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Election Day Registration takes center stage in California

Seeking to increase turnout, the California Assembly has voted in favor of Election Day Registration.
PFAW Foundation

Massachusetts working toward positive electoral reforms

Where other states have placed obstacles between voters and the ballot box, Massachusetts is working on making the process easier.
PFAW Foundation

LaBarbera and Wooden are Positive that Nobody Wants their Kids to be Gay

Yet again, the guest on this week's installment of Peter LaBarbera's "Americans for Truth Hour" was none other than Patrick Wooden where the two dedicated one more hour to discussing the results of the marriage amendment vote in North Carolina and their mutual animus towards gays and gay rights in general.

This time around, Wooden and LaBarbera predicted that one today's young people grew up and had families, their support for marriage equality would fade because, down deep, nobody wants their children to grow up to be gay, not even parents who are gay themselves, and anyone who says otherwise is lying:

Wooden: Young people grow up and it's amazing what happens when you become a mom or a dad yourself. It's amazing what happens when, all of a sudden now you are entrusted with a young life and that kid looks just like you and all of a sudden now it's your little boy or your little girl. No one wants their son to be a homosexual. No one wants their daughter to be a homosexual.

LaBarbera: The liberals are now saying, they are going around saying how happy they would be if their son came home, or their daughter, and said "I'm gay." And it's almost like they are arguing against nature that they are trying to persuade themselves because honestly I don't think many would be happy, and it's not something to be happy about to know that your son or daughter is entering an aberrant and immoral lifestyle. And yet, that's what they keep saying.

Wooden: Well, they're saying that be we know that's not true. No one, no one would want their child - even the homosexual father doesn't want his son to be homosexual; the lesbian mother does not want her daughter to be lesbian.

Barton: 'It Makes Perfect Sense' that People are on Welfare Because they are not Reading the Bible

As we have noted several times in recent months, David Barton has a bit of a habit of saying things that are fundamentally and demonstrably untrue ....a tendency he continued today on "WallBuilders Live" when he praised Liberty University by claiming that the LU Law School was one of the top schools in the nation:

Every year, US News and World Report produces a list of the best law schools in America that ranks the top 150 schools and Liberty University Law School was ranked number "Rank Not Published," meaning it didn't even qualify among the top 150.  Thus, it is a little hard to understand how it could be considered one of the top law schools in the nation when it doesn't even make the list of top law schools in the nation.

Later, Barton began musing about some supposed connection linking welfare to failure to read the Bible enough, saying he'd love to see some study done that examines the correlation because "it makes perfect sense":

Wouldn't it be interesting to do a study between those that are on welfare and see how much and how often they read the Bible. You know, if Booker T. Washington is right that Christianity and reading the Bible increases your desires and therefore your ability for hard work; if we take that as an axiom, does that mean that the people who are getting government assistance spend nearly no time in the Bible, therefore have no desire, and therefore no ability for hard work? I could go a lot of places with this. I would love to see this proven out in some kind of sociological study, but it makes perfect sense.

Fischer: If Gays Aren't Discriminated Against, Christians Will Be

Bryan Fischer has long made clear his belief  that gay rights and liberty are incompatible and cannot coexist because every advance of the gay agenda comes at the expense of religious liberty. 

But yesterday he took things a step further, declaring that gay marriage would mean the end of the First Amendment and tied that back to his assertion that "it is altogether right to discriminate against homosexual behavior" warning that if gays are not the ones being discriminated against, then Christians will be:

Janet Porter Declares 'Open Season on RINOS'

For nearly two years now, Janet Porter has been focused entirely on seeing passage in Ohio of a radical piece of anti-choice legislation known as the "Heartbeat Bill" and been organizing a variety of stunts and promotions designed to pressure Ohio legislators to pass it, including flooding their offices with heart-shaped balloons and teddy bears and even scheduling a fetus to "testify" on behalf of the bill. But last month Senate President Thomas Niehaus finally got fed up with Porter's antics and announced that the Heartbeat Bill was dead.

But Porter had only grown more determined, refusing to give up and instead upping the pressure with more rallies while targeting specific state legislators with postcards and newspaper ads [PDF].

