Florida

"Birther Bill" Advances In Arizona, Introduced In Pennsylvania

Perhaps the rise of Donald Trump’s poll numbers among Republicans following his escalating “birther” rhetoric has given a boost to the discredited birthers, as the Arizona State Senate just passed a “birther” bill. The legislation requires candidates to prove that they are born on U.S. soil if they want to receive a spot on the ballot, and its chief sponsor in the House even met with Trump to discuss the bill’s prospects:

The measure, House Bill 2177, is aimed at President Barack Obama and those on the political right who want him to produce a birth certificate proving he was born in Hawaii and not Kenya, where his father is from.

The Arizona Legislature passed the bill 20-8 on a party-line vote in the State Senate with Republicans backing and Democrats opposing.

The measure includes some changes that allow for other documents beside birth certificates to be produced by presidential contenders. It now goes back to the Arizona House of Representatives for another vote. The House previously approved the birther bill without new Senate changes.

In addition, Pennsylvania State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe today introduced a similar bill in his state, saying, “It is beyond perplexing and greatly troubling that a political candidate can ascend to the highest levels of government without providing sufficient documentation verifying his or her place of birth or American citizenship.”

Trump, who will be speaking this weekend to the South Florida Tea Party, has won plaudits from leading ‘birthers’ and Republicans like Sarah Palin for promoting the discredited conspiracy theory. At least ten states are considering such “birther bills” this year.

GOP Congressmen Line-Up To Attend Ralph Reed's Conference

Leading Republicans have signed up to address the conference led by disgraced Religious Right activist Ralph Reed this summer in Washington. Following commitments by potential presidential candidates Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), numerous Republican congressmen are now confirmed to speak to Reed’s 2011 Conference and Strategy Briefing.

Reed, who also plans to speak alongside presidential candidate Herman Cain and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in Florida next week, has just announced a new list of speakers: Rep. Allen West (R-FL); Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO); Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX); Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL); Rep. Tom Price (R-GA); Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX); Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA); Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), and Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC).

The freshmen Congressmen slated to speak are strongly tied to the Religious Right: West’s anti-gay and anti-Muslim rhetoric has made him a darling of leaders like Pat Robertson; Hartzler has consistently fought against gay rights in both Congress and Missouri, and even wrote a book about tips for Religious Right activists running for office; Webster is a Christian Reconstructionist and close to David Barton and Phyllis Schlafly, and Mulvaney was a legislative leader of the far-right Palmetto Family Council.

ACT! For America Warns Against "Anti-American" History Textbooks

“Is your child’s classroom becoming a recruiting ground for Islam?” asks ACT! for America, the burgeoning anti-Muslim group led by activist Brigitte Gabriel. In a recent program of their new television show, ACT! for America discussed the organization’s new “textbook project” and how the head of their Sarasota, Florida chapter interrogated schools about their textbooks.

The group’s Sarasota chapter is led by Rich Swier, a Tea Party activist who yesterday warned that as a result of same-sex marriage and lower birthrates, “the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) population in America is headed for extinction and with it our economy, well-being and survival as a uniquely America culture.”

Swier told ACT! for America’s Brant Travis: “I would encourage every parent and grandparent that [sic] look at your child’s and grandchild’s textbook, it is not the same textbook that you grew up with, it is dramatically different, it is I would almost say anti-American.”

In Texas, the ultraconservative State Board of Education already passed a resolution alleging that “pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias has tainted some past Texas Social Studies textbooks” and warned they would reject textbooks with “gross pro-Islamic/anti-Christian distortions in Social Studies texts.”

Watch:

Land: America Didn't Realize How Good We Had It Under George W. Bush

The Florida Baptist Witness reports that Richard Land spoke at the Jacksonville Baptist Association’s Leadership Institute last week and said that America was on the verge of revival that would reverse all of the horrors that President Obama has inflicted upon this nation ... provided that none of the conservatives on the Supreme Court die before Obama can be voted out of office. 

Oh yeah, and Americans will also come to realize just how good they had it under George W. Bush:

Addressing abortion, Land said the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which effectively legalized abortion on demand, likely will be overturned during his lifetime. One pro-choice justice being replaced by a pro-life justice would result in a majority willing to overturn Roe, he said.

“We just need one more vote,” Land said, “which means that we need to pray that none of the justices that are conservatives die until after we get a conservative president. And then one of the liberals has to change.”

Since abortion was legalized in 1973, more Americans have been aborted each year than have died cumulatively in all the wars the nation has fought, according to Land. Yet abortion is not merely a moral issue, but also an economic one, he said.

