Virginia

Fischer: Muslims To Blame For American Slavery

You really have to hand it to Bryan Fischer for his new and ingenious justifications he is constantly concocting to explain why Islam is evil and Christianity is great.

Because, honestly, who else but Fischer could ever write a column blaming America slavery entirely on Muslims:

[M]aking concessions to Sharia law over against the moral code of the Judeo-Christian tradition is nothing new for America. We started doing it in 1619 when we began to tolerate the slave trade, as the first shipment of 30 African slaves arrived on the shores of Virginia ... The slaves who were brought here in chains in 1619 were Africans who had been kidnapped by other Africans and sold to slave traders who in turn brought them to America. The kidnappers, the ones who went into the interior of Africa to capture their fellow Africans to sell them into bondage, were predominantly Muslims.

...

Now, in contrast to Islam and Sharia, the Judeo-Christian tradition from day one has been adamantly opposed to the slave trade ... Moses flatly prohibited the slave trade under penalty of death. “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death” (Exodus 21:16). In other words, if a strictly biblical code had been followed in 1619, the slave trader who brought that ship to Virginia would have been arrested the moment he landed, prosecuted and hung by the neck until dead. The slaves on board would have been returned to their families and their homelands, and slavery would never have gained a foothold in the United States.

But sadly, we made our first concession to Sharia law in 1619 instead of being guided by the wisdom of Scripture, and we have paid a terrible price for it. Slavery became our first national sin, as abortion is today ... So if the early colonists had followed either the Old or New Testaments, the slave trade would have been treated as criminal behavior from the very beginning, and America never would have been plagued with all the myriad evils that slavery and racism have brought to our land.

Values Voter Summit 2011 & America in 2013

As RWW readers know, the Values Voter Summit, the year’s biggest political gathering for the Religious Right, took place in Washington, D.C. this past weekend.  Every Republican presidential candidate with the exception of Jon Huntsman addressed the summit, evidence of the continuing importance of Religious Right activists and political groups to the GOP. Polls suggest that the Religious Right is about twice as big as the Tea Party, with significant overlap between the two movements. Ron Paul’s campaign packed in enough voters to win the straw poll, but it would be wrong to say he was the favorite of the Values Voter crowd. It was up-and-coming candidate Herman Cain who won the loudest cheers (and took second place).

The two days of speeches from presidential candidates, congressional leaders, and Religious Right activists painted a clear picture of where they’ll try to take the country if they are successful in their 2012 electoral goals.  In their America, banks and corporations would be free from pesky consumer and worker protections; there would be no Environmental Protection Agency and no federal support for education; women would have no access to abortion; gays would be second-class citizens; and for at least some of them, religious minorities would have to know their place and be grateful that they are tolerated in this Christian nation. 
 
Here’s a recap of some major themes from the conference.
 
Religious Bigotry on Parade
 
In one of the most extreme expressions of the “Christian nation” approach to government, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer has stated repeatedly that the religious liberty of non-Christians is not protected by the First Amendment.  More specifically, he says Mormons are not protected by the First Amendment.  For whatever reason, VVS organizers scheduled Romney and Fischer back-to-back on Saturday morning. 
 
Before the conference, People For the American Way called on Romney to take on Fischer’s bigotry, which he did, albeit in a vague and tepid manner, criticizing “poisonous” rhetoric without naming Fischer or explaining why his views are poison.  Getting greater media attention were comments by Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress, who in his introduction of Texas Gov. Rick Perry insisted on the importance of electing a “genuine” follower of Christ. Reporters who accurately saw this as a swipe at Romney’s faith asked Jeffress about it, and he labeled Mormonism a cult.  (Mormons consider themselves Christians, but many Christians, including Southern Baptists, believe Mormon theology is anything but.)  Following Romney at the microphone, Fischer doubled down, insisting that the next president has to be a Christian “in the mold of” the founding fathers.  Fischer’s inaccurate sense of history is eclipsed only by his lack of respect for church-state separation and for the Constitution itself – even though he insisted that his religious test for the presidency was really a “political test.” Romney took only four percent in the VVS straw poll, even though he has been leading in recent polls of GOP voters.
 
Beating up on Obama
 
Religious Right leaders routinely denounce President Barack Obama, so it is no surprise that a major theme of the VVS was attacking the president and his policies.  Perhaps the nicest thing anyone said about the president was Mitt Romney’s snide remark that Obama is “the conservative movement’s top recruiter.”    Among the nastiest came from virtue-monger Bill Bennett, who said, “if you voted for him last time to prove you are not a racist, you must vote against him this time to prove you are not an idiot.” Rep. Anne Buerkle, one of the Tea Party freshmen, said flat out that the president is not concerned about what is best for the country. 
 
Health care and foreign policy were top policy targets.  Many speakers denounced “Obamacare,” and most of the presidential candidates promised to make dismantling health care reform a top priority. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Religious Right favorite who is leading a legal challenge to the health care reform law, said that if the Supreme Court did not overturn it, Americans would go from being citizens to subjects.  Just about every speaker attacked President Obama for not being strong enough in support of Israel, and repeated a favorite right-wing talking point by pledging to “never apologize” for U.S. actions abroad.
 
