Constitution

Herman Cain Cannot Keep His Story Straight

As we have noted before, Herman Cain has been desperately spinning his infamous claim that, if elected president, he would not appoint any Muslims to serve in his administration.

Recently Cain was in New Hampshire where he discussed the issue again with political blog GraniteGrok and asserted, beginning at the 3:36 mark, that he never said that he would refuse to appoint Muslims, only that he would not be comfortable with appointing Muslims:

Cain: This is floating around on the internet and I hope that everybody sees my response on your website because, quite honestly, I'm sick of answering the same question over and over and over. I'm trying to run for president and I want to talk about these big issues.

I didn't say I wouldn't have a Muslim in my cabinet. If they look up the actual transcript, it says I was asked "would you be comfortable with a Muslim in your cabinet?" I said "no," so I'm not back-peddling.

Interviewer: From what I understand, this was a question asked to you by Lee Fang of Think Progress, a very left-wing, progressive, George Soros-funded website ...

Cain: Yes

Interviewer: And I do put it that we because we need to know we cannot fight an enemy if you cannot name that enemy ...

Cain: Right. This guy worked for Huffington Post - I don't remember the other affiliated organization. It was in the middle of a barrage of questions from a barrage of reporters and they were asking me about the economy, they were asking me about integration, they were asking me to explain this and then, out of the blue, this guy asked me "would I be comfortable with a Muslim in my cabinet." Where did that question come from?

And so I was honest: No. But did I say absolutely I wouldn't have a Muslim? I did not that and if you read the transcript you'll see. All my career I have hired the best people irregardless of race, creed, color, religion, orientation or any of that. I look for the best people.

The question was "would I be comfortable?" Now why would I be uncomfortable? Because there are some people in this country who want to infuse sharia law in our courts. I adamantly disagree with that and if I talk to someone who believes in sharia law more than they believe in the Constitution, no I'm not comfortable having somebody like that in my administration. American laws, American courts.

So some people have misconstrued what I said. Some people have said that I'm now walking back from it. Read it. I said I wouldn't be comfortable and I've explained what that meant: Constitution first, not sharia law.

So good luck figuring out what Cain's actual position is because he is basically saying that he'd hire the best people but would be very uncomfortable appointing a Muslim because some Muslims believe in sharia law ... and so he wouldn't hire any Muslims.

And that would make sense, because that is exactly what he told Bryan Fischer:

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

Cain made it crystal clear that he "wouldn't have Muslims in my administration" and that he didn't care if that made him a bigot.  Yet now he is trying to claim that he never said anything of the sort.

If Cain is "sick of answering the same question over and over and over," he ought to stop giving different answers every time he is asked and simply admit that Muslims would be banned from serving in his administration instead of continually lying about his position.

Right Wing Round-Up

Today In Right Wing Music Videos

Herman Cain released a country music video about how proud he is to have “left that Democrat plantation” and is now running for President. The video also features endorsements from tea party hero “Joe the Plumber” (3:10) and anti-choice leader Alveda King (3:36):

Pastor John Hagee, who is already ensuring his influence in the GOP primary, made his very own music video for Memorial Day. Hagee laments that Americans have let government “become the master of your children and grandchildren” and calls on people to “take America back to God and the Constitution”:

Harry Jackson Says MLK Would Oppose Marriage Equality

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the House Armed Services Committee Authorization bill, which included three amendments designed to delay the repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

With the Senate taking up the bill, Rep. Randy Forbes, along with Bishop Harry Jackson and a group of right-wing pastors, held a press conference to encourage the Senate to pass the pro-DADT amendments.

Attempting to seem semi-reasonable, Jackson began the conference by claiming that amendments intending to make the repeal of DADT more difficult and time-consuming weren’t about DADT itself, but instead about “clarity.”

That line of reasoning lasted all of 15 minutes. By the time Q&A rolled around, Jackson and the Religious Right figures that had joined him used all of the same tired arguments that have been used against DADT in the past. When asked if the repeal of DADT would hurt recruitment, Bishop John Neal claimed that he wasn’t sure, but what he was really worried about was the “close quarters” that soldiers have to share, and what would happen when there was “only one spigot” on the shower.

This again?

Multiple speakers claimed that “no one should be marginalized for their religious beliefs,” but they all seem to believe that marginalizing people for their sexual orientation is perfectly acceptable. One of the speakers, John Neil, went so far as to claim that the military discriminates all the time, by not allowing, for example, extraordinarily tall people to pilot cramped fighter jets. Because that’s exactly the same situation.

Despite their claims to be promoting the rights of chaplains, this group showed that their real goal was restricting the rights of the LGBT community, going so far as to assert that Martin Luther King Jr. would disapprove of same-sex marriage:

Jackson: There were members of his family who were for gay marriage, others were against. I know this: King basically spoke from two vantage points that he thought were very, very sacred within the American culture - one was the Bible and the other was the Constitution. And I think what we're dealing with here is that from a biblical perspective, King no doubt would have been with us biblically. And I think, again, the lines of what is exactly the right of an American to do, I've got a hard time believing that "the pursuit of happiness" crosses into some of these areas. So I think that King would be with us, as a preacher first.

Question: Just to clarify: you're saying Dr. King would be against gay marriage?

Jackson: Yes. Very specifically, yes. Because it's against what is clearly written in Scripture. And if you listen to any of his messages, that clarion call to scriptural accountability even to the point when his own house was firebombed and folks came up in Montgomery armed and ready to go fight folks, he said "no, no, no, we will turn the other cheek."

So there was not just a tacit biblical acceptance or kind of whitewashing, if I can use that phrase, certain kinds of behaviors and say this is Christian, this is not. I think there was an inherent commitment to those issues in our social culture.

Herman Cain Lies Again About Banning Muslims From His Administration

As we have noted before, Herman Cain is now trying to walk back his pledge not to allow Muslims to serve in his administration if he is elected president, claiming that what he meant was that he would refuse to hire radical Muslims. 

