Ian Silverstone's blog

Flip Benham: Homosexuality Is Satan's 'Pink-Colored Glove'

On last week’s edition of the “Faith & Liberty” radio program, Flip Benham of the extremist right-wing group Operation Save America spoke with host Dave Garrison about the allegedly demonic trinity of legal abortion, LGBT rights, and Islam.

Benham characterized the Religious Right’s opposition to reproductive rights, LGBT equality and the free exercise rights of Muslims as a consolidated effort to win in a “gospel battle” against Satan.

Benham even threw together a helpful analogy to properly identify evil wherever it may lurk. He explained that homosexuality, abortion and Islam represent different incarnations of “the devil’s fist.” While “the homosexual agenda is the pink-colored glove” covering “the fist of the Devil,” abortion is Satan’s “crimson glove stained with the blood of almost 60 million little baby boys and girls.” Islam, simply enough, is “the black glove of death” that Satan uses to keep its followers trapped in “bondage.”

Later, Benham surmised that the three issues are “three of the greatest physical manifestations of the battle between two seeds – the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman.”

He lamented that while the Religious Right has been successful in rolling back reproductive health rights throughout the country, they still have their work cut out for them as far as LGBT rights are concerned. “It’s the same battle, it’s the same fist, we’re fighting the Devil and his lies in the world and the flesh, and moving it to a thing called the homosexual agenda – and it’s the Devil’s agenda.”

Randy Thomasson Claims LGBT-Inclusive Schools Make Students 'Enemies of God'

On VCY America’s “Crosstalk” radio program yesterday, Randy Thomasson of Save California talked to host Jim Schneider about the alleged persecution of Christians at the hands of “radical” LGBT-affirming public school officials.

Thomasson said that students and families have become the victims of a “perverse, unnatural, unbiblical, unhealthy, tyrannical sexual agenda” advanced by the state government and LGBT rights advocates who seek to eliminate free speech and religious liberties.

After claiming that sex-ed curricula ignore health risks because such information would be considered “discriminatory or adverse,” Thomasson speculated that such negligence would open up the door to “liability lawsuits” against the government from parents of children who contracted sexually transmitted diseases.

“Michelle Obama wants to make sure every child has a stalk of broccoli and an apple on their plate, because we have to look out for the well-being of that child,” Schneider said. “But when we talk about the serious health consequences when children violate the laws of nature, there is no concern with this administration.”

Thomasson expressed concern that anti-discrimination policies “trampled” on the rights of Christian students and educators, whom he believes should not be punished for being “naturally revolted” against “perverse sexuality.” He urged parents to remove their children from public schools in favor of homeschooling and biblically-approved alternatives before state laws are able to turn students “into enemies of God and enemies of their own family."

Alex McFarland: 'Psychologically Destructive' Homosexuality Creates Problems In LGBT Community, Not Homophobia

On James Dobson’s “Family Talk” radio program earlier this week, Religious Right pundit Alex McFarland disputed claims that high rates of depression, suicide, and self-abuse among gay people are connected to internalized homophobia.

“Here in America, we’re told ad infinitum that depression and psychiatric illness among professed homosexuals is due to our culture of homophobia,” he said. “It’s our fault when homosexual people have mental stress.”

Furious that anyone could possibly link anti-gay activism to anti-gay bigotry, McFarland concluded that, once again, the problems lie within gays themselves: “Along with what I believe is spiritually destructive behavior and physically destructive behavior, homosexuality is psychologically destructive behavior.”

Thankfully, ex-gay activist Anne Paulk was also on the air to supplement McFarland’s wisdom with an “unscientific survey” she conducted among gay women on the causes of their own depression and poor mental health: “They didn’t even mention homophobia, their family of origin’s point of view, none of that. It was the breakup of a same-sex relationship that precipitated this sense of, ‘Oh, my life’s not worth living anymore.’”

Paulk lamented that the media routinely points the finger at anti-gay intolerance for issues many LGBT people face, yet failed to conduct their own research proving that homophobia is actually a manufactured problem. Clearly, these four accredited studies just can’t stand up to the solidity of Paulk’s “unscientific survey.”  

'Ex-Gay' Activist Claims Schools Teach Kids That 'Gay Sex is Wonderful'

On the weekend edition of Linda Harvey’s “Mission: America” radio program, ex-gay activist David Kyle Foster phoned in to discuss his documentary, “Such Were Some of You,” a wide-eyed account of the temptations of the “homosexual lifestyle” and the great lengths people have undertaken to renounce their homosexuality.

