Wisconsin

Right Wing Round-Up

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 10/19/10

Haley Barbour

Washington: Ranked #1 of GQ’s “DC Power List” (GQ, 10/18).

Mississippi: NYT columnist looks into his record of pardons as Governor (NYT, 10/15).

GOP: Raises $31 million for Republican Governors Association (WaPo, 10/14).

Mitch Daniels

Economy: Hit by conservatives for floating idea of value added tax (Newsweek, 10/18).

2012: Praised by President of US Chamber of Commerce (Courier & Press, 10/13).

Newt Gingrich

2010: Predicts takeover of House and Senate by GOP (KTAR, 10/18).

Fundraising: His 527, which has no cap on donations, raised over $4 million (Politico, 10/16).

Mike Huckabee

Media: Brings Ohio GOP gubernatorial nominee on TV show, says he is “not the least bit objective” (Media Matters, 10/18).

Crime: Seattle Times looks into Huckabee’s pardon of Maurice Clemmons (Seattle Times, 10/17).

Religious Right: Tells “Freedom, Faith and Family” conference that God guided Founding Fathers, condemns abortion (Winston-Salem Journal, 10/16).

2010: Predicts a “tsunami of change” while campaigning for Indiana Republicans (Indiana News Center, 10/13).

Mitt Romney

2010: Campaigns for Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Minnesota’s Tom Emmer (GOP12, 10/18).

Fundraising: Collects $1.7 million for leadership PAC over summer (Politico, 10/14).

Iowa: May not focus as much attention on Iowa Caucuses in 2012 as he did in 2008 (Des Moines Register, 10/14).

Sarah Palin

Tea Party: Launches Tea Party Express Bus Tour in Reno, NV (Christian Science Monitor, 10/18).

2010: Set to rally in Florida with Michael Steele and Marco Rubio after appearing with Steele in California (Politico, 10/18).

Religious Right: Speaks to Liberty and Freedom Foundation about patriotism, God, and Pat Tillman; knocks First Lady Michelle Obama (Opposing Views, 10/17).

George Pataki

Health Care: Wants 1 million people to sign his petition to repeal reform law (Jackson Citizen Patriot, 10/14; The Hill, 10/14).

Economy: Criticizes Obama Administration’s green-jobs initiatives (Wall Street Journal, 10/14).

Tim Pawlenty

GOP: Holds rally with Mitt Romney in Minnesota (Star Tribune, 10/18).

Government: Criticizes federal government spending but requests money from Washington for flood aid (Up Take, 10/18).

Fundraising: Leadership PAC raised over half a million dollars over the Summer (AP, 10/14).

Rick Santorum

Abortion: Set to address Tennessee Right to Life’s annual dinner (Knoxville News, 10/17).

Religious Right: Spoke Friday to Cornerstone Action fundraiser (CPR Action, 10/15).

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 9/21/10

Your update on the potential 2012 Presidential candidates for 9/14-9/21:

Mitch Daniels

2012: Newt Gingrich says Daniels should run for President (Courier & Press, 9/21).

Economy: Attends Chamber of Commerce event in Indianapolis (WIBC, 9/20).

PAC: Leadership PAC runs ads encouraging IN voters to support Republicans (Politico, 9/19).

Newt Gingrich

Religious Right: Demands ban on Sharia Law’s use in US Courts (TPM, 9/18).

Health Care: Calls for HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation, compares her service to “Soviet tyranny” (Politico, 9/18).

GOP: Headlines fundraiser for the Minnesota GOP (Star Tribune, 9/17).

Obama: Gingrich attacked by critics for pushing over the top anti-Obama rhetoric (NY Daily News, 9/20).

Mike Huckabee

Obama: Criticizes President’s treatment of Christians (Newsmax, 9/17).

GOP: “Thrilled” about the defeat of “establishment” candidate in primaries (Huffington Post, 9/20).

2010: Expects a Republican wave in home state of Arkansas (Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 9/20).

Sarah Palin

Iowa: Speaks at Iowa’s Ronald Reagan Dinner, tells Fox News she may “give it a shot” to Presidential run (NY Daily News, 9/18).

2012: Wins straw poll of presidential prospects at RightNation convention (Chicago Sun-Times, 9/20).

2010: Tweets to Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell with a warning against “appeasing nat'l media” that’s “seeking ur destruction” (The Hill, 9/19).

Religious Right: FRC head Tony Perkins suggests that Palin is a “cheerleader” rather than a presidential candidate (Politico, 9/18).

Media: Claims that journalists disrespect fallen troops when they “tell lies” about her (Des Moines Register, 9/17).

Poll: Rasmussen survey says slight majority of Americans identify more with Palin’s views than Obama’s (Rasmussen Reports, 9/20).

Tim Pawlenty

2010: Fundraising for GOP gubernatorial nominee Scott Walker in Wisconsin (AP, 9/20).

Economy: WSJ profiles Governors like Pawlenty and others who visited China (WSJ, 9/20).

Mike Pence

Religious Right: Indiana Congressman wins a plurality of votes at Values Voter Summit’s 2012 straw poll (MSNBC, 9/18).

2012: Speaks to conservative Hillsdale College about the Presidency (EducationNews, 9/21).

2010: Defends Christine O’Donnell in Delaware from attacks (CNN, 9/20).

Mitt Romney

New Hampshire: Romney’s Leadership PAC endorses and donates to victors of GOP primaries (Politics Daily, 9/18).

Religious Right: Lashes out at Obama’s economic and social policies, “counterfeit” values at Values Voter Summit (Religion Dispatches, 9/20).

Poll: Leads 2012 pack with 22% support from Republicans (Public Policy Polling, 9/12).

