First Amendment

Prophecy and Political Update With Cindy Jacobs

It's been a rather slow news day here, so why not spend ten minutes getting up to speed on the latest prophecies from Cindy Jacobs?

The video is actually dated April 29, but just showed up on the General's International website and in it, Jacobs highlights two prophecies she made recently, the first about the birth of a new island and the second about fire coming from ice.  Both have come true, Jacobs explains, citing some new island forming off of Hawaii and the volcanic explosion in Iceland.

She goes on to prophecy that the upcoming Global Day of Prayer, which coincides with the Day of Pentecost, will lead to news reports all over the world of "great and mighty miracles." In addition, there will be great breakthroughs in fighting human trafficking, as well as earthquakes, flooding, and the bursting of dams as God prepares to show the world that he is in command.

Also, there is going to be some "shaking" along the border between North Korea and China, but she is not sure what exactly:

In other, more straightforward political news, Jacobs and GI want activists to utilize the resources and action steps set out by Faith 2 Action, Gordon Klingenschmitt, and the Family Research Council to urge the Senate to "oppose and filibuster Elena Kagan":

The President's nomination to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, is a social liberal with no judicial experience, and she is allegedly a lesbian. Among many other points of concern, Kagan possesses an incredibly hostile view of the military, opposing "don't ask, don't tell", and she endorses presidential control of federal agencies on domestic issues as well as the federal banning of certain books, pamphlets and "hate speech"--a violation of First Amendment rights. For more information:

* Elena Kagan Profile from FRC Action's thecloakroomblog.org
* Roundup of Articles on Kagan from FRC's thecloakroomblog.org

Let us pray that the Senate Judiciary Committee would thoroughly and diligently examine Kagan's qualifications. May the new Supreme Court Justice pick be someone who will uphold righteousness in this Nation. Here are some action steps, outlined by Faith2Action.org, which we can take:

1.The following seven Republicans sadly voted for Kagan in 2009 in the 61-31 vote to confirm her as Solicitor General. Please call each to say "oppose and filibuster Elena Kagan" right away. Let's seize momentum! Kyl (R-AZ, 202-224-4521), Hatch (R-UT, 202-224-5251), Coburn (R-OK, 202-224-5754), Lugar (R-IN, 202-224-4814), Snowe (R-ME, 202-224-5344), Collins (R-ME, 202-224-2523), Gregg (R-NH, 202-224-3324). Also please call new Senator Scott Brown (R-MA, 202-224-4543)

2. Send correspondence to the offices of your Senators.

a. Chaplain Klingenschmitt's Pray in Jesus' Name organization can send a fax petition to all 100 U.S. Senators, or a couple of smaller groups of swing-vote or Judiciary Committee Senators on your behalf, opposing this nomination. Click here for details on sending your petitions.

b. The Family Research Council has also set up a system for sending letters to your Senators in the form of an email or a printed letter. For details, click here.

As for the 2010 U.S. elections, I urge you to take note of who is running in your state at every level, and where they stand on the issues--and vote righteously. We all know that we are seriously reaping from a whole generation of believers, that as a whole, have not paid adequate attention to the election process and, as the Body of Christ in general, have not voted, or have not voted responsibly. Let us be the Salt and Light we are called to be, exercising our right and responsibility to vote with Scriptural convictions. Here is an excellent resource to help you make informed choices.

The Least Informative Elena Kagan Discussion Ever

When I saw that Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network had spent nearly an hour discussing Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court with Terry Jeffrey, editor in chief of CNSNews.com, I certainly wasn't expecting it to be exciting.

But I didn't expect it to be downright painful ... but that is exactly what it was, as Jeffrey tried to use the Citizen's United decision, which he held up as a fundamental victory for the First Amendment, to make the case that Kagan should have resigned her position as Solicitor General rather than try to strip Americans of their basic rights.

To their credit, both Whelan and Severino repeatedly shot down Jeffrey's claims ... but it didn't matter, as every explanation they offered just seemed to further convince Jeffrey that government lawyers and Supreme Court justices and basically all lawyers are morally unfit to hold public office on the grounds that they are willing to argue positions with which they might not agree.

All of this eventually leads Jeffrey to start asking random hypothetical questions about whether an anti-choice Solicitor General who worked for a pro-choice administration would be morally fit to hold the office ... as if that is relevant to anything at all. 

So if you want to see the single least informative discussion of Elena Kagan's Supreme Court nomination, jump ahead to the 5:00 mark of this video and watch as Whelan and Severino struggle to deal with Jeffrey's never-ending stream of nonsense:

LaBarbera Demands to Know if Kagan "Has a Personal Interest in Lesbianism"

Like the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer, Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth is also demanding to know if Elena Kagan is a lesbian because "homosexuals’ privacy interests simply do not outweigh the public’s right to know about potential conflicts-of-interest in the lives of their judges and lawmakers":

“If Kagan is practicing immoral sexual behavior, it reflects on her character as a judicial nominee and her personal bias as potentially one of the most important public officials in America. The popular mantra — even among conservatives — is that Kagan’s sexuality is ‘irrelevant.’ But a Justice Kagan would help decide some critically important constitutional issues dealing with: homosexual ‘marriage’ as a supposed civil right; religious liberty and freedom of conscience; and the First Amendment as applied to citizens’ right to oppose homosexuality. So it certainly matters if she, as a lifetime judge, could emerge as a crusading (openly) ‘gay’ advocate on the court.

