Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) will be joining some of the most extreme right-wing activists in the country at the upcoming Awakening 2013 conference, which is organized by the Liberty University-affiliated Liberty Counsel. Along with Bachmann, Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are scheduled to take part in the Religious Right gathering.
Just how radical are the conference’s leaders?
The fact that it is hosted by Liberty Counsel, the anti-gay group led by Mat Staver and Matt Barber that has been implicated in the Lisa Miller kidnapping case, is the first clue to the Awakening’s far-right bent. On top of that, the event includes 9/11 and Sandy Hook truther Bradlee Dean, self-proclaimed prophet Cindy Jacobs and convicted domestic abuser and anti-women’s rights activist Timothy Johnson.
The host of the Awakening conference, Staver has a long anti-gay record. He blamed the 2008 financial crisis on banks that “actively promoted the homosexual agenda” and said lawmakers who support marriage equality “are not competent for public office.” Staver has repeatedly called for a “revolution” to protest gay equality and warned that gay rights laws will increase violent crime, kill people and eventually destroy America and western civilization. He defended a Malawi law criminalizing homosexuality and argued that Obama supports “forced homosexuality.”
The deputy leader of Liberty Counsel, Barber has argued that suicide rates are higher among LGBT youth because they “look inward and know that what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong [and] is immoral.” He has described homosexuality as a “cancer” that prompted Noah’s flood and will ultimately lead to Communism . Barber has said that Satan is behind gay rights efforts, asserting that demonic “spiritual pressure” is driving the campaign to end the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay members. He has repeatedly denied that LGBT persons face violence or discrimination, while frequently arguing that the gay community is bent on molesting children. He praised the chief supporter of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ bill.
Liberty Counsel’s Shawn Akers has joined Staver and Barber in opposing gay rights efforts, even when it comes to measures to prevent the bullying of LGBT youth, which he called “a form of indoctrination and reeducation that smacks of socialist and Communist countries.” Akers instead accused gay rights advocates of bullying Christians, turning “homosexual activism” into a religion and persecuting Christians in the same way as Adolf Hitler persecuted Jews.
Lindevaldsen, a Liberty Counsel attorney and Liberty University law professor, has been closely implicated in the kidnapping of Isabella Miller, whose mother Lisa Miller fled with her to Central America in order to stop her former same-sex partner from having custody. Lindevaldsen has declared that Satan is behind gay rights efforts and “plant[s] the seed” of homosexuality in people.
Dean, a Minnesota-based Religious Right activist and close Bachmann ally, extolled Muslims who are “calling for the executions of homosexuals in America” as “more moral” than American Christians and applauded African nations that imprison homosexuals. He has called homosexuality “a mental illness” and blamed gays for the Holocaust. Dean also believes that the government staged the Sandy Hook and Aurora mass murders to push gun control policies and that it was also behind the 9/11 attacks and the Oklahoma City bombing.
Government Is Not God PAC (GING-PAC) head William Murray has warned that President Obama, whom he calls a “dangerous racist,” has “stopped waging a war on Islam terrorism” in order to pursue a “jihad against non-Islamic groups—both Jews and Christians.” He claimed that the establishment of Social Security led to a decline in morality that meant “more young men destroy their lives in homosexuality.” He has blamed gay people for everything from turmoil in the Middle East to train crashes. Murray’s GING-PAC has charged gay rights activists with plotting to destroy the Bill of Rights and recently urged Sen. Rob Portman to send his openly gay son to ex-gay therapy so he won’t die of AIDS.
At the Awakening 2012, Quinlan endorsed Lou Engle’s call to create a prayer movement to confront the “homosexual and abortion tornadoes” that are “coming to destroy America.” More recently, he linked homosexuality to pedophilia and called same-sex marriage “a ban on heterosexual rights.” He has argued that gays and lesbians are experiencing “sexual cannibalism” and promote suicide among LGBT youth in order to succeed in “making martyrs out of the kids that we’re recruiting to behave as homosexuals.” Quinlan’s organization, Parents and Friends of Gays and Ex-Gays, pushes harmful ex-gay therapy for children.
Last year at the Awakening, Scarborough blamed Rachel Maddow and Brokeback Mountain for America’s ills. These were far from his only anti-gay statements. He has blamed gay marriage and abortion rights for the Benghazi attack, and at Awakening 2011 described AIDS as divine punishment for homosexuality. Scarborough also invited controversy when he claimed that the growth of the Latino population threatens America and that non-white Americans will endanger the country’s Christian heritage.
