Legal

CGBG Helps Finance Rabidly Anti-Gay Liberty Counsel

Since the Charity Give Back Group was forced to defend its financing of right-wing organizations like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, spokesman Kevin McCullough (who himself has propagated virulent anti-gay rhetoric) has stated that the campaign to have companies withdraw from the CGBG represents bullying. Tony Perkins, the president of the FRC, even said it was an attempt to “censor” Christians. After Apple dropped out of the CGBG, which was previously known as the Christian Values Network, McCullough told The Christian Post, “We're not asking Apple to embrace our position or the other side's position. We just want them to stay neutral,” and the FRC is calling on activists to tell companies to “remain neutral in the current cultural battles.”

But by indirectly assisting the FRC and Focus on the Family, two of the major ‘culture war’ players, companies listed in the CGBG’s virtual mall are inadvertently finding themselves anything but ‘neutral’ parties. Both groups are heavily involved in the electoral politics and lobbying, which makes it difficult to consider them purely charitable organizations. FRC is one of the most prominent Religious Right advocacy groups in Washington D.C., and Focus on the Family has a policy arm (CitizenLink) dedicated to political activism. If companies really wanted to ‘remain neutral in the current cultural battles,’ that is more reason to drop out of the CGBG’s list.

While FRC and Focus have received the most attention, another group listed as an affiliated organization is Liberty Counsel.

Liberty Counsel is a sister organization of Liberty University and Liberty Action, part of the network established by the late Jerry Falwell. Liberty Counsel’s Liberty Alerts depict their legal victories as “Gaining Ground in the Culture War,” and the head of Liberty Counsel, Mat Staver, wrote a book called Take Back America that he descried a Liberty Action flyer called “an Invaluable Resource to Help Win the Intensifying Culture War!” Staver’s deputy at Liberty Counsel Matt Barber even described liberalism as “hatred for God” and demanded President Obama’s impeachment for providing family benefits to federal employees in domestic partnerships. Most recently, they defended Lisa Miller, who kidnapped her daughter and fled the country to escape a court order granting her former partner custody of the child, and the Florida teacher who used his Facebook to post anti-gay messages. Like FRC and Focus, Liberty Counsel consistently propagates the most stringent anti-gay rhetoric.

Barber has argued that marriage equality is “rebellion against God,” held that gay and lesbian youth who commit suicide do it because they intuitively know homosexuality is “immoral” and called anti-bullying programs part of a “a homosexual activist political indoctrination agenda.” Such anti-gay rhetoric is extremely similar to that used of the FRC and Focus. The FRC’s Perkins claimed that homosexuality is “man shaking his fist in the face of God” and said that gay and lesbian children are likely to commit suicide because they “recognize intuitively that their same-sex attractions are abnormal.” Focus on the Family led the push against anti-bullying programs across the country, calling them efforts “to promote homosexuality to kids.”

Liberty Counsel and the FRC also defended Malawi’s law that criminalizes homosexuality and attacked American efforts to alter it.

Despite right-wing criticisms of the pressure campaign on companies tied to the CGBG, Liberty Counsel launched their own pressure campaign against schools that allowed students to participate in the ‘Day of Silence,’ which protested anti-gay bullying. Liberty Counsel also conducts an annual campaign against companies that they believe are supposedly undermining Christians, and Staver calls on customers to “shop elsewhere” if the store is not seen as sufficiently respectful of Christmas.

Liberty Counsel even joined forces with the militantly anti-gay Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Illinois Family Institute, and the American Family Association to launch a boycott and pressure campaign against McDonalds after it made a donation to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Barber lashed out at McDonalds for working with “militant homosexual activists” in front of their company headquarters.

Who else supported the boycott and pressure campaign against McDonalds?

Why, none other than the Family Research Council, which supported the boycott against McDonalds and lauded “McDonald’s agreement to stop financing the homosexual agenda.”

Now, will FRC and its allies please stop complaining that pressure campaigns against companies represent “discrimination” and the undue influence of ‘cultural battles’ into the corporate world? Probably not.

Robertson Suggests Crack In The Washington Monument Was A Sign From God

During The 700 Club’s “The Sign Of The Times” series on the end of the world this week, Pat Robertson today addressed Tuesday’s earthquake on the east coast that left a four-foot long crack in the Washington Monument. Robertson, who consistently claims that because of sin, legal abortion and tolerance of homosexuality, America will receive the same lethal punishment as Sodom and Gomorrah, floated his claim that the fissure may have been a symbolic message from God, likening it to when the veil of the Holy of Holies was torn after the Crucifixion.

Watch:

Robertson: Ladies and gentlemen I don’t want to get weird on this so please take it for what it’s worth. But it seems to me the Washington Monument is a symbol of America’s power, it has been the symbol of our great nation, we look at that monument and say this is one nation under God. Now there’s a crack in it, there’s a crack in it and it’s closed up. Is that a sign from the Lord? Is that something that has significance or is it just result of an earthquake? You judge, but I just want to bring that to your attention. It seems to me symbolic. When Jesus was crucified and when he died the curtain in the Temple was rent from top to bottom and there was a tear and it was extremely symbolic, is this symbolic? You judge.

Downplaying The Religious Right's Embrace Of "Sovereignty & Dominion"

As we mentioned the other day, there have been a lot of articles lately from journalists, columnists, and Religious Right activists completely dismissing any talk of "dominionism" among the Religious Right.

Dominionism, they claim, is just some meaningless conspiracy-theory dreamed up by the Left as scare tactic because nobody within the Religious Right movement would ever embrace those ideas or associate with anyone who espoused any sort of Christian Reconstructionist views.

Really?  While searching for something else, I stumbled upon this 2007 article from Americans United about a conference organized by the Christian Reconstructionists at American Vision and co-sponsored by several "mainstream" Religious Right organizations:

The gathering, dubbed “Preparing This Generation to Capture the Future,” was hosted by American Vision, a ministry that has been toiling away since 1978 to “help Christians build a truly Biblical worldview.” In a conference handout, American Vision states that “By God’s grace, we will work together to make America a truly Chris­tian nation for our children’s children.”

Based in Powder Springs, Ga., American Vision also produces reams of material that push Christian Reconstruc­tionism, a form of fundamentalism that argues for a re-writing of American history, dismantling secular democracy and constructing an America governed by “biblical law.” Reconstructionists seek to impose the criminal code of the Old Testament, applying the death penalty for homosexuals, adulterers, fornicators, witches, incorrigible juvenile delinquents and those who spread false religions.

Despite its overtly radical theocratic agenda, American Vision is allied with some of the Religious Right’s most powerful outfits. This year’s conference was cosponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund, a well-funded Religious Right law­yers’ outfit that James Dobson and other religious broadcasters helped create; Michael Farris’s Home School Legal Defense Association; the late TV preacher Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University School of Law; and World Magazine, Marvin Olasky’s influential evangelical Christian periodical.

The event was promoted heavily by the Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition, and it was held in a facility owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest non-Catholic denomination and a religious body closely aligned with the Bush administration.

American Vision is run by Gary DeMar, who is a self-identified Christian Reconstructionist.  Last year, DeMar's organization hosted another Worldview Super Conference.  Take a guess what it was called?

Sovereignty & Dominion: Biblical Blueprints for Victory!

The Bible tells us in Genesis 1:28 that God created us to multiply, fill the earth, and take dominion of His creation for His Glory. When Jesus came to earth, He gave his disciples the Great Commission and told them to make disciples of all nations, Baptize them, and teach them to obey all that he had commanded (Matthew 28:18-20). These two mandates form the basis for why Christ’s Church exists on this planet. Every square inch of this world belongs to King Jesus. It is our privilege to serve Him by exercising servanthood dominion in every area of life.

