Colorado pastor Kevin Swanson closed out his National Religious Liberties Conference today — following speeches yesterday by Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal — with an extended rant about the many reasons why America needs to repent in order to avoid God’s judgment, including legal abortion, birth control, immoral themes in country music and gay characters in “Harry Potter” and “How to Train Your Dragon.”
Warning that “we are on the very cusp of judgment as I see it and we need to call America to repent,” Swanson listed off the various sins of which Americans need to repent.
“America, repent of your rebellion against God!” he yelled. “America, repent of stumbling the little ones! America, repent of ‘Harry Potter’! America, repent of ‘How to Train Your Dragon’!
“America, repent that Dumbledore emerged as a homosexual mentor for Harry Potter, that Hiccup’s mentor in ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ emerged as a homosexual himself in order that history might repeat itself one more time, in order that little six- and seven- and eight-year-olds might stumble, in order that tens of millions of parents, it would be better that a millstone be hanged around their neck and they be drowned at the bottom of the sea than that there would be so many people stumbling so many children in public schools, in movie theaters, in homes in which children are raised to be stumbled by the Dumbledores and by the mentors of Hiccup in ‘How to Train Your Dragon’!”
Earlier in the same speech, Swanson explained that although the biblical punishment for homosexuality is death, he doesn’t want to implement it yet in the U.S. because he wants to give gay people time to repent as well .
Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal all spoke this weekend at the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, an event hosted by Kevin Swanson, a Colorado-based pastor and activist who frequently informs his followers that the biblical penalty for homosexuality is death and defended a proposed law in Uganda that would have imposed life imprisonment or capital punishment for homosexuality.
Two other speakers invited to the conference have similarly backed capital punishment for gay people, and one came prepared with a pamphlet he wrote explaining that view.
In a closing keynote address to the conference this evening, Swanson clarified that he is not encouraging American officials to implement the death penalty for homosexuality … yet.
Instead, he said, gay people first need time to repent of their sins, as do people who have committed adultery, gotten divorced or looked at porn, all of which he said are inviting God’s judgment on America.
In a speech today to the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, which also featured Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal, Nebraska pastor Phillip Kayser warned that America risks “God’s intense wrath” for engaging in “sexual sins” such as the “abominations found in the radical LGBTQ movement.”
Kayser, who distributed at the conference a pamphlet arguing for the death penalty for homosexuality, blasphemy and witchcraft, was discussing “interposition,” the idea that “lesser magistrates” have the duty to stand against higher authorities when those higher authorities are disobeying God.
Kayser advised his audience that they must pick their battles in this area because “not every act of tyranny is equally heinous.”
For instance, he said, it isn’t necessary to defy certain unbiblical tax proposals, but it is absolutely necessary to defy same-sex marriage because it is “destructive to the family”; abortion because it is “murder” and will “inevitably lead to God’s judgment” on the land; and the “sexual sins” found in Leviticus 18 — which includes homosexuality, adultery and having sex with a woman who is menstruating — because “some sexual sins are so heinous that even pagan nations are eventually vomited out of the land for engaging in those sins.”
“And if we love our country and we don’t want to see God’s intense wrath falling upon it, we cannot ignore the abominations found in the radical LGBTQ movement,” he warned.
“Our Founding Fathers pledged their lives, fortunes and their sacred honor to resist the tyranny of King George and Parliament,” he said. “And I think what we are facing today is a whole lot worse.”
Phillip Kayser is among the several speakers joining Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal at the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa this weekend, and as we've reported, he, along with the conference's chief organizer, Kevin Swanson, has called on the government to execute gay people. Kayser's views are so extreme that back in the 2012 election, Ron Paul's campaign tried to cover up his endorsement.
However, it seems that in today's GOP, calling for the execution of gay people isn't beyond the pale.
At the conference, where he is giving two speeches on how local officials and others can defy the Supreme Court's marriage equality decision, Kayser distributed the very pamphlet calling for the death penalty for gay people that caused a stir back when he endorsed Paul.
