Miranda Blue's blog

Kim Davis Declines Oath Keepers' Offer Of Armed Guard

Yesterday, we reported that the Oath Keepers, a "Patriot" movement group best known for the standoff at the Bundy Ranch and for showing up heavily armed to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, was converging on Kentucky to offer a "security detail" to anti-gay clerk Kim Davis to protect her from further arrest for refusing to do her job and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Now, almost as soon as they arrived, the Oath Keepers are packing up and going home. Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes writes in an email to members today that Davis, through her attorneys at the Religious Right legal group Liberty Counsel, has (probably wisely) declined their offer of assistance. He encourages members to save their gas money for another mission, such as "our planned upcoming operation to guard Texas border ranches against drug cartel violence and invasion":

Upon request by Kim Davis' legal team, Oath Keepers is canceling the planned security detail for Mrs. Davis in Morehead, Kentucky.

Oath Keepers has been contacted by Kim Davis' legal team at Liberty Counsel, and they have, on her behalf, declined our offer of assistance in protecting her from a possible repeat incarceration by Federal District Court judge David Bunning. We will, of course, respect her wishes, and are hereby issuing a stand-down for our security volunteers who were planning on deploying to Morehead, Kentucky on Monday.

Oath Keepers will NOT be conducting a security detail for Mrs. Davis.  We always seek the full consent and cooperation of anyone we protect, and we must respect their wishes if they decline that protection. Anyone who was planning on going to Morehead, KY to serve on the security detail are now asked to not do so. We do thank you most sincerely for your willingness to step up, as unpaid volunteers, in defense of due process.   That was a very honorable intent, and we commend you.

This is a free country, and of course you are free to still go there on Monday and peaceably assemble to express your support for her due process rights and your opposition to arbitrary arrest if you want to, but Oath Keepers will not be conducting a security detail, and she apparently does not want anyone else to do so. Therefore, we encourage you to save your gas money and time off work for another security detail, at another time (such as for our planned upcoming operation to guard Texas border ranches against drug cartel violence and invasion).

We have not talked to Mrs. Davis directly, and therefore we don't know her reasoning or ultimate intent, but we do note that civil disobedience where the person is willing to allow themselves to be unlawfully arrested and are willing to go to jail to make a point, is a time honored, respectable, and honorable American tradition going back to Henry David  Thoreau.  We must respect that if it turns out to be her chosen strategy.  There is more than one way to skin a cat, and such non-resistant civil-disobedience can be a powerful tool in resisting tyranny.  Or it may be that she is confident of making an accommodation.   We don't know, but regardless we will respect her wishes and stay out of it.

Rhodes ends with a "special message to our critics":

As for the many harsh critics of our offer to protect Mrs. Davis, it is frankly sad that so many Americans cannot understand taking a stand in defense of someone's due process rights regardless of who that person is, what they stand for, or what they are accused of doing or have done.   That should not matter, and all that should matter is our common ground of the Bill of Rights and the hard-won rights of due process and in particular jury trial.   As I told one person who wrote in:

You can't see past your opposition to what she did long enough to see our point about due process and the dangers of having judges use their contempt power like a magic wand to put people into indefinite detention till they submit.  Please try to focus on the due process rights of the accused, not on the particular crime.   I would, and have, stood up for the due process rights or anyone, regardless of the accusations made against them.  I did so during the Bush Admin, when I stood up for the due process rights of Yasir Hamdi and Jose Padila, both of whom are Muslim Americans who were held in indefinite detention by Bush.  I also stood up for the due process rights of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.   And the paper I wrote at Yale Law about that won Yale's top prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights.  But that was during the Bush years, and was a harsh criticism of what a Republican was doing to Muslims. so the leftist professors at Yale ate it up.
Now, with the shoe on the other foot, leftists are apparently as blind to the bedrock issues of due process for someone they despise - Davis - as the Bush supporters were when it came to someone they despised - Jose Padilla and Yasir Hamdi.

