Prop 8

Random Book Blogging: Old Arguments Never Die

Over the holiday break, I started reading "What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America" by Peggy Pascoe and it is absolutely fascinating - I highly encourage you to pick up a copy and read it, but for now I want to highlight a few passages from the introduction:

When societies decide who can and who can't legally marry, they determine who is and isn't really a part of the family. These inclusions and exclusions take place at such an intimate level that they shape what seems natural and, in turn, what is stigmatized as unnatural.

...

From the 1860s through the 1960s, the American legal system elevated the notion that interracial marriage was unnatural to commonsense status and made it the law of the land. During this period, miscegenation law channeled property, propriety, personal choice, and legitimate procreation into one very particular kind of monogamous marital pair: couples that were made of up one White man and one White woman, whose sameness of race was required by law and whose difference in sex was taken entirely for granted. The more Whites believe that interracial marriage was unnatural, the more they assumed that the marriage of one White man to one White woman was the only kind of marriage worthy of the name - and the more they saw their own marriages as the fortunate result of individual romantic preference rather than the obligatory outcome of a legal system steeped in gendered assumptions about race and heterosexuality.

...

The constitutional fiction of miscegenation law held that laws punishing both partners in an interracial relationship were racially equal rather than racially discriminatory. This, for example, was the position the Alabama Supreme Court put forth in 1881 in Pace v. State, a case involving a White woman and a Black man, when it ruled:

The fact that a different punishment is affixed to the offense of adultery when committed between a negro and a white person, and when committed between two white people or two negroes, does not constitute a discrimination against or in favor of either race. The discrimination is not directed against the person of any particular color or race, but against the offense, the nature of which is determined by the opposite color of the cohabiting parties. The punishment of each offending party, white or black, is precisely the same. There is obviously no difference or discrimination in the punishment. The evil tendency of the crime of living in adultery or fornication is greater when it is committed between persons of the two races than between persons of the same race.

The was also the position the Oregon Supreme Court maintained a half century later when it ruled that its miscegenation law did not discriminate against Indians because it "applies alike to all persons, either white, negroes, Chinese, Kanaka, or Indians."

And let's just compare that to Bryan Fischer's response to the Prop 8 ruling:

Perhaps the most ridiculous thing about Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling in the Prop. 8 case is that he claimed to give homosexuals something they in fact already have: full marriage equality.

Homosexuals right now, as you are reading these words, have full marriage equality in America. There is no place in the United States where they don't.

They have exactly, precisely the same right to get married that every other American has: to a non-relative adult of the opposite sex.

Don't let homosexual apologists fool you here. They already have full marriage equality. Nobody anywhere has deprived of them of their right to marry. Period. They have exactly the same right to marry that you and I do, no more, no less.

What they want is not equal rights, but special rights. They want a special exemption carved out for them so that their sexually aberrant relationships can be recognized as marriages, an exemption we don't grant to folks who want to marry a son or a daughter, or a mother or a father, an uncle or an aunt, or a child.

All of those represent sexually aberrant relationships, with all their attendant physical and psychological dangers, and for that reason public policy does not permit such marriages.

So when we say two homosexuals cannot marry, we're not depriving them of marital rights any more than when we say the same thing to a pedophile. A pedophile has the same right to marry that every homosexual does — the right to marry a non-relative adult member of the opposite sex.

So let's end this nonsense that somehow we aren't being fair to homosexuals. You can't get any more fair than seeing to it that the same rules apply to everybody.

NOM Affiliate: The Rainbow Belongs to Us, Not the Gay-Rights Movement

The leader of a National Organization for Marriage (NOM) affiliate has demanded that opponents of marriage equality reclaim the rainbow from “the gay lobby.” Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, the founder and head of the Ruth Institute, which describes itself as “a project of the National Organization for Marriage,” told the right-wing American Family News Network’s OneNewsNow that the rainbow should be the symbol of Prop 8 supporters and Religious Right activists because "the rainbow is a sign of God's covenant with man." According to Morse, who was also a speaker on NOM’s “Summer for Marriage” bus tour, the rainbow has been wrongly appropriated by the LGBT community. Morse appears to channel the famous 2009 NOM “The Gathering Storm” TV-ad which said “a rainbow coalition of people of every creed and color” are uniting to stop the “gathering storm” of gay-rights advocates.

"Proposition 8 was passed by a great grassroots coalition that included people from all across the religious traditions, and also people of every race and color," Morse recognizes. "We are the real rainbow coalition. The gay lobby does not own the rainbow."

She tells OneNewsNow that she wore a rainbow-colored scarf to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hearing on Proposition 8 as a statement to signify that supporters of traditional marriage still own the symbol.

