Values Voter Summit

Jews Must Be Converted: FRC Vice President

Bad news for Eric Cantor. He’s speaking tomorrow at the Values Voter Summit, but he’s apparently still going to hell. Let me explain.

Jerry Boykin is the Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council and Tony Perkins’ right-hand man. FRC is hosting the far right conference that the House Majority Leader, who is Jewish, plans to address tomorrow.

Boykin, much like Bryan Fischer, has a penchant for saying exactly what’s on his mind – things which others know not to say, even when they’re thinking the same thing. While you may know Boykin from his prolific Muslim-bashing, he also has some interesting things to say about Jews.

In a 2009 speech on “Why We Must Stand with Israel,” Boykin spoke out against pastors who say that “the Jews don’t have to come to know Jesus,” complaining that those pastors were “destroying the efforts” to lead Jews to Christ:

Last year, Boykin said that “one of the most disgusting things I hear is for people to call Hitler the extreme Right” because he was “an extraordinarily off the scale leftist.” He then lamented that “many Jews in America, for example, can't identify with the Republican Party because they're called the party of the Right, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth."

Boykin also said that President Obama is creating a Hitler-sytle Brownshirt army to force Marxism on America. And in 2003, then-Lt. Gen. Boykin said that the U.S. was fighting a war “in the name of Jesus,” prompting a rebuke from the ADL and President Bush.

To be sure, the Religious Right hasn’t always had the best relations with American Jews. Jerry Falwell sparked a controversy in 1980 when he said that God “does not hear the prayers of unredeemed Gentiles or Jews.” He was speaking at a press conference in defense of the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, who had proclaimed that “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew.”

More recently, however, Religious Right leaders have been careful to stress Judeo-Christian values and avoid explicit attacks. Boykin, however, doesn’t have any use for such niceties.

Yet Boykin was able to meet recently with Mitt Romney, and he has three speaking slots during the conference. He’s even leading a panel on Israel with his good friend Kamal Saleem. Saleem, who is considered to be a fraud, describes himself as a former terrorist who “completed his first bloody terror mission into Israel for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) at the age of seven.”

All of this makes me wonder if Cantor’s folks did their homework before agreeing to speak tomorrow. Perhaps something will come up, and he’ll have to decline FRC’s invitation, much like Ann Romney and Cardinal Dolan have done. We’ll find out tomorrow.

 

Ann Romney Joins Cardinal Dolan In Declining Values Voter Summit Invitation

After we reported yesterday evening that Ann Romney was being touted on the Values Voter Summit lineup alongside Paul Ryan, the Romney campaign moved quickly to distance her from the event. They first disputed our report, which was entirely accurate and based on the Values Voter Summit website, and then denied that Ann Romney was ever planning to speak there in the first place. 

It certainly seemed to strike a nerve. Apparently a gay-bashing conference is just fine for Paul Ryan but off-limits for Ann Romney.
 
That begs the question of why Ann Romney was listed in the first place. As I wrote yesterday, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were listed for weeks on the speakers page, as were many others. When Cardinal Dolan made it clear that he would not be attending, his photo was removed. Ann Romney, however, was never listed on that page.
 
With the conference less than a week out, the Family Research Council posted the schedule and pushed highlights to daybooks for press planning purposes. And suddenly there was Ann Romney closing out the kickoff session with Paul Ryan.
 
An FRC spokesman told Buzzfeed that Ann Romney had been invited but was not confirmed. I, for one, find it hard to believe that FRC pushed out Ann Romney’s name to the media without, at the very least, an understanding with the campaign, but we can’t know for sure.
 
What we do know is that Ann Romney declined the invitation, perhaps as recently as last night, and the Romney campaign went into overdrive to distance her from the event. Late last night, her name was removed from the conference website.
 
Meanwhile Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor are still speaking on Friday.

 

Ann Romney Booked for Gay-Bashing Conference?

[Update 9-12-12: Ann Romney Joins Cardinal Dolan In Declining Values Voter Summit Invitation]

Ann Romney, the person tasked with humanizing her husband Mitt, is apparently scheduled to address a conference that dehumanizes others. I’m talking about the Values Voter Summit, which is hosted and sponsored by two Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate groups – the Family Research Council and American Family Association.

