abortion rights

Rep. Steve King Thinks The High Cost of Abortion For Low-Income Women Is Hilarious

At a House subcommittee hearing yesterday on a bill that would severely restrict access to insurance coverage for abortion, Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa mocked an expert who testified, accurately, that paying out of pocket for an abortion could cost a low-income woman more than a month’s rent.

Susan Wood, a George Washington University professor and former FDA official, told the all-male judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution that HR7 – which would make the Hyde Amendment permanentban federal subsidies for private insurance plans that cover abortion and would permanently block the District of Columbia from spending local tax money on abortion services – could “virtually eliminate abortion coverage from the private insurance market” and would especially hurt low-income women, threatening to push them “deeper into poverty.”

“While it may not seem like a big expense to a Member of Congress, in these tough financial times, for many people, abortion care costs more than their monthly rent, putting it out of reach for their family’s pocketbook,” Wood said.

When it came time to ask questions, Rep. King mocked Wood’s comparison of the cost of abortion to a month’s rent, wondering, “I wonder how many abortions a month does she need to keep up with the monthly rent check.”

CNS News transcribed the exchange, which the anti-choice website LifeSiteNews described as “ humorous” :

Rep. King: “Okay, then your answer, then, would be that, in exceptional cases it may cost a woman more for a single abortion than it does for her one month of rent check. Is that an accurate way to depict what you said?”

Prof. Wood: “That’s correct.”

Rep. King: “Okay, because I wonder how many abortions a month does she need to keep up with the monthly rent check.”

The Guttmacher Institute estimates that the average cost of a first-trimester abortion is between $450 and $500, depending on the method used; Planned Parenthood says a first-trimester abortion can cost up to $950. Later-term abortions, which are more rare, can cost many times that.

Matt Barber Blames Bitter, Barren, Appletini-Sipping Copy Editors for Lack of Gosnell Coverage

In his most recent weekly column, Liberty Counsel vice president Matt Barber excoriates the media for supposedly ignoring the Kermit Gosnell trial, President Obama for speaking at Planned Parenthood, and progressives for supporting a “culture of death.”

Barber latches on to the completely false right-wing talking point that the mainstream media and feminist reporters have ignored the Gosnell trial. He blames this supposed blackout on people like “some now-barren, 40-something copy editor who’s had five abortions” and who’d rather “sip appletinis with the boys down at the National Press Club and pretend it never happened.”

Interestingly, until this week, Liberty Counsel hadn’t mentioned Gosnell once.

And why are we stunned that the mainstream media have spiked a story with all the bloody and salacious newsworthy trappings that – had abortion not been involved – would have filled the news cycle 24/7?

You think some now-barren, 40-something copy editor who’s had five abortions wants to draw attention to its grisly reality? You think she wants to be reminded of her own string of dismembered little choices? No, better to sip appletinis with the boys down at the National Press Club and pretend it never happened. Now that’s reproductive freedom! That’s freedom of the press!

Barber then moves on to President Obama’s recent speech to Planned Parenthood, or, as he calls it, “a mass-murder celebration.”

“Kermit Gosnell is liberalism personified, and liberalism relies on deceit,” he writes. “The ‘progressive’ culture is a culture of death.”

To “pro-choicers” it’s not that old Kermit did anything wrong; it’s just that he got caught doing it. He was careless. He pulled back the curtain of “reproductive freedom” to reveal abortion’s house of horrors. Kermit Gosnell is liberalism personified, and liberalism relies on deceit. The “progressive” culture is a culture of death. Moral relativism is as moral relativism does.

Speaking of moral relativism, on Friday the first sitting president in United States history gave the keynote address at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser. Nice timing. Even as the Gosnell mass-murder trial wraps up, Obama was lending the full weight of his presidency to a mass-murder celebration.

His message? All you Planned Parenthood-hating, anti-Gosnell right-wingers better listen up: “No matter how great the challenge, no matter how fierce the opposition, there’s one thing that the past few years have shown,” he promised. “That Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere. It’s not going anywhere today. It’s not going anywhere tomorrow.”

Yeah, we’ll see about that, slick.

Susan B. Anthony List Inaugurates Pro-Cuccinelli Campaign With a Blatant Lie

The anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List made headlines in Virginia last week when it released the first paid advertisement in the gubernatorial battle between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. The problem is that the centerpiece of the ad, the first in what SBA List promises will be a $1.5 million campaign to support Cuccinelli, is a blatant lie.

The SBA List ad discusses new “TRAP” regulations passed by the Virginia Department of Health and aggressively pushed by Cuccinelli, which burden abortion clinics with unneccessary restrictions in order to shut them down. The ad claims that McAuliffe, by opposing the new regulations, “refuses to require women’s health clinics to provide the same sanitary environment we expect of dental offices and hospitals.”

Politifact Virginia discovers that not only is this claim blatantly false, but Susan B. Anthony List doesn’t even try to back it up with evidence:

We asked Mallory Quigley, a spokeswoman for the PAC and the Susan B. Anthony List, for proof of the ad’s claim. She provided no facts. “We — meaning Virginia women — expect a safe, sanitary environment inside abortion clinics, places that should be regulated at least as strict as dental offices and in fact, even stricter — like hospitals — which are mentioned immediately after that,” she wrote in an email.

The ad implies that prior to the new regulations, abortion clinics were allowed to operate at lower sanitary standards than dental offices. There’s no evidence to support that. They were treated pretty much the same.

Not that this is a huge surprise coming from the Susan B. Anthony list, which has never bothered itself too much with the truth. After all, even the organization’s name is based on a gross distortion of American history.

Anti-Choice Group Using Gosnell Trial to Push TRAP Laws

The anti-choice group Americans United for Life is using the trial of Philadelphia abortion provider Kermit Gosnell – accused of infanticide and causing the injury and death of several women in his care – to push for “TRAP” laws meant to shut down safe abortion clinics.

TRAP – “targeted restrictions on abortion providers”—laws are a favorite tool of anti-choice activists trying to work their way around Roe v. Wade. Passed under the guise of improving care for women, they are in fact aimed at shutting down abortions providers by burdening them with onerous and unnecessary regulations. A TRAP law in Virginia forced a respected 40-year-old abortion clinic to close this month. Last year, Mississippi passed a TRAP law aimed at shutting down the state’s only abortion clinic.

And this is exactly what Americans United for Life wants more of. In a press release today, AUL president Charmaine Yoest presents two model state-level TRAP measures, falsely claiming that her group “has led the nationwide effort to combat the reality of legalized ‘back-alley’ abortions”:

"For more than a decade, Americans United for Life has led the nationwide effort to combat the reality of legalized 'back-alley' abortions, advocating for meaningful and comprehensive regulation and oversight of abortion clinics.  And legislators across the country are responding to AUL's call to protect women from substandard abortion clinics and providers.  Over just the last three years, eight states have enacted new comprehensive abortion clinic regulations or made significant improvements to existing regulations.

