California

Brownback Admits to Having Concerns Over Some of Lou Engle's Views

As we noted several times in the past, Sen. Sam Brownback lived with Lou Engle for several months after his condo burned down, during which time Engle prophesized that Brownback would become President:

As I was mobilizing for Boston I said to kids in California ‘we need to dig the dwells of revival in Harvard and close the door of false ideologies that have come through Boston’. Amazingly a week later, I received a phone call from the US Senator from Kansas, Senator Sam Brownback, he’s a godly man. He calls me up, he says ‘Lou, I’m in England, you need to dig the dwells of revival in Harvard and close the door of false ideologies that have come through Boston’. Almost word for word. A Senator was prophesizing me, glory to God.

In fact, it was prophesized to me that I would be connected with a man named Senator Sam Brownback from Kansas. But I forgot about the prophecy, so when I rented a condo in DC to mobilize for The Call, a week later I received a phone call from the owner of the condo and he said ‘there’s a man named Senator Sam Brownback. His condo just burnt down, he wants to know if he could stay in your condo’. I became the room mate of Senator Brownback for 7 months. We began to get dreams that he would be the president of the United States and right now, who knows? We are praying.

You can see the video here which, a few months ago, became an issue in Kansas where Brownback is now running for Governor.

And now, as Sam Stein reports, Brownback has been asked about it and admits that some of Engle's views are rather worrisome: 

Voter: Hi Senator, thanks so much for coming out. It's great to meet you. Clarissa Unger.

Brownback: What's your name again?

Voter: Clarissa Unger. It's so nice to meet you. I just have to say that there's one thing that really concerns me about this race, and it's that a minister, Joe Engle has...

Brownback: Lou.

Voter: Lou Engle. Yes, I'm sorry. He claims that you have lived with him. And I was just curious, is that true? Did you live with him while you were in the Senate?

Brownback: Lou and I were...we...Lou and I were...we were...That's when I got burned out of an apartment, I was trying to think of the year...and then I subleased a place for a period of time. [Inaudible]...but yes.

Voter: You did?

Brownback: Yeah.

Voter: Some of his positions really concern me.

Brownback: Yeah, I know, they do me too.

Voter: The views on [inaudible]. Great, well thank you so much again for coming.

Brownback: You bet, thank you.

Maybe someone should follow up with Brownback and ask him which of Engle's views concern him the most:  his Dominionism? or his view that homosexuality should be criminalized? or his fear that President Obama is unleashing demons upon this nation? or that universities are conditioning students to accept the Mark of the Beast? or that Satan has gained control over the US government?

Of course, these concerns didn't prevent him from joining Engle at the Family Research Council's anti-healthcare "Prayercast" last year.

Bryan Fischer Hails Ann Coulter For Getting "Right In The Grill" of GOProud

Last week we noted that, just days before she was scheduled to headline GOProud's "Homocon 2010," Ann Coulter dedicated her most recent column to praising Ronald Reagan for fighting any "government endorsement of homosexuality." 

And, amazing, the theme that gay rights have no place in the conservative movement is a theme that Coulter continued to drill home when she delivered her remarks to GOProud:

Ann Coulter doesn't mince words. And even when speaking to a gay conservative organization, GOProud, at their inaugural Homocon party on Saturday night, she apparently wasn't willing to start.

After a series of jokes about conservative that sounded -- and were received -- more like a stand-up act then a political speech, Coulter told the assembled (and predominantly wealthy) conservative gay crowd why they should oppose same sex marriage, adding, "I should warn you: I've never failed to talk gays out of gay marriage."

And then she did.

First, she ran down the stereotypical stand-up comedian's list of reasons, including that lacking the legal right to marriage allows the less-committed partner to weasel out of it. But in a more serious note, she parroted the losing arguments of the lawyers supporting California's Prop 8 and told the crowd that the reason she opposes (and they should oppose) same sex marriage is that it is strictly for procreation.

In one of a series of racially insensitive remarks that pervaded her speech, Coulter added, "Marriage is not a civil right. You're not black." It was part of a larger argument on which she later elaborated, telling the crowd that the 14th Amendment only applies to African-Americans and that it does not, in fact, apply to women, LGBT people or other minorities.

Despite the laugh lines, Coulter's arguments against same sex marriage were not well-received by much of the crowd: for instance, the question and answer session after the speech was dominated by Homocon attendees grilling her on her position on a range of issues, including whether opposition to same sex marriage was really in line with the conservative principles of limited government and whether she personally believes that homosexuality is a choice -- a question she declined to answer.

Now, you may wonder why anyone would pay good money to attend an event where the keynote speaker would insult them to their faces, but GOProud stands by its decision because, as GOProud's Christopher Barron put it: "We’re the only gay group that had the balls to have someone like Ann Coulter come speak to them."

You know, if GOProud wants to prove just how tough they are, maybe they should invite Bryan Fischer to headline "Homocon 2011" because he really really hates gays. 

In fact, Fischer initially blasted Ann Coulter as a traitor for even agreeing to speak to GOProud, but now that she went and openly insulted all those in attendance, Fischer admits that he was completely wrong about her:

Ann took them straight on and gave them some straight talk I doubt they were ready for. There is no amount of sugar that will help this medicine go down ... This from the keynote speaker at HomoCon, who got at least five figures to get right in the grill of her hosts.

Anybody at HomoCon want their money back?

