On today's edition of "WallBuilders Live," David Barton and Rick Green were discussing what they considered several positive changes that were taking place in the state of Michigan thanks to the election of lots of Tea Party candidates to the state legislature. In making the point that things were really bad in the state, Barton claimed that he was recently there and was shocked to learn that there is "not a single grocery store in the city limits of Detroit":
Detroit has a population of over 700,000 and Barton is claiming that there is not one grocery store within a city this size? How exactly does he think these people are getting food?
Now I haven't been to Detroit in person, but I do have access Google Street View which allows me to find various of grocery stores located within the city in about two minutes, like University Foods located at 1131 Warren Ave W, Detroit, MI 48208:
And an Aldi grocery store located at 15415 Gratiot Ave, Detroit, MI 48205:
And Parkway Foods located at 13210 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48215:
In fact, a simple Google Maps search for "supermarket" in Detroit returns dozens and dozens of results:
As we have said several times before, if Barton cannot be trusted to accurately report on contemporary issues that are easily verifiable to anyone with internet access, how can anyone trust anything that he says?
While collecting reactions from the Religious Right to yesterday's ruling upholding health care reform legislation, one person we didn't include was Bryan Fischer since we were waiting until his radio program aired to see just how outraged he was over the ruling.
And was he ever outraged, kicking off his program by declaring that "America no longer exists as a constitutional republic," suggesting that the authors of the decision ought to be impeached, questioning Chief Justice John Roberts' sanity, and calling the decision "legal garbage" that should be tossed in a landfill and left to rot:
Ladies and gentlemen, today the Grim Reaper has visited the United States. Unless this Supreme Court decision from today is repealed, unless it is overturned, unless it is repealed, America no longer exists as a constitutional republic and Chief Justice John Roberts will do down in history as the man who shredded the Constitution beyond recognition. His ruling today is unconscionable, it's inexcusable for somebody who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States to issue a ruling like John Roberts issued today.
This is bad behavior. All five of the judges that participated in this ruling could be impeached, tried, convicted, and removed from office. This is a gross dereliction of duty on their part.
I mean, John Roberts, ladies and gentlemen, this is embarrassing. John Roberts today participated and wrote legal gobbledygook, it is legal gibberish, it is irrational, it makes absolutely no sense. Not only is it unconstitutional, it's not even rational what he wrote in his opinion that is going to take away the freedom of million and million and million of Americans. It actually makes you wonder if something has gone wrong with his brain. He's not thinking clearly, he's not writing clearly.
The main ruling is just garbage, I mean it is legal garbage, ladies and gentlemen. That's the most polite term I can use to describe what John Roberts has written. It is legal garbage. It belongs in a landfill somewhere where it can be left to rot and decompose and decay in peace. That's how bad it is.
Last week, People For the American Way Foundation hosted a gala at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to celebrate founder Norman Lear’s 90th birthday and the Young Elected Officials Network.
The event highlighted Lear’s legendary career as a television producer, and how in 1981, he turned to that medium to express his concern about the growing right-wing movement in America – and People For the American Way Foundation was born. 30 years later, PFAW Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network – consisting of nearly 700 progressive officeholders between 18 and 35 years of age – are at the forefront of change in their communities.
Members of Congress, celebrities, members of the board and community leaders were in attendance to celebrate Norman Lear, the YEO Network and the mission of People For the American Way Foundation.
From left: PFAW Foundation Founder Norman Lear, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, PFAW Foundation President Michael Keegan and board member Jane Lynch
From left: Board member Kathleen Turner and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison
From left: YEOs Kesha Ram, Melvin Carter and Angie Buhl
On today's episode of Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, hosts Steve Crampton and Harry Mihet were discussing the Pentagon's decision to no longer allow Bibles to be published bearing the official emblems of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps; a move which has, predictably, outraged the Religious Right.
Somehow Crampton and Mihet managed to tie this issue to a recent Senate hearing on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA,) prompting Crampton to marvel that a transgender person was actually allowed to testify on behalf of the legislation and complain that ENDA is not about "equal rights" but rather "special rights" for gays and cross-dressers.
Crampton stated that if ENDA passed, he could come into work - "God forbid," he said - wearing a dress and would be allowed to use the women's restroom. "In years past," Crampton said, "we had another word for this: it's called insanity":
Young People For (YP4), a program of People For the American Way Foundation, is a year-long leadership development program that helps a diverse set of student leaders turn their idealism into actions that advance social change on their campuses and in their communities. YP4 Fellows design and implement a capstone project called the Blueprint for Social Justice and work on social justice projects of their choosing. We’ll be highlighting the work of some of our outstanding Fellows here.
