culture wars

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet: Ominous Rumblings From the Right

As I noted last week, it appears as if the Religious Right's primary plan for upholding Proposition 8 and preventing marriage equality is not so much to argue why stopping gay marriage is necessary and constitutional, but rather to simply warn that there will be hell to pay if they are not.

That certainly seems to be what Bruce Hausknecht of Focus on the Family's Citizenlink is saying:

"I will say that the Supreme Court, even the liberals on the court, ought to be thinking at least twice about the culture wars they will ignite -- just like they did with Roe v. Wade -- if they were to affirm this ruling," he replies.

That said, the analyst suggests that the Supreme Court justices leave the matter up to the states. "They would be smart, even if they want to uphold liberal ideals, to leave this in the legislatures' hands around the country," he says.

Gee, gay marriage would ignite a culture war?  That would be new and utterly unprecedented.  

What exactly does Hausknecht think is taking place now? 

Daniels: "Atheism Leads to Brutality" and Will Destroy America

Over the last several weeks, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has been under attack from Religious Right activists for his statement that the nation needed to call a "truce" in the culture wars in order to focus on more important issues.

Obviously, social conservatives refuse to accept any such truce, as fighting the culture war is their entire reason for existing and have begun questioning Daniels' conservative bona fides.

But that is clearly unjustified because, as this interview with him from December demonstrates, he clearly shares their worldview:

Mellinger: Is there part of you that is bothered by the aggressive atheism of a [Sam] Harris, a [Christopher] Hitchens, a [Richard] Dawkins? And what I mean is... this atheism is a little different than atheism has been in the past because it does seek to convert people.

Daniels: I'm not sure it's all that new. People who reject the idea of a God -who think that we're just accidental protoplasm- have always been with us. What bothers me is the implications -which not all such folks have thought through- because really, if we are just accidental, if this life is all there is, if there is no eternal standard of right and wrong, then all that matters is power.

And atheism leads to brutality. All the horrific crimes of the last century were committed by atheists -Stalin and Hitler and Mao and so forth- because it flows very naturally from an idea that there is no judgment and there is nothing other than the brief time we spend on this Earth.

Everyone's certainly entitled in our country to equal treatment regardless of their opinion. But yes, I think that folks who believe they've come to that opinion ought to think very carefully, first of all, about how different it is from the American tradition; how it leads to a very different set of outcomes in the real world.

Do Not Underestimate The Right's Opposition to Gov. Daniels' Truce

Several weeks ago, Gov. Mitch Daniels set off a firestorm when he suggested calling a truce in the culture wars in order to focus the nation on addressing economic and security issues. 

Needless to say, that suggestion did not sit well with the Religious Right, since fighting culture war issues is their main priority.  But eventually the story ran its course and the attacks on Daniels subsided as everyone involved moved on to other issues. 

Or so we thought ... but apparently the Family Research Council is still upset about it since FRC Senior Fellow Robert Morrison just wrote an op-ed attacking Daniels once again that ran in the Indianapolis Star

Daniels' supporters had been defending him on the grounds that he has a solid pro-life conservative record and thus he could get away with calling for a truce because nobody could question his credentials.  But it looks like that is not the case, as Morrison slams Daniels for allowing Planned Parenthood to host a fundraiser in the Governor's mansion and slams his "blinkered view [of] prosperity [with] no moral foundation": 

What Mitch Daniels missed in his call for a "truce" in the culture clash -- a call he has adamantly repeated in recent days -- is that we can no more be quiet about the slaughter of innocents than we can about the plundering of the next generation's hopes for prosperity.

Planned Parenthood hosted a fundraiser in the Indiana governor's residence. No pro-life governor would allow that. If we accept that, how can we complain when Gov. Kathleen Sebelius invites the grisliest of partial-birth abortionists to her governor's mansion? Is it somehow OK because Daniels is a Republican?

...

The Republicans have ever been a party of enterprise. This is not wrong. Abraham Lincoln believed passionately in "the right to rise." He unleashed great engines of wealth production in the form of new inventions and a trans-continental railroad. Even with the tragedy and destruction of the Civil War, American industry and agriculture prospered.

But what saved Lincoln's new Republican Party from being dismissed as advocates only for "Golden Calf" politics -- a soulless worship of great wealth -- was its basic commitment to human dignity, to the right of every man to eat the bread his own hands had earned.

Daniels misses all this. He does not understand that human life is the basis for all wealth. President Reagan's Mexico City Doctrine was not just a cutoff of federal funds from the death-dealing minions of Planned Parenthood. It was importantly that, but much, much more.

Reagan's Mexico City Doctrine boldly declared that human creativity and human procreativity were the indispensable sources of all wealth. Every farmer knows you cannot prosper if you eat the seed corn ... We know that where there is no vision the people perish. With Mitch Daniels' blinkered view, the perishing will continue apace, and prosperity will have no moral foundation.

