In 1972, the Supreme Court decided Eisenstadt v. Baird, striking down a Massachusetts law prohibiting the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried people.
Next week, the Family Research Council will host a discussion explaining how this decision, which "sanctioned unmarried non-procreative sexual intimacy," set the stage for the Obama Administration's contraception mandate and marriage equality:
On March 22nd, 1972, the Supreme Court undermined the boundaries and benefits of marriage. In the decision Eisenstadt v. Baird, the Court struck down a Massachusetts law prohibiting the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried people, and implicitly sanctioned unmarried non-procreative sexual intimacy.
While the decision may seem archaic and insignificant by modern sexual standards, Eisenstadt v. Baird dealt a decisive blow to the legal and cultural norm that marriage was the institution for the full expression of the sexual relationship between man and woman. The decision and its legal consequences affect us today. Forty years ago, the Court ruled that unmarried couples could not be denied their birth control. Today, the Federal government is forcing us to share the cost, for said contraception and some states are giving marital status to homosexual relationships.
Yesterday we posted audio of David Barton claiming that the Bible, specifically Matthew 20's famous "Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard" taught that employers had no obligation to be "fair" to their employees.
This same idea was also promoted by Jay Richards in his book "Money, Greed, and God" and the tenets of Biblical economics are also now being embraced by James Robison (co-author of a new book with Richards,) which explains why Robison's program today featured an interview with Buddy Pilgrim, a Biblical business consultant who "teaches Biblical principles of leadership, business management and financial success applicable to every Christian in the workplace."
During the program, Pilgrim proclaimed that business is God's system and complained that wealth and profit are being demonized while warning that a "dangerous" spirit of volunteerism (i.e. collectivism) was taking hold in America today:
In the past, we have chronicled how David Barton uses the Bible, in particular Matthew 20:1-16, to promote an ultra-right-wing economic view by claiming that Jesus opposed the minimum wage and any sort of employment discrimination laws.
Barton's interpretation of this passage is particularly absurd since, as we have noted before, Matthew 20 is the famous "Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard" in which Jesus explains "the Kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner" who pays all of his works the same amount, regardless of how much they worked. The point of the parable is that no matter how late in one's life one comes to Christ, the Heavenly reward is the same; those who embraced Christ on their deathbed will receive the same eternal reward as those who were Christians all of their lives because of God's generous love.
On his "Wallbuilders Live" radio program today, Barton once again trotted out this parable, this time to declare that employers have no obligation to be "fair" to their workers and to suggest that Jesus also opposed unions:
The Bible says [the worker] started grumbling about what happened, grumbling about his wages and Jesus answered and said to him "am I being unfair to you friend? Didn't you agree to work for a day's wages? You take your pay and go. I want to give to the one who was hired the same as I gave to you. That's my choice." Here it is, Matthew 20:15. "Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money?"
Now, two things come out here, is if an employee agrees to work for an employer, that's a contract between the two of them ... and Jesus points out that you can go to a different vineyard if you don't like what I'm paying. You've got the free market, you can go choose a different employer. You agreed to work for me for this wage and that's what you're going to get. So first you get the inviolability of contracts between employers and employees ... and whatever is fair has nothing to do with it. That's not their responsibility to be fair, it's "I gave my word, that's what I agreed to work for." So Jesus says, as an employer, isn't my money mine to do with as I please?
Second point is, where were unions in all this? The contract is between an employer and an employee, not between a group. He went out and hired individually the guys he wanted to work.
Notice how Barton takes a parable about the Kingdom of Heaven and transforms it into a Biblical justification for laissez-faire capitalism, anti-unionism, and employment discrimination and does so by attributing to Jesus words that Jesus himself put in the mouth of an unnamed landowner in order to demonstrate God's generosity.
When Barton cites Matthew 20, it is not some parable about God's love, but rather a lesson in right-wing econonics in which Jesus himself hires workers for his vineyard and tells those who complain about wage discrimination that they can take a hike if they don't like it because employers have no obligation to be fair to their workers.
Ever since the Southern Poverty Law Center placed Peter LaBarbera's Americans For Truth About Homosexuality and several other Religious Right groups on its list of anti-gay hate groups, Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel has become a relentless critic of the SPLC.
Even though Barber's own Liberty Counsel has not been designed an anti-gay hate group itself, Barber is on the board of LaBarbera's organization and so he has been eager to attack the SPLC at every opportunity, even accusing the organization of doing to Christians just what the Nazis did to the Jews.
Last week, the SPLC released a new report noting a recent dramatic rise within the "antigovernment 'Patriot' movement — conspiracy-minded groups that see the federal government as their primary enemy."
