violence

Marginalize or Be Marginalized

One of the points I have tried to drive home regarding the Religious Right's purported opposition to the current hates crimes legislation is that they don't actually oppose hate crimes in general, they just oppose offering protection to gays. 

They claim that hate crimes laws give certain groups "special rights" and are therefore discriminatory.  If that is indeed what they believe, then the logical position for them to take would be to call for the complete repeal of all existing hate crimes laws, such as the federal law that provides protections for things like race and religion. 

But they haven't offered to forgo the "special rights" they receive as Christians or even bothered to acknowledge this basic fact, choosing instead to harp on the addition of "sexual orientation" to the existing law as somehow a threat to their religious liberty.

Well, Dan Gilgoff has written a piece taking a look at the Right's scare-tactics about this legislation and points out that they are all completely unfounded:

Legal experts note that under the hate crimes bill, a person's religious beliefs about homosexuality become relevant only once he or she is accused of a violent crime against someone from the LGBT community. The bill prohibits a defendant's religious expressions and associations from being introduced as substantive evidence at trial, though the information can be used to help determine whether the defendant was motivated by bias. "Your penalty is being enhanced because of your religious beliefs," says Prof. Douglas Laycock of the University of Michigan Law School. "But you're being prosecuted for the crime."

Proponents of an expanded hate crimes law say religious beliefs should be subject to scrutiny if they lead to violence. "Even the strongest proponents of religious freedom do not claim that religious liberty means the right to beat people up," says Prof. Andrew Koppelman of the Northwestern University School of Law.

Conservative religious activists, meanwhile, point to recent developments in Australia, Canada, and Sweden, where religious conservatives have been penalized for so-called hate speech, even where such speech did not lead to violence. But legal scholars note that those countries lack the robust free speech protections of the First Amendment. And even opponents of expanding the hate crimes law acknowledge that statutes widely adopted by individual states have not resulted in litigation over religious liberty or free speech violations—though many cover the LGBT community. "If somebody had been prosecuted simply for speech, we would have heard about it by now," says Laycock.

So why has the Right been so vehemently opposed to this legislation?  Mainly because, as Tony Perkins admitted last month, their real fear is that if protection for gays are added, it would make gays "equivalent to other categories of protection" and, if that happens, the Religious Right's anti-gays views will be seen as "equivalent to racial bigotry."

And Erik Stanley of the Alliance Defense Fund basically admitted it to Gilgoff as well: 

As religious conservatives mount a last-ditch effort to derail the bill, however, legal experts say the legislation narrowly focuses on violent acts and that pastors' speech remains protected by the First Amendment. And some religious activists acknowledge that they're less concerned about the immediate effects of expanding hate crimes protections than about the broader message it sends. "This is the first time you would have written into law a government disapproval of a religious belief held by the majority of Americans—that homosexuality is sinful," says Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund. "It's more of a slippery slope argument than about the law itself."

They are afraid that as society progresses and being gay become increasingly acceptable, their right-wing views are going to become less acceptable.

In short: the more mainstream gays become, the less mainstream the Religious Right becomes ... and that is what they fear more than anything.

Nobody Could Have Predicted

Last week, I wrote a post about an incoherent claim from Focus on the Family's Steve Jordahl in which he mashed together the infamous DHS report, the current hate crimes bill in the Senate, and an amendment added to the National Defense Authorization Act by Rep. Alcee Hastings that "would prohibit the recruitment, enlistment, or retention of individuals associated" with hate groups by the US military to claim that the "hate-crimes bill may target pro-life servicemen and women."

As I wrote in that post:

[E]ven though this claim is utterly incoherent and fundamentally nonsensical, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see it get picked up by others in the right-wing echo chamber and quickly establish itself as part of the narrative.

So imagine my complete lack of surprise when I saw this:

Opposition is surfacing to a move in Congress that could categorize pro-life organizations and their members as dangerous.

Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America (CWA) has written a letter to Congress, urging defeat of the measure. "An amendment has been added to the Defense Authorization Bill that would prohibit the recruitment, enlistment, or retention of military personnel who are connected to groups associated with what the amendment calls 'hate-related violence,'" she explains.

Wright recalls the recent Homeland Security report on right-wing extremists, which inferred that people associated with single-issue groups are potentially problematic. In the 1990s, Wright says the Department of Justice initiated a politically driven investigation against pro-lifers and religious leaders based on them being pro-life.

CWA has even dashed off a letter [PDF] opposing this amendment and sent it to members of Congress:

On behalf of Concerned Women for America’s (CWA) 500,000 members nationwide, I am writing you today to respectfully raise concerns with an amendment offered by Representative Alcee Hastings to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010 which would prohibit recruitment, enlistment or retention of military personnel connected to groups associated with “hate-related violence.” The language in this amendment is vague and unclear and raises constitutional questions.

...

The Hastings amendment on its face targets people “associated or affiliated with” certain groups. However, the Constitution gives individuals the right to associate and the Supreme Court has determined that the government cannot penalize an individual for “mere association” without proof that a person shares the illegal aims of the group. The Hastings amendment appears to prohibit recruitment, enlistment or retention of military personnel simply based on one’s affiliation with a particular group that the Attorney General disfavors.

CWA urges you to oppose this amendment in its present form and to clarify the language in this amendment on the House floor or during conference process to make it more consistent with current Department of Defense policies and the Constitution.

You can read Hastings' amendment here [PDF] and, if you do so, you'll see that it explicitly defines "hate groups" as those that advocate violence against others based on race, religion, or ethnicity, engage in criminal activity, or advocate armed revolution against the government or that are otherwise "determined by the Attorney General to be of a violent, extremist nature."

The language is in no way "vague and unclear" and contains no threat to constitutional rights to association - it simply, and logically, prohibits the military from recruiting those who are associated or affiliated with violent extremist groups. 

But that doesn't matter to the Right, which apparently thinks that it has found yet another non-issue over which it can raise and ruckus and try to set off a "controversy" for political gain. 

Look for this issue to start picking up steam in the days and weeks ahead. 

For The Last Time, Stop Lying About Hate Crimes Legislation

I have written several dozen posts debunking right-wing lies about hate crimes legislation in the last few weeks and each time I have thought to myself "this is the last time I am writing about this."  And then, inevitably, I see something even more inane than the last thing I wrote about and feel compelled to write yet another post, making the same point one more time.

So here is yet another post making the same point one more time.

First, here's Pat Robertson saying that if this legislation passes, anyone who so much as speaks out about homosexuality would be charged with a hate crime:

The standard right-wing talking point on this issue is to claim that if a pastor speaks out about homosexuality from the pulpit and then some parishioner goes out at beats up a gay person, the pastor will be charged with a hate crime and tossed in jail.

But apparently even that false claim was too complex for Robertson and his viewers, so he just skipped it entirely and went straight to warning Christians that they would be imprisoned for opposing homosexuality.

In either case, the claim is untrue.

The version that passed the House contains this provision:

Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by, the Constitution.

The version that is now in the Senate contains an even more specific provision:

CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit any constitutionally protected speech, expressive conduct or activities (regardless of whether compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief), including the exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment and peaceful picketing or demonstration. The Constitution does not protect speech, conduct or activities consisting of planning for, conspiring to commit, or committing an act of violence.

FREE EXPRESSION- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual's expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual's membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs.

Robertson also asserts that this legislation will be struck down as unconstitutional because it infringes upon free speech. But considering that, as I have pointed out time and again, hate crimes laws that protect things like race and religion already exist and they have not been struck down, so there is no reason to think that laws protecting sexual orientation would be stuck down.

The idea that hate crimes laws infringe free speech is ludicrous.  Hate crimes protections for race and religion have existed for over a decade and racist or anti-religious speech has not been made illegal and nobody has been charged with a hate crime for engaging in such speech.

If hate crimes legislation did the sort of things the Right claims, outspoken opponents of religion like Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris would be sitting in jail as we speak.

But they aren't - and the reason they aren't is because hate crimes laws don't infringe upon the exercise of free speech.

A Steaming Stew of Right Wing Paranoia

I have literally just spent the last two hours trying to make sense of this claim from Focus on the Family:

House Hate-Crimes Bill May Target Pro-Life Servicemen and Women

Senate Republicans have called a hearing Thursday to discuss proposed hate- crimes legislation. The contentious language would elevate some victims of violent crimes over others.

The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed a hate-crimes bill, and is trying to take the concept one step further.

Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings has added language that would ban the recruitment, enlistment or retention of military personnel affiliated with "hate groups." Just a month ago, the Department of Homeland Security issued a study listing pro-life advocates as potential national security threats.

Does this make any sense at all?  Focus is claiming that passage of hate crimes legislation will somehow prevent anti-choice individuals from joining the military by stirring together three completely separate issues into one steaming mass of nonsense.

First of all, hate crimes legislation has already passed in the House and contains no such language regarding military recruitment, nor does the version being debated in the Senate.  And considering that the legislation has already passed in the House, there is no way that Rep. Hastings could have "added language" to it.

Secondly, what Hastings has done is add an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 that "would prohibit the recruitment, enlistment, or retention of individuals associated or affiliated with groups associated with hate-related violence against groups or persons or the United States government."  The language of the amendment can be found here [PDF] and defines "hate groups" as groups that advocate violence against others based on race, religion, or ethnicity, engage in criminal activity, or advocate armed revolution against the government.

Thirdly, these two things have nothing to do with one another and neither has anything to do with the recent Department of Homeland Security report.

