Culture War

Becket Fund Pretends It's Not Fighting The Culture Wars

Politico is up with a profile of the Becket Fund, one of the Religious Right legal groups that has pushed, via Hobby Lobby and related cases, to expand the definition of “religious liberty” to allow corporations and individuals as well as religious institutions to opt out of laws they say violate their religious beliefs.

The article by Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux quotes Stanford Law School professor Michael McConnell saying nice things about Becket, but it doesn’t mention that Becket steered $1.6 million to Stanford and McConnell for a religious liberty law clinic that opened at the school last year.

In Politico, McConnell attributes to Becket the idea that religious freedom “is not – in most contexts – a culture war issue.” At a forum on religious liberty at the Newseum last year, Becket’s Mark Rienzi also suggested that religious liberty is not a culture war issue.

In reality, redefining “religious liberty” has become the central culture war issue and the primary legal and public relations strategy chosen by conservative evangelicals and their allies in the Catholic hierarchy to resist the advance of LGBT equality and restrict women’s access to reproductive care. Becket is at the center of this strategy. A corollary strategy is portraying Christians in America as the victims of religious persecution; Becket lawyers appear in Rick Santorum’s latest movie, “One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty.”

While it is true that support for religious freedom crosses political and religious lines, and it is admirable that Becket, unlike some other Religious Right legal groups, defends the freedom of religious minorities as well as conservative Christians, it is hard to accept with a straight face the idea that Becket’s lawyers are not culture warriors.

Let’s review some of Becket’s culture-war credentials:

  • In addition to Robert George, the intellectual force behind the Manhattan Declaration and the Catholic bishops’ “religious liberty” strategy, Becket’s board includes culture warriors like the Family Research Council’s Ken Blackwell and right-wing mega-funder Sean Fieler.
  • Earlier this year, Becket celebrated the Supreme Court’s ruling in Town of Greece v. Galloway, in which the Court upheld sectarian prayer at official public meetings and narrowly defined what would amount to unconstitutional religious coercion of people attending those meetings. Becket signaled that it hoped the decision would lead to the further dismantling of court rulings that uphold church-state separation.
  • Last year a Becket blog post about a legal victory for a Colorado voucher program that diverts public education funds to religious schools was headlined “Needy Kids 1, Anti-Catholic Bigots 0.”
  • In the fall of 2012, Becket co-sponsored an event for the Manhattan Declaration — itself a call to the culture-war barricades. According to an admiring report by Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion & Democracy, Becket President William Mumma “noted that in today’s culture wars ‘religion is not an accidental victim, it is the target’ for radical secularists. ‘When government tries to murder religion it may murder religious liberty but not religion,’ he promised, as faith will survive amid persecution.”
  • Becket’s executive director Kristina Arriaga joined hard-core culture warriors in supporting the Pray and A.C.T. group created by dominionist Lou Engle in advance of the 2010 elections.
  • In 2008 Becket ran a full-page ad in the New York Times charging that anti-Prop 8 protesters were “thugs” engaged in a “religious war” of violence and intimidation against the Mormon church; founder Kevin “Seamus” Hasson responded to criticism with a comparison of “radical secularist” Prop 8 protestors to radical Islamist terrorists.

Winners of Becket’s Canterbury Medal over the past decade include Robert George; ultraconservative Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who has waged what a local columnist called a “war on Obama” over the HHS mandate; Eric Mataxas, the author whose 2012 prayer breakfast speech delighted right-wing activists with its thinly veiled attacks on President Obama’s faith; and Mormon Apostle Dallin H. Oaks, a strong defender of the LDS Church’s anti-equality efforts.

One more quibble with the Politico story: its headline – “God’s Rottweilers” – does give a sense of the group’s intensity, but it also implies that Becket is working for God. Media coverage all too often portrays culture war issues as a struggle between religious people and “radical secularists” when in fact there are also many religious individuals and organizations actively opposed to the Religious Right’s agendas on LGBT equality, women’s access to reproductive care, and the relationship between church and state.

Dinesh D'Souza's 'America' - The Book Is Not Better Than The Movie

This week Dinesh D’Souza’s “America: Imagine the World Without Her” is sitting at the top of the New York Times “nonfiction” bestseller list. Earlier this month, the movie version crossed the $14 million dollar mark, which moved it into six place overall for earnings by a political “documentary.”

But D’Souza is not just out to make money, of course. At a June screening of “America,” right-wing strategist Ralph Reed called D’Souza “a national treasure for our cause.” D’Souza’s last movie, “2016: Obama’s America,” was designed to keep Barack Obama from being elected.  “America” is an attempt to prevent Hillary Clinton from being elected in 2016, wrapped in an attack on the progressive movement.

At a time when corporate power and profits are at record highs, “America” the movie argues that America the country is being led down the road to national “suicide” and socialist tyranny in a plan that was conceived by organizer Saul Alinsky and is being carried out by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Central to this long-term leftist scheme to bring about American decline has been an effort to convince Americans to be ashamed of the country’s history so that they will support a reduced role for America in the world.

In the movie, D’Souza sets out to refute progressive “indictments against America: We stole the country from the Native Americans, we stole the labor of the African Americans, we took half of Mexico in the Mexican War. Today our foreign policy and free market system are forms of theft.” D’Souza says this “new story of American shame” is “not just an attack on the one percent. It’s an attack on all of us. We are a nation of immigrants and settlers and we are the ones accused of these crimes.” 

D’Souza interviews some leftists and liberals as foils, including Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, and Michael Eric Dyson, and turns to Alexis de Tocqueville, writing more than 150 years ago, as a “more reliable” source. De Tocqueville understood, D’Souza says, that slavery and the treatment of Native Americans were nothing unique to America, but reflected a universal “conquest ethic.” Throughout history, he says, wealth was built by conquest and theft. But America is uniquely based on a different idea – the idea of acquiring wealth not by taking it from someone else but through innovation, entrepreneurship and trade.

