Religious Freedom

Everything You Could Want To Know About Jim Garlow's Views on Prop 8

Jim Garlow played a central role in the passage of Proposition 8 and was, not surprisingly, outraged by the court decision striking it down, claiming that it would lead to polygamy and bestiality.

Alan Colmes had Garlow on his program on Friday night to discuss that claim and Garlow stood by it, claiming that the language in the decision could ultimately be used to defend polygamy though he seemed to back off from the bestiality language a bit, claiming that Colmes had taken half of a quote and presented it out of context (of course, Colmes did nothing of the sort, as Garlow made the same bestiality comparison on more than one occasion.)

Eventually, the debate turned to the topic of religious freedom, with Garlow insisting that gay marriage would mean that doctors, businesses, and everyone else would have to recognize them under penalty of law, which prompted Colmes to ask Garlow if he was saying that people ought to be able to freely discriminate, which is exactly the view that recently got Rand Paul in trouble, to which Garlow replied "racism is wrong, and marriage is a good thing" and insisted that he has every right to take his religious views into the voting booth and "vote from a Biblical standpoint the same way that you have a right to vote from an anti-Biblical standpoint":

Those who want to know more about Garlow's opposition to the ruling can read this lengthy blog post he wrote slamming it or watch this eleven minute video he released doing the same thing:

Colson: "Go Build the Mosque Somewhere Else"

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go build the mosque somewhere else.

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

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

The Right's Plan For Stopping Gay Marriage: Intimidate The Supreme Court

Take one guess what the topic of James Dobson's radio program was yesterday

With his ruling this week that Proposition 8 is “unconstitutional,” Judge Vaughn Walker nullified the will of 7 million Californians who voted to pass the state constitutional amendment in November ’08. On today’s broadcast, Dr. Dobson is joined by Chuck Colson, Dr. Robert George, and Professor Timothy George in a passionate discussion regarding imperious judges, what this ruling means, and what America might look like in the future if Judge Walker’s ruling is not overturned by a higher court of law. The panel also points out that this dramatic turning point in our nation’s history might finally stir believers to stand up and defend religious liberties in America.

Aside from all the outrage and hand-wringing about how the ruling is destroying religious freedom in American, the discussion did provide an interesting revelation into how the Religious Right plans to lay the groundwork for fighting gay marriage as this case makes its way to the Supreme Court.

It seems that for the Right, the role of the Supreme Court is not to make decisions based upon the Constitution's fundamental principles and values, but is rather to hand down decisions that reflect the baises of the people.  As such, the Right plans to start laying the groundwork now to make it clear to the Justices on the Supreme Court that they will not tolerate any decision that recognizes marriage equality:

Chuck Colson: The Supreme Court has not, ever, handed down a decision which flew into the face and teeth of a strong moral consensus against it. I don't think, if we build a real groundswell of opinion now over the next several months, that the Supreme Court will rule in supporting what happened in California two days ago. I don't believe it; I believe that this is an opportunity that we have to build a groundswell of support that will cause the Supreme Court not to legalize gay marriage.

Robert George: What we have here is an unconstitutional, indeed anti-constitutional decision, of a lower court judge and we have to hope that the Supreme Court of the United States, when the issue reaches them, will reverse the judge's holding. Chuck Colson's right: it might very well depend on whether we make clear to the Justices that the redefinition of marriage, the destruction of historic understanding of marriage as the union of man and woman simply will not be accepted by us, we the people, as legitimate.

Colson: I think we have to make an appeal to our secular neighbors and I really believe that if we present this case well, Jim ... believe me, if we present it well and if we speak to the common good and we speak to what is just and right in society, if we do that, we're going to get a lot of people joining us. And we're going to see those polls continue to show what they have been showing consistently, and that is that the American people do not want marriage to be anything other than a man and a woman. And when this case gets to the Supreme Court, if we have built a groundswell, we're going to win this case.

It seems that for the Religious Right, the only legitimate court decisions are ones that support their agenda and so the proper way to make sure that courts issue correct decisions is to seek to intimidate judges by making clear that any decision they don't like "will not be accepted by us, we the people, as legitimate."

So keep that in mind the next time you hear the Religious Right talking about the sanctity of the Constitution and the proper role of the courts.

How The ACLJ Rationalizes Its Hypocrisy

For some time now I have been asking how the American Center for Law and Justice, which bills itself as a leading defender of religious freedom, can justify its actions in leading the opposition to the construction of an Islamic Center near Ground Zero.

Apparently, it is quite easy, as all they have to do is claim that the issue is not about religious freedom at all:

“People keep talking about this as if it’s an issue of religious freedom and it’s not,” [ACLJ attorney Brett] Joshpe said. “I think it’s a matter of human discretion. It’s a matter of speaking up publicly and saying ‘we don’t think this is appropriate, we don’t think this is the time or the place and we think you really ought to reconsider.’ Those are the guiding principles behind our position.”

Of course, the real reason is that the ACLJ is taking on this fight is because it doesn't think Muslims have the same rights as Christians, which Joshpe basically admits:

After saying the building was “arguably one of the most significant properties in New York,” Joshpe said he would not be pursuing the case if a Christian church were being built on the same site.

“Would I be personally involved in this matter if this were a church? No,” he said. “And the reason why is because if it were a church it wouldn’t be offending and hurting the 9/11 victims’ families.”

As Adam Serwer notes:

This is a straight-up admission that this lawsuit is being filed out of anti-Muslim animus, couched in the defensive, self-implicating rhetoric of "reverse racism"--the ACLJ claims the group behind the project is receiving "special treatment" from the Landmark Commission because they're Muslim. But in fact they're receiving "special treatment" from the ACLJ, whose commitment to religious freedom and property rights depends on which faith you belong to.