"Commonsense regulations must be a national priority. Enacting medically appropriate and comprehensive abortion clinic regulations is a critical and sensible solution to the on-going problem of unsafe, legal 'back-alley' abortions, which is now better understood as a result of the horrific revelations in the Gosnell trial.  These regulations are designed to safeguard against unsanitary conditions, inferior equipment, and the employment of unsuitable and untrained personnel.  They are also intended to put an end to substandard medical practices that injure and kill untold numbers of women each year."

Of course, these laws do nothing to prevent back-alley abortions or “safeguard” women’s health. Instead, they serve to force safe clinics out of business, forcing women into unsafe practices like Gosnell’s. Gosnell’s squalid and dangerous clinic was the last refuge for many low-income women in Philadelphia. Yet AUL and its allies are trying to exploit the Gosnell story to make it even harder for women to access safe abortion care.

CWA Tries to Win Over Women By Claiming Romney Can’t Overturn Roe v. Wade

Concerned Women for America is trying out a novel strategy in its fight to draw women to support Mitt Romney this November: denying that the next president can do anything to eliminate abortion rights. In a new TV ad, CWA counters a MoveOn.org ad featuring female celebrities talking about the issue of reproductive rights in the presidential election. In the CWA ad, women derisively call the MoveOn.org supporters “Hollywood women” and mock the contention that a President Mitt Romney would “overturn Roe v. Wade.”

“Have they ever heard of the separation of powers?” asks one Concerned Woman.


Maybe it’s CWA that needs the civics lesson. Mitt Romney has repeatedly stated that he would choose Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. It even says so on his website. With as many as three Justices possibly retiring in the next four years, Romney might very well have the opportunity to shape a court that would take away the right to choose.

Which, of course, is what CWA has been working toward since its founding. A petition on CWA’s website calls for signers to support “any and all legislative efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade” and “support pro-life nominees to the courts.” A pamphlet the group distributed shortly before President Obama's inauguration said anti-choice advocates should work to "pass limits on abortion and appoint judges who will overturn Roe." And here’s the CWA’s blog discussing an Alabama Supreme Court ruling in February that challenged Roe.

This ruling has major implications for the pro-life movement. First, it clearly mirrors the growing sentiments of a majority of Americans who are pro-life, especially our younger generation. Second, Alabama has set a clear precedent that more states are expected to emulate. Finally, as state laws continue to represent Americans’ growing pro-life attitude, the U.S. Supreme Court will be called upon to reconsider and, ultimately, repeal Roe.

Unveiling the deception of Roe shouldn’t be a difficult task. Mario Diaz, Esq., Legal Counsel for Concerned Women for America, explains, “Legally speaking, Roe v. Wade is simply indefensible. It rests on the false premise that the ‘fetus’ is not a ‘person’ because the Justices say so. The scientific bases for that claim simply were not there in 1973, and they are not there now. In fact, JusticeBlackmun acknowledged that ‘[i]f this suggestion of personhood is established, [Roe's] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [Fourteenth] Amendment.’ Advances in science have been proving just that: we are dealing with a baby, not a blob of tissue as some conveniently tried to tell us. This decision by the Alabama Supreme Court is another indication that Roe‘s house of cards is slowly tumbling down.”

Pro-life conservatives can only hope that the Supreme Court revisits the abortion question sooner rather than later. With a few more decisions like the one in Alabama, we may just hold the legal trump card when that time comes.

Romney himself as also tried this tactic, claiming that there is nothing he would do to restrict abortion rights. A New York Times editorial this morning sets that notion straight.

 

Issa Stacks Hearing to Attack Contraception Compromise

Rep. Darrell Issa, who has followed through on his threat to turn his Committee on Oversight and Government Reform into an attack dog on the Obama administration, today held a one-sided hearing attacking as a threat to religious liberty the administration’s recent compromise on health care regulations requiring insurers to cover contraception.

Not present at the hearing was a representative of the Catholic Health Association, which has embraced the administration’s compromise. When asked about the CHA’s position, Bishop William Lori, head of the Catholic bishops’ new “religious liberty” task force, said archly that the CHA doesn’t speak for the church as a whole – the bishops do. But polls show that the bishops actually speak for a small minority of American Catholics on these issues.
 
Issa – who had no concerns about separation of church and state when he was pushing for federal funding for religious school vouchers in the District of Columbia – labeled his stacked hearing “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?” It was striking for some of us who are accustomed to hearing conservative politicians and Religious Right figures denouncing the separation of church and state, and dismissing the letter in which Thomas Jefferson used the phrase, to hear Issa and his colleagues vigorously endorsing the concept – or at least the rhetoric – and invoking Jefferson.
 
Issa and fellow Republicans used the “religious liberty” frame as an excuse to prevent testimony from women affected by the lack of insurance coverage of contraceptives, which also serve as treatment for a variety of medical conditions.  Rep. Rosa DeLauro (one of several Catholic Democrats who attended the heargin) and several members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, forcefully raised the issue of women’s health, only to be told that access to health care was not the topic of the hearing. DeLauro drew a distinction between religious organizations as service providers – Catholic hospitals are not required to perform abortions, for example – and as employers. Nothing in the First Amendment, she said, says that religiously affiliated employers aren’t subject to same rules as every other employer. Republicans on the committee embraced the goalpost-moving standard staked out recently by the bishops, which is that not only should religiously affiliated organizations be exempt, but that any business owner should be able to cite religious beliefs as reason not to provide his employees with coverage.
 
The hearing made it clear that the GOP has decided to aggressively pursue their election year strategy of portraying Obama as an enemy of religious liberty.  There was no rhetorical “bridge too far” at this hearing – it was suggested that the Obama administration was a few keystrokes away from completely eliminating religious freedom, and that it was using government coercion to force churches to change their religious doctrine. Even Joseph Stalin was invoked. GOP members of Congress encouraged panelists to portray themselves as willing martyrs to religious liberty – and panelists complied, with some saying they would be willing to go to jail rather than side with government over God. 
 
It’s worth remembering with all the rhetoric about the end of freedom in America that the compromise plan would not require religious groups to provide or pay for coverage: insurance companies would contact employees directly, offer coverage to those who want it, and pick up the tab.
 
Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly, also Catholic, said he had had concerns with the original rules and believes the compromise addressed religious liberty concerns. He denounced Issa’s hearing as a “sham” and a “shameful exercise.”  He scoffed at the going-to-jail rhetoric and told panelists they were being used, wittingly or not, as part of an anti-Obama political agenda.  