In the process of taking on these progressive “indictments” of American history, D’Souza essentially tells Native Americans, African Americans, and Mexican Americans that in the big picture they really have nothing to complain about, and could be successful if they were just willing to work rather than spending all their time complaining.

D’Souza is proud of himself for being willing to take on racial taboos, which he calls “the enemies of history and truth.” His point seems to be that African Americans were not uniquely abused by slavery and so they should stop thinking the country owes them something. Yes, he says, enslavement was theft of life and labor. But Irish people were also sold into indentured servitude. And some free blacks also owned slaves. Slave-owning founders should not be viewed as hypocrites but as pragmatists who had to accept slavery as the price of creating the U.S. And besides, slavery is part of the “universal conquest ethic” but “what’s uniquely American is the fighting of a great war to end it.”

The movie ignores Jim Crow, but tells the story of Madam C.J. Walker, an African American woman who was born just after the Civil War and who became wealthy by building a successful business in the early 20th Century. In the movie, an actress playing Walker lectures workers about freedom and opportunity and hard work. Of course, the movie does not mention her support for the NAACP or her active involvement in its anti-lynching campaigns. D’Souza claims she is left out of history because her success “confounds the shaming narrative.”

D’Souza also interviews Star Parker, a familiar figure at right-wing conferences, whose I-used-to-be-lazy-and-on-welfare shtick suggests that it is only an unwillingness to work hard that keeps people from being successful. In remarks made after the screening, D’Souza said nonwhite immigrants are doing better than African Americans because the latter have adopted a strategy of “agitate, agitate, agitate” rather than “work, work, work.”

In the movie, D’Souza portrays American foreign policy and global capitalism as fundamentally noble. So why are progressives out to destroy America and its place in the world?

The answer is Saul Alinsky. “America” portrays Alinsky as the ruthless mastermind of a plot to bring socialism to America, and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as his equally ruthless acolytes. Hillary Clinton turned down a job offer from Alinsky after she graduated from college because she had more nefarious plans. “While Alinsky wanted the radicals to pressure the government, Hillary wanted the radicals to become the government,” D’Souza says. Why shame people from the outside when you can intimidate them from the inside? “Hillary figured it out,” says D’Souza, “Obama is now carrying it out.”

D’Souza wraps up the movie with a disjointed section on the surveillance state. D’Souza says the government is gathering information on all Americans so that it can target political opponents, the way he says the Obama administration has targeted conservatives through the IRS and other agencies. Not very convincingly, he portrays his recent prosecution for violating campaign finance laws – he has pleaded to a felony and faces sentencing in September – as part of this ideological warfare.

All of which is a long way of saying the movie is a jumbled, self-indulgent, right-wing mess, aside from the slanted take on American history. Critics have not been kind to “America,” which has a 9% rating from movie review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers put the movie in the “Scum Bucket,” calling D’Souza a “lunatic.”

But plenty of good books have been made into mediocre movies, right? At the screening, D’Souza described the book as the “intellectual spine” of the movie, and said it had been hard to fully communicate all of the book’s ideas and make the movie entertaining.

So, if the book any better? Sadly, no. If anything, D’Souza’s polemics are even more ridiculous and incendiary when he has the space to spell them out. For example, “Today’s progressivism is less indebted to Marx than it is to Lenin.”

D’Souza’s take on race and civil rights is particularly noteworthy given events in Missouri that have focused national attention on the unequal treatment of people of color by police and the justice system.

D’Souza says the Civil Rights movement was hardly revolutionary because racism was already on the decline after World War II.  Government-enforced segregation was bad, he acknowledges, because it represented “a triumph of government regulation over the free market.” But private discrimination is not theft and should not have been banned, he says, writing, “Private employers should no more be forced to hire employees than employees should be forced to work for employers against their will.”

“Somewhat weirdly, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not merely outlaw discrimination by the government; it also outlawed most forms of private discrimination. While I consider these restrictions on the private sphere to be unwise and unnecessary, they are also understandable.”

D’Souza says the election of Barack Obama, the existence of affirmative action programs, and changing attitudes toward racial intermarriage are all evidence of the continuing decline in racism in America.

“Blacks know it too: ask blacks today to recall when they personally experienced racism—when for example someone called them ‘nigger’—and many are hard pressed to give a single example.”

So there’s no reason for whining about racism, or God forbid, reparations. “Racism today is not strong enough to prevent blacks or any other group from achieving its aspirations,” he says, adding a couple pages later,

“Progressives are still chasing the windmills of old-style racism, whipping the nation into a frenzy every time there is some obscure incident. The reason blacks remain so far behind whites, however, has very little to do with racism. It has to do with African American cultural backwardness.”

Here are some other highlights:

·         Obama: “Obama is simply part of a fifty-year scheme for the undoing and remaking of America,” he writes. So how did Obama get elected? “There is a one-word answer: slavery.”

·         Clinton: “If Hillary Clinton is elected in 2016, the baton will have passed from one Alinskyite to another. In this case, Alinsky’s influence will have taken on a massive, almost unimaginable, importance. Obama will have had eight years to remake America, and Hillary will have another four or perhaps eight to complete the job. Together these two have the opportunity to largely undo the nation’s founding ideals.”

