The Faith and Freedom Coalition, the Religious Right group led by disgracedright-winglobbyist Ralph Reed, is holding its annual “Road to Majority” conference next week. Nearly every Republican presidential candidate has signed up for the event, and today, the FFC announced that Ohio Gov. John Kasich will be addressing the conservative summit.
Kasich recently made waves by tapping John Weaver and Fred Davis, two veterans of John McCain’s 2008 campaign, to work for his increasingly likely campaign for president.
The conference is cosponsored by radical right-wing groups such as Concerned Women for America, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family & Property and the World Congress of Families, and will feature speeches from Religious Right favorites such as Reps. Steve King and Louie Gohmert, Fox News pundit Todd Starnes, Christian Broadcasting Network “reporter” David Brody, pastor Jim Garlow, rabbi Daniel Lapin and activists like Phyllis Schlafly, Lila Rose and Gary Bauer.
Clearly, no right-wing activist is too radical or corrupt for Republican presidential candidates to embrace, which is why Kasich, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham and Carly Fiorina have no qualms about attending this event organized by someone like Reed.
Reed is best known for his involvement in the Jack Abramoff scandal, where he organized a Christian Coalition anti-gambling campaign in Alabama with the help of secretive funding from Mississippi tribes that owned casinos – who just so happened to be Abramoff’s clients that didn’t want business competition from the neighboring state. Reed denied knowing the source of the funding, even though investigators uncovered emails from Abramoff asking Reed to send invoices for approval from a Mississippi tribe which controlled major gaming interests. Abramoff later said that Reed “didn't want it out that he was getting gambling money,” adding that Reed was “a tap dancer and constantly just asking for money.”
During his remarks at the Pentagon’s celebration of LGBT Pride Month on Tuesday, Brig. Gen. Randy S. Taylor, who has served in the Army for 27 years, introduced his husband to attendees. Predictably, Taylor’s remarks and other speeches by LGBT service members did not go over well with the far-right, including talk show host Michael Savage, who on Tuesday blasted the Pride event and even managed to draw a connection to ISIS.
“So this is the world we’re living in,” Savage sighed. “This is what Obama has done to America, this is what he has done to the military. A man, a general now, introduces his husband at an event like this. Do you have any idea why ISIS is insane as they are? Do you have any idea that you are looking at two sides of a coin here? You see a ninth-century view of the world from a point of view of ISIS, and you see a view of the world that is so warped and so accepted in America as the norm, that most people’s heads are spinning around the world not understanding how a super power became a ‘stupid power’ in one generation.”
Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy In Media was similarly enraged, taking to BarbWire to castigate “Obama’s Orwellian Armed Forces”:
Indeed, the “wife” or “husband” of a top U.S. general was on display during the Pentagon gay pride ceremony on Tuesday, as reported by Rowan Scarborough of The Washington Times. He noted that Brigadier General Randy S. Taylor introduced his husband, Lucas, at a Pentagon event on Tuesday. Another top Pentagon official, Air Force General Counsel Gordon O. Tanner, also has a husband.
In Obama’s Orwellian Armed Forces, two men make a marriage, even if one takes the title of “wife” and the other “husband.” Or, perhaps, both are husbands. Who knows? I may have to consult the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association for the latest instructions on the correct terminology.
It appears that over the past several years, Obama has been acting as a seamstress, weaving things into the fabric of America that didn’t exist until he took office.
Left behind in the wake of this exercise in building a new nation are the remnants of the old America—traditional values, a strong military, and a constitutional system based on free enterprise and limited government.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins reacted to the event by asking members of his group to pray for the “good soldiers” who, he says, are facing discrimination because the Obama administration is “catering to” gay service members:
Back during the congressional debate over DADT, the military's service chiefs were promised that the Equal Opportunity guidelines would not change -- which, like many other assurances, has turned out to be a bold-faced lie that greased the wheels of repeal. As we've witnessed in the four years since, once the camel's nose was under the tent, the dominos started to fall. Under an affirmative action-type system, what troops do in the bedroom will transcend what they do in battle when it comes to key personnel decisions. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that the military will start catering to gays, lesbians, and transgenders at the expense of good soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. As they have with every incremental change, activists will leverage this new standing as a way to demand access and force affirmation.