And that is a point he keeps trying to sell:

[I]n an appearance on outgoing Fox News Channel show host Glenn Beck’s radio program Tuesday morning, Cain clarified the record and said his comments have been “misconstrued.”

“I immediately said – without thinking – ‘No, I would not be comfortable,’” Cain told Beck. “I did not say that I would not have them in my cabinet. If you look at my career, I have hired good people regardless of race, religion, sex gender, orientation and this kind of thing.”

Now let us compare that to what he told Bryan Fischer just last month:

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

He very clearly told Fischer that he would have a blanket ban on Muslims working for him because they support sharia, but told Beck the opposite.

If Cain prides himself on being so bold and willing to speak "straight from the heart," then why won't he defend his pledge not to allow Muslims to serve in his administration?

Right Wing Round-Up

Bryan Fischer's Countless Hate Crimes

As we noted last week, Bryan Fischer has made it his new cause in life to prove that "the number one class of people who are committing hate crimes today are homosexual activists."

Fischer bases this idea upon a definition of a hate crime that he took off us USLegal.com, which reads:

"A hate crime is usually defined by state law as one that involves threats, harassment, or physical harm and is motivated by prejudice against someone's race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability."

Fischer has seized upon the phrases "harassment" and "religion" and is now basically using them to declare anything and everything he doesn't like to be a "hate crime."

Last week it was situation with Peter Vidmar, who stepped down from his position with the 2012 U.S. Olympic team over his support for Proposition 8, and today is it some case involving a doctor in England:

If facing harassment because others have prejudice against your religion is a hate crime, then Dr. Richard Scott of the U.K. is the latest victim of the P.C. police.

He is facing an official sanction from the professional medical body in England, the General Medical Council (GMC) for having the effrontery to suggest to a patient that nurturing his spiritual life might be one part of a holistic course of treatment.

It makes no difference to the Tolerance Nazis that study after study has shown the beneficial health effects of faith in God and prayer, or that Dr. Scott only broached the subject with this patient after a lengthy consultation, and after medical checks had been performed and referrals for further care were arranged.

Nope, the Torquemadas of the left want to put Dr. Scott on the rack and punish him despite his unblemished 28-year record and despite the fact the patient in question is still seeking care at his clinic and so himself is apparently not criminally offended in the least.

This case doesn't even have anything to do with gays, so Fischer is now claiming that it is "secular fundamentalists" who are committing this particular hate crime.

The interesting thing about this new development is that Fischer intentionally overlooks the other elements of the definition of a hate crime, most notably the listing of "sexual orientation."

And given that, in Fischer's view, basically any criticism or pressure put on any conservative or Christian is "harassment" and therefore a "hate crime," let us point out that Fischer and the AFA led the charge to fire Kevin Jennings and impeach Judge Vaughn Walker, solely because they were gay:

AFA calls for resignation of Kevin Jennings, “Safe and Drug Free Schools” head

The American Family Association today called for the resignation of Kevin Jennings, the head of the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools in the Department of Education.

“This man is not a good role model for the nation’s children, nor will he fairly represent all Americans due to his spiteful attitude toward evangelical Christians,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon.

Time to impeach Judge Vaughn Walker

Contact your representative today and urge him to start impeachment proceedings

August 5, 2010

Yesterday (August 4), U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker single-handedly overturned California's Prop. 8, which elevated protection for one-man, one-woman marriage to its state constitution.

...

Judge Walker's ruling is not "good Behaviour." He has exceeded his constitutional authority and engaged in judicial tyranny.

Judges are not, in fact, unaccountable. They are accountable to Congress, which can remove them from office.

Impeachment proceedings, according to the Constitution, begin in the House of Representatives. It's time for you to put your congressman on record regarding the possible impeachment of Judge Walker.

If Peter Vidmar stepping down and some foreign doctor facing possible discipline are examples of "hate crimes," what just what is the AFA prolonged and orchestrated campaign to get two gay public servants fired from the jobs?

And can I point out that Islam is also a "religion" ... and Fischer has been leading a full-blown crusade against Muslims for years now.

So by Fischer's own standard, he is personally guilty of committing hate crimes on a daily basis. 

Constitutional Historian Rebuts David Barton On The Daily Show

University of Pennsylvania historian Richard Beeman was yesterday’s guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart following an appearance by pseudo-historian David Barton. Beeman, like other real historians, notes that Barton greatly embellishes the religious views of the Founding Fathers and misrepresented the Constitution.

“The Constitution is federally devoid of any mention of religion except for one provision which says there shall be no test for public office or any position of public trust, so the only mention of religion is keep religion out of our government,” Beeman says, and “the debate in the [constitutional] Convention is virtually devoid” of religious references. Barton, on the other hand, made this pathetic case that the Constitution incorporates the Bible.

Right Wing Watch looked into Barton’s many fabrications, falsehoods, obfuscations, revisionist history, as well as his total neglect of the Fourteenth Amendment’s incorporation of the First Amendment to the states and his warped view of constitutional jurisprudence while he was on The Daily Show.

During part II of the interview with Beeman, Stewart noted that while Barton told him that he was OK with Sharia law in the US, he would likely make the opposite case to his conservative supporters.

In fact, that is exactly what happened, as Barton dedicated an entire radio program to denying what he plainly told Stewart about Sharia.

Such dishonest actions reflect the fact that Barton is a political activist, not a historian -- he even was paid by the Republican National Committee to mobilize church groups to support President Bush’s reelection and Republican candidates. As Kyle notes, even his documentary on African American history is brazenly partisan.

As Beeman and other credentialed historians make clear, Barton is simply distorting history for his own political purposes.