"We can't simply let that go by. Families put rainbows in their children's nurseries. Little Christian preschools will have rainbows...Noah's Ark and all the animals.... Those are great Christian symbols, great Jewish symbols," the Ruth Institute president points out.

The Ruth Institute’s projects include “bringing lectures and debates to pro-life, pro-marriage student groups around the country, at minimal cost to the students” and assisting “students in organizing pro-life, pro-family clubs on their own campuses.”

The main campaign of the Ruth Institute is “Gay Marriage Affects Everyone,” a seminar led by Morse on the dangers of same-sex marriage. Among the ways “gay marriage affects everyone,” writes Morse, include the notions that “same sex marriage will marginalize men from the family” and “increase the power of the state over civil society.”

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Rep. Michele Bachmann has hired Christine O'Donnell's campaign spokesman as her new communications director.
  • Sharron Angle has launched a new Patriot Caucus PAC to support Tea Party candidates around the country.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Chuck Colson comparing reaction to the Prop 8 vote to Nazism: "When I watched the violence on television, memories came back of earlier generations of thugs: Bull Conner, who, with the help of brutal cops, used violence and intimidation to chase African Americans out of the public square. Or roving gangs of Nazi brownshirts who ruled the streets of Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. Do opponents of Proposition 8 who attacked Mormons and their churches think they’re any better than Bull Conner, or nicer than Nazi thugs? I don’t."

What the CADC Considers "Anti-Christian Defamation, Discrimination and Persecution"

I have to say that nothing better demonstrates the absurdity of the Religious Right's victimization complex better than Christian Anti-Defamation Commission poll asking readers to help them choose "top 10 most egregious acts of anti-Christian defamation, discrimination and persecution in America" in 2012.

Here are the nominees:

- 88 Pro-Lifers were arrested for protesting President Obama's participation at a leading Catholic university, Notre Dame, and await trial for standing up for true Christian values.

- Michigan Muslims attack AGAIN; Christians attacked, denied their civil rights and falsely arrested for disorderly conduct at a public festival for peacefully sharing the gospel. This happened the previous year, too. They were again acquitted of all charges.

- Pat Robertson; was unfairly criticized after remarks he made were taken out of context concerning the Haiti earthquakes and Haiti's difficult history, in an attempt to raise support to bring aid to its people.

- Southern Poverty Law Center; A liberal ACLU-like organization that has continued to label many Christian organizations that hold traditional values as "hate groups" in lists that include violent racists groups.

- Elena Kagan; President Obama's radical appointment to the Supreme Court bench. While serving under the Clinton Administration, Kagan successfully corrupted unfavorable evidence on partial birth abortion to deceive the Supreme Court.

- Rex Parris; Mayor of Lancaster, California was faced with "hate crime" charges after calling his city "a growing Christian community."

- Brit Hume; Fox News journalist who was met with great opposition when he commented on Tiger Wood's downfall and said that, unlike Buddhism, Christianity offers Tiger true hope.

- Chai Feldblum; a liberal law professor and open lesbian, appointed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Feldblum stated that in any conflict that might arise between religious liberty and homosexual “rights” she would have a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win; or "Gay's win; Christians lose."

- Employment Non-Discrimination Act; a proposed federal bill that would force ministries to hire people who oppose their beliefs or who live in open defiance of their values.

- Vaughn Walker; California judge who overturned Proposition 8, a State Constitutional Marriage Amendment, and the will of the people by making homosexual marriage legal.

- Stephen Ocean and Tite Sufra; two young men who were murdered in Boynton Beach, Florida while out sharing the gospel in their neighborhood.

- Virginia Phillips; activist judge out of Riverside, California who repealed the important "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military law. The law allowed homosexuals to serve in the military, just not openly.

- Larry Grard; Christian journalist fired from his job for sending an e-mail from his personal account on his own time in support of traditional marriage.

- Ken Howell; professor at the University of Illinois Champaign who was fired after teaching to his class on Catholicism that Catholics believe that natural law makes homosexual behavior immoral. Howell was later re-instated after Christians protested.

- Tony Perkins; Christian leader criticized after offering true hope to homosexuals struggling with depression and suicide, found through repentance and faith in Christ.

- Comedy Central; the cable TV was pushing to air a new show called "JC" based on Jesus Christ. With their past treatment of Jesus on their network this could only have turned out to be irreverent and blasphemous.

- Julea Ward and Jennifer Keeton; two women expelled from their respective Master's programs in counseling at two different universities because they wouldn't deny their faith and affirm the validity of the homosexual lifestyle.

Seriously? This is this the best the CADC can come up with? 

