, his Christian nation rhetoric was no surprise. But it was nothing short of breathtaking to hear Barton repeating “that’s right” when Beck said that “religion and politics must not mix.” 
 
Beck asserted more than once that the weekend was not a political event, no matter what his cynical critics said. That assertion is laughable given the relentlessly political nature of his television show and Barton’s entire career, not to mention Beck’s reliance on the Tea Party movement to turn out attendees for his rally.   Among the other speakers was Rabbi Daniel Lapin, a fixture at Religious Right political events, and college professor Dr. Patrick Lee, who argued that America has no right to alter the “objective” definition of marriage.
 
The closing prayer was given by Pastor John Hagee, whose accepted-and-then-rejected endorsement of John McCain became an embarrassment to the candidate in 2008. Among the nation’s sins for which Hagee asked forgivness was that “under the banner of pluralism we have embraced and worshipped the gods of this world.” Hagee said that scripture commands us to pray for the nation’s leaders, and he prayed that God would lead us “out of this politically correct moral fog” and back to the righteousness of our forefathers by lifting up godly leaders and removing the not-so-godly from office. A fitting send-off for this completely non-political event.
 
 

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Joseph Farah continues his feud with Ann Coulter.
  • Peter LaBarbera is now very upset with Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
  • Stephen Prothero wonders why Mormons like Mitt Romney haven't been speaking out on behalf of Muslims regarding Park 51.
  • Newt Gingrich will apparently not be participating in the 9/11 rally against Park 51.
  • Alan Keyes really doesn't like Glenn Beck.
  • I just might have to pick up the book "Jesus and Gin: Evangelicalism, the Roaring Twenties and Today's Culture Wars" because it sounds pretty interesting.

Perfectly Exposing The Utter Hypocrisy At the Heart of The Right's Anti-Mosque Crusade

You have to give Bob Allen and Associated Baptist Press credit for this tremendous article which so perfect exposes the hypocrisy that Religious Right leaders keep offering up as they seek to justify their fight against the "Ground Zero Mosque" - leaders like Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission: 

"I take a back seat to no one when it comes to religious freedom and religious belief and the right to express that belief, even beliefs that I find abhorrent," said Land, the denomination's top representative on moral, ethical and religious-liberty concerns. "But what I don't do is I don't say that religious freedom means that you have the right to build a place of worship anywhere that you want to build them."

Land cited a 1997 Supreme Court ruling that upheld the right of officials in Boerne, Texas, to refuse permission for a Catholic parish to expand its building in a district designated for historic preservation.

But Land's group actually opposed much of the Supreme Courts majority's reasoning in the City of Boerne v. Flores decision at the time as too restrictive of religious liberty -- and Land heavily criticized the decision. The ERLC -- then known as the SBC Christian Life Commission -- joined a friend-of-the-court brief filed by a broad coalition of religious and civil-liberties organizations that urged the court to decide the case very differently than it ended up doing.

In 1998, Land testified before Congress in favor of a bill -- the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act -- that restored much of what the Supreme Court gutted in the ruling. In his testimony, he said, "I believe that the Boerne decision is one of the worst decisions rendered by the Supreme Court in its long history."

He added, "You cannot treat a church or a mosque or a synagogue the same way you treat a bowling alley or a used-car dealership. This Supreme Court said, 'Yes you can.' That is outrageous and dangerous."

So, let me get this straight: Land railed against the Supreme Court's decision and strongly supported the passage of RLUIPA, which was designed to remedy that very SCOTUS decision, and even testified before Congress in support of the legislation ... yet he is now citing the original SCOTUS decision, which he called "one of the worst decisions rendered by the Supreme Court in its long history," to justify his opposition to the "Ground Zero Mosque"?  

Is that doesn't perfectly encapsulate the hypocrisy at the heart of the Religious Right's crusade against his building, I don't know what does. 

First Amendment Rights Are For Christians Only!

