Fighting the Right

Jeb Bush Touts Voucher Program That Funds Christian Schools, Religious Right Ideology

At Wednesday night’s presidential debate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush went out of his way to tout “a voucher program that was created under my watch, the largest voucher program in the country, where kids can go to a Christian school” — a phrase he sandwiched into a conversation about Donald Trump criticizing him for speaking Spanish in public.

Julie Ingersoll, a religious studies professor at the University of North Florida, tweeted a reminder that her book on Christian Reconstructionism, which was recently released by Oxford University Press, mentions Bush’s voucher program. “Building God’s Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstructionism” includes chapters on the enormous influence of Christian Reconstructionism in the homeschooling and Christian school movements, which have succeeded in getting states like Florida to funnel taxpayer money to their religious education efforts

Christian Reconstructionism, grounded in the teachings of 20th-century writer R.J. Rushdoony, has greatly influenced both the Religious Right and Tea Party movements with its doctrine of “sphere sovereignty,” which states that God has given government, church, and family specific responsibilities over different “spheres.” Reconstructionists argue that there is no biblical authority for the government to take on a duty that is given to church or family – for example, they argue that the government has no role in caring for the poor because charity is the job of the church.

Reconstructionism teaches that education is the duty of parents, and that the state therefore has no role in or legitimate authority over the education of children. Reconstructionists led legal and political battles to win the right of parents to homeschool their children, and continue to resist efforts at regulating homeschoolers. As Ingersoll notes, “Reconstructionists are unabashedly committed to the dismantling of public education, and their strategies and solutions have gained a hearing far beyond the boundaries of the small groups explicitly affiliated with them.” In June, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott named a right-wing homeschooler to chair the state’s Board of Education.

The organized and intensely active network of evangelical homeschooling families in Iowa is credited, in part, with Mike Huckabee’s win in the 2008 Iowa caucus, and the Associated Press reported this year that presidential candidates have been jockeying for its leaders’ support.

Ingersoll also explores how central creationism is to the Christian Reconstructionist worldview; as others have noted, creationism also forms the basis of “science” education in books and curricula used by some Christian schools and homeschoolers.

Ingersoll writes about the independent, Reconstructionism-inspired Rocky Bayou Christian School in Niceville, Florida, which was founded in the 1970s. In addition to the hundreds of students in its K-12 program, the school offers a program allowing homeschoolers to participate in courses and activities. Writes Ingersoll, “RCBS also has a program designed to take advantage of Florida’s school voucher plan. The plan, put into place by former Governor Jeb Bush, permits students at ‘failing public schools’ to obtain vouchers that can be used at any school.”

According to Ingersoll, the Bush voucher program “has become such a significant revenue stream” for Rocky Bayou Christian School that “it would have a major impact on the school if the state were to decide to discontinue the controversial program….”  But, she notes, “the conservative legislature took up the effort to expand the state’s privatization of public education with vouchers and the expansion of charter schools.”

Indeed, legislation signed by Gov. Rick Scott last year expanded voucher and tax-credit programs; it also, according to the Orlando Sentinel, created state-funded “personal learning scholarship accounts” that “parents of students with certain disabilities can use to pay for private school, buy home-school curriculum or pay for needed therapies, among other services, if their child is not in public school.”

Florida is not the only state where proponents of privatization have won victories. Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal used the Katrina disaster to push through a radical privatization scheme and has battled the Obama administration over its efforts to monitor the state’s voucher program’s effect on racial segregation. Proponents of “school choice” had a major victory in Nevada this year, where a law pushed by an education foundation created by Jeb Bush would allow parents of any income level to “pull a child from the state's public schools and take tax dollars with them, giving families the option to use public money to pay for private or parochial school or even for home schooling.” While some Christian homeschoolers want no part of voucher programs, because they believe taking voucher money would bring more intrusive government regulation, laws like Nevada’s could prove a windfall for Religious Right and Christian Reconstructionist groups that provide curricula to homeschoolers.

Ingersoll writes about a 2009 Men’s Leadership Summit hosted by the Christian Home Educators of Colorado at an Indianapolis facility of Bill Gothard’s Institute for Biblical Life Principles, a troubling organization in the news recently for its connection to the Duggar family. The purpose of the summit, writes Ingersoll, was the development of a “Christian Education Manifesto,” which is no longer public, but whose goals included the elimination of public education and dismantling of government agencies that regulate the rights of parents, such as child welfare and child protective service groups.

There have been some setbacks for the privatization movement. In June, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that its state’s Choice Scholarship Pilot Program violates the state Constitution by channeling public money to private religious schools, contrary to an explicit constitutional prohibition on doing so.

But, as Ingersoll notes, the massively funded privatization movement is advancing the dream of the Christian Reconstructionists:

Florida’s efforts mirror attempts across the nation to shift the delivery of public education to the private sector; a shift of tax money from a public endeavor intended to educate and foster a shared sense of what it means to be American to sectarian efforts, including efforts at schools like Rocky Bayou which seek to transform society according to biblical law. The long-standing goal of the Christian Reconstructionists to defund, and ultimately eliminate, public education has come as close as it has ever come to being a reality.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Gay Marriage Different Because 'It's Not About Love'

Right-wing activist Jesse Lee Peterson joined “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax yesterday to discuss his recent column comparing Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who is refusing marriage licenses to gay couples, to Rosa Parks.

