violence

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Tomorrow, Ralph Reed will announce whether or not he has decided to run for Congress in Georgia.
  • Last week, Marco Rubio joined Tony Perkins, Harry Jackson, and others for a Watchmen on the Wall event in Florida entitled "iMPACT 2010: Unleashing the Voice of the Church."
  • It looks like WorldNetDaily's conference is out to bring all of the right-wing crazies together under one roof.
  • Someone is running robocalls in Iowa accusing Rick Santorum of being a "pro-life fraud."
  • Ken Hutcherson blasts Focus on the Family for supposedly forcing James Dobson out and for not hiring him to take over, even though he wouldn't have taken the job anyway.
  • Quote of the Day I from the Liberty Counsel's Steve Crampton regarding LC's fight to prevent a lesbian high school student from taking her girlfriend to the Prom: "In all candor, while we know nothing about the complaining student here, we believe this is part of a larger agenda to implement homosexual rights in the schools."
  • Quote of the Day II from Janice Crouse on gay marriage: "In actuality, homosexual unions have a very short lifespan; many of the same-sex “marriages” in Massachusetts are already being dissolved. Further, the health risks associated with homosexual practice are very real and very much in evidence in the emergency rooms of hospitals. There is no denying: Homosexual sex is dangerous and destructive to the human body. Both HIV and HPV are epidemic among homosexual men. Domestic violence is a common problem — twice as prevalent among homosexual couples as in heterosexual ones. Indeed, legally creating a union does not enable two men or two women to become “one flesh,” nor does a legal ceremony give the union sanctity. Instead, the ceremony creates a sham that will devalue all marriages."

The Disgraceful Bill Donohue

Say what you will about Bill Donohue, but the man never misses an opportunity to play the victim, even when the issue has nothing at all do with him or his mission and doing so is in disgracefully poor taste.

Take, for instance, this press release the Catholic League just put out:

According to The Australian, “dozens of bodies lined the streets” of three Christian villages in northern Nigeria. “Other victims of the weekend’s Muslim fury jammed a local morgue, the limbs of slaughtered children tangled in a grotesque mess.” Children were scalped, “most had severed hands and feet,” and “officials estimate that 500 people were massacred in night-time raids by rampaging Muslim gangs.” According to one eyewitness media account, “They then set homes on fire and attacked men, women and children. Many were decapitated.”

Now here is how CNN is reporting the story. “Gangs of machete-wielding Muslims have been blamed for the weekend slaughter of hundreds of Christian villagers in Nigeria, but analysts say it would be wrong to assume the conflict was rooted in religion.” Of course: When Muslims massacre Christians, religion never has anything to do with it.

“Some analysts,” the story continues, “believe the weekend slaughter was a revenge attack for the killing of around 150 members of the Hausa Muslim community by Christian mobs in Kuru Karama south of Jos, in January 2010.” Well, let’s see. Back in January, a U.N. media outlet reported that Muslim and Christian leaders in Kuru Karama, a predominantly Muslim village, “met to make a pact with the police to defend any attacks by outsiders.” But guess what happened? “Several hours later youths armed with machetes attacked the village.” And we know who likes machetes.

Donohue says "it’s time to stop viewing Muslim-Christian violence through the lens of moral equivalency" which apparently means that Muslims killing Christians in Nigeria is far, far worse than Christians killing Muslims in Nigeria.

If you read this Human Rights Watch report on the recent massacre, it says that hundreds of Christians were murdered by "Muslim men speaking Hausa and Fulani" and that "the attacks appeared to be in retaliation for previous attacks against Muslim communities in the area ... on January 19, more than 150 Muslim residents were killed in an attack on the nearby town of Kuru Karama."

This Human Rights Watch report on the January massacre states that more than one hundred Muslims were killed by Christians in an attack that was set off by either "an argument over the rebuilding of a Muslim home destroyed in the November 2008 violence in a predominately Christian neighborhood" or an "attack by Muslim youth on Christian worshippers in the Nassarawa Gwom district of Jos."

So the current massacre of Christians by Muslims is believed to be retribution for an earlier massacre of Muslims by Christians, all of which is wrapped up in a cycle of violence in which "more than 13,500 people have died in religious or ethnic clashes since the end of military rule in 1999."

But to Bill Donohue, it is little more than an opportunity to shamelessly exploit this tragic violence in order to claim that Muslims are bloodthirsty killers of Christians and that the media is somehow complicit in covering up this basic fact.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Today was James Dobson's final broadcast for Focus on the Family, and to show there are no hard feelings, Focus donated $1 million toward his new venture with his son.
  • Tony Perkins' being uninvited to the prayer luncheon was big news on right-wing outlets today.
  • A collection of Religious Right leaders have sent a letter to Congress asking it to stop DC's march toward marriage equality.
  • "Atheism and Secular Humanism" were to blame for The Holocaust, not Christianity. Good to know.
  • The CADC's Gary Cass,  who continues to insist that the murder of two street preachers in Florida was an act of anti-Christian violence despite an utter lack of evidence, declares that "we need to send a message that this kind of violence against Christians cannot be tolerated in our culture."
  • Finally, quote of the day from WorldNetDaily columnist Robert Ringer attacking Mike Huckabee for interviewing First Lady Michelle Obama: "Mike Huckabee's Slick Willie cleverness makes him hard to pin down, but his interview with Michelle Obama connected a lot of the dots for me. I once speculated that Mike Huckabee could possibly get the Republican nomination without the support of the Republican Party's conservative base if he could put together a coalition of evangelicals and disenfranchised independents and liberal Democrats. Today, I'm here to tell you to forget about that theory. It won't happen. By interviewing Michelle Obama on his show – apparently without concern for Rush Limbaugh's recent chest pains – he lost any chance he may have had for gaining the Republican nomination."

