On Friday’s edition of “Sandy Rios In The Morning,” ex-gay activist Christopher Doyle advertised the upcoming “Safe Exit Summit” [PDF], a Washington, D.C., event honoring “Ex-Gay Awareness Month.” Prominent Religious Right groups including the Family Research Council, the American Family Association and Liberty Counsel are sponsoring the event, which includes a congressional lobby day, speeches and worship sessions.
Doyle congratulated Rios on winning the summit’s “Friend of Ex-Gays Freedom Award” last year, which she said she has prominently placed in her office, and said that this year’s event will focus on how churches “can love those experiencing SSA [same-sex attraction] the right way.”
Rios had her own idea, saying that just as churches developed crisis pregnancy centers — faux medical offices designed to deter women from having an abortion, often by peddling misleading information questioning the safety of abortions — churches should also launch “para-church organizations” geared towards dissuading gays and lesbians from homosexuality.
She noted that one leading ex-gay organization, Exodus International, “turned out to be a train wreck” when its leaders renounced ex-gay therapy.
Later in the program, Doyle shared with Rios a story about how he is currently working to “heal” a “young man” who had “over 10,000 sexual partners in his lifetime.”
The former Republican congresswoman and presidential candidate told Markell that Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washing up onto a Turkish beach was captured in a series of iconic photos, was not actually Syrian but from a Turkish family that was trying to reach Europe in order to secure dental benefits. Aylan, his four-year-old brother and his mother died after a boat headed to Greece capsized, three of over 2,600 migrants who have died traveling to Europe this year.
“That was a terrible tragedy but the fact is, that boy’s father and mother were in Turkey; they weren’t from Syria, they were from Turkey,” she said. “The father wanted European-style welfare benefits, he wanted for somebody to pay for the dental care for his kids.”
Bachmann’s assertion is false. The Kurdish boy’s family lived in Damascus before fleeing to Aleppo and then Kobani, each time leaving to avoid fighting. They left Kobani, where Aylan was born, for Turkey after the predominantly Kurdish city became the site of a brutal assault from ISIS forces. Close to two million Syrian refugees live in Turkey, which denies asylum to Syrians along with all non-Europeans, making it very difficult for Syrian refugees to legally rent a house or find a job since they don’t have legal status.
She went on to cite a claim made by Lebanon’s education minister that two of every 100 Syrian refugees are ISIS militants posing as refugees, and agreed with Markell’s claim that accepting Syrian refugees is “national suicide.”
Denouncing “Barack Obama’s dangerous policies,” Bachmann said that the president is putting America in God’s crosshairs:
When we raise our fist to a holy God and say that we are going to redefine marriage, we are going to be okay with paying a Planned Parenthood to cut up innocent baby parts and sell them for research, that clearly is a problem and as we have seen God render judgment in the days of Noah, in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah and so forth throughout history, what the prophets have told every generation is that there is a just God and the people must repent and turn to him. So too in this day of wickedness in our own culture, we need to do the same. We need to repent and we need to confess because a holy Savior is coming to save us and redeem us from this sin-sick world.
Markell said that we are so close to the end that she wondered if the two could witness “the Lord’s literal return even before we finish this broadcast.”
Markell said that while Iranian leaders are “End-Times-focused,” “apocalyptic-oriented,” “excited about the End Times” and “looking for a Messiah,” churches in America have failed to preach about “what the Bible has to say about the incredible Last Days that we are in.”
“Islamic countries are obsessed with End Times and bringing about End Times,” Bachmann replied, claiming that Christian pastors in America must “also observe the times that we live in and explain it from a biblical perspective.”
She added: “Christians all across the United States feel the pulse of something is happening.”
While House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is rounding up votes to seal his bid to succeed John Boehner as speaker of the House, far-right congressmen are backing an insurgent bid by Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., who tried to unseat Boehner earlier this year.
Specifically, Webster has long history of collaborating with the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), a ministry founded by Bill Gothard. Ingersoll writes that Webster’s speeches to Gothard’s group emphasized that “God is on his side and that God opposes his opponents,” even “attribut[ing] the fact that he has often run unopposed to God’s intervention as a result of these prayers.”
Most controversially, Webster spoke at one IBLP event about the need for wives to submit to their husbands and for husbands to be the heads of their households, which, as Sarah Posner notes, is strongly in line with Gothard’s views about the dominance of male authority. Posner writes:
[S]ubmission is a central tenet of Gothard's teachings. His evangelical critics have described the insular world of Gothard's organization as "a culture of fear" and Gothard's teachings as a "parody of patriarchalism," the "basest form of male chauvinism I have ever heard in a Christian context," and "anti-woman." The core of Gothard's authoritarian teachings is a chain of command of spiritual authority from God to the husband and father, who is responsible for seeing to his wife's and children's obedience in order to ensure their eternal salvation.
While GOP leaders like Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Rick Perry have also worked with Gothard groups, his best known disciples are the Duggar family, which recently faced its own sex abuse scandal. Gothard’s teachings on patriarchy and sexual abuse, which appeared to blame women survivors, drew controversy in the wake of the Duggar scandal.
