Right Wing Round-Up

  • Our latest Right Wing Watch In Focus is now on-line: "Right Wing Attacks on Sotomayor Gain Little Traction."
  • Alvin McEwen explains why people should care about Paul Cameron's shoddy research and his influence on the Religious Right.
  • Good As You points out that Maggie Gallagher seems to have a history of inaccuracy.
  • Glen Beck gets more ridiculous by the day.
  • The Texas Freedom Network reports that FOX News aired a piece on the growing controversy over revising social studies curriculum standards in Texas and, of course, got it wrong.
  • Finally, in today's Birther news: G. Gordon Liddy says that not only was President Obama not born in America, he's actually an "illegal alien" while Alex Koppleman thoroughly debunks the central premise of Liddy's argument. Elsewhere, David Weigel reports that John McCain's presidential campaign looked into the allegations and dismissed them as baseless, while Lou Dobbs continues to discuss the issue despite the fact that CNN President Jon Klein has been telling Dobbs' staff to knock it off and now the Southern Poverty Law Center is calling on CNN to remove him from that air.

Sen. Inhofe, C Street, and the "Jesus Thing"

Jeff Sharlet, author of "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power" is an expert on "The Family" and his expertise has become even more valuable in recent weeks as the various infidelities of Gov. Mark Sanford, Sen. John Ensign, and former Rep. Chip Pickering have exploded in the news, as all have deep ties to the organization and its house on C Street.

Today, he has a piece in Salon about these men and numerous other powerful political figures and their ties to this secretive organization:

Today's roll call is just as impressive: Men under the Family's religio-political counsel include, in addition to Ensign, Coburn and Pickering, Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham, both R-S.C.; James Inhofe, R-Okla., John Thune, R-S.D., and recent senators and high officials such as John Ashcroft, Ed Meese, Pete Domenici and Don Nickles. Over in the House there's Joe Pitts, R-Penn., Frank Wolf, R-Va., Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., and John R. Carter, R-Texas. Historically, the Family has been strongly Republican, but it includes Democrats, too. There's Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, for instance, a vocal defender of putting the Ten Commandments in public places, and Sen. Mark Pryor, the pro-war Arkansas Democrat responsible for scuttling Obama's labor agenda. Sen. Pryor explained to me the meaning of bipartisanship he'd learned through the Family: "Jesus didn't come to take sides. He came to take over." And by Jesus, the Family means the Family.

... I met the younger Coe when I lived for several weeks as a member of the Family. He's a surprising source of counsel, spiritual or otherwise. Attempting to explain what it means to be chosen for leadership like King David was -- or Mark Sanford, according to his own estimate -- he asked a young man who'd put himself, body and soul, under the Family's authority, "Let's say I hear you raped three little girls. What would I think of you?" The man guessed that Coe would probably think that he was a monster. "No," answered Coe, "I wouldn't." Why? Because, as a member of the Family, he's among what Family leaders refer to as the "new chosen." If you're chosen, the normal rules don't apply.

The entire thing is fascinating and worth reading, but I was particularly interested in Sharlet's explanation of how the organization regularly funds junkets overseas for its members that are, in essence, missionary trips:

M]ost of the trips sponsored by the Family aren't pleasure junkets. They're missionary work. Only the Family missionaries aren't representing the United States. They're representing "Jesus plus nothing," as Doug Coe puts it ... when they arrive in other countries, on trips paid for by the Family, at the behest of the Family, they are still traveling under official government auspices, on official business, with the pomp and circumstance -- and access -- of their taxpayer-funded, elected positions.

Considering that Sen. Jim Inhofe is reportedly a member of the organization as well, this goes a long way toward explaining this video we posted earlier this year in which he bragged to Faith and Action's Rob Schenck about this missionary trips through which he uses his standing as a US Senator to bring people to Jesus:

In fact, in this video posted today by Faith and Action’s Rob Schenck, it sounds an awful like Inhofe is using these trips for exactly that purpose, as he relates how, before his first trip to Africa, he found out that his daughter was also going to be there doing missionary work and told her that “if you go with me, it’s free.” He also explains that the trips are part of the “politics of Jesus” whereby Christians are instructed to take the name of Jesus to the kings. Being a US Senator, Inhofe says, means Africans think he is important and so he can always get in to see the kings, where he can tell them that he has come “in the spirit of Jesus.” Inhofe even holds up a copy of the Oklahoman featuring the above-mentioned article to defend himself, saying the article is an example of “persecution” and insisting that he is doing this work as a private citizen before trumpeting the fact that, through his work, he has managed to bring entire African villages to Jesus.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Jim Burroway finds Scott Lively claiming that "we’re going to suffer some kind of infrastructure collapse in this society because of the failure of moral culture, and that Christians have a responsibility to continue to oppose this disintegration." This sounds a lot like the claims made earlier this week by the Maine Family Policy Council.
  • Think Progress: Bush Department of Justice blacklisted applicants from LGBT, immigrant advocacy groups?
  • David Weigel reports that even thought Marco Rubio’s fundraising has lagged behind Charlie Crist’s by a 10 to one margin, he's not planning on dropping out of the Senate race.
  • The Texas Freedom Network continues to cover the recommendations from the social studies “experts” helping revise curriculum standards for Texas public schools, including Peter Marshal who declares "We’re in an all-out moral and spiritual civil war for the soul of America, and the record of American history is right at the heart of it."
  • Alan Colmes declares Catherine Crabill his "Wingnut Of The Day" - and for good reason.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The New York Times examines the factors at work behind Sarah Palin's sudden resignation.
  • Mike Huckabee says its unfair to call Palin a "quitter" while predicting that Mark Sanford's political career is over.
  • The ACLU is taking a look at Sally Kern's "proclamation for morality."
  • Rick Scarborough has found a new crusade: Obama's various czars, which he complains "are unelected and unaccountable [and] have too much money and power, and are remaking America in ways none of us could have imagined."
  • Jesse Lee Peterson lambastes Michael Jackson's memorial service saying it was all "about unrealistically lifting up a black Michael as the 'king' in order to lift up blacks, and, in so doing, lowering the value of the hated white man."
  • Personhood advocates claim their movement is gaining momentum.
  • Ted Cruz, who is running for Texas Attorney General, unveils a list of endorsements and backers [PDF] that includes, Cathie Adams of the President of Texas Eagle Forum, Kelly Shackelford of the Free Market Foundation, Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ, David Barton of Wallbuilders, Tim Goeglein of Focus on the Family Action and many other right-wing figures.
  • Finally, Harry Jackson, Niger Innis, Dr. William Owens, Sr, Bishop Dale Bronner and Pastor Terry Millender have penned a letter to President Obama urging him to fight the "disintegration of marriage" by saving DOMA and opposing marriage equality:
  • Changing the definition of marriage will have many unintended consequences, which will hurt generations to come. If one redefines marriage, then the family is redefined. If the family is redefined then the nature of parenting must also be redefined.

    “We are concerned that an attempt to recognize and adjust to one group’s sense of alienation may actually confuse future generations of children about their sexuality and blur lines of responsibility in our families. The very definitions of motherhood and fatherhood may be unnecessarily challenged in years to come.

    “Same-sex marriage is not a civil right. The laws enacted by Congress during a century of struggle for equal rights for African Americans were intended to eliminate discrimination on the basis of race, not on the basis of an individual’s sexual preferences or personal behavior.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Mike Huckabee will be kicking off the Values Voter Summit.
  • The GOP does not have a lot of celebrity supporters, so I really, really hope  that it makes good use of Victoria Jackson.
  • I'm pretty sure that most of the Young Cons' "success" - as measured by YouTube views - has come from people who are mocking them.
  • The Birther movement in Congress is picking up more supporters.
  • Apparently, today was National "Stop S. 909" Day whereby the Religious Right mobilized to oppose hate crimes legislation. Strangely, outside of this one article, I could find no evidence that these groups were actually doing any mobilizing.
  • Bishop Jackson says he'll soon be filing paperwork to launch a voter initiative, similar to California's Proposition 8, that would affirm marriage between a man and a woman in DC.
  • Pat Mahoney and Rob Schenck delivered their official prayer ahead of Sonia Sotomayor's hearing.
  • Charlie Crist has massively out-raised his primary rival, and darling of the social conservatives, Marco Rubio.
  • Gary Bauer continues to insist that Sarah Palin's decision to suddenly resign was a brilliant move.
  • The House of Representatives voted 399-1 for the Capitol Visitors Center to have a plaque acknowledging the role of slave labor in the construction of the Capitol. The one "no" vote came from Rep. Steve King (R-IA) who insists he did so in order to protect America's Judeo-Christian heritage.
  • Finally, who ever could have ever predicted that putting David Barton and other religious-right ideologues on the panel of experts responsible for setting Texas schools' social studies curriculum would lead to them asserting that civil rights leaders like César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall are given too much attention?

From Bad to Worse In Texas

The Texas Freedom Network was tireless in exposing Don McLeroy, Gov. Rick Perry's choice to serve as chair of the Texas State Board of Education, and chronicling his hearings and ultimate rejection by the state Senate.

But now TFN reports that Perry's choice of replacement is even worse, pointing to this San Antonio Express-News article:

Critics who engineered the recent ouster of State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy, in part because of his strong religious beliefs, could end up with someone even more outspoken in her faith.

Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, who advocated more Christianity in the public square last year with the publication of her book, One Nation Under God, is among those that Gov. Rick Perry is considering to lead the State Board of Education, some of her colleagues say.


In a book published last year, Dunbar argued the country’s founding fathers created “an emphatically Christian government” and that government should be guided by a “biblical litmus test.” She endorses a belief system that requires “any person desiring to govern have a sincere knowledge and appreciation for the Word of God in order to rightly govern.”

Also in the book, she calls public education a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.”

The establishment of public schools is unconstitutional and even “tyrannical,” she wrote, because it threatens the authority of families, granted by God through Scripture, to direct the instruction of their children.

Dunbar home-schooled her own children.

TFN provides more background:

Dunbar has clearly expressed her loathing for public education in her book One Nation Under God, calling public schools a “tool of perversion,” “unconstitutional” and “tryannical.” She has also personally rejected the public school system, home-schooling her children. In fact, she wrote in her book that sending our children to public schools is “throwing them into the enemy’s flames even as the children of Israel threw their children to Moloch.”

Just before the November election, Dunbar also authored a vicious Internet rant in which she called Barack Obama a terrorist sympathizer who wants to seize total power by declaring martial law. In another Internet screed, she charged that Obama is promoting Marxism by calling for “shared sacrifice and social responsibility.”