·         Native Americans: “The Indians were here first, but they were only sparsely and sporadically occupying the land. Consequently, many settlers regarded America as largely unoccupied, although the Indians surely disagreed with that perspective. Too bad the two groups could not amicably work out a way to share and benefit from this vast country.” Too bad? “They couldn’t, I believe, because both groups continued to espouse at least elements of the conquest ethic. Neither wished to be taken from, but both were willing to take when they had the power and the inclination to do so.” D’Souza has little sympathy for those “forlorn” Indians who “seem to prefer the joy of victimhood – and the exertions of claiming reparations of one sort or another –to the joy of entrepreneurial striving” – unlike those who are making money with casinos.

·         Immigration: “Immigration—legal and illegal—is the mechanism that today’s progressive organizers are counting on to undo the consequences of the Mexican War, and make the dream of Aztlan a reality.”

D’Souza asserts that “in no circumstance over the past hundred years” has America “stolen the wealth of any other country.” It’s not foreigners, but Americans, who are victimized by the federal government, “the biggest thief of all,” he writes. “In fact, progressives have turned a large body of Americans—basically, Democratic voters—into accessories of theft by convincing them that they are doing something just and moral by picking their fellow citizens’ pockets.”

With this line of reasoning, D’Souza aligns himself with the proponents of biblical economics, who argue that the government has no right to tax someone in order to alleviate someone else’s poverty.  “It does not promote the common good for the state to insist that successful people pay other people’s medical bills,” he says, describing Obamacare and progressive taxation as forms of theft. Transfer payments, unlike roads, do not constitute “general welfare.” Rather, “It constitutes a forcible extortion from one group and an unearned benefit to another.” The federal government is therefore not an instrument of justice but “an instrument of plunder.”

As in the movie, D’Souza takes time in the book to complain about his own prosecution (even though he admits having broken the law) and to suggest that the current surveillance state is part of the progressive movement’s strategy to impose totalitarianism: “Surveillance is simply the means to ensure that no one is safe.” He writes, “If progressives enforce their agenda through total control and compliance, America will truly be an evil empire, and it will be the right and duty of American citizens to organize once again, as in 1776, to overthrow it.” (Of course, aggressive surveillance began well before the Obama presidency, and progressives have been among those opposing government overreach.)

D’Souza denounces what he says is the progressive plan to diminish America’s influence globally, and closes the book with a warning about what the world might look like when its dominant force is not America but China, whose growing economic power is translating into greater military force and geopolitical influence. Similar concerns may be shared across the political spectrum, but having celebrated China’s adoption of market economics and economic growth, and having defended the export of American manufacturing jobs to cheap-labor China – trends that cannot be blamed on the Obama presidency –D’Souza does not make it clear what he would have American leaders do to forestall China’s rising influence. If he has a solution, he’s keeping it to himself.

The same can be said for the plight of unemployed and underemployed American workers. It doesn’t matter that you’re willing to work hard if there are no jobs to be had. And while D’Souza describes inequality as an essential element of the free market economy, he does not address the fact that in recent decades American workers have received almost none of the benefits of increasing productivity. His lectures to African Americans that their unwillingness to work hard is the only obstacle to their success ignore both evidence of continuing impacts of structural racism – reflected for example in exploitive mortgage underwriting – and the brutal consequences of the recent economic downturn on the already huge disparities of wealth between white and African American (and Latino) households.

The facile ideology of “America: Imagine the World Without Her” – both book and movie – should be no surprise. D’Souza’s entire career, beginning with his work at the right-wing Dartmouth Review and continuing through stints at the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute, has been nurtured by far-right funders. His claim to being a “scholar” is grounded in his authorship of a series of polemical books, including “The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” an exercise in ideological excess that even some conservative commentators found embarrassing. He champions traditional values, but in 2012 he resigned as president of the Christian King’s College after news that he had traveled with, and become engaged to, a woman who was separated from but still married to her husband.  Like his old friend Ann Coulter, D’Souza has learned that there is seemingly no end to the money to be made, and fame to be enjoyed, by repackaging and peddling ideological diatribes to the country’s right-wing activists.

 

Boykin: America on 'Precipice of Total Destruction' Due to 'Silent' Church

Retired Gen. Jerry Boykin – anti-Muslim crusader, Religious Right folk hero, and Family Research Council Vice President – was one of the speakers at Liberty Counsel’s recent Awakening conference. Boykin, who has accused Barack Obama of turning the U.S. into a “Marxist nation,” told Awakening attendees that the country is “on the precipice of total destruction” and he blames the church for not standing up and being “the dominant influence on our society.”

The Bible tells us, woe unto you who call good evil and evil good. And that’s exactly what we’re doing in America today. We’re calling good evil and evil good, and we’re paying the penalty for it because we’re losing our nation. Our values are changing so rapidly. We’re on the precipice of total destruction if we don’t turn this around and I mean that. I’ll say it again, we’re on the precipice of total destruction if we don’t turn our value system around….The question that we have to ask ourselves, and I ask you to ponder this, where is that church that Alexis de Tocqueville talked about in America today? Where is that church that should be the dominant influence on our society, that should influence everything that we do, the way we think, the way we act. Where is that church today? … Across the nation the church has been silent. The church is not the dominant influence in America today. It doesn’t shape our values because the church has been silent, where we’re now calling good evil and evil good even inside the churches across America today, and it’s killing us as a nation.

FRC Slams Obama 'Sin Requirement'

“Stop Obama’s Sin Requirement” screams the envelope of the latest direct mail letter from the Family Research Council. The letter inside takes the Religious Right’s attacks on the Obama to new depths of rhetorical ridiculousness: 
 
President Obama has decreed:
Christians must violate their consciences and sin…or else.
 
