marriage

New Religious Right Video: Secularism Means Doom For America

One of the sessions at the recent Values Voter Summit featured a showing of a new half-hour video produced by the American Family Association called “Divorcing God: Secularism and the Republic.” (Back in the summer it was being promoted as "Divorcing God: Secularism, Sexual Anarchy, and the Future of the Republic.") The video features an array of Religious Right leaders and academics, whose argument can be summarized this way:  America, whose greatness is decaying because the country has turned its back on the God who inspired the founding fathers, is doomed if it continues to allow secularists to push religion into the closet.  It's time for Christians to fight back.

And just to be clear, the God in “one nation under God” isn’t any old generic God, but the same Christian God who made western civilization possible.  It’s familiar to anyone who has followed the Religious Right’s “Christian nation” rhetoric, filled with founders’ quotes about religion and  attacks on the Supreme Court’s rulings on church-state separation.

Among the stars of the video is Princeton University’s Robert George, the Religious Right’s favorite intellectual. George, a leader of the National Organization for Marriage, is one of the authors of the Manhattan Declaration, whose signers fancy themselves potential martyrs for opposing abortion and LGBT equality in America. Others include Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute; Michael Farris, homeschooling advocate and chancellor of Patrick Henry College; and Matthew Spalding, of the Heritage Foundation. The founders clearly believed that God punishes nations, says Dacus, and when countries allow their societies to become amoral, there’s a price to be paid, not just by those individuals but society as a whole.  The video suggests that the current fight between secularists and those who want to preserve the country’s divine foundation is the last stand for the future of freedom on planet earth.

Another DVD being handed out at the Values Voter Summit hit similar themes about the importance of the nation’s foundation on biblical principles.  It features a 2010 “State of the Nation” speech delivered by Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis at the Creation Museum in Kentucky.  Ham argues that the nation is threatened by the teaching of evolution and by the Supreme Court. “There really is no such thing as separation of church and state,” says Ham, who warns that “Christianity in this nation is becoming outlawed more and more in various quarters.”  Ham blames the decline more on church leaders than on secularists.  The Bible is the “absolute authority,” he says, but too many Christians have undermined the authority of scripture by compromising on the truth of the 6,000 year-old earth and great flood described in Genesis.  And that means quoting the Bible in policy debates on abortion and gay marriage has lost its effectiveness.

Meanwhile, French scholar Denis Lacorne has just published Religion in America: A Political History (Columbia University Press, 2011), in which he examines two competing narratives about American identity.  One derives from the secular values of the Enlightenment and reflects a desire to preserve liberty by freeing it from the power of an established church.  The second ties American identity to the Puritans and Protestantism.  These two narratives are reflected in competing notions of church-state separation evident today in our politics and on our Supreme Court.  At a presentation at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. this week, Lacorne suggested that what he calls the neopuritan narrative was developed in the first half of the 19th century by historians who wanted to resurrect the influence of the Puritans, who he says were generally ignored by the founding fathers in their debates over religious liberty and whether or not to make the Constitution an explicitly Christian document.  (They chose not to.)

 

In David Barton's Alternative Reality, Americans Love Don't Ask Don't Tell

Republican pseudo-historian David Barton says that he, like Jesus, has never been legitimately critiqued, and is even suing two Democratic politicians in Texas and a blogger who have criticized him. While Right Wing Watch, among others, reports on Barton’s incessant dishonesty on a regular basis, he continues to tell falsehoods even when he is directly confronted about it.

Today on his program WallBuilders Live, Barton and his co-host Rick Green discussed the 9th Circuit Court’s decision on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. While they originally found the policy unconstitutional, the court recently vacated the ruling following the policy’s official repeal. Barton argued that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act are “still overwhelmingly popular” among Americans:

Barton: The president’s going to follow the 9th's decision, that’s just what happens when you get a president—

Green: You’re gonna have to choose a Commander and Chief that—

Barton: You’re gonna have to choose a president who’s going to enforce laws that the rest of us think are important. Now he’s choosing to enforce the laws and not enforce the laws he thinks are important, and it’s not where the nation is. You know overwhelmingly we still want DOMA, the ban on homosexuals in the military that’s still overwhelmingly popular, he’s just not going there.

Of course, Barton is flat out wrong.

A CBS News poll released October 4 found that “68 percent of Americans said they support gay and lesbians’ rights to serve openly,” and that 48% of Republicans favored the repeal of the ban on openly gay soldiers, more than the 41% who opposed repeal.

On marriage, polls from Gallup, CNN, ABC, AP/Roper and the Public Religion Research Institute all found that a majority of Americans support marriage equality for gays and lesbians. Moreover, a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll found that 51% of voters oppose DOMA and just 34% support the law, which is still being enforced.

But David Barton, naturally, would not let actual polling data stand in the way of his claim that Americans are still hostile to the rights of gays and lesbians.

Jeffress Denounces Gays As Promiscuous, Manipulative And Abnormal

Robert Jeffress’ criticism of the Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Mormon faiths has gained increasing attention since he endorsed and introduced Rick Perry at last week’s Values Voter Summit. Just as Jeffress disparages non-Protestant religions and the very concept of religious pluralism, he also has harsh words for gays and lesbians.

In a sermon earlier this year called “What to Say to Those Who Are Gay,” Jeffress cited a study from the Netherlands to bolster his argument that gays are incapable of having long-term, monogamous relationships. As Jim Burroway notes, the study of gay men in Amsterdam was conducted in the 1980s and the 1990s and was far from representative of the gay community as it “was heavily weighted with HIV/AIDS patients, excluded monogamous participants, was predominantly urban, and consisted only of those under the age of thirty.” Furthermore, study participants didn’t have the right to marry since marriage equality wasn’t enacted in the Netherlands until 2001.

Myth number five: homosexuals enjoy the same kind of healthy monogamous relationships as heterosexuals. Ladies and gentlemen, the idea of long-term, monogamous homosexual relationships is a myth. According to a study in the Netherlands, one of the most gay-tolerant nations in the world, they discovered that the average duration of a homosexual relationship is 1.5 years. Now while I high percentage of heterosexual married couples remain faithful to each other, homosexual couples - the same study revealed - engage in a high degree of promiscuity.