Today, Porter organized yet another press conference where she stood next to a giant inflatable rhinoceros and declared that, if the Ohio Senate failed to pass her legislation before leaving for summer recess, it would be "open season on RINOS," by which she means "Republicans In Name Only, " which is what she is calling Senate Republicans who are refusing to allow a vote on the bill.

Porter has literally done nothing but pressure these legislators to pass this bill for years without success, yet now she is boldly declaring that everything she has done so far "is nothing compared to what we're going to do" if the legislation does not get a vote before recess, as she will be left with no choice but to run ads comparing these Republicans not to RINOS but - the horror! - to Democrats:

Prop 8 Appeal Sent to the Supreme Court

This afternoon, the full 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to hear an appeal of the Prop 8 case.  In February, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit struck down Prop 8, finding California's revocation of the right of same-sex couples to marry same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional. The 9th Circuit's decision means that either the Supreme Court will take up the case or the 9th Circuit’s decision striking down the law will stand.

The appeals court ruling is on narrow grounds unique to California, where same-sex couples were left with all the state rights of marriage but not the name. It found that taking away gay and lesbian couples’ designation of “marriage” while leaving their rights unchanged did not serve any of the purposes put forth by its defenders. Instead, its only purpose and effect was to lessen a targeted group’s status and dignity by reclassifying their relationship and families as inferior. The Court did not address the larger question of whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry. While the Supreme Court will be presented with the narrower question as framed by the Ninth Circuit, it is impossible to tell, if it agrees to hear the case at all, whether they will rule on this principle or more broadly on the ability of states to deny lesbians and gays the right to marry.

PFAW Foundation

Hagee Tells Atheists to Leave the Country; They Are Not Wanted and Won't Be Missed

Tomorrow, June 6, will be the 68th anniversary of the D-Day invasion at Normandy and Pastor John Hagee used his sermon this past Sunday to reflect upon the sacrifices made on this day ... and also to tell atheists to get out of America "if our belief in God offends you" because they are not wanted and won't be missed while also calling on Congress to "outlaw the practice of witchcraft and Satanism in the US military, lest we offend the God of Heaven":

Barber: Scott Lively 'Really is a Hero' Who is Doing 'Kingdom's Work'

Earlier this year, a Ugandan gay rights group sued notorious anti-gay activist Scott Lively in US court for allegedly violating international law over his role in Uganda's proposed "Kill The Gays" bill.

Shortly thereafter, the notorious anti-gay activists at Liberty Counsel stepped up to represent  Lively  and on today's installment of "Faith and Freedom," Matt Barber and Harry Mihet explained that they were doing so because Lively is really a courageous hero who ought to be commended for the kingdom's work that he has been doing but who has become instead the victim of violence from gay activists:

Texas Voter Purge Endangering the Status of Hundreds of Thousands of Voters

While Florida’s local election supervisors are rebelling against a flawed voter purge championed by Gov. Rick Scott, the Houston Chronicle reports that Texas is holding its own voter purge that could jeopardize the status of hundreds of thousands of registered voters. As noted in the People For the American Way Foundation report, The Right to Vote Under Attack, faulty purge programs “can effectively disenfranchise large numbers of eligible voters” and have been frequently used to accomplish partisan agendas, and the Chronicle has already found many instances of people being wrongfully purged from the rolls:

More than 300,000 valid voters were notified they could be removed from Texas rolls from November 2008 to November 2010 - often because they were mistaken for someone else or failed to receive or respond to generic form letters, according to Houston Chronicle interviews and analysis of voter registration data.



Statewide, more than 1.5 million voters could be on the path to cancellation if they fail to vote or to update their records for two consecutive federal elections: One out of every 10 Texas voters' registration is currently suspended. Among voters under 30, the figure is about one in five.

Texas voter registration rates are among the lowest in the nation, but Texas pays nearly twice as much to cancel voters - 40 cents per cancellation - as it does to register new ones at 25 cents.

