Education

More Right Wing Rallies Cropping Up

Earlier this week, I wrote about a series of upcoming "Winning Matters" conferences, a project of the Family Foundation of Virginia and its affiliated Pastors For Family Values, featuring Harry Jackson, Jonathan Falwell, Mat Staver, and Rick Scarborough designed to activate "values voters" in Virginia ahead of the state's off-year elections.

Today we learned that there is another, apparently somewhat affiliated, series of similar rallies taking place featuring many of these same people, but operating under the name Hope for America, which is a project of Jody Hice's Let Freedom Ring Ministries. Several rallies are scheduled for the coming weeks, mostly in Virginia, and likewise featuring Staver, Scarborough, Falwell, and even Zell Miller.

Last night one was held in Roanoke and, judging by the press coverage, it was pretty much what you'd expect for a rally organized by right-wing groups and featuring right-wing speakers like Staver and Scarborough:

The war for the soul and the government of America needs more Christian soldiers.

That was the message delivered Thursday night to about 100 attendees of the "Hope for America Rally" at Penn Forest Worship Center in Southwest Roanoke County.

"America is on the verge of destruction," the Rev. Rick Scarborough told the crowd in a booming Baptist sermon.

"You, beloved, are the hope," he said.

Scarborough is a well-known Texas minister and conservative political activist with ties to the late Rev. Jerry Falwell and several key Republican lawmakers.

In 1992, the firebrand evangelist waged a high-profile battle over sex education in Texas schools and has written several books arguing against the separation of church and state.

Mathew Staver, dean of the Liberty University School of Law, also spoke.

Sponsored by Atlanta, Ga.-based Let Freedom Ring, Thursday's rally was the first of several that are planned across Virginia. Others have been held in or are scheduled to be held in North Carolina and Georgia. Scarborough is expected to speak at many of them.

Let Freedom Ring is affiliated with Jody Hice, a pastor and conservative Christian radio personality in Atlanta and an adherent to the "Christian worldview."

Let Freedom Ring preaches that America was founded by Christian leaders and that the country's freedoms are based on biblical precepts. In its view secular values, such as the separation of church and state, abortion rights, radical feminism and gay rights, have spurred a moral and political decline that Christians must battle, not just in the pews, but in the political sphere.

...

Aaron Evans, a former Fox News radio producer from Martinsville, organized the Roanoke rally with help from The Family Foundation and other conservative Christian groups.

Scarborough preached to the crowd about the dangers of loosening sexual mores. He warned that gay rights legislation could be used to silence pastors who preach that homosexuality is a sin.

"In my lifetime, we have gone from 'Ozzie and Harriet' and 'Leave it to Beaver' ... to 'Sex in the City' and 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.'

"We've gone from spin the bottle to hooking up in the eighth grade," he said.

But, Scarborugh preached, "this nation can be saved if pastors would just understand how much God wants to save it."

This reminds me a lot of the "70 Weeks to Save America" crusade Scarborugh tried to launch a few years back that never amounted to much after his key partner, Alan Keyes, decided to run for president and Vision America ran into financial trouble. 

Apparently, this time around, Scarborough has realized that if he wants this done right, he should let somebody else organize it.

AU has more on this rally.

The Pro-Life Educators and Students (PLEAS) Pick-Up Right-Wing Support for NEA "Prayer and Picket"

Bob Pawson, national coordinator for Pro-Life Educators and Students (PLEAS), has announced that he's added a few familiar faces to his "prayer and picket" planned for the National Education Association's annual conference in San Diego on July 2nd.

Earlier this month, I wrote about Pawson's personal vendetta against the NEA, a group who is hardly an outspoken abortion advocacy group (they dedicate three sentences of their 462-page charter to reproductive rights).

Now, he's gained some support from, among others, the recently jailed Rev. Walter B. Hoye, president of Issues4Life Foundation. Along with Hoye, Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, and Rev. Patrick Mahoney of Christian Defense Coalition have pledged their support:

Bob Pawson of Pro-Life Educators and Students (PLEAS), announces, "Our growing team of pro-life coordinators now includes Jeff White from Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, Rev. Patrick Mahoney of Christian Defense Coalition, and Troy Newman of Operation Rescue, for the July 2 prayer-and-picket demonstration during the NEA teacher union convention at the San Diego Convention Center and NEA-State-Affiliate offices across America.

"These esteemed pro-life leaders are promoting and recruiting for our peaceful, prayerful demonstrations regarding the NEA leadership's pro-abortion track record. They are speaking at the Rally for Life at New Beginnings Church in Norco, CA, this Tuesday evening alongside Rev. Walter B. Hoye II, president of Issues4Life Foundation."

While Pawson didn't re-affirm his belief that abortion caused the current economic crisis, he did downplay the size of the protests at state-level NEA offices. He also advised parents to bring their children, because hey, they make for good marketing:

"Gather together your family members and a few pro-life friends and just go to your state's NEA-affiliate offices with pro-life posters. Pray and picket for an hour. Children are especially effective messengers highlighting the hypocrisy of teacher-union leaders supporting abortion," said Pawson.

"The number of locations nationwide is more important than the number of picketers at any location. We don't necessarily need hundreds of picketers at each state's NEA-HQ. A dozen or two would be sufficient -- multiplied by many sites across 50 states. Pro-Lifers far from state capitals can picket their county or town's local NEA-affiliate listed in telephone book white pages."


More Good News for Sotomayor

Politico has an article today reporting that Republicans are disappointed that Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court hasn't turned out to be "the political lightning rod some in their party had hoped she would be."

Of course, that just means that right-wing groups will just have to try that much harder:

Curt Levey, executive director of the conservative group Committee for Justice, said senators are often slow to get into politically thorny fights — and do so only after a passionate showing by their base. Levey said he expects GOP senators to gear up for the fight, particularly during the confirmation proceedings. And he said that he is pushing the Republicans hard to delay a final Senate confirmation vote until after the monthlong August recess, to give opposition groups enough time to spotlight any controversial statements Sotomayor makes during the hearings.

“She is sort of like a Robert Bork: She’s very opinionated, and when she should be silent, she isn’t,” Levey said.

Speaking of Bork, the Wonk Room points us to this new interview with him and, shockingly, he doesn't like Sotomayor ... or pretty much anyone else for that matter:

What are your thoughts about Judge Sotomayor's nomination?

I think it was a bad mistake. Her comments about the wise Latina suggest identity-group jurisprudence. She also has a reputation for bullying counsel. And her record is not particularly distinguished. Far from it. And it is unusual to nominate somebody who states flatly that she was the beneficiary of affirmative action. But I can't believe she will be any worse than some recent white male appointees.

Anyone you'd care to name?

I could, but you don't want the estate of these people suing me, do you?

As it's currently composed, this is sometimes called a conservative court.

I don't see it at all. It's a very left-leaning, liberal court.

Could you elaborate? Compared to what?

Well, compared to what the Constitution actually says. They tend to enact the agenda or the preferences of a group that thinks of itself as the intellectual elite.

Frankly, the fact that Bork sees nothing he likes in Sotomayor is a huge positive in her favor considering that, since his own defeat to the Supreme Court in 1987, he's become a certified crank:

Robert Bork has carved out a niche for himself as an acerbic commentator on the Supreme Court, as well as various cultural issues. In fact, to Bork the two topics are closely related and the Supreme Court’s “illegitimacy” and its departure from the Constitution are in many ways responsible for our growing “cultural depravity.”

According to Bork, we are rapidly becoming a fragmented society that has totally lost its nerve and is now either unwilling or unable “to suppress public obscenity, punish crime, reform welfare, attach stigma to the bearing of illegitimate children, resist the demands of self-proclaimed victim groups for preferential treatment, or maintain standards of reason and scholarship.” Abortion, technology, affluence, hedonism, and modern liberalism are gradually ruining our culture and everywhere you look “the rot is spreading.”