Right-Wing Groups Make Desperate Last-Minute Attacks On Goodwin Liu, Demand Filibuster

Even after Republicans in the Senate and their conservative allies railed against filibusters of judicial nominees during the Bush administration and pushed to give even the most far-right nominees up-or-down votes, it appears that they have made an exception for President Obama’s nominees.

The Senate is expected to vote tomorrow on UC Berkley Law Professor Goodwin Liu, who is nominated to serve on the 9th Circuit Court. While many conservative legal scholars support Liu, many in the GOP “appear to be opposing his nomination because he is too qualified.” Republicans have worked for over a year to denounce Liu with discredited attacks, and now right-wing groups are pressuring Senators to filibuster his nomination.

Mario Diaz of Concerned Women for America claims that Liu is a “real danger to our freedoms” and Republicans must do everything possible to prevent his confirmation:

"To everything there is a season," says Ecclesiastes 3:1, and the time for Republican senators to fight on judicial nominations is now!

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has filed cloture on the nomination of radical professor Goodwin Liu to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Simply put, Mr. Liu must never be confirmed to this lifetime appointment, and senators should use every tool available to make sure he is stopped.



Those views help expose the real danger to our freedoms with this nomination: Mr. Liu's judicial philosophy. He believes those constitutional rights must be developed, because he believes the Constitution is a "living, breathing" document that the more enlightened judges (like him, presumably) should continue to mold.



Liu's judicial philosophy cannot be more dangerous, since it could mean something different at any given point in time. Any senator who doesn't stand firmly against such a rogue nomination violates his oath to "support and defend the Constitution."

The Committee for Justice also demands Republicans have a no holds barred approach to Liu’s nomination after they failed to obstruct district court nominee John McConnell:

If all 53 Democratic senators follow the party line and vote for cloture, they will need to add seven Republican votes to prevail. The key to this vote are the 11 GOP senators who voted for cloture on Rhode Island district court nominee John McConnell earlier this month. They include Sens. Alexander, Brown, Chambliss, Collins, Graham, Isakson, Kirk, McCain, Murkowski, Snowe, and Thune.

Several of these GOP senators justified their vote for cloture by arguing that the President’s district court nominees deserve more deference or that McConnell did not quite meet the “extraordinary circumstances” threshold. The former argument is not available for appeals court nominee Liu. The latter argument, if applied to Liu, would logically require a GOP senator to answer the question “If Obama’s most radical nominee is not extreme enough to meet the extraordinary circumstances threshold, when would it ever be met?” If the answer is “never,” because the senator believes that judicial filibusters are never justified, that senator must then explain why Republicans are obliged to unilaterally disarm no matter how atrocious the nominee is.

Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council insisted that Republicans block an up-or-down vote:

Perhaps in Senator Reid’s fantasy world Goodwin Liu is a fantastic nominee. Most people agree that the nomination of Goodwin Liu is one of those rare instances constituting “extraordinary circumstances” where the U. S. Senate should reject this nominee as unsuitable for a lifetime appointment. “Extraordinary circumstances” is the standard agreed to by the bipartisan “Gang of 14” U.S. Senators in 2005 for opposing judicial nominations.

Even the Tea Party Nation is getting in the game with this alert from president Judson Phillips:

Goodwin Liu is a radical leftist. He is a professor at the University of California Berkeley. He maybe the most radical lawyer ever nominated for a federal appeals court.



If the cloture vote fails, Liu’s nomination is dead again. This is why we need to take a few minutes today and call our senators to tell them to vote against cloture. Harry Reid needs to peel off seven Republicans in order for cloture to pass. That is of course, if all Democrats vote for cloture. Unfortunately, we are dealing with the GOP, so the possibility of losing seven votes is real.

Turek: Gays And Radical Muslims Have United To Destroy Western Civilization

Speaking with Bryan Fischer, fellow American Family Radio host Frank Turek argued that gays and Muslim extremists are allied in their plot to destroy America. Turek, the host of CrossExamined and a motivational speaker for businesses, previously joined Tony Perkins, Jerry Boykin and Rick Joyner in announcing a Spartan-like 300 to get more Christians involved in politics.

Turek tells Fischer that “the homosexual community and Muslim community [are] joining together” pass laws banning ‘hate speech’ in America in order to bring about “totalitarianism” by “shutting up the opponents.” Turek says that the two groups are collaborating because “they both hate Western Civilization” and “hate Judeo-Christian natural law values.” Turek’s views appear to reflect a new theme among conservatives like Newt Gingrich and Rep. Louie Gohmert who believe that progressives and radical Muslims are in an anti-American alliance. Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber last month claimed that progressive and radical Muslims are trying to “unite together to destroy Christianity” over their allegedly shared hatred of God.

Watch:


Fischer: Anybody who speaks out against Islam in the United States just gets hammered by voices on the left trying to censor them, silence them, intimidate them, the only thing they are lacking right now is the club of a law that will punish them for telling the truth about Islam.

Turek: Well that’s on the way and I’ve mentioned on my show there are strange bedfellows politically in our country today that is the radical left and the radical right in terms of Islam. You have, for example, the homosexual community and Muslim community joining together to try and call any criticism of their behavior or their religion ‘hate speech’ which would make it illegal, if they could get these laws passed, to criticize homosexuality or to criticize Islam. See it isn’t about truth here, it’s about totalitarianism, it’s about a way to silence the opposition. You can win the debate by just shutting up the opponents here.

So it’s really strange to me how these two disparate groups can be in concert together, maybe it’s because they both hate Western Civilization, maybe it’s because they both hate Judeo-Christian natural law values that our Constitution and particularly our Declaration of Independence were founded on, ‘we hold these truths to be self-evident,’ maybe they just hate that both those groups hate those values so much that they’re in bed together. But I can tell you one thing, if the Muslims ever takeover, the first people they’re going to go after is the folks on the radical left.

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 5/17/11

Michele Bachmann

2012: More likely to run for president following Mike Huckabee's decision against running (CBS News, 5/16). 

