Brian Tashman's blog

Mike Huckabee Has The Most Absurd Reaction To Obama's Pope Francis Remarks

At a White House ceremony welcoming Pope Francis today, President Obama called out violence against Christians around the world and thanked Francis for speaking out about such persecution:

You remind us that people are only truly free when they can practice their faith freely. Here in the United States, we cherish religious liberty. Yet around the world at this very moment, children of God, including Christians, are targeted and even killed because of their faith. Believers are prevented from gathering at their places of worship. The faithful are imprisoned. Churches are destroyed. So we stand with you in defense of religious freedom and interfaith dialogue, knowing that people everywhere must be able to live out their faith free from fear and intimidation.

Mike Huckabee, however, took issue with Obama’s remarks… because of Kim Davis:

The Obama administration, of course, had nothing to do with Davis’ case, as Huckabee’s Vine implied.

But it revealed how the Religious Right thinks about “persecution.”

Davis’ detention by U.S. Marshals due to her continued refusal to let deputy clerks issue marriage licenses in defiance of a court order was seen by conservatives like Huckabee as part of the “criminalization of Christianity,” no different than actual violence perpetrated against Christians in parts of the Mideast or the imprisonment of Christians in countries like China.

Huckabee marked the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests last year by declaring that “China is becoming more like the United States used to be and the United States is becoming more like China used to be.” He has also claimed that pastors will soon face “criminal charges” for refusing to gay couples’ weddings and said that gay rights supporters won’t stop “until there are no more churches, until there are no more people who are spreading the Gospel.”

“We are moving rapidly towards the criminalization of Christianity,” he often states.

“We’re seeing, certainly at the national level, internally, this battle on marriage, but globally what we’re seeing is that there is an assault on the Christian faith in general,” Huckabee said in response to a pastor who likened gay marriage activists to ISIS members during a conference call earlier this year.

Huckabee isn’t the only one making such dramatic claims about anti-Christian persecution in America.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council compared Davis to a woman who was imprisoned in Sudan for converting to Christianity and Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, who also led Davis’ unsuccessful legal battle, likened Davis to Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

Davis, who was trying to impose her own religious views on others, is not a victim of religious persecution, but that won’t prevent politicians like Huckabee from using her case to whip up claims that American Christians, just like Christians in China or the self-styled Islamic State, are facing oppression from the government.

Donald Trump Heading To Extremist Religious Right Summit

It appears that Donald Trump is stepping up his outreach to the Religious Right, as the Family Research Council today confirmed that the Republican frontrunner will be attending its annual conference, which has become something of a cattle-call for the most radical speakers in the country.

The chief organizer of the Values Voter Summit, FRC’s Tony Perkins, criticized Trump when the candidate initially declined an invitation to the summit, claiming that Trump was neglecting conservative evangelicals and wasn’t trying to “talk about issues they care about” in “a way that is convincing.”

But given that the Values Voter Summit has traditionally been an event at which speakers are wildly cheered for delivering bigoted remarks and self-righteous tirades, Trump will probably fit right in.

Indeed, Trump has embraced the Right’s “persecution complex,” decrying the “War on Christmas” and warning that “before you know it, you won’t be able to go to church.”

He also expounded on his feelings about God during an interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network today:

Well I say God is the ultimate. You know you look at this? Here we are on the Pacific Ocean. How did I ever own this? I bought it fifteen years ago. I made one of the great deals they say ever. I have no more mortgage on it as I will certify and represent to you. And I was able to buy this and make a great deal. That’s what I want to do for the country. Make great deals. We have to, we have to bring it back, but God is the ultimate. I mean God created this (points to his golf course and nature surrounding it), and here’s the Pacific Ocean right behind us. So nobody, no thing, no there’s nothing like God.