2010: Going to Florida to stump for Gov hopeful Rick Scott (Daily Sun, 9/20).

Rick Santorum

South Carolina: Tests message in early primary state (Daily Caller, 9/16).

Religious Right: Says that families don’t exist in poor neighborhoods (CBS News, 9/17).

Right Wing Reactions to Prop 8 Decision

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Randy Thomasson and Save California:

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

Concerned Women for America:

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

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

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

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

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

CWA of California State Director Phyllis Nemeth said:

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

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

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

Family Research Council:

FRC President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

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

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

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

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

Liberty Counsel:

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

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

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

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

Alliance Defense Fund:

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

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

...

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

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

Capitol Resource Institute:

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

American Family Association:

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

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

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

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

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

Traditional Values Coalition:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard Land:

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Organization for Marriage:

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

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

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

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

Robert George - American Principles Project:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newt Gingrich:

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

Protest The Pill ... To Save The Planet?

When a large group of anti-choice organizations and activists band together in order to protest the 50th anniversary of the birth control pill, you assume it is because they are the sorts of people who tend to consider all contraception immoral and a form of abortion.

But no!  They really just care deeply about the environment:

The following is released by the American Life League and the following groups:

WHO: American Life League , Human Life International, Pro-Life Wisconsin, Pharmacists for Life International, Archdiocese of Mobile Respect Life, Operation Rescue, Jill Stanek, Generation Life/Brandi Swindell, Life Education Ministry, Pro-Life Unity, Movement for a Better America, AMEN (Abortion Must End Now), Pro-Life Action of Oregon, Children of God for Life, Expectant Mother Care/Chris Slattery, Mother and Unborn Baby Care, Defenders of the Unborn, California Right to Life Education Fund, Delaware Pro-Life Coalition, Life Guard, Homeschoolers for Life, Focus Pregnancy Center, Central Texas Voices for Life and Dubuque County Right to Life

WHAT: Protest the Pill Day 2010: The Pill Kills the Environment

This year, birth control advocates are celebrating 50 years of decriminalized hormonal contraceptives. American Life League and our co-sponsors don't think half a century of contaminating our waterways is something to celebrate. Study after study has shown that hormonal estrogen in the water has severely damaged the ecosystem and our health.

Join American Life League and co-sponsors as they launch the largest nationwide protest against the birth control pill.

Who ever would have guessed that right-wing anti-choice activists were such committed environmentalists?

National Day of Prayer Ruling Was God's Doing, Says Graham

Franklin Graham continues to milk his "victimhood" for all it is worth:

"I think it is waking people up across this land," said evangelist Franklin Graham, the honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, who was disinvited from Pentagon observances because of his remarks on Islam.

"I think people realize, many Christians, how we're losing our religious freedoms a little bit every day and if we don't stand up and exercise the freedoms that God has given us in this country, we will lose them."

...

In his keynote address at the Cannon House Office Building, Graham acknowledged that people "of other faiths" might hear his message but he could only speak as a "minister of the gospel."

"I don't want to be offensive to anyone," he said, "but I only know how to pray and I only know how to preach the way that the Bible instructs me."

Graham said the nation has "committed mass murder" through abortions and "taken God out of our schools." He predicted God's judgment on the country and its citizens for not living up to divine standards.

And, interestingly, Graham also says that it was God who caused the judge to rule the National Day of Prayer as part of his plan to that more people would pay attention to it

Graham said that U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb’s decision had put the National Day of Prayer in the spotlight and prompted even more Americans to rally to the cause this year.

“God bless her,” Graham said. “I want to give her a hug and a kiss right now.”

Graham said until the ruling on the suit – filed by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion group claiming the U.S. law that authorized the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional – organizers were looking for ways to get people excited about the tradition ... “God had a plan,” Graham said. “I don’t think (Crabb) realized that God used her to accomplish his purposes.”

So the ruling that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional is evidence that Christians are losing their religious freedom ... but that ruling itself was part of God's plan?

History So Easy, A Caveman Can Do It

Yesterday, a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional and, not surprisingly, the Right has been outraged.

But I was especially impressed with Bryan Fischer's response explaining that any idiot can see that this ruling is wrong: 

A federal judge ruled Thursday that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional because it violates the Constitution's prohibition against the government establishment of religion.

It is so easy to refute this judge on constitutional grounds that a caveman could do it.

Shoot, you don't even need the caveman. The Geico lizard probably knows more about the Constitution than this benighted, misguided, robe-wearing tyrant.

"Establishment" had a quite technical definition at the time of the founding. It meant to grant one specific Christian denomination preference in law, make it the official church of a nation or state, and compel people to support it through their taxes.

The Founders had observed what happened in England with an established church, the Church of England. Many of them experienced the religious oppression that accompanied an official national denomination, fled to America for freedom, and determined that the fledgling nation would not repeat the mistakes of the mother country.

Now, I am not sure just who Fischer has in mind when he says "Founders," but I  tend to think of it as referring to the men involved who signed the Declaration of Independence or drafted the Constitution.

As such, I have no idea where he gets the idea that they "fled to America for freedom" after experiencing the religious oppression of the Church of England, considering that the vast majority of them were all born in America. For instance:

Ben Franklin was born in Massachusetts.

John Adams was born in Massachusetts.

John Hancock was born in Massachusetts.

George Washington was born in Virginia.

Thomas Jefferson was born in Virginia.

James Madison was born in Virginia.

In fact, of the 39 men who signed the US Constitution, only five (James McHenry, Pierce Butler, William Paterson, Robert Morris, Thomas Fitzsimons) were not born on American soil.

But according to Fischer, our Founding Fathers so chaffed under the Church of England's religious oppression that they "fled to America for freedom" ... where they were born. 

