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Even More Proof That Religious Right Myths Never Die

A few weeks ago, we published a post debunking a story that had been widely promoted by the Religious Right about a young girl who was supposedly told by her teacher that she was not allowed to deliver a presentation on her family's Christmas tradition because she brought the star that her family places atop its Christmas tree, which represents the Star of Bethlehem.

As we pointed out in the post, this supposed tale of anti-Christian bigotry turned out to be totally false but that wasn't going to stop Religious Right activists from continuing to repeat it because myths like this never, ever die once they have made their way into the right-wing echo chamber.

And so, once again, this same tale continues to spread, this time courtesy of the Eagle Forum in Phyllis Schlafly's latest commentary:

A first grader in California has been told she’s not permitted to talk about the Bible at school. A teacher at Temecula Valley School told her first grade class to bring an object to school that represented a family Christmas tradition and then give a one-minute presentation. Brynn Williams brought the star that tops her family’s Christmas tree and shared how her family remembers Jesus’ birth at Christmas. “The star is named the Star of Bethlehem,” Brynn said. “The three kings followed the star to find the baby Jesus, the Savior of the world.” Brynn had planned to end her presentation by reciting the famous Bible verse John 3:16, but her teacher stopped her before she could say more.

Brynn’s teacher told her to “stop right there” and sit back down. The teacher then explained to Brynn – in front of the entire class – that she was not allowed to talk about the bible or quote its verses in school. Brynn’s mother met with the principal about this issue, and the principal backed up the teacher. She said the school’s policy is to protect students from being offended.

This was a clear violation of the student’s rights. Courts have consistently ruled that public school students have the right to speak about their religious beliefs at school, and no court has ever ruled that a schoolchild cannot talk about his religious beliefs. The teacher’s behavior was bullying and humiliating, and a serious breach of what the Constitution guarantees. Brynn’s family’s lawyer has demanded that the school apologize and change its policies, or else the family will file a lawsuit. Any reasonable judge should rule against the district, but it’s ridiculous and troubling that a first grader’s family may have to go to court to force a public school to recognize a student’s basic First Amendment right of free speech.

This story wasn't true back when it was first reported.

It wasn't true when it was endlessly repeated.

And it won't be true when it is cited in the future ... but none of that will stop this story from being continuously spread by the Religious Right for years to come.

Barber & Staver: Michelle Obama 'Is An Evil Human Being'

Earlier this month, First Lady Michelle Obama stopped by a local health care center in Miami as part of the administration's effort to encourage people to sign up for Obamacare. Before leaving, she praised those running the clinic, saying "these places are not easy places to run, but you are doing God’s work."

For some reason, that comment has drawn the ire of Mat Staver and Matt Barber, who completely freaked out about it on today's "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast in which they called her "an evil human being" and both compared her to Hitler:

Staver: This whole Obamacare issue really shows the radicalism of the death culture and it's being led by the President and his wife and his administration.

Michelle Obama, she spoke to so-called Obamacare counselors, people that are receiving taxpayer money, millions and millions of dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars actually going to Planned Parenthood to sign up people for Obamacare, and she says 'you are doing God's work.' Quote 'you are doing God's work.'

Barber: It's jaw-dropping.

Staver: This is reminiscent of going back to Hitler. You're doing God's work? To what? To put people in these plans that actually kill children? That force employers to fund abortion and take innocent human lives? That's God's work? This is perverted. This is a perverted administration and a perverted president.

Barber: This is evil. It's evil. And Michelle Obama, anybody who could say that, is an evil human being. Those are evil words, that's an evil sentiment, and I cannot believe that Michelle Obama would say that 'you're doing God's work' by dismembering alive innocent pre-born children.  It is Hitlerian.

Bill Maher Should Be Publicly Whipped For His Blasphemy

In a new column posted on Matt Barber's BarbWire website, Tristan Emmanuel calls for the reinstatement of blasphemy laws in order to punish Bill Maher for his recent comments about God.

In a piece entitled "Does Maher Deserve A Whipping For Slandering God?," Emmanuel says there was a time when people like Maher were publicly whipped and physically punished for saying such things and argues that it is time for Christians to demand the reinstatement of such laws before God releases His wrath upon the entire nation for tolerating such blasphemy:

There was a time when a generation of believers actually believed in defending the honor of God and would have done just that — condemn Maher.

Back then Maher would have faced stiff penalties for his slanderous crimes against God and country. And the reasons were clear: slander the ultimate authority of a nation — God — and you ridicule the very foundation of its laws, values, public institutions and leadership.

...

Here is an example of how America once dealt with the likes of Bill Maher.