The Notre Dame arrests happened in 2009, as did the firing of Larry Grard.  The Comedy Central show "JC" was merely in development, there was no movement on ENDA in Congress, nor was there any evidence at all that the murders of Ocean and Sufra had anything to do with their Christian faith.  Tony Perkins said gay teens are suicidal because they know they are "abnormal" and Pat Robertson said Haiti was hit by an earthquake because the country had made a pact with the Devil. And how exactly are the appointments of Elena Kagan and Chai Feldblum or the Prop 8 and DADT rulings examples of "anti-Christian defamation, discrimination and persecution"?

I think the only conclusion that can be drawn from the fact that these are the "most egregious" examples of "anti-Christian bigotry and hostility in America" that the CADC was able to come up with is that "anti-Christian bigotry and hostility in America" is not very prevalent.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Oak Initiative says China is trying to stir up problems between North and South Korea in order to wear down the US so that it can take control of Middle East oil.  Huh?
  • Rick Santorum is going to give another "JFK was wrong" speech.
  • The National Organization for Marriage is demanding that Justice Stephen Reinhardt recuse himself from the Prop 8 hearing.
  • I find the most amazing thing about this the fact that Eugene Delguadio makes $150,000 a year as head of Public Advocate.
  • Boy, would kid wouldn't be eager to play this fun game: "The objective of the game is to create your own BIG Bible Town homestead, while also building a vibrant, church-centric BIG Bible Town."
  • Finally, Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission attacks American Atheists for being 'ignorant of the fact that history proves Christ’s birth is not a myth" and trying to trick people into leading lives of nihilistic misery.

AFA's Professional Name-Caller Accuses SPLC of Name-Calling

As we noted earlier, the Religious Right is uniformly livid with the Southern Poverty Law Center's updated list of anti-gay hate groups and seems to be struggling to come up with coherent response as demonstrated by this Concerned Women for America statement which basically accuses the SPLC of calling African Americans bigots:

Concerned Women for America, among several other pro-family, pro-life national groups, has been named a “hate group” by The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) because of our opposition to same-sex “marriage.”

The SPLC began as a civil rights organization in the 1960s, but has been marginalized by “gay rights” organizations. They no longer simply focus on the noble cause of fighting racism and have, instead, become another tool for the left. This time, the SPLC has taken their liberal propaganda too far. By demonizing traditional family groups that support traditional marriage, they just put a huge portion of the African-American community in California in the same category with the rest us so-called bigots.

According to an Associated Press exit poll, 70 percent of African-Americans in California who voted for Barack Obama also voted for Prop 8 and in support of traditional marriage in 2008. The very people the SPLC supposedly seeks to protect from bigotry and “hate crimes” are heavily in favor of the very institution that the SPLC is fighting against.

And the AFA's Bryan Fischer has also decided to weigh in, trotting out his now standard "truth has become hate speech" line as he unveils his own convoluted response:

The Southern Poverty Law Center last week added five members to its list of “hate” groups, one of which is the American Family Association.

This illustrates one point and proves another. The point it illustrates is that the first and last refuge of a man without an argument is name-calling. If you can’t win on the merits of the case, call your opponent a racist or a bigot or a hater and the debate is supposed to be over at that point. So you know as a matter of fact that the moment someone stops debating and starts name-calling, they’ve lost the argument. It’s an admission of defeat.

...

Thus, in a strange way, it is a badge of honor for these groups to be tagged now by the SPLC as hate groups. It’s a sign of desperation on the part of the SPLC, and a sign that they are so threatened by the truths that these groups speak that they are now flailing about trying to silence them rather than to debate them. They’ve given up winning on points, and so have taken to trying to run them off the field. Their strategy now is not to persuade the public but to demonize their cultural adversaries.

I’ve often maintained that liberals, progressives, Democrats, socialists, Marxists, etc. - they’re all the same under the covers - hate free speech. They hate freedom of religion, and they hate freedom of the press, because such freedoms threaten their stranglehold on public discourse and their goal of indoctrinating the American people with their non-traditional moral values. They hate the First Amendment, for the very reason that it was designed by the Founders to protect robust public discourse on political and social matters.

So, Fischer says name-calling an admission of defeat ... and then proceeds to simply assert that all the Marxists and Socialists on the left just hate free speech and religion and the First Amendment and America in general.

Of course it should also be noted that Fischer's entire professional career is based on calling gays names like nancy-boys and sexual perverts and sexual deviants and pedophiles and domestic terrorists who are part of a "deviancy cabal" who "want to use the anal cavity for sex."

Right Wing Round-Up

Targeting Iowa Judges To Send A Message To the Supreme Court

Following in the wake of Judge Vaughan Walker's ruling in the Prop 8 case, Chuck Colson declared that the Religious Right must prevent the Supreme Court from ever ruling in favor of gay marriage by building a groundswell of opposition in order to convince the Court that any ruling recognizing the right to marriage equality will not be accepted by the people.