In the pamphlet, “Is The Death Penalty Just?,” Kayser unsurprisingly concludes that the death penalty is in fact just, and lists homosexuality among the offenses deserving of capital punishment. Ironically for a "religious liberties" summit, he also claims that the government should treat "breaking the Sabbath," "blasphemy and cursing God publicly," "publicly sacrificing to other gods" and "apostasy" as death penalty crimes as well.
He writes that government officials are "subject to Biblical statutes and judgments," claiming that "Christians should advocate the full implementation of all God's civil penalties in every age.... Every Old Testament statue continues on the books, and without those statutes, we could not have a consistent ethnical standard." Even "pagan" nations are obliged to follow biblical law, he writes, as "God held gentile kings accountable to these civil laws."
Kayser believes that the government should execute murderers, among whom he includes abortion providers: "What could be more pro-life than having the state pass laws establishing a certain date after which all doctors who continue to perform abortions will be executed? Certainly, a handful of doctors might be killed [pro-death for killers], but think of the millions of little lives that would be saved!"
He writes that the death penalty should also apply to those who commit acts of blasphemy; apostasy; breaking the Sabbath; sorcery and witchcraft; kidnapping; rape; adultery; prostitution; bestiality; and of course, homosexuality.
But don't worry, Kayser has good news for the gays who rather not be stoned to death or get "thrown off a cliff," methods he mentions as biblically approved ways to execute someone.
While "these crimes are so heinous that they deserve death in God's eyes," he writes, with cases "of sexual sins, people who kept these things to themselves could not be prosecuted because it would require two or three witnesses (depending on judicial discretion), the pressing of charges by a victim-citizen, the exclusion of government from spying, sting operations, etc., and other checks and balances."
Essentially, Kayser says that the government should put gay people to death, but only if they get caught.
"Even after a society implemented Biblical law and made homosexuality a crime, execution would be rare," he explains, because "the civil government could not round them up." What a relief!
"Only those who were prosecuted by citizen-victims could be punished, and the punishment could take a number of forms, analogous to the flexibility in dealing with adultery — which ranged all the way from forgiveness, to divorce, to death," he continues. "Some people characterize this as a victimless crime since homosexuals cannot get married. But there are plenty of circumstances (homosexual rape, homosexual incest, homosexual death threats against politicians, etc.) where victims might be motivated to bring charges."
Kayser writes that "natural knowledge" endorses the view that homosexuality is "worthy of death."
"It is not just the sinfulness of homosexuality that is known, but also the justice of the death penalty for homosexuality," he said. "The reason men have an innate sense of justice is because God's law reflects not only His holiness but also His justice and goodness (Rom. 7:12). Romans 13 says that magistrates are subject to all three."
And remember, this is the kind of literature being promoted at a "religious liberty" conference.
The Supreme Court today announced that it will hear several cases involving the accommodation for religious nonprofits seeking to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage requirement. This is not a surprise; as People For the American Way Foundation wrote in its Supreme Court 2015-2016 Term Preview:
Under the accommodation, the employers simply tell the insurer or the federal government of their objection, at which point the insurer must offer the coverage separately to employees who want it. This way, the employees can get the coverage without their employers having to contract, arrange, or pay for it. But some religious nonprofits assert that even the accommodation violates their religious liberty under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Under RFRA, no federal law imposing a substantial burden on religious exercise can be sustained unless it is the least restrictive means of achieving a compelling government purpose.
The list of circuit courts that have roundly rejected this argument is long: The DC Circuit, the Second Circuit, Third Circuit, the Fifth Circuit, the Sixth Circuit, the Seventh Circuit, and the Tenth Circuit. But in September 2015, the Eighth Circuit ruled in favor of the nonprofits and found the accommodation violated RFRA. Now that there is a circuit split, it seems likely that the Supreme Court will take up the issue via the appeals from one or more of these circuit decisions.