“Be it declared and enacted by the Lieutenant Governor, Council and Representatives, convened in General Assembly, and it is enacted by the Authority of the same, that if any person shall presume willfully to blaspheme the holy Name of God, Father, Son, or Holy Ghost; either by denying, cursing or reproaching the true God; his Creation or Government of the World: or by denying, cursing, or reproaching the holy Word of God… everyone so offending shall be punished by imprisonment, not exceeding six months, and until they find sureties for good behaviours; by sitting in pillory; by whipping; boaring thorow the tongue, with a red hot iron; or sitting upon the gallows with a rope about their neck; at the discretion of the court…” — Massachusetts General Laws.

Lamentably, in 1952 the US Supreme Court decided, “It is not the business of government in our nation to suppress real or imagined attacks upon a particular religious doctrine, whether they appear in publications, speeches or motion pictures.” And ever since then atheist have freely and very publicly ridiculed God, challenged every public demonstration of Christian religion, belittled Christians and attacked every institution bequeathed to us by our Christian forebears.

But I gotta say, Maher’s comments are the most shocking and heinous public utterances of blasphemy on U.S. airwaves. And worse still, Christians — and especially Christian leaders — have said very little.

America is hanging on by a thin thread of longsuffering divine justice. The pugnacious degenerate Bill Maher may think blasphemy is a laughing matter. The nation of America may think it can hide behind the First Amendment. And Christians may falsely think they are demonstrating Christlike love by remaining quiet in the face of profligate profanity.

But mark my word, a day of reckoning is coming. God is very clear. Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”

If we are unwilling to hold blasphemers accountable, the almighty judge of the world will.

Fischer: 'Modern Family' Is 'A Little Bit Of Poison' That Is Slowly Killing Our Culture

Bryan Fischer recently appeared on a right-wing radio program in Idaho where he was asked by host Kevin Miller how he felt about television programs such as "Modern Family" which portray same-sex couples in a positive light.

Fischer was, of course, opposed to such portrayals, saying that they are akin to being slowly poisoned over a long period of time until it finally becomes lethal:

Miller: One of the most popular shows on television, "Modern Family," and you have the guy from "Married With Children" who is married to a young, attractive Latina woman with a kid from another marriage. You've got the heterosexual couple with the stereotypical family; they're the most challenged or, dare we say, the most screwed-up. And then we have the same-sex male family where we have a man and man in a loving, committed relationship that just doesn't have any, any problems. And apparently the promotion on ABC has allowed this show to be very popular and it does impact people and you have good Christians who turn the other cheek, who don't want to be labeled as intolerant and yet, they don't want these values on the airwaves.

Fischer: What's illustrated there is way that the media influences the way that people think about life. The portrait there that's being presented is designed to make you think that same-sex households are wonderful, they're loving, this is paradise, this is the optimum nurturing environment for children; to make you think that heterosexual marriage is bondage, it's dreary, it's gloomy, and we know that the social research indicates exactly the opposite.

...

You know, that's the danger. It's just like getting a little bit of poison over a long period of time, eventually getting enough accumulation in there where it can be kind of lethal to the organism. And I think that's what you're seeing with a lot of this programming. It has to do with kind of the basic view of morality and marriage and life and family that people have. It's very corrosive; people are just watching TV to be entertained, not realizing that their view of life is being twisted in a way that's very harmful to them and harmful to our culture.

Bill Federer Worries Atheists Will Kill Millions Of Christians If They Can Take Over The Military

Bill Federer, a lesser-known Religious Right "historian" in the vein of David Barton, was the guest on Gordon Klingenschmitt's "Pray In Jesus Name" program today where he and "Dr. Chaps" discussed their concerns about what will happen to Christians in America if atheists take over the military.

"We ask ourselves," Federer said, "will the people that are pushing [an anti-Christian agenda], once they get in charge of the guns, do we really expect them to be more tolerant than they are now? Or, will they be tempted to use their new powers to force their agenda?"

Federer went on to declare that recent history shows that leaders like Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao had no hesitation about using their "atheistic military" to kill tens of millions of their own people.

"So we see that terrible things can happen when you get a military that no longer has a belief that every person is sacred because they're made in the image of God," Federer added, "it just becomes a tool to push an agenda. And so this is a concern a lot of people have."

Liberty Counsel Defends Christian School's Right To Demand Tomboy Student Follow 'Biblical Standards' On Gender

Yesterday, we noted that Liberty Counsel had come to the defense of a Virginia Christian school which had informed the family of an 8-year old female student not to re-enroll her next year unless she is "open to following the biblical standards" regarding her appearance and gender.

The girl's great-grandparents and legal guardians assert that she is being asked to leave the school because she is a tomboy with short hair, but yesterday the school released a statement through Liberty Counsel saying that the media reports about the issue have been false and misleading:

We are deeply dismayed over the inaccurate and public nature of this situation and the false and inaccurate reporting.