This week, we’re pleased to introduce Elena Swartz, representing Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania.
Recognizing the importance strong voter turnout in order to foster positive change in her community, Elena chose to organize a Civic Empowerment Summit at Bryn Mawr as her Blueprint for Social Justice. The summit provided information on how students can be a voice for change through vote work on campus and in their community, and was strategically planned in the spring to help students plan their voter engagement work ahead of the upcoming fall elections. During the training, Elena shared strategies for effective campus and community outreach, volunteer recruitment, data management, voter registration and more. Elena’s project is so important because the right to vote is constantly under attack by those who want to disenfranchise certain groups of voters for political gain, such as students.
Across the country, states are implementing Voter ID laws that exclude student ID’s from the list of acceptable forms of identification, imposing strict residency requirements to register to vote and some are even requiring college students to travel to their home precincts to vote instead of casting a ballot near their campuses. By organizing and educating her fellow students, Elena is helping to empower young people to take a stand against these measures and strengthen our fundamental rights.
By Erik Lampmann
Norman Lear, more so than almost any other, understands the inspiration, joy, and revitalization to be had by bringing together a diverse and wide movement to share in moments of success -- large and small. This week, I was honored to attend Norman Lear’s 90th Birthday celebration and the kick-off to the Young Elected Officials Network’s national convening. An alum of the Young People For (YP4) millennial fellowship program, I was invited to the event to share my experience and represent young people active in the progressive movement. While being in the presence of celebrities, major donors, and political leaders would give any college student simultaneous sensations of absolute fear and overwhelming excitement, I think the most poignant emotion I felt during the night was a profound sense of purpose, of drive, of calling.
Of the activists and organizers I met Thursday, I was continually impressed not by their successes -- be they electoral, issue-based, or local -- but by their resounding human spirit. From Norman Lear’s keen ability to enrapture a crowd -- whisking them from applause line to somber reflection -- to the YEO members who not only envisioned change but came to embody it within themselves, I was humbled. From talking to students from different campuses about the wins and losses of their organizations this Spring semester to discussing the Presidential Medal Freedom with Dolores Huerta, to hearing Jane Lynch give an interview on the consequences of the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court case, I was astounded by the grace with which my peers in the movement campaigned for justice with compassion.
I will confess that I am, at times, disillusioned with the progressive movement, in general. As a campus organizer working on progressive public policy and LGBTQ justice in Richmond, VA, I am often disheartened at the gap between what we’ve currently achieved and the ideal that we continue to pursue. While everyday I see the stifling states’ rights conservatism of the former Capital of the Confederacy, local progressive wins seem much slower coming. For these reasons, the reinvigoration of the PFAW Foundation celebration of this past week could not have come at a better time. As I complete a summer research fellowship on political theory and strategize for next year’s mobilizations on-campus, I am reminded of the inclusive, accomplished, and intentional family of YP4 and the dedication of People For the American Way Foundation in the pursuit of justice, equality, and the American Way even despite the challenges ahead.
Indeed, our fight as a movement has never been more necessary or the challenges we face more dire. Most recently, conservative ad hominem attacks on Attorney General Eric Holder continue to distract Congress from meaningful action. Out-of-touch elected officials continue to hold hostage major pieces of policy legislation from confronting the student debt crisis to tackling the federal deficit. Voter suppression bills are -- this very minute -- actively disenfranchising the elderly, youth, and communities of color across the country. Reproductive justice continues to be vilified and erased from popular discourse by those who censure speeches in the Michigan State House, for example, or close all of the abortion clinics in Mississippi simply in order to devalue the personal autonomy of women. Racial profiling continues to make life for undocumented people in Arizona and Alabama that much more difficult. Queer folks continue to challenge a heterosexist culture that seeks to tokenize their experience while the elderly, young people, and the differently-abled are shunned to the margins of political discourse.
Reflecting on the significance of Thursday’s event as well as the struggles to come reminds me of a refrain within this piece, the need for solidarity and union within our movement family. I think my sentiment is expressed best by a quote I first heard at a YP4 training: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win.We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” -- Assata Shakur.
Erik Lampmann is a junior studying political theory and French at the University of Richmond (VA) and a 2011-2012 YP4 Fellow.
