Concerned Women for America has produced a memo explaining that, as much as they hope President Obama will nominate a Supreme Court justice whom "all Americans can support," they don't think he will and therefore they'll be obligated to oppose that nominee ... whomever it is:
Concerned Women for America (CWA) would love for President Obama to go beyond politics — as he promised during his campaign — and nominate a Supreme Court candidate that all Americans can support. After the health care debacle, with zero bipartisan support helping to further expand the chasm between citizens, nothing would be more welcome than for the President to nominate someone who could make us all feel proud. CWA wants a judge with an excellent record of judicial restraint, a commitment to following the Constitution as written, and an awareness of the fact that they are not supposed to substitute their own personal feelings or ideology for the law.
CWA says all of the names floated as possible nominees so far are unacceptable and has even sent President Obama a letter [PDF] asking him to "put aside partisanship and choose a nominee that makes all Americans feel proud":
At a time when the political chasm between citizens seems to be expanding at an alarming rate, such an admirable move would certainly do a lot to bring us back together and rally for the common purpose of doing what is best for America.
But CWA wants to make clear that it is not holding its breath:
However, based on President Obama’s actions thus far, and on his statements back-to-back that he wouldn’t use a litmus test but wants his nominee to support a “woman’s right to choose,” CWA isn’t hopeful that he will choose a good nominee.
“I don’t see the President picking a nominee that is good for America,” said Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America. “The President has shown a keen disregard for any notion of honoring the Constitution, but we are clinging to any last hope that he may break from the mold and nominate a worthy Justice.”
All very interesting. But I wonder what CWA was saying just a few years ago when, for instance, President Bush was considering nominees for the Supreme Court:
“The President has the historic opportunity to keep faith with the promise he has repeated numerous times, which is to name justices who are like Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas,” said Jan LaRue, CWA’s Chief Counsel. “The Democrats have shown that their filibusters and condemnations of the President’s circuit court nominees were baseless. They will threaten more of the same unless he names a clone of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for example.”
The President should not yield to the left’s demands to consult with the Senate before making a nomination. The Constitution is clear that it’s his right alone to make nominations and the Supreme Court agrees.
So CWA urged President Bush to ignore any requests that he consult with anyone before making any nomination, because they were just going to oppose the nominee anyway and the president has the constitutional power to name any candidate he chooses ... and now CWA is writing to President Obama, demanding that he listen to them and put forth a nominee that they can support, threatening that if he doesn't, they will be left with no option but to oppose his choice?
Funny how that works.
In 1983, George Rekers joined James Dobson and a handful of others in founding the Family Research Council.
Last month, Rekers was reportedly discovered returning from an overseas trip with a "rent boy":
On April 13, the "rent boy" (whom we'll call Lucien) arrived at Miami International Airport on Iberian Airlines Flight 6123, after a ten-day, fully subsidized trip to Europe. He was soon followed out of customs by an old man with an atavistic mustache and a desperate blond comb-over, pushing an overburdened baggage cart.
That man was George Alan Rekers, of North Miami — the callboy's client and, as it happens, one of America's most prominent anti-gay activists. Rekers, a Baptist minister who is a leading scholar for the Christian right, left the terminal with his gay escort, looking a bit discomfited when a picture of the two was snapped with a hot-pink digital camera.
Reached by New Times before a trip to Bermuda, Rekers said he learned Lucien was a prostitute only midway through their vacation. "I had surgery," Rekers said, "and I can't lift luggage. That's why I hired him." (Though medical problems didn't stop him from pushing the tottering baggage cart through MIA.)
For decades, George Alan Rekers has been a general in the culture wars, though his work has often been behind the scenes. In 1983, he and James Dobson, America's best-known homophobe, formed the Family Research Council, a D.C.-based, rabidly Christian, and vehemently anti-gay lobbying group that has become a standard-bearer of the nation's extreme right wing. Its annual Values Summit is considered a litmus test for Republican presidential hopefuls, and Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter have spoken there. (The Family Research Council would not comment about Rekers's Euro-trip.)
