Supreme Court

Rick Joyner's Hellish Attack on Chief Justice John Roberts

As Kyle has been documenting, there is no shortage of rhetorical excess from right-wing leaders upset about the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act.  But the response from Rick Joyner, head of MorningStar Ministries and the dominionist Oak Initiative, has to be among the most unhinged. Joyner has a penchant for apocalyptic rhetoric, warning of demonic threats and natural disasters facing an unrepentant America.

Joyner is embraced by other right-wing leaders, appearing at the Awakening conferences organized by the Liberty Counsel and the Freedom Federation, a Religious Right super-group of which Joyner’s organization is a member.  Sen. Jim DeMint spoke earlier this month at a “Freedom Congress” organized by Joyner.

In a “special bulletin” appropriately titled “Dazed and Confused,” Joyner goes after Chief Justice John Roberts with literally hellish relish.  Roberts’ reasoning, he says, “could potentially open the biggest gate of hell into our nation and culture by the Supreme Court since Roe v. Wade” and “has potentially released the most evil hounds from hell against the American people.”

Joyner even suggests that Roberts is, quite literally, on drugs:

It is understandable that some are now making the assertion that Chief Justice Roberts’ medication used to control his epilepsy has taken a toll on his mental abilities and reasoning. Nothing else has come forward as an adequate explanation for why he would be the one to free Obamacare like he did to become the biggest grab of totalitarian power over America in history.

“This decision,” says Joyner, “has deepened our national crisis, and jeopardized our Constitution at a most inopportune and dangerous time.”

It now seems that the American Republic is under unrelenting attack from every possible direction. Let us not faint, but keep in mind that the greatest victories only come when there are great battles. No doubt this will wake up many more Americans to the battle we are in. Great souls run to the sound of battle, not away from it. America still has many great souls who will fight regardless of the odds against them, and who will stand and never surrender for the sake of the freedom that was their birthright. This Supreme Court Decision has only increased the volume of the alarm and we can expect many more to hear it now.

Joyner had much kinder words for Mitt Romney, quoting the candidate’s response to the ruling and his “resolve” to repeal the health care reform law.

Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Reform: Reactions From the Right

Today, the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2010, is constitutional.  Below we are collecting reactions from right-wing and Religious Right groups and individuals as they are released:

Sarah Palin (via Twitter):

Obama lied to the American people. Again. He said it wasn't a tax. Obama lies; freedom dies.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council:

"Today's Supreme Court decision will do serious harm to American families. Not only is the individual mandate a profound attack on our liberties, but it is only one section among hundreds of provisions in the law that will force taxpayers to fund abortions, violate their conscience rights, and impose a massive tax and debt burden on American families.

"The Obama administration has created, for the first time in American history, new federal regulations that toss aside the constitutional right to religious freedom by forcing religious institutions and employers to pay for abortion-causing drugs, contraceptives and sterilizations.

"It's now time to replace those leaders who disregarded the constitutional limitations of their authority and the deeply held religious beliefs of their constituents, voting for the government takeover of healthcare. We must repeal this abortion-funding health care law and restore the Constitution to its rightful place," concluded Perkins.

Ken Klukowski of the Family Research Council:

"The Supreme Court has today given the federal government unlimited authority to use its tax power to require Americans to engage in specific commercial activity. The obvious implication is chilling: Uncle Sam can make you buy anything, at any price, for any reason," said Klukowski. "That's why today, the American dream gave way to a real American nightmare. President Obama's vow about 'fundamentally transforming the United States of America ' was fulfilled. The Supreme Court essentially said it cannot articulate any limiting principle on the power of the federal government.

"By ruling that the law is constitutional, the Supreme Court gave the federal government the power to order private citizens to enter into contracts with private organizations and give those organizations their money. This ruling fundamentally transforms the federal government from one of limited and specified powers in the Constitution to an all-powerful central government with plenary power over every area and aspect of Americans' lives from cradle to grave."

Rob Schenck of Faith and Action:

"This opinion may allow the government to compel people to pay into the system, but it can't compel any of us to abandon our most deeply held convictions. This is a moral, spiritual and ethical crisis. People of conscience will need to make difficult decisions, including engaging in conscientious objection or even respectful civil disobedience, which may bring painful penalties with it. It's time to be prayerful, brave, and strong. From here on we will need help from God and from one another."

Christian Medical Association:

CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens observed, "The high court unfortunately could not muster enough justices willing to uphold the Constitutional principles of limited government and separation of powers that have guided our nation since its founding. This ruling sounds an alarm across the country to people with faith-based and pro-life convictions, to poor patients who depend on physicians with these values and to all patients who value choosing their own health care.

"Who will stop U.S. Health and Human Services political appointees from forcing employers and individuals with faith-based convictions to subsidize abortion or life-ending contraceptives and imposing huge 'faith fines' on those of us who resist? What will stop this administration, with its radical pro-abortion agenda, from further undermining conscience rights and pursuing policies that effectively force out of medicine physicians with life-honoring convictions? Who will keep government panels from effectively denying physicians and patients choice about what are the most effective and appropriate medicines, surgeries and treatments?

"While court battles will continue over other aspects of the Affordable Care Act not addressed in today's decision, we have learned that we cannot simply rest in the hope that our courts will uphold Constitutional principles. We call on Congress to turn back this law's assault on our freedoms and restore American values and Constitutional principles in health care. Repeal this overreaching law and enact bipartisan, targeted health care reforms.

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel:

“This is a stunning decision to uphold ObamaCare as a tax. Congress relied upon the Commerce Clause, not the Taxing and Spending Clause. The Court ignored the intent of Congress, which did not intend the mandate to be a tax but rather a penalty. Rulings like this on ObamaCare undermine the confidence of the people in the competency of the Supreme Court to follow the rule of law. Today’s decision damages the image of the Supreme Court and is bad for America.”

Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America:

"We are outraged to see the Supreme Court ignoring the constitutional limits the Founders put in place to constrain the federal government's power over us. Shame on them!

With this decision they have given a blank check to the federal government, forever altering the constitutional concept of checks and balances that has been so crucial throughout our history.

We wholeheartedly believe we must strive to make health care more affordable for all Americans. But it is inconceivable to believe we must infringe on our constitutional rights in order to achieve that.

Women will be especially hurt by today's decision. As we have seen with the contraception mandate, the politicization of so-called women issues by the left leaves the majority of women extremely vulnerable to the exploitation of a few radical groups that exert much political influence in Congress and the White House.

Women want to make their own decisions when it comes to their health care, with the support of their families and their doctors. It's preposterous to suggest the government would do a better job at deciding what is best for us and our loved ones.

We are determined now more than ever to repeal this nightmare and to help Congress enact commonsense reforms that will help make health care more affordable, while empowering Americans to make the best choices they see fit for themselves and their families."

Troy Newman of Operation Rescue:

"We will not comply with this socialistic and oppressive law that forces us to not only purchase insurance we may not want, but more importantly, forces us to violate our consciences and fund abortion coverage," said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation. "We must demand that Congress change the law for the good of our nation. If Congress will not change it, we still will not comply."

Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice:

“The Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the individual mandate is extremely disappointing,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “While the court correctly concluded that the mandate violated the Commerce Clause of the constitution, a majority concluded that the individual mandate is a constitutionally-acceptable taxing provision for the health care law.”

“The high court missed an important opportunity to reign in a runaway federal government that's determined to interject itself into every aspect of the lives of Americans. By permitting the individual mandate to stand, the high court opened the door to permitting the federal government to take more control over the lives of Americans.”

Sekulow added: “The decision to keep the health care law intact is problematic for our nation and the American people. The government-run, pro-abortion law may have survived constitutional scrutiny, but the focus now turns to November and the election. The American people understand that this law is not what our nation needs or deserves. Our efforts will intensify to support a legislative remedy that ultimately will result in the repeal of ObamaCare.”

Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition:

“The U.S. Supreme Court has now told Americans what policy makers in Washington have known for over two years. Obamacare is a $1 trillion dollar tax hike on lower and middle class Americans.