The premise of those challenging the accommodation is a severe distortion of RFRA and of the very concept of religious liberty set forth by the Court’s hard-right conservatives in the 5-4 ruling in Hobby Lobby. That law was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in 1993 as a means to protect the free exercise of religion. But conservative ideologues have sought to transform RFRA from a shield into a sword, one that they can use to violate the rights of third parties. The right wing’s enthusiastic embrace of Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis shows just how far they want to extend the reasoning of Hobby Lobby.
Here, the conservatives argue that filling out a form so that insurance companies can know about their legal obligations to provide certain coverage is a substantial burden on the exercise of their religion. That strained reasoning is a cynical use of religion to deprive women of needed healthcare, an effort to force women employees to live by their employers’ religious strictures rather than their own. But what the Supreme Court said about the First Amendment in a 1985 case called Estate of Thornton v. Caldor is equally true of RFRA:
The First Amendment . . . gives no one the right to insist that in pursuit of their own interests others must conform their conduct to his own religious necessities. [quoting from a lower court opinion by Judge Learned Hand]
Justice Kennedy, who voted with the Hobby Lobby majority, is likely to be the deciding vote in this case. His concurrence in Hobby Lobby hinted that he might not go as far as his fellow conservatives in granting people the latitude to use RFRA to deprive others of their rights:
Among the reasons the United States is so open, so tolerant, and so free is that no person may be restricted or demeaned by government in exercising his or her religion. Yet neither may that same exercise unduly restrict other persons, such as employees, in protecting their own interests, interests the law deems compelling. In these cases [involving for-profit employers] the means to reconcile those two priorities are at hand in the existing accommodation the Government has designed, identified, and used for circumstances closely parallel to those presented here [the accommodation for religious non-profits].
Given the circuit split on the accommodation for religious nonprofits, the Supreme Court had little choice but to take this issue on. They do have a choice, however, in how they rule. Hopefully, a majority of justices will take the first step in restoring RFRA to the law it was intended to be.
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins has been broadcasting his “Washington Watch” radio program from Israel this week, where he is helping to lead an FRC tour group. Also on the tour is former Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who joined Perkins on the program on Wednesday to share her view that biblical prophecy is being fulfilled all around her and that it is more urgent than ever to convert as many people as possible — including Jews — to Christianity to prepare for the imminent return of Christ.
“Almost every article in the paper” has to do with conflicts in Israel, Bachmann said, “and it ties with so much biblical prophecy. This week really was about biblical prophecy in many ways. And we’re seeing as events are speeding up, events are speeding up so quickly right now, and we see how relevant the Bible is, and we’re reading our newspaper, at the same time we’re learning about these biblical events, and it’s literally day by day by day, we’re seeing the fulfillment of scripture right in front of our eyes, even while we’re on the ground.”
“We recognize the shortness of the hour,” she said, “and that’s why we as a remnant want to be faithful in these days and do what it is that the Holy Spirit is speaking to each one of us, to be faithful in the Kingdom and to help bring in as many as we can — even among the Jews — share Jesus Christ with everyone that we possibly can because, again, He’s coming soon.”
RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.
This week, all the classics top the list of things the Right Wing thinks are threats to America: gay people, undocumented immigrants, transgender people and, of course, the Obama administration.
1) God Will Destroy Financial Markets Over ‘Sodomy’ In America
Pat Robertson has frequently warned of the destruction of the financial markets by an angry God, and this week Robertson claimed that “sodomites” in the United States will be the thing to provoke God’s wrath.
America, according to Robertson, is turning into Sodom now that the United States has “enshrined sodomy into the United States Constitution.” He explained: “I don’t want the wrath of God to hit this country, it’s a great country, I’d like to see America continue strong, but this is one way of weakening it. First of all, we’re going to have this financial collapse. We’re setting up for a massive financial collapse and I think if God is going to hurt this country that’s probably the way he’d do it.”
2) Undocumented Immigrants In Cities ‘Increases The Rate Of Disease’
Marc Siegel joined the hosts of Fox News’ “Outnumbered” to discuss the real danger of sanctuary cities: rampant disease. “When you let illegal immigrants into a sanctuary city, they don't come in with a card that says I don't have tuberculosis or I don't have the flu or I don't have this disease,” Siegel explained. “And these things spread around big cities like San Francisco. It increases the rate of disease, and it increases the pressure on the healthcare system.”