And failure to understand that makes this federal judge an idiot. 

WI Prosecutor Threatens Teachers With Arrest If They Follow State's New Sex Ed Curriculum

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that a Juneau County [WI] District Attorney Scott Southworth has sent a letter to local school districts that they could face arrest and jail if they teach the state's newly created sex ed curriculum that requires students to learn about birth control and avoiding sexually transmitted diseases on the grounds that they will be contributing to the delinquency of minors: 

A Wisconsin prosecutor is warning that teachers who teach the state's new sex education curriculum could be arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of children.

Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth told the Wisconsin State Journal that the state's sex education law, which was signed by Gov. Jim Doyle in February, is a "sick and shameful piece of legislation" that encourages illegal sex among minors. And he sent a letter to five school districts urging them to temporarily drop all sex education classes until the Legislature can repeal the law.

"Forcing our schools to instruct children on how to utilize contraceptives encourages our children to engage in sexual behavior, whether as a victim or an offender," Southworth wrote in the March 24 letter. "It is akin to teaching children about alcohol use, then instructing them on how to make mixed alcoholic drinks."

The new law requires schools that teach sex education to include curriculum about birth control and sexually transmitted diseases as part of comprehensive classes. But Southworth said it essentially forces school districts to "instruct children on sex-for-pleasure." And in his letter, he warned the law promotes the sexual assault of children, exposes teachers to possible criminal liability, undermines parental authority, requires districts to condone controversial sexual behavior, gives the contraceptive industry access to school children and may expose districts to civil litigation.

"This, in turn, will lead to more child sexual assaults," he said in the letter.

...

Southworth, a Republican, said teachers will be pushed into "encouragement and advocacy" that "could lead to criminal charges." And he said districts may be forced to teach about homosexuality as well as transgender and transsexual people. He also said the law will allow "health care providers" such as Planned Parenthood to effectively "market sexually-oriented products to our children."

A copy of the letter can be found here [PDF].

ADF Likens Day of Prayer Lawsuit To Hostage-Taking Gunman

Back in 2008, the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed suit against the National Day of Prayer and named White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, and National Day of Prayer Task Force Chairwoman Shirley Dobson in the lawsuit.

The case is on-going, and Dobson is being represented by the Alliance Defense Fund (which just so happens to have been founded by Shirley's husband, James Dobson, and others).  As such, the case was the cover story of the ADF's latest issue of its publication "Truth and Triumph" ... and I have to say that ADF's attempt to liken the lawsuit to a hostage-taking episode that unfolded at Focus on the Family headquarters more than a decade ago seems a bit over-the-top:

The receptionist for Focus on the Family had just come back from lunch when she heard the disturbance at the glass doors in front of her. She looked up into the very intense face of a man demanding to talk immediately with Dr. James Dobson, head of the ministry.

Graciously, the receptionist began explaining that Dr. Dobson was with his wife, Shirley, in Washington, D.C., that afternoon for National Day of Prayer observances …but she quickly became distracted.

The man, she realized, was holding a gun. And tied around his waist were what appeared to be some kind of explosives.

The Dobsons had just returned to their hotel room when the phone rang with word that the receptionist and three others were being held hostage at the ministry in Colorado Springs. The couple immediately paused to pray for the Focus staff and the gunman, and began asking others around them to pray, too.

Soon, word came that the gunman had surrendered, without hurting anyone – though he did fire his weapon, tearing a hole high on the wall behind the receptionist’s desk.

When Mrs. Dobson enters the front doors at Focus, she walks right by that gash. It remains unrepaired – a reminder of God’s powerful intervention one long, frightening afternoon nearly 14 years ago.

These days, though, it’s also a quiet reminder of something else. For these days, it is the National Day of Prayer itself that’s endangered. And it’s Shirley Dobson who is under the gun.

AIM's Kincaid Continues to Defend Uganda's "Kill The Gays" Bill

Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid has once again dedicated his latest colmun to not only defending the proposed legislation in Uganda that mandates life in prison and, in some cases, the death penalty for gays, but to attacking Sen. Tom Coburn for opposing the bill and for associating himself with gays: 

In a case of strange political bedfellows, conservative Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has joined leftist comedian Al Franken, a Democratic senator from Minnesota, in sponsoring a bill denouncing Uganda's Christians for considering passage of legislation to outlaw certain unhealthy and immoral homosexual practices.

The original sponsor of the U.S. Senate bill (S. Res. 409) is Democratic Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin, who supports the entire "gay rights" agenda, including forcing Christian-owned businesses to accept homosexual employees under the so-called Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Echoing the claims of liberals in the media, who have targeted Uganda for isolation and a denial of foreign aid for considering the legislation, Coburn has called it "an absurd proposal to execute gays" that somehow threatens progress against AIDS.

...

Coburn spokesman John Hart confirmed that the senator has also been working with a "gay" Republican group, GOProud, to defeat the Ugandan bill.

On the website of the group, which is co-sponsoring the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C. next week, Jimmy LaSalvia, Executive Director of GOProud, declared, "We were thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Dr. Coburn back in December when he forcefully spoke out against the proposed Ugandan law, and we are pleased that he continues to lead on this issue."

LaSalvia was previously director of programs and policy at the Log Cabin Republicans, another Republican homosexual group that seeks to water down the GOP's commitment to traditional values.

Conservative and Christian groups have denounced CPAC organizer David Keene of the American Conservative Union for accepting GOProud as a sponsor. Keene previously accepted CPAC sponsorship money from George Soros-funded groups such as the ACLU and the Drug Policy Alliance.

