Islam

FRCs Latest Prayer Targets: Values Voter Summit, Prop 8, and All Things Islam

At regular intervals, the Family Research Council sends out updates to its "Prayer Team" listing a variety of political issues that team members should make the target of their prayers.

A recent update called upon FRC's prayer activists to focus on the upcoming election because for too long America has elected politicians who lead "flagrantly godless personal lives" and "pass ungodly laws":

The American electoral process has the potential to produce qualified candidates, yet year after year we elect men and women who enter public office and pass ungodly laws. Some lead unwholesome, even flagrantly godless personal lives. Yet far too many of our pastors and Christian leaders have remained uninvolved, failing even to teach and preach about responsible Christian citizenship ... It is our duty to select leaders who respect the sanctity of human life, traditional marriage and family, and religious liberty and who oppose pernicious efforts to advance abortion, sexual immorality, socialism, profligate government spending, and now, Muslim Sharia law. Praying, fasting, speaking out and taking extraordinary action during the next 81 days, Christians must follow biblical principles (e.g., Exodus 18:21) in voting their values.

And FRC listed a specific set of issues on which the prayer team was to concentrate in order to reverse this trend - namely the Values Voter Summit, the Prop 8 ruling, Rifqa Bary, and Park 51:

- Pray that God will pour out his Spirit upon this year's [Values Voter Summit]; that it will be the best yet -- life-changing and nation-shaking.

- May God give our lawyers wisdom and may He superintend a complete reversal to vouchsafe Biblical marriage in U.S. federal judicial precedent.

- May God protect Rifqa's health. May U.S. officials help her along the road to citizenship. May God guide her education and her promising and needed ministry!

- May America reject this Mosque and the wider Islamist political agenda! May the Church stand against all false religion, while reaching out to Muslims with love.

Fischer: US Failed to Make Iraq a Christian Nation, So Our Soldiers Died For Nothing

Just how anti-Muslim is the AFA's Bryan Fischer? 

So anti-Muslim that he is now claiming that the entire Iraq war was an epic failure and complete waste of American time, money, and lives because we did not seek to convert the entire country to Christianity.

Fischer says that the only thing that kept Iraq functioning under Saddam Hussein was that "Christians to help him run the country [because] Christians were the only decent, trustworthy, honest people he could find."  When Hussein was toppled, it left Iraq in the hands of Muslims and "Islam simply doesn’t produce men with the kind of character and integrity needed to run a country."

Fischer says America has offended God by creating a new Islamic Republic in Iraq which, "without the stabilizing values and presence of the Prince of Peace," will ultimately collapse.

Therefore, all of our soldiers have died for nothing:

It grieves me to the bottom of my soul to think of the soldiers who bravely gave their last full measure of devotion in such a misbegotten cause. They served bravely and well; it was their leadership that let them down.

All this is due to President Bush’s naive short-sightedness about the true nature of Islam and what it does to the human spirit. I believe him to be an honest and decent man, but deceived and foolish when it came to Islam.

He genuinely seemed to believe that Islam is a religion of peace which had been hijacked by evil men. The truth is the other way round. Islam is a barbaric religion of violence and war. The only hijacking that’s been done is by those trying to fool people into thinking it’s something benign

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[T]he Spirit of the Lord is absent in Islamic lands, and the dark spirit that animates Islam has extinguished the spirit of liberty in those lands and in the hearts of their people. Their spiritual DNA has been altered in such a horrible way that what they hunger for is domination, destruction, and the death of the infidels. It is impossible for such a people to harbor a thirst for freedom apart from a massive spiritual awakening represented by an embrace of Christianity.

No, it is impossible to build a free nation on a platform of Islam. It was foolish and expensive even to try.

Guess What? Bryan Fischer Doesn't Trust Muslims!

Another day; another post from Bryan Fischer demonstrating that he a) hates Muslims and b) has no idea what he is talking about:

Islam is a totalitarian political ideology, not a benign religion. It is as racist as the KKK, committed by principle and conviction to the extermination of Israel just because Jews live there. (Hitler, anyone?) Allowing a mosque to be built in town is fundamentally no different than granting a building permit to a KKK cultural center built in honor of some King Kleagle or Exalted Cyclops.

According to the FBI, a minimum of 10% of America’s 3000 mosques are actively, right now as you are reading these words, preaching jihad against the United States. And that is, according to the FBI agent who made the comment, a “conservative” estimate. So let’s say the figure is roughly 20%, give or take.

That means, according to our own government, that we have approximately 600 - 600!! - jihadist recruitment and training centers actively operating on sovereign U.S. soil, headed by leaders whose agenda is the extermination of Western civilization and the shedding of infidel blood.

That means, on average, each state has 12 mosques preaching jihad against the United States this very day. And the other 2400 mosques could be radicalized virtually overnight. We have no way of knowing when a mosque will suddenly begin to take its prophet and its god seriously and start planning to blow us up or cut off our heads, or both.

This wouldn’t be so bad if we knew which 600 mosques we needed to worry about, but we don’t. I don’t think the FBI keeps a master list available to the public so we can check on the mosque in our neighborhood.

