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Countering the Conservative Campus Crusade

The following is a post by Gabriela De Golia, Advocacy Associate for affiliate People For the American Way Foundation’s Young People For program.

Last week, in a speech in support of a constitutional amendment to reduce the influence of big money on our political system, Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “No one should be able to pump unlimited funds into political campaigns.”  On political spending, Sen. Reid noted, the “Koch brothers are in a category of their own.”

Indeed, the Koch brothers’ influence in shaping our national political dialogue is stronger than many realize. In March the Center for Public Integrity wrote about David and Charles Koch’s financial investments in colleges and universities—the nation-spanning “campus of Koch Brothers Academy.” By pouring millions into schools across the country, the Koch brothers bankroll academic programs to promote their economic and social ideologies. They champion regressive political philosophies and create a pipeline for youth to become engaged in conservative activism. In effect, the Koch brothers are leading a crusade to funnel young people into the conservative movement.

However, we in the progressive movement are also investing in our youth. Despite not having as much money as oil tycoons, key players in the progressive movement understand the power of youth and are fighting back with a long-term progressive infrastructure. Programs like Young People For (YP4) of People For the American Way Foundation provide young progressive leaders the tools to create systemic change, roll back conservative advances, reclaim our democracy, and fight for justice.

By teaching young adults to identify key issues in their communities, create concrete action plans, and mobilize others through organizing and advocacy, YP4 helps Millennial change-makers build power to win on progressive issues. For example, through our program’s Money in Elections campaign, young activists have held rallies, gathered petitions, protested banks, and spoken at national events in support of reclaiming our democracy. Ariel Boone, a 2009 YP4 Fellow, lead a successful campaign urging the University of California at Berkeley to divest $3.5 million out of Bank of America and reinvest these funds in a local bank that contributes millions to the surrounding community. Last year 2013 Fellow Brendien Mitchell spoke alongside Senator Bernie Sanders and other pro-democracy movement leaders at a rally to get big money out of politics on the steps of the Supreme Court. These are but a couple examples of how YP4 is supporting young people in taking a stand against corporate influence in our political system.

As YP4 enters its tenth year, we continue to recognize that to build a movement, you need to think long-term. From recruiting youth from marginalized communities into our Fellowship program, to assisting them in getting more voters to the polls through our voter engagement programs, to training them to run successful campaigns through our Front Line Leaders Academy, we support youth every step of the way of their leadership journey.

Often in conversations about politics and civic participation, young adults are afterthoughts, considered an “apathetic” audience that doesn’t vote. But Millennials are far more engaged than given credit for. In fact, today’s young adults are anything but disengaged. Despite being the first generation to be economically worse-off than their parents through no fault of our own, Millennials are far more likely to do community service than older generations. About half of us vote, and we currently account for over 20 percent of the voting-eligible population in the US – and that number is growing as more of us turn 18. We must constantly overcome conservatives’ best attempts to keep us from the polls, efforts which in themselves show how much power we hold over the political process – no one would try to disenfranchise us if we didn’t matter. And last but certainly not least, we are the most diverse and progressive generation in recent history.

Ironically, two individuals who spend enormous amounts of money to influence the civic lives of young adults represent political leanings at odds with much of the Millennial generation’s values. The Koch brothers singlehandedly influence the US political arena more than almost anyone else thanks to their nearly limitless pool of oil money. They are two of the most radical and influential right-wing leaders today who are attempting to abolish the minimum wage, get rid of Social Security, defund the Affordable Care Act, equate money with speech, and lead the transformation of American democracy into an oligarchy.  As shown in the Center for Public Integrity report, in 2012 they gave nearly $13 million in tax-deductible donations to higher education institutions, including many that are often considered “liberal,” to promote their ideologies.

These contributions show that conservative leaders do understand the power of youth and the return they get from investing in youth leadership development opportunities. By shelling millions into programs for young conservatives since the 1970s and focusing on long-term capacity building rather than just mobilization during elections, conservatives see the fruits of their labor in congressional dysfunction and the weakening of our democratic processes.

