Brian Tashman's blog

Texas Conservatives Mobilizing To Bring Back State GOP's Hardline Anti-Immigrant Platform

Just two years after the Texas GOP passed a resolution in support of a national guest-worker program, Republican activists are hoping to scrap the plank at this week’s state party convention.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that several delegates have complained that the provision amounts to “amnesty” and doesn’t send the message that “illegal immigration is illegal and shouldn’t be tolerated.”

While Texas Republicans have pledged to focus on outreach to immigrant communities, their gubernatorial nominee, Attorney General Greg Abbott, has pushed anti-immigrant policies and once described South Texas as a “Third World country.”

The GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Dan Patrick, has railed against the “illegal invasion,” linking undocumented immigrants to rape, murder and terrorism. He also accused immigrants of “bringing Third World diseases with them.”

“They threaten your family. They threaten your life. They threaten your business. They threaten our state,” he said.

One prominent Latino Republican activist blasted Patrick and dubbed him “the Pete Wilson of Texas,” adding: “I don't know of one Hispanic Republican who isn’t appalled by Dan Patrick.”

Among those advocating for the return to more hardline language is the Texas Eagle Forum, the group led by former state GOP chairwoman Cathie Adams. Its proposed resolution on “amnesty” explicitly opposes reform efforts:

WHEREAS, The United States takes in more legal immigrants than any nation in the world;

WHEREAS, according to recent estimates, 11-20 million people are in the U.S. illegally; and WHEREAS, illegal employment and illegal immigration have a negative effect on American workers actively seeking jobs, and taxpayers who are saddled with paying illegals’ healthcare, education and welfare benefits;

WHEREAS, President Obama and many Congressional leaders are calling for amnesty for the 11-20 million illegal immigrants, thereby negating millions of immigrants who have been patiently waiting to be admitted legally to the United States.

THEREFORE BE IT IS RESOLVED that we reject any and all calls for blanket or incremental amnesty and encourage the enforcement of existing state and federal laws regarding border security, national security, immigration and employment.

Adams is especially worried that immigration reform will bring about the End Times:

Dinesh D'Souza Says There Would Have Been 'A Massive Revolt' Against Obama If It Hadn't Been For The Meddling Media

In case you thought that Dinesh D’Souza’s sex scandal would get him in trouble with his supporters in the Religious Right, rest assured that the “pro-family” movement is still enthralled by his outlandish anti-Obama rhetoric.

For example, D’Souza told right-wing broadcaster Janet Mefferd yesterday that “under normal circumstances, we would actually have a massive revolt in this country right now” against President Obama if it wasn’t for the “sycophantic, lapdog media” that treats Obama like “the second coming.”

Oh, so that’s why events built around forcing Obama out of office – like Operation American Spring and Reclaim America Now – were miserable failures. It was the media’s fault!

BarbWire Pundit Says Transgender Boy Is Possessed By Demons

Writing today for BarbWire, ex-gay activist Matt Moore concedes that he does not “understand what people with gender identity issues experience,” but is still more than comfortable declaring that transgender people, specifically the six-year-old transgender boy Ryland Whittington, are possessed by the Devil:

With all that said, I get angry because of stories about kids like Ryland. Angry at people. Angry as sin. Angry at Satan.

I am not the type of person that believes Satan is hiding behind every rock, but I do think that there is a demonic element at play when little girls actually start to think they’re little boys, or little boys actually start to think they’re little girls. Actually, I’m sure that demons are all up in that. God created men and women to reflect His image and Satan is all about distorting God’s image. How better a way to do that than to get the image bearers to go against their own physical and biological make up? So-called transgender-ism is a literal rejection of God’s creation and image. Satan loves it.

But Satan is not only to blame for this confusion. We are too.



I hope that in the days to come — where sexual and gender identity confusion is going to abound more and more — followers of Jesus will be just as vocal with the truth as Satan and the world are with lies. I hope we won’t begin to give up on people or on our culture. I hope we won’t begin to disbelieve in God’s transforming mercy, grace and love available in Christ. I hope we won’t believe that He’s done working in the world and that we’re just here to “wait it out” among all the evil and confusion until he comes. I hope we won’t cower down, shrivel up and shrink back. I hope we don’t get hateful and bitter. I hope we don’t start pronouncing condemnation and judgment instead of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus.