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Outbreed 'Em

The AFA's Bryan Fischer points to an article reporting on a study that has found that more American women are choosing not to have children and sees in it an opportunity for Christians to ultimately gain complete social, cultural, and political dominance by simply breeding more

What this means quite simply is that liberals are breeding themselves out of existence ... All this represents a marvelous opportunity for conservatives. We can regain political control of this country by simply following the biblical mandate to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” This cultural mandate from God, as recorded in Genesis 1:28, has never been rescinded. It is as much in effect today as the moment it was first uttered.

...

Since we need to make up for the childbearing aversion of our secular fundamentalist friends, perhaps each conservative family can set out to have at least four children. It won’t be too long before our poor, outflanked elites will be so badly outnumbered by a new generation imbued with the values of the Judeo-Christian tradition they may have to start having children of their own just to fight back and retain a sliver of cultural influence ... Let the left rant and hyperventilate and blow up like puffer fish responding to these notions. While they erupt and steam, we will quietly go about the task of building our families and training up cultural warriors for the next generation. Let them fume in their childless rage while we celebrate the joys of parenthood and along the way implement a sure-fire long range strategy for taking our country back.

More Right Wing Opposition to Daniels' Call for a "Truce"

Conservative activists continue to pile on Gov. Mitch Daniels for suggesting a "truce" in the culture wars, with Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council citing this statement from Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values:

Unless he knows something we don’t, using the word “truce” when family values are under increasing attack can only mean surrender. Does he have knowledge that the other side is going to stop performing abortions during this “truce”? Are homosexual activists going to stop promoting same-sex marriage during this “truce”? Is what Governor Daniels really wants is for the pro-family movement to stop talking about his record so he can run for President?

For his part, McClusky suggests that Daniels ought to be trying to address fiscal issues by defunding groups that support reproductive choice:

If a President Daniels were to cut funding to these organizations as long as they performed and promoted abortions he could save taxpayers millions of dollars, while also possibly saving hundreds of thousands of lives every year. If he is serious about a “truce” on social issues he needs to make sure that he doesn’t continue taxpayer funding of one side during this so called “truce.” That is something nearly a decade of Republican rule in DC failed to do and would make him a hero of social and fiscal conservatives alike.

Meanwhile, Frank Cannon, who is the President of American Principles Project and Treasurer of the Susan B. Anthony List, calls Daniels' proposal a "profound insult to the public’s intelligence" and likens it to "asking the kid being pummeled by the schoolyard bully to stand down": 

The Hoosier governor’s truce talk is wrong on so many levels. It needlessly demeans one portion of the conservative coalition – the “ethnic, Catholic (and, more recently, evangelical) blue collar” vote that Ronald Reagan led into fealty with the GOP’s traditional hawks and economic conservatives. And social conservatives are not just a portion of that coalition – they hold views on issues like federal abortion funding and protecting the definition of marriage that represent a significant majority.

Second, calling for a truce on social issues is a little like asking the kid being pummeled by the schoolyard bully to stand down. All the kid is doing is holding his hands in front of his face to ward off the blows. Social conservatives did not launch campaigns to exploit the definition of marriage for their own gain, whatever that would mean. Instead, they have only fought to preserve the natural and perennial status of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. They have faced, and in most cases defeated, judicial elites who have sought to impose same-sex marriage on the populace.

...

At the end of the day, Mitch Daniels’ truce talk is a profound insult to the public’s intelligence. Defenders of life in the womb and the marital bond cannot sit back while yet another administration tells them to take a pounding because “bigger issues” like excess government spending deserve all the attention.

Daniels Says He'd Reinstate Mexico City, But Stands By His Call For a Truce

When the story first broke last week that Gov. Mitch Daniels was calling for a "truce" in the culture wars in order to focus on economic and national security issues, he was asked if he would reinstate the Mexico City Policy if he became president, to which he replied "I don't know."

Needless to say, that did not go over well with the social conservatives, so it comes as no surprise that Daniels is now telling Michael Gerson that he would, in fact, reinstate it immediately

"I would reinstate the Mexico City policy," Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told me, removing an uncertainty of his own creation. Promoting abortion with international family planning funds is one of "a thousand things we shouldn't be spending money on."

But despite his backtracking on this one issue, Daniels is standing by his original call for a truce:

Daniels' clarification on Mexico City shows his realism. But his continued insistence on the idea of a truce shows his stubbornness -- a defining characteristic. "If there were a WMD attack, death would come to straights and gays, pro-life and pro-choice," he told me. "If the country goes broke, it would ruin the American dream for everyone. We are in this together. Whatever our honest disagreements on other questions, might we set them aside long enough to do some very difficult things without which we will be a different, lesser country?

...

Daniels admits, "No one may take the offer. ... But I'm not prepared to give up on the idea we can address this thing. If we can't -- well, the cynics were right. But somebody has to try."

Daniels Doubles Down

Last week, when writing about the Religous Right's outrage over Gov. Mitch Daniels' suggestion that we needed to call a "truce" in the culture wars in order to focus on bigger problems, I predicted that Daniels would respond by claiming that he had been taken out of context or that he point was being misinterpreted.