He has also influenced American politics, serving in advisory roles with Congress, the White House, and the Department of Health and Human Services and testifying as a state's witness in favor of Florida's gay adoption ban. A former research fellow at Harvard University and a distinguished professor of neuropsychiatry at the University of South Carolina, Rekers has published papers and books by the hundreds, with titles like Who Am I? Lord and Growing Up Straight: What Families Should Know About Homosexuality.
Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter has issued a statement in response to VCY America's decision to stop airing and supporting her radio program due to her increasingly involvement with dominion theology, disagreeing with VCY's decision on the ground that Christians should not have to agree on every theological detail in order to work together but vowing to carry on with her work despite the loss of VCY's support:
Janet Porter and Faith2Action remain steadfast in the belief that the Bible is the infallible word of God, Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and the second person of the Trinity, whose death and resurrection provide the sole means of salvation and a relationship with God the Father.
May Day was a day of repentance at the Lincoln Memorial for our sins and the sins of our nation—in all fifty states and in every area of influence. The name of Jesus was lifted high, the Gospel was proclaimed, and many people were saved.
I learned an important lesson from my friend and mentor, Dr. D. James Kennedy when he first hired me to be the National Director of his Center for Reclaiming America. I told him that he shouldn’t hire me since I didn’t agree with him on everything--I wasn’t a ‘five point Calvinist.’ His response was one I never forgot; he said: “Janet, we agree on the ‘main things,’ and he hired me that day.
While two of our Jewish brothers attended May Day, one who read the Ten Commandments, the other who outlined how the United States has turned from the nation of Israel, all others prayed in Jesus’ name. While I don’t agree with every speaker on every belief, to the best of my knowledge, with every other person who spoke, there was agreement on the “main thing”—the basic belief that the Bible is the infallible word of God, Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and the second person of the Trinity, whose death and resurrection provide the sole means of salvation and a relationship with God the Father.
Faith2Action continues its Biblical mission to equip Christians to be salt and light in our dark and decaying world. To proclaim the Gospel and stand for the truth outlined in God’s word which is under assault in our culture. It is the Great Commission that commands us to not only make disciples, but to also teach them to “observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28): including the sixth commandment: “Thou shalt not kill.” We have shed innocent blood in this nation and that was one of the many sins for which we repented on May Day. This isn’t about “dominion theology” but rather about obedience to God in every area of influence.
Our nation is in peril and if we are going to maintain the freedom to spread the Gospel in our lifetime, it is going to take a unified effort. While we will never compromise the basic tenants of the Christian faith, we must be willing to work together with those who share our desire to obey God—even if we don’t agree with them on everything.
I am very grateful to VCY America for airing the Faith2Action program on its network and continue to pray daily for Vic Eliason’s complete healing and for his continued service to use the airwaves to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
While I fully support efforts to get people registered to vote and encouraging them to exercise that right, the idea of canceling classes and busing students to the polls for a election to fill three at-large seats on the city council seems to be a bit much, doesn't it:
Liberty University has canceled classes until 2 p.m. and has begun busing students to Heritage Elementary School, the polling place for students registered under LU’s dorm address.
Weeks of campaigning will come to an end today as Lynchburg voters head to the polls to pick their next three at-large City Council members.
All voters throughout the city will be able to vote for three of the eight candidates seeking office.
The school will still offer a special Election Day shuttle service from its campus to Heritage Elementary. It will also hold an additional convocation this morning during which Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. is expected to speak and encourage students to vote.
LU has been conducting an aggressive get-out-the-vote campaign among its students, faculty, staff, alumni and general supporters within the community.
The school recently conducted an online mock election through its website. It declined to release the results of that exercise.
Across the city, there are 48,671 registered voters. Turnout for council elections is generally low.
As we've noted before, Liberty is intent on getting its zoning status changed and the current City Council has been reluctant to do LU's bidding, so officials have made this election a central focus for LU students and alumni.
And considering that LU students represent nearly 10% of registered voters in Lynchburg, it seems quite likely that, by tomorrow, the university will be well positioned to weild a significant amount of control of workings of the Lynchburg City Council.
