Miranda Blue's blog

Lafferty: Target & Hershey Are Now 'Pedophile Magnets And Pervert Magnets'

Andrea Lafferty, the anti-LGBT crusader who runs the Traditional Values Coalition, visited “Breitbart News Daily” this morning, where she warned parents not to “let your young girls and teen girls buy their summer clothes or bathing suits at Target” because of the company’s transgender-inclusive facilities policy.

She added that Target and Hershey Park have now become “pedophile magnets and pervert magnets” because they allow people to use the restroom of the gender with which they identify.

Lafferty then suggested that customers go into Target and fill up their shopping carts, go to the register, and say “Uh, I’m not going to buy this. Look at how much money I would have spent.’”

Trump 'Christian Policy' Adviser Is A 'Prophet' Who Stopped A Tsunami, Says AIDS Is Result Of 'Unnatural Sex'

Mario Bramnick, an official with the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, told Time magazine last week that Donald Trump has taken on Frank Amedia of Touch Heaven Ministries in Ohio as his new “liaison for Christian policy” and that Amedia has been arranging meetings for the Republican presidential candidate with conservative religious leaders.

Amedia, who was once implicated in a bribery scandal in which he attempted to help a car-dealer friend avoid prosecution, is now a self-proclaimed “apostle” who says that he once single-handedly stopped a tsunami from hitting an island in Hawaii.

Amedia got his religious training from Miami pastor Guillermo Maldonado, who is associated with the controversial New Apostolic Reformation, a group of self-proclaimed modern-day apostles and prophets. In a 2012 appearance on Maldonado’s TBN program, Amedia referred to Maldonado as his “spiritual father.”

Amedia, who says he is a former Jew, now identifies as an “apostle” himself. Until recently, his biography on his church’s website read:

Frank Amedia is called as an Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Evangelist, Teacher, and Minister in sound biblical doctrine with gifts of knowledge, healing, and discernment … For over two decades, his clarity of vision, prophetic insight, and revelations of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God in the scriptures have been an enormous blessing to a worldwide audience. Enabled by this extensive experience, Pastor Frank has a unique perspective on the parallel journey of the Church and Israel as he is called as one to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. Thousands of wondrous records of miraculous testimonies of healings, deliverances, re-creative miracles, and physical gifts follow him wherever he goes, even as he gives all of the Glory to God his Father, Jesus his Messiah, and the Holy Spirit.

Like other self-proclaimed apostles and prophets, Amedia claims to be able to control natural events. On Maldonado’s TBN program in 2012, Amedia claimed to have single-handedly stopped waves from the 2011 tsunami in Japan from hitting a Hawaiian island where his daughter was at the time. He boasted that the waves instead moved on to devastate another island:

I stood at the edge of my bed and I said, ‘In the name of Jesus, I declare that tsunami to stop now.’ And I specifically said, ‘I declare those waters to recede,’ and I said, ‘Father, that is my child, I am your child, I’m coming to you now and asking you to preserve her.’ Apostle, it was seen by 400 people on a cliff. It was on YouTube, it was actually on the news that that tsunami stopped 200 feet off of shore. Even after having sucked the waters in, it churned and it went on and did devastation in the next island.

As part of Amedia’s ministry, he runs a North American affiliate of Isaac TV, a Christian evangelist network based in Pakistan. In an undated program broadcast on the station, which was posted on YouTube late last year, Amedia discussed with viewers how faith in Christ could save them from “generational curses,” “traditions and cultures that keep us away from God,” and “an evil lifestyle.”

He went on to discuss how AIDS is the result of “unnatural sex” and can be avoided by practicing a "wholesome life”:

We know that many of the diseases today are avoidable if only we practiced a wholesome life. AIDS is a disease that comes because of unnatural sex. We understand that many of the diseases that we receive is because of exposure that we have to things that we should not be exposed to, lifestyles that are unhealthy or things in our spirit that cause us to become bitter.

