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Garlow: Obama's Support For Gay Marriage 'Tip[ped] The Scales In A Destructive Direction'

Jim Garlow was on AFA's "Today's Issues" program yesterday to discuss his recent statement that President Obama's will be known by future generations as the person responsible for "morally and economically destroying a wonderful experiment called America."

Garlow reiterated this belief while speaking with the AFA's Tim Wildmon as he asserted that Obama's support for marriage equality in 2012 "tip[ped] the scales in a destructive direction" and thus "future sociologists will be able to outline the incredible destructive force of the dissolution of marriage" as having accelerated as a result of Obama's contribution "towards an already destabilized family unit":

Beck: Bergdahl Release Just A Ploy By Obama ''To Get Everybody To Stop Talking About The VA'

When former CIA Director David Petraeus resigned from office back in 2012 following revelations that he had engaged in an extramarital affair, Glenn Beck knew that the entire thing had been orchestrated in order to discredit the military and distract from coverage of the attack on Benghazi.

Last year, when allegations broke that the IRS had inappropriately targeted conservative political organizations and that the Department of Justice had obtained phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors, Beck was positive that those were also attempts to draw attention away from Benghazi.

On his radio broadcast today, Beck switched things up a bit when it came to discussing the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl as he declared not that it was an effort to distract from Benghazi, but rather an effort by President Obama to distract the media from the VA scandal.

Obama "was starting to look very, very weak because of the VA," Beck said, and so "the only reason why this happened is because the President is trying to get the VA off of the front page of the newspapers. That's all he's doing. He's just trying to get everybody to stop talking about the VA":

Klingenschmitt: A Demonic Spirit Caused The Judge In PA Marriage Ruling To 'Conspire Against God'

On today's "Pray In Jesus Name" program, Gordon Klingenschmitt reacted to last month's ruling striking down Pennsylvania's ban on gay marriage by declaring that the judge who issued the ruling was controlled by a demonic spirit that led him to "conspire against God."

As Klingenschmitt explained, whenever people "invite the Devil to rule our hearts," it results in "a demonic spirit of sexual immorality" manifesting itself through their sinful behavior.  And that is exactly what happened with "tyrant"  Judge John Jones III, who, driven by a "demonic spirit of pride," sought to "conspire against God" by tossing Jesus and the Bible on the ash heap of history with his marriage ruling.

But Klingenschmitt has a message for Jones: "Judge and Satan, you will end up on the ash heap of history and not Jesus and the Bible."

Still In Store from the Supreme Court in 2014

There is about a month remaining before the end of the Supreme Court’s current term, which is expected to be at the end of June.  The Roberts Court has already done great damage in the cases it has decided so far.  The far-right’s ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC drove another dagger into the heart of our democracy by empowering the wealthiest and most powerful among us to exercise even more control over our election.  Town of Greece v. Galloway continued the arch-conservatives’ goal to undermine the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state.

But there are many important cases remaining to be decided over the next several weeks.  Depending on how the Court rules, the entrenched power imbalance already harming our democracy could be significantly worsened.

Recess appointments and sabotage of the executive branch:  NLRB v. Noel Canning.

This case has the potential of completely remaking the president’s recess appointment authority from how it has been understood and exercised since the 1800s.  The recess appointment power has long been used by presidents of both parties during all kinds of recesses, not just those occurring annually between sessions of Congress.  And it has always been used to fill vacancies regardless of when those vacancies first became open.  But that may soon change.

It’s important to note that this case arose out of far-right conservatives’ efforts to nullify laws they don’t agree with.  In this case, the laws in their crosshairs were those protecting workers, which they sought to undermine by preventing the National Labor Relations Board from having enough members to conduct business.  Specifically, Republicans blocked the Senate from holding confirmation votes on President Obama’s  nominees to the NLRB, finally provoking him to make recess appointments in January of 2012.  This was during a vacation period when the Senate was meeting for pro forma sessions for a few minutes every few days, a practice that came about for the specific purpose of preventing recess appointments.