Perry apparently thinks that someone who homeschooled her own children because public schools are  "tool of perversion" is perfectly suited to being placed in charge of the Texas school system.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Think Progress fact checks the Right's smear campaign against Kevin Jennings and GLSEN is seeking signatures on its letter to US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in support of his appointment.
  • Jim Burroway reports that Paul Cameron makes an appearance in Sacha Baron Cohen’s upcoming "Bruno" movie.
  • Pam Spaulding highlights Ken Hutcherson claiming that Barack Obama has no "black experience."
  • Good As You catches Maggie Gallagher twittering that her National Organization for Marriage will be opening a DC office.
  • Karen Tumulty notes that Sarah Palin seems to have a history of quitting things (and does so with a cleverly titled post.)
  • Finally, the new issue of AU's Church and State contains a good cover story on David Barton written by Rob Boston.

More Right Wing Rallies Cropping Up

Earlier this week, I wrote about a series of upcoming "Winning Matters" conferences, a project of the Family Foundation of Virginia and its affiliated Pastors For Family Values, featuring Harry Jackson, Jonathan Falwell, Mat Staver, and Rick Scarborough designed to activate "values voters" in Virginia ahead of the state's off-year elections.

Today we learned that there is another, apparently somewhat affiliated, series of similar rallies taking place featuring many of these same people, but operating under the name Hope for America, which is a project of Jody Hice's Let Freedom Ring Ministries. Several rallies are scheduled for the coming weeks, mostly in Virginia, and likewise featuring Staver, Scarborough, Falwell, and even Zell Miller.

Last night one was held in Roanoke and, judging by the press coverage, it was pretty much what you'd expect for a rally organized by right-wing groups and featuring right-wing speakers like Staver and Scarborough:

The war for the soul and the government of America needs more Christian soldiers.

That was the message delivered Thursday night to about 100 attendees of the "Hope for America Rally" at Penn Forest Worship Center in Southwest Roanoke County.

"America is on the verge of destruction," the Rev. Rick Scarborough told the crowd in a booming Baptist sermon.

"You, beloved, are the hope," he said.

Scarborough is a well-known Texas minister and conservative political activist with ties to the late Rev. Jerry Falwell and several key Republican lawmakers.

In 1992, the firebrand evangelist waged a high-profile battle over sex education in Texas schools and has written several books arguing against the separation of church and state.

Mathew Staver, dean of the Liberty University School of Law, also spoke.

Sponsored by Atlanta, Ga.-based Let Freedom Ring, Thursday's rally was the first of several that are planned across Virginia. Others have been held in or are scheduled to be held in North Carolina and Georgia. Scarborough is expected to speak at many of them.

Let Freedom Ring is affiliated with Jody Hice, a pastor and conservative Christian radio personality in Atlanta and an adherent to the "Christian worldview."

Let Freedom Ring preaches that America was founded by Christian leaders and that the country's freedoms are based on biblical precepts. In its view secular values, such as the separation of church and state, abortion rights, radical feminism and gay rights, have spurred a moral and political decline that Christians must battle, not just in the pews, but in the political sphere.


Aaron Evans, a former Fox News radio producer from Martinsville, organized the Roanoke rally with help from The Family Foundation and other conservative Christian groups.

Scarborough preached to the crowd about the dangers of loosening sexual mores. He warned that gay rights legislation could be used to silence pastors who preach that homosexuality is a sin.

"In my lifetime, we have gone from 'Ozzie and Harriet' and 'Leave it to Beaver' ... to 'Sex in the City' and 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.'

"We've gone from spin the bottle to hooking up in the eighth grade," he said.

But, Scarborugh preached, "this nation can be saved if pastors would just understand how much God wants to save it."

This reminds me a lot of the "70 Weeks to Save America" crusade Scarborugh tried to launch a few years back that never amounted to much after his key partner, Alan Keyes, decided to run for president and Vision America ran into financial trouble. 

Apparently, this time around, Scarborough has realized that if he wants this done right, he should let somebody else organize it.

AU has more on this rally.

Broadway Baptist Gets The Boot

Yesterday I wrote a post noting that as Southern Baptist Convention gathered for its annual meeting where it would, among other things, try to figure out how to reverse its declining membership, it was simultaneously considering a recommendation to kick Broadway Baptist Church out of the SBC due to the fact that the church was too welcoming of gays.

Well, the vote has been taken and Broadway has been given the boot:

With no discussion, Southern Baptist Convention messengers Tuesday approved a recommendation to cease the denomination's relationship with Broadway Baptist Church, a Fort Worth, Texas, congregation that has been the source of controversy over its stance on homosexuality.

The recommendation from the Executive Committee passed on the floor nearly unanimously, capping a focus on the church that began last year when a messenger made a motion asking that the convention declare Broadway Baptist as not "in friendly cooperation" with the denomination.

At issue was whether the church was in violation of Article III of the SBC constitution, which states that churches "which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior" are not in friendly cooperation. Broadway Baptist has approximately five open homosexual members, including two male couples, according to church members. Some of the homosexuals serve on church committees.


Stephen, Wilson, a member of the Executive Committee and vice president for academic affairs at Mid-Continent University, emphasized to Baptist Press that the denomination encourages churches to reach out to people struggling with homosexuality. The issue with Broadway Baptist, though, is over a church allowing members who are homosexual and unrepentant, he said.


