Civil Rights

LaBarbera: “Oprah Will Have to Answer to Her Creator” for “Promoting” Homosexuality

Peter LaBarbera and Gary Glenn, head of the American Family Association of Michigan and a longtime ally of Mike Huckabee, came together to condemn homosexuality. Much like Lou Engle, who prayed for Ellen DeGeneres to be “converted” and use her influence to condemn homosexuality, LaBarbera began the program stating that Oprah Winfrey “will have to answer to her Creator” over her support for gay-rights:

I believe that someday Oprah will have to answer to her Creator about what you did with your influence. She’s a woman of incredible talent and influence, not just in America but the whole world. And yet here she is, using it to promote a lifestyle that God has declared sinful.

Glenn and LaBarbera later criticized Congress over the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and Glenn described the “security,” “moral,” and “medical,” reasons for banning gays from serving in the military, baselessly claiming that the “preponderance of sexual assaults [are] committed by individuals who are secretly in the military and involved in homosexual activity”:

Glenn: This Don’t Ask Don’t Tell moniker was not federal law; the federal law actually prohibits individuals who openly identify themselves as involved in the homosexual lifestyle from serving in the United States military. Because of security concerns for example, the openly homosexual intelligent officer at the Pentagon who’s responsible for all the WikiLeaks that have been in the news recently.

LaBarbera: That’s Bradley Manning right.

Glenn: Bradley Manning.

LaBarbera: Funny how the media didn’t report that much, Gary?

Glenn: Because of the dramatically, certainly from a per capita standpoint, preponderance of sexual assaults committed by individuals who are secretly in the military and involved in homosexual activity.

I mean to compel a more conservative segment of American society, which is the definition of those who volunteer to serve in the United States military typically tend to be people of traditional values, to be forced to share showers and barracks and latrines and foxholes and battlefield conditions with people openly involved in the homosexual lifestyle. Not only from a moral standpoint but from a medical standpoint, because of the severe medical consequences associated with that behavior, and battlefield blood transfusions. It simply defies reason or rationale that anyone would institute a public policy that put our men and women in the armed services especially on the battlefield at increased risk of being injured or infected on the battlefield through battlefield blood transfusions.

Then, Glenn says Martin Luther King Jr. would be standing with LaBarbera and himself if he was here today:

I mean, Dr. King having been a conservative, southern, with a small ‘s,’ southern Baptist pastor in the 50’s and 60’s, whose view from a biblical standpoint on the question of homosexual behavior would’ve been unquestionable that he would have opposed it. And yet homosexual activists today use the legacy of Dr. King and the civil rights movement to suggest that someone’s sexual behavior, two men engaging in sex with each other, is somehow comparable to the color of skin, which someone happens to be born.

Listen:

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 2/01/11

Michele Bachmann

SOTU: “Tea Party State of the Union Response” is widely panned, mocked on SNL (HuffPo, 1/31).

Budget: Veterans groups blast Bachmann’s proposal to slash veterans benefits (UPI, 1/28).

Congress: Invites Religious Right notable and anti-Islam activist to teach class on Constitution (RWW, 1/26).

Haley Barbour

Civil Rights: Congressman says Barbour's civil rights work in Mississippi more symbolic than substantive (Clarion Ledger, 1/30).

South Carolina: Privately meets with top South Carolina GOP activists (CNN, 1/25).

John Bolton

Foreign Affairs: In CNSNews interview, claims Obama “basically doesn’t care” about foreign and national security issues (1/31).

Budget: Tells neoconservative group that defense department shouldn’t face budget cuts (Philly Daily News, 1/28).

Mike Huckabee

PAC: Leadership PAC “plagued by anemic fundraising” (Politico, 1/31).

Health Care: Lauds ruling on reform law, says “it’s nice to see the courts upholding the Constitution” (Sunshine State News, 1/31).

Foreign Affairs: Justifies Israeli settlements by saying they are building in “the place that God gave them.” (AP, 1/31).

Polls: Ahead of rivals in early GOP polls with strong support among conservatives (TPM, 1/27).

Jon Huntsman

2012: Leaves post as Ambassador to China, advisers start New Horizons leadership PAC (Salt Lake Tribune, 1/31).

Religion: Will Huntsman’s Mormon faith hurt his presidential aspirations? (WaPo, 1/31).

Sarah Palin

PAC: Led other potential presidential candidates in final quarter fundraising (National Journal, 1/31).

Second Amendment: Defended gun rights and praised conservationism at Safari Club (AP, 1/31).

SOTU: Rants against Obama’s “WTF” moments, says he can’t be trusted (Facebook, 1/27).

Tim Pawlenty

Iowa: Courts Religious Right activists in next visit to Iowa (Iowa Independent, 1/31).

Foreign Affairs: Says Obama Administration’s response to crisis in Egypt was “inconsistent and bordering on incoherent” (Minnesota Post, 1/31).

PAC: Freedom First PAC has about $155,000 on hand after midterm election (WaPo, 1/28).

Religious Right: Meets with anti-choice radical Rob Schenck (RWW, 1/28).

Mitt Romney

Health Care: Obama aide says administration “got some good ideas” from Romney’s Massachusetts health law (CNN, 1/31).

PAC: Raised more than all other prospective candidates in 2010 (NYT, 1/31).

New Hampshire: Meets with New Hampshire businessmen (Union Leader, 1/31).

Rick Santorum

Religious Right: Set to address the far-right group Catholic Citizenship (AP, 1/29).

Iowa: Hires staffers with ties to corporate-backed group to lead Iowa campaign (RWW, 1/28).

SOTU: Pens New Hampshire op-ed criticizing Obama’s State of the Union (Union Leader, 1/27).

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 2/01/11

Michele Bachmann

SOTU: “Tea Party State of the Union Response” is widely panned, mocked on SNL (HuffPo, 1/31).

Budget: Veterans groups blast Bachmann’s proposal to slash veterans benefits (UPI, 1/28).

Congress: Invites Religious Right notable and anti-Islam activist to teach class on Constitution (RWW, 1/26).