Gays as Enemies of Liberty
 
It is clear that a Republican takeover of the Senate and White House would put advances toward equality for LGBT Americans in peril.  Speaker after speaker denounced the recent repeal of the ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers in the armed forces; many also attacked marriage equality for same-sex couples.  And many portrayed liberty as a zero-sum game, insisting that advances toward equality posed a dire threat to religious liberty. Rep. Mike Pompeo said “You cannot use our military to promote social ideals that do not reflect the values of our nation,” concluding his remarks with a call for the election of more Republicans, saying “ride to the sounds of the guns and send us more troops.”
Another member of the 2010 freshman class – Rep. Vicky Hartzler – attacked the Obama administration for “trying to use the military to advance their social agenda,” saying, “It’s wrong and it must be stopped.” Predictably, the AFA’s Fischer was the most vitriolic and insisted that the country needs a president “who will treat homosexual behavior not as a political cause at all but as a threat to public health.”
 
Loving Wall Street, Hating Wall Street Protesters
 
On the same day that moving pictures of Kol Nidre services at the site of Occupy Wall Street protests made the rounds on the Internet, Values Voter Summit speakers portrayed the protests as dangerous and violent.  Others simply mocked the protesters without taking seriously the objections being raised to growing inequality and economic hardship in America.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor denounced the “growing mobs” associated with the protests and decried “the pitting of Americans against Americans.” (Too bad he didn’t stick around to hear the rest of the speakers).  Glenn Beck denounced “Jon Stewart Marxism” and warned that the protests were the sign of an approaching “storm of biblical proportions” in which “the violent left” would smash, tear down, kill, bankrupt, and destroy.  Pundit Laura Ingraham simply made fun of the protesters and held up her own “hug the rich” sign.  Rising star Herman Cain defended Wall Street, blaming the nation’s economic crisis on policymakers, not reckless and irresponsible financiers.  Nobody wanted to regulate the financiers; speakers called for a repeal of the Dodd-Frank law. 
 
A number of speakers promoted Christian Reconstructionist notions of “Biblical economics,” with Star Parker declaring that “this whole notion of redistribution of wealth is inconsistent with scripture” and calling for the selection of a candidate with commitment to the free market according to the Bible.  Ron Paul also insisted “debt is not a political principle.”  The AFA’s Bryan Fischer said that liberalism is based on violating two of the Ten Commandments, namely thou shall not steal, and thou shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.  Liberalism, he said, is “driven by angry, bitter, acquisitive greed for the wealth of productive Americans.” 
 
No Love for Libertarians
 
A major theme at last year’s Values Voter Summit, as at other recent Religious Right political events, was an effort to make social-issue libertarians unwelcome in the conservative movement by insisting that you cannot legitimately claim to be a fiscal conservative if you are not also pushing “traditional family values.”  The same theme was sounded this year by the very first speaker, Tony Perkins.  Another, Joe Carter, took a shot at gay conservatives, saying it was not possible to be conservative and for gay marriage – it simply made you a “liberal who likes tax cuts.”  Carter said “social conservative” should be redundant. Ingraham echoed the theme, calling for an end to conservative modifiers (social, fiscal, national security) and, echoing popular Christian writer C.S. Lewis, called for a commitment to “mere conservatism.”  There were far fewer mentions of the Tea Party movement itself at this year’s VVS, perhaps owing to the movement’s unpopularity – or to the fact that the GOP itself has essentially become one big Tea Party party.
 
Crying Wolf on Religious Persecution
 
Religious Right leaders routinely energize movement activists with dire warnings about threats to religious liberty and the alleged religious persecution of Christians in America.  William Bennett said liberals are bigoted against “people who publicly love their God, who publicly love their country.”  Retired Gen. William Boykin said Christians are facing the greatest persecution ever in America.   The American Center for Law & Justice’s Jay Sekulow warned that the next president will probably select two Supreme Court justices, and that if it isn’t a conservative president, our Judeo-Christian values could be “eliminated.”  Crying wolf about persecution of Christians in America is offensive given the very real suffering of people in countries that do not enjoy religious freedom.  Several speakers addressed the case of a Christian pastor facing death in Iran.  That is persecution; having your political tactics challenged or losing a court case is not.
 
America is Exceptional; Europe Sucks
 
Republican strategists decided a couple of years ago that “American exceptionalism” would be a campaign theme in 2010 and 2012, and we heard plenty of talk about it at the Values Voter Summit.  Among the many who spoke about American exceptionalism was Rep. Steve King, who said “this country was ordained and built by His hand,” that the Declaration of Independence was written with divine guidance, and that God moved the founding fathers around the globe like chess pieces .  Liberals, said the Heritage Foundation’s Matthew Spalding, don’t share a belief in American exceptionalism or the American dream. Many speakers contrasted a freedom-loving, God-fearing America to socialist, post-Christian Europe.  Rick Perry said “those in the White House” don’t believe in American exceptionalism; they’d rather emulate the failed policies of Europe.  Gen. Boykin declared Europe “hopelessly lost.”
 