Issa Stacks Hearing to Attack Contraception Compromise

Rep. Darrell Issa, who has followed through on his threat to turn his Committee on Oversight and Government Reform into an attack dog on the Obama administration, today held a one-sided hearing attacking as a threat to religious liberty the administration’s recent compromise on health care regulations requiring insurers to cover contraception.

Not present at the hearing was a representative of the Catholic Health Association, which has embraced the administration’s compromise. When asked about the CHA’s position, Bishop William Lori, head of the Catholic bishops’ new “religious liberty” task force, said archly that the CHA doesn’t speak for the church as a whole – the bishops do. But polls show that the bishops actually speak for a small minority of American Catholics on these issues.
 
Issa – who had no concerns about separation of church and state when he was pushing for federal funding for religious school vouchers in the District of Columbia – labeled his stacked hearing “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?” It was striking for some of us who are accustomed to hearing conservative politicians and Religious Right figures denouncing the separation of church and state, and dismissing the letter in which Thomas Jefferson used the phrase, to hear Issa and his colleagues vigorously endorsing the concept – or at least the rhetoric – and invoking Jefferson.
 
Issa and fellow Republicans used the “religious liberty” frame as an excuse to prevent testimony from women affected by the lack of insurance coverage of contraceptives, which also serve as treatment for a variety of medical conditions.  Rep. Rosa DeLauro (one of several Catholic Democrats who attended the heargin) and several members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, forcefully raised the issue of women’s health, only to be told that access to health care was not the topic of the hearing. DeLauro drew a distinction between religious organizations as service providers – Catholic hospitals are not required to perform abortions, for example – and as employers. Nothing in the First Amendment, she said, says that religiously affiliated employers aren’t subject to same rules as every other employer. Republicans on the committee embraced the goalpost-moving standard staked out recently by the bishops, which is that not only should religiously affiliated organizations be exempt, but that any business owner should be able to cite religious beliefs as reason not to provide his employees with coverage.
 
The hearing made it clear that the GOP has decided to aggressively pursue their election year strategy of portraying Obama as an enemy of religious liberty.  There was no rhetorical “bridge too far” at this hearing – it was suggested that the Obama administration was a few keystrokes away from completely eliminating religious freedom, and that it was using government coercion to force churches to change their religious doctrine. Even Joseph Stalin was invoked. GOP members of Congress encouraged panelists to portray themselves as willing martyrs to religious liberty – and panelists complied, with some saying they would be willing to go to jail rather than side with government over God. 
 
It’s worth remembering with all the rhetoric about the end of freedom in America that the compromise plan would not require religious groups to provide or pay for coverage: insurance companies would contact employees directly, offer coverage to those who want it, and pick up the tab.
 
Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly, also Catholic, said he had had concerns with the original rules and believes the compromise addressed religious liberty concerns. He denounced Issa’s hearing as a “sham” and a “shameful exercise.”  He scoffed at the going-to-jail rhetoric and told panelists they were being used, wittingly or not, as part of an anti-Obama political agenda.  

Jeffress: Social Security Crisis, Medicare Crisis and Deficit are ‘God’s Judgment’ for Legal Abortion

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Robert Jeffress, a prominent endorser of Gov. Rick Perry, said in an interview with Janet Mefferd yesterday that the Social Security crisis, the Medicare crisis and the mounting federal deficit are “God’s judgment” for legalized abortion.

Citing a study by the fringe anti-choice group Movement for a Better America, Jeffress claims that legalized abortion is responsible for $35 trillion in lost GDP over the last 35 years.

Listen:

Jeffress: Since Roe v. Wade, we’ve had 40 million babies aborted, murdered. Do you realize that if those children, one study I cite in the books says, if those children had been allowed to live, if they had grown up and become productive citizens, it would have added $35 trillion to our Gross National Product in the last 35 years, and there would be no Social Security crisis or Medicare crisis because those people would be paying, productive citizens into the system.

You know, we’ve got even conservatives, Janet, in the Republican Party who are saying, “Oh, this is the year where we’re interested in the economy and not in social issues.” Listen, there is a connection between social issues and economic issues. You cannot wipe out 20 percent of your population, like we have done as a nation through abortion, without great economic repercussions, which I think are God’s judgment. I think the mounting deficit, the Social Security crisis, all those things are part of God’s judgment because we have murdered 20 percent of our population. 

Blackwell Ditches Bachmann For Perry

Back when Michele Bachmann was the GOP’s flavor of the month, three Religious Right leaders formed a Super PAC to bolster Bachmann’s fledgling campaign. Kenneth Blackwell, the former Ohio Secretary of State, failed gubernatorial nominee and unsuccessful candidate to be chairman of the Republican National Committee, was to chair the pro-Bachmann Citizens for a Working America. In fact, the announcement came just days after Rick Perry entered the presidential race.

How times have changed. Today, Blackwell switched sides and is now endorsing Rick Perry:

Ken Blackwell, the former Republican Secretary of State of Ohio and one time candidate for Governor who lost against Democrat Ted Strickland in 2006, has endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry for President.

“I am proud to endorse Texas Gov. Rick Perry for president,” said Blackwell in a release from the Perry campaign. “Gov. Perry’s successful record of job creation shows that he has the skill, experience and ideas necessary to get our nation working again. His proven conservative values, and his proven executive experience are exactly what this country needs to reverse the failed policies of the Obama Administration.”

Blackwell’s endorsement comes just as Perry’s campaign is having a second roll-out following a major slip in the polls as a result of dreadful debate performances and other missteps. Bachmann’s poll numbers have also dropped significantly as Herman Cain, for now, has emerged as Mitt Romney’s closest rival. But with Cain flubbing and flip-flopping even straight-forward questions on abortion rights and gay rights and Bachmann’s campaign running low on support, staffers and funding, it may be time that establishment figures in the Religious Right rally behind Perry as their choice.

Even Pat Robertson Thinks Republican Voters Are Too Extreme

Today on The 700 Club televangelist and past Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson warned that the Republican primary base is pushing their party’s potential nominees to such extremes that they will be unelectable. While Robertson has said that he will not make an endorsement this cycle, in 2008 he caught flak from many in the Religious Right for supporting Rudy Giuliani. After a segment on Herman Cain’s ever-changing and completely incoherent views on abortion rights, Robertson told viewers that he thinks that the Republican presidential nominee may be unelectable if he or she embraces all of the policy positions of the party’s far-right base.