But programs like YP4 are doing the work to turn this tide by developing young progressive leaders. As Andrew Gillum, Director of Youth Leadership Programs at People For the American Way Foundation, wrote earlier this year: “Investing in progressive young people is the key to ensuring our movement’s capacity to create and sustain social change for years to come.”

Creating change is hard and takes time, especially when up against big money like that of the Koch Brothers. But by investing in young people, the progressive movement can make a real difference in both the short and long terms. We simply cannot afford to not invest in youth.

PFAW Foundation

Fischer Thinks Bill Clinton Might Be Trying To Sabotage Hillary's Presidential Campaign

As we have noted before, Bryan Fischer seems to inhabit some bizarre parallel dimension in which innocuous episodes take on a profound significance that only he can understand.

Take, for example, Fischer's response yesterday to Bill Clinton's statement last week that it took Hillary Clinton six months to fully recover from the concussion she suffered in 2012. He was discussing the initial claims that the former Secretary of State had "faked" her concussion in order to avoid testifying about Benghazi, but Fischer spun that off into a wild theory about how the former president was trying to sabotage his wife's possible presidential run because "he doesn't want to share the limelight" and "maybe he doesn't want the media tracking his every move, for reasons I think are obvious to you and me":

LGBT Equality Pioneer Harvey Milk Memorialized with New Stamp

Though the right-wing has long tried to rewrite Milk's legacy, it's clear that today is a day to celebrate how far the LGBT equality movement has come and to recognize the work that remains.
PFAW Foundation

BarbWire Contributor Says 'Homosexual Leaders Are The Most Vile, Vicious, And Vitriolic People In The World'

We have to admit that the launch of Matt Barber's "BarbWire" website has been a real boon to our blogging efforts as its mission seems to be to scour the internet in an effort to find the most virulently anti-gay pieces it can and then publish them all in the same place, thereby saving us a lot of work and giving us a constant source of content.

Case in point is today's piece by Don Boys laying out his disgust over Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend upon being drafted by the St. Louis Rams, which features a modified version of Peter LaBarbera's censored image with the word "sin" placed over the kiss that is labeled as "grosssamsinkiss.jpg":

Boys calls for boycott of both ESPN and the NFL while attacking "homosexual leaders" as "the most vile, vicious, and vitriolic people in the world" and lamenting that nobody is allowed to use words like "sodomite" and "pervert" anymore while talking about how gays engage in "fisting" and "rimming":

I would be outraged if my children or grandchildren had seen that depravity. Even if one’s sexual activities are private in the bedroom, they should not be public on national television. However, they seem not to be interested in keeping them private. When will normal people start making such hypocrites pay for their deception? No decent person should watch ESPN again. In the interest of higher ratings or, conversely, in the interest in promoting perversion, the network has earned the disdain, distrust, and disgust of the American people. STOP is suggesting that anyone with a modicum of decency stop watching ESPN and NFL games.

Sam declared on a network television show, “I have gotten messages from college and NFL players and other athletes … about how courageous I was.” Oh, yes. Those fleeing the closet are always “courageous,” “brave,” “historic,” but never narcissistic, fame seekers, or manipulative. The fascists at the Homosexual Lobby are thrilled that Sam has strolled out of the closet in support of their twisted, tangled, tawdry agenda. The homosexual leaders are the most vile, vicious, and vitriolic people in the world. However, they label as haters and bigots those of us who disagree with them, criticize them, and declare that homosexuality is wrong, has always been wrong and will always be wrong and no President, Supreme Court or Legislature can change that fact.

President Obama even magnified the gross actions by gushing, “From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove every day that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are.” I certainly agree with that but no one wants to discuss what homosexuals do! They don’t just lock lips, hold hands, and bake cookies. Want to discuss “fisting”? No, no, not that. Too gross. How about “rimming”? No, not that, for sure. Well, how about “water sports”? No, better not. So, we are not to make a judgment based on what they do. The whole bunch are sanctimonious hypocrites.