Earlier this week we noted that Flip Benham and members of Operation Save America had been targeting mosques for protests, screaming that "Jesus hates Muslims" and declaring "this is a war in America and we are taking it to the mosques around the country."

Even though the group is based in Texas, it has chosen to target mosques in Connecticut and Muslim leaders in the state are holding a press conference today to discuss the attacks: 

The Muslim Coalition of Connecticut and other organizations are hosting a press conference and rally at 3 p.m. today (Friday) on the north side (Bushnell Park side) of the State Capitol.

The gathered hope to address recent outbreaks of Islamophobia in Connecticut, as well as the rest of the country. During Islam's holy month of Ramadan, Muslims have asked for police protection so that they can go to their mosques to pray in this state.

And so, of course, Operation Save America is responding by accusing Muslims of violating their First Amendment rights

In an unprecedented move, Muslim leaders in Connecticut are staging a press conference in Hartford this afternoon, to plead with legislators to censor the Gospel of Christ from the public forum around mosques.

That's right! They are using their own potential for violence to silence the Gospel of Christ. Gentle Christian saints will be conducting a press conference on the public sidewalk in front of the Bridgeport Islamic Center, aka Mafjid An-Noor Mosque in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Truth is hate to those who hate the truth.

Islam is not a religion, nor a cult, but a total and complete 100 % system of life. It has religious, legal, political, economic, social, and military components. In all of the 27 countries ruled by Islam, the church is the state! No other religion will be tolerated.

"Islam presents a monstrous worldview, birthed in the pit of hell, which brings untold misery and murder upon precious people created in the image of God. Religion is its cover (its beard) by which it gains entrance into nations where the 'freedom of religion' is sacrosanct. It then takes this freedom afforded to it, and begins its insidious takeover." Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Save America.

In essence, Benham is upset that Muslim leaders are exercising their First Amendment free speech rights in defense of their First Amendment religious freedoms because doing so represents a threat to his First Amendment right to scream that Jesus hates them.

Right Wing Round-Up

LaBarbera's Conference Overrun By Spies

Back in June, when Peter LaBarber announced his three day anti-gay "Truth Academy," he made it clear that those who did not share his anti-gay views or agenda would not be welcome and that he would actively be screening applicants: 

This is a rigorous, 3-day program featuring some of the leading pro-family experts on homosexuality in the Culture War. Prospective attendees will need to be approved with references; this is not open to pro-homosexual activists but only to those who share AFTAH’s belief that homosexuality is immoral and that the GLBT movement is destructive to America and a direct threat to our religious freedom.

So how did that work out?

Well, Truth Wins Out got someone inside who provided audio recordings and Hemant Mehta (aka “The Friendly Atheist”) likewise had two sources inside who have provided an exhaustive recounting of the conference - one of Mehta's sources actually struck up a discussion with another attendee, only to find out that that person was also there as a spy. 

Now that spy, Timna Axel, has written her own long piece providing an inside view of the conference:

Reading Bible passages that describe God's strictly heterosexual design for marriage, Professor Rena Lindevaldsen of Liberty University traced a history of court cases which systematically de-linked procreation from marriage.

"I firmly believe we got to where we are today because we as a nation strayed from God's standard," she said. In her view, the last U.S. Supreme Court case which correctly described marriage was Murphy v. Ramsey, a case on polygamy decided 125 years ago. Decrying Lawrence v. Texas, which protected citizen privacy from anti-sodomy laws, Prof. Lindevaldsen admitted that she didn't want "the government peeking into my bedroom." However, privacy in this case should be sacrificed because "laws normalize conduct."

While anti-gay federal laws would merely discourage bad conduct, pro-gay federal laws would effectively criminalize Christianity, according to LaBarbera, who cited the cases of Canada and England. In his example, laws which prohibit renters from discriminating based on sexual orientation would make it illegal to fulfill the Christian ideology.