And the so-called “moderate” Muslims so far have been no help - they won’t rat out the jihadists and jihadist mosques in our midst, so we have no way of knowing which mosques are being turned into cells for terrorist ideology and activity right here in River City.

That means we must be cautious with them all. All 3000 existing mosques must be infiltrated and monitored, just as we would monitor resurgent KKK clan groups and neo-Nazi cells and just as the FBI did infiltrate and monitor the Christian Hutaree militia. No community should be forced to have one of these improvised explosive devices take root in their city unless they happen to like the idea of moon-worshipers blowing them up.

Just where did Fischer get that stat that 10% of mosques in America preach jihad against the US? 

From an anonymous FBI counterterrorism official quoted in a book written by a Newsmax correspondent.

So you know it must be accurate and true. 

And since Fischer is pulling out all of the stops as he wages his anti-Islam crusade, the guest on his radio program today is Jamal Jivanjee who will discuss Islam and Rifqa Bary.

I think my head is going to explode.

Bryan Fischer Hits The Big Time

Via Pam we see that Bryan Fischer has now hit the big time, taking his "No More Mosques, Period" argument onto CNN where he trotted out all the same arguments he has been making all along while also claiming that he is pro-Muslim, just anti-Islam:

You can get the transcript of his appearance here.

Even The "Religious Freedom Coalition" Opposes Park 51?

The Religious Freedom Coalition is a right-wing group that proclaims itself "dedicated to the equality of all mankind and the freedom of religious expression. The Religious Freedom Coalition maintains that Religious Freedom is the 'first liberty' and wherever Religious Freedom is suppressed there is no true freedom of assembly, press or speech."

The Religious Freedom Coalition also runs a website called No 9-11 Mosque and issues press releases blasting President Obama for supporting the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque":

Religious Freedom Coalition chairman William J. Murray released a statement Saturday concerning the endorsement by President Obama of the mega mosque construction near Ground Zero:

"President Barack Obama's interference in support of the mega mosque near Ground Zero is perplexing. As chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition I visit the burned down and bombed churches in the Middle East. I interview the families who have had their children kidnapped and murdered in the name of Islamic supremacy.

"I am a personal witness to the double standard of forced Islamic domination in a large part of the world coupled with a demand for special rights fir Muslims that goes beyond tolerance in the United States. President Obama's statement in favor of a mosque at Ground Zero is in deep contrast to ignoring the plight of St. Nicholas, the only church destroyed on 9-11. It has still not been rebuilt because of government red tape. The President's jumping enthusiastically on the band wagon of the Ground zero mega-mosque was misplaced and equally ill-timed."

I can think of no better example of the absurd hypocrisy at the heart of the right-wing crusade against Park 51 than the fact that a group calling itself a Religious Freedom Coalition which claims to be "dedicated to the equality of all mankind and the freedom of religious expression" is engaged in a campaign to prevent deny that very freedom to Muslims:

Islam is NOT a “religion of peace,” regardless of what Muslims claim. To advance their cause of conquest, an ages-old tradition called “taqiyya” allows them to outwardly pretend loyalty and empathy to “infidel” nations to keep their plans of conquest secret. When Muslims go to a mosque in America, they are entering what Islam calls a “House of War,” where taqiyya allows whatever subterfuge and lies are needed to prevail in warfare, be that war cultural, spiritual, legal or political.

We infidels, therefore, don’t know when to take Muslims at their word, because they have permission to look us in the eye and lie. So don’t be fooled by this “Trojan horse” peace offering that cloaks Islam’s true intent behind the Cordoba mosque. Please listen to the vast majority of Americans, and the four in every five New York City voters, who oppose the mosque.

Until Islamic leaders present you with a fatwa apologizing for 9-11’s acts of terrorism against non-Muslims and guaranteeing no future attacks you must stop this construction! But, don’t hold your breath, because this Fatwa will never be issued. You must block this deceptive scheme that will give Islam an even greater triumph than its 9-11 horrific attack upon your city.

The Religious Right's Exclusive Claim to Religious Freedom

It seems as day after day the Religious Right is intent on making clear their belief that the First Amendment's freedom of religion applies only to Christians. 

Take, for instance, this piece by FRC's Tony Perkins on CNN's Belief Blog in which he lays out the ways in which President Obama is destroying freedom of religion in America though his language, laws, and appointments:

America's First Freedom–freedom of religion–is in danger of being hounded out of public life, expelled from the public square. The word to millions of believers–Evangelicals, Catholics, Lutherans, Orthodox Jews–is this: Be Amish or be quiet. Keep your quaint religious practices, mumble your odd prayers, but do so in private.

...

For people of faith, these matters of faith and family go deeper. They are "bridge issues" that unite races and ethnicities, men and women, education and income groups.

The radical changes President Obama and his allies advocate threaten the America we love and the way we express our most deeply held moral and religious convictions. We will be neither silent nor inactive in the face of these challenges. With courtesy and civility but with unflinching determination, we will oppose them.

Isn't it ironic that at a time when the Right is engaged in a campaign to restrict the religious freedom of Muslims in America, Perkins lists only Christians and Jews as those who are in danger of seeing their freedom of religion "hounded out of public life." 

