Ohio

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Guess who is confirmed for the next Values Voter Summit?  The Duggars!
  • We can all rest easier now that the Ohio Legislature has banned animal-human hybrids.
  • VA Gov. Bob McDonnell said AG Ken Cuccinelli’s office was entirely responsible for the decision not to join 48 other states in filing a supporting legal brief on behalf of Albert Snyder, the father of a Marine killed in Iraq. Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas picketed the Marine’s funeral.
  • James Dobson has endorsed Bob Vander Plaats in the Iowa GOP primary for Governor.
  • Rob Schenck has been named the first chaplain for the Capitol Hill Executive Service Club.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Sen. Orrin Hatch: "Gays and lesbians don't pay tithing, their religion is politics."

The Rifqa Bary Saga Worsens With Cancer Diagnosis

The central issue throughout the entire Rifqa Bary saga was Bary's contention that her Muslim parents were going to kill her for converting to Christianity and that, for her own safety, she had to flee to Florida and continues to refuse to have anything to do with her parents.

So I can't even being to imagine how the news that Bary has uterine cancer is going to impact this case:

Fathima Rifqa Bary, the Muslim teenager from Columbus who converted to Christianity and ran away to Florida, is being treated for uterine cancer.

Rifqa, now 17, has already undergone two operations and will have a third one Thursday, according to a close friend and her former Orlando lawyer.

"The only reason she wants this to be known is she wants people to pray for her," said John Stemberger, who represented Rifqa in her 2009 fight to stay in Florida.

She lost that battle and was returned in October to Columbus, where she lives with a foster family.

She has been in and out of the hospital but remains under the care of the foster family, said Stemberger, who said he spoke to her last week.

Jamal Jivanjee, an ordained pastor who directs an Orlando-based ministry, also confirmed that Rifqa has cancer.

In an email to her friends and supporters, he wrote, "Her situation is very serious, and she will need the help of many people in the weeks and months ahead. ... As soon as Rifqa heals from the major surgery that she will undergo this Thursday, it is expected that she will need to undergo several rounds of chemotherapy. ...

"Rifqa is in desperate need of an army of supporters to know about what is occurring regarding her situation, and to pray for her healing," Jivanjee wrote.

Reached by telephone, Rifqa's father, Mohamed Bary, would not discuss his daughter's health.

But I certainly can imagine how Bary's anti-Islam, right-wing defenders like Pamela Geller will seek to exploit this.  Here is Geller's first post on the news and you can already see that she is laying the groundwork to accuse Bary's parents and their lawyers of working to undermine Bary's medical care and trying to take advantage of her condition ... and it is only a matter of time before Geller and her ilk start accusing Bary's parents of trying to use Bary's cancer to do what they have been prevented from doing:

While this is a tragedy, how Rifqa is being victimized by her lawyers and her parents is nothing less than an atrocity. Her lawyers kept her in the dark about her condition -- despite the seriousness of her cancer -- for well over a week while they conferred with her parents and their CAIR-appointed lawyers about her treatment. While most cases like this result in a hysterectomy, Rifqa is only having the advanced malignancy removed. From what I understand, the survival rate in cases like these is only five percent.

Was she allowed to get a second opinion? No.

While she was lying ill, her lawyers brought her parents to her hospital bed. She was awaiting treatment and when she saw them, whereupon she became very agitated and upset. Her parents had to be removed.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Eagle Forum is no longer calling judges "judicial activists": they are now "judicial reconstructionists."
  • Former Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode has reportedly joined the Constitution Party.
  • The AFA's Bryan Fischer claims that the fact that the White House didn't use the phrase "year of our Lord" in a proclamation declaring Jewish Heritage Month proves that the US is a Christian nation.
  • The Susan B. Anthony List launched a $30,000 radio ad campaign targeting Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) "on his retreat from his pro-life stance in the final hours of the healthcare debate."
  • They may call them "love offerings," but the government calls it "tax evasion."
  • Finally, the right-wing campaign against Kevin Jennings continues, leading to this dowright bizarre press release from Citizens for Community Values.

May Day on the Mall: Lifting The Curse That Obama's Election Has Brought Upon America

 
On Saturday, May 1, Religious Right leaders and public officials will gather at the steps below the Lincoln Memorial to beg God to forgive America for having elected wicked leaders like President Obama. If you can’t make it to the national mall on Saturday morning, you can watch live on God TV or via webcast thanks to the American Family Association.
 
The "May Day - A Cry to God for a Nation in Distress" event is the brainchild of Janet Porter, a Religious Right activist/conspiracy theory-promoting radio host, and member of presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee’s inner circle. Porter believes America is under a curse for having “made the choice of death” by electing President Obama (even though God TV warned us not to). She announced the May Day event at last fall’s How to Take Back America conference.  
 