That shows how much I know, because Mark Hemingway reports that yesterday Daniels called him to assure him that he is entirely serious: 

Daniels called me to say that he's dead serious about the need for the next president to declare a truce. "It wasn't something I just blurted out," he told me. "It's something I've been thinking about for a while."

He's emphasized the need to focus like a laser beam on the existential threats facing the country -- the two big issues he's previously identified being the war on terror and the country's precarious fiscal position. "We're going to need a lot more than 50.1 percent of the country to come together to keep from becoming Greece," he said.

He did, however, want to clarify that he's not just singling out controversial social issues. "I'm talking about all divisive issues," he said. Clear and unified priorities are the only way he sees the country rallying around common purposes.

When I pressed him, Daniels did seem to concede that perhaps he hadn't taken into account how the D.C. media would respond to his remarks by playing up the controversy. But Daniels repeatedly affirmed that this is a serious governing proposal, not an electoral strategy or a case where a politician tells people what he thinks they want to hear.

I think it is pretty obvious that this is not some sort of "electoral strategy or a case where a politician tells people what he thinks they want to hear" because this is exactly the opposite of what the Religious Right wants to hear, which would be an absolutely horrible electoral strategy.

Huckabee Issues Second Statement Condemning Any "Truce," Saying Morality Is Key To Protecting The Economy

Mike Huckabee has already weighed in on Gov. Mitch Daniels statement that there might need to be a "truce" in the culture wars so that we can focus on economic issues, saying that he "cannot" and "will not" ever accept such a truce.

That seemed pretty clear, but apparently Huckabee was not content to let this issue go and so he has released a second statement saying that, contrary to Daniels' assertion that social issues must be put aside in favor of economic ones, it is actually the morality at root of the social issue fights that can solve our economic problems: 

Sadly, Gov. Daniels is not alone in his way of thinking and it’s not a new concept. During the last presidential election – many reporters, Republicans and Democrats suggested the same moratorium on morality. The political winds began to whisper of stopping the discussion on morality and starting the discussion on the “important issues.”

Let me be clear – MORALITY AND THE ECONOMY are inextricably linked.

• The collapse of morality and ethical business practices preceded the collapse of Wall Street – unchecked greed caused the downfall;

• A decrease in morality preceded an increase in the prison population – state budgets via taxes, increase every year to pay for prisons; and,

• We don’t emphasize character in our public schools, and ignorance is expensive-- a national high school drop out rate of 1 in 3 students produces poverty – crippling our economy in countless ways.

I’m not saying Wall Street, prisons and poverty are not the only influences on our economy – there are countless others – nor am I saying morality solves every economic crisis we face. But I am saying strong moral fiber would prevent many of our nation’s economic disasters.

Should we focus on the economy and the staggering and crippling debt? Absolutely! But I fear that talk of a “truce” means that we are making excuses for compromise on moral issues, and there is no need to separate economic issues from the social issues. We can and must focus on both.

Now is not the time to shift focus from moral issues we need to shift focus toward moral issues.

The idea that there is a "connection between traditional social issues like abortion and gay marriage and the economy" has been the Religious Right's standard response ever since the economy tanked back in 2008 ...and apparently it is one that they are sticking with. 

Daniels: Truce Talk "Just a Suggestion"

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has now responded to the outrage from the Religious Right to his statement that we need to call a "truce" in the culture wars in order to focus on economic issues.

And while Daniels is neither backing down or defending it, he does seem to think that the Religious Right ought to be able to discuss the suggestion like rational adults ... good luck with that approach:

Daniels, talking to reporters in Indiana, said his remarks were “just a suggestion,” and a reflection of the fact that he believes the nation has to focus on the soaring debt and national security threats.

“It’s an expression of the urgency I think all Americans should feel about certain other questions. The debt burden, which I think literally threatens not just our economy but America’s role in the world, and the threat of nuclear terror -- or weapons of mass destruction, I should say, in the hands of people who are perfectly willing to use them,” he said.

“I really believe that for the first time the future of the American experiment is at risk. It’s a thought that maybe we could agree to disagree. I picked the word truce because no one has to change their point of view, no one has to surrender. Just that we might simply try to come together, I think it will take that if we’re going to address what I believe are the most urgent problems of the country.”

Huckabee Joins The Fray, Saying He "Cannot" and "Will Not" Accept a Truce In the Culture Wars

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is, predictably, getting hammered from social conservatives for his statement that the next president will have to call a "truce" in the culture war in order to focus on economic issues.

He has already been blasted by Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council and right-wing activists continue to pile on:

Others, like Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute and an early supporter of 2008 presidential hopeful John McCain, says Daniels will have a hard time winning the GOP nomination if he demurs on pro-life issues.

“Something like this will cost him any consideration from one of the key constituencies of the Republican Party," he told LifeNews.com.

...

Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America -- a group that has spearheaded efforts to oppose Elena Kagan and the pro-abortion health care bill -- didn't mince words either.

"When it involves life, no one can make no a truce. There is no room for gray area, no time to play dead, and no time to stick out head in the sand. When you realize that 1.3 million babies are aborted every year, Governor Mitch Daniels’ words show a level of cowardice that is not expected from a presidential hopeful," she told LifeNews.com.