Yet, somehow Focus on the Family's Steve Jordahl has managed to combine all three of these issues into one claim that hate crimes legislation would somehow lead to pro-life members of the military being targeted.

And even though this claim is utterly incoherent and fundamentally nonsensical, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see it get picked up by others in the right-wing echo chamber and quickly establish itself as part of the narrative.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Can we expect Alan Keyes, Randall Terry, and other crazed protesters to descend on the Vatican in order to protest Pope Benedict's scheduled meeting with President Obama next month?
  • I'm pretty sure Mark McKinnon wishes he had waited a bit before writing this piece claiming that Mark Sanford's disappearing act has made him "a better bet for president in 2012."
  • Speaking of which, while Sanford might not be appearing at the Values Voter Summit, Stephen Baldwin will be.
  • The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer is challenging Susan G. Komen for the Cure to a debate about the supposed link between abortion and breast cancer.
  • Liberty Counsel has lost yet another round in its effort to deny visitation rights to Lisa Miller's former lesbian partner.
  • Senate Republicans have blocked a resolution condemning clinic violence.
  • Proving once again that she will let no potential hook pass by without taking it as an opportunity to share her views about abortion, Alveda King issued a press release claiming that "President Nixon's comment is just one more reminder that abortion and racism are inextricably linked."
  • Finally, check out this expertly produced video on hate crimes from the Traditional Values Coalition.  Did one of their interns make this in AV Club?

Right Wing Round-Up

  • As Think Progress notes, there is something fitting about the fact that Pat Buchanan and other English-only advocates hosted a conference beneath a banner upon which the word "conference" was misspelled.
  • Think Progress also reports that when Sonia Sotomayor was ten minutes late to a meeting with Sen. Bob Corker due to recent injury, he bailed because he didn't feel like waiting around for her.
  • David Neiwert posts some insights from Chip Berlet into "the roots of right-wing conspiracism and the violence it engenders."
  • David Hart reports that the Associated Press is enforcing its terms of service which preclude OneNewsNow from altering AP content.
  • Joe Conason says that the "scandal" involving the firing of Gerald Walpin is as phony as Whitewater.
  • TPM wants to know if "The Family" knew about Sen. John Ensign's affair and try to keep it a secret.
  • Finally, like Steve Benen I'm curious to know just where South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has gone.

More Good News for Sotomayor

Politico has an article today reporting that Republicans are disappointed that Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court hasn't turned out to be "the political lightning rod some in their party had hoped she would be."

Of course, that just means that right-wing groups will just have to try that much harder:

Curt Levey, executive director of the conservative group Committee for Justice, said senators are often slow to get into politically thorny fights — and do so only after a passionate showing by their base. Levey said he expects GOP senators to gear up for the fight, particularly during the confirmation proceedings. And he said that he is pushing the Republicans hard to delay a final Senate confirmation vote until after the monthlong August recess, to give opposition groups enough time to spotlight any controversial statements Sotomayor makes during the hearings.

“She is sort of like a Robert Bork: She’s very opinionated, and when she should be silent, she isn’t,” Levey said.

Speaking of Bork, the Wonk Room points us to this new interview with him and, shockingly, he doesn't like Sotomayor ... or pretty much anyone else for that matter:

What are your thoughts about Judge Sotomayor's nomination?

I think it was a bad mistake. Her comments about the wise Latina suggest identity-group jurisprudence. She also has a reputation for bullying counsel. And her record is not particularly distinguished. Far from it. And it is unusual to nominate somebody who states flatly that she was the beneficiary of affirmative action. But I can't believe she will be any worse than some recent white male appointees.

Anyone you'd care to name?

I could, but you don't want the estate of these people suing me, do you?

As it's currently composed, this is sometimes called a conservative court.

I don't see it at all. It's a very left-leaning, liberal court.

Could you elaborate? Compared to what?

Well, compared to what the Constitution actually says. They tend to enact the agenda or the preferences of a group that thinks of itself as the intellectual elite.

Frankly, the fact that Bork sees nothing he likes in Sotomayor is a huge positive in her favor considering that, since his own defeat to the Supreme Court in 1987, he's become a certified crank:

Robert Bork has carved out a niche for himself as an acerbic commentator on the Supreme Court, as well as various cultural issues. In fact, to Bork the two topics are closely related and the Supreme Court’s “illegitimacy” and its departure from the Constitution are in many ways responsible for our growing “cultural depravity.”

According to Bork, we are rapidly becoming a fragmented society that has totally lost its nerve and is now either unwilling or unable “to suppress public obscenity, punish crime, reform welfare, attach stigma to the bearing of illegitimate children, resist the demands of self-proclaimed victim groups for preferential treatment, or maintain standards of reason and scholarship.” Abortion, technology, affluence, hedonism, and modern liberalism are gradually ruining our culture and everywhere you look “the rot is spreading.”

Bork has denounced the public education system that “all too often teaches moral relativism and depravity.” He considers sensitivity training to be little more than “America’s version of Maoist re-education camps.” He has shared his fear that recognition of gay marriage would lead to accommodation of “man-boy associations, polygamists and so forth.” And he has criticized the feminist movement for “intimidat[ing] officials in ways that are destructive of family, hostile to masculinity, damaging to the military and disastrous for much education.”

It appears as if almost everything within contemporary culture possesses the capacity to offend Bork. He attacks movies for featuring “sex, violence and vile language.” He faults television for taking “a neutral attitude toward adultery, prostitution, and pornography” and for portraying homosexuals as “social victims.” As for the art world, most of what is produced is “meaningless, uninspired, untalented or perverse.” He frets that the “pornographic video industry is now doing billions of dollars worth of business” and the invention of the Internet will merely result in the further indulgence of “salacious and perverted tastes.” When it comes to music, “rock and rap are utterly impoverished … emotionally, aesthetically, and intellectually.”

More to the point, Bork is not content merely to criticize; he wants the government to do something about it. “Sooner or later,” he claims “censorship is going to have to be considered as popular culture continues plunging to ever more sickening lows.” So committed is he to this cause that he dedicated an entire chapter in his 1996 book Slouching Toward Gomorrah to making “The Case for Censorship.” In it, he advocates censoring “the most violent and sexually explicit material now on offer, starting with obscene prose and pictures available on the Internet, motion pictures that are mere rhapsodies to violence, and the more degenerate lyrics of rap music.”

When asked by Christianity Today about how he would decide what should and should not be censored, Bork announced: “I don’t make any fine distinctions; I’m just advocating censorship.”

Right Wing Round-Up

  • David Hart explains why the US Commission on Civil Rights' opposition to hate crimes legislation comes as no surprise.
  • Speaking of hate crimes, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights has released a new report finding that "the problem of hate crimes continues to be a significant national concern that demands priority attention."
  • Pam's House Blend points out that anti-gay activists in Maine have hired the California public relations firm that ran the successful Proposition 8 campaign.
  • David Corn reports that Ken Starr has endorsed Sonia Sotomayor.
  • Jodi Jacobson of RH Reality Check reports that a Republicans are obstructing a Senate resolution condemning clinic violence.
  • As David Neiwert asks, what should the media be calling Shawna Forde and her Minuteman gang if not "extremists"?
  • Finally, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports that the Westboro Baptist Church is now targeting Jews.

What Year Is This?

On April 15, 1995, Timothy McVeigh destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

A little over a week later, President Bill Clinton delivered a speech in which he defended the First Amendment while raising concerns about the impact of violent and hateful rhetoric:

[W]e hear so many loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn up and upset with each other. They spread hate. They leave the impression that, by their very words, that violence is acceptable. You ought to see—I'm sure you are now seeing the reports of some things that are regularly said over the airwaves in America today.

Well, people like that who want to share our freedoms must know that their bitter words can have consequences and that freedom has endured in this country for more than two centuries because it was coupled with an enormous sense of responsibility on the part of the American people.

If we are to have freedom to speak, freedom to assemble, and, yes, the freedom to bear arms, we must have responsibility as well. And to those of us who do not agree with the purveyors of hatred and division, with the promoters of paranoia, I remind you that we have freedom of speech, too. And we have responsibilities, too. And some of us have not discharged our responsibilities. It is time we all stood up and spoke against that kind of reckless speech and behavior.

If they insist on being irresponsible with our common liberties, then we must be all the more responsible with our liberties. When they talk of hatred, we must stand against them. When they talk of violence, we must stand against them. When they say things that are irresponsible, that may have egregious consequences, we must call them on it. The exercise of their freedom of speech makes our silence all the more unforgivable. So exercise yours, my fellow Americans. Our country, our future, our way of life is at stake.

For this, Clinton was pilloried by the Right, which prompted People For the American Way to release a memo [PDF] on "free speech, irresponsible speech, and the climate of intolerance" which, remarkably, we could probably release today after making only a few small changes:

Language that attributes heinous motives and goals to individuals and organizations -- such as accusations that liberals are out to destroy Christianity or that advocates for civil rights for gays and lesbians want to molest young children -- destroys any recognition of common interest and any hope of finding common ground among political opponents. That is a terribly dangerous situation in a democratic society.

It is tempting to reassure ourselves by saying that hate speech is the denizen of only the furthest fringes of American political life. Unfortunately, that assertion is clearly not true. Elected officials and highly visible political leaders are among those who spread messages of fear and suspicion, over and over, day in and day out. The repetition of such messages cannot contribute to the well-being of our communities or the health of our society at large. Regardless of whether such messages "cause" violent behavior, they clearly serve to legitimize those who do violate the law.

