Values Voter Summit

Janet Jackson, ISIS And The Amish: Religious Right Group Fears First Amendment On Last Legs

When Jerry Johnson, president of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), told the Values Voter Summit on Friday that the U.S. is witnessing the rise of “self-imposed Sharia law” due to the gay rights movement, it turns out that he was just getting started.

The next day, Johnson — whose group represents evangelical radio and television programs — hosted a panel discussion on how the First Amendment is “under siege” by liberals. Johnson and his fellow panelists Craig Parshall, an NRB official and husband of right-wing talk show host Janet Parshall, and Canadian Religious Right activist Charles McVety, stoked fears about the persecution of Christians in the United States, including warning that Janet Jackson’s decade-old “wardrobe malfunction” could lead to laws criminalizing anti-gay speech.

Johnson suggested that the anti-gay Benham brothers somehow had their constitutional rights violated when HGTV dropped their planned reality show, and repeatedly made misleading claims about a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. He warned that without Citizens United, “private citizens” would be barred from “weighing in on elections,” which of course implies that citizens did not have those rights prior to 2010, when the case was decided.

McVety, the Canadian, claimed that the U.S. is on the verge of doing away with the First Amendment because he has heard “whispers of hate speech” laws on the horizon, alleging that even quoting from the Bible may soon become a criminal offense in America. Outside of the “whispers” he claims to have heard, McVety cited no evidence at all substantiating his claim about the imminent passage of unconstitutional hate speech laws.

McVety explained his theory that U.S. activists will use ISIS propaganda videos of hostage beheadings as an excuse to enact laws banning hate speech. “I can see it coming in America,” he said.

Johnson also tried to find evidence to back up the panel’s dire warnings of constitutional collapse, warning that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may cite the fines levied against Janet Jackson for her 2004 Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction” as a precedent for fining conservative TV personalities under the guise of preserving public order and decency.

The halftime show controversy, of course, occurred a decade ago without any of the horrible results that Johnson predicted, and the NRB actually supported the FCC in the case. Seeing that the NRB filed an amicus curiae brief under Parshall’s name defending the FCC’s fine [PDF], Johnson appears to suggest that his own organization is threatening the First Amendment.

Parshall also grasped at straws in an effort to find evidence of imminent dangers to the First Amendment.

After discussing “Spanish inquisition-type investigations” taking place in America and a “tsunami” of threats to the freedom of speech, Parshall could only cite the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 case that struck down anti-sodomy laws. He said the ruling paved the way for hate speech laws because of the majority opinion’s use of international law in its decision.

Since U.S. courts citing foreign laws is nothing new, we can only assume that Parshall merely cited Lawrence to raise fears about the gay-Sharia menace that Johnson previously warned about.

Parshall then railed against hate speech policies on social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, which of course have their own policies that users agree to uphold and do not represent the government.

Parshall also pointed to the Amish beard shaving case — in which a group of people from an Amish sect were charged with breaking federal hate crime laws, among other counts, for forcibly and violently shaving the beards and cutting the hair of former sect members — to claim that the Justice Department used the hate crime charges against the Amish beard-cutters in order to give them more leeway for future prosecutions over hate speech.

An appeals court recently overturned the religious-based hate crime conviction, finding that prosecutors couldn’t prove that the attacks were motivated for religious reasons, rather than familial, political or personal disputes (two of the victims were the parents of their assailants).

Essentially, the NRB panel’s extreme claims about the imminent annihilation of the bedrock of the U.S. Constitution came down to a string of possibly-maybe-this-could-happen incidents that wed together Janet Jackson, ISIS and Amish beard-cutters.

Johnson concluded his remarks by saying that the “NRB will be for the First Amendment what the NRA is for the Second Amendment.”

If that means making completely outlandish statements and developing doomsday conspiracy theories to spur political outrage and raise money, then his comparison is right on.

Stop Persecuting Us! Five Religious Right Tactics On Clear Display At The Values Voter Summit

One thing was clear at last week’s Values Voter Summit: many of the Religious Right’s leaders and allied politicians know that their stances on abortion rights and LGBT equality are becoming more and more toxic to the average voter, and less and less popular within the GOP.