Apparently the ACLJ thinks that they can maintain their reputation as defenders of religious freedom while simultaneously leading the fight to prevent this exercise of religious freedom by simply pretending that the issue is not about religious freedom at all. 

This is, of course, the complete opposite of their normal strategy, which is to claim that every case they take on is, at its heart, about religious freedom:

American Center for Law and Justice is a d/b/a for Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, Inc., a tax-exempt, not-for-profit, religious corporation as defined under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, specifically dedicated to the ideal that religious freedom and freedom of speech are inalienable, God-given rights. The Center's purpose is to educate, promulgate, conciliate, and where necessary, litigate, to ensure that those rights are protected under the law.

Prop 8: Engle Calls It The End of Democracy While Garlow Warns Of Bestiality

Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church, was a key leader in the effort to pass Proposition 8 and earlier this year explained how he brought Lou Engle in to lead their prayer and fasting effort; an effort which paid off where somewhere between 4:20-4:50 pm on November 1 during TheCall rally in San Diego they felt that "something had snapped in the Heavenlies" and "we knew God had moved":

Garlow's Prop 8 success led Newt Gingrich to tap to him to head his new Renewing American Leadership organization ... and so it is not particularly surprising to see Garlow (and Engle) reacting with alarm to the court decision striking down their handiwork:

"The next court case could conceivably say that if three people wanted to marry or four people or five people or if someone wanted to marry their dog or their horse, they have a right to that because no longer do we have a right to ‘discriminate' based on equal protection," Garlow said.

Proposition 8 advocates argue that same-sex marriage is not ideal for child rearing, but they say it also has serious implications on religious freedom.

"It's a chilling moment," said TheCall founder Lou Engle, who organized a prayer rally in support of Proposition 8 in September 2008. "Democracy is crumbling, and I believe, again, we're going to see the persecution of the church. ... Across the board, religious freedom now is being trumped by gender freedom."

Garlow said in several areas where gay marriage has been legalized, Christians have lost personal and religious liberties. He points to Swedish pastor Ake Green, who was jailed after preaching that homosexuality is a sin, and to a Christian camp in Ocean Grove, N.J., that lost a discrimination lawsuit filed after it refused to allow a lesbian couple to hold a commitment ceremony at its facility.

"If we lose on this one, we lose the capacity to be able to proclaim the gospel as we know it," Garlow said.

And, as we've noted before, Garlow and Engle are planning to dust off their Prop 8 playbook heading into the 2010 midterm elections: 

The case could take years to reach the Supreme Court, but conservative observers believe Wednesday's ruling could impact the upcoming midterm election. Garlow said voters with conservative moral values "are going to rise up and say enough is enough."

He and Engle are encouraging that kind of activism through Pray & Act, an initiative calling for 40 days of prayer and fasting in the run up to Nov. 2. The effort begins Sept. 20 and ends with a webcast event at the Lincoln Memorial Oct. 30.

Garlow said he believes there is a 27-month window to "turn" the nation toward biblical values. "I'm not trying to deadline God, but my sensing is we have a short window left after which it will be too late to see America ever return to any sense of God-honoring truths," he said. "That being the case, prayer and fasting is critical."

Engle, too, is urging prayer and political activism. He believes the timing of TheCall Sacramento, being held Sept. 3-4, is strategic.

"God, in times of crisis, calls for solemn assemblies when there is no hope and there's no remedy," Engle said. "I think this is an incredible opportunity for people to gather from all over America to say: ‘God, we have no recourse ... We are coming to You for help in the time of trouble, to ask forgiveness for treating so lightly marriage in the church.'

"We [will] come together and ask God for some kind of sovereign intervention," he added. "We need to pray for a great awakening."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Land: Christians Burning the Koran is an Act of Blasphemy

On September 11, the folks at Dove World Church in Gainesville, Florida (perhaps best known for their "No Homo Mayor" signs a few months back) will be hosting "International Burn A Quran Day."

And this move it apparently so extreme that even some Religious Right leaders are denouncing it:

"Dove World Outreach Center, shame on you," responded Angel Nuñez, vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

"If I want to win a Muslim to Christ, I surely won't do it by burning the Qur'an in public and provoking them to hate us more," said Nuñez. "The greatest weapon a Christian has is godly love."

The National Association for Evangelicals released a statement Thursday urging the church, which averages 50 attendees each Sunday, to call off the event.

"It sounds like the proposed Qu'ran burning is rooted in revenge," said NAE president Leith Anderson. "The most powerful statement by the organizers of the planned September 11th bonfire would be to call it off in the name and love of Jesus Christ."

"I think it is appalling, disgusting, and brainless," said Richard Land, director of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. "I think that those of us who find what they are doing abhorrent should say so, and say so publicly and often."

Land added that the church's actions "besmirch the reputation of our Savior, and that makes it blasphemy."

Of course, it should also be noted that while Land thinks burning the Koran is blasphemous, he's not exactly defender of Muslims or their rights, as he's also vehemently opposed to the proposed "Ground Zero Mosque"

As a Baptist who believes in religious freedom and separation of church and state, I strongly support religious communities' right to have places of worship within reasonable distance of where they live. However, no religious community has an absolute right to have a place of worship wherever they choose, regardless of the community's objections.

I believe that putting a mosque at Ground Zero, or very close to Ground Zero, is unacceptable ... Having a mosque at Ground Zero would be the equivalent of having a Japanese Shinto shrine built next to the USS Arizona.