Pat Robertson is a former Presidential candidate, the patriarch of a political movement, a television broadcaster, and an author. His television show and his books reach millions of Americans. Unfortunately, the message he preaches is often this: Christians are under attack in America by liberals and by a government that wants desperately to destroy their faith and their families. "I do believe this year that there's going to be persecutions against Christians. I think the government is going to step up its attacks against Christians," he told television viewers last year. "The government frankly is our enemy and we're going to see more and more of the people who have been places in office last year ... getting control of the levers of power and they will begin to know how to use them to hurt those who are perceived as their enemies."

...

Last year, when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission proposed regulations -- originating with the Bush administration -- to protect American workers against religious bigotry and harassment on the job, Religious Right political groups portrayed the effort in apocalyptic terms, telling members that the Clinton Administration was so hostile to the Christian faith that the government was planning to make it illegal to wear cross-shaped jewelry, carry a Bible to work, or talk about religion with a co-worker. "Why is the Clinton Administration doing this?" asked Jerry Falwell. "Because they do not want God in American society." It was all patently untrue, and the EEOC offered to clarify that the regulations were designed to protect, not inhibit, workers' religious liberty. Nevertheless, the regulations were killed.

The war against the EEOC regulations was an ideal operation for political organizations willing to trade short-term gain for long-term damage to American society. By claiming (falsely) that the end of religious liberty was near, groups could motivate supporters to call and write elected officials. By refusing to acknowledge government officials' willingness to cooperate toward reaching a solution, and demanding instead withdrawal of the regulations, the organizations' leaders could flex their political muscle for members of Congress and brag to their own members that they had prevented the arrival of tyranny. Meanwhile, millions of Americans were convinced that the government was out to destroy their faith and freedom.

Some of the most incendiary invective is directed against gay and lesbian Americans and their allies in the effort to win legal protection from discrimination. Gays and lesbians are routinely portrayed - by individuals at or near the center of conservative politics in America - as evil individuals who prey on children and want to destroy the institutions of church and family. House Speaker Newt Gingrich has parroted the assertion of the Traditional Values Coalition's Lou Sheldon that teaching about homosexuality in public schools amounts to an effort to "recruit" teenagers into homosexuality. Gingrich has promised Sheldon that the House will hold hearings on the gay "influences" in the schools. Last year Sheldon told his supporters that "President Bill Clinton has quietly put into place homosexual special rights regulations that will devastate our freedom of religion, speech and association, not to mention destroy our society's cultural and moral fiber. AND ALL THIS IS BEING DONE BEHIND OUR BACK."

...

Randall Terry, one of the founders of Operation Rescue, has told followers, "I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good. ... We have a Biblical duty, we are called by God, to conquer this county. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism."

...

When President Clinton, unequivocally declaring his support for unbridled freedom of speech, called for Americans to respond to hateful rhetoric, his political opponents were quick to twist his words. Pat Robertson told viewers that the President and "those on the left" wanted to use the tragic Oklahoma City bombing "to still the voices of legitimate protest." Oliver North, Rush Limbaugh and others leapt at the chance to glean short-term political gain. When the President in fact called for more speech and more American voices, he was accused of trying to silence voices of dissent. That is precisely the kind of untruth that feeds the current dangerous levels of cynicism and distrust toward the government. And it is ironic to see politically powerful individuals, with powerful voices, claiming the role of victim in order to breed fear and resentment among their supporters.

Dobson and Goeglein Recount Their Love For George W. Bush

So, who wants to listen to an hour and a half of James Dobson and former special assistant to President George W. Bush and current Focus on the Family Vice President Tim Goeglein count the ways in which they love President Bush and detail what a great president he was?

Nobody?

Well, I don't blame you, which is why I've edited it down to this nine minute audio clip in which Goeglein declares that "George W. Bush was the instrument in God's hand" that kept America safe; that Bush was just like George Washington; that Bush was the "most pro-life and pro-family president in the history of the United States" as demonstrated by his judicial nominations, including John Roberts and Samuel Alito; that his heart is breaking that all of Bush's work in this regard is being unraveled by President Obama; that it is not possible to be President of the United States and be pro-choice; that "there can be no compromise on the question of the defense of the innocent pre-born" and that their anti-choice efforts will be "vindicated ... by divine providence" when Roe v. Wade is finally overturned; that Bush is a "great thinker" who is "powered by integrity" which is rooted in his faith in Christ and that, in the years ahead, historians will look back and recognize Bush as the great president that he really was:

One section I didn't include was the ten minute explanation Goeglein gave about the circumstances under which he resigned from his position in the White House which, not surprisingly, he used to further demonstrate just what a loving, forgiving, and all-around remarkable human being George W. Bush truly is. 

If, down the line, you start hearing people claim that President Bush was never really committed to the  Religious Right agenda or that the Religious Right never really loved him, you can just play them this clip of Dobson and Goeglein's love note to George W. Bush, the greatest human being who ever lived.

UPDATE: The following transcript of the broadcast was prepared by The Colorado Independent:

James Dobson: There are undoubtedly some people listening to us today who are going to sneer at what you just said because George W. Bush was certainly one of the most hated presidents that we’ve had — certainly in recent memory.

He was maligned at every turn but I know you admire him greatly, don’t you?

Tim Goeglein: I do, indeed. In fact, I see George W. Bush as a great president. And I believe that George Walker Bush was right about the most important things that came across his presidency in those eight years, Dr. Dobson.

First, without peer, is that he saw the greatest external threat to our national security. And he saw it immediately. And he prosecuted the war in such a way that from 9/11 and the terror and terribleness of the day — and I was in the White House that day — until the last minute of the last hour of his presidency, George W. Bush kept us safe.

Providence kept us safe.

But George W. Bush was the instrument in God’s hand as the leader of the free world.

And every problem imaginable that comes across your desk when you’re the President of the United States. But history will be kind to George Bush because they will see that through a series of very important decisions his leadership, his personal character and integrity added up to the forbearance of another direct attack on the United States of America.

The primary role of the Commander in Chief is our national security. And, yes, I believe that part of the greatness of George W. Bush was not to see this as an intelligence problem primarily. To not see it as a police action.

Dobson: Yeah, yeah.

Goeglein: But to actually see it for what it was. Of course, this was the great blessing of our first president George Washington — the original George W. — who, you know, the thing that made him in Thomas Flexner’s landmark biography “The Indispensable Man,” the greatest trait of Washington was to see things as they were and not as he wanted to see them.

That was George W. Bush’s gift.

When he came to this war, he immediately — upon being told of the attacks — knew that this was war and that we were being attacked existentially by radical Islam.

But the one thing that we did not talk about, I think is the greatest achievement of the former president, beyond the security question, is the fact that George W. Bush is the most pro-life and pro-family president in the history of the United States.

Dobson: Now, I’ve said that on many, many occasions here at Focus on the Family and I want you to address it. George Bush is the most pro-life and pro-family president in history. Validate that statement for us.

Goeglein: I was getting ready to come to the broadcast and I literally jotted these down. These are quick snapshots of the Bush Administration on life.

• Signed and reinstituted the Mexico City Agreement
• Signed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act
• Signed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act
• Vetoed the partial birth abortion bill

And, very importantly, fought it in several appellate courts.

He had the most pro-life, anti-cloning provision, ever. He instituted the most important pro-life provision in his presidency which was a pro-human dignity, pro-life stem cell research policy.

He created the conscience clause laws provisions.

I may say, as well, that George W. Bush funded pro-marriage programs. Was the greatest funder of abstinence education in the history of the United States.

He gave Henry Hyde the Medal of Freedom, the most pro-life member of the United States Senate or House, ever.

And I think very importantly, Dr. Dobson, and this is something that I think that is at the pinnacle of pro-life, pro-family achievement in this administration, the Bush administration, he elevated John Roberts to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for the United State of America. He appointed Samuel Alito to be an Associate Justice …

Dobson: A great justice too.

Goeglein: … two great justices. And, this is something people do not know, that George W. Bush nominated and confirmed over 35 percent of sitting federal judges.

Dobson: So his impact on the judiciary is going to continue for a long time.

Goeglein: It is huge. It is huge and it’s lasting.

Dobson: Does it break your heart what is about to happen to the judiciary?

Goeglein: It more than breaks my heart. To watch it unravel in a few short months by a new president is a heartbreaking, disappointing and difficult thing to watch. It is systematic and it is categorical. And we have gone in America from the most pro-life president in the history of our country to, unfortunately, the most pro-abortion president that we’ve ever had.

It is not possible to president of the United States of America, in the early part of the 21st century, and to know what we know morally and technologically and to find any reason other than a full-throated advocate for the pro-life position.

Dobson: Yeah, when President Obama spoke recently at Notre Dame about abortion he talked about our need to come together, to find areas of agreement. He said that we needed to work together. We needed to accommodate each other.

But you can’t compromise with evil. I mean, in what way are you going to compromise with the killing of babies?

Goeglein: There is no compromise. There can be no compromise on the question of the defense of the innocent pre-born.

All of the millions of people who have worked in both in the leadership and the vanguard of the pro-life movement, they will be vindicated. If by divine providence Roe v. Wade were to be overturned. And we were to start again in the United State on the question of life.

It is simply unacceptable that from 1973 until 15 seconds ago, that something like 45 million innocent pre-born lives have been snuffed out in defense of words like “choice.”