Haley Barbour

Civil Rights: Congressman says Barbour's civil rights work in Mississippi more symbolic than substantive (Clarion Ledger, 1/30).

South Carolina: Privately meets with top South Carolina GOP activists (CNN, 1/25).

John Bolton

Foreign Affairs: In CNSNews interview, claims Obama “basically doesn’t care” about foreign and national security issues (1/31).

Budget: Tells neoconservative group that defense department shouldn’t face budget cuts (Philly Daily News, 1/28).

Mike Huckabee

PAC: Leadership PAC “plagued by anemic fundraising” (Politico, 1/31).

Health Care: Lauds ruling on reform law, says “it’s nice to see the courts upholding the Constitution” (Sunshine State News, 1/31).

Foreign Affairs: Justifies Israeli settlements by saying they are building in “the place that God gave them.” (AP, 1/31).

Polls: Ahead of rivals in early GOP polls with strong support among conservatives (TPM, 1/27).

Jon Huntsman

2012: Leaves post as Ambassador to China, advisers start New Horizons leadership PAC (Salt Lake Tribune, 1/31).

Religion: Will Huntsman’s Mormon faith hurt his presidential aspirations? (WaPo, 1/31).

Sarah Palin

PAC: Led other potential presidential candidates in final quarter fundraising (National Journal, 1/31).

Second Amendment: Defended gun rights and praised conservationism at Safari Club (AP, 1/31).

SOTU: Rants against Obama’s “WTF” moments, says he can’t be trusted (Facebook, 1/27).

Tim Pawlenty

Iowa: Courts Religious Right activists in next visit to Iowa (Iowa Independent, 1/31).

Foreign Affairs: Says Obama Administration’s response to crisis in Egypt was “inconsistent and bordering on incoherent” (Minnesota Post, 1/31).

PAC: Freedom First PAC has about $155,000 on hand after midterm election (WaPo, 1/28).

Religious Right: Meets with anti-choice radical Rob Schenck (RWW, 1/28).

Mitt Romney

Health Care: Obama aide says administration “got some good ideas” from Romney’s Massachusetts health law (CNN, 1/31).

PAC: Raised more than all other prospective candidates in 2010 (NYT, 1/31).

New Hampshire: Meets with New Hampshire businessmen (Union Leader, 1/31).

Rick Santorum

Religious Right: Set to address the far-right group Catholic Citizenship (AP, 1/29).

Iowa: Hires staffers with ties to corporate-backed group to lead Iowa campaign (RWW, 1/28).

SOTU: Pens New Hampshire op-ed criticizing Obama’s State of the Union (Union Leader, 1/27).

Tea Party-Backed Senate Candidate Once Tried to End Scholarships for Minority Students

After Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison announced her retirement after she was declared a top target of Tea Party activists, the race for the Republican nomination became even more crowded and contentious. Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams immediately became a Tea Party sensation and last week resigned from the Railroad Commission in order to be a full-time candidate.

The American Spectator today features a glowing profile of Williams, saying that “something about him says ‘Don’t mess with Texas.’”

Williams even won the endorsement of Tea Party leader Sen. Jim DeMint, who’s Senate Conservatives Fund lifted a number of far-right candidates like Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell to victory in GOP primary contests.

But Williams first garnered the support of the Party’s far-right when he unsuccessfully tried to block scholarships for minority students when he worked at the Department of Education under President George H. W. Bush. The New York Times reported in 1990 that Williams caused uproar when he tried to prohibit “colleges and universities that receive Federal funds from offering scholarships designated for minority students.”

Michael L. Williams, the Education Department's Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, said yesterday that "race-exclusive" scholarships, or those based on ethnic origin, were discriminatory and therefore illegal.

College administrators and scholarship fund directors reacted with alarm, saying the decision could reverse decades of efforts to increase the enrollment of members of racial and ethnic minorities who have been historically underrepresented in colleges.

"We were shocked by this decision," said Richard F. Rosser, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, which represents 815 institutions. "We have been making enormous efforts to increase the numbers of minority students in our colleges and universities, and this has necessarily required a great deal of financial aid."

Neither Rosser nor anyone else contacted yesterday could say how many institutions, or what percentage of total financial aid to minority students, might be affected by the new enforcement policy. But the practice of setting aside money to attract qualified minority students and make college more affordable for them has been widespread for at least 20 years.

Ultimately, then-Secretary Lamar Alexander (now a Republican Senator from Tennessee) stopped Williams from implementing his policy, including his attempt to block the Fiesta Bowl from setting “aside $100,000 for a fund for minority scholarships.” As Williams happily notes in his campaign’s biography, he succeeded Clarence Thomas in his position at the Education Department.

In a Republican primary in Texas where each candidate has to demonstrate their right-wing credentials, Williams may try to use this case to his advantage.

Tea Party-Backed Senate Candidate Once Tried to End Scholarships for Minority Students

After Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison announced her retirement after she was declared a top target of Tea Party activists, the race for the Republican nomination became even more crowded and contentious. Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams immediately became a Tea Party sensation and last week resigned from the Railroad Commission in order to be a full-time candidate.

The American Spectator today features a glowing profile of Williams, saying that “something about him says ‘Don’t mess with Texas.’”

Williams even won the endorsement of Tea Party leader Sen. Jim DeMint, who’s Senate Conservatives Fund lifted a number of far-right candidates like Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell to victory in GOP primary contests.

But Williams first garnered the support of the Party’s far-right when he unsuccessfully tried to block scholarships for minority students when he worked at the Department of Education under President George H. W. Bush. The New York Times reported in 1990 that Williams caused uproar when he tried to prohibit “colleges and universities that receive Federal funds from offering scholarships designated for minority students.”

Michael L. Williams, the Education Department's Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, said yesterday that "race-exclusive" scholarships, or those based on ethnic origin, were discriminatory and therefore illegal.

College administrators and scholarship fund directors reacted with alarm, saying the decision could reverse decades of efforts to increase the enrollment of members of racial and ethnic minorities who have been historically underrepresented in colleges.