When guest host Amy Holmes asked Peterson if a clerk should be able to cite his or her religious beliefs to deny marriage a license to a person like Davis who has been married multiple times, Peterson explained that it’s an entirely different issue because unlike such marriages, “homosexuality is not about values” and “it’s not about love,” but instead is “based on sex.”

While homosexuality is all about sex, he explained, anti-gay discrimination has nothing to do with sex.

“A marriage is between a man and a woman, not between two men and two women,” he said. “That has been the rule forever, ever since mankind has been on earth, so what homosexuals are trying to do is to get you to change the rules based on sex. And Kim Davis is not concerned about who they have sex with, but when it comes to comparing it to a man and woman being married, then it’s a different story.”

Anti-Muslim Activist: Ahmed Mohamed's Clock Was Very Suspicious!

Last week, GOP leaders including Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Sarah Palin attended a rally hosted by Frank Gaffney, the head of the Center for Security Policy and an unabashed anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist.

Gaffney reacted today to the controversy over the arrest of Texas 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, who brought a homemade clock to school to show off to his teachers, by claiming that police and school officials were right to be suspicious of the Muslim student:

Gaffney claims that Ahmed should have answered the police’s absurd questions about what he could possibly be doing with a clock. Here’s how Dallas-Fort Worth’s WFAA s ummarized the case against the ninth grader:

Officers said Ahmed was being "passive aggressive" in his answers to their questions, and didn't have a "reasonable answer" as to what he was doing with the case. Investigators said the student told them that it was just a clock that he was messing around with.

"We attempted to question the juvenile about what it was and he would simply only say it was a clock. He didn't offer any explanation as to what it was for, why he created this device, why he brought it to school," said James McLellan, Irving Police.

Police confiscated the case along with Ahmed's tablet computer.

In addition to calling police, Ahmed said the principal suspended him for three days.

The police apparently refused to believe that maybe Ahmed’s clock was just that, a clock, and were convinced that there must be some nefarious reason why a student who has taken an interest in engineering would build a clock to show his engineering teacher.

Irving, Texas, where Ahmed was arrested, is led by a mayor who became a hero to anti-Muslim activists like Gaffney when she courageously stood up to a non-existent plot to establish a Sharia court in the city.

Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy gave the mayor an award for her brave fight for freedom.

UPDATE: Lee Fang notes that Gaffney and Jim Hanson of the Center for Security Policy have continued to make absurd claims about the case:

The Center for Security Policy, a think tank that routinely partners with prominent Republican politicians, including many of the current presidential contenders, is defending the arrest of 14-year-old Muslim high school student Ahmed Mohamed for bringing a homemade clock to school.

Americans across the country expressed outrage at the news that Mohamed was handcuffed by police officers in Irving, Texas, on Monday, suspended from his high school, and accused of making a bomb after the electronic components he had connected to make his own digital clock beeped during English class.

But Center for Security Policy vice president Jim Hanson argued on his organization’s podcast that the clock “looks exactly like a number of IED triggers that were produced by the Iranians and used to kill U.S. troops in the war in Iraq.” He said the clock “was half a bomb.”

Frank Gaffney, the center’s founder and president, agreed with Hanson, while suggesting that there is reason to be suspicious of “what we’re told was a clock” because “the story is not being fully explored and explained.”

Gaffney also said that the entire controversy over Mohamed’s clock appeared to be an “influence operation” by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group that Gaffney claimed is using “professional victim-promoting” to wage a “civilization jihad” in connection with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Krikorian: If Picture Of Drowned Syrian Boy Made You Sad, You Should Oppose Refugee Resettlement

Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies visited Newsmax TV yesterday to discuss the Obama administration’s decision to increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted into the United States in the wake of a massive refugee crisis caused by the country’s civil war, agreeing to take in 10,000 of the more than 4 million people who have fled the country.

Citing the Tsarnaev brothers, who were the children of refugees from Chechnya, Krikoran declared that the refugee resettlement program is “guaranteed” to “admit significant numbers of ISIS and Al Qaeda into the United States.”

“We all saw the picture of that poor kid who had drowned on the beach in Turkey,” he said. “Well, what are we going to say to an American mom and dad of a kid who’s killed by an ISIS terrorist who’s let in as a refugee?”

Ted Cruz's Favorite Judge Has History Of Racial Bias, Absurd Statements

During last night’s GOP debate, as he was rewriting history about his well-documented support for John Roberts’ nomination to the Supreme Court, Sen. Ted Cruz repeated his line that Republican presidents have consistently failed the party’s conservative base by putting insufficiently right-wing justices on the bench.

After deriding Roberts’ nomination, the Texas Republican criticized the nomination of David Souter, insisting that George H.W. Bush should have picked Edith Jones, a Reagan-nominated judge on the Fifth Circuit Court, instead.