Host Harris Faulkner attempted to link undocumented immigrants in San Francisco to a global rise in tuberculosis deaths, adding that she “was reading just this week that tuberculosis is now leading most of the other diseases around the world in killing people.” Siegel assessed that this was a “really important” point.
3) Conspiracy To Eliminate Religion From America
Representative Randy Forbes gave a sermon warning of a government conspiracy to expunge religion from the “marketplace of ideas” last month at his home church in Chesapeake, Virginia, as part of the Pray USA effort, an initiative of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation.
"I could put up on this screen or on this screen or on both of them the proof that would show you this isn't some natural evolution, this is artificially driven,” Forbes explained. “I can show you organization after organization after organization to a network that would frighten you because it would be vast that you couldn't get it on that screen, of organizations that are funded and paid with a systematic approach to killing and destroying faith in America today."
4) Obama Wants To Imprison Christian Conservatives
Fischer responded to a caller who alleged that the Justice Department’s plan to release 6,000 nonviolent drug offenders from federal prisons was a plot to make room for Christians in prisons by agreeing, "I think that is where we would go if he had his way."
"I honestly do,” Fischer continued. “I believe that is where we would wind up, if he could do what he wanted to do without any kind of restriction, he would lock people up who disagree with him, and that's us. Conservative Christians are the ones who have the biggest problem.”
5) Transgender Women Are Predators
The Right Wing is outraged at the Obama administration this week after the Education Department found that “an Illinois school district violated anti-discrimination laws when it did not allow a transgender student who identifies as a girl and participates on a girls’ sports team to change and shower in the girls’ locker room without restrictions.”
Pat Robertson revealed this week that he is under the impression that transgender students only want access to locker rooms that match their gender in order to eyeball girls. “This transgender stuff, I mean, this was a boy and this boy, we don’t know what surgery was performed on him, if any, we don’t know what his parts are,” he said, “and yet he wants to go into the girls’ locker room and see all these disrobed little girls running around.”
Phyllis Schlafly has also been persuaded that the transgender movement is a threat. In an interview on Newsmax TV, Schlafly alleged that the Department of Education’s announcement is proof that transgender advocates are “trying to turn our boys into peeping Toms.” She added, “I can’t imagine why else they would want to go into their girls’ restrooms.”
Earlier today, Republican presidential candidates Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee spoke at a conference in Iowa organized by Colorado pastor and activist Kevin Swanson, who takes such hardline Christian Reconstructionist views as supporting the death penalty for gay people . (Ted Cruz is also expected to speak at the conference.)
Swanson introduced Jindal by declaring that whoever becomes president, Jesus Christ will rule over them “whether they recognize it or not.”
“Let’s acknowledge right now that Jesus Christ is king over the president of the United States, whether he recognizes it or not,” he said. “Jesus Christ is king over the Supreme Court of the United States, whether they recognize it or not.”
Jindal then gave a version of his “Christian persecution” stump speech, warning that the government is “coming after those of us who want to live our lives according to our Christian faith” and declaring, “No earthly court can change the definition of marriage; no federal government, no ACLU should be able to take away our religious liberty rights. We were given those by God almighty.”
This morning, Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal joined radical right-wing pastor Kevin Swanson on the stage of Swanson’s “National Religious Liberties Conference” in Iowa to hawk their candidacies to a crowd that includes several Christian Reconstructionists.
Huckabee knew just how to appeal to this group, using his short time on stage to repeat his promises to simply ignore the Supreme Court’s rulings on abortion rights and marriage equality if he were to become president.
“Here’s what the president should do, and if I were president this is what I would do,” he said. “On the same-sex marriage decision, I would simply say, ‘It is not law.’ It is not law because the people’s elected representatives have not made it law and there is nothing in the Constitution that gives the Supreme Court power to make a law. They are the Supreme Court, they are not the supreme branch or the Supreme Being.”