Constitution: High school student challenges her to a debate on the Constitution as a result of her record of making incorrect statements (Minnesota Independent, 5/13). 

Herman Cain

Georgia: Wins praise for speech at Georgia GOP convention (Southern Political Report, 5/16). 

Florida: Tops field in Fort Lauderdale Tea Party straw poll (Sunshine State News, 5/16). 

Mitch Daniels

Reproductive Rights: Signs law defunding Planned Parenthood that costs thousands their health care, state millions of dollars (The Faster Times, 5/16).

2012: Members of Indiana Republican Party encourage Daniels to run during state convention (AP, 5/13).

Religious Right: Anti-choice activists upset Daniels weighed Condoleezza Rice as a running mate because she is pro-choice (Life News, 5/13). 

GOP: Reports say that Governors Haley Barbour, Chris Christie and Scott Walker would endorse Daniels (CBS News, 5/12). 

Newt Gingrich

Religious Right: Denies advisers' links to Dominionist theology (RWW, 5/16).

Medicare: Describes Paul Ryan's plan to privatize Medicare as "right wing social engineering" but previously said he would've voted for it (Think Progress, 5/16). 

Health Care: Makes inconsistent remarks over his past support for health care insurance mandates (Politico, 5/16). 

Iowa: Will make swing through Iowa this week following official announcement (Dubuque Telegraph Herald, 5/15). 

Jon Huntsman

Religious Right: Set to address Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition (RWW, 5/16).

South Carolina: Huckabee's former state campaign chair announces his support for Huntsman (Politico, 5/16). 

Florida: Meets with key donors in Florida (St. Petersburg Times, 5/11). 

Roy Moore

Religious Right: Claims President Obama is "pushing his own immoral values without regard to what the people think or believe" (WND, 5/16). 

Campaign: Launches website for exploratory committee (RoyMoore2012.com).

Sarah Palin

PAC: Embarks on new direct mail campaign with focus on 2012 election (WaPo, 5/16). 

2012: Supporters hope that Huckabee's announcement will create an opening for Palin (Commentary, 5/16). 

Tim Pawlenty

South Carolina: Hires political director for South Carolina primary (The Hill, 5/17). 

Environment: Continues to apologize for past support of ‘cap and trade’ system (Minnesota Post, 5/17).

Mitt Romney

Fundraising: Raises over $10 million on Monday call-day in Las Vegas (WaPo, 5/17). 

Health Care: Defends state health plan that is analogous to federal health care law (NYT, 5/13). 

Rick Santorum

Medicare: Criticizes Gingrich for attacking Paul Ryan’s Medicare privatization proposal (The Hill, 5/16). 

Health Care: Knocks Romney for defending his Massachusetts health care law (The State Column, 5/13).

Religious Right Activist Warns That Gay Rights Will Lead To The End Times

Michael Bresciani of American Prophet claims that the move towards gay equality signals the End Days. Writing for Renew America on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A)’s decision to permit the ordination of gay and lesbian ministers, Bresciani contends “that the rise in gay activism is not only a new low for the nation but it is part and parcel to last day’s prophecy” which “must precede the rise of the antichrist and the final judgments of God against a rebellious and totally reprobate generation.”

He also mistakenly believes that Virginia has legalized marriage for same-sex couples, which is not true as voters there banned same-sex marriage and civil unions in 2006, Bresciani concludes that gay-rights opponents are become a persecuted minority, but should be relieved once judgment day comes:

Gay activist seem to be wearing out the general public as in Virginia where same sex marriages were recently brought in by a narrow margin but nevertheless people in the Old Dominion amended their state constitution to OK same sex marriages. In California the gays were not satisfied to allow the vote of the general population to stand, but dragged the matter to the federal courts for a look see. Does all of this social wrangling indicate that we are approaching new heights of social advancement and freedom or is it the indicator that we are sinking to new depths of reprobation?

If we use the Bible alone to answer the question it will show that the rise in gay activism is not only a new low for the nation but it is part and parcel to last day's prophecy. It is only a small part of a pervasive deepening of immorality that the Bible says must precede the rise of the antichrist and the final judgments of God against a rebellious and totally reprobate generation.



There is an ample supply of heated rhetoric, anger and abusive language leveled at anyone who takes a stand against the pervasive acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle but the screaming voices of the condemned on the judgment day, wailing at believers for not warning them, would be a lot more difficult to endure

Right Wing Round-Up

Historians Agree: David Barton Is No Historian

David Barton has been in the spotlight lately.  In recent weeks, he was featured in a New York Times profile, interviewed on "The Daily Show," and was even the focus on a long report we released chronicling his career of peddling right-wing pseudohistory for political gain.

The upside of Barton's recent high profile is that bona fide historians who, unlike Barton, actually have training and credentials, are starting to stand up to Barton's flagrant and intentional misuse of history.

For instance, yesterday Paul Harvey, a Professor of History at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, wrote a piece for Religion Dispatches explaining that Barton is not in any sense a historian, but rather a propaganda artist who seeks to create the impression that there is some sort of "debate" over the issue of America's identity as a Christian nation that he can use to promote his right-wing political agenda:

Barton’s intent is not to produce “scholarship,” but to influence public policy. He simply is playing a different game than worrying about scholarly credibility, his protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. His game is to inundate public policy makers (including local and state education boards as well as Congress) with ideas packaged as products that will move policy.

Historical scholarship moves slowly and carefully, usually shunning the public arena; Barton’s proof-texting, by contrast, supplies ready-made (if sometimes made-up) quotations ready for use in the latest public policy debate, whether they involve school prayer, abortion, the wonders of supply-side economics, the Defense of Marriage Act, or the capital gains tax. ...