Since then, Porter has lined up support from a significant number of Religious Right heavy-hitters like former Focus on the Family head James Dobson, who recorded an audio message recruiting pastors to get involved, and at least five members of Congress, including  Randy “Pray Against Health Care” Forbes (Virginia), Trent “Obama is an enemy of humanity” Franks (Arizona), Louie “Hate Crimes Act is a Pedophile Protection Act” Gohmert (Texas), and Steve “Know Your Enemies” King (Iowa).  
 

Is Religious Right’s Star Ex-Muslim a Serial Liar?

Dr. Ergun Caner, the president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, has been a rising star on the Religious Right, entertaining audiences at major Religious Right gatherings with his hip, irreverent stories about his upbringing as a radical Muslim and his conversion to Christianity. Just this week, his story was featured on Focus on the Family’s broadcast, “From Jihad to Jesus.”

Turns out, according to a growing chorus of critics – many of them Southern Baptists and other Christians – Caner has apparently been lying for years about his childhood and his life story. It’s hard to even summarize the extent of the deceptions being described by his critics, but they include his claims to have grown up in Turkey and to have personally involved in Islamic Jihad, when court records from his parents’ divorce place him in Columbus, Ohio when he was just a few years old. Check some of the critical websites for voluminous debunking of Caner’s colorful (and apparently fanciful) stories about  learning about America through TV broadcasts in Turkey and more. Some charges are even more directly related to his ministry, such as his claims to have debated top Muslim scholars around the world. Caner’s critics say there’s no evidence of those debates. 
 
These are no vague or reckless charges, but carefully documented exposes that draw from Caner’s sermons, speeches, and online videos, and other public records.  Liberty doesn’t seem to have responded publicly, but recently posted a revised version of Caner’s bio with disputed claims removed. 
 
Some of Caner’s critics are willing to forgive him, but only if he owns up to his massive deceptions.  Meanwhile, Caner and his supporters have been trying to get his critics to shut up. Caner himself has pulled the Religious Right’s favored religious persecution card, reportedly saying in a memo to his Liberty colleagues, “I never thought I would see the day when alleged ‘Christians’ join with Muslims to attack converts.”
 
Meanwhile, others are starting to raise questions about the extent to which Ergun’s brother Emir, who heads a Baptist college in Georgia, may have assisted in Ergun’s deceptions, whether actively or by passively allowing false claims to go unchallenged.
 
It doesn’t look like Liberty University is going to be able to shove this under the rug. Stay tuned.

Sputtering Start to Religious Right's Rebranding

The Freedom Federation’s “Awakening” conference convened at Liberty University on April 15 and 16  with the ambitious goal of transforming America by touching off the greatest religious revival that America or the world has ever known.   Short of that, the gathering was all about rebranding the Religious Right political movement as a “multiracial, multi-ethnic, transgenerational” movement that cares about social justice (sorry, Glenn Beck). In short, the conference was meant to send a message to young and non-white evangelicals: this ain’t your father’s Religious Right.

Given the gathering’s audacious goals, and the number and firepower of participating Religious Right leaders (who it was claimed represented 40 million Americans), attendance was dismal. In fact there’s probably never been a conference with a higher ratio of featured speakers (52) to attendees (a couple of hundred at best, not counting the session that used a regularly scheduled student convocation to give speaker Sam Rodriguez a larger audience). 
 
Of course, there were plenty of signs that the old Religious Right and its focus on divisive fear-driven politics haven’t gone anywhere.  Speaker after speaker portrayed faith and freedom under relentless attack in America. In spite of repeated assertions that the movement was nonpartisan and would not be co-opted by any political party, it was clear that the top political priorities for these leaders are to help Republicans take back at least one house of Congress in 2010 and to defeat the tyrannical Barack Obama in 2012. Ending abortion and turning back progress toward equality for LGBT people are top policy priorities.
 
Despite the low turnout, the conference served as an opportunity for organizers to meet and strategize for the 2010 elections, and to try out some new messaging and public relations strategies. Here were the conference’s main themes:
  • Tyranny! Red Alert! America is in big trouble. Freedom is under attack by President Obama and his allies in Congress. And since Obama is no friend of Israel, we’re in trouble with God.
  • Fight! Big threats mean we have to be ready to fight, fight fight. The tea party movement was invoked favorably and, given the turnout, a bit wistfully.
  • Unify. A major theme of the event was the need to ignore major theological differences among speakers and focus on common values such as ending abortion and the Obama administration.
  • Diversify. The conference made a major effort to showcase the Freedom Federation’s claims to be a multiracial, multiethnic, multigenerational movement. 
  • Seek Social Justice. Watch out, Glenn Beck, these right-wingers are eager to portray themselves as a social justice movement.
  • Millennial Generation, saving America is your job.