Clearly, in America, what matters most is whether the accused is seen as a "good guy" or a "bad guy" and if seen as being bad, then there is zero concern for due process and people will clamor for expedited punishment.   I suppose that is just a reflection of human nature.  But sad nonetheless.

Now, after a cycle of the Republicans in power, and then the Democrats, with both exponentially growing the military industrial complex, national security surveillance state over us, I see that Orwell was right when he said "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."  It doesn't matter to me whether it is a right boot or a left boot.  Or whether you think the person being smashed deserves it.  I oppose it.  - Stewart

Is Jeb Bush Out Of Values Voter Summit?

Every year, Republican leaders flock to the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit, which gives them a chance to curry favor with Religious Right activists and gives FRC President Tony Perkins a chance to assert his political influence.

So it caused a minor hubbub last year when Perkins pointedly refused to invite presidential hopefuls Jeb Bush and Chris Christie to speak at the summit, saying that they “shouldn’t take it the wrong way” but they “just weren’t on the top of the list” for “values voters.”

We were interested, then, to see that Bush is not listed as an invited speaker at this year’s summit:

When, as recently as July, Bush was listed as invited:

Bush, for his part, seems to have been doing what he can to woo Perkins, meeting with him at the Conservative Political Action Conference this year and saying that he has “a lot of respect for Tony and his group.”

Interestingly, the Christian Post reported yesterday that Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump had turned down his invitation to speak at the summit and Perkins was miffed, saying that Trump was “not interested” in speaking with evangelicals:

Although some polls have shown that the misogynistic real estate mogul who once favored abortion and carries liberal views on same-sex marriage has had no trouble gaining the support of Evangelicals , Perkins asserted that Trump's refusal to speak at the conference is a sign that he has no interest in conversing with Evangelicals.

"We have got the Values Voters Summit coming up and Donald Trump has passed. He is not going to come," Perkins said. "I think that is going to send a message to Evangelicals and values voters that he wants their support, but he is not really interested in having a conversation with them."

"I think that is probably about the time, in about three or four weeks, people are going to start thinking more seriously about this as we move forward into the year," Perkins continued. "[Trump's absence], whether it was intended to or not, it will send a message."

"I think [Trump] is going to have to have conversations with Evangelicals and talk about issues they care about. He hasn't really done that in a way that is convincing," Perkins argued. "Could [Trump] make some progress with Evangelicals? I think he could if he tried, but I don't really see that happening right now."

Tony Perkins Blames Economic 'Roller Coaster' On Planned Parenthood, 'Moral Climate'

On his “Washington Watch” radio program today, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins took a call from a listener who asked him about the End Times rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s “Shemitah” theory, which holds that some big event will happen this month as a sign of God’s wrath.

Perkins said that he was trying to arrange for Cahn to come on his show soon, noting that “we’re coming up to that point” that Cahn is predicting.

He then tied the whole thing into attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, saying that business groups were wrong to be concerned about the economic implications if the debate leads to a government shutdown this month because the real problem with the economy right now is “the moral climate.”

“I’ve been giving a lot of thought to that because there are a lot of things converging right now,” he said. "And this goes back to a point I didn’t get to, but those in the business community are really leaning heavy on Congress to not get into this fight on Planned Parenthood that could lead to a government shutdown or could affect the debt limit because we don’t want to in any way affect the economy."

“Well, folks, I’m telling you what, the economy’s going to be affected, if we can’t get the moral climate, the moral foundation of America straight, that’s why our economy is like a roller coaster. There is no stability in our society. Who knows, I mean there might be another riot. We are living in such a volatile time it is hard to predict anything.”

Last month, televangelist Pat Robertson similarly blamed a stock market plunge on Planned Parenthood funding.

Mike Huckabee: Gay Marriage Ruling Is 'Illegal' Because It Confuses People

As Steve Benen noted yesterday after Mike Huckabee claimed that the Dred Scott decision is still the “law of the land” and is just being ignored by elected officials, when it comes to the implementation of marriage equality, the GOP presidential candidate has invented “his own brand of crackpot civics.”