When even Pat Robertson thinks the Republican Party has shifted too far to the right, you know there is a problem:

I believe it was Lyndon Johnson that said, ‘Don’t these people realize if they push me over to an extreme position I’ll lose the election? And I’m the one who will be supporting what they want but they’re going to make it so I can’t win.’ Those people in the Republican primary have got to lay off of this stuff. They’re forcing their leaders, the frontrunners, into positions that will mean they lose the general election. Now whether this did it to Cain I don’t know, but nevertheless, you appeal to the narrow base and they’ll applaud the daylights out of what you’re saying and then you hit the general election and they say ‘no way’ and then the Democrat, whoever it is, is going to just play these statements to the hilt. They’ve got to stop this! It’s just so counterproductive!



Well, if they want to lose, this is the game for losers.

Herman Cain Lies Again About Muslim Ban Comments

During an interview with Piers Morgan on Wednesday, Herman Cain ignited controversy by stating that homosexuality is a choice and presenting an incoherent view on abortion: that he is against abortion rights but that “it’s not the government’s role or anybody else’s role to make that decision.” In the same interview, Cain also repeated his claim that he never said he’d ban Muslims in his administration if elected president:

Morgan: You got into hot water about the whole issue of Muslims in a potential cabinet.
Cain: Yes.
Morgan: And you have kind of flip-flopped a bit. I think you would concede, you've backtracked, haven't you?
Cain: Well, you media people call it flip flopping.
Morgan: What would you call it?
Cain: I call it explaining the intent of my comment.
Morgan: Back tracking.
Cain: You either flip-flop or backtrack. It's either all or nothing.
Morgan: Initially, it appeared to be that you were saying you wouldn't feel comfortable, your words, with having a Muslim in a cabinet.
Cain: Exactly. And this is an example of where I spoke to quick because I'm thinking about extremists, not all Muslims. I do recognize there are peaceful Muslims and there are extremists. At the moment that I was asked that question, I wasn't thinking about peaceful Muslims.

Cain was referring to an interview with Think Progress in which he first said that he “would not” be comfortable with appointing a Muslim to his Cabinet. But it wasn’t a one-time comment. Almost a month after the Think Progress interview, Cain doubled down, telling the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, “I wouldn't have Muslims in my administration.” While Cain told Morgan that he regretted that he “spoke too quick” about Muslims, he took the exact opposite approach in his interview with Fischer, complimenting himself for not caring what the media and even his own campaign staff thought about his ban on Muslims:

Cain: I have been upfront, which ruffles some feathers, but remember Bryan, being politically correct is not one of my strong points; I come at it straight from the heart and straight from the way I see it. And the comment that I made the become controversial, and that my staff keeps hoping will die, is that I wouldn't have Muslims in my administration. And it's real simple: the Constitution does not have room for sharia law. I want people who are going to believe and enforce the Constitution of the United States of America. And so I don't have time, as President of the United States, to try and screen people based upon their religious beliefs - I really don't care what your religious beliefs are, but I do know that most of the people of the Muslim faith, they believe in sharia law. And to introduce that element as part of an administration when we have all of these other issues, I think I have a right to say that I won't.

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.
 

Who’s Who at the Values Voter Summit 2011

This weekend, nearly every major GOP presidential candidate, along with the top two Republicans in the House of Representatives, will speak at the Values Voter Summit, an annual gathering of the leaders of the movement to integrate fundamentalist Christianity and American politics.

The candidates – Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich – and the congressmen – House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor – will join a who’s who of the far Right at the event. The organizers of the Values Voter Summit and many of its prominent attendees are on the frontlines of removing hard-won rights for gay and lesbian Americans, restricting women’s access to reproductive healthcare, undermining the free exercise rights of non-Christian religions and breaking down the wall of separation between church and state.

In perhaps the starkest illustration of how far even mainstream Republican candidates are willing to go to appease the Religious Right, Mitt Romney is scheduled to speak immediately before the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, a man whose record of hate speech should be shocking by any standard. Along with regularly denigrating gays and lesbians, Muslims, and other minority groups, Fischer has no love for Romney’s Mormon faith. In a radio program last week, Fischer insisted that Mormons have no right to religious freedom under the First Amendment and falsely claimed that the LDS Church still sanctions polygamy.

People For the American Way has called on GOP presidential candidates appearing at the conference to denounce Fischer’s bigotry. Last year, PFAW issued a similar call to attendees, which was met with silence.

The following is a guide to some of the individuals with whom the leaders of the GOP will be rubbing shoulders at the Values Voter Summit this year.

Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer is the Director of Issues Analysis at the American Family Association, which is a sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. Fischer acts as the chief spokesman for the group and also hosts its flagship radio program, Focal Point, on which he has interviewed a number of prominent figures including Bachmann, Gingrich, Santorum and Mike Huckabee.

On his radio program and in blog posts, Fischer frequently expresses unmitigated bigotry toward a number of minority groups, including gays and lesbians, Muslim Americans, Native Americans, low-income African Americans and Mormons.

Fischer has:

At a speech at last year’s Values Voter Summit, Fischer said that if Christians don’t get involved in politics, they “make a deliberate decision to turn over the running of the United States government to atheists and pagans.” Of the gay rights movement, he warned, “We are going to have to choose, as a nation, between the homosexual agenda and freedom, because the two cannot coexist.”

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council, the main organizer of this weekend’s summit. Perkins leads the group’s efforts against gay rights, abortion rights and church/state separation.

The FRC famously expressed its hostility to religious pluralism in a 2000 statement blasting a Hindu priest who was invited to give an opening prayer in Congress: "[W]hile it is true that the United States of America was founded on the sacred principle of religious freedom for all, that liberty was never intended to exalt other religions to the level that Christianity holds in our country's heritage…. Our Founders … would have found utterly incredible the idea that all religions, including paganism, be treated with equal deference."

The FRC has one of the most anti-gay platforms of any major political organization, including expressions of support for the criminalization of homosexuality. Earlier this year, the group called on members to pray for the continuation of Malawi’s law prohibiting homosexuality , under which a gay couple was sentenced to fourteen years in jail. Senior fellow Peter Sprigg said he would “much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.”

Perkins himself frequently reflects the extreme views of his organization. He:

At last year’s Values Voter Summit, Perkins managed to simultaneously insult U.S. servicemembers and several important U.S. allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying that armies that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly “ participate in parades, they don’t fight wars to keep the world free .”

Mat Staver

Mat Staver is the head of the Liberty University School of Law and its legal affiliate, Liberty Counsel, both sponsors of the Values Voter Summit. Liberty Counsel vehemently opposes rights for gays and lesbians, and in July filed the lawsuit to overturn New York’s Marriage Equality Act . The group’s Director of Cultural Affairs Matt Barber has called marriage equality “ rebellion against God” and said LGBT youth are more likely to commit suicide because they know “ what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, [and] is immoral .” Barber has also described liberalism as “hatred for God” and said the president and Democrats “are anti-God.” In fact, Liberty Counsel claimed that Obama is “ pushing America to move under the curse ” of God and “ jeopardizing our nation” for purportedly not supporting Israel.