Bork has denounced the public education system that “all too often teaches moral relativism and depravity.” He considers sensitivity training to be little more than “America’s version of Maoist re-education camps.” He has shared his fear that recognition of gay marriage would lead to accommodation of “man-boy associations, polygamists and so forth.” And he has criticized the feminist movement for “intimidat[ing] officials in ways that are destructive of family, hostile to masculinity, damaging to the military and disastrous for much education.”

It appears as if almost everything within contemporary culture possesses the capacity to offend Bork. He attacks movies for featuring “sex, violence and vile language.” He faults television for taking “a neutral attitude toward adultery, prostitution, and pornography” and for portraying homosexuals as “social victims.” As for the art world, most of what is produced is “meaningless, uninspired, untalented or perverse.” He frets that the “pornographic video industry is now doing billions of dollars worth of business” and the invention of the Internet will merely result in the further indulgence of “salacious and perverted tastes.” When it comes to music, “rock and rap are utterly impoverished … emotionally, aesthetically, and intellectually.”

More to the point, Bork is not content merely to criticize; he wants the government to do something about it. “Sooner or later,” he claims “censorship is going to have to be considered as popular culture continues plunging to ever more sickening lows.” So committed is he to this cause that he dedicated an entire chapter in his 1996 book Slouching Toward Gomorrah to making “The Case for Censorship.” In it, he advocates censoring “the most violent and sexually explicit material now on offer, starting with obscene prose and pictures available on the Internet, motion pictures that are mere rhapsodies to violence, and the more degenerate lyrics of rap music.”

When asked by Christianity Today about how he would decide what should and should not be censored, Bork announced: “I don’t make any fine distinctions; I’m just advocating censorship.”

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Judicial Watch has released a "Special Report on Judge Sotomayor's Connection to the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund."
  • Rick Warren will reportedly be attending Islamic Society of North America's annual convention in Washington, D.C. over the Fourth of July weekend.
  • Carrie Prejean is seeking a book deal.
  • Gary Bauer says that Sarah Palin's feud with David Letterman "proves conservatives can fight pop culture and win."
  • Operation Rescue and other Wichita-based anti-abortion groups say they have received death threats in response to last month's killing of George Tiller.
  • The Family Research Council defends Bill O'Reilly's attacks on Tiller, saying "Something has been lost in the canonization of George Tiller--and that 'something' is the truth ... If Bill O'Reilly was fanning anything, it was the facts. We applaud him for drawing attention to a grisly procedure that even the most hardened pro-choice Democrats in Congress oppose.
  • Finally, the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission explains that Tiller's murder was wrong because, even though "Tiller certainly was guilty of murder before God ... lawfully established civil authorities are the rightful ministers of God’s wrath. They have been granted a monopoly by God on the use of the sword, namely capital punishment and physical coercion. "

Crazy By Association

When I saw a press release announcing that Alan Keyes was going to be in South Carolina campaigning for a woman named Christina Jeffrey who is running Congress, my first thought was "wow, she must be crazy."

After all, no sane candidate would ever seek the assistance of someone like Keyes and expect to win, so I did a little research to try and found out a little about her on her website:

In these difficult economic times, the citizens in the Up-state of South Carolina deserve better representation in Congress. Christina Jeffrey, with a PhD. in Political Science and a college professor, is a person who has built her life based upon Conservative Principles.

Christina has worked in Germany and Turkey, and understands the international problems we are confronted with today. Christina has been a college professor for many years. She has been a tenured Associate Professor of Political Science at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, and the Congressional Historian for the 104th Congress of the United States. She currently teaches Foundations of American Government at Wofford College.

What I also found out was that her claim to have been the "Congressional Historian for the 104th Congress of the United States" leaves out a few key pieces of information ... like the fact that she held the job for less than two weeks before she was fired by Newt Gingrich:

Fired by Speaker Newt Gingrich as House historian because she complained Nazi views weren't represented in a Holocaust course, Christina Jeffrey said Tuesday that allegations against her ``are slanderous and outrageous.''

In a statement the morning after her firing, Jeffrey, who was hired less than a week ago, also said she was ``fired in the press.''

Reporters, who received materials from Democratic sources, began making inquiries to Gingrich's office after learning of Jeffrey's review of the Holocaust course in 1986.

House Democrats quickly pounced on her eight-year-old review, one saying it bordered on Holocaust revision.

...

Jeffrey, hired at $85,000 a year, headed a panel that reviewed the Holocaust course for the Republican-run U.S. Department of Education. The panel recommended against a federal grant for the course and the department -- insisting the decision was its own -- declined funding in 1986 and again the next two years.

Concluding her remarks on ``Facing History and Ourselves'' a course designed for eighth and ninth graders, Jeffrey wrote: ``The program gives no evidence of balance or objectivity. The Nazi point of view, however unpopular, is still a point of view and is not presented, nor is that of the Ku Klux Klan.''

While Jeffrey insisted at the time and continues to insist that her remarks were taken wildly out of context, this does at least shed some light on just what sort of political candidate openly welcome the support of someone like Keyes.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Tony Perkins says Sen. John Ensign's affair is "why the Republicans are having trouble and have had trouble over the last three years with many voters ... because there is a sense of hypocrisy."
  • Cindy Jacobs has become the chairman of the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders.
  • Roy Moore says that he sees "a nation that is turning away from God" and complains that "every politician talks about God before they get in office ... then the rest of the time they ignore it."
  • Utah lawmakers are considering a proposal that would give parents the choice between two sex education classes for their children. One class would be abstinence-based while the other would also emphasize abstinence but provide information about contraceptive options. The Utah Eagle Forum supports the idea ... except for the part about offering a second class that would provide information about contraceptive options.
  • Finally, guess who Janet Porter had as guest on her radio program yesterday? Bill Keller, the militantly anti-Mormon activist who declared that a vote for Mitt Romney was a vote for Satan.

Norquist To The Religious Right: Stop Whining

There has been some discussion lately of the bubbling tension within the Republican Party's base between the fiscal conservatives and the social conservatives.  Frankly, this tension has always existed but only tends to surface when the GOP is out of power and the two sides are wrangling for influence, with the fiscal conservatives claiming that the social conservatives' focus on culture war issues is driving away potential Republican voters while the social conservatives claim the the only reason the GOP is even a viable party is because of the loyalty of the Religious Right base.  

Grover Norquist undoubtedly comes down on the fiscal conservative side and so it's no surprise to see him sit down with Dan Gilgoff to offer the social conservatives a little "tough love":

[Religious Right] leaders sometimes who announce that they want to make everybody be one religion or make everybody think one way ... Some religious right leaders do that, acting as if everybody of their faith persuasion votes on their command, which is insulting, not true, and ridiculous. They shouldn't talk like that.

...

James Dobson made some comment that 40 percent of the votes for George W. Bush in 2004 came from evangelical Protestants, therefore you owe the presidency to us and you need to do what we want. It's missing why they voted for Bush. They didn't vote for him because they're evangelical Protestants. They voted for Bush because they wanted to be left alone in their faith and family commitments, which are evangelical Protestant. But the orthodox Jews and the Muslims who voted for Bush voted for the same reason, so you can't go to Bush and say, "Govern as a Baptist."

...

Why is a guy who wants to go to church all day in a room with a guy who wants to make money all day and the guy who wants to fire guns all day? What is it we have in common? We all want to be left alone in the zone that is most important in our lives. And if you don't understand why people are in the room, you don't understand how you can piss off people who should be your friend.

...

