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Staver Awarded By Peruvian Government For Helping To Fight Obama's Godless Colonialism

We have written a lot in recent months about the efforts by the Religious Right to export their homophobia and help other nations institute draconian anti-gay policies that these activists have been unable to implement here in the United States.

So it was with great interest that we listened to today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program as Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver revealed that he had recently returned from Peru where he had been invited to help the government fight President Obama's colonialist effort to force an anti-God agenda upon the nation.

As Staver explained, he was invited down by a member of the Peruvian Congress and given a red carpet treatment, meeting with several high-ranking government officials and even awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor:

I recently returned from Peru and it was quite an eye opening experience. I was invited there and I had an opportunity to speak to Congress and also the head of the attorneys and the head of the judiciary and the head of all the educational accrediting body as well.

...

And one of the things that they are concerned with is that America is trying to undermine that Judeo--Christian foundation, particularly the Obama administration is funding through the State Department and other ways pro-abortion initiatives, pro-LGBT initiatives, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, etcetera, and same-sex marriage initiatives.

...

So consequently when we came, they looked to us for somebody who could help them and they knew everything about what we were about. They knew about cases that Liberty Counsel was involved with, they knew about my involvement in education and they knew about all these different areas. So when I spoke to Congress, I was supposed to be there at ten o'clock in the morning on a Thursday and I was there in a room and I looked out through the chamber, which was the Senate chamber, and we had to delay the meeting until about 10:30 because it was packed and people were standing in the aisles and standing in other places. They had put in an extra row of seats and there was at least a hundred people, attorneys from around Peru, that could not get in, they were standing out in the aisle and they could not get into this event.

Sitting in the very front row was a general in the Peruvian Navy, he had all of his regalia on. Next to him was another high-ranking member of the military, Navy Seals, members of Congress, judges, the number one person over all of the attorneys in Peru was sitting at a table with me, he co-sponsored this event. And there's educators, there's teachers, there's young people.

And my message was about worldview and two different worldviews, one with God and one without God and how it makes a difference in law and policy. And then I took it down to specifics such as abortion and marriage and that these are part of God's natural created order, that there's a sanctity of human life because we are created in God's image and marriage is part of God's natural created order and it is part of the very first form of government and that we must protect those and I encouraged the Peruvians to stand strong.

So after that, we got an ovation, a standing ovation there, and  to my amazement then, the next part of the ceremony was they awarded me a Congressional Medal of Honor.

...

They were very appreciate to us that we were there to help them in any way so that they could maintain that Judeo-Christian foundation. What we see is an imperialist America, a colonialist America under this Obama administration exporting anti-God, anti-values to these countries in Latin America and around the world.

UPDATE: Here is video of Staver speaking in Peru and a screencap of him receiving the medal:

Barber: ENDA Will Outlaw Christianity And Legalize Sexual Harassment

Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber was the guest on Rick Wiles' End Times radio program yesterday where the two discussed the dangers of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which Barber warned would criminalize Christianity while it simultaneously legalizes sexual harassment:

ENDA, the euphemistically titled the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and it's a euphemism because it does exactly what it purports to prevent and that is that it codifies into law workplace discrimination. ENDA is effectively the criminalization of the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic.

...

Imagine a federal bill that opens up women's restrooms to men who can, willy-nilly, depending on the day, if they feel like it that day, their gender expression and identity is as a woman and that means that they have free reign over the women's bathrooms; that, on it's very face, is sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is a subjective analysis. If a woman feels put in a position of apprehension for her safety and if she feels like that she is being sexually harassed ... it is sexual harassment for a women in an area where she has a right to privacy and where men should stay out; just because somebody calls themselves a female, objectively he is a male! He will always be a male, just because you go through some kind of sex change mutilation surgery and cosmetic surgery and change your outward appearance. But this law would say even whether you go through that surgery or not, men have free reign on the women's restrooms in every place of employment across the country and don't think that these cross-dressing men won't take advantage of that.