Even Mike Huckabee, who has steadily been working to establish himself as the champion of the socially conservative wing of the party, is getting in on the action ... and using it to raise donations for his HuckPAC:

I received an astonishing email today from a concerned friend who has been very influential in the fight to end the scourge of abortion.

Apparently, a 2012 Republican presidential prospect in an interview with a reporter has made the suggestion that the next President should call for a “truce” on social issues like abortion and traditional marriage to focus on fiscal problems.

In other words, stop fighting to end abortion and don’t make protecting traditional marriage a priority.

Let me be clear though, the issue of life and traditional marriage are not bargaining chips nor are they political issues. They are moral issues. I didn’t get involved in politics just to lower taxes and cut spending though I believe in both and have done it as a Governor. But I want to stay true to the basic premises of our civilization.

For those of us who have labored long and hard in the fight to educate the Democrats, voters, the media and even some Republicans on the importance of strong families, traditional marriage and life to our society, this is absolutely heartbreaking. And that one of our Republican “leaders” would suggest this truce, even more so. Governor Daniels is a personal friend and a terrific Governor, and I’m very disappointed that he would think that pro-life and pro-family activists would just lie down.

Are you ready to stop fighting for traditional marriage? I cannot. I will not.

Can you let the tragedy of abortion go unchecked while we get our financial house in order? I cannot. I will not.


A strong leader doesn’t need to focus myopically on one or two issues – but a strong leader is willing to fight for and defend their principles while rising to meet new challenges and solve all of the existing systemic problems confronting us.

For me these issues are critical. Indeed they are founding principles of my personal conservatism and part of the ideological foundation of the Republican Party. If you agree, I am asking you to help me send a signal.

...

Help me raise 2,012 new donations within the next 7 days for Huck PAC. That will help me show the importance of these issues to our Party and give us the financial resources we need to support strong conservatives who are fighting for life, traditional marriage, lower taxes, lower spending, secure borders and a strong national defense.

Help me send a strong signal – life and traditional marriage are NOT bargaining chips. Make a donation today.

A Truce In The Culture War? CWA Says "Never!"

Just yesterday I was wondering how the Religious Right would react to Gov. Mitch Daniels' statement that a "truce" needs to be called in the culture wars so that our nation can focus on more important economic issues.

Well, today we are starting to get an answer to that question as Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America tells Daniels that is never going to happen:

Republican Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana basically raised the white flag on social issues when, in an interview with the Weekly Standard yesterday, he said that the next president “would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues. We’re going to just have to agree to get along for a little while,” until economic issues are resolved.

So we’re just going to give up the fight on abortion, on euthanasia, on “gay marriage,” on all of our most sacred traditional values and morals that are just “too tough” to focus on right now? I don’t think so.

Conservatives are more revved up than ever before, having come together to fight the health care reform bill and taxpayer-funded abortion. Pro-life leaders are rising up out of college campuses and at the ballot box. Polling shows that more Americans are pro-life than pro-abortion, and pro-lifers are younger and more energetic than the aging pro-abortion feminists.

Why would we ever call a truce now? Why ever actually? Life is something we will never compromise and stop fighting for.

How Will The Right Respond to Mitch Daniels' Calls For a "Truce" in Culture Wars?

The Weekly Standard has a long profile of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and the question of whether he plans to make a run for the White House in 2012.

If Daniels does plan on running, there are a few issues the might temper support from the Religious Right, like his 1970 arrest for pot possession or his three year divorce and eventual remarriage to his wife Cheri ... but those sorts of things would probably pale in comparison to Daniels' view that a "truce" needs to be called in the culture wars so that our nation can focus on economic issues: 

“There are things that I would advance as a candidate that the playbook says are folly—suicidal,” he said. “We’d have to fundamentally change all the welfare and entitlement programs. What Bush tried to do [in proposing private accounts for Social Security] was mild compared to what needs to be done. You have to have a completely new compact for people under a certain age, for Medicare and Social Security. You’re gonna have to dramatically cut spending across the whole government, including, by the way, national defense. When Bush arrived, we were spending $300 billion on national defense, and he thought that was plenty. Now it’s, what, $800 billion?”

Beyond the debt and the deficit, in Daniels’s telling, all other issues fade to comparative insignificance. He’s an agnostic on the science of global warming but says his views don’t matter. “I don’t know if the CO2 zealots are right,” he said. “But I don’t care, because we can’t afford to do what they want to do. Unless you want to go broke, in which case the world isn’t going to be any greener. Poor nations are never green.”

And then, he says, the next president, whoever he is, “would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues. We’re going to just have to agree to get along for a little while,” until the economic issues are resolved. Daniels is pro-life himself, and he gets high marks from conservative religious groups in his state.