This study concluded that among committed homosexual couples - not just transitory couples, but committed homosexual couples - among them they had an average of eight different sexual partners a year outside of their relationship.

It is a myth that homosexuals engage in the same kind of monogamous healthy relationships as heterosexuals.

In another sermon entitled “Homosexuality is a Perversion,” Jeffress cited the rabidly anti-gay group National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), which pushes “ex-gay” reparative therapy and has a history of fraud, in order to make the claim that gays and lesbians are using “brainwashing techniques” to “inject homosexuality” into the culture and that “homosexuality is being crammed down our throats.”

There is a concerted effort to try to call normal what God has called abnormal, and it is a process, a well-thought out process, that has been wildly successful. Dr. Charles Socarides is the head of psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York he’s also the president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. I have no idea if he’s a Christian or not but I picked up a paper he had written describing the brilliant plan of gay activists to normalize the abnormal practice of homosexuality using the same brainwashing techniques that had been used by the Chinese for hundreds of years. And in his paper he talks about the three stages that are being used by gay activists to cause our culture to embrace rather than reject homosexuality, and I’ve listed those three brainwashing techniques on your outline today.

First of all, Dr. Socarides says the first technique in brainwashing is to desensitize, desensitization, the desensitization of the public to homosexuality by showing people that homosexuals are “just like everyone else.” If you can laugh with smart, articulate gays like the character on TV’s ‘Will & Grace,’ or if you can be made to sympathize with homosexuals who are being persecuted like the character, lawyer dying of AIDS that Tom Hanks portrayed in the movie ‘Philadelphia.’ If we can laugh with them, if we can cry with them, then immediately we become intoxicated with this idea that ‘they’re nothing to be frightened by, we don’t need to be repulsed by homosexuals, they are just like us.’ Desensitization.

The second step, in the brainwashing activity, is jamming, that is, causing the public to feel guilty of their bigotry toward homosexuals. How do they make us feel guilty about our bigotry toward homosexuals? What they do is they portray in a stereotypical way anybody who’s against homosexuals as being shrill, being uneducated, as being bigoted in their beliefs, and then showing them being shunned by society. Isn’t that how the media portrays those that are against homosexuality? They’re uneducated, they’re shrill, and they’re being shunned by mainstream society, and a person watching that on television says, ‘My gosh, I don’t want to be like that!’ That’s jamming.

And then the third stage in the brainwashing technique Dr. Socarides says, is conversion, during which masses of people change their attitudes about homosexuality in a planned psychological attack in the form of propaganda fed to the nation via the media. Have you noticed how the television airwaves are being flooded right now by programs that celebrate homosexuality? Homosexuality is being crammed down our throats and being presented as a normal, alternative lifestyle.

Values Voter Summit 2011 & America in 2013

As RWW readers know, the Values Voter Summit, the year’s biggest political gathering for the Religious Right, took place in Washington, D.C. this past weekend.  Every Republican presidential candidate with the exception of Jon Huntsman addressed the summit, evidence of the continuing importance of Religious Right activists and political groups to the GOP. Polls suggest that the Religious Right is about twice as big as the Tea Party, with significant overlap between the two movements. Ron Paul’s campaign packed in enough voters to win the straw poll, but it would be wrong to say he was the favorite of the Values Voter crowd. It was up-and-coming candidate Herman Cain who won the loudest cheers (and took second place).

The two days of speeches from presidential candidates, congressional leaders, and Religious Right activists painted a clear picture of where they’ll try to take the country if they are successful in their 2012 electoral goals.  In their America, banks and corporations would be free from pesky consumer and worker protections; there would be no Environmental Protection Agency and no federal support for education; women would have no access to abortion; gays would be second-class citizens; and for at least some of them, religious minorities would have to know their place and be grateful that they are tolerated in this Christian nation. 
 
Here’s a recap of some major themes from the conference.
 
Religious Bigotry on Parade
 
In one of the most extreme expressions of the “Christian nation” approach to government, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer has stated repeatedly that the religious liberty of non-Christians is not protected by the First Amendment.  More specifically, he says Mormons are not protected by the First Amendment.  For whatever reason, VVS organizers scheduled Romney and Fischer back-to-back on Saturday morning. 
 
Before the conference, People For the American Way called on Romney to take on Fischer’s bigotry, which he did, albeit in a vague and tepid manner, criticizing “poisonous” rhetoric without naming Fischer or explaining why his views are poison.  Getting greater media attention were comments by Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress, who in his introduction of Texas Gov. Rick Perry insisted on the importance of electing a “genuine” follower of Christ. Reporters who accurately saw this as a swipe at Romney’s faith asked Jeffress about it, and he labeled Mormonism a cult.  (Mormons consider themselves Christians, but many Christians, including Southern Baptists, believe Mormon theology is anything but.)  Following Romney at the microphone, Fischer doubled down, insisting that the next president has to be a Christian “in the mold of” the founding fathers.  Fischer’s inaccurate sense of history is eclipsed only by his lack of respect for church-state separation and for the Constitution itself – even though he insisted that his religious test for the presidency was really a “political test.” Romney took only four percent in the VVS straw poll, even though he has been leading in recent polls of GOP voters.
 
Beating up on Obama
 
Religious Right leaders routinely denounce President Barack Obama, so it is no surprise that a major theme of the VVS was attacking the president and his policies.  Perhaps the nicest thing anyone said about the president was Mitt Romney’s snide remark that Obama is “the conservative movement’s top recruiter.”    Among the nastiest came from virtue-monger Bill Bennett, who said, “if you voted for him last time to prove you are not a racist, you must vote against him this time to prove you are not an idiot.” Rep. Anne Buerkle, one of the Tea Party freshmen, said flat out that the president is not concerned about what is best for the country. 
 