Foster warned that young people are especially vulnerable because “Satan is in their little minds, planting all sorts of doubts and fears,” adding that messages of LGBT acceptance in school curriculum prey on children from a young age.

Discussing the manipulation he is convinced drives the so-called gay agenda, he exclaimed, “All these gay activists are teaching [children] in elementary schools and junior high schools that gay sex is wonderful, and here’s how you do it; here’s how you do the most perverse thing done by gay people, right in our schools. It’s child abuse as far as I’m concerned.”

Tony Perkins: Christian Businesses Should Donate Profits From LGBT Customers To Ex-Gay Ministries

On Monday’s “Washington Watch,” host Tony Perkins lamented how increasingly difficult it is for Christian business owners to actively discriminate against and refuse service to LGBT people or same-sex couples based on their “religious views on sexuality.”

Perkins said that business owners who fear challenges to their discriminatory practices from gay couples should prominently place signs in their businesses explaining their belief in “traditional marriage,” and emphasizing that any profits earned from LGBT customers will be donated to “ministries that actually help people who want to come out of the homosexual lifestyle.”

 Scoffing at the notion that anti-discrimination ordinances provide protection for marginalized groups, Perkins dismissed the laws as “clubs” that can be used by gay people to “force everybody to accept and participate and facilitate their lifestyle choices” and “sue people of faith.”

 He cited the recent repeal of a Chattanooga law preventing discrimination against LGBT employees as proof that Americans feel “bullied by the homosexual activists and spineless politicians who are doing the bidding of these activists.”

Sandy Rios: Parents Failing To Protect Children From 'Authoritarian Regime' Of Public Schools

Another day, another example of the Religious Right’s persecution complex. On today’s edition of “Sandy Rios in the Morning,” listeners heard the sad tale of Laurie Higgins,  a cultural analyst at the American Family Association-affiliated Illinois Family Institute, who spoke of the “liberal intolerance” and “persecution” she encountered in her previous work as a high school administrator.

Higgins described how she was demoted and shunned by her colleagues because she spoke out against “pro-homosexual resources,” like “Angels in America,” being available to students in the school library. She was also frustrated by the school’s “complete unwillingness” to include resources on LGBT issues that offered “opposing views.”

Rios and Higgins were shocked that no parents, teachers, or pastors came out in support of her or “dared to stand up for their own faith” in fear of the “authoritarian regime” of the school system.

“The halcyon days of being Christian in America are over,” warned Higgins.

In anticipation of the oppression ahead, Higgins advised: “Churches need to do a better job of preparing Christians to endure persecution, because it’s coming.” In her view, if parents and pastors aren’t actively driving LGBT books out of every school library, they “aren’t willing to suffer for Christ.” 

The Family Leadership Summit: Right-Wing Activists Converge On Iowa

This weekend, a who’s who of far-right activists and politicians will convene in Iowa for the 3rd annual Family Leadership Summit, hosted by anti-gay and anti-choice organization The Family Leader and sponsored by Religious Right groups including the National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council’s political wing, Alliance Defending Freedom and Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink.

In an effort to establish themselves with social conservative voters, potential Republican presidential candidates including Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum are joining a roster of speakers who push far-right views on LGBT rights, women’s equality and religious pluralism.

Below is an introduction to the sponsor and some of the featured speakers at The Family Leader Summit.

The Family Leader

The Family Leader is conservative political advocacy group based in Iowa that serves as the parent organization of The Family Leader Foundation, Marriage Matters, Iowa Family PAC, and Iowans for Freedom. The group is currently run by three-time failed gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats, who made a name for himself when he led the successful 2010 campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices who joined a unanimous marriage equality decision.

Under Vander Plaats’ leadership, The Family Leader has become influential in national GOP politics, helping presidential hopefuls to court Religious Right activists in the first-in-the-nation caucus.

The Family Leader has:

  • Defended the Boy Scouts’ ban on openly gay members and leaders as a “policy designed to protect Scouts from sexual abuse.”

Vander Plaats has:

  • Compared same-sex unions to polygamy and asserted that recent marriage equality laws will pave the way towards marriages between parents and children for the purposes of tax evasion.
  • Implied that same-sex marriage produces a threat to the United States equivalent to terrorism.Said that God won’t “bless the country” if the U.S. continues with marriage equality and legal abortion.

Tony Perkins

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins — whose organization is a major sponsor of the Family Leadership Summit — is one of the far Right’s top spokesmen in the national media.