“And so,” he added, “when people say, ‘What can we do? Let’s introduce a constitutional amendment, let’s propose a — .’ No. Let’s just exhibit and exercise the power that is already within the constitutional authority and structure and the president simply say, ‘Thank you for your opinion, but we shall ignore it because there’s nothing in the Constitution that affirms that and we are not going to impose upon all 50 states something that the federal government has no control over, which is the definition of marriage.’”
On the topic of abortion rights, Huckabee repeated his support for radical “personhood” proposals that seek to bypass a constitutional amendment overturning Roe by simply granting full constitutional rights to zygotes.
“I don’t know how we honestly can pray ‘God bless America’ when we have acted like a savage, uncivilized country in relationship to unborn children,” Huckabee said.
“But once again,” he said, “instead of us wringing our hands and maybe pretending that we’re going to change the Constitution or overturn Roe v. Wade — which, by the way, overturning Roe v. Wade does absolutely nothing to stop abortion, it simply turns it back to the states, they can have all the abortions they want. But what we have not done is what we should be doing and what I would do, which is to say we would invoke the Fifth and 14th Amendment as it relates to this issue. Because here’s the fact: We don’t have to pass a constitutional amendment. We already have two of them.”
As we have been reporting this week, three Republican presidential candidates — Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal — are scheduled to appear this weekend at an Iowa “religious liberties” conference organized by wildly anti-gay pastor and activist Kevin Swanson. To give you a flavor of this event, three speakers, including Swanson, have advocated or defended imposing the death penalty on gay people.
So we were relieved yesterday when one of these candidates finally had to answer for his participation in Swanson’s conference. At the end of an interview with Cruz yesterday, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked the Texas senator how he reconciles his constant cries of liberal “intolerance” against Christians with appearing alongside such an intolerant figure as Swanson.
Cruz, predictably, dodged the question by claiming ignorance of Swanson’s record and launching into his standard stump speech about the supposed persecution of Christians in America.
You can watch the exchange starting about 15 minutes into this video:
Tapper ran out of time to press Cruz on the issue, but we hope that Cruz, Huckabee and Jindal will continue to face questions about their participation in this event.
One of the astounding things about Rick Wiles’ End Times radio program “TruNews” is that when he invites fellow right-wing activists for interviews they often end up sounding absolutely reasonable by comparison as they try to talk Wiles down from his latest conspiracy theory.
That was the case yesterday when Wiles invited Patrick Poole of the conservative PJ Media onto his program to discuss the situation in the Middle East and Poole had to spend his time trying to convince Wiles that President Obama did not actually secretly spend half a billion dollars creating ISIS.
“There is no war against ISIS, Patrick, he’s not killing — he funded ISIS, he armed ISIS,” Wiles insisted. “I mean, this is part of the lie, this is part of the narrative.”
Citing the failure of a $500 million program to train rebel fighters in Syria, Wiles insisted that that money had been instead been included in a “black op budget” to create ISIS. “They spent $500 million building ISIS!” he said.
“What do you think was happening at Benghazi?” he asked. “They were running guns through Benghazi to ISIS.”
When Poole asked him what proof he had for this, Wiles said, “I would say the destruction of Syria and the slaughtering of the Christians and the burning of the churches, that’s the proof.”
“That’s the proof,” he added later. “Syria’s on fire. Somebody set Syria on fire, and the United States government is behind it and Russia has stepped in to stop this madness and it’s going to lead to World War III.”
As we’ve reported, Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal are scheduled to speak at a “religious liberties” conference in Iowa this weekend organized by pastor and homeschooling activist Kevin Swanson. It’s bad enough that presidential candidates would want to associate with Swanson, whose record of wildly anti-gay, anti-women statements we have exhaustively chronicled. But the candidates will also be rubbing shoulders with an array of activists representing the extreme Christian Reconstructionist and Christian Patriarchy fringes of the Religious Right.