"We were shocked by this decision," said Richard F. Rosser, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, which represents 815 institutions. "We have been making enormous efforts to increase the numbers of minority students in our colleges and universities, and this has necessarily required a great deal of financial aid."

Neither Rosser nor anyone else contacted yesterday could say how many institutions, or what percentage of total financial aid to minority students, might be affected by the new enforcement policy. But the practice of setting aside money to attract qualified minority students and make college more affordable for them has been widespread for at least 20 years.

Ultimately, then-Secretary Lamar Alexander (now a Republican Senator from Tennessee) stopped Williams from implementing his policy, including his attempt to block the Fiesta Bowl from setting “aside $100,000 for a fund for minority scholarships.” As Williams happily notes in his campaign’s biography, he succeeded Clarence Thomas in his position at the Education Department.

In a Republican primary in Texas where each candidate has to demonstrate their right-wing credentials, Williams may try to use this case to his advantage.

Iowa GOP Hopes to Ban Gay Marriage and Civil Unions as Vander Plaats Mobilizes Pastors

The battle over marriage equality in Iowa is heating up as Republicans in the State House are moving forward with plans to ban gay marriage and civil unions, an attempt to reverse a unanimous 2009 State Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality. To amend the constitution, “an amendment would require approval by state lawmakers during two legislative sessions, and then approval by voters at the ballot box.” Encouraged by major Republican gains in the midterm elections and the removal of three pro-equality Justices through retention votes, Iowa Republicans have emphasized restrictions on gay-rights and reproductive-rights in their legislative agenda, and Religious Right leader Bob Vander Plaats is pressing for the removal of the entire Supreme Court.

Vander Plaats’s new organization, The Family Leader, recently blasted pro-equality faith leaders in an alert message that questions their faith, stating: “167 ‘religious’ leaders signed a letter delivered to the Iowa Legislature saying that people of faith support homosexual ‘marriage.’ Don’t stay silent while others speak for you and misrepresnt [sic] God.” The group calls on pastors to sign an alternative petition which describes “homosexual behavior” as “immoral and sinful” and “harmful both to the individuals who choose to participate in it and the society that chooses to accept it.”

The mobilization of pastors by The Family Leader comes at a time when, according to the Des Moines Register, Republican leaders are trying to prohibit not only gay marriage but also other forms of legal rights for gay couples such as civil unions and domestic partnerships. The Register reports:

House Republicans will introduce legislation this week to begin the process to amend the Iowa Constitution to ban not only same-sex marriage but also civil unions and domestic partnerships.

That prospect raised alarm with civil rights advocates, who said it would legalize discrimination.

Republicans, who took control of the House in the Nov. 2 elections, had pledged to pass a measure this legislative session that would eventually allow Iowans a vote on same-sex marriage. But the resolution they've prepared is more sweeping than that, a move intended to help place finality on the issue of the legality of same-sex unions, said Rep. Dwayne Alons, R-Hull, who is the lead sponsor of House Joint Resolution 6.

"I think the biggest issue is that if that (a same-sex marriage ban) is carried forward, and then Iowa does civil unions and recognizes that as a substitute status, then, from what I've seen in other states," people would come to consider same-sex civil unions as equal to marriage, Alons said.

As of late Wednesday, no Democrats had signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. Fifty-six of the 60 House Republicans are listed as co-sponsors. The measure is expected to easily pass the House, but Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has vowed to block consideration of a same-sex marriage amendment in that chamber.

The resolution says: "Marriage between one man and one woman shall be the only legal union valid or recognized in this state."

Des Moines attorney James Benzoni said such an amendment would run counter to the intent of Iowa laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

"The problem you're going to have is that it allows prejudice," Benzoni said. "It's going to open the door now for discrimination, for bullying, for treating people as second-class citizens."

The wording raised questions about whether private companies and governments in Iowa could still extend benefits to domestic partners. State government, for example, provides domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples.



Those who agree with the Iowa Supreme Court ruling have noted that same-sex couples have in previous years been shut out from hospital visitation and inheritance rights. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has listed more than 1,100 benefits the government provides to married couples.

The Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. of Des Moines, president of the NAACP State Conference for Iowa and Nebraska, has helped lead protests against same-sex marriage. He said Wednesday he agrees with the attempt to also keep domestic partnership or civil unions from gaining legal status.

Ratliff said he believes same-sex marriage further erodes the family, similar to the way that two-income families have eroded traditional nuclear families.

"I think there is an immediate consequence to gay marriage because people let their guard down in relation to what the word of God says," Ratliff said.

Iowa GOP Hopes to Ban Gay Marriage and Civil Unions as Vander Plaats Mobilizes Pastors

The battle over marriage equality in Iowa is heating up as Republicans in the State House are moving forward with plans to ban gay marriage and civil unions, an attempt to reverse a unanimous 2009 State Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality. To amend the constitution, “an amendment would require approval by state lawmakers during two legislative sessions, and then approval by voters at the ballot box.” Encouraged by major Republican gains in the midterm elections and the removal of three pro-equality Justices through retention votes, Iowa Republicans have emphasized restrictions on gay-rights and reproductive-rights in their legislative agenda, and Religious Right leader Bob Vander Plaats is pressing for the removal of the entire Supreme Court.

Vander Plaats’s new organization, The Family Leader, recently blasted pro-equality faith leaders in an alert message that questions their faith, stating: “167 ‘religious’ leaders signed a letter delivered to the Iowa Legislature saying that people of faith support homosexual ‘marriage.’ Don’t stay silent while others speak for you and misrepresnt [sic] God.” The group calls on pastors to sign an alternative petition which describes “homosexual behavior” as “immoral and sinful” and “harmful both to the individuals who choose to participate in it and the society that chooses to accept it.”

The mobilization of pastors by The Family Leader comes at a time when, according to the Des Moines Register, Republican leaders are trying to prohibit not only gay marriage but also other forms of legal rights for gay couples such as civil unions and domestic partnerships. The Register reports:

House Republicans will introduce legislation this week to begin the process to amend the Iowa Constitution to ban not only same-sex marriage but also civil unions and domestic partnerships.