Tony Perkins Claims ENDA Will Turn America Into Nazi Germany, Do Away With First Amendment

With right-wing opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) becoming increasingly unhinged, it was no surprise that Family Research Council president Tony Perkins warned members in an email today that ENDA would destroy businesses, entire communities, and the First Amendment.

Perkins writes that ENDA, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to current non-discrimination protections such as race, religion, gender and disability, would “banish” Christians from society and have them “stripped of their livelihood” while turning America into Nazi Germany.

They're pushing ENDA again -- the Employment Non-Discrimination Act -- which would strip Americans of their religious liberties. No longer will an employer be able to make employment decisions based on what qualities or characteristics are most relevant to a particular job. Instead, ENDA will grant special rights and privileges, special power over an employer's religious convictions, to an entire group of people -- simply because of their preference for a certain type of sexual activity.

This is the most perverse distortion of the Constitution of the United States imaginable. And is more likely to impact you personally than ever before. Because ENDA is the federal government forcing a pro-homosexual point of view upon the entire (supposedly "free") marketplace.



You enjoy working in a Christian-owned business, for example. It's a great place to work, a good family-friendly environment. If your company does any work with the federal government, or if you're a subcontractor to a business holding a federal contract, you could suddenly find that your company's policies, if they reflect biblical views and values, are considered a violation -- and the company could lose that contract. Company revenues plummet. People get laid off. Maybe the company has to close its doors altogether and you are out of work.

As businesses are boarded up, whole communities will be affected. But the powerful anti-Christian lobby will dust off their hands: mission accomplished.

ENDA takes the chilling concept of "Big Brother" one diabolical step further . . . to "Big Bully." The federal government becomes the "enforcer" for liberal activists, driving anyone with a traditional view of natural marriage into the shadows ... because of the threat of a federal lawsuit.

You no longer enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of religion, or freedom of association. The First Amendment is dead to you -- because of your biblical views on the sin of homosexuality.



If the federal government can coerce you to comply with its views . . . cooperate with its policies . . . contribute to its plans for the transformation of America . . .

. . . well, sadly, this looks more and more like totalitarianism. We only have to look back to 1930 in Germany, or the USSR in the 1950s, to see what happens when leaders impose a totalitarian state on the people.



They are pushing for America to conform to their ideology. Freedom of speech and religion have no place in their vision. We can't let it happen.



. . . then anyone in America can be targeted ... called out ... pilloried in the public square . . . stripped of their livelihood ... branded as a "bigot" and banished from "society."

Oliver North (Yes, Oliver North) Accuses Obama Of 'Financing A Terrorist Organization' With Bergdahl Release

Newsmax host and former Republican congressman J.D. Hayworth added his voice today to the growing right-wing outrage over the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in a prisoner exchange with the Taliban, and what better person to discuss the situation with than Oliver North!

North demanded that the media ask the Obama administration if there was “a ransom, a fiscal, financial, money transaction,” with the Taliban as part of the deal. “Was there a ransom paid? Did the government of the United States, either directly or indirectly, finance a terrorist organization?”

North, of course, was heavily involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, in which Reagan administration officials unlawfully sold arms to Iran in hopes of releasing American hostages and used the proceeds of the sale to illegally fund Contra militants in Nicaragua, and then attempted to cover up their work.

The independent counsel report of the scandal details North’s involvement:

The Iran/contra affair concerned two secret Reagan Administration policies whose operations were coordinated by National Security Council staff. The Iran operation involved efforts in 1985 and 1986 to obtain the release of Americans held hostage in the Middle East through the sale of U.S. weapons to Iran, despite an embargo on such sales. The contra operations from 1984 through most of 1986 involved the secret governmental support of contra military and paramilitary activities in Nicaragua, despite congressional prohibition of this support.

The Iran and contra operations were merged when funds generated from the sale of weapons to Iran were diverted to support the contra effort in Nicaragua. Although this ``diversion'' may be the most dramatic aspect of Iran/contra, it is important to emphasize that both the Iran and contra operations, separately, violated United States policy and law.2 The ignorance of the ``diversion'' asserted by President Reagan and his Cabinet officers on the National Security Council in no way absolves them of responsibility for the underlying Iran and contra operations.