“Kagan has a strong pro-homosexual record, including, as Harvard dean, fighting to keep military recruiters off the campus because the military bars homosexuals. Americans certainly have a right to know if her activism is driven by deeply personal motivations that could undermine her fairness as a judge.”

“Besides, in an era of ubiquitous pro-gay messages and pop culture celebration of homosexuality, it’s ridiculous that Americans should be left guessing as to whether a Supreme Court nominee has a special, personal interest in homosexuality.

“Given the important homosexual-related issues coming before the Supreme Court , Kagan should say so if she has a personal interest in lesbianism. Similarly, any legislator — especially one representing a conservative district — should come clean on the homosexuality question particularly if it is an ‘open secret’ like Mark Foley’s homosexuality (years before the page scandal) or becomes the subject of wide speculation.

“We appeal to Kagan and all potential “hiding-in-the-closet” public officials to answer the question: ‘Are (or were) you a practicing homosexual or do you consider yourself homosexual (gay)?’ Homosexuals’ privacy interests simply do not outweigh the public’s right to know about potential conflicts-of-interest in the lives of their judges and lawmakers.”

Franklin Graham Continues to Play the Victim

Franklin Graham is apparently under the impression that freedom of speech and religion means that he is allowed to say anything the wants and nobody has a right to disagree or complain, nor will there ever be any repercussions, because he was merely exercising his religious freedom,

That, at least, seems to be his stock response whenever he discusses being disinvited from the Pentagon's National Day of Prayer event, as he's now complaining to CBN's David Brody that Christianity is being "put down":

"I think it is a put down, because there seems to be that Islam gets a pass, that a couple of Muslims complain about a Christian event at the Pentagon, when there's been Christian events at the Pentagon for years. My father has preached there, I have preached there, many others have preached there, but yet a couple of Muslims can complain. They can have Ramadan, they have their prayer services there, I don't complain, I'm happy for them to do that, but for them to complain because I don't believe as they believe and I don't worship the same God that they worship. I worship a different God than they worship. But we love them, and I care for them, and I want Muslims everywhere to know what I know that Jesus Christ died for their sins the same way he died for mine and if they're willing to confess and repent of their sins and receive Christ in their hearts, then their lives, they can have that assurance of salvation, forgiveness of sin, and they can have that assurance of Heaven, and I want them to know that."

I wonder how Graham and the Religious Right if the Pentagon had invited a Jewish or Muslim speaker to the Day of Prayer event who had called Christianity a "very evil and wicked religion"?

I'm sure that they would have respected said speaker's religious and first amendment rights ... just like they did when a group of Muslims tried to hold a prayer rally on the National Mall last year.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW statement: Supreme Court Weakens First Amendment.
  • Sarah Posner: Exposing the Christian Right's New Racial Playbook.
  • Americans United: ADF Lawyer Makes Nice With Florida Radio Extremist.
  • Rachel Tabachnick: Hijacking the National Day of Prayer.
  • Warren Throckmorton: Lou Engle issues statement regarding The Call Uganda and Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
  • The Washington Note: Eugene Delgaudio's Really Weird Rant: Beware the RADICAL Homosexuals.
  • Sam Stein: RNC Accuses Obama Of Shredding Constitution, Nominating Sex-Offender Defenders.
  • Think Progress: GOP congressional candidate: We should put microchips in undocumented immigrants, like we do with dogs.
  • Wonk Room: Following Passage Of Arizona Law, At Least Seven States Contemplate Anti-Immigrant Legislation.
  • David Neiwert: Glenn Beck is outraged by comparisons to Nazi Germany. Who would do such a thing? Besides Glenn Beck, that is.
  • David Weigel: Birthers prepare to march on Washington.
  • Good As You: Giving you $15 lies for free: The one time we *do* wanna use ENDA to put FRC out of business.
  • Truth Wins Out: DC Mayor Honors PFOX’s Regina Griggs.

Graham's Disinvitation Proof That Our Military Is Run By "Fundamentalist Muslims and Homosexual Activists"

Yesterday, it was reported that the Army had rescinded its invitation to Franklin Graham to speak at a National Day of Prayer event at the Pentagon due to his past attacks on Islam.

Not surprisingly, Religious Right activists are upset. 

While Gordon Klingenschmitt focuses his ire on Mickey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, TVC's Andrea Lafferty blamed CAIR

Nihad Awad, a founder of the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its chief public spokesman, was the first to start taking a victory lap and announced that evangelist Franklin Graham was "disinvited" from a National Day of Prayer ceremony at the Pentagon.

"This attack on Franklin Graham and Christians was engineered by CAIR and it has the fingerprints of Barack Obama's White House all over it," said Traditional Values Coalition Executive Director Andrea Lafferty.

"Nihad Awad and CAIR offer us a preview of what America will be like if they are ever successful. Playing by their rules – shariah law—there is no separation of church and state. There is one state religion and Islam is it. There is zero tolerance for anything at variance with Islam, particularly if it's Christian or Jewish.

For  this part, FRC's Tony Perkins claimed the decision is an attack on the religious freedom of all Christians: 

The fact that he has theological differences with Islam, differences wholly in keeping with the teachings of the New Testament, and that he has expressed them publicly, is now being used by anti-Christian zealots in a manner offensive to the freedom of religion guaranteed by the very Constitution military leaders are sworn to uphold.