Even Michael Farris, a Religious Right activist and leader in the conservative Christian homeschooling movement, felt compelled to condemn Gothard and Doug Phillips, another Christian patriarchy movement leader embroiled in a sex scandal, claiming that their teachings are “truly dangerous.”
Webster boasts of how his “commitments,” based on Gothard’s teachings, cause his enemies to fail. In the [Advanced Training Institute] video, he recounted making “commitments” that included never watching TV in a hotel room, getting up early in the morning, and praying for a “hedge of thorns of protection” around his Florida district so that he would win reelection. (Both Webster and Gothard have made much of the fact that for several of his reelection bids in the Florida legislature, Webster ran unopposed.) Webster said that he prayed for anyone considering a run in his district to “lose interest.”
That “that hedge of thorns has protected me all these years,” Webster continued, even when his political opponents referred to him and allies as “conservative, gun-toting Bible thumpers.” He claims that “pride is so destructive,” yet seems quite proud that his “hedge of thorns” has made his political career a success.
Razing Ruth, another anti-biblical patriarchy blog, describes Gothard’s teaching on the “hedge of thorns”:
Bill Gothard teaches that Satan can gain “jurisdictional authority” over a person’s soul. When a father or husband, as the authority and spiritual protector of the family, fears that this (Satan attempting to get ja) has happened or may happen, the man is instructed to “pray a hedge of thorns” around his wife/family/son/daughter. In doing so, Gothard teaches that the man will have created a “stronghold for Christ.”
We will see how far Webster’s rhetoric on spiritual warfare and biblical authority takes his campaign for speaker.
RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.
While some Religious Right groups are busy trying to turn Kim Davis into a modern-day martyr, other conservative activists are addressing more pressing concerns, such as Pope Francis’ murderous agenda, ISIS infiltration of American churches and looming cannibalism.
5) Welcome To America, Pope Francis!
Alex Jones welcomed Pope Francis to the U.S. the only way he knows how: by ranting that Francis is bent on turning Americans into slaves and paving the way for the death of at least one billion people.
Jones added that he was “going to vomit” while thinking about the fawning media coverage of the “slimebag” pope.
Naturally, Davis' defenders are using her flouting of the law to raise money.
Liberty Counsel, the extreme anti-gay group that is representing Davis, put it this way in a fundraising email: “The American Civil Liberty Union’s motion to again hold Kim Davis in contempt reveals that their interest is not their clients’ license but rather a marriage license bearing the name of Kim Davis. They want her scalp to hang on the wall as a trophy!”
Another conservative group, the Family Research Council, said in a fundraising email that Davis’ plight would lead to mass persecution of Christians.
Consider that carefully. If "politically correct" government officials will put a Christian like Kim in jail for the faith we all SHARE -- well, what plans do they have in store for YOU?
Depending on the circumstances, they'll do whatever is necessary to drive Christianity from influence in America by indoctrinating your children or grandchildren . . . ruining your job or career . . . getting you to compromise your faith . . . go silent . . . shut up . . . affirm sexual immorality . . . or deny key parts of the Bible.
3) ISIS Everywhere!
While groups like the Family Research Council and Liberty Counsel are on the lookout for phony cases of anti-Christian persecution, televangelist Jim Bakker thinks that people should really be investigating all of the ISIS terrorists who have stealthily joined every church in the U.S.
Bakker is far from the only one trying to stir up fears in order to sell merchandise. Chuck Holton of the NRA radio show “Frontlines,” for instance, warned this week about a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack.
Along with killing nine out of every 10 Americans, Holton said, an electromagnetic pulse attack will lead to people be “eating each other in the streets, because when you have these sort of systemic issues in our government of nearly half of the people in the United States receiving some sort of subsidy from the government, imagine what happens when all the EBT cards start flashing zeroes.”
Earlier this month, Mike Huckabee spoke to Trinity Baptist Church’s “Calling America Back to God Rally” in Van Wyck, South Carolina. Huckabee claimed that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling was illegitimate, saying that the court “cannot overturn God when it comes to the definition of what marriage is.”
“They can no more redefine the purpose of marriage then they can redefine the laws of gravity and say that we can all go floating everywhere we go and don’t need to take cars anymore,” he quipped.
Later in his remarks, Huckabee addressed Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis’ legal battle, defending her for preventing county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to eligible couples. “I think we put the wrong Democratic woman in jail,” he said. (Davis has since become a Republican).
Huckabee said that Americans have “rebelled against a holy God” and tried “to rewrite the word of God to make it tune to our lifestyle.”
“We cannot possibly survive if we defy any standard that God has given to us,” he said, before calling for a “spiritual revival” that would cause God to “give us the political reformation that we need.”
Donald Trump offered up his typical word salad to the Values Voter Summit today, but this time while hoisting his Bible in the air and claiming that it is “the reason” that he is leading among evangelical voters in Iowa and declaring that it is “the key” to saving America.