On a related note, the AFA's Bryan Fischer continues his crusade against all things Islam, saying that "only a willfully stupid nation" would allow Muslims to practice their religion here ... but he's willing to compromise:

But I’m an open-minded guy, and open to reasonable compromise. I will happily join with Mr. Gingrich in the one-of-ours-for-one-of-yours approach. It’s a solution that expresses classic American values such as equal opportunity, fairness, and reciprocity.

As soon as we get a church in Mecca, they get a mosque in New York.

If Saudi Arabia won’t take us up on it, fine. It’s their call. One of ours for one of theirs. Can’t get any more fair, even-handed, and American than that.

What does he mean by "ours"?  The entire point of the Frist Amendment is that there is no "ours" because "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." 

But for Fischer and the rest of the Religious Right, First Amendment free exercise rights are exclusively "ours," meaning Christians and Jews, and don't apply to Muslims at all. 

Right Wing Leftovers

 

  • Pat Mahoney declares victory in his protest against the DC city government and Planned Parenthood.
  • I think it is hilarious that Rick Santorum is seriously contemplating running for president.
  • Carly Fiorina says she opposes efforts to alter the 14th Amendment to remove birthright citizenship.
  • FRC and CWA don't like the new birth control pill.  What else is new?
  • A bunch of right-wing bloggers have chosen "the 25 worst figures in American history." Number 1 is Jimmy Carter, who is apparently worse than Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and John Wayne Gacy combined, since they didn't even make the list.
  • Finally, quote of the day from Bryan Fischer: "[S]ecular fundamentalists are easy on Islam for the simple reason that they share with Islamic fundamentalists a deep and abiding hatred for America and its traditions and values."

Fischer: Christians Are Not Bound By Old Testament Law, Except When They Are

To say that Bryan Fischer is one of the most radical voices in the Religious Right today would be a massive understatement.  On everything from gays to immigration to Islam, Fischer stakes out extreme positions which he inevitably claims are rooted in the Bible. 

But it seems that when someone actually tries to have a discussion about the Bible with Fischer, he's not particularly interested in participating. 

Case in point: yesterday Alan Colmes invited Fischer on to Fox News' "Strategy Room" webcast to discuss Fischer's recent statements that there ought to be a ban on the construction of any more mosques in America:

Most of Fischer's defense of that position rested on making blanket assertions about how the Koran calls for the death of all non-Muslims and therefore any Muslims who doesn't repudiate those verses is a threat to the United States.  

Colmes responded by asking Fischer about Bible passages like Deuteronomy 13, which calls for the deaths of anyone who entices you to worship another God, and Deuteronomy 17, which calls for the death of anyone who worships another God, asking if that means Christianity is an inherently violent religion and that Christians should have to renounce those passages.

Fishcer's response was a total cop-out, insisting that Colmes would have to bring on an Old Testament Jewish scholar to explain those passages and the reasoning for those sorts of laws, while simultaneously claiming that those laws are no longer binding on Christians. 

When Colmes asked how he could say that Christians are not bound by Old Testament laws, especially considering Matthew 5:17 where Jesus says "do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them," Fischer's response was to claim that Jesus never said anything about killing those who worship a different God and that Jesus' message was to love your neighbor and pray for those who persecute you.

Of course, that was part of Jesus' message, as was "do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."  But maybe Fisher doesn't think that passage is applicable to Christians either. 

Fischer claims Jesus never said anything about killing infidels, so those Old Testament passages don't apply today ... but Jesus never said anything about homosexuality either, but that hasn't stopped Fischer from citing Old Testament passages to support of his anti-gay views:

I have suggested on more than one occasion that a practicing homosexual should not serve in public office. This is for the simple reason that character is important qualification for public office, and sexual conduct is an essential component of character.

Homosexual behavior is aberrant sexual behavior. It is clearly contrary to “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” to which Thomas Jefferson so eloquently referred in the Declaration of Independence.

Biblical passages such as Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and 1 Timothy 1:8-11 make it abundantly clear what “Nature’s God” thinks of homosexual behavior.

As a matter of fact, Fischer constantly cites Old Testament passages in defense of his views:

- He cites Exodus in calling for the death of a whale at Sea World;

- He cites Leviticus in calling for bears to be put to death;

- He cites Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy in laying out the proper standards for judges;

- He cites Genesis in claiming that the US must stop spilling its Christian blood for Muslims;

- He cites Numbers in decrying sexual immorality;

- He cites Numbers and Ecclesiastes in supporting the death penalty;

- He cites Numbers and Nehemiah in defending his views on immigration.

Why is it that we need an expert Jewish scholar to explain some Old Testament passages, but Fischer is free to cite other Old Testament passages at will when they justify his extremist views?  

Can Fischer tell us which Old Testament laws are still binding and which are not and why?  Because I would really like to hear a coherent rationalization for this sort of absurdly self-serving defense.  

First Amendment Rights Are For Christians Only!

Earlier this week we noted that Flip Benham and members of Operation Save America had been targeting mosques for protests, screaming that "Jesus hates Muslims" and declaring "this is a war in America and we are taking it to the mosques around the country."

