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Understanding The Benham Family's Expression Of Love

On Friday, Alan Colmes interviewed David and Jason Benham about the on-going controversy over the cancellation of their HGTV program due to their anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-Islam activism.

For the last two weeks, the Benham brothers have been complaining that they were the victims of a "smear campaign" build on "complete lies" and when Colmes finally asked David to explain just how they had been lied about, David asserted that "Right Wing Watch published the fact that we said 'God hates Muslims,' that is a complete and total lie."

Ironically, the only lie here is from David, as we never asserted that he or Jason said that "God hates Muslims." What we did explain in our post was that their father, Flip, had organized protests outside of mosques where protesters screamed "Jesus hates Muslims."

Later in the interview, Colmes pointed out to David that we were talking about the protests organized by his father and never attributed that statement to him or to Jason, but David still asserted that it was untrue because "my dad would never say 'God hates Muslims'":

We find that a little hard to believe since Flip Benham is notorious for his anti-Islam protests, such as this one where he stood outside of a mosque with a PA system in order to inform the Muslims in attendance that he had come "not to dialogue with you [but] to slay your false god":

Perhaps it was from watching their father express his "love" for Muslims that David and Jason learned how to express their "love" for gays.

Porter: Jason Collins' Homosexuality Is 'Very Dangerous ... To Our Freedoms'

Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter was the guest on Gordon Klingenschmitt's "Pray In Jesus Name" program today where the two spent most of the discussion railing against the gay fascist thought police who are out to destroy any Christian that is willing to stand and proclaim their faith.

Somehow during the conversation, Porter and Klingenschmitt ended up talking about gay NBA player Jason Collins, whom Porter asserted proves that nobody is born gay because Collins has an identical twin brother who is straight and so Collins' "choice" to be gay, she asserted, represents a dire threat to the freedom of Christians in America.

"Quite honestly," Porter said, "he makes the case that you're not born that way. This is a choice he's made and it is a choice that is very dangerous physically and it's very dangerous, as we see, to our freedoms in the nation."

Klingenschmitt readily agreed, declaring that Jason is "demon possessed" which opens him up to being "addicted to all kinds of sin":

Larry Klayman Says A Revolution Is Needed To Stop Hillary Clinton From Winning The Presidency And Destroying America

While very few people showed up last year for Larry Klayman’s rally to overthrow President Obama, the conservative activist said Friday that a “Second American Revolution” is needed to stop Hillary Clinton from winning the 2016 presidential election.

If Clinton wins, Klayman writes, she will “usher in the death knell of the United States of America” and “subjugate the American people to political slavery.”

Conservatives – and I am one with a large libertarian streak as well – are prone to see doom around every corner. But the present state of the nation is such that one cannot over-exaggerate the peril America now finds itself in – for on the horizon looms the now odds-on favorite to be our next president, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The possible election of the female partner of the Bonnie and Clyde duo of Bill and Hillary Clinton would usher in the death knell of the United States of America. Having fought the Clintons tooth and nail during the 1990s, and having pursued them for their commission of a host of crimes, ranging from Whitewater, to China-gate, to Travel-gate, and Monica Lewinsky-gate to name just a few of the 40 or so of their misdeeds, I speak from experience.



Coming after the failed presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Hussein Obama, a second “Clinton presidency” would be disastrous, not just because they would resume their practice of selling off anything of value for their political expediency – as they did with the Communist Chinese, with pardons, Commerce Department trade missions seats, overnight stays in the White House’s Lincoln Bedroom, judgeships, commissionerships, Cabinet secretary spots and anything else under their control – but because they have no moral compass. For the Clintons, and Bill would undoubtedly be right there at Hillary’s side, anything goes to further their hubris and hungry thirst for power. And, while they are not black Muslim-sympathizers like Obama and his racist comrades, Hillary has a documented certifiable history of taking money from Islamic interests, not just the Communist Chinese. In effect, the entire country would be put up for sale at a Bonnie and Clyde auction to further subjugate the American people to political slavery under their rule.