Faith and military service have been an inseparable piece of the American fabric for centuries. And to watch that fabric unravel at the hands of a radical few is painful -- but not irreparable. Courage, the same kind that led the great men and women of this country to put on their uniform, is needed more now than ever. Pray for our troops -- not only that they would have the fortitude to fight the enemies abroad, but the agenda within. (emphasis added)
WorldNetDaily, a far-right outlet, spoke about the event with conservative writer Paul Kengor, who said that it denigrated religion and lamented that same-sex relationships are no longer subject to discrimination in the military:
He told WND: “What you’re seeing here is the Left’s and Obama’s fundamental transformation of the military. This is the cultural revolution and long march through America’s most cherished institutions that the radical left, particularly the cultural Marxists, have long sought. This is a takedown.
“They were very shrewd. They understood that once you captured culture via education, media, and Hollywood, the rest would fall in due course. And as Americans become increasingly secular and individualistic and relativistic, they’ve been fairly easy prey. The left took the public schools, the universities, media and social media, Hollywood, and now the Boy Scouts and even the military.”
As evidence of this deliberate campaign, Kengor cited the media’s celebration of Bruce Jenner’s transformation to “Caitlyn” and the recent spate of television shows targeted at children and young people celebrating transgenders.
Kengor observes: “I must say that I’m tempted to congratulate them. They’ve worked long and hard and patiently at this. Unfortunately, it’s just such a shame because they’re ruining what was once a great country. The left laughed at Ronald Reagan’s description of America as a Shining City Upon a Hill. Well, they can take comfort in the fact that it ain’t no Shining City no more.”
Kengor believes military culture is simply following the same cultural trends as the rest of society. He notes homosexuality and other sexually deviant behavior was once seen as a reason to deny a security clearance. However, as public morality has shifted, Kengor argues it is impossible to expect the military to remain permanently aloof from society.
“As for military men openly acknowledging gay ‘husbands’ – hey, why not? Once upon a time in America, such a spousal arrangement would have been a huge security risk inviting instant possibility of blackmail,” he said.
“But that’s no longer the case in a culture and country where behavior like this is celebrated as a joyous expression of liberation and self-expression. In the new fundamentally transformed America, these two soldiers are no longer security risks; they’re cultural icons. They’re the new heroes. They are the new G.I. Joes.”
Kengor warns Americans the new sexually progressive military is unlikely to produce the kinds of legendary military heroes prior generations of Americans once idolized. Indeed, Kengor says many heroic Americans would find no place in the armed services of today.
“I guess I’ll be the one to ask the politically incorrect but obvious question: What would George Patton think of this? Of course, we all know that he was a mere hate-filled homophobe whose abiding anti-marriage-equality bigotry should have forever disqualified him from disserving our military.”
More importantly, said Kengor, the transformation of the military into a pro-homosexual and pro-transgender force is only a step toward what he sees as the left’s final goal of driving religion entirely out of public life.
“Marriage is within their grasp. What’s next? The greatest foe of all: God and religion. A victory there would be the secular left’s ideological apotheosis.” (emphasis added)
Last week on “The Savage Nation,” Michael Savage railed against Hillary Clinton’s speech at Texas Southern University, where she called for improved voter access and challenged Republican politicians who back restrictions on voting rights.
Linking her remarks to a legal effort to challenge such restrictions in court funded in part by George Soros, whom he called “one of the most evil men in the history of the world,” Savage concluded that Clinton and Soros are waging war against white people in America. “He’s like the evil genius,” Savage said of Soros. “He’s everything Jesus warned us against.”
Savage said that Clinton didn’t dedicate the speech to attacking ISIS because “she wants to defeat only the white person in America by coming up with this big lie, it’s like a blood libel.”
“It’s like blood libel from the worst of the white race is coming out of their mouths now,” Savage said. “The lowest, lowest level of humanity is popping up out of the white race to try and grab power by attacking white people in order to steam up black people and the young and minorities and illegal aliens. It’s a sickening situation.”
Savage also called Clinton “Goebbels in a skirt, a hatemonger, an ugly hatemonger, a monster who is not qualified to lead a sewer brigade let alone a nation such as ours,” while likening her campaign officials to Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl.
Remember when Muslims took to the streets of New York to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks? No? Well, Jason and David Benham remember that totally real 9/11 celebration and were in fact American heroes who traveled to New York just to put a stop to it.
David Benham told WND that “on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Jason and I went to New York City and I remember watching radical Muslims marching through our streets screaming, ‘Allahu Akbar,’ and I stepped into the middle of the street and I began to proclaim the gospel and let them know that that stuff is not welcome in our nation.”