George W. Bush’s greatness as a human being, apart from the presidency, is that he has an inner moral compass that is self-confident. That is loyal. That is powered by integrity.

But Dr. Dobson it wells up from his faith in Christ. This is who the man is.

He is a great thinker. He is a person who prays and works to make the right decision. He has an inner confidence and peace in his soul that that was the right thing.

Dobson: And nothing is going to shake his confidence.

Goeglein: I think that is absolutely right. And that’s why I’m actually very confident and hopeful that in the years ahead — with the benefit of time and space — that historians will look back at those remarkable, incredibly eventful eight years, and say, you know, he made the right decisions about the biggest things during those eight years.

And, yes, maybe he will not be remembered, you know, of Churchillian, you know, eloquence. Maybe he will not be remembered for X, Y and Z. But when it comes to the questions of national security and war, when it comes to the questions of the right to life and when it comes to the questions of our constitutional Republic, national sovereignty and constitutional formulation of the Supreme Court — above all when it comes to the innocent pre-born people will say he got those big ones right.

We're Offended, So Give Us $120,000 and the Right to Burn Books

Last week, the Library Board in West Bend, Wisconsin rejected efforts by a local couple to remove book they found objectionable:

The Library Board on Tuesday night unanimously rejected efforts by a local citizen group to restrict access of young adults to books depicting sex among teenagers or those describing teenage homosexual relationships.

...

Ginny and Jim Maziarka of West Bend earlier this year asked the community board to remove books that the couple considers to be obscene or child pornography from a section of the library designated "Young Adults." The couple formed an organization, West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries, to promote their views.

The Maziarkas requested such books to be reclassified and placed in a restricted area requiring parental approval before being released to a child. The books also should be labeled with a warning about content, the couple said.

Ginny Maziarka in past interviews described two of the targeted books - "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" and "The Geography Club" - as explicitly sexual. She considers a third book, "Deal With It! a whole new approach to your body, brain and life as a gURL" to be pornographic.

"Sexually explicit content should not be on the teen shelf in the West Bend Library," Ginny Maziarka said.

Now the American Library Association reports that the board is facing a lawsuit seeking $120,000 in damages from people claiming to have been personally harmed by the fact that the books are in the library and who are demanding the right to burn said books:

[B]oard members were made cognizant that same evening that another material challenge waited in the wings: Milwaukee-area citizen Robert C. Braun of the Christian Civil Liberties Union (CCLU) distributed at the meeting copies of a claim for damages he and three other plaintiffs filed April 28 with the city; the complainants seek the right to publicly burn or destroy by another means the library’s copy of Baby Be-Bop. The claim also demands $120,000 in compensatory damages ($30,000 per plaintiff) for being exposed to the book in a library display, and the resignation of West Bend Mayor Kristine Deiss for “allow[ing] this book to be viewed by the public.”

...

Describing the YA novel by celebrated author Francesca Lia Block as “explicitly vulgar, racial, and anti-Christian,” the complaint by Braun, Joseph Kogelmann, Rev. Cleveland Eden, and Robert Brough explains that “the plaintiffs, all of whom are elderly, claim their mental and emotional well-being was damaged by this book at the library,” specifically because Baby Be-Bop contains the “n” word and derogatory sexual and political epithets that can incite violence and “put one’s life in possible jeopardy, adults and children alike.”

The complaint points out that library Director Michael Tyree has “publicly stated that it is not up to the library to tell the community what is appropriate.” Citing “Wisconsin’s sexual morality law,” the plaintiffs also request West Bend City Attorney Mary Schanning to impanel a grand jury to examine whether the book should be declared obscene and making it available a hate crime.

On a related note, the ALA also reports that the West Bend Common Council voted not to reappoint four library board members because they failed to remove the books, accusing them of “stonewalling.”

The Religious Right: Always The Victim

It was just over a week ago that Dr. George Tiller was murdered and today his family announced that the clinic he operated in Kansas would be shutting down permanently:

The Wichita clinic of slain abortion provider George Tiller will be "permanently closed," his family said Tuesday.

Operations at Women's Health Care Services Inc. had been suspended since Tiller's death May 31. In a statement released by his attorneys, Tiller's family said it will close, effective immediately.

...

Randall Terry, who founded the original Operation Rescue group, responded to news that Tiller's clinic would remain closed with, "Good riddance." He said history would remember Tiller's clinic as it remembers Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps.

"What set him apart is that he killed late-term babies," Terry said. "If his replacement was going to continue to kill late-term children, the protests would continue, the investigations would continue, the indictments would continue."

In the days that followed, right-wing anti-choice activists were lamenting that Tiller's murder would undermine their cause, warning that "pro-abortion activists and politicians to use this tragedy to manipulate public opinion or our laws," and saying that Tiller was murdered because anti-choice activists feel "helpless" and under attack.

But what has been most remarkable about this is the way that the Right has tried to use Tiller's murder to claim that they are being victimized

Operation Rescue will not stand by and act as if this organization's Pro-Life message has been silenced by Mr. Roeder's egregious act and insidious statements. Operation Rescue will continue to advocate for the sanctity of human life, born and unborn.

While Operation Rescue recognizes the Obama Administration's endeavor of protection of abortion providers we caution that this protection should not be used as a ruse to conduct a witch-hunt against the Pro-Life movement. Neither persecution nor adulteration of the rule of law can be tolerated pursuant to this sad event.

Concerned Women for America's Wendy Wright made a similar complaint

Late Friday afternoon, the DOJ made it clear that it believes other individuals or groups may have been involved in Tiller's shooting on Sunday, May 31. The agency's press release stated it will "work tirelessly to determine the full involvement of any and all actors in this horrible crime, and to ensure that anyone who played a role in the offense is prosecuted to the full extent of federal law." (See earlier story)

Is it a legitimate investigation -- or a political payoff from the Obama administration to the pro-abortion movement? Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, believes politics could be a motive. But she suspects there may be more behind the announced investigation than meets the eye.

"This may be more of a nefarious effort than it appears on its face," she exclaims, "that in fact, the Department of Justice may be trying to smear pro-lifers, as if we all belong in the same camp, as if we all advocate violence, when it's [actually] just the opposite."

You really have to marvel at the Right's ability to take the cold-blooded murder of the man they routinely demonized as the incarnation of the absolute wickedness of abortion and turn it into a pity party for themselves.

Blackwell Says Army recruiter killed by…Congressman John Murtha?

By now, most Americans have heard about the tragic killing of a Little Rock, Ark. army recruiter last week. What may be more shocking, however, is that Congressman (and heavily decorated Marine veteran) John Murtha (D-Pa.) was a catalyst for the murder, at least according to Family Research Council’s Ken Blackwell. 

In an article written for Townhall.com, Blackwell blames the killing of the Little Rock recruiter on Murtha, citing his outspoken criticism over the Haditha massacre, in which 24 civilians, including women and children, were slain by U.S. marines in the Iraqi town of Haditha. Blackwell claims that Murtha’s criticism incited Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammed, the 23-year old arrested in the Arkansas shootings, and caused him to perform the act of violence:

Well, if liberals believe that O’Reilly bears responsibility for the killing of George Tiller, would they agree that Congressman John Murtha is guilty of creating a hostile environment for members of our all-volunteer military?

Murtha, a liberal Democrat, was most vocal in accusing our troops of war crimes in Iraq. When Marines who had fought in Haditha were brought up on charges, he said: "There was no fire fight; there was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

Could Murtha and his fellow liberals be responsible for inflaming Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammed, the 23-year old arrested in the Arkansas shootings? The New York Times reports that, “in a lengthy interview with the police, Mr. Muhammad said he was angry about the killing of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, Chief Thomas said. 

While Blackwell overexerts himself in trying to make a connection between Murtha's comments and the actions of Muhammed, there is absolutely no evidence that the then-17-year-old had even heard of John Murtha, much less his comments about the Haditha killings.

Efforts to Protect Choice and Doctors Will Only Lead To More Violence

When news broke of the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, Frank Pavone of Priests for Life was quick to declare that people should not "rush to judgment" over who might have been responsible: 

"I am saddened to hear of the killing of George Tiller this morning. At this point, we do not know the motives of this act, or who is behind it, whether an angry post-abortive man or woman, or a misguided activist, or an enemy within the abortion industry, or a political enemy frustrated with the way Tiller has escaped prosecution. We should not jump to conclusions or rush to judgment.

While that sort of statement is obviously somewhat self-serving, it seems pretty reasonable in comparison to this other quote from Pavone in this piece by The Washington Independent's David Weigel in which he seems to suggest that Tiller's murder was due to the fact that anti-choice activists "feel helpless" under President Obama and the Democratic Congress and that efforts to protect the right-to-choose and those who provide services to women will inevitably lead to more violence: 

Anti-abortion leaders quickly got out front to denounce the idea of a large-scale response to Tiller. Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, the head of the Christian Defense Coalition, staged a protest outside of the Supreme Court asking Barack Obama and Democrats “not to repeat the mistakes of the Clinton administration in the mid-’90s and use this tragedy for political gain.” One of the chief worries among activists — whether Obama will revisit a pledge he made to Planned Parenthood during the 2008 campaign and push for the Freedom of Choice Act, a bill that would roll back Bush-era federal restrictions on abortion.

