Climate change

Sen. Johanns Follows "Conspiracy Kook" On Porter's Radio Program

Have you ever seen the movie "They Live," starring professional wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper who, thanks to a special pair of sunglasses, is the only one able to realize that aliens are using subliminal messages to control humanity? 

Well, then have I got a website for you: Boxofsunglasses.com, otherwise known as THEorYofLIVEvolution.com:

Please take a few moments to read this before entering; it may save you some time. The home page is definitely aimed at 'shock value'. This "conspiracy theorist" has already awoken to the "conspiracy". Have no doubt, ultimately IT IS US. I've 'kicked the tires' endlessly here not unlike the Apostle Thomas. Call it conceit or condescension or whatever but I can see 'THEM' a mile away. And so can you, if you care to. Although a minority, I'm certainly not the only one. For example, Rush Limbaugh, a cheerleader for the less than disappointing Republican Party, has received bitter rebuke from "the One" and his minions in Congress for speaking out against our new Messiah. Why? If he's so bad let him shoot his trap. Of course there's an ulterior motive: it's called the Fairness Doctrine (look it up). "We the people" elected this guy; he's only the latest in a long line of "disappointing" leaders. How about corporate jet buying CEO's everyone is so worked up over? Again anyone can see this sham a mile away; if they care to. It is absolutely reprehensible for people to act this way especially in today's economic downturn. However, it should be their right. But it's no longer because it's 'taxpayer money' (a sham in and of itself you can see if you decide to enter the web site). This is classic class warfare brought to us courtesy "our" government. Think about it. They know it's absolutely illegal for the government to 'loan' companies money and this is for a reason: when they loan you they own you. Today everybody is lambasting the CEOs; tomorrow we're going to be lambasting each other when one company gets "more" from Uncle Sam and our Uncle decides how much the bank teller should be paid. In other words, our old Uncle will be all too willing to step and decide what's 'fair' after all 'he' loaned us the money. Of course "The Messiah" and friends will be the ones who decide what 'fair' is and what our 'rights' will be.

Now, this sort of right-wing conspiracy theory insanity is not the sort of thing we generally tend to cover here at RWW ... but we are making an exception in this case because Janet Porter decided to have Rob Roselli, the man responsible for this website, on her radio program yesterday to discuss "Copenhagen and the lies from junk climate science."

Apparently, Roselli considers himself something of an expert on the topic and so Porter decided to have him on the program to enlighten her audience.  Guess how it went?

So there you go:  climate change is really part of a massive conspiracy cooked up by "globalist clowns who hate mankind" and "genocidal maniacs" who are out to destroy humanity while the current political leadership is engaged in simply repackaging Nazi eugenics in an effort to implement it on a massive scale.

Amazingly, Porter's interview with Roselli was followed, on the very same program, by an interview with United States Senator Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska).

If that doesn't sum up the current state of the Republican Party and the right-wing movement, I don't know what does.

Right Wing Round-Up

The Right's New Manhattan Project

It seems that Chuck Colson has gathered together a group of right-wing activists and clergy for something called the "Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience" in order to create a unified front in fighting the culture war

The manifesto, to be released on Friday at the National Press Club in Washington, is an effort to rejuvenate the political alliance of conservative Catholics and evangelicals that dominated the religious debate during the administration of President George W. Bush. The signers include nine Roman Catholic archbishops and the primate of the Orthodox Church in America.

They want to signal to the Obama administration and to Congress that they are still a formidable force that will not compromise on abortion, stem-cell research or gay marriage. They hope to influence current debates over health care reform, the same-sex marriage bill in Washington, D.C., and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

They say they also want to speak to younger Christians who have become engaged in issues like climate change and global poverty, and who are more accepting of homosexuality than their elders. They say they want to remind them that abortion, homosexuality and religious freedom are still paramount issues.

For some reason, the headline of the New York Times article is "Christian Leaders Unite on Political Issues" instead of "Right Wing Activists Unite On Political Issues," which would have been far more accurate considering that a significant number of those who signed on to this declaration are standard Religious Right political activists:

Chuck Colson Founder, the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview

Jim Daly President and CEO, Focus on the Family (Colorado Springs, CO)

Marjorie Dannenfelser President, Susan B. Anthony List (Arlington, VA)

Dr. James Dobson Founder, Focus on the Family (Colorado Springs, CO)

Dr. William Donohue President, Catholic League (New York, NY)

Dinesh D’Souza Writer & Speaker (Rancho Santa Fe, CA)

Rev. Jonathan Falwell Senior Pastor, Thomas Road Baptist Church (Lynchburg, VA)

Maggie Gallagher President, Institute for Marriage and Public Policy and a co-author of The Case for Marriage (Manassas, VA)

Dr. Robert P. George McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)

Rev. Ken Hutcherson Pastor, Antioch Bible Church (Kirkland, WA)

Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr. Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church (Beltsville, MD)

Dr. Richard Land President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC (Washington, DC)

Rev. Herb Lusk Pastor, Greater Exodus Baptist Church (Philadelphia, PA)

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY)

Tony Perkins President, Family Research Council (Washington, D.C.)