Tony Perkins Links Military's 'Preoccupation With Homosexuality' To Afghan Child Abuse Scandal

On Sunday, the New York Times published an alarming account of how U.S. service members were told by higher-ups to ignore the sexual abuse of children by Afghan soldiers fighting the Taliban or else face punishment.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins naturally found a way to link the reported toleration of child abuse to the military’s “preoccupation with homosexuality and transgenderism.”

Perkins told listeners on yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch” that President Obama has destroyed the military’s morality with its policies on LGBT service members and supposed persecution of Christians, linking these policies to the alleged allowance of child abuse in Afghanistan.

Jim Bakker: 'ISIS Has Infiltrated Every Single Church In America'

Last week on “The Jim Bakker Show,” televangelist Jim Bakker said that America will soon get its comeuppance for mocking God, claiming that divine judgment is on its way.

Urging viewers to purchase survivalist food buckets from his ministry, Bakker said that people must prepare for the worst since, after all, “a person that I understand knows what they are talking about ISIS has already infiltrated every single church in America.”

Bakker was likely referring to Rick Wiles, who appeared on his show last month to warn that “Muslims in the Middle East are bragging that they have infiltrated every Christian church in America.”

In turn, Wiles cited Avi Lipkin, a fellow conspiracy theorist who believes that Muslim “spies” have infiltrated “all” churches in the U.S. Lipkin also thinks that the Free Masons, Illuminati and the Trilateral Commission run the world and President Obama plans to settle 100 million Muslims in America on “lands confiscated by Agenda 21.”

Center For Security Policy Takes Boeing Money, Blasts Boeing For Iran Ties

Yesterday on “Secure Freedom Radio,” Andy McCarthy joined Center for Security Policy president Frank Gaffney to discuss the Senate’s failure to pass a resolution blocking the Iran deal, castigating Republicans for their inability to defeat the nuclear accord. Gaffney and McCarthy reasoned that Republicans must have been secretly hoping that the Iran deal would survive congressional resistance.

The two linked the GOP’s supposed unwillingness to block the agreement to donations the party and party leaders have received from the aerospace company Boeing, which they believe stands to profit handsomely from the loosening of sanctions against Iran.

Boeing, they agreed, should be chastised for effectively aiding the Iranian government and the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.

As it would happen, Boeing is also a donor to none other than the Center for Security Policy.

Eli Clifton pointed out last year that Boeing, along with defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman, contributed to Gaffney’s group in 2013, in Boeing’s case to the tune of $25,000.

We hope that Gaffney can reassure us that his group is not part of the Boeing conspiracy to further Iran’s influence in the Middle East.

Savage: Obama's Nomination Of Gay Army Secretary Proves He's A Psychopath

Talk radio host Michael Savage took issue with Obama’s recent nomination of a gay man to be Secretary of the Army, attacking Obama’s nomination of Eric Fanning as a sign that Obama’s “a mad man” and “a psychopath.”

“You don’t understand that a person can be insane and not look crazy, you don’t understand the definition of psychopaths, do you?” Savage said on his program on Friday. “We have an openly mad president who is doing everything he can as quickly as he can to decimate everything that this country stood for, stands for and would stand for.”

Savage, who recently wondered if seltzer water’s “little bubbles of carbon dioxide poisoned the brains” of liberals, also beseeched his listeners not to listen to “the communist, Maoist vermin in the media” composed of “left-wing America-haters, family-haters, God-haters, church-haters, family-haters, drug addicts almost every last one of them.”

“Almost every one of those psycho-leftists are on drugs,” he said.

On the same program, Savage claimed that President Obama is ushering in a Maoist/Muslim Brotherhood cabal to take control over America.

Michael Savage: Only Donald Trump Can Stop Obama From Killing Us All

Conservative talk show host Michael Savage dedicated his Friday radio program to asking whether President Obama is a secret Muslim and, if so, whether he is a Sunni or Shiite Muslim. Savage insisted that Obama supported both the Sunni extremist group ISIS and the Shiite theocracy of Iran, leaving him confused as to Obama’s leanings, until he then reasoned that Obama is actually a Christian after all, but one who practices Liberation Theology just like Pope Francis.