We have witnessed in a stunning short time the normalization of sodomy in America. It is strange that homosexuals can do, say and advocate almost anything, no matter how crude or lewd and when a normal person disagrees, he is plummeted into submission. Whatever happened to the right to discuss, debate, and disagree over an issue in a civil matter? Furthermore, the use of good, time-honored words such as “sodomite,” “pervert,” and “deviant” are not uncivil, unkind, or untrue.

...

Michael Sam was wrong. Homosexuality is abnormal, aberrational, and afflictive and I love him enough to tell him the truth: homosexual behavior is disgraceful, dangerous and deadly. However, his supporters are greasing the skids for him as he slides further into a life of shame, sordidness and, yes, sin.And sin has repercussions!

Sam has also brought additional stigma upon a profession already known for its druggies, thugs, rapists, and killers. And now, his new team mates have to decide: to shower or not to shower.

Marriage Equality Now Law in 19 States, Only 2 Bans Remain Unchallenged

On Monday Oregon became the 18th state added to the win column when Judge Michael McShane struck down its ban on marriage for same-sex couples. Then on Tuesday Judge John Jones issued a similar ruling in Pennsylvania, followed Wednesday by the news that Governor Tom Corbett won't appeal – make that 19! Wednesday also brought the filing of a marriage equality lawsuit in Montana.
PFAW Foundation

Jacobs: God Is Getting Ready To Expose Corruption In The State Of Maryland

"Respected prophet" Cindy Jacobs preached at Rock City Church in Baltimore over the weekend where God used her to deliver a prophetic message that the state of Maryland has "crossed the line" and so God is now going to expose corruption within the state government.

"And the Lord says I am getting ready to begin to do my own exposé, says God," proclaimed Jacobs. "I'm going to begin to uncover in different layers of the government some money laundering. I'm getting ready to expose corruption. I'm getting ready to do my own exposé."

"And the Lord says," Jacobs continued, "I am coming to put the fear of the Lord into Maryland":

Pennsylvania Marriage Ban Struck Down

Another day, another discriminatory ban struck down. Today a federal judge ruled in Whitewood v. Wolf that Pennsylvania’s 1996 ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. This victory for marriage equality follows closely on the heels of the striking of Oregon’s ban only yesterday and makes Pennsylvania the 19th state allowing same-sex couples to marry.

Congratulate Pennsylvanians by sharing our graphic below:

PFAW Foundation

Glenn Beck Lashes Out At Those Attacking Liberty U For Allowing Him To Speak

Last month, Glenn Beck was invited to deliver a Convocation message at Liberty University where, in addition to delivering a prophetic message that God was coming to settle scores, he also preached Mormon theology, which did not sit well with certain Religious Right activists, such as Janet Mefferd.

On his radio broadcast today, Beck lashed out at "people who claim to be followers of Christ" in "the so-called Christian Right" who are attacking Liberty U for allowing him to speak, saying that they are progressives and "there is no difference between you and the people who are trying to run other people out of the square."

"You think you're standing for something," Beck said, "when indeed you're standing for hate and bigotry":

PFAW Foundation Releases Report on McCutcheon’s Impact on Campaign Spending in Eight States

Decision Could Balloon Spending In State Elections

WASHINGTON – Campaign spending in states with aggregate contribution limits will likely soon balloon in the wake of the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon v. FEC decision, according to a new report by People For the American Way Foundation.

The report analyzes the anticipated state impacts of the high court striking down limits on the total amount a donor can give directly to candidates, parties, and committees at the federal level in the McCutcheon ruling. It forecasts a spending explosion in states whose aggregate limits on contributions to state candidates will soon be challenged or nullified in light of the decision. Among other data, the report finds:

•        In New York, the current limit is $300,000 per two years. We estimate big donors will now be able to contribute $2,531,600 per election cycle, more than eight times the previous limit.