How To Ruin The Super Bowl For Everyone

I don't have any special plans lined-up for this weekend's Super Bowl, but I can assure you that one thing I will not be doing is showing my support for Focus on the Family and opposition to reproductive choice by sporting my very own Tim Tebow mask:

To demonstrate support for the message of an issue ad to be aired during Sunday's CBS broadcast of the Super Bowl, a Wisconsin pro-life group is urging spectators at the game and viewers at home to wear a Tim Tebow mask to show their appreciation for life and strong family values.

...

"Tim Tebow's life matters," exclaimed Barbara Lyons, Executive Director of Wisconsin Right to Life. "And we can all have a little fun and show the public that Tim and his Mom and Dad are an inspiration to all of us."

"To show your support for Tim, his mother and father, and Focus on the Family for providing an inspirational message to the world's largest television audience, Wisconsin Right to Life invites everyone who cares about life and strong family values to download a Tim Tebow mask and wear it during the Super Bowl game on Sunday," said Lyons. The Tim Tebow mask is available at www.wisconsinrighttolife.org.

"The Super Bowl is America's biggest party," said Lyons. "So have fun, don your Tim Tebow mask when the Focus on the Family television ad airs. Wear it proudly. And make a statement for life. And maybe it's not just a coincidence the Saints are playing Sunday."

DeMint: Gov't Can't Redefine Marriage Because it's a Religious Institution

Sen. Jim DeMint appeared on Janet Porter's radio program yesterday where, in response to a caller's request for a comment from him on the issue of marriage equality in Wisconsin, he stated that the government has no power to change the definition of marriage because it is strictly a religious institution:

Anytime the people get a chance to vote on it, even if it is in California or Maine, they want to maintain traditional marriage because people realize how foundational it is to our country, our freedoms, our prosperity and the government has no business redefining marriage.  It's a religious institution.  I think we need to make a constitutional case of it. The federal government and our courts have no business redefining marriage and even at the state level, the courts have no business  telling us what marriage means. So we need to fight this, because this is not about equal rights. This is about the government legitimizing and promoting behavior that culturally we have always considered wrong.  And this is not something that we should give up on.

If marriage is strictly a "religious institution," then what business do governments have in creating policies designed to encourage marriage or in passing constitutional amendments denying marriage equality or in refusing to recognize those marriages conducted by religious groups that do recognize marriage equality?

In fact, what business does the government have at all in protecting "traditional marriage" if that concept is purely a "religious institution"?  Should the government get involved in protecting "traditional baptism" or "traditional communion" as well? 

And where exactly does DeMint plan on fighting this by making a "constitutional case of it"?  In the courts?  Via a constitutional amendment? Wouldn't that require involving the "government," which DeMint says has no business interfering with this religious institution in the first place?

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Marco Rubio appeared on Janet Porter's radio program yesterday.
  • Sarah Palin really does have control issues.
  • Tony Perkins goes all Glenn Beck as he explains that healthcare reform is literally a "bailout" for Planned Parenthood.
  • Is the Right really still trying to sink David Hamilton's nomination by claiming he's an ACORN activist? Didn't we already debunk this?
  • It looks like the Christian Twitter is off to a rough start.
  • I can't wait to find out how this ends.
  • Finally, a Texas teacher is in danger of losing her job for refusing to provide her fingerprints, which she won't do because fingerprinting is a mark of the Beast.

Conference Recap: Far Right Leaders Vow to 'Take Back America' from 'Evil' Obama and Democrats

The How To Take Back America conference held in St. Louis September 25 and 26 drew some 600 activists and, according to organizers, 100,000 online viewers. The gathering was an expanded version of the annual conference held by Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, co-hosted this year by radio personality and far-right activist Janet Folger Porter and promoted by other right-wing bloggers and radio shows.

Conference leaders and participants were both fearful and optimistic: fearful that if the Obama administration gets its way, freedom in America will give way to servitude to a tyrannical socialist government; and optimistic that Americans are angry enough to resist that tyranny and will sweep Democrats out of power in House elections in 2010.

Joining conference participants and echoing the themes were presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and several Republican Members of Congress, including Michele Bachmann (MN), Trent Franks (AZ), Steve King (IA), and Tom McClintock (CA).

Among the themes of the conference:

  • a continued merging of messaging and organizing among the Religious Right and “teabagger” right
  • the fervent belief that America is at a tipping point between freedom and fascist power: President Obama and his congressional allies are on the verge of delivering America into Socialism, Communism, and/or Nazi-style tyranny, and that government is therefore to be feared and resisted
  • optimism that the tea bag movement and anti-health-reform town halls are a sign that Americans are prepared to resist that tyranny
  • extreme opposition to Democratic health care reform efforts, with some support for the congressional Republican alternative and some demands for a no-compromise approach that would involve ending all government involvement in health care, including Medicare
  • recent attacks on ACORN are just part of a larger effort to target progressive community organizing groups and their religious supporters and “defund the left”
  • hostility not only to same-sex marriage but also to any legal protections for LGBT Americans and same-sex couples
  • a new push to use “abortion as black genocide” as a wedge between African Americans and pro-choice progressives built around a new “documentary” portraying abortion as 21st century genocide
  • American exceptionalism – the belief that America’s founding was divinely inspired and the nation has been uniquely blessed by God – is alive and well, though America is now living under a curse for having elected Barack Obama
  • activists don’t need a majority to take back America; if their minority or “remnant” is committed enough God will use them
  • the apparent passing (or grabbing) of the torch from Phyllis Schlafly to Janet Folger Porter

The most widely read book among these activists may not be Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny or Glenn Beck’s Common Sense but Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, which was invoked repeatedly by speakers and participants.