“Americans need to understand what has just occurred. At a stroke, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the nationalization of 18% of the United States economy, raised taxes by $1 trillion dollars, and jeopardized the American experiment through the most reckless and invasive legislation our generation has experienced.

“Liberals in Washington seek to transform our American republic into something far different from what our Founders envisioned. I strongly encourage families, friends, and churchgoers to discuss the implications of this ruling, and discuss what they can do about it in November and beyond.

Lila Rose of Live Action:

Today, the Supreme Court has upheld nothing more than a Ponzi scheme to expand the abortion business. If this legislation is not overturned by the next administration, Obamacare’s socialist-style diktats will be used, not to provide better or more affordable health care, but to expand Planned Parenthood’s abortion empire across the backs of American taxpayers and people of conscience – and at the expense of our religious freedoms.

In light of today’s ruling, Americans will greet Independence Day with prayer, sacrifice, and renewed energy to continue our opposition to this mandate. We must also recommit ourselves to restoring full constitutional protections of Life and Liberty to the most vulnerable in our society: unborn children.

Richard Viguerie:

"Today, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court of the United States -- the body the Framers of the Constitution created to protect the citizenry from tyranny -- has chosen to join infamous courts of the past, such as the Taney Court that made the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision finding that slaves had no rights and the Fuller Court that ruled to institutionalize Jim Crow discrimination in Plessy v. Ferguson in stripping Americans of their freedom.

"Those infamous decisions were eventually reversed, as this one should be.

"The Supreme Court's decision is a stark reminder that one presidential appointment to the Supreme Court is all that stood between our freedom and the tyranny that will grow ever greater now that the individual mandate has been upheld.

Peter Ferrara of the American Civil Rights Union:

"Before ObamaCare passed, the President of the United States told the whole country on TV that the individual mandate is not a tax. After ObamaCare passed, Barack Obama sent his lawyers into courts all over America to argue that it is constitutional because it is a tax.

"The Supreme Court of the United States just endorsed this fundamental dishonesty of our politics. The President intimidated Chief Justice John Roberts like Hugo Chavez intimidates the Venezuelan Supreme Court," Ferrara continued. "The Rule of Law is now dead. The American people have only one more chance now to save their country."

Rick Joyner of the Oak Initiative:

Nothing in our history will have been as devastating to destroying liberty in America like Obamacare if it is allowed to stand. Chief Justice Roberts incomprehensible reasoning for siding with the liberal justices affirmed the worst and most evil part of this bill, calling the individual mandate “a tax” when even Obama Administration lawyers had resolutely denied this. No one, liberal or conservative saw the kind of rationale for this ruling coming because it was not rational. Now it has potentially released the most evil hounds from hell against the American people. Now the gate is open to call anything the government wants to impose on us “a tax” and get away with it.

It is understandable that some are now making the assertion that Chief Justice Roberts’ medication used to control his epilepsy has taken a toll on his mental abilities and reasoning. Nothing else has come forward as an adequate explanation for why he would be the one to free Obamacare like he did to become the biggest grab of totalitarian power over America in history.

This decision has demeaned the Supreme Court itself and called into question the competence of the leader of it. Liberals now think they have an easy dupe to manipulate in the Chief Justice, and conservatives have had their trust in him shaken to the core. This is a terrible tragedy for our system of Justice, and with terrible timing.

Religious Right Groups to 'Encircle' Supreme Court, 'Praying that Obamacare is Declared Unconstitutional'

The Christian Defense Coalition, Faith and Action and Pro-Life Nation, which is a division of Operation Rescue and led by Troy Newman, is planning to “encircle” the Supreme Court in order to pray that the justices rule the health care reform law unconstitutional. The prayer rally, dubbed “Justice at the Court,” is set to be held on March 25, the day before oral arguments in the health care case begin.

Supreme Court officials expect the Obamacare case to be the biggest one at the Court since Bush v. Gore in 2000.

If the President's health care legislation is declared unconstitutional, it would end taxpayer subsidized abortions and unjust and immoral mandates forcing religious institutions to cover abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization in their health coverage for employees.

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition and one of the organizers of "Justice at the Court", states;

"We are calling people from all America to come to Supreme Court and 'encircle it with prayer' from March 25-28 as we cry out to God for justice, human rights and religious freedom.

"Sadly, the President's Health Care legislation crushes religious freedom and liberty with unjust mandates on faith institutions and forces taxpayers to pay for abortions.

"We will be praying that Obamacare is declared unconstitutional so Congress can put forward health care legislation that will respect religious freedom, protect human life and honor the principles of our Constitution.

"When Roe v. Wade was decided, the Christian community was detached and uninvolved. We want to make sure that is not the case this time as we challenge people of faith to publicly pray and speak out with boldness and passion."

Jeffress: 'Neutrality is really Hostility toward Religion'

After stopping by Family Talk with James Dobson, Robert Jeffress appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show where he expounded on his claim that the Supreme Court’s decisions in Engel v. Vitale, Roe v. Wade and Lawrence v. Texas is leading to the ultimate “implosion” of America. He said the first Supreme Court ruling which he argued set off “explosives” to the country’s “spiritual and social structure” is Engel, the Supreme Court decision which deemed public school-organized prayers unconstitutional.

Jeffress said the decision is wrong not because it barred the practice of government-sponsored prayers but because it doesn’t allow the government to endorse one religion over another. He acknowledged that many evangelical Christians rightfully do not want to pray non-sectarian, generic, government-composed prayers at school. Jeffress argued that his problem with Engel is that it doesn’t allow the government to endorse Christianity, maintaining that “neutrality is really hostility toward religion.”

Jeffress’ claim contradicts the stated argument of many Religious Right activists who advocate for school-organized prayer and a constitutional amendment overturning Engel and say that their stance has nothing to do with government endorsement of Christianity but simply about the need for children to pray.

Jeffress: I use the analogy of when we imploded about a million square feet of our facility at First Baptist Dallas and I learned a lot about how implosions work, what you do is you attach explosives to some key structural supports, you explode those supporting structures, there’s a delay and then the structure falls in on itself, it collapses. I said in this book “Twilight’s Last Gleaming,” there have been three explosive decisions by the Supreme Court in the last fifty years that have so destroyed the spiritual and social structure of our country that I believe our collapse is inevitable. We are living right now in that delay period between the explosions and the ultimate implosion. As you mentioned, that first decision was 1962, Engel v. Vitale, I know Christians say, ‘well that’s no big deal to remove a non-sectarian prayer,’ but it’s all the decisions that cascaded from that and it’s the basis on which that decision was made. It is impossible for the government to be neutral toward religion, neutrality is really hostility toward religion and especially the Christian religion.

Dobson and Jeffress Lament the Imminent 'Implosion' of America

Robert Jeffress took his book tour to James Dobson’s Family Talk and the two Religious Right leaders bemoaned that America is doomed as a result of Supreme Court decisions in Engel v. Vitale, Roe v. Wade and Lawrence v. Texas. Jeffress falsely claimed that Engel “removed voluntary prayers from the school,” when it actually said it was unconstitutional for public schools to compose and organize prayers. He also claimed that Engel, along with Roe and Lawrence have “so destroyed the spiritual and moral structure of our nation that we are going to collapse on ourselves, we are going to implode, it’s only a question of when.”

Jeffress: I believe there have been three explosive decisions by the Supreme Court in the last fifty years that have so weakened our spiritual and social structure as a nation that our implosion is inevitable. In 1962, Engel v. Vitale which removed voluntary prayers from the school, all of the decisions that have cascaded down from that decision that have made government not neutral but hostile to Christianity. Then in 1973 of course Roe v. Wade that has resulted in 40 million unborn children at least being murdered in the womb.

Dobson: I think it’s closer to 50 [million].

Jeffress: That’s right. Listen, you can’t kill 20 percent almost of your population and not have economic repercussions for that. So that’s the second decision. The third decision in 2003, which our listeners may not be as familiar with, the Lawrence v. Texas decision, where the Supreme Court really paved the way for same-sex marriages.