The National Journal Daybook and Values Voter Summit website both list Ann Romney on the schedule:
 
 
 
Notably absent from the list is Cardinal Timothy Dolan, whose spokesperson pointedly declined FRC’s invitation. Yet there Ann Romney is.
 
It’s an odd move by the Romney campaign. They’ve previously deployed her to show the softer side of Mitt. Now they’re sending her to stand on stage with a man who paid $83,000 to use David Duke’s mailing list and addressed a white supremacist group while in public office. The same person – Tony Perkins – also praised a law in Uganda to execute gays and warned senators they would have “the blood of innocent soldiers on their hands” if they repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
 
The Romney campaign must have its reasons, but it sure seems like an odd way to deploy Ann Romney. They already have Paul Ryan scheduled to address the conference. Do they really need two headliners reaching out to the Bachmann-Akin wing of the party? Besides, just last week Ann Romney refused to answer questions about same-sex marriage and contraception, dismissing them as distractions "from what the real voting issue is going to be."
 
For weeks, the Values Voter Summit website listed Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as invited speakers. When Ryan was added to the ticket in August, the Family Research Council blasted out an email confirming Ryan’s appearance. No one really expected Mitt Romney to show for the event – too radical, too close to the election. That’s why, when the conference schedule was recently posted, it was a shock to see not only “Romney” on the lineup, but Ann Romney.
 
Ryan and Ann Romney, if she appears, will be speaking on stage with Perkins in a lineup that includes Kirk Cameron and Michele Bachmann. They’ll be kicking off a conference that features a who’s who of Todd Akin backers (e.g. Mike Huckabee and Rep. Steve King) and anti-Muslim McCarthyites (e.g. Frank Gaffney and Jerry Boykin). And, of course, there will be gay-bashers – featured speakers like Perkins and Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, who recently defended Malawi’s law criminalizing homosexuality. They would push for the same thing here in America if they thought they could pull it off. In fact, FRC’s Peter Sprigg and the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer have already done so.
 
These aren’t conservative people pushing conservative values and policies – this is the radical right. America, and the Romney campaign in all likelihood, would be better served if Romney and Ryan followed Dolan’s example and skipped the conference. Or they can go cast their lot with the extremists with the national media looking on. We’ll see what their priorities are this Friday morning.

 

Paul Ryan Featured Alongside 'Former Terrorist’

This, in a nutshell, is your modern Religious Right:

The website for the upcoming Values Voter Summit in DC, hosted by the Family Research Council, features Mitt Romney’s running mate side-by-side with “former terrorist” Kamal Saleem, seen here:
 
 
I can’t imagine Ryan would appreciate being given equal billing with a “former terrorist,” but Saleem is a big deal to the Religious Right.
 
Saleem, whose real name is Khodor Shami, claims that he was Muslim Brotherhood operative who “came to the United States of America…to destroy this country,” saying that he crossed the Canadian border and “brought weapon caches right through cities.” Somewhere along the way he converted, got a job at Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, and became the favorite ex-Muslim of the Religious Right. As a result, he says his life is constantly in danger, and he is being pursued by foreign agents.
 
If you’re asking yourself why Saleem isn’t in jail as opposed to speaking at a conference with the likes of Paul Ryan, Michele Bachmann, Jerry Boykin, and Tony Perkins, it’s because Saleem is widely considered to be a fraud. But this begs a question.
 
Does FRC believe Saleem? Do they think he came to America as a Muslim Brotherhood member bent on destroying our nation? They have scheduled him to speak alongside Jerry Boykin in a breakout session on “the strategic nature of Israel, and its role in the Middle East, America, and in the future of Western Civilization.” That suggests they do.
 
FRC is either knowingly presenting a fraud or someone who plotted to destroy the nation. If it’s the latter, they must also believe that Saleem is being pursued by foreign agents who are threatening his life. Now I’m not an event planner, but I would lean against booking anyone like that at a high-profile conference with governors and members of Congress.
 
But no matter FRC’s real intentions, Saleem is clearly useful to their anti-Muslim efforts. He is willing to say pretty much anything to confirm the darkest, most paranoid suspicions of his audiences, e.g.:
I, for one, welcome an investigation by the proper authorities to ensure Paul Ryan’s safety and prevent Michele Bachmann from accidentally palling around with a terrorist. If Saleem is to be believed, that is.
 