Yes, by the standards of yesteryear, Richard Nixon is not a crook, and whatever his shortcomings, Tricky Dick at least was not a traitor. Hillary Clinton, following the lead of her corrupt predecessors and her own felonious history and continuing modus operandi (and Benghazi is just one recent example during her tenure as Obama’s secretary of state), would make Nixon look like a saint.

All of this is why We the People must wage our Second American Revolution now, before it is too late, to free the nation and ourselves of the scourge of the likes of the Obamas and Clintons. If we do not do it now, then all is likely to be lost.

Once Again, Glenn Beck Falsely Claims Our Founding Documents Came Out Of The Book Of Deuteronomy

The most infuriating thing about watching Glenn Beck's radio and television programs for four hours every day is listening to him constantly assert that The Blaze "is the only network dedicated to the truth" while he personally spews lies and misinformation over its airwaves day after day.

The worst part is that Beck constantly repeats lies on the air well after his claims have been debunked, as he did on Friday when he falsely asserted once again that  "thirty percent of everything in our founding documents comes from one book, the Book of Deuteronomy":

As Chris Rodda explained back in 2010 when David Barton first made this claim on Beck's program, this false statement is based on a 1984 study by a University of Houston professor who found that, among the documents published during the founding era, the Bible was the most frequently cited source, but that was largely because "most of these citations come from sermons reprinted as pamphlets; hundreds of sermons were reprinted during the era, amounting to at least 10% of all pamphlets published."

As Barton said back in 2010, 34% of the identifiable quotes from the thousands of document that were published during the founding era came from the Bible and Deuteronomy was the most frequently cited book among those quotes.

But Beck utterly misrepresents this time and again in order to claim that a one-third of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence came directly out of the Book of Deuteronomy.

It is entirely untrue, but Beck continues to repeat it over and over again while simultaneously portraying himself as a paragon of truth, honesty, and integrity.

In fact, later in this very same segment, Beck vowed to "always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday."

Apparently, that vow does not apply during the hours when he is broadcasting.

Right Wing Leftovers - 5/16/14

  • Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief in Michigan’s marriage equality case, insisting that “it would be rational for the voters of Michigan to seek to minimize the deleterious effects” of “homosexual activity.”
  • The editor of Matt Barber’s website shows his “overwhelming love” for gay people by explaining that homosexuality “is destroying your life.”

No, SunTrust Did Not Drop The Benham Brothers Over Their Anti-Gay Views

Earlier today, The Daily Caller published an article claiming that SunTrust Bank had cut ties with David and Jason Benham's real estate company over their anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-Islam activism, with the Benhams asserting that this was the latest development in the on-going effort to "silence" them:

First they lost their television show. Now the Benham brothers say they are losing their business.

SunTrust Banks is cutting ties with would-be reality stars David and Jason Benham after liberal activists attacked them for their conservative views on abortion and gay marriage, The Daily Caller has learned.

In a statement provided first to TheDC on Friday, the Benham brothers confirmed that SunTrust Banks has pulled all of its listed properties with the Benham brothers’ bank-owned property business, which includes several franchisees across four states.

The move comes just a week after HGTV announced it was canceling a planned home renovation show hosted by the brothers.

“If our faith costs us our HGTV show and our business, then so be it,” said Jason Benham on Friday.

“We were caught off-guard with this one,” David Benham said of SunTrust’s actions. “Keeping us off television wasn’t enough, now this agenda to silence wants us out of the marketplace.”

The Benhams, in their statement, said the news came “without warning or explanation from SunTrust and took place over a 15 minute period” on Thursday. The Brothers said they have had a “mutually productive working relationship with SunTrust for many years” and hold a ”preferred broker” status with the bank.

The brothers said they contacted SunTrust, but bank employees declined to explain the reasoning for what happened.

Reached for comment by TheDC on Friday, SunTrust corporate spokesman Mike McCoy would not say whether the Benhams’ political views impacted their decision.