Traditional-values conservatives who thought the Republicans weren't doing anything the last eight years remind me of that old joke where the guy is leaning up against the building and a policeman comes over and says, "Move along." And the guy says, "I'm holding the building up." And the cop goes, "Don't be an idiot, get out of here." And the guy walks away, and the building falls down. The Republicans in the House and Senate were stopping a whole flood of left-of-center social issues on abortion, gay issues, everything. They weren't winning those issues because the votes weren't there to pass stuff. But they were stopping bad stuff.

You do have some leaders, not just social conservatives, who want other people to do their work for them. I never insist that a congressman and or a senator go out and lead on the tax issue. I lead on the tax issue. I make it easy for congressmen and senators to do the right thing. There are some social conservatives, like some other guys, who want the president to be point man on their issue. And presidents don't do that. They want congressmen and senators to jump on the hand grenade for them. No. Make it necessary for candidates to vote X, and they will.

Whining is not a way to change policy or make you beloved by elected officials. Some social conservatives think, "How come the Republican leadership hasn't done X?" The real question is: Why haven't you made it the easy and smart thing for any elected official to do?

As for the issue of marriage equality, Norquist refused to say whether he supports it, saying simply that he hasn't focused on it and saying that the government shouldn't even be involved in the marriage business anyway:

Churches, synagogues, and mosques should write marriage contracts, and the state should enforce contracts. You shouldn't have sacraments organized, managed, and defined by the states.

Communities of faith ought to be into denationalizing marriage, just as I want to denationalize healthcare and education, rather than trying to get the federal government to run the post office correctly or manage marriage correctly.

Of course, "denationalizing marriage" is exactly what the Religious Right doesn't want because it could lead to states granting marriage rights to same-sex couples, which is why they are insisting on the need for a federal marriage amendment.

Needless to say, efforts to repair the rift between the social and fiscal conservatives are probably not going to be helped much by the fact that one of the leading fiscal conservatives more or less accused the Religious Right of being a bunch of whiners who have no idea how politics actually works.

Pro-Life Educators and Students (PLEAS) Announces Protest of the National Education Association, Blames Recession on Abortion

The Pro-Life Educators and Students (PLEAS) have announced the first major anti-abortion demonstration since the killing of Dr. George Tiller. While the demonstration is nothing out of the ordinary, PLEAS isn't focusing its effort on a traditional target of anti-choice groups. Instead, they'll be protesting... the National Education Association. In a press release, Bob Pawson, a coordinator for PLEAS, announced that the group is organizing a July 2nd "prayer & picket" that will involve many different pro-life groups.

The NEA is hardly an outspoken reproductive rights group, rather an organization dedicated to advancing and improving the public school system. They devoted a mere three sentences of their 462-page handbook to "Family Planning":

The National Education Association supports family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom. The Association urges the government to give high priority to making available all methods of family planning to women and men unable to take advantage of private facilities. The Association also urges the implementation of community-operated, school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling by trained personnel.

Even stranger than PLEAS' choice to target the NEA are remarks made by Pawson in the press release. Pawson unveils the catalyst behind the economic recession: federal abortion policy. Oh, it's also why we don't have a cure for AIDS:

Abortion is the primary factor causing America's economic recession, said Pawson. America is suffering the consequences for killing fifty-million people who are supposed to be among us today as teachers, producers, consumers, taxpayers, leaders, inventors, and problem-solvers. It's no surprise that a nation which slaughters nearly twenty percent of its future customers, investors, and entrepreneurs also kills its own economy. Wrong moral choices have negative consequences. Evil acts generate their own punishment.
Abortion has led to the destruction of fifty-million students and simultaneously eliminated hundreds of thousands of teaching careers and education-related jobs. Surely, some of those dead students were the ones God sent to cure AIDS, end world-hunger, and create clean-energy technologies, said Pawson

Putting aside his "economic argument", Pawson should strongly consider protesting a group that devotes more than three sentences of their 462-page charter to reproductive rights.

Dobson and Goeglein Recount Their Love For George W. Bush

So, who wants to listen to an hour and a half of James Dobson and former special assistant to President George W. Bush and current Focus on the Family Vice President Tim Goeglein count the ways in which they love President Bush and detail what a great president he was?

Nobody?

Well, I don't blame you, which is why I've edited it down to this nine minute audio clip in which Goeglein declares that "George W. Bush was the instrument in God's hand" that kept America safe; that Bush was just like George Washington; that Bush was the "most pro-life and pro-family president in the history of the United States" as demonstrated by his judicial nominations, including John Roberts and Samuel Alito; that his heart is breaking that all of Bush's work in this regard is being unraveled by President Obama; that it is not possible to be President of the United States and be pro-choice; that "there can be no compromise on the question of the defense of the innocent pre-born" and that their anti-choice efforts will be "vindicated ... by divine providence" when Roe v. Wade is finally overturned; that Bush is a "great thinker" who is "powered by integrity" which is rooted in his faith in Christ and that, in the years ahead, historians will look back and recognize Bush as the great president that he really was:

One section I didn't include was the ten minute explanation Goeglein gave about the circumstances under which he resigned from his position in the White House which, not surprisingly, he used to further demonstrate just what a loving, forgiving, and all-around remarkable human being George W. Bush truly is. 

If, down the line, you start hearing people claim that President Bush was never really committed to the  Religious Right agenda or that the Religious Right never really loved him, you can just play them this clip of Dobson and Goeglein's love note to George W. Bush, the greatest human being who ever lived.

UPDATE: The following transcript of the broadcast was prepared by The Colorado Independent:

James Dobson: There are undoubtedly some people listening to us today who are going to sneer at what you just said because George W. Bush was certainly one of the most hated presidents that we’ve had — certainly in recent memory.

He was maligned at every turn but I know you admire him greatly, don’t you?

Tim Goeglein: I do, indeed. In fact, I see George W. Bush as a great president. And I believe that George Walker Bush was right about the most important things that came across his presidency in those eight years, Dr. Dobson.

First, without peer, is that he saw the greatest external threat to our national security. And he saw it immediately. And he prosecuted the war in such a way that from 9/11 and the terror and terribleness of the day — and I was in the White House that day — until the last minute of the last hour of his presidency, George W. Bush kept us safe.

Providence kept us safe.

But George W. Bush was the instrument in God’s hand as the leader of the free world.

And every problem imaginable that comes across your desk when you’re the President of the United States. But history will be kind to George Bush because they will see that through a series of very important decisions his leadership, his personal character and integrity added up to the forbearance of another direct attack on the United States of America.

The primary role of the Commander in Chief is our national security. And, yes, I believe that part of the greatness of George W. Bush was not to see this as an intelligence problem primarily. To not see it as a police action.

Dobson: Yeah, yeah.

Goeglein: But to actually see it for what it was. Of course, this was the great blessing of our first president George Washington — the original George W. — who, you know, the thing that made him in Thomas Flexner’s landmark biography “The Indispensable Man,” the greatest trait of Washington was to see things as they were and not as he wanted to see them.

That was George W. Bush’s gift.

When he came to this war, he immediately — upon being told of the attacks — knew that this was war and that we were being attacked existentially by radical Islam.

But the one thing that we did not talk about, I think is the greatest achievement of the former president, beyond the security question, is the fact that George W. Bush is the most pro-life and pro-family president in the history of the United States.

Dobson: Now, I’ve said that on many, many occasions here at Focus on the Family and I want you to address it. George Bush is the most pro-life and pro-family president in history. Validate that statement for us.

Goeglein: I was getting ready to come to the broadcast and I literally jotted these down. These are quick snapshots of the Bush Administration on life.

• Signed and reinstituted the Mexico City Agreement
• Signed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act
• Signed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act
• Vetoed the partial birth abortion bill

And, very importantly, fought it in several appellate courts.

He had the most pro-life, anti-cloning provision, ever. He instituted the most important pro-life provision in his presidency which was a pro-human dignity, pro-life stem cell research policy.

He created the conscience clause laws provisions.

