One of the sessions at the recent Values Voter Summit featured a showing of a new half-hour video produced by the American Family Association called “Divorcing God: Secularism and the Republic.” (Back in the summer it was being promoted as "Divorcing God: Secularism, Sexual Anarchy, and the Future of the Republic.") The video features an array of Religious Right leaders and academics, whose argument can be summarized this way: America, whose greatness is decaying because the country has turned its back on the God who inspired the founding fathers, is doomed if it continues to allow secularists to push religion into the closet. It's time for Christians to fight back.
And just to be clear, the God in “one nation under God” isn’t any old generic God, but the same Christian God who made western civilization possible. It’s familiar to anyone who has followed the Religious Right’s “Christian nation” rhetoric, filled with founders’ quotes about religion and attacks on the Supreme Court’s rulings on church-state separation.
Among the stars of the video is Princeton University’s Robert George, the Religious Right’s favorite intellectual. George, a leader of the National Organization for Marriage, is one of the authors of the Manhattan Declaration, whose signers fancy themselves potential martyrs for opposing abortion and LGBT equality in America. Others include Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute; Michael Farris, homeschooling advocate and chancellor of Patrick Henry College; and Matthew Spalding, of the Heritage Foundation. The founders clearly believed that God punishes nations, says Dacus, and when countries allow their societies to become amoral, there’s a price to be paid, not just by those individuals but society as a whole. The video suggests that the current fight between secularists and those who want to preserve the country’s divine foundation is the last stand for the future of freedom on planet earth.
Another DVD being handed out at the Values Voter Summit hit similar themes about the importance of the nation’s foundation on biblical principles. It features a 2010 “State of the Nation” speech delivered by Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis at the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Ham argues that the nation is threatened by the teaching of evolution and by the Supreme Court. “There really is no such thing as separation of church and state,” says Ham, who warns that “Christianity in this nation is becoming outlawed more and more in various quarters.” Ham blames the decline more on church leaders than on secularists. The Bible is the “absolute authority,” he says, but too many Christians have undermined the authority of scripture by compromising on the truth of the 6,000 year-old earth and great flood described in Genesis. And that means quoting the Bible in policy debates on abortion and gay marriage has lost its effectiveness.
Meanwhile, French scholar Denis Lacorne has just published Religion in America: A Political History (Columbia University Press, 2011), in which he examines two competing narratives about American identity. One derives from the secular values of the Enlightenment and reflects a desire to preserve liberty by freeing it from the power of an established church. The second ties American identity to the Puritans and Protestantism. These two narratives are reflected in competing notions of church-state separation evident today in our politics and on our Supreme Court. At a presentation at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. this week, Lacorne suggested that what he calls the neopuritan narrative was developed in the first half of the 19th century by historians who wanted to resurrect the influence of the Puritans, who he says were generally ignored by the founding fathers in their debates over religious liberty and whether or not to make the Constitution an explicitly Christian document. (They chose not to.)
Organizations:Values Voter Summit , Religious Right, pfawf, PFAW, National Organization for Marriage, Manhattan Declaration, Heritage Foundation, American Family Association , Answers in Genesis
Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance appeared on Janet Parshall’s radio show In The Market on Tuesday to discuss the “Green Dragon” film series which was made by Beisner’s group and hosted by Parshall. As we discussed in our report The ‘Green Dragon’ Slayers: How the Religious Right and the Corporate Right are Joining Forces to Fight Environmental Protection, the “Green Dragon” series represents efforts by the Religious Right and the Corporate Right to paint environmentalism as anti-Christian and ungodly:
During the radio show, Parshall played clips from the “documentary,” including one from Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who argues that in the name of “population control” the government will eventually push “infanticide” and promote “same-sex relations”:
Perkins: Population control is a very loaded term. It includes not only abortion, contraception and sterilization, all at government expense of course, but it also includes infanticide and the promotion of same-sex relations. At the heart of this push for population control is an unbiblical view of children and of life.