"This decision is further evidence that the leadership of our nation's military has been impaired by the politically correct culture being advanced by this Administration. Under this Administration's watch we are seeing the First Amendment, designed to protect the religious exercise of Americans, retooled into a sword to sever America's ties with orthodox Christianity.

"For those Christian leaders who have avoided the controversy of political issues, saying they just wanted to preach the gospel - this should be a wake up call!"

And never one to be outdone, the AFA's Bryan Fischer sees it as proof that our military has been taken over by "fundamentalist Muslims and homosexual activists": 

Bottom line: you want to know who's now running the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy and the Marines and calling the shots where it counts? Fundamentalist Muslims and homosexual activists.

In fact, I'll predict that there will be a day of prayer at the Pentagon on May 6, and it will feature a Muslim imam, a homosexual clergyman, and no conservative Christians of any kind.

This is not your father's military. It's not even your father's country anymore.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • An Arkansas judge has struck down Act 1, which was passed in 2008 in order ban against unmarried couples [i.e., gays] from adopting or foster-parenting children.
  • The Department of Justice has asked a federal judge to dismiss the right-wing lawsuit against the Hate Crimes Act, saying "the Act does not proscribe speech. It prohibits only violent conduct and includes specific provisions ensuring that it may not be applied to infringe any rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.”
  • Larry Klayman is now a columnist for WorldNetDaily where he'll fit right in.
  • Did you know that David Barton's son, Tim, is carrying on the family tradition of spreading pseudo-history throughout the land?  Well, he is.
  • Tim Goeglein always wanted to be a journalist ... until he got caught plagerizing.  So then he had to go work for President Bush and Focus on the Family.
  • Behold the latest White House scandal:  President Obama isn't a real baseball fan!
  • Finally, the quote of the day from the Illinois Family Institute's Laurie Higgins opposing efforts to end bullying: "But the part they leave out is it's trying to end bullying by normalizing homosexuality."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • A federal judge has ruled the National Day of Prayer to be unconstitutional. The American Center for Law and Justice and the Alliance Defense Fund react negatively.
  • Richard Viguerie really is quite smitten with the Tea Party movement.
  • Rick Green says his Texas Supreme Court loss is really a win for "liberty-loving patriots."
  • Matt Barber attacks ENDA in the Washington Times.
  • The Alliance Defense Fund is launching its "Church Project, a new legal effort to protect churches from excessive and unconstitutional government intrusion prohibited by the First Amendment" designed to bloster its "Pulpit Initiative."
  • Troy Titus is a graduate of both Regent University and Liberty University ... and he'll now be serving 30 years in prison for defrauding clients out of $8 million through a Ponzi scheme.
  • Finally, Eric Buehrer complains that the American Library Association's list of most frequently "challenged" books is really an attempt to "put a chilling effect on the free speech of parents." Buehrer is apparently utterly unaware of the irony of that complaint.

Fighting For Their Right To Discriminate

A few weeks ago we noted that an organization called NotMyBathroom.com was formed in Missoula, Montana in order to oppose a proposed city ordinance that would protect people from discrimination in their jobs and homes based on "actual or perceived ... sexual orientation, gender identity or expression."

The organization is associated with Concerned Women for America and the focus of its campaign is on the claim that the ordinance will make it legal for men to use women's restrooms, thereby leading to assaults on women and children.

While the group's effort is obviously aimed at stirring up fear in order to defeat the measure, CWA's Wendy Long admits that they have absolutely no evidence that anti-discrimination ordinances lead to such assaults and that their real mission is to fight the anti-discrimination out of fear that it'll eventually lead to marriage equality:

Even one of the most staunch opponents of those laws can't point to increases in frivolous lawsuits or sexual predation. Still, Concerned Women for America president Wendy Wright said such ordinances lead the country down the wrong track.

"We have a constitutional protection for religious freedom in our First Amendment," Wright said. "There is not a constitutional protection for sexual orientation, and yet judges and city councils and others are acting as if sexual orientation trumps religious freedom."

The Concerned Women aim to bring biblical principles to public policy, and the Montana office opposes the Missoula ordinance. It's one member of Notmybathroom.com, a group that formed to defeat the local ordinance in large part because of fear sexual offenders will prey on women and children in bathrooms and locker rooms.

Wright couldn't point to places that have counted increases in sexual offenses because of such laws, but she said such data is beside the point.

"It doesn't go back to numbers," Wright said. "It goes back to the issue that people will have legal rights that will trump other people's rights. The right of a woman or a girl to feel safe in a fitting room, a locker, a restroom, their rights will be trumped by a person who is claiming their sexual orientation right has legal protection."

She noted as troubling a couple of specific examples where transgender women fought for access to dressing rooms. In one Philadelphia case in 2008, a woman denied access to a fitting room planned to file a complaint against the department store, whose manager agreed to train employees to grant equal access.

Wright said one big reason Concerned Women opposes such laws is because the group does not want local ordinances to be used as stepping stones toward making gay marriage legal and teaching it in the public schools.