Geller Continues to Exploit The Rifqa Bary Saga For Her Own Anti-Islamic Ends

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that militant anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller continues to exploit the Rifqa Bary controversy by unveiling an anti-Islam ad campaign:

Ads by a group calling itself Stop Islamization of America, which aims to provide refuge for former Muslims, read: "Fatwa on your head? Is your family or community threatening you? Leaving Islam? Got questions? Get answers!"

...

A self-described "anti-jihadist," Pamela Geller is the conservative blogger and executive director of Stop Islamization of America who conceived of the "Leaving Islam" ad campaign. Her bus posters, she says, were partly inspired by the ongoing Florida case involving a teenage girl who ran away from her Muslim parents after converting to Christianity. The girl, Rifqa Bary, made headlines last year when she claimed her father threatened to kill her for becoming a Christian.

Ms. Geller described her campaign as "a defense of religious freedom," in an e-mail response to questions. The goal, she says, is mainly "to help ex-Muslims who are in trouble" and also "to raise awareness of the threat that apostates live under even in the West."

I guess I should point out that Bary became convinced that her life was in danger after hooking up with Lou Engle-associated activists in Ohio, so she fled to Florida where she was taken in by other right-wing activists (and continued to associate with Engle). 

In fact, just about the only ones who believe that Bary was ever in danger of being harmed by her family are the professional anti-Islam activists who have worked diligently to turn her saga into the right-wing crusade - people like Pamela Geller.

ACLJ: Leading The Fights For and Against Restricting Religious Freedom

Does it seem at all hypocritical to anyone else that the ACLJ is on TV screaming about the "Ground Zeo Mosque" and leading the fight against it:

NO Mosque at Ground Zero

Ground Zero. The site of the 9/11 Islamic terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York. Americans know — it is sacred ground. But now, there's a real push to build an Islamic mosque at this very site — headed by Imam Rauf, who reportedly has a troubling record of support for causes tied to terrorism ... including the recent Gaza-bound flotilla that carried terrorists to attack Israel. In fact, Imam Rauf has even said that the ''United States' policies were an accessory'' to 9/11.

So the ACLJ is fighting back: We're serving as lead counsel in a critical case — representing families of those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We need your help.

Stand with the ACLJ and send a message to New York — NO Mosque at Ground Zero. Add your name below to the Committee to STOP the Ground Zero Mosque — and join with us in demanding that New York City reject this troubling proposal.

While, at the same time, billing itself as experts on Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act:

RLUIPA is a law designed to protect religious assemblies and institutions from zoning and historic landmark laws that substantially interfere with the assemblies' and institutions' religious exercise. It also protects individuals and religious institutions, including churches, mosques, and synagogues, in their use of land and buildings for religious purposes.

And pledging to remain the leading defender of the religious freedoms protected by RLUIPA:

Churches across the nation are increasingly facing discrimination from local zoning authorities with respect to location or improvement of their facilities. Zoning Boards often want to eliminate churches from downtown and commercial areas because churches do not generate retail and tax revenue. They also attempt to restrict churches in residential areas for allegedly creating traffic and noise problems. The result has been that our nation's houses of faith have their freedom to worship where and how they choose violated by ignorant or hostile zoning officials.

...

Both before enactment of RLUIPA and since its passage, the ACLJ has been in the vanguard of defending churches from the unconstitutional application of zoning laws. The ACLJ has successfully defended both churches, and small groups of believers, against over-zealous zoning authorities. The ACLJ remains committed to the principle that the use of zoning laws to curtail the religious freedoms of churches is unconstitutional.

So the ACLJ is leading the fight against attempts to restrict where religious organizations can build their worship sites ... while also leading the fight to restrict where religious organizations can build their worship sites?  

Newt Gingrich's First Amendment Hypocrisy

Wasn't it just the other day that I was writing about the Religious Right warning Christians that the Obama administration was out to destroy their "freedom of religion" by referring to it merely as "freedom of worship"?  

So how do they justify this bigoted rant from Newt Gingrich arguing for the need to limit the religious rights of Muslims in America?

There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.

...

America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization. Sadly, too many of our elites are the willing apologists for those who would destroy them if they could.

No mosque.

No self deception.

No surrender.

The time to take a stand is now - at this site on this issue.

As Steve Benen points out, Gingirch's suggestion doesn't even make any sense

So, by Newt Gingrich's estimation, Saudi Arabian officials are wrong to squelch religious liberty in their country -- so we should be equally wrong in ours. Gingrich sees Saudi Arabia discriminating and showing a lack of tolerance for spiritual diversity and, in effect, concludes, "Let's follow their lead."

But in addition, how exactly does does Gingrich plan on going about preventing this Mosque from being built considering that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"? 

I thought the Religious Right was willing to lay down their lives to defend religious liberty

And doesn't limiting free exercise of religion in America directly contradict the mission of Gingrich's own organization, Renewing American Leadership?

How To Renew American Leadership

So what should Americans who love their country, and believe in its ideals, do to reclaim the vision so ably constructed for us by the founding fathers and every legal immigrant who has come here to achieve the American Dream? Our initial prescription for Renewing American Leadership can be summarized in four points.

1. It is imperative to teach Americans the truth about the greatness of their country.

2. It is imperative to return to limited government by restoring our system of constitutional checks and balances.

3. It is imperative to protect and encourage the free exercise of religion in America.

4. It is imperative to take control of our borders, and reform our immigration system to admit people able to contribute the skills and the values we need for America’s future.