This conferece was co-sponsored by Liberty University Law School and among those attending the event were Janet Porter, who served as the co-chair of Mike Huckabee's Faith and Family Values Coalition during his presidential campaign and John Eidsmoe, who spoke at the event. Eidsmoe, as you may recall, was Michele Bachmann's mentor who advocates a variety of far-right views.

So Religious Right groups openly co-sponsor an event organized by Christian Reconstructionists and Michele Bachmann's mentor is a featured speaker at an event organized by these same Christian Reconstructionists which is entitled "Sovereignty & Dominion" ... but to point out the influece of Christian Reconstruction and Dominioism among the Religious Right and some GOP presidential candidates is "just another attempt to discredit opponents rather than answer them"?

Gheen Floats Military Coup And Arrest To "Remove" Obama From Office "As Soon As Possible"

Americans for Legal Immigration PAC’s William Gheen is out in force after we at People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch reported on an interview with Janet Mefferd in which he said that “extra-political activities” that he described as “illegal and violent” might be the only way for people to stop the "Dictator Barack Obama." Gheen told Mefferd that the Obama administration is “putting out videos and propaganda telegraphing what I believe to be a conflict with White America they’re preparing for after they get another 10 or 15 million people in the country to back them up.” He went on to say that his group is now referring to the president as “Dictator Barack Obama” and said, “If you’re looking for a peaceful, political recourse there really isn’t one that we can think of, and I’m really not sure what to tell people out there than I guess they need to make decisions soon to just accept whatever comes next or some type of extra-political activities that I can’t really talk about because they’re all illegal and violent.”

Gheen has since released a “clarification” of his comments. “I have made it very clear that I disavow any form of violence on many occasions,” Gheen said, “I cannot delve into the options Barack Obama is forcing on Americans that are concerned about the illegal alien invasion of America.” He blames Obama for forcing people “into a decision between submission or more revolutionary means” and added that he is considering “ending efforts to influence elections or Congress because I feel that such measures will not be enough to change the course of America.”

Later, Gheen appeared on Alan Colmes’s radio show, and continued to deny that he mentioned “illegal and violent” activities even when Colmes played to him his own words, and tried to explain that he was not endorsing the possible use of “illegal and violent” activities because he is personally non-violent and that is why he couldn't talk about them. He attacked Colmes’s “exploitation” of his remarks and told him that because he advocates non-violence on his website he doesn’t need to do the same on-air, saying, “I should’ve prepared my comments a little bit better so they wouldn’t be exploited by the opposition” (Watch the interview below the fold).

Now that Gheen is furiously backtracking from his comments, we thought it would be a good time to post another segment of his interview with Mefferd, in which he says that options beyond impeaching Obama to “remove him from office” must be on the table, adding that there is talk “about the military coming in or somebody just coming in taking this guy into some form of arrest.” Gheen also warns against marching in Washington D.C. because of the city’s black and Latino population’s support for Obama:

Gheen: Once again this isn’t just Obama, this is a group of people, we’ve been reading about them for five or ten years now about how they plan to integrate the economies of North America and to do so in a way to do so that bypasses the legislatures, that’s been in all the materials that we’ve read and here it is in front of us. They’re integrating the workforce of North America and the populations of North America and they did just bypass the legislatures. The same cabal has such influence with the media and the Associated Press, I’ll give you example and I haven’t totally muttered this on the air before, right after Obama did this I got a call from an Associated Press writer out of Washington, D.C., she’s like ‘what’s your initial reaction’ and I said, ‘this is, Obama has just exceeded his constitutional authority and acted in a dictatorial manner which we believe removes all legitimacy for his presidency and that we’re gonna be calling on the Republican to remove this man from office as soon as possible.’

And I didn’t say just impeachment. I said remove him from office because some people are also leaning to the words ‘treason’ and talking about the military coming in or somebody just coming in taking this guy into some form of arrest if we’re doing this. I mean what do you do here? What does a nation do when this happens? We may have to try to have to gather in the streets and demand that Obama step down. But you know when you talk about doing that, you’re gonna gather in the streets of Washington D.C. which where Obama has a support rate of 88% of the blacks and Hispanics who live there.

Gheen Suggests Violence May Be Needed To Stop Obama's War On "White America"

William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC joined Janet Mefferd today to make the case that President Obama is now a dictator who plans to create a police state and use undocumented immigrants to wage war on “White America.” Gheen, who previously accused Obama of treason and “replacing many core Americans” (among other radical claims), told Mefferd that “extra-political activities that I can’t really talk about because they’re all illegal and violent” may be needed to bring down Obama. Later in the interview, Gheen demanded that Republicans begin an impeachment process against Obama but lamented that he couldn’t hold marches in Washington D.C. because he was afraid that the president has too many supporters among the city’s black and Latino residents.

Gheen: What Janet Napolitano has spent most of her time doing in the last couple of months has been, one, preparing the new spy network that’s available now, the new data-collecting, see everything you do online, beyond the normal terrorist list that they’re creating, they’re creating a much larger list now of people who might be troublesome here in the country. And putting out videos and propaganda telegraphing what I believe to be a conflict with White America they’re preparing for after they get another 10 or 15 million people in the country to back them up.



We’re no longer referring to him as President Barack Obama, our national organization has made the decision and made the announcement we now refer to him as Dictator Barack Obama. That’s what he is. And basically at this point, if you’re looking for a peaceful, political recourse there really isn’t one that we can think of, and I’m really not sure what to tell people out there than I guess they need to make decisions soon to just accept whatever comes next or some type of extra-political activities that I can’t really talk about because they’re all illegal and violent.

Farah: Gays And Radical Muslims Working Together To Destroy America

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah contends that “the homosexual agenda and the Shariah agenda” are working together to endanger the future of America. Farah claims that both the LGBT community and Muslim-Americans want to alter the institution of marriage, use hate crimes laws to silence critics, and implement Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to weaken the U.S. military. According to Farah, only right-wing activists like him are standing up to the “Muslim Mafia and the Gay Mafia,” but even many leaders of the conservative movement are selling out for “Arab cash” and “wealthy homosexual interests.” Farah writes:

Homosexual political activists are pushing hard for the cultural and legal acceptance of same-sex marriage, the adoption of hate-crimes legislation and open homosexual activity in the U.S. armed forces. Opposition to this agenda typically comes from practicing and observant Christians and Jews who recognize the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexual behavior is sinful and that there are grave real-life consequences to nations that condone it.

But I want you to notice who doesn't actively oppose this agenda in American society today – organized Muslim groups.



I will tell you why: Because they recognize the promotion of this agenda in the U.S. actually serves the Islamist long-term agenda. They recognize that the success of this agenda promotes the weakening of the United States of America in multiple ways.

Let's examine how.

There is little question the legal acceptance of same-sex marriage will open the door to the legalization of polygamy. It's inevitable. After all, if it is now "discriminatory," as we're told, to prohibit two men or two women from getting married, clearly it is "discriminatory" to prohibit the marriage of one man and two or more women. There is simply no other rational way to view it.

Who benefits? Those who practice polygamy as part of their religion – Muslims.



And what about opposition to the gutting of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law? Where are the Muslim organizations on this one? Once again, they are AWOL. Peculiar, isn't it?