Tea Party Activism and The Religious Right's Unrequited Love

Even though the Religious Right can get no love from the Tea Party movement when it comes to adopting even a small part of their social agenda, it seems that Religious Right leaders are just tripping over themselves to speak at Tea Party rallies whenever the chance arises.

For instance, WallBuilders' Rick Green is speaking at a rally in Texas, and the Eagle Forum's Phyllis Schlafly is addressing an event in Michigan, while Ralph Reed is joining Bob Barr and Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, for a Tea Party rally in Atlanta.

On top of that, the AFA's Bryan Fischer is speaking at an event in Mississippi and Alan Keyes was at one in Ohio, while Vision America's Rick Scarborugh is speaking at an event in Oklahoma where he will share the microphone with Oklahoma state Senator Randy Brogdon, who is trying to create Tea Party militia to defend the state's sovereignty from federal encroachment.

So I think it is safe to say that the supposed efforts by Tea Party organizers to salvage their reputation by distancing the movement from the crazies was, at best, an isolated incident.

Tea Party Tries to Clean Up Its Act? Not Exactly

Earlier today I wrote that Tea Party activists were trying to improve their image and salvage their reputation by dropping Orly Taitz from a California tea party rally.

I may have spoken too soon:

The Starkville Tea Party will hold a rally Thursday at noon in front of the Oktibbeha County Courthouse. The Columbus Tea Party will hold a rally Thursday at 5:15 p.m. on the Lowndes County Courthouse steps.

...

In Columbus, Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the American Family Association, is one of three scheduled speakers. The American Family Association “represents and stands for traditional family values and exists to motivate and equip citizens to reform our culture to reflect Biblical truth on which it was founded,” according to the group’s Web site.

In fact, I am sure that I spoke too soon:

The sound of freedom rung throughout the Ervin J. Nutter Center on Tuesday, Apr. 13 as conservatives came out for the Dayton Tea Party Rally.

...

The highlight of the evening was former presidential candidate and conservative activist Alan Keyes.

Keyes criticized "an elite that has abandoned allegiance to God almighty" for the nation's current ills and, in a not-so-subtle allusion to the Biblical book of Exodus, stated that "the Tea Party movement is turning November into a Passover election" that will dethrone the elite.

"I take God really seriously," said Keyes. "And I take the connection between God and our liberty even more seriously than that."

Keyes challenged Tea Party members to define the movement, using the Spirit of 1776 as a point of reference. The conservative activist called on Tea Party participants to mimic the founding fathers' resistance of oppression as a means of restoring the nation to its former glory.

"No matter how much you like tea, if it comes at the price of your freedom, you'll throw it in the ocean," said Keyes. "You'll say no."

While Republicans in California refused to be seen with Orly Taitz due to her Birther obsession, that was apparently not a concern for U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, who shared the stage with Keyes (whom Taitz is representing in her Birther lawsuits) at the Ohio rally.

As for Fischer, in the last week he's declared that all Muslims in America must be deported and that all Muslim citizens are traitors who must convert to Christianity.  And let's not forget his recent calls for all gays to be treated like criminals and for the stoning of a killer whale at Sea World in accordance with Biblical teachings.

Janet Porter Goes 9 for 9

You know how yesterday I was marveling at the fact that there it was seemingly impossible for any right-wing activist to be considered so radical that Republican members of Congress would refuse to be seen anywhere near them? 

Allow me to follow that up with this simple observation that, over her last nine radio program, Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter's has had nine different Republican members on Congress on as quests:

March 9 - Guest: U.S. Senator Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska)

March 10 - Guests: Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyoming)

March 16 - Guests: Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)

March 17 - Guests: U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)

March 18 - Guests: U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-Missouri) and U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Arizona)

March 19 - Guests: U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia)

Do I really need to recount all of the crazy things Porter has said?

And yet multiple Republican members of Congress have been making time to appear on her radio program on a regular basis. 

Does Anyone Remember Tom DeLay's Plan to Build a Conservative MoveOn.org?

Seeing this clip of Tom DeLay claiming that those who are unemployed want to be unemployed and saying that unemployment benefits just "[keep] people from going and finding jobs" got me thinking, just what is Tom DeLay's job?

The last I recall hearing anything about his was back in 2007 when it was big news that he and Ken Blackwell were launching something called Coalition for a Conservative Majority, which was going to become the right-wing version of MoveOn.org:

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has formed a new grass-roots organization that he says will help conservatives better convey their message to voters and take back control of Congress.