And Ann, all is forgiven. Humble pie has never tasted so sweet. You are no longer the "Joan of Arc of homosexuality," as I described you last month, you are now Daniella of the Lion's Den. Good on ya, lass.

GOProud can try to spin this debacle all it wants, but the fact that Ann Coulter has become a hero to Bryan Fischer because of the speech she delivered at Homocon 2010 pretty much tells you all you need to know. 

Value Voter Recap: We're All Tea Partiers Now (Including God)

The so-called Values Voter Summit, organized by the Family Research Council and sponsored by a number of right-wing groups, brought more than 2,000 activists (their count) to Washington D.C. for two solid days of speeches, workshops, networking, and a chance to spend time with others who passionately hate President Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership. Addressing the crowd were a number of GOP presidential hopefuls, including Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Rep. Mike Pence (who eked out a narrow victory over Huckabee in the straw poll). Not surprisingly, conference speakers echoed the themes heard at the smaller Faith and Freedom conference convened by Ralph Reed just one week earlier.

Here were the top themes emerging from these Religious Right political conferences.
 
1) We’re All Tea Partiers Now (Including God)
 
The Faith and Freedom conference and Values Voter Summit signaled the Religious Right’s full embrace of (or effort to co-opt) the Tea Party movement and its activists’ anti-Washington energies. Rep. Michele Bachmann, a superstar in both the Religious Right and Tea Party movements, railed at Tea Party critics: “If you are scared of the Tea Party movement, you are afraid of Thomas Jefferson, who penned our mission statement [the Declaration of Independence].”
 
The events were also designed to attack the notion that the Tea Party movement is, or should be, focused only on economic issues and not on moral ones. This is more than the ongoing effort to solidify a working electoral partnership among fiscal, social, and national security conservatives. This is an ideological campaign against the very idea that one can legitimately be a fiscal conservative without embracing the Religious Right’s “family values” agenda on issues such as legal abortion and marriage equality. At the Values Voter Summit, there was little patience for libertarians who consider themselves economically conservative but socially liberal. Sen. Jim DeMint, greeted as a folk-hero for his success at backing Tea Party challengers to establishment GOP candidates, took on the idea directly, saying “you can’t be a true fiscal conservative if you do not understand the value of a culture that is based on values.” 
 
Others echoed the theme. A Heritage Foundation video declared that faith is necessary for liberty. Rep Mike Pence, the dark-horse winner of the summit’s straw poll, said America’s darkest moments have come when economic arguments trumped moral principles. Newt Gingrich declared that activists have to go back to making the moral case for free enterprise, not the economic case. David Limbaugh decried “economic justice,” which he called a leftist euphemism for “confiscation.” 
 
At a Values Voter Summit panel on the Tea Party movement, two activists described their work as being inspired in part by instructions they received from God in the early morning hours, like Glenn Beck; one insisted that her activism was not just about taxes but about getting America to turn back to God.
 
2) Nothing is more important than the 2010 and 2012 elections.
 
Nearly every speaker said that the 2010 election is the most important in our lifetime. Speakers insisted that President Obama, his administration, and Democratic congressional leaders are not only wrong, they are evil and are out to destroy the American experiment in limited government and individual liberty.  It is simply not possible to overstate the level of anger and hostility directed toward Obama (described as an America-hating narcissistic Marxist), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. 
 
Activists were told they must fast, pray, and work hard to defeat Democrats this November. The Family Research Council urged people to visit the website of Pray and A.C.T, a campaign led by Jim Garlow, who has been a rising star on the Religious Right since leading religious organizing on behalf of California’s anti-gay Prop 8. Ralph Reed is promising to share with local activists a massive new database of faith-based and fiscally conservative voters that he is building. 
 
Activists were also told that they must plan to keep sacrificing their time, energy and money for the next two years to make sure that Obama is defeated in 2012. Former Sen. Rick Santorum told activists not to expect dramatic improvements even if they win big in November: things won’t really change for the better as long as the White House is in Obama’s hands. Activists were warned that these two elections may be the last chance to stop the nation’s slide toward socialism and the end of America as we know it.
 
Right-wing speakers are optimistic about the possibility of delivering both the House and Senate into Republican hands and electing a conservative Republican president in 2012. FRC’s PAC held a fundraiser Friday night for Christine O’Donnell, the new Tea Party-backed GOP Senate candidate from Delaware, and other like-minded candidates.   Ralph Reed said that voter registration and focused turnout campaigns being waged by his and other right-wing groups would turn this from a good election cycle for Republicans into a historically sweeping one. And there’s particular excitement that Florida GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio could be the face of the GOP’s future: right-wing strategists see him as Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama rolled into one appealing, Latino-vote-getting package.
 
3) Repealing Health Care Reform the Top Legislative Priority
 
According to several Values Voter Summit speakers, health care reform legislation signed into law by President Obama wasn’t really about health care at all. It was about extending the power of the federal government into tyrannical realms. Repealing “Obamacare” before it fully goes into effect is the top legislative priority of movement leaders. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was one of several speakers who called the legislation unconstitutional, saying that if the legislation was allowed to stand, it would effectively spell the end of any limits on federal power. 
 
4) Muslims Replace Immigrants as a Top Target
 
While previous conferences have portrayed unchecked illegal immigration as the most dire threat to America, this year’s speakers picked up on the right-wing generated furor over a proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan – the inaccurately dubbed “Ground Zero Mosque” – to make repeated bitter denunciations of Islam. Immigration was not completely ignored: Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, in a list of complaints, denounced the White House for being an administration “whose idea of a rogue state is Arizona,” and the Heritage Foundation sponsored a workshop on “The Real Cost of Illegal Immigration.” But the real energy was in attacking Islam, which was a primary focus of remarks by Bill Bennett and Gary Bauer.
 