The Supreme Court has been asked to answer several questions:  (1) Can a recess appointment be made only during the recess between two sessions of Congress (which occurs once a year and can last only a split second), or can it be made during any recess?  (2)  Can the Senate use pro forma sessions to turn what would otherwise be a recess into a non-recess, thereby preventing recess appointments?  (3)  Is a recess appointment limited to those vacancies that first became open during the same recess during which the appointment is made?

Attacks on public sector unions:  Harris v. Quinn.

This case is about home care personal assistants (PAs) in Illinois, who provide in-home care under two of its Medicaid programs to people with disabilities and other health needs.  But it has the potential, should the Roberts Court wish, to deliver a crippling blow to public sector unions nationwide.

Illinois PAs are classified as state employees for the purposes of collective bargaining and work under a common “agency shop” agreement:  If the employees in a particular group choose to have a union represent them, the government employer recognizes that union as their exclusive representative.  When the union carries out its collective bargaining functions, it does so on behalf of all the employees, regardless of whether they actually join the union.  Members pay dues to support this activity on their behalf.  To prevent “free riding,” the law requires non-union members to pay their fair share to support the basic collective bargaining activities being done on their behalf, but not to support non-collective bargaining activities such as political campaigning with which they might disagree.

The Supreme Court has long recognized that such arrangements for public employees are consistent with the First Amendment, dating back to a 1977 case called Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.  But that precedent is threatened in this case as petitioners – backed by the anti-worker National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation – call for the Roberts Court to overrule Abood.  According to the PAs who brought this case, the arrangement violates their First Amendment freedom to choose with whom to associate.  They also claim that exclusive representation violates their right to petition the government on matters of public policy, since the subject of their negotiations is the functioning and budgets of state Medicaid programs.

As Justice Kagan noted during oral arguments, this “would radically restructure the way workplaces across this country are run,” imposing so-called “right to work” regimes on all public employment throughout the United States.  In so doing, it would substantially drain the coffers of public sector unions, which has been a longtime political goal of conservative extremists.

Unfortunately, the far-right Justices on the Roberts Court have already demonstrated their eagerness to join in the political attack on workers.  Two years ago, in Knox v. SEIU (another case involving public sector unions), they severely undercut another longtime precedent that had enabled public sector unions to protect workers’ rights by deciding an issue that wasn’t before them, ruling against the union on an issue that it had not even had a chance to argue.  As Justice Sotomayor pointed out in her dissent, the majority was acting in violation of the Court’s own rules to achieve this result.  Whether they will show a similar eagerness to undercut public sector unions remains to be seen.

Corporate religious liberty rights:  Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.

These cases have the potential to give religious liberty rights to for-profit corporations, and to empower their owners and managers to ignore laws on health insurance coverage, employment discrimination, and other areas based on their religious beliefs.

Under the Affordable Care Act and HHS guidelines, employers generally have to provide certain preventive health services, including FDA-approved contraception, to women employees.  The cases challenging this requirement involve several companies and their owners.  Conestoga Wood is a for-profit corporation with 950 employees, owned by members of the Hahn family.  Hobby Lobby is an arts and crafts chain store with over 500 stores and about 13,000 full-time employees, owned by members of the Green family.  The Greens also own a corporation called Mardel, a chain of 35 for-profit Christian bookstores with about 400 employees.

The Greens and the Hahns have religious-based opposition to the use of some of the contraceptives covered by the law.  They claim that the law violates not only their own religious freedom, but also the religious freedom of the large for-profit corporations they run.  The primary law at issue in the cases is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), enacted in 1993.  Under RFRA, a federal law cannot “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” unless it advances a compelling government interest in the least restrictive manner.

A key question for the Justices is whether a for-profit corporation is a “person” covered by RFRA.  Unsurprisingly, before this litigation, no court had ever found that for-profit corporations have religious liberty interests either under RFRA or under the First Amendment.  Yet a divided Tenth Circuit ruled for Hobby Lobby: They concluded that since corporations have First Amendment political speech rights under Citizens United, it follows that they also have First Amendment religious rights, and that RFRA should be interpreted to include them as “persons.”  As PFAW Foundation Senior Fellow Jamie Raskin has written, “the outlandish claims of the company involved would not have a prayer except for Citizens United, the miracle gift of 2010 that just keeps giving.”