Today, the National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown was on "Wallbuilders Live" with David Barton and Rick Green and explained that the effort to unseat three judges in Iowa was part of an effort to send just that sort of signal to the Supreme Court:

Barton: I guarantee you, if these judges can be thrown off in Iowa, you watch as state after state after state as people start going and saying "time for accountability, time to get our government back." I'm loving it, it's going to be fun.

Green: It's great, this is really opening the flood gate in a very positive way.

Brown: Many people that have commented on what we're going through right now, especially with the Proposition 8 case in California, are looking at the Iowa judicial retention election - and even though there are many important elections about the country - they're actually saying this is the most important election because it will send a clear signal to the Supreme Court and other judges that they don't have the right to make up the law out of thin air. Their job is to interpret the law, it is not to be out robed masters and judicial activists imposing their will on the rest of us.

And so if the people of Iowa do what I think they'll do and stand up and remove these judges, there will be reverberations throughout the country all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

And just in case you were operating under the delusion that the Religious Right would actually accept any Supreme Court in favor of marriage equality, rest assured that they most certainly will not:

Brown: Ultimately if this Perry vs Schwarzenegger case out of California goes to the Supreme Court - and I'm confident that we will win at the Supreme Court - but if we were to lose and if the Supreme Court was to force same-sex marriage on, for example, Texas or Alabama or states that have voted by something like seventy-five percent to support marriage as a union of a man and woman and you have the US Supreme Court throwing out the vote of these states, I think you're going to have a strong movement for a federal marriage amendment. And that would also be a very clear sign to the courts that they are bound by the law and they don't have the right to simply put into law their own personal preferences.

You also have under Article III in the Constitution the idea that Congress could limit the appellate jurisdiction of some of these federal courts, so that's another way in which, that's already in our law, that Congress could limit the ability of the federal courts to force same-sex marriage on the rest of the country, or any other issue on which the court's overstepping its bounds.

Parshall: Gay Rights Are Not Real Rights Because The Movement Started "In a Riot Outside of Gay Bar in New York"

Over the weekend, Craig Parshall, Jim Garlow, and Tony Perkins appeared on The John Ankerberg Show to make their collective case against marriage equality.  Most of the discussion involved things we have heard a thousand times before, but there was one interesting segment in which Parshall claimed that gay marriage proponents are counting on activist judges to disregard the law and ignore the fact that gays are not a minority and that gay rights are in no way "fundamental rights," while Perkins claims that Judge Vaughan Walker is gay and therefore biased:

Parshall: Let's take Judge Walker as an example. He accepted the argument that every opposition to homosexual on moral or religious grounds is based on fear. He accepted the preposterous testimony of expert witnesses, political scientists as a matter of fact, who said that homosexuals in America are discriminated against because they are politically powerless.

Now anyone who spends time in Washington DC knows that's absurd. They have a president right now sitting in the office, Barack Obama, who's elected in part by the gay rights lobby who he courted. They have passed hate crimes law, top of their agenda, got it passed, House, Senate, got it signed into law by the President. Other laws are presently pending, initiated by gay rights people. In fact, one of the economists in this very case who was testifying for the proponents of same-sex marriage said on average, the average homosexual couple is much more economically affluent and powerful than the comparable heterosexual couple.

Does this sound like an insular minority that's discriminated against because they're politically powerless? That suggestion is absolutely patently absurd.

Ankerberg: What about the thing where he says this is a fundamental right, that it's an equal right and you can't deny it?

Parshall: Well here's a fundamental right: a fundamental right has been defined, the formula by the Supreme Court in repeated cases has said a fundamental right is a right that is deeply rooted in the history, tradition, and practices of a nation. Now the gay rights movement started around 1969 in a riot outside of gay bar in New York. How could we possibly say it's deeply rooted in the history of America compared to hundreds of years, thousands of years actually, of Western civilization honoring one man, one woman as the definition of marriage?

Perkins: And I'd also point out, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, that Judge Walker is one of two homosexuals that sit on the federal bench. So the idea that his worldview played a part in this decision is clear when he totally dismisses all of the social science put forth by the proponents of Prop 8 and just embraces. without critical review, what I could call propaganda. 

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Rick Santorum has set up an Iowa PAC.
  • Al Mohler comes under siege from outraged Christians who practice yoga.
  • Did you know that some Randall Terry associate is seeking DC's seat in Congress?
  • It looks like the Right's fight against CA's Prop 19 is going to be a mirror image of their fight against Prop 8.
  • Richard Land says that "in the past five years, 55 million unborn babies were killed because they are inconvenient." That comes out to 30,000 per day.  I have no idea where he is getting that figure. * UPDATE: Turns out Land was misquoted, saying in the past 37 years, not five years.
  • Finally, it is nice to see that Bryan Fischer is not the only crazy person who works at AFA.