5) Pursuit of Happiness With an Asterisk: Gays Need Not Apply
 
Not surprisingly, all the talk about individual liberty being at the core of our national identity did not extend to the freedom of gay and lesbian Americans to pursue happiness by marrying the person they love. Several speakers exhorted attendees to help mobilize conservative voters in Iowa to turn out for upcoming retention elections and vote against Iowa Supreme Court justices who ruled that denying gay couples the freedom to marriage violated the state’s constitution. The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, who insisted that there is no confusion about what is right in the sight of God and what is evil in the sight of God, said that politicians who support, defend, and promote “counterfeits” to marriage (which include not only marriage equality but also civil unions and domestic partnerships) are doing something evil and deserve condemnation. Fischer repeated Religious Right claims that LGBT equality and religious liberty are incompatible: “we are going to have to choose between the homosexual agenda and religious liberty because we simply cannot have both.”
 
The federal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law which forbids gay members of the Armed Forces for serving openly and honestly, was also high on speakers’ minds. Sen. James Inhofe urged people to call their senators in advance of a scheduled vote on a defense authorization bill that would include language to overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as well as language that would, in his words, turn military hospitals into abortion clinics. 

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

Sheriff Joe To The Rescue!

“Every state needs a least one sheriff like Joe Arpaio,” Sharron Angle told a convention of right-wing bloggers in Las Vegas. And now “Sheriff Joe” of Maricopa County, Arizona, intends to push his hardcore anti-immigrant agenda and promote SB 1070 around the country. After his stint on reality TV with Fox’s “Smile…You’re Under Arrest!” Sheriff Joe is looking to eclipse Tom Tancredo in anti-immigrant politics and demagoguery.

Sheriff Joe will soon address a New Hampshire Republican Party conference and is also slated to speak at the “National Tea Party Unity Convention” in Las Vegas this October. At the Tea Party Convention he will join other right-wing extremists such as Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily, radio talk show host Neal Boortz, and a whole slew of Tea Party fanatics like William Temple, Victoria Jackson and the rapper “Polatik.”

Increasing his political reach, the Los Angeles Times reports that he is “supporting candidates for Michigan governor, California Assembly and congressional seats in Florida and Missouri, among others.” He recently gave his blessing to Tea Party darling Sharron Angle, who will join Sheriff Joe at the Tea Party Convention, although he later admitted: “I don't know too much about her.”

Famous for building “tent cities” for inmates, racial profiling, sweeps and raids of immigrant communities, and glaring civil rights abuses, Sheriff Joe is now an important endorsement for right-wing candidates outside of Arizona. Politics is not unfamiliar to Sheriff Joe, who launched investigations against critical journalists and political opponents, and was blasted for using the law as “a personal tool to target political enemies or avenge perceived wrongs.”

The New York Times in 2009 detailed the Republican Party’s new anti-immigrant hero and his failed record as Sheriff:

Maricopa County has many times more federal prison condition lawsuits than New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston combined. In September of last year, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care revoked its accreditation of the jails Sheriff Arpaio runs on the grounds of failure to provide adequate health care for inmates.

In October, a federal judge ruled that Sheriff Arpaio’s department had violated the Constitution by depriving inmates of medical care, fed them unhealthy food and housed them in unsanitary conditions.

The Goldwater report suggested that the picture beyond corrections was equally grim, citing the department’s tendency to “clear” cases without any resolution or arrest, and suggested that resources were being diverted to efforts to find illegal immigrants through sweeps that other departments characterized as dangerous.

As a result of the raids, Phoenix’s mayor, Phil Gordon, wrote a letter to the United States Department of Justice accusing Mr. Arpaio of “a pattern and practice of conduct that includes discriminatory harassment, improper stops, searches and arrests.”


The Goldwater report suggests that the trade-off for the letting [sic] the sheriff do his thing may not benefit his constituents. Although his department was “adept at self-promotion and is an unquestionably ‘tough’ law-enforcement agency, under its watch violent crime rates recently have soared, both in absolute terms and relative to other jurisdictions.”

Homicides in the county were up 167 percent in the three-year period ending in 2007 and the report stated that the budget for the department, excluding corrections, had doubled since 2001.

“We have 40,000 unserved felony warrants — murderers and rapists — and instead of serving those warrants, we have this buffoon who spends his time popping out from behind curtains for a reality television show,” said Michael C. Manning, a Phoenix lawyer who has sued the department on behalf of clients repeatedly and successfully in wrongful death suits. “He continues to demean our community by chasing publicity and acting the buffoon.”

Americans for Job Security: Corporate Astroturfing Extraordinaire

The same group who hailed the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United as an “unequivocal victory” has launched new ads to promote corporate interests in this year’s election. After spending handsomely to criticize Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s Democratic primary opponent with offensive and inaccurate ads, Americans for Job Security today began to run television ads against Rep. Zack Space (D-OH) and Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA), along with Democratic candidates Bryan Lentz in Pennsylvania and Trent Van Haaften in Indiana. The group has already spent close to $3 million in the election, and is a huge booster of Republicans such as Pat Toomey and Ken Buck.

