Yesterday, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, spoke with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council about Donald Trump’s appeal to evangelical voters.
While both Gohmert and Perkins have endorsed Ted Cruz and were campaigning for the Texas senator in Iowa before the “Washington Watch” interview, the two said that Trump is winning over some conservative evangelicals because they are fed up with anti-Christian “persecution” and “sick of the nation being fundamentally transformed away from being a Christian nation.”
How a sitting member of Congress can possibly believe that he is facing persecution for being a member of the country’s largest religious group shows just how absurd Religious Right’s persecution narrative has become. And, ironically enough, these conservative leaders are now worrying that their manufactured paranoia of religious persecution may end up sinking their preferred candidate and help Trump.
Gohmert: I understand where so many believers, so many Christians have been in the past seven years, we now are experiencing something I never thought I would experience in my life, I never experienced it growing up and it’s what Jesus promised us would happen, and that is, ‘You will be persecuted for my sake.’ I never got persecuted growing up in Texas and I bet you didn’t in Louisiana, but we’re being persecuted now, Christians are being persecuted here for our religious beliefs and I think people are so sick of the nation being fundamentally transformed away from being a Christian nation.
You know, it reminds me maybe of the children of Israel. They had not been as faithful to God as they should have and things weren’t going like they wanted so they said, ‘God, give us a king and he can fix all this,’ and God said, ‘That’s not what’s going to fix it and it’s not a good idea.’ But I get the feeling people are thinking, if we can just have somebody that is as narcissistic and self-centered and will stand up to anybody as Obama is, then that person can go back and fix it. That’s a problem.
Perkins: What I see as I travel the country is there’s a fear, a fear that the country has changed, that we’re losing the country, just a fear of the loss of religious freedom. But we have to operate in faith, not fear. Fear causes us to make the wrong choices and go the wrong direction.
On Tuesday, Religious Right activist Bradlee Dean appeared on “The Real Side with Joe Messina,” where he criticized “the homosexual industry, or lobby, in America” for going to “war with Scripture.”
Dean also had a message for “radical” gay rights advocates: “Those radicals need to be lawfully dealt with because they are radical, they mean to divide and conquer, they mean to make war against real Christianity.”
“I’ve yet to find a situation where a homosexual could actually verify the fact that they were the victim of someone actually hating on them,” he said. “I have yet to see it.”
Ted Cruz has comeunderfire from Mike Huckabee and a super PAC linked to Huckabee’s campaign for his failure to tithe sufficiently, an awkward political attack at a time when Cruz is boasting of his own personal religiosity in an effort to coalesce evangelical support behind his candidacy.
He explained to David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network that he didn’t tithe because he was “newly married” and “just started a family.” However, as Mediaite pointed out, Cruz has been financially well-off for years.
One of the people who believes Cruz is on a God-appointed mission to become president is his father, Rafael Cruz, a top campaign surrogate and fiery preacher of bunk Christian nationalist history and anti-gay rhetoric who speaks about his son in almost messianicterms. Interestingly enough, as BuzzFeed pointed out, he has also “preached fervently to evangelical crowds about the blessings God will rain down on those who tithe mightily.”
Indeed, the elder Cruz has told crowds that God will withhold blessings from those who don’t tithe because they are stealing from Him. In a 2012 sermon dug up by Warren Throckmorton today, Rafael Cruz said that Satan would come after all those who fail to tithe and that financial struggle is no excuse not to do so.
The first thing I ask someone that comes to me and asks me, ‘Oh, I need you to pray for my finances because I don’t have enough, I can’t pay my rent,’ first thing I ask is, ‘Are you tithing?’ If you’re not, why should God bless you? You read Malachi 3:7, he says if you’re not tithing, you’re stealing from God. Why should God bless you?
So when you don’t have any money, that’s when it is the most important that the first thing you do is an offering unto the Lord because that offering sanctifies the rest and opens up the windows of heaven. As a matter of fact, Malachi 3:11 says that when you do that, he rebukes the Devourer. But you know, the opposite is also true. If you do not do it, the Devourer is going to eat everything you’ve got. And you know, ‘If God is for you then who can be against you?’
While whether or not a candidate tithes normally wouldn’t be a matter of discussion on the campaign trail, Cruz has forced the issue by trying to tell voters that they should vote for him if they want to be on the right side of God.