I may say, as well, that George W. Bush funded pro-marriage programs. Was the greatest funder of abstinence education in the history of the United States.

He gave Henry Hyde the Medal of Freedom, the most pro-life member of the United States Senate or House, ever.

And I think very importantly, Dr. Dobson, and this is something that I think that is at the pinnacle of pro-life, pro-family achievement in this administration, the Bush administration, he elevated John Roberts to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for the United State of America. He appointed Samuel Alito to be an Associate Justice …

Dobson: A great justice too.

Goeglein: … two great justices. And, this is something people do not know, that George W. Bush nominated and confirmed over 35 percent of sitting federal judges.

Dobson: So his impact on the judiciary is going to continue for a long time.

Goeglein: It is huge. It is huge and it’s lasting.

Dobson: Does it break your heart what is about to happen to the judiciary?

Goeglein: It more than breaks my heart. To watch it unravel in a few short months by a new president is a heartbreaking, disappointing and difficult thing to watch. It is systematic and it is categorical. And we have gone in America from the most pro-life president in the history of our country to, unfortunately, the most pro-abortion president that we’ve ever had.

It is not possible to president of the United States of America, in the early part of the 21st century, and to know what we know morally and technologically and to find any reason other than a full-throated advocate for the pro-life position.

Dobson: Yeah, when President Obama spoke recently at Notre Dame about abortion he talked about our need to come together, to find areas of agreement. He said that we needed to work together. We needed to accommodate each other.

But you can’t compromise with evil. I mean, in what way are you going to compromise with the killing of babies?

Goeglein: There is no compromise. There can be no compromise on the question of the defense of the innocent pre-born.

All of the millions of people who have worked in both in the leadership and the vanguard of the pro-life movement, they will be vindicated. If by divine providence Roe v. Wade were to be overturned. And we were to start again in the United State on the question of life.

It is simply unacceptable that from 1973 until 15 seconds ago, that something like 45 million innocent pre-born lives have been snuffed out in defense of words like “choice.”

George W. Bush’s greatness as a human being, apart from the presidency, is that he has an inner moral compass that is self-confident. That is loyal. That is powered by integrity.

But Dr. Dobson it wells up from his faith in Christ. This is who the man is.

He is a great thinker. He is a person who prays and works to make the right decision. He has an inner confidence and peace in his soul that that was the right thing.

Dobson: And nothing is going to shake his confidence.

Goeglein: I think that is absolutely right. And that’s why I’m actually very confident and hopeful that in the years ahead — with the benefit of time and space — that historians will look back at those remarkable, incredibly eventful eight years, and say, you know, he made the right decisions about the biggest things during those eight years.

And, yes, maybe he will not be remembered, you know, of Churchillian, you know, eloquence. Maybe he will not be remembered for X, Y and Z. But when it comes to the questions of national security and war, when it comes to the questions of the right to life and when it comes to the questions of our constitutional Republic, national sovereignty and constitutional formulation of the Supreme Court — above all when it comes to the innocent pre-born people will say he got those big ones right.

Has Chuck Colson Finally Gone Off The Deep End?

That is the question asked by Joseph L. Conn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, wanting to know why Colson is scheduled to be the featured speaker at the Association of Classical and Christian Schools annual conference where he'll be sharing the stage with Douglas Wilson, who believes in exiling gays and executing adulterers:

Now, Colson has taken an even bigger step toward the lunatic fringe. He’s the featured speaker at the June 25-27 “Building on a Firm Foundation” conference of the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS).

ACCS is the brainchild of the Rev. Douglas Wilson, pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho. The ACCS approach to private education and homeschooling has spread across the nation in recent years. You may have heard Wilson’s name because of some debates he did with atheist author Christopher Hitchens.

But Wilson is better known in Idaho for his advocacy of outlandish religious and political viewpoints. His “firm foundation” seems to be Christian Reconstructionism, the extreme Religious Right theo-political movement that seeks to take “dominion” over America, scrap democracy and impose biblical law.

Reconstructionists read the Bible literally and think the legal mandates of the Old Testament should apply today, including application of the death penalty for a range of “crimes” running from adultery and homosexuality to witchcraft and worshiping false gods.

In an interview with Christianity Today, Wilson distanced himself from the Reconstructionist label, but not the movement’s harsh views.

Asked if he would execute gays, he replied, “You can’t apply Scripture woodenly. You might exile some homosexuals, depending on the circumstances and the age of the victim. There are circumstances where I’d be in favor of execution for adultery…. I’m not proposing legislation. All I’m doing is refusing to apologize for certain parts of the Bible.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center has more on Wilson:

Still, Colson’s flirtation with dominionism is one thing. The antebellum slavery-defending “paleo-confederacy” advocated by Wilson, his conference host, is quite another. Wilson’s booklet Southern Slavery, As It Was, is an outrageous apologia for the enslavement of black Americans in the Old South. “Slavery as it existed in the South … was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence,” wrote Wilson and his co-author Wilkins. “There has never been a multiracial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world.” Wilson is also a promoter of some of the more draconian tenets of Christian Reconstructionism, a theocratic movement that seeks to demolish American democracy and replace it with the legal code of the Old Testament, which calls for stoning to death adulterers, homosexuals and in some cases, wayward children. In an April 2009 interview with Christianity Today, Wilson distanced himself only ever so slightly from the most hardline reconstructionists. “You can’t apply Scripture woodenly,” said Wilson. “I’m not proposing legislation. All I’m doing is refusing to apologize for certain parts of the Bible.”

Susan B. Anthony List: What's In a Name?

After losing her re-election bid last November, right-wing former Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave quickly teamed up with the Susan B. Anthony List to launch a new anti-choice project called "Votes Have Consequences" that vowed to target pro-choice politicians for defeat:

Former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave will lead a new antiabortion initiative dubbed “Votes Have Consequences” that will target members of Congress in the 2010 election cycle who support abortion rights.

In a case of supreme irony, Musgrave intends to rip a page from the hardball playbook used by the Defenders of Wildlife. The environmental group was credited with helping to defeat the three-term Republican congresswoman with intense local organizing and a $1.6 million barrage of TV attack ads — a strategy that was roundly criticized by Republicans.

Musgrave and her new boss, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, told the Coloradoan they would mimic the same scorched-earth tactics:

“We need to know that the person that we defeat has a scalp that we can hold up high and say their pro-abortion leadership is why they lost,” Dannenfelser said.

But Musgrave's ties to the Susan B. Anthony List continues to deepen, as she has now donated $50,000 to a new effort to get young-people involved in the anti-choice movement called the Young Leaders Board ... or maybe its the Youth Leaders Board, they don't seem to be sure:

Today the Susan B. Anthony List Education Fund (501(c)(3)) launched its first project, the Young Leaders Board, a new outreach effort to engage young people in the pro-life movement. Former Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) donated $50,000 from her congressional campaign committee, Musgrave for Congress, to launch the board. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) will serve as the Board's Honorary Chairwoman.

I am so pleased to support the Susan B. Anthony List Education Fund's youth outreach efforts by supporting the new Youth Leaders Board," said Marilyn Musgrave, Director of Regional Outreach for the Susan B. Anthony List. "As technology advances and sonograms continue to offer compelling visual evidence of the humanity of unborn children, we're finding that the younger generation is more pro-life. I'm confident the Susan B. Anthony List Education Fund will effectively marshal the energy and enthusiasm found among young pro-lifers to be a voice for women and the unborn for years to come."

The Youth Leaders Board will be comprised of young pro-life women leaders from across the country. The Board's early focus will be youth leadership training, with a special emphasis on communications, in order to train effective pro-life spokeswomen. The Board will also permanently integrate a youth perspective into existing Susan B. Anthony new media outreach efforts, like Lia's Challenge, the organization's recent YouTube youth video contest.

