Separation of Church and State

Exposing David Barton's Bunk

Today, People For the American Way released a new report entitled "Barton’s Bunk: Religious Right ‘Historian’ Hits the Big Time in Tea Party America" written by PFAW Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery that exposes David Barton's shoddy pseudo-history and why it matters: 

Barton’s growing visibility and influence with members of Congress and other Republican Party officials is troubling for many reasons: he distorts history and the Constitution for political purposes; he encourages religious divisiveness and unequal treatment for religious minorities; and he feeds a toxic political climate in which one’s political opponents are not just wrong, but evil and anti-God.

Scholars have criticized Barton for presenting facts out of context or in misleading ways, but that hasn’t stopped him from promoting his theories through books, television, and, yes, the textbooks that will teach the next generation of Americans. He promotes conspiracy theories about elites hiding the truth from average Americans in order to undermine the nation from within. Last summer, he declared that liberal and media attacks on the Tea Party were just like attacks on Jesus. In February, Barton spoke at the Connect 2011 Pastors Conference, where he said that Christians needed to control the culture and media so that “guys that have a secular viewpoint cannot survive.” Said Barton, “If the press lacks moral discrimination, it’s because we haven’t been pushing our people to chop that kind of news off.”

Barton’s work is not just an academic exercise. It is meant to have a political impact. For Barton, “documenting” the divine origins of his interpretations of the Constitution gives him and his political allies a potent weapon. Barton promotes a false reality in which anyone who opposes any element of his political agenda stands in opposition to both the Founding Fathers and to God. He believes that everything in our society – government, the judiciary, the economy, the family – should be governed according to the Bible, and he promotes a view of the Bible and Jesus that many Christians would not recognize. Opponents, even Christians, who disagree with Barton about tax policy or the powers of Congress are not only wrong, they are un-American and anti-religious, enemies of America and of God.

President Obama is a particularly frequent target of Barton’s. In January, one of his WallBuilders Live radio shows was titled “Why is Obama Trying to Remove God from the United States?” In March, right-wing “news” service WND quoted Barton accusing Obama (falsely of course) of being “engaged in a pattern of ‘willfully, deliberately’ repudiating America's Christian heritage.”

Those are the kind of accusations long favored by the Religious Right, and they are destructive. Claims that political opponents are evil and are actively trying to destroy Americans’ freedoms poison the public arena, make constructive civic discourse nearly impossible, and have the potential to incite acts of violence.

Elected officials who endorse Barton give his claims credibility they do not deserve. He in turn gives cover and a veneer of legitimacy to right-wing politicians interested in putting their notions of a nation created by and for Christians into public policy. Both Barton and his backers are undermining understanding of, and respect for, vital American values and constitutional principles like separation of church and state and equal treatment under the law.

And last night, Peter appeared on "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell to discuss Barton and his influence:

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 3/22/11

Michele Bachmann

History: New Hampshire politicians take jabs at Bachmann's history blunder (Politico, 3/17).

2012: Deep roots in conservative movement bolster her campaign prospects (TNR, 3/17).

Haley Barbour

Campaign: Expanding campaign and presence in early state (NYT, 3/22).

Mississippi: State taxpayers paid for $300,000 of his out-of-state traveling costs (Clarion Ledger, 3/21).

Foreign Affairs: Calls for reducing troop level in Afghanistan (CBS News, 3/16).

Mitch Daniels

Book: Signs book deal with conservative publisher (AP, 3/21).

2012: Wife raises doubts about potential run (Indianapolis Star, 3/20).

Newt Gingrich

New Hampshire: Schedules speeches and meetings in the Granite State (Union Leader, 3/21).

Foreign Affairs: Claims President Obama "does not even know who his enemies are" (Union Leader, 3/20).

Obama: Says President is busy on ESPN instead of handling crises (LA Times, 3/18).

Mike Huckabee

Religious Right: Says he wants world leaders to have a "biblical worldview" (RWW, 3/21). 

Anti-Choice: Lauds anti-choice leaders on Fox News show (News Hounds, 3/21).

Fox News: Favorite candidate of Fox News viewers (HuffPo, 3/18).

Sarah Palin

Foreign Affairs: Plans to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu during tour of Israel after visiting India (Forward, 3/21).

Energy: Alaska abandons much of Palin's energy agenda (NYT, 3/17).

Campaign: Top aide profiled by Los Angeles Times (LA Times, 3/16).

Ron Paul

Foreign Affairs: Slams US involvement in no-fly zone as "unconstitutional" (Raw Story, 3/21).

GOP: Wins California GOP convention straw poll (Sacramento Bee, 3/20).

Economy: Pushes elimination of the Federal Reserve (Reuters, 3/17).

Tim Pawlenty

2012: Announces formation of exploratory committee (Star Tribune, 3/21).

Campaign: Adopts Southern accent in stump speech (Minnesota Public Radio, 3/18).

Tea Party: Set to address New Hampshire Tea Party rally (Think Progress, 3/17).

Mitt Romney

Health Care: Allies downplay impact of Massachusetts health care reform law on primary (The Hill, 3/17).

Campaign: Recruits fundraisers close to former President Bush (Bloomberg, 3/17).

Donald Trump

Foreign Affairs: Brags to Fox News that he "screwed" Qaddafi on land deal (Fox News, 3/21).

New Hampshire: Scheduled to address political forum in New Hampshire (Boston Herald, 3/16).