The next question is whether the coverage requirement is a substantial burden on the families’ (and possibly corporations’) exercise of religion, even though they are not forced to use or administer the contraception, or to affirm that they have no religious objection to it.  Since the ones providing the health insurance are the corporations and not the individual owners, a ruling in favor of the owners would have implications for a concept basic to American law: that a corporation is a legally separate entity from its owners.

If the Justices find a substantial burden on the corporations or their owners, then they will determine if the government interest (furthering women’s health and equality) is a compelling one, and if the coverage provision advances that interest in the least restrictive manner.

While a victory for either the corporations or their owners would directly harm women’s health, it could also open the door to employers being able to exempt themselves from other laws that they have religious objections to, such as anti-discrimination protections.

Women’s Access to Reproductive Health Clinics:  McCullen v. Coakley.

The Court is being asked to overrule a 2000 precedent upholding buffer zones around reproductive health clinics.  The current case involves a Massachusetts law that creates a 35-foot buffer zone around such clinics (with exceptions for employees, patients and others with business there, and people passing through on their way somewhere else).  Anti-choice advocates claim this violates their freedom of speech because it restricts only people with a particular viewpoint.

The lower courts disagreed, citing the 2000 case of Hill v. Colorado, where the Supreme Court upheld a buffer zone making it illegal to approach within eight feet of people at clinics for the purpose of counseling, education, or protesting.  (This applied anywhere within 100 feet of the clinic.)  That 6-3 decision analyzed the law as a content-neutral regulation of speech that was reasonable in light of the importance of protecting unwilling people’s right to avoid unwanted conversations and their right to pass without obstruction.  However, two of the conservative Justices in the 6-3 majority have been replaced by far more conservative Bush nominees:  Rehnquist (by Roberts) and O’Connor (by Alito).  Since Justices Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas dissented in the 2000 case, there may very well be five votes to not only strike down the Massachusetts buffer zone but also to overrule Hill completely.

As noted in an amicus brief that PFAW Foundation joined, the Massachusetts law applies to people regardless of the content of their speech and is a content-neutral way to ensure that women can enter the clinics to exercise their constitutional rights.  The law does not prevent abortion opponents from approaching women who are more than 35 feet from the clinic entrance (as opposed to the Colorado law, which prohibited unwanted close contact anywhere within 100 feet of the clinic). And the record in this case shows that anti-choice advocates have consistently been able to distribute literature to individuals approaching clinics, as well as to have quiet conversations with them.

Nevertheless, many felt after oral arguments that five conservative justices were likely to strike down the Massachusetts law.  If they do, we will see if they also overrule the 2000 precedent, opening the floodgates to another era of efforts to block women from exercising a deeply personal constitutional right.

Regulating greenhouse gases:  Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA (and several companion cases).

In these cases, industrial interests and their allies are attacking the EPA’s ability to effectively regulate their greenhouse gas emissions.

In Massachusetts v. EPA in 2007, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the EPA has the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles, since they easily fit within the CAA’s broad definition of “air pollutant.”  This ruling, resisted by the Bush Administration, allowed the Obama Administration to adopt regulations on greenhouse gases from cars and trucks in 2010.

Under the EPA’s longstanding interpretation of the Clean Air Act, once EPA regulation of a pollutant from mobile sources (like cars and trucks) goes into effect, that pollutant is automatically subject to regulation under EPA rules for stationary sources (like factories and power plants).  Those regulations involve permitting requirements for facilities emitting pollutants over statutory thresholds.  But greenhouse gases are emitted in far greater volumes than other pollutants, and millions of industrial, commercial, and even residential sources exceed the statutory threshold.  The EPA recognized that immediately adding these millions of stationary sources to its permitting programs would impose tremendous costs to both industry and to state permitting authorities.  So in what is called the “Tailoring Rule,” the agency chose to move gradually, initially subjecting only the largest sources of emissions to mandatory greenhouse gas permitting, and planning a gradual phase-in for others, with planned rulemakings on how best to accomplish that phase-in.