“The word ‘Christmas.’ I love Christmas," he said. "I love Christmas. You go to stores, you don’t see the word ‘Christmas.’ It says ‘Happy Holidays’ all over. I say, 'Where’s Christmas?’ I tell my wife, ‘Don’t go to those stores. I want to see Christmas. I want to see Christmas.’ Other people can have their holidays but Christmas is Christmas. I want to see ‘Merry Christmas.’ Remember the expression ‘Merry Christmas’? You don’t see it anymore. You’re going to see it if I get elected, I can tell you right now.”
Of course, Trump himself has waged war on Christmas:
During the 2013 government shutdown fight, Rep. David Nunes, R-Calif., referred to the extremist members advocating a shutdown as “lemmings with suicide vests.” But the far-right flank, often called the “Suicide Caucus,” has only grown in power since then and has recently gained momentum in its push to remove John Boehner, who they say hasn't done enough to fight President Obama, from his position as speaker of the House.
The "Suicide Caucus" is particularly angry that the House Republican leadership approved an increase in the debt ceiling and hasn’t successfully defunded Planned Parenthood or the Affordable Care Act. Of course, there was little Boehner could do to accomplish any of these goals, since Republicans could not override an inevitable veto from the president or overcome opposition from Senate Democrats. But the “Suicide Caucus” doesn’t exactly function according to logic.
Many of the most radical members of Congress became more organized with the formation of the House Freedom Caucus, which The Economist described as a group dedicated to making “reckless and unrealistic” demands of Boehner, “consistent with their record of attempting wild, hapless heists against both Mr. Obama and the Republican leadership.”
With Boehner announcing his resignation today, it’s important to remember that the people who have spent years calling for Boehner’s ouster also represent the far-right flank of the party. As Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., put it, “this is a victory for the crazies.”
And, of course, the "Suicide Caucus" treats Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, as its leader, which Boehner doesn't exactly like.
The anti-Boehner caucus also got help from conservative talk radio. American Family Radio's Sandy Rios dubbed Boehner a “big liar,” AFR's Bryan Fischer compared him to Pontius Pilate and syndicated radio host Michael Savage referred to the speaker as a “deranged drunk.”
One of Boehner’s most vocal opponents was Glenn Beck, who told his listeners that they should consider themselves “done with the Republican Party” if Boehner won re-election to his post as speaker (which he did).
Beck’s choice to replace Boehner? None other than Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, the top conspiracy theorist of the House GOP.
After Gohmert tried, and failed, to win the speakership earlier this year, he explained that Americans would only turn to him to be speaker in a time of war or a similar crisis, when everyone would realize that he was the right choice all along. “The only way a guy like me could ever get elected to be speaker would be is if we were during a time of all-out war and people had figured, ‘Wow, Louie’s been right all along and maybe we should give him a chance,’” he said. “That’s the only — we’re not going to elect me in a time of undeclared war and I know that and I understood that.”
But who could better reflect the Republican Party’s decline into a hotbed of radicalism and conspiracy theories than Gohmert?
End Times broadcaster Rick Wiles invited Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy In Media onto his “Trunews” program yesterday to discuss Ben Carson's remark that he would never support a Muslim candidate for president. Wiles and Kincaid said that the Republican presidential candidate didn't go far enough, wondering why Carson didn't assert that we already have a Muslim president in the White House.
A larger conspiracy, Wiles said, must be at work, which led him to imply that the same people who are covering up the truth about President Obama's Muslim faith are the very same ones who helped Obama steal the 2012 election. Wiles knows that Obama only defeated Mitt Romney by nefarious means because he, Wiles, doesn't personally know anyone who supported the president’s reelection.
"Barack Obama was speaking to empty coliseums, empty auditoriums," Wiles said. "Mitt Romney was attracting these huge, enthusiastic crowds. It was obvious there was momentum for the Romney campaign. So on election night with suddenly Obama to win re-election it was very weird, it was strange, it was like, where are these Obama supporters? I never met anybody that was enthusiastic about re-electing Obama and suddenly he wins re-election."
Wiles said his gut feeling told him that Obama's re-election wasn't legitimate: "There was just that feeling on Election Night, something really strange and weird and evil and corrupt just happened tonight."
Rafael Cruz believes that his son, Texas senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz, is on a divinely inspired mission to overturn the city of Houston's nondiscrimination ordinance. The elder Cruz, who also serves as a campaign surrogate for his son’s campaign, is not just upset that Houston approved an ordinance protecting LGBT people from discrimination, but is also furious that the city even elected an openly gay mayor.
In a speech earlier this month on behalf of the group working to repeal Houston’s ordinance, Cruz lit into the Supreme Court for striking down state bans on same-sex marriage, claiming that the court "had no jurisdiction to rule over marriage."
He said the court's decision on marriage, which he has blamed on Satan, should inspire more conservative Christians to run for higher office.
"It is appalling that in a city like Houston, right in the middle of the Bible Belt, we have a homosexual mayor," Cruz said, referring to Annise Parker. He blamed the church's inability to stop a lesbian from winning elected office on the separation of church and state, which he called "a lie."