Perkins has:

  • Warned that LGBT rights advocates will launch a Holocaust against Christians, placing those that oppose same-sex marriage into “boxcars.”
  • Praised a Uganda bill condemning homosexuals to death as an effort to “uphold moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable.”
  • Agreed with a caller on his program that Obama might attempt a “hostile government takeover” that would cancel the 2016 presidential election.

The Benham Brothers

Jason and David Benham are twin brothers, Religious Right activists and entrepreneurs who operate Benham Companies, a conglomerate providing real estate, property management and marketing services, as well as the Benham Foundation, which channels company profits towards conservative social causes.

The brothers were catapulted to national attention after an HGTV show that they were set to star in was cancelled following revelations about their anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Muslim activism. Since the show’s cancellation, the brothers have become a cause celebre for the Religious Right movement, which has lifted them up as an example of the supposed persecution of conservative Christians in America. One or both of the brothers have:

  • 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.”
  • Called an Islamic community center a “den of iniquity” and referred to Muslims as “the enemy attacking America.”Compared the fight against marriage equality to opposing Nazi Germany.
  • Urged the city of Charlotte, NC to deny permits to an LGBT Pride event, calling it a “vile” and “destructive” activity that “should not be allowed in our city.”
  • Asserted that the LGBT equality movement is part of a “spiritual war” between God and Satan.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.”

Rafael Cruz

Rafael Cruz is an evangelical Christian pastor who currently serves as the director of the Purifying Fire International ministry, an organization that espouses Christian dominionism and advocates for a theological grounding in government and public service. Cruz rose within the ranks of conservative far-right activism largely thanks to his son, Ted Cruz, the junior Republican senator from Texas and darling of the Tea Party movement, and has made a name for himself as a frequent public speaker and political commentator. The elder Cruz is a frequent campaign surrogate for his son.

Rafael Cruz has used his sudden prominence to:

  • Lament that the admission of openly gay members to the Boy Scouts would expose children “to sexual predators.”
  • Promote the theocratic Seven Mountains Dominionism theory, asserting the need for Christian leadership to have “an influence upon every area of society, upon arts and entertainment, upon media, upon sports, upon education, upon business, upon government.”

Alveda King

Alveda King is a conservative activist and Christian minister who serves as a Pastoral Associate and the Director of African American Outreach for Pastors for Life, an organization that opposes reproductive rights. The niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., King also campaigns against LGBT equality. King has:

  • Compared the murder of Trayvon Martin to legal abortion.
  • Condemned the wife of the late Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, for her pro-choice and pro-equality stances, saying the stances would bring “curses on your house and your people…cursing, vexation, rebuke in all that you put your hand to, sickness will come to you and your house, your bloodline will be cut off.”
  • Denied that her uncle supported legalized abortion, despite his acceptance of an award by Planned Parenthood and public support for family planning.
  • In response to a plaque commemorating African American slaves, said, “If Congress really wants to honor African Americans, they can start by ending federally funded programs that allow abortion.”

Joel Rosenberg

Joel Rosenberg is a conservative activist, author and former political strategist who is widely known for writing End Times-themed books.  Rosenberg is also the founder and president of the Joshua Fund, a non-profit organization that proselytizes to Israeli Jews and attempts to convert them to Christianity. A familiar presence on the right-wing talk show circuit, Rosenberg has repeatedly linked disasters and public tragedies to secular government. Rosenberg regularly employs apocalyptic prophecies to help enact an aggressively conservative social agenda. He has: 

  • Depicted the Newtown, Conn. shootings as divine punishment for Americans waging a “cultural war against Jesus and Christmas” and trying to “drive [God] out of our society.”
  • Written that Hurricane Sandy was a response to  the legalization of abortion and part of God’s plan to “get our attention and call us to repent of our sins and turn back to faith in Jesus Christ and back to reading and obeying the Bible”. 
  • Implied that legal abortion is a greater sin than exterminations during the Holocaust, predicting that since the Roe v. Wade decision “we have killed ten times more Americans than the Nazis killed of the Jews.”
  • Following the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008, pointed to home foreclosure as one feature of the Rapture, creating a “ripple effect” that will lead to the “implosion of America.” 

Linda Harvey: LGBT-Friendly School Books 'Normalizing Sinful Behavior'

Speaking on her “Mission: America” radio program last week, anti-LGBT activist Linda Harvey decried the supposed erosion of the religious liberties of conservative Christians as American culture increasingly bends to the whims of the supposedly tyrannical gay agenda.