Industrial interests, the Chamber of Commerce, and their conservative allies in state government have challenged the EPA rules.  They argue that since the addition of greenhouse gases to the stationary sources permitting programs would cause what they characterize as results not desired by Congress (such as bringing huge numbers of buildings, including churches, schools, bakeries, and large private homes into the programs), it means that greenhouse gases are not the type of pollutant to which these permitting programs apply.  And that lets the major industrial contributors to greenhouse gas pollution off the hook.  They also claim that the Tailoring Rule is a rewrite of the Clean Air Act, which only Congress can do.  So we end up with hyperbolic right-wing talking points in Supreme Court briefs, like this from Southeastern Legal Foundation:

This case involves perhaps the most audacious seizure of pure legislative power over domestic economic matters attempted by the Executive Branch since Youngstown Sheet & Tube [the 1952 case striking down President Truman’s seizure of steel mills during the Korean War].

As the Constitutional Accountability Center noted in their amicus brief supporting the EPA, the agency’s gradual approach satisfies rather than subverts the central purpose of the Clean Air Act:

This is not a suspension of the relevant statutory provisions nor a failure to enforce the CAA as written.  To the contrary, EPA is setting priorities based on both practical realities and its limited resources, biting off no more than it or, as important, the regulated entities themselves, can chew at any given time. This phase-in of the CAA’s requirements is not a rewrite of the statute, and it is fully consistent with the executive authority vested in the President by Article II of our enduring Constitution and the separation of powers evidenced in the Framers’ design.

PFAW Foundation

Beck: It Is Becoming A Badge Of 'Eternal Dishonor' To Be An American Citizen

On his radio broadcast today, Glenn Beck delivered a passionate monologue over the plight of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman who is facing execution for refusing to renounce her Christian faith and convert to Islam.

Beck is furious that the United States government is not doing enough to rescue Ibrahim, who is the wife of an American citizen as well as a new mother, declaring that this nation has gone "so dead inside" that it is now becoming "a badge of global and possibly eternal dishonor" to be an American citizen.

"What is it that you believe in?" Beck challenged his audience, telling them that they had better figure it out because the days of being beaten and locked in prison are already upon them.

"If you don't feel it yet, you will very soon," he said. "You're going to be thrown up against the wall and thrown up against the wall and thrown up against the wall, you might even get a billy club to the head, they might open up a fire hose on ya. If you're lucky they'll sic the dogs on ya. You might find yourself going into a camp, you might find yourself chained to a floor, you might find yourself being told 'you must do this, you must say these things or not say these things and we'll just leave you alone.' And if you think I'm crazy, read the newspaper. It's happening already":

Hagee: It Is Not Climate Change; It's The Imminent Return Of Jesus Christ

Matthew Hagee kicked off this week's "Hagee Hotline" by informing his viewers that in situations where "men are saying things that contradict God's word, God's word is accurate and men are wrong" ... and that is why Christians should not believe in climate change.

As Hagee explained, the views put forth by scientists and experts on any subject are not to be believed if those views are at odds with what the Bible teaches. As such, the extreme weather events that the climate has been experiencing are not the result of climate change but are rather signs of the End Times and the imminent return of Jesus Christ.

"The Bible says that whenever we approach the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ," Hagee explained, "that there would be strange weather patterns. Jesus said this in Matthew the twenty-fifth chapter. So we have a decision to make: do we believe what an environmentalist group says and choose to live in a world where we're attempting to make everything as clean in the air as possible, or do we believe what the Bible says, that these things were going to happen and that rather than try to clean up all of the air and solve all of the problems of the world by eliminating factories, we should start to tell people about Jesus Christ who is to return?":

'Anti-Christian Bigotry In The Mass Media' Is To Blame For Elliot Rodger's Murder Spree

In a piece published today on the Charisma website, Tom Snyder and Ted Baehr of Movieguide assert that the real cause of Elliot Rodger's murder spree was anti-Christian bigotry within the media.