•        In Maryland, the current limit is $10,000 per four-year election cycle. We estimate big donors will now be able to contribute $768,000 per four-year election cycle. This is a greater than 76-fold increase.

The states analyzed in the report are Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

“The McCutcheon decision didn’t only undercut our federal campaign finance laws, it has ramifications for states across the country,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way Foundation. “Allowing wealthy donors to put exponentially more money into state elections tilts the playing field even more starkly in their favor and strikes at the very foundation of our democracy.”

The report is available here: http://www.pfaw.org/media-center/publications/how-supreme-courts-mccutcheon-decision-could-balloon-spending-state-electi

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Janet Mefferd Praises Matt Barber For Getting Christian Publisher Booted From NRB

When HGTV cancelled the planned reality show featuring David and Jason Benham after we wrote a post exposing their anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-Islam activism, right-wing radio host Janet Mefferd was absolutely furious, calling us a "nasty, vicious, Christian-hating hack site" that lied about the Benhams and "needs to be sued for libel, defamation."

While Mefferd was fuming that our post was just the latest example of the "out-of-control power of the LGBT agenda to smear and marginalize decent Christians and force them out of their jobs," Matt Barber was engaged in a campaign (with the support of Mefferd, no less) against the Christian publishing company WaterBrook Multnomah over a book entitled "God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships" by Matthew Vines that was published by a sister imprint.

As we noted last week, as a result of this book, Waterbrook Multnomah has now been forced to resign from the National Religious Broadcasters and so, of course, Mefferd had Barber on her radio show yesterday where she congratulated him on his success:

Mefferd: I'm going to go a little off the reservation for a second here and congratulate you because, last week, the National Religious Broadcasters decided that it would pressure Waterbrook Multnomah to put up or leave the organization over this issue of "God and the Gay Christian" and they ended up resigning from the NRB and I give you credit because you broke that story.

Barber: Well thanks Janet and that is good news. And I'm glad that Waterbrook Multnomah at least is stepping back. At least they've done what they needed to do here and they resigned from an organization that recognizes Biblical truth and intends to remain faithful to Biblical truth. And since Waterbrook Multnomah has kind of, you talked about going off the reservation, since they've gone completely off the Biblical reservation on the issue of sexual morality, it's good that they're at least stepping out and they can be a liberal, pro-homosexual, pseudo-Christian organization to their hearts content.

Mefferd: Yep, that's right. So anyway, you were the man so I wanted to give you the credit for having a big impact. That was awesome.

To recap: when Barber broke a story that ended up getting Waterbrook Multnomah forced out of the NRB for being too pro-gay, "that was awesome" ... but when we broke a story that resulted in two anti-gay activists losing their television show, that was part of a "nasty, vicious" agenda that seeks to destroy anyone who dares to disagree.

Oregon Marriage Ban Struck Down

More good news from the fight for marriage equality: today a federal judge struck down Oregon’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples.

If you are feeling a sense of deja-vu, it’s understandable – the Washington Blade notes that this ruling is the “13th straight win for gay nuptials in the federal courts” in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision last year, which struck down a key section of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act [emphasis added].

Given that decision, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum declined to defend the state ban, and the judge did not allow the right-wing National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to defend it. Earlier today NOM lashed out at the case, calling it “an ugly example of inappropriate cooperation between the Attorney General and the gay marriage lobby.”

Judge Michael McShane wrote:

It is at times difficult to see past the shrillness of the debate. Accusations of religious bigotry and banners reading "God Hates Fags" make for a messy democracy and, at times, test the First Amendment resolve of both sides. At the core of the Equal Protection Clause, however, there exists a foundational belief that certain rights should be shielded from the barking crowds; that certain rights are subject to ownership by all and not the stake hold of popular trend or shifting majorities.

As the Right continues to fight a losing battle to prevent loving couples from accessing the protections they need to take care of each other, we’ll keep fighting for nationwide equality.
 