Many speakers at the conference tried to reframe the debate on issues such as same-sex marriage, insisting that opponents of LGBT rights are becoming an oppressed minority in America. This delusion even seeped into matters such as foreign policy, with speakers attacking President Obama as an Islamist sympathizer who refuses to take military action against ISIS, even while he was doing exactly that.

Naturally, one politician was able to prey upon the many fears and fantasies of the far-right: Ted Cruz.

Even as the Values Voter Summit subtly changed its tone on some familiar issues, five tried and true tactics of the Religious Right were unchanged at last week’s event:

5. Make Audacious Persecution Analogies

While addressing the plight of Christians in the Mideast and people such as Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan and Saeed Abedini in Iran — both of whom are actually the victims of shocking anti-Christian persecution — Values Voter Summit speakers often attempted to claim that conservative Christians face similar abuses and comparable treatment in America.

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel attempted to paint the Obama administration as more malicious than the government of Nazi Germany, and twins Jason and David Benham — who lost a planned HGTV reality show after we reported on their anti-gay political activism — even had the gall to compare themselves to the victims of ISIS.

Todd Starnes and Kelly Shackelford rattled off cases of purported anti-Christian persecution in America, “Duck Dynasty” star Alan Robertson said his family’s reality TV show was briefly suspended as the result of demonic attacks, and a Colorado baker who gained national attention after denying service to a gay couple broke down in tears.

Maggie Gallagher, the founder of the National Organization for Marriage, told attendees that marriage equality opponents will be “oppressed” due to their opinions, and Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel predicted Big Government persecution of Christians on behalf of “the intolerant homosexual lobby.”

4. Demand Religious Freedom… Except For Muslims

For a conference dedicated to protecting religious liberty and addressing the supposed persecution of Christians in America, there sure was plenty of animosity towards Muslims.

Conference speakers including Michele BachmannRobert DeesGary Bauer and Brigitte Gabriel dedicated their remarks to the threat of Islam, with several conflating Al Qaeda and ISIS with all of Islam and suggesting that the U.S. government somehow declare war on the religion.

Prior to the conference, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, whose group was the summit’s chief sponsor, suggested that Muslim-Americans be stripped of their rights under the Constitution.

3. Brazenly Ignore Reality

It was surreal to watch several Values Voter Summit speakers criticize President Obama for not going after ISIS at the same time as a U.S.-led coalition was launching a daily torrent of airstrikes against ISIS and the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria and Iraq.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a likely GOP presidential candidate, said Obama doesn’t believe that ISIS leaders need to be “hunted down and killed and destroyed.”

Bachmann declared that the president was ignoring her sage advice on how to handle ISIS: “You kill their leader, you kill their council, you kill their army until they wave the white flag of surrender. That’s how you win a war!”

2. Push Back Against The GOP

There was a palpable fear throughout the conference that the Republican Party is moving away from the Religious Right, as more and more GOP candidates either refuse to highlight the movement’s anti-choice and anti-gay positions or are openly trumpeting support for abortion rights and gay marriage.

Just before the conference took place, Focus on the Family, the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council issued a letter announcing their vow to defeat two openly gay Republican House candidates and the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Oregon, who is pro-choice and running advertisements boasting of her support for marriage equality.

NOM president Brian Brown criticized Republicans for blaming the party’s stances on social issues for losses in the 2012 election. “It’s not our fault,” Brown insisted as he introduced unabashedly anti-gay politician Rick Santorum at the summit.

Later, at a NOM-sponsored panel, Brown accused gay rights supporters of attempting to “hijack” the GOP. While one panel at the summit attempted to explain the potential for libertarians and social conservatives to build a political alliance, it seems many in the audience didn’t want anything to do with the libertarian message.

1. Throw Them Red Meat

Ted Cruz once again won the summit’s presidential candidate straw poll, with Ben Carson, who didn’t attend the summit this year but was well-represented by campaigners from the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, finishing in second place. Cruz and Carson notably outpaced Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, two favorites of Religious Right movement who both spoke at the summit.

Cruz packed his speech with warnings about imminent threats to the Second Amendment and religious freedom, and listing objects of conservative derision: IRS, Common Core and Obamacare.