“How many people that are not working would be working if we hadn’t killed those babies?” he asked. Unemployed Americans could be “making goods and services for those people, building homes for those people, building schools for those people, teaching in the schools for those people.”

Recent healthcare legislation also threatens the sanctity of human life, Land said. If so- called “Obamacare” is not repealed, elderly Americans will be denied life-saving medical procedures because of the cost involved, he said.

“I personally think that the greatest threat to the sanctity of human life right now is Obamacare,” he said, adding, “I have no compunction about telling you that everybody in this room will live a shorter life, and it will be more filled with pain and suffering—if Obamacare is not rescinded—than you would otherwise. They are going to ration care.”

...

Land predicted that President George W. Bush will experience a similar fate as Harry Truman, who left office with a low approval rating but was appreciated decades later as one of the greatest presidents in American history.

Evangelicals likely will not see a president in the near future who identifies with them as much as Bush, he said, calling Bush’s two inaugural addresses “extraordinary” and “insightful.”

“I suspect too many Americans didn’t realize what they had when they had George W. Bush,” Land said.

Right Wing Round-Up

Personhood Law Would Ban Treatment of Life-Threatening Pregnancies

As personhood legislation sprouts up in states like Mississippi, Georgia, Florida and Iowa, the radical anti-choice group Personhood USA also hopes to introduce their extreme (and unconstitutional) legislation in North Dakota. Personhood bills criminalize abortion and certain forms of birth control by granting legal rights to zygotes, declaring it a separate ‘person’ from the mother. Many doctors believe that such legislation would ban in vitro fertilization and prohibit doctors from giving medical assistance to women with serious pregnancy complications like ectopic pregnancies. The AP reports on North Dakota doctors speaking out against the radical legislation in their state:

Doctors told the North Dakota Senate's Judiciary Committee that it could affect couples using in vitro fertilization to try to have a baby as well as women who have complications in early pregnancy that will prevent an embryo from developing into a viable baby. Such complications include an ectopic pregnancy, which happens when a fertilized egg begins growing outside the uterus. The doctors who testified said they did not perform abortions.



Although the measure exempts in vitro fertilization from criminal penalties, it includes language saying that "causing injury to a human being" is not justified.

Dr. Stephanie Dahl, a Fargo infertility specialist who works at North Dakota's only in vitro fertilization center, said the bill would make it illegal to do the procedure.

"The process of IVF may result in injury to an embryo," Dahl said. "It is unavoidable."

Dr. Shari Orser, a Bismarck obstetrician and gynecologist, told the committee that most eggs that are fertilized for in vitro fertilization never become viable embryos "and only a small percentage of embryos thought to be viable produce a child."

"To suggest that every embryo is a person is absurd," Orser said.

Orser said the law also would complicate the treatment of ectopic pregnancies. Without treatment, a tubal pregnancy can result in serious internal bleeding and death, she said.

Other conditions can result in a fetus developing without kidneys, lungs or a brain, Orser said.

"These diagnoses are often made in the first half of these pregnancies," Orser said. "Should a woman be forced to continue the pregnancy when she knows that her baby will die, or can she be spared the emotional distress and the risks of carrying a pregnancy to term?"

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Sarah Posner @ Religion Dispatches: Welcome to the Shari'ah Conspiracy Theory Industry.
  • Salon: NPR caves to O'Keefe -- and we all lose.
  • Good As You: Equality Confounds NOM’s Jennifer Roback Morse.
  • County Fair: After Shootings, Does Pat Robertson Still Support Recalcitrant Ivory Coast Leader?
  • Florida Independent: ‘Choose Life’ companion bill moves forward, would gut rule that funds go to pregnant women.
  • Amanda Terkel @ HuffPo: Indiana Bill Would Force Doctors To Tell Women That Having An Abortion May Lead To Breast Cancer.
  • Steve Benen: Did You Hear The One About The $7.5 Million Clean-Up?

Right Wing Round-Up

Gingrich, Barton, Bachmann, Huckabee Team Up for Religious Right Webcast

John Stemberger is the President of the Florida Family Policy Council who has recently become a cause célèbre for the Religious Right because he is facing both a $10 million defamation lawsuit and misconduct complaint stemming from his actions during the Rifqa Bary saga in 2009.