Cruz’s admiration for Jones should raise eyebrows, as she has a lengthy record of extremism. Jones’ views also offer us a glimpse of what kind of judges a President Cruz would attempt to put on the federal bench:

  • Jones faced a misconduct complaint from civil rights groups after she reportedly suggested that minorities are “predisposed to crime” during a speech to law students. (The complaint was later dismissed by a judicial conduct committee.) The Associated Press reported:
The complaint alleges that Jones said certain "racial groups like African-Americans and Hispanics are predisposed to crime," and that they are "prone to commit acts of violence" and be involved in more violent and "heinous" crimes than people of other ethnicities. The judge also allegedly said Mexicans would prefer to be on death row in the U.S. than serve prison terms in their native country, and that it's an insult for the U.S. to look to the laws of other countries such as Mexico.
Although the 1964 Civil Rights Act contributed to the advancement of women’s careers in society, I would have to defer to others for an overview of the impact of these equal rights laws, when balanced against factors such as the increase of out of wedlock births, the prevalence of divorce, the sexualization of society and the youth. Women’s ‘rights,’ in the end, depend heavily on what goes on outside as well as in the workplace.
Seldom are employment discrimination suits in our court supported by direct evidence of race or sex-based animosity. Instead, the courts are asked to revisit petty interoffice disputes and to infer invidious motives from trivial comments or work-performance criticism. Recrimination, second-guessing and suspicion plague the workplace when tenuous discrimination suits are filed creating an atmosphere in which many corporate defendants are forced into costly settlements because they simply cannot afford to vindicate their positions.
  • She lamented that America’s legal system is losing its focus on divine instructions:
The first 100 years of American lawyers were trained on Blackstone, who wrote that: 'The law of nature, dictated by God himself, is binding in all counties and at all times; no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all force and all their authority from this original.' The Framers created a government of limited power with this understanding of the rule of law - that it was dependent on transcendent religious obligation…. Having lost sight of the moral and religious foundations of the rule of law, we are vulnerable to the destruction of our freedom, our equality before the law and our self-respect. It is my fervent hope that this new century will experience a revival of the original understanding of the rule of law and its roots. The answer is a recovery of moral principle, the sine qua non of an orderly society. Post 9/11, many events have been clarified. It is hard to remain a moral relativist when your own people are being killed.

Steve King Warns Of Changing 'Demographics' Of Immigration: 'I Like The America We Had'

In an interview with Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson yesterday, Rep. Steve King warned that President Obama is “seeking to change the demographics” of the U.S. through his immigration and refugee resettlement policies, asking, “How long is it before the culture of America is changed?”

Mickelson, who has called for enslaving undocumented immigrants , asked King about the Obama administration’s announcement of a slight uptick in the number of Syrian refugees the country will accept and the fact that refugees are eligible for some public benefits.

King had a simple explanation for the president’s policies: He wants to “change the demographics” of America in order to increase the number of “Democrat voters.”

The Iowa Republican challenged advocates of refugee resettlement to “tell me how you want America to look, because America’s being transformed because of immigration policy and I’m like Ann Coulter, I like the America we had.”

Why would you do this if you were president of the United States? He’s seeking to change the demographics of the United States of America. And changing the demographics changes the politics, they’re going to have Democrat voters at least two-to-one, some numbers go all the way to five-to-one, and I’m not speaking only of Muslims, I’m speaking of the Central American immigrants that come into America too.

So, any way to win. Bill Clinton accelerated the naturalization of more than a million people before his ’96 re-elect, and we were appalled by that. But this president is pushing, and it turns out to be millions. And we should look at the kind of character that America’s going to be.

As much as I love and appreciate people from any place on the planet, this country has been made up of, is a center-right country, is Christian based, that is our morality, we believe in freedom of religion but if you brought in, say, all the Muslims in the world into the United States, you know it changes the culture.

So if it turns into a few hundred thousand every year, how long is it before the culture of America is changed? And we’re willingly, we’re knowingly and willingly changing the culture of America by government policies driven out of the White House and we aren’t even having a national debate about how that changes our country and is it good or is it bad. I have not seen either the level of assimilation of Muslims into the broader American society, or any place in the world, for that matter. So I’d like to see that model, point to that, tell me how you want America to look, because America’s being transformed because of immigration policy and I’m like Ann Coulter, I like the America we had.

Ted Nugent: Only Donald Trump Can Save Us!

NRA board member Ted Nugent says that GOP leaders have utterly failed to stop Democrats from carrying out their supposed plan to destroy the country, and now Americans must turn to Donald Trump to save the nation from the brink of destruction.

Writing today in WorldNetDaily, Nugent says that Trump alone “is counterpunching effectively” against “the life-threatening dynamic of the Democrat communist battle cry” and accuses Democratic leaders like President Obama and Hillary Clinton of “quoting Marx, Mao, Lenin, Castro and all the other monsters behind tyranny, dictatorships, slavery and the resultant historic ruination of every society this evil scourge has touched.”

Nugent urges readers to pray for Trump to lay out his specific plans “to make America great again.”

Mr. Trump’s unprecedented support is due to the fact that working-hard, playing-hard, caring Americans are painfully aware of the suicidal path and dire consequences of Obama’s crazy fundamental transformation destructo derby, and Trump alone is counterpunching effectively with blow for blow outrage shared by the masses.

Do I admire Walker, Carson, Cruz, Rubio, Fiorina and some others? Of course I do. And though Cruz and Fiorina show a good sense of awareness and passion for the fight, many of the others are way too passive and status quo to rally any support. And the polls prove it.

Many of us are dumbfounded at the abject failure of the GOP overall to adequately identify the depth of this scourge taking over America. We cannot believe so many in the GOP act like we are facing a minor inconvenience instead of the life-threatening dynamic of the Democrat communist battle cry. And face the facts – liberalism, progressivism and the mantra of the left are pure, nasty, proven communism, lick for lick.