Christian Defenders Baselessly Demand DOJ Investigation of Florida Murder

Several weeks ago, two men who were preaching Boynton Beach, Florida were murdered and ever since Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission has been convinced that this was an anti-Christian hate crime, claiming without any justification or evidence whatsoever that the crime is proof that a "violent anti-Christian spirit is growing in America" and that the two men were killed "for preaching the gospel."

Cass eventually got Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition involved and the two groups held a press conference/vigil for the victims last week at which they demanded Attorney General Eric Holder "launch a federal investigation to see if these murders broke federal laws or federal civil rights statutes."

And now Mahoney and Cass have sent a letter to Holder asking for a Department of Justice investigation:

"The gruesome murder of Tire Sifra and Steven Ocean while sharing the Word of God in their neighborhood has raised some very serious civil rights issues," said Dr. Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission. "If they were targeted for their exercising their religion then their murder is not simply routine gang violence but raises important matters of civil rights. We have sent a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder asking for an investigation."

"We are pleading with the city of Boynton Beach, do not sweep the faith issue under the carpet," Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition. "We want the police to ask questions about religious issues involved here. We just don't want them to say this is just another episode of gang violence."

Of course, there is no evidence that this crime had anything at all to do with religion:

Faith not a factor, police say ... The shooting suspect, Jeriah Woody, 18, turned himself in last week. And a local history of gang violence and revenge killings makes for an attack scenario that requires much less imagination.

One of the dead preachers, Ocean, was arrested outside the Boynton Beach Mall four years ago with a loaded automatic pistol. He was with three other reputed gang members, one of whom was shot dead in the mall a month later on Christmas Eve.

"We have spoken with numerous witnesses, as well as the suspect," Boynton Beach Police Chief Matt Immler said Friday in a statement, "and at this point we have no reason to believe that the victims' religious activities or beliefs factored into the commission of this crime."

So basically, Cass and Mahoney have decided for themselves that this was some sort of anti-Christian hate crime. And based entirely upon their own say so, they are now calling for a Department of Justice investigation in hopes of finding some actual evidence that might justify their groundless claims.

And when the DOJ refuses to carry out the investigation requested, you can rest assured that Cass and Mahoney will declare that decision to be further proof of the Obama administration's antipathy toward Christians.

Southern Baptist Priorities For 2010: Fighting Gay Rights

Richard Land and Barrett Duke of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission are claiming credit for having played in "instrumental" role in thwarting President Obama goals in 2009 and as they lay out the Southern Baptists' legislative agenda for 2010 which focuses heavily on fighting against reproductive choice and gay rights:

Whenever the voters have been given the opportunity to decide the question of same-sex marriage in their states, they have opted to support traditional marriage. Nevertheless, the battle to protect marriage is far from over. Right now, the U.S. District Court for Northern California is reviewing Perry v. Schwarzenegger, in which proponents of same-sex marriage are trying to undo the vote of the people by judicial fiat. The ERLC submitted an amicus brief in that case, supporting the will of the majority of the people in California. In all probability, this is the case that will end up before the U. S. Supreme Court, and decide whether or not the federal judiciary will leave the issue of same-sex marriage to the will of the people or seek to dictate to the people as they have on the sanctity of human life. The ERLC will join the battle for traditional marriage all the way to the Supreme Court.

We are also heavily engaged in trying to prevent the D.C. City Council from imposing same-sex marriage on the District of Columbia. We support efforts in Congress to require a vote by the District’s residents. We believe the majority of the District’s residents do not want to be known as the same-sex marriage capital, but instead want to support traditional marriage as the only form of marriage.

We will also continue to resist efforts in Congress to advance other aspects of the homosexual special rights agenda. Unfortunately, liberals in Congress did manage to pass the Hate Crimes legislation that provides special federal protections for homosexuals that are not available to most other people who are victims of violence. The next goal of homosexual rights groups is passage of the Employment Non-discrimination Act, which will prevent businesses from considering sexual orientation in their hiring practices and make it more difficult for people who oppose aberrant sexual behavior to express their beliefs about it in the workplace without fear of reprisal. This is certainly a free speech and religious freedom issue. Further, the President announced in his State of the Union address his intention to repeal existing law that bars active homosexuals from serving in the military. Liberals in Congress are fully supportive. We will continue to stand against this effort that would weaken troop morale and readiness for combat.

The Obama Administration has already ordered the federal government to extend spousal benefits to same-sex couples in its employment. It is likely that this is a first step toward repeal of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, which the Administration has already declared it does not like. While we do not believe that will happen in the coming year, we stand ready to oppose any effort that will weaken our nation’s resolve to maintain its commitment to traditional marriage.

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As we predicted, we spent most of last year resisting liberal efforts to undermine biblical values. Considering the daunting challenges we faced at the beginning of 2009, we believe traditional Judeo-Christian values won out in most cases. It is likely that we will be defending these values from liberal attacks in 2010 as well. However, we will continue to look for ways to move responsible, God-honoring measures forward. 

Anti-Choice Groups Slams Randall Terry

Earlier this week, the Center For Bio-Ethical Reform issued a press release condemning Randall Terry's reaction to the conviction of Scott Roeder for murdering Dr. George Tiller and for Terry's support for the use of violence against abortion providers.

Terry immediately responded with a press release of his own making his standard claims that he does not support violence, but sees it as inevitable so long as abortion remains legal. 

Gregg Cunningham of the Center For Bio-Ethical Reform then responded with another press release in which he dared Terry to "sue us" if he thinks he's been maligned and proceeds to smack down Terry's attention-seeking histrionics while calling out his self-serving claims about opposing the use of violence. 