A legal defense fund has been set up with the backing of the Newt Gingrich, Jerry Boykin, David Barton, Tony Perkins, and Lou Engle ... and according to this flyer [PDF], many of these leaders -  along with Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee, and Haley Barbour - will be joining Stemberger for a "Florida Family Council Special Event" later this month in the form of a live webcast broadcast to churches around the nation entitled "Rediscover God in America":

History is clear: the founders of our country drew their inspiration, wisdom, and direction from the Bible. Beginning in colonial times, church leaders spoke to their congregations about the events and issues of the day in the context of Biblical truth. Rediscover God in America will lay a foundation of critical knowledge for your congregation. They'll learn how to interpret and assess current events in light of God's Word, as our founding fathers did, and how to respond Biblically and take action that aligns with His truth.

A just and prosperous nation is born and sustained by truth, not compromise. Join with thousands of churches across the nation! Bring the truth about God and America to your congregation and community.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW: PFAW Commends President Obama’s Stand Against Unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act.
     
  • Eric Lach @ TPM: Indiana Dep. AG Loses Job After Advocating 'Live Ammunition' For WI Protesters.
     
  • Rob Boston @ AU: Kern Spurned: Oklahoma Legislator’s Backdoor Creationism Bill Bounced.
     
  • Joe.My.God: Mike Huckabee Slams Obama: Gays Are Breaking Up "Traditional" Families.
     
  • Igor Volsky @ Wonk Room: Thrice-Married Gingrich Confronted On Opposition To Marriage Equality.
     
  • Charles Johnson @ LGF: Glenn Beck Rants About 'Commie' Logo That His Own Group Used.
     
  • Andy Kopsa @ Florida Independent: Federally funded Jacksonville abstinence program has ties to ‘Kill the Gays’ Ugandan pastor.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW: PFAW Commends President Obama’s Stand Against Unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act.
     
  • Eric Lach @ TPM: Indiana Dep. AG Loses Job After Advocating 'Live Ammunition' For WI Protesters.
     
  • Rob Boston @ AU: Kern Spurned: Oklahoma Legislator’s Backdoor Creationism Bill Bounced.
     
  • Joe.My.God: Mike Huckabee Slams Obama: Gays Are Breaking Up "Traditional" Families.
     
  • Igor Volsky @ Wonk Room: Thrice-Married Gingrich Confronted On Opposition To Marriage Equality.
     
  • Charles Johnson @ LGF: Glenn Beck Rants About 'Commie' Logo That His Own Group Used.
     
  • Andy Kopsa @ Florida Independent: Federally funded Jacksonville abstinence program has ties to ‘Kill the Gays’ Ugandan pastor.

Repent Amarillo Leader Running for Mayor, Wins Endorsement of Terry Jones

The fundamentalist ministry Repent Amarillo has gained notoriety for badly failing in their attempt to burn the Quran, harassing swingers, and executing Santa Claus in a firing squad. Now, the leader of the self-proclaimed “Army of God” has announced his bid for mayor of Amarillo.

David Grisham of Repent Amarillo explained his political philosophy in his announcement, stating that “if we get elected office then we take Christ with us into office. He rules over us and then we rule over people – that’s just how the government works, so as far as I’m concerned there is no separation of church and state.”

Grisham also believes that God has called him to run for mayor in order to make life easier for businesses and more difficult for “promiscuity, homosexuality and non-Christian worship”:

“The Scriptures are quite clear that the governing authorities are ministers of God, and if that is true — and we know from God’s word that it is — then it just makes sense that ministers of God should be running for office,” Repent Amarillo Director David Grisham Jr. said before filing paperwork Monday to run in the May 14 mayoral election.



Grisham said he wants to lead the city in a different direction, repealing ordinances that place design standards on downtown properties and a sign ordinance he thinks limits the freedoms of business owners.



Repent Amarillo and Grisham aim to deter promiscuity, homosexuality and non-Christian worship practices through confrontation and prayer, and their actions have sparked controversy, both locally and nationwide.

He has already won the coveted endorsement of Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who threatened to burn copies of the Quran in a bonfire to mark the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. “I’m glad to have his endorsement because he’s a brother in Christ,” Grisham said, “and that’s what’s more important to me than political implications.”

Jones believes that Grisham is simply “trying to do the right thing,” adding, “I believe he has the best interests of the city in mind.”

Repent Amarillo Leader Running for Mayor, Wins Endorsement of Terry Jones

The fundamentalist ministry Repent Amarillo has gained notoriety for badly failing in their attempt to burn the Quran, harassing swingers, and executing Santa Claus in a firing squad. Now, the leader of the self-proclaimed “Army of God” has announced his bid for mayor of Amarillo.