A Coalescing of Right-Wing Themes

The wide range of issues covered by workshops indicated the ongoing merging of Religious Right and far-right anti-government rhetoric that has been a hallmark of anti-Obama organizing. In this, you could say that Phyllis Schlafly has been ahead of her time: for decades she has combined Religious Right opposition to abortion, feminism, reproductive choice, and gay rights with concerns about a far-ranging list of threats to the American way of life, including federal judges, international treaties, the United Nations, and supposed secret plans to merge the U.S. with Mexico and Canada in a North American Union.  

Former and probably future presidential candidate Mike Huckabee won a cheering standing ovation from this crowd when he adopted its anti-UN stance, demanding that the organization leave the U.S. and not get one more dime in American funding. Huckabee complained about giving a platform to “murderous thugs” and said, “Enough! It’s time to get a jackhammer and to simply chip that part of New York City and let it float into the East River never to be seen again.” Huckabee managed to combine a couple of the far right’s favorite targets by declaring that the UN “has become the international equivalent of ACORN and it’s time to say enough.” (This from the man who said minutes earlier that the conservative movement was at its best when it was built on a strong intellectual grounding.)

Ferocious hostility toward the Obama administration is a unifying force in bringing together social and religious conservatives, a trend also evident at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. the week before. At How To Take Back America, for example, a session on health care reform focused less on the threat of publicly funded abortion and more on the “fascist” government “takeover” of the economy as a “power grab” by the president. The proposed “cap and trade” energy legislation was described as an effort to tax and control every American’s energy usage. 

President Obama: ‘He’s just evil.’

The depth of hostility toward President Obama -- described by a representative of the American Family Association as “a scary, scary individual” -- cannot be overstated. Rep. Trent Franks called Obama “an enemy of humanity” who “has no place in any station of government.” Another speaker, anti-gay activist Matt Barber, strung together as many insults as he could in describing the president as “a secular humanist, a radical socialist moral relativist.” 

Obama’s push for health care reform is not about health care, said Rep. Tom Price, it’s about power. A representative from Oregon Right to Life said “it’s not about health care, it’s about subjugation and control…He is a statist. He believes in control by government and its dear leaders, fascism by any other name.”  During a session on how feminism is destroying society, a questioner asked if President Obama’s push for women to go back to college was a precursor to women being forced into hard labor like they were in Russia. 

In fact many speakers and participants suggested parallels between the Obama administration’s actions and the rise to power of the Nazis. (One favored technique is to list a set of policy actions that sound like Democratic proposals and then spring the surprise that they were all actions taken by Hitler.) 

Similar hostility was directed toward Democratic congressional leaders. Speaker after speaker accused the president and his allies of pursuing a Marxist agenda, and one dubbed Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid the “new axis of evil.”

Several people suggested that armed resistance to tyrannical government may be needed. A speaker who drew parallels between America today and her experiences growing up under Nazis and Communists urged activists to buy more guns and ammunition; someone suggested that “the Second Amendment” would be the answer to threats by state governments to impose forced vaccination and quarantines during a flu pandemic.

Stopping Health Care Reform

Blocking Democratic health care reform proposals (Rep. Price called House Democrats’ HR 3200 a “monstrosity”) was among the hottest topics at the conference. As noted above, rhetoric focused on the issue less as a policy disagreement and more as a last-ditch battle against a power-hungry president to preserve freedom in America. One speaker said dramatically that if this “diabolical change” were not defeated, government of the people, by the people, and for the people would perish from the face of the earth.

Among the most extreme anti-Obama and anti-government speakers were three doctors who led a workshop session on “How to Stop Socialism in Health Care,” which moderator Andy Schlafly called “the most important issue we’re facing.” 

Lawrence Huntoon, representing the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (which bills itself as a conservative alternative to the AMA), argued that any governmental “interference” in the practice of health care is unconstitutional, and that the Obama administration is really only interested in power. “Just like the fraud and deception of socialism itself,” he said, proposals for reform have more to do with government gaining control over the lives of individuals than of health care. 

The second speaker, Dr. Frank Rosenbloom of Oregon Right to Life, lashed out at President Obama’s policies and at suggestions that opposition to his administration reflected racism. Obama, he said, is a supporter of Planned Parenthood and therefore responsible for genocide against black children. “Liberals are the true racists in this society,” he proclaimed. But he was just warming up.  Rosenbloom compared Obama to Adolf Hitler, saying “fascism is happening here and now.” Recalling President Obama’s statement that if his daughter mistakenly became pregnant, he would not want her to be punished with a baby, Rosenbloom said that is the sort of “moral sewage that is running our country.”

Rosenbloom, who said Obama is “not stupid,” but “just evil,” rejected Rep. Price’s plug for HR 3400, a Republican alternative bill, demanding that government get out of health care completely. He called for an end to Medicare and Medicaid, saying that people could be provided for through tax subsidies for buying insurance. 

A third speaker,Dr. Allen Unruh, said “we either live in freedom or in servitude, there is no middle ground.”  Unruh said Obama health care plans would result in dismantling the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 9th, 10th, and 13th amendments and said it would turn all doctors into “slaves of the state” and result in "slavery reenacted by our first black president."

Abortion: No Compromise, New Wedges

While anti-Obama and anti-government fervor felt like the energizing force of the conference, the intensity of opposition to legalized abortion was also undiminished. 

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, citing Obama’s pro-choice policies, called him an “enemy of humanity:”

Obama’s first act as president of any consequence, in the middle of a financial meltdown, was to send taxpayers’ money oversees to pay for the killing of unborn children in other countries…there’s almost nothing that you should be surprised at after that….we shouldn’t be shocked that he does all these other insane things….A president that has lost his way that badly, that has no ability to see the image of God in these little fellow human beings, if he can’t do that right, then he has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity.

