Peter Montgomery @ Religion Dispatches: LGBTs in Philippines Reflect on Papal Visit; Francis Meets Trans Man Shunned by Parish; French Group Turns ‘Bar of Sodom’ into ‘Pub of Mercy'; Global LGBT Recap.
David Lane declares that Newt Gingrich's speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit was "the finest speech of this young century."
Mitt Romney announced that he will not be making another run for president.
Bert Farias declares that Christianity needs "extremists" with a Nazi/militant Islam-like fervor who are willing to lead a "spiritual revolution."
Janet Porter is asking activists to call upon Congress to issue a "restraining order" to prevent courts for ruling in favor of marriage equality.
Finally, FRC prays for more judges like Roy Moore: "Lord, are there more judges, governors and state legislators who will not bow the knee to unrighteousness, nor be persuaded by constitutional rulings, falsely so-called? Raise up more, we pray, In Jesus’ Name, Amen!"
Earlier this month, a court ruled in favor of a man who had sued his employer, claiming that he was forced to retire when he refused to use a biometric scanning program that had been instituted to track employee attendance. The employee claimed that using the scanner was a violation of his religious beliefs because it was a "Mark of the Beast" and a jury agreed, awarding him $150,000 in damages.
Gordon Klingenshmitt, unsurprisingly, was elated by the ruling, saying on a recent "Pray in Jesus Name" program that, like the "Mark of the Beast" scanning requirement, not allowing Christian business owners to discriminate against gay customers is a sign of the End Times.
Citing Revelation 13:16, Klingenschmitt declared that Christian photographers, florists, and bakers are all being forced to take the Mark of the Beast and will eventually be required to denounce Christ entirely in order to even remain in business.
"That's just the camel's nose under the tent," he warned. "Eventually, it will end up requiring that you renounce Christ as a condition of remaining employed":
Last year, Mike Huckabee spoke at a Florida Renewal Project event for pastors where he warned the audience that no other country around the world would fear America until America began to fear God.
In a video posted on YouTube by an attendee, Huckabee can be seen speaking at an event organized by David Lane and featuring remarks from David Barton and Bob McEwan and declaring that America was founded by God and that the key to political success is national spiritual revival.
"We're at a place in our world right now where nobody trusts America, nobody believes in America, and sadly nobody fears America," he said, adding that he doesn't "care if people like us around the world" because the only thing that matters is that they fear us. "I never want this country to get to the place where people do not fear the United States of America. But I don't want to get to the place where this country does not fear God because if we don't fear God, nobody will fear us."
"God help us all when we cannot understand that a nation that has turned its back on our Founder — and I'm not talking about George Washington, I'm talking about the fact that this nation would not exist apart from the intervention and providence of a Holy God," Huckabee said. "If it were not for His intervention, there is no way this country ever would have existed."
If GetReligion is going to criticize those who don't "tell both sides of the story" regarding the American Family Association's designation as a "hate group," perhaps GetReligion ought to actually bother to address the bigotry that regularly flows from the AFA which earned it that designation.
A couple of sociologists have "discovered" that a small group of "Americans demonstrate signs of anti-Christian hostility." That is some groundbreaking research!
J. Lee Grady is going to be sick! "We Americans get really angry when oil companies spill toxic fuel in our oceans; yet we applaud when Hollywood dumps a tanker of poisonous garbage like 'Fifty Shades of Grey' on our country—with no offer to clean up the damage. We should be outraged."
Larry Tomczak continues to try and milk his fifteen minutes of anti-gay infamy.
William Gheen wants to draft Jeff Sessions and Laura Ingraham for president and VP.
Finally, the devastating new report from the Justice Department is probably just further proof that the government is covering up the fact that it hacked Sharyl Attkisson's computers!
Bryan Fischer kicked off his radio program today by refuting reports that he had been fired by the American Family Association, explaining that he has simply given up his role as an official AFA spokesman while retaining his role as a daily radio host for AFA's radio outlet, American Family Radio.
Fischer said that his designation as an AFA spokesman while he also served as a radio host was creating confusion and resulting in the personal opinions he expressed on the radio being unfairly attributed to the AFA. As such, Fischer will no longer serve as an official voice for AFA but will continue to spew his bigotry from the AFA's radio stations:
As we noted earlier today, this supposed change is utterly meaningless and does nothing to absolve the AFA of its responsibility for giving Fischer a national platform from which to spread his hate.
Of course, the AFA doesn't see it that way, having recently sent a letter to the Southern Poverty Law Center claiming that its radio network is "a free speech zone" and therefore AFA should not be held responsible for any of the things said on its programs.
AFA nonetheless did explicitly repudiate an array of bigoted claims Fischer that has made over the years, thereby insisting that no longer can Fischer's views be attributed to the organization:
AFA rejects the idea expressed by Bryan Fischer that "Free exercise of religion" only applies to Christians. Consequently, AFA rejects Bryan's assertions that Muslims should not be granted permits to build mosques in the United States;
AFA rejects the ideas expressed by Bryan Fischer that the violent expulsion of Native Americans was divinely ordained and that, "Superstition, savagery and sexual immorality" morally disqualified Native Americans from "sovereign control of American soil."
AFA rejects the ideas expressed by Bryan Fischer that "we" need to clamp down on immigration because Hispanics are socialist by nature and vote Democratic because it allows them to "benefit from the plunder of the wealth of the United States."
AFA rejects Bryan Fischer's characterization of minorities as "people who rut like rabbits."
AFA rejects the statement by Bryan Fischer that, "Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews."
