Virginia

When Defending Lisa Miller, Facts Are Unnecessary

Is it too much to ask that right-wing groups who are going to be supporting Lisa Miller's criminal actions to at least have some understanding of what is actually going on?

Apparently it is, judging by this Christian Anti-Defamation Commission statement:

Lisa Miller was living in Vermont in a lesbian civil union with Janet Jenkins. During this time Lisa became pregnant with a little girl through artificial insemination. But before little Isabella was born, Lisa left her partner and moved to Virginia where civil unions are not recognized.

Soon thereafter Lisa became a Christian and renounced homosexuality. But her former partner Jenkins is now fighting for custody of Isabella, even though she has no biological relationship.

A Vermont court has ordered Lisa to turn over her daughter to Jenkins, but Lisa did not comply. Now there is a warrant out for her arrest in the state of Vermont and Lisa and Isabella are in hiding.

This is what happens when mankind corrupts and confuses the laws of nature and nature’s God. Society suffers, particularly the children.

First of all, Lisa and Isabella aren't "in hiding" because there is a warrant out for her; there is a warrant out for her because Lisa kidnapped her daughter and disappeared rather than abide by court orders and custody arrangements. That is an important distinction.

Secondly, the claim that Miller left Jenkins before Isabella was born is fundamentally false, as Isabella was nearly a year and a half old when the women split.  In fact, Jenkins continued to pay child support and see her regularly until Miller declared herself a born-again Christian and sought to completely cut off Jenkins' contact with Isabella.

If Religious Right activists are going to defend Miller's actions, it would be nice if they could be bothered to actually know the facts before doing so.

Bob Marshall Doubles Down, Insisting He Never Said Exactly What He Said

Amazingly, instead of just apologizing for his claim that women who have abortions are subsequently punished with giving birth to children with disabilities, Virginia state Rep. Bob Marshall continues to insist that he never made any such comments and is instead lashing out at Capital News Service, a project of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Mass Communications, for having reported his remarks:

Virginia Del. Robert G. Marshall took to the floor of the House of Delegates on Wednesday to dispute reports that he said women who have abortions run the risk of birth defects in later pregnancies as a punishment from God ... Marshall denied saying that disabled children are a punishment from God or even having suggested such a thing. But that notion, he said, "has been repeated endless times in print and in the electronic media without anyone producing the smoking-gun tape."

"Of course, if some wish to make their own inferences, that is their prerogative," Marshall said. "However, they should acknowledge that is what they are doing. Furthermore, it is no one's prerogative to claim I spoke words which never came from my mouth, have never been in my heart and have never been in my public record."

Marshall also called for a correction from Capital News Service, which is produced by journalism students at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Mass Communications and whose report ignited the controversy. Jeff South, an associate professor who oversees the program, said the service stands by its report.

And Marshall has posted video of his statement on his website, which he somehow believes will exonerate him.  In his accompanying statement, Marshall insists that he never made this comment, and then provides video and a transcript of his remarks that proves he said exactly what Capital News Service quoted him as saying (emphasis added): 

A February 22nd Capital News Service story claimed, “Western Prince William Del. Bob Marshall (R-13th) says disabled children are God’s punishment to women who have aborted their first pregnancy.”

I never made this statement. I believe that all children, no matter their background are a blessing from the Lord, not a punishment. Capital News Service never called me about these alleged comments.

No other reporter who attended the same February 18th press conference regarding Planned Parenthood funding made the same claim for the simple reason that I never made such a statement about disabled children.

A video of the press conference bears this out. (May be accessed in its entirety at the end of this article)

Furthermore, my personal and public life show a respect for unwanted or disabled children, including our adoption of three children, my bills to provide for health insurance for autistic children, and my bill this year requiring that women be informed of possible problems in future pregnancies from abortion.

I acknowledge that my extemporary remarks could have been better chosen to explain the medical research findings which show a high incidence of complications following induced abortions.

I understand how disability groups could react, but they are reacting in part to words I never said, never meant, and don’t believe. But I apologize to all for the misuse of my words especially to disabled Virginians or others offended.

My purpose was to show how authentic medical findings demonstrate that abortion has consequences beyond the death of the child being aborted. That is why I have proposed HB 334, which passed the House of Delegates 95-2, and which requires women undergoing abortion to be offered medical articles concerning possible complications in future pregnancies.

I take my oath of office seriously, and believe it is important to protect my constituents by ensuring full transparency about a procedure that may adversely impact their future reproductive health. That is why I strongly believe that Planned Parenthood, which performs one-fourth of abortions nationwide and opposes protecting women with this vital information, should not be funded by Virginia taxpayers.

