Five Things To Know About Iowa GOP Kingmaker Bob Vander Plaats

Four Republican presidential candidates are set to appear at a forum in Iowa tonight hosted by one of the state’s best known political organizers: Bob Vander Plaats. Vander Plaats’ group, The Family Leader, along with the National Organization for Marriage, is hosting Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal for a “family leadership regional summit.” 

It’s no surprise that the candidates are courting Vander Plaats: He is widely seen as the organizing powerhouse behind Huckabee and Santorum’s successful 2008 and 2012 Iowa caucus campaigns. It’s even less surprising that Republican candidates are seeking to ingratiate themselves to one of the country’s most radical Religious Right activists.

Vander Plaats, although he has been unsuccessful in his own three attempts to win the Republican gubernatorial nomination, has put together a political coalition in Iowa that, along with carrying Huckabee and Santorum to caucus victories, helped to oust three state supreme court judges who had ruled in favor of marriage equality in the 2010 election. While a similar attempt two years later was unsuccessful, Vander Plaats has nonetheless become a major force in the state’s conservative movement.

5) Slavery Rhetoric

Warning Republicans not to “abandon their base” by softening their opposition to gay rights, Vander Plaats insists that fighting same-sex marriage is not a losing issue for the GOP. He believes that Republicans should stand up and be proud of their refusal to support marriage equality, just as the party fought to curb slavery during its founding era.

“We actually stand for what God has designed because, just like with slavery, the truth is on our side,” Vander Plaats said last year in an interview with right-wing talk show host Steve Deace. “We can win this battle.”

He told another outlet that Republicans shouldn’t even take the position that the states should decide their own marriage laws since same-sex marriage, like slavery, is unequivocally immoral: “You don’t leave slavery up to the states, nor should you. It’s either right or it’s wrong.” In a speech in 2012, Vander Plaats said that a court ruling in favor of marriage equality should be viewed as judicial overreach on the level of Dred Scott.

During the last presidential primary season, Vander Plaats tried to get Republican candidates to sign a pledge that, among other questionable provisions, suggested that African-American families were more stable under slavery than they are today.

4) Conspiracy Theories

In Vander Plaats’ world, the right to speak freely about “faithful heterosexual monogamy” is under attack, “Sharia Islam” is a menace in American politics and President Obama’s birth certificate is missing. (Vander Plaats has praised Donald Trump’s quixotic birther crusade as “bold.”)

Perhaps no issue has Vander Plaats more concerned than gay marriage, which he has called a grave threat to liberty and a Satanic plot. One video his group produced showed images of terrorist attacks and shootings alongside stories about same-sex couples’ weddings and gay members of the Boy Scouts to make a point about the “darkness” sweeping America

3) Gay Marriage Predictions

In his campaigns against marriage equality, Vander Plaats has done whatever it takes to scare voters about the dire consequences of gay rights. He warned that the legalization of same-sex marriage would lead to “tyranny” and sanction “a parent marrying their child.”

He defended his group’s comparison of homosexuality to second-hand smoke by explaining that both represent “a public health risk,” adding: “If we’re teaching the kids, ‘don’t smoke, because that’s a risky health style,’ the same can be true of the homosexual lifestyle.”

Vander Plaats also took the time to criticize an Iowa anti-bullying conference that focused on the targeting of LGBT youth, saying that the state should instead be promoting abstinence-only summits.

2) Crush on Putin

Vander Plaats may still be weighing which Republican candidate to endorse this year, but he has already thrown his support behind one foreign leader: Russian President Vladimir Putin. When Putin signed a law that effectively bans speech in support of gay rights, Vander Plaats praised the Russian president for saying “you know what, don’t bring this homosexual propaganda into my country.”

He said that Putin now encapsulates the traditionally American values of “military might, decisive action, core values, morality, beliefs.”

“He’s taken what used to be our strengths, which has now defaulted into our weaknesses because of Barack Obama, no leadership, and he’s making them his strengths and he’s emerging now on the world stage as a newly discovered leader,” Vander Plaats said back in 2013.

1) No Separation of Church and State

While Vander Plaats’ prediction about gay marriage ushering in adult-child marriage has come true in exactly zero of the dozens of states with marriage equality, he was prophetic in one respect: Vander Plaats advocated for governors to ignore court rulings on the marriage question well before it became a widespread sentiment among conservatives.