Smashing the Regulatory State
 
The anti-government, anti-regulatory fervor of billionaire right-wing funders like the Koch brothers was on vibrant display at the VVS.  Without the slightest nod to the fact that regulating the behavior of corporations’ treatment of workers, consumers, and the environment is in any way beneficial, a member of a Heritage Foundation panel said conservatives’ goal should be to “break the back” of the “regulatory state.”  Some presidential candidates vowed to halt every regulation issued during the Obama administration.  Michele Bachmann said her goal was to “dismantle” the bureaucracy.
 
Judging Judges
 
Many speakers criticized judges for upholding abortion rights, church-state separation, and gay rights. Newt Gingrich took these attacks to a whole new level, calling for right-wing politicians to provoke a  constitutional crisis in which the legislative and executive branch would ignore court rulings they didn’t like.  He called the notion of “judicial supremacy” an “affront to the American system of self-government.” Aside from Gingrich’s very dubious constitutional theory, the speech seemed out of place at a conference in which speakers had been calling for the Supreme Court to overturn the health care law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.
 
Deconstructing the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’
 
VVS speakers love quoting the Declaration of Independence, but some are clearly a little troubled with the notion that the “pursuit of happiness” is an inalienable right, one that might apply, for example, to happy, loving gay couples.  Rick Santorum said that the founders’ understanding of “happiness” meant “the morally right thing” and doing what God wants.  Steve King said the  pursuit of happiness was not like a tailgate party, but the pursuit of excellence in moral and spiritual development.  Michele Bachman has equated the pursuit of happiness with private property.
 
Notably weird speeches
 
Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel gave a meandering address that moved from U.S. policy on Israel to the war on Islamic radicalism to an attack on the United Nations to denunciations of sexologist Alfred Kinsey and humanist/educator John Dewey for undermining western civilization. He warned against conservatives using rhetoric that might push the growing Latino population into the maw of the “leftist machine,” making an aside about Latinos whose names end in “z” having a special connection to Israel.
 
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who ended up taking third place in the straw poll, seemed personally hurt that conservative evangelicals weren’t rallying around him given all that he had done for them and the price he had paid for it.  He whined, “Don’t you want a president who’s comfortable in his shoes talking about these issues?”
 
Rep. Steve King of Iowa said that people who support marriage equality or legal abortion don’t do so because they have a value system supporting those things, but because they want to spite the Religious Right – “because they know it’s precious to us.”
 
Former Fox TV personality Glenn Beck gave a trademark lurching speech contrasting visceral anger with his recitation of Abraham Lincoln’s “with malice toward none.” The speech was long on mockery of Wall Street protestors and on the messianic narcissism that was on display at his Lincoln Memorial rally last year.  “We need to give America the same choice” that Moses gave Israel, he said: good or evil, light or dark, life or death, freedom or slavery.  He said America is in a religious war, a race war, a class war, and other wars.  In one breath he insisted that the nation “must return to God” and talked about the “country’s salvation” – and in the next he denounced the notion of “collective salvation,” which he has elsewhere attributed to President Obama and denounced as evil and satanic.
 

Palin To Liberty University

After bowing out of the presidential campaign, Sarah Palin will now keynote a conference at Liberty University for a Christian women’s conference. Palin, the professional Fox News commentator and speaker, previously headlined events for anti-abortion groups including one gathering with Planned Parenthood smear artist Lila Rose:

A sell-out crowd of over 10,000 women are expected to pack the Liberty University Vines Center and Thomas Road Baptist Church facilities this weekend, October 7-8, for the annual Central Virginia Extraordinary Women (EW) Conference, with special featured guest Governor Sarah Palin! Thousands of women will also be joining live via simulcast at churches all over America and Canada.

"This is shaping up to be one of the most electrifying and meaningful conferences we have ever had," said Julie Clinton, EW Host and President.

An explosive national Christian women's movement, EW exists "To help women draw closer to the heart of God" everyday. The 2011 Extraordinary Women "Everlasting Hope" tour also includes New York Times best-selling authors Lysa TerKeurst and Donna VanLiere, and noted Bible teachers Jennifer Rothschild and Carol Kent, along with inspiring music from awarding-winning Christian artists, Michael O'Brien, Meredith Andrews, Jeremy Camp, and Female Vocalist of the Year, Francesca Battistelli. Filled with times of praise and worship, biblical teaching and entertainment, "This conference is our way to encourage and inspire the hearts of women," Clinton said.

The pace only picks up for the Extraordinary Women movement (www.ewomen.net), with events planned for later this fall in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Tupelo Mississippi, and Rockford, Illinois. Thirteen more major arena events are already slated and planned for 2012.

Eagle Forum Wants Phyllis Schlafly On A Stamp

Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum today republished a blog post by Elwood Sanders of Virginia Right calling for an effort to put Schlafly on a U.S. postage stamp. Sanders’ proposal is in response to a new campaign by the U.S. Postal Service, which is soliciting suggestions for living people to put on postage stamps. Schlafly was instrumental in defeating the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and even today continues her role as a leading anti-feminist and ultraconservative activist. Michele Bachmann recently hailed Schlafly as “my heroine and my example” and “the most important woman in the United States in the last one hundred years.” Sanders says Schlafly deserves “the honor of being one of the first living persons on an American postage stamp” because she stopped “social engineering by liberals”:

Apparently in a furtive effort to save the Postal Service, they have removed the restriction on living persons being on postage stamps. I suppose I should protest – more opportunity for nonsense if we remove the ban: Kim and Khloe on a stamp in all their curvy glory? (On second thought, that might indeed save the USPS but the crowd of preteen and teenage boys might overwhelm the ability of the post offices to serve!) Of course Kim and Khloe might be preferable to the notorious communist Paul Robeson being placed on a postage stamp!