Manhattan Declaration: A Call To Christian Civil Disobedience

If you thought the Manhattan Declaration was mainly an opportunity for the Religious Right to declare themselves heroes of the Christian faith ... well, you were correct.  But that doesn't mean that organizers were not entirely serious about their pledge to be ready to give their lives to fight Obama's looming Nazi-like dictatorship.

That is a point that Manhattan Declaration founders Chuck Colson and Timothy George make in his new video, as George compares those who sign this document to both Martin Luther and Martin Luther King while Colson begs people to "understand the severity of the threats to our first freedom" which are coming from all sides and "realize the kind of fight we're in and be prepared for what we may face in the coming months":

Here is the video from a few weeks ago that Colson references in this new video, in which he takes up the claim which we addressed yesterday that the Obama administration is systematically out to destroy "freedom of religion" in order to promote the gay agenda and destroy Christianity:

How President Obama Is Destroying Our "Freedom of Religion"

Do you ever get the impression that the Religious Right is just making up "controversies" that they can pretend to get upset about?  Or do you get the impression that they just don't even bother to do so much as a minute of research before voicing their outrage about some nonexistent threat? 

Behold the latest such incident, courtesy of the Family Research Council:

Can one word change the world? President Obama certainly hopes so. Since last year's speech in Cairo, one phrase is subtly worming its way into speeches with high level White House officials. With incredible precision, the President is abandoning the term "freedom of religion" in favor of what he calls the "freedom of worship." Now to most people, that rhetoric is nothing to write home about. But to those of us standing guard for our faith in Washington, the shift is ominous. As Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom said, "[Freedom of worship] excludes the right to raise your children in your faith; the right to have religious literature; the right to meet with co-religionists; the right to raise funds; the right to appoint your religious leaders, and to carry out charitable activities, to evangelize," and perhaps the most troubling, to engage in the public square.

This is the culmination of a 40-year process to expel God from America. First it was taking prayer and the Bible from public schools; then it was driving out the 10 Commandments from courthouses and nativities from town squares. Now religion would be squeezed out of every pocket of society until it exists only within the four walls of the church. This is more than semantics; it's a bold leap forward to completely secularize America. We've already witnessed what the courts and culture have done to alienate faith. President Obama's vision is to codify those decisions in policy--making it virtually impossible for men and women to exercise their religion in public. And that includes any church outreach like homeless shelters or orphanages. If we pursue this to its logical conclusion, America would eventually shut out or constrict anything having to do with Christ. President Obama says plenty of things he doesn't mean. But in this, his pursuit of wiping religion off the map, we should take him at his word.

Really? This is what it has come to?  President Obama doesn't use the phrase "freedom of religion" and it is proof that he is out to "completely secularize America"?  Even by the Religious Right's standard, this is laughably pathetic.

Hey, take a look at this procilmation that President Obama issued just four days ago:

The journey towards worldwide freedom and democracy sought in 1959 remains unfinished. Today, we still observe the profound differences between governments that reflect the will of their people, and those that sustain power by force; between nations striving for equal justice and rule of law, and those that deny their citizens freedom of religion, expression, and peaceful assembly; and between states that are open and accountable, and those that restrict the flow of ideas and information. The United States has a special responsibility to bear witness to those whose voices are silenced, and to stand alongside those who yearn to exercise their universal human rights.

In fact, a search of the White House website returns 124 uses of the phrase "freedom of religion" compared to just 9 uses of "freedom of worship."

Interestingly, a search of the George W. Bush White House website archive also returns exactly 124 mentions of "freedom of religion" versus 33 uses of "freedom of worship."

Do you remember the Religious Right freaking out when Bush used the phrase several times in proclaiming Religious Freedom Day 2008?  Me neither:

Thomas Jefferson counted the freedom of worship as one of America's greatest blessings. He said it was "a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government, and yet proved by our experience to be its best support." On Religious Freedom Day, we celebrate the 1786 passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.

The freedom to worship according to one's conscience is one of our Nation's most cherished values. It is the first protection offered in the Bill of Rights: that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." In America, people of different faiths can live together united in peace, tolerance, and humility. We are committed to the proposition that as equal citizens of the United States of America, all are free to worship as they choose.

A Devastating Exposé On How David Barton Perpetuates His Pseudo-History

I have written a great many posts here about David Barton and his pseudo-history and how he uses it to advance his Religious Right agenda.  Portraying himself as a historian of America's forgotten Christian heritage, Barton selectively edits the past until it reflects his preferred view and then presents that manipulated view as the "real" history of our nation.

I have tended to focus primarily on how Barton seeks to use his biased history to advance his Religious Right political agenda and less on his actual manipulation of history, which is why I want to highlight this absolutely amazing video by Chris Rodda, the Senior Research Director at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and author of "Liars For Jesus."

In this video, Rodda takes on the lies that Barton has been spreading via his regular appearances on Glenn Beck and Rodda's debunking of Barton's tricks and manipulations is absolutely devastating:

This post is about another mainstay of Barton's presentations: an 1809 letter from John Adams to Benjamin Rush that Barton butchers to make it appear that Adams thought that all governments, including, of course, the government of the United States, must be administered by the Holy Ghost in order to be legitimate.

On Beck's show, Barton also incorporated his other lie about this letter, claiming that this was the letter that magically reunited Jefferson and Adams, who had been on the outs since Jefferson got elected president in 1800. Why does Barton do this? Because it allows him to combine two completely unrelated parts of Adams's letter into a claim that it was really God, working through his "prophet" Benjamin Rush, who restored the friendship between Adams and Jefferson.

No, Mr. Beck, John Adams Did Not Think Governments Must be Administered by the Holy Ghost from Chris Rodda on Vimeo.