Rick Santorum

Foreign Affairs: Derides Obama for turning the US into "the military of the UN" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3/18).

Health Care: Calls Mitt Romney's health care reform law a "failure" (The State Column, 3/18).

Religious Right: Tells far-right Catholic group that he was "appalled" by JFK's "radical" support of the separation of church and state (Boston Globe, 3/15).

Right Wing Leftovers

  • It seems like Tim Kaine is preparing to run for the Senate.
  • Governor Haley Barbour's press secretary has resigned after sending out an email joking about the Japan earthquake and former Attorney General Janet Reno.
  • On a similar note, the 91 year-old New Hampshire legislator who declared that "crazy people" should be sent to Siberia has also resigned.
  • Rick Santorum attacked Mitt Romney over healthcare and John F. Kennedy for supporting the separation of church and state.
  • Herman Cain says you never hear people talking about the fact that Planned Parenthood was started "so they could help kill black babies before they came into the world,” Really? He ought to come and work here because we hear about that every day.

Jim DeMint: A Modern Day Bonhoeffer?

The latest issue of Focus on the Family's "Citizen Magazine" features a cover story on Sen. Jim DeMint and the cost he has had to pay for standing on his Christian/Tea Party principles ... but it is a sacrifice DeMint is willing to make because "our government has never been further from the principles of freedom" and only Christians can save it:

Tea Party icon Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., is just one example of a Christian opting to stand on principle — and his faith — and paying the price in doing so.

While his fiscal conservatism is widely reported, his strong social values and Christian beliefs have proffered him not only perspective, but also courage and perseverance — rare commodities inside the Beltway.

...

DeMint said there’s always a sacrifice involved when people begin to stand for their convictions, but he said one must have courage.

“I’m afraid Christians have been intimidated with this idea of separation of church and state — which is not in our Constitution at all — and that maybe their views aren’t welcomed in the public square; that maybe expressing a value judgment about right or wrong is no longer welcomed,” he said.

“We can’t have that anymore. If a society can’t speak out about what’s right or wrong according to their religious convictions, the culture will continue to decline and those who want lower and lower standards will continue to prevail. Biblical standards have preserved our country to this point.

“People of faith are going to have to stand back up. They’re afraid to go out in the community and say what’s right and wrong and challenge the culture. When I speak to pastors today, I challenge them and say, ‘Don’t let this government make you hide within the walls of your church.’ We need leaders. If we didn’t have pastors to lead this country in the revolution, America would never be free.”

Allow me to just call attention to the title of this piece:

"The Cost of Discipleship" just so happens to be the title of a book written in 1937 by German Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was executed for opposing the Nazis.

Jim DeMint: A Modern Day Bonhoeffer?

The latest issue of Focus on the Family's "Citizen Magazine" features a cover story on Sen. Jim DeMint and the cost he has had to pay for standing on his Christian/Tea Party principles ... but it is a sacrifice DeMint is willing to make because "our government has never been further from the principles of freedom" and only Christians can save it:

Tea Party icon Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., is just one example of a Christian opting to stand on principle — and his faith — and paying the price in doing so.

While his fiscal conservatism is widely reported, his strong social values and Christian beliefs have proffered him not only perspective, but also courage and perseverance — rare commodities inside the Beltway.

...

DeMint said there’s always a sacrifice involved when people begin to stand for their convictions, but he said one must have courage.

“I’m afraid Christians have been intimidated with this idea of separation of church and state — which is not in our Constitution at all — and that maybe their views aren’t welcomed in the public square; that maybe expressing a value judgment about right or wrong is no longer welcomed,” he said.

“We can’t have that anymore. If a society can’t speak out about what’s right or wrong according to their religious convictions, the culture will continue to decline and those who want lower and lower standards will continue to prevail. Biblical standards have preserved our country to this point.

“People of faith are going to have to stand back up. They’re afraid to go out in the community and say what’s right and wrong and challenge the culture. When I speak to pastors today, I challenge them and say, ‘Don’t let this government make you hide within the walls of your church.’ We need leaders. If we didn’t have pastors to lead this country in the revolution, America would never be free.”

Allow me to just call attention to the title of this piece:

"The Cost of Discipleship" just so happens to be the title of a book written in 1937 by German Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was executed for opposing the Nazis.

Repent Amarillo Leader Running for Mayor, Wins Endorsement of Terry Jones

The fundamentalist ministry Repent Amarillo has gained notoriety for badly failing in their attempt to burn the Quran, harassing swingers, and executing Santa Claus in a firing squad. Now, the leader of the self-proclaimed “Army of God” has announced his bid for mayor of Amarillo.

David Grisham of Repent Amarillo explained his political philosophy in his announcement, stating that “if we get elected office then we take Christ with us into office. He rules over us and then we rule over people – that’s just how the government works, so as far as I’m concerned there is no separation of church and state.”

Grisham also believes that God has called him to run for mayor in order to make life easier for businesses and more difficult for “promiscuity, homosexuality and non-Christian worship”:

“The Scriptures are quite clear that the governing authorities are ministers of God, and if that is true — and we know from God’s word that it is — then it just makes sense that ministers of God should be running for office,” Repent Amarillo Director David Grisham Jr. said before filing paperwork Monday to run in the May 14 mayoral election.