Even though the group is based in Texas, it has chosen to target mosques in Connecticut and Muslim leaders in the state are holding a press conference today to discuss the attacks: 

The Muslim Coalition of Connecticut and other organizations are hosting a press conference and rally at 3 p.m. today (Friday) on the north side (Bushnell Park side) of the State Capitol.

The gathered hope to address recent outbreaks of Islamophobia in Connecticut, as well as the rest of the country. During Islam's holy month of Ramadan, Muslims have asked for police protection so that they can go to their mosques to pray in this state.

And so, of course, Operation Save America is responding by accusing Muslims of violating their First Amendment rights

In an unprecedented move, Muslim leaders in Connecticut are staging a press conference in Hartford this afternoon, to plead with legislators to censor the Gospel of Christ from the public forum around mosques.

That's right! They are using their own potential for violence to silence the Gospel of Christ. Gentle Christian saints will be conducting a press conference on the public sidewalk in front of the Bridgeport Islamic Center, aka Mafjid An-Noor Mosque in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Truth is hate to those who hate the truth.

Islam is not a religion, nor a cult, but a total and complete 100 % system of life. It has religious, legal, political, economic, social, and military components. In all of the 27 countries ruled by Islam, the church is the state! No other religion will be tolerated.

"Islam presents a monstrous worldview, birthed in the pit of hell, which brings untold misery and murder upon precious people created in the image of God. Religion is its cover (its beard) by which it gains entrance into nations where the 'freedom of religion' is sacrosanct. It then takes this freedom afforded to it, and begins its insidious takeover." Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Save America.

In essence, Benham is upset that Muslim leaders are exercising their First Amendment free speech rights in defense of their First Amendment religious freedoms because doing so represents a threat to his First Amendment right to scream that Jesus hates them.

Fischer: "We Ought to be Done with the Building of Mosques in the United States of America"

Yesterday we noted that the AFA's Bryan Fischer was demanding the end to the construction of all mosques on the grounds that "each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government."

He made the same case on his radio program, at first talking about the "Ground Zero Mosque," but then issuing a call for a blanket ban on the construction of any new mosques anywhere in the country:

I have said this thing should not be built. I have appealed to every construction firm in the city of New York not to take a dime of tainted money to build this thing. It's going to be a memorial to the Muslim martyrs. It's going to be a memorial to the conquest of Allah and Islam on 9/11. That's what this whole thing is about. And even worse, I believe, it's going to be a terrorist training center. It's going to be a center for the inculcation of jihadist ideas.

Permits, in my judgment, should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America. Not one! We ought to be done with the building of mosques in the United States of America. I'm not saying go out and tear down the ones that are there. I'm saying we should not issue building permits for a single additional mosque in the United States of America.

I particularly like how Fischer makes clear that he's not calling for the destruction of existing mosques, because that would be going too far.  So you can see how reasonable he is.

Fischer: "No More Mosques, Period"

The AFA 's Bryan Fischer was hating Muslims long before it was the cool conservative thing to do and has been calling for their mass deportation from the US for some time now.

So it was no surprise when he weighed in against the "Ground Zero Mosque" by calling for the blacklisting of any company that dares to work on its construction.

But of course that is not enough to Fischer, so he is now demanding an end to the construction of any mosque anywhere in America:

Permits should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America, let alone the monstrosity planned for Ground Zero. This is for one simple reason: each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government.

Each one is a potential jihadist recruitment and training center, and determined to implement the “Grand Jihad” ...

Because of this subversive ideology, Muslims cannot claim religious freedom protections under the First Amendment. They are currently using First Amendment freedoms to make plans to destroy the First Amendment altogether. There is no such thing as freedom of religion in Islam, and it is sheer and utter folly for Americans to delude themselves into thinking otherwise.

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American Muslims are being radicalized every single day in American mosques. We are sowing the seeds of our own destruction by allowing these improvised explosive devices to be established in community after community.

If a mosque was willing to publicly renounce the Koran and its 109 verses that call for the death of infidels, renounce Allah and his messenger Mohammed, publicly condemn Osama bin Laden, Hamas, and Abdelbaset al Megrahi (the Lockerbie bomber), maybe then they could be allowed to build their buildings. But then they wouldn’t be Muslims at that point, now would they?

So how long before Fischer takes this to its logical conclusion and starts calling for all Muslims who won't leave the country or convert to Christianity to be rounded up and put into internment camps? 

Also, have I mentioned that Fischer is listed as a "confirmed speaker" at the next Family Research Council Values Voter Summit, along with Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Rep. Mike Pence, and Mike Huckabee?

Just want to keep pointing that out.

ACLJ Battles Itself Over Its Understanding of The First Amendment

Last week I wondered how Pat Robertson's American Center for Law and Justice was managing to rationalize its role in leading the opposition to the "Ground Zero Mosque" while still claiming to be a leading defender of religious freedom in America. 

As it turned it, the ACLJ did it by simply claiming that the debate wasn't about religious freedom at all.

But that excuse was laughably pathetic, and so Jay Sekulow and Brett Joshpe are back with an op-ed in the Washington Times, taking another stab at justifying themselves, claiming now that their "opposition to the ground-zero mosque reflects America's sacrosanct First Amendment ideals."