UPDATE: Here is more information on the special LU convocation held today:
Liberty University students headed to the polls this morning following a special convocation in which LU Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. urged them to vote.
“You need to exercise your God-given right to vote locally so the city councilmen are thinking about you when they sit down to decide whether to spend your tax dollars on fancy stone sidewalks and traffic circles downtown or whether to spend those dollars on improvements to make Wards Road safer to cross,“ Falwell told students.
LU canceled classes until 2 p.m. today to boost student participation in the election, in which eight candidates—four Republicans, four independents—compete for three at-large seats on Lynchburg City Council.
Falwell cited the meals tax and conditional-use permit process as other reasons to vote. LU officials have said the tax for eating at restaurants—6.5 percent—is burdensome to students and have said the city’s permit process inhibits the university’s growth.
“We’re not going to tell you who to vote for,“ Falwell said, “but we’re going tell you to vote your values and to vote for the candidate who is most closely aligned with your values and belief system.“
Del. Scott Garrett, R-Lynchburg, also spoke at convocation and emphasized family values and fiscal conservatism.
“Your vote matters. Value your vote and vote your values,“ Garrett said.
In a move that comes as no surprise, the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer uses news of an arrest of a suspect in the attempted Times Square bombing to reiterate his call to cut off immigration to all Muslims who refuse to renounce their religion:
It's simply not possible to watch every Muslim with an SUV or a van 24/7. This same incident can be repeated anywhere at anytime in any American city, and we won't be able to do anything but scoop up body parts.
The objective observer who is not blinded by decaying concepts of multiculturalism can surely see it is wrongheaded for any nation to grant citizenship to people whose religion teaches them that they have a sacred obligation to kill their hosts.
So far, we have been saved only by the incompetence of the Christmas Day underwear bomber and by the incompetence of Shahzad, who mis-wired his bomb and used the wrong kind of fertilizer. In other words, we have been lucky rather than smart. It's time to get smart and close our borders to followers of a prophet who teaches them that their god wants them to kill Americans.
If they are willing to renounce their allegiance to the prophet and the religion of Muhammad, and disown the Koran and everything it teaches about killing infidels, wife-beating, and second-class citizenship for Christians, then they can become good Americans. Until then, it's impossible. Their religion teaches them a value system that is wholly at odds with American ideals. They will simply represent an element that will tear asunder what remains of our cultural unity and pose an increasing danger to innocent American lives.
Because we love people, we want Muslims to leave the deception, darkness and viciousness of Islam to find light and truth in the message of the Prince of Peace. In order to be for Muslims, we must be against Islam. We are pro-Muslim but anti-Islam.
If someone has a better idea, I'm all ears. Until then, I remain convinced that if we truly care about the safety and security of the American people, Muslim immigration must come to a halt. That's not Islamophobia, it's Islamo-realism.
Such a move, of course, will do nothing to protect us from the millions of Muslims who are already here, many of them clearly Amerophobes and already radicalized. But at least we'll have fewer of them to watch.
I don't know why Fischer is now saying that there is no way "to protect us from the millions of Muslims who are already here," since it was just a few weeks ago when he called for the deportation of every Muslim in America, including those who had become citizens, unless they "are willing to convert to Christianity and renounce Islam, Allah, Mohammed and the Koran [and] become not just good Christians but true Americans."
Last week before Lou Engle headed to Uganda for a scheduled TheCall rally, he tried to distance himself and his movement from Uganda's proposed "kill the gays" bill:
Now recently, TheCall has been wrongfully marked and vilified as an organization promoting hatred and violence against homosexuals and as one that supports the Uganda bill as currently written. To the contrary, we have never made a private or a public statement of support for that bill. Though we honor the courage and stand with the stated purpose of the many Church leaders in Uganda who are seeking to protect the traditional and biblical family foundations of the nation, we have serious concerns with the bill as presently written, especially in terms of some of the harsh penalties for certain homosexual behaviors or offenses.
You'll notice that Engle was careful not to either explicitly endorse or disavow the bill, merely saying they have some "serious concerns" about it.