In essence, the less society tolerates discrimination against gays, the more likely gay marriage becomes ... and so groups like CWA must fight to protect the right to discriminate.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Utah Senator Bob Bennett is trying to use health reform legislation to stop Washington, DC's marriage equality law.
  • Oklahoma state Rep. Lewis Moore admitted that he removed a portrait of President Obama's from the House chamber because he disagrees with "the liberal policies coming from the Obama administration," stating that "I absolutely respect the office of the president, but disagree vehemently with our current president's policies."
  • Is it any surprise that Elaine Donnelly would support the claim that the Srebrenica massacre was due to gay soldiers? 
  • Is Tommy Thompson going to run against Sen. Russ Feingold?
  • It's getting increasingly difficult to separate Liberty University, the School from Liberty University, the political organization.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from the AFA's Bryan Fischer: "As a result, we have now been told by a hyperactive federal judge that students who engage in sexually abnormal practices have a First Amendment right to bring their sexually abnormal dates to a high school dance, and there's not a thing schools can do about it. This is not your mother's senior prom."

Colorado's Religious Right Seeks Extra First Amendment Protections

I always thought that the First Amendment's free exercise of religion provision provided for, you know, the free exercise of religion.  But apparently that protection is not enough for right-wing groups in Colorado who are now pushing an amendment to the state's constitution that would guarantee them some sort of vague religious liberty exemption, presumably to bolster their belief that they should not be required to comply with or recognize things like hate crimes laws, marriage equality, or anything else that does not reflect their religious views:

A coalition that includes Colorado Family Action and the Colorado Catholic Conference has taken the first step toward amending the state constitution to prohibit the government from infringing on the religious liberty of an individual or a religious organization.

"We have heard in our work in the state that many Catholics and other people of faith are growing uneasy as they sense a loss of religious freedom," said Jennifer Kraska, executive director of the Catholic Conference, the lobbying arm of the state's three Catholic dioceses.

Kraska, also a representative of a coalition called Coloradans for Liberty, said a ballot initiative to amend the constitution is being considered because of a general sense that religious freedom is eroding under governmental pressure.

Another coalition representative, Jessica Langfeldt, director of Colorado Family Action, a Focus on the Family affiliate, said taking the first step Monday — filing language with the Colorado Legislative Council — gives the coalition several weeks to determine whether its concerns are widely shared.

The ballot question asks whether the state constitution should include a section stating that government may not burden the right of a person or organization to act or to refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief unless the government has a compelling interest in infringing the act.

"People want the freedom to express their religious beliefs in all aspects of community life, not just in the privacy of their homes," Kraska said.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Sarah Palin is writing another book, one that will "reflect on the key values—both national and spiritual—that have been such a profound part of her life and which continue to inform her vision of the future." I can hardly wait.
  • The Arizona Republic looks at the behind-the-scenes influence the right-wing Center for Arizona Policy has in shaping public policy in the state.
  • Do you ever get the impression that Mat Staver just doesn't like gay people?
  • Thanks to the AFA, the Chairman of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors has been inundated with more than 40,000 emails protesting the NCAA's decision to drop the Focus on the Family ad from its website.
  • The Traditional Values Coalition pretty much loses it over DADT.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Don Feder in a lengthy attack on CPAC: " Gay rights is about indoctrinating your children in behavior that would make a proctologist gag. It’s about criminalizing dissent via speech codes and hate crimes laws. It’s a frontal assault on First Amendment free speech and religious freedom. This is freedom only in the sense that killing unborn children is choice."

Repealing DADT = Gov't Establishment of Religion

Here is a rather novel argument as to why Don't Ask, Don't Tell cannot be repealed:  doing so would be a violation of the separation of church and state and amount to an establishment of religion.

Even more amazingly, this line of argument is being put forward by the Alliance Defense Fund, the Religious Right legal organization founded by James Dobson, D. James Kennedy, and others, which has traditionally focused its efforts on claiming that there is no separation of church and state and defending government expressions of religion.

But not any more

A team of top-drawer civil and religious rights lawyers is accusing President Obama of establishing a religion for the U.S. military through his demand to promote open homosexuality in the ranks.

"If chaplains with beliefs that contradict the proposed policy are kept from roles that are likely to generate conflict – like preaching or counseling – then they, the faith groups the represent, and the soldiers whose religious beliefs they serve will all be marginalized," a letter today from the Alliance Defense Fund to Obama said.

"The military would effectively establish preferred religions or religious beliefs," the letter said. "That is a constitutional offense that carries a very pragmatic consequence: just what will happen to recruiting efforts if Christians become second-class soldiers, sailors, airmen, or Marines."

The letter, addressed to President Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, referenced Obama's campaign to allow open homosexual behavior in the U.S. military. While that behavior is formally forbidden under current law, the military acts under a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy adopted by President Clinton.

The letter was signed by Gary McCaleb, senior vice president and senior counsel; Jordan Lorence, senior vice president and senior counsel; Austin Nimocks, senior legal counsel; and Kevin Theriot; senior counsel.

...

"Military chaplains who have volunteered to defend the liberties protected in our Constitution shouldn't be denied those very same liberties," said Theriot. "Forcing chaplains to deny the teachings of their faith in order to serve in the armed forces is a grave threat to the First Amendment and to the spiritual health of Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen who depend on them."

He said if the military is forced to promote homosexual behavior, "for the first time in American history there will be open conflict between the virtues taught by chaplains and the moral message delivered by the military."

"In such a conflict, it's obvious who will win and who will lose. If the state favors the demands of the homosexual activists over the First Amendment, it is only a matter of time before the military censors the religious expression of its chaplains and marginalizes denominations that teach what the Bible says about homosexual behavior," he said.