Alan Sears President, CEO, & General Counsel, Alliance Defense Fund (Scottsdale, AZ)

Mark Tooley President, Institute for Religion and Democracy (Washington, D.C.)

The Declaration can be found here:

While the whole scope of Christian moral concern, including a special concern for the poor and vulnerable, claims our attention, we are especially troubled that in our nation today the lives of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly are severely threatened; that the institution of marriage, already buffeted by promiscuity, infidelity and divorce, is in jeopardy of being redefined to accommodate fashionable ideologies; that freedom of religion and the rights of conscience are gravely jeopardized by those who would use the instruments of coercion to compel persons of faith to compromise their deepest convictions.

Because the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as a union of husband and wife, and the freedom of conscience and religion are foundational principles of justice and the common good, we are compelled by our Christian faith to speak and act in their defense. In this declaration we affirm: 1) the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every human being as a creature fashioned in the very image of God, possessing inherent rights of equal dignity and life; 2) marriage as a conjugal union of man and woman, ordained by God from the creation, and historically understood by believers and non-believers alike, to be the most basic institution in society and; 3) religious liberty, which is grounded in the character of God, the example of Christ, and the inherent freedom and dignity of human beings created in the divine image.

We are Christians who have joined together across historic lines of ecclesial differences to affirm our right—and, more importantly, to embrace our obligation—to speak and act in defense of these truths. We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence. It is our duty to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in its fullness, both in season and out of season. May God help us not to fail in that duty.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Is Sarah Palin demanding $100,000 to speak to conservatives in Iowa?  Her spokesperson denies it.
  • Dirty tricks in the NY-23 election.
  • The Hill: Bonner & Associates "knew several days ahead of a critical House climate change vote that letters it sent to members claiming local nonprofit groups opposed the bill were fake."
  • Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition gets active in Virginia.
  • FRC goes after Gingrich: Newt’s Big Tent Seems to Attract A Lot of Clowns.
  • Finally, from the Buffalo News: "Political observers across New York are asking today whether Erie County Executive Chris Collins has irreparably damaged his prospects for statewide office after he compared Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to Adolf Hitler and an Antichrist during a Saturday speech in Buffalo."

Christian Coalition: The New Environmentalists

A few months ago we noted that the Christian Coalition, after firing its incoming president, Joel Hunter, for trying to get the group to expand its agenda to include things like climate change, had suddenly changed its tune and begun working with the National Wildlife Federation.

It seems as if this change is the real deal, because the two groups recently ran a joint ad in Politico calling on Senators to "work together to move forward with a clean energy plan for America":

America's economic growth, national security and the health of our environment are all intertwined with our country's energy policies - and we need a better plan.

We can better ensure our national security, strengthen our economy and protect our environment at the same time by developing American energy resources and investing in clean, renewable energy technologies that create American jobs.

In other words we need a comprehensive, all-American approach to our energy needs. A solution that allows for the development of American resources to lower our gas prices, but also recognizes we must work towards a much more diversified energy future.

* We believe that America is addicted to foreign oil. America currently sends over 700 billion dollars every year to foreign countries - in many cases, making countries that hate us very rich.

* We believe that an over-reliance on foreign sources of energy is harmful to our country's national security and puts our economy at risk.

* We need a comprehensive approach to deal with our country's energy needs and provide stable sources of energy to run our economy and provide for our families

* We need solutions that include proven American technology and resources, as well as the development of new "renewable" energy technologies. By building on current technologies, such as nuclear and natural gas, and developing new technologies, America can provide for its future energy independence and build its economy.

* We call for the launch of an American energy independence program focused on developing American energy resources, providing tax credits to spur development of new technology and alternative energy production, and offering incentives for energy efficiencies.

As conservatives, we stand up for our country's national security and the health of our economy. And, as Christians, we recognize the Biblical mandate to care for God's creation and protect our children's future.