Jeffress: Now think about it, when you first of all remove prayer and make government hostile toward Christianity, when you allow for the murder of the unborn and when you absolutely redefine the most basic institution of society, marriage and the home, you have so destroyed the spiritual and moral structure of our nation that we are going to collapse on ourselves, we are going to implode, it’s only a question of when.

CPAC: NOM Chair John Eastman Challenges Justice Kennedy on Marriage Equality

During the CPAC panel on the "Phony Divide between Fiscal and Social Conservatives" moderated by former National Organization for Marriage head Maggie Gallagher, new NOM chairman John Eastman attacked the Ninth Circuit Court's recent decision to overturn Proposition 8 as unconstitutional. He warned that legalizing same-sex marriage would have "catastrophic consequences for civil society" and harm children by displacing their role in families.

Eastman went on to mock the concept of marriage equality and challenge Justice Anthony Kennedy, seen as a swing vote in a possible Supreme Court case on marriage, saying that conservatives must ask him, "Do you want to be the critical vote that would destroy the institution that has been the bedrock of civil society since time immemorial."

Watch:

Gingrich Intends to Pack Courts with Judges from Regent and Liberty University, Federalist Society

Newt Gingrich appeared on Monday’s program of WallBuilders Live with David Barton and Rick Green, where Gingrich once again praised Barton’s right-wing pseudo-history and activism. In fact, Gingrich gave Barton credit for helping him develop his plan to assault the “judicial dictatorship” if elected president. He told Barton and Green that his plan is sending shockwaves through the “the secular left, which has been using the courts to replace the America we grew up in” by legalizing abortion, “driving God out of public life” and making same-sex marriages become “legitimized as if they were the same between traditional marriage between a man and a woman.”

Gingrich added that he would appoint judges in the mold of Robert George, the chairman of the National Organization for Marriage and a drafter of the Manhattan Declaration who has called people to defy Supreme Court decisions on issues like marriage that they disagree with, and graduates of Regent University and Liberty University, the schools founded by the far-right televangelists Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, respectively. Regent University absorbed the Oral Roberts University law program and teaches conservative Christian interpretations of the law, and the Liberty University School of Law even pressured students to disobey U.S. law if it conflicts with what they believe is “God’s law” in situations such as the Lisa Miller kidnapping case. Gingrich also pointed to the right-wing Federalist Society as a source for judicial appointments

Gingrich: What you have is, the secular left, which has been using the courts to replace the America we grew up in, the secular left which is desperately committed to Roe v. Wade and abortion, desperately committed to marriage between same-sex couples becoming legitimized as if they were the same between traditional marriage between a man and a woman, desperately committed to driving God out of public life, and they are suddenly faced with the possibility that we the people are going to take back our authority, that we are going to take back our rights, that we are going to redress the balance. The level of hysteria, I predict, will grow as they come to realize at the American Bar Association and elsewhere that this really is an effort to limit the power of lawyers to redesign America.

Green: Should you become president, is there a crop of attorneys and judges out there that understand history and understand originalism that you would have to choose from, in other words it’s got to be more than just you and Congress, what about good judges?

Gingrich: You start looking at people of the caliber of Robbie George of Princeton, you look at Regent University, you look at Liberty University, you start looking around and realizing there is a whole crop - Vince Haley of University of Virginia graduate who is a deeply, deeply committed Christian who clearly understands these kinds of issues - I think people would be surprised that the Federalist Society has many members who agree that we need a balance of power between the three, not a judicial dictatorship.

Romney and Perry Channel President Bush on the Supreme Court, Call for "Strict Constructionists"

“Strict constructionism,” whatever that means, was a hot topic at Saturday’s GOP presidential forum on Fox News. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry took pains to show that they would be very strict about their constructionism. Channeling George W. Bush, they heartily endorsed the rulings of Roberts and Alito and spoke out against judges who supposedly “legislate from the bench.”
 
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli kicked things off by asking Perry, “What does the term ‘strict constructionist’ mean to you and would that be the standard for your nominees to the Supreme Court?”
 
Perry, somewhat giddy, replied that “Alito and a Roberts are the type of the jurists, a strict constructionist, not a legislator in a robe.” “You know, we have about four of each of those on the Supreme Court,” he continued.
 
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt raised the possibility of multiple vacancies on the Supreme Court during the next presidential term, and asked Romney what it means to him to appoint a “strict constructionist.” Romney said that he looks “at the opinions of the last several years by justices like Roberts and Alito, Thomas, Scalia, and I say, these people are strict constructionists.”
 
Despite all the talk about “strict constructionists,” it was hard to know from their words what they actually meant by it. Mike Huckabee, the host, acknowledged as much when he asked Perry, “We’ve all talked about ‘strict constructionists.’ For the layman out there, just help them understand exactly what that means.”
 
Perry sputtered for a couple seconds, then fumbled with his lapel, knocking his mic loose, and pulled out a pocket constitution. Holding it out, upside down no less, Perry defined the term: “It’s right there… That’s the Constitution. Read it. Exactly what it says. That’s what we’re talking about. Don’t read anything into it. Don’t add to it.” Well, that explains it!
 
There’s actually a good reason for all the vague language around “strict constructionism.” When you look at the rulings of Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas, “strict constructionism” has a very different meaning – being strict with everyday Americans while constructing new rights and privileges for powerful business interests, such as the right for corporations to be “people” and spend unlimited sums to influence elections.
 
It’s little wonder that Romney and Perry, like Bush, are sticking to vague buzzwords and catchphrases. Here are some clips of the candidates from Saturday alongside clips of Bush from 2004 and 2008:

 

Barton: America Must Instruct Children In "The Fear Of The Lord"

Today on Believers Voice of Victory, David Barton told televangelist Kenneth Copeland that the only way to rejuvenate America’s education system is to instill in kids the “fear of the Lord.” Barton launched his career as a Religious Right activist with the 1989 booklet What Happened in Education?, in which he concluded that a decline in SAT scores was a result of the end of school prayer, and that only Christian teachings in schools could bring SAT scores back up. Barton explained to Copeland, a Prosperity Gospel preacher, what that instilling the “fear of the Lord” in children would require establishing the Bible as the basis of all school curricula:

Barton: This shows you what public education is supposed to look like, the educational system was supposed to come—and it did, these guys started the first public schools in 1642 and cited Bible verses on why they were doing it, they also cited Bible verses on the courses they taught and the way they taught the courses. Now most Christians today, ‘Well we got government schools that’s the way it was supposed to be.’ Really? Show me in the Bible where government’s supposed to do the education, show me how that works, show me what courses government’s supposed to be teaching. See we can’t do that anymore, we don’t use the—we’ve been conformed to the culture, we’ve had public schools for so long that we think that’s the way it is.

Copeland: So now we’ve done then, we’ve gone, into our own—

Barton: Dark ages.



Barton: This book right here, every Bible says, in Proverbs 1:7, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.’ Now I don’t know why today we think, ‘oh I’m going to know more about the Lord if I fear God,’ we’ve made the fear of the Lord the beginning of spiritual knowledge. He didn’t say that, He said the fear of the Lord’s the beginning of knowledge. If you want education you better include the fear of God, if you want to be a good scientist you better include the fear of God, if you want to be a good musician—1962, ’63, the U.S. Supreme Court in three decisions said no more fear of God in education, we want education to be secular. All right, that’s a theological issue. How’s that working out? In 1962, ’63, America was number one in the world in literacy, we are now number sixty-five in the world in literacy. We don’t have the fear of the Lord, because guess what, we don’t have knowledge, it goes down.

Perkins Ignores Palin To Spin The 2008 Election Loss

Several weeks ago, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins hosted a press briefing at the National Press Club to discuss just what it is that the Religious Right is seeking in a Republican presidential nominee.

During the Q&A, Perkins was asked to discuss the idea that the very positions that make a candidate appealing to the Religious Right are the same positions that make such candidates unappealing to the general voting population.