He told viewers of a friend of his who “began to hate some people” and then he “lost his mind and he died a horrible death.”

Later in the program, Amedia doled out some faith healings, healing a viewer with “cancer in your tongue” and another who had chapped lips:

True to the spirit of Trump, Amedia has at least one shady business deal in his past. In 2001, he was granted immunity to testify that he had helped try to bribe a prosecutor to drop a case against a car-dealer friend in Ohio who had allegedly been rolling back car odometers. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review recapped the case in a 2011 article about an unrelated case in which Amedia testified:

"Did you not enter into a conspiracy to fix a court case in Mahoning County (Ohio)?" said Jeffrey Wilhelm, a Reed Smith attorney representing BlackRock. He referred to Amedia as "the bag man" in the incident, and said Amedia's admission "demonstrates his dishonesty."

The pointed question referred to Amedia's testimony in 2001 that he tried to bribe a prosecutor in 1994 not to pursue charges against a Youngstown car dealer for rolling back odometers on vehicles.

Amedia admitted he helped arrange a payment of $250,000 through a prominent local businessman, Anthony Saadey. Amedia gave the money to Russell Saddey Jr., Anthony Saadey's nephew, whom Amedia understood was an investigator for the Mahoning County prosecutor's office.

Amedia was never charged in the incident and moved to Florida in 2000. He admitted the attempted bribery in 2001 under grant of immunity for testimony in the prosecution of Russell Saddey on racketeering and other charges.

"I didn't ask for immunity; only that my family be protected," said Amedia yesterday, holding back tears. He said his family members were subjected to "death threats" by mobsters involved in the incident, and noted he received no money for his role in the bribery attempt.

We reported last week on Amedia’s mission work in Haiti after the country was hit by a devastating earthquake, when he linked the country’s troubles to “the curse of Voodoo” and said that he might give up providing aid to Haitians who did not renounce Voodoo.

Trump's Christian Liaison Threatened To Withhold Food From Haitians Who Don't Give Up Voodoo

According to a Time report today, Donald Trump is trying to make up with the National Hispanic Leadership Conference, the Hispanic evangelical group headed by Samuel Rodriguez, who has spent much of the presidential campaign cycle criticizing Trump for his anti-Latino, anti-immigrant rhetoric.

An official with NHLC, Mario Bramnick, apparently met with Trump earlier this month and came away thinking that “Donald Trump showed a tremendous understanding and concern for the undocumented immigrants.”

The meeting was reportedly organized by televangelist Frank Amedia of Touch Heaven Ministries, who is the Trump campaign’s “liaison for Christian policy.”

We had never heard of Amedia before, so we did a news search and found an AP story from February 24, 2010, titled “Voodoo practitioners attacked at ceremony for Haiti earthquake victims”:

Angry crowds in a seaside slum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, attacked a group of Voodoo practitioners Tuesday, pelting them with rocks and halting a ceremony meant to honor victims of last month's deadly earthquake.

Voodooists gathered in Cite Soleil where thousands of quake survivors live in tents and depend on food aid. Praying and singing, the group was trying to conjure spirits to guide lost souls when a crowd of evangelicals started shouting. Some threw rocks while others urinated on Voodoo symbols. When police left, the crowd destroyed the altars and Voodoo offerings of food and rum.

Tensions have been running high since the Jan. 12 earthquake killed an estimated 200,000 people and left more than 1 million homeless. More than 150 machete-wielding men attacked a World Food Program convoy Monday on the road between Haiti's second-largest city of Cap-Haitien and Port-au-Prince. There were no injuries but Chilean peacekeepers could not prevent the men from stealing the food, U.N. spokesman Michel Bonnardeaux said.