If there is one thing that drives social conservatives crazy, it is the insistance from Republican and conservative leaders that their agenda has to perpetually take a back seat to the party's economic platform ... so the idea of Religious Right leaders supporting a candidate who is calling for that agenda to be set aside in favor of focusing on economic issues seems rather unlikely: 

This morning, at the Heritage Foundation, I asked Daniels if that meant the next president shouldn't push issues like stopping taxpayer funding of abortion in Obamacare or reinstating the Mexico City Policy banning federal funds to overseas groups that perform abortions. Daniels replied that we face a "genuine national emergency" regarding the budget and that "maybe these things could be set aside for a while. But this doesn't mean anybody abandons their position at all. Everybody just stands down for a little while, while we try to save the republic."

To clarify whether Daniels simply wants to de-emphasize these issues or actually not act on them, I asked if, as president, he would issue an executive order to reinstate Reagan's "Mexico City Policy" his first week in office. (Obama revoked the policy during his first week in office.) Daniels replied, "I don't know."

Focus on The Family Opposes Kagan Due To Her "Commitment to the LGBT Agenda"

Last month, Focus on the Family made news when it suddenly backtracked from its earlier stance that that a Supreme Court nominee's sexual orientation was "not even pertinent" to the question of the nominee's qualifications to sit on the court.

Under pressure from militantly anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera, Focus did an about-face and declared that "someone who is a practicing homosexual is a non starter for the group," saying that "homosexual behavior is a sin" and a nominee's "character and moral rectitude should be key considerations" in opposing a nominee.

Today, President Obama nominated Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court and LaBarbera and others are already opposing her on the grounds that she might be a lesbian ... and now Focus on the Family has announced its opposition as well (Focus does not explicitly cite this issue, instead focusing on Kagan's "commitment to the LGBT agenda" as its justification): 

Focus on the Family Action Senior Vice President Tom Minnery released the following statement today in response to President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court of the United States.

“We are extremely disappointed by the President’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

“Kagan’s nomination is a triumph for liberal ideology and judicial activism. She has never been a judge, nor written a judicial opinion. In fact, she has very limited experience in the actual practice of law. Her resume reveals her to be an academic who has served liberal judges, liberal presidents, and liberal universities. Her entire career has been lived in a narrow slice of the judicial spectrum.

“Even with her sparse legal record, one thing stands out – her emotional and legal commitment to the LGBT agenda. Calling the federal prohibition against gays serving in the military ‘a profound wrong, a moral injustice of the first order,’ she argued to the Supreme Court that law schools should be allowed to exclude military recruiters from campus while still accepting hundreds of millions in federal dollars, a position which the Supreme Court unanimously rejected, including the very liberal justice she would be replacing, Justice Stevens.

“Sadly, we look for a Justice Kagan to work for the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act and the judicial imposition of same-sex marriage upon all 50 states. We expect a continuation on her part of the Leftist allegiance to abortion-on-demand as well as the standard hostility to religion in the public square that has come to epitomize the liberal wing of the court.

“Americans have time and time again voiced their desire for judges who will judge according to the text and original understanding of our laws and Constitution. It is that fidelity to our Founders’ intent for the proper role and responsibility of the judiciary that makes a good Supreme Court justice. Yet for the second time in two years, the president has nominated someone who is committed to molding the law and the Constitution into something more to their liking rather than demonstrating what should be the non-negotiable quality of judicial restraint.

“We oppose this nomination and call upon the Senate to reject it as well. America deserves better.”

Wasn't it just a few weeks ago when new Focus president Jim Daly was saying this

Yet it's clear Daly, who has met with gay activists, sees diminishing returns in continuing the culture wars.

"I'm not fearful that change will happen in America. It will happen. ... I don't know what will happen with same-sex marriage, but I'm not going to be discouraged if we lose some of those battles," he said, noting that for "98 percent" of people, traditional marriage will remain relevant.

"It's going to be difficult in this culture and the way the demographics are going right now," he went on. "You look at the under-35 age group. I think it's splitting 60-40 support for same-sex marriage. There's a lot of people in the U.S. [who] basically come to the conclusion that this is something between two adults. I will continue to defend traditional marriage, but I'm not going to demean human beings for the process."

While Daly keeps claiming that he not out to demean people and is seeking a more civil dialogue with his opponents, Minnery is running around saying that gays or anyone who supports them are morally unfit for the bench.

Maybe Focus ought to try to get its story straight.   

I Want My RTV!

Everybody get ready for the comedy and musical stylings of Randall Terry TV

We begin Broadcasting on May 10 on Two TV Stations and an On-Line Network. Watch the Clip to see Samples from the Show.

We have been working morning, noon, and night - late into the night! - to get this show ready to air.

People are giving us "two thumbs up" on what they see thus far.

I am REALLY excited, and really nervous...

This show will be funny, hard hitting, and it will call the righteous to battle in the culture wars. Beyond the call, we will TRAIN people how to fight in the epic struggle for the soul of our nation.

God bless you, and make His Face shine upon you.

Again, I beg your prayers.

Randall Terry

FRC Founding Board Member Discovered Traveling With "Rent Boy"

In 1983, George Rekers joined James Dobson and a handful of others in founding the Family Research Council.