The Church and the School are limited in what can be related about this situation. With all due respect, the facts are not as S.K.'s great-grandparents have portrayed them. This matter is far beyond a simple ‘hairstyle and tomboy issue’ as inaccurately portrayed. It is not about that at all. At no time did the Church or the School state or imply that S.K. was sexually immoral or the like. Yet, reports like this have appeared in the media. The School has never told S.K. she cannot return to school.

The Church and the School have a responsibility to all students, their parents, and guardians. Parents and guardians send their children to the School because of our Christian beliefs and standards. We have a duty to create an environment that is supportive of these Christian values. We cannot have conflicting messages or standards because such conflict will confuse our students and frustrate the parents and guardians who have entrusted the education of their children to us. When elementary children and their parents or guardians express concerns regarding use of the restroom and other matters arising from the sensitive issues here, the School has a duty to address those concerns and to ensure that all interests are heard and protected in accordance with the Christian mission of the School. While we welcome all students, parents and guardians are made aware of the School’s Christian mission and beliefs. We not only have a right, but we also have a duty to uphold these Christian standards.

We deeply regret that the great-grandparents either made inaccurate statements or were quoted out of context. This public discussion is not in the best interest of all concerned. S.K. has been attending our school for several years and we had looked forward to working with her and her great-grandparents privately.”

Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, who has been asked to represent the school, commented: “The Book of Proverbs says that he who states his case first seems right until another comes forth to challenge him. I think that accurately describes the misinformation that was reported regarding Timberlake Christian School. The school looks forward to working with the family and moving forward to a positive resolution.”

We are actually sympathetic to Liberty Counsel on this point because we have seen this very sort of story play out in the opposite direction time and again, as Religious Right groups gin-up a one-sided controversy about supposed anti-Christian persecution and then spread it far and wide before school officials have even had a chance to correct the record.

But, in this case, media reports seem quite accurate, as they are based upon the letter the school sent home in which school officials informed the family that the young girl would not be welcome back if she did not begin to model proper "biblical standards" of gender:

There also have been several occasions when the other students, particularly those who do not know Sunnie personally, have been confused about whether she is a boy or girl, and at times, these occasions have been troubling to Sunnie. I also understand that Sunnie is being counseled professionally regarding her identify and image in order to steer her in a particular direction to handle these identity issues.

You’re probably aware that Timberlake Christian Schools is a religious, Bible-believing Institution providing education in a distinctly Christian environment, and we believe that our biblical role is to work in conjunction with the home to mold students to be Christlike, On those occasions in which the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home is counter to or in opposition to the biblical lifestyle that the school teaches, the school reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a student. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, living in, condoning or supporting sexual immorality; practicing homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity; promoting such practices; or otherwise having the inability to support the moral principles of the school. We base this standard on Bible principles as found in Leviticus 20:13a; Romans 1:21-27; Matthew 19:4-6; and I Corinthians 6:9-20.

However, we believe that unless Sunnie as well as her family clearly understand that God has made her female and her dress and behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity, that ICS is not the best place for her future education. It seems that the school’s goals and biblical foundations are going to be in contradiction with the direction that Sunnie is heading at this point.

For this reason, we must ask that you not re-enroll Sunnie here at TCS unless you are open to following the biblical standards set forth above.

Glenn Beck, Liberty University, And The Right To Be Different

Last week, we noted that it was a little odd to watch Glenn Beck heap praise upon Religious Right activist Mat Staver not too long after denouncing anyone who supported the anti-gay crackdown taking place in Russia, given Staver's long history of anti-gay activism and support for these very sorts of laws.

On today's radio broadcast, Beck was discussing the most recent developments in the Justina Pelletier case and once again praised Staver and Liberty University, where he serves as dean of the law school. So impressed with Staver is Beck that he announced that, when he dies, he is going to leave a lot of money to LU:

This is odd for a number of reasons, most notably the fact that Liberty U has not been particularly welcoming of Mormons or Mormonism.

Beyond that, just last week Beck made a crusade out of defending a gradeschool boy who was told not to bring his "My Little Pony" backpack to school, using his entire network to support the boy and even bringing him on his television program.

"I thought it was important to send a very clear message to Grayson and everybody else that it’s okay to be different," Beck declared last week.  "It is critical that you remain different. It is critical that you say, ‘This is who I am, and if you don’t like it, go pound sand. I don’t really care.'"

This week, a similar sort of story emerged out of Virginia where a Christian school has asked a young girl to leave because she is too much of a tomboy and is not modeling a properly feminine "biblical lifestyle."

"We believe that unless Sunnie and her family clearly understand that God has made her female and her dress and behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity, that TCS is not the best place for her future education," shool officials wrote in a letter sent home with the student.