Grisham said he wants to lead the city in a different direction, repealing ordinances that place design standards on downtown properties and a sign ordinance he thinks limits the freedoms of business owners.



Repent Amarillo and Grisham aim to deter promiscuity, homosexuality and non-Christian worship practices through confrontation and prayer, and their actions have sparked controversy, both locally and nationwide.

He has already won the coveted endorsement of Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who threatened to burn copies of the Quran in a bonfire to mark the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. “I’m glad to have his endorsement because he’s a brother in Christ,” Grisham said, “and that’s what’s more important to me than political implications.”

Jones believes that Grisham is simply “trying to do the right thing,” adding, “I believe he has the best interests of the city in mind.”

Repent Amarillo Leader Running for Mayor, Wins Endorsement of Terry Jones

The fundamentalist ministry Repent Amarillo has gained notoriety for badly failing in their attempt to burn the Quran, harassing swingers, and executing Santa Claus in a firing squad. Now, the leader of the self-proclaimed “Army of God” has announced his bid for mayor of Amarillo.

David Grisham of Repent Amarillo explained his political philosophy in his announcement, stating that “if we get elected office then we take Christ with us into office. He rules over us and then we rule over people – that’s just how the government works, so as far as I’m concerned there is no separation of church and state.”

Grisham also believes that God has called him to run for mayor in order to make life easier for businesses and more difficult for “promiscuity, homosexuality and non-Christian worship”:

“The Scriptures are quite clear that the governing authorities are ministers of God, and if that is true — and we know from God’s word that it is — then it just makes sense that ministers of God should be running for office,” Repent Amarillo Director David Grisham Jr. said before filing paperwork Monday to run in the May 14 mayoral election.



Grisham said he wants to lead the city in a different direction, repealing ordinances that place design standards on downtown properties and a sign ordinance he thinks limits the freedoms of business owners.



Repent Amarillo and Grisham aim to deter promiscuity, homosexuality and non-Christian worship practices through confrontation and prayer, and their actions have sparked controversy, both locally and nationwide.

He has already won the coveted endorsement of Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who threatened to burn copies of the Quran in a bonfire to mark the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. “I’m glad to have his endorsement because he’s a brother in Christ,” Grisham said, “and that’s what’s more important to me than political implications.”

Jones believes that Grisham is simply “trying to do the right thing,” adding, “I believe he has the best interests of the city in mind.”

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

Barton to Teach Two-Day Seminar for Arkansas Legislators

If Rep. Michele Bachmann believes that David Barton is qualified to teach members of Congress about the Constitution, I guess we shouldn't be surprised that the Arkansas Family Council is bringing Barton in for a two-day seminar to impart his wisdom to state legislators and government officials:

A political activist who claims America was founded on biblical principles has been invited to speak to elected officials at the state Capitol later this month.

The Christian conservative Family Council has asked David Barton to hold a seminar for state legislators and constitutional officers on Jan. 25 and 26 and has reserved the Old Supreme Court chamber on those dates, said Jerry Cox, the group's executive director.

Barton, of Aledo, Texas, is the founder of the group WallBuilders and the author of several books on American history. Cox said he has spoken with Barton and is 90 percent certain he will accept the invitation.

Barton has argued that the Founding Fathers intended for the United States to be a Christian nation and did not support the separation of church and state as the phrase is understood today. Cox said Barton will discuss his views on the proper role of government, including his belief that "helping the poor ... is primarily a function of the church," not government.

Cox said he agrees with Barton's views and wants to help educate lawmakers who will be sworn into office next week, the first week of the legislative session.

"I want to help our lawmakers understand what the role of government is and then try to keep the laws that we pass within the bounds of the proper role of government," he said.

Maybe Barton will use the seminar to encourage Arkansas legislators to regulate gay sex.

Santorum: “Democracy and freedom will disappear” under Obama

Rick Santorum continues to test the waters for a presidential run in the Republican primary, now with a fresh profile in today’s Washington Post. While candidacies from Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Mike Pence may leave little room for Santorum to campaign as the Religious Right’s favored contender, he seems to be doing everything right to play to his social conservative base: denouncing John F. Kennedy’s famous speech on the separation of church and state, campaigning against Iowa Supreme Court justices, donating to Republicans in early primary states through his leadership PAC, and declaring himself the only Tea Party presidential aspirant. And of course, nothing riles the right wing base more than ominous rhetoric about President Obama:

Santorum still breathes fire. In his evolving stump speech, he frames the prospect of Obama's reelection in near-apocalyptic terms: "Democracy and freedom will disappear." His agenda consists of stopping pretty much everything that has been set in motion in the past two years, starting with the overhaul of the nation's health-care system.

After losing his 2006 reelection bid for Senate by a lopsided 59% to 41% margin, Santorum hopes that Republican voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina are much kinder:

"I'm feeling like doors are opening," the Republican former senator from Pennsylvania mused over his decaf. "Things are happening that maybe give me the impression that maybe I need to look at this seriously."

So seriously that Santorum was on his seventh trip to New Hampshire since April. Not to mention seven to Iowa over the past 14 months and seven to South Carolina in that time.

It had been a busy day: morning meetings with influential New Hampshire Republicans and grass-roots leaders, a luncheon with the Manchester Rotary Club, a dash to the seacoast for a private audience with former governor John Sununu, a dinner with GOP activist Claira Monier, then a question-and-answer session with the Goffstown-Weare Republican Committee.