I'm posting a large chunk of the CBR release because it's a thing of beauty:

You chide me for not "picking up the phone" to "check the facts" before condemning your attempt to minimize the murder of George Tiller but what facts would have rebutted published newspaper photos of you displaying signs which argued that Scott Roeder's motives in killing George Tiller made his crime less than murder?

When you tell The New York Times (January 28, 2010, "Doctor's Killer Puts Abortion on the Stand") that you are not "condemning Mr. Roeder's actions," you are expressing support for violence against abortionists.

When you tell The Wichita Eagle (January 30, 2010, "Reactions to the Scott Roeder verdict from both sides of abortion debate") that "If we condemn him [Roeder] too severely it undermines the premise of everything we stand for," you are expressing support for violence against abortionists.

When you issue a press release (January 25, 2010) in which you say it is "a farce" to "pretend that this trial has nothing to do with child-killing by abortion," you are suggesting that Mr. Roeder's murder of George Tiller was justified by George Tiller's abortion practice and you are expressing support for violence against abortionists. (www.christiannewswire.com/news/7566412845.html).

When you issue a press release (January 27, 2010) in which you quote scripture which says in reference to George Tiller's murder, "For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning" and that "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous" and that "the Lord our God will bring other destructions upon them" and add "their innocent blood cries to God ... for vengeance," you are expressing support for violence against abortionists. (www.christiannewswire.com/news/8209412876.html).

When you hold a press conference (www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqGwuOwdZ7U) during which you say testimony by former Attorney General Phil Kline could have "validated" Scott Roeder's motivation and "brought a level of credibility to Scott's frame of mind," you are expressing support for violence against abortionists.

When you argue at a press conference (www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqGwuOwdZ7U) that Scott Roeder, who bought a handgun, practiced with it, studied George Tiller's daily habits and visited his church three times before finding him there and blowing his brains out, should have been charged with "voluntary manslaughter," you are expressing support for violence against abortionists.

When you argue that Scott Roeder's motivation for killing George Tiller entitles him to a slap-on-the-wrist sentence of less than five years in prison (the minimum sentence for voluntary manslaughter under Kansas law) you are trivializing premeditated murder and expressing support for violence against abortionists.

Against this background, your press conference claim that "I don't even agree with what Scott Roeder did" is absurd. It is the sort of self-serving fig leaf which thoughtful listeners will rightly reject. You are either being intentionally deceptive or wildly negligent.

You have every right to bring discredit upon yourself and the organization you represent. But when your self-promotional excesses discredit the entire pro-life movement with reckless theatrics, it would be irresponsible for the rest of us to signal indifference, or worse, agreement, by our collective silence.

When you attempt to rationalize, justify, or minimize violence against abortionists, you don't speak for those of us who condemn anarchy without equivocation. Be assured that when you jeopardize the fragile progress we have all worked so hard to achieve, we will anathematize and isolate you.

Things The Religious Right Opposes

It never fails to amaze me the types of state-level legislation that local chapters of Religious Right organizations will mobilize to defeat - things like a $10 tax on marriage licenses to fund domestic violence shelters

A bill that would have made a $10 donation to domestic violence shelters automatic when people apply for a marriage license failed in a House committee vote Monday, after the measure was opposed by the Utah Eagle Forum.

...

Utah Eagle Forum Vice President Dalane England called Johnson's proposal "an undue burden on marriage."

But that is nothing compared to this report on the fact that Religious Right groups are mobilizing in Georgia to fight a bill that seeks to offer young sex trafficking victims therapy instead of prosecuting them as prostitutes: 

A state lawmaker and hundreds of child advocates are calling for young girls to be treated as victims and not criminalized as prostitutes.

Sen. Renee Unterman is proposing a bill that would set the minimum age at 16 for prosecuting sex-for-hire ... Unterman says the bill does not decriminalize prostitution but aims to make people aware that young children are not responsible for sexual acts and need rehabilitation and therapy, not jail time.

...

But conservative and Christian groups banned together to oppose the bill. They say it would lead to more prostitution.

"All we would do is be inviting into our state pedophiles and panderers looking for children," says former state Sen. Nancy Schaefer, now president of Eagle Forum of Georgia.

She says correction can also turn a child around and that discipline should not be removed when it comes to children engaging in illegal activity.

For the record, it's not just the Eagle Forum which thinks that the state should be prosecuting 10 year-old sex trade victims because failure to do so would be akin to decriminalization and a boon to pedophiles - so do the Georgia Christian Alliance, the Georgia Christian Coalition, Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, and the Georgia Baptist Convention.

Terry Heads To Kansas to Justify Tiller's Murder

I have to admit that I am having some trouble understanding just what Randall Terry's position is regarding acts of violence against reproductive health providers.  When Dr. George Tiller was killed last year, Terry immediately weighed in, calling Tiller a "mass-murderer" who "reaped what he sowed" while simultaneously claiming that he did not advocate or support such acts of violence.

But now that the trial of Scott Roeder is underway, Terry seems to have concluded that that actions taken were entirely justified:

After three days of a relatively quiet trial, Randall Terry and three of his supporters showed up with signs in front of the courthouse this morning, as prosecutors prepared to wrap up their case for murder against Scott Roeder.

Signs reading “Tiller killed 60,000 children, Roeder’s reason, The Babies” and “Give Roeder a fair trial” greeted people arriving to the Sedgwick County Courthouse this morning.