David Grisham of Repent Amarillo explained his political philosophy in his announcement, stating that “if we get elected office then we take Christ with us into office. He rules over us and then we rule over people – that’s just how the government works, so as far as I’m concerned there is no separation of church and state.”

Grisham also believes that God has called him to run for mayor in order to make life easier for businesses and more difficult for “promiscuity, homosexuality and non-Christian worship”:

“The Scriptures are quite clear that the governing authorities are ministers of God, and if that is true — and we know from God’s word that it is — then it just makes sense that ministers of God should be running for office,” Repent Amarillo Director David Grisham Jr. said before filing paperwork Monday to run in the May 14 mayoral election.



Grisham said he wants to lead the city in a different direction, repealing ordinances that place design standards on downtown properties and a sign ordinance he thinks limits the freedoms of business owners.



Repent Amarillo and Grisham aim to deter promiscuity, homosexuality and non-Christian worship practices through confrontation and prayer, and their actions have sparked controversy, both locally and nationwide.

He has already won the coveted endorsement of Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who threatened to burn copies of the Quran in a bonfire to mark the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. “I’m glad to have his endorsement because he’s a brother in Christ,” Grisham said, “and that’s what’s more important to me than political implications.”

Jones believes that Grisham is simply “trying to do the right thing,” adding, “I believe he has the best interests of the city in mind.”

Right Wing Leftovers

  • John Thune tells CBN's David Brody he won't apologize for having a Christian worldview.
  • Color me unsurprised: Rick Santorum will speak at the ultra-Catholic Ave Maria University.
  • Peter LaBarbera wants to know why Republicans are so motivated to repeal "Obama" care but not reinstate DADT.
  • Frankly, I'm pretty sure that Bill Keller doesn't actually have $100,000.
  • Ben Shapiro says Shirley Sherrod's lawsuit against Andrew Breitbart is "unconstitutional."
  • Finally, FRC releases is latest list of prayer targets: "May we and our leaders repent for our improper use of wealth and position entrusted to us. May God help the House to end our national borrowing spree and cut the deficit, to purge every evil from our spending agenda, and to set American families free from the tyranny of an over taxing, over-spending federal government."

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

Barton Raises Money For Stemberger's Defense By Spreading More Lies

As we have mentioned several times before, John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council, was an early and central player in the Rifqa Bary saga when she turned up in Florida in 2009.  His actions during that case have now resulted in misconduct complaint being filed against him by the Florida Bar as well as a $10 million defamation lawsuit from the attorney who represented Bary's parents.

As such, Stemberger has set up a legal defense fund to cover his mounting legal expenses that has the support of Jerry Bokin, Newt Gingrich, Tony Perkins, Lou Engle and David Barton. 

And today, Barton had Stemberger on his "Wallbuilders Live" radio program where they, along with Rick Green, alleged that the lawsuit and misconduct complaint are an attempt by radical Muslims to destroy anyone who dares to criticize them. [I would like to point out that none of the claims made by Bary about her parents or the claims Stemberger asserts in this interview were ever substantiated by state investigators who examined them]:

Barton: The message is don't talk about us or we'll come after you the same way.

Green: It's an intimidation factor.

Barton: We're showing you what happens to people who talk about us or people who come after us in court - we will make you pay. And they may eventually lose, but that's only if you have enough money to outlast them. And so it really is a bad thing and we've got a good friend of ours on today that's in the middle of one of these things were Islamic groups have come after him because he stood and actually won a court for justice. And because he won, now they are going to make him pay a price.

Stemberger: Well, as your listeners may remember the name Rifqa Bary was a former Muslim teenager who made international headlines in about the summer and fall of 2009 when she ran away from her parents in Ohio to Florida, to a Methodist pastor and his wife after her parents threatened her life for not renouncing her Christian faith.

You know, she knew the repercussions of this so she was very, very careful to be discreet with it. But then when the parents, when the [leaders] of the mosque confronted the parents, that's when they began to blow up and the father specifically threatened her, demanded she denounce her faith, said that "you'll be dead to me" and that, according to her affidavit which is public knowledge, made some really specific threats ... But when they found a book on Esther in her bedroom, that's when they just said "we're going to send you back to Sri Lanka" and she knew she would just be a walking dead girl at that point.

Just weeks after [Rifqa turned 18] the lawyer who opposed Rifqa in court and who represented Rifqa's parents, Mr. Omar Tarazi, whose family has deep ties with CAIR, which is the Council on American Islamic Relations, he filed a grievance against me.