So I hereby suggest we nominate the great heroine of the social conservative movement: Phyllis Schlafly.

When I was a teenager, it looked like the ERA would become the law of the land. Do you remember, readers who are close to my age:

• Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United   States or by any state on account of sex.
• Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
• Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.


Need I say more how pernicious that language would have been in our Constitution? Social Engineering by liberals and courts would have been the law of the land.



I would when the time comes formally nominate Schlafly for the honor of being one of the first living persons on an American postage stamp. She clearly deserves it. I’ll have to get a sheet of her stamps!

Anti-Muslim, Religious Right Leaders Come Together For "Preserving Freedom Conference"

This November a coalition of anti-Muslim and Religious Right groups are hosting “The Constitution or Sharia—Preserving Freedom Conference” in Nashville, Tennessee, dubbed “the first national conference on Sharia and the Islamization of America.” The location does not seem to be coincidental: the Tennessee legislature recently weighed a bill that would make it a felony to follow Sharia law and the town of Murfreesboro, just south of Nashville, has witnessed vicious anti-Muslim attacks and arson against a planned mosque. A lawsuit against the mosque declared that Islam is not a religion and therefore Muslims do not deserve First Amendment protections. Presidential candidate Herman Cain went to Murfreesboro to condemn the planned mosque as an “abuse of our freedom of religion,” before declaring that municipalities have a right to ban mosques.

The summit features panels on issues such as “Fighting Islamist Propaganda in the Media,” “Grassroots Organizing Against Sharia and Rabats (including Mega-Mosques),” and “Defending Liberty In Legislatures.” The chief sponsor of the event is the extremist media outlet WorldNetDaily and speakers include a mix of the usual anti-Muslim activists including Robert Spencer, Frank Gaffney and Pamela Geller, along with Religious Right leaders who have consistently attacked the rights of Muslims such as Jay Sekulow, Mat Staver, Andrea and Jim Lafferty, E.W. Jackson and William Murray. Michele Bachmann is listed an invited speaker but has not been confirmed:

• Pamela Geller of Stop Islamization of America and Atlas Shrugs
• Robert Spencer of Stop Islamization of America and Jihad Watch
• Jay Sekulow of American Center for Law and Justice
• Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel
• William J. Murray of Religious Freedom Coalition and No 911 Mosque
• Frank Gaffney of Center for Security Policy
• Christopher Holton of Center for Security Policy
• Lou Ann Zelenik of Tennessee Freedom Coaltion
• Andrea Lafferty of Traditional Values Coalition
• James Lafferty of Virginia Anti-Sharia Task Force
• Barrister Paul Diamond, United Kingdom
• Father Keith Roderick
• Bishop Earl W. Jackson
• Fred Grandy - Actor and former congressman
• Wafa Sultan
• Rev. Dr. Mark Durie, Australia

Lou Ann Zelenik is best known for the malicious anti-Muslim themes in her unsuccessful campaign for Congress last year, which focused on stopping the Murfreesboro mosque development. E.W. Jackson is currently relying heavily on anti-Muslim rhetoric in his bid for U.S. Senate in Virginia.

This won’t be the first time Religious Right leaders and anti-Muslim activists have come together at a major event, and anti-Muslim activists have started appearing frequently on Christian conservative radio outlets.

With another gathering set to demonize Muslims and hype fears of “creeping Sharia,” the Religious Right’s ostensible commitment to religious freedom yet again doesn’t translate into freedom for non-Christian faiths.

For example, notice the involvement of “William J. Murray of Religious Freedom Coalition and No 911 Mosque.” As Kyle noted last year in a post about Murray, the Religious Freedom Coalition is “dedicated to the equality of all mankind and the freedom of religious expression” but is also running a campaign determined to stop Muslims from having those same rights by trying to block the construction of the Park 51 Islamic Community Center. The center opened last week without protests, and so far, Lower Manhattan is not under the rule of Sharia law.

Right Wing Round-Up

Barton Suggests Thomas Jefferson's Affair With Sally Hemings Was A Liberal Conspiracy

On September 9th David Barton addressed Liberty University where he delivered a speech on “deconstructionism.” Barton blames deconstructionism for most of the ills in society today, arguing that deconstructionism deliberately distorts history in order to promote a secular, left-wing agenda. Barton said that historians have smeared the Founding Fathers, particularly Thomas Jefferson.

According to Barton, the claim that Jefferson had an affair with his slave Sally Hemings and fathered her children was part of a liberal conspiracy to protect then-President Bill Clinton during the impeachment process:

Despite Barton’s allegations, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation found that the “DNA study, combined with multiple strands of currently available documentary and statistical evidence, indicates a high probability that Thomas Jefferson fathered Eston Hemings, and that he most likely was the father of all six of Sally Hemings's children appearing in Jefferson's records.”