As Snyder and Baehr see it, Hollywood and television have systemically promoted an "anti-Christian, unbiblical view of sexual morality" through a "pagan ideology" that is "overtly antagonistic" to Christianity and which has turned people away from God and into "narcissistic monsters."

As a result, "this anti-Christian bigotry in the mass media has created a culture of anti-Christian bigotry and atheist advocacy" which, in turn, results in mass murder:

In his manifesto, he expresses rage against "beautiful" men and women who get all the sex partners they want, while he, at 22, still remains a virgin. He says his upcoming murder spree is a "day of retribution" against these people and against society.

Where did this young murderer get his narcissistic views about sex?

Well, for decades, the mass media—not only through thousands of books and movies, but also through the national "news" media and popular music—has been promoting the so-called "Sexual Revolution," an anti-Christian, unbiblical view of sexual morality.

This pagan ideology has undermined the institutions of marriage and the family, along with the moral fabric of the United States and many other countries.

In that light, it's important to note also that the mass media too often not only has been apathetic but also overtly antagonistic toward religion, especially Christianity and those of us who believe in the Bible.

This anti-Christian bigotry in the mass media has created a culture of anti-Christian bigotry and atheist advocacy.

Thus, one thing that stands out like a sore thumb in the life of all of the murderers mentioned above is the lack of religious training and spiritual expression in their lives. Instead of nurturing a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, all of these murderers seem obsessed by their own hedonistic pursuits.

Without God, and the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, people become narcissistic monsters looking for the next victim they can devour.

The solution to this is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Spreading that gospel is the best way to stop further media terrorism like what happened Friday night.

Phil Robertson Tells The GOP 'You Cannot Be Right For America If You Are Not Right With God'

Following the Republican Party's embarrassing showing in the 2012 elections, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus put together a task force to analyze just what was wrong with the party and which eventually resulted in the release of a report that found that the GOP's ultra-right-wing ideology was making it increasingly unappealing to voters who see the party as nothing but a bunch of "narrow-minded" and "out of touch ... stuffy old men."

Naturally, the GOP has then gone about systematically ignoring all of the recommendations made in this autopsy report, which is why an anti-gay bigot like Phil Robertson was given a prime speaking slot at last night's Republican Leadership Conference, where he was introduced by Sarah Palin, no less.

And Robertson was every bit as insightful as one would expect, declaring that when it comes to President Obama, "we’re up against evil like I’ve never seen in my life" and telling the GOP that if it wants to win elections, the party needs to "get Godly":

Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson kicked off the Republican Leadership Conference at the Hilton Riverside Hotel in New Orleans on Thursday with an entertaining speech in which he mixed his faith in Jesus Christ with an admonition to the GOP to return to the Bible and the fundamental principles of freedom upon which the nation was founded.

“You lose your religion, you lose your morality, you lose your freedom,” Robertson said. “You cannot be right for America if you are not right with God.”

In an event the GOP billed as an “unofficial kickoff” of the 2016 presidential campaign, Robertson drew repeated applause and more than one standing ovation by insisting, “If the country does not turn to God at a fairly rapid clip, we are going to lose the United States of America.”

Robertson jokingly suggested, “The GOP must be desperate to call a person like me.”

Looking at the outfit that is now linked with his Duck Dynasty television persona, Robertson insisted, “These clothes are the best I own.”

What Robertson did not hesitate to speak about was his strong faith in Jesus Christ.

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians. Where there is no Jesus, the love rate is always real low and the crime rate is always real high. It’s just that simple GOP. You want to turn the Republican Party around, get Godly.”

He rejected the secular society created by Supreme Court decisions he interpreted as an attack on religion.

“We threw God out of the schools. We threw God out of the courthouses,” Robertson said, in a speech that featured quotes from several Founding Fathers, including George Washington, John Adams, and James Madison.