Cruz, Huckabee and Jindal likely agreed to join the conference because of its ostensible “religious liberty” theme, which has increasingly become the Religious Right’s unifying battle cry. Speakers include David and Jason Benham, who have become popular martyr figures on the right-wing speaking circuit after we reported on their vicious anti-gay activism and they lost a planned HGTV reality show; Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Oregon couple who refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in what Aaron later described as a battle with Satan; and Sgt. Phillip Monk, whose tale of being persecuted by a lesbian superior in the Air Force has been roundly debunked.
Interestingly, one actual victim of anti-Christian persecution, Naghmeh Abedini, whose pastor husband is imprisoned in Iran, was scheduled to speak but has since been removed from a list of confirmed speakers.
Behind this “religious liberty” veneer, however, is a gathering of some of the most extreme segments of the Religious Right, including those whose idea of “religious freedom” is the freedom to impose their specific scriptural interpretations on others. Swanson’s colorful rhetoric on the role of women and the biblical punishments for gay people comes out of an affinity with two controversial movements that will be on full display at his event: Christian Patriarchy and Christian Reconstructionism.
A number of speakers at this weekend’s conference have been associated with Vision Forum, the now defunct ministry run by influential Christian Patriarchy leader Doug Phillips, who resigned in 2013 after admitting to having an affair. That movement is closely bound with Christian Reconstructionism, the idea that America must return to its supposed foundations in a certain interpretation of biblical law. John Eidsmoe, one of the leading lights of Christian Reconstructionism will be speaking at the conference, as will Joel McDurmon, who now runs the Reconstructionist group Vision America.
One theme at the conference will be “interposition,” the idea that government officials have the duty to defy laws and court rulings that they believe are unconstitutional or unbiblical (for many those are the same thing), an idea that has returned to prominence in the midst of the Kim Davis saga.
Here is a brief introduction to some of the activists who will be sharing the stage with Huckabee, Cruz and Jindal this weekend:
Swanson, a Colorado-based homeschooling activist, pastor and radio host, rejects the term “Christian Patriarchy” but says he ascribes to the passage in Ephesians that guides the movement’s view of male headship and female submission in marriage. Swanson also takes hardline Christian Reconstructionist positions, such as his view that the death penalty for gay people is just. Just a sampling of Swanson’s views includes:
Eidsmoe gained wider name recognition when Rep. Michele Bachmann named him as her mentor , but he has long been an influential leader in Christian Reconstructionism. Eidsmoe has run into controversy in the past for ties to white supremacist and neo-Confederate groups . He now works for the Foundation for Biblical Law, a group established by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Eidsmoe has:
Christian Reconstructionist Nebraska pastor Phil Kayser first attracted the national spotlight in 2011 when he endorsed Ron Paul for president and it came out that he had “authored a paper arguing for criminalizing homosexuality and even advocated imposing the death penalty against offenders based on his reading of Biblical law .” Kayser confirmed to a reporter that this was indeed his position. He will be addressing the “religious liberty” issue with a talk on “Martyrdom, Civil Disobedience, Protest, and Flight” and another on “Can a County Clerk Refuse to Sign a Marriage License? Interposition by the Lesser Magistrate.”
As Kyle wrote last week, “Joel McDurmon, president of the Christian Reconstructionist organization American Vision, which espouses the Christian Reconstructionist view that ‘men must choose in their civil affairs to be governed by God’s law’ as explicitly set out in the Old Testament.”
McDurmon says that "God revealed that the homosexual act is a civil crime, and it just so happens that He revealed that the homosexual act as a civil crime deserves the death penalty." He also said that a proposal in Uganda to impose the death penalty for homosexuality didn’t go far enough because it should also impose “Old Testament law” by making adultery a capital crime as well.
After we reported on his views last week, McDurmon released a statement clarifying that he does not support the death penalty for “homosexuality in general” but merely “the ‘act’ of sodomy.”
UPDATE: McDurmon insists that he no longer holds these views.
North Carolina pastor Scott Brown is the director of the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches, a spinoff of Vision Forum. Articles on Brown’s website present an array of Christian Patriarchy views, including:
This is just skimming the surface. Also speaking at Swanson’s conference will be former Vision Forum activist Geoff Botkin; James Lansberry, who has been working to help conservative evangelicals bypass the Affordable Care Act; and Bill Jack, an occasional cohost on Swanson’s radio program who took the Cake Wars to a new low when he tried to get a baker to write “God hates gays” on a cake.