And it seems that Barber's hatred of the SPLC has now become so all-encompassing that he just automatically rejects any sort of designation that organization makes ... so much so that he is now defending antigovernment militia movements:
The Montgomery, Alabama-based organization recently released a report saying that antagonism toward President Barack Obama is feeding the number of so-called "hate groups," and "anti-government" organizations continue to grow. The report also describes a "stunning rise" in the number of patriot and "militia" movements.
Matt Barber is director of cultural affairs at Liberty Counsel. He says the SPLC is a radical group that considers patriotism something to be loathed.
"Only in the eyes of a liberal, extremist group can those who embrace patriotism be considered dangerous, radical hate groups," he decides.
Filling in as host for the "AFR Mornings" program today, Bryan Fischer brought on anti-gay activist Michael Brown to discuss his recent column defending Kirk Cameron from a tweet by Roseanne Barr in which she said Cameron was “an accomplice to murder with his hate speech” by claiming that Michelle Obama must then also be "complicit in the suicides of kids who were bullied because of their obesity."
Fischer loved that line of reasoning, adding that it was "just ridiculous on its face" to think that being mocked, ridiculed, and condemned would lead gay kids to commit suicide. After all, Fischer said, the AFA is "relentlessly hammered, condemned, criticized, [and] judged" every single day and nobody there is tempted to end their life just because they are being ridiculed:
When state legislatures around the country passed virtually identical bills to deregulate specific industries, dismantle unions or award massive tax cuts to corporations, one might wonder if such pro-special interest, pro-corporate legislation originates organically from the people's elected representatives. People For the American Way Foundation's Right Wing Watch: In Focus report on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) exposes the quietly influential organization behind pro-corporate laws in states throughout the country. By connecting powerful industry lobbyists with elected officials, ALEC works behind the scenes to mold state laws in the interest of big corporations -- usually completely under the radar of voters.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a key voice for corporate special interests in state legislatures across the county, is welcomed with an especially warm embrace in Arizona, according to a report released by People For the American Way Foundation and Common Cause. With one of the highest concentrations of ALEC legislators of any state in the United States, Arizona lawmakers are working hand-in-hand with corporate leaders who make up ALEC's membership to deregulate specific industries, privatize education and dismantle unions, the report found.
A report by People For the American Way Foundation, Common Cause, the Center for Media and Democracy and Progress Ohio reveals the deep ties between the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Ohio's legislature. Through a side-by-side comparison of ALEC legislative models and actual Ohio bills, the report shows how Ohio's legislators are working in tandem with corporate leaders to deregulate key industries, privatize education and dismantle unions.
Over the past few weeks, more progressive elected officials are not just voting against ALEC inspired legislation that would privatize public services and make a few people very rich, they are calling it out by name and raising awareness of how ALEC serves as a vehicle to enact a corporate wish list into law in states across the country.
“Exactly who did the Republicans in the legislature listen to? Well, three of the four bills come right from this manual, Tort Reform Boot Camp, published by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. This is the same group who reportedly provided legislators last week with all-expense paid trips to a posh Florida hotel for what they call an “education policy conference.” It is an extremely conservative group, funded largely by large corporations, big business associations, insurance companies and very wealthy individuals. I’ve found that Minnesotans do not want their laws written by the lobbyists of big corporations.
“Since these Republican bills so closely follow ALEC’s instructions on tort reform, and since ALEC’s opinion on these subjects are evidently more important to Republican legislators than mine, their fellow legislator’s or the Supreme Court’s, perhaps they would share with us all of the other ALEC boot camp manuals, so we can know in advance what to expect from them for the rest of this session. If Republicans want to continue to prove to Minnesotans that they are too extreme to lead, they should continue to throw ALEC’s ideology at us. If they want to begin to govern responsibly, and work collaboratively, pass real jobs legislation – and my three measures have not even been taken up – real jobs legislations that will put Minnesotans back to work, then I’m ready to work with them. And I’m waiting.”
Just last week, Wisconsin State Representative Mark Pocan (D) decided to take action as well. He joined ALEC to gain access to the bill templates, and then took to the floor to expose the origins of AB110, a bill that would damage the public education system by giving special taxpayer subsidies to private schools for special needs children.
“This is part of dismantling public education in Wisconsin, and Florida, and Ohio, and every single state it’s introduced in,” Pocan explained. “This bill doesn’t come from this body, this bill is an identical bill that’s been introduced brought by special interests by ALEC and introduced state by state by state.”
ALEC’s secret jig is up. The American people don’t want their laws to be written by corporations, and they’ve made their voices heard. Now, our elected representatives – that is, the ones who are actually representing us, not wealthy special interests – are taking a stand too. ALEC’s pro- corporate agenda can only advance if kept secret. Kudos to those elected officials with the courage to shine the spotlight on this undemocratic organization.
One of the advantages of being president of the American Family Association and American Family Radio is that you get to host a daily radio program where you can vent your outrage about whatever pops into your head regardless of the fact that you may have no idea what you are talking about, as Tim Wildmon displayed yesterday while interviewing Rep. Trent Franks as he insisted that President Obama has never made a trip to America's southern border because he doesn't care about the issues of immigration and border security.