AFA rejects the policy advocated by Bryan Fischer that homosexual conduct should be illegal
AFA rejects the notion advocated by Bryan Fischer that, "We need an underground railroad to protect innocent children from same-sex households."
AFA rejects Bryan Fischer's statement that, "If Hillary Clinton becomes president In 2016, she will not only be our first female president, she could be our first lesbian president."
In light of this notice, do not continue to charge AFA with the statements by Bryan Fischer that we have repudiated. When identifying "hate groups" in the context of training military or law enforcement personnel, do not put AFA in a false light by quoting Mr. Fischer's statements that we have repudiated.
The AFA will continue to provide Fischer with the staff, resources, and national outlet through which to share the views that AFA reportedly finds abhorrent ... but wants to do so without having to answer for all of the hatred that it is responsible for producing and promoting.
On his "WallBuilders Live" radio broadcast today, David Barton revealed that he will be heading to Congress to lead a training session for lawmakers on how to prevent the court system from ruling in favor of marriage equality.
Responding to a question from a listener on what steps Congress can take to rein in the judiciary on this issue, Barton declared that Congress has several options: it can pass a law declaring that federal courts cannot hear gay marriage cases, it can pass a law that says that no federal money can ever be used to enforce a ruling from the Supreme Court in favor of gay marriage, or it can simply abolish any court, outside of the Supreme Court, that issues any ruling for gay marriage.
"All Congress has to do," he said, "is pass a law saying, 'you know, we saw the Northern District of Georgia struck down the marriage law; we're abolishing the Northern District of Georgia court. It doesn't exist any more.'"
The reason that Congress hasn't already taken such steps, Barton explained, is because members of Congress are products of "our government education system" and therefore never learned this ... which is why he is being brought to Washington, D.C., to teach it to them.
"I was at a conference recently where I was speaking on judicial myths," he said, "and I just quoted from the Founding Fathers and the Constitution and quoted from the Founders' own writings and congressmen said 'we never heard that' and so they've asked me to come to D.C. and do a training for them on ways to limit judicial activism":
Last night it was reported that the American Family Association had finally fired the Religious Right's most notorious bigot, Bryan Fischer. While that would be welcome news, if true, the AFA has a long history of trying to salvage its own reputation by distancing itself from Fischer's unrelenting bigotry and this latest effort appears to be simply yet another attempt to whitewash the AFA's façade without making any genuine changes.
Back in 2009, Bryan Fischer was an obscure state-level Religious Right activist with a history of getting fired for his radical views. From his position as head of the Idaho Values Alliance, Fischer was mostly known for launching boycotts against Hallmark stores for offering cards for gay weddings and celebrating a fatal plane crash as God's payback for abortion.
Fischer's radicalism and bigotry were obvious even back then, but that didn't stop the American Family Association from wooing Fischer away from Idaho with an offer to serve as the organization's "director of issues analysis" and host a daily radio program down in Tupelo, Mississippi.
Within months of his arrival at AFA, Fischer was already using his national platform to spread his unmitigated bigotry, starting with his demand that all Muslims be banned from serving in the U.S. military, a position that he continues to steadfastly promote to this day.
Finally, in 2010, the AFA made a half-hearted attempt to wash its hands of Fischer's vile views ... not by firing him, mind you, but simply by adding a disclaimer at the end of Fischer's blog posts and radio program insisting that the things Fischer was saying on the AFA's website and radio network should not be taken to reflect the views of the organization:
Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.
Obviously, this was nothing but a pathetic cop-out, as we have pointed outseveral times before. The AFA plucked Fischer from obscurity, gave him a salary and a national platform from which to regularly proclaim that gays are Satanic perverts but then tried to pretend that it was not in any way responsible for Fischer or his views, such as:
Not surprisingly, Fischer's outrageous views and statements have causedproblems for the AFA and those with whom the AFA has partnered at events, most recently Gov. Bobby Jindal, who teamed up with the AFA for his "The Response" prayer rally last week. But through it all, the AFA has steadfastly insisted that Fischer does not speak for the organization while simultaneously standing by him and continuing to provide the platform from which he spreads his bigotry.
This weekend, some 60 members of the Republican National Committee are scheduled to go to Israel on a trip organized by Christian nationalist David Lane and funded by the American Family Association and it seems as if Fischer's radical views have suddenly become too much for the RNC and AFA to ignore, as last night Rachel Maddow reported that the AFA had fired Fischer:
From what we have been able to gather, Fischer has not actually been dismissed by AFA but has rather merely been stripped of his title as director of issues analysis and his role as spokesman for the organization. Fischer will reportedly continueto produce his daily radio program for the AFA's radio arm, American Family Radio.
If this is indeed the case, then the AFA has literally accomplished nothing with this stunt and has completely failed to distance itself from Fischer's utterly despicable views. The primary venues though which Fischer has managed to spread his bigotry for the last six years have always been owned, operated, and funded by the American Family Association and that relationship appears to remain intact.
Stripping Fischer of his title as AFA spokesman in no way alleviates the AFA of its responsibility for Fischer's toxic views given that the only reason Fischer even has a platform from which to spread those views is because AFA is providing it to him and paying him to spread them!
From the very start of Fischer's time at AFA, the organization has pathetically attempted to have it both ways: providing the very microphone from which Fischer speaks while simultaneously claiming that it bears no responsibility for the message that he sends.
The AFA's latest effort to rid itself of Fischer's rancid reputation is little more than a rhetorical accounting trick aimed at creating the false impression that the organization has wiped Fischer's bigotry off of its books.