And, according to this report from Uganda on Religion Dispatches, Engle tried to walk the same fine line while appearing at the event itself, voicing his support for those "showing courage to take a stand for righteousness" without explicitly supporting the bill:
When Engle himself finally took the microphone at about 5 p.m., he dug almost immediately into the controversy, saying he hadn’t known about the bill and nearly canceled his trip over questions raised by his presence. But at no point did he contest Oyet’s support for the bill.
“We know that Uganda has been under tremendous pressure—the church. We felt that same pressure. But I felt like The Call was to come and join with the church of Uganda to encourage you that in the nation who are showing courage to take a stand for righteousness in the earth,” Engle said.
Since arriving, Engle went on, he had consulted with Uganda’s pastors, who are “dealing with a controversy they never wanted.” He then pivoted to the blame-the-West assertion so popular among the bill’s Ugandan supporters. “What I found out was that NGOs, the UN, and UNICEF were coming in and promoting an agenda that the church of Uganda did not want to be in this nation.”
Engle was careful never to explicitly call for the passage of the bill itself, and to avoid being accused of inciting violence. “We are not standing with violence or hatred to people with homosexual lifestyles,” he preached. Still, as he does in the United States, he insisted that homosexuality harms society: “We are trying to restrain an agenda that is going to hurt the nation and hurt families.”
In addition to homosexuality, Engle preached against abortion and child sacrifice and repeatedly praised Uganda for its piety. “I think that Uganda is beyond the U.S. in their stand for righteousness,” Engle commented to reporters in a brief exchange on the way from the stage to his car, stipulating that he didn’t mean the anti-gay bill. He also said he’d felt “massive pressure” from gay rights groups in the United States.
But as soon as Engle departed, other speakers took to the stage to hail the law and call for its passage "without any debate":
As the car carrying American evangelist Lou Engle gained distance from the stage, exiting the grass sports field for the airport, the revival meeting organized by Engle’s The Call kicked into high gear in support of Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill.
“The bill will be passed into law without any debate,” boomed James Nsaba Buturo, Uganda’s Minister for Ethics and Integrity, and a well-known backer of the bill, drawing cheers from the audience while Engle’s vehicle was still in view.
“We must tell the whole world that Uganda will not accept that nonsense that says homosexuality is a human right,” Buturo added to the crowd of several hundred people. “It is an abomination.”
- Jim Burroway: Lou Engle Praised Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill.
- Think Progress: Cuccinelli channels John Ashcroft, censors Roman goddess’ clothing on the Virginia seal.
- Evan Hurst: Regina Griggs Crying “Discrimination” Again.
- Wendy Norris: Anti-Choice Groups Condone "Biblically Justified" Violence Against Gays, Women.
- Andy Birkey: Pawlenty signs evangelical book deal.
- News Hounds: Mike Huckabee: The Reporter Made Me Say Those Things About Gay Marriage And Adoption.
- Media Matters: "Sabotage!" Right-wing media respond to oil spill by dreaming up conspiracy theories.
- St. Cloud Times: "While 6th District U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann has developed a reputation as a champion for cutting government spending, reports show her own 2009 congressional staff salary budget mushroomed by $176,868 — a whopping 26.4 percent from her 2008 staff budget, even though her congressional workload didn’t appear to change."
- James Dobson's new radio program began today.
- It is pretty ironic to see Mat Staver go after the Freedom From Religion Foundation on the grounds that it is a "paper tiger" propped up by wealthy donors.
- Fresh out of prison, Jim Traficant is running for Congress.
- The US Embassy in Kenya wants it made clear that the US government is not supporting the ACLJ's effort to shape the nation's constitution to their right-wing liking.
- A federal judge will hear arguments on a motion to dismiss the right-wing lawsuit against hate crimes legislation in June.
- Religious Right activists in Virginia are no longer smitten with Gov. Bob McDonnell.
- Finally, why are activists being encouraged to wear red clothing to a "Code Blue Health Care Freedom Act Rally" in Missouri? Wouldn't it make more sense for them to wear blue? Or call it a "Code Red Health Care Freedom Act Rally"?