Wouldn't you know it, but this school just so happens to have a close relationship with none of than Liberty University and, according to news reports, school officials are referring any inquiries about the incident to Mat Staver's Liberty Counsel:

School officials declined a request to speak with MSNBC, referring the matter instead to Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit litigation, education and policy organization. Timberlake administrator Jeff Abbett did send a statement to WDBJ7, however, saying the school was “heart-broken” over the latest developments.

Will Glenn Beck come rushing to defend Sunnie’s right to be different? Or will he continue to stand with Staver and heap praise upon Liberty Counsel even as his organization defends this school's decision to refuse to allow her to attend because she chooses to "remain different"?

As we have pointed out before, Beck has a tendency to decry the very things that the people with whom he chooses to associate all vocally support, all while pretending that he doesn't even know anybody who supports those sorts of things. And this is another perfect example of Beck's myopic hypocrisy as one week he is decrying efforts by a school to force a student to conform and then, the very next week, endlessly praising someone who is defending a school that is forcing a student to conform.

Matthew Hagee: We Are 'Living In An Evil Day'

On this week's "Hagee Hotline," Matthew Hagee lamented that we are "living in an evil day" where abortion is legal, gay marriage is gaining acceptance, and support for Israel is dropping all while Christians do nothing about it.

"It's an evil day whenever we the people of the United States are debating about the definition of a family," Hagee said, "and allowing same-sex couples to have the same privileges of married couples."

Hagee was particularly alarmed by what is happening regarding Israel because "as Israel goes, so does the rest of the world."

"If Israel is at peace, the world is at peace. If Israel is in conflict, the world is in conflict. If Israel is prosperous, the world prospers. If Israel is in dire straits, the world struggles," he asserted. "This is not someone's opinion, this is historical fact":

Beck: My Network Is 'Fundamentally About Religion' And My Right To Practice It

Glenn Beck began his television program last night with an opening monologue about yesterday's oral argument at the Supreme Court over the contraception mandate, declaring that the government has no right to tell someone like him how he must run his company because his entire network is an exercise of his religion.

After explaining that there is a difference between "freedom of worship" and "freedom of religion," Beck proclaimed that his The Blaze network is "fundamentally about religion" because he is exercising his religious freedom through operating his network.

"I started a business called The Blaze," Beck explained. "Why is it called The Blaze? Because of the fire of God. That's why. It's The Blaze, the fire of God will purify everything. It is fundamentally about religion, for me ... I am exercising my right to practice my religion in here!"

Women Justices Press Important Questions During Hobby Lobby Arguments

Crowds of activists and advocacy groups gathered outside while the Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Inc. case.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not shy away from asking difficult questions that demonstrate the broad implications this case could have. Justices Sotomayor and Kagan voiced concerns regarding the implications of a ruling for the first time in our nation’s history that for-profit corporations have religious rights. Both justices questioned whether this decision would allow companies to deny access to coverage of not only contraceptive methods, but also of other lifesaving procedures employers might object to on religious grounds—like blood transfusions or vaccines.

The Huffington Post quotes Justice Kagan as saying, “There are quite a number of medical treatments that could be religiously objected to… Everything would be piecemeal, nothing would be uniform.”

Pushing the issue further, Justice Sotomayor asked, “How are courts supposed to know whether a corporation holds a particular religious belief?”

Similarly, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

was a law that was passed overwhelmingly [by] both houses of Congress. People from all sides of the political spectrum voted for it. It seems strange that there would have been that tremendous uniformity if it means [corporations are covered].

She added…

[T]here was an effort to adopt a … specific conscience amendment in 2012, and the Senate rejected that… That amendment would have enabled secular employers and insurance providers to deny coverage on the basis of religious beliefs or moral convictions. It was specifically geared to secular employers and insurance providers. And that…was rejected.

Justice Kagan noted that RFRA was considered non-controversial when it passed, an unlikely reaction if it had been understood to open the door to employers citing religious objections to complying with laws relating to sex discrimination, minimum wage, family leave, or child labor.

Justice Kagan also noted that women are “quite tangibly harmed” when employers don’t provide contraceptive coverage. This decision, however, could have far-reaching implications beyond women’s reproductive rights since this case deals with some of the same core issues seen in “right to discriminate” bills like Arizona’s, as we pointed out yesterday morning.

PFAW Foundation

Latest Judge's Ruling In The Justina Pelletier Case Met With Outrage

After several delays, the Massachusetts judge handling the Justina Pelletier case issued a ruling yesterday that was devastating to Justina's parents and the Religious Right activists who have made her case their crusade.