The Coalition for a Conservative Majority (CCM) — co-founded by Mr. DeLay, Texas Republican, and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell — will establish "chapters" in all 50 states, which will be used to lobby lawmakers, coordinate political messages and influence members of the press.

"Right now, liberals are better organized, funded and active than I have ever witnessed," Mr. DeLay said. "Our goal is to work with the talented leaders of the conservative movement to complement their efforts, using an army of activists to push for the policies and leadership conservatives are begging for."

So I decided to take a look at the CCM's website to see what it have been up to since its launch over two years ago:

That's right, DeLay's conservative version of MoveOn consists entirely of a website that contains nothing but links to three local CCM chapters of Phoenix, Colorado Springs, and Denver.

So what is it that Tom DeLay has been doing, exactly? 

Oh wait, I remember:

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Tomorrow, a Vermont judge will decide whether to issue an arrest warrant for Lisa Miller if she continues to refuse to come out of hiding and hand over her daughter.
  • Bishop Harry Jackson will reportedly be leading a rally on Wednesday at the Capitol Visitors Center to try to step up the pressure on Congress to intervene in his DC marriage battle.
  • Hey, let's all take the AFA's Don't Ask, Don't Tell poll!
  • Columbus, Ohio police are investigating whether anyone involved in helping Rifqa Bary flee to Florida may have broken the law.  The man who drove her to the bus station has already retained legal representation from the right-wing Thomas More Law Center.
  • Finally, the Quote of the Day from Gary Bauer: "Here is the dirty secret the Left doesn’t want you to know. Joseph Stack’s 'philosophy,' to the extent he had one, was closer to the left-wing drivel at Daily Kos and moveon.org than it is to the patriots who are in the Tea Party movement. Joseph Stack printed his manifesto on his business web page yesterday as he took off to try to kill IRS employees. In it he rails at the wealthy, GM executives, drug companies and insurance companies. His rhetoric sounded like Obama style populism – heavy on class warfare ... No, Joe Stack wasn’t any conservative – he was a left-wing populist!

Farah Missing From Blogs for Life Schedule

just wrote a post noting that Joseph Farah had been invited to speak at the Family Research Coucil's "Blogs For Life" conference tomorrow, but now FRC has released its schedule and Farah is nowhere to be seen:

8:30 – 8:35a Jill Stanek, emcee introduction

8:35 – 8:45a Kristen Day, Democrats for Life

9:05 – 9:20a PANEL: “Hosting a winning pro-life blog,” American Life League’s Katie Walker and ALL’s Pro-life Blog Contest winners

9:20 – 9:33a Carol Clews, Executive Director, Center for Pregnancy Concerns, Baltimore, Md.

9:33 – 9:35a Kristin Hansen, VP of Communications, Care Net

9:35 – 9:45a Marjorie Dannenfelser, President, Susan B. Anthony List

9:45 – 10:05a Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo.

10:05 – 10:15a Break

10:15 – 10:25a Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D, President and CEO, Americans United for Life

10:25 – 10:45a Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio

10:45 – 11:05a PANEL: Emerging Online Technologies, Molotov Mitchell,Illuminati Pictures; Peter Shinn, President, Pro-Life Unity; Founder, Blogs for Life; Krystle Weeks, Web Editor, Family Research Council

11:05 – 11:15a David Prentice, Ph.D, Senior Fellow for Life Sciences, FRC, StemCellResearchFacts.org

11:15 – 11:30a Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council

Notice the gap between 8:45 and 9:05?  That what where Farah was scheduled to speak.

The FRC's new press release still lists Farah as a participant, so why is he not included on the schedule? 

Understanding Rod Parsley's Financial Woes

In yesterday's post on Rod Parsley's desperate plea for financial support, we mentioned that part of his financial crisis stemmed from the fact that he recently had to pay a $3.1 million settlement to the family of a young boy who was injured by a substitute teacher while attending day care at Parsley's World Harvest Church (WHC).

Parsley's claim that the settlement was part of a "demonically inspired financial attack" being carried out against him by the Devil becomes even more outrageous if you read the court decision in question.

As Richard Bartholomew pointed out, the court decision [PDF] makes for grim reading.

WHC had employed a man named Richard Vaughan to perform various tasks at the school and "although Vaughan was not a licensed teacher and never had a job that required him to work with young children, WHC assigned Vaughan the task of supervising young children, usually placing him in the 'Extended Care' program for children in Kindergarten through sixth grade."