 

Jeffress: Kentucky School Shooting God’s Retribution for Supreme Court Decision

Robert Jeffress, the prominent Dallas pastor who endorsed Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit last year and immediately got the candidate in hot water when his less than friendly views on Mormonism, Catholicism, Judaism and Islam came to light, is out with some new sermons in his ongoing series about America’s imminent collapse.

In a sermon posted yesterday, Jeffress argued that three key Supreme Court decisions on the separation of church and state have “so weakened our nation’s spiritual and social structure that collapse is inevitable.” He singles out the Court’s 1980 decision in Stone v. Graham, which struck down Kentucky’s law requiring that the Ten Commandments be posted in all public school classrooms. This decision, Jeffress argues, led directly to a tragic 1997 shooting spree in a Kentucky high school by a 14-year-old student who was later diagnosed with schizophrenia.

“Is that just a coincidence?” Jeffress asks. “I don’t think so. God warned Israel repeatedly of the devastating consequences she would experience if she forsook God and forgot his commandments.”
 

The prohibition against prayer, the prohibition against voluntary reading of the Bible, were only preambles to the most outlandish Supreme Court decision to date. For years, the public schools in Kentucky had posted copies of the Ten Commandments in the hallway. Understand, there was no obligation for the students to read the Ten Commandments, there was no explanation, no teaching of it in the schools. The Ten Commandments were simply displayed in the hallways, commandments like, “Thou shalt not kill,” “Thou shalt not covet,” “Thou shalt not steal.” That was what was posted. However, in 1980, in the case of Stone v. Graham, the Supreme Court ruled that the posting of the Ten Commandments was unconstitutional.

In a tragic twist of irony, 17 years after the Stone decision in 1980, a group of students had assembled together at Heath High School in Paducah, Kentucky, as they did every morning for a time of prayer and Bible reading. As these students stood around a set of lockers and they were engaging in prayer, a 14-year-old student approached them, pulled out a handgun and opened fire, killing three of the students and seriously wounding five. All of that occurred in the hallway of a Kentucky school where the Supreme Court said, “You cannot post the words, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’” Is that just a coincidence? I don’t think so. God warned Israel repeatedly of the devastating consequences she would experience if she forsook God and forgot his commandments.
 

King: Marriage Equality Is "An Active Effort To Desecrate A Sacrament Of The Church"

Less than a month after his speech to the Values Voter Summit, in which he claimed that marriage equality was an “assault” by the left to destroy America’s foundations, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) equated legalizing marriage for same-sex couples to desecrating the Eucharist. Speaking with Bishop William Lori at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on “The State of Religious Liberty in the United States,” King said that marriage equality, like the desecration of the Eucharist, was a “direct affront to the Church” and “an active effort to desecrate a sacrament of the church.”

Watch:

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?

Fischer: "If Anybody Is Out There Saying Something Is A Cult, It's The LDS Church!"

It is becoming abundantly clear that we could never parody Bryan Fischer if we tried because he is constantly dreaming up absurd claims that we couldn't even begin to match in our wildest imagination.

On his radio program yesterday, Fischer was discussing his view that every voter must have a religious test for candidates running for office, which was prompted by the dust-up over Mitt Romney's Mormon faith at last week's Values Voter Summit.

During the discussion, Fischer defended Robert Jeffress' right to his "sincerely held religious belief" that Mormonism is a cult ... which then somehow morphed into an assertion by Fischer that Christians are really the victim here because it is the Mormon church which believes that Christians are a cult: 

If somebody is true to their Mormon faith - I mean, if they're devout - Mormonism, they believe, restored the church of Jesus Christ. It was gone, it disappeared, all the church was corrupt, there was no representation of the Gospel of Christ. This was Joseph Smith, he said "I talked to God about it. He said 'don't join any churches; they're all corrupt, they're all gone; my church is not here on planet Earth; you and you alone can restore my original church.'"

So, as far as devout Mormons are concerned, the entire history of Christianity, the entire church is one big ginormous cult, if they're going to be honest about their own faith and about their own religion. So if anybody's out there saying something is a cult, it's the LDS Church!

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.)

 

While Condemning Religious Bigotry, Romney Aligns Himself With Anti-Muslim Activists

This morning on the Today Show Mitt Romney and Chris Christie repeated their call for Rick Perry to disassociate himself from pastor Robert Jeffress because of the pastor’s denigration of Romney’s Mormon faith. Yesterday, Christie even compared Jeffress to “those folks in New Jersey who disparaged in both parties my decision to appoint a Muslim judge” and said that any “campaign that associates itself with that type of comment is beneath the office of President of the United States, in my view.”