You can see a PDF of the ad here.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • It looks like, after just one event, Rep. Eric Cantor's National Council for a New America has already flamed out.
  • Operation Rescue has launched a petition aimed at stopping LeRoy Carhart from opening a new facility in Kansas.
  • The Alliance Defense Fund has announced that September 27 will be its second "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" in which churches and pastors are urged to challenge tax rules barring them from endorsing political candidates [PDF].
  • A principal overseeing a high school in which church-state violations were reportedly rampant now faces possible jail time for violating a court order to cease such practices.
  • Finally, Ralph Reed declares that "values voters" will resuscitate the GOP:

    The bottom line is that voters primarily motivated by their values will not go away. They are a persistent bunch. They have now gained a place at the table, have been seasoned by the experience of building (and now losing) a governing majority, and they are going to speak to a broad range of issues, from the economy to climate change to health care. They will likely be at the center of any GOP revival of fortunes. No amount of name-calling or intimidation will make them go away.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • David Weigel discovers the source of the Birthers' forged Kenyan birth certificate.
  • Linda Harvey did not like Joe.My.God's take on her statement on the shooting in Tel Aviv, but JMG insists that her "words spoke for themselves and I stand by my original post."
  • Christy Hardin Smith asks if the NRA is backtracking on its opposition to Sonia Sotomayor by saying it doesn't know how heavily it will weigh the vote on her nomination in its scorecard.
  • Good As You: Concerned Women for America says gays are no different than thieves and alcoholics.
  • Talking Points Memo: Bonner and Associates was working on behalf of the coal industry when it sent forged letters -- purporting to come from local Hispanic and black groups -- to a member of Congress, urging him to oppose the recent climate change bill. Also, Rep. Ed Markey wants some answers from the company.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Our latest Right Wing Watch In Focus is now available: "To Hell with Health Care Reform: Religious Right Leaders Attack Obama, Spout GOP Dogma about 'Socialism' While Fanning Flames on Abortion."
  • D.C. lobbying firm Bonner and Associates has been busted sending forged letters opposing climate change legislation to members of Congress and blames it on a "temp" who has been fired, though they seem to have a history of pulling these sorts of astroturf stunts.
  • Dick Armey explains why he doesn't believe in global warming: "[T]he lord God almighty made the heavens and the Earth, and he made them to his satisfaction and it is quite pretentious of we little weaklings here on earth to think that, that we are going to destroy God’s creation."
  • Matthew Yglesias: Just When You Thought the “Beer Summit” Story Couldn’t Get Any More Ridiculous…
  • Jim Burroway takes an in-depth look at NARTH's new "peer reviewed" study proving that sexual orientation can be changed.
  • Finally, Steve Benen takes a look at the fascinating new Daily Kos poll showing who does and who does not believe that President Obama was born in the United States.

An Environmentally-Friendly Christian Coalition?

Back in 2006, the Christian Coalition made news when its new president, Joel Hunter, resigned before even official taking office due to the organization's unwillingness to consider broadening its agenda beyond gays and abortion to include things like poverty and climate change:

The Central Florida pastor recently tapped to lead the Christian Coalition of America resigned his position in a dispute about conservative philosophy -- more than a month before he was to fully assume his post, he said Wednesday.

The Rev. Joel Hunter, of Longwood's Northland, A Church Distributed, said he quit as president-elect of the group founded by evangelist Pat Robertson because he realized he would be unable to broaden the organization's agenda beyond opposing abortion and gay marriage.

He hoped to include issues such as easing poverty and saving the environment.

"These are issues that Jesus would want us to care about," Hunter said.

The resignation took place Tuesday during an organization board meeting. Hunter said he was not asked to leave.

"They pretty much said, 'These issues are fine, but they're not our issues; that's not our base,' " Hunter said of his conversation with the group's leadership.

A statement issued by the coalition said Hunter resigned because of "differences in philosophy and vision." The board accepted his decision "unanimously," it states.

As Hunter explained at the time, his "attempt to broaden the agenda just didn't work. I thought maybe it would. They said they wanted to go into some of these other issues, but when it came time to do it, they were afraid of alienating their base."

Which makes this recent development all the more confusing:

To environmentalists, it must have seemed a sight as rare as an ivory-billed woodpecker nesting in a chainsaw factory: Roberta Combs addressing the annual gathering of the National Wildlife Federation?

Let's rephrase that: The president of the Christian Coalition, a staunch ally of right-wing Republicans, has befriended one of the country's most venerable environmental groups.

In a later phone interview with Pittsburgh City Paper, Combs confirmed it was her first public talk ever to an environmental group. And it happened right here in Pittsburgh, the latest development in a burgeoning partnership between Combs and NWF President Larry Schweiger.

"I feel at home here, with you guys, the National Wildlife Federation," Combs told some 250 staffers and volunteers from across the nation, at their May 1 gathering at Downtown's Omni William Penn.

Schweiger, a Pittsburgh native, told the audience that he and Combs have been quietly working Washington, D.C., together for some time. As a result, he said, "We're getting into places we've never gotten into before" -- like the offices of some Republican politicians.