Health care and foreign policy were top policy targets.  Many speakers denounced “Obamacare,” and most of the presidential candidates promised to make dismantling health care reform a top priority. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Religious Right favorite who is leading a legal challenge to the health care reform law, said that if the Supreme Court did not overturn it, Americans would go from being citizens to subjects.  Just about every speaker attacked President Obama for not being strong enough in support of Israel, and repeated a favorite right-wing talking point by pledging to “never apologize” for U.S. actions abroad.
 
Gays as Enemies of Liberty
 
It is clear that a Republican takeover of the Senate and White House would put advances toward equality for LGBT Americans in peril.  Speaker after speaker denounced the recent repeal of the ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers in the armed forces; many also attacked marriage equality for same-sex couples.  And many portrayed liberty as a zero-sum game, insisting that advances toward equality posed a dire threat to religious liberty. Rep. Mike Pompeo said “You cannot use our military to promote social ideals that do not reflect the values of our nation,” concluding his remarks with a call for the election of more Republicans, saying “ride to the sounds of the guns and send us more troops.”
Another member of the 2010 freshman class – Rep. Vicky Hartzler – attacked the Obama administration for “trying to use the military to advance their social agenda,” saying, “It’s wrong and it must be stopped.” Predictably, the AFA’s Fischer was the most vitriolic and insisted that the country needs a president “who will treat homosexual behavior not as a political cause at all but as a threat to public health.”
 
Loving Wall Street, Hating Wall Street Protesters
 
On the same day that moving pictures of Kol Nidre services at the site of Occupy Wall Street protests made the rounds on the Internet, Values Voter Summit speakers portrayed the protests as dangerous and violent.  Others simply mocked the protesters without taking seriously the objections being raised to growing inequality and economic hardship in America.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor denounced the “growing mobs” associated with the protests and decried “the pitting of Americans against Americans.” (Too bad he didn’t stick around to hear the rest of the speakers).  Glenn Beck denounced “Jon Stewart Marxism” and warned that the protests were the sign of an approaching “storm of biblical proportions” in which “the violent left” would smash, tear down, kill, bankrupt, and destroy.  Pundit Laura Ingraham simply made fun of the protesters and held up her own “hug the rich” sign.  Rising star Herman Cain defended Wall Street, blaming the nation’s economic crisis on policymakers, not reckless and irresponsible financiers.  Nobody wanted to regulate the financiers; speakers called for a repeal of the Dodd-Frank law. 
 
A number of speakers promoted Christian Reconstructionist notions of “Biblical economics,” with Star Parker declaring that “this whole notion of redistribution of wealth is inconsistent with scripture” and calling for the selection of a candidate with commitment to the free market according to the Bible.  Ron Paul also insisted “debt is not a political principle.”  The AFA’s Bryan Fischer said that liberalism is based on violating two of the Ten Commandments, namely thou shall not steal, and thou shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.  Liberalism, he said, is “driven by angry, bitter, acquisitive greed for the wealth of productive Americans.” 
 
No Love for Libertarians
 
A major theme at last year’s Values Voter Summit, as at other recent Religious Right political events, was an effort to make social-issue libertarians unwelcome in the conservative movement by insisting that you cannot legitimately claim to be a fiscal conservative if you are not also pushing “traditional family values.”  The same theme was sounded this year by the very first speaker, Tony Perkins.  Another, Joe Carter, took a shot at gay conservatives, saying it was not possible to be conservative and for gay marriage – it simply made you a “liberal who likes tax cuts.”  Carter said “social conservative” should be redundant. Ingraham echoed the theme, calling for an end to conservative modifiers (social, fiscal, national security) and, echoing popular Christian writer C.S. Lewis, called for a commitment to “mere conservatism.”  There were far fewer mentions of the Tea Party movement itself at this year’s VVS, perhaps owing to the movement’s unpopularity – or to the fact that the GOP itself has essentially become one big Tea Party party.
 
Crying Wolf on Religious Persecution
 
Religious Right leaders routinely energize movement activists with dire warnings about threats to religious liberty and the alleged religious persecution of Christians in America.  William Bennett said liberals are bigoted against “people who publicly love their God, who publicly love their country.”  Retired Gen. William Boykin said Christians are facing the greatest persecution ever in America.   The American Center for Law & Justice’s Jay Sekulow warned that the next president will probably select two Supreme Court justices, and that if it isn’t a conservative president, our Judeo-Christian values could be “eliminated.”  Crying wolf about persecution of Christians in America is offensive given the very real suffering of people in countries that do not enjoy religious freedom.  Several speakers addressed the case of a Christian pastor facing death in Iran.  That is persecution; having your political tactics challenged or losing a court case is not.
 
America is Exceptional; Europe Sucks
 
Republican strategists decided a couple of years ago that “American exceptionalism” would be a campaign theme in 2010 and 2012, and we heard plenty of talk about it at the Values Voter Summit.  Among the many who spoke about American exceptionalism was Rep. Steve King, who said “this country was ordained and built by His hand,” that the Declaration of Independence was written with divine guidance, and that God moved the founding fathers around the globe like chess pieces .  Liberals, said the Heritage Foundation’s Matthew Spalding, don’t share a belief in American exceptionalism or the American dream. Many speakers contrasted a freedom-loving, God-fearing America to socialist, post-Christian Europe.  Rick Perry said “those in the White House” don’t believe in American exceptionalism; they’d rather emulate the failed policies of Europe.  Gen. Boykin declared Europe “hopelessly lost.”
 
Smashing the Regulatory State
 
The anti-government, anti-regulatory fervor of billionaire right-wing funders like the Koch brothers was on vibrant display at the VVS.  Without the slightest nod to the fact that regulating the behavior of corporations’ treatment of workers, consumers, and the environment is in any way beneficial, a member of a Heritage Foundation panel said conservatives’ goal should be to “break the back” of the “regulatory state.”  Some presidential candidates vowed to halt every regulation issued during the Obama administration.  Michele Bachmann said her goal was to “dismantle” the bureaucracy.
 