This video is actually a few weeks old, but somehow I missed it .. and though it is fifteen minutes long, I highly encourage you to watch the entire thing ... and then check out Rodda's other videos debunking some of the other lies that Barton and Beck have been spreading.

Kagan: A Fake John Roberts, A Radical Homosexualist, and a Sign of The End Times

As the questioning in Elena Kagan's confirmation hearing finally gets underway, right-wing groups are busy releasing statements and reports claiming she is everything from a "clear and present danger to the Constitution" to a sign of the end times.

The Judicial Crisis Network's first day write-up is particularly confusing, as they seem convinced that Kagan is trying to "disguise herself as the next John Roberts" 

The Senate Judiciary Committee just concluded the first day of Elena Kagan's hearings to replace Justice Stevens on the Supreme Court. Our summary of Day 1: She may not be a Constitutionalist, but she sure plays one on TV.

As we expected, Kagan followed in Justice Sotomayor's footsteps and disguised herself as the next John Roberts, and Democratic Senators did their best to help her hide from her record of extreme activism on abortion, 2nd Amendment rights, and the scope of government power. According to Kagan, "what the Supreme Court does is to safeguard the rule of law, through a commitment to even-handedness, principle, and restraint." In the immortal words of The Who, "Don't get fooled again."

Seeing as it was John Roberts who "disguised" himself as a umpire who would just call balls and strikes and then, once confirmed, revealed himself to be a blatant judicial activist, that is a pretty ironic criticism for JCN to level.

But at least the JCN's complaints are at least coherent, unlike those of Gordon Klingenschmitt:

Chaplain Klingenschmitt has contracted with a team of investigative journalists including Brian Camenker, Amy Contrada and Peter LaBarbera to investigate and report breaking news about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.

While serving as Dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan's administration demanded and forced Blue-Cross, Blue-Shield to cover sex-change operations as an "equal right" paid benefit, harming gender-confused students, as confirmed in 2006 and 2008 by Harvard Crimson newspaper articles.

Kagan also offered sympathetic ear to lesbian group Lambda's Transgender Task Force demand to force all women to share public bathrooms and locker-rooms with cross-dressing men, which is now part of Harvard's dormitory policy, according to the report.

"This is further proof Elena Kagan cannot be trusted to impartially rule on Obamacare or bathroom bills like ENDA, since she believes sin is a Constitutional right," said Chaplain Klingenschmitt, "but rights come from God, who never grants the right to sin."

Because if anything is going to clarify these confirmation hearings, is a report written by a bunch of militantly anti-gay activists like Klingenschmitt, Camenker, and LaBarbera ... and now that is exactly what we have:

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is committed to the radical campaign pushing acceptance of homosexuality and transgenderism as “civil rights." Her unprecedented activism supporting that view as Dean of Harvard Law School (2003-2009) calls into question her ability to judge fairly and impartially on same-sex “marriage” and other homosexuality- or transgender-related issues that may come before the nation’s highest court.

Kagan’s record while Dean of Harvard Law School (HLS) demonstrates her agreement with the goals of the radical GLBT (gay lesbian bisexual transgender) movement and her solidarity with those activists. Working hand in hand with students to expel military recruiters in protest over the Armed Forces’ ban on homosexuals (a “moral injustice of the first order,” she wrote) is only the most obvious example of Kagan’s passionate dedication to this controversial and immoral agenda.

Kagan’s celebration and active promotion of the radical homosexualist and transgender worldview has profound implications. As a Supreme Court Justice, she could be expected to overturn traditional law and understandings of family, marriage, military order, and even our God-given sex (what transgender radicals call “gender identity or expression”). She is a most dangerous nominee who must be opposed by all who care about religious freedom, the preservation of marriage and traditional values.

There should be grave concern over Kagan’s issues advocacy concerning “sexual orientation.” Even before her nomination to the Court, her enthusiastic and committed pro-homosexuality activism at Harvard (including her recruitment to the faculty of radical “gay” activist scholars like former ACLU lawyer William Rubenstein and elevation of radical out lesbian Professor Janet Halley) was highly significant for the nation. Now, it is imperative that Senators and the U.S. public gain an accurate understanding of the radical, pro-homosexual environment that was Kagan’s home at Harvard – and the GLBT legal agenda that Kagan herself helped foster as Dean.

But that is actually quite reasonable compared to this statement from Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall claiming that Kagan "presents a danger as old as the book of Genesis" and that her confirmation could be a sign of the End Times:

First, if she becomes a Supreme Court justice, she could be the all-important fifth vote in favor of interpreting our Constitution, not according to the vision of our Founding Fathers, but from an international law standpoint, a concept that would have seemed treasonous to our Founders. Three justices on the Court have already relied on foreign law in their opinions: Justices Kennedy, Breyer and Ginsburg. Recently-installed justice Sotomayor has praised Ruth Bader Ginsberg's penchant for international law, so we can assume she will be a legal globalist as well. Five justices create a majority and with Kagan on board they could begin radically steering us away from view of the Constitution that honors our Judeo-Christian heritage and founding.

Second, if this happens, it will usher America into a new age of global law. With Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court, international legal standards could well be imposed on Americans by the High Court's legal globalists, even without the Senate approving a specific international treaty. In our new novel, Edge of Apocalypse, we show how this trend might create a modern-day legal nightmare for conscientious Christians. We need only to turn to Genesis chapter 11 to see how God opposed the ancient attempt at global unification: the Lord declared the tragic result that would follow if a centralized group of fallen men were to consolidate an unlimited, unrestrained power over the planet.

Keep your eyes on the Supreme Court's view of global law. It could be one of the most telling 'signs of the times.'