In his ruling, Judge Joseph Johnston found that there is "credible psychiatric and medical evidence" to suggest that Justina suffers from a "persistent and severe Somatic Symptom Disorder" rather than the mitochondrial disease with which she was initially diagnosed and heavily criticized her parents, saying she needs to remain in state custody "due to the conduct and inability of her parents, Linda Pelletier and Lou Pelletier, to provide for Justina’s necessary and proper physical, mental, and emotional development."

Johnston asserted that the Pelletiers had repeatedly abused medical staff as well as those working for the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and twice undermined efforts to transfer Justina to different facilities by threatening to sue one and generating protests by Religious Right activists outside of another, which resulted in both facilities ultimately declining to take her. 

In addition, Johnston denied Mat Staver's efforts to sign on as the parents' legal counsel.

Based on the recommendations of both the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, as well as the Guardian ad litem assigned to act in Justina's best interest, Johnston ruled that Justina would remain in state custody:

The judge’s four-page decision, which was provided to the Globe, was remarkable for its detail and forcefulness. Johnston faulted Connecticut’s child protection agency for its failure to get involved in a case involving a child from its state, and faulted Pelletier’s parents for their verbally abusive manner and haphazard decision-making that he says has sabotaged plans to move their daughter closer to home.

Johnston wrote that the parents called Boston Children’s Hospital personnel Nazis “and claimed the hospital was punishing and killing Justina. Efforts by hospital clinicians to work with the parents were futile and never went anywhere.”

More recently, he wrote, “there has not been any progress by the parents. Rather, the parents . . . continue to engage in very concerning conduct that does not give this court any confidence they will comply with conditions of custody.” He noted that because of allegations that Justina’s father, Lou Pelletier, threatened a state social worker assigned to the case, the worker had to be reassigned.

In his ruling, Johnston, for the first time publicly, stated his belief that Pelletier suffers from “a persistent and severe Somatic Symptom Disorder,” a psychiatric diagnosis that doctors at Children’s reached in early 2013 when the girl was brought there because she had difficulty walking and eating. The parents objected to that diagnosis, leading to accusations of medical child abuse and setting off a monthslong battle over her care.

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Johnston also denied a request by lawyer Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel in Florida to help represent the parents. Staver said he plans to take part in a plan to appeal Tuesday’s ruling on legal grounds, a process that he hopes might reverse the custody decision earlier than the summer.

In tone, Johnston’s ruling made it appear he had lost patience after trying for months to carefully orchestrate a resolution to a case that has drawn nationwide media attention.

Lou Pelletier has taken part in numerous national media interviews to condemn the Department of Children and Families and the judge and call for the return of his daughter. Since the start of the year, several conservative Christian organizations have gotten involved in defending the parents, seeing the case as an example of government interference in the sanctity of parental rights, and have instigated massive phone and letter-writing campaigns to the judge and other state officials.

Johnston wrote that the parents had repeatedly “impeded progress” in resolving the case. “Instead of engaging in quality visits with Justina, the parents use profanity directed at MA DCF personnel in Justina’s presence,” he said. “There is absolutely no meaningful dialogue by the parents to work towards reunification.”

Staver, for his part, has vowed to "pursue every legal means," including filing a habeas corpus petition if necessary:

Today, Judge Joseph Johnston ruled that the custody of Justina will remain with Massachusetts DCF until a future hearing, which could not be set any earlier than June 20.  “Once again, the court is kicking the can down the road. This is unacceptable,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.

“DCF has no right to hold Justina like a prisoner. We will pursue every legal means to end this tragedy,” said Staver.

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“In all my years in practice, I have never seen a more barbaric overreach by a state agency,” Staver said. “The family has asked us to pursue every legal means necessary to get their daughter home. Liberty Counsel will file an appeal or a habeas corpus petition,” said Staver.

And Religious Right activists are planning on ramping up their efforts:

Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA, said the Free Justina Coalition plans to appeal to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to step into this matter. He also said that they’re considering a permanent office in Boston to organize outreach efforts.

“We’re looking for thousands of people to gather, not just hundreds,” Mason said.

Fischer: 'The Spirit Of The Antichrist Is At Work' In Obama

On his radio broadcast today, Bryan Fischer took some time to reiterate his belief that while President Obama is not technically the Antichrist, he is an antichrist and operates under the "spirit of the Antichrist."

Saying that never in America history has this nation been governed by a leader who was as "aggressively and relentlessly opposed to Christianity" as Obama, Fischer said that doesn't mean that Obama is the Antichrist, but rather that "the spirit of the Antichrist is at work in him":

John Benefiel's Prayers Caused Record Flooding And Protected Oklahoma City From Recession

John Benefiel returned to "God Knows" for a fourth episode in which he explained to Cindy and Mike Jacobs how he and Chuck Pierce broke Baal's control over Texas, Kansas, and Missouri back in 2007, which resulted in massive amounts of rainfall across the region and subsequent flooding.