Through his role at Liberty Counsel and on his radio program Faith & Freedom, Staver has:

Staver aggressively promotes “ex-gay” reparative therapy and warns that gays and lesbians are “ intent on trampling upon the fundamental freedoms ” of others. He is also closely linked to the saga of Lisa Miller, a woman represented by Liberty Counsel who kidnapped her daughter and fled to Central America after a court granted custody to her former partner, a lesbian woman. Although Liberty Counsel denies involvement in the kidnapping, earlier this year Miller was reportedly staying at the house of Staver’s administrative assistant’s father in Nicaragua . Staver has also taught the Miller case in his law classes as an example of an instance where “God’s law” preempts “man’s law.”

Jerry Boykin

Retired Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin sparked a controversy when, as a high-ranking official in the Bush Defense Department, he framed the War on Terror as a holy war against Islam. He has since built a career as a Religious Right speaker, specializing in anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-Obama conspiracy theories. Boykin rejects religious freedom for American Muslims, claiming that Islam “is not just a religion, it is a totalitarian way of life.” In an interview with Bryan Fischer, he called for “no mosques in America.”

Boykin is a leading member of the dominionist group The Oak Initiative. In a speech at the group’s conference in April, he declared that George Soros and the Council on Foreign Relations conspired to collapse the U.S. economy in order to help President Obama get elected. Last year, he told the group that President Obama was using his health care reform legislation as a cover to establish a private army of Brownshirts loyal just to him .

Star Parker

Parker is a long-time Religious Right activist who is particularly active in anti-gay and anti-abortion rights work. As Washington, DC was poised to legalize marriage equality, Parker warned that it would lead to more HIV infections in the city, which would “ transform officially into Sodom.” In a recent radio interview with Tony Perkins, Parker mused that black family life was “ more healthy” under slavery than it is today and has accused liberals of treating Justice Clarence Thomas and Gov. Sarah Palin like runaway slaves. She has called legal abortion a “genocide” on par with slavery and the Holocaust.

Ed Vitagliano

As the AFA’s research director, Ed Vitagliano helped co-produce the 2000 anti-gay documentary “It’s Not Gay,” which is riddled with misleading statistics about gays and lesbians and promotes “ex-gay” reparative therapy. The “documentary” starred ex-gay leader Michael Johnston, a self-described “former homosexual,” who was later revealed to have been secretly having sex with other men. Vitagliano’s anti-gay work has continued apace — on the AFA’s radio program this year, Vitagliano argued that gay men are “ abusing the nature of the design of the human body” and said homosexuality is not a “ natural and normal and healthy activity.” Vitagliano also scolded congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis for supporting marriage equality , saying that Lewis “thumbed [his] nose” at God and “needs to go back and read his Bible.”

Bishop Harry Jackson

Jackson, who built his career as an avowed opponent of rights for gays and lesbians, is a regular speaker at Religious Right conferences. He has called for a “SWAT Team” of “Holy Ghost terrorists” to work against hate crimes legislation that protects gays and lesbians, and said that black organizations that support gay rights have “ sold out the black community” and have been “ co-opted by the radical gay movement .” Jackson claims that gay marriage is part of “ a Satanic plot to destroy our seed” and that the larger gay rights movement is “ an insidious intrusion of the Devil.”

Along with his fierce opposition to LGBT rights, Jackson has compared legal abortion to “lynching” and urged the Senate to defeat Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court because she is not a Protestant (Kagan is Jewish). Jackson has even described his political efforts in apocalyptic terms, telling a Religious Right group before the 2010 elections, “God is saying to us ‘I want to pick a fight in which I can wipe out my enemies and cause them to be silenced once and for all.’ This is where America is; if we do not recognize and repent, we are going to see our way of life destroyed as we now know it.”

Lila Rose

Rose is the anti-choice activist responsible for carrying out a deceptive hit job against Planned Parenthood this year. Members of Rose’s group, Live Action, went to Planned Parenthood clinics around the country posing as clients seeking help with a child sex trafficking ring. Planned Parenthood alerted the FBI about the activity, and the one staffer who handled the supposed traffickers inappropriately was promptly fired. Nevertheless, Rose claimed that her hoax proved “beyond a shadow of a doubt that Planned Parenthood intentionally breaks state and federal laws and covers up the abuse of young girls it claims to serve.”

Rose is no newcomer to the Values Voter Summit: in a speech at 2009’s summit, she called for abortions to be performed “in the public square.”

Glenn Beck

Until Beck’s Fox News program was canceled earlier this year, he was one of the Right’s most visible fear-mongers and conspiracy theorists. When his violent rhetoric inspired some real threats against progressive leaders, he laughed off the critics who urged him to choose his words more responsibly. Beck’s elaborate conspiracy theories include the idea that socialists and Islamists were planning a global caliphate, with the help of American progressives; an obsession with the progressive funder George Soros, at whom he leveled a number of anti-Semitic smears including a personal attack that the Anti-Defamation league called “horrific”; and a distrust of President Obama, who he once said was “racist” with a “ deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture .”

On air, Beck joked about killing prominent progressives (for instance, poisoning Nancy Pelosi’s wine), but frequently insisted that it is progressives who were urging violence, even predicting his own martyrdom. In one 2010 broadcast, he warned that "anarchists, Marxists, communists, revolutionaries, Maoists" have to "eliminate 10 percent of the U.S. population" in order to "gain control."

After a terrorist in Oslo killed dozens of young members of Norway’s Labor Party at an island summer camp, Beck attacked the victims , comparing the camp to “Hitler Youth” and calling it “disturbing.”

Pavone Says Support For Abortion Rights Is Akin To Supporting Terrorism

While in Amarillo, Texas, after his archdiocese recalled him from New York over allegations of financial mismanagement, Frank Pavone of Priests for Life is still making his voice heard. Pavone writes in his blog today that in the same way voters cannot find common ground with politicians that support terrorism, they can’t find common ground with pro-choice candidates:

“When I preach – and help other priests to preach – the clear message that candidates and parties must defend life, some – including clergy – complain to me that my message hurts their favorite candidate or party. My response? ‘Go tell your favorite candidate or party to get the babies’ blood off their hands and clean up their act regarding defending life. Then my words won’t hurt them anymore.’ ”

… “What if a candidate supported terrorism,” Father Pavone asked. “Would citizens say, ‘Well, I disagree with you on terrorism, but what’s your health care plan? Maybe we can work together on some social programs. After all, terrorism isn’t the only issue.