Conference organizers said Jeb Bush and Chris Christie were not welcome at the summit, but they wouldn’t have been able to stand a chance against Cruz’s easy applause lines anyway.

Who Does Glenn Beck Really Stand With: Russian Gays Or America's Religious Right?

Shortly after Russia passed its new spate of anti-gay laws, Glenn Beck said he was so offended by one Russian commentator who called for the mass killing of gays and lesbians that he would “stand with GLAAD” against the growing tide of anti-gay bigotry and “hetero-fascism” in the country.

At the same time, however, Beck was heaping praise on anti-gay activists such as Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel attorney who endorsed draconian anti-gay laws in Russia and Malawi.

Then, this weekend, Beck took the same stand against growing Russian “hetero-fascism” in his closing speech at the Values Voter Summit, even though many of the summit’s sponsors and his fellow speakers have openly backed harsh anti-gay laws in Russia and throughout the world.

To begin with, Tony Perkins, the president of the summit’s chief sponsor, the Family Research Council, defended Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill when it included provisions making homosexuality a crime punishable by life imprisonment or death.

Beck’s fellow Values Voter Summit speakers included not only Staver and Perkins but also Peter Sprigg, the FRC spokesman who called for the U.S. to export gay people and criminalize homosexuality. The American Family Association also sponsored the summit, and its spokesmen Bryan Fischer and Sandy Rios have also endorsed Russia’s anti-gay policies, with Fischer even backing Uganda’s law.

Maybe Beck was trying to hold Religious Right leaders at the summit to task for their support of brutal anti-gay policies. But if that’s the case, Beck should start confronting them directly when they come on his show, rather than singing their praises and appearing at their conferences while calling policies they support “fascist.”

Brigitte Gabriel: Hundreds Of Millions Of Muslims Are Aspiring Suicide Bombers

How fitting that a conference ostensibly about guarding religious liberty included several speakers who used their time to level attacks against Muslim-Americans, including Brigitte Gabriel of the anti-Muslim group Act! for America.

Gabriel, whose organization focuses on fighting Muslim campus affinity groups and passing dubiously-constitutional laws barring sharia law, claimed in her speech this morning that around 180-300 million Muslims are “radical Islamists who are willing to strap bombs on their bodies and walk into this room and blow us all up to smithereens.”

Erick Erickson: People Who Believe In Evolution Are Dumb And Jealous

It was tough to top the sanctimonious speech delivered by Religious Right activist twins David and Jason Benham at the Values Voter Summit last night, but RedState editor Erick Erickson tried his best. Erickson, who also serves as a Fox News pundit, dedicated his remarks to explaining how people like himself and the VVS audience are headed to Heaven and, because of that, everyone else is jealous of them.

These days, Erickson lamented, people “worship science” and “believe we were an accident of a primordial goo, particles bumping into each other after the Big Bang that created bacteria that created amoeba that created something that led to something that led to something, a missing link, and then men, somewhere in there there’s a monkey apparently.”

After mocking evolution as dumb and incompatible with the religious faith, even cracking a joke about the Fox series “Cosmos,” Erickson said “I see a world that is opposed to us in this room because we’re headed home to eternity, we’re just passing through.”

“There is a last day, pick a side and the right side wins,” he said, adding: “You have got to love someone enough that you don’t want them to go to Hell.”

Alan Robertson: Satan Attacked 'Duck Dynasty' Clan Because We're So Great

“Duck Dynasty” family member Alan Robertson spoke to the Values Voter Summit last night about criticism of his father Phil Robertson’s racist and anti-gay statements.

Robertson said his father was a victim of a plot by “the Evil One,” who wants to “derail [his] message” about “a return to godliness,” which apparently includes waxing nostalgic about Jim Crow and smearing gays and lesbians.

“We’re talking about undergoing that change and trying to help other people see that because now you realize we’ve got generations of people in our nation that really don’t understand godliness at any level, they don’t know,” he said.

Later in his remarks, Robertson prayed that the heathens outside of the Values Voter Summit will one day become just as wise and godly as the Robertson clan: “I pray for even our American brothers and sisters who aren’t there yet, I pray for them, because I want our nation to rise up and be great again.”