“I wouldn’t put it past abortion advocates in Congress to use this tragedy to put more protections in place for the so-called right to choose,” said Frank Pavone. “That would just feed into the problem. There’s a lot of disappointment and frustration out there as a result of 2008 elections. People feel desperate. I’m not justifying what happened to Tiller at all when I say that it’s not surprising that a pattern begins to develop — the administration is hostile to the anti-abortion movement, there are acts of violence from people who feel helpless.”

Weigel also quotes Joseph Scheidler of the the Pro-Life Action League claiming that efforts by the Obama administration to protect clinic workers is all a scam designed to distract the American public from the nation's economic problems:

Joseph M. Scheidler, the national director of the Pro-Life Action League, argued that the reaction to Tiller — including the federal marshals — was “just a show,” and no different from how “the abortionists blame the pro-life movement for everything, anyway.”

“It’s like the swine flu,” said Scheidler. “It’s something for the press to get people to focus on so they don’t obsess over the declining economic conditions.”

Right Wing Reactions to Tiller's Murder: From Subdued, to Crass, to Outrageous

The responses to the assassination of physician George Tiller by right-wing groups have run the gamut. 

The most common response has been to decry the murder and say that violence is never the answer, which has been the point made by the likes of the Family Research Council, American Life League, 40 days of Life, Vision America, and National Institute of Family and Life Advocates.

Focus on the Family likewise issued a statement decrying the killing, but did so in a way that seemed to suggest that the problem wasn’t Tiller’s death, but the fact that he hadn’t been convicted of murder first:

"Tiller recently faced serious charges related to the killing of babies in violation of the law, by the most grotesque procedures administered without anesthetics or compassion. We profoundly regretted the outcome of his legal case, believing the doctor had the blood of countless babies on his hands. Nevertheless, he was acquitted by the court and declared "not guilty" in the eyes of the law. That is our system, and we honor it.

And then there self-serving statements, such as this odd one from Alveda King, lamenting that Tiller was killed in church, saying "just as the womb should be a safe haven, so should church" and one from Operation Rescue stating that the suspect in Tiller's murder "has never been a member, contributor, or volunteer with Operation Rescue."

For its part. the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission vowed not to be intimidated in the wake of Tiller's murder:

"The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission will not allow pro-abortionists or their accomplices in the media to exploit the cowardly act of one misguided individual in order to defame millions of peaceful pro-lifers," said Dr. Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission. "Day and night millions of peaceful pro-lifers sacrificially serve women and their unborn babies. We will not tolerate any attempt to exploit this terrible event in order to further restrict pro-life activities or silence pro-life speech or reverse the gains pro-lifers have achieved in the law."

The nation's most notorious late term abortionist, George Tiller, of Wichita Kansas, was shot and killed while in Church on Sunday. Tiller admitted to having aborted tens of thousands of babies.

"Tiller's death at the hands of a lawless vigilante must be unequivocally condemned," said Cass. "But we cannot allow pro-abortion activists and politicians to use this tragedy to manipulate public opinion or our laws."

Still others are worried about how this will inpact their political agenda, especially as it pertains to opposing Sonia Sotomayor:

They also worried that there would now be an effort to stifle anti-abortion viewpoints during questioning of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Her exact views on abortion aren't known, but conservatives fear she supports abortion rights.

Said the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, an anti-abortion activist: "No one should use this tragedy for political gain."

...

Mahoney said he had been conferring with other anti-abortion leaders about how to deal with any backlash to the Tiller killing that might undercut their cause at a time when they are trying to challenge Obama's support for abortion rights.

"I'd hope they wouldn't try to broad-brush the entire pro-life movement as some sort of extremist movement because of what happened in Wichita," Mahoney said. "That's really important — don't use this personal loss for a political gain."

And then finally, there are those like Randall Terry who essentially believe that Tiller deserved to be murdered, which is pretty much the point made by Pat McEwen of Operation Save America:

"He died the way he lived. His was a bloody death." Rev Rusty Thomas, Operation Save America(OSA). "Someone 'chose' to end George Tiller's life this morning, in his church."

"What was an abortionist doing 'in' church, any church...being allowed, welcomed, even venerated? This man killed babies for a living. He charged large sums of money to do it. Then he went to 'church,' made large contributions, and the 'church' (Reformation Lutheran Church) accepted it??" Pastor Mark Holick, Spirit One Christian Center, & OSA.

This is an apostate church, fully complicit in Mr. Tiller's murderous rampage against preborn children. It has provided cover and respectability for him. We have confronted both pastor and church with this trashing of the Gospel of Christ. I can still recall one board member saying, "We have members who believe both ways (pro-life or pro-choice)." Please!

"A man who stiffens his neck after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed -- without remedy." Proverbs 29:1. "George Tiller has been confronted innumerable times with the claims of Christ." Rev Flip Benham, Director of Operation Save America. "We were in Wichita in 1991, pleading for him to receive Christ and stop murdering children. In April 2001, I wrote him a personal letter with the book, Won By Love hoping to speak with him. Every day outside his abortion mill, gentle Christians pleaded with mothers to choose life and with George to choose Christ. We have been to his home, his church, and his work. He is now bowing before Jesus and confessing that He (Jesus) is right and that he (George Tiller) was wrong!"

No doubt the media will paint every Christian, who loves life and lives out that belief in the streets of his city, as a wild-eyed, lunatic, fanatic bent on shooting abortionists. They will attempt to silence the voice of many by using the violence of one. This ploy is the devil's "straw man."

Beware! The one who murdered George Tiller became exactly what George Tiller was -- a murderer.

 

George Tiller and the DHS Report

It was just a few weeks ago that the Religious Right was up-in-arms over the report released by the Department of Homeland Security called “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” [PDF] because it contained this footnote:

Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

Because of this passage, Religious Right leaders immediately began decrying the report as not only "offensive to millions of Americans who hold constitutionally-protected views opposing abortion" but also an outright attack on Jesus Christ:

[Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America] tells OneNewsNow the report is a direct attack on the church. "[It's] a direct assault on the basic principles of religious beliefs that have been here since the time of Christ," she argues. "These are the things that Christ died on the cross for."

Within days, groups like the American Center for Law and Justice and the Family Research Council were using the report in their fund-raising efforts:

Today, federal employees whose salaries we pay are issuing reports from the Department of Homeland Security that say some conservatives are a grave threat to America. Why? Because we oppose abortion and the massive growth of the federal government. Do they no longer see Al Qaeda or the Taliban as the greatest threat to Americans' liberty? Apparently they are now targeting us. I remind DHS and all who read this that we oppose all violence or lawbreaking. But speaking out is an American right we will not give up!

...

Will you help Family Research Council (FRC) fight excessive government and defend your rights with a donation today? 

Soon calls began to emerge for an investigation into the drafting of the report, and that was quickly followed by the launching of an ad campaign supported by various right-wing groups demanding DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano's resignation:

Among the groups sponsoring the ad were Operation Rescue, the American Family Association, Faith2Action, Vision America, Americans for Truth, Liberty Counsel, Traditional Values Coalition, and others. 

All of the caterwalling eventually lead DHS to pull the report ... but in light of the details emerging about Scott Roeder, the man arrested in the killing of physician George Tiller, it seems as if the report - far from being an offensive attack on Christians and anti-choice activists - was remarkably timely and accurate.

The real irony here is that the report itself focused almost entirely on violent anti-government extremists and militia groups, never mentioning anti-choice activists outside of this one isolated footnote.

But it was that footnote that the Right seized upon, repeatedly and intentionally misrepresenting what is said in order to generate controversy over the report, culminating in this sort of fear mongering from the ACLJ ... which is now blowing up in their face:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has labeled you, a member of the pro-life community, THE MOST DANGEROUS DOMESTIC TERRORIST

Right Wing Reaction to Sotomayor

So, anything happen while I was on vacation? 

Oh yeah, President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court.  And guess what?  The Right already doesn't like her:

Family Research Council:

"President Obama has chosen a nominee with a compelling personal story over judicial pick with a solid constitutional judicial philosophy. A compelling personal story is no substitute for allegiance to the Constitution and its sound application to public life.

"Judge Sotomayor's failure to premise her decisions on the text of the Constitution has resulted in an extremely high rate of reversal before the high court to which she has been nominated.

"With that fact in mind Judge Sotomayor appears to subscribe to a very liberal judicial philosophy that considers it appropriate for judges to impose their personal views from the bench. President Obama promised us a jurist committed to the 'rule of law,' but, instead, he appears to have nominated a legislator to the Supreme Court.

Focus on the Family:

"From what we know about her, Judge Sotomayor considers policy-making to be among a judge’s roles, no matter what the law says," said Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst at Focus on the Family Action. "She disregards the notion of judicial impartiality."

...

Hausknecht said: "The president's professed desire for judges with 'empathy' rather than impartiality might deny the country what the Founding Fathers intended and wrote into the Constitution — judges who dispense justice without regard for the status of any party that comes before them."

Traditional Values Coalition:

To no one’s surprise, President Obama has nominated an individual who supports his position of deciding cases based on who you are, rather than on the facts and the law. Although Sotomayor spoke strongly of the importance of the rule of law and principles of the Founding Fathers, her previous decisions contradict this, as do the previous statements and promises of President Obama.

...

Judge Sotomayor fits the “empathy” qualification. During a law conference, she has openly bragged that she views her role as a judge as a policymaker and activist who will impose her leftist political views on the rest of us. She may have empathy for the poor, gays and minorities – but she is likely to ignore the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law. She is clearly the ideal nominee for President Obama but will be a disaster for our legal system.