Not really. That's because, I believe, the anti-American Muslim Brotherhood tentacles in the U.S. recognize that, ultimately, the U.S. military is one of the last lines of defense of a nation in economic, political and cultural retreat. And they recognize that open homosexual activity within the military's ranks renders it less effective. In other words, it spells victory for the jihadists who ruled the world in the past and intend to rule it in the future.



Until recently, you might note, the only organized political opposition to both the homosexual agenda and the Shariah agenda came from conservatives.

But that is changing.

Some conservative activists, flush with Arab cash, are actively networking their new Muslim friends into the movement and through the Republican Party hierarchy. Other conservative activists are selling out to the wealthy homosexual interests. And a few are even straddling both camps in a very strange and dangerous game indeed.



So what explains the current brand of patty-cake politics between the Muslim Mafia and the Gay Mafia?

Money, moral relativism, naiveté and power.

But this is a short-term marriage of convenience, not a marriage made in heaven.

Perkins: Advocates of Church-State Separation Are "Cultural Terrorists"

While the Family Research Council tries to paint itself as one of the Religious Right’s more mainstream and respectable lobbying organizations, its extreme rhetoric continues to gain exposure. Just yesterday, for instance, FRC president Tony Perkins called the anti-suicide It Gets Better Project “immoral” and “disgusting” in a fundraising letter.

Now, Perkins is calling advocates of church-state separation “cultural terrorists.” Yesterday during Today’s Issues with American Family Association president Tim Wildmon on the AFA’s American Family Radio, Perkins portrayed liberals as unpatriotic and attacked legal organizations that support secular government as un-American, comparing them to terrorists.

Earlier this month, Perkins joined FRC Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell in expressing outrage about a questionable report that Vice President Joe Biden likened Tea Party activists to terrorists. As Kyle pointed out at the time, the FRC had itself produced a documentary which described the Employment Non-Discrimination Act as “economic terrorism” for adding job protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Now, Perkins is using the ‘terrorist’ language to depict people who believe in the separation of church and state:

Perkins: It’s still ok to pray before a football game, it’s still ok to stand for the American flag, it’s still ok to be an American, yes, it’s tea party country, it’s people that love this country, it’s people that send their sons and daughters to fight for these liberals who enjoy all the liberties and the freedoms but won’t lift a finger to protect it and they want to come down here and intimidate these folks. And the school board’s strapped for money, don’t want to take on these expensive cases to defend themselves with these out of town, carpet bagging lawyers.

Wildmon: You preach it brother.



Perkins: That’s what these groups are banking on, because in these financially difficult times, administrators wanting to be prudent, some of them not having enough backbone, will say, ‘ah we shouldn’t challenge this let’s just give in and appease them.’

I like President Reagan’s view, we don’t negotiate with terrorists. These are cultural terrorists.

They want to remake America in their own godless image, and we should not tolerate that. You know Tim, enough is enough. It’s time that Christians be bold and stand up for the rights that we have, rights that were won with the blood of patriots and sustained by patriots and by those that love this country, and it’s time that we in this generation stand up and defend those rights as well. We have those rights in this country but if we don’t stand up and defend them, using the laws, using our voice, and a lot of time that’s all it takes Tim, just stand up and say, I don’t care what you think, I don’t care about your atheist agenda. Take a hike, we’re gonna pray, we’re gonna acknowledge God, and if you don’t like it, so what?

Santorum: Same-Sex Marriage Helped Destroy The Economy

Yesterday, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum appeared on Today’s Issues on American Family Radio, along with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and the American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon, to discuss the Ames Straw Poll. After celebrating his fourth place finish in the straw poll, Santorum told Perkins and Wildmon that marriage equality, or what he calls the “redefinition of marriage,” secular government and legal abortion are responsible for the country’s economic collapse and created “a society that’s broken”:

Santorum: Letting the family break down and in fact encouraging it and inciting more breakdown through this whole redefinition of marriage debate, and not supporting strong nuclear families and not supporting and standing up for the dignity of human life. Those lead to a society that’s broken.



If you think that we can be a society that kills our own, and that disregards the family and the important role it plays, and doesn’t teach moral values and the important role of faith in the public square, and then expect people to be good, decent and moral when they behave economically, if you look at the root cause of the economic problems that we’re dealing with on Wall Street and Main Street I might add, from 2008, they were huge moral failings. And you can’t say that we’re gonna take morality out of the public square, morality out of our schools, God out of our schools, and then expect people to behave decently in a country that requires, capitalism requires some strong modicum of moral consciousness if it’s gonna be successful.

Liberty Counsel Lawyer Releases Book About The Lisa Miller Saga

In early 2010, Lisa Miller kidnapped her daughter and fled the country in order to avoid a court order telling her to hand over her daughter to her former partner due to her repeated refusal to abide by custody arrangements.

For years, Miller had been represented in court by lawyers at Liberty Counsel who worked to turn this new-found "ex-gay" Christian into a Religious Right cause célèbre.  At least until Miller disappeared, at which point Liberty Counsel went silent and started frantically trying to wash its hands of its involvement, which made sense considering that by kidnapping her daughter and fleeing, Miller was engaging in civil disobedience in order to uphold God's law, exactly as instructed by her lawyers.

To this day, Liberty Counsel continues to claim that they have no idea where Miller and her daughter have gone, despite the fact that they were reportedly living in a home owned by the father of a woman who worked directly for Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen.

Lindevaldsen, in fact, was Miller's lead attorney who tried to get herself removed from the case after Miller disappeared only to have her effort rejected by the judge.

But that was years ago and now Lindevaldsen is apparently so proud of her efforts that she has actually written about book about it:

Have you ever wondered... "What can I do to help those involved in homosexuality?" "How extensive is the culture war over marriage and family?" "What are they exposing our children to in schools?" Or, perhaps... "Why should I even care?" This book answers those questions and more! Only One Mommy exposes the truth about the homosexual rights movement and its destructive consequences. Written from the vantage point of Lisa Miller's seven-year custody battle for her biological child against her former same-sex partner, Only One Mommy offers a first-hand account of how people are lured into believing that they are born "gay" and cannot change. As a result of that belief, they make life choices that have devastating consequences for our children, families, and freedoms. This book offers truth to those struggling with homosexuality, encourages churches to minister to those caught in the lifestyle, and stirs freedom-loving Americans to get involved in the culture war that is raging all around them. Rena Lindevaldsen is a leading legal expert in the battle to defend traditional family and marriage. Written from the front lines of the cultural battle, Only One Mommy offers a rare glimpse into a woman's personal struggle with same-sex attractions and the seven-year legal struggle to keep custody of her biological daughter.

I have just ordered a copy, so I will bring you updates which I receive and have a chance to read it.

Unearthing Right-Wing Treasure

People For the American Way is preparing to move its headquarters to another location in Washington, D.C. , after more than 20 years in the same space. That has meant a monumental effort to sort through decades of accumulated paper and figure out what to do with video recordings in more formats than you could imagine – and endless save-or-toss decisions.

Fortunately, earlier this year PFAW’s huge library of primary source materials on the Religious Right political movement was transferred to the University of California Berkeley’s Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements, where it will be more accessible to scholars and journalists. But even still, preparing for the move has meant weeks of memory-triggering moments while plowing through file cabinets and finding hidden stashes of materials.
 