Listen to Bernie Sanders. Listen to Obama. Listen to Wasserman-Shultz. Listen to Pelosi. Listen to Hillary. Who doesn’t know that they are quoting Marx, Mao, Lenin, Castro and all the other monsters behind tyranny, dictatorships, slavery and the resultant historic ruination of every society this evil scourge has touched?

So listen up, lady and gentlemen, the future of America is in your hands.

Trump, stay on course, but implement presidential upgrade immediately. No more personal attacks. No more sleight of hand. Give us the gory details of your vision. Tell us how you will bring back fiscal accountability. Tell us how you will end the insanity of “Americans giving up looking for jobs.” The insanity of “jobs Americans are not willing to do.”

Tell us how you will bring Hillary, Holder, Obama, Lerner, Rice et al. to justice for their crimes and lies.

Tell us, Mr. Trump, exactly how you are going to make America great again. We pray that you will. We pray that you can. We are waiting.

Boykin: Christians Are Getting 'Riled Up' About Persecution From 'Radical Secularists'

The Family Research Council's Jerry Boykin appeared on "The Hagee Hotline" this week to declare that America is starting to wake up to the fact that "radical secularists" are persecuting Christians like Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis and are beginning to get "riled up" in response.

"I will tell you that the radical secularists in this country today fear us," Boykin said, "and that's why they fight so hard against somebody like Kim Davis, because they see that America is now seeing that we're actually, in many ways, we're the victims of an all-out assault on our faith. And it is the faith of our Founding Fathers; it is, in fact, that faith upon which our Constitution was written and our nation was founded and they fear that Americans are going to get riled up and that's exactly what's happening."

Far Right SCOTUS Isn't Extreme Enough For GOP Presidential Hopefuls

Last night’s Republican presidential debate made clear just how extreme the party has gotten when it comes to the Supreme Court … which means danger to the entire country should one of them have the power to nominate the next one, two, or three Justices.

For instance, Jeb! Bush praised Chief Justice John Roberts,  but suggested that his own Court nominees would have longer records of far-right jurisprudence than Roberts did when he was first nominated by George W. Bush in 2005:

John Roberts has made some really good decisions, for sure, but he did not have a proven, extensive record that would have made the clarity the important thing, and that’s what we need to do.  ... And, I think he is doing a good job.  But, the simple fact is that going forward, what we need to do is to have someone that has a long standing set of rulings that consistently makes it clear that he is a focused, exclusively on upholding the Constitution of the United States so they won’t try to use the bench as a means to which legislate.

Jeb! revealed quite a lot there.  Roberts provided the fifth vote in 5-4 rulings wrecking Americans’ ability to limit money in politics, gutting the Voting Rights Act, giving for-profit corporations religious liberty rights, elevating religious offense as a significant burden on religious exercise, upholding a late term abortion ban, weakening longstanding laws against job discrimination … the list goes on.  And Jeb! thinks Roberts is “doing a good job,” even if his own Justices would be more conservative.

Ted Cruz, on the other hand, angrily focused on the very few times when Roberts did not collaborate with the Republican Party’s efforts to destroy Obamacare.  Cruz blasted John Roberts as insufficiently conservative:

I’ve known John Roberts for 20 years, he’s amazingly talented lawyer, but, yes, it was a mistake when he was appointed to the Supreme Court. He’s a good enough lawyer that he knows in these Obamacare cases he changed the statute, he changed the law in order to force that failed law on millions of Americans for a political outcome.

And, you know, we’re frustrated as conservatives. We keep winning elections, and then we don’t get the outcome we want.

Mike Huckabee made clear what type of Justice he would nominate when the moderator asked if he would apply a litmus test to potential nominees:

You better believe I will … Number one, I’d ask do you think that the unborn child is a human being or is it just a blob of tissue? I’d want to know the answer to that. I’d want to know do you believe in the First Amendment, do you believe that religious liberty is the fundamental liberty around which all the other freedoms of this country are based? And I’d want to know do you really believe in the Second Amendment, do you believe that we have an individual right to bear arms to protect ourselves and our family and to protect our country? And do you believe in the Fifth and the 14th Amendment? Do you believe that a person, before they’re deprived of life and liberty, should in fact have due process and equal protection under the law? Because if you do, you’re going to do more than defund Planned Parenthood

So Huckabee Justices would help right-wing extremists accomplish their longtime dream of eliminating abortion rights altogether.  They would also change U.S. law in keeping with the current conservative project to make it easier for them to disobey laws that offend them religiously, even when it deprives other people of their rights.

The current Supreme Court has done so much damage to our basic rights and liberties, yet it is not conservative enough for Republicans seeking to be the next president.

Cross-posted from People For the American Way's blog.

Rubio And Cruz Hail Planned Parenthood Board Member Rosa Parks In GOP Debate

At last night’s GOP debate, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz both advocated for adding Rosa Parks’ picture to U.S. currency, with Rubio saying she should be on the $10 bill and Cruz saying that she should be on the $20 bill. Donald Trump also liked the idea of putting Rosa Parks on the $10 bill, but said he would probably choose his daughter, Ivanka, for the honor.

Many conservatives have attempted to whitewash Parks’ legacy, like those of other civil rights leaders, claiming that Parks was simply a woman who was too tired to get up from her seat on a segregated bus.

These GOP leaders may not realize that Parks was actually a political activist for the very same movements that have in recent years become targets of Republican ire.