“We continuously review our supplier relationships and changes to the list of companies we rely on for services is a natural part of our business, however we do not publicly comment on specific vender relationships,” McCoy told TheDC.

In their statement, the Benhams said they “recognize SunTrust’s right to hire or fire any real estate broker they choose but do not support the decision” to fire independent franchisees that are associated with them. Many of these franchisees, they said, “do not hold the same beliefs” they do.

“As Americans we find ourselves at a crossroads and are forced with a decision to either stand up or sit down,” David Benham said. “Evidently, SunTrust’s longstanding commitment to diversity must not include our historic Christian values.”

You will notice that, in the article, SunTrust refused to comment on the reasoning behind the decision, noting simply that it routinely changes the companies with which it works as part of its standard business practices.

That, of course, merely allowed the Benhams to spin this decision as evidence of their never-ending persecution, resulting in the slanted Daily Caller article that presented their claims as fact.

In response, SunTrust has now issued a statement of its own, clarifying that the Daily Caller article "is inaccurate" and that the decision at issue was made by a third party vendor:

SunTrust supports the rights of all Americans to fully exercise their freedoms granted under the Constitution, including those with respect to free speech and freedom of religion.

Mid-2013, we consolidated the management of certain residential assets with a third party vendor, which has the relationship with Benham.  While we do not publicly comment on specific vendor relationships, we don’t make choices on suppliers nor base business decisions on political factors, nor do we direct our third party vendors to do so.

The characterization in the media with respect to this matter is inaccurate.   We are contacting our third party supplier who works with Benham to clarify our policies.

Christian Publisher Booted From NRB For Publishing Pro-Gay Book

When we wrote a post last week highlighting the anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-Islam activism of David and Jason Benham, it felt like the entire Religious Right movement began screaming that we were jackbooted Nazi fascist thugs who were out to silence and destroy anyone with whom we disagreed after HGTV announced that it was not going to move forward with the Benham brothers' reality show.

The basic gist of the storm of criticism was that liberals and gay activists have no tolerance for those with whom they disagree and will stop at nothing to silence those who hold opposing views.

At the same time that this was going on, another controversy was unfolding as various Religious Right activists were in the middle of an effort, started by Matt Barber, to pressure a Christian publishing house to back away from a book entitled "God and the Gay Christian:The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships" by Matthew Vines.

Vines' book, which seeks to refute the anti-gay narrative promoted by the Religious Right, was published by an imprint of the Christian publishing company WaterBrook Multnomah and that was totally unacceptable to anti-gay activists who have relentlessly attacked the publisher over the last few weeks.

WaterBrook Multnomah has, so far, refused to recall Vines' book and, as a result, the company has been forced to resign from the National Religious Broadcasters:

A leading Christian book publisher has resigned its membership in the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) after a dispute over God and the Gay Christian, a new book published by an affiliated imprint.

In a letter to board members, NRB president and CEO Jerry Johnson said that employees of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, the evangelical division of Penguin Random House, worked on the book. The book, which argues that same-gender sex is not sinful, was published by Convergent Books, a 16-month-old Penguin Random House line that describes itself as "publishing books for progressive and mainline Christians who demand an open, inclusive, and culturally engaged exploration of faith."

"Unfortunately, while the Multnomah Publishing Group is separate from Convergent, as a legal and business entity, the staff of the Multnomah and Convergent operations are substantially the same," Johnson wrote. "Most notably, Steven W. Cobb serves as the chief publishing executive for both groups. … Other Christian workers do so as well. … This issue comes down to NRB members producing unbiblical material, regardless of the label under which they do it."

Cobb also oversees Image, Penguin Random House's Roman Catholic imprint that falls under the Crown Publishing Group division with WaterBrook Multnomah and Convergent. The Christian divisions are located in the same Colorado Springs offices. Crown and Penguin Random House are based in New York City.