Boosting Membership By Thinning the Flock?

Yesterday I saw an article reporting that as the Southern Baptist Convention gathered for its annual meeting, one of its key priorities was how to "boost flagging membership and baptism rates."

If I may offer a suggestion, one easy way not to lose members is to avoid kicking out a church for being insufficiently hostile to gays, as the SBC is now considering:

The Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee recommended in a unanimous vote Monday afternoon that the denomination cease its relationship with Broadway Baptist Church, a Fort Worth, Texas, congregation that has been the source of controversy over its stance on homosexuality.

The Executive Committee's recommendation will be considered by SBC messengers during the annual meeting Tuesday or Wednesday.

At issue is whether the church is in violation of Article III of the SBC Constitution, which states that churches "which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior" are not in friendly cooperation. Broadway Baptist has approximately five open homosexual members, including two male couples, according to church leaders. Some of the homosexuals serve on church committees.

The controversy over the church began last year when the question arose as to whether the homosexual couples should be pictured in a church directory. In the end, the church voted 294-182 to publish a directory without family portraits but with candid shots of members involved in various ministries and activities.


Stephen Wilson, a member of the Executive Committee and vice president for academic affairs at Mid-Continent University, emphasized to Baptist Press that the denomination encourages churches to reach out to people struggling with homosexuality. The issue with Broadway Baptist, though, is over a church allowing members who are homosexual and unrepentant.

"If churches are ministering to homosexuals, they are doing nothing more than what our own convention's task force has asked us to do," Wilson told Baptist Press. "But in Broadway's case … the church was in effect saying that it was OK to have members who are open homosexuals."

The Executive Committee's recommendation says that the committee "recommends that the cooperative relationship between the Convention and the church cease, and that the church's messengers not be seated, until such time as the church unambiguously demonstrates its friendly cooperation with the Convention under Article III."

Apparently the controversy began back in 2007over the idea of including gay couples in the membership directly and then expanded to include several other issues, leading to pastor to resign in mid-2008.

For it's part, Broadway insists that "has never taken any church action to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior" but members of the Executive Committee don't seem to buy that defense and have now recommended booting the church from the Southern Baptist Convention.

If the SBC is looking for ways to stem is declining membership, ousting churches for not being anti-gay enough seems like an odd first step.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is officially running for governor of Texas.
  • Phyllis Schlafly explains why women are unhappy.  Short answer: feminism.
  • Peter LaBarbera, Matt Barber, Sally Kern, and others are hosting a press conference tomorrow with the intention of "drawing attention to Obama's emerging homosexual- and transsexual activist agenda."
  • Carrie Prejean seems to be fundamentally unable to live up to her commitments and has, as such, been fired from yet another job.
  • Wiley Drake is taking some time off from prayer for President Obama's death in order to take a lead role in organizing an "Official Tax Day TEA Party" on July 4.
  • Speaking of Drake, I somehow missed this quote about him from Richard Land: "Wiley Drake is far out of the mainstream, in fact he's in a drainage ditch somewhere."
  • Finally, here is the closing paragraph from Janet Porter's latest WND column: "This dictatorship must be stopped. And it must be stopped now. If we don't, we'll lose more than our strongest ally in the Middle East and the free market – we'll lose our lives." She is talking about President Obama.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Club for Growth has nominated Florida Gov. Charlie Crist for its Comrade of the Month Award for May. It's not meant as a compliment.
  • Speaking of Crist, Dennis Baxley has resigned his position as executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida in order to work full-time in promoting Marco Rubio, Crist's Republican primary opponent.
  • Promise Keepers is expanding its mission: "This event is going to honor women ... We’re going to honor the poor, the oppressed, and the needy. We’re going to honor the believing Jew."
  • Texas Governor Rick Perry has put his name on a fundraising letter for Grover Norquist's anti-tax group, Americans for Tax Reform, denouncing "an over-reaching liberal federal government."
  • Finally, Religion News Service reports that anti-marriage activists see ballot as their last hope for stopping the spread of marriage equality:
  • "The integrity of our most fundamental institutions is in question and needs to be in question," says Mike Heath, executive director of the Maine Family Policy Council, an evangelical Christian lobbying group.

    "I see our institutions as having become openly hostile (to religious views). They're responsive to the elite and moneyed interests that dominate our statehouse. ... The only hope here is the people."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Family Research Council has announced that Tony Perkins, Harry Jackson, Maggie Gallagher, and others would be gathering for an anti-marriage rally tomorrow in Albany, NY.
  • Sen. David Vitter says that his prospects of being re-elected in 2010 are "very good," despite the revelations that he had been involved with a prostitution ring.
  • The Christian Defense Coalition erected a 16 foot cross, the Star of David and a sacred symbol for the name of Jesus in front of the White House on Sunday, June 7 because "the group is troubled and finds hypocritical that President Obama would highlight religious liberty and freedom at his recent speech in Cairo, yet here in America he chooses to cover up Christian religious symbols and trample on religious liberty."
  • Only in Texas is Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a woman with a "near-perfect scores from anti-tax groups and the gun-rights lobby, and an 89.4 lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union [while] NARAL Pro-Choice America, which advocates abortion rights, has given her a zero the past four years, the same score she gets from gay-rights advocates," considered insufficiently conservative.
  • In its coverage of George Tiller's funeral, the Christian Post notes that the service was being protested by Westboro Baptist Church, which it calls "a virulent cult that has terrorized funerals across the nation."
  • Finally, David Brody has posted a CBN segment on the Reclaiming God in America Conference, featuring quotes from Mike Huckabee saying that the only reason Prop. 8 passed was because of prayer and Newt Gingrich saying he was "compelled to get back into the arena to take on the secular fanatics who are trying to destroy our relationship with God."