That's right - the ACLJ is simply exercising its own First Amendment right to freedom of speech:

The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to do and say many things that are offensive - indeed, that is the bedrock of our constitutional system - but well-intentioned people, nonetheless, often choose not to do or say such things out of a moral concern for others. As the Anti-Defamation League eloquently wrote in its statement opposing the project, "ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right."

We are witnessing a tidal wave of opposition from all across the nation. Americans are exercising their private First Amendment rights and expressing opposition to the ground-zero mosque. Their voices are what create that famed marketplace of ideas, and attempts to silence them through cries of bigotry and racism in the name of the First Amendment are especially ironic.

This debate, in fact, reflects the ideals of freedom, and despite the intensity and controversy of the issue, the relative civility of the discussion is a testament to American values and tolerance. No serious person has suggested banning Islam or mosques or even the freedom to practice Islam near ground zero. Instead, citizens are expressing their personal views that the location of the mosque is unnecessarily inflammatory and hurtful, given the circumstances, and that if the project's developers seek to promote mutual respect and harmony, as they claim, they should reconsider.

Our client is one of those private citizens who believes this project is an insult to the Sept. 11 victims' memory and their families. His right to express that view - to fight this development politically and by ensuring that administrative agencies follow their own precedents and the rule of law, and to speak with the chorus of others who find the Cordoba House mosque at ground zero inappropriate - represents the essence of a free democracy. That right is not in tension with the First Amendment; it is the First Amendment.

Wasn't it just a few months ago when the ACLJ was fuming that Franklin Graham has been disinvited to a Pentagon National Day of Prayer event because of some past anti-Islam statements, a move which Sekulow and the ACLJ decried an act of outrageous anti-Christian bigotry?

The ACLJ claims that they are simply exercising their First Amendment right to free speech in opposing others' First Amendment right of religious freedom ... while also complaining that those who accuses them of hypocrisy or anti-Muslim bigotry are trying to prevent them from exercising their First Amendment rights ... so really, they are the real victims here.

Given a convoluted justification like this, good luck trying to figure out exactly where the ACLJ stands on the question of religious freedom vs free speech.

Operation Save America Takes Anti-Islam Ideology To Its Logical Conclusion

The New York Times reports that protests against mosques are popping up all over the country, spurred on at least in part by the right-wing opposition to the "Ground Zero Mosque."

So I guess this sort of thing should not come as a surprise:

About a dozen right-wing Christians, carrying placards and yelling "Islam is a lie," angrily confronted worshippers outside a Fairfield Avenue mosque Friday.

"Jesus hates Muslims," they screamed at worshippers arriving at the Masjid An-Noor mosque to prepare for the holy week of Ramadan. One protester shoved a placard at a group of young children leaving the mosque. "Murderers," he shouted.

Police arrived on the scene to separate the groups, but said no arrests were made.

Flip Benham, of Dallas, Texas, organizer of the protest, was yelling at the worshipers with a bullhorn.

"This is a war in America and we are taking it to the mosques around the country," he said.

Muslim leaders in Connecticut are concerned that such protests will only escalate as Ramadan approaches and are now seeking police protection.

As it turns out Benham and his Operation Save America have been protesting Islam and all other religions for years now.  And until recently, OSA was a fringe group advocating an extremist right wing view.

Today, they are advocating that exact same view ... only it has now become the mainstream conservative view. 

Colson: "Go Build the Mosque Somewhere Else"

For weeks now, Chuck Colson has been warning about threat that President Obama poses to the religious freedoms of Christians, begging people to "understand the severity of the threats to our first freedom" which are coming from all sides and to "realize the kind of fight we're in and be prepared for what we may face in the coming months."

They key to protecting these liberties, Colson has been assuring everyone, is for them to sign the Manhattan Declaration which affirms the sanctity of "religious liberty, which is grounded in the character of God, the example of Christ, and the inherent freedom and dignity of human beings created in the divine image":

In recent decades a growing body of case law has paralleled the decline in respect for religious values in the media, the academy and political leadership, resulting in restrictions on the free exercise of religion. We view this as an ominous development, not only because of its threat to the individual liberty guaranteed to every person, regardless of his or her faith, but because the trend also threatens the common welfare and the culture of freedom on which our system of republican government is founded. Restrictions on the freedom of conscience or the ability to hire people of one's own faith or conscientious moral convictions for religious institutions, for example, undermines the viability of the intermediate structures of society, the essential buffer against the overweening authority of the state, resulting in the soft despotism Tocqueville so prophetically warned of. Disintegration of civil society is a prelude to tyranny.

So imagine my surprise when I now see Colson telling Muslims to go build their mosques somewhere else:

Earlier this week, the proposed New York City mosque at ground zero cleared its final hurdle. Nothing seems to stand in the way of its construction.

I am appalled that peace-loving Muslims would want to do this on what is, for most Americans, hallowed ground. I am even more appalled that the mayor of New York is in favor of the idea ... the construction of the mosque at ground zero is not about tolerance. And it isn’t about religious liberty ... [I]t would not be an act of intolerance to deny the construction of a mosque at a certain location-particularly one, ground zero, where the mosque will serve as a daily reminder to New Yorkers of the terrorists, who, motivated by their Islamo-fascist beliefs, killed 3,000 innocent people in the name of Islam.