Religious tension has also increased: Baptists, Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientologists, Mormons and other missionaries have flocked to Haiti in droves since the earthquake to feed the homeless, treat the injured and jockey for souls. Some Voodoo practitioners have said they've converted to Christianity for fear they will lose out on aid or a belief that the earthquake was a warning from God. "Much of this has to do with the aid coming in," said Max Beauvoir, a Voodoo priest and head of a Voodoo association. "Many missionaries oppose Voodoo. I hope this does not start a war of religions because many of our practitioners are being harassed now unlike any other time that I remember."



"There's absolutely a heightened spiritual conflict between Christianity and Voodoo since the quake," said Pastor Frank Amedia of the Miami-based Touch Heaven Ministries who has been distributing food in Haiti and proselytizing.

"We would give food to the needy in the short term, but if they refused to give up Voodoo, I'm not sure we would continue to support them in the long term because we wouldn't want to perpetuate that practice. We equate it with witchcraft, which is contrary to the Gospel."

In a YouTube video posted in 2011 of a post-earthquake visit to Haiti, Amedia channeled Pat Robertson by attributing Haiti’s problems to a lack of literal fatherhood and a relationship with God, saying that the country had been afflicted by “the curse of Voodoo”:

The redemption of the country has to be in the fathering of the country. Pastors need fathers; the president need a father; and the families need fathers. There’s a lack of a fathering spirit here. And once that’s restored, the relationship with the Father in heaven and then the fathers here on earth, and there’s a mentoring and a fathering going on, this land will heal.

It’s the curse of Voodoo that has taken away the fathering in this land.

Steve Deace: Conservatives Using Supreme Court As 'Fig Leaf' As They 'Sell Their Souls' To Trump

After Donald Trump released a list of 11 people he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court if he were elected president, some conservatives who had been wary of supporting the presumptive GOP nominee began using it as an excuse to rally behind him. But not all of Trump’s conservative critics are convinced that he would actually pick from the judges on his list, many of whom were hand-picked by the conservative Heritage Society.

Among the skeptics is Steve Deace, the conservative Iowa talk radio host and vocal Trump critic, who said on his radio program yesterday that he did not believe Trump would actually nominate any of those judges when push comes to shove and that conservative activists are just using the Supreme Court list as a “fig leaf” as they “sell their souls” to Trump.

Deace’s guest, Daniel Horowitz of Conservative Review, predicted that Senate Democrats would never allow the confirmation of “a true originalist in the mold of Clarence Thomas” and that Trump would end up compromising on his court picks.

Deace agreed. “Why does anybody believe, anybody, unless they just want to be deceived, why does anybody believe that he would follow through on any of those things?” he asked.

“This is being done to offer a fig leaf to give conservative leaders and conservative voters who supported Ted Cruz permission to cross over and to say ‘We can now vote for Trump,’” he said. “And they have plausible deniability, if he doesn’t nominate any of those guys, then they’re victims later on, ‘Well, we went with his words, we had no other alternative, there’s nothing else we could do, we didn’t want Hillary to win, it’s all on his head.’ That’s what this is. It’s nothing more, nothing less, than a fig leaf to give Ted Cruz’s conservative infrastructure permission to sell their souls and to bow the knee and kneel before Zod.”

Kim Davis' Attorneys Take Credit For Oklahoma's Felony Abortion Ban

In a press release today, the conservative legal group Liberty Counsel took credit for a bill that passed the Oklahoma legislature yesterday that would make it a felony to perform abortions in the state. The group also claims that Paul Blair, a far-right Oklahoma pastor and activist who was embraced by Ted Cruz’s failed presidential campaign, “initiated” the legislation.

“SB 1552 was authored by Sen. Nathan Dahm,” the press release says. “Yet this legislation was initiated by a local pastor, Paul Blair, with the support and guidance of Liberty Counsel.”

“Life begins at conception,” the press release quotes Liberty Counsel’s founder Mat Staver saying. “Preborn children are in fact children, not merely fetuses, and their lives should be protected from the moment of conception. This bill is a very positive step toward affirming the value of human life by taking away ability to murder children. Liberty Counsel stands ready to defend this legislature if it is challenged.”