Ironically, one of the people who slammed Christie over his criticism of anti-Muslim activists is Jay Sekulow, who endorsed and introduced Romney at the Values Voter Summit last week and in 2008 was a member of Romney’s “National Faith and Values Steering Committee.”

In fact, Sekulow and his organization, the American Center for Law and Justice, which was founded by Pat Robertson, tried to prevent American Muslims from exercising their First Amendment rights by suing to block the construction of a mosque in lower Manhattan and also issued a pamphlet which claims that Sharia law is on the brink of eclipsing the U.S. Constitution that “devout Muslims cannot truthfully swear the oath to become citizens of the United States of America.” Tim Murphy pointed out the irony in Romney condemning anti-Muslim bigot Bryan Fischer while praising Sekulow, and People For the American Way urged Romney to disavow Sekulow in the same way he has urged Perry to “repudiate” Jeffress:

“Mitt Romney is right to criticize his rivals for silently standing by and accepting bigotry,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Now it is time for him to apply those standards to his own campaign. The truly courageous position for Romney to take would be to stand up against religious bigotry of all stripes – including the GOP’s increasingly prevalent scapegoating of American Muslims.

“Romney endorser Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice has suggested that devout Muslims cannot become true citizens of the United States. Sekulow himself has perpetuated the debunked claim that the Constitution is under a threat from Sharia law and was a leader of the extremist backlash against the building of an Islamic community center in lower Manhattan, including overseeing the ACLJ’s lawsuit attempting to stop the community center’s construction.

“Last weekend, Mitt Romney called Sekulow a ‘treasure.’ If Romney wishes to show that he is a true champion of the American values of religious freedom and tolerance, he must apply the same standard to his own endorsers as he does to those of Rick Perry.”

But Sekulow isn’t the only anti-Muslim activist in the Romney camp.

Walid Phares was recently named a foreign policy adviser to Romney. As the Council on American Islamic Relations pointed out in a letter [pdf] to Rep. Peter King, Phares has close ties to a Lebanese militiamen and even served as an official in a militia that was “implicated, by Israel’s official Kahan inquiry and other sources, in the 1982 massacre of civilian men, women and children at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon.”

Phares also claims [pdf] that “jihadists within the West pose as civil rights advocates, interested solely in the ‘rights’ of their immigrant communities” in order for their “institutions [to] fall into their hands,” and warns of the “spread of Wahhabism” through Muslim infiltration of “the U.S. armed forces and ultimately even into the Pentagon.”

While Romney was willing to call out Jeffress and Fischer over their intolerant rhetoric, it is uncertain if he will apply that standard to his own campaign.

Jeffress Denounces Gays As Promiscuous, Manipulative And Abnormal

Robert Jeffress’ criticism of the Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Mormon faiths has gained increasing attention since he endorsed and introduced Rick Perry at last week’s Values Voter Summit. Just as Jeffress disparages non-Protestant religions and the very concept of religious pluralism, he also has harsh words for gays and lesbians.

In a sermon earlier this year called “What to Say to Those Who Are Gay,” Jeffress cited a study from the Netherlands to bolster his argument that gays are incapable of having long-term, monogamous relationships. As Jim Burroway notes, the study of gay men in Amsterdam was conducted in the 1980s and the 1990s and was far from representative of the gay community as it “was heavily weighted with HIV/AIDS patients, excluded monogamous participants, was predominantly urban, and consisted only of those under the age of thirty.” Furthermore, study participants didn’t have the right to marry since marriage equality wasn’t enacted in the Netherlands until 2001.

Myth number five: homosexuals enjoy the same kind of healthy monogamous relationships as heterosexuals. Ladies and gentlemen, the idea of long-term, monogamous homosexual relationships is a myth. According to a study in the Netherlands, one of the most gay-tolerant nations in the world, they discovered that the average duration of a homosexual relationship is 1.5 years. Now while I high percentage of heterosexual married couples remain faithful to each other, homosexual couples - the same study revealed - engage in a high degree of promiscuity.

This study concluded that among committed homosexual couples - not just transitory couples, but committed homosexual couples - among them they had an average of eight different sexual partners a year outside of their relationship.