The NWF has more than 4 million members and supporters. The Christian Coalition claims some 2 million supporters, a substantial pool of potential new allies in the fight against global warming and other ills.

For Combs, the chief motivator is energy policy. She said the alliance with the NWF dovetails with the Coalition's own America's Path to Progress initiative, which calls for ending our reliance on foreign oil to improve national security as well as to combat climate change. The urgency of those goals helped her see past a longstanding partisan divide.

"This is not a Republican issue. This is not a Democratic issue," said Combs, standing at the podium with her grandson Logan. "This is a family-values issue."

Energy efficiency and renewable energy, she added, are "the kind of progress that upholds our Christian values."

For the last several years, the Christian Coalition has been rather irrelevant, having all but lost every bit of the influence it once wielded within the Religious Right political power-structure.  And I suspect that this sort of heretical behavior will only serve to further lessen what little relevance it might still have had within the movement. 

After all, the Religious Right does not look kindly on those in its camp who try to make climate change part of the agenda, regardless of their motivation.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry continues his efforts to woo the Religious Right ahead of his primary battle with Kay Bailey Hutchison, agreeing to speak at this year's Values Voter Summit.
  • Politico profiles anti-immigration activist Chris Simcox who is planning his own primary challenge against Sen. John McCain.
  • Sarah Palin's standing within the GOP seems to be dropping by the day.
  • SunTrust Banks Inc. is suing Pat Robertson for more than $3.6 million from Robertson stemming from a failed business venture back in the 1990s.
  • Rob Schenck kicked off the 20th annual U. S. Capitol Bible Reading Marathon on Sunday night and it is set to continue to 90 consecutive hours.
  • Finally, the Cornwall Alliance has hired Shannon Royce to fight the efforts by Christians to make climate change an issue for grassroots activists:
  • Royce, who formerly worked on Capitol Hill for the Southern Baptist Convention's public policy arm and was founding executive director of the Arlington Group, a coalition of "pro-family" organizations, said environmentalism began making inroads into evangelical Christianity a number of years ago "with some on the left deliberately courting and engaging some of our Christian friends and brothers on issues like this, and unfortunately I think at times co-opting them, with their concerns."

    "I don't question the motives of those who have gotten engaged on that, but I think unfortunately the science just doesn't support this," she said.

Is Richard Cizik Trying to Get Fired?

It is no secret that Religious Right leaders have had it out for Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals for some time now, starting back in 2007 when they tried to get him fired for branching out into the global warming debate because they feared it was undermining the focus on their traditional anti-choice, anti-gay agenda. 

He certainly didn’t make any friends before the election when he blasted John McCain for selling out to the Religious Right … and now he has even fewer friends among the old-guard right-wing leaders thanks to this recent interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s “Fresh Air” where he all but admitted that he voted for Barack Obama, said that Dick Armey had good reasons for calling people like James Dobson bullies and thugs, predicted that climate change is going to become an issue on which evangelicals become increasingly active, pledged to work with the Obama administration to find ways to reduce unwanted pregnancies in this country, and admitted that his opposition to marriage equality is “shifting

GROSS: Let me ask you; you say that you really identify with the concerns and priorities of younger evangelical voters and one of those priorities is uh—it’s more of an acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage. A couple of years ago when you were on our show I asked you if you were changing your mind on that and two years ago you said that you were still opposed to gay marriage. But now as you identify more and more with the younger voters and their priorities, have you changed on gay marriage?  

CIZIK:  I’m shifting; I have to admit. In other words, I would be willing to say I believe in civil unions. I don’t officially support redefining marriage, from its traditional definition, I don’t think. WE have this tension going on in our movement between what is church-building and what is nation-building, and I lean in this spectrum at times, maybe we should concentrate on building our values in our own movement. WE have become so absorbed in the question of gay rights and the rest, we fail to understand the challenges and threats to marriage itself—heterosexual marriage. Maybe we need to re-evaluate this and look at it a little differently.

Not surprisingly, his statements have generated controversy in evangelical circles, forcing the NAE’s president to assure its board that the organization’s priorities remain the same:

The president of the National Association of Evangelicals reassured the organization’s Board of Directors as well as media outlets this past week that the group remains fully committed to its long-held stance on abortion, marriage and other biblical values after several controversial statements were made by the group’s vice president.

In a letter to the NAE’s Board of Directors, the Rev. Leith Anderson said that the wording of the Rev. Richard Cizik, NAE’s vice president for governmental affairs, during a recent interview with NPR (National Public Radio) “did not appropriately reflect the positions of the National Association of Evangelicals and its constituents.”

“Our NAE stand on marriage, abortion and other biblical values is long, clear and unchanged,” Anderson wrote in the letter to the directors, a portion of which he forwarded to several news agencies including The Christian Post, on Saturday.