Liberty Counsel is perhaps best known for its role representing Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who tried to stop her office from issuing marriage licenses after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. The group and Staver have a long history of vicous anti-gay activism, including defending criminal bans on same-sex relationships . The group has also taken credit for the wave of anti-transgender laws sweeping the country, althought the Religious Right behemoth Alliance Defending Freedom seems to have played alarger role.

Blair also has a long history of extreme anti-gay rhetoric, including saying that the source of the “radical homosexual agenda” is Satan and declaring that the success of the movie “Brokeback Mountain” was proof that Americans are “under attack” from the devil. He is also a vocal advocate for states to ignore Supreme Court rulings with which they disagree — including Roe v. Wade.

As Peter wrote earlier this year, Blair has been working to convince state lawmakers to defy court rulings on abortion rights and marriage equality:

Reclaiming America for Christ , a ministry of Blair’s church in Edmond, Oklahoma, is promoting “Protect Life and Marriage,” an effort “dedicated to the proposition that the state of Oklahoma has federal and state constitutional authority to (1) protect the institution of natural, traditional marriage and; (2) protect innocent, unborn children from abortion; and that in the face of unjust, unlawful U.S. Supreme Court actions it is time for Oklahoma to exercise this authority.”

Blair said his group has 980 pastors and over 20,000 supporters, and is working with the governor, attorney general and state legislators to promote a nullification strategy: “We are trying to stop this legally, lawfully, politically, actually using the Constitution initially…”Speakers at a Protect Life and Marriage rally at the Oklahoma state capitol last October included U.S. Sen. James Lankford and Rep. Jim Bridenstine, along with state legislators and pastors. Blair also said people supporting some kind of state-led resistance are working through different channels in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Texas.

At a conference in March, Blair distributed copies of an interview he did with the magazine of the John Birch Society in which he says there is no need for constitutional amendments reversing Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality and abortion rights because states can simply cite the 10th Amendment to ignore them. He said in the interview that “we want Oklahoma to be a ‘sanctuary state’ for marriage, life and the Constitution.”

Peter adds:

Blair told The New American that Obergefell is illegitimate, unconstitutional, violates natural law and “celebrates immoral conduct.” The decision, he said, “is an attempt to force everyone to celebrate a behavior that violates conscience and the Holy Scriptures, and to force the acceptance of that behavior on our children through public education.”

Wiles: God Will Collapse US Economy As Judgment For Planned Parenthood 'Devil-Worship'

Unhinged conspiracy theorist and End-Times prophet Rick Wiles scored an interview on Tuesday with David Daleiden, the anti-abortion activist who created last year’s series of videos that baselessly claimed that Planned Parenthood sells “baby parts” for profit.

After his conversation with Daleiden, Wiles naturally concluded that God will destroy America as punishment for Planned Parenthood’s “human sacrifice” to Lucifer.

“There are certain issues in this country that the establishment will go to war to defend,” Wiles told his cohost Doc Burkhart. “Baby-killing is one of them. Homosexuality is another one. Sexual perversion is another one.”

Abortion providers, he said, aren’t just mistaken — they are worshipping Satan. “Make no mistake about it, it is the human sacrifice to Satan,” he said. “They are sacrificing babies to Lucifer. It’s not just unsaved people, bad people, that we’re dealing with. They’re Luciferian devil-worshippers. The abortion mills are blood-sacrifice centers. They are sacrificing children to Baal.”

America, he warned, will be wiped out just like our Baal-worshipping Old Testament predecessors.

Later in the program, Wiles discussed the news that the U.S. Treasury had revealed the amount of the nation’s debt that Saudi Arabia holds, which Wiles predicted was a precursor to Saudi Arabia unpegging its currency from the U.S. dollar. He then found a way to tie it all back to Planned Parenthood.