Meet The Right-Wingers Drafting Your Textbooks

The New York Times Magazine has a long article on the battle over textbooks in Texas and the related question of just how religious were the Founding Fathers and how much of a role they intended religion to play in our government. 

The article is quite long, but I just wanted to highlight a few sections about the views and agendas of Texas Board of Education members Don McLeroy and Cynthia Dunbar:

I met Don McLeroy last November in a dental office — that is to say, his dental office — in a professional complex in the Brazos Valley city of Bryan, not far from the sprawling campus of Texas A&M University. The buzz of his hygienist at work sounded through the thin wall separating his office from the rest of the suite. McLeroy makes no bones about the fact that his professional qualifications have nothing to do with education. “I’m a dentist, not a historian,” he said. “But I’m fascinated by history, so I’ve read a lot.”

...

McLeroy is a robust, cheerful and inexorable man, whose personality is perhaps typified by the framed letter T on the wall of his office, which he earned as a “yell leader” (Texas A&M nomenclature for cheerleader) in his undergraduate days in the late 1960s. “I consider myself a Christian fundamentalist,” he announced almost as soon as we sat down. He also identifies himself as a young-earth creationist who believes that the earth was created in six days, as the book of Genesis has it, less than 10,000 years ago. He went on to explain how his Christian perspective both governs his work on the state board and guides him in the current effort to adjust American-history textbooks to highlight the role of Christianity. “Textbooks are mostly the product of the liberal establishment, and they’re written with the idea that our religion and our liberty are in conflict,” he said. “But Christianity has had a deep impact on our system. The men who wrote the Constitution were Christians who knew the Bible. Our idea of individual rights comes from the Bible. The Western development of the free-market system owes a lot to biblical principles.”

For McLeroy, separation of church and state is a myth perpetrated by secular liberals. “There are two basic facts about man,” he said. “He was created in the image of God, and he is fallen. You can’t appreciate the founding of our country without realizing that the founders understood that. For our kids to not know our history, that could kill a society. That’s why to me this is a huge thing.”

...

In 2008, Cynthia Dunbar published a book called “One Nation Under God,” in which she stated more openly than most of her colleagues have done the argument that the founding of America was an overtly Christian undertaking and laid out what she and others hope to achieve in public schools. “The underlying authority for our constitutional form of government stems directly from biblical precedents,” she writes. “Hence, the only accurate method of ascertaining the intent of the Founding Fathers at the time of our government’s inception comes from a biblical worldview.”

Then she pushes forward: “We as a nation were intended by God to be a light set on a hill to serve as a beacon of hope and Christian charity to a lost and dying world.” But the true picture of America’s Christian founding has been whitewashed by “the liberal agenda” — in order for liberals to succeed “they must first rewrite our nation’s history” and obscure the Christian intentions of the founders. Therefore, she wrote, “this battle for our nation’s children and who will control their education and training is crucial to our success for reclaiming our nation.”

After the book came out, Dunbar was derided in blogs and newspapers for a section in which she writes of “the inappropriateness of a state-created, taxpayer-supported school system” and likens sending children to public school to “throwing them into the enemy’s flames, even as the children of Israel threw their children to Moloch.” (Her own children were either home-schooled or educated in private Christian schools.) When I asked, over dinner in a honky-tonk steakhouse down the road from the university, why someone who felt that way would choose to become an overseer of arguably the most influential public-education system in the country, she said that public schools are a battlefield for competing ideologies and that it’s important to combat the “religion” of secularism that holds sway in public education.

Ask Christian activists what they really want — what the goal is behind the effort to bring Christianity into American history — and they say they merely want “the truth.” “The main thing I’m looking for as a state board member is to make sure we have good standards,” Don McLeroy said. But the actual ambition is vast. Americans tell pollsters they support separation of church and state, but then again 65 percent of respondents to a 2007 survey by the First Amendment Center agreed with the statement that “the nation’s founders intended the United States to be a Christian nation,” and 55 percent said they believed the Constitution actually established the country as a Christian nation. The Christian activists are aware of such statistics and want to build on them, as Dunbar made clear. She told me she looks to John Jay’s statement that it is the duty of the people “of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers” and has herself called for a preference for selecting Christians for positions of leadership.

Pagan Prayer Circle Daring God to Unleash Haiti-Like Destruction Upon Our Nation

Last week, the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs announced that it had set aside an outdoor worship area for Pagans, Wiccans, Druids and other believers.

Today, via AU, we see that Robert Jeffress (best known for his militantly anti-Mormon opposition to Mitt Romney) has penned a response for the Washington Post's "On Faith" in which he warns that such accommodation of the "worship of pagan deities is an open invitation for God to send His harshest judgments against our nation":

What we label today as "pluralism," God called "idolatry." The first commandment from God was, "You shall have no other gods before Me." There is no evidence that God has changed His mind on the subject. To openly violate this most basic law is to invite God's judgment upon our nation. God has judged idolatry in the past through military invasions, earthquakes, a flood, and a mixture of fire and brimstone. The book of Revelation prophesies that God will employ the same agents of His wrath during the final seven years of earth's history. There is no reason to think God is on hiatus during this present age.

"But doesn't our Constitution demand that all religions be treated equally?' you might ask.