In short, perhaps the best way to understand Barton is as a historical product of Christian providentialist thinking, one with significant historical roots and usually with a publicly convincing spokesman. He is the latest in a long line of ideologically persuasive spokesmen for preserving American’s Protestant character ... The Christian Nation “debate” is not really an intellectual contest between legitimate contending viewpoints. Instead, it is a manufactured “controversy” akin to the global warming “debate.” On the one side are purveyors of a rich and complex view of the past, including most historians who have written and debated fiercely about the founding era. On the “other side” is a group of ideological entrepreneurs who have created an alternate intellectual universe based on a historical fundamentalism. In their drive to create a usable past, they show little respect for the past as a foreign country.

That point was echoed by Randall Stephens, an Associate Professor of History at Eastern Nazarene College, who has no time for Barton's "kindergarten" understanding of history or his "hyper-politicized work":

Barton does not recognized the idea that the past is like a foreign country. Instead Barton tends to flatten out time and space and make it almost seem as if the Founders are our contemporaries, motivated by the same concerns that motivate us now. Yet people in the past--whether we're talking about leaders of Bronze Age tribes or bewigged 18th century nabobs who tinkered on their mansions, read Montaigne in their spare time, or enjoyed arm-chair speculation about nature and providence--are not the same as us. This seems like a kindergarten point, but it's apparently lost on David Barton.

...

Nearly any trained historian worth his or her salt who takes a close look at Barton and his hyper-politicized work will see glaring gaps in what he writes and talks about. He dresses his founders in 21st-century garb. He's not interested in knowing much about the history of colonial America or the US in the early republic. Why? Because he's using history to craft a very specific, anti-statist, Christian nationalist, evangelical-victimization argument in the present. (Remember the many unconfirmed quotations Barton used in the 1990s? He did so because, first and foremost, he was trying to make a political point.)

In history circles this is what we call "bad history."

Finally, John Fea, author of "Was America Founded As a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction," and Associate Professor of American History at Messiah College, has been writing an ongoing series debunking Barton's appearance on "The Daily Show," along with a piece warning Christians not to fall for his propaganda:

Wallbuilders is a political organization that selectively uses history to promote a religious and ideological agenda. Barton believes that America's last, best hope is a return to its so-called Christian roots. In his most famous book, Original Intent, Barton argues that the removal of Christianity from the public square has resulted in a rise in birth rates for unwed girls, a spike in violent crime, more sexually transmitted diseases, lower SAT scores, and an increase in single parent households. And he has convinced thousands and thousands of Christians that he is right.

Barton claims to be a historian. He is not. He has just enough historical knowledge, and just enough charisma, to be very dangerous. During his appearance on The Daily Show, Barton impressed the faithful with his grasp of American history and his belief that Christians are being subtly persecuted in this country. But if you watch the show carefully, you will notice that Barton is a master at dodging controversial questions. He refuses to admit that sometimes history does not conform to our present-day political agendas.

...

Here is the bottom line: Christians should think twice before they rely on David Barton for their understanding of the American founding. Let's not confuse history with propaganda.

As Fea says, "the more popular Barton becomes, the more his views will be debunked by what I am imagining will be an ever-growing chorus of critics" ... but that task sure would be made easier if  Republican leaders like Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Mike Huckabee would stop actively embracing and promoting Barton's pseudohistorical propaganda.

Childress: Gay Equality Is A Sign Of The End Times

Clenard Childress Jr. is a fervent anti-choice leader who believes that legal abortion is intended to bring about black genocide and Obama wants to destroy the African American community. He founded BlackGenocide.org and is a leader in rabidly anti-choice groups like the Genocide Awareness Project and the Life Education And Resource Network, and helped organize Priests for Life’s “Freedom Rides” against reproductive rights. But Childress isn’t only a militant opponent of abortion-rights, as he penned a column today attacking gays and lesbians and gay rights. Childress criticized religious leaders and people of faith who support equal rights for gays as “false prophets” and that increasing acceptance of gays is a sign of the End Times:

Amazingly enough, and in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, there are clerics today — false prophets, as it were — who say the Bible does not repudiate homosexuality. When Jesus was threatening a group of religious hypocrites, and said to them it was going to be worse for them than Sodom and Gomorrah, all those of the Jewish culture understood and knew of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah which was destroyed by "fire and brimstone" and why it was destroyed. As Christians, should we suppose and can we believe that all of a sudden, God has changed his perspective on homosexuality as these false prophets would have us believe? Are we that stupid? Remember, Jesus said in the last days it would be as the days of Lot.

So, what was it like it the days of Lot? Homosexuality was demanding and imposing itself upon the righteous to capitulate, to yield, to give way to its predominance where Lot lived. Genesis 19:1-5 says,

1 It was evening when the two angels came to Sodom. Lot was sitting at Sodom's [city] gate. Seeing them, Lot rose up to meet them and bowed to the ground.

2 And he said, My lords, turn aside, I beg of you, into your servant's house and spend the night and bathe your feet. Then you can arise early and go on your way. But they said, No, we will spend the night in the square.

3 [Lot] entreated and urged them greatly until they yielded and [with him] entered his house. And he made them a dinner [with drinking] and had unleavened bread which he baked, and they ate.

4 But before they lay down, the men of the city of Sodom, both young and old, all the men from every quarter, surrounded the house.

5 And they called to Lot and said, Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know (be intimate with) them.


'Bring the men outside that we may know (be intimate with) them...' Jesus said prophetically that in the last days the homosexual community will demand their lifestyle be accepted as a right in society. And now we are even seeing homosexuality bandied about as a "Civil Right" that should be guaranteed under the Constitution similar to some of the rights being sought through the modern "Civil Rights Movement." They are not the same, but be that as it may be, the same Jesus condemned Sodom and Gomorrah for their lifestyle.