We have spent most of the day collecting reactions from the Religious Right to today's Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of health care reform legislation and listening to hours of radio programs as movement leaders try to understand what happened, what it all means, and where to go next.
Based on what we have heard from them today, the emerging narrative seems to be that the ruling itself was awful and wrongly decided, but that it will ultimately end up doing more harm than good for President Obama as he seeks re-election by leading to a resurgence of Tea Party activism and and landslide for candidates running for office who will vow to repeal the legislation.
Tony Perkins summed it up when he explained on today's radio program that it was Congress and President Obama who were responsible for this legislation that "is a time-bomb of destruction for our nation" and must be replaced in November:
We're right to be disappointed and frustrated by the Court's decision, but it was Congress that did this to begin with. It was Barack Obama who did this to begin with, so I think we've got to go back and put this around them, making them responsible for something that almost 70% of Americans oppose.
We do have a way to correct this, and it's called the election in November. And folks, I'm going to tell you, if you're apathetic and you think "well, I'm not going to vote because I've got a choice between this one and that one and there's not that much difference," there is a difference! Barack Obama is responsible for this health care bill which is going to strip you of your rights as an American citizen in the ability to make your own decisions. It is an infringement upon religious freedom. We have rationing boards that are going to be put in place. These are not seeds, this is a time-bomb of destruction for our nation and President Obama is responsible for it.
Ken Hutcherson in on a mission to take back both the word "gay" and the symbol of the rainbow in his fight against gay rights and made his case on "WallBuilders Live" today with David Barton and Rick Green.
Following the interview with Hutcherson, Barton and Green speculated that the gay rights movement has sought to co-opt these things in order to distort God's blessing upon mankind:
Barton: We don't even think about "gay" in the term it was, we only think it in the way of the new definition ... You know, I hadn't even thought about why they chose that word or how they came to use that word or how that became the denotation for homosexuals. I don't know.
Green: Well, when you take that or the rainbow, as Hutch was saying [is] a promise from God, isn't that part of the goal? To distort what God gave us and to distort what would normally be a blessing and be something that you enjoy and honor and worship God because of?
Barton: Well, it goes back to the Garden [of Eden.] The Serpent said "oh yeah, if you'll eat this you will have the knowledge." Eh, it wasn't the right knowledge; you got knowledge but it was a distorted form. And that's why the Bible also says that Satan appears as an angel of light - he looks like the real thing, but it's a distortion. He doesn't come to give you the good things, he comes to steal, kill, and destroy, not give you life and not give you all the good things Jesus wants to give you in John 10:10, but he looks the same when he comes. You know, he makes the same offer, it just doesn't ever work out that way. And so it's the same thing, you take something good like "gay" and you distort it into something else.
On yesterday's program, Bryan Fischer dedicated a segment to discussing a 2009 newspaper article about bestiality advocates in order to bolster his case against marriage equality, saying that "once you allow sex between two people of the same-sex, there is no place to stop" and it will inevitably lead to the legalization of polygamy, pedophilia, and bestiality:
The American Family Association describes itself as “a Christian organization promoting the biblical ethic of decency in American society with emphasis on moral issues that impact families.” We know from AFA’s primary spokesperson Bryan Fischer that rank bigotry doesn’t seem to run afoul of AFA’s definition of decency. So where does honesty figure in?
The July-August 2012 issue of the group’s magazine, AFA Journal, includes a two-page spread from David Barton, the “historian” whose lies and misrepresentations have earned him condemnation from actual scholars – including evangelical Christians. The article, “Evidence of executive enmity” supposedly summarizes the evidence that the “anti-biblical” President Obama “has an ax to grind with people of biblical faith.” Barton complains about a range of Obama administration policies and recycles false and misleading claims that have been repeatedly debunked, as RWW’s Kyle Mantyla has noted repeatedly. Barton also claims that Obama demonstrated “preferential deference for Islam’s activities and positions.”
Among Barton's Christian-persecution claims is that retired Lt. Gen. William Jerry Boykin was disinvited from speaking at West Point “because he is an outspoken Christian.” (In reality Boykin was disinvited after many faculty and cadets – most of them Christian – opposed Boykin as an inappropriate speaker given his inflammatory statements describing US foreign policy as a spiritual war against Islam.)