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) will serve as Honorary Chairwoman of the Youth Leaders Board.

"One of my priorities in Congress is to encourage women to get involved," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). "Through the use of new media and other communications tools, I look forward to helping the SBA List's Young Leaders Board reach out to young, pro-life women."

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rogers is a member of the House Pro-Life Women's Caucus. She serves as Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference, making her the fourth-highest ranking Republican and the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House of Representatives. She also works to recruit women candidates for Congress through the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

Former Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave joined the Susan B. Anthony List (501(c)(4)) in March as Director of Regional Outreach to run the organization's new pro-life voter education effort, Votes Have Consequences.

Once they get this figured out, we hope they let us know because it'll be a lot easier for us to track this effort if we know which of these two names they actually plan on using.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Steve Benen is not overly impressed with Newt Gingrich's "apology" for calling Sonia Sotomayor "racist."
  • On a related note, Greg Sargent reports that Rush Limbaugh says he's not retracting any of the things that he has said about her.
  • Media Matters says the media is ignoring Sen. Jeff Sessions' double standard on timing of Sotomayor's confirmation hearing.
  • I'm late in linking to this post by Autumn Sandeen over at Pam's House Blend regarding Mission America's founder Linda Harvey's over-the-top response to news that Kevin Jennings has been tapped as the Department of Education Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools' deputy secretary.
  • As Good As You notes, I doubt this was the result that OneNewsNow had in mind when it put up its latest on-line poll.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Judicial Confirmation Network has sent its own Sotomayor letter to Senate Republicans.
  • Speaking of Sotomayor, Rick Santorum says that if he were still in the Senate, he'd vote against her.  Of course, if people wanted him to be casting votes on their behalf, he'd still be in the Senate.
  • What do you know? Dick Cheney supports gay marriage.
  • Tony Perkins is not happy with the coverage of George Tiller's murder because "what he [Tiller] did is being glossed over." 
  • Peter LaBarbera freaks out over the nomination of Kevin Jennings to become Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Department of Education's Office of Safe & Drug Free Schools.
  • Finally, let me clarify something for Matthew Vadum, "Kyle" is not my "pen name" ... it's my name.

For A Change of Pace, Noted "Historian" Barton Vows To Be "Accurate"

A few weeks ago, we pointed to a Texas Freedom Network post reporting that the Texas State Board of Education was going to appoint David Barton to a social studies curriculum “expert” panel, which was absurd given Barton’s flagrant lack of expertise on anything other than misrepresenting history in order to further his own right-wing political agenda.  

But perhaps nothing better sums up the absurdity of this move than this article from OneNewsNow, considering that just about every claim and statement it contains is laughable, starting with its title: “History scholar hopes to revamp Texas curriculum”:

WallBuilders is a Texas-based conservative organization "dedicated to presenting America's forgotten history and heroes." Organization president David Barton has once again been selected by the Texas State Board of Education to review proposed history curriculum and prepare a report as the board reviews new standards for history in The Lone Star State. He says the new curriculum currently proposed for the state is in shambles.
 
"For example, the panel managed to eliminate all references to free enterprise out of our history, social study, government textbooks, and that's the type of things we find. The religious bigotry that's there, preference for secular stuff, ignoring the religious foundations," he notes.

"There's a mis-description of the types and forms of government that we have. There's no mention of American exceptionalism -- the fact that we are the most successful nation in the history of the world with a government that bears fruit to that."
 
Barton expects outside groups to "holler and scream" about his recommendations to fix those errors due to the fact that he is a Christian and a conservative. But he adds that he and other members of the panel will give recommendations that are so historically accurate that board members will have a hard time refuting them.

Seriously, the assertion that Barton’s recommendations will be “so historically accurate that board members will have a hard time refuting them” made me laugh out loud considering that being accurate has never been a particular concern for Barton in the past.

Will The Right, Unwilling to be Turned Aside, Turn to Huckabee?

Last week Steve Benen wrote a post about the National Council for a New America and its agenda for re-branding the Republican Party.  As he noted, the agenda covered issues like tax cuts, healthcare, energy, and national security while social issues were noticeably missing:

[W]hat may be the most interesting thing about this new group's "policy framework" is what it doesn't say. There's no mention of gays, abortion, state-sponsored religion, guns, or immigration. It's almost as if Republicans don't feel like fighting a culture war anymore.

Hey, activists in the GOP base, is sounds like the Republican Party is trying to throw you under the bus. Are you going to take this lying down?

As it turns out, the Religious Right isn’t about that take this lying down, judging by this Washington Update from the Family Research Council:

In another step away from its conservative roots, Republican members of the House unveiled The National Council for a New America in hopes of recasting the Party's ailing identity. The effort only underscores the Republicans' present identity crisis, as the GOP leadership kicked off the campaign devoid of the values that once caused voters to identify with the party.

The group's priorities, which were unveiled at a pizza parlor press conference, include the economy, health care, education, energy, and national security. Notice anything conspicuously absent? Former Gov. Jeb Bush explained the values void by saying it was time for the GOP to give up its "nostalgia" for Reagan-era ideas and look forward to new "relevant" ideas. (Yes, because that worked so well for Republicans in 2006 and 2008!) Bush ignored the fact that abandoning the array of principles that Reagan espoused is exactly what got the GOP into this mess. No one is suggesting that we try living in the past, but President Reagan's principles are the ones that guided our nation from its very inception. Turning away from those fundamental truths would be a death knell for the GOP as little would be left to distinguish the Republicans from the Democrats.

Too many Republicans leaders are running scared on the claims of the Left and the media that social conservatism is a dead-end for the GOP. If that were the case, why are pro-family leaders like Mike Huckabee creating such excitement in the conservative base? The Republican establishment doesn't draw a crowd. Governor Sarah Palin does. Also, take a look at the recent Pew Research poll, which showed overall support for abortion in America has dropped eight percentage points in the last year and support for it among moderate and liberal Republicans has dropped a whopping 24%. Based on that, how can the GOP suggest that life is a losing issue? If there were a road sign for the GOP on this new journey, it would read: Welcome to the wilderness. You're going to be there for awhile.

The interesting side-note here is that FRC is, for the first time that I can recall, approvingly citing Mike Huckabee. During the GOP primary campaign, they and pretty much every other “mainstream” Religious Right group were decidedly unexcited about him and conspicuously unsupportive of his candidacy – something which Huckabee repeatedly complained about during the campaign and continues to complain about even today.

Since then, Huckabee has been working to position himself as the champion of the social conservatives within the party and now it is looking as if his efforts might be starting to pay off.  The Religious Right, growing concerned that the GOP could start shoving them aside in an effort to start winning elections, might soon find that the man for whom they had no love the last time around to be the one to whom they’ll have to turn to try and save their place in the party.

Right Wing Reaction to Souter's Retirement

Here's a quick collection of early right-wing reactions to the news that Justice David Souter will be retiring from the Supreme Court at the end of this term - it will continue to be updated as new statements are released:

Wendy Long (Judicial Confirmation Network):

1. The current Supreme Court is a liberal, judicial activist court. Obama could make it even more of a far-left judicial activist court, for a long time to come, if he appoints radicals like Diane Wood, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. A new Justice in this mold would just entrench a bad majority for a long time.

2. If Obama holds to his campaign promise to appoint a Justice who rules based on her own "deepest values" and what's in her own "heart" — instead of what is in the Constitution and laws — he will be the first American President who has made lawlessness an explicit standard for Supreme Court Justices.

3. The President and Senators need to be careful about, respectively, nominating and appointing a hard-left judicial activist. Americans who elected Obama may have done so out of fear for the economy or other reasons, but they did not elect him because they share his views on judges. By a margin of more and 3 to 1, Americans want Supreme Court Justices who will practice judicial restraint and follow the law, not jurists who will indulge their own personal views and experiences in deciding cases.