Along with Cruz, Huckabee and Jindal, a number of activists with a cozy relationship with the GOP have also been confirmed to attend, including Bob Vander Plaats and Chuck Hurley of the influential Iowa conservative group The Family Leader, Kelly Shackelford of the Liberty Institute and Colorado Republican state senator Kevin Lundberg.
WASHINGTON – Over 25,000 people have already signed a People For the American Way petition speaking out against the Republican Party for standing with extremists who have repeatedly defended the death penalty for LGBT people. The petition calls on Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Bobby Jindal to speak out against the violent bigotry of the so-called National Religious Liberties Conference at which they are scheduled to speak this weekend in Des Moines. The conference organizer, Kevin Swanson, has openly and repeatedly defended capital punishment laws for LGBT people, said that he thinks Girl Scout cookies and the movie "Frozen" will turn young girls into lesbians, and called the death of abortion providers divine “upcommance.”
People For the American Way President Michael Keegan stated:
“It is unconscionable that GOP candidates would participate in a conference whose organizer believes gay people deserve to die because of their sexuality. We’ve seen throughout this primary campaign that Republican candidates are fighting over who can be more anti-women, anti-gay, anti-immigrant. They’ve now reached a new low.”
Kevin Swanson and other speakers at the event have a lengthy history of disturbing remarks about women and LGBT people. Here’s just a few examples from Right Wing Watch, a project of People For the American Way:
Kevin Swanson, the far-right preacher who is hosting Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal at his National Religious Liberties Conference this weekend, thinks that Abraham Lincoln was a communist-inspired tyrant, a claim he elaborated on back in September on his “Generations Radio ” program.
Swanson said that the abolition of slavery in the U.S. following the Civil War only showed that the country “moved from decentralized forms of fiefdom slavery to a big federal state that enslaves hundreds of millions of people unlike any time in all of human history. Thanks a lot, Karl Marx; thanks a lot, Abe Lincoln; thanks a lot, whoever you were that centralized power in Washington, D.C., and enslaved an entire nation since 1865.”
Swanson said that this was not slavery but actually a good thing for women.
First, Swanson used the story of the annihilation of the Canaanites as a warning to America: “The Canaanites were extraordinarily wicked, we know that, and God wanted to wipe out all remnants of them off the earth. Part of the reason is they were doing homosexuality and child sacrifice. They were big on abortion and homosexuality, so God says, 'You take a society like that, you wipe it off the face of the earth.' That’s the way he treated the Canaanites and that’s probably what’s going to happen to America as well.”
Swanson then discussed the plight of women treated as the spoils of war, which he said was better than having them go on government welfare. “What do you do when you’ve wiped out the fighting men and there are 50,000 single women hanging out in B.C. 1200 when all the men have been eliminated?” he asked.
“The modern solution is you turn them all into prostitutes and put them on welfare. That’s what you do with inner-city women, turn them all into prostitutes and put them on LBJ’s welfare program. Turns out God doesn’t want to do that, okay?”
Earlier this year, President Obama announced his support for state measures aimed at banning ex-gay therapy for minors. The Family Research Council predictably reacted quite reasonably, sending a fundraising letter that arrived yesterday urging supporters to help them stop “sexual brainwashing of our children by our government” and thwart Obama’s plan “to get as many American children into the funnel of the sexual revolution as possible and make sure there’s no possible escape.”
Along with the letter, FRC enclosed a “Comprehensive List of LGBTQ+ Definitions” that it pulled off the internet, labeling it “a glossary of the President’s sexual agenda for your children and grandchildren.” The list was folded up and marked with an “offensive content” trigger warning:
In the fundraising letter, FRC president Tony Perkins tells readers that they can feel free to destroy the list without reading it:
This is not a single narrow line of fire we’re being subjected to. This is a massive, multi-front onslaught. The LGBTQ+ agenda specifically endorsed by the White House means our President wants to “normalize” an astonishingly broad range of what you and I would call “perversions” by supporting laws that make it illegal to obtain counseling to avoid unwanted same-sex and other attractions.