Parks was an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for more than a decade before she helped to instigate the Montgomery bus boycott, and was a leading member of the group’s local chapter by the time she refused to give up her seat on the bus. “Contrary to the folkloric accounts of her civil rights role, Mrs. Parks was not too tired to move from her seat,” the NAACP points out. “Rather, she had been a knowledgeable NAACP stalwart for many years, and gave the organization the incident it needed to move against segregation in the unreconstructed heart of the Confederacy, Montgomery, AL. Mrs. Parks headed the Youth Division of the Montgomery NAACP branch for years.”

Parks also served on the board of a group that Cruz, Rubio and Trump have roundly denounced: Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders, Parks supported Planned Parenthood, the bête noire of today’s GOP.

Parks received training at the trade unionist Highlander Research and Education Center and attended meetings of the Communist Party, and she and her husband both worked with party members involved in the Scottsboro case. She backed King’s Poor People’s Campaign, which called for full employment and guaranteed income.

Danielle McGuire notes that Parks “worked to secure ‘Black Power,’ fought for open housing and against police brutality, railed against the war in Vietnam, and campaigned for George McGovern.” The New York Times adds more details: “Supporting U.A.W. Local 600, calling Malcolm X her hero, visiting a Black Panther school in Oakland, opposing American involvement in Vietnam and attending the Million Man March at the invitation of Louis Farrakhan, she collaborated with left-wingers and Black Power advocates.”

Today, an activist like Rosa Parks would be at the very center of Glenn Beck’s blackboard.

Ted Cruz Boasts Of Endorsement From Radical Gun Group

At last night’s debate, Sen. Ted Cruz attempted to show his Second Amendment bona fides by touting his recent endorsement from Gun Owners of America, a group that thinks the National Rifle Association is not extreme enough on gun rights.

Cruz boasted of his role writing an amicus brief in District of Columbia v. Heller, the case in which the Supreme Court determined that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to bear arms, and his work in the Senate to defeat a bill expanding gun background checks shortly after the Sandy Hook school massacre. He then said that he was “honored to be endorsed by Gun Owners of America as the strongest supporter of the Second Amendment on this stage today”:

You mentioned that the U.S. Supreme Court had rightly upheld the individual right to keep and bear arms. I was proud to lead 31 states before the U.S. Supreme Court defending the Second Amendment, and we won that landmark victory. And indeed, just a couple of years ago, when Harry Reid and Barack Obama came after the right to keep and bear arms of millions of Americans, I was proud to lead the fight in the United States Senate to protect our right to keep and bear arms, and for that reason. I was honored to be endorsed by Gun Owners of America as the strongest supporter of the Second Amendment on this stage today, and I will fight every day to defend the Bill of Rights.

Cruz didn’t mention that he got GOA’s endorsement because he was the only candidate in the race to return the group’s candidate survey. He also didn’t mention any of the reasons he’s the only candidate willing to publicly support GOA.

Although Cruz may be GOA’s only outspoken ally in the presidential race, he has been a good one for them. During the effort to defeat the background checks bill, the New York Times reported that Cruz was GOA’s “key ally in the Senate.” Cruz is the also the only candidate to have agreed to give a telephone briefing to GOA’s members; in his briefing, he praised GOA’s members as “fighters” and “patriots” and thanks them for helping him get elected to the Senate.

Cruz evidently has no qualms about associating with a group that promotes paranoia about an impending race war, birther conspiracy theories about President Obama, and not-so-veiled threats that elected officials will face assassination if they step out of line.

To begin with, the gun group’s executive director, Larry Pratt, has a long history on the fringes of the radical right that was too extreme for even Pat Buchanan, who dropped him from his 1996 presidential campaign because of his ties with white supremecist groups. As we wrote back in May:

Pratt has long stood at the intersection of the “mainstream” right, Christian nationalists, and fringe militia movements. In 1996, he was forced to step down from a position on Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaign when it came to light that he had spoken at a militia event featuring a number of neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic activists. Several years earlier, Pratt had coauthored what the Southern Poverty Law Center calls the book that “introduced the concept of citizen militias to the radical right.”

A few days after the Oklahoma City bombing, he spoke to a far-right “Christian Patriots” group on the “biblical mandate to arm,” telling them that whoever had taken on the government “beast” in Oklahoma knew that “they can’t rely on the Lord to take vengeance.”

Pratt continues to push wild conspiracy theories about impending government takeovers and race wars and frequently tells elected officials that they should fear being shot by his group’s members:

In an interview last year, Pratt said that being afraid of assassination was “a healthy fear” for members of Congress to have, because that’s what makes them “behave.” When Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, who had felt threatened by one of GOA’s members, complained about his comments, Pratt doubled down, saying that elected officials should fear “ the cartridge box” and accusing the congresswoman of being “ foolish” and having “a hissy fit .” Later, he boasted that Democratic proponents of stricter gun laws are “afraid of getting shot and they ought to be!”

Pratt also pushes all manner of conspiracy theories regarding President Obama. He has claimed that Obama is building up a private security force within the Department of Homeland Security to use for his own purposes “if he can’t actually commandeer the military”; warned that Obama will enlist undocumented immigrants into a private “ Praetorian guard” and advise police officers to go after people with conservative bumper stickers ; said Obamacare will ultimately “take away your guns”; feared Obama is stockpiling “anti-personnel rounds” because he “ seems to view the American people as the enemy”; claimed that Obama “had to steal” the 2012 presidential election and even buys into the fringe birther theory that holds that the president’s “real father” was labor activist Frank Marshall Davis.