"Literally the day after we used this Ball divorce decree in 2007," Benefiel explained, "the rains came and we ended up having more rain between February and June of 2007 than any other twelve month period in history."

On top of that, Benefiel's efforts to divorce Baal also ended up protecting Oklahoma City from the global recession that hit in 2008.

"That is not an accident," he said. "That's God's blessings":

Glenn Beck Prays God Will Kill Putin To Stop The Rebuilt Soviet Union/ New World Order

Glenn Beck began his radio show today by declaring that, whether the world realizes it or not, World War III has already begun as Russia will soon roll across Europe as it seeks to rebuild the Soviet Union. The US can either stay out of it, which is what Beck recommends, and settle in for another Cold War or mobilize the military, setting off WWIII.

Beck, of course, spelled it all out on his chalkboard, predicting that the newly reformed Soviet Union and China will work together to collapse the United States and the West, resulting in a New World Order.

Not knowing what to do in response to this inevitable development, Beck has begun praying that God will kill Russian President Vladimir Putin:

Barton: Biblical Law Was Incorporated Into The Constitution Through The Seventh Amendment

Over the last few years, David Barton has been developing an ever-expanding theory that now essentially claims that all of the laws of the Bible were incorporated into the US Constitution through the Seventh Amendment, which says:

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re–examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

In the past, Barton has claimed that parts of the Constitution were based on "direct quotations" from the Bible and has seized upon the phrase "common law" in the Seventh Amendment to argue that things like abortion and gay marriage can never be legal because they violate the "common law" which the Founding Fathers understood to mean "the laws of nature and nature's God."

In a presentation Barton delivered last weekend, he once again made the case that abortion and homosexuality are violations of natural law because such things, if found in nature, are always aberrations. At the same time, he has now broadened his theory to claim that there are lots of things that regularly do occur in nature - such as theft, murder, adultery, and incest - which are violations of the "laws of nature's God" since they are explicitly outlawed in the Bible.

Combined, natural law and Biblical law make up the "common law," Barton claims, and were therefore explicitly incorporated into the Constitution by the Founding Fathers through the Seventh Amendment.

"The laws of nature and the laws of nature's God," Barton said, "that's what we find in the Scriptures and that's what became the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution. That's why all of the legal sources back then said Christianity is part of the common law, part of the Seventh Amendment, because it establishes the rights and wrongs. That's why theft is out. That's why rape is out. That's why all these other things are out because either from the laws of nature or the laws of nature's God we know they're wrong":

Anti-Gay Activists Blast World Vision For Welcoming Married Gay Christians

Yesterday, Richard Stearns, the president of the American branch of the Christian charity World Vision, announced that the board had voted to change its policy and would now permit legally married gay Christians to work for the organization.

Insisting that this was just a "very narrow policy change," Stearns took great pains to make the case that this should not be seen as any sort of "compromise" on the issue of gay marriage:

"Changing the employee conduct policy to allow someone in a same-sex marriage who is a professed believer in Jesus Christ to work for us makes our policy more consistent with our practice on other divisive issues," he said. "It also allows us to treat all of our employees the same way: abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity within marriage."

Stearns took pains to emphasize what World Vision is not communicating by the policy change.

"It's easy to read a lot more into this decision than is really there," he said. "This is not an endorsement of same-sex marriage. We have decided we are not going to get into that debate. Nor is this a rejection of traditional marriage, which we affirm and support."

"We're not caving to some kind of pressure. We're not on some slippery slope. There is no lawsuit threatening us. There is no employee group lobbying us," said Stearns. "This is not us compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues. We're an operational arm of the global church, we're not a theological arm of the church.

"This is simply a decision about whether or not you are eligible for employment at World Vision U.S. based on this single issue, and nothing more."

Needless to say, anti-gay activists are not buying World Vision's defense and have wasted no time in savaging the decision and accusing the organization of "apostasy."

Franklin Graham:

Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, issued a scathing rebuke of World Vision, during an appearance the Family Research Council’s Washington Watch radio program.

“It’s obvious World Vision doesn’t believe in the Bible,” said Graham. “I am sickened and heartbroken.”

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"I was shocked today to hear of World Vision’s decision to hire employees in same-sex marriages. The Bible is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. My dear friend, Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse, would be heartbroken. He was an evangelist who believed in the inspired Word of God. World Vision maintains that their decision is based on unifying the church – which I find offensive – as if supporting sin and sinful behavior can unite the church. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the Scriptures consistently teach that marriage is between a man and woman and any other marriage relationship is sin.”

Michael Brown:

This is a betrayal of the gospel, a betrayal of the Lord, a betrayal of the family, and a betrayal of the countless thousands of Christians who have put their trust in World Vision as a legitimate Christian organization.