LaBarbera Turns On NOM Over DADT

When the debate over the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell was going on a few weeks back, the National Organization for Marriage-affiliated "Protect Marriage: One Man, One Woman" raised a few eyebrows with a Tweet that came out in support of repealing DADT:

There is no need to prohibit gays and lesbians from openly serving in the Armed Forces. They should have the opportunity to serve.

This, of course, has outraged Peter LaBarbera, who now has NOM in his sights

I couldn’t believe this item, which we are late to report: the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the leading pro-traditional-marriage group in the country, has come out for allowing open homosexuals in the military (see Sept. 9th NOM tweet above).

This is the latest exercise in “pro-family” political and strategic folly. For all the great work that it does, NOM is dead wrong on this one. In addition to degrading morale, cohesion and discipline in the Armed Forces, creating an officially pro-homosexual U.S. military would establish a new, federal government-enforced ”civil rights” paradigm that would be used to push the homosexual agenda on the rest of the nation. That of course includes same-sex “marriage” and punishing/”re-educating” moral opponents of homosexuality. I doubt that NOM would support tradition-minded, Christian soldiers and sailors from Small Town America being subjected to radical, pro-homosexual “diversity” lectures — but that’s what’s coming if NOM’s regrettable tweet comes to pass.

Can’t NOM see that it is undercutting its own cause (and the truth) by pandering to the ”Gay” Lobby’s goal of homosexuality as a state-backed “civil right”? Long before “gay marriage” became a major issue, “sexual orientation” laws created the legal basis for punishing moral critics of sodomy. And let’s be clear: when pro-family marriage advocates talk up “equal rights for gays and lesbians” (as the Prop 8 appeal brief does here), they are engaged in a dangerous double-game — because so many homosexual ideologues believe their “right” to be approved as a homosexual supersedes YOUR right to disagree with their lifestyle. It’s a zero-sum game between “gay rights” and religious/moral rights, as lesbian lawyer and Obama EEOC appointee Chai Feldblum puts it; of course, she thinks “gays” should win and Christians should lose in most cases. In that sense, GLBT activists like Feldblum are pro-discrimination, even as they tout ”equality.”

Our constitutional rights come ultimately from God. Homosexuality, like all sin, is against God’s will (and against Nature). Therefore, it cannot be the basis for “constitutional” rights.

LaBarbera is livid that NOM is apparently throwing anti-gay activists such as himself under the bus and accuses the group of assisting "liberals in castigating the more principled fighters against the homosexual agenda as somehow 'bigoted' and extreme" and is therefore demanding that NOM refuse to "support ANY aspect of the larger homosexual agenda even as it continues its important work protecting traditional marriage."

UPDATE: It looks like LaBarbera has removed this post,  as the original link now returns only a "page not found" message.

Bryan Fischer Hails Ann Coulter For Getting "Right In The Grill" of GOProud

Last week we noted that, just days before she was scheduled to headline GOProud's "Homocon 2010," Ann Coulter dedicated her most recent column to praising Ronald Reagan for fighting any "government endorsement of homosexuality." 

And, amazing, the theme that gay rights have no place in the conservative movement is a theme that Coulter continued to drill home when she delivered her remarks to GOProud:

Ann Coulter doesn't mince words. And even when speaking to a gay conservative organization, GOProud, at their inaugural Homocon party on Saturday night, she apparently wasn't willing to start.

After a series of jokes about conservative that sounded -- and were received -- more like a stand-up act then a political speech, Coulter told the assembled (and predominantly wealthy) conservative gay crowd why they should oppose same sex marriage, adding, "I should warn you: I've never failed to talk gays out of gay marriage."

And then she did.

First, she ran down the stereotypical stand-up comedian's list of reasons, including that lacking the legal right to marriage allows the less-committed partner to weasel out of it. But in a more serious note, she parroted the losing arguments of the lawyers supporting California's Prop 8 and told the crowd that the reason she opposes (and they should oppose) same sex marriage is that it is strictly for procreation.

In one of a series of racially insensitive remarks that pervaded her speech, Coulter added, "Marriage is not a civil right. You're not black." It was part of a larger argument on which she later elaborated, telling the crowd that the 14th Amendment only applies to African-Americans and that it does not, in fact, apply to women, LGBT people or other minorities.

Despite the laugh lines, Coulter's arguments against same sex marriage were not well-received by much of the crowd: for instance, the question and answer session after the speech was dominated by Homocon attendees grilling her on her position on a range of issues, including whether opposition to same sex marriage was really in line with the conservative principles of limited government and whether she personally believes that homosexuality is a choice -- a question she declined to answer.