Judging Judges
 
Many speakers criticized judges for upholding abortion rights, church-state separation, and gay rights. Newt Gingrich took these attacks to a whole new level, calling for right-wing politicians to provoke a  constitutional crisis in which the legislative and executive branch would ignore court rulings they didn’t like.  He called the notion of “judicial supremacy” an “affront to the American system of self-government.” Aside from Gingrich’s very dubious constitutional theory, the speech seemed out of place at a conference in which speakers had been calling for the Supreme Court to overturn the health care law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.
 
Deconstructing the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’
 
VVS speakers love quoting the Declaration of Independence, but some are clearly a little troubled with the notion that the “pursuit of happiness” is an inalienable right, one that might apply, for example, to happy, loving gay couples.  Rick Santorum said that the founders’ understanding of “happiness” meant “the morally right thing” and doing what God wants.  Steve King said the  pursuit of happiness was not like a tailgate party, but the pursuit of excellence in moral and spiritual development.  Michele Bachman has equated the pursuit of happiness with private property.
 
Notably weird speeches
 
Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel gave a meandering address that moved from U.S. policy on Israel to the war on Islamic radicalism to an attack on the United Nations to denunciations of sexologist Alfred Kinsey and humanist/educator John Dewey for undermining western civilization. He warned against conservatives using rhetoric that might push the growing Latino population into the maw of the “leftist machine,” making an aside about Latinos whose names end in “z” having a special connection to Israel.
 
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who ended up taking third place in the straw poll, seemed personally hurt that conservative evangelicals weren’t rallying around him given all that he had done for them and the price he had paid for it.  He whined, “Don’t you want a president who’s comfortable in his shoes talking about these issues?”
 
Rep. Steve King of Iowa said that people who support marriage equality or legal abortion don’t do so because they have a value system supporting those things, but because they want to spite the Religious Right – “because they know it’s precious to us.”
 
Former Fox TV personality Glenn Beck gave a trademark lurching speech contrasting visceral anger with his recitation of Abraham Lincoln’s “with malice toward none.” The speech was long on mockery of Wall Street protestors and on the messianic narcissism that was on display at his Lincoln Memorial rally last year.  “We need to give America the same choice” that Moses gave Israel, he said: good or evil, light or dark, life or death, freedom or slavery.  He said America is in a religious war, a race war, a class war, and other wars.  In one breath he insisted that the nation “must return to God” and talked about the “country’s salvation” – and in the next he denounced the notion of “collective salvation,” which he has elsewhere attributed to President Obama and denounced as evil and satanic.
 

Bryan Fischer's Speech To The Values Voter Summit

During his address to the Values Voter Summit, Bryan Fischer made the same claims he always made: Islam is evil and Muslims are traitors, LGBT equality threatens freedom, and the Constitution protects only Christians (not Mormons). After posting clips from the speech of Fischer attacking gay rights and the theory of evolution, we decided to post his speech in full.

Remember that presidential candidates Herman CainMichele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich have all appeared on his show, along with past candidates Tim Pawlenty and Mike Huckabee. In addition, Fischer is the spokesman for the organization, the American Family Association, that co-hosted The Response prayer rally with Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Part I:

Part II:

Parker: God Will Judge Us For Abortion, Gay Marriage

Star Parker ended tonight's Values Voter Summit by mourning Roe v. Wade and marriage equality, declaring, "We are sick as a country, and we are going to have to recognize how deep this sickness is." She went on to compare legal abortion and gay marriage to slavery and the holocaust, warning that God in the same way "is going to answer the question of abortion and He is going to answer the question of marriage; He already defined marriage and God is true and man is the liar."

Watch:

Parker: He is going to answer these questions, and we've been yearning, and we've been begging, and we're 35 years, 36 years now with Roe v. Wade. And we're talking about all of the millions of people whose lives were touched, how deeply abortion has scarred this country. And now we're yearning, waiting, to protect the interest of marriage, such a most humble position God would put us in, the marital sacrament, to recognize how personal and private that is. It's absolutely under attack to the degree that in California they now have to stop a law, they have to form an initiative to stop a law, from teaching their children gay history. We are sick as a country, and we are going to have to recognize how deep this sickness is.

So that when we get to November 3rd, regardless of the outcome, the same way big moral questions were on the table before, God would answer what we are praying for. And as with slavery when He turned the history clock on and we saw pictures, and we said, 'what happened? We were founded on such principles? These founding fathers prayed. How did we go eighty years, 600,000 dead later to answer a simple question, that was just unlawful in God's eyes. The protection of innocent life, to give that life that liberty, and that opportunity to pursue their personal property and happiness.' We saw it again in the Holocaust, they turned the history clock on after He answered that big question and we said, 'How did this happen? What were we doing? How did the churches that were there just turn their music up and sing a little longer?' Well, He is going to turn the history clock on on today too, He is going to turn the history clock on because one day He is going to answer these questions. He is going to answer the question of abortion and He is going to answer the question of marriage; He already defined marriage and God is true and man is the liar.

Vitagliano: Gays Are Uncivilized

Today on Focal Point, the American Family Association's research director Ed Vitagliano told Bryan Fischer that gay men are naturally uncivilized. Vitagliano is no stranger to anti-gay rhetoric and even co-produced a film that starred an 'ex-gay' leader, who was later revealed to have been secretly having sex with other men. Vitagliano told Fischer that the reason "promiscuity in the male homosexual community" is rampant is because gay men can never be civilized if they don't marry women, as "there is no civilizing influence in their lives."

Watch:

Vitagliano: There's an old expression, I don't know who said it first, that marriage civilizes men. I firmly believe according to God's plan the race was created male and female and any man would say and any woman would say that their spouse is different. Men are different from women. And God intended those differences to work, not only to bind together the other, but change them as well and alter what was given as a gift, for example, the male desire to go out and conquer and to wander. I think that is part of the makeup of a man, but marriage helps to channel those things in a constructive way. I believe that's why there's so much promiscuity in the male homosexual community, because they're two men who behave the same way and there is no civilizing influence in their lives.