Santorum had yet another meeting that evening back at his hotel. Before heading home the next day, he would get in an early-morning speech to a second Rotary chapter, a round of media interviews, more face time with GOP activists. Oh, and he'd make it to Mass at a nearby church.

This is what the embryonic days of a long-shot presidential campaign look like.

"If someone gets in the race that I feel really comfortable could do the things that need to be done - both winning and governing - then maybe this is a chance to say, 'Let this cup pass,' " Santorum said. "At this point, given what I see out there, I'm not feeling that."

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 12/07/10

Newt Gingrich

2012: Cillizza profiles Gingrich’s closest aides as he readies possible bid (The Fix, 12/6).

Iowa: Gingrich’s “American Solutions” donated $107,500 to Iowa politicians and state GOP (US News, 12/3).

Immigration: Voices support for immigration reform to conservative Latino convention (Politico, 12/2).

Mike Huckabee

2012: Seriously considers bid as Iowa and South Carolina polls look favorable to candidacy (Politico, 12/6).

Religious Right: Defends FRC from “hate group” label, asks if “60 percent of America is a hate group?” (Walton Sun, 12/5).

Book: New book tour seems like a “dry run for presidency” (Fresno Bee, 12/2).

Sarah Palin

GOP: Declines Tea Party Nation’s draft campaign to have Palin run for RNC Chair (CNN, 12/6).

Reality TV: TV career takes off as the latest episode of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” features Reality TV star Kate Gosselin (Forbes, 12/6).

Religious Right: Kathleen Kennedy Townsend writes op-ed challenging Palin’s views on church-state separation (WaPo, 12/3).

Tim Pawlenty

Book: AP looks into the ghostwriter of Pawlenty’s book “Courage to Stand” (AP, 12/7).

Experience: Defends record as governor, calling himself a stalwart conservative in a progressive state (Politico, 12/5).

PAC: Pawlenty’s Freedom First PAC spent over $300,000 in last weeks before election (CNN, 12/2).

Mitt Romney

Business: Set to address small business convention in Las Vegas (RCP, 12/6).

Foreign Affairs: Pens op-ed criticizing START Treaty (Boston Globe, 12/3).

FOX: Tells Jay Leno that Fox News job is “not in the cards” (The Cutline, 12/2).

Rick Santorum

PAC: Santorum’s Keystone PAC focused on helping candidates in Iowa and South Carolina (CNN, 12/6).

South Carolina: Speaks to GOP county organizations, including a roast for retiring congressmen (Post & Courier, 12/6).

Religious Right: Plans to make another speech criticizing Kennedy’s views of separation of church and state (The Hill, 12/5).

Censorship-Advocate Bill Donohue’s History of Right Wing Demagoguery

Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League, with allies such as House Republican leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor and Fox News commentator Glenn Beck, succeeded in their multi-pronged attack to censor the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery’s “Hide/Seek” exhibit. They called on the Smithsonian to censor the work of artist David Wojnarowicz, whose work was meant “to depict the suffering of an AIDS victim” (side note: today is World AIDS Day). Even though the exhibit is completely supported by private funding, right wing leaders misleadingly portrayed “Hide/Seek” as a taxpayer funded exhibit. Donohue blasted the exhibit as “anti-Christian,” and ultimately the Smithsonian agreed to remove Wojnarowicz’s video.

Wojnarowicz is not the first target of Donohue’s fear-mongering, and he certainly won’t be Donohue’s last.

Right Wing Watch monitors Donohue’s extremism, and compiled some of his most extreme views on politics, religion, and the separation of church and state, in Bill Donohue: In His Own Words:

On Child Molestation

  • In response to then-Congressman Mark Foley’s efforts to defend his abusive conduct as having been molested by his priest as a child, he said “Most 15-year-old teenage boys wouldn’t allow themselves to be molested” and asked then-Congressman Mark Foley, “So why did you?
  • “Why did this young man not object earlier? Why did he allow the ‘abuse’ to continue until he was 18? The use of the quotes is deliberate: the charge against the former priest is not rape, but rubbing. While still objectionable, there is a glacial difference between being rubbed and raped.”
  • “No institution, religious or secular, has less of a problem with the issue of sexual abuse today than the Catholic Church.”

On Holidays

  • “There is something sick about Friendship Trees, Winter Solstice Concerts, Holiday Parades and Holly Day Festivals. The neutering of Christmas extends to the banishment of Nativity Scenes from the public square, the expulsion of baby Jesus from crèches not otherwise forbidden, the banning of red and green at school functions, the censoring of “Silent Night” at municipal concerts, etc…. By celebrating Christmas we are celebrating diversity. Don’t let the cultural fascists get their way this year.”
  • Cultural fascists invoke ‘diversity’ every December as cover for neutering Christmas—they never choose some other month to practice their multicultural religion. And by the way, who are these people from other religions who hate Christmas? I never met one. It would be more accurate to say that it’s precisely the persons who make this charge who hate Christmas.”

On Jews

  • “Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It‘s not a secret, OK? And I‘m not afraid to say it.
  • “None of the media distortions of this issue excuses those in the Jewish community who have lashed out at the pope. They should know better. Is their commitment to good relations with Catholics so thin that it can wither because of something like this? We certainly hope not.”