David Barton, A Master Of Taking Things Out Of Context, Complains Of Being Taken Out Of Context

A few weeks ago, we posted a clip of David Barton and Kenneth Copeland asserting that those who serve in the military are "ministers of God" and therefore are to be "esteemed and venerated" for their service.  As such, Copeland asserted that soldiers should never suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder because the Bible says that they are to be "guiltless before the Lord" and Barton wholeheartedly agreed.

Needless to say, this has generated a bit of a backlash which has now prompted Barton to issue a statement claiming, of course, that his words were "taken out of context":

David Barton and WallBuilders have a long unwavering and proven record of unequivocal support for those in the Armed Forces, including their families, as well as military personnel and veterans suffering from PTSD. David not only has several children and family members serving in the military but we also regularly highlight numerous military heroes on our daily radio program and send out blasts in support of the military. Additionally, we actively raise money for groups who work to help heal our warriors, including those suffering from PTSD. Yet despite this unflagging support, Right Wing Watch, Huffington Post, and others from the liberal secularist left recently circulated a short clip, taken out of context from a long interview David did on a Veteran’s Day program stressing the importance of spiritual components in the treatment of PTSD. As a result of the inaccurate “reporting” of these so-called “news” outlets, many who saw those reports voiced concern to us over what they had been wrongly told. It is lamentable that while we support multiple approaches for PTSD treatments, the critics are so hostile to religion that they flatly dismiss possible spiritual solutions. Rest assured that we will continue our demonstrated record of support for using all available resources to assist those suffering from PTSD. And we will continue to work closely, as we have been, with top military and medical officials who on a daily basis treat these men and women who make so many sacrifices to preserve and protect the freedoms for the rest of us.

We encourage you to watch the full program for yourself to see the entire context (link provided below)!

http://www.kcm.org/media/webcast/kenneth-copeland-and-david-barto/131111-an-awakening-to-god-in-america

We too encourage everyone to watch the full program where you will see that Barton's and Copeland's words were not, in any way, taken "out of context."  In fact, the entire context of the program was that God believes in war and soldiers are the ministers who carry out His justice, which is exactly what Barton was saying in the segment that we published!

But perhaps we should not be surprised that Barton willfully misrepresents what taking something out of context actually means since literally taking things out of context is part of his standard operation procedure.

Glenn Beck Has Made FEMA Obsolete And Saved Freedom

On his television program last night, Glenn Beck relayed anecdotal evidence from workers with his Mercury One charity who are on the ground in Illinois to assist with the tornado recovery effort to declare that their efforts have been so successful that victims are telling FEMA trucks to go away because they do not want or need government assistance.

Pointing to a sign declaring "Please No More Donations," Beck rejoiced that the community had come together to such an extent that places are being overwhelmed with assistance.  Of course, underneath the "No More Donations" plea are further instructions as to where donations should be left.  The rest of the sign is difficult to read, but it seems to be directing donations to some other location, presumably because, in every disaster like this, victims and aid organizations are overwhelmed with "SWEDOW—Stuff We Don’t Want."

But based on Beck's reporting, this is all a sign that freedom is on the march and FEMA is no longer necessary ... just as Beck predicted two years ago when he began his Mercury One charity:

Isabel Allende Fights Against Banning of Her Own Book

When the teaching of Isabel Allende’s internationally renowned novel The House of the Spirits was challenged in a North Carolina school district last month, advocates from all corners spoke out in its defense, including PFAW Foundation president Michael Keegan and North Carolina Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti. Now, Isabel Allende herself has joined the conversation.

Yesterday the School Library Journal reported that Allende has mailed a letter, along with copies of her book, to the Watauga County school board, superintendent, and the principal of Watauga High School.

After acknowledging that being in the position of defending her own book is “unusual and awkward,” Allende points out in her letter that The House of the Spirits is “considered a classic of Latin American literature and it is taught in high schools, colleges, and universities in all Western countries, including the USA for more than two decades.” She expresses concern about the practice of book censorship in general:

Banning of books is a common practice in police states, like Cuba or North Korea, and by religious fundamentalist groups like the Taliban, but I did not expect it in our democracy.