“What is the connection to baby parts?” he asked. “It’s judgment. It’s judgment. A massive collapse of the U.S. economic system will shut down Planned Parenthood. That’s it. Who’s buying baby parts then?”

If Saudi Arabia unpegs from the dollar, he said, “the whole country, it’s toast, it’s over. The financial system is wiped out.” He added that there would then be the “possibility of world war.”

Christian-Nation Advocates Rally To Support Roy Moore, Stop Gay Marriage From Destroying America

Supporters of Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama are planning to hold a rally on Saturday in defense of the judge, who has yet again been suspended by the state’s judicial inquiry committee, this time for attempting to defy federal court rulings on marriage equality.

A list of speakers hasn’t been released yet, but it will likely include John Eidsmoe, the Christian Reconstructionist scholar who works at the foundation that Moore founded, and Moore’s friend and former spokesman Dean Young, both of whom spoke last Thursday at a press conference where they announced plans for the event.

Speaking to reporters at the press conference, Young singled out Ambrosia Starling, a drag queen who’s a member of the coalition that filed a complaint against Moore and who has become an accidental celebrity since Moore claimed that she was leading the effort against him.

Young said that it’s a “travesty” that a “transvestite” was able to file a complaint against Moore when “these are the kind of people who want to come into the bathroom of your children, boy or girl.”

He then warned that marriage equality would destroy the country. “At the end of the day,” he said, “our civilization was founded on the Judeo-Christian values, and when you start saying that a man and a man can get married, you’re destroying the very foundation of this nation.”

Young compared “redefining marriage” to changing the measurements of a foot or an ounce.

“The entire foundations are destroyed when you start redefining words, and especially what marriage is, and that’s between a man and a woman,” he said.

Young praised Moore for being “the only one in this entire country that’s standing.”

“If they take Judge Moore down, they’re going to come after your pastors, they’re going to come after your businesses if you don’t make the kind of cake they want, they’re going to make you go out of business,” he warned. “If you don’t want to perform a wedding like that, you’re going to go out of business.”

He added that “this is either Valley Forge or the Alamo, I just don’t know which one.”

Young, who once said that if gay people “don't like the laws of Alabama…then maybe they need to go back to California or Vermont or wherever they came from," lost a Republican congressional primary in March.

Rusty Thomas, the radical anti-abortion activist who heads Operation Save America, has also announced that he’ll be speaking at the rally in support of Moore on Saturday. Thomas, who insists that terrorist attacks are God’s judgment for legal abortion, invoked both the Bible and a movie version of “Robin Hood” to declare that it is Moore who is following the law because the federal government is imposing “lawlessness.”

Thomas subscribes to a version of nullification that holds that “lesser magistrates” — state and local officials — must defy federal laws and court rulings that they believe violate divine law. The leading proponent of this theory is anti-abortion activist Matt Trewhella, one of the signers of a 1993 document supporting violence against abortion providers, who spoke alongside Thomas at a recent abortion “abolition” event in Arizona.

Thomas writes in a press release today that he hopes Moore’s example “will spread like wild fire to inspire governors, state legislators, sheriffs, and other lower magistrates to rise up with one voice to say no to the federal beast, place the chain back on our federal government, restore law and order, and reestablish the checks and balances necessary to secure a future and hope for our nation in Jesus' mighty name!”

The prophet Isaiah warned, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter (Isaiah 5:20). Our nation has long rejected Biblical truth and now we labor under a stupor of delusion. When good becomes evil, it should not be surprising that the good guys become the bad guys. The movie Robin Hood stated our current situation well, "In the days of lawlessness, those who keep the law become the outlaw."

Our federal government for decades has been codifying evil into law. In the name of new federal values, they are destroying Christian and family values. In the name of government, they betray their sacred trust as government. In the name of the Constitution, they violate the Constitution. Under the color of law, they impose lawlessness upon the citizens of America and upon the great state of Alabama.