However, Savage ultimately returned to his theory that Obama is in fact a secret Muslim Brotherhood supporter, but also a Maoist. He claimed that “ObaMao” is running a dictatorial socialist system complete with “reeducation camps” — i.e. schools and universities — and “the only thing missing now is the actual beatings, arrests and murders in America.” He predicted that such violent actions are on their way, just as anti-Semitism spread gradually throughout Hitler’s Germany before leading to horrific atrocities. 

“We are living through a very dangerous transition in America right now and there is only one individual who actually knows what is going on and is willing to say it, he is as clear-eyed on it as I am, Donald Trump,” Savage said. “Which is why all the Lilliputians of the Reich are attacking him.”

This, of course, led Savage to beg the parents of Hollywood celebrities to stop their communist children from destroying America through another Maoist Cultural Revolution.

Savage also speculated that the Obama administration has already brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power in the U.S. and very soon American “children will be forced to bow to Allah.”

He said that while liberals deny seeking to murder Obama’s critics, he knows that liberals, such as Fox News host Megyn Kelly, whom he refers to as “Chairman Mao’s mistress” and “Martha Mao,” are closet Maoists who will bring brutal communism to the U.S.

Tony Perkins: No Religious Liberty For Muslims; Islam 'Incompatible With Constitution'

Tony Perkins styles his group, the Family Research Council, as America’s premier defender of religious liberty … even though Perkins himself opposes religious freedom for Muslim-Americans (and perhaps even liberal Christians) and FRC’s vice president has proposed banning mosques and stripping Muslim-Americans of their First Amendment rights.

On his “Washington Watch” radio program yesterday, Perkins repeated his claim that Islam is not protected under the U.S. Constitution.

While discussing GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson’s recent statement that he would never support a Muslim candidate for president, along with the claims of Kim Davis’ critics that a clerk would never receive such praise from the Religious Right had she been a Muslim, Perkins railed against media commentators for “interjecting” Islam “into all of these discussions.” He said that the media is using Islam as a “wedge” to divide conservatives, suggesting that Kim Davis’ decision to impose her Christian beliefs onto her county office was different because Islam is not protected in the Constitution, while Christianity is.

“Religious freedom and our liberty is ordered liberty under the Constitution,” Perkins said. “And as Dr. Carson pointed out, and I know this is driving the left crazy, that Islam is not just a religion, Islam is an economic system, it is a judicial system, it is a compressive system which is incompatible with the Constitution. That’s what Dr. Carson said and he happens to be correct.”

Perkins said that the country is under no obligation to provide legal protections for people “who want to blow — I mean, when was the last time you saw a Baptist trying to blow something up?”

This may surprise Thomas Jefferson, the author of the First Amendment, who made clear while discussing a bill in Virginia that religious freedom protects Muslims and other non-Christians:

Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word "Jesus Christ," so that it should read, "a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination.

Perkins’ remarks also go up against the Treaty of Tripoli, which was negotiated under George Washington, signed by John Adams and approved unanimously by the U.S. Senate in 1797.

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

The only thing Perkins’ remarks truly reveal is that the Family Research Council is more interested in promoting bigoted attacks on minority rights than actually protecting religious freedom.

Mike Huckabee's Plan To Defund Planned Parenthood Would Send US Economy Into Tailspin

On Friday, Mike Huckabee repeated his claim that Congress should end federal funding to Planned Parenthood by linking it to a future measure to raise the debt ceiling, floating the catastrophic idea in an interview with Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson.

Huckabee said that Republicans in Congress should tie Planned Parenthood funding “to the debt ceiling rather than to the budget, because we can continue to function even if we don’t keep moving the debt ceiling.”

He told Republicans to stop “surrendering” to President Obama and instead adopt his plan as a way to cut off funds to Planned Parenthood while also curbing the national debt.