Concerned Women for America:

CWA President Wendy Wright said, "A necessary quality for a Supreme Court justice is to be committed to equal treatment of the law, regardless of ethnicity or sex. Sonia Sotomayor has an extensive record and several troubling opinions where she seems willing to expand certain 'rights' beyond what the Constitution establishes and the appropriate Supreme Court precedent. Revealing her immodest bias, she stated that a 'Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.' Congress needs to thoroughly vet Judge Sotomayor and Americans deserve enough time to evaluate her record and her announced bias for certain people. Her high reversal rate alone should be enough for us to pause and take a good look at her record. Frankly, it is the Senate's duty to do so."

Mario Diaz, Esq., CWA's Policy Director for Legal Issues, said, "Much has been made in the media about a Hispanic woman being nominated, but the truth is that none of that should matter as the Senate fulfills its 'advise and consent' role. What matters are the judge's judicial temperament and her view of the Constitution. We must determine if Judge Sotomayor will respect the Constitution as written or legislate from the bench. She has made some disconcerting statements that should require everyone to examine her record with an open mind and reach some conclusions. For example, she said once that 'policy was made at the appellate level,' a very dangerous way of looking at the role of a judge for those of us who value our freedoms as guaranteed in the Constitution."

Judicial Confirmation Network:

"Judge Sotomayor is a liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important than the law as written. She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one's sex, race, and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.

"She reads racial preferences and quotas into the Constitution, even to the point of dishonoring those who preserve our public safety. On September 11, America saw firsthand the vital role of America's firefighters in protecting our citizens. They put their lives on the line for her and the other citizens of New York and the nation. But Judge Sotomayor would sacrifice their claims to fair treatment in employment promotions to racial preferences and quotas. The Supreme Court is now reviewing that decision.

"She has an extremely high rate of her decisions being reversed, indicating that she is far more of a liberal activist than even the current liberal activist Supreme Court."

Committee for Justice:

Having told colleagues that I thought President Obama was too smart to pick someone with as much baggage as Sonia Sotomayor, I was surprised to learn of her nomination. Many other people were surprised as well, given both the widespread expectation that Obama would choose an intellectual heavyweight and Obama’s own recent statement that he would not make gender or race the major factors in his selection. Liberal law professor Jonathan Turley summed it up well on MSNBC yesterday, expressing bewilderment that Obama chose Sotomayor when heavyweights like “[Seventh Circuit Judge] Diane Wood would have met all his criteria.”

The only plausible explanation for Sotomayor’s selection is that the President was boxed in by demands from Hispanic and women’s groups that he pick one of their own. What else could explain his choice of a nominee who presents such a big target for conservatives and so clearly forces red state Democratic senators to choose between the values of their constituents and those of the nominee?

Priests for Life:

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, says he has just one question about Judge Sonia Sotomayor as she is nominated by President Obama for the Supreme Court: "Does justice include the right to tear the arms and legs off of babies, crush their skulls, and treat them as medical waste?"

"We all draw the line somewhere. An avowed racist or anti-Semite is not acceptable on the Supreme Court. Why should we give a pass to the violence of abortion?"

Operation Rescue:

"Just as Obama has attempted to abuse the process of law in reshaping America to the far left, so too Sonia Sotomayor believes in the abuse of judicial authority having stated that courts can create social policy," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "This philosophy dangerously overreaches the duties of the judicial branch and flies in the face of the separation of powers doctrine."

"Sonia Sotomayor is a far left ideologue that blurs the lines between the legislature and judiciary and will surely be a rubber stamp for Obama's radical abortion agenda, which is opposed by the majority of Americans."

Organized for Life:

Peter Shinn, National Director of Organized for Life, commented that, "Sonia Sotomayor is out of step with the American people. Quoted in 2005 as believing that policy comes from the bench, she stands counter to the American people's desire to end the tragedy of abortion."

Ruben Obregon, President of Organized for Life, added, "In nominating Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama chose to further his own pro-abortion agenda rather than seek common ground on the abortion issue. Instead of faithfully representing America's views, President Obama has added another reliably liberal member to the Court who will continue to impose the Court's will on the people. Pro-life activists, the Davids in this epic battle for life, can only stop the Goliath of the White House by banding together and signing the petition at www.stopsotomayor.com."

Vision America:

Scarborough warned: "At age 54, Sotomayor could be a member of the United States Supreme Court for the next 20 years -- or longer. As a dedicated liberal, we know her views on abortion, gay marriage and reverse-discrimination -- whether or not she's ruled directly on these issues."

"That much power simply can't be bestowed by a compliant Senate," Scarborough observed. "This nomination must be stopped dead in its tracks. Sonia Sotomayor isn't a 'centrist,' she's a disaster at every level."

Susan B. Anthony List:

"Women are best protected by the rule of law -- and blind justice. Their rights are most endangered when personal preference, ideology or painful personal history inform judgment. Susan B. Anthony and her early feminist compatriots fought for a human rights standard sustained only through blind justice. When evidence of personal preference appears in any Supreme Court nominee's judgment, it should give all women pause. Given what we know about Judge Sonia Sotomayor's own judicial philosophy -- including her support of policymaking from the bench -- Americans should be concerned about the role of personal preference in her overall judicial philosophy.

When it comes to protecting all human life, one group is never served by undermining the rights of another. Women will never be served by ignoring the rights of unborn children. Judge Sonia Sotomayor's record of support for judicial activism offers little comfort that she will be a friend to the unborn on the Supreme Court. As the Senate fulfills its Constitutional role to 'advise and consent,' Senators should ask the hard questions to thoroughly assess Sotomayor's judicial temperament, and reaffirm the authentic feminist standard of blind justice for all."

Randall Terry:

"The filibuster trail was blazed by President Obama, VP Biden, Majority Leader Reed, Sec State Clinton, and other Democrat leaders in 2005 with Justice Alito. Do GOP leaders have the courage and integrity to filibuster an activist, pro-Roe judge?

"The Democrats have two weak links in their chain; Senators Nelson (NE) and Casey (PA) who both declare they are 'pro-life.' The question of conscience and courage is on the table: will they choose babies' lives or party loyalty?"

Ken Blackwell:

The White House is telling us all about Judge Sotomayor’s compelling personal story — and it is an amazing story of what is possible “only in America.” But compelling personal stories are not the question. Miguel Estrada, whom President George W. Bush nominated to the D.C. Circuit appeals court and was planning on nominating to the Supreme Court, had a compelling story as a Hispanic immigrant who legally came to this country not even speaking English. Democrats filibustered Mr. Estrada.

Supporters point out that Judge Sotomayor was first appointed by George H.W. Bush for the federal trial court — before Bill Clinton elevated her to the Second Circuit appeals court. That’s true, but George H.W. Bush also gave us Justice David Souter, so clearly he wasn’t too careful about putting liberals on the federal bench. We can’t allow the left to hide behind the Bushes.

But when it comes to gun rights, we don’t need to guess. Judge Sotomayor has put in writing what she thinks. President Obama has nominated a radically anti-Second Amendment judge to be our newest Supreme Court justice.

There are a number of pro-Second Amendment Democratic senators from deeply red states, including Mark Begich from Alaska, Jon Tester and Max Baucus from Montana, Ben Nelson from Nebraska, Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad from North Dakota, and Tim Johnson from South Dakota.

These senators will jeopardize their seats if they vote to support an anti-gun radical for the Supreme Court. Second Amendment supporters will now be up in arms over this radical anti-Second Amendment nominee, and you should never underestimate the political power of American gun owners.

Mike Huckabee (after first mistakenly calling her "Maria Sotomayor"):

The appointment of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court is the clearest indication yet that President Obama's campaign promises to be a centrist and think in a bi-partisan way were mere rhetoric. Sotomayor comes from the far left and will likely leave us with something akin to the "Extreme Court" that could mark a major shift. The notion that appellate court decisions are to be interpreted by the "feelings" of the judge is a direct affront of the basic premise of our judicial system that is supposed to apply the law without personal emotion. If she is confirmed, then we need to take the blindfold off Lady Justice.

Richard Viguerie actually issued three different releases, including this one:

"The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor unites all wings of the conservative movement--economic, foreign policy, social, traditional, neocon, and libertarian--in a way we haven't seen since the early Clinton years.

"Judge Sotomayor frightens all conservatives. As the debate over her nomination heats up, conservatives will provide the primary opposition to Sotomayor and will quickly launch a massive educational campaign using direct mail, the Internet, talk radio, cable TV, You Tube, and other forms of new and alternative media.

"It was sad to read that Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele's comment on the Sotomayor nomination reflected the typical reaction Americans have come to expect from Republican politicians when he said that Republicans will reserve judgment on Sotomayor.

"No wonder conservatives now look to talk show hosts and other unelected conservatives for leadership, rather then wet-finger Republican politicians who always seeming to be waiting to see the direction of the political winds.

"It remains to be seen how active and effective Republican politicians will be on this historic fight, but conservatives are on the field, engaged, and ready to battle President Obama and all U.S. Senators who support Sotomayor."

This collection is actually just a fraction of the statements made in opposition to Sotomayor by right-wing groups, but it's more than enough to drive home the point that they appear intent on doing everything they can to oppose her nomination.

A Hate Crimes Thought Experiment

One thing that never fails to amaze me about the Religious Right is its fundamental lack of concern about the truth of most of what it says and how outright lying seems to have become the foundation for many of its efforts.