Learn From The Best: Attend The Peter LaBarbera Training Academy Of Professional Gay Hatred

What could be worse than spending an hour listening to Religious Right activists like Matt Barber and Peter LaBarbera spewing their anti-gay bile?

The idea of spending three days listening to it:

We’re delighted to announce the debut of our ongoing “Americans For Truth Academy,” designed to train young people (as well as older pro-family advocates) how to answer “gay” activist misinformation and fight the homosexual-bisexual-transsexual agenda. Below is a flier with the basic information. Please consider sponsoring a student to attend for $99 or attending yourself. Rarely will you get a chance to learn from such brilliant teachers on the homosexual issue all in one rigorous seminar.

This August 5-7, AFTAH will bring together some of the country’s leading pro-family experts on homosexuality to teach both young and old how to answer the lies and myths that so readily emanate from the “GLBT” (“gay”) camp. I am very excited about this new project’s potential to reverse years of pro-”gay” brainwashing in the schools and popular culture — corrupting the hearts and minds of our young people.

Let’s face it: much of the conservative establishment has dropped the ball on fighting the homosexual agenda (or given up entirely), so AFTAH is stepping up to train a new generations of activists to contend with the sexual sin movement that has fooled so many Americans into treating a human wrong — changeable same-sex behavior — as a “civil right.”

...

August 5-7, 2010

AFTAH headquarters in Carol Stream, Illinois, outside Chicago

This is a rigorous, 3-day program featuring some of the leading pro-family experts on homosexuality in the Culture War. Prospective attendees will need to be approved with references; this is not open to pro-homosexual activists but only to those who share AFTAH’s belief that homosexuality is immoral and that the GLBT movement is destructive to America and a direct threat to our religious freedom.

Cost: Students 14-25: $99; Adults: $199

Limited Seating Available

Youth Scholarships: we will be soliciting donations with the goal of covering the cost of attending the AFTAH Academy for as many students as possible. If you would like to sponsor a student for the Academy, send your tax-deductible gift of $99 or more to AFTAH at the address below or online at www.americansfortruth.com/donate .
Tentative List of Instructors:

Robert Knight, Coral Ridge Ministries

Peter LaBarbera, Americans For Truth About Homosexuality

Ryan Sorba, Young Conservatives of California

Prof. Robert Gagnon, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Prof. Rena Lindevaldsen, Liberty University Law School

Matt Barber, Liberty Counsel

Laurie Higgins, Illinois Family Institute

Greg Quinlan, Parents and Friends of Gays and Ex-Gays

To reserve a place in the AFTAH Academy, send us your references or those for your child. For more information, write: americansfortruth@gmail.com or call 630-717-7631.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • A new political organization is being launched in Louisiana called the Christian Party which will focus on applying the teachings of Jesus Christ to the political process.
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann loves the media ... just not the "mainstream media" where they ask her questions and stuff.
  • Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer continues to blame everyone else for mistakenly thinking that her claim that her father “died fighting the Nazi regime in Germany” meant that her father had died fighting the Nazis in Germany.
  • Al Mohler warns that if Don't Ask, Don't Tell is repealed, it will destroy religious freedom and fundamentally remake American society.
  • The AFA's Bryan Fischer succinctly explains the situation in Israel: "The real tragedy here is Islam. Islam inspired the deadly confrontation which led to the deaths of 10 hate-boat workers. Islam with its implacable, mindless and demonic hatred of Jews and Israel is to blame."
  • Finally, the quote of the day from the Family Research Council on President Obama declaring June to be Gay Pride Month (aka "sexual deviance month"): "President Obama took it a step further and added 'bisexuals' and 'transgenders' to the list. In fact, he called on 'every America' to spend the month celebrating their movement--a movement dedicated to destroying marriage, free speech, public health, religious liberty, and (after the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal) national security."

David Barton Should Start Taking His Own Advice

Not too long ago, I received an email from someone demanding to know why I constantly referred to David Barton of WallBuilders as a "pseudo-historian" instead of a "historian," given that he has copious original documents to back of his assertions. 

I wrote back to explain that I call Barton a "pseudo-historian" not because he gets his history factually wrong (though he does that, too) but because he uses his history selectively to present a warped and biased view designed specifically to bolster his right-wing political agenda.

Whereas historians examine past events in order to present a coherent and comprehensive explanation of those event, Barton filters history through his own narrow ideology and highlights only those things that support his overall conservative political agenda.

I actually wrote a report about this tactic several years back that examined Barton's "Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black and White" DVD, in which he recounted the Democratic Party's historical hostility to African Americans and insinuated throughout that similarly racist views are still held by the party today. Barton ran through a litany of Democratic sins - ranging from slavery to Jim Crow to segregation to the Ku Klux Klan - while praising the Republican Party as the party of abolition and civil rights ... until his history lesson suddenly ended after the Civil Rights Act of 1965.

Barton made absolutely no mention of the political transformation that overtook the country following the passage of this legislation or the rise of the Republican Party’s “Southern Strategy.” Instead, it simply concluded with Barton telling his audience that African Americans cannot be bound blindly to one party or the other, but must cast their votes based on the “standard of biblical righteousness … the principles of Christianity … and an awareness that voters will answer to God for their vote."

I also posted a video containing excerpts from the DVD to demonstrate exactly how Barton misleadingly uses this history to support the Republican Party:

So imagine my surprise when I saw this quote from Barton praising the new textbook standards in Texas (which, not insignificantly, he helped to draft):

Defenders of the new social studies standards just passed by the Texas SBOE say it will encourage students to go back to the Constitution and First Amendment to learn about religious freedom. WallBuilders founder and president David Barton was among the six advisers the Board brought in to help rewrite the standards.