Pratt repeatedly suggests that President Obama will seek to bring violence against white Christians, possibly in the form of race riots. In a 2013 conversation with far-right pundit Stan Solomon, Pratt predicted that “there is inevitably going to be some kind of social implosion, some kind of neighbor-against-neighbor” violence brought about by “these folks in power.” When Solomon predicted that that “implosion” would take the form of a race war pitting “black, Muslim and/or atheist…have-nots” on “Christian, heterosexual white haves,” Pratt replied that he wasn’t “stretching” anything.

Just this week, Pratt joined conspiracy theorist extraordinaire Alex Jones to discuss how the military and police departments will be ready to turn on President Obama if he tries to impose any sort of tyrannical government.

Mat Staver Once Again Claims That 'The View' Called For Kim Davis To Be Killed [UPDATED]

On his "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast today, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver once again claimed that the hosts of the ABC television program "The View" called for Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis to be killed for prohibiting her office from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

On today's program, Staver was making the case that Davis is not a "hater" because she is a Christian and Christians are literally incapable of hating anyone. Therefore, it is Davis' critics who are the real haters, he explained, who hate Christians because they hate Jesus.

"The hatred is coming from these individuals because of their own internal anger," Staver said, "but they can't be transformed by the love of Christ and we can't hate when we have been transformed by the love of Christ. This is what John 15:18 says: 'If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you.' And that's talking about Jesus Christ, the creator of the universe who died and gave himself. That he experienced a lot of hatred toward him, so much so that they wanted to brutalize him and put him up on a cross."

"In fact," Staver continued, "we've even had people say that we need to be crucified. Even on 'The View,' people on 'The View' were calling her a monster, calling for her to be killed. Even on a national television program."

As we noted yesterday, if the host of a national morning show had actually openly called for someone to be murdered, that seems like the sort of thing that would have generated some news coverage.

UPDATE: Liberty Counsel has informed us that Staver was mistaken and has issued a correction. Here is the explanation of what happened:

Thank you for pointing out Mat Staver's mistake in his description of 'The View' program on Kim Davis.  Here is what happened: on Mat Staver’s September 10 appearance on The Kelly File, Megyn Kelly played Mat a montage of people saying hateful things about Kim Davis. Megyn Kelly started with a clip from ‘The View,’ which led into a clip from the HLN ‘Dr. Drew’ show, on which Mike Catherwood said, “Like Mike Huckabee says, ‘Sign me up.’ I’ll do it. I’ll go kill her. I’ll go kill her and—and whatever toothless redneck . . . .”  Mat could not see the video because he was on an LTN link, and understandably thought Catherwood’s statement occurred on ‘The View.’

Here’s the Kelly File video (Catherwood’s comment is around 2:42 on the video).

Thank you for pointing out this error. We are correcting our online version of our radio program.

Muslim Student Arrested For Making A Clock Lives In Hotbed Of Sharia Panic

Earlier this week, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed of Irving, Texas, brought a digital clock he made from a pencil case to his school. He brought the clock to show off to his teachers, but instead of receiving encouragement, Mohamed’s school day ended in handcuffs and with the threat of being charged with making a “hoax bomb.” While many have condemned the actions of the school officials and law enforcement, Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne has come out in defense of the decision to arrest the teenage boy.

In a Facebook post today, Van Duyne wrote, “I do not fault the school or the police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat. . . We have all seen terrible and violent acts committed in schools, the workplace, and in public venues. Perhaps some of those could have been prevented and lives could have been spared if people were more vigilant. I hope this incident does not serve as a deterrent against our police and school personnel from maintaining the safety and security of our schools.” The mayor later edited her post to remove the latter three sentences and replaced them with a message encouraging Mohamed to not be dissuaded from pursuing engineering dreams.

Van Duyne came under fire earlier this year after she publicly condemned a rumored “Islamic Sharia court” in Irving. Van Duyne claimed the non-existent Sharia court was set up by Muslims trying to gain a foothold in America to “bypass” American courts. In another Facebook post, Van Duyne wrote, “I am working with our State Representatives on legislation to clarify and strengthen existing prohibitions on the application of foreign law in violation of constitutional or statutory rights. . . Our nation cannot be so overly sensitive in defending other cultures that we stop protecting our own.” The “court” that Van Duyne referred to is, in reality, simply a dispute resolution process, similar to systems set up by Christians and Jews, and does not attempt to take precedent over the law.

Nonetheless, in a move backed by Glenn Beck and Frank Gaffney, Van Duyne convinced the Irving City Council to support legislation to ban the nonexistent problem of Sharia law in Texas. Zia Sheikh, imam at the Islamic Center of Irving, asserted that the mayor’s statements fueled “anti-Islamic hysteria.” This hysteria has found a home in the Republican Party, where presidential candidates like Ted Cruz insist that Sharia law is making inroads in the U.S. and failed U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle said that the city of Frankford, Texas, is under the thumb of Sharia. (As CNN pointed out, Dallas annexed Frankford back in 1975 and “all that remains is a church and cemetery,” not exactly a hotbed of Islamic radicalism.)