He added, “Richard has strongly assured to me of his own support and agreement with our NAE values and positions. This was not understood by listeners from what he said.”

Tony Perkins, for one, isn’t buying it, saying that Cizik “left the reservation a long time ago” and wanting to know why he is still employed by the NAE:

How else can you explain enthusiastic support for what will probably be the nation's most pro-abortion, anti-family president in our nation's 232 year history?

The question, however, remains. If Cizik does not speak for the NAE, as the Rev. Anderson has said, why is he on Capitol Hill representing NAE and claiming to speak for Evangelicals? Is it possible for a human being to come with a disclaimer?

The Institute on Religion and Democracy wants to know the same thing:

"Is Richard Cizik representing typical members of the Assemblies of God, the Salvation Army, or the Presbyterian Church in America, along with millions of other evangelicals, when he suggests, even momentarily, support for liberal issues like civil unions? If not, then why is he NAE's chief spokesman? Should not that spokesman consistently espouse traditional evangelical beliefs?"

As do representatives of Concerned Women for America:

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, said, “Mr. Cizik claimed that his views are five years ahead of his constituency, but these views are not anywhere close to Biblical orthodoxy, traditional Christian theology nor the bulk of Evangelicals who ground their faith in the Bible. Perhaps this is why he espouses them in forums to which most of his supposed 'constituency' do not listen.”

Janice Shaw Crouse, Director and Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute, said, “The NAE consists of 45,000 churches, 50 denominations and 30 million constituents. I cannot believe that they are happy to have a spokesperson, who supposedly represents them, expressing views that are contrary to Biblical authority and contradict theological orthodoxy. I think, perhaps, my dear friend Rich has been inside the Beltway for too long and has swallowed too much of the NPR and Vogue Magazine Kool-Aid.”

One has to wonder just how many more times Cizik can get away with repudiating and alienating the traditional Religious Right movement and its agenda before the powers-that-be at the NAE finally succumb to the pressure and fire him.

Richard Land: Historian and Scientist

It seems that Richard Land is not just some Religious Right leader and pundit, he's also something of a renaissance man with expertise in a wide variety of area - such as predicting the course of history where, in the future, George W. Bush will be hailed as one of our greatest president:

A prominent Southern Baptist leader has compared George W. Bush to Harry Truman, another president whose approval ratings dropped to the 20s in his final months in office but is now considered one of the greatest American presidents of the 20th century.

"Just remember that you heard it here from me," Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said Dec. 6 on his weekly radio program. "He will be the Harry Truman of our time."

Commenting on reports of a debate about whether Bush would go down as one of the worst presidents in the last 50 years, Land predicted that, like Truman's, Bush's legacy will be vindicated by the long scope of history.

That includes the president's least popular decision, the 2003 invasion of Iraq. While acknowledging the entry into war was handled poorly, Land said, the 2007 troop surge has placed the U.S.-led coalition on the cusp of victory of Iraq.

In addition to making America safer, Land applauded Bush for blunting "the metastasizing of abortion" by opposing late-term abortions and research using embryonic stem cells.

But Land isn't stopping there and is likewise demonstrating a heretofore unknown scientific expertise as he explains that climate change is a total hoax:

Richard Land, head of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, called global warming a "hoax" and a "scam" on his weekly radio program Nov. 22.

Land attributed fluctuations in global temperature to "cycles of nature that God has allowed in the cosmos" and labeled human activity "a minor contribution to global warming."

"The sunspots have faded, the solar cycle has peaked, the sun is going into a quiescent period and everybody but [former Vice President and anti-global warming activist] Al Gore is cooling off," Land said.

Of course, it is not as if Land has a particularly good track record of making predictions regarding the issues he actually does know something about, as displayed by his repeated proclamations just over a year ago that Fred Thompson was a "Southern-fried Reagan” and that "to see Fred work a crowd must be what it was like to watch Rembrandt paint,” so it is probably best to take his current declarations with a grain or two of salt.

FRC Works To Ensure Every Child Has an Opportunity to Be Poor and Get Sick

One of the things I find most entertaining about the Religious Right is their vehement opposition to any effort to broaden the so-called “evangelical agenda” to include anything beyond the Right’s core anti-gay, anti-abortion agenda and their constant attempts to justify their rigidly narrow focus.  

Starting back in 2006 after the GOP got thumped in the mid-term elections and the media stopped talking about “values voters” and began to write about the emergence of a “new evangelical” movement, right-wing leaders were telling anyone who would listen that religious efforts to help the poor or protect the environment were all well and good but were just way less important than opposing gays and abortion:

"It's not a question of the poor not being important or that meeting their needs is not important," said Paul Hetrick, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, Dobson's influential, Colorado-based Christian organization. "But whether or not a baby is killed in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy, that is less important than help for the poor? We would respectfully disagree with that."