Among the random bits of right-wingalia I stumbled across:
  • a letter from Jerry Falwell urging his supporters to call Congress and oppose sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa in order to prevent a Communist takeover (an  accompanying 16-page “Fundamentalist Journal – Special Report” included a Falwell interview with the foreign minister saying that the West “has been doing the work of Moscow.”);
  • a 1990 Christian Coalition leadership manual that includes the assertion that the relationship between employers and employees should be based on Bible verses telling slaves to obey their masters, no matter how harsh;
  • a 1982 PFAW report on the Religious Right’s efforts to use the Texas textbook process to foist their ideology on American students nationwide (sound familiar?);
  • books and campaign plans for the takeover of America by once-obscure Christian Reconstructionist figures who are now in the news thanks to the frightening ascension of followers like Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann;
  • candidate questionnaires from Religious Right groups in the 1980s demanding to know whether politicians would support across-the-board tax cuts, a reminder that the Religious Right has been pushing Tea Party economics for a long time;
  • a lavishly produced press kit for the 2006 opening of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, where a disturbing number of Americans have flocked to be mis-educated about biology, geology, and history; and
  • in honor of Rick Perry’s recent prayer rally in Houston, a 1985 campaign flyer from the "Straight Slate" of candidates for Mayor and City Council, warning that Houston “has become the Southwest capital for homosexuality and pornography” and insisting that “We must not allow Houston to become another San Francisco!” (Current Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who was sworn in last year, is a lesbian who parents three children with her partner.)
It’s also been a reminder that the Religious Right has been declared dead more often than Freddy Krueger, usually by someone who is focusing on one organization in disarray or one election defeat for conservatives. But as our current political climate makes clear, the Religious Right and its political and economic allies have built a massive infrastructure of national and state-level think tanks, legal and political organizations, radio and TV networks, universities and law schools, and elected officials they have helped put into office at all levels of government.  They aren’t going anywhere. And neither are we – well, just a few blocks across town.

Bachmann's Mentor Says If Gays Join The Military They Will Molest Children

In 1993 Michele Bachmann’s mentor John Eidsmoe wrote the book Gays & Guns: The Case Against Homosexuals In The Military to combat President Clinton’s efforts to repeal the ban on gays and lesbians in the military. In the face of resistance, Clinton ultimately compromised to conjure up the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, which was recently repealed. Eidsmoe, who claimed in God & Caesar that “homosexuality invites the judgment of God upon all of society,” relies heavily on the discredited work of anti-gay researcher Paul Cameron to back his claim that gays and lesbians should be banned from military service.

According to Eidsmoe, gays and lesbians will turn the military into a “cesspool of immorality and a haven for the promiscuous,” and as a result “few will proudly wear the uniform” (p. 70-71). Eidsmoe says that once gays and lesbians are allowed into the military, then why not admit murderers or child molesters? “While it is true that many homosexuals have served with honor and some have even been decorated for valor, the same could be said for alcoholics, drug addicts, and pedophiles. This does not mean such persons belong in the armed forces.” He explains:

The fact that homosexual persists does not mean the ban is unenforceable or should be repealed. The same reasoning could be applied to other problems: Murder is against the law, but people still commit murder; therefore, the ban on murder is unenforceable and should be repealed. Theft is against the law, but people still commit theft; therefore, the ban on theft is unenforceable and stealing should be made legal. Child abuse is against the law, but people still abuse children; therefore, the ban against child abuse is unenforceable and should be repealed (p. 49).

In fact, one of Eidsmoe’s key arguments against admission of gays and lesbians into the military is that they will molest the children of their fellow soldiers:

It is reasonable to assume that crime of various types would increase if homosexuals are allowed into the military. It is also reasonable to assume more child molestation would take place on military outposts. At present most military families regard base housing as a relatively safe place to raise their children. If homosexuals are allowed into the military, base housing may no longer be perceived as safe for children. If the morale of military families collapses, the moral of the armed forces as a whole will likewise be devastated (p. 88).

Fischer's New Definition of "States' Rights"

I always thought that when conservatives used the phrase "states' rights," it meant that the federal government was to have limited powers and the individual states were to have the right to decide how to legislate issues for themselves.

Once upon a time, Gov. Rick Perry was a supporter of that idea ... until he decided he wanted to run for president and realized that "states' rights" meant that states could recognize marriage equality and a woman's right to choose. 

Seeing as such things are diametrically opposed to the agenda of the Religious Right base he needs to court to win the GOP nomination, Perry quickly flip-flopped on that position, announcing his support for constitutional amendments to outlaw both abortion and gay marriage.

But make no mistake, Perry's cowardly pandering has not gone unnoticed by those he seeks to court ... but don't imagine that they are holding it against him becuse they are not.  In fact, Bryan Fischer is praising and defending Perry for taking this stand by unveiling a rather novel new definition of what the term "states' rights" really means:

Gov. Rick Perry has been castigated by some conservatives and 10th Amendment aficionados for his public support of federal amendments to protect the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage.

They accuse him of abandoning his commitment to federalism, states’ rights, and the 10th Amendment and committing unpardonable Tea Party heresy in the process

But to consider amending the federal Constitution as an abandonment of the 10th Amendment and states’ rights absurd.

You can’t get any more “states’ rights” than amending the Constitution, for one simple reason: only the states can amend the Constitution in the first place.

Unless proponents can get voters in 38 states to agree with them, our supreme legal document remains unchanged.

When the Constitution is amended, this is the exact opposite of the federal government imposing something on the states, but is rather a manifestation of the states expressing their political will. If anything, it’s the states imposing something on the federal government. Everybody ought to get pumped up about doing something like that.

So it turns out that "states' rights" doesn't mean that the states have the right to decide the issues as they see fit, but rather that the majority of the states have the right to decide what the minority must do.

Is this any surprise, coming from a man who doesn't believe the First Amendment covers non-Christians?

Perry, Prayer, Politics and the Presidency

Casual viewers of “The Response,” including some political reporters who don’t pay a lot of attention to the Religious Right, may have watched Texas Governor Rick Perry’s prayer rally on Saturday and wondered what all the fuss was about.  Most of the time was taken up with prayer and praise music.  Few of the speakers seemed overtly political.  Nobody used the occasion to endorse Perry’s pending presidential bid.

But context is everything, and the context for this event was remarkable: a governor launching a presidential bid by teaming up with some of the nation’s most divisive extremists to hold a Christians-only prayer rally that suggested Americans are helpless to solve the country’s problems without divine intervention. Some media coverage is missing the boat: the issue wasn’t whether it was ok for a politician to pray, or the size of the audience, but the purposes of the event’s planners and their disturbing vision for America.

Organizers argued (unconvincingly) that “The Response” was about prayer, not politics. But groups like the American Family Association (AFA), which paid for the rally and its webcast, and organizations like the Family Research Council, whose president was among the speakers, are not designed to win souls but to change American law and culture through grassroots organizing and political power-building.  They have a corrosive effect on our political culture by promoting religious bigotry and anti-gay extremism, by claiming that the United States was meant to be a Christian nation, and by fostering resentment among conservative evangelicals with repeated false assertions that liberal elites are out to destroy religious liberty and silence conservative religious voices.

By calling for this rally, and partnering with the far right of the evangelical world, Perry aligned himself with all these troubling strategies.  When he drew criticism for the event and the extremism of its sponsors, Perry suggested his critics were intolerant of Christians.  Speakers returned to the theme, with one of them declaring that “there is an attack on the name of Jesus.” Such claims of anti-Christian persecution are a tried-and-true strategy of the Religious Right for rousing conservative Christians to political activism.  And for those who actually believe that Christianity is on the verge of being criminalized in America, Perry’s event defined him as a defiant and courageous defender of the faith. 