While the Texas bill did not pass, the recent incident involving Mohamed proves that anti-Muslim panic encouraged by people like Van Duyne still thrives in Irving.

Michael Savage: Liberals Are 'Insane' Because They Drink Seltzer

Michael Savage dedicated his radio program on Monday to attacking Bernie Sanders, whom he thinks is America’s Pol Pot. He said that Sanders is just another “red diaper doper baby” who was corrupted by marijuana, trips to the “communist camps in the Poconos” … and seltzer.

“I still think the seltzer has something to do with it,” Savage said. “If I had the time, I’d go back to my scientific background and I would do an epidemiological study of the use of seltzer and liberalism and the insanity of liberalism. I think that the high carbon dioxide content, the little bubbles of carbon dioxide poisoned the brains of millions of kids in Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. Seltzer bottles. It’s like toxic lead. It’s like Dr. Schuze’s X-ray machines on the feet, the cancer machines.”

Savage claimed that Sanders’ supporters are mostly young people who still live with their parents and are “morons” who shouldn’t even have the right to vote: “I don’t think you should vote until you are 45 in this country. I still think you shouldn’t vote if you don’t pay taxes, and a minimum amount of taxes too.”

Michael Savage Likens Pope Francis And Bernie Sanders To Pol Pot

Yesterday on “The Savage Nation,” right-wing radio host Michael Savage debated with a Roman Catholic listener who took issue with his frequent criticisms of Pope Francis.

Savage vowed to never “kiss his robes because he says he’s the pope,” claiming that the pope is a communist agitator whose beliefs will lead to countless deaths.

He went on to claim that when Pol Pot took over Cambodia, “he instituted all of the reforms that Bernie Sanders and the Pope are calling for. What it resulted was was the Khmer Rouge, which would be like the street thugs in Baltimore and the street thugs in whatever that place is where they burnt it to the ground, giving them a gun and a badge, telling them to go out and round up anybody with eyeglasses, call them the enemy of the state and put them into internment camps, work camps, and they wound up with a mountain of skulls.”

Earlier this year, Savage predicted that President Obama would arm and deputize Crips and Bloods gang members to serve as his personal brown shirts.

Steve Deace Links The Kim Davis Saga And Gay Marriage To 9/11

Iowa talk radio host Steve Deace, whose show has become a required stop for GOP presidential candidates, took to the Washington Times today to claim that America hasn’t learned the right lessons from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Deace wrote that if the U.S. had responded to 9/11 appropriately, then Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers would be out of business and the Supreme Court would never have been allowed to “usurp our God-given claim on true liberty” in its marriage equality ruling. He also brought up the case of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, claiming that her detention by U.S. Marshals was proof that the U.S. has abandoned the beliefs of the nation’s founders.

“Are we meant to remember that the heroism displayed by the citizen soldiers aboard the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania is something everyone should aspire to?” he asked. “So when cake bakers and florists are being called bigots and having their businesses shut down in the name of pagan justice, do we speak up in their defense and draw others to the vanguard that dutifully protects the First Amendment?”

Last week on the 14th anniversary of 9/11 the hash tag "never forget" was trending. However, if the current direction of the country is any indication, forgetting is actually quite trendy these days.

Sadly, this is pretty much where we are as we remember the bloody stain Islamo-fascism inflicted on our nation 14 years ago. With each passing year, our 'never forgets' become more and more insulting to the ear as President Obama's Marxist reign takes us deeper into cultural and Constitutional oblivion.

1) Are we meant to remember that our nation was fashioned by a people who believed they were endowed by their creator with unalienable rights? If so, how does throwing an elected official named Kim Davis in jail square with that? She was representing the will of 75 percent of Kentucky voters by standing for marriage – an institution that precedes the collective wisdom of our Founding Fathers and every form of government created by man -- yet we are to believe that a 5-4 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court supersedes all of that?

Despite the clear dictates of the 10th Amendment and the U.S. Constitution's enumerated powers clause? Despite the obvious implication that such a belief not only makes unelected judges the superior voice of the federal government, but also the high priests governing the direction of our society's entire moral compass? Despite the fact such thinking automatically makes you a fan of the Dred Scott, Plessey v. Ferguson and Roe v. Wade travesties?

Shouldn't the lesson we take away from less than two dozen terrorists inflicting pain and suffering on an entire nation be this: That we won't let an even smaller band of oligarchs known as the Supreme Court usurp our God-given claim on true liberty?

2) Are we meant to remember that the lives lost on 9-11 and during the wars that followed are precious because they were created in the image and likeness of God? If so, how is the death by the thousands that plays out daily at Planned Parenthood allowed to continue? The dark heart of man was projected into our living rooms when we watched planes-turned-bombs hurl themselves into the Twin Towers. When we watched people plummet from windows rather than burn alive. When both towers fell and turned a disaster into an apocalypse.

The reality of the murderous mayhem was unavoidable for anyone with the technology to see it, and nothing less than that is true regarding the child-killing industry. We have the ultrasounds that show not only fingers and toes, but beating hearts and emotional reactions. That's the bright side. But we also have the play-by-play accounts of how abortion's loaded weapons – the scientific and technological knowledge that is being perverted for evil's sake much like the 9-11 airplanes were – are being used to pull babies limb from limb. And then, of course, we have the laughing hyenas of Planned Parenthood, who talk about selling baby parts for profit like terrorists talk about being awarded heavenly virgins for their so-called martyrdom.