The operational conspiracy was the basis for Count One of the 23-count indictment returned by the Grand Jury March 16, 1988, against Poindexter, North, Secord, and Hakim. It charged the four with conspiracy to defraud the United States by deceitfully:

(1) supporting military operations in Nicaragua in defiance of congressional controls;

(2) using the Iran arms sales to raise funds to be spent at the direction of North, rather than the U.S. Government; and

(3) endangering the Administration's hostage-release effort by overcharging Iran for the arms to generate unauthorized profits to fund the contras and for other purposes.



The illegal activities of the private citizens involved with the North and Secord operations are discussed in detail in Part V. The off-the-books conduct of the two highly secret operations circumvented normal Administration accountability and congressional oversight associated with covert ventures and presented fertile ground for financial wrongdoing. There were several funding sources for the contras' weapons purchases from the covert-action Enterprise formed by North, Secord and Hakim:

(1) donations from foreign countries;

(2) contributions from wealthy Americans sympathetic to President Reagan's contra support policies; and

(3) the diversion of proceeds from the sale of arms to Iran.

Ultimately, all of these funds fell under the control of North, and through him, Secord and Hakim.

North used political fundraisers Carl R. Channell and Richard R. Miller to raise millions of dollars from wealthy Americans, illegally using a tax-exempt organization to do so. These funds, along with the private contributions, were run through a network of corporations and Swiss bank accounts put at North's disposal by Secord and Hakim, through which transactions were concealed and laundered. In late 1985 through 1986 the Enterprise became centrally involved in the arms sales to Iran. As a result of both the Iran and contra operations, more than $47 million flowed through Enterprise accounts.

Ken Ham Cites White House Science Fair To Promote Teaching Creationism In Public Schools

Creation Museum founder Ken Ham found it “ironic” that Bill Nye, who joined Ham in a debate on Creationism earlier this year, attended the White House Science Fair.

Ham wrote on his blog yesterday that evolution didn’t play a role in any of the projects featured in the fair, which he believes proves that teaching Creationism in public schools would not “undermine technology.”

“The students could all be biblical creationists and that wouldn’t change even one aspect of their experiments and ideas,” he said.

On May 27, President Obama hosted the “White House Science Fair.” The White House describes this fair as featuring “extraordinary science projects and experiments from some of America’s most innovative students.”

President Obama introduced various government officials, and then the fifth person he introduced was Bill Nye “the Science Guy” of TV fame. Nye received the loudest applause, and President Obama then commented on that response. I actually thought it was ironic that Bill Nye was present. Let me explain.



During that debate, Bill Nye made disparaging statements about the state of Kentucky, claiming that if students were not taught evolution in school, it would undermine technology. In fact he’s made many similar statements before and after the debate.



I have a question about the fair and its experiments: Please tell me what the role of a belief in evolution played in any of these experiments and innovative ideas? The answer is none! Evolution is not mentioned. The students could all be biblical creationists and that wouldn’t change even one aspect of their experiments and ideas. Isn’t it ironic, that Bill Nye, who has stated over and over again that students will not be innovative if they believe in creation, was present for these innovative students to be honored—and evolution had zero to do with their accomplishments!

He went on to invite students to attend a camp organized by the Creation Museum:

It’s not beliefs in evolution that are foundational to technology—it’s the Christian worldview founded in the Creator who created the laws of logic, the laws of nature, and the uniformity of nature!

To help your students love science and be innovative—don’t let them be taught by Bill Nye. Send them instead to the Creation Museum, and sign them up for the STEM camp this summer that is run by biblical creationists.

Stop Gay Marriage, Because Gun Rights

We have already heard from right-wing leaders about how blocking immigration reform is needed to preserve gun rights, but now one anti-gay activist argues that opposition to marriage equality is also linked to gun issues.

Former Pennsylvania lawmaker Sam Rohrer, who now leads the American Pastors Network, held a press conference yesterday demanding that Gov. Tom Corbett appeal a federal court ruling striking down the state’s ban on marriage equality, suggesting that the governor’s refusal to do so may jeopardize gun rights:

“If the federal government comes back and says, ‘We’re going to take away your guns – Second Amendment,’ and eviscerate that, or, ‘We’re going to take away private property rights,’ do you think this legislature or this governor is going to stand up and say, ‘Well, that’s fine, go ahead and do it’? Because if we do, we don’t live in a republic anymore.”

