C3

Jim Garlow Says 'Crushing Expression Of The Gospel' Is The Ultimate Goal Of Gay Rights Activists

Jim Garlow was the guest on AFA's "Today's Issues" broadcast yesterday, discussing the recent decision, and sudden reversal, by World Vision to allow legally married gay Christians to work for the organization.

Near the end of the conversation, host Tim Wildmon asked Garlow just where the push for equality would ultimately end, wondering if eventually it will just become so commonplace and accepted that being gay won't even be an issue any more.

"When is the gonna stop, here?" Wildmon asked.

"The short answer," Garlow responded, "is persecution."

"The short answer is persecution of Christians," he continued, in response to Wildmon's expression of surprise. "It is staggering across America the depths of persecution believers are already beginning to experience. This is not about homosexual marriage; this is about crushing expression of the Gospel":

The Amazing Coincidence Behind Todd Starnes' Latest Christian Victimization Column

Earlier today we wrote a post about a new Religious Right tale of supposed victimization emerging out of Florida involving a young girl who was allegedly told that she was not allowed to pray in the lunchroom before eating her lunch.

The whole thing seemed rather suspect, as these tales usually are, since it emerged from a video posted on YouTube by the girl's parents and was then immediately turned into a column by Todd Starnes, who is notorious for ginning up these sorts of one-sided, fake controversies:

A Florida school district is giving teachers a refresher course on religious liberty after the parents of a five-year-old kindergarten student said a teacher told their daughter that she was not allowed to pray before eating her lunch time meal.

Marcos Perez, of Oviedo, Fla., said the incident occurred earlier this month in the lunch room at Carillon Elementary School.

He said his daughter  was sitting at a table about to eat when she bowed her head and began to pray.

“A teacher saw her and told her, ‘you’re not allowed to do that,’” he said.

Perez said his little girl replied, “But it’s good to pray.” The teacher alleged replied, “It’s not good.”

He said his daughter tried to pray once more but was admonished by the teacher. The child was not formally punished, he said.

“She’s a really good girl and if there are rules, she follows them,” he said. “She knows the biblical values we are raising her with. She was really conflicted but she wanted to submit to the authority.”

Perez said he and his wife were so upset over the incident they sat down with a video camera and had their daughter recount what happened. They posted the video to YouTube. And they also tried to reassure their daughter that she had done nothing wrong.

As we noted this morning, school officials are denying the incident took place, but now that the story is gaining some national attention, local media outlets have begun reporting on it and revealing interesting things ... such as the fact that this young girl's father, Marcos Perez, just so happens to be the Vice President of Sales at the Christian publishing house that is publishing Todd Starnes' next book:

School officials have not interviewed the girl, who has been pulled from kindergarten at Carillon by her parents, who said they intend to home school her.

Her father is vice president of sales at Charisma House, a Lake Mary-based Christian book publisher. The company is currently promoting the book "God Less America: Real Stories from the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values," by Todd Starnes.

Just last month, Charisma House issued a press release that featured none other than Perez promoting Starnes' forthcoming book:

“We are highly anticipating the release of God Less America,” said Marcos Perez, vice president of sales at Charisma House. “From a sales standpoint, we believe this contest will engage our partnering bookstores and add to the momentum that is already building for this book release.”

FOX News commentator Todd Starnes’s highly anticipated book God Less America(FrontLine/Charisma House) uses both recent news stories and compelling interviews with today’s top conservative leaders to bring to light what is happening across our country. In his award-winning, satire-meets-serious writing style he strikes an important blow in today’s culture wars.

What are the chances that one month before Starnes' book, in which he seeks to catalog just how religious liberty is being squashed in America, is released, an incident like this takes place that perfectly exemplifies the very thing that Starnes' book claims to chronicle? 

Even more amazingly, it just happens to involve the daughter of the very man responsible for promoting Starnes' book!

What an amazing coincidence!

Barber: World Vision Has Clearly Fallen Under Satan's Deception

One of the downsides of recording daily radio segments for Religious Right activists like Matt Barber and Mat Staver is that they often record several at a time with plans to air them on some future date. Normally, that is not a problem, but sometimes they record segments about an issue that has changed dramatically between the time of the recording and the time of the airing, as was the case with today's broadcast in which they furiously attacked the Christian charity World Vision for announcing that legally married gay Christians would be welcome in the organization.

World Vision quickly reversed course but Barber and Staver had already recorded today's commentary in which Barber said the organization had clearly fallen under Satan's deception on the issue of gay marriage:

More of a concern than their compromising their values is that they're compromising non-negotiable Biblical truth and Biblical principles.

The President of World Vision USA, Richard Stearns, has said in the past quote 'no one ever died of gay marriage.' Well, I would introduce him to the plague of AIDS.

...

The spiritual warfare is palpable, Mat. And the Father of Lies is using this issue to deceive the multitudes and many within the church are falling under his deception; World Vision is one organization that has clearly fallen under his deception.