On “Jokes”

  • “I dealt with him earlier today on an MSNBC show, and I said we could hypothesize that there’d be a Columbia University pingpong team made of Asians, and somebody goes out there and says, ‘All gooks go home’….What about the gook jokes? I want to know, why don't you have a sense of humor about gook jokes?”

On Censorship

  • Led a campaign against Phillip Pullman’s books and the Golden Compass movie: "It's selling the virtues of atheism. The real person we want to get on this is Pullman. I don't want to see these books flying off the shelves at Christmas. I want them to be collecting dust."
  • Opposed Obama speaking at Notre Dame, saying the university’s president was “bestowing an honor on someone who supports selective infanticide”

On Progressives and Progressive Christians

  • “We need more, not fewer, Catholics on the Supreme Court. But not of the Ted Kennedy kind. We need more loyal sons and daughters.”
  • Called the director of Catholics for Choice “the biggest anti-Catholic bigot in the nation”
  • On Obama’s Catholic National Advisory Council, he said “If these are the best ‘committed Catholic leaders, scholars and advocates’ Obama can find, then it is evident that he has a ‘Wright’ problem when it comes to picking Catholic advisors.”
  • Regarding progressive Catholics, he said “it’s unfortunate that we have these people, I regard them as termites.”
  • Maintained that progressive Christians and “pro-abortion Nuns” are “no more Christian than the man in the moon.”
  • Referring to progressives, believes “today we are stuck with people who are cultural nihilists, they want to annihilate our society. They are intellectually and spiritually and morally bankrupt.”
  • “Indeed, the signature appetite of the left has always been power. Now, they are running up against the American people.”

On Obama

  • Compared Obama to leaders of the Soviet Union.

On Gays and Lesbians

  • “The idea of two men marrying is so bizarre and so anti-marriage that it is a great tribute to the American people that they continue to respect the right of gays to participate in American life without harassment while simultaneously rejecting the extremist gay agenda.”
  • “Their goal is not to contest the First Amendment rights of Catholics and others—their goal is to put religion on trial. What they are saying is that religious-based reasons for rejecting gay marriage are irrational, and thus do not meet the test of promoting a legitimate state interest.”
  • “We’re not going to allow gay people to adopt children, that’s against nature, it’s against nature’s god”
  • “They say we had a pedophilia problem, it’s been a homosexual problem all along.”
  • “The Times continues to editorialize about the ‘pedophilia crisis,’ when all along it’s been a homosexual crisis. Eighty percent of the victims of priestly sexual abuse are male and most of them are post-pubescent. While homosexuality does not cause predatory behavior, and most gay priests are not molesters, most of the molesters have been gay.
  • “Name for me a book publishing company in this country, particularly in New York, which would allow you to publish a book which would tell the truth about the gay death style.”
  • “Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism.”

ADF Tried to Blame ACLU, AU for Its Unpopular Proposal

A few weeks back we took note of the on-going the controversy in King, North Carolina over the presence of a Christian flag that had been flying at a veteran's memorial in the city's Central Park.

City officials removed the flag as they tried to work out a constitutionally acceptable policy with the help of the Alliance Defense Fund.  The proposed solution that they hit upon is to create a lottery through which residents can request to fly any flag approved by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs at one week intervals. 

But, of course, the idea of allowing a non-Christian flag to fly at the memorial is simply unacceptable to some: 

Carlton McKinney, a Vietnam veteran who lives just outside of King, asked whether people who bought tiles to help pay for the Veteran’s Memorial can pull up those tiles if a religious flag is flown at the memorial that they object to.

“I don’t feel right having a brick there representing me and having another flag that’s not a Christian flag,” McKinney said.

Local residents clearly are not happy wtih the proposal and Joe Infranco, the ADF attorney assisting the town, responded by blaming the entire thing on the ACLU and Americans United:

“It is certain that not everyone will be happy about this,” Infranco said. “But the policy complies with the legal guidelines and will not assist your enemies if they filed a lawsuit.”

...

“I understand how angry you are,” Infranco said last night. “I think it is important that your anger be focused in the right direction.”

He repeatedly said that if city officials allowed the Christian flag to remain at the monument, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State would sue the city and could probably win the lawsuit.

Then those groups would collect attorney fees from the city taxpayers, Infranco said.

Of course, those groups would win the lawsuit and collect fees because they are right and the current policy is unconstitutional. 

But instead of simply informing the residents of King of that, Infranco tried to place the blame for the situation entirely on the ACLU and AU. 

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Rick Santorum says none of the possible 2012 candidates can call themselves Tea Party candidates ... except himself, of course.
  • I'm curious: is Jaime Herrera going to be the first homeschooled member of Congress?
  • Looks like Rep. Michele Bachmann's leadership bid is failing.
  • Since when is Rick Scarborough considered a "California pastor"? Last time I checked, he was located in Texas.
  • The Utah chapter of the Eagle Forum sure is powerful.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Cape Coral , FL mayor John Sullivan on his effort to place the Ten Commandments inside a government building: “I don’t want to do this in a hap hazard way or open up a can of worms, but I think it is a good idea. I don’t see this as separation of church and state. Our laws were built on the Ten Commandments."

Christ The King: No Compromise Over Christian Flag In North Carolina

For months now, controversy has been raging in the town of King, North Carolina ever since a local veteran objected to the fact that a Christian flag was being flown at a veteran's memorial in the city's Central Park.

City officials eventually received letters from both the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and decided to remove the flag until they could work out a policy that was constitutional with the help of the Alliance Defense Fund.