Huckabee put his made-up civics beliefs on full display in an interview yesterday with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins in which he claimed that Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear could “very simply” fix the situation with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, by removing clerks’ names from marriage licenses altogether … while simultaneously claiming that the governor actually has no authority to do so.

This, Huckabee explained, shows why the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality was “so illegal … because this has left the whole country in a state of ambiguity and confusion.”

“The governor can fix this very simply by simply saying he’ll change the form,” Huckabee said. “Now the question is, does he have the authority to do that? And if so, under what authority? This is where this all gets very confusing. And it’s why the haste to rush into implementing same-sex marriage is so ridiculous and, frankly, Tony, it’s why it’s so illegal is because this has left the whole country in a state of ambiguity and confusion.”

Huckabee went on to cite the Tennessee judge who denied a straight couple a divorce this month in a stunt ruling meant to protest the Obergefell decision, which the former Arkansas governor said was just a sign of all the confusion about gay marriage.

“It’s chaos, confusion that’s been created,” Perkins agreed, “and this is just the beginning of what we’re going to see play out here.”

Huckabee then proceeded to roll out some other desparate legal theories about Davis, claiming that she is not required to follow laws that were implemented after she took office and even claiming that she could be guilty of a felony in Kentucky “if she just arbitrarily changes the wording of the marriage license.”

“When she was elected to that position,” He said, “she was operating under the Kentucky constitution that expressly says that marriage is between a man and a woman. … So that’s what she was elected on, that is the job she is doing. And there is a specific statute in Kentucky law that if she just arbitrarily changes the wording of the marriage license, that’s a felony. So here’s the question: Which law does she follow? The ambiguous and unconstitutional judicial tyranny ruling of the Supreme Court that has not yet been codified? Or does she follow the specific constitutional and statutory requirements under Kentucky law, under which she was elected?”

“And I just really am disapponited that some of the people think the way to handle this is just have public officials resign their jobs,” he added, “because they’re going to go ahead and surrender to what Jefferson called judicial tyranny.”

Ted Nugent: Verizon Dropped Sportsman Channel Because Obama Hates America

Earlier this month, Verizon announced that it was dropping The Sportsman Channel from its lineup from its Fios service “due to its low viewership.” But NRA board member and Sportsman Channel fan Ted Nugent knows the real reason for the Verizon lineup change: President Obama and the media’s “anti-Americanism.”

Nugent called into Alex Jones’ “Infowars” program yesterday to rail against Verizon for giving “the toxic middle finger of communism” and “anti-Americanism” to viewers like him, which he managed to link to President Obama, the Affordable Care Act, the 2012 Benghazi attack and the IRS.

“My God, Alex, the number of freedom-abusing, freedom-destroying, fundamental transformation, abuse of power and corruption and fraud and deceit and anti-Americanism that runs amok in this country from the president on down, it breaks the hearts of good Americans by the hour across this country,” he said.

“When Verizon cancels Sportsmen’s Channel, it’s a direct result of the anti-gun, anti-freedom, anti-hunting, anti-wildlife, anti-science, anti-Americanism that has infested our media across this land,” he declared.

The Sportsman Channel itself has framed the Verizon decision as censorship, telling visitors to its website : “Your lifestyle, Your freedom, Your rights – TAKEN.”

Tony Perkins' Surprisingly Apt Kim Davis Analogy

The Religious Right activists who frequently claim that they are simply seeking to “live and let live” in a country that increasingly favors LGBT rights and other social progress sometimes compare themselves to the Pilgrims, citing the historical myth that the American concept of religious liberty originated with early Puritan governments.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, made this argument on his “Washington Watch” radio program today in response to a caller who claimed that the arrest of Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who attempted to bar her entire office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, portends laws making it “illegal to pray in the military” and is reminiscent of Nazi “legislation trying to annihilate the Jews.”

“It’s just kind of sad that if you have religious beliefs you can’t be an elected official,” the caller said.

Perkins agreed, attacking the “intentional” “misconception” that “religious liberty is simply the freedom to pick the church of your choice” rather than the freedom of people like Kim Davis to impose their religious views on everyone else.