Apparently, Terry and company believe that it was Tiller who "drove Scott Roeder to such extremity" and that his actions were not only justified, but inevitable

"Precious unborn babies -- like the 60,000 slain by Mr. Tiller -- have their tortured bodies thrown into dumpsters where rats and dogs devour their bodies and blood; others are strewn in landfills to decay while vermin and maggots claim their earthly remains; others are flushed into sewers where their innocent blood flows to... the devil knows where.

"Their innocent blood cries to God -- as did the blood of slaves -- for vengeance. Will God ignore this deafening cry? Will we pretend their blood has no place in this trial? This trial is the place where the rule of law and the "law of blood" meet.

"This jury has the right and duty to hear what drove Scott Roeder to such extremity. For the rule of law to prevail in court, Mr. Roeder must be able to tell the jury why he killed George Tiller. Otherwise, this trial is a farce, and both the rule of law and the law of blood are thrown aside. And as our nation's history proves, such contempt for law and blood has horrific consequences."

Terry likes to claim that he will neither "condone or condemn Scott Roeder's actions" ... but it's becoming quite clear that what he will do is defend and justify them. 

The Attacks On Amanda Simpson Just Won't Stop

Apparently not content with the trans-bashing statement his organization released last week regarding Amanda Simpson, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association thought it necessary to write his own blog post attacking her as well:

According to both the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), transgenderism is mental health "disorder." Their word, not mine. A male transgendered individual is so confused and twisted around in his own thinking that he believes he is trapped inside a woman's body.

The world's leading mental health professionals agree that this is a form of mental illness. It is a psychiatric condition which requires therapeutic treatment. It is listed as such in the APA's official Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and on the WHO's official International Classification of Diseases.

That's why it is a travesty that the president appointed the former Mitchell Simpson (who now goes by "Amanda") to a prominent position in his administration. What the deviance cabal wants more than anything is society's approval for their sexually aberrant lifestyles.

In fact, that and that alone is what drives the entire homosexual agenda: they want society to affirm their non-normative behavior, and want anyone who disagrees with them to be punished for daring to hold the values that have under-girded civilization for 8,000 years.

Gay activists are making a big deal out of Simpson's New Year's Eve appointment, clearly indicating that this is a milestone moment for them. Mr. Simpson himself said he hopes that "I will soon be one of hundreds."

Simpson, at the expense of some $70,000, has undergone no less than six surgical mutilations in an effort to reject science, biology, his own DNA and his own mental health in a vain effort to pretend he is a woman. He has had his Adam's apple removed, had breasts implanted, his forehead ground down, and his genitals revised.

Simpson was conceived as a male, was knit together as a male by the Creator in the womb of his mother, was born as a male, grew up as a male, married as a male, fathered a son as a male, and remains a male in every single cell of his body. No amount of surgical mutilation is ever going to change that.

He can only view his own sexuality through a transgendered prism by rejecting scientific reality and the stubborn biological truth about his own DNA. He is living in a state of alarming denial.

We rightly condemn the genital mutilation of young girls in Islamic countries. It is simply bizarre to celebrate genital mutilation among American adults, even if that mutilation is self-inflicted.

By appointing Simpson, the president has put the weight of the federal government behind the normalization of sexual confusion, sexual mutilation, and mental health disorders. Simpson, according to the APA and the World Health Organization, is mentally ill and should be in therapy rather than in a position of important public responsibility.

The president is contributing to the terrible practice of defining deviancy down in our culture. This appointment is bad for America and should be rescinded immediately.

Since the Religious Right seems intent on claiming that the APA considers transgenderism to be a "disorder," it would be nice if they were willing to ackloweldge that the APA's recommendations for treating this "disorder" involve gender transition and that the APA calls for "legal and social recognition of transgender individuals consistent with their gender identity and expression" so that they may live "free from discrimination, harassment, violence, and abuse":

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT APA encourages legal and social recognition of transgender individuals consistent with their gender identity and expression, including access to identity documents consistent with their gender identity and expression which do not involuntarily disclose their status as transgender for transgender people who permanently socially transition to another gender role;

...

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT APA supports efforts to provide safe and secure educational environments, at all levels of education, as well as foster care environments and juvenile justice programs, that promote an understanding and acceptance of self and in which all youths, including youth of all gender identities and expressions, may be free from discrimination, harassment, violence, and abuse;

...

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT APA supports the provision of adequate and necessary mental and medical health care treatment for transgender and gender variant individuals;

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT APA recognizes the efficacy, benefit and medical necessity of gender transition treatments for appropriately evaluated individuals and calls upon public and private insurers to cover these medically necessary treatments

Texas Monthly Examines Anti-Choice Activist's "Conversion"

Abby Johnson has become quite the right-wing celebrity in recent months, ever since she left her position at Planned Parenthood and became an anti-choice activist. Since then, she's become a highly sought-after speaker, appeared on Mike Huckabee's television program and CBN, and will even be joining the likes of Lou Engle, Tony Perkins, Richard Land, Harry Jackson and others when the protest a Planned Parenthood facility in Houston later this month.

Well, a new article by Nate Blakeslee in Texas Monthly raises some doubts about Johnson's supposed "conversion":

Johnson’s departure from Planned Parenthood turned out to be a more complex story than it first appeared. At a court hearing for an injunction sought by Planned Parenthood to prevent Johnson from divulging confidential information to her new allies, two of Johnson’s former co-workers testified that she told them in the days before she resigned that she was afraid she was about to be fired. At one time, Johnson, who was named the regional Planned Parenthood affiliate’s employee of the year in 2008, seemed to have a promising future with the organization. By mid-2009, however, her relationship with her employer had begun to deteriorate. Salon reported that on October 2, Johnson was summoned to Houston to meet with her supervisors to discuss problems with her job performance. She was placed on what Planned Parenthood calls a “performance improvement plan.” It was just three days later, on Monday, that Johnson made her tearful appearance at the Coalition for Life. The following day she faxed Planned Parenthood a resignation letter, which mentioned nothing about a crisis of conscience.