This scriptural keystone explains the absolute inability of these believers to compromise on gay marriage. "Sexual sin is sexual sin," asserted LaBarbera. "The truth is the truth." To budge one inch for domestic partnerships or civil unions is moral cowardice, and would open the floodgates for normalizing other sexual sins such as adultery and incest.

LaBarbera hailed his conference as a "tremendous success," but its becoming clear that a significant number of the 50 or so people LaBarbera claims attended were really there as undercover spies.

Interesting, LaBarbera is also offering DVDs and CDs from the conference ... but who needs to waste money on them when we are getting so much inside coverage of the event from the countless spies in attendance?

Right Wing Round-Up

Random Book Blogging: How Chuck Pierce Helped Capture Saddam Hussein

Another episode of Random Book Blogging, again from Chuck Pierce's "The Future War of the Church: How We Can Defeat Lawlessness and Bring God's Order to the Earth" as Pierce explains how he, Dutch Sheets, and a group of prophetic intercessors helped capture Saddam Hussein.

On December 9, 2003, Pierce and Sheets were in Texas as part of a "50 State Tour" to uncover the hidden structures that are ruling each state.  As Pierce was praying, the Lord spoke to him:

The Lord then showed me a nest of snake eggs. He said "There are four snake eggs that are lying in wait, and from this state I am giving you the power tonight to crush those snake eggs. In this state tonight, you will be able to decree to Babylon that the strongman that has not been found will now be found in the next seven days."

Then Pastor Dutch said "Expose him. We declare exposure. We declare the eggs are being crushed under our feet in Jesus' name. Under our feet, under our feet, under our feet. Break it! We say witchcraft is broken that hides him in Jesus' name."

Members of the local pastoral leadership and the national military agreed with the prophetic decree. Pastor Darrell Feemster declared that the Fourth Infantry Division from San Antonino would be blessed to bring down the spirit of Babylon and to raise up a Christian nation in Iraq. Greg Jackson, a representative of the military, proclaimed "As a witness to this prophetic word in this house, as a representative of the Armed Forces in the state of Texas, I declare in the name of the Lord, it shall be!"

A roar went up from the crowd. That roar entered the atmosphere and, I believe, traveled by the Spirit of God all the way to Iraq ... Troops from the Fourth Infantry went in and found Saddam Hussein three days later! Even though many were praying around the world, I believe it takes corporate gatherings at times to express God's purpose in the earth. I could see why God had wanted this revelation decreed in San Antonino, Texas.

Stay tuned tomorrow for another episode of Random Book Blogging, as Pierce explains how his prayers for Turkey resulted in a massive earthquake that killed thousands.

Operation Save America Takes Anti-Islam Ideology To Its Logical Conclusion

The New York Times reports that protests against mosques are popping up all over the country, spurred on at least in part by the right-wing opposition to the "Ground Zero Mosque."

So I guess this sort of thing should not come as a surprise:

About a dozen right-wing Christians, carrying placards and yelling "Islam is a lie," angrily confronted worshippers outside a Fairfield Avenue mosque Friday.

"Jesus hates Muslims," they screamed at worshippers arriving at the Masjid An-Noor mosque to prepare for the holy week of Ramadan. One protester shoved a placard at a group of young children leaving the mosque. "Murderers," he shouted.

Police arrived on the scene to separate the groups, but said no arrests were made.

Flip Benham, of Dallas, Texas, organizer of the protest, was yelling at the worshipers with a bullhorn.

"This is a war in America and we are taking it to the mosques around the country," he said.

Muslim leaders in Connecticut are concerned that such protests will only escalate as Ramadan approaches and are now seeking police protection.

As it turns out Benham and his Operation Save America have been protesting Islam and all other religions for years now.  And until recently, OSA was a fringe group advocating an extremist right wing view.

Today, they are advocating that exact same view ... only it has now become the mainstream conservative view. 

Right Wing Round-Up

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.

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