Allende’s letter comes as the book undergoes a multi-step review process in the county. Last month an advisory committee comprised of teachers, students, and parents voted unanimously not to remove the book from the curriculum, but that decision has been appealed.

PFAW Foundation

Klingenschmitt: West Point Chapel Desecrated By 'Acts Of Sodomy' Performed On The Altar

Earlier this month, two male West Point cadets were married at U.S. Military Academy's Cadet Chapel and "Dr. Chaps' Gordon Klingenschmitt is predictably disgusted because the altar has now been desecrated by having acts of sodomy performed upon it.

"When they take over the building," Klingenschmitt said, "that altar has now been desecrated; it's no longer sacred in the eyes of the Christians who believe the Bible because it's been consecrated with acts of sodomy performed on the Christian altar":

Fischer: Obama 'Is A Christophobic Bigot'

As we noted yesterday, the entire Religious Right movement is in the process of freaking out over the fact that President Obama read a version of The Gettysburg Address that did not include the phrase "under God."  The simple fact that Obama was asked to read that specific version by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns does not, according to the Right, in any way absolve him of this grave sin, with Liberty Counsel fuming that "he has certainly failed to acknowledge God and Biblical values throughout his presidency" and Gary Bauer declaring that "God is not amused."

Most furious of all is Bryan Fischer who insists that Obama deliberately read the version that did not include "under God" because he is a "Christophobic bigot."

Obama as "deliberately insulted the faith of 300 million Americans," Fischer said. "There's no way this was not deliberate and intentional. So, to me, this is just more evidence of President Obama's anti-Christian bigotry. He is a Christophobic bigot; he has an intolerance, he has a dislike, he has an animus for Christianity":

Despite Klingenschmitt's Efforts, Our YouTube Account Has Been Restored

On Monday, we noted that "Dr. Chaps" Gordon Klingenschmitt was continuing to take a victory lap after having filed multiple bogus copyright complaints against our YouTube account that resulted in our account being terminated approximately two weeks ago.

Claiming that we had been stealing and misrepresenting his copyrighted content, Klingenschmitt said that if we removed all of our videos of him from our account, "then I may be willing to drop the case and forgive them."

As we pointed out, we didn't need Klingenschmitt to forgive us because our videos are protected by Fair Use and we had already filed counter-claims with YouTube asserting as much. 

Last night, we were alerted by YouTube that the counter-claim we had filed in response to Klingenschmitt's first bogus copyright claim against our account had been decided in our favor and, as a result, our account has been restored

Klingenschmitt originally filed a series of copyright claims against several of our videos, so a handful of them are still unavailable but we have already filed Fair Use counter-claims on them and so we fully expect that they will soon be restored as well.

In honor of this ridiculous saga coming to an end, we've decided to post a few of our "favorite" Klingenschmitt videos that he didn't want the world to see:

Klingenschmitt: If You Are Gay, 'Then You Should Be Discriminated Against'

Klingenschmitt: 'The Demonic Spirits Inside The Homosexual Agenda' Are Trying To Recruit Your Kids

Klingenschmitt: Gay Activists Are Trying To Force Christians To 'Participate In Their Sodomy'

Klingenschmitt: 'Sell Your Clothes And Buy A Gun'

Klingenschmitt: A Demonic Spirit of Tyranny Is Using Obama To Oppress Us

Fischer: Mary Cheney Is An 'Intolerant Lesbian Bigot'

Back when Liz Cheney announced her intention to challenge Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi in the Republican primary, Bryan Fischer declared that Cheney was not a patriot because she was insufficiently anti-gay and had, in fact, been compromised because her sister Mary is a lesbian.

But now that Mary and Liz are publicly feuding over Liz's opposition to marriage equality, Fischer has come rushing to her defense, declaring that Liz is the paragon of Christian tolerance while Mary is an "intolerant lesbian bigot."

"It's very clear here that Liz Cheney is not the intolerant bigot," Fischer said, "it is Liz Cheney's sister who is, in fact, the intolerant bigot."