In late October 2005, when Vaughan was alone and in charge of the "Cuddle Care" classroom, a three year-old boy suffered a skull fracture:

According to Z.C.'s mother, when she picked up Z.C. from the Cuddle Care classroom at approximately 6:00 p.m. on October 13, 2005, he was waiting anxiously for her at the classroom door with his left eye swollen shut, his nose draining, and his face red and puffy. Vaughan, the only adult in the room, was not consoling Z.C. and did not offer Z.C.'s mother any explanation regarding Z.C.'s condition. When Z.C.'s mother asked Vaughan what had happened to Z.C., Vaughan hesitantly told her another boy, E.Y., had pushed Z.C. She asked Vaughan if anyone had paperwork or documentation regarding the incident, but he replied "no." When she told Vaughan that she needed to take Z.C. to Children's Hospital, Vaughan told her repeatedly that Z.C. was "fine." Over Vaughan's protestations, she took Z.C. to Children's Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a fractured skull and concussion and was held overnight for observation.

The ruling stated that "Vaughan's trial testimony regarding the incident was inconsistent both with previous accounts he gave and with the testimony of other witnesses" and that nobody from WHC even inquired about any injuries supposedly suffered by the other child (E.Y.) and that "E.Y.'s father insisted his son had not collided with Z.C. and had not been injured in any incident with Z.C."

Importantly, that is not the incident that cost Parsley $3 million, but was rather cited in the case as proof of WHC's negligence and liability for the subsequent injuries to another child at Vaughan's hands a few months later:

WHC conducted no investigation of the incident, did not make further inquiries of Vaughan concerning the matter, did not provide him with further training to prevent serious injury from occurring to another child, and, most importantly, did not change how it supervised Vaughan after the incident. Approximately three months later, the very next time WHC permitted Vaughan to be alone with the young children in the Cuddle Care classroom, Vaughan physically abused A.F.

The situation involving A.F. is even more disturbing: 

Shortly before 6:00 p.m., Michael Faieta picked up his daughter and then picked up A.F. in their respective classrooms. A.F. was in the Cuddle Care classroom alone with Vaughan, who had taken over for the afternoon teacher sometime after 4:00 p.m. According to Mr. Faieta, A.F. was anxious and upset, his eyes were red, and he clung to his father's side as his belongings were gathered. Vaughan did not give Mr. Faieta any paperwork or say that A.F. had experienced any problems that day, and he did not indicate he had seen any sort of rash or other marks on A.F.'s body.

Upon their using the restroom on the way out of the building, Mr. Faieta observed the numerous fresh cuts, welts, and red marks on A.F.'s back, buttocks and thighs. The marks were linear and consistent with being hit with a ruler. In the car on the way home approximately an hour later, A.F. told his father that Vaughan had "spanked" him with a "knife." At home, upon being shown pictures of various objects, A.F. pointed to a ruler as the object used to "spank" him. After A.F.'s mother, Lacey Faieta, arrived home and looked at the marks on A.F., she spoke with their pediatrician and the police, who advised her to take A.F. to Children's Hospital. The emergency physicians at Children's Hospital found A.F.'s injuries to be consistent with physical abuse, and the matter was forwarded to Franklin County Children Services ("FCCS") and the Columbus Police Department ("CPD") for investigation.

When A.F's parents tried to find out what happened to their son, WHC threatened to have them arrested for tresspassing if they stepped foot on campus again: 

When, however, Lacey Faieta returned to WHC two days later and attempted to meet and discuss the matter with Jack Johnson, WHC's headmaster, he refused, telling her he had been advised not to speak with the Faietas. The next week WHC sent the Faietas a letter ordering them not to come on the property and threatening them with criminal prosecution for trespass if they returned to the school. The letter contained no exceptions and provided the Faietas with no means to schedule any further meetings with WHC personnel. The Faietas received no further communication from WHC.

This year, Parsley had to cut a check to the Faieta's for the injuries their child suffered at his World Harvest Church ... and Parsley cites it as proof that the Devil has released a "demonically inspired assault against us."

Using Rifqa To Attack Islam

In all the posts I've written about the Rifqa Bary saga, the one point I've tried to make is that for most of the right-wingers who have gotten involved, the story is less about Bary's Christianity and primarily about their hatred of Islam.

But, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words so, via Alan Colmes, I think this photo from the recent "Free Rifqa" rally organized by Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs makes that point abundantly clear:

The effectiveness of this last rally was undermined by the fact that the hearing in Ohio they had intended to protest was postponed until later this month ... so they are organizing another one to coincide with the new hearing:

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Over 150,000 people have reportedly signed on to the Manhattan Declaration in the first week.
  • Right-wing groups played a big role in the losing fight against gambling in Ohio.
  • Catholic bishops are just like Martin Luther King.
  • This is not the sort of thing you'd expect from someone who worked for Ralph Reed.
  • Anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller says that Rifqa Bary is under "house arrest" and that "Ohio is effectively practicing Sharia law."
  • Finally, a game that is fun for the entire right-wing family: "OBOZO’S AMERICA: Why Bother Working for a Living? is a fun fantasy board game based on the preposterous notion that a Marxist clown, running on the vague and shaky platform of hope and change, could become President of The United States."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Washington Post: A former editorial page editor of the Washington Times has filed a discrimination complaint against the paper, saying he was "coerced" into attending a Unification Church religious ceremony that culminated in a mass wedding conducted by the church's leader, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
  • David Brody will be interviewing Sarah Palin.
  • Speaking of Palin, Ralph Reed says "we love her ... please buy my book."
  • Tim Goeglein spoke at Liberty University’s convocation in the Vines Center Monday morning, recalling the first time he met Liberty University founder Dr. Jerry Falwell and hearing his vision to “take America back for Christ.” He honored Falwell, calling him “one of the greatest Americans who ever lived.”
  • A bunch of anti-Islam activists descended on Ohio to rally for Rifqa Bary, only to find out that her hearing had been postponed.
  • Finally, just in time for Christmas, it's Faith Baby.

Understanding Rifqa Bary's Ties to Lou Engle

One of the questions regarding the whole Rifqa Bary saga that has been lingering is how exactly she ever ended up becoming involved with Lou Engle and appearing on the prayer call he organized a few weeks back.

As it turns out, Bary had been involved with Engle's efforts back in Ohio before she even ran away, though her connection to Brian Williams, who not only baptized her but also drove her to the bus station when she ran away. 

As Bary explained during her interview with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement [PDF], she had met Williams through her activism with Engle's "Bound for Life" in Ohio. Eventually, Williams moved to Kansas City to go to work for Engle's International House of Prayer.

Below is a shortened version of the exchange during the FDLE interview in which Bary explains her ties to Williams and to Engle's right wing activism ["DL" is Daivd Lee, an FDLE agent and "FB" is Rifqa Bary]: 

DL: Who baptized you?

FB: Brian Williams

DL: Was he your minister?

FB: Yeah, basically. Yeah, well he's a good friend, Ohio State friend and is basically going into ministry ...

DL: Ohio State friend, so he's a student at Ohio State?

FB: Um, graduated already.

DL: Okay.

FB: Lives in Kansas City now, but yeah he was the one that baptized me ...

FB: You know how I even met Brian? It was through, it was last winter, we met. I heard about I'm Pro Life, you know.

DL: Okay.

FB: And um there was something called, he did a chapter leader for Columbus for Bound for Life. Have you guys ever heard of it?

DL: Bound for Life? No, I haven't

FB: Bound for Life is basically through an organization by Lou Engle, who started The Call, if you guys know of Lou Engle.

DL: I've heard the name.

FB: Lou Engle, yes he's like my hero. He really is and basically we do is, there's red tape and you write "life" on it in black letters and we just stand outside with it and pray. It's not a protesting, it's a prayer movement if anything.

DL: Um-hum.

FB: And we just stand outside in a circle, outside these clinics, we don't say anything to anyone, you know we're not allowed to talk to them, we just pray outside there.

DL: Um-hum.

FB: And he was a chapter leader there so I met him there and actually I was sneaking out to go hear that I even met him. And every time I talked to him all we did talk about was like my parents. And he was really afraid for me as well ...

DL: And you said Brian was the only one who was willing to really baptize you?

FB: Yeah, 'cause I mean if my parents found out they would get in trouble and their would be at stake and all that sort of thing.

DL: You say he's in Kansas City now?

FB: Kansas City. International House of Prayer. IHOP.

The Right Rallies For Rifqa

Rifqa Bary has been sent back to Ohio, but that isn't stopping the Right's crusade to keep her away from her Muslim parents, which is why they are now claiming that authorities are trying to "cut her off from all Christian fellowship," by monitoring her phone and internet usage, as the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission alleges.

The Traditional Values Coalition takes it even further, claiming Bary has been put into "solitary confinement":

An Ohio judge agreed with Rifqa’s parents and her father’s Muslim attorney to put the girl into solitary confinement. She will have her phone calls monitored and her internet use monitored as well. Her parents have been working with attorneys with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization with ties to Islamic extremist groups.

Bary’s father, Mohamed, has denied threatening to kill his daughter, but part of Islamic theology is lying to infidels. It is called “taqqiya.” This doctrine teaches Muslims to practice deception, fraud and double standards in defending Islam from infidels.