When Rev. Joel Hunter was tapped to take over the Christian Coalition, he ended up leaving his position before he even began because they wanted to have

nothing to do

with his efforts to broaden the Religious Right’s agenda and then, in 2007, when the National Association of Evangelicals’ Richard Cizik stared working on issue of climate change, right-wing leaders including James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Don Wildmon, Gary Bauer, and Rick Scarborough demanded that he be

fired and his efforts shut down

because they were afraid that it would end up undermining their old-school agenda:

More importantly, we have observed that Cizik and others are using the global warming controversy to shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time, notably the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage and the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children.

But what angers the Right even more than that is Democratic efforts to reach out to religious communities and voters.  The Religious Right has always hated and attacked such efforts, regularly accusing Democrats of “hijacking” faith to promote an ungodly agenda because, you guessed it, it takes away from their own efforts to use religion to bolster their own narrow agenda:

Tom McClusky, vice president of government affairs for the Family Research Council, an influential conservative lobbying group, said he objects to the Democrats' approach. He said it is morally problematic to equate poverty issues, as serious as they are, with abortion.

"It's not that, as Christians or as people, we shouldn't be helping out those who need it," he said. "But when it comes right down to it, if you're never born, you're not going to be poor. If you're not born, you're not going to be afflicted with illnesses. They're trying to say there's some sort of equivalency when it comes to these issues. I personally think that's wrong."

Can’t argue with that, I guess.  You can’t be poor or sick if you were never born, and so FRC is committed to making sure that you are born so that you can then be poor and get sick, at which point … well, you are on your own because those aren’t thing that they really care about.

Rick Warren Surprises Nobody With His Support of Prop 8

Rick Warren is often considered one of the most influential leaders of the so-called "New Evangelical" movement that is working to expand the evangelical agenda beyond its anti-gay, anti-abortion traditions to embrace things like poverty, climate change, and human rights.   As we've pointed out before, Warren's reputation of not being part of the old-school Religious Right tends to make people overlook the fact that he does share a great many of their views ... as he says, the only real difference between himself and someone like James Dobson is their tone.

While the media might be fooled by this distinction without a difference, the Religious Right certainly hasn’t been and earlier this week Jan LaRue, formerly of Concerned Women for America, penned a column in which she complained that churches in California were not being active enough in mobilizing support for Prop 8 and called out Rick Warren specifically:

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, hosted a Presidential Candidates Forum at the church on Aug. 16. He asked John McCain and Barack Obama if the California Supreme Court got it wrong when it overturned the definition of marriage.

Here’s a question for Rick Warren: Do you think the court got it wrong? If you do, where’s your support for Prop 8? There’s no mention of it on Saddleback’s Web site. Your office isn’t returning calls requesting information. You hosted an AIDS summit. Where’s your Prop 8 summit?

It was a good question, considering that back in 2004, Warren declared the question of where presidential candidates stand on the issue of "homosexual marriage" to be one of the "5 issues that are non-negotiable" to Christians. As such, it was odd that he hadn’t taken a public stand at a time when the issue is on the ballot in his home state.

Well, Warren is silent no more:

Pastor Rick Warren is endorsing the effort to protect traditional marriage in California.

The well-known Christian author says people in California need to vote "yes" on Proposition 8 because for "5,000 years, every culture and every religion...not just Christianity...has defined marriage as a contract between men and women."

And Warren says "there is no need to change the universal, historical defintion of marriage to appease 2 percent of our population." As Warren puts it: "This is not a political issue -- it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about."

He urges people to vote "yes" on Proposition 8 on November 4 to preserve the biblical definition of marriage.

UPDATEVia Sarah Posner, here's the video of Warren's endorsement

Cizik Blasts McCain’s Sell Out to the Right

Richard Cizik, Vice President for Governmental Affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals, has not been particularly popular with the leaders of the Religious Right in recent years.

For instance, last year James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Gary Bayer and other tried to get him fired from his job at NAE because they feared that his efforts to get evangelicals to care about issues like global warming would undermine their own narrow anti-gay, anti-abortion agenda. 

And then, earlier this year, when NAE tried to host a dialogue between Christian and Muslim leaders, the Right again reacted badly, calling it a “sellout” and accused those who participated of “betraying the Christian faith."

And considering that, at the moment, the Right is busy fawning over John McCain and his decision to name Sarah Palin as his running mate, it is probably safe to assume that Cizik’s already low popularity among Religious Right political powerbrokers is not going to be increasing any time soon:

Richard Cizik is one of the country’s most powerful and outspoken Christian evangelical leaders. He happens to be a Republican, and he has known the GOP’s presidential nominee for many years. “I thought John McCain was a principled person,” Cizik says. “But John McCain has backed off, not just on climate change but on torture and a sensible tax policy — in other words, he’s not the John McCain of 2000. … He seems to be waffling on issue after issue.