Beck Hops On The Bandwagon: Obama 'Has An Issue With God'

As part of an effort aimed at honoring the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has produced a project featuring famous Americans reciting the speech.  The version of the speech read by President Obama for the project did not include the phrase" under God" which, of course, has thrown the Right into a frenzy, despite the fact that Obama was asked to read the very first draft of the speech which did not include that phrase.

Glenn Beck was among those freaking out about it, screaming that it was all intentional on the part of Obama because "the man has an issue with God" and "he is changing our history, he is changing our traditions":

Ironically, earlier in the program, Beck went on and on about the importance of always telling the truth and correcting the record when one makes a mistake so as not to spread false information.

We won't be holding our breath expecting him to actually follow through on that principle.

Barton: Drinking Starbucks Is Like Committing Treason Against God

Several months ago, David Barton told an audience that they could not continue to patronize Starbucks because of the company's support for marriage equality, declaring that "you can't drink Starbucks and be biblically right."

Given this position, it was no surprise to see that the guest on today's "Wallbuilders Live" was Chris Walker of 2nd Vote, an app designed to allow conservatives to know which companies support liberal policies so they can avoid shopping there or buying their products.

As Barton explained, shopping at places like Starbucks that support a liberal agenda is basically like committing treason against God:

God does draw a distinction, sometimes that's called holiness or sanctification or whatever theological terms you want to use, but there is right behavior and wrong behavior. And one of the things God makes really clear is you're not to be helping the bad guys advance their agenda which is against God.

Sometimes we do that without realizing that we do it. We're kind of really ignorant of sometimes the people we help and what they stand for and so we've got a guest on today that's giving us a really high-tech tool to help us understand whether certain companies or groups or people are absolute enemies of God; now, I'm not talking about people who differ with us theologically  on this point or that, I'm talking about the whole value system, people who reject God's value system across the board and if we go help them, then we're in trouble with God because we're helping the enemies.  It'd be like an act of treason if this were a military term, but to do that spiritually, you can't go join the enemies of God and expect God to bless you on all the values and all the things he said was right and wrong.

Harry Jackson Films Infomercial For Cindy Jacobs' Generals International

Harry Jackson has worked closely with Mike and Cindy Jacobs for several years, but we were still a little surprised to see him film something of an infomercial for their Generals International ministry that aired during the most recent episode of "God Knows."

In an effort to raise money for the Jacobs' ministry, Jackson recounted a time when America was on the brink of war and Mike and Cindy called a meeting of top religious leaders in Washington, DC where they revealed, through divine inspiration and revelation, when the war would start and how it would unfold.

As such, Jackson told the viewers, if they are willing to donate financially to the Jacobs' ministry, they too can receive just such "prophetic anointing" for themselves:

And what sort of miraculous gifts can one expect to receive through partnering with Generals International? Well, as Mike Jacobs later explained, a translator who once worked for him when they were preaching in a foreign nation was able to fix a trucking company's broken radio system simply by laying his hands upon it:

Klingenschmitt Continues His Short-Lived Victory Tour

A little over a week ago, "Dr. Chaps" Gordon Klingenschmitt filed a series of bogus copyright complaints against our YouTube account that eventually resulted in our entire account being terminated by YouTube. Following the removal of our account, Klingenschmitt sent out a press release declaring that we "repeatedly stole, copied, and re-published without permission" his videos and bragging that he had been successful in "silencing their hate-speech campaign."

In an interview with The Christian Post today, Klingenschmitt continued to brag about what he had done, saying that he was forced to get our account terminated because we were supposedly stealing his content and misrepresenting it as our own while removing comments from our videos that voiced support for him:

In an interview with The Christian Post, Klingenschmitt explained that he began filing complaints against RWW "because I got tired of their theft, copyright infringement, and piracy of my original video content."

"They copy my videos and republish them under their own brand and logo, pretending as if they were the original creators, raising money for their cause, and failing to give credit," said Klingenschmitt.