Also featured in the AFA Journal is a quote from “Catholic sociologist” David R. Carlin, Jr, asserting in Crisis magazine that “[T]he drive for same sex marriage is not simply about same sex marriage or the moral legitimization of homosexual behavior; it is also about the de-legitimizing of Christian morality” and that “those who are pushing for the institution of same sex marriage are ipso facto pushing for the elimination of the Christian religion.” But what about all those Christians who support marriage equality? Carlin dismisses them: "The trouble with 'liberal Christianity' is that it isn’t Christianity."
Right now, wildfires are currently devastating parts of Colorado and these fires are making the Colordao-based political arm of Focus on the Family think about ... sex?
It seems that to the folks at CitizenLink, the tragic consequences of these wildfires are just like the tragic consequences of sex-education since teaching students about safe sex is no different than handing them matches and sending them out into the woods:
Wouldn’t we all agree that it’s better to prevent a forest fire, if and when possible, than treat the immense damage in its aftermath?
These questions are similar to what the National Abstinence Education Association (NAEA) is asking Congress and state legislatures about our nation’s approach toward pre-marital sex ... Certain questions arise: Why aren’t our schools, our states and our nation placing a clear and unquestionable priority on sexual risk avoidance (SRA)? Why are we intentionally spending billions of dollars handing kids matches (condoms), which result in careless (sexual) “fires” and treating victims who have been unnecessarily burned by sex (STDs, pregnancy)? Wouldn’t prevention be cheaper and healthier?
“Safe” sex education – or promoting casual sex, while handing out condoms and birth control to kids – is analogous to passing out matches to kids in school, and telling them, “Be sure you play safely with these in the forest and, above all, have fun!”
It’s irresponsible messaging that encourages high-risk behavior at a great cost to families and our entire nation.
Yet our federal government currently pours nearly 16 times as much money into “safe” sex education than it does into helping kids learn how to avoid starting fires in the area of sexuality or SRA. Perhaps this is why we have so many uncontained “fires” caused by sex outside of marriage.
What can we learn?
- Neither adults nor children should ever play carelessly with matches or fire, especially in forests. Safe places exist to enjoy the warmth of a contained fire in the right context at the right time – started and monitored by responsible adults.
- Neither adults nor children should carelessly play with sex, especially outside of marriage. A safe place exists to enjoy sexual bonding within the right context at the right time – when a responsible, adult man and adult woman are able sustain a lifelong, commitment to each other within the context of marriage.
- Don’t get burned by fire or sex; both can get out of control quickly, and both have the potential to harm you – and to hurt many other people, as well. Keep fires in the fireplace, and keep sex inside of marriage.
Earlier this month, the flu-stopping, casserole-multiplying Rick Joyner hosted a "Freedom Congress" conference that featured speakers like Oliver North and Jerry Boykin, as well as Republican South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint.
DeMint used his address to urge the audience to get involved in politics because, at the moment, Washington reflects the fact that our culture has become increasingly secular, and so if parents want to teach their children right and wrong they "are likely to be persecuted in some way by the government" for doing so.
And the reason society and government is becoming so secular, DeMint said, is because parents have been sending their children to public schools where they are no longer taught that "God created this earth" even though "we know He did" because science is proving more and more that "it could not have happened by accident." As such, Christians must stand up because God "has put us in charge of this vineyard we call America":
Last week we noted that Bryan Fischer's Bible study has taken him to the Book of Ephesians and a discussion of Satan, demons, and spiritual warfare, prompting him to declare that Satan is behind everything from gay rights to Planned Parenthood to environmentalism.
Yesterday, Fischer wrapped up his study of Ephesians by stating that it is Satan that is ultimately responsible for attacks on Christians who speak the truth and that "the average liberal in the United States" was just someone who had been duped by Satan:
Satan and his evil spirits are not just kind of these vague floating beings that are out there somewhere where they can't get to us, they can't touch us, they can't affect us, they can't influence us; we struggle against them.
Now, we do have people that are adversaries but the point that Paul is making here is that what's behind them, what's behind the work that they do, the things that they think, the things that they say, what's behind them if they oppose us when we stand for the truth, what's behind them ultimately is the Prince of the Power of the Air. And that's why ultimately our struggle is not against people, they're just dupes, they have been deceived, they have been fooled.
You look at the average liberal in the United States, they believe things that are folly. They believe things that are irrational. They believe things that make no sense, that cannot stand up to the test of reason and logic. Why do they believe that? Because they are dupes, they have been deceived and fooled by the Prince of Lies, the Father of Lies and that's why they believe and do what they do.