Attempting to expose the injustice she sees everywhere in society, Harvey dedicated two shows to lamenting the forever-persecuted state of conservative Christians in America.

She first expressed outrage at the plight of a Colorado baker refused to serve gay customers, concluding that in America today “immorality is a worthy and noble civil right but Christian is shameful, even evil.”

In Harvey’s logic, advances in LGBT equality are the result of “the popular myth of a massive homosexual population [that] had evidently been growing for years.” Citing a recent federal survey saying that less than three percent of America’s population identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, Harvey blamed growing tolerance in part on LGBT-accepting books available in public schools, which attempt to “normalize sinful behavior.” Rather than capitulate to the equality movement, however, “we need to keep repeating the reality that relatively few people enter and remain in these lifestyles.”

Religious Right Film: Activist Judges Are Attacking America With Gay Rights, Taxpayer-Funded Pornography

As if their first video didn't quite hammer the point home, Religious Right advocacy group Truth in Action Ministries has returned with part two of "We the People: Under Attack," an exhausting indicment of the federal judiciary and its allegedly anti-Christian agenda. 

Watch highlights of the film here:

“We the People,” hosted by the group’s spokesmen Jerry Newcombe and John Rabe, convenes right-wing activists like Phyllis Schlafly, David Limbaugh and Herb Titus for a collective hand-wringing over the rulings of judges who have “turned the First Amendment on its head” and obstructed religious liberties in support of their own political causes.

 The group especially lambasts the federal judiciary for “casting off constitutional limitations” and “imposing its will on the other branches, and even you and me individually” with its rulings on marriage equality and abortion rights.

Rabe lashed out at the courts’ “harmful agenda” when it “attacked two thousand years of traditional marriage” by striking down voter-approved marriage bans like Proposition 8.

In the spirit of defending the rights of the “majority,” Phyllis Schlafly paints a grim scenario of judicial tyranny usurping American values: 

We have judges who have created new rights, who have knocked down laws and practices that have been part of our heritage since the beginning, and you can call the roll of what they’ve done: tried to throw up traditional marriage between a man and a woman; throwing out the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag because it has the words ‘under God’ in it; creating new rights that are not in the Constitution, like the right to abortion, the right to sodomy, the right to same-sex marriage licenses, the right to have pornography even with taxpayer’s money. You know these are not in the Constitution, and it is an offense against the American people, against We the People, and against our whole form of government. And the result is that the First Amendment has been turned on its head.

And herein lies the ultimate goals of these activist judges: to abolish expressions of patriotism and ensure taxpayer-funded pornography for all. 

Truth In Action Ministries Cites Bogus Jefferson Quote To Refute Separation Of Church And State

Truth in Action Ministries, a purveyor of incendiary “documentaries” that explore our country’s apparent slide into anti-Christian moral turpitude, is back to warn us that Christians are now an increasingly persecuted minority in America.

Watch highlights of the film here:

Hosted by conservative activists Jerry Newcombe and John Rabe, the group’s most recent film, “We the People: Under Attack,” is a field guide to how “activist judges” are restricting religious liberties and the freedom of speech, and includes appearances from right-wing figures such as Herb Titus, Phyllis Schlafly, Carrie Severino and Alan Sears.

The subject of scorn in “We the People” is the federal judiciary, seen as a rogue branch of government with a revisionist interpretation of the Constitution. Newcombe warns that “our country is under attack by activist judges, including some on our nation’s Supreme Court.”

The separation of church and state is framed as both a slap in the face to Christians and a subversion of the will of our Founding Fathers, and Titus laments that the U.S. government doesn’t strictly adhere to the Ten Commandments and the Bible in its public policy. Rabe breathlessly reports that “in recent decades, the federal judiciary has instituted abortion on demand, overturned limits on partial-birth abortion, silenced voluntary prayer in schools and discovered a so-called ‘right to sodomy’ in the constitution.”

Newcombe argues that recent decisions by the Supreme Court defy the Constitution’s purportedly religious themes, and relays this quote by Thomas Jefferson to prove that even he believed in mixing religion with government:

No nation has ever yet existed or been governed without religion. Nor can be. The Christian religion is the best religion that has been given to man, and I as chief magistrate of this nation am bound to give it the sanction of my example.

One slight caveat, however: this quote appears absolutely nowhere in any of Jefferson’s writings or records of his speeches, and first materialized in 1857, decades after Jefferson died. Looks like Newcombe will have to find more fake quotes from the nation’s founders to prove his point. 

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