Not so, says Barton, who argues that the DNA study was invented in order to protect Clinton. He specifically points to Joseph Ellis for distorting the record, but Ellis was originally a skeptic of the claim and did not write the study published in Nature. After the study was released, Ellis conceded it was “beyond any reasonable doubt that Jefferson had a longstanding sexual relationship with Sally Hemings,” but the study was conducted by Eugene Foster of the University of Virginia.

Barton Threatens Defamation Lawsuits Over Allegations He Spoke To Anti-Semitic Groups

One thing that has dogged David Barton for years are allegations from the Anti-Defamation League that he had spoken at events hosted by racist and anti-Semitic groups:

On at least two occasions, Barton has delivered his revisionist presentation in the meeting halls of the racist and anti-Semitic extreme right. In July 1991, Barton addressed the Colorado summer retreat of Scriptures for America, the Identity Church group headed by firebrand Pete Peters. He was advertised as "a new and special speaker" who would "bring the following messages: America's Godly Heritage -- Was it the plan of our forefathers that America be the melting pot home of various religions and philosophies? ..." Barton's fellow-speakers at the retreat included the virulently anti-Semitic Virginia stockbroker-polemicist Richard Kelly Hoskins; "Bo" Gritz, the 1992 presidential nominee of the far-right Populist Party and a self-described "white separatist"; and Canadian Holocaust-denier Malcolm Ross.

On November 24, 1991, Barton appeared at another Identity gathering, presenting the second annual Thanksgiving message to Identity preacher Mike Watson's Kingdom Covenant College in Grants Pass, Oregon. In a subsequent edition of The Centinel [sic], Watson's publication, Barton was described as a "nationally acclaimed speaker" who "has introduced many Americans to their godly Christian heritage.

On today's episode of "Wallbuilders Live," Barton and Rick Green addressed these allegations, but did so in typically Barton-esque manner in which they didn't actually address the specific claims. 

Instead, Barton and Green asserted that there may have been people in the audience who held such views, but that there was no way that Barton could be held responsible for that and saying that Barton has been forced to file defamation suits to prevent people from spreading these claims:

Green: Just because you might have a crazy sitting in the audience at one of the events you've spoke at - and you've done, I don't know, ten thousand where you've spoken over the last twenty years - somehow that makes you associated to a Nazi. I could go find a nutcase in any audience in America anywhere.

Barton: And that's assuming that I knew they were there to start with. You know, I walk up and there's a crowd already sitting there, I talk to the crowd, I walk off, leave and go to the next event. I don't know who has the time to go through and find a nut somewhere that's a racist or anti-Semitic and say "oh, Barton spoke to an anti-Semite "... well, yeah, that's real possible. I don't know who else I spoke to either because I don't have an FBI background check on every person that comes to an event.

Green: And somehow they take that and extrapolate ...

Barton: And by the way, I'm not even sure they're accurate in that anyway. That's what they claim and I don't think it makes a difference whether it's truthful or not; that's designed to scare people off from us.

Green: And the only reason I assume there is someone like that in every audience is there's probably someone like that in every church audience.

Barton: That's human nature.

Green: But to take that and then label you with it, as if you're now the anti-Semite, you're the one that's a Nazi, you're the one that's a white supremacist, it's unbelievable.

Barton: I speak at white supremacist rallies, even.

Green: But I know why they do it. They do it because they know that by throwing out that label, now all of a sudden that supposedly puts you in this box and people won't listen to what you really believe and what you really say.

Barton: And that's one of the things where you do what to try to defend your reputation some ...

Green: And, in fact, you've had to do it. You've had to file defamation suits against people who are saying this stuff because it's so blatantly false.

Barton: And, by the way, I'm considered a public figure. I mean, we do this, I speak everywhere publicly, I'm seen on national TV, etc ... So for me to even think about doing a defamation suit is really way the heck over what most people would be able to do anyway.

Perry to Address Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit

Family Research Council Action, the political arm of the Family Research Council, just announced that Texas Gov. Rick Perry will address the upcoming Values Voter Summit in Washington. As Religious Right leaders continue to coalesce behind Perry — FRC president Tony Perkins was among those attending a pro-Perry gathering of conservative leaders at James Leninger’s ranch earlier this month — addressing the Values Voter Summit should only help his standing among social conservatives. Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are the only other presidential candidates who have so far committed to the event. Other Religious Right leaders scheduled to speak include Gary Bauer, Brent Bozell, Mathew Staver, Phyllis Schlafly and Bill Bennett, along with lesser known but radical activists like Lila Rose, Jerry Boykin and Star Parker:

Family Research Council Action (FRC Action) has confirmed that GOP presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) will speak at the Values Voter Summit this October 7-9 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Gov. Perry joins other Republican presidential candidates, including U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), at the largest annual gathering of pro-family activists in the nation's capital.