Huckabee also called for “no compromise” on the issue:

That’s why the position that I believe that we must uncompromisingly hold toward the sanctity of human life is an absolute and cannot be negotiated and cannot be given away. And I will never support anyone for public office who does not believe that we should protect every single human life. It’s better to lose elections than to lose our culture and to lose civilization.

Huckabee added that he didn’t believe an uncompromising anti-choice stance would lead to lost elections, saying he was encouraged that younger women are more anti-choice than their mothers and grandmothers.

Anti-choice activists are mounting a renewed effort to use abortion as a wedge issue, portraying legaliized abortion as “black genocide” and promoting Maafa 21, a new “documentary” meant to help stir anti-abortion sentiment in African American churches. Janet Porter told of attending a showing of the movie in Arizona, after which a speaker urged people to confess if they had voted for pro-choice candidates like President Obama. An African American woman, Porter says, rose and prayed, “Forgive me Lord, for putting race over you.”

Along the same lines, Rep. Franks touted his “Susan B. Anthony – Frederick Douglass Pre-Natal Non Discrimination Act,” which would ban abortions carried out on the basis of race or sex. He bragged that the bill would put members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other liberals in a box, because they don’t want to support discrimination, but that if they do vote for the bill, they will be acknowledging that “there’s a person involved.” 

Freedom with an Asterisk

An overriding theme of conference speakers was that the nation is poised on losing its freedom. Rep. Tom Price said that in Washington “we see a crowd in charge that is not too fond of freedom.” 

Of course, freedom to these conference-goers does not extend to LGBT Americans who want to live their lives free from discrimination or serve the nation in the armed forces. Several workshops focused on the dire threat to children and communities posed by the prospect (and reality) of gay couples getting married. And for this crowd, stopping marriage equality is not enough: they are out to prevent civil unions and domestic partnerships as well. They believe the Employment Anti-Discrimination Act is a grave threat to religious liberty. They believe that allowing gays to serve openly in the military would threaten national security. And please don’t get them started on transgender people.

Gay rights advocates, like Obama, were described by Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber as bullies who get their way with propaganda and “goose-stepping” intimidation of those who oppose equality.

Attacking Progressives

Conference participants were downright gleeful about the troubles facing ACORN, which they claim has been routinely engaged in voter fraud. They were warned, however, that congressional action to deny funding to ACORN is only a first step in attacking funding for organizations affiliated with ACORN and more broadly, groups doing community organizing in poor communities like the Industrial Areas Foundation.

A group of participants from Wisconsin, for example, distributed materials attacking the state’s Catholic bishops for supporting social justice-oriented religious coalitions like Common Ground, which they argue has a “Radical Left Agenda” -- which in their mind includes things like government support for day care. 

In her address, Rep. Michele Bachman said liberalism is repulsive to the American people and called for a renewed effort to “defund the left,” something she criticized Republicans for failing to do when they were in power. “Defunding the left is going to be so easy and it’s going to solve so many of our problems,” she said.

Franks touted his “pre-natal discrimination” bill as a way to “completely defund Planned Parenthood,” which is high on the Right’s agenda.

Taking Back Congress in 2010

Many speakers shared Phyllis Schlafly’s optimism that the anti-Obama, anti-government anger evident in the health care town halls, the tea bag parties, and the conference itself is spreading like wildfire and will make it possible for the Republicans to reclaim the House of Representatives in 2010 and bring a screeching halt to the Obama administration’s plans to drive America into socialist subservience.

Porter announced plans for a rally at the Lincoln Memorial on May 1, 2010, and she’s already got several members of Congress, including Reps. Franks and King signed up. Porter claimed that the event was not about impressing the media or Washington elite, but about touching the heart of God with a show of national repentance for having elected such wicked leaders. She said attendees would be able to give God a sign of their readiness to turn from their wicked ways by putting money into barrels that would be given to the opponents of targeted Democratic congressional leaders.

Passing the Torch

The entire conference had the feel of a generational passing of the leadership torch from Phyllis Schlafly to Janet Folger Porter. Photographic tributes to Schlafly’s life were capped with a long “surprise” recounting of her career by Porter during the final evening program. Porter presented Schlafly with the “American Hero of the Century” Award. For her part, Schlafly praised Porter repeatedly throughout the weekend, saying, “there aren’t extravagances enough to praise Janet for the role she’s played in taking back America and rebuilding the conservative movement.”

Although they don’t agree about everything (Porter argued that Mike Huckabee was God’s chosen candidate in 2008, while Schlafly disparaged his conservative credentials), Porter is in many ways a perfect successor to Schlafly. She shares many of her characteristics, including a no-compromise approach to politics, a strategy of promoting the most extreme and fantastical claims about opponents’ aims and goals, seemingly limitless energy for the fight, and a talent for self-promotion.

Porter has a documented record of promoting even the wildest right-wing conspiracy theories, including “birtherism” and claims that the Obama administration is planning to round up conservatives into internment camps and exterminate millions of Americans through a flu vaccine plot. None of that apparently can diminish her shine in the eyes of the public officials hoping to gain or keep her favor. Both Rep. Franks and Mike Huckabee credited Porter for getting them to the conference. Huckabee went a little further, saying there are two Janets he answers to, his wife and Porter. Porter co-chaired the Faith and Values committee of Huckabee’s presidential campaign. So if Porter does indeed become the new leader of Schlafly’s loyal followers, that’s good news for Huckabee’s future political ambitions.

Terry Targets Obama's Daughter's School

It is presumably no accident that Randall Terry will be protesting outside of Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, where President Obama's daughters are enrolled, in order to "show pictures of aborted and healthy babies -- the same pictures [anti-choice activist] Jim Pouillon was showing when he was gunned down" in Michigan last week:

One protest will occur at Sidwell Friends School in Washington DC, where many high powered politicos send their children.