Children, whether wanted or unwanted, intended or unintended, “normal” or disabled, are blessings from a loving God, and I will continue to fight on their behalf and on behalf of the courageous families who care for these wonderful children.

Fighting for you,

Delegate Bob Marshall
13th District Delegate

FULL TRANSCRIPT:
Verbatim. The TRT is 2:05:

“Thank you very much for coming here today. We are dealing with an attempt to defund, frankly, a malevolent organization. And I say that because you know people by their fruits. In 1960, 65, the out of wed-lock birthrate for blacks was 25 percent. I think it was about 23 percent in 1960 – it was 5 percent for all races. Now it’s 40 percent. It’s 72% for blacks, 51% for Latinas. These are the fruits of planned parenthood. OK. Nothing else. More heartache. More guys who are completely irresponsible and think that women have one function and one function only for a few minutes. OK. But this just isn’t affecting our families, our inner cities, our communities and our state. This poison animates a world-wide population control program that the United States funds and which is unnecessarily making us enemies overseas. We are attacking traditional family structure in a way that no country should be doing. These aren’t my words. Go read a book by Denesh DeSouza [sic]. Ok. He’s looking at it from a cultural, historical perspective. This organization should be called Planned Barrenhood cause they have nothing to do with families, they have nothing to do with responsibility. One-fourth of all abortions are done by Planned Parenthood in the United States. Ok. The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion who have handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first-born of any, Nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children. In the Old Testament, the first-born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment Christians would suggest, and with the knowledge they have from faith has been verified by a study by the Virginia Commonwealth University. First abortions of the first pregnancy are much more damaging to the woman than latter abortions. None of these are good for anybody but this organization has had its time. They have failed in their efforts and we need to defund them and not have them receive a dime of public money.”

Marshall insists that he was making a point based on science and medical findings and that focusing on the "vengence," "punishment" "Old Testament" and "Christians would suggest" language is taking his words out of context in order to make it look like he said something that he never said.

Of course, as Marshall's own video proves, he did make these comments and, in fact, all the "science" stuff at the end is meant to bolster his central point that women who have abortions are subsequently punished with disabled children later on.

But instead of just admitting that that is what he said and apologizing, Marshall continues to insist that he never made this comment and is instead lashing out and attacking those who dared to report it.

Right Mobilizes For Marriage Amendment In West Virginia

Yesterday, the West Virginia House of Delegates killed an effort to press for a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality in the state.

And, of course, that means the right-wing, anti-marriage equality groups are trotting out their standard "let us vote" rhetoric for a press conference tomorrow to complain about it:

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia will hold a press conference during its "Let Us Vote" marriage rally featuring Maggie Gallagher, President of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), Randy Wilson, National Field Director for Family Research Council (FRC) and Jeremy Dys, President and General Counsel of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia. Several West Virginia lawmakers have also been invited to speak.

...

WHAT: Almost half of West Virginia's state senators have signed on as sponsors to a marriage protection amendment resolution promoted by the Family Policy Council of West Virginia. The West Virginia Senate is sending a strong message that there is no legitimate reason to prevent the voters of West Virginia from settling the legal definition of marriage.

WHY: The proposed amendment, which a recent poll indicates is supported by at least 78 percent of registered Democrat voters, was introduced with broad bipartisan support, including the chairmen of three major senate committees and the vice-chairman of a fourth. If approved, the resolution, SJR 14, would allow West Virginians to settle the legal definition of marriage at a special election in 2010. It proposes a simple 19-word definition of marriage: "Only the union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in West Virginia."

WHERE: West Virginia Capitol, North Steps

WHEN: Thursday, February 25, noon

Liberty Counsel Finally Breaks Its Silence On Lisa Miller, Loses Similar Fight In California

For the first time since Lisa Miller disappeared with her daughter rather than transfer custody to her former partner due to her own refusal to abide by custody/visitation arrangement, a representative of Liberty Counsel has finally acknowledged her disappearance on the record:

Mathew Staver, Miller’s attorney from Lynchburg-based law firm Liberty Counsel, said neither he nor his office has had contact with Miller since last fall.

“We don’t know where she is and we don’t know anybody who does know her whereabouts,“ Staver said in a phone interview Tuesday.

...

Staver said efforts are currently under way to track down Miller through a locator service.

Staver also said that arrest warrant issued for Miller in Vermont will not have jurisdiction in Virginia, Miller's last known place of residence, unless it is recognized by a VA court, which just last week refused to hold Miller in contempt on the grounds that she had not been notified to appear in court due to the fact that nobody can find her.