PFAW Foundation

Six Decades Later, Still Fighting for Equality in Schools

The following is a guest post from the Reverend Dr. Merchuria Chase Williams, a former school teacher and a member of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council.

Last month, sixty years after the Supreme Court threw out the toxic doctrine of “separate but equal,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked us to keep our “eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination.” She pointed out that in law and in daily life, race still matters deeply and cannot “be wished away.”

Justice Sotomayor wrote those words in a dissent to the Schuette decision that upheld Michigan’s state constitutional ban on race-based affirmative action, six decades after the famous Brown v. Board of Education ruling that said schools may not be segregated by race. It’s no coincidence that both of these decisions were about education. If anything proves that race still matters in America, it’s our public schools.

While the 1954 Brown decision brought badly needed change and helped invigorate a nationwide civil rights movement, glaring racial inequalities persist to this day – and nowhere are they more evident than in the classroom. In recent years, school segregation has actually gotten worse rather than better. On average, a black student today goes to a school where 29 percent of her fellow students are white – a percentage that has dropped seven points since 1980. Students of color are less likely to have access to a broad range of math and science courses and are more likely to be suspended than their white peers. And according to the Center for American Progress, on average American schools spend hundreds less on each student of color than they do on each white student.

While we may no longer be legally separate, educational opportunities and conditions for our nation’s students are far from equal.

Despite these gaps, big funders on the Right continue to pour money into efforts to privatize the education system rather than strengthen the public education system that the vast majority of our nation’s children use. The Walton Family Foundation, created by the family that established Walmart, has pumped millions into efforts to expand private school vouchers, undermining the public schools that are, in education advocate Diane Ravitch’s words, “the heart of most communities.”

Those of us who have been working for many years to improve the education system in Atlanta and across the country know that we need to support and strengthen public education, not undercut it. We need to work to address ongoing education inequalities for students of different backgrounds, not pretend that race simply doesn’t matter or that racial inequalities do not exist. Let’s use the anniversary of this landmark decision to recommit ourselves to building an education system that truly provides equal opportunities to all of our nation’s children.

Today’s Supreme Court majority may not get it, but the millions of children failed by our school system do.
 

PFAW Foundation

Understanding The Benham Family's Expression Of Love

On Friday, Alan Colmes interviewed David and Jason Benham about the on-going controversy over the cancellation of their HGTV program due to their anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-Islam activism.

For the last two weeks, the Benham brothers have been complaining that they were the victims of a "smear campaign" build on "complete lies" and when Colmes finally asked David to explain just how they had been lied about, David asserted that "Right Wing Watch published the fact that we said 'God hates Muslims,' that is a complete and total lie."

Ironically, the only lie here is from David, as we never asserted that he or Jason said that "God hates Muslims." What we did explain in our post was that their father, Flip, had organized protests outside of mosques where protesters screamed "Jesus hates Muslims."

Later in the interview, Colmes pointed out to David that we were talking about the protests organized by his father and never attributed that statement to him or to Jason, but David still asserted that it was untrue because "my dad would never say 'God hates Muslims'":

We find that a little hard to believe since Flip Benham is notorious for his anti-Islam protests, such as this one where he stood outside of a mosque with a PA system in order to inform the Muslims in attendance that he had come "not to dialogue with you [but] to slay your false god":

Perhaps it was from watching their father express his "love" for Muslims that David and Jason learned how to express their "love" for gays.

Porter: Jason Collins' Homosexuality Is 'Very Dangerous ... To Our Freedoms'

Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter was the guest on Gordon Klingenschmitt's "Pray In Jesus Name" program today where the two spent most of the discussion railing against the gay fascist thought police who are out to destroy any Christian that is willing to stand and proclaim their faith.

Somehow during the conversation, Porter and Klingenschmitt ended up talking about gay NBA player Jason Collins, whom Porter asserted proves that nobody is born gay because Collins has an identical twin brother who is straight and so Collins' "choice" to be gay, she asserted, represents a dire threat to the freedom of Christians in America.