"You should present history has it happened -- the good, the bad, the ugly; the right, the left, the center; the anything else that is out there," argues the Christian historian. "And I think that's the final product that we got, despite all the media clamor to the otherwise. When you just read the standards, they're extremely balanced, extremely fair, and extremely thorough."

Presenting a balanced, fair, and thorough look at history is exactly the opposite of what Barton does, which is precisely why he has recently become Glenn Beck's go-to historian.  Incidentially, Chris Rodda has a great new piece up debunking Barton's favorite shtick of pulling out a rare Bible printed in 1782 by Philadelphia printer Robert Aitken and claiming that it was printed by Congress for the use of schools.  Among all the other useful information the piece contains is evidence Barton's ties to Beck are really starting to pay off, at least in terms of book sales:

Needless to say, Beck and his audience are just eating this stuff up. Barton's appearances on Beck's show have propelled his fifteen-year-old book of historical hogwash, Original Intent, to bestseller status, reaching as high as #6 on Amazon. Right now, as I sit here writing this post, this masterpiece of historical revisionism is ludicrously, and alarmingly, holding the #1 spot in the category of "Constitutional Law."

Lively: Repealing DADT Will Outrage Muslims and Lead To More Terrorism

It is remarkable to watch right-wing commentators desperately trying to come up with new and convincing reasons why Don't Ask, Don't Tell should remain in place.  

In the last few days, we've seen the Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg claims that it'll lead to widespread gay rape, while his colleague, FRC President Tony Perkins claims that it'll destroy the religious freedom of military chaplains.

At the same time, Cliff Kincaid’s America’s Survival has been warning that our soldiers will be destroyed by "disease-tainted gay blood" ... and he is now being outdone by Scott Lively, who has set out his own list of reasons, including his standard "the Nazis were gay" claims, along with warnings about the reinstatement of the draft, the ultimate takeover of the military by gays, and that we are endangering the lives of all Americans by outraging Muslims:

Once homosexuals are invited to serve, the authorities will be committed to integrate them into the ranks, which means “sensitivity” training, anti-discrimination policies, and all of the other “politically correct” nonsense that has been such a disaster in the other spheres of our society. These policies have smacked of pro-“gay” fascism in the civilian world; how much worse would it be in the rigidly-controlled environment of the military?

A sizable percentage of men would not willingly subject themselves to such an environment. So, ironically, reinstatement of the draft would be made necessary by “homophobia,” and for that reason the anti-war Lefties would suddenly become defenders of compulsory service.

...

Most people don’t realize that male homosexuality does not always lean to the effeminate. Historically, male homosexuality was much more often associated with hyper-masculine warrior societies which were usually very brutal and very politically aggressive. The most recent example was in Germany. Hitler’s initial power base when he launched the Nazi Party was a private homosexual military force organized and trained by a notorious pederast named Gerhard Rossbach. Rossbach’s homosexual partner Ernst Roehm, who was also Hitler’s partner in forming and building the Nazi Party, converted the “gay” Rossbachbund into the dreaded SA Brownshirts.

...

Next would come a severe drop in enlistments and re-enlistments, triggering the reinstatement of the draft. This would in turn begin a degeneration of the moral and ethical culture of the services as those with the highest personal values would be most likely to leave, being replaced, in many cases, by men whose motivation is to share a male-dominated environment with others of similar sexual proclivities.

...

Lastly, and perhaps most serious is the loss of our moral authority around the world, especially in the Moslem countries. Until now, we have relied upon the partnership of moderate Moslems in our campaign to marginalize the extremists who already call us The Great Satan for our moral ambiguities. Yet how quickly will we lose the popular support of these people and governments when they know that the soldiers we are sending for “nation-building” on Moslem soil are overt, practicing homosexuals? We are handing the extremists an entirely new and powerful recruiting tool, and undermining the goodwill of every socially conservative nation on the planet, culminating in a net increase of danger for our troops and decrease of respect for our way of life.

Religifying The Tea Party Movement

We've noted before how, on a national level, the Tea Party movement has been more than happy to allow the Religious Right to participate while openly rejecting their social agenda. In essence, the Tea Party movement's position has been that if the Religious Right wants to sign on to their smaller government/fiscal responsibility agenda, they are welcome to do so, but shouldn't expect Tea Party activists to return the favor.

But on a local level, it has been someone of a different story, as Religious Right activists have been regularly participating in Tea Party rallies, which is creating a weird dynamic whereby Tea Party rallies are starting to look more and more like Religious Right rallies:

It was a different kind of venue for the South Atlanta Tea Party. The grassroots group sponsored its first pastors breakfast May 12 at the Tyrone Depot. Speakers at the breakfast included Ken Fletcher of the Alliance Defense Fund and Gary DeMar of American Vision.

Topics at the prayer breakfast included the threats to religious freedom and the persecution of the church, restoring the church to its Biblical foundations and America’s Christian heritage.

“We felt like we should do a breakfast, though we didn’t know what would come of it,” organizer Claudia Eisenberg said. “But it was a great thing and it was successful. We invited 100 pastors and 54 showed up.”

Eisenberg commenting later said she felt such a venue was appropriate for the pro-American, pro-freedom, pro-Constitution tea party movement.

“I feel like there is a sleeping giant in our country. And it’s the church. The church was silent when prayer was removed from our schools. The white churches were silent during the civil rights movement. And the church has been largely silent for much of the time on abortion and gay marriage. I think the government has silenced the churches by making them file as tax-exempt organizations,” Eisenberg said.