“Do you really think that William Bradford and the Pilgrims came to America, to this land, seeking just to move their church membership because they couldn’t find a church that they really liked there in England or Holland, where they were before they came back to England?” he asked. “I don’t think so. And, in fact, they had religious freedom in Holland but they didn’t have the ability to build community and a framework to live under based on their religious freedom. That’s why they risked it all to come to what we now know as the United States of America.”

“They came here for the same thing that Kim Davis is asking for,” he said, “religious freedom. Not freedom of worship, but the freedom of religion.”

Perkins may have accidentally made the perfect Kim Davis analogy. The Puritans traveled to Plymouth Colony after a stint in Holland where, as historian Robert Tracy McKenzie notes, they “encountered a religious tolerance almost unheard of in that day and age.” In America, he writes, “they hoped to live by themselves, enjoy the same degree of religious liberty and earn a ‘better and easier’ living.” In doing so, they set up a theocracy, where, as PBS writes, they sought “religious freedom—but only for themselves.”

Perkins is absolutely right that Kim Davis and her supporters are seeking something similar to what the Pilgrims sought in the 17th century : not the freedom of religion, but a religious state, governed by them.

FRC Official: Call Gay Marriage 'Garriage' And Lesbian Marriage 'Larriage'

Pat Fagan, the director of the Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religious Research Institute, suggested yesterday that marriage equality opponents start referring to gay men’s marriages as “garriage” and lesbians’ marriages as “larriage,” with the overarching term for “homosexual marriage” being “harriage.”

Fagan made his proposal in a question to Ryan T. Anderson, the marriage equality opponent who was presenting on his new book “Truth Overruled” at FRC’s office.

"A proposal," Fagan said, "something along this line, that we in the pro-family movement start using related terms, but keep ‘marriage’ for what it always was. So we might call — and this is to be worked out — but something like, if you're talking about gay marriage you call it ‘garriage.’ If it’s lesbian, you call it 'larriage.' If you want a generic homosexual marriage it’s ‘harriage.’ But getting these words into use I think is key. And that will take time, but whomever holds the language ultimately holds the whole game.”

Anderson, who has been doing his best to soften the public face of opposition to marriage equality, politely told Fagan that while his “broader point” was “exactly right,” his “only concern with the three terms that you suggest is how will that be heard by other people?”

H/T reader Erik

Oath Keepers Send Armed Guards To Protect Kim Davis From US Marshals

The Oath Keepers, the anti-government “Patriot” group that mounted an armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management at the Bundy Ranch, stationed armed guards outside of military recruitment centers after the Chattanooga shooting, and unsettled Ferguson protestors when they showed up carrying assault weapons, is now offering anti-gay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis a “security detail” to protect her from further arrest if she continues to defy the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes announced yesterday that he had reached out to Davis’ lawyers at Liberty Counsel to offer the protection of his group, which he says is already forming a presence in Rowan County, Kentucky, where Davis was recently released from jail after prohibiting her office from issuing marriage licenses. Rhodes said in a statement that his position has nothing to do with gay marriage, but rather his conviction that Davis had been illegally detained by the federal judge who held her in contempt for violating multiple court orders.

In a phone call with former Jackson County, Kentucky, Sheriff Denny Peyman and other local Oath Keepers activists, Rhodes said that he was on his way to Kentucky to help with the Davis operation. Although the group had originally intended to picket outside the home of the judge who held Davis in contempt, he said, they had changed their plan when she was released on Tuesday.

Rhodes said that the Rowan County sheriff should have blocked U.S. Marshals from detaining Davis, but since neither the sheriff nor the state’s governor will do their “job” and “intercede” on behalf of Davis, the Oath Keepers will have to do it instead. “As far as we’re concerned, this is not over,” he said, “and this judge needs to be put on notice that his behavior is not going to be accepted and we’ll be there to stop it and intercede ourselves if we have to. If the sheriff, who should be interceding, is not going to do his job and the governor is not going to do the governor’s job of interceding, then we’ll do it.”