It is a myth that homosexuals engage in the same kind of monogamous healthy relationships as heterosexuals.

In another sermon entitled “Homosexuality is a Perversion,” Jeffress cited the rabidly anti-gay group National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), which pushes “ex-gay” reparative therapy and has a history of fraud, in order to make the claim that gays and lesbians are using “brainwashing techniques” to “inject homosexuality” into the culture and that “homosexuality is being crammed down our throats.”

There is a concerted effort to try to call normal what God has called abnormal, and it is a process, a well-thought out process, that has been wildly successful. Dr. Charles Socarides is the head of psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York he’s also the president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. I have no idea if he’s a Christian or not but I picked up a paper he had written describing the brilliant plan of gay activists to normalize the abnormal practice of homosexuality using the same brainwashing techniques that had been used by the Chinese for hundreds of years. And in his paper he talks about the three stages that are being used by gay activists to cause our culture to embrace rather than reject homosexuality, and I’ve listed those three brainwashing techniques on your outline today.

First of all, Dr. Socarides says the first technique in brainwashing is to desensitize, desensitization, the desensitization of the public to homosexuality by showing people that homosexuals are “just like everyone else.” If you can laugh with smart, articulate gays like the character on TV’s ‘Will & Grace,’ or if you can be made to sympathize with homosexuals who are being persecuted like the character, lawyer dying of AIDS that Tom Hanks portrayed in the movie ‘Philadelphia.’ If we can laugh with them, if we can cry with them, then immediately we become intoxicated with this idea that ‘they’re nothing to be frightened by, we don’t need to be repulsed by homosexuals, they are just like us.’ Desensitization.

The second step, in the brainwashing activity, is jamming, that is, causing the public to feel guilty of their bigotry toward homosexuals. How do they make us feel guilty about our bigotry toward homosexuals? What they do is they portray in a stereotypical way anybody who’s against homosexuals as being shrill, being uneducated, as being bigoted in their beliefs, and then showing them being shunned by society. Isn’t that how the media portrays those that are against homosexuality? They’re uneducated, they’re shrill, and they’re being shunned by mainstream society, and a person watching that on television says, ‘My gosh, I don’t want to be like that!’ That’s jamming.

And then the third stage in the brainwashing technique Dr. Socarides says, is conversion, during which masses of people change their attitudes about homosexuality in a planned psychological attack in the form of propaganda fed to the nation via the media. Have you noticed how the television airwaves are being flooded right now by programs that celebrate homosexuality? Homosexuality is being crammed down our throats and being presented as a normal, alternative lifestyle.

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.
 

Bill Donohue Condemns Jeffress As A "Poster Boy For Hatred"

Last week we posted audio of Robert Jeffress, the prominent Rick Perry endorser who introduced the candidate at the Values Voter Summit, condemning the Roman Catholic faith as a “counterfeit religion” that represents “the genius of Satan” in a sermon last year. Jeffress linked the Catholic Church to a Satanic “Babylonian mystery religion” that worshiped a fish god and warned that Catholics will “miss eternal life” because of their religion’s supposed paganism:

Catholicism isn’t the only religion that has encountered hostility from Jeffress: he is best known for calling Mormonism a cult that is “from the pit of Hell.” He has argued that Hindus, Muslims and Jews are also destined for Hell.

Today, right-wing Catholic activist Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights released a statement slamming Jeffress for having “demonized” the Catholic faith. In 2008, Donohue called on John McCain to renounce one of his endorsers, John Hagee, who has a history of anti-Catholic rhetoric and once said that God sent Hitler to be a “hunter” of Jews. While McCain ultimately rejected Hagee’s endorsement, Perry has so far refused to disavow Jeffress:

Last Friday, Rev. Robert Jeffress, the Dallas pastor who introduced Gov. Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit, spoke derisively about the Mormon faith of Mitt Romney, making the case that “Mormonism is a cult.” Two days later, he chided Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as “false religions.”

Last year, Rev. Jeffress said the Roman Catholic Church was the outgrowth of a “corruption” called the “Babylonian mystery.” He continued, “Much of what you see in the Catholic Church today doesn’t come from God’s word. It comes from that cult-like pagan religion. Isn’t that the genius of Satan?”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue offered these remarks today:

Where did they find this guy? When theological differences are demonized by the faithful of any religion—never mind by a clergyman—it makes a mockery of their own religion. Rev. Jeffress is a poster boy for hatred, not Christianity.