Our federal government continues to make straight what God has called crooked, turn moral wrongs into civil rights, and demand that "We the People" tolerate the intolerable. In the midst of this tyranny and moral anarchy, God has raised up a champion, none other than Chief Justice Roy Moore.

As a Lesser Magistrate, Chief Justice Roy Moore, is standing in the gap between federal tyranny and the life, liberty, and property of the citizens of Alabama and our nation. It is my sincere prayer that his example will spread like wild fire to inspire governors, state legislators, sheriffs, and other lower magistrates to rise up with one voice to say no to the federal beast, place the chain back on our federal government, restore law and order, and reestablish the checks and balances necessary to secure a future and hope for our nation in Jesus' mighty name!

Update: Moore’s wife, Kayla Moore, who heads the foundation that he founded, is also scheduled to address the rally.

Trump Releases Supreme Court List, Including Conservative Dream Justices

Donald Trump, faced with conservative jitters over whom he would name to the Supreme Court if he were elected president, has promised to release a list of names from which he would promise to pick nominees. Today, according to the Associated Press, he released that list.

According to the Daily Beast, all of Trump’s 11 picks are white. Just three are women.

Trump’s list includes two possible picks whom he has frequently mentioned on the campaign trail: federal appeals court judges William Pryor and Diane Sykes. It also includes three additional people whom the Heritage Foundation recommended for Supreme Court posts after Trump said he would consult with the conservative group on his list: Raymond Gruender and Steven Colloton, both federal appeals court judges, and Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willet.

Also on Trump’s list are Thomas Lee, a Utah Supreme Court justice and brother of Republican Sen. Mike Lee; Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen, a former clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia; David Stras, who serves on the Minnesota Supreme Court; and federal appeals court judges Thomas Hardman and Raymond Kethledge.

It looks like Trump has, true to his promise, picked potential justices who would advance the conservative efforts to skew the federal courts far to the right. The libertarian publication Reason, for instance, has gushed over Willett for his willingness to overthrow government regulations.  (Willett, for what it’s worth, does not seem to return Trump’s admiration.)

We profiled Pryor, Sykes and Colloton last month:

William H. Pryor

One possible Supreme Court nominee whom Trump has specifically praised is William H. Pryor, selected by President George W. Bush to be on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Formerly Alabama’s attorney general, Pryor has a history of extreme right-wing activism, severely criticizing not just women’s right to choose under Roe v. Wade but even the constitutionality of the New Deal.

Pryor has called Roe the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.” He has claimed that with the New Deal and other measures, the U.S. has “strayed too far in the expansion of the federal government,” and asserted that it “should not be in the business of public education nor the control of street crime.” As a judge, he has helped uphold a restrictive Georgia voter ID law and joined just one other judge on the 11th Circuit in claiming that “racially disparate effects” should not be enough to prove a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, even though the Supreme Court has ruled precisely the opposite.

Pryor came first on a wish list of Supreme Court picks that the Heritage Foundation published shortly after Trump promised to consult them before naming justices.

Diane Sykes

Trump has also repeatedly named Diane Sykes, a Seventh Circuit federal appeals court judge appointed by President George W. Bush, as a potential Supreme Court nominee. Sykes, who previously served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and a trial court, has also won high praise from the Heritage Foundation and from right-wing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

In a series of dissents, Sykes has argued in favor of big business and against consumers and discrimination victims, including cases where she tried to limit corporate liability for product defects and overturn a $1 million damages award, to protect a corporation from having to defend against an employee’s claim of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and to reverse a $3.5 million bad faith judgment in favor of a Lutheran church against its insurance company.

She showed her anti-reproductive-choice views in providing a lenient sentence to two anti-abortion protesters who had to be forcibly removed from blocking the entrance to a Milwaukee abortion clinic and had previously been arrested 100 times for such offenses; Sykes nevertheless praised them for their “fine character” and expressed “respect” for the “ultimate goals” the blockade “sought to achieve.”