Amazingly, even while this saga was unfolding, Liberty Counsel was waging the same fight in a similar case out of California ... and losing

In a case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, a Bay Area woman has won the right to parental status and visits with the daughter of her former lesbian partner, who moved out when the girl was 3 months old.

The high court denied review Monday of an appeal by the birth mother, identified only as Kristina S., who challenged her former partner's right to be considered a parent. Kristina's lawyers, from the religious conservative group Liberty Counsel, argued that recognizing parental status after a few months of care violated a mother's right to control her child's upbringing.

The court left intact a June 2009 ruling by a state appeals court in San Francisco that said Kristina's partner, identified as Charisma R., had been fully involved in conceiving and taking care of the child and was legally her co-parent.

...

Liberty Counsel representatives were unavailable for comment. The group's chairman, attorney Mathew Staver, told the Supreme Court that the California appellate court had "ordered the breakup of the autonomous, natural family comprised of Kristina and her daughter ... in favor of a new, judicially created 'family.' "

Video of Bob Marshall Proves He Said What He Meant, Meant What He Said

Watch Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall claim at an anti-Planned Parenthood press conference that disabled children are God's punishment for abortion:

After his remarks set off a national controversy, Marshall tried to claim that he had somehow been misunderstood:

A story by Capital News Service regarding my remarks at a recent press conference opposing taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood conveyed the impression that I believe disabled children are a punishment for prior abortions. No one who knows me or my record would imagine that I believe or intended to communicate such an offensive notion[.] I regret any misimpression my poorly chosen words may have created[.]

But the video speaks for itself. Marshall explicitly stated that he believes God punishes women who have abortions by giving them disabled children. And then he backed up his claim with what he evidently considered to be evidence (and the gentleman to his left nodded in agreement).

Marshall is entitled to his offensive views, but he should not run from them.

It's worth noting that Marshall has a history of saying offensive things – or being “misinterpreted.”

He said this about abortion in the case of rape: "[T]he woman becomes a sin-bearer of the crime, because the right of a child predominates over the embarrassment of the woman."

And he said this about contraception: "[W]e have no business passing this garbage out and making these co-eds chemical Love Canals for these frat house playboys in Virginia."

Marshall was not the only one at last week’s press conference to say something completely ridiculous and offensive, or as Marshall calls it – creating a “misimpression.”

Rev. Joe Ellison said he agrees with Pat Robertson’s comments that Haitians brought the recent devastating earthquake on themselves by striking a deal with the Devil and practicing voodoo:

From a spiritual standpoint, we think the Dr. Robertson was on target about Haiti, in the past, with voodoo. And we believe in the Bible that the practice of voodoo is a sin, and what caused the nation to suffer. Those who read the Bible and study the history know that what Dr. Robertson said was the truth.

And let’s remember. These guys aren’t just some sideshow attraction in Virginia’s state capital. They hold sway with top Virginia Republicans, including Gov. Bob McDonnell, and are making gains in their war on the reproductive rights of Virginia women.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • James Dobson has endorsed Gov. Rick Perry.
  • Speaking of Perry, he's gone full-on Tenther in his latest ad.
  • Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says he can't rule out the prospect of accepting a Vice Presidential slot if offered.
  • RNC Chair is just burning through money.
  • Concerned Women for America is accused of being insufficiently pro-life.
  • Prosecutors are worried they will be unable to find jurors who don't have an opinion about murdered anti-abortion activist James Pouillon as they make their case against Harlan Drake because Pouillon's protests and antics had made him notoriously unpopular.
  • Apparently, Ken Blackwell got a book deal.  The title of his tome? "THE BLUEPRINT: Barack Obama’s Secret Plan for an Imperial Presidency and a Permanent Liberal Government."
  • Finally, Quote of the Day from Gary Cass: "Thankfully, many principled Christian organizations pulled out of CPAC and they should be commended for standing up for truth. We cannot allow anti-Christian groups like GOProud to infiltrate and corrupt the conservative movement."