“So today, either the churches don’t want to speak out or can’t speak out. My hope was that the speakers could help awaken the sleeping giant. (Fletcher and DeMar) let us know that you don’t have to live in fear when speaking out,” Eisenberg said.

Fellow South Atlanta Tea Party organizer Cindy Fallon after the meeting agreed that inviting Fletcher and DeMar to speak to ministers was appropriate for the grassroots organization.

“We wanted to alert churches and pastors about the slide to socialism,” said Fallon. “The speeches were informative and the feedback was positive. Hopefully, events like this will get people in churches more involved so they can be more knowledgeable. We need to promote churches and the Bible in the affairs of this nation.”

We are very familiar with this sort of talk ... just not coming from so-called Tea Party activists.

National Day of Prayer Ruling Was God's Doing, Says Graham

Franklin Graham continues to milk his "victimhood" for all it is worth:

"I think it is waking people up across this land," said evangelist Franklin Graham, the honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, who was disinvited from Pentagon observances because of his remarks on Islam.

"I think people realize, many Christians, how we're losing our religious freedoms a little bit every day and if we don't stand up and exercise the freedoms that God has given us in this country, we will lose them."

...

In his keynote address at the Cannon House Office Building, Graham acknowledged that people "of other faiths" might hear his message but he could only speak as a "minister of the gospel."

"I don't want to be offensive to anyone," he said, "but I only know how to pray and I only know how to preach the way that the Bible instructs me."

Graham said the nation has "committed mass murder" through abortions and "taken God out of our schools." He predicted God's judgment on the country and its citizens for not living up to divine standards.

And, interestingly, Graham also says that it was God who caused the judge to rule the National Day of Prayer as part of his plan to that more people would pay attention to it

Graham said that U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb’s decision had put the National Day of Prayer in the spotlight and prompted even more Americans to rally to the cause this year.

“God bless her,” Graham said. “I want to give her a hug and a kiss right now.”

Graham said until the ruling on the suit – filed by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion group claiming the U.S. law that authorized the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional – organizers were looking for ways to get people excited about the tradition ... “God had a plan,” Graham said. “I don’t think (Crabb) realized that God used her to accomplish his purposes.”

So the ruling that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional is evidence that Christians are losing their religious freedom ... but that ruling itself was part of God's plan?

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Religious Freedom Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Wednesday 08/31/2011, 3:17pm
In planning a ceremony to mark the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has kept a policy observed in previous years and declined to invite religious leaders to speak at the events, which a spokesman says is to make sure “the focus remains on the families.” Of course, the Religious Right is now apoplectic and using their outrage at Bloomberg as their latest fundraising tool. The Traditional Values Coalition emailed members today pleading for donations to stop Bloomberg’s attempts “to exterminate expressions of faith”... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 08/30/2011, 4:20pm
For the last several weeks, the Religious Right has been hyping allegations from Kelly Shackleford and his Liberty Institute claiming that the Department of Veterans Affairs has instituted a ban on "the use of Christian words or phrases at veterans’ funerals." Liberty Institute has even launched a website called "Don't Tear Us Down" which claims that "Jesus is not welcome at gravesides" and the campaign is receiving support from other Religious Right groups like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association. Today the New York Times took a... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 08/22/2011, 4:10pm
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has been ratcheting up his anti-gay rhetoric recently, and finding new ways to blame gays and lesbians for what he sees as society’s problems. Last month, for instance, the Air Force suspended a class on “Nuclear Ethics and Nuclear Warfare training,” after it was revealed that the class relied heavily on Christian teachings. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation objected to the class and solicited complaints from Air Force officers, who the group says were mostly “practicing Protestants and Roman Catholics.” While... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 08/17/2011, 3:31pm
Bryan Fischer has made it quite clear that he does not believe that the First Amendment applies to Muslims or any "non-Christian religions."  And that is why he can feels he can advocate for bans on immigration and service in the armed forces by Muslims as well as prohibitions on the construction of mosques in the United States. Now obviously, the idea that the First Amendment doesn't apply to non-Christians is a pretty radical one ... so much so, in fact, that Fischer's employer, the American Family Association, decided to release an official statement distancing the... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 08/05/2011, 4:02pm
Not too long ago, David Barton tweeted a link to this piece by Kelly Shackleford, suggesting that those who dare to criticize Gov. Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer rally need a "lesson in religious freedom": It seems that criticizing or opposing a public prayer rally is an attack on the religious freedom of those organizing such a rally.  Which is interesting considering that back in 2009 when a group of Muslims sought to organize a prayer rally on the National Mall, David Barton, Lou Engle, Tony Perkins, Shirley Dobson, Cindy Jacobs and others swung into action to... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/04/2011, 11:06am
Listen to this clip from the AFA radio program "Today's Issues" the other day in which Tony Perkins and Ken Blackwell, both of the Family Research Council, complain that people are calling the Tea Party activists "terrorists": Perkins: You have the comments being made by the Vice President of the United States ... and he's equating conservative members of Congress who are identified with the Tea Party as being terrorists and holding the nation hostage. Blackwell: Well, that is just consistent with the strategy of define and destroy that the Left, headed up by the... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 08/03/2011, 10:39am
Back in June when Gov. Rick Perry announced that he was hosting his massive "The Response" prayer rally and inviting all of the nation's governors to join him, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback immediately announced that he would attend.  But now, with the event only three days away, it appears as if Brownback might be having second thoughts and will no longer confirm him attendance. The event is being held at Reliant Stadium, home of the NFL's Houston Texans, which can seat 86,000 people, so obviously organizers had pretty grand plans for this event.  A spokesperson for the... MORE