4. As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has pointed out, a judge who decides cases based on her personal and political views, instead of what the law says, will have a hard time fulfilling her oath to dispense justice impartially. Senators have a constitutional duty to rigorously scrutinize the nominee on this score, and vote "no" if the nominee cannot establish that she will follow the law, rather than her own values and beliefs, as the President has suggested.

Ed Whelan:

Souter has been a terrible justice, but you can expect Obama’s nominee to be even worse. The Left is clamoring for “liberal lions” who will redefine the Constitution as a left-wing goodies bag. Consider some of their leading contenders, like Harold Koh (champion of judicial transnationalism and transgenderism), Massaschusetts governor Deval Patrick (a racialist extremist and judicial supremacist), and Cass Sunstein (advocate of judicial invention of a “second Bill of Rights” on welfare, employment, and other Nanny State mandates). Or Second Circuit judge Sonia Sotomayor, whose shenanigans in trying to bury the firefighters’ claims in Ricci v. DeStefano triggered an extraordinary dissent by fellow Clinton appointee José Cabranes (and the Supreme Court’s pending review of the ruling). Or Elena Kagan, who led the law schools’ opposition to military recruitment on their campuses, who used remarkably extreme rhetoric—“a profound wrong” and “a moral injustice of the first order”—to condemn the federal law on gays in the military that was approved in 1993 by a Democratic-controlled Congress and signed into law by President Clinton, and who received 31 votes against her confirmation as Solicitor General. Or Seventh Circuit judge Diane Wood, a fervent activist whose extreme opinions in an abortion case managed to elicit successive 8-1 and 9-0 slapdowns by the Supreme Court.

...

American citizens have various policy positions on all these issues, but everyone ought to agree that they are to be addressed and decided through the processes of representative government, not by judicial usurpation. And President Obama, who often talks a moderate game, should be made to pay a high price for appointing a liberal judicial activist who will do his dirty work for him.

The American Center for Law and Justice:

“The reported retirement of Justice Souter marks the beginning of President Obama’s legal legacy – a legacy that will move this country dramatically to the left,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “With reports that Justice Souter will step down at the end of the term, President Obama now has a green light to begin reshaping the federal judiciary. Based on the appointments at the Department of Justice, it’s clear that President Obama will name a Supreme Court nominee who will embrace an extremely liberal judicial philosophy. There’s no illusion here – President Obama is poised to reshape the nation’s highest court. Once a nominee is named and the confirmation process begins, it’s important that the nominee faces full and detailed hearings – with specific focus on the nominee’s judicial philosophy including how the nominee views the constitution and the rule of law. The American people deserve nothing less.”

Operation Rescue:

"Operation Rescue will actively oppose any nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court that will disregard the lives of the pre-born and uphold the wrongly-decided case of Roe v. Wade.

"Obama received greater than expected opposition to his nomination of extremist pro-abort Kathleen Sebelius to HHS. He can only expect that opposition will continue to grow if he has the poor sense to appoint a justice that will promote abortion from the bench.

Susan B. Anthony List:

"Elections have consequences, and the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation battle is likely to further entrench President Obama's dedication to the abortion agenda. The President has said he would like 'common ground' on abortion policy. This is an especially relevant objective when you consider yesterday's release of public opinion data by the Pew Research Center showing a sharp decline in support for legal abortion. Choosing a judicial nominee who wants to enshrine the right to an unrestricted abortion in the United States Constitution would certainly be a step in the wrong direction. Appointing an abortion extremist to replace Justice Souter on our nation's highest court will continue the trend of activist court decisions do little reduce abortion in our nation."

Americans United for Life:

Charmaine Yoest, the president of Americans United for Life, promised her group would help lead the charge against any pro-abortion activist Obama may name to the high court.

“We will work to oppose any nominee for the Supreme Court who will read the Freedom of Choice Act into the Constitution in order to elevate abortion to a fundamental right on the same plane as the freedom of speech," she told LifeNews.com.

Yoest said the jurist Obama names to the Supreme Court will tell the American public whether he is serious about reducing abortions or keeping it an unlimited "right" that has yielded over 50 million abortions since 1973.

“This nomination represents a test for a President who has expressed a public commitment to reducing abortions while pursuing an aggressive pro-abortion agenda," she said. "Appointing an abortion radical to the Court -- someone who believes social activism trumps the Constitution -- further undermines efforts to reduce abortion."

Priests for Life:

Upon hearing news reports of Justice David Souter's retirement from the US Supreme Court this June, Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, commented, "This will unleash a Supreme battle. Judicial activism in our nation has given us a policy of child slaughter by abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Now the left will scream about 'no litmus tests' on abortion, but the fact is that all of us observe litmus tests at all times. If a racist or terrorist is unfit for the highest court in the land, why would a supporter of child-killing be any more fit? This is the question we will pose again and again during the process of replacing Justice Souter."

Richard Land:

Land told Baptist Press, "This retirement will, of course, not impact the court's balance. President Obama will undoubtedly nominate someone who is as liberal as, if not more liberal than, liberal David Souter, and thus you will just have an old liberal replaced by a young one. President Obama's ability to sell himself to the American people as a centrist will be hampered severely by his nomination of what will inevitably be a radically liberal justice."

Committee For Justice:

Given the economic crisis, your ambitious legislative agenda, and your promises to rise above partisanship, one would think you would eschew a bitter, distracting confirmation fight and a sparking of the culture wars by naming a consensus nominee that moderate Republicans and Democrats can embrace. While we remain open to evidence to the contrary, it is our belief that potential nominees such as Sonia Sotomayor, Kathleen Sullivan, Harold Koh, and Deval Patrick are so clearly committed to judicial activism that they make a bruising battle unavoidable.

We realize that, in the past, you have said that you want judges who rule with their hearts and you have even expressed regret that the Warren Court “didn’t break free” from legal constraints in order to bring about “redistribution of wealth.” But now would be a good time for you to clarify if you feel that you may have gone too far by endorsing judicial activism. For example, you could make it clear that you agree with Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent statement that “judges should make their decisions based only on the facts presented and the applicable law” (response to written question from Sen. Arlen Specter).

We also hope that you resist the pressure you will inevitably face from the various identity groups that dominate the Democratic base. It would be a shame if you chose a nominee based on their race, gender, or sexual identity, rather than focusing exclusively on qualifications and judicial philosophy.

We remind you of your opposition to gay marriage, your commitment to individual Second Amendment rights, your support of the death penalty, and the great value you place on the role of religion in society. We hope you will not contradict those positions by choosing a Supreme Court nominee who has questioned the constitutionality of the death penalty, expressed an extreme view of the separation of church and state, or wavered on the questions of whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage and an individual right to own guns. Also, given your promise to move the nation “beyond race,” it would be hard for you to explain the
nomination of someone who has expressed support for racial preferences, which polls indicate are now even more unpopular as a result of your election.

While many Americans – including some conservatives – are willing to give your experiment in using honey to coax cooperation from other nations a chance, the public is also looking for reassurance that our nation’s interests and sovereignty will always come first. Thus, now would be an awful time to choose a Supreme Court nominee who believes that American courts should put greater reliance on foreign law.

Finally, we remind you that, in the first year of his Administration, George W. Bush successfully nominated two former Clinton nominees – Roger Gregory and Barrington Parker – to the appeals courts in an effort to set a bipartisan tone. Now would be the perfect time for you to match the previous President’s gesture by renominating three unconfirmed Bush appeals court nominees who have bipartisan support – Peter Keisler, Judge Glen Conrad, and Judge Paul Diamond. Such a gesture would engender good feelings among Senate Republicans and would set a positive tone heading into what might otherwise be a bitter confirmation fight.