Benham Twins: We Are Like ISIS Victims!

We have gotten used to Religious Right activists compare themselves to Jews living under Nazi Germany, but David and Jason Benham took a new approach at the Values Voter Summit last night and compared themselves to victims of the terrorist group ISIS.

The Benham twins, of course, were referring to how they lost their planned HGTV reality show after we reported on their anti-gay, anti-choice and anti-Muslim political activism.

In their speech to the summit, the Benham twins argued that just as ISIS beheads their victim with a sword, progressive groups like Right Wing Watch “silence” conservatives by quoting them verbatim.

Jason Benham kicked it off by likening himself and his brother to Jesus Christ — a theme throughout their speech — and later David said that Christians in America are facing persecution just like Christians in the Mideast who are coming under attack from violent groups such as ISIS.

“There is a radical agenda that has come in our nation,” David explained, “the weapon of choice for the agenda in the Middle East is a sword, but the weapon of choice for the agenda in America is silence. They demand silence.”

Mark Levin: Religious Right Voters Are Centrists Because They're Not As Extreme As Neo-Confederates

Conservative pundit Mark Levin took the stage at the Values Voter Summit this morning for a conversation with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, in which he told the audience at the far-right conference that they are not the political fringe because there are right-wing political movements that are even more extreme than them, such as neo-Confederates secessionists.

Levin told the audience that they had to fight the effort by liberals to “silence us” with “this PC stuff” and to label them as a “fringe” movement.

“They treat us like we’re this fringe,” he said. “You know, I view the political spectrum quite differently. We’re in the middle! You’ve got the radical leftists who’ve taken over the Democratic Party. And then you’ve got this neo-Confederate group out there that really doesn’t believe in the Constitution and keeps talking about secession and so forth. We are traditional conservatives who embrace the Constitution and embrace our heritage and we need to stand up!”

Staver: 'You And I Are Being Forced To Participate In Human Genocide By The HHS Mandate'

While addressing the Values Voter Summit this morning, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver trotted out his favorite claim that the contraception mandate means that America is literally worse than countries like Nazi Germany or Rwanda because those nations never forced their citizens to directly participate in carrying out genocide.

"Now, in America of all places, you and I are being forced to participate in human genocide by the HHS mandate," Staver said.

"We've never been forced in any time in world history to participate in the killing of innocent people and yet today we are," he continued. "No generation has faced what we currently face now ... and we cannot be silent in the face of this tragedy [of] human genocide being forced upon Americans":

Mat Staver Is Furious About Being Labeled An Anti-Gay Extremist

Mat Staver spent a good portion of his speech at the Values Voter Summit today fuming over a letter sent by People For the American Way, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and five other civil rights and LGBT organizations to Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus, asking members of the GOP not to participate in the conference, citing the anti-gay extremism of its sponsors.

Staver's organization, Liberty Counsel, is among those very sponsors and he is not very happy about being labeled an anti-gay extremist, despite this long and documented record of being one. Staver fumed that he is being attacked merely for believing "in God's natural created order of male and and female and marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

"For me believing in something that is that obvious," he complained, "I am considered by some groups to be a hater. But I hate no one. I hate no one, but I believe in God's truth and I will not be silent in the face of intimidation."

In an effort to prove that he is not an extremist, Staver then went on to liken himself to Jesus when he turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple before declaring that marriage equality teaches that children do not need mothers or fathers.

"That is an absolute lie from the very pit of Hell," he said:

E.W. Jackson: A Thousand Years From Now, Marriage Will Still Be One Man And One Woman 'Because God Ordained It So'

E.W. Jackson closed out last night's session at the Values Voter Summit by lashing out at those pushing for marriage equality, thundering, "How dare you try to redefine an institution that God himself ordained!"

"The fact of the matter is they can call a union other than one man and one woman by any name they choose," Jackson proclaimed," but the reality is you can re-write a thousand dictionaries, you can put on a thousand TV shows, you can make a thousand headlines, you can have a thousand coming out parties, you can have a thousand politicians affirm the lie, but the truth will still stand and a thousand years from now, marriage will still be a union between one man and one woman because God ordained it so!"