It happened earlier this year with the stimulus legislation and it happened again recently with the DHS report where, in both cases, bogus information started floating around the right-wing echo chamber which was then amplified by every organization chiming it and repeating the same falsehoods.  Inevitably they all end up lying about it because they don't bother checking its veracity - and they don't bother verifying things primarily because they simply don't care whether what they are saying is true or not, so long as it seems to advance their agenda.

Case in point is this new column by Janet Porter on hate crimes legislation, which she calls "the Pedophile Protection Act" because it would, she claims, "give heightened protection to pedophiles."

I already addressed this sort of nonsensical claim last week, pointing out that things like pedophilia and bestiality are still crimes and passage of hate crimes legislation will have no impact on that because the two issues are utterly unrelated, despite the Right's insulting attempts to conflate the two.

But, believe it or not, that is not even the worst part of Porter's column:

Let me summarize. Pushing away an unwelcome advance of a homosexual, transgendered, cross-dresser or exhibitionist could make you a felon under this law. Speaking out against the homosexual agenda could also make you a felon if you are said to influence someone who pushes away that unwelcome advance. And pedophiles and other sexual deviant would enjoy an elevated level of protection, while children, seniors, veterans and churches would not.

First of all, pushing away an unwanted advance does not even remotely meet the definition of "crime of violence" used in the legislation.  But more importantly, as I pointed out yesterday, the whole point of the current hates crimes legislation is to add sexual orientation to the list of existing protections for things like race and religion, because such protections do not exist.

Given that religion is already protected by existing hate crimes legislation, let's re-write Porter's paragraph accordingly to point out how absurd it is:

Let me summarize. Pushing away an unwelcome advance of a CHRISTIAN EVANGELIST could make you a felon under this law. Speaking out against the RELIGIOUS RIGHT's agenda could also make you a felon if you are said to influence someone who pushes away that unwelcome advance. And CHRISTIANS and other RELIGIONS would enjoy an elevated level of protection, while children, seniors, veterans and gays would not.

Like I said, religion is currently protected by existing hate crimes law and attacks targeting someone because of their real or perceived religion are subject to increased penalties - this has been the law for more than a decade.

Yet, in that time, I know of not one instance where someone in this country who has rebuffed an attempt to proselytize or spoken out against the right-wing agenda has been charged with a hate crime.  In fact, I do nothing BUT rail against the right-wing agenda, so if anyone should be terrified of hate crimes laws, it should be me.  But I'm not, because I know that hate crimes laws don't shut down my right to free speech or get me tossed in jail for exercising it. 

As it stands at this moment, if someone violently attacked Porter because she was a Christian, they would get charged with a hate crime whereas if Porter violently attacked someone because they were were gay or she thought they were gay, she would not. 

The current law merely adds "sexual orientation" to the list of protections, along with things like religion, race, and color, which are currently protected. And, as the re-written paragraph above makes clear, nobody has being turned into a felon under current existing law for rebuffing the Right or speaking out against their agenda ... just as the Right won't be turned into felons if the new hate crimes legislation becomes law.

Let the Hate Crimes Freak-Out Begin

I’ve been away for the last several days and am trying to catch up on what has been going on.  And, judging by the dozens of right-wing statements that are clogging my reader and inbox, it seems as if the end of the world is at hand because the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to mark-up H.R. 1913, otherwise known as the "Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.”

For the Religious Right, issuing dire warnings about hate crimes legislation has been a standard practice for years and this time around is no different, which is why we have made it the focus of our current Right Wing Watch In Focus:

Hate crimes are violent attacks on people who are targeted because of who they are.   Thousands of Americans are physically attacked every year because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, or disability.  These crimes are meant to intimidate entire communities.   The Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act – also known as the federal hate crimes bill – would direct federal resources to help local law enforcement fight violent hate crimes, and would let federal law enforcement step in when locals don’t.   Similar legislation passed both houses of Congress with bipartisan support during the last session, but never made it to the president’s desk.

Religious Right leaders are vehemently opposed to federal hate crimes laws in large measure because they resist any legal recognition of LGBT people (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender).   They know that most Americans support hate-crimes legislation, anti-discrimination laws, and legal protection for gay couples.  So they create confusion by portraying these steps toward equality as dire threats to religious liberty.   This is part of a larger political strategy by Religious Right leaders to advance their policy goals and mobilize supporters with alarmist claims that Christians in America are on the verge of being jailed for their religious beliefs.

As we have noted before, there’s a dangerously cynical motive at the core of this strategy.  It is easier to convince Americans to support discrimination – even to oppose laws designed to discourage violent hate crimes – if you have first convinced them that their gay neighbors want to shut down their church and throw their pastor in jail for reading the Bible.

One of the Right’s favorite tropes is that, if such legislation passes, it will silence Christians and all those who speak out in opposition to homosexuality and will lead to pastors getting tossed in prison and churches getting shut down by the government.  Of course, none of that is true:

The federal hate crimes law doesn’t create something called a “thought” crime or somehow create “special rights” for a particular group of people.  It strengthens law enforcement’s ability to fight violent crime – not vigorous debate, not sermons against homosexuality, not hateful speech, not the infamous “God hates fags” protesters, not the spreading of misinformation that thrives on constitutionally protected right-wing television, radio, and blogosphere. 

Conservatives often say they want judges to focus on exactly what a law says.  Well, here’s exactly what the law says:

"Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses of, the First Amendment to the Constitution."

Another section of the law makes it clear that federal courts could not rely on evidence of a person’s outlook or statements to convict someone of a hate crime unless those expressions were directly related to the commission of the violent crime in question:

“In a prosecution for an offense under this section, evidence of expression or association of the defendant may not be introduced as substantive evidence at trial, unless the evidence specifically relates to that offense. However, nothing in this section affects the rules of evidence governing the impeachment of a witness."

Could it be any clearer that this has nothing to do with silencing preachers or punishing thoughts, and everything to do with discouraging and prosecuting violent hate crimes? 

But just because the Right’s claims are wildly untrue doesn’t mean they are going to stop making them, as evidenced by the fact that that they are making them once again.

Vision America:

It is imperative that we contact all members of the House and demand that they vote against this bill as it will not protect a pastor, Bible teacher, Sunday School teacher, youth leader or anyone else from prosecution if he or she teaches against homosexuality if an individual who hears their message then goes out and commits a crime against a homosexual.. The pastor or teacher could face prosecution for using "hate speech" and "conspiracy to commit a hate crime."

Focus on the Family:

Under "hate-crimes" laws like H.R. 1913, pastors could be prosecuted for preaching the biblical view of homosexuality. Similar laws have been used to prosecute religious speech in the U.S. at the state level and abroad.

"The homosexual activists' mantra is no longer tolerance — it's embrace and promote," said Ashley Horne, federal policy analyst at Focus on the Family Action. "Anything less will be silenced. Christians must speak up."

Family Research Council:

The act would establish a new FEDERAL offense for so-called "hate crimes" and add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" as protected classes.  It will mandate a separate federal criminal prosecution for state offenses.

Adding "sexual orientation" to thought crimes legislation gives one set of crime victims a higher level of protection than it gives to people like you and me.

Concerned Women for America:

[E]xpanding "hate crimes" to include "sexual orientation" and gender identity could put people with traditional values directly in the crosshairs of official government policy.  "Hate crimes" laws place us on a slippery slope toward religious persecution. These laws are already being employed as a tool in Brazil, Europe, Canada -- and even right here in America -- to intimidate and silence people who honor natural human sexuality and who value the sanctity of marriage as between one man and one woman.  If a person speaks out against various sexual behaviors, that person may be accused of "hate speech," which could lead to an accusation of associations with "hate crimes."

Liberty Counsel:

H.R. 1913 is not about stopping crime but is designed to give sexual preference the same legal status as race. This legislation is just a stepping stone to regulate the speech of people who support family values.

Matt Barber:

[I]f H.R. 1913 becomes law, actual violence or injury need not take place for a “hate crime” to occur. For example, if a group of Christians are at a “gay pride” parade and a one of them gently places his hand on a homosexual’s shoulder and shares that there is freedom from homosexuality through a relationship with Jesus Christ, then, voila, we have a battery and, consequently, a felony “hate crime.”

But the Christian needn’t even touch the homosexual. If the homosexual merely claims he was subjectively placed in “apprehension of bodily injury” by the Christian’s words then, again, the Christian can be thrown in prison for a felony “hate crime.”

And, never to be outdone when it comes to issuing over the top warnings about the dangers posed by the “homosexual agenda,” the Traditional Values Coalition has gone into overdrive, releasing various pieces that declare that Christians are going to get tossed into jail by legislation is designed to protect pedophiles, necrophiliacs, and those who engage in bestiality:

HR 1913 targets mainstream religious people for prosecution because their sincerely-held religious beliefs and centuries of theology inform them that homosexuality is a disordered behavior and a sin.  Just expressing that belief will amount to a crime under this bill and pastors across America will be risking their freedom to quote certain passages of the Bible from their pulpits.

This hate crimes bill creates that climate with its chilling effect on the First Amendment’s “free exercise” of  religion, taking rights away from one group of citizens in a phony ploy to protect another group of citizens from a contrived threat.

The main purpose of this legislation is to elevate homosexuality, bisexuality, and gender identity to race. H.R. 1913 will add the categories of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” “either actual or perceived,” as new classes of individuals receiving special protection by federal law. Sexual orientation includes heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality. Gender identity includes such gender confused behaviors as cross-dressing, transvestism and such conditions as transsexualism.