The annual event, which is expected to draw 2,000 grassroots activists from across the country, will have a speaker line-up that includes House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), U.S. Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Steve King (R-IA), Dr. Bill Bennett, Mark Levin, Lt. Gen. William Boykin (U.S. Army-Ret.), Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Erick Erickson, Ed Morrissey, Heritage Foundation fellow Edwin Meese III, Lila Rose and Phyllis Schlafly. The 2011 Values Voter Summit is cosponsored by AFA Action, American Values, The Heritage Foundation, Liberty University, and Liberty Counsel. A presidential straw poll, exhibit hall, book signings, breakout sessions and much more will be packed into this three-day conference. On Saturday evening Family Research Council will award Heritage Foundation fellow Edwin Meese, III with its 2011 Vision and Leadership Award.

Bachmann Gushes, Says Schlafly "Most Important Woman In The United States In The Last 100 Years"

A few weeks we wrote a post noting that, at her core, Michele Bachmann was just a Religious Right activist who got elected to Congress and now hopes to become president.  

In that post, we compared Bachmann to fringe right-wing activist Janet Porter but it would probably have been more accurate to compare her to Phyllis Schlafly, as that is what Bachmann herself did on a recent "Tea Party Cyber-Town Hall and Webcast" where she lauded Schlafly as her heroine, mentor and everything that Bachmann hopes to be while also calling her the most important woman in the US in the last century:

If I could just say a couple of words about Phyllis Schafly, she is my heroine and my example as a forerunner. As a young bride and a young mother, I read faithfully "The Phyllis Schlafly Report;" she was my lifeline to what was happening in the world.

She truly is the mother of the modern conservative movement ... I think she is the most important woman in the United States in the last one hundred years.

Whatever Phyllis Schlafly says, it's important that we listen because she's there on every issue, on every front. She is our hero, our heroine, our stalwart and I absolutely adore her. So God bless you, my dear mentor and the person that I hope to be some day. So thank you very much, Phyllis.

Really?  We should listen to whatever it is that Schlafly has to say?  You mean like how feminists are "bitter, unhappy and not successful women" and how men should not marry "career women" and how the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech was the fault of the English Department and how, by getting married, women have consented to sex and therefore cannot be raped by their husbands?

The Secrets Of Jay Sekulow - The Sequel

Several years ago, Tony Mauro wrote an article for The Legal Times entitled "The Secrets of Jay Sekulow" which examined how "through the ACLJ and a string of interconnected nonprofit and for-profit entities, [Sekulow] has built a financial empire that generates millions of dollars a year and supports a lavish lifestyle -- complete with multiple homes, chauffeur-driven cars, and a private jet that he once used to ferry Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia."

The article went on to note how "Sekulow's wife, brother, sister-in-law, and two sons have been on the boards or payrolls of organizations under his control or have received generous payments as contractors" ... but none of the revelations in the article seemed to have diminished Sekulow's reputation among his Religious Right allies in any way, as he remains a recognized and respected leader in the movement to this day.

So presumably this new article revealing that all the money donated to the ACLJ actually goes to a Sekulow-controlled organization called Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism won't raise any eyebrows among Sekulows' Religious Right allies either:

Sekulow, a celebrity among conservative Christians, now sits as the principal officer of two closely related multimillion-dollar legal charities: Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, which he founded in San Francisco, and the better-known American Center for Law and Justice, founded by Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson and based in Virginia Beach.

...

Since 1998, the two charities have paid out more than $33 million to members of Sekulow's family and businesses they own or co-own, according to the charities' federal tax returns.

One of the charities is controlled by the Sekulow family — tax documents show that all four of CASE's board members are Sekulows and another is an officer — an arrangement criticized by a nonprofit watchdog group.

...

Sekulow was running CASE before he became involved in ACLJ in the 1990s. Today both charities operate under the name American Center for Law and Justice. When supporters send donations to ACLJ, the funds actually go to CASE, which handles the fundraising for both groups, tax records show.

According to the article, the ACLJ asserts "that Sekulow has taken no salary since 2002."  Of course, that might have something to do with the fact this little tidbit that Mauro reported in his earlier article:

Sekulow outsourced his own legal services from the ACLJ, shifting from a position with a publicly disclosed salary to that of a private contractor that requires no public disclosure. He acknowledged to Legal Times that his salary from that arrangement is "above $600,000" a year.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

AFA Again Tries To Distance Itself From Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer has made it quite clear that he does not believe that the First Amendment applies to Muslims or any "non-Christian religions."  And that is why he can feels he can advocate for bans on immigration and service in the armed forces by Muslims as well as prohibitions on the construction of mosques in the United States.

Now obviously, the idea that the First Amendment doesn't apply to non-Christians is a pretty radical one ... so much so, in fact, that Fischer's employer, the American Family Association, decided to release an official statement distancing the organization from Fischer's views:

America’s Founders disagreed how broadly the First Amendment extended Freedom of Religion. Since James Madison, known as the Father of the Bill of Rights, insured that the Congressional debates over the Bill of Rights were conducted in secret, Americans must look to later sources to understand the positions taken by their Founders. Thomas Jefferson and Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, whom Madison appointed to the Supreme Court and who later founded Harvard Law School, openly debated over the place of Christianity in American law. Jefferson advocated a broad view that that all religions, not merely variations of Christianity, were to be protected. In his autobiography Jefferson wrote:

[When] the [Virginia] bill for establishing religious freedom... was finally passed,... a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word 'Jesus Christ,' so that it should read 'a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.' The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend within the mantle of its protection the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination.