Susan Tyrrell at Lou Engle’s group Bound4Life made a similar claim today, saying that Christians who voted for pro-choice candidates are succumbing to the “spirit of the antichrist”:

Cut to the 2008 election season. As polls burgeoned nationwide on who was voting for whom and why, a recurring theme emerged: the economy. Voters said over and over that was their primary concern. Unfortunately, many Christian voters said this as well. It caused many to utter rationalizations such as “who I vote for won’t change abortion, but we need to help the poor. That’s what Jesus would do.” Actually so would the devil.

The devil actually feeds his business on helping the poor. This is the spirit driving the modern social justice movement that says we should help those less fortunate at all costs. The truth is, we should help those less fortunate—but only at the cost of the blood of Jesus. Not the blood of 54 million babies.

We have become worshipers of the god of riches. That’s the reason we have so much federal funding of Planned Parenthood, and why the latest recommendation for national health care includes a mandate for birth control coverage, including abortive birth control. If every person who called him or herself a Christian were standing against these issues vocally and publicly, there would be no debate. We are more in number than Planned Parenthood, NOW, Congress, the National Institutes of Health—all of them put together. The fact is, money is behind it all and since more pro-abortion policies have been in place since January 2009, we have watched our nation pursue the American dream of wealth in the name of practicality and security. We care more about our personal comfort than we do righteousness when we live this way. And that is the very spirit of the antichrist who uses this very method to find his worshipers.

Rick Perry, Supernatural Events, and Freedom in Texas

Yesterday, Rick Perry addressed Liberty University as part of his push to garner the support of the Religious Right. After The Response prayer rally, it was clear that Perry’s overt religiosity would be a central theme while promoting his candidacy to the GOP’s conservative base. We thought it would be timely to revisit Perry’s appearance on Trinity Broadcasting Network’s flagship show Praise The Lord in February of last year.

Perry described how “all through life there have been these supernatural events” of God sending him signals, providing one example where God sent a “real clear message” to him by using rain to stop him from leaving Texas. “You go through my life and there have been so many of those events that occurred and I don’t get confused, it wasn’t coincidence,” Perry explained, “it was God’s hands on my life, guiding me in the ways He wanted me to be, and I truly believe He has me here at a time such as this”:

Later in the program, Perry discussed his steadfast opposition to abortion rights. Perry, who while governor of Texas oversaw the execution of 234 men and women, said he was befuddled about how anyone cannot be pro-life: “How do you get up every morning and look at yourself in the mirror if you can't be for life?” He even claimed that people are moving to Texas because of his state’s restrictions on abortion-rights, leaving “neighborhoods and communities where they don’t recognize and respect life.”

You gotta be for life, I mean how do you get up every morning and look yourself in the mirror if you can’t be for life? I mean to me that’s the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. That’s what this country was based on. And when that conception occurs, that’s life. And defending it, and protecting it, and standing up for it, is what we all ought to be about. And I’m glad I live in a state where we do that. Parental consent, parental notification, we’ve probably made Texas the most pro-life state in the nation. A lot of people are moving to Texas today, I think somebody says somebody said well over a thousand, our rolls if you will grow by more than a thousand a day in the state, and I gotta think there’s some people coming here because they’re looking around and they’re seeing some neighborhoods and communities where they don’t recognize and respect life. And they go, you know what? That’s about freedom. When you think about it, life is really about freedom. And I want to come to a place where I can be as free as I can be, and in America today, that’s Texas.

Financial Scandal Rocks Priests For Life

Frank Pavone, the head of the prominent anti-choice group Priests for Life, has been suspended from his position because of concerns over financial improprieties. Pavone is a priest in the Roman Catholic diocese of Amarillo, Texas, but has used his position in Priests for Life to be a full-time political activist. He garnered national attention during the Terri Schiavo case when he called her husband Michael “a murderer.” He gained more notoriety after bringing in Alveda King to Priests for Life, when he launched “Freedom Rides” in the South in an attempt to connect abortion rights opponents to the Civil Rights Movement. Pavone increased his standing by working with Republican leaders including John McCain and Sam Brownback. Catholics for Choice has consistently warned about financial inefficiencies in Pavone’s organization and “PFL’s electoral campaign-style selling of Pavone as antichoice personality.”

The Amarillo Globe-News reports:

Amarillo’s Roman Catholic bishop ordered a nationally known anti-abortion leader back to his diocese starting Tuesday, citing concerns about a “potential financial scandal” over the priest’s management of millions of dollars in donations.

The move against the Rev. Frank Pavone, announced in a fiery letter from Bishop Patrick J. Zurek to his fellow bishops across the country, ignited a clash reaching all the way to Rome. Pavone said he’d comply with the suspension of his public ministry outside Amarillo, but he’d already appealed to the Vatican.

Priests for Life, Pavone’s Staten Island, N.Y.-based charity, “has become a business that is quite lucrative, which provides Father Pavone with financial independence from all legitimate ecclesiastical oversight,” Zurek wrote in his Sept. 9 letter. Pavone’s fame, Zurek added, “has inflated his ego.”



The steady flow of donations has been accompanied by growing worries over how the money is used, according to Zurek’s letter.

“The financial questions and concerns have persisted with no clear and adequate answers since the time when Father Pavone was under two previous bishop ordinaries,” Zurek wrote.

Pavone called Zurek’s assertions that he has refused to provide financial documentation “completely false.”

Pavone said in a statement:

This past week, however, I received a letter from the Bishop insisting that I report to the Diocese this Tuesday, September 13 and, for the time being, remain only there.

I am very perplexed by this demand. Despite that, because I am a priest of the diocese of Amarillo, I will be obedient and report there on the appointed date, putting the other commitments that are on my calendar on hold until I get more clarity as to what the bishop wants and for how long. Meanwhile, I continue to retain all my priestly faculties and continue to be a priest in “good standing” in the Church. The bishop does not dispute this fact. Rather, he has said that he thinks I am giving too much priority to my pro-life work, and that this makes me disobedient to him. He also has claimed that I haven’t given him enough financial information.



Therefore, in the interest of preserving my good reputation as well as protecting the valuable work done by the Priests for Life organization, I have begun a process of appeal to the Vatican. This process aims to correct any mistaken decisions of the bishop in my regard and to protect my commitment to full-time pro-life activity for my whole life. We are very confident that the Vatican will resolve this matter in a just and equitable fashion. Because of this confidence, we are not currently making any changes in any positions at Priests for Life, or in any of our projects and plans.