"Then they allow their followers to post comments, including death threats against me, and refuse to delete those death threats despite their admin power and history of moderating or deleting other comments in my favor, which they don't like."

Klingenschmitt also told CP that if RWW halts their alleged piracy of his content and remove the threats from their comments section, "then I may be willing to drop the case and forgive them."

It should come as no surprise that literally nothing Klingenschmitt claims is actually true. The videos we post are not theft or copyright infringement and are protected by Fair Use. On top of that, no reasonable person could ever mistakenly believe that we were the "original creators" of the Klingenschmitt clips, or any other clip, that we have ever posted. Certainly, no rational person would believe that we are the "original creators" of any of the dozens of Pat Robertson or Glenn Beck clips posted to our account.

Furthermore, as we explained before, we do not moderate the comments posted on YouTube, so we certainly were not engaging in the practice of removing comments in Klingenschmitt's favor.

Finally, we already had filed counter-claims against Klingenschmitt's first two copyright claims when our account was terminated. Based on extensive past experience and YouTube's guidelines for handling such claims, we expect that the first of these counter-claims will be decided within ten working days from the date they were submitted. As such, we hope that within the new few days, the first of Klingenschmitt's bogus claims against our account should expire, thus negating the "three strikes" that took down our account and resulting in the restoration of our account and all of our videos.

We don't have to beg Klingenschmitt's forgiveness and hope that he'll "be willing to drop the case and forgive" us because, by the middle of this week or so, his effort to shut us down by filling frivolous copyright claims against us should have run its course. Hopefully our account will be back up and running soon, simply by virtue of us having followed YouTube's standard procedure for challenging those who file phony copyright claims.

Rick Wiles Wonders If The Government Is Using Zombie Culture To Prepare For Mass Executions

End Times broadcaster Rick Wiles recently spoke to a representative of the Zombie Response Team, which trains people to prepare for a zombie apocalypse in a non-ironic way, about the popularity of zombies and shows like “The Walking Dead.” While Wiles was skeptical of an imminent breakout of zombies, he did however point to a 2012 military training scenario which centered around a zombie invasion as proof that the government is up to something big, or not, he is just asking the question!

After Zombie Response Team co-founder Morgan Bernhart told him that headshots are the most effective way to neutralize a zombie, Wiles wondered if the military exercise means that maybe “the government is prepping the public for mass executions of people.”

“Once you get down this road of being bizarre there is no limit to how bizarre you can think, you know?” Wiles said. “I’m trying to figure out: What are they up to? What are they preparing for?”

Wiles: Morgan, if there really was a zombie apocalypse — whatever that is — if there really was one, what would have to be done with the zombies?

Bernhart: I mean it would really depend on what—

Wiles: If you got like five of them on your porch, what do you do with them?

Bernhart: Headshots, that’s all you got to do.

Wiles: Headshots, okay. So if there really is a zombie apocalypse, anybody who is infected with whatever is being labeled as zombieism, they will have to be executed, you can’t have any contact with them, they just have to be taken out.

Bernhart: Unfortunately, that would be the hard truth of it.

Wiles: So do you think there is a possibility that the government is prepping the public for mass executions of people?

Bernhart: I really couldn’t answer that. I don’t know.

Wiles: I’m just speculating. This is all so bizarre to me. Hey, if the government is dressing up like zombies and that’s bizarre then my scenarios can be bizarre too because they’re bizarre. Once you get down this road of being bizarre there is no limit to how bizarre you can think, you know? I’m trying to figure out: What are they up to? What are they preparing for?

Boykin: Jesus 'Was A Tough Guy, He Was A Man's Man'

A few months ago, Family Research Council Executive Vice President Jerry Boykin spoke at a Men's Prayer Breakfast at William Jessup University where he discussed the "4 P's of Biblical Manhood."

During his speech, Boykin told the male audience that Jesus was not the weak, effeminate, "feminized" figure taught in church today but was really a ripped, tough, strong "man's man" who smelled bad!