Reisman, a visiting Liberty University professor who is fighting to criminalize pornography, has claimed that schools are brainwashing children into becoming gay and that gay rights advocates are emulated the Nazis. She also said that the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s Gay-Straight Alliances are modeled after the Hitler Youth and promote pedophilia.
Jackson has played a leading role in campaigns against marriage equality in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, fights he described as a spiritual battle against Satanic forces. He said that a demon called the Queen of Heaven is behind the push for same-sex marriage, which he warned “corrupts, perverts and pollutes” society. Jackson has also called marriage equality “a Satanic plot to destroy our seed” and warned that gay rights advocates “want to recruit your kids” and are targeting young people “just like during the times of Hitler.”
As head of the Fredrick Douglass Foundation, Johnson has worked on GOP and social conservative outreach to the African American community. For example, he worked with Religious Right groups to oppose the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. He was an interesting choice for the job, since he himself is a convicted domestic abuser, and was arrested a second time for spousal abuse two years after his felony conviction.
Porter is the architect behind anti-choice “heartbeat laws,” which effectively criminalize abortion. Such laws recently passed in North Dakota and Arkansas and have been considered in numerous other states. She has called on conservative Christians to gain control of government and the media, warning that under President Obama, conservatives and Christians may be put in concentration camps or starved to death. Porter prayed after the 2008 election that God would prevent Obama, whom she thinks might be a Communist spy from Russia, from taking office, and insisted that God will send Obama supporters to Hell.
Giles has smeared feminists as “misogynists with vaginas” who urge women to have “their vagina turned into a sexual turnstile” and become “the village bicycle.” “Have you ever seen a feminist around a womanly woman and not one of her butch buddies who’s sporting a Tim Allen haircut?,” Giles wrote. “Question: If feminists and lesbians hate men like they do, why do they try to look like us?” Giles has used similarly harsh language to describe progressives, “the radical homosexual agenda” and President Obama, who is the subject of Giles’ weird music videos.
A conspiracy theorist blogger, Geller has repeatedly suggested that President Obama is a Muslim — describing him as a “muhammadan” who “wants jihad to win” and supports a genocide against Jews — and the “love child” of Malcolm X, “a bastard, literally and figuratively.” She even attempted to justify far-right Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik’s attack on a left-wing youth camp, going so far as to blame the victims. Geller has also called for the destruction of the Dome of the Rock and likened an Islamic community center to a Ku Klux Klan “shrine.”
A former general now serving as vice president of the Family Research Council, Boykin believes the U.S. is engaging in a holy war against Islam and was reprimanded by former President George W. Bush for his anti-Muslim speeches. Boykin has called Islam an “evil” faith that “should not be protected under the First Amendment.” At one point, he advocated the banning of mosques. He has also charged President Obama with creating a Brownshirts-style paramilitary and aiding a Muslim Brotherhood “infiltration” of the U.S. government.
Gaffney is a birther who believes that President Obama is a “secret Muslim” and accuses the president of supporting Sharia law and pushing “efforts to promote Islamism.” He has even said that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel behaves like “an Iranian agent” and urged senators to oppose the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA because Brennan knows how to speak Arabic. Gaffney also helped engineer Bachmann’s witch hunt targeting Muslim officials in government. His views are so extreme that he has been banned from two leading conservative gatherings.
Apostles and Prophets
Joyner, who considers himself a prophet, has warned that the gay rights movement is a Satanic push to ban heterosexual marriage. Joyner claimed that Hurricane Katrina was divine punishment for homosexuality and agreed with a fellow prophet, Bob Jones, that Hurricane Sandy was judgment for same-sex marriage. He also believes that California will soon face a divine reckoning.
Another self-proclaimed prophet, Jacobs told Awakening 2012 attendees last year that Satan is behind the push for same-sex marriage. Jacobs has asserted that the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell led to freak bird deaths and blamed Obama’s “anti-biblical” decisions for natural disasters. She lauded another Religious Right gathering, Rick Perry’s The Response, for breaking the curse of cannibal Native Americans over Texas, and has taken credit for thwarting several terrorist attacks and coups.