As journalist Dave Weigel writes, “That's the brilliance of what Perry has done here…He doesn't need to talk about politics, or do anything besides be here and understand this event. The religion is the politics. These worshippers understand that if they can bring ‘the kingdom of God’ to Earth, economic problems, even macroeconomic problems, will sort themselves out.”

A major chunk of the day was given over to Mike Bickle, who runs the International House of Prayer (IHOP) movement, which recruits young people into “radical” devotion to prayer and fasting. Yes, he’s the guy who said that Oprah is paving the way for the Antichrist. Bickle’s associate Lou Engle has organized a series of stadium events pushing prayer, fasting, and politics under the banner of “The Call,” which provided the model for “The Response.”  Bickle and Engle are hard-core dominionists who believe they are ushering in a new Christian church which will take its rightful place of dominion over every aspect of government and society.  But in spite of their well-documented extremism, they are embraced by Republican leaders.  Engle, for example, took part in a Family Research Council prayer-a-thon against health care reform, at which he introduced Rep. Michele Bachmann.

The Christian-nation crowd, like Response speaker David Barton and AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer, who says the First Amendment protects only Christians’ religious liberty, shares a certain vision for America’s future.  Some of the political goals of “The Response” sponsors were brutally clear at the rally; a series of speakers prayed for an end to legal abortion.  While rhetorical gay-bashing was surprisingly absent at an event whose sponsors include the most vehemently anti-gay groups in America (including the AFA, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center), it is clear that in the America envisioned by “The Response” planners, same-sex couples would have no chance at legal recognition or protection for their families.  Shortly before the event, Perry himself was forced to walk back from his very brief flirtation with a states’ rights defense of New Yorkers’ decision to extend marriage equality to same-sex couples -- and to vow his support for a federal constitutional amendment that would strip married same-sex couples of their rights and make sure that in the future gay couples could not get married anywhere in the U.S.
And lest anyone think that Perry’s religious agenda is limited to social issues, he made clear that a rigid conservative economic agenda was central to his spiritual mission. Just days before the rally, on “The 700 Club,” Perry said he’d be praying for “our country’s economic prosperity. There just so many people that can’t take care of their family because government’s over-taxed, over-regulated, over-litigated, it caused roadblocks to economic prosperity.” Those words echo the theology of activists like Barton, who have preached that the Bible condemns progressive taxation, the minimum wage and collective bargaining.
 
Perry is clearly positioning himself to enter the Republican presidential primary as a political savior to right-wing activists who are underwhelmed with their choices so far.  Yet, oddly for someone who wants to be president, he insists that America’s problems are beyond human ability to fix. (Sadly, that may only be true to the extent that enough legislators believe that God, like Grover Norquist, is opposed to any tax increases.)

Perry’s worldview and that of “The Response” organizers seems to see no useful role for non-Christian Americans, whose religious beliefs were denigrated at “The Response.”  When Perry told Americans on Saturday that we, “as a nation,” must return to God, it’s clear he meant God as understood by the event’s organizers.  Jim Garlow, who organized anti-marriage equality pastors in California before being hired by Newt Gingrich to run one of his political groups, told journalist Sarah Posner on Saturday that “The Response” was “not about whether Perry becomes president, it’s about making Jesus king.” Perry used the event to let right-wing religious voters and churches nationwide know that for those who see politics as spiritual warfare, he is the warrior they have been waiting for.

Understanding Where Michele Bachmann Gets Her Extreme Views

Ryan Lizza has a long profile in the new issue of The New Yorker in which he explains that "Bachmann's views have been shaped by institutions, tracts, and leaders not commonly known to secular Americans, or even to most Christians" and that "her campaign is going to be a conversation about a set of beliefs more extreme than those of any American politician of her stature."

As Lizza explains, one of the people who played a key role in shaping Bachmann's views was John Eidsmoe, her professor at Oral Roberts Univeristy: 

At Oral Roberts, Bachmann worked for a professor named John Eidsmoe, who got her interested in the burgeoning homeschool movement. She helped him build a database of state homeschooling statutes, assisting his crusade to reverse laws that prevented parents from homeschooling their children. After that, Bachmann worked as Eidsmoe’s research assistant on his book “Christianity and the Constitution,” published in 1987.

Eidsmoe explained to me how the Coburn School of Law, in the years that Bachmann was there, wove Christianity into the legal curriculum. “Say we’re talking in criminal law, and we get to the subject of the insanity defense,” he said. “Well, Biblically speaking, is there such a thing as insanity and is it a defense for a crime? We might look back to King David when he’s captured by the Philistines and he starts frothing at the mouth, playing crazy and so on.” When Biblical law conflicted with American law, Eidsmoe said, O.R.U. students were generally taught that “the first thing you should try to do is work through legal means and political means to get it changed.”

“Christianity and the Constitution” is ostensibly a scholarly work about the religious beliefs of the Founders, but it is really a brief for political activism. Eidsmoe writes that America “was and to a large extent still is a Christian nation,” and that “our culture should be permeated with a distinctively Christian flavoring.” When I asked him if he believed that Bachmann’s views were fully consistent with the prevailing ideology at O.R.U. and the themes of his book, he said, “Yes.” Later, he added, “I do not know of any way in which they are not.”

Eidsmoe has stirred controversy. In 2005, he spoke at the national convention of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a defiantly pro-white, and anti-black, organization. (Eidsmoe says that he deeply despises racism, but that he will speak “to anyone.”) In Alabama last year, he addressed an event commemorating Secession Day and told an interviewer that it was the state’s “constitutional right to secede,” and that “Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun understood the Constitution better than did Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Webster.” In April, 2010, he was disinvited from a Tea Party rally in Wausau, Wisconsin, because of these statements and appearances.

Bachmann has not, however, distanced herself, and she has long described her work for Eidsmoe as an important part of her résumé. This spring, she told a church audience in Iowa, “I went down to Oral Roberts University, and one of the professors that had a great influence on me was an Iowan named John Eidsmoe. He’s from Iowa, and he’s a wonderful man. He has theology degrees, he has law degrees, he’s absolutely brilliant. He taught me about so many aspects of our godly heritage.”

When Bachmann spoke at the Rediscover God In America conference in Iowa earlier this year, she prasied Eidsmoe for the influence he had on her:

She also pointedly praised David Barton, calling him "a gift to our nation":

So the next time Bachmann says something absurd and you wonder "where does she get these extreme ideas?" ... well, now you know.

Fact Sheet: Gov. Rick Perry’s Extremist Allies

Updated 8/5/2011

On August 6, Texas Gov. Rick Perry will host The Response, a “prayer rally” in Houston, along with the extremist American Family Association and a cohort of Religious Right leaders with far-right political ties. While the rally’s leaders label it a "a non-denominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting," the history of the groups behind it suggests otherwise. The Response is powered by politically active Religious Right individuals and groups who are dedicated to bringing far-right religious view, including degrading views of gays and lesbians and non-Christians, into American politics.

In fact, a spokesman for The Response has said that while non-Christians will be welcomed at the rally, they will be urged to “seek out the living Christ.” Allan Parker, a right-wing activist who participated in an organizing conference call for the event, declared in an email bearing the official Response logo that including non-Christians in the event "would be idolatry of the worst sort."

Perry told James Dobson that the rally was necessary because Americans have “turned away from God.

The following is an introduction to the groups and individuals who Gov. Perry has allied himself with in planning this event.