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Predictably, VA state Rep. Bob Marshall says he was taken out of context for his statement that disabled children are punishment for women who've had an abortion.  You can listen to the statement here and judge for yourself.
  • Utah state Sen. Mark Madsen wants to combine Martin Luther King Day with "John M. Browning State Holiday" to honor the gun manufacturer.
  • Speaking of Utah, a bill passed by the state House and Senate and waiting for the governor's signature will make it a crime for a woman to have a miscarriage.
  • I, for one, do not buy Molotov Mitchell's claim that he has gay friends for a second.
  • Wow, XPAC turned out to be even lamer than predicted.
  • Guess what CPAC-ers don't care about? Fighting marriage equality.
  • The insanity of Orly Taitz knows no bounds.
  • Timothy Kincaid gives some helpful advice to the Alliance Defense Fund.
  • Finally, remember last week when the Right was up in arms over the revelation that there were books about socialism in the White House library? Turns out, they were Jackie Kennedy's.

While AU Asks IRS to Investigate LU, LU Presses For Its Own Polling Place

Back in 2008, we noted several times how Jerry Falwell Jr. sought to do what he could to deliver the state of Virginia to John McCain, from refusing to accommodate local Obama rallies while hosting McCain rallies to registering thousands of Liberty students so that Liberty University "could go down in history as the college that elected a president."

Despite Falwell's efforts, he couldn't deliver the state for McCain but a year later Liberty was able to take credit for delivering a Republican to the House of Representatives.

And now Americans United for Separation of Church and State is asking the IRS to look into Liberty's partisan activities:  

“We have documented a clear pattern of partisan intervention orchestrated by top Liberty officials,” said Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn. “I believe the evidence is clear that Liberty officials have violated the law.”

AU’s letter – the result of more than three months of investigating – makes the following allegations:

• Falwell and other university officials used Liberty Champion, ostensibly a student publication but one that is actually subject to university control, to run a series of articles attacking Valentine and endorsing Garrett.

• University officials twice arranged for a “voter guide” published by the Virginia Family Foundation to appear in the Champion. The guide distorted Valentine’s views and was stacked to endorse Garrett. Copies of the Oct. 27 issue of the newspaper were mailed to all Lynchburg residents.

• On Election Day, Ergun Caner, a top university official, drove around campus with the College Republicans, rounding up voters.

• Falwell and other Liberty officials later boasted that their actions had swayed the election to Garrett. They have vowed to intervene in future elections.

“This is one of the most blatant and dishonest attempts to influence an election by a non-profit religious organization I have ever seen,” Lynn said. “We hope the IRS acts swiftly to stop Liberty’s overt partisan politicking.”

In semi-related news, due to the massive increase in voters in the district due to Liberty's annual registration drives, LU has been pressing the Lynchburg City Council to move the polling place to somewhere that can better accommodate the crowds - i.e., somewhere that Liberty owns, like Thomas Road Church or a local LU-owned shopping center.

But the city council does not appear particularly keen to place the polling place in Liberty U's hands and so, of course, Falwell and LU students are outraged:

Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. is denouncing City Council’s recent rejection of two LU-backed polling place sites as a “travesty” designed to suppress the LU student vote.

“It’s obvious to me the goal was to discourage as many Ward III citizens from voting as possible,” Falwell said, renewing LU’s concerns that Lynchburg First Church of the Nazarene, the current leading contender for the new voting location, is inaccessible and unsafe.

“You have to ask yourself what is the motive of the five Democrats on council in choosing a difficult-to-find church on a residential road that is not equipped to handle this kind of traffic,” Falwell said. “Something smells bad.”

...

Falwell, who said his students were angry and offended over the way this has been handled, said Nelson’s motion was nothing more than a “little game.”

“It was all designed to kill it (LU’s recommendations) without coming out and saying it,” he said. “It was transparent, and our students see through it.”

“I think you’re going to see much more turnout among the students in May than you would have if they had just chosen a safe, convenient polling place … The site they did choose does just the opposite. It makes it more difficult and more unsafe for people to vote.”

LU’s Student Government Association sent out a notice and set up a Facebook group urging students to attend the hearing Tuesday.

In those messages, the association described the upcoming City Council elections as the most important in LU history and said the “anti-Liberty folks” on council appear to be trying to dilute their influence by choosing a bad polling place to discourage them from voting.

“It is important you attend this meeting. This outrage must be stopped,” read the e-mail, which noted that buses will be provided to take students to the hearing.

Anyone want to place any bets on whether Liberty decides to use its local voting power in future city council elections to try and take out council-members who won't do its bidding? 

VA Legislator: Disabled Children Are God's Punishment for Women Who've Had Abortions

Last week we noted how Pat Robertson, Jonathan Falwell, and other right-wing activists in Virginia are targeting Gov. Bob McDonnell and other top elected officials to cut off any state funding for Planned Parenthood.