Joseph Story stated a contradictory view in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States:

The real object of the [First] amendment was, not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment, which should give to an hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.”

Jefferson’s position has ultimately prevailed; under American law all religions enjoy freedom from government interference. However Joseph Story’s view continues to have proponents, including Bryan Fischer, one of American Family Radio’s talk show hosts. However, the American Family Association (“AFA”) officially sides with Jefferson on this question. AFA is confident that the truth of Christianity will prevail whenever it is allowed to freely compete in the marketplace of ideas.

As we have said time and again, it is amazing how the AFA can pay Fischer, publish his writings and give him two-hour daily radio platform from which to spout his relentless stream of bigotry yet continue to claim that Fischer's views ought to in no way reflect upon the organization.

Name one other organization that regularly has to declare that the things said by its own spokesman should not be construed as reflecting the views of the organization itself.

Virginia Delegate Hopeful Makes Mistake Of Running For Office While Muslim

David Ramadan is a long-time Republican activist who is currently running for a seat in the Virginia State Assembly and he has secured endorsements from the likes of Eric Cantor and Ed Meese.

But he is also a Muslim, which of course means that his campaign is vehemently opposed by the anti-Islam faction on the right:

James Lafferty is chairman of the Virginia Anti-Sharia Task Force. He says Ramadan supports the "Ground Zero" Mosque in New York City and has also had some ties with the lobbying firm for Libya in the United States.

"That's not like any conservative I've ever met," Lafferty says of Ramadan's connections. "He's says that those of us who are opposed to building the Ground Zero Mosque are 'racist' and 'Islamophobes.'

"Lots of Americans are getting this sort of condescending attitude from extremists like Mr. Ramadan. We don't think he should be in the House of Delegates in Virginia. We're not even sure he should be allowed to continue to live in the United States."

Lafferty has joined with other professional anti-Muslim activists like Frank Gaffney, Pamela Geller, and Robert Spencer in sending a letter to Meese demanding he withdraw his endorsement of Ramadan until he answers questions about his "close relationship with the lobbying firm for Muammar Qadaffi’s Libya" and proves that he is "someone we can trust."

Rick Perry Partners With Anti-Choice Extremist For Prayer Rally

Yet another radical endorser has been added to the website of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally: Rob Schenck of Faith And Action. During the 1992 presidential campaign, Schenck was arrested along with Randall Terry “after thrusting a container with a 19-week-old fetus at presidential candidate Bill Clinton,” and four years later told President Clinton “God will hold you to account, Mr. President” for his pro-choice views. Schenk helped Terry found Operation Rescue, one of the most extreme and controversial anti-choice groups in America.

Schenk continues to work closely with other anti-choice zealots, including his brother Paul, who leads that National Pro-Life Action Center. In the 1990s, Schenck and his brother spearheaded a harassment campaign against an abortion provider in upstate New York who was later murdered by an anti-choice activist who is alleged to have had ties with the Schenck brothers.

Along with his militant anti-choice activism, Schenck has repeatedly questioned President Obama’s Christian faith and in 2006 described a deadly mining disaster in West Virginia as a punishment from God. Schenck is also a staunch opponent of gay rights. He called the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell an “attack on personal, moral, social and religious sensibilities” and criticized “militant homosexual activists” for holding an LGBT pride parade in Jerusalem, calling it an “abomination.”

Judging from Perry’s other prayer rally organizers, Schenck will fit right in.

EW Jackson: It Is A Joke To Call Obama A Christian

Bishop E.W. Jackson is a fringe Religious Right activist, the sort who pals around with the likes of Rick Scarborough and Janet Porter while likening Democrats to slaveholders, calling them the "coalition of the godless," and making it his mission to get African Americans to leave the Democratic Party.

He is also running for the open Senate seat from Virginia ... and is currently out on the campaign trail attacking President Obama for loving Islam more than he loves America and claiming it is a "joke" to even consider Obama to be a Christian:

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Governors Mitch Daniels and Nathan Deal will not be attending Rick Perry's prayer rally.
  • Randall Terry has moved his based of operations to a compound out in West Virginia.
  • Someone should really investigate how much money, if any, these right-wing activists make off of these "fax your lawmaker" campaigns.
  • ABC changed the name of "Good Christian Bitches" to "Good Christian Belles," but Gary Cass is still opposed because the show is "bigoted attack [and] demeaning to all Christian women."
  • Finally, Bryan Fischer isn't going to let the fact that he actually approves of this ruling get in the way of attacking gays.

At Ralph Reed Confab, Obama Portrayed as Enemy of Faith and Freedom

Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition gathering in Washington, D.C. this past weekend was essentially a relentless repetition of the GOP’s 2012 attack themes on the Obama administration, mixed with Religious Right leaders’ demands that the Tea Party not abandon social conservatives’ priorities and conservative politicos’ appeals for unity behind whichever candidate emerges from the presidential crowd.  Just about everyone running, or thinking about running, for the presidency on the Republican side was in attendance with the exception of Newt Gingrich.