SBC Distances Itself From Drake and His Ravings

Over the last few days, former second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention has declared both that the murder of Dr. George Tiller was an answer to prayer and that he was likewise praying for the death of President Obama.

Today, the Southern Baptist Convention, not surprisingly, distanced itself from Drake's rantings:

A Southern Baptist Convention spokesman said June 4 that a former official who is praying for the death of President Obama is out of the denomination's mainstream.

Roger "Sing" Oldham, vice president for convention relations with the SBC Executive Committee, said he believes most Southern Baptists are committed to praying for the well-being of the president as instructed in Scripture.


Oldham told Associated Baptist Press that Drake is not a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention and his comments do not reflect the actions, resolutions or positions of the denomination.

"I think it is a fair statement to say that the vast majority of Southern Baptists are committed to praying for the well-being of the president in accordance with the specific instruction given in 1 Timothy 2:1-3," Oldham said, quoting: "First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior.'"

In semi-related news:

A black Southern Baptist pastor is asking his denomination to acknowledge the historic first of President Barack Obama's election, despite their policy differences.

The Rev. Dwight McKissic of Texas wants the resolution put to a vote at the annual Southern Baptist Convention. The meeting starts June 23 in Kentucky.

This is especially interesting considering that McKissic is himself a right-winger who, back in 2006, told the audience at the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit that the Anti-Christ would be gay:

The civil rights movement, he said, was grounded in moral authority, truth and righteousness, the impetus to freedom, constitutional authority, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In contrast, he said, the gay rights movement was inspired “from the pit of hell itself,” and has a “satanic anointment.” The gay rights movement was birthed and inspired by the anti-Christ. He suggested that the anti-Christ is himself gay, citing a verse from the book of Daniel saying the anti-Christ will have no desire for a woman.

“I don’t think there is any issue more important than how we are going to define the family,” said McKissic. Television shows portraying homosexuality in a positive light have put us “on the road to Sodom and Gomorrah,” and “God’s got another match…He didn’t run out of matches.”

Is The Right Suffering Collective Amnesia?

You really have to hand it to the Right: when it comes to hypocrisy, they seemingly know no limit.

Take this newest "Washington Update" from the Family Research Council demanding to know whether Sonia Sotomayor gave some sort of assurance to the White House about her views regarding reproductive choice:

In a 2007 debate, Obama said he "would not appoint somebody who doesn't believe in the right of privacy." After bobbing and weaving over the past few days, the White House now apparently believes it must make public its confidence that Sotomayor views abortion on demand as settled law. But that is exactly what Roe is not. The sweeping decision unsettled the nation's conscience in 1973 and caused a firestorm that continues to this very day.

It's imperative now that Judge Sotomayor address how the White House obtained its assurance about her views ... Does Sotomayor pick and choose what she regards as settled, and how and to whom did she give assurances?

If they are trying to gin up some sort of outrage, maybe first they could explain why, back in 2005, even before George Bush had nominated Harriet Miers, Karl Rove and others from the White House were explicitly reaching out to people like James Dobson to assure him that Miers opposed abortion:

Dobson also said he learned that President Bush was looking only for a woman to appoint to the position, which eliminated many of the top names that Washington observers had bandied about in the days leading up to Miers' nomination.

"But I was not gonna be the one to reveal this. I knew that people would eventually be aware of some of that information, but I didn't think I had the right to say it. And so, I made my comment," Dobson said.

"What did Karl Rove say to me that I knew on Monday that I couldn't reveal," Dobson explained. "Well, it's what we all know now, that Harriet Miers is an Evangelical Christian, that she is from a very conservative church, which is almost universally pro-life, that she had taken on the American Bar Association on the issue of abortion and fought for a policy that would not be supportive of abortion, that she had been a member of the Texas Right to Life."

"In other words, there is a characterization of her that was given to me before the President had actually made this decision," Dobson concluded.

It didn't work, ultimately, because the Right eventually forced Miers to withdraw based largely on its concerns about this very issue.

This sort of amnesia seems widespread, judging by this Bobby Eberle piece lamenting the fact that Republicans didn't put up a big enough fight to get Miguel Estrada confirmed:

If Judge Sotomayor is confirmed, she will be the first Hispanic to sit on the Supreme Court, and Obama, the media, and the left-wing establishment are making sure everyone knows it ... All of this talk sends a sad reminder to me of how things could have been had Republicans stood up and fought for Miguel Estrada, one of President Bush's first judicial nominees. Estrada would have been the first Hispanic to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The nomination was seen as a potential stepping stone for Estrada (not Sotomayor) to be the first Hispanic on the U.S. Supreme Court.

While it is quite possible that Estrada may have eventually ended up on the Supreme Court, this sort of finger-pointing and teeth-gnashing willingly ignores the fact that Bush wanted to name the first Hispanic to the Supreme Court by nominating Alberto Gonzales, but the Right would have none of it and essentially pre-emptively killed his nomination, as we chronicled in this report back in 2005:

Newsweek correctly states that “Gonzales is the only A-list contender who religious conservatives pledge, upfront, to fight.” The article quotes Tom Minnery of Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family saying outright about a potential Gonzales nomination: “We'd oppose him.”