I debated whether to enclose a complete list — because it is repulsive — butI am folding the offensive material to the inside, so you can simply destroy the list without reviewing it if you prefer. Ultimately I decided to send it to you to demonstrate clearly that we are not overstating the severity of this issue.
Elsewhere in the letter:
I wasn’t sure whether to send you this letter.
I didn’t want to offend you, or shock you.
But in the end, I decided to err on the side of keeping you informed — because this is too important — to our children, to our grandchildren and to the future of our nation.
The problem: President Barack Obama is now promoting a sexual revolution more extreme, more perverse, more bizarre than anything you or I have ever imagined possible.
Specifically, he is backing legislation that would ban parents — including Christian parents — from arranging counseling to help their own children from engaging in a variety of forms of sexually immoral behavior.
We will fight this — with your help. We need your strong financial and prayer support today to push back on this outrageous “home invasion” with everything we’ve got … because the welfare of our children is at stake.
In fact, this President intends to get as many American children into the funnel of the sexual revolution as possible and make sure there’s no possible escape — none whatsoever. He intends to close off every avenue from parents committed to biblical morality.
We cannot stand by and allow the President to force his radical sexual agenda on our children.
You need to understand the reality of this situation: You are in the way.
You are an obstacle.
Christianity is actually seen as a speed bump in the Left’s pursuit of sexual liberty and “fulfillment.” They are intent upon a redefinition of God’s order of Creation.
Ultimately, this movement is about rebelling against the Creator.
Jesus said in Matthew Chapter 19, Verse 4, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female.” This is what we want our children to learn and understand. Not the LGBTQ+ alphabet soup of perversion. Not the deluded distortions of the Left.
We must not allow the federal government to capture our children at puberty and remake them in their own image, with the outcome predetermined according to the Left’s deviant agenda. Please help us fight back with your gift today.
These are just the lowlights. We’ve uploaded a scanned copy of the full letter here.
When Kevin Swanson decided to invite presidential candidates to his National Religious Liberties Conference in Des Moines this week, we were alarmed to see that Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal accepted his invitation.
It would be an understatement to call Swanson an extremist. He wants the government to apply Old Testament law in all matters, thinks birth control turns women’s uteruses into “graveyards for lots and lots of little babies,” spoke up for Uganda’s “kill-the-gays” bill, sees constant threats to recruit his daughter to become a lesbian from Disney movies and Girl Scout cookies, and describes homosexuality as a satanic “disease” that causes natural disasters.
In case you needed more evidence of Swanson’s radical beliefs, he dedicated one 2010 radio program to talking with cohost Dave Buehner about how LGBT Pride Month should actually be spent pondering the stoning of gay people. He went on to say that the inclusion of “sodomites in the military” will ultimately destroy America.
In another edition of “Generations Radio,” Swanson repeated his call for the state to adhere to biblical codes by imposing the death penalty for homosexuality and adultery, insisting that “homosexuality is about the most evil thing that can ever happen in a society.”
Following the landmark Obergefell marriage equality ruling, Swanson warned that the Supreme Court had asked “God to come to this nation and wipe it off the face of the map,” once again alleging that there is a link between gay rights and natural disasters.
Swanson also believes that God is making gay people — and Supreme Court justices — literally go insane.
Naturally, Swanson has a dim view of gay parents, telling listeners that “if you want to destroy, utterly destroy kids, raise them in these homosexual homes.”
In an interview with anti-gay activist Paul Cameron, Swanson said that “the homosexuals have wanted to destroy the family for a long time and the result, of course, is a lot, a lot, a lot of children’s sexual and physical abuse, this is part of their agenda.” He specifically pointed to Scotland as a place that “has had this huge blight of homosexuality, leading of course to lots and lots of child sexual abuse.”
And this is the person who Republican candidates will be standing with this weekend.