Vander Plaats insists that a governor can simply set aside any ruling that violates his or her reading of the Bible, insisting that if a judge legalizes marriage equality in a state, the state’s governor should simply issue an executive order “that places a stay on the judge’s decision” since it “goes against the law of nature and the law of nature’s God, which means, it’s against the Constitution.”

Vander Plaats believes that the U.S. government must fall under God’s jurisdiction and follow “God’s principles and precepts,” not just on social issues like marriage but also in economic and foreign policies.

“If you believe what you say you believe, that marriage is foundational and it’s between a man and a woman, which is what He says he believes, then you got to stand up for that, because that’s the law of nature, that’s the law of nature’s God, that’s the Declaration of Independence, which this whole country was founded on,” he said last year.

Vander Plaats specifically pointed to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, calling it a travesty that created a “constitutional crisis” by “defying the law of nature and the law of nature’s God” and “going against the document that predates the Constitution.”

WorldNetDaily: Gay Rights Laws Will 'Outlaw' Christianity, Usher In Communist-Style Totalitarianism

The conservative conspiracy theory outlet WorldNetDaily is out with a petition today asking lawmakers throughout the country to “ensure that religious freedom in America is not crushed by rigid imposition of ‘non-discrimination’ laws based on sexual behavior and sexual identification.”

WND’s petition warns that anyone who opposes LGBT equality will soon be “prosecuted and legally driven out of their homes and businesses” as a result of gay rights laws, which the outlet believes are “strikingly reminiscent of communist totalitarian countries like Mao-era China.”

The petition goes on call gay marriage a “social experiment being forced down the throats of a once-Christian nation” that will eventually make the practice of Christianity “effectively illegal, forcing faithful believers underground – just as faithful believers are forced underground in many parts of the world under the cruel dominance of totalitarian ideologies.”

Any official who supports the “naked totalitarianism” of the LGBT rights movement, WND adds, seeks to “outlaw” Christianity and “stamp out” freedom.

Whereas, the spectacle of an innocent 21-year-old Christian girl, who, for honestly replying to a TV reporter's hypothetical question and saying her family's pizza parlor wouldn't cater a homosexual wedding, was the recipient of a mountain of obscene abuse and death threats, including threats and incitement to burn down the family's business;

Whereas, dozens of similar cases abound, where Christian business people, just wishing to live true to their faith, are being sued, criminally indicted, prosecuted, fined, forced to violate their deepest morals or close their business, and to undergo forced re-education ("sensitivity training") strikingly reminiscent of communist totalitarian countries like Mao-era China;

Whereas, rigid and inflexible enforcement of the LGBT movement's core legal dogma – namely, that "gay" is the new black – means that well-intentioned, law-abiding Americans who harbor religious reservations about homosexuality or same-sex marriage may well find themselves regarded as comparable to the most detestable racists such as Ku Klux Klansmen and neo-Nazis, and prosecuted and legally driven out of their homes and businesses;



Whereas, "same-sex marriage," which no country, culture, political establishment, ideology, religion or historical era has ever endorsed, let alone practiced, in the entire history of mankind, is suddenly now an urgent social experiment being forced down the throats of a once-Christian nation by activist judges, tireless gay activists and their enablers and fellow travelers in the news and entertainment media;

Whereas, if current trends continue, within a short time the practice of traditional Christianity – the faith that guided virtually all of America's founding fathers, as well as most major Western leaders for the past 2,000 years – will be rendered effectively illegal, forcing faithful believers underground – just as faithful believers are forced underground in many parts of the world under the cruel dominance of totalitarian ideologies;



By all accounts, the LGBT movement has overreached to the point of embracing naked totalitarianism, fomenting laws that: outlaw counseling help for minors who want to overcome unwanted same-sex attractions; decree that boys and young men must be allowed to use girls' restrooms and locker rooms if they identify with the opposite sex (and vice versa); mandate pro-homosexual indoctrination of children as young as five; integrate open homosexuals into the military; force same-sex marriage on the nation; and now, criminalize Christian businesspeople for simply disapproving of homosexuality or declining to actively participate in same-sex weddings on moral and religious grounds.