That prospect raised alarm with civil rights advocates, who said it would legalize discrimination.

Republicans, who took control of the House in the Nov. 2 elections, had pledged to pass a measure this legislative session that would eventually allow Iowans a vote on same-sex marriage. But the resolution they've prepared is more sweeping than that, a move intended to help place finality on the issue of the legality of same-sex unions, said Rep. Dwayne Alons, R-Hull, who is the lead sponsor of House Joint Resolution 6.

"I think the biggest issue is that if that (a same-sex marriage ban) is carried forward, and then Iowa does civil unions and recognizes that as a substitute status, then, from what I've seen in other states," people would come to consider same-sex civil unions as equal to marriage, Alons said.

As of late Wednesday, no Democrats had signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. Fifty-six of the 60 House Republicans are listed as co-sponsors. The measure is expected to easily pass the House, but Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has vowed to block consideration of a same-sex marriage amendment in that chamber.

The resolution says: "Marriage between one man and one woman shall be the only legal union valid or recognized in this state."

Des Moines attorney James Benzoni said such an amendment would run counter to the intent of Iowa laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

"The problem you're going to have is that it allows prejudice," Benzoni said. "It's going to open the door now for discrimination, for bullying, for treating people as second-class citizens."

The wording raised questions about whether private companies and governments in Iowa could still extend benefits to domestic partners. State government, for example, provides domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples.



Those who agree with the Iowa Supreme Court ruling have noted that same-sex couples have in previous years been shut out from hospital visitation and inheritance rights. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has listed more than 1,100 benefits the government provides to married couples.

The Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. of Des Moines, president of the NAACP State Conference for Iowa and Nebraska, has helped lead protests against same-sex marriage. He said Wednesday he agrees with the attempt to also keep domestic partnership or civil unions from gaining legal status.

Ratliff said he believes same-sex marriage further erodes the family, similar to the way that two-income families have eroded traditional nuclear families.

"I think there is an immediate consequence to gay marriage because people let their guard down in relation to what the word of God says," Ratliff said.

NOM vows to Continue Fighting Marriage Equality in DC

Yesterday, the Supreme Court rejected the challenge to Washington, DC's marriage equality law, much to the dismay of the Religious Right.

But if you thought that was going to be the end of the challenge, think again, as the National Organization for Marriage today announced that it will continue to fight it and expects the new GOP majority in the House to help them:

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States denied an appeal by marriage defenders to the DC City Council’s implementation of same-sex marriage.

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) pledged to continue to push for the right of District residents to vote on marriage as the union of a man and a woman:

“While we are disappointed that the US Supreme Court did not decide to take the case challenging the denial of the civil rights of District residents to vote on the definition of marriage, we are by no means done pressing this issue. With a pro-marriage majority in the new Congress we will explore a number of avenues to force the District to fulfill their constitutional responsibility to voters. As the four Court of Appeal justices who dissented in this case made clear, the District of Columbia owes it to the voters to allow them to decide the critical issue of marriage which has existed since before there was a District of Columbia. In order to curry favor with the same-sex marriage special interest group, members of the City Council have turned their backs on their own constituents. It is ironic that these same council members champion the right of District votes to be heard in national elections but then deny those same residents the right to vote on the definition of marriage. We will press our belief with Congress that the constitution of the District requires that voters be allowed to decide this important issue.”

NOM vows to Continue Fighting Marriage Equality in DC

Yesterday, the Supreme Court rejected the challenge to Washington, DC's marriage equality law, much to the dismay of the Religious Right.

But if you thought that was going to be the end of the challenge, think again, as the National Organization for Marriage today announced that it will continue to fight it and expects the new GOP majority in the House to help them:

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States denied an appeal by marriage defenders to the DC City Council’s implementation of same-sex marriage.

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) pledged to continue to push for the right of District residents to vote on marriage as the union of a man and a woman:

“While we are disappointed that the US Supreme Court did not decide to take the case challenging the denial of the civil rights of District residents to vote on the definition of marriage, we are by no means done pressing this issue. With a pro-marriage majority in the new Congress we will explore a number of avenues to force the District to fulfill their constitutional responsibility to voters. As the four Court of Appeal justices who dissented in this case made clear, the District of Columbia owes it to the voters to allow them to decide the critical issue of marriage which has existed since before there was a District of Columbia. In order to curry favor with the same-sex marriage special interest group, members of the City Council have turned their backs on their own constituents. It is ironic that these same council members champion the right of District votes to be heard in national elections but then deny those same residents the right to vote on the definition of marriage. We will press our belief with Congress that the constitution of the District requires that voters be allowed to decide this important issue.”

Religious Right Leader: Episcopal Church No Longer Christian Because It Supports Gay-Rights

Michael Youssef, the head of Leading the Way Ministries and a vocal critic of Islam, today argued that the Episcopal Church is no longer Christian and “not Jesus’ church” as a result of the church's policies regarding gay-rights. Youssef is a signatory of the Manhattan Declaration, a largely anti-gay and anti-choice screed, which also laments the “decline in respect for religious values” in American society. However, Youssef’s diatribe against the Episcopal Church shows the Manhattan Declaration’s call for “religious liberty” and greater respect for religious values remains secondary to its unbridled anti-gay attacks. Youssef’s attack on the Episcopal Church keeps him in the company of other Religious Right leaders and groups who continuously smear mainline Protestant churches that back civil rights. In a column for the American Family Associations news service, Youssef declared that the Episcopal Church’s support for LGBT equality means that the Church has “defied God” and lost its status as Christian:

Episcopal Church: Christian?

Based on everything I am currently reading and what I experienced firsthand in that Church in the past, my answer to this question is a forceful, "No!"

Perhaps the last nail in the coffin of that once-vibrant Christian church came as no surprise to many of us when M. Thomas Shaw, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, kicked off the new year of 2011 by performing a lesbian marriage ceremony at St. Paul's cathedral in Boston. Two "priestesses" of the church -- Katherine Hancock Ragsdale (dean and president of Episcopal Divinity School, no less) and Mally Lloyd (canon to the Ordinary at St. Paul's) -- were united in homosexual bliss in the presence of 400 guests. The whole debate of homosexuality has deteriorated into an emotional argument on equality with total disregard to God's created order that marriage should be between one man and one woman.