Since God is not an American, there is no reason to think He has a particular affinity for our ideas about the separation of church and state. Nevertheless, although the First Amendment guarantees the right of every American to worship however they choose, it does not require government to provide a stone monument to facilitate that worship - even if the same government provides a chapel for Christians.

...

I don't know the cause of the Haitian earthquake, the Indonesian tsunami or 9/11. But I can say without hesitation that any nation that officially embraces idolatry is openly inviting God's wrath.

This past week government officials testified they are "certain" of another terrorist attempt on our soil within the next three to six months. One would think this would be a good time to seek God's protection rather than kindle His anger.

Liberty University Hosting Two Day Anti-Gay Conference

Mat Staver, Matt Barber, Elaine Donnelly, Alan Chambers, Robert Knight and various other anti-gay activists will be gathering at Liberty University for two days next week to discuss all things gay ... or rather, the threat that the "homosexual agenda" poses to this nation:

Liberty University School of Law will host a one-day conference followed by a one-day symposium addressing homosexuality and its consequences. The Friday, February 12, conference is entitled “Understanding Same-sex Attractions and Their Consequences.” On Saturday, February 13, the Liberty University Law Review will host a legal symposium entitled “Homosexual Rights and First Amendment Freedoms: Can They Truly Coexist?”

The first day of the conference will focus on the issues underlying same-sex attractions with personal and ministry insights shared by Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International. Conference leaders will then discuss the American Psychological Association Task Force Report on counseling people with same-sex attractions. Current research and therapies will be discussed by experts from the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and the American Association of Christian Counselors. The first day is designed for lay people, counselors, pastors, educators, attorneys, and those interested in learning more about the subject. The second day will focus on the legal implications arising from the clash between the quest for homosexual rights and freedom of speech, religion and association.

This two-day long symposium begins at 10:00 a.m., Friday, February 12, in the Vines Center of Liberty University at Liberty’s convocation service during which Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, will speak. The afternoon event, titled “Understanding Same-Sex Attractions and Their Consequences,” begins at 2:00 p.m. in the Supreme Courtroom of Liberty University School of Law. Speakers include Alan Chambers; Julie Harren-Hamilton, President of NARTH; Tim Clinton, President of the American Association of Christian Counselors; Rena Lindevaldsen, Associate Professor of Law at Liberty University School of Law, and Mathew Staver, Dean of Liberty University School of Law.

The symposium reconvenes at 9:00 a.m., Saturday, February 13, at the School of Law, and ends with a banquet held in the Grand Lobby of Liberty University, located in DeMoss Hall, at 5 p.m. Saturday speakers include: Professor Lynne Marie Kohm of Regent University School of Law; Professor Lynn D. Wardle of Brigham Young University and J. Reuben Clark Law School; Elaine Donnelly, Founder and President of the Center for Military Readiness; Robert H. Knight, Senior Writer for Coral Ridge Ministries and Senior Fellow for American Civil Rights Union; Matt Barber, Associate Dean at Liberty University School of Law, and others.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “The clash between free speech, religious and homosexual rights is a like the grinding of two tectonic plates. It is imperative to understand the implications of same-sex attractions and the broader homosexual agenda. Those struggling with same-sex attractions need understanding and hope for a life without conflict. The politicized radicalism of the homosexual agenda on the other hand is aggressive and intent on trampling upon the fundamental freedoms of anyone who may disapprove. That is why this conference at Liberty University is vitally important.”

Citizens United: A Win For The "Regular Guy"

Yesterday's Citizens United ruling [PDF] by the Supreme Court has has now made it possible for corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to support or oppose candidates ... and to hear the Religious Right tell it, it's a victory for the little guy:

Kelly Shackelford, president of the Free Market Foundation, tells OneNewsNow the decision is a great victory for freedom for every citizen.

"The government has no right to control the speech of citizens speaking out as a group during elections -- and these types of campaign finance laws are pure evil and destructive to any free society," he comments.

Shackelford notes that wealthy individuals such as George Soros are having a huge impact on elections, and he adds, "The idea that a group of citizens can't come together in some sort of corporate entity and speak their mind is really discrimination against the regular guy in this country" and against smaller businesses that want to take part in the election process.

The Family Research Council hails it as a victory for all of those oppressed "corporate citizens":

"Under the principles established by the First Amendment, nothing is more foundational than free speech. This is a win for free political speech and the right of corporate citizens to join the political process.

"The court's decision is a step toward restoring open political discourse in this country. Speech should not be truncated by government regulation; rather, transparency should be pursued. The standard of accountability must be full and prompt disclosure, not unconstitutional prohibitions on financial contributions.

While Focus on the Family rejoices, because apparently up until now, they too were having their voices silenced:

Tim Goeglein, vice president of external relations for Focus on the Family Action, said the pro-family movement will benefit.

"Organizations like Focus on the Family Action, the family policy councils, all of our allies," he said, "this will give us an incredible voice in the great issues of our time."

And Concerned Women for America declares that "Americans are the real winners today" and says the decision is the first step toward reclaiming "the ideals our Founders believed in when they fought and died to establish a country where we can be truly free to speak and worship our God without government interference":

Penny Young Nance, Concerned Women for America's (CWA) Chief Executive Officer, said, "The Court correctly concluded that judges should stop playing semantics with our Constitution and read the text as it is written. The government should not be limiting political speech because someone is rich or poor, or because they disagree with a particular point of view. Americans are the real winners today. Further, I recall upon the passage of the legislation that Members of Congress openly admitted voting in favor of the McCain-Feingold knowing it was unconstitutional. Those days have to end."