State and federal laws require the nation's voter rolls be regularly reviewed and cleaned to remove duplicates and eliminate voters who moved away or died. But across Texas, such "removals" rely on outdated computer programs, faulty procedures and voter responses to generic form letters, often resulting in the wrong people being sent cancellation notices, including new homeowners, college students, Texans who work abroad and folks with common names, a Chronicle review of cancellations shows.
PFAW Foundation

Perkins: Americans Will Never Accept Gay Marriage Because it 'Violates Reason and Natural Law'

Recently, Tony Perkins and Harry Jackson sat down for a half-hour interview with CBN's David Brody to discuss President Obama's support for marriage equality and what it will mean for the 2012 election.

Brody has posted the entire interview on his blog, in which Perkins compared the issue of gay marriage to the issue of abortion, declaring that Americans will never accept the legitimacy of gay marriage, regardless of what the courts rule, because "same-sex marriage violates reason and natural law" and warning that any Supreme Court ruling upholding the legality of gay marriage will "create great unrest in this society": 

For his part, Jackson saw the President's statement as an opportunity to create a new "Black-Brown coalition" among African Americans and Hispanics rooted in opposition to the Democratic Party's growing support for gay rights and fueled by resentment against gay activists who are trying to push minorities to the back of the line. 

Jackson said comparisons between the push for gay rights and the struggle for civil rights are nonsense because systematic discrimination and violence against the gay community "never happened" and warned that if African Americans and Hispanics don't escape the "Democratic Party plantation," then "America's best days are over": 

Rick Joyner Warns of Looming Race Riots

On Friday's installment of "Prophetic Perspective on Current Events," Rick Joyner warned that "we are close to having race riots in America" and that the racial tensions created by the Trayvon Martin shooting are giving "the enemy" an opportunity to unleash massive death and destruction in this country.

Explaining that racism "empowers the spirit of death," Joyner pointed to Nazism and Japanese atrocities during World War II as proof of what can happen and warned that, if it takes hold in America, "there will be a whole lot more death and a whole lot more destruction than the last time": 

Fischer: 'It is Altogether Right to Discriminate Against Homosexual Behavior'

On Friday, Brian wrote a post taking note of a recent column by Bryan Fischer in which he called on conservatives to "reclaim the ‘D’ word" and begin to boldly defend the practice of discriminating against gays and lesbians.

As Fischer normally does whenever he posts a new piece, he ended up discussing it later that day during his radio program where he made the case that "it is altogether right to discriminate against homosexual behavior" because homosexuality is not something that should be accepted by "any rational society":

Fischer & Beisner Describe the Doctrines of the Religion of Environmentalism

On Bryan Fischer's radio program yesterday, Fischer and Cal Beisner discussed how environmentalism was becoming the established religion in America. 

How exactly is environmentalism a religion, you ask? Well, as Beisner explained, it has its own doctrines, its own holy day (Earth Day,) its own food taboos, sacrifice rituals (recycling,) paradoxical beliefs, sacred structures (recycling bins,) and it proselytizes.  And, as Fischer added, just like with the early church, heretics (i.e. global warming deniers like Fischer and Beisner) are punished and excommunicated:

Justice Stevens: A Crack in the Foundation of the Citizens United Majority Opinion is Inevitable

One of the last acts of Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court bench that he sat on for nearly thirty-five years was to read a summary of his scathing dissent of the Citizens United v. FEC decision, aloud, stating repeatedly, in one form or another that corporations “are not themselves members of ‘We the People’ by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.” Unfortunately, this view, which the vast majority of Americans agree with, and which seems so self-evident, was not held by the majority of the court.

To read the decision aloud was noteworthy; justices typically do so on cases they believe have special merit. And Justice Stevens correctly understood then that Citizens United was just that.

Over two years later, as the effects of Citizens United take hold, as corporate and special interest spending flood the 2012 elections and overwhelm the political process, Justice Stevens revisited the topic at the University of Arkansas’ Clinton Schools of Public Service. As reported by the Huffington Post, Justice Stevens took to the lectern Wednesday to address the inherent legal contradictions that are still outstanding under Justice Kennedy’s lead opinion.