"We will not be intimidated into silence. We will continue to show images of aborted babies at high schools, no matter what the cost.

"We hope that other pro-life groups will set aside differences and turf wars, and will do as I have done - follow the urging of Baltimore area pro-life leader, Kurt Linnemann, who wrote me urging me to help promote this. (See copy of letter below.)

"President Obama condemned Jim Pouillon's murder - which is good - but he said nothing about protecting pro-lifers. At least by going to Sidwell Friends School, we know we will have police protection. " Randall Terry, Director, Operation Rescue Insurrecta Nex.

Protests will be held on Thursday from Noon to 1:00 in DC and Baltimore, and the following Schools.

Sidwell Friends School
3825 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016

Baltimore Polytecnic Institute
1400 W. Cold Spring Lane
Baltimore, MD 21209

Protests are also scheduled in the following cities:
Hanford West High School
1150 W. Lacey Boulevard
Hanford, CA 93230

William Penn High School
713 East Basin Road
New Castle, DE 19720

St. Louis (Granite City) MO
Dallas TX
Buffalo NY

Tornado Was a "Warning" to Lutherans Not to Approve Gay Pastors

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in American has been meeting at the Minneapolis Convention Center all week for its 2009 Churchwide Assembly. And today, those in attendance are scheduled to participate in a key decision:

Following the Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians into one of the thorniest social debates of contemporary Protestantism, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is to decide today whether to allow sexually active gays and lesbians to serve as pastors.

Meeting this week in Minneapolis for its biennial convention, the nation's seventh-largest denomination is considering a policy that would allow its 10,000 congregations to hire as pastor any properly ordained person "in a lifelong, committed, monogamous, same-gender relationship."

And apparently God is not happy with this effort, which is why, according to John Piper, he sent a tornado earlier in the week to let them know:

A day after tornados and storms slammed the Midwest, John Piper, a prolific author and preaching pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, called an out-of-the-blue tornado that struck downtown Minneapolis Aug. 19 a "warning" from God to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, whose delegates were meeting there to debate a liberalized policy on homosexuality.

The tornado tore off part of a 90-year-old steeple of the Central Lutheran Church and ripped apart large outdoor tents set up to serve breakfast to the delegates to the ECLA convention which has been holding its meetings this week next door at the convention center. Some meetings also are taking place at the church. The tornado also damaged the convention center, where delegates were at the time.

...

Piper then listed six points and accompanying texts as to why he thinks the tornado was providential:

1. "The unrepentant practice of homosexual behavior (like other sins) will exclude a person from the kingdom of God. 'The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.' (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

2. "The church has always embraced those who forsake sexual sin but who still struggle with homosexual desires, rejoicing with them that all our fallen, sinful, disordered lives (all of us, no exceptions) are forgiven if we turn to Christ in faith. 'Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.' (1 Corinthians 6:11).

3. "Therefore, official church pronouncements that condone the very sins that keep people out of the kingdom of God are evil. They dishonor God, contradict Scripture and implicitly promote damnation where salvation is freely offered.

4. "Jesus Christ controls the wind, including all tornados. 'Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?' (Mark 4:41).

5. "When asked about a seemingly random calamity near Jerusalem where 18 people were killed, Jesus answered in general terms -- an answer that would cover calamities in Minneapolis, Taiwan or Baghdad. God's message is repent, because none of us will otherwise escape God's judgment. Jesus: 'Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.' (Luke 13:4-5)

6. "Conclusion: The tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin. Turn from the promotion of behaviors that lead to destruction. Reaffirm the great Lutheran heritage of allegiance to the truth and authority of Scripture. Turn back from distorting the grace of God into sensuality. Rejoice in the pardon of the cross of Christ and its power to transform left and right wing sinners."

Interestingly, tornadoes also reportedly hit parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana on Wednesday as well, but Piper has not yet clued us in to what message God was trying to send to the people in those areas who had their homes and businesses destroyed.

Wisconsin Book Burner Makes His Case

Last month I wrote a post regrading a group of people in West Bend, WI who are trying to get books that they considers to be obscene moved from the section of the library designated "Young Adults."

That fight caught the attention of Robert Braun, head of something he calls the Christian Civil Liberties Union, who then filed a lawsuit seeking $120,000 in damage for having been allegedly caused emotional distress by the book being in the library and the right to publicly burn the library’s copy of the book "Baby Be-Bop"

The entire bizarre battle was picked-up by CNN the other day and so Alan Colmes invited Braun onto his radio program to discuss his lawsuit.

It was, needless to say, highly entertaining.

Braun apparently doesn't understand the difference between racism and censorship, because when Colmes accused him of engaging in the latter, Braun's response was, and I quote:  

Let me tell you who's involved in this suit.  One of the gentleman with me is Black, his wife is Indian, she's a Comanche, the other one is ... I have Jewish blood in me.

And it just went downhill from there, with Braun declaring that he's going to burn a copy of "Baby Be-Bop" no matter what - not the library's copy, because that would be illegal, but the copy which, for some reason, he apparently owns.  Considering that he is suing the library for causing him emotional damage by simply having it in the stacks, it seems odd that Braun would have a copy of the very same book in his own house. Braun went on to admit that he doesn't even live in West Bend and that his Christians Civil Liberties Union has a grand total of zero members.

At one point, Braun accused Colmes of not being a good Christian, which Colmes readily admitted (he's Jewish,) and claimed that Colmes was now causing him emotional distress as well.  When Colmes asked him to explain how anyone has been "damaged" by this book's inclusion in the library, Barun responded that he and the other plantiffs "are elderly and it has damaged our moral views."