To America's leaders: Do you really believe it is good to effectively outlaw practice of the faith that formed the moral and spiritual foundation of our nation from its birth? If not, we urge you to demonstrate some genuine courage in the face of a nationwide campaign to stamp out America's most foundational liberty – freedom of religion – just to eliminate even the most respectful and conscience-driven dissent by Christians who don't want to be forced to participate in activities their faith tells them are immoral and wrong.

Santorum Says He'll Be A Strong Leader Because He Backed Gay Sex Bans

At a meeting with Iowa state legislators yesterday recorded by the Iowa conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts, Rick Santorum boasted that he proved himself as a strong leader when he opposed the 2003 Supreme Court decision striking down anti-gay “sodomy” bans. Without such leadership against LGBT rights, he warned, “life as we know it, particularly the family, is going to be on a very, very bad track over the long term.”

Addressing the controversy over so-called “religious freedom” measures in Arkansas and Indiana that were softened by legislators to make it more difficult to use them as a cover for discrimination, Santorum lamented that “what happened there was the media created a firestorm and leaders didn’t lead.”

“I’ve been through that firestorm,” he explained. “I go back 13 years to when I was in the Senate and stood up and said, ‘If the Supreme Court decides a case this way, then all these bad things are going to start happening.’ And I said we would have same-sex marriage in this country in ten years. I was wrong: it was five years. And I was put through a national wringer like no one had been put through and I have been put through over and over and over again because I am not going to back down from what I believe is the right course for our country.”

Although Santorum likes to claim that all of his dire predictions about the aftermath of Lawrence v. Texas came true, that isn’t exactly accurate. He told CNN at the time: "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything."

“I always say, whether it’s religious liberty now or the marriage issue or a whole bunch of other things, we’re losing these arguments simply because we’re not making them,” Santorum said in Iowa. “We’re not making them because we’re intimidated from them. If that continues, then life as we know it, particularly the family, is going to be on a very, very bad track over the long term.”

He added that he was a strong leader during the Indiana and Arkansas controversies because he was “fighting for the truth and not the perversion that we saw the media try to ram down the public’s throat about what Indiana and Arkansas were doing.”

Fischer: President Obama Animated By The Same 'Spirit And Energy' As The Antichrist

Bryan Fischer was predictably outraged by the announcement that President Obama will oppose the use of ex-gay "conversion" therapy on young people, declaring on his radio program today that by doing so, Obama is "guilty of child abuse" and animated by the spirit of the Antichrist.

"There is something profoundly and fundamentally anti-Christ about President Obama," Fischer said, while making it clear that he was not saying that Obama is actual the Antichrist. "What I am saying is that the same energy, the same spirit that will one day animate the Antichrist is the spirit and the energy that is at work today in President Obama":

ACT For America Representative Warns Of 'Stealth Jihad' In Calendars, Foreign Language Classes

Dorrie O’Brien, a leader of the Texas chapter of the anti-Muslim group ACT! for America, warned at a rally in Austin last month that Islamist extremists are implementing “stealth jihad” in America by putting Muslim holidays on calendars and teaching foreign languages in schools.

“Stealth jihad is working in about every circle of influence you can think of in the United States, like law, politics, entertainment, like in movies and books and videos, in advertising and in publishing,” O’Brien said, in remarks captured in a YouTube video of the event, which was organized by the far-right groups Overpasses for America and 2 Million Bikers to DC as part of a national anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant day of protests and which featured representatives of a number of anti-immigrant groups.

“Have you guys noticed, I mean really noticed, calendars lately, that the Islamic holy days are in all the calendars?” she asked.

O’Brien went on to tell of an incident at a high school in New York state where students protested after the Pledge of Allegiance was read in Arabic as part of a foreign language week.

She said that it was “fantastic” that the school eventually apologized, but that it “happened for the wrong reason.”

“The school was celebrating ‘world languages’ or some such thing, ‘multiculturalism’ — socialism, in other words,” she lamented. “There is a whole lot wrong with pledging to the flag in Arabic, the language of the people trying to kill us, but the schools should be celebrating English! I don’t think we should have to have a ‘celebrate world languages.’”

This led O’Brien to criticize New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio for adding two Muslim holidays to the city schools calendar, which she asserted was proof that DeBlasio is a “dhimmi” who is “paying his jizya,” a tax levied on non-Muslims.​

Glenn Beck In Fantasy Land: President Rand Paul Would Nominate Andrew Napolitano To The Supreme Court

For the last several months, Glenn Beck's network has been regularly running a presidential poll in which Beck's audience ranks various possible GOP presidential candidates, giving them each a grade ranging from A to F.