Not surprisingly, Perkins took issue with that assessment and asserted instead that without the support of the Religious Right, no Republican candidate can hope to win the general elections and pointed to John McCain as proof:

This idea that a candidate that would be supported by social conservatives that would win the Republican nomination would be unacceptable to the general populace is just not true. I think the opposite it true; we saw that in the last election cycle. There was a Republican nomination that was not acceptable to social conservatives. He did not have the enthusiastic support of social conservatives and, as a result, the Republicans lost the general election.

Now, obviously McCain and the Religious Right had a rather contentious history, but to say that the McCain campaign did not receive the "enthusiastic support of social conservatives" requires one to completely ignore the rapturous lovefest that exploded when McCain announced the selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate, which we chronicled at the time:

James Dobson, Focus on the Family: "A lot of people were praying, and I believe Sarah Palin is God's answer.”

Tony Perkins, Family Research Council: “Senator McCain made an outstanding pick.”

Connie Mackey, FRCAction: “I am elated with Senator McCain's choice.”

Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel: "Absolutely brilliant choice.”

Richard Land: “Governor Palin will delight the Republican base.”

Rick Scarborough, Vision America, “I’m elated. I think it’s a superb choice."

Ralph Reed: “They’re beyond ecstatic. This is a home run.”

Gary Bauer, American Values: "[A] grand slam home run."

Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum: “She is the best possible choice.”

Janet Folger, Faith2Action: “[T]he selection of Sarah Palin is more than ‘Brilliant!’ ‘Electrifying!’ and ‘Energizing!’ The selection of Sarah Palin will lead to words like: ‘Rejuvenating!’ ‘Victory!’ and ‘Landslide!’"

Wendy Wright, Concerned Women for America: “Governor Palin will change the dynamics of the entire presidential race.”

Janice Shaw Crouse, CWA's Beverly LaHaye Institute: “She is an outstanding woman who will be an excellent role model for the nation's young people.”

David Barton, Wallbuilders: "The talk won't be about, 'look at Sarah Palin' as much as 'look at what McCain's choice of Palin says about McCain's core beliefs.”

Jonathan Falwell: “John McCain made it very clear that his administration was going to be a pro-life administration, and he proved that’s his belief and his passion today with the choice of Sarah Palin.”

Jerry Falwell, Jr.: “I think it’s a brilliant choice.”

Charmaine Yoest, Americans United for Life: “And then when [Palin] was announced — it was like you couldn’t breathe. [We] were grabbing each other and jumping up and down.”

Gary Marx, Judicial Confirmation Network: "I can tell you that this pick tells millions in the base of the party that they can trust McCain. More specifically that they can trust him with Supreme Court picks and other key appointments’"

David Keene, American Conservative Union: “The selection of Governor Palin is great news for conservatives, for the party and for the country. I predict any conservatives who have been lukewarm thus far in their support of the McCain candidacy will work their hearts out between now and November for the McCain-Palin ticket."

If social conservatives were unenthusiastic about the McCain ticket last time around, some apparently forgot to tell all of these social conservatives who were gushing about just how thrilled they were. 

Perkins Agrees With Jeffress That Voters Should Prefer Christian Leaders

Coverage of the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit this year was dominated by stories of Robert Jeffress’ criticism of the Mormon faith; Bryan Fischer’s unabashed bigotry; and the infighting that rose to the surface when Bill Bennett rebuked Jeffress and Mitt Romney, tepidly and not by name, denounced Fischer. The press coverage of the Religious Right conference was so completely focused on Jeffress and Fischer that the FRC even asked members to pray that the media will stop reporting on the story.

Today FRC president Tony Perkins used his radio alert today to defend Jeffress, who made it clear that Romney’s Mormon faith was a reason he endorsed his chief rival, Rick Perry. “His rational; all else being equal a Christian leader is to be preferred over a non-Christian,” Perkins said, “I whole heartedly agree.”

Listen:

Do you have the freedom to choose between Christian and a non-Christian candidate? Hello, this is Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. Texas pastor Robert Jeffress created a firestorm when he declared at the Values Voter Summit he was voting for Rick Perry because he was a Christian. His rational; all else being equal a Christian leader is to be preferred over a non-Christian. I whole heartedly agree. So did the first justice of the Supreme Court John Jay who said it was in the "interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." Many so-called journalists have gone apoplectic claiming such a bigoted position violates article 6 of the Constitution, how absurd. The article reads, “Congress may not require religious tests for an office." The Constitution restricts what the government can require, not what individuals can consider. If voters can consider a candidate's party and that party's platform, they can consider a candidate’s religion and the tenets of that faith. We should prefer mature, qualified Christians for public office over those who reject the orthodox teachings of scripture.

This prompts the question: how would Tony Perkins feel about the competence of a Jewish leader over a Christian one? Perkins and the Religious Right always talk about their Judeo-Christian coalition and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who is Jewish, addressed the Values Voter Summit and is seen as a rising star in GOP circles. So much for that.

And would it impact Perkins’ decision in the Republican primary? During the Jeffress spat, Perkins told CNN’s John King that he does not consider Mormons to be Christians: “Well, let me say this, John. I do not see Mormonism as the same as Christianity. Now, whether it’s defined as a cult, I don’t know. I would say it’s not Christianity the way evangelicals view Christianity. There’s a distinction. There’s no question there’s a theological distinction between Mormonism and Christianity.”

If Perkins thinks that Christians should be given preference over non-Christians, and that Mormons are not Christians, is there any difference between his view and Jeffress’ view on Romney’s candidacy?

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Matt Barber says that the vandalism against the site of the event hosting Peter LaBarbera's anti-gay conference was "an act of terrorism."
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  • Bryan Fischer tries to set the record straight regarding his views on Mormonism ... oddly, he doesn't bother to mention that he doesn't believe it deserves First Amendment protections.
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  • The Family Research Council is now openly endorsing NARTH's anti-gay pseudo-science.
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  • Looks like Bradlee Dean is now writing pieces for WND.
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  • Finally, after being removed from the Alabama Supreme Court in 2003 for refusing to remove his Ten Commandments monument, Roy Moore is contemplating running for a seat on the court again.

Barber: Gay Adoption Is Tragic, Unconscionable And Reprehensible

On today's installment of the Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Matt Barber and Steve Crampton discussed the Supreme Court's refusal to hear an appeal of a Fifth Circuit Court ruling denying a gay couple's request to have the names to both fathers listed on their adopted son's birth certificate.

Crampton and Barber hailed it as a "supreme victory" as Barber went off about how allowing gay couples to adopt is "tragic," "unconscionable," and "reprehensible":

New Religious Right Video: Secularism Means Doom For America

One of the sessions at the recent Values Voter Summit featured a showing of a new half-hour video produced by the American Family Association called “Divorcing God: Secularism and the Republic.” (Back in the summer it was being promoted as "Divorcing God: Secularism, Sexual Anarchy, and the Future of the Republic.") The video features an array of Religious Right leaders and academics, whose argument can be summarized this way:  America, whose greatness is decaying because the country has turned its back on the God who inspired the founding fathers, is doomed if it continues to allow secularists to push religion into the closet.  It's time for Christians to fight back.

And just to be clear, the God in “one nation under God” isn’t any old generic God, but the same Christian God who made western civilization possible.  It’s familiar to anyone who has followed the Religious Right’s “Christian nation” rhetoric, filled with founders’ quotes about religion and  attacks on the Supreme Court’s rulings on church-state separation.

Among the stars of the video is Princeton University’s Robert George, the Religious Right’s favorite intellectual. George, a leader of the National Organization for Marriage, is one of the authors of the Manhattan Declaration, whose signers fancy themselves potential martyrs for opposing abortion and LGBT equality in America. Others include Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute; Michael Farris, homeschooling advocate and chancellor of Patrick Henry College; and Matthew Spalding, of the Heritage Foundation. The founders clearly believed that God punishes nations, says Dacus, and when countries allow their societies to become amoral, there’s a price to be paid, not just by those individuals but society as a whole.  The video suggests that the current fight between secularists and those who want to preserve the country’s divine foundation is the last stand for the future of freedom on planet earth.