Rohrer blasted the court’s decision as “tyranny” and called for the removal of Judge John E. Jones III, who was appointed by George W. Bush and backed by then-Sen. Rick Santorum.

He also accused Jones of thinking that he is God:

"Let's be clear, this ruling was made by one man - a federal district judge unelected and unaccountable. Politically appointed, never facing the voters and never answering to the press, many people in this position when unrestrained by moral truth, perceive themselves to be above the law," said Rohrer, who held the press conference in the Rotunda of the state Capitol. "Indeed, their arrogance makes them appear as if they think they are God."



Rohrer accused Jones - who in ruling the former ban on gay marriage as a violation of constitutional rights said the law should be "discarded into the ash heap of history"...because "we are better people than these laws" - of aggressive ideological elitism. The pastor added that Jones seemed to have an "undeveloped or distorted understanding" of the basis for civil law, adding that the judge may have been motivated by an intentional defiance of God.

One pastor who joined Rohrer at the press conference said the ban on same-sex marriage was needed to stop crime in the African-American community:

The Rev. Todd Johnson, pastor at First Immanuel Baptist Church in Philadelphia, said the future welfare of the black community hinged on the protection of traditional marriage.

"Marriage is biblical and sacred honor between one man and one woman," he said. "In the African-American community, the statistics are overwhelming: in traditional families anchored by the marriage of one man and one woman, children are less likely to commit a crime, less likely to have babies out of wedlock, more likely to graduate from school, and more likely to participate in the workforce in a meaningful way."

Johnson said the uptick in negative statistics in the black community has coincided with the dismantling of the nuclear family.

"Governor Corbett's decision shows a lack of traditional moral leadership, and in the end, it will have a tremendously negative impact on the already declining family structure in the urban African-American community," Johnson said.

Bob Vander Plaats Says Republicans Will Defeat Gay Rights 'Just Like With Slavery'

Yesterday, Iowa conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats once again compared the GOP’s fight against marriage equality to efforts to abolish slavery, proclaiming that Republicans will win their battle against gay rights “just like with slavery.”

The Family Leader president spoke with radio host Steve Deace about Republican politicians who they believe are caving on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Deace, for example, blamed Pennsylvania Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s dismal polling on his refusal to appeal a court ruling which struck down his state’s ban on same-sex marriage, even though Corbett has had terrible polling numbers for several years.

Vander Plaats, whose group once claimed that black families were better off under slavery than they are today, said that Republicans should preserve their anti-gay stance: “We actually stand for what God has designed because, just like with slavery, the truth is on our side. We can win this battle.”

Hobby Lobby President's Bible Curriculum Provides Faulty Lessons On Slavery, Women's Suffrage And Albert Einstein

A new report from the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund details how a pilot high school curriculum developed by Hobby Lobby’s president Steve Green is loose with the facts and flouts constitutional boundaries on religious instruction in public schools and is loose with the facts.

TFN’s report [PDF], authored by Southern Methodist University religious studies professor Mark Chancy and released today, details the numerous ways in which the Green-backed curriculum tried to “promote particular religious viewpoints” in its presentation of the Bible, closely following the teachings of “some, but not all, conservative Protestant circles.”

Chancey writes that the curriculum, called “The Book: The Bible's History, Narrative and Impact,” “builds its case for this view on oversimplifications, misrepresentations, logical fallacies, and outright mistakes,” and takes its “cues from the literature of conservative Christian apologetics rather than academic scholarship.”

The report details how Green’s curriculum plan credits the Bible for ending slavery and bans on women voting, while also citing Albert Einstein in an attempt to confirm Creationism and favorably comparing the neo-Confederate film “The Birth of a Nation” to the biblical book of Exodus.

Contrary to the claims of many Religious Right activists, neither the Bible nor prayer are banned from public schools. However, schools are not allowed to write or organize prayers, and similarly cannot use lessons on the Bible to promote or discourage religion.