The letter is of course a continuation of the Religious Right’s campaign to portray rules requiring insurance coverage for contraceptives as an apocalyptic attack on religious freedom in America. And, the letter warns, that’s just the start. 
Washington is aggressively moving to silence the influence and freedom of Christians in every sphere of society. Churches and ministries, charities, Christian bookstores, radio and television stations, Christian businesses will face coercion—censorship—silencing—denial of licenses—even being shut down.
 
Why? Because the Obama Left has made it clear they have a goal: marginalize Christianity, make it irrelevant and powerless to influence morality, the role of the family, and the course of our nation. And as the role of the Church is diminished—expand the federal bureaucracy.
 
They want to replace the effective work of churches and charities and essentially replace them with government programs—more constly, less effective programs.
 
They want to get religion out of the equation and make America utterly unrecognizable as a nation founded upon Christian principles. There is an unprecedented ideology of hostility toward the Christian religion in Washington today.
 
….
One prominent church leader has said, “what war and disease cannot do to the congregation, the government of the United States will. It will shut them down.”
The call to arms over religious liberty is signed by Tony Perkins – the same Tony Perkins who recently stood with Rick Santorum and applauded his pastor who screamed that America was founded to be a Christian nation and anyone who doesn’t like it should “get out!”

AFA: Vote to end ‘Evil’ Obama’s ‘all-out war on Christians’

It’s not exactly a surprise when the American Family Association, home of the consistently unhinged Bryan Fischer, uses over-the-top rhetoric in its attacks on President Obama.  Still, the latest fundraising letter from AFA President Tim Wildmon is memorably apocalyptic in tone:

In a very real way the year 2012 is as important to our nation as was the year 1776.

Just as then, this year Americans must choose between freedom and tyranny.

Wildmon goes on to call the administration’s recent regulations on insurance coverage of contraception “but the latest instance of the Obama Administration’s all-out war on Christians.”

Wildmon cites "the choice God put before the Israelites before He would allow them to enter into the Promised Land" and says

I believe God is asking America to make that same choice now:

              Life and good … or death and evil.

Wildmon suggests Obama’s re-election would bring God’s wrath on America:

 …everyone here at AFA is convinced that the elections this November will determine whether or not America will survive as a nation. After all, God has been long-suffering with us for decades now. How long will his patience last?

But, he says, if tens of millions of Christians register and vote for men and women who “respect our Christian heritage, will fight to protect religious freedom, and will work to build America’s crumbing moral foundation,” then

We can literally save America! As a nation we can stand before Almighty God and tell Him:

We love You, Lord! As a people, we will walk in Your ways and keep Your commandments!

The response card accompanying the letter seeks donation to “help elect godly leaders and to restore America to a nation that honors the one, true God.”

Newt Declares War on Christmas!

It’s as predictable as the change of seasons: even before shopping malls start playing Christmas muzak, Religious Right leaders and pundits like Bill O’Reilly are fulminating about the supposed “War on Christmas” and how retailers who choose to wish all their customers a “happy holidays” are part of an evil plot to purge Christianity from Christmas and American culture.  This year, the far-right Liberty Counsel has been promoting a “naughty or nice” list of companies based on things like the use of “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” in advertising.   Just yesterday, Liberty Counsel breathlessly charged that Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee is waging “war” on Christmas because he said the state should refer to a “holiday” tree rather than a Christmas tree.

So we’re looking forward to the Liberty Counsel screed against Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich, whose busy self-promotional Gingrich Productions has just sent a “Holiday Dash” email encouraging people to buy one of Newt’s books. No mention of Christmas, no Nativity scenes, secular winter snowflake background – definitely “naughty” according to the Liberty Counsel’s criteria.  In fact, it looks a lot like a Walgreen’s ad whose “happy holidays” theme was sinister enough to encourage the American Family Association to call for a boycott.

How soon until Bryan Fischer notices that you can’t spell Gingrich without Grinch?

AFA Threatens To Fire Any Host Who Partners With NAR Critic

Back when Gov. Rick Perry was organizing his massive "The Response" prayer rally, we were hard at work chronicling the ties between organizers of the event and the self-proclaimed prophets and apostles affiliated with the New Apostolic Reformation.

But it was not just people like us who were taking note of the fact that Republicans and Religious Right leaders were embracing this new breed of spiritual warriors, as some conservatives leaders began to raise alarms of their own.

One of the leading conservative critics of this development has been Brannon Howse of Worldview Weekend, who has been using his radio program to voice his opposition. 

And his criticism is apparently causing such massive headaches for the folks over at the American Family Association that, as Warren Throckmorton reports, hosts of programs that air on the AFA's American Family Radio network are now being told that their shows will be dropped if they in any way partner with Howse:

The American Family Association has taken aim at fellow religious conservative Brannon Howse over his criticism of the AFA’s recent sponsorship of GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry’s The Response prayer meeting. Earlier this week, Jim Stanley, program director of AFA’s radio network, American Family Radio, sent notices to two talk show hosts who are associated with Howse, informing them that continued presence on the AFA’s radio network was conditioned on severing ties with Howse.

The talk show hosts, John Loeffler and Todd Friel, have shows aired by American Family Radio and also speak at Howse sponsored events. According to Tim Wildmon, president of the AFA, “we identified two people with programs on our networks and told them, ’you have to make a choice.’” In defense of the move, Wildmon said “AFR is under no obligation to run programs of individuals who are going to help Brannon when he is attacking our friends. We make programming decisions all the time.”

Howse heads Worldview Weekend, a socially conservative ministry which espouses similar conservative views as the AFA on culture war issues as abortion and homosexuality. However, Howse charges that religious right leaders have formed improper religious alliances with leaders in the New Apostolic Reformation such as Cindy Jacobs in order to promote a conservative political agenda. About his stance, Howse said, “Christians must defend the gospel when we believe Christian leaders are giving credibility to what the Bible describes as false teaching ... In an email, Wildmon told me that Howse had tried to “sabotage The Response that we were sponsors of and has gone after our friends and associates like Jim Garlow, Tony Perkins, James and Shirley Dobson, etc., by name.” He explained that the network had received calls from listeners and that the situation had been “a headache.”