“It’s not illogical for someone to conclude that John McCain is going to be more like George Bush than John McCain is going to be like John McCain in 2000.”

“It is pretty obvious that the Palin nomination plays to identity politics and cultural war issues,” says Cizik. “Her selection is more than an acknowledgment that evangelicals are an important part of the Republican base, and everyone knows that John McCain is not that exciting to religious conservatives.”

Palin, Cizik says, has certainly excited the Republican base, and picking her was certainly a deft, if cynical, political move by McCain — at least in the short term. However, in the longer view, his running mate may do just as much to energize the opposition and prove a turn-off to independents.

“Not everyone in the evangelical movement is fawning over Sarah Palin,” Cizik says … “He’s playing that card, and many of us thought he didn’t need to do it — it just polarizes the country,” Cizik says. “The irony of it is that John McCain can’t speak with an evangelical voice of faith — let’s face it, it’s just not his thing — so I guess the substitute is this other [Palin]. I guess that’s pretty cynical, but maybe his actions are cynical.

“The consequences of going to identity and culture-war politics is that experience is denigrated, authority is questioned and ignorance is strength,” Cizik says.

Democratic Convention Just Like Communist China

After years of monitoring the Religious Right, I tend to shrug when I see things like this from Focus on the Family announcing that they are offering “an online video series to keep you up to date on the election” because, frankly, I know what they are going to say:  Republican=good, Democrat=bad. 

And this inaugural video turned out to be exactly as predicted, with Stuart “Pray for Rain” Shepard discussing recent developments in the presidential race with FOF Vice President Tom Minnery.  Minnery beamed about the recent Saddleback faith forum hosted by Rick Warren, noting with delight that for all of Warren’s talk about how he was going to “lead these Neanderthal conservatives into the light of liberal Christianity” by expanding the evangelical agenda to include issues like climate change and poverty, he didn’t actually ask about those issues during the forum, instead focusing on core right-wing issues like marriage and abortion.  Minnery then discussed the need for McCain to pick a pro-life running mate and speculated that “gay activist groups” have greatly increased their influence within the Democratic Party.  It is all pretty standard right-wing fare.

But then the discussion turns to the topic of why the Democrats chose Denver, CO to host this year’s convention and it gets weird.  After Minnery makes some comments about Democrats seeking to be competitive in the Western US, Shepard asks about (seemingly false) reports that efforts are underway in the city to rid the downtown area of the homeless before the start of the convention, at which point Minnery goes off the rails, likening it to Communist China and expressing disbelief that there are still homeless people in Denver, thus apparently proving that Democrats can’t govern:

Shepard: Tom, people have been sending me news clippings about the convention offering special offers for homeless people to try and get them out of the downtown area, either out to a park or to a movie or something.  I just read recently they’re offering free haircuts to street people.  When you hear those stories, what do you think they illustrate?

Minnery:  They remind me of Communist China.  That’s exactly what we have been seeing in the run-up to the Olympics. Let’s make it look good.  Let’s not solve the problems, let’s just push the problems ordinary people are having out of the way. It’s been a Democrat city for a long time; the local government has been in the control of the Democrat Party, yet there are still homeless people in and around Denver.  And so that just shows that that party has not been able to solve this problem.  The homeless are still with us.

The New Evangelicals: Like The Right, Only Broader

Back during the heyday of Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign, the candidate was being hailed as a “new breed” of evangelical, one who cared about issues like poverty and the environment in addition to traditional right-wing opposition to gays and abortion.  As we have noted before, one of the key mis-perceptions about this so-called new movement is that its purported concern about issues beyond the standard Religious Right agenda does not mean that they are any more moderate on the core anti-gay, anti-abortion agenda that has driven the movement for the last several decades. 

Heading into his faith forum over the weekend, Rick Warren was poised to emerge as the poster boy for this “new evangelical” movement – as Time Magazine put it:

A shift away from "sin issues" — like abortion and gay marriage — is reflected in Warren's approach to his coming sit-downs with the candidates. He says he is more interested in questions that he feels are "uniting," such as "poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate change and human rights," and still more in civics-class topics like the candidates' understanding of the role of the Constitution. There will be no "Christian religion test," Warren insists. "I want what's good for everybody, not just what's good for me. Who's the best for the nation right now?"

Jesus Saves [The Planet]

Fighting the tide of science and public opinion on climate change has been tiring for the Right lately, which is why they have recently been setting up phony environmental front-groups in an attempt to conceal their right-wing agenda by pretending to care about the environment.  

