by Brian Tashman and Miranda Blue
Republicans and Religious Right activists are set to come together this weekend at the Values Voter Summit, the Family Research Council conference where politicians will push the right-wing line regarding the government shutdown, Obamacare, gay rights and the supposed end of freedom.
As Peter noted, “Religious Right’s leaders are working to merge their activists’ anti-abortion and anti-gay zeal with the anti-government extremism of the Tea Party” and even “give the Tea Party’s agenda a biblical foundation.”
Ted Cruz and Rand Paul will be the event’s biggest speakers, along with Republican congressmen Paul Ryan, Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, Jim Bridenstine, Scott Turner, Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan.
These GOP officials will speak alongside some of the most radical figures in the conservative movement:
Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council, the main organizer of this weekend’s summit. Perkins leads the group’s efforts against gay rights, abortion rights and church/state separation. The FRC has one of the most anti-gay platforms of any major political organization, including expressions of support for the criminalization of homosexuality in the U.S. and abroad in countries law Malawi and Uganda. Perkins himself frequently reflects the extreme views of his organization. He:
- Linked sexual assault, suicide and pedophilia to gay people, arguing there is “a correlation between homosexuality and pedophilia.
- Warned that anti-bullying efforts are “disgusting” efforts to encourage “perversion” and that same-sex unions are part of a government “population control” plot.
- Lamented the ties between Democrats and the “Jewish lobby.”
- Attacked Islam as an “evil” religion.
- Criticized the military for offering “yoga and meditation classes.”
- Maligned proponents of the separation of church and state as “cultural terrorists.”
Family Research Council vice president and retired Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin sparked a controversy when, as a high-ranking official in the Bush Defense Department, he framed the War on Terror as a holy war against Islam. He has since built a career as a Religious Right speaker, specializing in anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-Obama conspiracy theories. He:
- Says that “Islam is evil” and that “Islam is not a religion and does not deserve First Amendment protections,” and wants to ban mosques.
- Warned Obama is using the health care reform law as a cover to establish a private army of Brownshirts loyal just to him.
- Claimed the bailout of AIG led to the establishment of Sharia law and that George Soros and the Council on Foreign relations conspired to collapse the U.S. economy in order to help Obama get elected.
- Said that American Jews were misled into supporting Democrats by wrongly thinking Adolf Hitler was right-wing extremist; also thinks that Jews must be converted to Christianity.
The Virginia Republican nominee for Lt. Governor, E.W. Jackson is a longtime activist who has likened the Democratic Party to the Antichrist, said Planned Parenthood is worse than the Ku Klux Klan , suggested Obama is a Muslim and demonic, and fought desegregation efforts. Jackson’s most pernicious rhetoric has focused on LGBT people. He has:
- Referred to gays and lesbians as “perverted,” “degenerate,” “spiritually darkened” and “frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally.”
- Argued that gay marriage will release a “ the torrent of wickedness” that will result in man-animal marriages.
- Said homosexuality is connected to pedophilia and that homosexuality also “poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of.”
Brian Brown is the president of the National Organization for Marriage, the funding machine behind anti-marriage-equality measures throughout the country. Fighting an increasingly losing battle at home, Brown has set his sights abroad, supporting French anti-gay activists and testifying before the Russian Duma in favor of a law banning adoption by gay couples and single people in countries that allow marriage equality. He is also a vocal supporter of the World Congress of Families, an Illinois-based group that supports anti-gay measures throughout the world. Back at home, Brown has:
- Warned of a slipperly slope from marriage equality to legal protections for pedophilia, asking, “Will pedophiles become ‘minor-attracted persons’ in our culture”?
- Touted phony “ex-gay” science and encouraged parents to send children to an “ex-gay” conference to “prevent your child from embracing this destructive way of life.
- Led NOM to develop a plan to “drive a wedget between gays and blacks” by “fanning the hostility” that they claim existed between the two communities.
Mat Staver is the head of the Liberty University School of Law and its legal affiliate, Liberty Counsel, a sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. Liberty Counsel has been implicated in the Lisa Miller kidnapping case, where a client kidnapped her daughter and fled to Central America after a court granted custody to her former partner. At a previous Values Voter Summit, Staver claimed that progressives are using LGBT rights and secular government in order to “ultimately implode America” and that the “agenda of the homosexual movement” is to destroy freedom and western civilization. Through his role at Liberty Counsel, Staver has:
- Argued that President Obama “does not respect America” and wants to intentionally cripple America so he can have global power and create his own personal army of Brownshirts.