Donohue Likens LGBT Rights Movement To Apartheid, Denies Ever Leading Pressure Campaigns

The Catholic League has rallied to the defense of their anti-gay allies the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family as a reaction to a campaign by LGBT rights and women’s rights advocates to have corporations drop out of the Charity Give Back Group, which sponsors the FRC and Focus. The Charity Give Back Group (formerly known as the Christian Values Network) allows customers to shop in a virtual mall and direct proceeds to CGBG affiliated groups, which led to complaints as a number of the CGBG’s charities are actually anti-choice and anti-gay political groups.

Yesterday, Bill Donohue joined Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, on his radio program Washington Watch. “Radical proponents of gay marriage have taken the culture war to the marketplace,” Donohue said in a statement on the CGBG controversy, charging them with declaring “economic war against any organization that embraces the Judeo-Christian understanding of marriage.” He told activists: “If these extremists get their way, they will silence the Christian voice. Which is why the bullies must be defeated.”

Of course, it is ironic for the Catholic League to accuse “extremists” of trying to “silence” the voices of their opponents, seeing as that Donohue led the successful push for the Smithsonian to censor their exhibit on LGBT-themed art.

But the irony doesn’t end there.

During his interview with Perkins, Donohue denied that Religious Right organizations like the Catholic League or the Family Research Council lead similar pressure campaigns, saying “our side doesn’t do likewise,” continuing, “I don’t want people to say, ‘oh well you know Catholics and Protestants and Christians in general when we don’t get our way we try to do the same thing through retaliation,’ we do not.” He asserted, “we’re not asking companies, corporations to take sides in the culture war…we’re not asking for reprisal against those people with whom we disagree, we just leave the marketplace to itself.”

Donohue also warned Perkins that just as South Africa’s white minority held power for decades under the racist Apartheid system, supporters of gay rights can do the same in America:

If people don’t realize what we’re up against here, they may be a minority but you know it was a minority of people in South Africa who took away the rights of Black people. You can be a well-organized minority in this country here such as those on the left, gay and straight alike, and have a tremendous amount of influence if you have this lust and appetite for power.

While we already know that the Family Research Council backed pressure campaigns against companies like Wal-Mart and McDonalds, the Catholic League under Donohue has led countless boycotts and pressure campaigns.

Here are some of the companies and programs that Donohue launched what he would call “retaliation” and “reprisal” campaigns against: Disney; 20th Century Fox; Wal-Mart; ‘The Golden Compass;’ Miller; Showtime, and CBS, which it promised to face the “biggest boycott in history” if CBS hired Howard Stern.

So remember, when LGBT rights and women’s rights advocates ask companies to drop out of a service that directs money to right-wing political organizations, it’s “economic war,” but when Religious Right groups lead boycotts and pressure campaigns against companies, they are simply standing up for their values.

CGBG Helps Finance Rabidly Anti-Gay Liberty Counsel

Since the Charity Give Back Group was forced to defend its financing of right-wing organizations like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, spokesman Kevin McCullough (who himself has propagated virulent anti-gay rhetoric) has stated that the campaign to have companies withdraw from the CGBG represents bullying. Tony Perkins, the president of the FRC, even said it was an attempt to “censor” Christians. After Apple dropped out of the CGBG, which was previously known as the Christian Values Network, McCullough told The Christian Post, “We're not asking Apple to embrace our position or the other side's position. We just want them to stay neutral,” and the FRC is calling on activists to tell companies to “remain neutral in the current cultural battles.”

But by indirectly assisting the FRC and Focus on the Family, two of the major ‘culture war’ players, companies listed in the CGBG’s virtual mall are inadvertently finding themselves anything but ‘neutral’ parties. Both groups are heavily involved in the electoral politics and lobbying, which makes it difficult to consider them purely charitable organizations. FRC is one of the most prominent Religious Right advocacy groups in Washington D.C., and Focus on the Family has a policy arm (CitizenLink) dedicated to political activism. If companies really wanted to ‘remain neutral in the current cultural battles,’ that is more reason to drop out of the CGBG’s list.

While FRC and Focus have received the most attention, another group listed as an affiliated organization is Liberty Counsel.

Liberty Counsel is a sister organization of Liberty University and Liberty Action, part of the network established by the late Jerry Falwell. Liberty Counsel’s Liberty Alerts depict their legal victories as “Gaining Ground in the Culture War,” and the head of Liberty Counsel, Mat Staver, wrote a book called Take Back America that he descried a Liberty Action flyer called “an Invaluable Resource to Help Win the Intensifying Culture War!” Staver’s deputy at Liberty Counsel Matt Barber even described liberalism as “hatred for God” and demanded President Obama’s impeachment for providing family benefits to federal employees in domestic partnerships. Most recently, they defended Lisa Miller, who kidnapped her daughter and fled the country to escape a court order granting her former partner custody of the child, and the Florida teacher who used his Facebook to post anti-gay messages. Like FRC and Focus, Liberty Counsel consistently propagates the most stringent anti-gay rhetoric.

Barber has argued that marriage equality is “rebellion against God,” held that gay and lesbian youth who commit suicide do it because they intuitively know homosexuality is “immoral” and called anti-bullying programs part of a “a homosexual activist political indoctrination agenda.” Such anti-gay rhetoric is extremely similar to that used of the FRC and Focus. The FRC’s Perkins claimed that homosexuality is “man shaking his fist in the face of God” and said that gay and lesbian children are likely to commit suicide because they “recognize intuitively that their same-sex attractions are abnormal.” Focus on the Family led the push against anti-bullying programs across the country, calling them efforts “to promote homosexuality to kids.”