Shouldn't the lesson we take away from the insane version of justice levied on us by jihadists be that no such wickedness and barbarism will be allowed to enter the sanctity of a mother's womb?

3) Are we meant to remember that the heroism displayed by the citizen soldiers aboard the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania is something everyone should aspire to? So when cake bakers and florists are being called bigots and having their businesses shut down in the name of pagan justice, do we speak up in their defense and draw others to the vanguard that dutifully protects the First Amendment? How about when other businesses like Office Depot and Planet Fitness are given a free pass to harass their clients because the only standard they care about is 'you will be made to care'?

Tony Perkins: 'Lawlessness' Under Obama Paving The Way For The Antichrist

Yesterday on his “Washington Watch” radio show, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins asked listeners to call in and tell him what they think Congress should do to stand up to President Obama. Almost all of them demanded that Republicans impeach the president, an endeavor Perkins has heartily endorsed in the past.

Near the end of a program, a caller chimed in to “clarify why Obama is doing the things he is doing.” He explained: “The reason why Obama is doing what he is doing, keeping the Christian immigrants from Syria to come over here, because Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy and Obama is possessed by the Devil, Satan himself; that’s why he wants everybody dead, including the United States and Israel, and all the Christians dead because he’s full of the Devil.”

Perkins responded that we are witnessing the fulfillment of biblical prophecy that “in the End Times there will be a spirit of lawlessness and when that comes it will increase.”

“You’d be hard-pressed to say that lawlessness is not increasing in this nation,” he said. “I think that’s part of the age, it’s not a person presently, it will be, it paves the way for what scripture calls the Antichrist, but what we are seeing now is just an environment being fostered of lawlessness, which allows that to spread. Either you are influenced by God and you work for good or you work for evil. I think we need to be praying for our leaders that even if they don’t know God or have not submitted to him, that he will lead them and turn their hearts.”

He added: “I pray for President Obama, it’s hard sometimes and it’s increasingly difficult, but I do pray for him.”

Rick Wiles: Pope Francis Part Of KGB's Global Communist Agenda

End Times broadcaster Rick Wiles is not happy about Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the U.S., warning that the pope is part of a larger “global agenda to transform the world” that all stems from a KGB infiltration of the Roman Catholic Church in Latin America.

“This is a global, communistic system that is being put in place,” Wiles said on his program yesterday. “And think about it, Pope Francis is going to be an enthusiastic backer of this global agenda to establish a socialist, communistic world government.”

Wiles added that “this Jesuit is showing his true colors” by “denouncing capitalism and endorsing social change” and alleged that the pope adheres to liberation theology, “the communist agenda that was created by the KGB many years ago to influence Soviet-style communism in Latin America.” 

Beck: America Will See Riots, Chaos And Assassinations In 2016

Glenn Beck is constantly issuing dire apocalyptic warnings about the calamities and chaos that is to come, though he frequently hedges his bets by insisting that he is "terrible on timing," which conveniently makes his prophecies open-ended and therefore almost impossible to ever be proven wrong. But in the rare case where something that he once warned about actually does come true, Beck is quick to take credit for having predicted it, regardless of how utterly inaccurate his initial prophecy was in regards to what actually happened.

On his television program last night, Beck issued yet another warning that America will soon experience a massive economic collapse, though, of course, he "could be wrong" because he is terrible at timing. On top of that, Beck also warned that 2016 will be "a modern-day 1968," during which America will see "riots in the streets, political chaos, and assassinations."

"Quite honestly, I believe that God doesn't have any choice but to remove His protection from us because we're not worth protecting," Beck warned.  "I beg you to have your ducks in a row. The hour is later than we believe it is and morning is here. A lot of people will tell you that I'm selling fear. I'm not; I'm selling love."

Larry Pratt: Military Will Turn On Obama If He Tries To Impose 'Some Sort Of Military Arms Solution'

Alex Jones invited Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt on to his “Infowars” program yesterday, where the two discussed the persistent right-wing myth that President Obama is telling police departments that conservatives are terrorists or, in Jones’ words, that “gun owners are bad, Christians are bad, the Tea Party’s your enemy, prepare for domestic war, here are armored vehicles for local police.”

Jones told Pratt that he’s seen a “huge wake-up in the military and police in the last few years” to the extent that law enforcement officers and members of the military “really understand that there are people running Washington that really want to hurt this country and really want to hurt them.”

“For every police department that says ‘we want to fight with the Tea Party,’ there’s another 50 police departments that know the Tea Party’s not their enemy when the Democrats are represented by kill-the-police Black Lives Matter groups,” he said.

Pratt agreed with Jones’ assessment, saying that armed government employees would refuse to go along “if anybody in government really went so far as to try to impose some kind of military arms solution in this country.”

“Yeah, there will be a few that will be just following orders,” he said, “but most of the rest of them realize that I didn’t take an oath to uphold Barack Obama or whoever else is president, I took an oath to uphold the Constitution. And that’s the big stumbling block for any wannabe tyrant, is that most of those that they employ with guns aren’t going to want to do something that they knowingly have seen is unconstitutional.

“And I think Waco and other tragedies like that have brought greater clarity to the understanding that a lot of our men under arms have seen, and I believe they would bring that to the table if anybody in government really went so far as to try to impose some kind of military arms solution in this country. Just don’t think it’s going to take.”

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