“By fashioning himself as the candidate of ‘the body of Christ,’ Cruz is trying to make it seem that he is the candidate of Christians writ large, when there are millions of American Christians who don't agree with Cruz's take on biblical values or politics,” our colleague Peter Montgomery has written. “This kind of rhetoric also sends a clear message to non-Christians that Cruz sees them as some kind of lesser Americans who have no real role in building our shared future.”
While Huckabee thanked Christian News Wire, which just posts press releases from different groups and activists, the statement actually came from Andrew.
In his press release, titled “5 Reasons Why Mike Huckabee is #1 for Traditional Marriage,” Andrew warned that “Christians could be jailed with Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden. The reason is they think same-sex marriage is law.”
“We know the founders made homosexual sin illegal so God would bless the USA,” he continued. “They would agree with Huckabee and no one else.”
Last year, Andrew suggested that God was supporting Huckabee’s campaign, explaining that “voting for Huckabee will bring God's economic recovery and protection, since God rewards obedience.” He claimed in 2012 that God was backing Rick Santorum because President Obama and Mitt Romney worship “demons,” elaborating in a “God’s State of the Union” address that he delivered last year that Obama wants “to follow Satan” by “forcing people to have death panels” and promoting “homosexual sin.” Andrew even called for a boycott of Nike, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks because of their support for marriage equality, accusing the companies of “doing the devil’s work” and “leading people to sin and to possibly go to hell.”
He reacted to the Supreme Court’s “unAmerican and unconstitutional” decision to strike down bans on same-sex marriage by asserting that “the court is committing treason” and warning that “history shows that no homosexual societies remain because the Supreme Judge has destroyed them for rebellion.”
This morning, Rafael Cruz returned to “Breitbart News Daily,” where he had previously warned that the public school system was a part of a communist plan to “brainwash” kids to hate America.
Cruz, the father of presidential candidate Ted Cruz, once again issued a dire warning to listeners, alleging that the Supreme Court may soon do away with American principles and that President Obama is bringing in ISIS terrorists to the U.S. through the refugee resettlement program.
“The decay, the deterioration of America in the last seven years has been at an accelerated pace,” he said. “We are seeing the destruction of America before our very eyes.”
He went on to falselyclaim that “Obamacare is destroying millions of jobs” and that the Iran deal “puts us at the brink of war.”
Yesterday, far-right radio host Michael Savage spoke with Donald Trump about how he would defeat Bernie Sanders in a potential general election matchup and “overcome the poor and immigrants who hate the rich.”
Trump told Savage that he “would be very happy” if Sanders won the Democratic nomination, saying that the Vermont senator is “probably a communist” who will “destroy the fabric of what we are.”
“I just can’t believe that this country is ready for socialism or communism, because it’s pretty close to communism, some of the things he wants to do,” Trump added.
Savage, in turn, said he is praying for a Sanders nomination because “it’d be the greatest landslide in history,” predicting that Trump would take 85 percent of the vote.
In her weekly column for WorldNetDaily yesterday, Mission America’s Linda Harvey railed against “the GOP establishment” for “‘going gay,’” warning that doing so “will eviscerate the GOP.”
Harvey said that gay peoples’ “aberrant sexual conduct is a blight on America” that’s “sinful, unhealthy and immoral, and there is no need for anyone to engage in it” since “people are not constructed for these bizarre behaviors.” This “behavior,” she wrote, is “tearing our country – and families – apart.”
Angry that gay conservative commentator Guy Benson is making an appearance at CPAC in March, Harvey warned that Republicans are “becoming willing tools of the gaystapo” whose leaders are “full of pink testosterone” and bent on promoting “child-endangering, changeable deviance.”
Jeb Bush and John Kasich hired them for key campaign staff positions.
John Boehner and others campaigned for them.
Speaker Paul Ryan said he would vote to grant them special rights.
Chris Christie happily signed a key bill granting their New Jersey leaders full access to children in public schools under the guise of preventing “bullying.”
And Nikki Haley pledged that a future Republican president “… would respect differences in modern families” while respecting religious freedom, which many see as irreconcilable objectives.
I’m talking, of course, about those involved in proud homosexual behavior. It’s true there’s nothing foundationally different about these people. Each is made in the image of God and shares constitutional rights with every other American. But their aberrant sexual conduct is a blight on America. It’s sinful, unhealthy and immoral, and there is no need for anyone to engage in it. People are not constructed for these bizarre behaviors.
And regarding establishment GOP leaders, it seems they’re becoming willing tools of the gaystapo, the same revolutionaries who routinely bully bakers, florists, photographers and innkeepers without batting an eyelash.