The American Family Association

The American Family Association is the driving force behind The Response. Founded by the Rev. Don Wildmon in 1977, the organization is based is best known for its various boycott campaigns, promotion of art censorship, and political advocacy against women’s rights and LGBT equality. The organization also controls the vast American Family Radio and an online news service, in addition to sponsoring various conferences frequented by Republican leaders, including the Values Voter Summit and Rediscovering God in America. The AFA today is led by Tim Wildmon, Don’s son, and its chief spokesperson is Bryan Fischer, the Director of Issues Analysis for Government and Public Policy and host of its flagship radio show Focal Point.

Fischer routinely expresses support for some of the most bigoted and shocking ideas found in the Religious Right today. He has:

Other AFA leaders and activists are just as radical:

  • AFA President Tim Wildmon claims that by repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell President Obama shows he “doesn’t give a rip about the Marines or the Army” and “just wants to force homosexuality into every place that he can.”
  • AFA Vice President Buddy Smith, who is on the leadership council of The Response, said that gays and lesbians are “in the clasp of Satan.”
  • The head of the AFA’s women’s group led a boycott against Glee because she accused it of indoctrinating children in homosexuality and idolatry.The editor of AFA Journal Ed Vitagliano said that gay pride months are an affront to the Founding Fathers and will usher in “a return to pagan sexuality.”
  • A columnist for the AFA demanded Christians stop practicing yoga because it was inspired by the “evil” religions of Buddhism and Hinduism.

International House of Prayer

The Response’s leadership team includes five senior staff members of the International House of Prayer (IHOP), a large, highly political Pentecostal organization built on preparing participants for the return of Jesus Christ. In a recent video, IHOP encouraged supporters to pray for Jews to convert to Christianity in order to bring about the Second Coming. IHOP is closely associated with Lou Engle, a Religious Right leader whose anti-gay, anti-choice extremism hasn’t stopped him from hobnobbing with Republican leaders including Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee. Engle is the founder of The Call, day-long rallies against abortion rights and gay marriage, which Engle says are meant to break Satan’s control over the U.S. government. One recent Call event featured “prophet” Cindy Jacobs calling for repentance for the “girl-on-girl kissing” of Britney Spears and Madonna. Perry's The Response event is clearly built upon Engle's The Call model.

Engle has a long history of pushing extreme right-wing views and advocating for a conservative theocracy in America. Engle:

IHOP’s founder and executive director, Mike Bickle, who is an official endorser of The Response, like Engle pushes radical End Times prophesies. In one sermon, he declared that Oprah Winfrey is a precursor to the Antichrist.

The International House of Prayer, incidentally, remains locked in a copyright infringement lawsuit with the International House of Pancakes.

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, is a co-chairman of The Response. At the FRC, Perkins has been a vocal opponent of LGBT equality, often relying on false claims about gay people to push his agenda. He:

Jim Garlow

One of the most prominent members of The Response’s leadership team is pastor Jim Garlow. The pastor for a San Diego megachurch, Garlow has been intimately involved in political battles, especially the campaign to pass Proposition 8. Garlow invited and housed Lou Engle to lead The Call rallies around California for six months to sway voters to support Proposition 8, which would repeal the right of gay and lesbian couples to get married. He claims Satan is behind the “attack on marriage” and credits the prayer rallies for the passage of Prop 8. He said that during a massive The Call rally in San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium “something had snapped in the Heavenlies” and “God had moved” to deliver Prop 8 to victory.

Most importantly, Garlow is a close spiritual adviser to presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and leads Gingrich’s Renewing American Leadership (ReAL). Garlow is a principal advocate of Seven Mountains Dominionism, and wants to “bring armies of people” to bring Religious Right leaders into public office and defeat their political opponents.

Garlow has a long record of extreme rhetoric. He:

John Hagee

While Senator John McCain rejected John Hagee’s endorsement during the 2008 presidential campaign for his “deeply offensive and indefensible” remarks, Perry invited Hagee to join The Response. Hagee leads a megachurch in San Antonio, Texas, and is a purveyor of End Times prophesies. Like members of the International House of Prayer, Hagee utilizes language of spiritual warfare and says he is part of “the army of the living God.” He runs the prominent group Christians United For Israel, which believes that eventually a cataclysmic war in the Middle East will bring about the Rapture.

John McCain was forced to disavow Hagee for a reason as the Texas pastor:

James Dobson


James Dobson, an official endorser of The Response, is one of the most prominent figures in the Religious Right. Founder of both Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council , Dobson has been instrumental in bringing the priorities of the Religious Right to Republican politics, including campaigning hard for President George W. Bush. But many of the views that Dobson pushes are hardly mainstream. Dobson:

  • is no fan of the women’s movement, writing that women are just “waiting for their husbands to assume leadership” ;
  • claims that marriage equality will “destroy the Earth”;
  • insists that the Religious Right’s fight against Planned Parenthood is “very similar” to that of abolitionists who fought against the slave trade.
  • Asked if God had withdrawn his hand from America after 9/11, Dobson responded: “Christians have made arguments on both sides of this question. I certainly believe that God is displeased with America for its pride and arrogance, for killing 40 million unborn babies, for the universality of profanity and for other forms of immorality. However, rather than trying to forge a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the terrorist attacks and America's abandonment of biblical principles, which I think is wrong, we need to accept the truth that this nation will suffer in many ways for departing from the principles of righteousness. "The wages of sin is death," as it says in Romans 6, both for individuals and for entire cultures.”

David Barton


David Barton, an official endorser of The Response, is a self-proclaimed historian known for his twisting of American History and the Bible to justify right-wing political positions. Barton’s strategy is twofold: he first works to find Biblical bases for right-wing policy initiatives, and then argues that the Founding Fathers wanted the United States to be a Christian nation, so obviously wanted whatever policy he has just found a flimsy Biblical basis for. Barton, “documenting” the divine origins of his interpretations of the Constitution gives him and his political allies a potent weapon. Opponents who disagree about tax policy or the powers of Congress are not only wrong, they are un-American and anti-religious, enemies of America and of God.


Barton uses his shoddy historical and biblical scholarship to push a right-wing political agenda, including:

  • Biblical Capitalism: Barton’s “scholarship” helps to form the basis for far-right economic policies. He claims that “Jesus was against the minimum wage,” that the Bible “absolutely condemned” the estate tax,” and opposed the progressive income tax.
  • Revising Racial History: Barton has traveled the country peddling a documentary he made blaming the Democratic Party for slavery, lynching and Jim Crow…while ignoring more recent history.
  • Opposing Gay Rights: Barton believes the government should regulate gay sex and maintains that countries which “rejected sexual regulation” inevitably collapse.


Other Allies


Among the other far-right figures who have signed on to work with Gov. Perry on The Response are:

  • Rob Schenk, an anti-choice extremist who was once arrested for throwing a fetus in the face of President Clinton, and who allegedly had ties with the murderer of abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian.
  • Loren Cunningham, who is working to mobilize support for the rally is a co-founder of the radical “Seven Mountains Dominionist” ideology. Cunningham says that he received the “seven mountains” idea, which holds that evangelical Christians must take hold of all aspects of society in order to pave the way for the Second Coming, in a message directly from God.
  • Doug Stringer, The Response's National Church and Ministry Mobilization Coordinator, who blamed American secularism and the increased acceptance of homosexuality for the 9/11 attacks, saying “It was our choice to ask God not to be in our every day lives and not to be present in our land.”
  • Cindy Jacobs, self-proclaimed “prophet” and endorser of The Response, who famously insisted that birds were dying in Arkansas earlier this year because of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
  • C. Peter Wagner, an official endorser of The Response, is one of the most prominent leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation, a controversial movement whose followers believe they are prophets and apostles on par with Christ himself (other adherents include Engle, Jacobs and Anh). Wagner has advocated burning Catholic, Mormon and non-Christian religious objects. He blamed the Japanese stock market crash and later the devastating earthquake and tsunami in the country on a traditional ritual in which the emperor supposedly has “sexual intercourse” with the pagan Sun Goddess.
  • Che Ahn, a mentor of John Hagee and official endorser of The Response, who endorses “Seven Mountains” dominionism and compares the fight against gay rights to the fight against slavery.
  • John Benefiel, a self-proclaimed "apostle" and official endorser of The Response, who claims the Statue of Liberty is a "demonic idol" and that homosexuality is a plot cooked up by the Illuminati to control the world's population, and that he renamed the District of Columbia the “District of Christ” because he has “more authority than the U.S. Congress does.”
  • James “Jay” Swallow, official endorser of the rally, who calls himself a “spiritual warrior” and hosts “Strategic Warriors At Training (SWAT): A Christian Military Training Camp for the purpose of dealing with the occult and territorial enemy strong holds in America.”
  • Alice Smith, who advocates "spiritual housecleaning" because demons "sneak into" homes through everyday objects.
  • Willie Wooten, a self-proclaimed “apostle” who claims that God is punishing the African American community for supporting gay rights, reproductive freedom and the Democratic Party.
  • Pastor Stephen Broden – Broden, an endorser of The Response, has repeatedly insisted that a violent overthrow of the U.S. government must remain “on the table.”
  • Timothy F. Johnson – Johnson, a former vice-chairman of the North Carolina GOP, was elected to that post despite two domestic violence convictions and still unresolved questions about his military service and educational record.
  • Alice Patterson – Patterson, a member of The Response's leadership team, insists that the Democratic Party is controlled by a "demonic structure."

 

More on Gov. Rick Perry's "Apolitical" Prayer Rally

The Response, a day of prayer and fasting called by Texas Gov. Rick Perry and hosted by the American Family Association, will take place at Houston’s Reliant Stadium this Saturday. Perry has tried to deflect criticism of his sponsorship of this religiously exclusionary event by claiming (unconvincingly) that it is meant to be unifying and apolitical, even though it is sponsored by a dizzying array of divisive, bigotry-promoting individuals and groups, including those encouraging him to enter the presidential race.
 
It is true that participants recently received instructions not to wear shirts with political messages. But an email that arrived today with suggestions for daily contemplation in preparation for The Reponse sounded suspiciously like an action alert from the far-right AFA:
In Joel's day Israel experienced the destruction of a massive locust plague. The nation's economy was crippled because of the decimation of the agriculture. The reason these plagues came was because of the people's negligence to worship and serve God with their whole heart. Because the people grew cold and eventually departed from God, they experienced incredible hardships. The result of their inner departure was multiple external crises.
 
In America today we face a similar crisis. We have watched sin escalate to a proportion the nation has never seen before. We live in the first generation in which the wholesale murder of infants through abortion is not only accepted but protected by law. Homosexuality has been embraced as an alternative lifestyle. Same-sex marriage is legal in six states and Washington, D.C. Pornography is available on-demand through the internet. Biblical signs of apostasy are before our very eyes. While the United States still claims to be a nation "under God" it is obvious that we have greatly strayed from our foundations in Christianity.
 
This year we have seen a dramatic increase in tornadoes that have taken the lives of many and crippled entire cities, such as Tuscaloosa, AL & Joplin, MO. And let us not forget that we are only six years from the tragic events of hurricane Katrina, which rendered the entire Gulf Coast powerless.
 
Furthermore, because of mismanagement and greed, our national economy is in incredible disarray, with our national debt topping 14 trillion dollars. We have effectively mortgaged our children's future, while spending money we do not have on entitlements as we search in vain for "the American dream". The first "wave of locusts" has begun to descend upon us and many are oblivious to the fact that destruction has come and is still coming.
 
God destined America to be a gospel beacon to the rest of the earth a nation under God who declares His goodness, truth and mercy to a world desperately in need. How we have strayed from God's original intent for us! The crisis is extreme and the hour is urgent.

The Response email includes several days' worth of items to consider.  And while Religious Right groups like the AFA often blame secularists, homosexuals, liberals, feminists, environmentalists, and President Obama for the nation’s problems, today's email suggests the real problem is that the Church has not been fervent enough:

Often the church imagines that it is the wickedness of unbelievers that causes the deterioration of a nation. While unbelievers do contribute to a nation's moral state, Scripture is clear - God holds His people responsible for their actions and identifies their sin or obedience as the key contributor to the blessing or cursing of a nation. . . .
 
There is much at stake for the church in America. In many ways we are at a crossroads of two divergent paths. Either the church will turn to the Lord with her whole heart, sparking a great revival and reformation in our nation, or she will continue in compromise, keeping the status quo as we watch our nation turn to debauchery, sin and ultimately destruction.
 

FRC's Selective Outrage

Listen to this clip from the AFA radio program "Today's Issues" the other day in which Tony Perkins and Ken Blackwell, both of the Family Research Council, complain that people are calling the Tea Party activists "terrorists":

Perkins: You have the comments being made by the Vice President of the United States ... and he's equating conservative members of Congress who are identified with the Tea Party as being terrorists and holding the nation hostage.

Blackwell: Well, that is just consistent with the strategy of define and destroy that the Left, headed up by the President and the Vice President, have been putting on us for the last couple of years ... Look this is an attempt to define those who are asking tough questions not just as being rabble-rousers or folks who are really tough in pressing the issue, but as being terrorists. And this really has to stop.  

Oh, the outrage! 

FRC would never stoop so low! 

Oh wait ... what about this clip from the Family Research Council's very own "ENDA: The End of Religious Freedom in America?" DVD where, at the 1:37 mark, Frank Wright of National Religious Broadcasters calls ENDA and hate crimes legislation "economic terrorism":

Wright: On Capitol Hill, as we say, at the end of the day, ENDA and hate crimes are really a form of economic terrorism. They hold an extortion-like threat over your head and say that if you don't submit, you will pay for it in legal fees and in judgments and in pain and suffering in court for years to come. Some people will stand against that. Some people don't have the resources to stand against that. Others, sadly, are going to cut and run and that is the great pity of the whole thing.

LaBarbera: Gays Must Be Kept Off The Bench Because They Will Undermine Religious Liberty

Last month, J. Paul Oetken won Senate confirmation by a vote of 80-13, making him the first openly gay man to be confirmed as a federal judge.

Peter LaBarbera has long demanded a sexual orientation test for judges, asserting that all nominees must declare if they have a history of "practicing immoral homosexual behavior" or "consider yourself homosexual."

So needless to say, the milestone of Oetken's confirmation is not sitting well with him:

"Homosexual activists are quite clear that their so-called 'rights' trump our religious liberty, our freedom to act on our beliefs to oppose sexual immorality," he explains. "So we certainly can't trust open homosexual activists to give us fairness and to defend religious liberty and our First Amendment freedom to live by our faith."

LaBarbera adds that it is because homosexual activists strive to convince people, and force them by judicial fiat, to accept the homosexual lifestyle as somehow equal to heterosexuality.

"This is dangerous territory where we are seeing homosexual activists trying to get on the bench," says the spokesman. "The Democratic Party is advancing their cause and it's not going to help justice. In fact, I predict this will undermine religious liberty in this country."

Says LaBarbera: "We have a big fight ahead of us."

I wonder what LaBarbera's response would be if people were to demand that an openly Christian judicial nominee be kept off the bench because everyone knows that the Religious Right cannot be trusted to "give us fairness" on equality issues? 

