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The Never-Ending Tale Of The Little Girl Who Could Not Pray

Last week, we wrote a post about the fact that the story at the center of a recent column by Todd Starnes claiming that a young girl had supposedly been told that she was not allow to pray before eating her lunch at school had been definitively debunked after the shool in question conducted an investigation and "found zero evidence an incident ever occurred."

In a gesture of goodwill, the school offered an apology to the family nonetheless and it was seemingly accepted through their attorney, Jeremy Dys of the Liberty Institute, who issued a statement saying:

"We are grateful for the apology offered by Seminole County Schools. The Perez family gladly accepts this apology, along with the assurances to the community by the School Board that students in Seminole County School are free to exercise their First Amendment freedoms while at school."

That should have been the end of the entire saga, but apparently Dys and the family are intent on keeping it going (presumably to benefit Todd Starnes forthcoming book) a little longer and have now reversed course by rejecting the school's apology, accusing the school of never having done an investigation in the first place, and threatening legal action:

Two days after stating that Gabriella Perez's family had accepted the apology, lawyer Jeremy Dys said their position changed after reading the comments of district spokesman Michael Lawrence in the Orlando Sentinel.

Dys said it is clear now the district's response wasn't "a real apology." In addition, "we're not really confident the investigation actually took place," he said.

He sent a letter to Seminole schools on Friday requesting video footage from the school, emails to or about the family and phone logs relating to the case, including documentation of harassing or negative phone calls.

Gabriella, a 5-year-old kindergartner, told her parents that a staffer at Carillon Elementary said she could not pray over her lunch sometime in March. Lawrence, the district spokesman, said Wednesday an investigation had turned up "zero evidence" the incident occurred.

The girl's father, Marcos Perez, is vice president of sales for a Christian book publisher promoting a book about "the attack on traditional values" in America. The family began homeschooling Gabriella after she described the cafeteria incident.

Dys' letter also claims Lawrence made "false and defamatory statements publicly and intentionally" about Gabriella and her family, and requested that he be disciplined.

"Mr. Lawrence went out and essentially called our client a liar," Dys said Friday.

The school district did an investigation into the alleged incident and concluded that "there's no proof whatsoever" that it even occurred and that the person identified by the young girl as having told her not to pray was nowhere near the lunchroom at the time it supposedly happened ... and now the very people who brought these allegations are threatening legal action, claiming that they are the victims of "false and defamatory statements" because their claims turned out to be bogus.

Right Wing Round-Up - 4/25/14

Right Wing Leftovers - 4/25/14

  • Glenn Beck spoke at Liberty University today. There was some crying involved.
  • A poll commissioned by Citizens for Community Values Action shows, shockingly, "a decline in support for same-sex marriage in Ohio."
  • Robert Oscar Lopez warns S.E. Cupp not to support gay adoption because, in doing so, "we are encouraging a whole new generation of homewreckers – gays who want to be parents and figure out that the cheapest way to do it is to seduce someone of the same sex who is currently in a rocky marriage with children."
  • Right-wing activists have released a Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi report. We are sure it is very informative.
  • Finally, Bryan Fischer proudly declares that "I am the only conservative in America" that is willing to come to Cliven Bundy's defense.

Bryan Fischer Is Inadvertently Making Sense: 'There Are Consequences For Making A Foolish Declaration'

As we have noted several times before, Bryan Fischer is a lot of things, but self-aware is not one of them and he continues to demonstrate this fact regularly on his radio program, as he did once again today.

Fischer spent part of a segment discussing the fact that Dan Haseltine, lead singer of the Christian rock band Jars of Clay, had announced his support for gay marriage. In response to this announcement, Fischer said, some Christian radio stations have begun boycotting the band and refusing to play their songs while some fans have deleted their albums from the music libraries.

Haseltine, not surprisingly, does not appreciate such responses, but Fischer was entirely unsympathetic, declaring (approximately 5:00 in) that it was because "you are rejecting the authority of the word of God and maybe Christians have a problem with that."

"If you want to do that, that's fine" Fischer added, "but then don't complain when there are consequences for making a foolish declaration like that":

For once, we completely agree with Fischer! As we always say, the flipside of the First Amendment is that while everyone is free to say whatever they believe, that doesn't mean that they are also exempt from suffering the consequences of voicing those beliefs.

Of course, it is usually the Religious Right that loudly screams "persecution" anytime someone that they agree with actually suffers consequences for making foolish declarations ... like when Bryan Fischer said that A&E's decision to suspend Phil Robertson for making anti-gay comments was proof that Christians were being persecuted for refusing to accept the Mark of the Beast:

When Christian radio stations refuse to play Haseltine's music, that is just the "consequences" of his "foolish declaration," according to Fischer.

But when A&E temporarily suspended Robertson for his "foolish declaration," Fischer went on and on about how Christians were being oppressed, persecuted, and prohibited from engaging in commerce.

The Prophet Glenn Beck Warns That Society Is 'Too Far Gone' And Only The Bible Can Save Us

With every passing day, Glenn Beck's transformation into the self-appointed prophetic leader of a doomsday cult grows more pronounced as he uses his network to issue increasingly dire warnings about the impending and inevitable destruction of America while literally thumping his Bible.

Just take a look at yesterday's morning meeting where Beck harangued his staff that "the system" is in a full-fledged nosedive.

"It's in a straight pitch down," Beck proclaimed. "That's what our society is doing right now. Straight pitch down!"

The only solution, of course, is the Bible.