Green: This is their typical game plan. You mentioned CAIR, this is how they strike back, they trump up these kind of things and just give you a barrage of quote "ethical complains" so that you have to spend your time, energy, and money defending those instead of fighting the real fight, right?

Stemberger: Well, there is a clear growing trend of malicious lawsuits and other legal actions which are filed by adherents of radical strains of Islam and they're designed to punish, silence, and to chill legitimate speech and public discourse about Islam.

Barton: That's Islamic lawfare. I mean, they're coming after you to make him an example and say "don't anybody else every try to intervene ..."

Green: Whether they win or lose, they example is made that we're going to cost you money ...

Barton: And if there is every a time to step up and help a brother, this is it. We're not going to bring a BB gun to a tank fight. We're going to show up and we're going to take you toe-to-toe on this thing.

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Florida Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Friday 09/23/2011, 9:30am
On Countdown last night, Keith Olbermann named Pam Olsen, the co-chair of Rick Perry’s Presidency 5 leadership team, the “Worst Person in the World” for her claim that gay rights are responsible for natural disasters like fires, tornadoes and floods. Two minutes into the segment, Olbermann attempts to “review Ms. Olsen’s belief system and combine it on facts back here on Earth,” wondering why recent natural disasters have occurred in Texas and Olsen’s home state of Florida where gays and lesbians don’t have the right to marry. He also mentions... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 09/23/2011, 9:01am
Last night Rachel Maddow discussed Cindy Jacobs’s prophetic word that while the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell triggered mass bird deaths, Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally literally healed the land of Texas from the curse of Native American cannibals. Jacobs was an official endorser of The Response and her protégé Pam Olsen now co-chairs Perry’s Presidency 5 leadership team in Florida. As Maddow points out, the severe drought in Texas has only intensified since Rick Perry called for statewide prayer for rain and organized The Response.... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 09/21/2011, 3:42pm
Before heading to this week’s Presidency 5 conference in Orlando, Rick Perry named two Religious Right leaders to his Florida Presidency 5 campaign leadership team: John Stemberger and Pam Olsen. While Stemberger’s anti-choice, anti-gay and anti-Muslim activism is well known, Olsen is a far more obscure figure, but no less extreme. Olsen has said that same-sex marriage will lead to God’s judgment, preached Seven Mountains dominionism, and even claims that she, as a prophet, will have the power to raise the dead in the End Times. Olsen heads the Tallahassee branch of the... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 09/20/2011, 12:19pm
Last week we noted that John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council was hinting that he was going to be endorsing Rick Perry for President, despite the fact that Michele Bachmann had recently headlined a fundraising event for his organization. Today, the Perry campaign issued a press release announcing that Stemberger would be serving as co-chair of his leadership team for the upcoming Florida Presidency 5 event: Texas Gov. Rick Perry today announced his leadership team for Presidency 5 (P5), with Speaker Dean Cannon serving as chairman. Gov. Perry will participate in Florida P5... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 09/12/2011, 12:44pm
Last month we noted that Michele Bachmann was headlining a fundraising event for the Florida Family Policy Council where she received the organization's William Wilberforce Award. But just because the FFPC thinks Bachmann is a hero for her willingness to stand "firm for principles of life, marriage or family in the face of opposition," that apparently doesn't translate into support for her presidential campaign as FFPC president John Stemberger is announcing his pending support for Rick Perry because Bachmann is just not a realistic or viable candidate ... and Mitt Romney... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 09/07/2011, 4:32pm
Michele Bachmann spoke at the Florida Family Policy Council awards banquet last night where she received the organization's "William Wilberforce Award." Rick Joyner says "the Obama’s extravagant lifestyle at the expense of taxpayers is far out of bounds, especially with the hard times so many are going through now." NOM continues to lose in its effort to flout disclosure laws. Religious Right activists are threatening to sue if they are prevented from praying at Ground Zero on 9/10, even though they have no reason to think that they will be... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 08/31/2011, 4:56pm
Peter Montgomery @ Religion Dispatches: Historic Pro-Gay Equality Shift Led by Millennials—Evangelicals Included. Chip Berlet @ Talk To Action: How We Coined the term "Dominionism." Nick @ Bold Faith Type: Catholic Right Leader Robert George Funds Anti-Islam Extremists. Towleroad: Equality California Rips Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council and its Ties to the KKK. Amanda Peterson Beadle @ Think Progress: Virginia Anti-Abortion Lobbyist Married To Top State Health Official Who Helped Draft Clinic Regulations. Equality Florida:... MORE