Today, Beck and his co-hosts spent the first hour of their radio program going over the results of this month's poll, which found — surprise, surprise — that their audience tends to like the same candidates that they like and dislike the same candidates that they dislike, so that Jeb Bush got an "F" while Ted Cruz got an "A" and everyone else fell somewhere in between.

Since the poll already features a host of people who most likely are not going to actually run for president, Beck suggested today that they should add Judge Andrew Napolitano to the list for next month just because there is a "Draft Napolitano" effort underway online and Beck thinks it would be interesting to see what sort of support the judge could garner from Beck's audience.

The idea then prompted Beck to begin to fantasize that if Rand Paul becomes president, he would probably nominate Napolitano to a seat on the Supreme Court.

"Can you imagine if Rand Paul got in?" he said. "Judge Napolitano would probably be a candidate for Supreme Court. Can you imagine that? That would be great!"

Barton: America Will Collapse Within 80 Years Without 'Premarital Purity And Postmarital Fidelity'

In an interview at a Cleveland Right to Life Event last year, self-proclaimed historian David Barton declared that “no nation” has ever survived more than 80 years past a collapse of “premarital purity and postmarital fidelity.”

“In regards to the moral standing of other democracies, including ancient Rome, how is the United States measuring up today?” an interviewer asked Barton in an edited clip posted on YouTube by the anti-choice group.

“Well, we got real trouble,” Barton responded.

“…Pre-marital purity and post-marital fidelity…no nation, any nation in 5,000 years has ever survived two generations past that, so it’s gone within 80 years,” he said. “So Rome’s the same way.”

The comments start about 20 seconds into the clip:

Bachmann: Obama 'Has Been The Best Friend Of Terrorists'

Former congressman Michele Bachmann is still insisting that President Obama is promoting Islamic terrorism, bizarrely asserting that the president is supporting both the Shiite regime in Iran and Sunni extremists. In an interview yesterday with News Talk Florida that was first flagged by Raw Story, Bachmann went so far as to say that Obama is the “best friend” of terrorists.

After suggesting — falsely — that Obama intends to remove Iran from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, Bachmann said that the president is putting “Iran in the position where they would have the firepower to be able take out not only Israel, but they would have the firepower to use intercontinental ballistic missiles against the United States with nuclear-tipped warheads.”

“This virtually guarantees, in my opinion, a World War III,” she continued, “and that alone would qualify Barack Obama for being the worst president that the United States has ever had to endure.”

“He has now guaranteed that Iran will have a nuclear weapon,” she added.

“The Obama doctrine has been to offer aid and comfort to our enemies while he has cut off our allies,” Bachmann said. “Everything that he has done has been to lift up the agenda of Islamic jihad. He has furthered Islamic jihad across the world, and we’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Bachmann claimed that Obama “has been the best friend of terrorists” and “has aided and abetted the rise of — the goals of terrorists across the world.”

Barber & Staver: Cal State Is Persecuting Christians Like Nazis Did The Jews

Last month, California State University announced that it would no longer recognize a campus Christian organization because the group would not abide by the university's non-discrimination policy, and naturally Matt Barber and Mat Staver responded by likening the university's decision it to Nazi persecution of the Jews.

On Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom" radio program today, Barber declared that this is just another example of "soft persecution" of Christians in America that, it left unchecked, will lead to Christians being imprisoned as they are in China or tortured and beheaded, as they are by ISIS.

"Soft persecution," Barber said, "can ultimately lead to hard persecution and if things don't change here in the U.S., that's the path we're heading down."

Not to be outdone, Staver readily agreed as he proceeded to liken the situation to Nazi Germany.

"Even though this kind of persecution or discrimination is not on the same level as what we see in some of these places around the world," he said, "it is a precursor to that same kind of thing. Once they say that you're a Christian and because of that, you're not going to have the same rights, we're going to stigmatize you; this is what happened with the Jews. It didn't start off with the gas chambers. It started off with taking away their right to work. It started off with putting the Star of David on these individuals and stigmatizing them and precluding them from other rights and liberties that every other person would have who is not a Jew. So this is something that we need to stand up against":

Right Wing Round-Up - 4/8/15

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