Liberty Counsel and the FRC also defended Malawi’s law that criminalizes homosexuality and attacked American efforts to alter it.

Despite right-wing criticisms of the pressure campaign on companies tied to the CGBG, Liberty Counsel launched their own pressure campaign against schools that allowed students to participate in the ‘Day of Silence,’ which protested anti-gay bullying. Liberty Counsel also conducts an annual campaign against companies that they believe are supposedly undermining Christians, and Staver calls on customers to “shop elsewhere” if the store is not seen as sufficiently respectful of Christmas.

Liberty Counsel even joined forces with the militantly anti-gay Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Illinois Family Institute, and the American Family Association to launch a boycott and pressure campaign against McDonalds after it made a donation to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Barber lashed out at McDonalds for working with “militant homosexual activists” in front of their company headquarters.

Who else supported the boycott and pressure campaign against McDonalds?

Why, none other than the Family Research Council, which supported the boycott against McDonalds and lauded “McDonald’s agreement to stop financing the homosexual agenda.”

Now, will FRC and its allies please stop complaining that pressure campaigns against companies represent “discrimination” and the undue influence of ‘cultural battles’ into the corporate world? Probably not.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • When something appears as a WorldNetDaily exclusive, you know that it is important and that you can trust the reporting.
  • Hey, remember when Scott Lively was going to give up his anti-gay activism? So much for that.
  • It turns out that the recent Traditional Values Coalition attacks on wasteful spending were totally misleading. Who would have guessed?
  • Looks like the next Awakening conference will be in Florida instead of at Liberty U.
  • Bryan Fischer defends Rick Perry.
  • Finally, quote of the day from Gary Bauer: "Men and women of faith cannot sit on the sidelines while the culture war rages on. Homosexuality is out of the closet and the tyrants of tolerance are trying to force anyone who believes in traditional values into the closet."

Liberty Counsel Lawyer Releases Book About The Lisa Miller Saga

In early 2010, Lisa Miller kidnapped her daughter and fled the country in order to avoid a court order telling her to hand over her daughter to her former partner due to her repeated refusal to abide by custody arrangements.

For years, Miller had been represented in court by lawyers at Liberty Counsel who worked to turn this new-found "ex-gay" Christian into a Religious Right cause célèbre.  At least until Miller disappeared, at which point Liberty Counsel went silent and started frantically trying to wash its hands of its involvement, which made sense considering that by kidnapping her daughter and fleeing, Miller was engaging in civil disobedience in order to uphold God's law, exactly as instructed by her lawyers.

To this day, Liberty Counsel continues to claim that they have no idea where Miller and her daughter have gone, despite the fact that they were reportedly living in a home owned by the father of a woman who worked directly for Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen.

Lindevaldsen, in fact, was Miller's lead attorney who tried to get herself removed from the case after Miller disappeared only to have her effort rejected by the judge.

But that was years ago and now Lindevaldsen is apparently so proud of her efforts that she has actually written about book about it:

Have you ever wondered... "What can I do to help those involved in homosexuality?" "How extensive is the culture war over marriage and family?" "What are they exposing our children to in schools?" Or, perhaps... "Why should I even care?" This book answers those questions and more! Only One Mommy exposes the truth about the homosexual rights movement and its destructive consequences. Written from the vantage point of Lisa Miller's seven-year custody battle for her biological child against her former same-sex partner, Only One Mommy offers a first-hand account of how people are lured into believing that they are born "gay" and cannot change. As a result of that belief, they make life choices that have devastating consequences for our children, families, and freedoms. This book offers truth to those struggling with homosexuality, encourages churches to minister to those caught in the lifestyle, and stirs freedom-loving Americans to get involved in the culture war that is raging all around them. Rena Lindevaldsen is a leading legal expert in the battle to defend traditional family and marriage. Written from the front lines of the cultural battle, Only One Mommy offers a rare glimpse into a woman's personal struggle with same-sex attractions and the seven-year legal struggle to keep custody of her biological daughter.

I have just ordered a copy, so I will bring you updates which I receive and have a chance to read it.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

Home Depot Employee Supports AFA Boycott Against His Employer

Yesterday we noted that executives of the American Family Association had attended a Home Depot board meeting to inform the company that Christians would boycott their stores until they decided to drop their support for equality and diversity and "remain neutral in the culture war." 

According to the AFA, Home Depot basically told them to take a hike ... and today Bryan Fischer, the AFA's official spokesbigot, conducted an interview with an anonymous fourteen year Home Depot employee named "Robert" who alleged that there is a culture of intimidation and discrimination against Christians within the organization and encouraged Christians to support the AFA's boycott by voting with their dollars until Home Depot changes its policy:

Home Depot Tells AFA To Take A Hike

For months, the American Family Association has been running a boycott against Home Depot because the company "has chosen to sponsor and participate in numerous gay pride parades and festivals."

Today, the AFA's Executive Vice President, Buddy Smith, traveled to a Home Deport board meeting to present the company with a petition bearing nearly a half-million names of those who have vowed to stop shopping at Home Deport stores until the company decides to "remain neutral in the culture war."

But according to this update Smith gave to Bryan Fischer today, it sounds like the Home Depot Chairman Frank Blake basically told the AFA to take a hike and reiterated their commitment to promoting diversity.  Smith was especially troubled by this stance because, as everyone knows, "those who are caught in this trap of homosexuality are in the clasp of Satan":

Bryan Fischer Takes On Sears For Selling Porn

In addition to their boycott drives against Glee and Home Depot for allegedly promoting homosexuality, the American Family Association recently launched a campaign against Sears for “offering hard-core pornographic DVDs and music.” The AFA claims that Sears initially denied selling such material but ultimately apologized.