Of course, Huckabee’s plan would also have disastrous consequences for the U.S. economy.

As the Wall Street Journal reported back in 2013, when Republicans nearly refused to raise the debt ceiling, that such a move would have severe reverberations around the world:

Even a temporary failure of the U.S. government to pay its bills would have a “catastrophic” impact on the U.S. and global economy, according to the International Monetary Fund.

U.S. officials warn that the government could run out of cash to pay its social security and military obligations by the middle of next month if lawmakers fail to reach a deal to raise the amount of money the country can borrow, called the debt ceiling.

Even if it was temporary, the IMF estimates that such a shock could shave around a half-percentage point off growth around the world at a fragile stage in the global recovery.

The U.S. treasury had a similar assessment at the time:

And if Congress does not raise the debt limit, raising the possibility of default if the government is unable to meet its bond obligations, Treasury said the results could be worse than the 2008 “Great Recession.”

“In the event that a debt limit impasse were to lead to a default, it could have a catastrophic effect on not just financial markets but also on job creation, consumer spending and economic growth—with many private-sector analysts believing that it would lead to events of the magnitude of late 2008 or worse, and the result then was a recession more severe than any seen since the Great Depression,” the report states.

Politifact points out that “raising the debt ceiling allows the United States government to borrow funds that cover the obligations the government has already incurred” and does not “prompt any new spending.”

Either Huckabee doesn’t understand how the debt ceiling works, or he knows the devastating consequences of such a maneuver but thinks it is worth it just to defund Planned Parenthood.

Scott Walker, Who Said Presidential Bid Was 'God's Plan,' Drops Out

After using a “divide and conquer” strategy to push hard-right policies in Wisconsin, a record that he hoped would shore up right-wing support for his presidential bid, Gov. Scott Walker has reportedly decided to drop out of the race months before the first votes are even cast.

Walker, who went from frontrunner to receiving asterisk-level support in the latest CNN poll, made more news with what he didn’t say than what he did say.

Walker refused to answer many questions asked of him — punting and equivocating when faced with questions about ISISnet neutrality, abortion, marriage equality, homosexuality, President Obama, evolution and immigration — while obfuscating his record, even bragging about his intentionally misleading campaign ads on abortion. He even made the astounding claim that he was immune from committing policy flip-flops because he never served in Congress.

For example, Walker went from supporting immigration reform , to denouncing it and even calling for stricter limits on legal immigration, to supporting it again, to again opposing it. Most recently, Walker took three different positions within a week on whether he supports birthright citizenship (he finally concluded that he has no position). He also said that a U.S.-Canada wall was a “legitimate” proposal he would consider before saying he didn’t actually mean it.

Walker’s tendency to take no positions on anything also came out during the last debate: When asked about the minimum wage, which he had previously called “lame,” Walker deflected to talk about cutting property taxes and repealing Obamacare.

Trailing in the polls, Walker finally returned to his strong suit of attacking the labor movement and blaming all of America’s ills on unions, while promising to “wreak havoc on Washington.” Such anti-union language is typical of the governor who said that people can trust him to fight the country’s enemies as commander-in-chief because he took on pro-labor demonstrators: “If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world.”

For a candidate who took so much time pleasing the GOP’s mega-donors, including the Koch brothers, by pushing through laws aiding corporations while hampering labor unions, regulations, social services on public education, it's rather ironic that his campaign is citing a lack of money for his decision to leave the race.

He will likely also be the first of many candidates to drop out despite having previously insisted that God wanted them in the race. As Walker put it in one fundraising letter:

My relationship with God drives every major decision in my life. Each day I pray and then take time to read from the Bible and from a devotional named Jesus Calling.

As you can imagine, the months leading up to my announcement that I would run for President of the United States were filled with a lot of prayer and soul searching.

Here’s why: I needed to be certain that running was God’s calling -- not just man’s calling. I am certain: This is God’s plan for me and I am humbled to be a candidate for President of the United States.
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