Americans for Job Security is a true corporate creation: founded in 1997, it initially received two $1 million contributions from the American Insurance Association and the American Forest and Paper Association. In fact, it is registered as a 501c6 trade association, and consequently does not have to disclose its donors to the IRS.  Also, since it generally runs  “issue ads,” it is not required to disclose its donors to the FEC, although the thin line between political advocacy and lobbying is often difficult to see. The Washington Post writes that even though Americans for Job Security classifies itself as a trade association, it “spends the vast majority of its budget on television and radio ads before elections,” and the vast majority of them are negative.

The ads slam the stimulus package, which improved job growth and Real GDP and prevented total economic collapse, and dishonestly malign progressive legislation. In their ad against Bryan Lentz, who is running to replace Joe Sestak, Americans for Job Security alleges that health care reform cuts $500 billion from Medicare, a claim FactCheck.org forcefully debunked as a gross distortion. When criticizing Rep. Space for backing the American Clean Energy and Security Act (“cap and trade”) in their new ad, the group claims the bill would “kill Ohio jobs.” However, a University of California, Berkeley study found that ACES “would create between 918,000 and 1.9 million new jobs, increase annual household income by $487-$1,175 per year, and boost GDP by $39 billion-$111 billion.”

Like the Club for Growth, Americans for Job Security is not afraid to take on Democrats and even some conservative Republicans who they feel haven’t fully embraced the pro-corporate agenda. Public Citizen claims that “Americans for Job Security is a sham front group that would be better called Corporations Influencing Elections” and also alleged that it was “one of the most egregious offenders” in circumventing FEC rules on “electioneering activity.”

Utilizing hefty and anonymous corporate donations to run a misleading and deceptive ad campaign, Americans for Job Security proves that it is truly the epitome of pro-corporate astroturfing.

Chamber’s Ads Against Boxer Stray From The Facts

The US Chamber of Commerce, already committed to spending $75 million to elect pro-corporate candidates this year, is now on the air in California slamming progressive Senator Barbara Boxer. Their new ad, Tom Hamburger of Los Angeles Times writes, “represents a first in this Senate race for the national and state Chamber of Commerce.” The Chamber asserts that Boxer prioritized the protection of an endangered species of fish over supplying water to California’s Central Valley—a line of attack identical to Republican nominee Carly Fiorina’s criticism of Boxer’s handling of water issues.

But the Contra Costa Times found that the right-wing attacks on Senator Boxer to be way off base: “Delta pumps were never turned off last year. They were dialed down, but that was mostly because of dry conditions and not endangered species rules.” In fact, the state Department of Water Resources claims that the permits to save the endangered species from extinction “were responsible for just one-fourth of the shortages last year.” An independent study from Jeffrey Michael of the University of Pacific’s Business Forecasting Center demonstrates that environmental and economic factors, not the Endangered Species Act, are responsible for higher unemployment rates.

By resuscitating erroneous and discredited arguments from agribusiness and conservatives such as Sean Hannity in order to smear Barbara Boxer, the Chamber hopes to replace her with a new Senator beholden to corporate interests.

 

Corporate Interests Betting Big on the GOP

Two separate reports have revealed the flood of corporate dollars buttressing the Republican Party’s push to retake the House and Senate this November. Big business, whether rewarding Republican endeavors to block progressive legislation such as Wall Street reform or simply expecting a GOP wave, has ramped up efforts to support Republican politicians and expenditure committees.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, “in both the first and second quarters of this year, the broad finance, insurance and real estate sector has favored Republican candidates and committees in its political giving.” Their study indicates “an increased frustration with congressional Democrats by Wall Street interests, many of which are still smarting from passage of federal financial reforms they consider onerous.” Of the 25 leading recipients of money from the three industries, 17 were Republican candidates, and the top 5 includes: “Ohio’s Rob Portman ($820,000); Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey ($728,000); California’s Carly Fiorina ($650,000); Illinois’ Mark Kirk ($618,000) and Florida’s Marco Rubio ($613,000).”

Stewart Powell and Yang Wang in the Houston Chronicle describe the intense efforts of the National Republican Senatorial Committee to recruit donors from the corporate world. Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the head of the NRSC, “has aggressively courted business executives who are disappointed in Obama’s performance and unhappy with the Democratic Congress' legislative agenda.” The NRSC has raked in over $4.4 million from interests related to the security and investment industries, and Goldman Sachs alone “boosted donations to the NRSC by almost 200 percent.”  And with the increasing number of "Super PACs" after Citizens United, corporations have more opportunities than ever to back their preferred candidates.

Republicans in Congress are reaping the benefits of their unfailing defense of corporate interests, as seen when GOP leaders even went out of their way to protect British Petroleum after the Gulf oil spill. With Wall Street’s unfettered access to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, the prospect of Republican majorities is motivating more and more giving to the Republican cause.

Barton Assures Fischer that Beck "Absolutely" Opposes Gay Marriage

Ever since Glenn Beck told Bill O'Reilly that he didn't think that gay marriage represented a threat to our country, he's been hammered by anti-gay activists for selling out the conservative movement and was even accused by the AFA's Bryan Fischer of siding with "people who want to use the anus for sex" over Christians.

Interestingly, yesterday had Beck's BFF David Barton on his radio program to talk about the concerns being raised about Beck's Mormon faith and his "Restoring Honoro" rally and toward the end of the interview Fischer asked Barton is Beck was "with us" when it came to opposing gay marriage, and Barton assured him that Beck "absolutely is":

Fischer: David, got about twenty seconds, lot of controversy about what Glenn Beck said on the Bill O'Reilly program. You may have a perspective on where Glenn Beck is at on the issue of marriage. Is he with us on protecting natural marriage in law and the Constitution?