As Boykin explained, Jesus was a carpenter and stone mason for most of his life, which required him to be constantly lifting heavy pieces of wood and stone. All this lifting, in turn, meant that Jesus had calluses on his hands and "big, bulging biceps, big ole veins popping out of his arms, thin waist, [and] strong shoulders."

"He was a man," Boykin said. "He was a man's man, but we feminized him in the church ... He was a tough guy and that's the Jesus that I want to be like. That's the side that I want to be like. But we've feminized Jesus in the church and the men can't identify with him anymore; not the kind of men that I want to hang out with, they can't identify with this effeminate Jesus that we've tried to portray. He was a tough guy. He was a man's man":

Hagee: 'When You Endorse A Man Marrying A Man, You Are A False Teacher'

Last weekend, John Hagee continued his sermon series "The God America Has Forgotten," during which he railed against "false teachers" who preach "heresy" by supporting things like marriage equality while also blasting atheists for not ever having contributed anything to the world.

Citing 2 Peter's warning about false prophets, Hagee declared that the church today is full of teachers who are preaching deceptive doctrines and causing Christians to lose their souls.

"When you endorse a man marrying a man," Hagee bellowed, "you are a false teacher." He continued in this vein, attacking those who support a woman's right to choose, or preach replacement theology, or deny the inerrancy of Scripture , demanding that they all "do the world a favor: get out of the pulpit and get yourself a secular job":

Later in the sermon, Hagee turned his wrath toward atheists.

"Let me tell you," he said, "atheism has never painted a masterpiece. Atheism has never dispelled fear. Atheism has never healed a disease; faith in God has, but not atheism. Atheism has never given anyone piece of mind. Atheism has never dried a tear. Atheism has never given an intellectual answer to the creation. Atheism is bankrupt and empty; it's brain dead."

Hagee went on to claim that when people no longer believe in God, they begin worshiping crystals or joining cults or howling at the moon ... which makes us suspect that Hagee has probably never actually met an atheist:

Remembering Bobbie Handman

Barbara “Bobbie” Handman, a former Vice President of PFAW and PFAW Foundation, died on Thursday. For years, Bobbie’s creative energy and fierce commitment to the First Amendment shaped the organizations’ free expression work from New York City, where she was based. Bobbie’s long record of advocacy for free expression and the arts was recognized in 1998 when she received the National Medal of Arts from President Bill Clinton.

Hillary Clinton, Bobbie Handman, Bill Clinton

Bobbie’s years at PFAW were part of a long life of political activism. Time after time she responded to would-be censors by rallying well-known actors and writers to participate in public events that affirmed the value of artistic freedom. You can read more about Bobbie’s life and work in the obituary that appears in today’s New York Times. It ends with this quote from Norman Lear: “Bobbie was a lifelong lesson in perseverance. She made New York happen for People For the American Way. And she made everything grander. She dealt in grand.”

People For the American Way extends its heartfelt condolences to Bobbie’s husband Wynn Handman and the rest of their family.

PFAW Foundation

David Barton Explains How Teachers Can Sneak Christian Indoctrination Into The Classroom

During his recent appearance at Ohio Christian University, David Barton was asked by an audience member who is an education major at the school how he, upon graduating and getting a job, might be able to impart a Christian influence on his students without getting fired.

Barton suggested that the student get a job as an English or History teacher because that would allow him to sneak in discussions of the Bible or read Christian prayers in the classroom under the guise of simply teaching these subjects.

For instance, Barton recommend that, as an English teacher, he could have his students read the works of Shakespeare, which Barton claimed contain quotes from over two thousand Bible verses. "So what you can do," Barton said, "is look up that phrase he just said; well, that's right out of Matthew 7:23.  So you're just simply using English Lit."

He could do the same as a History teacher, Barton said, suggesting that he could teach his students about Founding Father Thomas McKean who used to deliver altar calls in the courtroom when he served as a judge. "You can read an altar call," Barton said, "here's what was done in 1779 in Thomas McKean's courtroom.  It's an altar call, but all you're doing is reading history":

Barton: 'I Am Very Scary For People Who Have A Secular Worldview'

Recently, David Barton spoke at Ohio Christian University where he delivered a truncated version of his standard presentation before doing something we've never seen him do before: answer questions!