But how can one be surprised at this defiance of church cannons when the Episcopal leadership has defied God? Once the fear of God and obedience to His Word are trampled underfoot, then any sort of church resolution is not worth the paper it's written on.

Back in 2004, the Episcopal Church, in an act of slight-of-hand (more likely a cunning maneuver), agreed to hold a moratorium in the practicing of all the sordid affairs of "ordaining, marrying, and uniting, and blessing" acts of sodomy. But that was merely a surface declaration. In reality, the blessing of same-sex marriage had been widely accepted in the American Episcopal Church before the time of moratorium.

Can anybody in his/her right mind believe that the Episcopal Church is the Church of Jesus -- the Jesus who left the glories of heaven, came to our broken and dark world, died on the cross to redeem us and give us power over sin, and then rose again to assure us of eternal life with Him? The answer has to be a resounding, "No!"

The Episcopal Church is not Jesus' church. The few...very few faithful ones left within this Church need to run for their lives lest they be held accountable for complacency on the Day of Judgment.

Religious Right Leader: Episcopal Church No Longer Christian Because It Supports Gay-Rights

Michael Youssef, the head of Leading the Way Ministries and a vocal critic of Islam, today argued that the Episcopal Church is no longer Christian and “not Jesus’ church” as a result of the church's policies regarding gay-rights. Youssef is a signatory of the Manhattan Declaration, a largely anti-gay and anti-choice screed, which also laments the “decline in respect for religious values” in American society. However, Youssef’s diatribe against the Episcopal Church shows the Manhattan Declaration’s call for “religious liberty” and greater respect for religious values remains secondary to its unbridled anti-gay attacks. Youssef’s attack on the Episcopal Church keeps him in the company of other Religious Right leaders and groups who continuously smear mainline Protestant churches that back civil rights. In a column for the American Family Associations news service, Youssef declared that the Episcopal Church’s support for LGBT equality means that the Church has “defied God” and lost its status as Christian:

Episcopal Church: Christian?

Based on everything I am currently reading and what I experienced firsthand in that Church in the past, my answer to this question is a forceful, "No!"

Perhaps the last nail in the coffin of that once-vibrant Christian church came as no surprise to many of us when M. Thomas Shaw, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, kicked off the new year of 2011 by performing a lesbian marriage ceremony at St. Paul's cathedral in Boston. Two "priestesses" of the church -- Katherine Hancock Ragsdale (dean and president of Episcopal Divinity School, no less) and Mally Lloyd (canon to the Ordinary at St. Paul's) -- were united in homosexual bliss in the presence of 400 guests. The whole debate of homosexuality has deteriorated into an emotional argument on equality with total disregard to God's created order that marriage should be between one man and one woman.

But how can one be surprised at this defiance of church cannons when the Episcopal leadership has defied God? Once the fear of God and obedience to His Word are trampled underfoot, then any sort of church resolution is not worth the paper it's written on.

Back in 2004, the Episcopal Church, in an act of slight-of-hand (more likely a cunning maneuver), agreed to hold a moratorium in the practicing of all the sordid affairs of "ordaining, marrying, and uniting, and blessing" acts of sodomy. But that was merely a surface declaration. In reality, the blessing of same-sex marriage had been widely accepted in the American Episcopal Church before the time of moratorium.

Can anybody in his/her right mind believe that the Episcopal Church is the Church of Jesus -- the Jesus who left the glories of heaven, came to our broken and dark world, died on the cross to redeem us and give us power over sin, and then rose again to assure us of eternal life with Him? The answer has to be a resounding, "No!"

The Episcopal Church is not Jesus' church. The few...very few faithful ones left within this Church need to run for their lives lest they be held accountable for complacency on the Day of Judgment.

DC Marriage Foes’ Voting-Rights Hypocrisy Exposed

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a last-ditch legal challenge to marriage equality in the District of Columbia and exposed as hypocritical posturing the claims by Bishop Harry Jackson and his Religious Right allies to be representing the interests of DC voters.

Throughout the past year’s legal challenges to DC’s marriage equality law, Jackson and his allies have argued that District voters have a civil right to vote on the city’s new marriage equality law, in spite of consistent legal opinions and court rulings that such a vote would violate the city’s Human Rights Act by putting civil rights to a vote.
 
But when the conservative U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider the clergy’s latest request, the response of one local advocate was telling. Rev. Anthony Evans called the Supreme Court’s action “a travesty of justice:”
 
“This law was forced down the church’s throat and what the Supreme Court has set up is the greatest civil war between the church and the gay community,” Evans said. “And let me just state for the record, we don’t want that fight. We love our gay brothers and sisters. But if the Supreme Court is not going to acknowledge the fact that we have a right as religious people to have a say-so in the framework of religious ethics for our culture and society, then we reject the Supreme Court on this issue.”
 
Evans “civil war” rhetoric seems particularly poorly chosen at a moment when Americans of all political persuasions are looking for more civility in political rhetoric, not to mention his Tea-Party-on-steroids declaration that he “rejects” the U.S. Supreme Court .
 
But what really exposes as fraudulent the claims by marriage foes to be waging a civil rights struggle on behalf of DC voters is Evans’ bragging that “he and others opposed to the marriage law lobbied GOP leaders on the Hill to strip  congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) of her voting privileges on the House floor.”  Evans said his working with House Republicans to revoke even the limited floor voting privileges of DC's congressional delegate was “punishment for her wholehearted support of same-sex marriage.”
 
Of course, national Religious Right groups made it clear months ago that they don't really care about the second-class-citizen status of DC residents when they said that city officials’ support for marriage equality and the Human Rights Act is proof that the District doesn’t deserve self-determination.