The so-called hate crimes bill will be used to lay the legal foundation and framework to investigate, prosecute and persecute pastors, business owners, Bible teachers, Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, Christian counselors, religious broadcasters and anyone else whose actions are based upon and reflect the truths found in the Bible.

H.R. 1913 broadly defines “intimidation. A pastor’s sermon could be considered “hate speech” under this legislation if heard by an individual who then acts aggressively against persons based on any “sexual orientation.” The pastor could be prosecuted for “conspiracy to commit a hate crime.”

The main purpose of this “hate crime” legislation is to add the categories of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” “either actual or perceived,” as new classes of individuals receiving special protection by federal law. Sexual orientation includes heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality on an ever-expanding continuum. Will Congress also protect these sexual orientations-zoophiles, pedophiles or polygamists?

Gender identity includes such gender confused behaviors as cross-dressing, she-male, drag queen, transvestite, transsexual or transgender. Under the Act, neither “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” are really defined. How can a law be enforced if the new classes receiving special protection remain undefined?

The sexual behaviors considered sinful and immoral by most major religions will be elevated to a protected “minority” class under federal law.

Once “sexual orientation” is added to federal law, anyone with a bizarre sexual orientation will have total protection for his or her activities by claiming that Congress sanctions their appearance, behavior or attitudes.

Inevitably this will negatively affect the performance of co-workers who are forced to work alongside of individuals with bizarre sex habits. Imagine working next to a person who gets sexual pleasure from rubbing up against a woman (Fronteurism) or enjoys wearing opposite sex clothing. These are “sexual orientations.”

Why Read It Yourself When You Can Take The Right's Word For It?

Back in February and March, we wrote a series of posts about how the Religious Right was trying to get a supposedly "anti-Christian" provision stripped from the stimulus legislation, screaming and yelling about discrimination and threatening lawsuits only to utterly fall silent about it after the legislation containing the provision at issue was signed into law.

The over-arching theme of those posts was a sense of amazement that the Right fully knew that everything they were saying about this provision was blatantly untrue yet they continued to repeat it regardless.  In fact, it seemed as if most of those screeching about it didn't even bother to read the provision itself or do any basic research ... presumably because doing so would have only undermined their ability to keep lying about it.

I am getting the same impression regarding the Department of Homeland Security report that has become the focus of the Right's outrage over the last few days. The fact that DHS has issued a statement explaining that the report is part of "an ongoing series of assessments to provide situational awareness to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies on the phenomenon and trends of violent radicalization in the United States" doesn't matter. The fact that it was commissioned under the Bush administration and overseen by a Bush appointee does not matter either.  Nor does the fact that the report obviously is not an attack on conservatives, veterans, or Christians, as they are claiming, which is something they would know if they bothered to actually read it [PDF].

But they don't care:

Call Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, to demand an apology for the outrageous DHS memo disparaging America's veterans and pro-lifers

Barack Obama's Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security is stubbornly refusing to apologize to our nation's veterans for issuing a DHS intelligence assessment which disparages veterans as possible terrorist threats. The report also defamed peaceful pro-lifers.

Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition of America said: "I agree with the Democrat chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Bennie Thompson, when he said he was "dumbfounded" that such a report would be issued. Veterans and pro-lifers should not be targeted as terrorist threats by the Obama administration. This partisanship must stop."

And, just as with the stimulus provision," the ACLJ is among those taking the lead in generating faux outrage once again, sending out an email to supporters blasting this "unconstitutional report":

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has labeled you, a member of the pro-life community, THE MOST DANGEROUS DOMESTIC TERRORIST.

The DHS warning entitled: ''Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment'' is so troubling that at first, I actually didn't believe that Homeland Security could issue such a document.

But it's true. We've verified it. And make no mistake, this unconstitutional report raises serious questions about the leadership and direction of the agency charged with protecting Americans in the ongoing battle against terrorism.

And why don't they care?  Because they can use as part of their fundraising efforts:

Today, federal employees whose salaries we pay are issuing reports from the Department of Homeland Security that say some conservatives are a grave threat to America. Why? Because we oppose abortion and the massive growth of the federal government. Do they no longer see Al Qaeda or the Taliban as the greatest threat to Americans' liberty? Apparently they are now targeting us. I remind DHS and all who read this that we oppose all violence or lawbreaking. But speaking out is an American right we will not give up!

Parents with children are bearing the brunt of this administration's drive for ever greater control--control of our checkbooks, control of the schools, control of our communities, control of our churches, population control, gun control, environmental control. Control is the common thread.

...

Will you help Family Research Council (FRC) fight excessive government and defend your rights with a donation today?

...

What's their strategy in this new campaign to undermine America 's Judeo-Christian heritage and moral foundation?

* Money to silence your voice. Billions set aside for ACORN and other radical coalitions committed to creating a permanently left-wing government by whatever means necessary--including voter fraud which ACORN has committed.

* Money to teach immoral behavior in schools. New spending means more federal interference in local schools, loss of parental rights, and forcing our children to learn about immoral behavior.

* Money for abortion and a culture of death. Top abortion advocates get hundreds of millions of new federal subsidies from their liberal allies in Washington.

The one common thread to all of this "outrage" from the Christian Coalition, the Family Reserach Council, and others (aside from the lying) is that they don't provide a link to the actual DHS report itself, despite the fact that it is widely available.

If this report is so outrageous and offensive, why aren't these right-wing groups providing links to it so that their activists can read it for themselves?

Maybe because a) they haven't read it themselves or b) they have read it and know that it doesn't say what they are claiming it says and are hoping that their activists will just take their word for it and start sending in the checks.

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violence Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 02/09/2011, 1:26pm
We have often asked if someone - anyone - would be willing to stand up to Bryan Fischer and his unrelenting bigotry and the answer has always been "no," as leading Republicans and presidential contenders have continued to embrace him despite his outrageous views and offensive comments. Just yesterday, Fischer declared that Native Americans were "morally disqualified" from controlling North America and are plagued by poverty and alcoholism today because they refuse to embrace Christianity. This sort of claim is nothing new from the likes of Fischer, so we didn't really... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 02/09/2011, 1:26pm
We have often asked if someone - anyone - would be willing to stand up to Bryan Fischer and his unrelenting bigotry and the answer has always been "no," as leading Republicans and presidential contenders have continued to embrace him despite his outrageous views and offensive comments. Just yesterday, Fischer declared that Native Americans were "morally disqualified" from controlling North America and are plagued by poverty and alcoholism today because they refuse to embrace Christianity. This sort of claim is nothing new from the likes of Fischer, so we didn't really... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/01/2011, 6:25pm
Phyllis Schlafly wants to cut government spending to prevent violence against women in the name of deficit reduction. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signs civil unions into law, and Focus on the Family is not happy. Chik-Fil-A returns to Indiana University-South Bend after “heat from various Christian organizations.” Michele Bachmann warns that new airport body scanners could result in ‘naked pictures’ on the Internet. Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell will not be boycotting CPAC, so the Family Foundation of Kentucky wants them to address the... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/01/2011, 5:09pm
American Spectator writer Nicholas Thimmesch, II is upset that the media doesn’t treat Tea Partiers like they treat the protesters in Egypt. Thimmesch argues that journalists have been too critical of Tea Partiers rallying against deficit spending and health care reform, while positively portraying the Egyptians who are rising up against an autocratic president who has ruled for three decades: How ironic is it that the media proudly reports that President Obama -- ever the eternal community organizer -- is speaking out on behalf of those in Egypt and elsewhere who are "protesting,... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/01/2011, 5:09pm
American Spectator writer Nicholas Thimmesch, II is upset that the media doesn’t treat Tea Partiers like they treat the protesters in Egypt. Thimmesch argues that journalists have been too critical of Tea Partiers rallying against deficit spending and health care reform, while positively portraying the Egyptians who are rising up against an autocratic president who has ruled for three decades: How ironic is it that the media proudly reports that President Obama -- ever the eternal community organizer -- is speaking out on behalf of those in Egypt and elsewhere who are "protesting,... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 01/18/2011, 10:47am
Michele Bachmann GOP: Scheduled to address Montana GOP's Lincoln/Reagan Dinner on Feb 5 (Politico, 1/17). Iowa: Conservatives in Iowa excited about Bachmann's appearance at Iowans for Tax Relief event this week (Minnesota Public Radio, 1/17). Religious Right: Ultraconservative writer Joseph Farah praises potential Bachmann bid (WND, 1/11). Haley Barbour Immigration: Draconian Arizona-style law on immigrant rights to be considered by the Mississippi state legislature (Fox News, 1/17). 2012: Says he won't make a decision about a presidential run until the spring (WSJ, 1/14). John Bolton... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 01/18/2011, 10:47am
Michele Bachmann GOP: Scheduled to address Montana GOP's Lincoln/Reagan Dinner on Feb 5 (Politico, 1/17). Iowa: Conservatives in Iowa excited about Bachmann's appearance at Iowans for Tax Relief event this week (Minnesota Public Radio, 1/17). Religious Right: Ultraconservative writer Joseph Farah praises potential Bachmann bid (WND, 1/11). Haley Barbour Immigration: Draconian Arizona-style law on immigrant rights to be considered by the Mississippi state legislature (Fox News, 1/17). 2012: Says he won't make a decision about a presidential run until the spring (WSJ, 1/14). John Bolton... MORE