Another DVD being handed out at the Values Voter Summit hit similar themes about the importance of the nation’s foundation on biblical principles.  It features a 2010 “State of the Nation” speech delivered by Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis at the Creation Museum in Kentucky.  Ham argues that the nation is threatened by the teaching of evolution and by the Supreme Court. “There really is no such thing as separation of church and state,” says Ham, who warns that “Christianity in this nation is becoming outlawed more and more in various quarters.”  Ham blames the decline more on church leaders than on secularists.  The Bible is the “absolute authority,” he says, but too many Christians have undermined the authority of scripture by compromising on the truth of the 6,000 year-old earth and great flood described in Genesis.  And that means quoting the Bible in policy debates on abortion and gay marriage has lost its effectiveness.

Meanwhile, French scholar Denis Lacorne has just published Religion in America: A Political History (Columbia University Press, 2011), in which he examines two competing narratives about American identity.  One derives from the secular values of the Enlightenment and reflects a desire to preserve liberty by freeing it from the power of an established church.  The second ties American identity to the Puritans and Protestantism.  These two narratives are reflected in competing notions of church-state separation evident today in our politics and on our Supreme Court.  At a presentation at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. this week, Lacorne suggested that what he calls the neopuritan narrative was developed in the first half of the 19th century by historians who wanted to resurrect the influence of the Puritans, who he says were generally ignored by the founding fathers in their debates over religious liberty and whether or not to make the Constitution an explicitly Christian document.  (They chose not to.)

 

Perkins Warns Of Government "Promotion Of Same-Sex Relations" For Population Control

Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance appeared on Janet Parshall’s radio show In The Market on Tuesday to discuss the “Green Dragon” film series which was made by Beisner’s group and hosted by Parshall. As we discussed in our report The ‘Green Dragon’ Slayers: How the Religious Right and the Corporate Right are Joining Forces to Fight Environmental Protection, the “Green Dragon” series represents efforts by the Religious Right and the Corporate Right to paint environmentalism as anti-Christian and ungodly:

During the radio show, Parshall played clips from the “documentary,” including one from Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who argues that in the name of “population control” the government will eventually push “infanticide” and promote “same-sex relations”:

Perkins: Population control is a very loaded term. It includes not only abortion, contraception and sterilization, all at government expense of course, but it also includes infanticide and the promotion of same-sex relations. At the heart of this push for population control is an unbiblical view of children and of life.

Another clip featured right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton. Barton, who has made a career of infusing Religious Right beliefs into politics and American history, accused environmentalism of being “a religion” with its own rules and “high priests,” and went on to tell people to contest environmental beliefs because “that’s not science, that is the faith position that you’re taking”:

Barton: People say that environmentalism is a religion. Others say, ‘Oh no, that’s not true,’ but it really is. Now how do we know? I’ve been involved in seven cases at the US Supreme Court and I can point to a number of court decisions where the court has said religion is whatever you believe so strongly that it affects the way you live your life. That’s why the court recognizes even atheism as a religion. Environmentalism definitely is a religion, it has its own high priests, it has folks that tell us what we can and can’t do with the environment and how we can treat it and they’re the guardians of it as if it’s a great temple. It’s a religion. And as soon as we recognize that environmentalism is a religion then it helps us to understand better how to respond to what’s being said, how to filter what’s being said, and say, now wait a minute, that’s not science, that is the faith position that you’re taking.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Bryan Fischer insists that states have the right to have religious tests for public office.   The Supreme Court disagrees.
  •  

  • I guess American history is not Rick Perry's strong suit.
  •  

  • Harry Jackson shameless shilling for energy interests now extends to defending fracking.
  •  

  • Public schools are indoctrinating your children. You have been warned.
  •  

  • On a semi-related note, Randy Thomasson says there are two kinds of schools: "God's schools and devil's schools." Guess which one the public schools are?
  •  

  • Gary Cass says Mitt Romney is "free to believe Mormonism’s weird, racist doctrines, or practice their secret cultic rituals and even wear their holy underwear, but Romney's Mormon beliefs aren’t Christian."

Matt Barber Uncovers The "Glee" Conspiracy

On today's installment of Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Mat Staver and Matt Barber discuss the brief the organization has filed asking the Supreme Court to uphold the FCC's decency standards.

Maintaining these standards is important, explained Barber, because there is a conspiracy afoot to use the media to indoctrinate/desensitize children to "sexually immoral behaviors" through television programs like "Glee":

Values Voter Summit 2011 & America in 2013

As RWW readers know, the Values Voter Summit, the year’s biggest political gathering for the Religious Right, took place in Washington, D.C. this past weekend.  Every Republican presidential candidate with the exception of Jon Huntsman addressed the summit, evidence of the continuing importance of Religious Right activists and political groups to the GOP. Polls suggest that the Religious Right is about twice as big as the Tea Party, with significant overlap between the two movements. Ron Paul’s campaign packed in enough voters to win the straw poll, but it would be wrong to say he was the favorite of the Values Voter crowd. It was up-and-coming candidate Herman Cain who won the loudest cheers (and took second place).

The two days of speeches from presidential candidates, congressional leaders, and Religious Right activists painted a clear picture of where they’ll try to take the country if they are successful in their 2012 electoral goals.  In their America, banks and corporations would be free from pesky consumer and worker protections; there would be no Environmental Protection Agency and no federal support for education; women would have no access to abortion; gays would be second-class citizens; and for at least some of them, religious minorities would have to know their place and be grateful that they are tolerated in this Christian nation. 
 
Here’s a recap of some major themes from the conference.
 
Religious Bigotry on Parade
 
In one of the most extreme expressions of the “Christian nation” approach to government, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer has stated repeatedly that the religious liberty of non-Christians is not protected by the First Amendment.  More specifically, he says Mormons are not protected by the First Amendment.  For whatever reason, VVS organizers scheduled Romney and Fischer back-to-back on Saturday morning. 
 
Before the conference, People For the American Way called on Romney to take on Fischer’s bigotry, which he did, albeit in a vague and tepid manner, criticizing “poisonous” rhetoric without naming Fischer or explaining why his views are poison.  Getting greater media attention were comments by Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress, who in his introduction of Texas Gov. Rick Perry insisted on the importance of electing a “genuine” follower of Christ. Reporters who accurately saw this as a swipe at Romney’s faith asked Jeffress about it, and he labeled Mormonism a cult.  (Mormons consider themselves Christians, but many Christians, including Southern Baptists, believe Mormon theology is anything but.)  Following Romney at the microphone, Fischer doubled down, insisting that the next president has to be a Christian “in the mold of” the founding fathers.  Fischer’s inaccurate sense of history is eclipsed only by his lack of respect for church-state separation and for the Constitution itself – even though he insisted that his religious test for the presidency was really a “political test.” Romney took only four percent in the VVS straw poll, even though he has been leading in recent polls of GOP voters.
 
Beating up on Obama
 
Religious Right leaders routinely denounce President Barack Obama, so it is no surprise that a major theme of the VVS was attacking the president and his policies.  Perhaps the nicest thing anyone said about the president was Mitt Romney’s snide remark that Obama is “the conservative movement’s top recruiter.”    Among the nastiest came from virtue-monger Bill Bennett, who said, “if you voted for him last time to prove you are not a racist, you must vote against him this time to prove you are not an idiot.” Rep. Anne Buerkle, one of the Tea Party freshmen, said flat out that the president is not concerned about what is best for the country. 
 
Health care and foreign policy were top policy targets.  Many speakers denounced “Obamacare,” and most of the presidential candidates promised to make dismantling health care reform a top priority. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Religious Right favorite who is leading a legal challenge to the health care reform law, said that if the Supreme Court did not overturn it, Americans would go from being citizens to subjects.  Just about every speaker attacked President Obama for not being strong enough in support of Israel, and repeated a favorite right-wing talking point by pledging to “never apologize” for U.S. actions abroad.
 