Bryan Fischer Pleads Ignorance About His "Poisonous Language"

On AFA Today with Buster Wilson this morning, Bryan Fischer said he was stunned that Mitt Romney rebuked him, albeit not by name, for having crossed a line in civil debate and using “poisonous language.” As Kyle points out, Fischer has been playing the victim and defended himself during the same interview, saying, “Jesus used far more incendiary and inflammatory language than I have ever used.”

Fischer told Wilson that he was on Romney’s “hit list” since the 2008 campaign and “didn’t anticipate that he would go after me” at the Religious Right gathering. He also expressed bewilderment that Romney would characterize his language as “poisonous,” saying he has “no idea” what Romney was talking about. Fischer and Wilson went on to name People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch for pressuring Romney to call out Fischer and his unremitting bigotry:

Fischer has a point, as RWW has documented and exposed Fischer’s ultraconservative, intolerant, and discriminatory bombast for years, or as Fischer puts it, waged a “jihad” and “holy war” against him. We have repeatedly asked Republican presidential candidates, congressmen and senators who appear on his radio show and the presidential candidates, Romney in particular, who were sharing a stage with him at the Values Voter Summit to denounce him.

Since Fischer seems to have “no idea” what in his rhetoric could have forced Romney to condemn him, we put together this video to remind Fischer that the word “poisonous” may actually be an understatement:

Fischer Plays The Victim, Decries Romney's Rude and Insulting Attack On Him

As you are probably aware, People For The American Way had been calling on Mitt Romney to denounce the unmitigated bigotry of the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer during last week's Values Voter Summit where Fischer was scheduled to take the stage directly following Romney.

And, much to our surprise, Romney actually did so, albeit in a vague and rather timid manner without actually mentioning Fischer by name.

Nonetheless, the incident is not sitting well with Fischer at all, who dedicated a good portion of his radio program yesterday to playing the victim and blasting Romney for his classless, tacky, impolite, rude, and insulting attack on him:

It was just an odd thing to me, it was just bizarre because I did not think that Mitt Romney would fall for the bait. I mean, the Left was trying to goad him into attacking me and I didn't think he would do it - I thought he had too much class for that. What he did was completely and utterly lacking in class. It was tacky, it was impolite, it was rude, he insulted his host in the presence of the guests; the host who had made it possible for him to speak to the pro-family community. I just thought he had more class than that.

When I came out into the main lobby outside of the room where we were meeting, I was just besieged by the media, just inundated, enveloped with media. I had never experienced anything like that before and the only reason was because Mitt Romney attacked me. So they wanted to know what I thought about that and I explained that I thought it was pretty tacky, I thought it was unpresidential of him to do that. And they said "when Governor Romney was referring to your 'poisonous language,' what was he talking about?' I said "I have absolutely no idea."

Jesus used poisonous language. He was the one who referred to the Pharisees as a brood of vipers. I've never said that about anyone. I mean, Jesus used far more incendiary and inflammatory language than I have ever used.

Jeffress: God Will Judge America For Electing A Mormon President

During a 2008 debate with Jay Sekulow of the American Center of Law and Justice, who endorsed Mitt Romney’s last presidential bid, Robert Jeffress said that not only are Mormons like Romney not Christians but that America would suffer God’s judgment if a Mormon were elected President.

Jeffress, an influential pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention, stepped into the political spotlight when he introduced Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit in a speech that appeared to contrast the fight between Perry and Romney as a choice between a Christian conservative and a conservative who is simply a “moral person.” Jeffress believes that Romney is not “indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God” but actually is a member of a “cult” that is “from the pit of Hell.” He also contends that “counterfeit religions,” including Roman Catholicism, represent “the genius of Satan.”

At the 2008 debate, arguing that Christians are “indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God” and “uniquely favored by God,” and therefore favored in public office, Jeffress said that Mormons, along with Hindus and Muslims, “are following after false gods.” Jeffress warned that “God always judges a nation that has a ruler who introduces false gods into that national life.”

Watch:

The value of electing a Christian goes beyond the public policies that he or she may enact. We believe that a genuine Christian has a relationship with God, is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, is led by the spirit of God, and is uniquely favored by God. Even if that genuine believer does not embrace every position we hold important we still believe that we make a grave mistake in underestimating the value of having a Christian in office.