"I asked them to reconsider and end the practice of having Christian workers from their publishing house work on Convergent projects," Johnson wrote. "They declined to do so at this time and asked how we would respond. I told them that if they wanted to remain NRB associate members, I would have to refer the matter to our Ethics Committee for review, or they could agree to resign their membership. They agreed to resign immediately."

Just something to keep in mind the next time the Religious Right screams that liberals have no tolerance for people that hold differing views and will stop at nothing to punish and silence them.

Glenn Beck Has 'The Smartest Audience ... Ever In Television'

Over the last several weeks, Glenn Beck's studio in Texas has been undergoing renovations all while Beck continues his personal transformation into the self-proclaimed prophet of a doomsday cult, which has resulted in more and more of his nightly television program featuring conversations about God while consisting of footage shot during his morning staff meetings, most of which amounts to little more than the staff discussing the same topics that Beck and his co-hosts discussed on the radio show earlier in the day.

Apparently, this new God-focused and largely redundant format is not sitting particularly well with a number of Blaze subscribers who have been writing to the network wanting to know just what is going on, resulting in Beck dedicating the opening of his show last night to addressing the criticisms that have been flooding in from viewers.

In typically cryptic Beck fashion, he explained to his viewers that both he and his network are undergoing massive renovations at the moment because God has huge miracles in store for them both. Unfortunately, God has not given Beck permission to talk about them just quite yet "but that's not crazy," he assured his audience.

But Beck knows that he doesn't necessarily need to explain every little thing to them, he told the viewers, because his audience is "the smartest audience ... ever in television."

Beck said that he knows that his audience will stand by him during this time of upheaval because his network is the only one "dedicated to the truth and changing the culture," which is why it has come under attack from "principalities that do not want us to succeed," by which he means demonic forces:

Klingenschmitt: Gay Marriage Can Never Be Legal Because It Violates The Laws Of God

Last week, a judge in Arkansas struck down the state's ban on gay marriage and Gordon Klingenschmitt weighed in on the decision on his "Pray In Jesus Name" program yesterday to declare that no matter what any court rules, gay marriage will never be legal because it violates "the law of God."

Saying that since both state governments and the federal government are subject to God's higher law, "it really doesn't matter what the state constitution says" because gay marriage "is still illegal in the eyes of God."

The same goes for the federal government, Kilngenschmitt said, declaring that no judge can ever "overrule Jesus Christ."

"God defines marriage," he concluded. "It doesn't matter what our human opinions are":

'Strike Me Down': Glenn Beck Is A Modern Day MLK/Bonhoeffer/Mandela/Obi Wan

Glenn Beck began his radio program today by discussing the incident in which a local Dallas TV host walked off of her show yesterday during a heated discussion over the appropriateness of ESPN showing Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend after being drafted by the St. Louis Rams.

Beck said that he didn't want to see stuff like that on television, nor does he want to see straight couples making out either and overall he used the issue to decry the "sexualization of our culture" which culminated in him declaring that just as gay people say they are born that way, he was likewise "born a spiritual person" who is now being persecuted for refusing to be silent about his religious faith.

Declaring that he knows that God exists because last week he experienced a "full-fledged miracle," Beck declared that he will never be silent about it even if it costs him his life.

"Because I know God lives, you will have to imprison me," he proclaimed. "You want me to shut up? I won't shut up."

Somehow, that prompted Beck to speculate that the reason the Obama administration has pretty much ignored him since he left Fox News is because they know that he is a Martin Luther King/Dietrich Bonhoeffer/Nelson Mandela-like figure that they had better not screw with because he is willing to die for his beliefs.

"Imprison me," Beck said, looking directly into the camera, "go ahead, imprison me. I will not sit down, I will not shut up. I won't. I will not conform. I will not comply. Period."

"If I may quote Obi Wan," he concluded, "strike me down. Strike me down. I will become far more powerful than you can imagine":

'You Gotta Man Up': Klingenschmitt Says Transgender Student Needs A Spanking And An Exorcism

Earlier this year, the Maine Supreme Court ruled that local school officials had violated the rights of a transgender student by not allowing her to use the girls' restroom and Gordon Klingenschmitt was unsurprisingly opposed to this ruling, declaring on his "Pray In Jesus Name" program yesterday that what this student really needed was a spanking and an exorcism.