In the same article, Manuel Miranda, head of the recently formed coalition of extreme conservative groups called the “Third Branch Conference” and a former Frist staffer fired for unethically reading internal Democratic judiciary staff communications, warned that a Gonzales nomination could doom the Republican Party in upcoming elections: “If the president is foolish enough to nominate Al Gonzales, what he will find is a divided base that will take it out on candidates in 2006.” Miranda went on to threaten retribution against Florida Governor Jeb Bush, if he decides to run for president. “We're not Republican patsies,” he said. “Jeb Bush can go sell insurance.”

The New York Times reported similar opposition to Gonzales: “Late last week, a delegation of conservative lawyers led by C. Boyden Gray and former Attorney General Edwin Meese III met with the White House chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., to warn that appointing Mr. Gonzales would splinter conservative support.”

Elsewhere in the article, the Times reported that Paul Weyrich was warning “administration officials that nominating Mr. Gonzales would fracture the president's conservative backers.” Weyrich also claimed to have held a conversation with Republican Party chairman Ken Mehlman to “let the administration know through whatever channels we have that Gonzales would be an unwise appointment because of the opposition of some of the groups.”

In the same article, Phyllis Schlafly, a longtime radical and extreme right leader, said “Bush was very clear, and certainly his constituents believed him, when he said he would appoint justices like Scalia and Thomas. We are not in favor of Gonzales.” One of the reasons for the intensity of the opposition to Gonzales is that the Right feels that they were betrayed by President Reagan with his nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor who was, according to Schlafly, “a terrible disappointment.”

The National Review made its opposition to a Gonzales nomination clear in an editorial entitled “No to Justice Gonzales”: “[The] president has to know that conservatives, his supporters in good times and bad, would be appalled and demoralized by a Gonzales appointment. It would place his would-be successors in the Senate in a difficult position, forcing them to choose between angering conservatives by voting for Gonzales and saying no to him. If Democrats attack Gonzales... conservatives will not rally to his defense.”

Robert Novak wrote a similar piece called “No, not Gonzales!”: “Gonzales long has been unacceptable to anti-abortion activists because of his record as a Texas Supreme Court justice. Beyond pro-lifers, he is opposed by organized conservative lawyers. Ironically, the same Bush supporters who have been raising money and devising tactics for the mother of all judicial confirmation fights are in a panic that Gonzales will be named. With the president's popularity falling among his conservative base as well as the general populace, a politically disastrous moment may be at hand.”

Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council also voiced his opposition to a Gonzales nomination during a recent appearance on MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country”: “I think what you would hear would be [what] sounds like slashing the tires of the conservative movement, because this has been a moment in time that has been anticipated for over a decade. And if there is someone who . . . appears along the same lines of an O’Connor, an unknown or someone who has a judicial philosophy that is less than a Scalia or Thomas, it`s a problem. There is no question about it.”

Targeting Sotomayor With Right Wing Myths

One thing that has always amazed me about the Right is its ability to discover obscure but outrageous anecdotes and quickly transform them into evidence that Christians and conservatives are under attack. 

Years ago, I remember reading an Ann Coulter column in which she related the sad tale of one Raymond Raines, who supposedly received a week's detention for simply praying before lunch in the school cafeteria.  The story hung around for years and was regularly trotted out by the likes of Newt Gingrich and David Limbaugh whenever it served their purposes, despite the fact that it was completely untrue.

Ever since then, I have been fascinated by how these stories pop up in right-wing news outlets and are immediately taken as gospel by the Right, which uses them to further their political agenda. 

As a prime example, take this new column by Sandy Rios, former president of Concerned Women for America, explaining why Sonia Sotomayor must be defeated:

It was Good Friday when the knock came on the door at the home of Pastor David Jones and his wife, Mary. San Diego County officials were hot on the trail of reportedly suspicious activities taking place inside the couple’s home each and every week.

Mrs. Jones, the co-conspirator, was interrogated vigorously. “Do you sing? Do you say ‘Praise the Lord?’ Do you say ‘amen?’” San Diegans can be relieved their county officials are in hot pursuit of major trouble makers. Especially on Good Friday. How could authorities possibly sit by and allow homes to be the centers of meal sharing and Bible Study in the midst of unsuspecting, at-risk neighbors?

The Joneses were warned that if they did not pay for an expensive Major Use Permit, normally used for the city to conduct studies on environmental impact, traffic patterns, etc., their weekly gatherings of 15 would have to stop. And if they did not stop, there would be escalating fines and “then it will get ugly.” Seems like it already has.

Meanwhile, down in Louisiana, a man was reportedly stopped by police and held for questioning and a background check for displaying the notoriously offensive “Don’t Tread on Me” bumper sticker. Christopher Gadsen, a Revolutionary War era general designed “Don’t Tread on Me” for a flag representing the need to defend America’s rights from tyranny. Ben Franklin loved the symbolism Gadsen used of the rattlesnake and the rebellion. Good thing Franklin wasn’t traveling in Louisiana, bearing that flag on his carriage, when those police were out to catch “right wing extremists.” Imagine … Homeland Security urging the nation’s law enforcement to protect the homeland from those who want to protect the homeland. Is there a category for that?