In no way does it contribute to “building a better world for children” – one of the fundamental goals of World Vision. In fact, it does the opposite.

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[I]f claiming that two men can “marry” and their sexual acts be holy in God’s sight is not “wavering,” then words have no meaning.

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Let it be stated plainly to the leadership and board of directors of World Vision U.S.: The Lord Jesus is no longer central in the corporate life of your organization. You have denied his lordship by your actions.

Albert Mohler:

[I]t is ridiculous to argue that World Vision is not taking sides on the issue. The objective fact is that World Vision will now employ openly-gay employees involved in openly homosexual relationships. There is no rational sense in claiming that this represents neutrality.

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The worst aspect of the World Vision U.S. policy shift is the fact that it will mislead the world about the reality of sin and the urgent need of salvation. Willingly recognizing same-sex marriage and validating openly homosexual employees in their homosexuality is a grave and tragic act that confirms sinners in their sin — and that is an act that violates the gospel of Christ.

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The shift announced yesterday by World Vision points to disaster. We can only pray that there is yet time for World Vision to rethink this matter, correct their course, stand without compromise on the authority of Scripture, and point the way for evangelical Christians to follow once again.

Matt Barber:

“Just because you say you’re not an official wing of the church or that you’re a para-Christian organization does not release you from the command to adhere to biblical truth and biblical reality as it pertains to sexual morality,” he maintains. “So that is a cop-out – and anyone with a clear understanding of scripture can recognize it as such.”

The Christian columnist believes anyone who claims to be Christian is expected to follow God’s Word, not the world. World Vision, he says, has made it clear where its loyalties lie.

“This very dramatic, counter-biblical, apostate move by World Vision shows where they stand,” he concludes. “They have destroyed their credibility as a Christian organization with one fell swoop – and it’s heart-wrenching.”

Bryan Fischer:

When God has spoken as clearly and as repeatedly as he has on the subject of marriage and homosexuality, it is a waste of breath to ask him if he's changed his mind.

World Vision long ago abandoned evangelism, as a condition of accepting money from the federal government. Now they have abandoned morality as well. Is there now anything, anything at all, that makes this an organization worthy of evangelical support?

World Vision's experience is a sobering reminder that once you abandon God at one point (evangelism) eventually it is inevitable that you will abandon him on other points (sexual morality). One compromise ineluctably leads to another until all is gone.

Christianity identifies greed as a form of idolatry, an expression of the worship of the false god Mammon. Greed, quite simply, is doing something you should not do for the sake of money.

Peter LaBarbera:

World Vision’s sellout is part of a disturbing trend in evangelicalism to capitulate in the Culture War over homosexuality–while the pro-LGBT lobby only ramps up its advocacy of sexually immoral laws and corporate policies.

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Lastly, World Vision does a great spiritual disservice to its “gay married” employees. By implying that unrepentant, practicing homosexuals can be faithful servants of Jesus Christ while living openly in grave sexual sin and mocking true marriage, WV becomes an impediment to their repentance before God. Salvation requires humbly acknowledging and turning away from sin, just as genuine marriage requires two people of the opposite sex joining to produce a natural family.

Beck On The 'Friends of Abe' And The Hollywood 'Blacklist' Of Conservatives

Glenn Beck had several reasons to be in California last weekend.  The first was to speak at the Summer Retreat for David Horowitz’s Freedom Center and the second was to address the secretive group of Hollywood conservatives known as "Friends of Abe."

Friends of Abe regularly hosts events featuring conservative leaders like Michele Bachmann and Ted Cruz and others, but information about the group is notoriously hard to come by because members supposedly fear that their careers in the entertainment industry will be ruined if it is known that they are conservative.

This, of course, perfectly mirrors Beck's own feelings of persecution and grandiose sense of self-importance, so he was predictably amazed and encouraged by the gathering, declaring that the people involved are "a powerful group of heroes" who are "really, truly making history" and will one day have movies made and books written about the bold stand that they took against this anti-conservative "blacklist."

Beck then lambasted Hollywood for "blacklisting" conservatives in this way, given the industry's own experience with not only McCarthyism but also past societal and industry pressure that forced gay actors and actresses to remain in the closet.

For Hollywood to now "blacklist" conservatives, Beck said, is "like if a bunch of Holocaust survivors started rounding up Germans and putting them in a concentration camp":

Glenn Beck Didn't Like 'Noah' Because 'I Don't Believe In Rock People'

On Friday's radio broadcast, Glenn Beck told his audience not to see the new "Noah" movie because it was "dangerous disinformation," despite the fact that he had not actually seen the film. As luck would have it, Beck was in Los Angeles over the weekend and was invited by the film's producers to attend a private screening, which he did ... and he really hated it, mostly because he found it to be totally ridiculous and unbiblical.