During the discussion, Barton was asked about the controversy surrounding his discredited book "The Jefferson Lies" which he, of course, responded to by spewing his patented combination of hubris and misinformation.

Claiming that he had been the target of secularists for a long time but "they couldn't do anything because we had so many documents," Barton said these unnamed secular groups decided to "recruit" Christian professors who would go after him.  

These Christian professors (by whom he means Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter), Barton said, were only able to find fault with a few dozen of the thousands of facts in his book, before asserting that a new version will soon be released by Simon and Schuster that will blow their criticism out of the water (of course, Barton didn't mention that the new version of his book is actually being released by his good friend Glenn Beck's Mercury Ink, which has a partnership with Simon and Schuster.)

"I'm really scary," Barton declared. "I am very scary for people who have a secular worldview," he said, claiming that the ACLU has spent over a million dollars on an effort to discredit him. 

"I try to challenge people to prove me wrong," Barton said, asserting that the Christian professors who criticized him did so only because they are "so secular" before predicting that the entire debate will be over in a few months when his book is released and it "tears them up":

We, of course, have multiple examples of Barton openly lying but, for some reason, he never even bothers to try and refute these documented examples.

Religious Freedom Anniversary Highlights Divisions Among Current and Former Allies

A symposium on the 20th anniversary of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act hosted by First Amendment advocate Charles Haynes at the Newseum in Washington D.C. on November 6 demonstrated one premise of People For the American Way Foundation’s 12 Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics – that people who support a core constitutional principle like religious liberty can disagree with how that principle should be applied. In recent years, religious conservatives have increasingly charged that those who disagree with them on this line-drawing are tyrannical enemies of faith and freedom.  The RFRA anniversary was a reminder that, as Bill Moyers wrote in his introduction to the 12 Rules, “We can simultaneously share a strong commitment to religious liberty, while disagreeing over the application of that principle in a given circumstance.”

In fact, an almost unimaginably broad coalition worked to pass RFRA in 1993, including People For the American Way and the ACLU, the National Association of Evangelicals and Concerned Women for America, and a huge array of religious and civil rights groups.  Also unimaginable in our political climate: RFRA passed the Senate 97-3 and the House unanimously by voice vote. But divisions within the coalition developed just a few years later and persist today.

RFRA was a response to the Supreme Court’s 1990 Smith decision in a case involving Native Americans who were denied unemployment benefits because they had violated state anti-drug laws through the sacramental use of peyote.  The Court ruled that as long as the law in question was applied generally and not designed to target a particular religious practice, there was no real recourse for people whose exercise of religion was restricted. The decision toppled long-standing precedent and left advocates for religious liberty deeply concerned that religious minorities would suffer if there were no legal requirement for reasonable accommodation of their beliefs.

RFRA states that if a law places a substantial burden on a person’s exercise of religion, the government must demonstrate that the law is serving a compelling interest and does so in the least restrictive way. In 1997, the Supreme Court upheld RFRA as it applies to the federal government, but not to the states.  Efforts to re-mobilize the RFRA coalition to pass a new law failed when civil rights advocates feared that a broad standard could be used to undermine state civil rights laws such as laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Oliver Thomas, a co-chair of the original RFRA coalition, said it is not surprising that RFRA gets less popular as it gets older and its “majestic generalities” get applied in contentious cases. Organizations that were allies in passing RFRA are now on both sides of political and legal disagreements about how its standards should apply in a variety of situations, including the mandate under the Affordable Care Act that insurance plans include contraception, the proposed Employment Non Discrimination Act that just passed the Senate, and the advance of marriage equality.  Even among ENDA’s backers there are disagreements about the nature and extent of religious exemptions in the bill.