“Separation of church and state? I’m telling you right [now] what our Founding Fathers said and it doesn’t sound like separating God Almighty from the United States of America. It’s a lie. You remove the Bible out of schools, it was said more 200 years ago, and you are going to be wasting so much time punishing criminals. Education is useless without the Bible. Take the Bible out of schools and there’s going to be an explosion of crime.”

Robertson subtly rebutted charges of prejudice, making it clear comments he made to GQ magazine regarding homosexuality derived solely from his religions conviction.

“There is only one race on this planet and that is the human race,” he insisted.

“Look at all humanity as the human race. Therefore, you do not have the right to color code anybody. We are all one family and we are all made in the image of God Almighty. The color of your skin does not determine the character of your person. In the GOP we have the libertarians, and the conservatives, and the establishment party, but you need to get off all of this divisive talk and be one party united.”

Commenting that, “You can tell a lot about a man when you hear him pray,” Robertson recalled George Washington praying at the founding of the nation.

He then transitioned to discussing Barack Obama.

“I watch what I see coming out of the White House and it is downright embarrassing. How many lies are we going to tolerate? Our Founding Fathers created the greatest republic on the face of the earth and we screwed it up in 238 years. But I’m not throwing in the towel yet on it. As was said, the surest way for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

Robertson railed against abortion, asking the GOP audience how a nation killing its unborn children possibly thought it could survive.

“The strength of this nation is not the Constitution,” he insisted, “but the law of God and the Ten Commandments upon which the Constitution was founded.”

Jeffress: Once Gay Marriage Is The Law Of The Land, Government Will Shut Down Christian Radio Stations

Robert Jeffress was a guest on the American Family Association's "Today's Issues" radio program yesterday where he warned that it is probably inevitable that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of marriage equality and when that day comes, the federal government will then set about shutting down any opposition to gay marriage by revoking the broadcasting licenses of Christian radio stations.

"What about stations who have license that are granted by the FCC?," he asked. "Can the FCC support stations that engage in hate speech or intolerance or that discriminate against the constitutional rights of others? I think that could very well be the basis for denying licenses to Christian stations around the country that want to broadcast the truth":

Yes, this is probably exactly what will happen, just as the government systematically shut down Christian radio stations for opposing abortion after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the right to choose back in 1973, which is why we never hear the Religious Right talk about this issue these days.

Fischer: Society Does Criminals A Disservice By Not Sentencing Them To Death

On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer put forth a rather novel theory that a society that does not sentence criminals to death for crimes which warrant such a punishment is actually doing a disservice to those criminals by not putting them in a situation where they must contemplate the existence of God so that they can repent and go to Heaven.

As he explained, someone facing an imminent death does not "have any option but to consider eternal questions" and so "if out of some misguided sense of compassion, we do not give somebody the death penalty who deserves it," society is failing that person by not putting them in a position that would require them to face these "eternal issues."

Criminals not forced to contemplate their own death may therefore fail to repent for their crimes and seek God's forgiveness, with the result being, Fischer concluded, that "we may have made it easier for them to go the Hell than to go to Heaven":

Glenn Beck Blames White House Outing Of CIA Station Chief On Muslim Brotherhood

Over the Memorial Day weekend, President Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan and when the White House released a list of those who attended a military briefing with him, it mistakenly included the name of the CIA's top intelligence official in the country.

To Glenn Beck and his staff, this was no accident but rather an intentional effort "to get Americans killed" as a result of the fact that Muslim Brotherhood operatives have infiltrated every level of government.

"Muslim Brotherhood in the White House," Beck told his staff during yesterday's morning staff meeting. "There is Muslim Brotherhood in the White House, there is Muslim Brotherhood in the Department of Homeland Security, there is Muslim Brotherhood in the Pentagon. That's how this happens":

Beck: #YesAllWomen Is Nothing But 'Good Old Fashioned Man-Bashing'

In the wake of the murder spree carried out by Elliot Rodger, driven by his deeply and viciously misogynistic views, a #YesAllWomen hashtag was started on Twitter to highlight the fact that society largely turns a blind eye to the fact that women experience various forms of harassment, threats, and discrimination on a regular basis.