Followers of Mormonism, Hinduism, Islam, they’re not worshiping the same God in a different way. We believe they are following after false gods. And as Christians, we can look at the Bible and see very clearly that God always judges a nation that has a ruler who introduces false gods into that national life.

Bryan Fischer's Speech To The Values Voter Summit

During his address to the Values Voter Summit, Bryan Fischer made the same claims he always made: Islam is evil and Muslims are traitors, LGBT equality threatens freedom, and the Constitution protects only Christians (not Mormons). After posting clips from the speech of Fischer attacking gay rights and the theory of evolution, we decided to post his speech in full.

Remember that presidential candidates Herman CainMichele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich have all appeared on his show, along with past candidates Tim Pawlenty and Mike Huckabee. In addition, Fischer is the spokesman for the organization, the American Family Association, that co-hosted The Response prayer rally with Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Part I:

Part II:

PFAW, Fischer React To Mitt Romney

People For the American Way repeatedly called on Mitt Romney this week to denounce Bryan Fischer, the radical American Family Association spokesman who immediately followed Romney at the Values Voter Summit and whose relentless bigotry has been thoroughly chronicled here at PFAW's Right Wing Watch. Romney did in fact use the opportunity to put at least a little distance between himself and Fischer:

People For the American Way president Michael Keegan said in a statement:

“Mitt Romney clearly realized that his presidential campaign couldn’t ignore the bigotry of Bryan Fischer and the American Family Association,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way . “I’m glad that he saw fit to put at least a small distance between himself and the hate speech regularly pushed by Fischer, even if he couldn’t bring himself to call Fischer out by name. Since he began running for President, Mitt Romney has bent over backwards in a desperate attempt to make himself palatable to the extreme right. At least we’ve seen that there are some things he’s willing to speak out against, no matter how tepid his condemnation may be. It’s disappointing that none of the other candidates have been willing to go even that far.”

Naturally, Fischer did not take kindly to Romney's subtle rebuke. Fischer called out People For the American Way, along with The New York Times and the Southern Poverty Law Center, and slammed Romney as "tasteless and tawdry." Watch Fischer's reaction in a video captured by Think Progress:

Fischer: Rights Endangered If President Believes In Evolution

The theory of evolution was a central topic in Bryan Fischer's speech to the Values Voter Summit, where he argued that the presidential candidates should reject evolution. "I submit to you that not a single one of our unalienable rights will be safe," Fischer said, "in the hands of a president who believes that we evolved from slime and that we are the descendents of apes and baboons." Fischer called the separation of church and state "mythical" and argued that a result of secular government and the theory of evolution result in mass murder like in Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and Maoist China.

Watch:

Jeffress Says Satan Is Behind Roman Catholicism

Yesterday, Robert Jeffress introduced Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit with a fiery endorsement, giving us an opportunity to reflect on Jeffress' history of anti-Mormon rhetoric. But the Mormon faith isn't the only one that faces Jeffress' ire. Last year on his show Pathway To Victory, Jeffress said that Satan is behind the Roman Catholic Church.

At The Response prayer rally, we called out Perry for partnering with John Hagee, who has called the Roman Catholic Church the "The Great Whore" of Babylon from the Book of Revelation. Similarly, Jeffress calls the Catholic church a result of "the Babylonian mystery religion" found in the Book of Revelation, and says the Catholic Church represents "the genius of Satan."

Listen:

Jeffress: This is the Babylonian mystery religion that spread like a cult throughout the entire world. The high priests of that fake religion, that false religion, the high priests of that religion would wear crowns that resemble the heads of fish, that was in order to worship the fish god Dagon, and on those crowns were written the words, 'Keeper of the Bridge,' the bridge between Satan and man. That phrase 'Keeper of the Bridge,' the Roman equivalent of it is Pontifex Maximus. It was a title that was first carried by the Caesars and then the Emperors and finally by the Bishop of the Rome, Pontifex Maximus, the Keeper of the Bridge.

You can see where we're going with this. It is that Babylonian mystery religion that infected the early church, one of the churches it infected was the church of Pergamos, which is one of the recipients of the Book of Revelation. And the early church was corrupted by this Babylonian mystery religion, and today the Roman Catholic Church is the result of that corruption.