The curriculum, however, follows Green's lead by strongly affirming the Bible's complete accuracy. For example, it presents Adam, Eve, and all other biblical characters unambiguously as historical personages. It frames stories of God's interactions with various characters in such a way as to suggest that those passages, too, reflect historical events. (“Was Moses mentally unstable? No. His titanic swings of emotion and behavior sprang from his special call to stand in the gap between God and the people.”) “Travel through Time” sections found throughout the book encourage students to read biblical passages not only as reflections of the ancient cultures that produced them, but also as accurate historical accounts. The book also unquestioningly affirms traditional claims about the authorship of biblical books (i.e., Mosaic authorship of the Torah) without alerting students to the fact that much of the scholarly community as well as many Jews and Christians reject such claims for many books.

At one point, Albert Einstein makes a surprising appearance to shore up a biblical story's seeming inconsistency. To reconcile Genesis's description of the creation of light on the first day of creation with the fact that the sun is not created until day four, the book appeals to the Theory of Relativity: Because “energy and mass are equivalent and transmutable” and “all matter is also energy,” then “could it be that creation begins with the advent of energy?” Such reasoning, it suggests, “seems to correlate nicely with the Big Bang Theory of creation, a mighty explosion releasing tremendous amounts of energy.” The section closes by asking, “Could it be that light on day one refers to the initial energy [of the Big Bang] released into our cosmos?” This is obviously an impossible interpretation to attribute to the authors of Genesis or to any readers before 20th-century scientists developed the Big Bang theory. Its function is to attempt to reconcile a six-day creation and modern science, an urgent concern for religious communities that associate the Bible's authority with its complete accuracy.



The curriculum argues similarly, suggesting that the Bible is the source of women's suffrage, abolition, freedom of the press, and equal rights. Juxtaposing American freedom with the denial of civil rights elsewhere (“in some nations, women ... are not even allowed to drive a car or go outside their houses alone”), it urges, “Let us hope that winds of change will continue to bring to these countries the loving example of a thirsty rabbi,” that is, Jesus. The implication is that equality in America is not only a fully accomplished project but also one for which the Bible deserves primary credit, practically to the exclusion of the rest of the Western philosophical tradition (particularly Enlightenment thought). Such comments tend to mask the unfortunate fact that in both the past and the present, the Church has all too often not lived up to the egalitarian ideals the curriculum attributes to Jesus.



Constitutional issues aside, many of the book's remarks and mistakes are simply odd, often in ways that reflect only superficial knowledge of the matter under discussion. For example, is its passing observation that first-century CE Samaritan women could not vote meant to imply that democratic rights were widespread elsewhere in the ancient world? Elsewhere, the course wrongly defines the Jewish Sabbath simply as Saturday, rather than from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Its brief discussion of the American Civil War rightly names slavery as a principal cause, but a nearby caption instead characterizes the issue as achieving “civil rights” for southern slaves, an understatement of slaves' needs if ever there were one.

On a related note, many film buffs will not miss the irony of the curriculum's blithe suggestion that the Book of Exodus, which tells the story of the ancient Hebrews' deliverance from slavery, “could be titled The Birth of a Nation (like the American film classic).” D. W. Griffith's 1915 movie about the Civil War and its aftermath famously portrayed freed slaves as brutal, uncivilized, sexual aggressors. Originally known as The Clansman, it lionized the Reconstruction-era Ku Klux Klan and helped spur the creation of the modern Klan. The movie concludes its approving portrayal of violent Klan suppression of African Americans with a hopeful vision of a peaceful, heavenly future for whites under the watchful care of Jesus. Needless to say, the curriculum's passing comparison of Exodus to this movie is an unfortunate and inadequate introduction for high schoolers to this particular episode of film history.

Pat Robertson Thinks Cutting Air Pollution Won't Prevent Asthma Attacks, But Watching '700 Club' Can

In response to new EPA rules cutting carbon emissions, Pat Robertson mocked President Obama and EPA officials as “highly motivated zealots” who “worship the environment and worship climate.”

“The inmates have taken over the asylum,” the “700 Club” host said today. “There seems to be no relationship to actual, on ground activity.”

Despite evidence that air pollution is linked toheart attacks and respiratory diseases like asthma, Robertson mocked Obama for claiming that reducing pollutants would reduce asthma attacks and save lives: “Maybe he has a touch with the divine somehow.”

And why shouldn’t Robertson feel that way?

Instead of working to reduce air pollution, why doesn’t Obama just have everyone watch the “700 Club,” where Robertson will cure his viewers of asthma.

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