Or for that matter, for this: Debbie McLucas is a hospital supervisor at Kindred Hospital in Mansfield, Texas. Her husband and sons have all served in the military. Her daughter is currently stationed in Iraq as a combat medic. In honor of Memorial Day, Debbie did the unthinkable: She hung a three-by-five foot American flag in an office she shares with three other supervisors. One was quite offended. So offended, she took down the flag all by herself. Take that, Debbie McLucas. The hospital refused to support the display, claiming other patients and visitors were also offended.


These three stories currently in the news represent the types of issues that may very well end up in the United States Supreme Court ... What’s at stake with the nomination of a judge like Sonja Sottomayor [sic] are real-life consequences for ordinary American citizens. What we don’t need is a justice taking the bench with the notion that somehow the Constitution doesn’t mean what it has always meant, who proceeds to twist it to reflect his or her own viewpoint—a justice like Sonia Sotomayor.

Of course, if you bother to track down some non-right-wing news coverage of these anecdotes, you inevitably end up with far more rational explanation of what actually happened.

Here is what happened with the Jonse' and their Bible Study:

Every Tuesday night about 15 people drive to Jones’ Bonita home to eat dinner and discuss the Bible. They usually park on Jones' property, he said, but sometimes that parking spills out into the cul-de-sac.

Last month, someone filed a complaint about the number of cars.

A county code enforcement officer visited the house and asked Jones' wife about the weekly Bible studies.

"She said, 'Do you say amen?' and my wife said, 'Well, yes,'" Jones recalled.

"And she said, 'Do you say praise the Lord?’ she said, 'Well, yes but what does that have to with it?'" Jones said.

10News asked the county official about the officer's line of questioning.

"Did the officer actually do that? Is that part of the requirements to ask those questions?" Reporter Joe Little asked.

"Obviously, I wasn't there, so I can't tell you exactly what was said. However, what our officer was trying to do is establish what the use is so that we know what regulations to actually utilize," explained Chandra Wallar of the county's land use and environment group.

Wallar said it's the officer’s job to determine what kind of event is hosted at Jones’ house to decide what part of county code the event falls under.

And here is what happened with McLucas and her flag:

A Texas hospital owned by Louisville-based Kindred Healthcare drew online criticism after a Dallas television station reported that it wouldn't let a supervisor display a large U.S. flag in her office.

But Kindred said yesterday that the incident has been portrayed inaccurately, giving the false impression "that we do not respect the flag or the sacrifice it represents."

According to the TV report, Debbie McLucas hung a 3-by-5-foot flag last week in the office she shares with the other three supervisors at Kindred's hospital in Mansfield, Texas. Later her boss told McLucas that an officemate found the flag offensive and that some patients' families had also complained, the report said.

Kindred said "this was simply a dispute between two employees who shared a small workspace, one of whom removed the flag because of its size." Both employees have had family in the military, the statement said.

As for the tale of some motorist being pulled over for having a "Don't Tread On Me" sticker on his car, that can't even be verified because it is based almost entirely on a WorldNetDaily article in which WND withheld "the driver's name and the relative's name at their request" and was itself largely based upon an American Vision blog post:

Our friends at The Patriot Depot just received a call from Rosemarie in Ball, Louisiana alerting Patriot Depot that her brother-in-law was stopped by small town Louisiana police and detained by the roadside for half an hour. A background check was conducted to determine whether he was a member of an "extremist" group. Why? Her brother-in-law (name not disclosed for privacy) had purchased and displayed a conservative "Don't Tread on Me" bumper sticker on his car.

So did this actually happen?  There is no way of knowing ... though, personally, I am not particularly inclined to give too much credence to fourth-hand hearsay that originated with the brother-in-law of "Rosemarie in Ball, Louisiana."

Yet, for the Right, these sorts of completely unverified and/or fundamentally misrepresented myths are  presented as established fact which are then used to explain why Sonia Sotomayor is unfit to sit upon the Supreme Court.

Porter Apologizes for America In Order to Save It

Remember a few weeks ago when the Right was outraged that President Obama had gone abroad and supposedly apologized for America?

How dare he, said Rush Limbaugh:

So Barack Obama goes on his world tour, apologizes for America. Everybody says, "Wow, it's great to have such a humble guy leading the country." Humble? It takes profound arrogance to go around the world, apologize for your country, to say that your country is lacking, but only now is your country worth anything, because you happen to be president. That's not humility. That's profound conceit and arrogance, which is part and parcel of Barack Obama.

For the Right, the idea that the United States would ever apologize for anything was ludicrous and downright offensive ...which makes this open letter Janet Porter has penned to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu all the more confusing:

You are not alone. Christians in America stand with you and your right to exist.

Know, also, that there are 60 million Americans who did not abandon our core values or our allies for the empty rhetoric of "hope" and "change." We are the ones who did not support the Hamas-endorsed, Muslim-bowing White House occupant, who, until he was "corrected" on national television, said how proud he was of his "Muslim faith" ... We apologize for the undue pressure that has been put upon you to jeopardize your vital interests to carve up yet more land for promises of peace from people who want to obliterate you. We also acknowledge that this pressure did not begin with the current administration.