Now, you may wonder why anyone would pay good money to attend an event where the keynote speaker would insult them to their faces, but GOProud stands by its decision because, as GOProud's Christopher Barron put it: "We’re the only gay group that had the balls to have someone like Ann Coulter come speak to them."

You know, if GOProud wants to prove just how tough they are, maybe they should invite Bryan Fischer to headline "Homocon 2011" because he really really hates gays. 

In fact, Fischer initially blasted Ann Coulter as a traitor for even agreeing to speak to GOProud, but now that she went and openly insulted all those in attendance, Fischer admits that he was completely wrong about her:

Ann took them straight on and gave them some straight talk I doubt they were ready for. There is no amount of sugar that will help this medicine go down ... This from the keynote speaker at HomoCon, who got at least five figures to get right in the grill of her hosts.

Anybody at HomoCon want their money back?

And Ann, all is forgiven. Humble pie has never tasted so sweet. You are no longer the "Joan of Arc of homosexuality," as I described you last month, you are now Daniella of the Lion's Den. Good on ya, lass.

GOProud can try to spin this debacle all it wants, but the fact that Ann Coulter has become a hero to Bryan Fischer because of the speech she delivered at Homocon 2010 pretty much tells you all you need to know. 

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

Value Voter Recap: We're All Tea Partiers Now (Including God)

The so-called Values Voter Summit, organized by the Family Research Council and sponsored by a number of right-wing groups, brought more than 2,000 activists (their count) to Washington D.C. for two solid days of speeches, workshops, networking, and a chance to spend time with others who passionately hate President Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership. Addressing the crowd were a number of GOP presidential hopefuls, including Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Rep. Mike Pence (who eked out a narrow victory over Huckabee in the straw poll). Not surprisingly, conference speakers echoed the themes heard at the smaller Faith and Freedom conference convened by Ralph Reed just one week earlier.

Here were the top themes emerging from these Religious Right political conferences.
 
1) We’re All Tea Partiers Now (Including God)
 
The Faith and Freedom conference and Values Voter Summit signaled the Religious Right’s full embrace of (or effort to co-opt) the Tea Party movement and its activists’ anti-Washington energies. Rep. Michele Bachmann, a superstar in both the Religious Right and Tea Party movements, railed at Tea Party critics: “If you are scared of the Tea Party movement, you are afraid of Thomas Jefferson, who penned our mission statement [the Declaration of Independence].”
 
The events were also designed to attack the notion that the Tea Party movement is, or should be, focused only on economic issues and not on moral ones. This is more than the ongoing effort to solidify a working electoral partnership among fiscal, social, and national security conservatives. This is an ideological campaign against the very idea that one can legitimately be a fiscal conservative without embracing the Religious Right’s “family values” agenda on issues such as legal abortion and marriage equality. At the Values Voter Summit, there was little patience for libertarians who consider themselves economically conservative but socially liberal. Sen. Jim DeMint, greeted as a folk-hero for his success at backing Tea Party challengers to establishment GOP candidates, took on the idea directly, saying “you can’t be a true fiscal conservative if you do not understand the value of a culture that is based on values.” 
 
Others echoed the theme. A Heritage Foundation video declared that faith is necessary for liberty. Rep Mike Pence, the dark-horse winner of the summit’s straw poll, said America’s darkest moments have come when economic arguments trumped moral principles. Newt Gingrich declared that activists have to go back to making the moral case for free enterprise, not the economic case. David Limbaugh decried “economic justice,” which he called a leftist euphemism for “confiscation.” 
 
At a Values Voter Summit panel on the Tea Party movement, two activists described their work as being inspired in part by instructions they received from God in the early morning hours, like Glenn Beck; one insisted that her activism was not just about taxes but about getting America to turn back to God.
 
2) Nothing is more important than the 2010 and 2012 elections.
 
Nearly every speaker said that the 2010 election is the most important in our lifetime. Speakers insisted that President Obama, his administration, and Democratic congressional leaders are not only wrong, they are evil and are out to destroy the American experiment in limited government and individual liberty.  It is simply not possible to overstate the level of anger and hostility directed toward Obama (described as an America-hating narcissistic Marxist), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. 
 
Activists were told they must fast, pray, and work hard to defeat Democrats this November. The Family Research Council urged people to visit the website of Pray and A.C.T, a campaign led by Jim Garlow, who has been a rising star on the Religious Right since leading religious organizing on behalf of California’s anti-gay Prop 8. Ralph Reed is promising to share with local activists a massive new database of faith-based and fiscally conservative voters that he is building. 
 