CWA President Wendy Wright said, "CWA joined an Amicus brief asking the Court to overrule these laws that serve only to chill political speech and open the door for those in power to choose favorites. We applaud the Court for listening to the voices of millions of Americans who believe in those foundational principles embodied by the First Amendment.

"We hope this is just the first in a series of steps to reclaim the ideals our Founders believed in when they fought and died to establish a country where we can be truly free to speak and worship our God without government interference."

You know, I wonder what these groups will be saying if the makers of Plan B were to now start pumping their $11 Billion into taking out conservative candidates who oppose their product.

Prop 8 Is Putting Christianity On Trial

Apparently, the right-wing talking point of the day is that the lawsuit challenging Proposition 8 is really an attempt to put Christianity on trial.

So says Maggie Gallagher:

What do Olson and Boies think they are doing? Watching accounts of this trial unfold this week I had a big “aha” moment. It’s now clear: Ted and David think they are conducting the Scopes trial!

When this trial began I told you: gay marriage activists were putting 7 million Californians on trial. (Ed Whelan over at National Review has a brilliant series “Judge Walker’s Witch Hunt“ . . . explaining how intellectually absurd it is to conduct a “trial” into the subjective motivations of 7 million voters, constitutionally speaking.). But this week it got worse: They are clearly putting Christianity itself on trial. Why else have an expert read statements of Catholic and Southern Baptist doctrines into the record?

And why put a Stanford Prof. named Gary Segura on the stand to testify “”religion is the chief obstacle for gays’ and lesbians’ political progress.”

Could the zero-sum nature of the game be any clear? Rights for gays and lesbians, in their minds, depends on invalidating the voting rights of religious people when it comes to gay marriage, because their votes are influenced by their religion–i.e. bigotry.

Here’s their brilliant legal strategy: Ted and David want the Supreme Court to rule that Catholicism and Southern Baptism and related Christian denominations are bigotry.

So does Bill Donohue:

Yesterday, the judge allowed Boies and Olsen to submit e-mails they obtained between the director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the bishops. Allowing such communication in a trial is unusual enough, but the purpose was even more invidious: to show that Catholics played a major role in passing Proposition 8. The lawyers did the same thing to Mormons, offering more e-mail “proof” of their involvement.

...

Their goal is not to contest the First Amendment rights of Catholics and others—their goal is to put religion on trial. What they are saying is that religious-based reasons for rejecting gay marriage are irrational, and thus do not meet the test of promoting a legitimate state interest. That is why they have trotted out professors like Gary Segura of Stanford and George Chauncey of Yale to testify to the irrationality of the pro-Proposition 8 side. Chauncey was even given the opportunity to read from a Vatican document that rejects homosexual marriage.

Society cannot exist without families; families cannot exist without reproduction; reproduction cannot exist without a sexual union between a man and a woman; and every society in the history of the world has created an institution called marriage to provide for this end. In short, it is nothing but irrational to challenge such a timeless verity. No matter, what is going on in the courtroom smacks of an animus against religion.

And A Nazi New Year

One of the most notable responses to the election of Barack Obama has been the virtually endless parade of right-wing warnings that his administration is leading the nation down the path to communism, socialism, Nazi tyranny, or somehow all the above. The latest example is the eye-catching cover of the January 2010 issue of the American Family Association Journal. It’s a large bright red Nazi flag against a dark cloudy sky, with the headline, “THE EVIL LIVES.” The cover points to two related stories inside, one on secularism and another on abortion:

The secularism story, “What Hitler Knew,” is punctuated by a picture of the dictator in a stiff-armed salute. The article attacking church-state separation is essentially a reprint of the speech given by AFA’s “director of issues analysis” Bryan Fischer at last fall’s Values Voter Summit making the case that the First Amendment does not apply to the states or any entity other than Congress:

It is constitutionally impossible for a governor, a state legislature, a mayor, a city council, a principal, a teacher or a student speaking at graduation to violate the First Amendment, for one simple reason: they’re not Congress.

Perhaps Fischer apparently failed to take into account the 14th Amendment which makes the First Amendment applicable to the states.

Fischer equates Hitler’s efforts to silence Christian opponents of Nazi evils with American church-state separationists:

Secular fundamentalists in the United States know the same thing that Hitler knew. The only thing that stands in their way of the total takeover of our culture, the final removal of any mention of God from the public arena, and the shredding of the last remains of our Judeo-Christian value system, is the church of Jesus Christ.

Fischer also has an extremely narrow interpretation of the First Amendment’s establishment clause as it applies to Congress. He writes that the only way Congress can violate the First Amendment would be “to select one Christian denomination, make it the official church of the United States, and compel citizens to support it with their tax dollars.”

Apparently, according to Fischer’s dubious constitutional analysis, there would be no federal constitutional problem with a state government declaring itself a Baptist state and requiring state taxpayers to support a particular denomination. (In fairness, it should be noted that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas also believes the First Amendment's establishment clause does not apply to the states.)

According to Fischer’s analysis, it would seem that the First Amendment’s protections for free speech would also apply only to Congress and not to governors or state or local governments. If Fischer finds that the least bit troubling, he doesn’t let on.