DC Marriage Foes’ Voting-Rights Hypocrisy Exposed

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a last-ditch legal challenge to marriage equality in the District of Columbia and exposed as hypocritical posturing the claims by Bishop Harry Jackson and his Religious Right allies to be representing the interests of DC voters.

Throughout the past year’s legal challenges to DC’s marriage equality law, Jackson and his allies have argued that District voters have a civil right to vote on the city’s new marriage equality law, in spite of consistent legal opinions and court rulings that such a vote would violate the city’s Human Rights Act by putting civil rights to a vote.
 
But when the conservative U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider the clergy’s latest request, the response of one local advocate was telling. Rev. Anthony Evans called the Supreme Court’s action “a travesty of justice:”
 
“This law was forced down the church’s throat and what the Supreme Court has set up is the greatest civil war between the church and the gay community,” Evans said. “And let me just state for the record, we don’t want that fight. We love our gay brothers and sisters. But if the Supreme Court is not going to acknowledge the fact that we have a right as religious people to have a say-so in the framework of religious ethics for our culture and society, then we reject the Supreme Court on this issue.”
 
Evans “civil war” rhetoric seems particularly poorly chosen at a moment when Americans of all political persuasions are looking for more civility in political rhetoric, not to mention his Tea-Party-on-steroids declaration that he “rejects” the U.S. Supreme Court .
 
But what really exposes as fraudulent the claims by marriage foes to be waging a civil rights struggle on behalf of DC voters is Evans’ bragging that “he and others opposed to the marriage law lobbied GOP leaders on the Hill to strip  congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) of her voting privileges on the House floor.”  Evans said his working with House Republicans to revoke even the limited floor voting privileges of DC's congressional delegate was “punishment for her wholehearted support of same-sex marriage.”
 
Of course, national Religious Right groups made it clear months ago that they don't really care about the second-class-citizen status of DC residents when they said that city officials’ support for marriage equality and the Human Rights Act is proof that the District doesn’t deserve self-determination.

Matt Barber Instructs LU Students In His Anti-Gay Ways

There are few "mainstream" Religious Right activists operating today who are as militantly anti-gay as Matt Barber - in fact, he owes his entire current career to the fact that he got fired for being anti-gay.

And so now, in addition to using his position as Director of Cultural Affairs with Liberty Counsel from which to launch his incessant anti-gay attacks, Barber is also an Associate Dean at the Jerry Falwell-founded Liberty Law School.

And if you were thinking that this might just be some sort of administrative position, rest assured that it is not and that Barber is actually imparting his anti-gays views to LU students as an instructor, as he explained to Peter LaBarbera:

LaBarbera: So you're teaching a class there. What's the class about, real quickly ...

Barber: Yeah, I designed the curriculum and it's really an answer to the homosexual activist courses that we see at Harvard and Yale and Georgetown and other places. They call their class "Sexual Orientation and The Law"[and] they're basically just classes in which they indoctrinate kids; it's pure homosexual propaganda.

I teach a class, I designed the curriculum, and I taught it for the first time in the fall semester of this year title "Sexual Behavior and The Law" because that's what it really is is behavior. And I actually delve into the truth about how we have arrived where we are in the law today, we address public policy issues, legal issues and so forth from a Judeo-Christian perspective and looking at our true legal history and the true history of public policy in this country.

And indeed, the LU course catalog [PDF] reveals that that is indeed the case:

LAW 765 Sexual Behavior and the Law

A survey of the relationship between various types of human sexual behavior and law, including employment law, education law, criminal law, family law, civil rights legislation, and the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and freedom of religion, speech, and association. The course will explore sexual behavior and notions of sexual morality through a biblical, historical, and anthropological prism and consider how the law, public policy, and culture approaches the sexual choice people make.

Bryan Fischer: Black “Plantation Politicians” Shouldn’t Be Angry About Three-Fifths Compromise

When Republicans selected an edited version of the Constitution to read on the House Floor, one which left out sections such as the “three-fifths compromise” that says slaves will be counted as three-fifths of a person when assessing the apportionment of “representatives and direct taxes,” Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) charged that the “redacted Constitutional reading gives little deference to the long history of improving the Constitution” through anti-slavery and civil rights struggles. For very different reasons, Glenn Beck slammed the use of the edited version, because in his opinion the “three-fifths compromise” reflects “the genius of the Constitution.”

Bryan Fischer, the Director of Issue Analysis for the American Family Association, on the other hand, managed to both endorse the decision to leave the "three-fifths compromise" out of the reading while also defending the “three-fifths compromise”:

You’d think that the Democrats, with all their bloviation about how the Constitution is a living and breathing document that must change with the times, would be ecstatic at Republican recognition of legitimate changes to our founding document.

But no. The grievance industry, represented by Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. and other plantation politicians, is royally hacked off that the original part of the Constitution that dealt with representation in the slave-holding states wasn’t read. News flash for Rep. Jackson: the Civil War ended 146 years ago. Wake up and smell the freedom! Get over yourself and get on up into the 21st century while you’re at it.



So the grievance industry, still stuck woefully in the past, desperately wanted the Republicans to read the “three-fifths” clause. The Republicans didn’t, for one simple reason. It’s no longer part of the Constitution.

And here’s the kicker: while the Democrats wanted that read because they erroneously believe that it says that slaves were three-fifths of a person, the Constitution itself says exactly the opposite. The “three-fifths” clause clearly affirms the personhood of slaves.

Check it out. Here is the relevant portion, with emphasis added:

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.



Bottom line: the three-fifths clause is not a pro-slavery clause, it is an anti-slavery clause.

And the same clause affirms the personhood of all slaves. You could look it up.

Again, this is the same Bryan Fischer who several prospective GOP presidential candidates shared a stage with at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit last year.

Eagle Forum: Constitution at 'White-Hot Center' of Culture War

People For the American Way has just published a new report by Senior Fellow Jamie Raskin which exposes the Tea Party’s dangerously distorted view of the Constitution and core constitutional values. (Is the 14th Amendment the authoritative constitutional source for the nation-defining civil rights revolution of the 1950s and 1960s, or is it an illegitimate pretext for an assault on private business owners’ rights and responsibilities?)