Another clip featured right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton. Barton, who has made a career of infusing Religious Right beliefs into politics and American history, accused environmentalism of being “a religion” with its own rules and “high priests,” and went on to tell people to contest environmental beliefs because “that’s not science, that is the faith position that you’re taking”:
Barton: People say that environmentalism is a religion. Others say, ‘Oh no, that’s not true,’ but it really is. Now how do we know? I’ve been involved in seven cases at the US Supreme Court and I can point to a number of court decisions where the court has said religion is whatever you believe so strongly that it affects the way you live your life. That’s why the court recognizes even atheism as a religion. Environmentalism definitely is a religion, it has its own high priests, it has folks that tell us what we can and can’t do with the environment and how we can treat it and they’re the guardians of it as if it’s a great temple. It’s a religion. And as soon as we recognize that environmentalism is a religion then it helps us to understand better how to respond to what’s being said, how to filter what’s being said, and say, now wait a minute, that’s not science, that is the faith position that you’re taking.
Given that some polls are now showing Herman Cain leading the Republican presidential field, do you think that maybe someone in the media might be able to get around to asking him about his role in the 2006 radio ad campaign that the Bush administration called "inappropriate" and the RNC called "racist"?
Here is a refresher: Back in 2006, an organization called America's PAC was formed for the purpose of spending $1 million to get Black and Hispanic voters to support Republican candidates with absurdly over-the-top and offensive radio ads:
The group, America's Pac, began running ads last month in more than two dozen congressional districts.The campaign discusses issues ranging from warrantless wiretapping to school choice, but the most inflammatory spots pertain to abortion.
"Black babies are terminated at triple the rate of white babies," a female announcer in one of the ads says, as rain, thunder, and a crying infant are heard in the background. "The Democratic Party supports these abortion laws that are decimating our people, but the individual's right to life is protected in the Republican platform. Democrats say they want our vote.Why don't they want our lives?"
Another spot attempts to link Democrats to a white supremacist who served as a Republican in the Louisiana Legislature, David Duke.The ad makes reference to Duke's trip to Syria last year, where he spoke at an anti-war rally.
"I can understand why a Ku Klux Klan cracker like David Duke makes nice with the terrorists,"a male voice in the ad says. "What I want to know is why so many of the Democrat politicians I helped elect are on the same side of the Iraq war as David Duke."
According to the New York Sun, Herman Cain was the spokesperson for the group and personally voiced some of the radio ads:
The group referred calls from The New York Sun to a conservative, African-American talk show host who voiced some of the ads, Herman Cain.
"The main thing that America's Pac is up to is it basically is challenging the thesis or the belief on the part of the Republican Party that they cannot attract the black vote," Mr. Cain said. He said similar advertisements run in 2004 helped boost President Bush's share of the black vote in Ohio to 16%, from 9% in 2000.
"We don't believe that was an accident," Mr. Cain said. The IRS filing indicates that the ads are running this year in 10 battleground states, including Ohio, New Mexico, and Nevada.
Mr. Cain, who once managed the Godfather's Pizza chain and ran unsuccessfully for the Senate from Georgia in 2004, said he was not troubled that Mr. Rooney, who is white, is funding ads using black voices who claim to speak on behalf of the black community."You don't have a lot of black billionaires who would want to fund something like this," he said.
We managed to track down the audio of one of America's PAC's most infamous ads a while back and uploaded it to YouTube:
Is that Cain featured in the ad? We don't know for sure - it kind of sounds like him, but it is entirely possible that it is not him ... but since nobody seems willing to ask Cain about the ads and his role with the organization, it is impossible to know.
It is known that Cain was a voice and spokesman for the America's PAC ad series, so even if he didn't voice this particular ad, it seems worth asking him which ads he did voice and whether he feels ads about a "Ku Klux Klan cracker" or snuffing the seed of "one of your hoes" are appropriate, especially since even the RNC denounced the ad's "racist or race-baiting in intent."
After the tragic shooting of Lawrence ‘Larry’ King, the openly gay California student who was shot dead by a classmate in school three years ago, Religious Right activists pounced to defame King and gay rights advocates. Randy Thomasson of Save California blamed “social engineering” and said that King’s sexual orientation and gender expression and the shooting represented the “two wrongs” in the case. Anti-gay author Michael Brown said “gay activism” was responsible for the murder. The trial of King’s shooter ended in a hung jury and will be retried.