'Abortion In The Hood' Campaign Revives 'Black Genocide' Smear

No matter how many times the deceitful claim that abortion providers are systematically targeting the black community for genocide is repudiated, new anti-choice groups can’t seem to stop running more ‘black genocide’ billboard campaigns. In March, a group called Life Always notoriously used images of President Barack Obama and a young black girl in their billboard campaign that abortion is black genocide. Earlier this summer the National Black Pro-Life Coalition put up billboards in Atlanta likening legal abortion to slavery and the Radiance Foundation and Issues4Life placed billboards in Oakland as part of their campaign comparing abortion rights to the genocide in Darfur.

Now, a new group called the Restoration Project is placing billboards in Atlanta with a similar message in their ‘Abortion In The Hood’ campaign.

The Restoration Project was founded and is led by Catherine Davis, who previously was “director of minority outreach” for Georgia Right to Life with a role of “educating Georgians about the holocaustic impact this practice has had on the Black community.” Davis says that the ‘Abortion in the Hood’ billboards are supposed to both spread the ‘black genocide’ message while also shaming pro-choice female and black leaders. Davis told the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow: “If this were alcohol or tobacco, we would have African-Americans marching in the street. But because it's abortion, they are not willing to examine this question, and they're turning a blind eye, and we are asking why that is.”

Her group calls out the Congressional Black Caucus in particular for supporting “abortionists as they prey on Georgia’s black women and target our children”:

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has long told the black community they are “leading our communities and country with passion and commitment” assuring us that they “… continuously strive to be a voice for the voiceless, earning the moniker “the conscience of the Congress” (Emmanuel Cleaver, III, Chairman, Congressional Black Caucus).

Yet, neither the CBC, nor its members from Georgia has examined abortion’s impact on the people they serve. Instead they have turned a blind eye to abortion’s impact by voting for legislation that promotes and supports abortion. They have betrayed their constituents instead giving “voice” to the abortionists as they prey on Georgia’s black women and target our children. They refuse to examine the disproportionate number of abortions on black women. They do not seek explanation for abortion’s depopulation effect on us.

Each is rated 100% by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), indicating a pro-abortion voting record. Georgia is among the states leading in abortions on black women and our members of the CBC will not question why. They will not discuss the fact that one hundred percent of Georgia’s abortion clinics are in urban areas where blacks reside. We demand they begin to ask why!

Wendy Wright's New Job: Stopping The Girl Scouts' "Radical, Feminist, Pro-Abortion" Agenda

Wendy Wright, who left her job as president of Concerned Women for America under mysterious conditions, is continuing her right-wing activism by taking the fight to the Girl Scouts of the USA. Wright joined Janet Parshall yesterday on In The Market to discuss their shared antipathy to the Girl Scouts and what parents can do to fight the Girl Scouts.

Wright, who previously argued that the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood were “working together to steal children's innocence and make them vulnerable to the negative consequences of promiscuity thereby creating clients for their abortion and STD services,” highlighted claims by the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute that the Girl Scouts advocated for abortion rights and distributed a Planned Parenthood sex-ed brochure at a private United Nations panel. However, Girl Scouts of the USA categorically denied the group’s claims, saying that the brochure was never distributed at the event (where only 30-35 teenage girls were present) and that their organization “does not take a position on family planning.”

On Parshall’s show, Wright said parents should call for an investigation into whether the money from Girl Scout cookie sales goes to teaching “young girls to be activists and advocates for a radical sexual agenda.” She blamed the Girl Scouts leadership for supporting a “radical, feminist, pro-abortion form of activism and training these girls up to be feminist activists.” Wright urged parents instead to have their daughters join a “wholesome, pro-God, alternative to the Girl Scouts” called the American Heritage Girls. The American Heritage Girls was founded by Patti Garibay, who, according to CNS News was “motivated to leave the Girl Scout organization when the group decided it would take no position on homosexuality” and to encourage instruction in “traditionally feminine skills, such as sewing, cooking and laundry.” American Heritage Girls bills itself as a “Christ-centered” group that denounces “moral relativism.”

Listen:

Well they need to be contacting the national leadership and encouraging them to cut-off any ties to groups like Planned Parenthood that advocate abortion on demand, that actually encourages young girls to be sexually active, thereby creating more clients for Planned Parenthood. And I think we need to probably take a look as well to where the funding to those Girl Scout cookies go to. I love those Thin Mint cookies and I love the other cookies they have as well but it’s disturbing enough for me to think that if I were to buy those cookies that they would end up fueling and funding campaigns like this one at the United Nations where young girls are trained to be advocates and activists for a radical sexual agenda.



This turnover in the national leadership is one toward activism, a radical, feminist, pro-abortion form of activism and training these girls up to be feminist activists. And so I think parents need to be on the lookout for anything that is being taught their girls through the Girl Scouts to turn them into activists. But I’d also like to make people aware of another organization, an alternative organization, called the American Heritage Girls. In which it was created in order to be a wholesome, pro-God alternative to the Girl Scouts. It was started by parents who were very disturbed by seeing the direction the Girl Scouts were taking so I encourage people to look into the American Heritage Girls as an alternative to the Girl Scouts.

Why Are The Dominionists Suddenly Downplaying Dominionism?

Last week, we noted that C. Peter Wagner was growing the recent attention and criticism his New Apostolic Reformation movement has been receiving and sent out an email trying to downplay all of their talk of taking dominion.

It now seems like this is becoming a pattern as Os Hillman, a leading Seven Mountains advocate and the man behind Reclaim7Mountains.com, is also seeking to downplay all that dominionism talk:

An important understanding and distinction must be stated at this point. Dominion, or perhaps a better word to use is influence, is a result of our love and obedience to God, not a goal to be achieved. It is the fruit of our obedience. Otherwise we begin to use fleshly strategies to exploit and subjugate others to our way of thinking.

Jesus never sought to have dominion; rather, He encouraged others to love and obey God. It is better that we avoid the word dominion in our culture today due to the connotation that comes with this word of control and manipulation of others. It also reminds people of a flawed movement in the body of Christ called dominion theology that caused great harm to many.

On August 19th during a CNN Situation Room broadcast with Wolf Blitzer, Jack Cafferty attempted to tie Michelle Bachman [sic] and Rick Perry to dominionsim theology. He took their words out of context, yet the very word "dominion" brought out the worst in the secular media for fear that Christians want to rule the world.

Of course, none of this changes the basic facts about dominionism or the agenda, as Hillman's own website still makes clear that the US is insufficiently Christian because "we have not understood our biblical mandate to have dominion on the earth" and they have failed in their responsibility to institute "preparatory dominion, as in the earth being prepared for the return of the King":  

(1) God’s covenant people taking dominion of the earth has been the main theme of every covenant that God has ever made with mankind.The New Covenant for the church is no different with its expectation of dominion by making disciples of all nations.

(2) The Dominion Process is two-fold.First, human beings are blessed by God. Secondly, these blessed human beings are given a mandate to take dominion of the earth for the purpose of blessing it.