Glenn Beck, shockingly, was not particularly moved by the effort as he mockingly read some of the tweets on his television program last night and called it nothing more than "a chance for some good, old fashioned man-bashing":

YEO Evan Low, US Senator Tammy Baldwin, Anne Kronenberg, and Others Dedicate the Harvey Milk Stamp

Last week, the highly-anticipated Harvey Milk stamp made its debut in a White House dedication ceremony featuring a roster packed with dynamic speakers including Evan Low, a Campbell, California city councilmember and participant in PFAW Foundation's Young Elected Officials Network, who recounted his personal story and stressed the importance of electing LGBT Americans to public office.
PFAW Foundation

Miller: Mississippi's Non-Discrimination Sticker Campaign Is Anti-Christian

A few months ago, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill designed to protect businesses that discriminate against gay customers in the name of religious liberty. In response, activists started a "We Don't Discriminate" campaign, encouraging businesses to post stickers declaring that all customers are welcome in their stores in an effort to take "a public stance against discrimination and for equal rights":

Of course, this response has infuriated Gina Miller, the content editor for BarbWire, who declares that the "Alphabet Soup Perversity Brigade" is actually attacking Christians by posting these stickers and therefore calls upon Christians to boycott any store that has one:

As they do in every aspect of their anti-Christian, freedom-robbing agenda, they lie about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, insisting it will open the door to a flood of anti-homosexual “discrimination,” with Christian businesses owners refusing to do business with people simply because they’re sodomites. That’s not happening, but these people don’t let truth or reason even come close to getting in their way, because if there were even one case of a “Christian” business owner telling a homosexual, “We don’t serve your limp-wristed kind in here,” it would be blaring headline news from coast to coast, world without end.

The truth of the matter is the exact opposite of how the Left portrays it. Christians are not refusing to serve homosexuals, but homosexuals are targeting Christian-owned businesses with demands that would force the owners to participate in the desecration of marriage, in direct violation of their conscience. When Christians politely refuse them, instead of going down the street to a willing business, they sue the Christians. These activists know exactly what they’re doing, and their goal is not to get a stupid “wedding” cake made for two men. No. Their goal is to use the courts to strip the rights and freedoms of Christians and any others who are opposed to the militant homosexual movement’s agenda, which includes the destruction of marriage.

The AFA published a list of Mississippi businesses that have signed on to place one of the anti-Christian, pro-homosexual stickers on their windows. Here’s the “If You’re Buying” site where you can also see the sticker and the business list as it’s updated. These are businesses you might want to avoid here in Mississippi, unless you’re in the mood to go inside and find out if they really understand what that anti-Christian sticker means.

...

That’s pure truth, but our inalienable rights will not stand if these homofascists get their way. Freedom of conscience, religion, speech and association for Christians is directly in the evil cross-hairs of this diabolical movement, and unless we stand firmly, loudly and unified against it, our freedoms will be crushed. Don’t doubt it for a minute.

Starnes: 'I Feel Like Washington D.C. Is Twerking On All Of Us'

The only thing more painful than reading Todd Starnes' dreadfully unfunny book is listening to him recite "jokes" from it, as he did last week while hosting a panel on religious persecution at the Watchmen on the Wall conference.

Starnes, who always goes to great lengths to assure his audience that he remains a Southerner at heart despite the fact that he lives in the Park Slope neighborhood of New York City, told the gathering of pastors that the idea for this new book, "God Less America," came to him one day while sitting at brunch in Brooklyn when he realized that he is "a Duck Dynasty guy living in a Miley Cyrus world and I feel like Washington D.C. is twerking on all of us":

Glenn Beck Reads Elliot Rodger's Manifesto: 'That Is Almost An Exact Quote From Teddy Roosevelt'

On his radio broadcast today, Glenn Beck weighed in on the murder spree carried out by Elliot Rodger last week though which he vowed to "punish all females for the crime of depriving me of sex.”