Now, in a recently-posted interview with the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, Karen Gushta of Truth in Action Ministries argues that King’s murder demonstrates that “affirming students” is “not a healthy trend.” OneNewsNow writes that attempts to “encourage children to ‘come out’ and experiment with alternate lifestyles causes physical and mental health risks,” and claims that Brandon McInerney, the defendant, “allegedly shot King,” even though neither party is contesting the facts of the murder.
Gushta told the conservative news site that hate crimes laws and education policy were to blame for King’s brutal death:
A research coordinator says the murder of a "gay" teenage student should serve as an example for why hate crime laws "do nothing to aid in administering justice."
Dr. Karen Gushta, research coordinator for Truth in Action Ministries, points out that hate crime laws did not protect King in this case.
"Hate crime laws do nothing to aid in administering justice," she explains. "They are a solution in the search for problems because what they in actuality do is criminalize thought."
Prosecutors dropped the hate crimes count, stating that they want to "slim the case down" and "narrow the focus." If convicted under the new charges, McInerney could face 50 years to life in prison. Had he been convicted in the first trial, he would have faced 53 years to life.
Gushta warns that policies that encourage children to "come out" and experiment with alternate lifestyles causes physical and mental health risks.
"The trend toward teaching gender identity and affirming students at a young age in transgender identity that's taking place in education, and specifically in California schools, that is not a healthy trend," she contends.
McInerney allegedly shot King once, and shot him again after he fell to the floor. A pretrial hearing is set for November 21.
- PFAW: PFAW Calls on Romney to Apply Religious Bigotry Standard to his Own Endorsers.
- Tanya Somanader and Zaid Jilani @ Think Progress Justice: Florida GOP Rep. Wants To Bring Back Electrocution And Firing Squads: ‘I’m So Tired Of Being Humane.’
- Todd A. Heywood @ The Washington Independent: Quran-burning Pastor Jones: Michigan state Rep. Agema volunteered to speak at Lansing rally.
- Ezra Klein: Herman Cain’s ‘economist.’
- Bruce Wilson @ Talk To Action: Top New Apostolic Reformation Ministry Calls For Talk To Action To Be "Silenced."
- Bryan Fischer insists that states have the right to have religious tests for public office. The Supreme Court disagrees.
- I guess American history is not Rick Perry's strong suit.
- Harry Jackson shameless shilling for energy interests now extends to defending fracking.
- Public schools are indoctrinating your children. You have been warned.
- On a semi-related note, Randy Thomasson says there are two kinds of schools: "God's schools and devil's schools." Guess which one the public schools are?
- Gary Cass says Mitt Romney is "free to believe Mormonism’s weird, racist doctrines, or practice their secret cultic rituals and even wear their holy underwear, but Romney's Mormon beliefs aren’t Christian."
Republican pseudo-historian David Barton says that he, like Jesus, has never been legitimately critiqued, and is even suing two Democratic politicians in Texas and a blogger who have criticized him. While Right Wing Watch, among others, reports on Barton’s incessant dishonesty on a regular basis, he continues to tell falsehoods even when he is directly confronted about it.
Today on his program WallBuilders Live, Barton and his co-host Rick Green discussed the 9th Circuit Court’s decision on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. While they originally found the policy unconstitutional, the court recently vacated the ruling following the policy’s official repeal. Barton argued that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act are “still overwhelmingly popular” among Americans:
Barton: The president’s going to follow the 9th's decision, that’s just what happens when you get a president—
Green: You’re gonna have to choose a Commander and Chief that—
Barton: You’re gonna have to choose a president who’s going to enforce laws that the rest of us think are important. Now he’s choosing to enforce the laws and not enforce the laws he thinks are important, and it’s not where the nation is. You know overwhelmingly we still want DOMA, the ban on homosexuals in the military that’s still overwhelmingly popular, he’s just not going there.
Of course, Barton is flat out wrong.
A CBS News poll released October 4 found that “68 percent of Americans said they support gay and lesbians’ rights to serve openly,” and that 48% of Republicans favored the repeal of the ban on openly gay soldiers, more than the 41% who opposed repeal.