The Human Rights Campaign and others are now so full of pink testosterone that they boldly advocate denial of First Amendment religious freedoms to anyone who resists the required obeisance: bowing before homosexual and transgendered demands – which is why no open homosexuals, even if they claim affinity with conservative values, deserve a key platform, like Townhall’s Guy Benson will get at the upcoming CPAC meeting March 2-5. Benson is an advocate of same-sex “marriage.”
Our future president should respect two “moms” who happily omit a father figure? Haley and others are pledging support for behavior tearing our country – and families – apart, conduct God calls an abomination.
Respect from the “gay rights” movement toward other views? There is none. This movement divides and destroys, all because of unhealthy, deviant behavior, and it will eviscerate the GOP if they embrace child-endangering, changeable deviance.
On Monday, the work of an anti-choice group called the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) backfired badly when its attempt to launch criminal proceedings against Planned Parenthood ended up with its leader, David Daleiden, along with a fellow activist getting indicted by a Texas grand jury, which in turn cleared Planned Parenthood of alleged wrongdoings.
A small number of Planned Parenthood clinics — "just 1% [of clinics] are involved with fetal tissue research," according to Planned Parenthood — donate fetal tissue for research that many scientistshavecredited with important breakthroughs in vaccines and other medical treatments.
CMP activists, posing as representatives of a biomedical company, claimed that they recorded Planned Parenthood officials admitting to making a profit off those donations, a criminal act. However, there is no evidence any official from the organization made such a statement, although they did mention fees covering the costs of storage and transportation.
CMP's videos, as it turned out, were manipulated to make it seem that the officials wanted to make money. FactCheck.org explained that "the full, unedited video they cite as evidence shows a Planned Parenthood executive repeatedly saying its clinics want to cover their costs, not make money, when donating fetal tissue from abortions for scientific research." Planned Parenthood has since stated that it will no longer accept such reimbursements at all.
Despite the flimsy evidence presented in CMP’s videos, Republican politicians in Congress and throughout the country seized on Daleiden’s claims and launched investigations into Planned Parenthood fetal tissue donation practices. Not a single investigation that has been completed so far has foundedanyevidenceofwrongdoings. Texas was one of several states where politicians called for investigations into Planned Parenthood's fetal tissue donation program.
Which brings us back to the indictments.
The New York Times notes that the case in Harris County, which includes the city of Houston, "started in August, when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican and an outspoken opponent of abortion and Planned Parenthood, asked [Republican district attorney Devon] Anderson to open a criminal investigation into the organization."
In the end, the grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood but indicted CMP founder David Daleiden and his colleague Sandra Merritt on felony charges of tampering with government records. Daleiden also faces a misdemeanor charge of attempting to purchase human organs.
While the indictments further discredit CMP's work, abortion-rights opponents are relishing the opportunity to portray Daleiden as a martyr and hero of the cause. As Miranda pointed out yesterday, "arrest and jail time for violation of what they see as unjust laws is a badge of honor" for many in the anti-choice movement. And as expected, Daleiden’s supporters on the Right are using the indictments as an opening to spread even more misinformation.
1) Daleiden Is A Journalist
Following news of the indictments, Daleiden called himself an "investigative journalist," tweeting that Planned Parenthood's local affiliate is "trying to jail investigative journalism." (Never mind that it was actually an anti-Planned Parenthood politician who launched the probe that ensnared him).
Thank you everyone for all the support! Something smells rotten in TX: it's @PPGulfCoast trying to jail investigative journalism.
Sorry, but Daleiden isn't exactly aiming for a Pulitzer.
For starters, CMP did not originally describe itself as a journalistic outlet. It was only around the time the group started releasing its videos that it updated its website's “About Us” page to say that it was comprised of "citizen journalists."
Daleiden himself served as a staffer for the anti-abortion group Live Action, which has its own history of launching sham investigations of Planned Parenthood, and said he wanted CMP to emulate a similar 1999 anti-Planned Parenthood sting by the anti-choice organization Life Dynamics. That scheme fell apart because Life Dynamics paid a witness for their testimony.
Troy Newman, a CMP board member, is a longtime anti-abortion activist with the group Operation Rescue. He told fellow activists that when Daleiden approached him about the project, the goal wasn't to follow the facts where they lead, as journalists do, but to put Planned Parenthood officials behind bars and "destroy" the group. In fact, Newman said that CMP's venture would be a failure if it only succeeded in drawing the attention of members of the press and did not lead to prosecutions of Planned Parenthood officials.