Stevens alluded to President Obama’s apprehension, voiced in his 2010 State of the Union Speech, that the decision would “open the floodgates to special interests -- including foreign corporations -- to spend without limit in our elections.” Stevens stated (emphasis added):

… the former professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School [President Obama] made three important and accurate observations about the Supreme Court majority's opinion …

… third, the logic of the opinion extends to money spent by foreign entities. That is so because the Court placed such heavy emphasis on the premise that the First Amendment generally prohibits the suppression of political speech based on the speaker's identity. Indeed, the opinion expressly stated, “We find no basis for the proposition that, in the context of political speech, the Government may impose restrictions on certain disfavored speakers.”

Justice Stevens is correct that the logic of the Court’s opinion in Citizens United extends to permitting foreign corporations to make independent expenditures to influence U.S. elections. As he pointed out in his Citizens United dissent, the majority opinion’s failure to take on the issue of foreign corporate spending when striking down portions of the McCain-Feingold Act is a glaring omission, one that exposes the logical flaws in Kennedy’s argument. And as more cases like Bluman v. FEC arise – in which foreign nationals sought, and were denied the right to make electoral contributions and expenditures – the court will need to further clarify its position on why domestic corporations, and not other “speakers” have the right “to speak.” On the subject, Stevens reasoned:

in due course it will be necessary for the Court to issue an opinion explicitly crafting an exception that will create a crack in the foundation of the Citizens United majority opinion. For [Justice Alito's] statement that it is "not true" that foreign entities will be among the beneficiaries of Citizens United offers good reason to predict there will not be five votes for such a result when a case arises that requires the Court to address the issue in a full opinion. And, if so, the Court must then explain its abandonment of, or at least qualify its reliance upon, the proposition that the identity of the speaker is an impermissible basis for regulating campaign speech. It will be necessary to' explain why the First Amendment provides greater protection to the campaign speech of some non-voters than to that of other non-voters.

It is very possible that a plethora of cases like Bluman v. FEC will reach the district courts. And it’s very possible that the lower courts will begin to poke so many holes in the Citizens United rationale that the Supreme Court will have no choice but to revisit the case.

PFAW Foundation

David Barton's Relentless Dishonesty Knows No Bounds

The other day I mentioned that I had begun working my way through "The One Year Chronological Bible" which I am reading in conjunction with The ESV Study Bible. Last night I made it to Exodus 18 and came across this passage:

But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain —and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.

That passage seemed familiar, mainly because it is what David Barton cites when he claims that God created the concept of elections and that our Founding Fathers explicitly cited that passage as the basis for Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution:

Notice how Barton says "God says choose out from among you leaders of tens, fiftys, hundreds, and thousands"? What I realized last night is that in Exodus 18, it is not God speaking, but rather Moses' father-in-law Jethro. 

After having led the Israelites out of Egypt, "Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, together with Moses’ sons and wife, came to him in the wilderness, where he was camped near the mountain of God." While Jethro was visiting, Moses went out to serve as judge for the Israelites and settle their disputes, but there were so many that the task lasted all day.  Jethro, seeing that the workload was too great, suggested that Moses should "select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain —and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens." Then these judges would hear the simple cases while reserving for Moses the difficult ones and easing his burden. And that is exactly what Moses did:

13 The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”

15 Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”

17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain —and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”

24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. 25 He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 26 They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.

It is flagrantly false for Barton to claim that it was God speaking in this passage and utterly misleading for him to claim that it has anything to do with establishing elections. In fact, it was Moses alone who picked which judges to place in charge, which is pretty much the exact opposite of an election.

As we have said before, it is getting to the point where we now have to check nearly every assertion that Barton makes because so many of them turn out to be fundamentally false.  And if Barton is willing to lie about what the Bible says, it raises the question of whether there anything that he won't he lie about? 

No Reason for DOMA, Says Appeals Court

 A federal appeals court in Boston today upheld a lower court ruling that called the key section of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” unconstitutional. Section 3 of DOMA bans the federal government from recognizing legal marriages between people of the same sex, meaning that it willfully discriminates against a set of married people when it comes to Social Security benefits, joint-filing tax breaks, military spousal benefits and immigration. When DOMA was passed in 1996 no states allowed gay and lesbian couple to marry – its provisions were purely theoretical. Today, marriage equality exists in six states and the District of Columbia, and DOMA actively harms thousands of married Americans – 100,000 couples, according to the court.