Barton: He absolutely is and that was made clear on that Saturday in the Restoring Honor [rally] - both life and marriage were made forefronts in that thing, traditional marriage. And if you read the full transcript, you'll find that Beck did not smash marriage, he just said that's a fruit, if we get God back in the country, marriage and abortion will take care of themselves.

Of course, if you actually read the transcript, it doesn't appear that that was the point that Beck was making at all:

O'REILLY: Why don't you do the culture warrior stuff?

BECK: Because honestly, right now, I mean, the one part of culture that I am doing a lot of is faith. But general faith. We have got to get back to our churches, our synagogues, our mosques, whatever it is, as long as it's not telling to you blow things up. Get back to God and get back to the Founding Fathers.

O'REILLY: I don't know if that's going to happen. I mean, it's a noble thing you're trying to do, because spirituality is a good thing. Introspection is a good thing. But let's take the gay marriage deal. You know, big ruling in California. You really didn't cover that much, right?

BECK: No.

O'REILLY: Why?

BECK: Because honestly, I think we have bigger fish to fry. You can argue about abortion or gay marriage or whatever else you want.

O'REILLY: Yes.

BECK: The country is burning down. I personally think these…

O'REILLY: Isn't that one of the reasons, because we're getting away from the traditional way we used to live into this progressive...

BECK: Instead of arguing about these divisive things, let's get back into our churches and our synagogues and...

O'REILLY: You're not going to get people going back unless there 's a reason to go back.

BECK: Here's the reason, America. Your country is burning down. I don't think marriage, that the government actually has anything to do with...

O'REILLY: But they do have…

BECK: That is a religious rite.

O'REILLY: I know, but they do have something to do, because gay marriage is going to be a reality in this country in 10 years.

BECK: Why do they have anything to do with it?

O'REILLY: Because they choose to, and you're not going to stop them, all right?

BECK: Actually, this is where we disagree.

O'REILLY: The Supreme Court may rule against gay marriage. Very possible.

BECK: You're willing to continue to go down the road of just accepting "well that's the way it is."

O'REILLY: I'm not accepting anything. I wrote a book about it. Don't give me this accept. Come on.

BECK: He's so hostile.

O'REILLY: Yes. I have to correct you. You are ignoring the profound change in the American family.

BECK: No, I'm not.

O'REILLY: But you're not covering it.

BECK: Because I think that the thing that needs to be covered -- Bill, I believe in a symphony. If we're all playing clarinets, we ain't going to get very far. A symphony needs to sound. I'm covering what I cover. You cover what you cover. Both of us are saying the same thing. Watch the culture.

O'REILLY: Do you believe -- do you believe that gay marriage is a threat to the country in any way?

BECK: A threat to the country?

O'REILLY: Yes. Is it going to harm?

BECK: No. Are the gay -- will the gays come and get us?

O'REILLY: OK. Is it going to harm the country in any way?

BECK: I believe that Thomas Jefferson said, "If it neither breaks my leg or picks my pocket, what difference is it to me?"

You know, given that Barton specializes in re-writing American history, I guess it shouldn't be terribly surprising to discover that he is willing re-write all of history to suit his needs, including things that happened just a few weeks ago.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The straw poll at the Values Voter Summit will include Michele Bachmann, Jan Brewer, Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels, Jim DeMint, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Bob McDonnell, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Pence, Marco Rubio, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and Rick Santorum.
  • WND's Joseph Farah will debate GOProud's Chris Barron at WND's Take Back America conference.
  • The Catholic League's Bill Donohue blasts "Burn a Koran Day."
  • The World Conference of Families comes out against California's Proposition 19.
  • Rifqa Bary has gained permanent residency in the United States.
  • Relentless GOP obstruction is leaving President Obama's judicial nominees in limbo and vacant seats unfilled.
  • Finally, Cliff Kincaid set out to defend Sarah Palin from the recent Vanity Fair profile, but ended up writing mostly about Manhunt.

The Call: Pray and ACT's Election Effort Off To A Slow Start

I spent several hours on Saturday watching Lou Engle's "The Call" rally in Sacramento, California and was struck by two things: 1) how boring it was (at one point, the band played a song consisting of nothing by the lyrics "holy, holy, Lord God Almighty" for more than twenty straight minutes) and 2) how small the crowd appeared to be.

When Engle started The Call ten years ago, he claims to have brought 400,000 activists to the National Mall in Washington, DC, but this time the crowd was reportedly much smaller:

The Sacramento event began with a four-hour religious concert Friday night at Raley Field. On Saturday, organizers planned for a crowd of 50,000, lining up portable toilets alongside Capitol Mall and installing video screens several blocks from the stage.

But while the area immediately adjacent to the stage was packed, the mall remained largely empty.

Among the speakers at this event were Brad Bright, the son of Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright, and Samuel Rodriguez, president of the evangelical National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, as well as Harry Jackson who "prayed for President Obama to have a 'Damascus' experience, referring to the conversion Apostle Paul experienced on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians."

And, of course, Tony Perkins:

Among the speakers was Tony Perkins, a leader of the religious right and head of the Washington lobbying group the Family Research Council.

Perkins railed against U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker for overturning Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage. He said Walker's ruling diminished the legal rights of religious people opposed to gay marriage.