As it turns out, Porter's apology for the United States is really more about protecting this nation from God's wrath because, as she explains, whenever there is "U.S. pressure to divide Israel," we get hit by a natural disaster:

  • Hurricane Andrew (Aug. 23, 1992), when the Madrid Peace Conference moved to Washington, D.C., to pressure Israel to divide their land.

  • The 6.9 Northridge Earthquake in Southern California (Jan. 16, 1994), when Clinton met with Syria's president to discuss Israel giving up the Golan Heights where half of their fresh drinking water is found.

  • Hurricane George (Sept. 28, 1998) when Secretary of State Albright pressured Israel to give up parts of Judah and Samaria.

  • Texas Flood (Oct. 15-22, 1998) following a meeting with you, Mr. Prime Minister, and President Clinton with Yasser Arafat over Israel giving up 13 percent of the West Bank. On Oct. 21 of that year, a quarter of Texas was declared by Clinton a major disaster area.

  • A "super tornado" across Oklahoma and Kansas (May 3, 1999) with 316 mph winds – the highest winds ever recorded – the day Yasser Arafat was scheduled to declare a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital.

  • Hurricanes Gustav, Hanna and Ike (Aug. 25-Sept. 13, 2008) following Secretary Condoleezza Rice's pressure to sign a treaty for a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

A 4.7 earthquake hit L.A. Sunday night when you, Mr. Prime Minister, arrived in the U.S. to meet with President Obama who is pushing to divide your land even further. Many are looking to the weather reports for what may follow.

Consequences. Elections have consequences. Abandoning our (and God's) best friend Israel has consequences. Dividing land has consequences. Consequences we don't want.

So if the US gets hit by a natural disaster some time soon, it will be all President Obama's fault.  But if we don't, it'll be because Porter managed to save us by apologizing.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Is it true that some Republicans are getting tired of the militants at the Club for Growth?
  • Mike Huckabee: Poet.
  • Governor Rick Perry finally declares "I'm not in favor of Texas seceding."
  • Michael Steele seemingly doesn't know how to deal with efforts by some RNC members to label the Democrats as "socialists" ... and apparently has even less of an idea of how to sell opposition to marriage equality to the younger generation.
  • Sean Hannity told Alan Keyes he would have gladly bailed him out of jail had Keyes needed to money.
  • Seriously, what on earth is Rep. Michelle Bachmann doing on a Worldview Radio program, along with Gary Cass, no less?
  • Tony Perkins, Richard Land, and Bishop Harry Jackson are unveiling something called The Call2Fall, which is "is a public commitment for Christians to set aside some time on July 5, 2009 to pray for the healing of our nation. The day after Americans celebrate their 'independence,' they will pray for 'dependence' upon God."
  • Speaking of Perkins, for $2 the Family Research Council will mail you a copy of their document "Comparing the Lifestyles of Homosexual Couples to Married Couples":
  • The evidence is overwhelming that homosexual and lesbian "committed" relationships are not the equivalent of marriage. In addition, there is little evidence that homosexuals and lesbians truly desire to commit themselves to the kind of monogamous relationships as signified by marriage. What remains, then, is the disturbing possibility that behind the demands for "gay marriage" lurks an agenda of undermining the very nature of the institution of marriage.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • AU notes the irony of Pat Robertson blaming the economic crisis on greed considering his own questionable business dealings.
  • Think Progress reports that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has again refused to reject the idea that his state might secede from the US.
  • Logan Murphy at Crooks and Liars reports that former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave is not done embarrassing herself or her party.
  • Speaking of C&L, The American Prospect reviews David Neiwert's new book.
  • Steve Benen says that if we are judging Nancy Pelosi by her enemies, then she must be doing a good job.
  • Pam notes that Chuck Colson is getting a little hysterical about marriage equality.
  • Finally, John Aravosis notes that Bill O'Reilly seems to have changed his tune rather dramatically regarding marriage equality since 2002.

The Notre Dame Protests Get Even Fringier

Just when it seemed like the fringe right-wing protesting at Notre Dame couldn't get any more ridiculous, we come to find out that some anonymous donor has now handed Rick Scarborough a thousand dollars so that he could join the fray as well:

Today a gentleman entered my office and donated the $1,000 needed to pay for my trip to South Bend, IN to join Alan Keyes and Randall Terry in protest of Obama's commencement speech on Sunday at Notre Dame. This came after much prayer seeking God's direction and financial provision concerning whether or not I was to say yes to their request to join them and many others facing potential arrest tomorrow for standing for life on the Notre Dame campus.


I will be arriving in South Bend Thursday to join them. It is my privilege to stand for truth and with courageous men and women, going to jail if called upon, to bring awareness to our nation that this madness must stop. Please be in prayer as we choose to take our stand for the sanctity of life.

Now, it was at least understandable that Keyes and Terry would target Notre Dame with protests claiming that the Catholic University is violating Catholic teachings by inviting President Obama to speak, because both men are Catholic.

But Scarborough is a Baptist, so what exactly warrants his participation in these protests? 

The whole "controversy" here is that a Catholic University had invited a pro-choice president to address its graduating class ... and it is predominantly right-wing Catholics who are upset about it (while most other Catholics hadn't even heard about it and those that had largely support it.)

Scarborough seems to be going to just protest Obama's pro-choice views ... but why he needed a $1000 to fly from Texas to Indiana to do that is beyond me because he probably could have saved himself considerable time and money if he had just gone and protested at Arizona State University where Obama spoke last night.

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