...

Other questions about Johnson’s credibility arose during our interview. She told me, for example, that there had never been any threats of violence against the Bryan clinic; however, Johnson herself received a series of threatening letters in 2007. “God will punish you for killing the innocent or we will,” read one. “You are not taking us seriously. You were at the clinic alone. Not very smart,” read another. In fact, the threats were taken so seriously that security cameras were installed at Johnson’s house, as she later acknowledged. Johnson also claimed that while most services at Planned Parenthood were provided by a nonprofit corporation, abortions were done by a for-profit corporation. Both she and Carney seemed to sincerely believe this was true, though all services at Planned Parenthood are, in fact, provided by a pair of separate nonprofit corporations.

As confounding as these inconsistencies are, there may be a much larger problem with Johnson’s story. Johnson has told the story of her journey from pro-choice activist to pro-life celebrity many times in many venues, and the crux of the tale is always the same: her moving description of what she saw on the ultrasound that September day in the Bryan clinic’s operating room ... Johnson’s account is so plausible and rich in detail that even Planned Parenthood seems not to have investigated whether this event ever took place. At my request, the staff at the Bryan clinic examined patient records from September 26, the day Johnson claims to have had her conversion experience, and spoke with the physician who performed abortions on that date. According to Planned Parenthood, there is no record of an ultrasound-guided abortion performed on September 26. The physician on duty told the organization that he did not use an ultrasound that day, nor did Johnson assist on any abortion procedure. “Planned Parenthood can assure you that no abortion patients underwent an ultrasound-guided abortion on September 26,” said a spokesperson. It’s difficult to imagine that Johnson simply got the date wrong; September 12 was the only other day that month that the clinic performed surgical abortions.

Could clinic staff and the physician be mistaken? The Texas Department of State Health Services requires abortion providers to fill out a form documenting basic information about each procedure performed at a clinic. This document is known as the Induced Abortion Report Form. The Bryan clinic reported performing fifteen surgical abortions on September 26. Johnson has consistently said that the patient in question was thirteen weeks pregnant, which is plausible, since thirteen weeks is right at the cusp of when physicians will consider using an ultrasound to assist with the procedure. Yet none of the patients listed on the report for that day were thirteen weeks pregnant; in fact, none were beyond ten weeks.

For her part, Johnson and her newfound allies are standing behind her story.

The Monthly article is excellent and I highly recommend reading the entire piece.

2009: The Year The Culture War Went Into Recession?

I have no idea what Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne has been doing for the last year, but whatever it was has apparently kept him in some sort of cave.  How else do you explain this column

It is 2009's quiet story -- quiet because it's about what didn't happen, which can be as important as what did.

In this highly partisan year, we did not see a sharpening of the battles over religion and culture.

Yes, we continued to fight over gay marriage, and arguments about abortion were a feature of the health-care debate. But what's more striking is that other issues -- notably economics and the role of government -- trumped culture and religion in the public square. The culture wars went into recession along with the economy.

The most important transformation occurred on the right end of politics. For now, the loudest and most activist sections of the conservative cause are not its religious voices but the mostly secular, anti-government tea party activists.

Among the "evidence" cited by Dionne is the fact that Dick Armey, who doesn't like James Dobson, has emerged as a leader thanks to the "tea party" movement, and the fact that the fight over abortion hasn't yet sunk healthcare reform:

Even the cultural and religious conflicts that have persisted were debated at a lower volume. Going into the health-care skirmishes, both supporters and opponents of abortion rights pledged that they would not try to upset current arrangements that bar federal funding of abortion. Although they feuded bitterly over what this meant in practice, their opening positions reflected a pulling back from the brink.

Dionne's column was written one week after Religious Right leaders and Republican members of Congress gathered for a "prayercast" seeking God's intervention to prevent the passage of healthcare reform.

Over the last year, we have written more than 1500 posts chronicling various aspects of the Religious Right's increasing stridency, including several posts about the Manhattan Declaration, which was itself a proclamation that they would never stop fighting the culture wars, and James Dobson threatening to leave the country if reproductive health needs are covered by healthcare reform legislation.

Does Dionne happen to remember that Dr. George Tiller was murdered this year?  And that Wiley Drake called it an answer to his prayers, just as he was praying for President Obama's death while Randall Terry said Tiller got what was coming to him and warning that abortion coverage in healthcare reform would lead to more violence.

Does that constitute "a pulling back from the brink"?

If 2009 was a year when "the culture wars went into recession," I can't begin to imagine what "a sharpening of the battles over religion and culture" would even look like.

Bauer: Only a Backlash Against Muslims Can Stop Terrorism

Writing in The Weekly Standard, Gary Bauer complains that the lack of a "backlash" against Muslims in America is leading to more terrorist attacks:

It has been more than a month since U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan allegedly murdered 14 people and wounded 30 others at Fort Hood military base in Texas. And while we were led to believe that the rampage by Hasan, who is Muslim, would provoke a strong and violent reaction against Arab and Muslim Americans, a backlash has been conspicuous only by its absence.

In fact, in the immediate aftermath of each of the dozen attacks by Muslim Americans since 9-11, the conversation has been dominated by predictions of inevitable violence toward Muslims by bigoted Americans unable to control their rage. And each time a backlash has been virtually nonexistent. Our journalistic and political elites have become terrorism's unwitting domestic enablers, perceiving religion-based violence where there is none, while ignoring it where it is widespread and intensifying.

...