During a press conference unveiling the effort last week, a state legislator declared that God punishes women who have had abortions by giving them disabled children later:

Western Prince William Del. Bob Marshall, R-13th, says disabled children are God’s punishment to women who have aborted their first pregnancy.

He made that statement last Thursday at a press conference to oppose state funding for Planned Parenthood.

“The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children,” said Marshall, a Republican.

“In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment Christians would suggest.”

Marshall was among more than 20 people, mostly Christian pastors and clergy, who gathered for the press conference in the General Assembly Building ...The press conference was held by a group called Virginia Christian Action. Its members presented a petition calling on Gov. Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to stop funding for Planned Parenthood. All three top officials are Republican.

The petition was signed by a number of prominent Christian leaders, including the Rev. Jonathan Falwell of Lynchburg and the Rev. Pat Robertson of Virginia Beach.

UPDATE: It looks like Marshall has quite a history of making outrageous statements.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Hey, guess who else has signed on the The Mount Vernon Statement? The Traditional Values Coalition.
  • It tells you a lot about LifeSiteNew's agenda when it runs headlines like this: "Lisa Miller Safe for Now: Virginia Judge Refuses to Issue Arrest Warrant."
  • Is anyone surprise that Gary Cass and Bill Donohue flipped out over Elton John's comments?
  • The FRC needs money to save DADT and not let "homosexual rights extremists invade the U.S. military and destroy it from within."
  • Finally, Quote of the Day in photo form:

VA: Robertson, Falwell Court McDonnell In De-Funding Planned Parenthood

Changes certainly are afoot in the state of Virginia with the election of Gov. Bob McDonnell, who recently moved to strip away anti-discrimination protections for gays.

Now, in addition to efforts by state legislators to ensure that money raised from the sale of proposed "Respect Choice" license plates do not go to Planned Parenthood, Gov. McDonnell's long time ally Pat Robertson and other right-wing pastors are seeking his promise to defund the organization:

Some of Virginia's most influential Christian leaders asked Gov. Bob McDonnell and other top officials Thursday to block state funding for Planned Parenthood because the nonprofit organization provides abortions.

The Virginia Christian Alliance presented a petition signed by the Rev. Pat Robertson, the Rev. Jonathan Falwell and dozens of others asking Republicans McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to help defund the organization.

The pastors cited what they called the "unethical, immoral and racist practices" of Planned Parenthood, the nation's No. 1 abortion provider.

And according to the Virginia Pilot, McDonnell is going to support the effort:

Virginia's top three elected officials -- all Republicans -- expressed support Thursday for an effort by religious leaders to eliminate any state money that goes to Planned Parenthood, a health care organization that provides abortions.

Here are some responses from their offices:

"Lieutenant Governor Bolling does not believe that public funds should be used to pay for abortions, nor does he believe that public funds should be used to support organizations that provide abortions, such as Planned Parenthood. In fact, in 2007 the Lieutenant Governor cast the deciding vote in the Senate to withhold public funds from Planned Parenthood. His position has not changed."

Ibbie Hedrick, spokeswoman for Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling

"Attorney General Cuccinelli supports withholding state funds for Planned Parenthood. It is Constitutional for state money to go to third party contractors, but just because it is Constitutional does not mean that it is a good policy and state funding of Planned Parenthood is a bad policy. Attorney General Cuccinelli supports the overall goal of this group, but does not plan to sign a petition." Dan Dodds, spokesman for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli

The petition referred to in the response from Cuccinelli's office is a document the religious consortium is circulating.

Among its prominent signatories are Virginia Beach-based religious broadcaster Pat Robertson and Jonathan Falwell, son of Liberty University founder Jerry Falwell.

Another noteworthy public figure who plans to sign the petition is Gov. Bob McDonnell, a spokeswoman for the governor said Thursday evening.

Turns Out Everyone Who Opposed Bob McDonnell Was Right

As we mentioned yesterday, Virginia governor Bob McDonnell recently signed a decree taking away protections for gay and lesbian state workers in Virginia. The executive order, signed by McDonnell on February 5, nullifies a similar order of former governor Tim Kaine, who had specifically included sexual orientation as a part of his non-discrimination policy. 

It would be nice to say that this comes as a surprise, but a measure like this isn’t really a shock when one looks back to McDonnell’s long record of involvement with the far right (to say nothing of his collegiate thesis at Liberty University.) Back in September, Kyle described the thesis as “a blueprint to change what [McDonnell] saw as a liberal model into one that actively promoted conservative, faith-based principles through tax policy, the public schools, welfare reform and other avenues”. Although McDonnell said during his campaign that he regretted much of the language in his work, it seems like it was pretty accurate after all.