Noting that Nicole Maines has an identical twin brother, Klingenschmitt declared that she was possessed by a demonic spirit.

"One of those two boys is possessed by a demon," he said, "and the parents are encouraging that and really what the parents ought to do is take that boy to an exorcist, take that boy to a minister or at least discipline the boy, maybe give him a spanking. Maybe dress him like a boy even if he complains and whines and says 'I don't wanna wear boys clothes.' Too bad, son. You're a boy, you gotta man up":

David Benham Loves Gays And Is Merely Trying To Fight The 'Evil That's Enslaving People'

If it had been our goal to "silence" David and Jason Benham when we first wrote our post exposing their anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-Islam activism, we certainly did not do a very good job since they have now spent the last week appearing on dozens of radio and television programs explaining how they were supposedly the victims of some "demonic" agenda that is out to destroy them.

After spreading their 'we love gays, but they are controlled by Satan' worldview on just about any outlet that would have them, the Benhams' publicity campaign appears to finally be grinding to a halt, reducing them to appearing on programs hosted by vehemently anti-gay bigots like Bryan Fischer and crackpots like Jesse Lee Peterson, as they did yesterday where, once again, David tried to justify his anti-gay activism by asserting that he was merely standing up against the "evil that's enslaving people."

When Peterson commented that he admired the courage the Benham brothers had displayed in dealing with this controversy, David explained that the Bible says that the righteous are to be as bold as a lion and so, "if we have the Lord Jesus in our heart and we feel that there is wickedness or evil that's enslaving people like this agenda to silence in America that is hurting all kinds of people, not just Christians, then it's incumbent upon us as Christians to be bold as a lion and stand up against it":

Guardians Of Deception: BarbWire Runs Fake 'NAMBLA For Obama' Image

While scanning through Matt Barber's website this morning, we came across a new article by BarbWire's senior editor Jeff Allen that purported to highlight the "dangerous link between homosexuality and pedophilia" in order to "clearly demonstrate the precise reason why we must continue to keep homosexual men as far away as possible from our young boys" which featured this rather striking photo at the very top of the page:

That image had pretty obviously been photoshopped and a quick reverse image search easily revealed the original photo:

Just something for us to keep in mind the next time BarbWire publishes a piece calling us "guardians of tyranny and deception" or Allen himself accuses of us engaging in "character assassination."

UPDATE: BarbWire has now changed the image and, predictably, Allen has accused us of lying about his "innocent mistake":

'Holy Laughter' Pastor To Organize Latest Religious Right Prayer Rally

Rodney Howard-Browne is organizing a Washington D.C. prayer event, Celebrate America, complete with a promotional video that includes a gay couple alongside images of a strip club, mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and Agenda 21 as threats to America.

Back in 2012, the preacher organized a right-wing prayer rally with Focus on the Family to coincide with the Republican National Convention, and the Family Research Council recently held a prayer meeting to support Celebrate America.

Howard-Browne is a pioneer of the Holy Laughter movement, which you can see on display here with Howard-Browne alongside the late Oral Roberts:

At another Holy Laughter event, Howard-Browne says he healed a man of cancer.

Jerry Boykin and Harry Jackson have also endorsed the event, with Boykin telling the Christian Broadcasting Network that America is “beginning” to “completely self-destruct”:

"At the root of America's problem, we really have a spiritual cancer that's been eating away at our nation," Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, told CBN News.

Retired Gen. Jerry Boykin used to fight America's physical enemies overseas. He's now working with the Family Research Council fighting spiritual foes.

Boykin said without a Third Great Awakening, forces like those that took down mighty empires of the past will also bring down the United States.

...

Howard-Browne pointed to the epidemics of abortion and illegal drug use in the nation. "Three-thousand babies aborted every single day in this country. We have over 300 million people; we use over 70 percent of the world's drugs," he said.