"Quite honestly," Porter said, "he makes the case that you're not born that way. This is a choice he's made and it is a choice that is very dangerous physically and it's very dangerous, as we see, to our freedoms in the nation."

Klingenschmitt readily agreed, declaring that Jason is "demon possessed" which opens him up to being "addicted to all kinds of sin":

Larry Klayman Says A Revolution Is Needed To Stop Hillary Clinton From Winning The Presidency And Destroying America

While very few people showed up last year for Larry Klayman’s rally to overthrow President Obama, the conservative activist said Friday that a “Second American Revolution” is needed to stop Hillary Clinton from winning the 2016 presidential election.

If Clinton wins, Klayman writes, she will “usher in the death knell of the United States of America” and “subjugate the American people to political slavery.”

Conservatives – and I am one with a large libertarian streak as well – are prone to see doom around every corner. But the present state of the nation is such that one cannot over-exaggerate the peril America now finds itself in – for on the horizon looms the now odds-on favorite to be our next president, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The possible election of the female partner of the Bonnie and Clyde duo of Bill and Hillary Clinton would usher in the death knell of the United States of America. Having fought the Clintons tooth and nail during the 1990s, and having pursued them for their commission of a host of crimes, ranging from Whitewater, to China-gate, to Travel-gate, and Monica Lewinsky-gate to name just a few of the 40 or so of their misdeeds, I speak from experience.



Coming after the failed presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Hussein Obama, a second “Clinton presidency” would be disastrous, not just because they would resume their practice of selling off anything of value for their political expediency – as they did with the Communist Chinese, with pardons, Commerce Department trade missions seats, overnight stays in the White House’s Lincoln Bedroom, judgeships, commissionerships, Cabinet secretary spots and anything else under their control – but because they have no moral compass. For the Clintons, and Bill would undoubtedly be right there at Hillary’s side, anything goes to further their hubris and hungry thirst for power. And, while they are not black Muslim-sympathizers like Obama and his racist comrades, Hillary has a documented certifiable history of taking money from Islamic interests, not just the Communist Chinese. In effect, the entire country would be put up for sale at a Bonnie and Clyde auction to further subjugate the American people to political slavery under their rule.

Yes, by the standards of yesteryear, Richard Nixon is not a crook, and whatever his shortcomings, Tricky Dick at least was not a traitor. Hillary Clinton, following the lead of her corrupt predecessors and her own felonious history and continuing modus operandi (and Benghazi is just one recent example during her tenure as Obama’s secretary of state), would make Nixon look like a saint.

All of this is why We the People must wage our Second American Revolution now, before it is too late, to free the nation and ourselves of the scourge of the likes of the Obamas and Clintons. If we do not do it now, then all is likely to be lost.

Once Again, Glenn Beck Falsely Claims Our Founding Documents Came Out Of The Book Of Deuteronomy

The most infuriating thing about watching Glenn Beck's radio and television programs for four hours every day is listening to him constantly assert that The Blaze "is the only network dedicated to the truth" while he personally spews lies and misinformation over its airwaves day after day.

The worst part is that Beck constantly repeats lies on the air well after his claims have been debunked, as he did on Friday when he falsely asserted once again that  "thirty percent of everything in our founding documents comes from one book, the Book of Deuteronomy":

As Chris Rodda explained back in 2010 when David Barton first made this claim on Beck's program, this false statement is based on a 1984 study by a University of Houston professor who found that, among the documents published during the founding era, the Bible was the most frequently cited source, but that was largely because "most of these citations come from sermons reprinted as pamphlets; hundreds of sermons were reprinted during the era, amounting to at least 10% of all pamphlets published."

As Barton said back in 2010, 34% of the identifiable quotes from the thousands of document that were published during the founding era came from the Bible and Deuteronomy was the most frequently cited book among those quotes.