In fact, Jason Benham said, this brave stand against a pro-9/11 rally got the Benhams labeled “anti-Muslim” by us here at Right Wing Watch! “That is one of the things that Right Wing Watch had pulled out, some comments that he made during that celebration where they were saying, ‘Allah conquers everything,’ and David stood up and boldly proclaimed, ‘No he does not,’ and that’s how we got the label that we are anti-Muslim,” Jason said.
David added: “We’re not anti-Muslim, we love individuals and especially peace-loving Muslims, but I am anti-any idea that would seek to take our freedoms away and take the lives of innocent people, especially anybody that would want to silence biblical Christianity.”
In our report on the Benhams’ right-wing activism, activism which they at first strenuously denied in the midst of the controversy surrounding their planned HGTV show, we excerpted a single paragraph from a report published by the Anti-Defamation League about David Benham’s involvement in an anti-Muslim demonstration organized by Operation Save America, the far-right group run by David and Jason’s father Flip Benham:
David Benham, Flip Benham's son and an OSA spokesman, called the Islamic center a "den of iniquity," and referred to Muslims as "the enemy attacking" America. Benham, portraying the United States as a Christian nation, also drew this distinction: "The difference between Islam and Christianity: Islam takes life and enslaves it. Christianity lays its life down and sets you free." The day prior to the demonstration, OSA released a statement asserting that [it] seeks to convert Muslims who are "enslaved in the tyrannical bondage of Islam" to Christianity.
The demonstration that the Benhams were participating in was not a 9/11 celebration. Instead, it was a protest of plans to build an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan, dubbed the “Ground Zero Mosque” by anti-Muslim activists. (The community center’s detractors neglected to mention that a Muslim prayer room existed in the south tower of the World Trade Center and there was already a mosque four blocks away from the site.)
Since Spring 2010, OSA has exploited the controversy surrounding the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero by renewing their efforts to demonize Islam. On the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, several OSA leaders organized a protest in downtown Manhattan against the Islamic center. At the protest, held the same day as the rally organized by Stop the Islamization of America, Reverend Rusty Lee Thomas, assistant director of the OSA, said that the religion of Islam was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. "[The center] is a dagger in the heart of our nation by a religion that killed 3000 of our citizens on September 11, 2001," he said.
Thomas also asked rhetorically, "But why are mosques springing up all over the United States of America? Why are Muslims coming in droves, buying us up and buying us out? Why were we blissfully ignorant of Islam on September 11, 2001, and now there is not a day under the Obama administration we are not being inundated with Islamic indoctrination?"
Ante Pavkovic, described by OSA as its regional director in Charlotte, North Carolina, told rally participants: "How is it…that they are on the verge of building a mosque and insulting us, and offending us, and trampling on the all those that died. Why is Islam gaining in our nation? Why are our leaders assenting to, appealing to, and appeasing the Muslims? Well, we know why. We as a nation have departed from our god."
David Benham, Flip Benham's son and an OSA spokesman, called the Islamic center a "den of iniquity," and referred to Muslims as "the enemy attacking" America. Benham, portraying the United States as a Christian nation, also drew this distinction: "The difference between Islam and Christianity: Islam takes life and enslaves it. Christianity lays its life down and sets you free." The day prior to the demonstration, OSA released a statement asserting that seeks to convert Muslims who are "enslaved in the tyrannical bondage of Islam" to Christianity.
OSA has been protesting at mosques and harassing Muslim worshippers since 2001, when the group described Islam on its Web site as a "false religion, birthed from the very pit of hell [that] has led to the eternal damnation of billions of precious people." For years, Flip Benham and his supporters approached Muslims outside their houses of worship to communicate that "Islam and Christianity cannot peacefully coexist. They are at war," according to OSA's Web site.
Such messages were delivered by the group on August 6, 2010, when Reverend Benham and other OSA activists harassed worshippers after Friday prayers outside Masjid An-Noor in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Activists reportedly shouted at worshippers leaving and entering the mosque that “Jesus hates Muslims” and “Islam is a lie.”
A few weeks later, OSA activist Pastor Mark Holick was arrested in Wichita, Kansas, after refusing to move his protest against the Islamic Center of Wichita to a location designated by police. Holick reportedly tried to disseminate OSA “Gospel tracts,” described later by media as “anti-Muslim DVDs,” to individuals on their way to the mosque.
Blackwell said that how Americans respond to “a wrong decision in this marriage case” will be just as important as the nation’s response to the Civil War, World War II and the September 11, 2001 attacks. Such a ruling would be “another one of those challenging moments, defining moments as to attest of how we response as a nation, but how we also respond as believers, as Christians,” he said.