The first part of the anniversary symposium, which included PFAW Foundation Board Member Rabbi David Saperstein, presented an insider view of RFRA’s history: the development of the RFRA coalition, the politics of writing the law and building congressional support.  One historical tidbit: coalition members had to work hard to overcome objections raised by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who feared the law might somehow give a weapon to their opponents on abortion rights issues.  Rep. Henry Hyde told coalition members that the bill would not move until they addressed the bishops’ concerns.

That history is particularly interesting given that conservative Catholics are now using RFRA to challenge the contraception mandate.  A discussion of the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act featured Lori Windham from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents a number of companies, business owners, and organizations challenging the mandate, and Dan Mach of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, which argues that the contraception requirement does not substantially burden the religious freedom of business owners, and that the Obama administration’s accommodation for religious organizations is more than sufficient.  Mach noted that while religious liberty is fundamental, it is not absolute, and should not be used to infringe the rights of others. 

Another issue discussed by the panelists was whether RFRA protects for-profit corporations – not the owners, but the corporation itself as an entity.  Some of the panelists discussing RFRA’s history agreed that conversation about violations of religious liberty were focused on individual people, not for-profit corporations, though some said the debate on RFRA and related laws assumed that companies would be covered.  The Becket Fund’s Windham made a case for including such corporations with RFRA’s protections, saying constitutional rights shouldn’t depend on your tax status. The Constitutional Accountability Center has argued otherwise.

Doug Laycock, a University of Virginia law professor, is among the most prominent legal scholars on religious liberty.  He finds himself positioned on differing sides in various culture war battles. Just a day before the anniversary symposium, Laycock argued before the Supreme Court, representing people who are challenging the practice of sectarian prayer at city council meetings in the Town of Greece case.  In that case he stood with advocates of strong church-state separation. On other issues, such as whether a business owner should have the right not to provide services related to a same-sex wedding, he stands with religious conservatives who are pushing for broad religious exemptions to anti-discrimination laws.

Laycock dismissed right-wing charges that the Obama administration is waging a war on religious liberty. He said the administration has gone to “remarkable lengths” to accommodate religious organizations on the contraception mandate and said he doubts that opponents will be able to convince judges that the current rule creates a substantial burden under RFRA. Obviously, the Becket Fund and other Religious Right legal groups and their clients strongly disagree. Later this month the Supreme Court will consider whether to accept for consideration four cases involving for-profit companies challenging the mandate. Cases involving non-profits have not advanced as far.

A panel on other current controversies placed them in the context of increasing religious pluralism in America, including the rapid growth of “nones” – people who claim to religious affiliation.  One panelist noted that religious and civil rights groups can still find common ground in opposition to laws targeting religious minorities, as many did in opposition to Oklahoma’s anti-Sharia law, which was found unconstitutional earlier this year. But it should be noted that some Religious Right groups have in fact backed such laws, and some opposed the building of the Islamic community center in New York that was deceptively dubbed the “Ground Zero Mosque.”

Laycock worries that culture war battles are weakening Americans’ commitment to religious liberty.  He faults conservative religious groups for continuing to fight legal marriage equality for same-sex couples. But he also believes LGBT rights advocates should be more willing to accept broad religious exemptions. Laycock said that conservatives’ dug-in resistance to equality diminishes the incentives for gay-rights activists to accommodate them.  The challenge, as he sees it: on issues of sexual morality, one side views as a grave evil what the other side views as a fundamental right.  In that climate, tens of millions of Americans believe that “religious liberty” empowers their enemies, and neither side is willing to embrace what Laycock considers “live and let live” solutions.

Marc Stern of the American Jewish Committee agreed with Laycock’s concerns about a winner-take-all approach to religious freedom issues, which he said reflects the broader political climate.  But the courts will continue to undertake the balancing act required by the Constitution and by RFRA when constitutional principles come into tension.  And, he said, once the courts work through issues regarding contraception and LGBT equality, we will all still need to grapple more with larger cultural and legal questions, such as those involving the growing number of nonbelievers who are reshaping America’s religious landscape.

The anniversary symposium, “Restored or Endangered? The State of Religious Freedom,” was sponsored by The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, Christian Legal Society, American Jewish Committee, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute.  

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