(3) The first advent of Christ was for the purpose of creating a blessed seed upon the earth - the church.The second coming of Jesus will take place after this blessed seed has completed the Dominion Process upon the earth by making disciples of all nations.

And, of course, they are focused on taking "the Mountain of Government" since it is "the most important of the mountains because it can establish laws and decrees that affect and control every other mountain." As such, every level of government - from presidents to mayors - must be taken over by "true Apostles" because "we need to fill the entire mountain with children of the Kingdom who know why they are there" in order to establish a "virtual theocracy" and "bring the influence of heaven to bear on whatever political machinery that exists."

And the key to this endeavor is stealth:

The goal is not just to have Christians in high places, but rather to have Christians who are called to be in high places step into that role. And wearing a "Christian” label on our sleeve isn’t the point. We need to learn to be "as wise as serpents and harmless as doves” and realize that stealth authority and influence are much preferred over overt authority and influence. A low profile diffuses resistance from the opposition. Political righteousness isn’t determined by whether someone calls himself a Christian or not anyway. That’s established by whether the political values they are prepared to defend or establish are actually righteous. A Christian who espouses abortion rights or the validity of gay marriages, for example, is worthless as a "Christian” candidate. If candidates don’t understand righteous politics, they aren’t anointed for this mountain. They may have enough Christianity in them to enter heaven, but they don’t have enough Christianity to bring the rule and reign of God down to earth.

This will change as the Elijah Revolution is released upon the nations. Sons and daughters of the King who understand the call to take the seven mountains will rise to the mountaintops ... One of the primary roles of future government leaders will be to instruct in righteousness. The more God’s judgments are poured out on earth, the more explicitly will they be able to give that instruction.

I guess one good way to maintain a low profile and diffuse resistance from the opposition would be to try and downplay all the talk about taking dominion.  Which is exactly what they are now doing.

Jackson: There Is No Separation Of Church And State

Earlier this month Harry Jackson appeared on the Trinity Broadcasting Network to talk about his commitment to Seven Mountains dominionism, the ideology that calls on fundamentalist Christians to take control key sectors of society: business, media, education, arts and entertainment, family, religion and the church, and government. Jackson has emerged as a regular Religious Right spokesman and is a vociferous opponent of abortion rights and LGBT equality. He was even co-chair of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally.

Yesterday, Jackson was the guest on TBN’s Praise The Lord yesterday and discussed how he thinks God is using him to help fundamentalists seize the ‘government mountain’ because the separation of church doesn’t exist and “Jesus came not to take sides, but to take over”:

Jackson: It’s one thing to be in a church preaching all these messages, seeing people shout and whatever it is. But it’s another thing to command the attention of the nation, and then begin to tell these folks, ‘we vote too.’ We don’t just dance and sing, we vote. And some of what you’re doing has to be accountable to us, the people of God. There really is no separation of church and state. In God’s mind, the word of the Lord should impact everything that happens out there in the state. So time and time again we got folks who want us to say our place is just behind these four walls. But Jesus came not to take sides, but to take over.
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abortion rights Posts Archive

Miranda Blue, Friday 01/10/2014, 2:09pm
At a House subcommittee hearing yesterday on a bill that would severely restrict access to insurance coverage for abortion, Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa mocked an expert who testified, accurately, that paying out of pocket for an abortion could cost a low-income woman more than a month’s rent. Susan Wood, a George Washington University professor and former FDA official, told the all-male judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution that HR7 – which would make the Hyde Amendment permanent, ban federal subsidies for private insurance plans that cover abortion and would... MORE
Miranda Blue, Thursday 05/02/2013, 9:29am
In his most recent weekly column, Liberty Counsel vice president Matt Barber excoriates the media for supposedly ignoring the Kermit Gosnell trial, President Obama for speaking at Planned Parenthood, and progressives for supporting a “culture of death.” Barber latches on to the completely false right-wing talking point that the mainstream media and feminist reporters have ignored the Gosnell trial. He blames this supposed blackout on people like “some now-barren, 40-something copy editor who’s had five abortions” and who’d rather “sip appletinis... MORE
Miranda Blue, Wednesday 05/01/2013, 1:11pm
The anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List made headlines in Virginia last week when it released the first paid advertisement in the gubernatorial battle between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. The problem is that the centerpiece of the ad, the first in what SBA List promises will be a $1.5 million campaign to support Cuccinelli, is a blatant lie. The SBA List ad discusses new “TRAP” regulations passed by the Virginia Department of Health and aggressively pushed by Cuccinelli, which burden abortion clinics with unneccessary restrictions in... MORE
Miranda Blue, Friday 04/26/2013, 2:18pm
The anti-choice group Americans United for Life is using the trial of Philadelphia abortion provider Kermit Gosnell – accused of infanticide and causing the injury and death of several women in his care – to push for “TRAP” laws meant to shut down safe abortion clinics. TRAP – “targeted restrictions on abortion providers”—laws are a favorite tool of anti-choice activists trying to work their way around Roe v. Wade. Passed under the guise of improving care for women, they are in fact aimed at shutting down abortions providers by burdening them... MORE
Miranda Blue, Tuesday 10/16/2012, 3:25pm
Concerned Women for America is trying out a novel strategy in its fight to draw women to support Mitt Romney this November: denying that the next president can do anything to eliminate abortion rights. In a new TV ad, CWA counters a MoveOn.org ad featuring female celebrities talking about the issue of reproductive rights in the presidential election. In the CWA ad, women derisively call the MoveOn.org supporters “Hollywood women” and mock the contention that a President Mitt Romney would “overturn Roe v. Wade.” “Have they ever heard of the separation of powers?... MORE
Peter Montgomery, Thursday 02/16/2012, 4:10pm
Rep. Darrell Issa, who has followed through on his threat to turn his Committee on Oversight and Government Reform into an attack dog on the Obama administration, today held a one-sided hearing attacking as a threat to religious liberty the administration’s recent compromise on health care regulations requiring insurers to cover contraception. Not present at the hearing was a representative of the Catholic Health Association, which has embraced the administration’s compromise. When asked about the CHA’s position, Bishop William Lori, head of the Catholic bishops’... MORE
Peter Montgomery, Thursday 02/16/2012, 4:10pm
Rep. Darrell Issa, who has followed through on his threat to turn his Committee on Oversight and Government Reform into an attack dog on the Obama administration, today held a one-sided hearing attacking as a threat to religious liberty the administration’s recent compromise on health care regulations requiring insurers to cover contraception. Not present at the hearing was a representative of the Catholic Health Association, which has embraced the administration’s compromise. When asked about the CHA’s position, Bishop William Lori, head of the Catholic bishops’... MORE