Bary’s parents are also in the U.S. illegally from Sri Lanka. In addition, Rifqa Bary’s parents attend the Noor Islamic Cultural Center, a hotbed of terrorist-related activities.

I fear that Bary’s parents will ship Rifqa off to a mental asylum in Sri Lanka where she will be browbeaten into denouncing Christianity. If this fails, she can be legally killed for apostacy. Or, her father may simply murder her in an Islam-sanctioned “honor killing.”

Rifqa Bary is facing a death penalty – thanks to courts in Florida and in Ohio.

Bary is scheduled for a hearing in a few weeks and, not surprisingly, Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs and various other right-wing anti-Islam activists are organizing a rally on her behalf outside the courthouse, as Geller explained to Front Page Magazine:

Geller: I am organizing a “Rally for Rifqa” in co-operation with Robert Spencer, bestselling author and director of Jihadwatch, and Dr. Andrew Bostom, author of The Legacy of Islamic Jihad. It will be held on November 16th, the day of Rifqa’s dependency hearing in support of the reinstatement of her rights and freedom of religion.

FP: This is, of course, about Rifqa. But it is also about much more right?

Geller: Yes Jamie. It’s not just Rifqa’s battle. She is our proxy in the battle for freedom of religion and individual rights. Rifqa Bary’s case is the landmark case in the civil rights battle of this new century.

...

FP: How is Rifqa doing?

Geller: Rifqa Bary’s civil rights are being violated. She is being held prisoner: no phone, no internet, no public school. Why? What is her crime? She is being held under house arrest in accord with Sharia law, which stipulates that female apostates are to be imprisoned until they recant. Ohio is effectively practicing Sharia law.

Where are Rifqa’s civil rights? Where is her freedom of religion? Barack Obama said in Cairo in June 2009 that he would fight for the right of Muslim women in the U.S. to wear the hijab. Why isn’t Obama fighting for their right NOT to wear the hijab? Why isn’t he taking a stand for Rifqa’s right not to be a Muslim at all?

Jim Zorn, a children’s services attorney, is the one who asked Franklin County Juvenile Magistrate Mary Goodrich to forbid Rifqa from using the Internet and her cell phone.

Zorn explained: “What we want to restrict is the other people, the other organizations, the other forces, that have interjected themselves into this case inappropriately, and have caused the additional problems that we’ve seen.”

Her father may have threatened to kill her, and Zorn and Goodrich are keeping her away from the people who saved her and took her in.

The isolation of Rifqa is an egregious crime. How will we know if she is not being psychologically or physically abused? How will we know if she is all right?

Rifqa Bary should be posting to a Facebook page every day. The Ohio authorities and the Islamic supremacists who are pulling their strings are not protecting this girl, but rather are endangering her life.

After Three Months, Rifqa Bary Back In Ohio

Rifqa Bary returned to Ohio today, three months after fleeing to Florida claiming that she feared for her life at the hands of her Muslim parents—an allegation that the Florida investigation determined was unsubstantiated. She will be staying in a foster home for the time being and the judge has restricted Bary's internet and phone access, presumably to keep her away from Facebook, where she first met many of the individuals involved in this saga, and people like Lou Engle.

From the Associated Press:

Rifqa Bary returned to circumstances far different than those she left: Instead of her home in New Albany, one of central Ohio's most well-off communities, she'll be in a foster home under state custody.

Bary, 17, will also have her phone and Internet use supervised by the Franklin County Children Service Agency, under a judge's order issued earlier Tuesday.

The children's services agency had blamed Bary's use of Facebook for her troubles, saying she went to Orlando, Fla., after talking to the Rev. Blake Lorenz, pastor of Global Revolution Church, in an online prayer group.

Bary disappeared July 19 and police used phone and computer records to track her to Lorenz.

"What we want to restrict is the other people, the other organizations, the other forces, that have interjected themselves into this case inappropriately, and has caused the additional problems that we've seen," said Jim Zorn, a children's services attorney, who had asked for tougher supervision that would have restricted Bary from using the Internet and her cell phone.

Bary's father has denied the girl's claims and a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation found no credible threats to the girl.

The girl's parents supported the restrictions, saying through their attorney they were concerned about her interacting with adults over the Internet.

 

Rifqa Bary Returning to Ohio

This probably won't be the end of this sorry saga, but it will at least get Rifqa Bary out of Florida and hopefully away from the likes of John Stemberger, the Florida Security Council, Blake and Beverly Lorenz, Lou Engle, and all the others who have sought to exploit this situation for their own purposes - from the Orlando Sentinel:

An Orange County judge ordered Ohio teen runaway Fathima Rifqa Bary back to that state, ending the 17-year-old girl's three-month stay in Florida as she battled her parents over her religious freedom and allegations of abuse.