Fischer: All Will Be Lost If Gay Marriage Passes

On Focal Point today Bryan Fischer says that everything, even the country's economic future and national security, relies on whether Americans can defeat marriage equality. Fischer went on to say that George Washington would view LGBT rights activists and groups that support the separation of church and state are "anti-American":

Fischer: Our survival as a civilization, as a culture, depends on protecting the institution of marriage, everything is at risk here: our economic prosperity, our survival, our national security, all of it hinges on our willingness as a culture to protect monogamy and to protect the institution of marriage. You know, George Washington says 'In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who would labor to subvert these two great pillars,' you push these pillars over, you undermine the foundation of these pillars, you cause them to weaken, you cause them to crumble, you are not a patriot. So George Washington would have no hesitation of looking at groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State, ACLU, Freedom From Religion Foundation, all of these gay rights groups, George Washington would have absolutely no hesitation saying these groups are unpatriotic, they are un-American, in fact they are anti-American because they are laboring to subvert the pillars which this civilization rests.

King: Marriage Equality Will Erode America's Foundations

Iowa congressman Steve King, who once claimed that gay rights will lead to children raised in warehouses, told the Values Voter Summit that marriage equality for gays and lesbians will lead to the downfall of civilization. King argued that progressives only want to lead an "assault" on marriage because of their hatred for moral values and later discussed his "bus tour" to remove Iowa judges who ruled in favor of marriage equality, arguing that LGBT rights activists are the "most unhappy people" he's ever met:

Staver: Gay Rights Will Destroy Western Civilization

While speaking on the American Family Association's American Family Radio about his upcoming appearance at the Values Voter Summit, where he will be introducing Rick Santorum, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel said that gay rights and marriage equality is one of the gravest threats to the future of Western civilization and freedom itself.

Watch:

Staver: We are facing the survival of western values, western civilization. And I think those survival, whether they win or lose, what will the future of America be will be determined in our lifetime.... One of the most significant threats to our freedom is in the area of sexual anarchy with the agenda of the homosexual movement, the so-called LGBT movement. It does several things, first of all it undermines family and the very first building block of our society, but secondly, it's a zero sum game as well and it's a direct assault on our religious freedom and freedom of speech.

Perkins & Mixon On Openly Gay Soldiers

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins and Benjamin Mixon discussed the supposedly deleterious impact of openly gay soldiers on the U.S. military following the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Perkins and Mixon decried open homosexuality and marriage equality as "radical change" for the military and America at large:

Fischer: I Am Persecuted For Telling The Truth

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association broadcast his radio show today from Washington, where he is attending this weekend’s Values Voter Summit. Fischer spoke with Family Research Council senior fellow Peter Sprigg about how gays and lesbians should simply suppress their sexual orientations, with Fischer saying that his anti-gay outlook represents a “more noble view of humanity” than the worldview of gay rights advocates. Sprigg went on to say that “in terms of their identity, we as Christians believe that every human being is born in the image of God, and to be born in the image of God is a far higher and better thing than for anyone to be born gay”:

Fischer also addressed People For the American Way’s letter to Mitt Romney and the New York Times story on the issue that asked why Romney is appearing directly before Fischer, despite his virulent anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-Native American and anti-Mormon rhetoric. Fischer said that he has “done nothing but tell the truth about homosexuality, about gay rights, about Muslims and Mormons,” and that when you “tell the truth, as far as the left concerns, [it is] unmitigated bigotry.”

Watch:

The New York Times piece goes on to say “The conference, from Friday to Sunday in Washington, is sponsored by the Family Research Council, the American Family Association” that would be us, “and other evangelical Christian groups. It aims to energize social conservatives and test the fidelity of the candidates.” All true. “The conference planners have obliged Mr. Romney, scheduling him to speak right before Bryan Fischer, who is chief spokesman for the family association and is known for his strident remarks on homosexuality, gay rights, Muslims and Mormons.” Now again, when you just tell the truth, that’s all I’ve done, I’ve done nothing but tell the truth about homosexuality, about gay rights, about Muslims and Mormons. That’s all I’ve done. I didn’t make anything up; I have just told the truth. You tell the truth as far as the left is concerned, that makes you strident. In fact my comments, my speech, is gonna be followed by a panel of same-sex marriage opponents. And then the New York Times guy talks about People For the American Way calling on especially Mr. Romney to publicly disassociate themselves from Mr. Fischer and his quote “unmitigated bigotry.” So once again, tell the truth, as far as the left concerns, “unmitigated bigotry.”

Who’s Who at the Values Voter Summit 2011

This weekend, nearly every major GOP presidential candidate, along with the top two Republicans in the House of Representatives, will speak at the Values Voter Summit, an annual gathering of the leaders of the movement to integrate fundamentalist Christianity and American politics.

The candidates – Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich – and the congressmen – House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor – will join a who’s who of the far Right at the event. The organizers of the Values Voter Summit and many of its prominent attendees are on the frontlines of removing hard-won rights for gay and lesbian Americans, restricting women’s access to reproductive healthcare, undermining the free exercise rights of non-Christian religions and breaking down the wall of separation between church and state.

In perhaps the starkest illustration of how far even mainstream Republican candidates are willing to go to appease the Religious Right, Mitt Romney is scheduled to speak immediately before the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, a man whose record of hate speech should be shocking by any standard. Along with regularly denigrating gays and lesbians, Muslims, and other minority groups, Fischer has no love for Romney’s Mormon faith. In a radio program last week, Fischer insisted that Mormons have no right to religious freedom under the First Amendment and falsely claimed that the LDS Church still sanctions polygamy.

People For the American Way has called on GOP presidential candidates appearing at the conference to denounce Fischer’s bigotry. Last year, PFAW issued a similar call to attendees, which was met with silence.

The following is a guide to some of the individuals with whom the leaders of the GOP will be rubbing shoulders at the Values Voter Summit this year.

Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer is the Director of Issues Analysis at the American Family Association, which is a sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. Fischer acts as the chief spokesman for the group and also hosts its flagship radio program, Focal Point, on which he has interviewed a number of prominent figures including Bachmann, Gingrich, Santorum and Mike Huckabee.

On his radio program and in blog posts, Fischer frequently expresses unmitigated bigotry toward a number of minority groups, including gays and lesbians, Muslim Americans, Native Americans, low-income African Americans and Mormons.

Fischer has:

At a speech at last year’s Values Voter Summit, Fischer said that if Christians don’t get involved in politics, they “make a deliberate decision to turn over the running of the United States government to atheists and pagans.” Of the gay rights movement, he warned, “We are going to have to choose, as a nation, between the homosexual agenda and freedom, because the two cannot coexist.”

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council, the main organizer of this weekend’s summit. Perkins leads the group’s efforts against gay rights, abortion rights and church/state separation.

The FRC famously expressed its hostility to religious pluralism in a 2000 statement blasting a Hindu priest who was invited to give an opening prayer in Congress: "[W]hile it is true that the United States of America was founded on the sacred principle of religious freedom for all, that liberty was never intended to exalt other religions to the level that Christianity holds in our country's heritage…. Our Founders … would have found utterly incredible the idea that all religions, including paganism, be treated with equal deference."

The FRC has one of the most anti-gay platforms of any major political organization, including expressions of support for the criminalization of homosexuality. Earlier this year, the group called on members to pray for the continuation of Malawi’s law prohibiting homosexuality , under which a gay couple was sentenced to fourteen years in jail. Senior fellow Peter Sprigg said he would “much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.”

Perkins himself frequently reflects the extreme views of his organization. He:

At last year’s Values Voter Summit, Perkins managed to simultaneously insult U.S. servicemembers and several important U.S. allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying that armies that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly “ participate in parades, they don’t fight wars to keep the world free .”

Mat Staver

Mat Staver is the head of the Liberty University School of Law and its legal affiliate, Liberty Counsel, both sponsors of the Values Voter Summit. Liberty Counsel vehemently opposes rights for gays and lesbians, and in July filed the lawsuit to overturn New York’s Marriage Equality Act . The group’s Director of Cultural Affairs Matt Barber has called marriage equality “ rebellion against God” and said LGBT youth are more likely to commit suicide because they know “ what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, [and] is immoral .” Barber has also described liberalism as “hatred for God” and said the president and Democrats “are anti-God.” In fact, Liberty Counsel claimed that Obama is “ pushing America to move under the curse ” of God and “ jeopardizing our nation” for purportedly not supporting Israel.

Through his role at Liberty Counsel and on his radio program Faith & Freedom, Staver has:

Staver aggressively promotes “ex-gay” reparative therapy and warns that gays and lesbians are “ intent on trampling upon the fundamental freedoms ” of others. He is also closely linked to the saga of Lisa Miller, a woman represented by Liberty Counsel who kidnapped her daughter and fled to Central America after a court granted custody to her former partner, a lesbian woman. Although Liberty Counsel denies involvement in the kidnapping, earlier this year Miller was reportedly staying at the house of Staver’s administrative assistant’s father in Nicaragua . Staver has also taught the Miller case in his law classes as an example of an instance where “God’s law” preempts “man’s law.”

Jerry Boykin

Retired Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin sparked a controversy when, as a high-ranking official in the Bush Defense Department, he framed the War on Terror as a holy war against Islam. He has since built a career as a Religious Right speaker, specializing in anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-Obama conspiracy theories. Boykin rejects religious freedom for American Muslims, claiming that Islam “is not just a religion, it is a totalitarian way of life.” In an interview with Bryan Fischer, he called for “no mosques in America.”

Boykin is a leading member of the dominionist group The Oak Initiative. In a speech at the group’s conference in April, he declared that George Soros and the Council on Foreign Relations conspired to collapse the U.S. economy in order to help President Obama get elected. Last year, he told the group that President Obama was using his health care reform legislation as a cover to establish a private army of Brownshirts loyal just to him .

Star Parker

Parker is a long-time Religious Right activist who is particularly active in anti-gay and anti-abortion rights work. As Washington, DC was poised to legalize marriage equality, Parker warned that it would lead to more HIV infections in the city, which would “ transform officially into Sodom.” In a recent radio interview with Tony Perkins, Parker mused that black family life was “ more healthy” under slavery than it is today and has accused liberals of treating Justice Clarence Thomas and Gov. Sarah Palin like runaway slaves. She has called legal abortion a “genocide” on par with slavery and the Holocaust.

Ed Vitagliano

As the AFA’s research director, Ed Vitagliano helped co-produce the 2000 anti-gay documentary “It’s Not Gay,” which is riddled with misleading statistics about gays and lesbians and promotes “ex-gay” reparative therapy. The “documentary” starred ex-gay leader Michael Johnston, a self-described “former homosexual,” who was later revealed to have been secretly having sex with other men. Vitagliano’s anti-gay work has continued apace — on the AFA’s radio program this year, Vitagliano argued that gay men are “ abusing the nature of the design of the human body” and said homosexuality is not a “ natural and normal and healthy activity.” Vitagliano also scolded congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis for supporting marriage equality , saying that Lewis “thumbed [his] nose” at God and “needs to go back and read his Bible.”

Bishop Harry Jackson

Jackson, who built his career as an avowed opponent of rights for gays and lesbians, is a regular speaker at Religious Right conferences. He has called for a “SWAT Team” of “Holy Ghost terrorists” to work against hate crimes legislation that protects gays and lesbians, and said that black organizations that support gay rights have “ sold out the black community” and have been “ co-opted by the radical gay movement .” Jackson claims that gay marriage is part of “ a Satanic plot to destroy our seed” and that the larger gay rights movement is “ an insidious intrusion of the Devil.”