Via TPM, Hari Sevugan, Former Governor Kaine’s spokesperson, said.

It says a lot about the Republican party that they would anoint as their 'rising star' someone who in 2010 is actually stripping away from Americans legal protections against discrimination. Bob McDonnell is proving his critics right.

Indeed.

Why Lisa Miller Wasn't Held In Contempt

Yesterday, I wrote a post noting it was a little odd that a Virginia judge had ruled that he could not hold Lisa Miller in contempt of court because nobody knew where she was.  Now the article has been updated with more details which explains the reasoning a bit more:

She's accused of running away with her seven-year-old daughter to avoid sharing custody with her former lesbian partner, but a Bedford County judge has decided not to press charges against Lisa Miller.

The judge could have held her in contempt of court, a charge she's already facing in Vermont, where this legal battle began. But a judge says he can't do the same here, because Miller was never notified of the pending charges, and she's nowhere to be found.

...

Because officials couldn't locate Miller to notify her of her court appearance, the judge said he couldn't hold her in contempt.

But the most interesting piece of news contained in the update is that it contains the first statement on the case from Mat Staver since Miller disappeared.  Staver, who is apparently still her lawyer, used the court appearance to attack Janet Jenkins: 

While Miller may be the missing party now, her lawyer says it was her former partner who was missing most of Isabella's life.

"[She] never came to watch her at church functions or school activities- in fact refused to come to Lynchburg," Miller’s attorney Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel said.

...

Staver says he doesn't know his client's whereabouts or knows anyone who does.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • TPM: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell Rolls Back Non-Discrimination Protections For Gay State Workers.
  • Sarah Posner: Conservative Activist Says Tea Party Movement Needs "Reverence to God."
  • Andrew Sullivan: "May The Judgement Not Be Too Heavy Upon Us."
  • Sam Stein: McCain Challenger: Birther Questions Are Legit In Days Of Identity Theft.
  • Eric Boehlert: James O'Keefe and the myth of the ACORN pimp.
  • TFN: How the Far Right ‘Guides’ Voters with Lies.
  • Finally, David Frum weighs in on The Mount Vernon Statement: Conservatives to Voters: We Don’t Feel Your Pain.

VA Senate Restores Planned Parenthood Funding in "Respect Choice" License Plate Bill

Yesterday I noted that efforts to offer "Trust Women/Respect Choice" license plates in Virginia had been been subverted with state legislators in the House passed a bill directing any money raised from their sale to the Virginia Pregnant Women Support Fund instead of Planned Parenthood.

Well, the state Senate has now passed its own version of the bill which explicitly rejected that attempt:

The Virginia Senate, controlled by Democrats, has passed a measure that would create a specialty state license plate with the message "Trust Women/Respect Choice." Some of the application fee money paid by drivers who select the plate would go to the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood.

Drivers in Virginia, which loves its vanity plates, already are allowed to select one with the logo "Choose Life."

Today's action put the Senate's bill on the issue in conflict with one passed by the Republican-controlled House of Delegates on Monday. Delegates chose to strip out Planned Parenthood funding and send the application fees for the plate to a state fund to help pregnant women instead.

Democrats in the Senate fended off an amendment to the bill from state Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonberg) that would have followed the House's lead, allowing the creation of the plates but without sending money to Planned Parenthood.

Gov. Bob McDonnell has already made clear that he supports stripping Planned Parenthood of any state funding it receives while Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said he would defend the state if lawmakers refuse to create the plate, so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

VA "Respect Choice" License Plates Won't Actually Respect Choice

Currently, twenty-plus states offer versions of "Choose Life" license plates, the sale of which raises money for anti-choice groups  and "crisis pregnancy centers."

Virginia is one of those states and so it stood to reason that choice activists would press the state to offer a "Trust Women/Respect Choice" license plate for sale which would support organizations that offer reproductive health services.

Both Gov. Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli both opposed any effort to send money from such license plates to Planned Parenthood, and now it looks like Virginia legislators have stepped in to make sure that it nevers happens

In what pro-life advocates are hailing as a brilliant legislative move, Virginia lawmakers stripped Planned Parenthood funding from its own bill to sponsor pro-abortion license plates. The plate bill now sends the proceeds from sales of the plate to a state fund that actually helps pregnant women.

Money generated from the sales of the “Trust Women, Respect Choice" license plates was intended to go to the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

When Democrat Delegate Robert Brink’s brought up the bill, on the House floor in preparation for today's final vote, the legislation said the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood would receive $15 of the $25 plate fee.