Huckabee: Christians Must Register And Vote Against Those Who Do Not Listen To 'God's Heart'

Mike Huckabee spoke at last night's session of the Values Voter Summit, where he made the case that President Obama was re-elected and America is now "on the precipice of disaster" because conservative Christians ignored God's call to vote in the last election.

A good portion of Huckabee's speech was dedicated to rattling off statistics about how few Evangelical and like-minded Christians are registered to vote, which is made worse by the fact that only a small percentage of those who are registered even bother to actually vote.

"When the call is coming to us from God to stand, to speak, to act," Huckabee said, "it's going to voice-mail."

God is calling conservative Christians to be involved in politics, he said, and America is suffering because that is not happening in sufficient numbers, which is totally unacceptable because America was created and sustained by God.

The solution is for Christians to answer God's call to save this nation by getting registered to vote and then going to the polls to vote against politicians "who refuse to hear not only our hearts, but God's heart."

"That's how we change America, my friend," he concluded. "Let's make this a nation once again that unapologetically bows its knee before a holy God":

John Fleming: Colorado's Pot Law Linked To 'Increase In Homeless People,' Violence And Mental Illness

Rep. John Fleming, R-La., warned about the dangers of marijuana law reform efforts today at the Values Voter Summit, arguing that Colorado is seeing a wave of homeless people moving to the state as a result of its legalization vote.

Rather than bringing in revenue for the state, the congressman said, “already an increase in homeless people are [sic] moving to Colorado has been reported. As social problems and crimes increase, so will the burden on the treasury to provide for broken families, broken lives and broken bodies.”

The reports he cites, however, claim that homeless people moving to Colorado are largely looking for jobs in the marijuana industry.

Later in the speech, Fleming linked marijuana to family violence, mental illnesses and divorce.

Sarah Palin Brings America Together By Giving Obama The Latte Salute

Sarah Palin’s Values Voter Summit speech didn’t exactly bring down the house, but she did try her best to weave together right-wing memes about Benghazi, President Obama golfing, Saul Alinsky and the “latte salute” all together into one incoherent mishmash of words.

“It’s time to end the politics of division, the left’s politics of demographics and identity groups and their tactic of distraction,” said the renowned unifier. “The status quo has got to go, united we will be able to stand.”

Palin announced that “the man” is now composed of “Alinsky-lovin’, Orwellian, out-of-touch, command-and-control elitists” who are deliberately causing scandals to distract the American people from the previous scandal they caused:

They distract, bebopin’ from one scandal after another, knowing that there are so many that you can’t keep up with all of ‘em so no one is ever held accountable, from the IRS corruption to you being spied on to Benghazi to bailouts to — Bush’s war was bad, but Barack’s bombs, oh baby those red lines, the strategery there that was thought up on the back nine, Barack’s bombs, oh they’re the bomb.

Which all led up to, of course, the latte salute.

Mysteriously, Palin’s speech did not receive the same level of euphoric applause as her Dr. Seuss re-write or 7-Eleven Big Gulp gimmicks at the other leading conservative conference, CPAC.

GOP 2016 Candidates Have Busy Religious Right Schedule Post-Values Voter Summit

The Values Voter Summit is thick with Republican presidential wannabes and members of Congress — a potent counter to recurring claims that the Religious Right is dead or dying as a political force. And the VVS is not the only place Republican candidates and politicians court Religious Right leaders and activists. Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition had a pile of elected officials at its “Road to Majority” conference this summer. And, as we’ve reported, Republican presidential hopefuls make regular appearances at events convened by Christian-nation extremist David Lane and his Pastors and Pews network.

It’s a trend that isn’t slowing down any. David Catanese at US News & World Report reported this week that at least five potential presidential contenders — including Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — will be appearing at David Lane events this fall.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist minister himself, is slated to participate in three of the upcoming "Pastors & Pews" settings, maintaining his close connection with religious conservatives.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who has been the subject of increased White House speculation, will also travel to a "Pastors & Pews" event in Troy, Michigan next month. While Pence has said his focus remains on the first-term of his governorship in Indiana, the move shows his interest in testing the waters with an important Republican primary constituency.