And in case that doesn’t work, they’ve also been trotting out a new talking point that, even if catastrophic climate change does eventually plague the earth, it is really nothing to worry about because is it just a sign of the Second Coming:

And just in case that doesn’t work either, Rep. Michele Bachmann has decided to try out a new argument claiming that we don’t really need to worry about saving the planet at all because Jesus already did that:

"[Pelosi] is committed to her global warming fanaticism to the point where she has said that she's just trying to save the planet. We all know that someone did that over 2,000 years ago, they saved the planet -- we didn't need Nancy Pelosi to do that," says Bachmann.

 

Via The Carpetbagger

Perkins Blue Over Congress's Green Focus

In his “Washington Update,” Tony Perkins expresses his frustration that “Congress returned to work--not on judges, marriage, or the war supplemental bill--but on changing the weather” and outlines his strong opposition to the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill: “The bill's 500 pages are a complicated mess of distorted science, pork projects, and a tax-and-trade solution that will send U.S. jobs overseas and result in the most massive expansion of the federal government since the New Deal.” Perkins is particularly stunned that lawmakers are concerned with the “inconclusive” evidence of global warming rather than what’s really going to make the country melt: “If anything is heating up, it's marriage. This Congress is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the real crises facing this nation as they refuse to intervene.”
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Climate change Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Tuesday 04/26/2011, 2:06pm
Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance is at the center of the Religious Right’s growing push against “the Green Dragon,” otherwise known as the environmental movement. As noted in the latest Right Wing Watch In-Focus, Beisner has his PhD. in Scottish history and absolutely no scientific credentials, however, he does have close ties to corporate-financed, anti-environmental groups such as the Acton Institute and the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. Now, right-wing activists like David Barton, Wendy Wright, and Bryan Fischer are heavily promoting Beisner’s film (... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 04/26/2011, 9:28am
Michele Bachmann Media: Included in the Time 100 (Star Tribune, 4/21). 2012: Claims she will reach a decision on presidential bid by June (LA Times, 4/20).  Haley Barbour 2012: Decides against running for president (Politico, 4/25).  Newt Gingrich Energy: Received $300,000 from ethanol lobbying group (Des Moines Register, 4/25). Immigration: Balances outreach to Hispanic voters with GOP's increasing nativism (Politico, 4/22).  Mike Huckabee South Carolina: Leads other candidates among South Carolina Republicans in new poll (The Ticket, 4/25). Media: War of words with... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 01/26/2011, 12:51pm
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who is inching closer to a presidential run, told a meeting of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association that he wants to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency. Like other leading Republicans, Gingrich says that the EPA’s life-saving oversight is too burdensome for businesses, calling the agency “a job-killing, centralizing engine of ideological litigation and regulation that blocks economic progress at every turn.” He wants to replace it with an agency that is more friendly to business, asserting that the “EPA’s... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 01/26/2011, 12:51pm
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who is inching closer to a presidential run, told a meeting of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association that he wants to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency. Like other leading Republicans, Gingrich says that the EPA’s life-saving oversight is too burdensome for businesses, calling the agency “a job-killing, centralizing engine of ideological litigation and regulation that blocks economic progress at every turn.” He wants to replace it with an agency that is more friendly to business, asserting that the “EPA’s... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 01/20/2011, 12:45pm
Yesterday, a leader of the Religious Right declared that Episcopal Church should no longer be considered Christian because the church backs equality for gays and lesbians. Now, the Episcopal Church is under attack from the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a far-right organization with a history of vilifying mainline denominations, as a result of the church’s support for environmentalism and action to combat climate change. Writing for David Horowitz’s far-right Front Page Magazine, IRD president Mark Tooley assails Episcopalians for working to promote environmental... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 01/20/2011, 12:45pm
Yesterday, a leader of the Religious Right declared that Episcopal Church should no longer be considered Christian because the church backs equality for gays and lesbians. Now, the Episcopal Church is under attack from the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a far-right organization with a history of vilifying mainline denominations, as a result of the church’s support for environmentalism and action to combat climate change. Writing for David Horowitz’s far-right Front Page Magazine, IRD president Mark Tooley assails Episcopalians for working to promote environmental... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 12/30/2010, 1:27pm
Tom Minnery, Vice President of Government and Public Policy at CitizenLink (formerly Focus on the Family Action), is insisting that House Republicans investigate the Justice Department over their handling of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, in order to fulfill the desires of the GOP’s Religious Right supporters. Earlier this year, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders brought two separate cases to a federal judge in Boston contesting DOMA’s constitutionality. The Justice Department defended DOMA and argued that the law is... MORE