Much of what you see in the Catholic Church today doesn't come from God's Word, it comes from that cult-like, pagan religion. Now you say, 'pastor how can you say such a thing? That is such an indictment of the Catholic Church. After all the Catholic Church talks about God and the Bible and Jesus and the Blood of Christ and Salvation.'

Isn't that the genius of Satan? If you want to counterfeit a dollar bill, you don't do it with purple paper and red ink, you're not going to fool anybody with that. But if you want to counterfeit money, what you do is make it look closely related to the real thing as possible.

And that's what Satan does with counterfeit religion. He uses, he steals, he appropriates all of the symbols of true biblical Christianity, and he changes it just enough in order to cause people to miss eternal life.
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Values Voter Summit Posts Archive

Miranda Blue, Friday 09/26/2014, 10:37am
The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios broadcasted her radio show live from the Values Voter Summit this morning, and her very first guest was Family Research Council president and VVS host Tony Perkins. (The American Family Association is also a major sponsor of the event.) The two got things started by talking about Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman who was imprisoned for refusing to convert to Islam, who will be speaking at the summit tomorrow. Perkins, of course, quickly compared Ibrahim’s plight to the supposed persecution of conservative Christians in... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 09/25/2014, 1:50pm
At the Values Voter Summit, which begins this Friday, Republican politicians and Religious Right leaders will come together to rebuke President Obama, attack the gay community and decry the current state of affairs in the U.S. Subtlety and nuance aren’t this crowd’s strong suits. In fact, it wasn’t that hard for us to come up with a list of at least 15 scheduled summit speakers and panelists who believe that America has gotten so bad under Obama’s leadership that the country has become just like Nazi Germany. 1. Tony Perkins Family Research Council President Tony... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 09/25/2014, 1:10pm
It is no secret that Sen. Ted Cruz is a favorite of Religious Right activists. After all, at last year’s Values Voter Summit, the Texas Republican received a euphoric welcome and when one member of the audience declared that God supported Cruz’s effort to shut down the government, he was met with an enthusiastic round of applause. It’s no wonder that Cruz has won the hearts of the GOP’s far-right base, given his penchant for paranoid and incendiary rhetoric along with his boasts about his superior religious convictions. And the affection seems to be mutual. If Cruz... MORE
Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 09/24/2014, 1:08pm
As Religious Right activists descend on Washington, D.C., for this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, dominionist and self-described apostle Tim Sheets is calling on God’s chosen ones to be ever more bold and aggressive. Sheets is an Ohio-based pastor who, like his brother Dutch Sheets, is a partner of self-proclaimed prophet Cindy Jacobs. And while the Sheets brothers and Jacobs are not on the Values Voter Summit agenda, VVS host Family Research Council has partnered with their ministries in the Freedom Federation and its Awakening conferences, and in a 2012 campaign meant to... MORE
Layne, Wednesday 09/24/2014, 12:26pm
In anticipation of this weekend’s annual Values Voter Summit, a multi-day event where GOP elected officials and presidential hopefuls rub elbows with Religious Right leaders, People For the American Way President Michael Keegan joined the leaders of the Southern Poverty Law Center and five other civil rights and LGBT organizations in an open letter calling on Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus to ask members of his party to disassociate themselves from the summit. The letter, printed in the Washington Post and The Hill this morning, highlights the repeated and vicious... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 09/23/2014, 1:20pm
  Every year since 2006, Republican leaders have joined some of the country’s most notorious anti-gay, anti-choice activists and fringe conspiracy theorists at the Family Research Council’s annual Values Voter Summit.   This week’s summit will be no different, as potential GOP presidential contenders rub elbows with people who want to deny First Amendment protections to Muslims, defend laws criminalizing homosexuality, and think President Obama used the health care reform law to raise a private army of Brownshirts.   Don’t be surprised if... MORE
Peter Montgomery, Monday 09/22/2014, 12:12pm
The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins has excitedly touted a big “get” for this week’s Values Voter Summit: Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian woman who was persecuted by the Sudanese government over charges of apostasy. Evangelicals in the U.S. were part of the international chorus of voices who worked to keep a spotlight on Ibrahim’s plight, and Ibrahim may wish to thank some of the activists who advocated for her freedom. But Perkins and FRC have another agenda entirely: They have been using Ibrahim as a prop in their relentless, over-the-top attacks on the... MORE