Peyman suggested that he meet with the Rowan County sheriff to “educate him” on his responsibility to block the actions of the federal courts, but in the meantime, Rhodes said, “our guys are already there and more coming” and they are ready to “lead by example” by preventing Davis from being arrested again.

When Rhodes asked Peyman what he would have done if he were sheriff of Rowan County when Davis was detained, Peyman said he would have stopped the arrest.

“This is exactly the kind of thing that our Founding Fathers dealt with when dealing with the magistrates and the officers of the crown who wanted to run roughshod over the rights of the colonists without a jury indictment, without any of that,” Rhodes declared. “Same thing. They’re going to show their power and show you who’s boss.”

Although Rhodes's anti-government extremism doesn't always align with the Religious Right, his rhetoric on Davis not far from that of the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, who said that U.S. Marshals and county prison officials should have refused to participate in Davis' detention because they have no obligation to follow “laws that have no moral foundation that are actually in contradiction to moral law and truth.”

UPDATE: Rhodes reports that Davis, through her Liberty Counsel attorneys, has declined Oath Keepers' offer and he has ordered members of his group to "stand down."

This post has been corrected to note that Peyman is the former sheriff of Jackson County.

Kim Davis Attorney: Marriage Equality Will Bar All Christians From Public Office

Mat Staver, the head of Liberty Counsel and the attorney representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her effort to bar her office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, claimed yesterday that if Davis doesn’t get her way then Christians will be effectively barred from holding all public offices.

Interviewing Staver on his “Washington Watch” program, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said that he was “very disappointed” in Republicans who have suggested that Davis resign from her position if she is unwilling to perform a major part of her job.

“That would establish a reverse religious test where if you hold an orthodox religious view of marriage, you would be barred from holding public office,” Perkins said.

Staver agreed with Perkins, noting that Davis “believes God called her” to run for clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky.

“But if what we do is follow the advice of some of these Republican candidates that say she needs to resign, well what does that mean?” he asked. “That means that Kim Davis and anyone else who is an elected official … that means you have to check your faith at the ballot box. And once you’re elected, you have to change your faith, put it aside, transgress it, you cannot have your conscience accommodated. ‘No more Christians need to run for office,’ that’s essentially the message, and if you’re in office you need to resign your post immediately. Now what kind of America is that? It’s certainly not the America that the Founders envisioned and I don’t think it’s the kind of America that most people want.”

“It won’t stop with this issue, Mat,” Perkins warned. “It will be something else next. This is the time to stand and exercise our religious freedom lest we lose that religious freedom.”

Staver claimed that Davis was merely seeking the “simple accommodation” that her name be removed from marriage licenses in the county — a new line from the attorney who has been urging public officials to defy the marriage equality decision lest they run afoul of God’s law .

Davis, he said, is the first of many Christians who will be jailed “for their religious beliefs” thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision.

“This is a tragedy, it’s the first Christian jailed since the decision of the Supreme Court on June 26 on marriage,” he said. “But unfortunately, Tony, as you and I fear, I don't think this is going to be the last Christian jailed for their religious beliefs and conscience that collide with this issue of same-sex marriage.”

“No, not as long as there are Christians who are willing to live their lives according to their faith,” Perkins agreed, “and there are a lot of them out there.”

Sensenbrenner: If We Fund Planned Parenthood, How Will We Feed Starving Children?

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, used his time at today’s House hearing on Planned Parenthood to demand that the single pro-choice witness at the hearing choose between federal funding of Planned Parenthood’s preventative health care services for low-income women and “feeding starving children.”

“Could you please tell us why Planned Parenthood needs to get over half a billion dollars of federal funding every year when there are other pressing needs, such as feeding hungry children, that maybe we should put that money into?” Sensenbrenner asked Yale Law School’s Priscilla Smith.

“I’d like to know what your priority is,” he repeated, “Planned Parenthood or feeding hungry children?”

When Smith noted that Planned Parenthood’s services, such as affordable contraception, STI testing and cancer screenings, help the “mothers of those children,” Sensenbrenner was baffled.

“How can they be the mothers of the children when children are aborted through Planned Parenthood?” he asked.

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