Donald Trump is slated to join conservative activists and a number of GOP elected officials at next weekend’s Values Voter Summit, the annual Washington, D.C., event sponsored by the Family Research Council.
The GOP nominee has been busy recruiting Religious Right leaders, often while waving the Bible in the air and boasting about his plans to appoint conservative jurists to the bench and end the “War on Christmas.”
The activists joining Trump at the Values Voter Summit are some of the country’s most extreme opponents of LGBT rights, vocal conspiracy theorists and outspoken critics of the separation of church and state:
As the president of the Family Research Council, the summit’s main sponsor, Tony Perkins heads the organization’s efforts to erode gay rights, reproductive rights and the separation of church and state.
Perkins himself frequently reflects the extreme views of his organization. He has:
- Linked homosexuality to pedophilia, compared it to alcoholism and said that advances in gay rights encourage ISIS.
- Warned that LGBT rights advocates will launch a holocaust against Christians, placing those who oppose same-sex marriage into “boxcars.”
- Called gay rights activists “intolerant,” “hateful,” “vile,” “spiteful” and “pawns” of Satan.
- Defended Uganda’s “kill-the-gays” bill as a “laudable” effort “to uphold moral conduct.”
- Insisted the government is using the “promotion of same-sex relations” as a means of “population control.”
- Wrote that the anti-bullying “It Gets Better Project” is “immoral,” “disgusting” and promotes “perversion.”
- Denied that there is a correlation between anti-gay bullying and depression and suicide, saying instead that gay and lesbian teens know they are “abnormal” and therefore “have a higher propensity to depression or suicide because of that internal conflict.”
- Warned that lawmakers who voted to repeal the military ban on openly gay service members would have “the blood of innocent soldiers on their hands.”
- Predicted that marriage equality would “create a revolution” that would “break this country apart.” and lead to “the dissolution of the republic.”
- Urged gay people to seek conversion therapy to “escape the homosexual lifestyle.”
- Called Islam “evil.”
- Said Obama is paving the way for the Antichrist.
Family Research Council vice president and retired Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin sparked a controversy when, as a high-ranking official in the Bush Defense Department, he framed the fight against terrorism as a holy war between Christianity and Islam. He has since built a career as a Religious Right speaker, specializing in anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-Obama conspiracy theories. He has:
- Said that “Islam is evil” and that “Islam is not a religion and does not deserve First Amendment protections”; wants to ban mosques.
- Urged Christians to act more like ISIS.
- Warned that Obama was using the health care reform law as a cover for establishing a private army of Brownshirts loyal just to him.
- Claimed the bailout of AIG led to the establishment of Sharia law and that George Soros and the Council on Foreign relations conspired to collapse the U.S. economy in order to help Obama get elected.
- Said that American Jews were misled into supporting Democrats by wrongly thinking Adolf Hitler was a right-wing extremist; thinks that Jews must be converted to Christianity.
- Accused the Obama administration of showing “support for the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into our government.”
- Suggested that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell led to the “absolute destruction” of our military.
Peter Sprigg is a senior fellow for policy at the Family Research Council, where he supports policies including criminalizing homosexuality and exporting homosexuals. Sprigg:
- Said that he would “prefer to export homosexuals from the United States rather than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.”
- Advocated for gay relationships to be outlawed and met with “criminal sanctions,” calling homosexuality “objectively harmful to the people who engage in it and to society at large.”
- Called on the government to treat homosexuality like cigarette smoking.
- Defended Uganda when it sought to make homosexuality a crime warranting long jail sentences and in some instances the death penalty, saying that Uganda was under attack from those trying to force the “homosexual agenda down the throats of other countries.”
- Insisted that homosexuality can “go away” once “the underlying psychological problems are addressed.”
James Dobson is the founder of the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family and currently hosts the “Family Talk” radio program. Recently, he signed on to advise Trump as part of the GOP nominee’s Evangelical Executive Advisory Board. Dobson:
- Threatened to leave the U.S. in protest of Obamacare.
- Alleged that Obamacare would deprive the elderly of life-saving treatments.
- Warned that the Harry Potter series is a hazard to children.
- Predicted that gay marriage will destroy religious freedom, send pastors to prison, turn America into Nazi Germany and bring about God’s judgment.
- Said that the U.S. could have a second civil war over gay marriage.
- Insisted that bisexuality means “orgies.”