A Rasmussen poll immediately after the Fort Hood massacre found that a majority of Americans were at least somewhat concerned that the shooting would prompt a backlash against Muslims in the military. They needn't have been concerned. Since 9-11, every Muslim terrorist attack on American soil has been followed not by a violent backlash, but by outreach and conciliation toward Muslim Americans. And then by more attacks--by radical Islamists. Instead of fretting about a nonexistent backlash against Muslims, perhaps we should be examining more closely what is happening on radical Islamic websites and in some U.S. prisons, mosques, and Islamic schools that is causing increasing numbers of young American Muslims to embrace jihad against their neighbors.

Apparently, Bauer thinks that America needs a backlash against Muslims if we want to stop terrorism, since the lack of any such backlash is what is leading to more attacks.

Some Things Never Change

Another day, and another warning from Randall Terry that there will be violence if healthcare reform covers abortion:

Nationally known abortion opponent Randall Terry told supporters Tuesday in Granite City that if Congress passes a health care bill that includes federal funding for abortions, it "could trigger violence against people."

Terry is the founder of abortion opposition group Operation Rescue. He spoke outside the Hope Clinic abortion provider in Granite City.

"We fought a war over slavery. We fought a war over a tea tax," Terry said. "What will happen if they take our tax dollars to murder innocent babies?"

And another comparison to the Holocaust from Mike Huckabee:

According to Huckabee, if a culture begins to devalue human life in any way, it becomes harder to draw the line of whose lives are more important. Huckabee said life issues aren’t just issues about abortion. He mentioned end-of-life issues, saying human life needs to be valued “until the moment a life is naturally ended.”

Huckabee drew comparisons to the Holocaust, saying that when Nazis began exterminating Jewish people, “educated scientists, sophisticated and cultured people looked the other way because they thought it didn’t touch them.

“This is why every person must get involved – you have to stand up and speak up or this is what can happen,” he said. “Once a culture begins to devalue human life, it begins to deteriorate.”

FRC Supports Religious Liberty ... For Some

The Family Research Council prides itself on its strong committment to protecting religious liberty and freedom of religious expression:

Family Research Council believes that religious observance and faith in God have an overwhelmingly positive impact on society. Just as marriage has a foundational effect on the flourishing of family life, religious observance has a similar effect on community and national life. The fostering of religious observance within a framework of religious freedom is a hallmark of our culture as shaped by our Founding Fathers. In the United States, the Judeo-Christian worldview has provided a sound basis for the flourishing of our national culture and our political system.

But the primacy of the "Judeo-Christian worldview" is central to FRC's mission, noting that while "we believe in religious liberty for people of all faiths and of no faith ... we deny that minority religions are entitled to greater protection than members of the country's majority Christian faith," which explains why the organization apparently sees no problem with the Swiss ban on the construction of new minarets on mosques

Of course, any true religious or ethnic bigotry is morally wrong. All persons are made in the image and likeness of God and should be free to worship as they wish. But no group has the right to enter a host culture and demand conformity to its traditions. That’s aggressive, insulting and insensitive.

Why is it unacceptable for Europeans not to want their countries Islamicized? Muslims are now in Europe in significant numbers, but they are almost entirely unharrassed. Yet not a single Christian church exists in Saudi Arabia. Christians in Islamic countries often are attacked, discriminated against (Christians and Jews are often paid only half of their Muslim counterparts, per the command of the Quran) and prevented from free and open worship. Go to Voice of the Martyrs and see for yourself.

Count the crosses in the Islamic world. Read about the anti-Semitic rhetoric of many Islamic groups in Europe. Consider the repression of, and frequent violence against, Christians in Muslim-dominant nations. Add up the “fatwas” against Muslims who dare convert to faith in Jesus.

Then ask me to worry about the Swiss vote on minarets. Just don’t hold your breath.

The Anti-Choice Movement As Seen From The Inside

I never would have imagined that the ultra-radicalism and violence of the anti-choice movement in the 1980s and 1990's was something of which right-wing anti-choice groups would be particularly proud, but apparently it is, as next month the American Center for Law and Justice is going to be releasing a documentary all about it entitled "Choosing Life: The History of the Pro-Life Movement" featuring recollections from the ACLJ's Jay Sekulow, Rev. Rob Schenck of Faith and Action, and Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, and clips of them all back in their days in Operation Rescue with Randall Terry, including the episode where Schenck and others were arrested for thrusting a fetus at Bill Clinton.

It is one of the most powerful and influential movements in America. Intensified by the Supreme Courts landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion, the battle to protect the life of the unborn has spanned decades, yet still remains one of the most critical and provocative issues of our day.

Now, experience the history of the pro-life movement like youve never seen before. Years of struggle the victories and setbacks as chronicled by pro-life leaders who waged the legal, legislative, and public relations battles to protect the sanctity of human life. This compelling story of the pro-life movement includes never before seen video of protests and demonstrations from the archives of the American Center for Law and Justice.

Featuring interviews with pro-life leaders including ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, and Rev. Rob Schenck of Faith and Action.

Choosing Life provides a unique behind-the-scenes look at history in the making a movement that transformed the nation. After watching Choosing Life we know you'll agree that protecting the life of the unborn is more important now than ever before.

After all the Bluster, Religious Right 'Rally' on Hate Crimes a Bust

For weeks, the most anti-gay fringe of the Religious Right has been building up Monday's "rally” in front of the U.S. Department of Justice as an in-your-face challenge to the hate crimes law and the Obama administration.  Organizers like Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission promised some fire and brimstone in order to see whether the DOJ would have the cojones to arrest them: 

"We're basically going to defy the law, and challenge it," Cass told WND. "We're going to declare the whole counsel of God, including those parts that some may consider 'inciting a hate crime' to see if the attorney general is going to come down and arrest a group of peaceful clergy exercising their First Amendment rights."
 