...

They'll be holding 14 days and nights of mega-sized meetings and street evangelism in the nation's capital as America celebrates its 238th birthday. They're calling it Celebrate America.

"We've come to light the fires right in the belly of the beast, if you can put it that way," Howard-Browne said.

Tom DeLay Fails Miserably In His Attempt To Defend His 'God Wrote The Constitution' Claim

Today, Tom DeLay appeared on "WallBuilders Live" to defend himself from the mockery he received for having declared earlier this year that God founded America and wrote the Constitution, telling host Rick Green that God is going to use conservative Christians to lead "a revolution for the Constitution."

During the conversation, DeLay repeated his claim that "the Constitution was created by God" and then noted that he came under attack from the Left for saying this not too long ago even though, he insisted, he was absolutely right.

"Alexander Hamilton himself said that the Declaration and the Constitution were written as with a sun beam in the whole volume of human nature by the hand of divinity itself," DeLay triumphantly declared. "So I'm just quoting him":

Hamilton did, in fact, make such a statement when he wrote:

The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.

You will notice that, contrary to DeLay's assertion, there is no mention of either the Declaration or the Constitution anywhere in Hamilton's statement ... and that is because Hamilton wrote the line in his work "The Famer Refuted," which was published in February 1775.

The drafting of the Declaration of Independence did not even begin until well over a year after Hamilton published these words and the Constitution wasn't to be written for another twelve years.

It seems particularly appropriate that DeLay would make this laughable defense on WallBuilders of all places, since false history is their specialty.

Fischer Asks If America Is Even 'A Nation That I Really Wanna Risk My Life To Defend And Protect'

On his radio program yesterday, Bryan Fischer took a call from Tom, a twenty-two year veteran of the Air Force, who wondered why he served in Vietnam and put his life on the line for a nation that now allows gays to serve in the military when God calls it an "abomination."

"I question sometimes why I spent twenty-two years protecting what I was protecting," Tom said, "when we're willing to stand by and let it be washed away or given away by those in power."

Fischer, of course, was entirely sympathetic, saying that America was once "worth bleeding and dying for because ... we stood for Judeo-Christian morality" but now people are rightly asking themselves if America is "turning into a nation that I really wanna risk my life to defend and protect":

Santorum Solves The Contraception Mandate By Suggesting The Government Should Give It Away For Free

Last week, Rick Santorum spoke at an event hosted by the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics to discuss his new book "Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works." During the Q & A session, Santorum was asked how he balances his personal religious views as a Catholic on an issue like contraception with the needs to formulate public policy that impacts people who do not share those religious views.

Santorum said that there are a lot of things that he does not agree with or believe to be moral, but that does not mean that those things should necessarily be illegal and contraception is one of those issues.

His concern, he explained, is with the government "forcing people who have views like me to go out and use my money to buy those products" because doing so infringes upon his religious liberty. What the government should have done, he suggested, if it wants to ensure that everyone has access to contraception is to announce that contraception will be provided free of charge by the government.

"It would be less objectionable to me," Santorum said, "for the government to go out and say we're going to pay for all the pharmacies to stock contraception and give them out free. Am I paying for it indirectly? Yes, through my taxes, but I pay for a lot of things with my taxes that I don't like."

If the Obama administration's goal was to ensure access to contraception, Santorum said, this is probably how it should have been implemented ... but the Obama administration didn't do that, leading Santorum to declare that the real goal of the contraception mandate was to force Christians to violate their religious beliefs and "bow to Caesar":

Marriage Equality Lawsuit Filed in Alaska, Only Three State Bans Remain Unchallenged

Yesterday's filing is great news for these couples and countless other Alaskans wishing to bring marriage equality to their state, but on this issue Alaska is not The Last Frontier – three states remain with unchallenged marriage bans.
PFAW Foundation

David Benham Explains His Love For Gays By Claiming The Homosexual 'Agenda' Is Led By Satan

It has now been one week since we first wrote a post highlighting the anti-gay and anti-choice activism of David Benham, who was slated to host a reality TV show on HGTV with his twin brother Jason. After HGTV announced that it would not move forward with the brothers' planned reality show, the Benhams hit the conservative media circuit to claim they were the victims of a "smear campaign" filled with "complete lies,"  though neither the Benhams nor anyone else has actually bothered to explain how anything we originally reported about them was in any way false.