Blackwell similarly told Tony Perkins, the head of the FRC, on yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch” that gay marriage would be a historic wrong, saying that the public must “take a stand” against its legalization “because it is just as pivotal as the Civil War, World War II and our response to 9/11 as a human community.”
“It’s impossible to marry two men to each other or two women, it’s just not possible,” King said. “The two cannot become one. It is biologically impossible, scientifically impossible, emotionally impossible, definitely spiritually impossible. You can actually hold a gun, Heaven forbid, and say, ‘do this marriage,’ now he or she may say, ‘okay,’ or they may say, ‘I won’t,’ but even if they speak the words, it is not possible, it is impossible. We have to be able to articulate that on all the levels we just said: spiritual, physical, science.”
King also gave advice on what to say to gay family members, whom she said are experiencing great “confusion.”
King said that she told her children’s godfather, who is gay – a role she gave him before she “understood the Bible,” she said – that his “lifestyle is not going to work for you in eternity” and that he should remain celibate.
She also explained to a “lesbian who is living openly with a lady” that she only “thinks” she is married since she “really can’t be married.”
After Fournier warned that gay marriage is ushering in anti-Christian discrimination and countless harms to society, Penny Starr of CNS News, a right-wing outlet, asked the panelists how people should speak to their children about seeing gay couples holding hands “out in the public.”
King responded that “little children are often confused” because they know in their hearts that homosexuality isn’t right, but schools are pushing LGBT-inclusive curricula in schools: “It is not healthy and there are many studies, there are probably more studies saying that prove that it is not healthy for the children than there are that say it is okay, but the media will promote the ones that say it is okay but won’t let you see the ones that tell the truth. I personally could really testify about children being harmed and very confused.”
“You can say it until you are blue in the face that this is all going to be great, we’re all going to be free and liberated,” Fournier insisted. “We’re not. It’s going to lead to disaster, ultimately.”
Fournier also predicted that Christians in America will soon, just like the early Christians who lived during the Roman Empire, face persecution and be treated as “enemies of the state.”
Ken Blackwell, an FRC official who previously served as the secretary of state of Ohio, where he notoriously curbed voting access in the 2004 presidential election, said that anti-LGBT activists should take lessons in “direct action of resistance” from “the great Civil Rights Movement” and opponents of abortion rights.
He suggested that LGBT rights victories must be resisted since they are paving the way for a totalitarian form of government: “We are now at one of those pivotal moments in our nation’s history because any survey of human history will let you know that every totalitarian regime throughout human history, every authoritarian regime, every big welfare state regime, from the Bolsheviks to the Chinese to an administration that is growing the state right here in America, there are two things that they do. They destroy or weaken the family because the family, within our experience, is the incubator of liberty. Two, they silence the church and those in the pews of the church.”
The Family Research Council’s Craig James, a former professional football player and sports broadcaster, has a new strategy to win the Black Church to the Republican Party: recruit LeBron James to be a Religious Right spokesman.
James spoke last week with conservative Virginia activist E.W. Jackson on the FRC’s “Washington Watch” program last week, where the two called on Black Church leaders to oppose Democratic candidates and instead back Republican politicians. James hailed Jackson, the 2013 GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, who lost by over 10 points, as a “phenomenal candidate” (he wasn’t), and wondered how black pastors can start building relationships with the GOP.
One way black voters will realize that Republicans will help them, James said, is if “role models coming from the sports community” tout their conservative effort: “There’s so much focus on these superstars within our communities and a guy like LeBron James. I like the NBA, I’m a huge fan of LeBron’s, I don’t know him personally, I would be highly disappointed if I’m wrong in the image that he portrays, but someone like LeBron James at some point has to step up in a political manner and say what you’re saying, stand toe-to-toe with you, Bishop E.W. Jackson, in these communities to get the attention and the trust of the folks for the vote.”
GOP presidential candidates are flocking to a conservative talk show hosted by Jan Mickelson, along with programs hosted by Steve Deace and Simon Conway, since these Iowa-based radio personalities hold sway over the upcoming February 1 caucuses.
On Friday, Mickelson spoke to two announced candidates, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who told him during the show that President Obama is “redistributing poverty” to states like Iowa, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
When Graham tried to draw a parallel between the American Civil War and the current conflict in Iraq, Mickelson jumped in to defend the Confederacy: “I don’t consider the North amongst ourselves. You mentioned capturing territory, I’m considering [Fort] Sumter, Sumter was South Carolinian territory and you were invaded, pretty much like the Russians are invading the Ukraine.”
Graham pleaded: “I can’t go down that road. I’m all for the union.”