Go build the mosque somewhere else.

Colson has been frantically warning recently that their "first freedoms" are slowly slipping away and that they need to be willing and prepared engage in civil disobedience to defend them while simultaneously telling Muslims to "go build the mosque somewhere else."

And that is the Religious Right's understanding of "religious freedom" in a nutshell. 

Random Book Blogging: Waging Spiritual Warfare, Literally

This piece from Rachel Tabachnick on strategic level spiritual warfare (SLSW), the ideology behind the growth of "prayer warrior" networks across the nation, reminded me of something I wanted to highlight from book I have been reading by Chuck Pierce called "The Future War of the Church: How We Can Defeat Lawlessness and Bring God's Order to the Earth."

Pierce has not been as openly political as have been the likes of Cindy Jacobs and Lou Engle, but he has been making inroads, having been involved in Janet Porter's May Day rally.  Pierce has deep ties to Jacobs and is actually next in line to take over C. Peter Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation dynasty, with Wagner recently explaining that his Global Harvest Ministries was merging with Pierce's Glory of Zion (GOZ) International into something called Global Spheres, Inc. (GSI).

Whenever I write about how this new brand of prophetic intercessors is working their way into the mainstream Religious Right movement, I tend to end up relying on the word "literally" a lot, as in: "when they call themselves prophets and apostles, they mean that 'literally.'"

I do that because I think that people tend to assume, when they hear these activists talk about things like waging spiritual warfare against demon strongholds, that they are speaking in some figurative or metaphorical sense.

They're not.

In his book, Pierce lays out the explanation of why they must engage in this type of spiritual warfare, explaining that sin allows Satan to gain strongholds in homes, families, communities, and cities that can only be broken by properly directed spiritual warfare ... and again, let me point out that he means this literally: 

Satan gains access to an area in the same way he gains access to an individual's life or a family line: through sin. He does this by encouraging individual or family sin to escalate into corporate sin. When corporate sin enters into our assigned boundaries, we need to be aware of how that sin can build a throne of iniquity and how we, being positioned in God's army, have the authority to dismantle it.

Corporate sin - for example, idolatry, bloodshed, immorality and covenant breaking - creates a break in God's purpose, or order, for a region. Once this break begins to occur, Satan will take advantage to gain an upper hand and being to establish his influence in that area.

...

Satan uses ongoing problems within a community, such as murder, violence, pornography or gangs, to strengthen his throne of iniquity within the community. If your community is plagued by these and other corporate sins, you must realize that Satan has a throne of iniquity in place that is being maintained through these sins.

...

Satan's confederation, through which he maintains his system of worship, is not just limited to witchcraft or covens but can manifest itself through many forms of occultic practices, including satanism, psychic hotlines, spiritism, paganism, goddess worship, voodoo, fortune-telling, palmistry, demon worship, the use of spirit guides, and other New Age practices. The enemy's confederation also extends to those who practice any form of false religion - including Mormonism, Islam, Jehovah's Witnesses, Hinduism, Eastern religions, Native religions, Christian Science, and Bahai - and to those embroiled in secret societies such as Freemasonry, Shriners, Oddfellows and the Elks.

Even though many involved in these practices would deny that they are being driven by a satanic confederation, the fact is that through their practice of what the Bible clearly identifies as evil, these people are contributing to the throne of iniquity upon which Satan is seated in the area.

Earlier this week I noted that Lou Engle and TheCall were operating a mobile prayer strikeforce for exactly this purpose.  Called the Prayer Strike Program, these groups "will be developed and deployed to key regions in the earth where breakthrough is needed for the spreading of the Lord's justice and salvation. In those regions, the teams will engage in concentrated worship, prayer, and fasting."

So if you live in an area with a large population of Mormons or Elks clubs, don't be surprised when you see a battalion of spiritual warriors descend upon your town in order to break the chain of corporate sin and free the region from Satan's control ... literally.

Right Wing Round-Up

Where Does Focus On The Family Stand On The "Ground Zero Mosque"?

While some Religious Right groups have made it very clear that they oppose the construction of an Islamic Center near Ground Zero in New York City despite their so-called commitments to religious freedom, other groups have remained rather silent. 

As far as I can tell, the only comment the Family Research Council has made on this issue came in the form of this radio commentary back in June:

Muslims are gaining ground all right--Ground Zero. Hello, I'm Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. Nine years after terrorists forever altered the New York City skyline, an Islamic leader is threatening to do it again--this time, by building a mosque three blocks from where the twin towers collapsed. To the families of 9-11, this 13-story project is the ultimate insult. "This is a burial ground," said a dad who lost his son in the attack. The man who bought the land said his people's only goal was peace. But that'll be a tough sell in a city that lost 3,000 to his religion's extremists. Besides, if he really cared about harmony, he'd have picked a less offensive location. Instead, he's building a monument to Islam on a site where terrorists committed mass-murder in Allah's name. For years, Muslims have said we need to be sensitive to their needs, their customs, their rights. But is there anything more insensitive than creating a foundation for shar'iah law on the graves that its fanatics killed?