In an interesting turn of events, Delegate Todd Gilbert, a Republican, offered an amendment to the bill to change it so all funding would go to the Virginia Pregnant Women Support Fund -- a move that the pro-life Family Forum group describes as a devastating blow to Planned Parenthood.

The Virginia Pregnant Women Support Fund was created in 2007 to “support women and families who are facing unplanned pregnancy” and is managed by the Virginia Board of Health. The goals are far different from Planned Parenthood's abortion agenda as it provides funding for ultrasound machines, parenting programs, and other support.

So if you buy the state's "Choose Life" license plate, a portion of the fee goes to support anti-choice pregnancy centers in the state. 

And if you eventually purchase a "Respect Choice" plate, a portion of that fee goes to a fund that does pretty much the exact same thing and in no way actually supports choice at all.

And As An Added Bonus, It Prevents The Apocalypse

It's not everyday that legislators are able to come up with bills aimed not only at protecting privacy, but also thwarting the Devil.  But in Virginia, they have been able to do just that

The House of Delegates is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a bill that would protect Virginians from attempts by employers or insurance companies to implant microchips in their bodies against their will.

It might also save humanity from the antichrist, some supporters think.

Del. Mark L. Cole (R-Fredericksburg), the bill's sponsor, said that privacy issues are the chief concern behind his attempt to criminalize the involuntary implantation of microchips. But he also said he shared concerns that the devices could someday be used as the "mark of the beast" described in the Book of Revelation.

"My understanding -- I'm not a theologian -- but there's a prophecy in the Bible that says you'll have to receive a mark, or you can neither buy nor sell things in end times," Cole said. "Some people think these computer chips might be that mark."

...

[T]he growing use of microchips has collided with the Book of Revelation. The biblical passage in question is in Chapter 13 and describes the rise of a satanic figure known as "the Beast": "He causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."

David Neff, editor of the magazine Christianity Today, said that some fundamentalist Christians believe that bar codes and implanted microchips could be used by a totalitarian government to control commerce -- a sign of the coming end of the world.

"This is part of a larger attempt to constantly read current history in the light of the symbolic language of the Book of Revelation," he said.

That book has been sifted for clues to contemporary events almost since the ink on the parchment dried, and Caesar, Nero, Napoleon, Hitler and some of history's other controversial one-namers have been identified as possible antichrists. Now, it's President Obama's turn, as tea partyers and others warn of federal intrusions into the debate over health-care reform.

Now, the book is giving new life to worries about microchips.

Interestingly, Rep. Cole says his main motivation for the legislation is because "you should have the right to control your own body" ... while his website hails his achievements in having "defended the right to life. "

Right Wing Round-Up

A Horrifying Picture of Life With Christians In the Workplace

Want to know why we shouldn't repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell?  Because all gays are sexual predators who will immediately attack their fellow soldiers - at least that seems to be the message from the Family Research Council which can barely stomach the "horrifying picture of life with homosexual soldiers":

Under this administration, the new policy seems to be ordering the military to disobey the rule of law--the very thing they've been sworn to protect. Richard Black (U.S. Army-Ret.), former chief of the Army's Criminal Law Division, explains why that's an irresponsible and potentially dangerous decision. In today's Washington Times, Black paints a horrifying picture of life with homosexual soldiers that would only worsen once gays and lesbians are empowered to flaunt their sexuality. "...At Fort Sill, Okla., in 1991, two homosexual recruits caught a lone soldier showering at night. They violently sodomized the soldier, forcing him to submit by strangling him with a bath towel. At the time of trial, the victim was hospitalized under psychiatric care... Recruit training is especially problematic. Male recruits had to physically subdue one homosexual drill instructor at an Army base to keep him from raping a male recruit as that recruit struggled to escape out a second-story window... At Marine Corps Base Quantico, a company gunnery sergeant sexually attacked a young officer candidate who had stayed back at the barracks while his platoon was out training." The other side drones on about "political correctness" but says nothing about the safety forfeited to achieve it.

Apparently, a few isolated, decade-old instances is sufficent proof that all gays are a sexual menace. 

And so, using that logic, I hereby demand an end to the practice of allowing Christians to work at Religious Right organizations ... 

A former Focus on the Family radio-ministry employee has been sentenced to five years of intensive probation for attempting to lure an underage teen into having sex with him.

... or universities ....

A judge has granted $25,000 bond to a Liberty University professor accused of a sex crime with a student. Joshua Young Moon is charged with object sexual penetration by force.