Over the last several months, I have been reading a lot of books in my free time about religion and politics as research for a possible book I am thinking about writing. As such, I am regularly discovering interesting pieces of information that don't really have any specific tie to current events but still seem worth highlighting. As such, I am going to start posting them here whenever I come across them so as to share them with others.
I'll kick it off by highlighting this section in "Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite" by D. Michael Lindsay discussing the problems Surgeon General C. Everett Koop ran into when tasked with drafting a report on AIDS for President Reagan:
[In 1986] President Reagan asked the surgeon general to prepare a report on AIDS as the United States confirmed its ten-thousandth case. Leaders of the evangelical movement did not want Koop to write the report, nor did senior White House staffers who shared Koop's evangelical convictions. As Dr. Koop related to me, "Gary Bauer [Reagan's chief advisor on domestic policy] ... was my nemesis in Washington because he kept me from the president. He kept me from the cabinet and he set up a wall of enmity between me and most of the people that surrounded Reagan because he believed that anybody who had AIDS ought to die with it. That was God's punishment for them."
The Family Research Council has sent out an action alert announcing an anti-marriage equality rally tomorrow ahead of oral arguments at the D.C. Court of Appeals:
The battle for marriage in D.C. and America rages, and God's people have a voice in the outcome. As participating members of the Stand4MarriageDC executive committee I would like to ask you to join the citizens of the District of Columbia and our nation's capital to rally and show your support for marriage between one man and one woman.
Here are the details:
WHAT: "Let the People Vote" Marriage Hearing/Rally and Press Event
WHEN: Tuesday, May 4, 2010, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
WHERE: District of Columbia Court of Appeals (430 E St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001)
WHO: Stand4MarriageDC Coalition
Did you know that the citizens of D.C. have the same authority as the D.C. City Council to create a law? Well that's what the court hearing on the "Marriage Initiative of 2009" and rally is about!
Once again, thank you for your continued concern and engagement on the D.C. Marriage issue. We need your help in showing support and shining the spotlight on same-sex "marriage" in the District of Columbia. Please join me, members of The Stand4MarriageDC Coalition (Bishop Harry Jackson), and local pastors for a rally and press event on this important issue. While some will fill the seats of the courtroom, others will fill the sidewalks to show support of marriage!
Your participation in this rally is important as we join to defend marriage. You can help reverse the course of marriage re-definition in our nation's capital and America by coming out and supporting the effort. A little bit of effort will go a long way in defending marriage.
We need you there! Wear white to show unity! Join us tomorrow -- Tuesday May 4th, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. for the D.C. Court's hearing on the "Marriage Initiative of 2009" to determine if the people have a right to vote on Marriage in D.C. The en banc oral arguments will be heard in the ceremonial courtroom of the D.C. Court of Appeals. So all nine judges will be present to hear the case and plea to "Let the People Vote"!
If you believe the citizens of D.C. should be allowed to vote on the redefinition of marriage, then we need you there!
The National Organization for Marriage will be joining them:
Join us Tuesday at 9am in front of the DC Court of Appeals as we rally for marriage!
On Tuesday morning, the Court of Appeals will be hearing the appeal in the DC Marriage Initiative case. As the media covers the arguments inside, NOM is joining Bishop Harry Jackson (also lead plaintiff in the case) and the Stand4Marriage DC team in calling on all marriage supporters to come together in a public display of support for marriage and for the rights of DC voters.
Join us for this historic event, as our coalition comes together across all racial, religious, and party lines to affirm the importance of marriage. Help support the African-American pastors and voters who have taken the lead in this important civil rights struggle to protect marriage and the voting rights of DC citizens. Over the past months, NOM has been contributing to Democratic city council candidates willing to stand for marriage, and on Tuesday Democrats and Republicans alike will come together in common cause to protect marriage.
Please join us!
We will gather at 9am outside the DC Court of Appeals (430 E St. NW), just four blocks west of Union Station and around the corner from the Judiciary Square Metro station. I will be joining Bishop Jackson and others in speaking at the event, as we fight to protect marriage in our nation's capital.
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