- Claimed that the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Act would grant legal protections to pedophilia, necrophilia, incest and bestiality.
- Blamed the Sandy Hook shooting on legal abortion and marriage equality.
Fox News commentator Todd Starnes has become notorious for filing false reports based on right-wing conspiracy theories, especially about the supposed persecution of Christians in America, which of course makes him a favorite “journalist” among conservative activists. Starnes has also:
- Speculated that public school officials oppose abstinence-only programs in order to protect their “condom profits” from the “free condoms” they distribute.
- Asserted that Obama refuses to take action against ISIS because he wants to “accommodate the Islamic faith at the expense of all other faiths.”
- Said that the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality amounted to the persecution of Christians and would lead America to become like Nazi Germany.
- Blamed Obama for “orchestrating” the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, in an effort to exacerbate racial tensions.
- Baselessly accused the University of Wisconsin of intentionally inflating grades to boost the academic performance of minority students.
- Worried that LGBT rights advocates will inevitably demand the deportation of Christians.
- Suggested that President Obama is secretly having a gay affair.
- Warned that the Obama administration and gay rights laws are ushering in tyranny, cultural cleansing, fascism and second-class citizenship for straight people.
- Said that defeats for anti-gay activists are a sign of “the end of days.”
- Compared officials who back the removal of Confederate symbols from government property to ISIS terrorists.
“Duck Commander” Phil Robertson and his family were already reality TV celebrities when they were launched into a new role as right-wing activists after Robertson made racist and homophobic comments in a 2013 magazine interview. Since then, Robertson has appeared at Republican events and in campaign ads, including one for Ted Cruz, and he is now starring in a “Christian war film” called “Torchbearer,” directed by Trump campaign CEO Steven Bannon. Robertson has:
- Claimed black people during Jim Crow were not mistreated but were “singing and happy.”
- Alleged that homosexuality leads to bestiality.
- Delivered a speech describing a hypothetical family of atheists who get brutally raped and killed.
- Labeled liberals pawns of Satan who are worse than Nazis.
- Described marriage equality as “wicked” and “evil” and said of its supporters: “We have to rid the earth of them.”
- Blamed STIs on “beatniks” and “hippies.”
- Suggested that AIDS is God’s “penalty” for “immoral conduct.”
- Attacked secular government as Satanism.
David and Jason Benham
Twin brothers Jason and David Benham were catapulted to national attention when an HGTV show that they were set to star in was canceled following revelations about their anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Muslim activism. Since the show’s cancellation, the brothers have become martyrs in the eyes of the Religious Right, which has lifted them up as an example of the supposed persecution of conservative Christians in America. One or both of the brothers have:
- Asserted that the LGBT equality movement is part of a “spiritual fight" between God and the “kingdom run by Satan.”
- Compared themselves to ISIS victims.
- Urged the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, to deny permits to an LGBT Pride event, calling it a “vile” and “destructive” activity that “should not be allowed in our city.”
- Compared the fight against marriage equality to opposing Nazi Germany.
- Called an Islamic community center a “den of iniquity” and referred to Muslims as “the enemy attacking" America.
- Organized a prayer rally to coincide with the 2012 Democratic National Convention, declaring that America must repent for “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation.”
- Led protests outside of abortion clinics, praising anti-choice demonstrators for taking a stand at “the gates of hell” and confronting the “altars of Moloch.”
William Federer is a conservative author, columnist and media commentator who focuses on the role of Christianity in American history. He has been embraced by many Republican leaders such as Ben Carson, who plagiarized from Federer’s writings without attribution. Federer has:
- Claimed that the “atheist homosexual gay agenda movement” will “open up” the U.S. “to move into an Islamic future.”
- Alleged that the U.S. government, drug gangs and Islamic militants are working together to create turmoil and disorder.
- Predicted that Islamic “sleeper cells” and “pockets of Muslims that have infiltrated the drug gangs” will “get a signal to have Ferguson riots in malls all across America,” justifying the creation of a “militarized dictatorship.”
- Said Obama wants to “advance Islam.”
- Argued that Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration used the 2012 Benghazi attack to further an “effort to forbid free speech insulting Islam.”
- Warned that the government will use the military to persecute LGBT rights opponents and murder people of faith.
- Wondered if the 2008 financial crisis was arranged to help get Obama elected president.