And the decision to remove the flag in the interim set off protests

Many of the marchers’ T-shirts simply read, “Put our flag back.” Waving U.S. and Christian flags, and singing “Amazing Grace,” more than 5,000 people marched and rallied in the city of King yesterday morning to tell its city council to return the Christian flag to the Veteran’s Memorial in Central Park.

“The council didn’t get the opinions of the town of King and Stokes County,” said Pamela Swain Deszern, of Rural Hall, formerly of King. “This community stands together to support the Christian flag. It stands for God, peace, love, purity and the blood of Jesus.”

Working with the ADF, city officials finally came up with a policy last week that they felt was a fair and constitutional compromise: 

An attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund said that the city’s plan for returning the Christian flag to the Veteran’s Memorial is a fair compromise.

...

The King City Council approved a policy Monday night that eventually would allow a Christian flag to fly again at a memorial at the city’s Central Park as a part of a limited public display of religious flags recognized by the U.S. military.

Members of the Army Chaplain Corps wear four symbols on their uniforms — the Christian cross, the Jewish tablets and Star of David, the Buddhist dharma-chakra and the Muslim crescent, said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a spokesman for the U.S. Army.

There are also 41 religious symbols that can be placed on grave markers at Arlington National Cemetery.

The city’s new policy will lay out which flags and symbols would be displayed at the memorial.

But, of course, the idea of allowing any non-Christian flag to fly is simply unacceptable:

A group formed to return the Christian flag to the King Veteran’s Memorial may file a complaint against the city to protest a policy that would allow additional flags to be displayed at the site.

...

Many of the foundation’s members are concerned that the city may allow religious flags such as the Muslim Crescent and Star flag, the satanic flag and Wiccan flag, all of which are recognized by the U.S. military, to be flown at the memorial, James said.

“There is room for expansion for this memorial,” [said Stephen James of King, an organizer of King Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Foundation.] “No one has asked for another flag to be put up there. But someone asked for our flag to be taken down.”

Under the compromise proposal, flags would fly one at a time on a rotating basis ... and so, as Americans United reports, Christian activists are working on a plan to completely monopolize the process for years to come:

This plan was revealed on the Facebook page, Christian Flag-King. The page serves to “educate, inform and update the King community and supporters to restore and keep the Christian flag flying at the Veteran’s Memorial in Central Park.” It has more than 4,000 members.

On Nov. 4, Christian Flag-King reposted a comment from Pastor Kevin Broyhill, who explained how the city can keep its sectarian bias in place. He wrote:

“The city will set the stipulations of who can fly a flag in honor of their loved one who has served in the Armed Forces. That is where the word ‘limited’ comes in. It restricts who can participate which will eliminate outsiders from taking over the pole. The idea is for Christians to fill up the reservation list and tie up the pole for years to come. This will ensure that the Christian Flag keeps flying. Calvary [Baptist Church] will buy several Christian Flags for people to use so that everyone doesn’t have to buy their own flag. We’ll even put it up for you!”

2010 Right Wing Candidates Weekly Update 10/27

Sharron Angle

Ad: Controversy over latest anti-immigration ad, Latino groups call it “one of the ugliest anti-illegal immigrants ad campaigns in history” (AP, 10/26).

Voting: Accuses Reid camp of trying to “steal” the election (Politico, 10/26).

Campaign: Stopped paying her staff in latest FEC filing (HuffPo, 10/25).

Outside groups: Pro-GOP groups outspend Democrats 2:1 in Nevada (AP, 10/23).

Ken Buck

Religious Right: Denies existence of separation of church and state (Think Progress, 10/26).

Women: Mother Jones investigates Buck’s handling of the rape case (Mother Jones, 10/26).

Ad: PFAW releases new ad on Buck’s corporate backers (PFAW, 10/25).
 

Joe Miller

Background: Records show Miller’s unethical, dishonest behavior at job (WSJ, 10/26).

Gay rights: Miller gives confusing, contradictory interview to Rachel Maddow about gay rights and federalism (HuffPo, 10/26).

Palin: Rally keynoted by Palin will feature Mike Huckabee, Jim DeMint and Michele Bachmann (Politico, 10/26).

Media: Avoids press other than Fox News (CBS News, 10/21).

Christine O’Donnell

Poll: Trails Coons, especially among self-described moderates (Miami Herald, 10/27).

Constitution: Hammered for not knowing what’s in the 14th Amendment (Politico, 10/27).

Tea Party: Tea Party Express bus tour coming to Delaware (The News Journal, 10/27).

Rand Paul

Campaign: Paul campaign coordinator charged with assault, demands apology from woman he attacked (Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/27; TPM, 10/27).

Health Care: Wants to repeal the “Patient’s Bill of Rights” (The Hill, 10/26).

GOP: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell embraces Paul after opposing him in the primary (Politico, 10/26).

Pat Toomey

Government: Can’t name any programs beside “study abroad” he would cut (Think Progress, 10/26).

Poll: Tied with Sestak in Reuters/Ipsos poll (TPM, 10/26).

Outside groups: Club for Growth pledges to spend an additional $1 million to boost Toomey (WSJ, 10/21).