Frankly, I think the entire thing can be summed up by simply noting that this interview might just contain a world record for the greatest number of mispronunciations of the word "library" in any seven minute interval:

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Bill Donohue says Randall Terry’s threat not to pay taxes is a "recipe for anarchy."
  • Al Mohler is not impressed by Jimmy Carter's decision to sever his ties with the Southern Baptist Convention.
  • Focus on the Family really seems to be getting behind The Civility Project.
  • Oral Roberts University has signed an agreement with the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference that will position ORU as the exclusive educational strategic partner for the NHCLC.
  • The Alliance Defense Fund has filed suit against Wisconsin's Domestic Partnetship law, claiming it violates the marriage amendment passed in 2006.
  • You just can't win against WorldNetDaily: "The announcements of Barack Obama's birth printed by two Hawaii newspapers in 1961 do not provide solid proof of a birth in the Aloha State."
  • Finally, Jesse Lee Peterson weighs in on the arrest of Henry Louis Gates:
  • "Henry Gates and Al Sharpton are abusing police while black," said Rev. Peterson. "Their false allegations say to young blacks that they too can abuse police and cry racism. Gates was abusive and disorderly and the police dealt with him accordingly--where's the racism? This is a case of black males gone wild."

    ...

    Rev. Peterson said, "What's regrettable is that the city of Cambridge and the police have allowed themselves to be intimidated by a race hustler like Al 'The Riot King' Sharpton. The race card has once again been used to unjustly smear law enforcement and thwart justice. This is Tawana Brawley all over again!"

Right Wing Round-Up

  • At RH Reality Check, Myra Duran explains how "so-called crisis pregnancy centers lure women into their facilities with promises of free pregnancy tests and options counseling. But once inside, most provide women with false or misleading information about abortion, birth control, and sexually transmitted diseases."
  • Jim Burroway reports that the Georgia Supreme Court threw out a lower court’s order banning children from being “exposed” to their father’s gay partner and friends.
  • What is the deal with state-level Republicans sending out racist "jokes" in South Carolina and Tennessee?
  • As we noted last week, right-wingers in Wisconsin are trying to burn copies of "Baby Be-Bop" - Salon reports that the author of the book is not amused.
  • David Neiwert offers more information about Minuteman "tactical" leader/murder suspect Shawna Forde.
  • The Anti-Defamation League reports that white supremacists have "capitalized on the Sotomayor nomination to characterize Jews as "conspirators seeking world domination, having secretly orchestrated the appointment":
  • "How the (expletive deleted) did that Puerto Rican princess Sotomayor get into Princeton? I mean, she was just another welfare spic from the Bronx…Sotomayor was obviously chosen by the Jews at Princeton to fulfill a quota. Then the Jews at some NY law firm hired her to be their token spicarina, and so on…I can't wait to see what kind of f#cked-up opinions she issues from the Supreme Court Bench. I'll bet they're really insane, using all the tortured and twisted Jew-logic they taught her at Princeton."

We're Offended, So Give Us $120,000 and the Right to Burn Books

Last week, the Library Board in West Bend, Wisconsin rejected efforts by a local couple to remove book they found objectionable:

The Library Board on Tuesday night unanimously rejected efforts by a local citizen group to restrict access of young adults to books depicting sex among teenagers or those describing teenage homosexual relationships.

...

Ginny and Jim Maziarka of West Bend earlier this year asked the community board to remove books that the couple considers to be obscene or child pornography from a section of the library designated "Young Adults." The couple formed an organization, West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries, to promote their views.

The Maziarkas requested such books to be reclassified and placed in a restricted area requiring parental approval before being released to a child. The books also should be labeled with a warning about content, the couple said.

Ginny Maziarka in past interviews described two of the targeted books - "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" and "The Geography Club" - as explicitly sexual. She considers a third book, "Deal With It! a whole new approach to your body, brain and life as a gURL" to be pornographic.

"Sexually explicit content should not be on the teen shelf in the West Bend Library," Ginny Maziarka said.

Now the American Library Association reports that the board is facing a lawsuit seeking $120,000 in damages from people claiming to have been personally harmed by the fact that the books are in the library and who are demanding the right to burn said books:

[B]oard members were made cognizant that same evening that another material challenge waited in the wings: Milwaukee-area citizen Robert C. Braun of the Christian Civil Liberties Union (CCLU) distributed at the meeting copies of a claim for damages he and three other plaintiffs filed April 28 with the city; the complainants seek the right to publicly burn or destroy by another means the library’s copy of Baby Be-Bop. The claim also demands $120,000 in compensatory damages ($30,000 per plaintiff) for being exposed to the book in a library display, and the resignation of West Bend Mayor Kristine Deiss for “allow[ing] this book to be viewed by the public.”

...

Describing the YA novel by celebrated author Francesca Lia Block as “explicitly vulgar, racial, and anti-Christian,” the complaint by Braun, Joseph Kogelmann, Rev. Cleveland Eden, and Robert Brough explains that “the plaintiffs, all of whom are elderly, claim their mental and emotional well-being was damaged by this book at the library,” specifically because Baby Be-Bop contains the “n” word and derogatory sexual and political epithets that can incite violence and “put one’s life in possible jeopardy, adults and children alike.”

The complaint points out that library Director Michael Tyree has “publicly stated that it is not up to the library to tell the community what is appropriate.” Citing “Wisconsin’s sexual morality law,” the plaintiffs also request West Bend City Attorney Mary Schanning to impanel a grand jury to examine whether the book should be declared obscene and making it available a hate crime.

On a related note, the ALA also reports that the West Bend Common Council voted not to reappoint four library board members because they failed to remove the books, accusing them of “stonewalling.”

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