Organized by conservative political consultant David Lane, the gathering of local pastors in cities across the country is designed to encourage and motivate them to participate in the political process.

“We have a constituency that we’re mobilizing. My goal is to restore America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and reestablish a Christian culture," Lane tells U.S. News.

Lane insists that America was founded as a Christian nation and believes the Bible should be made a primary textbook in public schools. But none of that is keeping prominent Republicans from courting the evangelical pastors that Lane wants to turn into a right-wing voter turnout machine. Lane told Catanese that he has Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal signed up for New Hampshire this week; Huckabee and Rand Paul in North Carolina next week; Pence and Rick Santorum in Michigan October 6-7, and Huckabee and Oklahoma Rep. James Lankford in Arkansas Oct 20-21. Huckabee and Ted Cruz already went to Michigan for a David Lane event in August.

Sarah Palin Wants To Bring 'Truth' To '1400 Pennsylvania Avenue'

Sarah Palin just finished her speech to the Values Voter Summit, in which she told the far-right audience that they are “the most slandered group in America today.”

After explaining that people who believe racism exists in America today are the real racists, Palin said that it is high time for someone to speak the truth in politics…and that someone is her.

Palin lamented that “truth is an endangered species” at the famous address of “1400 Pennsylvania Avenue.”

Jerry Johnson Thinks Obama Is Snubbing Straight People By Using The Term 'LGBT'

Jerry Johnson, president of the National Religious Broadcasters, closed out the "Marriage in America" panel at the Values Voters Summit today by declaring that if young people are supporting marriage equality because they want to be "on the right side of history," then anti-gay marriage activists need to explain to them that they have it exactly backwards.

Right after the audience gave a standing ovation to Aaron and Melissa Klein, bakery owners who became Religious Right celebrities for refusing service to a gay couple, Johnson went on to criticize President Obama for using the term "LGBT."

"He never says 'gay and straight' any more, now it's 'LGBT.' Straight is not even in that mix," Johnson said. "That's an interesting point."

Um, no it is not.

Later, Johnson urged Christians not to live under "some self-imposed sharia law on this issue" and instead start making the case for "natural marriage" by explaining to young people that opposing gay marriage puts them on the right side of history:

Gary Bauer: Obama 'More Interested In Defending The Reputation Of Islam' Than 'Saving The Lives Of Christians'

Gary Bauer’s speech to the Values Voter Summit today was a parade of anti-Muslim rhetoric — fitting for a conference on protecting “religious liberty”— that led up to him accusing President Obama of being “more interested in defending the reputation of Islam than he [is] in saving the lives of Christians.”

“Obama and his allies do everything they can to rip out of our society all the vestiges that made this Judeo-Christian civilization” which “liberal elites can’t stand,” he declared.

If the next Republican presidential nominee has “a heart and a brain,” Bauer said, he would tell Obama that pushing back against anti-Muslim attacks is not “in his job description.”


 

Brian Brown Defends GOP's Anti-Gay Platform: 'It's Not Our Fault' Republicans Keep Losing

Back from defending anti-gay laws in Russia, Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage introduced Rick Santorum at today’s Values Voter Summit.

Brown spent most of his time pushing back on claims that the GOP’s opposition to abortion rights and LGBT equality is dragging down the party, suggesting that Republicans would win more elections if they nominated more social issue crusaders in the mold of Rick Santorum.

“It’s not our fault” when Republican candidates lose, Brown said. “You cannot blame social conservatives for lost elections.”

How Many Myths Of Anti-Christian 'Persecution' Can Kelly Shackelford Cite In One Speech? At Least Three

Whenever a new tale of supposed anti-Christian "persecution" begins to sweep through the Religious Right echo chamber, the chances are probably pretty good that it originated with The Liberty Institute. So it was only fitting that LI's president Kelly Shackelford kicked off the afternoon session of today's Values Voter Summit by citing at least three of these false tales as proof that Christians are under attack in America today:

The first claim about the young girl who was supposedly told she was not allowed to pray before eating her lunch turned out to be totally false, as it was a story that was completely ginned up by Liberty Institute, Todd Starnes, and the man in charge of marketing Starnes' latest book about ant-Christian persecution.