With fortuitous timing, Eagle Forum has just sent an activist alert declaring the Constitution to be the central front in the Culture War that America’s “internal enemies” are waging against religion and society. The Eagle Forum “briefing” is one more sign of the Religious Right’s efforts to co-opt the rhetoric of the Tea Party movement for its own Constitution-subverting agendas.
 
As America enters the year of 2011, new government officials are taking their seats all over the nations, at all levels of government. If our nation is to survive and thrive (neither of which has been happening in recent years), we must all face certain fundamental facts and act accordingly… Three such facts are:
1.     America is, and has for decades been, engulfed in the flames of a Culture War; 
2.     The Constitution has long been a white-hot center of this War and we therefore must Revive the Constitution!; 
3.     The Courts continue to be the major "weapon of choice" of the forces fighting against the Constitution and the culture in the Culture War.
 
The Eagle Forum “briefing” quotes rejected Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork and other conservative thinkers arguing that the culture war war reflects hostility toward religion and religious institutions, noting that Bork has identified the nation’s internal enemies as “judge-led.”
 
America's Culture War can therefore be understood only as a War of Worldviews…. In America's Culture War, the bitterly opposing worldviews and the constitution theories they advocate may be outlined as followed, with more familiar terms included in parentheses.
 
Worldviews: 
Humanistic ("Pulverize our Foundations") 
v. 
Judeo-Christian ("Protect Our Foundations!") 

Constitution Theories: 
Reconstructionists (Activist/Liberal) ("Kill the Constitution") 
v. 
Constitutionalists (Restraintist/Conservative) ("Revive the Constitution")
 
The Eagle Forum alert concludes that 2011 is a “banner year” to “launch a massive counter-attack to Revive the Constitution.”

Barber: SPLC Attacking "Very Christian Leadership That Led The Civil Rights Movement"

When the Southern Poverty Law Center released its updated list of anti-gay hate groups, Liberty Counsel didn't achieve the designation, but that hasn't stopped Matt Barber from repeatedly attacking the SPLC in his columns and on his radio program ... and it was once again the topic of discussion this week as Barber and Shawn Akers accused the SPLC of attacking the Religious Right as a way to raise money and claimed that the group was now attacking the "very Christian leadership that led the Civil Rights movement":

Barber: The SPLC has grabbed the tiger by the tail and now they get the teeth. They are really marginalizing themselves outside of a very liberal echo chamber; the SPLC has really embarrassed itself and really marginalized itself in the mainstream.

Akers: You know, it's kind of funny Matt, this is one of those groups that has in recent times prided itself on being among the most open-minded in the nation, they would be leaders in being open-minded and they've sacrificed any shred of legitimacy that they could have held claim to in recent times by basically adopting this definition of a hate group - it's if you disagree with the Southern Poverty Law Center, you are a hate group. If you disagree with them on social matters - and chief among those would be sexuality and marriage - if you disagree with them on that, you are going to be listed, especially if you have voice in public circles, you're going to be listed as a hate-monger, and as a hate villain, and in their great hope a hate criminal at some time in the future if they can get legislation through that they would like. Now the problem with that for them is one that you pointed out: it smacks of desperation.

We had great success in remedying the evil of discrimination and you can see that that success probably caused a dip in the funds of somebody like the Southern Poverty Law Center and they have sold out and begun acting like a Washington bureaucracy that says we have to have a new windmill to tilt at and it's going to be everybody that disagrees with us.

Barber: And now they find themselves fighting against the very Christian leadership that led the Civil Rights movement, the very Christians that fought for abolition under the Republican Party, under Abraham Lincoln, now they have those very Christians in the cross-hairs.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Salon: Mosque foes launch Bieber boycott.
  • McEwen: The 2010 Five Most Embarrassing Moments of the Anti-Gay Right Caught on Video.
  • Truth Wins Out: Peter LaBarbera Spreads Gordon Klingenschmitt’s Lie Further.
  • Think Progress: MS Rep Tried To Kill Historic Civil Rights Education Law Because It’s ‘Accusatory Of One Group.’
  • Alan Colmes: Mecklenburg, NC County Commissioner: “Homosexuals Are Sexual Predators.”

Happy New Year everybody! RWW will return Monday, January 3rd.

Buchanan Cites Racist Group in Education Column

Writing about education for Townhall, Human Events, and WorldNetDaily, Pat Buchanan refers to the group VDARE to show the disparity between white students and students of color. Buchanan uses statistics from VDARE to show that “U.S. reading scores [broken down] by race,” and then cites VDARE writer Robert Weissberg to explain how “cognitive ability” explains the race gap in U.S. education.

VDARE.com is a White Nationalist group that warns of “America’s Darkening Future” where white Americans are the minority and embraces the “Sailer Strategy,” in which the Republican Party doesn’t reach out to minority voters and instead becomes the party of white America. VDARE writer Weissberg calls affirmative action a “racial spoils system” and blames problems in the education system on the “insufficient IQ of much of the population,” particularly blacks and Hispanics.

According to the review in the conservative magazine The New Criterion, Weissberg’s “book will gain most notice because of its claim that certain sections of the American population, namely the blacks and the Hispanics, have lower IQs than whites and Asians; that this difference is genetically determined; and that, since the Hispanics are becoming a larger proportion of the population, the average IQ in America is bound to fall.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center labels VDARE as a “White Nationalist” organization and says that VDARE “regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists and anti-Semites.” SPLC reports that VDARE decries “the demise of white America, blaming immigrants, multiculturalists, and members of the ‘Treason Lobby’ — essentially groups concerned with protecting immigrants’ human and civil rights — for undermining the racial cohesion of the nation. Reflecting this position, VDARE.com’s archives contain articles like ‘Freedom vs. Diversity,’ ‘Abolishing America,’ ‘Anarcho-Tyranny — Where Multiculturalism Leads’ and ‘Why Immigrants Kill.’”

Buchanan’s use of his column to echo the overtly racist theories of an overtly racist group doesn’t seem to have bothered Townhall, Human Events, or WND. Will it bother MSNBC, which also gives Buchanan a platform as a pundit?