Concerned Women for America:

"The anticipated retirement of David Souter from the U.S. Supreme Court launches a national debate over the proper role of judges," stated Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America. "President Obama stated during the campaign that judges should rule according to 'empathy' for preferred classes of people, such as homosexuals and some ethnic groups, but not others. America, however, is a nation founded on the belief that we are all created equal and that the rule of law provides justice for all by following a written Constitution, not the whims and feelings of judges. Senators must live up to their constitutional duty to fully examine any nominee to determine if they respect the Constitution above their own opinions."

Mario Diaz, Esq., CWA's Policy Director for Legal Issues, said, "If President Obama's nominee is in the mold of his recent choices, Senators and citizens must be engaged now more than ever in the confirmation process. Several of President Obama's nominees put forth as 'moderates' by the White House have turned out to be outside the mainstream upon careful review. This is why Senators must be diligent and take the time to closely examine whether each candidate will abide by the Constitution or make the Court their personal fiefdom."

Family Research Council:

In the speech that catapulted Barack Obama to fame in 2004, the young Democrat said, "There is not a liberal America or a conservative America. There is a United States of America." Five years later, the same man will face his biggest test to prove it: the nomination of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Since the election, Washington has been prepared for a vacancy on the high court, most likely from the aging, Left-leaning justices. Yesterday, reports confirmed that Justice David Souter, 69, will be the first to exit, giving the new President his first crack at reshaping the Supreme Court. Will he plow ahead with a pro-abortion, anti-faith radical (as he did with 7th Circuit Court nominee David Hamilton) this early in his presidency--or will he bide his time on a full-blown congressional war and nominate a judge that both sides can agree on?

As a candidate, Barack Obama prided himself on his ability to work with conservatives. His first 100 days, however, have been a case study in unilateralism. When asked why he moved away from bipartisanship, the President dodged the question and said, "Whether we're Democrats or Republicans, surely there's got to be some capacity for us to work together, not agree on everything, but at least set aside small differences to get things done."

On Wednesday, President Obama decided his best way to "get things done" was to use congressional rules to block any meaningful participation by Republicans on controversial policies like health care reform and education. While those decisions can be overturned, lifetime appointments cannot. As both sides are painfully aware, nothing in this administration's legacy will withstand the test of time like President Obama's judicial nominees.

To that point, the White House would be wise to take into account the growing public consensus on the sanctity of human life. While some people are pointing at social conservatives as the cause of the Republicans' woes, a new poll suggests that the GOP's platform on life may be its biggest appeal. According to the most recent Pew Research Center poll, American support for abortion is experiencing its steepest decline in at least a decade. Since last August, the proportion of people who believe that abortion should be legal in most or all cases has dropped from a small majority--54%--to 46%. The drop is particularly noticeable in the youngest generation (18-29) whose support for abortion dropped by five points (from 52% to 47%) in just nine months. The conservative trend is even affecting women. Fifty-four percent said abortion should be legal in most or all cases last summer, while less than half (49%) feel that way today.

 Traditional Values Coalition:

The U.S. Supreme Court is on the verge of taking a huge lurch to the far left with the exit of Justice Souter from the Court. Souter is certainly no loss for Constitutionalists, but he will most likely be replaced with someone far worse. During the election, President Obama stated that he wanted to appoint judges who had “empathy” and who understood what it was to be poor, black or gay. He clearly stated that he wanted judges who would not confine themselves to the Constitution or to the original intent of the Founding Fathers.

From Obama’s public statements, it is clear that he will appoint a Justice who views the U.S. Constitution like a Wikipedia entry that can be edited, revised and distorted for the political agenda of the Justice. Obama wants a Supreme Court nominee who will ignore the Constitution; use his “feelings” to determine legal decisions; use foreign law to impose a liberal political agenda; and use the power of the Court to redistribute the wealth. The President has stated that he believes the Courts should be used to promote “economic justice,” – code for judge-ordered income distribution.

President Obama once mentioned former Chief Justice Earl Warren as the ideal person to serve on his Supreme Court. Warren was one of the most notorious left-wing judicial activists in our nation’s history. The President is likely to appoint a Justice who believes in the use of foreign law in interpreting cases that come before the Court. The use of foreign law in issuing rulings in American court cases will undermine self-government and destroy our Constitutional government. Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have an important role in advising and consenting to such nominations. They must seriously challenge the political views of anyone chosen by Obama for this lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. No nominee who believes in using foreign law in making court decisions has any place on the Court. Our self-government depends upon it.

Barton Named to Texas School Board "Experts" Panel

We don't pay that much attention to the ins-and-outs of goings-on regarding the Texas State Board of Education, but the Texas Freedom Network certainly does and they report this latest development:

The Texas State Board of Education is set to appoint a social studies curriculum “expert” panel that includes absurdly unqualified ideologues who are hostile to public education and argue that laws and public policies should be based on their narrow interpretations of the Bible.

TFN has obtained the names of “experts” appointed by far-right state board members. Those panelists will guide the revision of social studies curriculum standards for Texas public schools. They include David Barton of the fundamentalist, Texas-based group WallBuilders, whose degree is in religious education, not the social sciences, and the Rev. Peter Marshall of Peter Marshall Ministries in Massachusetts, who suggests that California wildfires and Hurricane Katrina were divine punishments for tolerance of homosexuality.

The two have argued that the Constitution doesn’t protect separation of church and state and hold a variety of other extreme views related to religion, education and government, TFN President Kathy Miller said.

...

Barton, former vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party, is a self-styled “historian” without any formal training in the field. He argues that separation of church and state is a “myth” and that the nation’s laws should be based on Scripture. He says, for example, that the Bible forbids taxes on income and capital gains. Yet even such groups as Texas Baptists Committed and the Baptist Joint Committee have sharply criticized Barton’s interpretations of the Constitution and history.

Barton also acknowledges having used in his publications and speeches nearly a dozen quotes he has attributed to the nation’s Founders even though he can’t identify any primary sources showing that they really said them.

Some state board members have criticized what they believe are efforts to overemphasize the contributions of minorities in the nation’s history. It is alarming, then, that in 1991 Barton spoke at events hosted by groups tied to white supremacists. He later said he hadn’t known the groups were “part of a Nazi movement.”

In addition, Barton’s WallBuilders Web site suggests as a “helpful” resource the National Association of Christian Educators/Citizens for Excellence in Education, an organization that calls public schools places of "social depravity" and "spiritual slaughter."

The Peter Marshall Ministries Web site includes Marshall’s commentaries sharply attacking Muslims, characterizing the Obama administration as “wicked,” and calling on Christian parents to reject public education for their children.

Marshall has also attacked Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant churches. In his call for a spiritual revival in America last year, he called traditional mainline Protestantism an “institutionally fossilized, Bible-rejecting shell of Christianity.”

TFN also provides informative links to these documents containing more info about both Barton and Marshall, and so I'll just add links to all of our posts on Barton as well as a link to our report on him, "Propaganda Masquerading as History," for good measure.

Tilting At Windmills: The On-Going Crusade Against the DHS

Earlier this week I wrote a post about the fact Janet Porter and a gaggle of other fringe right-wing groups announced that they would be placing an ad in The Washington Times in which they demanded the resignation Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ever the recent “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” report.  

I’ve already written too much about this idiotic issue, so I’m not even going to get into it again and will simply note that the ad ran today and highlight the groups sponsoring it:

Current sponsors include: American Family Association, Religious Freedom Coalition, Let Freedom Ring, United States Justice Foundation, Faith2Action, Georgia Christian Alliance, Population Research Institute, Vision America, American Decency Association, Americans for Truth, AFA of Pennsylvania, Center for Security Policy, Coalition for Urban Renewal and Education, Eagle Forum of Alabama, Federal Intercessors, Legacy Church (Albuquerque, NM), Liberty Counsel, Move America Forward, Operation Rescue, Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ, Take Back Our Country and Traditional Values Coalition.