Other Religious Right groups don't appear particularly eager to take a position on the issue either:

The Becket Fund, which describes itself as a "public interest law firm protecting the free expression of all religious traditions," has been notably silent considering how outspoken it has been in the past. In addition to helping the Third Church of Christ, Scientist in Washington, DC sue the city using RLUIPA in 2008, the fund represented a New Jersey mosque in 2006 in a RLIUPA case claiming that the city of Wayne, N.J., was "improperly and arbitrarily delaying the mosque's land development application" due to "community anti-Moslem hostility." The group is normally not shy about wading into public debates, and recently caused a minor furor by reading nefarious intent into President Obama's use of the phrase "freedom of worship" instead of "freedom of religion." Its silence may be related to its conservative political backers. For instance, Newt Gingrich, who has loudly opposed Cordoba House, served as honorary vice chair of one of its annual black-tie dinners.

The Alliance Defense Fund, another conservative religious rights group that has made frequent use of RLUIPA cases, has also stayed out of the debate. "We've been asked by a few outlets," a spokesperson told The Upshot. "We're not commenting."

The Upshot spoke with just one person within this ecosystem of religious rights organizations who was neither silent nor contradicting past actions: Matthew Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a religious rights law firm associated with Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

"The Constitution cuts both ways," Staver said. "I think you have to be principled from a legal perspective, because the First Amendment is a double-edged sword."

Which brings us to this new report from Stuart Shepard and Bruce Hausknecht of Focus on the Family's Citizenlink voicing their outrage over a church being shut down in Georgia for violating zoning regulations:

Hausknecht: Well here's the problem: for some reason, around the country cities and counties and other municipalities are hostile to churches, they don't want them for some reason or another. Usually its taxes ...

Shepard: The fact that they don't pay property taxes.

Hausknecht: They're usually exempt and so they try to zone them away or discourage them away. And by creating zoning laws the discriminate against churches, they're violating federal law and the First Amendment.

Shepard: What does this tell us about the state of religious freedom in the United States?

Hausknecht: Well, we're seeing first a hostility toward religion. You would think in this day and age of tolerance that there would be tolerance for religious views, religious people. There is not. We're seeing it in the zoning cases, we're seeing it in the schools. That is a definite wake-up call for people of all faiths to stand up and protect their rights.

So, does that mean that Focus on the Family supports the right to build this Islamic Center or does the organization, like seemingly so many others on the Right, really only believe in protecting and defending "religious freedom" when it involves Christians? 

Fischer Calls for Blacklisting Any Company That Works On Ground Zero Mosque

As I've noted several times before, the AFA 's Bryan Fischer has made no secret of his hatred for Islam and his corresponding belief that Muslims cannot be loyal US citizens and must therefore be immediately deported from the country.

So it is not particularly surprising that he'd be vehemently opposed to efforts to build an Islamic Center near Ground Zero in a typically Fischer-esque manner

This mosque will be a 9/11 memorial all right, a memorial to the brave, benighted Islamic martyrs who gave their lives for Allah and his cause on that dark September morn. It has long been the practice of Muslims to build mosques on the site of their greatest victories, and this one will be no exception.

If this mosque is built, you can count on the fact that thousands of Muslims every week will go to this place to praise Allah for the glorious conquest of 9/11 and to thank him for the infidel blood shed by their heroes on that day. Cries of “Allahu Akhbar” will ring through this place every Friday during prayer.

But while other right-wing opponents are trying to stop the development through the courts, Fischer has a better idea: "put the pressure of the living God on any company that dares to do even a lick of work to build this hall of horrors" and blacklist any company doesn't comply: 

Let’s make sure everybody in New York and America knows the name of every single architectural, electrical, plumbing, and construction firm that accepts blood money to have any part of this project. Put every framing contractor, every drywall contractor, every window installer, every painting contractor, every heating and air conditioning contractor on notice that, if they take this job, it will be the last job they ever get in New York.

Flood their offices with phone calls of protest. Work to see that nobody in the city of New York or the United States of America ever hires them again. If they are so un-American as to invest their expertise in building an Islamic shrine to the cold-blooded murders of 3,000 of their fellow Americans, make sure they never work in this town again.

Make it so painful for anybody doing business with the Muslims behind this project that they’ll be scared straight.

Bottom line for Muslims looking to celebrate at a mosque on this hallowed ground: if you can’t build it, they can’t come.

The Twists In the Rifqa Bary Saga Just Never End

Next Tuesday, Rifqa Bary turns 18, which should finally bring the legal aspects of this sorry saga to an end, though I would not be at all surprised to see her become a famous activist in the charismatic/intercessor circles to which she is tied (provided she can get her immigration status sorted out,) especially now that she is claiming that a recent faith healing cured her cancer:

Christian convert Rifqa Bary is refusing chemotherapy for cancer because she believes that she was cured at a faith-healing event, according to a motion in Franklin County Juvenile Court.

Rifqa was to undergo a year of chemotherapy after her cancer was surgically removed, the document filed by her parents states.