In its decision concluding that DOMA violates the Constitution, the unanimous First Circuit panel – two out of three of whom were nominated by Republican presidents – was cautious. The panel said that under First Circuit precedent DOMA doesn’t trigger “heightened scrutiny” – a tougher standard for the federal government to meet. It also declined to address any arguments based on the premise that lesbians and gays have a constitutional right to marry (as opposed to having their existing marriages recognized by the federal government).

But the court was clear that Section 3 of DOMA does not meet the “rational basis” test for upholding a federal law that denies equal protection to a group long subject to discrimination – in other words, there’s just no good reason for DOMA to do the harm that it does.

The court looked at several justificiations offered for the law by DOMA’s supporters and found that each comes up short. Supporters say DOMA will save the federal government money (reports say that it actually costs the government money…and saving money isn’t a good enough reason for legal discrimination in the first place); that allowing lesbians and gays to marry harms children (it doesn’t, and Section 3 of DOMA doesn’t affect these couples’ rights to raise children anyway); and just plain moral disapproval (Supreme Court precedent says this isn’t enough of a reason). And finally, the court takes on the constant argument of opponents of same-sex marriage: that somehow gay couples getting married will harm the institution of marriage for everyone else:

Although the House Report is filled with encomia to heterosexual marriage, DOMA does not increase benefits to opposite-sex couples--whose marriages may in any event be childless, unstable or both--or explain how denying benefits to same-sex couples will reinforce heterosexual marriage. Certainly, the denial will not affect the gender choices of those seeking marriage. This is not merely a matter of poor fit of remedy to perceived problem, but a lack of any demonstrated connection between DOMA's treatment of same-sex couples and its asserted goal of strengthening the bonds and benefits to society of heterosexual marriage.

This is the crux of any number of court decisions that have struck down barriers to marriage equality. The main reason given for many laws that seek to deny marriage rights to gays and lesbians is that same-sex marriage will somehow weaken marriage for everybody else. It’s a claim that just doesn’t hold water.

The First Circuit panel did, however, go out of its way to defend DOMA’s supporters even while rejecting the law.

The District Court judge whose ruling the appeals court upheld declared that DOMA was motivated by “irrational prejudice” toward gays and lesbians. The First Circuit explicitly refuses to go there, instead stating that while that may have been true for some supporters, others were motivated instead by what it characterizes as the non-biased wish to “preserve the heritage of marriage as traditionally defined over centuries of Western civilization.” Under recent Supreme Court precedent, they write, the wish to uphold tradition isn’t a good enough one for denying equal protection. But the Supreme Court can change that if it wants:

In reaching our judgment, we do not rely upon the charge that DOMA's hidden but dominant purpose was hostility to homosexuality. The many legislators who supported DOMA acted from a variety of motives, one central and expressed aim being to preserve the heritage of marriage as traditionally defined over centuries of Western civilization. Preserving this institution is not the same as "mere moral disapproval of an excluded group," and that is singularly so in this case given the range of bipartisan support for the statute.

The opponents of section 3 point to selected comments from a few individual legislators; but the motives of a small group cannot taint a statute supported by large majorities in both Houses and signed by President Clinton. Traditions are the glue that holds society together, and many of our own traditions rest largely on belief and familiarity--not on benefits firmly provable in court. The desire to retain them is strong and can be honestly held. For 150 years, this desire to maintain tradition would alone have been justification enough for almost any statute. This judicial deference has a distinguished lineage, including such figures as Justice Holmes, the second Justice Harlan, and Judges Learned Hand and Henry Friendly. But Supreme Court decisions in the last fifty years call for closer scrutiny of government action touching upon minority group interests and of federal action in areas of traditional state concern.

Recognizing that the Supreme Court will likely review its reasoning, the court stayed the decision, so it will not go into effect yet.

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