This coalition is also seeking donations so that they can run the ad in other media outlets and vowing to keep up the fight:

Coalition Chairman Janet Folger Porter (who hosts a nationally syndicated daily talk show and is the president of Faith2Action) observed: "If we don't speak out against this unconscionable attack on law-abiding citizens now, the left will use it to discredit everything we do from this point forward."

The irony here, of course, is that everyone realizes the report itself was entirely uncontroversial and that what is really discrediting the Right is their incessant hyperventilation and victimization over the report.

Note to Porter:  we don’t need a meaningless DHS report to discredit everything you do because you are perfectly capable of doing that all by yourself.

Robertson to Relinquish Some Duties at Regent

Like James Dobson before him, it looks like Pat Robertson has decided to lighten his load and is announcing that, effective July 1, 2010, he'll step down from his position as president of Regent University:

Dr. M. G. "Pat" Robertson, founder, chancellor and president of Regent University, announced to the Board of Trustees his plans to retire as president of the university effective July 1, 2010. Dr. Robertson founded Regent in 1978 and became its sixth president in 2000, guiding the university through its most rapid period of growth, including the expansion into online undergraduate and graduate education. He will continue to serve as the university's chancellor and member of the Board of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees has appointed a search committee that will name a new president, who is expected to join the university no later than fall 2010.

"Serving as Regent University's president has been an honor and a joy," Robertson says. "The accomplishments of our faculty, staff, students and alumni are truly remarkable and I am so delighted by the achievements of our rapidly growing school. As chancellor and a trustee, I will now focus on helping guide the university toward the next level of strategic growth and the implementation of our master plan."

We can only hope that this news does not set off another round of prognostications about how the Religious Right is dead, like Dobson's announcement did.  But given that the news is already running under headlines misleadingly blaring "Pat Robertson announces his retirement," we won't be holding our breath.

I’m Not a Doctor, But I Play One in The NOM Ad

Via Good as You, we get this interesting follow-up to the National Organization for Marriage ad we mentioned earlier, thanks to this statement from the Human Rights Campaign setting the record straight about the claims made in the ad:

The general argument of the ad is that the push for marriage equality isn’t just about rights for same-sex couples, it’s about imposing contrary values on people of faith.  The examples they cite in the ad are:

(1)   A California doctor who must choose between her faith and her job

(2)   A member of New Jersey church group which is punished by the state because they can’t support same-sex marriage

(3)   A Massachusetts parent who stands by helpless while the state teaches her son that gay marriage is okay

The facts indicate that (1) refers to the Benitez decision in California, determining that a doctor cannot violate California anti-discrimination law by refusing to treat a lesbian based on religious belief, (2) refers to the Ocean Grove, New Jersey Methodist pavilion that was open to the general public for events but refused access for civil union ceremonies (and was fined by the state for doing so) and (3) refers to the Parker decision in Massachusetts, where parents unsuccessfully sought to end public school discussions of family diversity, including of same-sex couples.

All three examples involve religious people who enter the public sphere, but don’t want to abide by the general non-discriminatory rules everyone else does.  Both (1) and (2) are really about state laws against sexual orientation discrimination, rather than specifically about marriage.  And (3) is about two pairs of religious parents trying to impose their beliefs on all children in public schools.   

The real facts of each case are:

The California doctor entered a profession that promises to “first, do no harm” and the law requires her to treat a patient in need – gay or straight, Christian or Muslim – regardless of her religious beliefs.  The law does not, and cannot, dictate her faith – it can only insist that she follow her oath as a medical professional.

    * The New Jersey church group runs, and profits from, a beachside pavilion that it rents out to the general public for all manner of occasions –concerts, debates and even Civil War reenactments— but balks at permitting couples to hold civil union ceremonies there.  The law does not challenge the church organization’s beliefs about homosexuality – it merely requires that a pavilion that had been open to all for years comply with laws protecting everyone from discrimination, including gays and lesbians.

    * The Massachusetts parent disagrees with an aspect of her son’s public education, a discussion of the many different kinds of families he will likely encounter in life, including gay and lesbian couples.  The law does not stop her from disagreeing, from teaching him consistently with her differing beliefs at home, or even educating her child in a setting that is more in line with her faith traditions.  But it does not allow any one parent to dictate the curriculum for all students based on her family’s religious traditions. 

Even better, HRC has posted the audition tapes from those seeking parts in that ad because, as it turns out, the people in the ad aren’t actually the California doctor, the member of New Jersey church group, or the Massachusetts parent that they claim to be:

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Education Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 06/09/2011, 12:53pm
On today's episode of Faith and Freedom Radio, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver and Shawn Akers discussed the fight over prayer at the Bastrop High School graduation ceremony in Louisiana. The issue was especially important to Akers, as he graduated from Bastrop High School and so he was outraged by the idea that prayer might be banned from the ceremony ... mainly because the entire purpose of public education is to educate students so that they can read the Bible and learn how to live: MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 06/08/2011, 5:20pm
According to the Des Moines Register, Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson and Rick Santorum will take part in Iowa’s Tea Party Bus Tour. The bus tour is led by a coalition of right-wing groups: the Leadership Institute, FairTax Nation, and the American Principles Project’s affiliated groups, Preserve Innocence and American Principles in Action. Founded by noted anti-gay activist Robert George, the group is also closely linked to the Manhattan Declaration and the National Organization for Marriage, which it worked with to... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 06/08/2011, 4:31pm
The Family Research Council has released new prayer targets, and the group is urging activists to pray to stop the New York state legislature from passing a marriage equality bill. The FRC insisted that activists should not only support opponents of marriage equality, but also pray that those who “seek to shred the fabric of our nation’s moral order be defeated in the next election!” In addition, the group denounced a new effort by Health and Human Services chief Kathleen Sebelius that fights bullying and anti-gay discrimination. In a recent speech, Sebelius said that... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 06/08/2011, 2:19pm
Pseudo-historian David Barton visited the Christian television program Celebration on the Daystar Television Network with host Joni Lamb on Monday to discuss his right-wing, pro-GOP view of American history. Barton, who says that the Founding Fathers like Ben Franklin opposed Net Neutrality, claims he also knows the views of the Founding Fathers in the debate over whether schools should teach Creationism alongside evolution in public schools. Naturally, Barton says that the Founding Fathers “already had the entire debate on creation and evolution,” and sided with Creationism... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 06/07/2011, 10:31am
The right-wing group Save California is apoplectic over the recent enactment of a day to honor Harvey Milk, the openly gay San Francisco politician and civil rights activist who was assassinated in 1978. Led by Randy Thomasson, Save California has urged parents to pull their children out of public schools to protest efforts to recognize the role of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in California history. During an interview with the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, Thomasson attacked the looming “tsunami of perversity” approaching schools and charged... MORE
Coral, Monday 06/06/2011, 4:39pm
Linda Harvey, founder of the fringe anti-gay group Mission: America, not only condemns the LGBT community but condemns anyone who isn’t condemning them. Harvey is also the host of the Mission: America Radio show, and last week she spoke out against pro-tolerance education: Sex Change Pushed on Children Recently, I read an outstanding article on the website American Thinker. It’s called The Left’s Dirty Little Secret. It exposed what has been obvious for a long time, that liberal values in schools and in our culture are leading to widespread sexual abuse of children. The... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 05/23/2011, 11:18am
As we noted last week, Bryan Fischer has made it his new cause in life to prove that "the number one class of people who are committing hate crimes today are homosexual activists." Fischer bases this idea upon a definition of a hate crime that he took off us USLegal.com, which reads: "A hate crime is usually defined by state law as one that involves threats, harassment, or physical harm and is motivated by prejudice against someone's race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability." Fischer has seized upon the... MORE