In particular, he was put off by the "giant rock people" that helped Noah with his tasks in the movie, who were supposed to represent the Nephilim (giant offspring of angles and human females mentioned in Genesis 6).

Beck, who just last year put on a giant stage production centered around an anthropomorphic moon, played by Beck himself, telling the story of America, found these "giant rock people" to be just too absurd and far-fetched.

"Rock people!" Beck said in disbelief, adding that he was sure that critics of religion like Bill Maher would point out that it seems odd to object to "rock people" if one is willing to accept the existence of a "sky God," but this is different.

"Yeah, but I don't believe in rock people, okay? I have a hard time with that one," Beck declared.

On top of that, the movie was bad because "it treats a prophet of God like a lunatic":

Credit Where Due: Todd Starnes Ends Interview With End Times Fanatic Rick Wiles

Several times over the last few weeks, we have wondered why members of Congress and Religious Right activists continue to appear on the radio program hosted by conspiracy theorist and End Times fanatic Rick Wiles, given that Wiles is a bona fide crackpot and a loose cannon, which is something that Todd Starnes learned first-hand when he appeared on Wiles' program on Friday.

Starnes was on to discuss his recent column about a controversy at the Air Force Academy over cadets posting Bible verses on their dormitory white boards, which brought a complaint from Mikey Weinstein, the director of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

Wiles announced that he was fed up with Weinstein and said that he needed to be met by a bunch of special forces commandos in a dark alley and "given an attitude adjustment." To his credit, Starnes took offense at that statement, denounced it, and ended the interview:

Wiles: You know what Mikey Weinstein needs? I'll say this on my radio show, I can get away with it: he really needs to be met in a dark alley by a couple of special forces commandos and given an attitude adjustment. You don't have to comment, Todd; I said it on my program. I'm fed up with that guy.

Starnes: I have to really incredibly object to that.

Wiles: I'm fed up with the guy. I'm fed up with the guy.

Starnes: Well, that may be the case but this is a free country and individuals are allowed to voice their opinions of whether or not they agree or disagree and they should be able to do so without any threat of violence or force ...

Wiles: Okay, but he doesn't just express his opinions ...

Starnes: It doesn't matter ...

Wiles: He's pursuing Christians. He is on a war against Christianity.

Starnes: Well, that is certainly his right. The issue here is not Mr. Weinstein and, again, we should live in a country where people can express their views without any threat of violence. The issue here is the Air Force Academy and this idea that they kowtow to ever single telephone call they receive from him.

Wiles: That's the point I'm making.

Starnes: And I do apologize, but I do have to end this interview. Again, we just strongly object to that comment you made, sir.

Wiles: I didn't mean to offend you, Todd. I'm just saying I think many Americans are just plain fed-up with this guy.

Starnes: Well, I'm sure they are and again, but we do have to end this interview. Thank you very much.

Wiles: Okay Todd, thank you. Good bye. Well, I tried to five years to get Todd Starnes on TruNews. I finally got him and he hung on me after five minutes.

After Starnes hung up, Wiles spent the remainder of the segment defending his comment and saying that he was sick of feckless Christians like Starnes who are more concerned about protecting their careers than they are with standing up to the "fat-mouthed atheists" and "Jesus-hating bigots" who are operating "under the spirit of Antichrist":

Michele Bachmann Calls America To Prayer

For the last few years, an event has taken place in Statuary Hall inside the US Capitol called "Washington: A Man of Prayer" at which members of Congress and Religious Right leaders gather to celebrate the anniversary of George Washington's inauguration and thank God for the blessings He has poured out upon this nation.

At last year's event, Rep. Michele Bachmann declared that 9/11 and Benghazi were God's judgment upon this nation so, logically, she will be serving as host of the event when it is held again this year, with Mike Huckabee serving as the event's emcee as folks like Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Louie Gohmert come together with Religious Right activists like Tony Perkins, Robert Jeffress, Phyllis Schlafly, Rafael Cruz, Jim Garlow, and others in what organizers hope will be a "spiritual turning point for the nation as Americans witness members of Congress reaching out to God in penitent prayers from inside the nation’s Capitol."

In an effort to promote the event, Bachmann filmed a nearly ten minute video for Birther-website WorldNetDaily in which she explained that America has been blessed because the Founding Fathers knew that "the promises of God that were given to the children of Israel in the Old Testament were also promises that we ourselves could appropriate to ourselves as a nation."

And by following the laws and values set out by God in the Book of Deuteronomy, America has prospered, Bachmann explained, warning that prosperity depends upon the nation's willingness to continue embracing and promoting these values.

"We choose life or we choose death," she said. "We choose it by whether or not we choose to live and walk out the precepts that have been set out; the precepts for life, the precepts for blessing. Or do we choose cursing and do we choose death?"

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