Separation of Church and State

Marriage Equality Opponent: Real Jews Don't Wear Rainbow Yarmulkes

Pastor Joseph Mattera is one of the most outspoken opponents of marriage equality legislation in New York, and has condemned gays and lesbians for, among other things, their supposed ties to Nazism and lack of concern for the poor. Reacting to dueling rallies in Albany between the bill’s supporters and detractors, Mattera blasted religious leaders who support marriage equality and cast doubt on their religiosity. He even criticized one “supposed rabbi” for wearing “a rainbow Yakama [sic].”

In anticipation of the state Senate's vote, various groups held rallies Monday -- one side requesting the "separation of church and state," while the other chanted, "God says no!" Joseph Mattera, overseeing bishop of Resurrection Church in New York, tells OneNewsNow many of those who support same-sex marriage were irreverent and antagonistic toward the Christian faith.

"The other side was very belligerent. There were ministers, there were people dressed in Catholic garb, and there were supposed rabbis -- at least one with a rainbow Yakama," Bishop Mattera accounts. "So they tried to bring out so-called 'clergy' who were in favor of what they call 'marriage equality.'"

Perkins: Separation Of Church And State Is Provoking God's Judgment On America

Family Research Center president Tony Perkins joined James Robison on Life Today to discuss the dire consequences of the separation of Church and State that has allowed the “unrighteous” to rule. Perkins and Robison, who was Mike Huckabee’s mentor and recently addressed FRC’s Watchmen on the Wall summit, both agreed that God will judge America for not voting for politicians aligned with the Religious Right.

Watch:

Minnesota Republican Candidate For Senate Rejects Separation Of Church And State

The first announced Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Minnesota doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state. According to the Associated Press, former state representative Dan Severson will announce later today that he is challenging Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar in the state Capitol after running unsuccessfully for Secretary of State in 2010. During his race for Secretary of State, Severson told religious broadcaster Brad Brandon of Word of Truth Radio that the separation of church and state “just does not exist.”

Andy Birkey of The Minnesota Independent reports:

“Quite often you hear people say, ‘What about separation of church and state?’ There is no such thing,” Severson told Brandon. “I mean it just does not exist, and it does not exist in America for a purpose, because we are a Christian nation.”

He continued, “We are a nation based on Christian principles and ideals, and those are the things that guarantee our liberties. It is one of those things that is so fundamental to the freedoms that we have that when you begin to restrict our belief and our attestation to our Christian values you begin to restrict our liberties.”

He added, “You simply cannot continue a nation as America without that Christian base of liberty.”

Severson says voters must know his position on the matter.

“Look, this is what I stand for. If you don’t like that, don’t vote for me, and then the majority of the people will have their voice heard,” he said. “It’s wrong for politicians to do one thing on the campaign trail to get the vote and do exactly the opposite once they get to office. To me that is an impeachable offense.”

Scott Walker’s Latest Pro-Voucher Gambit Exposes Dishonesty Of The Voucher Movement

Private school voucher advocates and their allies in the so-called “education reform” movement readily talk about the need for rigorous, constant testing along with the application of free market principles to education: reward high-performing schools and teachers and punish bad ones.

Over the last decade, Milwaukee has been a laboratory for private school vouchers, and the results have been poor: numerous studies have shown that vouchers failed to make any difference in student performance. Just like in Washington, DC and Cleveland, private school vouchers in Milwaukee failed to produce the gains their supporters promised as students, with students in the Milwaukee voucher program actually performing worse than comparable public school students.

But now Republican Gov. Scott Walker wants to expand the ineffective voucher program while cutting funds to public schools. And so much for the emphasis on testing -- voucher students will now be exempted from the tests that revealed the program’s failure.

The Wausau Daily Herald reports:

Milwaukee’s voucher school program would be expanded under a Republican-backed bill expected to pass the state Assembly on Tuesday.



State Superintendent Tony Evers has questioned expanding the voucher program at the same time Walker is proposing cutting public school aid by more than $800 million over the next two years.



Walker is also proposing eliminating in his budget that voucher students take the same statewide achievement tests that public school students must take.

This year, results were released for the first time comparing public school and voucher students. They showed voucher students lagging behind their peers in public schools.

That’s right, even though voucher students are “lagging behind their peers in public schools,” voucher programs are being rewarded with expansion while public schools are punished with cuts. With little care for accountability and testing, this move by Walker and the Wisconsin GOP demonstrates how the push for private school vouchers is really about the Right’s ideological war against public education.

The pro-voucher American Federation for Children is even launching an ad campaign to defend Wisconsin Republicans facing recall votes, and recently hosted an event where they honored Walker for his voucher advocacy. AFC was founded and funded by Betsy Devos, a Religious Right activist and wife of Dick Devos, the son of the founder of Amway and an unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor of Michigan. Today, AFC is one of the most aggressive pro-voucher groups, and aims to fully privatize public education.

Through their advocacy for private school vouchers, the Devos family merged their anti-union and anti-public school beliefs with their mission to chip away at the separation of church and state. The Devos family is a key benefactor of Religious Right groups across the country, financing major social conservative organizations like Focus on the Family and the Council for National Policy, and provided almost the entire funding for Maggie Gallagher’s Institute for Marriage and Public Policy.