David Barton Lies To Jon Stewart On Sharia Law Views

As Miranda noted yesterday, David Barton raised eyebrows when he told The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart that religious law, including Sharia law, is compatible with the Constitution if a locality or state wanted to implement it, as he has a long track record of promoting vehement anti-Muslim views. Julie Ingersoll of Religion Dispatches also pointed out that Barton has consistently criticized “the threat of Islam taking over the country by imposing ‘Sharia Law.’”

But when Stewart asked if Barton was “all right with Sharia law and the whole business” in a Muslim-majority city in America, Barton replied, “Sure, sure.”

However, Barton made the exact opposite point in an interview with anti-Muslim activist Brigitte Gabriel of ACT! for America during his WallBuilders Live radio program.

Discussing a federal judge’s injunction that blocked an Oklahoma law which banned Sharia law, Barton told co-host Rick Green that Sharia law was incompatible with the Constitution.

Barton criticized the judge, saying, “how you can not let [the law] stand when you take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, that’s the only oath you’ve taken to uphold, how you gonna throw Sharia in there and make it equal with the Constitution it’s nuts to me.” He went on to allege that secular people like Joy Behar hate Judaism and Christianity and support Sharia law because they want an oppressive, authoritarian government:

Barton: But I love the fact that she points out that 21 states are considering what Oklahoma did, and 11 are likely to pass it this next session. So it’s going to be really significant to see what the federal judge does with that thing, whether he’s gonna let it stand or not. And how you can not let it stand when you take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, that’s the only oath you’ve taken to uphold, how you gonna throw Sharia in there and make it equal with the Constitution it’s nuts to me. But we’ve seen judges do nutty things so that’s not unusual.

Green: And I’m thinking long term strategy on this thing because this will probably take several years to play out in the courts, but its good that these other states are gonna do it too because we’d like to see this come up through several courts of appeals—

Barton: And get an overwhelming thing. You know, the other thing that I found really interesting listening to Brigitte and talk about her life and stuff that was going on and how strong she is. I find it so strong that you can take all these militant, anti-Christian—Joyce Behar—she’s got the cable news program, she’s on The View, you remember O’Reilly goes on there and makes a comment about Muslims being terrorists and she walks off the program in a rage. She is all the time berating every Christians out there. She’s smashing—

Green: And defending the terrorists.

Barton: Now, this is what’s kind of interesting to me. Secular people do not like religion, but they do like Islam. So maybe Islam is not a religion, maybe it is a way of life. Because why is it that secular people who hate Judaism, who hate Christianity, they love Muslims? It’s because of the tyrannical control over lives. This is what these guys want to do through government and they want the same kind of control, so Sharia that’s a great way to control.

Green: It fits right into their way of thinking things some work.

Barton: It does, their view that we ought to be control. It’s just crazy.

Fact Checking Barton Part III: First Amendment

Towards the very end of the televised portion of David Barton’s interview on The Daily Show, Barton said that one of the cases he “did at the US Supreme Court was rabbi Leslie Gutterman was asked in Providence Rhode Island to give a prayer at a graduation, and he wasn’t allowed to, now tell me how “Congress should make no law’ means that a rabbi cant say the word ‘God’ at a prayer.” He claims that this poses that the first Amendment is misused by putting a restriction on individuals, rather than government.

He referred to the case of a Rhode Island rabbi who was invited to deliver a prayer at a public school graduation to demonstrate that the Constitution is being misapplied to stifle religious expression. But it was the public school, not the rabbi (Gutterman), that was the defendant in the Supreme Court case Lee v. Weisman. Robert Lee was the principal of the school who invited the rabbi and Daniel Weisman’s daughter was the graduating student at the school who objected to the prayer service.

In the following section, that was posted only online, Barton dismisses fears that people could be coerced into prayer in schools, saying, “there’s coercion, you have to pull on your big boy pants and do something” and “look at all the pressure that goes to school anyway, there’s drugs and everything else and we don’t rule that unconstitutional.”

Barton misconstrues the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which is incorporated to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment (see Everson and Cantwell), and calls the ruling a “pretty strange parsing of the Constitution” and places a “restriction on the rights of people to say the word God in public.”

As Justice Kennedy writes in the majority opinion, which decided that the school is barred from holding a prayer service during the graduation ceremony, the First Amendment has been interpreted to prevent the government from sanctioning or endorsing religion:

The First Amendment’s Religion Clauses mean that religious beliefs and religious expression are too precious to be either proscribed or prescribed by the State. The design of the Constitution is that preservation and transmission of religious beliefs and worship is a responsibility and a choice committed to the private sphere, which itself is promised freedom to pursue that mission. It must not be forgotten, then, that, while concern must be given to define the protection granted to an objector or a dissenting nonbeliever, these same Clauses exist to protect religion from government interference.

As Stewart notes, Barton completely neglects the rights of the students whose beliefs are compromised by the school-sanctioned prayer by putting the burden on the student to just put up with it. Kennedy writes that such thinking “turns conventional First Amendment analysis on its head. It is a tenet of the First Amendment that the State cannot require one of its citizens to forfeit his or her rights and benefits as the price of resisting conformance to state-sponsored religious practice.”

Barton grounds his beliefs that the majority should trump the rights of the minority in his view that the First Amendment actually doesn’t prevent the state from endorsing religion. Lauri Lebo writes in The Devil in Dover that in Barton’s book The Myth of Separation,

Barton argues in his book that the First Amendment only refers to the establishment of a specific Protestant denomination. In other words, Barton claims that Christian founders were saying they couldn’t endorse Lutheranism, for instance, over Presbyterianism. But in Barton’s view, forcing Christian beliefs on the nation’s citizens has always been fair game.

But the drafters actually rejected proposed amendments that only stopped governmental recognition of denominations or sects. Warren Throckmorton, a professor at Grove City College, a Christian school, pointed to James Madison’s speech during the debate over the First Amendment where he makes clear that “Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law” for otherwise they could pass laws that “might infringe the rights of conscience and establish a national religion.”