The parade of players on the far anti-gay fringes of the Religious Right grew seemingly by the day. Among those whose participation suggested some fireworks were Scott Lively, author of The Pink Swastika and supporter of anti-gay repression in Uganda; Rick Scarborough, a self-described “Christocrat” who railed against “Sodomites” at the recent How to Take Back America conference, and Gordon Klingenschmitt, who had responded to the signing of the hate crimes law by quoting Bible verses that call homosexuals worthy of death. Before the event started, Klingenschmitt saw my People For the American Way pin and said he wanted to make sure I had a copy of his statement. It included these verses:
 
Romans 1:32 – “Men with men working that which is unseemly…who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death.”
 
Leviticus 20:13 – “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a  woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”
 
But Klingenschmitt didn’t utter any of these verses. Neither did anyone else.   Maybe someone  decided that footage of Religious Right leaders reading scripture calling for death for gays was not, perhaps, a great public relations move. Or perhaps the presence of a dozen or more college-age counter protestors holding up signs saying “My love is legit” threw them off message.
 
Indeed, a number of speakers seemed to be tailoring their remarks to the counterprotestors, welcoming them to the event, inviting them to pray and repent along with the speakers.   Speaker after speaker insisted that they were motivated only by love for gay people and their desire to protect their right to offer homosexuals hope and God’s word.
 
Sure, we heard many of the Religious Right’s standard lies about the hate crimes bill being an effort to silence Christians, and, of course, Janet Porter waving her book about “the criminalization of Christianity.” We heard the inflammatory and inaccurate characterization of the bill as the “Pedophile Protection Act.” We heard from a Philadelphia grandmother with Repent America who in the Right’s inaccurate retelling, was arrested only for sharing the gospel with attendees at a gay pride event. We heard essentially irrelevant examples of anti-gay preachers being suppressed in other countries which don’t have the First Amendment protections Americans enjoy.  And we heard some preaching that God and the Bible say homosexuality is wrong. In other words, we heard standard and typically false Religious Right talking points about the hate crimes law, and a bit of standard anti-gay theology that is unquestionably protected by the First Amendment.
 
But there was nothing that anyone could remotely consider incitement to a hate crime, and nothing that even these speakers could say with a straight face had any chance of getting them arrested. Even Matt Barber, who typically does not shy away from disparaging comments about gay people and their supporters, gave a relatively dry recitation of the Liberty Counsel’s assertions that the law is unconstitutional.
 
So, what happened?  Did these culture warriors essentially chicken out? Did they feel outnumbered? In spite of the event being billed as a “rally,” the number of speakers gathered behind the microphone seemed to outnumber the number of people attending in support of their message. The “love is legit” folks had the most visible presence. Maybe the organizers just figured out that a “we love the homosexuals” message would play better than “God wants them dead.” 

We'll have some video posted soon.

Scarborough: Anti-Gay Activists Are Just Like MLK

As something of a follow-up to my last post, Rick Scarborough just issued yet another press release about the upcoming press conference challenging hate crimes legislation in which he compared those participating in the event to Martin Luther King:

On October 28, President Barack Obama signed into law a measure extending the federal hate crimes statute to include so-called sexual orientation. The ministers believe this will criminalize all criticism of homosexual behavior, including that contained in the Bible.

To test this belief and protest a clear violation of First Amendment freedom of speech and religion, various clergy will preach short sermons and read passages from the Bible regarding homosexual behavior. Like Dr. Martin Luther King and the Sixties Civil Rights movement, they will engage in civil disobedience to protest injustice.

On a semi-related note, here's another short clip of Scarborough on Janet Porter's radio program saying what while President Obama was "so careful in choosing his words and calling for caution" after the shooting at Fort Hood, "he threw all that to the wind when George Tiller was shot in his church ... There was no hesitancy in this particular presidency to immediately assume that there were conspirators ... There was a quick jump to judgment in that issue":

For the record, here is President Obama's statement on the murder of Tiller:

I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services this morning. However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Congratulations to Pam, Joe, Andy, and Bil for being honored at the NYC Anti-Violence Project's Courage Awards.
  • Rupert Murdoch says Glenn Beck was right when he said President Obama is racist.
  • Stay classy, Laura Ingraham.
  • The Tea Party now has its own PAC.
  • Bruce Bartlett explains why reading legislation is a waste of time.
  • David Weigel: Anti-Tax Movement Ponders Two Big Defeats.
  • Jodi Jacobson: The "Real Life" Effects of Stupak-Pitts: An Analysis by Legal Experts at Planned Parenthood.
  • Finally, Michael Steele says that he scares white Republicans.

Which Leviticus Should We Expect to Hear?

Religious Right participants in the upcoming hate crimes legislation protest sure intent on generating some press for themselves, as in the last few hours both Gary Cass and Paul Blair have issued press releases about it. 

And this is raising an interesting question about just how they intend to go about challenging this legislation, because they seem to think that they are going to be challenging the law by simply preaching from the Bible:

Pastor Paul Blair, founder of Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ, said, "Pastors have preached the Bible in America for over 400 years, pointing people to Jesus Christ and standing against sin. If preaching the Bible is now against the law, then let us be arrested. If not, may every pastor across America know that he can stand strong and proclaim Biblical Truth without fear of persecution or prosecution."

Of course, merely preaching that homosexuality is a sin is not going to be a violation of the hate crimes law, which even Cass seems to realize:

While the ministers do not expect to be arrested, they are willing to go to jail, if necessary, to stand for freedom of speech and religion.

The question really comes down to just how they intend to preach against homosexuality. Do they intend to preach Leviticus 18:22?

Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

Or do they intend to preach Leviticus 20:13?

If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Judging by this quote from Cass by OneNewNow, it's difficult to know:

"We're going to exercise our First Amendment rights to preach [the entire] Bible, including those parts that deal with homosexuality and the truth of the sin of homosexuality," explains Dr. Cass. He further says this is being done as a way to clarify "....that this does not constitute a hate crime."

The legislation explicitly protects religious freedom and freedom of speech, but "does not protect speech, conduct or activities consisting of planning for, conspiring to commit, or committing an act of violence." So if they intend to preach that homosexuality is sinful, that is not much of a challenge, as that sort of speech is clearly protected. 

But since they obviously intend for this protest to be a direct challenge to hate crimes protections, that really only leaves them one option: demanding death for gays.

If that is the case, they ought to see if Steven L. Anderson is available to join them.

Participants at Right Wing Hate Crimes Rally Unveiled

As we noted last week, various Religious Right groups will be holding an event next Monday designed to challenge the expansion of hate crimes laws to include protections for sexual orientation.   At the moment, it is unknown just how they intend to go about challenging this, though openly calling for violence against gays seems to be pretty much their only option.

Now organizers have unveiled a website:

The intention of the rally the group is to assert the freedom of speech of ministers and Christians in general to declare biblical truth in the public square. The Rally will also expose the unconstitutional nature of the hate law.

Ministers from various denominations will preach from the Bible, especially those parts that speak to the sin of homosexuality. This will serve to reassure ministers and Christians that they are free to do the same.

According to the website, participants are set to include the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, Liberty Counsel, Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ, S.T.A.N.D., Vision America, and Jim Garlow.

The militantly anti-gay views of CADC and Vision America are already relatively well-known to readers of this blog, as is Mat Staver and his Liberty Counsel.  But S.T.A.N.D is a relatively new organization and Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ is a recent resurrection of the defunct Center for Reclaiming America for Christ effort founded by the late D. James Kennedy, while Garlow was a leader in the right-wing campaign to pass Proposition 8 in California.

Gossip Boy has a good run down of all the participating organizations and individuals, and we are going to keep tracking these developments to try and get a sense of just what they intend to do in order to "challenge" this legislation and what, if any, "specific legal challenges" they intend to bring.

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violence Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 04/19/2011, 9:46am
Today, People For the American Way released a new report entitled "Barton’s Bunk: Religious Right ‘Historian’ Hits the Big Time in Tea Party America" written by PFAW Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery that exposes David Barton's shoddy pseudo-history and why it matters:  Barton’s growing visibility and influence with members of Congress and other Republican Party officials is troubling for many reasons: he distorts history and the Constitution for political purposes; he encourages religious divisiveness and unequal treatment for religious minorities;... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 04/14/2011, 10:44am
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has intensified his defense of the deposed president of the Ivory Coast. Laurent Gbagbo, the country’s Roman Catholic president, lost a December election to opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, who is Muslim. While the country’s electoral commission and the international community, including African nations, recognized Ouattara as the winner, Gbagbo’s appointed national council threw out the results (saying Ouattara won through voter fraud) and Gbagbo declared himself the winner. Gbagbo’s wife, an evangelical Christian, even declared that “... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 03/31/2011, 11:17am
Arizona Congressman Trent Franks is preparing a campaign for US Senate following the retirement of Jon Kyl. According to Politico, Franks intends to “campaign to the right” of already-announced Republican Congressman Jeff Flake in the primary. Running to the right of Flake or almost any other Republican shouldn’t be difficult for Franks, who was tied for first as the most conservative member of the House. Franks is a frequent critic of President Obama, even going so far as to call him an “enemy of humanity” at a right-wing conference, and later claimed... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 03/28/2011, 1:48pm
Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber took to the airwaves to bash President Obama and organizations working towards bullying-prevention, joining other Religious Right opponents of anti-bullying programs. Along with Shawn Akers, who like Barber works for both Liberty University and Liberty Counsel, Barber railed against the alleged use of “a ‘Trojan Horse’ strategy, using language of bullying and violence and creating safe schools” to implement “a homosexual activist political indoctrination agenda and a curriculum of pro-homosexual propaganda.” Barber also... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 03/28/2011, 11:03am
As part of their campaign to defund Planned Parenthood, the Susan B. Anthony List is running television advertisements featuring Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood staffer now with Lila Rose’s LiveAction group. As RWW previously reported, Johnson baselessly asserted that Planned Parenthood has abortion “quotas” and requires their staff to “coerce” women and minors into having abortions: In addition, the Texas Monthly poked numerous holes in Johnson’s story: Johnson’s departure from Planned Parenthood turned out to be a more complex story than... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 03/24/2011, 9:53am
Aaron Klein, the right-wing’s go-to conspiracy theorist on foreign policy issues, knows the real reason that the US is intervening in Libya: George Soros. Writing for WorldNetDaily in an article picked-up by Fox News, Klein asserts that Soros is behind the allied bombing against the Qaddafi regime because he has ties to proponents of the Responsibility to Protect, a foreign policy doctrine which claims that humanitarian intervention is permissible because governments forfeit their sovereignty when they wage violence against their own people. Other right-wing commentators including... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/23/2011, 9:28am
On Monday, the State Department issued a joint statement in the UN’s Human Rights Council opposing the criminalization of homosexuality. Currently, well over 70 countries impose criminal penalties for gays and lesbians, and the statement has the support of 84 countries. According to the Family Research Council, however, the US is committing a great injustice by condemning the criminalization of people because of their sexual orientation. The FRC dubs it “Operation International Tolerance,” complete with a picture of Obama wearing a rainbow helmet: The FRC claims that the... MORE