With Scott Walker admitting that the private school voucher movement’s emphasis on testing, results and accountability is hogwash, it is abundantly clear what the real goal is: privatizing public education.

Fact Checking Barton Part I: Texas Textbooks

With no academic credentials as a historian, David Barton toldThe Daily Show host Jon Stewart that his involvement in editing textbooks around the country was proof that he is a respected and esteemed historian. However, his work with textbooks if anything reveals his blatant partisanship and pseudo-scholarship.

As Mariah Blake writes in The Washington Monthly, Barton’s Christian nation mythology was indeed just one aspect of his role shaping the Texas textbooks as a consultant for the Texas School Board. Barton wanted to give a positive spin to Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist politics and “purge the standards of key figures of the civil rights era, such as César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall.” As Blake writes, Barton tried to diminish the work of civil rights leaders like Martin Luther Ling Jr. by arguing “that they shouldn’t be given credit for advancing the rights of minorities. As Barton put it, ‘Only majorities can expand political rights in America’s constitutional society.’ Ergo, any rights people of color have were handed to them by whites—in his view, mostly white Republican men.”

Barton, who was once vice-chair of the Texas GOP and a paid surrogate of the Republican National Committee, tirelessly works to convince black audiences that they should vote for Republicans and oppose the Democratic Party because the GOP is responsible for black civil rights.

But Barton’s claims that he writes about more than just America as a “Christian nation” shouldn’t distract from the reason Texas School Board members invited Barton to edit their textbooks in the first place. In fact, then-Texas School Board member Cynthia Dunbar admitted that it was the board’s goal to promote religion through the state’s textbooks to counteract “a Biblically illiterate society,” and another ex-member Don McLeroy said that it was his job at the School Board to fight “secular humanists” because “we are a Christian nation founded on Christian principles” and “the way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel.”

Barton also told Jon Stewart that he was used to help write textbooks in other states, namely California. However, this is quite an exaggeration. Rob Boston writes that while Barton was invited by a conservative to advise California in its development of textbooks, his proposals went nowhere:

In 1998, a conservative member of the California Academic Standards Commission appointed Barton to an advisory position, asking the Texan to critique proposed social studies/history standards. From that perch, Barton attacked the portion of the standards that discussed the development of religious freedom, trying to remove every reference to separation of church and state.

He almost pulled it off. Commission members, unfamiliar with Barton’s agenda, seemed open to adopting his suggestions. They changed course only after intervention by Americans United’s Sacramento Chapter, AU’s national office and others.

Chris Rodda of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation notes that this isn’t the only time Barton embellished his work with other states, as he also worked with Michele Bachmann when she was a Minnesota state legislator to ensure that schools display the Declaration of Independence.

Such a record of exaggeration demonstrates why real historians, including Christian historians, who have followed David Barton have repeatedly criticized and dismissed his faulty “scholarship.”

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."
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Separation of Church and State Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/29/2013, 10:56am
On this week's "Hagee Hotline," Matthew Hagee responded to a question from a viewer about how she should respond to people who support the separation of church and state by telling her that such people will ultimately have to answer to God for believing this deception. Claiming that the government uses the idea of separation of church and state to discourage Christians from getting involved in politics, Hagee said that one's faith must determine how they vote. "As a Bible-believer," Hagee counseled, "you should never vote for someone who is pro-abortion.... MORE
Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 07/17/2013, 10:02am
Senators and presidential hopefuls Rand Paul and Ted Cruz will head to Iowa this week as featured speakers at a closed-door event for conservative pastors that has been organized by David Lane, an anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Mormon, Christian-nation absolutist who has declared war, not only on secularism and separation of church and state, but also on establishment Republicans who don’t embrace his vision of an America in which the Bible serves as “the principle textbook” for public education and a “Christian culture” has been “re-established.” He... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 07/02/2013, 4:15pm
On Wallbuilders Live today, David Barton and Rick Green hosted Baptist pastor Danny Holliday, who was active in the campaign to block marriage equality legislation in the Illinois legislature. Green kicked off the show by comparing Holliday’s anti-gay activism to John Adams’ push for the adoption of the Declaration of Independence: “He was like John Adams at the Continental Congress, the guy behind the scenes that was working day and night to make sure we got the Declaration of Independence.” Barton also wanted people to know that there is nothing “gay”... MORE
Peter Montgomery, Friday 06/28/2013, 10:46am
Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims, an openly gay legislator, was blocked from speaking on the floor of the state House on Wednesday by a colleague who believed Sims’ plans to speak about the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage decision would be in "open rebellion against God’s law.” According to WHYY, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe raised a procedural objection to stop Sims from speaking during a part of the House session in which legislators often give wide-ranging remarks. "I did not believe that as a member of that body that I should allow someone to make comments such as he... MORE
Peter Montgomery, Friday 06/28/2013, 10:34am
Viewers who hear plenty of right-wing religious voices on cable TV might be surprised to know that the biggest problem facing America in the minds of many Religious Right leaders is that conservative preachers aren’t being sufficiently political or aggressive.  That gripe is a major theme at Religious Right gatherings, and is repeated in a new Charisma article by radio host Michael Brown, who makes a “fresh call to revolution” among America’s pastors in the wake of recent Supreme Court decisions: How is it that nine non-elected officials in black robes can have... MORE
Peter Montgomery, Tuesday 03/19/2013, 11:04am
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, 1:38pm
 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