Right Wing Round-Up

Janet Porter Prays For Control Of the Government

Earlier this year, Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter lost her radio program due to her ties to Dominionists like Cindy Jacobs.  For months, Porter had been adopting the Dominionist agenda, speaking at conferences with Jacobs and praying for Christians to gain control over the media and making Seven Mountains/Dominionist theology the organizing premise behind her May Day prayer rally at the Lincoln Memorial. The rally was the final straw, leading VCY America to drop her show and Porter to more or less disappear. 

But, as we noted in July, Porter had not backed away from Dominionism as a result - in fact, she had only gotten more involved and had aligned herself even more closely with Jacobs, speaking at "Deborah Company" event in Arizona this summer.

Well, I've managed to find footage of the event and here is Jacobs talking about how great it is to be a Prophet and a Mother of Nations:

God has called us to be mothers of nations. A mother of nations has her eyes open. I get up in the morning and I just radar that day. I am just looking for God to do something through me. I get up in the morning and I say "God, where's my harvest, what is my mission, what am I supposed to do? Bring people across my path."

I begin to draw people to me in intercessory prayer. I call them across my path. I call my harvest, the harvest that God has made ready. And no matter how hard-hearted they may seem, I know if they are sitting next to me on an airplane, they are my harvest.

And God just gave me that sure word because I believe that in the End Times, God will pour his spirit upon me and that I walk a supernatural path and that wherever I go, there is destiny about to happen. I'm aware of it. I may not say this to anyone, but I'm aware every place I go, everything I'm doing, every situation, I am watching. I never stop watching. Whether I'm in a store, I mean, it's wonderful to be a prophet and go into a store.

You see, it's easy because I believe that God has poured his spirit out upon me. You understand this? Because he has done that, every place and every moment that I have in my life, there's a divine encounter waiting to happen.

Later, Jacobs asks Porter to pray that Christians gain control of the mountain of government, which she eagerly does:

Father we call forth godly leaders at every single level of government. We call them forth right now to run for the city councils and county commissions, to run for office and be a public servant in the state house, to be mayors, to be governors, to be congressmen, to be senators. Even in the Executive Branch we call forth godly leaders. And we decree that they will come forth.

And Father I ask you now to release a spirit of repentance, a conviction over this country for the choices we've made, a conviction over the choices that have been made across the globe. That this conviction is will be come to our knees, that we will humble ourselves, that you will hear from Heaven, that you will forgive our sins and you'll heal our land.

Father, I call forth resources. As we saw in the state of Maine just a few days ago that Maine became the thirty-first state - 31 out of 31 - to protect marriage between one man and one woman. And we just call forth the other twenty-nice, we just call forth all fifty sates, we call forth the other countries who will stand for God's institution. Not on our watch.

And Father we call forth in this time, in this generation, the end of the slaughter of the innocent. Through the legislation, through the ballot initiatives, through the judicial branch, we decree that judicial tyranny is a thing of the past, that is must stop, it was called, it is checked, it can no longer rule this nation.

And on our watch Father, in this generation we cry that the criminalization of Christianity will not take place, that we will see freedom to proclaim your truth and your gospel in this land and across the seas. Father, that we will be again an exporter of the gospel and a proclaimer of the truth.

And Father this lie of the so-called separation of church and state, that isn't in our Constitution but that of the former Soviet Union. We break down the deception, the lie, that has kept the church in the pew. They will come out, they will be a voice in government and they will no longer remain silent.

We decree that God with godly leaders will reign and rule. That they will no longer fear men, but they will fear God. And they will proclaim the gospel in the highest office in this land. We call forth Damascus road experiences to to those who occupy and if they will not turn, we call forth for their replacement.

We shut the door that no man can open and we open the doors that no men can close in the name above all names, the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Let me just point out that this woman served as co-chair of Mike Huckabee's Faith and Family Values Coalition and regularly had Republican members of Congress on her radio program before it was canceled.

2010 Right Wing Candidates Weekly Update 10/20

Sharron Angle

Terrorism: Angle refuses to apologize to Canadian Ambassador who condemned Angle for saying that terrorists are crossing into the US from Canada (AP, 10/19).

Latinos: Says that Latino students, and herself, look Asian (NYDN, 10/19).

Ad: Claims that Harry Reid is in “the conga line” with Michelle Obama (Slate, 10/19).

Fundraising: Spent over $5 million on fundraising (Salon, 10/18).

Palin: MissesTea Party Express kickoff with Palin, who praises Angle and slams Reid (Nevada News Bureau, 10/18).

Ken Buck

Religious Right: Claims that homosexuality, “like alcoholism,” is a choice (KDVR, 10/19).

Poll: New data shows Buck losing lead, in dead heat with Bennet (HuffPo, 10/19).

Women: Stands by comparison of rape allegation to “buyers remorse (Daily Kos, 10/18).

Carly Fiorina

Religious Right: Courage Campaign asks Fiorina to refuse support from National Organization for Marriage in internet ad (YubaNet, 10/19).

Government: Can’t name spending programs she would cut (LA Times, 10/18).

Palin: Skips rally with Sarah Palin and Michael Steele (NYT, 10/17).

Experience: Fortune magazine exposes Fiorina’s failed record running Lucent Technology (Fortune, 10/15).

Ad: Boxer hits Fiorina for backing Palin, offshore drilling, and repeal of assault weapon ban (Boxer, 10/15).

Joe Miller

GOP: NRSC spends $162,000 on ads to help Miller (WaPo, 10/19).