Last month, Rekers was reportedly discovered returning from an overseas trip with a "rent boy":

On April 13, the "rent boy" (whom we'll call Lucien) arrived at Miami International Airport on Iberian Airlines Flight 6123, after a ten-day, fully subsidized trip to Europe. He was soon followed out of customs by an old man with an atavistic mustache and a desperate blond comb-over, pushing an overburdened baggage cart.

That man was George Alan Rekers, of North Miami — the callboy's client and, as it happens, one of America's most prominent anti-gay activists. Rekers, a Baptist minister who is a leading scholar for the Christian right, left the terminal with his gay escort, looking a bit discomfited when a picture of the two was snapped with a hot-pink digital camera.

Reached by New Times before a trip to Bermuda, Rekers said he learned Lucien was a prostitute only midway through their vacation. "I had surgery," Rekers said, "and I can't lift luggage. That's why I hired him." (Though medical problems didn't stop him from pushing the tottering baggage cart through MIA.)

...

For decades, George Alan Rekers has been a general in the culture wars, though his work has often been behind the scenes. In 1983, he and James Dobson, America's best-known homophobe, formed the Family Research Council, a D.C.-based, rabidly Christian, and vehemently anti-gay lobbying group that has become a standard-bearer of the nation's extreme right wing. Its annual Values Summit is considered a litmus test for Republican presidential hopefuls, and Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter have spoken there. (The Family Research Council would not comment about Rekers's Euro-trip.)

He has also influenced American politics, serving in advisory roles with Congress, the White House, and the Department of Health and Human Services and testifying as a state's witness in favor of Florida's gay adoption ban. A former research fellow at Harvard University and a distinguished professor of neuropsychiatry at the University of South Carolina, Rekers has published papers and books by the hundreds, with titles like Who Am I? Lord and Growing Up Straight: What Families Should Know About Homosexuality.

What Does Abortion Have to Do With The Race For Texas School Board?

As you undoubtedly know by now, controlling the textbooks and curriculum in Texas has long been a  focus of the Religious Right, which is why they bring in "experts" like David Barton to help shape them and why elections for seats on the Board of Education can get pretty crazy.

How crazy?  Well, as the Texas Freedom Network reports, so crazy that anti-abortion groups are robocalling voters urging them to support specific candidates in the Republican primary today: 

We have a report that Joe Pojman of the far-right Texas Alliance for Life is robocalling voters in the District 10 Texas State Board of Education race today. Pojman is letting voters know that Brian Russell, one of the candidates in tomorrow’s Republican primary for the board seat, is “pro-life.”

What in blazes does the State Board of Education have to do with abortion politics? Nothing — except for religious-right pressure groups and activists, for whom the “culture wars” are all-consuming. Telling voters about Russell’s opposition to abortion is Pojman’s way of letting religious-right voters know who should get their vote in the race for the state board seat currently held by the departing Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond. (Dunbar recruited Russell, an Austin attorney who homeschools his children, to run for the seat.)

We don’t know what Russell’s Republican opponents, Marsha Farney and Rebecca Osborne, think about abortion. But now you know the priorities of Russell and his supporters on the far-right: they have every intention of continuing to drag our children’s schools into senseless and divisive “culture war” battles even on issues that have nothing to do with public education.

A TFN reader recorded the robocall and posted the audio:

Hello, this is Dr. Joe Pojman with the Texas Alliance for Life PAC urging you to get out and vote for Brian Russell for the State Board of Education in the Republican primary election

Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 2 is Election Day.

Brian Russell is staunchly pro-life and is the only candidate to score 100% on the Texas Alliance for Life candidates survey.

Your vote is critical. Please support Brian Russell for the State Board of Education.

For more information, visit texasallianceforlife.org

AFA Declares Victory, Suspends Pepsi Boycott

The American Family Association is convinced that its crusade of Pepsi has been successful and so it has decided to suspend its boycott:

American Family Association (AFA) has suspended its boycott of PepsiCo. After monitoring the company for several months, AFA is satisfied the company has withdrawn its major financial contributions to gay activist groups.

AFA launched a boycott of PepsiCo after the company made $500,000 donations to Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in 2008. Records from PepsiCo, HRC and PFLAG indicate repeat donations did not occur in 2009.

AFA President Tim Wildmon said more than 500,000 people signed the Boycott PepsiCo Pledge.

Wildmon said a few minor issues remain, and AFA will continue to bring these to the attention of PepsiCo. “We feel we have made our point," he said. "Boycotts have been a last resort for us at AFA, and the PepsiCo boycott was started to address issues of concern to us – especially the promotion of the homosexual agenda in the culture. AFA will continue to challenge major U.S. companies to remain neutral in the culture wars rather than to use their resources to promote controversial issues.”

James Dobson Striking Out On His Own

Last February, it was announced that James Dobson was stepping down from his position as Chairman of Focus on the Family.  Following that announcement, we started seeing lots of articles claiming that Dobson had conceded the culture wars and was throwing in the towel, a claim which Dobson vigorously disputed, saying that even though he was stepping down as Chairman, we would maintain his presence as the voice of Focus on the Family's flagship radio program and continue to speak out on moral and political issues.