But Beck utterly misrepresents this time and again in order to claim that a one-third of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence came directly out of the Book of Deuteronomy.

It is entirely untrue, but Beck continues to repeat it over and over again while simultaneously portraying himself as a paragon of truth, honesty, and integrity.

In fact, later in this very same segment, Beck vowed to "always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday."

Apparently, that vow does not apply during the hours when he is broadcasting.

Right Wing Leftovers - 5/16/14

  • Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief in Michigan’s marriage equality case, insisting that “it would be rational for the voters of Michigan to seek to minimize the deleterious effects” of “homosexual activity.”
  • The editor of Matt Barber’s website shows his “overwhelming love” for gay people by explaining that homosexuality “is destroying your life.”

No, SunTrust Did Not Drop The Benham Brothers Over Their Anti-Gay Views

Earlier today, The Daily Caller published an article claiming that SunTrust Bank had cut ties with David and Jason Benham's real estate company over their anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-Islam activism, with the Benhams asserting that this was the latest development in the on-going effort to "silence" them:

First they lost their television show. Now the Benham brothers say they are losing their business.

SunTrust Banks is cutting ties with would-be reality stars David and Jason Benham after liberal activists attacked them for their conservative views on abortion and gay marriage, The Daily Caller has learned.

In a statement provided first to TheDC on Friday, the Benham brothers confirmed that SunTrust Banks has pulled all of its listed properties with the Benham brothers’ bank-owned property business, which includes several franchisees across four states.

The move comes just a week after HGTV announced it was canceling a planned home renovation show hosted by the brothers.

“If our faith costs us our HGTV show and our business, then so be it,” said Jason Benham on Friday.

“We were caught off-guard with this one,” David Benham said of SunTrust’s actions. “Keeping us off television wasn’t enough, now this agenda to silence wants us out of the marketplace.”

The Benhams, in their statement, said the news came “without warning or explanation from SunTrust and took place over a 15 minute period” on Thursday. The Brothers said they have had a “mutually productive working relationship with SunTrust for many years” and hold a ”preferred broker” status with the bank.

The brothers said they contacted SunTrust, but bank employees declined to explain the reasoning for what happened.

Reached for comment by TheDC on Friday, SunTrust corporate spokesman Mike McCoy would not say whether the Benhams’ political views impacted their decision.

“We continuously review our supplier relationships and changes to the list of companies we rely on for services is a natural part of our business, however we do not publicly comment on specific vender relationships,” McCoy told TheDC.

In their statement, the Benhams said they “recognize SunTrust’s right to hire or fire any real estate broker they choose but do not support the decision” to fire independent franchisees that are associated with them. Many of these franchisees, they said, “do not hold the same beliefs” they do.

“As Americans we find ourselves at a crossroads and are forced with a decision to either stand up or sit down,” David Benham said. “Evidently, SunTrust’s longstanding commitment to diversity must not include our historic Christian values.”

You will notice that, in the article, SunTrust refused to comment on the reasoning behind the decision, noting simply that it routinely changes the companies with which it works as part of its standard business practices.

That, of course, merely allowed the Benhams to spin this decision as evidence of their never-ending persecution, resulting in the slanted Daily Caller article that presented their claims as fact.

In response, SunTrust has now issued a statement of its own, clarifying that the Daily Caller article "is inaccurate" and that the decision at issue was made by a third party vendor:

SunTrust supports the rights of all Americans to fully exercise their freedoms granted under the Constitution, including those with respect to free speech and freedom of religion.

Mid-2013, we consolidated the management of certain residential assets with a third party vendor, which has the relationship with Benham.  While we do not publicly comment on specific vendor relationships, we don’t make choices on suppliers nor base business decisions on political factors, nor do we direct our third party vendors to do so.

The characterization in the media with respect to this matter is inaccurate.   We are contacting our third party supplier who works with Benham to clarify our policies.