Gays as Enemies of Liberty
 
It is clear that a Republican takeover of the Senate and White House would put advances toward equality for LGBT Americans in peril.  Speaker after speaker denounced the recent repeal of the ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers in the armed forces; many also attacked marriage equality for same-sex couples.  And many portrayed liberty as a zero-sum game, insisting that advances toward equality posed a dire threat to religious liberty. Rep. Mike Pompeo said “You cannot use our military to promote social ideals that do not reflect the values of our nation,” concluding his remarks with a call for the election of more Republicans, saying “ride to the sounds of the guns and send us more troops.”
Another member of the 2010 freshman class – Rep. Vicky Hartzler – attacked the Obama administration for “trying to use the military to advance their social agenda,” saying, “It’s wrong and it must be stopped.” Predictably, the AFA’s Fischer was the most vitriolic and insisted that the country needs a president “who will treat homosexual behavior not as a political cause at all but as a threat to public health.”
 
Loving Wall Street, Hating Wall Street Protesters
 
On the same day that moving pictures of Kol Nidre services at the site of Occupy Wall Street protests made the rounds on the Internet, Values Voter Summit speakers portrayed the protests as dangerous and violent.  Others simply mocked the protesters without taking seriously the objections being raised to growing inequality and economic hardship in America.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor denounced the “growing mobs” associated with the protests and decried “the pitting of Americans against Americans.” (Too bad he didn’t stick around to hear the rest of the speakers).  Glenn Beck denounced “Jon Stewart Marxism” and warned that the protests were the sign of an approaching “storm of biblical proportions” in which “the violent left” would smash, tear down, kill, bankrupt, and destroy.  Pundit Laura Ingraham simply made fun of the protesters and held up her own “hug the rich” sign.  Rising star Herman Cain defended Wall Street, blaming the nation’s economic crisis on policymakers, not reckless and irresponsible financiers.  Nobody wanted to regulate the financiers; speakers called for a repeal of the Dodd-Frank law. 
 
A number of speakers promoted Christian Reconstructionist notions of “Biblical economics,” with Star Parker declaring that “this whole notion of redistribution of wealth is inconsistent with scripture” and calling for the selection of a candidate with commitment to the free market according to the Bible.  Ron Paul also insisted “debt is not a political principle.”  The AFA’s Bryan Fischer said that liberalism is based on violating two of the Ten Commandments, namely thou shall not steal, and thou shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.  Liberalism, he said, is “driven by angry, bitter, acquisitive greed for the wealth of productive Americans.” 
 
No Love for Libertarians
 
A major theme at last year’s Values Voter Summit, as at other recent Religious Right political events, was an effort to make social-issue libertarians unwelcome in the conservative movement by insisting that you cannot legitimately claim to be a fiscal conservative if you are not also pushing “traditional family values.”  The same theme was sounded this year by the very first speaker, Tony Perkins.  Another, Joe Carter, took a shot at gay conservatives, saying it was not possible to be conservative and for gay marriage – it simply made you a “liberal who likes tax cuts.”  Carter said “social conservative” should be redundant. Ingraham echoed the theme, calling for an end to conservative modifiers (social, fiscal, national security) and, echoing popular Christian writer C.S. Lewis, called for a commitment to “mere conservatism.”  There were far fewer mentions of the Tea Party movement itself at this year’s VVS, perhaps owing to the movement’s unpopularity – or to the fact that the GOP itself has essentially become one big Tea Party party.
 
Crying Wolf on Religious Persecution
 
Religious Right leaders routinely energize movement activists with dire warnings about threats to religious liberty and the alleged religious persecution of Christians in America.  William Bennett said liberals are bigoted against “people who publicly love their God, who publicly love their country.”  Retired Gen. William Boykin said Christians are facing the greatest persecution ever in America.   The American Center for Law & Justice’s Jay Sekulow warned that the next president will probably select two Supreme Court justices, and that if it isn’t a conservative president, our Judeo-Christian values could be “eliminated.”  Crying wolf about persecution of Christians in America is offensive given the very real suffering of people in countries that do not enjoy religious freedom.  Several speakers addressed the case of a Christian pastor facing death in Iran.  That is persecution; having your political tactics challenged or losing a court case is not.
 
America is Exceptional; Europe Sucks
 
Republican strategists decided a couple of years ago that “American exceptionalism” would be a campaign theme in 2010 and 2012, and we heard plenty of talk about it at the Values Voter Summit.  Among the many who spoke about American exceptionalism was Rep. Steve King, who said “this country was ordained and built by His hand,” that the Declaration of Independence was written with divine guidance, and that God moved the founding fathers around the globe like chess pieces .  Liberals, said the Heritage Foundation’s Matthew Spalding, don’t share a belief in American exceptionalism or the American dream. Many speakers contrasted a freedom-loving, God-fearing America to socialist, post-Christian Europe.  Rick Perry said “those in the White House” don’t believe in American exceptionalism; they’d rather emulate the failed policies of Europe.  Gen. Boykin declared Europe “hopelessly lost.”
 
Smashing the Regulatory State
 
The anti-government, anti-regulatory fervor of billionaire right-wing funders like the Koch brothers was on vibrant display at the VVS.  Without the slightest nod to the fact that regulating the behavior of corporations’ treatment of workers, consumers, and the environment is in any way beneficial, a member of a Heritage Foundation panel said conservatives’ goal should be to “break the back” of the “regulatory state.”  Some presidential candidates vowed to halt every regulation issued during the Obama administration.  Michele Bachmann said her goal was to “dismantle” the bureaucracy.
 
Judging Judges
 
Many speakers criticized judges for upholding abortion rights, church-state separation, and gay rights. Newt Gingrich took these attacks to a whole new level, calling for right-wing politicians to provoke a  constitutional crisis in which the legislative and executive branch would ignore court rulings they didn’t like.  He called the notion of “judicial supremacy” an “affront to the American system of self-government.” Aside from Gingrich’s very dubious constitutional theory, the speech seemed out of place at a conference in which speakers had been calling for the Supreme Court to overturn the health care law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.
 
Deconstructing the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’
 
VVS speakers love quoting the Declaration of Independence, but some are clearly a little troubled with the notion that the “pursuit of happiness” is an inalienable right, one that might apply, for example, to happy, loving gay couples.  Rick Santorum said that the founders’ understanding of “happiness” meant “the morally right thing” and doing what God wants.  Steve King said the  pursuit of happiness was not like a tailgate party, but the pursuit of excellence in moral and spiritual development.  Michele Bachman has equated the pursuit of happiness with private property.
 
Notably weird speeches
 
Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel gave a meandering address that moved from U.S. policy on Israel to the war on Islamic radicalism to an attack on the United Nations to denunciations of sexologist Alfred Kinsey and humanist/educator John Dewey for undermining western civilization. He warned against conservatives using rhetoric that might push the growing Latino population into the maw of the “leftist machine,” making an aside about Latinos whose names end in “z” having a special connection to Israel.
 
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who ended up taking third place in the straw poll, seemed personally hurt that conservative evangelicals weren’t rallying around him given all that he had done for them and the price he had paid for it.  He whined, “Don’t you want a president who’s comfortable in his shoes talking about these issues?”
 
Rep. Steve King of Iowa said that people who support marriage equality or legal abortion don’t do so because they have a value system supporting those things, but because they want to spite the Religious Right – “because they know it’s precious to us.”
 
Former Fox TV personality Glenn Beck gave a trademark lurching speech contrasting visceral anger with his recitation of Abraham Lincoln’s “with malice toward none.” The speech was long on mockery of Wall Street protestors and on the messianic narcissism that was on display at his Lincoln Memorial rally last year.  “We need to give America the same choice” that Moses gave Israel, he said: good or evil, light or dark, life or death, freedom or slavery.  He said America is in a religious war, a race war, a class war, and other wars.  In one breath he insisted that the nation “must return to God” and talked about the “country’s salvation” – and in the next he denounced the notion of “collective salvation,” which he has elsewhere attributed to President Obama and denounced as evil and satanic.
 