"If (the ruling) stands, in one generation we will have gone from banning the Bible in public schools to banning religious beliefs in society," Perkins said.

Keep in mind that this The Call event is only one part of dominionist "Pray and ACT" effort aimed at the upcoming elections, with at least three more gatherings and webcasts scheduled in the coming weeks which have now officially received the support of Mike Huckabee.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The effort by the Pacific Justice Institute to force California to defend Prop 8 has been rejected.
  • Chinese students will now be learning about abstinence from Focus on the Family.
  • Gary Bauer blames the Discovery Channel hostage situation on the Left.
  • This may be one of the dumbest WorldNetDaily articles I have never seen, and that is saying something.
  • Speaking of WND, this first person tale from Glenn Beck's rally written by Victoria Jackson absolutely has to be read.
  • AZ Gov. Jan Brewer did not get off to a good start in her debate last night.
  • This NRA ad is actually rather funny, though the main character seems to be a pretty obvious rip-off of Danny McBride in "The Fist Foot Way."
  • The battle of the century: Ray Comfort vs. Stephen Hawking.
  • Finally the quote of the day from a column in the Baptist Press: "How should we as Baptists regard the growing popularity of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)? Simply put, we should hate it."

Liberty Counsel Panics That Conservative Hostility to Gay Marriage Is Waning

The Liberty Counsel is "totally APPALLED that certain conservative leaders are backing down in their defense of marriage while making major concessions to the views of the pro-homosexual community."

Obviously, "certain conservative leaders" means "Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, and others who waffle to take a strong public stand for the protection of marriage," which is why LC has started a petition demanding that conservatives: 

1. Express support for a Federal Marriage Amendment that defines marriage as being "a union between one man and one woman."

2. Demand that conservative party chairmen - and other conservative congressional, gubernatorial, and party leaders - make the protection of marriage a key part of their policy positions.

LC's goal is to get 100,000 signatures over the next 30 days "so that we can present these petitions directly to nationally recognized leaders, especially those who are caving in to pressure from pro-homosexual activists."

Here is the petition:

As an American who recognizes the crucial importance of the sanctity of marriage to the welfare of any culture, I am appalled by conservative leaders who are waffling in support of the definition of marriage as being "a union between one man and one woman." I am also outraged by President Obama's outspoken intent to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and by activist judges disregarding the clearly expressed will of the majority of the people by striking down states' pro-marriage initiatives. I am deeply concerned that pro-homosexual activism is undermining the very foundations of our culture.

I believe that events in California, Massachusetts, and other states have signaled the beginning of an avalanche of judicial challenges against marriage in our country, and I am therefore asking you to actively protect the sanctity of marriage by:

1. Making the protection of marriage a key issue in your party's policy statements and official platform.
2. Publicly supporting a Federal Marriage Amendment stating that "marriage is a union between one man and one woman."
3. Working to preserve the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Marriage is vital to the social well-being of any nation. I urge you to use your influence to make the defense of marriage a bedrock issue in your party's platform and campaigns. My position on the definition of marriage being "between one man and one woman" is completely non-negotiable!

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Pacific Justice Institute is trying to force California to defend Prop 8.
  • Richard Land may not support the "Ground Zero Mosque," but he condemns anti-Muslim crimes like arson in Tennessee.
  • Glenn Beck has some new website.
  • Peter LaBarber really likes Ryan Sorba.
  • Joseph Farah really hates GOProud.
  • Liberty Counsel wants you to cast a "Vote of No Confidence" in President Obama.
  • Jordan Sekulow says people will continue to question President Obama's faith so long as he continues to be a bad Christian.
  • Finally, behold Mike Huckabee featuring AshleyMadison.com on his program:

Garlow: Beck May Be a Mormon, But He's Being "Used By God' To Save America

Earlier this week we noted how Glenn Beck's Mormon faith was becoming an area of concern for some on the Religious Right, especially in light of the fact that Beck seems to be making a transition from Tea Party leader to religious leader.

These sorts of concerns had prompted Davd Barton to write a defense of Beck, saying that Beck must be judged by his works and not by his lable and that, by that standard, he is a better "Christain" than the likes of Bill Clinton or Nancy Pelosi.

Now Jim Garlow, who has been a guest on Beck's program and will also be attending Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally, penned a lengthy piece defending Beck and explaining that evangelicals worked hand-in-hand with Mormons during the Prop 8 fight after they agreed never bring up their faith:

Several months before the election, three officials from the Mormon Church came to my office. The meeting was cordial, respectful and warm. We discussed ways to work along side each other in this battle.

Most of us are familiar with the term “co-belligerency,” which means that people with diametrically opposing views on certain critical issues work together. It was in that role that we came together.

Towards the very end of the meeting, I was just ready to bring up a critical issue: the insistence of Mormons to proselytize and argue theology. Before I could bring up the obvious “elephant in the room,” the highest ranking Mormon official present – a member of the Council of the Seventy – said (as nearly as I am able to re-construct the conversation), “Allow me to broach a topic that is likely on your mind. You will be concerned that our people will bring up discussions regarding their Mormon beliefs. I want to assure you that they will not bring up that topic in conversation.”

I was surprised at his directness, thus I said, “Can I have your word on that?” He responded, “You can.” I asked, “Even though you are over the Pacific Rim (approx. 1/3 of the world) in the Mormon Church, may I have your cell number and call you personally if I become aware of any violation of the promise?” He responded, “You can,” and gave me his cell phone number.