The bulk of the defense offered for the last week by David and Jason Benham of their past activism has been that they do not hate gay people but only hate "homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation,"which is pretty much the defense offered by most of the anti-gay bigots we monitor on this blog. David Benham previously alleged that the "homosexual agenda," along with abortion rights and Islam, is controlled by "demonic forces and agendas."

Last night, they took that talking point onto Glenn Beck's television program where they repeatedly asserted that they are not at war with gay people, but are rather engaged in a spiritual war against Satan and demonic forces that are out to silence Christianity.

"It's a spiritual fight," Jason Benham said. "From the beginning of time, it was God and there was the Devil and both of them use people for their own purposes." Jason then recalled how Jesus had rebuked Peter by declaring "get behind me, Satan!" in Mark 8 to demonstrate this, as David added that it is all part of Satan's efforts to suppress the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Later in the discussion, Jason added that they are not attacking "the homosexual community" because the real issue is "God versus the Devil."

"There is a small minority of people in this world, heterosexual and homosexual, that buy into the idea of this agenda that wants to silence people," he said.

David added that, as Christians, they are "called to restrain evil so that good may flourish" and that is the role they are trying to play in America by taking a stand against the "demonic agenda to suppress the truth":

Dangers of Supreme Court Prayer Ruling Quickly Become Clear

Sometimes the damage from a bad court decision takes a while to make itself clear. Not so with last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding a town’s practice of beginning council meetings with prayers that are overwhelmingly Christian. Conservative political and legal groups called it a win for religious freedom, but it only took a few days to see just how much unnecessary and divisive conflict the Court’s decision could generate in communities across America.

Late last week the mayor of the New Jersey town of Carteret cited the Supreme Court ruling to justify cancelling the use of the borough hall for a Saturday naturalization ceremony.  He was upset that the Immigration and Naturalization Service refused to allow the ceremony to begin with prayer. The INS says its rules are meant to ensure that naturalization ceremonies are "conducted in a meaningful manner which is welcoming and inclusive and excludes political, commercial and religious statements." But Mayor Daniel Reiman said the INS could "host its godless ceremony someplace else." (It was held in Newark.)

What a sad object lesson for those aspiring American citizens and their friends and families. Who knows how many different faiths were represented among them? It shouldn’t matter, because one of the most precious benefits of being an American is that your rights and standing as a citizen do not depend on your holding any particular set of religious beliefs.

But don’t tell that to Al Bedrosian, a member of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors in Virginia. Last week after the Supreme Court ruling, Bedrosian declared that prayers to open board meetings should be given only by Christians. It is shameful that Bedrosian holds public office in Virginia, home of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson and the birthplace of the First Amendment. Bedrosian argued publicly several years ago that Christians should “rid ourselves of this notion of freedom of religion in America.” He said Christians “are being fed lies that a Christian nation needs to be open to other religions” and called it one of the “greatest moments in US Senate history” when a group of Christians disrupted a Hindu religious leader who was giving an opening prayer.

Both Reiman and Bedrosian are misinterpreting the Court’s decision. But these episodes bring even greater clarity to a reality to which the conservative majority on the Supreme Court demonstrated “blindness” – in the words of dissenting Justice Elena Kagan. That is the exclusionary and divisive reality – as opposed to the theory – of government bodies opening their meetings with sectarian prayer.

The case decided by the Supreme Court came concerned the upstate New York town of Greece.  For years, the town council has been inviting local clergy to open its meetings. Those clergy have been overwhelmingly Christian, and their prayers were sometimes highly sectarian, invoking “the saving sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross” or “the plan of redemption that is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.” These were not, as dissenting Justice Elena Kagan noted, ceremonial invocations like the “God save the United States and this honorable Court,” which begins Supreme Court sessions.