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 12/21/10

Haley Barbour

Civil Rights: In Weekly Standard profile, Barbour lauds racist, pro-segregation Council of Conservative Citizens, doesn’t remember Jim Crow era as “that bad” (TPM, The Hill; 12/20).

Mississippi: Tries to shape his legacy as governor (Clarion Ledger, 12/19).

CPAC: Set to address Conservative Political Action Committee conference in February (ACU, 12/16).

Mike Huckabee

Fox News: As a guest, Rep. Anthony Weiner asks Huckabee, “How Much Do You Make Over There At Fox?” (Mediaite, 12/18).

Health Care: Backs 9/11 First Responders care bill blocked by GOP (HuffPo, 12/17).

Religious Right: Signs letter defending SPLC-designated anti-gay hate groups (RWW, 12/15).

Sarah Palin

Obama: Palin continues to knock Michelle Obama in her Reality TV show (LA Times, 12/20).

Poll: New ABC-WaPo poll shows that a majority of Americans would refuse to back Palin for President (The Fix, 12/17).

Foreign Policy: Pens National Review column against START Treaty (NRO, 12/17).

Tim Pawlenty

Labor: Claims about public sector workers receives “pants on fire” rating by PolitiFact (PolitiFact, 12/16).

Health Care: Compares health care reform law to “drug dealing” (Minnesota Independent, 12/15).

Religious Right: Signs letter defending SPLC-designated anti-gay hate groups (RWW, 12/15).

Mike Pence

2012: Will decide in January whether to run for President or Governor of Indiana (Politico, 12/20).

Religious Right: Uses unemployment as a reason to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood; signs letter defending SPLC-designated anti-gay hate groups (RWW, 12/20; 12/15).

Mitt Romney

Health Care: Romney “trying to have it both ways” on health insurance mandate (Boston Globe, 12/19).

GOP: Conservatives debate whether Romney has firm ideas or just panders to base (The Atlantic, 12/17).

Rick Santorum

Iowa: Meets with far-right American Principles Project, touts his socially conservative views (Caffeinated Thoughts, 12/18).

Taxes: Opposes tax compromise, says Republicans didn’t “keep their pledge” (CNN, 12/16).

Religious Right: Signs letter defending SPLC-designated anti-gay hate groups (RWW, 12/15).

John Thune

Congress: Accuses Democrats of “flouting” midterm election by passing major bills during lame duck session (AP, 12/20).

New Hampshire: Says he is considering presidential run during interview on NH radio station (WMUR, 12/17).

Taxes: Criticizes Republican opponents of the tax compromise as “politically expedient” (HuffPo, 12/15).

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Civil Rights Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Friday 07/22/2011, 1:37pm
At the International House of Prayer’s Prayer and Prophetic Conference, Lou Engle contended that gays and lesbians only have the right to “repent” for their homosexuality and compared the state of America to Nazi Germany. IHOP has been facing increased scrutiny as a result of its prominent role in organizing Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally, for which Engle’s The Call serves as a model. Engle, who has advocated for the criminalization of homosexuality and showed solidarity with Uganda while it was considering a bill that would make homosexuality... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 07/21/2011, 10:41am
As we noted the other day, organizers of Gov. Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer rally have removed the link to the endorsements page from the event website, perhaps out of concern that people would actually be able to see all of the radical leaders with whom Perry is partnering for his event. But they did not remove the actual endorsement page and, in fact, continue to update it and today added Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church to the ever-growing list: You may perhaps remember McKissic from his appearance at the Values Voter Summit back in 2006 where he asserted that... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 07/18/2011, 4:00pm
Religious Right activist and unsuccessful Republican congressional candidate Star Parker has a new column today lamenting that African Americans have yet to embrace her ultraconservative ideology. The outspoken anti-choice and anti-gay activist bemoans that African Americans are still predominantly Democrats since they don’t watch Fox News and because “too many blacks still don’t want to be free” despite advances in civil rights. Parker, who received just 23% of the vote in her failed bid for Congress, writes: The message that massive government spending and... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 07/18/2011, 3:46pm
As we noted earlier today, Herman Cain had gone full-on Bryan Fischer in declaring that local officials ought to be able to ban the construction of mosques in their communities. Now Richard Land, of all people, is taking Cain to task for that position: "I think the First Amendment is one of those amendments that is too important and protects rights that are too central to our guaranteed rights in this country to be left with a local option," he asserted. Like Christians, Muslims have the right to have places of worship near where they live, Land said.  ... The Southern Baptist... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 07/18/2011, 2:31pm
Last week we noted that Liberty Counsel had issued a "Declaration of Independence 2011" asking people to sign a petition pledging their lives to resist the "abusive and lawless regime in the Executive Branch and in the United States Congress." As it turns out, the petition we linked to was only a small part of a much larger document [PDF] that Liberty Counsel has produced which is billed as a modern day version of the Declaration of Independence in which they assert that the abuses committed by this administration actually "exceed those of the King of Great Britain... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 07/11/2011, 12:28pm
Willie Wooten of is one of the latest official endorsers of Texas Governor Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally. Wooten, of the New Orleans-based Gideon International Christian Fellowship, is a self-proclaimed Apostle who claims to have “had a positive influence in the governmental arena and has been instrumental in preventing ungodly laws from being enacted within the state of Louisiana and also throughout our nation.” A critic of gay rights, Wooten has compared being gay to polygamy and incest and argued that “homosexual marriage is not a civil rights issue; it... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 07/07/2011, 10:02am
During an interview with GOD TV’s Sid Roth of It's Supernatural!, Michael Brown discussed his new book, A Queer Thing Happened To America, about the deleterious impacts of gay rights in America. Best known for its over-the-top promotional ad, A Queer Thing Happened To America focuses on “analyzing the foundational arguments of the gay civil rights movement and exposing the extreme intolerance of those calling for tolerance.” Before the interview, a trailer for the book features a boy at school imagining the terror of having same-sex parents: over-sentimental mothers who... MORE