WallBuilders Enlists Christopher Columbus & Reconstructionist Eidsmoe in Christian Nation Crusade

David Barton’s WallBuilders is tireless in pushing its “Christian nation” version of American history.   Today it encourages its supporters to “Celebrate Columbus Day!” and to read John Eidsmoe’s Columbus and Cortez: Conquerors for Christ.  

Eidsmoe is the Christian Reconstructionist cited by Michele Bachmann as her mentor and major influence.  He is also a colleague of Roy Moore, who lost his job as Chief Justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court when he refused to obey federal court orders to remove a Ten Commandments memorial he had installed in the state courthouse.

As we have reported, Eidsmoe believes that feminists “violate the normal order” that God put in place for husbands to head households, that “homosexuality invites the judgment of God upon all of society,” that gays will turn the military into a “cesspool of immorality,” and that public education is brainwashing students to believe in secularism and evolution.  Ryan Lizza recently reported that Eidsmoe was uninvited from a Tea Party event last year after addressing an event in Alabama commemorating Secession Day and telling an interviewer that it was the state’s “constitutional right to secede,” and that “Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun understood the Constitution better than did Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Webster.”

Eidsmoe’s book on Columbus has an introduction by Peter Marshall, another “Christian Nation” advocate who served with Wallbuilders’ founder David Barton as an “expert” to Religious Right members of the Texas Board of Education pushing massive revisions to social science textbooks.  Marshall writes:

In his customary careful and thorough manner, John Eidsmoe has pierced through the obfuscating fog of twentieth-century humanist bias and judgments that have obscured the truth about two of the most controversial figures in American history, Christopher Columbus and Hernando Cortez. Using earlier sources, he has presented us with a well-researched, even-handed, and fair treatment of both their Christian motives for their incredible exploits, and the very real mistakes they made .This is a valuable contribution toward restoring a true Christian perspective on our American past.

WallBuilders’ Columbus Day email celebrates Columbus’ belief that he was being led by the Holy Spirit and complains that modern scholarship has denigrated Columbus specifically because of his religious motivation:

It is especially because of Columbus’ religious motivations and convictions that today he has become a villain for most modern educators and writers, who regularly attack and condemn him.

That echoes Eidsmoe’s book, which claims, “A scholarly desire to correct the historical record is not the primary reason [for modern criticism of Columbus]…No, the attack is directed toward values – biblical values and the Christian civilization that is based on biblical values.”

Eidsmoe writes:

The reason may of us find history boring is that we fail to see the sovereign hand of God at work as history unfolds. The way you look at history depends in large part upon your world view….For the Christian, history is, or should be, the unfolding of God’s plan for the human race. For the Christian, the discovery, exploration and settlement of the Western Hemisphere takes on a whole new dimension of meaning as God works through imperfect vessels like Columbus, Cortez….and others who bring salvation to the inhabitants of the Western world through the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

He decries the effort to “move this nation away from its Christian foundations” in order to “remake America into a secular or pagan society….If the Christian professions of Christopher Columbus and others can be proven insincere, if their deeds can be downplayed and their sins and shortcomings magnified, then this element of America’s Christian past can be discredited and set aside.”

Who’s Who at the Values Voter Summit 2011

This weekend, nearly every major GOP presidential candidate, along with the top two Republicans in the House of Representatives, will speak at the Values Voter Summit, an annual gathering of the leaders of the movement to integrate fundamentalist Christianity and American politics.

The candidates – Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich – and the congressmen – House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor – will join a who’s who of the far Right at the event. The organizers of the Values Voter Summit and many of its prominent attendees are on the frontlines of removing hard-won rights for gay and lesbian Americans, restricting women’s access to reproductive healthcare, undermining the free exercise rights of non-Christian religions and breaking down the wall of separation between church and state.

In perhaps the starkest illustration of how far even mainstream Republican candidates are willing to go to appease the Religious Right, Mitt Romney is scheduled to speak immediately before the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, a man whose record of hate speech should be shocking by any standard. Along with regularly denigrating gays and lesbians, Muslims, and other minority groups, Fischer has no love for Romney’s Mormon faith. In a radio program last week, Fischer insisted that Mormons have no right to religious freedom under the First Amendment and falsely claimed that the LDS Church still sanctions polygamy.

People For the American Way has called on GOP presidential candidates appearing at the conference to denounce Fischer’s bigotry. Last year, PFAW issued a similar call to attendees, which was met with silence.

The following is a guide to some of the individuals with whom the leaders of the GOP will be rubbing shoulders at the Values Voter Summit this year.

Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer is the Director of Issues Analysis at the American Family Association, which is a sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. Fischer acts as the chief spokesman for the group and also hosts its flagship radio program, Focal Point, on which he has interviewed a number of prominent figures including Bachmann, Gingrich, Santorum and Mike Huckabee.

On his radio program and in blog posts, Fischer frequently expresses unmitigated bigotry toward a number of minority groups, including gays and lesbians, Muslim Americans, Native Americans, low-income African Americans and Mormons.

Fischer has:

At a speech at last year’s Values Voter Summit, Fischer said that if Christians don’t get involved in politics, they “make a deliberate decision to turn over the running of the United States government to atheists and pagans.” Of the gay rights movement, he warned, “We are going to have to choose, as a nation, between the homosexual agenda and freedom, because the two cannot coexist.”

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council, the main organizer of this weekend’s summit. Perkins leads the group’s efforts against gay rights, abortion rights and church/state separation.

The FRC famously expressed its hostility to religious pluralism in a 2000 statement blasting a Hindu priest who was invited to give an opening prayer in Congress: "[W]hile it is true that the United States of America was founded on the sacred principle of religious freedom for all, that liberty was never intended to exalt other religions to the level that Christianity holds in our country's heritage…. Our Founders … would have found utterly incredible the idea that all religions, including paganism, be treated with equal deference."

The FRC has one of the most anti-gay platforms of any major political organization, including expressions of support for the criminalization of homosexuality. Earlier this year, the group called on members to pray for the continuation of Malawi’s law prohibiting homosexuality , under which a gay couple was sentenced to fourteen years in jail. Senior fellow Peter Sprigg said he would “much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.”

Perkins himself frequently reflects the extreme views of his organization. He:

At last year’s Values Voter Summit, Perkins managed to simultaneously insult U.S. servicemembers and several important U.S. allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying that armies that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly “ participate in parades, they don’t fight wars to keep the world free .”

Mat Staver

Mat Staver is the head of the Liberty University School of Law and its legal affiliate, Liberty Counsel, both sponsors of the Values Voter Summit. Liberty Counsel vehemently opposes rights for gays and lesbians, and in July filed the lawsuit to overturn New York’s Marriage Equality Act . The group’s Director of Cultural Affairs Matt Barber has called marriage equality “ rebellion against God” and said LGBT youth are more likely to commit suicide because they know “ what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, [and] is immoral .” Barber has also described liberalism as “hatred for God” and said the president and Democrats “are anti-God.” In fact, Liberty Counsel claimed that Obama is “ pushing America to move under the curse ” of God and “ jeopardizing our nation” for purportedly not supporting Israel.

Through his role at Liberty Counsel and on his radio program Faith & Freedom, Staver has:

Staver aggressively promotes “ex-gay” reparative therapy and warns that gays and lesbians are “ intent on trampling upon the fundamental freedoms ” of others. He is also closely linked to the saga of Lisa Miller, a woman represented by Liberty Counsel who kidnapped her daughter and fled to Central America after a court granted custody to her former partner, a lesbian woman. Although Liberty Counsel denies involvement in the kidnapping, earlier this year Miller was reportedly staying at the house of Staver’s administrative assistant’s father in Nicaragua . Staver has also taught the Miller case in his law classes as an example of an instance where “God’s law” preempts “man’s law.”

Jerry Boykin

Retired Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin sparked a controversy when, as a high-ranking official in the Bush Defense Department, he framed the War on Terror as a holy war against Islam. He has since built a career as a Religious Right speaker, specializing in anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-Obama conspiracy theories. Boykin rejects religious freedom for American Muslims, claiming that Islam “is not just a religion, it is a totalitarian way of life.” In an interview with Bryan Fischer, he called for “no mosques in America.”