By ignoring the meaning behind the First Amendment and opposing the First Amendment’s incorporation to the states under the Fourteenth Amendment, Barton pushes a radical version of the Constitution. If “taken to logical conclusion,” Throckmorton notes, “this argument would establish Christianity as the religion of the nation, something the Founders specifically did not do.”

Fact Checking Barton Part II: Constitution Explicitly References Religion

In the second part of the televised interview on The Daily Show, David Barton claims that the Constitution contains “four references to God” in Article VII. Article VII reads: “The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.”

That’s it.

Barton is presumably referring to the following line: “Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth.” As noted in People For the American Way’s Barton’s Bunk, “Barton claims that this passing reference to the Declaration of Independence incorporates that document and its reference to rights endowed by a Creator into the U.S. Constitution, making the Constitution a religious document that reflects and requires a national acknowledgment of God’s hand in our founding, history, and prosperity.”

Barton dodges Stewart’s question about presidential oaths. As Stewart rightly claims, the oath outlined in the US Constitution does not specify the use of the Bible. Moreover, Article II even allows Presidents to make an “Affirmation” rather than an Oath: “Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: — ‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’” In fact, Franklin Pierce decided to affirm rather than swear during his inauguration, John Quincy Adams “took the oath upon a volume of law,” and Teddy Roosevelt didn’t use a Bible in his rushed inauguration.

Barton has also repeatedly asserted, including in Wednesday’s WallBuilders Live radio program, that the Bible was used as the basis for republican form of government (Exodus 18:21), the separation of powers (Jeremiah 17:9), and the three branches of government (Isaiah 33:22).

So let’s check his citations:

Exodus 18:21 You should also look for able men among all the people, men who fear God, are trustworthy, and hate dishonest gain; set such men over them as officers over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. (Barton: Republican government)

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse — who can understand it? (Barton: Separation of powers)

Isaiah 33:22 For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our ruler, the Lord is our king; he will save us. (Barton: Three branches of government)

Now, if the Bible was the foundation for republican government, where the citizenry and not a monarch occupy the power of government, then what does Barton have to say about all the prominent monarchies in the Bible, like King David and King Solomon?

In addition, where in Federalist Numbers 47 and 51, which many historians point to as the basis for the separation of powers and the three branches of government, does James Madison cite Jeremiah or Isaiah, let alone any Biblical passage? In Federalist No. 47, Madison frequently cites Montesquieu, but not the Bible; Madison also doesn’t use the Bible or any theological explanation in Federalist No. 51.

While Barton can find passages in the Bible that may reflect a similar opinion or sentiment of the Founding Fathers, he is consistently unable to demonstrate how the Founders specifically used the Bible or “Biblical principles” to develop the Constitution.

Geller: Obama Is An Illegitimate Child And Therefore An Illegitimate President

Pamela Geller’s rabid anti-Muslim activism helped her win friends in the conservative movement and the Republican Party, and she even had her own panel at CPAC earlier this year. But Geller has now been focusing her efforts on a different issue: Birtherism. Geller accused President Obama of doctoring his birth certificate and took to the Birther website WorldNetDaily to claim that Obama is ineligible to be president because his parents had a sham marriage. Virginia School of Law professor G. Edward White plainly points out that the term “natural born citizen” is “understood to mean a person born in the United States or born abroad to parents who are both American citizen” (emphasis mine) and had nothing to do with the children of purported “sham marriages.” But for Geller, who now professes to be an expert on Obama’s parents’ romantic life, even if Obama was born in the United States he can’t be considered a “natural born citizen” because the Founders wouldn’t have wanted “an illegitimate child of a foreign bigamist” to be President:

The release of Barack Hussein Obama I's immigration file is stunning in what it reveals and the questions it poses. BHO I's visa expired Aug. 8, 1961 (Barack Junior was born Aug. 4, 1961) – is that why he married Obama's mother? Stanley Ann Dunham was a white girl in a family way with a mixed-race child, desperate for legitimacy in a culture that condemned such behavior as abject immorality, and Barack Obama Sr. was a con man from Kenya desperate to stay in the USA. Was the marriage merely a business arrangement (she was 17 when she got pregnant)? Is that why it was so important to place the ads in the Hawaiian papers announcing the birth of the future president – because his father was about to be deported?

Stanley Ann Dunham could not have been so savvy as to know that BHO I was a Muslim polygamist. Yet clearly, Barack Hussein Obama Sr., was never divorced from his first wife in Kenya. The Immigration and Naturalization Service suspected that the elder Obama's marriage to Dunham was a sham, arranged strictly to secure immigration status for him. Despite the fact that BHO I had married Dunham, the government wasn't buying it: An INS official wrote in 1961 that the agency should "make sure an investigation is conducted as to the bona-fide of the marriage."



It is interesting to note that BHO I claims in the documents to have divorced first wife, Kezia, "verbally." According to the Shariah, a man can divorce his wife by repeating it three times. Further, when BHO I returned to Kenya, he apparently lived with his first Kenyan wife and his American third wife, suggesting that the "divorce" he ostensibly secured to marry Dunham was a transitory ruse.

That would make the president illegitimate. In 1787, illegitimate children had different rights. There is no way the founders of this great nation intended for an illegitimate child of a foreign bigamist to attain the highest, most powerful position in the new land.

Similarly, WND editor Joseph Farah maintains that if Obama is eligible to serve as president, then so are “anchor babies,” or the US-born children of illegal immigrants. Unfortunately for Farah, so-called “anchor babies” are in fact American citizens:

We have a pretender to the throne sitting in the highest office of the land – the most powerful elected position in the world.

America has, without a vote, without a constitutional amendment, without even a court decision, dumbed down the eligibility requirement for the presidency. And that is unacceptable. …

Americans do not want illegal aliens to serve as presidents. That's not what the founders envisioned at all. But conceding to Obama's eligibility will open the door to American presidents who were "anchor babies" – children born of illegal aliens born on U.S. soil.