Bryan Fischer, the AFA’s Director of Issues Analysis, is now gloating about his investigative ‘research’ into Sears’ porn videos and successful drive to purge porn from the company’s website and defeat “the forces of secular fundamentalism”:

To prove our case, in the face of Sears’ denials, we ordered an explicit pornographic DVD right off the Sears website. The title of the DVD: “Hot Mamas Love Young Chicks 3.” I have not screened this video, but rest assured it is not a documentary about attractive Midwestern farmers’ wives running egg hatcheries.

We’ve got the packing slip with the Sears label and the title of the DVD right there in front of God and everybody. We included a copy of this packing slip in the action alert we sent out last Thursday to our 2.3 million member network, an action alert in which we urged our members to contact the CEO of Sears directly and complain.



Sears’ capitulation came so suddenly and unexpectedly that the next edition of our monthly AFA Journal, which was already in the mail, contains a feature piece on Sears’ intransigence. The surrender came too late for us to update the piece, and so Sears may well be getting many additional phone calls from faithful readers of the Journal, which will simply serve as a welcome reminder to Sears to take care of their knitting in the future.

I close my radio program every day by reminding my listeners that “we are fighting a winnable war.” What this episode proves is that even a Goliath like Sears can be brought to its knees when enough pro-family Americans care enough to act on their values by making a single phone call.

Edmund Burke famously said that all it takes for evil to triumph “is for good men to do nothing.” In this case, good men did something rather than nothing, and helped to the get the mind of a retail giant right in the process.

We are locked in a culture war with the forces of secular fundamentalism, a fight for the soul of this country, and as Sears has just proved, this is a war that can be won.

 

Right Wing Round-Up

FRC: Washington DC Losing Black Population Because Of Planned Parenthood

Washington DC Mayor Vince Gray along with a number of City Councilmen were arrested on Monday for protesting the budget deal which eliminates the city’s right to use local tax dollars to help low-income women access reproductive healthcare. The Family Research Council responded by saying that Gray and other pro-choice officials were actually responsible for the falling black population in the city. The Washington Post reports that recent census data shows that African Americans will soon make up less than 50% of the city’s population, “with the city’s black population dropping by about 1 percent a year.” Analysts point to rising unemployment and the city’s rapid gentrification with “rising rents and soaring property taxes” pushing much of the working class black community out of the city.

But the Family Research Council says the real reason is legal abortion. Adding to the anti-choice movement’s strategy of claiming that abortion providers are trying to commit genocide against African Americans, the FRC said in an email alert to members that the city’s declining black community is because “the local Planned Parenthood clinics are doing their job.” While the FRC uses no evidence to back up its claim that Planned Parenthood “actively targets African-Americans” and is responsible for the city’s loss of black residents, the group also spews out false, discredited claims that the women’s health organization is tied to “child prostitution, sex abuse, [and] statutory rape”:

According to pundits, this was supposed to be the year that social issues took a backseat to the economy. Apparently, Democrats didn't get the memo. If the last six weeks proved anything, it's that the culture war is alive and well--and lurking in the halls of Congress. When the dust finally settled from last week's budget talks, Americans learned that it wasn't conservatives with a one-track mind. It was the White House and Senate leadership, who thought it was worth putting more than 800,000 people out of work to satisfy the single-issue abortion supporters in their ranks. "Thanks to the way this deal was struck," the Wall Street Journal says, "we have a reminder that it was the Democratic President--and not the Republican Speaker--who stood on ideology." To those inside the Oval Office, "...it was 'chilling' to see how inflexible Mr. Obama was." But as far as liberals are concerned, an attack on abortion is an attack on the Democratic Party. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) obviously thought so. He was so angry about the ban on taxpayer-funded abortion in the District that he and 41 others plopped down in the middle of Constitution Avenue yesterday to protest. "The District restrictions that were part of the budget deal reached Friday were unacceptable," Gray said, after he was hauled away by Capitol police. "It's an outrageous position... All we want is to be able to spend our own money." Like his party, the Mayor was willing to stand in the way of progress at a major crossroads to protect taxpayer-funded abortion.

And for what? According to the latest D.C. census, the number of African-Americans in the city is alarmingly low. In one decade, "the black population dropped by more than 39,000." Experts say the percentages haven't been this low since World War II. Do liberals think that's a coincidence? Obviously, the local Planned Parenthood clinics are doing their job. So while Vincent Gray rages on about taxation without abortion representation, he should stop and consider where his city would be in another 10 years without the legislation. If you thought that black children were endangered before, imagine if the city could continue promoting free abortions to local women.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood, the group that most actively targets African-Americans, is awaiting its federal funding fate. As part of the budget compromise, President Obama agreed to give the Senate a vote on language to zero out Planned Parenthood's tax dollars. "Surely it tells you something about who the real extremists are that an up-or-down vote is deemed a 'concession,'" William McGurn wrote. Help your members take advantage of the opportunity. Contact your Senators and remind them that there are plenty of legitimate health clinics out there that will provide services to women other than abortion. And 99% of them probably haven't been implicated in child prostitution, sex abuse, or statutory rape!

Scott Lively Rails Against "Sodomites," Claims Gay Rights Are The "Antithesis" Of Human Rights

As Kyle noted in March, Religious Right activist Scott Lively is keeping up his attacks on gays despite a lengthy Boston Globe profile on how Lively is “toning down his antigay rhetoric.” Writing for his organization Defend the Family International, Lively discusses how his review of historic religious and political documents has corroborated his fierce opposition to gay-rights, and goes on to argue that gay-rights is simply “the ‘right’ to spread sexual disease and dysfunction” and is the “antithesis of genuine human rights.”