Christian Publisher Booted From NRB For Publishing Pro-Gay Book

When we wrote a post last week highlighting the anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-Islam activism of David and Jason Benham, it felt like the entire Religious Right movement began screaming that we were jackbooted Nazi fascist thugs who were out to silence and destroy anyone with whom we disagreed after HGTV announced that it was not going to move forward with the Benham brothers' reality show.

The basic gist of the storm of criticism was that liberals and gay activists have no tolerance for those with whom they disagree and will stop at nothing to silence those who hold opposing views.

At the same time that this was going on, another controversy was unfolding as various Religious Right activists were in the middle of an effort, started by Matt Barber, to pressure a Christian publishing house to back away from a book entitled "God and the Gay Christian:The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships" by Matthew Vines.

Vines' book, which seeks to refute the anti-gay narrative promoted by the Religious Right, was published by an imprint of the Christian publishing company WaterBrook Multnomah and that was totally unacceptable to anti-gay activists who have relentlessly attacked the publisher over the last few weeks.

WaterBrook Multnomah has, so far, refused to recall Vines' book and, as a result, the company has been forced to resign from the National Religious Broadcasters:

A leading Christian book publisher has resigned its membership in the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) after a dispute over God and the Gay Christian, a new book published by an affiliated imprint.

In a letter to board members, NRB president and CEO Jerry Johnson said that employees of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, the evangelical division of Penguin Random House, worked on the book. The book, which argues that same-gender sex is not sinful, was published by Convergent Books, a 16-month-old Penguin Random House line that describes itself as "publishing books for progressive and mainline Christians who demand an open, inclusive, and culturally engaged exploration of faith."

"Unfortunately, while the Multnomah Publishing Group is separate from Convergent, as a legal and business entity, the staff of the Multnomah and Convergent operations are substantially the same," Johnson wrote. "Most notably, Steven W. Cobb serves as the chief publishing executive for both groups. … Other Christian workers do so as well. … This issue comes down to NRB members producing unbiblical material, regardless of the label under which they do it."

Cobb also oversees Image, Penguin Random House's Roman Catholic imprint that falls under the Crown Publishing Group division with WaterBrook Multnomah and Convergent. The Christian divisions are located in the same Colorado Springs offices. Crown and Penguin Random House are based in New York City.

"I asked them to reconsider and end the practice of having Christian workers from their publishing house work on Convergent projects," Johnson wrote. "They declined to do so at this time and asked how we would respond. I told them that if they wanted to remain NRB associate members, I would have to refer the matter to our Ethics Committee for review, or they could agree to resign their membership. They agreed to resign immediately."

Just something to keep in mind the next time the Religious Right screams that liberals have no tolerance for people that hold differing views and will stop at nothing to punish and silence them.

Glenn Beck Has 'The Smartest Audience ... Ever In Television'

Over the last several weeks, Glenn Beck's studio in Texas has been undergoing renovations all while Beck continues his personal transformation into the self-proclaimed prophet of a doomsday cult, which has resulted in more and more of his nightly television program featuring conversations about God while consisting of footage shot during his morning staff meetings, most of which amounts to little more than the staff discussing the same topics that Beck and his co-hosts discussed on the radio show earlier in the day.

Apparently, this new God-focused and largely redundant format is not sitting particularly well with a number of Blaze subscribers who have been writing to the network wanting to know just what is going on, resulting in Beck dedicating the opening of his show last night to addressing the criticisms that have been flooding in from viewers.

In typically cryptic Beck fashion, he explained to his viewers that both he and his network are undergoing massive renovations at the moment because God has huge miracles in store for them both. Unfortunately, God has not given Beck permission to talk about them just quite yet "but that's not crazy," he assured his audience.

But Beck knows that he doesn't necessarily need to explain every little thing to them, he told the viewers, because his audience is "the smartest audience ... ever in television."

Beck said that he knows that his audience will stand by him during this time of upheaval because his network is the only one "dedicated to the truth and changing the culture," which is why it has come under attack from "principalities that do not want us to succeed," by which he means demonic forces:

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