Ethics: Admits he broke ethics rules while working for Fairbanks; judge set to rule on disclosing more information (ADN, 10/19).

Security: Miller’s security firm under investigation for arresting reporter (Alaska Dispatch, 10/19).

Immigration: Cites East Germany as a success in wall-building (Mediaite, 10/19).

Debate: Skips debate with McAdams and Murkowski (ADN, 10/18).

Christine O’Donnell

Constitution: Questions Separation of Church and State, stumped on the content of 14th and 16th Amendments (ThinkProgress, 10/19).

Taxes: Chris Coons claims that O’Donnell can’t prove assertion that the Democrat wants a $10,000 tax increase (News Journal, 10/19).

Media: Jeffrey Shaffer looks into “Christine O'Donnell and the rise of cable TV politics” (Christian Science Monitor, 10/19).

Rand Paul

Poll: Democratic poll shows Paul trailing Conway by 2% (WaPo, 10/19).

Debate: Heated debate with Jack Conway, might back out of next one (McClatchy, 10/18).

Religion: Conway ad on “Aqua Buddha” spurs debate on religion (NYT, 10/18).

Marco Rubio

Debate: Crist dubs Rubio an “extreme right-wing candidate” in debate (Miami Herald, 10/19).

Outside groups: American Crossroads spends big to back Rubio (The Ledger, 10/18).

Palin: Campaigns with Sarah Palin and Michael Steele on Saturday (Politico, 10/18).

Pat Toomey

Outside groups: Club for Growth, formerly led by Toomey, set to expand pro-Toomey ad campaign (Washington Independent, 10/19).

Tea Party: AP looks into how Toomey won backing from both the tea party and GOP establishment (AP, 10/19).

Poll: Loses lead, now in dead heat with Joe Sestak (LA Times, 10/19).

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Separation of Church and State Posts Archive

Peter Montgomery, Tuesday 03/19/2013, 12:04pm
The ongoing campaign by the Religious Right and its conservative Catholic allies to redefine religious liberty in America – which has been covered extensively by PFAW and Right Wing Watch – is the focus of a new report released on Monday by Political Research Associates, a think tank that also monitors right-wing organizations. “Redefining Religious Liberty: The Covert Campaign Against Civil Rights,” was written by Jay Michaelson, who published a condensed version in the Daily Beast. Michaelson’s report reviews the organizational players and the strategies they... MORE
Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 10/10/2012, 2:38pm
 Religious right leaders spent months promoting “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” and signing up pastors who would agree to endorse or denounce candidates from the pulpit.  On Sunday, Harry Jackson showed us how it’s done, unleashing a diatribe explaining why he could not vote for Barack Obama.  Warning that a vote for Obama would be a vote to bring “divine vengeance” on America, Jackson had particularly blunt words for Black Christians. Listen to me Black Christian. You are foolish enough to vote against the God that brought you out of slavery, the God... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 07/30/2012, 11:30am
A number of prominent women leaders of the Religious Right have come together for the American Prayer Initiative, which is “designed to help draw ‘we the people’ of this nation back to the One upon whom she was founded.’ The group includes the National Day of Prayer’s Shirley Dobson and Vonette Bright, talk show host Janet Parshall, Liberty Counsel’s Anita Staver, Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance, Susan B. Anthony List’s Marilyn Musgrave, activist Rebecca Hagelin and Susan Allen, wife of Virginia’s George Allen. The group offers... MORE
Miranda Blue, Wednesday 03/21/2012, 11:05am
Former Indiana Rep. John Hostettler lamented yesterday that the “church has extracted itself from government,” creating a vacuum filled by “those adversarial to biblical truth.” Hostettler, talking with Truth in Action Ministries’ Carmen Pate on the organization’s radio program, agreed with Pate that the education system is controlled by “those who really don’t want our kids to understand what the Constitution has to say” – namely, as Hostettler, puts it, that “government is an institution that is not just a God-centered one,... MORE
Brian Tashman, Sunday 03/18/2012, 10:40pm
Greenwell Springs Baptist Church pastor Dennis Terry introduced presidential candidate Rick Santorum and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins tonight in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with a rousing speech railing against liberals and non-Christians and condemning abortion rights, "sexual perversion," same-sex marriage and secular government. Terry said that America "was founded as a Christian nation" and those that disagree with him should "get out! We don't worship Buddha, we don't worship Mohammad, we don't worship Allah!" Terry, who has a long history of... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 03/01/2012, 6:30pm
Cindy Jacobs and her husband Mike on God Knows discussed a recent meeting they had with right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton where they agreed that problems such as “teen suicide, rape, murder [and] assault” are a result of a 1962 Supreme Court decision barring school-organized prayer. Claims that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Engel v. Vitale is responsible for America’s cultural and moral decline are commonplace in the Religious Right, and Barton even started his career by blaming the decision for a decline in SAT scores. According to Cindy Jacobs, public... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 02/29/2012, 4:35pm
Rick Green of WallBuilders today appeared on Truth that Transforms with Carmen Pate and John Rabe where he claimed that the separation of church and state is the “exact opposite” of what the Founders wanted. He went on to claim that the separation of church and state is simply a tool to move the country “towards socialism and communism” and is responsible for increases in out-of-wedlock births and crime. Of course, this should come as no surprise as Green and WallBuilders president David Barton have made careers out of mischaracterizing church-state separation and... MORE