The War on Women doesn't stop with reproductive rights. In a new post at Ms. Blog, People For's Marge Baker explains how GOP obstruction of judicial nominees is keeping women -- as well as people of color and gays and lesbians -- from reaching positions of power in the federal courts:
President Obama has made no secret of his goal to make the American courts look like America. Along with the effort to bring more women to the bench, roughly 36 percent of his nominees have been people of color, and he has nominated more openly lesbian and gay individuals to the federal courts than all his predecessors combined.
But the president’s effort to bring a diversity of voices to the federal courts is now facing a major roadblock. Senate Republicans have been obstructing President Obama’s judicial nominees to an unprecedented extent–usually not because of objections to the nominees themselves, but just for the sake of creating gridlock. Indeed, most of President Obama’s nominees have been approved by the Judiciary Committee with unanimous or near-unanimous bipartisan support. Nevertheless, after committee approval, Republicans in the Senate have forced the president’s nominees to wait four times longer to get a yes-or-no vote than President Bush’s nominees at the same point in his term.
As a result, about one out of ten courtrooms in the country are vacant and Americans are facing inexcusable delays as they seek their day in court. One of President Obama’s least-noticed but most long-lasting achievements–putting a qualified, diverse group of judges on our federal courts–has been put at risk.
We have already written a number of posts about David Barton and his tendency to proclaim that if something has any sort of parallel to anything in the Bible, then the inspiration for that thing could only have come from the Bible.
Thus, for Barton, there is no doubt that our three branches of government and separation of powers, our free market system, our due process clause, elections, and all manner of other Constitutional provisions were explicitly based on Biblical models - an idea which is based entirely on the fact that Barton happens to see parallels between them and something he read in the Bible.
Lately, he has been expanding upon this trick and started pulling excerpts out of letters and speeches from the Founding Fathers and proclaiming that, in just a few short lines, the Bible is cited multiple time. Barton did it against recently on Glenn Beck with a letter written by George Washington to Marquis de LaFayette in 1785, claiming that in three sentences, Washington quoted the Bible seven times:
Here is the excerpt from Washington's letter:
I wish to see the sons and daughters of the world in Peace and busily employed in the more agreeable amusement of fulfilling the first and great commandment, Increase and Multiply: as an encouragement to which we have opened the fertile plains of the Ohio to the poor, the needy and the oppressed of the Earth; any one therefore who is heavy laden, or who wants land to cultivate, may repair thither and abound, as in the Land of promise, with milk and honey: the ways are preparing, and the roads will be made easy, thro— the channels of Potomac and James river.
And here are the Bible verses that Barton claims Washington was explicitly quoting:
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
This is the first and great commandment.
Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
A voice cries:“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
For Barton, any similarity in language or imagery between Washington's letter and anything in the Bible can only mean that Washington was intentionally quoting the Bible.
Thus, mentioning the poor and needy must be a reference to Deuteronomy. And Washington's use of the phrase "heavy laden" can only mean that he was directly quoting Matthew. And imagery about "preparing" is proof positive that he was citing Isaiah.
Barton never provides any evidence that Washington had specific Bible passages in mind when writing these lines; he merely asserts it as fact.
It is Barton who is constantly finding Biblical parallels in letters from the Founding Fathers and in our free market system and our form of government and everything else and then asserting, without evidence, that the latter were all based explicitly on the former.
On Monday, Bryan Fischer came to the defense of Rush Limbaugh, saying he was "lexically accurate" to call Georgetown student Sandra Fluke a "slut" on his radio program and that Limbaugh's apology was proof that we are now living under "secular Sharia."
Fischer returned to the topic on his radio program again today, during a segment in which proclaimed that all the misogyny, hatred, and vulgar attacks on women almost always comes from the Left because the Right respects women and treats them with dignity. In fact, explained Fischer, there is really no difference between the Left and Islamic Radicals, who see women as "something less than human."
Then, after proclaiming that the Right always treats women respectfully, he then proceeded to again attack Fluke as a someone who is "sleeping with so many guys she can’t keep track [and] doing it three times a day" while wondering if President Obama would be proud if his daughters turned out like that:
Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, Director of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council, issued the following statement on the passing of New Jersey congressman Donald Payne:
“We are all saddened to hear of the loss of Congressman Payne, who has been a leader and an inspiration to a generation of civil rights advocates. Congressman Payne, through his work in Congress and at the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus foundation, has done so much to make the voices and needs of African Americans heard in Washington.
“Congressman Payne, while an important voice for African Americans, was also an outspoken advocate for human and civil rights for all Americans and for people around the world. He will be missed, and his life and the values he stood for will continue to inspire.”