Activists were also told that they must plan to keep sacrificing their time, energy and money for the next two years to make sure that Obama is defeated in 2012. Former Sen. Rick Santorum told activists not to expect dramatic improvements even if they win big in November: things won’t really change for the better as long as the White House is in Obama’s hands. Activists were warned that these two elections may be the last chance to stop the nation’s slide toward socialism and the end of America as we know it.
 
Right-wing speakers are optimistic about the possibility of delivering both the House and Senate into Republican hands and electing a conservative Republican president in 2012. FRC’s PAC held a fundraiser Friday night for Christine O’Donnell, the new Tea Party-backed GOP Senate candidate from Delaware, and other like-minded candidates.   Ralph Reed said that voter registration and focused turnout campaigns being waged by his and other right-wing groups would turn this from a good election cycle for Republicans into a historically sweeping one. And there’s particular excitement that Florida GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio could be the face of the GOP’s future: right-wing strategists see him as Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama rolled into one appealing, Latino-vote-getting package.
 
3) Repealing Health Care Reform the Top Legislative Priority
 
According to several Values Voter Summit speakers, health care reform legislation signed into law by President Obama wasn’t really about health care at all. It was about extending the power of the federal government into tyrannical realms. Repealing “Obamacare” before it fully goes into effect is the top legislative priority of movement leaders. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was one of several speakers who called the legislation unconstitutional, saying that if the legislation was allowed to stand, it would effectively spell the end of any limits on federal power. 
 
4) Muslims Replace Immigrants as a Top Target
 
While previous conferences have portrayed unchecked illegal immigration as the most dire threat to America, this year’s speakers picked up on the right-wing generated furor over a proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan – the inaccurately dubbed “Ground Zero Mosque” – to make repeated bitter denunciations of Islam. Immigration was not completely ignored: Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, in a list of complaints, denounced the White House for being an administration “whose idea of a rogue state is Arizona,” and the Heritage Foundation sponsored a workshop on “The Real Cost of Illegal Immigration.” But the real energy was in attacking Islam, which was a primary focus of remarks by Bill Bennett and Gary Bauer.
 
5) Pursuit of Happiness With an Asterisk: Gays Need Not Apply
 
Not surprisingly, all the talk about individual liberty being at the core of our national identity did not extend to the freedom of gay and lesbian Americans to pursue happiness by marrying the person they love. Several speakers exhorted attendees to help mobilize conservative voters in Iowa to turn out for upcoming retention elections and vote against Iowa Supreme Court justices who ruled that denying gay couples the freedom to marriage violated the state’s constitution. The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, who insisted that there is no confusion about what is right in the sight of God and what is evil in the sight of God, said that politicians who support, defend, and promote “counterfeits” to marriage (which include not only marriage equality but also civil unions and domestic partnerships) are doing something evil and deserve condemnation. Fischer repeated Religious Right claims that LGBT equality and religious liberty are incompatible: “we are going to have to choose between the homosexual agenda and religious liberty because we simply cannot have both.”
 
The federal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law which forbids gay members of the Armed Forces for serving openly and honestly, was also high on speakers’ minds. Sen. James Inhofe urged people to call their senators in advance of a scheduled vote on a defense authorization bill that would include language to overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as well as language that would, in his words, turn military hospitals into abortion clinics. 

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

Engle, Huckabee, Garlow Issue a "Call to Conscience"

Last year, Lou Engle announced that he was no longer willing to be "silenced" by the political restrictions placed upon his organization The Call by its 501c3 status and so he starting a 501c4 arm that would be known as The Call to Action.

But that was pretty much the last we ever heard about The Call to Action ... at least until today when it resurfaced with a new name - The Call to Conscience - and a new video featuring Mike Huckabee and the voice of Jim Garlow:

At the moment, the website consists only of statement from Engle blasting the Prop 8 ruling, but as we noted yesterday, Garlow, Huckabee and Engle are all deeply involved in the "Pray and ACT" effort aimed at getting conservative Christians to vote "in all elections only for candidates who affirm the sanctity of life in all stages and conditions, the integrity of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and religious liberty and respect for conscience."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The effort by the Pacific Justice Institute to force California to defend Prop 8 has been rejected.
  • Chinese students will now be learning about abstinence from Focus on the Family.
  • Gary Bauer blames the Discovery Channel hostage situation on the Left.
  • This may be one of the dumbest WorldNetDaily articles I have never seen, and that is saying something.
  • Speaking of WND, this first person tale from Glenn Beck's rally written by Victoria Jackson absolutely has to be read.
  • AZ Gov. Jan Brewer did not get off to a good start in her debate last night.
  • This NRA ad is actually rather funny, though the main character seems to be a pretty obvious rip-off of Danny McBride in "The Fist Foot Way."
  • The battle of the century: Ray Comfort vs. Stephen Hawking.
  • Finally the quote of the day from a column in the Baptist Press: "How should we as Baptists regard the growing popularity of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)? Simply put, we should hate it."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Pacific Justice Institute is trying to force California to defend Prop 8.
  • Richard Land may not support the "Ground Zero Mosque," but he condemns anti-Muslim crimes like arson in Tennessee.
  • Glenn Beck has some new website.
  • Peter LaBarber really likes Ryan Sorba.
  • Joseph Farah really hates GOProud.
  • Liberty Counsel wants you to cast a "Vote of No Confidence" in President Obama.
  • Jordan Sekulow says people will continue to question President Obama's faith so long as he continues to be a bad Christian.
  • Finally, behold Mike Huckabee featuring AshleyMadison.com on his program:
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Prop 8 Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 02/05/2013, 11:57am
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Matt Barber and Steve Crampton discussed the Supreme Court's decision to hear arguments on California's Proposition 8 later this spring, with Crampton warning that the American people need to be made aware of just how important this case will be because "society itself is on the verge of total collapse if we give up what marriage really means": MORE
Miranda Blue, Monday 02/04/2013, 5:10pm
Back in 2010, when a federal district court in California heard the first legal challenge to the anti-gay Proposition 8, the judge asked the attorney defending Prop 8 how marriage equality would hurt the ability of straight couples to bear and raise children. The attorney sputtered and answered, “I don’t know.” A key witness for Prop 8’s supporters had the same answer, and later changed his mind to support marriage equality. Four years later, the case is coming before the Supreme Court, and marriage equality opponents are still struggling to answer that question. In... MORE
Miranda Blue, Friday 02/01/2013, 4:48pm
Earlier this week, we looked at the slightly conflicted amicus briefs that the Family Research Council submitted to the Supreme Court ahead of its consideration of two major marriage equality cases. Today, Warren Throckmorton alerts us that the “ex-gay” group Parents and Friends of Gays and Ex-Gays (PFOX) has submitted its own brief to the Court. The PFOX amicus brief [pdf], unsurprisingly, argues that gays and lesbians should not be a “protected class” under the law because homosexuality “is not an immutable characteristic.” As evidence, it presents the... MORE
Miranda Blue, Tuesday 01/29/2013, 10:16am
The Family Research Council submitted two amicus briefs to the Supreme Court yesterday urging it to reject challenges to DOMA and to California’s Proposition 8. The briefs lay out some of the same arguments that we’ve heard many times from the FRC. But we were curious if the FRC would jettison one of its favorite talking points– the success of discriminatory measures at the ballot box –in light of last year’s resounding marriage equality victories in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. The answer was yes and no. In its brief on Hollingsworth v. Perry, the... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 05/03/2012, 11:45am
Like his fellow Proposition 8 supporters Che Ahn and Jim Garlow, Lou Engle maintains that their prayers led to the reversal of marriage equality in California in 2008 and a “sovereign appointment” with former San Francisco mayor (and current Lt. Gov.) Gavin Newsom “to call him to accountability to what he was going to do in that city concerning the homosexual agenda.” While speaking today with Pat Robertson on the 700 Club to publicize the upcoming The Call: Virginia, which Robertson has endorsed, Engle said his September, 2010 prayer rally in Sacramento “... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 09/27/2011, 4:47pm
PFAW: Pressure Begins to Yield Results as Senate Takes Steps to Confirm 10 Judicial Nominees. Tim Murphy @ Mother Jones: The Most Radical Anti-Abortion Measure in America. Arisha Michelle Hatch @ Prop 8 Trial Tracker: What happened at Rev. Lou Sheldon’s press conference opposing the FAIR Education Act. David @ Crooks and Liars: Bachmann Warns of Hezbollah 'Missile Sites' in Cuba. Dan @ TFN Insider: The Politics of ‘Reclaiming Texas for Christ.’ Matthew Yglesias: Rick Perry’s Revisionist Take On The Original Tea... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 09/16/2011, 4:33pm
Warren Throckmorton: William Penn founded the Quakers and other tall tales from David Barton. Good As You: Peter Sprigg says Prop 8 witness proves gays can change; proves why his side does so poorly on (and fears) witness stands. Alex Seitz-Wald @ Think Progress Justice: Gov. Scott Walker’s Office Targeted By Corruption Probe After FBI Raids Aide’s Home. Charles Johnson @ LGF: Michele Bachmann Doubles Down on Anti-Vaccination. Tommy Christopher @ Mediaite: Megyn Kelly Incorrectly Reports That ‘The White House’ Launched AttackWatch Website... MORE