She asserted in dissent that a jury verdict against a criminal defendant should have been upheld even though there was extensive evidence that one of the jurors did not understand English (including a statement from the juror himself), which disqualified him from serving on a jury under Wisconsin law; that a prosecutor should be immune from a claim that he fabricated false evidence that wrongly convicted a man for 17 years; and that a conviction under federal law against someone convicted of domestic violence for possessing firearms should be reversed and that the law itself could well be unconstitutional, in disagreement with all 10 other judges on the court of appeals. She voted in favor of a Wisconsin voter ID law and of a claim by a student group that it should receive state funding and recognition despite its violation of a university rule prohibiting against discrimination based on sexual orientation, an issue on which the Supreme Court reached exactly the opposite conclusion several years later.

She asserted in dissent that a jury verdict against a criminal defendant should have been upheld even though one of the jurors did not understand English, that a prosecutor should be immune from a claim that he fabricated false evidence that wrongly convicted a man for 17 years, and that a conviction under federal law against someone convicted of domestic violence for possessing firearms should be reversed and that the law itself could well be unconstitutional, in disagreement with all 10 other judges on the court of appeals. She voted in favor of a Wisconsin voter ID law and of a claim by a student group that it should receive state funding and recognition despite its violation of a university rule prohibiting against discrimination based on sexual orientation, an issue on which the Supreme Court reached exactly the opposite conclusion several years later.

Steven Colloton

The third name on Heritage’s list of possible Supreme Court nominees is Judge Steven Colloton, who was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, after previous service for Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and as a U.S. attorney.

Colloton has been at the forefront of a number of troubling Eighth Circuit rulings, including writing decisions that reversed an $8.1 million award to whistleblowers who helped bring a defective pricing and kickback claim against a large corporation and a nearly $19 million class action judgment against Tyson Foods for violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. He also joined a ruling making the Eighth Circuit the only appellate court in the country that found that the Obama administration’s efforts to accommodate religious universities and other religious nonprofit objectors to the provision of contraceptive coverage under the ACA was insufficient, an issue n ow being considered by the Supreme Court.

Even more troubling, Colloton has dissented from a number of Eighth Circuit rulings that have upheld the rights of employees, consumers and others against big business and government agencies. He dissented from a decision giving African-American shoppers the opportunity to prove discrimination claims against a large department store, and then saw his view prevail by one vote when the full Eighth Circuit reheard the case. In another case, he dissented from a decision finding that a city had violated the Voting Rights Act by improperly diluting the voting strength of Native Americans.

Colloton dissented from rulings that gave individuals a chance to prove claims of use of excessive force and, in one case, that a city’s policy to use police dogs to bite and hold suspects without any warning was unconstitutional. In three separate cases, he dissented from decisions that employees should at least get the chance to prove in court that their employers retaliated against them for filing sex harassment, age discrimination, or other discrimination claims. In two more decisions, he argued in dissent that public employees should not have the opportunity to prove that they were retaliated against for speaking out in violation of their First Amendment rights. Yet he also claimed in a dissent that the First Amendment rights of a candidate for state supreme court justice were violated by a state judicial code of conduct restricting solicitation and other campaign activity in order to promote judicial impartiality and ethical conduct by judges. Even the conservative Roberts Court that decided the Citizens United case has agreed that these concerns justify solicitation restrictions in state supreme court elections.

This post has been updated to clarify the circumstances of a case in which Sykes asserted in a dissent that a jury verdict should have been upheld despite evidence that one juror was disqualified from serving.

Why Has The Religious Right Embraced Neo-Confederate Michael Peroutka?

Our friends at the Southern Poverty Law Center have obtained a copy of the 2014 membership list of the Council for National Policy, a secretive group led by the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins that includes a who’s who of leaders of the Religious Right and the wider conservative movement who work together to influence national politics. (In 2014, Perkins was the group’s vice president.) We’ve known from news reports that CNP’s membership includes a wide range of Religious Right leaders, but one name on the list obtained by SPLC stood out: Michael Peroutka.