Reading these documents one is struck by the continuity of several basic themes, central among them the protection religious freedom and family values. Equally striking in today’s context is the total absence of protection for homosexual practice or identity. Rather, we find express condemnation of homosexuality in several documents, and implied hostility to it through the remainder. Indeed, the most reasonable assumption of human rights jurisprudence is that so called “gay rights” are the antithesis of genuine human rights because they both undermine the sexual order on which family values depend, and contradict the fundamental tenets of the major world religions.



Consider the magnitude of what our generation is witnessing. Neither the four millennia of legal precedent, nor the opinions of the vast majority of the people of the world, nor the power or the authority of the worlds religions across the globe, nor the painful lessons of secular history of the consequences of sexual perversion to civilizations have proved sufficient to stop a relatively tiny group of sodomites from taking the reins of Western power and creating new rights for themselves at the world’s expense.

It is insanity, and I am afraid that it may be terminal. When the “right” to spread sexual disease and dysfunction supersedes the right to discourage such things in the courtrooms and legislatures of the world’s ruling powers their end is likely near.

Just as Lively warned that a “relatively tiny group of sodomites” is attempting to take “the reins of Western power,” he told OneNewsNow that gay-rights activists in California have “consolidated power entirely” in order to accomplish the “overthrow of the biblical model of family”:

"They're really the driving force behind all the different elements of what we call 'the culture war,'" he shares. "They haven't been visible in doing this, but they've been the driving force -- because their essential goal as a movement is the overthrow of the biblical model of family."

Lively explains that the city of San Francisco has a high concentration of homosexual power, and the city has taken direct action against the Catholic Church and against businesses that do not support homosexuality. He expects the same radical agendas to be prevalent throughout the state in the near future.

He points out that during the signature collection process for Proposition 8 -- a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman -- those who penned their support for the initiative were openly targeted. "They posted [the names of supporters] on the Internet," he exclaims. "They encouraged all their activists to go after those people -- and that's before they even have consolidated power entirely."

Right Wing Round-Up

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Culture War Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 01/21/2010, 2:30pm
Sometimes words fail ... like when Peter LaBarbera chimes in on Uganda's "kill the gays" bill to claim that the US has no business lecturing Uganda about homosexuality and demand an explanation of why Warren Throckmorton, who opposes the bill, is still employed at Grove City College: Folks, I’ve been trying to avoid the Ugandan “Culture War” on homosexuality because I figure we’re busy enough with our own here in the USA. But that hasn’t stopped American homosexual activists and fellow travelers like Professor Warren Throckmorton of the “... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 01/15/2010, 12:56pm
Supporters of the right-wing culture war manifesto, The Manhattan Declaration, seem really intent on getting one million signatures. Focus of the Family has a piece on its website yesterday, claiming that 375,000 have already signed and urging others to join them. And now Catholic Archbishops are doing their part to get people to sign on as well: Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia, Archbishop Wuerl of Washington, DC, Archbishop Dolan of New York and Archbishop Kurtz of Louisville reached out to all of their brother Catholic bishops asking them to spread this document throughout their dioceses... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 12/28/2009, 12:32pm
I have no idea what Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne has been doing for the last year, but whatever it was has apparently kept him in some sort of cave.  How else do you explain this column?  It is 2009's quiet story -- quiet because it's about what didn't happen, which can be as important as what did. In this highly partisan year, we did not see a sharpening of the battles over religion and culture. Yes, we continued to fight over gay marriage, and arguments about abortion were a feature of the health-care debate. But what's more striking is that other issues -- notably... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 12/16/2009, 10:57am
Earlier this year, GOProud, a new gay conservative group, appeared on the scene intent on finding ways to sell the conservative agenda to gays.  Their approach has been to eschew the "traditional" gay issues like hate crimes protections or the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in favor arguing that healthcare reform would be bad for gays, that "the inheritance tax is really a gay tax," or claiming that the best way to stop hate crimes is to expand gun ownership. But GOProud does also support things like marriage equality and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 12/02/2009, 2:34pm
I realize that the Religious Right activists who produced and signed onto the "Manhattan Declaration" culture war manifesto view themselves as courageous voices standing against American's descent into Nazi-like totalitarianism, vowing never to forsake their beliefs even if it means exile, prison, or death. Already they've compared themselves to Martin Luther and those who resisted the Nazis, and Chuck Colson even proclaimed that their press conference was like a gathering in Heaven and these sorts of over-the-top, self-aggrandizing comparisons, like this one from Jill Stanek,... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 12/01/2009, 11:56am
I don't know about you, but the gathering of right-wing leaders for the Manhattan Declaration press conference last month is not my exactly my idea of "heaven" ... but then again, I'm not Chuck Colson: There, in front of all those cameras and lights, Christian leaders lovingly, winsomely, and firmly took a stand. I will never forget the picture. I stood between Archbishop Wuerl of Washington and Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia. I looked over at Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Jim Daly of Focus on the Family, and Ron Sider, president of Evangelicals... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 11/24/2009, 11:56am
As I was going through my RSS reader today, I saw a headline from a OneNewsNow article on Will Phillips, the 10 year old boy in Arkansas who says he cannot pledge allegiance to the United States while it continues to deny equality to the LGBT community, and thought to myself "I'll bet that article quotes Matt Barber." And sure enough, it does: Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel believes the boy has been "utterly manipulated and exploited by adult moral relativists who are indirectly using him and other children as political pawns in the burgeoning culture war that is reaching... MORE