Along with his fierce opposition to LGBT rights, Jackson has compared legal abortion to “lynching” and urged the Senate to defeat Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court because she is not a Protestant (Kagan is Jewish). Jackson has even described his political efforts in apocalyptic terms, telling a Religious Right group before the 2010 elections, “God is saying to us ‘I want to pick a fight in which I can wipe out my enemies and cause them to be silenced once and for all.’ This is where America is; if we do not recognize and repent, we are going to see our way of life destroyed as we now know it.”

Lila Rose

Rose is the anti-choice activist responsible for carrying out a deceptive hit job against Planned Parenthood this year. Members of Rose’s group, Live Action, went to Planned Parenthood clinics around the country posing as clients seeking help with a child sex trafficking ring. Planned Parenthood alerted the FBI about the activity, and the one staffer who handled the supposed traffickers inappropriately was promptly fired. Nevertheless, Rose claimed that her hoax proved “beyond a shadow of a doubt that Planned Parenthood intentionally breaks state and federal laws and covers up the abuse of young girls it claims to serve.”

Rose is no newcomer to the Values Voter Summit: in a speech at 2009’s summit, she called for abortions to be performed “in the public square.”

Glenn Beck

Until Beck’s Fox News program was canceled earlier this year, he was one of the Right’s most visible fear-mongers and conspiracy theorists. When his violent rhetoric inspired some real threats against progressive leaders, he laughed off the critics who urged him to choose his words more responsibly. Beck’s elaborate conspiracy theories include the idea that socialists and Islamists were planning a global caliphate, with the help of American progressives; an obsession with the progressive funder George Soros, at whom he leveled a number of anti-Semitic smears including a personal attack that the Anti-Defamation league called “horrific”; and a distrust of President Obama, who he once said was “racist” with a “ deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture .”

On air, Beck joked about killing prominent progressives (for instance, poisoning Nancy Pelosi’s wine), but frequently insisted that it is progressives who were urging violence, even predicting his own martyrdom. In one 2010 broadcast, he warned that "anarchists, Marxists, communists, revolutionaries, Maoists" have to "eliminate 10 percent of the U.S. population" in order to "gain control."

After a terrorist in Oslo killed dozens of young members of Norway’s Labor Party at an island summer camp, Beck attacked the victims , comparing the camp to “Hitler Youth” and calling it “disturbing.”

Right Wing Round-Up

AFA Columnist Rails Against Glee, Modern Family

Marcia Segelstein, a columnist for the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, decried today the representation of gays and lesbians and families led by same-sex parents in television shows such as Glee and Modern Family and the movie The Kids Are All Right. Earlier this year, the AFA launched a boycott of Glee for allegedly promoting “deviant sexuality,” “homosexual behavior,” “idolatry” and “vulgar” choreography.

Citing the work of right-wing Washington Times columnist Mary Beth Hicks and her new book, “Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left's Assault on Our Families, Faith, and Freedom,” Segelstein claims that shows like Modern Family represent “destructive, negative influences of the culture,” lamenting that in the entertainment industry the “Kool-Aid is free and it's being handed out by the gallon”:

Christian parents have a responsibility to do everything they can to protect their children from the destructive, negative influences of the culture. But I also believe they should be concerned about the kids who make up the rest of their children's generation.

After all, they'll be the ones voting in the coming years on same-sex marriage laws. They'll be the ones serving on school boards and determining sex ed curricula. They'll be the ones debating whether tolerance applies to Christians. They'll be the ones who, actively or passively, decide if it matters whether children are raised in traditional family structures.

Author Mary Beth Hicks in her new book, Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid, argues that because America's future depends on the next generation, our responsibility doesn't end with our own kids.



Just look at the TV show that recently won the Emmy for this year's Outstanding Comedy Series -- Modern Family. Here's a brief description of the ABC show from TVsquad.com:

"Dad Jay tries to be accepting of his adult son Mitchell's gay lover Cameron and adopted Asian baby, Lily, while Mitchell and his sister Claire try to be accepting of divorced Jay's remarriage to the much younger, voluptuous Colombian Gloria, which came with Gloria's wise-beyond-his-years pre-teen son Manny. If we had to point out the most 'normal' member of the Pritchett brood, or, at least, the one who puts the most fun in dysfunctional? Definitely Cameron, the flamboyant, flashy-attired boyfriend of Mitchell."

We've come a long way since The Waltons.

Pushing its agenda via the big screen, Hollywood gave us The Kids Are All Right. The plot revolves around a lesbian couple with two teenage children who seek out their biological father, referred to as "sperm donor" by the moms. The title really says it all. We're supposed to believe that everything's hunky dory in this non-traditional family.



A discussion of current media pushing an agenda would be incomplete without mentioning the phenomenon called Glee. Ryan Murphy is the creator and director of the Fox hit in which storylines often revolve around gay and bisexual characters. Hicks writes that Murphy "is an outspoken gay activist who uses his creative platform to question the concept of heternormativity in storylines about teens."

In fact, GLAAD (the Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) tracks the representation of gays and lesbians on television. In 2008, a total of 22 series on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and CW featured 35 LGBT characters. That's a record.

The Kool-Aid is free and it's being handed out by the gallon.

Right Wing Round-Up

Parshall Says You Cannot Be Gay And Christian

Last week Kyle noted that Denny Burk of the Southern Baptist Convention is urging Christians to “drop the phrase” “gay Christian” because “Christians never speak of ‘lying Christians, ’ ‘adulterer Christians, ’ ‘fornicating Christians, ’ ‘murderer Christians, ’or ‘thieving Christians.’” On Friday, Religious Right radio talk show host Janet Parshall made a similar claim on her show In The Market, where she criticized a self-described “gay Christian” who wrote to her:

I got an interesting comment from a person who identified themselves as a gay Christian. Now, that is something I want to linger here for two seconds, because either you are a bible-believing born again Christian who’ve confessed your sins and you’ve asked the Lord of your life as Savior and you’ve slid into sin and you’re now currently practicing homosexuality, or, you’re using the word Christian without understanding what the word Christian means. But I will tell you in love, if you are listening to me right now, that if you are a practicing gay Christian you dear friend are in sin. Not because Janet Parshall said so, you’re in sin because the bible says any sex outside of marriage is sin. God in His sovereignty designed sex, now that’s just some people keep forgetting that but it was God who came up with this idea of a man and a woman expressing themselves sexually, but then in His sovereignty and His perfect wisdom he said ‘and, here’s where it’s done: within the parameters of marriage.’ And then, so you wouldn’t have to fumble in the dark, ‘and by the way marriage is defined as one man and one woman.’ But when someone comes along with a sin, and wants the government to put it into statutory law, the men and women of God have no choice but to stand up and say: that’s wrong.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Disappointingly, Mike Huckabee is not considering entering the Republican presidential race.
  • Glenn Beck is now targeting kids with a new children's show on his GBTV network.
  • Bryan Fischer's latest conspiracy theory is about how President Obama wants the Supreme Court to strike down health care reform so that he can use it to win re-election.
  • Shocklingly, FRC is not happy that military chaplains can now conduct same-sex marriage.
  • On a related note, Elaine Donnelly says it is ridiculous for the military to recruit at gay venues.
  • Finally, Liberty University is taking more government money.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Michele Bachmann will be speaking to Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition "Presidential Series National Tele-Town Hall" next week.
  • Fortunately for CAIR, Herman Cain will never become president.
  • Randall Terry needs money.
  • So does the Family Research Council.
  • And Gary Bauer is asking for donations to "help us defend normal marriage" despite the fact that his organization doesn't seem to ever really do much of anything.
  • Finally, can someone explain to me how the Obama administration is playing politics by refusing to release the photos of Osama Bin Laden?

Barber: Gays Know They Are Internally Disordered

Several weeks ago, Liberty Counsel suddenly stopped posting videos of its daily "Faith and Freedom" radio programs on its YouTube channel, which was a bummer for us because we liked posting clips from them to show just how much they hate gays and liberals, since that seems be the topic of most of the episodes

Fortunately, Liberty Counsel has now resumed posting these videos and so we too can resume posting clips of Matt Barber railing about how gays all know that they are internally disordered and that their "disordered sexual relationships" cannot ever be considered equal:

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Kyle Mantyla, Monday 10/24/2011, 5:47pm
Andrew Duffelmeyer @ Iowa Independent: GOP hopefuls fight for social conservative support in Iowa.   Igor Volsky @ Think Progress LGBT: Herman Cain Flops Back To Supporting A Constitutional Amendment Against Same-Sex Marriage.   Alan Colmes: Herman Cain Shows No Understanding Of The Constitution In Pro-Life Amendment Statement.   Warren Throckmorton: NARTH is not primarily composed of mental health professionals.   Jillian Rayfield @ TPM: Twelve Pretty Racist Or Just Crazy Quotes From Pat Buchanan’s New Book.   Eric... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 10/24/2011, 2:12pm
When Rick Perry announced that he would be holding a massive prayer rally in Houston this summer, conveniently timed to coincide with the launch of his presidential campaign, Right Wing Watch started chronicling the litany of extremists who were endorsing, organizing, bankrolling and speaking at the event. Prominent among these was Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer, the church that lent its organizational muscle to The Response, who emceed the latter portion of the rally. Bickle, we reported, had previously claimed that Oprah Winfrey is the harbinger of the Antichrist and that... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 10/24/2011, 12:00pm
Randy Thomasson of Save California joined Janet Mefferd on Friday to discuss the Queer Studies minor at Cal State Fullerton, and the anti-gay activist called the program an “oxymoron.” According to Thomasson, a sincere academic discussion of the LGBT community would show that no one is born gay and that people can simply change their sexual orientation and become ex-gays, “but they are dishonest so they are indoctrinating college students to think that homosexuality, bisexuality and transexuality is good and natural, maybe even for them.” He went on to warn that the... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 10/21/2011, 5:32pm
Tanya Somanader @ Think Progress Justice: Herman Cain Compares Social Security To Slavery.   Eric Hananoki @ County Fair: Pat Buchanan Won't Disavow Idea That Minorities Have Inferior Genes.   Joe My God: Dominionism & The Mayor Of Vallejo CA.   Jillian Rayfield @ TPM: GOPer Apologizes For Saying A Woman Should Be ‘A Whore’ In the Bedroom.   Kevin Drum @ Mother Jones: Rich People Create Jobs! And five other myths that must die for our economy to live.   Sarah Posner @ Religion Dispatches: Dems' New... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 10/21/2011, 4:40pm
Herman Cain has said this week that he is pro-life and that abortion should be made illegal, but also that the government shouldn’t have any role in it and the decision should be left up to the woman and her family. As Kyle notes, it seems that Cain’s position is that abortion should be outlawed but “in situations where a family was deciding whether or not to break the law, it is none of the government’s business to tell them what to do.” Cain seems to be the only person who understands this view, and the Religious Right is not happy, to say the least. Rick Perry... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 10/20/2011, 5:48pm
Peter Montgomery @ Religion Dispatches: Jeffress is Both Right and Wrong on Religion & Politics.   Rachel Tabachnick @ Dome: Spiritual Warfare.   Ashley Lopez @ Florida Independent: Hasner ally says Muslim Brotherhood is behind Occupy Orlando.   Towleroad: Right-Wing Group Airs Gay Marriage Attack Ad in Iowa.   Zack Ford @ Think Progress LGBT: Herman Cain Doubles Down That Being Gay Is A Choice, ‘Washes Off.’   Michael E. Miller @ Miami New Times: Ave Maria University: A Catholic project gone wrong... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 10/20/2011, 2:45pm
John Stemberger earlier this week appeared on a conference call for Champion the Vote and warned that the future of the country relies on the Religious Right. Stemberger, the head of the Florida Family Policy Council and the past chairman of the campaign to have a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality in Florida, was promoting the One Nation Under God event with Newt Gingrich, David Barton, James Dobson, Sam Rodriguez and Lila Rose which focuses on boosting right-wing activism and learning about “God’s fingerprint all over the founding of our country”: While... MORE