Michele Bachmann's Perfect Timing

What can better sum up the current state of the Republican Party and its ties to the Religious Right than the fact that the day after Pat Robertson declared that Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake due to the fact that the nation "swore a pact to the Devil," Rep. Michele Bachmann is profiled on The 700 Club, where Robertson introduces her as "one of the leading conservatives in America":

Now, just three years into the job, Bachmann is a major voice against what she believes is an out of control government threatening the freedom of Americans.

"What we are seeing now is the rise of big government, and so, big government is now oppressing the American people with too much spending, too much taxes, too much regulatory burden," she said. "We just saw the hate crimes law pass...really that bill is more about restricting free speech and free expression of American citizens, in contradistinction to the First Amendment that wants free speech and expression for all of Americans."

Bachmann says the United States is blessed with a unique form of government, but the current administration is straying from what the founding fathers intended.

"Jefferson warned us over 230 years ago, be prepared. The natural way of government is to enslave you," she explained. "And Jefferson said again, bind down big government with the chains of the Constitution. That's what the effort was. Use these beautiful documents to limit man, not to grow man's influence and oppress mankind."

Bachmann believes the current growth of government's influence will backfire.

"We have the most left-leaning, radical president we've ever had in the history of the United States. The most radical, left-leaning speaker of the House than we've ever had in the history of the United States and one of the most radical, left-leaning majority leaders in the Senate," she said. "We have never had this type of radical view of government."

The congresswoman has proven she's not about to be silenced and she relies on God as her source of strength to endure the battle.

However, Bachmann isn't the only one speaking her mind. Much like Sarah Palin, Bachmann has her share of critics who lash out against her in the media, online and on TV.

"Women are very competent, very intelligent. They can be very successful and make it on their own," Bachmann said about why she's under attack. "And I think that the left is very concerned [about] the message that myself and other women would be able to deliver. And I think that's part of the reason why you see the attack to silence us as messengers."

In fairness, Bachmann apparently sat down for this interview with CBN back in early December, around the time that she joined Robertson on-air for the first time, and the segment was finally ready to air today. 

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First Amendment Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Wednesday 07/13/2011, 5:20pm
The Family Research Council has been adamantly defending the clinic founded by Rep. Michele Bachmann and her husband since an undercover investigation revealed that the clinic was practicing discredited ‘ex-gay’ reparative therapy. The Religious Right group, which recently urged people to pray for countries that criminalize homosexuality, wants members to pray for anti-gay laws and clinics that offer “help for homosexuals to break free from addiction to homosexuality.” The FRC writes in its latest prayer alert: Christian Counseling under Assault – This week a... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 07/05/2011, 10:40am
Eliana Benador, the neoconservative PR agent who lost her outlet in the Washington Times after she speculated that former congressman Anthony Weiner may have converted to Islam, now has a new outlet: the Tea Party Nation. In her column for the tea party group that once lamented that America is facing white “extinction,” Benador blames immigrants from “non-European nations” for much of the country’s social ills. She claims that such non-European immigration was responsible for President Obama’s election and claims that the U.S. should consider revoking First... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 06/21/2011, 2:59pm
A conservative columnist and a news analyst for Renew America suggested in her latest column that President Obama is like the Beast found in the Book of Revelation who wages “war against God’s holy people and to conquer them.” Sher Zieve quoted from Revelation 13 when discussing how Americans should rise up against Obama for his alleged acts of treason and if they can’t defeat him peacefully, she says “there seems to be no other solution except violent civil unrest.” Zieve writes: Treason is generally defined as "betrayal of country: a violation of... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 06/03/2011, 11:14am
In May Rep. Pete Stark (R-CA) introduced the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which prohibits “discrimination in adoption or foster care placements based on the sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status of any prospective adoptive or foster parent, or the sexual orientation or gender identity of the child involved.” While it is unlikely that the GOP-controlled House would approve the legislation, it is an important step in the fight to ensure that children awaiting adoption or foster care can find homes. But the “pro-family” Religious Right wants to... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 05/31/2011, 12:01pm
Last week Bryan Fischer announced his support for laws banning profanity and blasphemy and followed that up over the weekend with a Tweet calling for laws banning fornication and adultery: And this got me thinking about what life in America would look like if Bryan Fischer got his way: Muslims would be banned from serving in the armed forces. Muslims would be banned from immigrating to the United States. Muslims citizens would be charged with treason and deported. Muslims would be banned from building mosques. Muslims would be denied all First Amendment protections.... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 05/19/2011, 1:58pm
The Daily Show - Exclusive - Richard Beeman Extended Interview Pt. 1 Tags: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook The Daily Show - Exclusive - Richard Beeman Extended Interview Pt. 2 Tags: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook University of Pennsylvania historian Richard Beeman was yesterday’s guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart following an appearance by pseudo-historian David Barton. Beeman, like other real historians, notes that Barton greatly embellishes the religious views of... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 05/05/2011, 3:24pm
The Daily Show - David Barton Pt. 2 Tags: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook The Daily Show - Exclusive - David Barton Extended Interview Pt. 1 Tags: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook Towards the very end of the televised portion of David Barton’s interview on The Daily Show, Barton said that one of the cases he “did at the US Supreme Court was rabbi Leslie Gutterman was asked in Providence Rhode Island to give a prayer at a graduation, and he wasn’t allowed to, now... MORE