Then Jim Daly took over as Chairman for the organization and began hinting that we'd see a different tone from them ... but that proved to be easier said then done, with Dobson remaining that voice of the organization and agenda.  Which is why, in October, it was announced that Dobson would be leaving the Focus radio program in February.

As Dobson made clear, the decision to leave was not his, but came to him from the Board of Directors, which Dobson only accepted because God told him that he had bigger plans in mind.

Now it looks like those plans are beginning to take shape because when Dobson leaves Focus in February, he's striking out on his own and setting up a new organization and radio program that will seemingly compete directly with his former organization because, as he explains, he just cannot sit on the sidelines at a time of such "moral decline":

This is the first announcement of a brand new 30 minute daily radio program to be carried on numerous stations, beginning in March, 2010. It is called JCDs Family Forum, and will be changed soon to James Dobson on the Family. The program will be much like what you have heard on Focus on the Family for the past 33 years. It will deal with marriage, child-rearing, family finances, medical and psychological concerns, national issues, the sanctity of human life, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My son, Ryan Dobson, will co-host the program with me, which will be a exciting adventure.

...

From one perspective, it would be pleasurable for Shirley and me to get up in the morning and go to breakfast, read the newspaper, travel and be with friends. That prospect of an easy life is attractive to us. On the other hand, the institution of the family continues to be in deplorable condition, and children are growing up in a culture that often twists and warps their young minds. Furthermore, our nation is facing a crisis that threatens its very existence. We are in a moral decline of shocking dimensions. I have asked myself how I can I sit and watch the world go by without trying to help if I can. That is what motivates me at this time.

It is not fame or fortune that drives this new effort. I will not take a salary from the ministry and I have had more than my share of fame. My purpose is much like it was all those years ago when I made the most dramatic career move of my life, transitioning from a coveted professorial position in academia to a lowly little Christian radio program heard once a week on 34 stations. Tyndale House Publishers gave us a grant of $35,000 to get us started, and when that money ran out, we almost closed our doors. But then, the Lord's people reached out to us generously and the ministry caught fire. Perhaps it will happen again.

If you wish to help us get started, send your contributions to JCD's Family Forum, which will later be called James Dobson on the Family. Gifts are tax deductible and will be receipted. The address is 7150 Campus Drive, Suite 150, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80920. Contributions can also be made through the website. Your participation will be greatly appreciated, especially during this time when startup costs will be very expensive. The budget for the first year, including the costs of radio airtime, will be about two million dollars. Even a small gift for that purpose will be significant.

Once again, we will build from the ground up in a shared venture.

Please be in prayer for us as we take this step. We don't want to get ahead of or behind the Lord. If He doesn't bless our efforts to serve Him, it will all be for naught. Thank you for reading along with me today. Once again, my heart is pounding with the excitement of doing something that could be significant for others. I invite you to take the journey with us.

2009: The Year The Culture War Went Into Recession?

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 economics and the role of government -- trumped culture and religion in the public square. The culture wars went into recession along with the economy.

The most important transformation occurred on the right end of politics. For now, the loudest and most activist sections of the conservative cause are not its religious voices but the mostly secular, anti-government tea party activists.

Among the "evidence" cited by Dionne is the fact that Dick Armey, who doesn't like James Dobson, has emerged as a leader thanks to the "tea party" movement, and the fact that the fight over abortion hasn't yet sunk healthcare reform:

Even the cultural and religious conflicts that have persisted were debated at a lower volume. Going into the health-care skirmishes, both supporters and opponents of abortion rights pledged that they would not try to upset current arrangements that bar federal funding of abortion. Although they feuded bitterly over what this meant in practice, their opening positions reflected a pulling back from the brink.

Dionne's column was written one week after Religious Right leaders and Republican members of Congress gathered for a "prayercast" seeking God's intervention to prevent the passage of healthcare reform.

Over the last year, we have written more than 1500 posts chronicling various aspects of the Religious Right's increasing stridency, including several posts about the Manhattan Declaration, which was itself a proclamation that they would never stop fighting the culture wars, and James Dobson threatening to leave the country if reproductive health needs are covered by healthcare reform legislation.

Does Dionne happen to remember that Dr. George Tiller was murdered this year?  And that Wiley Drake called it an answer to his prayers, just as he was praying for President Obama's death while Randall Terry said Tiller got what was coming to him and warning that abortion coverage in healthcare reform would lead to more violence.

Does that constitute "a pulling back from the brink"?