I never called it. Not once. Because I never heard of one single violation. On our first weekend of knocking on doors across California, 25,000 persons showed up to work. Twenty four thousand of them were Mormons. They worked. They worked hard. They never brought up their faith. Not once. A letter had been sent instructing them to discuss only the defense of marriage – and they honored that policy.

Based on that experience, Garlow has come to see Mormons "not theological brothers and sisters, [but as] friends and neighbors" with whom evangelicals can work on issues of concern to both groups. 

Garlow says that he has had some direct contact with Beck and knows others who have had much more and, as such, is comfortable that Beck is reliable, trustworthy, and sincere ... though he does have some concerns:

But what about Glenn’s Mormonism, many ask? That is a legitimate question. Glenn was raised, as I understand it, as a Catholic. He became a heavy drinker, destroying everything in his life. It was the Mormons that got him into the equivalent of a 12-step program. His life was turned around. His wife, as I understand it, is a strong Mormon. My personal read-out would be that Glenn’s Mormon ties are not profoundly deep rooted. I am not saying that to denigrate his theological understanding. I simply do not see evidence that he has deep Mormon theological motifs.

But didn’t he talk about some Hebrew stone tablet on his show recently? Yes. Frankly, I am not sure why he did it. It appeared for a moment that he might be – for the first time – pushing his Mormonism. But in further conversation with those I regard to be “in the know,” that was apparently not the case.

Two statements by Beck have caused serious Bible believers serious heartburn. One was on an interview – I believe with Katie Couric – and the other was recently on the Bill O’Reilly show. In both cases, Glenn trivialized the dangers and harm of gay “marriage.” Some defend him, saying he was merely saying that that issue is not his personal focus.

I am not certain how to interpret this one. I was on his show a couple months ago. He specifically asked Robby George (Princeton professor) to tell the audience about the Manhattan Declaration – which strongly affirms traditional, natural marriage. He then changed the conversation to the violence against those that defended Prop 8 in California. At that point, I spoke up, referencing the acts of violence and vandalism committed by those trying to advance the radical gay agenda.

I do not have an explanation for his comments on Bill O’Reilly. I need to know more of the background. It was, most assuredly, not his strongest moment. He may be in need of much more biblical truth and social science data.

But despite these sort of concerns about Beck's recent comments and his faith, Garlow says he is happy to stand by Beck becuase he is being "used by God" to save America:

Glenn Beck is being used by God – mightily. The left loves to slam him and do so viscerally and often with vulgarities. Glenn is not perfect. (For the record, neither are you or I.) But his expose on America’s sins is stellar. I am convinced his motives are pure. His research department is profoundly skilled, checking footnotes down to the last detail. The left cannot “get” him – at least, not at this point. They have tried. Since they have no truth, and history is not on their side, they resort constantly to ad hominem attacks. He has withstood staggering scrutiny, disdain and attacks.

Based on all I know about him, I am proud to stand with him at the Restoring Honor Rally this weekend. Glenn does not see that this about him, because it is not. It is about Restoring Honor. That is the issue. It is much bigger than Glenn Beck and he knows it. And God knows, we need it.

Dusting Off The Prop 8 Playbook In Opposing Prop 19

I haven't written much about California's Proposition 19, a ballot initiative that would would legalize possession and cultivation of marijuana in the state, mainly because I hadn't seen anyone on the Right doing anything to oppose it.

But it looks like Randy Thomasson and SaveCalifornia.com are now leading the fight against Prop 19 with a new website, MarijuanaHarmsFamiles.com, and a completely over-the-top new video about how Prop 19 will utterly destroy the state:

You have got to hand it to the Right: when it comes to opposing propositions in California, they sure do know how to make memorably fearmongering ads.

What A Surprise: Fischer Doesn't Approve of Positive Portrayals of Gays

It it too much to ask of the mainstream media that if they are going to quote the AFA's Bryan Fischer, that they mention his long history of making militantly anti-gay statements, especially when they are quoting him in an article relating to gay issues?

Apparently, because Fischer's well-established hatred all of things gay didn't warrant even a passing mention in this USA Today article about how increasingly "gay relationships and gay families are portrayed as just like other families" in movies and television:

It's a landscape that many Americans still don't accept.

Such movies and TV shows "desensitize the public to the raft of problems associated with homosexual behavior," says Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the American Family Association, one of the proponents of Proposition 8, California's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage now tied up in court. "Hollywood is conveying a deceptive message about that behavior and doing a disservice to (viewers) who are coming to conclusions based on what they see on the silver screen. It's a distortion of reality."

Says Glenn Stanton, director of family studies for Focus on the Family: "When actual gay and lesbian weddings are shown on TV (as in news coverage), we win. When they're shown through the lens and creativity and artifice of Hollywood, we don't. Hollywood is succeeding, but they're doing so by not representing reality."

Of course Fischer doesn't accept it - he thinks all gays are violent, deviant perverts and pedophiles who ought to be treated like criminals. 

Maybe the media ought to at least mention that fact the next time they decide to quote him.

FRCs Latest Prayer Targets: Values Voter Summit, Prop 8, and All Things Islam

At regular intervals, the Family Research Council sends out updates to its "Prayer Team" listing a variety of political issues that team members should make the target of their prayers.