- Suggested that Obama will fake an assassination attempt or “intentionally” spark an Israeli-Iranian war, giving him the pretext to “take control of the radio, TV and internet” and “start usurping all kinds of power.”
While she is no longer a member of Congress, having retired in the midst of a campaign finance scandal, Michele Bachmann has continued to be a vocal conservative activist and End Times forecaster. Bachmann, who recently became a member of Donald Trump’s Evangelical Executive Advisory Board, has:
- Maintained that the September 11 and Benghazi attacks represented God’s judgment on America.
- Warned that a one-world government is emerging that will usher in the reign of the Antichrist , wondering if Obama fits the description.
- Heralded Trump as God’s choice to win the election.
- Claimed that gay people want to change laws “so that adults will be able to freely prey on little children sexually.”
Former congressman Allen West has remained active in conservative politics since losing his re-election bid in 2012, joining Fox News as a contributor and becoming executive director of the National Center for Policy Analysis. West has:
- Predicted that “the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage could lead to civil war.”
- Said the capture of the terrorist behind the 2012 Benghazi attack was merely an attempt “to deflect attention from all the other nightmares.”
- Falsely claimed that Walmart imposes Sharia law.
- Demanded that Khizr Khan seek God’s forgiveness for his “stunt” at the Democratic National Convention.
- Insisted that “78 to 81” House Democrats “are members of the Communist Party” and that Obama has used Soviet messaging.
- Called on Democrats like Obama and Nancy Pelosi to “get the hell out of the United States of America.”
- Said feminists were making men “subservient” and denounced the “women that have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness.”
- Wondered if Obama was waging “biological warfare” against Americans through enterovirus D68 or the Ebola virus.
- Blamed football injuries on the separation of church and state.
Star Parker is a longtime Religious Right activist who is particularly active in anti-gay and anti-choice advocacy. She has called legal abortion a “genocide” on par with slavery and the Holocaust and blamed “sexual promiscuity” for nearly all financial and societal problems. At previous Values Voter Summits, she claimed that God was getting ready to punish America for marriage equality and legal abortion, urged gay people to “keep it private” and lamented that “homosexuality is now dividing us and bringing horrible hostility into the public square.” Parker has also:
- Declared that LGBT people are forcing Christians “into the closet.”
- Said LGBT-inclusive rules in schools amount to the “molestation” of children.
- Argued that the rate of HIV infections in Washington, D.C., would spike once the city legalized marriage equality, “transforming [the city] officially into Sodom.”
- Tied same-sex marriage to failing public schools.
- Mused that family life for African Americans was “more healthy” under slavery than it is today.
- Referred to the Congressional Black Caucus as “the overseer today” that wants to torture black people and keep them “uneducated” and “on the plantation.”
A veteran of social conservative campaigns such as the successful effort to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment, Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness is an outspoken critic of attempts to include LGBT people and women in the military. She has:
- Blamed the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal on the inclusion of women in the military.
- Warned that gay and bisexual men will rush to join the armed forces so the military will cover their AIDS treatments and that transgender people will similarly enlist just to have gender reassignment surgeries paid for.
- Criticized a Pentagon office focusing on preventing sexual harassment, saying it would become the “Office of Male Bashing.”
- Insisted that the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell “could put remaining troops in greater danger, and break the All-Volunteer Force.”
- Denigrated the military as “the San Francisco military” because it permits gay people to serve openly.
- Called on the military to ban same-sex wedding ceremonies on bases.
- Lambasted soldiers who marched in LGBT pride parades for bringing “discredit upon the armed forces.”
- Warned of “LGBT activist groups” in the military that “know exactly how to intimidate other people, make other people feel they are not welcome.”
Actor Kirk Cameron has emerged as a favorite on the Religious Right speaker circuit, where he publicizes his movies about the War on Christmas and preaches about how he is persecuted for being conservative. Cameron also styles himself as a historian, although he is not very good at it. He has:
- Made a film about how bananas disprove the theory of evolution.
- Called same-sex marriage an “assault on the traditional family.”
- Said of homosexuality: “I think it's unnatural, I think it’s detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many foundations of civilization.”
- Compared the U.S. to Nazi Germany.
- Claimed that the “greatest threat we face today is the secular totalitarianism of our current system.”
- Urged voters to oppose Obama in order to “hold back the flood of moral and spiritual evil that has been pouring into the country.”