Circuit Judge Daniel Dawson signed an order Friday afternoon asking the Florida Department of Children and Families to make arrangements to send Rifqa back to Ohio, where she is bound for a new stint with a foster family.

A DCF spokeswoman confirmed her agency received Dawson's ruling.

"This order indicates that the Court has relinquished its emergency jurisdiction and orders the Department to arrange the transportation of the child to the proper authorities with Franklin County Children Services in Ohio," spokeswoman Carrie Hoeppner said.

Hoeppner said DCF will not discuss details of Rifqa's transfer from a foster family in Central Florida to one in Ohio. She cited safety reasons.

Rifqa's private attorney, John Stemberger, has not returned phone calls seeking comment.

Reached by phone Friday afternoon, Rifqa's father, Mohamed Bary, was laughing and giddy during a brief conversation with the Orlando Sentinel. He declined comment, though, citing a gag order in the case.

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Ohio Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 04/26/2011, 9:00am
As Brian noted yesterday, the Religious Right was unified in its support of Paul Clement for resigning from his position at King & Spalding after the law firm backed out of defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court. To hear the Religious Right tell it, this decision by King & Spalding was the result of a campaign of intimidation by gay rights groups - in fact, that is pretty much what the Family Research Council said: Looking for attorneys that won't buckle under pressure? Don't bother contacting King & Spalding. In a stunning announcement, the Atlanta-based firm just... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 04/14/2011, 10:15am
Janet Porter lost her radio program after she became deeply involved in Dominionism ... but that hasn't in any way dissuaded her.  And why would it?  Dominionism is an increasingly accepted agenda within the Religious Right. So, since losing her program, Porter has gone on to fully embrace the movement and its theology, bringing in Dominionist economists to testify on behalf of her "Heartbeat Bill" in Ohio and teaming up with Cindy Jacobs to pray that God will hand the government over to Christians. So it is no surprise to find out that Porter will again be joining Jacobs... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 04/11/2011, 2:06pm
Janet Porter continues to nab more endorsements for her extreme “Heartbeat bill,” the Ohio legislation which would criminalize most abortions, as she announced at The Awakening that Mike Huckabee has endorsed her bill. Porter, who brought in two fetuses to testify on behalf of the bill in the State House, was able to get the legislation out of committee by just one vote after Ohio Right to Life Society criticized the bill as plainly unconstitutional. Along with Huckabee, Porter said that Republican Rep. Steve Chabot and potential Senate candidates Josh Mandel and Ken Blackwell... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 03/24/2011, 4:34pm
Rep. Michele Bachmann hails Iowa for standing up to the "black-robed masters" in removed three judges from the state Supreme Court. Ken Blackwell for Senate? CWA's Wendy Wright testified on behalf of Janet Porter's "Heartbeat Bill" yesterday. Honestly, how is Sheriff Joe Arpaio still in office? Is Sean Hannity embracing Birtherism? When Grover Norquist talks taxes, Republican fall all over themselves to do his bidding.  When he talks criminal justice reform, they couldn't care less. Finally, FRC asks God to help them defund Planned... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 03/23/2011, 4:32pm
The vote on Janet Porter's "Heartbeat Bill" has been delayed. Can the Religious Right please stop comparing themselves to those we resisted the Nazis? Pretty please? This is a real Washington Times headline: "Military indoctrinated on gays kissing, behavior." This is a real AEI lecture: The State of White America. Finally, Ralph Reed has named Ron Futrell as the organization’s Nevada Chairman.  For some reason, Reed doesn't mention that Futrell was a former television reporter who lost his job after he fled the scene of the... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 03/21/2011, 4:49pm
Hey, guess what? Tim Pawlenty is running for president. Police wanted to charge many of those involved in helping Rifqa Bary run away with crimes, but prosecutors have refused to do so. Herman Cain says the race card has expired.  Good to know. Wow, Donald Trump is just a joke. Janet Porter is hosting a "Heartbeat Bill Summit" on April 4. Speaking of Porter, she has this to say about the earthquake in Japan: "Another type of darkness in Japan should be of great concern to us. That’s the spiritual darkness that covers this island... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 03/11/2011, 11:57am
Even though her ties to Cindy Jacobs and 7 Mountains Dominionism cost Janet Porter her radio program and essentially shut down her political activism for almost a year, it has become pretty clear that she has no intention of backing away from it.  In fact, she not only got even more deeply involved in it during her time away, but continues to associate with the movement today.  And now it looks like Porter is no longer simply associating with the Dominionists who inhabit this sphere of prophetic activism, but is actually bringing them in to her more "mainstream"... MORE