Peroutka, who made his fortune with a family debt-collection business, has become a minor benefactor to the Religious Right, including funding anti-choice groups, bankrolling some of the campaigns and advocacy work of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore (who is currently suspended for attempting to defy the federal courts on marriage equality), and, maybe most notably, donating a million-dollar dinosaur skeleton to a creationist group.

Peroutka runs the Institute on the Constitution, a Christian Reconstructionist group that argues for the enforcement of a particular interpretation of biblical law. For instance, Peroutka has suggested that all laws passed by the Maryland legislature are invalid because the legislature became an invalid body when it violated “God’s law” and passed marriage equality legislation.

Most troubling, Peroutka has a history as a neo-Confederate activist, including spending time on the board of the secessionist League of the South. In a 2004 speech to the group, Peroutka said that he was “still angry” that Maryland failed to secede from the Union during the Civil War. At the group’s 2012 convention, Peroutka led attendees in a spirited rendition of “Dixie,” which he referred to as “the national anthem”:

Peroutka was appointed to the board of the League of the South in 2013, the year before the CNP membership list obtained by SPLC was published. He quit the group in late 2014 as he ran for a local government seat in his home state of Maryland, unconvincingly claiming that he hadn’t been aware of the group’s racism.

Peroutka ended up winning a seat on the county council of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, after his openly gay Democratic opponent was hit withnasty anti-LGBT robocalls that were later tied to Peroutka’s advisers.

CNP’s membership list is closely guarded and new members can join only by invitation. This means that Peroutka didn’t just show up unannounced: He was invited to join a group that includes Perkins, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, Alliance Defending Freedom’s Alan Sears and many other high-profile conservative activists.

We don’t know if Peroutka is still a member of the group. But even by the time CNP’s 2014 membership directory was published, there was already plenty of public information available about his troubling ideology. Why was the leadership of the Religious Right willing to invite Peroutka into their fold?

Jeffress: Pro-LGBT Businesses A Greater Threat Than ISIS

Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, praised his state’s leaders yesterday for refusing to comply with an Obama administration directive on facilities access for trans students in public schools, saying that “it’s time for an all-out rebellion against this absolute tyranny of the Obama administration.” He added that business interests pressuring lawmakers not to enact anti-LGBT measures are a greater “threat to freedom of religion in America” than ISIS.

Jeffress, a key Religious Right ally to Donald Trump, discussed the topic yesterday with Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, who was guest-hosting the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” program.

Jeffress said that the U.S. needed to admit that “we are a country based on the Judeo-Christian foundation, and whether you’re Jewish or Christian, I mean, we believe that gender is something that is assigned by God.”

Recognition of transgender rights, he said, means that “we are headed toward chaos,” adding that “at the root of this is society’s rebellion against the plan of God, that’s what this is all about.”

Jeffress and Starnes praised Texas officials’ resistance to the administration’s directive, with Jeffress noting that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick “often” worships at his church when he’s in Dallas.

“I think they’re going to stand firm on this and I hope that every governor of every state will have the guts to do that,” Jeffress said. “I think it’s time for an all-out rebellion against this absolute tyranny of the Obama administration.”

When Starnes noted that Mississippi has announced that it will comply with the administration guidelines, Jeffress laid the blame on the Chamber of Commerce and business interests, which he said were a greater threat to American liberties than ISIS.

“It comes down to money, Todd, that’s what it’s about,” he said. “And when states are being faced with the loss of business, they tend to fold real quickly. And I’ve said often that the greatest threat to freedom of religion in America is not ISIS, it’s the Chamber of Commerce. I mean, it’s the businesses that say to our representatives, ‘Oh, don’t pass laws like that, don’t pass these religious freedom laws because people will interpret that as anti-gay and we’ll lose business.’”

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