The Religious Right's Never-Ending Campaign To Gin Up Tales Of Victimization Rolls On

Last week, a video was posted on YouTube featuring a five year-old girl telling her parents that she was told by a "lunchroom teacher" at Carillon Elementary School in Oviedo, Florida that she was not allowed to pray before eating her lunch.

When the little girl responded that "it's good to pray," she claims that she was told "it's not good" and was prevented from praying.

Naturally, after the video was posted on-line, serial fabricator Todd Starnes picked it up and turned it into a column while the Family Research Council featured the story in its daily email. On top of that, attorneys from the Religious Right legal group Liberty Institute are now representing the parents and will hold a press conference today:

Liberty Institute Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys invites all working media to attend a press availability with Mr. Perez, Tuesday, April 1, at 3:30 PM ET on the sidewalk by the sign outside of Carillon Elementary School, 3200 Lockwood Blvd., Oviedo, FL. 

"Of course, students can pray at school!" said Dys.  "As the Supreme Court held over half a century ago: Students do not 'shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.'  The school is in violation of Department of Education guidelines that specifically protect this type of prayer, and thus could jeopardize its federal funding."

The Perez Family cited this offense to their daughter's religious liberty as the most immediate reason to remove their daughter from the public education system. "Mainly because of this incident, we have exercised our option as parents to teach our daughter at home," said Marcos Perez.  "We live in a very good school district, but we cannot, in good conscience, send our daughter to a school where her religious liberty has been compromised."

All the attention is now generating some local media coverage and, as usually happens in these sorts of cases where Religious Right activists gin up some tale of supposed anti-Christian persecution, school officials are saying the incident never happened:

Michael Lawrence told Local 6 that the principal spoke with staff members in the cafeteria at the time of the incident and said no one recalled having any contact with the child.

"The situation as stated by the parent has not occurred according to the school's investigation," said Michael Lawrence, communications officer for Seminole County Schools. "We're dealing with very young children here so there's quite a bit of an opportunity for miscommunication to occur. The timing and the issues were very odd considering that the first thing that happened was that a video was done, it was on YouTube."

...

Lawrence said the lunchroom is not under video surveillance and the alleged incident was not recorded. Lawrence also added that the school district allows children to pray on campus anytime.

"If a student wishes to pray at lunch to herself we do not have a policy against that," said Lawrence. He said the principal will remind staff members that prayer in school is OK.

...

School board member Amy Lockhart told Local 6 the incident cannot be confirmed.

"However, that being said I would be greatly disturbed to find that any Seminole County Public School student had their individual liberties infringed upon in this manner by one of our staff members," said Lockhart. "The freedom to pray when, where and how one chooses is a foundational freedom of our great nation."

If this seems familiar, that is probably because it sounds a lot like the tale of Raymond Raines, a two decade-old myth about a young boy who had supposedly been sentenced to a week of detention for simply praying before eating his lunch in the cafeteria of an elementary school in St. Louis that Religious Right activists still cite today even though it is totally false.

Update: In a totally unsurprising development, The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the girl's father, Marcos Perez, just so happens to be the VP of sales at the Christian publishing house that is publishing Todd Starnes' forthcoming book:

School officials have not interviewed the girl, who has been pulled from kindergarten at Carillon by her parents, who said they intend to home school her.

Her father is vice president of sales at Charisma House, a Lake Mary-based Christian book publisher. The company is currently promoting the book "God Less America: Real Stories from the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values," by Todd Starnes.

Beck: The Obama Administration Is 'Trying To Kill Christian Thought'

On his radio broadcast today, Glenn Beck accused President Obama of lying about what was discussed during the recent meeting he held with Pope Francis, which then set off some extended lecture from Beck about the inevitable failure of socialism whenever and wherever it is tried.

Admitting that the foundational principle at the heart of socialism - give to those in need - is a Judeo-Christian principle, Beck said that it never actually works in practice. There has been plenty of religious groups that have voluntarily tried to implement it, he said, and it has always ended in starvation and disaster, but when governments try to implement socialism, it ends with millions of citizens being murdered.

And that resulted in a declaration from Beck that the Obama administration is "trying to kill all Christian thought," because Christianity is the only thing that prevents a socialist government from murdering its citizens by the tens of thousands.

"They're trying to kill the one thing," Beck warned, "that stops people from saying 'let's kill those people and take their stuff, let's just keep killing people until it does work,' this administration is trying to kill that":

Preacher Rants That 'Jesus Is A Muslim' Billboard Is 'Slander'

Recently, some billboards went up around Ohio proclaiming that "Jesus Is A Muslim" and they are not sitting well with "Coach" Dave Daubenmire who organized a rally against the billboards in Columbus over the weekend.

Daubenmire has posted clips from the rally on his YouTube page and though the event was hampered by cold and rainy conditions, a small group of passionate supporters turned out to join Daubenmire and other speakers in railing against "the evil spirit of Islam" and declaring, as preacher Rusty Thomas did, that America "is the Lord's house" and no other religion has the right to come here and try undermine this nation's Christian foundation.

"Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," Thomas screamed, "he has defined himself in the sixty-six books of the Bible and HE WARNS, HE WARNS do not add, do not subtract from my book, otherwise you are a part of the den of thieves!"

Then, pointing across the street to the billboard in question, Thomas declared that if it were entered into a court of law as evidence, "it would be called perjury."

"In the court of public opinion," he continued, "it is slander! This is defamation of character. In religious circles, it is heresy and spiritually, it is blasphemy!"

Glenn Beck Sued for Defamation Over His '212 3B' Boston Marathon Bombing Conspiracy Theory

Following the bombing at the Boston Marathon last year, Glenn Beck went on a personal crusade to prove that the Obama administration was engaged in a massive cover-up of the role that an al Qaeda operative played in the attack and was doing so for the benefit of the Saudi Arabian government.

Beck infamously gave the US government three days to come clean about the cover-up before he exposed it on his network. When those three days passed, Beck launched into a full-scale campaign to prove that Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi, who was injured in the bombing, was actually an al Qaeda "control agent" and the "money man" who financed the operation and recruited the Tsarnaev brothers to carry it out.

Beck's theory rested on the fact that Alharbi had once been considered a "person of interest" during the investigation but was quickly cleared. Beck's network received information during the investigation that Alharbi "was set to be deported under section 212 3B" for "terrorist activities" and it was upon that piece of information that Beck built his entire campaign, as he spent days hammering away, challenging everyone to disprove his theory and warning that they would only discredit themselves if they tried to do so.

Eventually, Beck's crusade came to a grinding halt when he brought a former INS special agent onto his program to bolster his theory but, instead, watched as Bob Trent blew a hole right through it by pointing out that the 212 3B designation and Beck's entire timeline "doesn't make sense."

After that, Beck more or less abandoned the issue, though he continued to personally believe in his original conspiracy and mention it from time to time.

And now, nearly one year later, Beck and his company are being sued by Alharbi for defamation and slander:

Glenn Beck defamed on his radio show a Middle Eastern victim of last year's Boston Marathon bombing as a criminal participant in it, the man claims in Federal Court.

Abdulrahman Alharbi sued Beck, The Blaze Inc., Mercury Radio Arts and Premiere Radio Networks for defamation and slander.

Alharbi describes himself in the 6-page lawsuit as "a 20-year-old student who was a spectator at the Marathon and was injured in the bombing. Mr. Alharbi, like many others, was questioned by federal authorities investigating the events of that day. Those authorities also, with his permission, searched his apartment. The responsible officials quickly concluded that Mr. Alharbi, other then being injured in the attacks, had no involvement in the attacks. Many news outlets reported the facts of the search of an apartment and that authorities had questioned a man of Middle Eastern descent. When the authorities concluded that Mr. Alharbi had no involvement, reports ceased. The defendant Glenn Beck, with the active participation of the distributor defendants, repeatedly and falsely identified Mr. Alharbi as an active participant in the crimes that were committed on April 15, 2013, repeatedly questioned the motives of federal officials in failing to pursue or detain Mr. Alharbi and repeatedly and falsely accused Mr. Alharbi of being a criminal who had funded the attacks that took place at the Boston Marathon. Those statements were made widely and publicly. The statements were false and did grave injury to the plaintiff."

Beck, The Blaze and Mercury Radio all are based in Texas, defendant Premiere in California. Beck's show is owned by Blaze and its corporate parent Mercury, according to the complaint.

The complaint adds: "Beck falsely accused Alharbi of being a criminal who had funded the attacks that took place at the Boston Marathon.

"On or about May 8, 2013, and at repeated and diverse times thereafter, Beck stated that Alharbi was the 'money man' who had funded the attacks at the Boston Marathon.

The statements made by Beck were false."

Alharbi says he has "received numerous messages ... based on Beck's statements accusing him of being a murderer, child killer and terrorist."

He seeks punitive damages for defamation with malice.

Fischer Wants Victim's Family To 'Pull The Lever' During Executions Because That Is What The Bible Says

Bryan Fischer continues his campaign to turn the United States of America into a fundamentalist Christian theocracy, declaring on his radio broadcast today that the oldest male relative of a murder victim ought to be allowed to "pull the lever" when the killer is executed because that is what the Bible dictates.

Reading from Joshua 20, which allowed those who inadvertently kill someone to flee to a city of refuge where they would be protected from "the avenger of blood," Fischer asserted that the  phrase was understood to mean that the oldest male relative of the victim had the legal right to avenge the blood of their relative.

To Fischer, this demonstrates that God wants the immediate family of victims to be involved in meting out justice and so our legal system should be changed so that if, for instance, someone were to be executed by firing squad, the oldest male relative of the victim would give the order to fire.

"Or if it is the electric chair," Fischer continued, "the law would give to the oldest male in the family the right pull the lever ... so that the family participates, they have the sense of satisfaction that the death of their loved one has been avenged."

"I know that will sound radical to some of you," he admitted, "but it makes perfectly good sense to me":

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.

...

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.

...

“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":

Share this page: Facebook Twitter Digg SU Digg Delicious