... because they are all sexual predators

Court records show the McPhersons manipulated the teens into submitting to fondling, kissing and other sex acts. They cited Bible verses that they said justified the abuse and, afterward, would pray together for God's forgiveness.

On Wednesday, the McPhersons admitted in separate hearings in Virginia Beach Circuit Court to committing the crimes. Stephen McPherson, a former assistant dean at Regent University, pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties with two of the girls; his wife pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties with the third.

Stephen McPherson, 40, already is serving a 16-year sentence after being convicted of similar charges in Chesapeake. He pleaded guilty in January to forcible sodomy and object sexual penetration stemming from incidents involving two of the girls in his Chesapeake home.

Clearly, this horrifying picture of life with Christians in the work place will only worsen if we don't act now to end this abomination.

Or would that kind of offensive smear job be wildly unfair?

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Virginia Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Monday 01/24/2011, 5:43pm
George Zornick @ Think Progress: Allen West: Keith Ellison Represents ‘The Antithesis Of The Principles Upon Which This Country Was Established’. Sarah Posner @ Religion Dispatches: Rep. Smith Suggests A New Protected Class: "Immaturity". David Weigel @ Slate: Michael Bay Presents: "Pawlenty". Joe.My.God: Virginia Lawmaker: Feds Can't Stop Us From Banning Gays From National Guard. Pam Spaulding: Idaho pharmacist denies anti-bleeding med because woman MIGHT have had an abortion. Terry Krepel @ County Fair: Pat Robertson... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 01/24/2011, 5:43pm
George Zornick @ Think Progress: Allen West: Keith Ellison Represents ‘The Antithesis Of The Principles Upon Which This Country Was Established’. Sarah Posner @ Religion Dispatches: Rep. Smith Suggests A New Protected Class: "Immaturity". David Weigel @ Slate: Michael Bay Presents: "Pawlenty". Joe.My.God: Virginia Lawmaker: Feds Can't Stop Us From Banning Gays From National Guard. Pam Spaulding: Idaho pharmacist denies anti-bleeding med because woman MIGHT have had an abortion. Terry Krepel @ County Fair: Pat Robertson... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 01/11/2011, 1:42pm
Anti-choice activists are hosting a rally outside the Virginia capitol on Thursday at which VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and representatives of the Virginia Family Foundation were scheduled to participate ... that is until they found out the rally was designed to pressure Gov. Bob McDonnell to place tighter restrictions on women's clinics. Upon learning that, Cuccinelli and the VA Family Foundation dropped out: Both Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) and the conservative Family Foundation declined to participate in an anti-abortion rally scheduled for Thursday outside... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 01/10/2011, 2:52pm
Last year, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli joined dozens of Religious Right leaders for an event called "Awakening 2010," organized by the Freedom Federation and hosted at Liberty University, where Cindy Jacobs declared that "the Bible is the government of the people, by the people, for the people," while Matt Barber and Andrea Lafferty claimed that passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act would allow those working at the Veteran's Administration to freely molest disable veterans. In April, the Freedom Federation will host its second annual "... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 01/04/2011, 6:01pm
Jason Hancock @ Iowa Independent: Branstad speaks out against impeaching Supreme Court justices. Stephanie Mencimer @ Mother Jones: Dick Cheney's Disappearing Clout. Alvin McEwen: Anti-gay hate group has problem with California not being forced to find a 'cure' for homosexuality. Joe.My.God: Chick-Fil-A Vanishes From Anti-Gay Event. Igor Volsky @ Wonk Room: VA Delegate Presses Case For Banning ‘Active Homosexuals’ From Virginia National Guard. MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 12/27/2010, 3:35pm
Back in January the Christian Science Monitor declared “Scott Brown: the tea party’s first electoral victory,” following his surprise win in the special election to fill the Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy. But now the Boston Globe reports that conservatives and Tea Party activists are mulling over a primary challenge to the Massachusetts Republican. According to the Globe, Brown’s votes in favor of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, ratifying the START Treaty, and reforming Wall Street (but only after it was watered down to win his support) made him... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 12/27/2010, 12:46pm
Just when you thought that the Media Research Center couldn’t get any lower in its constant digging to find “liberal bias” in journalism, the conservative group is now complaining that the Associated Press was biased in their brief, one-line obituaries of political leaders who passed away in 2010. Bernard McGhee’s “Notable deaths of 2010” featured succinct obituaries of people from author J.D. Salinger to Polish President Lech Kaczynski and businessman George Steinbrenner. But according to Tim Graham, the Media Research Center’s Director of Media... MORE