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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.  

PFAW Foundation

Beck: OWS Debt-Canceling Effort 'Sounds Like The Golden Dawn Party'

As we noted yesterday, Glenn Beck is so insanely and rigidly ideological that it results in worldview in which everything is either black or white, so that anything done by someone with whom he disagrees or dislikes is inherently suspect and dangerous.

The extent to which this "all or nothing" worldview dominates Beck's understanding was perfectly expressed in this clip from the morning meeting yesterday during which producer Tiffany Siegel was commenting on a story about a project being run by Occupy Wall Street which uses donations to buy up consumer debt and then cancel it.

The project is called Rolling Jubilee and it works because lenders to whom the debt is owed often sell the right to that debt to third parties for pennies on the dollar. In this case, OWS buys up the debt and then, instead of trying to collect it, sends a letter to the person who owes the debt, telling them that it has been canceled and they are no longer obligated to pay it.

And all Beck can say when he hears about this effort is "gee, that sounds like the Golden Dawn Party."

The Golden Dawn Party is, of course, a fascist neo-Nazi political party in Greece and Beck's favorite catch-all term for warning about the coming resurgence of the Nazi movement in America and around the world:

Klingenschmitt: Photo Of Gay Couple With A Baby 'Looks To Me A Little Bit Like Lust'

On today's "Pray In Jesus Name" program, "Dr. Chaps" Gordon Klingenschmitt was discussing the UK Supreme Court's rejection of an appeal of an Northern Irish court ruling that granted same-sex and unmarried couples the right to adopt children.

While discussing the case, Klingenschmitt put a photo of two men and a baby on the screen so that he could point out that "one of the men almost has his tongue hanging out, like he's licking his chops, like this baby is ours now. And that's fine, you may call that love, but it looks to me a little bit like lust."

Klingenschmitt went on to say that gay couples "crave" to adopt "the children of heterosexual couples" so that they can raise and recruit them into the "homosexual lifestyle," declaring that allowing that to happen is child abuse: 

Fischer Can't Support Chris Christie Because He Appointed Gays And Muslims As Judges

On his radio broadcast today, Bryan Fischer told a caller that he had serious reservations about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and could not vote for him if he ran for president.

Not only is Fischer concerned that Christie has "capitulated on same-sex marriage, capitulated on the homosexual agenda" but he's also "concerned about his judicial appointments."

And why is Fischer concerned about this issue?  Because, as governor, Christie "has appointed active homosexuals to be bench" and even "appointed Muslims to the bench":

NM School District Restores ‘Neverwhere’ to Curriculum Following PFAW Foundation Advocacy

Last month, PFAW Foundation sent a letter to a school district review committee in Alamogordo, New Mexico urging them to reject attempts to remove Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere from the English curriculum. Yesterday a local television station, KRQE News 13, reported that the book will indeed be put back into the Alamogordo High School curriculum. A district spokesperson told the School Library Journal that in the review process the book was found to be “educationally suitable, balanced, and age-appropriate for high school students.”

The School Library Journal’s Karyn Peterson provides the backstory:

Use of the novel, which had been a part of the AHS English department’s curriculum for nearly 10 years, was suspended from classrooms in early October after a mother complained to the school board about what she characterized as the book’s “sexual innuendos” and “harsh” language—occurring on a single page of the 400-page novel.  The district then created a review committee and opened a public comment period...

PFAW Foundation was one of the groups that weighed in, encouraging the review committee to uphold the right of all students to “to receive a competitive, rigorous education free from censorship.”

The full text of our letter is below.

October 25, 2013

Dear Members of the Review Committee,

We urge you to reject attempts to remove Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere from the English curriculum.  We understand that the novel was temporarily removed from the curriculum following the complaint of a parent and will be reviewed by this committee.

Neil Gaiman, whose awards include the Newbery Medal for outstanding children’s literature, is an acclaimed author whose work has been taught in the district for many years. We recognize that school leaders often face difficult decisions that require balancing the concerns of parents with the educational development of students.  However, according to English teacher Pam Thorp’s recent letter in the Alamogordo News, the child of the parent bringing the complaint was offered alternative reading material. While parents have every right to decline reading material for their own children, they should not be allowed to censor the curricula for all students.

Many works of literature tackle mature or challenging topics. Attempting to shield high school students from challenging works robs them of the opportunity to learn from and engage with literature, and sets a dangerous precedent.

We trust that as educators you will uphold the right of all students in Alamogordo public schools to receive a competitive, rigorous education free from censorship. For over 30 years we have worked with school districts to protect students’ right to learn, and are happy to serve as a resource for you in this and any future challenges to school curricula.

Best wishes,

Michael Keegan
President, People For the American Way Foundation

PFAW Foundation

Beck: Pledge Of Allegiance And Star Spangled Banner Are The 'Trappings' Of Progressives

In Glenn Beck's world, everything is black or white; or more accurately, things are either "constitutional" or "progressive," with the latter category consisting of everything in the world that Beck randomly decides doesn't fit into his amorphous and constantly evolving personal political philosophy. 

The result is that his listeners are frequently treated to long pseudo-historical monologues in which Beck attempts to cram history into the categories that he has constructed so that everything from the Star Spangled Banner to the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag are all "progressive" trappings while declaring that the "progressives" in the Republican party are the modern-day ancestors of the fascists:

Fischer: Gay Activists Are Trying To 'Desensitize' People To Pedophilia, Just As They Did With Homosexuality

Last week, Bryan Fischer appeared on theDoveTV to promote the bogus AFA claim that the American Psychiatric Association had reclassified pedophilia as a sexual orientation.  During the interview, host Perry Atkinson asserted that it was all part of an effort to desensitize people to the issue of pedophilia in order to normalize it ... just as they did with homosexuality, Fischer responded.

"That's exactly the strategy that homosexual activists pursued with homosexuality," Fischer said. "Talk about homosexuality all the time; don't let people think about the behavior itself because that will turn people off, but just talk about it all the time, get it into ordinary conversation, use that term over and over again because it desensitizes people to it.  If they hear it often enough then, like you're saying, they begin to think of it like something, well that's just a normal part of conversation and then it's not long before they start thinking well, that's a normal behavior, that's a normal sexual orientation. So it's very deliberate on their part to kind of desensitize the American public on this issue":

Barber: We're Living Under A 'Tyranny Of A Secularist Minority That Wants To Engage In Religious Cleansing'

It turns out that, according to Matt Barber, Christians have not only become the victims of "religious cleansing" within the military, as he stated yesterday, but throughout society as a whole as they increasingly find themselves living under the "tyranny of a secularist minority."

"What we're finding," Barber said, "is that we have a very loud, very powerful minority of quote progressive secularists and separatists; those who want to separate, remove any reference to God."

And these activists, Barber asserted, are pushing the vast majority of Christian Americans "to the fringes, and there's a word for that: that's tyranny and it's called tyranny of the minority and that's what we're living under right now, a tyranny of a secularist minority that wants to engage in religious cleansing":

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