But Rifqa, who is in foster care, was taken to a faith-healing event in Youngstown a couple of weeks ago by Franklin County Children Services, without her parents' consent, according to the document.

A motion to force treatment is to be considered today in Juvenile Court.

...

[T]ests have determined that Rifqa has a "rare form of cancer," according to her attorneys' court filings. Her supporters have said she has uterine cancer.

It's unclear whether she is cancer-free at the moment. The Barys' attorney, Omar Tarazi, said in a motion that Rifqa will need a hysterectomy if the cancer returns.

The Barys want to force chemotherapy and are concerned that their daughter could die without treatment, Tarazi wrote.

The irony, of course, is that Bary ran away from her parents, claiming that they were going to kill her for converting to Christianity.  And now her parents are trying to force her to get chemotherapy because they are afraid that she will die without it, while Bary claims not to need it because her Christianity has cured her cancer. 

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The ACLJ isn't just opposing Islam at home, they are opposing it abroad as well.
  • The Washington Post has a long profile of Ken Cuccinelli.
  • Peter LaBarbera is still complaining that I accused him and his allies of hating gays ... and then turns right around and calls the Gay Liberation Network a "radical homosexual hate group."
  • Randall Terry blasts Priests for Life and Americans United for Life as "useless; they are collaborators with the baby killers themselves."
  • I will never understand why people who get caught saying something stupid try to claim that they never said exactly what they were caught saying.
  • Larry Klayman has absolutely no reason to believe that the judge in the Arizona immigration case was pressured by the Obama administration, but that is not going to stop him from launching a fishing expedition.
  • Finally, the Liberty Counsel continues to serve as the law firm of choice for woman seeking to keep their former partners away from their children because "Ohio law, like nature, makes no provision for a child to have two mothers."
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Islam Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Monday 03/12/2012, 5:15pm
It has been almost-comical to see how the Christian Broadcasting Network’s Erick Stakelbeck went from working as a sports reporter to a “terrorism analyst” heralded by Religious Right and anti-Muslim groups, which never seem to question his complete lack of credentials and expertise. But Stakelbeck knows how to please a crowd with his vehement diatribes against Muslims and progressives, warning that they are both have a “shared hatred for this country.” Stakelbeck’s “expert analysis” even includes biblical prophecy, as he recently told Marcus... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 03/06/2012, 5:00pm
American Family Association president Tim Wildmon today used his column praising the admirable works of Christian charitable organizations to criticize Muslims. If there ever was a contrast in worldviews, it is with Christianity and Islam. One of the most striking differences is that Christianity teaches, practices, and encourages charity. Islam does not. It is the Christians from America who are doing the majority of the private charity and humanitarian work around the world. Just these past couple of weeks alone, I was reminded by several examples of this. … American Family... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 03/05/2012, 3:12pm
One of the most frequent attacks that the Right levels against President Obama is that he is constantly apologizing for America to nations around the world, and especially to our enemies, and vowing never to apologize for America has become an easy applause line for GOP presidential hopefuls. So imagine our surprise as we were watching the last day of Rick Joyner's week-long series on the evils of Islam and heard Joyner recall apologizing to Islamic leaders for the filth, homosexuality, and darkness that America is exporting all over the world. As Joyner explained, several years ago he... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 03/01/2012, 3:40pm
All week, Rick Joyner's "Prophetic Perspective on Current Events" program has been running episodes featuring Jerry Boykin and Kamal Saleem discussing the evils and dangers of Islam. On yesterday's program, Boykin declared that the Muslim Brotherhood is running an "insurgency" in America to establish Sharia and stated that the government bailout of insurance giant AIG means that the government is now practicing Sharia because AIG offers some Sharia-compliant insurance policies: MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 03/01/2012, 2:00pm
 On the 700 Club today Pat Robertson once again went on an unhinged rant against progressives and Muslim-Americans while speaking with basketball reporter turned security “expert” Erick Stakelbeck. Robertson said that “people on the left and these Islamic groups want to undermine our freedoms, they don’t want a free society like we have here, they want Sharia law,” and Stakelbeck, who once asserted that the “Left sees Islam as an ally and Western Civilization and the Judeo-Christian tradition is the enemy” because they “have a shared hatred... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 02/29/2012, 3:10pm
Yesterday on Today’s Issues, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins and American Family Association head Tim Wildmon hosted New York City Councilman Fernando Cabrera to discuss the city’s decision to prohibit church groups from using public school buildings, which was recently overturned by a federal judge. During the interview, Cabrera attacked gay rights advocates for supposedly siding with the city government, to which Perkins replied that “homosexual groups” want “to silence the church. They want the church to go away because they don’t want... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 02/29/2012, 1:05pm
Self-proclaimed “ex-terrorist” Kamal Saleem tells quite a story about his life, claiming that he worked for late Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, Hamas, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and fought with Al Qaeda in Tora Bora, all before coming to the United States in order to carry out the “culture jihad.” Sure his entire story is a fabrication, but that hasn’t stopped this descendent of the imaginary “Grand Wazir of Islam” from getting speaking gigs across the country where he criticizes Islam and warns of impending Sharia law in the United States... MORE