If 2009 was a year when "the culture wars went into recession," I can't begin to imagine what "a sharpening of the battles over religion and culture" would even look like.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Interesting info: Mass Resistance started up in 1993 in Cardinal Bernard Law's residence with a bunch of people from around the state. It was mostly clergy and other related people who wanted to talk about issues having to do with the culture wars and after a series of months, Mr. Camenker was elected to run the group in late 1993. In 1994, they named themselves the "Interfaith Coalition." Later, after same sex marriage became law in the state, a blogger in the group set a up a site called "Mass Resistance," and the group changed the name. Right before that, they were known as the "Parent's Rights Coalition."
  • You know what the White House needs?  Someone with "Divine Integrity."
  • For some reason, the Washington Post thought it was a good use of space to let Sarah Palin write an op-ed about Copenhagen and climate change.
  • Anti-immigration hero and Hazleton mayor Lou Barletta is mounting yet another challenge to Rep. Paul Kanjorski.
  • It looks like Gov. Mark Sanford will escape impeachment.
  • Business Insider: Health insurance industry trade groups opposed to President Obama's health care reform bill are paying Facebook users fake money -- called "virtual currency" -- to send letters to Congress protesting the bill
  • Have you always want to see Sen. Orrin Hatch sing about Hanukkah. Well, here you go.
  • Finally, Chico The Car Guard is just like the shepherds to whom the angles announced the birth of Christ!
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culture wars Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Friday 04/15/2011, 5:02pm
Michael Keegan @ HuffPo: On Anti-Bullying 'Day of Silence,' the Religious Right Cheers on the Bullies. JoeMyGod: MassResistance On The Day Of Silence. Good As You: Pass the Bar(ber) exam: Judges must get appeal of opposite-sex coitus to understand Equal Protection. Dispatches From The Culture Wars: Texas Anti-Sharia Bill Author Admits Ignorance. Bold Faith Type: Bachmann Misleads on Abortion. Think Progress: Kyl Aide: My ‘Not Intended To Be A Factual Statement’ Statement Was Not Intended To Be A Factual Statement. MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 04/05/2011, 4:47pm
Chris Rodda @ Dispatches From the Culture Wars: Michele Bachmann Lies About Her Own Family History To Sound More Iowan. Lee Fang @ Think Progress: Bristol Palin’s Nonprofit Paid Her Seven Times What It Spent On Actual Teen Pregnancy Prevention. David Weigel: Sharia, USA: The conservative panic about Muslim laws in Oklahoma. Ryan J. Reilly @ TPM: O'Keefe Hits Up Supporters For Cash, Mingles With D.C. Conservatives. John Aravosis @ AMERICAblog: Religious right hate group accuses Calvin Klein of hiding f-bomb in scantily clad NY billboard. Media Matters... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/04/2011, 5:34pm
Brian @ PFAW Blog: Progressive Coalition Stands Up for Planned Parenthood. Michael B. Keegan @ Huffington Post: The Battle Over the Smithsonian and the Right's New Culture Wars. Alan Colmes: Sarah Palin And Daughter Bristol Are Trademarking Their Names. Ben Dimiero @ County Fair: Attention Fox Nation: There Is More Than One Version Of The Bible. Good As You: Video: 'The Second-Hand Effects of [Aligning Candidacy with The Family Leader]. DLCC: GA State Rep.: There’s No Such Thing as a Rape Victim. Adele Stan @ AlterNet: The Right... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/04/2011, 5:34pm
Brian @ PFAW Blog: Progressive Coalition Stands Up for Planned Parenthood. Michael B. Keegan @ Huffington Post: The Battle Over the Smithsonian and the Right's New Culture Wars. Alan Colmes: Sarah Palin And Daughter Bristol Are Trademarking Their Names. Ben Dimiero @ County Fair: Attention Fox Nation: There Is More Than One Version Of The Bible. Good As You: Video: 'The Second-Hand Effects of [Aligning Candidacy with The Family Leader]. DLCC: GA State Rep.: There’s No Such Thing as a Rape Victim. Adele Stan @ AlterNet: The Right... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 01/12/2011, 3:39pm
Last week, Chuck Colson used his "Two Minute Warning" to compare those who have signed the Manhattan Declaration to those who opposed the Nazis and the Soviet gulag. This week, he uses the message to declare that they will never - never! - stop fighting the culture wars, saying that it took "the gay rights crowd ... to infiltrate the schools, the media, network TV shows, to convince legislators, judges, and cultural gatekeepers that gay sex is healthy and normative" and that Christians should expect it to take just as long to restore the "traditional moral order... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 01/05/2011, 10:18am
Scott Lively has long been listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of anti-gay hate groups, thanks to his role in Uganda's "kill the gays" bill and to this book "The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party," which has recently become a favorite of Joseph Farah and WorldNetDaily. But according to a long profile in The Boston Globe, Lively claims he's "toning down his antigay rhetoric and shifting his focus to helping the downtrodden":  Every day, patrons stream to the Christian folk shows and Bible classes at Holy Grounds Coffee House,... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 01/03/2011, 5:55pm
I just wanted to point it that it has now been one year since Lisa Miller kidnapped her daughter and disappeared. NOM seems quite pleased that most of the candidates for RNC chair oppose marriage equality. Orson Scott Card says Mormon's will never forgive Mike Huckabee's "viciously anti-Mormon mockery of Mitt Romney during the 2008 campaign." Gov. Mitch Daniels stands by his call for a "truce" in the culture wars. Apparently, the fact that a Florida man was allegedly mocked for his faith is a sign of the End Times. The Christian Anti-... MORE