A recent update called upon FRC's prayer activists to focus on the upcoming election because for too long America has elected politicians who lead "flagrantly godless personal lives" and "pass ungodly laws":

The American electoral process has the potential to produce qualified candidates, yet year after year we elect men and women who enter public office and pass ungodly laws. Some lead unwholesome, even flagrantly godless personal lives. Yet far too many of our pastors and Christian leaders have remained uninvolved, failing even to teach and preach about responsible Christian citizenship ... It is our duty to select leaders who respect the sanctity of human life, traditional marriage and family, and religious liberty and who oppose pernicious efforts to advance abortion, sexual immorality, socialism, profligate government spending, and now, Muslim Sharia law. Praying, fasting, speaking out and taking extraordinary action during the next 81 days, Christians must follow biblical principles (e.g., Exodus 18:21) in voting their values.

And FRC listed a specific set of issues on which the prayer team was to concentrate in order to reverse this trend - namely the Values Voter Summit, the Prop 8 ruling, Rifqa Bary, and Park 51:

- Pray that God will pour out his Spirit upon this year's [Values Voter Summit]; that it will be the best yet -- life-changing and nation-shaking.

- May God give our lawyers wisdom and may He superintend a complete reversal to vouchsafe Biblical marriage in U.S. federal judicial precedent.

- May God protect Rifqa's health. May U.S. officials help her along the road to citizenship. May God guide her education and her promising and needed ministry!

- May America reject this Mosque and the wider Islamist political agenda! May the Church stand against all false religion, while reaching out to Muslims with love.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW Statement: Dr. Laura’s Racist Remarks Inexcusable.
  • Media Matters: Dr. Laura Schlessinger's N-word rant.
  • Think Progress: Right-wing columnist calls Prop. 8 judge a ‘false god,’ compares same-sex marriage to slavery.
  • Good As You: What next, FRC: Claiming the paper's Help Wanted ads validate your views on unemployment?
  • Steve Benen: Explaining Net Neutrality in a Way Tea Partiers Can Understand.
  • Alvin McEwen: Is the religious right after another gay Obama appointee?
  • Joe.My.God: Thomas Jefferson Would Have Imprisoned Walker For Treason.
  • Pam Spaulding: Pat Robertson's CBN correspondent: 'Gay subculture - one of the most violent subcultures out there'.
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California Posts Archive

Coral, Monday 06/06/2011, 4:39pm
Linda Harvey, founder of the fringe anti-gay group Mission: America, not only condemns the LGBT community but condemns anyone who isn’t condemning them. Harvey is also the host of the Mission: America Radio show, and last week she spoke out against pro-tolerance education: Sex Change Pushed on Children Recently, I read an outstanding article on the website American Thinker. It’s called The Left’s Dirty Little Secret. It exposed what has been obvious for a long time, that liberal values in schools and in our culture are leading to widespread sexual abuse of children. The... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 06/03/2011, 11:14am
In May Rep. Pete Stark (R-CA) introduced the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which prohibits “discrimination in adoption or foster care placements based on the sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status of any prospective adoptive or foster parent, or the sexual orientation or gender identity of the child involved.” While it is unlikely that the GOP-controlled House would approve the legislation, it is an important step in the fight to ensure that children awaiting adoption or foster care can find homes. But the “pro-family” Religious Right wants to... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 06/02/2011, 5:44pm
Bryan Fischer really does not understand the definition of a "hate crime." The Freedom From Religion Foundation wants the California Attorney General to investigate Harold Camping for fraud. WND says White House Counsel Bob Bauer resignation "marks the beginning of the Obama eligibility cover-up starting to unwind." It is pretty clear that nobody on the Religious Right actually cares about Newt Gingrich's serial infidelity. Glenn Beck will speak at Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference. Mike Huckabee does not want to be President... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 05/23/2011, 11:18am
As we noted last week, Bryan Fischer has made it his new cause in life to prove that "the number one class of people who are committing hate crimes today are homosexual activists." Fischer bases this idea upon a definition of a hate crime that he took off us USLegal.com, which reads: "A hate crime is usually defined by state law as one that involves threats, harassment, or physical harm and is motivated by prejudice against someone's race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability." Fischer has seized upon the... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 05/18/2011, 1:45pm
Even after Republicans in the Senate and their conservative allies railed against filibusters of judicial nominees during the Bush administration and pushed to give even the most far-right nominees up-or-down votes, it appears that they have made an exception for President Obama’s nominees. The Senate is expected to vote tomorrow on UC Berkley Law Professor Goodwin Liu, who is nominated to serve on the 9th Circuit Court. While many conservative legal scholars support Liu, many in the GOP “appear to be opposing his nomination because he is too qualified.” Republicans have... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 05/17/2011, 10:31am
In 2009, California declared Harvey Milk Day a state holiday on the slain civil rights leader’s birthday, May 22nd, despite vitriolic protests from the Religious Right. Now, Jerry Cox of the Arkansas Family Council and the Family Council Action Committee is warning that by honoring Milk, children will be forced to cross-dress and have mock gay weddings, telling the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow that schools should instead spend more time honoring the Founding Fathers who “exemplified all the good in mankind in their life”: Jerry Cox, president of the Family... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 05/13/2011, 3:21pm
Michael Bresciani of American Prophet claims that the move towards gay equality signals the End Days. Writing for Renew America on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A)’s decision to permit the ordination of gay and lesbian ministers, Bresciani contends “that the rise in gay activism is not only a new low for the nation but it is part and parcel to last day’s prophecy” which “must precede the rise of the antichrist and the final judgments of God against a rebellious and totally reprobate generation.” He also mistakenly believes that Virginia has legalized... MORE