"This has all the answers," Beck said while smacking his hand upon his Bible. "This is the only answer. Period. We are too far gone. Any other fix won't do it ... This is the only parachute. Jump out of the plane!"

Todd Starnes Gets Definitively Debunked

A few weeks ago, we wrote a post about the amazing coincidence that was at the center of one of Todd Starnes' recent columns about a young girl who had allegedly been told that she was not allowed to pray before eating her lunch in her elementary school lunch room.

As it turned out, the young girl just so happened to be the daughter of the man who is the Vice President of Sales at the Christian publishing house that is publishing Starnes' next book, which just so happens to be all about how religious liberty is under attack in America.

Even after this rather curious connection was pointed out and the school said there was no evidence that the incident had even happened, the parents and their lawyers at the Liberty Institute continued to demand an investigation and an apology from the school; at one point even arranging a line-up of school employees so the girl could identify just which teacher had allegedly told her that she was not allowed to pray.

The school at the center of this "controversy" bent over backwards to satisfy the parents and conducted a full investigation into the incident. Yesterday, the school district announced its findings and, as expected, found the allegations to be completely bogus:

School officials said Wednesday that they can't find any evidence to suggest that a kindergartner was told not to pray in a Seminole County elementary lunchroom.

But the school district apologized anyway, and a lawyer for the girl's parents said they are satisfied with the outcome.

"We found zero evidence an incident ever occurred," said district spokesman Mike Lawrence. "There's no proof whatsoever."

...

As for the identified staffer, a school-district investigator has concluded that "there is no way possible that person was anywhere near the lunchroom" that kindergartners and first-graders use. In addition to the student and her family, the district has interviewed staffers, the accused adult and Gabriella's classmates, Lawrence said.

Predictably, the parents and their right-wing attorney are trying to use the fact that the school issued a perfunctory apology to spin this as a victory:

In a statement, Jeremy Dys, the family's attorney, said, "We are grateful for the apology offered by Seminole County Schools. The Perez family gladly accepts this apology, along with the assurances to the community by the School Board that students in Seminole County School are free to exercise their First Amendment freedoms while at school."

Right Wing Round-Up - 4/24/14

  • Oliver Willis @ Media Matters: VIDEO: Cliven Bundy's Racist Comments.
  • Josh Feldman @ Mediaite: Bundy Explains ‘Negro’ Remarks: ‘I’m Wondering’ If They’re ‘Better Off Being Slaves.’
  • Joe Jervis: PolitiFact Rates Ralph Reed's Claims About Gay Parenting As Totally False.
  • Sarah Jones @ Wall of Separation: Moore Extremism: Alabama’s Infamous ‘Ten Commandments Judge’ Is As Big A Zealot As Ever.
  • Chris Rodda: Pentagon to Join in “One Voice United in Prayer” (On Separate Days in Separate Locations, Depending On What Religion You Are).
  • David Edwards @ Raw Story: NH lawmaker: Women deserve less pay because they don’t work hard like men.

Right Wing Leftovers - 4/24/14

  • Cliven Bundy cannot be a racist because, his son says, "two vehicles full of black men" protected him during the Watts Riots in 1965 and "he felt that they were his guardian angels."
  • After having repeatedly declared that Bundy was a Godly man of prayer, Glenn Beck has now abandoned him completely.
  • Bryan Fischer, on the other hand, is predictably defending Bundy's racist remarks.
  • April 30 is the National Day of Repentance.
  • Gary Bauer says there is a "misinformation campaign waged by media elites" designed to isolate those who oppose marriage equality.
  • The Pacific Justice Institute is asking the Supreme Court to agree to hear its lawsuit against California's prohibition on using "ex-gay" therapy on minors.

Beck Goes Full Barton, Claims One-Third Of The Constitution And Declaration Came Straight From Deuteronomy

On today's radio broadcast, Glenn Beck went full David Barton, claiming that one-third of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence came straight out of the Bible; more specifically, right out of the Book of Deuteronomy.

Continuing his argument from last night that the Bible is the "cookbook" of America's system of government, Beck echoed David Barton's claim that the Founding Fathers were so well-versed in the Bible that they quoted it continually in their correspondence.

When Barton made this very claim on Beck's show a few years ago, we pointed out that it was total nonsense, but Beck cited it as true nonetheless this morning before adding his own bizarre assertion that "thirty-three percent of every federal line in our Constitution and Declaration of Independence ... comes from the Book of Deuteronomy":

Not surprisingly, this claim is also pure Barton bunk, as Chris Rodda explained back when Barton made this claim on Beck's program in 2010.

But even worse, Beck somehow managed to utterly misrepresent things even further by claiming not that one-third of the quotes from the Founders came from the Bible, which is what Barton misrepresents the original study to claim, but that one-third of our Constitution and Declaration of Independence came straight out of Deuteronomy.

Fischer: 'Gay Activists Are Like Leeches'

Bryan Fischer is still miffed by Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy's decision to withdraw from the culture war over marriage, declaring on his radio program yesterday that gay activists are like leeches for whom no amount of blood is ever enough.

Pointing to opposition to efforts by Chick-fil-A to open restaurants in New York City, Fischer cited Proverbs 30:15 to proclaim that "gay activists are like leeches."

"The point here," Fischer said, "is that with the homosexual lobby, you cannot ever give them enough. Don't even try. There's no point in making concessions. There's no point in capitulating. There's no point in yielding to their demands. There's no point in offering them some kind of appeasement in the hopes that they will leave you alone, that they will leave you in peace. It won't work":

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