That's not what the Constitution means. That's not what the founders intended. And it's not what Americans want today.

Religious Right Groups And Chamber of Commerce Fail To Block District Court Nominee

Religious Right and pro-corporate groups failed today to block President Obama’s nominee for U.S. District Court in Rhode Island, John McConnell, from receiving an up-or-down vote in the Senate. The Senate invoked cloture on McConnell’s nomination in a 63-33 vote, defeating the filibuster against McConnell. Filibusters against district court judges are extremely rare—only a handful of District Court nominees have ever faced cloture votes, and none have ever been blocked—and many Republicans previously vowed they would never filibuster a judicial nominee.

Today’s vote came after a long wait for McConnell: according to The Providence Journal, the delay caused by the concerted right-wing effort to block McConnell forced Rhode Island’s chief federal judge to “take the unusual step of reassigning more than two dozen civil cases to judges in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.”

Why the tough fight? McConnell faced virulent opposition from the Chamber of Commerce over his role fighting big tobacco companies and lead paint manufacturers. The Chamber and other groups that oppose corporate accountability found allies in the Religious Right groups that decided to fight McConnell as well.

The Conservative Action Project made McConnell a top target of their efforts. The group includes pro-corporate organizations like the 60 Plus Association, National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Limited Government, Citizens United, and American Tax Reform, along with social conservatives such as the Family Research Council, Traditional Values Coalition, Heritage Action, American Values, Liberty Counsel Action, and Eagle Forum. The Conservative Action Project’s Memo to the Movement [PDF] claimed McConnell was unqualified to serve in the judiciary because he was a trial lawyer with a history of challenging big business.

Eagle Forum derided him as a “pro-choice, anti-business, pro-judicial activism nominee” who “has made numerous anti-business statements.” The Family Research Council slammed McConnell for his ties to the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of the country’s most prominent civil rights organizations, and Phillip Jauregui’s Judicial Action Group said that his link to the SPLC and the American Constitution Society shows he “supports organizations who support homosexual marriage and oppose conservative politicians.”

While the Corporate Right and the Religious Right of the McConnell nomination failed, many of these organizations will continue to work together to block other qualified judicial nominees and aggravate the country’s burgeoning judicial vacancy crisis.

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Constitution Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Tuesday 09/27/2011, 1:26pm
Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum today republished a blog post by Elwood Sanders of Virginia Right calling for an effort to put Schlafly on a U.S. postage stamp. Sanders’ proposal is in response to a new campaign by the U.S. Postal Service, which is soliciting suggestions for living people to put on postage stamps. Schlafly was instrumental in defeating the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and even today continues her role as a leading anti-feminist and ultraconservative activist. Michele Bachmann recently hailed Schlafly as “my heroine and my example” and “the... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 09/26/2011, 11:14am
This November a coalition of anti-Muslim and Religious Right groups are hosting “The Constitution or Sharia—Preserving Freedom Conference” in Nashville, Tennessee, dubbed “the first national conference on Sharia and the Islamization of America.” The location does not seem to be coincidental: the Tennessee legislature recently weighed a bill that would make it a felony to follow Sharia law and the town of Murfreesboro, just south of Nashville, has witnessed vicious anti-Muslim attacks and arson against a planned mosque. A lawsuit against the mosque declared that... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 09/23/2011, 2:30pm
North Carolina state Sen. James Forrester appeared on Concerned Women for America radio Tuesday, along with his wife -- who just happens to be the Associate State Director of CWA’s North Carolina chapter -- to discuss the proposed state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Republicans in the state legislature succeeded in getting a referendum on the marriage amendment on the ballot for May of next year. Earlier this month, Forrester memorably told a town hall meeting that gays “are going to die at least 20 years earlier” than straight people. While proponents... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 09/22/2011, 4:43pm
When you listen to David Barton on a regular basis, you learn all sorts of interesting things - a lot of them happen to be false and/or terrifying, but interesting nonetheless.  For instance, on "Wallbuilders Live" today he explained that federal judges are not appointed for life but simply "during good behavior,"  which means that any time any judge issues a ruling that Congress does not like, they simply have to convene a hearing, force the judge to defend the ruling, and then impeach them: Rick Green: So where is the accountability if a judge is appointed... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 09/21/2011, 11:37am
Janet Porter’s proposed “heartbeat bill” in Ohio, which would criminalize abortion in the vast majority of cases, is so extreme that the Ohio Right to Life Society refuses to back it, but for some anti-choice radicals, it does not go far enough. As we’ve previously reported, Personhood USA wants to put a personhood amendment on the Ohio ballot in 2012, and Personhood Ohio is no fan of Porter’s “heartbeat bill.” While the personhood movement may appear to be a fringe group, since proponents oppose even draconian legislation like the “heartbeat... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 09/20/2011, 11:11am
Only a few years ago Religious Right groups and Republicans were running as far as possible away from the Personhood Colorado campaign, the effort to pass an extreme anti-choice measure that was twice handily defeated by Colorado voters. Last year, the National Right to Life Committee, Americans United for Life, Colorado Citizens for Life all refused to back the Colorado personhood amendment, and the Colorado Eagle Forum called the personhood campaign a “disaster.” But now, the Personhood Mississippi campaign –which is nearly identical to the Colorado effort – has... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 09/15/2011, 1:00pm
Mississippi is set to vote this November on a patently unconstitutional personhood amendment that would criminalize abortion in their state, and ‘personhood’ advocates now strive to put a similar amendment on the ballot in Ohio in 2012. Personhood laws would not only prohibit abortion in all cases but also ban certain forms of birth control and the treatment of ectopic pregnancies by giving legal rights to zygotes. The anti-choice activists hope that Ohio will vote on it at the same time as the swing state’s closely contested presidential election. Right now Ohio is on the... MORE