As usual, Beck placed the blame squarely on Hollywood and video games ... and progressives like Teddy Roosevelt.

Reading portions of Rodger's "manifesto" in which he declared that women "should not have the right to choose who to mate and breed with" and should all be placed in concentration camps, Beck proclaimed that "that is almost an exact quote from Teddy Roosevelt."

"It's all the progressives, communists, fascists," Beck said. "They're the ones who talk like this ... No small government person talks like this, no constitutionalist talks like this."

After co-host Pat Gray reminded Beck that it was the progressives who actually locked Americans up in concentration camps before, Beck declared that it was no coincidence that Rodger's father was involved with the film "Divergent," which is "a story about concentration camps":

For the record, Rodger's father had nothing to do with "Divergent"; he was actually second unit director on "The Hunger Games," which had nothing to do with concentration camps.

Joe The Plumber: 'Your Dead Kids Don’t Trump My Constitutional Rights'

As we noted last week, Matt Barber's new BarbWire website has quickly become a blogging goldmine for us, as its mission seems to be to collect crazy pieces from all over the internet and publish them all in one place, such as this open letter written by Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher (aka Joe The Plumber) to the families of those who were killed during Friday night's shooting spree in Isla Vista, California to inform them that while he is "sorry you lost your child ... your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights" to own as many guns as he wants, especially because of the actions of one insane "Obama voter":

I am sorry you lost your child. I myself have a son and daughter and the one thing I never want to go through, is what you are going through now. But:

As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.

Richard Martinez, whose son (Christopher) was among the murdered, choked back tears at a news conference, blaming politicians the next day: “The talk about gun rights. What about Chris’ right to live?” Martinez said – and much more.

There are no critical words for a grieving father. He can say whatever he wants and blame whoever he’d like – it’s okay by me. You can’t take a step in his shoes – at least I can’t.

But the words and images of Mr. Martinez blaming “the proliferation of guns”, lobbyists, politicians, etc.; will be exploited by gun-grab extremists as are all tragedies involving gun violence and the mentally ill by the anti-Second Amendment Left.

As a father, husband and a man, it is my responsibility to protect my family. I will stand up for that right vehemently. Please believe me, as a father I share your grief and I will pray for you and your family, as I do whenever I hear about senseless tragedies such as this.

We still have the Right to Bear Arms and I intend to continue to speak out for that right, and against those who would restrict it – even in the face of this horrible incident by this sad and insane individual. I almost said “Obama Voter” but I’m waiting for it to be official.

I noticed the mainstream media have stopped the practice of immediately reporting the psycho maniac is a conservative Tea Party Republican Christian. Guess they’re sick of having to hide being wrong every time when it comes out the whacko votes Democrat?

Mr. Martinez and anyone calling for more restrictions on American’s rights need to back off and stop playing into the hands of the folks who merely capitalize on these horrific events for their own political ends.

They don’t care about your family or  your dead children at all. They sound like they do, whereas I sound uncaring and like I say, harsh. Don’t be fooled – I care about your family and mine. The future of our very liberty lies in the balance of this fight.

In conclusion, I cannot begin to imagine the pain you are going through, having had your child taken away from you. However, any feelings you have toward my rights being taken away from me, lose those.

Graham: Pastors Need To Be Willing To 'Get Our Heads Chopped Off' For Opposing Gay Rights

Franklin Graham spoke at the Family Research Council's Watchmen on the Wall conference yesterday where he told the assembled pastors that they all needed to be willing to have their heads chopped off for speaking the truth that gays are bound for hell.

"Are we going to be cowards because we're afraid?," Graham asked the crowd. "Could we get our heads chopped off? We could, maybe one day.  So what? Chop it off!"

Graham went on to assert that he loves gays "enough to care to warn them that if they want to continue living like this, it's the flames of hell for you" and he will continue to do so because he will one day have to answer to God and does not want to be found to have been a coward who refused to preach God's laws:

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":

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