The town’s prayer policy was challenged by two citizens (one Jew and one atheist) who felt coerced by the invitations to Christian prayer, and who felt as if they were being made outsiders in their own town based on their religious beliefs. They argued that the practice violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which has been interpreted as preventing the government from favoring religion in general or any religion in particular.

Some people, particularly those in the religious majority, have a hard time seeing why such prayer is a big deal. As Paul Waldman writes for the Washington Post, “the ruling is about the privilege of the majority, the privilege to define your own beliefs, traditions, and practices as simply the water in which we all swim. If you’re in that majority, you tend to be shocked when anyone even questions whether those practices ought to be imposed on everyone and sponsored by the state.”

But imagine, as Kagan did, a Muslim who has come before the city council seeking a zoning variance to build an addition on her home. When she is asked to join in prayer celebrating the divinity of Jesus, she has the option of not participating, or leaving the room. Either option identifies her as somehow different from her neighbors and from the councilmembers who will decide the fate of her request.  A federal appeals court had ruled that the town’s practice was unconstitutional because, even if town officials had no bad intent, the consequence of the nearly uninterrupted parade of Christian prayers was to signal that Christianity was favored, and to make unequal citizens of people of other faiths or no faith.

Unfortunately, five Supreme Court justices disagreed, saying even an overwhelmingly Christian and sectarian prayer practice is OK unless there is a pattern of prayers denigrating other faiths or proselytizing or unless there is evidence that people are being legally coerced or punished for not participating. The Court has given a green light to “Christian Nation” advocates like Al Bedrosian to demand that their city council or county commission allow their official meetings to be regularly opened with explicitly Christian prayers.  Some Religious Right leaders have said that’s exactly what they’re going to do.

Right now, practices vary. Some government bodies don’t bother with prayer; others invite clergy to open meetings, with guidelines that prayers be respectful or nonsectarian. But even that nod toward pluralism is at risk: Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice said this ruling means government bodies can no longer make a distinction between nonsectarian prayer and “praying in Jesus’ name” and he told the Christian Broadcasting Network, “that will have an impact on a number of cases.”

It’s worth noting that some progressive Christians agree that “nonsectarian prayer” is a kind of oxymoron. But, says Washington Monthly blogger Ed Kilgore, that is not a reason to push for sectarian prayer; it is instead a reason to do away with legislative prayer altogether. He writes that the effort to push more prayer in official settings is “offensive to those who pray as much as to those who don’t.” The pro-church-state-separation Baptist Joint Committee had filed a brief in the case stating that “prayer is an expression of voluntary religious devotion, not the business of government.”

That brings us to a crucial distinction between what is constitutional and what is wise, particularly in a country that is increasingly diverse, with a growing number of people who claim no religious affiliation. As noted in People For the American Way Foundation’s Twelve Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics, “Some things that are legally permissible may still be damaging to religious tolerance and civic discourse, and should be discouraged.”

The Supreme Court did not rule that legislative bodies have to begin their meetings with prayer; it ruled that the Constitution allows them to. In spite of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s portrayal of legislative prayer as a unifying force, it seems likely that an aggressive push for more sectarian prayer to open official meetings will be anything but unifying. Elected officials should think twice before going down that road.

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said he prays that the Court is showing a way toward “a right kind of free marketplace of faith expression in American life.” But Moore is wrong: we already have a free marketplace of faith expression in America. The First Amendment has fostered a vibrant, flourishing, peaceful religious pluralism that is unmatched anywhere in the world. Christian media has a massive presence on television, radio, and online. But what too many “Christian Nation” advocates want, and what the Court is opening the door to, is a system in which a religious majority can more easily use the institutions of government to promote its religious beliefs and label others as outsiders.

And that is not the American Way. 

PFAW Foundation
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