One of the easiest, and most frequently used, ways to get applause at F&F was to pledge that Obama will be a one-term president.  Among the other major themes:
 
American Exceptionalism
 
Former Senator Rick Santorum, who officially announced his presidential bid this morning, said his campaign theme will be American exceptionalism.  Unfortunately, for Santorum, it seems that every Republican candidate is talking about American exceptionalism – and the claim that President Obama, Democrats, and “liberal elites” don’t believe that the U.S. is the God-ordained greatest nation in the history of the world – so it’s going to be hard to break away from the pack on that score.  Gary Bauer claimed that American elites don’t believe the words of the Declaration of Independence. 
 
‘Obamacare’ = Socialism = The End of Freedom
 
Many speakers cited health care reform as the ultimate example of the Democrats’ commitment to freedom-destroying socialism.  Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network said it was one example of progressives’ tendency to say “to hell with the Constitution” when it got in the way of their policy goals.  Rep. Allen West even attacked the notion of “shared sacrifice,” which he said was code for “redistribution of wealth,” which is how the right-wing looks at progressive taxation.  Rep. Tom Price, who clearly needs to spend some time studying American history, called the health care reform bill “the furthest reach of oppression that this society has ever seen.”  Others similarly insisted that the implementation of the law would mean the end of liberty in America.  Michele Bachman shouted, “I will not rest until we repeal Obamacare. America will not rest until we repeal Obamacare.”  Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said the fight against Obamacare is just one sign that federalism is reemerging.  He argued that Americans need to understand that there is a “liberty pie” that does not grow – and it has only two slices, government power and individual liberty – and one necessarily grows at the expense of the other. 
 
America Needs More Religion (as long as it’s not Islam)
 
The FFC was long on Religious Right rhetoric on religion and politics.  The pastor who gave the opening prayer for the conference gave thanks for “a nation founded for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”  The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins exulted that it was good to be among folks who are “not ashamed to defend the Christian principles on which this nation was founded.”  The Republican National Committee’s Reince Priebus said America’s greatness is “rooted in our faith” and that “faith in our God, and faith in our savior” is “not a convenience, it is the foundation of a good life.” But Islam was clearly deemed a threat, with one participant telling a contentiouspanel on Sharia law that in Minnesota “we practically have a Muslim state.”  
 
Reproductive Rights and Gay Rights = Big Government
 
In the “Social Issues: Why They Still Matter” panel, John Fund of the Wall Street Journal discussed “the psychology of those who are trying to undermine the moral fiber of this country,” arguing that liberals are compelled by a lust for power and therefore need to “control people” and “lower standards of society as a whole.” Fund explained that “if you can lower standards” by permitting legal abortion and gay equality, then liberals can gain control over society, and insisted that “we have to bring back shaming” of women who had abortions because “we need to be judgmental about this issue, we need to call out people for the choices that they made, ‘shaming’ is not a bad word in this society.” On a separate panel, National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher said, “When you redefine marriage, you also redefine the relationship between Genesis and the American tradition,” which would jeopardize freedom because “in some cases, the power of government is already being used to marginalize and stigmatize people who disagree with the foundational ideas of same-sex marriage.”
 
Obama as Enemy of Israel
 
Michele Bachman was one of several speakers who misportrayed recent Obama administration comments about Israel, calling them a “shocking display of betraying our greatest friend and ally.” One participant commented that “life, liberty, and Israel” were the elements that make up “the pursuit of happiness.” Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice said Obama may soon be referring to Israel as “the Zionist regime” and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission implied that Obama may bringing upon the country the curse of God for his policy towards Israel. Peter Roff of U.S. News and World Report lamented that “the American Jewish community is for some reason enamored of Democratic politicians in general and Barack Obama specifically.”
 
Unified Conservative Movement
 
FRC’s Perkins was among many Religious Right speakers who argued for keeping social conservatives’ priorities at the forefront of the movement in the name of conservative movement unity.  Perkins used a strange mixed metaphor, saying it is the “bottom of the ninth for our beloved country” and no time to lapse into an undisciplined orchestra, calling for a “rousing symphony” – drums of national defense, the horns of economic abundance, and the strings that bind a strong family.  Among others who sounded the same theme were Indiana gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence, who said, “we have to recognize that our present crisis is not just economic or political but moral in nature” and touted the importance of the sanctity of life, “traditional marriage,” and the importance of organized religion in our daily life.
 
Haley Barbour, one of the potential presidential candidates who decided not to run, devoted his remarks to lecturing attendees about the need to rally behind whichever candidate was nominated even though the nominee won’t be perfect.  “In politics,” he said, “purity is the enemy of victory.” Tony Blankley warned that the media and Democrats would love to “divide and conquer” the movement.
 
Advocating for social issues at the FFC was clearly preaching to the choir.  But some Tea Party activists were clearly annoyed by the “you’re nothing without us” attitude of Religious Right activists Jordan Sekulow and Matt Barber at a panel on the “Teavangelicals” that was moderated by the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody.

Right Wing Round-Up

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