Boykin is a leading member of the dominionist group The Oak Initiative. In a speech at the group’s conference in April, he declared that George Soros and the Council on Foreign Relations conspired to collapse the U.S. economy in order to help President Obama get elected. Last year, he told the group that President Obama was using his health care reform legislation as a cover to establish a private army of Brownshirts loyal just to him .

Star Parker

Parker is a long-time Religious Right activist who is particularly active in anti-gay and anti-abortion rights work. As Washington, DC was poised to legalize marriage equality, Parker warned that it would lead to more HIV infections in the city, which would “ transform officially into Sodom.” In a recent radio interview with Tony Perkins, Parker mused that black family life was “ more healthy” under slavery than it is today and has accused liberals of treating Justice Clarence Thomas and Gov. Sarah Palin like runaway slaves. She has called legal abortion a “genocide” on par with slavery and the Holocaust.

Ed Vitagliano

As the AFA’s research director, Ed Vitagliano helped co-produce the 2000 anti-gay documentary “It’s Not Gay,” which is riddled with misleading statistics about gays and lesbians and promotes “ex-gay” reparative therapy. The “documentary” starred ex-gay leader Michael Johnston, a self-described “former homosexual,” who was later revealed to have been secretly having sex with other men. Vitagliano’s anti-gay work has continued apace — on the AFA’s radio program this year, Vitagliano argued that gay men are “ abusing the nature of the design of the human body” and said homosexuality is not a “ natural and normal and healthy activity.” Vitagliano also scolded congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis for supporting marriage equality , saying that Lewis “thumbed [his] nose” at God and “needs to go back and read his Bible.”

Bishop Harry Jackson

Jackson, who built his career as an avowed opponent of rights for gays and lesbians, is a regular speaker at Religious Right conferences. He has called for a “SWAT Team” of “Holy Ghost terrorists” to work against hate crimes legislation that protects gays and lesbians, and said that black organizations that support gay rights have “ sold out the black community” and have been “ co-opted by the radical gay movement .” Jackson claims that gay marriage is part of “ a Satanic plot to destroy our seed” and that the larger gay rights movement is “ an insidious intrusion of the Devil.”

Along with his fierce opposition to LGBT rights, Jackson has compared legal abortion to “lynching” and urged the Senate to defeat Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court because she is not a Protestant (Kagan is Jewish). Jackson has even described his political efforts in apocalyptic terms, telling a Religious Right group before the 2010 elections, “God is saying to us ‘I want to pick a fight in which I can wipe out my enemies and cause them to be silenced once and for all.’ This is where America is; if we do not recognize and repent, we are going to see our way of life destroyed as we now know it.”

Lila Rose

Rose is the anti-choice activist responsible for carrying out a deceptive hit job against Planned Parenthood this year. Members of Rose’s group, Live Action, went to Planned Parenthood clinics around the country posing as clients seeking help with a child sex trafficking ring. Planned Parenthood alerted the FBI about the activity, and the one staffer who handled the supposed traffickers inappropriately was promptly fired. Nevertheless, Rose claimed that her hoax proved “beyond a shadow of a doubt that Planned Parenthood intentionally breaks state and federal laws and covers up the abuse of young girls it claims to serve.”

Rose is no newcomer to the Values Voter Summit: in a speech at 2009’s summit, she called for abortions to be performed “in the public square.”

Glenn Beck

Until Beck’s Fox News program was canceled earlier this year, he was one of the Right’s most visible fear-mongers and conspiracy theorists. When his violent rhetoric inspired some real threats against progressive leaders, he laughed off the critics who urged him to choose his words more responsibly. Beck’s elaborate conspiracy theories include the idea that socialists and Islamists were planning a global caliphate, with the help of American progressives; an obsession with the progressive funder George Soros, at whom he leveled a number of anti-Semitic smears including a personal attack that the Anti-Defamation league called “horrific”; and a distrust of President Obama, who he once said was “racist” with a “ deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture .”

On air, Beck joked about killing prominent progressives (for instance, poisoning Nancy Pelosi’s wine), but frequently insisted that it is progressives who were urging violence, even predicting his own martyrdom. In one 2010 broadcast, he warned that "anarchists, Marxists, communists, revolutionaries, Maoists" have to "eliminate 10 percent of the U.S. population" in order to "gain control."

After a terrorist in Oslo killed dozens of young members of Norway’s Labor Party at an island summer camp, Beck attacked the victims , comparing the camp to “Hitler Youth” and calling it “disturbing.”

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Supreme Court Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Tuesday 07/02/2013, 3:56pm
Fresh after blaming gays and women wearing hats and pants for the Colorado wildfires, Colorado pastors Kevin Swanson and Dave Buehner on Generations Radio have responded to the Supreme Court’s rulings on DOMA and Prop 8 by predicting the legalization of marriages to inanimate objects. Harkening back to an earlier program about how Star Trek allegedly promotes bestiality, Buehner claimed that “cross-species” marriages and unions with “non-life forms” will soon become all the rage: “there are some people who love their MacBooks.” Swanson even... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 07/02/2013, 11:00am
After arguing that gay marriage is a threat to children and community spirit, Janice Shaw Crouse of Concerned Women for America took to the Washington Times today to warn about the approaching “bleak future Christians” in which people of faith will experience “harsh retribution in the form of fines and imprisonment” if gay marriage becomes legal. Crouse lashed out at “in-your-face media campaigns to normalize homosexual relationships” and pointed to an opinion piece by a Heritage Foundation fellow in CNN.com to claim that the DOMA ruling is a threat to... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 07/02/2013, 10:35am
Austin Ruse of C-FAM, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, filled in for Sandy Rios yesterday on her American Family Association radio program, and quickly proved that he is more than able to fill her shoes. Ruse kicked off the show by recounting a harrowing experience where he had to see a lesbian…with her arm around her wife…on the Food Network. Ruse said that he started to worry when he realized that one of the chefs on Chopped “looked like a butch lesbian” and put his finger on the remote just in case he got exposed to gayness. “But this is the... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 07/01/2013, 3:50pm
While Justice Antonin Scalia has problems believing in biology, Rep. Louie Gohmert takes issue with any Supreme Court justice who understands evolution. On last week’s edition of Washington Watch, Gohmert spoke to conservative activist J. Christian Adams about the court’s decisions in the DOMA and Prop 8 cases, which he had previously warned signal the collapse of civilization. Gohmert reacted to the court’s rulings by quoting “the wisest man in the history of mankind,” King Solomon, while lamenting that his wisdom was “ruined” by engaging in polygamy... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 07/01/2013, 1:40pm
World Congress of Families spokesman Don Feder claims that the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act will legalize polygamy, incest, pedophilia and bestiality, and will ultimately mean that society is “doomed to extinction.” In fact, Feder writes in a column today, “Members of the North American Man-Boy Love Association celebrated [the ruling] by forming a chorus line in trench coats, waving candy bars.” Feder calls the push for marriage equality “marriage mutilation” and asserts that gays and lesbians are a “... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 07/01/2013, 12:30pm
Extreme anti-gay columnist Michael Bresciani of Renew America is warning that President Obama is a harbinger of the Antichrist, who will rule over the world with a mix of Sharia law and LGBT rights. In his latest column, Bresciani argues that Obama is part of a long line of evil rulers including Nero and Adolf Hitler, and may be even worse because of his support for same-sex marriage. Bresciani writes that Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality was the “most defiant, divisive and destructive policy ever presented to any nation in history.” “The prurient, perverted... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 07/01/2013, 11:15am
On his radio show today, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson discussed the Supreme Court’s marriage equality rulings with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins and Bill Becker, an attorney affiliated with right-wing groups such as the Alliance Defense Fund and the Discovery Institute. As you could imagine, Dobson was aghast at the decisions, arguing that same-sex marriages “threaten the entire superstructure” of society. “I believe it can come down,” Dobson warned. “This has been devastating. Even if eventually legally we somehow walk it back... MORE