On marriage, polls from Gallup, CNN, ABC, AP/Roper and the Public Religion Research Institute all found that a majority of Americans support marriage equality for gays and lesbians. Moreover, a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll found that 51% of voters oppose DOMA and just 34% support the law, which is still being enforced.
But David Barton, naturally, would not let actual polling data stand in the way of his claim that Americans are still hostile to the rights of gays and lesbians.
On today's installment of Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Mat Staver and Matt Barber discuss the brief the organization has filed asking the Supreme Court to uphold the FCC's decency standards.
Maintaining these standards is important, explained Barber, because there is a conspiracy afoot to use the media to indoctrinate/desensitize children to "sexually immoral behaviors" through television programs like "Glee":
This morning on the Today Show Mitt Romney and Chris Christie repeated their call for Rick Perry to disassociate himself from pastor Robert Jeffress because of the pastor’s denigration of Romney’s Mormon faith. Yesterday, Christie even compared Jeffress to “those folks in New Jersey who disparaged in both parties my decision to appoint a Muslim judge” and said that any “campaign that associates itself with that type of comment is beneath the office of President of the United States, in my view.”
Ironically, one of the people who slammed Christie over his criticism of anti-Muslim activists is Jay Sekulow, who endorsed and introduced Romney at the Values Voter Summit last week and in 2008 was a member of Romney’s “National Faith and Values Steering Committee.”
In fact, Sekulow and his organization, the American Center for Law and Justice, which was founded by Pat Robertson, tried to prevent American Muslims from exercising their First Amendment rights by suing to block the construction of a mosque in lower Manhattan and also issued a pamphlet which claims that Sharia law is on the brink of eclipsing the U.S. Constitution that “devout Muslims cannot truthfully swear the oath to become citizens of the United States of America.” Tim Murphy pointed out the irony in Romney condemning anti-Muslim bigot Bryan Fischer while praising Sekulow, and People For the American Way urged Romney to disavow Sekulow in the same way he has urged Perry to “repudiate” Jeffress:
“Mitt Romney is right to criticize his rivals for silently standing by and accepting bigotry,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Now it is time for him to apply those standards to his own campaign. The truly courageous position for Romney to take would be to stand up against religious bigotry of all stripes – including the GOP’s increasingly prevalent scapegoating of American Muslims.
“Romney endorser Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice has suggested that devout Muslims cannot become true citizens of the United States. Sekulow himself has perpetuated the debunked claim that the Constitution is under a threat from Sharia law and was a leader of the extremist backlash against the building of an Islamic community center in lower Manhattan, including overseeing the ACLJ’s lawsuit attempting to stop the community center’s construction.
“Last weekend, Mitt Romney called Sekulow a ‘treasure.’ If Romney wishes to show that he is a true champion of the American values of religious freedom and tolerance, he must apply the same standard to his own endorsers as he does to those of Rick Perry.”
But Sekulow isn’t the only anti-Muslim activist in the Romney camp.
Walid Phares was recently named a foreign policy adviser to Romney. As the Council on American Islamic Relations pointed out in a letter [pdf] to Rep. Peter King, Phares has close ties to a Lebanese militiamen and even served as an official in a militia that was “implicated, by Israel’s official Kahan inquiry and other sources, in the 1982 massacre of civilian men, women and children at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon.”
Phares also claims [pdf] that “jihadists within the West pose as civil rights advocates, interested solely in the ‘rights’ of their immigrant communities” in order for their “institutions [to] fall into their hands,” and warns of the “spread of Wahhabism” through Muslim infiltration of “the U.S. armed forces and ultimately even into the Pentagon.”
Organizations:American Center for Law and Justice , Values Voter Summit , PFAW, people for the american way, American Values
Just because David Barton may be a pseudo-historian who routinely peddles falsehoods in order to promote himself and his Religious Right agenda, that is not going to stop Glenn Beck from regularly featuring him on his program.
Beck's love of Barton is well-established and he featured him again on his program last week where Beck praised Barton as "one of the most honorable men I know, one of the best Christians I know" and his hero before urging his viewers to donate to Barton's WallBuilders organization because it does more good than "a pack of charities combined":
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