The second incident Shackelford cited is a myth that has been floating around Religious Right circles for nearly twenty years and was debunked nearly as long ago when school officials explained that the student in question was disciplined for fighting in the lunch room, not for praying.

The final claim about Sgt. Phillip Monk is something that Shackelford has been promoting for several years now, mainly by fundamentally misrepresenting what actually took place.

It is pretty telling that Shackelford's narrative of anti-Christian persecution in America relies on multiple incidents that are demonstrably false.

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Values Voter Summit Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Tuesday 09/30/2014, 1:25pm
When Jerry Johnson, president of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), told the Values Voter Summit on Friday that the U.S. is witnessing the rise of “self-imposed Sharia law” due to the gay rights movement, it turns out that he was just getting started. The next day, Johnson — whose group represents evangelical radio and television programs — hosted a panel discussion on how the First Amendment is “under siege” by liberals. Johnson and his fellow panelists Craig Parshall, an NRB official and husband of right-wing talk show host Janet Parshall,... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 09/29/2014, 4:40pm
One thing was clear at last week’s Values Voter Summit: many of the Religious Right’s leaders and allied politicians know that their stances on abortion rights and LGBT equality are becoming more and more toxic to the average voter, and less and less popular within the GOP. Many speakers at the conference tried to reframe the debate on issues such as same-sex marriage, insisting that opponents of LGBT rights are becoming an oppressed minority in America. This delusion even seeped into matters such as foreign policy, with speakers attacking President Obama as an Islamist... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 09/29/2014, 2:10pm
Shortly after Russia passed its new spate of anti-gay laws, Glenn Beck said he was so offended by one Russian commentator who called for the mass killing of gays and lesbians that he would “stand with GLAAD” against the growing tide of anti-gay bigotry and “hetero-fascism” in the country. At the same time, however, Beck was heaping praise on anti-gay activists such as Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel attorney who endorsed draconian anti-gay laws in Russia and Malawi. Then, this weekend, Beck took the same stand against growing Russian “hetero-fascism”... MORE
Brian Tashman, Saturday 09/27/2014, 2:25pm
How fitting that a conference ostensibly about guarding religious liberty included several speakers who used their time to level attacks against Muslim-Americans, including Brigitte Gabriel of the anti-Muslim group Act! for America. Gabriel, whose organization focuses on fighting Muslim campus affinity groups and passing dubiously-constitutional laws barring sharia law, claimed in her speech this morning that around 180-300 million Muslims are “radical Islamists who are willing to strap bombs on their bodies and walk into this room and blow us all up to smithereens.” MORE
Brian Tashman, Saturday 09/27/2014, 2:15pm
It was tough to top the sanctimonious speech delivered by Religious Right activist twins David and Jason Benham at the Values Voter Summit last night, but RedState editor Erick Erickson tried his best. Erickson, who also serves as a Fox News pundit, dedicated his remarks to explaining how people like himself and the VVS audience are headed to Heaven and, because of that, everyone else is jealous of them. These days, Erickson lamented, people “worship science” and “believe we were an accident of a primordial goo, particles bumping into each other after the Big Bang that... MORE
Brian Tashman, Saturday 09/27/2014, 1:50pm
“Duck Dynasty” family member Alan Robertson spoke to the Values Voter Summit last night about criticism of his father Phil Robertson’s racist and anti-gay statements. Robertson said his father was a victim of a plot by “the Evil One,” who wants to “derail [his] message” about “a return to godliness,” which apparently includes waxing nostalgic about Jim Crow and smearing gays and lesbians. “We’re talking about undergoing that change and trying to help other people see that because now you realize we’ve got generations of... MORE
Brian Tashman, Saturday 09/27/2014, 1:35pm
We have gotten used to Religious Right activists compare themselves to Jews living under Nazi Germany, but David and Jason Benham took a new approach at the Values Voter Summit last night and compared themselves to victims of the terrorist group ISIS. The Benham twins, of course, were referring to how they lost their planned HGTV reality show after we reported on their anti-gay, anti-choice and anti-Muslim political activism. In their speech to the summit, the Benham twins argued that just as ISIS beheads their victim with a sword, progressive groups like Right Wing Watch “silence... MORE