Newman told a church audience in September: "We said, ‘Look, if we just get on Fox News’ — and we were on Fox News, we were on there a couple weeks ago — ‘if we just got a bunch of YouTube video hits or something, if, you know, people are talking about — we would consider it a failure.’ The first and foremost thing is we wanted prosecutions. We want prosecutions, want to defund them, and, finally, we want to completely destroy the entity called Planned Parenthood. And we’re well on our way."
About three years ago, David Daleiden came here to Wichita and actually visited us in our office, and he had discussions with Troy about his visions for this undercover project. … David was really motivated to conduct a long-term investigative study of Planned Parenthood and their practices regarding the buying and selling of aborted baby remains. And the reason that he came to us was because he shared our vision for obtaining criminal prosecutions and really doing something substantial to report these abuses, document and report them, and bring an end to not only these practices, but an end to the abortion industry in America. And he knew if he focused on Planned Parenthood that would be probably the most powerful way to do that.
Daleiden is not an “investigative journalist.” He is an anti-abortion activist who is now trying to pose as a journalist.
This detail is particularly important because the grand jury's felony indictment stemmed from the contention that Daleiden and his colleague used fake IDs with an "intent to cause harm."
2) Indictment Proves Planned Parenthood Was Selling Human Tissue
Anti-choice activists have jumped on the misdemeanor charge that Daleiden faces for attempting to purchase human organs, saying that the charge in turn proves that Planned Parenthood was selling organs.
The Resurgent, a right-wing blog, called the charge a "gift" to the anti-choice movement because it "proves" that Planned Parenthood was selling tissue all along.
This is a big distortion of the case.
Daleiden did send Planned Parenthood an email asking to purchase fetal tissue for $1,600.
"Whether Daleiden actually intended to buy tissue doesn’t matter in the eyes of Texas law," the Washington Post points out. "The inquiry alone could have spurred the misdemeanor charge. Authorities don’t need to see evidence of a deal or interest from another party to pursue the charge."
To say that Planned Parenthood is guilty of breaking the law simply because Daleiden asked them to break the law, without success, may be one of the most absurd claims that has emerged following the indictments.
Anti-choice groups used similar logic when Planned Parenthood announced that it would cease collecting legal reimbursements for fetal tissue, claiming that the move somehow proved that Planned Parenthood was collecting illegal reimbursements all along.
3) Planned Parenthood-Linked Attorney 'Tainted' The Investigation
Surprised by the indictments and still unable to prove that Planned Parenthood committed any wrongdoings, now anti-choice activists are contending that the district attorney's office that brought the grand jury investigation must be at fault. After all, the grand jury didn't accept the movement's narrative that, as Ted Cruz put it, Planned Parenthood "confesses to multiple felonies."
The conservative outlet the Federalist thought it found quite the scoop when it reported that one of the prosecutors working in the district attorney's office was a local Planned Parenthood board member, posting an image of her LinkedIn page as damning evidence of misconduct.
Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, the conservative legal group founded by televangelist Pat Robertson, said that the case may been "tainted" by this alleged "conflict of interest."
Except that the assistant district attorney in question had nothing to do with the investigation, and she personally revealed her connection to the organization at the very beginning of the inquiry. No LinkedIn screenshot was needed, as a simple Google search would do.
When the Houston case started in August, the attorney who serves on a local Planned Parenthood board disclosed the connection herself and the district attorney announced that she would “not be involved in any manner in this investigation." At the time, one Texas Republican lawmaker praised the decision to "insulate that person from any involvement with the ongoing investigation."
Even the Blaze, the conservative website launched by Glenn Beck, reported on the non-issue back in August, noting that "office spokesman Jeff McShan told TheBlaze that approximately 300 prosecutors and 700 employees work for the Harris County DA’s office."
The smoking gun that may have "tainted" the investigation was actually disclosed from the get-go, and the attorney, one of around 300 in the office, had no involvement in the proceedings.
But none of these misleading and blatantly false claims should surprise anyone.
The CMP probe was always a sham, but that didn’t stop Republican politicians and conservative media pundits from running with the group's discredited "findings." Some, such as Carly Fiorina, even added a few of their own false claims to boot.
Since they appear to be immune to facts, including the outcomes of the many investigations from both government bodies and actual journalists that have already cleared Planned Parenthood, it is no wonder that CMP's defenders are twisting the truth now that it turns out that Daleiden and his CMP colleague, rather than Planned Parenthood officials, are facing indictments.