Barton: Only Small Minority Supports Marriage Equality

Selective reading of material to support presupposed right-wing views is David Barton’s forte, so it comes as no surprise that the pseudo-historian is using a shoddy poll on same-sex marriage by an ultraconservative organization to claim that very few Americans support marriage equality.

On WallBuilders Live yesterday, Barton and co-host Rick Green hosted Austin Nimocks of the Alliance Defense Fund to discuss their opposition to equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians. Barton and Green ended the interview by discussing the ADF poll which claimed that 62% of Americans were against marriage equality. ADF’s findings were something of an anomaly, given that most other recent polls show the majority of Americans are in favor of marriage equality, a number which even Republican pollsters admit is rapidly increasing. Unlike other polls, the ADF survey didn’t ask participants whether they believe gay and lesbian couples should be legally allowed to marry but instead asked if they agreed with the claim, “I believe marriage should be defined only as the union of one man and one woman.” As Dan Nejfelt of Faith in Public Life points out:

A key difference is that these polls focused on legality rather than the "definition" of marriage. Given that the political debate surrounding same-sex marriage pertains to legislation rather than the contents of the dictionary, it's hard to see the relevance of ADF's data. It certainly is interesting, but it's not even close to a refutation of the overwhelming body of current nonpartisan opinion research pointing to majority support for legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

But for Barton and Green, the poll demonstrates that the country is united against marriage equality, which they say only has the support of a tiny but vocal minority.

Barton: If you can get a Christian spirit going, it unifies people like crazy. And that’s what we got going on the marriage issue, that’s what we have going on the school prayer issue. The other guys are screaming that it’s dividing. No. When it’s 82 to 18 that’s not dividing, when it’s 62 to 35 that’s not dividing, that’s unifying.

Green: Well the way to divide everybody is to take an issue where only 5 or 10 or 15 or 20 percent are for it and force it on the whole country.

Barton: That’s right. Oh, are you talking about gay marriage here?

Green: I’m not even sure 15 percent are for it. Even when we say 62 percent are for traditional marriage I don’t think you can say 38 percent are for gay marriage, but they might be saying ‘I don’t really know if I want to make that decision.’

Barton: See, that’s when you have to look in the polls to see who are strongly for it. And when you get strongly for, very few. And I love the point he made too, he said they want to do this against the will of the people, that’s why they file lawsuits. I mean, they did not give the people of New York a chance to vote on this, and typically they do not. They file lawsuits against marriage because they can’t win at the ballot box. This is the thing, when it comes to the people they can’t win, which is another great indication that this is a minority driving this agenda. It’s not a majority, it’s not a unifying issue.

Right-Wing Activists Explain How Daycare, Public Schools And Gay Rights Are Destroying Society

Jeffrey Kuhner of the Edmund Burke Institute for American Revival and the Washington Times joined Janet Mefferd yesterday to “analyze” what he called the progressive movement’s plot to “smash the family” and completely destroy society. How? Through legal abortion, birth control, daycare, public schools, and equal rights for gays and lesbians, of course:

Kuhner: Whoever controls the family controls society. This is why the Left has wanted to smash the family, take children out of the home, have them in daycare, have them go to the state especially public-run schools as soon as possible, in other words let the state inculcate and indoctrinate the children, and slowly break the bonds between children and their parents. This is why parental authority is being assaulted, this is why they’re promoting abortion, this is why they’re promoting birth control and condom use in the schools, because what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to slowly corrupt our children and take them away from their primary care givers which are their parents.

Mefferd: And redefine the family.

Kuhner: And completely redefine the family and you’re seeing that in gay marriage

Mefferd: You are redefining it for the purpose of ultimately, I think, getting rid of it.

Kuhner recently wrote in the Washington Times that “abortion clinics are the Gulag Archipelago of the modern left - a vast system of death camps underpinning the liberal regime’s secular hedonism,” and part of the larger “culture of death”:

Mr. Obama is rapidly advancing the culture of death - abortion, contraception and homosexual marriage. These are not “boutique” or “fringe” issues, as the mainstream media likes to portray the obsessive concerns of the religious right or hard-core Christian evangelicals. Rather, they involve the most seminal issue of all: whether America survives as a Judeo-Christian nation. Without a common moral code and Christian heritage, our nation will splinter into Balkanized factions. There would be no social glue to hold us together any longer. Since the 1960s, America’s cultural disintegration has accelerated. We have become more secular, more perverse and ultimately, more decadent.
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Legal Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Wednesday 09/28/2011, 11:56am
Religious Right leaders are coming together to form yet another law school to train future lawyers of the conservative movement. The right-wing Alliance Defense Fund is helping Louisiana College, a Southern Baptist institution, start the Paul Pressler School of Law, which will join Liberty University, Regent University and others in providing politicized training to the next generation of Religious Right lawyers. Pressler’s ties to the Alliance Defense Fund will be similar to the Liberty University School of Law’s partnership with Liberty Counsel and the Regent... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 09/23/2011, 2:15pm
Whenever I see articles like this one about Dakota Ary, a fourteen year-old Texas student who was suspended for reportedly saying in class that, as a Christian, he believes homosexuality is wrong, I am always reminded of the story of Raymond Raines or, more recently, the eight year-old Massachusetts student supposedly suspended for drawing a picture of Jesus. These absurd stories are almost always generated by the Religious Right legal groups who have been hired to represent the families of the "victims" - does anyone remember Edwin Graning? - and the resulting stories inevitably... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 09/23/2011, 12:37pm
At last night’s Republican presidential debate Gov. Rick Perry defended a state law he signed that allows the children of undocumented immigrants living in Texas to pay in-state tuition at the state’s public colleges and universities. Although Perry has attacked the federal DREAM Act as “amnesty,” anti-immigrant activists are furious over his defense of the Texas law. In a statement, Americans for Legal Immigration-PAC president William Gheen speculated that Perry has “assured his own defeat”: Texas Governor Perry destroyed his chances of winning the GOP... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 09/22/2011, 2:41pm
Earlier this month Bob Smietana of The Tennessean wrote a long article about how Jay Sekulow appears to be using the American Center For Law and Justice as a means to enrich himself and his family to the tune of millions of dollars.  This was very similar to an article Tony Mauro wrote for The Legal Times back in 2005. Of course, Sekulow and the ACLJ say such reports present a "biased and distorted picture of the truth" but you'd think that amid such reports, they'd be a little leery of doing anything that reinforce this perception ... say, like getting the National... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 09/21/2011, 11:09am
Back in July, we reported Lou Engle’s prophesy that the deadly tornado in Joplin, Missouri, was God’s punishment for legal abortion. This week, Engle got together with Rick Joyner of The Oak Initiative to promote The Call: Detroit with Transformation Michigan, an affiliate of The Oak Initiative. They took advantage of their time together to make a video discussing Engle’s Joplin prophesy. In the video, Engle tells Joyner that he received a message in a dream that President Obama has the potential to be the next Abraham Lincoln if he bans abortion through his very own "... 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
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 09/20/2011, 10:11am
Only a few years ago Religious Right groups and Republicans were running as far as possible away from the Personhood Colorado campaign, the effort to pass an extreme anti-choice measure that was twice handily defeated by Colorado voters. Last year, the National Right to Life Committee, Americans United for Life, Colorado Citizens for Life all refused to back the Colorado personhood amendment, and the Colorado Eagle Forum called the personhood campaign a “disaster.” But now, the Personhood Mississippi campaign –which is nearly identical to the Colorado effort – has... MORE