- Defended Malawi’s law criminalizing homosexuality and said U.S. opposition to criminalization was “immoral.”
- Urged schools to prohibit students from holding a “Day of Silence” to protest anti-gay bullying and said teaching LGBT history in schools amounts to “sexual assault.”
- Alleged that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act will lead to child molestation, sexual assault, and even death and “harm women and children” if passed.
- Warned that the Supreme Court’s decision in the DOMA case would cause the United States to cross “into the realm of revolution.”
Joseph Farah is the editor-in-chief of the conspiracy theory clearinghouse WorldNetDaily and a friend of Sen. Rand Paul. He most recently worked with Michele Bachmann on a 9/11 prayer event which he claimed was “our last chance” to save America from God’s judgment, which includes homosexuality, terrorism and President Obama. Farah:
- Publishes the work of “reporter” Jerome Corsi, a leading birther who also claims that President Obama is secretly both Muslim and gay, wears a wedding ring from his marriage to his Pakistani roommate and joined a “down low club” to have sex with men whom he later had killed.
- Questioned President Obama’s eligibility for the presidency, calling him a “radical, Chicago-style gangster” who is “at war with God,” and once speculated that the president’s grandmother was actually his mother.
- Warned the President Obama would use future government shutdowns to deny health care, would use FEMA to stifle dissent, and allowed the Navy Yard shooting to happen in order to “render the population helpless.”
- Claimed that Obama’s Israel policy caused tornados in the Midwest and that an earthquake on the East Coast was God’s judgment on America.
- Wants to curtail immigration by Muslims, whom he claims are working with gay people to destroy America.
Fox News commentator Todd Starnes has become notorious for filing false reports based on right-wing conspiracy theories, which of course makes him a favorite “journalist” among conservative activists. Starnes has also:
- Suggested that President Obama is secretly having a gay affair.
- Warned that the Obama administration and gay rights laws are ushering in fascism and second class citizenship for straight people.
- Said that defeats for anti-gay activists are a sign of “the end of days.”
The former Concerned Women for America president is now a radio talk show host on American Family Radio, the network led by the American Family Association. Like other AFA hosts, she promotes right-wing conspiracy theories, including claims that Obama was not born in America and is actually from Kenya, resettled thousands of Palestinian refugees in the US and exempted Muslim-Americans from Obamacare. Rios will be a good fit for the anti-gay conference as she:
- Compared same-sex couples to the relationships kidnapper Ariel Castro had with his captives.
- Warned the “homosexual takeover” of the military will jeopardize the effectiveness of the military.
A leading Religious Right organizer based in Texas, Rick Scarborough of Vision America claims he is fighting the country’s supposed decline. Scarborough has said that it is “sad” to see “more non-white families” in America, claimed that the growing Latino population will destroy America and blamed societal ills on shows such as The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory. He even said that the Benghazi attack occurred as a result of the country being “mired in sin.” But that’s not all. Scarborough:
- Charged that AIDS is divine punishment of the gay community.
- Demanded that people only refer to gays and lesbians as “sodomites.”
- Claimed Obama will arrest him and other conservative activists following the passage of the hate crimes law (and made the same absurd prediction prior to the Supreme Court’s recent gay rights rulings).
Ohio-based activist Janet Porter opposes abortion rights, gay equality and now Obamacare, which she says will be used tomurderconservatives. She asked God to stop Obama from being sworn in as president and prayed for right-wing Christians to take control over the media and the government, because she:
- Suggested that Obama will set up internment camps, put people into FEMA concentration camps and starve them to death or kill everyone with the swine flu vaccine.
- Predicted that Obama will commence negotiations with Osama bin Laden.
- Claimed that hate crimes laws will throw Christians in jail.
Anti-Muslim activist and birther Frank Gaffney believes that Islamic extremists have infiltrated the conservative movement, the FBI, the CIA, the State Department, and the White House. He most recently has:
- Pushed the conspiracy theory that the US knew beforehand about the chemical weapons attack in Syria as a pretext to intervene .
- Smeared Huma Abedin as a Muslim Brotherhood agent .